January 12, 2010
Modigliani yourself, and other transformations.
“Muscles like melons – and a fantastic amount of puff!” Using vintage Blue Peter footage as your board, play the classic parlour game Gay or Foppish British Television Presenter? (SLYT. Via)
Alanis Obomsawin is a Canadian filmmaker and Officer of the Order of Canada, perhaps best known for her 1993 film Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance. During the Oka Crisis, Obomsawin spent 78 days and nights filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army. Previously.
The Disposable Worker - "In contrast with the past, what is good for America's global corporations is no longer necessarily good for the American people." (single-page print version) [more inside]
"Two for the road is an online editing experiment based on the aesthetic and composition of two photographs co-existing in the same space."
Herbie Hancock delivers a TED Talk. Not much talking, plenty of jamming. Marcus Miller and Harvey Mason accompany Hancock. Check out the monster Watermelon Man that starts around fourteen minutes in.
"The suicidal dietary choices of so many poor people are the result of a problem, not the problem itself. The solution lies in an education that will propel students into a higher economic class, where they will live better and therefore eat better." So argues Caitlin Flanagan in the pages of The Atlantic against Alice Waters' idea that school curricula ought to teach children where food comes from and how to grow it (see The Edible Schoolyard).
Hoops, bellydance, circus, burlesque, fire, LEDs, staff, rainbows - what else could you fit in one performance? (SL
In an age where baseball heroes are reviled as frauds, one player's reputation remains secure. His won-loss record and career ERA set standards that will never be matched; the same is true for the character he displayed on and off the mound. But, unbelievable as it may seem, no one has ever set down the exhaustive account of this lion of the diamond. Until now. Charlie Brown's career statistics, 1951-1960. Charlie Brown's career statistics, 1961-1970. Previously on MetaFilter: action-packed four-panel drawings of some of Charlie's greatest games, with material from his personal life as well.
Voice Throwin' Blues: On June 14, 1929 in Richmond, Indiana, Walter "Buddy Boy" Hawkins recorded the first, best and possibly only ventriloquist blues song.
"Ontologiam seu scientiam de Aliquo et Nihilo, Ente et Non ente, Re et modo rei, Substantia et Accidente." - Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). [more inside]
Multitrack a cappella (mostly) videos feature the same person layering multiple harmonies to sing a song. The results can be incredible: "Thriller" in 64 voices, "You Rock My World" in 38 voices, "Baby on Board" from the barbershop quartet episode of The Simpsons, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", falsetto-tastic "Amazing Grace", "Poker Face", ... [more inside]
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake centered near Port-au-Prince, Haiti has caused major devastation. (CNN link). [more inside]
"When the car would stop and the engine would cease, the player would also die away. The tape of the cassette motionless. [...] Stationary and in silence, we saw black. The world as it was. Nothing." A collection of early American black metal, including Haxan, Akitsa, and Ancestors. Compiled from tapes, hiss and all. [more inside]
Official Google Blog: In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different ... ... we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists ... ... We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.
Nakatomi Space: On Die Hard, walking through walls, and the Israeli Army.
"Pile is a new, radically relationist approach to data, structures and computing" invented by Erez Elul and supported by Peter Krieg (obit, much more in German here) promised much. In 2000, a company was founded (pilesys on archive.org), later a book was published ("The paranoid machine", by Peter Krieg.) [more inside]
On January 11, 2010, Canon David Parrott blessed laptop computers and mobile phones during the Plow Monday service at St Lawrence Jewry Church in the City of London. Plough Monday is the traditional start of the English agricultural year, and the Church was involved with blessing of tools for the coming year. Before it was involved with church services, Plough Monday was a time for folk plays and dancing (associated with other Mummers plays), with regional variations. Some new Molly Dancers have revived the traditions, complete with plow. There were also races to see who would start their work the earliest, to show their readiness to commence the labors of the year. So sing out now and walk your plough (or play a ring tone on your mobile phone). [more inside]
Blade Runner will prove invincible My life and creative work are justified and completed by BLADE RUNNER. Thank you..and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible. (via Letters of Note) [more inside]
Wolfire Games (Lugaru, Black Shades) is blogging the creation of their next game, Overgrowth. Every aspect of the design process, from the technical to the creative, is thoroughly detailed and illustrated, with new articles appearing every few days. In addition, every preorder grants access to the alpha version and editing tools, which are updated on a weekly basis. A great source of information if you're interested in contemporary game design! (Bonus: Wolfire and Unknown Worlds are currently selling a bundled preorder for Overgrowth and Natural Selection 2 for $40 [70% off], but only for 20 more hours!) [more inside]
The Forests of Mars featuring an avalanche on another planet. From the Bad Astronomy Blog. [more inside]
The Calculus Lifesaver lectures -- videos available here in streaming (Real Player), mp4 and wmv formats -- were originally given as "review sessions for the Princeton introductory calculus courses MAT103 and MAT104 during the 2006/7 academic year". Each lecture is about 2 hours.
