November 8, 2011
Esi Edugyan wins the Giller Prize, the richest prize for English fiction in Canada ($50,000 to the winner). Those on the shortlist get $5,000 each.
Here's a really cool presentation on how Google's self-driving car works: Part 1, History. Part 2, Implementation. Part 3, Use Case [more inside]
For those who wish Iron & Wine was still releasing music in the same vein as The Creek Drank the Cradle, youtube user modestaretaloger has uploaded a treasure trove of early and unreleased recordings. There is aNick Drake cover, an early version of Faded From the Winter, songs that feature drums, harmonica and mandolin, as well as just plenty of songs that would have fit right into Creek Drank the Cradle or The Sea & the Rhythm.
Q.R. Markham's just-published Assassin of Secrets, hailed as an "instant classic" by at least one blurber, has been withdrawn by its publisher. Why? Extensive plagiarism. The author who blurbed the book explains how he was duped.
Sucks To Be A Straight Guy. Stepping away from the microphone, Jesse Thorn interviews Dan Savage, advice columnist of Savage Love.
The new Boy Scouts Of America recruitment campaign is... well... a bit hairy.
Vintage photographs of Toronto at night is brought to you by the same people who put out Toronto in photos from the 1850s to the 1990s, and several other sets linked within.
Sylvester Stallone has designed a pen. It's called Chaos. It's by Montegrappa (auto-play music... and oh what music)
Dwight Arrington Myers, also know as Heavy D passed away today. Hip hop is far less fun today after the passing of the overweight lover. He was instrumental in launching Puff Daddy's career as well. Some of his most popular singles include Somebody for Me, Now That We Found Love and Mr. Big Stuff.
Teachings on Right Practice by Shunryu Suzuki, as compiled in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, read by Peter Coyote: "Posture", "Breathing", "Control", "Mind Weeds", "The Marrow of Zen", "Bowing", "Nothing Special"
A group of retired Chinese senior citizens singing and dancing to Lady Gaga's Bad Romance on live TV. [SLYT]
In 1982, Daniel Shechtman was on sabbatical at Johns Hopkins University studying aluminum-manganese alloys, and discovered that the resulting crystalline patterns of the alloy resulted in five-way symmetry, much like the famed Penrose Tiles. The resulting publication of these "quasicrystals" resulted in scathing ridicule from most of the scientific community, including Linus Pauling saying "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.", and his research director claiming he had "Brought disgrace" upon their program. However, by 1987 he had managed to grow large enough crystals to be imaged with electron microscopy, verifying his results. His subsequent studies of quasicrystals eventually earned him the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
At first glance, the new inside-the-CIA Showtime series Homeland looks like a cynical socio-political potboiler -- an attempt to exploit fears of a terrorist attack on American soil by Muslim extremists. In reality, the critically acclaimed show, about an anti-terrorism agent (Claire Danes) tracking a U.S. Marine war hero (Damian Lewis) who may now be working for what's left of Al Qaeda, is thoughtful and emotionally complex despite its airplane-thriller trappings. That's why showrunners Howard Gordon and his buddy Alex Gansa gave an interview to Mother Jones, a self-described "news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting." Reflecting on lessons they learned in the trenches of 24, they talk about Homeland's self-aware approach to paranoia as entertainment, and how "dangerous and politically incendiary" a TV show can be .
What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral. Barry Ritholz writes in the Washington Post about the story (the "Big Lie") that it wasn't irresponsibility on the part of the banks that caused the crash--it was really misguided government policies! [more inside]
On October 18, Wired embedded a reporter with both Anonymous and the #Occupy movement, calling both "a new kind of hybrid entity, one that breaks the boundaries between “real life” and the internet, creatures of the network embodied as citizens in the real world." The first entries in Quinn Norton's ongoing special report: Anonymous 101: Behind the Lulz were posted today. Coverage from Wired's other special report, Occupy: Dispatches from the Occupation are already online. NPR: Members Of Anonymous Share Values, Aesthetics [more inside]
Dev Harlan describes himself as a multidisciplinary artist whose hybrid practice combines the physical and the virtual with the use of sculpture, light and projection. In practice, it looks like this: Suffolk Deluxe Electric Bicycle (2:02), Any Colour You Like (Pyramid III) (1:38), Pyramid IV (3:25), Untitled (Pyramid V) (2:20), and Parmenides I (2:41). See also: Nawer and Temporary Space Design, and Amon Tobin live (previously). [more inside]
Highrise: One Millionth Tower is an interactive documentary, architectural visualization, and virtual transformation featuring a highrise development in Toronto. Presented by the National Film Board of Canada. (via Chrome Experiments)
"Using the power of light, we have adapted our technology to address a problem related to an industry which is a crucial part of Scottish culture and economy." St Andrews University researchers have claimed they can work out a whisky's brand, age and cask by using a ray of light the size of a human hair.
