Satchmo In His Adolescence: 1915 Film Clip May Show Young Louis Armstrong

March 1950: Louis Armstrong plays trumpet in his dressing room before a show in New York.

AFP/Getty Images


Louis Armstrong has served as the focus of many works of literature. Now, a few seconds of old film that appear to feature Armstrong as a teenage boy have captivated jazz journalist James Karst. If Karst’s theory is correct, the clip from 1915 shows Armstrong at a turning point in his early life — years before he became famous and eventually legendary around the world.

Karst tells NPR’s Scott Simon that he stumbled upon the alleged clip of Armstrong on the Getty Images website. For the first beat of the eight-second clip, apparently taken from a newsreel, pedestrians cross a busy New Orleans street in 1915. Then, the boy who Karst suspects to be a 13 or 14-year-old Armstrong enters the shot.

“A couple of seconds into this film clip, a newsboy walks into the scene,” Karst describes. “His back is facing the camera at first. And then he turns around, and you can see that he’s holding a newspaper — what I believe to be the New Orleans Item, an afternoon paper. And he briefly engages the camera, smiles and then he turns around and keeps going.”

When Karst saw the clip, its possible significance occurred to him instantly. “I saw it and immediately recognized that Louis Armstrong, when he was a young man in this very year, was a newsboy in New Orleans, and was one of, apparently, relatively few black newsboys in New Orleans in this location,” he says. Karst immediately set out to determine whether or not this newsboy was in fact Armstrong. 


From there, Karst got to work piecing together bits of evidence to support his hunch. He reached out to Dr. Kurt Luther, a professor at Virginia Tech University known for his work identifying people in Civil War-era photographs, for advice, and compared the facial features of the boy in the video to those seen in the earliest known images of Armstrong. Karst also accessed census records to verify the small number of black newsboys on the New Orleans records at the time the film was taken.

At the time, Karst says, Armstrong would have recently been released from a boys’ reformatory where he had been sent for shooting a pistol into the air — this reformatory is also where Armstrong played in the marching band and received his first formal music instruction. As Karst says, after coming out of the reformatory in June of 1914, Armstrong found work as a newsboy to help support his family, who lived in poverty.

Karst says he’s been surprised to find that others largely accept his suggestion, which was published in a magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. “I fully expected people to try to pick it apart.”

According to Karst, there is one evident clue on the boy’s face in the clip: “The beautiful Louis Armstrong smile that later became famous.”

Van Gogh Painted Many ‘Sunflowers.’ But How Different Are They?

Should they be considered copies, independent artworks or something in between? An extensive international research project has just released its findings.

“Vincent van Gogh Painting Sunflowers” by Paul Gauguin. Credit Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

By Nina Siegal

AMSTERDAM — In the summer of 1888, Vincent van Gogh invited his friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin to visit him in Arles, France, and to stay with him at the house where he hoped to establish an artists’ retreat. When Gauguin arrived in the fall, he found his room decorated with Van Gogh’s artworks, including a painting of sunflowers arranged in a ceramic vase against a yellow background.

The two-month visit ended disastrously. The two artists had a blowout fight, and van Gogh sliced off his ear, suffered a mental breakdown and ended up in the hospital. Gauguin fled back to Paris.

A couple of weeks later, however, he wrote to van Gogh requesting that painting, “Sunflowers,” praising it as “a perfect page of an essential ‘Vincent’ style.”

Understandably, van Gogh was reluctant to hand over what he felt might be his most accomplished work, and so he decided to paint another version of the yellow “Sunflowers” to exchange with a work by Gauguin. He completed that one in January 1889, but never sent it.

These two paintings, both called “Sunflowers,” are generally accepted as the finest of several depictions of the thick-stemmed, nodding blooms that van Gogh made in 1888 and 1889 during his time in Arles. The first is now in the collection of the National Gallery in London, and the second is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The 1889 version of “Sunflowers,” which is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Credit Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Van Gogh referred to this work as a “repetition” of the London painting. But art historians and curators have long been curious to know how different this “repetition” is from the first. Should it be considered a copy, an independent artwork or something in between?

An extensive research project conducted over the past three years by conservation experts at both the National Gallery and the Van Gogh Museum has concluded that the second painting was “not intended as an exact copy of the original example,” said Ella Hendriks, a professor of conservation and restoration at the University of Amsterdam, who was the lead researcher on the project.

