February 15, 2008
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, "International Chess" was the only widely known chess variant in the West. It had its problems. People tried to solve them. Of course, they could just play xiangqi instead. There's also janggi, Makruk, and the granddaddy of them all, chaturanga. Perhaps the most refined game in the family, however, is Japanese Chess--shogi. [more inside]
"'Obama is all talk' is all talk." Matt Burton, creator of Readable Laws and other projects aimed at opening up government and the political process to the masses, has chimed in on the issue of the "substance" behind the rhetoric of the various candidates. He notes how in articles such as this people attack Barack Obama for his fine oratory but lack of details. He then digs in and asks, Who really is being specific about their stances on the issues? Barack or Hillary?
FreakAngels. Warren Ellis has a new web-based graphic novel starting today, with art by Paul Duffield.
The New Adventures of Batman was the first animated show dedicated specifically to Batman, and since has been followed by more recent adaptations like Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and the presently on going The Batman. Now Bruce Wayne receives the Animatrix treatment this year as a lead up to The Dark Knight with Batman: Gotham Knight. (Ten minute video about the project) [more inside]
"In a test of the American Dream, Adam Shepard started life from scratch with the clothes on his back and twenty-five dollars. Ten months later, he had an apartment, a car, and a small savings." Introduction to the book which arose from his "journey", which was inspired by Barbara Ehrenreich. [more inside]
Desperate for money? Short on good sense? Bull Poker might be for you! Last one to get up from the table and run for his life wins the pot! All YouTube links. Warning: Some gore and blood. [more inside]
The 5 Most Badass U.S. Presidents of All-Time. Just in time for Presidents' Day weekend. In ascending order of badassitude: Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, John Quincy Adams, George Washington and your number 1, Theodore Roosevelt. [more inside]
Back in May, an Egyptian professor found a loophole to allow an unmarried female to be alone in the presence of a man. All she has to do is breastfeed him 5 times. Radā is a technical term from Islamic jurisprudence meaning "the suckling which produces the legal impediment to marriage of foster-kinship". Now the good people over at Haase & Martin have come up with their own way to get under that burka.
For more than 50 years, it was believed that the first recording Allen Ginsberg made of Howl was in Berkeley in March 1956. Now, an earlier recording – made on Valentine's Day 1956 at Reed College, Portland, Oregon – has been found. Reed have made it – along with seven other poems Ginsberg read the same night – available here. (Click on "Allen Ginsberg reads ..." for drop down menu; apologies for crappy quicktime interface.)
Om nom nom nom! NPR's In Character interviews Cookie Monster. In addition to the video interview, there is are articles (written and audio) about The Big C.
His Career Is In Your Hands. Musician / Producer Butch Walker (formerly of Marvelous 3) had a rough autumn in 2007. He was renting a home from a Chili Pepper, a home into which he had moved all of his personal and professional belongings. Unfortunately, Flea's Malibu rental property was directly in the path of California's November batch of wildfires. Tough break indeed. So how does an artist recover from such a devastating loss? He gives away his newest live double-album for free. Or $5.99. The choice is yours. Why? The domain name says it all.
One Thousand Monkeys, One Thousand Typewriters is the largest online source of free role playing and story games. With so many choices, you may want to look at the winners of the 2006 Game Chef contest, with its interesting rules: Crime and Punishment, the RPG about being a writer for a crime procedural TV show; Liquid Crystal, about a robot with no memory; Time Traitor with its mysterious Factors; and the haunted house story Merryweather. [more inside]
Nature Aquariums. Little plastic castle and bubbling treasure chest don't do it for you? Me neither. But the living landscapes Aqua Forest Aquarium creates in fishtanks are gorgeous. [Flash-based image gallery]
The Gold prize in the Die and Mold machining section of Mori Seiki’s Cutting Dream Contest Awards 2007 was won by the Kawanami Ironworks Inc. Based in Kyoto, Japan, the company machined a jacket from aluminum. [more inside]
Suicide bombers in Valhalla "Sverige fights back! I'll see the heroes in Valhalla, inshallah." Where can you find an eclectic mix of Fascists, Libertarian Socialists, Trotskyists, National Anarchists, DPRK apologists, Dixie lovers, Christian Reconstructionists and Islamists all in one place? [more inside]
Atomic Platters :: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security
Last summer two right feet washed up on shore within a week of each other on two separate tiny islands in British Columbia. Today a third right foot has just washed up.
A mindbending logic puzzle. A thousand people on the island, 900 brown-eyed and 100 blue-eyed; anyone who learns their own eye color must kill themself the next day; a visitor mentions that there is a blue-eyed person on the island; what happens? Nothing, you say, because they already know that? Wrong. Further details at the Terry Tao post linked above, but don't scroll down below the boxed description unless you want hints and/or spoilers. [more inside]
The Power of Photography (might or might not be NSFW) with accompanying articles: Stricken Child crawling towards a Food Camp  | The Falling Man  | The Youngest Mother  | Born Twice  (via)
The Frontline club is a media club in west London supporting international independent journalism. Started by Vaughan Smith (prev) after the Frontline TV agency closed, it has a restaurant, cinema and hosts talks by leading journalists. The website has blogs, articles and photography, and you can watch full length videos of talks, with people like Jeremy Paxman, David Horovitz and Robert Thomson
A Visual Guide To Recycling Plastics. Most recycling programs only accept plastics #1 and #2, so being able to quickly identify them can be a time saver when sorting your recycling. In the future, we should be able to recycle plastics #3 through #7 — but for now these outcasts must be banished to the landfill (that’s too bad, because a lot of stuff is made from plastic #5).