30 April 2011

29 April 2011

T.G.I.F. | The Verger's Cartwheels

The Daily Beast

Princess Beatrice's Hat

Forget Will and Kate, this is what I will remember about today's royal wedding. If that isn't a cry for attention, I don't know what is.

There was also an astonishing number of tiny-hats, which I've learned are called "fascinators."

28 April 2011

Monarchies, Sultanates, And Emirates

Click image to enlarge
  • For definitions of the various types of governments and a more in-depth look at each country, see the CIA World Factbook.
  • The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of more than 50 independent countries – most of which used to be under British rule. Of the Commonwealth countries, 16, known as "realms," recognize Queen Elizabeth II as their sovereign, while others have their own monarch or are free of monarchical affiliation.

NPR | The Presurfer

27 April 2011

26 April 2011

SETI Shutdown

The Allen Telescope Array near Mount Shasta, California is was the only large-scale telescope
 fully at the disposal of the SETI project.
Daniel Terdiman | CNET News
Lacking the money to pay its operating expenses, Mountain View's SETI Institute has pulled the plug on the renowned Allen Telescope Array, a field of radio dishes that scan the skies for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.

In an April 22 letter to donors, SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson said that last week the array was put into "hibernation," safe but nonfunctioning, because of inadequate government support.

The timing couldn't be worse, say SETI scientists. After millenniums of musings, this spring astronomers announced that 1,235 new possible planets had been observed by Kepler, a telescope on a space satellite. They predict that dozens of these planets will be Earth-sized -- and some will be in the "habitable zone," where the temperatures are just right for liquid water, a prerequisite of life as we know it. "There is a huge irony," said SETI Director Jill Tarter, "that a time when we discover so many planets to look at, we don't have the operating funds to listen."
Read more at the San Jose Mercury News

Via Neatorama

WTF | Pat Robertson On Liberals, Women, Lesbians

YouTube | TDW

So much ignorance.

25 April 2011

Monkey Monday | Squirrel Monkeys vs Jell-O

YouTube | December 2009
In the Bronx Zoo Monkey House, squirrel monkeys receive a holiday treat unlike anything theyve seen--or felt--before. Keepers offer them Jell-O with blueberries, a jiggly concoction that immediately stimulates their foraging instincts.

23 April 2011

Frolicking Elk Calf

YouTube | BoingBoing

Thanks, Roy

Accidentally Naughty

Links for the above pics and more accidentally funny headlines at Oddee.

Via Neatorama

The Master Theorem | A Society Of Solvers

Current Theorem: Old McDonald

The Master Theorem was founded by "M" as a secret society for puzzle aficianados at Columbia University. Now membership is open to anyone who can solve one of the Theorems:
The Herculean test of your grit is as follows: Submit the solution, in the form of a word or phrase, to this or any week's puzzle, called a Theorem. As a Member, you'll have the chance to search for hidden Seals throughout the website and compete with other Members by earning points for all of your efforts. As you work your way through the ranks of Membership, you'll have your finger on the pulse of additional invite-only events.
The Presurfer

22 April 2011

EDN | Earth Day 2011

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

All of EDN’s activities, whether greening schools or promoting green economic policies at home and abroad, inform and energize populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children. With its partner organizations, EDN provides civic engagement opportunities at the local, state, national and global levels. At every turn, EDN works to broaden the definition of "environment" to include all issues that affect our health, our communities and our environment, such as greening deteriorated schools, creating green jobs and investment, and promoting activism to stop air and water pollution.

Over the last 40 years, EDN has executed successful environmental campaigns on issues ranging climate change and drinking water to voter registration and saving the whale. EDN is a recognized leader in creating civically–oriented innovative programs with partners outside of the environmental movement to tackle new challenges.

21 April 2011

Interviews With South Carolina Republicans

YouTube | Dangerous Minds

Footage of interviews with Republican voters at a rally in Columbia, South Carolina on 18 April 2011. The rally was hosted by SC Republican Governor Nikki Haley and Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.

Eastern Eggs | Proceeds Aid The Red Cross - Japanese Tsunami Appeal

TBWA London ... has created Eastern Eggs, an online site/ store selling wooden eggs decorated with the Egg-bot by various artists, with a portion of the proceeds going to Red Cross - Japan Tsunami Appeal.
If It's Hip It's Here

What Are These Kids Looking At?

Chuck Berman | Chicago Tribune

Chicago grade school students react as they watch a PowerPoint presentation showing photos of a developing fetus inside the uterus.

