December 15, 2011
Christopher Alexander
A Pattern Language explores the living structure in good and bad buildings, human artifacts, and natural systems, discussing the presence of the same living order in all systems. [Christopher] Alexander proposes that the living order depends on features which make a close connection with the human self. The quality of works of art, artifacts, and buildings is defined not merely in terms of living structure, but also in their capacity to affect human growth and human well-being.
posted by Trurl at 9:50 PM PST - 38 comments

RIP Christopher Hitchens
In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011
posted by naju at 8:54 PM PST - 498 comments

I'm gonna sing the Doom song now
China's economy poised to join the rest of us in the toilet. I certainly hope one of you smart people can prove this article wrong.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:06 PM PST - 84 comments

Don't just read russian. You must think Russian.
People; ask not what F14's can do for you, but rather, what F14People can do for SLYoutubewhatwoahwowJetFighters are People?
posted by infinite intimation at 7:55 PM PST - 38 comments

MMO Extinction Level Event
"The subscription model is dead." says John Smedley, head of Sony Online Entertainment, and creator of EverQuest. Are people willing to pay $15 per month to play a computer game that isn't endorsed by Mr. T? Bioware is betting a rumored $135 million, the most ever spent on a video game, that the answer is yes. Star Wars: The Old Republic launches on December 20th. [more inside]
posted by tastyhat at 7:04 PM PST - 104 comments

Help, help, I'm being repressed!
Republican Governor Scott Walker filed suit against the non partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB). At issue in the suit is a statement by the GAB concerning challenges to the gathered signatures - that signatures, no matter what names are listed, are presumed valid absent a challenge by the Walker campaign. This presumption is a violation of Walker's 14th Amendment rights and violates the will of people who chose not to sign, he argues in the complaint. (pdf) [more inside]
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:49 PM PST - 64 comments

Singing animated Christmas hedgehogs. Yup, that's about it.
Pick a hedgehog and make him sing a Christmas carol. An interactive Youtube animation featuring absurdly cute hedgehogs who will supposedly sing a carol for you. via boringpostcards and metachat
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:37 PM PST - 12 comments

Faster than a speeding Gingrich
Here is Super President. Super President foils the villain by ringing a bell. 60s Batman got his deduction skills from Super President. Jerry Beck on Super President. From his accurately-named website, Worst Cartoons Ever.
posted by JHarris at 6:00 PM PST - 8 comments

A Game of Hugs
While the most talked about topics in hockey this year have been the deaths of multiple current and former NHL enforcers, the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash tragedy, and the rash of concussions among star players, A new series by the Yahoo "Puck Daddy" blog is bringing attention to a more positive aspect of the game: the Hockey Hug. [more inside]
posted by ghharr at 4:22 PM PST - 17 comments

It's the Ham Bot that keeps me up nights.
A spherical flying robot has been developed at the Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense; it can zoom along indoors and outdoors at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, or just hover. Menacingly. Science Fiction In The News is a subsection of science-fiction site Technovelgy, which tracks both the predictions of future tech made in science fiction past and present and its manifestations in real life. What tech, you ask? Well, if it’s appeared in your nightmares, it’s probably been on this page: [more inside]
posted by Diablevert at 3:52 PM PST - 33 comments

A Brief History of Palm Trees in Southern California
Of the hundreds of species of palm trees you might find in southern California, only one is native to the state, and that shaggy specimen is naturally found around springs and arroyos in the desert southwest, not lined along beach community parks and streets. How did a desert tree become an icon of fruitful turn of the twentieth century Los Angeles, the former garden city? KCET writer Nathan Masters provides a brief history of palm trees in southern California. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 3:49 PM PST - 24 comments

Comet falls into sun
Today, a comet falls into the sun. Via
posted by hot_monster at 3:47 PM PST - 27 comments

By no means just another struggling Michigan town.
Now that the factories are closed, it’s tee time in Benton Harbor (SLNYT, previously).
posted by xowie at 3:41 PM PST - 8 comments

