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26 Mar 20:27

East Village building collapses, huge fire after explosion

by brooklynvegan

"Well an entire BUILDING just collapsed on 2nd Avenue and 7th street in the #EastVillage!!" - mikenouveau


Firefighters were on the scene of an apparent explosion on Thursday afternoon in the East Village, and a building at the site appeared to have been partly destroyed while another building was engulfed in flames.

Francis X. Gribbon, the chief spokesman for the New York Fire Department, said the preliminary indication was that some kind of gas explosion preceded the inferno.

"It was probably a gas thing, it looks like," he said. "But that's not confirmed."

He said one injury had been confirmed so far: a critical injury. He said it was not immediately clear if the buildings were occupied.

By 4:05 p.m., Mr. Gribbon said, the event was in the seventh alarm, meaning that roughly 250 firefighters were on the location from about 50 Fire Department units. The buildings are at 121 and 123 Second Avenue. [NY Times]

Gothamist says, "The FDNY has now confirmed there are multiple injuries at the scene. The residential building has a nail salon (E-Nail) and a women's clothing store (Enz's); it is right next door to vegetarian mainstay B&H Dairy" and that "the neighboring building is also engulfed in flames", and that "According to various people at the scene, the second building (which is reportedly 121 E 2nd Street) has collapsed completely. That building contains Sushi Park; Eater reports that Sushi Park was destroyed, but neighboring Pomme Fritte is still in one piece." UPDATE: Eater now reports that the building that housed Pomme Fritte is gone too.

The site of the explosion, 2nd Ave between St. Mark's and 7th, is an area long-associated with music and counter-culture history. The corner of St. Mark's and 2nd Ave, currently Gem Spa Magazines, was the corner where the photo on the back cover of the first New York Dolls' album cover was taken. B&H Dairy is one of the most old-school vegetarian restaurants in NYC. 125 2nd Ave was the home of underground rock record store Wowsville (which closed in 2004 with a show Black Lips played). 119 2nd Ave at the corner of 7th St was the home of vintage clothing and collectables store Love Saves The Day. Across the street from where the explosion happened is the old Orpheum Theatre, which is currently the location of STOMP.

UPDATE 2: As of 4:30 PM, NY1 reported that there are 12 injured and three in critical addition. No fatalities have been reported.

UPDATE 3: NBC New York now confirms that it was a gas line, which construction workers accidentally hit in the sushi restaurant.

UPDATE 4: Gothamist reports that Mayor de Blasio said, "The actual explosion occurred at 121, which caused it to partially collapse, and 123 collapsed as well." 119 and 125 2nd Ave were also both affected.

As of this post. 2nd Ave is now closed from 14th St to Houston.

UPDATE: The band Public Access TV lived in one of the buildings.

Continue reading "East Village building collapses, huge fire after explosion" at brooklynvegan

06 Mar 16:46


Russian Sledges

I think I saw her open for Basia Bulat a few years ago, when she was "Lady Lamb the Beekeeper", and liked it. New stuff is good.

Today’s mainstream pop typically consists of a dozen co-writers for predictable songwriting and unnaturally overproduced crap music, but Lady Lamb is proving to be an exception to that rotten rule.
26 Mar 20:26

Hallelujah the Hills share new video, touring, playing The Bell House with Adam Schatz (dates, streams)

by brooklynvegan

by Bill Pearis


Anthemic Boston indie rockers Hallelujah the Hills released their fifth full-length, Have You Ever Done Anything Evil?, last year but it is just now getting a vinyl release. In support the band have made a video for album track "Destroy This Poem." Written and directed by Ryan Hamilton Walsh, it's a funny look at social media technology going horribly wrong and you can watch it, and listen to the whole album, below.

Also in celebration of the vinyl release, Hallelujah the Hills are playing a few East Coast shows, including Brooklyn's The Bell House on Friday (3/27) with a opening solo set from Adam Schatz. Tickets are on sale. The band have a few other dates and all are listed below.

Continue reading "Hallelujah the Hills share new video, touring, playing The Bell House with Adam Schatz (dates, streams)" at brooklynvegan

23 Mar 16:32

Formaggio Kitchen Kicks Off Barbecue Season on April 4

by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

The annual sidewalk barbecue series launches a week from Saturday.

Hallelujah, spring is really here: Formaggio Kitchen welcomes back its seasonal sidewalk barbecue series at 11 a.m. on April 4, a week from this coming Saturday. Get in line at the Cambridge location now (well, maybe not quite yet) for brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, surprises, and sides galore.

Want to put in a pre-order for a hungry group of eight or more? The deadline is each Wednesday by noon for pick-up on that Saturday. Smaller groups can make pre-orders by 4 p.m. on Fridays. More details and a peek at last year's offerings can be found on the Formaggio website.

