October 8, 2010
A mechanic noticed a strange device under the hood of a customer's car and offered to remove it for him. The customer, an Egyptian-American student named Yasir Afifi, shows his roommate, who posts pictures of it on Reddit to find out what the heck it is. Turns out it's an FBI GPS tracking device, and the agency turned up quickly demanding he give it back. The ACLU is reportedly getting involved. [more inside]
In 1936, a teenager from Holland named Ria van Dijk shot the target in a shooting gallery, activating a camera shutter. She is awarded the photograph as a prize Over seven decades later, she is still shooting. The near-annual images are collected in the book In Almost Every Picture 7: Shooting Gallery. A selection have recently been posted online. (via)
"I've never interviewed anyone who's quite this animated when speaking...do you ever worry that you're going to burn out?"
Andrew O'Hehir, writing for Salon.com, called Secretariat: "A gorgeous, creepy American myth". Roger Ebert described O'Hehir's review as "insane". O'Hehir responds.
Let's dust off our turntable, and the hash pipe and break out the C.O.B., which is Clive's Own Band, Clive being Clive Palmer, one of the founders of The Incredible String Band, who left after the success of their first album, took his money, and left England to live in alone in India. Later, in the early seventies, living off porridge and crackers in a caravan with Mick Bennett and John Bidwell, he released two 'progressive folk' albums, Spirit of Love and Moyshe McStiff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart, which some have called the best folk albums to have ever come out of Britain. Produced with Ralph McTell.
Sesame Street's Grover spoofs the original Old Spice ad. As great as this is, it's not the first time Sesame Street has parodied something. They've also done 30 Rock, Mad Men, True Blood, Law & Order: SVU, Desperate Housewives, CSI, Highschool Musical, Twin Peaks (during a parody of Masterpiece, no less) and even Casablanca and Shaft.
"A fucking elephant is a miracle. If people can't see a fucking miracle in a fucking elephant, then life must suck for them, because an elephant is a fucking miracle. So is a giraffe."
"I don't know how magnets work," I say, to put him at his ease. Jon Ronson meets the Insane Clown Posse
Cee-Lo Green has a message for all of us (NSFW!!) [SLTY]
"[YouTube and Vimeo are] ... still stuck in this broadcast-mode type of mentality where you post something and it’s there, and any sort of interactivity takes place in the form of a list"
River of the Net is a way to view short, tag-related videos without any sort of context. This interview explains things a little more. I've had some NWS content pop up (though not much), just as fair warning. [more inside]
A handful of US scientists have made names for themselves by casting doubt on global warming research. In the past, the same people have also downplayed the dangers of passive smoking, acid rain and the ozone hole. In all cases, the tactics are the same: Spread doubt and claim it's too soon to take action.
"Hollywood star Johnny Depp has made an unannounced visit to a London primary school after receiving a letter from one of its pupils. The actor turned up at the school in Greenwich, South London, dressed as his Pirates of the Caribbean alter-ego Captain Jack Sparrow. He said nine-year-old Beatrice [Delap] had written to Captain Jack, asking him to lead a mutiny against her teachers."
"Star Trek: First Contact gave John Eaves the opportunity of a lifetime when his boss Herman Zimmerman asked him to design a new starship Enterprise. As he recalls, he was determined that the new ship would be sleek, fast, and muscular. " Designing the Enterprise NCC-1701-E from FSD: Starship Concept Art
What is working for the music industry and why the top buyers of pop music albums are now those over 60.
“Well you know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like women. You just have to read the manual and press the right button.”
Robots Guarding US Nuclear Stockpile "The US National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced that it has started using autonomous robot vehicles to patrol the vast desert surrounding its Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The 1360+ square miles of territory is home to millions of tons of low grade nuclear waste, as well as Cold War Era nuclear weapons, and cutting edge nuclear testing research. Guarding those precious nuclear materials is the Mobile Detection Assessment Response System (MDARS) robot, which is essentially a camera on a mini-Hummer. The MDARS can roam and scout the desert on its own, alerting a remote operator when it encounters something that shouldn’t be there (two headed coyote?). Human controllers get real time video feed form the bot and can communicate with trespassers using speakers and a microphone. There’s just one MDARS robot on patrol now, but NNSA plans on adding two more in the next six months." Via: [Singularity Hub]
Since the attack on the Togolese national team in Angola (previously), soccer in Togo has descended into a freefall. In a strange turn of events, a fake national team recently represented the country in a tournament in Bahrain. The soccer loving people of Togo were outraged when the truth about the situation came out.
