Visible Satellite Image Courtesy of NOAA Satellite Services Division
Update: I'm communicating with a friend who is staying in New Orleans. He made it through Katrina in decent shape, so he's confident he'll be OK. My only concern is that where he is, in Uptown, New Orleans is most vulnerable to flooding from the river. Storm surges have been known to be sucked right up the Mississippi. I've seen the river run backward during Hurricane Georges, in 1998, and that was only a Cat. 1 when it reached us. If Gustav's surge breaches the levee, he could be in trouble.
via Crown Weather Services
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Strapped for cash, some in New Orleans stay and hope Several New Orleans residents say they can't afford to leave-- for various reasons.
Serial killer on the loose in California, police say Los Angeles, California, police detectives are looking for a serial killer who they believe killed at least 11 people, many of them prostitutes, over a 23-year period. Just one? I always thought that it was policy not to talk about serial killers with the press. There must be some specific reason why their breaking protocol in this case.
Roald Dahl's seductive work as a British spy Old Roald seems to be getting around quite a bit these days... just like he did when he was alive, it seems.
The son of John le Carré on ninjas, mimes and his first novel
Extreme Macro Photography on a budget (via)
Photo Tampering Throughout History (via)
iPosture Just over one inch in diameter, the iPosture automatically senses when the body slouches, and it alerts the user with brief vibrations to correct it. They also have the 'extreme tase' setting for hardcore slouchers. (via)
The first few minutes of The Conversation (via)
The Moog Foundation YouTube page (via)
Have a look at the Crown Weather Services website for just about every possible link, map, chart, graph, notice or advisory on Hurricane Gustav. It's worth checking out just for how comprehensive it is. You can ignore the open .txt prompt, unless you're a total storm geek.
Gustav could very well be the Big One, making Katrina look like a warm-up. All indications are that the eye will pass to the west of New Orleans, which does not bode well for the city. The eastern side of a hurricane always delivers the worst of the wind and rain. We may very well lose one of the urban gems of our world. For real, this time.
Update: The page is loading slow. It must be getting hit hard. You'll have to wait a bit to get the maps.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
A portrait of Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget from the Strand Magazine, 1891. image: Wikipedia
On August 29, 2005, I was monitoring the fate of New Orleans as Katrina was doing her worst. At the same time, I had starting reading The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes. I had always resisted the Holmes stories and I don't know why I gave in, but the combination of these two events has prompted me to maintain the tradition every year since, starting on August 29th. I have fallen in love with these tales and the events of that first year color the ongoing experience with strange emotional connotations. This is my fourth year and, funny enough, I'm once again keeping an eye on the fate of the town I still call home while I read these wonderful stories. Few of you probably give a crap about this, but I thought I'd share it just the same, as this might lead to some days of light posting, though I'll try to keep up.
More illustrations from the Strand Magazine by Sidney Paget and other Holmesiana can be found at 221B Baker Street.org.
This year, I am also armed with this valuable resource.
Zodiac Killer's Identity And Weapon Uncovered? "The identity of the Zodiac Killer is Jack Tarrance. He's my stepfather," says Dennis Kaufman. (via)
'Space Cube' could be world's smallest PC Measuring just 2 inches by 2 inches, the Space Cube is roughly the size of a large die. However, the cube is actually a tiny PC, developed by the Shimafuji Corporation in Japan.
Computer meltdowns in space: a short history New Scientist highlights a few of the more prominent – and messy – failures of the past.
The World's Richest Dropouts
Where to Find Great Dinosaur Pictures
A photo story of the first pig to fly (I have no idea what the backstory for this is. Anyone?) (via)
Richard Alpert on LSD (on as about, not on as in under the influence)
Non-circular Gears & Uncommon Planetary Gears
Los Po-boy-citos "Entierro" (from my homies back in The Big Easy, y'all take care, now)
If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world. -- Ray Bradbury (via)
Friday, August 29, 2008
A Problem With No Solution:
Black & White photograph of Larry Evans playing chess with Marcel Duchamp (Larry Evans is on the left and Marcel Duchamp is on the right)
from tout-fait The Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal (more Duchamp than you could possibly handle)
World's largest machine--the electric grid--is old and outdated The U.S. electric grid is so old and outdated it can't handle the influx of wind power and other intermittent renewable resources.
Space Station Dodges Orbital Junk The International Space Station fired its rocket engines to dodge space junk for the first time in five years on Wednesday.
