Thursday, August 30, 2012

Couple Discover Medieval Shaft/Possible Time Portal Under Their Couch

Gawker  Caity Weaver

Couple Discover Medieval Shaft/Possible Time Portal Under Their Couch; Wife Is Pissed

A couple in Devon, England found something way more (or, arguably, slightly less) valuable than a Kennedy half-dollar while poking around under their living room sofa recently: a 33-ft deep medieval well, filled with old peasant weapons and, most likely, magic and a passageway to times unknown.

The Telegraph reports that Colin Steer had wondered for years what caused the floor under the family's couch to dip. One day, while performing some maintenance work, he dug down about a foot into what appeared to be a steep shaft, filled in with the foundations of the house.

Low-Paying Staples Is Romney's Go-To Example of "Success"

Mother Jones |  Kate Sheppard

The RNC lineup for Thursday night includes Thomas Sternberg, the co-founder of Staples. Mitt Romney, who served on Staples' board of directors in addition to investing in the company when he was at Bain Capitol, likes totout the chain as an example of private-sector success. But as the National Employment Law Project Action Fund points out in a new report, that success has not trickled down to employees.

The report lists Staples as one of the 50 largest low-wage employers in the US. The company has continued to turn high profits even in the recession, and its CEO made $8.8 million in 2011 (which was a 40 percent drop from what he made in 2010). And yet most of its nearly 33,000 employees make less than $10 per hour. Here's part of the graphic that goes with the report:

NELP Action Fund

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Planets to Scale

The Planets to Scale
by SpaceFacts.Browse more data visualization.

Julian Koster: ‘The Traveling Imaginary’ becomes reality

Julain Koster’s The Music Tapes — an offspring of musical collective Elephant 6 — have conceived of an ambitious spectacle for their forthcoming tour supporting September 4th album Mary’s Voice, dubbing it,The Traveling Imaginary. Deemed by Koster as “a long-dreamt-of undertaking on a grander scale than anything we have ever done,” The Traveling Imaginary is a carnival-esque enclosure that will welcome concert-goers’ active participation with various amusements including “music, games, stories, [and] films.”

On August 21, Julian launched a Kickstarter campaign (video below) to fund the circus-inspired, dream venue and immediately snagged headlines with one incredible pledge reward in particular: his first-ever banjo which he famously played on Neutral Milk Hotel’s near-legendary, Aeroplane Over The Sea. Perhaps needless to say, Koster has raised over double his initial goal of $5000, and the campaign — currently powered by over 120 backers — is still going strong.

We caught up with Julian by phone yesterday to get more details on the impending reality that is The Traveling Imaginary.

Balmorhea - The Winter

A beautiful video and good music. An expression of time, age, and life.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dude, Where's My Job?

Alfred Hitchcock: Marnie

The Guardian Film Blog

A yellow handbag fills the frame. Its owner walks away from the camera, poised on high heels, suit clipping her waist, hairdo a geometrical helmet. She is abstract art, a construct of colour and couture. We don't even see her face until she washes the dye from her hair and becomes a blonde. The opening shots of Marnie are Hitchcock's ideal of visual storytelling at its purest, and the rest of the film is an underrated gem.
  1. Marnie
  2. Production year: 1964
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 15
  5. Runtime: 130 mins
  6. Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  7. Cast: Diane Baker, Martin Gabel, Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren
  8. More on this film
Marnie had a lukewarm reception. Audiences expected killer birds or mother-fixated murderers, not "instant psychiatry". Even Hitchcock warned fans they might not get what they expected.
Marnie (Tippi Hedren) is a serial thief: she stays in a job long enough to learn the safe combination before stuffing her handbag with cash and moving on. But there's something wrong: she can't bear to be touched, and a flash of red gladioli or a splash of red ink on her sleeve sends her into a paroxysm of terror. Marnie is caught out by new boss Mark Rutland (a dashing Sean Connery), who blackmails her into marrying him and sets about trying to analyse her.

East German advertisements of the 1950s and 1960s

Boing BoingBy  

On the Vintage Ads LJ group, the always-great Man Writing Slash has posted a marvellous collection of East German advertisements that combine propaganda and sales-pitches and appear to have dropped out of a parallel universe.

