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Sports in a nutshell. [vectorbelly]
What the Fluck! The point at which journalism fails and modern power begins.
Picked this up via @antonyjohnston. It’s a long read, and if you’re in the US, at least, the videos don’t run.
You don’t need the videos.
(Edited to add: apparently the videos DO run. But you still don’t need them.)
It is an excellent, excellent blog post by Adam Curtis, and if you’ve any concern whatsoever about the state of the world, the corruption of capitalism, the destruction of democracies, and the hope of stopping where we’re headed, it is well worth your time.
Screenshot from YouTube video of Jim Howe being arrested for picking up his children on foot
A Tennessee father was arrested recently by an overzealous officer for picking his children up at school by foot. The school’s policy is that children can only be picked up by parents driving cars or kids can board a school bus.
Parents who wish to pick up their children on foot or by bike are apparently shit out of luck. Thankfully I don’t live in Cumberland County, Tennessee, because they would have a fight on their hands.
Jim Howe became concerned about the long line-up of cars that extended over a mile on a busy highway. So he decided to pick up his children by foot, and was told by the school to go back to his car and wait in line like everybody else.
Here are the more compliant parents, waiting patiently in line to pick up their children:
Photo courtesy of Channel 6 WATE News Clip
Screenshot from YouTube video of Jim Howe being arrested
The school provided Howe a form to fill out that would permit his children to leave the school alone (his children are 8 years old and 14 years old), but they wouldn’t release his children to him until after the long line-up of cars was gone – to presumably encourage him to get his car and sit in line like a compliant sheep.
Here is the dialogue leading up to the arrest:
Officer: “Guess what. Guess what. It’s the rules. No we’re not going to argue about it”
Howe: “Here’s a rule, here’s a TCA code. School is out, my children are to be given to me. When school is out.”
Officer: “It don’t say when. They have, they have, they have, they have. No, no, no. School is out. They will give you your child, but it doesn’t say when now does it.”
Howe: “Tennessee state law says within a reasonable amount of time, that is 15 minutes.”
Officer: “Put your hands behind your back.”
Howe: “Okay, no problem. Go ahead. Opening yourself up for a lawsuit.”
Officer: “I’m not staying here arguing with you. Disorderly”
Howe: “That is fine with me”
After going outside, the officer scolds the cameraperson (presumably Howe’s partner) and threatens to arrest her if she doesn’t get out of the way of traffic.
Here is the full video:
Is this how far car culture has gone? It is depressing enough to see a long line-up of cars waiting to pick up children from school, but to prohibit parents from picking up their children on foot or by bike? This is beyond ludicrous.
Every time I witness such a sad spectacle, I reminisce on the lovely scene I witnessed in Amsterdam last year. When school is out, parents socialize in the school yard, and not a single parent pulled up a car to pick up their child.
Amsterdam school pick-ups – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country
This always revives my hope for the future of our society. But how much more enslaved by car culture will our society become before we start heading down a more rational, logical path, creating more healthy, liveable places to work, live and play.
Manual de la Revuelta en el Trabajo!
E a gente fazendo tudo errado o tempo todo
The 2D or Not 2D series isn’t the first time Russian photographer Alexander Khokhlov has dabbled in painting his models faces and taking striking portraits of the results. His Weird Beauty series got quite popular, with black and white designs jumping out at you from the faces of his made-up models.
2D or Not 2D, however, is different — and not just because he used color this time. It’s different because the point of each photo is to trick your mind into thinking you’re looking at a two-dimensional painting.
If the idea sounds familiar, that’s because Alexa Meade does something similar using entire scenes. Khokhlov’s series is different though, because it intentionally straddles the line between painting and reality, playing tricks on your mind, whereas Meade intends to fully convince you you’re looking at a painting and not a photograph.
