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January 20, 2011
Inside the paradox of forecasting
That guy who predicted the big one? Don't listen to him. Stern School of Business (NYU) Professor Nouriel Roubini (wiki : twitter : prev : prev : prev) made waves when he predicted the Great Recession, but not all of his predictions have panned out. This needn't be a surprise, however: Predicting the Next Big Thing: Success as a Signal of Poor Judgment outlines how those who make big, accurate predictions are often worse than the general public at making predictions in general. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:50 PM PST - 34 comments

Pickup Truck or Rocket?
Trying to decide between a Ram heavy-duty pickup truck (gross combined weight rating of 24,500 pounds) and a Delta IV Heavy rocket (maximum payload 28,650 pounds)? This article and infographic will help. [more inside]
posted by alms at 7:58 PM PST - 74 comments

Green Energy Fables
Chris Buzelli Twelve Tales from the Wolrd of Energy
posted by Sailormom at 7:40 PM PST - 13 comments

LOOKIT ME IM DANCIN
In Aliens, what was the primary danger Ellen Ripley faced? Was it A. the machinations of the officials of the Weyland-Yutani corporation, B. the attacks and acid blood of the aliens themselves, or C. the bizarre, space-warping doors of the space colony dumping her into pits of death? According to a recently-surfaced prototype of a Famicom (Japanese NES) port of Aliens, produced by Squaresoft, the answer is C!
Sardius of gaming blog Dream And Friends tells us all about it: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 6:40 PM PST - 37 comments

Entrevista Con La Bailarina
The Dancer and the Terrorist. When Peru’s most wanted man, Abimael Guzmán Reynoso, was captured in 1992, a young ballerina, Maritza Garrido Lecca, went to jail too, for harbouring him at her studio. The story was turned into a novel and film, “The Dancer Upstairs” (trailer). This year, the author of the novel, Nicholas Shakespeare, flew to Lima to meet the dancer at last — and to ask her whether she was guilty.
posted by zarq at 5:16 PM PST - 13 comments

Did Khalid Sheik Mohammed Kill Daniel Pearl?
Khalid Sheik Mohammed claimed in a 2007 military hearing that he killed Daniel Pearl. His confession did not convince everyone, in part because it first emerged during CIA interrogation which included waterboarding him 183 times. (It may for that reason also be inadmissible if the Obama administration ever does try him in a civilian court.) And in fact, four other men have been convicted for the murder. But a new detailed report by The Pearl Project states that "vascular technology, or vein matching," reveals that the hands of the beheader are Mohammed's.
posted by bearwife at 4:04 PM PST - 200 comments

1957 Timecapsule
A blog dedicated to chronicling the events that took place on this day in 1957.
posted by Leezie at 3:30 PM PST - 26 comments

Meanwhile, Joey Cupcakes Is Still A Free Man
Fuhgedddaboutit! This morning, FBI agents conducted a multi-city raid across the Northeast, busting over 120 suspected mobsters in one of the largest raids in FBI history. The Village Voice blog helpfully provides this list of the 20 best nicknames of the suspects, including such immortals as Junior Lollipops, Tony Bagels, Jimmy Gooch, and Vinnie Carwash. They should have known something was up when the feds came looking for Joey Cupcakes.
posted by briank at 2:41 PM PST - 67 comments

On the Rocks
"Gourmet ice, often heavily filtered and hand-cut to guarantee the optimal amount of dilution, has officially become part of cocktail culture." That is all.
posted by Scoop at 1:52 PM PST - 243 comments

Google, mobile computing, and augmenting humanity
Inside Google's Age of Augmented Humanity. Wade Roush of Xconomy interviews Google researchers working on speech recognition, machine translation, and computer vision. [CEO Eric] Schmidt talked about "the age of augmented humanity," a time when computers remember things for us, when they save us from getting lost, lonely, or bored, and when "you really do have all the world's information at your fingertips in any language"—finally fulfilling Bill Gates' famous 1990 forecast. This future, Schmidt says, will soon be accessible to everyone who can afford a smartphone—one billion people now, and as many as four billion by 2020.... It's not that phones themselves are all that powerful, at least compared to laptop or desktop machines. But more and more of them are backed up by broadband networks that, in turn, connect to massively distributed computing clouds (some of which, of course, are operated by Google). "It’s like having a supercomputer in your pocket," Schmidt said in Berlin. "When we do voice translation, when we do picture identification, all [the smartphone] does is send a request to the supercomputers that then do all the work."
posted by russilwvong at 1:50 PM PST - 62 comments

Laboratory for Developmental (and Cuteness!) Studies
Harvard University’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies, colloquially known as the "Baby Lab" is an important center for research into human development. The various research groups at the Baby Lab cover many different areas; Felix Warneken's lab, for example, studies the development of human cooperation, while Elizabeth Spelke is concerned with determining what knowledge human infants are born with. Researching human development certainly produces fascinating findings, but there are perhaps stronger reasons why the lab might hold interest for a layperson. I'm talking, of course, about adorable videos of human and chimpanzee toddlers which have been produced by its researchers. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco at 1:09 PM PST - 11 comments

Squirrel fishing. Go nuts.
Squirrel fishing | BANZAI - Squirrel Fishing | Harvard Squirrel Archive. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 1:02 PM PST - 19 comments

