Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Some outrageous Xmas gifts available from the Dallas Mavericks

You also could have been a player for a day, signing an official one-day contract. But that offer is off the table, having already been purchased for $20,000. And the not-so-poor guy doesn't even get paid.

The Mavericks haven't forgotten the ladies, either. A spot on the dance team is available for $20,000. You get to train with them for two weeks, then perform on the court at a game. It's called "Dancer for a Night," which sounds more palatable than "Prancing Around in Very Little Clothing in front of 20,000 People for a Night."

Read about some of the other options. Via.

Monday, November 19, 2007

China's Weather Modification Program

Every year, China launches thousands of rockets and artillery shells into the sky. They're not part of a set of war games or preparation for a battle with Taiwan, but rather a battle with the weather. Through its Weather Modification Program, the Chinese government hopes to control the fickle forces behind rain. Run by the Weather Modification Department, a division of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Science, the program employs and trains 32,000 to 35,000 people across China, some of them farmers, who are paid $100 a month to handle anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers.

More here.

Now Yu and the other rainmakers face their toughest challenge: making sure it stays dry for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The idea is for the peasant gunners to work with meteorologists watching radar in the capital. Together, they will hunt pregnant rain clouds and pound them with rockets containing silver iodide. The hope is that any moisture will fall before the clouds can threaten the parade of athletes and lighting of the Olympic flame at the new National Stadium.

Read more. Via.

American Society of Magazine Editors picks their magazine favorite covers of 2007

Many more here. Via.

Make a wall in your office resemble your computer desktop


Cool Lamp

"A brand new design by Tord Boontje. Second Shadow projects Boontje’s magical images through a stretched gauze shade from a painted Mylar (a polyester film known for its strength and stability) interior. This is another of our hero’s designs that will, at a stroke, transform a room." Buy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Logo contest: Fictional New York City football teams

To revel in the design of sport, we asked three graphic artists to create a logo and wordmark for a fictional New York City professional football team.

All entries were created using visual elements from Veer's extensive library and displayed at the New York Table Tennis Foundation the night of the event.

I posted my favorite above. See the other entries here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Edvard Munch was known as the “handsomest man in Norway,”

Yesterday , I linked to some articles about Picasso and Klimt. Whatshername reminded me of an article I'd read about Munch:

Munch’s behavior, meanwhile, was becoming increasingly erratic, particularly with respect to women and drink. His relationship to women — or rather Woman with a capital W, as he put it in his journal — was complicated, to say the least. Known as the “handsomest man in Norway,” and well-mannered to boot, he attracted women as catnip does cats, but preferred to keep them at arm’s length. A couple of early affairs had gone wrong, and the antics of his friends had given him a warped sense of women. And he never wanted children, as he feared they would become insane. The classic Madonna/whore view of women is apparent in his paintings of what he called “vampire women” with “nutcracker muscles in their thighs.”

In a quarrel with his Norwegian mistress, Tulla Larsen, who stalked him all over Europe, he ended up shooting himself in a finger, which for the rest of his life remained sheathed in black leather. This slight injury he blew up to mythical proportions, painting himself stark naked on an operating table lying in a huge pool of blood. The motif was given an extra twist when he rendered himself as a revolutionary Marat with Miss Larsen as Charlotte Corday. Elsewhere he depicted his British mistress, the violinist Eva Mudocci, as Salome, with his own bedraggled features supplying John the Baptist’s severed head. It goes without saying that he also portrayed himself as a crucified Christ.

There were other regrettable incidents scattered throughout his life: He threatened a Dutchman with a pistol in a spa hotel in Kosen; through the window of his studio in Norway, he fired a shotgun after a fellow artist whose portrait he was painting. And, as Prideaux notes, his train journeys are the stuff of legend. On one occasion, he couldn’t find his compartment and believed the painting he had brought with him had been stolen. He presented himself to the conductor as a member of the British aristocracy and astonished the man by ordering him to find the painting immediately or “it might bring about war.” Fortunately, the conductor managed to locate Munch’s compartment, with the painting in it, for him. On another trip he fancied he was being watched by detectives who had been hired to spy on him and beset by people speaking Esperanto to trick him. His journal records the following meeting on a train: “A strange man with a birds head, spindly birds legs and a cloak flew into the carriage. ‘What is your metier?’ ‘A psychiatrist from Vienna.’”

Read more, it's fascinating.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Star Wars comic book featuring killer rabbits

It's miraculous that the Star Wars franchise survived such trash. More Star Wars comic book covers here and here.

Understatement: Klimt and Picasso didn't treat women very nicely

Klimt was a painter of shimmering landscapes and three of them are among the eight paintings in the Neue Galerie show. But sex is at the core of his work: women were his preoccupation.

