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March 17, 2011
Science Fair Photos, 1942-2011
The Society for Science in the Public Interest photostream features photos of Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Talent Search winners from 1942 to the present. First place winner Ron Unz, later a failed California gubernatorial candidate and now publisher of The American Conservative. Nerds have always loved glowing liquids. Also van de Graaf generators. A guy made the finals with a sweeping robot. "Look! It's the future!" Ann Sieferle-Valencia won 7th place in 1997 with a an archeology project and is now the curator of the Tucson Museum of Art. George HW Bush digs science projects. So does Chuck Schumer. Tall finalist. Science! I just liked this one.
posted by escabeche at 9:45 PM PST - 6 comments

RSA has been hacked.
Computer security vendor RSA, maker of two-factor authentication SecurID, has been hacked by unknown parties. In an open letter to it customers RSA Executive Chairman Arthur W. Coviello, Jr. calls the attack the work of an Advanced Persistent Threat, meaning a highly skilled, well-funded group acting deliberately & precisely to achieve a specific goal. RSA's clients include many Fortune 100 companies, US Government, Military & Intelligence Community organizations.
posted by scalefree at 8:27 PM PST - 118 comments

RCA, that's the company that used to make phonographs... uh, yeah, sure
RetCon Artists: Improving the Future by Improving the Past... A few days ago, MeFi's Own waxpancake hosted a special session at SXSWInteractive where he invited web-savvy people to make pitches for The Worst Website Ever II (it was done once before), with concepts that are bad, worse than bad, so bad they're good, evil, just plain wrong or not even wrong. One of the presenters (some guy from a website) came up with "RetCon Artists: Improving the Future by Improving the Past" (video) (PDF), providing a Social Solution to a Seinfeldian (or actually Costanzan) Problem. He went on to build a website that expanded the concept into useful services "whether you're polishing your personal brand or managing a multinational corporate image". Since this is the only one of the ideas that has ended up on the Web since the competition, it is obviously the one that won. Congratulations, Josh. [via mefi projects]
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:34 PM PST - 20 comments

Multi-tracked Melodica
The melodica has all the irritation and the none of the charm of the accordion, but James Howard Young is doing amazing things with it... and multi-tracking. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 3, first movement, arranged for 10 melodicas (the video shows 9), Vivaldi's L'Estro Armonico Concerto no. 8 in A minor for 2 violins, 3rd mvt arranged for 7 melodicas, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto, no 1, first movement, arranged for 12 melodicas. All videos featuring just one melodicist. [more inside]
posted by Jahaza at 7:29 PM PST - 40 comments

Libya no fly zone
UN Security Council approves no-fly zone over Libya.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:29 PM PST - 930 comments

The beauty of the web
We are IE - Comparing every version of Internet Explorer (slyt)
posted by Artw at 6:00 PM PST - 35 comments

"Steer clear of the Failed State of Third Wave Ska, son. It’s like Mogadishu, but with soul patches and trombones."
Comic Punx is a blog devoted to the (mostly hilarious) depictions of punk rock in comic books. It's by Andrew Weiss, who's main blog is Armagideon Time (home of the great Nobody's Favorites.) He's also one of the the Bureau Chiefs behind Fake AP Stylebook (previously) and runs Dateline: Silver Age (previouisly).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:58 PM PST - 21 comments

knit two, purl two
How to knit a GIGANTO-BLANKET! The finished product: Giganto-blanket – finished! Oh yeah, and there's a cat.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:31 PM PST - 44 comments

CSI: Ankh-Morpork
Discworld's City Watch to be turned into a TV series. Sam Vimes may finally be coming to moving pictures.
posted by kmz at 4:21 PM PST - 145 comments

Japanpost-earthquake nuclear crisis keeps going
Fukushima Dai-ichi status and potential outcomes The Oil Drum has begun posting daily threads about the Japanese nuclear plant event. As during the last energy crisis, the comments there tend to have a good signal-to-noise ratio.
posted by mediareport at 4:10 PM PST - 1798 comments

You know what it is to keep a promise to the dead.
Aboriginal Science Fiction was started in 1987 to rethink the look and feel of SF magazines; Charles Ryan published it in full sized magazine format, on glossy paper, with four-color interior illustrations and it sold well. Aboriginal kept up a full schedule through 1991, when a personal financial crisis nearly shut him down. He kept putting out the occasional issue until 2001, but the irregularity made it hard to find.

