"Pam Madigan walked deliberately among the Golden Gate Park Concourse’s grove of knotted old trees as if searching for a pot of gold -- ignoring the attractions of the nearby DeYoung Museum and Academy of Sciences.
"With her infant son cradled in her arms, her eyes darted to the base of a particular elm where a tiny wooden door covered a large knot hole. She summoned her group of friends and children, pointing to the tiny door which was not more than a foot tall."
"At a roundtable event at GDC 2013, a roomful of video game writers shared the tips and techniques that have helped them navigate some of the more precarious positions in their careers."
"When advertising agencies tell you they want something (higher quality content, long-form content, specific demographics, lean-back content, stuff that looks like tv) it’s not our job to attempt to deliver those things. In a world where the user really does get to choose, the content created to satisfy the needs and wants of viewers (not advertisers) will always reign supreme (thankfully)."
"'Will the Circle Be Unbroken?' is a popular Christian hymn written by Ada R. Habershon with music by Charles H. Gabriel."
These versions appear in the BioShock Infinite soundtrack. The second features vocals by Courtnee Draper with Troy Baker on guitar.
There are loved ones in the glory
Whose dear forms you often miss.
When you close your earthly story,
Will you join them in their bliss?
Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, by and by?
Is a better home awaiting
In the sky, in the sky?
In the joyous days of childhood
Oft they told of wondrous love
Pointed to the dying Saviour;
Now they dwell with Him above.
You remember songs of heaven
Which you sang with childish voice.
Do you love the hymns they taught you,
Or are songs of earth your choice?
You can picture happy gath'rings
Round the fireside long ago,
And you think of tearful partings
When they left you here below.
One by one their seats were emptied.
One by one they went away.
Now the family is parted.
Will it be complete one day?
Hoover Institution research fellow Peter Robinson interviews Victor Davis Hanson and Christopher Hitchens on the subject of World War II revisionist histories, specifically Patrick J. Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler, and The Unnecessary War and Niall Ferguson's The War of the World.
"In 1996 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele spotted an unusual yellow-green gem in the middle of one of Tutankhamun's necklaces. The jewel was tested and found to be glass, but intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation.
"Working with Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat, they traced its origins to unexplained chunks of glass found scattered in the sand in a remote region of the Sahara Desert. But the glass is itself a scientific enigma. How did it get to be there and who or what made it?"
"Rick Moody has one of the most interesting tattoos because it’s part of Shelley Jackson’s Skin project, a 2095-word story published exclusively in tattoos, one word each on as many willing volunteers, so it can never be read in its proper order, but just exists, pulsing, out in the world at all times."
"Fractal art is created by calculating fractal objects and representing the calculation results as still images, animations, music, or other media."
A selection of Soviet propaganda posters, mostly from the 1980s and 1990s.
The video shows a straightforward, but lovely/haunting cover of Leonard Cohen's song about his brief affair with Janis Joplin—"Chelsea Hotel #2" from his 1974 album New Skin for the Old Ceremony (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).
"It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn't want to come off the mat, it's the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn't teach you anything. That's the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you."
"It could be the year for discovering notorious monarchs."
"The neo-Darwinian materialist account offers a picture of the world that is unrecognizable to us—a world without color or sound, and also a world without free will or consciousness or good and evil or selves or, when it comes to that, selflessness."
"Japanese scientists have found vast reserves of rare earth metals on the Pacific seabed that can be mined cheaply, a discovery that may break the Chinese monopoly on a crucial raw material needed in hi-tech industries and advanced weapons systems."
Digitizing the Vatican Library of eighty-two thousand manuscripts will take up to 45 petabytes of storage.
"Bullseye, Target's English Bull Terrier mascot sets off on journey across Canada in a motorcycle sidecar meeting friends along the way."
Not a promotional post. I just can't wait for Target.
"Up until the 18th century, Knightsbridge, which borders genteel Kensington, was a lawless zone roamed by predatory monks and assorted cutthroats. It didn’t come of age until the Victorian building boom, which left a charming legacy of mostly large and beautiful Victorian houses, with their trademark white or cream paint, black iron railings, high ceilings, and short, elegant stone steps up to the front door.
"This will not be the impression a visitor now gets as he emerges from the Knightsbridge subway station’s south exit."
"Tour Odéon, with its 70 super-sized flats, is the first new skyscraper to have been built in Monaco since the 1980s."
"Concrete made with unprocessed sea sand has been found in at least 15 buildings under construction in Shenzhen – including what will be China's tallest building when completed – putting them at risk of collapse."
Hat tip to Mr. Percifield.