Simulated U.S. Government Agency Responses to Vampire-Americans "Every spring, [the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce] runs a policy simulation designed to illustrate the difficulty of operating an organization in the context of asymmetric and limited information. Every fall, I run a two hour mini-simulation designed to give students a sense of how the larger simulation will play out. ... Since vampires seem to be in the news lately, this year I chose a vampire oriented scenario."
The Kids in The Hall are returning to CBC tonight with an 8-part murder mystery miniseries, "Death Comes To Town." Trailer. Death hops off a bus in the small town of Shuckton, Ontario, wearing a codpiece and a vest once worn by The Friendly Giant. Murder, mayhem, and hilarity are sure to ensue. Excellent interview with Scott Thompson on the history of the group, Buddy Cole (Previously on Mefi), and dealing with his own mortality while undergoing chemotherapy during the writing and production of the series. Sorry, non-Canadians, although negotiations are said to be underway, there are no known plans to broadcast the series outside the country.
"Early in the Iraq War, it cost taxpayers $100,000 per year to insure a civilian contractor who was paid $100,000 per year. So the insurance was the same amount as the salary." "Another very peculiar part of this particular story is that because of another law, the U.S. actually reimburses the insurance companies for any civilians who are injured in a combat situation. So at the very end, the insurance company will ultimately submit the bill to the U.S. government, and they will get paid back for any injury involving a combat wound." "Let me ask a stupid question: What is the point of the insurance company if taxpayers are paying for the premium and then also paying for the medical bill?" [more inside]
The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine Canada's second-oldest magazine, published since 1920, will be changing its name because in this age of electronic communications its emails keep getting removed by spam filters.
The Baffler, storied zine of cultural and political analysis and criticism, is back, and excerpts of the latest issue are now online, including a review of Rod Blagojevich's memoir by Matt Taibbi, as well as articles by Christian Parenti and Walter Benn Michaels. [more inside]
Astonishingly frank conversations with Illeana Douglas, Bronson Pinchot, Alan Thicke, and today's post starring Sparkle Motion's own Beth Grant, courtesy of Random Roles. The regular A.V.Club feature invites actors to expound on some of their memorable (or memorably obscure) parts, becoming a treasure trove of commentary from Hollywood's fringe players. [more inside]
Photographs of some of William Burroughs things by Peter Ross. A short interview with Ross about photographing the stuff. (The other picture collections on Ross's site, are worth looking at, too. (Eg., brains)
A new and previously unknown species of spider, Cerbalus Aravensis, (photo) has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar (map) in Israel's southern Arava region along the Israel-Jordan border by a team of scientists from the University of Haifa-Oranim. Cerbalus is the largest arachnid of its type in the Middle East, with a leg-span that can reach up to 5.5" (14 cm). Unfortunately, its habitat is endangered thanks for rezoning for agriculture and sand quarries. [more inside]
Random recipe generator. Exactly what it says on the tin.
 - bad prose culled from Wikipedia and other wikis by the Comics Curmudgeon and Rifftrax's Conor Lastowka
"I was pretty new to Facebook and decided to type in their names to see if their profiles popped up and I came across Shafiq's Facebook page. I decided to send him a little e-mail," says Mr Neely.
How one Guantanamo guard got in touch with his former captives
How one Guantanamo guard got in touch with his former captives
Inspired by Charles Stross' A Colder War and Atrocity Archives stories, noder The Custodian has written a series of fictional, Lovecraftian intelligence briefings entitled "The Benthic Wars": SPECWEAPS, DEEP BLACK, PRIOR TENANT, BENTHIC OUTREACH, PORTAL/ALEPH, VIOLET CAIN, SAKNUSSEM THUNDER and INDRA NEPTUNE. Meanwhile, others ponder the question: What if HP Lovecraft had co-invented C?
PIG 05049 (TED 11.5min) - Christien Meindertsma explores the processing of raw materials - in this case, anonymous Dutch pig.