April 8, 2011
A gamma ray burst nicknamed GRB 110328A (i.e. detected 3/28/2011) appears to be the legacy of a star being torn apart by a supermassive black hole, leaving a peak brightness one trillion times the sun's brightness as it met its ancient inevitable end.
On NPR Science Friday (1-hour audio), Werner Herzog and Cormac McCarthy discuss science, art and the abyss of humanity.
Anybody want to buy a brand newC-64? How about a VIC Pro? An Amiga 1000? Commodore USA has risen from the grave. [more inside]
"In November 1855, the Great Ansei Earthquake struck the city of Edo (now Tokyo), claiming 7,000 lives and inflicting widespread damage. Within days, a new type of color woodblock print known as namazu-e (lit. "catfish pictures") became popular among the residents of the shaken city. These prints featured depictions of mythical giant catfish (namazu) who, according to popular legend, caused earthquakes by thrashing about in their underground lairs. In addition to providing humor and social commentary, many prints claimed to offer protection from future earthquakes."
Too much bad news and worry lately? Maybe a quick dose of the jubilant new song "Sydney (I'll Come Running)" by Brett Dennen will help. [more inside]
Louis Marinelli, activist for the National Organization for Marriage and founder of their 2010 "Summer of Marriage" bus tour, has announced today that he now supports full marriage equality. Gay rights blog Good As You has a detailed rundown of the story, including a spotlight on NOM's immediate efforts to discredit Marinelli's involvement in their organization.
The Village Voice released its Comics Issue on April 6. Its editorial "If Cartoons Are So Big, Why Don't They Pay?" focused on the financial straits many influential and popular cartoonists find themselves in even in the midst of wide-spread popularity and new respect. Although interesting in itself, the editorial created a splash in comics communities for a different reason. Its decision to not pay the artists whose work was featured in that issue. The Voice had intended to offer only attribution, but no money. It has since recanted.
Featuring 2052 performers from 58 countries, I give you Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0 performing Sleep. [SLYT]
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
Does your movie have a large crowd scene? Extras and CGI are expensive! Why not go with an Inflatable Crowd? [more inside]
Good Results of Bad Habits? Research Explains Paradox. There's a lot of research that shows the deleterious health effects of stress. So shouldn't alleviating stress be a net positive for your health? Why, yes, of course. But what if you relieve stress by a lot of bad habits which themselves have bad health effects? Apparently, you still benefit by reducing stress. Advances in psychosomatic medicine have highlighted the link between your mental state and your physical health, but for all of history, human beings have self-medicated their mental health with "bad habits" at the cost of physical health. [more inside]
What the Exodus from Egypt would have looked like if Moses had a laptop, Google Maps and Facebook. [more inside]
Rob Walker, who writes the "Consumed" column for the New York Times Magazine, talks with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich about the whys and wherefores of their popular WNYC science radio show and podcast, RadioLab.
Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist, Marty the Mormon, Jenna the Jew, Sid the Satanist, Mo the Muslim and Willow the Wiccan. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones, Halo 3, Brokeback Mountain, Kung Fu Panda and The X Files.
Will there be a government shutdown? Everything seems to hang on GOP riders. But it affects more than the federal employees and contractors. For example, National Parks will close. And so will DC services. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton tells Congress off, while DC residents wonder what are we going do with all our trash?
Best of a Normal Day; SLYT, 2.00.
Meet Rob Granito, Professional
Comic Book Con Artist. Sure, his art is perhaps a little similar to other work, and yeah, his claims of industry contacts are pretty much made up, and he's been banned as a fraud from multiple conventions, but hey, a playa's got to get paid, right?
Archived Baseball photos from 1917-1956 Today, the Boston Public Library will publish on the Internet the first 100 of a trove of nearly 3,000 rarely seen baseball photographs taken by Leslie Jones, who worked for the Boston Herald and the Boston Traveler from 1917 to 1956. Moments preserved by the shutter and squirreled away in his Dorchester basement, where he kept tens of thousands of images. The Boston Globe has a selection published here. The first batch of snapshots was released to coincide with today’s Opening Day at Fenway Park. Library staff plan to upload several dozen more images each week until all 2,881 photos are online. The project is part of a broader initiative by the library to give the public unfettered access to Jones’s entire archive of tens of thousands of images. He photographed car wrecks and ice-crusted fishing trawlers; shot luminaries like Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart; and the people of Boston.
NYC mayor: Military trial appropriate in 9/11 case. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be tried at a military tribunal in Guantanamo. US Lawmakers Say Politics Played Role in Military Trial Decision. Attorney General Eric Holder blames congress for forcing his hand on this. Slate blasts the Obama administration as "Cowardly, Stupid, and Tragically Wrong". Previously, the opposite.
In 1981, 27-year-old Joseph Paul Jernigan shot and stabbed the man who discovered him stealing a microwave oven. Jernigan was sentenced to death, and a prison chaplain convinced him to donate his body to science. Thirty years on, 1871 slices of his body are animated on a laptop screen and photographed on a long exposure in various dark locations, reconstructing Jernigan as the subject of a haunting new project.
Geoff Barrow of Portishead calls "Top Post-Punk Artists as Determined by RYM Ratings" an "amazing musical journey." But that's far from the most interesting list Rate Your Music user Goregirl has created. [more inside]
MinchinFilter: Storm, the Animated Film, from Tim's 'beat poem' about his confrontation with a credulous fool. (About)
Related: "If You Open Your Mind Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out"
Related: "If You Open Your Mind Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out"
Oranges and Sunshine is a film by Jim Loach, son of Ken, telling the story of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker who helped uncover a British Stolen Generation, children taken from often-living parents and shipped overseas. The Guardian interviews Harold Haig, one of the victims of the policy:
She was the first to raise the possibility that Haig had been told a terrible untruth – that he might not be an orphan after all. "I didn't think anyone would be so cruel to tell you that sort of a lie," he says. [His mother] had died just a year before he first visited Britain.