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December 2006 Archives
A week before Jimi Hendrix died in London he (probably)
recorded the Welsh anthem "Land of our Fathers
" (embedded audio). The eight-track recording languished in a corner of a recording studio until recently.posted by Rumple at 10:42 PM PST - 30 comments
“When I went to the bathroom there was a sign on the wall right in front of me saying: ‘ONE STEP FORWARD!.’ … I felt I needed to start something else.” Genki Sudo retiresposted by the cuban at 2:25 PM PST - 17 comments
-verseposted by themadjuggler at 1:34 PM PST - 45 comments
Truthiness Makes the Trifecta! As I predicted
, the Classic Colbertism
that won two Word of the Year awards has made it onto the 32nd L.S.S.U. List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness
Other linguistic losers for 2007: "Awesome"
, "undocumented alien*"
(effectively replaced by Google), "gone missing"
, "gone bad"
(applied to things already bad, i.e. 'drug deal gone bad'), "ask your doctor***"
, "now playing
(Dept. of Redundancy Dept.) and "healthy food"
is healthier), as well as shorthand couple names like "TomKat"
(Would Bogart and Bacall have been "BogCall"
(lucky for Apple they didn't get that 'iPhone' trademark), men saying "we're pregnant"
, as in 'boasts amenities'
)posted by wendell at 1:13 PM PST - 65 comments
: Americans see gloom, doom in 2007. Another terrorist attack, a warmer planet, death and destruction from a natural disaster are predicted by most Americans. 35 percent predict the military draft will be reinstated and one in four, 25 percent, anticipates the second coming of Jesus Christ.posted by stbalbach at 8:42 AM PST - 67 comments
emerged around the turn of the 20th century, when postcards came to function as surrogates for travel. People soon realized that postcards could be used to create or sustain a certain utopian myth about a town or region, and crafty photographers began to physically manipulate their photographs. Nowhere did these modified images, or "tall-tale postcards
" as they came to be called, become more prevalent than in rural communities that hoped to forge an identity as places of agricultural abundance to encourage settlement and growth. Food sources specific to the region — vegetables, fruits, or fish — were the most common subjects."posted by jonson at 8:46 PM PST - 20 comments
24 Ways - 2006 Edition
This year's possibly useful 24 articles containing 24 tips and tutorials for those of us who love CSS and other related web development techniques. Last year's links are included too.posted by juiceCake at 7:56 PM PST - 4 comments
Big Questions for 2007. The Guardian
asks scientists, businesspeople, artists, activists, politicians, philosophers and others what they perceive to be the biggest issues in their respective fields.
What do you
think some of the big questions we'll be asking in the course of the next year?posted by John of Michigan at 4:00 PM PST - 37 comments
It's Saddam Saturday!
Besides the dearly departed dictator, you can choose from the strident song stylings of Roma Saddam
(Flash site with music), "Saddam"
a direct-to-video Italian film about two contractors/mercenaries not necessarily in Iraq, "Saddam Noel"
a comedy mashup by popular Spanish-language YouTubers CualCerdo (contains harsh non-English language) or the Saddam Virus
(a 'Stupid Virus Strain' from 1989). And Saddam.com is for sale
). I'm somewhat surprised (and encouraged) I didn't find more web opportunists using the name...posted by wendell at 1:06 PM PST - 10 comments
"It can seem daunting when you are initially handed a sabre and a chilled bottle of Champagne with the expectation that you will sever the top of the bottle with the sword’s blade. Do not be downhearted!" Sabrage
is the ancient art
of opening champagne bottles by slicing them with a sabre
. Learn how to combine
swords and booze this New Year's Eve.posted by blahblahblah at 12:11 PM PST - 42 comments
An Eye for the World.
"Shotaro Shimomura XXI (1883-1944) was Chairman of The Daimaru Inc., a department store chain... He took these photographs on a subsequent trip around the world in 1934 and 1935." Just two pages of photos, but I find them irresistible—worth it for this one
alone. (Via wood s lot
.)posted by languagehat at 9:00 AM PST - 18 comments
Swedish artist Thomas Broomé's series "Modern Mantra
" is a collection of 14 New Yorkeresque ink illustrations of scenes using the names of the objects being drawn as the illustration technique itself; it's complicated to describe
, but the results
are pretty compelling
. Another exhibit worth checking out at the artist's homepage
is the Coca-Locust gallery
, a series of locusts made from Coca-Cola product logos worldwide.posted by jonson at 6:20 PM PST - 15 comments
the new movie (IMDB) is about the world of a man who has an unparalleled, acute sense of smell
where the BBC go on to ask "But what is life like for the millions of people who have lost it / Imagine burning the toast unawares, every day. Mowing the lawn without a breath of fresh-cut grass ... That is day to day life for the thousands of people with anosmia, who lack a sense of smell."
I lost my sense of smell in 1995 and refer to the Anosmia Association
for contemporary developments. Links from this
dysfunctional victim's website are helpful, there are 91 incidents of anosmia at Furl
(sign up) and there are Smell Disorders Discussion Groups
Earlier metafilter here
.posted by Schroder at 2:42 PM PST - 40 comments
The meeting's in 5 minutes, and your boss asked you to find a statistic online to prove a point. Like that the tobacco consumption in Brazil is decreasing, or that most seniors prefer cats to dogs. Whatever it is, we're now here to help you create valid-looking statistics in an instant
! viaposted by signal at 1:56 PM PST - 26 comments
Get in on the stream while there's space,
because Autechre is doing a boomtastic live DJ set full of 80s electronica, mashed up weirdness and god knows what else... more links posted in the thread as I think of them but I have to hit post now because it's time sensitive.posted by fleetmouse at 1:36 PM PST - 33 comments
Hip-Hop Car Stunt Leaves 2 (Idiots) Dead...
To ghost ride
, frequently used in the context of "ghost riding the whip
" (a "whip
" being a vehicle) or simply ghostin'
is when the driver and/or passengers of any given vehicle exit while it is still rolling and dance beside it or on the hood or roof. Ghost riding is one of the latest trends to be popularized by hyphy culture
, which originated in the Bay Area of California. The act is one of the highest forms of "going dumb" and a representation of the style of hyphy. The term "ghost ride the whip" was given nationwide exposure in E-40
's 2006 song Tell Me When to Go. However, E-40 was not the first to use this term, as it was coined much earlier by other Bay Area rappers such as Mac Dre
Ghost Riding was also featured in an episode of The Girls Next Door When Kendra demonstrated the game for the other girls. The game ended predictably when Kendra's Escalade crashed into a stationary vehicle.
anyone notice that most of the videos show, once again, white kids misappropriating black culture and making both races look stupid?posted by jcterminal at 1:14 PM PST - 67 comments
In 1920, Slavko Vorkapić
, an artist from Vojvodina (now Serbia) emigrated to the United States. He roamed the country for a year and ended up in Hollywood where he became a master of special effects. He began to teach at USC where a young student, Art Clokey
was starting his film studies. Art Clokey also happened to tutor the son of Sam Engel
-- famous producer and President of the MPAA. Clokey, mentored by the special effects master at USC, made a little art film using stop motion and claymation. One day he showed his "artsy" student film to Engel. When it was over, Mr. Engel said: "Art, that's the most excting film I've ever seen. We've got to go into business together." That is the story
(video). And the rest is history
(previously on MeFi).posted by TweetleBeetleBattleBookie at 11:12 AM PST - 5 comments
What are The Residents
up to these days? The avant garde band (if you can legitimately call them avant garde
or a band
) made an odd
choice with their last/ongoing release, The River of Crime
. If you like physical objects, you can purchase a package with cover art, a blank cd-r and codes to a website where you can download them; if you don't, you can purchase the episodes, which are styled after old radio noirs, as podcasts or as a double album through itunes. Concurrently, they have been putting out a series of short films via youtube. The Timmy series
, based on a character created for the 1995 cd-ROM "A Day at The Midway"
, uses a mix of found footage, animation, music and voiceover to tell a series of short unrelated stories. As much as the band has done to keep up with technology over the last thirty-five years, they vehemently ">oppose
file sharing of their work, including the sharing of mp3s that they have put out for free on their own website. With that in mind, I wonder how the band feels about the amazing collection of concerts
and assorted other weirdness
you get when you type their name into YouTube
. [more inside]posted by elr at 3:43 AM PST - 16 comments
Got some free time over the New Year's long weekend? Well, here's every episode (or damn near it) of Aqua Teen Hunger Force
, Clone High
, Moral Orel
, Robot Chicken
, South Park
), Venture Brothers
. Or over here
, there's all those and more
my friends, there's more, yes, even more
: for the same low price, I'll include the Ultimate Motherlode of Music Video (11,500 of them, or your money back!)
, alphabetized for your viewing pleasure. Just free up some bandwidth, and step inside ...posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:30 AM PST - 156 comments
Like many who spend their days manipulating pixels on their computers I have drooled over the Wacom Cintiq
but the price tag can be disconcerting. One enterprising person decided to build his own
.posted by Tenuki at 7:24 PM PST - 21 comments
Geostationary Banana Over Texas
is an art intervention that involves placing a gigantic banana over the Texas sky. This object will float between the high atmosphere & Earth's low orbit, being visible only from the state of Texas & its surroundings. From the ground, the banana will be clearly recognizable and visible day & night; it will stay up for approximately one month.posted by jonson at 5:57 PM PST - 98 comments
Three small classes of high school students, one in Watsonville, California, one in Jos, Nigeria, and one in Dharamsala, India, are currently collaborating on "Project Happiness"
. The students are "exchanging their thoughts about
what happiness is, and how to behave in ways that promote happiness all around them," drawing on the Dalai Lama's Ethics for the New Millennium (useful 50-page pdf study guide; positive review from Christian Century magazine)
. In their work creating a curriculum for the book, the students communicate via email, a blog
, and videos (an instructor in India describes the project's focus; a "what life is like here" video from India)
. The podcast
section of the official site
currently features just one introductory video posted a few weeks ago. The project will culminate in a meeting of all three classes in March 2007 in Dharamsala. A book and a PBS documentary are planned.posted by ibmcginty at 3:44 PM PST - 5 comments
is an internet TV show set in Williamsburg and features hipsters doing what hipsters in Williamsburg do. Pretty funny stuff! Comes out once a month.posted by k8t at 1:39 PM PST - 79 comments
TriviaFilter: 100 things we didn't know last year
--a roundup of the best? of the year from BBC News' 10 things weekly column. ...20. Sex workers in Roman times charged the equivalent price of eight glasses of red wine.