The portraits in 2D or Not 2D sometimes look quite painted, and optical illusions frequently play a role in making you wonder if you’re looking at a two-dimensional object. But the majority of the photos give themselves away on purpose by leaving the models’ eyes open — two pools of reality in an otherwise two dimensional-looking object.
Here’s a look at the whole series:
As with Weird Beauty, Khokhlov teamed up with Valeriya Kutsan, one of the best make-up artists in Russia, to create the designs on the models’ faces. To see more from Khokhlov, head over to our previous coverage of the Weird Beauty series or check out his website by clicking here.
(via Visual News)
Image credits: Photographs by Alexander Khokhlov and used with permission.
Still my favorite picture on the internet!
Marr and Richards' birdseye map of Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1890. Birdseye view of Waukesha, Wisconsin Date: 1890 Author: Marr and Richards Dwnld: Full Size (7.4mb) Print Availability: See our Prints Page for more details pff This map isn't part of any series, but we have other Featured maps that you might want to check out. Marr and Richards' birdseye map of Waukesha, Wisconsin [gmap] in 1890. For more maps and images...
Faszinierender neuer 3D-Print von Joaquin Baldwin, dessen Supermario-Loop hier im Regal steht und der auch schon Bacon in die Unendlichkeit geloopt hat: Ein unendliches Möbiusband aus unendlichen Möbiusbändern. Mandelbrot wäre sowas von Fan.
All segments are thin mobius strips, and they weave and interlock perfectly through the spaces left between them. Highly complex, and a headache to look at, yet it possesses an inherent mathematical simplicity and beauty.
A British Airways ad campaign is using a billboard with "custom-built surveillance technology" to track their planes flying overhead, triggering an interactive video of a child pointing at the aircraft.
Submitted by: Unknown (via The Drum)
„The first raw fractal ever to be banned from a site (fractalforums.com) comes to Shadertoy, in an enhanced, animated version. Don’t click on the shader if you are under 18!“ (NSFW-Mathematics ahead.)
The Unfinished Egyptian Obelisk of Aswan,
Lying at the Ancient Egyptian quarries of Aswan is a giant obelisk that, unfortunately, was never erected. This is a shame because had it been erected, it would have been the largest Egyptian obelisk in the world, with a height of 137 feet while weighing over 1,200 tons. Fortunately today, the Ancient Egyptian’s loss is our gain. For historians and archaeologists the unfinished obelisk is a treasure trove of information on how the Egyptians not only built their obelisks, but how they quarried granite, and what tools they used. When the Egyptians abandoned the obelisk, they left it behind complete with tool marks, markings left by engineers and architects, as well as a number of stone and copper tools.
Incredibly the Egyptians quarried the obelisk directly out of the granite bedrock. To accomplish this a team of around 130 workers carved trenches in the rough outline of the obelisk. Carving was achieved by a pounding ball ( about the size of a grapefruit) made of a hard rock called diorite. The workers would have spent perhaps a year or more pounding on the granite until slowly a trench was formed. Once the trench was deep enough, the workers would have carved inwards as far as possible. Finally the obelisk would have been separated from the bedrock by driving copper spikes into it. Once removed the obelisk would have been trimmed using a copper saw, and other finishing touches would have occured.
The difficulty and repetitiveness of obelisk quarrying must have been unimaginable. Imagine pounding away at the rock, day after day for over a year, perhaps more. It would have been incredibly backbreaking and tedious work to an unimaginable decree. The tools used would have made the work much harder, as copper would have worn down quickly. One thing that is certainly guaranteed; Ancient Egyptian workers would have been extremely tough, rugged, and more importantly, patient.
So after all that hard labor why did the Egyptians never finish the Aswan Obelisk? As they neared the end stages of quarrying one of two things occurred. Either the stone developed flaws, or the act of quarrying released tension withing the stone slab. The result was that the obelisk developed a series of large cracks, three running in a lateral direction with one running lengthwise. This made the obelisk utterly unusable.
