December 3, 2011
"Science writing tackles big ideas, important issues. It’s ambitious, creative, hard to do—yet utterly compelling."
SCOPE is the all-online student publication for MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing. [more inside]
"John Humphrys and the velociraptor had decided to take the opportunity to play a friendly game of tennis, which had turned competitive very quickly." [more inside]
The Exegesis of Phillip K Dick has finally been published. A thousand pages of it, anyway. Editor Jonathan Lethem and two of PKD's daughter's got together to discuss it at a Berkeley book store. Introduction, Jonathan Lethem, From The Estate and Inside PKD's Mind, The Vision of the Source, Correspondence, How To Read It, Philosophy. [more inside]
UbuWeb Top Tens, from Summer 2006 - December 2011.
Remember the moonwalk? Of course you do. This is the first time it was performed in public. [more inside]
Chinese archeologists have mapped the layout of Shangdu (better known as Xanadu), after large scale excavations that included the use of GIS in remote sensing and aerial archeology. The capital, located in Inner Mongolia, was built in 1256 under the command of Kublai Khan, the first emperor of Yuan Dynasty, who was enthroned there four years later. It became a summer resort after the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) moved its capital to Ta-tu or Dadu (built by the same architect, located in present-day Beijing) in 1276, and was destroyed during a peasant war at the end of the dynasty. The regional government has submitted an application for World Cultural Heritage status for the site to UNESCO, currently under review. Xanadu has captured the imagination of the West ever since Marco Polo first extolled its beauties in his Books of the Marvels of the World, subsequently immortalized by Coleridge in a poem fuelled by opium fevered dreams. Other recently discovered Yuan Dynasty artifacts include a priceless porcelain vase as well as a sunken ship - part of an invading Mongol armada - off the coast of Japan.
As a historical document the book is exhaustive and valuable. But I did not come away feeling that I knew or understood Hüsker Dü — the musicians themselves, their music, or any of the people around them — any more intimately than I already did. Earles’ writing is at once densely opinionated and emotionless. He expertly follows the chronology of the band’s tours and releases, but he never makes it understandable why some of us look back on this band so reverently, or why it would be worth somebody’s time to discover Hüsker Dü today. (previously)
A modest proposal to replace Powerpoint presentations with dancers. (TED talk) Demonstrated with dancers, naturally.
Kodak's long fade to black. 'Like the passing of distinguished individuals, the passing of great corporations should prompt us to ponder the transience of earthly glory. So let's pay our respects to Eastman Kodak, which at this writing appears to be a shutter-click from extinction.' [more inside]
I was Wrong and So are You. I needed to retract the conclusions I’d trumpeted in The Wall Street Journal. The new results invalidated our original result: under the right circumstances, conservatives and libertarians were as likely as anyone on the left to give wrong answers to economic questions. The proper inference from our work is not that one group is more enlightened, or less. It’s that “myside bias”—the tendency to judge a statement according to how conveniently it fits with one’s settled position—is pervasive among all of America’s political groups. The bias is seen in the data, and in my actions. [more inside]
Rule no. 1: Catch the first Pokemon you encounter in each route/cave/whatever and nothing else. If you fail to catch it, too bad, continue onwards. Rule no. 2: If your Pokemon faints, consider it dead and release it. In 2010 a 4chan user posted these rules for making Pokemon more of a challenge, as well as a short comic on his exploits in a world where Pokemon can die. The "Nuzlocke" comic became wildly popular, spawning dozens of elaborate offshoots in comic and story form. [more inside]
Next Time, On Lonny [A reality webseries where nothing much really happens during the show] [more inside]
Evernote releases a new browser extension, Clearly, which elegantly presents a webpage's main article, shorn of all distracting adornments. It is currently Chrome-only, but will soon come to other browsers.
"This is the true ‘bomb’ contained in Obamacare and the one item that will have more impact on the future of how medical care is paid for in this country than anything we’ve seen in quite some time. Indeed, it is this aspect of the law that represents the true ‘death panel’ found in Obamacare—but not one that is going to lead to the death of American consumers. Rather, the medical loss ratio will, ultimately, lead to the death of large parts of the private, for-profit health insurance industry."
One thing the interwebs has lacked is a one-stop source for pictures of naked people with various musical instruments. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to bring you: MusicAndNude / My Hot Band! Does what it says on the tin. [NSFW, duh.] [more inside]
Hanson beer: MMMHop Hanson, those three brothers who brought us MMMBop back in the mid-90s have decided to make beer. Not just any beer, however, this one is called....MMMHop. Apparently it's an IPA, because you know, the craft beer world just doesn't have enough of those. [more inside]
In From the Ozarks and Beyond (Part I), One of the Missouri Ozarks' greatest artists, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), is discussed with regard to how the Ozarks influenced him and how he has influenced the Ozarks. (Part II, Part III).
It was a simple and crazy idea: to celebrate her 28th birthday by renting a hotel room, cover it in paper and spend a week drawing on the paper. Welcome to Molly Crabapple's Week in Hell with photos of work in progress and panoramas of the completed room.
Commander Keen is series of platform games from the early 1990s, whence the Dopefish. People who grew up with DOS games will find gameplay videos and music quite nostalgic. Over the period 2006-2011, modders released a new Keen trilogy called The Universe Is Toast. Gameplay is a novel mix of eerily familiar and the flat-out weird.