Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"he really was an artist, and his medium was the actual flesh of real animals"

A comment about Robert Bakewell, "the first to implement systematic selective breeding of livestock."

"Robert Bakewell followed on the work of arable pioneers Jethro Tull and Lord "Turnip" Townshend but it is in the field of livestock and especially sheep that Bakewell particularly excelled. "

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"The Items We Carry"

A gallery of stuff people carry around in their pockets.

Friday, July 27, 2007

What does the phrase "Public Water Source" mean?

That's what Pepsi's going to put on Aquafina labels for now to indicate it's tap water. Link.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Video: 747 Practically scrapes tourist-filled beach as it lands

Via Metafilter, which links to more videos of the same airport.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Print Ad Thursday


Americans For The Arts Carvaggio

Diesel Global Warming

Samsonite McQueen


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gallery Of Olympic Posters

Lots of beautiful posters, but the Sydney 2000 poster is terrible. Via Neatorama.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quiltsryche: Evil Rock Quilts

"Quiltsrÿche turns traditional quilting on its ear with modern heirloom quilts that look like they were made by your metal-loving, half-blind Grandma. Bold designs, eye-popping color combinations and a touch of evil are the hallmarks of Quiltsrÿche quilts. A one-of-a-kind rock quilt won't match your curtains, but it will have enough character and craftsmanship to captivate you year after headbanging year."

Link. And speaking of heavy metal, check out these photographs.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dr. Wright of Sim City to be in Smash Bros. Brawl

Yes, that's him devastating enemies by summoning skyscrapers. Gotta love a game with that kind of lunacy. Link

"Found: the giant lion-eating chimps of the magic forest"

Deep in the Congolese jungle is a band of apes that, according to local legend, kill lions, catch fish and even howl at the moon. Local hunters speak of massive creatures that seem to be some sort of hybrid between a chimp and a gorilla.

Their location at the centre of one of the bloodiest conflicts on the planet, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has meant that the mystery apes have been little studied by western scientists. Reaching the region means negotiating the shifting fortunes of warring rebel factions, and the heart of the animals' range is deep in impenetrable forest.

Read on.

Didn't Michael Crichton more or less write a book about this...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shop at Ikea, and then sleep over?

From July 23 to July 27, the public will be able to spend the night in special rooms set up in the store, with a choice of bridal suite, complete with hanging chandelier and a round bed, or a luxury suite that includes breakfast in bed.

Others can share a bunk in the dormitory, while parents and children can join in the fun in one of Ikea's family rooms.


The Christian message in the Harry Potter books

Today, I came across this post by Lev Grossman. Writing for Time, he says:

Rowling's work is so familiar that we've forgotten how radical it really is. Look at her literary forebears. In The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien fused his ardent Catholicism with a deep nostalgic love for the unspoiled English landscape. C.S. Lewis was a devout Anglican whose Chronicles of Narnia form an extended argument for Christian faith (or at any rate for faith in Aslan. Close enough.) Now look at Rowling's books. What's missing? If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God.

I think his thesis is exactly wrong for the reasons explained by Dave Kopel in a 2003 book review. Kopel starts:

J. K. Rowling is an Inkling. That's the well-argued thesis of John Granger's fine book The Hidden Key to Harry Potter: Understanding the Meaning, Genius, and Popularity of Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter Novels. Granger demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that Harry Potter is anti-Christian. And even if you've never worried about charges brought by misguided fundamentalists, The Hidden Key will substantially augment your understanding of what's really at stake in Harry's adventures.

The Inklings were originally a group of Oxford dons who wrote Christian fiction. The most famous of them are J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Lord of the Rings and the Narnia series never mention Christianity overtly, and in Tolkien's books, religion itself is absent from the plot. Yet these mythopoeic books aim to "baptize the imagination" of the reader — to teach her the importance of fighting for the right, no matter how powerful the forces of evil may appear.

Read on.

*Buy Harry Potter posters at eBay.

It was nicknamed "Traction Park," "Accident Park," "Danger Park," and "Death Park" by doctors at nearby hospitals

Action Park sounds like it was a fun theme park.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

MP3: 911 call about escaped circus elephants

Two female Asian elephants, performers at Newmarket’s Garden Brothers’ Circus, broke free of their pen this morning and wandered into greener pastures.

They were found around 3 a.m. munching on trees and foliage outside some nearby homes by a group of friends walking nearby. One elephant was munching on a tree, a witness said during an anonymous phone call to York Police.

The very funny emergency call is available for download here. Via Metafilter.

Choose-your-own-adventure stencil art

"The mission stencil story is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure story that takes place on the sidewalks of the Mission district in San Francisco. It is told in a new medium of storytelling that uses spraypainted stencils connected to each other by arrows. The streetscape is used as sort of an illustration to accompany each piece of text."

