February 21, 2012
Get yer lunch kits and table legs folk, it's time for sonic fascination! Jon Free of London, England makes wee tin box and table leg guitars. If you like little guitars and Canadian punk you might like to watch Vancouver's Little Guitar Army play little electric guitars.
"The thing that distinguishes brainstorming from other types of group activity is the absence of criticism and negative feedback. If people were worried that their ideas might be ridiculed by the group, the process would fail." According to the technique's originator, Alex Osborn, "“Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it in the bud.'" Brainstorming seems like a marvellous, feel-good way of creative problem-solving. But it doesn’t work. [more inside]
A recent paper* documents a previously undocumented strategy, fraught with human psychological parallels, of a potentially adaptive mechanism against parasitism: self-medication via alcohol intoxication. [more inside]
No one ever listens to Worf. Worf gets DENIED again and again on Star Trek TNG.
Noel Perrin, "The Best American Novel about World War II": Guard of Honor is a classic (I think), but it is a hard one to put in an American literature course. Why? Because [James Gould] Cozzens was not a romantic. ... Its rightful place is as one of the greatest social novels ever written in America. [more inside]
Newt Gingrich said in a political campaign speech that one could not put a gun rack in a Chevy Volt, speaking against President Obama's to raise subsidies for electric cars. One Georgia engineer took that challenge to heart and showed that you can put a gunrack in a Volt, showing that even in the Deep South, there are innovative, forward thinking people (who like to hunt).
Polltopia (625 kb zip file) "It's a treasure trove for researchers that I'm sure is unmatched in the world of modern polling: [Daily Kos has] assembled all the raw data for every single Daily Kos/SEIU poll conducted in 2011 into a single file. That's 46 polls, including questionnaires ... in a nifty 623 KB package. No one else releases information this granular, so if you've ever wanted to take a deep, deep dive into raw polling data, this is your chance."
"Food on my dog" Exactly what it says on the tin.
The Police Gazette had it all: misogyny, violence, racism, and venereal disease. It was yellow journalism concentrated into its purest form (SL Cracked List).
My Little Pony’s Lauren Faust on how Super Best Friends Forever will make you love Batgirl and Supergirl all over again. The short animations will be part of Cartoon Networks DC Nation block, alongside Beware The Batman, the replacement for the late lamented Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Gary Webster is the general manager for the Toronto Transit Commission. Last year, Mayor Rob Ford (previously), after cancelling the Transit City light rail expansion in favour of a subway into Toronto's east end (also previously), asked Webster to prepare a report on the viability of such a subway line. Webster did so, and gave his honest opinion, which was that the Sheppard subway was not economically viable. Ford buried the report, and after the Toronto Star discovered its existence, Ford then requested that Webster speak to City Council about the pros and cons of subways and light rail. Webster advised against subways as City Council overruled Ford and reinstated a light rail-based transit plan. Ford's allies on the Toronto Transit Commission then petitioned for a special meeting to fire Webster (despite severance clauses that could cost the city more than a million dollars). They voted 5-4 to fire Gary Webster this afternoon. (Torontoist's liveblog of the meeting.)
AIDS Quilt - 25 Years Later: Yesterday marked the end of the "largest showing of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in [San Francisco] since the NAMES Project Foundation -- the quilt's caretaker -- closed its original Market Street location in 1999 and relocated to Atlanta the following year."♥ What started 25 years ago "as a single 3-foot-by-6-foot fabric panel has grown to a more than 54-ton tapestry with more than 47,000 panels remembering the [90,000] names of those lost to HIV/AIDS."
"What you call 8:00, we call home. Community returns to Thursday nights on March 15th." [more inside]
What if the seminal case on reproductive freedom had been Struck v. Secretary of Defense instead of Roe v. Wade?
"This is an attempt at recovery. This Essay hopes to call attention to then-Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1972 merits brief in Struck v. Secretary of Defense. The brief has been underappreciated in part because the Supreme Court of the United States eventually declined to decide the case.” On the 40th anniversary of the brief's submission, read Reva Siegel's compelling essay [pdf] on this overlooked brief in which “Ginsburg and the women’s movement talked about pregnancy discrimination in a way that ties together pregnancy discrimination and women’s equality, and women’s equality and reproductive freedom, before the Court split them apart,” and imagine what might have been had the Supreme Court decided Struck v. Secretary of Defense in 1972.
Yesterday, the Ohio Dep't of Transportation blew up the Fort Steuben bridge between Steubenville, OH, and Weirton, WV. The bridge was 84 years old. [more inside]
Josh Ritter's video for his new song, "Love is Making It's Way Back Home," was made from 12,000 construction paper cutouts, with zero post-production. A touch of making-of info here.
Thomas Barbey is a photographer and an artist and a surrealist. All at the same time. Apparently he used to be a musician. [more inside]
If you’ve spent much time in museums—or even leafing through art books—you’ve probably come across something that leaves you scratching your head. You’re not alone. The very funny, if occasionally puerile blog WTF Art History was created, according to the anonymous art historian who writes it, for “everyone who loves art history but has a sense of humor to know that even great masters create things that leave us asking, WTF?” [via] [prev]
Canonical's Ubuntu for Android offers a full Ubuntu Linux distribution running on a dual core Android smartphone when placed in a docking station. (photos) [more inside]
In February each year, Ludhiana becomes the destination fro hundreds of sports enthusiasts, including foreigners. They come to Kila Raipur to see the special breed of bullocks, camels, dogs, mules and other animals competing in highly professional events. It is to be seen to be believed. In 1946, Mr. Bakhsish Singh was instrumental in getting the most popular event of the Games – the Bullock Cart Race – introduced. This is the annual Kila Raipur Sports Festival, commonly called The Rural Olympics. This years games are over, but photos of various events are being posted online. For one last taste, here's a 10 minute video from the 2007 events.
