June 19, 2007
A Field Guide to Chess Tactics. Chess tactics explained in plain English, with hundreds of examples. A great site for beginning to mid-level players. Includes a large library of positional problems, organized thematically, with the solutions explained and discussed. For example, learn about knight forks, then quiz yourself on the same topic.
Parting the Veil of Faery: The Colmore Fatagravures, said to date from the 1890s. "A Scottish adventurer, inventor, and photographer named Neville Colmore claimed to have constructed a device capable of '...parting the veil of Faery...' The device, which he called the Spectobarathrum, along with all of the images he claimed to have made were believed destroyed in a fire. I believe some of these images and related artefacts may have survived." [via Apothecary's Drawer]
Google went solar yesterday! Google's PV solar system went live yesterday (or at least the stats page did.) Also, they converted 100 Priuses to plug-in electric vehicles, to be recharged by the PV solar panels. Pictures.
Bane of My Existence is a very observant and well done record of idiocy for future historians by illustrator Rod Filbrandt. You of course, are nothing like these drawings. The rest of his blog is pretty good to poke around too. (via Drawn)
Everyone knows about Fabio, but he's just one in a large stable of studs used as romance novel cover models. Ladies, meet 'Sicilian sweetheart' Anthony Catanzaro (warning: music), a paperback cover model and so, so much more. Of course, even he wouldn't be where he is today without the illustrators of those bodice-ripping covers.
Turns out that Golden Globe-winning actress Natalie Portman (formerly known as Natalie Hershlag) is quite an accomplished scholar. In addition to being a Harvard psychology student, she worked in Dr. Abigail Baird's research lab and was the co-author of a peer-reviewed journal article investigating the neuroscience underlying the development of object permanence in infants. Quite impressive, in an age where Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons dominate the headlines.
'You Can't See Why on an fMRI.' Brian Doherty explores the vagaries of the insanity defense, centering on the sad cases of Andrea Yates and Eric Clark.
Captain Beefheart's 10 rules for guitarists are also useful life rules for anyone: " Never Point Your Guitar At Anyone: Your instrument has more power than lightning. Just hit a big chord, then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.."
Paul Jay of the self-styled "Real News" plays Twenty Questions with himself... "We have a full time staff now of fourteen. We have raised about five million dollars over the last three years, and we still have most of it..." That's how television producer and filmmaker Paul Jay starts off, and like an energizer bunny, he just keeps on going. He makes a compelling argument.. or does he? Guess that's entirely up to you. mentioned previously on MeFi about two years ago. [more inside]
Positive self-deception is a normal In 1988, psychologists Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown published an article making the somewhat disturbing claim that positive self-deception is a normal and beneficial part of most people’s everyday outlook.
The cavity magnetron is the secret weapon that saved Britain in World War II. In 1946, Dr. Percy Spencer stood too close to a magneton and invented the microwave oven.
Cooking Master Boy (中華一番) is food-related TV that you might enjoy. There is more information about the show on Wikipedia.
The city of Sao Paulo passed an ordinance last year banning outdoor advertising; photographer Tony de Marco has been documenting the skeletal remains of the advertising infrastructure throughout the city; the impact looks like the aftermath of a new type of atomic weapon that targets marketing but leaves buildings & people unscathed.
The Interrogation Documents - a collection of available records relating to U.S. interrogation policies. (via) (previously)
These women are supposed to disgust you into buying low-fat yogurt.
John Hodgman [fantastic youtubed interview], author, expert, oathster and yes, electronics impersonator, blogs jury duty. Amusement ensues.
"Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so. So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes. ... I don't care about holding people. I really don't." Justice Scalia on 24 and torture. 24 and torture previously.
The Vatican's new document - "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" - contains 10 Commandments for Drivers.
Reviews of Dating Tips...? Comic book review blog Hoopla! takes a break from the funny books and instead reviews internet dating tips. Much hilarity ensues.
"Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone"
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has refused to rate Manhunt 2, Rockstar Games' latest controversial offering, effectively banning it from sale in the United Kingdom. This surprising decision comes only weeks before the game's July 10th release date. The last game to be blocked from sale in the UK was the 1997 classic Carmageddon. Appeal remains a possibility for Rockstar, “although it sometimes takes up to two months to get this happening.”
Todd Alcott, a screenwriter and Livejournaller, just sat down and watched every Bond film from Dr No to Die Another Day.
“Thirty-six characters from different stages of life - representations of different times - interact in one room, moving in loops, observed by a static camera. I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece”[ source]: Zbig Rybczynski on the making of his award winning (and much imitated) animation "Tango "(YT, mildly NSFW).
Vieuphoria -- released in 1994 by the Smashing Pumpkins, this VHS video documents Billy Corgan and company just as they were on the verge of becoming megastars. Some clips from youtube: The Pumpkins in therapy and performing Mayonaisse, Disarm, Quiet, Soma , Cherub Rock, Today , Geek City USA, and the epic Silverfuck. And a bonus classic Pumpkins performance -- Drown
Sir Salman Rushdie versus the Republic of Pakistan. Rushdie is not one to shy from confrontation (previously) - he's a grand master of the fine art* of the literary feud, sparring with notables including Germaine Greer, John Updike, John Le Carre and (briefly) Martin Amis.
The Failed States Index 2007. Iraq is now ranked as the world's second most unstable country, behind Sudan. [Via Newshoggers.]