January 20, 2009


The sestina is an old poetic form invented by the troubadors; each of the thirty-nine lines ends with one of only six words, which gives the sestina a haunting, constricted feel. You might have read modern examples by Bishop or Auden, or the even more modern "WTF Sestina" by Meghann Marco. But you have probably never read a sestina which explains how to construct a sestina in the language of finite group theory. (.pdf link) Via excellent mathblog God Plays Dice.
posted by escabeche at 9:52 PM PST - 24 comments

How's Your Mind? Blown?

Fellow Mefites: I see your 13 year-old Japanese girl drumming to Rush's seminal prog. class "YYZ" and raise you an 11 year-old Japanese girl playing the whole damn thing on a synth (SLYT). [more inside]
posted by bardic at 8:20 PM PST - 39 comments

Inauguration from Space!

The GeoEye-1 (aka "The Google Satellite") took pictures of the inauguration from 423 miles up. The crowds of over a million around the Capitol and spilling up the Mall and around the city are a sight, even from space. GeoEye also offers a gallery of other impressive high-resolution satellite shots, including themed sections ranging from world universities (featuring great shots of the Head of the Charles Regatta) to natural disasters.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:16 PM PST - 41 comments

Warning Light Flashes ...

Rundgren/Utopia Filter: Two Obscure Gems. Emergency Splashdown. Umbrella Man. [more inside]
posted by wittgenstein at 6:39 PM PST - 8 comments

visual poetry, today

Visual Poetry Today collects various forms of visual poetry, today. It includes Peter Ciccariello, who wraps text around computer-modeled landscapes. [more inside]
posted by mediareport at 5:53 PM PST - 4 comments


Khoda :"What if you watch a film and whenever you pause it, you face a painting? This idea inspired Reza Dolatabadi to make Khoda. Over 6000 paintings were painstakingly produced during two years to create a five minutes film."
posted by dhruva at 5:45 PM PST - 41 comments

YouTube Street Fighter

YouTube Street Fighter (single link interactive youtube game)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:56 PM PST - 33 comments

Heartland Systems data breach

"Payments processor Heartland Payment Systems has learned it was the victim of a security breach within its processing system in 2008. Heartland believes the intrusion is contained." [more inside]
posted by Class Goat at 3:39 PM PST - 33 comments

Who do you think you are?!

Patti Lupone freaks out - mid-song - at someone taking pictures during a performance of "Gypsy." Audio clip on YouTube. Dished about at Gawker and The Village Voice. [more inside]
posted by greekphilosophy at 3:01 PM PST - 50 comments

Playing The Beatles Backwards: The Ultimate Countdown

185. "Revolution 9"

Shortly after recording "Revolution 9", John Lennon allegedly went around telling friends that his new song was the music of the future. Well, here we are, 40 years later, and I don’t see the pop charts filled with experimental song collages featuring recording engineers, chanting football crowds, mangled orchestras, and bizarre non-sequiturs. [...] [more inside]
posted by swift at 2:59 PM PST - 116 comments


On January 20, the HHS "Provider Conscience Rule" went into effect, allowing employees and volunteers at government-funded hospitals and clinics to deny patients access to a variety of medical services, based on moral objection. The Rule is one of the Bush Administration's parting midnight regulations. Ostensibly focusing on abortion and sterilization, it is considered by some to be written so vaguely that it might be applied to "contraception, fertility treatments, HIV/AIDS services, gender reassignment, end-of-life care, or any other medical practice to which someone might have a personal moral (not even religious) objection.” [more inside]
posted by terranova at 2:54 PM PST - 31 comments

Ghost Train

Abandoned Amusement Parks in Asia - 1, 2, 3
posted by Artw at 2:31 PM PST - 31 comments

Sparkle! The sartorial flag waved around the world.

