If you think you can magic us out of the progress trap with new ideas or new technologies, you are wasting your time. If you think that the usual “campaigning” behavior is going to work today where it didn’t work yesterday, you will be wasting your time. If you think the machine can be reformed, tamed, or defanged, you will be wasting your time. If you draw up a great big plan for a better world based on science and rational argument, you will be wasting your time. If you try to live in the past, you will be wasting your time. If you romanticize hunting and gathering or send bombs to computer store owners, you will be wasting your time.And so I ask myself: what, at this moment in history, would not be a waste of my time? posted by latkes at 11:16 PM PST - 149 comments
Guess My Word! • I'm thinking of an uncapitalized English word, which you can try to guess. I'll tell you if my word is before or after your guess in alphabetical order. My word can be of any length from 1 to 15 letters. If my word starts with your word (e.g. my word is "cottage" and you guess "cot"), then it is considered to be after your word. You can only guess English words. The goal is to guess my word in as short a time as possible, or in as few guesses as possible, or whatever else you want to set as your goal. For leaderboard purposes, your time (starting when you make your first guess) and number of guesses will be tracked, but entering your name on the leaderboard is optional. There will be a new word every day. • FAQ posted by not_on_display at 4:05 PM PST - 188 comments
It's the end of the year again - a new end and a new beginning - but just one bit of Samsāra,
a word that means "the ever turning wheel of life" in Sanskrit and that's also the name of the ...spiritual documentary maybe? (trailer)
recently released by the makers of Baraka(previously) and Chronos. Visually excitable people will pop their eyes with pleasure at the 4K shooting,
but there's (a lot, lot) more than meets the eyes. It's presently screening in the U.S. and other countries and I can't help recommending it to anybody. Happy 2013! posted by elpapacito at 2:09 PM PST - 13 comments
Michael Buerk: ""The arts, low and high, are dominated by them. The BBC is a private-school old boys' and girls' association. They edit most newspapers, even the Leftish Daily Mirror and the Guardian", he wrote."
Buerk also criticised the BBC's coverage of the Jubilee : "saying it was "cringingly inept" and had left him ashamed."
Michael Buerk rants about the BBC, the media and the UK. posted by marienbad at 1:25 PM PST - 54 comments
Perched high up above the Thames in downtown London every month this past year a different writer has spent four days living in a replica of the Roi des Belges, the boat Marlow travels up the Congo in Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. Each author would write a short text during their stay "which explores London, rivers, the work of Joseph Conrad, or even all three." They would be visited on the last day by a journalist from The Guardian who recorded them reading their essay, poem or short story. Among the poets, historians and novelists were Adonis, Jeanette Winterson, Teju Cole, Michael Ondaatje and Kamila Shamsie. These recordings, each prefaced by a short interview, are all available on the Guardian website, to stream or download. Below the cut there is a link to each recording, with a short description. [more inside] posted by Kattullus at 10:25 AM PST - 7 comments
In 1820 Gregor MacGregor, chieftain of the Central American principality of Poyais arrived in London and explained his problem: his principality had a fine climate, friendly natives, and a democratic government, but it needed investors and settlers to help develop it and exploit its abundant natural resources. To this end his government was to issue a £200,000 bond which would pay off at a generous 6%, as well as land rights for a modest 3 shillings an acre. MacGregor would eventually raise funds worth £3.2 billion -at today's prices- for the entirely fictional principality; this makes him arguably the most successful con-men of all time. [more inside] posted by rongorongo at 1:11 AM PST - 16 comments
I understand your great grandfather was a grave robber?
My family is Greek and they lived in Alexandria back when it was a Greek town. At that point there was a trade in mummy dust, which they called mummia, which was thought to be a cure all. Louis XIV actually used to carry mummia in a pouch and snort little bits of it. The problem was that by the late 19th century they didn’t have a bunch of old Egyptian mummies to dig up anymore. Instead, when criminals were executed, people would steal their bodies and take them to the middle of the Sahara and cover them in tar. They’d come back a year later, dig them up and sell them to apothecaries, where they’d get ground up. This was a burgeoning trade.
"This is the story of a woman who came in to the domain of the wind." Vento e Areia (The Wind) is a silent film from 1928 with arresting visuals, and a haunting story line about a woman who travels to the windy, desolate prairie land in the middle of America. Via 100 Cinematic Moments. posted by codacorolla at 3:00 PM PST - 13 comments
With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside] posted by Rhaomi at 9:12 AM PST - 26 comments
Numberphile is a website containing short videos (approx. 5-10 min.) about numbers and stuff. Mathematicians and physicists play around with the tools of their trade and explain things in simple, clear language. Learn things you didn't know you were interested in! Find out why 493-7775 is a pretty cool phone number! What's the significance of 42, anyway? What the heck is a vampire number? Why does Pac-Man have only 255 screens?
Suitable for viewing by everyone from intelligent and curious middle-schoolers to math-impaired adults. Browse their YouTube channel here. (Via) posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:07 PM PST - 20 comments
light AMPLIFICATION - Is the color of future of your future neon pink? Is the language Japanese? Are the city's an eternal nighttime of airbrushed martini glasses, glossy red lips and consumer electronics? Do you jam with the console cowboys in cyberspace? Then this is the tumblr for you. [via mefi projects] posted by Artw at 9:09 PM PST - 44 comments
"When I visited China in 1998, Mbantu, the cabbie who drove me from the airport, couldn't stop telling me about how he had to take a fourth job because of the high cost of transportation. I caught up with Mbantu in Shanghai last year. Thanks to China's reformed approach toward transportation, Mbantu has enough money in his pocket to finally be able to afford a playground for his kids."--Thomas Friedman column generator posted by bardic at 8:45 PM PST - 31 comments
Salt Walther died Thursday night, Dec. 27., at a residence in Trotwood, OH. The cause of death, as of now, is unknown. On May 30, 1973, he survived a crash that no one thought could be survived. His life was changed forever. (YT: warning: carnage, no fatalities) [more inside] posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 5:04 PM PST - 18 comments
The Death of the American Shopping Mall "Online retailers are relentlessly gaining share in many retail categories, and offline players are fighting for progressively smaller pieces of the retail pie. A number of physical retailers have already succumbed to online competition including Circuit City, Borders, CompUSA, Tower Records and Blockbuster, and many others are showing signs of serious economic distress. These mall and shopping center stalwarts are closing stores by the thousands, and there are few large physical chains opening stores to take their place. Yet the quantity of commercial real estate targeting retail continues to grow, albeit slowly. Rapidly declining demand for real estate amid growing supply is a recipe for financial disaster." posted by bookman117 at 3:57 PM PST - 129 comments
"A composer's dream : a fail-safe orchestra at one's fingertips obeying ever so gently to his every command : a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music. This is, in a nutshell what Pierre Bastien's "Mecanium" is all about" -Michel F. Côté.
Watch him in action Live at Faster than Sound or enjoy a track from his album Mecanoid - Avid Diva.[more inside] posted by mingo_clambake at 1:50 PM PST - 7 comments
The Campaign For Southern Equality announces Game On! [2m28s] in its latest push to make marriage equality an issue across the South, beginning January 2nd. [more inside] posted by hippybear at 1:45 PM PST - 19 comments
The Secret Lives of Readers Books reveal themselves. Whether they exist as print or pixels, they can be read and examined and made to spill their secrets. Readers are far more elusive. They leave traces—a note in the margin, a stain on the binding—but those hints of human handling tell us only so much. The experience of reading vanishes with the reader.
How do we recover the reading experiences of the past? Lately scholars have stepped up the hunt for evidence of how people over time have interacted with books, newspapers, and other printed material. posted by jason's_planet at 11:14 AM PST - 25 comments
Robert Campbell of Glenburn, Maine, has been baking beans in a bean hole for nearly forty years. “Even when I don’t need the beans,” he says, “When Friday night comes it’s just an urge comes over me to start that fire and start baking bean-hole beans.”
