April 10, 2008
In 2003, Jordan Morris was bored. So, he did what any normal college graduate would do to entertain himself -- he made up a complicated and absurd story in order to prank a prank show, MTV's Burned. Particularly enjoyable: Jordan's absurd flopping about when the "burn" is "revealed." Jordan Morris is the co-host of Jordan, Jesse, GO! and friend-of-MetaFilter The Sound of Young America (previously here, and elsewhere.)
I want to put winter behind me like any other right-thinking Midwesterner, but these trees are too cool to ignore. [more inside]
Yamaha's tenorion gets unveiled in Montreal this week. Going head-to-head with the Beamz music-maker linked here earlier, this baby has lights!
See Saturn this Saturday April 12 is the second annual International Sidewalk Astronomy Night, a worldwide event coordinated by the Sidewalk Astronomers. The group, founded in 1968 by John Dobson (subject of this documentary), is dedicated to a sort of guerrilla astronomy -- experienced stargeeks bringing their really good telescopes out to places where people are. So even on your way to the bars, the shows, and the honky-tonk you can see stuff like this and this - like these people did.
20 percent of academics surveyed by Nature are abusing neuroenhancers.
Calling R.U. Sirius...
Calling R.U. Sirius...
David A. Wilson, descendant of slaves, traced his family tree back to North Carolina, where he met David B. Wilson, descendant of the slave owners. "Meeting David Wilson" is the documentary that resulted. [more inside]
The antidote to LOLbushsuxx0rs. Over the course of the past week, Slate ran a ten (10!)-piece series, "Fixin' It", in which various writers postulated how the course of various aspects of the United States' military, culture, and policies could be redirected for the better. Although the articles are not entirely devoid of Bush criticism, there's mostly a fairly rare focus on the positive actions to be taken from here onward by the next President (whether it be McCain or Obama or Clinton).
Yesterday marked the release of Perfumes: The Guide a "ravishingly entertaining" collection of over 1200 perfume reviews by Emperor of Scent Luca Turin and his bride, Tania Sanchez. [more inside]
Timothy Klein gets art. I mean, he really gets it. And he likes cars. So when he decided to become an artist, he covered a 1967 Chrysler Imperial Crown luxury car with yarn. Correct, yarn. Then, Tim didn't just show his car off to the local cruzers at the Dairy Queen. No. Tim took it to Artscape at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore in 2002, where he met other famous automotive artists like Harrod Blank and Chris Hubbard. He took it to the Outsider Art Fair in New York in 2003. Wherever he takes the Yarn Car, he documents the trips on his site. He got featured in Reader's Digest and "made Diane Sawyer giggle". Tim will be in Houston on May 10 for the 2008 Art Car Parade. Don't miss the yarn phone in the car.
"Moralistic, prejudiced, racist, misogynist, manipulative, sexist, daring, exciting, critical, sarcastic and passionate - these are just a few adjectives that commonly describe Mexico's most widely-read publication: the historieta." [more inside]
Elephant Polo. Alf Leif Erickson is the Captain of the American Screw Tuskers Elephant Polo team . Alf is a retired attorney and former law professor from Florida. This alone doesn't make much of a post, but, you guessed it, there more, sometimes NSFW, inside..... [more inside]
In 1943, over Allied bomb ravaged Germany, US pilot Charlie Brown's B-17 was badly damaged and straying further from friendly territory. Luftwaffe ace fighter pilot Franz Stigler pursued the bomber intending to shoot it down, but refrained when he saw the extent of the damage and directed Brown and his crew out of harm's way. The two pilots were reunited 46 years later. [via] [more inside]
Tevis Howard, a 2007 Brown University graduate and recent recipient of the Draper Richards Fellowship and the Rainer Arnhold Fellowship, is the 2005 Founder and Executive Director of KOMAZA, a non-profit community-based organization in Kenya. KOMAZA's mission is to "end chronic poverty in Kenya by promoting health, economic growth, education, and infrastructure development" through a tree farming social enterprise. Partnering with the Tree Biotechnology Project, KOMAZA plants fast-growning, drought-tolerant Eucalyptus trees as a cash crop for rural, substinance farming communities. [more inside]
Remember Me. A multimedia documentary about one family's struggle to deal with the loss of a parent. This series is the 2008 Pulitzer winner for feature photography. [more inside]