After more than a year of blood, sweat, and tears, the failure of the Aswan Obelisk must have been heartbreaking.
It was 1963, and 16-year-old Bruce McAllister was sick of symbol-hunting in English class. Rather than quarrel with his teacher, he went straight to the source: McAllister mailed a crude, four-question survey to 150 novelists, asking if they intentionally planted symbolism in their work. Seventy-five authors responded. Here’s what 12 of them had to say. (Copies of the survey responses can be found at the Paris Review.)
“My definition of symbolism as used in this questionnaire is represented by this example: In The Scarlet Letter there are four major characters. Some say that Hawthorne meant those four to be Nature, Religion, Science or other similar symbols in disguise. They apply the actions of the four in the story to what is presently happening or will happen to Nature, Religion, Science, etc.”
Ayn Rand: “This is not a ‘definition,’ it is not true—and therefore, your questions do not make sense.”
MacKinlay Kantor: “Nonsense, young man, write your own research paper. Don’t expect others to do the work for you.”
“Do you consciously, intentionally plan and place symbolism in your writing?... If yes, please state your method for doing so. Do you feel you sub-consciously place symbolism in your writing?”
Jack Kerouac: "No."
Isaac Asimov: “Consciously? Heavens, no! Unconsciously? How can one avoid it?”
Joseph Heller: “Yes, I do intentionally rely on symbolism in my writing, but not to the extent that many people have stated…No, I do not subconsciously place symbolism in my writing, although there are inevitably many occasions when events acquire a meaning additional to the one originally intended.”
Ray Bradbury: “No, I never consciously place symbolism in my writing. That would be a self-conscious exercise and self-consciousness is defeating to any creative act. Better to let the subconscious do the work for you, and get out of the way. The best symbolism is always unsuspected and natural."
John Updike: “Yes—I have no method; there is no method in writing fiction; you don’t seem to understand.”
Norman Mailer: “I’m not sure it’s a good idea for a working novelist to concern himself too much with the technical aspects of the matter. Generally, the best symbols in a novel are those you become aware of only after you finish the work.”
Ralph Ellison: “Symbolism arises out of action…Once a writer is conscious of the implicit symbolism which arises in the course of a narrative, he may take advantage of them and manipulate them consciously as a further resource of his art. Symbols which are imposed upon fiction from the outside tend to leave the reader dissatisfied by making him aware that something extraneous is added.”
Saul Bellow: “A ‘symbol’ grows in its own way, out of the facts.”
Richard Hughes: “[Consciously?] No. [Subconsciously?] Probably yes. After all, to a lesser extent, the same is true of our daily conversation—in fact, of everything we think and say and do.”
“Do readers ever infer that there is symbolism in your writing where you had not intended it to be? If so, what is your feeling about this type of inference? (Humorous? annoying? etc.?)”
Ralph Ellison: “Yes, readers often infer that there is symbolism in my work, which I do not intend. My reaction is sometimes annoyance. It is sometimes humorous. It is sometimes even pleasant, indicating that the reader’s mind has collaborated in a creative way with what I have written.”
Saul Bellow: “They most certainly do. Symbol-hunting is absurd.”
Joseph Heller: “This happens often, and in every case there is good reason for the inference; in many cases, I have been able to learn something about my own book, for readers have seen much in the book that is there, although I was not aware of it being there.”
John Updike: “Once in a while—usually they do not (see the) symbols that are there.”
Jack Kerouac: “Both, depending how busy I am.”
“Do you feel that the great writers of classics consciously, intentionally planned and placed symbols in their writing? ... Do you feel that they placed it there sub-consciously?”
[“Some of them did (Joyce, Dante) more than others (Homer) but it is impossible to think of any significant work of narrative art without a symbolic dimension of some sort.”]
Ray Bradbury: “This is a question you must research yourself.”
