Progressive Pioneers

  • This week’s Progressive Pioneers  will focus on two very special “other worldly” people who tirelessly worked behind the scenes the make the world a better place. I’m talking about none other than Tia and Tony Malone. And now thanks to WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Information Act, we know the full truth about these two amazing beings, which will blow your mind! Their story is a rich and complicated one that has taken four documentaries to tell! Escape to Witch Mountain Return from Witch Mountain The Blair Witch Mountain Project Race to Witch Mountain And though Digital Batman cannot fully do justice to their story, I’m going to give you a glimpse into their contributions to our society. Escape to Witch Mountain & Return from Witch Mountain documentaries can be currently watched on Disney+. Endless movies and TV shows. Always ad free. The best of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. From new releases, to your favorite classics, and exclusive Originals, there’s always something new to discover. Race to Witch Mountain documentary can be currently watched on Netflix. Watch Netflix movies & TV shows online or stream right to your smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile, tablet and more. The Blair Witch Mountain Project documentary can be currently watched on YouTube (embedded below for your convenience). Tia and Tony Malone come from a binary star system some 3,000 light years from Earth. Their world was in the late stages of climate and environmental collapse (much like where our own world is headed). They were part of an advanced group of alien colonists seeking to find a way to reverse the self-inflicted damage done to their planet by studying our own in the early stages of exceeding the nine planetary boundaries. However, things did not go as planned. In 1975, their ship was damaged upon arrival at Earth and the two children were almost...
  • March 13, 2020

    Now for Something Truly Puzzling!

    Chris Ramsay is not your usual nerd. Between his ZZ-Top-like beard, sleeve tattoos, and quotidian hoodie/baseball cap, you would foolishly think that he is not one of the world’s greatest puzzle solvers. And you would be wrong! This guy has built up a massive YouTube subscriber following of over 6.62 million, that’s million with an M, subscribers solving Level 10 puzzles. Level 10 puzzles are the hardest possible puzzles in the world that would drive most of us bonkers trying to solve. But not Chris Ramsay. In fact, he thrives on these challenges. He has spent countless hours attacking some of the world’s most difficult and craziest puzzles such as: The Impossible Excalibur Puzzle The Absolute Hardest Jigsaw Puzzle The Hardest Lock Puzzle in History And many, many others. Even though the amount of time it may take for him to solve one of these could be half a day, his videos are thankfully edited down between 15 and 25 minutes (give or take)—and they are they are truly fascinating to watch. There’s also lot of sped up POV footage and pithy commentary as he tinkers with these mind-numbing enigmas. Another thing to note about Chris is that he’s a very good cinematic videographer as well. Frequently, he’ll introduce a new puzzle video with a sweeping array of lens flared artistic and themed cinematography along with an epic Game of Thrones-style music score. It’s his signature film style, coupled with his happy-go-lucky (and extremely patient) persona, along with his inconceivable ability to solve crazy puzzles that make him a YouTube sensation. If you like real physical 3D puzzles that you can touch, rotate, tinker with, and lose your mind over, then you want to watch Chris Ramsay’s YouTube Channel. He’s also got links to where you can purchase these puzzles yourself for hours of intense eye-hand-brain coordination entertainment that...
  • March 8, 2020

    Sisters of Invention

    In honor of International Women’s Day 2020, this week’s Progressive Pioneers will be a quadfecta of amazing young women who are trying to change the world for the better. All too often the news is dominated by negative stories, and one would think that the world is a sad place. However, that is not the case! For optimistic, creative, inventive, and resourceful entrepreneurs Greta Thunberg, Alaina Gassler, and Anna Stork & Andrea Sreshta the world couldn’t be more full of promise and hope. Here are their stories: Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Thunberg is known for her straightforward speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. Thunberg first became known for youth activism in August 2018 when, at age 15, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying (in Swedish) “School strike for the climate”. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over 1,000,000 students each. At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat. Her sudden rise to world fame has made her a leader and a target. In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader” and noted that many see her as a role model. Thunberg and the school strike movement were also featured in a 30-minute Vice documentary titled Make...
  • January 1, 2020

    Tarzan of Mars

    Today’s Progressive Pioneer is none other than the ultra-prolific planetary romance and adventure novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (EBR). Burroughs’ work—particularly on his John Carter of Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series—are the unsung inspiration for stories such as Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and even Avatar. All eleven Barsoom novels describe a world so rich in detail, culture, wildly eccentric science and technology (for his time), outlandish and terrifying creatures, and extraordinary complex characters story tellers have been tapping into for over a century. However, Burroughs’ work goes beyond just his Barsoom/Mars books. He is even more known for his Tarzan adventure novel series of 26 books. These stories were so famous during Burroughs’ time that he immediately saw the tech trend value in exploiting them in all forms of media (against so-called experts’ advice at the time). Tarzan became an instant hit on radio, in comic books, and in film. In fact, even Burroughs’ daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932-34 for the Tarzan radio series! However, the most interesting fact about Burroughs’ Tarzan is that not one but two towns were named after the character! Tarzana in California, which started out as EBR’s eponymous ranch in the Los Angeles area, and eventually became incorporated as the American town of Tarzana in 1927. Tarzan in Texas was also formally named in 1927. There’s even an impact crater on Mars named after EBR! Burroughs was born in Chicago Illinois on September 1st, 1875 and died on March 19th, 1950 at the age of 74. He was married twice, first to Emma Hulbert (1900–1934) where they had three children together (Joan, Hulbert, and John); and then to actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt (1935–1942). He passed away in Encino California but he is laid...
  • January 1, 2020

