February 10, 2015

Paper Engineering: Over 700 years of Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn

The history of paper engineering in books, or the making of "pop-up books" didn't start as a way to entertain children, but in the search for more tools to educate adults, including some proto-computers from as early as the 13th century. Let Ellen G. K. Rubin, known also as The Popup Lady, regale and inform you at length, in either the form of a 50 minute presentation for the Smithsonian Libraries, or read through her website, where she has a timeline of movable books and see the glossary for definitions of the different movements as starting points. Or you can browse the Smithsonian's digital exhibition (the physical exhibition ended a few years ago). And of course, there's plenty more online. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 PM PST - 17 comments

RIP Richard Sher

Richard Sher, host of NPR radio game show Says You!, has died at 66. [more inside]
posted by starvingartist at 8:44 PM PST - 28 comments

Un Trabajo Feliz

Beautiful, leisurely paced video of a woodworker building with hand tools.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:57 PM PST - 32 comments

The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic

Walter Pitts rose from the streets to MIT, but couldn’t escape himself. Pitts was used to being bullied. He’d been born into a tough family in Prohibition-era Detroit, where his father, a boiler-maker, had no trouble raising his fists to get his way. The neighborhood boys weren’t much better. One afternoon in 1935, they chased him through the streets until he ducked into the local library to hide. The library was familiar ground, where he had taught himself Greek, Latin, logic, and mathematics—better than home, where his father insisted he drop out of school and go to work. Outside, the world was messy. Inside, it all made sense. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 6:13 PM PST - 24 comments

Tinfoil hats at the ready please

The Cast
New Yorker: - What happened to Alberto Nisman?
El Pais : - Argentinean prosecutor drafted arrest warrant for Fernández de Kirchner.
WSJ : - First his death was declared a suicide; now Argentina’s president says it was the work of her enemies. What about Tehran?
NYT : -Reining In Argentina’s Spymasters.
Grauniad : - Argentina investigates mystery DNA found at dead prosecutor's home.
Arutz Sheva : - Aide Who Gave Gun to Nisman is Fired.
Bloomberg : - Who and where is Antonio Stiuso?
Grauniad : - The shady history of Argentina’s Intelligence.
posted by adamvasco at 5:50 PM PST - 20 comments

Dear Jon

Comedy Central has confirmed that Jon Stewart will announce tonight he is leaving The Daily Show later this year.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:36 PM PST - 235 comments

A story of graduate school serendipity

In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind "Friedmann’s journey from connexins to spinal opsins shows that, even in this day and age, it can be tough to predict what a scientist is going to find when digging into some well-defined problem, like synchronized activity in the spinal cord. Scientists are used to experiments turning up empty, but every now and then, they unexpectedly strike gold (and live for those moments)."
posted by dhruva at 4:19 PM PST - 9 comments

Well weapon

Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris’s 2005 TV series was a comedy about a ludicrous ‘self-facilitating media node’ in east London. But 10 years on, it looks more like a documentary about the future How the Nathan Barley nightmare came true
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:00 PM PST - 36 comments

"Email kept me connected to Floridians" - Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush has published all of the (unredacted) emails he sent and received as Governor.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:59 PM PST - 100 comments

"Good evening, Vienna. This is Sydney calling!"

While a few still fret about the ongoing fisticuffs in the eastern parts and the reluctance of Greece to repay a few bucks borrowed for the weekend from Germany, the real surprise, anger and confusion enveloping contemporary Europe is the admittance of Australia. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 1:20 PM PST - 64 comments

Waiting For A Train

A short documentary about Toshio Hirano, The Japanese Jimmy Rodgers.
posted by TheCoug at 1:11 PM PST - 8 comments

Twinkle is cool, you better believe it, even on an old lady

Bacillakuten, a Swedish childrens' programme about the body has seen both controversy and applause due to a music clip on YouTube was released as a preview for an upcoming episode about genitalia. Initially marked as adult content on YouTube, the video quickly saw several million views and sparked mixed reactions from parents. The composer, Johan Holmström, plans to release an English-language version of the video for international audiences on Valentines' Day.
posted by frimble at 1:01 PM PST - 34 comments

How user perception matters - in zippers.

"a highly-automated, vertically-integrated manufacturer" Visit a zipper factory and see how a perceived design flaw translates into a more labor-intensive process. From the blog, bunnie: studios.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:17 PM PST - 41 comments

Outlawry as a Weapon against Comic Book Supervillains

Outlawry, Supervillians, and Modern Law Before the modern period, the ability of the courts to enforce their authority was quite limited, shockingly so by modern standards. ...So what was the legal system to do? Well, one common tool was “outlawry”, declaring a person to be beyond the protection of the law. The meaning of the sentence changed over time, and it ultimately disappeared with urbanization and doctrines like habeas corpus, but a growth in supervillainy might bring it back into fashion.
posted by Michele in California at 11:26 AM PST - 25 comments

My Gay Uncles

Writer John Reed remembers growing up as a kid in New York in the 1970s, when his mother, artist Judy Rifka, was friends with queer artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat and David Wojnarowicz, under the lurking presence of AIDS.
posted by larrybob at 11:04 AM PST - 16 comments

Invite the bee, your player, to imagine something greater.

A Beekeeper's Guide to Game Design
posted by danb at 10:28 AM PST - 7 comments

"My gender exists in some sort of quantum state."