East German Ads, 1950s/1960s

Fire forecasts across the United States

FlowingData | Nathan Yau

As megafires in the Southwest are becoming the new normal, NPR reports in a five-part series. An interactive map by Matt Stiles, Stephanie D'Otreppe and Brian Boyer provides a daily update on burning conditions across the country.

Fire forecast


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Philip K. Dick

Science Channel | Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
Literary genius, celebrated visionary, paranoid outcast: writer Philip K. Dick lived a life of ever-shifting realities straight from the pages of his mind-bending sci-fi stories. Dick's iconoclastic work fuels blockbuster films like Minority Reportand Blade Runner, and inspires ground breaking research in physics, robotics—even law enforcement.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dick pioneers the concept of virtual reality in his fiction. From this analog era, Philip K. Dick dreams into being a digital future — now realized in everything from motion-sensing video games, to the revolutionary simulated environments of UC San Diego's fully immersive StarCAVE.

In the 1956 thriller The Minority Report, Dick envisions a reality where pre-crime police can peer into the future to stop crimes before they occur. Fifty years later, American police departments unveil the bleeding edge in real-world precognitive crime prevention technology.

Dick's landmark 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep — known to a generation of moviegoers as Blade Runner — posits a blurring of the line between man and machine. According to robot-engineers, we are now on the cusp of just such a world.

The brilliant author's work continues to resound with an always-expanding audience. Through a lifetime of surreal experience, Philip K. Dick confronts readers with a deceptively simple question: What is reality?

Check out more bios »

Our Future Demands STEM | Added by GeeGrl

In the next seven years, more than a million jobs will open up that require specialized technology skills, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there won’t be enough qualified college graduates to fill them. Are we doing enough to get kids interested in math and science? Why do students choose to pursue math or science? The answer appears to vary by gender. Forty-nine percent of female STEM students say it was to make a difference, and 61% of male students said that games or toys in their childhoods sparked their interest. For 68% of the female respondents, a teacher or class got them interested in science, math, engineering or technology.

Our Future Demands STEM
Browse more data visualization.

Looks Like Nikola Tesla Will Get His Museum After All

GOOD |  ZACHARY SLOBIG Writer and Editor

Nikola Tesla may be vindicated at last. Last week we told you about anIndiegogo effort to resurrect his dilapidated lab, the Wardenclyffe Tower, as the first Tesla Museum in the United States (Thanks to reader MYPLACETOBEME for pointing out that Belgrade already has one).

With 37 days to go and the money still coming in, the Tesla Museum campaign has topped its $1 million goal. Jane Alcorn, head of the nonprofit behind the museum, seems baffled by the enthusiasm, according to NPR:
Alcorn and her friends were glued to their computers day and night, watching the numbers go up and up on a fundraising site. There's been over 20,000 contributors from more than a hundred countries.
"They're everywhere! It's almost like an untapped underground of Tesla fanatics," says Alcorn. "I think it's absolutely outrageous and wonderful."

The Wardenclyffe tower itself was dynamited during World War One for fear it would fall into the wrong hands. Tesla had built it with hopes of someday wirelessly transmitting messages and images over long distances.

Fitting that a technology that he envisioned over one hundred years ago could now be harnessed to preserve his long-overlooked legacy.

Image (cc) flickr user Abode of Chaos and Wikimedia Commons


Cookie Monster as Batman

Boing Boing | By Rob Beschizza

Utubelor figured out where your sense of deja vu at Christian Bale's "Batman" voice comes from. [Video Link]

Wookiees and Slave Leias in great number

Boing Boing | By Cory Doctorow

Spotted at last year's DragonCon: a large collection of Slave Leias and a couple Chewies, chilling poolside:

Matt and I stumbled across this group purely by chance. If anyone knows who the group was, or who organized the shoot, please let me know. I would like to give them credit for the setup.



Via Warhol Museum on Facebook

RIP Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon. Check out Neil in Andy's 1987 work 'Moonwalk'.

