If you've ever wondered what railroad signals mean, you're in luck. Of course, Wikipedia and the resident railfan editors there have you covered, but there's so much more to it than a wall of text. [more inside]
Rest in peace, Don Buchla. The synthesizer pioneer is perhaps best known for the Buchla 200 and the Buchla Music Easel, both of which are still in use today. A thorough obit is in The Guardian, with smaller ones at FACT, Pitchfork, Thump, Resident Advisor, and FADER. The offical corporate history at Buchla and Associates also provides some useful background. [more inside]
With 52 days to go until the U.S. presidential election, the polls are tightening and some Democrats and Republicans are freaking out that Clinton might not win "this easy-ass election." (Nate Silver says we can wait a week before surrendering to panic.) [more inside]
Edward Albee has died at the age of 88. Albee's first play The Zoo Story, debuted in 1960 in Berlin, and was followed two years later by Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Albee received three Pulitzer Prizes for drama—for A Delicate Balance (1967), Seascape (1975), and Three Tall Women (1994). [more inside]
2016 National Book Awards Longlists: The National Book Award Finalists will be revealed on 10/13 and the Winners announced on 11/16. [more inside]
The mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is an Indo-Pacific species of octopus capable of impersonating other local species…The mimic octopus is the only currently known marine animal to be able to mimic such a wide variety of animals. Many animals can imitate a different species to avoid or intimidate predators, but the mimic octopus is the only one that can imitate as diverse a range of forms in order to elude predators. [more inside]
In 1969 Marty Feldman was quite successful, in the second year of his own hit skit comedy show, so BBC gave him an hour of prime time television for a reality-based show. The result was One Pair of Eyes, a personal look at comedy and writing, with guests including Barry Took, Peter Sellers, and Dudley Moore. In 2011, almost 30 years after Feldman's death, BBC looked back at the forgotten legend and "missing link" between the golden age of BBC Radio comedy, the hothouse of 1960s television comedy, and finally Hollywood in the documentary Marty Feldman: Six Degrees of Separation. For more, there's The Official Marty Feldman (fan)site, which has a ton of great content, and has been posting television clips and movies from Marty's career on Vimeo for almost a year. [more inside]
Aligot? It's a legendary blend of mashed potatoes, cheese, butter, cream, and garlic from the Aubrac region in France. Aligot en français. Aligot!
An interview with science journalist and educator Margaret Wertheim. The majority of readers of science magazines are well-off white men over 40. That's a fact. I think it's an oversight on the part of the science communication world, and I'm trying to do something about it. [more inside]
The new Republican mayor of Albuquerque has taken a different approach to panhandlers, and it seems to be working. "Throughout his administration, as part of a push to connect the homeless population to services, [Mayor Richard] Berry had taken to driving through the city to talk to panhandlers about their lives. His city’s poorest residents told him they didn’t want to be on the streets begging for money, but they didn’t know where else to go. Seeing that sign gave Berry an idea. Instead of asking them, many of whom feel dispirited, to go out looking for work, the city could bring the work to them." The article mentions how this is in such stark contrast to the overall trend in America to criminalize homelessness, which you can read more about in this report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Also: Infographic from PBS as well.
Nearly 40 years ago, the two Voyager spacecraft left Earth. Aboard each was a time capsule of humanity for extraterrestrials: a golden record containing sounds and images portraying the diversity of life and culture on Earth, including a diagram of DNA, greetings in 55 languages, a map of our solar system's position relative to stellar landmarks, the sound of a kiss, Louis Armstrong's "Melancholy Blues" and "Dark Was the Night -- Cold Was The Ground" by Blind Willie Johnson. Since culture and technology don’t stand still, Science Friday asks: "If humanity were to send another Golden Record to the stars, what would it contain?" An expert panel will review submissions from the public, and a new Golden Record will be unveiled on October 7. [more inside]
Christopher Runge designs and builds cars, by hand, one at a time. Here's his "Frankfurt Flyer" Sport Racer.
