Wednesday, February 28, 2007
- Two teen girls rob a Cobb Bank in Atlanta, wearing sunglasses as their only disguise. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
- Headlines don't get much grabbier than this: "Biodiesel from liposuctioned human ass-fat powers race boat" [via Boing Boing]
- Recent studies suggest that just sniffing rich food can cancel out the longevity-enhancing effect of a caloric-restriction diet [Scientific American], while another posits that simply thinking you had a strenuous workout can confer some of the benefits of actual exercise [via Collision Detection]...very strange.
- Oh, the memory of endless clicks on a grid, followed by a bang: A Brief History of Minesweeper [via Kottke.org]
- You'll be the first to know when the sh-t
hits the fanflies: Denmark's new GylleSMS ["ManureSMS"] lets farmers warn their neighbors of imminent manure spraying sessions using text messaging [via Neatorama]
- "Homers" rejoice! Now, you can get your Krispy Kreme™ fix with more fiber! Slashfood reports on the new variety: "[w]eighing in at only 180 calories each, the Whole Wheat Doughnut has a distinct caramel flavor and is similar in style to their 'original glazed'."
- Unfortunately, less surprising than one might wish for 500 years into the future: a detailed look at the creative logos and typography in Mike Judge's new dystopian comedy, Idiocracy on SpeakUp
- Lifehacker's crash course on becoming a Gmail Master
- When you've got to have the right word - even if vowels are verboten and consonants are compulsory, or vice versa - these online Strange Dictionaries are just the ticket.
- Three hundred years ago, some brave souls "disproved" the fact, but deep down inside we know...Tomatoes are Evil!!
Labels: links du jour
Thursday, February 22, 2007
- Regan McNeil, nowhere to be found:
SANTA FE, New Mexico (AP) -- Three CD players hidden under a cathedral's pews blared sexually explicit language in the middle of an Ash Wednesday Mass, leading a bomb squad to detonate two of the devices. Authorities determined the music players were not dangerous and kept the third one to check it for clues, said police Capt. Gary Johnson. The CD players, duct-taped to the bottoms of the pews, were set to turn on in the middle of noon Mass on Wednesday at the Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The recordings, made on store-bought blank discs, featured people using foul language and "pornographic messages"...
- The recipe for U.S. Capitol Bean Soup, the official generator of filibuster hot air
- Research seems to show coffee reduces cognitive decline in later years [via Futurepundit]
- Monkey controls robot arm using only its mind!
- A massive archive of "IM IN UR" cat images
- The World's Strangest (real) Dinosaur Names: "ELVISAURUS - This bipedal dinosaur has a bizarre crest on its head that looks like a Spanish comb (and Elvis’ hairdo!). Elvisaurus, which is now formally called Cryolophosaurus [wiki], was the first dinosaur to be discovered in Antarctica." [via Neatorama]
- Badger is a handy webtool that allows you to create a customizable, portable RSS feed badge anywhere on your webpage [via Boing Boing]
- This article reads just like something from The Onion; unfortunately, it's real: "Sword Seized After Man Mistakes Porn For Rape."
OCONOMOWOC, Wisconsin (AP) -- A man says he broke into an apartment with a cavalry sword because he thought he heard a woman being raped, but the sound actually was from a pornographic movie his upstairs neighbor was watching. "Now I feel stupid," said James Van Iveren, who has been charged in the case. "This really is nothing, nothing but a mistake."
According to a criminal complaint, the neighbor told police that Van Iveren pounded on the door and kicked it open without warning February 12, damaging the frame and lock. "Where is she?" Van Iveren demanded, thrusting the sword at the neighbor, the complaint said. "Where is she?"
The neighbor told police Van Iveren became increasingly aggressive as he repeated the question, insisting that he had heard a woman being raped. The complaint said that, with the sword pointed at him, the neighbor led Van Iveren throughout the apartment, opening closet doors to prove he was alone. The neighbor later played for police the part of the DVD he believed Van Iveren heard downstairs...James Van Iveren, who lives with his mother, says he took matters into his own hands because he didn't have a phone to call police.
Labels: links du jour
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Chicago Public Radio/NPR fave This American Life comes to Showtime Networks March 22nd - if this trailer is any indication, it's a must-see. Mysterious Brahmin bulls, gun-toting grannies, Crucifixion reenactors, and elderly painters of nudes are just a taste of the offbeat treats in store. Check it out in Windows Media or Quicktime at thisamericanlife.org. [via Gapers Block]
Tuesday, February 20, 2007This past week, I was perplexed by the appearance of numerous strange ice sculptures around the University of Chicago campus: armless, legless squarish torsoes a little over two-and-a-half-feet high, each bearing a Moai-like ice head and a...er, "flagstaff at attention" (although some of the statues had lost their "staffs," either through vandalism or sublimation). A white sticker was affixed to each one, bearing the Internet address herm.notlong.com. Now, the UofC campus is no stranger to odd guerilla artwork and performance pieces, but how could one not be curious when confronted by one of these on the way to work?
