September 16, 2016
If you've ever wondered what railroad signals mean, you're in luck. Of course, Wikipedia and the resident railfan editors there have you covered, but there's so much more to it than a wall of text. [more inside]
Rest in peace, Don Buchla. The synthesizer pioneer is perhaps best known for the Buchla 200 and the Buchla Music Easel, both of which are still in use today. A thorough obit is in The Guardian, with smaller ones at FACT, Pitchfork, Thump, Resident Advisor, and FADER. The offical corporate history at Buchla and Associates also provides some useful background. [more inside]
With 52 days to go until the U.S. presidential election, the polls are tightening and some Democrats and Republicans are freaking out that Clinton might not win "this easy-ass election." (Nate Silver says we can wait a week before surrendering to panic.) [more inside]
Edward Albee has died at the age of 88. Albee's first play The Zoo Story, debuted in 1960 in Berlin, and was followed two years later by Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Albee received three Pulitzer Prizes for drama—for A Delicate Balance (1967), Seascape (1975), and Three Tall Women (1994). [more inside]
2016 National Book Awards Longlists: The National Book Award Finalists will be revealed on 10/13 and the Winners announced on 11/16. [more inside]
The mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is an Indo-Pacific species of octopus capable of impersonating other local species…The mimic octopus is the only currently known marine animal to be able to mimic such a wide variety of animals. Many animals can imitate a different species to avoid or intimidate predators, but the mimic octopus is the only one that can imitate as diverse a range of forms in order to elude predators. [more inside]
In 1969 Marty Feldman was quite successful, in the second year of his own hit skit comedy show, so BBC gave him an hour of prime time television for a reality-based show. The result was One Pair of Eyes, a personal look at comedy and writing, with guests including Barry Took, Peter Sellers, and Dudley Moore. In 2011, almost 30 years after Feldman's death, BBC looked back at the forgotten legend and "missing link" between the golden age of BBC Radio comedy, the hothouse of 1960s television comedy, and finally Hollywood in the documentary Marty Feldman: Six Degrees of Separation. For more, there's The Official Marty Feldman (fan)site, which has a ton of great content, and has been posting television clips and movies from Marty's career on Vimeo for almost a year. [more inside]
Aligot? It's a legendary blend of mashed potatoes, cheese, butter, cream, and garlic from the Aubrac region in France. Aligot en français. Aligot!
An interview with science journalist and educator Margaret Wertheim. The majority of readers of science magazines are well-off white men over 40. That's a fact. I think it's an oversight on the part of the science communication world, and I'm trying to do something about it. [more inside]
The new Republican mayor of Albuquerque has taken a different approach to panhandlers, and it seems to be working. "Throughout his administration, as part of a push to connect the homeless population to services, [Mayor Richard] Berry had taken to driving through the city to talk to panhandlers about their lives. His city’s poorest residents told him they didn’t want to be on the streets begging for money, but they didn’t know where else to go. Seeing that sign gave Berry an idea. Instead of asking them, many of whom feel dispirited, to go out looking for work, the city could bring the work to them." The article mentions how this is in such stark contrast to the overall trend in America to criminalize homelessness, which you can read more about in this report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Also: Infographic from PBS as well.
Nearly 40 years ago, the two Voyager spacecraft left Earth. Aboard each was a time capsule of humanity for extraterrestrials: a golden record containing sounds and images portraying the diversity of life and culture on Earth, including a diagram of DNA, greetings in 55 languages, a map of our solar system's position relative to stellar landmarks, the sound of a kiss, Louis Armstrong's "Melancholy Blues" and "Dark Was the Night -- Cold Was The Ground" by Blind Willie Johnson. Since culture and technology don’t stand still, Science Friday asks: "If humanity were to send another Golden Record to the stars, what would it contain?" An expert panel will review submissions from the public, and a new Golden Record will be unveiled on October 7. [more inside]
"A beer pipeline has been constructed in the Belgian city of Bruges, to replace the traditional method of transporting beer by tanker." "Four years in planning and five months in construction, the Halve Maan (Half Moon) brewery will officially open a pipe that will rid the historic city center and its tight cobbled lanes of beer-laden trucks weighing more than 40 tonnes." [more inside]
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has compiled a list of 100 objects that shaped public health, from the obvious (vaccines) to the less-so (horseshoe crab). Click the three parallel lines at the top right of the pictures to see the list in word form. (via Kottke)
In Sutton Bonington you can milk a cow or toss a sheaf, in Stoke Hammond admire tomatoes of a substantive nature, while Kelsale cum Carlton (real place) likes your rude vegetables (page 8) and Axmouth gives you the option of trimming your onions or not. Meanwhile, Barlaston has a vegimal category, Broomhill asks 'Are your buns even better than Nigella’s?' while in free-spirited Radcliffe on Trent, the Homemade Scones Bake Off has 'no rules'. At one extreme, Lambley Village have a Victoria Sponge category requiring three eggs, jam filling and caster sugar, while at the other Stretham simply wants 'Cake'. And Grimsargh? The inevitable category for 'An Unusual Shape Fruit or Vegetable!'. [more inside]
Tonight on HBO we find the
premiere continuance of High Maintenance [previously, also previously]. IndieWire has a review, and is pretty impressed.
There, visible on a video screen aboard their 24-foot boat, was the wreckage not of some long-lost schooner or ill-fated freighter, but rather a railroad locomotive. Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive 694, to be exact, which crashed into the lake from the cliffs above in a violent collision of metal and rock before sunrise on the morning of June 10, 1910.
"It was customary in the European Middle Ages, more precisely in the period of scholasticism which extended into early modern times, to designate the more celebrated among the doctors of theology and law by epithets or surnames which were supposed to express their characteristic excellence or dignity. The following list exhibits the principal surnames with the dates of death."
[A] fully functional, solid 18-karat-gold copy of a Kohler toilet [titled "America"] ... was installed in the humble restroom on the fifth-floor ramp of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum late last week and will be open for business to anyone with the urge on Friday.
The Museum of Modern Art has digitized a HUGE amount of material from past exhibitions. The history goes all the way back to the founding of MOMA in 1929. Exhibition catalogs are available for download as pdfs!
Reigns (for iOS, Android, and Steam): Called "Tinder for ruling a kingdom", make decisions as a king by swiping left or swiping right, while being careful to keep the church, the people, the army, and the treasury from getting either too weak or too powerful. You'll also romance courtesans, get lost in dungeons, die (often), and, if you're lucky, figure out why your family has been cursed by the devil.
“I see spin. I don’t see color. I don’t see red,” he said before a game with the Blue Jays. He thought for a second, though. “Maybe I do and I don’t think I do.” What can hitters actually see out of a pitcher's hand?
With a global mean temperature rise of 1.5℃ (video, direct .mp4 link) the Marshall Islands, site of the US's Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests, may disappear completely. With most islands just six feet above sea level and less than a mile wide the ring of atolls is already severely affected by climate change. ⅓ of all Marshall Islanders are believed to live in the US, although they may face deportation. In recent months the residents of the Pacific island nation have been advised to cease eating fish after elevated levels of PCBs were found in the waters around the US missile base on Kwajalein Atoll. Recently, very previously, previously, previously, personal anecdotes.