... 57. The word "time" is the most common noun in the English language, according to the latest Oxford dictionary.
...posted by amberglow at 8:34 AM PST - 50 comments
Thieves, murderers, rapists; and how the Pushtuns' ancient tribal code is fighting for survival against radical Islam. via The Economist. More about Puhktuns and Puhktunistan and some history together with a brief explanation of Afghan ethnic groups. There is an interesting discussion of the main article on Sunni Forum.posted by adamvasco at 2:25 AM PST - 21 comments
Hitler's Carmaker: While GM was mobilizing the Third Reich, the company was also leading a criminal conspiracy to monopolistically undermine mass transit in dozens of American cities that would help addict the United States to oil.
--Edwin Black, author of IBM and the Holocaust
explains why the U.S. dependency on oil is no accident. Not everyone agrees
, of course.posted by craniac at 11:07 PM PST - 38 comments
EarthShell, a small Maryland company that makes environment-friendly packaging (among
others) may wink out of existence
thanks to PIPEs
, or private investments in public equities. Who likes PIPEs? Hedge Funds
, mostly. Companies that take the pipe
, as it were, may be sealing their doom. 10 percent of PIPE deals done this year are 'death spirals'
, where the company's stock price plummets from short selling by the financiers who structured the deal in the first place. And of course it's legal if you don't
get caught shorting the stock naked and covering with the shares from the PIPE.
(BTW, http://www.earthshell.com appears to be on the margins now or I'd have linked it).posted by nj_subgenius at 1:58 PM PST - 24 comments
is a new awesome Flash game from the author of Bowmaster
. Now you can get allied units to help you out, but they cost gold pieces, which will restrict your ability to buy upgrades. Much better graphics, better gameplay, even bigger time sinkhole.posted by cerebus19 at 11:20 AM PST - 17 comments
Of course you know the rhythm box/drum machine has had a profound impact on modern music-making, but how much do you know about its history? Was the Rhythmicon
the very first rhythm machine? Korg's DoncaMatic (great name, eh?)
was one of the first commercial models. Up until 1979 they were all pre-programmed, but Roland ushered in the modern era with the user-programmable CR-78
, and followed it up soon after with the legendary TR808
. Go here
for a fairly comprehensive overview of vintage drum machines (organized alphabetically, with photos and descriptions/background info)
. And here
you can interact with a wide assortment of virtual [Flash]
rhythm boxes of the 70's and 80's. (Knee-jerk Flash haters, go ahead and hate it, but this is one of the best uses of Flash I can imagine.) posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:03 AM PST - 26 comments
planet-hunting probe "Corot"
, the first spacecraft able to detect rocky planets down to about twice Earth's size. Its 2.5 year mission will be to seek out new planets from a field of about 200,000 nearby stars.posted by stbalbach at 7:36 AM PST - 21 comments
Operation Red Dog.
"The group of [N]eo-Nazis planned to travel from New Orleans to Dominica on a chartered boat, land at night in rubber boats, meet up with John and his guerrilla force of disgruntled army veterans and Rastafarian rebels, and then lay waste to Dominica's police force and political leaders." Of those Neo-Nazis, Don Black would go on to marry David Duke's ex-wife and found the notorious racist site Stormfront
. Another of the gaggle, Wolfgang Droege, would get fatally shot
by a man who was convinced that he'd installed surveillance and tunnels into his house as revenge for the time he'd laughed at Mr. Droege.posted by Sticherbeast at 11:53 PM PST - 23 comments
and NBC News is reporting that former President Gerald Ford has died at age 93.posted by barrista at 9:01 PM PST - 258 comments
There's a new version of line rider
, a game where a little guy on a sled rides down lines. This new version features a 'flag' button that lets you save the speed and position and edit from there, allowing you to create great epic paths
incrementally through trial and error.posted by delmoi at 4:15 PM PST - 24 comments
12 Days of Quizzes.
You're having to work the day after Christmas. You hate it. You hate your boss for making you work. None of your friends are having to work.
So do what I did - kill some time and sap the last bit of profitability out of 2006 by taking these 12 quizzes
. It'll be lunchtime before you know it. Five short hours later, you can go back home and procrastinate on taking down all those decorations.posted by Oriole Adams at 7:29 AM PST - 4 comments
Ethiopia Hits Somali Targets, Declaring War
(The New York Times
). the Ethiopian government has declared war on Somalia's ruling Islamic Courts Union. The Islamic Courts Union, which had gained control over much of Somalia, had been engaged in a civil war against the Ethiopian backed Transitional Federal Government. Back in October of 2006 the BBC reported that
the Islamic Courts Union had declared a 'holy war' against Ethiopia due to their support of the Transitional Federal Government. What many may not be aware of is that Ethiopia is a recipient of American economic and military aid
. More links from The New York Times
on the lead up of events: 12/22
.posted by j-urb at 7:14 AM PST - 42 comments
Merry Christmas, Metafilter! In the spirit of the holiday, my gift for the Radiohead fans among you is this entire Radiohead concert
(Google Vid), a non-bootleg produced for MTV originally recording from the OK Computer tour back in 1997. For the non-Radiohead fans, my gift is that I forgive you your imperfections. And finally, for those who don't celebrate Christmas, my gift is that I made you a cookie... but then I eated it
.posted by jonson at 11:59 PM PST - 39 comments
Wikiasari search engine.
Wikipedia founder plans to offer a new search engine using "the same network of followers" for the process. “Essentially, if you consider one of the basic tasks of a search engine, it is to make a decision: ‘this page is good, this page sucks’,” Mr Wales said. “Computers are notoriously bad at making such judgments, so algorithmic search has to go about it in a roundabout way. But we have a really great method for doing that ourselves,” he added. “We just look at the page. It usually only takes a second to figure out if the page is good, so the key here is building a community of trust that can do that.” posted by Brian B. at 3:44 PM PST - 29 comments
Following the postapocalyptic bleakness of the Threads
posting, you may wish to watch La Jetée,
, a 28-minute film told nearly entirely in stark black-and-white photos (and, in this version, with an English narration). This has quite a following
, especially since Terry Gilliam's eerily similar 12 Monkeys
.posted by John of Michigan at 10:57 AM PST - 50 comments
Dead Plagiarists Society
. Using Google Books to uncover old (and recent) literary crimes. "Given the popularity of plagiarism-seeking software services for academics, it may be only a matter of time before some enterprising scholar yokes Google Book Search and plagiarism-detection software together into a massive literary dragnet, scooping out hundreds of years' worth of plagiarists—giants and forgotten hacks alike—who have all escaped detection until now."posted by stbalbach at 9:59 AM PST - 43 comments
Peter Watts on Vampire Domestication (embedded Flash video, must click to start).
The mythical corporation FizerPharm ("Trust. Profit. Deniability.") share their detailed research into the evolution and possible commercial applications of Homo sapiens whedonum.
You will learn: How and why the "crucifix glitch" came about. Why you should run from a blushing vampire. How many kilograms of human are needed to make one kilogram of vampire. How vampires resemble two year old humans, domestic shorthaired cats, and lungfish. And why "survival of the fittest" should be reconceptualized as "survival of the least inadequate". [more inside]posted by maudlin at 9:20 AM PST - 19 comments
is an easy & fun way to discover online visual artists you may not have otherwise known. Each artist submits only an 80 x 80 pixel thumbnail, and if you like what you see, a clickthrough takes you to their gallery/homepage. Found via
.posted by jonson at 11:47 PM PST - 13 comments
"[C]omputer design is being dictated not by electronic design rules, physical layout requirements, and thermal issues, but by the wishes of the content industry."
By deliberately breaking audio and video functionality, opening up new avenues for debilitating malware, and reversing performance gains in desktop PCs and third-party components, Peter Gutmann argues "the Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history."posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:03 PM PST - 132 comments
(arguably better known as 'The Dreamtime') is more than just the story of how the world was created as told by Aboriginal Australians. It is also the basis for their way of life and death, their source of power in life and it tells of the life and influence of their ancestors on their culture. It was so important to Aboriginal Australians in the time before the white invasion of Australia that it was the one commonly held belief amongst a culture that consisted of over 500 different tribes (discussion of Dreamtime beliefs here
). Thought to be the oldest continuously maintained cultural history on Earth, it is often presented as a series of inter-related stories explaining Aboriginal Australian origins and culture, such as how the Australian landscape was created or how the Mimi spirits taught them how to paint these stories on the walls of caves more than 40,000 years ago
And what better way to learn of several of the many different Dreamtime stories than to listen and watch them being told by Aboriginal Australians elders themselves
? And if that isn't enough Dreamtime mythology for you, here's some links to various sites
which allow you to view Aboriginal rock art to see how these stories were translated into a form of artistic expression which is now five times older than the Egyptian Pyramids themselves.posted by Effigy2000 at 5:25 PM PST - 14 comments
presents photos of a large selection of triplane (and quad- and quint- and more)
experiments in avionics conducted in a wide variety of countries in the early days of aviation.posted by mwhybark at 12:58 PM PST - 8 comments
. Penguin populations around the world are crashing. Biologists are mystified but suspect warmer oceans caused by global warming is reducing available food.posted by stbalbach at 9:34 AM PST - 36 comments
Made in Criticalland.
Sociologist Bruno Latour
reflects upon the way social construction and social critique have been instrumentalised by lobbyists, conspiracy theorists, "instant revisionists" and other unsavory people: We, in the academy, like to use more elevated causes–society, discourse, knowledge-slash-power, fields of forces, empires, capitalism–while conspiracists like to portray a miserable bunch of greedy people with dark intents, but I find something troublingly similar in the structure of the explanation, in the first movement of disbelief and, then, in the wheeling of causal explanations coming out of the deep Dark below.
This from the guy who, thanks to his Relativistic account of Einstein's relativity
, was one of the targets of the Sokal hoax
.posted by elgilito at 8:28 AM PST - 28 comments
At one time or another you've probably rubbed your finger along the rim of a glass to produce a note. In 1761 Ben Franklin
took the idea further with the invention of the glass (h)armonica
. The instrument enjoyed some popularity, but is believed to have caused health problems due to lead content in the glass. Performers complained of loss of feeling in their hands, some even suffered nervous breakdowns. People became very frightened of the armonica, and by 1830 it was all but extinct. But there's been some renewal of interest: they're being played
, and they're being made
. You can play a surprisingly good-sounding virtual
version. Or listen
to a charming rendition of a seasonally appropriate tune. [more links inside] Oh, and: [previously]posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:09 AM PST - 15 comments
Fixing a Flat Tire without Hands
A series of photos of a man, who cannot use his hands, patching, repairing and reseating a bicycle inner tube. Why? Apparently its his job.