    Ad Astra Per Feminae

    With the 34th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster this past Tuesday, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher in space who perished on that fateful day back in 1986. And, I thought it would also be fitting to include Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut. Both are Progressive Pioneers who advanced space exploration for generations of future American female astronauts, young women everywhere. Here are their stories: Sharon Christa McAuliffe (A.K.A. Christa) is famously known for being chosen as America’s first teacher in space. Though, she never made it into space due to a tragic accident involving the Space Shuttle Challenger 73 seconds into liftoff on January 28, 1986. Despite the loss of McAuliffe and the other six crewmembers aboard the space craft, which is regarded as a national tragedy, McAuliffe’s life is celebrated and honored all across the country. Schools, scholarships, documentaries, and more have all been named in her honor. She has inspired whole generations of kids since that fateful day to reach for the stars and to achieve their dreams. McAuliffe was born in Boston on September 2, 1948. Her father, Edward Christopher Corrigan was an accountant of Irish descent, and her mother, Grace Mary Corrigan, was a teacher of Lebanese Maronite descent. McAuliffe received a bachelor’s degree in Education from Framingham State College and a master’s degree in Education (supervision & administration) from Bowie State University. She married Stephen J. McAuliffe in 1970, with whom she had two children, Scott and Caroline. She eventually took a teaching job Concord High School (Concord, NH), where she would eventually apply for President Ronald Reagan’s Teacher in Space Project for NASA. Out of 11,000+ applicants, she and teacher Barbara Morgan were the final two chosen in 1985, with McAuliffe earning the top spot. Both McAuliffe and Morgan took a year’s leave of absence to train for the space shuttle mission...
  • December 13, 2019

    The Man Who Captured Lightning in a Bottle

    In modern times, no one man has been more revered as the greatest technological scientist and visionary as Nikola Tesla. This consummate inventor of dreamlike machines, whose reach sometimes exceeded his grasp, has been so highly regarded by society as the scion of invention that whole streets, songs, companies (like Elon Musk’s futuristic electric car company), awards, measures, holidays, places, schools, and more have been named after him. He was even famously portrayed by punk rock legend David Bowie in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film The Prestige. Of course, in that fictionalized version of Tesla, we find him inventing a trans-dimensional duplicator used by Hugh Jackman’s character for the purpose of inexplicable magic showmanship. However, in real life, Tesla was so far beyond his contemporaries such as Thomas Edison or George Westinghouse that both of them had employed Tesla in their companies at one point. In fact, it is said that Westinghouse even paid Tesla a life-long stipend of a $1000 a month long after he left the company due to his patents making Westinghouse a fortune. Nikola Tesla’s life began in Croatia (the Austrian Empire at the time) on July 10, 1856. His father was an Easter Orthodox priest and his mother was so talented in the making of craft tools and mechanical devices—along with a photographic memory—that Telsa credited her for all of his genius and gifts. Tesla had some troubled years in his youth dealing with a gambling addiction and never completing his engineering studies at Austrian Polytechnic. However, that did not stop him from making his way through Europe, devising patentable inventions, and making a name for himself in engineering circles. Eventually, he would find his way to New York City in 1884 where his advancements in Alternating Current (AC) technology, and an induction motor that was...
  • October 17, 2019

    Chariot Runner of Digital Music

    Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, known throughout the world as Vangelis has been dubbed the great composer of Symphonic Electronica. Probably best known for his Academy Award‐winning score for the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire, Vangelis’ music has inspired whole generations of digital artists from musicians to filmmakers and more. In fact, when the score for the sequel to another of Vangelis’ iconic film scores, Blade Runner (1982), came rolling around for Blade Runner 2049 (2017), he was firstly considered for the job. Vangelis declined and the job fell to another great composer of traditional and digital music, Hans Zimmer. Zimmer cited several times that Vangelis’ music would be a huge influence in the sequel’s score. The reason that he is a Progressive Pioneer is that his music not only pioneers symphonic electronica but transcends it to all mediums (film, television, theater, sports, etc.). Born in 1943 in a coastal town in Thessaly Greece, later raised in Athens, Vangelis began composing music since the age of four! However, it is the way that he began composing music which would define his later digital‐electronica aural accomplishments: by experimenting with sounds, such as placing nails and kitchen pans inside their family piano, and with radio interference. He made music from a sea of unique sources ranging from synthesizers, sitars, harps, finger cymbals, orchestral instruments, and choirs to name a few. From there his decades‐long‐spanning career has been an epic adventure of artistic supremacy. Some highlights are: 1963–1974, Vangelis performed in several rock bands, and began scoring music for Greek film and television projects. He was even invited to join the famed progressive rock band YES. During the 1970s–1980s, Vangelis moved to London, England and secured a lucrative record deal with RCA Records. After the release of his seminal work, the album Heaven and Hell,...