November 19, 2010
The website Sharenator introduces Webempires which aims to visualize every website on the web. [more inside]
Vegan No More: For 3 years I built my entire life on the premise of veganism. It was my life’s passion, my guiding light. Being a vegan was everything to me. I believed my actions made me an animal rights crusader; I was saving lives, and changing the world. Now, I know otherwise. And now, after 2 full months of non-veganism, I can honestly say that I feel reborn.
Big Picture's early picks from National Geographic's Photo Contest 2010. Photo contest main site, deadline for submissions Nov. 30.
Long Live the Web — An impassioned plea to actively support openness on the Web from Tim Berners-Lee. [more inside]
The Complaints Choir phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world since last we paid it any attention, from Birmingham to Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Poikkilaakso, Bodø, Penn State, Canada, Juneau, Gabriola Island, Sointula, Jerusalem, Melbourne, Budapest, Malmö, Chicago, Florence, Copenhagen, Vancouver (2), Philadelphia, Sundbyberg, Milano, Åland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Basel, Umeå, Ljubljana, Gdansk, Arizona State University, Washington, DC, Horace Mann School, Durham-Chapel Hill, Auckland, Toronto theatre students, Kortrijk, Cairo (2), St. Pölten, Maribor, Port Coquitlam, Ústí nad Labem, Columbus & Kauhajoki (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir, go to the Complaints Choir website. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
My Immortal is an infamous piece of fanfiction by Tara Gilesbie that has the distinction of being the top Google result for "worst fanfic ever". It's a fascinating read, both for its unique turns-of-word (like when Draco and the author begin to "make out keenly"), and for how effectively it reveals the author's culture and insecurities — the way it alternates between denunciations of superficial "prep" culture and elaborate descriptions of its protagonist's wardrobe, its constant obsession with sex mixed with a squeamish aversion of any eroticism, and its desire, chapter by chapter, to both denounce its critics and to prove them somehow wrong. TVtropes, Urban Dictionary, and Encyclopedia Dramatica each debate whether the piece is sincere or satirical. "If it's fake," says UD, "it's complete genius; and if it's real it's total desecration of a perfectly good book/movie series."
I hate hype. Gives me hives. Sends me right into a lather, when publicists write that so-and-so is "the next big thing" or "the next Mozart" or the "reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix". [more inside]
"Nobody else is making music this daring and weird." Kanye West's upcoming new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, samples everyone from Bon Iver to Smokey Robinson and features guests like Elton John and La Roux. You may have already heard the album's first single "Power" (previously) or second single "Runaway" with its accompanying 35-minute short film, via his G.O.O.D. Fridays music project. Or maybe you've recently seen him rapping on a Delta flight, performing at Twitter HQ, or apologizing for some of his "most ridiculous on-air moments." Did I mention the banned album cover?
Infinite Ocean is "a sci-fi adventure about sentience, freedom, and the search for truth" (a point & click flash game) by Jonas Kyratzes. [more inside]
"Affluence breeds impatience, and impatience undermines well-being." Avner Offer is the professor of economic history at the University of Oxford, and he is interested in the well-being of people and families in liberal market societies. His latest work, The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950, is an empirical socioeconomic history of the effects that liberal and neo-liberal economics has had on happiness, relationships, and social welfare. Specifically, he argues that Reaganism/Thatcherism catapulted forward the ability to produce new goods and services, and to create the desire for them, far ahead of society's ability to cope. Reagan and Thatcher "smashed the family to pieces;" the result of market liberalism is societies of ever-more dissatisfied, atomized, unhappy communities of dual-worker consumerist families.
The case “touches issues of far-reaching significance,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote. Then he explained why the court would decide none of them. A definitive ruling should be avoided, he said, because “it might have implications for future cases that cannot be predicted.” [more inside]
Dirtbombs' drummer Ben Blackwell has created a map of Detroit of labels offering "vinyl releases throughout all eras". He also has a blog and participated in the SXSW panel "How to Make Money With Vinyl" (mp3) as an employee of Third Man Records.
The Case of the Vanishing Blonde
After a woman living in a hotel in Florida was raped, viciously beaten, and left for dead near the Everglades in 2005, the police investigation quickly went cold. But when the victim sued the Airport Regency, the hotel’s private detective, Ken Brennan, became obsessed with the case: how had the 21-year-old blonde disappeared from her room, unseen by security cameras? The author follows Brennan’s trail as the P.I. worked a chilling hunch that would lead him to other states, other crimes, and a man nobody else suspected. [printer-friendly version; behind-the-scenes video; via]
Cinema Code of Conduct as collated by Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode, as read out on the radio this afternoon.
