December 2008 Archives

December 31

Freesouls.cc - 296 Portraits of luminaries from the free culture movement. [more inside]
posted by Pinback at 11:44 PM PST - 27 comments

Abandoned London is a Flickr set by photographer IanVisits of London on Christmas morning when the city is (almost) denuded of people. Very disorienting if you've been to London (or any major city, really). I got this via William Gibson's blog and I'll let him describe it in his inimitable way: "Christmas, particularly in the early morning, has always seemed so much more liminal to me than New Year's eve. Spectral, deeply in-between [...] something about the way in which traffic, pedestrian and vehicular, controls one's depth of field, fragmenting and animating the experience."
posted by Kattullus at 10:24 PM PST - 20 comments

What Will Change Everything? - the 2009 Edge Annual Question [more inside]
posted by Gyan at 10:10 PM PST - 25 comments

"Conquer English to Make China Stronger!" is the philosophy of Li Yang, founder of the Crazy English school (and style) of language, described by some as "English as a Shouted Language" for its main method of shouting English words in public to overcome shyness. Li Yang has achieved Elvis-like popularity in China, not just through his public lectures but also through the sales of books, media, teaching materials, and a memoir titled "I am Crazy, I Succeed". Li Yang's unorthodox methods - which include encouraging students to "lose face" and cope with embarrassment on the way to success - have earned him fame and fortune, including headlining the 5th Beijing Foreign Language Festival and being the main English teacher for China's Olympic volunteers. Li Yang's secret to success: "... to have them continuously paying—that’s the conclusion I’ve reached."
posted by divabat at 10:10 PM PST - 10 comments

What gives Stradivarius violins their rich ethereal tones? Scientists clash in theories, attributing the sound quality to wood density, chemical treatments, the "Little Ice Age," even the sun. The mystery continues. Current Strad owners include Itzhak Perlman and Anne-Sophie Mutter. "[T]he great violins are, ounce for ounce, among the most valuable commodities in the world... Almost alone among investments, important violins have proved immune to economic downturns." Today, top Strads can fetch more than $6 million. But some wonder whether Antonio Stradivari's violins truly deserve their "best in class" reputation.
posted by terranova at 10:01 PM PST - 19 comments

The Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage (pdf) is a great document covering some basic issues of self definition many take for granted, including the right to not be pressured to choose an identity for the comfort of others. Of course, it's not like this is new, though it seems little headway is being made despite growing numbers of multi-ethnic people in the media spotlight. (Previously)
posted by yeloson at 9:40 PM PST - 32 comments

In 1977, Nolan Bushnell allowed Gene Landrum to bring Chuck E. Cheese [yt] to life as a family-friendly access point to Atari games. This, perhaps, explains the pizza. [more inside]
posted by batmonkey at 7:33 PM PST - 17 comments

Mushrooms Save the World (long form) -- Paul Stamets on mycelia. Previously: 1 2 3 [bonus: slime molds]
posted by kliuless at 6:54 PM PST - 20 comments

A bit late for some of us to make this nifty Tampon New Year’s Eve Ball, but these er lovely earrings can be worn year round. [Feminine Hygiene Product fun previously on metafilter]
posted by gomichild at 6:46 PM PST - 22 comments

You have probably heard of Roy Hobbs, the fictional baseball player in The Natural. The book and movie were loosely base on the life of Eddie Waitkus. Eddie was having a fine pro baseball career, when on the night of June 14, 1949 an obsessed girl, Ruth Ann Steinhagen, lured him into a hotel room and shot him.
posted by lee at 5:37 PM PST - 7 comments

Can he carry it off? Carrying drinks, bricks, eggs, up the mountain, two guys and a long ladder.
posted by nickyskye at 5:13 PM PST - 13 comments


Dylan Thomas, the wonderful Welsh poet, has been mentioned on the blue before. Now the BBC provide a Dylan Thomas Random Poem Generator. Bravo! [more inside]
posted by fcummins at 3:55 PM PST - 4 comments

31% of households get most or all of their calls on their cell phones. Unfortunately coverage remains problem, particularly indoors. Some rather interesting folk remedies have been suggested, but the preferred solution appears to be your own personal cellular antenna. Trials have been going on for a while now. And with a crystal clear 3G signal in your house, you may just want to skip setting up your own wireless network entirely.
posted by tkolar at 3:03 PM PST - 24 comments

The Yoshimoto Cube. The cube transforms into two stellated rhombic dodecahedrons.
posted by Xurando at 2:40 PM PST - 23 comments

Here's Razorhawk a superhero who also wrestles and makes suits for other superheroes. This is Master Legend who recently had an article published in Rolling Stone about him. Meet Superhero who patrols the streets of Clearwater, Florida in his custom Corvette. They call themselves real-life superheroes. A documentary film featuring them has the first 10 minutes free online at google video. [more inside]
posted by flipyourwig at 1:57 PM PST - 17 comments

The opportunity of having a whole glorious season of flowering daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths indoors during winter is a reality. A bright floral display and fragrant aroma is always welcome when snow is on the ground and bundling up to keep warm outside is a must. [more inside]
posted by nax at 1:22 PM PST - 10 comments

Need a little Tolstoy while you're waiting in line? How about some Mark Twain on the subway? Booksinmyphone puts - surprise! - books in your phone, for free.
posted by desjardins at 12:29 PM PST - 21 comments

Spelunky is a (Windows-only) game that blends roguelike elements with a platform game reminiscent of La Mulana or the original Spelunker. Add this to the pile of fantastic indie platformers, I guess. [via]
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:21 AM PST - 8 comments

Pinetop Perkins survived being hit by a train. Bukka White was a professional boxer, a Negro League pitcher, and hobo. Sunnyland Slim was a hustler. Johnny Shines toured with Robert Johnson, and Honeyboy Edwards saw Johnson poison himself. Skip James was a laborer and bootlegger. Son House started out as a preacher but went to prison for killing a man. R.L. Burnside also killed someone, but said "I didn't mean to kill nobody, I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head." Big Boy Crudup's songs were stolen by Elvis Presley. Mississippi Fred McDowell did not play no rock 'n roll. To get more recording contracts, John Lee Hooker also called himself John Lee Cooker, John Lee Booker, Texas Slim, Birmingham Sam & His Magic Guitar, Delta John and Sir John Lee Hooker. Big Joe Williams was King of the 9 String Guitar. Snooky Pryor began his musical career as an Army bugler. Mississippi John Hurt learned to play guitar in secret. Paul Pena wrote Jet Airliner, knew Tuvan, and could throat sing. After a severe case of polio, Cedell Davis learned to play guitar left-handed using a kitchen knife. Earl Hooker was so good he never had a day job. Hound Dog Taylor, who was born with six fingers on each hand but cut off one of the extras with a razor blade, said his epitath should be "He couldn't play shit, but he sure made it sound good!" [more inside]
posted by swift at 10:37 AM PST - 37 comments


Have you met the Yuki-onna? You might meet her in a snow storm, and recognize her by her pure white robe marked only with a splattering of blood and her lack of feet. She might kill you with icy breath, or lead you into the storm to die of exposure, or seduce you, only to steal your soul. She's the subject of one of Japan's better known ghost stories (the climax of which was depicted in Tanaka Tokuzo's 1968 film Kaidan Yuki Onna) and has also made an appearance in Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (2:50).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:05 AM PST - 21 comments

So you've decided that you're uneasy with Apple's virtual monopoly on digital music. So you picked Microsoft's Zune. Hell, maybe you even got a tattoo! You're bucking the trend, and you're satisfied with your purchase. It's not like Microsoft would make a faulty machine, would they? Well...Happy New Year!
posted by yellowbinder at 9:00 AM PST - 194 comments

Dr. Richard F. Daines, NY Dept. of Health Commissioner wants you to understand why a soda tax should be approved there. It's the new youtube video soda vs milk, and if you dream of seeing a guy standing in his kitchen sliding trays and cans across countertops like he just stepped out of 1978, you're in for a treat.
posted by cashman at 8:06 AM PST - 43 comments

Bohemian owner of bookstore/vintage clothing shop, forced out of his store last year and facing eviction from his basement apartment, is profiled in the New York Times in August 2008. NYT photog notices his paintings, contributes some art supplies and introduces him to a gallery owner. Heartwarming consequences ensue. [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:38 AM PST - 7 comments

middlespot.com is a search interface for teachers, librarians, researchers and anyone who wants to interpret information faster from their search results, collect and annotate relevant results into groups, and share those collections with people relying on their expertise. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 7:07 AM PST - 4 comments




Terry Pratchett , a man renowned for his staggering sales figures from his renowned Discworld series has been knighted.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:41 AM PST - 112 comments

How am I gonna introduce my annual post about the annual LSSU Banished Words List when "It's that time of year again" has itself just been banished? Maybe with an assortment of links not-very-related to the words on This Year's List... [more inside]
posted by wendell at 12:29 AM PST - 48 comments

December 30

Screw getting a new car. Use your summer job money on fine dining. Nick is a fifteen year old "foodie" who used his summer job money to dine at Per Se, one of the poshest restaurants in Manhattan and home to one Thomas Keller. He had to hide out in his school bathroom between classes to try and get a table. When that failed he did what normal teenagers do: he manipulated his mom into letting him do it on a school night. (via)
posted by littlerobothead at 11:18 PM PST - 49 comments

When her Japanese-American husband was sent to internment camps in California and Wyoming, Estelle Peck Ishigo chose to accompany him. An art-school teacher fired for her interracial marriage, she documented the three-and-a-half-year ordeal in a short memoir and hundreds of sketches and paintings. [more inside]
posted by Knappster at 10:11 PM PST - 6 comments


Dorkbot is a "monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students, scientists, and other interested parties who are involved in the creative use of electricity." Started in NYC in 2000 by Douglas Repetto, Director of Research at the Columbia University Computer Music Center as well as one of Wired's 10 Sexiest Geeks, there are now dozens all over the world. Past presenters have been featured here on the blue. For instance Jeff Han presented his multi-touch interface at dorkbot-nyc in April of 2006. Miru Kim presented her naked city spleen at dorkbot-nyc in October of 2006. Bummed that there's not one in your own city? Start your own! [more inside]
posted by funkiwan at 9:59 PM PST - 19 comments



Hey, what ever happened to Julie Brown? ( not that one) She was a hit in Earth Girls Are Easy with her number, Cause I'm a Blonde. She had another hit with the Dr. Demento staple The Homecoming Queens' Got a Gun! Then she faded into the cultural-artifact twilight ... [more inside]
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 PM PST - 37 comments

Paul Anderson was the strongest man in the world.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:17 PM PST - 16 comments

Ever spend a few moments during the day idly mucking about with your cellphone? You're part of a new trend known as micro-boredom - which now presents "a significant opportunity for a publisher to exploit readership and advertising consumption". Get away from the bombardment of advertising and find some sacred space, or just turn off the phone.
posted by divabat at 6:13 PM PST - 30 comments

Dogs get jealous. Or, if you are a scientist, they exhibit inequity aversion.
posted by binturong at 4:40 PM PST - 40 comments

This New Year's Eve you can watch the drop of the "Waterford Crystal New Year's Eve Ball" (which will now become a year-round attraction hovering above Times Square). Not interested? How about watching the dropping of a drag queen, a pirate wench, pickles and sausages (among other things) while ringing in the New Year? [more inside]
posted by ericb at 4:15 PM PST - 18 comments

NASA releases the Columbia shuttle disaster report. Space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry in 2003 as a result of damage sustained to its thermal protection system. This report details the possible lethal incidents and the investigation board's recommendations based on their findings. [more inside]
posted by herrdoktor at 2:57 PM PST - 65 comments

Blubber Biofuel
posted by johannahdeschanel at 1:53 PM PST - 26 comments

Some cool houses. There are also some cool photos and such, but it's the houses that caught my eye. [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen at 1:41 PM PST - 4 comments

Okay, so you're setting up a payment system and you need to punch in a fake credit card number. You can always go with the familiar standby, 4111111111111111, but the truth is any sequence of numbers will work so long as it conforms to the Luhn algorithm (occasionally also referred to as "Mod 10", since it involves modulo operations). If you don't want to work the algorithm out with a paper and pencil, you can just use Credit Card Generator [now available in JavaScript] developed by Graham King. How is any of this interesting? Well, he also provided a page of already generated credit card numbers with predictable, yet hilarious, results. In response, one person offered a foolproof method of getting your hands on a valid credit card number and a CVV2 code.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:02 PM PST - 28 comments


8 Year Old Shredder.
posted by gman at 12:25 PM PST - 36 comments

Contents of the beloved/historic/deceased Mondo Kim's video store in New York City purchased by the town of Salemi, Italy. The village intends to project the videos as part of a neverending film festival open to the public. Roadtrip, anyone?
posted by unknowncommand at 12:09 PM PST - 21 comments

Wearers of Adaptive Eyewear can make their own prescriptions. The lenses are plastic bladders that change shape and corrective power with a small syringe. So far 30,000 people who may never be reached by an optician or afford conventional eyeglasses now have corrected vision. Recipients are now able to read, mend fishing nets, sew, and perform other tasks requiring good eyesight. The inventor, Oxford University professor Josh Silver, hopes his nonprofit organization can begin manufacturing and distributing up to 100 million pairs a year.
posted by ardgedee at 11:14 AM PST - 14 comments

Why Wall Street Always Blows It, and why we're always to blame, as told by banished securities analyst Henry Blodget.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:10 AM PST - 37 comments

Mike Wilson, on a continental 737 flight, twittered his plane crash almost as it happened. See his feed starting here.
posted by sdn at 10:29 AM PST - 61 comments

Jaydiohead, an album of Radiohead and Jay-Z mashups by Minty Fresh Beats Warning: goofy-looking dude's myspace. [more inside]
posted by dismas at 10:19 AM PST - 33 comments

While Adult Swim is generally regarded as the pioneer of irreverent short-form animation -- especially for 'toons that reimagine past hits -- it wasn't always the king. In fact, the late-night programming block arguably found its birth in a series of short toons and interstitials that ran in the heyday of its daytime alter ego, the venerable Cartoon Network. The brainchild of C.N. Creative Director Michael Ouweleen and Hanna-Barbera chief Fred Seibert, these cartoons reinterpreted the network's properties through stock footage, indie music, and original animation in a wide variety of styles, as well as introducing prototypes of characters that would become some of the most famous in the history of American animation. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 9:50 AM PST - 80 comments

Maybe you remember them from their 'hit' single "Push Th' Little Daisies", or from their appearance on MTV's Beavis and Butt-head. Maybe you know them from their appearance in the film "It's Pat" or from their contributions to the "Road Trip" soundtrack or even from their appearance at Chef Aid on South Park. My hope, however, is that you don't know Ween, allowing me the opportunity to let you taste the waste. [more inside]
posted by Bageena at 9:23 AM PST - 73 comments

Clips from the BBC documentary, The African Rock n' Roll Years - Part 1 l Part 2 l Part 3 l Part 4 l Part 5 l Part 6 - a six-part series mixing interviews with key artists, concert footage and news archives, the series examines and explains the "styles that make up the continent's music, and the political and social pressures that led to their development." BBC documentary details. Found in YouTube member, Duncanzibar's, good collection of mostly African music videos. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 8:45 AM PST - 9 comments

The embargo has been lifted on the newest research on growing internet infrastructure insecurity. Using an army of Playstations, researchers have managed to forge a RapidSSL (owned by Verisign) CA certificate in a couple hours due to known flaws in MD5.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:44 AM PST - 33 comments

Farewell to All That An illuminating and depressing Oral History of the Bush White House from Vanity Fair
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:10 AM PST - 88 comments

Moving Image Source is devoted to the history of film, television, and digital media. It features original articles by leading critics, authors, and scholars; a calendar that highlights major retrospectives, festivals, and gallery exhibitions at venues around the world; and a regularly updated guide to online research resources. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 6:33 AM PST - 1 comments


Avatara is a 2003 ethnographic film (72 minutes) that takes place entirely in "Cyberia", specifically in the Digitalspace Traveler virtual world (previously), which dates back to 1996. Interview with the filmmaker. Review of the film. via [more inside]
posted by Rumple at 12:44 AM PST - 4 comments

December 29

Where did Venus’s water go? Water may have once been as abundant on Venus as it is on Earth. New data from the Venus Express suggests that the planet's lack of a magnetic field has allowed water in the atmosphere to be stripped apart and carried into space by the solar wind.
posted by homunculus at 9:26 PM PST - 30 comments


The Hellstrom Chronicle "The film posits a theory any science fiction buff would glom onto in a second—that dominion over the world will come down to a battle between two classes of Kingdom Animalia, Man and insects, and that insects will win." Watch on youtube, 11 parts.
posted by dhruva at 5:38 PM PST - 35 comments

Adi Da (one of the most extreme of the 20th century God-men) died on Thanksgiving. This may be a little late, and of little interest to most of you. (He had many names: Da Free John is probably the most recognizable to many of us.) He lived in luxury in Fiji, with many beautiful "consorts." There is a very extensive discussion about him and his work here. Info about his "cult" here.
posted by kozad at 5:23 PM PST - 45 comments

The Wired Vaporware Awards, an institution since 1999 has taken some heavy hits this year, and has had to resort to some pretty naked padding to make a list (products in late beta whose release date has merely slipped? come on) – however, if there is anything that remains constant in these uncertain times we live in it is that one game rules the list, debuting in the No 2. slot in 2000, it then latched on to the top spot, with only editorial edict able to to shift it. Ladies and gentlemen, Duke Nukem - FOREVER.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM PST - 72 comments


TARP, SSFIP, EESA, CPP, TALF, MMIFF... Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the new acronyms coming out of the US Treasury Department lately? Here's a handy PDF reference guide to untangling the US government efforts to rescue banks, financial corporations, and other companies.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:05 PM PST - 10 comments

"At an age at which I should be putting on a wedding dress, I am asking for someone's eyes to be dripped with acid,"
Four years ago, a spurned suitor poured a bucket of sulfuric acid over [Ameneh Bahrami's] head, leaving her blind and disfigured. Late last month, an Iranian court ordered that five drops of the same chemical be placed in each of her attacker's eyes, acceding to Bahrami's demand that he be punished according to a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that allows a victim to seek retribution for a crime. The sentence has not yet been carried out.
[more inside]
posted by davidstandaford at 11:23 AM PST - 263 comments

In defense of suburbs: "Revolutionary Road," based on Richard Yates's 1961 novel of the same name, is the latest entry in a long stream of art that portrays the American suburbs as the physical correlative to spiritual and mental death.
posted by kliuless at 11:01 AM PST - 172 comments

In a time of top 10 lists, there are those who aim higher: They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? maintains an annually updated list of the 1,000 greatest films ever made, as well as the 250 greatest of the 21st century. Kevin B. Lee wants to see them all. How many have you seen? (via)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:31 AM PST - 55 comments

Freddie Hubbard passed away today. [more inside]
posted by bluedaniel at 10:20 AM PST - 42 comments


Ann Savage, the femme fatale star of Edgar G. Ulmer's legendary noir Detour, died on Christmas day after a series of strokes. [more inside]
posted by pxe2000 at 7:52 AM PST - 10 comments



Mutton pie. An Orange organisation. A portrait size. A delicious confection Desired the world over. The true meat of this post – Inns and taverns of old London. [PDF]
posted by tellurian at 3:20 AM PST - 2 comments

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Delaney Bramlett has died at 69. [more inside]
posted by Knappster at 1:20 AM PST - 14 comments

We've talked about gold on Metafilter before (1 2 3), and while the price of gold as a commodity rising to record levels again, nobody is talking about the real price of gold. Unfortunately, small-scale mining is sometimes crucial to the livelihood of communities, for example in Suriname (1 2). Although there are attemps to make mining cleaner, the way growth in demand is outpacing supply, combined with the belief that it is a perceived safe-haven store of wealth, it is likely the negative effects will be with us for many decades.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:18 AM PST - 65 comments

Death and Life: Madison New Life Band bid farewell to Bishop Daddy Madison in Washington, D.C. Stooges Brass Band plays in New Orleans [second line].
posted by ferdydurke at 12:22 AM PST - 2 comments

A retro set of cocktail napkins showing Eisenhower-era damsels and drunkards, with captions by The Bard. via
posted by Rumple at 12:10 AM PST - 19 comments

December 28

Cats have a seemingly unique ability, a 'righting reflex', to orient themselves in a fall allowing them to avoid many injuries and land on all four feet. It is this ability that helps cats to parachute safely into Borneo and survive falls from the 38th floor of a skyscraper (although falls from lower levels can be more serious given that it takes some time for the cat to right itself). Here's how it works. Here's a video of the reflex in action.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:32 PM PST - 68 comments

Fredrik Larsson (Freddie25) presents: Für Elise, Mega Man 9: Rock Medley and Wind Waker Unplugged.
posted by defenestration at 10:24 PM PST - 8 comments

Sandra Lee: Much loved cake guru, teaches us mere mortals a valuable lesson about Kwanzaa via angelfood cake, in her great track record of cultural and religious understanding. Higher quality vid, w/ads.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:43 PM PST - 38 comments

Super Mario / Scientist Dub
posted by generalist at 9:35 PM PST - 9 comments

Robert Altman's final film of the 1970s was Quintet - about a board game where the players kill each other. Here are the rules.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:22 PM PST - 21 comments


Lolbrarians
posted by Del Far at 6:23 PM PST - 70 comments

Cobrastyle is possibly the least "likely" Swedish pop song. And now, it's been covered by another Swede. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:17 PM PST - 22 comments

I Wish I were the Moon by Daniel Benmergui - a small, simple puzzle game. Find the 5 endings. About. Redux (with more endings). Via gamasutra's top 5 indie games of 2008.
posted by nthdegx at 5:10 PM PST - 15 comments

Many of us have seen or read The Wave, but how many of us have seen A Class Divided? It depicts one third-grade teacher's attempts to teach Midwestern children about the civil rights movement, many of whom had never met a black person before. As part of a daring experiment, she split the class between brown-eyed children and blue-eyed children, and gave the "browneyes" special privileges. The children were told, in no uncertain terms, that the "blueyes" were inferior. What followed was a lesson in discrimination that the kids would remember for the rest of their lives.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:57 PM PST - 53 comments


How To Do Almost Anything With Social Media from Mashable. All kinds of practical tips and tons of useful link resources for personal or business uses. At the bottom of the page are additional links to things like 24 Most Underrated Websites of 2008 l How to Find a Babysitter Online l How to Find Your Way Around Any New City.
posted by nickyskye at 1:04 PM PST - 8 comments

The current conflict between Israel & Hamas is all over the news. But the most interesting bits aren't on CNN or the Beeb. [more inside]
posted by huskerdont at 11:53 AM PST - 290 comments

The Russian people may vote Joseph Stalin as the greatest Russian to ever live. Despite the atrocities and cleansings committed by Stalin and his regime over his 30 year reign, 397,000 people have voted in a poll to recognize him as Russia's greatest countryman. Even more disturbing, the Russian government recently raided an organization and seized archives detailing Soviet repression under Stalin. A new history book for Russian teachers also describes Stalin's actions as "rational." Stalin is praised by many Russians for his defeat of the Nazi invasion forces during WWII. Even if he does not win the contest, it is amazing that such a tyrannical figure could be adored by nearly 400,000 Russians who voted for him.
posted by NationalWreck at 11:37 AM PST - 68 comments

The Watchmen film has been tossed around for 20 years and finally, it looks like it might be released. Hold up just a moment, says Fox. Bloggers attempt to give some perspective. Others attempt to give Fox some friendly advice about alternate activites
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:27 AM PST - 75 comments

Wartime wandering through the Eastern states by bicycle, truck, and riverboat. 1944.

