March 13, 2013

An award-winning composer and her middle school student

Hilary Hahn performs Jennifer Higdon's remarkable Violin Concerto, for which Higdon won the Pulitzer Prize: 1726, the first movement, is challenging and prickly; Chacconi, the second, is calmer, slow and colorful; Fly Forward, the brief and exciting finale, is worth listening to even if you're not a fan of contemporary classical music. Here, Hahn talks about having Higdon as a teacher at the age of thirteen, and Higdon talks about writing for Hahn's individual style; after the concerto's world premiere, they recorded themselves talking to each other on what looks like a computer cam, which is both fun as heck and a fascinating look at the relationship between composer and performer.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:23 PM PST - 7 comments

Yo La Tengo Live on WFMU -- 2013 All-Request Marathon Thurs 3/14 at 9am

Yo La Tengo are once again playing requests for pledges on WFMU, beginning at 9am(!) US EDT on Thursday morning March 14. Every year, Yo La Tengo perform requests live on-air in exchange for pledges, to help keep freeform noncommercial radio station WFMU (91.1 FM in Jersey City, NJ) on the air. This year is no exception, even though this year's broadcast will be aired live from Berlin, Germany, where the band is currently on tour. This year's set will begin at about 9am US EDT on Thursday morning March 14. Yo La Tengo will play listener requests for several hours.
posted by trashflow at 8:35 PM PST - 32 comments

You can't get there from here

It's nearly impossible to make consumer navigation technology work well in India. Western-style routing based on directions ("Turn left onto Woodrow Street") is impossible when streets often don't have names, not to mention the problems of using the local language. The solution? Landmark based navigation.
posted by overleaf at 8:31 PM PST - 55 comments

Richard the Wurm

Hahaha, that worm looks like a penis! Oh, wait, that's the headline. Well, for the most part: 'Missing link' connects two weird, wormy sea creatures [more inside]
posted by rosswald at 8:10 PM PST - 10 comments

For The Love Of Wisdom

The History of Philosophy podcast has the ambitious goal of covering the entire history of (Western) philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to the modern day, without skipping any major philosophers or schools. At 110 episodes, it's just reached the end of the Roman Empire and Boethius and has very far still to go.
posted by empath at 7:48 PM PST - 32 comments

Saving "You Bet Your Life"

I walked into the kitchen and picked up the phone. “Is Mr. Marx in?”, the voice at the other end said. “I work at the NBC storage warehouse in Englewood Cliifs, New Jersey. We’ve got several boxes of 16mm reels of film from ‘You Bet Your Life’ and we were wondering if Mr. Marx wants any of it. If not, we’re going to destroy all of it tomorrow.”
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:39 PM PST - 34 comments

It's a one-atom thick layer of graphite with remarkable properties.

"Berkeley creates the first graphene earphones, and (unsurprisingly) they’re awesome." Since it was isolated by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester in 2003, graphene has become something of a scientific darling. So, what to do with the "wonder stuff"? Why not make headphones? Turns out, graphene is great for the job: "Graphene has extremely low mass density and high mechanical strength, key qualities for efficient wide-frequency-response electrostatic audio speaker design."
posted by ocherdraco at 7:05 PM PST - 38 comments

She Who Tells a Story

I feel creatively emboldened to personally say something on the subjects that I am documenting. In terms of how it is produced, intellectually I am more excited than I have been in years. I am envisioning so many more possibilities for the work ... I feel for first time empowered on my own terms. We are calling our own shots and have created somewhat of our own institution.
An interview with the six-woman Middle Eastern documentary photography collective Rawiya, whose name means "female narrator" in Arabic. [more inside]
posted by nangar at 5:43 PM PST - 2 comments

The roads I drive are haunted by memories

Euro Truck Simulator 2 is available now.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:48 PM PST - 55 comments

Google Illiterate

Google's beloved RSS aggregator, Google Reader will be powered down on July 1, 2013 (previously).
posted by gkhan at 4:37 PM PST - 1098 comments

So what is it smart guy?

The facebook question that has everyone stirred up... I got 9. I am a fifty-one year old white guy. Did new math f-ck me up? [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:17 PM PST - 237 comments

Ghost Signs

Ghost signs are old hand painted signs that have been faded by time. Dr Stefan Schutt at Victoria University studies ghost signs in Melbourne, and he's been interviewed by ABC Local Radio and written up in the Sydney Morning Herald (photo gallery). You can see more ghost signs at the Ghost Sign Project or the the ghost sign Flickr group, which has more than 21,000 photos. Previously.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:07 PM PST - 14 comments

"Conspiracy theorists and technocrat pundits"

The New Inquiry: Just The Facts
With its emphasis on the empirical, conspiracism is uncomfortably similar to the technocratic mindset of mainstream political discourse. Technocratic pundits — typified by the likes of Ezra Klein, a journalist and blogger who runs the Washington Post's Wonkblog — are likewise driven almost exclusively by data sets and empirical studies. As Bhaskar Sunkara suggested in this piece for In These Times, such pundits operate under the assumption that the facts are so powerful that they might lead people of all ideologies to embrace a particular array of ideology-free policies.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:22 PM PST - 62 comments

Godwin on Godwin

"Relatives don’t really show me any examples, but there was a point where my daughter, who is about to turn 20, when she was in her early teens, she thought it was a hoot when she was mad at me to compare me to Hitler. She’d look at me with a very mischievous look and say, 'You know, you’re acting just like Hilter.'"
posted by vidur at 12:18 PM PST - 55 comments


Conquer this very small dungeon. It's harder than it looks.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:17 PM PST - 29 comments

