31 August 2010

Restoring America's Honor The Glenn Beck Way

 YouTube via TDW
On 8.28.2010, Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally was held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The purpose of the rally, which Beck claimed to be “non-political” despite featuring Tea Party-favorite Sarah Palin as a speaker and its being attended entirely by conservatives, was unclear. The participants spoke abstractly about the need to restore “honor” and “pride” to a country that had lost it. When pressed for when our country had lost its honor, most cited the election of Barack Obama.

8.28.2010 also represented the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and Glenn Beck has been criticized by civil rights groups for trying to misappropriate the occasion.
Last year, Beck referred to Barack Obama -- our country’s first African-American President -- as a “racist ... who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” When offered the chance to respond to Beck’s statements, his fans either agreed with him or simply refused to believe that he had ever made them.

While the speaker list was diverse, the overwhelmingly white crowd expressed paranoid and conspiratorial fears of multiculturalism—that atheists or black liberation theologists or radical Muslims or “free-loading” Latinos were going to ruin our country. There was the constant suggestion that white Christians and their way of life are somehow under assault, and that the attendees of this rally were here to put an end to it and return the country to what it used to be.

Interviews/film by Chase Whiteside of New Left Media.

30 August 2010

Heavy Drinkers Live Longer Than Non-Drinkers

... [A] new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

... even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.
Time via Deadspin

Fruit Skulls | Dimitri Tsykalov

More at Boom via TDW

Deep-Fried Beer At The Texas State Fair

One of the finalists in the state fair's fried-food competition has come up with a way to combine Texans' obsession with deep fryers and their love of beer.

Mark Zable's creation is a ravioli-shaped dough pocket that's filled with beer and plunged into a deep fryer. It's a little messy — the beer pours out on the first bite — but you can always sop it up with the dough.

Zabel says he's currently using Guinness but might switch to Shiner Bock — more appropriate for a Texas competition — or a pale ale like Sierra Nevada. It may not matter much — you're not going to pick up a lot of the beer's aroma, flavor and body after it's been heated to 375 degrees.
For those who aren't into beer, there's the Deep Fried Frozen Margarita, a slightly alcoholic snack make with funnel cake batter and served in a salt-rimmed glass.

The two alcoholic treats will be served only to fairgoers 21 or older. A non-alcoholic alternative is Fried Lemonade.

Those offerings, along with other entries including Fried Club Salad, Texas Fried Caviar and Texas Fried Frito Pie, will compete for the Sixth Annual Big Tex Choice Awards. Winners will be named on Labor Day.
The Florida Times-Union | Jacksonville via Buzzfeed

Monkey Monday | Name The Baby Baboons

WSJ via Gawker

26 August 2010

Labrador Befriends Grieving Dolphin

An unlikely friendship has blossomed between a labrador dog and a bottle-nosed dolphin that has made its home off Tory island, 16km off the north-west Donegal coast.

In recent months, the normally land-loving labrador called Ben has taken to pacing the island's pier and then jumping into the water as soon as Duggie the dolphin appears. According to his owner, local hotelier, Pat Doohan, Ben and Duggie could spend up to three hours at a time and several times a day frolicking and playing in the sea. And now two island collies have begun joining in the fun. "They'll be out there swimming around and the dolphin will come up behind Ben and get a fix on the direction he is going. "Then she'll pop up on the other side. It is just wonderful to watch. They seem to be having great sport," he said.

... Duggie's appearance coincided with the body of another dolphin being washed up at the back of the island. "People think it was probably her partner and because they are believed to have only one mate in life, that is why she has stayed behind," said Pat.

Independent via Gawker.TV

25 August 2010

Happy Hump Day | Bullet The Bulldog

Jill's Theme [YouTube Channel]

Bullet relaxes on the sofa while she watches "Family Guy."
It's her favorite show. Her favorite character is Brian. She doesn't wanna get bothered while the show is on.

24 August 2010

Too Matchy-Matchy?

