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December 12, 2011
A trombone to pick
When script guru John August, writer of films such as Big Fish and Go, posted a fairly casual post advocating teaching children piano and guitar over certain woodwind instruments, the response was fairly heated and resulted in Mr. August putting his blog on a comment holiday.
posted by smithsmith at 11:01 PM PST - 108 comments

The sages feel a great joy when they see such people.
Wonhyo never completed his journey to Tang China, but it is said that before turning back he found enlightenment in a cool drink from a loose skull. Today an international group is following in the footsteps of the 7th century Korean monk. Conveniently, they keep a blog.
posted by Winnemac at 10:35 PM PST - 7 comments

Government Debt Dynamics - A Calculator
"GOVERNMENT debt dynamics, once an esoteric subject of interest only to macroeconomists, are suddenly in vogue. With Greece flirting with default, Italy's bond yields rising fast, and America's government bonds losing their AAA status, public-debt burdens have become dinner-party talk. Our interactive chart shows current IMF forecasts but also allows you to input some basic economic assumptions to see where general government debt as a percentage of GDP might head."
posted by storybored at 9:08 PM PST - 16 comments

The Apple Collection 1986
The Apple Collection from 1986
posted by needled at 9:02 PM PST - 28 comments

The Autism Enigma
The Autism Enigma is a documentary that explores the potential link between gastrointestinal bacteria and the disorder. It is viewable online through CBC's The Nature of Things. [Full show on Vimeo, for those outside Canada.] [more inside]
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:27 PM PST - 39 comments

Bibliographia
Today Cambridge University offered a complete free digital archive of the personal papers of Sir Isaac Newton, including the Principa Mathematica and his first published research paper. The archives join a number of efforts to open original works of scientific greatness to the world: Newton's original works are handily supplemented by The Newton Project, showing the man's insertions and deletions to his own work.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:05 PM PST - 10 comments

Julien Temple's "Absolute Beginners"
[Absolute Beginners] has a glossy immediacy, and you can feel the flash and determination that went into it. What you don't feel is the tormented romanticism that made English adolescents in the 70s swear by the novel the way American kids had earlier sworn by The Catcher in the Rye. - Pauline Kael [more inside]
posted by Trurl at 7:55 PM PST - 15 comments

Your No. 2 favorite Christmas tradition
No Nativity scene is complete without the caganer - a figure caught in the act of taking a dump near the manger. (NSFW tag, ahoy!) The figurine (whose name translates as "the shitter") is an addition to the Nativity tableaus in the Catalonia region of Spain. Some interpret the caganer as a reminder that God can arrive on earth at any moment - and he doesn't care if he catches you with your britches down. [more inside]
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:35 PM PST - 66 comments

Oh, Canada. :(
Canada is planning to withdraw from the Kyoto treaty. CBC, BBC, AFP. The Herald Sun claims that this is to allow shale sands oil extraction.
posted by jaduncan at 6:06 PM PST - 122 comments

It Happened at the World's Fair
Century 21 Calling - Dreamily retro footage of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, AKA the Century 21 Exposition, including a visit to the Bell Systems pavilion. A slice of space age science propaganda, the fair gave Seattle some of its most enduring landmarks in the form of the Space Needle and the Alweg Monorail, and, of course, brought Elvis to town.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM PST - 35 comments

"And Krampus, Every One..."
Krampus. the Christmas Demon of Germanic folklore whose job it was to punish the kids on Santa's Naughty List has been featured here before. And while most people assume he is a better-left-forgotten relic of less gentle times (or less gentle places), he appears to be having a resurgence this year, being featured everywhere from Buzzfeed to FearNet to The Awl to NPR. He's getting a piece of the Christmas merchandise blitz and of course he has his own website. There is Krampus music and he even speaks in his own defense. And of course, he has a 'Folk Death Metal' band named after him.
But the biggest Krampus Kontroversy today is via travel/food TV maven Anthony Bourdain, who wrote and had animated a cautionary Krampus story for the holiday edition of his show, which was rejected by his bosses at the Travel Channel. Fortunately, you can still see it on YouTube. Happy Holidays!
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:40 PM PST - 30 comments

AN ANACONDA UNHINGES ITS MAGNIFICENT JAW. INSIDE, THE BRIGHT SCREEN OF A FREE IPAD RESTS JUST WITHIN ARM'S REACH
Daniel Manitou is ActualPerson084 on Twitter. He writes slices of life about marketing and unspeakable horror. He is a real person and not a metal ghost in a rainbow box.
posted by The Whelk at 5:22 PM PST - 44 comments

