Sunday, 20 May 2012

10 stories I found educative, interesting or just weird

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Rise of the technocrats. Economic equations and graphs have their place, but they are no substitute for political debates about how to run society... more

Low-fi lullabies from Brother Sun, Sister Moon via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
 Catalog Wp-Content Uploads 2012 03 Bssm-Cassette
Brother Sun, Sister Moon is a hazy, droney, dreamy collaboration between New Zealand vocalist Alizia Merz (Birds of Passage) and instrumentalist/beat maestro Gareth Munday (Roof Light). Lovely low-fi, cross-genre lullabies. It's $6 for the digital album or around $12 for a cassette that also includes a digital download. Vinyl also available from Denovali Mailorder.
From the project description:
The self-titled album is a trip through sun-dappled pop music, glistening with Alicia's vibrant vocals reminiscent of Vashti Bunyan and neatly complimented by a haze of lo-fi instrumentation akin to the distorted experimentation of SLOWDIVE and MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Unafraid to extend their musical reach beyond this, the record ventures into the futuristic beat world channeling influences such as FLYING LOTUS and MADLIB, while traversing vast technicolour electronic sounds that call to mind BOARDS OF CANADA and the ambient tape manipulation of Matthew David.
"Brother Sun, Sister Moon" (via OMG Vinyl)

What Jesus Means to a 21st Century Jew via Big Think by Jeffrey Israel
It was only about a century ago that Easter was considered by some Christians to be a good day for massacring Jews. Consider, for instance, the first Kishinev pogrom of 1903. In 21st century America, by contrast, Easter - with its bunnies, candy eggs, pink, yellow and baby blue - is not exactly is not exactly threatening.
Read More

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Are you a mysterian? The more we know about the brain, the less we understand how it creates consciousness, says Colin McGinn. Maybe the mind is a puzzle that can’t be solved... more

The Failure of the Last Mile via Big Think by Maneesh Sethi
On Friday, I woke up with an intense urge to run. As soon as my eyes opened, all I could think about was how much I wanted to feel the open air, the liberation that I only experience when I run through hills in the early morning. Yet, by 4pm, I hadn’t even gone outside.
Read More
Oh dear. This is me! Not about running (arthritic knees do not allow for that) but about sewing, knitting and generally finishing stuff. The only time I managed it was when I worked with a guy who had no concept of finishing so I absolutely had to.

The real cost of carbon via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Image: Black coal or charcoal for cooking, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from epsos's photostream
Two years ago, if you’d asked me what I thought about something like cap and trade, or a carbon tax, I would have said that they were interesting ideas, but probably not worth the trouble of fighting for. I didn’t think a price on carbon was necessary and, in fact, I was worried it could do more harm than good.
Doing the research for my book, Before the Lights Go Out, changed my perspective. There are risks to any mechanism you use to put a price on carbon (there are risks to everything we do), and it’s still not something we could institute easily (thanks, politics!), but I've come to think that this one thing could be the easiest method to change the way we make and use energy. Energy – and more importantly, reducing fossil fuel use – isn’t intuitive. It’s often hard to see how we’re using fossil fuels, and make decisions about how to use less of them. A price on carbon, however you do it, takes some of the guesswork out of that. Instead of having to become some kind of Super Green Living Expert, all you have to do is do what’s cheapest.
Read an interview with Maggie at [great stuff!!]
Read more about why she thinks carbon pricing matters in Before the Lights Go Out.

What was your first book crush? via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza
What books do you cringe at having loved? Nadia Chaudhury collects the teen-age literary crushes of 30 popular writers.
The feelings are so strong and obsessive. The books seem smart, sophisticated, cool; the characters in them say and do such great things, they seem like guides sent to teach you how to be that way too. But then the crush goes, and the object of one’s former affection becomes an embarrassment – or at least the memory of you quoting them so seriously does.
It’s heartwarming to realize that no matter how cheesy Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms books are, they insulated me from Ayn Rand at a most vulnerable age.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Errol Morris believes there are no relative truths, only true truths. Maybe that’s why the postmodernist Thomas Kuhn hurled an ashtray at him... more

Introducing the Royal Society Picture Library!
Posted by Joanna Hopkins
We are excited to announce the launch of our brand new online picture library containing digital images of paintings, photographs, drawings and prints held in our collections. Browse our special themed galleries or dive straight into the advanced search and explore by subject, date and more!
Drawing of a butterfly fish from MS_131_89
Pictures have been catalogued to include detailed descriptions and provenance information; they have also, in many cases, been digitised for the first time.
The website is freely available for all to view and we hope it will prove a valuable tool for academic research. The resource also offers an image licensing service enabling users to purchase rights to reproduce the images in books, journals and many other mediums. Proceeds from image reproduction fees will be put towards conserving and developing our collections.
You can find more information about the pictures and services offered on the ‘About us’ page. You may also want to take a look at the help notes to get you started. But if you have any questions or queries on how to use the website then do drop us a line, we’ll be happy to hear from you.
We hope you enjoy browsing the website, please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. We will continue to add pictures regularly, so keep checking back to see what’s new.

Behold, the Conformateur! A 19th century hat-fitting device via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Tricia Roush is justifiably excited by her acquisition of an 1821 Conformateur in excellent shape. Conformateurs are Victorian devices used to measure the irregularities in the heads of milliner’s customers, to ensure a better fit from the eventual hat. Roush explains the device’s working in detail, with generous photos of the extraordinary device in action.
Oh Joy! My Conformateur (via JWZ)

No comments: