Bringing New Understanding to the Director’s Cut (NYT) Art imitates life? Neuroscientists studying vision have observed a 1/f distribution in the natural scenes we encounter everyday. A new study shows movies have a similar 1/f distribution of scene pacing as natural scenes we encounter in daily life.
Have you ever spit your gum on the sidewalk. Did you know it's a social problem? New York City is dealing with it. Mexico DF is having a hard time with it. Instead of spitting you can swallow it or make a flower. [more inside]
Valentines from E.B. White, Mark Twain, Katharine Hepburn, E. E. Cummings, Alexander Hamilton, and Zero Mostel. From libraries and archives around NYC, via the NYT (more info here).
Double Full Full Full, annotated (NYT video, reg REq'd) U.S. Olympic Team aerial skier Ryan St. Onge and a science reporter describe via video the physics going on as he executes a triple backflip with four twists. Also, the snowboard halfpipe. (Don't ask me why a triple backflip with four twists is called a "double full full full")
Frank Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission in October 1971, becoming the first police officer in the United States to voluntarily give evidence against a fellow policeman. You probably have seen the movie. Frank Serpico returns. “I still have nightmares,” he said. “I open a door a little bit and it just explodes in my face. Or I’m in a jam and I call the police, and guess who shows up? My old cop buddies who hated me.”
Dissertations on His Dudeness. (SLNYT) Descriptions of a new book of academic essays on The Big Lebowski such as: "“ ‘The Big Lebowski’ and Paul de Man: Historicizing Irony and Ironizing Historicism”
Sick leave. In some countries it's taken for granted. In the USA it's controversial. A bill before congress would mandate 5 days of paid sick leave a year for businesses with over 15 employees. Some without sick leave are going to work sick. I'm sure you have never done this.
The Year in Ideas from the New York Times Magazine.
Happy Thanksgiving, MetaFilter! If you have friends from different parts of the U.S., you might have wondered why they consider certain dishes to be an essential part of a Thanksgiving feast, when you've never even thought of them as remotely Thanksgiving-related. Now you can see what dishes were popular searches on allrecipes.com in various states thanks to a series of infographics in the New York Times.
“I think sometimes that being overly type-sensitive is like an allergy,” : The New York Times on the perils of being a font nerd.
Does american football unavoidably lead to brain damage over time? Does a culture favoring perseverance at the expense of well being begin in high school?
Nina Sankovitch is about to finish reading a book a day for a year. She not only reads them, she reviews them too. "You can’t go from ‘Little Bee,’ by Chris Cleave, which is about this young woman who witnesses torture and herself is a victim of abuse in Nigeria — a really great book, but you’re just crying or your stomach is clenched — to another book like it the next day,” she said. “If I read a book like that every day, I would have collapsed a long time ago.” Other 365 day projects have included this, this, and this.
25 years ago today, Vicki Dunbar Nelson and Jean Hepner played the longest tournament rally in tennis history, lasting 29 minutes and 642 shots (SLNYT). [more inside]
An Iwo Jima Relic Binds Generations. (SLNYTTJ - single-link new york times tear-jerker.)
About three months after her son's birth, Ms. Roscoe asked to see a psychiatrist. She was given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, or P.T.S.D. — a mental illness more often associated with surviving war, car accidents and assaults, but now being recognized in parents of premature infants in prolonged intensive care. (nyt)
Three female US soldiers talk about their experiences in the military. (sound starts automatically) [more inside]
Can the New York Times and Washington Post survive on a pay-wall business model if they do it together?
In a new essay entitled Build the Wall, David Simon (who was a Baltimore Sun reporter before he produced The Wire) argues that if the larger newspaper industry is to survive, The New York Times and Washington Post must start charging readers for access to their websites (preferably done as a single action in concert with each other) — John Gruber, Dave Winer, and the folks at Gawker disagree, and Steven Berlin Johnson argues that while the future for newspapers might be quite bleak, the future for journalism and high quality analysis is actually quite bright. Meanwhile, the Times is currently doing market research to see if it's readers would be willing to pay $5 a month for online access, and the Associated Press announced it's intent to build a new news DRM system that will enable users to “consume, mash up and share AP content based on rights”.
