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February 20, 2009
The Spark of Life
Sparks of Life. "That the electric 'spark of life' figured prominently in debates over the nature of life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is well known. Less well known is the fact that prior to this period, gunpowder was often identified with the substances that were necessary to life, if not as a vitalistic spirit, then as an essential element in the animation of the body. The idea of a spark of life went back to ancient times, likening living beings to the glowing embers of a fire. In the Old Testament, for example, the wise woman of Tekoah begs for the life of her son, pleading 'they will stamp out my last live ember.' But from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, this vital flame was often equated with gunpowder. There was fire in the blood: not electric, but pyrotechnic fire."
posted by homunculus at 9:38 PM PST - 11 comments

Against conceptualism, hedonism and the cult of the ego-artist.
The Stuckists are a loosely affiliated group of artists - mainly painters - with some strong opinions, helpfully spelled out in a manifesto. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot at 9:35 PM PST - 46 comments

"Wall up a dozen lawyers at one end and put a good fee at the other."
Into the black. At nearly five miles, it's the longest transportation tunnel east of the Rockies. Built in 1874, its construction took 200 lives, nearly bankrupted the state of Massachusetts, and served as a crucible for modern engineering. Journey into the Hoosac Tunnel, urban exploration destination and the most haunted place in New England.
posted by billypilgrim at 9:21 PM PST - 18 comments

Does what it says on the tin.
Dancing Japanese Street Gangs - mov
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:10 PM PST - 12 comments

In which last.fm hands over scrobble data to the RIAA. Maybe.
In which last.fm hands over listening data about leaked albums to the RIAA. Maybe.
posted by NoraReed at 3:20 PM PST - 81 comments

The Beginning Of The End.
Frontline: Inside The Meltdown. Synopsis here. [more inside]
posted by gman at 2:21 PM PST - 47 comments

What to do if it gets 'bigger'?
What to do if it gets 'bigger'? The problems associated with intra-operative erections are discussed. Present theory is reviewed to allow a better understanding of the available treatment options.
posted by Bravocharlie at 2:13 PM PST - 52 comments

CommunityComixWeblogging
Two examples of community weblogs that revolve around DIY-comix-by-flash-template: Toonlet, where the comments are in comic form, too; and Pixton, which allows for a bit more creative control (but no comix-comments).
posted by not_on_display at 2:04 PM PST - 5 comments

Jumpman
Friday 3MB-Mac-and-PC-download fun: Jumpman. [more inside]
posted by Rinku at 1:15 PM PST - 29 comments

The End Of BaconMania
Imminent death of baconmania predicted.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:14 AM PST - 137 comments

Buying a scalpel set doesn't make you a surgeon, but...
Not all of us need, or want, $10,000 worth of Adobe and Microsoft software to be creative. So, here's some alternatives, each available on every major platform:

GIMP, for all your drawing and photo-editing needs. (Windows and OSX.)
Inkscape, for vector graphics creation.
Scribus, for incredibly powerful document creation.
FontForge, if you want to make your own fonts.
OpenOffice, the old standby for word processing, spreadsheets, and all those other office needs. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew at 10:03 AM PST - 189 comments

Willie Donaldson, rake and satirist
'If you value nothing, then nothing you value can be taken from you.' William Donaldson, the author of the infamous Henry Root Letters led a life more colourful than any of his literary inventions. [more inside]
posted by ob at 9:24 AM PST - 13 comments

Slim Suit Commercial
The Slim Suit helps you shed pounds by merely wearing it. [SLYT]
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 8:38 AM PST - 48 comments

"Extinct" Bird Seen, Eaten
This is a metaphor for something.
posted by pianomover at 8:38 AM PST - 71 comments

$75,000 Jackpot
Josh Freese shows all how to promote an album in 2009. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:28 AM PST - 48 comments

This is true sportsmanship.
Two high school basketball teams unite in grieving a player's recent loss. Johntel Franklin, senior basketball captain for Milwaukee Madison, lost his mother to cervical cancer on the day of a game with friendly rivals from DeKalb. In a beautiful act of sportsmanship, both teams decide to forgo points in order to help Johntel deal with his grief.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 6:47 AM PST - 76 comments

Gettysburg in Miniature
Miniature Gettysburg is "photographed on a 250 square foot diorama accurately representing portions of the terrain of the Gettysburg Battlefield as it appeared on July 2, 1863." The portfolio section has some very intriguing looking photos, unfortunately they cannot be viewed large. Some info on the artist's techniques here. [via] [more inside]
posted by marxchivist at 6:46 AM PST - 15 comments

Sorry, Phil.
Several months ago, poker player Tom "durrrr" Dwan issued an unprecedented challange. In effect, he is offering 3:1 odds—his $1.5 million to the challengers $500,000—that, playing high-stakes heads-up (one on one) online poker, he will be winning after 50,000 hands. The challenge is open to anyone except for durrrr's good friend Phil Galfond; three players have reportedly accepted, and play in the first match began yesterday. The results are being tracked in real time here and here; you can brave the inanity of twoplustwo (previously) and read the ongoing match thread here.
posted by cmyr at 4:15 AM PST - 27 comments

Dear Neighbour, you are not invited to my party
Last week when I checked my mailbox, I found that my new neighbour had left me a note stating that he was having a party and to let him know if the noise was too loud. The problem I have with the note is not that he was having a party and didn't invite me, it was that he selected a vibrant background of balloons, effectively stating that his party was going to be vibrant and possibly have balloons and that I couldn't come. [more inside]
posted by Ljubljana at 2:30 AM PST - 108 comments