December 20, 2010
Labyrinths – not to be confused with mazes – are being rediscovered as tools for contemplation, meditation, reflection, and community well-being, as well as inspiration for architecture, music, dance, ritual, business, and visual art. [more inside]
"I guess that makes me a part of history, Neocon Blunder #291280. It’s great to be so significant, but actually I’d rather have some of that sweet AUI-S vastly-overpaid money."
John Dolan remembers teaching at - and getting fired from - the American University of Iraq - Sulaimani, a conservative, English-language university in Iraq. Former Interim Provost and Chancellor of AUI-S John Agresto responds to Dolan's article. Dolan responds to Agresto. More on AUI-S from Counterpunch.
Sure, it was cute when Bambi slipped all over the ice, but the story usually ends less adorably. Upon finding a deer stuck on the ice, you can chip away the ice and let it swim free, winch it off the ice by the leg, or even blow it off the ice with a helicopter, but it probably won't matter—the deer will die anyway, and you'll just end up getting in trouble. Just this week, eight tiny reindeer fell into a lake at a Christmas park. Their entombed bodies are protruding through its icy surface for all the visiting kids to see. (Maybe coyotes did it.) People have been rescuing deer from the ice every winter for decades and decades and decades. If you want things to end well, let the professionals handle it.
"...it can be predicted that male and female astronauts will engage in sexual relations during a mission to Mars." And then there are the babies....Martian babies. Sex On Mars: Pregnancy, Fetal Development, and Sex In Outer Space
Legendary hip hop producer DJ Premier interviewed in the XXL Icon Interview and The Smoking Section. Remarkably candid conversations about his life in East Coast hip hop, with interesting stories about his work with Jay-Z, Biggie, Puff, Nas, Jeru the Damaga, Group Home, Suge Knight, Christina Aguilera and of course, Guru. On finding records to sample: "Well, there’s still diggin’ spots. If you’re in that world like I am, you know the spots, you see everybody—Just Blaze, Alchemist, Large Professor, Pete Rock—we still pop up in those spots. You got Big City records, you got Turntable Lab, you still have A1, you got Academy, you know. I’m not gonna tell you all the digging spots."
Short vids by photographer Noah Kalina: Chinese Herb store, (A guy standing still in the midst of movement), Seltzer (wonderfully NSFW!), Space Rail, Earl, The Floss Boss (also NSFW, due to some pubic hair & candy floss combination), a cat. 30 more, there… From his blog: A fitting portrait of Julian Assange by Phillip Toledano, a Giant Sesame Bagel Admiring Its Own Beauty... [more inside]
Vimeo Video School is a fun place for anyone to learn how to make better videos. Start by browsing the Vimeo Lessons, or find specific video tutorials created by other members.
BBC Correspondent Brian Hanrahan, who rose to fame during his coverage of the Falklands Conflict in 1982, has died at the age of 61. [more inside]
Though it was eclipsed in press coverage by the repealing of DADT, congress congruently relaxed regulations on community based, Low Power FM radio stations. [more inside]
A Foreigner's Guide to American Culture After De Tocqueville, just about every European sent to the United States has treated the posting as an invitation to help diagnose the country's faults and suggest ways in which they might be fixed.
"We gathered our favorite cutting-edge content creators from across the internet and gave each of them a deceptively simple mission -- tell a short story in an innovative way." Showtime presents: Short Stories. [more inside]
Minimalist logos on labels. I didn't realize this was possible, but I want to eat Nutella even more now.
It's holiday time! Perhaps you'd like to add some DIY decoration to your gifts. Let's make some "Literary Leaf Gift Tags." Which book should you make them from? Oh, any old book will do—say, this one looks splendid. Et voila! Gift tags that are perfect for the literate aesthete, complete with mentions of "gaunt human skulls" and "slave labor camps." [more inside]
Life Flashes By (Mac, Windows installers, .slg file and SLUDGE engine for linux) is an introspective It's A Wonderful Life/Christmas Carol-like kickstarter funded interactive story by Deidra Kiai (reviews 1,2,3). [more inside]
Carol of the Bells is a well known, traditional handbell song. Carol of the Belts, not so much. (NSFW, SLYT). From Here Come the Mummies.
Stephen Harper once referred to the Canadian Senate as a "dumping ground for liberal cronies". He has now appointed his 36th senator, more than double the number of appointments by his predecessor, Paul Martin. Of further interest is that while 5/17 of Martin's appointments were members of the opposition party all 36 of Stephen Harpers appointments were directly affiliated with the conservative party. His most recent appointments? A Priest and a former CFL Comissioner
If you lived in Canada in the 80s and 90s, then the holiday season meant one thing: Give like Santa, save like Scrooge.
Some 10 minutes after driving Chris Williams's Packard-engined Behemoth my hands were still shaking, my voice was croaking and the cool autumn wind was chilling my sweaty overalls. My face was cherry red from the infernal heat of the engine and my eyebrows singed from its 24 flaming exhaust stubs. In my entire career I have never driven anything as visceral, as physical or as sheer bloody terrifying as Mavis, the 42-litre Packard-engined Bentley.
First Time to the Nether! (SLYT) If you like hearing people being endearingly excited and/or Minecraft, you'll like this.
So what does the question "Why don't you believe in God?" really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking "what makes you so special? How come you weren't brainwashed with the rest of us?"
Ricky Gervais explains why he's an atheist.
Ricky Gervais explains why he's an atheist.
Werner Herzog Reads Twas The Night Before Christmas. Previously in the series, Werner Herzog Reads Where's Waldo, Werner Herzog Reads Madeline, Werner Herzog Reads Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and Werner Herzog Reads Curious George. Covered previously on Mefi: 1, 2, and 3. [more inside]
The Daily Patdown - Your daily Dose of Security Theater. Some pictures of groping therein. [via mefi projects]
Oil-absorbing booms from the BP oil spill are being recycled into plastic parts for the (now in production and delivered to customers) extended-range EV Chevy Volt.
Must Be Santa was originally recorded (song on YT) in 1969 by Mitch Miller, with simple call-and-response lyrics that were a hit (song on YT) for Lorne Greene in 1966. The catchy song is amusing for small children, and cute when sung by groups of kids. With minor lyrical tweaks and a rowdy polka style (live clip), Brave Combo liven up the Christmas classic. Leave it to Bob Dylan to take it further. [more inside]
Jonah Keri looks at the unconventional methods being used by the Texas Rangers to improve the durability and effectiveness of their pitching staff.
Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight! "A rare event not seen in 372 years will occur early Tuesday morning, when a total lunar eclipse coincides with the winter solstice."
Steambirds: Survival (flash) is a sequel to Steambirds, the steampunk turn-based shooter, and is as addictive as patent medicine.
CBS investigates the next financial meltdown: The coming crisis with U.S. state budget shortfalls. [more inside]
Check out this 60 Mminutes segment about people with superior autobiographical memory, who can remember virtually every day of their life. [more inside]
... the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. (previously)
Various international toilet rules: Where do I put the paper?
The British Government wants to ban porn from the internet. The move would force ISPs to block all pornographic content unless users had 'opted in' (providing a handy list of people who wish to view pornography) and is said to be motivated by a desire to combat the early sexualization of children. There is no word on how 'porn' is to be defined.
This evening in Charleston, SC, a Secession Ball! When they don their "period formal" hoop skirts tonight some ladies may rue the fact that have no slaves to pull their corsets tight. The ladies and their escorts, many of whom are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who would like us to believe that the Civil War was not about slavery. The NAACP, and others disagree. The NAACP has organized a peaceful protest.
folktek do beautiful things with sound and sculpture that are so unique as to defy description
Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.