Archive for December 2008

#  The Year in Pictures →

December 31st, 2008 at 13:34 // In Worth Seeing 

The New York Times slideshow is well done.

(via kottke)

#  Blago’s Pick →

December 31st, 2008 at 13:10 // In Worth Considering 

If there’s any logic behind the embattled Illinois govenor making a pick of US Senator, I think Edward McClellen may have captured it:

You don’t like Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pick for the U.S. Senate? What’s the matter with you? Don’t you want to see another black guy in the World’s Most Exclusive Club?

#  A Year in 40 Seconds →

December 31st, 2008 at 12:29 // In Worth Seeing 

If you’ve not watched this video (in HD) yet, you should. Also interesting: the making of.

#  2008′s Notable Blogs →

December 31st, 2008 at 11:11 // In Worth Seeing 

You don’t have to agree with everything on Rex’s list to recognize that it’s probably one of the best end-of-year lists you’ll see.

#  Vestigial Foods →

December 30th, 2008 at 13:33 // In Worth Considering 

I really like Mike Dresser’s idea.

#  Who’s Afraid of “Administration”? →

December 29th, 2008 at 13:18 // In Worth Considering 

Catherine Rampell thinks people spend too much time worrying about high administration costs when giving to charity:

While there is something to be said for charities that know how to keep their administrative costs under control, lower costs are not always better. For example, many nonprofits seem to cut corners on backroom tasks like bookkeeping and record-keeping because these expenses aren’t viewed as critical to the “mission.” But spending less money on such administrative costs can actually make a charity less effective because it invites embezzlement, a crime that perpetually afflicts nonprofit organizations.

#  Ekranoplanes →

December 29th, 2008 at 12:29 // In Worth Knowing 

An old friend’s first venture into “e-junk” taught me a bit of science and history:

These things are some of the biggest planes ever built. The largest, dubbed the Caspian Sea Monster, was longer than a football field, could move over 1000 tonnes of cargo, and crossed the Caspian at speeds over 250mph. The Soviets kept the project secret, so you can imagine the poor fishermen who undoubtedly found themselves in the path of these speeding behemoths. Keep in mind they never flew more than a few meters above the water.

#  Space Video →

December 29th, 2008 at 11:48 // In Worth Seeing 

Kottke’s right: this video of one of Jupiter’s moons, as taken from the Hubble Space Telescope, looks like (fairly marginal) CGI.

#  The Coup in Guinea →

December 28th, 2008 at 19:00 // In Worth Reading 

In a further effort to lessen my — and your — ignorance of current events: The Cliff Notes version of the recent Guinean coup.

#  The Gaza Situation →

December 28th, 2008 at 18:56 // In Worth Knowing 

If only to establish my present ignorance of current events, I was until today largely unaware of the widening problem of Gaza. One could trace the beginning to the complete Israeli blockade — as Sara Roy does — but the widely reported cause is an Israeli desire to lessen the rocket attacks.

#  Christmas Letdown →

December 26th, 2008 at 18:06 // In Worth Considering 

Lloyd point to one of things I find so frustrating about gift exchanges:

The most conservative estimate put the average receiver’s valuation at 90% of the buying price. The missing 10% is what economists call a deadweight loss: a waste of resources that could be averted without making anyone worse off. In other words, if the giver gave the cash value of the purchase instead of the gift itself, the recipient could then buy what she really wants, and be better off for no extra cost.

#  Was Jesus a Common Name? →

December 26th, 2008 at 17:56 // In Worth Knowing 

The question had never really occured to me, but the name certainly wasn’t rare:

Christ’s given name, commonly Romanized as Yeshua, was quite common in first-century Galilee. (Jesus comes from the transliteration of Yeshua into Greek and then English.) Archaeologists have unearthed the tombs of 71 Yeshuas from the period of Jesus’ death. The name also appears 30 times in the Old Testament in reference to four separate characters—including a descendent of Aaron who helped to distribute offerings of grain (2 Chronicles 31:15) and a man who accompanied former captives of Nebuchadnezzar back to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:2).

#  A 25 Meter Cube →

December 22nd, 2008 at 21:10 // In Worth Knowing 

Perhaps part of the reason this is so impressive is that I rarely think in metric. But: all the gold that’s been mined in human history would probably fail to fill a cube 25 meters per side. Even in feet — 82 — that seems a pretty modest volume.

(via kottke)

#  Holiday Fin →

December 22nd, 2008 at 20:41 // In Worth Reading 

Whenever I read the Lives story from the New York Times Magazine, I enjoy it.

When I found him under the passenger seat, my heart sank. Our happy little fish was dead. I gently placed his corpse into his waterless bowl and sat down on the curb with my wife.

That’s how the E.M.S. medics discovered us when they arrived 10 minutes later — a woman with a bloody lip and a man holding a fish, trying not to cry.

#  Pinky Power →

December 22nd, 2008 at 20:17 // In Worth Knowing 

A brief exploration of the importance of your smallest finger.

So what would you lose if you didn’t have one?

“You’d lose 50 percent of your hand strength, easily…”

#  Polish Politics →

December 22nd, 2008 at 20:06 // In Worth Seeing 

Who says reality 200 years ago has nothing to do with today?

“The divide between the (more free-market) PO and the (more populist) PiS almost exactly follows the old border between Imperial Germany and Imperial Russia, as it ran through Poland! How about that for a long-lasting cultural heritage?!?” How about: amazing, bordering on the unbelievable?

#  Wind Chill is Bogus →

December 22nd, 2008 at 19:58 // In Worth Considering 

While much of the United States is enjoying(?) a cold and snowy December, Slate is rerunning Daniel Engbar’s argument against the weatherman’s favorite piece of senseless banality: the wind chill.

By 2001, the Joint Action Group on Temperature Indices had created a new system that toned down wind chill readings across the board. After the recalibration, conditions that were once said to feel like minus 40 now “felt like” minus 19. (Click here for a sidebar that explains how Osczevski and Bluestein came up with their new wind chill table.)

The updated model patches over the worst flaws of the old wind chill system, but it’s not anything close to perfect.

#  Where Signs Are Born →

December 21st, 2008 at 21:25 // In Worth Seeing 

Until I saw this Flickr set of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s sign shop, I’d never stopped to think about where exactly those road signs come from.

Also, the Washington State Department of Transportation has a Flickr account?

(via BB Gadgets)