January 13, 2016
The Mad Painter was a sketch that first aired on Sesame Street in 1972. In the series, Our Protagonist (Paul Benedict, looking suspiciously like Greg Nog) decides he's going to paint a certain number, finds a surface on which to paint the numeral, paints said number, and then something funny happens. The Painter's co-stars included a young Stockard Channing, a bald mustachioed guy (Jerome Raphael), and a gorilla. Robert Dennis scores the pieces jauntily. Here they are, in numerical order: [ 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 — 7 — 8 — 9 — 10* — 11 ] [more inside]
HOUSTON, Tex.—Building 31 on the campus of Johnson Space Center lacks the Tower of London’s majesty and history. No Queen’s Guard stand outside. But this drab, 1960s-era building is nonetheless where NASA keeps the crown jewels of its exploration program. Inside various clean rooms, curators watch over meteorites from Mars and the asteroid belt, cosmic dust, samples of the solar wind, comet particles, and, of course, hundreds of kilograms of Moon rocks.
Robbie Judkins visits Tanzania to witness first hand the attempt to save a quarter of a century of musical history from oblivion. Listen to an exclusive mix of tracks newly digitized by the Tanzania Heritage Project
Former football star Lawrence Phillips has been found dead in his jail cell. Phillips was a star running back at the University of Nebraska, where he won back-to-back national championships in 1994 and 1995. The latter is often considered the best college football team ever assembled. Phillips was as well-known for his off-the-field problems, one of several troubled star players that legendary NU coach (and now ex-Congressman) Tom Osborne was accused of coddling. [more inside]
John Walker, games writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, eulogizes his father Hugh and reflects on a life spent playing and talking about games together.
When you’ve been in a cult and you meet new people at a dinner party, you’re never quite sure when to bring it up. But I know one thing: If I do bring it up, nobody ever finds my story boring.
Stephen Leather accused of cyberbullying by fellow thriller writers. by Alison Flood [The Guardian]
Over the past week, the authors Steve Mosby and Jeremy Duns have each alleged that Leather is behind websites set up to attack them. On 4 January, Mosby blogged about the launch of the site fuckstevemosby.com, which featured an exhaustive collection of the times he swore online. Mosby claims that the site was set up by Leather. Duns, the author of the Paul Dark spy novels, then blogged a lengthy analysis of the reasons why he believes Leather is behind a series of sites abusing him – including the claim that the recently established site fuckjeremyduns.com briefly redirected to Leather’s own site about his character Spider Shepherd.[more inside]
‘‘Alice used a writing style that today you can’t really use in the social sciences.’’ He sighed and began to trail off. ‘‘In the past,’’ he said with some astonishment, ‘‘they really did write that way.’’ The book smacked, some sociologists argued, of a kind of swaggering adventurism that the discipline had long gotten over. Goffman became a proxy for old and unsettled arguments about ethnography that extended far beyond her own particular case. What is the continuing role of the qualitative in an era devoted to data? When the politics of representation have become so fraught, who gets to write about whom? [more inside]
Hamburg's Miniatur Wonderland has been featured on Metafilter before (1, 2) but now you can explore 9 of its sections as if you were there with Google Maps.
Vivian Maier Developed. “While the posthumous discovery of Maier’s remarkable images and her years in Chicago have been well documented, there has been scant coverage of her upbringing. With the discovery of credible new sources, the mystery surrounding her American family and childhood has been solved.” New research delves into the life of Vivian Maier and the unhappy family she was born into. [more inside]
The ’70s counterculture and women’s movements had derailed all kinds of assumptions about American family life and sexuality, and, in their wake, a collective nightmare had emerged [more inside]
“They’re probably the most familiar interfaces on the planet: the numeric keypads on our mobile phones and calculators. Yet very few notice that the keypads’ design has remained unchanged for nearly half a century in the face of evolving global design norms and conventions. Even fewer users notice another startling design feature: the phone’s keypad is the inverted version of the calculator’s.”Graphic designer C Y Gopinath explains the science and research behind his decision to change the numeric interface layout of his calculator app, Calcuta, from square to circular.
A 3D printed habitat for four Mars explorers from Clouds Architecture Office. Awarded first place in NASA's Centennial Challenge Mars Habitat Competition.
Published in 1913, a best-seller in the 1930s and long out of print, Physics for Entertainment was translated from Russian into many languages and influenced science students around the world ... In the foreword, the book’s author describes the contents as “conundrums, brain-teasers, entertaining anecdotes, and unexpected comparisons,” adding, “I have quoted extensively from Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain and other writers, because, besides providing entertainment, the fantastic experiments these writers describe may well serve as instructive illustrations at physics classes.”
Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
Game artist Jude Wilson, like many of us, spent a lot of time playing Goldeneye (previously) on the Nintendo 64. Videogame graphics have come a long way in the nineteen years since Goldeneye was released, so Jude undertook to recreate part of one level in Unreal Engine 4 for his portfolio. [more inside]
He has told me that his nurse had often told him, that ... she saw, from the chamber windows, those unhappy people hanging on Gallows’ Hill, who were executed for witches by the delusion of the times. Building on work done a century ago by lawyer and historian Sidney Perley, a team of historians and researchers has definitively identified the exact location where those found "guilty" in the Salem, MA witch trials of the seventeenth century were murdered, or in the words of many, "executed." [more inside]
Bug Man Pete and I are out on the front porch at Hank Dietle’s Tavern, the last roadhouse in Montgomery County, watching the traffic crawl by on Rockville Pike. An exterminator by trade, he’s finished battling vermin for the day and is ready for a few cold ones. A pitcher of draft beer is on the table, and a lit Maverick cigarette is in his hand. He’s feeling good, as he usually is at Dietle’s. [He] has been coming here for almost half of his 56 years. But people like him have been coming to Dietle’s for a century. They were here when the Pike was a rural toll road. They were here when cold, cheap beers were illegal. They were here when Metro dug its tunnels underneath and when a gleaming new mall went up across the road. Now that the mall has been shuttered, they’re still here. -- Washingtonian Magazine on the Last Roadside Divebar in Suburbia.
In the history of gag dubs, one of the earliesr and more obscure is a segment from MTV's Cartoon Sushi, Ultracity 6060, debuting in episode one. After the fold, all but one of its six or seven episodes, depending on how you count - one is an original parody. [more inside]
Star Wars VII Parody Twitter Accounts seemed to reach their zenith with the spoilery Emo Kylo Ren, but it has been totally eclipsed (wait... that's no moon), because if you ever wondered what kind of father the Original Trilogy's Rogue Han Solo would be, Dad Joke Han Solo explains it all (and spoils even more, you have been warned).