Somehow my little problems don't seem so insurmountable anymore.posted by fenriq at 10:43 PM PST - 27 comments
The Duke lacrosse rape case
hurtled toward perhaps sinister motives last week with testimony from the head of the private DNA lab prosecutor Nifong hired to test the rape kit samples taken from the accuser. Brian Meehan revealed that not only had his lab found DNA samples from five unknown men, none of whom were Duke lacrosse players, Meehan had also agreed with Nifong not to put that info in the DNA Security's final report. Were it not for the fact that the three defendants have counsel capable of pouring over thousands of pages of technical documents, this vital, exculpatory evidence would have gone unnoticed.
Previous opinions in MeFi
.posted by semmi at 2:40 PM PST - 276 comments
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, but do you know Stekkjarstaur
, Ketkrokur and Kertasnikir? They're the Jolasveinar
, the impish "Yuletide Lads
" of Iceland
, and those are only some of their many names. During the thirteen days before Christmas, legend says that they do their best to monkeywrench the celebrations
with hijinks like stealing sausages, milk, and candles, and peeping into windows and up skirts
. The children of gruesome child-eating trolls Gryla
and Leppaludi, who were known for snatching naughty children
, the elves got their start in the 17th century. In the years since, their image has apparently mellowed, and now they leave children presents in their shoes and limit themselves to mild pranks.posted by Miko at 9:17 AM PST - 21 comments
"There is no feeling more satisfying than tearing into a beehive with a sledgehammer."
This from Trainsaw
, by way of introduction to their new Choose Your Own Adventure-style...er...literary adventure
. If beehives, lasers, city destruction, robots, hot scientists, and the like aren't your style, try their many rants
. Those lampooned include Bob Dylan
, all the cool kids
, and a smattering of everything else
. Definitely indebted to Real Ultimate Power
, but...definitely different.posted by limeonaire at 9:07 AM PST - 18 comments
Gift to the World
(youtube) Tongue firmly in cheek is the modus operandi of the Sin Destroyers
(on mefi previously here
) a band best summed up in this press quote, “If Iron Maiden had attended Catholic school, this would be their garage band”. I’m not sure what series of decisions led to the formation of a parody Christian rock band, but the results are pretty damn funny (and rockin’). Dig on their holiday offering, Gift to the World.
If you’re feeling particularly pious today, you might skip this one. (via
)posted by pelican at 5:14 PM PST - 10 comments
is a very fast guitar technique in which the picking hand is used to "tap" individual notes on the fretboard, while the fretting hand can either remain stationary or be used to do hammer-ons/pull-offs
to create even faster playing. Popularized in rock music by Eddie van Halen
(YT, great visual example) in the late 1970's, the technique has become almost essential for speed/metal guitar players. Although finger tapping has been dismissed as "wankery" by some, I think that the intense, jazzy stylings of Stanley Jordan
prove them wrong. (here
is Stanley playing two guitars!) For more tapping madness you can enjoy the furious, virtuous insanity of Dragonforce
), and be sure not to miss the speed genius of Mr. Batio
. Tapping isn't just for metal though, you can do it on a bass
or an acoustic
Want to learn how? This lesson
should get you started.posted by baphomet at 3:25 PM PST - 117 comments
Blacked out text
in your newspaper. The White House has attempted to heavily censor
parts of a proposed op-ed about Iran. So tomorrow, the NYT will run the op-ed with black redaction marks, and provide a list of non-classified sources for the exact material the administration claims is sensitive.posted by mulligan at 3:06 PM PST - 76 comments
In April of 1966, there emerged
onto the American pop music scene a singer like no other. Off-pitch and off-tempo, a 59 year-old grandmother would perform rock standards such as A Hard Days Night and Downtown [link to audio]
in a bizarre operatic style. Often considered the worst pop star of all time, she rode the line between farce and reality, as the reputable Capitol Records promoted the so-called "new sound" without cracking a smile. Her name was Elva Connes Miller
, but on stage she was known simply as Mrs. Miller
. Was her recording career one of the cruelest practical jokes ever devised by the record industry?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:36 AM PST - 25 comments
is dead. The self-designated "father of the Turkmen" was the absolute ruler of Turkmenistan for fifteen years, a minor middle-Asian country which would completely escape the notice of the West if it wasn't for Turkmenbashi's
unique form of excess and its oil
. Along with the usual human rights violations and wallowing in wealth -- an estimated $3 billion cached in private accounts -- he dedicated himself to reshaping Turkmen's philosophy and cosmology on a scale to inspire Kim Jong Il. Among his accomplishments are redefining the ages of Man
and renaming the names of days and months
after neutrality, the flag, and Turkmenbashi's mother. Who now will speak up for Turkmen Melon Day
?posted by ardgedee at 4:10 AM PST - 42 comments
The highlight of Christmas - the King William College Quiz. Still pretty damn hard.posted by biffa at 2:49 AM PST - 107 comments
I want to love the Table of Gods
, a list of "4862 gods, godesses,
deities, avatars, incarnations, angels, demons and various spirits, and 520 aliases, mispronounciations and
generally confusing name variations." There isn't much more than a list of names with short descriptions, but you
can search by keyword
), by origin
), and by name
. The information and presentation are not in the same league as Encyclopedia Mythica
, or even Godchecker
, but it does list Hanuman
The listings invite you to add keywords and comments, but unfortunately the feature is broken. You can add either, but they are appended unmoderated to the record for "A", which is consequently a mess
. If I've been a good boy this year, this feature will work and be gleaning meaningful user contributions on Christmas morning, and I will get to love the Table of Gods.posted by owhydididoit at 7:43 PM PST - 15 comments
Mission in Snowdriftland
It's been snowing all day in Denver, and work's been cancelled, so Flash Friday comes early, courtesy Nintendo. Mission in Snowdriftland is a SNES-flavored sidescroller: control a snowman through 25 levels of jumping, snowflake-collecting, sea-otter smashing action. Find all of a level's snowflakes, and you can download a sekrit prize
. I don't know what they are, because some goddamn fish skeleton keeps knocking me into the drink and killing me. Fun, challenging action here.
Did I mention it's an advent calendar, too? One level a day until Christmas.posted by boo_radley at 4:07 PM PST - 16 comments
Make that bribe a tax deduction
The Australian Wheat Board (AWB) [previously]
has been found by to have breached UN sanctions on Iraq by paying the former regime almost three hundred million Australian dollars (300,000,000.00 AUD = 235,733,088.15 USD) in illegal “kickbacks” (read bribes).
While the Australian Navy was instrumental in enforcing sanctions, at a huge cost to the Australian people (and indeed a far greater cost to Iraq people) this company was doing all it could to prop up Sadam’s regime. Now in the Australian Taxation Office have ruled that the bribes aren’t bribes, and have allowed the AWB to claim them as a tax deduction
. Happily for some AWB’s share price surged
with the news, so that’s some good news at least.
It looks as if US might be taking action.posted by mattoxic at 3:42 PM PST - 12 comments
It's Wall Street bonus season.
And, as Henry Blodget writes, the folks who have "the good fortune of working in a hot industry in a favorable market environment"
are doing extremely well this year. Notably, Goldman Sachs is breaking records with a $16.5 billion bonus pool. That is roughly $622,000 per employee but some employees do better than others
: "[Goldman CEO] Lloyd Blankfein, for one, will probably earn a measly $50 million (loser), whereas Morgan Sze (big man on campus), head of GS's principal strategies group in Hong Kong will go home with a check around twice that." Anyway, whether you're a $120K secretary or a $100M trader, author Michael Lewis has some some tongue-in-cheek advice for dealing with poorer relations
.posted by blue mustard at 12:19 PM PST - 46 comments
Are you annoyed with careless, rude, or stupid drivers? Instead of obscene gestures, obscenities, and aggressive tailgating, now you can snitch on them at PlateWire.com
, a site where you can enter the license plate, vehicle make & model, and a description of the offensive behavior. Members can search for repeat offenders' license plates and contribute to the blogs
.posted by fandango_matt at 10:52 AM PST - 37 comments
The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake
- Fruitcake, much maligned, the butt of many jokes and practical jokes - and yet much esteemed by many, and an important part of many folks' holiday tradition and ritual.
Thought we could explore some links on the subject. I think we could all learn to love this wonderful cake and appreciate its fine fruity nature.posted by caddis at 7:01 AM PST - 42 comments
Weird political junk on eBay.
Traffic lights from Dealey Plaza, President Garfield's funeral shroud, Yitzhak Rabin's Scandalous Greek Vase. And here
is the boat which Brezhnev gave Nixon (after Nixon gave him a Cadillac). No bids yet at $1m.posted by tombola at 6:08 AM PST - 8 comments
The Stick and the Stack
may be stuck. NASA's Project Constellation
is the effort to rebuild the manned spacecraft program after nearly thirty years of flying the Shuttle. While the mighty Ares V
, the big brother of the pair, seems to be working out on paper, the stick, Ares 1
is running into real trouble,
as even with a longer first stage booster, it may not be able to loft the new Orion
Crew Vehicle. Now, a group of NASA engineers, with one private person acting as the public face, say that there's a simpler, more DIRECT
way.posted by eriko at 6:00 PM PST - 50 comments
See this glass. It's solid matter, right?
See this glass. It's solid matter, right? But in point of fact, the solid parts of this glass --the protons, quarks, your neutrons and electrons -they comprise only one quadrillionth of its total volume.
The science behind Buckaroo Banzai and the Oscillation Overthruster (via
)posted by lekvar at 2:02 PM PST - 61 comments
the new mySpace-like networking site for Stu
ists created by Saatchi and Saatchi. (discovered through the NYT
).posted by jacalata at 11:57 AM PST - 23 comments
I use several different computers in the same day; my work machine, my laptop, my home machine. I've bitched for years that I shouldn't have to struggle to keep my bookmarks synced between machines. Google to the rescue with the best Christmas present ever
.posted by talldean at 10:10 AM PST - 74 comments
is what you get if you apply the digg algorithm
to stuff. Users submit their favorite stuff, new or old, and if enough other members agree with its awesomeness their favorite gets posted to the front page (along with where to buy it, of course).posted by mendel at 9:32 AM PST - 16 comments
A memorial to the many dead.
Here in Oakland, California
, the murder rate has gone out of control.
