December 6, 2007

1988: 50k dead, 2007: 3k-5k still homeless

19th Anniversary of Spitak Earthquake At 11:41am on December 7, 1988, a 7 point scale earthquake shook the Soviet Republic of Armenia. A massive Soviet-wide aid campaign began. Aid workers from outside of the Soviet Union were allowed in, for the first time in Soviet history. Many argue that the 50,000+ deaths were in part due to poor construction of the Soviet era buildings. Any hope for reconstruction fell apart with the collapse of the Soviet Union though. 19 years later, many people are still living in "temporary" housing, called "Domiks" , estimates are around 3000-5000 people still homeless after 19 years. A child of the earthquake remembers. ABC News coverage and Time Magazine coverage.
posted by k8t at 10:57 PM PST - 5 comments

Skarabej is an online museum of old family photographs

Skarabej is an online museum of old family photographs from all over the world. Thousands of them. Some are creepy, others depressing and then a few happy ones to break it up a bit.
posted by Kattullus at 10:56 PM PST - 7 comments

'If, in a government agency, anyone has to wait in line for more than 15 minutes, the official in question is obliged to humbly apologise, and explain the reason for the delay.'

Nobel Laureate Gerardus 't Hooft has an asteroid named after him. Dr. 't Hooft has drawn up a constitution. [more inside]
posted by sushiwiththejury at 8:27 PM PST - 11 comments

Pre-Friday Flash Fun

Paul and Dave, creators of the extremely popular Desktop Tower Defense flash game, have just opened up their new flash games site to the public! [more inside]
posted by flatluigi at 7:08 PM PST - 18 comments


Russos takes photos of Moscow Metro construction. Also of a half-abandoned river port, a cool bridge being put together, and an old underground nuclear submarine base. But mostly of the Metro, behind the scenes. (Don't ask me how he gets access.) [more inside]
posted by parudox at 5:45 PM PST - 4 comments

Brian Eno: A Sandbox In Alphaville

Lester Bangs on Brian Eno [more inside]
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 5:43 PM PST - 32 comments

The United States does not {video tape} torture.

CIA destroys videotapes of "advanced interrogations" [more inside]
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:10 PM PST - 117 comments

Quiz: are you an asshole ?

Are you an asshole ? Of course you are not ...but what if you look, walk, and quack like an ....asshole ? You may be seen as one ! Fear not, for this King of All AssHoles that goes by the name of Bob Sutton wrote a test for you. He also wrote a book and he dares teach at Stanford and even has spare time to run a blog. What a royal ass !
posted by elpapacito at 4:54 PM PST - 41 comments

Theft recovery "was created by police officers to provide the best possible asset tracking and property recovery services in the world. is an innovative tool designed to easily register assets in order to facilitate their recovery if they are lost or stolen. joins forces with online auctions to help identify stolen property."
posted by tristeza at 3:59 PM PST - 7 comments

The Ten Doctors

The geekiest thing you will see this month is this fan-made comic called The Ten Doctors. Unexpectedly awesome, though!
posted by JHarris at 3:57 PM PST - 34 comments

Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act

Yesterday, the US House passed the SAFE Act. No, not that one. Points of note:
- If signed into law, the SAFE Act will require people offering WiFi at their cafe, library, or even allowing their neighbours to use it, who notice that someone appears to have viewed certain dirty cartoons, or pictures of fully-clothed children looking sexy, to immediately make a comprehensive report to John Walsh's CyberTipLine, and retain the images, or face a fine of up to $150,000.
- ISPs or email services have the same obligations, and must store all data relating to the user's account, to be handed over to the authorities.
- The Democrats rushed the legislation through using a mechanism intended for non-controversial legislation. There was no hearing or committee vote. The legislation changed significantly before the vote and was not available for public review.
- The bill passed 409-2. Opposed were Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Senate is next, so consider telling them what you think.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:44 PM PST - 98 comments

The Lost Border: Photographs of the Iron Curtain

The Lost Border: Photographs of the Iron Curtain
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:18 PM PST - 22 comments

The 28 Most Recognizable Guitars

The 28 Most Recognizable Guitars.
posted by Soup at 1:50 PM PST - 84 comments

I'm tired of using technology, why don't you sit down on top of me?