In 1944, a dear friend, Doris Roy, and I undertook an adventurous journey that we dreamed of during countless hikes together over our college holidays. We had been Camp Fire Girls together, loving the out-of-doors, camping and hiking the open road. Our dreams finally developed into a plan to ride bicycles from our home in Buffalo, New York, to Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River met the Mississippi. We admired Mark Twain’s adventures, had read his Life on the Mississippi, and sought to follow his path to the Midwest. We were 21 years old...
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:39 AM PST - 9 comments

As 2009 approaches, you’re taking down your old calendars and wondering what to do with them. You still enjoy those Monet/Jeff Foxworthy/rose garden/Playmate images so much you hate to throw them in the recycling bin. Don’t worry, there are ways to reinvent that calendar so you can enjoy those images for years to come. For starters, you could make envelopes and notecards out the calendar. Though perhaps you won’t want to use your new Playmate stationery to write to Grandma. [more inside]
posted by orange swan at 10:21 AM PST - 7 comments

The Economist on Drugs -- Scientists in North America, Europe and Israel are studying the use of MDMA, LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and other banned psychoactive substances in treating conditions such as anxiety, cluster headaches, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are supported by private funds from a handful of organisations: the Beckley Foundation in Britain; the Heffter Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in America. [related]
posted by kliuless at 8:50 AM PST - 43 comments

Artists' Books Online is a collection by the University of Virginia of artists' books. Artists' books are works of art that take the form of books and are often both text and visual art. Either way, they're awful interesting to look at. Here are some artbooks to get you started: How to Humiliate Your Peeping Tom by Susan Baker, The Word Made Flesh by Johanna Drucker, Life in a Book by Francois Deschamps, A.A.A.R.P. by Clifton Kirkpatrick Meador, opuntia is just another name for a prickly pear by Todd Walker and Black Dog White Bark by Erica Van Horn
posted by Kattullus at 5:33 AM PST - 7 comments

My Christmas message? There's probably no God.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:30 AM PST - 165 comments

In 1981, ABC aired a program in daytime that, while pre-dating the After School Special format, was a moralist tale aimed at children. "The Wave" was based on the classroom experiments of Ron Jones, which at the time went largely undocumented and were primarily anecdotal. The Third Wave as he called it, fooled the children of his class into creating a fascististic movement within the school complete with symbolism and salutes. [more inside]
posted by mediocre at 2:57 AM PST - 46 comments


Paris: Ville Invisible. "This work seeks to show how real cities resemble the 'invisible cities' of Italo Calvino. As cluttered, saturated, and asphyxiating as it is, one can breathe more freely in Paris, the invisible city." The renowned French sociologist Bruno Latour presents a "virtual sociological book" that explores the limits of social theory for the understanding of urban life. The Flash interface is somewhat rickety, but there is a text-only PDF of the English version. (via)
posted by nasreddin at 1:19 AM PST - 11 comments

December 27

Braess' paradox and the price of anarchy [PDF]: "We had three tunnels in the city and one needed to be shut down. Bizarrely, we found that car volumes dropped. ... We discovered it was a case of Braess' paradox, which says that by taking away space in an urban area you can actually increase the flow of traffic, and, by implication, by adding extra capacity to a road network you can reduce overall performance." [more inside]
posted by parudox at 11:23 PM PST - 15 comments

Ground Zero. This Google Maps mashup shows the thermal damage caused by various nuclear weapons or an asteroid on the city of your choice.
posted by homunculus at 9:06 PM PST - 53 comments

First QB in NCAA history to win four bowl games. Patrick White has been a record setting quarterback during his four years at West Virginia University. An early season Heisman trophy candidate, White is the all-time rushing QB in history, and apparently, an unassuming ladies man.
posted by netbros at 8:15 PM PST - 21 comments

I should tell your mamma on you.
posted by cashman at 7:43 PM PST - 24 comments

"We do not think our way to right action. We act our way to right thinking." David Milch talks to students in USC class Religion, Media and Hollywood. Not for everyone but I find pretty much anything this guy says fascinating. Parts 1 2 3 4 5 6.
posted by Manhasset at 6:11 PM PST - 19 comments

Samuel Phillip Huntington, best known for his work "Clash of Civilizations," died on December 24. Previously on the blue (here, here, here, and here)
posted by Glibpaxman at 5:12 PM PST - 20 comments




I had not heard of Julie Fowlis until this morning. [more inside]
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:58 PM PST - 61 comments

Radiohead's music video for All I Need. [more inside]
posted by ageispolis at 1:48 PM PST - 35 comments

The Caffeine Examiner will review any product containing caffeine. For example: chewing gum, sprays, energy drinks, soft drinks, hard drinks, perplexingly hard drinks, patches...? The sidebar on the right points to reviews of more caffeinated products than I had ever dreamed existed. Products are also rated by taste, packaging, nutrition/buzz, and website functionality. [via]
posted by not_on_display at 1:41 PM PST - 16 comments

Play board games during the holidays? Try an updated version of an old classic. You can indulge in as much sex, drugs, crime, and rock and roll as your health will handle, just don't roll a 1 on your first turn or you'll be aborted before you get started. [more inside]
posted by mrmojoflying at 1:00 PM PST - 6 comments

Hippie Masala [masala is the Hindi word for spice mix] is a documentary which poignantly depicts the lives of a handful of old hippies from different countries, who not only remained in India but also remained in the caricature roles of a small few in those days. These are, in some ways, lost souls stuck in the amber of the 1960's and 70's and this movie offers glimpses into their lives now. SnagFilms also has 510 other excellent documentaries to watch for free online. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 12:35 PM PST - 24 comments

Anthony Diaz Hope is a modern artist. He photographs a scene, dissects the image into a grid, and inserts pill capsules into each tiny segment.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 12:06 PM PST - 21 comments

Using one of these Jeremy Peterson makes things like a folded box, a hex connector toy, and a calling card (he makes his project files available). His photos are cool and his art doesn't suck. [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen at 10:57 AM PST - 17 comments

I, for one, welcome our new loner female, tool-using dolphin overlords. [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 6:50 AM PST - 40 comments


I regard myself as a woman who has seen much of life. Belle Starr, also known as the Bandit Queen, was a well-educated "spoiled, rich girl" who grew up to prefer the company of outlaws. Her unconventional life inspired song lyrics [1, 2, 3, 4], movies [1, 2, 3], even manga [1, 2].
posted by amyms at 1:51 AM PST - 9 comments

[belated but brilliant] Friday Flash Fun — The Majesty of Colors
posted by cthuljew at 12:16 AM PST - 21 comments

December 26

Jacques Pépin has a sequel called More Fast Food My Way to his popular Fast Food My Way. Alot of episodes of More Fast Food My Way are online in their entirety and what episodes aren't online have excerpted one minute recipes. If that isn't enough cooking goodness videos exist online of most of the recipes in Fast Food My Way.
posted by Kattullus at 9:58 PM PST - 29 comments

The Sea of Perdition - Children of the Kingdom - Black Tulips - Three short films by South African-born film director Richard Stanley. Stanley's career took off with Hardware (an unacknowledged adaptation the 2000ad story Shok!) and the apocalyptic African western/Horror movie Dust Devil, then hit the rocks with the doomed 1996 version of the Island of Doctor Moreau, from which he was fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer. Stanley hasn't directed a feature film since... though he now has two films in preproduction, Vacation and Bones of the Earth. The original script for Moreau can be read on his unofficial site, as well as the script for a sequel to Hardware. Richard Stanley's MySpace Blog is also very strange.
posted by Artw at 9:52 PM PST - 18 comments

The little blue pill goes to war.
posted by mek at 9:07 PM PST - 74 comments

Environmental disaster in Tennessee. On Monday, 5.4 million cubic yards (over 1 billion gallons; the Exxon Valdez oil spill was about 11 million gallons) of toxic coal ash sludge broke through an earthen retaining wall of a holding pond at TVA’s Kingston power plant, damaging 12 homes and covering over 400 acres up to six feet deep.
posted by homunculus at 9:00 PM PST - 59 comments

Momentary Awe ― travel photography from more than 20 countries by Catalin Marin. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 7:46 PM PST - 10 comments

Please don't divorce us. An emotional argument for overturning Prop 8.
posted by desjardins at 7:44 PM PST - 112 comments

Acoustic guitar virtuoso Clive Carroll is one of Britain's most acclaimed players. To find out why, check out these performances: Mississippi Blues, Czardas, Eliza's Eyes, Aerial Discoveries, The Kildimo Set. The last link comes from Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop, an amazing resource with more than two hundred tutorials and performances from top guitarists.
posted by tomcooke at 6:16 PM PST - 6 comments

I work as a film location scout in New York City. My day is basically spent combing the streets for interesting and unique locations for feature films. In my travels, I often stumble across some pretty incredible sights, most of which are ignored every day by thousands of New Yorkers in too much of a rush to pay attention. As it happens, it's my job to pay attention, and I've started this blog to keep a record of what I see.
posted by grumblebee at 4:30 PM PST - 44 comments


The beautiful vintage photos of three Belgian friends - a doctor, a painter, and accountant - who shared their experiments in color photography from 1907 to 1920. (via The Wonderland of Mia Mäkilä) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive at 1:43 PM PST - 17 comments

Mercurial Skip James was a Delta bluesman from Bentonia, Mississippi. His best known song is probably I'm So Glad, covered by Cream but my favorite is the haunting Hard Times Killin' Floor Blues.
posted by RussHy at 12:02 PM PST - 30 comments

Snow day at the zoo. Even the baby elephant has fun. Seals, tigers, wolf, elephants. Teh cute starts at 2:36. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 11:33 AM PST - 21 comments

Canis Resort , the world's first luxury dog hotel, located in Freising, north of Munich, Germany. It opened for preview on December 9, 2008, and is to be opened to the public from December 15, 2008. The hotel can accommodate up to fourty-five dogs in nine heated dog lodges, with trained dogsitters offering full services including grooming, training, health care and exercise, twenty-four seven. Day care costs 65 euros, while an overnight stay costs 80 euros. The 20 trained dogsitters offer a seven-day, 24-hour full service for all guests. Check out these images.
posted by Fizz at 11:18 AM PST - 22 comments

Blind, Yet Seeing : New research into blindsight from Harvard University and M.I.T. showing that people who have been blinded by brain injury have resources beyond sight to do such tasks as navigate an obstacle course (movie).
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:33 AM PST - 21 comments

DJ Earworm does it again - Like last year, he's made a year-end mashup and accompanying video featuring the top 25 hits of the year (as calculated by Billboard). Can you name most of the songs included? Are you more or less hip than last year? [more inside]
posted by flatluigi at 8:42 AM PST - 35 comments

Christoph Niemann illustrates: his sons' obsession with the NYC subway (previously), bathroom tile art, New York cheat sheets, and his experiences with coffee (illustrated with coffee on napkins). Check out his excellent portfolio of illustrations and don't miss the ones on illustrating. You can see Niemann talk a bit about his work here.
posted by parudox at 1:04 AM PST - 18 comments

Residents of the Fuggerei in Augsburg pay an annual rent of just one Rheinischer Gulden, the same as in 1520. There are a few conditions: one must be poor, Catholic, an Augsburg resident for two years, and pray thrice daily for the souls of the Fuggers.
posted by Knappster at 12:00 AM PST - 11 comments

December 25

A narrated slideshow tour of Stockholm's Jumbo Hostel, which is inside a remodelled Boeing 747. The engine pods will be each become a room for two. Opens January 15th.
posted by Rumple at 10:32 PM PST - 7 comments


Just some cool dark fantasy art by John Jude Palencar, including covers for Lovecraft, de Lint, Tolkien and other popular books.
posted by mediareport at 6:04 PM PST - 11 comments

Punkcast is a long running series of videos of live underground music in NYC shot by Joly MacFie. Each video is usually one song. The Internet Archive hosts its videos and offers downloads in a variety of formats. MacFie also has a YouTube channel with 480 videos and a video podcast [iTunes link, feedburner link]. Here are a few bands that caught my fancy: The Icicles and The Besties, The Slits (1, 2 ), Andrew W. K., Oneida (1, 2), The Long Blondes, The Gossip, Acid Mothers Temple & Cosmic Inferno, Art Brut, Be Your Own Pet, Cansei de Ser Sexy, Lesbians on Ecstasy, The Fall, Fred Frith, Rose Melberg and Jennifer O'Connor, The Horrors, The Homosexuals, Bat for Lashes, Radio 4 and Teddybears, Kimya Dawson and Tiny Masters of Today, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Nikki Sudden.
posted by Kattullus at 6:00 PM PST - 12 comments

Dave's Web of Lies. There is a lot of information available on the World Wide Web. Not all of it is as it seems. Everywhere you look there is out-of-date information, popular misconceptions, and even mistruths presented as fact. Random lie is your friend. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 5:37 PM PST - 41 comments

Poor Cirno - she just can't get a break: Her math class was a failure, she has a hard time telling a crush how she feels, and everyone calls her an idiot. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:15 PM PST - 30 comments

Eartha Kitt, The Pur-r-rfect Woman dies at 81 The Real Catwoman once described as "The Most Exciting Woman in the World". And no Christmas mix is complete without her rendition of "Santa Baby". Thank you Miss Kitt .
posted by somnambulist at 2:56 PM PST - 104 comments

8-bit Jesus is a free CD of Christmas classics, done in 8-bit style by the fantastic Doctor Octoroc. [via]
posted by patr1ck at 2:40 PM PST - 10 comments

Ghislain Poirier wants you to "Beat Up Your Own Remix" (Don't forget to hit record!)
posted by geos at 1:23 PM PST - 7 comments

A christmas message from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM PST - 92 comments

Dial-a-Stranger: When you don't know who to turn to... Turn to who you don't know. The creation of Zachary Kent and Mercedes Martinez. It's not at all like AskMeFi.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:21 PM PST - 4 comments


Harold Pinter has died, the BBC reports If you don't know about him it is worth getting acquainted. This is a sad day for literature, but at least he had a good innings.
posted by The Salaryman at 6:11 AM PST - 53 comments

December 24

A glance will show / Why Phoebe Snow / Prefers this route / To Buffalo.
And Phoebe's right / No route is quite / As short as Road / of Anthracite.


In 1908 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad began work on the New Jersey Cut-Off to make its New York to Buffalo mainline (the Road of Anthracite so liked by Phoebe Snow) even shorter and faster. It was to have no grade crossings, and was to be as straight and level as possible — through hilly terrain. The 28-mile Lackawanna Cut-Off, as it is now known, was built over three years, cost $11 million, and was an engineering marvel of massive reinforced concrete bridges, enormous cuts, and the largest railroad embankment in the world. All of this has been abandoned for years, though there are plans afoot to restore the Cut-Off for commuter rail. [more inside]
posted by parudox at 11:35 PM PST - 17 comments

Lies We Tell Kids
posted by Navelgazer at 10:21 PM PST - 157 comments


Before moving on to House (Laurie) and being bloody awesome (Fry), even before Jeeves and Wooster, but after Blackadder I think, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry appeared in an amazing sketch show called A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Fry, in particular, has a way of taking any bit of linguistic madness at all and turning it into something that sounds almost respectable.
To start off, these are calculated to make your brain explode: Tricky Linguistics and Part 2, Buying an Engagement Ring, and The Haircut [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 8:03 PM PST - 46 comments

Christmas in the London Blitz, 1940; Making Christmas Crackers, 1910; Santa Claus, 1898; Christmas is coming, 1951: short films from the British Film Institute's wonderful Youtube Channel (including excellent playlists), which you can also explore through Google Earth using the kmz file found here.
posted by Rumple at 7:13 PM PST - 4 comments

Japanese cat food commercials: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
posted by needled at 6:59 PM PST - 24 comments

Meet Bodacious, dubbed 'The World's Most Dangerous Bull', only six cowboys managed to last the required 8 seconds on his back. He was one hell of a tough ride. Primus even wrote a song for him on their Antipop album called Ballad of Bodacious. [more inside]
posted by flipyourwig at 6:48 PM PST - 10 comments

Would you care to relax in the bosom of my family this christmas? Freed from the formality of working life? Christmas Tidings from Mr. Cholmondley-Warner and Grayson (SLHEYT) [more inside]
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:39 PM PST - 2 comments

Adobecards - an aesthetic Flash-based advertisement for a new Adobe product
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:13 PM PST - 29 comments

Animals In Formalin Preservation. That is all.
posted by gman at 4:57 PM PST - 15 comments

A SLYT Christmas gift for anglophile rock nerds worldwide: The Trial Of Ralph McTell, a sketch from the British comedy show French and Saunders featuring Dave Gilmour, Mark King, Lemmy Kilmister, Mark Kuh-nop-fler and others. (previous) [more inside]
posted by spoobnooble at 2:28 PM PST - 8 comments

Artist Devorah Sperber works with "low-tech pixels": maptacks, marker caps, chenille stems, flower-power stickers, and spools of thread. via
posted by Knappster at 2:03 PM PST - 9 comments

95 Old School Games You Can Play Online: Every game is reviewed and rated. Includes a link to every game on the list, a visual and mini description and how each one is played. [Bonus, some links at the bottom of the page to more games].
posted by nickyskye at 12:41 PM PST - 46 comments

"Modern Christmas is like primitive Keynesianism, a short-run-oriented economic experiment that has been tried and found wanting." Economist James S. Henry weighs in on "Why the Grinch has it right."
posted by nasreddin at 12:10 PM PST - 58 comments

Let's Rock Mashed In Plastic is a double album of mashups featuring music and audio from David Lynch's filmed work. Standouts, for me: "The Voice of Love Is Crying" and "The Elephant Connection".
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:33 AM PST - 2 comments

Merry Christmas from Henchmen 21 & 24. The annual Venture Bros. Christmas song from Quickstop Entertainment. (Previously and previously)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:13 AM PST - 24 comments

Cheering for the othe side From the story: "They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas. It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through. Did you hear that? The other team's fans?" A feel good story for the holidays.
posted by sierray at 9:33 AM PST - 34 comments

In a move applauded by some internet privacy advocates, Yahoo will retain personally identifiable search information for only 90 days. This places it above competitors Google and Microsoft in terms of protecting user privacy. Congressional representatives are taking notice, but others criticize Yahoo's method of preserving user anonymity as not enough, hearkening back to AOL's massive data leak in 2006.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 9:32 AM PST - 11 comments

Rethinking Earthrise. On the 40th anniversary of the NASA's Apollo 8 mission [caution: weird JFK animation], which answered Stewart Brand's epochal, LSD-inspired question "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?" with an unforgettable image of a seemingly fragile and isolated blue planet, Nature editor Oliver Morton -- author of a new book on photosynthesis called Eating the Sun -- disputes the notion that the Earth is fragile and isolated. "The fragility is an illusion," he writes. "The planet Earth is a remarkably robust thing, and this strength flows from its ancient and intimate connection to the cosmos beyond. To see the photo this way does not undermine its environmental relevance -- but it does recast it."
posted by digaman at 9:01 AM PST - 39 comments

In 1974, John Henry Faulk told NPR a Christmas Story.
posted by timsteil at 7:56 AM PST - 6 comments

Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project The Library of Congress invites you to submit digital audio or video recordings of speeches made between January 16 and january 25, 2009 on the occasion of Barack Obama's inauguration. The speeches will be archived in a collection for future scholarship, much like the Day of Infamyand other collections capturing signifcant American moments.
posted by Miko at 7:54 AM PST - 4 comments

Since 1955 NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been tracking Santa's Christmas trek around the globe by way of radar, satellites, fighter jets and now Santa Cams. In addition to tracking via Google Maps, you can also follow his journey in 3D via Google Earth. Also, be sure to check the Santa Cams which capture video of the places he's already visited on his trip. [more inside]
posted by ericb at 7:43 AM PST - 27 comments

Coming February 3, 2009.... It's time for the next big wintertime memoir scandal.... ...and Oprah is not going to be amused. [more inside]
posted by availablelight at 7:41 AM PST - 52 comments


Every year the British Medical Journal publishes a less-than-serious Christmas edition. [more inside]
posted by alby at 6:49 AM PST - 11 comments

The Oriental Nightfish. A Chanukah/Christmas gift of sorts. "Listening to Linda proceed tunelessly through "Endless Days" (she "sings" the "song" the way that Ken Lay "protected employees" or Ryan Leaf "quarterbacked") is an experience to be treasured, if by treasured you mean buried in a chest by pirates."
posted by Xurando at 6:23 AM PST - 10 comments

Push tin with ATC-SIM, an air traffic control simulator.
posted by nthdegx at 3:19 AM PST - 31 comments

December 23

Forty Years Ago Today The first humans to leave earth orbit, Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, and William A. Anders, and their Christmas message. [more inside]
posted by Snyder at 11:07 PM PST - 71 comments

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a not-for-profit company sponsored by the UK government, urges you to cut down on waste paper this holiday season and wrap your presents with furoshiki, the traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. [more inside]
posted by armage at 8:53 PM PST - 19 comments

The LiveJournal community A Day In My Life is a glimpse via photos into a life of posters around the world. Compare and contrast the routines and pastimes, more is similar than different. But posts by a volunteer at a center for the blind in Tanzania show something far more enriching. His photos document an average day in the life of two of the village's seven-year-olds: a boy, Barracka and a girl, Nyemo.
posted by five_dollars at 8:45 PM PST - 6 comments

Sir William Ormerod, CBE, actor, philanthropist and molecular engineer, (and cousin of Major William Martin, Royal Marines), granted, in recognition of his varied accomplishments, an honorary citizenship by Neutral Moresnet, has died. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality at 6:26 PM PST - 16 comments

Mark Twain was the first to talk about using fingerprinting in criminal cases. His 'Life on the Mississippi', published in 1883, contains a collection of essays and short stories. One such story concerns a man who had attempted to catch the killers of his wife and child by using fingerprint evidence. Mark Twain was evidently greatly interested in the subject. He had made a study of finger and hand marks. Fingerprinting wasn't commonly used to identify criminals in the U.S. until around 1903.
posted by flipyourwig at 5:05 PM PST - 16 comments


Tech publisher O'Reilly editors discuss the role of hard work and practice in programming and learning in general. "One aspect of learning programming that often eludes both students and teachers alike is the importance of practice, of actually working through all of these formal structures we teach. Most of our books, in a way, offer a promise of learning that avoids the slow repetition of practice."
posted by needled at 2:57 PM PST - 70 comments

The 104th General Knowledge Quiz from King William's College on the Isle of Man. Previously linked each year on MeFi.(2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 , 2003, 2002) Sometimes people share answers, sometimes they play alone. Last year's quiz.
posted by CCBC at 12:41 PM PST - 189 comments

State of Independence + He is Sailing
posted by vronsky at 12:33 PM PST - 6 comments

Some really beautiful, unusual visuals and reading: The Art of the Pochoir Book. The University of Cincinatti Rare Book archive has some cool stuff, like Leviathan: Watercolors of Whales from William Jardine’s The Naturalist’s Library l 4 pages of a newspaper called The Colored Citizen from November 7th 1863 (awesome to read knowing Obama is elected) l Travel and Exploration in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries: A View of the World through the Art of the Explorers. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 12:16 PM PST - 2 comments

M. Night Shyamalan has decided to cast white actors in the main roles of the upcoming motion picture based on the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender. The problem: Avatar featured an Asian world with Asian characters, including Aang, the titular character, and his friends Sokka and Katara. [more inside]
posted by lunit at 11:56 AM PST - 252 comments

Snowzilla: A 16 foot tall snowman in Anchorage, Alaska, has risen from the dead! Snowzilla, recently slain by code enforcement officer - "Giant snowman deemed a public nuisance, safety hazard" - has risen from the dead this morning.
A few images of the Beast. Long Live Snowzilla!
posted by Fuzzy Dog at 11:35 AM PST - 24 comments



Is the new feminism lipstick and fashion? “I think the proper reaction to a beauty pageant these days is to be bored by it. I would have thought that old version of feminism, which was violently opposed to lipstick and high heels, had died out by now. It’s an extinct image of feminism — that you can’t be both frivolous and serious or care about clothes and read books at the same time. And, in a way, it’s sort of depressing that these same old-fashioned battles keep on being recycled.”
posted by four panels at 10:20 AM PST - 141 comments

Newest episode of "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis" this time with guest star Jon Hamm of AMC's Madmen. For those unfamiliar, Zach Galifianakis is a comedian who's shown up in a few movies, but is most endeared for his casually abrasive stand-up; a beloved figure to and product of the Los Angeles Indie comedy scene. [Episode has a little NSFWish language, but mostly fine] Here is episode 1 of between two ferns (with Michael Cera) and episode 2 (with Jimmy Kimmel... who's a little too in on the joke)
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:02 AM PST - 36 comments

The Nature of Light and Color in the Open Air "Moreover, this book is written for all those who love Nature; for the young people going out into the wide world and gathering together round the camp-fire; for the painter who admires but does not understand the light and colour of the landscape; for those living in the country; for all who delight in travelling; and also for town-dwellers, for whom, even in the noise and clamour of our dark streets, the manifestations of Nature remain." - Marcel Minnaert [more inside]
posted by jquinby at 8:26 AM PST - 17 comments

It seems that the swastika's continued popularity among certain non-Western cultures has led to some interesting travel resources. Then there are places that should know better. Some of these are unintentionally funny, but is it still too soon for some?
posted by ericbop at 8:20 AM PST - 129 comments

5 Best Data Visualization Projects of the Year from FlowingData. Perhaps related, a new advertisement for MINI that uses augmented reality (AR).
posted by stbalbach at 7:21 AM PST - 9 comments

Eight years nearly to the day after I read about Adrian Henri's death on the Formica table of a service-station cafeteria, another of my favourite poets has left us. Adrian Mitchell, left-wing poet and romantic, 1932 - 2008. [more inside]
posted by mippy at 7:19 AM PST - 7 comments

Need a side of bacon on your web site? Everything is better with a little bacon added to it. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 7:11 AM PST - 28 comments

Left 4K Dead. Just you, in a dark corridor, with a torch, and a gun. And zombies. So many zombies.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:47 AM PST - 33 comments

My friends and I confided in each other, swapping stories, sharing out pain, while keeping it all hidden from the adults in our lives. After all, who could we tell? This wasn’t rape - it didn’t fit the definitions. This was Not rape. We should have known better. We were the ones who would take the blame. We would be punished, and no one wanted that. So, these actions went on, aided by a cloak of silence. From Racialicious.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:41 AM PST - 348 comments

A short history of anatomical maps provides an overview of the evolution of anatomical knowledge and the visual documentation that accompanied it.
posted by zeoslap at 6:24 AM PST - 11 comments

10 out of 13 million tracks available for purchase online didn't sell a single copy. Jut how Long can that Tail be, after all? Is the length of the tail mentioned in the article down to piracy or the state of the music industry as a whole? Is it possible to make a profit or break even on a niche website based on sales alone, and not on advertising revenue?
posted by Grrlscout at 4:50 AM PST - 56 comments

December 22

UnNerfed - the Nerf dart blaster overclocked to 500 rounds per minute.
posted by Artw at 11:45 PM PST - 38 comments

Fridtjof Nansen's Polar Saga. Part One: 1,000 Days in the Ice "It was an outlandish idea: freeze a ship in the Arctic Ocean and ride the drifting ice across the North Pole." Part Two: Chasing Nansen's Ghost. "Two adventurers set out across the Arctic in the footsteps of Norway's pioneering polar explorer."
posted by homunculus at 10:30 PM PST - 3 comments


The digital collection of the Tokyo National Museum is full of wonder. TNM is the oldest museum in Japan and collects archaeological objects and art from Japan as well as other parts of Asia. The collection can be browsed by type or region. Here are some of my favorites: Buddha's life, The name "Korin" given to pupil, Tale of Matsuranomiya, Coquettish type, Tea caddy in shape of bucket with handle, Mirror, design of sea and island, Traditionary identified as Minamoto no Yoritomo, Seated Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri) and attendants, Sword mounting of kazari-tachi type and (my current desktop background) Figures under a tree. This is but a small sampling of all that can be found in the digital collection
posted by Kattullus at 9:08 PM PST - 4 comments

Similar to coral, and much like the individual cells in our body, the individual zooids of Siphonophorae are so specialized that they lack the ability to survive on their own. Siphonophorae thus exist at the boundary between colonial and complex multicellular organisms. The Portuguese Man of War is probably the best known example of a Siphonophore, but there are others out there, some of which may well blow your mind.
posted by furtive at 7:54 PM PST - 23 comments

Mac Vs. PC. Inspired by Transformers, this short visual effects piece shows us what would happen if our home computers could turn into robots and started beating each other up.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:51 PM PST - 48 comments

Winter showed up with a vengeance over most of the country. This video is helping me love the season.
posted by vytae at 7:51 PM PST - 23 comments

Performance artists Corpus do Sheep. They also do Le Grand Peep Show. (links safe for peeps, safe for sheep and safe for work. Via Nutritional Plastic)
posted by isopraxis at 7:15 PM PST - 6 comments

