A complete list of fictional restaurants. Though as with any "complete list" on the blue, I have complete faith that MeFites can think of some that were neglectfully omitted.
China produces 95% of the rare earth minerals needed for modern high-tech devices. "What would happen if the production of laptops, cellphones, and MP3 players suddenly halted? Oh, and no more hybrid electric vehicles and MRI machines?" Because China may soon stop exporting these minerals. [more inside]
China is the new Detroit. New car sales in the United States plunged more than 20 percent in 2009 to a 27-year low 10 million vehicles, less than the 12.23 million sold in China during January-November, making the Asian giant the world's largest car market for the first time. That marked a turning point in the global auto industry, which had been led by the Big Three Detroit companies since Ford Motor Co. began mass production in 1913, introducing the world's first conveyor belt system.
So Mote It Be: excerpt from the new Led Zeppelin biography When Giants Walked The Earth by Mick Wall
The 50 Most Blogged About [musical] Artists of 2009, with awesome accompanying original artwork. [more inside]
Voting has now closed in the NYC BigApps Challenge, a $20,000 contest to produce amusing, interesting, or even useful apps using the information in the NYC DataMine. Browse the eligible submissions here. Some highlights: Taxihack: collects e-mailed and tweeted comments on NYC cabs, by medallion or license number. Clean.ly: Did the restaurant across the street pass its last health inspection? Walkshed: You tell Walkshed what kind of amenities you'd like to be within walking distance of, and the app makes you a heat map showing your most walkable neighborhoods. SmartPark: Locates nearby garages and collects social information about available street parking. Buzzes you when it's time to move your car. Trees Near You: Does what it says on the box. (via Indirect Collaboration.)
We've talked about M.U.L.E before, but playing options were limited. Not anymore. Now available for Windows, Mac and Linux, Planet M.U.L.E. [more inside]
The Late Shift was a 1996 HBO movie exploring the highly political world of how Jay Leno and secures the Tonight Show hosting job over David Letterman (played by a young John Michael Higgens) after Johnny Carson retires. Jay Leno stepped down for Conan O'Brian in 2009, for a new business model of a 10 pm talk show five times a week for NBC which some called the future of television. Leno's ratings have been abysmal, leading to major concerns among affiliates. It now seems the man who managed to beat out David Letterman may have done it yet again, as it is being rumored that Leno will get his old timeslot back after the Winter Olympics, leaving Conan's future uncertain.
More than 1,000 unreleased recordings of lectures by L. Ron Hubbard and reams of corresponding writings have been unveiled in the culmination of a 25-year project to locate, restore and transcribe lost pieces of the Scientology founder's work. ... "It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it," said Tommy Davis, the church's top spokesman. ... They're also available for sale to members for about $7,500...
Calculus of Averages - Newton and Archimedes did not possess this knowledge. No mathematics professor today can provide this knowledge and depth of understanding. Author John Gabriel maintains a blog, Friend of Wisdom, and contributes articles such as Are real numbers uncountable? to Google's Knol project.
Jerry Jazz Musician is "a website devoted to jazz and American civilization." Individual pages have been linked a few times on MeFi, but it's high time this terrific site got its own post. Anyone interested in jazz (or blues, or any of the related topics they frequently cover, like Ralph Ellison or Romare Bearden) should bookmark it pronto. A sample, more or less at random: the life and photography of Milt Hinton. (Via The Daily Growler, itself an excellent source for informed and passionate discussion of music, NYC, and life in general; the linked post finishes with a tribute to that fine pianist Terry Pollard.)
Tufts University officially banned students from having sex in residence hall room when a roommate is present.
John Storm Roberts, 1936-2009. A magnificent scholar and record producer, and the author of great classics including The Latin Tinge and Black Music of Two Worlds,, and the founder of Original Music, John Storm Roberts passed away at the age of 73 back on Nov. 29. Few figures have had such a profoundly intertwined influence on both musical scholarship and popular musical culture. [more inside]
The Seljuk Han in Anatolia has tons of information about and pictures of the caravanserai, inns for caravans, built by the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in what is now Turkey. The Seljuk caravanserai, called hans, were a vital resource for trade from the middle ages to recent times. The website, by Katherine Branning, explains what a han is, their origins, their function in trade, what life there was like and much more. The site also features 39 individual hans, such as the Kadin Han, now a furniture store, Dibi Delik Han, which is undergoing restoration, Zazadin Han, which has been restored already, and the spectacular Sultan Han Kayseri. For an academic survey of Seljuk hans, here's Ayşıl Tükel Yavuz' The concepts that shape Anatolian Seljuq caravanserais [pdf, automatic download].
KFC are in trouble after an Australian ad hit YouTube. Some say it's racist. KFC themselves say it was a light-hearted look at cricket rivalry intended to play on stereotypes. (Previously)
"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases." [more inside]
From the official press release: The singer Lhasa de Sela passed away in her Montreal home on the night of January 1st 2010, just before midnight. She succumbed to breast cancer after a twenty-one month long struggle, which she faced with courage and determination. For those unfamiliar with this wonderful trilingual singer: Love Came Here, Anywhere On this Road, La Confession, and That Leaving Feeling, with Tindersticks' Stuart Staples. [more inside]
Friday windows-only fun: Cryptic Sea, developers of the hits Gish and Bridge Builder, are back with combat/economy/flight simulator game A New Zero (gameplay) [more inside]
Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) provides access to nearly 70,000 images in the collections of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the U.S National Library of Medicine (NLM). Their collection includes thousands of really fascinating images from warnings about winter driving to instructions about how to keep your privy clean. [more inside]
Knut Haugland, the last surviving member of the Kon Tiki expedition, and possibly the quietest hero you’ve never heard of, died on Christmas Day. [more inside]
The Nine Eyes of Google Street View "It was tempting to see the images as a neutral and privileged representation of reality—as though the Street Views, wrenched from any social context other than geospatial contiguity, were able to perform true docu-photography, capturing fragments of reality stripped of all cultural intentions."
