Forget First World Problems. Fifth World Problems are irritations of Lovecraftian proportions. Stuck between alternate dimensions? Plagued by neighboring hyperlizards? Is your quantum state beginning to crystallize? You've got Fifth World Problems.
William Lawrence Cassidy has been indicted for a series of threatening tweets directed towards Alyce Zeoli, aka Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, the leader of a Buddhist organization known as Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC) to which Cassidy had belonged. There is however a small problem that federal prosecutors are employing a vague anti-stalking law that makes 'intentional infliction of emotional distress' through the use of 'any interactive computer service' a felony, rather than focussing more narrowly upon the outright threats. [more inside]
Using a fake Facebook profile, Angela Voelkert got her ex-husband David to admit that he “planned to move somewhere warm with his kids, that he was still going to his next court dates, and would take off soon after” and ask his new teen-aged friend “to find someone at your school, there should be some gang bangers there that would put a cap in her ass for $10,000. I am just done with her crap!” Unfortunately for Angela, David was a step ahead and thoroughly played his ex-wife. All charges have been dropped and they are still Facebook friends.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on or close to Golgotha, has a very interesting administrative structure, formalised in an 1852 Ottoman Status Quo edict. Illustrative of the bureaucratic strictures on management of the church is this ladder, immovably stuck on an upstairs window. But wait, did somebody move it? via
Vortex-based mathematics is the most advanced ever known to mankind. Don't have time for a time cube? Time need no longer limit us. Here, Marco Rodin (inventor of the Rodin Coil) gives us the background.
Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona, has vetoed the controversial 'birther bill' that would require presidential candidates to provide AZ's secretary of state with proof of citizenship before they could appear on the ballot, up to and including a 'circumcision certificate'
Pick a year to find out when the world should have ended/is ending/will end.
Earlier this month, thirteen record labels tried to claim that Limewire was liable for between $400 Billion and $75 Trillion in damages. (For some perspective, the world's GDP in 2011 is expected to be a mere ~$65 billion.) Judge Kimba Wood called the assertion 'absurd' in a 14 page opinion. (pdf) [more inside]
Nicholas Gurewitch, the insane genius behind the surreal webcomic The Perry Bible Fellowship, is now the co-creator of a new online live-action series, an Adult Swim-ish psychedelic-comedy Western: Trails of Tarnation. The first episode is up...NOW. [more inside]
Marc Maron — comedian, former Air America host, and now podcaster of WTF fame — attempts and fails(?) to interview prop-comedy bête noire Gallagher. Total batshit insanity ensues. (Interview starts just after the 20-minute mark; WTF podcast is of course NSFW.) [more inside]
The Doge was the leader of the Venetian Republic, which lasted for over a thousand years, so they must have been doing something right. Here's Wikipedia's concise description of the selection process: "Thirty members of the Great Council, chosen by lot, were reduced by lot to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were once more reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven finally chose the forty-one who actually elected the doge." Sounds crazy, but Miranda Mowbray and Dieter Gollmann wrote a paper, "Electing the Doge of Venice: Analysis of a 13th Century Protocol" (pdf) explaining its virtues in terms that should warm the cockles of MetaFilter's collective geeky heart. From the abstract: "We will show that it has some useful properties that in addition to being interesting in themselves, also suggest that its fundamental design principle is worth investigating for application to leader election protocols in computer science." Interesting sidelight: "security theater" can be a good thing.
Deep in Cathar country lies Bugarach and it's Magic Mountain. As reported in UK Daily Telegraph, The mayor of the picturesque French village has threatened to call in the army to seal it off from a tide of New Age fanatics and UFO watchers, who are convinced it is the only place on Earth to be spared Armageddon in 2012.
Is anti-TSA outrage right wing "catnip"? The Nation called the activism Koch-funded astroturfing, than apologized. Radley Balko finds the magazine hypocritical. At least one politician has gone catnip crazy: Eugene Delgaudio, who claims in an email sent by the activist that patdowns are part of a "homosexual agenda" to get "pleasure from your submission."