The incoming mayor
has not articulated any clear plan for reducing violence. And the current one, having only seen violence increase here, is going on to become the state Attorney General
Amid the challenges Oaklanders face - gentrification
, a lack of meaningful work opportunities
, and a history of a devistating drug trade
, there are some efforts to make change: here
, here, here
, and here
posted by serazin at 9:01 AM PST - 60 comments
Who was the most dominant athlete of all time? If athletes include draughts
players then Marion Tinsley
makes a good candidate, losing but 7 games plus 2 more to a computer over the course of a 45 year career. [more inside]posted by Chuckly at 2:44 AM PST - 42 comments
will help you learn to play rock & roll guitar, or at the very least, will help you play several of the most famous riffs in rock & roll history. Using a combination of sheet music, tablature notation & embedded (flash) audio & (windowsmedia) video, the site will get you up & playing the intro to Stairway to Heaven in the guitar store in no time. If you don't have time to learn whole songs, there's even an abridged list of the 10 Greatest Rock Riffs of All Time
.posted by jonson at 11:21 PM PST - 35 comments
, the once-king of the "club kids" speaks with New York magazine regarding his ten years in prison and recent denial of parole.posted by dr_dank at 8:24 PM PST - 26 comments
The idea of treating everyday, ambient noise as music is not terribly new,
but Noah Vawter's
ambient sounds into
music (in a somewhat more traditional sense of the word)
Ambient Addition is a Walkman with binaural microphones. A tiny Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chip analyzes the microphone's sound and superimposes a layer of harmony and rhythm on top of the listener's world.posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 7:43 PM PST - 33 comments
A Mall Divided
(youtube) - a musical tale of commerce, employment and electrical distribution for our times.posted by Artw at 2:51 PM PST - 9 comments
...In 1924 New York Recording Laboratory decided to expand its reach into that market by purchasing the Black Swan label. Founded in 1920 or 1921 by black entrepreneur Harry H. Pace, the pioneering company recorded everything from ragtime to grand opera, as long as it was sung by African-Americans... Paramount's biggest star was Ma Rainey, a blues moaner who influenced the legendary singer Bessie Smith... Paramount did not neglect male blues singers, who tended to be folk artists in the sense that their music was made initially for the entertainment of isolated rural communities. These included the singers and guitarists Charlie Patton... Blind Lemon Jefferson...Compliments of the Season
--where, among many other things, one can find an online copy of David Evans's biography Charley Patton
in Parts 1
or look at a picture of Skip James in 1932
, not to mention a view of Paramount's promotion of Patton as the Masked Marvel
. And that is not, as they say, all...posted by y2karl at 1:31 PM PST - 14 comments
Roz Chast, noted New Yorker cartoonist with a penchant for sly wordplay, interviewed
by Steve Martin. [more inside]posted by nickyskye at 11:04 AM PST - 15 comments
Penguins With Angst
is the visual tale of a group of hoodlum penguins who vandalize a grain silo & threaten the life of Santa Claus. Easter Sacrifice
is a photostory of the kidnapping of the Easter Bunny & his eventual decapitation by the Dove of Peace. Both art projects courtesy of Exclusionary
, the online gallery of Jasper Thomas' work.posted by jonson at 11:13 PM PST - 10 comments
Let's hear it
The MOS 6581 SID
was the voice box of the famed Commodore 64, and an inimitable speck of silicon that to this day sparks musical imagination and techno tinkering
(YouTube). Reborn as a commercial
synth, and remade in software (PC
), the original SID chip is still employed
by musicians for its 8-bit crunch, and a retro warmth that may charm you back into childhood.
Have an old Commodore in the basement? Know how to solder?
As a project for 2K7, why not DIY a SID box with MIDI
?posted by kid ichorous at 1:10 AM PST - 29 comments
: Do you suffer from acne, bad breath, bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, digestive problems, allergies, fatigue, hair loss, decreased energy, headache, heartburn, gas, indigestion, insomnia, low energy, low sex drive, poor sexual performance, poor memory, protruding gut, reduced resistance to infections, skin problems, weight gain, difficulty losing weight or trimming down your waistline, colds, flu, cancer, cardiovascular disease, or arthritis? Well, then maybe you need a good colon cleansing
. Some say it works
, some say it's bunk
. One such product
offers stunning examples
of what you might expel (many of these links are NSFW or for the squeamish)posted by c:\awesome at 7:14 PM PST - 130 comments
Scraping By on $150K a Year
My heart bleeds for people who earn a six figure income but are still dirt poor. In a skewed distribution
model with the median income ($43,000 in 2002) being in Salina, Kansas and moving a mile east or west for each $1000 above or below that median, the Bush's would be four states away in Columbus, Ohio and the average CEO would be in....Kabul, Afghanistan. The top 400 incomes would be three quarters of the way to the moon. From a 2003 article at Alternet
so they're probably beyond the moon now and on their way to Mars. From 1979 to 1997, the average annual income of the top 1% (after taxes) increased by 157% (or $414,000) while the poorest 20% went down by $100.posted by fenriq at 5:03 PM PST - 68 comments
is the corporate YouTube account of GBTimelapse
software, who are promoting their product by posting a series of really interesting timelapse films. Favorites so far are: Pumpkin
, but maybe I just have a decomposing fruit fetish. Although, this one of the world's laziest cat
enjoying another productive day isn't bad either.posted by jonson at 4:35 PM PST - 12 comments
Rescuers plan biggest search yet,
using helicopters, a C-130 aircraft, infrared equipment, and scores of volunteers to search for 3 climbers trapped on Mt. Hood. But at what cost in dollars and lives? A 1998 rescue of two climbers on Mt. McKinley cost $221,818. And Mt. Hood
is no stranger to climbing accidents: in 2002, an Air Force helicopter crashed [youtube]
while trying to rescue nine climbers swept into a crevasse. Is it time to revisit the debate over who should pay for dangerous, high-profile mountain rescues? [More inside]posted by googly at 9:06 AM PST - 204 comments
trade uncertainty for collective wisdom, and have been proven
to be more accurate than other mechanisms for predicting outcomes such as polls. Many corporate entities (HP, Intel, Google, Yahoo, Siemens, etc.) are said to be using them internally. Several successful prediction markets already exist, such as Hedgestreet
the Iowa Electronic Markets, Hollywood Stock Exchange,
and Inkling Markets
A spinoff of DARPA's Policy Analysis Market
, prediction markets might be to markets what open source was to software.posted by localhuman at 8:17 AM PST - 18 comments
So much for Democracy,
Tony Blair has hit back at claims a corruption probe into a Saudi arms deal with BAE Systems was dropped after commercial and political pressure.posted by zouhair at 8:58 PM PST - 40 comments
pronounced like "pirates," is a new flash game currently open for beta testing. Designed by a group of seven students at Carnegie Mellon University, the concept was to create an MMORPG that you could simply check on every few hours throughout the day, like you would with your e-mail. The outcome is a simple but enveloping, and somewhat silly game that manages to be addictive as hell while only taking up a few minutes per day. (plus it's free.)posted by Navelgazer at 3:58 PM PST - 80 comments
The Cadaver Synod
is a episode from Church history they don't teach you in Sunday school.
The trial began when the disinterred corpse of Formosus was carried into the courtroom. On Stephen VII's orders the putrescent corpse, which had been lying in its tomb for seven months, had been dressed in full pontifical vestments. The dead body was then propped up in a chair behind which stood a teenage deacon, quaking with fear, whose unenviable responsibility was to defend Formosus by speaking in his behalf. ... Stephen VII screamed and raved, hurling insults at and mocking the rotting corpse. Occasionally, when the furious torrent of execrations and maledictions would die down momentarily, the deacon would stammer out a few words weakly denying the charges ... The sentence imposed by Stephen VII was that all Formosus's acts and ordinations as pope be invalidated, that the three fingers of Formosus's right hand used to give papal blessings be hacked off, and that the body be stripped of its papal vestments, clad in the cheap garments of a lay person, and buried in a common grave.
Perhaps you prefer a cartoon version
or the classic poetry of Robert Browning
.posted by nasreddin at 2:10 PM PST - 31 comments
Getting out of Iraq: the Iraq Study Group report
recommended talking to Iran and Syria, and making continued US military and economic support conditional on progress by the Iraqi government. "U.S. foreign policy is doomed to failure—as is any course of action in Iraq—if it is not supported by a broad, sustained consensus. The aim of our report is to move our country toward such a consensus." Reaction from Democrats has been generally positive
; reaction from Republicans has been divided
between moderates and hawks (the New York Post called Baker and Hamilton "surrender monkeys"
). Bush quickly rejected
talks with Iran and Syria. The White House has been arguing
about how to proceed
.posted by russilwvong at 12:07 PM PST - 50 comments
What do reindeer do when they're not flying around the world delivering presents?
They graze, burp and fart! Did you know? Together, Santa's nine reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph - produce 3.75 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution per year. We guarantee that if you choose to offset the pollution created by Santa's reindeer, we will reduce CO2 pollution by 3.75 tonnes. Just $75AU. (via
)posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:32 AM PST - 8 comments
I want my MTV.
MTV is now mostly reality, titillation TV, rarely showing music videos anymore. YouTube fills the void somewhat, but sometimes you want to just sit back and let someone else take care of the programming. MusicPlusTV is sort of like the old MTV, but they stream to your computer instead of to your TV.posted by caddis at 8:18 AM PST - 23 comments
Ahmet Ertegun, 1923-2006. Co-founder of Atlantic Records, 83 year-old Ertegun had been in a coma since he fell backstage at a concert by The Rolling Stones at Beacon Theatre, NYC, in October. Very comprehensive obit -- more complete than either the one in Variety or New York Times -- to be found in UK's Guardianposted by Mister Bijou at 7:44 AM PST - 23 comments
in the middle of the road are becoming more used in the UK to physically enforce traffic restrictions
, such as roads open only to buses and taxis. But some drivers in Manchester think the law doesn't apply to them. See what happens
when they try to tailgate behind authorized vehicles. Also, see a video
of what happens when a loaded lorry is rammed into an anti-terrorist rising bollard at full speed.posted by grouse at 3:55 AM PST - 127 comments
off Queensland’s stunning north coast is one of the most beautiful places on earth, well maybe not if you’re an Australian Aborigine.
