February 10, 2009
Surprising stories behind 20 Muppet characters. Example: "Miss Piggy is apparently from Iowa".
"It doubtless seems highly paradoxical to assert that Time is unreal, and that all statements which involve its reality are erroneous. ... I believe that time is unreal. But I do so for reasons which are not, I think, employed by any of the philosophers whom I have mentioned, and I propose to explain my reasons in this paper." ~McTaggart, The Unreality of Time, 1908. (Bonus: The Kant Song.)
The Vimy Ridge Memorial is a common destination for Canadian travellers in France. As previous visitors have discovered, however, it is not the easiest place to reach once you get off the train. Thankfully, there's been help in the form of the Welcome Man (Windows Media embedded video --clip starts at 11:30). Over the last 13 years Georges Devloo has met the train at Vimy every day, where he offers free transportation to the memorial to confused and lost Canadians seeking to pay their respects. In this time, it's been estimated that M. Devloo has given rides other assistance to over 1,200 Canadians. Today, we said au-revoir to "le grand-père de Vimy".
The Virginia Quarterly Review — "A National Journal of Literature and Discussion" — just made public every article, essay, book review etc. published in its pages between 1975 and 2003. Search the archives here or check out this blog post for some greatest hits.
Cursebird is a real-time feed of people cursing on Twitter.
Billy Joel performs "Only The Good Die Young" as it was meant to be heard: a reggae number.
The day will come when the words of Shakespeare are no longer known. Roger Ebert looks back on a long career and waxes philosophical.
Young American woman eats praying mantis. Asian woman eats large black scorpion. Young Asian woman eating insect while exploitative Westerner goads her. Drunk American woman eats cicada, with much trepidation. Middle aged western man eats giant chinese cockroach. Katie eats a potato bug.
Canada is a desired location for Guantanamo Bay detainees. The Canadian Council for Refugees has profiles (pdf) up for some of the people they are helping.
A giant horse, by Turner Prize-winner Mark Wallinger, will soon tower over part of southern England. Previously.
The Invasion From Outer Space: Steven Millhauser gives The New Yorker a short, unsettling sci-fi story.
"You take the gatekeeper and you confuse his mind. You threaten him and you throw him in the middle of nowhere. Then nobody knows where the gate is. As soon as you lose the whereabouts of the gate, then you have a culture going downhill. What keeps a village together is a handful of "gays and lesbians," as they call them in the modern world. In my village, lesbians are called witches, and gay men are known as the gatekeepers." The Dagara people of Burkina Faso. [more inside]
Tragedy of the anti-commons is the opposite of tragedy of the commons - it's when too many owners create grid-lock, nothing can get accomplished. It exists everywhere from copyright law, tech patents, music industry, airport runway expansion, medicine, etc.. it is pervasive across all aspects of modern capitalist societies. The concept was coined by Professor Michael Heller who published a book in 2008 called The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives. In an excellent Authors@Google video, Michael Heller explains what it is and how it undermines capitalism, in particular over the past 30 years with increased privatization.
Amidst The Ghosts Of Its Fallen Figures: With the 20th anniversary of the Seattle scene's insurgence fast approaching, Exclaim! follows the timeline of Mark Lanegan, the scene's poetic misfit. [more inside]
Feel like listening to a concert tonight? Something classical? Or maybe folk is a bit more your style? World? Jazz? Nearly every day, two or three more live concert recordings are added to CBC Radio2's 'Concerts on Demand' library, with nearly 900 concerts now in the list. Each concert is given just as presented live, and you can either stream the whole thing, or choose track by track. Timings are given for all the music, and photo galleries and full descriptions and credits round it all off. All in all, it's a fabulous presentation, and there is more music here than you will ever be able to keep up with!
Just ahead of a re-election referendum in Venezuela (scheduled for February 15), The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators [PDF][Via]
A tale of two countries Some time ago, the french & German tv channel Arte had created an internet extension devoted to audio only, Arteradio. This website contains hours of audio creations. This is the place where you can listen to The first radio drama /la première fiction radio /in two languages and one version /en deux langues et une seule version /a BBC-ARTE Radio coproduction /enregistrée à Paris et London /recorded on location /diffusée en hertzien /broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 on February, 4th, 2009 /online on arteradio.com. You can also listen to McKenzie Wark, or to the moment of silence created on September the eleventh 2002, to Steve, to English pupils in Paris, to Susan George, to Dean Hurley commenting his work, and then dive into the complete unknown, and pure French sounds, like these testimonies about masturbation, or about la chanson, like a Paris postcard, or even a street snapshot.
Back in 2006 on her parent's property in Galveston, a girl went outside to switch on a tripped breaker. She was wearing tight shorts. She was 12-years-old. Dymond Milburn got the living daylights beaten out of her and was hospitalized by 3 plain-clothes policemen on the mistaken pretense that she was a hooker. "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me." The final arguments of the trial were heard yesterday and it was declared a mistrial. The Milburns have launched a Federal suit against the officers.
At about 9:00PM last night, the nearly completed 40 story Mandarin Oriental Beijing caught fire. By midnight the entire building was engulfed in flames. The hotel was situated next to the CCTV Building, a new Beijing landmark known to locals as "The Big Underpants". Early reports suggest that illegal fireworks launched for the Lantern Festival, the last night of the Chinese New Year holiday, were the cause.