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Photoshopping monsters into your wedding photos is now a thing. It started not that long ago, when a wedding photo featuring a T. rex chasing the wedding party went very, very viral. Now it seems every couple getting married wants a shot of the wedding party fleeing a threat to be pasted in later. From the Maclean's article: "'We're still trying to figure out what goes in the background,' [photographer] Tony [Lombardo] says. 'The couple hasn’t figured out yet what they want to be chased by.'" AT-ATs and Sharktopus have already been done. It's already getting old. Has it already gone too far [via]?
FML Listings posts incredulous commentary about outrageously overpriced real estate listings in Toronto. Look at the run-down bungalows -- in North York! -- listed for a million dollars and despair. Canada's housing bubble, on full display. Via Maclean's.
The Banana Jr. 9000 lives. No, really. The Bloom County icon comes to life thanks to RetroMacCast co-host John, a "highly modified" Mac Plus shell, and a Mac Mini. Via Cult of Mac.
Have a website? Use Google AdSense? Ever wonder what your cut of the ad revenue was? Google just revealed it this morning: 68 percent for content ads, 51 percent for search.
Death to the spoiler police! Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams takes a stand against people who insist on spoiler alerts: "[O]nce a work enters the pop culture vernacular, it is not society's responsibility to provide you with earmuffs until you finally get around to experiencing it. ... But for the love of God, if you really don't want to know about a book/movie/television show, do the rest of the world a favor and stop hanging out in the online discussion groups about it." Via Roger Ebert.
Braille is facing extinction, says Canadian newsweekly Maclean's, thanks to strained budgets, audiobooks and text-to-speech. "In the 1950s about half of all blind children learned Braille, says the U.S. National Federation of the Blind. Today, that number has fallen to 10 per cent -- and it's about the same in Canada. For some, like NFB director Mark Riccobono, that means we're letting blind children grow up as illiterate as Braille's 19th-century contemporaries. 'If only 10 per cent of sighted children were being taught [to read],' he told Maclean's, 'that would be considered a crisis.'"
In addition to his work on the design of the 200-inch Hale telescope, amateur astronomer Russell W. Porter (1871-1949) designed and produced a remarkable, bronze-cast garden telescope in the 1920s. Fewer than 60 of these unusual Newtonian reflectors were ever made, and they're even harder to find now: earlier this year, one went for $18,000 at auction. But a reproduction of the Porter Garden Telescope is now available, for a mere $59,000 (it's cast bronze on a marble pedestal); a local cable station has a profile of the people behind it. Via Sky and Telescope.
Down syndrome and Alzheimer's. People with Down syndrome are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's, and at a much earlier age: three-quarters of them will get it by the age of 65, compared with one-tenth of the general population. This Globe and Mail article looks at a relatively new phenomenon due, in no small part, to longer life expentancies among those with Down syndrome.
When Jack Williamson published his first story, Isaac Asimov was eight years old. Seventy-three years later, his novella, "The Ultimate Earth," won the Hugo and Nebula awards. Easily the longest career in science fiction, and one of the most distinguished, came to a close yesterday: Williamson died at the age of 98. (Boing Boing, Locus.)
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is (a) Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, (b) facing a five-count indictment from the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, (c) the author of The Apprentice, a book that is, in the words of The New Yorker's Lauren Collins, "Libby's 1996 entry in the long and distinguished annals of the right-wing dirty novel," or (d) all of the above. Via Making Light.
Google Blog Search -- in beta, of course. Works by crawling blogs' RSS feeds. Should Technorati be nervous?
Dynamic map of Switzerland. Google Maps isn't the only mapping service using Ajax: map.search.ch, which does the same thing for Switzerland, launched last October.
Brent and Eivind's Couchbike Adventure. "In 2002, two intrepid cyclists rode a human powered couch through Maritime Canada." Via Gadling.
