31 years ago today, 918 people died in the Jonestown Mass Murder-Suicide. One week later, CBC Radio aired this comprehensive examination[MP3] of the events leading up the tragedy, including cult leader Jim Jones' rise to power, the founding of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana, and the ill-fated investigative delegation headed by Congressman Leo Ryan which precipitated the tragic event. posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:42 PM PST - 53 comments
NME.com list The Strokes' 'Is This It' has topped the 100 Greatest Albums Of The Decade list in the new issue of NME magazine out tomorrow (November 18).
The 2001 debut album by the New York band was voted top of the pile by a panel of musicians, producers, writers and record label bosses. posted by ktrain at 7:45 PM PST - 164 comments
Since the Goldsmith's Conference of 2007 (which saw the formal embrace of the name), the movement known as Speculative Realism has, by some accounts, "revivified" philosophy. Led by the young philosophers Ray Brassier and Quentin Meillasoux, the movement is becoming known for its two-pronged critique of both the continental and analytic philosophical traditions. Speaking crudely, the goal is to fashion a "transcendental materialism" that puts the continental tradition in a better position to engage with the evolving insights of experimental science (particularly cognitive science, biology, and physics), while revising the analytical tradition's tendency to a "scientistic" and "naive" materialism. On the whole the philosophy tries to be less human-centric, acknowledging a world indifferent to human knowing and human being, while still acknowledging the problem of epistemic contingency. Brassier is also a leading proponent or investigator of nihilism, which will please Big Lebowski fans. [more inside] posted by macross city flaneur at 7:25 PM PST - 79 comments
The British government has announced plans to make Ordnance Survey map data freely available online. The Ordnance Survey is the government-funded agency which maps the country at high resolutions. Unlike the US Geological Survey's public-domain data, Ordnance Survey maps are proprietary, and licensed only under restrictive terms and for hefty fees, including to local governments; setting the data free is said to produce a £156 net economic gain. (Previously) [more inside] posted by acb at 6:31 PM PST - 37 comments
Google Swirl is a new Google Labs experiment that lets a user search through images in a "visual and semantic" way, allowing users to search through radiating treeviews of conceptually related images. (requires flash) posted by boo_radley at 2:27 PM PST - 27 comments
Yesterday, the little-noticed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force caused a stir by releasing new guidelines discouraging routine mammography for women under age 50 and breast self-examinations at any age. (Comparison chart of new and old guidelines here.) The American Cancer Society immediately registered its strong disagreement; meanwhile, the National Breast Cancer Coalition came out in strong support of the new guidelines, saying:
The over-emphasis on the importance of screening, despite a lack of strong evidence, has been elevated to such a degree that some even equate screening with prevention of breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Coalition hopes that today’s release of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) revised recommendations will put the brakes on this run-away train and will put screening and its limitations into proper perspective.