After the Romans left Britain was divided into a number of Celtic kingdoms that fought with each other and, increasingly, with the Germanic invaders we know as "Anglo-Saxons." The most famous alleged defender of Celtic Britain, of course, is King Arthur, but he's more myth than history. What catches my imagination is The Gododdin (Welsh original, by Aneurin), an epic lament for the band of men who gathered at Eiddyn (Edinburgh, main town of Gododdin) around the year 600 and headed south for a last-ditch battle against the Saxons at Catraeth (probably Catterick in northern Yorkshire), where they were wiped out. One contingent was from Elmet (Elfed in the poem), a kingdom that had been holding the line against the invaders in what's now Yorkshire; once Elmet was conquered, there was no stopping them. And all of this history was basic to the poetry of David Jones, one of the best unknown poets of the previous century, and important to one of the best known, Ted Hughes (book with photos). "Men went to Catraeth, familiar with laughter. The old, the young, the strong, the weak." posted by languagehat at 3:28 PM PST - 31 comments winner
Inspired by a convention in 1999, First Day covers, and his grandfather's autograph collection, Jeremy Adolphson sends off 4x6 index cards to various artists with return postage, hoping for a doodle. 5 years on, he has sixty-five galleries (some NSFW) worth of art to share. posted by divabat at 10:10 PM PST - 9 comments runner-up
Cane Hill^ is an abandoned state run lunatic asylum (link contains tons of photographs) in South London. Built in 1882, the hospital for years housed Charlie Chaplin's mother (before he became wealthy enough to rescue her). Shuttered since 1990, the locations' inherent creepiness continues to fascinate urban explorers. Inside Out has a series of interesting pieces on the location, including music & paintings inspired by Cane Hill, an essay on the location, detailed floorplans and further photographs. posted by jonson at 2:44 PM PST - 20 comments runner-up
Long .pdf paper on the state of mainstream "analytic" philosophy. In a recent thread, we discussed the current state of philosophy departments in English-speaking countries. Philosophers are often asked why we don't take Ayn Rand seriously as a philosopher, or why we aren't up on literary Theory or deconstruction, etc. The short answer is that most academic philosophers in universities in the English-speaking world are engaged in a broad consensus (about how to do philosophy, what counts as a good question, etc) that's called "analytic philosophy" for short. Here is a long, informative encyclopedia entry by Scott Soames describing the history and current state of play in analytic philosophy. If you want to understand the background of the currently dominant school of philosophy in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, this will explain it. Link goes directly to a 44-page .pdf file.
Nancy , the best comic strip ever? Close but no cigar. Pogo? Peanuts? Calvin? Good choices all, but still wrong. Krazy Kat you say? Again I shake my head sadly, friend. For Mr. Dave Astor has finally stepped forward to settle this debate once and for all. The greatest comic strip ever appearing on newsprint? Why, it's For Better or For Worse of course. Let the debate begin. posted by ktoad at 3:02 PM PST - 202 comments winner
200 liters of condensed liquid nitrogen (LN2) were delivered to Berkeley’s Condensed Matter Lab this past Monday. Sent to retrieve the 400lb dewar from the loading dock but faced with a non-working elevator, an enterprising young lab student decided to carry it down the stairs. Gravity is a harsh mistress.
Temari have been a hand-crafted tradition for centuries in China and Japan. Also known as kishu-temari, edo-temari, etc., these intricate woven balls were originally toys for children and later became gifts symbolizing friendship and loyalty. Though they used to be constructed from scraps of old kimonos, over the years they have evolved into elaborate geometric designs using silk as well as other, less expensive materials. People outside Japan have been making their own recently and a homemade temari makes a beautiful gift indeed. posted by ktoad at 3:02 PM PST - 11 comments runner-up
We’ve detected background radiation from the Big Bang. We’ve sent explorers to the bottom of the ocean and the moon above us. We have images of the individual atoms of which our world is made. But we cannot have direct access to the sensory experiences of another human being. Language can help to bridge the gap but it is an imperfect tool. The closest we have come is Brain Fingerprinting and even that only indicates recognition of a scene or object; it does not capture the actual visual memory of the scene or object. This may soon change. Several years ago, researchers at Berkeley wired a cat’s neurons to a computer and were able to obtain videos of what the cat was seeing. posted by jason's_planet at 7:51 AM PST - 50 comments winner
3000 feet up in the mountains of Eastern Myanmar (Burma) lies Inle Lake^, a giant freshwater lake that is populated by 70,000 people living in four separate cities on top of the lake. They dwell, fish, farm, worship and celebrate upon the surface of Lake Inle, living a unique lifestyle that seems wholly unto itself, untouched by the world outside. All pictures found using the amazing FlickrStorm tool. posted by jonson at 12:07 PM PST - 25 comments runner-up
This is what we all hoped the internet would be about. When we discovered the internet, most of us saw it as a way to connect to other people. Peter has only been on youtube for a week. His first video has been viewed nearly 300,000 times, and there isn't a single idiot teenager within range of the camera.
Do you have a few minutes to spare? Spend them with Peter. Six videos, and hopefully, more to come. posted by HuronBob at 6:13 PM PST - 86 comments winner
for me, because I am sure of my recollection, the Waffen SS was nothing frightful, but rather an elite unit that they sent where things were hot, and which, as people said about it, had the heaviest losses.