25 Mar 19:06

American Airlines playing "lesser known indie bands"; customers much happier now

by brooklynvegan

Haim waiting on a plane (via @Haimtheband)

Elevators don't really use "elevator music" anymore but you can still hear bland, instrumental muzak when you board or deplane on various airlines. Not so now on American Airlines who, in October 2014, switched to a "surprisingly edgy mix of indie music" like Real Estate, Bon Iver, The xx, and, uh, Haim. It appears to be a welcome change, according to an article in one of American Airlines' employee newsletters:

The decision to change to the lesser-known indie music was a reaction to customers' complaints, which included boredom. Since the switch, complaints about our cabin music have decreased, and compliments have increased, according to a social media analysis.
Still, AA's criteria for the edgy mix they play is songs that are "upbeat yet not distracting" and "helps American stand out from the competition and appeals to younger generations." Other artists on their playlist include Lykke Li, Washed Out, Future Islands, Foster the People, Hozier, and Moby.

In related news, Nick Cave wrote his new book on the backs of airline barf bags while flying on tour.

Continue reading "American Airlines playing "lesser known indie bands"; customers much happier now" at brooklynvegan

23 Mar 17:13

Bowie ‘76. 

Russian Sledges

via SuburbanKoala ("draco malfoy")

Bowie ‘76. 

26 Mar 19:14

Video: Downtown Berkeley worker assaults homeless man

by Lance Knobel
Russian Sledges

via overbey ("Wow, who would have imagined this sort of behavior from a privately-contracted police force representing business interests?")

Downtown Berkeley ambassador assault. Image: Bryan Hamilton

Image: Bryan Hamilton

A Downtown Berkeley Association ambassador assaulted a homeless man Friday evening behind CVS in what appears to be a violent incident that was captured on video. That homeless man and an associate were arrested by the Berkeley Police Department before the video came to light. After reviewing the video this week, police asked the district attorney’s office to take another look at the case.

The ambassador involved, whose name has not been released, will be fired Thursday, said Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner. A second ambassador, who did not intervene to stop the apparent assault, will be suspended. The video, which appears below, contains graphic language and violence that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

Lance Gorée, operations manager for the DBA, and the manager of the ambassador program for contractor Block by Block, said he received a report of the physical contact last week, but the severity of the incident was not made clear until he and Caner saw the video Thursday morning.

“I was called within the hour of it happening,” Gorée said. “I always get called right away. They didn’t fully represent what happened.”

“It’s clearly totally unacceptable,” said Caner. “We apologize to (the victim) and to the community. This is clearly so out of the realm of acceptable behavior and totally contrary to all of the training provided to ambassadors.”


Read the rest of Video: Downtown Berkeley worker assaults homeless man (636 words)

By lance. | Permalink | 166 comments |
Post tags: Berkeley homelessness, Block by Block, Downtown Berkeley Ambassadors, Downtown Berkeley Association, John Caner, Lance Gorée

24 Mar 16:00

Every Argument About “Buffy” On The Internet, From 1998 Until Now

by Nicole and Mallory

Joss Whedon: Inventer Of Feminism Or Literal Hitler?

  • Joss Whedon invented feminism. Before Joss Whedon, every female character on television was crushed to death under the weight of her male co-stars' heavier paychecks in the second-season finale.
  • Every female character Joss Whedon ever wrote was forcibly impregnated by a demon and brutally murdered, because Joss Whedon hates lesbians.
  • But Warren And The Trio Were –

Joss Whedon Doesn't Understand What Bisexuality Is 

  • Willow Identifies As Gay And You Are Robbing Her Of Self-Determination Because She Doesn't Have A "Gold Star"
  • I'd Feel More Comfortable With Willow's Lesbianism If It Weren't Sometimes Equated With Drug Addiction, Literal Vampirism, And Megalomania
  • But She Was Clearly In Love With Oz
  • Who Are You To Say What Love Is
  • Dark Willow Was Pretty Hot, Though
  • Yeah, Dark Willow Was Super Hot
  • I'd Watch Dark Willow And Doppelgangland-Era Willow Hook Up If It Weren't A Patriarchal Fantasy
  • Read more Every Argument About “Buffy” On The Internet, From 1998 Until Now at The Toast.