Click image to enlarge

Get out your Fashion Citation Book, Midge.


22 August 2010

20 August 2010

Sudan Plans Cities Shaped Like Fruits And Animals

Southern Sudan’s government revealed this week a multi-billion dollar plan to build new urban centers in all ten of its state capitals. The price tag may make some gasp, but the real surprise? The cities would be animal and fruit-shaped.

The $10.1 billion plan proposes remaking cities in Sudan’s south into shapes found on regional flags. Blueprints and maps illustrate Juba in the shape of a rhinoceros, Yambio fashioned after a pineapple and Wau as a giraffe.

The Undersecretary for Housing and Physical Planning, Daniel Wani, says he hopes the plans will demonstrate the housing ministry’s desire to think creatively about how to remake southern Sudan for the future.

“This is very innovative. That is our thinking. It is unique,” says Wani. “It is from the Ministry of Housing thinking innovation; that we have to be different, so that people can see what we are trying to tell them.

But the plan may also send a very different message – one about the planning capacity of a government still trying to recover from decades of war.
Read more at Voice of America News

Via Arbroath

Happy Friday | Giant Bubbles On The Beach

YouTube via TDW

Remarkably relaxing.

19 August 2010

Psychedelics May Be Good For Our Mental Health

Psilocybin Mushrooms
Two new scientific studies reveal hallucinogens are good for your mental health. LSD and ketamine, two powerful hallucinogens, are also potential cures for depression, OCD, and anxiety. Two studies published this week, in Science and Nature, confirm that hallucinogenic drugs stimulate healthy brain activity, even promoting the growth of neurons.

The study in Science, released today, focused entirely on the drug ketamine. Used frequently as an animal sedative, ketamine can also be used to sedate humans and is also taken recreationally because of its hallucinogenic and euphoric effects. Molecular psychiatrist Nanxin Li and colleagues dosed rats with modest amounts of ketamine, and observed that the drug boosted signaling between neurons in the brain, and even led to healthy growth of synapses. (Chronic depression can be linked to inhibited synaptic growth.) Ultimately, they concluded that ketamine might be useful in treating depression because it increases brain activity instantly - so there is no need to wait weeks or months for the drug to take effect.

In the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Franz X. Vollenweider and Michael Kometer gave a broad overview of research into hallucinogens over the past half century. They gathered together research from hundreds of studies on how hallucinogens like LSD, psilocybin, and ketamine affect the brains of healthy people - as well as people suffering from depression and other disorders.

Like Li and his colleagues, they found that countless studies show that hallucinogens promote healthy neural activity in the brain. The researchers also created a chart to show what test subjects' states of mind are, according to studies, when under the influence of various substances.

Vollenwweider and Kometer explain:
Quantifying altered states of consciousness was problematic in the early years of hallucinogen research. Today, however, there are validated instruments for assessing various aspects of consciousness. According to Dittrich, hallucinogen-induced altered states of consciousness can be reliably measured by the five-dimensional altered states of consciousness (5DASC) rating scale. This scale comprises five primary dimensions and their respective subdimensions (see the figure). The primary dimensions are ‘oceanic boundlessness' (shown by orange boxes), referring to positively experienced loss of ego boundaries that are associated with changes in the sense of time and emotions - ranging from heightened mood to sublime happiness and feelings of unity with the environment; ‘anxious ego-disintegration' (shown by purple boxes), including thought disorder and loss of self-control; ‘visionary restructuralization' (shown by blue boxes), referring to perceptual alterations (such as visual illusions and hallucinations), and altered meaning of percepts; acoustic alterations (not shown), including hypersensitivity to sound and auditory hallucinations; and altered vigilance (not shown).

