February 13, 2014
In mid-2013, Zima Japan unveiled Z-Machines, a "social party robot band" featuring a 22-armed drummer, and a guitarist with 78 fingers. While Z-Machines was initially seen by many as a nightmarish reincarnation of the Chuck E. Cheese Band, the Japanese developers have since collaborated with other musicians, and now Warp Records is announcing an upcoming collaboration EP: Squarepusher x Z-Machines - Music For Robots to be released in April. [more inside]
Archive.org is known for archiving a great number of things, broadly classified in terms of the web, written and printed text, studio audio and live music, and video. The most recent addition comes in various realms of software, as outlined by Jason Scott (MeFi's own jscott). But the newest addition is notable because it brings old software back through online emulation - behold, the Historical Software collection, from productivity software like VisiCalc (1979), WordStar (1981 Osborne 1 version), and The Print Shop (1984, NYT review) to vintage games including Eastern Front 1941 (1981), The Hobbit (1982), and Karateka (1984). If you're interested in the way this all works, you can read more on the Archive.org blog.
Brian Finkelstein got all of his receipts from 2003 following a credit card dispute. He is reposting them every day with commentary about what he was doing at the time.
What happens when the works of Ernest Hemingway meet the application Hemingway, which claims to make your writing "Bolder and Stronger?" Oh really?
Ever wondered what anti-war music would have sounded like a hundred years ago? Listen to the song that enraged a Roosevelt, inspired any number of diss songs and riffs, and set pacifism to a Sousa-like tempo: "I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier." [more inside]
Facebook now offers its users "Custom" gender options and a choice of what pronouns to be referred to by. (I guess this makes MetaFilter a trend setter?)
When British forces pull down the union jack for the last time in Afghanistan this year, it will be a hugely symbolic moment. It is not just that the departure marks the end of 13 years of British involvement in combat in that troubled country. The surprise is that it could also signal the end of a century or more of unbroken warfare by British forces. Next year may be the first since at least 1914 that British soldiers, sailors and air crews will not be engaged in fighting somewhere. [more inside]
Enra dance troupe performs Pleiades, synchronizing body movements with projected light and animation. [more inside]
"Morrie Turner, a cartoonist who broke the color barrier twice — as the first African-American comic strip artist whose work was widely syndicated in mainstream newspapers, and as the creator of the first syndicated strip with a racially and ethnically mixed cast of characters — died on Saturday in Sacramento. He was 90. " [more inside]
Tire Ski Jump [slyt]
Mark Danner has been writing a series in the New York Review Of Books: Rumsfeld's War And Its Consequences Now
A bare two weeks after the attacks of September 11, at the end of a long and emotional day at the White House, a sixty-nine-year-old politician and businessman—a midwesterner, born of modest means but grown wealthy and prominent and powerful—returned to his enormous suite of offices on the seventh floor of the flood-lit and wounded Pentagon and, as was his habit, scrawled out a memorandum on his calendar:[more inside]Interesting day— NSC mtg. with President— As [it] ended he asked to see me alone… After the meeting ended I went to Oval Office—He was alone He was at his desk— He talked about the meet Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]
Scaaaary Valenstein's Day cards for your ghoulfriend or blemmya. By Brian McLachlan, creator of the long-running (but now retired), pun-filled Princess Planet webcomic. [more inside]
"[We] were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens of the rightmost panel of the painting which is intended to represent Hell. I decided to transcribe it into modern notation, assuming the second line of the staff is C, as is common for chants of this era." via Dangerous Minds
Thomas Scully, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, once said, “Fifty percent of the social safety net was created by Henry Waxman when no one was looking.” After 40 years and 17 consecutive terms, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring from Congress. [more inside]
I can’t think of any feminist who wouldn’t support the innovative work of the speakers I heard at TEDWomen. But this is an incomplete vision of feminist goals being presented as the most vital—and they will almost certainly be the best funded. Meanwhile, the more controversial issues like abortion will be stranded in their wake.
Nigerian photographer J.D Okhai Ojeikere passed away last weekend, but at the age of 83 he left behind a truly incredible body of work celebrating Nigerian culture. These photos from his Hairstyles series are part of an archive of nearly 1000 pictures showing the intricate hair-dos of African women taken at work, social engagements and in the streets of Lagos. The beautifully composed black and white images draw attention to the sculptural quality of the hair, almost elevating it to an art form in itself. It goes without saying that his work is a unique treasure of historical and anthropological importance.Via
"It was one of the most effective optical illusions in American politics—until it wasn’t." Alec MacGillis, in the New Republic, describes why "Chris Christie's entire career reeks. It's not just the bridge."
Early-20s comic artist Noelle Stevenson recently entered a comic shop for the first time. She drew a short comic showing her experience. Comics news writer Heidi MacDonald took a look at the issues some comic shops have with welcoming half the population. It sparked a Twitter spat with the stars of Comic Book Men. In the weeks after Ms Marvel seemed to establish a new era where it's okay for "the weaker sex" to enjoy comics, especially when it seems around 40% of readers may be women, why do some shops apparently not want customers?
"In very many cases, English has borrowed a word from one language that had previously borrowed it from elsewhere. Among those Portuguese and Spanish words there are many that originated among speakers of very different languages. For instance, piranha comes ultimately from Tupi (a language of Brazil) and acai comes from a related language called Nheengatu, while mango is probably ultimately from Malayalam across the other side of the world in India, and monsoon is ultimately from Arabic (and in a further twist, Dutch may also have played a hand in how it came into English from Portuguese). " (There was a previous BBC article on this topic which is linked in the post which contains more examples.) BBC article about how words have flowed back and forth over the centuries.
The genome of the Anzick child, who died 12,600 years ago at the age of three and was buried with ceremony in the American Rockies, has been fully sequenced. The results shed an incredible light on the history of the peopling of the Americas: his people seem to have been direct ancestors to most tribes of Central and South America, and close relatives of the Canadian tribes. The discoveries have had an emotional impact on Native Americans, and the boy's remains will be reburied with great respect. Still, tribal belonging is about much more than genetics, as anthropologist Kim Tallbear reminds us. You can see replicas of the heirloom artefacts left in the boy's grave here, or visit the collection at the Montana Historical Society if you're in the area.