26 Mar 04:13

Airport Codes: MSY

by russiansledges
In 2001, the airport was named after jazz legend Louis Armstrong, but was previously called Moisant Field, after aviator John Moisant. Its airport code came from the nearby Moisant Stock Yards.
25 Mar 16:00

The Draper: 1907

by Dave
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

the center of this is where faces is (or was?):

1907. "Northampton, Massachusetts -- Draper Hotel." Where the amenities include an American Express office and Boyden's "Dining Parlor." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
25 Mar 23:37

‘Intention Machines,’ An Upcoming San Francisco Exhibition of Praying Robots Created by Kal Spelletich

by E.D.W. Lynch
Russian Sledges

via rosalind

attn overbey

Intention Machines Praying Robots by Kal Spelletich

Artist Kal Spelletich (previously) has created a series of life-size “praying robots” that mimic various forms of prayer for his upcoming exhibition Intention Machines. The kinetic sculptures, which include a whirling dervish and a genuflecting robot, are covered in the clothing of people who have profoundly affected Spelletich during his life. Intention Machines takes place April 11 to May 23, 2015 at Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco.

Intention Machines Praying Robots by Kal Spelletich

Intention Machines Praying Robots by Kal Spelletich

photos via Kal Spelletich

submitted via Laughing Squid Tips

24 Mar 17:51

Venturing in the Slipstream

by thestairsband

It’s been an overwhelming morning as the Boston Magazine story I wrote about Van Morrison in Boston in 1968 went public. The reactions have been astounding and it only came out a few hours ago. I’m so glad it’s capturing people’s imaginations like it captured mine. There wasn’t much room in the article for additional images, so I’ve collected some here that I’ve found, taken, or were given by participants in my research. These should give you some terrific extra context for really diving into the world of the 1968 Boston/Cambridge music scene.

Please follow this Tumblr and @JahHills for more info on all of this as I get it. There is A LOT of material and interviews I compiled that fell on the editing room floor and I’d love to find a way to write more on the album and that time period.

Morrison and Peter Wolf in studio at WBCN.

Ace Recording Studios
Then & now comparison of the location of Ace Recording Studio. Ace was one of the few professional studios in Boston at the time, and this is where producer Lewis Merenstein auditioned Van Morrison in 1968. At 10 Boylston Place, this is now the location of Estate dance club near Boston Common on the Emerson college campus. It’s a mere stone’s throw from where I type these words! I’d love to know more about Ace, but info is scant.

I do know it was owned and operated by two brothers by the last name of Yakus, and that things ended badly when Yakus family members sued each other over royalties of the song “Old Cape Cod.” Anyone know who to talk to about learning more about ACE or the family Yakus?

I’d like to specially thank Ryan Foley for being the first to locate that old Ace Recording Studios photo that I used above on the left. Ryan’s website “Throwing Pennies at the Bridges Down Below” which is an enormous resource on all things Van and Astral Weeks.

This is the closest I was able to target the location of where Van Morrison and Janet Planet lived in Cambridge in 1968. Using information from multiple interviews, I was able to pinpoint this intersection as VERY close to the spot. The building itself, I hear, no longer exists.

Here’s the back sleeve of Astral Weeks which features this poem by Morrison with plenty of Massachusetts locations name-checked. This was my first clue that perhaps this album had something to do with Boston. Van and guitarist John Sheldon played a show that summer in Hyannis, and I have a plausible theory about how that day’s events are reflected in this poem. I will save those details for a follow up piece to the Boston Magazine article, whatever form that may end up being.

Catacombs entrance
This non-descript door nestled between a Subway Sandwich shop and a Thai restaurant on Boylston Street is the former entrance of the Catacombs nightclub— an underground nightclub open in the 1960’s— where several important people and stories intersect in Morrison’s Boston/Astral Weeks whirlwind summer. The location is now a Sound Museum rehearsal studio complex. I couldn’t find any pictures of the inside of the Catacombs. Are they out there?

This is courtesy of David Bieber who was a tremendous help in putting this story together. Here, we see a flyer for the infamous Van shows at the Catacombs. The use of “Controversy” at the end of his name was short-lived, and so interesting to me in light of the rest of the details of his life at that moment.

The Boston Magazine story ends just as Van leaves to go record the album in New York, but of course, for Astral Weeks, that’s where the story really begins. I hope to tell you all more soon. 

- Ryan Hamilton Walsh

26 Mar 02:54

How Van Morrison Wrote 'Astral Weeks'

by russiansledges
I asked Wassel to tell me more about what happened with Van Morrison right before Morrison fled New York. For a moment he looked stumped. “Oh,” Wassel suddenly remembered, “I broke his guitar on his head.”
25 Mar 19:40

Victorians were Very Upset about Lesbians and Séances

Russian Sledges

via rosalind

Literature, Texas A&M University - Commerce

"Of Planchettes and Pickets: Spiritualism, the New Woman, and Literary Modernism, 1880-1930"

25 Mar 06:05

Junk Food Rebranded as Gourmet Artisanal Delights Not gonna...

Russian Sledges

via rosalind

this makes me want to fire up photoshop real bad

Junk Food Rebranded as Gourmet Artisanal Delights

Not gonna lie, I want the fancy “artesianal”box of Twinkies.