A Million Voices. Staff members of the University Archives at Virginia Tech are working to catalog and make available the more than 87,000 letters, poems, posters and artifacts that arrived at the school in the wake of the April 16 shootings. Dubbed The Prevail Archives, the website has a database with images of some of the items. [more inside]
A while ago, Slate did an article on “The Race For The Thousand Pound Bench Press.” That milestone has been reached but not without controversy, mainly due to the use of the bench shirt, a super-tight supportive shirt without which those Herculean weights could not be lifted. The bench shirt has its defenders but many argue that it amounts to nothing more than cheating. By way of example, here is a video of the current unassisted (or “raw”) bench press record and here is a video of the current assisted bench press record. [more inside]
Mortified is a group in various cities that allows people to "share their own adolescent journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories and more." It's embarrassing, to be sure, but it's frequently also hilarious (NSFW). Recently they've set up a page to share videos of live performances, and the latest is my favorite so far. "500 Miles To Hollywood" features Elijah Wood, James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Busy Phillips (Freaks & Geeks), Kevin McDonald (Kids in the Hall) and Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds) "helping Jason Smith fulfill his dream and bring a 2-decade-old screenplay to life."
The Smithsonian's Jules Verne Centennial site has a collection of a large number of high quality scans of original, engraved illustrations from Verne's works. From the fantastic (interior of space vehicle, flying ship, spacewalking) and mundane (two dogs, a nice meal, elephant trying to break free from a hot-air balloon). And don't forget to check out the portrait of Jules Verne and his many technological prophecies. For information about the publishing history of Jules Verne read this scholarly article by Terry Harpold about illustrations of Jules Verne stories, focusing on Le Superbe Orénoque. It also includes a wealth of illustrations. Finally, as a bonus, here's a picture of the National Air and Space Museum's scale model of the spacecraft Verne came up with for his De la Terre à la Lune.
The fifty greatest comedy sketches of all time from Nerve and IFC. All with video. Some highlights: SNL's consumer probe & word association; Mr. Show's pretaped call-in show, Upright Citizens Brigade's ass pennies, The State's porcupine racetrack, lots of Monty Python, some classics, and the inevitable winning sketch.
Jemima Packington a Worcester fortune-teller claims she can tell people's futures by using asparagus. Ms Packington, who calls herself Britain's only "asparamancer", showed off her technique at the British Trade and Travel Fair at Birmingham's NEC. Actor Tony Robinson, Baldrick in the comedy series Blackadder, also happened to be there and had his asparagus read by her. [more inside]
Baby Loves Hip-Hop? Kids albums are designed to amuse wee tots at the expense of parental sanity, right? Maybe not. What if you asked one of rap's finest producers to form a supergroup of some of the brightest names in the genre, all to create an album to introduce little minds to the world of hip-hop? You'd end up with Dino 5, a dinosaur-themed collection of tracks featuring Scratch (from The Roots), Ladybug (from Digable Planets), Wordsworth (from eMC) and Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5), all under the direction of the one and only Prince Paul. (Props to Ivan at Hip-Hop Is Read)
“…if I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done — I simply wouldn’t have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.” [more inside]
Wendell Berry is an agrarian writer, poet, and Mad Farmer. Perhaps most famous for his decision not to buy a computer, which stirred some controversy, Berry is an anti-war, anti-state, anti-capitalist, conservationist conservative. [more inside]
Melrose Place, Governor Napolitano, and Freshly Baked Chocolate Chips: social entrepreneurship to combat meth and sell art. Is Belleza Gallery, wholly owned nonprofit gallery of Renaissance House, the coolest little pocket of altrusim-meets-art that almost no one has ever heard of? [more inside]
Paradise: The Gardens of Tokyo. A collection of amazing photographs of Japanese gardens as taken by Tim Porter. [more inside]
Learn (or teach) fundamentals of computer science, without a computer. Provided as hands-on exercises suitable for children, or even CS-illiterate adults. (If this is too basic for you, go here.)