Joseph Heller: “The more sophisticated the writer, I would guess, the smaller the use of symbols in the strictest sense and the greater the attempt to achieve the effects of symbolism in more subtle ways. “
Ralph Ellison: “Man is a symbol-making and –using animal. Language itself is a symbolic form of communication. The great writers all used symbols as a means of controlling the form of their fiction. Some place it there subconsciously, discovered it and then developed it. Others started out consciously aware and in some instances shaped the fiction to the symbols.”
Jack Kerouac: “Come off of it—there are all kinds of ‘classics’—Sterne used no symbolism, Joyce did.”
"Do you have anything to remark concerning the subject under study, or anything you believe to be pertinent to such a study?"
[“Have you considered the extent to which subconscious symbol-making is part of the process of reading, quite distinct from its part in writing?”]
Jack Kerouac: “Symbolism is alright in ‘fiction’ but I tell true life stories simply about what happened to people I knew.”
John Updike: “It would be better for you to do your own thinking on this sort of thing.”
Iris Murdoch: “There is much more symbolism in ordinary life than some critics seem to realize.”
Ray Bradbury: “Not much to say except to warn you not to get too serious about all this, if you want to become a writer of fiction in the future. If you intend to become a critic, that is a Whale of another color…Playing around with symbols, even as a critic, can be a kind of kiddish parlor game. A little of it goes a long way. There are other things of greater value in any novel or story…humanity, character analysis, truth on other levels…Good symbolism should be as natural as breathing…and as unobtrusive.”
* * *
In case you were wondering, McAllister eventually became an English professor.
You are looking at medieval parchment - animal skin - that was stabbed, cut and stitched up. Preparing animal skin, the first step in producing a medieval book, was challenging. The parchment maker had to scrape off the fleshy bits from the one side, and the hair from the other... If the parchment maker pushed too hard while removing the unwanted parts, he would cut right through the surface, which is what happened in the images above. While some cuts were simply stitched up with a thin parchment cord, it also happened that book producers turned these defects into art. I tumbled these images from a manuscript in Uppsala a while ago, in which holes are plugged with embroidery... In the last image the material was used to attach a missing corner, producing what I tend to call a “Frankenstein page”.From Erik Kwakkel's incomparable blog about medieval books; there are two additional images of repaired pages at the link.
The color of the Aurora depends on the altitude and the atom being struck by solar radiation (causing excitation). At higher altitudes, there is more Atomic Oxygen than Nitrogen, leading to the common color stratifications you see.
500-200 km altitude
— Atomic Oxygen — Red
— Atomic Oxygen — Greenish-Yellow
— Ionized Nitrogen — Blue/Purple
— Nitrogen (N2) — Crimson
Oxygen only emits red at higher altitudes because once it’s excited, it takes a longer time to emit red than it does green. Why is that important? Well, at lower altitudes there is more Nitrogen for the Oxygen to bump into and absorb that excitation-energy before it gets a chance to emit red light. In this case, where the collision occurs, the Oxygen will emit Green and at low enough altitudes the Nitrogen-Oxygen collisions eventually prevent Oxygen from emitting any light at all.
During stronger storms, high energy solar particles will reach lower in the atmosphere and cause the Crimson emission from Nitrogen, creating a deep-red band at the lower edge of the aurora. Other elements emit light too, like Hydrogen (Blue) or Helium (Purple) which are at higher altitudes.
Archeologists investigating a site long believed to be the birthplace of Buddha have found new evidence to establish when the profoundly influential sage was born. The discovery marks the first time, researchers say, that any firm link has narrowed Buddha's date of birth to within a certain century.
Reporting in the journal Antiquity, an international team of scientists describe the excavation of a timber structure located in the Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, Nepal, which they cite as the possible location of Buddha's birth. The temple, a World Heritage site currently being converted into a pilgrimage hub, has long been a pillar of Buddhist faith. Ancient inscriptions at the site, which have been dated to the third century B.C., name it as Buddha's birthplace. Other discoveries at the location suggest that it has long been a sacred place for Buddhists, with evidence of monasteries and shrines that date back to the 3rd century B.C. and up to the 15th century A.D.