Networks of the Hanseatic League - The Hanseatic League was a late-medieval network of economically largely independent long-distance trade merchants which was based on trust, reputation and reciprocal relations. The informal cooperation among its members kept transactional, informational and organizational costs low, allowing the Hanse merchants to make good profits from the long-distance trade between the Baltic and the North Seas. Thanks to personal and institutional links with confederations of towns, the Hanse merchants were initially able to strengthen their international position of power. Since the late 15th century, however, the transaction costs of long-distance trade increased as a result of growing exclusivity and formalization efforts in the Hanseatic league. Moreover, changes in the European economic structure, triggered by the discovery of America, and internal conflicts ultimately led to the disintegration of the Hanseatic networks. posted by infini at 8:15 AM PST - 14 comments
"FBI files on Marilyn Monroe that could not be located earlier this year have been found and re-issued, revealing the names of some of the movie star’s communist-leaning acquaintances who drew concern from government officials and her own entourage." [more inside] posted by graymouser at 1:47 PM PST - 20 comments
Front Row (BBC Radio 4), 28/12/12 – 30mins. British stars of big American series like Homeland & House discuss why US TV and movies are so keen to employ UK actors right now. Answer seems to boil down to (a) proper theatre training (b) greater willingness to play unsympathetic characters and (c) botox-free faces still able to move in reaction shots. Damian Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Thandie Newton, Adrian Lester, Clive Owen, Ashley Jensen and Stephen Frears all take part. It’s an interesting discussion, though perhaps a little smug in its assumption of British superiority. I’d be interested to hear what American listeners make of it. posted by Paul Slade at 12:32 PM PST - 80 comments
Minima Moralia: Reflections from the Damaged Life is a book written by German sociologist and philosopher Theodor W. Adorno during his exile in California in the 1940s. Translator Dennis Redmond has released his translation under creative commons (here is the same translation set up in a more book-like way). In his essay Promiscuous Reading, Mark O'Connell talks about his habit of never finishing books, but an exception being "this captivatingly strange and mordant text" Minima Moralia, "a thematically wayward aggregation of a hundred and fifty-three short essays and aphorisms that darts restlessly from one subject matter to the next, its fleeting yet intense engagements rarely spanning more than a page and a half." Among the subject matters Adorno addresses is the ethics of writing, which has reverberated down through the years, and is often set up in opposition to George Orwell's thought, as recounted by James Miller in the essay Lingua Franca. [more inside] posted by Kattullus at 9:52 AM PST - 31 comments
Hobby Lobby, a craft store with 525 U.S. locations, has announced that it will defy a federal mandate to provide health coverage for all employees that includes emergency contraceptive coverage, and will pay a fine of $1.3 million every day. [more inside] posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:15 AM PST - 389 comments
Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wickham-Fiennes is 68 years old, a cancer survivor, and he's preparing to tackle a six month 2,000 mile trek across Antarctica at night. Partially to raise money for charity, but mostly because if he doesn't accomplish it, someone else might manage it instead. posted by BZArcher at 7:11 AM PST - 18 comments
The D-Wave OneTM is the world's first commercially available quantum computer. "Our superconducting 128-qubit processor chip is housed inside a cryogenics system within a 10 square meter shielded room." (images) In other words, it's a programmable superconducting integrated circuit with up to 128 pair-wise coupled superconducting flux qubits (video). The first D-Wave was sold in 2011 for a rumored $10 million. At first there was a lot of skepticism about it, but an August Naturestudy proved it worked by successfully solving "13 times out of 10,000 for four-amino-acid and six-amino-acid sequences under the Miyazawa-Jernigan model of lattice protein folding." Investors Jeff Bezos and The CIA are happy. A 2048 qubit system is in the works about 1 million times faster. posted by stbalbach at 1:04 AM PST - 58 comments
Seven For A Secret - an anonymous fanfic author creates seven unhappy ( or at least, unconventional ) endings for Disney Princesses by placing them in proper historical, mythological, or thematic context. posted by The Whelk at 10:37 PM PST - 53 comments
The pitch was simple: “John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Blues Brothers, how about it?” But the film became a nightmare for Universal Pictures, wildly off schedule and over budget, its fate hanging on the amount of cocaine Belushi consumed.Soul Men: The Making of The Blues Brothers. posted by Frayed Knot at 12:28 PM PST - 135 comments
"I was never threatened covering the cops beat nor while reporting on a big Mafia trial, but I was threatened – twice – for writing negative reviews of two restaurants. Shows where the passion is, I guess." Restaurant critics write about (and link to) their most negative reviews and discuss the measured and reasonable responses they received after their publication. [more inside] posted by the young rope-rider at 12:22 PM PST - 54 comments
Why I Quit Being So Accommodating. This is the story of a man who found out what it was costing him, his family, and his business career, to let himself be a universal Good Fellow, at the beck of and call of every Tom, Dick and Harry who wanted him to do a favour. posted by zoo at 8:01 AM PST - 98 comments
We test whether generosity is related to political preferences and partisanship in Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States using incentivised dictator games. We document that support for social spending and redistribution is positively correlated with generosity in all four countries. Further, we show that donors are more generous towards co-partisans in all countries, and that this effect is stronger among supporters of left-wing political parties. All results are robust to the inclusion to an extensive set of control variables, including income and education.
In 2011 a group of 40 women known as The Materialisticsexhibited a collection of their art work called "The Grand Tour" at the Customs House in South Shields, England. "The Grand Tour" comprised 50 pieces of art work and it took The Materialistics a year to create them. What made this collection remarkable was the medium used to create these art works: they were not painted or sculpted, but knitted, crocheted, and embroidered. Through needlework, The Materialistics had recreated 50 well-known works of art in painstaking detail: Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, Edvard Munch's The Scream, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Pablo Picasso's Woman in Garden, Rembrandt's self-portrait, Dante Gabriel's Rosetti's Daydream, Gustav Klimt's The Kiss, and many more. [more inside] posted by orange swan at 2:40 PM PST - 12 comments
150 years ago, on December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were hung in Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The men were hung after being convicted by a U.S. military commission for participating in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Originally, 303 were sentenced to death, but President Lincoln commuted the sentences of most of those convicted. The war was waged in the Minnesota River Valley. The Minnesota Historical Society's page on the hangings is here. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's six-part series on the war is here. Minnesota Public Radio has an online photographic display on the war. This American Life's episode on the war is available through the program's website. Indian Country Today reports on efforts in Minnesota to remember the war, including a memorial dedicated in Mankato today. Following the war, most Dakota were expelled from Minnesota. posted by Area Man at 2:32 PM PST - 31 comments
"The dystextia was the first clinical sign that we had that she was having a stroke," Impaired speech is a common sign of a stroke, he says. But in this case, the woman had lost her voice because of a cold. So the series of mangled messages were the smoking gun of a language problem. He and his colleagues describe the case in the Archives of Neurology. posted by 445supermag at 7:20 AM PST - 5 comments
A remarkably non-sensational report on polyamorous families. Bookended by 50 Shades of Grey and Gigolos, this 20/20 "special report" on Sierra, Martin, Molly, David, Aaron, Romy, Mark, and J provides a lovely counterpoint to the usual moralizing hand-wringing one finds in media coverage of open relationships. posted by smammy at 7:20 AM PST - 14 comments
From the early fifties to the mid-seventies, the Nashville based Excello Records released the kind of raw blues, R&B, and rock & roll that maybe wasn't ever going to make it to the Top 40, but was full of grit and sweat and soul, for those who liked their American roots music unadulterated. Their most well-known release was probably Slim Harpo's Baby Scratch My Back, but rocking blues like Lazy Lester's I Hear You Knockin' and Leroy Washington's Wild Cherry are little unpolished gems which deserved their place on any self-respecting cheap bar's juke box. Lowdown blues like Lonesome Sundown's My Home Is a Prison also found a welcome home at Excello, as did tunes that blurred the distinctions between country/rockabilly and R&B, like Lazy Lester's I'm A Lover Not A Fighter, and latin-tinged swamp-rock chuggers like Charles Sheffield's It's Your Voodoo Working. Then there were the straight up country tunes (reminiscent of that classic early Johnny Cash sound) like Al Ferrier's I'm the Man, or rough-hewn, raucous rockabilly like Johnny Jano's Havin' A Whole Lotta Fun. In short, Excello Records was a microcosm of the sound of the South, and though their artists mostly never achieved much in the way of wider national fame, they are an important part of the patchwork quilt of American pop music history. The tunes included in this post are just the tip of the iceberg: there's so much to explore from this one amazing little label. Happy searching! posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:07 AM PST - 7 comments
Swallowable perfume—! Is this the logical outcome of precarity, atomisation and hyper-individualism—to reassert yourself, now, as a human atomiser? The vagaries of genetic difference and skin chemistry now allow you, as the ad breathily encourages, to “Go beyond accessory. Express uniqueness. Swallowable perfume: a new cycle of evolution.” Only five years after the Lululemon sweatable perfume hoax debuted, it has already become reality.
The Case Against a Smoke Free America "Tobacco is viewed as pure vice by public health officials. Surgeon General Everett C. Koop famously hoped for a smoke-free America by the year 2000. Koop echoed Lucy Page Gaston, the early twentieth century prohibitionist who campaigned for 'a smokeless America by 1925.' This impulse was revived by Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who testified before Congress in 2003, 'I see no need for any tobacco products in society.'... In Elizabethan England, the then novel act of smoking was described as 'dry drinking.' The metaphor is apt: Neither alcohol nor tobacco is essential to life, but both offer pleasant flavors while enhancing mood and sociality. And, of course, both are harmful when consumed in excess." posted by bookman117 at 1:00 PM PST - 230 comments
Idle No More. (Note: music autoplay.) A year after the housing crisis in Attawapiskat (previously), Chief Theresa Spence is on the 14th day of a hunger strike. In a teepee close the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, she waits for a meeting with Prime Minister Harper in order to address ongoing poverty on reserves and the implications of Bill C-45, which strips protected status from thousands of miles of Canadian waterways, as well as ongoing plans for oil pipelines across the North and Harper's plans to bring legislation allowing for the privatization of reserve lands. An international surge of support from Indigenous Peoples, organizing through social media (including Facebook and Twitter) has seen demonstrations across North America, including thousands of First Nations activists marching on Parliament Hill, a rail blockade in Sarnia, Ont., and an open letter from Canadian academics, an open letter from The Assembly of First Nations, and other actions. [more inside] posted by jokeefe at 12:40 PM PST - 22 comments
"People haven’t been fascinated by this book because the translation is mellifluous or beautiful,” said Michael F. Suarez, a professor of English at the University of Virginia who directs the Rare Book School there. “People haven’t been attracted to this book because the presswork is beautiful. It’s not.” Instead, the Bay Psalm Book is treasured for being the first surviving piece of printing done in the British North American colonies. Only 11 copies, many incomplete, today survive. Remarkably two of those copies belong to the same owner, Boston's Old South Church. This month, the church made the controversial decision to sell one (the first such sale in 65 years), and it could bring as much as $20 million for the church's endowment. posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:59 AM PST - 7 comments
I have known him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek was glowing with compassion; and, while his looks were softened into pity, I have heard him use the language of the most unbounded ill-nature. Some affect humanity and tenderness, others boast of having such dispositions from nature; but he is the only man I ever knew who seemed ashamed of his natural benevolence.
""Why in hell," he observed impatiently, "do all them goddam hypocrites keep the poor bums waiting for two, three hours while they get off their goddam whimwham? Here is a hall full of men who ain't had nothing to speak of to eat for maybe three, four days, and yet they have to set there smelling the turkey and the coffee while ten, fifteen Sunday-school superintendents and W.C.T.U. [Women's Christian Temperance Union] sisters sing hymns to them and holler against booze. I tell you, Mr. Ammermeyer, it ain't human." -- H. L. Mencken's A Bum's Christmas is the best Christmas story for those more of the humbug than the happy holidays persuasion. posted by MartinWisse at 5:28 AM PST - 22 comments
Ben Carlin was born in Western Australia in 1912. He served during World War II with the Royal Indian Engineers, and while awaiting demobilization Carlin came across a decommissioned Ford GPA (an amphibious Jeep). He was sure that "with a bit of titivation you could go around the world in one of these things." [more inside] posted by obscurator at 11:57 AM PST - 10 comments
December 25th was the day of the Roman cult of Sol Invictus, the undefeated sun. The Philocalian calendar of AD 354 is the earliest literary reference both of this and of Jesus’ birthday. Manypeopleaccept that there is a connection between the two, not least because the Bible likens Jesus to the sun. Christian celebration on the 25th was well established following the outlawing of Paganism by Theodosius after the year 381.