Once, there was a boy named Yves. He lived in the mountainous country of Switzerland, and he dreamed of flying. He loved the idea of being free to soar through the air so much that he became a pilot. Later, he went on to fly bigger planes. Perhaps he's even been your pilot. But being a pilot was never quite enough. Yves still dreamed of soaring through the air, like a bird. And now, he does. Meet Jetman. Previously
A middle aged man sits on a chair, nervously reveals udder-like things on his chest, and descends his scrotum through a hole in the chair. Then it gets stranger. [SLYT] [IMDB]
Chances are you've seen videos here in the blue of Norwegian Eskil Ronningsbakken performing acts of extreme balance. As a follow up, I offer numerous additional stills of Eskil in his quest to create art from balance. His official web site has more images, and he also has a Facebook page, from which I took this quote: "The vulnerable human being balancing between life and death is something I, among many others, consider art. The most important message that I signal with my actions is that ANYTHING is possible!" [more inside]
This week's issue of Forbes features a cover story by Dinesh D'Souza that argues that "the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s," along with an editorial featuring a picture of Obama's head photoshopped onto Joseph Stalin's body. [more inside]
Remembering an Explosive Encounter with Dennis Hopper. Edited video footage and brief account of Dennis Hopper's performance(?) of the "Dynamite Death Chair Act" in 1983. Another account of the event.
Movies reimagined by way of their poster. Movie posters are sometimes considered art and we've had posts on Metafilter about movie posters being redesigned and reimagined but, these posters appear to be from another universe. I want to be there.
"Israel is our only hope as the post-American president is aiding and abetting a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama is enabling Iran’s Islamic bomb" - Pamela Geller
As the "ground zero mosque" story approaches bipartisan consensus, thanks to unexpected statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (joining a growing opposition), several journalists trace the origins of how the Park 51 community center became(warning: CNN) a toxic subject. What they found was Pamela Geller, a blogger at Atlas Shrugs, who has some very interesting vlogs. You may previously know her from this cozy 2006 interview with Bush's infamous anti-UN UN ambassador John Bolton.
In October 2008 Grammy and Golden Globe award winner Joaquin Phoenix announced his retirement from acting in order to make his name in the world of hip-hop, with the help of Sean 'P-Diddy' Combs and brother-in-law Casey Affleck, who documented the effort on film. No word on whether footage from the very strange Letterman appearance is included (previously) although other, odder behavior does play a role. Now watch the teaser trailer for I’m Still Here: The Lost Year Of Joaquin Phoenix.
'Priceless collection' in Russia was never registered so is therefore worthless and does not officially exist, say developers
In 1926, Nikolai Vavilov founded the world's first modern seedbank, and amassed a collection which today contains over 90% unique varieties of plant, contained in no other collection in existence. For his opposition to Lysenkoism he died in prison, and several of his colleagues famously starved to death instead of eating their specimens during the Siege of Leningrad. Now the Pavlovsk seedbank facility has been seized by the Federal Agency for Public Estate Management, and pending a court ruling will be demolished - contents and all - to build a housing development. The collection cannot be moved in time because it is a working seedbank of living plants.
The horror, the horror, the wtf? But, wait! That's not all. Even Facebook has a page with the creepiest baby head ever on it.
Fly leg eyelashes. Just what it says. Good luck sleeping after seeing this.
As the City of Cleveland reacts badly to the end result of a long, drawn out process, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert takes matters into his own hands, flipping out on the his team's website, penning his screed in everyone's favorite font. [more inside]
A disturbing comic that re-imagines the classic Simpsons episode "Lisa the Vegetarian" [via: reddit]
In preparation for the upcoming G8/G20 summit in Toronto, security forces (who have already removed mailboxes, bus shelters and garbage bins, as well as shutting down cell-phone towers) are removing saplings from the streets on the theory that they can be uprooted and used as weapons by protesters. RCMP Constable Wendy Drummond explains that it is "like child-proofing your home." [more inside]
Before David Koresh, there was simply "Koresh." Cyrus Reed Teed was an eclectic physician from New York who experienced a "divine illumination" (Google Books) in 1869. He recruited over 200 followers to settle a utopian commune in Estero, Florida based on his revelation of a unique hollow-earth theory called the Cellular Cosomogony. Elaborate experiments showed conclusive "proof" that the world's surface was a concave sphere. Despite this, his movement failed to gain traction; relations grew increasingly strained between the Koreshans and the Lee County locals. In 1906, the aging Dr. Teed was severely beaten in a Ft. Myers street brawl (PDF, see pp. 12-14) and died from his injuries on December 22, 1908. His martyrdom sealed, the Koreshans refused to bury the remains (PDF) in the belief that their messiah would be resurrected on Christmas Day. The commune has been preserved as a state historic site where Floridians can learn more about the cult leader in their backyard. [more inside]
Larry King questions Stephen Hawking's recent argument - that we should not try to talk to aliens - and other matters extraterrestrial with the physicist Michio Kaku, Seth Shostak of SETI, the science fiction writer and astronomer David Brin and the actor Dan Aykroyd (1, 2, 3) (Previous, previous)
Following Pennsylvania's lead, Georgia is poised to ban the involuntary implantation of microchips into people. With SB235 passing both the state house and senate, it is now up to Governor Sonny Perdue to sign it into law (or reveal that he's in the pocket of Big Microchip). The transcript of testimony before the house in favor of this legislation is truly eye-opening. Rachel Maddow had it re-enacted on her show.
