December 17, 2009
Twitter (you may have heard of it) has been hacked. At 01:26am EST the DNS records were changed and Twitter is offline, replaced by a message from the Iranian Cyber Army... [more inside]
House of Happiness - photos by Rena Effendi of women in the Ferghana Valley, part of central Asia's ancient Silk Route now known as "the heroin highway" - "a geographical and cultural mishmash where three countries and many ethnicities cluster." More about the photos. (Some photos NSFW) [more inside]
New WM3 Defense Letter Imprisoned since 1993, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. filed new appeals in Oct. 2007 - previously - only to have them thrown out less than a year later. But a recent article in the Arkansas Law Review, which came on the heels of support from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Conviction, has the Arkansas Supreme Court reconsidering the appeals. Meanwhile, Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims, had his lawsuit against the Dixie Chicks tossed out earlier this month. [more inside]
You’re going to hire people to guard your sh*t, but you’re not going to give them health care. Vice has a long spoiler- and profanity-laden interview with The Wire creator David Simon, running the gamut from backstage Wire details to the media's obsession with "the Dickensian aspect" to his next series (set in New Orleans) to Joe Lieberman to this fight he almost got in at a concert one time. Via /Film.
There is no evidence that Quetzalcoatlus could see dinosaur pee with its ultraviolet vision, or that a herd of hadrosaurs could knock over a predator with their concentrated infrasound blasts.
Paleontologist Matt Wedel was a talking head in the Discovery Channel's Clash of the Dinosaurs, but was not very happy with the final product. The production company, Dangerous, responds. Finally, the Discovery Channel steps up.
The Physics of Space Battles "I had a discussion recently with friends about the various depictions of space combat in science fiction movies, TV shows, and books. We have the fighter-plane engagements of Star Wars, the subdued, two-dimensional naval combat in Star Trek, the Newtonian planes of Battlestar Galactica, the staggeringly furious energy exchanges of the combat wasps in Peter Hamilton's books, and the use of antimatter rocket engines themselves as weapons in other sci-fi. But suppose we get out there, go terraform Mars, and the Martian colonists actually revolt. Or suppose we encounter hostile aliens. How would space combat actually go?"
Medical Marijuana Apartheid -- as the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy misrepresents (PDF source) the new policy of the American Medical Association (PDF source) in regard to medical marijuana, and the U.S. Congress lifts the ban on Washington D.C.'s Initiative 59 ("the first time Congress has given its assent to a state or local law that permits medical use of marijuana") -- one writer questions whether the "back-door" decriminalization of cannabis has institutionalized class- and race-based discrimination.
Celery is a fax-to-email gateway to let you communicate electronically with someone who doesn't have a computer on their end. So, now your grandparents won't miss out on your mass joke emails and baby pictures. Best of all, there's now a fax-to-Twitter interface. (via)
List of the top Christmas carols featuring animals. Love the holidays? Love animals? People magazine apparently has a website for pet lovers - who knew? - and they've compiled a Top 8 list of holiday songs about animals. The list good but far from comprehensive. After all, where is the BBC's "Cute Animals Christmas Song"?
The Aught-O-Matic. Slate's interactive guide to the critically recognized best movies of the decade, aggregating the results from several "best of the decade" lists. It's still in the process of being updated.
Follow that Dabbawalla For nearly 130 years, Mumbai's Dabbawallas have been delivering lunches from customers' homes to their workplaces and taken the empty tiffin boxes back again. The service, with its origins in the mid 1880s when a single textile mill worker paid an errand boy to bring him his lunch from home, is a complex system with in which color coded lunch boxes are passed from Dabbawalla to Dabbawalla to reach their destination, creating a network that, in many ways, resembles the Internet itself. [more inside]
On July 12, 2008, Luis Ramirez was beaten to death in the town of Shenandoah, PA by three white kids on the local high school football team. A few months later, they were acquitted by an all-white jury of the most serious charges, receiving only a conviction on simple assault charges. Yesterday, police chief Matthew Nestor and three police officers were charged by the FBI with orchestrating a cover-up, harassing witnesses, and extortion unrelated to this case. Two of the young men have been charged with Federal hate crimes.