Source via Coudal Partners

20 April 2011

Best Of Criggo

io9 | 25 Great Books By Legendary Scientists

#1. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

Alasdair Wilkins writes:
... here are twenty-five amazing books written by world-famous scientists. These are legendary texts, popular science explainers, personal memoirs, and controversial new theories, and they're all enduring monuments to the power of science.
The list includes books by James Watson, Jonas Salk, Richard Feynman, Margaret Mead, Jane Goodall, Richard Dawkins, Mary Leakey, and Primo Levi. The only nits I have to pick are the inclusion of The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud [I would nominate the two-volume Principles of Psychology by William James instead] and the absence of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Read the article and see the complete list at io9.

Barack Obama With His Mother In Hawaii

Friends and family of Stanley Ann Dunham

From a New York Times article, Obama's Young Mother Abroad, by Janny Scott.

Source: @ditzkoff via TDW

18 April 2011

Cedar Tree Pollen Cloud

YouTube | TDW

Monkey Monday | Japanese Macaque

Japanese macaques, also called snow monkeys, live farther north than any other non-human primates. Their thick coats help them survive the frigid temperatures of central Japan's highlands. But when the mercury really plummets, they go to plan B: hot-tubbing in the region's many thermal springs.
National Geographic has a selection of beautiful animal photographs, ranging from from alligators to zebras. The photographs are also available as wallpapers.

16 April 2011

Wanderlust | Interactive Map Of History's Greatest Journeys

Click image to enlarge
When Spain commissioned Ferdinand Magellan to find a westward route to the Spice Islands in 1519, the explorer commanded five ships and 240 men. Six years later, nearly every member of the expedition, including its commander, was dead. When the American writer Jack Kerouac tried in 1951 to find the words to convey his wayward journey through the United States and Mexico, he commanded a typewriter and a massive stash of Benzedrine. After a few weeks, the first draft of On the Road was completed. These are just two of the journeys that have left indelible marks on our collective maps, and are endless sources of fascination. Here is compilation of some of the most famous jaunts of all time-both factual and fictional-that show us how far we've come, and where we might go next.
Launch Wanderlust

Via Neatorama

15 April 2011

Live Webcam | Shiba Inu Puppies 2011

Kika is back with a new litter of puppies born on 7 March 2011.

[Via Ustream]

RoboEarth | An Internet For Robots

At its core, RoboEarth is a World Wide Web for robots: a giant network and database repository where robots can share information and learn from each other about their behavior and their environment.

Bringing a new meaning to the phrase "experience is the best teacher", the goal of RoboEarth is to allow robotic systems to benefit from the experience of other robots, paving the way for rapid advances in machine cognition and behaviour, and ultimately, for more subtle and sophisticated human-machine interaction.
Ummmmm ... SkyNet.

The Presurfer

12 April 2011

Today Is ... Equal Pay Day 2011

Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.

Since Census statistics showing the latest wage figures will not be available until late August or September, NCPE leadership decided years ago to select a Tuesday in April as Equal Pay Day. (Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.) The date also is selected to avoid avoid religious holidays and other significant events.

Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.

American Association of University Women | The Simple Truth About the Pay Gap

Institute for Women's Policy Research | Pay Equity and Discrimination

Yuri Gagarin | First Human In Space

Fifty years ago today, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth.

Article at Wired

11 April 2011

Monkey Monday | The Loveable Sock Monkey

Authentic Ozark Red Heel Sock Monkeys
The old-fashioned, handcrafted sock monkey dolls made with Original Rockford Red Heel socks from Fox River Mills have become a favorite piece of "Americana" over the years.  Intended and worn even today as work socks, mothers in the early 1900's fashioned these Rockford socks into sock monkeys for their children.  Clever crafters have been making Sock Monkeys and other animal sock dolls ever since ... Today, the instructions for making these dolls are still included in each package of authentic Red Heel Monkey socks.
I've loved sock monkeys since I sewed my first doll when I was a Brownie in the olden days. I have sock monkey slippers, a sock monkey wine cover, a sock monkey key chain, a sock monkey hat, and Bisou has a sock monkey dog toy.


Thanks, tomB

Alan Wolfson | Miniature Urban Sculptures

Miss America Diner (2000)
Click image to enlarge

Follies Burlesk (1987)
Click image to enlarge

Brooklyn Rooftop (2005)
Click image to enlarge

Brooklyn Rooftop, interior
Click image to enlarge
Alan Wolfson creates handmade miniature sculptures of urban environments. Complete with complex interior views and lighting effects, a major work can take several months to complete. The pieces are usually not exact representations of existing locations, but rather a combination of details from many different locations along with much of the detail from the artist's imagination.

There is a narrative element to the work. Scenarios are played out through the use of inanimate objects in the scene. There are never people present, only things they have left behind; garbage, graffiti, or a tip on a diner table, all give the work a sense of motion and a storyline.