Другой Челси История из Донецка!
The other Chelsea. A story from Donetsk [1:28:06].
posted by - at 3:38 PM PST - 5 comments

God creates Man. Man creates Indie. Indie kills Man. God inherits Indie.
Tired of the same old renditions of the Christmas Story? Try this video and its prequel, produced in the vein of Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are.
posted by kethonna at 3:35 PM PST - 6 comments

Two PDFs about PDFs
An "Exciting Guide to Probability Distributions" from the University of Oxford: part 1, part 2. (Two links to PDFs)
posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:23 PM PST - 17 comments

Joe Simon R.I.P.
Joe Simon, who along with Jack Kirby created Captain America, died today at the age of 98. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist at 3:18 PM PST - 29 comments

No Pants O'Clock!
Dirty Signs with Kristin is an informative YouTube channel that teaches you how to sign things you may need to use in day-to-day conversation, like cum dumpster, suck my cock, Trebek, nice shoes, wanna fuck?, it's like Christmas in my mouth, you have a sandy vagina, twat waffle, and many more (NSFW).
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:17 PM PST - 36 comments

A moment on the lips...a lifetime on the therapist.
Rosemount High School athletes were recently tricked into making out with their own parents in front of a crowd. The principal of the school has offered an "apology".
posted by gman at 3:00 PM PST - 207 comments

Best Of 2011: Space and Astronomy
Timelapse of the Year: an awe-inspiring trailer for the movie TimeScapes by Tom Lowe (full 4K version on YouTube/MP4 direct link). (Previously)
Rover Newcomer: Where In The Solar System is Curiosity?
Astronomy Photographer of the Year. The Top 24 Deep Space Pictures of 2011Top 14 Solar System PhotosTop 16 Space Photos.  (Images of a million-light-year long collision of galaxy clusters and a “stellar snow angel” didn’t make the cut, but should have).
Discovery of the Year: Opportunity uncovers conclusive proof that water flowed on Mars.
Astronomy Animation of the year: a zoom to the center of the Milky Way, and the supermassive black hole that is feeding there.
Lifetime Achievement: The Known Universe, a stunning three-minute zoom from the peak of the Himalayas to the edge of the cosmos, finally available in HD. (Previously).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:52 PM PST - 6 comments

A lady can do no wrong
An Essay On The Noble Science Of Self-Justification: "Timid brides, you have, probably, hitherto been addressed as angels. Prepare for the time when you shall again become mortal. Take the alarm at the first approach of blame; at the first hint of a discovery that you are any thing less than infallible:--contradict, debate, justify, recriminate, rage, weep, swoon, do any thing but yield to conviction. I take it for granted that you have already acquired sufficient command of voice; you need not study its compass; going beyond its pitch has a peculiarly happy effect upon some occasions. But are you voluble enough to drown all sense in a torrent of words? Can you be loud enough to overpower the voice of all who shall attempt to interrupt or contradict you? Are you mistress of the petulant, the peevish, and the sullen tone? Have you practised the sharpness which provokes retort, and the continual monotony which by setting your adversary to sleep effectually precludes reply?" For remember, "a lady can do no wrong."
posted by shivohum at 2:08 PM PST - 5 comments

Naming our kids like products and our products like kids
Laura Wattenberg of The Baby Name Wizard has announced 2011's Name of the Year. And the winner is... Siri. [more inside]
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 2:05 PM PST - 57 comments

Microsoft Announces Automatic IE6 Updating
IE6 was released to the world 10 years ago. Now Microsoft is saying "Goodbye". (from the MSNBC Article) "To help expedite the farewell (or rather, the execution) of its ancient Web browser, Microsoft says next month it will start to upgrade Windows customers automatically to the latest version of IE available for their computer." [more inside]
posted by kellygrape at 1:16 PM PST - 87 comments

shrieking ensues
Feel-good SLYT of the day: "So tell me what it's going to be like now that you two are going to be grandpas."
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:03 PM PST - 42 comments

