The long awaited Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened this morning at Universal's Islands of Adventure to much fanfare, including appearances by many of the movies' stars. [more inside]
Families, everyone's got to have one (or two, or three) Christopher and Peter Hitchens. Brothers.
A new report from the Climate Action Network Canada- Réseau action climat Canada details a “troubling catalogue of actions” by the federal government to muzzle its own climate scientists and weaken the research capacity of Canada’s climate science community.
33 billion dollars worth of useless aerospace machinery. High-res Google Earth photo (1600x1471)
The New Economics Foundation, also responsible for the Happy Planet Index and Jubilee 2000 campaign, has released a study (full text here) about the values and costs of different professions to society.
David Levine, beloved caricaturist for several publications, but most notably for the New York Review of Books, died last Tuesday at age 83 due to complications of prostate cancer. Since 1963, he contributed over 3,800 caricatures for the magazine, which prominently featured his drawings in promotional material. You can look at over 2,500 of his drawings here, review his website featuring his painting here, and see him interviewed here. Toward the end of his life, his vision failed due to macular degeneration and his relationship with the magazine became somewhat strained. Upon his death, the magazine noted that he was, simply, "the greatest caricaturist of his time." [more inside]
The Nerds of Paradise: a new webcomic from Dale Beran, the writer of A Lesson is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible (Previously).
You can see that things gradually become more terrifying : Five of the six alkali metals and their reactions to air and water. Learn more at the Periodic Table Of Videos. Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium (Caesium), and the elusive Francium.
Welcome to the Universe - III: The Size of Things . . .we take a breif trip through the Solar System and beyond to see the size of the Universe. A youtube video by AndromedasWake about the scale of the Universe.
Have you ever dreamed of moving an object with the power of your mind? Mindflex, the new mental acuity game from Mattel, makes that dream a reality. A lightweight headset containing sensors for the forehead and earlobes measures your brainwave activity. When you focus your concentration, a small foam ball will rise on a gentle stream of air. Relax your thoughts and the ball will descend. By using a combination of physical and mental coordination, you must then guide the ball through a customizable obstacle course, the various obstacles can be repositioned into many different configurations. [more inside]
Tree of Bees? Hills that move? A reflective humorous post about living in Southern California via mockable.org
"Infandous street corner Cromwell" George Galloway MP banned from entering Canada. Justified on 'National Security' grounds, specifically Section 34(1) of the Immigration Act. George Galloway reacts to Canadian Immigraton Spokesman Alykhan Velshi on Channel 4. Velshi suggests this is 'not a freedom of speech issue' but in this day and age of technology is the notion of banning individuals crossing geographical borders due to opinions held absurd. It would seem the Canadian Government think not. Intellectual Protectionism rears its head and the marmite of international politics basks in the publicity. Domestic navel gazing ensues.
As jazz fans know, fifty years ago on March 2, 1959, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb met at the Columbia 30th Street Studios in NYC for the first session of Miles new album, Kind of Blue. (Link goes to the 50th anniversary collector's box set edition page at amazon.) It was the touchstone for many other future recordings bearing its mighty influence and it fostered several high profile careers, and a new modal sound for jazz. Kind of Blue went on to be certified platinum, selling 4 million records, the most ever for a jazz album. Bill Evans had left the band in late 1958, but was called back by Miles for the sessions, which included his new pianist Wynton Kelly on one track only, Freddie Freeloader. The tunes they did that day, "So What", "Blue in Green" (written by Evans, though credited to Miles) and "Freeloader" all became standards as did "All Blues" from the April session. Documentaries and entire books have been written on this one album alone. The phenomenon lives on. (previously on AskMeFi, but just on Trane and Miles.)
Death and Life: Madison New Life Band bid farewell to Bishop Daddy Madison in Washington, D.C. Stooges Brass Band plays in New Orleans [second line].
