April 7, 2010
Today, while testifying for only the second time on Capitol Hill since the financial crisis began, [former Fed chairman] Alan Greenspan said the Fed closely monitored the subprime market [...]"I was right 70% of the time, but I was wrong 30% of the time, and there were an awful lot of mistakes in 21 years...". But Greenspan's defense of his record today rang hollow to many seasoned observers, if not downright deceitful.
KCRW's Left, Right and Center is usually your standard political talking head show - except on holidays, when the public radio show becomes a platform for conservative Tony Blankley, center-left Democrat Robert Scheer and liberal blogger Arianna Huffington to mount a philosophical debate on the basis of law, politics and culture. Most recently, Blankley and Scheer debated why the US is so deeply polarized. [more inside]
Solar takes to the skies. The Solar Impulse took flight today, reaching an altitude of 5500 feet over 87 minutes.With a wingspan of over 60 meters, close to that of a Boeing 747, it weighs about as much as a small car. Its 12,000 solar cells generate power for the 40hp engine, with an average speed of 70 kph (44 mph). The team will continue testing the prototype, including a 36 hour overnight flight, before constructing an even lighter, more powerful, more stable plane, with the goal of flying around the world in 2012, traveling both during both the day and at night, without fuel.
Lori Whisenant, who teaches business law and ethics at the University of Houston, has outsourced the grading of students' papers to a private company, Virtual-TA, who sends them to be marked in Bangalore, India.
"Questioning the modern world in which we are living and trying to break this individualism and the anonymity of the big city. By going into “Non-lieux” (no existing places) (subways, malls, and crowded streets at rush hours …;) and by talking to people to take photos, I break the usual way this modern world works for a few instants. I make real these “non-lieux” by creating an event that the stranger will remember." Welcome to the moving, inspiring and always beautiful world of Benoit Paille's Stranger Project. [some links NSFW]
You might dismiss Little Honda by the Hondells as an infectious by-product of Grey Advertising's legendary 1962 "You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda" ad campaign. It's actually a Brian Wilson original, later recorded by The Beach Boys, and shares an eerie connection with the Jan & Dean classic Dead Man's Curve. Perhaps its the essence of youth and innocence captured by this corny little composition that inspires Yo La Tengo's contemporary covers.
This isn't exactly breaking news, since it circled the writing utensil blog scene (I didn't even know there was one) in 2008, but check out the Uni-Ball Kuru Toga. It's a mechanical pencil (only available in Japan and over the internet I believe) that automatically rotates it's lead for you. Here's some randomly-chosen, Google-acquired reviews of it: 1, 2, 3, 4. [more inside]
The Digital Economy Bill has passed the UK House of Commons on its third reading, despite strong opposition in the chamber, from digital rights activist group ORG, and from the public. [more inside]
Five lines. That's how long the script handed to five different directors who made five vastly different short films from it for Philips Cinema was. The Gift has robots. Dark Room has assasins. El Secreto de Mateo has heart. Jun and the Hidden Skies has children's imagination. The Hunt has nature. [more inside]
Kevin Smith and Shaggy 2 Dogg team up in a Bryce-generated wonderworld to teach us about Miracles. [SLYT]
Almost Everything by Kirby Ferguson: A web series featuring a good-natured Canadian geek who uses slick, fast-paced video presentations to comment on the world's ills. Episodes: Apple's Stealth Jabs at Microsoft - Protecting and Maintaining Your Heterosexual House of Cards - Americans Love Lists - Trajan is the Movie Font - Thank You For All the Butt Cracks - Passive Resistance, Like Gandhi - Punchline Piracy - The Fag Bomb - I Love Progress Bars - Slumdog Controversy - The Distraction Machine - Talent is Hard Work - 2012 and the Conspiracy Conspiracy - I Don't Care About Tiger Woods' Penis (An Open Letter to the American Media). Like the background music? The full soundtrack by Windom Earle is available for preview or download on Amazon. A product of Goodiebag.tv (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blog, more videos).
"There has rarely been a man to whom the title productivity guru has been applied so often who has less wanted to be called a productivity guru." A long, rambling, seemingly uncut interview with Merlin Mann that touches on the origins of 43folders, Merlin's dislike for StoryCorps, and the rise of professional blogging.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state, without referencing slavery or civil rights. The move has angered civil rights leaders and revived a controversy that has lain dormant for eight years. FireDogLake is reporting that the neo-confederate group which lobbied Governor McDonnell to make the proclamation has ties to white supremacists. [more inside]
In the past few years Paul Potts, Susan Boyle and Andrew Johnston have surprised Britain (and the world) with their moving vocal performances on 'Britain's Got Talent.' And now Lin Yu Chun, a Taiwanese boy has won a $1 million prize and a recording contract for his performance of Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You" on the karaoke TV program 'Super Star Avenue.'