From aquarium toilets to sself-cleaning toilets to intelligent toilets and musical multi-buttoned Japenese toilets, toilet technology has come a long way, baby.
posted by christonabike at 1:27 PM PST - 11 comments

Polaroid Composites

Polaroid Composites by Patrick Winfield. [Via Wooster Collective.]
posted by homunculus at 1:11 PM PST - 5 comments

... Part 2?

Dr. Seuss 2.0 NYT's blogger, David Pogue, expounds on the un-creative Seussification of 2.0 website names. Entertaining and right-on... except that the Washington Post featured the very same article a week earlier! Ouch.
posted by adamms222 at 1:07 PM PST - 49 comments

The Source of all the Music in your Head

Are You Not DEVO? You Are Mutato! LA Weekly goes behind the scenes of Mutato Muzika, the commercial music studio owned by Mark Mothersbaugh. Mark is a visual artist, composer, oh, and front man for a little band called DEVO who is "spending December at Mutato trying to create an album’s worth of new material and contemplating a method of dispersal in the post-record-company world."
posted by SansPoint at 11:58 AM PST - 17 comments

Google Chart API

Google's new Chart API makes images of various charts based entirely on URLs. There's no key required, so it's very easy to start adding charts to the 86% of statistics we're making up. As a starting point for chart play, MetaFilter as a chart.
posted by scottreynen at 11:53 AM PST - 57 comments

You know you hate them, or love them

The New England Patriots. Not The Patriot, or a Patriot, Rather the Patriots! Some folks *HATE* them. There's even a game. (About the game.) [more inside]
posted by valentinepig at 11:23 AM PST - 56 comments

Richard Beymer's Twin Peaks photos

Photographs taken on the set of Twin Peaks by Richard Beymer (who played Benjamin Horne).
posted by Prospero at 11:05 AM PST - 61 comments

Nicole Carroll doing bodyweight x15 in the Overhead Squat

Nicole Carroll is a CrossFit trainer who works out of Santa Cruz. Here is a video of her aiming for 15 reps of her bodyweight in the Overhead Squat, which is a very impressive lift. (In .wmv format) [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet at 10:40 AM PST - 55 comments

first facebook, now microsoft?

You want me to eat what?!? It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else. To see if you have permission, sign in. Or just add to your IM. Failing that, see what Howard has to offer.
posted by gman at 10:40 AM PST - 20 comments

Get them to sign on the line which is dotted

The earliest recorded noncompete case was brought in England in 1414. Since then their power and utility has depended on which line you were signing. While some have shown they impede mobility of "superstar" talent could it also be they prevent entire geographic areas from maximizing their potential?
posted by zap rowsdower at 10:32 AM PST - 7 comments

Best of lists

Lists of Bests. Track your progress through "Best of lists.." of movies, books, etc.. add your own lists, compare your progress with others.
posted by stbalbach at 10:01 AM PST - 11 comments

Hell's Gate and Beyond

Maritime New York
posted by Miko at 10:00 AM PST - 5 comments

A Fingerprint-Protected Social Network for Girls

Some fancy security for 6 to 14-year-old girls Anne's Diary is a Canadian social network for 6 to 14-year-old girls (I read about it on the CBC's Spark blog). It has two interesting security features to fend off child molesters and the like. To sign up for the service, kids need to get a non-parental adult professional as a 'sponsor' who validates their identity and age (much like applying for a passport). Secondly, you get a USB fingerprint scanner with your initial package, and I gather the kids use this to log in to the service. And yes, that's Anne with an 'e'. No Prince Edward Island gable was ever this secure. [more inside]
posted by dbarefoot at 9:47 AM PST - 31 comments

Take a drag of pot, kid. You ain't chicken are you?