Chris Arnade is a forex trader with an odd pasttime: taking pictures of New York addicts in a series he calls Faces of Addiction.
How do we get to a future of abundant, clean energy? Last year at the Euqinox Summit the Waterloo Global Science Initiative brought together a group of scientists and other thinkers to try to answer that question. The result of thier work is the Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 [pdf]. The report lays out five key areas for advancement: battery storage, enhanced geothermal, advanced nuclear, off-grid power (using flexible solar cells) and smart urbanization. [more inside]
"Rescue Pet" a comic about the effects of horrible mutating mimic blobs on a strained romantic relationship.
Double helix stairs allow for performers on one stair and audience on the other, letting the two intertwine but never come into direct contact as the stairs wind up the tower. An eight-story structure built on the grounds of Oliver Ranch in Sonoma, designed by Anne Hamilton. [more inside]
"One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments." An early part of the American experiment with Eugenics, the Walter E. Fernald State School inspired scores of similar institutions across the country, and more recently, one of the definitive histories of the era. [more inside]
Maddie the coonhound and her owner travel around, she stands on things, he takes pictures. The result is wonderful.
With 14,952 backers pledging a total of $1,254,120.00, the Order of the Stick Reprint Drive has become only the second project in Kickstarter's history to finish with over a million dollars in funding. [more inside]
Lembit Opik MP lost his seat at the last election. Already a colourful figure, (not least because of his past relationships with a weather girl, Cheeky Girl, and underwear model*) has since taken an interesting subsequent career route via stand-up comedy to recently entering the music business himself by starring in a video for a new indie band) (*Relationship may only be for PR purposes, allegedly)
46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace's 50th Birthday. The writer described as The Best Mind of His Generation would have turned 50 years old today. [more inside]
Barack Obama has had an alien lizard implanted in the back of his head, with your tax dollars. You might think this sounds like some big pile of conspiracy tinfoil hat crap. Please read on and consider all the evidence before you jump to conclusions. [more inside]
Your pal Microsoft wants to warn you against the Googlighting Stranger.
John Michael Greer, blogging at The Archdruid Report, has recently been rounding off his entries with stories of end-of-the-world predictions that did not come true. [more inside]
The Boy who Played with Fusion. At age four, [Taylor Wilson] donned a fluorescent orange vest and hard hat and stood in front of the house, directing traffic. For his fifth birthday, he said, he wanted a crane. But when his parents brought him to a toy store, the boy saw it as an act of provocation. “No,” he yelled, stomping his foot. “I want a real one.” [more inside]
Why Mass Effect is the most important science fiction universe of our generation (Contains SPOILERS for Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2)
"Birdcloud met in Murfreesboro and immediately didn’t like eachother. At a party in 2009 they had some whiskeys and became friends and started dicking around on guitar, writing their first song, a song about going down on your best friend, now lost to the sands of time. Despite a lukewarm reception at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, they have been sitting on eachother’s faces ever since, showing eachother their bruises and generally doing whatever they want when it works out that way." Songs on the inside NSFW if you can't tell. [more inside]
Once Upon a Time in Bombay "It is said that Bombay is the Alexandria of India. Its geographical position and commercial relations bear evidently some resemblance to the great eastern entrepot of the Mediterranean. As the swampy Rhakotis, a mere fishing village which Alexander the Great transformed into the splendid city of Alexandria, the desolate islet of the Bombay Koli fishermen was changed into the present capital of Western India." -- J. Gershon da Cunha in Origin of Bombay (google book) [more inside]
Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 may remember Racket Girls as a sleazy little Poverty Row crime drama featuring wooden lady-wrestler acting and inexplicable overdubbed audience shrieking. You may not be aware, however, that Racket Girls was one of three movies starring Timothy Farrell as the oily Umberto Scalli, and that Dance Hall Racket (1953) was written by, and costars, Lenny Bruce. [more inside]
...this stubborn idea he had about maintaining his sanity took a couple of hard hits when: 1. He presented the shoes that government agents had supposedly melted...which simply looked like worn out running shoes. 2. The government's psychologist and one of Friedman's choosing both concurred that he was totally schizophrenic. Still, Friedman pressed on, demanding better counsel for himself and filing a second Freedom of Information Act (he was not satisfied with the first) for:
"all documents pertaining to the microwave auditory effect, microwave hearing effect, Frey effect, artificial telepathy, and/or any device/weapon which uses and/or causes such effect; and any covert or undisclosed use of hypnosis"This FOIA request, however, was much more successful. The document (which was verified by wired.com in 2008 through the US Army Intelligence And Security Command Freedom Of Information/Privacy Office), contained quite a bit of interesting/terrifying information...
"A staggering 49 per cent of Pakistanis said that it did not matter to them whether the government was democratic or not. Even more surprisingly, 21 per cent of Indian respondents also said that it did not matter to people such as themselves whether the government was democratic or dictatorial. Added to the fact that a third of respondents offered no response at all, many people in countries with substantial experience of democracy or with significant experience of both democracy and dictatorship appear to share the Libyans’ ambivalence about democracy as the preferred form of governance."
Surfing took a baby step or the first dip at the first India Surf Festival in Puri this month. Indian surfers, from states along India's long coastline, came together for the first time, in one place. From fishermen's sons to professional surfing instructors, they do not fit the classic, global image of surfers we have. They are uniquely Indian.
Meet the first generation of Indian Surfers.
Meet the first generation of Indian Surfers.