May 19, 2009

The Sunni Awakening

Heads in the Sand. "The so-called Sunni Awakening, in which American forces formed tactical alliances with local sheikhs, has been credited with dampening the insurgency in much of Iraq. But new evidence suggests that the Sunnis were offering the same deal as early as 2004—one that was eagerly embraced by commanders on the ground, but rejected out of hand at the highest levels of the Bush administration."
posted by homunculus at 8:08 PM PST - 35 comments

LRB Blog

The London Review of Books, the most politically radical of the high-end literary review magazines, now has a blog. It is being updated two or three times a day with pretty substantial posts by the LRB's regular stable of swanky essayists: Diski on the parliamentary expenses scandal, O'Hagan on Michael Savage, and lots and lots from Thomas Jones, who seems to be in charge.
posted by stammer at 5:09 PM PST - 31 comments

"I started the movement with the firm resolve that I will never be caught alive by the enemy. That has spread down the ranks."

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the elusive and ruthless leader (timeline, short bio) of the violent separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been reportedly killed in battle by the Sri Lankan Army (self-loading video) [more inside]
posted by shoebox at 4:56 PM PST - 57 comments

Fathom Me This, Batman!

It's a bit difficult to give context to Fathom without ruining the fun of the game, but I daresay it's worth your time. A bit more here, and the comments there seem to offer a few useful hints if you're getting too frustrated.
posted by WCityMike at 4:38 PM PST - 44 comments

Is it the suit?

Today FINA, swimming's international body, released a list of approved suits. And with that, swimming took its first step towards sanity or towards ruin, depending on where you stand. Since the approval of Speedo's LZR Racer before the Olympics and concomitant widespread destruction of world records, the swim community has been riven by the suits: Are they too much aid or are they just a technical improvement, like when tennis moved beyond the wooden racket? The debate is best catalyzed by the case of Fred Bousquet, first man under 19s in 50 yards and under 21s in 50 meters. Attacked by anti-suit zealot Craig Lord of SwimNews, Bousquet's coach fires back in a blog whose comments themselves do a great job of demonstrating the divide. (Lord responds.) [more inside]
posted by dame at 4:35 PM PST - 59 comments

Man saves ducklings from ledge

Man saves ducklings from ledge (video begins after short ad)
posted by Anything at 2:58 PM PST - 60 comments

Subway Time Maps

Triptrop NYC: Subway Time Maps — Plug in an address in New York City, and Triptrop generates a super slick looking map of how long it takes to get anywhere on the subway. And maybe you're moving? Then plug not one but two addresses into the comparison version and see which one gets you where you want to go. [via mefi projects]
posted by netbros at 2:31 PM PST - 15 comments

Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt, Available in Various Sizes

Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt, Available in Various Sizes
She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt ... There is one thing, though, and that is that whenever I wear the wolf shirt I have a lot less issues with involuntary urination ... You are the wolf pack leader ... If you like it then you better put a wolf shirt on ... If you are planning on spending exactly $9.14 on yourself this year, this better be the purchase ... Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.
posted by swift at 2:08 PM PST - 64 comments

Across The Night

A time lapse video of the night sky as it passes over the 2009 Texas Star Party in Fort Davis, Texas. The galactic core of the Milky Way is brightly displayed.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:32 PM PST - 67 comments

Art Project Slags Art School!

An art student project slags the art school administration. (SLYT) An art student at the San Francisco Art Institute snuck a short film into the MFA show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that raised cheers from the packed audience. A black and white film, hand processed in Coca Cola, that portrayed the Art Institute as a ghost town and shamed the administration by name in calling attention to the fact that they are gutting the faculty and stealing valuable resources from students.
posted by njohnson23 at 1:30 PM PST - 65 comments

How to get sued part [n] : Post about Harlan Ellison

Dreams With Sharp Teeth – clips from a Sundance Channel documentary on science fiction writer (and somewhat litigious colourful character) Harlan Ellison. Harlan says pay the writer. (via)
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM PST - 101 comments

Meet the missing link.