The clinical findings and current understanding of the mechanisms of action of classical hallucinogens and dissociative anaesthetics converge on the idea that psychedelics might be useful in the treatment of major depression, anxiety disorders and OCD.
More at io9

Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

Click here to see complete graphic

Focus via Neatorama

Roly-Poly Pooped-Out Puppy

YouTube via 9GAG

18 August 2010

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

Vimeo via GawkerTV

Happy Hump Day | Dog In A Swing

YouTube via Arbroath
Sara the swinging dog is back! This is our dog Sara who loves to go swing at the park. She has been doing this for about 4 years and goes absolutely crazy whenever we tell her we are going swinging.

17 August 2010

Thru Religion | Shadow Cloud | Drzach & Suchy

A shadow cloud is a three-dimensional object, consisting of multiple shadow-casting elements semi-randomly arranged in three dimensions in such a way, that depending on the direction of illumination the overall shadow of the cloud displays various images encoded in it. A shadow cloud can be viewed as a generalization of shadow casting panels, but of course the basic idea of multiple shadows from one three-dimensional structure is already present in well-known GEB-triples*. However, in contrast to GEB-triplets, a shadow cloud can encode up to four arbitrary images and display them under appropriate illumination without any distortions.
Drzach & Suchy via Neatorama

*Godel-Escher-Bach Triplets Illusion

16 August 2010

Monkey Monday | Real Life Donkey Kong

Chris Spicuzza
On August 6, amateur photographer Chris Spicuzza was spending her day at the San Francisco Zoo, taking photos of the gorillas. While she was there, a kid accidentally dropped his Nintendo DSi XL into their habitat. Curiously, one of the big gorillas grabbed it, and started to play with it. A baby gorilla saw it from the distance and, naturally, he came by, wanting to play with it too. Finally, the sightly battered console was rescued by a zoo employee ...

15 August 2010

Alignment Charts | Geekosystem

Computer Geeks

U.S. Presidents

The Big Lebowski
... alignment charts draw from classic Dungeons & Dragons, breaking characters down by two axes: Law-Chaos (lawful, neutral and chaotic) and Good-Evil (good, neutral and evil). An alignment chart in meme terms, then, is a 3×3 grid comprised of nine characters from a given movie, game, or other pop culture happening.
Link via The Presurfer

14 August 2010

Everything About Bacon

Link via 9GAG

Rabid Vampire Bats Attack 500 In Peru

National Geographic
Rabid vampire bats have attacked more than 500 people in Peru's Amazon, leading to the deaths of four children. The attacks occurred in the village of Urakusa, in northeastern Peru, where the indigenous Aguajun tribe lives. At least four people are believed to have succumbed to rabies as a result. Medical supplies and vaccines to treat those infected with rabies have been sent to the tribe.

Rabies, a virus that causes acute inflammation of the brain, is usually spread to humans by dog bites and has an incubation period that can last several months.

Health teams are looking for people in communities within 6 miles (10 km) of the outbreak who were attacked by bats any time in the last six months. Jose Bustamente, a Health Ministry official, said 97 percent of the 508 people who were bitten have begun receiving an anti-rabies vaccination. It is expected that the rest -- some of whom have rejected treatment -- will be vaccinated in the next few days.
I didn't know that vampire bats were real.


11 August 2010

Critical Reaction To The Google/Verizon Proposal Regarding Net Neutrality

On Monday, Google and Verizon proposed a new legislative framework for net neutrality. Reaction to the proposal has been swift and, for the most part, highly critical. While we agree with many aspects of that criticism, we are interested in the framework's attempt to grapple with the Trojan Horse problem. The proposed solution: a narrow grant of power to the FCC to enforce neutrality within carefully specified parameters. While this solution is not without its own substantial dangers, we think it deserves to be considered further if Congress decides to legislate.

Unfortunately, the same document that proposed this intriguing idea also included some really terrible ideas. It carves out exemptions from neutrality requirements for so-called "unlawful" content, for wireless services, and for very vaguely-defined "additional online services." The definition of "reasonable network management" is also problematically vague. As many, many, many have already pointed out, these exemptions threaten to completely undermine the stated goal of neutrality.
Click here to read a more detailed breakdown from the folks at Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Via Switched

Man Wants To Change His Name To Boomer The Dog

Gary Guy Mathews | Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette
Preparing for his day in court, Gary Guy Mathews took off his red dog collar and left his squeaky toy at home. It is now up to a judge whether he will wake up one day as Boomer the Dog and find his furry dreams come true.

