April 21, 2007
Rich Little was selected (vid link on that page is dead) to headline the White House Correspondents Dinner this year, no doubt to avoid the kind of controversy created last year's headliner, Stephen Colbert. Seems like it was also a way to avoid any type of humor as well! Although no video of the event is yet available online (as far as I can see), an earlier YouTube video accurately predicted the result. An example: 5 minutes to set up this ancient, unfunny, joke. I wish I was kidding.
32 Edible Insect Foods You Can Buy Online including such delicacies as Roasted Pregnant Crickets, Preserved Bamboo Worms in Salt Water Brine, and Preserved Weaver Ants Eggs. Not safe for insectophobes.
Mariah Carey album covers in Saudi Arabia. These appear to be genuine, not a hoax (although the album covers on the Megastar website don't appear to have been changed). From the comments on the post: Actually, I think she looks better in the covered up pictures. Via Mini ZuD.
Thomas Sutpen is one of Faulkner's most complex and intriguing characters. His blog, If Charlie Parker was a gunslinger, there’d be a whole lot of dead copycats includes nostalgic collections of rare photographs in serial form. Samples: They Were Collaborators (298) Great Con Artists of the 20th Century (14) Vietnam - Dramatis Personae (7) A is for Arbus (37) Collect 'em All (26) The Golden Age of Prurience (37) Poets are both clean and warm (18). Many wonderful others on the sidebar.
In light of all of the recent genre-crossing cover posts on MetaFilter [1, 2], here's another. The Puppini Sisters cover such classics as Wuthering Heights, Heart of Glass and I Will Survive in 1940s style jazz. Enjoy.
Charles Phoenix's Disneyland Tour of Downtown Los Angeles... featuring Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Feel like taking your own walking tour of Downtown? Here you go. But hey, why not stop and gorge yourself on a giant pancake breakfast at The Pantry first, just because? Open 24 hours a day, it hasn't closed since 1924 so the doors don't even have locks. Just like Disneyland!
Just days after the Virgina Tech massacre and subsequent discussions on the pros and cons of gun control, a NASA contract engineer shot his coworker today on charges that his performance review was bad. A woman was held hostage by being tied to a chair during this episode. He brought the gun to work after printing out his performance review. NASA intends to increase security even as increased campus security is being discussed. How do we prevent more such shootings, asks the president.
Between 1942 and 1944 the German military erected a gigantic defensive wall along the Atlantic coast, running from France to Norway: more than 12.000 concrete bunkers were built. What remains of the Atlantikwall in Normandy. The Atlantic Wall Linear Museum. The Atlantic Wall and D-Day.
When a Brain Forgets Where Memory Is. Interesting article on dissociative fugue, the poorly understood memory disorder where people seem to forget who they are. [Via MindHacks.]
In a parallel universe Your Favorite Band Really Does Suck! Duncan Watts and others conducted a Web-based experiment [PDF] called Music Lab. Their findings: "while talent might distinguish good from bad, social pressure and pure dumb luck are also big influences on which bands gain the most fame." "Calling the [experiment] 'pathbreaking,' sociologist Michael Macy of Cornell University says the findings illustrate how a small advantage can snowball, making popularity hard to predict. Economist Robert Frank, also at Cornell, says the work shows 'we're all susceptible to the herd mentality.'" The effect of "cumulative advantage" has impact on the popularity of other aspects of contemporary culture: books, films, websites and more.
Prominent cosmologist Simon D.M. White has written a provocative paper posted to the astrophysics arxiv complaining that too much time is being devoted to the quest to understand the nature of the elusive dark energy: "Dark Energy is undeniably an interesting problem to attack through astronomical observation, but it is one of many and not necessarily the one where significant progress is most likely to follow a major investment of resources." He worries generally that observational cosmology/astrophysics/astronomy may turn away from the construction of instruments of general utility (such as the Hubble Space Telescope), to concentrate on a small number of massive experiments narrowly focused on solving particular problems (such as WMAP and the Large Hadron Collider), to the detriment of the "quirky small-science" type of astronomy.
Atlas Gloves: A DIY hand gesture interface for Google Earth.
In 1957, Swiss typographer Max Miedinger invented "the official typeface of the 20th century" -- Helvetica [previously discussed here, via Arts and Letters Daily].
Challenge of the Super Duper Friends looks great, judging from the teaser trailer. Obama as Captain United is probably my favorite.
A modern day Mary Celeste. A ship has been found adrift near the Great Barrier Reef... without her crew. The engine was idling, the table was set, and all the expensive kit was still on board (pirates surely would've gutted the place). The mast was ripped and the life rafts were missing. It's looking less and less likely that three sailors will be found alive. Where is Jack Ryan when you need him?
From 1970 to 2004 Michael P. Smith photographed musicians in performance at every New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. With an excellent sense of timing, Smith was adept at capturing the exultant, transcendant musical moment. Whether they be of the very famous or the relatively unknown, his are photographs you can practically hear.