Alan's miniature environments are included in art collections throughout the US and Europe.
Via Neatorama

08 April 2011

What Planned Parenthood Actually Does

Planned Parenthood
With Planned Parenthood being either the major obstacle to a budget deal or one of the major obstacles to a budget deal, it’s worth taking a minute explaining what they do — and what they don’t do.
Read the rest of Ezra Klein's article about Planned Parenthood here.

The Washington Post via Brooklyn Mutt

Tiny Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Vimeo | The Presurfer

05 April 2011

Passive Aggressive Notes | Sisters

For a second-grade assignment, Gayle’s daughter Martha, age 7, was assigned to write an acrostic poem about a family member, using descriptive words beginning with each letter of their title (Mother, Grandpa, etc.) Martha chose to compose this loving ode to her SISTER.

04 April 2011

The Geoid

YouTube | Neatorama

A geoid is a gravity map of the earth that compensates for ocean currents and variations in sea level ... The European Space Agency's GOCE [Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer] mission has delivered the most accurate model of the 'geoid' ever produced.

When Nature Calls And Squeals | The Ladybag

Click image to enlarge

While culling old and unwanted bookmarks, I came across the website for the Ladybag. You can also buy the Roadbag for men.

Monkey Monday | Evolution's Gift Of Play From Bonobos

With never-before-seen video, primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo (a TED Fellow) shows how bonobo ape society learns from constantly playing -- solo, with friends, even as a prelude to sex. Indeed, play appears to be the bonobos' key to problem-solving and avoiding conflict. If it works for our close cousins, why not for us?

02 April 2011

Who Made This Mess?


For tomB

Spanish Fork, Utah | Largest Holi Celebration In The Western Hemisphere

Every year the Hare Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah puts on the biggest Holi celebration in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011 the Spanish Fork Police department estimated that over 40,000 people attended in the first day alone of the two-day festival. Organizers carefully rationed their stash of approximately 120,000 bags of colored powder. Attendees come from all over the country (and some from abroad), but the majority of attendees are students from Brigham Young, Utah Valley, and Utah universities.

Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil and ushers in the spring season. The festival commemorates a Hindu myth about a witch, Holika, who burned children in a fire. One child repeated the Hare Krishna mantra as he was carried into the flames and the witch was burned instead. At the Spanish Fork festival, rock and roll, R&B, and other modern interpretations of the mantra are played by musicians throughout the day and chanted in a call and response game between performers and attendees. The main event of each festival is the coordinated throwing of colored powder, when the sky above the crowd is filled with rainbow puffs of dye.

This video is a tribute to the Utah version of Holi, which the director, Evan Carpenter, has attended faithfully for the last six years. This video was produced by Plaid Social Labs, a video and social media marketing company based in Provo, Utah. [www.plaidsocial.com] The performers featured in the video are Namrock and C.C. White's Soul Kirtan.
Via Dangerous Minds

Hello-o-o-o Kitty

Bisou does something like this. She starts to do a somersault then stops, holds the position, wiggles her butt, and falls over. It's so funny that it's always good for a treat.

Memristor | Human Blood Used To Make Electronic Component

Photo: An image of a circuit with 17 memristors captured by an atomic force microscope
R. Stanley Williams/HP Labs

A team of engineers in India have created a physical model of a memristor using human blood. From io9:
... A memristor is a more sophisticated version of a resistor. The first syllable of its name comes from the word 'memory'. Instead of resisting at the same level each time, a memristor resists at a different level each time, depending on the last voltage that was applied to it.

Circuits with a memristor can adapt and change each time a new voltage is applied to them. They can be used in logic circuits and signal processing. Other memristors have been invented - the first one in 2008 - but none before have been, literally, a combination of human and electronic parts. The new memristor's inventors have tested it, successfully, both with tubes full of stationary blood and tubes of flowing blood. Both memristors have the ability to remember the last applied voltage for five minutes.
The singularity draws ever closer ...

Inderscience Publishers: Human blood liquid memristor

01 April 2011

Poisson d'Avril

Although the origins of April Fool's is obscure and debated, the most widely accepted explanation actually credits the “holiday” as starting in France. The most popular theory about the origin of April Fool’s Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century.

The theory goes like this: In 1564 King Charles XIV of France reformed the calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. However, in a time without trains, a reliable post system or the internet, news often traveled slow and the uneducated, lower class people in rural France were the last to hear of and accept the new calendar. Those who failed to keep up with the change or who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born.

Today in France, those who are fooled on April 1 are called the “Poisson d’Avril” (the April Fish). A common prank (especially among school-aged children) is to place a paper fish on the back of an unsuspecting person. When the paper fish is discovered, the victim is declared a “Poisson d’Avril.”

While it is not clear of the origins of fish being associated with April 1, many think the correlation is related to zodiac sign of Pisces (a fish), which falls near April.

For Claire, who first told me about the Poisson d'Avril