Muslimgauze was the sound of an angry Middle East, a prolific source of music dark, spacious and smothering. Tension was a constant theme not only in the music but in the packaging. (For example, Betrayal shows the hands of Yassir Arafat and Yitzak Rabin, and guns, knives, and news photos of an Arab world at war were a common motif in titles and sleeve art.) However, the music wasn't the usual agitprop fare: Music meant to rile a public to a cause isn't normally pigeonholed as ambient, electronica or musique concrete. But the band, hidden from public view, was rumored to donate proceeds to Palestinian terrorists, and that they were eventually silenced by Mossad. Despite the prodigious output -- issuing almost a hundred EPs and albums between 1983 and 1998, over a hundred more since -- limited distribution and perpetual obscurity ensured the rumors were easier to find than the music. While the facts about Muslimgauze have little in common with the fictions, they are, if anything, stranger... [more inside]
posted by ardgedee at 4:38 PM PST - 48 comments

"Goat Gland" referred to a completed silent film in which one or more talking sequences/musical numbers were added in an attempt to make the film more marketable to talkie-crazed filmgoers. [more inside]
posted by flipyourwig at 3:37 PM PST - 19 comments

The makers of the soon to be released movie Coraline put together 50 unique boxes that were mailed to 50 different bloggers. Each box contained items that were used in the making of the movie along with letters and photographs. [more inside]
posted by Sailormom at 3:21 PM PST - 36 comments

"Chow Hound" - IMDB - Directed by Chuck Jones, written by Michael Maltese, voices by Mel Blanc
Classic-era Warner Bros. Generally absent (with exceptions, sometimes butchered) from the airwaves due to its connotations of cruelty, the troublesome get-up they put the mouse in at the zoo, and the ending. Quite a devious and funny cartoon. (SLYT)
posted by JHarris at 1:38 PM PST - 54 comments

In 1986, most gamers who were lucky enough to own a new video game system at home were playing the original Nintendo. It's launch in 1985, a year before the Sega Master System was launched in the states, allowed it plenty of time become the most popular console in the market, and the game Super Mario Bros. quickly became the best-selling video game of all time (a title it continues to hold, having sold over 40 million copies to date). However, even though Nintendo commanded 95% of the North American video game market at the time and the CEO of Sega made little effort to promote and market it, some people still bought and gave the Sega Master System a chance. Perhaps it was the 3-D glasses or it's unique ability to read multiple media inputs... or perhaps that the original version of the system had a secret game built right into it (and it was unbeatable!). [more inside]
posted by Bageena at 1:23 PM PST - 52 comments

"...relatives and fans of the shoe-throwing journalist, who has become a national hero, have staged a sit-in in a park adjacent to the Green Zone, and their numbers are growing. Army tanks and helicopters surrounded the 400 protesters and demanded they disband, but authorities were apparently persuaded that Iraq didn't need its own Tiananmen Square massacre, so the protest continues. Indeed, al-Zeidi has become a unifying figure for an Iraq split along a deep sectarian divide, with Sunnis from Samarra reportedly joining the predominantly Shi'ite supporters of the shoe-thrower. At last report, the two groups were sitting side by side eating lamb and vegetables, with the soldiers guarding them joining in." Via [more inside]
posted by 445supermag at 12:35 PM PST - 77 comments


Drawing from 175 digital collections and growing, American Social History Online pulls together primary sources documenting our past as a people. A project of the Digital Library Federation. [more inside]
posted by Rykey at 10:46 AM PST - 9 comments

Now's the time in the 1974 Bundesliga new uniform unveiling presentation where we dance. Happy Monday! :)
posted by miss lynnster at 10:35 AM PST - 30 comments

"Well beyond his sometimes nomadic life, Roberto Bolaño was an exemplary literary rebel. To drag fiction toward the unknown he had to go there himself, and then invent a method with which to represent it. Since the unknown place was reality, the results of his work are multi-dimensional, in a way that runs ahead of a critic's one-at-a-time powers of description. Highlight Bolaño's conceptual play and you risk missing the sex and viscera in his work. Stress his ambition and his many references and you conjure up threats of exclusive high-modernist obscurity, or literature as a sterile game, when the truth is it's hard to think of a writer who is less of a snob, or—in the double sense of exposing us to unsavory things and carrying seeds for the future—less sterile," Sarah Kerr on The Triumph of Roberto Bolaño, New York Review of Books.
posted by geoff. at 10:32 AM PST - 21 comments

Baptazia! And more... and more! The Holy Spirit descends, accompanied by Drum & Bass. See also, the first runner-up in MTV Latin America's "Make Your Radiohead Video" contest.
posted by hermitosis at 10:23 AM PST - 10 comments

Looks like Telecoms cashed out hard, and we lost out. At this point I'm not sure if I should blame deregulation, closed door deals or endemic corporate greed. Maybe it's a little of all three. All I know is we've fallen behind and it wasn't supposed to work like this. Plus, don't mess with our internets.
posted by Mr. Crowley at 9:49 AM PST - 48 comments

Peter Funch's Babel Tales. A little street photography and a lot of montage. [more inside]
posted by chunking express at 7:44 AM PST - 7 comments


'Junky's Christmas' by William S Burroughs (Part 1, Part 2) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:07 AM PST - 15 comments

The Digital Snow Museum has all kinds of photographs and images of snow around the world. With an assortment of forecasting tools, weather maps, travel reports, info for skiers and snowboarders, a library and art gallery. Let It Snow. For those in the northern hemisphere, December 21st is the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, the darkest day of the year. From this day until that of Midsummer, the days grow longer. Previously. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 1:13 AM PST - 6 comments

December 21

Just over sixty years ago the Reverend W. V. Awdry told his sick son a series of stories based on real life incidents with trains, which he later wrote up as the Railway Series. Now Thomas the Tank Engine and the other engines of the Isle of Sodor (somewhere between Barrow-in-Furness and the Isle of Man) are a global phenomena, with toys, books and of course the TV series - filmed using model trains on more than 70 1:32 scale 16-by-20-foot sets, and voiced by the likes of Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin. 2008 has been a rough year for Thomas: George Carlin, who voiced the series in the US up until 1998, passed away (previously), as did David Mitton, who had written and directed over 180 episodes (and who has previously worked on the special effects for Thunderbirds). There's changes ahead for Thomas as well - this year saw the faces of the engines, which had previously been cast in silicone and attached with double sided tape, replaced by CGI faces, and from 2009 onwards Nitrogen studios in Canada will be taking over production with an entirely CGI Thomas. Meanwhile a group of British students continues the tradition of model engine-based storytelling with their YouTube based British Railway Series.
posted by Artw at 10:51 PM PST - 74 comments

Poppy For Medicine. "America's drug war in Afghanistan has been a miserable failure. So why not legalize opium production and let Afghanistan become the Saudi Arabia of morphine?"
posted by homunculus at 10:15 PM PST - 57 comments

Ze Frank received many wonderful, heartfelt and poignant responses to from 52 to 48 with love in the form of pictures, comments and emails. However, as it became more widely circulated, it also provoked intense anger and outrage. So, he created angrigami as an attempt to devour the entire carcass, bones, bile and all.
posted by netbros at 9:32 PM PST - 36 comments

Ice:A Victorian Romance , is an exhibition of fifty-five rare books and journals, with lovely illustrations. [more inside]
posted by hortense at 8:19 PM PST - 8 comments


The president of a Savings & Loan sent the following email to his family: If you have one hour of your time to invest in learning more about the current economic crisis, I highly recommend you click on one of the two below links and view [Paul Krugman's Friday address to the National Press Club]. His remarks take about 1/2 hour followed by 25 minutes of Q&As. I believe you will find watching it worth your time. P.S. If you decide to view Krugman's speech, I recommend you view it "full screen" for the best effect of viewing his body language. Link 1, Link 2 [more inside]
posted by spock at 6:15 PM PST - 63 comments

Snow Prints [more inside]
posted by gwint at 6:08 PM PST - 18 comments

Audio visual technology changes so fast that if you’re of a certain age you’ve been left holding the bag of cassettes, VHS tapes and vinyl records. What will you do with these AV artifacts if you no longer want to play them? Have no fear; you can have lots of crafty fun with your real audio. You can make a cassette tape mini journal, a cassette wallet or cassette coin purse, or a mini cassette lamp. If you’re into melting stuff, you can make a sculpture, such as this skeleton, from the plastic. The tape can be crocheted or knitted into items like totes, evening bags, Barbie halter dresses, or baby booties. [more inside]
posted by orange swan at 5:17 PM PST - 11 comments

Curtis Steiner is a Seattle businessman and artist who operates a local gift shop. Both his home and his shop have garnered positive press, but his greatest artistic achievement may be his piece entitled 1,000 blocks, which explores the permutations of the six facets of the cube.
posted by Tube at 4:40 PM PST - 30 comments

Ten winners in the Goethe Institute's Schiller rap contest.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:56 PM PST - 15 comments

Robert Mulligan, the director of To Kill a Mockingbird, has passed away. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman at 3:51 PM PST - 17 comments

A blow-by-blow analysis of Wachovia's demise, as told by the bank's local paper, The Charlotte Observer.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:48 PM PST - 16 comments

Chanukkah is the story of a group of warriors (the Maccabees, later the Hasmoneans, led by Mattathias) who rose up against the Greeks (the Seleucids), united the Jews, reclaimed the Temple (Beit HaMikdash), and then lit one day's supply of oil which miraculously lasted for eight days, started a brand new holiday called Chanukkah, and brought Jewish sovereignty and peace to the land of Israel. Except that almost every part of that story is either wrong or completely misleading. [more inside]
posted by andoatnp at 11:54 AM PST - 66 comments

Internet apotheosis. When 13 year-old Japanese girls rock Rush, complete with drumstick insanity, then we can all go home. We've done what we've set out to do. (SLYT)
posted by awenner at 11:06 AM PST - 71 comments


Maybe you didn't get into the oldest Santa Claus School for an elite education. So you considered schools in other places. But being Santa Claus is something you can learn on your own. It's just a matter of learning how to dress and act. If you can handle the hours, the job insecurity, the union, the corporate pressure, and the customer relations, you may just find a jolly career.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:14 AM PST - 13 comments

"We were classmates in high school... And we spoke the plan to go to Yakushima Island. However, the talk swells greatly...We decided to make a camper for a round-the-japan trip. We thought that various equipment was necessary to long trip. However, the bed space has disappeared when various equipment is packed. Then, the idea adjusted to two stories appeared." More on the truck and the trip. (via Dinosaurs and Robots)
posted by madamjujujive at 7:21 AM PST - 21 comments

The shoe hurled at President George W. Bush has sent sales soaring at the Turkish maker. "Istanbul-based Baydan Ayakkabicilik ...has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999. The company plans to employ 100 more staff to meet demand, he said..."
posted by mojohand at 6:59 AM PST - 48 comments


December 20

At dawn on the winter solstice, the passage and chamber of the megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange are illuminated for 17 minutes by a shaft of sunlight entering through the roofbox above the entrance. The builders of Newgrange achieved this precise alignment over 5,000 years ago, 1,000 years before Stonehenge. You can watch the sunrise illumination on a live webcast between 08:30 and 09:30 UTC on Sunday, December 21st.
posted by homunculus at 10:00 PM PST - 29 comments

In an innovative approach to record breaking, the world-renowned Todd Lamb set a new record for the most images of fish sandwiches looked at in sixty seconds.
posted by Pants! at 7:54 PM PST - 26 comments

One of my sources died in a plane crash last night Michael Connell, a high ranking Republican "IT Guru" who was supposedly about to come forward with damning info on Karl Rove, perished in a small-engine plane crash on Friday. He had sought protection after Rove allegedly threatened him.
posted by waraw at 6:59 PM PST - 113 comments

Tales of the Beanworld ("A most peculiar comic book experience") recently resumed publication after a long hiatus. It's a strange and abstract mix of Native American mythology and culture, with a strong ecological focus, into an wonderfully charming cosmology. While it certainly invites, uh, overthinking, it's also entertaining on a purely casual level.
A sample short Beanworld story is on the Dark Horse Comics Myspace page.
If you have questions about it, the BeanWeb just may have answers, along with illustrations from the comics. There is now a Beanworld Wiki to supplement it, and creator Larry Marder keeps a blog where he talks about things bean.

Okay, now that it's properly introduced... the real point of this post is to link to this awesome Beanworld Flash cartoon, animated by Fashionbuddha and with music by They Might Be Giants!
posted by JHarris at 6:32 PM PST - 17 comments

For large events, the National Park Service recommends one porta-potty per every 300 people. But if a low estimate of two million people attend the January 20th swearing-in of Barack Obama and the inaugural parade that follows, the just announced 5,000 toilets planned for the event will provide only one seven-foot plastic sanctuary for every 400 people. And even though Don's Johns use a satellite GPS system to "track the delivery, location, and status of every unit," many are skeptical the levies will hold.
posted by punkbitch at 6:31 PM PST - 29 comments

Neutral, developer of the excellent room escape game Vision (among others), has released his second Christmas-themed escape game. It's a bit tougher than his first one, but neither are particularly difficult—after all, we are talking about Christmas-themed escape games. Play them while you can—they're only available during the holidays!
posted by greenie2600 at 5:15 PM PST - 11 comments

The Cliche-o-Matic: Never be at a loss for banal words again!
posted by Navelgazer at 4:29 PM PST - 46 comments

Historic, beautiful and interesting footage of Tibetan lamas and yogis teaching Buddhism, just 4 years after their escape from Tibet, when the Chinese invaded in 1959. "In 1963, for the first time, the Dalai Lama allowed a Westerner, Desjardins, to film the heart of the Tibetan tradition." Some meditation instruction taught by yogis: Tantra as practiced in Tibet, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Lerab's Youtube channel has all kinds of video gems for those interested in Buddhist and Hindu spiritual practice. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 4:03 PM PST - 12 comments

A Familyre Christmas, Volume 1 and 2. For the second year, Daniel Smith's collective of awkward folk acts is counting down the days until Christmas by giving away a new holiday album. Artists include Danielson, of course, as well as the previously-discussed Half-Handed Cloud and Sufjan Stevens. Also this month, Danielson has a new double CD of live tracks and rarities spanning his/their career. [more inside]
posted by roll truck roll at 3:12 PM PST - 9 comments

Elves Under Hoof (direct link to a zipped file of four PDFs) is a free print-and-play solitaire game from Dan Verssen. From the rules: Victory: You win when the last elf is dead. You achieve a Prancing Victory if you have 5 or more surviving reindeer. You get a Spoiled Meat Victory if you have 2 or less surviving reindeer. You lose if all your reindeer are killed and left to rot in the snow. It is included, naturally, in the Games involving Elf Death list at BoardGameGeek.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:17 PM PST - 4 comments

Pendle Poucher is a UK based composer, sound designer and lover of funny noises who has written, produced and performed soundtracks for every major UK TV station. He has devised large scale public art projects and written chart-topping dance music. However, what I find most interesting, he is also one of relatively few musicians within the UK who owns a dulcitone. Poucher claims that his Dulcitone 1884 is the world's first multi-sampled dulcitone. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 12:17 PM PST - 8 comments



Dock Ellis, an American baseball pitcherprev, won more games for the champion 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates than anyone else that year. Of course, he was under the influence of the performance-enhancing drug known as LSD on at least one no-hit occasion. Ellis died yesterday at the age of 63. [more inside]
posted by item at 7:25 AM PST - 68 comments

How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called "elevation." Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama's victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon....It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to "dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example." (via Geek Press) [more inside]
posted by caddis at 7:25 AM PST - 50 comments

Remember these UFOs? In May of last year, pictures were posted anonymously on Craiglist and Flickr of strange objects in the California sky. This Monday night, the mystery was solved.
posted by EarBucket at 7:17 AM PST - 37 comments

With one month left in George W. Bush's presidency, he contemplates his legacy; how the public will view him and his place in history. Whatever your personal feelings, you must admit that Bush did have his moments.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:19 AM PST - 142 comments

If you're a designer, you need the Grid System.
posted by signal at 3:52 AM PST - 20 comments

December 19

The conclusion of a research paper by associate professor Andrew McIntosh and research assistant Declan Patton of the School of Risk and Safety Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia: "To minimise the risk of head and neck injury, head bangers should decrease their range of head and neck motion, head bang to slower tempo songs by replacing heavy metal with adult oriented rock, only head bang to every second beat, or use personal protective equipment." (Via)
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:32 PM PST - 31 comments

When Jesus met Buddha. "Something remarkable happened when evangelists for two great religions crossed paths more than 1,000 years ago: they got along." [Via]
posted by homunculus at 9:20 PM PST - 51 comments

Create your own festive Christmas sweater. Or you can just buy one.
posted by gman at 5:04 PM PST - 24 comments

History Repeats Itself in Different Hues -- a readable Q&A data dump comparing the economics and policy responses of 1990s Japan and current events
posted by troy at 5:01 PM PST - 6 comments

Intelligent Design: Semen Quality linked to intelligence say researchers from the Vietnam Experience Study.
posted by The Whelk at 4:21 PM PST - 30 comments

Selfcontrolfreak: experiments in video interactivity.
posted by johnny novak at 3:45 PM PST - 11 comments

H+ Magazine is an online quarterly publication focusing on transhumanism, a product of the futurist movement that supports science and technology to enhance the mental and physical capacities of the human being. Sometimes referred to as posthumanism, Francis Fukuyama calls it one of the world's most dangerous ideas. If you feel like you're lagging behind, George Dvorsky is kind enough to inform us ~>H's of the must-know transhumanist terms for today's intelligentsia. [more inside]
posted by ageispolis at 3:27 PM PST - 107 comments

Anastasia Dobromyslova - 'From Russia With Love' - the women's world darts champion, will compete with the men at this month's World Championship. Some people are not happy about this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:46 PM PST - 28 comments

Achievement Unlocked: Posted a Flash Game on Friday.
posted by graventy at 2:46 PM PST - 48 comments

Evelyn Glennie speaks at TED. Don't know her? Visit her site.
posted by aisforal at 2:10 PM PST - 14 comments

Plays Monk Live at Intersection for the Arts. A terrific video and audio performance of Plays Monk recorded by BayTaper, an excellent one man multimedia operation recording the San Francisco area jazz & creative music scene. (previously)
posted by semmi at 1:43 PM PST - 6 comments

Perennial MeFi favourite Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, the behatted ex-pat brit best known for the bitingly sarcastic game reviews in Zero Punctuation (previously on MeFi) has a new project... [more inside]
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:15 PM PST - 30 comments

Do you, or an older relative of yours, recognize any of these children? More than 70 children separated from their families during WWII, now all elderly men and women, are using the Internet to try to find some answers about their pasts, their families, and sometimes even their own names. They are soliciting help and suggestions in the comments sections on each story. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl at 12:32 PM PST - 21 comments

Keanu Reeves is looking to create a live-action Cowboy Bebop movie with Erwin Stoff, and he wants the role of Spike Spiegel. (via io9) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:10 AM PST - 224 comments

Just slow down the video a little... and voila! It's drunk Jeff Goldblum, rambling about beige! [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster at 9:51 AM PST - 41 comments

Here’s the thing about Pottersville that struck me when I was 15: It looks like much more fun than stultifying Bedford Falls — the women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night. If anything, Pottersville captures just the type of excitement George had long been seeking. A different take on a classic movie.
posted by dersins at 9:32 AM PST - 71 comments


Music industry to abandon Mass Lawsuits. After years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy. [more inside]
posted by Afroblanco at 8:29 AM PST - 60 comments

Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database documents the slave trade from Africa to the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries. It provides searchable information on almost 35,000 trans-Atlantic voyages hauling human cargo, as well as maps, images and data on some individual Africans transported." Search for people. Search for voyages. [more inside]
posted by cashman at 7:06 AM PST - 18 comments

According to the majority of critics who have seen it so far, Frank Miller horrifically butchered Will Eisner's legendary comic The Spirit with his upcoming Sin City-esque film adaptation opening next week. In order to make the pain about a thousand times worse, here's an in-depth story about how there was almost a chance two decades earlier for Brad Bird, director of The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, to have done an animated version with the help of future founder of Pixar John Lasseter.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:51 AM PST - 76 comments

Whites used Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to lynch their black neighbors. The shootings have never been investigated.
posted by shii at 6:16 AM PST - 274 comments

Snowed in this weekend? Done with your Christmas shopping? Perhaps you're in no mood to shop anymore. Gather your friends together for a low-tech round of The Economist's Credit Crunch Board Game.
posted by thread_makimaki at 3:28 AM PST - 8 comments

The man who provided Bob Woodward with the critical leads on the story that eventually saw the resignation of Tricky Dick Nixon has died: W. Mark Felt, aka. Deep Throat, was 95.The NYT has a little feature on why he was such a big deal. Only in 2005 did Felt finally admit to being Deep Throat in a Vanity Fair article. [more inside]
posted by krautland at 2:09 AM PST - 31 comments

The British government's Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology retains PhD and EngD students to produce POSTnotes, information-dense 4 page summaries of science and technology issues, aimed at informing members of parliament. Topics covered include HIV/AIDS in developing countries, large scale electricity storage, future nuclear technologies and next generation broadband access.
posted by Mike1024 at 1:25 AM PST - 18 comments


What a month for Google Earth. Its breathtaking updated 3D New York City skyline features textured photos of hundreds of buildings. It has doubled its US coverage and expanded Street View imagery by 22 times. But it also became the subject of a failed legal petition in India demanding it blur sensitive areas in the country. Supposedly, it had agreed to do this nearly two years before the Mumbai attack. Despite the bad timing, an Indian rival plans to sharpen the competition. Google Maps and Earth allegedly blur sensitive sites and a few questionably sensitive landmarks. However, as yet undeterred by security and privacy controversy, Google is adding GeoEye's satellite imagery to Google Earth next month.
posted by terranova at 12:13 AM PST - 27 comments

December 18

Online Dating Commercials. Like the girl who says, "Of course I didn't put chlamydia on the profile, I put smoker." Or this gem, "I used to have to wait for days for my friends to tell me he wasn't interested. Now I get an automated email right away." [more inside]
posted by netbros at 11:05 PM PST - 6 comments

York University is no stranger to strikes (even breaking its own length record), and the latest is shaping up much like the previous - TA & Lecturers' union on the picket line, admin in the ugly concrete buildings, and undergrads looking cold and confused all around (YT). But since the last strike in 2001, a few things have changed. No, not the issues (same as always - living wages for TAs, job security for lecturers) or the effect (disruption of undergrad education) - but last time there were few discussion forums, no facebook groups or videos by the local newspaper, and definitely no (somewhat obvious, but still mildly entertaining) Apple ad parodies. [more inside]
posted by jb at 10:36 PM PST - 15 comments

Parenting for the birds. Also here and here.
posted by easy_being_green at 7:18 PM PST - 14 comments

The art of Theo Ellsworth. "He has a miniature city inside of his head that is overrun with funny monsters, yet he still manages to come across as a semi-normal guy. "
posted by hermitosis at 6:59 PM PST - 10 comments

So you're a minor-league pitcher in the Blue Jays system, not an exceptionally good one - a non prospect. So what do you do? You blog about a great prank you played on a teammate.
posted by Deep Dish at 6:48 PM PST - 24 comments

Tortured Reasoning. "George W. Bush defended harsh interrogations by pointing to intelligence breakthroughs, but a surprising number of counterterrorist officials say that, apart from being wrong, torture just doesn’t work. Delving into two high-profile cases, the author exposes the tactical costs of prisoner abuse."
posted by homunculus at 6:45 PM PST - 82 comments

[more inside]
posted by JHarris at 6:24 PM PST - 14 comments

Has man really set foot on the moon? There have certainly been a lot of claims that the whole Apollo missions were one giant hoax. Adam and Jamie at Mythbusters examine the claims of the Hoax Believers one by one. Did they use a wire rig or slow down the film to simulate the 1/6 moon gravity? What would it look like in real 1/6 G? Would a footprint in the lunar regolith have maintained it's shape even if there was no moisture to keep the material together? Why was the flag waving so much if there was no wind on the moon? Why are the shadows on the moon not parallel if they are coming from a single light source? Why can we see the astronauts when they are in shadows if there isn't a second light source? To finish it all off they shoot a laser at the moon to see if the reflector they supposedly left there is actually there.
posted by Sir Mildred Pierce at 4:30 PM PST - 105 comments

Drawing on drugs by Jeremy Eaton. [more inside]
posted by gman at 4:17 PM PST - 12 comments


How to bake a potato. I've got mine in the oven right now.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:28 PM PST - 100 comments

The town of Shawano, WI claims a local group with a history of controversy called the Samanta Roy Institute of Science & Technology (SIST) profiled in this WSAW TV investigative series (part 1, part 2, part 3 & part 4) is a murderous cult that tried to hire a hitman to assassinate 60 prominent citizens including the mayor, city administrator, city treasurer, city attorney, police chief, judges, investigators & fire commissioners. SIST returns the favor & claims it's the mayor who's running a cult (part 1, part 2 & more), calling her the Minister of Propaganda. As a CBS investigative team found out, things are tense in this sleepy town. The FBI says it's keeping an eye on the situation.
posted by scalefree at 2:32 PM PST - 28 comments

RIP Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. Executive producer of Andromeda, Earth: The Final Conflict, Nurse Christine Chapel of TOS, and the always comforting voice of the Federation, passed away today at 78. A sci-fi legend has left for the stars. [more inside]
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:55 PM PST - 133 comments

Today's featured article at Wikipedia concerns the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: a proposed UN body which, according to its proponents, would eventually consist of representatives elected directly by the people of the world. Might this proposal be a viable plan for a more global expression of democracy? Or is it just one more Utopian vision of "world government" doomed to wither under the vociferous criticisms that such proposals seem, inevitably, to attract?
posted by washburn at 1:51 PM PST - 21 comments

Dean and Company have been making "family-friendly TV" on local cable in Birmingham, Alabama for thirty years or so. Now they have a deeply weird and annoying website. Caution: do not visit The Time Warp. You have been warned. (Flash, intensely painful audio, forced jocularity, creepy family photographs, howlingly bad original music and choreography. May contain homemade hand puppets and Jean Harlow's stand-in.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:44 PM PST - 13 comments


On December 17's Tonight Show With Jay Leno, featured guest Scarlett Johansson claimed she had caught a cold from Samuel L. Jackson; she said she felt that her germs were valuable, coming from Jackson, and maybe she could sell them on eBay. Jay Leno handed her a tissue, she blew her nose. The used tissue was sealed in a plastic bag, which was signed by Johansson. Proceeds go to charity. [more inside]
posted by Restless Day at 12:38 PM PST - 58 comments

OK, everyone knows Chanukah overlaps Christmas this year (it starts this Sunday evening), but do you have your dreidel game going? If you are full of Maccabean mojo, you might want to try to win some gelt at Major League Dreidel, No Limit Texas Dreidel, or even The World Series of Dreidel ("a chai stakes tournament"). For those of you who will only be playing at home, but would like something more convenient than a physical dreidel, there is also Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel – for your chai-phone, of course!
posted by ubiquity at 11:57 AM PST - 19 comments