Illustrations By Matte Stephens

Dog Milk | by Katherine

All kinds of dogs inhabit the work of Matte Stephens, a painter and illustrator from Portland, Oregon. I love the colors, the characters, and the clever little stories his paintings tell. Matte has worked with clients like Herman Miller, Jonathan Adler, and Sunset magazine. You can see more on his website, in his Etsy shop, and after the jump.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Video: Band of Horses: "Knock Knock"

Pitchfork | By Jenn Pelly

Band of Horses have a new album, Mirage Rock, out September 18 via Brown/Columbia. Today they've shared a video for the single "Knock Knock", directed by Jared Eberhardt. The action-packed clip, filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah, aims for the rugged aesthetic of a comedically bad vintage nature film. The band runs through wild fields and performs on a cliff and in the middle of the desert.

Watch it below, via NPR:


Unexpected Uses for Your Waffle Maker


A Chowhound post had some surprising ideas on what your waffle maker can do besides gather dust. Lisa Lavery, kitchen editorial assistant for, reveals three of the best. See how you can use other common appliances in uncommon ways.


How to Be Assertive (Without Losing Yourself)

Lifehacker Amy Gallo

Conventional wisdom says that assertive people get ahead. They tell people what they think, request the resources they need, ask for raises, and don't take no for an answer. So what are non-assertive people supposed to do? If you're shy or reserved, don't fret. You can ask for what you need and get what you want, while still being yourself.
What the Experts Say

Managers need some degree of self-confidence to be effective. "The right amount of assertiveness, respect for others, and intelligence is what makes a great leader," says Lauren Zander, co-founder and chairman of the Handel Group, an executive coaching firm in New York City, and author of "Designing Your Life," a course taught through MIT. Yet, there needs to be a balance. "There's a sweet spot for assertiveness. If you're below the range, you're not going to get your way. If you're above it, you're not getting along with others," says Daniel Ames, a professor of management at Columbia Business School and author of "Pushing Up to a Point: Assertiveness and Effectiveness in Leadership and Interpersonal Dynamics." The good news is, "Being shy is not a permanent condition. Assertiveness can be learned," says Zander. The key is to understand the context, assess your behavior, and then make the appropriate adjustments.

John Hodgman: Design, explained.

John Hodgman: Design, explained.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

'Game Of Thrones' Crowns Its Mance Rayder

MTV.COMBy Kara Warner (@)

At long last, one of the biggest questions about the third season of "Game of Thrones" has been answered: Entertainment Weekly reports that veteran thespian CiarĂ¡n Hinds ("Political Animals," "Rome") has been cast as the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder.

Without going into too much detail or spoiler territory, Rayder has already been referenced several times on the show and is the leader of the wildlings, hence the King Beyond the Wall title. Rayder plays a very important part in the story's action, particularly the story line of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), whom we last saw being dragged away to meet Rayder at the end of season two.

The casting of the wildling king was one of the last major pieces needed to complete the pre-production puzzle ahead of the highly anticipated third season of HBO's Emmy-nominated hit. Hinds certainly has the acting chops to handle the role: He is a celebrated Irish actor whose resume is filled with dramatic work, including several productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and starring roles as powerful leading men in films and television. At 59, Hinds is a good deal older than the character as written and introduced by George R.R. Martin, which leaves plenty of room for creative interpretation. And thanks to his entertaining portrayal of flirtatious, good-old-boy former President Bud Hammond on USA's "Political Animals," we know he can do powerful, plus charming.

Marines Raise Pride Flag in Afghanistan

This comes via Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

If Fonts Were Dogs

momoko mashups

Snarky Art - Julia Pott


How to Recycle Aluminum Soda and Beer Cans into Roof Shingles and Siding.

Inhabitat by Timon Singh,

Many people recycle old aluminum cans so that they are diverted from landfills and reused to make a variety of items. But if you’re a fan of DIY projects, you might consider saving those cans and transforming them into shingles, tiles and siding. Over at Instructables, a self-described stay-at-home dad has published a set of instructions explaining how to transform old cans into useful roofing tiles for a small structure.

