June 12, 2015
Americans ruin their jokes with two simple letters. Miserable twits. I can’t abide “just kidding.” It’s an exculpatory waiver, a spoiler alert, which bludgeons spontaneity. It regulates humour, robbing us of the joy of discovering it ourselves. Surely we can discern shades of seriousness, unaided.
Here goes the 787-9 --- in a near vertical take-off The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is no tiny flower. The plane holds 280 passengers, has a nearly 200-foot (about 60-meter) wingspan and is over 200 feet in length. It's smaller than a 747, but you still might expect it to be a lumbering creature, raising itself into the air in a gentle arc. The 787-9 is turning out to be the acrobat of the Boeing family. Boeing released a promotional video Thursday that shows off the plane's chops. The most stunning stunt is a near-vertical takeoff featuring the jet cruising along the runway and then climbing into the sky at a startling angle. It's the sort of thing that would have passengers clinging to their seat arms. [more inside]
The day before House Democrats defeated President Barack Obama's request for fast-track authority on trade agreements, The New Yorker's William Finnegan examines the strange bedfellows the Trans-Pacific Partnership has led to and asks Why Does Obama Want This Trade Deal So Badly?
@deathmedieval is a bot that tweets lines from coroner's rolls in England between 1200 and 1500 AD. (related)
Do Androids Dream Of Cooking? The following recipes are sampled from a trained neural net. Happy cooking!
Fans of Richard Pryor (previously) may be interested in a new, free online archive devoted to providing a peek at the Illinois town where the comedian spent his first two decades. “Richard Pryor’s Peoria,” a collaboration between biographer Scott Saul and Stanford University’s Spatial History Project, "digitally unites 200 primary sources—from aerial maps of Pryor’s hometown to his elementary school report cards—for anyone with an internet connection to explore. The site ... presents one of the first full-fledged extensions of a traditional biography onto the web—an affirmation of historian Edward L. Ayers’s suggestion that “history may be better suited to digital technology than any other humanistic discipline.”
Jenny Diski's End Notes A profile of (formerly) Mefi's own, Jenny Diski, and her diagnosis of inoperable lung cancer. [more inside]
Terry Pratchett's daughter declares The Shepherd's Crown will be the last Discworld novel. [The Guardian] [Books]
Terry Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna has brought down the curtain on her father’s Discworld novels, declaring that she will not write any more herself, nor give anyone else permission to do so. The comic novels set in a world balanced on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle are “sacred to dad”, she said. The author, videogame and comics writer told a fan last week that her late father’s forthcoming novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, featuring teenage witch Tiffany Aching, would be the final Discworld book. And asked by a fan if she would be continuing the series herself, she ruled out the possibility. “No. I’ll work on adaptations, spin-offs, maybe tie-ins, but the books are sacred to dad,” she wrote on Twitter. “That’s it. Discworld is his legacy. I shall make my own.” She added: “To reiterate – no I don’t intend on writing more Discworld novels, or giving anyone else permission to do so.”[more inside]
‘I shot against Daddy, all men, small men, tall men, big men, fat men, men, my brother, society, the church, the convent, school, my family, my mother, all men, daddy, myself, men. I shot because it was fun and made me feel great. I shot because I was fascinated watching the painting bleed and die…’— Niki de Saint Phalle. [more inside]
On Medium's Cuepoint, MC Big Data analyzed data from all rap lyrics available on Rap Genius to determine the most popular ride in Hip Hop. [more inside]
Sir Tim Hunt FRS, who received the The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001 for "discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle" has resigned from his positions as Honorary Professor at University College London and member of the Royal Society's Biological Sciences Awards Committee after making controversial comments at the 2015 World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul. He said: "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls ... three things happen when they are in the lab ... You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry." [more inside]
"A bright and shining example of America's modern, young, middle-class housewife is Jane Amberg, 32, of Kankakee, Ill., married and the mother of three." Mrs. Amberg's daily round of work was detailed in photographs in the LIFE article "Occupation: Housewife." See also Mashable. [more inside]
I want to demonstrate how amazing combinatorial explosion is! Please don't stop me. An animation about numbers that get large. It has a happy ending and possibly even a moral. [more inside]
How Isis crippled al-Qaida - the rift within the jihadi movement.
Are the Koch brothers creating a shadow voter list to outmaneuver the RNC? Or is it not that big of a deal? Regardless, I get a little choked up when I see an article so thorough and informative--evidence of why a free press and relative transparency in government are so important.
Deer using dog door (SLYT)
Now, some organic farmers contend that Whole Foods is quietly using its formidable marketing skills and its credibility with consumers to convey that conventionally grown produce is just as good — or even better — than their organically grown products. Shoppers can choose from fruits and vegetables carrying the designation of “good,” “better” or “best.”
Manhattan 11031 A.D (SL New Yorker humor)
Ottawa, June 1990. Alanis, 16, licence in hand, car on the brain, has signed her first record deal. She is now using her MCA money to buy a white Volkswagen Cabriolet. There’s a catch, though. She can’t get the vanity plate she wants, her manager won’t let her. “Why not?” she whines. “First of all, you’re 16,” Klovan says, “and you’re Canada’s pop princess.” So when Alanis drives to the studio, her virgin-coloured “Barbie” car displays a generic mix of numbers and letters instead of singing out the one word she wants it to: RAUNCH.--Alanis Morissette, before the making of Jagged Little Pill.
Trials HD was a dirtbike game released for the XBox in 2009, the third game in the Trials series. It featured a truly arcane easter egg/riddle. For the successor Trials Evolution, the designers needed something more, enter the Trials Evolution Riddle, a puzzle spanning four continents and 100 years.
In the alpine grasslands of eastern Africa, Ethiopian wolves and gelada monkeys are giving peace a chance. The geladas – a type of baboon – tolerate wolves wandering right through the middle of their herds, while the wolves ignore potential meals of baby geladas in favour of rodents, which they can catch more easily when the monkeys are present.The New Scientist reports on gelada monkeys domesticating wolves, as discovered by primatologist Vivek Venkataraman.