April 6, 2010

Is Anwar al-Awlaki a meddlesome prei-- imam?

President Obama has done the (apparently) unprecedented: he has authorized the assassination of an American citizen. Or should this be termed an extrajudicial execution? Or just the use of military force against terrorists? (Previously.)
posted by orthogonality at 11:39 PM PST - 134 comments

The Evolution of Morality

The Evolution of Morality explains morality from a framework of kin selection, reciprocity, and learning. [more inside]
posted by jjray at 11:14 PM PST - 14 comments

Boldly going ... where exactly again?

Compromise emerging for NASA's spaceflight future Since the announcement was made last month of the cancellation of Constellation (NASA's plan for returning to the Moon and Mars), the punditsphere has been ablaze with condemnation, support, and outright confusion over the future of American manned spaceflight. Keith Cowling, editor of the Nasawatch.com blog, has posted an interesting new development that if proven right, could prove to be a compromise between those wanting NASA to get out of manned spaceflight altogether and those seeking to keep the administration in the spaceflight business. [more inside]
posted by zooropa at 10:28 PM PST - 40 comments

The Blog's the Thing

Family of four maintains a book review blog as hobby A New York Times story of family spending time together via blogging their book reviews. So far, 600 followers and media credentials for the 2010 BookExpo America. Oh yeah, and book reports are easier.
posted by la_scribbler at 10:14 PM PST - 9 comments

Gideon's Bible of SCIENCE!

A Manual for Civilization : the Long Now Foundation is assembling a book to help us survive an apocalypse, based upon James Lovelock's Book for All Seasons. Some Potential Candidates for Inclusion.
posted by mrstrotsky at 9:58 PM PST - 35 comments

Instruments for Natural Philosophy

Instruments for Natural Philosophy
posted by carsonb at 8:05 PM PST - 10 comments

I do not know what art means but I know what it is.

The Wisdom Of Rats - A personal essay on art and time and everything, by Charles Bowden for Harper's.
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 PM PST - 12 comments

Attracting e-rubes en masse: a business model as ancient as the carnival

Google Is Butchering The Written Word, or “How to Buy PEX Tubing Online” [more inside]
posted by blasdelf at 7:50 PM PST - 65 comments

In the water, under the water

Alyssa Monks paints women underwater, through shower curtains, through glass. Some NSFW female nudes.
posted by klangklangston at 7:27 PM PST - 32 comments

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

"You turned into a cat! A SMALL cat! You violated Conservation of Energy! That's not just an arbitrary rule, it's implied by the form of the quantum Hamiltonian! Rejecting it destroys unitarity and then you get FTL signaling! And cats are COMPLICATED! A human mind can't just visualize a whole cat's anatomy and, and all the cat biochemistry, and what about the neurology? How can you go on thinking using a cat-sized brain?" McGonagall's lips were twitching harder now. "Magic."

Eliezer Yudkowsky — rationalist, AI pontificator and singularitarian — writes Harry Potter fan fiction. (previously)
posted by teraflop at 5:55 PM PST - 67 comments

How Can We Use Your Carefully Honed Skills?

'The unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars reached 14.7 percent in March, according to the latest government statistics.' It is particularly bad for the youngest veterans - with a jobless rate at 21.1% for ages 18 to 24, 'well above the national jobless rate of 16.6 percent for nonveterans in the same age group, 18 to 24.' 'Young veterans tell of futile job hunt' - and the situation keeps getting worse. It was 11.2% a year ago, but regardless of the accuracy of the statistics, 'veterans groups say the figures are unacceptable. "It's unforgivable that new veterans are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn," said Tom Tarantino, legislative associate for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "This is no way to welcome a new generation of heroes home."' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword at 5:08 PM PST - 119 comments

We don't want your kind at our prom

Constance McMillan, an 18yo lesbian graduating from high school in Itawamba County, Miss., was told she couldn't bring a female date to the prom because of county rules against bringing same-sex dates. The school district in fact canceled the prom rather than let a same-sex couple attend. After a judge ruled that doing so violated Constance's civil rights, Constance was told (after long evasions and no answers as to details of the party) that the prom would be held at a country club Friday night in Fulton, Miss. When she got to the club with her date, she found out that the parents and rest of the students had scheduled second prom at a different, secret location. Five other students were directed to the prom Constance & her date were sent to, including two students with learning disabilities. The school principal & 2 teacher acted as chaperones for the seven students at the country club.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:19 PM PST - 258 comments

Tiny Castle, a platformer!