Arctic Melt update: Scientists now have unambiguous evidence that the theorized phenomenon known as "polar amplification" has in fact been occurring for the past 5 years. It was not expected to be seen for at least another 10 or 15 years. "We're in a vicious positive feedback loop." [more inside]
posted by stbalbach at 10:57 AM PST - 87 comments


Almost everyone is familiar with Airliners.net, but there's one fellow in particular who seems to manage to be in the right place at the right time an awful lot. He's been referenced (with his 17 million page views) as the Ansel Adams or Alfred Eisenstadt of airplane photography. Meet Sam Chui.
posted by pjern at 9:16 AM PST - 49 comments

Credit Suisse is the first bank to use commercial debt to pay employee bonuses this year. Another take on bonuses this year
posted by jourman2 at 8:19 AM PST - 26 comments

"I am staggered and embarrassed at what you have written, and firmly believe you should be banned from writing professionally in the UK, especially when i read some of the apalling bands you give good reviews to." The NME reviews Seasick Steve - in the literal sense.
posted by mippy at 6:59 AM PST - 72 comments

In protest to tuition increases and the anti-democratic policies of President Bob Kerrey, students from The New School, CUNY, NYU and others have occupied the Graduate Faculty building of The New School at 65 5th Avenue.
posted by dskinner at 6:29 AM PST - 92 comments

Gilbert Kaplan: businessman, investor, occasional journalist, and conductor of Mahler's vast Second Symphony. Or is he, really? [more inside]
posted by bassjump at 5:06 AM PST - 29 comments

Radio Lajee is one lone Aussie woman in the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank, teaching young Palestinians how to podcast and share their stories with the world. The project's been going for a little over six weeks, but already there's four episode up on the site; all of them in English. These include a story about the beginning of the Camp, a day in the life of a 14 year old Palestinian girl, a celebration of the traditional dance style of Dabke and a cooking segment by future celebrity chef, Amal Abu Srour.
posted by jodrell banksmeadow at 3:23 AM PST - 3 comments

Alien Breed + arena shooter + online highscores = Alien Deathmatch 2. Windows only.
posted by pancreas at 2:30 AM PST - 7 comments

Your chance to say: Thank you for throwing your shoe!
posted by criticalbill at 2:07 AM PST - 93 comments

What is a Spaniard?: Forcibly Crossing the Cross, the Crescent, and the Star
"The conversions came at the end of one of the most successful Jewish periods in human history... Their success led them to call their land Sepharad, a name from the book of Obadiah that implied that Spanish Jews were the successors to the Jews of Israel. This world ended in 1391."
"At the appointed time, those children who were not presented voluntarily were seized by the officials and forced to the font.... In many cases, parents smothered their offspring in their farewell embrace. In others, they threw them into wells in order to save them from the disgrace of apostasy, and then killed themselves. Sometimes, even old men were dragged to the churches and forcibly baptized by over-zealous fanatics,... In all other cases, the unwilling neophytes, some mere babies, were distributed throughout the country, as far as possible from home, to be brought up in Christian surroundings."
[more inside]
posted by orthogonality at 1:24 AM PST - 28 comments

December 17

In 300 B.C., years before the birth of black Jesus, Aristole postulated that all good things were made of "win." That was a pretty good guess, but he was drunk and probably also having an orgy. Modern day awesominers know there are actually 118 fundamental "awesoments" that compose all good things. The Periodic Table of Awesoments can be a very useful tool. It's designed to show the relationships between awesoments, and often one can even predict how awesoments interact simply by their positions on the table.
posted by crossoverman at 11:08 PM PST - 90 comments

Boy in the Water ― The website of artist Miran Kim. Her art is characterized by an eerie, gruesome quality, which she achieves without the use of computer effects. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 10:45 PM PST - 12 comments

Anthony Gatto The worlds best juggler (autoplaying sound).
posted by dead cousin ted at 10:19 PM PST - 21 comments

Japanese cat humiliation. SLYT
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:22 PM PST - 46 comments

Dolphin Stampede. 58 seconds of unscripted, unexpected nature awesomeness. SLYT.
posted by CitizenD at 7:20 PM PST - 45 comments

The year 2008 in photographs (boston.com, parts 2 & 3 coming tomorrow and the next day)
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:12 PM PST - 28 comments

Meshes of the Afternoon, part 1 and part 2. The seminal 1943 avant-garde film by Maya Deren (previously on MetaFilter).
posted by hermitosis at 6:43 PM PST - 18 comments

Gay marriage equals incest and pedophilia. Abortion equals the Holocaust. Or so thinks "America's Pastor Rick "Saddleback" Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, vocal supporter of Proposition 8, and the spiritual leader chosen by President-elect Obama to give the invocation at his inauguration. But hey -- don't call him a homophobe: He even eats dinner with gays.
posted by digaman at 6:11 PM PST - 269 comments

Sweden-born Yukimi Nagano has worked with José González, Koop several times and is now the lead singer of Little Dragon. When cornered to characterize Little Dragon's style, the answer was somehow "Disco Dub", though Yukimi herself is probably just better listened to than labeled. (Hover for descriptions) [more inside]
posted by cashman at 4:40 PM PST - 12 comments

The Smoking Gun's 2008 Mug Shots Of The Year. At long last our legal standards have been boiled down to "innocent until proven hilarious".
posted by shii at 4:03 PM PST - 68 comments

In the last Depression, professional sports were a cheap source of entertainment. With today's contracts, can teams survive?
posted by gman at 3:41 PM PST - 42 comments

Face Off/Face On. [more inside]
posted by Faze at 2:15 PM PST - 22 comments

"Courage is the ennabling virtue for any philosopher," says Cornel West in this clip from The Examined Life, a film by Astra Taylor. Peter Singer talks about the morality of consumption and how we should spend our money, as he did in this NY Times Magazine essay published two years ago today. Given the internecine violence in the Congo, for example, Singer's 1971 essay, Famine, Affluence, and Morality is worth a second (or first) look. The film features several other contemporary philosophers, including Judith Butler, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Slavoj Zizek. Of course, people looking for a more musical version of philosophy, could forgo the film and just watch this Monty Python bit.
posted by cal71 at 1:57 PM PST - 11 comments

Time for your local on the 8's -- and that brain-numbing music that accompanies it! The Weather Channel offers playlists and samples, but better yet, TWCClassics asks you to help "name that tune," offering mp3's of stumpers and identified tracks, along with random playlists dating back to 1986. (TWCClassics also has a YouTube channel. And, for those of you who just can't get enough Weather Channel Music, weatherchannelmusic.com is there for you. So sit back, and let the smooth music soothe or enrage you. [previously--thanks sourwookie!]
posted by not_on_display at 1:46 PM PST - 17 comments


Alex Kanevsky paints waves, portraits. Of further interest, the progression of some of his paintings, and some amazing prints. Be aware, some of his paintings are nudes. [more inside]
posted by klangklangston at 12:48 PM PST - 20 comments


LiveDosGames is a free, portable, fast Linux Operating System, which contains old, but legendary Dos games (and fits on a USB stick)
posted by Wolfdog at 11:03 AM PST - 45 comments

Bracing for Islamic Creationism (PDF). "To avoid a vast rejection of evolution in the Muslim world, scientists can present the theory as the bedrock of biology and can stress its practical applications." [Via]
posted by homunculus at 9:31 AM PST - 47 comments

Dropbox syncs and backs up files between computers instantaneously. Site. Via.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:54 AM PST - 99 comments

A tower on the Excalibur gondola at Blackcomb Mountain north of Vancouver collapsed yesterday. Early speculation centres around the possibility of the tower filling with water and freezing. The Excalibur gondola is built by the same company who recently finished constructing the record-breaking Peak2Peak gondola. This is not the first lift incident at the resort, which is set to host alpine events for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
posted by vansly at 8:18 AM PST - 27 comments

Handy Guides for how to win at rigged carnival games like the dime toss, the milk bottle toss. or even beat those claw on a crane machines. But what about matching wits with an online guess a number carny?
posted by tatnasty at 8:00 AM PST - 35 comments

What is important to me? Short video interviews with mostly alternative rock/pop folk, in which they answer the question 'What is really important to me'. For Elbow it's hope, Lambchop breakfast, Bob Mould turning life upside, New Model Army a sense of proportion, Nada Surf respect and caring, Sterolab hedonism, Calexico space...the rest are here..
posted by therubettes at 7:56 AM PST - 20 comments

The first episode of the new season of Flight of the Conchords is available to watch free online (US only, sorry). "Formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo," their first season was chock full of hilarious moments and musical interludes, including some drawn from their live performances. Previously on Metafilter.
posted by explosion at 7:20 AM PST - 73 comments

"For having the confidence to sketch an ambitious future in a gloomy hour, and for showing the competence that makes Americans hopeful he might pull it off, president-elect Barack Obama is TIME's Person of the Year." Henry Paulson and Sarah Palin are among the runners-up.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:15 AM PST - 77 comments

Heart :: Amplifier :: Brain :: Convertible :: Feet
posted by vronsky at 7:01 AM PST - 15 comments

Play Trivia to Help Save Abandoned Animals. Free Rice set the standard for on-line charity games and Free Poverty soon followed by donating water. Now you can play for free kibble to be donated to either Rocket Dog Rescue or The Urban Cat Project.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:30 AM PST - 9 comments

What's in a name? The Puritans and Victorians thought names could convey virtue onto whom they were bestowed; in Zimbabwe this is still a popular practise. Some names are thought to be 'high-end', some 'low-end' (even neighbourhoods) and our perceptions of what makes a good name changes in time. Meanwhile there are some human names that seem to suit dogs well.
posted by mippy at 5:55 AM PST - 61 comments

Hawala or the Bank that Never Was.
Here's how it works.
However this honorable system has been hijacked by drug smugglers, terrorists, even Pirates; although there are problems.
Regulation has its drawbacks hurting some of the worlds poorer economies.
MI6 believes that terror organisations have used the global banking system to its advantage by investing Hawala money in stocks around the world.
posted by adamvasco at 3:40 AM PST - 24 comments


December 16

The great British guitarist Davey Graham died Monday at 68. Every aspiring acoustic guitar player who came of age during the 60s knew of Davy Graham, composer of Anji and inventor of the DADGAD tuning. His own records were never commercial smashes, but his influence was felt by all his contemporaries in the world of folk music and by legions who came after who knew nothing of him personally. The Guardian has a brief obit and assembles a fine video tribute .
posted by rdone at 10:06 PM PST - 18 comments

Out of Africa. As award-winning Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Stephanie Nolen bids farewell to a place she's come to love, she reflects on how it has changed, and how it changed her. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 9:55 PM PST - 4 comments

Difference Games offers you 9 spot-the-difference games. The 3 categories are Graphic Novels and Comics, Play With Mum and Difference Xtreme! My favorite is The Dragon and the Wizard, which makes failure interesting.
Difference Games offers you 9 "spot the difference" games. The three categories are Graphic Novels & Comics; Play with Mum and Difference Xtreme! My favourite is The Dragon and the Wizard, which makes success interesting.
posted by Kattullus at 8:09 PM PST - 33 comments

Max Corkill and his cat Rastus were a site to behold as they motorcycled through New Zealand with Rastus perched on the fuel tank, sporting his custom helmet. They were tragically killed in a collision nearly 11 years ago. A series of books about, and inspired by, Rastus can still be purchased (worth the click for the cute photo) although it isn't clear if the proceeds go to the charities for which Max & Rastus raised funds. More photos on their memorial MySpace. Another motorcycling kittah and further details.
posted by NailsTheCat at 7:58 PM PST - 27 comments

Prospect 1. From the New Orleans Museum of Art in the City Park, to the Lower Ninth Ward's multiple installation locations, Prospect 1's curation is tasteful and moving, sometimes heart breaking but mostly promising. An unbelievable concentration of impressive artist's commentary on New Orleans. And it's free to get around (shuttle service available also) if you simply register. [more inside]
posted by priested at 6:43 PM PST - 7 comments

Architects Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler of Architecture and Vision will design the interior of Project Enterprise by Talis Enterprise – a privately-funded Space Tourism program in Europe that plans to bring the first individuals into space from Airport Magdeburg Cochstedt by 2013. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:02 PM PST - 2 comments

The City Concealed A video tour of New York's infamously toxic Newtown Creek, with historical illustrations. The creek is the site of a 17 million gallon underground oil-spill (50% larger than Exxon-Valdez) which remains to be cleaned up, resulting in a Supreme Court battle between residents and oil companies. (Previously on MeFi.)
posted by hermitosis at 5:28 PM PST - 16 comments

Roger Ebert called it "one of the finest, truest, most deeply felt movies in my experience". Rated X on initial release, it still has not appeared on DVD. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese at 4:18 PM PST - 66 comments

Do girls toys and boys toys lead to a gender gap?
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM PST - 134 comments

A contestant becomes a Double Showcase winner by bidding the exact price on The Price is Right. The last time this happened was 1972. (via BWE)
posted by spec80 at 3:33 PM PST - 60 comments

Giles Walker created fully animated robot pole dancers to see if it was possible to make CCTV cameras sexy using simple mechanics. Part of the “Mutate London” exhibition at the Behind the Shutters Gallery. SFW
posted by gman at 3:24 PM PST - 16 comments

A Dinosaur Paleontologist's View of Godzilla; fabulous views from Godzilla (previously); an alternate history view of Godzilla; a view of Godzilla's insides.
posted by mikepop at 3:10 PM PST - 15 comments

David Stairs channels Ivan Illich on design, professionalization, and why he stopped joining clubs. [more inside]
posted by puckish at 3:05 PM PST - 10 comments

The End of an Era. Apple has just announced this January will be the last Macworld.
posted by four panels at 2:17 PM PST - 57 comments

MetaFilter's Eric Gjerde has just come out with a book, Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs. Eric also makes really unusual, complex and mathematically interesting origami. His site has all kinds of cool things to look at and explore, like Owen Jones' The Grammar of Ornament, Joel Cooper's amazing paper sculptures and Ernst Haeckel's awesome book, Kunst-Formen der Natur. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 1:54 PM PST - 8 comments

ZIRP! Not an exclamation, it stands for Zero Interest Rate Policy. One country to try this was Japan in 2001, using the euphemism Quantitative Easing in an attempt to fight a multiple year long recession. The most current country? The United States of America. [more inside]
posted by eriko at 1:08 PM PST - 50 comments

Cute things falling asleep.
posted by Korou at 11:47 AM PST - 61 comments

"Some people hustle pool; some people hustle cars. Then there's that man you've heard about, the one who hustles stars!" Greetings, greetings, fellow stargazers! Looking toward your computer screen today, you'll find Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer, a five-minute show that has been in weekly production for over thirty years, airing in-betweensies on many PBS stations. Contrary to the cheeky bio on Jack's website, it wasn't always easy for Jack to "keep looking up!" This 9/19/1982 Miami Herald article reveals that he grew up as a sickly boy, eventually meandering to Florida to stumble into his avocation and vocation as Director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium, only to watch his life's work almost crumble due to a PR nightmare. Since then, however, things have been much better: Star Gazer (originally called Star Hustler, then changed in 1997 due to internet search engines leading people to Hustler Magazine's website) has been nationally syndicated since 1985 (and internationally since 1989), chalking up over 1500 episodes. A book of his monthly cartoons has been published. The Astronomical League sponsors The Jack Horkheimer Award for Exceptional Service by a Young Astronomer. (2008's winner.) So whether you find Jack avuncular or creepy, Jack Horkheimer is, to many, the face of popular backyard astronomy. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display at 11:36 AM PST - 37 comments


The Fed Who Blew the Whistle: Is he a hero or a criminal? Three years after the New York Times first revealed the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, whistleblower Thomas Tamm has acknowledged his role in making it public. [Via]
posted by homunculus at 9:21 AM PST - 51 comments

Martian maps and a few others in good quality PDF.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:20 AM PST - 9 comments

Police Officer Seen on Tape Shoving a Bicyclist Is Indicted - Update to the widely viewed video of a NYC police officer shoving a critical mass rider off of his bicycle, reported on MeFi here.
posted by caddis at 8:01 AM PST - 228 comments

One hundred years ago today (12/16/08), Maria de los Remedios Varo Uranga, (aka Remedios Varo) was born the Catalan region of north-east Spain. She attended the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, where she was a classmate of Dali, Buñuel, and Lorca. She joined the Surrealist movement in France, but WWII forced her into exile in Mexico where she fully developed her artistic style. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:56 AM PST - 13 comments

The Hobbit Name Generator: You have a secret name. Discover it. [more inside]
posted by chillmost at 7:46 AM PST - 86 comments

After forty years, the BBC has suspended coverage of next year's Crufts, the UK's premier dog show. The event's major sponsor had already pulled out. This is in reaction to a documentary - Pedigree Dogs Exposed (1hr, possibly NSFW surgery) - showing how years of inbreeding of pedigree show dogs has resulted in many suffering from genetic diseases and disabilities. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:48 AM PST - 76 comments

Des Imagistes is an online version of Ezra Pound's influential 1914 anthology of Imagist poetry, which includes work by Pound, James Joyce, H. D., and William Carlos Williams. [more inside]
posted by whir at 5:18 AM PST - 11 comments


On Dec 14, the often-linked Clay Shirky (most recently) ended his guestblogging stint at boingboing with a question for the commenters: What's going to happen in the next five years or so that will catch most of the rest of us by surprise, but not you? [more inside]
posted by finnb at 4:14 AM PST - 88 comments

BBC: Users of the world's most common web browser (good old IE!) have been advised to switch to a rival until a serious security flaw has been fixed. Microsoft Security Advisory 961051. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:33 AM PST - 116 comments

Christmas is turning out to be good for lovers of weird animal games: Hot on the heels of Minotaur China Shop comes the PC release of Space Giraffe (video), updated from its previous XBox-360-only incarnation (briefly mentioned here) with new levels & upgraded graphics.
posted by slater at 12:58 AM PST - 16 comments

December 15

In Mamas Kitchen was born in the experience of living in New York where a bodega exists within blocks of a Jewish deli which is around the corner from an Italian salumeria which shares space with Chinatown which abuts Soho's gourmet stores. While this speaks of the legendary variety available in New York, it also tells of similarity, for in every bodega, every salumeria is someone shopping for the food that sustains physical life with a recipe that nourishes our hearts.
posted by netbros at 9:38 PM PST - 11 comments

Codpaste is a 14-part podcast about the history and practice of sound collage and mashups. A collaboration between Vicki Bennett (People Like Us, previously) and Ergo Phizmiz (previously), Codpaste is an entertaining and instructive wander through such topics as cartoon music, Negativland, easy listening, and William S. Burroughs. There's even a curriculum [30mb pdf] to go with it! Most episodes are about 30 minutes long, feature the same editing techniques and sound sources that they discuss, and are enhanced by Ergo and Vicki's wonderfully quaint accents.
posted by moonmilk at 6:44 PM PST - 11 comments

Fuel Economy: The MPG illusion. Quick, which of the following reduces gas consumption more? a) trading in a 33 mpg car for a fuel-sipping 50-mpg car b) trading in a 14 mpg SUV for a 16-mpg SUV hybrid. Answer: They are both roughly the same. This not surprising once you apply a little math. "Miles per gallon is a ratio. Gas consumed is an inverse of that ratio. A ratio and its inverse do not have a linear relationship. They have a curvilinear one."
posted by storybored at 6:40 PM PST - 110 comments

Modesty Blaise has been my childhood heroine, ever since I was old enough to read the daily strip in the comics section of the newspaper. As she and Willie Garvin swashbuckled their way through adventures, she was a role model unlike any other woman I'd known. Books and movies about her were popular in my youth. Now, decades later, the entire series is being offered in print, as a series of graphic novels each containing three full stories using the original artworks accompanied by the author Peter O'Donnell's commentary and thoughts, including 'censored' strips like one in issue #12 . He was also the creator of my other favourite comic, Garth.
posted by infini at 6:33 PM PST - 14 comments

Just in time for Christmas, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity brings you the Clean Coal Carolers! Their repertoire includes such classics as Frosty the Coal Man, Deck the Halls (with Clean Coal), Clean Coal Night, and Oh Technology. Of course, the Scrooge-like bosses of the ACCCE, suffering from an incredible lack of Christmas spirit, took the Carolers off their website only a couple of days after they were posted — but thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can still revel in the festive sounds of the season. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:36 PM PST - 19 comments

Out of Sight : Photographer Sarah Wilson photographs the prom at Texas' School for the Blind & Visually Impaired. [via] [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:10 PM PST - 38 comments

Musical Fruitcake. Almost all Christmas songs are a little schlocky. But some are even worse than that.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:55 PM PST - 19 comments

Captain Nemo helped invent narco submarines as a way of evading drug enforcement agencies.
posted by gman at 2:51 PM PST - 63 comments

Jon Swift, satirist blogger (previously on MeFi), has identified an important new school of film criticism. He calls it Derrièrism—since all schools of film criticism must have French names—and asserts that the main criteria a movie should be judged by is whether the viewer's ass shifts in his or her seat while watching it. He claims Derrièrism is on the rise, citing Andrew Breitbart's soon-to-be-launched Big Hollywood, a site that will include film reviews and criticism by thoughtful cinéastes like House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor, Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, Mary Bono Mack and Connie Mack, former presidential candidate Fred Thompson, MSNBC correspondent Tucker Carlson and conservative commentators Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and others. [more inside]
posted by defenestration at 2:28 PM PST - 23 comments

The Stone Roses are set to reform. It's almost 20 years since they released their extremely fine album creatively titled The Stone Roses. The band that was a big part of the Madchester movement have been bumping into each other at Manchester United games and no doubt seeing the money that the footballers are making decided it was time to regroup. The rumours are not certain, but some say it is 75 percent likely and media reports everywhere indicates it is probably happening. [more inside]
posted by sien at 1:19 PM PST - 54 comments

Fuck You, Penguin. A blogger tells cute animals what's what. (Slightly NSFW - profanities in text.)
posted by wretched_rhapsody at 1:00 PM PST - 53 comments

Cartype has a huge repository of vehicle logos and other related typography. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:51 PM PST - 5 comments

"We believe the request ... to inscribe a birthday wish to Adolf Hitler is inappropriate," said Karen Meleta, a ShopRite bakery spokeswoman. Bottom line: Adolf Hitler Campbell, who turns 3 today, is not going to get the cake of his (and my) dreams.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:41 PM PST - 271 comments

What the financial crisis means for sex, lipstick, beer, college endowments, Iceland, love and marriage, Spam, recycling, holiday parties, car sales, sports, baseball free agents, psychics, NASCAR and narcissism...
posted by jim in austin at 12:05 PM PST - 27 comments

Something for a kid you know, or your own inner child. Speakaboos offers online stories with the written word below the illustrations, as if read from a book: fables, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, folk tales, lullabies. You can watch the stories without registering. You will have to sign-up (for free) for the future function of recording your own "that will allow kids and parents to record their own voices reading (or singing!) their favorite story, song, or nursery rhyme." Christmas stories. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 12:04 PM PST - 10 comments

"I was the 2000 Women's World Champion Mountain Bike Bog Snorkeller. The what? you ask. Well, it goes like this..." [previously]
posted by not_on_display at 11:27 AM PST - 5 comments

TweakGuides presents a very long examination of software piracy as it relates to PC gaming: "PC piracy and related topics such as DRM seem to have become so shrouded in illogical excuses, hysteria, scaremongering and uninformed opinions that having a sensible discussion on the topic is virtually impossible." [more inside]
posted by camcgee at 9:33 AM PST - 153 comments

We introduce Plushie, an interactive system that allows nonprofessional users to design their own original plush toys.
posted by geos at 9:26 AM PST - 28 comments

The Beautiful Mind. An online gallery of neuroscience photographs. [Via]
posted by homunculus at 9:18 AM PST - 10 comments

Anti-drug propaganda is invariably lame, but the latest campaign for Frank, the UK drugs information helpline are actually very clever. Meet Pablo the Drug Mule Dog, Nostril and Baggie.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:56 AM PST - 116 comments

"A classical vampire story in many ways, though it possesses none of the opulence or hedonism that are such a mainstay of vampire mythology," says one critic of the Swedish film Let the Right One In, based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. In a lengthy interview the author gave recently, he says: "I wanted to approach my subject completely seriously and absolutely reject all sort of ”romanticized” notions about vampires, or what we’ve seen earlier of vampires, and just concentrate on the question: If a child was stuck forever like, in a 12-year-old existence and had to walk around killing other people and drink their blood to live – what would that child’s existance really be like?" (Props to Bageena) [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:51 AM PST - 85 comments

December 14

It's that meta-time again: Metafilter's own rex's still-growing Fimoculous List of Lists for 2008. Previously on Metafilter: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:54 PM PST - 24 comments

HOME is out for the Playstation 3, and as Penny Arcade has observed, it really is "nothing more than a cumbersome menu, a rampart over which you must hoist yourself to accomplish the most basic tasks." But it's not a complete waste of time. Where else can you have the joy of observing someone being Quincyed? Here's a video of Quincying in action. Observe the quick change, the expedient retreat of the male suitors, the provocative pelvic motion. Here's how to master the art of the Quincy, should you be so inclined.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:31 PM PST - 97 comments

The new Star Trek movie is both canon and a (partial) reboot. Screenwriter Roberto Orci explains using canon examples - and a discussion of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman at 5:30 PM PST - 107 comments

Iron Sky: In 1945 the Nazis fled to the moon. In 2018 they are coming back. This movie is part of the newest fad, DieselPunk (the next evolution of SteamPunk).
posted by blue_beetle at 4:47 PM PST - 86 comments

The difference between good teachers and poor teachers turns out to be vast... But there’s a hitch: no one knows what a person with the potential to be a great teacher looks like. How do we hire when we can’t tell who’s right for the job?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:44 PM PST - 72 comments

Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore publishes original academic studies in folklore studies, comparative mythological research, cultural anthropology and related fields. Previously.
posted by pita at 3:15 PM PST - 4 comments

Pronounced "chin" ("stringed instrument") or "goo chin" ("old stringed instrument"), the qin / guqin throughout its long history has been the musical instrument most prized by China's literati. They categorized it as one of their "four arts", collected it as an art object, praised its beautiful music, and built around it a complex ideology (compare its image in popular culture). No other instrument was described and illustrated in such detail, so often depicted in paintings, or so regularly mentioned in poetry. And its tablature documents the world's oldest detailed written instrumental music tradition, allowing both historically informed performance (requiring silk strings) of the many early melodies, and practical exploration of the relationship between Chinese music theory and music practice. The guqin silk string zither work of John Thompson. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 2:17 PM PST - 7 comments

“The most revolutionary thing is to just love yourself and love what you do. You can't do anything more than that”

A Milwaukee tomboy got a $100 Fisher-Price Pixelvision as a Christmas gift from her dad at age 15. She left high school at age 16, under homophobic pressures, and came out as a lesbian at age 17. Sadie Benning used her kiddiecorder to tell this story, creating a series of intimate short films full of personality, desperation and fantastic hope, and founded on the intimacy of immediacy.

