April 9, 2008
The Mexican kitchen's Islamic connection :"When Mexico’s leading writer, Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz, arrived in New Delhi in 1962 to take up his post as ambassador to India, he quickly ran across a culinary puzzle. Although Mexico and India were on opposite sides of the globe, the brown, spicy, aromatic curries that he was offered in India sparked memories of Mexico’s national dish, mole (pronounced MO-lay). Is mole, he wondered, “an ingenious Mexican version of curry, or is curry a Hindu adaptation of a Mexican sauce ?” How could this seeming coincidence of “gastronomic geography” be explained ?"
Greening the Ghetto. A TED talk (also on YouTube) on environmental justice and urban renewal by Majora Carter, the founder of Sustainable South Bronx organization. She spoke recently at the Aspen Environment Forum. [more inside]
Architecture, Restoration, and Imaging of the Maya Cities of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labná - a new extensive exhibition site from Reed College (with nice large images available). See: Contents. The site includes "19th and early 20th century drawings, prints, and photographs, showing the appearance of these four cities before the extensive restoration campaigns of the twentieth century [..and..] over 1000 recent photographs."
Just the other day I was thinking about World War 2-era propaganda songs, so of course I gave a listen to Smoke On the Water. Say what? You didn't know it was about kickin' Hitler's ass? Or Hirohito's? Guess you weren't listening well enough when ol' Red Foley sang: "...there'll be nothing left but vultures to inhabit all that land, when our modern ships and bombers make a graveyard of Japan..." I tell you, they just don't write songs like that anymore, friends. Anyway, by 1951 Red was looking forward to Peace in the Valley. [more inside]
"I love reading your letters—I do. But I couldn't get into it. I just don't have a column in me this week." A sweet, sad eulogy from columnist Dan Savage.
The individualism-collectivism split between Eastern and Western cultures is well known but it's origin somewhat of a mystery. Now a team of researchers has come up with a surprising explanation: disease-causing microbes.
Everyone's favorite fictional band (no, not that one) plays an awesome live show - including such hits as Because, It's Midnite and Trogdor.
Sneaky subterfuge! At the "last minute," the torch is re-routed miles away from the tens of thousands of people waiting to see it. Mayor comes 'under fire" for lying to the people.
Italy produced and sold at least 70 million litres of cheap wine containing acid, manure and fertiliser, Italian weekly L'Espresso said on Friday largely blaming organised crime in the south. [more inside]
Food insecurity may not be as sexy a cause as climate change, refugees or terrorism, (or bird flu for that matter) but for many people around the world, rising food prices are driving them to riot . [more inside]
Building on the ideas of Microsoft's Photosynth, flickr's geotagging, and Google's Panoramio, Viewfinder aims to organize photographs spatially in 3D worlds such as Google Earth. See it in action.
Wearing an old-fashioned diving suit, William "Diver Bill" Walker worked in 14 feet of murky water beneath Winchester Cathedral, digging out the old timber and peat foundations and replacing them with bags of concrete cement and concrete blocks. Staying underwater six hours per day for five years (1906-1911), Diver Bill moved 25,800 bags of concrete and laid 114,900 concrete blocks, saving the Norman building from certain collapse. [more inside]
Old Photos of Japan - a daily photoblog featuring images of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s.