Following the vote on Sunday, Mike Troxel of the Lynchburg Tea Party posted the address of what he thought was Dem Rep Tom Perriello, with the comment that activists should add a "personal touch" to their anger at Periello -- who voted yes on the health care bill -- by going to his house. It turns out the address was actually Perriello's brother's house, and the FBI are currently investigating the cut gas line that was discovered the next day. [more inside]
Jug Suraiya, famed middle of the editorial ha ha heh man of india's ridiculous prolific and noisy media takes a poke at stereotypes. All ring true of course.
Click here? Was structuralism, the big idea of Claude Lévi-Strauss, more cult than science? Apostolos Doxiadis, Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna – the team behind the bestselling graphic novel Logicomix – investigate.
Asylum Sideshow presents several of the most bizarre performers they could find:
The Cow Song
Miss Nude Sword Swallower
and Captain Pooty... [more inside]
The Cow Song
Miss Nude Sword Swallower
and Captain Pooty... [more inside]
Texas votes to adopt new education standards and curriculum designed to give history instruction a conservative slant. Among other vital corrections to the historical record, the school board: "managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among the conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)
Dr. John Hall, a tenured Portland State University professor of economics, is now on administrative leave pending an investigation into his incrimination of Zachary Bucharest, a 30 year old veteran of the Israeli army, as a potentially armed and dangerous FBI informant and agent provocateur in front of his Economics 445/545 class. [more inside]
“You’re going to hell, and it bothers me,” Grisham responds. “What bothers me is you’re going to hell.”
Over the last few days, a fair bit of attention on the web has been focused on Repent Amarillo MySpace YouTube, an organization dedicated to converting Amarillo, TX to the organization's particular brand of Christianity. Their tactics include "Spiritual Warfare" and witnessing, but also appear to involve harassing people who they believe to be sinners. They've even got a map of sinful places in Amarillo, including gay bars, Masonic lodges, rival churches, and other religions' places of worship. But not everybody is all that amused; blogs and websites have started springing up in response.
The investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks (dubbed "Amerithrax" by the FBI) is now closed. Yesterday, the Department of Justice released a 92-page summary [pdf] of their investigation. Their conclusion -- that USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins was the culprit -- was backed by an impressive amount of evidence, including microbiological detective work (p. 23 ff). But some of the investigation was downright bizarre.... [more inside]
love emptiness, fear and emotional hunger from the Earth-Pig Born... Cerebus Valentines. (some drawings slightly risque but not quite NSFW) [more inside]
Carly Fiorina, perhaps best known as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is attempting to become the Republican candidate for Barbara Boxer's long-time Senate seat. But her nomination isn't sewed up yet; her potential GOP challenger is former Congressman and Stanford Law professor Tom Campbell. So earlier today, Fiorina's campaign released this political attack ad against Campbell. It features her newly-minted acronym "FCINO", it's about six times longer than most political ads, it makes copious use of stock photography, and it stars demon sheep with red glowing eyes. Wait, what?
Rejoice, parents of Southern California! Your classrooms are now free of...dictionaries.
A brilliant farce (or is it) The Antichrist Conspiracy, Get ready to dig deep into the world wide web of conspiracy. Learn about the Luciferians, the Freemasons, and the Metafilter-moderator-cabal who together with the dark lord of hell and Yonkers is trying to harvest your organs for Satan. [more inside]
Fighter jets escorted a plane after a passenger allegedly made threats and refused to stash his carry-on bag. Lesson learned? Don't mention Gilligan's Island on your comment card. The passenger now faces Federal charges. [more inside]