April 13, 2008

R.I.P. John Wheeler, physicist

R.I.P. John Wheeler, theoretical physicist. Famous for the Wheeler-Feynman equations and the term "black hole," which he coined to describe a singular point mass, he has died at age 96. The NYT usually gives pretty good obituary but they outdid themselves this time. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:22 PM PST - 64 comments

Dear God. Prayers for the modern world.

Dear God is a global project for people around the world to share their innermost hopes - and fears - through prayer. Some photos NSFW.
posted by ColdChef at 9:25 PM PST - 39 comments

Wine motherfucker, drinkin' wine.

The best-known version of that joyful ode to getting smashed, Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee, would surely be the Jerry Lee Lewis rendition, and Memphis rockabilly singer Johnny Burnette recorded a hopping little version of the tune as well. But the song was written and originally recorded by Stick (aka "Sticks") McGhee, who adapted it from a chant he learned during his stint in the Army. And yes, "spo-dee-o-dee" was a substitute for another word, which, though fine for the Army, wasn't exactly radio friendly. Stick wrote a few other tunes in celebration of the alcoholic beverage, including "Six To Eight" and "Jungle Juice". And as has been pointed out previously, the song title was likely the inspiration for the alcoholic concoction known as the "spodi". Drink up!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:46 PM PST - 8 comments

Australia's first female head of state

Quentin Bryce has been chosen as Australia's new head of state from next month. As the first Australian female in the role she joins a growing list (currently 48) of international national leaders. Bryce previously served as the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner and director of the Queensland Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission prior to her role as Queensland governor. Replacing a highly decorated ex-soldier, who cut a low profile, who had himself replaced a controversial clergyman, Bryce has the opportunity make a significant mark on the country. She will join the list of first holders of political offices, and bring us closer to to a situation where the appointment of women to positions of power is no longer remarkable.
posted by bystander at 8:20 PM PST - 30 comments

Apartheid: then and now

Then and Now presents works from 8 South African documentary photographers - each contributes 10 photos taken during apartheid and 10 made since the democratic elections of 1994. (On display at Duke University through July 27.) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive at 6:24 PM PST - 12 comments

Shepard Fairey Meets George Orwell

Shepard Fairey's cover art for Penguin releases of 1984 & Animal Farm.
posted by jonson at 6:09 PM PST - 29 comments

Scientific publishing and names

Identity crisis in scientific publishing :"Chinese authors are publishing more and more papers, but are they receiving due credit and recognition for their work? Not if their names get confused along the way."
posted by dhruva at 5:22 PM PST - 44 comments

Here is the best part. You have a head start. If you are among the very young at heart.

Young@Heart. What started as a 2006 British television documentary and became an audience favorite at the Los Angeles and Sundance film festivals in 2007 and 2008 opens across the United States this weekand will soon open in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Australia. The opening sequence showing Eileen Hall , then 92 , singing the 1982 hit from punk-rock group The Clash provided the inspiration for director Stephen Walker when he first saw the group on stage in London in 2005. Besides giving new meaning to lyrics from popular hits, the film is comedic and poignant as it explores friendship, old age and death.
posted by mrducts at 3:21 PM PST - 24 comments

War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, 1942-1945

The War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement, 1942-1945 collection is a searchable online archive which "contains approximately 7000 photographs and 317 Kodachrome slides which have been arranged into 18 series" (quoted from the Scope and Content page). Links to photo series are under the Container Listing header. Alternatively, you can just browse through them all. [more inside]
posted by cog_nate at 3:19 PM PST - 9 comments

Hate's Haberdasher

Aryan Outfitters - a photo and audio essay from Mother Jones magazine about a day in the life of a 58-year old seamstress who caters to the Ku Klux Klan.
posted by ooga_booga at 1:16 PM PST - 105 comments

Super High Me.

In his effort to shed light on medical marijuana use, comedian Doug Benson documents not smoking pot for 30 days and then smoking pot for 30 days in a row in Super High Me.
posted by gman at 12:50 PM PST - 91 comments

Historian Tony Judt essay in NYRB "What have we learned, if anything?" (from the 20th century)

"What Have We Learned, If Anything?" Historian Tony Judt in the NYRB wonders if we have forgotten the lessons of the 20th century.
posted by stbalbach at 12:25 PM PST - 82 comments

Dosh

As a solo performer, Martin Dosh isn't your typical one man band. Watch him construct densely, beautifully layered songs via live looping. [more inside]
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 12:20 PM PST - 17 comments

Mark Speight dead

Children's TV host Mark Speight found dead in a remote part of Paddington station in London.
posted by auralcoral at 12:13 PM PST - 25 comments

1981 Atari Catalog

It's the 1981 Atari product catalog!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:09 PM PST - 40 comments

Mental Privacy

The Government Is Trying to Wrap Its Mind Around Yours. Why the Next Civil Rights Battle Will Be Over the Mind.
posted by homunculus at 10:15 AM PST - 54 comments

A West Wing Writer Imagines a Deadlocked Democratic Convention

A West Wing Writer Imagines a Deadlocked Democratic Convention
posted by shivohum at 7:46 AM PST - 59 comments

Beautiful Strangers

If you've ever been to Bangkok you might've run into one of them and not even known it. They are a ubiquitous fixture on the bar scene and can be found in the Nana Plaza area. If you're asking yourself the same question that I was then this maybe your answer. Although they enjoy a certain amount of acceptance, they still have a long way to go to be recognized as full citizens with equal rights. Of course, this hasn't stopped them from staking their claim to the spotlight, and trying to become as much of the mainstream as they can. But, if you thought that they were pushovers, well then, think again. [previously mentioned here]
posted by hadjiboy at 6:47 AM PST - 24 comments

No word yet on a national odd sock exchange...

The National Odd Shoe Exchange is a non-profit organization that is a source of footwear for those requiring single shoes or pairs of differing sizes. Many have this need due to injury, disease or genetic disorders. [more inside]
posted by paulsc at 4:18 AM PST - 11 comments

The Wind Over the Waves

Is offshore wind power the renewable energy of the future? [more inside]
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:24 AM PST - 46 comments

It is widely known that cats are attractive creatures that can provide many hours of entertainment

An Engineers Guide to Cats (youTube)
posted by Lanark at 2:12 AM PST - 50 comments

The final Cellodown

If you love the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (and who in their right mind doesn't?) and enjoyed the Japanese version of Smoke on the Water, you might just barely tolerate this. Warning: contains five minutes of repackaged progressivepretentious rock and images of cello-based dorkiness. I gave it 98/100.
posted by wendell at 1:46 AM PST - 26 comments

Congo Cookbook

The Congo Cookbook is a collection of recipes from Africa. (Easiest to view them all here.)
posted by Upton O'Good at 12:38 AM PST - 17 comments