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Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation

7 countries' attempts to grapple with their troubled pasts, and move beyond them.
posted by smoke on Jul 5, 2014 - 3 comments

The Mailman School of Public Health and Fundraising

Carole Vance and Kim Hopper had been professors at the Mailman School of Public Health for decades — 27 and 26 years, respectively. Vance... has done “pioneering work on the intersection of gender, health and human rights”; Hopper “is both an advocate for the homeless and one of the nation’s foremost scholars on homelessness.” They were fired not because of any shortcomings in their research or teaching, but because they hadn’t raised enough money." Here's why it matters. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Mar 21, 2014 - 43 comments

This rescue was considered challenging but feasible.

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia. As part of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's investigation, NASA devised a plan to save Columbia's crew had they known that the foam strike damaged the shuttle. Previously.
posted by thewumpusisdead on Feb 26, 2014 - 29 comments

13:52:05 GMT First Clear Indication of Off-Nominal Aero Increments

Eleven years ago, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over the skies of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana. It was the result of an incident that had taken place at take-off fifteen days earlier that saw a large piece of foam being hit by the leading edge of the orbiter wing at roughly 970 feet per second (630 MPH or 1013 km/hr). It took some time to convince engineers that a foam impact could have had such monumental effect. For that reason, Scott Hubbard and the rest of the CAIB ordered a test at the Southwest Research Institute to recreate the conditions of the strike. The first test on June 16th did not yield much interesting insight. The results of the second impact test on July 7th did. A loud gasp could be heard from the crowd attending the test. Here is the leading edge of tested orbiter wing before and after the July 7th impact.
posted by IgorCarron on Feb 1, 2014 - 52 comments

Hotkey ',' to Corner the Global Energy Market.

Columbia students stuff Nutella in their pants to the tune of $1,000s a week. (SLNYT) Last month one of Columbia’s undergraduate dining halls began serving Nutella every day, not just in crepes on weekends. The problem was that the Columbia students went through jars and jars of Nutella — at least 100 pounds a day. Apparently they were not just eating it in the dining hall. They were spiriting it away in soup containers and other receptacles, to be eaten later.
posted by grobstein on Mar 7, 2013 - 100 comments

Anniversary of 2nd shuttle disaster

10 years ago today, the flagship of the Space Shuttle fleet, Columbia, broke apart upon its return to earth. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 1, 2013 - 42 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

Total Annual Building Energy Consumption for New York City

An amazing piece of statistical analysis produced this zoomable (down to the block level) map of energy consumption for New York City, based on Spatial distribution of urban building energy consumption by end use. [via]
posted by unliteral on Feb 5, 2012 - 30 comments

The President will be addressed as Your Brilliance or Your Luminosity.

Section 1. In the event of the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, the surviving members of the CUSFS shall be formed into a clan, henceforth referred to as 'the Clan.' The surviving members of the Board will reconvene under the new name of The Elders Who Remember The Time Before It Changed, henceforth referred to as 'the Elders.'
The Columbia University Science Fiction Society's Constitution and Bylaws. [more inside]
posted by pts on Sep 15, 2011 - 26 comments

Took a fish wheel out to see a movie / Didn't have to pay to get it in

Right around 1879, the fishwheel (historical images, McCord replica) came to the Columbia River. A clever application of mill-like thinking to traditional net fishing techniques, the fishwheel's river-powered automation of upstream harvesting revolutionized canning in Oregon and Washington, drawing both commercial attention and critical concern [NYT 1881, PDF]. Two men, Thornton Williams and William Rankin McCord, each filed patents for fishwheel designs in 1881 (#245251) and 1882 (#257960) respectively; Williams brought an infringement suit against McCord which was dismissed on the grounds that the invention was not new, being based directly on the publicly documented work of one Samuel Wilson in 1879. Fishwheels were fair game. [more inside]
posted by cortex on Jun 28, 2011 - 15 comments

Vanguard of American Journalism

Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 30, 2011 - 24 comments

This frog knows no fear.

