January 10, 2013

Strike One for Comet Apophis

Comet Apophis flew to within 9 million miles of the Earth yesterday. In 2029 it will come around again and get within 20,000 miles (closer than geosynchronous satellites). Then in 2036 it will approach again. At one time it was thought that it had a 3.5% chance flying through a specific keyhole of space in 2029, which would indicate that it would hit the Earth in 2036. But now the odds are calculated to be infinitesimal. Let's hope the astronomer assumptions are correct about that pesky Yarkovsky Effect. [more inside]
posted by eye of newt at 11:22 PM PST - 33 comments

How the Future Changed

Space Cartoons to Space Psychedelia: How Sci-Fi Book Covers Evolved
posted by Artw at 10:54 PM PST - 19 comments

Not THAT kind of virus.

Google uses searches for flu symptoms to track each year's strain's intensity and spread. In 2013, the US is basically doomed. [more inside]
posted by OHSnap at 10:49 PM PST - 87 comments

Nespresso vs Espresso

Can individual human flair and creativity be bettered by the mass-produced and mechanised?
posted by travellingincognito at 7:44 PM PST - 147 comments

Serious Jibber-Jabber

Conan O'Brien's 75-minute discussion with Jack White In which they discuss their early friendship, shared Catholic values, and Jack's love of upholstery.
posted by Optamystic at 7:13 PM PST - 50 comments

Tokenism

The Monopoly game has used the same 8 "base tokens" (car, thimble, boot, scotty dog, battleship, top hat, iron, wheelbarrow) since the 1950s (with a few extras added to "Deluxe Editions"), and since it's been 15 minutes since Parker Brothers' last promotion, they're doing internet voting at their Facebook page to "SAVE YOUR TOKEN". In "American Idol" style, the one with the fewest votes will be replaced by the top-vote-getter among 5 "New Tokens" (robot with mustache, big-ass diamond ring, cat, helicopter, awkwardly-balanced guitar). So far, Scottie Dog has a third of the votes (take THAT, cat people), while Whellbarrow and Absurdly-Oldfashioned-Iron are bringing up the rear. VOTE DAILY to support your favorite "chocking hazard for under 3 yrs. old"
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:43 PM PST - 179 comments

...and, er...meeting someone special, maybe?

Children from around the world share their hopes for 2013.
posted by ossian at 5:39 PM PST - 1 comments

High Impact Bloody Violence

After years of deliberation, Australia finally have an R 18 rating for games, allowing a wider range of games to be legally released in Australia. The first game to be rated R18 will be Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, a Wii U game that will receive that rating due to its 'high impact bloody violence'.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:13 PM PST - 59 comments

And Pranks For All The Fish!

Drive-thru invisible driver prank
posted by spiderskull at 3:07 PM PST - 52 comments

But how can I pull a wheelie???

To satisfy the need for efficient transportation, RYNO Motors has designed a multiple use, self-balancing, one wheel, electric scooter that’s adaptable to wide range of uses including urban individuals, government, and industrial customers. [more inside]
posted by MtDewd at 2:39 PM PST - 41 comments

The Man With a Train in His Basement

Jason Schron loves VIA Rail trains so much that he built a full-size replica of one of their cars in his basement. "His first memory is being lost, at age 2, crying on a Toronto-to-Montreal VIA Rail passenger train. That’s when the obsession began. 'For me, being on the train is … this wonderful cozy comfy space, especially when the weather is terrible outside; it’s sort of this microcosm of comfort,' he says." P.S. It's worth checking out Schron's YouTube video tour embedded in the first link: The Guy With a Train in His Basement.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:36 PM PST - 65 comments

Sheed and Stack in the Big Apple

Sheed and Stack in the Big Apple is a new piece by Grantland's Jonathan Abrams about the NBA veterans Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse
posted by Cloud King at 1:28 PM PST - 6 comments