Link. Via BoingBoing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Video: "A compilation of death scenes from some classic Nintendo games that you may remember."

Via Neatorama, which also has posted a new caption contest.

Until the 1950s (or so), pink was for boys, and blue was for girls

Pink was a stronger color and thus best suited for boys; blue was more delicate and dainty and thus best for girls. Link. There's a variety of theories as to the change, including that it was the Nazi's fault.

Of Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2007, I've visited 3.

And I visited those three only briefly. See the list here. They also picked the worst.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Juliusz Jablecki contrasts the libertarian fiction of Ayn Rand and J.R.R. Tolkien.

It is instructive to compare also the main characters of the two novels. In Atlas Shrugged they are exceptional and it is precisely because of that quality that they became characters of the novel. Each of the Atlases is unblemished, pure, proud. Every detail of their physiognomy speaks of genius and magnificence. The Übermenschen do not simply move: they make motions full of charm and elegance. They do not simply work: they craft, always with passion and enthusiasm. They never get tired, weary or bored with what they do; they have no families, no children, no obligations; they are frightfully rational; they live only for themselves and for their occupational passions. If they happen to be businessmen, they never own little family businesses; they run huge corporations, ironworks, mines, or railway companies. In Rand's novel there is no place for moderation and inconspicuousness. Only that which is huge and effective deserves praise and attention.

Completely different, more human-like, are Tolkien's characters. In fact, the whole novel — though told from the hobbit's perspective — has a profoundly anthropocentric dimension. There are men in The Lord of the Rings, to be sure, but it is the hobbits who resemble real humans the most — they are rather clumsy, neither exceptionally smart, stout, nor courageous, but good, sociable, faithful and generally cheerful. The most important characters in Tolkien's novel are actually anti-heroes — they try to stay away from the world of big politics; however, when fate throws them in its very middle, they act bravely and ultimately bring salvation.

What the author of The Lord of the Rings seems to be saying, then, is that it is not titans who support the earth, but hobbits; each and every one of us, therefore, can answer the call of greatness and novelty, even should he live in Hobbiton spending most of his time cultivating his garden, smoking a pipe, and drinking beer in the local pub.

Read more. Via Reason.

Ayn Rand's books are interesting in that the heroes are possibly more detestable than the villains...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

China censors undead skeletons from World of Warcraft

Hu Jintao, Chinese president, has called for action to 'purify' the internet of anything that might affect 'national cultural information security' or undermine his attempt to promote a 'harmonious society'. But many players of WoW are angry about the decision to remove skeletons from the game as part of an upgrade implemented by The9, a Nasdaq-listed company that licenses WoW from US developer Blizzard Entertainment.

As well as changing undead skeletons into fully fleshed zombies, the upgrade has replaced the bare-boned corpses of dead characters with neat graves.

Read more. Via Kotaku. And speaking of zombies, check out the Zombie Food Pyramid.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Big Wendy the muscular whippet

Wendy was recently part of a genetics study done in the U.S. on mutation in the myostatin gene in whippets, which resemble greyhounds in appearance. The National Institute of Health study reported that whippets with one single defective copy of the gene have increased muscle mass that can enhance racing performance in the breed, known for speeds up to 60 kilometres an hour.

But whippets with two mutated copies of the gene become "double-muscled," like Wendy. It has been seen before in one human, and also in mice, cattle and sheep, says the study.

Read more. Via Neatorama.

Friday, July 6, 2007

"Chinese villagers eat dinosaur bones"

"Villagers in central China dug up a ton of dinosaur bones and boiled them in soup or ground them into powder for traditional medicine, believing they were from flying dragons and had healing powers."


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lowtech workflow management system

The bottom Post-its are the jobs needing immediate attention. Link.

Video: Japanese Game Show - - Human Tetris

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Mike Rowe worked as a late-night QVC presenter in the early nineties.

Yes, Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs.

More videos here. Via Metafilter.

Lemony Snicket explains how his parents interested him in reading

One way my parents continued to get me really excited was reading aloud to me. A lot of books are just inherently fascinating on the printed page, but if you start to read them out loud, they became even more interesting. So, for many years when I was a child, at night my parents would read books to me. But then -- and here's the twist -- they'd stop at a really suspenseful part and say, "Well, now it's time for bed." I'd whine, I'd plead, but they wouldn't give in. They would put the book on the nightstand, place a flashlight on top of it, and say, "Remember, there is no reading after the lights go out."

What could I do? They would close the door and go downstairs, and I would click on the light and keep on reading. The next day, the bookmark would be in an entirely different place, and my parents would pick up from there as if nothing had happened, and stop at the next suspenseful moment.

Read more.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Blog devoted to the Kwik-E-Mart converted 7-Elevens

Here's the blog and here's desktop-wallpaper-suitable photos of the Kwik-E-Mart I'll be visiting this week.