The weather just got a lot more accessible. The National Weather Service's weather data is now freely available in XML format for SOAP clients; it had previously been only available through commercial providers or in a difficult-to-decipher format. Not knowing anything about web services, I'm not sure about the implications, but I imagine that anyone who knows their SOAP could build their own weather app really easily.
Highway Route Markers collects highway signs from around the world. The Upstate New York Roads Site lists (and reproduces) every exit sign for many of the state's freeways. Let me reiterate: Every. Exit. Sign. The net has something for everyone, even those of us with an unhealthy obsession with road signs.
Father Cornelius (Neil) Horan doesn't just spread his end-of-the-world message by running onto the track during Formula One races and accosting hapless Brazilian marathoners (more here, here and here) -- he writes books, too, excerpts of which you can download for your edification and salvation. From what he says, better hurry. (Via Colby Cosh)
"Here's a little song [3.1 MB MP3] I wrote the other day while I was out duck hunting with a judge . . . It's a new song, it's dedicated to the FCC and if they broadcast it, it will cost a quarter of a million dollars." Eric Idle responds to the FCC's crackdown on the F-word. NSFW without headphones. Via Ceejbot.
"If I get a chance, I'll do it again. I think a bear would make a good pet." In a story that shocked Ottawa, an apparently clueless Quebec woodsman kidnaps a black bear cub, dunking it under water and dragging it by its hind leg. Police and wildlife officers force him to surrender the bear, which is released 60 km from its mother. Charges are pending -- definitely for possessing illegal wildlife, definitely, possibly for animal cruelty.
The Directory of Open Access Journals, launched this month by Lund University Libraries in Sweden, links to peer-reviewed online scholarly journals whose entire content is freely available. (More inside.)
"How do you talk about domestic violence without portraying violence or having some statement about violence?" PSAs about domestic abuse developed by the Calgary-based HomeFront Society have been judged too graphic to show on television. Violent acts from actual domestic-abuse investigations are depicted in public settings: a boardroom, a restaurant. They will not be broadcast, but are available for download online (MPEG format). Warning: These ads are extremely difficult to watch. They hit you like a ton of bricks. But isn't that the point?
Since what is and is not a violation of the Geneva Conventions is a subject of some discussion as a result of today's news, this collection of the complete texts of the Geneva Conventions (as well as other treaties) should be a useful reference. Of particular relevance is the Third Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Ragdoll cats have interesting personalities, a devoted following, and a very, very strange creation myth.
British books, built badly. British publishers' habit of putting out hardcovers with glued (rather than sewn) bindings and non-acid-free paper makes many rather expensive books start to fall apart after only a few years, Slate's Christopher Caldwell reports.
Was Stalin assassinated to prevent him from launching a nuclear attack on the United States? "'The circumstantial evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of non-fortuitous death,' said Jonathan Brent, a professor of Russian history at Yale University. 'And to support this further, we now have solid evidence, non-circumstantial evidence, of a cover-up at the highest level.'"
Yesterday, the Province of Alberta launched an adoption web site for its foster care children. Detailed and often heartbreaking profiles of each child are available, including their background and behavioural problems (many, for example, suffer from fetal alcohol effect). But critics complain that too much information about the children is being made available, and that the site is reducing the children to the level of commodities. (Not the first adoption web site, but it's a first for a Canadian province, I think.)
Ireland's road signs are notorious for getting travellers lost, but the Irish government has announced that it will finally do something about it.
"My daughter can't be bulimic. I don't diet. We don't talk about calories or fat or weight loss. Much of our family life centres around food. Look at my job as a restaurant critic!" Joanne Kates is the restaurant critic for the Globe and Mail; her daughter suffered from anorexia. Today, the Globe published their story in their own words.
Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé, but the wine's popularity has more to do with clever marketing than the quality of the wine itself. "Why it was decided to make the region's humblest juice—a wine mainly borne of its worst vineyards, a wine barely removed from the fermentation vat, a wine that is nothing more than pleasantly tart barroom swill—its international standard bearer is a question that will undoubtedly puzzle marketing students for generations to come."