The recession is hitting Ohio's former steel towns hard. As other areas of the country start to revive, the recession's full force is still on display here. Since January 2008, another 10,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost, according to recent Ohio employment figures. "There were other places that were dirtier, but you didn't get shocked every 15 minutes," Tomlin says with resignation. "This is what people around here without union jobs have to do to survive."
Fede Alvarez, a Uruguayan filmmaker, posted a short live action/CG video on YouTube back in early November (prev). The short, which features mysterious robots destroying Montevideo and cost approximately $300 to make, received interest from Hollywood days after being online. By the end of November, news spread that Alvarez signed a deal with Ghost House Pictures, reportedly worth $30 million. For now, Alvarez has a six-figure holding deal to wait while Ghost House hires a high-end scribe to turn the idea into a feature. The six-figure deal will be applied against a seven-figure fee if Ghost House makes the film, though Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are already set up to produce the film. (via) [more inside]
Cracking the Cancer Code: We already know that all cancers are caused by DNA mutations acquired during a person's lifetime. But what mutations actually cause cancer? We may be one step closer to finding out. International research teams led by the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have now mapped the entire genetic code of two of the most common human cancers: lung and skin (malignant melanoma). Their findings have the potential to revolutionize preventative and treatment therapies as well as pave the way for new early detection tests. More. [more inside]
On January 1st, the U.S. estate tax will disappear. For exactly one year. Then it will come back higher on Jan. 1, 2011. Will lots of old rich people die? [more inside]
Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones. "Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations." [Via]
It may be a joke to some people (previously), but there’s a good deal of art underneath the streets of NYC. All cataloged here in the Arts for Transit portion of the MTA’s website. Clicking the permanent art tab lets you take a ride on any line and view the art in any station as well as providing background information on the artists and pieces. So if you've ever wondered what that rock tiled mosaic in Bryant Park was about, or those little brass dudes at 14th and 8th, or how exactly those busts at Eastern Parkway ended up in the walls, here's your chance to find out.
Why are Europeans white? "White," of course, is a a social designation. The question really is, "Why are northern Europeans depigmented?" [...] Most people know that it has something to do with sunlight, UV, latitude, and vitamin D. [...] But this explanation fails for Europe. Northern Europeans are lighter than everyone to the south (Mediterraneans), to the east (Mongols and east-Asians), to the west (Native Americans across the Atlantic), and to the North (Inuit, Sammi, Chukchi, Aleut). Clearly, there once was a factor at work in Europe other than dim sunlight. [more inside]
Sick leave. In some countries it's taken for granted. In the USA it's controversial. A bill before congress would mandate 5 days of paid sick leave a year for businesses with over 15 employees. Some without sick leave are going to work sick. I'm sure you have never done this.
At the beginning of the '09 season a young rookie coach named Pep Guardiola was appointed manager of FC Barcelona, one of the top teams in European football. One year later, the team plays 19th December in Abu Dhabi against Estudiantes for the Club World Cup, the cusp of association football season. Guardiola had taken a talented but stagnating team to the top, a prometean figure that brought the philosophy he had inherited playing for historical player Johann Cruyff almost 20 years before. [more inside]
Bete De Jour, the self-described ugly blogger, will review your product or service for you. NB: NSFW if your work dislikes bile or bad sex advice.
They were first known as "Praescriptiones" and used by The Romans from around 100BC 1. Employed by Perisans of the Sassanid Dynasty during the third century, they were then known as "Saqqs". They have been found in Egyptian ruins dating from the 12th century, about the same time as The Knights Templar bolstered their use by issuing written instruments, redeemable for cash to pilgrims bound for holy land bound. Even so, it took another five centuries for the cheque to be adopted by England. [more inside]
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley opens up another Ask Chuck Webcast. The people respond. Grassley answers.