Aboriginal courted new writers, one of whom was Robert A. Metzger, an electrical engineer and laser specialist who wrote quirky, fun hard SF stories. After Aboriginal mostly folded and he got shafted on his first book deal, he mostly walked away from writing. He's drifted back in a bit since 2001, but fortunately at some point along the way he decided to put some of his boomerang era pieces online. And that's how it's possible for you to read one of the most haunting, breathtaking short stories I've ever read:

In the Shadow of Bones
posted by localroger at 3:45 PM PST - 17 comments

Happy St. Patrick's Day
Irish dancing flash mob in Sydney's Central Station. The dancers included twenty members of the Riverdance show and dancers from local Irish dancing schools.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:23 PM PST - 54 comments

Cake Comes Full Circle
Three parts guitar, one part drums, one or two parts percussion (to taste), one part trumpet, and a couple dashes of organ. Add a hearty shake of vibraslap. Season with half-sung, half-spoken vocals and lyrical wordplay. And there you have it, Cake, roughly the same recipe as they've been using for the last 20 years. There is a new solar powered serving available now. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:22 PM PST - 46 comments

Clean, orderly, and entirely devoid of human life
The official "StreetView" map of China is eerily reminiscent of SimCity, rendered in perfect isometric perspective without a pixel out of place: Shanghai, the Forbidden City, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. That hasn't stopped companies from trying to create a more true-to-life photographic alternative: there is coverage of Hong Kong and Macau in Google Street View; sanction to cover the rest of China appears to have been given to City8, which covers 40 cities. (The latter site is in Chinese, but Chrome or language plugins do a decent job of translating the content). [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:06 PM PST - 34 comments

Smiling Indians
Smiling Indians [more inside]
posted by Miko at 1:48 PM PST - 44 comments

happy ending
Wait for it. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 1:19 PM PST - 52 comments

Schiller's List
The US House of Representatives has voted to cut all federal NPR funding. To take effect, this would still need to make it through the senate, which most likely would not succeed. [more inside]
posted by pla at 1:16 PM PST - 133 comments

Age of Pedagogy
Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School by Alison Gopnik [more inside]
posted by AceRock at 12:35 PM PST - 42 comments

Guilty Dog
Who ate the kitty cat treats? The guiltiest dog ever. via
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:09 PM PST - 86 comments

You And Me, Beans
An Overly Intense Track-By-Track Analysis Of Joanna Newsom’s ‘Have One On Me’ [part one] [part two] [part three] (prev prev prev) {Amazon link with previews} {Label site for album}
posted by jtron at 11:44 AM PST - 26 comments

Surreal Babies
Babylon: Surreal Babies "Babies hatch from eggs, bubble from cauldrons, are fished from rivers, emerge in the cabbage patch, sit atop clouds, and ride in zeppelins. They play instruments, drive automobiles, fly in balloons, harvest the fields; an anarchistic world of baby heaven. The postcards were a source of inspiration to many artists in the 1920s and '30s, in particular to both the Dadaists and the Surrealists. They were collected by Paul Éluard, André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Hannah Höch, Herbert Bayer, and Man Ray. The popular images excited inspiration in these artists because of their boundless inventiveness."
posted by puny human at 11:34 AM PST - 10 comments

The Invisible Needs of Women
"No Toilet, No Bride": Count the number of public toilets for women in India, or the availability of something as basic as low-cost sanitary napkins, and the invisibility of women’s needs becomes apparent." Private toilets may increase in number: "There are signs of change, though, and one of the most surprising may be in the matrimonial market. Four years ago, the Haryana government started its "No Toilet, No Bride" campaign, painting walls across the state with the slogan: 'I won’t allow my daughter to marry into a home without toilets.'
posted by emhutchinson at 11:23 AM PST - 34 comments

