December 17, 2010
The Watson Artificial Intelligence system has been discussed on MeFi before. The Jeopardy AI will get a chance to prove its skills in early February when it squares off against Jeopardy titans Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter for the prize of a million dollars.
Discoveries spanning five continents and three oceans cap the United Nations' International Year of Biodiversity (Many of which are little things [list of the described species]) [more inside]
It may take years, but some researcher will travel to Pakistan’s tribal areas and produce a definitive study on what it’s been like to live amidst an aerial bombardment from American pilotless aircraft. When that account inevitably comes out, it’s likely to find that 2010 — and especially the final quarter of 2010 — marked a turning point in how civilians coped with a drone war that turned relentless. (previously: 1,2)
I Love You is an animated short by Rinat Timerkaev that is reminiscent in style of the works of anime director Makoto Shinkai. Russian audio, no subtitles. [more inside]
Dream of the 90's is a short music video promoting the upcoming sketch comedy series Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. [more inside]
Burial & Flight I BEGAN THIS SERIES TEN YEARS AGO in rural Kenya. When I started photographing, I thought I was working on a localized story about how HIV was destroying African society. Over the years, as I broadened my travels to China and Mexico, I began to see similarities in the composition of villages wherever I went. Only later did I fully realize that the quiet moments I documented in the African bush, Mexican plains, and majestic Chinese mountains represented small pieces of a great shift.
Mocknick Productions Literary Agency is an example of a breed of "agents" that charge writers to represent them, and is listed on the Writers Beware list of Thumbs Down Agencies. His agency does have one unique feature though: the public face of the agency is a sex doll virtual hostess. [more inside]
The House of Sharing is a place for the Halmoni to to live together and heal the wounds of the past while educating the future generations of the suffering they survived.The View From Over Here details her visit to the House of Sharing, a therapeutic group home and museum for surviving "comfort women", who were systematically raped by the Japanese military during World War II. The museum displays art for and by the survivors. Via Ask a Korean. [more inside]
A flat disc made of ceramic or china on which is placed a small pile of legumes in a hearty tomato sauce
Knoword is a game where it's good to be loquacious.
It's been 30 years since the last log drive. Log drives were a way of life in the woods. In Quebec, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Minnesota and Connecticut. The last one in Maine was 1976. [more inside]
we'll soon be done with troubles and trials. something with the magic, the music, the message comes through.... [more inside]
Friday Flash Fantasticness: Neutral has released another new room escape game, Linkage. Enjoy! [more inside]
Sad news out of California today for the avant-garde and experimental rock world: Rocks Off has learned from multiple online sources that Don Van Vliet of influential rockers Captain Beefheart passed away today at the age of 69 after a battle with multiple sclerosis. Van Vliet's management confirmed his death to Rolling Stone.
Planet Hunters lets users comb through data from the Kepler mission in search of exoplanets. [via Bad Astronomy]
The Cassini team announced a possible cyrovolcano on Titan. A key difference between this find and cyrovulcanism on Enceladus is the probable existence of a thousand-meter peak and lobe-shaped flows similar to terrestrial vulcanism. Their video release explains the evidence with 3-d models of the features. More speculative, Guillaume Robuchon speculates that Pluto might have liquid water under an icy surface, assuming it has enough of a rocky core to support heat production through radioactive decay.
Not including the thousands of disc jockeys in the 80s who said it when segueing between Toto and Kansas
Even one of the greatest lines ever spoken in a movie can become hopelessly clichéd when repeated enough times, right, Toto? (SingleYouTubeContaining58Clips) [more inside]
Keenan Cahill's been posting his lip-sync videos to youtube for a while now. Last month he had a special guest star step in (a little over a minute in).
After nixing the idea a year ago, Chevy is again toying with the idea of bringing back the El Camino in 2015. The car will be modeled after the Holden Ute, a popular vehicle in Australia.
