January 14, 2013
In 1974, Leon Leyson was one of a group of Jews who greeted Oskar Schindler when he visited Los Angeles. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the war. He began to introduce himself, but Schindler interrupted: "I know who you are," Schindler said, grinning at the middle-aged man before him. "You're Little Leyson." On Sunday, the youngest name on Schindler's List passed away at the age of 83. "The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust," he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. "I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom." [more inside]
Those adventurous listeners among you who've explored some of the further musical reaches of our little planet might have heard, somewhere along the line, some of the amazing polyphony and yodeling styles of the Baka or the Aka Pygmies. The bewitchingly complex rhythmic and melodic interplay we find in these traditional musics is spellbinding and utterly unique, of course, but what are, say, Baka Pygmy musicians doing these days that's a little more, well, *modern*? I thought you'd never ask! Orchéstre Baka Gbiné are doing this. [more inside]
Here's the second most adorable version of Sweet Child O' Mine ever played. Here's the first (previously). Not Cute enough? Here's little Jonah rocking along with some System of a Down. Kids rock.
On the heels of a recent announcement that it will experiment with online pay models, The Atlantic featured sponsored content today from The Church of Scientology, a post entitled "David Miscavige Leads Scientology to Milestone Year."
From the creator of A horse takes it to the limit: An elephant and a giraffe, ridin' with their top down.
At last night's Golden Globe Awards, actress Jodie Foster was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement award. During her speech, the notoriously private actress touched on the very notion of privacy, her sexuality, and the difficulty of being a public person with a normal life. Reactions have been mixed. [more inside]
"We decided to go on an adventure through the financial statements of one bank [Wells Fargo], to explore exactly what they do and do not show, and to gauge whether it is possible to make informed judgments about the risks the bank may be carrying. We chose a bank that is thought to be a conservative financial institution, and an exemplar of what a large modern bank should be."
All of a sudden, we looked up, and they were there. What if the explanation to the past half-decade --- or maybe the past decade and a half --- of the world’s economic malaise can be explained in one word: Robots. Maybe, in other words, the reason that corporate profits are higher than ever and yet jobs aren’t being created is because we have built machines to take those jobs. Paul Krugman thinks it’s possible.
If this is the wave of the future, it makes nonsense of just about all the conventional wisdom on reducing inequality. Better education won’t do much to reduce inequality if the big rewards simply go to those with the most assets....I think our eyes have been averted from the capital/labor dimension of inequality, for several reasons...But I think we’d better start paying attention to those implications.So does Kevin Drum:
Here's what I mean. It's quite possible that, say, 50 years from now the production of nearly all goods and services will be automated. And this might usher in a golden age...But what happens while we're busy getting there? Answer: the owners of capital will automate more and more, putting more and more people out of work...The rest of us will have no jobs, and even with all this lovely automation, our government-supplied welfare checks will be meager enough that our lives will be miserable.And 60 minutes. And so does the Financial Time’s Izabella Kaminska, who’s been writing a series of posts on the influential FT Alphaville blog for more than nine months on the influence of robots on the economy and whether or not an economy can handle no scarcity. FT Alphaville requires registration, but fortunately Kaminska has collected links from across the world of economics and journalism as people attempt to hammer out this problem. [more inside]
"I'm scratching, and I like to hide." SLYT. NSF arachnophobes.
JADED PUNK HULK HAS HILARIOUS OPINIONS ABOUT PUNK. JADED PUNK HULK ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS. Brendan Kelly from The Lawrence Arms DENIES HE IS JADED PUNK HULK. JADED PUNK HULK interviews Brian Fallon from Gaslight Anthem. Part 2.
A brilliant young Harvard Ph.D. faces jail for impersonating a Bible scholar—and rival of his father [more inside]
Julie Burchill being nasty again about trans people in The Guardian (in an article since replaced by an apology of the editor) is bad enough, as it might provide cover for bullying but much more worrying is the general disrespect and disdain many trans people receive from their own doctors, as documented in stories shared through Twitter and elsewhere. [more inside]
IBM's supercomputer Watson (previously) (and more previously) best known for crushing puny humans on the game show Jeopardy, recently began using profanity after researchers - attempting to teach it more nuanced language styles - had Watson memorize the Urban Dictionary. When the adolescent computer began responding to its progenitors' questions with phrases like "that's bulls**t" the irate programmers scrubbed its memory of the foul language. No word yet on whether the supercomputer has been grounded or not.
While the professionals used their decades of investment knowledge and traditional stock-picking methods, the cat selected stocks by throwing his favourite toy mouse on a grid of numbers allocated to different companies. [spoiler warning: the cat wins]
CBS has been in a dispute with Dish Networks, maker of the "Hopper", a device that allows users to skip commercials on their DVR, seeing it as a threat to their broadcast business model. After the "Hopper" was voted best in show at CES by the editors of CNET, CNET's parent CBS intervened and required a re-vote. [more inside]
Gary Busey explains the social and biological operations of Hobbits. (SLYT)
The digital library JSTOR has announced its new Register & Read program, under which users unaffiliated with an institution can access "approximately 1,200 journals from more than 700 publishers, a subset of the content in JSTOR. This includes content from the first volume and issue published for these journals through a recent year (generally 3-5 years ago)." [more inside]
Ever step into a gun rights discussion and feel bombarded by rhetoric about exactly what the "gun-show loophole" is and how it works (not to mention furious diatribes against the term "assault weapon?) This article from the Nashville City Paper explains it, and illustrates how 'private sale loophole' might be a better term.
Nathan Fillion is notorious for sneaking into the the background of other people's photos; But here he takes it to an unprecedented level as he repeatedly photobombs a single scene while shooting Firefly.
“Honestly, some of it came from watching the closing of the remake of ‘Starsky & Hutch,’ ” Mr. Porter said on a recent afternoon in his studio. [NYTimes link] “They do one of those jumps over the crest of a hill, and it froze, and the lens flared over the hood. And I thought, that’s the picture I’d like to make [NYTimes Slideshow], but I don’t have the budget or the resources to actually stage it.” More photos without Flash. His gallery page.
Dean Kamen, inventor of the SegWay, has a new invention out! This one is for dieting, and it sucks food out of the stomach before the body can absorb it. The AspireAssist has not been approved by the FDA, although it's available in parts of Europe. How it works.