November 13, 2007
Owen Hatherley, has three blogs where he expounds on culture and architecture from an English Leftist perspective, sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy, The Measures Taken (which has longer essays than the previous blog) and the group film blog kino fist. To give you an idea of the range of subjects he covers, here's a sampling of his blogposts: Towards a Communist Couture? Sartorial Socialism from Huey P Newton to Honecker, Zuckendes Fleischer (on pre-WWII American cartoons), Industrial Island Machine - Vorticism and the absence of an English Avant-Garde, Hurrah for the Black Box Recorder (on songwriter Luke Haines and The Daily Mail), The Children’s Book as a Revolutionary Object (with a bunch of pictures from Soviet avant-garde children's books), Architectural Drawings of the 1960s, Art is a branch of Mathematics (Taylorism and Russian SF classic We), Brechtian Productivism in an age of Mechanical Stagnation and Notes towards an attempted refutation of the 'Associational Fallacy' (on architecture). All of the blogs are heavily adorned with pretty pictures, some not safe for work. [more inside]
Scientists introduce "state-of-the-art robot" to a group of toddlers. By the time the experiment ended, the children were treating QRIO as a peer (Quicktime video of giggling, hugging, "displacement hugging,""night-night," and defiant assistance). Oh, and via.
A new U.S. Treasury Report (press release) reports that tax returns from 1996 to 2005 show that income mobility in the U.S. is "considerable," with rising earnings, and top earners who often stumble. The WSJ crows. Pew releases its own research (reports, press release) on income inequality today with a multi-decade outlook, but summarizes the findings as that American families' income mobility is still highly dependent on their parents' position. Forbes and a The New Republic blog try to reconcile the reports. Meanwhile, blacks appear to be downwardly mobile.
From Dubai: Go around twice if you’re happy (YT): Vincent Fichard and Matthew Jones put up fake construction signs around town to test the response of passing motorists
From Ants to People, an Instinct to Swarm. Carl Zimmer looks at the work of Iain Couzin. [Via The Loom.]
William Rodriguez gave a captivating presentation in Seattle on 11/07/07. William is believed to be the "Last Man Out" of the north tower of the World Trade Center alive, but not before reentering three times with the master key after the first plane impacted the north tower to help rescue a countless number of people. Here is an interview with William after the presentation. His Ricky Ricardo impersonation at the end is pretty good.
You know what will help young people in Pennsylvania embrace a career in health care? A video featuring a rapping groundhog that cost $4157 in taxpayer money.
"Why don't you shut up." Spanish King Juan Carlos on Saturday angrily told President Hugo Chavez to shut up as the Venezuelan leader was involved in a heated verbal exchange with the head of the Spanish government, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Youtube video
Musical saw. Musical saw. Musical saw. Musical saw. Musical saw. Musical saw. Musical saw. Musical saw. Musical saw. [more inside]
For those who enjoyed "DM of the Rings", there is now "Darths & Droids", by a team who eventually intend to process all six of the Star Wars films. [more inside]
Respect speed limit, get free music from...asphalt ? When driving in Japan remember to respect the speed limits , you may be instantly rewarded by hearing a tune as played by...your car and the road.
The 100,000th photograph has been scanned into the National Library of Australia's digital database. It is a picture of an oprhaned joey wearing a winter overcoat. But there's still 999,999 other photos for you to peruse. Check out a large selection of them here!
Paper sculpture from Richard Sweeney. (More MeFi paper sculpture from Cooperman and Callesen)
The Predatory Lending Association takes a comic look at the dark practice of payday lending. Just when you thought charging 391% interest wasn't legal. This is from the same folks that created WalkScore.
"The neighborhood of Bab al Sheik dates from a time, more than a thousand years ago, when Baghdad ruled the Islamic world... Ten centuries later, Bab al Sheik is less grand, but still extraordinary: it has been spared the sectarian killing that has gutted other neighborhoods, and Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians live together here with unusual ease." A NY Times story (by Sabrina Tavernise and Karim Hilmi) about interesting people in an interesting place. (Print version for them as wants one.)
The Ultimate Bootleg Experience is an ecclectic mp3 blog dedicated to live boots with a good number of posts up, and the links in the archives seem to stay live for quite a while.
Bank Intern Busted by Facebook -- Kevin Colvin e-mailed his boss to say that he'd miss work due to what colleagues took to be a 'family emergency.' His boss turned to Facebook and found a photo of Colvin, dressed as a fairy at a Halloween party -- one which he apparently missed work to attend. The boss attached the image to his reply, copying the rest of the office as he did it. An Internet star/meme is born in this 'Age of Global Viral Embarrassment.'