Ellen Feiss speaks! In her first-ever interview, she breaks her silence and answers the question many of you have been asking: "by the time I made it it was like 10, so I was really tired. The funny thing was, I was on drugs! I was on Benedryl, my allergy medication, so I was really out of it anyway. That's why my eyes were all red, because I have seasonal allergies. But no one believes me." (via MacRumors; see also Wired)
Canadian novelist Yann Martel, whose novel, Life of Pi (excerpt, review), won the 2002 Booker Prize, has been accused of plagiarizing Brazilian novelist Moacyr Scilar's 1981 novella, Max and the Cats, which shares a similar premise. Martel freely admits that the premise of Scilar's work, which he discovered via a half-remembered (and scathing) critique, inspired Life of Pi, but he has not read it. The issue is whether a premise is intellectual property or whether such ideas are recycled all the time. While this would ordinarily be a literary tempest, Canada and Brazil have had a shaky relationship over trade in recent years; this may not help the situation.
Maybe you're travelling to Nunavut, maybe you've just seen Atanarjuat, but for whatever reason, you're keen to learn some Inuktitut. Where to begin? Take a course if one is available in your area. Listen to some words and phrases. But unless you're heading to a region (PDF map) where the Inuinnaqtun dialect is spoken (it uses the Roman alphabet), you're going to need to use Inuktitut's syllabics. Download some fonts (another source, and another) -- you'll need them for many sites, including this Inuktitut language reader. Or try out this handy converter. Finally, the Living Dictionary is the definitive reference to this language.
Butterfly farming, whether it's to provide live, captive-bred butterflies or framed insects, is a way for people to generate income by nurturing rainforest habitat rather than cutting it down. It's happening in places like Costa Rica, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. But you can also raise butterflies yourself.
Nineteenth-century drug paraphernalia has been found by archaeologists working at Ottawa's LeBreton Flats.
Nineteenth-century drug paraphernalia has been found by archaeologists working at Ottawa's LeBreton Flats. The LeBreton Flats was a working-class neighbourhood just west of the Parliament Buildings. The find is from the notorious Occidental Hotel, and predates the 1900 fire that burned the neighbourhood to the ground. It was rebuilt, and carried on until the National Capital Commission tore it all down in 1962. It's been an empty field ever since, as proposals to make use of this prime space have come and gone. (Maps and images.) This year they finally began decontaminating the soil -- the new Canadian War Museum is planned for part of the site (campaign) -- whereupon this discovery was made.
Many of us learned about Rick Gleason, the Canadian badly injured in the Bali explosion, through the efforts of his friend, known to us on MetaFilter as stavrosthewonderchicken, who published regular updates on Rick's condition on his blog (see also this thread). Sadly, Rick has died in a Melbourne hospital (CBC, Canadian Press).
Columbia University President Lee Bollinger's decision to postpone the selection of a new dean of the Graduate School of Journalism and instead form a task force to rethink the school's direction and purpose has inspired some media commentators to ask the question: do journalism schools do any good? Claire Hoy is skeptical; Jack Shafer seems to be neither for them nor against them.
As the Alberta government ratchets up its campaign against the Kyoto Protocol (and the Canadian government's support thereof), two environmental groups release a report that argues that Canadians could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent and save $30 billion a year in the process by 2030 (PDFs of the report summary and full report). And, if reducing emissions starts at home, you can apparently cut your own energy bills and emissions in half simply by stopping leaks and drafts in your house.
This Thursday, the Canadian Museum of Nature opens an exhibit of Asian dinosaur skeletons from the Russian Paleontological Institute. Putting Russian dinosaur collections on tour reportedly raises funds for cash-strapped scientific institutions back home, but others allege that Russia's own museums are the poorer for it, and that the money -- and fossils -- may be going astray.
Holocaust survivors with Alzheimer's are forced to relive Auschwitz. "At Baycrest's Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged in Toronto, 50 per cent of patients with dementia are Holocaust survivors for whom the loss of short-term memory condemns them, once again, to the death camps."
