December 15, 2009

Good things come in small packages. And in Threes.

Nanoparticles often get a bad rap in popular media. From discredited scenarios (grey goo) to more plausible concerns (cancer), often the emphasis in reporting is on its risks rather than its potential rewards. But this has been a good week for the tiny science. [more inside]
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:50 PM PST - 24 comments

Feynman at his best

"Fun To Imagine" is a BBC series from 1983 featuring theoretical physicist Richard Feynman thinking aloud. What is fire? How do rubber bands work? Why do mirrors flip left-right but not up-down? All is explained in his lovely meanderingly lucid manner. [more inside]
posted by mhjb at 11:07 PM PST - 26 comments

It's Our Pleasure to Serve You

Five short "Personal Service Announcements" from Laurie Anderson • The National DebtTV LunchWomen and MoneyJerry-RiggingThe National Anthem • They were aired in 1990 on VH1 as bumpers between videos. [ Thanks hippybear! ]
posted by not_on_display at 10:54 PM PST - 27 comments

Copenhagen Spoof Shames Canada

During the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, The Yes Men put out a statement in which they purported to be the Canadian environment minister, Jim Prentice. The statement pledged to cut carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The statement was followed by a response from the Ugandan delegation, praising the statement, that was also faked. A fake statement was issued on behalf of Environment Canada celebrating the fake Ugandan statement. Another fake statement was then put out blasting the falsehoods of the original fake statement. A fake story in a European edition of the Wall Street Journal was also posted online. Jim Prentice (Canada's Environment Minister) described the hoax as "undesirable". [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu at 8:46 PM PST - 90 comments

Red Barchetta

The classic Rush song "Red Barchetta" was inspired by a short story. Neil Peart, the band's lyricist, couldn't get in touch with the author until 2006...
posted by Electrius at 8:21 PM PST - 33 comments

Come look at the two little Transylvanian Children!

A second Edgar Oliver story was posted [mp3] on The Moth Podcast yesterday. Recorded in January, 2006, he calls it The Apron Strings of Savannah but the Moth people call it The Story of How Edgar Became Edgar.
posted by morganw at 8:11 PM PST - 8 comments

Classical humour

Westminster Gold reissued classical albums in the seventies. The covers could be racy [slightly NSFW], unusual, puzzling, irreverent, and employ national stereotypes, but my favourites are the literal puns like Pops Promenade and Allegri String Quartet.
posted by tellurian at 7:43 PM PST - 16 comments

the provocative cotton tail must be clean and sprightly

Vintage Playboy bunny clips offer a fascinating window on women, men, sex, and the swinging 60s
1964 Opening of the Hollywood Playboy Club part 1, part 2
1966: British bunnies being trained
1967: CBC Montreal - interviews with Bunny Sonia and Hugh Hefner
The Bunny Years [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive at 6:43 PM PST - 28 comments

Mmm, lipstick

Disturbing makeup ad. Apparently, it's supposed to warn us of the dangers of what's in our makeup. [more inside]
posted by inara at 6:40 PM PST - 51 comments

If it's Tuesday these must be Froot Loops

What cereal should I eat? A flowchart. Also: What fast food should I eat? What chain restaurant should I patronize? What beer should I drink? What frozen entree should I thaw? Bonus question: Can you eat every animal McDonald's serves on a single sandwich? From Eating the Road.
posted by escabeche at 5:41 PM PST - 68 comments

Coke blinked

In late November Costco began a price dispute with Coca-Cola and very publicly announced that Costco would no longer carry Coke products at the current prices. Costco went so far as to stack pallets of Pepsi products near the entrance to warehouses with signs explaining the decision. The dispute has been settled with Coke products reappearing on Costco shelves at a new, lower, price.
posted by ericales at 4:33 PM PST - 104 comments

Native Esperanto speakers

Google's logo today commemorates the 150th birthday of Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, an artificial language designed as an international auxiliary communication mode. Perhaps surprisingly, approximately 1,000 people worldwide are native Esperanto speakers, the most famous of which is George Soros. Many of these are children born into households with parents who met at the Universala Kongreso de Esperanto. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan at 3:48 PM PST - 48 comments

The Online Diploma Mill Wants You

He just can’t remember what course he’s taking. "At Phoenix, members of the armed forces can earn an associate’s degree by taking one five-week online class, “Written Communication.” They can make up for the other 19 courses required for an associate’s degree with credits for classes taken elsewhere, military experience including basic training, and passing grades on tests that gauge knowledge of a subject area. Not surprisingly, says one critic: "I’m afraid that the ease with which these outfits hand out diplomas is matched only by the disappointment of their graduates when they find out how little their degrees are actually worth.” [more inside]
posted by nj_subgenius at 3:34 PM PST - 43 comments

Stop the bullshit song.