The antechamber to the artist's studio is recreated in the exhibition. Along its far wall, next to the studio doors, is “Hope II”, pregnant with breasts exposed. Klimt never had his own home: he lived with his mother and two sisters. Nevertheless, he was a womaniser with uncalculated conquests and seven known children. No wonder Vienna buzzed with gossip about what, besides painting, went on in the studio beyond. Yet among all the photographs of the rather pudding-faced artist in the exhibition, not one captures what made him such a lady-killer.

More about Klimt.

Rome was also where Picasso met and pursued Olga Khokhlova, one of Diaghilev's Russian dancers, whom he would marry in 1918. Their respectable, middle-class marriage and its gradual disintegration, against a background of Olga's declining health and increasing anxiety at her husband's infidelity, dominate Mr Richardson's story. The relationship inspired some of Picasso's most disturbing portraits, such as “Large Nude in a Red Armchair” (1929) and “Seated Bather” (1930), in which his wife's by now scrawny body undergoes either distortion or radical dismemberment and reconstruction. If there is one criticism to be made of Mr Richardson's analysis of these paintings, it is that he plays down the influence of surrealism on Picasso.

No trace of anger or misogyny can be found in Picasso's portraits of his curvaceous, nubile lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who entered his life aged 17 in 1927 and “saved him from the psychic stress of his marriage and the bourgeois restraints it imposed.”

More about Picasso.


Russia gives top honor to spy who stole secret to the atom bomb

On Nov. 2, the Kremlin startled Western scholars by announcing that President Vladimir V. Putin had posthumously given the highest Russian award to a Soviet agent who penetrated the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb.

The announcement hailed Dr. Koval as “the only Soviet intelligence officer” to infiltrate the project’s secret plants, saying his work “helped speed up considerably the time it took for the Soviet Union to develop an atomic bomb of its own.”

Since then, historians, scientists, federal officials and old friends have raced to tell Dr. Koval’s story — the athlete, the guy everyone liked, the genius at technical studies. American intelligence agencies have known of his betrayal at least since the early 1950s, when investigators interviewed his fellow scientists and swore them to secrecy.

The spy’s success hinged on an unusual family history of migration from Russia to Iowa and back. That gave him a strong commitment to Communism, a relaxed familiarity with American mores and no foreign accent.

Link. Via.

Get Smart Teaser Poster


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Assemble a diorama of Hokusai's "The Great Wave"

Technically, it's called Tatebanko paper sculpture. Here's the original:

And here's the finished sculpture and an in progress shot:

Buy. Via.

Fantastic Four Maquettes

Actually, the Fantastic Three, plus Spider-Man, sculpted by Paolo Rivera for reference. Desktop wallpaper sized images of the sculptures here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blog dedicated to Disney merchandise

Here are some snow globe designs found at The Disney Store Shelves. Via.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Millennium Falcon Cat Bed

More photos here. And here's the creator's currently empty store. Via.

LA Kings bond by competing in a scavenger hunt

The teams were sent out in vans to different locations and had to complete the first of five tasks. The first team to complete all five tasks won the competition. The tasks were:

A) To hit a fly ball beyond the infield grass at Dodger Stadium. Tommy Lasorda was there to provide assistance and, I'm told, a profane pep talk, as only Tommy can provide.

B) To have an artist in Venice Beach sketch a portrait of one of the players.

C) To teach a 10-minute lesson in a classroom at Torrance Elementary School.

D) To stand on a surfboard for at least five seconds in the Manhattan Beach water.

E) To find Jim Fox in Hollywood. A clue was posted near Bob Miller's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which the players also had to locate.

Link. Via.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Photo: Bizarre gas mask worn by Georgian riot police

More photos here. Via.

Protesters march as zombies to protest Boston University's Level-4 Biosafety Laboratory

With Boston Police Department officers close behind, the horde of protesters began their menacing march at the corner of Albany and East Dedham Streets and snaked toward City Hall, moaning, "We have been infected by the BU biolab" and "The BU biolab has infected me with a terrible pathogen." During the march -- the newest form of protest in a seemingly futile battle to stop construction of the biolab -- the zombies stuffed anti-lab flyers under the doors of nearby businesses and into the palms of curious onlookers.

Link. Via.

Wired Editor speaks out against annoying PR emails, PR people take revenge

I was particularly amused when PR people attempted to organize a class-action lawsuit against me--in my own comments! That's in addition to publishing my home address and hacking my Wikipedia entry. Turns out that PR people can be very effective when they want to be--I only wish they'd targeted me so efficiently on behalf of their clients, rather than just for themselves.

Read more. Via.

Star Wars Halloween Costume Contest Winners (Featuring Snow Bunny Padme from the Clone Wars cartoon)


You can see all of the winning costumes here.

Advertising: Triumph of the Yang

Desktop wallpaper sized version here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

German Christmas advent calendar includes image of local serial killer

Sales shot up after the word got out.

