January 13, 2011
The Hurrian song is the oldest notated work of music, dating to approximately 1400 BC. Deciphered from cuneiform tablets, there are now modern interpretations. The most likely traditional version used an instrument like a harp or lyre, but there are also versions for the piano, chorus (autoplay), MIDI, and even a remix with a beat.
Michael Chabon is currently blogging about President Obama's Arizona speech, Huck Finn, the return of hip-hop to his life, and his hometown.
Superguy was a forum for the posting of original, comedic fiction based loosely on superheroes and related concepts. ... It existed during the birth of the modern Internet culture, and survived much longer than many similar groups, diminishing in activity only when the webcomic trend became widespread. ... It is one of the longest running collaborative shared universe projects on the Internet.
The Nation recently interviewed public intellectuals including Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben (previously), and Dmity Orlov (previously) to produce a series of videos centered around Peak Oil and a Changing Climate. The first video, online now, combines all of the people interviewed while the videos yet to be released will be longer sections featuring them one at a time. [more inside]
Still clinging desperately to those reading-things of yours made from dead trees? While you're at it, scan the damn thing and make your own e-book. (My prediction is that there are copyright issues here that the manufacturer is ignoring, but that will come back to haunt them.)
The story of how The Pharcyde hired a linguist to train them how to rap backwards for the Spike Jonze-directed Drop video [more inside]
With crazy hair and wacky body movements, Detroit Free Press columnist Scott Burgess embraces new media and squeezes it to death. Vlogging the bulleted list.
Fifty vintage beer cans from Dan Becker's book entitled "Beer: A Genuine Collection of Cans".
So you found something cool on the Internet... A helpful chart that MeFites totally don't need because the Blue is all about "Found something cool on the web and want to share it with everyone else?" from Loldwell.com (previously) and Rosscott, Inc. (semi-previously) who's doing for symbols in The Noun Project (here) what xkcd did for/to stickmen.
The Watson Artificial Intelligence system will take on Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in February (previously). Here's a sneak preview of a warm-up round between the contestants. [more inside]
Senate leaders are seriously considering modifying the traditional, divided seating arrangements for President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address. [more inside]
Yet another end of the (sea)world story. Sadly, not the theme park, the other 3/4 of our planet. The obligatory Corporate Bad Guys. But these kind folks say it's alright [more inside]
disposable lighters = motorbikes [language slightly NSFW]
The Butterfly Keyboard (officially called a TrackWrite) on IBM's Thinkpad 701c was so unusual and innovative that it's housed at MoMA. So what killed the design? (via) [more inside]
How To Make Stuff has four ways to make plastic at home, from stryofoam with acetone, potatoes with vinegar and glycerin, milk with vinegar, and cream with lemon juice. Instructables has similar recipes with visuals (styrofoam plastic, potato or corn starch plastic, and milk and vinegar plastic).
Think About This is a surprisingly gory, ironically NSFW authentic safety video aimed at keeping factory workers safe, by giving them something to think about. [more inside]
We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies. - Google's Chrome is will be joining Firefox in no longer licensing the MPEG-LA H.264 video codec favoured by Apple and Microsoft for use in the HTML5 <video> tag (previously). Not everyone is seeing this as a good thing.
Born This Way! Photo/essay submissions that capture men and women, innocently, showing the beginnings of their innate gay selves.
Bo Burnham, the crown-prince of puerile, obscene, yet surprisingly clever and catchy Youtube videos has turned reflective (NSFW for language). [more inside]
Not a Dry Eye in the House. Maggie Doyne — Why the human family can do better. Maggie's story, and Maggie's blog: Life at Kopila Valley Children's Home. Instead of going home to the States to start her University education, Maggie decided there were more urgent things that needed doing right there and then in Nepal. More background and story from NJ.com..
"The world’s oceans have been experiencing enormous blooms of jellyfish, apparently caused by overfishing, declining water quality, and rising sea temperatures. Now, scientists are trying to determine if these outbreaks could represent a “new normal” in which jellyfish increasingly supplant fish.. Total jelly domination would be like turning back the clock to the Precambrian world, more than 550 million years ago."
"The [Customs and Border Patrol] specifically wanted laptops and cell phones and were visibly unhappy when they discovered nothing of the sort." [more inside]
The zodiac calendar has been corrected based on the original Babylonian setup. "When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it's really not in Pisces," said Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. [more inside]
The sitcom Taxi was inspired by two non-fiction articles that appeared in New York Magazine in September, 1975: Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet and The Word from Belmore, both by author, writer and journalist Marc Jacobson. (Google Books: Original layout and photos.) In 2004, he checked in with local cabdrivers to see how things had changed for them after 30 years. As predicted, leasing did spell the end for the artist/writer/actor cabbie. [more inside]
This year's archaeology awards do provide a great opportunity to learn ancient secrets. There is lost treasure, forgotten murders, a mysterious Anchorite condemmed to a life of confinement and the forbidden spaces at the heart one of the holiest temples in stone age Europe.
The First Decade of the Future is Behind Us: Blackberries, WikiLeaks, airport scanners, 3D televisions, robot vaccum cleaners, Microsoft Kinnect, private spaceflight and Facebook all look like sci-fi novel elements to Kyle Munkittrick. [more inside]