, a fit, healthy, 36-year-old man, died in police custody on Palm Island on 19 November 2004 following his arrest by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley on a charge of "public nuisance". Yet Queensland DPP Leanne Clare has described the death
as "a terrible accident’ caused by a ‘complicated fall’. [via crikey.com.au
- subs req’d]posted by mattoxic at 8:25 PM PST - 10 comments
Since the Middle Ages, German craftsmen have gone 'auf der Walz'
(taken to the road) as part of a kind of working-pilgrimage that artisans make after completing an apprenticeship with a master craftsman. These travels are meant to teach them about work and life and takes precisely three years and one day; they are not allowed to return home before this time. The trip can take these young craftsmen and women (all must be under the age of 30) halfway around the world (and often does
) and they are allowed only a small rucksack. Other than that, they can bring along their uniform (a simple black and white affair that almost defies description
), their tools, undergarments, a sleeping bag, a book and their trademark walking stick.
Although today this is a dying tradition, and is often more traditionally known as being a Journeyman
today, it still exists and has inspired some to write about the strage travellers they see on the road
. Indeed, perhaps the most famous work this tradition inspired is Australian poet Banjo Patterson
, whose work Walzing Matilda
is believed to have been inspired
by this fascinating yet waning custom.posted by Effigy2000 at 6:11 PM PST - 28 comments
The government of Canada
has just turned down
a request that would have seen Canada build the European Space Agency
's Mars Rover, even though no additional funding was required. Saying it hasn't made up it's mind about the future of Canada's space role, the government has also let the position of president of the Canadian Space Agency
remain vacant for more than a year (after Marc Garneau
resigned to run for the Liberal
party. The decision has left the ESA scrambling to find a new partner and already has some wondering whether the uncertainty will lead to another Avro Arrow
-esque brain drain.posted by Zinger at 5:59 PM PST - 22 comments
Happy Anniversary, Quantum Mechanics!
"On December 14, 1900, Max Planck
presented experimental data at the German Physical Society and said that it could best be explained if energy existed in discrete packets, which he called "quanta
." It was on that day that the field of Quantum Physics was effectively born. I call it QM Day and it's the unofficial start of the Agnostica
Holiday!"posted by mystyk at 4:21 PM PST - 16 comments
Senator John McCain (R. - AZ) has introduced legislation [PDF]
that would hold blogs responsible for all activity in their comments sections and user profiles. Provisions of the proposed bill
include: (1) commercial websites and personal blogs "would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000," (2) bloggers with comment sections may face "even stiffer penalties" than ISPs, and (3) any social-networking site must take "effective measures" to remove any Web page that's "associated" with a sex offender. "Because 'social-networking site' isn't defined, it could encompass far more than just MySpace.com, Friendster and similar sites." The list could include any site that allows comments, authot and personal profiles. Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that this proposal may be based more "on fear or political considerations rather than on the facts
." "McCain’s legislation could deal a serious blow to the blogosphere. Lacking resources to police their sites, many individual blogs may have to shut down open discussion."*posted by ericb at 7:42 AM PST - 141 comments
Pr0n at Work = Addiction?
Spawning from such cases as a recent lawsuit with IBM over employee termination due to online sex chatting at work, recent debate over whether Internet abuse is a legitimate addiction
, akin to alcoholism, is heating up. Attorneys say recognition by a court—whether in this or some future litigation—that Internet abuse is an uncontrollable addiction, and not just a bad habit, could redefine the condition as a psychological impairment worthy of protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
. Businesses would be required to allow medical leave and provide counseling. The condition could even make it into the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's DSM
, making it a full-blown neurosis. It wouldn't be a complete surprise, with a recent Stanford study showing that 14% of people state it would be "hard to stay away" from the net for a few days in a row.posted by PreacherTom at 5:05 AM PST - 49 comments
Let’s face it; my powers of communication were a little bit below that of a knuckle-dragging, ooze-dwelling cretin from another galaxy. Actually, I haven’t progressed that much. I just lie better.
A 13 (so far)-part interview where Rocko/Ramby answers fans with oodles of extremely quotable, self-deprecating, sarcastic one-liners about the (few) ups and (many) downs of a Hollywood career. Tips on: how to get Sharon Stone naked, how to use the 3 seashells, how to direct dancers with a "crotch tartar" problem and how to bench press with owls. We also learn the final truth about some guy named Rocky - an inbred, druid outcast from Stonehenge whose specialty is weaving whistle chains and leaping face down onto pointed objects
- and another one named Rambo - a savage turned loose in Microsoft’s headquarters
.posted by elgilito at 2:37 AM PST - 46 comments
Shelley Jackson talks with Vito Acconci
VA: "The way I thought of pieces like Following Piece was, there’s a city out there. I attend to this city. How do I key myself into this city. How do I tie myself into this city. I can pick out people in this city to follow."posted by hard rain at 11:49 PM PST - 2 comments
While the standard King James Bible remains huge business for publishers, in recent years a number of alternative formats have sprung up, hoping to capture the niche Christian dollar, or more charitably, to spread the good word to an audience that wouldn't find the tradtional bible all that relevant. Daniel Radosh's piece
in the New Yorker examines the alterna-Bible publishing phenomenon, along with a great slideshow of several in-market concepts
.posted by jonson at 10:38 PM PST - 16 comments
Which one of these two situations calls for a deeper banishment in hell?
Should it be the mother from Arizona who leaves her 2-yr old in the car with the valet, but brings her dog into the mall?
Or should it be the parents from Louisiana who slept through their 6-wk old puppy chewing off their month-old baby's toes?posted by GatorDavid at 5:49 PM PST - 87 comments
On December 13, 1862, Sgt. Richard Rowland Kirkland
of the 2nd Carolina stood in the Sunken Road
at the bottom of Marye's Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg
. The 19-year-old Kirkland was part of Longstreet's First Corps; across from him was Hooker's Center Grand Division, part of the Army of the Potomac under Ambrose Burnside. (More boring history stuff inside.)posted by forrest at 2:14 PM PST - 26 comments
Live coverage of NASA attempting to retract the ISS solar panels
NASA is attempting to retract up the huge solar panels that spread out either side of the ISS. They fold up concertina-like, like venetian blinds; and like venetian blinds they're getting snagged and hung up. Live tv feeds of the ISS, and you can hear NASA problem-solving on the fly. Absolutely fascinating stuff.posted by carter at 2:12 PM PST - 22 comments
is a little pixel platform game
that has a suprising amount of ambience in it's simple presentation. You play the Knytt, who was abducted by an alien, and is trying to repair the UFO to get home. Also by the same person, Nifflas
, is "Within a Deep Forest"
which features "...challenging gameplay, beautiful music, an evil doctor, infinite cuteness, and a deep forest." [more inside]posted by Zack_Replica at 1:19 PM PST - 17 comments
Voyager's Golden Record
This is life on earth 1977 as it will appear when Voyager 1 meets life (ETA 40.000 years from now)... and finds a turntable.
Pioneers 10 and 11, which preceded Voyager, both carried small metal plaques identifying their time and place of origin for the benefit of any other spacefarers that might find them in the distant future. With this example before them, NASA placed a more ambitious message aboard Voyager 1 and 2-a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials. The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record
-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds
and images selected to portray the diversity
, ET!posted by Bravocharlie at 12:32 PM PST - 35 comments
is a non-profit bringing technology to the developing world. They've got several projects
going in Africa to connect, train, and equip villages but their latest push is an interesting one: The Thumb Drive Drive
. In the era of $50 2Gb USB drives, many of us probably have discarded 16-128Mb drives sitting around. Send them to Inveneo and they'll get used in places where broadband isn't an option and quick storage is necessary.posted by mathowie at 9:43 AM PST - 10 comments
is a semi-annual journal from Cornell devoted to the timely study of Indonesia's culture, history, government, economy, and society. It features original scholarly articles, interviews, translations, and book reviews. (note AdBlocker strips the page banner)
There's a fee for current issues but back issues are free.posted by Burhanistan at 8:56 AM PST - 8 comments
Mark Foley's ... ewwwww
Now that the House Ethics committee has finished its investigation
of Mark Foley, we can look through the report
itself, or at the Exhibit List
and discover...Exhibit 13
, 104 pages of Maf54's IM conversations (.pdf).
Reading the IMs and the emails
is a bit like a train wreck, horrible to watch, but difficult to look away. It's just beyond pathetic to watch Foley attempt to "seduce" the pages while they're doing their best to keep thing at the "lol" level (see page 36 of the pdf for the title quote source).
Does anyone know where the IM texts came from? Did Foley IM from his office in the House?posted by jasper411 at 8:57 PM PST - 102 comments
Anti-depressants increase suicide risk in young adults, FDA warns.
"When results are analyzed by age, it becomes clear that there is an elevated risk for suicidality and suicidal behavior among adults younger than 25 years of age that approaches that seen in the pediatric population." More here
This follows the FDA finding that anti-depressants increased the risk of suicide in young children. The FDA now requires manufacturers of anti-depressants to include warnings, and plans to meet on Dec 13 to discuss the findings further.posted by shivohum at 3:08 PM PST - 42 comments
"A fedora hat worn by me without the necessary protective irony would eat through my head and kill me."
Goodbye to George W.S. Trow, one of the strangest, wisest, disturbingest writer ever to gape at, marvel at, and love his fellow Americans. His 1980 essay "Within the Context of No Context"
(which shared with J.D. Salinger's last published story
the distinction of taking up an entire issue of the New Yorker
) placed television, irony, and distance at the center of the new United States. He also wrote the less well-known (but equally beautiful) short story collection Bullies
, along with a novel and several screenplays
, helped found National Lampoon
, and was a staff writer at the New Yorker
from 1966 until 1994, when he quit in protest of Roseanne Barr's guest-editing stint. He died on November 24, in Naples, at the age of 63. Appreciations from the New York Observer
and Gawker.posted by escabeche at 12:56 PM PST - 17 comments
Save the world with used books?
A bookstore I sometimes go to in Boston is doing a Used Book of the Month Club...and apparently trying to save the world.
Has anyone else every sold anything used-of-the-month? I think this is new retail territory. I could save a few bucks with a Used-XBox-Game-Of-The-Month.
Or does this mean the economy is getting worse, if people can't even buy new books?posted by UMDirector at 9:00 AM PST - 33 comments
Twenty-one years ago today
a plane crashed in Gander, Newfoundland. The flight carried American soldiers
heading home for the holidays, returning from a mission in the Sinai
. Called the worst aviation disaster on Canadian soil,
the crash killed the 248 soldiers and 8 crew members aboard
. On December 16th, mere days after the crash, President Ronald Reagan gave a speech
at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, to comfort the victims' families.
