November 12, 2009
"Liberal Hawk" Peter Galbraith played a major role in justifying the American invasion of Iraq. Later he helped write the new Iraqi constitution. Turns out he failed to disclose the hundreds of millions he stands to make on Kurdish oil fields, in part because of his engineering of the same constitution to put him in a favorable business position. Another blogger remembers the good ol' days of 2003 when the media and politicians were shocked --shocked! -- that anyone would dare suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was "all about oil."
North Dakota might be the butt of many jokes. It also might have the solution to many of the financial and banking problems facing our largest states. The Bank of North Dakota is the only state owned and operated bank in the USA. Some see it as a model for the future of banking.
Is Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao the GOP future? That's what Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) thought - a year ago. Since then, Cao has jolted Washington, and the question arises: was Boehner right about Cao being the future of the GOP, or will the purifiers prevail. [more inside]
Do you want a definitive guide to washing your cast iron pan? Or you're curious about your vintage pans, maybe? Maybe your well-meaning partner left your beloved pan soaking in the sink, and you need to get rid of the rust, stat. Or maybe it's a LOT of rust, and you're looking to build an at-home electrolysis tank (warning: top-of-page Borat swimsuit shot). For all your questions on the loves and lives of the fabled cast iron pan, Black Iron Dude has the answer. [more inside]
Ten years ago today the government reversed one of the key elements of the Depression-era banking laws, knocking down the firewall between commercial banks, which take deposits and make loans, and investment banks, which underwrite securities. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 was seen at the time as a way to help American banks grow larger and better compete on the world stage. [more inside]
National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen (previously) relates the harrowing tale of a sweet, insistent, and ferocious lunchmate (note - clip begins with a dramatic drumbeat, mind your speakers) [more inside]
Projecting images onto buildings is nothing new. Even projecting buildings themselves has been theorized. But Dutch firm NuFormer has created a new means for projecting custom-made images onto buildings. The results are amazing.
Tutting is the name given to a contemporary abstract interpretive dance style that exploits the body's ability to create geometric positions and movements, predominantly with the use of right angles. Finger tutting narrows the dance to just the hands. See: Monsieur Clay-Doh | JBeast | Moon vs. Pacman | Bugs Bunny 1947 and Learn: WonderHowTo | thaSMIZofESV | TheFreekachu [some nsfw]. Kids these days.
Demand Media (not to be confused with Media-On-Demand) is a success story in the "on-line content" business creating 4000 text or video pieces a day with an assembly-line formula that includes an automated editorial algorithm and an army of lowly-paid freelancers (but, hey, they're starting to offer health benefits!). Their own sites include the mind-numbingly practical eHow (and eHowUK for the non-US-centric), the .com affiliate of Lance Armstrong's Livestrong and the infamous (at MeFi) Cracked.com (link goes to parody of parody). They're syndicating content through their own domain registrar eNom (better than 'parked pages', right?), and one other thing: Demand is the #1 content provider to YouTube (and YouTube is their #1 revenue provider). All this from a CEO/mastermind best known as 'the guy who sold MySpace to NewsCorp'.
A few years ago, Gruff Rhys, lead singer of fabulous Welsh pop oddballs Super Furry Animals (Cymraeg/English) set out to make a film about the search for his uncle, a 1970s Argentinian pop star called René Griffiths. The result is Separado!: part travelogue, part music film, and part history of how a small band of idealists set out to establish a Welsh colony in the Argentinian part of Patagonia. [more inside]
Last year, Spotify made news as a revelation in music availability, by providing ad-supported free access or paid subscriptions to more than 6 million streaming songs. This year, Sweden is the home to another streaming media landmark, with Voddler. Currently limited to Sweden but with goals of reaching the world, the streaming video-on-demand provider was well-received, but initial movie selection did not impress all. That should change, as Voddler recently expanded the potential list of movies when they signed The Walt Disney Company Ltd and Paramount Pictures, netting access to the Disney assets and the Paramount library. A deal with Sony may be forthcoming. [more inside]
Star Trek Tricorders are becoming reality. Not a doctor? Not a problem. There's an iPhone app that detects killer gasses in the air. There's one for Android phones that detects magnetic and gravitational fields and displays solar activity. This device doesn't do anything particularly useful other than play music, but it looks damned cool. Another iPhone app that's just for fun, presented by the geekiest guy ever.
The Mandelbulb "The original Mandelbrot is an amazing object that has captured the public's imagination for 30 years. It's found by following a relatively simple math formula. But in the end, it's still only 2D and flat - there's no depth, shadows, perspective, or light sourcing. What we have featured in this article is a potential 3D version of the same fractal."
Tom Sanford, a NY based artist, has created paintings depicting pop-culture icons before, but none have created a "regular trickle of hate mail/criticism" like this one. [more inside]
Ambiguous movie endings resolved. Some jokesters have put together imagined endings to some ambiguous film (and TV) endings. Much funnier and better executed than I expected.
Crime: A Tale of Two Cities. When "The Wire" gained popularity in Great Britain, we were contacted by a London-based journalist who proposed a job swap. Mark Hughes, a crime reporter with The Independent, a national newspaper in the United Kingdom, wanted to come to Baltimore to see if the city’s police officers, drug dealers, prosecutors and politicians bore any resemblance to those on show. We agreed to complete the exchange by sending our police reporter, Justin Fenton, to London to compare crime trends. [more inside]
"In hindsight, it’s often seen as inevitable that the two Germanys would reunite. But this, too, is a somewhat revisionist view. " Tim Mohr writes about the "awkward twist" about the fall of the wall, many of the protestors did not seek unification.
An incredibly detailed reconstruction of US Airways flight 1549, from takeoff to ditching in the Hudson. The first video is an animation of the flight, with audio from the LGA tower and a transcription of the discussion between Capt. Sullenberger and F/O Skiles. The work also includes reconstructed radar target displays, radar returns of the birds, and various audio transcripts. Based on the NTSB docket, released in June 2009.
During the last week, a senior detective in Novorossiysk, Russia named Alexei Dymovsky had a viral hit on YouTube with a series of videos (in Russian: 1, 2. With English subtitles: 1) complaining about working conditions, accusing officers of corruption, and claiming that he and other police were ordered to stage crimes in order to put innocent people in jail. Dymovsky was promptly fired, but the Russian government has since admitted that parts of the police have been turned into criminal businesses. More here and here.