25 Mar 06:00

wilwheaton: mydrunkkitchen:wilwheaton: colormerad5k: pomegrana...

Russian Sledges

via rosalind






I am going to print this out, laminate it, and keep it with my gloves and spade.

Dreaming of a springtime garden.

OHHHHH I can totally use this!


My dearest Harto:

Perhaps we could do a version of MDK where we plant a garden together.

Please consider it.

I remain your humble servant,

Duke Wheaton.

24 Mar 22:55

The Adorable, Tiny Chairs of the 2015 Champagne Chair Contest Hosted by Design Within Reach

by E.D.W. Lynch
Russian Sledges

via rosalind

Design Within Reach Champagne Chair Contest
Crescent Chair by Bruce Hirschman

Each year Design Within Reach hosts the Champagne Chair Contest, in which they challenge entrants to create a tiny chair from the foil, label, cage, and cork of no more than two champagne bottles. This year’s winning design is the Crescent Chair by fountain pen maker Bruce Hirschman. Runners up include the Bubbly Chair by Zach Martin and the Piper Beach Chair by Jeffrey Burke Whitten.

Design Within Reach Champagne Chair Contest
Bubbly Chair by Zach Martin

Design Within Reach Champagne Chair Contest
Piper Beach Chair by Jeffrey Burke Whitten

Design Within Reach Champagne Chair Contest

photos via Design Within Reach

via Recyclart

24 Mar 18:53

Whiskas Australia Tests Out a Wearable Camera for Cats That Automatically Posts Pictures to Instagram

by Lori Dorn
Russian Sledges

via rosalind

Whiskas Australia has created the CATSTACAM, a wearable camera for cats that automatically posts pictures to Instagram tagged #catsacam so that humans can see the world from a cat’s point of view. The CATSTACAM is currently being tested out before the decision is made to bring it to the retail market.

WHISKAS CATSTACAM™ is in its early stages, so we only have a limited number of devices available. They are currently all being used by a few of our furry friends. However, the good news is they’re posting directly to their own Instagram accounts right now, just search #Catstacam. …WHISKAS CATSTACAM is more than just a device – it’s a brand new program designed to help cat lovers better understand cats by giving a glimpse into their world.

Dog Catsacam






images via #catsacam

via mUmbrella, Digital Trends, PetaPixel

24 Mar 03:50

tamorapierce:The cats were the first to love cherry blossom...

Russian Sledges

via rosalind

contains only the few things for which I know japanese words


The cats were the first to love cherry blossom season

24 Mar 18:12

There’s a Black Dot in the Middle of Everything I See

by Will Chase
Russian Sledges

via GN ("I have always hated that super powerful handheld lasers exist as a thing often in the hands of the least responsible individuals.")

Ranger Halston
Ranger Halston

Kelli Hoversten was a tireless and fearless adventurer. She’d ice climb during the Colorado winters, rock climb in the warmer months, and travel the country in search of her next challenge. She was also an avid reader, devouring four or five books at a time when she wasn’t working on her family’s Missouri cattle ranch.

But not anymore.

At Burning Man 2014, Kelli — you may know her as Ranger Halston — was working with her fellow Black Rock Rangers as a “Sandman”, the caretakers of the inner circle during the Man Burn. While the citizens of Black Rock City watch the Man and the Fire Conclave performances in the Great Circle, Sandman Rangers keep their eyes on the crowd, ensuring nobody makes an ill-advised sprint toward the flames.

Ranger Halston, after the injury
Ranger Halston, after the injury

That was when Kelli’s life was instantaneously and irreversibly changed, when somebody in the crowd pointed a handheld laser at her face, permanently blinding her left eye. And then one mounted on a Mutant Vehicle partially blinded her right eye.

Some Burners think it’s “fun” to aim a laser at the Man, or at the people around them — it’s the functional (and intellectual) equivalent of tagging, I suppose. It used to be no big deal, really. Back in the day, the only lasers that could actually harm somebody were big, unwieldy and expensive, but with recent technological advancements, the $20 laser you picked up and stuck in your pocket can reach 3-10 miles, and it could blind anybody who catches it in the eye. And facing the crowd as they do during big burns, Black Rock Rangers are especially vulnerable.

Ranger Halston with fellow Black Rock Ranger
Ranger Halston with fellow Black Rock Ranger

Since the accident, Kelli has been forced to relearn everything she’d come to know in her life, and to reconsider everything she’s taken for granted. “I had no idea how important depth perception is. I don’t think anybody does, until they lose it,” she tells me. She no longer rock climbs or ice climbs. “It’s too dangerous with one eye, and the risk of another injury on top of this? If I lose my other eye, well …” She leaves the sentence hanging in the air. She’s lost her job as an arborist because they can’t insure her now. She’s got enough vision left in her right eye to still be allowed to drive, but just barely, and she’s rightfully worried about losing that privilege. “There’s a black dot in the middle of everything I see.”