Don't touch the frog. Mark Moffett, previously discussed here, tells the humorous story of how he went to a remote Columbian valley and photographed a very deadly frog.
posted by apathy0o0 on Mar 24, 2011 - 12 comments

The Master Theorem

M presents: The Master Theorem. Not that master theorem, this one is full of puzzles and games. Take a crack at this week's theorem, or start with a tutorial from the help page. Once you've solved your first theorem (and earned membership) check out the seals, a different, sometimes deeper style of puzzle. New theorems and seals are being added weekly. [more inside]
posted by Maastrictian on Mar 13, 2011 - 59 comments

Get Smrt

openculture.com is offering hundreds of links to free online courses from the top universities in the United States (and Oxford).
posted by gman on Jan 12, 2011 - 16 comments

Million Dollar Blocks

"In many places the concentration [of convicted residents] is so dense that states are spending in excess of a million dollars a year to incarcerate the residents of single city blocks."
Using rarely accessible data from the criminal justice system, the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Justice Mapping Center have created maps of these “million dollar blocks” and of the city-prison-city-prison migration flow for five of the nation’s cities. The maps suggest that the criminal justice system has become the predominant government institution in these communities and that public investment in this system has resulted in significant costs to other elements of our civic infrastructure — education, housing, health, and family. Prisons and jails form the distant exostructure of many American cities today.
See the several linked pdfs.
posted by OmieWise on Dec 28, 2010 - 59 comments

White Lines

Cocaine - how it's made, how it moves, and who might be cutting it with a deadly cattle-deworming drug, a follow up to the mystery of the tainted cocaine.
posted by Artw on Nov 6, 2010 - 41 comments

Number One Song After Number One Song

All-girl a cappella group tackles "Bitches Ain't Shit". [more inside]
posted by hermitosis on Aug 30, 2010 - 149 comments

Putting the "Dic" in Valedictorian

Columbia University valedictorian steals a bit from Patton Oswalt. [more inside]
posted by moviehawk on May 25, 2010 - 98 comments

The Lady Vanishes

"No one guessed the truth, which was simpler, and therefore stranger, than their wildest theories: that the scared young woman so hotly pursued by South Carolina police, the Secret Service, federal marshals and even the U.S. Army was actually on a bizarre and misguided journey of self-discovery." Rolling Stone reports on the strange case of Esther Reed: The Girl Who Conned The Ivy League. (via Metachat)
posted by The Whelk on Jan 17, 2010 - 46 comments

highway hifi, ultramicrogroovey revolution!

Peter Goldmark, developer of early color tv technology, is lesser known for a cooler invention, the Highway Hifi – the first recorded-music player for an automobile. The under-dash system played records provided by Columbia Records which played at 16 ⅔ rpm even when the vehicle was in motion. It was first released with Chrysler models in 1956 but lackluster promotion of the option by both Columbia and Chrysler led to the option being discontinued before the 60s. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Oct 12, 2009 - 36 comments

A trip to Mars

Columbia Hills Flyover 2.0 - "a flyover of the Columbia Hills on Mars using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Spirit, the Mars rover. "
posted by Burhanistan on Sep 25, 2009 - 13 comments

When the Shuttle program nearly ended - in 1988

"I said to myself, 'we are going to die.'" Space Shuttle commander Hoot Gibson on his reaction as he saw pictures from the Shuttle's robot arm of gouged and missing tiles along its underbelly. Shades of Columbia - but this was mission STS-27, over fourteen years earlier. Yet mission control discounted the reports from orbit, perhaps misled by the poor quality of the downlinked images that resulted from encryption demanded by the mission's secretive military profile. In the end, Atlantis made it back, but with visible damage along her right flank. But like most classified DoD missions of the time, little was reported, and NASA was arguably wary of drawing attention to the near-loss of only the second flight since the Challenger disaster. But if this near-miss had been better known, might NASA have been more concerned about indications of debris damage during the launch of STS-107?
posted by Major Clanger on Mar 28, 2009 - 28 comments

NASA releases Columbia report.