Is It Possible To Teach Experience? Business veterans claim you cannot teach ‘experience’, but European researchers say you can. (via)
The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn Storytelling is one of the few human traits that are truly universal across culture and through all of known history. Anthropologists find evidence of folktales everywhere in ancient cultures, written in Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian and Sumerian. People in societies of all types weave narratives, from oral storytellers in hunter-gatherer tribes to the millions of writers churning out books, television shows and movies. And when a characteristic behavior shows up in so many different societies, researchers pay attention: its roots may tell us something about our evolutionary past.
Top 10 Amazing Prison Escapes
10 Things Millionaires Won't Tell You
Now Hear This: Don't Remove Earwax (I always suspected that those Chinese candles weren't so good for you.)
6 Funny Things About Asimov's Foundation Series
The Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive (via)
Cockfighting and dominoes: Haiti's poor at play (via)
Hackers prepare supermarket sweep
Groucho Marx on the Dick Cavett Show
Martin Mißfeldt is quite the talent. As it says on his website (translated): He paints and draws with oil paint, gouache, watercolor, ink, digital and humor: Cartoons, Speed Painting videos, paintings, drawings, eye images, illustrations, short-comics and much more.
There are over 800 images of his art on his site, so knock yourself out, it's worth the trip. There are other examples of speed painting on his YouTube page.
still image seen on Design You Trust
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Click to translate It happens all the time: you're registering a free e-mail account or making a purchase online, when up pops a wavy, multicolored word. The system asks you to retype the word - and you roll your eyes, squint a little, and transcribe. This little test is one of the most successful techniques for making sure the person trying to log on is really a human, and not a digital "bot" prying into the site. But now, when you type that word, something else may be happening as well: You may be deciphering a word from a decaying old book, helping to transform a historic text into a new digital file.
10 Plundering Politicians
WW I soldier found, still clutching his gun
How to Survive in the Jungle
Unwanted tattoos can be removed by cream injected into skin - without pain or scarring
We Need Engineers (cute)
Hubble Operations Control Room (via)
An examination of Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange A discussion with movie critic William Everson, writer Anthony Burgess and actor Malcolm McDowell... (via)
Marcel Duchamp and John Cage
I just watched it again. It gets better every time.
When I first saw Zero Effect, I was a little bit disappointed. In the early stages of the film, you're drawn into the eccentric and enigmatic world of Daryl Zero, the world's greatest, and perhaps craziest, private investigator-- but as the story develops, it glides down into a more subdued and somewhat traditional romantic mystery. If you anticipate more of the strangeness that is promised early on in the film, you'll be left hanging.
Watching it with no expectations, I found it to be well constructed, entertaining and even a bit touching. This seems to be director and screenwriter Jake Kasdan's career effort to date. Bill Pullman is so Daryl Zero that you forget he's acting the part and Ben Stiller provides a decidedly un-Stilleresque performance as his assistant, Arlo. (I like Ben Stiller, but he's Ben Stiller and in this role he's not.) The cast is rounded out with fine performances by Ryan O'Neal and Kim Dickens.
This time around, I also grew to appreciate the skillful and subtle cinematography of Bill Pope, who also shot the Matrix series, the last two Spider Man movies and the highly anticipated Frank Miller and Will Eisner project, The Spirit, which is due to be released in December.
Zero Effect is a solid piece of filmmaking and an excellent story, well worth queueing up in your Netflix.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Photographer's Notes: "Vietnam....Specialist. 4 Richard Champion, squad leader, Company B, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade, shouts instructions to his squad after receiving sniper fire while on patrol on Hill 56, 70 miles southeast of Chu Lai. January 19, 1971"
Images Of War Combat Photography 1918-1971
Before going on patrol, a U.S. Army soldier smokes a cigarette on his cot at a remote combat outpost in Buhriz, Iraq, on Feb. 15, 2007. DoD photo by Stacy Pearsall
A Conversation with Stacy Pearsall:
Combat photojournalist Stacy Pearsall was named the Military Photographer of the Year recently for the second time. One of only two women to take home the honor, she is the first woman to take it twice.
View from the front lines
Military Photographers on the Frontlines
USAF 1st Combat Camera Squadron
Combat Photographers Risk All to Document War
via [EV +/-] Exposure Compensation
2007 Black and White Spider Awards, Winner in Professional Photojournalism category
Omar Vega is a freelance photographer based in Miami Beach & NY available for editorial and commercial needs.
seen on FFFFOUND!
N Korea struggles to control changing economy "In 1999, even in Pyongyang, people were exhausted, malnourished, feeble... In 2004, the situation was very different - the whole city looked like one big market."... "There was activity everywhere, on streets, under the bridges, from the windows of apartments," It is my firm conviction that when left to ourselves, we (humans) become the hunters, gatherers, hoarders and purveyors of stuff that we are. We become consumers and merchants and we create markets. The mammalian hoarding instinct runs strong in us and explains much about things like capitalism and binge shopping.
