December 5, 2010
Haruki Murakami talks about fiction in the 21st century. Part of the International Herald Tribune Magazine's year-end issue, 2011: Global Agenda. [more inside]
In remembrance of the Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War, the Liljenquist Family recently donated their rare collection of almost 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs to the Library of Congress. These achingly poignant portraits speak volumes. [more inside]
Need a gift for the geek who has everything, or for your know-it-all uncle? How about naming a novel mathematical proof after them? TheoryMine will sell you the naming rights to a proof generated by their software algorithm. [more inside]
Figment.com is a new, free community and platform for young people to share their fiction writing, "connect with other readers and discover new stories and authors. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site." (Via)
Frank W. Lewis, longtime cryptic crossword setter for The Nation, passed away on Nov. 18 at the age of 98. Although best known for his puzzles, of which he set nearly 3000 over sixty years, Lewis also had a distinguished career with the War Department. His work on the team deciphering Japanese shipping codes during World War II led to awards for Exceptional Civilian Service, Outstanding Civilian Service, and Bletchley Park Service. [more inside]
'A majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries' political life, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.' However, they 'have mixed feelings toward militant religious groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. According to the survey, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing the current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion. About 85% of Pakistani Muslims said they would support a law segregating men and women in the workplace. Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Jordan were among the most enthusiastic, with more than three-quarters of Muslims polled in those countries reporting positive views of Islam's influence in politics: either that Islam had a large role in politics, and that was a good thing, or that it played a small role, and that was bad.' [more inside]
Short Film: A New Flavor -- Sometimes you need a best friend to take the ice cream away and make sure you don't give up on love. (mildly NSFW.)
How is it possible for an individual to build a planetarium? In most cases it is impossible. One must first truly love the beauty of the night sky and be willing to share that love with others. Wisconsin Man Builds Planetarium in His Backyard. [more inside]
Upper, Dennis. “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block’,” Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 3 (1974) 497. Received 25 October 1973. (Pulished without revision.) [more inside]
How Annie Got Shot. A look at the market for fine art photography and the sorry-state of Annie Leibovitz's finances. [more inside]
As the UK coalition government plans swingeing cuts and students take to the streets to protest, one mother asks us to remember the 'Nouveau Pauvre'. Some commentators react unfavourably to her impending 'austerity Christmas'. [more inside]
Fruitlands was a Utopian agrarian commune established in Harvard, Massachusetts by Amos Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane in the 1840s, based on Transcendentalist principles. An account of its less-than-successful activities can be found in Alcott's daughter Louisa May Alcott's Transcendental Wild Oats.
William Gibson offers interesting perceptions of our world The insight on the connection between the perceived threat from terrorism (not his term) and the attraction of lottery tickets (about half-way down) pushed me over to post this, but the rest of it is worth your time, too.
Draw Brandon Draw is a web comic by Brandon B. that follows short, surreal story arcs. The current arc (which seems to be shaping into something more sustained) is about psychics living in a closed community called "The City". The comic itself is mostly work safe, but the current blog content is Not Safe For Work. [more inside]
Measure-theoretic probability: Why it should be learnt and how to get started. The clickable chart of distribution relationships. Just two of the interesting and informative probability resources I've learned about, along with countless other tidbits of information, from statistician John D. Cook's blog and his probability fact-of-the-day Twitter feed ProbFact. John also has daily tip and fact Twitter feeds for Windows keyboard shortcuts, regular expressions, TeX and LaTeX, algebra and number theory, topology and geometry, real and complex analysis, and beginning tomorrow, computer science and statistics.
Scientists at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands have deciphered the structure and functional mechanism of the glucansucrase enzyme that is responsible for dental plaque sticking to teeth. [abstract]
A worshiper at a California mosque called frequently for violent jihad against the West. This freaked out his fellow attendees so much that they took out a restraining order on him... and learned he was an informant planted by the FBI.
~Price Reduced~ 1.4 acre property in Lincoln, Montana. Great fishing and hunting! Cabin not included.
The Blindness of the Woods (NSFW -- yarn puppet people engaged in adult activities) is a short film from Amautalab. [more inside]
Firefox goes live with streaming cuteness. Firefox LIVE features six cameras focused on two baby female red panda cubs and their immediate family playing inside a glass-protected play area in the Knoxville Zoo.
Have you noticed the cartoon characters overtaking Facebook? Well, you're not alone because the national media sure has. This new Facebook meme is supposedly all about raising awareness for child abuse. But is this meme really accomplishing anything? Maybe not. And for good measure, some links for those who would REALLY like to help.
The Science of Godmanship [annotated], in which the late Robert Anton Wilson (novelist, philosopher, psychologist, essayist, editor, playwright, futurist, polymath, civil libertarian and self-described agnostic mystic) examines Quantum theory and other weirdly weird stuff. [more inside]