March 25, 2010
In 1954 the UK Atomic Energy Authority established a research campus at a distant, disused airfield in Caithness, Scotland. The mission: develop fast breeder reactor technology. In 1988, they chose to conclude the research and in 2000 to decommission the site. This 32-year cleanup now underway is chronicled at a most snazzy website... [more inside]
"she talked to me for a long time. she shared stories of staying in london and paris and that wonderful feeling that accompanies being there. she talked of gardening and music and even stress. we hit it off like old friends." .... Joshua Langlais spends a couple of hours every day looking for a stranger to talk with and photograph. He's done this every day since September 8, 2008. The results of his work can be seen at I ♥ Strangers. [more inside]
Creepy fairy-talish illustrations and animations of Gaston Vinas, including this horrifying (unofficial) Radiohead music video. NSFW.
Grandma and cat. Miyoko Ihara's award-winning photos of her 85-year-old grandma Misao and her cat Fukumaru. [more inside]
Hypnotize yourself with iamnotanartist.org's "animated gif paranoia". Bonus "interactive webcomic" [Flash/sound]. [via]
Julian Cope reviews Tom Lehrer. In case you haven't heard Julian Cope, this is he. In case you haven't heard Tom Lehrer, this is he.
Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire may sound like a dry website, but its subject and content is fascinating. In the 7th Century BC King Assurbanipal of Assyria built a library that was to contain all the world's knowledge. Destroyed by the Medes in 612 BC, the library was not rediscovered until the 1840s. 28000 clay tablets written in Akkadian have been found. 1600 can be read online, all translated into English. It's a somewhat overwhelming amount, but there's a lovely highlights section, which even includes pictures of the pillow-shaped writing tablets. For a thorough overview, you can listen to the In Our Time episode about the Library of Nineveh. The most famous text to have been found in Nineveh is undoubtedly the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story of its decipherment and the controversies that ensued, is interesting in its own right.
On his March 8th show Rush Limbaugh declared that if health care reform passed he would be getting his future heath care in Costa Rica. Mike and Patrick would like to buy him a ticket (as long as he doesn't come back). Enough money has already been raised, but if Rush refuses to go all monies will be donated to Planned Parenthood. (via and via)
"Those of us who are the firstborn always dream of that imaginary brother or sister who will be their protector, the buffer, the one to take the blows. I'm a firstborn, and Bob was the answer to my dreams. He was the big brother that all of us wish for." ~ Bill Cosby on his I-Spy co-star Robert Culp (79), who died of a heart attack yesterday after a fall outside his Hollywood Hills home [more inside]
Among nominations for the least-accurate political memoir ever written is Douglas Brinkley's suggestion: James Buchanan's wildly disingenuous "Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion" (1866). Buchanan had the gall to shirk all responsibility for the Civil War. He blamed everybody but himself for the dissolution of the Union. A pathetic memoir aimed at trying to exonerate himself from serial wrongheadedness and flatfooted policy initiatives. What Buchanan wrote was revisionist blather.
The creepy, weird and gory paintings and illustrations of Charlie Immer. (via the excellent art blog, Ink Mountain)
Jim Marshall, Rock ’n’ Roll Photographer, Dies at 74. The artist responsible for some of the most iconic photos in music history, died on March 24th, 2010.
Remember when Obama held an Internet 'town hall' meeting last March (previously)? Well Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, decided to participate in a decidedly similar "Internet town hall"-esque interview, with a public system for posting and voting on questions. The response was surprisingly similar both in terms of votes, and in terms of Harper's response (skip to 35:40) to the voters' primary concern. [more inside]
Andrew O’Hagan writes in the London Review of Books on the James Bulger murder. It really should be read in conjunction with his earlier piece from 1993 to fully appreciate his stance. Previously   [more inside]
The verdict of United States v. Russell Cletus Maricle et al. is in: all defendants have been found guilty by a Kentucky jury. What makes this case more interesting than your average vote rigging scheme is that this is the only one that involved electronic voting machines. [more inside]
Dennis Coffey was one of the most prolific Detroit session and solo guitarists. His revamped site features a couple phenomenal podcasts of his music and interviews.
Flash Mobs Take Violent Turn in Philadelphia
[H]undreds of teenagers have been converging downtown for a ritual that is part bullying, part running of the bulls: sprinting down the block, the teenagers sometimes pause to brawl with one another, assault pedestrians or vandalize property. . . . The flash mobs have raised questions about race and class. Most of the teenagers who have taken part in them are black and from poor neighborhoods. Most of the areas hit have been predominantly white business districts. In the flash mob on Saturday, groups of teenagers were chanting “black boys” and “burn the city,” bystanders said.Bill Wasik is not proud.
This article, about differences between male and female brains, is doing the rounds on various blogs. (I found it via reddit.) Meanwhile, debunkers are doing their best to rip the author a new asshole.
A year ago, Aaron Vargas walked into Darrell McNeil's trailer and shot him in the chest with a .44 caliber black powder revolver. For the next half hour, Vargas prevented McNeil's bewildered and horrified wife from calling the police while he watched McNeil die. Jury selection for Vargas's trial begins April 12th; the D.A. is seeking 50 years to life. Meanwhile, the citizens of Vargas's and McNeil's hometown - including McNeil's daughter, son, stepson, and aforementioned widow - have rallied together in support of justice for the victim. But he's not who you might think. (Some links may be NSFW.)
Affirmed evolution (and anti-intelligent design) biologist Francisco Ayala has won the 2010 Templeton Prize. In 1981, Ayala was a pivotal expert in overturning an Arkansas law that required the side-by-side teaching of creationism and evolution. Besides his nationally recognized work in evolution and genetics, the former Catholic priest has sought to reconcile evolution with religious belief, noting that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. [more inside]
Don't ever accept a Tequila shot from Fat Mike While performing as Cokie The Clown at SXSW this year, Fat Mike of NOFX made a lot of folks uncomfortable telling stories of his fucked up childhood, his mother's death, and of other crazy shit he allegedly witnessed and did throughout his life. The biggest "gag" of the evening involved Tequila. I imagine they would have been even more uncomfortable at one of these shows.
Molly Lives! Last night in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Theatre Company premiered Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. Kathleen Turner has taken on the role of the brassy Ivins. Turner knew Ivins personally and said "I liked Molly so much, and I liked the idea of keeping her alive, and being able to honor her." The script was written by twin sisters Alison and Margaret Engel, and based on Ivins' own words and writing.
In the 50's and 60's, more than a thousand sled dogs were slaughtered by RCMP officers and provincial police, some of them killed in ad hoc gas chambers. A recent report from retired Quebec judge Jean-Jacques Croteau states that Ottawa and Quebec should apologize and compensate the affected communities for 'turning a blind eye' to the slaughter. You can hear Makivik President, Pita Aatami talking about it on CBC's As It Happens
LE'tsGOstudio. (some videos are QT)