NASA releases the Columbia shuttle disaster report. Space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry in 2003 as a result of damage sustained to its thermal protection system. This report details the possible lethal incidents and the investigation board's recommendations based on their findings. [more inside]
posted by herrdoktor on Dec 30, 2008 - 65 comments

Mr. Hollander's Opus: A Trilogy of Antifeminist Lawsuits

"Roy Den Hollander, a graduate of the Ivy League university’s business school, contends Columbia's Institute for Research on Women and Gender is discriminatory and unconstitutional because there is no equivalent 'men’s studies' programme." So Mr. Hollander is suing Columbia, thereby completing his "trilogy of antifeminist lawsuits." More at Gothamist.
posted by milquetoast on Aug 19, 2008 - 44 comments

stavrosthewonderchicken's home is dying

Canadian expatriate (and Metafilter member) stavrosthewonderchicken has a detailed and depressing look at the impact of the mountain pine beetle in Northern British Columbia, where a perfect storm of "forest fire suppression, clearcutting (and subsequent replanting), [and] global warming" has led to the destruction of over 130,000 square kilometers of forest.
posted by gen on Jul 9, 2008 - 51 comments

$150 a barrel here we come

A high ranking FARC leader, Paul Reyes, was killed during a Columbian raid into Ecuador. Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, responded and ordered ten battalions to the Columbian border, threatening a key regional ally of the United States. Some think it is just more bluster by Chavez. Meanwhile Air Force 2 is in Aruba; which is just 18 miles off the coast. Also Exxon-Mobil was recently cut off from Venezuela's oil.
posted by humanfont on Mar 2, 2008 - 50 comments

This is why we dont build on spec anymore

Columbia Law grad is scammed, along with 78 other professionals, into working for free for weeks. Craigslist, some detective work, and the unusual motivation behind the scam all contribute to this interesting story of internets-related shenanigans.
posted by crunchywelch on Sep 10, 2007 - 64 comments

Is Justin Timberlake a Product of Cumulative Advantage?

In a parallel universe Your Favorite Band Really Does Suck! Duncan Watts and others conducted a Web-based experiment [PDF] called Music Lab. Their findings: "while talent might distinguish good from bad, social pressure and pure dumb luck are also big influences on which bands gain the most fame." "Calling the [experiment] 'pathbreaking,' sociologist Michael Macy of Cornell University says the findings illustrate how a small advantage can snowball, making popularity hard to predict. Economist Robert Frank, also at Cornell, says the work shows 'we're all susceptible to the herd mentality.'" The effect of "cumulative advantage" has impact on the popularity of other aspects of contemporary culture: books, films, websites and more.
posted by ericb on Apr 21, 2007 - 42 comments

In Mission Control, while the loss of signal was a cause for concern, there was no sign of any serious problem

Four years ago today the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated shortly upon reentry. Here is a sad, but, fascinating real time video recreation of the final moments, compiled from various sources including Nasa radio transmissions.
posted by ae4rv on Feb 1, 2007 - 27 comments

She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie

Cocaine: Ever wonder how it's made? Matthew Bristow, a journalist working in Columbia produced two fascinating videos (1 | 2) that detail the job of several actual Columbian producers, without delving too far into the chemistry nonsense: from harmless leaf to unprocessed brick to that familiar white powder. [via]
posted by jckll on Nov 28, 2006 - 30 comments

"and their spears into pruning hooks... drumsticks?

Six String Shooter. "What we want to create is an invitation to an attitude of change," [Cesar López] says. "It says a lot of different things — but the main idea is that weapons can be changed from an object of destructiveness to an object of constructiveness." Swords into plowshares axes, Music from Menace, Music Out of Madness.
posted by weston on May 3, 2006 - 5 comments

Tales of Two Computing Departments

The exhaustive and extensively annotated Columbia University Computing History, from Brunsviga calculators to NORC to the IBM 7090 and beyond. Also, take the virtual tour of the Computer History Exhibits at Stanford's Gates Computer Science building, including stops at the Apollo Guidance Computer (DIY) and the mechanical calculators exhibit.
posted by milquetoast on Jan 25, 2006 - 5 comments

No nickel required!