Do you let your small children run around naked? "The sexual component of nudity — and a fear of pedophiles — is what makes some adults object entirely to letting children be naked. Jenny Louie said her husband is so uncomfortable when their 4-year-old daughter, Rebecca, is naked that, even if she is alone in her bedroom, in Los Angeles, he will immediately close her shutters."
Yesterday was self government day in Greenland. The last step before complete independence from Denmark. They played the Greenland National Anthem.
The 50 words that generate the most click-throughs to the dictionary from the New York Times. The Nieman Journalism Lab reveals the words that sent NYT readers running to the Merriam-Webster. Key fact: Maureen Dowd is overly fond of the word "louche." If the post is TL;DR for you, here's the list in Wordle.
Parents can no longer support their hipster children's lifestyle. Oh, the humanity. I realize that schadenfreude is a particularly ignoble emotional response, but how am I expected to control myself after reading: [more inside]
[E]ven if you are unemployed you still receive a base amount of [vacation money] from the government, the reasoning being that if you can’t go on vacation, you’ll get depressed and despondent and you’ll never get a job.After a year and a half of living in the Netherlands, American writer Russell Shorto compares the Dutch "welfare state" to the tax, health care and social security systems of the United States.
But does the cartoon image of [the Dutch system] — encapsulated in the dread slur "socialism," which is being lobbed in American political circles like a bomb — match reality? Is there, maybe, a significant upside that is worth exploring? [...] I think it’s worth pondering how the best bits might fit.
Some have questioned Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's neutrality in dealing with the elite of the financial community. Here's his calendar [150MB pdf] for the last two years. You decide.
Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory : spotless minds might be closer than we think.
NYT Guesstimation Quiz. Enrico Fermi estimated the yield of the Trinity A-bomb test by dropping some shredded paper. He also asked his students to estimate unusual quantities like the number of piano tuners in Chicago - to show that just about anything can be estimated without detailed knowledge.
To Sleep Perchance to Dream : an exhibition of 17th century sleep-related paraphernalia at the Folger Shakespeare Library offers insight into attitudes towards sleep and dreams. Insomnia? Try eating some lettuce.
Today marks the launch of the Tata Nano. Some see this car as the next Ipod. Some have grave environmental concerns. (previously)
Ross Douthat, senior editor of The Atlantic and co-author of Grand New Party [nyt review], has been chosen as a new opinion columnist for the New York Times, replacing William Kristol and joining David Brooks as one of the paper's conservative voices.
We've very much enjoyed the beautiful work of the NYT graphic and infovisual design staff before, but what about when those glorious graphs and interactive adventures don't turn out as expected? Still pretty neat.
Is the police blotter dying? Not so. In other parts of the world, the blotters are a little weird and violent. (nsfw)
Journalism may be going through a painful period but thanks to the web the once lowly information graphic is finally growing up to be all it never could on paper. Especially the New York Times seems to currently stand out in how frequently and quickly they build amazingly detailed and insightful interactive features. Consider the tracking of US Airways Flight 1549 or the piece on raising its engine from the Hudson. Other recent highlights: 9,955,441 parking tickets issues in NYC mapped by street, The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986 — 2008, Ansel Adams's Yosemite, the view from the 10-meter platform explained, A look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses 1789 to the Present, A Map of the number of medals that countries won in summer Olympic Games, Going to the End of the Line, The 44 Places to go in 2009, an explanation of how the Pentagon responded to criticism of then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, The Soyuz Spacecraft, How the Towers Stood and Fell and many, many, more. [more inside]
Yet another study says the middle class are fleeing New York City. What happened to the previous studies and solutions? Bloomberg to Middle Class, "Get Out."
We should have known it was inevitable. Your local newspaper being written in India. Get ready for the outsourcing of journalism. Maureen Dowd doesn't like it.
Phil Gramm is unrepentent. "Mr. Gramm said the problem of predatory loans was not of the banks’ making. Instead, he faulted “predatory borrowers". "Mr. Gramm, ever the economics professor, disputes his critics’ analysis of the causes of the upheaval. He asserts that swaps, by enabling companies to insure themselves against defaults, have diminished, not increased, the effects of the declining housing markets." “This is part of this myth of deregulation,” he said in the interview. “By and large, credit-default swaps have distributed the risks. They didn’t create it. The only reason people have focused on them is that some politicians don’t know a credit-default swap from a turnip.”