The sight of ""furries" dressed in animal costumes has become commonplace in Pittsburgh, which for five summers has hosted Anthrocon, the largest annual convention of the anthropomorphic enthusiasts. But it is exceedingly rare -- even among a group committed to attributing human characteristics to animals -- to legally change one's name to that of a made-up dog. Meet Mr. Mathews, a barking trailblazer.

When he was a teen, the now 44-year-old Green Tree man became obsessed with a short-lived NBC show called "Here's Boomer," about a stray mutt that saved people in trouble. In high school other kids began to call him Boomer and he broadcast a radio show about the dog from his basement. By adulthood he was dressing as the shaggy-haired dog at conventions and parties, for the last few years in a full-sized Boomer suit made of shredded paper.

Early this year he began the process of legally changing his name to Boomer The Dog, noting many of his friends already called him that: one of his exhibits in a hearing Tuesday before Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald W. Folino was a letter addressed to his adopted name from a friend named Hobnose Bordercollie.

His own father, Guy Mathews, had legally changed his name from Orlando Matteucci, he told the judge. (He eventually got his late parents to call him Boomer, too, but it wasn't easy. Life as a furry "is good and it's bad. It's hard to get people in your life to adjust," he said in an interview.)

After years of thinking about the name change, Mr. Mathews, who is single, began the legal process early this year, which included getting his fingerprints checked through a state police criminal records database. "It took some time to work up the nerve. I treated it like a science project," he said. He filed for the name change in June.

Judge Folino questioned Mr. Mathews on if he might just change his first name to Boomer and if he has been paid to perform as the dog. (The unemployed computer technician said he had not been paid, "but it would be nice if I would be.") The judge said he would issue a ruling in a couple days, saying he might rule against the name if it "causes confusion in the community" or raises the "likelihood of unintended consequences," such as being "seen as bizarre."

Dr. Samuel Conway, the CEO of Anthrocon, said he knew of only two others in furry fandom who had legally changed their names out of the several thousand involved in the movement. "I do not believe it is any more common among our number than one would find in the rest of society, where people are often driven to change their names out of religious fervor, a sense of cultural identity, or other reason of personal interest," he said in an e-mail.

"I wish Mr. the Dog luck in his pursuit, with the earnest hope that he has chosen a career path for which such a monicker would be of benefit."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via The Awl

09 August 2010

"It's Great To Be Alive!" | Vintage Safety Manual

My mother was a school nurse and, like this booklet, took a grim view of horseplay and thoughtless behavior. From earlier than I can remember, we were told of the dangers inherent in everyday life, and how to avoid them. "You certainly don't want to be crippled for life," was a fairly common statement around the house, and that was the presumed outcome for children who ignored safety rules.

In fairness, adults didn't have a lot of options in those days, so using abject fear was a common parenting tool. There were no reflective bicycle helmets or knee-pads for skateboarders, no designated bicycle lanes, many fewer supervised activities, and we didn't even have seat belts in cars until the mid-1960s. When accidents happened, they were usually pretty grim.
Gene Gable is a technology consultant and writer who authors the "Scanning Around With Gene" blog at CreativePro.com.

Via Neatorama

2010 Social Networking Map | Flowtown

Click here to view larger image.

Via The Presurfer

Monkey Monday | Thoughtful


07 August 2010

Project Gutenberg

A roar of welkome through the welkin
Is certain proof you’ll find the Elk in;
But if you listen to the shell,
In which the Whelk is said to dwell,
And hear a roar, beyond a doubt
It indicates the Whelk is out.

