January 21, 2008


The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has put up a some interesting media, including a variety of talks from the Singularity Summit 2006 and 2007, about the possibilites and progress of technological development. For an overview of the issues Ray Kurzweil talks about the ideas and promises of the singularity, while Douglas Hofstadter calls for deeper exploration of the implications and hazards of coming technology.
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:35 PM PST - 44 comments

Adequacy + Catastophe = Efficiency?

The universal coverage debate comes down to one, simple question: why does health insurance pay for checkups when car insurance doesn't pay for oil changes? [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:46 PM PST - 119 comments

Bettye Swann, reconsidered.

When the discussion turns to 60s-era soul divas, the name of Bettye Swann isn't likely to be first on anyone's tongue. But she was possessed of a tender, supple and seductive voice, and she deserves to be heard and reconsidered. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:42 PM PST - 12 comments

I am Tiger Woods. Or at least a slacker cubicle dwelling simulacrum thereof.

World Golf Tour in cojunction with Taylormade have released a beta version of photorealistic flash competitive golf simulator As of now, nothing but a closest to the pin challenge is available, but they promise full playable courses are coming soon. It promises to be World of Warcraft, but for chubby middle aged men, enabling play with friends in real time. Avid golfers may never be productive again. Fortune Magazine checks it out.
posted by Keith Talent at 7:54 PM PST - 12 comments

Create a Thing-a-Day

Join a community commitment to make a thing a day for the month of February. "knit cook draw paint sodier (sic) write install destroy invent document" are presented as ideas to demonstrate that anything goes. Last year's contributions are currently down, but did run the gamut of media and topics.
posted by artifarce at 7:51 PM PST - 8 comments

If your beer keg runs out early, there is probably a drunk midget inside

Hollywood Midget Movie Stars. They started as popular vaudevillians. (From a review: "The chief feature, however, was the ten scenes in which the Singer Midgets appeared. The Midget strong man, the Midget conjurer, the Midget "Cleopatra" with the winning ways--these and many more were there.") They stormed the New York stage. They were members of The Lollipop Guild (YouTube link), as well as playing other Munchkins. They were suspected of being German sympathizers. But they may be best remembered for starring in the world's first all-midget musical western. Now available for your viewing pleasure from YouTube: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:27 PM PST - 32 comments

rejected Justice mix released to the masses

Justice, the french electro-whatever group (read: Daft Punk)(previously discussed here) recently had their addition to the prestigious FabricLive Series rejected for not entirely clear reasons, although the relatively short length (40-something minutes) and taste (or perhaps the lack of) may have been factors. Justice, being the gentlemen they are, decided to give the mix away as a Christmas present to their friends (yes, I'm a little late on this, but not as late as you, presumably), and it is now readily available for anyone to download here. I'm only familiar with a few of the artists in the mix (Fucking Champs! Goblin!), but it's a pretty good time, and definitely a big, fat middle finger to most of the minimal techno mixes which Fabric usually releases, which is probably why they rejected it in the first place. Lots of old pop, funk and super-cheesy french music (and the FUCKING CHAMPS!), tell me what you guys think!
posted by domakesaypat at 4:12 PM PST - 52 comments

Arthur Mebius, photographer

The photography of Dutch photographer Arthur Mebius includes personal and commercial work, and is often rather funny. [more inside]
posted by whir at 3:50 PM PST - 6 comments

Ken Nelson, 1911-2008

"The Christmas card didn’t arrive this year." Ken Nelson, longtime head of country music at Capitol Records, passed away last week. In a time when studio band assembly lines were the rule, Nelson was known among artists for his hands-off approach to record production. Through his work with artists like Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Red Simpson, Nelson helped bring national recognition to West Coast country.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:19 PM PST - 12 comments

The "Admiral's" Notebook

"From somewhere around 110,000 trillion trillion years ago" Scientology, a very litigious and secretive group had their website hacked recently and some documents have made it on to the web. The /i/nsurgency haxorz (a splinter group of the famous Anon folks) are claiming responsibility. This is part of an ongoing war of sorts. Also, a helpful Scientology acronym guide of sorts. [more inside]
posted by lattiboy at 1:50 PM PST - 121 comments

Really old time religion

General Butt Naked is now a preacher of some kind of Christianity. But in his adolescence he ran a gang of soldiers in the Liberian civil war which killed, he thinks, about 20,000 civilians. They fought naked except for their army boots, crazed on drink and ganga. Before the fight they would kill children and eat their hearts. Now he claims that it was all down to evil spirits and wants forgiveness.
posted by alloneword at 1:27 PM PST - 57 comments

