February 1, 2011
The King's Speech is an extremely well-made film with a seductive human interest plot, very prettily calculated to appeal to the smarter filmgoer and the latent Anglophile. But it perpetrates a gross falsification of history. - Christopher Hitchens on the historical revisionism of The King's Speech. The LA times suggests that this, along with the History Channel digging up footage of King George VI not really stuttering all that badly at all, might be the beginning of a backlash against the film, which has been gaining Oscar momentum since it's SAG Award wins. With The Social Network, 127 Hours and The Fighter also having a basis in reality, is today's film making too hung up on the "true" story?
"For the last 18 years I have photographed Julie Baird’s complex story of multiple homes, AIDS, drug abuse, abusive relationships, poverty, births, deaths, loss and reunion. Following Julie from the backstreets of San Francisco to the backwoods of Alaska."
“I’m going to divide the universe into Planck-sized regions, and put a monkey in each one. You will ask what the monkey is made of, when nothing can be smaller than the Planck scale, and I will say that it is not made of anything – it is a single, fundamental monkey particle. One in every Planck sized region of space. These regions are very small - there will be nearly as many monkeys inside the space occupied by a single atom as there are atoms in the universe. And there will be monkeys in the spaces not occupied by atoms too. And they will type faster. How fast can a thing happen? Just as there is a shortest possible distance, there is a shortest possible time, and it’s called the Planck time." A look at the idea of an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters. [more inside]
On Friday, Bitch Magazine shared its list of 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader. This afternoon, the magazine announced three books had been removed: "A couple of us at the office read and re-read Sisters Red, Tender Morsels and Living Dead Girl this weekend. We've decided to remove these books from the list -- Sisters Red because of the victim-blaming scene that was discussed earlier in this post, Tender Morsels because of the way that the book validates (by failing to critique or discuss) characters who use rape as an act of vengeance, and Living Dead Girl because of its triggering nature. We still feel that these books have merit and would not hesitate to recommend them in certain instances, but we don't feel comfortable keeping them on this particular list." [more inside]
Australia is copping another pounding from natural disasters. After the floods across Brisbane (previously) in South-east Queensland, North Queensland is in the firing line for a Category 5 cyclone called Yasi. The official warning: THIS IMPACT IS LIKELY TO BE MORE LIFE THREATENING THAN ANY EXPERIENCED DURING RECENT GENERATIONS. [more inside]
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of to-do lists suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced
IPv6, a newer version of the Internet Protocol that most of the net will convert to during the next few years due to "address exhaustion" with the current IPv4, (previously, previously) has a variety of advanced security features in it. Once IPv6 is fully rolled out and all the technical people are familiar with it, computers connected to the internet will be much safer from some kinds of hacking - but until then we may be in for a bumpy ride.
TLC: [SLYT] The Learning Channel.
Kevin Kelly, writer and founding executive editor of Wired magazine, made the bold statement: "I say there is no species of technology that have ever gone globally extinct on this planet." The challenge was laid, including a search through the agricultural tools section of an 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue. Every item listed in that section was still made, somewhere in the world (and found online, to boot). Additional challengers were found, from the 8-Track (still being made [previously]), anvils (plenty), astrolabes (pick one [listed under Astrolabe Reproductions]). Button hooks? Check. Shoe X-Ray Machine? Probably extinct (via). [more inside]
"Over the last few years, I've been collecting examples of metagames — not the strategy of metagaming, but playable games about videogames. Most of these, like Desert Bus or Quest for the Crown, are one-joke games for a quick laugh. Others, like Cow Clicker and Upgrade Complete, are playable critiques of game mechanics. Some are even (gasp!) fun."
KeygenJukebox is ready to serve up a nice stream of chiptunes pulled from serial key generators, program crackers, trainers and so on. A large part of their library comes from the formidable collection at Keygenmusic, which carries the music in its original format and is organized by cracking group. Get nostalgic! Energize the workplace! Please note that no actual key generators or cracking information of any kind can be found on these sites.
The Economist asks a few economists from around the world: a) Which economists were most influential over the past decade? b) Which economists were doing the most to shape post-crisis thinking? The leading nominees: Ben Bernanke and Raghuram Rajan, respectively. In case the second name is unfamiliar, read a recent interview of him in The New Yorker or take a look at his blog. [more inside]
Cracking the Scratchie. With cheating and money laundering and statistics, this story seems like it should be about something more exciting than scratch-off lottery tickets. But it isn't.
Boobs in Bangkok: "Wayward Betty" tells the story of her Thai plastic surgery vacation. (Via The Hairpin, whose excerpt is eye-friendlier.)
It's Ratfist! (story started here, 17 updates ago) The webcomics world is semi-agog about this new daily entry by previous-master-of-other-media Doug TenNapel. Did somebody say "who?"? Just the well-warped mind behind landmark video games Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood, and unjustly forgotten toons Project GeeKeR and Catscratch, among other stuff.
Google set up a sting operation to prove that rival Microsoft search engine Bing is cheating, using Internet Explorer to track users' Google search results and mining that data to improve Bing. Here's the proof.
South Dakota Rep. Hal Wick (R-Sioux Falls), is sponsoring a bill [text] which would require all citizens to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense” within six months of turning age 21. Rep. Wick said he is introducing the bill to prove a point that the federal health care reform mandate passed last year is unconstitutional. [previously] [more inside]
On the heels of the Comcast/NBC merger, NBCUniversal have unveiled their new logo. Astute viewers will note that there's something missing from it.
Art Project, powered by Google: explore museums and galleries from around the world in the same way you explore cities with Street View and click on a painting (or select one from the list) to view a high quality scan. [more inside]
Iain Banks interviewed by the Open University (45min). Compare and contrast with Iain Banks interviewed on STV (25min) back in 1989. [more inside]
"The hypocrisy of western liberals is breathtaking: they publicly supported democracy, and now, when the people revolt against the tyrants on behalf of secular freedom and justice, not on behalf of religion, they are all deeply concerned. Why concern, why not joy that freedom is given a chance?" Slavoj Žižek on the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
We Chinese - street portraits and interviews about China and its future [via mefi projects] "In 2010, I traveled to major urban centers in eastern China stopping people on the street to ask the same two questions about their country and their future." [more inside]
Crime maps have formally reached England and Wales, says The Spectator. Launched today, the crime map shows two mild anti-social orders for our sleepy UK villige. What's your crime level?