Turns out I've been lax in my history lessons. The priapic popsicles are a modern-day resurrection of ancient Greek hermae, protective stone statues
dedicated to the god Hermes. In 415 B.C., saboteurs from Syracuse (the one in Greece, not the one in Upstate New York) were alleged to have defaced the hermae of Athens, thereby threatening the success of the Athenian expansion in the Peloponnesian War.
Creating and deploying the UofC Ice Herms was no small task - each one reportedly weighs 140 pounds. Just think - the UofC Humanities curriculum wanted to phase out Western Civ recently. Lesson: you can set up dozens of bephallused ice sculptures on this nerdiest of campuses and they'll stand until melted. Try doing is almost anywhere else and you might get arrested for "endangering public morals." You've gotta love this place! Even though the hermae are melting, their brief presence surely put a smile in many people's day...I'd love to hear what some of the resident bluestockings (of all genders) had to say about the herms. ;)
How'd he do it? See the laborious step-by-step process at "The Erection of the Ice Hermai" (ha, ha). Since they will all likely be gone after today's 40°F thaw, view them for yourself at Neoherm's Ice Herms Flickr gallery (Image above from Neoherm's Flickr set; this one was set up outside of Regenstein Library). [Note: one of the links on the "Erection of the Ice Hermai" is broken, but with a little experimentation I found the right URL - http://picasaweb.google.com/neoherm/TheMakingPartII, where Neoherm freezes heads, torsoes and phalli after creating molds in Part I. This shot, depicting frozen phalli next to packages of hamburger in the icebox (possibly NSFW depending on where you work) is especially amusing.]
UPDATE - I took this shot of what's left of one of the ice herms Wednesday afternoon: not much to speak of.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Say what you will about YouTube, but where else will you find ancient television commercials like this "Mamma Mia, dats-a spicy meatball!" Alka-Seltzer™ spot from 1970. It's one of my first TV memories (that, Richard Nixon, and the Beatles breaking up) - to this day I still remember that oven door falling off its hinges at the end. Classic!
Saturday, February 17, 2007Some thoughts on public shock surrounding voluntarily bald women: baldness in women connotes undesirable states like desexualization (as tonsure in religious contexts), shaming (in repressive regimes like Nazi Germany and witchhunt-era Europe (and modern-day Asia), women frequently had their heads shaved in public as punishment), disease (anything from “treatment” of head lice to hair loss associated with cancer, etc.), or “sexual nonconformity.”
We also recall the bizarre photos of the female members of Charles Manson's "Family" showing up in court with shaven heads, freshly-scabbed-over swastikas carved on their foreheads - and the bald psychopathic LSD badtrippers in "Blue Sunshine." A bald-headed woman is clearly seen as somehow evil, dehumanized...or just plain nuts.
We’ve made some progress in the past few decades - Natalie Portman’s baldilocks for her recent film role in V for Vendetta were considered slightly less shocking than the late Persis Khambatta’s in the late-seventies Star Trek films - but unfortunately we’ve still a long way to go before women can wear stylishly shaved heads without arousing pity, scorn, or bewilderment:
"Some people will think I'm a neo-Nazi or that I have cancer or I'm a lesbian," so supposed the actress Natalie Portman, who has shaved her head for her next film role in V for Vendetta and debuted the look at Cannes [May 2005], to the consternation of many. Portman is the latest in a relatively small procession of anti-Rapunzels - Sinead O'Connor, Demi Moore, Sigourney Weaver, Skin, and the model Eve Salvail being the most well-documented. Despite the fact that we can digest all manner of unorthodox hairstyles and outlandish beauty trends, a shaven head on a woman is still a look that causes shock.I think part of the reason Britney’s new ‘do is making headlines (besides the other recent publicized events in her life, like her separation and rehab ’stint’) is its chronological proximity to Anna Nicole Smith’s death. One American starlet “goes down in flames,” and another one is starting to act mighty peculiar. The tabloid media is waiting for Britney’s other shoe to drop.