In the subsequent centuries, many traditional midwinter customs such as feasting, gift giving and bringing evergreens into the house became associated with it.
The Puritans couldn’t decide whether to hate this because it was Catholic or because it was Pagan. In any case, they tried to ban it both in revolutionary England and in their religious republic in Massachusetts.
Misrule was always present, but in the 19th Century, wassailing started to annoy the wealthy, who promoted a sentimental process of domestication.
In recent years some people have behaved as if there were something offensive about the religious elements of our traditional midwinter celebration, while others even claim to believe that there is a campaign to do away with it altogether; I can only hope you won’t mind if I wish you – a very merry Christmas. posted by apodo at 8:17 AM PST - 78 comments
Galeazzo Frudua, of Bologna, Italy, possesses an uncannily good ear for harmony, and has produced a series of videos that painstakingly and expertly analyze and demonstrate for you the vocal harmonies employed in various Beatles songs. His perceptive commentary, his very, very capable singing voice, unassuming manner, impressive video editing skills and, hey, his charming Italian accent all combine to create tutorial videos that are fun and educational viewing. Start with the first one he made, for Nowhere Man, and then, well, just check 'em all out. You won't be disappointed. posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:43 PM PST - 36 comments
"Edlinger began to climb. As the last competitor, everyone at Snowbird knew how high he must get to beat his rivals and win the event. With apparent ease, he climbed past their high-points, until pausing beneath a huge overhang that had defeated all-comers. At that moment, a narrow shaft of sunlight pierced the cloud cover and illuminated Edlinger. When he completed the route, the only one from the world's best to do so, the crowd erupted. Until this point, American climbers had been unsure about competition climbing. After Edlinger, they were converted." - Patrick Edlinger, age 52, died on December 10, after years of battling depression following a near-death fall in the nineties that prevented him from climbing at the same level. [more inside] posted by Riton at 6:57 PM PST - 10 comments
In the summer of 1545, the Mary Rose, one of Henry VIII's most powerful warships, was sunk in the English Channel while preparing for battle with the French fleet. But this post is not about her, it is about a 'face-off' between a man running an electric lathe and one using a foot-powered type, to see who can produce the best quality wooden bowl in the shortest time. How are these two events connected? [more inside] posted by woodblock100 at 6:44 PM PST - 26 comments
December 21st came and went and somehow humanity's still here, but have you ever wondered how many apocalypses you've survived so far? The Goddamn Apocalypse can help. posted by secretdark at 5:16 PM PST - 35 comments
The fake intellectual invites you to conspire in his own self-deception, to join in creating a fantasy world. He is the teacher of genius, you the brilliant pupil. Faking is a social activity in which people act together to draw a veil over unwanted realities and encourage each other in the exercise of their illusory powers. The arrival of fake thought and fake scholarship in our universities should not therefore be attributed to any explicit desire to deceive. It has come about through the complicit opening of territory to the propagation of nonsense.
An essay by RogerScruton from Aeon magazine. posted by chavenet at 10:19 AM PST - 57 comments
Rhinoceroses are purple, they have rounded faces like hippos, they have long, curved stinging tails like scorpions, and they have flashlights in their mouths. Oh, and when those lights are activated, they make pig noises. This is actually a great toy for a kid who’s afraid of the dark and also afraid of conventional, non-cute, non-noise-making flashlights. Or for someone who needs a primer in the genetic-engineering technology of 2075 and how it will be used to create monstrous hybrids to serve our every need, including our need for rhinoceroscorpion light sources. It's time for the A.V. Club's annual Cheap Toy Roundup. posted by davidjmcgee at 9:12 PM PST - 14 comments
Two men sit in this room, spinning non-linear yarns about the creation of interactive fiction. One sits at a small table. Another stands by a shelf along the wall, which is filled with many grey, rectangular objects that you can't quite make out from here.
You can see a small door, a small table, a shelf, Dave and Steve here. posted by Malor at 12:36 AM PST - 15 comments
Adults over 50 are the fastest growing demographic for online dating sites, according to a recently [sic] study from UCLA’s department of psychology. Yet while older adults often value companionship over passion and marriage, experts say frisky behavior by seniors should never be underestimated. “I hesitate to generalize that they’re only having gentle, intimate moments,” says Melanie Davis, co-president of the national Sexuality and Aging Consortium. “Older adults can have really hot sex.” But not, typically, in long-term care facilities. posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:43 PM PST - 34 comments
It's that time of year again, and here to warm your heart and get you into the holiday spirit, it's Eric Idle performing the beloved seasonal favorite, Fuck Christmas. Ho Ho Ho! posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:39 PM PST - 20 comments
On March 20th 1913, Song Jiaoren, China’s first democratically elected prime minister, was assassinated as he waited for a train in Shanghai. With him died China's best shot at democratic government. posted by Chrysostom at 8:29 AM PST - 6 comments
Computer Boy! (also available here): Abe Forsythe made the movie Computer Boy when he was just 18. It's a 50 min. spoof of The Matrix that was filmed in less than two weeks at actual Matrix shooting locations in Australia and cost just over $2000 to make.* It became a cult hit when it was released online in 2000 & was one of the first internet films to hit 500,000 views.* (wikipedia, imdb) [more inside] posted by flex at 12:59 AM PST - 11 comments
RelationshipFilter: Date Lab from The Washington Post and Dinner With Cupid from The Boston Globe are both columns that follow couples before and after their first blind date. posted by OmieWise at 12:47 PM PST - 15 comments
DJ Earworm has released his annual "United State of Pop" mashup of the year's 25 most popular songs according to Billboard's charts: Shine Brighter. [more inside] posted by zarq at 12:19 PM PST - 39 comments
This isn't just a list of awesome video games from 2012... There will be some not-so-great games listed here as well. There will be some games that didn't release in 2012, but still made a mark on the year regardless. There will even be some games that will never release.
Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement. posted by samhyland at 6:59 AM PST - 45 comments
This is Workflowy. If Simple Note isn't quite enough, and Evernote is way too much, this might fit the bill. It's an outlining tool that supports tags, and is easy to navigate and rearrange. If you've drunk the GTD Kool-Aid, it's a pretty lightweight way to organize things. reluctant hat tip to Farhad Manjoo posted by leotrotsky at 6:47 AM PST - 77 comments
The Beatles Performing Shakespeare. In 1964, the Fab Four added another art under their belt — live theater — when they performed Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in color, to the sound of shouting hecklers (scripted, part of the play) and someone yelling “Go back to Liverpool!” (unscripted, decidedly unshakespearean). posted by nickyskye at 6:02 AM PST - 13 comments
Research Says: Studying Economics Turns You Into a Liar The researchers ultimately ran their test on 258 students from various majors, including business, economics, the humanities, sciences, law, among others. And there was a clear gap: even though a large portion of students lied from every field, economics and business students lied a much more often than everybody else. As shown in the table below, just 22.8 percent of them honestly reported the colors of the flashing circles, even when it cost them that extra euro. More than half of humanities students, on the other hand, were honest. Same went for law students, who appeared to play against type. (They also claim that the *study* made the difference and not just the type of student that signed up for that kind of study.) posted by aleph at 12:41 AM PST - 80 comments
The New York Times is previewing their latest technology in the longform journalism piece Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek (username: avalanche/password: preview). Scroll down slowly to enjoy all the photos, slideshows, and movies that go along with the piece, which looks to be adding new chapters to the story over time. posted by mathowie at 9:49 PM PST - 47 comments
Welcome to Pyongyang! "Koryo Tours commissioned a DPRK (North Korea) gaming company to develop a racing game that lets you drive around Pyongyang in a locally made Pyonghwa Motors vehicle, see some of the sites and compete for a good race time! Collect fuel along the way, avoid the attentions of Pyongyang's traffic ladies, and try not to crash into any of the local cars, or the DHL vans! This unique game is currently online exclusively on Koryo Tours' website (do note that it may take some time to load properly - so do stay patient before starting)." [more inside] posted by condesita at 5:38 PM PST - 36 comments
It is common behavior for humans to develop an avatar to present a larger-than-life version of themselves on the web, often as a defense mechanism. For the first time, this activity has been observed in another species. posted by oulipian at 11:53 AM PST - 48 comments
This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) launched a new digital series: H+. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why. [more inside] posted by zarq at 11:00 AM PST - 66 comments
A 22-year old student, Imogen Hedges of London's Kingston University, has invented an unknitting machine to ravel knitted items and wind the yarn into skeins for re-use. I do have my doubts about how much time this machine would actually save, but the machine, which is made out of a bicycle, is a very clever contraption and a lot of fun to watch in action, and its facility for steaming the yarn as it winds it is ingenius. posted by orange swan at 10:14 AM PST - 29 comments
But just what are the Whos down in Whoville? Are they human? What is the Grinch? What’s the connection between these Whos and the Whos living on the speck-of-dust planet in Horton Hears a Who!? Are those Whos who Horton heard the same species of Whos of which Cyndi Lou Who (who was not more than two) is a member?
Gigapixel image of the Khumbu Glacier and Mount Everest Taken by filmmaker David Breashears this is a gigapixel image of Everest (the mainly rock peak to the left of centre) and surrounding area taken in Spring 2012. To get an idea of the scale Everest basecamp can be seen in the bottom-centre area of the image. Best viewed fullscreen. posted by jontyjago at 7:55 AM PST - 32 comments
"I was sitting with some friends in Woodstock when a telephone call was forwarded to me from someone who claimed to be from NASA, and who wanted to use a piece of my music to contact extraterrestrial life. I said, 'C'mon, if you're for real you better send the request to me through the mail on official NASA letterhead!'"
