January 14, 2009

Complex, partly private games

What DeLillo can tell us about Gilchrist Nicely-composed meditation on the parallels between the career of NZ political police tout Rob Gilchrist and the characters described in Don DeLillo's 1988 novel Libra.
posted by Abiezer at 11:28 PM PST - 6 comments

European and American hand fans

"It became an accessory of fashion. Status symbol like jewels, the fan had some additional advantages: you could hide behind, spy through tiny holes in the fan, swirl the fan coquettishly, or move the fan according to difficult fan language conventions, a kind of early telecommunication." [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 11:10 PM PST - 20 comments

The Earth Observatory

Earth, observed. Standout photographs from NASA's Earth Observatory website.
posted by homunculus at 10:42 PM PST - 11 comments

Sus Domesticus and Fabaceae (Sequelae)

Pork and Beans II, now with twice the meme-fun. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 10:31 PM PST - 37 comments

Obama's People

Obama's People [full-screen slideshow]: one photographer; one background; fifty-two members of the incoming US administration. Oh, and one "significant item" per person. The kind of thing -- not just a political piece, but a photographic project -- that reminds you what the institutional clout of the New York Times can make possible.
posted by holgate at 9:36 PM PST - 93 comments

McSweeney's help for spam authors

THE ELEMENTS OF SPAM (single link McSweeney's post)
posted by bystander at 7:07 PM PST - 38 comments

Tax Trouble at Treasury

Timothy Geithner is an experienced financial leader (previously). He is President Obama's pick to run the Treasury Department, which includes the Internal Revenue Service. The problem is that Mr. Geithner did not pay more than $30,000 in taxes, even his employer reminded him to do so. Now his nomination may be in jeopardy. Is Mr. Geithner the new Zoe Baird?
posted by Slap Factory at 6:28 PM PST - 63 comments

Brings new meaning to "Hurry up and wait."

Think traveling over the Yuletide season was bad? We're coming hard upon Chunyun, the Chinese "spring migration" when families reunite for the New Year. Enduring largest human migration in the world is a harrowing experience. One railway company has new ticketing strategies, which could turn tickets into collector's items.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:29 PM PST - 8 comments


If you're feeling guilty about that long flight from San Francisco to Berlin you can use EcoFonts (which is created by omitting parts of the letter) to assuage your carbon-heavy guilt.
posted by plexi at 3:42 PM PST - 56 comments

Religious takes on the global financial crisis

The Dalai Lama blames the financial crisis on a decline in spirituality. Hindus blame it on greed. Saudi Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, blames the crisis on ignoring God's rules. Jewish scholars say we could have avoided a crisis by following Talmudic traditions. Pope Benedict sees the global financial system as "self-centred, short-sighted and lacking in concern for the destitute." Is it right to pray for the economy? (a Christian perspective). A Malaysian conference brings together Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, and Sikhs to discuss the crisis.
posted by desjardins at 3:04 PM PST - 93 comments

Steve Jobs taking 6-month medical leave of absence

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence until June, saying his health-related issues were "more complex than I originally thought."
posted by mattholomew at 2:12 PM PST - 111 comments

Real guitars are't just for old people

Little Big Star (free software, currently in beta - video) it's the first guitar rythm game with support for real instruments. In the next months two more products of the same kind should be released, Disney Star Guitar and Guitar Rising. [more inside]
posted by darkripper at 1:52 PM PST - 16 comments

Skating in the privacy of your own backyard... or front yard...or barn...the novelty!

It's the homemade PVC ice rink! (scroll down to comments for commenter's photos of barn loft rink and associated icicles.) [more inside]
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 1:51 PM PST - 9 comments

Mr. Rourke, RIP

Smiles, everyone. Ricardo Montalban dies at 88. The actor may be best remembered for his roles as Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island and as the malevolent Khan in Star Trek (and, to a younger generation, as the grandfather in Spy Kids, and, to teevee fans, as the hawker of the fine Corinthian leather of the Cordoba), but, after early years of playing Asians (!), the actor might be most important for gaving been one of the few Hispanic actors to get lead roles during the 1950s and 60s. Also, the actor introduced the song "Baby It's Cold Outside," which he never gets credit for.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:41 PM PST - 131 comments

I Don't Want to Meet the Press

Special Report tonight at 11: Are You in the Sphere of Deviance?
posted by Glibpaxman at 1:26 PM PST - 45 comments


The value of limits, expressed through the process of a four-year-old making a painting. [more inside]
posted by carbide at 1:06 PM PST - 14 comments


Reading this could save you two days of intense suffering. [more inside]
posted by storybored at 12:02 PM PST - 102 comments

The other dark meat.