Observe how Nature's necromancies
Have clearly painted on the Pansies,
These almost human counten-ances,
In yellow, blue and black nu-ances.
The face however seems to me
To be that of the Chim-pan-zee:
A fact that makes the gentle Pansy,
Appeal no longer to my fancy.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of How to tell the Birds from the Flowers and other Wood-cuts, by Robert Williams Wood. This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License.
Via Neatorama

Insect Sushi And Other Insect-y Recipes

Putting your prejudices aside can lead to different, and possibly better, experiences — such as eating insects.

A recipe book recently published by Shoichi Uchiyama may be quite an eye-opener for many people in this sense. But be prepared before opening the 256-page book — some of the 64 color photos of bug recipes may leave you feeling a little queasy. The meals in the pictures range from huge cockroaches soaked in pink vinegar soup, half-raw fat hornet larvae, huge moth pupae simmered with sugar, and a pizza covered with giant water bugs, spiders, caterpillars and adult hornets.

Uchiyama, who lives in Tokyo and holds a food sanitation license, has his own reasons to justify his bug-eating crusade. He argues that insects are almost the perfect food for human beings, were it not for our emotional aversion — nurtured by society — to insects. "Everybody says bugs taste good even if they taste them only once," said Uchiyama ... To get his point across, Uchiyama recently published the book "Tanoshii Konchu Ryori" ("Enjoyable Bug-eating Recipes"), featuring 80 bug-eating recipes in Japanese, Western and other ethnic styles, as well as bug-based desserts.

Academic studies have shown insects are rich in nutrition and many are even more nutritionally balanced than meat or fish, Uchiyama pointed out. In addition, they grow much faster and require less feed than animals and fish, and leftover vegetables are enough to farm many kinds of bugs. They grow in small spaces and don't compete with human beings over food, Uchiyama said. "I think a food shortage will emerge as a global problem in the near future. Insects will play a big role in solving that problem."

More at Japan Times

Via Neatorama

For Rick, with thanks for all the awesome sushi you've prepared for us in the past and with zero expectations for any insect-bedecked sushi in the future.

The Idiom Dictionary

The Idiom Dictionary via The Presurfer

Strange Fruit | Anniversary Of A Lynching | NPR

Lawrence Beitler/Bettmann/Corbis
Eighty years ago, two young African-American men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were lynched in the town center of Marion, Ind. The night before, on Aug. 6, 1930, they had been arrested and charged with the armed robbery and murder of a white factory worker, Claude Deeter, and the rape of his companion, Mary Ball. That evening, local police were unable to stop a mob of thousands from breaking into the jail with sledgehammers and crowbars to pull the young men out of their cells and lynch them.

News of the lynching spread across the world. Local photographer Lawrence Beitler took what would become the most iconic photograph of lynching in America. The photograph shows two bodies hanging from a tree surrounded by a crowd of ordinary citizens, including women and children. Thousands of copies were made and sold. The photograph helped inspire the poem and song "Strange Fruit" written by Abel Meeropol — and performed around the world by Billie Holiday.

But there was a third person, 16-year-old James Cameron, who narrowly survived the lynching.

The mob grabbed Shipp and Smith first — and then came back for Cameron. He had a noose around his neck when he made an improbable escape. "After 15 or 20 minutes of having their pictures taken and everything, they came back to get me," Cameron told NPR in 1994. "Just then the sheriff, and he was sweating like somebody had throwed a bucket of water in his face. He told the mob leader: 'Get the hell out of here, you already hung two of 'em so that ought to satisfy ya.' Then they began to yell for me like a favorite basketball or football player. They said: 'We want Cameron, we want Cameron, we want Cameron.'

"And I looked over to the faces of the people as they were beating me along the way to the tree. I was pleading for some kind of mercy, looking for a kind face. But I could find none. They got me up to the tree and they got a rope and they put it around my neck. And they began to push me under the tree. And that's when I prayed to God. I said, 'Lord have mercy, forgive me my sins.' I was ready to die."

