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November 4, 2011
You've been Warnered
French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius wrote and "directed" the film La Classe Americaine (YT clip/full) in 1993, comprised entirely of scenes from Warner Brothers movies. Warner agreed to let the French TV channel Canal+ use its 4000-movie catalog free of charge and rights for a month, resulting in a pastiche parody of Citizen Kane, in which two journalists investigate the cryptic meaning Orson Welles' last words.

After La Classe, Hazanavicius directed two films lampooning the James Bond ouevre : OSS 117 - Nest of Spies and 0SS 117 - Lost in Rio, both starring actor Jean Dujardin. Which brings us to 2011 - Hazanavicius and Dujardin have just released a new film (via Warner Brothers in America) entitled The Artist, a heartfelt, old-school romance without the aid of spoken dialogue or sound, [p]rojected in black-and-white in the classic 4:3 aspect ratio... [more inside]
posted by obscurator at 10:55 PM PST - 14 comments

Partners in Crime
Professor James Moriarty is a mathematician and criminal mastermind, who appears in The Final Problem, the story in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. Colonel Sebastian Moran is a colonial cad, who appears in the Adventure of the Empty House, the story in which Holmes returned. Together the commit crime. Kim Newman talks about Professor Moriarty: Hound of the D’Ubervilles, his novel in which they star as a reverse Holmes and Watson (review here), and lists his 10 best villains in literature. Previous team ups of the diabolical duo include the movie Silver Blaze / Murder at the Baskervilles (youtube), which features Ian Fleming as Dr. Watson, (not THE Ian Fleming), and Neil Gaiman's A study in Emerald (pdf) (Previously), as well as a brief appearance together in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
posted by Artw at 8:28 PM PST - 46 comments

William Friedkin's "To Live and Die in L.A."
After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
posted by Trurl at 8:26 PM PST - 60 comments

Guy Fawkes Day comes to America
U.S. Credit Unions report that over 650,000 consumers have joined during October, representing more than a year's worth of members in a single month, as Britain's Guy Fawkes Day (Nov. 5th) becomes Bank Transfer Day (tips). [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges at 6:24 PM PST - 144 comments

Science Fiction / Double Feature
Science Fiction / Double Feature performed by Amanda Palmer, Moby, Stephin Merritt, and Neil Gaiman, on the The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. [more inside]
posted by finite at 6:11 PM PST - 66 comments

24 Hours at Fukushima
As part of their special report Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Power, the IEEE has published 24 Hours at Fukushima, chronicling the events that turned a disaster into a catastrophe, and detailing what might have been done to prevent them.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:37 PM PST - 20 comments

True Love
Archeologists in Italy have found a pair of skeletons, who were buried holding hands. [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:21 PM PST - 39 comments

What is this tyranny of head that stifles / The eyes, the senses, / All play on the strings of the heart.
Did you know the recently elected president of Ireland is actually a noted poet? [The Guardian] Here is another of his works. The Guardian's own Carol Rumens is not a fan.
posted by Fizz at 3:36 PM PST - 16 comments

Somewhere in San Francisco
Meanwhile, 6th and Mission St is in the center of city. If you've ever walked it, it's like stepping into the another world, not a pleasant one either. On a rainy night, wandering into Tu Lan, it's famed Vietnamese restaurant, is the closest experience I can recommend to feeling like you're in Blade Runner in America. I work between 5th and 6th on Mission and have wondered and despised how such a place like this came to be. Here's an answer from someone that lives there, which really has me thinking.
posted by straight_razor at 3:23 PM PST - 107 comments

Focusing on the past.
Mr. Remis’s wedding took place in 2003 and he waited six years to sue. And not only has he demanded to be repaid the $4,100 cost of the photography, he also wants $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding and fly the principals to New York so the celebration can be re-shot by another photographer. Among the many hurdles: He no longer knows where his now-ex-wife lives.
posted by dmd at 2:49 PM PST - 61 comments

Bennett + Gaga
What do you get when an 85-year-old jazz singer teams up with a 25-year-old pop star? The Lady is a Tramp.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:17 PM PST - 67 comments

Freeze your beans and save your wooden cutting board
In two parts, Lifehacker takes on popular food myths with some of the latest research: Wood cutting boards are no less safe than plastic; frozen coffee beans can taste great; the evidence of the health effects of artificial sweeteners remains somewhat unsettled; and alcohol doesn't really burn away in cooking.
posted by blahblahblah at 1:08 PM PST - 69 comments

Bill Cunningham New York
Bill Cunningham New York is a wonderful documentary about a fascinating man, now available on Hulu. [more inside]
posted by gilrain at 12:37 PM PST - 34 comments

Dam!
On October 26th, a hole was blasted in the base of 125' tall Condit Dam on the White Salmon River in Washington. In less than 2 hours, the reservoir behind the dam drained completely and the White Salmon flowed unimpeded by a dam for the first time in 100 years. [more inside]
posted by unSane at 12:30 PM PST - 72 comments

Lets have a clever caption contest instead
The sods must be crazy: OLPC to drop tablets from helicopters to isolated villages (Previously)
posted by infini at 12:22 PM PST - 69 comments

