January 26, 2011
Powers of Ten is a classic film by Ray and Charles Eames which deals with the relative size of things in the Universe. (Previously) There are still six days left to join the Powers of Ten Video Response Competition, sponsored by the Eames Office and Core77, which already has some interesting entries... [more inside]
Six or seven stances science fiction movies take towards science. From John Holbo at Crooked Timber. [more inside]
"Joy is the antithesis of sneering cynicism . . . I’ve come to love country in part because it’s such a potent vessel for expressing joy."
Nashville or Bust is a project where the Onion A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin (previously), who has predominantly listened to hip-hop in the past, spent a year listening to country music. The series proper (apart from a planned road trip in February) ended yesterday with a thoughtful essay about Charley Pride. Along the way the author wrote about Johnny Cash's "Christianity . . . of the deeply spiritual, non-commercial, almost creepily intimate variety," discovered that Willie Nelson "is the coolest motherfucker on the planet," had a hard time imagining Merle Haggard living on a houseboat, decided Garth Brooks is not history's greatest monster, and found the Dixie Chicks to be "way more badass than Toby Keith."
Smiles are awesome! But what are they? Which ones make you more attractive? Who fakes them better - and how good are you at spotting a fake one (previously)? Do they spread through social networks? Does smiling make you feel better when you're down? Will they predict you living longer or having a happier marriage? If all else fails, at least a smile might make you better at gambling.
"He died like he lived: Plans in the works for a boat trip to Cuba the following week, a novel in progress, and $4.44 in his bank account."
Poppa Neutrino (born William David Pearlman) (previously) has died at 77. (His daughter's obituary for him excerpted here). [more inside]
Is earlier interaction with technology creating new and different neurological structures in children’s brains? PBS has featured an interesting series of programs on just this question: one with Miles O’Brien, previously CNN’s science correspondent, who also talks to his kids about their use of tech. Digital Nation is a massive related site on Frontline exploring the ethnography of so-called "digital natives" that includes some interesting celebrity interviews; the site is the sequel to the earlier Growing Up Online [previously].
100 years ago tonight was the first performance of composer Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hoffmansthal's opera of romance, elegance and gender confusion, Der Rosenkavalier. Highlights [on YouTube] include the Feldmarschallin's meditation on the passage of time, the famous Presentation of the Rose duet, Baron Ochs's waltz, and the final trio (performed at Strauss's funeral, as remembered here by the late Sir Georg Solti.) [more inside]
If you buy a Billy, a wee bunch of crowns goes directly into the pocket of their boss which (that is, the metaphorical pocket) resides in Liechtenstein and pays no taxes. Single link to the news of the day in Swedish. [The TV programme "uppdrag granskning," love-hated revelation-platform of the Swedish TV, cooperated this time with a bunch of newspapers to get the capitalist truth about this family company to the people. Background in Swedish here]
Gerry Adams, irish republican and candidate for a seat in the Dail [the Irish Parliament, usually sounds a bit like 'doyle'], is an MP in the UK Parliament at Westminster. Or is he? No - I resigned! "Oh - but you can't! You have to take a position under the Crown, say the Brits". Oh, no I don't... Till this constitutional crisis is resolved Gerry Adams, may be paid by both states as an MP...
While Assange mused darkly in his exile, one of his lawyers sent out a mock Christmas card that suggested at least someone on the WikiLeaks team was not lacking a sense of the absurd. The message: “Dear kids, Santa is Mum & Dad. Love, WikiLeaks.” Bill Keller gives his version of the Wikileaks saga. (previously: Everything, but most especially this.) The snark has begun already. [more inside]
The Last Temptation of Ted. GQ talks to Ted Haggard about coming to terms with his beliefs and sexuality in the wake of the New Life Church scandal.