"This year, two monumental genres with decidedly global pedigrees arrived on our shores and attempted to crack the American pop code, with one enjoying far more decisive success than the other...One of those is definitely sexier and zeitgeistier than the other, but that doesn't always result in sustained cultural relevance." K-Pop, EDM, and Baby Brosteps Toward a More Global Pop Landscape posted by mannequito at 7:50 PM PST - 33 comments
Frost Flowers: "...they are made of such thin sheets of ice, they will melt away as the sun rises higher in the sky. You may get frost flowers again the following day, but unless the conditions are just right the chances are your first glimpse may be your last." posted by OmieWise at 11:08 AM PST - 30 comments
“What I’m about to show you,” he says, “you can’t tell a soul about it. If you did, it would be major trouble. Trouble with a capital ‘T.’ ” He sips his drink and tugs the quilt away.
Mawmaw takes a step back. She’s looking at some kind of elephant. With hair.
“Don’t worry. She’s not dangerous,” Tommy says. “Bread Island Dwarf Mammoth. The last wild one lived about ten thousand years ago. They’re the smallest mammoths that ever existed. Cute, isn’t she?”
The mammoth is waist high, with a pelt of dirty-blond fur that hangs in tangled draggles to the dirt. Its tusks, white and pristine, curve out and up. The forehead is high and knobby and covered in a darker fur. The trunk probes the ground for God-knows-what and then curls back into itself like a jelly roll.
“What’s a goshdern Bread Island Dwarf Whatever doing in my yard?” Mawmaw asks.
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"Video Game Character Wrestling is a Twitch channel run by a guy named Bazza. He said earlier how when he first ran it like a month ago, he 'was happy he got 50 viewers, maybe he could get 50 the next time too', and it just fucking exploded, with an average of 2000-3000 viewers in recent matches," (Via this Something Awful thread). Video Game Character Wrestling is an improbable live-action machinima spectacle which pits AI controlled versions of major game characters (and some real-ish personalities) against one another in a brawl for it all. [more inside] posted by codacorolla at 8:45 PM PST - 11 comments
"I have a confession to make. I think I'm in friend-love with you. I don't want to date you or even make out with you. Because that would be weird. I just so desperately want for you to think that I am this super-awesome person because I think you are a super-awesome person" -- A single link webcomic by Yumi Sakugawa. posted by MartinWisse at 12:42 PM PST - 82 comments
The Toronto Star has recently published a three-part story (1, 2, 3) on the life and death of toddler Stella Joy, who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) at age 2. As this disease is considered 100% fatal, Stella's mothers (link to blog) chose not to have Stella undergo radiation treatment in order to preserve as much quality of life as possible. The love of Stella's family and community as they support her and each other through her death is truly inspiring. [more inside] posted by fiercecupcake at 10:26 AM PST - 13 comments
Slow motion video from the 2011 Czech Flyball Championship: Athleticism, speed, caught balls, missed balls, clean passes, misjudged passes, and really astonishing streamers of drool. If you're wondering "What is flyball?", the short documentary What Is Flyball? might address that question. [more inside] posted by Wolfdog at 9:02 AM PST - 11 comments
Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of the original Mega Man, a series-spawning platformer-shooter starring a blue robot with a gun for a hand who traverses dangerous levels and defeats robot bosses, gaining a new weapon with each boss he defeats. In celebration, Capcom has officially released a fan game, Street Fighter x Mega Man, with the Street Fighter cast (who made their own debut twenty five years ago in August) taking the role of the bosses. Watch the trailer or download it from Capcom's website! posted by Pope Guilty at 6:24 AM PST - 27 comments
"A lifelong fan of The Lord of the Rings, for the last 50 years [Vince Donovan] has been amassing an enormous collection of all things J.R.R. Tolkien. So much so, he hired an architect to design a house to contain it." posted by gladly at 6:18 AM PST - 18 comments
Eric's Trip, first Canadian band to be signed to Subpop. (video is halfway down the page: I was unable to extract a workable link to include here)
I've collected a lot of stuff from friends over the years and luckily, i personally bothered to lug 4 tracks machines, mics and old video cameras to the shows at the time. Talking friends into holding the camera or keeping an eye on the input levels. I'm really glad i kept all those VHS tapes and reels of super8 films safe. The boxes of cassettes stored at my folks house still play great after 20 years. In 2007 i started transferring all these tapes into digital form to put this movie together, dubbing old VHS tapes was the scariest thing as some of them would barely play but i eventually got them all. I was excited that with use of modern editing stuff, i could finally sync up old video with better sounding tapes recorded at the same show, or editing together footage i had with someone else’s camera angle of the same show that i got from them years later. I worked on this movie for four years with much love until i finally had what i thought was a good document of what Eric's Trip really was.[more inside] posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:30 PM PST - 16 comments
Cold Specks hails from London, and is fronted by Canadian singer [and sometimes guitarist] Al Spx. Her vocals are beautifully inspired by gospels of the American South. [more inside] posted by FirstMateKate at 9:22 PM PST - 29 comments
For shell grumps and net.curmudgeons and people who think Internet search is just too cluttered with bitmaps, DuckDuckGo (previously) offers TTY search. Sadly, there is no telnet interface, you'll need to use a newfangled web browser. posted by pashdown at 9:02 AM PST - 26 comments
In Turkey, there lives a mysterious minority known as the “secret Armenians.” They have been hiding in the open for nearly a century. Outwardly, they are Turks or Kurds, but the secret Armenians are actually descendants of the survivors of the 1915 Genocide, who stayed behind in Eastern Anatolia after forcibly converting to Islam. Some are now devout Muslims, others are Alevis –generally considered an offshoot of Shia Islam, even though that would be an inaccurate description by some accounts–, and a few secretly remain Christian, especially in the area of Sassoun, where still there are mountain villages with secret Armenian populations. Even though Armenian Gypsies wouldn’t strictly qualify as Secret Armenians, they share many traits with the latter, including reluctance or fear to reveal their identity even to fellow Armenians.
Can autonomous vehicles navigate the law?This year has been full of big news about the progress of self-driving cars. They are currently street legal in three states and Google says that on a given day, they have a dozen autonomous cars on the road. This August, they passed 300,000 driver-hours. In Spain this summer, Volvo drove a convoy of three cars through 200 kilometers of desert highway with just one driver and a police escort. Cadillac's newest models park themselves. The writing, one might think, is on the wall. But objects in the media may be farther off than they appear. posted by modernnomad at 10:53 AM PST - 83 comments
To say thatMessiaen's Vingt Regards sur L'Enfant-Jesus(Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus) is a masterpiece is a gross understatement. Over sixty years after its composition, it has rightfully earned the recognition of being one of the most important piano works of the 20th century. ... [It] is one of the most personal and intimate pieces Messiaen ever wrote, and it gives the listener a close look at Messiaen the person. Messiaen was a deeply religious person, and although his faith influenced every single piece he wrote, the Vingt Regards is almost like his own personal spiritual diary. - Keith Kerchoff[more inside] posted by Egg Shen at 8:56 PM PST - 16 comments
Tweedland has some interesting stories and characters. Here's two to get you started:
Robert de Montesquiou - "Tall, black-haired, rouged, Kaiser-moustached, he cackled and screamed in weird attitudes, giggling in high soprano, hiding his little black teeth behind an exquisitely gloved hand – the poseur absolute. He was said to have slept with Sarah Bernhardt and vomited for a week afterwards."
Lord Berners - "As a child, having heard that if you throw a dog into water it will learn how to swim, he threw his mother's canine companion out of the window on the grounds that if one applies the same logic it should learn how to fly. (The dog was unharmed, and he was "thrashed" by his mother.)"
I love you, dad One of my fondest childhood memories is me sitting on a sled, being dragged along a thinly snow covered road by my dad. I was looking up at him and reflecting on the fact that he is also an individual person, just as I am. He has his own thoughts, his own wants, and his own memories. He’d had an entire life to live before I even existed. posted by winecork at 2:46 PM PST - 42 comments
Billed as "Factory Sourcing Made Easy," Maker's Row is a searchable database of American factories, their specialties, their locations, and which parts of the production process they can help you with. posted by OmieWise at 1:24 PM PST - 7 comments
"To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants [...] but they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be."
Anil Dash laments The Web We Lost, and offers some suggestions for moving forward. posted by oulipian at 1:13 PM PST - 74 comments
Walking With Walken, a short film [10min] from 2001 about an amateur comedian who maybe takes his Christopher Walken impressions a little too seriously. posted by mannequito at 12:07 PM PST - 10 comments
Pen & Oink Pen & Oink is a blog featuring modern and classic picture books, and interviews with children's book illustrators-- including lots of great images of their work and process. And there's some awesome doodles of pigs. [via mefi projects] posted by moonmilk at 7:59 AM PST - 3 comments
GameSpy's long-defunct Daily Victim was a daily first-person essay and illustration (by Dave "Fargo" Kosak, now of Blizzard Entertainment, and Michael "Gabe" Krahulik, then and still of Penny Arcade) which paid humorous tribute to the various individuals one meets online. Users would vote 1-5 on each one, and on the weekend, the top-voted Victim would get an additional essay and a properly colored and shaded image, often feeding into an ever-growing continuity. This website presents an archive of the complete series, along with some explanatory articles, all long gone from Gamespy's website, and in so doing provides a glimpse into the internet culture of a decade ago. [more inside] posted by Pope Guilty at 7:39 AM PST - 11 comments
BBC Radio 4's Mastertapes series is nearing the end of its first run. Each artist selected gives John Wilson a 30-minute interview about a key album in his or her career, followed by a second 30-minute episode opening the floor to questions from fans. They play snippets of relevant songs live, which can be heard in full along with other bonus material on the programme's website. The first series has already featured Billy Bragg, Susan Vega, Paul Weller, Brinsley Forde, Ray Davies and Corrine Bailey Rae - and will close this week with The Zombies. It's pretty good. posted by Paul Slade at 5:07 AM PST - 8 comments
Alan Cooper and the Goal Directed Design ProcessThe heart of the problem, he concludes, is that the people responsible for developing software products don’t know precisely what constitutes a good product. It follows that they also do not know what processes lead to a good product. In short, they are operating by trial and error, with outcomes like customer satisfaction achieved by little more than blind luck.By Hugh Dubberly, first published AIGA GAIN Journal, 2001 posted by infini at 3:25 AM PST - 28 comments
If a man finds himself attracted to a woman who doesn't conform to this list (more on the specifics of the list in a minute), does he not count as a man? What if she's "perfect" for him? What if she makes him feel like a whole person for the first time in his life, but she just happens to have chunky ankles? What does "perfect" mean then? What does "hot" mean? What does "the One" mean? What we're setting up here is an impossible cultural standard that excludes...well...100% of women. Because literally no one is that weird Frankenstein's Monster-with-Benefits that your art department put together.In her typical masterful style, Jezebel's Lindy West reminds us that being a perfect woman is no excuse for being actively harmful to humanity. posted by Jon_Evil at 12:15 AM PST - 68 comments
Since he became Egypt’s first democratically elected leader last June, Morsi has displayed both extraordinary political acumen and a tone-deafness that has plunged his country into deeper unrest. In November, he deftly helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, averting a bloody ground war in the Gaza Strip. Days later, he lost much of the goodwill he had earned by issuing an edict that awarded his office near-dictatorial powers.