The OTHER 12 Days of Christmas
In the mountains of North Carolina an old tradition lives on: Breakin Up Christmas. [more inside]
posted by timsteil at 12:34 PM PST - 18 comments

A Call to Action
After investigating a tragic crash involving two school buses and a third passenger vehicle in Missouri last year the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended this week that state and local governments ban all forms of cellphone communication while driving, including texting and talking using handsfree devices. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:32 PM PST - 131 comments

Back and There Again.
Many ages ago, before some had yet to hear of The Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings or the collectible LOTR glasses sold at Burger King, critics did their initial reviews. Here's the original review by the New York Times of The Hobbit in 1938. Then came The Fellowship of the Ring, followed by The Two Towers, and of course The Return of the King. Here's a 1967 interview with Tolkien after the influence of his work was starting to be felt. One interesting detail noted is that Tolkien typed the entire 1200+ page manuscript of TLOTR with two fingers. Of course, not everyone viewed the books so favorably. The BBC has detailed some initial criticism against the books, but this seems to have been the minority response within a generally broad and warm literary reception.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:17 PM PST - 44 comments

Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller
Farhad Manjoo of Slate argues that buying books from Amazon is better than buying from local bookstores.
posted by reenum at 12:12 PM PST - 183 comments

"There's only a few of us left to man the controls."
W i l c o (MLYT +Colbertnation) frontman Jeff Tweedy does the Chicago weather report(:30, OPENS W/ AD). [more inside]
posted by obscurator at 11:11 AM PST - 21 comments

George Osodi captures the beauty and ugliness of Nigeria
George Osodi is a London based and Nigerian born photographer. Recent exhibits have covered the region's beauty admist the local effects of the oil industry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Czech it out!
Five guys, five hundred cans of spray paint, and sixteen days.
posted by chronkite at 11:07 AM PST - 39 comments

"This slump won’t end until 2031"
You know about the Great Depression, but do you know about the Long Depression? For a while now some have been suggesting we're in a "Third Depression", not so much like the Great one, but more like the Long Depression (1873–96) of 23 years (originally called the Great Depression). Suggesting "This slump won’t end until 2031". [more inside]
posted by stbalbach at 11:02 AM PST - 45 comments

The A to Z of 2011's music
The FluxBlog 2011 survey mix is out! Ten discs, 183 songs (that’s 26 more than last year), adding up to almost 13 hours of music. Download, share and enjoy.
posted by spitefulcrow at 11:00 AM PST - 16 comments

Life will suck if they censor the internet
Get your censor on. GYWO creator David Rees takes on the Stop Online Piracy Act. Meanwhile, a group of 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to Congress, stating their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA Internet blacklist bills (previously).
posted by homunculus at 10:33 AM PST - 81 comments

This is history
Raiding the Lost Ark: a filmumentary (pt.1, vimeo) [more inside]
posted by mediated self at 10:32 AM PST - 17 comments

Photographs of Palmyra
Photographs and more photographs of the ancient city of Palmyra, seat of the Palmyrene Empire and home to Queen Zenobia.
posted by Rumple at 10:17 AM PST - 13 comments

MURDER METHOD FOR VILLAIN TO USE: _SCORPIONS_
Want to write a pulp novel full of two fisted tales of action and adventure in the mode of Doc Savage but don't know where to start? You need the Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot! "No yarn of mine written to the formula has yet failed to sell."
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM PST - 37 comments

Pull my finger.
Fart jokes! Everybody loves them! And everybody knows a couple of good ones. But did you know that they date back to the 5th century BC, and appear prominently in two plays by Aristophanes, "The Knights" and "The Clouds"? [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 9:48 AM PST - 45 comments

How Aston builds the One-77
How Aston builds the beautiful One-77 [more inside]
posted by zeoslap at 9:48 AM PST - 49 comments