A New Year (1989) - Living Inside (1989) - Me and Rubyfruit (1990)
If Every Girl Had A Diary (1990) - It Wasn't Love 1, 2 (1992)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:54 PM PST - 44 comments

Shoes thrown at President Bush in Iraq. As America prepares to give him the boot, President Bush was forced to do some atypical sole searching during a press conference in Iraq when an Iraqi television reporter flung both shoes at him. HuffP has MSNBC video without ads and adds: "In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. marines toppled it to the ground after the 2003 invasion." This is a "gross insult in the Arab world." Value added video.
posted by xorry at 1:07 PM PST - 286 comments

Videos from the NYPL: watch curators and librarians "share their passion for the treasures of our remarkable collections." Take a tour through the extensive photos and prints collection, explore the archives of the 1939 New York World's Fair, do some menu and cookbook research with Lidia Bastianich, see original manuscripts from the Jack Kerouac Archive, and much more. "Travel the Spuyten Duyvil Creek in 1777, hear music recorded 100 years ago on wax cylinders, marvel at rare 1920s Japanese comics and other pop ephemera..." This is just one part of the extensive digital offerings made available by the library (disclaimer: some resources require an NYPL card). You can also subscribe to the video series via iTunes (link will open iTunes).
posted by tractorfeed at 1:02 PM PST - 4 comments

German TV show Paris Aktuell's mesmerizing space-age futuristic fashion in 1970, in 1969 (2), and in 1968. [MLYT] [more inside]
posted by cashman at 11:58 AM PST - 18 comments

Guardian Journalist Dave Simpson went in search of people who inspired famous pop songs. We have, for example, Holly Woodlawn ('Walk on the Wild Side'), Dave Balfe ('Country House'), Melanie Coe ('She's Leaving Home'), Pattie Boyd ('Something', 'Layla' AND 'Wonderful Tonight') and Suzanne Verdal ('Suzanne' - previously)
posted by rongorongo at 11:55 AM PST - 39 comments

Behold the Colorado River delta. Home to 400 species of plants and wildlife, it once had beaches of clams, groves of native cottonwood and megatons of shrimp and commercial fish. The wetlands now cover an estimated 5% of its former swath and glory, barely surviving invasive plant species and the massive on-line reservoir fillings of the Hoover and Glen Canyon Dams. Recommendations include restoring this desert estuary that once claimed nearly 3000 square miles. Good luck to the little Vaquita porpoise, the smallest and most endangered cetacean.
posted by Brian B. at 11:45 AM PST - 14 comments

Menorahs glowed in almost every living room window during Hanukkah. Hasidic Jews streamed down the streets on Friday night and Saturday morning, walking to and from synagogue services. "There was total freedom," marvels Magda Brown, 81, who survived Auschwitz. But inside their homes, at night, the survivors—and their families—were roiled by their pasts. The rest of Skokie did not know the troubles that stirred behind the immaculate facades of the close-packed houses.
[more inside]
posted by scody at 11:41 AM PST - 5 comments

Ernst Haeckel's 1904 "Kunstformen der Natur" [Artforms of Nature] is a classic of biological illustration. What is less generally known is that the artist started as a Christmas card designer. [previously here and here]
posted by jim in austin at 11:29 AM PST - 7 comments

Seven years ago today, the German writer W.G. Sebald was involved in a fatal car accident near his home in Norwich, England. Sebald worked as an academic at The University of East Anglia, but some of his writings found a receptive wider readership. The works which brought him to public attention were four books, written originally in German, which seemed to blend memoir and fiction, photography and prose: Vertigo, The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, and Austerlitz. He also wrote poetry, and used some of those poems to collaborate with visual artists. In the main, his sad, erudite work revolves around themes of loss, destruction, landscape, and memory, and it continues to inspire exhibitions, stage plays, reflections, and tributes (not to mention blogs and videos). His voice is missed.
posted by hydatius at 10:37 AM PST - 8 comments

Consider the Philosopher. The early metaphysical investigations of David Foster Wallace.
posted by homunculus at 9:05 AM PST - 83 comments

David Horvitz discovers several pages of his writing in this year's Dave Eggers-edited Best American Nonrequired Reading. He was not told that his work (pulled from his website) would be appearing in the book. Now he is peeved and has made several demands, "this is not a joke". (see the long Dec. 9 entry).via
posted by stbalbach at 8:45 AM PST - 64 comments

Famous for his Western works, such as the Louvre Pyramid, Chinese architect I.M. Pei has capped off his long career with The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. The architecture of the museum is a blend of Islamic and modern elements, resulting in a sort of cubist sculpture. The collection, meant to be an overview of Islamic art throughout history, is extensive but not without a few flaws. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:28 AM PST - 8 comments

At Sammy's at 2016 Main, on September 8, a historic jam session occurred, an impromptu reunion of many of the city of New Orleans's finest musicians. Each player who walked in the door was much more than a mere musician that night -- they were an affirmation of life. Not only did their attendance indicate that they had survived the storm, but their collective presence also indicated that their music would survive, too.
The New Birth Brass Band (and friends) tears it the hell up in downtown Houston post-Katrina. The whole show is great, but if you're short on time, parts one and three are especially smoking.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 7:02 AM PST - 3 comments

Michael Mararian creates pen and ink drawings of mischievously macabre babies and children. Meet the dark and wicked little demons in his current exhibit or explore the world of childhood terrors in his phobias, foibles and fiends collection (scroll down a few) where humor and horror collide.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:39 AM PST - 12 comments

Flight to Huatulco Webmaster, Tom Penick, records his February 2008 flight from central Texas to Huatulco in a Piper Arrow.
posted by whiterussian at 3:16 AM PST - 9 comments

GUILTY! This word, so replete with sadness and sorrow, fell on my ear on that blackest of all black Fridays, October 14, 1887. And so begins John N. Reynolds' The Twin Hells: A Thrilling Narrative of Life in the Kansas and Missouri Penitentiaries, a very detailed and eventful memoir originally published in 1890, archived online in its entirety (including illustrations). [more inside]
posted by amyms at 12:56 AM PST - 11 comments

December 13

Just over 25 years ago, ABC broadcast the most watched made-for-television movie of all time. You probably remember where you were when you saw it. [last link possibly NSFW]
posted by Joe Beese at 8:43 PM PST - 199 comments

NAKED DOCTORS? A small group of male doctors from MedRecruit, a New Zealand-based recruitment agency for MDs decided to pose for a nude calendar in aid of charity. But the charity they chose - KidsCan - saw a nude calendar as totally inappropriate to a charity dedicated to meeting the needs of children. There's a happy ending: the calendar will now be sold to support the New Zealand Prostate Foundation. Get them while they're - well - naked ... just follow the link that says You are here: Home > Naked Doctors.
posted by Susurration at 6:54 PM PST - 23 comments

Singing, dancing, rapping, looking hot - boy bands from Korea and Japan. From Korea: DBSK (or TVXQ outside of Korea), SS501, Big Bang. From Japan: KAT-TUN, Arashi, NEWS. But wait - Tohoshinki (as TVXQ is known in Japan) singing in Japanese, as do SS501. [more inside]
posted by needled at 6:23 PM PST - 21 comments

The Best Youtube Videos of Spanish Filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo (previously). [more inside]
posted by Staggering Jack at 3:46 PM PST - 5 comments

Almost no traditional Christmas carols were written by Jews (though there have been rumors). But sometimes it seems like almost all the best 20th century Christmas songs were. Many people are dimly aware of this, but few know its full extent. I have compiled a list, with representative performances. [more inside]
posted by grobstein at 3:02 PM PST - 67 comments

Even if you're aren't Dutch, you can still play with dominos.
posted by Pants! at 2:37 PM PST - 17 comments

Christmas Caped Crusader Tis the season for heartwarming news filler, perhaps, but the video of this guy at the children's hospice makes me think he's the real deal. When the cameras stop rolling, though, do stunts like this make people give more deeply or more often to charity?
posted by Grrlscout at 1:26 PM PST - 12 comments

Can a cat and a rabbit ever find happiness? The conclusion to the story of Doki and Nabi. Previously on Metafilter - the first two episodes, episode 3 and episode 4. You can access all the episodes from the top link. Warning - may cause emotions to stir in the blackened cinder you call a heart.
posted by fallingbadgers at 12:34 PM PST - 23 comments


BYD AUTO is launching the F3DM: China's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:13 AM PST - 20 comments

In hard economic times, people often look to cut their food budgets first. There may be a tasty source of nutrition you're overlooking, and it's right inside your pants, or tucked into your bra! (NSFW)
posted by fontophilic at 11:09 AM PST - 53 comments



I made you a beard.
posted by serazin at 10:02 AM PST - 30 comments

UrbEx: Bayside Acacia Cemetery, Queens. Most of this Jewish cemetery, which in the first half of the twentieth century housed many beautiful monuments [pdf] and large family mausoleums, is now in a frankly archaeological state of disrepair, as its congregation cannot afford to provide complete maintenance. [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena at 9:58 AM PST - 12 comments

Adam & Eve recorded live during a radio performance. Of course, all singer/songwriters have a first song, and a latest offering. In the not-quite-eighteen months that have passed between her first and latest posts, seventeen-year-old One Trick Pony has offered her unique musings on cannibalism, an American ex-president, infanticide?, human beings, and original sin (original version). She has also written over 20 other songs, received third place in a national youth talent competition, and begun getting some press. There are free downloads of some of her songs on last.fm. Blog in English. [more inside]
posted by secondhand at 9:41 AM PST - 2 comments

Communist Christmas. There's a red star up on the Christmas tree. [Via]
posted by homunculus at 9:00 AM PST - 20 comments

The Benny Hillifier. We all know that Yakety Sax makes everything funny, right? Now you can try it out for yourself with any YouTube video. I'll get things started with some violet action, an old favorite bizzarre cat video, and something special that everyone can appreciate.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 8:26 AM PST - 63 comments

Mike O'Connor, owner of Bird Watcher's General Store in MA, writes a column "Ask the Bird Folks", for The Cape Codder newspaper. Five of O'Connor's short but humorously enlightening pieces were chosen by Steven Pinker to be included in the 2004 edition of the Best American Science and Nature writing. Those five can be read here: [1],[2],[3],[4],[5]. The full set of articles here. He started in 2001 and is sort of a "Car Talk" of bird watching.
posted by stbalbach at 8:23 AM PST - 8 comments


Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very, very much for waiting! And now, won't you welcome please the isolated bass of John Entwistle. (Good stuff at 01:22 on second link).
posted by punkfloyd at 7:41 AM PST - 21 comments



The Agrippa Files presents a fairly expansive overview of the original and very rare 1992 art book Agrippa (a book of the dead), a collaboration between artist Dennis Ashbaugh, author William Gibson, and award-winning journalist Kevin Begos, Jr. that presciently explored the ephemeral nature of and decay of memories and information. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:32 AM PST - 11 comments

A sixteen year long astronomical study, led by Dr. Reinhard Genzel of the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, has provided what is considered to be the best empirical evidence yet of the existence of supermassive black holes, specifically one a relatively cozy 27,000 light years away.... "The stellar orbits [QT] in the Galactic Centre [QT] show that the central mass concentration of four million solar masses must be a black hole, beyond any reasonable doubt." [more inside]
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:02 AM PST - 43 comments

December 12

The stuff of legend, Van Halen's "No brown M&Ms" concert rider (most recently mentioned on MetaFilter here) has made the rounds by word of mouth, and word of internet, for years. Now, the Van Halen 1982 World Tour backstage rider has been found. It consists of 53 typewritten pages and contains the M&Ms prohibition - which actually says M & M's (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES) - as well as other interesting demands, excerpted at The Smoking Gun. Via.
posted by amyms at 11:38 PM PST - 91 comments

The Turn is the latest creation from multi-media singer/artist Fredo Viola. Using multi-track recordings of his voice in rich harmony, coupled with unusual video vignettes, The Turn [flash] offers a dozen performances of Viola's interesting integration of voice and visual artistry. His first album was just released this week on iTunes and includes works like The Sad Song.
posted by netbros at 9:35 PM PST - 9 comments

Wall Street legend Bernard Madoff arrested over '$50 billion Ponzi scheme'. His company's website has a court announcement on the front page, but you can still find the old promises inside.
posted by 445supermag at 8:50 PM PST - 85 comments

How to best show your love if you're a rockabilly singer in the 50's? First, claim you might cry. Or die. Or commit suicide. If that doesn't work, you can threaten her vaguely, threaten her with a baseball bat, or even threaten her with death. Oh, you're female? Try the gun/sex metaphor (NSFW images) or just go hog wild and claim you'll blow his head off with nitro. Touched on previously. [more inside]
posted by andihazelwood at 8:03 PM PST - 15 comments

NYT: "The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5." [more inside]
posted by Quidam at 7:35 PM PST - 83 comments

The events in the movie Fargo didn't really happen in Minnesota in 1987 like the opening text says. But besides the Twins winning the World Series, what did? Well for one, Robbinsdale Cooper's senior class took some rather awful 80's hair pictures, almost deliberately bad. [more inside]
posted by cashman at 6:12 PM PST - 27 comments

Antikythera mechanism update. Prev: here, and here. includes video.
posted by Substrata at 3:06 PM PST - 28 comments

Merlin is a Portuguese Lusitanos bullfighting horse who was bred by Jacques Bonnier. [more inside]
posted by gman at 2:55 PM PST - 15 comments

MS Paint Adventures.
posted by lunit at 2:45 PM PST - 40 comments

John Gill is the father of modern bouldering. In the early 1960s, he took his gymnastics training in to the field and pioneered the use of chalk and dynamic moves in climbing. In 1961, he climbed the 30 foot height of The Thimble, widely considered to be the first 5.12 ascent in the world, and did so without a rope.

A devotee of body weight exercises, he could perform a one-arm front lever and several one-finger pull-ups. During his time as a gymnast he engaged in competitive rope climbing (formerly an Olympic sport), which is making a bit of a comeback in the Czech Republic (if you think it looks too easy, try it with one arm). [more inside]
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:35 PM PST - 16 comments

I think that we can all agree that the best-selling duo in rock history, Hall & Oates, are pretty freaking awesome. They recorded some of the greatest songs in pop history, including "Rich Girl", "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "You Make My Dreams Come True". They were incredible live. And they participated in the greatest back-alley song-writing duel of 1978. Also Daryl Hall considers himself a modern-day warlock. However, last night the world learned that Hall and Oates's are sad. They are extremely saddened by the upcoming departure of Alan Colmes from his show Hannity and Colmes, and they have chosen to express their sadness through song. [more inside]
posted by ND¢ at 2:09 PM PST - 88 comments

Book sales are down. Powells, the largest independant bookseller in the US, is asking staff to scale back hours or take sabbaticals. Will you buy a book from an independent bookstore this Christmas?
posted by Artw at 12:44 PM PST - 193 comments

Further to the cover up and the initial claims the jury has reached a verdict in the De Menezes inquest. [more inside]
posted by fistynuts at 12:29 PM PST - 22 comments

The Great Chess Doping Scandal Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk refused to submit a urine sample for a drug test at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden and is now considered guilty of doping. The world of chess is outraged that he could face a two-year ban... [He] has been a grandmaster for the past 20 years and is currently ranked third in the world. [more inside]
posted by caddis at 12:19 PM PST - 36 comments


"...and as we have an endless abundance of MP3’s (we fucked up and made too many of them), anything you take from the library is yours to keep. You will not be notified if you fail to return something on time, and you will not lose your library privileges if you share selections with friends." In 2003, Conor Oberst (wiki) started the independent record label Team Love (youtube). Offering the latest in the free music revolution, Team Love has established the Team Love Library, offering up all of their albums for free.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:59 AM PST - 14 comments

A (mostly) complete concert by the Elephant 6 Orchestra is available to stream or download. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:41 AM PST - 26 comments

Probation officers rejoice! We've talked about the Whizzinator before. Oh, c'mon, you remember? The fake penis that's capable of storing a warm, pre-mixed solution of "clean" urine so as to fool drug testers? Three weeks ago its developers pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia and are awaiting sentencing. [more inside]
posted by resurrexit at 10:27 AM PST - 65 comments

A homeless man on Queen Street, Toronto cuddling his dog, was photographed by Kirsten Starcher (née Kirsten Bole) and is also the subject of another iconic web photo by Liz Corkery. Kirsten Starcher's photo was even posted inadvisedly on Faildogs.com. After Kirsten Starcher's photo was used by the charity Feeding Pets of the Homeless, it was published in Pet Product News. There it was seen by the man's mother who had thought him dead. [more inside]
posted by Susurration at 10:24 AM PST - 52 comments

Flash Friday: Dolphin Olympics 2! (previously, the original). Leap out of the water and do some twists and flips. String your jumps together and you can pick up speed and altitude, until you leave the Earth behind and go soaring through deep space. Can you reach the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?
posted by PercussivePaul at 10:07 AM PST - 6 comments

30 Ways to Die of Electrocution. A Flickr set reprinted from 1931 a German book called Electrocution in 132 Pictures. Via.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:54 AM PST - 46 comments


The Hammond Novachord: Introduced in 1939, it was the world's first subtractive synthesis synthesizer and built with all the cutting edge technology of the time: 169 vacuum tubes, 12 oscillators, 60 frequency dividers, 60 band pass filters, 72 VCA's, and weighing in at 500 pounds. You've likely heard it in dozens of films and TV shows from the 1940's to 1960's. Crazy enough to restore one? If it sounds like this, why not?
posted by Paid In Full at 7:53 AM PST - 19 comments

RoboCop Rap - The whole film, condensed down to ten mins, in rap form. SLYT. NSFW.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:26 AM PST - 49 comments

"Schengen means" there will be "no systematic control of the borders anymore". Switzerland officially cracks open its borders to Europe. [more inside]
posted by mannequito at 6:57 AM PST - 40 comments

Not that this is a surprise, but the planned congestion charging/public transport scheme in Manchester has been rejected. Perhaps those in favor of the charging should have spent less on their web sites; like the no-campaign people did. You know, with more primary colours and exclamation marks. Instead, they should have spent their money on shark costumes. [more inside]
posted by 13twelve at 6:21 AM PST - 37 comments


Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira turned 100 yesterday. Oliveira was born 13 years after the Lumiére brothers shot the first movie ever, and he is still going strong, currently directing "Singularidades de uma Rapariga Loira" ("Idiosyncrasies of a Blonde Girl") and making plans for a project after that. Even if this is the first time you've heard of Manoel de Oliveira, or indeed if you are not a fan of his long, slow style, you have to be amazed at the remarkable condition in which he hits the 3 figures (scroll to 3:23 to see him).
posted by neblina_matinal at 4:28 AM PST - 9 comments

December 11

What happens when a NYC Library Closes. Sad story of the NYC Donnell Library that closed to make room for a luxury hotel. The blog post is written by one of the workers who was rushing to scan information for the Internet Archive. He took photos on the last day. Coral Cache of the images via boingboing [more inside]
posted by filmgeek at 10:12 PM PST - 29 comments

Public Radio Podcasts : NPR is a treasure trove of great audio content but most of it is not accessible via a podcast feed. This site uses the NPR API to construct proper podcast feeds for their shows that don't current have feeds (e.g. Morning Edition, All Things Considered) as well as per reporter and topic based feeds. Enjoy! [via mefi projects]
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:11 PM PST - 31 comments

Photograph of Jesus is a short film by Laurie Hill illustrating the strange requests photography archivists at the vast Hulton Archive sometimes get, such as for photographs of Jesus, the Yeti, Jack the Ripper, Neil Armstrong with 11 other people on the moon and the like. This film won Getty Images' Short and Sweet Film Challenge. The three other shortlisted films were Big Red Button's gambling tale Perrington Stud, Jasmin Jodry's science fiction fantasy Star Games and Ian Mackinnon's sports story Long Jump.
posted by Kattullus at 9:44 PM PST - 14 comments

Pinup icon Betty Page has died at age 85. A complex figure, Page is best remembered for the cheesecake photographs taken of her during the late 40s and 50s (NSFW). [more inside]
posted by Jilder at 9:43 PM PST - 115 comments

Although the movie Tron was groundbreaking due to its unprecedented and extensive use of CGI in 1982, after pre-production, it only took four months to shoot and nine months to complete all of the special effects. From Computer Animation Primer published in 1984, we learn a bit about the technical process, which seems amusingly tedious by today's animation standards. [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:37 PM PST - 11 comments

From the makers of Velociraptor Safari (previously) comes Minotaur China Shop, a game of entrepreneurship ... and crippling rage
posted by slater at 9:24 PM PST - 17 comments

Unscrambling an army of colours, reports The Guardian on the BBC's forthcoming screening of a colour-restored episode of the WWII sitcom Dad's Army. Not seen for 40 years and lost in its original PAL video colour format, it existed only as an archive on 16mm b&w film. However, the Colour Recovery Working Group found a way to recover the colour information from "chroma dots": pattern artefacts on the b&w representing unfiltered colour signal. Techie details here and here.
posted by raygirvan at 9:02 PM PST - 7 comments

A team of researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto have managed to reconstruct black-and-white visual images from an fMRI scan of a test subject's brain. Some more examples of the recovered data. The organization responsible claims that the technology to record thoughts and dreams is just around the corner. [more inside]
posted by teraflop at 8:47 PM PST - 48 comments

FreshBrain: Online tech training (animation, video editing, graphic editing, application creation, etc) for youth - nonprofit and totally free. Featuring activities and contests
posted by serazin at 8:37 PM PST - 1 comments

The CSS Text Wrapper allows you to easily make HTML text wrap in shapes other than just a rectangle. You can make text wrap around curves, zig-zags, or whatever you want. All you have to do is draw the left and right edges, then copy the generated code to your web site. From the folks at The Idea Shower who brought us Read It Later.
posted by netbros at 8:28 PM PST - 12 comments

Video and audio from a camera mounted on one of the side solid rocket boosters during the launch of STS-124. As the camera is initially facing the main booster, there's not that much to see (except water vapor collecting on the lens and interesting-looking changes in the main booster's surface) until around 1:50, when the booster rocket is jettisoned. After that, enjoy the ride from space to splashdown, but watch out for flying debris! Here's the view from the other booster, without sound. More onboard STS cameras, previously. [N.B. -- Adjust volume accordingly, it gets loud! Looks even better in high-quality and full-screen modes.]
posted by not_on_display at 8:26 PM PST - 46 comments

They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our Independence Day! 40 motivational movie speeches in 2 minutes.
posted by ericbop at 7:17 PM PST - 39 comments

Radio Shack catalog archives. Revisit your geeky youth.
posted by davebush at 6:46 PM PST - 29 comments

This single link youtube post singing about assassination in cartoon form cheered me up. (via itslikespiders.com)
posted by Sparx at 6:13 PM PST - 15 comments

Yaddocast is a multimedia podcast series exploring the history, culture, and artistic achievements of Yaddo and Yaddo artists. [more inside]
posted by theantikitty at 5:24 PM PST - 6 comments

What's the worst part about the holidays? The consumerism? The awkward office parties? Belligerent relatives and needy offspring? No, its holiday music, especially those involving former heroes [NSFOP]. This year, give the gift of non-suckage.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:12 PM PST - 50 comments

Watch the skull “explode” and reconstruct! Zoom and spin the torso to expose a little or reveal everything! Get a grasp of the inner workings of the human shoulder! Get inside this head! Interactive three dimensional views of various anatomical structures.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:41 PM PST - 14 comments

Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA. "This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
posted by homunculus at 3:00 PM PST - 19 comments

It's snowing in New Orleans.
posted by swift at 2:08 PM PST - 108 comments

Richard Dawkins releases his uncut interview with Derren Brown (50 mins +), originally conducted for the Enemies of Reason show - available in six parts on YouTube.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 1:24 PM PST - 210 comments

Australian poet Dorothy Porter passed away December 10th Dorothy Porter dead at 54. [more inside]
posted by robotot at 1:00 PM PST - 5 comments

Yes, 'tis the season once again, and back in the day that meant the reappearance of the beloved Christmas carol in the comic pages, more specifically in the late, lamented Pogo. [more inside]
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:47 PM PST - 24 comments

Aliens vs Predator: Whoever wins, you lose - MeFi's own jscalzi talks about the worst Sci-Fi film of the year. Meanwhile Sigourney Weaver and Ridley Scott suggest making another alien movie - with Ripley but without any aliens. It's may not be all bad news for xenomorphs though - 2009 will see the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines is still just around the corner, hopefully.
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM PST - 412 comments

The recent passing of Studs Terkel sparked a renewed interest in his interview projects, like Working, Race, and Hard Times. But Studs was not just a broadcaster who liked people; he was a practitioner of oral history, a method of gathering information about the past through preserving individual recollections. It's a subfield of history, with its own ethics, techniques, professional literature, uses, and limitations. Learn how to collect and share oral histories yourself, from interviewing to recording and getting clearances to preserving and disseminating. Oral histories have been preserved as text transcripts for decades; now digital media isreinvigorating the form, bringing new ease to recording and wider opportunities for the public to see and hear the content. Explore oral history projects on the web with stories of veterans, suffragists, Tibetans, jazz cats, Nevada nuclear test site witnesses, Basque Americans, rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, musicians, Katrina survivors, ACT UP activists, Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge, Native Americans, women whose lives were affected by the Pill, survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire,women in World War II, Hawai'ians, workers in Paterson, NJ....
posted by Miko at 9:09 AM PST - 20 comments

Just Like The Movies. Michal Kosakowski reconstructs the morning of 9/11/01 completely through clips from Hollywood movies released before 9/11. More of Kosakowski's short films are available here. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher at 8:40 AM PST - 40 comments

Necessary Angels. They are not doctors. They are not nurses. They are illiterate women from India's Untouchable castes. Yet as trained village health workers, they are delivering babies, curing disease, and saving lives—including their own. Photo Gallery. Video.
posted by amyms at 8:11 AM PST - 14 comments

Recently a puppy webcam became so incredibly popular online that it caught the attention of the mainstream media. There was a This American Life story a few years ago about a guy (Bob FitzSimons) who had an idea for a 24-hour all-puppies-all-the-time tv channel that was short-lived on cable and just didn't work out. The story of his idea doesn't end there though. The Puppy Channel is now online. [more inside]
posted by Tehanu at 7:46 AM PST - 48 comments


Bleed The World
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:22 AM PST - 20 comments



Inventor Le Trung, creator of Aiko the female robot, awaits investors to give his creation life.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:48 AM PST - 42 comments


Bram Schouw's short IMPASSE [more inside]
posted by pwedza at 1:46 AM PST - 8 comments

So, for about two years now, Will Chapman of BrickArms has been creating a wide variety of custom Lego minifigures, ranging from World War II soldiers (both Axis and Allies) to a certain copyrighted British Secret Service agent. One of Chapman's more popular creations is "Mr. White," a "bandit" brimming with weapons (including an AK-47 and RPG) and grenades. This week, the Sun ran a story. Then Fox News ran another. [more inside]
posted by hifiparasol at 1:35 AM PST - 30 comments

December 10

A Review of Criticality Accidents (3.7 MB pdf) Do you like reading comp.risks, or CVR transcripts from famous plane crashes? Then you may enjoy this technical analysis of 60 accidents where improper handling of fissile materials led to unexpected critical mass. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:34 PM PST - 36 comments

Imagine watching Schindler's List and knowing the sadistic Nazi camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes was your father. Inheritance is the story of Monika Hertwig, the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth. Hertwig has spent her life in the shadow of her father's sins, trying to come to terms with her "inheritance." She seeks out Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, who was enslaved by Goeth and who is one of the few living eyewitnesses to his unspeakable brutality.