Sometimes, Morsi can seem like the inspiring guardian of Egyptian democracy—such as when he courageously dismissed the military junta that had claimed the right to rule post–Hosni Mubarak Egypt. At other times, he can seem like a mouthpiece for the deeply conservative Muslim Brotherhood—declaring women unfit for high office and advocating for an international law to ban religious insults. (And sometimes he simply seems awkward, such as when he sat down for a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gilliard in September at the United Nations and proceeded, for several excruciating seconds, to publicly adjust his genitals.) So far, the only certainty about Morsi is that his ultimate intentions remain unknown. - The New Republic, Understanding Mohamed Morsi: His journey from farm boy to most powerful man in the Middle East. posted by beisny at 8:13 PM PST - 19 comments
It’s amazing the Anonymous documentaryWe Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists ever saw the light of day.
It’s not that no theaters wanted to show it — it performed well at film festivals — or that filmmaker Brian Knappenberger didn’t want to release it. He just couldn’t finish it. And that’s just the way it goes when you’re making a documentary about an ever-expanding and ever-evolving group like Anonymous. (via Wired) [more inside] posted by warbaby at 7:40 PM PST - 12 comments
".... There was no critique in Occupy, no accountability. At first it didn’t matter, but as life grew messy and complicated, its absence became terrible. There wasn’t even a way to conceive of critique, as if the language had no words to describe the movement’s faults to itself. There was at times explicit gagging of Occupy’s media teams by the camp (General Assembly, or GA), to prevent anything that could be used to damage the movement from reaching the wider media. Self-censorship plagued those who weren’t gagged, because everyone was afraid of retaliation. No one talked about the systemic and growing abuses in the camps, or the increasingly poisonous GAs ...."
Zeus's Affairs - a visualization of all of Zeus's various affairs. The large black circles represent Zeus, the lines on the inside of the circles represent his 'lovers' (or victims), the colored lines connect them to their children on the outside of the circles. posted by empath at 8:44 AM PST - 35 comments
This youtube video explains VENGEANCE - The Story of Curmudgeon's Revenge: Members of a forum for Jeep JK Wrangler owners came together for one of their own in a quite extraordinary way. When it became clear that one of their original members was losing his battle with cancer several members flew from all around the country to his house, bought his jeep, drove it across the country, and then spent almost a year converting it from a Jeep into something they call VENGEANCE, "A Badass 2-Door Jeep JK Wrangler Worthy of its Name". Now they're auctioning it to raise money so his daughter can go to college. posted by Blake at 6:48 AM PST - 8 comments
'Homeland,' Obama’s Show. The award winning TV show does little to alleviate the myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims, writes Joseph Massad, a scholar at Columbia University. "The racist representation of Arabs is so exponential, even for American television [..] that one does not know where to begin." [more inside] posted by kiskar at 2:59 AM PST - 84 comments
Study Finds Epigenetics, Not Genetics, Underlies Homosexuality: Epigenetics – how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches, called epi-marks – appears to be a critical and overlooked factor contributing to the long-standing puzzle of why homosexuality occurs.
In the current study, researchers from the Working Group on Intragenomic Conflict at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) integrated evolutionary theory with recent advances in the molecular regulation of gene expression and androgen-dependent sexual development to produce a biological and mathematical model that delineates the role of epigenetics in homosexuality. posted by aleph at 1:06 AM PST - 102 comments
Environmental and Native American activists in Flagstaff, AZ face federal charges for allegedly "interfering with a forest officer" after a protest action in which they "quarantined" the Coconino National Forest Service lobby to protest a decision permitting the expansion of the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort onto the San Fransisco Peaks – a site regarded as sacred by the Navajo, Hopi, and Havasupai people. The proposed expansion entails the use of treated sewage effluent, aka reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking operations. These events occurred on the same day that the USDA and Forest Service issued a final report (pdf) which outlines recommendations for working more closely with Native representatives surrounding sacred sites issues. posted by Scientist at 7:46 PM PST - 19 comments
Ayn Rand, Jim Henson, Sidney Nolan, and Yoko Ono in Conversation on ARPNET.17 April 1976 – The transcript presented here records a conversation between four figures from the broad spectrum of culture: puppeteer Jim Henson; Russian-American writer, philosopher and playwright Ayn Rand; painter Sidney Nolan; and artist and musician Yoko Ono. A few months after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, The Agency’s tests with the ARPANET convened these four individuals, each with a distinct sense of, as well as the potential means for, a competing world-view. posted by Erasmouse at 1:48 PM PST - 84 comments
Gay marriage: Religious 'opt-in' offered, but not to CofE - "The Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages, the government has announced.
Other religious organisations will be able to "opt in" to holding ceremonies, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said.
But she added that the Church of England and Church in Wales had "explicitly" stated strong opposition and would not be included."
Included in the legisation is "Amending the 2010 Equality Act to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple." posted by marienbad at 8:52 AM PST - 70 comments
It seems strange, 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, that ordinary Russians would still be hungry for details about how ordinary Americans eat and pay mortgages. But to Mr. Zlobin’s surprise, his book — published this year and marketed as a guide to Russians considering a move abroad — is already in its fifth print run, and his publisher has commissioned a second volume. - MOSCOW JOURNAL, A Hunger for Tales of Life in the American Cul-de-Sac (SLNYTIMES) posted by beisny at 8:51 AM PST - 16 comments
On Dec 11, 1862 the Union Army was pinned on the Northern shore of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, unable to cross the river and invade the town. This desperate situation led to two decisions by General Burnside of the Union Army that ultimately had wide ranging effects not just on the outcome at Fredericksburg, but on how the US would conduct war in the future. [more inside] posted by COD at 7:17 AM PST - 40 comments
The Gay Marriage Plot:On November 6, four states -- Maine, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota -- took the side of gay marriage in ballot referenda. The improbable sweep for an issue that spent decades as an across-the-board political loser has already changed the landscape for gay rights in America -- and could provide a new framework for other causes. posted by Rangeboy at 7:12 AM PST - 140 comments
As this research report will show, North Koreans today are learning more about the outside world than at any time since the founding of the country.North Korea is consistently ranked by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders as the country with the least free media in the world. This ranking reflects the country's complete lack of an independent domestic media, its legal restrictions against accessing foreign media and the harsh punishments it metes out against citizens who violate those restrictions. Yet, since the late 1990s the information environment in North Korea has undergone significant changes. Although the media environment remains extremely restricted by international standards, North Koreans' access to outside media has grown considerably over the past two decades. Many inside the country continue to develop new ways to access information while avoiding the ever-present risk of detection and punishment. posted by DiesIrae at 7:02 AM PST - 13 comments
Some neighborhoods in Oakland are as devastated as any of the worst hit regions across America — Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix. Now the morphing of the housing bust and foreclosure epidemic into a lucrative multi-billion dollar opportunity for major investors is also uncannily centered upon Oakland and the greater Bay Area, where companies flush with hedge fund cash are buying up homes by the thousands.
The entire sweep of the US housing bubble, financial crisis, and foreclosure wave can therefore be told by looking at persons and companies with intimate links to Oakland and the Bay Area. What follows is one account.