Garfield's Royal Rescue, Part 2
The latest entry in ToplessRobot's ongoing Fan Fiction Friday series, will probably be the greatest thing you read all month. Ladies and gentlemen, Garfield's Royal Rescue, Part 2 [more inside]
posted by JoeGoblin at 12:20 PM PST - 22 comments

"Dropping out may not always be the worst fate: sometimes staying in proves costlier."
Our Universities: Why Are They Failing? The New York Review of Books has a lengthy review of several books about problems in higher education, pulling together the various causes that ultimately lead to universities failing to educate students. [more inside]
posted by missix at 12:17 PM PST - 81 comments

Black Money
The United States Secret Service is warning about an old scam that's recently popped up again in New England: black money. [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:18 AM PST - 89 comments

"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"
This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:17 AM PST - 31 comments

Kevin Smith's Army
Kevin Smith's Army How His Loyal Fans Prop Up A Stunningly Mediocre Career [Slate] [more inside]
posted by modernnomad at 11:09 AM PST - 120 comments

What's new pussycat?
Cat, meet CAT! Photos of a mountain lion meeting Zeus, an 11 year old Maine Coon cat, only separated by a sliding glass door. Mountain lions are fairly common in Colorado, and as people develop in their territory, we'll see more and more encounters. A list of fatal cougar attacks in North America. Some facts about Puma concolor.
posted by Eekacat at 10:47 AM PST - 60 comments

Eulogy for a video game fan
Eulogy for a video game fan
posted by Cosine at 10:47 AM PST - 8 comments

No comic sans...
The 8 Worst Fonts In The World
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:43 AM PST - 97 comments

"While we still live in a sexist society, any woman who sticks her head above the parapet will encounter misogynistic abuse."
"You should have your tongue ripped out." Female bloggers speak out about misogynist comments, rape threats and death threats. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 9:25 AM PST - 104 comments

Good Touch, Bad Touch
What touchscreens lack is something called affordance. It’s a lofty term for an object’s built-in ability to tell you how it works. A doorknob affords turning. The button on a car stereo affords pushing. A touchscreen affords nothing. It relies on software for any affordance, which in turn relies on total immersion for the user.... The days of analog affordance are gone. What we want, apparently, is to surround ourselves with touchscreens of varying size—tiny ones in our pockets, medium-size models for our laps and dashboards, and massive versions for our walls. We want tomorrow’s vintage shops to be lined with identical, blank, anonymous slabs. We want things to be vessels for software, and nothing more. - A Slate piece asks if touchscreens are becoming too ubiquitous
posted by beisny at 9:19 AM PST - 98 comments

Dead as the Dodo
Ghost of Gone Birds. Over 100 artists were invited to choose an extinct bird and produce a piece of art inspired by that particular bird and celebrating its glory days. Birds celebrated in the show include the Dodo, the Matinique Amazon Parrot, the Black Mamo and the Great Auk.
posted by sweetkid at 8:42 AM PST - 5 comments

A Living Bridge
In northeast India, a giant cliff leads up into a hidden world: Lothlórien Meghalaya. Nearly two kilometers high and buffeted by monsoon storm clouds, this is possibly the wettest place on earth. Once, twenty-five meters of rain fell here in a year, the world record. Living here poses an unusual problem, and it's not just keeping dry. Nearly all the rain falls during the summer monsoon. Rivers switch from gentle streams to raging torrents. They become wild and unpredictable, and almost impossible to cross. Harley and his niece, Juliana, are busy cultivating a cunning solution. [more inside]
posted by troll at 8:25 AM PST - 30 comments

Friday Focus Fun
It's Friday which means it's time to focus. (On flash fun of course)
posted by aspo at 8:02 AM PST - 15 comments

In Your Eyes. No really, YOURS.
Want a role in the new Joss Whedon movie? How much are you willing to pay for it? The director is auctioning a walk-on role in his new film In Your Eyes, to benefit the Adrienne Shelly Foundation.
posted by hermitosis at 7:25 AM PST - 14 comments

Carving Mount Rushmore
"I want to create a monument so inspiring that people from all over America will be drawn to come and look and go home better citizens," said Borglum, in 1927. The Making Of Mount Rushmore.
posted by veedubya at 6:10 AM PST - 53 comments

Oh Good for you! Now, you'll probably get a belly ache.
Sorry, kids I ate all the candy!
posted by empath at 5:54 AM PST - 160 comments

First Chinese space docking
The Divine Craft docked with the Space Palace on Wednesday, and no one said anything! Cmon space fans, this is the first Chinese space kiss!
posted by Tom-B at 5:18 AM PST - 55 comments

Bach is easy. If she brings him up, you just smile and you say: “Ahh, Bach.”
Bach as graph. -- An interactive visualization of the Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude.
posted by crunchland at 5:01 AM PST - 51 comments

Gwar Guitarist Cory Smoot has died.
Guitarist with cult metal band Gwar, Cory Smoot – otherwise known as Flattus Maximus – has been found dead.
posted by 4ster at 4:25 AM PST - 39 comments

Not a second more
Should we abolish the leap second? [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:51 AM PST - 41 comments

Journey ends
Mars-500, a simulated 520-day mission to Mars (previously and previously), will be completed today at 11:00 CET. Watch live
posted by baueri at 12:46 AM PST - 27 comments