Blogging the Periodic Table:
Wild, weird, wonderful stories about the elements that make up our universe. All month at slate, Sam Kean has been blogging about the periodic table, in conjunction with his new book, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From the Periodic Table of the Elements
. Elements covered so far include: Antimony: It might have killed mozart
. Hydrogen: Where it all started
. Selenium: Is It To Blame for Custer's Defeat at Little Bighorn? Vanadium: Sperm, beware
. Copernicium: How elements get their names
. Nitrogen and Phosphorus: The Future of Toilet Design Hangs in the Balance
. Lithium: Why It Makes Such Great Batteries
. Rare Earths: They're Neither Rare nor Earths. But They Could Save the Planet
. Ytterby: The Tiny Swedish Island That Gave the Periodic Table Four Different Elements
. Strontium: Element Tourists, Sodium Partiers, and Other Periodic Table Eccentrics
. Gallium: It Proved That Dmitri Mendeleev, Father of the Periodic Table, Wasn't a Crackpot
. The Noble Gases: What a Bunch of Snobs
. Promethium: Uranium Stole Its Fire
. Thorium: The Nuclear Fuel of the Future? Palladium: The Cold Fusion Fanatics Can't Get Enough of the Stuff
. Cobalt: It Makes the Dirtiest of Dirty Bombs
. Hafnium: Building the Doomsday Device of Tomorrow
. Radium: Cures Gout! (Warning: Also Causes Cancer.)
. Aluminum: It Used To Be More Precious Than Gold
posted by Fizz
on Aug 1, 2010 -
Because they have their own minor-league spelling bee circuit.
Having a qualifying spelling bee league that is, at times, tougher than the actual competition is what results in the extreme over-representation of Indian kids (1% in population, 11% in the spelling bee) at the national-level Scripps spelling bee. Where else have you seen such a phenomenon?
posted by vidur
on Jun 2, 2010 -
Ten days ago, Slate Magazine conducted an experiment
modeled on the Ministry of Truth
in George Orwell's 1984: they asked readers to look at eight photographs of notable political moments from the past decade and share their memories about each. Over 5,000 people participated in the first three days, but what they didn’t know was that four of the pictures were significantly doctored, and one was totally fabricated. [more inside]
posted by mondaygreens
on May 28, 2010 -
In Sizing Up Sperm
, people dressed in all white literally act out the role of sperm in the race to become one with the egg, running through valleys, squeezing through spirals, battling Leukocytes and much more. The results are stunning and the program airs this Sunday, March 14 on National Geographic. It just so happens that Slate also got in on the ejaculation meme, and delivered an article on a story of sperm donors and DNA tracing in Are Sperm Donors Really Anonymous Anymore?
] [more inside]
posted by netbros
on Mar 13, 2010 -
Slate's interactive guide to the critically recognized best movies of the decade, aggregating the results from several "best of the decade" lists. It's still in the process of being updated.
posted by Sticherbeast
on Dec 17, 2009 -
There is a subgenre of single-themed tumblelogs that aim for hagiography—they want to celebrate rather than tear down the subject at hand. These often go by the prefix "Fuck Yeah"—as in, among others, Fuck Yeah Rachel Maddow,Fuck Yeah Skinny Bitch, Fuck Yeah Puppies.
Slate article on single-theme blogs
. Some of the better ones: look at this fucking hipster
, it's lovely i'll take it
, Owl Tattoos
, fuck you penguin
, happiest people ever
, stfu marrieds
posted by Lutoslawski
on Jul 2, 2009 -
"This series explores the black spots in American law: areas in which our laws are routinely and regularly broken and where the law enforcement response is … nothing. These are the areas where, for one reason or another, we've decided to tolerate lawbreaking and let a law—duly enacted and still on the books—lay fallow or near dead." The first two entries are prescription drug abuse
and internet pornography
posted by ND¢
on Oct 15, 2007 -
Never Coming Home
is about the families of five young men killed in Iraq. Slate
presents a short documentary that focuses on the bereavement of the parents, or in one case, a brother. This portrait of grief and sacrifice is brought to life through the use of still photography and the recorded voices of family members.
posted by ND¢
on Jun 12, 2006 -
The Year in Culture:
a different kind of 2005 roundup—influentials are asked to mention significant cultural points of the year. Hitchens on intelligent design ruling: "Just for once…one can hear the lucid tones of reason, detachment, culture, and irony"; Gladwell on the Streets: "the British take an African-American musical form and wonderfully reinvent it" (again); others muse about rare high points in South Park, or of Brokeback Mountain and the future of movies, or the Rove-esqueness of Cindy Sheehan, et cetera.
posted by Firas
on Jan 7, 2006 -
in Slate urges Democrats to grow a spine, and use the Alito hearings to provide the American public with some liberal talking points for a change.
"If the Scalias, Thomases, Alitos, and Borks of the world had their way ... there would be no meaningful gun control. States could have official churches. Hard-fought federal worker, environmental, and civil rights protections would disintegrate. What you currently think of as the right to privacy would disappear. These are the questions Senate Democrats need to ask of Sam Alito: Should property rights trump individual rights? Should the right to privacy be interpreted as narrowly as the framers might have intended? Do you believe that a return to the morals and mores of two centuries ago is in the best interest of this nation?"
posted by snoktruix
on Nov 7, 2005 -
In the summer of 1995 there was a week-long heat wave in Chicago
. Over 700 people died. Most of them were the elderly, poor, and African-Americans. Link above is a Slate article by Eric Klinberg who wrote the definitive Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago
(2003) in which he concludes that "a city, in its decision to operate like a corporation, experienced the breakdown of massive social services" and the resulting "widening cracks in the social foundations of America's cities".
posted by stbalbach
on Sep 9, 2005 -
is Malcom Gladwell's latest short, concept driven book about how instant judgements are often correct, but equally often dangerous. Two reviews on S****.com
[ad thingie to watch] make for great reading themselves. Gladwell's long been a favorite
of mine, and I don't think I'm alone here
. Previously cited works include one of the best essays I've ever read, about the ultimate pitchman
posted by allan
on Jan 13, 2005 -
Linguists Gone Wild
Linguists from The American Dialect Society and the Linguistic Society of America recently met to vote for the Words of the Year, in various categories—Most Useful, Creative, Unnecessary, Outrageous, and Euphemistic; Most and Least Likely To Succeed; and an overall Word of the Year... no one really cares unless we pretend that These Are Important Words That Define Us as Americans. Still, that's marginally better than the alternate interpretation: This Is How Scholars Waste Their Time When They Could Be Doing Real Work.
posted by weepingsore
on Jan 12, 2005 -
The Road To Abu Ghraib A generation from now, historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq... It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office... Given the particular conditions faced by the president and his deputies after 9/11—a war against terrorists, in which the need to extract intelligence via interrogations was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by international law on interrogation techniques were very constricting—did those leaders have better alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is that they did. And we will be living with the consequences of the choices they made for years to come.
posted by y2karl
on Oct 27, 2004 -
Slate translates Kerry to English.
A lot of the argument lately is that Kerry doesn't really offer up a concete stand on his viewpoint. This article from William Saletan sums up what he believes Kerry is trying to say based on the speech he gave in New York earlier, and how he really stands in opposition to President Bush. Thoughts?
posted by daHIFI
on Sep 21, 2004 -