Metafilter favorite StSanders performs "The Behemothian Potpourri."
posted by flatluigi at 2:28 PM PST - 7 comments

molto bello

Milanese businesswomen Lorella Zanardo made a short documentary critiquing the sexist depictions of women on Italian television. That documentary - Il corpo delle donne (Women's Bodies) - is available to watch online (with subtitles) here.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:05 PM PST - 32 comments

Oral Roberts is dead at 91

God has called Oral Roberts home.
posted by yhbc at 1:36 PM PST - 126 comments

SEVEN SYMBOLS A SWAPPIN'

A Unicode Xmas Tree For You: Decorate, share, and send your very own unicode Christmas tree [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk at 12:16 PM PST - 24 comments

Move over bit.ly and goo.gl!

GOP.AM was launched this week by these guys (worth the click for the rotating banner images) as a URL shortening service. Their stated aim is "Making long URL's more... Conservative". It didn't take long for the pranksters to arrive.
posted by mkultra at 12:15 PM PST - 101 comments

The 12 Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas (SLYT)
posted by LordSludge at 12:02 PM PST - 12 comments

Fructose Alters Human Metabolism

New research: Sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup alter human metabolism, digestion
posted by jefficator at 11:47 AM PST - 152 comments

Strange Beliefs

Strange Beliefs: an hour long video on the life and work of anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard. Covering especially his field work with the Azande and Nuer of the Sudan.
posted by RussHy at 11:18 AM PST - 3 comments

A printable foldable playable toy a day.

A printable, foldable, playable, toy a day. PDFs of little figures to print out and fold. Part of the joy is how they're all shaped the same. Among my favorites: all of KISS, Mr. Natural, Gorbachev, Darth Vader, and yesterday's reversible Superman/Clark Kent. There is also a template so you can make your own.
posted by OmieWise at 9:44 AM PST - 13 comments

When you care enough to give the very least

Care4Less.org provides you with the means to give the least as possible this holiday season. Choose amongst eight different fake charities, such as the Make-a-Sandwich Foundation or Organ Donation and Care4Less will send an email to your friend or loved one showing that you've made a "donation" on their behalf.
posted by slogger at 7:21 AM PST - 83 comments

Politics is about rewarding friends and punishing flip-floppers.

The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn declares the public option dead. "The Senate isn't going to include any version of the idea in its bill. And while the House can still demand a public option in conference, nobody I know expects the House to prevail." [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:19 AM PST - 585 comments

Pixar Meets Molecular Biology

The crowded, complex environment inside living cells makes understanding spatial relationships difficult for biologists. Now, 3D animation software Maya is being used not just for illustration, but to see how our intuition holds up. [more inside]
posted by jjray at 6:51 AM PST - 13 comments

Facet Browsing

Five Elastic Years of infosthetics.com — On the occasion of the recent fifth birthday of infosthetics.com, they thought a bit about the archival nature of the whole enterprise. With (almost) daily updates about fresh projects from visualization and information aesthetics, about 1950 different projects have been described and documented. This is a first step towards making this growing archive more accessible: a custom adaptation of the elastic lists principle for the 1950 posts of infosthetics.com. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 6:27 AM PST - 2 comments

OASIS

The New York City Open Accessible Space Information System Cooperative (OASIS) is an online, interactive mapping and data analysis application that gives an incredibly detailed view of New York City's open spaces and how they are used. The map enables overlays of information like: transit; parks, playgrounds and open space; zoning and landmarks; current and historical land use; social services; demographics; and environmental characteristics.(via The Ministry of Type, who like OASIS mainly for its pretty map possibilities.) [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco at 6:02 AM PST - 5 comments

It's not going down well

A couple of years ago Connected Ventures produced an office miming video to Harvey Danger's Flagpole Sitta. Lots of people liked it. Now London advertising agency Publicis has also made their own office version of I Got A Feeling.
posted by mippy at 4:54 AM PST - 34 comments

Another year in pictures

The year 2009 in photographs (boston.com, parts 2 & 3 coming tomorrow and the next day) prev
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:17 AM PST - 44 comments

Hey, my name is Andy and I play this box.

Who needs real instruments? cf. Balloon Bass and Box (SLYT).
posted by tybeet at 3:47 AM PST - 11 comments

I want to tell you about the Transformers!

The Transfomers Wiki is a surprisingly complete resource about everything related to one of the largest sci-fi franchises that exists to sell toys. You can find information on everything from 1986's The Transformers: The Movie to the more recent Transformers Animated and the bizarre Japanese line Kiss Players (that one gets NSFW). The wiki has just reached 10,000 articles, which I guess means that it is ruined FOREVER. [more inside]
posted by The Devil Tesla at 12:22 AM PST - 32 comments