Yasir Qadhi, American Muslims, and Jihad
“I want to be very frank here,” Qadhi said, his voice tight with exasperation. “Do you really, really think that blowing up a plane is Islamic? I mean, ask yourself this.” The New York Times' Andrea Elliott explores the fine line between Salafiya and contemporary American values. Multimedia slideshow. [auto-playing video] Qadhi, previously.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:04 AM PST - 44 comments

Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World
Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World. An hour-long docu about the device born out of an organ company's need to replace a $4 switch with a 30 cent potentiometer. The Wah-Wah pedal's influence on rock and r & b (among other things) is indisputable. And yes, it is still in production today.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:27 AM PST - 45 comments

Wave Goodbye to the Internal Combustion Engine
Michigan State University builds a prototype that would replace the internal combustion engine in automobiles. The wave disk engine runs on shockwaves, and would emit 90% less carbon dioxide, run at 3.5 times greater fuel efficiency, and weigh about 1,000 pounds less than a combustion engine system in a typical automobile.
posted by Rykey at 10:05 AM PST - 89 comments

A roaring, terrible sadness...
Colin Stetson is an unusually gifted sax player. He's worked or is working with Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, GY!BE, Bon Iver and others. He's opened for Arcade Fire, Tim Hecker, and The National. What's most unusual about Stetson is that he's able to make all the sounds you hear with one horn, utilizing no loops or overdubs. Stream three tracks and download one or watch two videos of him play.
posted by dobbs at 9:12 AM PST - 28 comments

despirate for dancing
The only thing more off the hook than these Indian guys doing a Classic Dance is the Dubstep Version of the same video. (via)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:06 AM PST - 28 comments

New York Times launches digital subscriptions
The New York Times launches digital subscriptions, only for Canadians at the moment and on March 28 for everyone else. Packages start at $3.75/week. Readers will be allowed 20 free articles a month sans subscription. (previously, previously)
posted by shivohum at 8:29 AM PST - 210 comments

"It hasn’t struck any deals with studios and doesn’t plan on doing so."
New streaming entertainment service Zediva is streaming new-release movies, avoiding the waiting period you get with Netflix, Amazon or iTunes. How? Instead of converting movies to files on a hard drive, they're renting out actual DVDs being played in actual DVD players - remotely. That means if the movie you want is being watched by someone else, you're gonna have to wait. Launched in November, the company is supposed to exit its beta phase this week.
posted by jbickers at 8:01 AM PST - 82 comments

Film or Digital?
Can you guess if it's film? Can you guess if it's film? Or digital? This is an old(er) quiz and the answer has been... answered but if you haven't seen it and you think you know your stuff, this is a good way to test it.
posted by SylviaAspevig at 7:46 AM PST - 22 comments

A roof over our head
The Unst Bus Shelter website has been updated, and remains as charming as ever, 10 years on. It has been occasionally mentioned on the Blue, but the new version of the site shows that it just keeps on getting better. The shelter has even been praised by UK film critic, Mark Kermode who visited it when it doubled as a two person cinema. It has also hosted the crown jewels, beer drinking hamsters and music festivals.
posted by quarsan at 7:46 AM PST - 15 comments

The Little Homeless Dutch Boy Millionaire
Jerry Winkler was a homeless drug addict on the streets of Amsterdam. His life had been one filled with strife and tragedy, until the fateful day he discovered his biological father was a millionaire.
posted by msali at 7:39 AM PST - 19 comments

A Robot That Kills
Heather Knight is currently conducting her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and running Marilyn Monrobot Labs in NYC, which creates socially intelligent robot performances and sensor-based electronic art. One of Heather's robots, Data, is an aspiring stand-up comic. He also has a twitter page. Heather and Data were recently featured on Marc Maron's WTF podcast. In addition to working on her robots, Heather also collaborated on the OK GO Rube Goldberg video.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:23 AM PST - 17 comments

I was like, ‘Superman? Nah, nah, that’s not for me.’
Clint Eastwood as Superman or James Bond? ‘It could have happened.’
posted by Fizz at 7:19 AM PST - 31 comments