On My Radar 5/7/09: Ring Ring, Neo

* Cell Explosion
* NASA Back To Earth
* Nick Cave Pens Gladiator II? 


Here are the stories that interest me this morning, along with my take on why they may be of interest to philanthropy and nonprofit leaders.

  •  More cell-only households than landline-only. For the first time ever, according to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control, the share of U.S. households that only have a cell phone has surpassed the share of households that only have a landline telephone. 20% have cell-only, 17% landline-only. (In 2003, it was 3% cell only to 43% landline-only).
    • My take: This has obvious implications for survey research, driving up its cost, although many pollsters say they are working on ways to weight data to account for the shift and still only call landlines. But that tactic will run out eventually, as cell-only becomes the norm. Eventually, landlines will be only for data. Think about similar demographic shifts: social networks vs. email; online content vs. physical cd’s and movies. Surely there are more. Which ones will upend how your organization does its work?
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds by flickr user jennder (Me: I was at this show.)
    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds by flickr user jennder (Me: I was at this show.)
  • NASA back to Earth. Obama is expected today to announce a review of NASA’s manned spaceflight efforts, to be led by former Lockheed Martin head Norm Augustine. The last space shuttle launch is planned for 2010, and the first manned missions of the new generation of Ares craft. Some observers worry it “will be like 1975 all over again,” when Nixon unexpectedly cut the Apollo program. 
    • My take: It’s a damn shame. Space flight is forever taking budget hits, especially as scientific illiteracy becomes more prevalent and accepted even among otherwise educated people.  This may be a chance to demonstrate the commercial viability of space flight.
  • Nick Cave rejected Gladiator script discovered? The Guardian reports that a rejected script by artist Nick Cave may have been unearthed. According to accounts, actor Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott asked fellow Australian Cave to draft a sequel to Gladiator. Any sequel would face a key hurdle: Crowe’s character, Maximus, dies at the end of the film. In Cave’s purported script, “Crowe’s Maximus meddles with Roman gods in the afterlife, is reincarnated, defends early Christians, reunites with his son, and ultimately lives forever – leading tanks in the second world war and even mucking around in the modern-day Pentagon.” Here’s a full synopsis. The studios, sadly, just couldn’t take it and passed.
    • My take: Cave may be the most singular artist alive. Anything he does, or is rumored to do, is . . . well, it’s just cool.

Thanks for reading.


Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

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