"We had a bunch of extras from the community, St. John the Baptist Parish. It was cool, re-creating this history with black Southern extras whose families have lived there forever. They knew what went on back then. Then there was a social-dividing issue between the extras that mirrored the ones between their slave characters in the movie. The ponies were pretty, and they looked down on the extras playing cotton-picker slaves. They thought they were better than them. And the people playing the house servants looked down on the people playing the cotton pickers. And the cotton pickers thought the people playing the house servants and the ponies were stuck-up bitches. Then there was a fourth breakdown, between the darker skinned and the lighter skinned. Obviously not for everybody, and it wasn’t a gigantic problem, but it was something you noticed. They started mirroring the social situations of their characters, being on this plantation for a few weeks." Playboy interview with Quentin Tarantino for the upcoming Django Unchained. [more inside] posted by mannequito at 1:33 AM PST - 78 comments
New plasmon technique breaks classical diffraction limit of light Plasmon techniques have been showing up in some strange newer tech (Solar Cells, Metamaterials)
This time researchers at CalTech have found a wave (using plasmons) to focus laser light (with a wavelength of hundreds of nanometers) into a point of "a few nanometers" across. Among the possible applications listed is a new kind of microscope that could image cell features, a 50x increase in disk drive density, and the usual increase of bandwidth and fiber optic communication capabilities. posted by aleph at 12:50 AM PST - 17 comments
I asked whether the behavior of Brooks and others at News Corp. wasn’t a reflection of the corrupted journalistic values that Elisabeth had taken issue with in her lecture. She collected her thoughts, folded her arms, and said, “Yes is the quick answer. But, at the same time, I’m a champion of the plurality of voices and diversity of audience, and I think that doesn’t mean that in certain cases behaviors cannot match one’s values.”The New Yorker on Elisabeth Murdoch, in the wake of her lecture at MacTaggart, which was openly critical of both her brother James and her father's infamous News Corporation. posted by Rory Marinich at 3:36 PM PST - 13 comments
Operation Delirium. "The military’s secret Cold War experiment to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals. Decades after a risky Cold War experiment, a scientist lives with secrets." [Via] posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM PST - 44 comments
Alex Moulton RIP. For decades, Moulton Bicycles has manufactured an innovative space-frame bike of his design that the man described as "not a quadrilateral bit of piping"—his bikes are instantly recognizable for their small wheels, suspension, and a take-apart trusswork of small-diameter tubes. Although expensive and not very common, they are iconic among bike aficionados, and have inspired at least one competitor, Kimori of Japan, where his bikes have a devoted following. [more inside] posted by adamrice at 11:05 AM PST - 15 comments
John McAfee [recent previously], eccentric Silicon Valley mogul and creator of a McAfee antivirus software, lowered his taxes by relocating to Belize a few years ago. But his expatriate neighbor Gregory Faull was not a fan McAfee's dogs, prostitutes and partying. After Faull was shot to death last month Belize police named McAfee a "person of interest" in the case. McAfee went on the lam and invited Vice Magazine to join him, which must've seemed like a good idea at the time. McAfee was soon arrested and has since been fighting extradition back to Belize from a Guatemalan jail. McAfee said yesterday he just wants to return to a "normal life" in the U.S. posted by nowhere man at 10:42 AM PST - 70 comments
Do you know this man? You may not recognize his face, but his voice --and oh, what a voice -- is probably buried somewhere in your childhood memories of American television. Paul Frees was Boris Badenov, The Pillsbury Dough Boy, Burgermeister Meisterburger, The Haunted Mansion's Ghost Host, Toucan Sam, K.A.R.R., Morocco Mole, and ... [more inside] posted by MonkeyToes at 9:29 AM PST - 30 comments
Whoever let the tape roll on at a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road studio, 47 years ago, deserves our gratitude for several reasons. For reminding us that these exalted and almost absurdly famous musicians could sound like rank amateurs trying to teach themselves their newest song. For giving non-musicians a window onto the utterly mundane reality of the recording process, i.e. the endless waiting around for the engineer to get the tape cued up into the right spot. For giving us an audio glimpse of Lennon and McCartney's continual nutty banter, which can be quite entertaining. All that and more to be heard in The Beatles in Studio - Rubber Soul (1965) and Rubber Soul (Think For Yourself) 1965 Session. posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:39 AM PST - 49 comments
Up and coming? Looking for exposure? Trying to break into a field? You might consider working on spec to get that name recognition, or even... for FREE!
But if you are looking for a professional to do something for you, I would strongly recommend you do not ask for it for free. [more inside] posted by drfu at 2:42 AM PST - 84 comments
Anyone who has spent any time at all on the Western side of San Francisco is familiar with the name Sutro. Being the 24th mayor of the City was actually one of his smaller and lesser-known accomplishments.
Born in Prussia in 1830, he first made a name for himself with The Sutro Tunnel, which was used to drain water from underneath the Comstock Lode, improving working conditions and lowering the mine's operating costs. He sold his interest in the company he founded and left for San Francisco, where he built himself a mansion, among other things... [more inside] posted by MattMangels at 7:32 PM PST - 24 comments
Both characters remained fully clothed and there were no genital shots. But this was still the most explicit sexual content Wildenborg had seen in a video game. “It was at this point I decided to release the patch to the public,” he says. “I tossed the name 'Hot Coffee' on the file, based on the fact that the girlfriends would ask CJ in for some 'coffee' as a euphemism for sex. Hot Coffee was the first modification for San Andreas.” - The history of Grand Theft Auto's infamous "Hot Coffee" mod. posted by Artw at 7:31 PM PST - 37 comments
Photorealism has been highlighted here on the blue, where 2D work is made to look 3 dimensional. But what about the opposite? Artist Alex Meade's live-model photographs look like paintings. [more inside] posted by FirstMateKate at 5:05 PM PST - 16 comments
"There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation." [Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics] posted by vidur at 3:52 PM PST - 79 comments
Can the 'Swiss finishing school' be saved?The finishing-school tradition dates from the 1800s, when wealthy debutantes began coming to Switzerland, famed for its clean air, majestic mountains and multilingual population. Here, they would complete their education by acquiring the domestic and life skills needed to run a household – and to attract a suitable husband. The goal was to produce an ideal mate, someone refined and accomplished with impeccable manners.[more inside] posted by modernnomad at 1:00 PM PST - 28 comments
Tony says to me, “Why don’t you try little Jon”. Well, all right, let’s try him. And after just the first few notes out of his mouth I said, “Yes! This is him. This is the one! This is the one who should sing it”. He had this cute little voice - he was still a kid, and his voice really hadn’t even come down in pitch yet. It was still a little high but he had a great feeling for it. And of course, we all know what this little kid went on to do – he became one of the biggest rock and roll stars of all time.Jon Bon Jovi's first professional recording: R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas[more inside] posted by klausman at 11:56 AM PST - 18 comments
Long-time favorite usenet indexing site NzbMatrix has closed its site as part of a recent sweep of DMCA related takedowns on similar sites. Other recent shutdowns include Newzbin, Newzbin2, and NZBsRUS. [more inside] posted by TomMelee at 10:40 AM PST - 50 comments
Patrick Moore (1923-2012). Gamesmaster, Xylophone player, RAF navigator, Astronomer extraordinaire, Patrick Moore has died from old age. Aged 89 the longest running presenter of any TV show in existence (The Sky at Night) inspired millions, taught everyone to look up, and leaves behind an educational legacy that has touched millions. [more inside] posted by ewan at 5:53 AM PST - 62 comments
The nothing-to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. The data-security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the "most common retort against privacy advocates." ... To evaluate the nothing-to-hide argument, we should begin by looking at how its adherents understand privacy. Nearly every law or policy involving privacy depends upon a particular understanding of what privacy is. The way problems are conceived has a tremendous impact on the legal and policy solutions used to solve them.
How do I empower someone without language, sign, or gesture? What is it like to experience aphasia, dysnomia, auditory and visual distortions, and variable physical sensations? At times I imagine that entering into my son's sensory world—his own particular neurocosm, perhaps I should say—is a bit like walking into Lewis Carroll's Wood With No Names ...
Many of you Americans of a certain age (say, um, 40 to 60-somethings?) may find the Flickr set Museum of American Packaging (comprising 1,711 photos) to be a certain kind of stroll down a certain offshoot of the proverbial Memory Lane. posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:52 AM PST - 50 comments
"Premature babies born at the edge of viability force us to debate the most difficult questions in medicine and in life. After just 23 weeks of pregnancy, Kelley Benham found herself in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a daughter born so early neonatologist doctors would call her a "micro preemie." New technologies can sometimes keep micro preemies alive, but many end up disabled, some catastrophically so. Whether to provide care to these infants is one of the fundamental controversies in neonatology. This is the story of how Benham and her husband, Tom French, made the difficult choice: Fight for the life of their micro preemie baby or let her go?" [more inside] posted by zarq at 7:53 PM PST - 70 comments
Between Peter Jackson’s penchant for cartoonish unserious gore and Bob McCarron’s off-screen makeup effects manipulations, Braindead achieves something that approaches inspired genius in the heretofore unknown artform of human carnage. The film is filled with moments of joyous slapstick tableaux... And then there is that moment where Braindead finally breaks through to achieve a transcendentally surreal glory of excess where Tim Balme wades into battle against the zombies armed with a lawnmower, drenching an entire room in showers of blood. (Braindead holds the record for the greatest amount of artificial blood ever used in a film). The film is a work of perverse genius. - Richard Scheib posted by Egg Shen at 2:52 PM PST - 41 comments
Metallica ends Napster feud: "Metallica has announced its entire back catalogue is to be made available on music streaming service Spotify, ending a 12-year feud with Napster co-founder Sean Parker.
Drummer Lars Ulrich appeared on stage with Mr Parker, a Spotify investor, to discuss their bitter legal battle that took place in 2000." posted by marienbad at 9:13 AM PST - 71 comments
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: "Widely considered the most important environmental book of the 20th century, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring has been reissued after 50 years. Margaret Atwood considers its impact and legacy." posted by Fizz at 5:44 AM PST - 19 comments
The dividing line between being deaf and hard-of-hearing is naturally somewhat fuzzy to most people: the paper "Personal and Social Identity of Hard of Hearing People" by Mark Ross argues that the distinction should be made on the basis of whether the person in question "developed their linguistic skills primarily through the auditory channel, and if they are capable of comprehending verbal messages through listening alone." Yet, this definition brings up new questions: while the role of Deaf culture is well understood as a factor in the development of a social identity in those growing up deaf, is there a similar phenomenon of "hard-of-hearing culture"? And how do those growing up hard-of-hearing develop a social identity? [more inside] posted by Conspire at 12:25 AM PST - 23 comments
Ultima Ratio Regum is a middle-ground between roguelikes, RPGs and strategy games. It has no fantasy elements and seeks instead to be closer to a realistic history simulator, and a strategy/4x game which just happens to be in ASCII. Combat is rare and deadly – whilst these mechanics are modeled in detail, exploration, trade and diplomacy factors will have just as much effort put into them. posted by boo_radley at 3:21 PM PST - 23 comments
He is not the only one. Computer rankings are proliferating, said Kenneth Massey, a professor of math at Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, Tenn., who has been ranking teams since 1995. “When I started, there were six or seven,” he said. “But every year, it gets bigger and bigger.” Massey currently tracks more than 100 college football rankings.
With so many competitors, what is the appeal of creating one’s own rankings?
