February 11, 2014
"I can't choose whether someone is offended by my actions. I can choose whether to care.. . . While I cannot be responsible for what my ancestors did, I can take responsibility to play what small part I can in cleaning up their mess." By Martin Fowler, author of many books on foundational concepts of modern software engineering.
National unemployment is high, but business is booming in some states. Vermont needs teachers. Nevada needs bartenders. North Dakota needs truck drivers and just about everything else. Is your job in another state?
Tencent Maps - Look at some of the remotest parts of China. While some of the off-the-beaten-path images on Tencent Maps are actually static panoramas, other more quirky routes offer full coverage for mile after mile, as seen on the Li river in Guangxi province where you can cruise on a boat amidst the famous karst peaks that don’t look like any other hill or mountain range you’ve ever seen before. [more inside]
Works by Monet, Picasso, and Renoir are among the 60 additional works found in the Salzburg home of Cornelius Gurlitt, who made headlines last year when it was revealed that he had more than 1400 works stashed in his Munich apartment that had been lost or stolen during WWII. This comes just weeks after Gurlitt indicated for the first time that he is now willing to consider returning works that are determined to have been looted by the Nazis. Determining rightful ownership of the works is an ongoing and complicated process. (Previously)
Goat Simulator is a small, broken and stupid game. It was made in a couple of weeks so don’t expect a game in the size and scope of GTA with goats. In fact, you’re better off not expecting anything at all actually. [WARNING: virtual goats, violence]
Why do so many women bear the middle names Ann, Marie, or Lynn? And what's up with all the middle Michaels, Johns, James, and Lees?
A camera attached to weather balloons touches down in a farmer's field, revealing shocking footage. The year is 1991, and Hard Copy is mad at Trent Reznor.
"Life-long Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested changing his country's name to make it friendlier to investors and tourists. It's obviously a little silly to change your country's name for marketing purposes. But there may be more meaningful reasons for the country to change its name..." An interesting perspective from Max Fisher at the Washington Post.
A Camera falls out of a plane. It records the journey. It is found eight months later. [Video contains flashing images.]
In 2002 Henry Louis Gates jr. published The Bondwoman's Narrative. It was the first publication of a novel written in the 1850s by a former slave who wrote under the name Hannah Crafts. The original manuscript has been digitized by Yale's Beinecke Library. The book caused a splash at the time, sold well and was reviewed widely, including an essay by Hilary Mantel in the London Review of Books. The identity of Hannah Crafts was uncertain, which cast a slight shadow on its provenance, but Prof. Gregg Hecimovich discovered the writer's true identity. Her name was Hannah Bond and after escaping slavery she became a teacher in New Jersey. Journalist Paul Berman further fills in the story of Colonel Wheeler, the slaveowner whose family was depicted in The Bondwoman's Narrative. Wheeler was the US ambassador to Nicaragua in the 1850s and played a major part in the administration of General Walker, the American who became a short-lived dictator of Nicaragua and tried to set it up as a slave state.
You are a clever and talented person. You create beautiful designs, or perhaps you have architected a system that even my cat could use. Your peers adore you. Your clients love you. But, until now, you haven’t *&^#^! been able to make Git work. It makes you angry inside that you have to ask your co-worker, again, for that *&^#^! command to upload your work. It’s not you. It’s Git. Promise.
Annual mammography in women aged 40-59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer... Researchers sought to determine whether there was any advantage to finding breast cancers when they were too small to feel. The answer was no.
Entrance worthy of...? SLYT. Lingering in the doorway not advisable.
Fish on Wheels, a short video in which a goldfish drives around the room.
In his 1996 book The Song of the Dodo, David Quammen observed that if you destroy most of a habitat and leave only a small patch of wilderness behind, you have effectively created an island—and islands, for complex ecological reasons, sustain far fewer species and far more extinctions than mainlands. Now watch things get complicated. At the same time that our logging, mining, farming, road-building, suburban-sprawling species is turning the entire planet into an archipelago, “global trade and travel do the reverse: they deny even the remotest islands their remoteness.” The result, as Kathryn Schulz reports, is that we are living through The Sixth Extinction.