Bart Hickey is an incredibly inspiring blind auto mechanic who owns his own shop called B.A.T. Automotive. [SLVimeo]
Using pioneering animation techniques to create a look never seen on film before, this 10-minute award-winning film tells the true legend of history's most challenging cipher....The film contains 16 hidden messages that reveal the larger story at play. Eight are fairly easy and require only a close eye. Six are moderately difficult using various encryption methods. Two are extremely difficult and will require a genius mind to decrypt. [more inside]
Iconographie ouvrages anciens is a collection of historic animal illustrations that date as far back as the 16th Century, courtesy of the library at Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon. [more inside]
"Friendships grow six times as fast as under the withering blighting influence of the moon of longhand"
"Thou hast here gentle reader, an art of short, and so of speedie wryting, plainly delivered unto thee. So as by thine on industry, thou maiest attain unto it, if thou wilt but one month take paines therein, and by continuance of another month, maiest thou attain to great readiness." So began Characterie, an Arte of Short, Swifte, and secret writing by Character. The original 1588 publication by Timothe Bright, Doctor of Phisike, was the start of modern shorthand. But the Bright system was based on symbols replacing whole words that took years to memorize, as compared to Phineas Bailey's shorthand based on sounds. Phonetic shorthand was improved upon by Sir Isaac Pitman, John Robert Gregg, and others, climbing in popularity that there were even books published in shorthand, including Sherlock Holmes titles, A Christmas Carol, Legend of Sleepy Holllow, and other titles. But the craze died, and the skill has faded, but it is remembered online by language enthusiasts and fans of specific shorthand styles.
"We watched the Sandy River take down countless 50 foot tall trees, ripping them off its banks and swallowing them up."
Today marks the exit of The Minimalist from the pages of the Dining section, as a weekly column at least. There may be return appearances, but the unbroken string of more than 13 years and nearly 700 columns ends here. (I’m not leaving the Times family; more about that in a minute.) (previously)
The Warriors of Qiugang: A Chinese Village Fights Back, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). [more inside]
A large chunk of the Yad Vashem Photo Archive has been made available online. The first batch consists of 130,000 photographs and more will follow. The photos and their keywords are indexed and searchable via Google. Readers can contribute to the archive project by adding stories, comments and further documents linked to the photos. Photos range from the horrific to the charmingly mundane. [more inside]
For the second year in a row, the U.S. Military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Previous posts regarding PTSD) [more inside]
The Jungle. Made in 1967 and awarded a Documentary Film Award at the Festival de Popoli, Italy, The Jungle is a short film made in Philly by Harold Haskins and the 12 & Oxford Film Corp. Re-discovered a few years back through Temple University’s Urban Archives.
The Museum of Modern Art announced this week it would induct 23 digital-era typefaces into its permanent collection (Times coverage). But what do the designers of these fonts look like? Pics or it didn’t happen: first set; second.
A letter arrived at Atlanta's PBS station yesterday, the recipient posted it to Reddit and within hours, PBS responded.
Playboy (nsfw) has recently revamped their online Interview archive. Even though most are available through the website, a full index is still not available. However, there are now specific category pages devoted to Interviews with Women, Comedians and Sports Figures. There's also a Best Of roundup. [more inside]
Chen Sah is an unlikely good samaritan, a gruff man who cajoles would be jumpers into the Yangtze River to rethink their plans of suicide. [more inside]
Yes, there are grocery stores in Detroit. The myth of a city without supermarkets is hard to kill, even faced with the evidence above. Ultimately, that myth perseveres because the mainstream media and its audience is steeped in a suburban mentality where the only grocery stores that really seem to count are those large, big-box chain stores that are the only option in so many communities these days, largely because they have put locally-owned and independent stores like the ones you find in Detroit out of business. [more inside]
Jolecule is an HTML5 viewer for three-dimensional protein structures that requires no plugins. "Jolecule works in modern browsers such as Chrome and Safari and mostly in Firefox." Check out the 3D structure of myoglobin. Or view an animated slideshow of how the glucocorticoid receptor binds DNA (press spacebar to advance).
Country music legend Charlie Louvin has passed on. Charlie rose to fame with his brother Ira as the Louvin Brothers, whose career was cut short by Ira's death by automobile accident in 1965. Charlie continued to record and perform solo, and though his popularity never quite reached the heights that it did with his brother he retained a loyal fanbase until the very end. [more inside]
Nabokov Butterfly Theory Is Vindicated "Nabokov came up with a sweeping hypothesis for the evolution of the butterflies he studied, a group known as the Polyommatus blues. He envisioned them coming to the New World from Asia over millions of years in a series of waves. Few professional lepidopterists took these ideas seriously during Nabokov’s lifetime. But in the years since his death in 1977, his scientific reputation has grown. And over the past 10 years, a team of scientists has been applying gene-sequencing technology to his hypothesis about how Polyommatus blues evolved. On Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, they reported that Nabokov was absolutely right."
Awesome !!! Nearly 10 minutes of the robot warfare. SLYT
Computer game, "Hearts of Iron III", lets you replay history from 1936 to the Cold War. Apparently, WW2 was more complicated than the movies suggest. Via The browser