Lawyer Wants Someone Who Will Go "Above And Beyond"
Samir Zia Chowhan, sensing a prime opportunity in this down economy, set out to hire a secretary who could not only do the typing and filing, but could also engage in group sex with Chowhan and his law partner. The Illinois Supreme Court found that this is conduct unbecoming of an attorney and suspended Chowhan's law license.
posted by reenum at 5:08 PM PST - 34 comments

"Well, that went as well as could be expected..."
An awkward moment in politics. (YouTube) While campaigning in a New Hampshire diner, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spotted local Bob Garon, a regular to the diner, eating his breakfast while wearing a Vietnam veteran's cap. “Vietnam veteran!” Romney greeted Bob, as he slid down onto the diner seat for a little chat. Unfortunately for Mitt, Bob was dining there that morning with his husband, and had to explain to Bob that his husband didn't deserve any of the benefits he fought for, and that the makers of the Constitution held marriage to be between a man and a woman. (Which doesn't really explain Mitt's great-grandfather Miles and his wives Hanna, Caroline, Catherine, Alice, and Emily, but stilll...)
posted by markkraft at 4:35 PM PST - 168 comments

How porny.
The phrase "metafilter" is 26.23% pr0n! [more inside]
posted by unSane at 4:26 PM PST - 50 comments

Flying the _____________ skies.
Comparing airlines' Airbus A380s. Seven commercial carriers fly the A380. Here's a look at how each has used the space aboard the superjumbo jet. [LATimes photogallery].
posted by VikingSword at 4:15 PM PST - 29 comments

Array Mbira
The Array Mbira is a lamellophone that uses the Wicki-Hayden isomorphic layout. Here are some amazing spectacular videos. (Bonus: the daxophone-like Array Nail Violin.)
posted by gray17 at 4:04 PM PST - 6 comments

Best Longform Reporting of 2011
Longform's Best of 2011 - Top 10 [more inside]
posted by vidur at 3:25 PM PST - 13 comments

Revolights
How do you make a bicycle more visible to drivers at night? Create a new wheel-based lighting system: Vimeo / Youtube. Kickstarter campaign is finished and funded, (details of the design at that page) and the company is hoping to have them on sale by March 2012. Via. More. Demo videos. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 2:53 PM PST - 47 comments

Blame Brit for pitch shift!
American Woman: Vocal fried. On the partial glottalization of speech in young English speaking American women.
posted by emilycardigan at 1:11 PM PST - 181 comments

Sex and the Single Sinéad
"So I admire those artists that are actually spiritually concerned. And have the balls to be concerned about that, and not concerned with fuckin’ George Bush’s dick. It’s very hard to sing when you’ve got someone’s dick in your mouth.” She shoots a mischievous grin before adding, 'I’ve tried.'" Sinéad O’Connor on the pope, her music, dating, buying condoms, and everything in between.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:45 PM PST - 28 comments

Northern Calloway, Sesame Street's David: 1948 to 1990
Between February 1989 and May 1990, there were three significant deaths in the Sesame Street world. The first was Joe Raposo, a significant musician for Sesame Street and Electric Company. The last was Jim Henson, mourned by Big Bird, remembered by Frank Oz, and celebrated in song by many (from the St. John's Memorial, detailed here). The second person to die in this time period was Northern Calloway, Sesame Street's David. Unlike Joe and Jim, there were no television tribute to Northern's life and career on Sesame Street or Broadway. Instead, David, once a young, cool, urban guy, who was studying to be a lawyer while working at Mr. Hooper's storeand the initial romantic interest of Maria, left the show through a letter, read by Gordon. The story behind David is told below the fold. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:42 PM PST - 25 comments

Calling All Bond Villains
Project Utopia is the ultimate in super villain bases; a bespoke floating island that can travel the oceans. [more inside]
posted by DuchessProzac at 12:38 PM PST - 19 comments

Is Occupy really a meme?
Here are the best memes of 2011, according to Know Your Meme.  According to Time Magazine.
posted by JHarris at 12:10 PM PST - 98 comments

"Please, please, darling let us stop this."
Daniel Abraham's private letter from Genre to Mainstream. [Previously]
posted by Fizz at 11:58 AM PST - 46 comments

Hi Pirate!
"Hi Pirate! We got you! (In our database). You like torrents, don’t you? At least someone in your house does. It looks like you are from United States ..."
posted by jbickers at 11:50 AM PST - 68 comments