The Proposal. "After a decade of being together, I finally proposed to my long time love Sara. [This] movie trailer was shown on December 12th, 2010 at 4pm at the Red River Theater in Concord, NH. Sara had no idea." [more inside]
It's Friday, which means it's time for some meat eating, surfing, burger flipping fun. (flash)
Cassetteboy - Festive Christmas 2010 (NSFW audio) (previously 1 2 3) (bonus NSFW Harry Potter trailer)
Welcome to Isle of Tune. A music sequencer for the modern colonial. (Flash)
There was a brouhaha around the name of a particular micro-genre, tossed out amongst other titles for a new genre variant: rape-gaze. The discussion started with a listing of genre names applied to the band Salem, a band whose debut album ranked high in some year-end charts. That specific genre title was coined by the group Creep, who chose the label themselves as some alternative to the more prevalent "witch house" genre title. More music and music pondering inside. [more inside]
Friday Frivolity: A highlight reel of clips from the BBC show Walk on the Wild Side, featuring voiceovers for animals so you finally get to know what's really going on in all those nature documentaries. This BBC playlist has previews for a lot of the individual episodes. (I got region-blocked on a few of those videos, but most seem to work fine.) [more inside]
Dragon Magazine's "Sage Advice" column ran for over 30 years, offering advice to DMs and players about anything and everything within the D&D world. Comics Alliance has compiled The 11 Strangest D&D Questions Ever Asked, culled from this searchable archive.
The Irish Banking Crisis: A Parable - What happened when the Irish stood up to the bankers in the 1970s? cf. Why Wall Street won't get shrunk & The Inequality That Matters [more inside]
Early in 1903, the success of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland, was a rousing success. Thirty years later it was made into a movie starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst production. [more inside]
Leandra Medine is 21 and lives with her parents on the Upper-East Side. She also has an amusing hobby, or maybe a feminist fashion statement. Either way, Leandra is repelling men. [more inside]
In the wake of Glenn Greenwald's post about the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention ("For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell"), Jeralyn at the criminal justice blog Talkleft offers a detailed argument that both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and relevant case law suggest that "Bradley Manning should not be in maximum security or solitary confinement." As the Justice Department tries to build a case against Julian Assange based on his contacts with Manning, what do we really know about the 22-year-old queer intelligence analyst being held at Quantico who says he leaked the Collateral Murder video and all those diplomatic cables? [more inside]
The George Ewart Evans collection of oral interviews on rural English life. 250 recordings of interviews and songs made by oral history pioneer George Ewart Evans between 1956 and 1977, many in Suffolk, with a smaller number in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Reginal Hoskins the thresher, Annie Cable the kitchen maid, Baron Rhodes of Saddleworth. They're all pretty fascinating.
Couple on a Bench. Drifting Apart Spooner. Laughing Sailor comes to Life. A Peacock. The Bear who saved the World. The Mechanism of Lady Automaton. Smoking Head. More from The House of Automata.
Biome Terrain Mod is a modification for Minecraft that allows tweaking the world generation parameters for the regions in the game. The Minecraft Forums are running a contest to find cool generation settings. Some of the results are quite striking.... [more inside]
Is "Muslim" a derogatory term? An online reputation defense company warns a San Francisco civil rights group that a Google search for their name pulls up a "derogatory comment."
"Among medieval artistic media it was the microchip": the historian Alexander Murray on ivory carving. The Gothic Ivories Project, a new website launched this week by the Courtauld Institute in London, aims to build a database of every surviving ivory sculpture made in Europe between 1200 and 1530. The 400 objects currently on the site, ranging from combs to chesspieces, include some images of astonishing beauty and intricacy.
Since approximately 26% of Canadian children age 2-17 are now considered obese, few would disagree that drastic measures are warranted. A dude and his wife have decided that the best way to inspire kids to get some exercise outdoors is to run daily marathons across the country. [more inside]
Sugar collecting is an interesting hobby. The thought of collecting sugar packets sparked my curiousity at first and now I enjoy all types of sugar information. Sugar really has been important through the ages, as a commodity, a sign of wealth, a metaphor for happiness. On my site, you will find historical information, facts and pictures, etc. To me, I see sugar more as a decoration [also, previously] instead of a food. The concept of sugar can be so universal. Embark upon an adventure through this website and take a look at sugar through my eyes. [more inside]