Don’t use handheld lasers in crowds, don’t ever aim them at people, and make sure nobody around you does either.

It’s too difficult and painful to read as much as she used to, but low-vision therapists are helping with lighting systems that will help a bit. “Reaching out to pick up a water glass now requires thought. Even cutting my food is a challenge. And God, shaving my legs is like a bloodbath,” she laughs. “I sure didn’t see that one coming.”

Halston at Rangers HQ
Halston at Rangers HQ

I hear sadness cutting through the laughter, and I’m struck by her strength. She’s angry, and she has every right to be. Her future was stolen through somebody’s ignorance. But she’s not bitter. More than anything, as she comes to terms with the fact that she’ll never have her former life back, she’s most concerned about making sure others are aware of the dangers of modern handheld lasers. Makes sense, really. She’s a Black Rock Ranger.

Kelli is raising funds to cover the lost wages and medical bills she’s accumulated since the injury, carrying her over until (and hopefully beyond) her Workers’ Comp claim gets processed by Burning Man’s insurance company. Please join with us as we help her, if you can.

But more importantly, don’t use handheld lasers in crowds, don’t ever aim them at people, and make sure nobody around you does either. And don’t bring them to Burning Man ever again — it’s just not worth the risk to the livelihood of another human being. Share this story around. That’s what Kelli really wants. That’s what Burning Man wants.

25 Mar 15:41

Toro Y Moi – “Run Baby Run”

by Stereogum
Russian Sledges

attn overbey

Toro Y Moi is probably the most successful artist as far as leaving behind the pigeonhole of chillwave and continuing to make music on his own terms. For his latest album What For? Chaz Bundick has released the power pop anthem “Empty Nesters” and the retro funk jam “Buffalo.” His latest, “Run Baby Run” splits […]

25 Mar 14:05

Hallelujah The Hills – “Destroy This Poem” Video (Stereogum Premiere)

by Stereogum
Russian Sledges

please note that my goth-calligraphed scroll is still up in their practice space

Hallelujah The Hills are one of those relatively obscure acts out of Boston with a hometown cult following and pockets of hardcore fans scattered throughout the country. To that end, Re-Vinyl Records are re-pressing their 2014 album Have You Ever Done Something Evil? on vinyl. In support of the re-release the group are doing a […]

24 Mar 12:01

Grey Peacock Pheasant

Russian Sledges

via rosalind

Grey Peacock Pheasant

25 Mar 02:43

Dalek Relaxation Tape - YouTube

by overbey
Russian Sledges

via overbey ("As advertised, very very relaxing.")

My tension is being exterminated.
25 Mar 04:01

Book Details : Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy

by overbey
Russian Sledges

via overbey ("ATTN: Otters, Russian Sledges. RE: Your new girlfriend")

24 Mar 15:00

Night Time Driving is Always Better With An Owl

Russian Sledges

via rosalind ("baller masterclass")

Submitted by: (via AnewsBnewsCnews)

Tagged: Music , cars , Owl , Video
24 Mar 01:04

tordotcom: lithping:name us and the contract will be sealed Oh...

Russian Sledges

via willowbl00



name us and the contract will be sealed

Oh no. No, we’re pretty sure we know how this movie ends…

24 Mar 11:11

Germanwings jet crashed after eight-minute unexplained descent - live updates

by Haroon Siddique
  • Plane was flying from Barcelona to Düsseldorf
  • 150 people were on board, including two babies
  • French officials say there were no survivors
  • 45 Spaniards, 67 Germans, including 16 schoolchildren, among feared victims
  • Read the latest summary

Flight analysts are already trying to piece together what happened to Flight 9525, which just a few minutes after it reached its top cruising altitude, descended for a little under 10 minutes before it struck the earth. The AP has taken a look at what clues investigators will examine and the events they suggest:

• Breakup on contact or midair: “If the debris field is pretty compact, the plane most likely hit the mountains intact. If, it is scattered, the plane probably broke up midair.”

Flight 9525’s descent lasted eight to nine minutes and the aircraft was last in contact with French radar and traffic controllers at 10.53am local time, Germanwings’ Thomas Winkelmann said earlier today, laying out the few details we know so far about what happened.

Birlenbach says that Lufthansa is investigating whether it can bring relatives to the crash site. The logistics of such an operation would be difficult – it has been hard even to get investigators to the scene this afternoon.

She is asked about why the plane left late from Barcelona, but is unable to say why there was a delay of nearly 30 minutes.