“Though the basic palette is the same, there were different colors that were used, differences in paint texturing, and his brushwork is different,” she said.

Gardner claim bipartisan for Coloradans … got to read this bs

Why, yes, I am bipartisan, and to prove it here is a letter written by one of my state’s far-right crackpots. If you can’t trust him that just proves you’re the one who’s out of touch.

What part of this story is more pathetic: That a Colorado newspaper published an op-ed from the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party praising Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner for his “most bipartisan and effective” representation of even state Democrats and independents, or that Gardner approvingly tweeted out the gaslighting effort?

Cory Gardner


“Sen. Gardner has and will remain an effective voice for Republicans, Unaffiliateds and Democrats in Colorado.” Read more from @cologop Chairman @BuckForColorado in the @ColoradoSun here: 

Opinion: Sen. Cory Gardner’s results are important for Colorado“Ken Buck says I’m bipartisan” may be a new low point for a struggling Republican politician. For now.

Rabid tea partier Rep. Ken Buck’s op-ed claim—yes, that is who now chairs the Colorado Republican Party—rides on declaring Gardner to be “one of the most bipartisan and effective senators Colorado has ever seen” by insisting that the things Gardner has done are bipartisan because Ken Buck says so, that’s why. Is Gardner’s push to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters away from D.C. decision-makers and into Colorado “bipartisan,” or simply another cynical attempt at putting sand in the gears of a federal agency conservatives have long held a grudge against? Is Gardner’s sheepish coddling of Trump’s poorly defined visions of a militarized Space Force because “Space Command” might “potentially be headquartered in Colorado” a bipartisan stance, or just a cynical trade-off of a senator’s dignity for a bit of pork? It’s bipartisan, of course. If Donald Trump, Ken Buck, and Cory Gardner all support the same thing, it counts as bipartisan, no matter what the other parties might think.

Why does a puff piece on the glory of a teetering senator in for a tough re-election fight written up by, of all people, his own state party’s chair rate as “editorial” content to begin with? Isn’t that more commonly referred to as advertising? Papers commonly demand payment for associating themselves with this sort of brand-polishing, and there’s not a paper in America that’s flush on cash these days. Go figure.

Gardner has been in an awkward position of late, carefully tiptoeing through his duties using the Susan Collins strategy of occasionally expressing regret at the batshit insane activities of the rampaging administration while quietly voting to facilitate the batshittery after the cameras have turned away. (If he is still fishing for a campaign slogan, we might suggest Gardner for Senate: My Conscience Is Bipartisan Even If My Record Isn’t.)

Reluctant go-alongs such as Gardner and Collins appear to believe the bipartisan remorse, partisan results gimmick can be used indefinitely—that it has no expiration date, and that voters will buy it the 50th time as readily as the first. Both appear to be preparing to test that theory good and hard, in fact. We’ll see.

But if you’re going to choose that as your bit, maybe avoid touting claims of “bipartisanship” written up by one of the most divisive partisan figures in your state. That’s … a little much. It’s a bit like getting your mom to vouch for you on a dating app: You can do it, but it might not have the effect you think it does.


I Spy, Via Spy Satellite: Melting Himalayan Glaciers ~ NPR

The world’s glaciers are melting faster than before, but it still takes decades to see changes that are happening at a glacial pace.

To look back in time, researchers are turning to a once-secret source: spy satellite imagery from the 1970s and 1980s, now declassified. “The actual imagery is freely available for download on the USGS website, and people can use it,” says Josh Maurer, a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Maurer is the lead author of a study using satellite imagery to show that in the past 20 years, Himalayan glaciers melted twice as fast as they did in the 1980s and ’90s. The work was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The spy satellite images come from KH-9 Hexagon military satellites, launched during the Cold War to help the U.S. peer over the Iron Curtain, says Summer Rupper, a co-author of the study. Each satellite was about the size of a school bus and carried miles of film. Packaged in buckets equipped with parachutes, the film was later ejected into the upper atmosphere and plucked out of the air over the Pacific Ocean by Air Force pilots. Most Hexagon images were declassified in 2011 as a continuation of a 1995 executive order by President Bill Clinton to release spy satellite footage that was “scientifically or environmentally useful.”

Maurer’s study compares the spy satellite images, mostly from the mid-1970s, with more recent images taken by ASTER, an instrument attached to a NASA satellite that was developed jointly by the U.S. and Japan and launched in 1999.

