December 29, 2009
"Loss is loss, and nothing is gained by calling it by a nicer name. My nights are intriguing; but I could do without them."
"This cockroach-like existence is cumulatively intolerable even though on any given night it is perfectly manageable." Tony Judt, in the advanced stages of ALS (aka motor neurone disease) begins a series of short pieces for the New York Review of Books with a reflection on how he spends his unmoving nights.
Times Square > Art Square: "a very complex project with a simple goal: to turn all advertising on Times Square into art."
The Mag+ Project A compelling digital magazine concept that resulted from a research collaboration between Swedish publisher Bonnier and London design firm BERG. Touchscreen specialists Kicker Studio in San Francisco are working to expand this into an interactive prototype over the next several months.
On the Set: Miniature recreations of famous television studio sets such as Cheers, Seinfeld and The Price is Right built by Charles Brogdon. Each complete with its own lighting rig and indexed by studio.
Anyone who was moved by Zelda Rubinstein's performance as the eccentric medium in "Poltergeist" will be dismayed to hear that she is seriously ailing. What you may not be aware of is her role, first in Los Angeles (way back in 1984), and later internationally, in gay rights and AIDS education advocacy. [more inside]
Nevertheless, a debate about gumbo's precise origins has raged for decades, framed by Louisiana's legacy of colonialism and complicated by the vast range of gumbo-preparation techniques practiced by the different peoples who make up the region's complex ethnic fabric.
The California and Steller sea lions hauled out at Pier 39's K dock in San Francisco have become a famous tourist attraction. The colony has occupied the spot since 1990, seemingly abandoning their traditional grounds at Seal Rocks. A fall survey counted record numbers of over 1,500 sea lions at the Pier, but they abandoned the area in droves after Thanksgiving. "We have no idea where they moved on to or why” an expert from the Marine Mammal Center said, although the Center does not believe that the sea lions have left for good. [more inside]
Questions for John Yoo. Q. Do you regret writing the so-called torture memos, which claimed that President Bush was legally entitled to ignore laws prohibiting torture? A. No, I had to write them. It was my job. As a lawyer, I had a client. The client needed a legal question answered. NY Times, via Andrew Sullivan [more inside]
The first Blue Moon on New Year's Eve in twenty years. New Year's Eve marks a blue moon, that is, a full moon that occurs more than once in a calendar month. But wait, there's more! [more inside]
The Genesis 2.0 Project The L.H.C. is not merely the world’s largest particle accelerator but the largest machine ever built. At the center of just one of the four main experimental stations installed around its circumference, and not even the biggest of the four, is a magnet that generates a magnetic field 100,000 times as strong as Earth’s. And because the super-conducting, super-colliding guts of the collider must be cooled by 120 tons of liquid helium, inside the machine it’s one degree colder than outer space, thus making the L.H.C. the coldest place in the universe.
So you want to build your own Eiffel Tower. Then you'll need 7,300 tons of iron, 2.5 million rivets, and some blueprints. (You may also need a copyright lawyer.)
Anyone who claims that readers can’t and won’t and shouldn’t own their books are bent on the destruction of the book, the destruction of publishing, and the destruction of authorship itself.
How to Destroy the Book. "The anti-copyright activists have no respect for our copyright and our books. They say that when you buy an ebook or an audiobook that’s delivered digitally, you are demoted from an owner to a licensor." (Previously).
The Interfaith Youth Core was started in 1998 by a group led by Rhodes Scholar Eboo Patel. Propelled by his experience growing up as a Muslim in the United States, and encouraged by the Dalai Lama, Patel seeded an organization dedicated promoting global pluralism. His story is detailed in his acclaimed autobiography, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He keeps a blog at the Washington Post, and is a fellow at the Ashoka Foundation.
Though she didn't enjoy the same level of fame and fortune as her younger brother Cab, singer and bandleader (said to be the first African-American woman to lead an all-male orchestra) Blanche Calloway is a musician worth remembering and checking out if you're a fan of 1920s/30s jazz stylings. It's Right Here For You, It Looks Like Susie, I Gotta Swing, Last Dollar and I Got What It Takes.