Lufthansa is now giving a press conference, saying they are unable at this point to confirm all the nationalities of those on board the flight. There were 150 in total, 144 passengers, 67 of whom German.

“We have their names, we have of course the list” of passengers, Lufthansa’s Heike Birlenbach says, but they are working to verify who was on board with families. She says they cannot assume nationalities purely based on passengers’ names. Birlenbach is Lufthansa’s vice-president for sales and services Europe.

Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, and Mariano Rajoy Brey will visit the crash site tomorrow, France 24’s Christophe Bauer reports.

French President, German Chancellor and Spanish PM to visit #GermanWings crash site tomorrow. #4U9525

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, says a black box has been found.

A regional official has given CNN’s Hala Gorani an idea of the scale of obliteration of the plane.

Regional official Gilbert Sauvan tells me no piece of debris in #germanwings crash is larger than a "small car."

The Guardian’s transport correspondent, Gwyn Topham, has been talking to experts about what might have caused the crash.

The airline said it could not give any reason why the plane crashed and added that it was too early to speculate on possible causes. The unverified flight data from plane tracking websites however appeared to rule out a large-scale explosion, with the plane apparently flying on relatively intact, or a midair stall, which would cause a much faster descent. Experts said planes would also be able to glide for longer in the case of total engine failure.

David Gleave, an air accident investigator and aviation expert at Loughborough University, said that based on the unverified data from plane tracking websites, “The descent appears to be consistent about 3000 ft a minute - not fast enough to be an explosive decompression, but it’s too fast if you were gliding. It appears to be a controlled descent.”

This is one of the first photographs to be released of the crash site. It shows a helicopter hovering above the mountains, on which can be seen countless small pieces of debris. The bleak image illustrates the scale of the task faced by the emergency response teams and why the French authorities have ruled out finding any survivors.

The mayor of Haltern. Bodo Klimpel, has confirmed that 16 students and two teachers from the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium high school in the town, were on board the flight, returning from a week-long Spanish exchange trip.

Many of the families learned about what happened from the media before turning up at the school, said Klimpel.

There will be an internal assembly tomorrow and we need to wait for everything else. We need to have absolute certainty about what the investigation will bring.

We have received gestures of condolences from our twin towns, also from colleagues in nearby towns. The sympathy is very overwhelming.

The US state department has said it is saddened by news of the crash and offered its assistance in the investigation. It said it is reviewing whether any US citizens were on board.

State Department issues statement on #Germanwings crash.

The local news website La Dauphine has published the first photograph of the crash site, showing small pieces of debris scattered over a large area.

The French parliament observed a minute’s silence for the victims of the crash.

#CrashA320 - L'@AssembleeNat observe un "instant de recueillement" #Germanwings #DirectAN

Reuters has more on the distress call, an issue which has been causing confusion, with even Germanwings saying it was unsure whether one had been made, as it had received conflicting accounts. The news agency has spoken to the French aviation regulator, which seems to have contributed to the uncertainty:

Germanwings jetliner that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday did not issue a distress call during its rapid descent, France’s aviation regulator said.

“The aircraft did not itself make a distress call but it was the combination of the loss of radio contact and the aircraft’s descent which led the controller to implement the distress phase,” a spokesman for the DGAC authority said.

This graphic starkly illustrates how the altitude of the plane dropped.

Meteorologist Eric Leister, from, has warned that conditions in the region where the search for the plane is ongoing are expected to worsen in coming hours.

He said:

The weather is going to be deteriorating near the crash site over the next 12 hours as a storm system moves into the region, producing rain and high-elevation snow.

Sixteen teenagers and two teachers from Haltern, a city in North Rhine Westphalia in western Germany, were among the passengers thought to have been killed in the plane crash, Germany’s biggest newspaper, Bild, is reporting, citing a spokesman from the city. The information could not be immediately confirmed. Sky is also reporting the news and says that the school did not want to comment at present.

Spox for Haltern town confirms to @NBCNews' @carloangerer 16 Joseph-König-Gymnasium students & 2 teachers were booked on #Germanwings #A320

Here is a gallery of images of the emergency response to the tragedy.

Related: Emergency response to Germanwings plane crash – in pictures

The spokesman says that although today is a “sad day” for the airline, it can be proud of its standards. It would be premature to ground the fleet, and normal flight operations would continue.

Information about the nationalities of the casualties will only be announced when the airline feels it can do so “without any shred of doubt”.

On the question of whether a distress call was made from the aircraft, a spokesman says the airline has received conflicting reports.

We have contradictory information about that ourselves, from the air traffic controllers, and we are uncertain as to whether a distress call was issued at all.

It is very important that we do not engage in speculation … We need to get to the bottom of what happened as quickly as possible.