"Very little is known about the life of the Buddha."
Using several techniques, including carbon dating, researchers estimate that fragments from the timber structure date back to the 6th century B.C. Researchers also found ancient tree roots within the structure, a discovery that corresponds to how Buddha was said to be born — his mother, Maya Devi, gave birth while clasping a tree branch. The timeframe of that birth, however, has long been disputed: until now, because the earliest inscriptions at the temple dated back to the third century B.C., some experts speculated that this was also when Buddha was born.
"Very little is known about the life of the Buddha, except through textual sources and oral tradition," said study co-author Robin Coningham in a statement. "Now, for the first time, we have an archaeological sequence at Lumbini that shows a building there as early as the sixth century B.C."
James Franco e Seth Rogen estão gravando o filme “The Interview”, mas os dois parecem estar com bastante tempo livre nos sets de filmagem, pois eles divulgaram um vídeo em que recriam o clipe sexy de “Bound2″ do Kanye West.
No clipe original, Kanye aparece em uma motocicleta com sua noiva Kim Kardashian seminua seduzindo enquanto ele dirige. Na paródia, Franco assume o papel do rapper e Rogen o de Kim.
Eles regravaram cena a cena do vídeo original e está quase tudo igual: as imagens da natureza no começo, a camiseta rasgada de Kanye, o cromaqui atrás da motocicleta e o comediante descamisado com suas costas peludas sendo sexy na garupa da moto e agarrando o amigo.
Hahahahahahaha, dá play abaixo pra conferir essa maravilha:
Aqui está o clipe oficial do Kanye, para vocês compararem:
E aí, num ficou igualzinho?
Infographic of meat production between now and 2050. From PopSci.
To create more engaging video lectures, Northwestern University engineering professor Michael Peshkin created Lightboard, an ingenious transparent dry-erase board that allows him to face the camera while drawing notes and diagrams in front of him. The board consists of a double pane of glass that is lit from within by LEDs. Peshkin uses fluorescent dry-erase markers which are highly visible on the lit glass. If you’re wondering how his writing is not backwards, it’s because he films his lectures through a mirror. Peshkin has posted instructions on how to make your own Lightboard.
photo and video by Michael Peshkin
via Hack A Day
From the very beginning, 23andMe was the stuff TED talks are made of, promising to harness the staggering quantity of information in the human genome with big data and user-friendly web savvy. Now, it’s all but shut down. This morning, the FDA ordered an immediate halt on sales of 23andMe’s saliva test kit, the company’s only product. Until the company passes the FDA’s marketing approval process, it will be forbidden from shipping anything to users. All of the company’s ambitious plans are officially on hold.
Can the dream of the personal genome survive?
It’s very bad news for 23andMe. And for anyone who bought into the dream of personally managed genetic data, the FDA’s move is bewildering. For all the site's problems, including occasionally threadbare scientific data, giving users access to their genome was a potentially industry-changing idea. Now, the abrupt halt has left more questions than answers. After six years on the market, why is 23andMe's sole product being barred from sale now? And without the company that pioneered it, can the dream of the personal genome survive?
23andMe, for its part, seems to be remaining optimistic. In an official response to the FDA's letter, the company came off as penitent. "We recognize that we have not met the FDA's expectations regarding timeline and communication regarding our submission," the statement reads. "Our relationship with the FDA is extremely important to us and we are committed to fully engaging with them to address their concerns." In short, they're working on it.
23andme is way behind in doing the necessary studies to back up their claims
The FDA’s marketing requirements put 23andMe in a particularly tricky spot. The requirements are designed to make sure that anyone marketing a medical product isn’t lying about what their product can do. If I want to start advertising Cholesterol-Lowering Pills, I have to prove to the FDA that the pills really do lower patients’ cholesterol — usually with a battery of scientific studies that takes years and costs millions. 23andMe’s claims are even trickier to prove. The website bills the service as a "first step in prevention," to help users in "mitigating serious diseases." They may not seem like it, but those are medical claims — and 23andMe is way behind in doing the necessary studies to back up their claims.
