August 25

Exercise and the Placebo Effect

Cleaning hotel rooms is a strenuous business. However, when Alia Crum and Ellen Langer talked to 84 maids, most were under the impression that they did not get enough exercise. Furthermore, when they were measured for tests such as BMI and blood pressure, their results were typical of couch potatoes. The researchers let half the group in on the knowledge that they were getting more than enough of a daily workout and kept the rest in the dark. After a month results showed the former group were healthier on every single one of the objective health measurements tested - despite claiming to have been doing no more exercise or to have changed their diet. The study raises the possibility that mindset alone can influence our metabolism. Christopher Shea in the New York Times and Ben Goldacre in The Guardian have articles discussing the original paper.
posted by rongorongo at 9:48 AM - 48 comments

Women and children, depending on credit rating

"Women and children, first," is a familiar cultural refrain, with its popular roots in the gallant sacrifice made by the male contingent aboard the doomed Titanic. Their sacrifice has inspired poetry, sculpture, male social clubs, and, of course, cinema. Yet, this sacrifice of near-mythic scale was in some respects a myth, with survival statistics skewing well in favor of men of higher social and economic class than children (and, to a lesser extent, women) of lower status.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:29 AM - 70 comments

Moving maps of American elections

'Cinematic maps' of American elections a project from the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond [more inside]
posted by imposster at 6:04 AM - 5 comments

"You meet a better class of people in pubs"

Oliver Reed. Movie star or hellraiser? Actor or alcoholic? But it was probably not as simple as that... The Real Oliver Reed (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) (Poss. NSFW Brief nudity) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:10 AM - 28 comments

August 24

Robot Guitar Technicians 2008 A.D.

Having always found the process of setting up a guitar slightly intimidating, I am so glad that there's now a robot that can do it for me. Plek is a German-designed system for mechanically adjusting the setup of your guitar. Short video here. I wonder what happens when the robot guitar tech meets the robot guitar?
posted by awfurby at 10:17 PM - 20 comments

You don't take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it.

Amazing Olympics recap photos [slightly NSFW, due to an accidental bare ass or exposed boob] [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu at 10:04 PM - 143 comments

Teaching philosophy to high school students

A Sydney Morning Herald article about the teaching of philosophy in Australian high schools. Today, this article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. Finally I might be able to get a job with my philosophy major! [more inside]
posted by robotot at 5:29 PM - 33 comments

Speedy Entangled Photons:

Whether Einstein's "spooky science" or quantum weirdness, the Geneva tests that show entangled photons traveling at 10,000 times the speed of light are stirring up challenges and "Alice in Wonderland" discussions about "subatomic particles communicating nearly instantaneously at a distance." [more inside]
posted by Surfurrus at 5:00 PM - 73 comments

oh hai!

lol-qats, a Pakistani-English blogger (author of the amusing Islamicist) pokes gentle fun at the coca-leaf like addiction to Qat (alternate spelling, Khat), which is common in Yemen and several East African countries. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 3:38 PM - 58 comments

Ancient Oases

10 Incredible Ancient Oases.
posted by homunculus at 1:12 PM - 21 comments

Me I'm 74% savvy

Are you savvy metaboffs?
posted by chelegonian at 12:59 PM - 101 comments

Wrong Door grows out of Web

The BBC has a new sketch show, called Wrong Door. It's very heavy on CGI - indeed, the official blurb calls it 'a parallel world where the effects you see in TV and movies are real'. And it's funny - check out the trailers on YouTube. And it has Brian Blessed and a spaceship shaped like a giant silver cock and balls. Really, what's not to love? But the best bit isn't in the show, [more inside]
posted by Devonian at 11:54 AM - 32 comments

Holiday in the Sun

That young British tourists vacationing in Europe, especially (but not exclusively) in southern Europe during the summer months, often have a nasty reputation for disorderly displays of public drunkenness , lewdness and hooliganism is not exactly news (see here, here, and--for a somewhat related old mefi thread--here), but lately the situation may be getting worse (see here, here, and here). But should the British be singled out? Some say yes.
posted by ornate insect at 10:23 AM - 116 comments

Isfahan's Ancient Pigeon Towers

Isfahan's Ancient Pigeon Towers were fabulously intricate works of architecture meticulously designed for the manufacture of pigeon guano. [more inside]
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:55 AM - 20 comments

The low-down

Two 20th century additions to the comparatively small body of concertos for double bass and orchestra: Einojuhani Rautavaara's Angel Of Dusk (II, III), from 1980, and the 1948 concerto of Eduard Tubin (II, III). Those are courtesy of YouTube, but if you're not sated you can hear still more from bassist Phillip Serna, and a great deal more, from the fine Contrabass Conversations podcast.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:51 AM - 4 comments

Biker puppy rescue

Awww-Filter: Tattooed bikers, puppies, and tiny kittens. What's not to love? The New York Times goes for a ride-along with Rescue Ink, complete with awww-inducing slideshow. [more inside]
posted by Forktine at 7:10 AM - 20 comments

Small World After All?

