The National Labor Relations Board ruled today that graduate students at private universities can unionize, reversing a previous decision in 2004. [more inside]
Electric & Musical Industries was formed in 1931, initially releasing classical music, but went on to launch the Beatles, who changed the record label's operations and funded the company for years and years. The label's recording rules were further broadened by Queen and Pink Floyd. EMI ushered punk into the mainstream with Sex Pistols, and then embraced the New Romanticism and the polished excesses of Duran Duran. They made music videos big with Pet Shop Boys and made Brit Pop a thing with Blur, and were home to Radiohead. This is the inside story of EMI, one of the greatest British brands in recording history, as told by people involved with the record label's storied history, augmented by company and performance footage. [more inside]
The Faithful. "René and Juan Carlos set out to convert their Colombian megachurch to Orthodox Judaism. This is what happened."
Every year for the last 50+ years the BC Ministry of Transportation has had a instrumented truck drive every mile of every highway in the province to record highway conditions. Part of the instrumentation is millions of pictures (one every 10-30 metres). The Ministry has compiled selected sets of those pictures from 1966 into video photolog trips of selected highways. Highway 1 from Lytton to Revelstoke; The Island's Malahat; Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish; [more inside]
In 2014 a Gulfstream plane crashed and burst into flames in Bedford, Massachusetts, killing seven people (NTSB animation). Aviation writer Ron Rapp argues that the cause was not defective equipment or simple complacency, but the normalization of deviance, whereby "people within [an] organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don’t consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety." This was also considered to be a factor in the crashes of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. The creator of the concept and author of The Challenger Launch Decision, sociologist Diane Vaughan, is interviewed here. (transcript)
Gerrymanders Miss One Person The City Council of Columbia Missouri recently created the Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District in the interest of raising taxes in that area to allow for improvement projects. The district boundaries were carefully created to exclude any actual residents of Columbia, giving the property owners the exclusive right to vote on property assessments. They almost got it. [more inside]
After he is diagnosed with cancer, Walter Blanco teams up with José Miguel Rosas to sell crystal meth. Metastasis: Breaking Bad, Colombia. [more inside]
Emma Sulkowicz is a student at Columbia University; she was raped by a fellow student during her sophomore year, and is one of 23 Columbia and Barnard students who filed a federal Title IX complaint in April alleging that the university mishandled sexual assault cases. Now a senior, Emma plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus, as her senior art thesis, "Carry That Weight" [more inside]
7 countries' attempts to grapple with their troubled pasts, and move beyond them.
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]
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.
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.
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.
10 years ago today, the flagship of the Space Shuttle fleet, Columbia, broke apart upon its return to earth. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
openculture.com is offering hundreds of links to free online courses from the top universities in the United States (and Oxford).
"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.
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.
"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)
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]
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. "
"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?
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]
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
Turtle's 78 RPM Jukebox
Popular Victor, Edison, and Columbia recordings, 1900-1930.
Popular Victor, Edison, and Columbia recordings, 1900-1930.
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!]
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?
With Venezuela harbouring and aiding Colombian rebels; namely the leftist FARC is the US administration looking to intervene in Latin America? Possibility discussed here
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.
Columbia's Final Minutes A fascinating (if horrifying) account of the shuttle's destruction.
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?
"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?
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.
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