January 6, 2012
Watch your favorite operating systems reboot at The Restart Page.
The Written World is a five part radio series put together by Melyvn Bragg as part of the In Our Time BBC radio project. The programmes look at the history of written word, and how it has shaped our intellectual history. Each episode is available as a podcast and has an accompanying page (1 2 3 4 5) with images and links for further exploration. Also: The books that shaped history (narrated slideshow); the British Library page. [more inside]
"There's no way we could have programmed a moral ending for every story line . . . Life isn't that way. Choose Your Own Adventure is not that way. Choose Your Own Adventure is a simulation that approximates the choices that we face in our lives." Choose Your Own Adventure: How The Cave of Time taught us to love interactive entertainment. (previously) [more inside]
Don Hong-Oai (1929 - 2004), was a master of creating artwork which appeared to be Chinese ink illustrations, but were actually photographs. [gallery] [more inside]
Alain Goeppert, G. K. Surya Prakash, chemistry Nobel Laureate George A. Olah and colleagues have co-authored a paper (doi: 10.1021/ja2100005) in the Journal of the American Chemical Society describing a novel, cheap material that scrubs CO2 from ambient air, even at the very low concentrations of the atmosphere. The material is easily manufactured, and carbon captured is readily removed from the polymer, allowing recycling of the polymer and sequestration of the carbon. The researchers, co-authors of Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy regard this as more than simply a technique for decreasing the carbon emissions of industrial processes and fossil-fuel burning machines, but as possibly an energy-carrier, by using the "catalytic hydrogenation of CO2 with H2 where the hydrogen has been obtained from water electrolysis (wiki). Articles: ScienceDaily, SciAm.
Both an ingeniously choreographed crime film and a moral drama influenced by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Pickpocket marks the apotheosis of Bresson's stripped-down style. There’s little or no psychological realism or conventional drama at work in Martin La Salle’s portrayal of a master thief who plies his trade at the Gare de Lyon and easily outwits the cops who seek to ensnare him. See it once to appreciate the spare elegance of the pickpocketing scenes, and then a second time to appreciate how subtly Bresson accomplishes the story of a man’s self-willed corruption, his liberation through imprisonment and his redemption through love, all in less than 80 minutes.
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the passing of Don Martin, "MAD Magazine's Maddest Artist." Don's visual style was arguably exceeded by his "endless capacity for newly coined, onomatopoetic sound effects," leading to the inevitable question: Web 2.0 Site or Don Martin Sound Effect? [more inside]
Step 1: Compose your post to MetaFilter: Description: An inspirational Holiday Tale from Peter Watts. Step 2: Justify using the words "inspirational", "holiday", and "Peter Watts" in the same sentence: I'm grading on a curve. Step 3: Do you want to warn us about any pictures? Yes, I'm warning you. (Remember last time?) Seriously, some animal lovers may want to skip this.
A gallery of personalized bomber jackets from WWII with descriptions.
Moppy is a M_usical Fl_oppy controller program built for the Ardiuno UNO. (Github link.) Who dares argue the haunting refrain of the Imperial March fails to haunt ever more still when played back by floppy drive read-heads? Perhaps you'd enjoy Jonathan Coulton's Still Alive in the original 3.5", or Daft Punk's Tron anthem Derezzed? And though the season has lapsed, you can always cue up Carol of the Bells, primed and ready for December 2012.
Evgeny Kissin is not only a phenomenally active, high-strung, and almost unfailing pianist, he also declaims poetry in public -- in Yiddish. [more inside]
GOOGLE RUPAUL. Drag superstar RuPaul (whose reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race" returns later this month) has enjoyed piles of free publicity thanks to name association with presidential canditate Ron Paul (NY Times). [more inside]
Hand On Your Gun is a music video dedicated to suit-wearing arms dealers and champagne-drinking depleted uranium droppers from British-Iraqi rapper Lowkey. A few of his other videos: Obama Nation, Terrorist?, Obama Nation part 2, Soundtrack To The Struggle
"In 1999, Toronto-based photographer Jeff Harris began taking a photo of himself each day as an alternative to all those diaries he started but couldn't keep up. But what began as a self-portrait project has evolved considerably in its 13 years. Harris' photographs aren't the typical, self-portrait vanity projects that crop up on YouTube now and again. Instead, he used the project to inspire him in his daily life, to go out and do something that would get him off his couch....This story becomes even more incredible as it progresses, but it's difficult to explain without cheapening it."* So watch it now [video || 05:26].
First, the article, about a young couple with Asperger's. Second, the correction to the story. Third, the story behind the correction. Finally, the story behind the story behind the correction, featuring dubtrot, My Little Pony dubstep. Via kottke
GeoCurrents is blog dedicated to "map-illustrated analyses of current events and geographical issues", run by Martin W. Lewis, a Stanford senior lecturer. For the past week, they've been posting a series of articles on imaginary geography. See below for a list of the posts so far: [more inside]
I Am tells the stories of 36 Sri Lankan elders, about their lives and work, and their connections to their hometown. ... With the movement of people away from their hometowns, particularly from Jaffna and Galle, I also spoke to the so called 'internal diaspora', about their longing for their hometowns and their sense of belonging to their adoptive homes."