Tiny Castle is an inventive flash platformer where every challenge is stuffed into one awesome level. [more inside]
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:08 PM PST - 40 comments

Conscious Pariahs: Raul Hilberg and Hannah Arendt

From The Nation, a 7400-word discussion of Raul Hilberg, author of The Destruction of the European Jews, and Hannah Arendt, author of Eichmann in Jerusalem, their relationships to each others' scholarship as well as to their complicated Jewish identities.
posted by cgc373 at 3:07 PM PST - 20 comments

Keywords: George Lucas, Robot Chicken, Television, Untitled Animated Series (and maybe Squishies)

Lucasfilm Animation is currently developing an all-new animated Star Wars series. Not that one, a new series. And no relation to the holiday special (1978) or Ewoks, the animated series (1985), or even Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO (1985). The new new series is set to feature creative involvement from Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, creators and executive producers Robot Chicken, writing from The Daily Show's Brendan Hay, produced by Jennifer Hill (The Backyardigans), and directed by Todd Grimes (Back at the Barnyard). Unlike the Clone Wars animated series, the latest venture into animation will be one more humorous in tone and aimed at younger kids. Pre-School to Kindergarten aged kids young, and the working title is believed to be "Squishies" (or not).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:42 PM PST - 76 comments

What if I haven’t earned my wings?

With 12-year old Maggie Wiederholt's permission, Quad City Times reporter Kay Luna and photographer John Schultz followed her and her family for several weeks as the terminally ill Walcott, Iowa girl faced death - and made choices about how to live.

Maggie's Choice is a heart-wrenching project that captures the last days of a young girl with with a rare form of Behcet's disease. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:44 PM PST - 33 comments

Every Person In New York

Drawing every person in New York
posted by OmieWise at 1:36 PM PST - 29 comments

Teach the children, save the nation

A Nation Without School Librarians is a collaborative Google map showing eliminated school librarian positions. Across America libraries in general are facing reduced hours and closed branches due to budget problems. From Boston to Los Angeles, from Ohio to Florida. New Jersey, Brooklyn & West Virginia, to San Jose. Even as information shows that millions of Americans rely on libraries.
posted by cashman at 1:19 PM PST - 41 comments

Search and Destroy

Henry Rollins on touring with the USO, Black Flag T-Shirts, Vanity Fair and the Tea Party.
posted by Artw at 12:42 PM PST - 50 comments

"Terrorist cells have the same group dynamics as stag parties and five-a-side football teams."

If you look at that video of Mohammad Sidique Khan [one of the 7/7 bombers] recording a video for his nine-month-old daughter, when he thought he was going to fight and die in Afghanistan, he was saying, ‘You and your mum are the best thing in my life, and I’d love to watch you growing up and learning to speak.’ And you realise that he’s making a pretty soppy speech from a middle-of-the-road Hollywood movie. He’s the ‘good dad’. And in his head he is. And that doesn’t preclude him going out and doing something violent. You do bad things not because you think they’re bad, but because you think they’re good — unless you’re a nihilist. British satirist Chris Morris discusses his first feature film Four Lions, which is a comedy about Islamist suicide bombers. Trailer. Clip, concerning peroxide. Audio interview with Morris about the film, Part 1 and Part 2.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:39 PM PST - 47 comments

"...to pursue the day when these weapons do not exist..."

"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances", pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 12:18 PM PST - 82 comments

Wilma Mankiller is dead at 64.

Wilma Mankiller, first woman principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, is dead at 64. "Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief." [more inside]
posted by Tesseractive at 10:40 AM PST - 48 comments

No, I said, "GOOD win!"

