June 28, 2011
Jimmy Murphy was a great country musician who has had less recognition than this MeFi'r feels is justified. Some of his songs are irreverent (but with precedence). Others a bit poignant, if in his signature upbeat kind of way. The man cooks. "When you get salvation you'll know it by it's tone"
In February, Supernatural supporting actor Misha Collins promised his 200,000+ Twitter followers pieces of a live rhino if they got the stars of Supernatural on the cover of TV Guide. They succeeded, and followers who sent in an SASE received a piece of a rhino jigsaw puzzle. Holders of the puzzle pieces were entered into a most unusual scavenger hunt. (Full story via Fandom Wank.)
Tepco, the Japanese nuclear power company, is still battling multiple core meltdowns including one complete "melt-through" (breach of containment). The news gets worse, except for one hopeful story of two dogs. [more inside]
Pet sales to be banned in San Francisco? The San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare, a panel of appointed commissioners advising the Board of Supervisors, recently passed "The Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal". This would ban the sale of all pets in San Fransisco - from rodents, reptiles and birds to dogs, cats and fish. The Board of Supervisors is yet to consider what the L.A. Times calls "a silly idea."
Then, coming on six o'clock, Mr. Myhrvold, the former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft and an inventor with hundreds of patents to his name, came in, wearing chef's whites, and ushered us into dinner. Boy, people eat early around here, I thought. Little did I know I would be eating non-stop for the next three hours. (previously: 1,2) [more inside]
Love Your Vagina Song (nsfw) "...starring over 25 names submitted to the loveyourvagina poll, which asked women from across the world what they call theirs. You gave us 14,000 different names, and there are still more coming in every day!" (via copyranter)
The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox. In an in-depth new article in Rolling Stone, writer Nathaniel Rich makes a compelling case for the innocence of the American student at the center of a sordid, long-running Italian crime drama. [via Longreads]
Telex and VideoText in the United States. What 1982 thought of the internet. (via Kottke). [more inside]
Following a widely-reported incident in which TSA agents required a 95-year-old cancer patient to remove her adult diaper for inspection before being allowed to board her flight, TV pundit Keith Olbermann has designated TSA chief John Pistole the "Worst Person in the World" and called for his removal. In other news, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) says it has obtained evidence that "the Department of Homeland Security has failed to properly evaluate the level of risk from airport body scanners." Documents obtained by EPIC via the Freedom of Information Act reveal that "even after TSA employees identified cancer clusters possibly linked to radiation exposure, the agency failed to issue employees dosimeters - safety devices that could assess the level of radiation exposure." (News report with video: TSA workers fear radiation dangers from scanners.) EPIC says the documents also indicate that DHS "mischaracterized the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, stating that NIST 'affirmed the safety' of full body scanners.". In a private email response (PDF link), NIST stated that the institute had not tested the safety of the scanners. And yesterday the Texas legislature approved a watered-down version of its TSA "anti-groping" bill. The Idaho legislature is also considering an anti-TSA-groping bill. [more inside]
Sephiroth the World's Enemy [SLYT] A Final Fantasy stop-motion video. Also: a behind the scenes look at the toys & animation, involved.
The name Clams Casino has been floating around for a while, whose production was likened to a castle floating in the clouds by the BasedGod himself, Lil B [prev]. But recently, 24 year old Mike Volpe has shot up from relative obscurity to being dubbed a "visionary beatmaker" in Rolling Stone. You can hear the start of the north Jersey bedroom producer's ethereal sound in his 2006 remix of Mobb Deep's "Get Twisted", which has carried forward into tracks for Squadda Bambino, Lil B, Havoc (of Mobb Deep), and Soulja Boy. Clams Casino has since released a free mixtape of his instrumental production (streaming) to glowing reviews. [more inside]
The Avant Garde Project is a series of recordings of 20th-century classical, experimental, and electroacoustic music digitized from LPs whose music has in most cases never been released on CD, and so is effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today. Until now, of course. [more inside]
The creator of the PSynth app for iPhone explains the basics of software synthesizers in a series of articles on Dr. Dobbs. Creating Oscillators. The Synthesizer Core. The final article promises delays and phasers. The source code is java so the example synth is easily extendable.