Soon to be available on the Web: Dead Sea Scrolls In a crowded laboratory painted in gray and cooled like a cave, half a dozen specialists embarked this week on an historic undertaking: digitally photographing every one of the thousands of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls with the aim of making the entire file - among the most sought-after and examined documents on earth - available to all on the Internet.
Executed Today - 1979: Eleven by a Firing Squad in Iran On this date in 1979, the only anonymous photograph to win a Pulitzer Prize captured nine Kurdish rebels and two of the Shah’s policemen executed by firing squad in revolutionary Iran. I debated whether or not to post this photo. I decided to let the reader choose whether or not they wanted to view it. This photo always affected me strongly. The two figures in the forefront of the image are the most striking.
Sign language over cell phones
In Pictures: The Frugal Billionaires (there's an old saying to the effect that they're rich because they're tight) (via)
Cuba detains leading punk rocker (on charges of "dangerousness")
Networks - a set on Flickr (design types take note, too) (via)
One hundred one hours of Dada and Surrealism on KBOO (starts tonight, listen live on the website) (via)
The Cat House on the Kings (no-cage, no-kill, lifetime sanctuary, don't miss it)
The Church of Bones - Czech Republic (via)
Paper Rad - P-Unit Mixtape 2005 (NSFWeird)
"Our ways are not your ways" - Surreal Automaton
Donald Roller Wilson has updated his website.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Scientists in Japan have given a beluga whale a vocabulary of three words, the first time a marine creature has been able to link a sound to an object and then repeat the sound as a 'word'.
Nack, a 23-year-old beluga whale at the Kamogawa Sea World aquarium in Chiba Prefecture, has been taught to make different noises for a bucket, diving goggles and a pair of diving fins, said Takashi Murayama, a professor at Tokai University who has been training the creature for the last five years.
The scientists were then stunned when Nack began to freestyle rap.
Update: Best Western refutes story claiming 8 million customer records were breached Hotel chain confirms intrusion, but says that only 13 records at a single hotel were exposed.
Giant Galaxy Cluster Seen in Early Universe The discovery of this far-off group, estimated to contain as much mass as a thousand large galaxies, offers further proof of the existence of the enigmatic force called dark energy.
Daphne Oram – Oramics (Drawing sound) A lesser known but important contributor in the field of ‘drawn’ electronic music is British composer Daphne Oram who worked at the legendary BBC Radiophonic workshop in the late 1950’s. Oram dreamed of making a machine that directly translated graphical notation into sound and this dream came to fruitful realisation with her technique of Oramics. (prev)
Surviving the Biggest Wave Ever (via)
Volcanos in Our Times (photo essay)
Bigelow Aerospace Advances Work on Full-scale Space Habitat
How the Roaring Twenties Changed the World
10 Top Spectacular Festivals in the World
Greg Egan interview
Luc de Heusch - Tracking the Pale Fox (mythology and rituals of the Dogon)
Experts' memory: Not as expert as they think (take the test)
Thomas Kuntz Incredible Decapitation Automaton (creepy)
Outrageous My Little Pony collection
Why can we remember the tiniest detail that has happened to us, and not remember how many times we have told it to the same person? — François de la Rochefoucauld (1613-80) (via)
Yes, that is correct. There were Art Competitions in seven Olympiads from 1912-1948. Medals were awarded for Architecture, Sculpture, Painting and Graphic Art, Literature, and Music. The competitions were eventually dropped because of the difficulty of determining the amateur status of the artists.
You can read all about it at The Olympic Games Museum website. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for more details.)
See When aesthetes competed with athletes at the Olympics for the story of Lee Blair's 1932 gold medal in watercolors.
via Cartoon Brew
Monday, August 25, 2008
When I lived in England for a short while, back in the '80s, I hitchhiked around the countryside with a buddy of mine.
Previously, I had met a girl in London that moved to Dorset to take care of an aging Lord. On our way out toward Devon and Cornwall, we stopped by and were invited to stay at the estate.
The first day we were there, I was sitting in the living room reading and out of the corner of my eye I saw an animal walk into the room and approach the coffee table. At first, I thought it was a dog, but when I looked, as the animal was munching on some peanuts in a bowl on the table, I was a bit shocked to notice that it was a miniature pony. Our host raised these dog-sized horses and they had the run of the house. This photo brought back fond memories of our stay there.
