November 23, 2008
They cannot perform in public. They cannot pose for album cover photographs. Even their jam sessions are secret, for fear of offending the religious authorities in this ultraconservative kingdom. The AccoLade is Saudi Arabia's "first all-girl rock band."
Scientists are now revising earlier projections about the speed at which global warming will impact the arctic ice sheet. By 2013 it could very well disappear in the summer months, opening up new sea lanes for commerce and, potentially, "a quarter of the earths oil and natural gas resources". Several arctic countries are thinking ahead, while it appears others have been for quite some time.
David Samuel "Sam" Peckinpah (February 21, 1925 – December 28, 1984) was an American film maker who directed 15 major motion pictures, and created the television series The Westerner, starring Brian Keith and John Dehner. His second film Ride the High Country, " [Starring aging Western stars Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott in their final major screen roles, the film initially went unnoticed in the United States but was an enormous success in Europe. Beating Federico Fellini's 8½ for first prize at the Belgium Film Festival, the film was hailed by foreign critics as a brilliant reworking of the Western genre.] [more inside]
In a series of sixteen advertisements screened in Japan, Tommy Lee Jones plays extraterrestrial 'Alien Jones', who has taken the form of a man to check on the world of humans, all the while drinking a Japanese brand of coffee named BOSS. I have no idea how Tommy Lee Jones got talked into doing these advertisements, or why. And after watching them for yourself (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16), you probably won't either.
minuscule: La vie privée des insectes (warning: auto-play sound). This is a series of short, funny films with no dialogue (so you don't need to know French to appreciate them), combining actual footage with 3d animation. Films include: bouse de là!, catapulte, chewing gum, hyperactive, l'attaque de la sucette rose, les vers sont dans la pomme, libellules, petit repas entre mouches, silence, top départ and zzzeplin. [more inside]
It's a bickie, not a cookie. Named after the winner of the 1958 Kentucky Derby, it's Australia's equivalent to the iconic Oreo. How do they make them? How do you eat them? Tim Tams! They almost make up for the Vegemite.
Can nonprofit news models save journalism? The advertising-supported, for-profit institutional model of journalism (skip this ad) is on the wane. Except for a few large and successful outlets, investment in comprehensive reporting has suffered from a shrinking bottom line, even as the hoped-for development of citizen journalism has been generally underwhelming. But some see a solution taking shape in not-for-profit, independent, citizen-supported online news organizations that would employ skilled professional journalists. Pointing to the encouraging recent growth of NPR and PBS as news outlets, many industry thinkers are starting to agree that "The only way to save journalism is to develop a new model that finds profit in truth, vigilance, and social responsibility." Editors are beginning to experiment with models like that of Paul Stieger's ProPublica (a sort of reporting clearinghouse), Geoff Dougherty's ChiTown Daily News, The NYC Center for an Urban Future's City Limits, and Scott Lewis' Voice of San Diego. Great idea - will it work?
In 1972 the Club of Rome published the famous book Limits to Growth that predicted exponential growth would eventually lead to economic and environmental collapse. It was criticized by economists and largely ignored by politicians. Now Graham Turner at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia has compared the book's predictions with data from the intervening years. According to Turner (PDF report) changes in industrial production, food production and pollution are all in line with the book's predictions of collapse in the 21st century. According to the book, the path we have taken will cause decreasing resource availability and an escalating cost of extraction that triggers a slowdown of industry, which eventually results in economic collapse some time after 2020.(via; previously; previously)
The perfect Sunday nosh: A short history of the bagel. In an age when allegedly edible breadstuffs that my grandmother would have barely recognized have become ubiquitous, did you know that even the Pharaohs had a yen for the iconic Jewish comfort food that is as much a symbol of New York City as baguettes are to Paris? Bagels turn out to be surprisingly easy to make at home, too, though they won't be the same without a schmear and some nice Nova. (Previously on Ask.) Extra credit: the history of everything.
If you've quit smoking and you're trying to get through the early withdrawal symptoms without gaining 20 pounds, one coping strategy is to get busy crafting. Sure, you say, you've made naughty figurines out of your cigarette packages in bored moments before, but now if you're going to craft you want to make something that celebrates your fantastic self-discipline and can serve as a worthy memorial to your renounced habit. If that's how you feel, check out these links. [more inside]
Eric 'MC' Breed, a well known rap artist popular in the 90's, died yesterday at the age of 36. [more inside]
Playing for Change - Peace Through Music (flash) is a documentary film by Mark Johnson. He traveled the world and recorded various musicians playing the song Stand By Me. Each musician was charged with layering a single song over the previous artist thus building upon it. Over thirty musicians globally participated in this project and not one artist knew the other or came in contact initially. [more inside]
Hall & Oates are suing their publisher, Warner/Chappell Music Inc., claiming the publisher failed to enforce the copyright on their song "Maneater" and sue an unnamed singer-songwriter (quite possibly Nelly Furtado) for infringement. The only problem is, Timbaland and Nate "Danja" Hills - the composers of the Furtado track - also work for Warner/Chappel Music. What happens when publishers don't protect songwriters from other songwriters working for the same publisher.
Christopher Farmer of Opord Analytical has just posted his solution (PDF) to part 4 of the much studied "Kryptos" cipher. He's recently cracked Zodiac Killer ciphers thought unsolvable for nearly 40 years and has a theory (PDF) about the Zodiac Killer's possible identity that is hard to be ignored. Mr. Farmer freely shares his many discoveries on his website's forum board.
Brain reorganizes to make room for math. But does math easily lead to truth? Is it really just beauty?
Confirmed: Scientists Understand Where Mass Comes From. An exhaustive calculation of proton and neutron masses vindicates the Standard Model. Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations.