In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became possible to believe in the existence of life on other planets on scientific grounds. Once the Earth was no longer the center of the universe according to Copernicus, once Galileo had aimed his telescope at the Moon and found it a rough globe with mountains and seas, the assumption of life on other planets became much less far-fetched. In general there were no actual differences between Earth and Venus, since both planets orbited the Sun, were of similar size, and possessed mountains and an atmosphere. If there is life on Earth, one may ponder why it could not also exist on Venus. In the extraterrestrial life debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Moon, our closest celestial body, was the prime candidate for life on other worlds, although a number of scientists and scholars also speculated about life on Venus and on other planets, both within our solar system and beyond its frontiers. Venusians: the Planet Venus in the 18th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate
(PDF), from The Journal of Astronomical Data
(JAD) Volume 19
, somewhat via NPR
and their mention of amateur astronomer Thomas Dick's estimations of the populations of the other planets in our solar system
(Archive.org online view of Celestial scenery, or, The Wonders of the planetary system displayed
posted by filthy light thief
on Aug 21, 2014 -
Despite the comment collecting engine crashing
on the last day to submit comments on the very popular topic of Network Neutrality
, the system worked well enough to collect 1.1 million comments, which the FCC has made available to the general public
as six XML files
, totaling over 1.4 gigs of raw data. Mailed comments postmarked prior to July 18 are still being scanned and entered, so this isn't everything, but it's a lot of data. TechCrunch graphed the frequency of certain words
, with the high score going to Comcast, with 4,613 mentions. NPR shared the visualized results of Quid's analysis of a sample of 250,000 comments
, and Quid's analysis of a sample of 317,000 comments to map geographic sources of the public comments and adjusted them based on state populations to depict which states care more about net neutrality
, while The Verge dug deeper, mapping comments by zip code
posted by filthy light thief
on Aug 13, 2014 -
, NPR's food blog, explains how Leanne Brown
was inspired to develop a cookbook for people on SNAP. Leanne published Good and Cheap
[PDF] as the capstone project for her MA in
Food Studies at New York University and released it online as a free ebook. She also ran a successful Kickstarter
to produce a print version.
posted by Arbac
on Aug 2, 2014 -
"No wonder we react so viscerally to the 'ching-chong, ching-chong' schoolyard taunt. To attack our language, our ability to sound 'normal,' is to attack our ability to be normal. It's to attack everything we've worked for." An essay by Arthur Chu
on feigning a Chinese accent for work and ridding oneself of an accent for life. [more inside]
posted by Errant
on Aug 1, 2014 -
If you heard the recent NPR's Codeswitch
segment on The Green Turtle
, the first Asian superhero
created in the United States, you heard descriptions of the 1940s comic. But there's more (so much more!) online. Start with the entire run of The Green Turtle
on the amazing Digital Comic Museum
, which hosts public domain Golden Age comics
(late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s). If you want to know more about Chu F. Hing, the artist behind the original Green Turtle, here's an extensively researched biography
on the astounding Chinese American Eyes blog
, which covers "famous, forgotten, well-known, and obscure visual artists of Chinese descent in the United States." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jul 16, 2014 -
NPR's Bob Boilen (host of All Songs Considered
): "People ask me all the time to name my favorite Tiny Desk Concert. It's my desk and I've seen almost all of the nearly 400 concerts up close. So you'd think this would be easy. Moon Hooch have made it a lot easier.
" (video) [more inside]
posted by flex
on Jul 10, 2014 -
"Patrick Haggerty grew up the son of a dairy farmer in rural Washington during the 1950s
As a teenager, Patrick began to understand he was gay–something he thought he was hiding well. But as he told his daughter Robin, one day, when he went to perform at a school assembly, his father Charles Edward Haggerty, decided to have a serious talk with him.
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Jun 28, 2014 -
On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy.
This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he allowed himself to be watched—acting as a stand-in, in effect, for everyone who uses Internet-connected devices. How much of our lives do we really reveal simply by going online?
Ars tests Internet surveillance—by spying on an NPR reporter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower
on Jun 16, 2014 -
Maybe it's time to put down
that camera/smart phone.