Tip: Don't use the glasses in your hotel room

There's a disturbingly good chance they haven't been washed (or were washed with poison, or were washed with a dirty towel, or....)

Latke recipe wins White Castle Cook Off

A Missouri woman crossed a traditional Hanukkah dish with White Castle hamburgers to win the annual recipe contest held by the Columbus-based chain.

Leslye Louis of New Melle named her creation "The Latkes You Crave," after White Castle's slogan "What you crave." She made the Jewish pancakes with the usual ingredients, including grated potatoes and eggs, and also incorporated 10 chopped-up White Castle "slyders" - minus the pickles.

As part of her prize, Louis will receive a case of 30 of the burgers each week for a year.

The runner-up was dim sum. The winning recipe's not available on the official site yet.

Amusing fluff piece about Hillary Clinton's closest aide

Yet there was exactly one member of the wilting delegation who managed, somehow, to stay cool: Hillary Clinton's mysterious, glamorous and eerily unflappable aide de camp, Huma Abedin.

"It was like 110 degrees outside," recalled the source, a political aide who asked to remain anonymous. "We were all just pouring down with sweat. But I have this distinct memory of Huma traipsing in in this blue pantsuit—it was like this wool pantsuit—not a bead of sweat on her brow, not a hair out of place, with everything perfectly organized in her Yves Saint Laurent handbag."

More here. Photo found via Google image search.

Don't believe anything you see on tv: CBS plays fake crowd noise during football telecasts

The Patriots accused the Colts of illegally augmenting the crowd noise during last week's game. CBS took the blame. Here's audiotape from the game - - you can hear the crowd noise start skipping 30 seconds in:

I couldn't find a permalink, but here's what Pro Football Talk wrote:

CBS has taken the blame for the skipping sound in the crowd noise early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Pats-Colts game. Some folks believe that the audio glitch was a direct result of attempts by CBS to add crowd noises to the broadcast.

As Chris Mortensen of ESPN mentioned during Monday NFL Countdown prior to the Ravens-Steelers game, some networks have been known to enhance their productions by adding their own canned crowd noise.

We've heard from several sound experts over the past day, and our research confirms that one of them is actually a big wheel in the music and television industry. Here's what said unnamed sound expert had to say about the phenomenon, without prompting:

"The sound was a glitch a digital playback machine, which was providing additional crowd noise to be piped into the broadcast to cover for the crowd's quiet spots, or to enhance the 'up' feeling on a big play. Multiple types of demeanor or 'feels' are available to be triggered, to properly match the game's mood. It does not replace the live crowd, but is used for enhancement.

ESPN the Magazine Commercial: Greg Oden mocks the perception he has no marketing skills

If Jerry Sloan had a computer, he'd only use it to look at tractors

Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was asked about the Internet:

"I don't have (a computer), and I wouldn't know how to turn it on if I had one," said Sloan, who maintains a farm in his native Illinois. "The only thing I'd be interested in looking at is tractors anyway."


The Iowa caucuses, which will likely have a major impact on the presidential race, are bizarre

The first thing you need to know about the Iowa caucuses is that almost nobody attends them. Unlike voting, attending a caucus requires every participant to meet simultaneously in church basements, living rooms and elementary school gymnasiums across the state. It probably takes half an hour in the best of circumstances. It also requires you to disclose your vote publicly. The party asks your initial preference when you enter the room. (This way, future political candidates can acquire a record of how you've leaned in every previous caucus and target you accordingly with mailings and telephone calls.) Then, because the way you cast your vote in a caucus is to stand in the corner of the room assigned to your candidate, all your neighbors get to observe your opinion.


Malcolm Gladwell has a new, less than flattering, article about criminal profiling

A profile isn't a test, where you pass if you get most of the answers right. It's a portrait, and all the details have to cohere in some way if the image is to be helpful. In the mid-nineties, the British Home Office analyzed a hundred and eighty-four crimes, to see how many times profiles led to the arrest of a criminal. The profile worked in five of those cases. That's just 2.7 per cent, which makes sense if you consider the position of the detective on the receiving end of a profiler's list of conjectures. Do you believe the stuttering part? Or do you believe the thirty-year-old part? Or do you throw up your hands in frustration?


Brussel did not really understand the mind of the Mad Bomber. He seems to have understood only that, if you make a great number of predictions, the ones that were wrong will soon be forgotten, and the ones that turn out to be true will make you famous. The Hedunit is not a triumph of forensic analysis. It's a party trick.


Reporter tests taxis in Los Angeles - - 9 out of 9 overcharged him


Advertising: Tiananmen Square = the spirit of the Olympics

Amnesty International ad found here.

Make an Ork Stompa



Seems like a fun project. Step by step instructions here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lego: Atomic Moon Rocket

Atomic Moon Rocket
Originally uploaded by [Soren]


Photo: Now that's a fresh fish display

We're gonna need a bigger boat
Originally uploaded by Yolande...

