April 10, 2009
The secret, social lives of bacteria. "Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria 'talk' to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry -- and our understanding of ourselves." [Via]
Royal Uproar? It started with the question of whether President Obama would bow (yt) to Queen Elizabeth. Then, during the G20 Summit, President Obama appeared to bow before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. While some appreciate the gesture, conservatives are outraged. But the White House denies that there was any bow at all. What do you think about the greeting (yt)? Could it have been something else?
Star Wars Influence Map. Thank God Jar Jar Binks led to nowhere . . .
In Bendito Machine, shadow people exploit shadow machines for their shadow enjoyment. Shadow death (justice?) is brought about in shadowly humorous ways. [Previously, but now with its own site and more installments (I, II, III).]
Take the world's hottest peppers, rub them in your eyes and then eat 51 of them in world record attempt. Mere mortals blanch at one or two (language in this last link unsurprisingly NSFW).
Conjugal Harmony : "Normally you wouldn't think an arsonist would be good at sex. Boy was I ever wrong!" [slightly NSFW]
Why Do We Cheat? - The right, wrong, and why of videogame cheating. Go into virtually any gamer's forum, and you'll see the subject of using cheats and game hacks can stir quite a hornet's nest, particularly in online gaming. But even those using cheats in offline games, not wagering against or directly competing with anyone else, will draw the ire from others in the community, possibly because there are different types of players - that is, the difference between what Penny Arcade's Tycho once described as "people who play games in order to excel at them, and those who play games as a conduit to fantasy".
You probably think you know what cybernetics means, you are probably wrong. Has the field of cybernetics been discredited, or just mostly forgotten? It has been variously described as the science of communication and control, the art of defensible metaphors, and used in pop culture as a root word for cyborg. [more inside]
Thirty years of community fundraising, flawless makeup, genderbending, and hysterically offensive names: the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are celebrating their 30th anniversary in San Francisco this weekend with parties, library exhibits, an art show, and their usual over-the-top Easter celebration. [more inside]
In the midst of increasing concern over dependence on URL shorteners, Digg perversely manifests one worst-case scenario, the DiggBar. Put your favorite website's URL into the Digg Bar, Digg provides a shortened version of the URL, handy for use in Twitter and other tiny media. What's the downside? Well, these days any link you follow from Digg has Digg's branding wrapped around it. Hey presto, Google suddenly looks like Digg property. [more inside]
In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda In Southern California 1933 - 1945, a digital exhibition from the Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge. "The Nazi Propaganda period, 1933 to 1945, chronicles a crucial twelve years in American history. This exhibit's story about the local threat to American ideals demonstrates how European events reached across the ocean and affected people in Southern California -- in our own backyard." Magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, stickers and more. [more inside]
A group of middle-school-aged self-proclaimed nerds from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, who won the New York City FIRST Lego League Robotics Championship with their motorized robot called Thingamajig are embarking on a trip to the Robotics World Festival in Atlanta. After a lack of funds nearly scuttled their journey, they've been bailed out by British vacuum cleaner exec James Dyson, and have been given the kind of sendoff most young nerds can only dream of: an all-school nerd-cheering pep rally.
The Local food movement's celebration over the white house garden was short lived. The White House has receive a letter from the Mid America CropLife Association, expressing disappointment that Obamas planted an organic garden. "As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply. America's farmers understand crop protection technologies are supported by sound scientific research and innovation."
Wednesday, a woman jumped from the top tier of the Queens Center Mall, leaving by the railing a distraught companion, her purse, and her shoes. At first glance it would seem a spontaneous, strange thing to do, but it was most likely a premeditated action to show her intent. Workers on the Golden Gate Bridge use shoes as a clue of somebody about to jump, and Japan has long known that people who end their life leave their shoes behind. Age has little to do with it, and method seems irrelevant, so the common bond seems to be that taking off your shoes is the second-to-the-last decision some people make in their lives.