The Germanwings spokesman said the last routine check of the aircraft was yesterday in Düsseldorf. The captain had 10 years’ experience flying Airbus aircraft for Lufthansa and Germanwings.

We feel a deep feeling of sorrow vis-a-vis our passengers, the families ... our thoughts and prayers go exclusively to the victims. In parallel, we are going to work with the authorities to investigate [and] resolve the cause of the accident as quickly as possible.

Germanwings is giving a press conference. Two babies were on board, the company spokesman says.

The aeroplane left Barcelona at 10.01am and the destination was Düsseldorf. There were 144 passengers on board, two babies and six crew members.

At 10.47am it left its travel and cruising altitude ... and entered into a descent stage. This stage lasted for a total of eight minutes. The contact between the aeroplane and the French radar [air traffic control] broke off at 10.53 ... The plane then crashed.

Contrary to earlier reports, the authorities in France now say that no distress call was made by the pilot, Kim Willsher in Paris reports.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has expressed her sorrow about the news, saying these were “hard hours”.

She said the German authorities have agreed to cooperate with the other countries affected.

This is a time and an hour of great sorrow and great grief. We should be thinking about people who have lost relatives and also friends.

Frances Perraudin, in the parliamentary lobby, sends details of David Cameron’s reaction to the plane crash. A spokesperson for the British prime minister said:

He has been informed of this tragic news of the aircraft that has been lost over southern France and he would wish to express how his thoughts are very much with the families and friends of all of those who were on that flight.

If there is any assistance or role that UK air accident investigators can play in response to this then of course the French and German forces will have our full support and engagement on that.

Louise Osborne sends this update from Germany:

The German vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has written on his Facebook page:

This is terrible news that has reached us from France. We are all stunned by this terrible catastrophe that has taken so many people. Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives. They deserve our sympathy. They now need all possible support. Personally, and on behalf of German social democracy, I express my deep sorrow.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has cancelled all her upcoming appointments, according to the country’s largest newspaper, Bild. It said she had already spoken by telephone with her French and Spanish counterparts, François Hollande and Mariano Rajoy. She is due to make a public statement later today.

Kim Willsher, in Paris, reports that there was a mayday call, although other reports suggest otherwise:

During the flight the Airbus was in contact with air control at Marseille. The message was “mayday, mayday, mayday” and the pilot requested an emergency descent, meaning ATC had to clear all air space below the route of the aircraft. Apparently, an emergency descent generally happens at a rate of 5,000ft a minute, but the Germanwings flight was descending at 3,375ft a minute.

Gerard Feltzer, an aviation expert, told BFM TV that the plane was already extremely low when it issued its distress signal and he imagined the pilots had tried to deal with the emergency before issuing their message, at which point it appeared they had already lost control of the aircraft.

The owner of a camping site in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence has told al-Jazeera that he heard the plane come down. Pierre Polizzi,owner of Camping Rioclar, said:

There was a loud noise and then suddenly nothing. At first I thought it came from fighter jets that often hold drills in the area.

The plane crashed just 2km from here, high on a mountain.

Just hours into his state visit to France, Spain’s King Felipe VI said he was cancelling his return trip to Spain. He was due to address France’s National Assembly tomorrow.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesperson for the French interior ministry, told BFM-TV:

The aircraft debris has been localised, and we can only fear a heavy death toll. The first information from rescuers suggests that the number of survivors, if there are any, will be low, but until we have reached the site by land, we cannot say with any certainty. The rescuers are being taken in by helicopter.

It is a very snowy area, inaccessible to vehicles, but that can be flown over by helicopters.

From Reuters:

The German government said it was sending air safety experts and its transport minister to the site of the plane crash and the foreign minister said his thoughts were with victims’ relatives.

“In these difficult hours our thoughts are with all those who must fear their relatives are among the passengers or crew members,” said the foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Germanwings has confirmed on Facebook that there were 150 people on board, 144 passengers and six crew members.

#Germanwings confirms 150 people were on board, incl. 144 passengers & 6 crew #4U9525

This video shows the statement by the French president, François Hollande:

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has just been speaking. He said:

All I can tell you is that obviously I’m very sad, as many are, about this very dramatic accident.

We’re going to do everything in our power to help, to hlep the families, to give them our support.

This photo shows the crash area, giving an idea of how inaccessible it is.

BREAKING #GermanWings Here is a photo from helicopter of the crash area /France2 journalists

Airbus says its thoughts are with those affected.

We have been informed of an accident involving an A320 Family aircraft and all efforts are now going towards assessing the situation.

We will provide further information as soon as available. Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragic event.

There is a crisis line for people worried about loved ones who may have been on the flight. The number is +49 30 5000 3000.

Germanwings has changed the colour of its logo on its Twitter and
Facebook sites from red and yellow to grey and black.