Is the hopocalypse upon us? Hops are an essential ingredient in beer (even dictated by law in Germany). But recent shortages and rising worldwide demand (pdf) have many craft brewers, hops dealers and homebrewers worried. How can you cope? Maybe it's time to try some gruit or mead.
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. Tonight on NOVA, a documentary on the six-week trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover. [Full transcripts of trial] The court's decision [PDF] by Judge John E. Jones III, chastised the defense's dishonesty and the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover School Board's policy. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education recounts the the trial here. According to Salon, the Discovery Institute is not quitting -- preferring now to "teach the controversy," as part of their ongoing attack on naturalism. [Previously 1 2]
The forest preserve of Białowieza is considered to be the last primeval forest in lowland Europe. Because of its unique position on the border of the temperate and boreal climate zones, it contains a unique mixture of trees, such as Norway Spruce and oaks. It also contains an interesting mix of fauna, including the European Bison, beaver, wolves, and the Nazi re-creation of an extinct species. [more inside]
Unlike their antiquated, manually operated predecessors, the toilets can flush at the slightest movement, and emit a high-pitched whine that, to some ears, sounds like a cat being strangled.
News that's fit to print: Childrens' fear of auto-flush toilets. (NYTimes)
News that's fit to print: Childrens' fear of auto-flush toilets. (NYTimes)
"Reflections on White Privilege" by Tad Lawrence, dean of faculty, Cambridge School of Weston "That white Americans would send cards such as the ones I will show you for the most ordinary of purposes indicates the frightening extent to which they had internalized, accepted and condoned the presentation of African Americans that were the public face of the cards they sent." [more inside]
Serfs of the Turf. Michael Lewis on the racket that is college football and the myth of the "student-athlete" football player.
With about as much fanfare as last time, Greg Knauss has re-re-started An Entirely Other Day, this time in a slightly different location. Greg, we love you. Don't make us work this hard.
New York State goes after Amazon "affiliates." So if you, as a New Yorker, link to your book on Amazon, you are now an independent contractor and shall be taxed accordingly (PDF). [more inside]
Striking Out by James Surowiecki. "As TV writers hit the picket lines, Surowiecki discusses the motivations and consequences of labor strikes. Historically, he argues, strikes have rarely ended up benefiting workers; the deals reached are usually similar to offers on the table before workers walk out. So why strike? For one thing, he writes, striking may clarify how serious your employer is about his stated position. And strikes are often about fairness, rather than economics -- people tend to reject deals they view as unfair, even when doing so leaves them worse off. A cogent analysis offering some interesting, timely tidbits of economic theory." [via]
Remember when air travel was viewed as glamorous and exciting? Of course you don't. So check out this collection of vintage flight attendant photos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Red Brown Fox. Tracking how Fox News's headlines change over time.
The 'Winners' of the Wired News Saddest-Cubicle Contest The winner -- if you can call it winning -- of the Wired News saddest-cubicles contest is David Gunnells, an IT guy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His desk is penned in by heavily used filing cabinets in a windowless conference room, near a poorly ventilated bathroom and a microwave. Here are some of the runners-up
An Indonesian fisherman who feared that he would be killed by tree-like growths covering his body has been given hope of recovery by an American doctor - and Vitamin A. Dede, now 35, baffled medical experts when warty "roots" began growing out of his arms and feet after he cut his knee in a teenage accident.
"Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit." John Scalzi with everything you need to know about the $27 million Creation Museum.
"In the first room of the Creation Museum tour there’s a display of two paleontologists unearthing a raptor skeleton. One of them, a rather avuncular fellow, explains that he and the other paleontologist are both doing the same work, but that they start off from different premises: He starts off from the Bible and the other fellow (who does not get to comment, naturally) starts off from “man’s reason,” and really, that’s the only difference between them: “different starting points, same facts,” is the mantra for the first portion of the museum."Don't forget the photo tour. [previously]
Prototype/Scriptaculous Version of Same Game, created on 10 Nov 2007, by Syndication.
"Marvel has put the power in the hands of the fans by making thousands of comics—ranging from Golden Age classics to the most recent Marvel masterpieces—available online, including the first 100 issues of FANTASTIC FOUR and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN plus so much more." If Marvel's not your thing, you can always while away untold hours here.
The battle over Nandigram continues (after the massacres of March 14), as a fresh spate of atrocities have been reported.
Reagan at Neshoba. Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok". Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator. By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB, via, additional context here]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes". [more inside]
Myfootballclub puts their money where their collective mouth is and buys Ebbsfleet United, who are currently in the Blue Square Premier. [more inside]