"The FDA and 23andme have done a sort of strange frenemy dance."
To make matters worse, the FDA seems furious. The agency’s public letter to 23andMe takes an unusually frustrated tone, detailing the hundreds of emails and 14 face-to-face meetings that led up to the block. As of January, the company still had not completed the studies it would need to make a marketing submission, despite operating for more than five years. It’s unclear whether it was startup arrogance, bad test results, or simple naiveté that led 23andMe to ignore the warnings, but the company’s marketing push only increased. A recent surge of television ads seems to have been the final straw.
Finally, the agency seems to have run out of patience
For many observers, the FDA’s rebuke has been a long time coming. As geneticist Misha Angrist puts it, "The FDA and the company have done a sort of strange frenemy dance since the beginning." The mere fact that 23andMe was able to operate for six years without marketing approval speaks to how much leeway the FDA was willing to extend at first, especially while many doctor's groups were skeptical of personal genetics from the beginning. As early as 2008, the New York State Department of Health had banned 23andMe from operating within the state, requiring laborious workarounds for New York-based users. But federal agencies were more patient. The FDA dispatched its Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health to work with 23andMe on approvals, but according to the letter, the company kept stalling. "I think the FDA was antagonized by what it perceived to be 23andMe's inattention to its demands and the company's simultaneous ramp-up of its marketing campaign," Angrist says. Finally, the agency seems to have run out of patience.
"There's always the potential for results to be misused or misinterpreted."
Some medical groups have already eagerly seized on the letter as a chance to point out the failings of any genetic testing outside the medical sphere. Speaking to The Verge this morning, the president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Rebecca Nagy, said the ruling highlights the questions consumers should be asking about personal genomics services. "Is a genetics professional involved in ordering or interpreting the test? If not, there's always the potential for results to be misused or misinterpreted," says Nagy. That's a larger issue than just 23andMe's failure to work with the FDA — but after this morning's order, everything seems to be on the table.
"It's simply gotten too cheap and too easy to do."
And in a sense, they're right. Many of the FDA's complaints are aimed at the core idea of personal genomics: that a delicate and expensive medical test could become as simple as an iPhone app. 23andMe didn't invent the saliva test, after all. All it did was bring such testing outside the doctor's office and make it available without the headaches of the health-insurance system. It was a consumer-grade version of a professional service: cheaper, easier, and not quite as good. And because the testing could be done in bulk, the service added a lot of genes that would never be tested in a medical lab, from the gene responsible for "asparagus pee" to the markers used to track a person’s Neanderthal ancestors. But that same fast-and-loose approach can cause problems if a faulty test turns up in an area with real medical complications, as vividly recounted here. And when the bad news does arrive, whether it’s an increased risk of Parkinson’s or a higher chance of heart disease, 23andMe didn’t have any counselors on hand to guide users to the medical options available or provide the proper context for understanding the results. Even if the service solves its marketing problems, those issues are likely to remain.
Still, you shouldn't count out personal genetics just yet. "I think the cow is a fair ways out of the barn," Angrist says. "Ultimately, I don't think the FDA can keep people from learning about the content of their own cells. It's simply gotten too cheap and too easy to do." But in the future, companies might need to be more modest in their goals. They might steer clear of high-stakes tests like BRCA, which is so strongly linked to breast cancer that it often spurs preventative surgery, and is currently included in the 23andMe pack. Instead, companies could focus on genomics as a hobby or a deep dive for geneology buffs. It would mean less world-changing ambition, and less startup bravado, but that might not be a bad thing. Mostly, it would mean less of a challenge to the medical industry.