April 16, 2016
Four experts talked to the BBC World Service Inquiry programme, which was published on March 24th, about how to make earthquake-prone cities safer. More people may be asking that question in the wake of the major earthquake that struck earlier today, April 16, in Ecuador and the twin earthquakes that hit Japan on April 15 and April 16. US residents have reason to worry as well. [more inside]
What did Americans know as the Holocaust unfolded? How did they respond? A new initiative of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, "History Unfolded" is using crowdsourcing to scour newspapers across the country for articles that ran between 1933 and 1945 on the plight of Europe’s Jews. The project focuses on 20 historical events from the time period. [more inside]
"The most unappreciated and undervalued forms of technological labour are also the most ordinary: those who repair and maintain technologies that already exist, that were ‘innovated’ long ago....We can think of labour that goes into maintenance and repair as the work of the maintainers, those individuals whose work keeps ordinary existence going rather than introducing novel things." Innovation is overrated: "Hail the Maintainers," an essay by Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell.
This is not just a remarkable run; it is literally a singular one. No other woman or man unaided by a franchise in the last five years has emerged from nowhere to become such a completely dependable movie star, appearing in one successful film after another and regularly creating product that turns a profit, while maintaining a successful foothold in TV as well.
Left Handed Kisses a duet between Andrew Bird and Fiona Apple, also a live version on the Ellen show. [more inside]
The Raycat Solution is a 15 minute documentary by Benjamin Huguet about an idea proposed in 1981 by philosophers Françoise Bastide and Paolo Fabbri that by genetically engineering cats to be living Geiger counters, we could create a warning system for radioactive waste that would last at least ten thousand years. The idea languished for decades until Matthew Kielty did a feature on it for the 99% Invisible Podcast in 2014 [previously on MeFi]. Now biologist Kevin Chen is trying to bring the Ray Cat Solution to life.
Gerard Caye is a YouTube calligrapher. Working with a quill, he does alphabets and more complicated work. [more inside]
Shoes - ten years ago Liam Kyle Sullivan created "Shoes", one of the first viral hits of the YouTube era featuring his Midwestern teen girl character Kelly. Now he sits down with Vice to talk about YouTube fame, touring, how it came about, and what came after.
These days, we respond to the question [how was your weekend] with a look of puzzled amnesia. Did we do anything? “Not really,” we say. “It was pretty uneventful.” We furrow our brows trying to remember key events, but nothing comes to mind. It’s as though the last two days have elapsed in a narcotized, undifferentiated blur. A leisure-time blackout. We still have fun — probably? — we just have no clue how it happened. [slnyt]
Meet Nora! The Columbus Zoo's newest baby polar bear received her name in February. She's grown up a bit, and now ready for her public debut at about five months. See Nora frolicking in the yard. previously
With all the focus today on the problems in the Middle East, it's easy to forget that for most of the 20th century, Europe was the central US foreign policy problem and the source of massive wars that cost millions of lives. The solution to this problem was European integration — a heavily American project, in large part because it served US interests so well.
Hundreds of documents uncovered by the Center for International Environmental Law have push back the record of oil industry knowledge on climate change by decades, and have now been published on the Internet: Smoke and Fumes. [more inside]