Click through for a desktop wallpaper sized version.

Alice in Wonderland Image Contest

Bookgasm is giving away a book to the person that posts a link to the strangest (but safe-for-work) WONDERLAND-related photo. (The "Drink Me" photo was featured on Flickr today.)

Paul McCartney's daughter has started a jewelry line featuring a single-leg pendant

Link. Via.

In other news, Paul's dating a married woman.

Want to see your turkey on a webcam before it's slaughtered?

Heritage turkeys typically cost at least $4 per pound--at 26 pounds, Heritage Foods' biggest bird sells for $209, shipping included; grocers can sell a factory-farm Butterball at a quarter of that price. So Martins and Wickstrom decided to target foodies. With Big Turkey selling 46 million birds at Thanksgiving, even a sliver of the market would be great business, especially for small turkey farms, which, Martins says, "have had a hard time finding support."

While Wickstrom kept the books, Martins, who has a master's degree in performance studies, became the heritage turkey's chief publicist. He sent turkeys to the press for taste tests. (Reviewers typically say they're richer, juicier, and have more dark meat than industrial birds.) He helped Frank Reese, one of his suppliers, install a Webcam on his Kansas farm so customers could see their birds pre-slaughter.

That excerpt is from the November issue of Fast Company. I looked up the article online and found no link to the businesses discussed. Really? "Fast Company" can't even add a hyperlink to its online articles? I found another article about the webcam at CNN. No hyperlink there either. No wonder I get my news from bloggers.

Here's Heritage Foods' website. This link appears to be the webcam, but it wasn't working when I checked.

Not from the Onion: The British Santa has been told to get in shape

Bluewater shopping centre in Greenhithe, Kent, has even gone one step further and set-up a Santa boot camp.

Fiona Campbell-Reilly, spokeswoman at the shopping centre, said: "Santa has been around for years, but society has changed and our Santa needs to reflect this.

"Bluewater's Santa Boot Camp is getting Santa in shape and setting a good example to children who idolise him.

Link. Via.

Book: Photos of celebrity lookalikes in compromising situations

Amazon says:

Alison Jackson has photographed the Queen of England on the toilet, George Bush and Tony Blair chatting in the sauna, Osama Bin Laden playing backgammon, and Monica Lewinsky lighting Bill Clinton’s cigar. Or has she? The likenesses are uncanny, but of course, her subjects are look-alikes. Her photos demonstrate that while seeing is believing, the truth is another story entirely. In her work, Jackson says, "Likeness becomes real and fantasy touches on the believable. The viewer is suspended in disbelief. I try to highlight the psychological relationship between what we see and what we imagine. This is bound up in our need to look—our voyeurism—and our need to believe." Indeed, by showing "celebrities" ostensibly caught unawares, Jackson’s pictures show us what we imagine might go on behind closed doors. Her work has caused controversy, not least because it treads in a very gray area between parody and realism by seeming to break down the carefully fortified private lives of public figures. For this edition, Jackson has been commissioned to shoot a broad selection of new portraits of dead-ringers for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Saddam Hussein, George Bush and Dick Cheney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, J Lo, Eminem, Britney Spears, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, and many more. Expect the unexpected!

Alison Jackson: Confidential

The photo you see above is one of the few sample images not involving nudity. Via.

Cupcake stool

Perfect for an Alice in Wonderland theme room. Buy.

*See lots of clever cupcakes here.

Video: Mark Ronson talks about being the DJ at TomKat's wedding...

Including, playing the Top Gun theme, which Tom Cruise loved.

Barbie trapped in carbonite


Video: Kevin Smith mocks Tim Burton

NSFW language:

Via Cynical-C.

*Buy Corpse Bride toys at eBay.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ferrari is building a theme park in Abu Dhabi

Information and photos from the foundation stone ceremony here.

D*ck in a box Halloween costume (as modeled by Nick Lachey)

Photos here. Via.

Photo: A crowd in the mist

Im Konzert
Originally uploaded by EDE STEIN

"Elaborate prank leaves Oregon officers in custody of gnomes"

Police want to find the rightful owners.

"We need to get them out of here," Capt. Richard Harrison said. "Every time I leave my office they're sitting in my chair, working on my computer. I can't seem to get rid of the darn things."

Link. Via.

Australian man, who kidnapped and raped a woman, blamed his actions on a spider

Link. Via.

The Longaberger Company makes baskets, and its headquarters looks like a giant basket

Direct link to photo. More photos here. Here's their official site. Via.

Lifehacker explains how to create your own ringtones for free


Miller Beer apologizes for poster with "Last Supper" figures in leather

Story. Via these two sites.

Fish in Spaaaaace Aquarium

Buy. Via.