Surveillance made easy Now German electronics company Siemens has gone a step further, developing a complete "surveillance in a box" system called the Intelligence Platform, designed for security services in Europe and Asia. It has already sold the system to 60 countries. According to a document obtained by New Scientist, the system integrates tasks typically done by separate surveillance teams or machines, pooling data from sources such as telephone calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions and insurance records. It then sorts through this mountain of information using software that Siemens dubs "intelligence modules".... However, it is far from clear whether the technology will prove accurate. Security experts warn that data-fusion technologies tend to produce a huge number of false positives, flagging up perfectly innocent people as suspicious.
Revealed: 8 million victims in the world's biggest cyber heist A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that late on Thursday night, a previously unknown Indian hacker successfully breached the IT defences of the Best Western Hotel group's online booking system and sold details of how to access it through an underground network operated by the Russian mafia. (via)
Historian suggests Southerners defeated Confederacy This interview will blow away everything you thought you knew about the South and the Civil War. It is a matter of fact that a majority (95+%) of Southerners did not own slaves. A substantial and in some places an overwhelming majority did not support the Confederacy. To this day, Southerners bear the brunt of negative popular opinion that they do not deserve. Most people in the South are not racist and are some of the finest, friendliest and most neighborly people I have met in this country. It's time that people pulled their heads out on this issue.
In a Father’s Clutter, Historic Oddities When her father, John Lattimer, died in May of 2007 at the age of 92, Ms. Lattimer knew her inheritance would include more than the family tea set. Dr. Lattimer, a prominent urologist at Columbia University, was also a renowned collector of relics, many of which might be considered quirky or even macabre. Over the course of seven decades he amassed more than 3,000 objects that ranged in age from a few years to tens of millions of years. “He was like a classic Renaissance collector,” said Tony Perrottet, a writer specializing in historical mysteries who spent time with Dr. Lattimer before his death. “Anything and everything could turn up in the collection, from Charles Lindbergh’s goggles to a bearskin coat that belonged to Custer.”
The next president will disappoint you
Opinion: Why Google has lost its mojo -- and why you should care
Models of Invention: the Science Fiction of Leonardo da Vinci (via)
Help Crack the Russian Hacker Mystery
Early American Counterfeiting
Myra Hindley painting taints London 2012 celebrations
Michael Chabon on 'writers who can dwell between worlds' (via)
Open Sound New Orleans ~A Collaborative Soundmap of the City~ (via)
Fellini's Book of Dreams
Mars: Springtime 2020
UCB: Hot Chicks Room
Herbie Hancock - Crossings - Oeuvre réalisée par Philippe Charpentier
Sunday, August 24, 2008
May Gibbs (1877-1969) emigrated to Australia from England with her parents when she was four years old. Part of her childhood was spent at a farming homestead in Western Australia where Gibbs' love of the unique species in the Australian bush developed. The nuts, leaves and flowers she discovered as a child provided a lifetime of inspiration for her iconic and imaginative illustration work.
(lovely, don't miss it)
From the Art World to the Underworld The FBI's Robert Wittman has spent his career chasing missing masterpieces. Now thieves are growing bolder -- and more violent. This guy's career is worthy of a feature film, which I'd wager will be in the works once he retires later this year. An epic novel would be more appropriate. Cooler than the X-Files-- don't skip this one.
N Korea 'develops special noodle' North Korean scientists have developed a new kind of noodle that delays feelings of hunger, a Japan-based pro-Pyongyang newspaper has reported.
Some solar flares may be caused by dark matter Some solar flares may be caused by dark matter particles called axions spewing out from the centre of the Sun, new calculations suggest.
They Never Said It "Elementary, my dear Watson."
Richard Nixon's Piano Concerto #1 (for surreal, watch the video for a taste) (via)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Time Pictures of the Week:
Artist Marc Dittrich placed his toilet installation in a cafe as part of the Artrmx Cologne Vol.01 festival in Cologne, Germany. During the festival many artworks will be presented unprotected in public spaces throughout the city.
How impostors capture our trust instantly - and why we're so eager to give it to them The answer is that you probably would, too. Human beings are social animals, and our first instinct is to trust others. Con men, of course, have long known this - their craft consists largely of playing on this predilection, and turning it to their advantage. (via)
Eight crazy e-mail hoaxes millions have fallen for They're far-fetched, too good to be true, irrational, ridiculous or impossible, but people still keep clicking on these e-mail hoaxes.
Computer gamers hire hundreds of thousands of Chinese to earn virtual gold Nearly half a million people are employed in "virtual sweatshops" earning points and goods in online games to sell over the internet, a study has found.
How the Nose Sniffs Danger in the Air The next time someone says, “I smell danger in the air,” that might literally be true — and the odor might be coming from you.