Nil by Mouth is Roger Ebert's article about what life is like now that he doesn't eat or drink anymore, but is nourished by tube. And interesting reflection on what life can be like after thyroid cancer, and not as sad as you might think.
Polaroid, the struggling
instant film camera company, has hired a new creative director in hopes of returning the brand to its former glory. That hire just happens to be pop (and previously) sensation Lady Gaga. Polaroid Previously [more inside]
A former witch-doctor who now campaigns to end child sacrifice confessed for the first time to having murdered about 70 people, including his own son. Human sacrifice is on the increase in Uganda, and according to the head of the country's Anti-Human Sacrifice Taskforce the crime is directly linked to rising levels of development and prosperity, and an increasing belief that witchcraft can help people get rich quickly. Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo believes that "to punish retrospectively would cause a problem... if we can persuade Ugandans to change, that is much better than going back into the past." [more inside]
My name is Jacob. I have been a smoker for about 14 years. I decided this year to knock that shit off. I'd tried and tried before to no avail. But this year my youngest brother suggested something I found to be quite a good idea. Why not replace my trusty pack of Camel's with a pack of Crayolas. That way, every time I wanted a cigarette, I would just draw pictures.
A World of Hits "Ever-increasing choice was supposed to mean the end of the blockbuster. It has had the opposite effect." [more inside]
From the dusty depths of Modern Humorist comes Anagram Poetry: If Poets Wrote Poems Whose Titles Were Anagrams of Their Names. Volume 1 contains Toilets, Skinny Domicile, and I Will Alarm Islamic Owls. Volume 2 consists of Likable Wilma, Hen Gonads and nice smug me. And there are three more volumes, for your distraction. [via]
Not content to sit by and watch other single-topic blogs ink book deals, Look At This F**king Idea For A Blog-To-Book Deal goes wide where others have gone narrow. (Actual site and URL not censored. Adjust your NetNanny expectations accordingly)
The Violet Hour, a speakeasy styled lounge in Chicago with no sign, has been pushing the envelope in creative drink mixing since it opened in 2005. Toby Maloney, the Violet Hour's "Head Intoxocologist", had no problem posting on a Chicago food forum and sharing some of the drink recipes that have made his bar one of the most exciting in the country. [more inside]
Blow the whistle on the rich and powerful, go to jail, while they avoid jail. Tax Notes, the weekly publication on federal taxation, announced its "2009 Tax Person of the Year" - a whistleblower from Swiss banking giant UBS whom it called "the Benedict Arnold of the private banking industry." Bradley Birkenfeld came forward and exposed the tax fraud dealings of UBS which led thousands of millionaire tax cheats to come forward and pay billions in back taxes. His reward? Tomorrow he goes to jail. The Government Accountability Project (GAP), a Washington watchdog organization that has extensive whistle-blower experience, says a chilling effect is already apparent: a senior executive at a European bank that offers similar U.S. tax shelters is having second thoughts about going public because of the Birkenfeld case.
Last weekend, Slovakian border police placed explosive in the bags of a passenger, Stefan Gonda, as he departed for his home in Ireland. The aim was to train dogs to detect explosives but an undetected and unretrieved package of RDX (the base for a number of military explosives) flew with the unaware Mr. Gonda, who was later arrested by police in Dublin under the Offences Against the State Act. [more inside]
The Big Lebowski as written by Shakespeare.
Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military is a podcast put out by the US Department of Defense. Each week, they interview scientists and other personnel about R & D in the military. Topics include nutrition, portable fuel cells, virtual online worlds, substance abuse, and the effects of sounds on whale behavior. [more inside]
For those with enough time and attention to detail, the Where's Waldo puzzles hold some strange and lurid images. In fact, the book has made banned lists in the past despite the fact that it doesn't contain the word scrotum once (previously on MeFi).
Here are some suggested things to say if you want to sound like an idiot when you talk about social media:
How to say stupid things about social media Arguing for the banality of user-created content vis-a-vis social networks.
Body by Victoria. It started with an invisible handbag. Photoshop Disasters mocked Victoria's Secret for running a shot of a dress model clutching the straps of a digitally wiped-out purse. Then Neal Krawetz at Hacker Factor got into the act, analyzing the image to show that the photo editors had not only swiped the model's purse, they'd toned her arms, enlarged her breasts, and lightened her skin. In the comments, and in this follow-up post, tons of excellent nerdery about how to tell the photofaked from the real, by science.
Acclaimed writer Bruce Sterling is back for his annual State of the World interview in The WELL's inkwell conference. It's a must-read. The first question comes from Cory Doctorow who asks him to help him plan for the future now that Cory has a kid, etc. Sterling's answer is hilarious, biting, and brilliant all at the same time. And that's only the beginning...
Winter is here in the northern hemisphere and there is snow in many places, including China. In Beijing, heavy snows can stop the city but can’t stop the fun, as this snowman and snow sculpture collection shows.
The man behind the classic sound of Al Green, Memphis producer and soulmeister supreme Willie Mitchell has passed on. Many of the Al Green sides are legendary, of course, and very well known (as is the fantastic "I Can't Stand the Rain, by Ann Peebles), but be sure and head over to the excellent Funky 16 Corners where you can hear three of his lesser-known but deeply grooving productions. Fat stuff. So long, Willie Mitchell, and thanks for the wonderful music.