John Rocker was pretty bad. And their name/uniform/tomahawk chop is considered offensvie by some. But before Hank Aaron, or even Babe Ruth hit his 714th home run with the Braves, there was the miracle team of 1914. Their secret? A lucky (not-at-all-racist) swastika.
posted by ericbop at 10:37 AM PST - 34 comments

Still no fee for wearing pants, though.

The natural progression of airline fees has reached its apex (or nadir, depending on how you look at it): Spirit Airlines is now charging for checked and carry-on baggage. (via)
posted by backseatpilot at 10:20 AM PST - 111 comments

Emotional Cues and Facial Paralysis

"She needed company, sympathy — someone, anyone, to see and feel her loss — and searched the face of her assigned social worker in vain." [more inside]
posted by zizzle at 10:06 AM PST - 15 comments

Its a life style not an ethnicity or race

Beyond the Pale: In a wide-reaching book review and with nods to James Baldwin's 1984 essay On Being White ... and Other Lies, Kelefa Sanneh makes a modern argument that white identity is founded on a series of negations: "to be white in America is to be not nonwhite, which is why it was possible, in 1961, for a white woman from Kansas living in Hawaii to give birth to a black baby." [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:28 AM PST - 96 comments

Pinocchio! Pinocchio! Pinocchio!

Pixar's Studio Stories: animated reenactments of stories from the making of Toy Story & Toy Story 2.
posted by brundlefly at 9:25 AM PST - 17 comments

Bad News For Everyone But Comcast

Bad News for Net Neutrality: "A federal appeals court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks." The ruling is being viewed as a major setback for the FCC's National Broadband Plan.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:00 AM PST - 92 comments

Japan's Lonely Deaths

"In the 1990s, Taichi Yoshida, the owner of a small moving company in Osaka, Japan, began noticing that many of his jobs involved people who had just died. Families of the deceased were either too squeamish to pack up for their dead relatives, or there wasn't any family to call on. So Yoshida started a new business cleaning out the homes of the dead. Then he started noticing something else: thick, dark stains shaped like a human body, the residue of liquids excreted by a decomposing corpse. These, he learned, were kodokushi, or 'lonely deaths.'"
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:31 AM PST - 64 comments

Betraying Salinger

Betraying Salinger. "I scored the publishing coup of the decade: his final book. And then I blew it."
posted by chunking express at 8:30 AM PST - 29 comments

MENSA Members Love Girl Genius, duh.

American Mensa members across the country cast their votes, selecting their Top 50 Web Sites. MetaFilter is NOT on the list, proving what I've been saying for years that IQ is a poor measurement of real intelligence.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:27 AM PST - 207 comments

Duval is a patzer.

Playing Chess with Kubrick. Or, How Writing About Arthur C. Clarke Can Get You A Gig Writing About Bobby Fischer for Playboy.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 AM PST - 4 comments

LADYGAGA for 14 points

Mattel are reportedly planning to change the rules of Scrabble to allow proper nouns, to bring in younger players and "introduce an element of pop culture into the game".
posted by acb at 7:35 AM PST - 146 comments

Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Game

8-Bit Doctor Horrible by Doctor Octoroc.
posted by Locative at 7:18 AM PST - 29 comments

James Brown and Prince and Michael Jackson

James Brown and Prince and Michael Jackson
posted by Meatbomb at 6:55 AM PST - 48 comments

Pretty sure this is the most horrible idea for a film ever

I think that this is probably the most horrific premise for a film in recent memory. (SLYT)
posted by muggsy1079 at 6:42 AM PST - 238 comments

General Election called in the UK

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for an election on the 6th of May. Parliament will be dissolved on April 12th. [more inside]
posted by iso_bars at 4:22 AM PST - 105 comments

Eros Kapital

This recent academic article [PDF] by Catherine Hakim presents "a new theory of erotic capital as a fourth personal asset, an important addition to economic, cultural, and social capital," and proposes "a new agenda for sociological (and feminist) research and theory." Here's a stripped-down magazine version. The theory is controversial and thought-provoking, sure, and there are counter-arguments. The Financial Times notes the obvious: If eroticism is indeed a kind of capital, then there is a market in it. Meanwhile, newspapers get yet another reason to print pictures of sexy people. [All links are SFW]
posted by chavenet at 3:43 AM PST - 45 comments