A 1999 Texas electricity deregulation statute included, almost as an afterthought, a requirement that the state develop 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2009. This past February, wind generators delivered a record 6,242 megawatts of power to Texas population centers -- 22 percent of all the electricity consumed in the Texas grid. Could their model transform the nation's utility sector?, Or will it be derailed by special interests and politics? [more inside]
Want to learn how to play piano but can't read sheet music? Synthesia or previously known as Piano Hero. Synthesia FAQ
The Alabama Museum of Wonder. Butch Anthony has a word – a word which he concocted himself. A word which he designed to precisely describe his unique personal style of art and artistic discovery. That word is “intertwangleism.” [more inside]
"There's also a Katamari level where everything is just slightly bigger than you, and a Mario level with a star just out of reach."
A Tale of Two Films. Bertrand Tavernier's In The Electric Mist nee Dans la brume électrique [more inside]
After sending strong signals by hiring just one clerk, Justice Stevens has officially announced his retirement. The retirement, which follows a very distinguished and lengthy tenure, is effective the end of the current U.S. Supreme Court term. President Obama now has his second chance to nominate to fill a vacancy left by a member of the Court's liberal wing. Among the most frequently mentioned possible candidates are Judge Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Merrick Garland, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. [more inside]
If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.
"George W. Bush Knew Guantanamo Prisoners Were Innocent." In a signed declaration filed as part of a pending lawsuit on behalf of former Guantanamo Bay detainees and obtained by The Times, Lawrence Wilkerson, a high ranking aide to former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell, makes the stunning claim that: "George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror." (via)
Pigs in Space appeared in over 30 Muppet Show episodes and spoofed contemporary science fiction television series. Most of them are now on YouTube or other video streaming sites. Links inside. [more inside]
The Cat With Hands, a short film not to be watched alone after dark with a cat on your lap.
Does the immediacy of the internet tend to make people more bad-tempered and ill-mannered than they would have been otherwise? Theodore Dalrymple seems to think so, but is comment moderation the answer? (via) [more inside]
Visual Aesthetics in Early Computing (1950-80) - a little look back at plotters and light pens and flow charts, which I found a bit nostalgic. You can watch Lapis, Permutations and Arabesque on YouTube.
‘I no longer wish to parent this child’ – part of the note attached to 7 year old Artem Saveliev sent back to Russia yesterday by his American adoptee mother Torry Hansen who claims she was misled by the Russian Authorities as to the boys mental stability. 'A seven-year-old boy arrived at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on April 8 in the morning. The skinny boy had no luggage with him – he was only holding a letter in his hands.' according to the Russian Media, though other sources suggest a Russian Tour guide was located on the internet and paid $200 to collect Artem from the Airport and take him to the Russian Authorities. The Kremlin's child rights comissioner Pavel Astakhov and Russian Media in general are coming down very hard on the American mother and painting this as cruelty rather than tragedy.
It's official, post-rock giants Godspeed You! Black Emperor were only mostly dead, and will curate and play at the next All Tommorow's Parties, then on for a European and US tour.
Building a Green Economy, Paul Krugman on the economics of Climate change.
Nutriset, producer of Plumpy'nut (a widely distributed ready-to-use therapeutic food), is under attack from two American companies for their patent. [more inside]
On August 8, 1997, the audience of Late Night with Conan O'Brien was made up entirely of eight-year-old children. The episode in five parts: one, two, three, four and five. Andy Richter remembers on This American Life (starting at 50 minutes). [more inside]
No man dares sit on this Nigerian throne: In Kumbwada, a curse has assured that only women will reign, locals say. And so far, the current queen pronounces, it has worked out better this way. Welcome to "the genteel court of Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed," where "an ancient curse keeps males off the throne." (via) [more inside]
Philadelphia is going to decriminalize Marijuana. Or maybe they aren't. Well, the police aren't going to stop arresting people. “We’re not going to stop locking people up,” said Lt. Frank Vanore. “We’re going to stop people for it. . . . Our officers are trained to do that,” Vanore said. “Whether or not they make it through the charging process, that’s up to the D.A. [more inside]
Carlsberg brewery employees are on strike to protest new rules that limit on the job beer drinking to lunch time.
iPad, one week later. Ars Technica gave it a very through review. ifixit tore it apart and Will It Blend? threw it in a Blendtec. Adam C. Engst said in a column at TidBITS: "The hardware is so understated [...] the fact that you’re using an iPad falls away. You’re using the app, whatever it may be, and while you’re doing so, the iPad is that app." An Apple event today announced an iPhone OS update that brings a lot of what was missing so far (multitasking!) while also screwing over a Adobe by changing the developer license agreement. 300,000 sold. [more inside]
"Look! At all the data! That you and I are a part of!" Devo would like you to participate in a quick market study. Previously.
