February 17, 2013
A Golden Rice Opportunity is an article about how genetically modified 'golden rice' may save millions of children, at least according to Skeptical Environmentalist author Dr. Bjorn Lomborg.
Gallup surveyed U.S. adults in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine how many self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The GLBT percentage was highest in D.C. (10%) and lowest in North Dakota (1.7%). All the states were within 2 percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5%. The states with proportionally larger LGBT populations generally have supportive LGBT legal climates. With the exception of South Dakota, all of the states that have LGBT populations of at least 4% have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and allow same-sex couples to marry, enter into a civil union, or register as domestic partners. Of the 10 states with the lowest percentage of LGBT adults, only Iowa has such laws.
While I doubt that many of you get music tips from NPR, I have to admit that prior to their post "Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing", I had been unaware of The Milk Carton Kids (an earlier NPR Tiny Desk Concert). If you listen to nothing else, I do hope you will give a listen to Hope of a Lifetime, which (at the risk of editorializing) I must say is one of the most beautiful songs (and lyrics) that I have heard in a very long time. [more inside]
The Last of the Mongolian Eagle Hunters. "In remote Mongolia, a few men continue the dying tradition of training golden eagles to hunt. Australian photographer Palani Mohan describes his project to document what remains of this centuries-old culture." [more inside]
Campbell-award winning science fiction writer Jay Lake has cancer. His prognosis at this point is not good, but there is a distant hope - cancer genome sequencing. This is an expensive process, so the science fiction community got together and held a fundraiser, volunteering "Acts of Whimsy" as rewards for various monetary goals. The results were whimsical indeed. [more inside]
A baby elephant goes for a swim. Pretty much what it says on the tin. Happy Sunday.
Danica Patrick is the first woman to qualify for the Daytona 500 pole position, or any other Nascar Cup race.
William Benjamin Bensussen is a DJ and producer who started DJing in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, where his weird, heavy sound was generally a dancefloor killer, earning him the name The Gaslamp Killer But he kept at it, and found a home in Los Angeles, performing with the Low End Theory crew. On December 1, 2012, Gaslamp Killer joined an ever-growing list of notable DJs and appeared on BBC Radio 1 with an Essential Mix "This runs the gamut, freak flag and spliff waving in the air. 2 brutal and beautiful hours of raw beats, boom bap, and Birdman. There is psych-rock, there is juke, there is Spaghetti Western. Exclusives from Lotus, HudMo, and Dilla." If you like what you hear, there's even more below the break. [more inside]
Amongst the canals of Lake Xochimilco, south of Mexico City, there are artificial islands called chinampas. Chinampas were invented by the Aztecs as a way to increase agricultural production, and while most have been converted for residential or commercial use, there is one that stands apart: Isla de las Munecas (The Island of the Dolls). Home to hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls, their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences, and nearly every available surface. [more inside]
For the first time in its 120 year history the board of the Sierra Club has authorized the use of civil disobedience, to protest the proposed construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. (Previously) [more inside]
"But placing sand in island shapes is not enough. Because the islands are appearing in the blink of an eye, ecologically speaking, they are at risk of incredibly rapid erosion. Natural islands develop a healthy covering of plant life over the course of their accumulation, which serves as an anchor. New plants are not strong enough to provide the same utility, and so, created islands demand millions of transition plants, grown in nurseries, to pre-age the island. Once planted, their sturdier roots help the islands hold together long enough for a full ecosystem to boot up." Just one detail from the tour of New York City’s dredged landscapes Tim Maly, founder of the Dredge Research Collaborative, undertook to help understand the enormous scale on which dredging shapes New York and its harbors.
'One Design' boats are boats built to a specific set of dimensions and then, often and to varying degrees of competitiveness, raced. On the River Shannon, Ireland, they race an open dinghy called the Shannon One Design and have for about 90 years. The boats can be built by anyone with the inclination, as long as the dimensions are adhered to and the measurers certify the boat as being correct. In the late 70's Irish TV made a program called 'Hands' that showcased traditional crafts and their practitioners. Building a Shannon One Design was among the topics they covered. (Those links are the first, second and third parts that make up the episode). Interestingly, they also did an episode on building a 'Curragh' (part 2 part 3), a boat design that people have been building on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland since before anyone even thought to notice they were building boats a specific way. Following links, there are also episodes about wheel building, chair making and weaving, among others.
A Real World Series: Inside the world championship of blind baseball. "It’s different this year. I can’t get last year’s Series out of my mind, even though it ended in the last week of July, when Taiwan took two from Austin on a rainy Saturday in Ames, Iowa, to win the title in the 37th annual world series of blind baseball." [more inside]
Horse-egifs: A tribute to the surreal poetry of Horse_Ebooks, Horse-egifs takes a randomly selected video and makes a gif from a randomly selected chunk of that video.and then it gets posted to tumblr. [via mefi projects]
Royal Bodies by Hilary Mantel
"I used to think that the interesting issue was whether we should have a monarchy or not. But now I think that question is rather like, should we have pandas or not? Our current royal family doesn’t have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment. But aren’t they interesting?"
Tandyn Almer, composer of Along Comes Mary, died last month. Dawn Eden wrote about Almer after attending his funeral, and more recently he was profiled in The Washington Post.
Cairobserver is the start of a conversation about Cairo’s architecture and building, urban fabric and city life. A well curated blog about Cairo featuring both Arabic and English essays. [more inside]
"A mission scientist with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, Natalie Batalha hunts for exoplanets — Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system that might harbor life. She speaks about unexpected connections between things like love and dark energy, science and gratitude, and how "exploring the heavens" brings the beauty of the cosmos and the exuberance of scientific discovery closer to us all". (Audio link of interview at top left corner of page, other relevant links at bottom of page)
[Roy Chapman] Andrews is best remembered for the series of dramatic expeditions he led to the Gobi of Mongolia (shorter films: 1, 2) from 1922 to 1930. Andrews took a team of scientists into previously unexplored parts of the desert using some of the region’s first automobiles with extra supplies transported by camel caravan. Andrews – for whom adventure and narrow escapes from death were a staple of exploring – is said to have served as inspiration for the Hollywood character “Indiana Jones.” Andrews’s expeditions to the Gobi remain significant for, among other discoveries, their finds of the first nests of dinosaur eggs, new species of dinosaurs, and the fossils of early mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs. [more inside]
Photographer Anthony Kurtz visited Femme Auto in Senegal and took portraits of the mechanics and auto body workers there. They're really gorgeous shots, and it's always great to see badass women doing it to it in a male dominated field. (Via)