"A beer pipeline has been constructed in the Belgian city of Bruges, to replace the traditional method of transporting beer by tanker." "Four years in planning and five months in construction, the Halve Maan (Half Moon) brewery will officially open a pipe that will rid the historic city center and its tight cobbled lanes of beer-laden trucks weighing more than 40 tonnes." [more inside]
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has compiled a list of 100 objects that shaped public health, from the obvious (vaccines) to the less-so (horseshoe crab). Click the three parallel lines at the top right of the pictures to see the list in word form. (via Kottke)
In Sutton Bonington you can milk a cow or toss a sheaf, in Stoke Hammond admire tomatoes of a substantive nature, while Kelsale cum Carlton (real place) likes your rude vegetables (page 8) and Axmouth gives you the option of trimming your onions or not. Meanwhile, Barlaston has a vegimal category, Broomhill asks 'Are your buns even better than Nigella’s?' while in free-spirited Radcliffe on Trent, the Homemade Scones Bake Off has 'no rules'. At one extreme, Lambley Village have a Victoria Sponge category requiring three eggs, jam filling and caster sugar, while at the other Stretham simply wants 'Cake'. And Grimsargh? The inevitable category for 'An Unusual Shape Fruit or Vegetable!'. [more inside]
Tonight on HBO we find the
premiere continuance of High Maintenance [previously, also previously]. IndieWire has a review, and is pretty impressed.
There, visible on a video screen aboard their 24-foot boat, was the wreckage not of some long-lost schooner or ill-fated freighter, but rather a railroad locomotive. Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive 694, to be exact, which crashed into the lake from the cliffs above in a violent collision of metal and rock before sunrise on the morning of June 10, 1910.
"It was customary in the European Middle Ages, more precisely in the period of scholasticism which extended into early modern times, to designate the more celebrated among the doctors of theology and law by epithets or surnames which were supposed to express their characteristic excellence or dignity. The following list exhibits the principal surnames with the dates of death."
[A] fully functional, solid 18-karat-gold copy of a Kohler toilet [titled "America"] ... was installed in the humble restroom on the fifth-floor ramp of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum late last week and will be open for business to anyone with the urge on Friday.
The Museum of Modern Art has digitized a HUGE amount of material from past exhibitions. The history goes all the way back to the founding of MOMA in 1929. Exhibition catalogs are available for download as pdfs!
Reigns (for iOS, Android, and Steam): Called "Tinder for ruling a kingdom", make decisions as a king by swiping left or swiping right, while being careful to keep the church, the people, the army, and the treasury from getting either too weak or too powerful. You'll also romance courtesans, get lost in dungeons, die (often), and, if you're lucky, figure out why your family has been cursed by the devil.
“I see spin. I don’t see color. I don’t see red,” he said before a game with the Blue Jays. He thought for a second, though. “Maybe I do and I don’t think I do.” What can hitters actually see out of a pitcher's hand?
With a global mean temperature rise of 1.5℃ (video, direct .mp4 link) the Marshall Islands, site of the US's Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests, may disappear completely. With most islands just six feet above sea level and less than a mile wide the ring of atolls is already severely affected by climate change. ⅓ of all Marshall Islanders are believed to live in the US, although they may face deportation. In recent months the residents of the Pacific island nation have been advised to cease eating fish after elevated levels of PCBs were found in the waters around the US missile base on Kwajalein Atoll. Recently, very previously, previously, previously, personal anecdotes.
To anyone who has avoided the debate over “false balance,” apologies for disturbing your bliss. But it’s necessary, because those who haven’t heard this phrase are missing out on one of the more consequential debates to engage the media in years. [more inside]
What ‘SJW’ really means - Fred Clark This “SJW” business doesn’t involve an argument contrasting opposing views of the nature and meaning of social justice. It doesn’t involve some ideological dispute between competing visions of the proper role of the state, or of law, or markets, civil society, neighborliness, etc. It’s a wholesale rejection of the idea that social justice — in any form — is worthwhile. [more inside]
Drama at an Elite High School by Suzy Khimm [New York Magazine] A beloved theater teacher, sexual-assault allegations, and the scandal that has rattled Chappaqua. A longtime Chappaqua theater teacher is accused of abusing students for years, until one told the police.
splix is a game where you capture territory and avoid being touched by other players.
How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language. Studies show that the way we think about moral questions is subtly influenced by the language we're using at the time. People using a non-native language tend to be more cerebral and less emotional. What does this say about the concept of the moral center, or "just knowing" what's right and what's wrong?