Meet three new species of Loricifera, the first multicellular forms of life found that can live entirely without oxygen (figures and full article, PDF). [more inside]
"So I called my dad over and about five metres away he started swearing, and I was like 'what did I do wrong?' and he's like, 'nothing, nothing - you found a hominid'."The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. Some researchers dispute that the fossils are of an unknown human species, but others say they may help fill a key gap in the fossil record of human evolution. [more inside]
With newly released video, Rachel Maddow shows that the Fox News/Breitbart/James O'Keefe takedown of ACORN in California was fraudulent. For example, coverage depicted ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera as eager to participate in a pedophile prostitution ring suggested by O'Keefe's character. In fact Vera had reported O'Keefe to police. Nevertheless, Vera was fired, and months later ACORN was dissolved. (Previously: 1, 2, 3)
Still Wrapped In Plastic: 'Twin Peaks' Turns 20 Back in the summer of 1989, I was invited to a sneak preview of a TV pilot. I didn't know anything about it, but the moment I heard its opening theme music, I got shivers that didn't go away. This was TV the way I dreamed it could be — funny, menacing, mysterious. In fact, it was so weird and wonderful that, as I walked from the theater, I remember saying, "Too bad no network will ever put it on the air." [more inside]
“But I decided on the Mona Lisa, which was the smallest painting and the easiest to transport.” “So there was no chance,” asked the court, “that you decided on it because it was the most valuable painting?” - From Vanity Fair, the twisting, engaging story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen in broad daylight in 1911. (via)
Bongi is a South African surgeon working, as he puts it, "in the notorious province of Mpumalanga." He blogs regularly about the devastating effect of recent political changes on the skill level of the local medical system, as well as the struggles of trying to practice medicine under a system so badly decaying that its infrastructure is collapsing. Sometimes his posts ring with a dark humor, sometimes with wise and intelligent advice. But it's his bleakly frank portrayals of the terrible state of daily South African life that are the most haunting for me.
Shut Up and Ride. A short video about breaking up.
Stop-motion graffiti, (Vimeo link) from Tant and Unga of Israeli crew Broken Fingaz (possibly NSFW). [more inside]
Malcolm McLaren, one of pop's sharpest, most fantastic minds has died at his home in New York, aged 64.
The recently announced 2010 Hugo awards nominations include a semi-regular mefite appearance, a fanzine nomination for a podcast (previously) and, under Best Graphic Story, a nomination for Captain Britain And MI13 by occasional Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell - a title which, um, Marvel have already canceled. Oops. Still, you can read the first two issues of the nominated story online for free.
San Francisco Vehicles Cropped to a Square. A cool, quirky gallery of over 100 vehicles parked in San Francisco, arranged by color (be sure to page through them all and notice the color transitions). Includes a few cool shots and a few WTF cars.
Threats of right wing violence have doubled in the past year. What is behind the latest upsurge in the movement to create a Christian theocratic state? [more inside]
Tiger Woods will return to competitive golf today, teeing off at the Masters at 1:42 EDT today. ESPN will carry the tee shot live, then begin full coverage at 3 PM. Last time Tiger returned from a long break due to surgery, Nike's ad was lighthearted. This time, things are very different, and the new ad released yesterday definitely has a different tone, invoking the words of Tiger's late father, Earl Woods. Of course, some in the media are going to keep teeing off on Tiger's scandalous affairs, including this new revelation of a tryst with a neighbor's 21-year-old daughter.
NYU's Snuff Film. The Village Voice reports on the accidental death of NYU film student John Hunt Lamensdorf, on a shoot in Georgia. Besides the inevitable litigation and hush-up, the death has also resulted in a scramble at NYU to change the rules and safety procedures for student productions.
My Robot Friend has just released a lovely video for the acoustic version of 'Waiting' a song he made with Alison Moyet for his new album Soft-Core. The video was created by Liam Stevens. It was made using only paper, pen, and ink and took several months to complete. A true labour of love, and very good too.
The Best Sandwich Ever How to make your own Edwardian belly-buster
SepiaTown lets you view and share thousands of mapped historical images from around the globe. [more inside]
Hurtling as we are towards an election that will be the most closely contested for a generation, where can we in the UK get a hit of statistical brain-candy? Well, no-one's going to do it quite as well as FiveThirtyEight did it for our transatlantic chums (though they will be posting on the UK), but try Electoral Calculus or UK Polling Report. For information about voting, try About My Vote.
Today, while testifying for only the second time on Capitol Hill since the financial crisis began, [former Fed chairman] Alan Greenspan said the Fed closely monitored the subprime market [...]"I was right 70% of the time, but I was wrong 30% of the time, and there were an awful lot of mistakes in 21 years...". But Greenspan's defense of his record today rang hollow to many seasoned observers, if not downright deceitful.