Mark Carney on the difficulties of deleveraging
Mark Carney: the man who speaks the truth. Toronto Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson recommends a recent speech by Bank of Canada head Mark Carney. "Most fundamentally, current events mark a rupture. Advanced economies have steadily increased leverage [i.e. debt] for decades. That era is now decisively over. The direction may be clear, but the magnitude and abruptness of the process are not. It could be long and orderly or it could be sharp and chaotic. How we manage it will do much to determine our relative prosperity." [more inside]
posted by russilwvong at 9:35 AM PST - 10 comments

The Marginal Utility of Bickering: Why You Secretly Love Arguing on the Internet
A great contribution to the economics-made-fun genre and food for Mefi thought: Arguing on the internet is addictive because you’re almost always arguing against either a very stupid person or a very smart person, and those are the two types of people most fun to argue with.
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 9:05 AM PST - 51 comments

How the World Searched
Fukushima. Osama Bin Laden. The Arab Spring. The Royal Wedding. Natural Disasters. Argentine Soccer Teams. Elizabeth Taylor. Gabrielle Giffords. iPad2 & iPhone 5. Steve Jobs..... Google Presents their 11th annual Zeitgeist: 2011 Year In Review (youtube) "What mattered in 2011? Zeitgeist sorted billions of Google searches to capture the year's 10 fastest-rising global queries and the rest of the spirit of 2011." [more inside]
posted by zarq at 8:31 AM PST - 26 comments

On Legal Education, and ...
"The contemporary American law school is based on bullshit." [more inside]
posted by gauche at 7:30 AM PST - 106 comments

Fare Dodger
A pet cat named Dodger is living up to his name - by catching free bus trips from his home town.
posted by veedubya at 6:05 AM PST - 55 comments

The 5 Most Horrifyingly Wasteful Film Shoots
The 5 Most Horrifyingly Wasteful Film Shoots.
posted by John Cohen at 5:55 AM PST - 76 comments

The War on Twitter
Did you know that Al-Shabaab, the Islamic militant group currently fighting for control of southern Somalia, has a Twitter account? [more inside]
posted by Aizkolari at 5:37 AM PST - 22 comments

Lego Builds for the Other Half of the World
"Over the years, Lego has had five strategic initiatives aimed at girls. Some failed because they misapprehended gender differences in how kids play. Others, while modestly profitable, didn’t integrate properly with Lego’s core products. Now, after four years of research, design, and exhaustive testing, Lego believes it has a breakthrough. On Dec. 26 in the U.K. and Jan. 1 in the U.S., Lego will roll out Lego Friends, aimed at girls 5 and up.... "The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox at the heart of its work: To break down old stereotypes about how girls play, it risks reinforcing others. “If it takes color-coding or ponies and hairdressers to get girls playing with Lego, I’ll put up with it, at least for now, because it’s just so good for little girls’ brains,” says Lise Eliot." From Businessweek (print link, above; via BoingBoing), an interesting look at Lego's new girl-oriented initiative.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:18 AM PST - 189 comments

I can see my house from here
Ross Racine works with a fictional world of suburban forms. Cristoph Gielen works with actual suburban forms. Here are some of their works, in no particular order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:13 AM PST - 4 comments

Outta mind on Saturday night, 1970!
Ye olde rock and roll time machine, part two: recently found photos of a Stooges performance at a suburban Detroit high school from 1970.
posted by NoMich at 4:06 AM PST - 19 comments

Can YOU survive?
Mobile Suit Gundam premiered on April 7th, 1979 in Nagoya, Japan, and with it came the now three-decade-old franchise that launched a thousand plastic model kits. WARNING: MAY CONTAIN spoilers for a thirty-year-old beloved cultural touchstone that you've likely never seen or possibly even heard of. WARNING: DEFINITELY CONTAINS many, many links to TV Tropes. 28.8k USERS: Upgrade to 56K already. You're going to need it. [more inside]
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:01 AM PST - 64 comments