The meat is almost ready to be boiled, except for one thing: Although its head, innards and three paws have been removed, it still has one. That’s the law. "They leave the paw on to prove it's not a cat or a dog,"
posted by 445supermag at 11:20 AM PST - 105 comments

(Somewhat) Daily Meditations

Indecent Haiku is a selection of urban-themed musings in 5-7-5 haiku format. Previously.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:57 AM PST - 23 comments

How to make a newspaper out of blog entries

How to make a newspaper out of blog entries. Ben Terrett and Russell Davies explain how they turned their friends’ (and strangers’) blog posts, Twits, and Flickr photos into the thousand-copy broadsheet Things Our Friends Have Written on the Internet 2008.
posted by joeclark at 10:03 AM PST - 24 comments

Acute Mystery

Fact: In 1975, musician, producer, and all-around interesting guy Brian Eno (previously, pre-previously) co-created (with Peter Schmidt) the Oblique Strategies cards.
Fact: In August 2008, Oblique_Chirps appeared via Twitter, providing Oblique Strategies-like aphorisms hourly. (via)
Fact: Brian Eno has his own Twitter feed, featuring similarly cryptic updates (as well as differently cryptic updates and the odd political aside), dating back to Oct. 2008.
Fact: Some of the entries are seemingly identical (down to the odd space inserted in the word "straight").
Mystery: Is Eno aware of/involved with the Chirps feed?
posted by yiftach at 9:52 AM PST - 30 comments

Phantom of the Rock Band, or Joseph the Amazing Technicolor Guitar Hero

Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group is looking to create a range of games based on his range of musical stage shows. The one video game company mentioned in the article is Electronic Arts. (via, by way of) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 AM PST - 32 comments

I Am Not A Number, I Am A Man

Patrick McGoohan has died. The BBC and other news agencies are reporting the death of actor Patrick McGoohan, following a brief illness. He was 80 years old. McGoohan is best known as the star and co-producer of the 1960s cult classic TV series "The Prisoner", which we have discussed here many times, most recently last week when AMC announced that it would stream all of the original episodes on its website. AMC has also been producing a remake of the series starring Jim Caviezel (as Number 6) and Ian McKellen (as Number 2) for broadcast this fall. [more inside]
posted by briank at 9:31 AM PST - 117 comments

Mr. Geoghegan Goes to Washington

Perhaps something of an oddity in Chicago machine politics [I like to think in the spirit of Sean Tevis] Tom Geoghegan (pronounced "gay-gun") is running in a special election -- primary March 3rd and (hope me :) general April 7th -- for Rahm Emanuel's vacated 5th district Illinois seat. [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 8:44 AM PST - 15 comments

Only Six days Left To Begin Impeachment

"Yes, We Tortured," says Susan Crawford, Convening Authority of The Guantanamo Military Commission. "I sympathize with the intelligence gatherers in those days after 9/11, not knowing what was coming next and trying to gain information to keep us safe," said Crawford, a lifelong Republican. "But there still has to be a line that we should not cross. And unfortunately what this has done, I think, has tainted everything going forward."
posted by Xurando at 7:48 AM PST - 131 comments

Art by the square centimeter

Google Earth moves to square centimeter resolution, when it comes to art at Madrid's Prado Museum. Zoom in on 14-gigapixel images (about 1400 times the detail of a standard 10-gigapixel camera) of some of the museum's masterpieces, via Google Earth or Google Maps (start here). It's like putting your nose right up to the painting. Some details at Google Blog. Be sure to watch the how-it-was-done video.
posted by beagle at 5:38 AM PST - 40 comments

Stereotyping our way to a better EU

SatiricalCzechArtFilter: A massive art installation at the European Council building in Brussels has raised hackles. Bulgaria, in particular, is not pleased at being represented as a "Turkish Toilet." [more inside]
posted by LMGM at 4:05 AM PST - 37 comments

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