December 2, 2010
Sledge Hammer Adventures, Wizard of Oz Comics, and Meeting the Most Scary Awsome Dude Ever. Questions? Ask Professor Dave
"In order to renew my Fangraphs membership, every six months, Dave Cameron flies out to meet me in an unmarked parking garage in Washington DC, where I swear a blood oath by candlelight on a stack of Necronomicons never to write anything complimentary about Derek Jeter’s mobility or range. Cameron’s post about Jeter yesterday was faithful to our sworn mission. The awful secret of Derek Jeter’s fifth Gold Glove requires a little background in a few of the more esoteric domains of human knowledge. This may be the most important blog post I ever write; if it is the last, dear readers, only you will know the truth." Sure, FanGraphs appears to be a geeky site for baseball stat-heads who live in their mothers’ basements, crunch numbers whilst sipping Diet Dr. Pepper, and invent silly acronyms instead of dating girls. But FanGraphs bloggers quite firmly embrace their own nerdiness – even going so far as to create NERD, the stat, which rates the “watchability” of a team. Furthermore, they so often blend humor, politics, literature, and philosophy into their writings that to shun the site is to deprive yourself of fascinating, scrumptious nuggets of surprisingly accessible, occasionally math-heavy, and nearly always well-written baseball geekery. Would you like to know if better players have more Twitter followers? Wondered, Is The DH Dying? Derek Jeter cheated... so what? How about a lengthy meditation on baseball and the science of happiness? [more inside]
"When you send a text message on the Verizon network, you can address your text by choosing a name out of your contact list, or you can address it by typing in a phone number. You can also type in a name. And if you type in L-E-I-L-A, then—bizarrely—your text will come to me. This is a blog about the texts I have received. All of them are from strangers, intended for other Leilas, but obviously they missed their marks."
Murderbullets, 102 pages of power armour, guns, mega-scale rapidly mutating biological horror, cancer sticks, tanks and general comics mahem by James Stokoe.
"no holds barred, no avenue in Toytown left untraveled, no chamber in the Castle Colorforms, unexplored..."
"From 1965 to 1971, we played together, inventing one thing or another.... But, like the bride of Bluebeard, there was one door I was not allowed to enter. That was the door marked “Colorforms”. That alone was off limits. Harry had invented Colorforms, the vinyl plastic pieces that stuck to a shiny surface. And he was convinced that there was no idea or application involving Colorforms, nor could there be, that he had not thought up already.... [H]e would entertain no further discussion on the subject. The very mention of “stick-ons” was off limits. The door to Colorforms was shut and bolted. Until 6 years later, through a curious set of circumstances, I broke it down once and forever." The Colorforms Years is Mel Birnkrant's illustrated history of two decades of ups and downs working with Colorforms, the first plastic-based creative toy and one of the first toys promoted in television commercials. [more inside]
"Weddings are elaborate in Dagestan, the largest autonomy in the North Caucasus. On August 22 we attended a wedding in Makhachkala, Dagestan's capital: Duma member and Dagestan Oil Company chief Gadzhi Makhachev's son married a classmate. The lavish display and heavy drinking concealed the deadly serious North Caucasus politics of land, ethnicity, clan, and alliance." Thus begins a highly informative and somewhat amusing diplomatic cable, recently leaked by wikileaks. [more inside]
Following the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the rail networks of East and West Berlin were divided, necessitating the closure of a number of stations, creating ghost stations, through which West Berlin trains slowed, but did not stop. They appeared on West Berlin U-/S-Bahn maps as stations at which trains do not stop, in the case of stations lying in East Berlin through which trains passed or as out of service. The map also included some stations reachable only from East Berlin trains. The East Berlin map omitted the West Berlin lines and stations entirely. [more inside]
"Artists beware." Deborah Solomon's interview with Steve Martin at the 92nd Street Y was interrupted by a Y representative with a note telling her to talk more about his film career and less about art and his new book, "An Object of Beauty." Some are blaming Steve, some are blaming Deborah. Either way, everyone gets a refund.
You be like, "Maury, I'm not the father of that baby." And post-structuralism is like, "You ARE the father of that baby." Post-structuralism Explained. (NSFW SLYT) [more inside]
New Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (previously and previously) announced today that he is canceling the Transit City LRT construction plan so the city can concentrate on building subways. The fact that millions of dollars have already been spent and that new subway lines might not be finished until 2020 is apparently beside the point. What matters, according to Ford, is that “The war on the car is over.”
Google Maps and Label Readability. No really, it's an interesting read.
Our Meth House. Jenn Friberg and Rob Quigley bought a home in Bristol, PA. What they didn't know is that it been used as a meth house. Too bad they didn't read How to avoid buying a meth house first.
An RC flight around lower New York City Featuring nice, close passes of the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
"This site features the full audio from the rare LP record First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival, published by Creative Computing in 1979." [more inside]
UX Week 2010 videos are here! Hello, everybody. I have just a couple minutes and I want to share with you a very simple idea, something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately that is based on a quote that is often attributed to Pablo Picasso. He said at one point that good artists copy but great artists steal, and I’ve always wondered what really he meant by that. Jeffrey Veen, co-founder of Typekit gives us 5 Minutes on Imitation in Design. [more inside]
Maybe you really like cycling. Maybe you also a have a partner who really likes cycling. Maybe you need a tandem. [more inside]
Haircut is a choose-your-own-MUSICAL-youtube-adventure. It is awesome.