Squirrel song

There's the white squirrels of Exeter, and the black squirrels of London. Apparently they're both awesome if you like squirrels, or craft songs about them.
posted by joelf at 1:22 PM PST - 31 comments

Howard Rheingold on cooperation, technology, and social dynamics

Technology of Cooperation (.gif map), from Howard Rheingold's Cooperation Commons project. Rheingold on Amish technology practices. [more inside]
posted by cortex at 1:19 PM PST - 6 comments


Before there was MTV, before mp3s or YouTube, there was ASCII ROCK!
posted by Anything at 12:37 PM PST - 14 comments

John (not Jon) Stewart dead at 68

'Daydream Believer' writer Stewart, who came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of folk music's Kingston Trio, died Saturday at a San Diego hospital after suffering a brain aneurism. He was 68. The Monkees version of his biggest hit. But Stewart, one of our greatest singer/songwriters never achieved the level of fame many of us felt he deserved. No matter, he seemed to prefer the intimacy of small clubs and released dozens of albums, like the timelessCalifornia Bloodlines and scores of other beautiful songs, such as July, You Are A Woman, Walk On the Moon and his own aged like a fine bourbon rendition of Daydream Believer.
posted by dawson at 12:05 PM PST - 23 comments

"New Wave on the Black Sea"

Comprehensive profile, in the NY Times magazine, of the new crop of talented Romanian filmmakers. Be sure to check out the interactive component of the story, with clips and commentary on several recent films.
posted by lovejones at 11:16 AM PST - 7 comments

Martin Luther King - Always Worth Listening To

"I have a dream..." Take 17 minutes out of your day and remember. And then maybe take a look at this NY Times slide show of murals depicting Dr. King. Feel free, in fact please do, add appropriate links and suggestions in the comments section.
posted by brookeb at 11:12 AM PST - 42 comments

Forgive me if this is a double

"I believe with every fibre of my being that every human being has the right to live without the pain of the past". An amazing collection of personal stories, reflecting diverse attitudes to forgiveness and reconciliation, hosted by The Forgiveness Project.
posted by teleskiving at 10:06 AM PST - 12 comments


TIME FOR SOME STORIES (warning: contains heavy amounts of all-caps and awesome)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:50 AM PST - 98 comments

Wubi: Ubuntu the easy way

Ubuntu has quickly become the number one Linux distro for the desktop. Not only is it free, but it has also made Linux easier to use than ever. Now, Wubi enables Windows users to install Ubuntu just like any other application, so you no longer have to mess around with partitions, burning CDs, etc. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:09 AM PST - 82 comments

This enormous red circular carriage will never fit onto the tracks!

Train tracker.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:57 AM PST - 27 comments

In Soviet Russia, baby makes you!

So we've already learned how babies are made in Germany. But we haven't seen Russia or Israel. Could be NWS if you work with people who don't know where babies come from.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:38 AM PST - 31 comments

The Great Indian Railways

Mumbai CST (then and now) | Cuttack Railway Station | Howrah (1927) | Gorakhpur Railway Station (then and now) | Chennai Central Station (day) | Trivandrum Central {via} [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy at 7:37 AM PST - 10 comments

Another Reason I'm Glad I'm Not An Ant

Continuing the recent theme of horrifying parasites, here's an infectious little nematode that makes its host swell up into a plump, juicy, red berry so that birds will mistakenly eat its bloated ichorous abdomen and spread the eggs. (via) [more inside]
posted by XMLicious at 6:41 AM PST - 31 comments

Lesbian couples should have a right to state-supported artificial insemination?

A year from yesterday, George W. Bush will no longer be President. So here's yet another online quiz to help you "Test your party preference". But the policy questions in contention in this quiz may seem surprising to many Americans.
posted by orthogonality at 6:36 AM PST - 75 comments

Revealing Character

Revealing Character — In 2004 and 2005, photographer Robb Kendrick traveled through Texas to take tintypes of working cowboys and cowgirls, capturing a part of American life that evolves with the times.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:56 AM PST - 13 comments

Flying hammies

Too much serious talk and stress? Take a break with this nice little distraction. Flight of the Hamsters. How far can you get them to go?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:38 AM PST - 23 comments

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