Hooked! Trapped! Teenage Booby Trap! Users Are Losers! Vintage anti-drug comics scanned and posted by Ethan Persoff. Plus dozens of other "Comics with Problems"-- like "Rex Morgan, MD Talks About Your Unborn Child" and "Capt Veedee-O and Ms. Wanda Lust in VD Claptrap."
posted by dersins at 9:46 AM PST - 15 comments

"Dr. Freud gave me a narcissus." -Virginia Woolf

Why do we read diaries?
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:42 AM PST - 31 comments

a seasonal cinemtatic imbroglio

The Bloody Olive - a 10 minute film noir in the spirit of the season. An interview about the film with director Vincent Bal.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:12 AM PST - 7 comments

No More Phoning It In at the Times

[archaic tech filter] Foreign correspondents and reporters in the field at the New York Times say goodbye to the paper of record's recording room.
posted by digaman at 8:34 AM PST - 9 comments

Don't Look Back In Anger

Rhino Releases The Brit Box It's hard to explain in 2007 what it feels like for music to be both uniting and important. Having spent nearly three years of the '90s living in London, it's with honest nostalgia and wonder that we examine Rhino's The Brit Box. The set's mission is rather broad: it attempts to examine the whole of UK indie rock from 1985-1999 and devotes a disc each to '80s indie, shoegaze, Britpop, and the late '90s. [more inside]
posted by psmealey at 8:30 AM PST - 60 comments

WGBH makes historic videos available online

"Open Vault provides online access to unique and historically important content produced by public television station WGBH for individual and classroom learning. The ever-expanding site contains video excerpts, searchable transcripts, a select number of complete interviews for purchase, and resource management tools." (Requires QuickTime) [more inside]
posted by OmieWise at 8:03 AM PST - 13 comments

Hear the Tintinnabulation of the Bells

Public sound sculptures can be beautiful ways of drawing passersby into creating music. Whether they're melodic chimes in subway stations, theremins in public parks, or the sounds of rivers and clocks in a art museum, all of them can add a little bit of magic to the everyday world. Paul Matisse is an artist who has created multiple public sound sculptures across the Boston Area. He built three sound sculptures in the Kendall Square subway station in Boston, and another in Charlestown, called the Charlestown Bells. [more inside]
posted by canine epigram at 7:15 AM PST - 27 comments

"With the right access and equipment you can do anything."

Creature discomforts. Aardman Animations has created a charming campaign for Leonard Cheshire Disability that plays off their much-loved BBC series Creature Comforts (for a sample of the original, try birds singing in Welsh or a classically disgruntled Brazilian jaguar). Be sure to check out the voices behind the characters.
posted by melissa may at 2:04 AM PST - 31 comments

Restoring the right to protest with your keyboard

The Government are clear that there should be no unnecessary restrictions on people's right to protest and it is right to review provisions which have generated such concern. Two years ago, the British government effectively removed the right to spontaneous peaceful protest around the UK Parliament. Now, that legislation is under review, with a public consultation open until mid-January. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave at 1:58 AM PST - 9 comments

RIP That Guy Who Was in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Though best known for his role as hunky Lance Rocke in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, the actor/author was also distinguished by a career as a beefcake pin-up boy. Sadly, he has passed away at the age of 67.
posted by dhammond at 12:50 AM PST - 25 comments

Canadian artist Norval Morrisseau died yesterday.

Norval Morrisseau died on Tuesday. Known also as Copper Thunderbird, the Picasso of the North, and the Father of the Woodland Indian school of Art, he was the first to record his culture's oral traditions in his paintings.
posted by meringue at 12:18 AM PST - 15 comments

Graphical explanation of CDOs

A graphical, animated explanation of how collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) work, by Felix Salmon, Maryanne Murray, Jeffrey Cane, Jacky Myint, and Shazna Nessa. The collapse in CDO valuations and the resulting losses to investors played a major role in the recent banking crisis. Via Paul Krugman.
posted by russilwvong at 12:06 AM PST - 42 comments

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