Trailer. | PBS P.O.V. - Inheritance home page. | Interview with the filmmaker. | Watch the full film online. (December 11, 2008 - January 4, 2009.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:34 PM PST - 14 comments

Photographer Paul Shambroom has spent the last sixteen years documenting a much-discussed but little seen aspect of American foreign policy -- our nuclear arsenal. [more inside]
posted by puckish at 9:41 PM PST - 19 comments

12/31/08 6:59:60 pm (EST).
posted by WCityMike at 8:47 PM PST - 69 comments

Relive some of your favorite Seinfeld moments in animated form through Seinimation! Animated by Eric Yahnker, Seinimation is a series of 11 short animated films based on some of Seinfeld's most memorable scenes. My personal favorites are The Big Race, Seinfeld-noir and George & The Whale. The rest of them are inside... [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:44 PM PST - 12 comments


The Carpenters... Space Encounters. Just what it sounds like! Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. [more inside]
posted by hermitosis at 8:04 PM PST - 20 comments

Counter-Strike, Vincent Van Gogh style - a curiously pleasing little video mashup. (via Milinkito)
posted by madamjujujive at 6:30 PM PST - 29 comments

The MaxPlanckForschung journal cover gets some extra attention when it tries to be 'cool' and get a Chinese tattoo. MaxPlanckForschung usually publishes fairly esoteric scientific papers, and for a special issue on China, it wanted a nice artistic cover with some Chinese writing on it... little did the editors know that they had just published an ad for a brothel. LOL.
posted by mhh5 at 5:14 PM PST - 60 comments

Over four years of "Mr. Boffo" strips lay in Joe Martin's directories, waiting for you to read them -- as panels, strips, and Sundays. (Don't bother with the rest of his site; it's a mess.)
posted by not_on_display at 3:44 PM PST - 13 comments

Elliot Carter, American Composer, turns 100 Born in 1908, Carter's life is a virtual biography of twentieth century music. He attended the US premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Perhaps a slow developer, Carter didn't write his first opera until he was over the age of 90. He turns 100 tomorrow, December 11th. [more inside]
posted by ob at 3:00 PM PST - 17 comments

Source Of Geysers On Saturn's Moon Enceladus May Be Underground Water. Earlier this year the Cassini spacecraft detected organic material in the geysers of Enceladus. The question now is, how's the fishing?
posted by homunculus at 2:52 PM PST - 53 comments

"I remember having rootbeer floats on the porch swing on hot summer nights... I remember playing with my cousins and the neighbors in the side yard. I remember running to the train tracks just a few blocks away and counting the train cars (sometimes over 100!) as they streamed by. I remember 'Uncle' Bill showing me his missing finger that he lost while working the trains... This is someone else’s house now but my memories still live there." From Disappearing Places: An archive and collective map of places that no longer exist, at least not as they once did. [more inside]
posted by katillathehun at 2:45 PM PST - 23 comments

"This is one of the greatest damn gifts you could ever give to anybody." The EDAR (Everyone Deserves a Roof) is a mobile sleeping shelter for the cold homeless in refrigerator boxes.
posted by four panels at 1:18 PM PST - 58 comments

Grace Jones in chocolate. That isn’t a clever illustration of an assembly line of Grace Jones heads on the cover of her new album, Hurricane. Those are real chocolate Grace Jones heads made from 16 moulds of her head and body.
posted by joeclark at 11:15 AM PST - 93 comments

Christmas is coming, but while the goose may be getting fat, your wallet is not. And you’re dreaming of a green Christmas. How, you ask, can one decorate a home economically and with consideration for the environment? This depends on what you’ve got sitting around the house already. Do you have lots of old Christmas cards that always seemed too pretty to throw away? Use them to make a star or two, tree ornaments, angels, gift boxes, a basket, a wreath or a small tree. [more inside]
posted by orange swan at 10:59 AM PST - 15 comments

Don't like scooping cat litter? Toilet train your cat.
posted by thbt at 8:50 AM PST - 86 comments

Blip.fm has been described as a Twitter for Music. The site allows users to create streaming playlists by searching for music hosted elsewhere online. You can make a playlist for your own listening pleasure, immediately find and hear a song that's been running through your brain, follow the blips of users (or "djs" in their parlance), and give and receive affirmations of musical taste ("props"). If you want more of the world to know exactly what you've listened to at any particular moment, you can integrate your account with last.fm, friendfeed, twitter, and the like. Unlike the late, lamented Muxtape, there are no copyright-violating uploads (that blip.fm hosts, at any rate). Surely the RIAA will have no problem with this site. Right?
posted by bibliowench at 8:09 AM PST - 44 comments

What's important about St. Mary's City? Margaret Brent was the first woman to petition for the right to vote in English America in 1648
Mathias de Sousa was the first man of African descent to vote in North America in 1642.
The first Catholic Mass was celebrated in English America by Fr. Andrew White 1634, who also described his 1633 Voyage to Maryland (translated from latin). It was also the location of the first Print House in the southern colonies of America. (more articles).( map Then and Now)
posted by adamvasco at 7:29 AM PST - 4 comments

New Hampshire's Drawing Room at the Edge of the Universe. A Christmas carol for the coming depression. A ballad about accidental second chances. A canceled fireworks display leads to a midnight balloon ride and a mysterious quest. Welcome to Atoms, Motion, and the Void. You are the guest of septuagenarian Sherwin Sleeves, and these are his stories. [more inside]
posted by Pastabagel at 6:58 AM PST - 9 comments

John Taylor Gatto's newest book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, is out today. Gatto, a former New York State "Teacher of the Year" (1991), is a critic of state education and compulsory schooling in general: "When you take the free will out of education, that turns it into schooling." [more inside]
posted by symbollocks at 6:54 AM PST - 129 comments

The raccoon dog is native to China, Korea, Japan, and southeastern Siberia. Adults measure about 65 cm (2 ft) and weight ranges from 4 to 10 kg (9 to 22 lb). Average litters are large, up to 15 or more pups. Longevity is 3–4 years in the wild and up to 11 years in captivity. The species is found in both plains and mountainous regions and is especially common in woodlands. The Raccoon Dog is commonly seen near villages and in rural areas. They absolutely cannot enlarge their scrotums.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:39 AM PST - 69 comments

December 9

An antidote to the holly jolly malaise: Few Christmas carols contain as much blood and suffering as "Down in yon forest." It was first documented in England by Ralph Vaughan Williams, but John Jacob Niles found an even gorier version in North Carolina (Alfred Deller's rendition). [more inside]
posted by imposster at 11:25 PM PST - 29 comments

An Open Letter to Barack Obama [PDF]. The hard right are starting to play hardball now in their accusations of Obama of being ineligible to hold office with conservative blog WorldNetDaily leading the charge in recent months. Now the fight has been taken to the Supreme Court and has been rejected already but that's not stopping some people from trying.
posted by Talez at 11:08 PM PST - 142 comments

Move over Alvin & the Chipmunks. The BBC has "been out talking to animals all over the UK to discover exactly what they'd like for Christmas...find out what they had to say here!" [more inside]
posted by ericb at 9:46 PM PST - 10 comments

Ishtar (The Web Site) - Un/official site for the Elaine May film that everyone but me (and presumably the person who made this web site) hates. The site is missing a petition to get the film released on Blu-Ray but does have the songs converted to mp3.
posted by Manhasset at 9:42 PM PST - 35 comments

New York Magazine? Popular Science? The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists? Ebony? Every issue, every page, back into the mists of history. [more inside]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:15 PM PST - 46 comments

Gregory Brotherton. Figurative metal sculpture. Often shiny. Some using discarded machine parts.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:58 PM PST - 9 comments

Two social justice teachers decide to start eating on one dollar a day. [more inside]
posted by puckish at 8:14 PM PST - 42 comments

Obento wonderland. A site in Japanese which (appears to) chronicle one bento-crazed artisan's daily lunch-making ritual. Let no lunch be without novelty! You don't need to be able to read the text to get a perverse kick out of the images. [more inside]
posted by lottie at 7:54 PM PST - 12 comments

Miss Tiffany's Universe is the first and largest Kathoey cabaret show in SE Asia. The Third gender is not unique to Thailand. The Hijras of India have an 18-day festival. North American Natives have the Two-Spirit Gathering. And Australia is now contemplating third sex designation. [more inside]
posted by gman at 7:47 PM PST - 25 comments


Interior New York Subway, 14th St. to 42nd St. (1905) (sound added). In June, 1905, G.W. "Billy" Bitzer, D.W. Griffith's cinematographer, mounted a camera at the front of a train and shot 6 1/2 minutes of footage from 14th Street (Union Square) to the old Grand Central Depot, built by Cornelius Vanderbilt and architect John Snook in 1871. At the time of filming, the subway was only seven months old, having opened in October 1904. Two weeks after completing "Interior New York Subway," Bitzer shot "2 AM in the Subway," a comic short about late-night cavorting in an underground station. In March, 1905, Ray Stannard Baker (author of "What is a Lynching") called New York's new subway "a confusion of wonders" -- "the next step in the evolution of a Modern City." It would have its challenges.
posted by terranova at 6:29 PM PST - 17 comments

By one measure, this stock market is as bad as any in the last 180 years.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:28 PM PST - 21 comments

Caga Tio: The World's Misunderstood Yule Log (NSFW) El Tío de Nadal, better known as Caga Tío, is a Catalan Christmas tradition. [more inside]
posted by Stewriffic at 5:49 PM PST - 11 comments


Medical studies have indicated that high intelligence is often synonymous with the likelihood of alcoholism and suicidal tendencies. Animal studies have suggested that being smarter can actually be bad for animals...and it's not always an advantage for humans either. There should be a point here, but I'm a little fuzzy on what it is.
posted by deusdiabolus at 4:36 PM PST - 85 comments

Fun, funky fingerstyle arrangements from Adam Rafferty: Superstition, I Wish, Billie Jean, The Chameleon. He's clearly having a great time and I think you will too.
posted by tomcooke at 4:20 PM PST - 19 comments

Symmetry, (previously) a magazine on particle physics, recently put out a list of particle-physics related license plates. Of course there are other lists of geeky plates. Some even appear to be MeFi related. You could always just AskMefi to come up with your own geeky plate. But some tags, geeky and otherwise, aren't allowed (previously 1 2).
posted by nat at 4:04 PM PST - 12 comments

Sixty years ago on December 10, fifty eight nations created the UN Declaration of Human Rights. [more inside]
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:44 PM PST - 20 comments

Austenbook. It's trivial. It's silly. I grinned.
posted by mojohand at 3:16 PM PST - 32 comments

Jane Espenson is a tv writer you might have heard of if you've been watching few science fiction and related genre shows in recent years. For awhile now she's been answering questions about script writing from readers of her blog and gracing the blogosphere with her insights into the craft of writing a good story for tv and movies. Today she announced that she's taking a break from advice blogging because she's running out of new ideas for topics to cover.
posted by Tehanu at 3:04 PM PST - 9 comments

Daily Routines features how writers, artists, statesmen, and others go about their day. [more inside]
posted by Korou at 2:41 PM PST - 12 comments

Norman Thomas di Giovanni, translator for the 20th century Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges's has recently posted on his web-site, his translation of Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, one of his most well known and greatest short stories.
posted by Fizz at 1:07 PM PST - 14 comments

So when Jimmy Fallon takes over for Conan O'Brien, guess who will be his house band?
posted by xmattxfx at 12:30 PM PST - 181 comments

"The multi-million dollar casino will feature unique applications of The Beverly Hillbillies theme. Granny’s Shot Gun Weddin’ Chapel, Jethro’s All-You-Ken-Et Buffet, the Cement Pond, Granny’s White Lightnin’ Bar complete with rain & lightning ["The waitresses are dressed like Elly May but padded like Dolly Parton"], Elly May’s Buns (Bakery) [Link possibly NSFW], gourmet meals from Drysdales’ Fancy Eatin’ Fo Da Richins, Granny’s Vittles & Hog Jowls Coffee Shop, and an oil derrick are just a few of the many attractions … a project of Las Vegas standards will be created!" [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie at 11:57 AM PST - 61 comments


Fine edition used book blog Bookride has a list of Literary Rock Band Names which make a pleasant diversion. A list which just may be expanded in the comments.
posted by shothotbot at 11:02 AM PST - 32 comments

Why give someone the gift of song when you can give them multiple songs... all at once! Metafilter originally introduced me to mashups with the Santastic collection of holiday mashups and Bootie's annual 'Best of' compilation. Now it just doesn't feel like the holidays without songs like "You Shook Me All Noel" blasting from my car stereo.
posted by BartFargo at 10:49 AM PST - 11 comments

The Butterfly Hunter. Klea McKenna's photographs of her father's butterfly collection. [Via]
posted by homunculus at 9:52 AM PST - 6 comments

"I just began photographing desperately. I really overshot because I was so desperate to always keep the camera going; every moment I stopped photographing I really felt like I might faint, or burst into tears, or come apart, or something like that." [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese at 9:45 AM PST - 23 comments

"For over half a century, the UCLA Phonetics Laboratory has collected recordings of hundreds of languages from around the world, providing source materials for phonetic and phonological research, of value to scholars, speakers of the languages, and language learners alike. The materials on this site comprise audio recordings illustrating phonetic structures from over 200 languages with phonetic transcriptions, plus scans of original field notes where relevant." (Description from website.) Many more recordings -- indexed by language, sound, and geographic location -- are available here.
posted by cog_nate at 9:25 AM PST - 12 comments

Toons at War [more inside]
posted by anastasiav at 9:05 AM PST - 5 comments


The governor of Illinois, the guy who gets to pick who gets Obama's senate seat, gets arrested for corruption. [more inside]
posted by jpburns at 8:08 AM PST - 210 comments

GenDisasters is a genealogy site, compiling information on the historic disasters, events, and tragic accidents of Canada and the U.S. that our ancestors endured, as well as, information about their life and death. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 7:36 AM PST - 12 comments

Gunson looked up to see a breach appearing in the top of the dam. Feeling a sudden, violent, vibrating of the ground beneath his feet, he quickly scampered up the side of the embankment, luckily just in time, as a few seconds later there was a total collapse of a large section of the dam, unleashing a colossal mountain of water which thundered down the valley and on to the unsuspecting population below. For two hundred and fifty people who lived in Sheffield and the hamlets in the valley below the dam, this was to be their last night on Earth. Six hundred and fifty million gallons of water roared down the Loxley valley and into Sheffield, wreaking death and destruction on a horrific scale. [more inside]
posted by xchmp at 5:46 AM PST - 6 comments

One of the classic arguments against evolution by natural selection is "what good is half an X?" where X is an eye, a wing or some other complex body part or system. Directly responding to the implicit challenge some researchers have been not just figuring out how X could have evolved, but actually evolving new complex machines (previously). The basic ideas are so simple that web versions (explanation and discussion) have been popping up.
posted by DU at 5:24 AM PST - 67 comments

"Night of terror - Madness and lunacy in Athens" reads the headline of one Greek newspaper this morning; "Night of agony and terror - Athens, Pireaus and Thessaloniki at the mercy of hooded individuals" reads another, and the rest follow suite. Three days of mass protests, demonstrations... and finally rioting, rampage and looting across Greece have followed Saturday's fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy by police in Athens' bohemian/anarchist neighborhood of Exarchia. [more inside]
posted by taz at 4:27 AM PST - 66 comments

In the 1980s, songwriter, artist and cultural critic Momus recorded a number of albums for the legendary indie label Creation Records, combining influences as diverse as Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg, Pet Shop Boys-style synthpop and Balearic acid-house. These have largely languished in Sony Music's vaults over the past few years, occasionally fetching hefty prices on eBay. Now, Momus has taken the step to commit auto-piracy and release his Creation albums online, for free; over December, he will post MP3s of all six albums to his LiveJournal blog, each with freshly written liner notes. The first one, 1987's The Poison Boyfriend, is here. [more inside]
posted by acb at 3:26 AM PST - 15 comments

Oliver Postgate has died. The voice of millions of British childhoods, creator of Bagpuss, The Clangers and Noggin the Nog passed away yesterday after a long illness. I always kind of hoped that God spoke in that voice.
posted by Grangousier at 12:14 AM PST - 48 comments

December 8

Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy - a commentary in Nature that says, "we call for a presumption that mentally competent adults should be able to engage in cognitive enhancement using drugs". Farkesque debate here. [more inside]
posted by daksya at 11:59 PM PST - 57 comments

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was booted out in the 2007 elections. He had been Prime Minister for 11 years and in that time he had taken the country to war and divided the country on issues like Aboriginal reconciliation and workplace reforms. The Howard Years, a four part documentary originally screened on the ABC, is now online and available to view for free and takes a detailed look at the legacy of his Prime Ministership. The four part series explores in greater detail than ever before Howard's fractured relationship with his deputy and heir apparent, Peter Costello, and also contains some startling revelations from Howard Government ministers that many candidly admit they would never have told you while they were still in Government.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:04 PM PST - 32 comments


Aw look, another cute flash game. Help the sweet lil' doe-eyed bunnies, monkeys, and their friends get to the promised land after a big bad cigar-chomping human came and chopped down their forest. It's so sweet. Until you hit the shift button and Thumper slowly pulls out a knife and takes one for the team. Play SeppuKuties (flash). [more inside]
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:53 PM PST - 9 comments

Driving Off the Map by James Clinton Howell is a formal analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2. If you played this game — even if you didn't like it (especially if you didn't like it) — you need to read this to learn what you actually played. If you've never played Metal Gear Solid, it's still an excellent example of serious video game scholarship.
posted by cthuljew at 9:33 PM PST - 37 comments

Guiness World Record holder Adam Winrich demonstrates all the basic bullwhip-cracking techniques. He also teaches you how to perform each of them in detail, and how to open a can of root beer.
posted by hermitosis at 8:47 PM PST - 32 comments

EclipseCrossword is a powerful windows tool for automatically creating crossword puzzles. You can create multiple puzzles from the same word list; print the puzzles in assorted formats; or export interactive puzzles for web pages. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral at 8:28 PM PST - 9 comments

All Nightmare Long is a nine-minute-long alternative-history science fiction/horror fake documentary with stop motion animation, rotoscoping and Soviet propaganda thrown in. There's also a Metallica song attached to it, but you might not even notice it's a music video. (Or watch it on Youtube)
posted by Bookhouse at 8:20 PM PST - 15 comments

Want to hear your favorite song? Just type in the name and it will play. Like magic. [more inside]
posted by AstroGuy at 7:35 PM PST - 109 comments

Snippets of a taped conversation between Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Richard Nixon.
posted by gman at 7:33 PM PST - 23 comments

Forty years ago, Douglas Engelbart gave the Mother of All Demos. [more inside]
posted by honest knave at 7:06 PM PST - 35 comments

The Eye and the Fly is a video advert (for what, I don't really know) that I think is very well done. On first viewing, it immediately reminded me of Zbig Rybczynski's classic short, Tango, which has been linked on MeFi before.
posted by Manhasset at 6:39 PM PST - 8 comments

How to write about Africa. Binyavanga Wainaina is among a rising generation of African voices who bring a cautionary perspective to the morality and efficacy behind many Western initiatives to abolish poverty and speed development in Africa. An interview with Krista Tippet.
posted by nax at 6:28 PM PST - 12 comments

Bodhi Day, also known as Rohatsu, celebrates the day when Buddha was enlightened under the bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya (video, annotated photo gallery). How do we celebrate Bodhi Day? Typically, Rohatsu is the last day of a weeklong sesshin (intensive meditation retreat). Better not sleep late, the bell rings at 3:50 am! One person's experience of sesshin. A lesson in mindfulness for Rohatsu, including tips for beginners. Bodhi Day is primarily a Zen tradition. Tibetan buddhists celebrate Buddha's enlightenment in May with the festival of Saga Dawa. Other Buddhist holidays.
posted by desjardins at 5:52 PM PST - 11 comments

The single-shot Palm Pistol... The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted a conceptual, ergonomic 9mm handgun — designed for people crippled by arthritis, muscular dystrophy, or similar conditions that render them too weak to operate normal handguns — as a Class 1 Medical Device.... doctors could eventually write prescriptions for it and then be reimbursed by Medicare.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:49 PM PST - 61 comments

The new Internet legend. Trevor Dunbar ran a 9 min 1 sec, 2 mile time trial through ice and snow. The entire thing is recorded. And what was once in Alaska can't stay in Alaska. More details.
posted by jwakawaka at 5:43 PM PST - 23 comments

"You got bailed out. We got sold out." Chicago workers respond to a factory closing by occupying the factory. A flickr set of photos from the site.
posted by jason's_planet at 5:21 PM PST - 77 comments


The National Security Agency is building a data center in San Antonio that’s the size of the Alamodome. Microsoft has opened an 11-acre data center a few miles away. Coincidence? Not according to author James Bamford, who probably knows more about the NSA than any outsider. Bamford's new book reports that the biggest U.S. spy agency wanted assurances that Microsoft would be in San Antonio before it moved ahead with the Texas Cryptology Center. Bamford notes that under current law, the NSA could legally tap into Microsoft’s data without a court order. Whatever you do, don't take pictures of it the spy building unless you want to be taken in for questioning.
posted by up in the old hotel at 4:49 PM PST - 42 comments

Blackbird. Are you reading this page on Firefox, Opera, or IE? More importantly, are you black? Then you might want to check out Blackbird: "a web browser designed for the African-American community."
posted by zardoz at 4:48 PM PST - 84 comments

CW Roelle makes drawings with wire. Watch him at work. A little more information. Do it yourself!
posted by moonmilk at 3:53 PM PST - 2 comments


While it's been noted Obama is the first presidential candidate to run political ads in video games and one of his transition team leaders plays World of Warcraft, there's no real evidence as yet that the coming administration encompasses the gaming experience and mindset. Since future ones undoubtedly will, as video and computer games go mainstream, it's worthwhile to ponder what things would be like if gamers ran the world. (via) [more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:35 PM PST - 52 comments

Had Jim Morrison survived, he would be turning 65 years old today. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:03 PM PST - 135 comments

William Alexander Morgan: The improbable story of how a high school dropout, ex-con, ranch hand, gambling enforcer, mafia gunrunner and circus fire eater from Ohio, became one of the top leaders in Castro’s revolutionary army (pops), only to be executed as a traitor after the revolution.
posted by mrducts at 11:10 AM PST - 4 comments

Facebook and the Social Dynamics of Privacy (coming soon to the Iowa Law Review), by James Grimmelmann (law professor, programmer, MeFi's own grimmelm, and Level 1 Ensign Zombie): just in time for Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect, Grimmelmann suggests we rethink what privacy means both in legal terms and how that impacts social networks and their users. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by ahughey at 10:45 AM PST - 39 comments


Leopold Godowsky's technique was such that Arthur Rubinstein wrote, "It would take me 500 years to get a mechanism like [his]." Which came in handy playing his 53 Studies on Chopin's Etudes - which are often nominated as the most difficult pieces in the repertoire.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:19 AM PST - 6 comments

Why Conan the barbarian isn't just some big dumb-dumb.
posted by Artw at 8:28 AM PST - 89 comments

Animals Save The Planet. A series of environmentally conscious animated shorts from Animal Planet.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:37 AM PST - 7 comments

Several British Internet Service Providers have blocked access to a Wikipedia page (NSFW) of the 1977 album Virgin Killers by the German rock group The Scorpions. The Internet Watch Foundation had advised the ISPs that the albums cover featured imagery that was 'potentially illegal' child pornography. The way the ban was enacted has had the side effect of stopping thousands of UK users from editing articles on Wikipedia. Naturally not everyone is happy about this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:16 AM PST - 102 comments

Is history repeating itself? Note quite 2000 years ago, the Roman hegemony got its first black leader - a former senator whose father was African and mother was white. Septimius Severus inherited a failed military campaign in Iraq and an ailing economy. He first resolves the situation in Iraq, undertakes a number of new building projects, stamps out governmental corruption, raises taxes to pay for wage increases (and kicks British arse a few times). Ultimately though, it all might have only hastened the Empire's decline.
posted by zaebiz at 1:10 AM PST - 95 comments

Like short stories but just don’t have the time to hang around for ten, five, two, or even one thousand words? Try some drabbles, stories precisely 100 words long. There was a bit of a craze in the early 90s, but some enterprising websites (including the successfully-published Brendan Adkin at Ommatidia) are still updating today (Previously). Write your own! (For the terminally lazy, automatically generate one instead.)
posted by Scattercat at 12:48 AM PST - 11 comments

Animata is an open source real-time animation software, designed to create animations, interactive background projections for concerts, theatre and dance performances.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:46 AM PST - 14 comments

80s era holiday television complete with antenna, TV guide, and remote.
posted by Korou at 12:10 AM PST - 22 comments

