January 2, 2012
In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren't so different after all.
Though best-of-the-year lists seem soooo two days ago, the end of holidays may require a comedy break, and the increasingly excellent Splitsider has produced a really nice review of the year in humor. The Year's Best Humor Writing features, in addition to the best of The Onion, pieces like Sometimes State Flags, The Most Emailed New York Times Story Ever, and Roger Ebert's one star reviews (you may want to check out last year's list as well). There is also a list of the 17 best comedy web series, best comedy podcasts, funniest video games, and moments in 2011 where comedy made you think (featuring lots of video).
Spacedex has well organized worldwide viewing information for meteor showers, like the brief Quadrantids on Tuesday and Wednesday. [more inside]
Tinyhack :Tired of the graphical complexity of Nethack? Yearn for a game smaller than a favicon?
During the month of December, 1. FC Union Berlin raised money to finance a new stand in its stadium by selling shares in the stadium to fans, under the slogan We're selling our soul. But not to just anyone! (YT--German). This is the second phase of renovation at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, to bring it up to 2. Bundesliga standards. Much of the work on the first phase was done by the fans themselves (DW video--English). [more inside]
Let's Play Ancient Greek Punishment! (SLFlashEternalTorment)
Fishing under ice (single link Vimeo post)
This is what happens when you give thousands of stickers to thousands of kids. (SLArtFilter) [more inside]
So when the Heartlanders react to evidence of human-induced climate change as if capitalism itself were coming under threat, it’s not because they are paranoid. It’s because they are paying attention. [via the excellent Do the Math]
Two days ago, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), "with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge". [more inside]
When Australia and India take the field today, the Sydney Cricket Ground will be playing host to a Test Match for the 100th time. Naturally, there have been some memorable games.
The historian Taylor Branch, who in October published a lengthy excoriation of the N.C.A.A. in The Atlantic, comparing it to “the plantation,” was only the most recent voice to call for players to be paid. Like most such would-be reformers, however, he didn’t offer a way to go about it. That’s what I’m setting out to do here. Over the last few months, in consultation with sports economists, antitrust lawyers and reformers, I put together the outlines of what I believe to be a realistic plan to pay those who play football and men’s basketball in college. Although the approach may appear radical at first glance, that’s mainly because we’ve been brainwashed into believing that there’s something fundamentally wrong with rewarding college athletes with cold, hard cash. There isn’t. Paying football and basketball players will not ruin college sports or cause them to become “subcontractors.” Indeed, given the way big-time college sports are going, paying the players may be the only way to save them. - Joe Nocera, Let's Start Paying College Athletes [more inside]
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders attempt to read a poorly translated Hungarian interview with Madonna (allegedly re-retranslated for USA Today).
The most common references you will see about the Green Swizzle, are the recipe that incorporates creme de menthe, or the quote from "The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy". It has been said, many times, that the creme de menthe version is not the original recipe and that the original "has been lost in history" or that "it never existed". These two statements I do not agree with, and I've managed to dig up a number of articles that prove the Green Swizzle did exist, and that the original recipe may be right in front of our eyes.
The Snowy Day was groundbreaking, somewhat controversial, and remains enduring. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats’ picture book about a little boy named Peter experiencing the wonder of a city transformed by snow. It was one of the first children's books to depict a non-caricatured black protagonist. Viking Press has issued a 50th anniversary edition and the Jewish Museum in Manhattan is exhibiting a Keats retrospective through January 29th.
IIT and a firm called Datawind have designed the world's cheapest tablet - costing about $50 for components. Their first customer is the Indian government, and they have had inquiries from several other governments as well. Wikipedia on the Aakash (also called the Ubislate 7); the first are sold out, but may be pre-booked for 3000 rupees (just under $60 USD).
Party in the U.S.A. (warning: contains ukulele) performed by Danielle Ate the Sandwich (previously) and the Boulder Acoustic Society.
Wielder of Darth Vader's lightsaber at 60 years of age (while wearing 6" platform shoes under the black cloak to match the character's height); swordplay instructor to Errol Flynn and the cast of Lord of the Rings; swordmaster on dozens of films, including The Princess Bride, Highlander, the modern Zorro franchise and Alatriste: Bob Anderson died today. A highlight reel of some of his work: part 1 and 2.
Texts From Cephalopods. It is a well-established fact in marine biology that the octopus is the drunk texter of the cephalopod family. [more inside]