Turtle's 78 RPM Jukebox
Popular Victor, Edison, and Columbia recordings, 1900-1930.
posted by Dr. Wu on Jun 2, 2005 - 42 comments

More On Anti-Semitism at Columbia

More On Anti-Semitism at Columbia My interest in this story is primarily about how the New York Times, considered one of the great newspapers world-wide, in fact sucks!---"A week ago, Deacon and the Trunk posted on the release of a report by Columbia University on its investigation of students' charges of anti-semitic conduct by several of the university's professors. The report mostly exonerated the professors, while, at the same time, recording behavior by them which was appalling. One of the points we noted was the craven behavior of the New York Times, which said that it agreed not to report the viewpoint of the complaining students in exchange for early access to Columbia's report. The Trunk wrote: But what about the New York Times? Is it conceivable that the Times would enter into an agreement not to talk to the subjects of a report in exchange for being given access to the report a few hours before it is made available to the public? [The Times admits it!]
posted by Postroad on Apr 6, 2005 - 50 comments

OH! Canada

Canada, a 13+ link whistlestop glance at something from all the provinces and territories...Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, NWT, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, Saskatewan, Yukon. Not to mention the talk about Turks and Caicos?
posted by edgeways on Feb 15, 2005 - 28 comments

With Venezuela harbouring and aiding Columbian rebels

With Venezuela harbouring and aiding Colombian rebels; namely the leftist FARC is the US administration looking to intervene in Latin America? Possibility discussed here
posted by adamvasco on Jan 23, 2005 - 30 comments

The truth is out there

The truth that MeFites don't want you to know. As a follow-up to this post on "the Coffins GWB doesn't want you to see," it is revealed that many of the photographs that ran rampant over the Internet and wire services weren't of fallen American soldiers, but were of the crew of the Columbia.
posted by swerdloff on Apr 23, 2004 - 109 comments

Columbia's Final Minutes

Columbia's Final Minutes A fascinating (if horrifying) account of the shuttle's destruction.
posted by jpoulos on Jan 27, 2004 - 12 comments

Dude, Where's My Oxygen?

Columbia Univ. severs ties with Biosphere 2. I remember when Biosphere 2 opened and watched as the team of starry-eyed scientists entered the self-sustaining environment. It's even been the subject of a bad Hollywood movie. But now the structure may become nothing more than a giant scrap pile of steel and glass in the desert. The mission of the project was impressive, and despite glitches such as acidic water and "crazy ant" infestation, should an experiment be abandoned because it didn't go as expected? Or is it just man's folly to try and replicate intelligent design?
posted by archimago on Sep 10, 2003 - 11 comments

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board

"These are good people"...but changes must be made. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report was released on Tuesday. Putting technical answers aside for the moment, the report targets the organizational and behavioral issues that led to a breakdown in communication, safety and responsibility. While acknowledging the good will at NASA, the report holds no illusions that changing this culture will be very difficult and very necessary in order to return to flight. What types of management/behavioral obstacles have you encountered in home, work, school or social organizations? How did you try to effect change and what obstacles did you encounter in an effort to make it more effective, safe, productive or enjoyable?
posted by tgrundke on Aug 28, 2003 - 11 comments

Did downsizing and inexperience lead to Columbia's destruction?

Did downsizing and inexperience lead to Columbia's destruction? In the rush to cut costs and 'downsize' NASA in the 1990s the agency outsourced most Space Transportation System (STS, or the Shuttle) functions to a private consortium called United Space Alliance. Now, senior engineers at Boeing (lead member of the USA) are beginning to talk about the lack of experience, 'brain drain', and negative effects of downsizing and privatization. This begs the issue of market imperatives, relative value of privatization and the question of how to better manage projects of this magnitude in a mixed private/public arrangement.
posted by tgrundke on Feb 23, 2003 - 3 comments

Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster

Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster - Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.
posted by y2karl on Feb 7, 2003 - 29 comments

No snark for this foreboding...

