January 5, 2010
Iceland blocks repayment deal, sparks global outrage. "The Icelandic people are effectively saying that Iceland does not want to be part of the international financial system," Britain's Financial Services Minister Paul Myners said. But the bill equates to £40,000 per family. Britain threatens to freeze Iceland out of EU as loan payback vetoed. [more inside]
Sea Shepherd's new 50-knot biodiesel-powered 'stealth boat' the Ady Gil (formerly the Earthrace, and holder of the speed record for circumnavigation) has been cut in half and sunk after a collision with the Shonan Maru 2, in the annual round of conflict (previously) between conservationists and, erm, 'cetacean researchers'. The crew of six have been rescued and are reportedly uninjured.
If you were doing some last-minute shopping on Grafton Street in Dublin on Christmas Eve 2009, you may have stumbled upon some musicians busking to raise money for a local charity. Look closely and you'll notice among the buskers are an Oscar winner and a Grammy winner. In just under two hours, more than €2000 had been raised. [more inside]
Last month, extreme weather conditions in the Pacific brought us The Eddie. Right now in Scotland, a serious cold snap means there's an even rarer sporting event on the verge of occurring: The Grand Match. [more inside]
The 2009 Weblog Awards are off. It's become too popular, and they can't afford the bandwidth needed to properly support it.
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese will be the official sponsor of A Cheddar Explosion: The Demolition of Texas Stadium.
Hey, how about some food blogs to help you blow that New Year's resolution? Let's start with The Kitchn where you can find 25 Vegetarian and Vegan Meals, then let's visit Eater where you can watch Tony Bourdain torch six tons of cocaine. (wait, what?) [more inside]
The Art of Fontana Modern Masters James Pardey, the mind behind The Art of Penguin Science Fiction, has just put up another site telling the story of the cover art on the Frank Kermode-edited "Modern Masters" Fontana Books series, inspired by the Op Art of Victor Vasarely and the cut-ups of Brion Gysin and William Burroughs. [via, via] [more inside]
Clothes Make the Man: Jonathan Valania writes on the political conversion of Urban Outfitters founder Richard Hayne, whose disenchanted co-founder and ex-wife is a "diehard liberal activist" and restaurant owner while he runs a bi-continental hipster clothing chain which has supported controversial former US Senator Rick Santorum (h/t the Phawker).
Early in the days of exploration of Antarctica, Australian geologist Douglas Mawson turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in 1910 (Cool Antarctica previously). Instead, Mawson lead his own expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (December 1911 to December 1913), an expedition to chart the 2000-mile coastline directly south of Australia, one of the least-visited parts of the continent throughout the early years of Antarctic exploration. The group's efforts and activities are well documented, and many remnants of the expedition remain on Antarctica. The conservation of Mawson's Huts is now an ongoing effort from Association of Australasian Palaeontologists (AAP) Mawson's Huts Foundation. While most efforts were focused on the recovery and treatment of artifacts inside the main hut, the group also searched for the Vickers (Aviation) monoplane that was modified to become an "air tractor", or motorized sledge. The remains of the plane were last seen in 1975. Now the plane has been found, thanks to an exceptionally low tide and a bit of luck. [more inside]
Essays about Pixar. I particularly liked Focus on the Family: Pixar's Small-c Conservatism by Tom Elrod.
A series of studies conducted at GE's Hawthorne Works in Cicero, Illinois in the 1920s remain some of the most important in social science, with a lasting impact on the working lives of almost everybody. Before the Hawthorne Experiments, the approach to work was to treat humans like machines, optimizing their movements and time. But the researchers in Cicero discovered that any change in the workplace, even dimming the lights, increased productivity, because the plant workers reacted to being studied. The "Hawthorne Effect" launched a management revolution, suggesting that worker's feelings and attitudes might actually be important. Except, according a new paper by the author of Freakonomics, the results of the Hawthorne studies "proved to be entirely fictional."
“Popular New Look passenger appeal... with some practical refinements.” Want to buy the quintessential city bus, the GM New Look, popularly known as the Fishbowl? Step back to 1963 to read a pastel-hued brochure. [more inside]
Boskops. A race of South African Hominids with great big brains. Were they super smart? Or not. [more inside]
Freya von Moltke died on New Year’s Day at age 98. She and her husband led the Kreisau Circle, an intellectual salon which became an important part of the German resistance in WWII. They planned a coup, one of over forty-two separate plots to kill Hitler and overthrow the Nazi regime. Freya von Molte was not portrayed in Valkyrie, the 2008 film that depicted the assassination attempt, but she, along with the other members of the resistance (Deutscher Widerstand), "did not bear the shame."
Letterheady, adjective. 1. Overcome by a strong emotion due to a letterhead design. 2. A new blog from Shaun Usher, creator of Letters of Note. (previously)
87 percent are illiterate. 44 years is their average life expectancy. 70 to 80 percent face forced marriages.
Is television holding back the evolution of football? What is rarely considered is that television could be shaping the way the game is played, and not necessarily for the better. It sounds, admittedly, a touch far-fetched, but two of football's most respected thinkers believe it to be true, and when Jorge Valdano and Arrigo Sacchi are in agreement, it is usually worth listening. Sports journalist Jonathan Wilson investigates the effect televised football/soccer might be having on the tactics of the game. [more inside]
A new study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine claims that "the g-spot does not appear to exist". While the study has attracted media attention from numerous sources (just like 2008's study, which appeared to prove the g-spot exists), Dr. Petra takes a closer look at this new study, and questions the methodology, the media response, and the research team's previous undertakings. (via)
Leo Gallagher is an American comedian of some renown. Hugely popular in the 80s, Gallagher gained fame through stand-up routines in which he used many props. Here is Gallagher delighting the crowd by jumping on a large couch. Of course, Gallagher's most popular act, dubbed the Sledge-o-Matic, involved smashing watermelons and other fruit with a huge wooden mallet. Twenty years later, Gallagher is still wowing his fans by destroying foodstuffs. Black Gallagher messed up his watermelons using a different method. Maybe you went to go see Gallagher a few years ago, only to have mistakenly seen Gallagher's brother, Gallagher Too? Gallagher and his brother are now estranged. These days, Gallagher seems like a pretty angry guy.