On December 7, 1941 Elizabeth McIntosh was a reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. A week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor she wrote a first-person account of the attack and its aftermath. Her editors thought the graphic content would be too upsetting, especially as it was directed at the women of Hawaii, and never published it. Now, 71 years later, her article appears for the first time. posted by 2bucksplus at 11:49 AM PST - 20 comments
"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."
What started as a glorious powder day ended in a desperate fight for survival after three skiers were buried by a killer avalanche in the backcountry of Stevens Pass, in Washington's Cascades. Megan Michelson lived to tell about it, but she can't shake off a haunting question: How did a group of expert skiers make such a deadly mistake? posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 AM PST - 16 comments
2Day FM's DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian phoned the King Edward VII Hospital from Australia on Wednesday morning pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles asking for an update on the condition of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The call was described as a prank by the DJs who made it and foolish by the hospital. The nurse who answered the call, Jacintha Saldanha, was convinced by the impersonation and relayed confidential medical details. Today Ms Saldanha was found dead, early reports indicate the death is not suspicious and is suspected to be suicide. [more inside] posted by samworm at 8:57 AM PST - 242 comments
"For the seventh time in less than 70 years, a report has been commissioned by the Government which has dealt with concerns about the press. It was sparked by public revulsion about a single action – the hacking of the mobile phone of a murdered teenager. From that beginning, the scope of the Inquiry was expanded to cover the culture, practices and ethics of the press in its relations with the public, with the police, with politicians and, as to the police and politicians, the conduct of each."
"Honey laundering is a complex exercise that involves several players in the honey chain from apiary to wholesaler to retailer. In the case against ALW, evidence was presented to show the use of fake country-of-origin documents for shipments, replacement of labels on Chinese containers with fraudulent ones, switching of honey containers in a third country, and even the blending of Chinese honey with glucose syrup or honey from another country." posted by vidur at 3:55 PM PST - 37 comments
Airing before the Saturday morning cartoons on Detroit's WDIV, Kidbits (Optical illusions pt. 2, pt. 3) delivered snappy science from the Detroit Science Center, along with a handy venue for PSAs and goofy local ads. [more inside] posted by klangklangston at 3:50 PM PST - 5 comments
"For some time after Tony Scott tragically, mysteriously took his life earlier this year we tried to think of some way to honor his work and explore it on the Notebook. A proper response was found by filmmaker, editor and Notebook contributor Gina Telaroli, who suggested a kind of critical exquisite corpse, and in this manner forge a way—or an attempt—to fit the forms of Tony Scott's oeuvre to the content critics would contribute." posted by brundlefly at 2:48 PM PST - 2 comments
This is a video of a game which replicates Portal's physics system in 2 dimensions on the TI-83 graphic calculator. The game was developed by a 20 year old student studying game design. A download link is available here. posted by codacorolla at 10:55 AM PST - 22 comments
My friends and I weren’t popular in high school, we weren’t dating all the time, and we were just trying to get through our lives. It was important to me to show that side. I wanted to leave a chronicle—to make people who had gone through it laugh, but also as a primer for kids going in, to say, “Here’s what you can expect. It’s horrifying but all you should really care about is getting through it. Get your friends, have your support group. And learn to be able to laugh at it.”
Women's rights are for men? Arguments for expanding women's rights on the basis that men will benefit have a long history. Two well-known examples from the US:
During the struggle for women's suffrage in the US, one of the arguments put forth was that
women deserved the vote because they were different from men. They could make their domesticity into a political virtue, using the franchise to create a purer, more moral "maternal commonwealth."
This argument served many political agendas: Temperance advocates, for instance, wanted women to have the vote because they thought it would mobilize an enormous voting bloc on behalf of their cause, and many middle-class white people were swayed once again by the argument that the enfranchisement of white women would "ensure immediate and durable white supremacy, honestly attained."
A similar argument crops up in debates over coeducation at formerly all-male liberal arts colleges
history of coeducation at US colleges, where "[s]upporters of coeducation often argued that the presence of women would have a civilizing effect on male students," and the decision by administrators to admit women was often based on largely economic concerns. [more inside] posted by eviemath at 7:59 AM PST - 185 comments
Tim Cook's Freshman Year: The Apple CEO SpeaksPrior to his death on Oct. 5, 2011, Steve Jobs made sure that the elevation of Tim Cook—his longtime head of operations and trusted deputy—to Apple chief executive officer would be drama-free. “He goes, ‘I never want you to ask what I would have done,’” recalls Cook. “‘Just do what’s right.’ He was very clear.” ... In his most wide-ranging interview as CEO, Cook explains how Apple works now, talks about the perception that he’s “robotic,” and announces the return of Apple manufacturing to the U.S. posted by The Deej at 7:42 AM PST - 144 comments
"For a few months in 1922, throngs of America’s youth — from schoolkids to shopgirls — were swept up in a leaderless pyramid scheme that promised “something for nothing” and encouraged promiscuous flirtation. These were the “Shifters.” This is their (brief) story." (NYTimes link) Previously on the flappers and flapper slang: 1, 2. posted by OmieWise at 5:21 AM PST - 43 comments
The École Polytechnique Massacre, also known as the Montreal Massacre, occurred on December 6, 1989 at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A man armed with a knife and (legal) gun shot twenty-eight people before killing himself. Claiming he was "fighting feminism," he killed fourteen women and wounded ten women and four men before killing himself. [more inside] posted by MartinWisse at 12:55 AM PST - 68 comments
The citrus fruit called Buddha's hand or fingered citron, which "looks like a cross between a giant lemon and a squid, and can perfume a room for weeks with its mysterious fragrance," is currently in season in the northern hemisphere. Lacking pulp and juice, it does have long, pointed "fingers" full of curious non-bitter white pith. The skin is yellow and smells like flowers and bright lemon. [more inside] posted by purpleclover at 10:29 PM PST - 45 comments
Calling from the grave - If you ever felt slightly claustrophobic using a traditional BT telephone kiosk, this might be down to its unique architectural history – the design of the UK’s world famous red telephone boxes was inspired by a nineteenth century tomb.
Mass trespass - The Duke of Devonshire’s gamekeepers were on high alert. A left-wing group had been agitating in the Derbyshire village of Hayfield, threatening to “take action to open up the fine country at present denied us.” Their target was Kinder Scout, part of the Duke’s extensive moorland estate in the Peak District. But if they wanted to trespass on His Grace’s land, they would have to get past the gamekeepers.
The Bear was found on a motorway, lost all his fur (twice), got poisoned, had a hole ripped in his throat, lost chunks of ear and went awol for six weeks. But at 17 he's still going strong - The cat with 17 lives posted by Artw at 8:16 PM PST - 29 comments
Word from Rio de Janeiro is that Oscar Niemeyer, celebrated Brazilian Modernist architect, co-architect of the UN headquarters in New York, and designer of its capital city, Brasília, has passed on at the age of 104. The NYTimes obituary has links to his famous buildings in Brazil, but a more comprehensive link of Brasília can be seen at a 50th anniversary retrospective at Wallpaper. posted by stannate at 6:48 PM PST - 27 comments
When everything was unknown, they were there. / When anything could happen, they were there.MuchLoved is Mark Nixon's series of photographs of well-worn transitional objects. posted by Egg Shen at 6:21 PM PST - 19 comments
The paleogeographic maps show the varied landscapes of the ancient Earth through hundreds of millions of years of geologic time, including distribution of ancient shallow seas, deep ocean basins, mountain ranges, coastal plains, and continental interiors. Tectonic features shown include subduction zones, island arcs, mid-ocean ridges and accreting terranes.
Harrods, in the bustling heart of London, is in a good location for a shop. So is the Macy’s in Herald Square, which boasts of serving 350,000 New Yorkers every day at Christmas time. Whereas down at the Mulka Store, in the furthermost reaches of South Australia, George and Mabel Aiston used to think themselves lucky if they pulled in a customer a week.
[Joseph] McElroy's sense of original and authentic contemporaneity makes him the most important novelist now writing in America, the artist who has most consistently combined the mastering capabilities of systems perspectives and an art of excess.Women and Menis the capstone of his career and, I believe, the most significant American novel published since Gravity's Rainbow. - Tom LeClair[more inside] posted by Egg Shen at 6:18 PM PST - 18 comments
Tired of cranky commentary about U.S. government spending? Maybe it needs more sequins. Or a ballet. Or Ray Bradbury. Ladies and gentlemen, Stan Freberg presents "The Federal Budget Revue" (part 1; part 2; part 3). [more inside] posted by MonkeyToes at 5:04 PM PST - 3 comments
If you've ever been to Hawaii, chances are that you've passed through the John Rodgers Terminal at Honolulu International Airport without giving it a second thought. The great-grandson of distinguished American Commodores John Rodgers and Matthew Perry; John Rodgers was the second American naval officer to fly for the United States Navy and a submarine commander in WW1; but what earned him the honour of having the airport named for him was the amazing and inspiring first open-ocean flight to Hawaii. [more inside] posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:41 PM PST - 6 comments
In 1960 humorist Georges Bernier, author François Cavanna and comic artist (and artistic director) Fred Aristidès began publishing the satirical magazine Hara Kiri, which attacked the French establishment, including politicians, the government and Catholic Church. In 1961 and 1966 it was temporarily banned by the French Government. The magazine's covers were often tasteless, NSFW, "famously perverted, bizarre and highly creative and at the time, and in fact even by today's standards in a league of their own." [more inside] posted by zarq at 3:04 PM PST - 16 comments
Halabja chemical weapons: A chance to find the men who armed Saddam?
"Nearly 25 years ago, Iraqi forces killed thousands of their own civilians using chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Halabja. Now steps are about to be taken to discover which country - and possibly which factory - supplied some of the chemicals."