There’s a history of researchers using declassified surveillance images. Some scientistshave used spy satellite data to study Arctic ice cover, Antarctic streams, meteor trajectories and smaller-scale glacier studies. Maurer says his team figured out an efficient way to turn satellite images into 3D elevation models over a large region.

“What we’re able to do using spy satellites is to cross the entire Himalayan range, [and measure] hundreds of glaciers of all different types and sizes, over a much longer period of time,” says Rupper, an associate professor of geography at the University of Utah.

The Himalayan mountain range, home to Mount Everest, holds tens of thousands of glaciers. The study authors looked at 650 of them, across a 1,240-mile swath. They found that, on average, the Himalayan glaciers lost 10 inches of ice per year from 1975 to 2000. As average global temperatures increased, the average loss rate doubled to a loss of 20 inches of ice per year from 2000 to 2016.

Glaciologist Etienne Berthier of the French national research agency CNRS, who was not affiliated with the research, said via email that the fact that the study used the same method of analysis across the Himalayas, “[made] their conclusion of doubling of mass loss rate very convincing.”

The Himalayas contain many different types of glaciers — such as those covered in debris or located near bodies of water — in many different environments. The researchers were surprised to find that the rate of melt was consistent across all the glaciers they studied. “In the east, the precipitation in the Himalayas occurs in the middle of the summertime [driven by monsoon winds], whereas in the west, most of the snow comes [in the winter] along a westerly storm track,” Rupper says. “So you actually have two very different settings for these glaciers. Yet, from east to west, we’re seeing a relatively uniform change in mass.”

That the Himalayan glaciers are melting faster signals unpredictability in coming years. Those glaciers supply fresh water to mountain communities and feed rivers that billions of people in South Asia rely on.

Sonam Futi Sherpa, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, co-authored a paper on how glaciers in the Everest region change with precipitation and storms. She says: “It’s important to have long-term monitoring, not just in Nepal,” where she’s from, “but in Bhutan, Tibet, other places” for two main reasons: figuring out future water availability and anticipating possibly catastrophic events such as floods and landslides.

Deborah Balk of the City University of New York, who formerly served on a National Research Council panel on Himalayan glaciers and climate change, said via email that “understanding glacial ice loss is very important, particularly in South Asia where the consequences of climate change are already unfolding” — consequences such as extreme heat in India, sea-level rise and salinization in Bangladesh, and regional flooding.

Over the next 80 years, according to a 2019 study of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, up to two-thirds of the Himalayan glaciers are projected to melt because of climate change.

A view of Changri Nup, a typical debris-covered glacier in the Everest region, highlights the glacier’s complex surface characteristics, including patches of rock debris and exposed ice cliffs.

Josh Maurer


Rising Temperatures Ravage the Himalayas, Rapidly Shrinking Its Glaciers ~ NYT

The Khumbu glacier sits between Mt. Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. The glacier is receding and pools of water are now a common scene along the length of itCredit Heath Holden/Getty Images

Climate change is “eating” the glaciers of the Himalayas, posing a grave threat to hundreds of millions of people who live downstream, a study based on 40 years of satellite data has shown.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, concluded that the glaciers have lost a foot and a half of ice every year since 2000, melting at a far faster pace than in the previous 25-year period. In recent years, the glaciers have lost about eight billion tons of water a year. The study’s authors described it as equivalent to the amount of water held by 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.

The study adds to a growing and grim body of work that points to the dangers of global warming for the Himalayas, which are considered the water towers of Asia and an insurance policy against drought.

In February, a report produced by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development warned that the Himalayas could lose up to a third of their ice by the end of the century, even if the world can fulfill its most ambitious goal of keeping global average temperatures from rising only 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels.

That goal, which scientists have identified as vital to avert catastrophic heat waves and other extreme weather events, is nowhere close to being met. Average global temperatures have risen by one degree already in the last 150 years. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb. And scientists estimate that we are on track to raise the average global temperature between 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Another study, published in May in Nature, found that Himalayan glaciers are melting faster in summer than they are being replenished by snow in winter. In the warm seasons, meltwater from the mountains feeds rivers that provide drinking water and irrigation for crops.

The retreat of glaciers is one of the most glaring consequences of rising global temperatures. Around the world, vanishing glaciers will mean less water for people, livestock and crops.