March 17, 2010
Open Library has a new collaborative open source website that aims to catalog every book ever published. About the project. The vision is one Wiki page for every edition of every work with description details.
"My friend from Michigan says if you pushed all the Great Lakes together they'd be as big as the Mediterranean. I say, why bother?"
Scans of all three issues of Army Man Magazine, the legendary late 80s humor zine put together by future Simpsons' writer George Meyer (an excellent New Yorker profile of Meyer) which also included material from Jack Handey, John Swartzwelder, Bob Odenkirk, among many others. Another contributor, Ian Frazier, talks about Army Man in a Believer Interview. Sadly the scans are small (but the jokes are still big) and of poor quality. For a non-eyestraining introduction, Maud Newton transcribed a good bit of material and posted it at the end of an appreciation of Army Man on her blog.
Twenty years ago tonight, thieves posing as Boston police talked their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and left with thirteen works of art now valued at half a billion dollars, including a Vermeer and three Rembrandts. Neither those responsible for history's greatest art theft, nor the missing works of art, have ever been located. (Previously, including a comment from a MeFite who had been working security at the musuem, but not that night.)
A French, state-run TV channel appears to be stirring controversy by airing a documentary about a fake game show in which contestants torture eachother, called "Game of Death." Based on the well-known Stanley Milgram experiments of the 1960's that, in the wake of Nazi Germany, sought out to measure man's willingness to obey orders. [more inside]
Memphis music legend Alex Chilton dead at 59 Deep-voiced 60s boy singer and leader of "one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock and roll." Alex Chilton died today at age 59. Cause of death believed to be a heart attack.
A large gallery of contributed images from Spain including what looks to be an entertainer with a prosthetic nose and ear; a hand tinted baby in a bow and school photo; young tough guys and not so tough guys; plus old Semana Santa scenes, as posted previously. [more inside]
The original version of Alice in Wonderland, handwritten and hand-drawn by Lewis Carroll, has been posted online. The illustrations are a treat in themselves. [more inside]
The Day My Arse Died Two men against the hottest curry known.
Strippers and pr0n stars (and others) play D&D in web series I Hit It With My Axe at The Escapist. Interview with participant Satine Phoenix. Surprisingly pretty much SFW so far (no nudity but, as they say, salty language)
Stuart Rojstaczer wrote an article in the Washington Post in 2003 detailing his experience as a professor with grade inflation at Duke. He has set up a website where he has aggregated data from the grades of two million undergraduates tracking the phenomenon. [more inside]
Eating healthy on a budget isn't just for hipsters on food stamps. While some have called Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman's ideas about cooking and eating "elitist," there are many cooks who are smart enough to know that cooking at home is the only way to eat healthy on a budget. While Jamie Oliver pledges to give all school children "10 recipes that will save their lives," almost anyone on any budget can change the way they shop for, prepare, and think about food. [more inside]
Depression's upside. Could depression be an evolutionary gift? Could kindness? Charles Darwin himself had a history of ailments that may help to illustrate the idea.
Culture Jam: Hijacking Corporate Culture [39m CBC Short Cuts version on Google Video] is an overview of "culture jamming". [more inside]
"In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance. Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis [now Assurant Health], revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that." [more inside]
Kim Jong-il, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, has a $4 billion (£2.6 billion) “emergency fund” hidden in secret accounts in European banks that he will use to continue his lavish way of life if he is forced to flee the country.
Live online broadcast of the 2010 Paralympic Games (Silverlight required). The Paralympics are back, this time in Vancouver. Sledge hockey, alpine & cross-country skiing, biathalon and curling. You can watch every event live or recorded on ParalympicSport.tv or see some photos at The Big Picture.
The FDA has yet to approve stem cell therapies for general use in medicine, but that hasn’t stopped doctors in Colorado from providing them anyway. [more inside]
If you'd like something to work on today other than your pint of Guinness, why not take a crack at "one of Australia's most profound mysteries," a sixty-two-year-old unsolved murder known as the Taman Shud case? [more inside]
I like bagpipes. And I'm not afraid to admit it. They can be traditional, rock, or cross-cultural. They may have been around since ancient Rome. It's the instrument everyone claims to hate, but who can really hate a good drone?
Sure, big numbers are fine. But infinity (in the set theoretic sense) is where the fun really starts. Developed almost entirely by one man in the late 19th century, set theory now forms the foundation of modern mathematics. Cantor showed that not all infinite sets are the same size. Notably, while there are just as many integers as rational numbers, there are more real numbers than integers. These results, along with others that soon followed like the axiom of choice, led to several fascinating consequences: [more inside]
Russel Cox, one of the people behind Google's new programming language Go, has written a three part series on regular expressions. It's a nice mix of computer science theory, programming, and history: Regular Expression Matching Can Be Simple And Fast, Regular Expression Matching: the Virtual Machine Approach, and Regular Expression Matching in the Wild.
"Chris Supranowitz is a researcher at The Insitute of Optics at the University of Rochester. Along with a number of other spectacular studies (such as quantum optics, trapping of atoms, dark states and entanglement), Chris has decided to look at the relatively boring grooves of a vinyl record using the institute’s electron microscope." More complete study here.
With all props to wearers of the green, also note it was twenty years ago today bassist Rick Grech found his way home. [more inside]
This American Infographic. This American Infographic is a web site where the goal is to make an infographic on every This American Life ever made.