Via BBC posted by marienbad at 2:02 PM PST - 24 comments
Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World is the tale of the struggle of Dikembe Mutombo to prevent the end of the world due to the Mayan calendar running out of time. You have to stop people from dancing Gangnam style and persuade Ohio to vote; you have to destroy cheap Black Friday toys; you have to destroy the Powerball winning numbers to prevent a literal Hollywood fatcat from producing another Vampire romance. And the game is an ad for a product that appears once in the loading screen. [more inside] posted by ersatz at 1:04 PM PST - 36 comments
Remains of the Day. "Wedding photographers tend to assume we have the best clients—impervious to things like divorce and disease. But despite the unending blog posts by photographers about the “honor” of shooting so-and-so’s nuptials, we know about as much about our clients as they do about us... Which is another way of saying not much." posted by muddgirl at 9:39 AM PST - 31 comments
Matthew Baldwin (MeFi's Own* Defective Yeti*): " ...That’s why I come armed to every social engagement with board games, to help facilitate that whole human interaction thing that people thought was important before smartphones gave us an excuse to avoid eye contact with others. It’s also why I give games as gifts—and why, for more than a decade, I have been helping others do likewise. And so, my annual Good Gift Game guide, showcasing those board and card games from the last year or so that are easy to learn and teach, fun and engrossing to play, and that can be completed in 90 minutes or less." (additional notes & more games for the 2012 guide) [more inside] posted by flex at 9:20 AM PST - 55 comments
In a video shot at World Maker Faire in 2011, artist Andrew Salamone is shown demonstrating the knitting machine he's adapated and programmed to knit images, and displaying some of the amazing work he's produced with it: a ski mask with an image of his face on the front, a "break beat" scarf, and a sweater featuring a picture of Bill Cosby wearing a sweater with a picture of Bill Cosby on it. Salamone hopes to someday get Cosby to accept and wear the sweater he's designed. God knows Cosby can't reject this sweater on the grounds that it's in any way inferior to the sweaters he's worn in the past. Check out more of Andrew Salamone's knitted art on his web site. In my favourite piece, Salamone recreates a still from "The Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody". posted by orange swan at 8:20 AM PST - 38 comments
"New Englanders learn quickly to dismiss the chowder where tomato ruins its gorgeous broth, where references to New York tarnish its name...However, few know how such distinctions came about in the first place, what processes were involved that resulted in one person's disgust of another's beloved creation, and why, to this day, do we stand by such convictions?" The New England Chowder Compendium, from the McIntosh Cookery Collection at the UMass Amherst library. [more inside] posted by Miko at 5:40 AM PST - 92 comments
James Groccia is a ten-year old with Asperger syndrome and self-describes at the "most loyal Lego fan". He is involved in a Lego playgroup to help with developing his social skills. After spending two years saving for his dream set, he was disappointed to discover that it was no longer in production and was priced beyond what he could afford on the secondary market. He decided to ask Lego for help. Legoresponded. posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:00 PM PST - 108 comments
At age 70, and after 46 years of building Leuken's Village Foods into a three-store chain (two in Bemidji, Minnesota, one in Wahpeton, North Dakota), Joe Leuken is ready to retire. He could have sold the stores to the highest bidder. Instead, he's giving them to his employees. [more inside] posted by Lexica at 8:26 PM PST - 36 comments
It used to be a major cause of death in women until the 1950s when they introduced IV fluids. ... there are a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of women are treated really badly. They’re treated like they’re faking it or that they just don’t want their child. We have a lot of women who have lost pregnancy after pregnancy, or who had abortions because they just couldn’t tolerate it.
The festive season is approaching, so it's time for everyone's favorite giant Swedish straw caprid to suffer from repeated attacks. Already ("The front hoof smells of petrol") this year's goat at Gävle has been attacked. Of the 76 goats to date, 33 have been burnt (includes goats burnt down more than once and goats only partially burnt), 7 vandalised (includes goats thrown in the river), 1 run over and 1 stolen, giving a survival rate of 45%. The goat attracts international attention and attacks; in 2001 a tourist from Cleveland, Ohio was jailed for 18 days [Swedish] [English] for igniting the goat. Last year's goat survived to December 2nd (traumatic video). Gävlebocken is 13 metres tall and consists of 3.6 tonnes of straw. While intact it tweets, and blogs in Swedish and English. [more inside] posted by Wordshore at 7:20 PM PST - 30 comments
In 1928 Heiress Nancy Cunard founded the Hours Press in France publishing among others Aragon and Beckett both at one time her lovers.
Her relationship with African-American musician, Henry Crowder caused a major scandal and 1934 Nancy Cunard published Negro: An Anthology which was banned in the British West Indies and several West African colonies on the grounds of its "seditiousness".
It was inspired by her observance of the infamous Scottsboro Boys case. posted by adamvasco at 2:32 PM PST - 2 comments
In China, people are being evicted from their homes at an alarming rate, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. Eager to spur economic development, local Communist Party officials have used violence and intimidation to force people out of their homes and farmland, including employing private gangs to attack residents who won't comply with eviction orders. In Hebei Province, however, one father-and-son duo, both devotees of Bruce Lee and facing a gang of over 30 men outside their house, decided to fight back--and won. [more inside] posted by Cash4Lead at 7:57 AM PST - 31 comments
But this book does not address its principal concern, power, until Jefferson has accrued some. When it comes to the force that he wielded as a slaveholder, Mr. Meacham finds ways to suggest that thoughts of abolition would have been premature; that it was not uncommon for white heads of households to be waited on by slaves who bore family resemblances to their masters; and that since Jefferson treated slavery as a blind spot, the book can too.
Researchers at the National Veterinary School of Alfort in Paris recently carried out a study of the friendliness of different cat breeds, surveying the owners of 129 cats about the cats' interactions with people. The survey determined that
pedigree cats are significantly friendlier than crossbreeds, a difference which the researchers put down to pedigree kittens being left with their mothers for longer at a crucial developmental period and/or breeders selecting for friendliness as a genetic trait. The friendliest breed of cat is reportedly the sphynx, an exotic hairless breed, possibly due to its reliance on proximity to humans to keep warm. posted by acb at 4:12 AM PST - 55 comments
...the story said that they were trying to get me here to become a model, that I was a goat herder… I mean, I’d seen goats, but really? And that I didn’t speak a word of English. I spoke five languages! Totally mythology. I had no clue about that… I arrived, and the next day, I had 64 members of the press. An interview with Iman. Part I and II. (Via The Beheld.) [more inside] posted by latkes at 9:34 PM PST - 18 comments
"It’s really simple. I just want as many guys as possible who have an opinion about how they see women treated in culture whether it’s an observation about the news or speaking up about how they feel when their wife comes home and tells him about an instance of gender discrimination." - Comedian Jen Kirkman on why she started MA'AM: Men Against Assholes & Misogyny. posted by mokin at 9:20 PM PST - 53 comments
Hanukkah draws nigh and that means latkes. [The oil in which the potato pancake is cooked symbolizes the miraculously long-burning fuel that lit the Second Temple.] Bubala Please shows you how to keep it real. [more inside] posted by Egg Shen at 6:07 PM PST - 75 comments
Ariel Meadow Stallings (creator of Offbeat Mama and Offbeat Bride) on liberal bullying: "...what's the biggest challenge we deal with every day? The challenge that has my editors second-guessing every post and quaking in fear, just waiting for the awfulness to begin? It's attacks from our fellow progressives... Increasingly, I've started recognizing this kind of behavior for what it is: privilege-checking as a form of internet sport. It's a kind of trolling, with all the politics I agree with, but motivations and execution that turns my stomach. It's well-intended (SO well-intended), but when the motivations seem to be less about opening dialogue about the issues, and more about performance, righteousness, and intolerance for those who don't agree with you… well, I'm not on-board." [more inside] posted by flex at 8:57 AM PST - 180 comments
Your Holiday Mom:"This season, supportive moms have gathered to send a holiday message to all LGBTQ children, teens and young adults who are without family support and who would like a 'stand-in Holiday Mom'–or 40! Knowing that not every mother is ready to accept her own LGBTQ child exactly as-is (as hard as this is for us to imagine), we moms have written to extend our love beyond that of our own family." posted by cowboy_sally at 8:21 AM PST - 15 comments
The BBC explore the olfactory delights of rakfisk, "trout sprinkled with salt and fermented in water for up to a year." But is it as smelly as Surströmming, fermented Baltic Herring from neighboring Sweden, or as extreme as the Icelandic Hákarl, basking shark buried in a hole and fermented for several months and tasting "similar to very strong cheese slathered in ammonia"? [more inside] posted by Wordshore at 6:49 AM PST - 52 comments
The Economics of CaringThere's something deeply flawed about an economic system that measures utility but not the attachments we feel to another person, or to one's homeland. posted by infini at 5:41 AM PST - 26 comments
For the past two years, in a loft apartment in downtown Los Angeles, Craig Thornton has been conducting an experiment in the conventions of high-end American dining. Several nights a week, a group of sixteen strangers gather around his dining-room table to eat delicacies he has handpicked and prepared for them, from a meticulously considered menu over which they have no say. posted by Egg Shen at 6:04 PM PST - 51 comments
"The experiences of women may not be easy to portray in the aggressive world of videogames. If such a game is made - and I hope it is - it will be because its creators demanded to be heard. It will be created because women made it." (Source)
I was born in Washington DC. I was potty trained at one and a half. Was reading at age two. Saw my first porn at a drive-in when I was six, in the back seat. Started getting in trouble with the law when I was about ten. And then kept getting in trouble until twenty one I went to prison and then when I got out came to Tennessee and went to college here in Johnson City and then I’ve just being doing art ever since. Art has saved my life, it’s like the best therapy in the world.Jon Ronson meets Bryan Saunders, who has created 8,700 self-portraits including, including most notably, 50 whilst under the influence of various different drugs (previously) posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:33 AM PST - 23 comments
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."
The African King With A Multi-Billion Dollar EmpireRBH functions as a communitybased investment company whose primary investment aim is to generate the income required for the funding of sustainable projects. Income generated from RBH’s commercial interests is invested in infrastructural development, as well as in the members of the Nation itself. Over the past decade, more than R4 billion ($475 million) has been spent on roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities. This has benefited not only the Bafokeng, but other people living in the North West Province of South Africa, the area which the RBN calls home. posted by infini at 3:11 AM PST - 5 comments
The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside] posted by kliuless at 12:12 AM PST - 19 comments