Zinc-finger-nucleases, TALENs, and CRISPR, oh my! The three tools, especially the last one, CRISPR, make rewriting Genes doable. Now the "fun" begins.
I.F. Stone's Weekly, a 1973 documentary about one of the greatest American journalists of the 20th century (Part 1). Part 2 of 6 here (incomplete). Isidor Feinstein "Izzy" Stone discusses how he exposed widely-accepted fictions about the Vietnam War and the escalation of the Cold War—merely by reading what the government published. He was blacklisted in 1950 and began his own newsletter, which railed against McCarthyism, racial discrimination, and the complacent establishment media. [more inside]
All of the best of breed winners from this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, courtesy of the New York Times. [more inside]
Comedian, Mefi's own, and transgender woman Avery Edison is currently being held in a men's jail in Ontario on immigration charges, separated from the general population. Avery tweeted about her detention last night.
Why Abercrombie Is Losing Its Shirt
"...sensibilities have since evolved; casual prejudice is not as readily tolerated. Today’s teens are no longer interested in “the elite, cool-kid thing” to the extent that they once were, says Gordon, the Michigan professor. “This generation is about inclusiveness and valuing diversity. It’s about not looking down on people.” And with the help of social media, for the first time critics have succeeded in putting Abercrombie on the defensive. Last year, blogger Jes Baker drew blood with her spoof photo series “Attractive & Fat,” which satirized the iconic Bruce Weber images."
Ng Suat Tong presents the best online comics criticism of 2013. Particularly recommended (by me): who white washes the Watchmen.
The Day We Fight Back is a protest against mass surveillance. "The SOPA and PIPA protests were successful because we all took part, as a community. As Aaron Swartz put it, everybody "made themselves the hero of their own story." We can set a date, but we need all of you, the users of the Internet, to make it a movement. [more inside]
"For centuries, coffee was used as a conversation stimulant. But in the present-day U.S., it functions primarily as productivity booster." In London, in Prague, Paris, Cairo, coffeeshops were the place to gain information and to discuss it. Taverns and saloons have had their historical role as well, especially as a place where people from all walks of life could mingle and share ideas. "Crucially, these are also semi-public spaces that can deliver a measure of privacy, a place where it’s easy to congregate yet hard for authorities to monitor." In America in the internet age, however, coffeeshops are where we work and bars are...well, not where we go to talk, anyway, if the decibel levels are any indication. Where then are we to foment our revolutions? Begin our art movements? Or dissect our dolphins? [more inside]
A few months ago, my husband and I decided to mix our books together. We had known each other for ten years, lived together for six, been married for five.
The Hierarchy of Hexagons. School geometry seems to me one of the most lifeless topics in all of mathematics. And the worst of all? The hierarchy of quadrilaterals.
The deep philosophical differences between the two main conservative factions of the Catholic Church, pitting adherents of John Courtney Murray against the followers of Alasdair MacIntyre is the root cause of the mixed messages being put out by the Church on public policy matters. It is the fight worth watching.
After a year of production, John Green's Crash Course US History has come to an end, traveling from the conflicts between the native Americans and the Spanish to the Affordable Care Act.
Peacock Spiders don't hurt humans (they're tiny and 'insignificant'). Here's one on a human fingernail in Western Australia where they live. Peacock Spiders (Flickr image search results) are quite something. (Previously). The still images don't capture the mating performances properly. [more inside]
Dates is a series of vignettes featuring same-sex couples definitely not meeting the loves of their lives.
Shirley Jane Temple Black, actress and US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, has passed away, aged 85.
Out in a forgotten, dusty corner of Southern California, just east of the Salton Sea, Leonard Knight let his love and devotion to the Lord inspire a Technicolor vision on the desert floor. His creation came to be known as Salvation Mountain. On Monday, Leonard Knight passed away at the age of 82. [more inside]