November 13, 2010
Tomorrow in New York City, the Quiddich World Championship will be decided. Invented in 2005, Muggle Quiddich is now played at hundreds of high schools and colleges around the world. Forty six teams are meeting this weekend for the fourth annual world championship. [more inside]
Kaggle hosts competitions to glean information from massive data sets, a la the Netflix Prize. Competitors can enter free, while companies with vast stores of impenetrable data pay Kaggle to outsource their difficulties to the world population of freelance data-miners. Kaggle contestants have already developed dozens of chess rating systems which outperform the Elo rating currently in use, and identified genetic markers in HIV associated with a rise in viral load. Right now, you can compete to forecast tourism statistics or predict unknown edges in a social network. Teachers who want to pit their students against each other can host a Kaggle contest free of charge.
Circular jumps (previously) form when you turn on your tap and the water lands in a thin circular disk with a raised lip. Jannes et al have now shown that circular jumps are examples of hydrodynamic white holes: waves can escape the jump, but not enter it. [more inside]
The US government is trying to blow life into the railroad's passenger services which have been declining since WWII because of production stops during the war, and government sponsoring afterward going primarily to air travel and roads. Meanwhile the French SNCF is going public in catching up with its dark past, in order to get a piece of the investment cake.
Charles Ferguson's cogent & enraging presentation of the financial meltdown may be best viewed in a theatre that serves beer. (YMMV) So if the financial system crisis in the last 3 years or so has you scratching your head, there are helpful diagrams on the website, & surprisingly equal party blameworthy interviews in the film. There are also helpful pdf's and good guy/bad guy lists for teaching about it. And once you leave the theatre, there's a place to read & talk about the film, and there's even a place with a list of what you can do. (Which is also open to suggestions for more things you can do.) An interview with film director Charles Ferguson from Oct 1, 2010 on NPR. Previously-ish.
The Republic of Ireland is in preliminary talks with EU officials for financial support, the BBC has learned. Q&A: Irish bond crisis.
... it's terribly important for veterans to feel they are continuing a mission that held them together through the violence and stress of war. "PTSD carries a stigma, that you're broken and wounded," said Yount, "And many guys have guilt for not still being in the fight. The idea of Paws for Purple Hearts is you can be part of the war effort while you're getting treatment."
In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft, fastening to each a phonograph album containing sounds and music of Earth. If the best calculations are to be believed, one of these records was intercepted and “remixed” sometime in 2005 by extraterrestrial intelligences on the edge of our solar system. Ladies and Gentlemen: the Voyager Interstellar Record, Remixed by Extraterrestrials.
Old Fangs - a lovely but sad cartoon about a young wolf confronting his father, whom he has not seen since childhood. [more inside]
A Riddle: A wolf, a sheep, and a cabbage need to cross the river. How can you bring them across, one by one, without the sheep eating the cabbage, nor the wolf eating the sheep? [more inside]
A memoir of living with a brain tumour: "For art critic Tom Lubbock, language has been his life and his livelihood. But in 2008, he developed a lethal brain tumour and was told he would slowly lose control over speech and writing. This is his account of what happens when words slip away." [more inside]
Uwe Boll is no stranger to MetaFilter. You remember the time he said he'd retire if a million people asked him to, the time he challenged his critics to boxing matches and the halcyon days when he had only three movies in the IMDB Bottom 100 (he now has five). Now he has turned his attention to a project he feels he is uniquely qualified for: Auschwitz. [more inside]
A cartoon dog explains Borderline Personality Disorder and how it affects day to day life. [more inside]
Daniel Radcliffe sings "The Elements". Sadly it seems there's not a lot of Tom Lehrer fans in the audience. [more inside]