January 7, 2010
"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases." [more inside]
From the official press release: The singer Lhasa de Sela passed away in her Montreal home on the night of January 1st 2010, just before midnight. She succumbed to breast cancer after a twenty-one month long struggle, which she faced with courage and determination. For those unfamiliar with this wonderful trilingual singer: Love Came Here, Anywhere On this Road, La Confession, and That Leaving Feeling, with Tindersticks' Stuart Staples. [more inside]
Friday windows-only fun: Cryptic Sea, developers of the hits Gish and Bridge Builder, are back with combat/economy/flight simulator game A New Zero (gameplay) [more inside]
Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) provides access to nearly 70,000 images in the collections of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the U.S National Library of Medicine (NLM). Their collection includes thousands of really fascinating images from warnings about winter driving to instructions about how to keep your privy clean. [more inside]
Knut Haugland, the last surviving member of the Kon Tiki expedition, and possibly the quietest hero you’ve never heard of, died on Christmas Day. [more inside]
The Nine Eyes of Google Street View "It was tempting to see the images as a neutral and privileged representation of reality—as though the Street Views, wrenched from any social context other than geospatial contiguity, were able to perform true docu-photography, capturing fragments of reality stripped of all cultural intentions."
Nil by Mouth is Roger Ebert's article about what life is like now that he doesn't eat or drink anymore, but is nourished by tube. And interesting reflection on what life can be like after thyroid cancer, and not as sad as you might think.
Polaroid, the struggling
instant film camera company, has hired a new creative director in hopes of returning the brand to its former glory. That hire just happens to be pop (and previously) sensation Lady Gaga. Polaroid Previously [more inside]
A former witch-doctor who now campaigns to end child sacrifice confessed for the first time to having murdered about 70 people, including his own son. Human sacrifice is on the increase in Uganda, and according to the head of the country's Anti-Human Sacrifice Taskforce the crime is directly linked to rising levels of development and prosperity, and an increasing belief that witchcraft can help people get rich quickly. Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo believes that "to punish retrospectively would cause a problem... if we can persuade Ugandans to change, that is much better than going back into the past." [more inside]
My name is Jacob. I have been a smoker for about 14 years. I decided this year to knock that shit off. I'd tried and tried before to no avail. But this year my youngest brother suggested something I found to be quite a good idea. Why not replace my trusty pack of Camel's with a pack of Crayolas. That way, every time I wanted a cigarette, I would just draw pictures.
A World of Hits "Ever-increasing choice was supposed to mean the end of the blockbuster. It has had the opposite effect." [more inside]
From the dusty depths of Modern Humorist comes Anagram Poetry: If Poets Wrote Poems Whose Titles Were Anagrams of Their Names. Volume 1 contains Toilets, Skinny Domicile, and I Will Alarm Islamic Owls. Volume 2 consists of Likable Wilma, Hen Gonads and nice smug me. And there are three more volumes, for your distraction. [via]
Not content to sit by and watch other single-topic blogs ink book deals, Look At This F**king Idea For A Blog-To-Book Deal goes wide where others have gone narrow. (Actual site and URL not censored. Adjust your NetNanny expectations accordingly)
The Violet Hour, a speakeasy styled lounge in Chicago with no sign, has been pushing the envelope in creative drink mixing since it opened in 2005. Toby Maloney, the Violet Hour's "Head Intoxocologist", had no problem posting on a Chicago food forum and sharing some of the drink recipes that have made his bar one of the most exciting in the country. [more inside]
Blow the whistle on the rich and powerful, go to jail, while they avoid jail. Tax Notes, the weekly publication on federal taxation, announced its "2009 Tax Person of the Year" - a whistleblower from Swiss banking giant UBS whom it called "the Benedict Arnold of the private banking industry." Bradley Birkenfeld came forward and exposed the tax fraud dealings of UBS which led thousands of millionaire tax cheats to come forward and pay billions in back taxes. His reward? Tomorrow he goes to jail. The Government Accountability Project (GAP), a Washington watchdog organization that has extensive whistle-blower experience, says a chilling effect is already apparent: a senior executive at a European bank that offers similar U.S. tax shelters is having second thoughts about going public because of the Birkenfeld case.
Last weekend, Slovakian border police placed explosive in the bags of a passenger, Stefan Gonda, as he departed for his home in Ireland. The aim was to train dogs to detect explosives but an undetected and unretrieved package of RDX (the base for a number of military explosives) flew with the unaware Mr. Gonda, who was later arrested by police in Dublin under the Offences Against the State Act. [more inside]
The Big Lebowski as written by Shakespeare.
Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military is a podcast put out by the US Department of Defense. Each week, they interview scientists and other personnel about R & D in the military. Topics include nutrition, portable fuel cells, virtual online worlds, substance abuse, and the effects of sounds on whale behavior. [more inside]
For those with enough time and attention to detail, the Where's Waldo puzzles hold some strange and lurid images. In fact, the book has made banned lists in the past despite the fact that it doesn't contain the word scrotum once (previously on MeFi).
Here are some suggested things to say if you want to sound like an idiot when you talk about social media:
How to say stupid things about social media Arguing for the banality of user-created content vis-a-vis social networks.