A short NPR article (including a link to the audio, an interview with Maryanne Garry, a psychology professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand) discussing why it's important to be thoughtful about the amount of time you spend experiencing life through a viewfinder and how the digital age has impacted on our parental role as archivist of our own and our children's lives.
posted by HuronBob
on May 31, 2014 -
An NPR interview
with the creator of a 75 foot long Mammy-Sphinx sculpture made entirely of sugar. Award-winning artist Kara Walker's latest work
challenges viewers to confront the relationships between American history, racism, slavery, and industrialization. Her exhibition is held in the soon-to-be-demolished, historic Domino Sugar Factory. (New Yorker article) [more inside]
posted by warm_planet
on May 16, 2014 -
NPR reporter John Burnett and investigator Samantha Sunne examine the finances
of Christian TV network Daystar
At NPR's request, the Trinity Foundation, a watchdog group in Dallas that monitors Christian broadcasters, compiled a list of the nation's 30 leading evangelist broadcasters. Twenty-two of them are designated churches, meaning they don't have to report anything to anybody. Of those, two-thirds have churches, while a third of them — including Daystar — hold no regular services.
posted by audi alteram partem
on Apr 2, 2014 -
A Dotted Line
, is Nickel Creek's first studio album in 8 years. NPR has a "first listen" available for your pleasure.
posted by HuronBob
on Mar 25, 2014 -
What's the link between household income during childhood and job choice during adulthood? Stats and pretty graphs ahoy
posted by forza
on Mar 20, 2014 -
was an investigation of adult brain plasticity and whether we could reopen it through the use of a drug called valproic acid
. It's a mood-stabilizing drug. But we found that it also restores the plasticity of the brain
to a juvenile state. And during a two-week period on this pill or a controlled substance, a healthy cohort of young adult male subjects who were carefully screened not to have had musical experience early in life, they were asked to undertake a number of training tests online. And at the end of this two-week period, they were then tested on their ability to discriminate tones to see if the training had more effect than it normally would at this age."
: So, you actually gave people a pill and then you taught them to have perfect pitch
HENSCH: This is the result and it's quite remarkable, since there are no known reports of adults acquiring absolute pitch. [more inside]
posted by carsonb
on Jan 5, 2014 -
There is a fundamental disconnect between large-scale, for-profit media and the crushing power of enthusiasm, which is that when they try to control it, it instantly isn't real. It's patently unreal. It's excitement given life by force, Pet Sematary-style.
But when they don't control it, it isn't profitable. And that means that when they run into people excited about their stuff, they vacillate between an Ebenezerian lack of generosity and a Professor-Harold-Hillian smarm. To own enthusiasm and to exploit it are competing instincts, much as they often seem to be twins. You can, in fact, sometimes best exploit it — or only exploit it — by leaving it alone.
-- In what could be considered a Metafilter Manifesto, Mefi's own Linda Holmes
takes on the multivariate economics of fandom and the internet.
posted by Potomac Avenue
on Dec 20, 2013 -
The public radio science program Radiolab
recently wrapped up a tour featuring their latest live show, Apocalyptical
. It is, as you might have guessed, about the end times. The show, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich and featuring live performances from comedians Kurt Braunohler and Reggie Watts and an appearance from dinosaur puppets, is now available for free on YouTube.
posted by inturnaround
on Dec 11, 2013 -
NPR is sick of the list.
For their year end book round up this year, they have instead compiled an interactive web app
which categorizes books by type (allowing you to apply these types as filters) and connects similar books by hyper-linked keywords.
posted by codacorolla
on Dec 4, 2013 -
"For 29 years, Alcatraz — the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco — housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud.
Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80."
(I can't link to it directly, but the audio is worth listening to)
posted by HuronBob
on Oct 14, 2013 -
National Public Radio produced at least two short runs of sci-fi radio dramas in the relatively recent past. The first of these two was Sci-Fi Radio, which was was produced out of Commerce, Texas, and broadcast on NPR in 1989-90. The producers drew their inspiration from some of the best stories from some of the best science fiction authors of the 20th century, including Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, Henry Kuttner, and Poul Anderson. You can read more here on the Old Time Radio Plot Spot
, or listen to the series on the Times Past Old Time Radio blog
(also on Archive.org
). A decade later, NPR revisited the format with 2000X: Tales of the Next Millennia
, for which they won a a 2001 Bradbury Award
. The official site is no longer online, but Archive.org captured Yuri Rasovsky
's site for the series
. Rasovsky shared two of those broadcasts and talked about his work in radio with Radio Drama Revival
, and you can listen to the rest, as recorded from radio and grouped in an unsorted jumble
(with duplicates), thanks to the very generous OTR Sounds
posted by filthy light thief
on Sep 16, 2013 -
When record store owner Jeff Bubeck buys an old record collection out of an abandoned storage unit, he has no idea what he’s stumbled across. Jeff learns the collection once belonged to the late great J. Dilla, one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time. Along with the thousands of LP’s from Dilla’s personal collection, there is something else that is uncovered, something huge... [more inside]
posted by rollbiz
on Sep 5, 2013 -
Obit page on NPR
"Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95." - from the lead of the article
posted by randomkeystrike
on Aug 21, 2013 -
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 8, 2013 -