Using pies to calculate pi

Ahead of Pi Day (March 14), Matt Parker tries to accurately calculate pi using pies. [SLYT] An extended version of the video will be uploaded on Pi Day, but here's your chance to go out and buy pies before that. (Video runs 3 minutes, 14 seconds.)
posted by Room 641-A at 12:09 PM PST - 14 comments

99 Problems But 16-bit Ain't One

Jay-Z + Chrono Trigger = Chrono Jigga.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:08 PM PST - 22 comments

But I Can't Reach the Ballot Box

"Ours are aging, consumption-based societies, focused on today. We need to find a way to build for the future. Maybe enfranchising our children is the answer."
posted by seemoreglass at 11:20 AM PST - 65 comments

Israel’s Bold New Queen

Ethiopian-born Yitish Aynaw is the first black woman crowned Miss Israel. [more inside]
posted by gertzedek at 10:26 AM PST - 51 comments

Albania's unwanted bunkers

Paranoid Dictator’s Communist-Era Bunkers Now a National Nuisance "In Albania, 750,000 Communist-era bunkers populate the landscape, relics of the paranoia and skewed priorities of former dictator Enver Hoxha. Now they exist as quirky homes, animal shelters, ad hoc storage and make-out spots. "
posted by dhruva at 9:55 AM PST - 54 comments

When NASCAR takes over the Olympics

Tire jumping in japan The olympic sport where the auto enthusiast can comment endlessly about the tire he used to have, that would have won.
posted by boilermonster at 9:11 AM PST - 40 comments

Vlambeer: Bringing back arcade since 1741

GUN GODZ is a fast-paced, lo-fi FPS that serves as a reminder of the difference between modern duck-and-cover and DOOM-era FPSs. Its quality is unexpected for a game that was created as an extra treat for supporters of a Kickstarter, and a testament to its iterative design. It is the brainchild of Vlambeer, a 2-person studio that releases games with old-school sensibilities. [more inside]
posted by ersatz at 8:52 AM PST - 19 comments

Not imminent, but likely

When the DFL retook the Senate and House in MN last November, amidst the defeat of a referendum to enshrine marriage as one man/one woman in the Minnesota Constitution, there was a lot of speculation what would happen next. Last night bills passed out of committees on both the MN House and Senate (party line votes of 10-7 and 5-3) that would ensure marriage equality for same sex couples. It is now expected to reach the floor after budget bills and votes are presented and voted on. Final passage, while probable, is not guaranteed as some rural DFLers (in the Senate especially) are likely to oppose the bill. There is conversely, at least on Republican Senator, Branden Petersen, co-sponsoring the marriage equality measures). The DFL Gov (Mark Dayton) has indicated he would sign the measure if it reached his desk. Marriage equality could well come to Minnesota by August of 2013
posted by edgeways at 8:47 AM PST - 55 comments

Watching the watchmen

Weibo, China's most popular microblogging website, is manually censored for "impropriety" and political content. By observing the time taken for censored posts to disappear, researchers have exposed some of the the working patterns and methods of the censors. [more inside]
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 8:25 AM PST - 17 comments

The Dark Side of the Miss USA Pageant

Donald Trump trumpets the integrity of the Miss USA pageant. The truth is a bit different.
posted by reenum at 8:10 AM PST - 32 comments

The Minecraft Hue Project

The Minecraft Hue Project; It’s hard to find a compelling use case for the Philips Hue. But Jim Rutherford and his son hacked the wireless LED lightbulbs to be in sync with the day/night cycle in Minecraft. It creates an immersive setup and is actually useful as creepers start appearing at nighttime. (Via TechCrunch)
posted by R. Mutt at 8:03 AM PST - 32 comments

Your home is your castle.

The Castle Doctrine is the new "home invasion MMO" from cult game designer Jason Rohrer (previously: Sleep is Death, Passage, Chain World). It portrays a rather bleak world in which you must place traps to defend your home, family and life savings from an onslaught of burglars. At the same time, you must invade other players' homes to steal their life savings, in order to buy more expensive traps and tools. The more money you gain, the more attractive target your home is, so you better be clever in rigging up those traps. It's fiendish, brilliant, and currently open for public alpha at 50% of the full price. Rock Paper Shotgun has some early impressions: Part 1, Part 2.
posted by naju at 7:35 AM PST - 101 comments

Suburbia was our manufactured manifest destiny

The Top Ten Influences on the American Metropolis of the Past 50 Years [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:11 AM PST - 126 comments

iTunes in my Butt

cloud-to-butt is an open-source extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari that replaces all instances of "the cloud" with "my butt." Hilarity ensues. (via [more inside]
posted by schmod at 7:06 AM PST - 67 comments

Come Over Here And Say That

Anyone can act the Big Man on Twitter. But sometimes there are consequences.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 6:58 AM PST - 116 comments

Cinema Verite

How Americans live today. A video report describing the living conditions of modern Americans.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:33 AM PST - 37 comments

Hell of a handcart

"For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history." Low-tech magazine gives an illustrated overview of the history of the Chinese wheelbarrow. [Via]
posted by Abiezer at 5:33 AM PST - 45 comments

The Work Magazine Reprint Project

Brooklyn-based Tools for Working Wood are in the process of weekly reprinting every single issue of Work: An Illustrated Magazine of Practice and Theory on their blog, having just finished the first year. The original magazine's first issue was published March 23rd, 1889, and the blog is republishing 123 years after the original. [more inside]
posted by Harald74 at 5:16 AM PST - 6 comments

You can make a leopard chase its spots

Almost three years after the question was asked do big cats like catnip, science is finally ready to answer the followup question do big cats like chasing laser pointers? The answer may surprise you. Bonus question: can you fit a leopard in a cardboard box?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:15 AM PST - 32 comments

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