December 20, 2008
Solstice at Newgrange
At dawn on the winter solstice, the passage and chamber of the megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange are illuminated for 17 minutes by a shaft of sunlight entering through the roofbox above the entrance. The builders of Newgrange achieved this precise alignment over 5,000 years ago, 1,000 years before Stonehenge. You can watch the sunrise illumination on a live webcast between 08:30 and 09:30 UTC on Sunday, December 21st.
posted by homunculus at 10:00 PM PST - 29 comments

Fish
In an innovative approach to record breaking, the world-renowned Todd Lamb set a new record for the most images of fish sandwiches looked at in sixty seconds.
posted by Pants! at 7:54 PM PST - 26 comments

Whistleblower dead in plane crash
One of my sources died in a plane crash last night Michael Connell, a high ranking Republican "IT Guru" who was supposedly about to come forward with damning info on Karl Rove, perished in a small-engine plane crash on Friday. He had sought protection after Rove allegedly threatened him.
posted by waraw at 6:59 PM PST - 113 comments

HI I'M ON METAFILTER AND I CAN OVERTHINK A WORLD OF BEANS
Tales of the Beanworld ("A most peculiar comic book experience") recently resumed publication after a long hiatus. It's a strange and abstract mix of Native American mythology and culture, with a strong ecological focus, into an wonderfully charming cosmology. While it certainly invites, uh, overthinking, it's also entertaining on a purely casual level.
A sample short Beanworld story is on the Dark Horse Comics Myspace page.
If you have questions about it, the BeanWeb just may have answers, along with illustrations from the comics. There is now a Beanworld Wiki to supplement it, and creator Larry Marder keeps a blog where he talks about things bean.

Okay, now that it's properly introduced... the real point of this post is to link to this awesome Beanworld Flash cartoon, animated by Fashionbuddha and with music by They Might Be Giants!
posted by JHarris at 6:32 PM PST - 17 comments

Looking out for number one (and number two)
For large events, the National Park Service recommends one porta-potty per every 300 people. But if a low estimate of two million people attend the January 20th swearing-in of Barack Obama and the inaugural parade that follows, the just announced 5,000 toilets planned for the event will provide only one seven-foot plastic sanctuary for every 400 people. And even though Don's Johns use a satellite GPS system to "track the delivery, location, and status of every unit," many are skeptical the levies will hold.
posted by punkbitch at 6:31 PM PST - 29 comments

Ho ho ho
Neutral, developer of the excellent room escape game Vision (among others), has released his second Christmas-themed escape game. It's a bit tougher than his first one, but neither are particularly difficult—after all, we are talking about Christmas-themed escape games. Play them while you can—they're only available during the holidays!
posted by greenie2600 at 5:15 PM PST - 11 comments

"It's all caviar and ballons until someone backhands a cop!"
The Cliche-o-Matic: Never be at a loss for banal words again!
posted by Navelgazer at 4:29 PM PST - 46 comments

a little midwinter serenity
Historic, beautiful and interesting footage of Tibetan lamas and yogis teaching Buddhism, just 4 years after their escape from Tibet, when the Chinese invaded in 1959. "In 1963, for the first time, the Dalai Lama allowed a Westerner, Desjardins, to film the heart of the Tibetan tradition." Some meditation instruction taught by yogis: Tantra as practiced in Tibet, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Lerab's Youtube channel has all kinds of video gems for those interested in Buddhist and Hindu spiritual practice. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 4:03 PM PST - 12 comments

A Familyre Christmas
A Familyre Christmas, Volume 1 and 2. For the second year, Daniel Smith's collective of awkward folk acts is counting down the days until Christmas by giving away a new holiday album. Artists include Danielson, of course, as well as the previously-discussed Half-Handed Cloud and Sufjan Stevens. Also this month, Danielson has a new double CD of live tracks and rarities spanning his/their career. [more inside]
posted by roll truck roll at 3:12 PM PST - 9 comments

Elves Under Hoof
Elves Under Hoof (direct link to a zipped file of four PDFs) is a free print-and-play solitaire game from Dan Verssen. From the rules: Victory: You win when the last elf is dead. You achieve a Prancing Victory if you have 5 or more surviving reindeer. You get a Spoiled Meat Victory if you have 2 or less surviving reindeer. You lose if all your reindeer are killed and left to rot in the snow. It is included, naturally, in the Games involving Elf Death list at BoardGameGeek.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:17 PM PST - 4 comments

Dulcitone 1884
Pendle Poucher is a UK based composer, sound designer and lover of funny noises who has written, produced and performed soundtracks for every major UK TV station. He has devised large scale public art projects and written chart-topping dance music. However, what I find most interesting, he is also one of relatively few musicians within the UK who owns a dulcitone. Poucher claims that his Dulcitone 1884 is the world's first multi-sampled dulcitone. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 12:17 PM PST - 8 comments

Flash snowday! Tip: combine objects.
Have a Minoto game to make a snow day bright. [more inside]
posted by melissa may at 12:15 PM PST - 9 comments

Christmas cards for a little girl with cancer
You know what to do. In case of doubt, click this link.
posted by jefeweiss at 9:31 AM PST - 35 comments

"[They] had no idea what LSD was other than what they seen on TV with the hippies"
Dock Ellis, an American baseball pitcherprev, won more games for the champion 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates than anyone else that year. Of course, he was under the influence of the performance-enhancing drug known as LSD on at least one no-hit occasion. Ellis died yesterday at the age of 63. [more inside]
posted by item at 7:25 AM PST - 68 comments

Obama elevate my soul
How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called "elevation." Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama's victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon....It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to "dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example." (via Geek Press) [more inside]
posted by caddis at 7:25 AM PST - 50 comments

Terminaliens.
Remember these UFOs? In May of last year, pictures were posted anonymously on Craiglist and Flickr of strange objects in the California sky. This Monday night, the mystery was solved.
posted by EarBucket at 7:17 AM PST - 37 comments

To the best of my ability...
With one month left in George W. Bush's presidency, he contemplates his legacy; how the public will view him and his place in history. Whatever your personal feelings, you must admit that Bush did have his moments.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:19 AM PST - 148 comments

"Show grid"
If you're a designer, you need the Grid System.
posted by signal at 3:52 AM PST - 20 comments