Saturday, March 9, 2013

Democracy is the art and science of...

Yes, we're well into March. But that won't prevent me from promoting The Best of Bootie 2012, A+D's mashup of their favorite mashups from last year. You can stream it from their website or download the tracks including 10 bonus tracks that didn't make the final cut. (What's not to like? The first track includes Men at Work's Land Down Under as one of its components. That song was popular when I was an undergrad back at Syracuse, which coincidentally I just returned from visiting.)

I had never heard about painter Arthur Pinajian until this news story about lucky house buyers who also got a bunch of his works as part of the deal. Turns out the collection is worth about $30 million (they paid $2,500). So I'm trying to learn more about why his work is so valuable. Like here.
This will be something to keep an eye on: 100 Painters of Tomorrow is a juried competition for painters at the early stages of their career.

The Clyfford Still Museum is on Pinterest. Maybe you follow, OK?

What is perhaps the first silver dollar minted by the U.S., a 1794 silver dollar, sold at auction for $10 million.

If you'd like to cash in on numismatic mania keep an eye out for these not very well known U.S. coins. The half dime is of interest to me due to my collection of 5-cent pieces.

And lest you think that coin collecting is like the lottery (which I never win) read about how just getting a roll of coins from your bank can yield treasures - like pre-1965 silver coins and things like odd strikes.

In World War II a soldier had a 1.8% chance of getting killed. But in what U.S. war were the odds 3.7 times higher?

A little baby Jupiter (bright orange blob on the right) has been observed in its formative stages in the gas and dust surrounding the star HD 100546, located over 300 million light years away.
Stardust is a visually rich, gorgeous short film about Voyager 1.

Learn this name: Siding Spring. It's the nom de guerre of comet C/2013 A1 that will come very, very close to Mars in October 2014. If it actually hits Mars the resulting explosion will be in the 1 billion megaton range, something astronomists call "big."

Poo doesn't get the credit it deserves. Apparently it's great at blocking radiation. Which is great for future astronauts traveling to the Red Planet because they can line the walls of their spacecraft with little brown planets to block cosmic rays. (Does anyone else think it would have been more realistic in the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey for the early human to throw his poo instead of that bone? And let's not even start talking about how phallic the Discovery One is.)

Teh interwebs was made for this: the virtual toilet paper museum.

Even further back in time, a publication no less than Scientific American shares the history of butt wiping, including the ancient Greek practice of using rounded bits of ceramic stones and the accompanying axiom "three are enough."

A friend's diet includes the restriction "nothing with lips." I'm not certain I could eat anything with mandibles, even this delicious looking Predator cake.
First Harry Ford, now Carrie Fisher - she'll reprise the role of Princess Leia in the upcoming Star Wars VII (but hopefully without the gold bikini this time).

I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Deresiewicz - C.P. Snow's Two Cultures is not a solution seeking a problem. It's an advisory to avoid knowledge silos.

Just in time for Easter, here's a brassiere made of peeps. (Next, a jock strap made of circus peanuts.) (Words not to confuse: brassiere and brasserie.)

Beef. Rainbow. Two words that you wouldn't normally put together. But beef rainbows are real - caused by light reflecting off a moist morsel that's been sliced against the grain.
Cursive vs. printing. Is it a case of schoolhouse bait and switch? Or is cursive to printing what algebra is to math, an evolution of the skill? (I'm a fan of cursive. Between the lack of cursive instruction and kids' increasing reliance on "keyboarding" we get college graduates whose handwriting looks like it was done by a left-handed spider monkey with ADHD and a caffeine addiction.)

When you master cursive you can create your own handwriting font from it.

But there's nothing wrong with using a computer for writing. Do you know which novel was the first ever written on a word processor? It was Len Deighton's Bomber from 1968. I found this interesting because Len Deighton's SS-GB from 1978 is a proud member of my collection of alternate history books.

Comedian Louis C.K. did one of the funniest stand-up routines I've ever seen (HBO reruns it a lot - look for it). A fan took the time to compile a list of his more famous quotes. "Now we live in an amazing, amazing world and it's wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots."

When I was a kid my mother used to hang laundry in the backyard to dry. Will my kids ever see that? This collection of 1930s photos from NYC will show you how they did it in the Big Apple.
I don't claim prescience but allow me to repeat myself: energy generation is an important topic of research but energy storage might be even more so. For example, consider these micro-supercapacitors made from graphene.

Do you know what a "marbit" is? Learn that factoid and 10 others about foods.

Scalping concert tickets should be illegal. There, I said it. But there are other reasons why you can't score a ticket to the big show.

How do humans judge the passing of time? Ho-hum, using external stimuli, especially visual cues, that let the brain interpret the rate of change of stimuli leading to a sense of time. Not too surprising. The more interesting question from quantum physics is why in our universe only 4 dimensions (of 10? or 11?) unfurled (3D in space + time) but of those four only time restricts us to forward movement. (In other words I can go backward and forward in x, y, and z but only forward in t.)

TV mavens will love America, The Home of Television by James Chapman showing where TV shows are located. If you're like me the first thing you do is find what's missing. For example, why did WKRP (Cincinnati) and The Drew Carey Show (Cleveland) get skipped?
For obvious reasons, I haven't seen any of these TV shows that got cancelled after one episode. But Heil Honey I'm Home! looks like a true winner.

Follow along with one person's quest to read every book from the top of Publisher's Weekly bestseller list for every year since 1913.

A nice little morphing of facial models of human ancestors.

The last Harlem Shake video you ever need to watch.
...running the circus from inside the monkey cage. ~H.L. Mencken


Jim said...

As always, another quality work. Appreciated the link to the comet heading "near" Mars as I hadn't heard of it and my kid's doing a Mars-related science project. And the mashup site was... a great time waster.

The "Home of television" map has some interesting interpretations of geography. Notably, Seattle has moved 250 miles east to the other side the mountains (perhaps finally getting tired of all of the rain), as has Twin Peaks' home town of Rosalyn.

John said...

I like mashups from a couple of standpoints. First, it's fun to hear tunes from different eras mixed together. Second, the skill it takes to do these is pretty high (at least relative to what I know). Third, some are really well produced.

Maybe it's a fictional Seattle? Since it's a fictional TV show.

Jim said...

Oh, I agree with the mashups. I was surfing some related DJs links and found the excellent Whole Lotta Sabbath (War Pig/Whole Lotta Love) mashup by Wax Audio. (And there was one since removed from NirGaga.)

Jim said...

Ooh, 2005 has a Cold Play/Kraftwerk mashup. Thanks again.

Francis Shivone said...

Great job, the little marshmallow peeps were always my favorite . . . still are . . . or would be here.

John said...

I still get to have one big bowl of Lucky Charms each week.