November 3, 2008
Suppression is the act of concealing news of a rare bird from other twitchers. Other twitchers take the more open approach - Sean Dooley broke the Australian record for most birds seen in a year, and inspired by his example, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller gave up their jobs and embarked on a quest to see "over 3,662 different species of birds in twelve months, from 1st January to 31st December 2008." On October 31st, they achieved their goal.
At 12:00am EST, in the Ballot Room of the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the 2008 Presidential Election began.* The vote was 15-6 Obama -- the first time a Democrat has carried the village since 1968. Despite their "first in the nation" status, though, they have only picked the winner 50% of the time. [more inside]
An independent investigator hired by the Alaska Personnel Board has cleared Governor Sarah Palin of wrongdoing in the Troopergate controversy. (Executive summary and recommendations of the report). As previously covered in MeFi, the Alaskan legislature had conducted its own investigation and had concluded that Governor Palin had indeed abused her power in dismissing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, but the independent investigator concluded that the Legislature's special counsel used the wrong state law as the basis for his conclusions and also misconstrued the evidence in the investigation.
Hi, I'm Clarence. Ep 1 - What are you running from? l Ep 2 - Freedom of Speech l Ep 3 - Will you accept Jesus? l Ep 4 - Politeness l Ep 5 - What gets people mad? l Ep 6 - What is Private Space? l Ep 7 - What are Heroes? l Ep 8 - Patience l Ep 9 - Please don't film me l Ep 10 - The Future l Ep 11 - Counting + Beat Kids
The Shahnama or “Book of Kings” is the longest poem ever written by a single author: Abu’l-Qasim Hasan Firdausi, from Tus in northeastern Iran. His epic work narrates the history of Iran (Persia) since the first king, Kayumars, who established his rule at the dawn of time, down to the conquest of Persia by the Muslim Arab invasions of the early 7th century A.D.
Obama's grandmother, the woman who raised him, dies one day before the election. Madelyn Lee Payne "Toot" Dunham, 86, died of cancer, Obama and his sister say. The timing is ridiculous. He saw her last last week, knowing she was failing. [more inside]
Silence Like Scouring Sand. "One of America's quietest places, and the valiant effort to keep it that way." (Previously.)
Need a light-hearted break from ElectionFilter? Then get onboard the sunfish and enjoy the frantic, spastic, fantastic world of Albatrosicks. [more inside]
The story of a speeding ticket, in three acts (click to see full-sized, readable versions). The Cliffs Notes version: man gets speeding ticket complete with a typo on the date of issue, man responds to police with amusing tales of time-travel, infants driving, and automobile prototypes. I won't spoil the ending.
Director Peter Watkins' web site describes the filming, distribution and critical reaction to each of his controversial films, including Punishment Park, the rock star satire Privilege, The War Game, La Commune and more. He also offers a 10-part critique of "the media crisis" that marginalizes non-mainstream ideas via the Hollywood monoform and the Universal Clock, a style he claims structures almost all of the messages delivered to the public, but which sharply limits the range of relationships possible between media producers and audiences. [more inside]
The fierce urgency of now and then. On May 24, 1963, concerned about the potential for race-related riots nationwide after Birmingham, Attorney General Robert Kennedy met with group of prominent black intellectuals and artists, such as Kenneth Clark, Clarence B. Jones, and Harry Belafonte, in a meeting organized by James Baldwin (YouTube 7:07... and also 6:27 and 6:28, if you're interested.) The tone of this emotionally wrenching meeting, however, would be greatly influenced by the presence of fifteen-year-old Jerome Smith, a nonviolent CORE volunteer who was being treated in New York for jaw and head injuries sustained after a brutal beating by segregationists in Mississippi. [more inside]
Well, the Presidential election is only one day away...after which, the US begins the 11 week transition period to a new administration! [more inside]
A handful of young illustrators. Yann Le Bec / Adam Dedman / André Metzger / Илья Казаков / Sophie Blackall
EduChoices offers some good free stuff online: 25 Places to Read Free Books Online l 50 Online Writing Websites for New Writers l Ranking of 20 Universities that Offer Free Courses Online (with links to the free courses), as well as information about university courses etc. l Great Reference Sites Other Than Wikipedia l Free Linux Tutorials for Beginners l Useful Online Calculators For Almost Every Educational and Life Need. [more inside]
It's that time of the year again! NaNoWriMo, previously seen on MeFi here, has kicked off again. If you're stuck, try these tips to lift yourself out of the rut, or feel free to run over to the MeTa thread to grumble about it to fellow NaNo-ers. For the more OCD among us, popular applets to organize your thoughts include bubble.us, seen here previously, to create mindmaps and plot diagrams, or yWriter to organize your prose into chapters and scenes. Other online communities are joining in the fun. Livejournal is donating $1 to the Young Writer's Program for every completed novel. So ignore the deterrents, whip out your thinking hat, and let the logorrhoea start!
Drummer and vocalist Jimmy Carl Black, "the Indian of the group", who appeared on more Mothers of Invention records than you could shake a stick at, has passed away. Here's Jimmy drumming with The Mothers of Invention live on French TV 1968, live on BBC TV 1968, singing with The Muffin Men, 2002, and on one of his last gigs, singing Capt. Beefheart's Dropout Boogie in June 2008, in his duo with mad banjo wizard Eugene Chadbourne which they called The Jack and Jim Show. [more inside]
Another economic post. With the debt and equity markets in a comparative calm, a lot of people are asking what next? One area little examined is the idea of sovereign risk. Basically, those with the armies make to rules, and you don't want to be invested there when they change the rules,. The USA has been the power behind globalisation for over half a century, enforcing the rules of the marketplace we have grown to accept. Some are questioning whether it can maintain this position. [more inside]