#Germanwings changes profile picture #4U9525

This map shows the last known location of the Germanwings flight.

Ashifa Kassam, in Madrid for the Guardian, reports that French authorities have said there were 42 Spaniards on board.

The Catalan president, Artur Mas, is due to speak at 12:30 GMT.

The plane was on its flight path for just under half of its route distance and at cruising speed.

The transport minister has comfirmed that a distress call was made by the aircraft at 10.47am local time, while the plane was “at 5,000 feet and in an abnormal situation”. The crash happened shortly afterwards.

Ashifa Kassam, in Madrid for the Guardian, sent this update:

Spain’s airport operator, AENA, has confirmed that the plane left Barcelona at 8:55 GMT, a slight delay from its expected departure of 8:35 GMT. The spokesperson didn’t know the reason for the delay.

They’ve confirmed that there were Spanish nationals on board, but wouldn’t give a precise number. AENA also said it had designated a special room in Terminal 1 and 2 of Barcelona’s El Prat airport for family members and media.

Gilles Gravier, president of tourism in the Val d’Allos ski resort area, said nothing of the crash had been heard from the pistes in his village. He said 400 gendarmes, firefighters and emergency search and rescue personnel had been mobilised but the zone was “extremely difficult” to reach.

Florent Plazy, director of the local ski school ESF, confirmed the area was hard to access, even for mountain walkers.

According to the French weather channel La Chaine Meteo, the weather was very calm at the moment of the crash.

A webcam appears to confirm that the weather is still calm.

The European commissioner for transport, Violeta Bulc, has expressed sympathy for the families of the passengers.

.@Bulc_EU: Our thoughts are with the families of the passengers on board of #Germanwings #Airbus #A320 -

Germanwings’ parent company, Lufthansa, has said it is a “dark day” if its fears are confirmed.

"We do not yet know what has happened to flight 4U 9525. My deepest sympathy goes to the families and friends of our passengers and crew 1/2

"...on 4U 9525. If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors.“ Carsten Spohr 2/2

A helicopter has reached the crash site, according to CNN and other news outlets. That would tally with the French interior minister’s statement that debris had already been located.

Aviation journalist John Walton reports that the the last words from the cockpit were: “Emergency, emergency.”

1047 call: DGAC source says pilots called «urgence, urgence» (“emergency, emergency”), as opposed to a mayday call or 7700 squawk. #4U9525

An aviation twitter feed says a distress call was received.

BREAKING Distress call was received by ATC at 9:47 UTC

Le Monde reports that 80 fire department staff are on their way to the crash site along with more than 200 police.

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, who is heading to the scene, said debris from the plane had already been found, according to Agence-France Presse.

This webcam purports to be of the area where the plane is believed to have come down although no sign of the plane can be seen at present.

Germanwings says it does not have confirmation of the crash at present.

INFO: We have recently become aware of media reports speculating on an incident though we still do not have any own confirmed information...

... Please monitor our website for periodic updates.

The plane appears to have experienced a rapid descent:

Playback of flight #4U9525 with speed and altitude graph is available on

Data from @planefinder shows fairly rapid descent for #4U9525

The French president, François Hollande, has said no survivors are expected:

There were 148 people on board. The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors ... The accident happened in a zone that is particularly hard to access.

An Airbus plane operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline has crashed in southern France en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, police and aviation officials have said.

La Provence newspaper said the Airbus A320 was carrying 142 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew, citing aviation officials.

We of course don’t know the reasons for the crash. We obviously fear that the 142 to 150 passengers and crew died today, given the conditions of this crash.

Last position of Germanwings flight #4U9525 at 09:40 UTC

Continue reading...

24 Mar 12:11

To be Buddhist monks at Harvard | Harvard Gazette

by russiansledges
When asked what he does when hugged by a Harvard student, the Sri Lankan monk and first-year HDS student laughed and said, “We’re supposed to hug back, or I believe it’s very rude.”
15 Mar 11:45

Slip Stitch

by Purl Bee
Russian Sledges

for your situational awareness

The slip stitch is a hand-sewing technique that is usually used to sew down the fold of a binding edge or a hem. It is nearly invisible! Here’s how to do it…

Tie a small knot at the end of a length of thread and thread it on a needle.


Bring the needle from the inside of the binding or hem’s fold and exit through its crease, leaving the knot tucked inside the fold. Take a tiny stitch directly across from the spot where the needle exited the fold.


Now pick up about ¼-inch of fabric, running right along the crease, as shown above.

Pick up another tiny stitch right across from the last exit point, then travel back through the fold, inserting the needle directly across from the tiny stitch.

Continue back and forth in this manner along the entire length of the binding or hem edge. Tie a knot at the end.