December 8, 2011
Catalog features models with sculpted bodies. A growing confectionary of kit for processing human bodies ( [YouTube]: Estimating body shape under clothing, Parametric Reshaping of Human Bodies in Images, Data-Driven Enhancement of Facial Attractiveness), prefigures a Barbie apocalypse of supernormal stimuli and body image disorders.
Innocent, in a way Spanish artist Alberto Mielgo paints a portrait of porn star Michelle Anne Sinclair "Belladonna." Single link Vimeo with nudity.
Libyan Desert Glass is strewn over an area of hundreds of square kilometers in the Great Sand Sea, a region desolate even by the high standards of the Sahara. As one account of a recent trip to acquire Libyan Desert Glass puts it: "Out there, death sits on your shoulder like a vulture." While some would have you believe that Libyan Desert Glass is evidence of ancient atomic warfare, it is probably evidence of a massive meteorite or comet explosion nearly thirty million years ago, similar to Tunguska, but much bigger. The stone age Aterian peoples made tools from it, but the remoteness and inhospitality of the Great Sand Sea has ensured that until recent times it has mostly been undisturbed. However, a breast ornament buried in Tutankhamen's tomb has a scarab made from Libyan Desert Glass, the only piece made of the material to have been found by Egyptologists, and how Tutankhamen's jewelers acquired it has remained a mystery. Until now. [Previously]
"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 Knowledge changes the brains of those who acquire it.
(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
Obion County, TN home burns while South Fulton firefighters watch, again. The City of South Fulton FD offers surrounding Obion County residents firefighting services for a $75 annual subscription, but not all county residents choose to subscribe (previously).
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.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.
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.
8bit Killer is an interpretation of an archetypal 8bit sidescroller within a 2.5 dimensional FPS engine. It's short, fun, and free. [more inside]
"Frequencies is an experiment. The experiment is simple: Ask scholars, writers, and artists what they think of when they think of the word spirituality." So began a project that's now 71 entries strong. Every weekday, Frequencies features scholars and artists on such topics as Burning Man, espresso, highways, Philip K. Dick, companion animals, and Dr. Oz. [more inside]
Ultra Swank - Retro Living and Design from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
You kind of go like “Hey, could I pitch something?” And they are like “Yes, this is not a bad time. Go for it.”
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.
Meet Wheelchair Sports Camp, a "psuedo-hip-hop trio from Denver fronted by Kalyn Heffernan, a 56-pound wheelchair-bound badass emcee with CRIP LIFE tattooed on her stomach," who sometimes cover "My Vagina Ain't Handicapped." [more inside]
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]
Energetic consequences of thermal and nonthermal food processing. Or, as discussed by Discover Magazine, Why Calorie Counts Are Wrong: Cooked Food Provides a Lot More Energy. (N.B. second link references a video of house mice eating a baby albatross alive.)
For the first time ever, the Health and Human Services secretary publicly overruled the Food and Drug Administration, refusing Wednesday to allow emergency contraceptives to be sold over the counter, including to young teenagers. [more inside]
Prometheus Labs v. Mayo Clinic has the potential to make decision procedures about medical treatment patentable. [more inside]
Jerry Robinson, Batman artist and creator of the Dark Knight's arch-nemesis The Joker, died yesterday in his sleep at the age of 89. [more inside]
Ed Askew lost his martin tipple on a railroad platform 20 years ago. In 2009, someone returned it. Now he can play his classic freak-folk songs on it again. Though some of his best don't require any live accompaniment at all. [more inside]
Malaysia is proposing a Computing Professionals Bill, based on the Registration of Engineers Act [.PDF] which makes it mandatory for all practicing "computing professionals" to be registered with a government body. Dealing in the IT industry, including sending “proposals, plans, designs, drawings, schemes, reports, studies or others to be determined by the Board to any person or authority in Malaysia” without being registered will incur a fine not exceeding RM20,000 (~US$6380) or 6 months in jail. Malaysian IT professionals and geeks are up in arms, and similarities have been drawn to Nigeria's law on computing professionals.