The undeniable 'bling' of the First Lady Michelle Obama's sparkly yellow dress underlines that she is full of surprises. Shades of yellow have symbolized renewal and hope since Elizabethan times, and besides, the shade really popped on Michelle Obama. Oh, it's also a "sartorial flag waved around the world", so it had to be a good 'un. Jackie O. references abound, what with the sheath dress styling. Keep your eye on Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo. If you're into that sort of thing.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:10 PM PST - 70 comments


The real estate crisis has started to hit the fantasyland capital of real estate, Dubai. Projects are being abandoned and workers skipping town just the Dubai tower tops out at 818 meters. Pre-vi-ous-ly.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:15 PM PST - 18 comments

Pro-Life Medicine, Whether you Like it or Not

A clinic nurse first removed her intrauterine birth-control device without permission, says the patient in a federal action, then told her that "having the IUD come out was a good thing," because "I personally do not like IUDs. I feel they are a type of abortion. I don't know how you feel about abortion, but I am against them."
posted by tehloki at 12:31 PM PST - 128 comments

A nation of nonbelievers

"The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion." ~ George Washington / "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature." ~ Thomas Jefferson / "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion." ~ Abraham Lincoln / "A just government has no need for the clergy or the church." ~ James Madison / "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice." ~ John F. Kennedy / "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers." ~ Barack Obama
posted by 0bvious at 11:40 AM PST - 270 comments

What is race in the Obama age?

What is race in the Obama age? Some blacks say there are two black races, one poor and one rich. Does that mean Obama is from the rich black race? Some wonder if he's black enough or too black. Or do we have to choose among four options: "a) black or b) white or c) half-black and half-white or d) an American and who-gives-a-damn about his ethnicity"? Or is he multiracial? All I know for sure is he's the president.
posted by shetterly at 11:16 AM PST - 47 comments

The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep.

"The city is so cash-strapped that firefighters have to purchase their own toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Their aging bunker gear is coated in carbon, 'making them the equivalent of walking matchsticks.' The firehouses' brass poles have been removed and sold off by the city." - The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep by Matt Labash.
posted by chunking express at 11:07 AM PST - 38 comments

The election of a populous president after a stolen election, in 1828

A recipe for Inaugural Orange Punch, a drink that helped in part to cause the most memorable presidential inauguration in the history of the U.S. via.
posted by Large Marge at 10:39 AM PST - 22 comments

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama The text of the Inaugural speech will be posted after it's completed. Change.gov is closing up shop; Change has come to Whitehouse.gov.
posted by theora55 at 9:19 AM PST - 668 comments

Cover Covers Coverage

Covered: A new blog showcasing reinterpretations of classic comic covers. Jeffrey Brown covers Mike Zeck. Johnny Ryan covers Carl Barks. Fred Hembeck covers Pat Boyette (And many others).
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:48 AM PST - 4 comments

Watch out for the fireball sac secretions

Lateral post-medial anterioöptical anatomical monster drawings
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:37 AM PST - 20 comments


Explain This Image does pretty much what it says on the tin.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:55 AM PST - 36 comments


Despite some rather interesting biographical information, Iridius’s interest in typographical symbols is noteworthy, especially the section on alchemical ones.
posted by cthuljew at 6:24 AM PST - 6 comments

Rethinking The Marquee Tool

Inspired by NYC's Poster Boy and the hilarity of online celebrity photoshop disasters, Berlin's culture jamming F.T.W. crew recently organized a hit on Britney, Christina and Leona in an underground U-Bahn station. Note from the group's flickr sets that they were also recently responsible for a project based on John Carpenter's They Live.
posted by mannequito at 5:04 AM PST - 31 comments

Speaking of sports...

The Guardian is knocked for six by American sport references in British media Creeping cultural imperialism? The effect of internet media from foreign news outlets? Or just Guardian handwringing about something no one else notices? Is British media alone in this trend?
posted by Grrlscout at 3:35 AM PST - 111 comments


Tommy Cooper (1921-1984) was one of Britain’s drunkest and most beloved comedians (but he could still mess you up). Staggering onstage in his iconic fez, his grandmother-friendly one-liners are the stuff of legend, his failed magic tricks spectacularly endearing, his small-screen charisma undeniable. He was also a mean-spirited philanderer, but still we loved him. And then he died. Just like that. (Previously, but I think he deserves a refresh.) [more inside]
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:43 AM PST - 20 comments

Be fruitful and iterate.

Researchers discover gigantic "Caterpillar" spaceship that travels at (17/45)c. Just another exciting development in the Game of Life (previously).
posted by fatllama at 12:41 AM PST - 51 comments

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