The brain from top to bottom: An interactive website on the human brain and behavior (via)
World's largest monastery library restored to its baroque splendour (via)
19 terrifying incidents involving fish (the Candiru scares the crap out of me) (via)
An Interview With Thievery Corporation
The Prisoner Production Diary Week 2 - Descent Into Swakopmund
Ken Burns on the "Ken Burns Effect" (via)
David Lynch on product placement
Karlheinz Stockhausen - Helicopter String Quartet (don't miss it)
Live from Daryl's House (love him or hate him, Daryl Hall can sing his ass off-- really good)
Catfish vs. Bat Belize's fishing bats may catch and eat up to 30 fish in one night - but sometimes it may be a fish that catches a bat!
A group of Tibetan herders play a game of billiards as a flock of goats and horses graze on the pasture above them near Xiangpi Mountain, in China's western Qinghai province . Qinghai is part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, also known as the "Roof of the world" where ethnic Tibetans make up 21 percent of the population.
Geisha in a Kago
Salt Prints of Old Japan:
From a rare series of ca. 1880s-90s full-plate images printed by sunlight on simple "salted paper" and hand-tinted with transparent water colors -- but not by me. These are all over 110 years old.
And there are more, so many more photos of old Japan on Okinawa Soba's photostream. Feast your eyes.
great snag, growabrain
Friday, August 22, 2008
Ptak Science Books:
This fine and minutely-detailed work packs an incredible amount of data on a sheet of paper just 8x10 inches big (or small), 145 (don’t forget Eve in the 12-square grid!) elegantly arranged and easily identified images in 80 square inches.
It's really 140 images, but I won't split hairs.
Who says you can't put a camel through the eye of a needle? (Nikolai) Aldunin has fit seven through this one. The artist works between the beats of his heart, in order to keep his hands perfectly still.
He uses a microscope to see the work.
Study: Large Earthquake Could Strike New York City The new study revealed a significant previously unknown active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Several small quakes are clustered along its length. It is "probably capable of producing at least a magnitude-6 quake," the researchers said in a statement.
Could Robot Aliens Exist? The existence of a race of sentient alien robots might be not just possible, but inevitable. In fact, we might be living in a "postbiological universe" right now, in which intelligent extraterrestrials somewhere have exchanged organic brains for artificial ones.
What conductors are doing when they wave their hands around -- and what we get out of it Waving the hands, as conductors frequently do, seemed largely for show. The conductor appeared to me to be more dancing along with the music than actually leading the musicians in any meaningful way. It wasn't until I married an amateur musician that I actually learned that the conductor could have an important influence on the way an orchestra sounds.
Interview: Brian Eno (via)
20 best: ambient records ever made (via)
Thought Control In Economics (via)
The Enigmatic Notebook Drawings of Nicolas Flamel (via)
Buckminster Fuller on "Death"
Olivier Messiaen talks about birds
Robert Rauschenberg - Erased De Kooning
Tom Jones with Janis Joplin (via)
Jedi Knights - May the Funk Be With You
The six-month-old dog, Torque, adopted tiny baby owl Shrek when she was taken from her mother for her own protection after just three days.
Keepers feared Shrek's mother would eat her first clutch if she became stressed.
They spend their evenings together watching Eastenders and Coronation Street.
via Blame It On The Voices
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Internet's New Shortcut Now, professors Arvind Krishnamurthy of the University of Washington and Richard Yang of Yale say they have a better way to solve broadband providers' woes. Their algorithm, which they call P4P or "local file-sharing," tracks users' locations to find the shortest path across the Internet. The result, they say, should please both sides of the peer-to-peer debate: Users can download files about 20% faster than conventional file-sharing, while cutting the bandwidth requirements by more than a factor of five. Broadband providers are stoked... content providers, not so much, I'm sure.
Australian "hot rocks" offer 26,000 yrs of power Barely one percent of Australia's untapped geothermal energy could produce 26,000 years worth of clean electricity... (via)
Last work of surrealist Marcel Duchamp discovered The last ever art work created by the influential French surrealist Marcel Duchamp has been discovered in an apartment in in northeastern Spain.
Selections From H.P. Lovecraft's Brief Tenure as a Whitman's Sampler Copywriter. Toffee Nugget: Few men dare ask the question "What is toffee, exactly?" All those who have investigated this substance are now either dead or insane. (via)
Advice for writers about research (via)
Who were the Neanderthals?
French Authorities Uncover a Bizarre Serial Killer's Trail
Man Ray: "Home Movies"
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Design You Trust offers us a look into the living spaces of Shanghai as presented in Hu Yang's exhibition, New Shanghai Living, featuring 100 images of varied lifestyles in one of China's most vibrant and evolving cities.