G'day related: Who is Iggy Azalea?
Also: "Iggy Azalea talks exclusively to That Grape Juice about her new album, 'T.I', controlling her brand, and more."
"In 2013 Israel became the first country in the world to pass legislation banning 'underweight' models. Mere weeks before the law passed, the first Tel Aviv fashion week in 30 years featured typically waifish high-fashion models. Charlet caught a show by Italian giant Moschino just in time for the first rockets to rain down on Tel aviv from Gaza in over 20 years..."
"200 miles above Earth's surface, astronaut Dave Wolf -- rocketing through the blackness of Earth's shadow at 5 miles a second -- floated out of the Mir Space Station on his very first spacewalk. In this short, he describes the extremes of light and dark in space, relives a heart-pounding close call, and shares one of the most tranquil moments of his life."
Justified is a comedy, apparently (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).
"Can someone please explain why technology in the universe of LOTR does not develop beyond the iron age?"
"The Romans eventually realized that they had to acquire reasonably efficient cavalry. At first, cavalry was an auxiliary force, manned by non-Roman citizens. During the Empire (from the first century AD on), the Romans began to employ cavalry more effectively. But riding a horse while wearing a tunic is not very comfortable. So Roman cavalrymen started wearing pants, or braccae as they called them (borrowing a Celtic term; this word eventually became ‘breeches’). After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe fell under the rule of warriors who fought from the horseback – the knights (this transition actually occurred during the Carolingian times, roughly eighth century AD). So wearing pants became associated with high-status men, and gradually spread to other males. By the way, I am talking here about the Mediterranean cultures. In northern Europe, of course, pants were worn by both Celtic and Germanic people at least from the Iron Age on."
Wearing poulaines in the late Middle Ages was a symbol of one's social class.
If anyone has a spare $100k lying about, please do keep me in mind. This Frieda Harris would be ideal for the study in my hypothetical mansion flat.
"A rough, whitish block recovered from an Elizabethan shipwreck may be a sunstone, the fabled crystal believed by some to have helped Vikings and other medieval seafarers navigate the high seas, researchers say."
"Radio Amina tells the story of Amina Dibir, a 12 year old street hawker from Kano, Nigeria and her imaginary radio show where she gets to say all of the things she wishes she could in real life.
"Part documentary, part narrative, this beautifully shot film explores the wishes and desires of a girl who has scant opportunity to tell anyone about her hopes for the future and her frustrations at the lack of opportunities in her life. Funny and touching Radio Amina is an intimate look at the discrepancies between the hopes of a young girl from northern Nigeria and her reality.
"The film was made for Girl Hub and to find out more about some of the issues at the heart of the film please go to: girlhub.org"
Mutant Enemy was the name of Joss Whedon's first typewriter.
"The Martin B-26 bomber was popularly known as the Marauder. This wartime training film shows how to handle the versatile craft, with Hollywood actor Don Porter playing the part of the pilot."
"We all understand that action movies are cheesy escapism. After all, could one commando really take out a whole compound full of bad guys?
"Mike Brodie first began photographing in 2004 when he was given a Polaroid camera. Working under the moniker, The Polaroid Kidd, Brodie spent the next four years circumambulating the U.S. amassing an archive of photographs that would go on to make up one of the few, true collections of American travel photography."
Hat tip to Mr. Percifield.
"Irrational Games co-founder and BioShock creator Ken Levine recently gave a British Academy of Film and Televison Arts (BAFTA) presentation about AI companions and how BioShock Infinite developers gave Elizabeth personality.
'From Shodan, to Big Daddy, to Elizabeth: The Evolution of AI Companions,' which you can watch above, features Levine's 40-minute talk and gameplay from BioShock Infinite. Levine says that like BioShock's Big Daddy, Elizabeth was the game's most requested cut feature."
Hat tip to Manaf.
"Buffon’s theory of American degeneracy was still on Jefferson’s mind years later, when, as president, he sent Lewis and Clark to explore the American West—partly to see if they could turn up a living mammoth."
"I decided that if Facebook was going to bombard me with fake birthday wishes, I was going to bombard Facebook with fake birthdays."
"The creators of MirrorMoon want you to get lost. Lost and lonely and very curious."
"VICE heads to Colombia for a week of fashion, cocaine and plastic surgery."
You are breaking the law.
"This six part series on philosophy is presented by popular British philosopher Alain de Botton, featuring six thinkers who have influenced history, and their ideas about the pursuit of the happy life.