December 7

Ex-Director of Operations of Sababa Toys Paul Nawrocki lost his job after the parent company filed for bankruptcy. Posting, faxing, and emailing thousand of copies of his resumes (including through LinkedIn) did not get him anywhere, so he's resorted to standing at a Manhattan street corner wearing a sandwich board saying "Almost Homeless". Business blogger Barry Ritholtz blogged about Nawrocki, which led to a Businessweek interview describing his difficulty affording his wife's medical needs or even the cost of relocation. He's been noticed by an executive recruiting firm, and a job-hunting website was made in his honour. Will his Depression-era tactic bring him luck in this recession? (Via MetaChat)
posted by divabat at 11:57 PM PST - 59 comments

Sadie tells Maurice, "You’re a schmuck! You always were a schmuck and you always will be a schmuck! You look, act and dress like a schmuck! You’ll be a schmuck until the day you die! And if they ran a world-wide competition for schmucks, you would be the world’s second biggest schmuck!" "Why only second place?" Maurice asks. "Because you’re a schmuck!" Sadie screams. Some Jewish humor.
posted by serazin at 11:14 PM PST - 27 comments

Never had an Indian mom? You poor, deprived wretch! Meet Manjula.
She'll be happy to teach you to make Naan, Rotis, Pani Puri, Vegetable Pakoras, Paneer, Raita, Navattran Korma, Palak Paneer, Pulav, Malai Kofta, Aloo Gobi, Chana Masala, Hari Chutney, Ras Malai, Gajar ka Halwa and much more! I can... almost... smell her kitchen. *sigh*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:18 PM PST - 50 comments

As those of you on the wrong email lists can probably guess, Snopes is overflowing with gang initiation rumors. What you may not know is that the New Jersey police recently arrested someone spreading those stories for "causing false public alarm." [more inside]
posted by tkolar at 9:53 PM PST - 23 comments


The coming memristor revolution in electronics and how it works. The newly created memristor, only the fourth fundamental fundamental type of passive circuit element, has the promise of computing advances both prosaic (faster, cheaper and "bigger" flash drives) and momentous (relatively effortless mimicry of brain cells and their activity). This is the story of the memristor's genesis, told by R. Stanley Williams, the leader of the team that created the device. [more inside]
posted by NortonDC at 7:54 PM PST - 43 comments

The Odessa narcotics unit was tricked (stand alone video) by Barry Cooper and his show (currently over bandwidth), into raiding a house they thought had a grow-op. Was the probable cause based solely on their use of thermal imaging equipment? Canadian courts have already visited this invasion of privacy issue. [more inside]
posted by gman at 7:21 PM PST - 46 comments

The Isleños are said to be a dying traditional American subculture. Descendants of Canary Island immigrants of Louisiana, the name Isleños was given to them to distinguish them from Spanish mainlanders, known as "peninsulares." But in Louisiana, the name evolved from a category to an identity. For a long time they were one of those rare subcultures that found a way to maintain a living tradition as the world around them modernised by carving out a livelihood as crabbers and 'shrimpers'. Then Katrina hit and the wetlands, which were central to the Isleños identity, essentially dissapeared. Despite the blow to their economy, they still have their songs and annual fiestas, evidence of a strong culture which binds their community together, and their rebuilding following Katrina demonstrated how strong that sense of identity and culture can be. So perhaps the Isleños shouldn't be written off just yet, then. After all, as Isleño Irvan Perez says, "This is home. Where else would we go?"
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:12 PM PST - 7 comments

Simply Scripts is a repository of screenplays. Sort of a collection of links to scripts hosted on other sites (like official studio or screenwriter sites). There's some neat stuff there. For instance, I found a Coen brothers script (pdf), based on a James Dickey novel, I'd never heard of before.
posted by Manhasset at 6:23 PM PST - 14 comments


Enter the wonderful world of Wonderglen Productions
posted by Navelgazer at 5:32 PM PST - 8 comments

XWord Info soberly describes itself as containing "data about NYT puzzles dating back to November, 1993, covering the entire time that Will Shortz has been Puzzle Editor," understating the cornucopia of geeky goodness within. See any crossword over that time. Look up every appearance of a word with every clue ever used for it. See the most frequently used 500 words, and the most popular by length. [more inside]
posted by Zed_Lopez at 4:03 PM PST - 42 comments

"The world's longest and hardest mouse agility course," brought to you by these guys. Don't forget to browse the gallery of cute mouse and rat pictures.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:12 PM PST - 23 comments

Daler Mehndi: (previously ) Sikh superstar and former cab driver, sure can dance. There are of course, imitators (Original ).
posted by The Whelk at 2:05 PM PST - 23 comments

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced a bill that would reform the presidential pardon process. Specifically, that the current president be stripped of his power to pardon members of his own administration, and that "the next Attorney General of the United States appoint an independent counsel to investigate, and, where appropriate, prosecute illegal acts by senior officials of the administration of President George W. Bush."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:58 PM PST - 39 comments

"Looking For a City..." Johnny Cook and Vestal Goodman have a competition to see who can sing the highest. [SLYT]
posted by hermitosis at 1:30 PM PST - 15 comments

Starting on Thursday Dec 4, 2008, Wikimedia Commons will witness a massive upload of new images. We are anticipating about 100,000 files from a donation from the German Federal Archive. These images are mostly related to the history of Germany (including the German Democratic Republic) and are part of a cooperation between Wikimedia Germany and the Federal Archive...
posted by jim in austin at 1:17 PM PST - 16 comments


Grindertool.com, the homepage of John Bergin's various art, film and other works, has been updated - including 256kbps full album downloads of most everything he's worked on in the last 15 years, for free. [more inside]
posted by FatherDagon at 10:15 AM PST - 7 comments


It's been a busy week for presidential libraries. The Nixon Library released 200 hours of tape (excerpts) and 90,000 pages of documents (excerpts) that detail his obsessive attempts to destroy his political enemies. The LBJ library released MP3s of dozens of phone calls, including one where he accuses Nixon of treason for stalling Vietnamese peace talks in advance of the 1968 election. Finally, the Reagan Library released 750,000 pages of documents (NYT, reg. req.) to researchers. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:01 AM PST - 20 comments

One of the greatest cult films of the Eighties is getting a (film) sequel.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:35 AM PST - 92 comments

A really interesting commentary from Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, about how he came to write the book and how that book became one of the most iconic films in history. The post includes previously unseen (and illuminating) photos of the cast and the making of the film.
posted by theantikitty at 9:02 AM PST - 24 comments

The economic mess is squeezing everyone but many college students are really feeling it. Syracuse University has made an emergency appeal for aid for 400 current students who may not be able to return for the spring semester without an infusion of cash; Harvard University lost an incredible 22 percent of its very fat endowment but is trying to raise money through a $600 million bond issue. [more inside]
posted by etaoin at 8:16 AM PST - 39 comments

"We know kids growing up in resource-poor environments have more trouble with the kinds of behavioral control that the prefrontal cortex is involved in regulating," Boyce said. "But the fact that we see functional differences in prefrontal cortex response in lower socioeconomic status kids is definitive."
posted by theroadahead at 6:33 AM PST - 76 comments

"The plans for Victory City have evolved over a period of 38 years, nurtured by the vision and dedication of Victory City's inventor, Orville Simpson II [no relation]. Mr. Simpson conceived of the general idea of Victory City in 1936, when he was only 13 years old. Afraid of being ridiculed, Mr. Simpson kept his ideas about designing and building the City of the Future to himself … a secret vision he held in his mind... It wasn't until 1960 — after he had embarked on a lucrative career in real estate investing and apartment building management — that Mr. Simpson decided to make his ideas about Victory City known to the general public."
posted by Miko at 6:26 AM PST - 35 comments

Jizz in my Pants is the newest (nsfpants) SNL Digital Short from The Lonely Island, featuring Justin Timberlake (ads, sorry) and Jamie Lynn Sigler. The Lonely Island first earned attention for things like Nintendo Cartoon Hour and Bing Bong Brothers, and have gained notoriety for things like Lazy Sunday and Dick in a Box. [more inside]
posted by hypersloth at 6:12 AM PST - 65 comments

December 6

Martha "Sunny" von Bulow died this weekend at a nursing home in New York City, nearly 28 years after being found unconscious at her Rhode Island estate (and subsequently falling into an irreversible coma) in December 1980. Her husband Claus, who obviously became a controversial figure, was found guilty of her attempted murder (the alleged method being an overdose of insulin), but his conviction was overturned on appeal and he received a second trial in which he was acquitted. The sensational case, which featured testimony from many notables including Truman Capote, attracted worldwide publicity and rocked high society. It spawned numerous books, television shows and a 1990 movie.
posted by amyms at 11:49 PM PST - 27 comments

Star Wars Technical Commentaries. Learn about the Endor Holocaust. [previously] Learn why it's not really called a "Super Star Destroyer," and why it's not actually five miles long. You can even learn what all those little pips and cylinders mean! [more inside]
posted by cthuljew at 11:44 PM PST - 66 comments

Why are our kids so sad? Positive psychology (previously) and our friends at Pepperidge Farm thinks its all a matter of fishful thinking. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:53 PM PST - 33 comments

Red-light districts can be found worldwide. The best known one in De Wallen, Amsterdam has gone through a lot of changes recently. Other red-light districts in Europe are also in decline, with Sweden taking a completely different approach to law enforcement. [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by gman at 6:56 PM PST - 29 comments

Here's how frozen pizza is made.
posted by sveskemus at 6:21 PM PST - 79 comments




The newest Wholphin DVD contains the instructions for an experiment called "Select Your Intention," created by a company called Psyleron. Psyleron is the result of efforts by former research scientists at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory— (1979-2007) an interdisciplinary group of physicists, psychologists, engineers, and humanists, that explored the ability of the human mind to interact directly with the physical world. (VIDEO) "Now anyone with a home computer can explore the direct impact of consciousness with the portable, adaptable, and responsive Psyleron REG-1." And now, try new Pocket Reg! [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:14 PM PST - 15 comments


More catcam goodness (previously on Mefi). Cooper the cat roams his Seattle neighborhood. Via Phinneywood, an excellent neighborhood blog about the Greenwood and Phinney neighborhoods in Seattle. [more inside]
posted by rossination at 4:01 PM PST - 31 comments

Iranian artists open a window to the world.; is an article discussing (in order) the art of Golnaz Fathi; a classically trained Caligrapher.
From her website 1; 2; 3; 4; and a video.
Tanavoli Parviz - sculpter.
Nadia Ghai-Far - abstract painter( click peintures and fusains).
Farhad Moshiri - multi - disiplinary.
and Shirana Shabazi - photographer.
posted by adamvasco at 1:37 PM PST - 1 comments

In one of the largest jewelry heists in history, robbers -- at least two wearing women's wigs and dresses -- relieved a Harry Winston boutique of $108 million worth of diamond rings, necklaces, and watches. Despite criminal investigation teachings that robbers "have better things to do with their money than to buy an array of masks and disguises" and will opt for functional attire, many thieves express themselves creatively and impractically through costumery, dressing as Dracula and Black Father Christmas, a tree, Greek prime ministers, clowns, and ghosts, while others cover their faces with duct tape, cookie dough, drywall, and baking-flour-and-ketchup. Minimalists just wear men's underwear and women's thongs on their heads.
posted by terranova at 1:13 PM PST - 29 comments

Physicians reported a deaf man with Tourette's who used sign language to spell out obscenities during fits of coprolalia. [more inside]
posted by vapidave at 1:11 PM PST - 34 comments

French Doctor Finds Cure for Alcoholism in a Pill, Causing a Stir. Having himself suffered from dipsomania, Dr. Olivier Ameisen, claims in his book, Le Dernier Verre (The Last Glass), that the muscle relaxant bacloflen suppressed his craving for alcohol, curing his alcoholism. A top cardiologist in France, and doctor to a former French PM, Ameisen has called for clinical trials to verify his bold claim, while causing some in the field to accuse him of irresponsibility for suggesting alcoholism can be cured by a pill, although other pills are in the works.
posted by Azaadistani at 1:06 PM PST - 54 comments

Some of the best short-short fiction I've read recently has been that of the Heartbroke Daily, the stories of the love affairs of (fictional) Knox Dupree, who "fall[s] in love too easily" and "as a result [...] suffer[s] from near constant heartbreak." Start from the beginning and work forward. (via Presurfer) [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 12:37 PM PST - 4 comments

Idle Theory: Life Does The Least
posted by kliuless at 12:12 PM PST - 28 comments


Two of Six Washed Up Feet Matched by DNA Mentioned on MeFi at least once before, this is the latest news in the saga of six human feet (enclosed in shoes) that have, over the past few years, washed up along the coast of BC. DNA testing has proven that two of the dismembered feet--found six months apart and clad in size 7 New Balance running shoes--apparently belonged to the same woman. I'm guessing the matching sneakers were a clue. Two down, four to go.
posted by dbarefoot at 10:56 AM PST - 34 comments

The ___ Cards in time for the holidays (or any other card giving occasion). Unfortunately, it appears they are out of their "A beautiful X'mas is what you make of it" cards. Found via: Jonathan Yuen who did the design for Victoria Chang's "Two Trains," which appeared in Born Magazine. [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen at 10:10 AM PST - 7 comments

He collects Spider-Man comics. He video chats on his MacBook. He name-drops Jor-El of Krypton. He gave the Vulcan salute to Spock and jokes about "lithium crystals" (surely a misquote). He's got his own high-definition vlog on YouTube. Now, the Geek-in-Chief and his Team of Nerds are using their powers for good. Change.gov has been under a Creative Commons license for a while now, but yesterday, they took transparency a step further by announcing that "all policy documents from official meetings with outside organizations will be publicly available for review and discussion." What's next: revision control?
posted by designbot at 9:41 AM PST - 48 comments


A less glamorous anniversary passed with little fanfare yesterday: 50 years since the opening of the first stretch of the humble British motorway, the 8-mile two-lane Preston Bypass, which now forms part of the M6. The occasion was celebrated by the official opening of an 5.8 mile M6 extension, closing the "Cumberland Gap", allowing commuters to make the entire 400 mile journey between Glasgow and London by motorway. The total length of motorways in the UK totals around 2200 miles.
posted by HaloMan at 7:31 AM PST - 34 comments

Galactic Mail In the future, UPS & FedEx will race and fight in space. via
posted by jontyjago at 7:16 AM PST - 10 comments

I don't suppose anyone could call John Etheridge famous. He was the president of the Sacred Harp Book Company, the publisher of the Cooper Revision of the Sacred Harp. He was a mainstay of the the Florida State Convention, and the arranger of the popular tune Mercy Seat. And there is an interview with him (and the other board members of the company) as part of the Alabama Arts Radio Series. Still, I don't suppose many know his name. Yet he was "a great man and a great singer," and I suspect that many on Metafilter would be glad to have and to make as much music as John did in his life. John Etheridge died on December 5, 2008.
posted by wfitzgerald at 4:03 AM PST - 8 comments

The Gare de Lyon in Paris has Le Train Bleu. Grand Central Staion in New York has a superb Oyster Bar; Washington Union Station has this neo-classical wonder; while Prague this prime example of art nouveau; Helsinki, meanwhile, offers something suitably democratic. With cafes as good as this, railway stations become destinations in themselves.
posted by MrMerlot at 3:49 AM PST - 17 comments

For the past two months, Iraqi interpreters working with US forces have been forbidden from wearing masks. This decision was recently overturned. Ostensibly, this was because the security situation had become better. Some believe instead that this rule was instated to prevent asylum claims. Some think that it reflects traditional army FUBAR decision making. Personally, I think they are becoming more cautious because the back up plan is a piece of junk. [more inside]
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 3:28 AM PST - 22 comments

The bespoke generative design system at the heart of Forever will spawn unique audio-visual films everyday, forever. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 AM PST - 17 comments

December 5

The Evoluon was a museum dedicated to science and technology, and the place of technology in society. It was closed for the public in 1989 and has not been re-opened as a public museum since. Watch the wonderfully 60s promotion (worth it just for the soundtrack). [via]
posted by tellurian at 11:46 PM PST - 12 comments

Flash Friday: Pel will sate your need for a paddle game with juggling thrown in for good measure.
posted by schyler523 at 8:49 PM PST - 11 comments

Clarkesworld Magazine has been serving up new science fiction and fantasy short fiction monthly free of charge since October of 2006. The current issue has a story by Robert Reed. Among the authors who have been published in Clarkesworld Magazine are Mike Resnick, Elizabeth Bear, Jeff VanderMeer and Sarah Monette. Clarkesworld has a podcast of readings of selected stories from the magazine. The magazine also publishes non-fiction, separated into two categories, commentary and interviews. Among those interviewed are Gene Wolfe, Kage Baker and Steven Erikson. There is also a covers gallery and a discussion forum.
posted by Kattullus at 8:49 PM PST - 13 comments

Lina Scheynius I like her loose, ethereal snapshot style, and the playful sexuality. Nudity.
posted by klangklangston at 8:35 PM PST - 22 comments


Sifl & Olly are two sockpuppets that had a show on MTV from 1997 to 1999. In the time allotted to them, they would conduct interviews, take calls from the public, and shill for the Precious Roy Home Shopping Network. In between, they’d talk with their friend Chester, and ROCK!! Call now, and Precious Roy will throw in this extra large tube of S&O, that's four hours and thirty-seven minutes worth for ya kids, let's take some calls! [more inside]
posted by not_on_display at 7:10 PM PST - 56 comments

Chris Dane Owens' epic medieval bluescreen journey to poprock superstardom. Video directed by academy award winning Robert Short. [more inside]
posted by Count at 6:47 PM PST - 11 comments


The Archipelago of Fear. "International surveys show that the more people trust their neighbours, strangers, and their government, the more likely they are to help strangers, to vote, and to volunteer. If better streets, sidewalks, walls, and buildings all improve the ways people engage with one another, then the reverse should also be true: antagonistic architecture can corrode trust and fuel hostility. Kabul just might be a laboratory of toxic urbanity."
posted by homunculus at 4:28 PM PST - 20 comments

The future of soccer in America is black, female and from the inner-city.
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM PST - 27 comments

Wear Good Shoes : Advice for Young Photographers. [via] [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:17 PM PST - 15 comments

His magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland was as important to my childhood as Mad magazine, he had one of the greatest collections of Sci-Fi memorabilia in private hands, and frankly, I'm a little torn up at the moment, so I'll end this FPP with a tip of the hat to Forrest J. Ackerman, a true hero of mine.
posted by dbiedny at 2:11 PM PST - 55 comments

Nano War: Infectious Flash Fun. Colonize blobs, send swarms, and win superior numbers. Free multi-player and level editor. Dangerously addictive. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk at 1:45 PM PST - 24 comments

The Committee to Protect Journalists has released the 2008 prison census. China retains the lead with Tibetan issues bringing them 28 jailed journalists. Cuba claims 2nd place with 21 jailed journalists. Burma & Eritrea almost tied for 3rd with 14 & 13, respectively. But the biggest news is internet journalists are now the largest group of journalists in jail.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:45 PM PST - 17 comments


O.J. Simpson has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for armed robbery. Simpson will remain in custody if he appeals. He may be eligible for parole in six years. An L.A. Times timeline of Simpson's legal history.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:07 AM PST - 106 comments

Why should you risk your own life to save another human being? Maybe altruism in innate, like a bird's pretty song, or is it something that must be learned?
posted by four panels at 10:58 AM PST - 62 comments

Fat Cat : a bit of friday flash fun
posted by jammy at 10:48 AM PST - 15 comments

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the award-winning book The Black Swan, (previously), was interviewed recently by Charlie Rose: A conversation about economics with Nassim Taleb (as well as Time Magazine.) Taleb is more pessimistic than Nouriel Roubini, (previously, previously) who thinks that the total sum for this current global meltdown may be somewhere between 10-20 Trillion US dollars.
posted by gen at 10:44 AM PST - 19 comments

The X most blankiest somethings in the history of whatever. It's "...one stupid article that, (due to its total lack of focus and consistency) not one person will fully enjoy".
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 10:44 AM PST - 23 comments

The Neglected Books Page
posted by anastasiav at 10:13 AM PST - 13 comments

A woman with no arms has conquered flying It's not all sensible, though. As she says at the end, she literally has her life in her "own feet." Flying a plane never looked so comfortable.
posted by jwakawaka at 9:31 AM PST - 22 comments

Paul Benedict, who was best known as the affable English neighbor Harry Bentley on the sitcom "The Jeffersons," has died at age 70.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:41 AM PST - 41 comments

Jones' Big Ass Truck Rental & Storage SLYT [via]
posted by alby at 8:35 AM PST - 23 comments

Captured By The Norwegians. A book of photography from 1952, by photographer Robert A. Robinson. [more inside]
posted by chunking express at 8:12 AM PST - 6 comments

The disappearance of the pretty, middle-class Madeline McCann saw first an outpouring of sympathy verging on national hysteria and then the press wondering if the couple themselves had something to do with her disappearance. When Shannon Matthews, a nine-year-old from Dewsbury went missing months later, the media coverage centred on her mother Karen's private life and her council estate upbringing; the media was accused of classism because Shannon was less pretty and working class. Unlike Madeleine, Shannon was later found after one of the UK's biggest missing persons searches - inside the double bed of her mother's friend, with instructions to keep quiet and traces of temazepam in her hair. [more inside]
posted by mippy at 7:58 AM PST - 56 comments

Politicians and citizens alike are struggling with the decision to bail out the under-performing American automakers. But what will happen to the cities and towns of the Midwest if the automakers fail? Flint, Michigan provides an interesting template. In the 1960s and 70s, Flint had a population of 200,000 and was home to some 80,000 autoworkers. Today, after many plant closures, relocations, and worker buyouts, only 8,000 autoworkers remain. So, what are we to do with cities like Flint? There have been lots of ideas, like demolishing dilapidated houses, renovating brownfield sites like Chevy-in-the-Hole [pdf], downtown business renovation, and increasing community participation by giving ownership of vacant lots to local homeowners. [more inside]
posted by billysumday at 7:40 AM PST - 54 comments

Guitarist Joe Satriani sues Coldplay over Viva La Vida (audio). Satriani's version: If I Could Fly (audio).
posted by starman at 7:34 AM PST - 111 comments

On 5 December 1933, 75 years ago today, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the Twenty-First Amendment of the United States Constitution, signalling the end of the Prohibition era.
posted by HaloMan at 6:47 AM PST - 32 comments

Empire State Building Stolen. The News swiped the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper by drawing up a batch of bogus documents, making a fake notary stamp and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property. Previously
posted by Xurando at 6:15 AM PST - 19 comments

Concise, bite-size summaries of the wisdom of the BBC's pure and godly Platitude of the Day presenters. With original text and speech.
posted by gman at 4:41 AM PST - 12 comments


An interesting take on galactic conquest for a Flash game, at least.
posted by XMLicious at 2:53 AM PST - 25 comments

December 4


How the Poor Die My right-hand neighbour was a little red-haired cobbler with one leg shorter than the other, who used to announce the death of any other patient (this happened a number of times, and my neighbour was always the first to hear of it) by whistling to me, exclaiming "NUMÉRO 43!" (or whatever it was) and flinging his arms above his head. This man had not much wrong with him, but in most of the other beds within my angle of vision some squalid tragedy or some plain horror was being enacted. Previously [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu at 10:18 PM PST - 16 comments


Business writer Seth Godin tell readers to forgo the MBA and spend six months in his company. While potential applicants have made use of social networking to show their enthusiasm, others think it's a bad idea. Great opportunity or massive scam?
posted by divabat at 8:39 PM PST - 42 comments

I Know Where Summer Goes Photos by Ryan McGinley. Some nudity; fireworks; fun, longing.
posted by klangklangston at 8:30 PM PST - 43 comments

Move over, Wonder Girls! It's Jang Kiha and Faces (장기하와 얼굴들), the latest Korean Internet music sensation. Their performance of 달이차오른다, 가자 ("The moon waxes, let's go") on a Korean educational TV channel catches the attention of Korean netizens, who respond by producing mashups and following the terpsichorean teachings of "Reverend Jang" - from middle school students to college students, and even a professional Starcraft player. [more inside]
posted by needled at 8:22 PM PST - 9 comments

Sooner or Later István Madarász's sci-fi film tells the story of a Nazi experiment in ten minutes. Or maybe longer?
posted by justkevin at 7:57 PM PST - 10 comments

Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid have been lined up to take on one of the most high-profile projects on earth – the redevelopment of Mecca [more inside]
posted by puckish at 6:14 PM PST - 52 comments

If I Were You: Perceptual Illusion of Body Swapping. Expanding on previous experiments, researchers discover how to induce a "body-swap" illusion, whereby subjects perceive the body of another as if it were their own.
posted by homunculus at 4:18 PM PST - 22 comments


So when I was in London some buddies and I went into one of the many all you can eat Chinese restaurants. It was a nice spread too: fish, chicken, steaks all slathered in sauces. "That was great," one of my friends said. "Yeah," I responded. "And all vegetarian, too!" They were dumbfounded. I was apparently the only one who'd noticed the "Vegetarian" sign in the window, and they were all victims of the hoax meat known as Seitan. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious at 3:13 PM PST - 151 comments


America has come a long way. There is the official version of history or the peoples' version. There are artifacts and rankings. They had some quirks and were occasionally men of their time. If you prefer audio or visual references those are available as well. Common knowledge has it that one GW was our first President but the title of first is under dispute. 230 years later another GW is making a run for worst. That is also under dispute by the nations best brains. For better and worse, the story of the Presidency is the story of America.
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:09 PM PST - 24 comments

Raising the Dead. When scientist Mark Roth's one-year-old daughter died after heart surgery, Roth obsessed clinically first about immortality, then about suspended animation, when all life processes temporarily cease. His subsequent research work -- placing yeast, nematodes, drosophila, frogs, and zebrafish into suspended animation (clinical death) for up to 24 hours, then reviving them unharmed -- earned him a MacArthur Fellowship and a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Award. [more inside]
posted by terranova at 12:45 PM PST - 67 comments

Cinemnesis, filmmaker Martin Arnold's 41 minute compilation of the films of his "compulsive repetition" trilogy, is available to you online. The quality is lacking, small details are missed, but I thought you'd enjoy these nonetheless. Time codes for the three pieces and more inside. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:44 PM PST - 6 comments

