March 14, 2015
How hedge-fund mogul Tom Steyer is using his checkbook to punish climate-change deniers, persuade Obama to halt the Keystone XL pipeline, and try to save the planet. [more inside]
Eugene S. Patton, Sr., best known as "Gene Gene the Dancing Machine" on The Gong Show, has died at the age of 82. He had suffered from diabetes. [more inside]
September 8, 1934, the SS Morro Castle suffered a catastrophic fire, killing 135 people. Was a crewmember responsible?
The Bloods: Mutations, Chemistry and Flavor (PDF) Food writer and fruit detective David Karp covered blood oranges for Fruit Gardener, the magazine of the California Rare Fruit Growers .
The Long Twentieth Century by Drew Gilpin Faust [The New Yorker]
The American Civil War anticipated transformations often attributed to the years between 1914 and 1918.This essay is adapted from the Rede Lecture, which was delivered, earlier this year, at Cambridge University.
Photos that are too hard to keep "The following is a selection from the Too Hard to Keep submissions Jason Lazarus has received in the past year—responses to a request for photographs deemed too difficult to hold on to by their owners." A photo gallery from Vice. NSFW, some images disturbing. [more inside]
An electric door at the University of Mainz in Germany breaks down, setting off an exuberant meme-off. Because "One does not simply inform...the Techniker" . [more inside]
"In July 1960, Jane Goodall boarded a boat, and after a few hours motoring over the warm, deep waters of Lake Tanganyika, she stepped onto the pebbly beach at Gombe. Last summer, almost exactly 54 years later, Jane Goodall was standing on the same beach. The vast lake was still warm, the beach beneath her clear plastic sandals still pebbly. But nearly everything else in sight was different."
The classics are still kicking, but Yo La Tengo promises to murderize them yet again. For the next not quite 3 hours, Yo La Tengo will be playing their annual marathon / pledgeathon for freefrom station WFMU. Listen! Previously. PLAYING RIGHT NOW: LOVE TRAIN.
"Show me another black man with a missing a penis and maybe we'll have something to talk about," Deputy DA Owens told the court. // Writing for The Intercept, Jordan Smith details the story of a woman, Kirstin Lobato, who was convicted for the brutal murder of a homeless man in Las Vegas. According to those who are working for Lobato's release, it is a "perfect storm of wrongful conviction. Everything that possibly could have been done incorrectly was done incorrectly." [NSFW: graphic descriptions]
That's the argument made by Ben Thomas earlier this week. Thomas charges that overenthusiastic viral sharing of half-baked scientific projects can make it more difficult for more well-planned projects to achieve success, particularly when high-profile crowdfunded projects go on to flop badly. Worse, the public backlash when real, messier science fails to live up to the flashy, unrealistic claims that media and social media hype blows up can have repercussions even for scientists who are funded by traditional grants. Signe Cane has a useful criticism of Thomas' piece with advice for non-specialists on how to try to separate cool things in real scientific work from cool things that are mostly hype and exaggerations. On the flip side of crowdfunding, Jacquelyn Gill shares her experience of using crowdfunding to fund her scientific research, ultimately concluding that it was a hell of a lot of work for relatively minimal payout. And Terry McGlynn, another ecologist, expresses some reservations about the effects of crowdfunding and other publicly marketed initiatives on science more broadly.
The goofy, lofi math music of Al G. Bra and friends: Pi Girl — Say That Funky Number, Math Guy — Mathonna's Mathematical Girl. Plus: a trailer for math thriller Live and Let Pi, featuring the title track by Paul DesCartney.
Now there is Google Feud. Alas, mugging for the camera by Steve Harvey not included.
"Don Draper lived on hard drives for half a decade before anybody paid him any notice. In 1999, Matthew Weiner, then an unfulfilled writer on CBS' Ted Danson sitcom Becker, spent his every off-hour doing research on the 1960s: what people wore, how they decorated their offices, what they ate and drank -" The story of how Mad Men went from a risky pitch to an unknown network to one of the most popular and celebrated dramas of the decade. (Hollywood Reporter) Bonus: Ten Mad Men Characters we need to see again. (Vulture)
There Is No ‘Proper English’. From Oliver Kamm of The Times:
It’s a perpetual lament: The purity of the English language is under assault. These days we are told that our ever-texting teenagers can’t express themselves in grammatical sentences. The media delight in publicizing ostensibly incorrect usage. A few weeks ago, pundits and columnists lauded a Wikipedia editor in San Jose, Calif., who had rooted out and changed no fewer than 47,000 instances where contributors to the online encyclopedia had written “comprised of” rather than “composed of.” Does anyone doubt that our mother tongue is in deep decline?
Well, for one, I do. It is well past time to consign grammar pedantry to the history books.[more inside]
The Chinchorro mummies are found in northern Chile and southern Peru; the oldest of them date to thousands of years before the first Egyptian mummies. Some of them mummified naturally, but most were intentionally mummified. The hot, arid conditions of the Atacama desert aided in this process. However, these mummies are now the latest victims of climate change, as increased humidity encourages bacterial growth that is transforming them into black ooze.
A 500-mile solo hike cured my loneliness
It seemed reasonable to assume that trekking alone for 500 miles, in areas with no cell phone reception and few other hikers, might leave me lonelier than ever.Willow Belden writes on hiking alone in the always-connected digital age, reflecting on her time on the Colorado Trail. If hiking alone sounds like something you'd enjoy, you should probably start out a bit smaller and work up, and there are plenty of tips and guides for solo hiking and general hiking/outdoor safety (examples from Hiking Dude, Solo Friendly, Boundary Waters Canoe Area on solo backpacking, Snow Shoe Magazine on snow shoeing alone, a broad guide to hiking safety from Hiking Cape Townand a general guide to trekking in winter), but watch out for people touting adventure through irresponsible practices. Tell people where you're going and what you're doing, and if you get lost, stop, think, observe and plan to make sure you are thinking clearly and acting logically.
But loneliness and being alone are two different things. During the five weeks I spent on the trail, I felt less lonely than I have in years.
Fantasywire: wire sculptures with a twist
Inspired by an inexplicable real life encounter, these galvanised or stainless wire sculptures make the perfect statement piece for the bottom of any garden. Every fairy is a handmade sculpture uniquely crafted to your desired pose and installation requirements.[more inside]
If we were to pick a Person Of The Year for 2014, I think it would be pretty obvious that it would have to be Raina Telgemeier who absolutely ruled the roost with the #1, 3 and 5th best-selling books ("Sisters," "Smile," and "Drama") through BookScan. And it is fairly certain that this is just the tip of the iceberg, as the New York Times reports that "Sisters" has printed more than 1.4 million copies so far, and it only came out in August of 2014!Raina Telgemeier, who on her own is responsible for 3.6 percent of all book sales reported through Bookscan, isn't the only one making a success of comics aimed at kids: the majority of the top 20 bestselling graphic novels are aimed at kids, Brian Hibbs shows.
Frontera! Revolt and Rebellion on the Rio Grande (20:06; 2014) is an experimental animated documentary that briefly describes the Narváez, de Niza, Coronado, and Oñate expeditions en route to an account of Po'pay and the Pueblo Revolt. It features music by Greg Landau ("Women of the City" with Omar Sosa) with lyrics and vocals by Deuce Eclipse (SoundCloud; "Que Pasa" with J-Boogie).
Kutiman (previously) has released Thru Tel Aviv, this time with a tool that allows you to create your own remixes.