Michael was born without arms, yet he has managed to learn how to load and shoot a 1911 pistol. (SLYT)
Philosopher Alvin Plantinga discusses the evolutionary argument against naturalism with philosopher Stephen Law. Plantinga, now retired from his position at Notre Dame, is one of the most well known analytic philosophers of recent times. The podcast is targeted at a non academic audience and keeps things on a fairly basic level in non-technical language. Plantinga and Law conduct a congenial, mutually respectful discussion of the issue. Previously. [more inside]
Order your 1:1 scale replica Space Shuttle model today! (Shipping not included. Replica will not fly)
The Automata Blog is packed full of interesting images, videos and information about all kinds of amazing automata, cool machines, mechanical music, orchestrions and kinetic sculptures. This month's focus is the history of vintage Japanese tin toy robots and the toy robot paintings by Steven Skollar.
SLNPRA (Single Link NPR Audio) on the MGM bankruptcy. Will Bond succumb to a "lack of shelf space"? [more inside]
The U.S. military is sending a contingent of heavily armored battle tanks to Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war... Although the officer acknowledged that the use of tanks this many years into the war could be seen as a sign of desperation by some Afghans and Americans, he said they will provide the Marines with an important new tool in missions to flush out pockets of insurgent fighters. [more inside]
To make thy wax, takest thou first 4 parts of shellac, and place it in a pan over a heat of the second degree.
"On the other hand, a seal made of shellac shall also n'er serve, for that it is too intemperate and hard and will too easily break upon the lightest blow. And belike as not, it will not adhere to a paper when attached thereto, so that oftimes it would pop loose without any encouragement, and bear false witness against the messager." —The Manufacture of a Good and Faithful Sealing Wax, circa 1683. [more inside]
Asian Games Cricket Gold for Pakistani Women Pakistan beat Bangladesh to grab gold in women's cricket at the Asian Games.
Where will you be one week from today? "In this age of restless wanderings, how can you be certain where some urgent call may take you? What guarantee have you that a feeble cry in the night, a sudden emergency call, or a "date" will not summon you hurriedly to 431 Eighth Avenue?" [more inside]
Stephen Fisk runs a website called Abandoned Communities, which documents unsettled settlements around Britain. Some were huge, like Sarum, between (roughly) the eleventh and fourteenth centuries a royal city with its own cathedral, while some were never bigger than a few dozen people. There are places that have been swallowed by the sea, places that have been swallowed by London, and some that simply dwindled into nothingness. Some you may have heard of already, like St. Kilda or Capel Celyn (cofiwch Dryweryn!). There's also a handy map that links straight to any particular location, and collections of painting and poetry pertaining to these vanished places
An Icelandic company called deCODE genetics (previously) has found evidence, though not conclusive, that an unknown American woman traveled to Iceland, possibly against her will, as early the year 1000 but not later than 1700. She had offspring in Iceland with natives. 80 of her descendants are still extant in that country. This finding has been announced in a pre-print online publication of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The work involved explorations of mitochondrial DNA, which are frequently employed to examine humans' centuries-old lineages. One surprising result is that this lineage does not seem to line up with previously known Native American genetic markers, but the authors believe that the explanation above is "[more] likely" than this common ancestor being European or Asian. (Via Daily Mail.) [more inside]
If you are a fan of the quirky type fonts of a pre-digital era, you may enjoy "the" project, a whimsical little romp through the graphic yesteryear brought to you by the hound of lettering. (via Mira y Calla)
You think it would be really fun to have sex with me. Because, I think you can tell from my posts, I’ll do anything. But maybe you can also tell from my posts that it’s a little bit weird. Because you know that I’ll say anything, too, but sometimes, I make you cringe.
I think I’m that way in bed, too.
What it's like to have sex with someone with Asperger's.
I think I’m that way in bed, too.
What it's like to have sex with someone with Asperger's.
The Soviet Collapse "The document which effectively concluded the history of the Soviet Union was a letter from the Vneshekonombank in November 1991 to the Soviet leadership, informing them that the Soviet state had not a cent in its coffers."
"Every day there are untold millions of comments, texts, and online interactions. Millions. And each one says, I am here and I extend my consciousness to there. There might have been a time when humans were content to sit and simply be, like the goat I saw yesterday sitting contently in a patch of sunshine at the Lincoln Park Zoo. That time was long ago. We want the news. We want to chatter and gossip. We want to say "I am alive" in a billion billion different ways. And now here is internet, providing such an easy, easy way to do that."
Two commercial directors make a fake trailer for an 'Eli Roth' film called Clown. The actual Eli Roth finds out about it... and he likes it so much he is now producing an actual film version.