Allas creates surprisingly novel highlight clips of FC Barcelona, perhaps the most talented football/soccer team of the moment. This fifteen minute video illustrates Barcelona’s tactics, and serves as an introduction to aspects of the beautiful game that were previously invisible to novices like me. [more inside]
"See, lots of people love comics. Lots of people make comics. Most of us aren’t included in the mainstream. Now with our own books, we can reach a far broader audience than capes comics or art/autobiographical comics can." Comics creator Alex de Campi talks about digital comics, the realities of funding indie comics, and bypassing the mainstream - finding the Self-Publishing Holy Grail. De Campi is not new to digital comics, and has written at length about the nuts and bolts of publishing a story in a dizzying array of languages and formats. She is now using crowdfunding to publish Ashes, the follow-up to her Eisner nominated graphic novel Smoke.
What makes the McRib different from this everyday horror is that a) McDonald’s is huge to the point that it’s more useful to think of it as a company trading in commodities than it is to think of it as a chain of restaurants b) it is made of pork, which makes it a unique product in the QSR world and c) it is only available sometimes, but refuses to go away entirely.A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage
Honda demonstrates the newest version of their Asimo robot. "With a further advance in autonomy, the all-new ASIMO can now continue moving without being controlled by an operator. Moreover, with significantly improved intelligence and the physical ability to adapt to situations, ASIMO took another step closer to practical use in an office or a public space where many people come and go."
America's First Suburb Turns 60 Almost 60 years ago, a planned community embodied the hopes and prosperity of America. Now, it represents a more realistic picture of the American experience. The BBC investigates Levittown, Pennsylvania, as part of a year-long series. [more inside]
Carbon dioxide emissions increased by the largest amount on record in 2010, exceeding the worst case scenario outlined by the IPCC four years ago.
Magic Johnson still beating HIV 20 years later 2 decades after being diagnosed with HIV - the virus that causes AIDS, Magic Johnson is still going strong. His foundation is helping others, giving them hope while educating people about the disease.
What does a day's worth of activity look like for Boston's transportation system? Via bostonography, which has been featured previously.
Kindle Lending Library is now live. (discussed previously). The good news is there are lots of titles and no due dates. The bad news is that there is a one-per-month limit. Oh, and you have to be an Amazon Prime! member. Not everyone is thrilled.
We Love You Joe. Smokin' Joe Frazier has lost his last fight, against liver cancer, at the age of 67. He was the first man to beat Muhammad Ali, in 1971, and held the World Heavyweight Title between 1970 and 1973. He won 32 of his 37 professional fights, his only defeats coming against Ali and Foreman. He was one of the greats.
After an Islamist party won * the first post-revolutionary election in Tunisia, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo* ran a 'Sharia Hebdo' issue lampooning the result. The prophet Mohammed was named 'guest editor' of the issue and put on the cover proclaiming '100 lashes if you're not dying of laughter'. In response, their offices were promptly firebombed, destroying all their equipment. A week later, from its temporary home in the offices of the daily newspaper Libération, what is Charlie Hebdo's message? Love is stronger than hate. (Guardian story)
Daniel Knox prophecies calamity and doom on piano and kazoo. A Chicago musician and songwriter with the voice of a 1920s troubadour, Knox composes tragicomic ballads reminiscent of Will Oldham or Tom Waits. Listen to Evryman for Himself, the harrowing Ghostsong, the poignant You Win Some, You Tie Some, and Disaster. [more inside]
The death of Ghaddafi may also herald the end of the battle for the Aouzou Strip." You could call this 44,000 square-mile piece of desert the world’s largest sandbox. Its most remarkable feature is that it was deemed worthy to be fought over at all." (NYT)