%-| The difference between us and them

The Depressive and the Psychopath, an article about mental state of the killers responsible for the Columbine high school massacre of 1999.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM PST - 84 comments

Hat palm palm hat

How to make a palm hat, in two parts. (No audio, but hypnotizing video.)
posted by cthuljew at 12:07 PM PST - 9 comments

Roger Deakins, Perpetual Nominee

Bond film Skyfall has been nominated for its first Academy Awards since 1982. Skyfall was nominated for original score, sound mixing, sound editing, original song, and cinematography. It is also cinematographer Roger Deakins' tenth nomination without a win. [more inside]
posted by troika at 11:51 AM PST - 48 comments

Meet Michael Forsberg, Conservation Photographer

I think it is high time that MeFites meet Michael Forsberg, a Lincoln, Nebraska based Conservation Photographer who works primarily in the Great Plains of North America, once one of the greatest grassland ecosystems on Earth. (His bio.) His goal has been to try to capture the wild spirit that still survives in these wide-open spaces and put a face to the often overlooked native creatures and landscapes found there. His hope is that the images can build appreciation and go to work to inspire conservation efforts on the land far into the future. Here is a great 48 minute presentation that Michael gave at the California Academy of Sciences after completing his most recent book simply entitled "Great Plains". In the video he unselfishly shares not just his photographic images but also his equipment and techniques. [more inside]
posted by spock at 11:46 AM PST - 9 comments

Your daily teleport

"Every day a PHP script picks a random spot on the land mass of Earth. The nearest photo to that spot is posted here."
posted by Iridic at 11:29 AM PST - 20 comments

loop-a-doop-a, loop-a-doop-a, loop-a-doop-a, squiggly dot!

Doodle Music [slyt]
posted by ocherdraco at 11:03 AM PST - 8 comments

The smallest Hall of all

For some reason, this year no one was elected to the Hall of Fame.
posted by RogerB at 10:51 AM PST - 65 comments

I thought this summer would last forever.

Spring Break Beach Summer Forever, an unproduced screenplay by Abhay Khosla. [more inside]
posted by Mothra Pisces at 10:33 AM PST - 9 comments

You Can't Say That In English

Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language, and 470 million to over a billion people speak it as a second language (to varying degrees). Even so, there are some words that do not exist in English, even with new word entries periodically being added to the Oxford Dictionary. 25 words that do not exist in English. [more inside]
posted by anya32 at 10:25 AM PST - 134 comments

"Name Withheld" needs to find another letter column

The Comics Buyers Guide was founded in 1971 by Alan Light, morphing over the decades (not in the least due to postal regulations requiring a certain amount of editorial content) into the most widely read industry newsletter, highly influential in its heyday under the editorial guidance of Don and Maggie Thompson in the eighties and early nineties. Now its run has come to an end as it will stop publishing with its March 2013 issue. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 9:28 AM PST - 16 comments

When your house is burning down, you should brush your teeth

The surprisingly touching story of a fire and a broken cat named Domino.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:22 AM PST - 31 comments

Mods, guns and hats

How profitable has it been for Anthony? He, like many of the other contributors, was coy about the exact amount: “Let me answer this as indirectly as possible. I am sure that Valve has a new Lamborghini in the staff car park.”

Modding allows amateur and semi-professional designers to fiddle around with commercially-produced games - anything from adding monocles to crabs to recreating Westeros, all the way to a zombie survival mod more popular than the orginal game. While mods have traditionally been free, Valve's Steam Workshop is a marketplace to sell hats and other items for a selection of games, including Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2 - both sequels to mods. PC Gamer talks to the modders who are making six-figures sums.
posted by liquidindian at 9:14 AM PST - 22 comments

A Machine that Writes in Time

"La Machine à Ecrire le Temps" from Swiss watchmaker Jaquet Droz took nearly a decade to develop, with more than 1,200 intricately connected components; including 84 ball bearings, 50 cams and 9 belts. It costs nearly $350,000. What does it do? It writes out the time for you.
posted by quin at 9:09 AM PST - 34 comments