Meet Ida, the missing link. "Ida is the most complete early primate fossil ever found, and scientists believe that she could be one of our earliest ancestors. She is a remarkable link between the first primates and modern humans and despite having lived 47 million years ago, her features show striking similarities to our own."
posted by HumanComplex at 12:01 PM PST - 51 comments

When Steam Wasn't Punk.

The Brazen Android by William Douglas O'Connor, is a 19th century science fiction story based on the myth of the Brazen Head, a steam-powered head that told fortunes. It's available as an audio book from the Internet Archives. (Via)
posted by The Whelk at 11:41 AM PST - 18 comments

nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'

Jumping on the Star Trek bandwagon with both feet and wearing a tiara, Sophos has just released their Klingon Anti-Virus product. It is available in either native Klingon or English for wimps.

This software has compatibility issues with the version of msxml4.dll used by cloaking devices on Romulan-modded D7-class battle cruisers. Installing this software on such vessels is punishable by ordeal of Ginst'a'Ed.
posted by jim in austin at 9:45 AM PST - 35 comments

Twits and giggles

Tweet your movements. - The cycle is complete. [via]
posted by Burhanistan at 9:23 AM PST - 51 comments

You have to be rich to be poor

The High Cost of Poverty : The Washington Post explores why the cost of living is proportionately higher in poor areas. Double Jeopardy: Why the Poor Pay More (pdf): a report on payday loans, the cost of homeownership, medical debt, and banking in poor communities.
posted by desjardins at 8:38 AM PST - 230 comments

Summer's coming. Time for invisible dye.

Sunscreen's a pain, but sunburn is worse. UV-protective clothing is expensive and not to everyone's taste. Instead, treat your own cotton, rayon, or silk clothing to make it sun-protective. Some clothing is inherently protective, but you can easily burn right through a new shirt, especially if it gets wet. A couple of boxes of either of two different brands of a wash-in UVA/UVB blocker will invisibly increase the SPF of a whole washer-load of clothing from 5 to 30 (repeat for an SPF of 50). The stuff wears off after a season's worth of launderings, so use a permanent marker to note the year of treatment inside the collars.
posted by Ery at 8:20 AM PST - 52 comments

Blending the Elements of Hip Hop

Hip hop is made of four elements: Deejaying and turntablism, Emceeing (rapping and freestyling), Breaking (more previously), and Graffiti. And don't forget beatboxing (more), which blends turntablism and emceeing. But what if you can't make the wikka-wikka sounds with your mouth? You could learn from others, or you could dust off your flute with Nathan Lee, or bust out your sousaphone with Nat McIntosh (formerly with Youngblood Brass Band (interviewed on NPR), now with Dallas Brass).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:54 AM PST - 19 comments

Be all that you can be

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that military scientists tested hundreds of chemical and biological substances on them, including VX, tabun, soman, sarin, cyanide, LSD, PCP, and World War I-era blister agents like phosgene and mustard. The full scope of the tests, however, may never be known. As a CIA official explained to the GAO, referring to the agency's infamous MKULTRA mind-control experiments, "The names of those involved in the tests are not available because names were not recorded or the records were subsequently destroyed." Besides, said the official, some of the tests involving LSD and other psychochemical drugs "were administered to an undetermined number of people without their knowledge."
posted by Joe Beese at 6:52 AM PST - 42 comments

I, Zombie

Colin is a new British horror film told from a Zombie's point of view. It was made for £45 and apparently it went down well at Cannes . Peter Jackson's first film Bad Taste did a similar thing. This documentary features Jackson's parents talking about taking the film to France.
posted by debord at 1:47 AM PST - 90 comments

Discover Your Inner Frankenstein

"In Massachusetts, a young woman makes genetically modified E. coli in a closet she converted into a home lab. A part-time DJ in Berkeley, Calif., works in his attic to cultivate viruses extracted from sewage. In Seattle, a grad-school dropout wants to breed algae in a personal biology lab. These hobbyists represent a growing strain of geekdom known as biohacking, in which do-it-yourselfers tinker with the building blocks of life in the comfort of their own homes." They might be discovering cures for diseases or developing new biofuels, but are their experiments too risky? Via. [more inside]
posted by amyms at 12:23 AM PST - 102 comments

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