"Piloting London’s distinctive black cabs (taxis to everyone else) is no easy feat. To earn the privilege, drivers have to pass an intense intellectual ordeal, known charmingly as The Knowledge. Ever since 1865, they’ve had to memorise the location of every street within six miles of Charing Cross – all 25,000 of the capital’s arteries, veins and capillaries. They also need to know the locations of 20,000 landmarks – museums, police stations, theatres, clubs, and more – and 320 routes that connect everything up." Acquiring The Knowledgechanges the brains of those who acquire it. posted by vidur at 7:15 PM PST - 73 comments
(MAJOR SPOILERS EVERYWHERE)[Michael Tolkin's The Rapture] is one of the most radical, infuriating, engrossing, challenging movies I've ever seen. There are people who love it and many who hate it, but few who can remain on the sidelines. ... Movies are often so timid. They try so little, and are content with small achievements. "The Rapture" is an imperfect and sometimes enraging film, but it challenges us with the biggest idea it can think of, the notion that our individual human lives do have actual meaning on the plane of the infinite. - Roger Ebert posted by Trurl at 7:15 PM PST - 54 comments
The last time this happened, the city of South Fulton, Tennessee, received a lot of heat nationwide for this policy. That was more than a year ago but nothing has changed.
The mayor said it comes down to simple business. If they don't collect fire fees, the fire department can't survive and if they make exceptions to the rule, no one will ever pay the fee.
Obion County lacks a fire department (pdf) and county residents, who do not pay taxes for firefighting, are provided firefighting services through local cities and towns, either by annual subscription or a per-call fee. posted by 6550 at 6:37 PM PST - 230 comments
Monique van der Vorst has won two silver medals in the Paralympics for Handcycling. She was the first handcycle athlete to win the 2009 Ironman world championship. But after being struck by a bike while training in 2010 she began doing something she had not done since she was 13: walking. Not only is she walking but she is eyeing the 2016 Olympics where she hopes to compete as a cyclist. posted by munchingzombie at 3:01 PM PST - 18 comments
The International Committee of the Red Cross is deeply concerned about six hundred million people who commit war crimes... virtually. All those people out there playing video games involving shooting? Today's gamers may become tomorrow's war criminals. [more inside] posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:50 PM PST - 61 comments
Toward the Within is the only official live album of the eclectic music group, Dead Can Dance.
Recorded in one take in November of 1993, the performance was later released as an album and video. The latter includes short interviews with the heads of the group, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, interspersed with the songs.
Trial of the Will. "Reviewing familiar principles and maxims in the face of mortal illness, Christopher Hitchens has found one of them increasingly ridiculous: 'Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.' Oh, really? Take the case of the philosopher to whom that line is usually attributed, Friedrich Nietzsche, who lost his mind to what was probably syphilis. Or America’s homegrown philosopher Sidney Hook, who survived a stroke and wished he hadn’t. Or, indeed, the author, viciously weakened by the very medicine that is keeping him alive." [Via] posted by homunculus at 9:10 AM PST - 30 comments
I come from Bankers and Businessmen, New Jersey. The dividing line between north and south New Jersey is the Driscoll Bridge according to one theory. The Sports Fan rule applies a hypothetical line between where NY Giant fandom ends and Philadelphia Eagle fanaticism begins. Under the Sandwhich conjecture, South Jersey's northern border is where people stop eating hoagies for lunch and start eating subs.
New Jersey is too nuanced for simple binary categorization. Rigorous tests of the competing theories produce contradictory results (Monmouth County is part of South Jersey under the Driscoll theory and North Jersey using Sports Fan methodology.) Throwing out the ineffectiveness of northern and southern classifications, a recent Rutgers graduate and current state employee has produced a controversial and highly accurate visualization of a new Jersey, though some may be offended. posted by otto42 at 8:35 AM PST - 73 comments
Everything feels old. There have been no radical changes in style, culture, art, and fashion over the last 20 years—a stark contrast to every other two decade period going all the way back into the 19th-century, Kurt Anderson argues in Vanity Fair. Every 20 year period marked a drastic and unmistakable shift in cultural appearance with the exception of our current quarter century. [more inside] posted by stbalbach at 8:15 AM PST - 258 comments
Datamining Shakespeare --- Othello is a Shakespearean tragedy: when the hero makes a terrible mistake of judgment, his once promising world is led into ruin. Computer analysis of the play, however, suggests that the play is a comedy or, at least, that it does the same things with words that comedies usually do.
On October 26, 2011, Folger Shakespeare Library Director Michael Witmore discussed his recent work in Shakespeare studies which combines computer analysis of texts, linguistics, and traditional literary history. Taking the case of Shakespeare's genres as a starting point, Witmore shows how subtle human judgments about the kinds of plays Shakespeare wrote — were they comedies, histories or tragedies? — are connected to frequent, widely distributed features in the playwright's syntax, vocabulary, and diction. (approx. 30 minute lecture.) [more inside] posted by crunchland at 4:47 AM PST - 29 comments
On the 6th of December 2011, as has been traditional for the past 9 decades since Finland's Independence, the President, Tarja Halonen and her spouse, Dr Pentti Arajarvi host what is known as the Linnan juhlat or Castle Ball, an extremely popular televised reception for the notables of the nation. Along with the usual dignitaries, the President is also permitted to select invitees based on merit - entertainers, athletes, individuals - whom she feels have been in the news in the past year.
This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka's work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds.
Highlighted in the Finnish news by the very select group of photographers permitted entry to this exclusive event, it was when the photograph of this dress went viral among global MSM that the angry birds began to fly. posted by infini at 3:53 AM PST - 29 comments
"Imagine 12 men in a dorm all in diapers and sitting in their own feces," he says. "It smelled like a combination of what people had for lunch that day and pus from people's open wounds. I've been in a wheelchair now for three years, and the jail is by far the worst place I've ever seen for a disabled person." -- L.A. Weekly on "Wheelchair Hell" in the L.A. County Men's Jail posted by bardic at 2:34 AM PST - 42 comments