(P.S.) Joan Jett shaved her head (briefly) at the turn of the millennium, partly as a personal "turning point," partly as part of her role in the Broadway version of Rocky Horror Picture Show; few people gave a hoot. Did anyone care when Howie Mandel shaved his head? Nooo. Then again, unlike Britney Spears, he wasn't captured on video exposing his genitalia in public.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The Kills are cute, waify vocalist Alison Mosshart, who goes by the moniker "VV" for reasons unexplained, and pale, gangly guitarist/vocalist Jamie Hince, who also goes by "Hotel". They perform side-by-side on a barren stage with the beats played by a preprogrammed drum machine. It doesn't sound electronic, funky or futuristic -- just basic and hard, which is what these two are all about. They piss on everything commercial, gaudy and fake in rock music and attempt to create an unadulterated "f--k you" with rock n roll that stops where most music is just getting started.-- From "Never Heard of the Kills? Turn Around. That's Them..." by Mike Bruno at The Black Table, who does a nice job summing up the sound of the Kills. [Warning: language NSFW, and I don't mean the f-word I bleeped above to get this post past your Net Nanny. Let's just say...Mike likes the Kills. A lot. ;)]
The Kills' official website
The Kills on MySpace
The Kills [Wikipedia]
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Have you heard about the snowstorm passing through Chicago/Illinois today? It's nothing compared to Great Lakes-area New York, but it's still horrific. It took me over 4 hours to get home tonight from Hyde Park. <20 mi./4 hrs. = ~4.5 mi/hr? Hell, I could have walked home faster with less risk of bodily injury.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007Former NBA player John Amaechi joins the rarefied category of openly gay professional athletes. From Sports Illustrated:
Former NBA center John Amaechi, who spent five seasons with four teams, on Wednesday became the first NBA player to publicly come out. His admission comes three years after his playing career ended, making him the sixth professional male athlete from one of the four major U.S. sports -- basketball, baseball, football, hockey -- to openly discuss his homosexuality. Amaechi details his life in his autobiography Man in the Middle, which will be released Feb. 14.However, I'm a bit confused by the logic of Cavs' LeBron James' reaction to the news, which I think sheds an important insight into the emotional politics of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell":
NBA commissioner David Stern said a player's sexuality wasn't important. "We have a very diverse league. The question at the NBA is always 'Have you got game?' That's it, end of inquiry," he said. LeBron James, however, said he didn't think an openly gay person could survive in the league.On the one hand, James appears to be saying trust is the number one factor in team cohesiveness, and he says a gay player who is not honest with his/her teammates about sexuality violates that trust - yet he also says he "didn't think an openly gay person could survive in the league"? Unless James is being misquoted, to me that sounds entirely contradictory. Is he saying he'd feel more comfortable playing alongside a closeted player, or an honest [openly gay] player? Or does he mean that a player's homosexuality, open or not, is in itself a violation of team trust? To me it sounds like a mealy-mouthed way of saying gays are unwelcome on James' team, out or not: 'damned if you do, damned if you don't.'
"With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you're gay and you're not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy," James said. "So that's like the No. 1 thing as teammates -- we all trust each other. You've heard of the in-room, locker room code. What happens in the locker room stays in there. It's a trust factor, honestly. A big trust factor."
Amaechi apparently did well enough for himself during his [closeted] career in the majors that sexuality certainly needn't have been an issue - and good on him for having the courage to stand up and be counted in a still-hostile environment.
John Amaechi: 100 Great Black Britons
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
"I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or anything like it...These sorts of silly views are killing our faith." -- Bishop Boniface Adoyo, head of Kenya's 35 evangelical denominations, which he claims have 10 million followers.
"Is it on your grandfather's or your grandmother's side that you claim descent from a monkey?" -- Bishop "Soapy Sam" Wilberforce, to Thomas Huxley, at a meeting ["Conversazione"] of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Oxford on Saturday, June 30th, 1860, to which Huxley famously retorted withering praise, "I would rather be descended from a humble ape than from a great gentleman who uses considerable intellectual gifts in the service of falsehood."
Monday, February 05, 2007
Noise Around Me is the latest CD by Danish band Tiger Baby, the trio of Benjamin Teglbjærg, Nikolaj Gregersen, and Pernille Pang. I came across their album more or less by accident, and it's quickly become a favorite. It feels like the soundtrack to a city night seen from a high-rise, all concrete silhouette and chrome and dapple of multicolor reflections on rain-washed pavement. Layering a sophisticated groove with the translucent, shimmering quality of Pang's vocals, Noise Around Me has not only a muscular electronic core but a warm, playful heart charged with surprising intimacy and originality. If you enjoy the sound of artists like Ladytron, Saint Etienne, Depeche Mode, or Air, I think you'll love this disc as much as I do.
Enjoy the video to their single, "Girlfriend," above.
Tiger Baby's MySpace page
Noise Around Me at CD Baby and Amazon.com
Sunday, February 04, 2007
"Old forests are cut down for toilet paper;
Still all the toilets are out of paper...
...ringtones are all irritating...
...Tramline 3 smells of pee...
...my flat is tiny yet it eats all my money,
and I've nothing left to save the world with..."
[via William Gibson's blog]
Saturday, February 03, 2007This actual video clip of a dachshund in (temporary) zero-g is simply too funny.