January 4, 2009
Kaiju Shakedown points us to the trailer of Ramen Girl, starring Brittany Murphy as a American who decides to learn how to make the perfect bowl of ramen noodles (what?!?!) after she is dumped by her boyfriend in Tokyo. Tampopo this isn't. [more inside]
You and Your Research was a talk given by Richard Hamming in 1986. Read it if you have an interest in doing first-class work.
When did this ball go so wrong? As thousands of people get out their best clothes, spring for pricey tickets and head to DC for a fairy tale night of dancing at one of the 10 official Inaugural Balls, the Washington Post takes an amusing look at the decline of the once-glamorous event, which has now become a hideous, tacky ordeal complete with coat check riots, box wine (at the cash bar!) and phoned-in cameos by the exhausted First Couple. If you must go, here's some sage fashion advice. If you ignore wise counsel not to buy a fancy dress, make sure to register it to avoid the dreaded dress dupe.
So, you have some old books lying around you don’t read and that you're pretty sure no one else will ever read because they have pages missing or they’re hopelessly outdated technical manuals or they never should have been published in the first place. What to do? As always, crafting is an option. You can make a wrist cuff, or a purse. Book covers can be made into clocks, or photo frames, or photo and card stands. They can become CD and DVD cases, or a hiding place for valuables or necessary contraband, Shawshank Redemption-style. [more inside]
Professor Mills Kelly of George Mason University had his History 389 class spend the fall semester on a class project about the intriguing figure of Edward Owens, the "Last American Pirate". They blogged about their research, made videos for YouTube, and gave Owens a Wikipedia entry. The story even got some media attention. There was just one problem: History 389 was a class on historical hoaxes, and Edward Owens was their fictional creation. [more inside]
Have we ever been more emotionally volatile, more in thrall to our sensations than now? We had become used to viewing all our neuroses as crises; now a genuine crisis was upon us, it was a cataclysm. Atheist or believer, we have in the last decade been primed for an end-time of sorts, with a stock of latent fears ready and waiting. Suddenly, all of those fears had an outlet.Tim Adams contemplates the new Age of Anxiety.
At the beginning of windsuit base jumping, we were trying to get as far from the wall as possible...and now its getting boring so we play around. (money shot at 3:10)
Viewing the Penanggalan of Malaysian folklore usually takes intestinal fortitude [NSFW], but there are also emotional, wistful, girlish, and playful depictions of this monstrous creature. (Previously)
A New York Times investigative report on the case against alleged anthrax terrorist Bruce Ivins: "[U]nless new evidence were to surface, the enormous public investment in the case would appear to have yielded nothing more persuasive than a strong hunch, based on a pattern of damning circumstances, that Dr. Ivins was the perpetrator." [more inside]
Pyrophones are organs where the notes are sounded via explosions or other forms of combustion. Often beautiful just to look at, they also make otherwordly noises (open up all these links at once for a real wake-up). Unlike other fire-based instruments, they can even play recognizeable melodies. Here's how to make one. They've become quite popular at events (7 MB video, more videos) like Burning Man, but they've been around since the 17-1800's. If you're new to experimental instruments, a read/listen through Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones should be your next stop. Related: chemical harmonica, burning harmonica, singing tubes. [via & prev.]
Brown Dyed Hotel is one of those no-instructions-given-figure-it-out-for-yourself games.
It's easy to take for granted in today's data-drenched world. But time was, if you wanted to see Doctor Who and you had the misfortune of being an American. You have very few options, you could hope to connect to someone across the world via a BBS once the 80's rolled around and FidoNet mail someone who may be able and/or willing to send you NTSC VHS copies from their own collection, taking the generational hit in quality as penance for your copyright crime. Or you could phone your local PBS station and beg them to show the Tom Baker era episodes that proved popular with the more imaginative kids (or poor kids, depending on whether or not you had CATV) . [more inside]
So you've spent the holidays playing games, but now you have to be back at work. How to get your gaming fix during commutes and lunch-hours, whilst keeping up with that resolution to Learn Something New this year? Well, you could make a Sack-Boy. You can keep your portable games device warm with a Zelda cosy. You can knit up a Pacman scarf or a Space Invaders bag or socks if you're feeling retro. Or you can make a pocket ninja, an invincibility star to get you through the afternoon, a maqgnetic Katamari ball to spring-clean that desk, or a friendly companion cube. (and if you're too cack-handed to knit, you can sew a friendly cube with the pattern here and tutorial here!)
If you can type, you can make movies. A website that allows users to create animated movies using text-to-speech scripts and a surprisingly versatile selection of characters, voices, actions, camera shots, etc.
The Village Voice and IndieWire have both put out their dueling film critic's polls this year, with Wall-E and Flight of the Red Balloon topping the lists, respectively. [Previously] [more inside]