The circumnavigators are out there. In February, Mike Beaumont completed the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle. Tomorrow, Rosie Swale, age 62, finishes her 4 1/2 year run around the world. As posted previously, Zac Sunderland is now attempting to break the record for the youngest sailing circumnavigation of the planet, now held by Jesse Martin.
posted by Xurando at 5:50 AM - 9 comments

Death by organ donation?

Is it time to redefine death? In a recent article in the NEJM, a team of doctors described decreasing the period after cessation of heart function in order to collect donations and increase their viability. This has spiked some debate over the definition of brain death and the "irreversibility" of asystole after removing life support. An introduction to the situation and the arguments. An interesting round table discussion, chaired by Atul Gawande. "The ethically relevant precondition is valid consent...with such consent, there is no harm or wrong done in retrieving vital organs before death, provided that anesthesia is administered." "This means that under current law, it is not possible to procure a transplantable heart after cardiac death. There are two possible ways out of this dilemma. Both involve legal changes." "To what extent should society permit manipulation of an organ donor or alteration of the determination of human death for the good of organ recipients?" Previously [more inside]
posted by shokod at 4:42 AM - 26 comments

Seeing in four dimensions

Mathematicians create videos that help in visualizing four-dimensional objects. Science News writes about it: seeing in four dimensions.
posted by Surfin' Bird at 2:56 AM - 26 comments

August 23

The worst colleges in America?

Radar Magazine Online's Worst Colleges in America including honors for The Most Degenerate Student Body, the Biggest Rip-off, and Most Intolerant.
posted by longsleeves at 11:53 PM - 91 comments

HHS baits, switches

Not just for religious pharmacists anymore: the Department of Health and Human Services proposes a rule that protects anyone who refuses to provide medical services on moral or religious grounds. [more inside]
posted by casarkos at 11:42 PM - 207 comments

King of the blues one-man bands

Presenting Jesse Fuller and his fotdella: San Francisco Bay Blues; Red River Blues; John Henry.
posted by Knappster at 11:36 PM - 9 comments

"When I get done with this they can put me on my f****** pension."

On March 9th, 1987, Wesley MacDonald was a Canadian National Railway engineer. His job for the day was to switch some loaded ore cars at the Brunswick Mine. Due to a communications foulup, he took a terrifying 20 minute ride on a runaway train. There's audio of the incident from start to finish. Transcript of the tape. Photos of the Aftermath More. [more inside]
posted by pjern at 9:53 PM - 20 comments

First among equals

The Economist issues a glowing report on efforts made by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first woman in Africa to become a democratically elected head of state, at the halfway mark through her presidency of Liberia. Already considered 'my hero' among the young, her determination, her resolve and her unstinting efforts to bring peace and economic development to her nation are an unexpectedly welcome counterpoint to the usual 'war, famine, disease, corruption' stories that tend to emerge from her continent.
posted by infini at 9:47 PM - 17 comments

Barriers crumble, empires fall, the Murderdrome's inside us all

Is the iPhone the future of comics? Artist P J Holden demonstrates the interface for Murderdrome, which uses the rather slick new Comic Reader from Blue Pilot Software, and discusses the iPhone as comics platform. Also: Manga on the iPhone, How to read .CBR files on your iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch emulator for comic creators.
posted by Artw at 9:45 PM - 16 comments

Not-so-faded glory

Perhaps you think you've had your fill of photographs of decaying architecture and abandoned buildings. If so, the rich color and play of light in Michael Eastman's beautiful body of work from Cuba, Europe, and the U.S. may change your mind. His site is flash - for non-flash folks, the Duane Reed Gallery has additional works, including his B&W portfolios on horses, landscapes, and succulents. (no relation to the Kodak family; via BB-Blog)
posted by madamjujujive at 9:07 PM - 15 comments

Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Brown

Forbes Magazine has compiled a ranking of the top 569 undergraduate institutions in America. Designed to compete with the venerable U.S. News and World Report rankings, Forbes offers a different methodology and some controversial results. [more inside]
posted by sy at 9:00 PM - 60 comments

Hands On A Hard Body

Sex at the Olympics. "I am often asked if the Olympic village . . . is the sex-fest it is cracked up to be. My answer is always the same: too right it is." Table tennis Olympian Matthew Syed dishes the dirt. (possibly NSFW, TimesOnline).
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:58 PM - 113 comments

Oops! The magnet was an accident.