To begin with, auditions taught me to get through airports. In the end, it was the other way around. [more inside]
"Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?" An essay by Shawn Carter, AKA Jay Z, on racism and the War on Drugs. Illustrated by Molly Crabapple. [more inside]
Who is trying to see what it would take to shatter the internet's backbone? "Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services... [T]his is happening. And people should know. " (SLSchneier)
Other Schneier on the blue in the past.
Other Schneier on the blue in the past.
8 year old Sky and her 4 year old brother Ocean skate, surf, slide and shred, as seen on Instagram and YouTube. Even more impressive, Sky is the youngest girl on the Vans US Open Pro Series. One word to she uses to describe herself: funny. Grind TV has links to other young lady boarders who are under 10 year old.
The 13th Meat Loaf studio album comes out this weekend. The good news is that all the songs are by Jim Steinman, who wrote pretty much all of Meat Loaf's songs anyone likes, so Braver Than We Are sounds like it'll be exactly the kind of bombastic operatic rock that Meat Loaf and Steinman have struck gold with in the past, with the singer saying that he wanted to make it one super-long performance, but "iTunes wanted tracks." [more inside]
A CityLab analysis finds that some charter schools disproportionately suspend and expel students, especially in black neighborhoods.
In his new book, Tribe, uses PTSD rates among American veterans to illustrate how psychologically unhealthy modern American society is due to how distant it is from our evolutionary past: "In Canada and Britain, close to 10 percent of combat soldiers are diagnosed with PTSD. In Israel, a country in which military service is mandatory, the rates are roughly 1 percent. Among American troops, the rates are as high as 25 percent. This is especially remarkable in light of the fact that only 10 percent experience combat... On Junger’s view, life in America is hollow and atomized. Humans, he argues, evolved to live in small groups in which inter-reliance and cooperation were essential. In combat, soldiers function much like our tribal predecessors. They live, eat, sleep, and fight together. When they come home, that sense of solidarity disappears. The civilian world feels alien. It’s 'anti-human,' Junger told me."
There are about 60 remaining Futuro ("Flying Saucer") houses left in the world. Sometimes helicoptered into place, and with a groovy interior, these 1960s prefab homes were originally built for skiing (apparently you can still rent one in the Russian Caucus) and vacations. Now, some are abandoned, though one was recently restored and put on display.
Over the past few months, LinkNYC has installed hundreds of its free high-speed wi-fi kiosks in Manhattan, and dozens more in Queens and the Bronx. In addition to wi-fi, the kiosks provide USB charging for phones, and—via a small built-in tablet—free phone calls, maps, and access to the web. They'd be supported via advertising on the big HD screens on each side and would cost taxpayers nothing. Or that was the idea, anyway... [more inside]
The University of New Hampshire has sparked criticism with the announcement of plans to spend $1 million from a $4 million bequest from an alumnus and long-time library employee on a scoreboard for the new football stadium that the school has already spent $25 million to construct.. [more inside]
The most helpful career advice article ever posted on LinkedIn: "So you think you can fake your own death?" by Elizabeth Greenwood, author of the new book Playing Dead.
Quiet Pine Trees is a twitter based stream of haunting and provocative micro-fiction by T.R. Darling. "Being brief isn’t enough. You can boil down a story to a sentence or two, but often you need context. If you need to convey a setting, like a fascist dystopia, or characterization, like a reluctant soldier, suddenly one or two sentences won’t fit. I often must resist the temptation to omit punctuation or fall back on abbreviation, like some kind of barbarian." Full Interview. [more inside]
"It's impossible, says the Pride / It's risky, says the Experience / It's useless, says the Reason / Let's try, whispers the Heart." The short film, "L'heure du thé" (Tea Time), by Guillaume Blanchet. previously.
"Rushed into battle by desperate generals with barely any testing, its debut was a messy experiment with questionable results. A select group of young men were the first to feel its terrible influence and have their lives changed by it." The Tank (Specifically, the British Mark I) made its battlefield debut 100 years ago this month.
Artist Jon Rafman (previously), who works primarily with digital art and the Internet as his medium, has been keeping a dream journal. He's been illustrating those dreams with low-fidelity 3D animations, and posting them to Facebook. Despite the amateurish quality, they capture the disconcerting, shifting, surreal nature of dreaming very well. 13 June 2016, 12 May 2016, 6 April 2016. Content Warning: violence, some risque themes, unsettling imagery.