I've always lumped musician Eugene Chadbourne in with the likes of WesleyWillis and DanielJohnston, but I may have been mistaken. While his songs are often absurd, experimental, and silly, he's much less eccentric than I'd always thought. In addition to having an incredible output (full discography with notes here and in-depth review here), he has worked with everyone from JohnZorn to JelloBiafra, even fronting the band Camper Van Beethoven as Camper Van Chadbourne. He has also been a writer for MaximumRocknRoll and AMG and is the inventor of the electric rake (a musical instrument that would certainly annoy your neighbors). YouTube has two awesome Chadbourne finds: THIS is a 19-minute documentary about him and THIS is a cable access show he appeared on called I'm Going to Make a Drug with My Mind (if you like cableaccess television, this is awesome, but please note that this video is 31-minutes long, including 60 seconds of color bars. Eugene comes on a little after the 17-minute mark). [WARNING: YouTube. A lot of YouTube in this post] posted by elr at 12:28 AM PST - 34 comments runner-up
ShakeMovie The Near Real Time Simulation of Southern California Seismic Events Portal. Earthquake animations from Caltech.
"These movies are the results of simulations carried out on a large computer cluster. Earthquake movies will be available for download approximately 45 mins after the occurrence of a quake of magnitude 3.5 or greater." posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:50 PM PST - 2 comments runner-up
Oh, the huge manatee! Newsfilter/Manatee filter. A visitor to the Hudson River: "The manatee has been spotted at 23rd Street near Chelsea Piers, West 125th Street, and later in Westchester County. It appeared to be healthy." More here. posted by jokeefe at 11:09 AM PST - 26 comments runner-up
"Soon there would be no space left. But the cats kept coming. What could she do with them all? The solution turned out to be right outside Henriette's front door. If people could live on the houseboats which lined the canals, why not cats? And so came the idea to buy one for them." De Poezenboot. posted by reklaw at 3:18 PM PST - 22 comments winner
Meet Gary Tivoli, Staples' Storage Media Aisle Specialist. "It's strange -- this morning, when I get up, I'm on the floor, halfway stuck underneath the bed, on the wall, with the mattress stacked over me. I don't even know where I am for a minute..." Providence, RI musician/producer Gavin Castleton and poet Cyrus Leddy recorded Tivoli's ramblings and then transformed them into a narrative album, backing his erratic but engaging storytelling with plush beats. Think "A Grand Don't Come For Free", except compelling and with much better music. (Via NPR's Open Mic) posted by Embryo at 8:59 AM PST - 23 comments runner-up
Bought from a slave trader and put on display at the Bronx zoo: the strange, sad story of Ota Benga, a Pygmy with filed teeth brought from the Congo to America in 1906. Here are a couple of contemporary news accounts of the controversial exhibit. After the zoo, Benga tried to make a life in America, studying to be a missionary. "But what he really wanted to do was to tell everyone in this country that his people were dying, and why. I think he thought that eventually they'd listen. But they never did. That, to me, is the real tragedy."
In 1916, at the age of 32, he built a ceremonial fire, chipped off the caps on his teeth, performed a final tribal dance, and shot himself with a stolen pistol. Creationists say the story illustrates "the racism of evolutionary theory" and "the horrors that evolutionary theory has brought to society." posted by CunningLinguist at 6:16 AM PST - 35 comments runner-up
The inside of Farmer John's hog rendering plant in Vernon, California, is among the worst places on Earth if you happen to be a hog, which is why the outside of the building is such a case study in mural based irony. In 1957, perhaps as a trap to lure in unsuspecting piglets who had come to Los Angeles to make it in the movies, the folks at Farmer John's hired Hollywood set designer Les Grimes to begin painting a mural on the outside of the factory, a job that he continued until his death 11 years later. The result, entitled "Hog Heaven", depicts a pastoralwonderland, clearly a prime destination for any visiting out of town porcine rube. Surely one of the world's largest murals, the work stretches around the entire square cityblock worth of slaughterhouse, and (legend has it) is so large that not unlike the Golden Gate bridge, no sooner is it done being painted than the painter must begin touching it up all over again. posted by jonson at 12:17 AM PST - 36 comments winner
Dice Wars is a flash game, similar to Risk. The goal is to conquer the entire board. Start easy, with just the two player version (play goes up to 7 players max). In order to "win" a square, the randomized total of your die roll must be higher than your opponent's total. Tie/Lose, and all your dice (but one) are removed from your square. After each turn, the number of dice you earned is randomly distributed among your conquered squares. Strategically, it's good to build a solid base of contiguous squares, and staff your front lines with more dice than your edge squares. posted by jonson at 5:50 PM PST - 32 comments runner-up
Get Rich Slowly, a personal finance web site (created by our jdroth), has been educational to someone who spent most of his life until now pretending financial matters don't exist. His blog is updated frequently, and contains insightful tips on living frugally, eliminating debt, saving and investing. Between his site, and another very educational site entitled I Will Teach You To Be Rich (start here), I've greatly expanded my knowledge about managing my money effectively. Perhaps most importantly, they're both consistently interesting and easy reads. [more inside] posted by knave at 10:35 AM PST - 73 comments runner-up
What's playing? What songs are playing on the radio right now and where, an interactive map. Less fun, but much more useful is the site's ability to look up a station and tell you what songs they recently played. (via J-Walk) posted by caddis at 8:42 AM PST - 18 comments runner-up