As time passed, however, some of the families demanded answers from the US Government regarding the circumstances of the crash. In 1989, Robin Tallon, member of congress from South Carolina, assisted the families' by bringing the matter before Congress
- and also sending a letter to then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (scroll down page). In 1992, a Time Magazine article
addressed forensic evidence which supported the idea of an on-board explosion prior to impact, as well as the flight's connections to Iran Contra
and the terrorist group Islamic Jihad. This article also discusses the book
written on the crash by Les Filotas, a dissenting member of the air safety board. The question was brought forth again in 1993, with a bill
introduced requesting that a commission be formed to further investigate the circumstances of the crash.
As with any disaster with unanswered questions, conspiracy theories abound
To this day, many of the questions surrounding Flight 1285 remain unanswered
. While the crash may never be fully explained, one certainty remains - for the families whose loved ones never came home for Christmas, the twelfth day of the twelfth month
will never be forgotten
posted by SassHat at 8:54 AM PST - 22 comments
The Internet Band
I Say Yeah! Yeah Yeah Yeahh..........I Got Fame........Right Here............If You Want It. The Beatles Had 4 Singers, I Want 5. Are You Worthy?
The World's Next Great Rock Band Is Now Forming. You Will Absolutely Be The #1 Band After Your First Cd Release. I Guarantee It.posted by rachelpapers at 7:35 AM PST - 31 comments
Topor et moi. Roland Topor
was the graphic artist behind the beautiful Planète Sauvage
(Cf. a few posts below) but his body of work
also included founding the Panic Movement
with fellow oddballs Jodorowsky
, writing plays and novels (The Tenant
, turned into a movie by another Paris-born celebrity of Polish extraction and amateur of bizarre, Roman Polanski), and making strange and popular TV shows
(YouTube clips from the 80s). Except for the kids shows, most of the links are quite NSFW
with abundant sex
, though in a cartoonish
, or even political
way: Topor once said
(YouTube documentary in French starting with his Phallunculi series) that to renounce sex was to banish oneself from mankind. Topor himself was also a familiar figure of the French cultural landscape, instantly recognisable thanks to his manic cackle
(heard at the beginning of this video
where he explains how to make art from random pornographic images
), that he (over)used to play the madman Renfield
in Herzog's Nosferatu
.posted by elgilito at 6:05 PM PST - 10 comments
The Jack Trevor Story Memorial Prize
"is generally awarded for a work of fiction or body of work which, in the
opinion of the committee, best celebrates the spirit of Jack Trevor Story
. The conditions of the prize are that the money shall be spent in a week to a fortnight and the author have nothing to show for it at the end of that time." The 2006 winner of the prize is Steve Aylett
.posted by Iridic at 5:33 PM PST - 6 comments
Henry's Machyn's sixteenth-century Chronicle
was nearly destroyed in an eighteenth-century fire, but editors Richard W. Bailey, Marilyn Miller, and Colette Moore have just published a new online scholarly edition, comprising both a reconstructed text (thanks to the very posthumous assistance of John Strype) and images of all the pages. There are several other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century diaries and chronicles online, including Dana F. Sutton's edition of William Camden's Diary
(in both Latin and English), J. G. Nichols' Victorian edition of the Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London
, and the Earls Colne project
's transcription of the diary of clergyman Ralph Josselin
. (Machyn link via the very handy Textual Studies, 1500-1800
.)posted by thomas j wise at 2:32 PM PST - 4 comments
La Planète sauvage
- based on the novel Oms en Série
by Stefan Wul, and known to the English speaking world as Fantastic Planet
, is a wonderfully psychadelic animated Sci-Fi film from 1973. An international production between France and Czechoslovakia, the movie has a cult following, mostly from viewers who saw it on USA's Night Flight
in the 1980's. Although it has languished in obscurity for some time, Hollywood has decided it's time for a live action remake
. For those who haven't seen it, or for people who haven't seen it in twenty years, some kind soul has uploaded the entire film to Youtube
. You'll never look at your pets the same way again.posted by smoothvirus at 11:31 AM PST - 36 comments
Livestock's Long Shadow
, a new UN FAO report (full report
) says livestock (cows, pig, sheep, etc.) generate more CO2 than all forms of transportation (cars, planes, etc) combined, with the worlds live stock expected to double by 2050.posted by stbalbach at 6:57 AM PST - 34 comments
Take a cyber tour
of the Nong Shim
factory! Yay! Warning: Portions may require ActiveX control. Includes sound, especially music, voice, and a chime every few seconds. Discontinue use if you experience any of the following: overstimulation, understimulation, rage, anguish, nausea, seizure, uncontrollable craving for shrimp crackers, or an erection lasting more than four hours.posted by thirteenkiller at 5:52 AM PST - 11 comments
a Martin Scorsese, Bankin/Rass Production.
Does my nose amuse you, is it funny like a clown, does it make you laugh?posted by caddis at 10:04 PM PST - 9 comments
No, no, no, great nose.
OK, I'm the Capo now.
How can a credit card company fool you? Let me count the ways. When Brad Kehn received his first credit card from Capital One Financial in 2004, it took him only three months to exceed its $300 credit limit and get socked with a $35 over-limit fee. But what surprised the Plankinton, S.D., resident more was that Cap One then offered him another card, even though he was over the limit -- and then another and another.posted by storybored at 7:20 PM PST - 104 comments
We need more artists in politics!
In 1969, Canadian performance artist Vincent Trasov constructed a human-sized peanut costume
and took on the familiar identity of Planters
mascot Mr. Peanut. Five years later, Trasov took his performance art persona to the next level as he entered Mr. Peanut into the 1974 Vancouver mayoral election, running on a platform of "P
niqueness, and T
alent." Trasov posed a "visual question" to his opponents at the debates via tap dance, received at least one celebrity endorsement
during his campaign, and in the end, garnered 3.4% of the vote. Recently, Trasov (and fellow artist Michael Morris) launched the Morris/Trasov Archive
, where you can find a nice collection of photos from the campaign trail online (Performance -> My Five Years in a Nutshell).
Mr. Peanut remains a central part of Trasov's art
; his "Histories" place Mr. Peanut in the Bamyian Valley of Afghanistan, the Marx-Engels monument at Berlin, and at the entrance to Thebes, playing the role of Oedipus opposite the Sphinx.posted by duffell at 11:35 AM PST - 11 comments
Abu Ghraib revisited?
Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq? [...] It’s terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that you’re not only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying. Channel 4-documentary on US prisons
. (google video. Disclaimer: nasty stuff)posted by Bravocharlie at 9:06 AM PST - 105 comments
Tom Hignite wasn't content owning one of Wisconsin's most successful companies, Miracle Homes. The evangelical contracting magnate had a dream. He would be the Walt Disney(sound)
of the 21st century. So he turned a portion of his 7,000 square foot house into a studio, hired a crew of veteran Disney and Warner Bros. animators, and proceeded to make a feature film QT
starring his own creation, Miracle Mouse
. This is the story of how it all went wrong.posted by maryh at 4:05 AM PST - 54 comments
On December 5th, a Croatian man named Nico awoke to find a map his girlfriend had left him featuring a specific path she wanted him to take to work; along the way he saw stencils, paint, aerosol, collage wheat pastes & other art she had laid out in the pre-dawn hours letting him know how much she loved him. The sights Nico saw, in order, are collected here
.posted by jonson at 1:03 AM PST - 80 comments
The Denial Machine
. A 40-min Canadian (CBC) documentary about the "denial industry" - think tanks, scientists, PR firms, focus groups, lawyers, etc.. the issue?
. It doesn't matter - different issues but the same people.
How to be a professional denier and profit.posted by stbalbach at 7:46 PM PST - 46 comments
It's war, and young American illegally men head to Canada.
From Canada they are off to join the RAF and fight the Nazis in the Battle of Britain
. The U.S. had passed a series of laws during the 1930’s to keep the country from getting embroiled in the growing turmoil in Europe and Asia.... The Neutrality Acts were structured to keep the U.S. out of a possible European war. This, in effect, made it illegal for recruiters to hire Americans to go to Canada or England for enlistment purposes, or for U.S. citizens to volunteer for military service in England.... Violators of the U. S. Neutrality Acts could face stiff penalties of up to $20,000 in fines, ten years in prison, and loss of citizenship. Some F.B.I. agents were assigned to track down these evildoers, but it doesn’t appear they had much success.
They became the Eagle Squadrons
. A similar group, the Flying Tigers
, headed to China to fight the Japanese, this one apparently with some clandestine US government sponsorship, despite the neutrality laws. Brave, effective and colorful as described in this interview
.posted by caddis at 2:57 PM PST - 16 comments
- 38 minutes of a ongoing, heartfelt lecture about God, Personal power & the Truth by Vivek, a homeless guy. (YouTube)posted by growabrain at 2:02 PM PST - 12 comments
Young couple arrested for having sex.
In absence of "Romeo and Juliet" laws which protect young people's sexual congress depending on their age difference, children can be both charged as the perpetrator of a sex crime and protected as the victim of one.posted by tehloki at 10:05 AM PST - 112 comments
From far away they came to toil under the scorching Outback sun, and their hardy dispositions and tireless labor helped to create the central Australian railway and telegraph
are the Camels [NPR story w/ audio]
, and today they are free (well, okay, feral
), and they are many (700,000 strong, at least.) While they're no cane toads
, they're becoming a bit of a pest. What to do with all those dromedaries? Well, you can race 'em
, or you can eat 'em
, or maybe you can even try milking 'em
. Just get 'em before they get you
, mate.posted by maryh at 3:51 AM PST - 18 comments
Not being blackmailed enough? Fucking so many people you can't keep track? Need worldwide access to your list of conquests? The solution you've been waiting for is at hand! My Black Book
is a "secure" online service
that allows you to post as many entries ("people you banged") and sessions ("ways in which you did it") as you need, and best of all, it's 100% free. unless you count the money you'll spend in blackmail fees
.posted by jonson at 11:50 PM PST - 61 comments
Microsoft is launching a viral marketing campaign for Vista. It's only half done - it wraps up in January. Demetri Martin
stars in a series of webisodes about his "rare condition". The best part of the campaign are the idle ramblings of Demetri on the main page.
The campaign consists of an rss feed
, a podcast, and the webisodes.posted by disclaimer at 8:48 PM PST - 41 comments
Harry Everett Smith was a
, "20th-century Renaissance man
, working as an abstract film-maker, painter, musicologist, anthropologist, theoretician, self-mythologizer and connoisseur of arcana". His Anthology of American Folk Music
was hugely influential
on American music
, while his alchemical, synæsthetic films
were to have a similar impact on experimental film and animation
. Enjoy his mesmerising and astonishing "Early Abstractions" on Youtube
[part 1 or 4], hear Harry lecture
, or listen to some tracks
from The Anthology.posted by MetaMonkey at 8:42 PM PST - 9 comments
"Claude Degler attended the Chicon in 1940, and at Denver in 1941 delivered a speech purporting to have been written by Martians."