That's when some people say a local Marion citizen stood on the hood of his car and shouted, "He's innocent, he didn't do it." Whatever the cause, the mob decided not to lynch Cameron and he was taken back to the jail. Cameron was moved out of town, convicted as an accessory to the murder and served four years in jail. But the case was never solved.

Read the rest of the article or listen to the story at NPR.


06 August 2010

Mini-Cannon Firepower

YouTube via Laughing Squid

Two (unnecessary but amusing-to-me) things I've yearned for are a piano and a cannon. Thanks to the generosity of a friend who was moving to California, I was gifted with a piano last week. Still working on the cannon ...

This is the second mini-cannon video these fellows have posted. They've made some obvious improvements and note that this video "also better demonstrates the great power of firearms, even on a very small scale."

05 August 2010

Skull Spoons

From a 2009 article in The Dallas Morning News:
[Artist Tom Sale's] ... signature ... is the skull spoon, a vintage sterling or silver-plated sipper transformed via Dremel tool, buffing wheel, jewelers rouge and twisted imagination into a symbol of our own impermanence.

“I think of them as memento mori ,” says Sale, whose workshop is the Ennis, Texas, farm he shares with wife, Dotty, and storefront is a booth at East Dallas vintage emporium Dolly Python. “We should be reminded of death, not be afraid of it. Maybe even laugh at it every now and then.”
Pinky Diablo via Neatorama

High On London

This short film was filmed and produced in 12 hours by Matt Gosden and Rob Rackstraw. Shot on an Olympus E-PL1. Music by Matt Gosden.
The Daily What

04 August 2010

The Only 3D Robot Serial Killer Kollywood Musical You Need To Watch This Year

S. Shankar's Endhiran, which is a Kollywood movie ... features the splashy dance routines you'd expect from Indian films. (And the soundtrack is already on the top of the iTunes chart!)

But it also features a fairly intricate plot, in which a guy creates a robot as a companion for his son — and, depending on which synopsis you read, the robot either goes on a killing rampage, or evildoers try to seize control of the robot. One way or the other, the robot may be turning on its creator. Superstar Rajnikanth plays both the robot and its creator. The love interest is played by Aishwarya Rai, who's been photographed dancing with ostriches in a giant set piece.


Seoul On Ice

AP photo

A boy sits on the ice toilet at the Ice Gallery in Seoul, South Korea.

Baltimore Sun

03 August 2010

02 August 2010

The CherPumPle Cake-Pie | Charles Phoenix

The Cherpumple is the desert version of the Turducken. It’s a three-layer cake with a pie stuffed in each layer. YUM! Cherpumple is short for CHERry, PUMpkin and apPLE pie. The apple pie is baked in spice cake, the pumpkin in yellow and the cherry in white ...

The inspiration for the Cherpumple came from the typical desert table selection you would find at one of my family’s holiday celebrations. Seems there’s always cherry, pumpkin, and apple pie and a cake that’s a family tradition. It has a layer of spice and a layer of yellow. Since I always want to have a piece of each of the pies and the cake I figured why not make that waaaaaaaay more convenient. So I baked them all together as one and the Cherpumple was born.
Via The Daily What



Monkey Monday | Not A Giraffe

Madison's Musings via Tacky Raccoons

01 August 2010

Ars Electronica 2010 | The Telenoid R1

Hiroshi Ishiguro exhibited a “geminoid” during the Ars Electronica Festival 2009 as a featured artist. The geminoid is a tele-operated android modeled after his creator. Once the operator talks with visitors by using the geminoid, both the operator and visitors can adapt to the android body. The operator recognizes the android body as his own body and the visitors recognize it as the operator.

His newest project is a geminoid named “telenoid”. The unique appearance may be eery [sic] when we first see it. However, once we communicate with others by using the telenoid, we can adapt to it. If a friend speaks from the telenoid, we can imagine the friend’s face on the telenoid’s face. If we embrace it, we have the feeling, that we embrace the friend.


Ars Electronica via io9