The economic mess is squeezing everyone but many college students are really feeling it. Syracuse University has made an emergency appeal for aid for 400 current students who may not be able to return for the spring semester without an infusion of cash; Harvard University lost an incredible 22 percent of its very fat endowment but is trying to raise money through a $600 million bond issue. [more inside]
Gee, boss, I'm feeling a cold coming on. I definitely won't be in to work tomorrow. What's that? You saw me at Gamestop and/or Best Buy at midnight? I, er, well, I was dealing with a nasty bug. No, not that one, the other one (no worries, I'll be compensated!). I'm quite talented, you see. If I was in Europe, they'd already be showing me the way to Northrend. Alas, I'm not, and I have to wait until 9pm PST. In the meantime, there are those who've been where I'm going, and have nicely posted a review already.
Drummer and vocalist Jimmy Carl Black, "the Indian of the group", who appeared on more Mothers of Invention records than you could shake a stick at, has passed away. Here's Jimmy drumming with The Mothers of Invention live on French TV 1968, live on BBC TV 1968, singing with The Muffin Men, 2002, and on one of his last gigs, singing Capt. Beefheart's Dropout Boogie in June 2008, in his duo with mad banjo wizard Eugene Chadbourne which they called The Jack and Jim Show. [more inside]
What happened to Dorcas Snodgrass? I don't know who did this research on this nurse, but she's haunting me and the articles hint at a tragic mystery but leave many unanswered questions.
Universal Algorithm of Experience: Rev. Luke Anthony Murphy has produced four books of graphs over the past five years: Relationships, Spiritual Matters, Money, and Problems. These graphs are attempts to give shape to the conditions that produce the internal environment of anxiety. Recently a group of these were presented in a show called Wilderness at Bernadette Salvage Fine Arts in conjunction with 7hours in Brooklyn. Rev. Luke Anthony Murphy is a painter and shows this work as well as his digitally produced drawings and photos in New York, Toronto, and Berlin. He currently lives in East Harlem, New York, and works for CBS.com.
Martin Parr is a celebrated English photographer who has a reputation for being both preoccupied and inspired with notions of consumerism, foreign travel and tourism. Now you can actually go on holiday with him. The School of Life, a maverick cultural institution in London, is offering a weekend away with the sardonic snapper in the Isle of Wight. [more inside]
A chinese man killed Todd Bachman in Beijing today before jumping to his death from an ancient tower. Todd Bachman was the father-in-law of Olympic Men's Indoor Volleyball Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon, his wife is still in hospital for her injuries. Not part of the curse of the fuwas.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Bernie Mac has died. Bernie Mac most recently seen at a Obam campaign event and King of Comedy has died at 50-years old. Known for his tv show based on his own life as caretaker of his sister's kids. .
Have Food Will Travel: Pearl River Delta is a travelogue teaser video from Leonard Shek, a second generation Chinese American from San Francisco. Shek traveled to the Guangdong Province as part of the SF Chinese Culture Center's In Search of Roots program. While the main purpose of the trips is for Chinese Americans to explore where their parents or grandparents came from, Shek wanted to explore the origins of the food he grew up with.
The record has finally been set for an Onion article (video, actually) to turn into real life. It's now a real game. You can download it. It's free. time: about 1 day. The subject is MMORPGS (pronounced 'more pigs') and how popular they are. (more inside for descriptions) [more inside]
Sammy Davis Jr—entertainer , photographer... camwhore... SATANIST!!!??? Did hanging out with this guy make Sammy bad? Or was he just selling his soul to be groovy? [more inside]
The Library of Congress has unveiled a baseball history section on their website. You can see old baesball cards, panoramic shots, a section for teachers and, coolest of all, a video of a baseball game shot by Thomas Edison in 1898.
Even on Easter, chocolate bunnies just can't catch a break. source and inspiration via everlasting blort
The other Milgram experiment had less than shocking results. In fact, the famous six degrees of separation appear to be more folklore than science. [more inside]
Well, excuse me, princess. Youtube one-link, but very much a catch-phrase.
