February 12, 2011
In 1993, after aid worker Bill Carter told them about the situation in Sarajevo, U2 wanted to play a concert there, but realized it would be impractical and dangerous for both the band and the people of Sarajevo. But Bono promised that U2 would play the city one day. (He also set up a satellite link to Sarajevo in the middle of Zooropa concerts.) On September 23, 1997, a year after the official end of the siege, U2 kept that promise. [more inside]
Sabermetrician in Exile. Voros McCracken's radical idea -- that pitchers have very little ability to induce batters to hit into outs, and succeed mostly insofar as they can strike out a lot of hitters and give up few home runs and walks -- has changed the way baseball teams are constructed. (Heard of BABIP? That's him.) Every major league team has employees who rely on McCracken's insights. McCracken, struggling to make his rent in suburban Phoenix, isn't one of them.
Starship Schematics Database: dedicated to the sole purpose of archiving every single starship design ever conceived in the Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Space Battleship Yamato (A.K.A. Star Blazers in the USA) Universes, both official and unofficial, interesting and mediocre.
A reader asks Rumpus columnist Sugar, "what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?" "Tiny Beautiful Things," column number 64, answers that question.
Forever Alone? No one to talk to? Not anymore! Cleverbot is chatbot AI that learns from people and provides a surprisingly realistic simulation of inane chatter. It's also a Beatles fan. [more inside]
Hello, I am fat. This is my body (over there—see it?). I have lived in this body my whole life. I have wanted to change this body my whole life. I have never wanted anything as much as I have wanted a new body. I am aware every day that other people find my body disgusting. I always thought that some day—when I finally stop failing—I will become smaller, and when I become smaller literally everything will get better (I've heard It Gets Better)! My life can begin!
Psychedelic painting done just a bit differently: Tall Painting | Time Lapses | Paint Montage. All available in 1080p HD by Holton Rower.
The largest model railway layout in the world, Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland has been featured here before. Featuring areas modelled on real life attractions, it also is home to the fictional town of Knuffingen where the 200,000 mini-inhabitants are very much looking forward to the opening of their new airport. [more inside]
An Urban Teacher's Education is a intelligent, touching and very personal blog about the challenges that a high school teacher faces in the Bronx. [via]
In November, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency accepted a bid from Kennerly Architecture and Planning for an affordable housing complex at Sixth Street and Howard. The plans for the new building (PDF) are striking, but fans of public art will notice that a few things are missing. [more inside]
How Small, Mostly Conservative Towns Have Found the Trick to Defeating Corporations. 'As the Right pushes privatization as a solution to the economic collapse, one organization is teaching communities how to defeat corporations.''For the past 30 years, there has been a deliberate effort to deregulate industry and to choke off federal support for public services and public spaces, paving the way for greater corporate control.''The goal is the same as it's been for decades: "The elimination of the public sphere, total liberation for corporations and skeletal social spending," 'One of the places where this strategy can be most detrimental is the corporate takeover of public water sources and infrastructure, which is elemental to our survival.' [more inside]
There is No Such Thing as a Girl Gamer, says Hellchick, a veteran game developer that happens to be of the girl gender. There are no "girl gamers," she says, but there are gamers that happen to be girls, and anyway, it shouldn't matter either way. "It’s not my responsibility to wear some kind of online burka because you lack the maturity to handle the mere presence of a woman in your game."
Face Research (previously) averaged faces of women from 41 countries to create the "average" face in each country. [more inside]
Modern mainstream video games tend to be about framerates and millions of polygons per second. But it is possible to play games that have hardly any graphics at all: audio-only games like Papa Sangre, designed for iOS devices, being the most recent example of the genre (and with binaural audio, probably the most ambitious). There are others: In The Pit for Xbox 360 (or a PC with a 360 wired controller) [previously], the (sadly incomplete) Cadet 277 for PC and Mac, and SoundVoyager, released in 2006 for the Nintendo. More at the Experimental Gameplay Project.
Dan Harmon is the creator of the brilliant NBC comedy Community. He recorded a bunch of videos promoting the show on this brilliant promotional site (playing Patrick Isakson, Dean of Admissions). He was not happy when Community moved to 8PM Thursdays. (He talks to himself a lot.) Community's Dungeons and Dragons episode last week (warning: Hulu link) was pretty great, but did you know that Harmon was a member of the Dead Alewives, and wrote and voiced characters in this classic D&D sketch? Here's that sketch's lesser-known second part.
I’m Jonathan Klinger and I’m spending one full year driving a 1930 Model A everywhere I go. (Starting October 13, 2010) Why? Because not everything a person owns should contain a computer. 365 days of A
Andy Carvin hasn't slept much for the last 19 days. Curation of news, social media, and rumor: is this the future of journalism? The story of @acarvin. [more inside]
Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, backs a NSW law that allows private schools to expel gay students simply for being gay. "But the churches are now divided. The Anglican bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, told the Herald: 'I don't think our schools would want to use it.'"
Reality Touch Theatre at the University of Groningen: "... we turned our existing 3D theatre with a big cylindrical screen into one that can detect 100+ simultaneous touches." [more inside]
Smart Pretty and Awkward is a daily blog in which Molly Ford shares advice on how to be smarter, prettier, and (less) awkward.