A little apple pie goes a long way
Hu Jintao, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions. He was received less kindly by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees. [more inside]
posted by anigbrowl at 11:33 AM PST - 62 comments

In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied
Cartography is the science of map-making. Seb Przd takes a photo and maps it out to build his own world of cartographical projections.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM PST - 18 comments

Anything you can click you can cow click!
Cow Clicker distilled social games to their essence, offering players incentive to instrumentalize their friendships, obsess over arbitrary timed events, buy their way out of challenge and effort, and incrementally blight their offline lives through worry and dread.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 10:50 AM PST - 18 comments

The most emailed New York Times article ever
Like many of the ibex farms sprouting up across the northeastern United States, Yael offers an intensive Chinese-language immersion course. The most emailed New York Times article ever.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:43 AM PST - 59 comments

entrepreneurial paradise
In Norway, Start-ups Say Ja to Socialism - We venture to the very heart of the hell that is Scandinavian socialism—and find out that it's not so bad. Pricey, yes, but a good place to start and run a company. What exactly does that suggest about the link between taxes and entrepreneurship?
posted by kliuless at 10:40 AM PST - 52 comments

"All have one thing in common - their delight in the taste of somebody's failure and it is here tonight."
The first 15 pages of Sam Peckinpah’s long-buried script for The Texans. Via CHUD.com
posted by brundlefly at 10:32 AM PST - 8 comments

Copycat of Arizona's Immigration Status Bill
Copycat of Arizona's immigration status bill has passed the Mississippi Senate by a vote of 34-15. The difference here is that there is a precondition with the immigration status check. Though selection cannot be based on race, color, or country of origin but ability to English can cast enough suspicion to warrant a check on immigration status.
posted by azileretsis at 10:24 AM PST - 73 comments

Lonely Last Suppers
The last meals of executed prisoners - photographs of the final choices of death row inmates.
posted by mdn at 10:05 AM PST - 75 comments

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money
YayTM: Rewarding Quality Dancing with Dollar Bills [via mefi projects]
posted by exogenous at 9:54 AM PST - 20 comments

A low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton
Well, the Poe toaster didn't show for the second year in a row (previously). Fear not, here's a lovely and disturbing animated short film of The Tell-Tale Heart from 1953, narrated by James Mason. Although nominated for an Academy Award, the UPA production was apparently the first cartoon to be rated X by the British Board of Film Censors.
posted by HumanComplex at 9:01 AM PST - 24 comments

“An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.”
Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance – In 1798
posted by cthuljew at 8:05 AM PST - 48 comments

You're Short, Bald, and Ugly, Charlie Brown
"There was a night, maybe sometime around 1993, when I [Joe Matt] was working on an issue of my comic book, Peepshow and I was using some xeroxes of Peanuts strips from the collection, “You Can Do It, Charlie Brown” as blotter-paper. Anyway, there came a moment when I was using white-out and to remove some excess white-out from my brush, I wiped it on the blotter paper beneath my hand. And that’s how I came to idly white-out the words balloons on a few Peanuts strips. Once I saw the balloons whited-out and forgot what they originally said, I began filling them with the first perverted thing my brain thought they might say. It was so much fun and I was so happy with the results that I brought the pages out to show to Seth and Chester [Brown] the next day. Seth was eager to try it and immediately suggested we each go home and produce a set number of pages for a mini comic. Less than a week later, Chester brought out his original take on the concept and put Seth and I to shame." [more inside]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:59 AM PST - 56 comments

Not Common People
Not Common People is a photography blog. It's probably NSFW.
posted by chunking express at 7:34 AM PST - 37 comments

"We do what we want here. We don't have rules. At the surface..."
Paris Catacombs. National Geographic's Neil Shea goes underground in Paris. Photography by Stephen Alvarez.
posted by The Mouthchew at 7:25 AM PST - 23 comments

Two Thumbs Up
Roger Ebert gets a new chin An inspirational story; and he is due back on TV real soon.
posted by Jaymzifer at 7:18 AM PST - 47 comments

Aspects Of This Are Hard To Bear
Lily the bear is giving birth and is going under the web cam again. The web cam and the American Bear Center are the creation of Lynn Rogers. Dr. Rogers work has his critics: "I highly disagree with the way Lynn Rogers has decided to pimp out these bears in order to pay off HIS debt. Instead of studying bears, I believe he has successfully 'studied' humans and has found the trick to manipulating them. "
posted by Xurando at 6:50 AM PST - 11 comments

In Soviet Russia Lake Vostock penetrates you
Lake Vostok (previously) is about to be breached by a team of Russian scientists. The ice cores from Vostok Station have given us a continuous record of the earth's climate going back 420,000 years. Some scientists are worried that the breaching of the lake may lead to contamination. [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:35 AM PST - 40 comments

The Most Fired-Up Guy with the Strongest and Most Unbreakable Back
Cromartie High School is a Japanese manga and animated series. It investigates poignant issues and themes in contemporary culture such as Internet Trolls, Denial, and Perception. Most importantly, it educates the viewer on what it takes to be an honest-to-goodness Badass. [more inside]
posted by lemuring at 4:40 AM PST - 29 comments