The Annals of Improbable Research magazine is available in two free online formats. Tagline: Research the makes people LAUGH and then THINK. Visit some of the site's classics or simply check out the newest members in the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists. Hours and hours of brain stimulating fun.
Some fancy security for 6 to 14-year-old girls Anne's Diary is a Canadian social network for 6 to 14-year-old girls (I read about it on the CBC's Spark blog). It has two interesting security features to fend off child molesters and the like. To sign up for the service, kids need to get a non-parental adult professional as a 'sponsor' who validates their identity and age (much like applying for a passport). Secondly, you get a USB fingerprint scanner with your initial package, and I gather the kids use this to log in to the service. And yes, that's Anne with an 'e'. No Prince Edward Island gable was ever this secure. [more inside]
Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha.
The Isle of Man TT race is arguably the most dangerous race one can do on a superbike, as it has claimed the lives of over 220 racers over the last 100 years. still, that doesn't seem to prevent people from competing, year, after, year.
Well, it's official. After numerous rumors, leaks, and even someone with a sharp eye for trademark searches, it was revealed this morning with the first entrants to BlizzCon in Anaheim, California that the next World of Warcraft expansion will be called Wrath of the Lich King, complete with new areas to explore, new hairstyles and character customizations, level 80, and the first new class to be introduced to the game since it opened.
I would walk 500 miles to get my kids to listen to the classics, but all they want to do is play games. The best (classic) music videos out there (for gamers).
Pakistani play parodying burkas is banned A play called Burkavaganza, a satire on the burka, staged this month by the Ajoka Theatre Group in the city of Lahore has been banned by Musharraf's regime. The director of the Ajoka is vowing to challenge the ban on constitutional grounds.
The late Dan Gibson: Pioneering wildlife documentarian and sound archivist. Inventor of the Dan Gibson Parabolic Microphone. Musician. Order of Canada recipient. All-around good guy.
Oh, Henry! Soft spoken Henry Rollins says a few words about internet freedom. (NSFW)
The Denial Machine. A 40-min Canadian (CBC) documentary about the "denial industry" - think tanks, scientists, PR firms, focus groups, lawyers, etc.. the issue?
Tobacco. Global Warming. It doesn't matter - different issues but the same people. How to be a professional denier and profit.
Math skills are not Verizon's strong point. A man tries to resolve a simple problem with Verizon for 22 minutes. Listen, and despair.
Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler in real life), author of the 13 books in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" [Flash], has now released the album A Tragic Treasury [Sound] in which he plays the acordian. The CD also features Stephin Merritt, with whom Handler was in the band called The Magnetic Fields. Handler is touring the country to plug the album and latest book. [via NPR]
Madonna and Child by Duccio di Buoninsegna (ca 1300) “is widely considered a key forerunner of the Italian Renaissance style and a landmark in Western European painting”. The painting “resides in a Plexiglas case in the middle of a room of medieval Italian paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art” and was purchased in 2004 for about $50million, the most expensive acquisition in the Met’s history. However James Beck, Columbia professor, founder of ArtWatch “established for the dignity of the art” (previously mentioned in this forum), is emphatic: “It’s a poor painting and it is a fake.” In a recent interview to Paul Hond in the Columbia Magazine Fall 2006 issue he admitted that such a bold and counter-mainstream proposition is “…calling attention to the mistakes of our favorite institutions of great power would not have been readily available if I didn’t have tenure.”
Mexican government bans American Catholics who sued Mexico City Prelate The Mexican government took the unprecedented and controversial step of banning Dave Clohessy of SNAP and Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer specializing in abuse cases, from entering the country for five years. The men had filed a lawsuit against Mexico City Archbishop Norbeto Rivera, who they allege covered up sex abuse in his diocese.
CensusScope. US Census 2000 data displayed through maps, rankings, and charts. [more inside] Warning: some pages render funny, but usable, under Firefox 220.127.116.11.