"It's Schrödinger's cat, unknown unless I examine it. Boy day or girl day? Let me open the box and check. These days it's usually a boy day, but there have been long stretches of time when I'm usually girl, and I'm sure there will be again. Sometimes it's neither; I open the box and can't tell whether the cat's alive or not. And frequently, it's both at once. A tuxedo cat, black AND white all at the same time, not sometimes black and sometimes white." Writer Naamah Darling describes identifying as genderfluid. [more inside]
posted by quiet earth at 10:16 AM PST - 69 comments

"Press Only In Cases of Extreme Disbelief"

Instant Clay Davis. Joining the many other buttons that are out there, you can now hear your favorite public servant from The Wire, Clay Davis, utter his quintessential drawn-out statement of WTF.
posted by snortasprocket at 9:54 AM PST - 13 comments

ಠ_ಠ

Dr Phil without dialogue. [YouTube]
posted by Fizz at 9:48 AM PST - 49 comments

Human language reveals a universal positivity bias

Or so say researchers in a new study in the February 9 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here's their paper's abstract: "Using human evaluation of 100,000 words spread across 24 corpora in 10 languages diverse in origin and culture, we present evidence of a deep imprint of human sociality in language, observing that (i) the words of natural human language possess a universal positivity bias, (ii) the estimated emotional content of words is consistent between languages under translation, and (iii) this positivity bias is strongly independent of frequency of word use. Alongside these general regularities, we describe interlanguage variations in the emotional spectrum of languages that allow us to rank corpora. We also show how our word evaluations can be used to construct physical-like instruments for both real-time and offline measurement of the emotional content of large-scale texts." And here are descriptions of the research in Science Daily and the LA Times.
posted by Sir Rinse at 8:41 AM PST - 43 comments

The spectrum of animal happiness

Sarah Hird answers the question, Why do Mammals Sleep? A winner is announced in the SMBC-inspired 2014 Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses. [more inside]
posted by fredludd at 8:33 AM PST - 13 comments

"more paperwork, phone-trees and red-tape than ever"

David Graeber's The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
Unlike the enormous and comprehensive Debt, Utopia of Rules is mostly argument, not history. It sets out to investigate the problem of "bureaucracy" -- basically, rules, and the simmering threat of violence that underpins them. Hidebound adherence to awful, runaround bureaucracy was always the sin laid at the feet of slow-moving, Stalinist states under the influence of the USSR. Capitalism, we were told, was dynamic, free, and open. But if that's so, why is it that since the USSR imploded, bureaucracy under capitalism has exploded? If you live in a western, capitalist state, you probably spend more time filling in paperwork, waiting on hold, resubmitting Web-forms, attending performance reviews, brainstorming sessions, training meetings, and post-mortems than any of your ancestors, regardless of which side of the Iron Curtain they lived on.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:30 AM PST - 53 comments

Minimalist movie posters

Minimalist movie posters using only circles, created by designer Nick Barclay. [more inside]
posted by aka burlap at 6:51 AM PST - 72 comments

How YouTube Changed the World

How YouTube changed the world.
posted by chunking express at 6:43 AM PST - 56 comments

I Am Not A Lawyer... oh, hold on, I am. How about you, professor?

The great thing about social media is that it lets you contact potential customers directly. However, if you're offering a service such as offering to sell tiny plots of land in Scotland to those who wish to style themselves Laird or Lady of Glencoe you should perhaps be up on Scottish property law. Because if you're not, you're quite likely to make the rapid acquaintance of one or two people who do. McPwnage ensues. Includes bonus reference - at no extra cost! - to a drunk Finnish rock singer.
posted by Devonian at 6:23 AM PST - 67 comments

The Green Girl

She was a highly- prolific actress of the ’50’s/’60’s/’70’s/’80’s, a record-setting female aviator, an original member of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, and one of the only women directing major TV shows in the 1980’s. Tragically taken by cancer in 1990, she’s been inexplicably forgotten by the industry to which she gave so much of herself.
You probably know her as that green Orion slave girl from the Star Trek episode The Menagerie, but Susan Oliver was much more than that, as the documentary The Green Girl attempts to show.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:18 AM PST - 11 comments

Child Bride Mother

In Guatemala, the legal age of marriage is 14 with parental consent, but in Petén, in the northern part of the country, the law seems to be more of a suggestion. Underage brides are everywhere. They parade endlessly through Petén’s hospital in San Benito, seeking medical care. Most have traveled from the villages along the mud-soaked roads that flow out in all directions. I visited almost a dozen of these villages to meet some of the child brides of Petén for the latest Too Young to Wed transmedia project, this one a partnership with the United Nations Population Fund. Guatemala was the 10th country I had worked in documenting the issue of child marriage since 2003, after a chance encounter with several young brides in Afghanistan.
posted by josher71 at 6:14 AM PST - 4 comments

R U There?

A new counselling service harnesses the power of the text message. Depression is common among teens, and its consequences are volatile: suicide is the third leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of ten and twenty-four. In that same age group, the use of text messaging is near-universal. The average adolescent sends almost two thousand text messages a month. They contact their friends more by text than by phone or e-mail or instant-message or even face-to-face conversations. For teens, texting isn’t a novel form of communication; it’s the default.
posted by ellieBOA at 4:48 AM PST - 45 comments

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