Archive for October 2008

#  Something Nice →

October 30th, 2008 at 20:54 // In Worth Reading 

Bob Greene asks voters to say something nice about the man they’re not voting for in the presidential election. (This would have made a good video.)

(via Waxy)

#  The Case Against Robert Rubin →

October 30th, 2008 at 20:50 // In Worth Knowing 

Timothy Noah’s hardly the first person to claim that the Democrat’s go-to economic wise men, Bob Rubin, should have to shoulder a piece of the blame for the current financial mess. But his arguments are clearly laid out, and worthy of a perusal for anyone with a faint interest in the topic.

#  Lego People →

October 30th, 2008 at 20:40 // In Worth Distraction 

A bit of toy history: Gizmodo has compiled a photographic timeline of all Lego “minifigs” ever made.

#  Photographing Graffiti →

October 30th, 2008 at 20:26 // In Worth Considering 

The Ideas Blog brings up a topic I’ve never considered: who deserves credit for a photo of graffiti (or other street art), the photographer or the creater of the object being photographed?

#  Copy and Paste →

October 30th, 2008 at 20:10 // In Worth Distraction 

A funny thing happens when you copy and paste the character on this page into a text editor. (via Waxy)

#  Seeing Coughs →

October 28th, 2008 at 18:20 // In Worth Seeing 

Though I don’t know how much scientific utiliy this has, it’s cool to see this schlieren photo of a person coughing. Also worthwhile: the story explaining the technique and a slideshow of more such photos.

#  Mad Men Sucks →

October 28th, 2008 at 17:47 // In Worth Reading 

Without question the critical consensus is that with The Sopranos and The Wire off the air, Mad Men is the best thing around. I’ve always had mixed feelings about it myself, but I’m glad simply to read someone (at length) discuss the show without slavishly showing their good tastes by being a fan. Perhaps the best bit:

Whether one finds all of this claustrophobic and ludicrous or tightly wound and compelling depends very heavily on one’s opinion of Don Draper. Draper, as written, is a kind of social savant. He knows how to act in every emergency. He deploys strategic fits of temper to attain his ends. He’s catnip to women. As played by Jon Hamm, though, his manner hardly matches his activities. … Draper is supposed to have a deep secret, but it would make sense only if that secret were his weakness – fearfulness or femininity – instead of the show’s anticlimactic revelation that his mother was a whore and he picked up another man’s identity on the battlefield in Korea: bizarre Gothicisms that belong to some other series. One never sees hunger or anger in Hamm’s eyes, only the misery of the hunted fox. Either he is playing the hero as a schlub in deference to a 21st-century idea of masculinity as fundamentally hollow and sham, or he’s completely underequipped to convey male menace.

#  Slate for Obama →

October 28th, 2008 at 15:22 // In Worth Knowing 

This shouldn’t shock anyone, but Slate’s staff is overwhelmingly pro-Obama. Bob Barr is getting as many votes from them as John McCain. And four times more people can’t vote as are voting for either of those two.

I’d love to see more publications try this out. I’d like to know the score at Time or The Economist.

#  Beard Chart →

October 28th, 2008 at 15:15 // In Worth Distraction 

An important resource. (via BuzzFeed)

#  The March to Print’s Inevitable Death →

October 28th, 2008 at 14:55 // In Worth Knowing 

Marc Ambinder points out that the venerable Christian Science Monitor is going to stop being a daily newspaper in April — it’ll become a weekly in print — and spend more time focusing on it’s web presence.

#  How Globes are Made →

October 28th, 2008 at 14:48 // In Worth Seeing 

This video didn’t just interest me, it enraptured me.

(via kottke)

#  Eagle and the Moon →

October 27th, 2008 at 17:31 // In Worth Seeing 

Another stunner from Mr. Javanrouh.

#  Understanding the Weekend →

October 26th, 2008 at 20:44 // In Worth Reading 

I’ve not read a book in a while and I’ve not missed it. But a good magazine article, those I have missed in their absense. This one, from 1991, is a good one. Take, for example, this excellent bit on weeks:

The week mocks the calendar and marches relentlessly and unbroken across time, paying no attention to the seasons. The British scholar F H. Colson, who in 1926 wrote a fascinating monograph on the subject, described the week as an “intruder.” It is an intruder that arrived relatively late. The week emerged as the final feature of what became the Western calendar sometime in the second or third century A.D., in ancient Rome. But it can be glimpsed in different guises—not always seven days long, and not always continuous—in many earlier civilizations.

And a bit about the psychology of weekends:

We have invented the weekend, but the dark cloud of old taboos still hangs over the holiday, and the combination of the secular with the holy leaves us uneasy. This tension only compounds the guilt that many of us continue to feel about not working, and leads to the nagging feeling that our free time should be used for some purpose higher than having fun. We want leisure, but we are afraid of it too.

(via Andrew Sullivan)

#  Halloween Mask Polling →

October 25th, 2008 at 13:45 // In Worth Knowing 

An accurate predictor of the winner of the last seven presidential elections: Halloween mask sales.

#  The Veggie Burger Theory →

October 25th, 2008 at 13:31 // In Worth Reading 

Obviously you wouldn’t want to use this to judge a proud carnivorium (that is: steakhouse), but I definately think this idea has some merit.

I have a theory that you can tell how much a restaurant thinks about its food by the quality of its veggie burger. The item has become the quintessential menu add-on for restaurants that want to show that they “care” about vegetarians. Restaurants, let me share a tidbit right now: Warming a pre-packaged Gardenburger, slapping it on a bun, and charging $9 for it is not caring for vegetarians. It’s caring for vegetarians’ friends who want to go to a restaurant and say, “Oh, look, they serve something for you.” Meaning: you eat boring meatless crap, and this place serves one boring meatless item.

(via Ideas)

#  Understanding Red Eye →

October 25th, 2008 at 13:23 // In Worth Knowing 

There’s nothing too complex to it, but I’d never actually heard the story before.

When you took the picture, the camera flash sent a lot of light into the eye in a very short time, the light reflected off the back of the eye and out through the pupil and, because the camera lens is close to the flash and able to capture images very quickly, it caught the light reflecting back out.

So why is that light red? Because the fundus, the interior surface of the eye that includes the retina, is loaded with melanin, a pigment that gives it a brownish-reddish color.

#  Cannibal Mom →

October 25th, 2008 at 13:09 // In Worth Distraction 

Though this story would undoubtedly fall into the one-off category, I feel compelled — by how utterly disturbing it is — to share it. If you’re squirmy about the darkest side of humanity, please don’t read this.

A cannibal cult mother who tortured her son in a locked cellar while relatives skinned him and forced him to eat his own flesh has been jailed for nine years.

(via BuzzFeed)

#  The Flag of the Earth →

October 24th, 2008 at 18:31 // In Worth Knowing 

Like Kevin Kelly, I feel that “This is the first flag I feel I could fly with unalloyed pride”. The story:

It is intended to be used for ANY purpose that is representative of Humankind as a whole, and not connected to any country, organization, or individual. James made it his life’s work to promote and distribute this flag everywhere. He and his wife made the flags on their kitchen table, and sold them for what it cost to make and distribute them.

Here it is.