"On November 28th Israel’s legislature unanimously passed a bill that outlaws the declawing of cats, except for certain medical reasons, making it a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of about $20,000."
Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
Kathryn Joyce looks at unregulated Christian homes for troubled children.
The Seven Worst Gifts for Children! This year’s list of the worst toys is brought to you by plastics, those bright synthetic polymers that threaten to overtake the living rooms of middle-class parents.
Two shot at Virginia Tech the gunman is still on the run. Virginia Tech was the site of the largest shooting by a single gunman in 2007. Yesterday and today campus officials were in DC appealing a $55,000 fine for failing to warn students quickly enough.
AP reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo tracked down a former CIA secret prison in the basement of a a Romanian government building on a busy street in residential Bucharest. The black site, code named Bright Light, was used as a makeshift prison for the CIA's most valuable detainees from 2003-2006, including Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind of 9-11, Abu Faraj al-Libi, who unwilling provided information that would later identify Osama bin Laden's trusted courier and led to the discovery of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as well as other senior al-Qaida operatives. [more inside]
Republicans vs. Democrats TV survey results: Lefties want comedy, right wingers like work. EW commissions a survey of conservative and liberal television preferences. "In the findings, “sarcastic” media-savvy comedies and morally murky antiheroes tend to draw Dems. While serious work-centered shows (both reality shows and stylized scripted procedurals), along with reality competitions, tend to draw conservatives."
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.
Video track list: [more inside]
Video track list: [more inside]
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]
'To celebrate the release of the remastered Throbbing Gristle back catalogue Rough Trade are proud to announce a unique intimate Q&A evening with Chris Carter & Cosey Fanni Tutti (37 minute Soundcloud streaming audio) discussing the rich and unique history of TG.' [more inside]
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.
The Victorian Hugos: "Over the next several months, in open imitation of Jo Walton's splendid "Revisiting the Hugos" series at Tor.com, I'll be reviewing science fiction and fantasy works from 1885 to 1930 and deciding which novels and short works would have received the Hugo had a Worldcon been held that year and which novels and short works should have received the Hugo–often not the same thing." 1885 1886 1887 1888
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]
Australian Exceptionalism "Let that phrase roll off your tongue... now stop laughing if you can." [more inside]
"The good, the bad, and the ugly of LA." Ice Cube nerds out about the Eames, brought to you by Pacific Standard Time.
Indie game visionary Terry Cavanagh (Prev., Prev.) has freely released his cooperative puzzle game At A Distance. Unlike most multiplayer FP games, here two player sit side-by-side, lost in a world of color and aid one another to solve the puzzle.
Robert Paul Wolff is most famous as the author of In Defense of Anarchism and as the "only person on the face of the earth who has read, cover to cover, Immanuel Kant's Inaugural Dissertation, Karl Marx's doctoral dissertation, and Newt Gingrich's doctoral dissertation." His memoir has also drawn considerable interest. But as a part of his blogging he has habitually offered "micro-tutorials" to encourage his readers to re-acquaint themselves with the classics of what might be called the Heroic Age in the study of society -- the writings of Marx, Freud, Weber, Ricardo, Mannheim, and others. His newest micro-tutorial, on Durkheim's Suicide, begins today.
A hand-drawn animation by Kijek / Adamski for the song A Pirate's Life by We Cut Corners. Don't miss the fascinating "making of" video.
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]
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.
Here is one of the longer anime robot transformation sequences out there, clocking in at about 3 minutes and 28 seconds. SLYT [more inside]
"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
The U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border agreement is wide-ranging in its impact. Indeed, Prime Minister Harper referred to it Wednesday as "the most significant step forward in Canada-U.S. co-operation since (NAFTA)". This deal promises regulatory alignment (including the food and automotive sectors), quicker border crossings for business or travel (with pre-clearance options), and "screened once, accepted twice" cargo. Perhaps the biggest concern for Canadians however are the changes this agreement could have for their privacy. [more inside]