The intersect of data visualization and aural phenomena is a fascinating space, from simple chartings of the history of sampling to mapping the entire world of music (or even just electronica). Pop songs become sketches, iTunes libraries become twisted geometric forms, and last.fm listening behaviors form coloured orbs and waves. The collaborative networks of comtemporary rappers, jazz musicians, and classical composers are revealing of specific and meaningful community structures. Explore the algorithmic music of Stephan Wolfram's computational universe, listen to pi or e or the Mona Lisa or the weather or the temperature in New York City, discover the shape of sound, or just, you know, see music. Use the Echo Nest to visualize your own music (example), tag your music collection with colours, or just wade through the plethora of ways to map connections between artists and genres. (several previously)
Limited nuclear war would damage ozone layer. Apart from the human devastation, a small-scale nuclear war between India and Pakistan would destroy much of the ozone layer, leaving the DNA of humans and other organisms at risk of damage from the Sun's rays, say researchers at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Michael Mills at the LASP and his colleagues used computer models to study how 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs would affect the atmosphere. They say that their scenario – in which each country launches 50 devices of 15 kilotons – is realistic, given the countries' nuclear arsenals. "The figure of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs compares pretty accurately to the approximately 110 warheads that both states reportedly possess between them," agrees Wyn Bowen, professor of non-proliferation and international security in the War Studies Group at King's College, UK. Here is an earlier 2006 report by Michael Mills about the devastating effect even a limited nuclear war would have on the ozone layer.
Stephen King weighs in on the videogame debate.
Putting up a sentry! Commercially available paintball sentry guns. Optional extras include a VR heads up display. If $1399 is too much you could build your own. Watch out for spies! Previously (and slightly more lethally)
For 30 years, retail juggernaut Walmart used a small video production company to capture footage of its top executives -- sometimes in unguarded moments. Two years ago, they stopped using the company. But Walmart never signed a contract with the company...and now the material is "proving irresistible to everyone from business historians and documentary filmmakers to plaintiffs lawyers and union organizers."
Waiterless restaurants: Over a hundred years ago, you could get the food yourself. Now your meal can come to you, riding down little rollercoasters at 's Baggers
Sadly, Mister Rogers only lives on in our hearts and minds. But Speedy Delivery is alive, well, and the subject of a new documentary film made by a 26 year-old fan (previously).
So, you're planning to take a trip around the world, are you? Well, in that case--you'll need to know a couple of things before you leave (in order not to offend the sensibilities of the local population). Let's see--suppose you're making your way through Azerbaijan for example, and your host happens to be a businessman who is about to embark on a journey to the city: what would you do to give him the appropriate send off? Would you:
- a) Bid him farewell and shake his hand.
- b) Dance in front of him and do a traditional jig that everyone else is doing in order to ward off evil spirits.
- c) Throw a bowl of water in his wake.
Narcoleptic cat. (via Flickr Video)
More accurate than any piece of film has ever been in all of recorded history. (Youtube) [more inside]
What's one of the best ways to break into UK radio? Hospital Radio of course! There are over 408 radio stations in the UK that originate from hospitals. Fully staffed and loaded with volunteers, they are a lifeline to patients and produce modern, original programming. Who got their start on hospital radio? Hundreds of legends in the UK radio industry! Including Chris Moyles, Scott Mills, Jacqui Oatley, and Heena Tailor.
Although Larry Summers drew fire for rather inappropriate comments illustrating differences between Men and Women, we all know they exist. [more inside]
Today is the 202nd birthday of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the world's greatest engineers and a personal hero. I gaped at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol when the shock of recognition dawned on my jetlagged brain. This was the man that laid the foundation for Britain's global economic might, built the first underwater tunnel, Paddington Station and inspired engineers everywhere. His legacy lives on in his works, a university, a museum or two among others.
Riding The Tiger; Muqtada al-Sadr and the American Dilemma in Iraq is the final chapter of Patrick Cockburn's new book. Seymour Hersh has called Cockburn, who writes for the British paper, The Independent, "quite simply, the best Western journalist at work in Iraq today." Meanwhile al - Sadr has called off his million man march for now. Juan Cole asks: What if the US military presence is juvenilizing the Iraqis and prolonging the civil war?
"It's ethnic cleansing happening." Fully ten days after elections that most are speculating were indeed won by the opposition party (Movement for Democratic Change), Robert Mugabe still clings to power in Zimbabwe. The voting results have still not been released, and 5 election officials have been arrested, "accused of tampering with the vote to the detriment of Mugabe's tally." Its been a tense time for Zim, and now the violence and land seizures have started again. [more inside]