A short, creepy yarn, and easily dismissed... "The loss of the Columbia space shuttle is suffused with symbols begging for attention. Columbia is named, in part, after Christopher Columbus and symbolically points to the very discovery of the American nation. Strangely, on the threshold of America's preemptive invasion of Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction, the shuttle's hold contained the first Israeli astronaut who in 1981 himself participated in a preemptive attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor to eliminate its capacity for developing weapons of mass destruction. An uncanny echo, but certainly not the only one...As we are on the precipice of a war with Iraq, the whole Arab world screams that it is not Iraq but America's relationship with Israel and the Palestinian crisis that is the root cause of all Arab anti-American sentiment and certainly all terrorism. Suddenly the Columbia crashes with an Israeli astronaut over George Bush's home state as debris rains down on "Palestine, Texas."
posted by troutfishing on Feb 6, 2003 - 50 comments

Fire in the Sky

Fire in the Sky.
Perhaps you saw moonwalk veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin attempt on NBC to read a poem he received in e-mail Saturday, and falter in tears. It was actually lyrics to the Jordin Kare song "Fire in the Sky," a tribute to manned space exploration:
Prometheus, they say, brought God's fire down to man.
And we've caught it, tamed it, trained it since our history began.
Now we're going back to heaven just to look him in the eye,
and there's a thunder 'cross the land, and a fire in the sky

[via Space.com]
posted by Tubes on Feb 3, 2003 - 7 comments

Trophy Boys

It's kind of weird how people in East Texas seem to have to "pose" with the debris, like it's a dead deer or a fishing trophy...
posted by sparky on Feb 3, 2003 - 53 comments

Godspeed, Dr. Kalpana Chawla.

Godspeed, Dr. Kalpana Chawla. But how will India replace a girl like you? In Karnal, India, where this fallen Columbia astronaut was born, it is rarer -- and more dangerous -- to be a female fetus than a real live girl space shuttle jock. Statistics suggest that the state has taken the cruel art of sex selection, in which female fetuses are aborted, to new heights. Among children under 6, it has 820 girls for every 1,000 boys according to the 2001 census. (NY Times link)
posted by jellybuzz on Feb 3, 2003 - 19 comments

5...4...3...2...1...Goodbye, Columbia

5...4...3...2...1...Goodbye, Columbia "There is something noteworthy a rocket can do that the shuttle cannot. A rocket can be permitted to fail." Gregg Easterbrook's 1980 Washington Monthly cover story looks into the Columbia's beginnings, the hazards he saw in the shuttle, and its weaknesses compared to rockets.
Once you get into space, you check to see if any tiles are damaged. If enough are, you have a choice between Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is hope they can get a rescue shuttle up in time. Plan B is burn up coming back.
[via Slate]
posted by kirkaracha on Feb 2, 2003 - 32 comments

Houston we have a problem!

Houston we have a problem! At 9:00am EST communication was lost with space shuttle Columbia. The touch down should have been occurred at 9:16am.
posted by MzB on Feb 1, 2003 - 450 comments

It's A Small World After All

Stanley Milgram invented the term "six degrees of separation" after discovering in an experiment how closely interconnected social networks can be. The "six degrees" concept also inspired a play, a film, and a party game. The original study has recently attracted criticism, but now sociologists at Columbia University are planning to re-do the study over the Internet, using e-mail forwarding. Volunteers can sign up here.
posted by jonp72 on Jan 14, 2003 - 25 comments

Crossing the Darien Gap

Crossing the Darien Gap. The Pan-American Highway is not quite Pan-American. There are 200 miles of untamed jungle, where Panama meets Colombia, called the "Darien Gap". Today, persistent kidnappings and cartel activity make it unsafe to cross by either foot or off-road vehicle. But it's been done a few times. Here is one such tale, a blog from the mid-seventies. [more inside]
posted by condour75 on Dec 14, 2002 - 6 comments

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