October 7, 2012
The Oddment Emporium is 'a Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights', such as the story of Big Nose George. Try Ticklers of my Fancy as a good starting point for exploration.
Ancient Aliens Debunked is the consummate rebuttal to the History Channel's widely maligned eponymous program, leaving no stone unturned.
A Voter’s Guide to Legalizing Marijuana..at the state level
It used to be that young people with humanitarian aspirations went into law or medical school or applied to Teach for America or the Peace Corps. But today, increasing numbers of the most innovative change makers have decided to try to design their way to a more beautiful, just world.[more inside]
Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, and Peter F. Hamilton discuss their books with fans (video). The Hydrogen Sonata, the 10th of Bank's Culture books, will be released October 12th, read the first chapter here. Meanwhile it's 20 years since Reynolds first started work on Revelation Space.
Barrett Brown (previously), journalist, researcher, and activist formerly associated with Anonymous, was raided at his Dallas home on September 12 and brought into Federal custody in Texas. Video and audio of the raid exist, as Brown was hosting a video chat at the time of the raid. (Brown's girlfriend was present during the raid and has published a partial account.) Brown now faces indictment on counts related to his comments about an individual FBI agent in three Youtube videos he had posted in the day before his arrest, and to some of his recent tweets (including a retweet of a Fox News commentator's 2010 remark about Julian Assange). [more inside]
This summer, Gawker began soliciting and publishing a weekly series of first person essays submitted by their readers: "True Stories." They include ten stories (to date) from struggling, unemployed Americans: Hello from the Underclass. (Those who dislike Gawker's interface can find direct links to individual essays within.) [more inside]
T. Boone Pickens and other wealthy, elderly Oklahoma State alums decided to participate in a scheme named "Call of a Lifetime", where they would allow the university to take out $10 million life insurance policies on them. What could go wrong?
Alphabet Horror Vacui is a satire of children's alphabet books utilizing unnerving themes such as nightmares, war, monsters, institutionalized ignorance, and willful ambivalence to human suffering in lieu of familiar alphabet scenes of busy city streets, animals amongst nature, and happy fanciful scenes. Each piece takes a slightly different tack with Marsh's self-imposed assignment, and while some of them are funny in an almost Edward Gorey way, others worm their way into your brain. (via io9) [more inside]
Twenty-three years ago, John Cusack and Peter Gabriel were inexorably linked by a single scene from the movie Say Anything. The scene's inspired devotion, mockery, parodies (including South Park, Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, and even here on the blue) and flash mobs. Cusack and Gabriel have accepted their shared fate, though - and recently paid tribute themselves, during the Hollywood Bowl show from Peter's current tour. [more inside]
Since the 80s Tony Galeota managed Porky's, a Hialeah dive notorious for drugs, prostitution, and violence, where he was part pimp, part bouncer, and completely untouchable. When he left to open a bona fide brothel in Panama, Galeota thought the country's lax prostitution laws (NSFW) would make him rich. Instead, he's trapped in a labyrinthine legal system, alone and unable to speak Spanish.
The Ohio State University Marching Band, in its October 6 game against Nebraska, decided to pay tribute to video games. (SLYT)
The League of Dangerous Mapmakers. The byzantine trade of redistricting was long dominated by brainy eccentrics like Hofeller and his Democratic counterparts. But that began to change in the 1990s, when the availability of mapping software and block-by-block census data for the whole country opened up the field to a waiting world of political geeks. The democratization of redistricting is a lovely thing, perhaps. But as one redistricting veteran told me, “There’s an old saying: Give a child a hammer, and the world becomes a nail. Give the chairman of a state redistricting committee a powerful enough computer and block-level census data, so that he suddenly discovers he can draw really weird and aggressive districts—and he will.”
In the wake of the venerable Boston Phoenix changing to a glossy magazine format and rebranding itself as simply The Phoenix (as well as the ongoing turmoil at the Village Voice), Salon's Will Doig writes the obituary for the age of the alt-weeklies. The Phoenix responds.
All evidence is pointing to the fact that Voyager I has left our solar system. New data from the spacecraft, which I will discuss below, indicate Voyager 1 may have exited the solar system for good. If true, this would mark a truly historic moment for the human race — sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our home solar system
Civil Rights CAPTCHA is unique in its approach at separating humans from bots, namely by using human emotion. This enables a simpler and more effective way of keeping sites spam free as well as taking a stand for human rights.