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, John Zorn Style
Always an enigma, John Zorn, winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, founder of avant garde record label Tzadik proponent of radical Jewish culture, leader of the hard core group Naked City, creator of the Masada songbook, and hundreds of other things, has, with the likes of Mark Ribot, Cyro Baptista and Mike Pattoon, released a heart-breakingly lovely Christmas record, A Dreamer's Christmas. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:41 AM PST - 19 comments

Washington DC without the Metro
As a part of it's 35th anniversary, WMATA produced a study that investigated a hypothetical where Washington DC's Metro system disappeared and was replaced by car infrastructure. [more inside]
posted by grandsham at 11:23 AM PST - 57 comments

Battlestar Galatica's ending sucked and that's great
"Here, in my final post on the ending, I present the case that its final hour was the worst ending in the history of science fiction on the screen. This is a condemnation of course, but also praise, because my message is not simply that the ending was poor, but that the show rose so high that it was able to fall so very far." -Brad Templeton's dissection of the modern version of Battlestar Galatica and where it went wrong
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:28 AM PST - 275 comments

Amazon's Edsel
Tech pundits and consultants agree; Amazon's Kindle Fire is a huge disaster (New York Times), good for almost nothing (Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper) and a disappointingly poor user experience (Dr. Jakob Nielsen, usability expert). It's the Apple Newton, the Edsel, New Coke and McDonald’s Arch Deluxe in tablet form. By all accounts it should be doomed. So why is it selling so well? And why are user reviews so high? [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:07 AM PST - 167 comments

Abney Park
Abney Park has evolved from their goth beginnings into the "quintessential" steampunk band, complete with industrial dance and world music influences. Also, they created a pen & paper role playing games Airship Pirates based upon their song Airship Pirates .. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges at 9:51 AM PST - 14 comments

Pictures of Oliver North, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan adorning the walls.
Even the most seemingly entrenched powers can be undermined and weakened and replaced by other human beings. And if it's not happening, it's not because it's impossible, it's because we just haven't figured out the right way to do it. And so the challenge of figuring out the right way to do that, and the role that I can play in it, and the way in which I can use my skills and my knowledge and my experience in order to contribute to it, is a really important and invigorating challenge for me. It becomes a work of passion, a sort of labor of love.
As part of its "Conversations with History" series, UC Berkeley recently interviewed Glenn Greenwald, who discusses not only law and other issues, but his history and personal motivations for blogging. (1-hour SLYT) [more inside]
posted by swift at 9:48 AM PST - 5 comments

It's all in the hand movements
From Sociological Images, here's baby preacher, baby worshipper and baby rapper.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:22 AM PST - 10 comments

Did Van Gogh have a color vision deficiency?
The Day I Saw Van Gogh's Genius in a New Light - Kazunori Asada explores a hypothesis: Did Van Gogh perhaps have a color vision deficiency?
posted by flex at 8:47 AM PST - 59 comments

"Medium atomic weights are available...Sapphire and Steel have been assigned."
"While most other notable British Science Fiction shows were over-ambitious in their special effects, with results ranging from the troubling (Doctor Who) to the disastrous (The Tomorrow People), Sapphire & Steel [ATV, 1979 - 1982] simply did not try to do anything the budget wouldn't allow. The result called for milking surreal horror for all it's worth, creating a show that is, while definitely not for everyone, quite capable of reducing so-inclined viewers to quivering little heaps behind the sofa."
posted by Iridic at 8:35 AM PST - 28 comments

The Conscious Catwoman
Julie Newmar Writes.
posted by hermitosis at 7:38 AM PST - 13 comments

24 hours of ambient STNG USS Enterprise engine noise (SLYT)
24 hours of ambient STNG USS Enterprise engine noise (SLYT) This is basically ocean sounds or rainstorm noise for geeks.
posted by rudhraigh at 7:06 AM PST - 96 comments

Some terracotta Lego figures were distorted during the making of this picture
3D street art terracotta Lego army. Here's how.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:18 AM PST - 10 comments

print "And now for something completely %s" % 'different'
This month, Python won "Best Programming Language" in the Linux Journal's Reader's Choice Awards 2011. If you're not convinced, Python Facts explains little simple things that make Python great. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious at 6:09 AM PST - 149 comments

Letter from Moscow
David Remnick: How far can the resistance to Vladimir Putin go? (SLNewYorker)
posted by beisny at 4:45 AM PST - 34 comments