Why Best Buy is Going out of Business...Gradually. Or not - opposing view. 'Consider a few key metrics. Despite the disappearance of competitors including Circuit City, the company is losing market share. Its last earnings announcement disappointed investors. In 2011, the company’s stock has lost 40% of its value. Forward P/E is a mere 6.23 (industry average is 10.20). Its market cap down to less than $9 billion. Its average analyst rating, according to The Street.com, is a B-.' [more inside]
The JP Show (Just People) ran December 3rd & 4th, 2011 at Nucleus in Los Angeles. Curated by Julia Vickerman and Brandon Bird, it was an exhibit dedicated to what people love & remember most about the Jurassic Park film series: the human characters. Most of the art works can now be viewed online. Prints of some works are available as well as a short gallery of photos from the opening night. [more inside]
"Where I come from, a little patience at the crosswalk usually rewards me with a stoplight-induced pause in traffic, but here things are different. One had to simply cross, stride forward into the asphalt gauntlet with no fear, just faith that two intersecting streams of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, would reconcile themselves. And they always did." Photographer Rob Whitworth stitches together 10,000 images to bring you a very kinetic time-lapse video of "Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam." [via]
"These pictures began as a family tradition of giving each other 'gag gifts' for Christmas; I took cheap oils from a local flea market and embellished them with absurdities." (Possibly NSFW: nude painting in second link, second page of third link.)
Almost one year after Congressional Republicans tried to limit the definition of rape to only include "force" (previously), the Department of Justice is redefining the term--but this time to to expand it dramatically:
The outdated definition that has been governing national rape statistics since 1929, “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” has been updated to "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” According to Susan D. Carbon, director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the previous definition “excluded an untold number of victims.” For the first time, men will be included in national rape statistics, as well as those raped while unable to give consent due to intoxication or other mental and physical incapacity.
Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet...Today is the feast of Epiphany, the last day of the traditional Christmas season; the day also when the Misses Morkan held that grand affair, their annual dance, in James Joyce's "The Dead." [more inside]
Rumours abound in the UK about secret plans by the current conservative government to offer Baroness Thatcher, lately of ill health, a state funeral nearly exclusively afforded to the Royal family. [more inside]
Why do most people assume that all nonmonogamous relationships are destined to fail? Because we only hear about the ones that do. If a three-way or an affair was a factor in a divorce or breakup, we hear all about it. But we rarely hear from happy couples who aren’t monogamous, because they don’t want to be perceived as dangerous sex maniacs who are destined to divorce. Monogamish Couples Share Their Stories.
Young and Foodish give you their Top 10 London burgers. Not in the mood for minced cow? Then they also have rundowns of their favourite pizzas, coffees, sandwiches, bagels and salt-beef sarnies. And if you want to read more about food in London, in a way that doesn't suggest that one can't eat well without laying at least £70 at the wagyu-flecked boots of a Michelin-starred chef, then there's £31.75, which took its' inspiration from the infamous Aberdeen Steak House.
At one point, Stafford recognized a landmark crater, Censorinus A. He was momentarily distracted by the dramatic shadows and giant boulders surrounding the crater. “I’ve got Censorinus A right here,” he said out loud to the world, “bigger than shit!” A shocked reporter listening to the transmission in mission control turned to astronaut Jack Schmitt. “What did Colonel Stafford just say?” Thinking quickly, Schmitt covered for his colleague and replied “He said, ‘Oh, there’s Censorinus… bigger than Schmitt!’”
How not to swear on the moon, and other fun facts from Vintage Space.
How not to swear on the moon, and other fun facts from Vintage Space.
England's Obscenity Trial of the Decade is over, with unanimous Not Guilty verdicts being returned for all 6 charges. R v Peacock was a rare outing for the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and its out-lawing of media which depraves and corrupts, and despite being shown DVDs of explicit homosexual acts, fisting, testicular torture, rape scenes, prolaspses and other acts the prosecution described as extreme the jury decided the material didn't breech the law. Alex d. live tweeted the proceeding and Peacock's supprters are celebratory. The question now is what is obscene in today's society, and is the act still relevant. [more inside]
On December 4, 2005, the computer chess community was astonished by the initial release of a free, downloadable chess program named Rybka 1.0 Beta, which within days took a sizable lead on all then-existing chess program rankings, surpassing all commercial programs, including renowned engines Shredder, HIARCS, Fritz and Junior.[snip]
In early 2011 sixteen chess programmers, many of whose programs were direct competitors of Rybka, signed a letter wherein they asserted that Rajlich copied programming code from another engine, Fruit, authored by Fabien Letouzey and released to the public in June 2005, about six months before Rybka 1.0 Beta.A four part analysis of the International Computer Games Association decision. (full paper in pdf) [more inside]
Interview Transcripts from Wired.com Michael Hastings has come out with a new book titled "The Operators" in which he expands on his infamous Rolling Stone article that led to the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal by President Obama. In this Wired interview, Hastings explains why he views our current situation in Afghanistan as hopeless and the real story behind the quotes he obtained from the general and his staff.
Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 83, holder of the world record for downing a yard glass of beer, shows that he's still got it. SLYT.