So begins the Fancyclopedia I entry on Degler's Cosmic Circle. Claude Degler
believed that science fiction fans were destined to evolve into a new species superior to homo sapiens, "cosmen." In 2001 (the year) David B. Williams went in search of Degler
, who had disappeard from fandom in 1951. Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote in 1986 a story/essay about the inner Degler called Hell, 12 Feet
. He was as infamous as fans got, though some remember him sort of fondly
. Degler crops up regularly in the "All Our Yesterdays" columns
written by fandom historian, Harry Warner Jr. The ones with most information are the columns H.C. Koenig. Claude Degler
, O Pioneers
and The Cosmic Circle
. Here's a Degler quote from the last link: We have created a fannationalism, a United World Fandom. Someday soon we will have our own apartment building, then our own land, our own city of Cosmen, schools, teachers, radio programme — later; our own laws, country perhaps! Our children shall inherit not only this earth — but this universe! Today we carry 22 states, tomorrow, nine planets!posted by Kattullus at 8:22 PM PST - 3 comments
...For a week after I arrived at the ORS, the attacks on Hamburg continued. The second, on July 27, raised a firestorm that devastated the central part of the city and killed about 40,000 people. We succeeded in raising firestorms only twice, once in Hamburg and once more in Dresden in 1945, where between 25,000 and 60,000 people perished (the numbers are still debated)... Every time Bomber Command attacked a city, we were trying to raise a firestorm, but we never learnt why we so seldom succeeded.Part I: A Failure of Intelligence
& Part II: A Failure of Intelligence
Prominent physicist Freeman Dyson recalls the time he spent developing analytical methods to help the British Royal Air Force bomb German targets during World War II. FYI: It's about more than just the firestorms...posted by y2karl at 8:21 PM PST - 24 comments
Remember when folks were "up-in-arms" after learning that the Bush administration paid
prominent political commentator Armstrong Williams
$240,000 to promote 'No Child Left Behind' legislation? It turns out that a handful of liberal bloggers pulled in some decent cash
this past year from various political campaigns as consultants, while maintaining their "independent" blogs. Case in point: Jerome Armstrong
) made $115,000+ from Sherrod Brown (over 15 months) and $65,000 from Mark Warner (over 12 months). Turns out Armstrong admitted
this week that he has been writing on his blog under various aliases -- including 'Scott Shields.' 'Shields' received payments
from the Robert Menendez campaign.posted by ericb at 5:39 PM PST - 57 comments
It's Flash Friday, but surprisingly no one's mentioned this yet. Since you seem to be fans of Orisinal's work
, I thought it prudent to point out that he's put up a new game just in time for the holidays.
So, let's go play some Winterbells
, shall we?posted by revmitcz at 2:44 PM PST - 21 comments
Lost Rhapsody 2, Electric Boogaloo
The unavoidable sequel to this
, previously on MeFi
effects and 90s Alt Rock Polka. Mashed up by this guy
Joining the ranks of Weird Al toonage from Bill Plympton previously on MeFi, John Kricfalusi, Jim Blashfield, David Lovelace, Thomas Lee, JibJab, Robot Chicken, Will Vinton's Claymation, Albino Blacksheep and some WoW troll. Plus: Weird Anime and a cartoon interview.posted by wendell at 4:49 AM PST - 17 comments
Long before 2006 you could probably make a convincing argument that the music video has outlived its purpose; however, musicblogger docopenhagen's list of the top 50 music videos of 2006
has some excellent inclusions, and hopefully something for even the most jaded viewer. My threefavorites
.posted by jonson at 11:33 PM PST - 19 comments
"It's the wuss-ification of America that's getting us!" screeches Stine, 46. A moment later he adds a fervent: "Thank you, Lord, for our testosterone!"posted by Sticherbeast at 4:17 PM PST - 134 comments
Bill O'Reilly respondsYouTube
to a 8 year oldYouTube
(though he leaves out her saying "that idiot O'Reilly"). Bill and his "expert" Wendy Murphy (who claims that the ACLU supports child sex abuse)
agree that the girl's performance is child abuse - "the ultimate inhumane treatment of a child". Murphy goes on to highlight the danger possibility of "some [religious] nut [who] wants to hunt this family down." The many comments
at YouTube illustrate this point – while some are supportive, others call her a slut, and Tanzman6 (who has belonged to Right to Life and Peer Ministry clubs)
"This little chink should shut the fuck up. We should have killed her parents in Viet Nam when we had the fucking chance. Burn the bitch."
While the child obviously had help with her material, is O'Reilly right that statements like "religion has caused the genocide of nations" is propaganda about which she understands nothing? Even after considering that she is Lakota (Sioux) and probably related to Greg Zephier, an American Indian Movement Leader? [most material taken from Jesus's General]posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 2:30 PM PST - 100 comments
The Art of the Photogravure
celebrates the process and the history of the all-but-forgotten art of the hand-pulled photogravure. In addition to the extensive collection of works from early masters to contemporary practitioners, check out the site's affiliated blog
and some rich ambrotypes
by site founder Mark Katzman. (via Gordon Coale)posted by madamjujujive at 12:10 PM PST - 5 comments
Dr James Anderson, from the University of Reading's computer science department, claims to have defined what it means to divide by zero. It's so simple, he claims, that he's even taught it to high school students
[via Digg]. You just have to work with a new number he calls Nullity
(RealPlayer video). According to Anderson's site The Book of Paragon
, the creation, innovation, or discovery of nullity is a step toward describing a "perspective simplex, or perspex [ . . . ] a simple physical thing that is both a mind and a body." Anderson claims that Nullity permits the definition of transreal arithmetic
(pdf), a "total arithmetic . . . with no arithmetical exceptions," thus removing what the fictional dialogue No Zombies, Only Feelies?
identifies as the "homunculus problem" in mathematics: the need for human intervention to sort out "corner cases" which are not defined.posted by treepour at 12:07 PM PST - 63 comments
, who used to believe in the benefits
of robot pets, has changed her tune and now "finds human-machine love unsettling
)". Tyrell:"We began to recognize in them a strange obsession. After all, they are emotionally inexperienced, with only a few years in which to store up the experiences which you and I take for granted. If we gift them with a past, we create a cushion or a pillow for their emotions, and consequently, we can control them better." Was he referring to us or them
?posted by sluglicker at 2:25 AM PST - 14 comments
The Seventh State.
An Australian federal parliamentary committee
with looking into the harmonisation of the Australian and New Zealand legal systems, has concluded
that the two countries
should work towards a full union, or at least have a single currency and common markets.
NZ's Minister for Foreign Affairs
has rubbished the idea
as "parliamentary adventurism", but the Australian constitution provides
for just such an eventuality.
One of the key hurdles
for any union would
Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document. Misinterpreted, misunderstood, and hotly debated
Tiriti has long been one of the reasons put for the difficult road facing New Zealand in becoming a republic
. Having abolished appeals to the Privy Council
adopted a new electoral system
, declared itself nuclear free
(.pdf), taken France to court
and opposed the war in Iraq
, New Zealand has
certainly embraced it's 'independence'. But a contracting sharemarket
, muddled coalition building
in government, and an increased
focus on trans-Tasman alignment
has lead some to
support the idea of a less formal separation between the two countries. However a common currency has already been
by New Zealand's Finance Minister.
What hope then
, for ANZAC
union? And does it matter, when the rest of the world can't tell us apart
?posted by szechuan at 11:35 PM PST - 64 comments
The Memorial Gardens in Surrey has a pigeon problem, and has hired a marksman to come to town & conduct a three year program of pigeon sniping to resolve the issue. The people of Surrey respond, via some of the funniest letters to the newspaper I've ever read
(letters published at the bottom of the article).posted by jonson at 11:27 PM PST - 33 comments
New Zealand may soon implement legislation very similar to the DMCA
, if the latest draft of the Copyright Amendment Bill is passed. It would appear that the New Zealand government is about to make the same mistake made by the USA several years ago. Most specifically, they propose:
[To] introduce an offence (carrying a sentence of a fine not exceeding $150,000 or a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both) for commercial dealing in devices, services, or information designed to circumvent technological protection measures
Her contact details
are available online. We have a small window of opportunity to point out the problems and unintended consequences
with similar legislation in other countries, and hopefully circumvent the same problems in New Zealand.posted by pivotal at 11:27 PM PST - 17 comments
"The USDA PLANTS database
provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories." Among the highlights are a list of culturally significant plants
and a searchable image gallery you can submit photos to
. Forestry Images
is a similar USDA-supported site dedicated to silviculture.
If that isn't enough for you, click on over to the Germplasm Resources Information Network
. There, you'll find a smorgasbord of information on virtually all the food varieties commercially raised in the US: where the germplasm is held
, lists of species at each site
, detailed descriptions of individual accessions (e.g., cultivars)
, even who owns the Red Silk Radish
If it grows and you can eat
it, the USDA probably has it cataloged. And if they don't, search one of these
.posted by cog_nate at 8:08 PM PST - 7 comments
Pangolins attain official "cute" status :
Since Jonson was kind enough to share the Giant Amazonian Centipede
, I thought an equally fascinating creature such as the pangolin
) deserved its own post. It's been mentioned
, but no one has drawn attention to the fact that it looks like a walking pine cone
(YouTube), that the babies
are carried on the mother's tail
for several months, and that they come from a family (Pholidota
) with only seven living species.