Lost in The Canyons

Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie. The movie in question is The Canyons, the Kickstarter-funded erotic thriller written by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader. There's no release date yet, but the film does have several retro-themed trailers.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:04 AM PST - 155 comments

Rex Trailer, New England legend, rides off into the sunset

New England legend Rex Trailer, host of Boomtown from 1956 to 1974, has died at 84. [more inside]
posted by bondcliff at 8:39 AM PST - 12 comments

Just when you thought it was safe to avoid Korn

Amazon just announced AutoRip, a service to provide MP3 versions of any song you buy on CD from their store. That's all well and good, but the kicker is that "Amazon is retroactively giving free MP3s to any customer who has purchased an AutoRip compatible CD since its Music Store first opened in 1998". Looks like I'll be knee deep in Blink 182, Cake, and The Spin Doctors again.
posted by mathowie at 8:14 AM PST - 137 comments

Animated History of Nintendo hardware in 2min 12 seconds

Enjoy this delightful short animation which lays out the history of Nintendo hardware ; History of Nintendo.
posted by Faintdreams at 8:09 AM PST - 17 comments

The Frightening Hungarian Crackdown

"The new constitution 'recognizes the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood,' and art that is deemed blasphemous or 'anti-national' is now the target of a full-blown campaign of suppression."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:06 AM PST - 138 comments

Not in our backyard

Following an incident at Fort Bragg where Lt. Colonel Heather Mack's wife, Ashley Broadway, was told she could not join the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses, the Marine Corps has issued guidance that spouses clubs operating on its bases and installations must offer membership to the same-sex spouses of gay and lesbian service members. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:54 AM PST - 23 comments

Nordic Odyssey

Beautiful New Yorker video from the deck of an Arctic transport ship.
posted by holmesian at 6:32 AM PST - 5 comments

brrrrr-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-kik-ch-ch-ch-brrrrrr

White boy drops another AWESOME new sick beat!!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:19 AM PST - 23 comments

You seem to have paid a fairly high price for your happiness.

enchantMOON is a "Hypertext Authoring Tablet" featuring hardware design by Yoshitoshi ABe. For CES the company behind the tablet, Ubiquitous Entertainment, created a series of shorts directed by Evangelion veteran Shinji Higuchi. Some more details about the tablet can be found here and on the official Facebook page. Current details about the UI suggest it takes inspiration from Hypercard and Alan Kay's Dynabook. [more inside]
posted by 23 at 6:03 AM PST - 9 comments

The sale of the century

How We Happened to Sell Off Our Electricity is James Meek's dissection of the systematic re-privatisation of the UK power industry.
Are you an enemy of liberal principles if you question the fact that, when local electrical engineers dig up the roads in London, they’re working for East Asia’s richest man, the Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing? In north-east England, they work for Warren Buffett; in Birmingham, Cardiff and Plymouth, the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company; in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool, Iberdrola; in Manchester, a consortium of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a J.P. Morgan investment fund.
posted by scruss at 4:38 AM PST - 20 comments

Undressing But Never Bare

"Outcasts are my kind, they try harder. From strip joints to Burlesque theaters, I went on a quest and met the 'Legends', these dominating characters of the quintessential American art of strip tease. Hours of confidence on tapes, intimate photo sessions, they peel off and reveal the hidden layers of their life with throaty emotion. Their memories reflecting the memories of the land. Vietnam vets and bikers are their loyal patrons..." The Living Art Of Risqué, a photo essay from Marie Baronnet, features portraits of former strippers aged 60 to 95, accompanied by short bio-vignettes in their own words. [NSFW; nudity] [more inside]
posted by taz at 3:04 AM PST - 4 comments

"Corporations are people, Officer!"

'If Corporations Are People, Can They Ride In The Carpool Lane?' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:45 AM PST - 72 comments