Researchers have known for several years now that video games can distract people from pain. Now one virtual-reality game, developed for burn patients, has added a conceptual boost to this idea; the action takes place in a snowy landscape populated by penguins and snowmen. Wounded soldiers who have played the game (wearing VR goggles to help block out the sight of their burns being treated) report a reduction in pain of 30-50%. "Patients reported feeling less pain when playing Snow World, and had greater range of motion in their burnt limbs as their muscles relaxed. Less pain medication was also required, meaning patients were lucid for longer periods of time." In this video, one wounded vet talks about how the game has helped him.
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:51 AM PST - 34 comments

Walk on Water: OH Napier is a living piece of Americana and performing a conceptual piece with guitar, river, .25-.38 cal pistol and disquieted camera woman. You may get as many as three songs for your 2:31 of youtubery, I can't say for certain if they are individual pieces or just movements in a larger piece. Also, spirit liquor may have played a part in the creative act.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:43 AM PST - 29 comments

Cynthia Dixon, at the time employed by the University of Toledo, read this Toledo Free Press opinion piece, and wrote this response, which got her fired. Back in May the UT President responded to the growing controversy on local TV. Now Dixon is suing. (text of the suit) [more inside]
posted by aerotive at 9:42 AM PST - 257 comments

Easier sIFR implementation with jQuery Plug-in. Web developers or typography aficionados may remember when sIFR was first mentioned and discussed (160 comments) on MeFi: Dec. 29th, 2004. Since then, when it has been mentioned on the Blue, it has mostly been by people who dislike it (or anything remotely related to Flash). Or, as expressed this comment by TKChrist, they have found it overly-complicated to implement. For those of you interested in giving it another look: the jQuery sIFR plug-in. If you do nothing else, check out the three examples using this approach. [more inside]
posted by spock at 8:27 AM PST - 93 comments


Damien Hirst is sueing a 16 year-old graffiti artist, Cartrain, who featured images of Hirst's For The Love of God in his collages. In September Hirst made 95.7m pounds from auctioning his wares. Hirst is demanding all the money Cartrain has made from his collages - £200.
posted by mippy at 7:38 AM PST - 108 comments

Marc Bousquet does interviews with "Faculty on Food Stamps." (1, 2, 3) He also has a book and a blog called How the University Works (pdf) where he writes about higher education. (pdf) Bousquet recently sat down to discuss some of these issues with NPR and Goucher College President Sanford Ungar. (pdf)
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:11 AM PST - 36 comments

DOOM is a 3D adventure game with arcade-style elements. It was programmed for computers running DOS Flash 10. Here's the plot: your character is a Space Marine on the planet Mars, who uses guns his fist, and even a chainsaw to kill monsters from another dimension.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:30 AM PST - 85 comments

"Two people emerged from the ship, a man and his wife. .. Mrs. Wise immediately called for a doctor to look after the woman... The husband and wife were shown to Room 8, where the woman's condition continued to deteriorate... Eventually, the husband summoned the doctor, hotel staff and even the owner’s wife to Room 8 to ask a very unusual request: He asked that everyone present swear an oath never to reveal their identities." So, begins and essentially ends Alexandria Virginia's mystery of the Female Stranger. [more inside]
posted by vacapinta at 5:23 AM PST - 47 comments

StateStats: Explore the popularity of search queries in U.S. states [more inside]
posted by sambosambo at 4:50 AM PST - 40 comments

The Napoleon Series has been collecting Napoleonic scholarship since 1995. Its monstrously replete archive includes articles on Napoleon's role in Jewish emancipation, the Institute of Egypt and its investigation of the Rosetta Stone, obscure British generals, the Malet Conspiracy, and the never realized North American Empire; memoirs from the Russian Archives; and a massive collection of maps and battlefield tours.
posted by Iridic at 12:55 AM PST - 4 comments

"Shaping San Francisco is an ongoing multimedia project in bottom-up, participatory history." Earthquakes, freeways, baths, parks, jazz clubs, chutes, streetcars, neighborhoods dead and alive, and oh so much more.
posted by hal incandenza at 12:52 AM PST - 8 comments

London's iconic transportation symbol, the roundel, is 100 years old this year and a new online exhibit at the London Transport Museum features some amazing galleries of architecture, promotional material, livery and a great illustrated history of the mark.
posted by salishsea at 12:09 AM PST - 10 comments

December 3

Human, All Too Human
posted by cthuljew at 10:34 PM PST - 26 comments

Norman Mailer directed a movie featuring himself, his then-current wife, one of his ex-wives, Rip Torn, an Andy Warhol superstar, and Hervé Villechaize. It didn't end well. (warning: language, blood, crying children) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese at 9:14 PM PST - 22 comments


Search for an Rx - We asked Johns Hopkins administrators, physicians, and researchers about the health of a system Americans rely on to keep them healthy. Afterall, an ounce of prevention... [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 8:43 PM PST - 15 comments

"We're not selling here -- we're hunting!" The young man or woman at the mall kiosk who grabs your shoulder and says "Can I have twenty seconds of your time to show you something amazing?" might be a young Israeli saving up for a pre-army jaunt to Asia or South America. The U.S. kiosk trade has become popular enough in Israel to inspire a folk-rock song by musician and kiosk veteran Rami Feinstein. The Wall Street Journal offers a generally admiring profile of the Israeli "natural-born closers." The Capital Times, in Madison, WI, wishes they'd buzz off.
posted by escabeche at 6:51 PM PST - 115 comments

Eliot Spitzer is back in the public spotlight as a biweekly columnist for Slate. His first column argues against bailouts. More background info.
posted by jourman2 at 6:40 PM PST - 28 comments

Thomas Edison's Concrete Houses From 1902 to roughly 1917, Edison was in the concrete business, and concrete houses would be one of his biggest failures. [more inside]
posted by klangklangston at 6:06 PM PST - 37 comments

There used to be this problem you see, until one of our own kindly settled it. His services are desperately needed once again.
posted by tkolar at 4:56 PM PST - 191 comments

The poet is a radio. The poet is a liar. The poet is a counterpunching radio. Jack Spicer was a poet, linguist, & early gay rights activist. For a long time, his poetry was out of print and difficult to find, but now Wesleyan University Press has (finally!) published his collected poems. The book takes its title from Spicer’s last words: My Vocabulary Did This to Me. [more inside]
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 4:49 PM PST - 8 comments

A Nice Idea Every Day [more inside]
posted by puckish at 4:48 PM PST - 2 comments


The Orienting Stone. "A snowy white stone that gives shape to the universe: as it happens, we all carry within our skulls the vestige of such a thing, a kind of existentially reversed qibla (this one perspectival, the other metaphysical) that gives us our sense of being at the center of things, the sense that we are upright at the origin point of a three-dimensional space..." [Via]
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM PST - 22 comments

Some of you might know the story of Heidi Erickson, better known to most as the Beacon Hill Cat Lady. After being evicted from her Boston apartment upon the discovery of over 100 cats, some alive, more dead, in her home, Erickson soon took up residence in a Watertown apartment. The saga soon played itself out again. [more inside]
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 3:52 PM PST - 31 comments

A See Monkey calls for detente on Aquaman jokes. I could include a bunch of links here, but Glen at NPR has already done all the work for me.
posted by ericbop at 3:15 PM PST - 34 comments

To see the White Russian renaissance in full bloom, it is instructive to attend a Lebowski Fest. With commentary from the original Dude. (NY Times)
posted by longsleeves at 2:48 PM PST - 35 comments


"Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil." Alex Graven, 9, has had How to Talk to Girls, the runaway hit of the Soaring Hawk Elementary School book fair, picked up by HarperCollins. How do you spot these oil-guzzling cars? ""It is easy to spot pretty girls," Alex writes, "because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry." [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 1:37 PM PST - 100 comments

Funerary rites differ widely across cultural time and space, and customs that seem normal to their practitioners can seem bizarre and macabre to outsiders. Certain Zoroastrian sects—such as the Parsis of India—famously place their dead atop dokhmas, or "towers of silence", to be devoured by vultures. In recent years, the decimation of India's vulture population due to diclofenac poisoning (previously), and the construction of modern high-rise buildings which provide an unintended view of the process, make the future of this custom uncertain. (If you're feeling morbid, you can get a vulture's-eye view from this video.) The Tibetans sometimes practice a similar custom known as "sky burial" (warning: graphic photos). [more inside]
posted by greenie2600 at 1:36 PM PST - 32 comments

An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean last week while on an acceptance testing flight at the end of a lease. The tragedy occurred on the 29th anniversary of the airline's worst disaster, the crash of sightseeing flight TE901 in the Antarctic. Beginning in 1977, the popular one-day flights took passengers on low level flights over the Ross Dependency, with experienced guides providing commentary. TE 901 flew on beautiful, clear day, and yet the DC-10 collided with the side of Mt Erebus, killing all 257 on board. The original accident report cited pilot error, but that was only the beginning. [more inside]
posted by szechuan at 1:24 PM PST - 12 comments

Henry G. Molaison, known to psychology and neurology students worldwide as "H.M.", dies. Previously.
posted by dmd at 12:45 PM PST - 26 comments

The Mumbai terrorists took cocaine, acid, and other drugs to stay awake during the attacks. Not the first.
posted by gman at 12:42 PM PST - 107 comments

They navigated by GPS. They used Blackberrys to check on the police response via the Internet. They carried cellphones with switchable SIM cards. The practiced using images from Google Earth. They called VOIP numbers to communicate with their leaders. They used a re-mailer to claim responsibility for the Mumbai attacks anonymously. Terrorism in the digital age.
posted by up in the old hotel at 12:38 PM PST - 31 comments

People with a keen strategic sense maintain a well-diversified hoard of coins and painstakingly build alliances with local shopkeepers or bank tellers, conspicuously proffering coins for one purchase or deposit in the hopes of being indulged when they're short of change at some point in the future. Argentina's coinage problem. [more inside]
posted by cortex at 12:32 PM PST - 19 comments


Phase — Mother Earth, a piece created by Mono-ha artist Nobuo Sekine in 1968, has been re-created:
Consisting of a hole dug into the ground, 2.7 metres deep and 2.2 metres in diameter, with the excavated earth compacted into a cylinder of exactly the same dimensions, Phase — Mother Earth was instrumental in the early development of work by the Mono-ha artist group, and has been considered a landmark work in Japanese postwar art history.
More about Mono-ha inside. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:01 PM PST - 8 comments

Have you seen the new ads for Diet Pepsi Max? Reactions have not been kind. Some are comparing it to The Book of Bunny Suicides. The images in the Pepsi links are the same, the comments are not. [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen at 11:59 AM PST - 59 comments

Watercolors and a strange little world (YouTube) via artist Nadia Moss.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:26 AM PST - 3 comments

"The Story of Ricky" [Google Video 1hr27min]: An epic tale of one man's determination to overcome impossible odds using Qi. [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan at 11:16 AM PST - 25 comments


Zimbabwe Hiding Cholera Epidemic. Sadly, no one knows what the real death toll numbers are. First hand report from Sarah Jacobs with Save The Children. Morgan Tsvangirai, backed by former President Carter: Zimbabwe is in shambles...deaths from starvation and a cholera outbreak threaten to surge with the rainy season approaching. [more inside]
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:42 AM PST - 20 comments

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: a walrus playing a saxophone. [more inside]
posted by baphomet at 9:25 AM PST - 43 comments

"I was listening to the radio and it’s one of those moments where you have to stop what you’re doing and pay full attention.” Dory Previn, met composer Andre' Previn while working in MGM's music dept. in the 1960s. They collaborated on movie music such as "A Second Chance" and "Valley Of The Dolls". Andre' divorced Dory in 1969 to marry Mia Farrow. Following this, Dory Previn recorded six original albums known for their wit and confessional tone. Dory Previn unofficially retired in 1976 and has been reluctant to give interviews. However, she released a free online album, Planet Blue in 2002. She gave a rare interview to the Times in February. She talked about her influences and meeting Howard Hughes with Bernadette Cahill in 2005.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 AM PST - 6 comments

Gwynne Dyer's new book Climate Wars discusses the conflicts likely to result in the near future from our changing climate. The first chapter ("The Geopolitics of Climate Change") is available here. He is now on a lecture tour [various lecture notes] and speaks on the subject [MP3 of radio interview] next Monday in Toronto. [more inside]
posted by stinkycheese at 9:20 AM PST - 6 comments

The Faubus Motel: Possibly the Worst Motel in America
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:05 AM PST - 152 comments

"Some day we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me." In 1979, Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher composed "The Rainbow Connection" [midi] which served as a radio hit and song for the The Muppet Movie. It was nominated for an Academy Award and reviewed in the allmusic guide as a song in which "Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland." Enclosed are some performances of it I hope you enjoy. [more inside]
posted by cavalier at 8:26 AM PST - 61 comments



Second Great Depression? We should be so lucky. Or so Dmitry Orlov says. Orlov, an engineer who watched the collapse of the Soviet Union, argues that the United States is well into a similar process of collapse. In Orlov's model, collapse is divided into five stages: financial, commercial, political, social and cultural. The first one is currently happening, and the next two are guaranteed to follow; as for cultural collapse, that happened a long time ago, but people were to narcotised by consumerism to notice. And things look set to get very, very dire indeed, with runaway hyperinflation, shortages, the breakdown of political institutions, the fragmentation of the US, and, if the "social collapse" stage is reached, roaming gangs and ethnic cleansing.
posted by acb at 8:08 AM PST - 65 comments


How many calories did you drink last night? Alcohol intake, rendered in food equivalents. [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 7:29 AM PST - 76 comments

First libraries started loaning records, then toys, then films and games - now they're loaning out people. The Living Library Project allows members to hear people's stories not on the page, but in person.
posted by mippy at 7:21 AM PST - 16 comments

Prop 8 The Musical Conceived and written by Broadway composer Marc Shaiman, starring Jack Black and John C. Reilly, and featuring an all-star cast.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:19 AM PST - 27 comments

The Mau Mau rebellion against British rule in Kenya lasted from 1952 to 1960. Although there were atrocities on both sides, there has been a movement in Kenya to claim compensation from the British government for their actions. Obama's grandfather took part in the uprising (some have labelled him an "insurgent") and was captured and brutally tortured by the British. [more inside]
posted by jonesor at 6:56 AM PST - 21 comments

December 2

"Our boss is a madman! I was in the sorting office and he said our system was outdated! I spat in his face! He fired me! I have to look for a job now!" Would Klaus Kinski have been so angry if he hadn't been so famous? A vintage column by Graham Linham (Father Ted, The IT Crowd) from the late lamented Neon magazine. (via).
posted by Artw at 11:26 PM PST - 46 comments

DING IT'S UP! [more inside]
posted by ottereroticist at 10:12 PM PST - 31 comments

How to eat spaghetti. Fufu. Phở. Injera. An artichoke. Chicken feet. A pomegranate. Indian food. Natto. If you're going to do it, do it right.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:31 PM PST - 87 comments

Odetta, folk singer and so much more, has died at age 77. The NYT has the final word with Odetta. “You’re walking down life’s road, society’s foot is on your throat, every which way you turn you can’t get from under that foot. And you reach a fork in the road and you can either lie down and die, or insist upon your life.”
posted by TomSophieIvy at 9:29 PM PST - 42 comments

Philippa Schuyler's bi-racial parents believed their offspring would be superior due to "hybrid vigor" and a raw food diet. She achieved national fame as a musical child prodigy. It's a sad story.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:04 PM PST - 17 comments

It wasn't a Merry Christmas A few years ago while visiting friends in Germany, we made a trek to Verdun, France. As an American, I had no clue as to what was there other than it was an old city dating to the (Pre)- Roman era.
I was shocked and humbled to what I saw. The greatest battle (possibly in the history of modern warfare) was at the very place I was walking. [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp at 6:39 PM PST - 45 comments

Mykle Hansen (previously) has now shot a public service video about being eaten by a bear, to promote the book version of the podcast that's entertained many a MeFite. [more inside]
posted by nímwunnan at 5:04 PM PST - 21 comments


5 Card Nancy A neo-Dada game invented by Scott McCloud, in the tradition of the Exquisite Corpse. It works by emphasizing the tendency to draw connections between juxtaposed frames, to impose meaning where none exists. Play the solitaire version here.
posted by klangklangston at 4:24 PM PST - 32 comments

Celebrate flu season with Phage Wars. (Flash sick-in-bed Tuesday)
posted by LordSludge at 4:06 PM PST - 10 comments

Rune Guneriussen takes photographs of inanimate objects in unlikely environments. [Via]
posted by homunculus at 3:55 PM PST - 47 comments

Comedy Musicians Paul and Storm have started "25 Days of Newman" where they are offering a free brand new Randy Newman-inspired movie theme song every day until Christmas.
posted by Del Far at 2:46 PM PST - 26 comments



In 2007, Stuart Godard (alias Adam Ant) published his autobiography in which, among other things, he discussed his lifelong battle with manic depression (bipolar disorder). Our friends at YouTube have posted a tv special about his life: The Madness of Prince Charming Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 [more inside]
posted by wittgenstein at 12:34 PM PST - 35 comments

Domestic violence comes to work, whether executives realize it or not. Instead of firing employees who are abusers’ targets, some corporations in the US and elsewhere have instituted formal policies and programs to mitigate the impact of domestic violence, or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), on workplaces. [more inside]
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:23 AM PST - 14 comments

Barack Obama has appointed several Third Culture Kids (TCKs) to his administration.
posted by gman at 10:22 AM PST - 79 comments


Whole Foods looking to subpoena competitors records? Not content to do sneaky business the new way, Whole Foods is using it's court battle with the FTC to try and subpoena the business records and marketing plans of competing natural foods market New Seasons. [more inside]
posted by GilloD at 10:00 AM PST - 83 comments

Rex Sorgatz, the proprietor of Fimoculous, is the perpetrator of the I'm Just Sayin' Show, a series of 2-to-5-minute episodes featuring three hip and savvy women (Alisa, Jackie and Kristen), all of them "social media strategists" at New York dotcoms, in frenetic conversations over drinks on topics like language, New York City cops, identity theft, and what's cool, and iPhone apps they like. For your convenience, there are plot summaries like: "In less than 2 minutes: vampires, goth tattoos, Alisa's Mormon connection to Twilight, and True Blood."
posted by beagle at 9:54 AM PST - 86 comments

Feeling the crunch? Need to get a bunch of gifts for people on the cheap? Why not go down to a thrift store, pick up some old vinyl and make a bowl*, a candle holder (suitable for advent), or a cuff bracelet? If you have more to spend and are more adept in the craft department, try a record purse or a deconstructed album book. [more inside]
posted by piratebowling at 9:10 AM PST - 26 comments

Argentine-born pianist, conductor and composer Lalo Schifrin might be best-known for his Mission Impossible theme (previously), but the maestro has graced over seventy films and television shows (not to mention his non-soundtrack work) with his unique mix of jazz, funk and r&b. [more inside]
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:11 AM PST - 21 comments

Mark Leckey has won the Turner Prize. Quote: “I kind of hate the relationship the press in Britain has towards art,” he said. “I hate the way it’s all Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin and Banksy. They expect spectacle and shock. Art is not like that. The art world I know is not like that; it’s a whole other world.” [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:34 AM PST - 17 comments

Long and short of it continues in part 2 I loved reading the first part of this series and it now has the second part that I have put link to. Long and short of it goes deeper into an important topic: Whether we should have a long sentence or a short one when describing things. I would well go with the long sentence as written by Charles Dickens on his novel Oliver Twist a century ago. But it seems quite a few people prefer short ones! What's your take on this.
posted by susanharper at 6:49 AM PST - 54 comments

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has started videotaping its events and making them available online. Highlights include in-depth video interviews with Guillermo Del Toro, Mike Leigh, Anthony Minghella, and the Coen brothers, as well as a lecture by Will Wright. If that's not enough, BAFTA's online archives include treasures like this 1962 Academy publication on the making of Lawrence of Arabia.
posted by yankeefog at 5:35 AM PST - 6 comments


December 1

CLLCT - The Collective Family An online community of indipendent musicians who have made their music free to download. No, it's not myspace. [more inside]
posted by robotot at 9:07 PM PST - 21 comments

The lost art of palm reading., brought to you by The Illustrated Textbook of Psychodiagnostic Chirology. [more inside]
posted by puckish at 8:33 PM PST - 14 comments

Synthetic CDO's are complex little known financial instruments (insurance contracts) that are on the brink of triggering "the most colossal rights issue in the history of the world, all at once .. mandatory." If, out of a list of several hundred major companies, any nine go bankrupt, the CDO's are in default, which would mean a mass transfer of cash (real money) from unsuspecting investors around the world goes into the banking system. How much? Nobody knows, but it’s many trillions. Banks will be flush with cash, perhaps ending the credit crisis, while many investors (individuals, charities, municipalities) will be wiped out. Alternatively, the triggering of default on the trillions of synthetic CDOs could be a disaster that tips the world from recession into depression. Nobody knows, but it won’t be a small event. Thus far the count is six: three Icelandic banks, Countrywide, Lehman and Bear Stearns.
posted by stbalbach at 7:54 PM PST - 49 comments

"There is no saving the internet. There is only postponing the inevitable." Wired Magazine looks at the history of DNS and the Kaminsky attack. [more inside]
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:43 PM PST - 79 comments

How the Honeycrisp apple went from being nearly discarded to one of the tastiest best-named apples of all time -- NYTimes says "the iPod of apples" -- and more about the patenting and branding of apples. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 PM PST - 110 comments

i made this. you play this. we are enemies - A new game by Jason Nelson (previously). Featuring Metafilter's own, uh, everything!
posted by flatluigi at 7:13 PM PST - 61 comments

Pope Benedict XVI, speaking at the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Rome, which was badly damaged by Allied bombing in July 1943, again praised Pius XII, a pope seen by Jewish leaders and other critics as having turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, and who is nonetheless on his way towards beatification, a step towards sainthood. The Vatican contends that Pius XII worked behind the scenes to help many escape the Holocaust, although many Catholics question the beatification.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:57 PM PST - 96 comments

When I was a kid Meat Puppets were a band. When I was an adolescent a meat puppet was a cool concept in a cool science fiction book. Now that I am an adult I have no idea what this is: Pete The Meat Puppet (maybe NSFW). [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen at 5:23 PM PST - 31 comments

"The thing that kills me about education is that it's so touchy-feely...if the children don't know how to read, I don't care how creative you are. You're not doing your job". Michelle Rhee is polarizing, inexperienced, abrasive, and young - and with urban school systems all over the country watching, she is trying to rebuild DC's famously troubled public school system (link to full series). [more inside]
posted by peachfuzz at 5:19 PM PST - 107 comments

Remember the Eliot Spitzer take-down thread here on the blue?It turns out that Spitzer's character assassination may have been more Bush Administration sock puppetry -- back on Valentine's Day, Spitzer wrote an editorial in the WaPo demonizing the lack of consumer protections and was about to file a lawsuit against several Wall Street firms for predatory lending, but the Justice Department caught him with his fly undone and the papers didn't get filed. [more inside]
posted by vhsiv at 4:59 PM PST - 22 comments

A new 'prose translation' of Milton's classic poem has been written by Prof Dennis Danielson in an effort to help make it available to a wider audience, if they find the original language too difficult. Apparently he wasn't the first to think of it, but considers his a translation rather than a retelling, and it is printed as a dual edition / parallel text. [more inside]
posted by mdn at 4:09 PM PST - 42 comments


What Girls Want - A series of vampire novels illuminates the complexities of female adolescent desire. (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 3:46 PM PST - 226 comments

The Compleat ÜberNerd: a fascinating series of blog entries detailing the nitty-gritty behind the mortgage industry by Calculated Risk's "Tanta." If you're curious about automated underwriting systems or the ins and outs of mortgage servicing or if you just enjoy some Mortgage Pig Excel art, Tanta was the blogger for you. Tanta, otherwise known as Doris Dungey, passed away on Sunday morning (NYT obit, CR obit).
posted by mullacc at 3:12 PM PST - 15 comments

Roadrunner Records, home to Slipknot and other chunky, hairy male metal bands has declared singer Amanda Palmer (of Dresden Dolls fame) uncommercial, refusing to promote her latest single, video and album. One reason why? Her belly is too fat in her latest video. [more inside]
posted by FunkyHelix at 2:39 PM PST - 142 comments

"For the first time on record, the rate of new cancer cases and the cancer death rate are both falling in America. There appear to be several reasons why this is happening, but perhaps the most important is also the simplest: Over the past several decades, men started smoking less." But is obesity the tobacco of the 21st century? Well, Hollywood has tobacco's back. How to lower smoking rates? Taxing cigarettes is the single-most effective way to lower smoking rates, particularly among youth. Check out the correlation on this map.
posted by cashman at 2:07 PM PST - 33 comments

With the advent of December comes the annual ranking of the book industry's over-saturated market. Along with the garden variety Best Books of 2008 lists, niche critics weigh in on the best cookbooks (baking and regular), most trustworthy business publications, best children's book illustrations, safest bets for literary holiday gifts, and, of course, the prettiest book covers.
posted by zoomorphic at 1:34 PM PST - 17 comments


They were originally created to maintain consistency in color, greyscale, and fleshtones. Lab technicians posed them, projectionists collected them, and the general public wasn't supposed to see them. After they were consigned to obsolescence by digital technology, they became a found object for artists and filmmakers. What no one can agree on is how they got their names. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you China Girls.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:20 AM PST - 44 comments

Ever wonder how your bartender feels about you? The Bartender Hates You: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:13 AM PST - 459 comments

Mountain of Snakes: Sean Penn interviews Hugo Chávez and Raúl Castro. (Part ii of the interview, and an excerpt, for those of you pressed for time.)
posted by louigi at 6:12 AM PST - 32 comments

The debate over wine in Tennessee grocery stores rages on! Both sides have reasonable arguments. We've all heard that wine is good for us, but won't anyone think of the children? Popular opinion seems to favor the bill but there has been a lot of back and forth already.
posted by JVA at 6:09 AM PST - 80 comments


Where did all the acorns go? With reports of acornless oaks coming in from all over the U.S., what is a squirrel to do? [more inside]
posted by afu at 1:55 AM PST - 62 comments

Architectural critic and writer Reyner Banham loved Los Angeles. (Last link is a BBC documentary, circa 1972, 52 minutes -- NSFW at 47 minute mark) [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster at 1:31 AM PST - 2 comments

"Reality mining is just like data mining... except instead of being applied to text and web pages... we're trying to find patterns in real life." MIT students "swap their privacy for smartphones that generate digital trails." [more inside]
posted by tractorfeed at 1:19 AM PST - 12 comments

Artist Julián Dorado puts together typographical creatures. The alphabet can be a little scary.... Typefaces. (via) [more inside]
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:33 AM PST - 6 comments