Jim Tressel: 'Everybody is important'. Ohio State's football coach talks to Outlook Columbus, a local GLBT magazine. [more inside]
Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah add a little brawla, brawla too it (YouTube video). It's a song people get obsessed with. Such as this Time writer from 1941. And Kevin Murphy from Mystery Science Theater 3000. The video seems to recognize the fact by literally having its singers (the King's Men; no, not the ones who did "Louie, Louie") driven mad by the song. [more inside]
Uneven Terrain is a series of short documentaries about urban exploration, about 10-15 minutes long each. There are six so far, about monumental ruins in New York, Centralia, the Pennsylvania town where an underground coalseam has been on fire since the 1960s, abandoned missile silos in the US and how they're being turned into homes, oil drilling in Los Angeles, the Teufelberg listening station and the abandoned bunkers under Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and pirate radio in London and on the old Redsand sea forts. Each short doc has a different presenter. All have accompanying photo galleries. [These are produced for the bootmaker Palladium, but it's pretty low-key]
Training Rules is a 2009 documentary about the Lady Lions, the Penn State women's basketball program, under Rene Portland. [more inside]
Hand illustrated diagrams of parasite life cycles, with written explanations.
Inside WikiLeaks' Leak Factory. Meet Julian Assange, the figure behind the whistleblower site.
On the ethics of illegally downloading e-books; a Teleread essay full of interesting links about these modern e-reading times. Inspired in part by this New York Times Ethicist column, and brought to my attention by this ask.metafilter question.
NPR looks at American States That Might Have Been You've probably heard of the proposed Mormon state of Deseret, but have you heard of Nickajack? What about Absaroka, the 49th state? I bet you forgot about Forgottonia. The author of Lost States has a blog.
You have less than three weeks to get ready to participate in Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. More great pinhole galleries here and Flickr groups devoted to pinhole photography (1 & 2) and the myriad ways to construct pinhole cameras including: Paint Can, Coffee Can, Oatmeal Boxes, Foam Core, and ready-to-fold paper/card stock (that last link is the most popular pinhole-related bookmark on the interweb). You'd expect MAKE magazine to address the topic in fine fashion. And what post would be complete without a YouTube link: THIRTEEN PART tutorial on building a 4x5 Pinhole Camera. Drilling your own precision pinholes: A f295.org forum thread. Making your own camera not DIY enough for you? How about concocting your own developer with instant coffee and vitamin C? Don't want to use film, Bunky? Then discover paper negatives for your pinhole cam! The wonderful world of lens-less photography awaits you. [more inside]
Previously, we've seen Star Wars as an Icelandic saga. Now we have some original art from comic artist Steve Bialik depicting Star Wars characters as samurai from traditional Japanese Art.
Towel folding robot folds towels. Stacking ensues. Robot designer Pieter Abbeel's interesting commentary here.
US Forest Service admits putting surveillance cameras on public lands. Apparently this has been going on for awhile.
The Phoenix Requiem - a graphic novel by Sarah Ellerton. The story is five volumes and has a planned ending. It should be around 800 pages long... but there's enough there already for an all-day archive binge.
"Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is an extremely rare disease of the connective tissue. A mutation of the body's repair mechanism causes fibrous tissue (including muscle, tendon, and ligament) to be ossified when damaged. In many cases, injuries can cause joints to become permanently frozen in place. Surgical removal of the extra bone growths has been shown to cause the body to "repair" the affected area with more bone."^ Detailed in an article from The Atlantic, February 1998. Part 1. Part 2. [more inside]
Chronic budget deficits, compounding debt and unfunded liabilities suggest the US financial situation will not be remedied, wiping out military funding. Surplus world oil production could disappear entirely by 2012, and reach a 10 million barrel a day shortfall by 2015. Coalition military operations would become essential to protecting US national interests. According to this year's remarkably candid United States Joint Forces Command Joint Operating Environment report (PDF), anyway.
The Bus Ride is a new "best-of-the-web" community that takes you on web page routes, based on different themes. Some of them are pretty cool!