NASCAR as little as they like it, has it's roots in Moonshine. Junior Johnson, one of the early heroes who is considered the greatest to never win a championship, has even gone legal with it after getting his start running Moonshine for his father. He was even the subject of a 1965 Tom Wolfe Essay as the Last American Hero. The latest cheating scandal to hit NASCAR? Junior just says they were doing their job, being creative, and just got caught.
posted by Eekacat at 7:22 PM - 27 comments

Mayan Ruins Filter: Possible Portal to the Underworld Found in Mexico

Mayan Ruins Filter: Possible Portal to the Underworld found in Mexico. Included in the underwater tunnels (video) are two underground temples and human bones - possibly the remains of human sacrifices. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:02 PM - 17 comments

The winner in anti-medals?

Joel Stein on a new scoring system to improve the Olympic Games.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:31 PM - 69 comments

Guess size doesn't matter.

Pink Barbie fishing rod hooks record-breaking 21 pound catfish.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:49 PM - 34 comments

Room 641A

The Secret Room: EFF Designer's Cartoon on Illegal Spying. [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM - 11 comments

whole lotta uploading.

Who needs Photoshop when you can have Pixlr ? [more inside]
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:25 PM - 64 comments

It's sort of like Minority Report, I guess.

the first full release of Photosynth. Stonehenge. Venice. Previously 1,2,3. PC only.
posted by signal at 9:27 AM - 65 comments

Before I die I want to make a cool polaroid project.

Before I die I want to...
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:22 AM - 72 comments

Alligator takes boys arm, boy takes alligator's head

"Get me a robot arm that looks like the Terminator." Slidell, LA boy recounts fight with 'Godzilla' gator [more inside]
posted by ColdChef at 8:35 AM - 39 comments

Live from Daryl's House

Live from Daryl's House A monthly webcast wherein Daryl Hall invites musical friends and colleagues to play with him at his home and on the road. The current episode features Montreal-based electrofunk band Chromeo. Free signup required to view previous episodes: (1) Daryl Hall (2) Daryl Hall and John Oates (3) Daryl on a Wurlitzer (4) Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes (5) KT Tunstall (6) Daryl and T Bone Burnett in Austin (7) Chuck Prophet and Mutlu (8) Daryl, T Bone and Nick Lowe in London (9) Monte Montgomery
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:05 AM - 40 comments

WashPost on graphic novels

"Drawing Power", by Bob Thompson of the Washington Post. "What I want to know is: How did this formerly ghettoized medium [graphic novels] became one of the rare publishing categories that's actually expanding these days?"(single page)
posted by stbalbach at 6:02 AM - 40 comments

Separating the wheat from the chaff

More than seventy civilians killed in a US attack in afghanistan. Including many women and children. Last month, the US forces put an end to a wedding, and killed 47 persons. Figures are disputed, but Hamid Karzai asks for the Nato strikes to stop. A few days ago, French soldiers suffered from the strikes that were supposed to help them. How is it covered in the US ? I just checked CNN, and there is a small article about this incident. Foxnews page for Afghanistan : I guess it's self-explanatory.
posted by nicolin at 3:49 AM - 62 comments

23C3 Body Hacking

What happens when we leave behind cosmetics and societal norms to modify our bodies and minds to enhance who we are and what we can do? In this talk, journalist Quinn Norton explores how technology and flesh are coming together.
posted by Hypocrites at 12:47 AM - 10 comments

August 22

Biden Wins Veepstakes!

VP newsfilter (because someone’s got to do it) The Times just confirmed that the Obama Campaign has chosen Delaware’s 65-year-old Senator Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee’s Vice Presidential running mate. With decades of foreign policy experience (including a recent stint in war-torn Georgia), and as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, can Biden help pull the ticket out of a neck and neck tie with Senator John McCain [more inside]
posted by punkbitch at 11:12 PM - 457 comments

Beren Patterson Travel Photography

Tribalcog is the travel photography site of Beren Patterson. Includes simple and easy to use tutorials and his collection of travel pictures that are integrated as a digital postcard system.
posted by netbros at 9:15 PM - 4 comments

Free Mickey?

His is the most vigorously defended copyright in history, the reason behind the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. But Mickey Mouse may already be in the public domain. (Via)
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:02 PM - 56 comments

Small collection of National Geographic photos

Nothing but a few pretty pictures.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 PM - 29 comments

Say It Aloud

Norfolk & Holmes is no ordinary estate agency. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:02 PM - 10 comments

Face transplants possible

Lancet reports say partial face transplants are a reality. Face transplant before and after pictures here.
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:26 PM - 28 comments

Inside the Olympics Stadium in 360 degrees

Beijing Olympics Stadium, about 30 minutes before the the men's 100m final. A 360-degree view (including overhead) from the stands by Finnish photographer Kari Kuukka.
posted by lou at 3:20 PM - 25 comments

Juno no no

What to Expect When You're Aborting: I'm 23. I'm knocked up. And I don't want to keep it. You can fuck yourself, Judd Apatow.
posted by Rumple at 1:17 PM - 189 comments

Songs For Eating And Drinking.

Songs For Eating And Drinking is a new project by photographer Chase Jarvis. [more inside]
posted by blaneyphoto at 12:30 PM - 1 comment

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