CameraMail. Honolulu based conceptual artist Matthew McVickar sent a Kodak FunSaver taped to a piece of cardboard through the mail with instructions for the postal workers to take pictures as it travelled from his hometown on Cape Cod. These are the results. (via reddit)
Right around 1879, the fishwheel (historical images, McCord replica) came to the Columbia River. A clever application of mill-like thinking to traditional net fishing techniques, the fishwheel's river-powered automation of upstream harvesting revolutionized canning in Oregon and Washington, drawing both commercial attention and critical concern [NYT 1881, PDF]. Two men, Thornton Williams and William Rankin McCord, each filed patents for fishwheel designs in 1881 (#245251) and 1882 (#257960) respectively; Williams brought an infringement suit against McCord which was dismissed on the grounds that the invention was not new, being based directly on the publicly documented work of one Samuel Wilson in 1879. Fishwheels were fair game. [more inside]
Could this be happening? A man's nightmare made real. PART II: Louis Gonzalez III stood accused of unspeakable acts: kidnapping, torture, sexual assault. If convicted, he faced life behind bars. 'He kept thinking that there had been a mistake, that he'd be out in no time. That the system, set into motion by some misunderstanding or act of malice, would soon correct itself.' 'A quote from a police officer: "In 19 years of police work, this has to go down as one of the most brutal attacks I have ever seen."' [more inside]
The Supreme Court of British Columbia decided that the BC Adoption Act is unconstitutional "because it treats adopted children differently from children of sperm donors. Adopted children are provided information about their biological parents, whereas the children of donors are not." [more inside]
Goodbye public spaces? A recent St. Petersburg Times op-ed reports that Governer Rick Scott, through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has drawn up a plan to turn over portions of more than 50 state parks to private corporations to build camping and RV sites. [more inside]
A new study finds that re-usable grocery bags don't harbor sickening bacteria as much as previously found. Turns out, the previous study (June, 2010), which reported significant levels of sickness producing bacteria present in the bags they tested, was sponsored by the American Chemistry Council, an organization that represents the interests of the people who manufacture plastic bags. “A person eating an average bag of salad greens gets more exposure to these bacteria than if they had licked the insides of the dirtiest bag from this study,” says an expert.
Chi-Com Comeback? July 1st is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (Official English website). Since 1979, China has been on a course of economic reform, first initiated by Deng Xiaoping, who climbed from disgrace during the Cultural Revolution to lead China away from a communist economy. Now, however, with the anniversary of the Party coming up, at least in Chongqing, the fastest growing city on the planet which 32 million people call home, the East may once again be Red. [more inside]
Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists presents Fifty Years of Space Nuclear Power "A plutonium fueled RTG that was deployed in 1965 by the CIA not in space but on a mountaintop in the Himalayas (to help monitor Chinese nuclear tests) continues to generate anxiety, not electricity, more than four decades after it was lost in place. See, most recently, "River Deep Mountain High" by Vinod K. Jose, The Caravan magazine, December 1, 2010." (MeFi previously)
Last night Google quietly rolled out Google+ to a limited beta release. Unified across all Google sites, Google+ is the company's latest and perhaps most serious attempt to enter the social networking space. As Facebook surpasses Google in some key user metrics, Google's efforts may already be too late [more inside]
It is quite likely this is the coolest desk in the world! (Well, even if that's hyperbole, there are lots of other beautiful puzzles and woodworks in Kagen Schaefer's gallery, including some of his award winners from the annual Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.)
She just released her Christmas record, which is maybe not the best Christmas record you have ever heard in your life.