"VeriSign got in trouble, VeriSign got in trouble!" ICANN serves VeriSign with a formal notice of breach of its accreditation agreement for its mishandling of WHOIS data under its control (.com addresses). VeriSign has 15 days to smarten up or it could lose the .com registry. (via Boing Boing)
Codename Marklar: Marklar is maintaining a feature-complete marklar of Marklar running on Marklar as a fall-back marklar in case the Marklar is no longer viable. Maintained since the early days of Marklar, Marklar gains greater relevance in the context of Marklar's inability to deliver higher-frequency Marklars, but is seen as less likely given Marklar's forthcoming 64-bit Marklar-based Marklar. (via Marklar)
Sprawl-induced aberrant driving behavior is a theory proposed by University of Ottawa geography professor Barry Wellar. Suburban roads, built for speed, encourage aggressive driving and bad habits that drivers can sort of get away with in the suburbs, but that carry over to other areas. So that's why it always seems that they're trying to run me off the sidewalk.
Rumpole and the Angel of Death. Leo McKern dies at 82. "Author John Mortimer created Horace Rumpole with only one actor in mind, and as the blustering, grumbling barrister, McKern did not disappoint."
A handheld device that translates simple spoken phrases. "American troops in Afghanistan are using a revolutionary device that instantly translates soldiers' voices into native languages.
. . . The soldier speaks into the machine, which recognizes the words and translates them into another language." Simple phrases only — and a long way from a Star Trek universal translator — but kindling for the science-fiction-addled imagination nonetheless.
MacSlash is the latest victim of domain hijacking. Depending on how the DNS fairies have propagated themselves, you may be able to read MacSlash's own thread on the situation, or you may be taken to a generic Dotster page. I got Dotster at work yesterday but I'm still getting MacSlash at home. Not yet clear how this will turn out.
Where have all the bees gone? Wild bee populations appear to be declining (members of a local naturalists' mailing list I subscribe to report seeing substantially fewer bumblebees in recent years), and domestic honeybees are susceptible to mites. Since one third of our crops require pollination, this is not just an environmental concern but also a very real threat to our food supply. Find out what's being done about it. Fascinating stuff, if a little frightening.
Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott, who won a bronze medal in the 5-km pursuit at the 2002 Winter Olympics, may have that bronze medal upgraded to silver. The current silver medallist, Larissa Lazutina, who later tested positive for darbopoetin after the 30-km classic and was stripped of her gold medal in that event, also tested positive for darbopoetin in a test administered in December 2001, which would nullify all of Lazutina's results since then.
Angry parents shout abuse at a 12-year-old Montréal boy as police escort him to school. This horrific, ugly scene, reminiscent of desegregation, is thanks to his school, which sent Gurbaj Singh home for three months because they discovered his kirpan (a ceremonial dagger required by the Sikh articles of faith). He won a temporary court injunction on Thursday. In the early 1990s, wing nuts protested the idea of Sikh RCMP officers being allowed to wear turbans on duty, and Royal Canadian Legion halls prevented turbaned Sikh veterans (and anyone else wearing religious headgear) from entering their premises. What is it with some of my fellow citizens and Sikhs, anyway?
If sniffer dogs can detect marijuana on clothing months after exposure, then why was a 15-year-old Ottawa high-school student suspended from school for two days when a sniffer dog apparently smelled pot on his winter coat? No other evidence was found. It seems to me that second-hand exposure ought to have been considered as a possibility here (cf. the Ross Rebagliati defence). The student has hired a high-profile lawyer. (Good for him.) Arbitrary school discipline at its best.
"This is William Shatner's world. The rest of us just live in it." Warren Clements of The Globe and Mail on the Shatner phenomenon: "Shatner, who turns 71 on Friday, is in a golden stage of his career.
. . . Shatner sticks his popular cultural head up more times than a target in a Whack-a-Mole game." No kidding. We sure do like our Shatner links here at ShatnerFilter; here's another one for the pile.
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