Read more: DIY: How to Recycle Aluminum Soda and Beer Cans into Roof Shingles and Siding | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building 

Triumph Schreibmaschinen (typewriters), "a prized possession in every family"

Breaking Bad art show in Los Angeles

Boing BoingBy 

Fans of Breaking Bad, take note if you're in Los Angeles. Gallery 1988 Melrose has a showfrom the guys behind Breaking GIFs. I heard about it through Bob "Saul" Odenkirk's Twitter, so it's certifiably awesome.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make Any Lamp Cordless for Under $20

Lifehacker |  Whitson Gordon

Most lamps come with short cords that not only ugly up your office, but don't always reach the wall without an equally ugly extension cord. Save yourself the mess by making your lamp cordless.
Weblog View Along the Way explains how to turn any lamp into a cordless light source, by replacing the light bulb with a string of low-power LEDs and running them off a 9V battery. It's a pretty cheap project, with the parts coming in under $20, and it only requires a bit of soldering to get it done. Of course, you could always buy a cordless LED lamp too, but if you have a lamp you particularly like, this will work with just about anything. Hit the link to see a full step-by-step guide.
How to Make Any Lamp Cordless | View Along the Way


Koch Billionaire Builds a Town - No People Allowed

Koch Billionaire Builds a Town - No People Allowed. Just employees and servants. Is this the Koch model for America?

The issue not what Koch's are allowed to do, we know as wealthy heirs, they do what they want. The question is; do we want these type of billionaire heirs controlling the destiny of our democracy? Do we want our tax dollars continued to be used to subsidize their wealth?

Do you think this is the fruits of capitalism and the free market? The Koch's are wealthy heirs, not capitalists. You have to keep your money out of politics and refuse government subsidies to be capitalists. The Koch's have done neither.

The Denver Post | By Nancy Lofholm

This view of Bill Koch's re-created Old West town is from a public road running across Bureau of Land Management land. Koch wants to acquire the public land in a trade for other property he owns in Colorado and Utah.(De von Meyers, Special to The Denver Post)

KEBLER PASS —There's a new town in Colorado. It has about 50 buildings, including a saloon, a church, a jail, a firehouse, a livery and a train station. Soon, it will have a mansion on a hill so the town's founder can look down on his creation.

But don't expect to move here — or even to visit.

This town is billionaire Bill Koch's fascination with the Old West rendered in bricks and mortar. It sits on a 420-acre meadow on his Bear Ranch below the Raggeds Wilderness Area in Gunnison County. It's an unpopulated, faux Western town that might boggle the mind of anyone who ever had a playhouse. Its full-size buildings come with polished brass and carved-mahogany details and are fronted with board sidewalks and
underpinned by a water-treatment system. A locked gate with guards screens who comes and goes.

Read more:Billionaire's new Colorado town is a private Old West marvel - The Denver Post
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Who's Your Daddy?--The Paternity Testing Truck


Do you have a paternity testing emergency? Well, then, good news! There's a mobile clinic in New York City that offers DNA matching tests:
In what may be a first anywhere, a “Who’s Your Daddy” truck is cruising New York City selling DNA tests to people who want to confirm their child’s paternity or even whether their parents are biologically related to them.
The brown and white RV, which is bedecked in eye catching signs advertising its services, is more than just a moving billboard, according to driver and operator Jared Rosenthal. “The RV is set up to be a drug testing clinic and a DNA testing clinic,” he told ABC News. “It’s essentially a mobile office so while we’re working people will walk up and ask questions and sometimes even take a test right on board.”
Watch a video at the link.
Link -via Marginal Revolution | Photo WABC

Celebrating The Life & Birthday of H. P. Lovecraft


Today marks H.P. (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft’s 122nd birthday. In honor of the author’s amazing impact on modern pop culture, lets take a little look at the life that led to some of the most famous horror icons of the last century.