There were a lot of rocker dogs. You know, I want rock! My favorite were the ones in the front row—the droolers. They had all been really primed because for one week before the show, all of the owners had been like, “We are going to a concert just for you—you are going to love it." [more inside]
Oreo Cameo | egg on toast embroidery | cereal sampler | Judith G. Klausner has fun with her food. [more inside]
Happy Tau Day! τ (2 × π, that is, 6.28...) is the number of radians in a turn. Translating the digits to notes even makes beautiful music. (By comparison, what pi sounds like). Previously.
Snailiad: The snails of Snail Town have gone missing! Use your power to climb walls to explore a Metroid-like world to find all the secrets also snails. YAY!
How to Talk to Little Girls. "Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It's surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I'm stubborn."
Late Night Political Zingers. The best of Leno, Letterman, Fallon, Maher et al for those of us who don't have the time to watch. e.g. "New Rule: Stop asking Miss USA contestants if they believe in evolution. It's not their field. It's like asking Stephen Hawking if he believes in hair scrunchies. Here's what they know about: spray tans, fake boobs and baton twirling. Here's what they don't know about: everything else. If I cared about the uninformed opinions of some ditsy beauty queen, I'd join the Tea Party." –Bill Maher [more inside]
One hundred years ago today, the Nakhla meteorite fell to earth in Abu Hommos, Egypt, bearing possible evidence of life on Mars. And possibly vaporizing a dog. [more inside]
Reviewing Netflix's 'Example Short 23.976.' Netflix has subsequently released the short in a variety of forms and at various lengths, in one case looping it for a full eight hours in a version that many viewers compared to Andy Warhol's 1964 film Empire. In another case the film was compiled into "a sample show with many episodes" titled Example TV Mega-series 700, containing exactly 700 episodes.
Adam Savage of Mythbusters (Mefi's Own) on Minnesota public radio singing "I Will Survive" in the voice of Gollum with Neil Gaiman in attendance.
The Professor is Dead. Long Live Netflix! As Netflix rebrands itself as a cable TV alternative rather than a by-mail video rental service, it's killing off its user community and anonymizing reviews. Top reviewer The Professor is philosophical about the change (see main link), others less so.
John Hyduk, a middle aged blue collar worker in Cleveland, writes about his daily existence.
The History of English in Ten Minutes (Chapter I: Anglo-Saxon), from Open University. [via] [more inside]
"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."
The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
Vatican officials unveiled a new Internet portal Monday, a service that will aggregate the latest news from all its various media in a campaign to reach a growing online congregation across the world. [more inside]
Capcom will let you complete your purchased game. Once.
You know who doesn't like used video games? Game publishers. In a very sad twist, Capcom's fighting back against the second-hand game market with a game that can only support one save file — for life.
As de Waal says, couldn't the full range of human nature encompass both those who want to rape and those who are powerfully averse to it? Put another way, just because some men commit rape doesn't mean all other men are only restrained from it by the artificial strictures of society. In fact, the fantasy of a hyper-willing female partner, one who is both exceedingly desirous of sex and exceedingly satisfied by a man's skills, is common in both porn and pop culture. A few current videos on XTube, for instance, include Climax2000, Cuming [sic] For You, Debbs Dark Desires, and Wanting Some Big Dick, all of which appear to depict women in various states of hunger-for-your-cock. Of course, Debbs Dark Desires may depict more what dudes want Debb to want than what she actually craves, but the point is that even quite male-centric depictions of female sexuality often include not just consent but enthusiastic desire and orgasm. The idea that men's natural instincts are rape-centric isn't supported even by media that serve their most private predilections.
From December 2007 through the end of 2010, 24 states have cut government spending by an average of 7.5 percent after adjusting for inflation. Another 25 states have expanded government outlays by an average of 11 percent. The result? States that cut the most money have lost the most jobs.
Such Hawks Such Hounds explores the music and musicians of the American hard rock underground circa 1970-2007, focusing on the psychedelic and '70s proto-metal-derived styles that have in recent years formed a rich body of unclassifiable sounds.