The real reason Jews don’t have more Hanukkah music is that historically, American Jewish singer-songwriters were too busy making Christmas music. ‘White Christmas,’ ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ ‘Silver Bells,’ and ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)’ were all written by Jews. Both Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have their own Christmas albums. The No. 1 best-selling Christmas album of all time is from Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, the Jewish smooth-jazz legend Kenny G. American Jews have always produced a lot of holiday music, just not Hanukkah music. American Hasidic Jewish Reggae musician Matisyahu (not the other Matisyahu) offers an opinion on why there isn't more Hanukkah music and releases his own Hanukkah song called Miracle. On the flip-side, Mormon senator Orrin Hatch wrote and recorded his own Hanukkah song last year called Eight Days of Hanukkah.
"It is only fitting that the story of the brain should be a visual one, for the visuals had the ancients fooled for millenniums. The brain was so ugly that they assumed the mind must lie elsewhere. Now those same skeletal silhouettes glow plump and brightly colored, courtesy of a variety of inserted genes encoding fluorescent molecules. A glossy new art book, “Portraits of the Mind,” hopes to draw the general reader into neuroscience with the sheer beauty of its images." Slide Shows: The Beautiful Mind and Portraits of the Mind [more inside]
Hans Rosling [previously, previously] compares the health and wealth of 200 countries over 200 years in 4 minutes using the best infographic ever. Interactive Flash version here.
A popular New Zealand young woman's magazine's causes contoversy. [NSFW] The online magazine asked its (mainly young, female) readers to submit anonymous pictures of their breasts so that they could be viewed and rated by others. [more inside]
One million books will be given away for free in the UK & Ireland as part of World Book Night. Any adult can apply to receive a box of 48 copies of their favorite from a list of 25 titles, by the likes of John le Carre and Toni Morrison, and give them away as they please. The ambition is to roll out the idea worldwide in future years if it proves a success in the UK.
Interested in doing a small favour to the environment? In raising awareness about planetary issues? In supporting an international environmental organization? Next time you’re going to share a document, save it as a WWF. [more inside]
"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. " -- Douglas Adams [more inside]
Darren Tanke has been guest blogging at Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings about his preparation of a Gorgosaurus (as seen here). [more inside]
American military planners are fascinated with German/Prussian military history. Busts of Von Clauswitz adorn American military academies where On War is taught, often with the misperception that Von Clauswitz viewed war as a controllable science. Shock & Awe is just the idea of Blitzkrieg with better weapons. Endless exhortations about unit cohesion (a complex, multi-layered idea with no military definition that is nonetheless used to keep gay soldiers from openly serving) comes from admiration for the Wehrmacht, their discipline and courage on the battlefield. So too the idea of a military culture separate and more honorable than the civilians they protect, advancing the professional warrior model at the expense of the citizen-soldier model. But to quote author military/adventure author Tom Clancy, “Why do people have a fixation with the German military when they haven’t won a war since 1871?” Previously
After a viral pandemic struck the world a few years ago, scientists had to scramble to stop the spread of the virus but they could do nothing for those who had already been infected. Now those who were exposed face their biggest challenge yet.... High School. [more inside]
Paul Thomas Anderson (the auteur behind There Will Be Blood and Magnolia) is planning to adapt Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel, Inherent Vice. Robert Downey Jr. would play the lead role of Doc Sportello.
Rhys Millen drifting his 750-horsepower Hyundai Genesis coupe up Serra Do Rio Do Rastro in Santa Catarina, Brazil. (SLYT hoon filter via.)
The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding". The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not. [more inside]
In today's example of kids smarter than you and I, Wired follows the exploits of two teens competing at the International Olympiad in Informatics.
Sam Cohen, Father of the Neutron Bomb RIP. Remembered by many for his influence on Alex Cox's movie, Repo Man. He wrote an interesting autobiography. It was initially published on the web but now has become a rare book. [more inside]
A simple idea: take an ordinary savings account, but instead of paying interest to account holders, hold a lottery to see who gets the lump sum. Freakonomics Radio investigates Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts (Part 1, Part 2), which combine two things that seem completely at odds with each other: saving money and gambling. In Highland Park, MI, PLS accounts have been very successful at converting "non-savers" into "savers". Why hasn't it caught on in the US? It's illegal in most states, of course.
A little ahead of schedule, Yahoo, AOL and Bing have released their lists of items most often searched for in 2010. Google hasn't released their list but you can see popular searches using their Insights program.
The OEIS Movie is simply a slideshow of one thousand plots from the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, at two plots per second with sequence-generated music. [more inside]
User reviews in app stores are notorious for their high percentage of uselessness. Users downrate when none of the windows of an Advent Calendar app open in mid-November and a dog to human translator doesn't actually translate their dog's barking. [more inside]
Will December 7, 2010 be remembered as the day the banking system collapsed? Probably not, but if it does, you'll have to praise or blame revolutionary (
football, movie, kung fu master, deodorant model, philosopher) icon Eric Cantona, whose Youtube mumblings are currently inspiring a European-wide bank protest.