Creating A Mind For Madness

Given how dark many of Lovecraft’s stories are, it shouldn’t be all too surprising that his childhood was fairly dark as well. It wasn’t that the young boy was abused or anything, it’s just that his father was institutionalized when he was only three and died when he was eight. While Lovecraft maintained throughout his life that his father suffered from a nervous breakdown caused by working too hard, many researchers believe he actually suffered from syphilis.
Even without his father around, young Howard had a lot of family support, as he lived with his mother, his two aunts and his grandfather in a charming home in Providence, Rhode Island. The boy was pretty much a genius and was able to recite poems at only three and write his own poetry at six.
His grandfather encouraged him by reading him classic stories, but he also stirred up the boy’s imagination with Gothic horror stories. While that’s normally not such a bad thing, and little Howard loved the stories, it’s not generally a good idea to keep telling scary stories to children who suffer from night terrors –like Lovecraft did from a very young age. He had one recurring nightmare featuring faceless demons that he called “night gaunts.” Later on these creatures would become the subject of one of his poems and many believe his childhood nightmares provided inspiration for his later tales of terror.
As if his nightmares weren’t bad enough, the boy was also frequently ill. In fact, he was so sickly that he couldn’t enter school until he was eight and even then, he was withdrawn again only a year later. Fortunately, Howard was highly interested in academia and spent his time out of school reading text books, particularly those focused on chemistry and astronomy –his two favorite subjects.
While he finally was well enough to attend high school, his grandfather’s death paired with difficulty in mathematics (which he needed to master to become an astronomer or chemist) caused him to suffer from a nervous breakdown shortly before graduation. As a result, Lovecraft dropped out and never actually received his diploma.

Getting His Foot In The Door

Clanky will save us all.

Filled with Chocolate Pudding!

[Video Link] Possibly the best robot-shaped chocolate syrup squeeze bottle ever designed.(Via Filled with Chocolate Pudding)

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Vanity Fair | By Joseph E. Stiglitz Illustration by Stephen Doyle

Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.


I Want To Go Home 2011

Julia Pott | Personal Illustration 

So you know: Cookie Monsters Famous Cookie Dough Recipe

The Kitchn

More including the typed recipe

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Velvet Underground and Nico Turned into a 6CD Boxset Guide | By  

"This is the way that pop ends," Simon Reynolds wrote, in his incisive cultural survey Retromania. "Not with a bang, but with a box set whose fourth disc you never get around to playing." These wise words seem plenty pertinent when surveying the latest reissue of the Velvet Underground's immortal 1967 debut The Velvet Underground and Nico.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Olivia Tremor Control – Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999)

Indiemuse | Published by David at 8:13 pm under Chicago,Experimental,Indie pop,MP3's

Last week, I saw members of the Elephant 6 collective play a show at Lincoln Hall in Chicago as part of their Surprise Holiday tour. For those who aren’t familiar with Elephant 6, it’s basically a collective/label that formed in the 90s that includes bands such as The Apple in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and… too many to list here.
Photo credit: John Kendelhardt (not from the show I went to… Jeff Magnum unfortunately wasn’t there)


"Cats" by Ballet Zoom

Neatorama |  



  • High-def video retrieved by underwater vehicles reveal a debris field that could be from Earhart's plane.
  • Multiple underwater objects appear consistent with an object seen in a 1937 photograph that could have revealed the aviator's plane.
  • Analysis of a jar recovered on an island show it contained traces of mercury, which was a common ingredient in anti-freckle cream.

amelia earhart plane
A screengrab from underwater video shows a semicircle at top (the fender?) and a round object off to right. Could they be remnants of Earhart's plane.? Click to enlarge this image. 
Pieces of Amelia Earhart's plane might have been located in the depths of the waters off Nikumaroro island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, according to a preliminary review of high-definition video taken last month at the uninhabited coral atoll believed to be Earhart's final resting place.
Carried out by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 75 years ago, the underwater search started on July 12 and relied on a torpedo-shaped Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV).
The AUV collected a volume of multi-beam and side-scan data, while the ROV, capable of reaching depths of 3,300 feet, produced hours upon hours of high-definition video.
Plagued by a number of technical issues and a difficult environment, the hunt did not result in the immediate identification of pieces from Earhart's Lockheed Electra aircraft.
"Early media reports rushed to judgement in saying that the expedition didn't find anything," Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News.
"We had, of course, hoped to see large pieces of aircraft wreckage but as soon as we saw the severe underwater environment at Nikumaroro we knew that we would be looking for debris from an airplane that had been torn to pieces 75 years ago, Gillespie said.