Of course, like nearly everything else on Earth, it is eaten or used as "medicine
" by the Chinese, and the combination of deforestation/being eaten as bushmeat
has reduced its numbers in Africa
Unlike the centipede, it's probably not nightmare-inducing, but I don't think I'd want to trip over the giant pangolin
on a dark night - especially since they can be up to six feet long. It's a beautiful animal, even inspiring poetry
in some.posted by Liosliath at 5:45 PM PST - 32 comments
Bourbonnais. No, not Bourbonnais, IL
, but Bourbonnais
, a historic province in France that flourished during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In this area there are hundreds of churches built in the Romanesque
In 2004 Stephen Murray
, an art history professor, and his students recieved a $500,000 grant
to document, process, and archive
data from the churches into a digital database, all available online
.posted by provolot at 11:51 PM PST - 13 comments
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
was created in 1956 by the Mississippi Legislature in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education
decision. The Commission's express purpose was to "do and perform any and all acts and things deemed necessary and proper to protect the sovereignty of the state of Mississippi, and her sister states." In other words, it was an official tax-funded agency to combat the activities of the Civil Rights Movement. Their records are now online
. [MI]posted by marxchivist at 9:50 PM PST - 11 comments
Five go adventuring in Disneyland. Enid Blyton
, beloved British children's author, created tales
of child detectives Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog
in the 1940s. Deemed outdated, or at times downright offensive
(.pdf), stories abound that the author's work has been banned from libraries or school reading lists
in the past for being sexist and/or racist. Debate sprang up earlier this year over the publisher's attempts to update the books for a modern audience
(read: American), which some interpreted as a politically correct attempt at sanitisation. The Famous Five was nevertheless voted by adults as their favourite series for children
Now owned by brand business Chorion
, the historic characters are being reimagined as Cole, Dylan, Jo and Allie in a 26-episode animated series from Disney. Some are delighted
, others are not amused
. Pour yourself some lashings of ginger beer
, and remember Kirrin Island
fondly. It may be the end of an era.posted by szechuan at 1:59 PM PST - 19 comments
Grandma's Little Helper
Tired of bluehairs clogging up the left lane doing 20? Apparently, there are companies who feel the same way. Aware Car has developed a computer system that tracks other cars
and compensates for the losses in reflex that accompany aging. This is only one example of the new industry of providing technology to the elderly, who will reach record numbers in the next 20 years as the Baby Boomers continue to age
. Pictures show GPS tracking for wheelchairs, "caller ID on steroids", and the new driving system in action.posted by PreacherTom at 5:29 AM PST - 17 comments
What can two nerds from Chicago do about the crisis in Darfur?
Donor fatigue means the marginal value of each life has effectively dropped to zero. Kill 5 people, kill 500, kill 500,000 - it makes no difference - each added fatality has absolutely no policy impact and won’t change the situation one iota. It’s not that as many as 500,000 (essentially an entire Seattle) have died in Darfur. The horrific thing is that they could kill another 500,000 and nobody will bat an eyelash.posted by notsnot at 4:53 AM PST - 95 comments
It will always be known as the "date which will live in infamy
," but this year - the 65th Anniversary - may mark the last time survivors can/will come together at the site
to pay their respects to the fallen and to shake hands with their former adversaries. Hawaii affiliate KHNL News 8 has already started
its 5-day long coverage
of the ceremonies, which culminate on the morning of the 7th and will feature a live web feed and a keynote adress given by Tom Brokaw
(@ 7:30am HST).
Some consequences of the attack inside...posted by krippledkonscious at 7:24 PM PST - 27 comments
From performing in a concert
for Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, to serving as background music for the shock-and-awe bombing of Baghdad, Lionel Richie
is much beloved throught the Arab world. A Nightline
piece, and an upcoming GQ magazine article (via NPR)
examine the Lionel of Arabia phenomenon.posted by jaimev at 2:37 PM PST - 17 comments
Watching music 4:38
videos is a good 4:07
way to learn a language
, odd thing is I was
hoping to 3;03
Emilie Simon of La Marche de l'empereur fame sings for us.
All from the glorious youtube. Other than the last one from the rather better google.video.posted by econous at 1:51 PM PST - 8 comments
How We Eat
A photo gallery of families around the world, and what they eat over the course of one week. Text in French.posted by Miko at 1:47 PM PST - 31 comments
Islam Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation
"After listening to several international physicians, they pronounced the sensational decision to classify the custom of female genital mutilation (FGM) as punishable aggression and crime against humanity. As a result, the custom can no longer be practiced by Muslims. Now awareness of this decision has to be spread in the 33 affected countries." [+ WHO]
and [+ wp]posted by FunkyHelix at 11:27 AM PST - 80 comments
Is this BMW version
what some were waiting for? I've heard about complaints on hybrid performance. BMW claims to be the best in performance. But did they miss the boat?posted by wiggles at 9:38 AM PST - 37 comments
At least coming up with a list of who will be first up against the wall during the revolution just got a little easier.posted by geoff. at 8:57 AM PST - 32 comments
There are about 250,000 centenarians alive today, including several hundred
"supercentarians" aged 110+ years. Jerry Friedman, founder of Earth's Elders
Foundation, has spent the past four years on a landmark project to introduce the world to the oldest people on earth
. And in a similar endeavor, photographer Mark Story has been capturing portraits and stories of people from around the globe who are Living in Three Centuries
.posted by madamjujujive at 6:43 AM PST - 16 comments
Is it science?
Or just link whoring? "Measuring the speed of spread of a meme across the internet." (Does Metafilter count as a "high traffic site" for his purposes?)posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:32 AM PST - 8 comments
Cost of Government Day
the date of the calendar year, counting from January 1, on which the average American has earned enough in cumulative gross income to pay for his or her share of government spending (total federal, state, and local) plus the cost of regulation."posted by Gyan at 10:55 PM PST - 16 comments
The Long Tomorrow
is a short, twelve page, comic by Moebius
produced in 1956-76 which tells the noir story of a private detective hired to pick up a parcel for a sultry dame. The art and the world it depicted was visionary; a world that is one giant, teeming, vertical metropolis. [via
]posted by dhruva at 10:05 PM PST - 37 comments
(to the tune of
“My Country ‘Tis of Thee”)
My country used to be/
Sweet land of liberty/
That once was true/
Until the FCC/
Chose what we hear and see/
On radio and on TV/
Choral and heavy metal versions also available for download.posted by CCBC at 4:33 PM PST - 4 comments
The House of Death
A DHS/DEA/DoJ/US Media coverup. Another victory in the War on Drugs?
When 12 bodies were found buried in the garden of a Mexican house, it seemed like a case of drug-linked killings. But the trail led to Washington and a cover-up that went right to the top.
Other online coverage
)posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:43 AM PST - 26 comments
is a free service for sending SMS (text messages) via email to any cell phone, all you need to do is send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Try it out
. Replies will automatically be sent back to your email.posted by onalark at 7:05 PM PST - 60 comments
has been elected
Canadian Liberal Party leader at a convention in Montreal. Barely third (by two votes) on last night's first ballot, Dion gained support today through each of the next three ballots he needed to reach the 50%+1 level. An Quebec academic known for his federalist writings,
he was originally recruited by former PM Jean Chrétien
to fight Quebec separatists in the mid-nineties. He served as intergovernmental affairs minister for several years under Chrétien, then later organized the UN Climate Change summit
as environment minister. He now goes to Ottawa as Leader of the Opposition
, in hopes of soon replacing current PM Stephen Harper.posted by bowline at 4:32 PM PST - 121 comments
The Mayfair Set [Google Video].
A BBC Documentary series on how City of London bankers systematically dismantled British industry from the 1960s-90s and removed the power of the state to protect people from the greed of the market
A thought provoking documentary from Adam Curtis
whose other documentaries The Power of Nightmares and The Century of the Self have been previously
discussed and well received on Mefi.
It is almost four hours long but well worth the effort.posted by ClanvidHorse at 10:26 AM PST - 24 comments
Conventional wisdom says that new media -- Internet, cable television, satellite radio, videogames -- is competing with books, putting them at long-term risk if not decline. "The conventional wisdom is wrong". Special report from Forbes.posted by stbalbach at 8:15 PM PST - 38 comments
Make an independent sitcom? These guys did.
On a shoestring budget, a collection of very funny folk have created a 22-minute-long pilot episode of Break a Leg. Heavily influenced by Arrested Development, I found it funnier than most sitcoms I see on TV. The next episode is apparently a few months away.posted by Wataki at 2:24 PM PST - 35 comments
Before music videos on MTV, even before Scopitones (previously on MeFi 1
), there were Soundies. In a brief period during the early 40s, patrons of bars, diners and bus stations could slip a dime into a Panoram jukebox and see a three-minute 16mm video clip projected inside the machine. Soundies featured popular musicians of the era including Duke Ellington
, Fats Waller
, Nat King Cole
, and Louis Armstrong
. You can also find Soundies at Archive.org
, including a great one from Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens
.posted by Otis at 11:56 AM PST - 7 comments
and instructions on how to make it. Hint: start with lots of Karo syrup, some sheet metal, and plenty of time. That's not good enough? Try the
, baked in its own custom-made backyard oven! These both came from the wonderful site,
, which will reward you with many fun projects that you might even be able to do yourself.posted by math at 10:28 AM PST - 9 comments
released by CERA
has some interesting tidbits: the average motorist in 2005 used 703 gallons of gas, and drove 40 percent more than 25 years ago; the US has 1,148 registered personal vehicles for every 1,000 licensed drivers; the percentage of vehicles that are SUVs (including minivans and light trucks) is slowly going down from 55% in 2005 to 53% in 2006; the average fuel consumption for all vehicles is 19.8 mpg in 2005, a drop from when it peaked at 20.2 in 2001; and the share of U.S. household budgets going to gasoline and oil has has been relatively stable for decades, at about 3.8 percent in 2006.posted by jaimev at 10:03 AM PST - 18 comments
Raising for Ryzom.
Saga Of Ryzom's parent company is having some sort of undisclosed trouble, and a group of users are raising funds to purchase the source code and art assets. So far, they've raised 60k in euros.posted by ®@ at 7:56 AM PST - 3 comments
There is a killer
lurking in your local auto wrecking yard. Sodium Azide
, the chemical used in automobile air bags, is available to anyone who asks for it. Conceivably anyone could obtain several pounds of this poison, yet it takes only a few grams to kill
. A late model SUV will have enough in it's air bags to kill a couple of hundred people
It explodes. It kills
on contact with the skin. It kills via air, food, or water. It is odorless and colorless
. There is no antidote. Even minor exposure will result in permanent damage to brain cells.
University of Arizona atmospheric scientist Eric Betterton
was one of the first to expose the hazards of this unregulated material in 2000. The author J. A. Jance used it as the poison of choice in her book 'Partners in Crime
The perfect terrorist weapon
? It would seem so, but the Federal government doesn't regulate it's post-manufacture distribution. Got a grudge? Go pick up a few hundred pounds
.posted by altman at 1:00 AM PST - 76 comments
United States v. George W. Bush et al.
Retired federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega has written a hypothetical indictment for a hypothetical grand jury charging President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, thereby commiting a conspiracy to defraud the United States by tricking the nation into war. Though a work of fiction, the evidence presented is real. Part 1 is the introdutction
, part 2 is the indictment
, and part 3 is the beginning of grand jury testimony
, with more to come over the next few days.posted by homunculus at 12:42 AM PST - 23 comments