The Design of Dungeons & Dragons: "When D&D 4th Edition came out in 2008, I was so pleased with the new rulebooks that I decided to write up the design of the various editions. Well, I ended up being too busy to do that. But upon seeing one of the even more impressive D&D Essentials books, I had to revive that project. Get ready for some intense nerdery."
"We put in a level system because that led you out of the class system," he says. "There was nothing stopping you from going up a level because you were a girl, or because you were slightly socially inept, or because you are from the North of England. It was a kind of meritocracy where everybody could succeed." Richard Bartle talks about the design of the original MUD. [more inside]
What's your favorite moment from The Muppet Movie? Is it the opening, when Kermit leaves his bait shop to seek fame and fortune? The part where Miss Piggy tells Kermit that her aunt is sick? The part where Mount Rushmore talks? Or the Henry Kissinger cameo? Tough Pigs, the Muppet Fans Who Grew Up, share their thoughts on an early draft of The Muppet Movie screenplay.
Are today’s ‘Barbary Pirates’ (i.e., Somalis engaging in high seas piracy) able accurately to be so-labeled? Not according to The New York Times East Africa bureau chief, Jeffrey Gettleman, and for several good reasons, presented in the current NYRB. [more inside]
Bike Jump — Four straight minutes of dudes ramping bikes and their bodies 35 feet into the air and splashing down into a small pond. [1080p slyt]
"This is your state! A big country like India is a slave to a small country like Britain. The Indian soldiers should be fighting for their freedom which can only be achieved if England is destroyed. You are only fighting to remain enslaved." A comprehensive account of WWII propaganda campaigns on all sides of the complicated relationship between Axis, Allies, and India. [more inside]
"As part of its ongoing mission to document the Art and Production History of Star Trek, this site will present technical articles on Star Trek prop and costume authentication - focusing on The Original Series - with detailed photos and episode screenshots to complement the information presented; as well as feature pictorials to showcase Star Trek memorabilia in private & public collections, present rare Behind The Scenes TOS imagery & discuss other topics." [more inside]
New allegations of Widespread foreclosure fraud on the part of major US banks: As the housing crisis has unfolded, some of the biggest banks lenders have reportedly been so eager to reposses homes that, in some cases, they've changed the locks on occupied homes that hadn't even been foreclosed yet. Meanwhile, congress quietly passed little noticed bipartisan legislation that would have made it harder for home owners to contest foreclosure proceedings in some cases--legislation which President Obama vetoed despite it's legislative support among both parties. On a related topic: It's finally becoming clearer that widespread mortgage fraud, not ordinary homeowners living beyond their means, caused the housing collapse.
This is Mark Twain. In preparation for the long awaited release of the uncensored Autobiography of Mark Twain *, the University of California Press and the Bancroft Library * have put together an informative site about Twain's life. It features two interactive timelines (one in chronological order and one using the order of events as written in the autobiography) with audio excerpts from the autobiography, video of the editors of the Twain Papers offering context, and historic images documenting his life. Also on the site, though confusingly linked as "more about the autobiography", is a short documentary about the Twain archives at the Bancroft. Worth a visit at the very least for this image of Sexy Sam. Uncensored indeed.
A long moment passes. "Watch yourself," he adds finally. "Our family's got a gene in them, that addict's gene. I'm just happy you never seemed to get it." Thoughts on gaming and addiction.
He was born 70 years ago. Killed almost 30 years ago. Museums around the world are celebrating his legacy. His Google Doodle isn't live in the US yet but you can see it on Google UK. And oh, yea...the FBI is still interested in him too.
Your future food being kicked, stamped on and inappropriately stunned. "Sickening" footage of British slaughterhouses captured by animal welfare charity Animal Aid may lead to CCTV footage being installed in all British abattoirs. Via The Guardian.
The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Beijing had previously warned the Nobel committee not to honour Liu. A BBC biography of Liu from last year: "Now his name is unknown. But one day, even if he's not regarded as a hero, he'll be thought of as a very good citizen - a model example."
Trapping the Lord of War: The Rise and Fall of Victor Bout. Spiegel investigates Victor Bout on the potential eve of his extradition from Thailand to the US. previously related links