"Episode 6: Nietzsche on Hardship - British philosopher Alain De Botton explores Friedrich Nietzsche's (1844-1900) dictum that any worthwhile achievements in life come from the experience of overcoming hardship. For him, any existence that is too comfortable is worthless, as are the twin refugees of drink or religion."
"In his second year working with Fratelli Boffi, Ferruccio Laviani has created yet another fanciful world from the depths of his prolific imagination. ... blending the harmony and magniloquence of the classical with the charm and allure of the contemporary."
"The Dark Ages have been misunderstood. History has identified the period following the fall of the Roman Empire with a descent into barbarism - a terrible time when civilisation stopped.
"Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this four-part series he argues that the Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement, with new ideas and religions provoking new artistic adventures. He embarks on a fascinating trip across Europe, Africa and Asia, visits the world's most famous collections and discovers hidden artistic gems, all to prove that the Dark Ages were actually an 'Age of Light'.
"In the final episode, Waldemar looks towards the north of Europe. The Carolingians saw themselves as successors to Rome, reflected in their art. Elsewhere, the Vikings were constructing long ships with intricate decoration and marking their territory with powerful rune stones. And on the British Isles, the Irish and Anglo-Saxons were creating unique works of manuscript illumination and remarkable jewellery."
"Former Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats tweeted a number of valuable storytelling rules during her time at the animation studio."
"All the violence, intrigue, and random boobies of the Game of Thrones franchise, boiled into a two-minute animation. Try not to get too attached to any of your favorite characters... "
Hat tip to Mr. Ardolino.
George R.R. Martin recommends some books for fans who are tired of waiting for the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series to come out.
The Khmer Riche!
"Our ancestors complained about it, so do we, so will our descendants — the overthrow of morals, the reign of wickedness, the decline of human behaviour and collapse of any feeling for what is right. Yet all this remains and will remain where it was — with a slight movement in one direction or the other, like the waves which the tide, as it rises, lifts further inland and constrains, as it ebbs, to the inner line of the shore.
"At one moment, adultery will be more prevalent than other misbehaviour, as chastity kicks over the traces. At another, there will be a rage for dinner-parties and that most repulsive source of ruin to an estate, the kitchen. Or else you will find excess in adorning the body and a concern for personal apperance that exhibits a deformity of mind.
"At yet another time, an ill-regulated freedom will break out into impudent boldness. Or there will be a movement towards cruelty in individuals and peoples and the profanation, in the madness of civil war, of all that is holy and sacred.
"Or again, drunkenness may at times be held in honour, with a larger capacity than anyone else’s for wine counting as a virtue. Vices never stay in one place waiting for you. They are constantly on the move, in turbulent disagreement with each other. One thing, however, will always be the same, the verdict that we have to pass on ourselves: we are bad, we have been bad; and, I hate to add, we will go on being bad. There will always be murderers, tyrants, robbers, adulterers, plunderers, temple-thieves, traitors."
"Zombie for Him is a combination of dried leaves, mushrooms, mildew, moss and earth. Zombie for Her is described as a slightly lighter version of the Men's fragrance with a 'touch of Dregs from the bottom of the wine barrel for that feminine touch.'"
"A Danish telly channel has been forced to apologise for using a screenshot of Assassin's Creed as a backdrop for a news report about the war-torn country of Syria. Apparently one of the telly channel's employees found the image online and thought it was a photo of Damascus' skyline."
Utopian sketches and plans by Soviet avant-garde architect Ivan Leonidov.
"A round-table discussion led by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff featuring Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley and Liam Cunningham, who each answer questions relevant to their characters' experiences in season two."
"This remarkable restaurant thrives off its own isolation, serving food according to the seasons and attracting only the most adventurous customers."
A journey in space-time: Specializing in retro-innovative locavore "real food" sourced locally and cycllically, Fäviken Magasinet is number 34 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012 list.
Magnus Nilsson: "We do things as they have always been done at Jämtland’s mountain farms. We follow seasonal variations and existing traditions. We live with the community. During the summer and autumn, at the peak of each ingredient’s ripeness, we harvest what grows on our land and refine it using the methods that we have discovered from our rich traditions, or which we have found through our own search for quality."
"There is a video bouncing around the web these days called 'The Strangest Coincidence Ever Recorded?' It tells the story of a ship which sank in the Menai Strait off the coast of Wales on December 5, 1664. All 81 passengers died, except one. His name was Hugh Williams. Then on December 5th, 1785 another ship with 60 aboard sank in the Menai Strait. The only survivor – a man named Hugh Williams. In 1820 on December 5th, a third vessel sank in the Menai Strait. All 25 abaord were drowned except, you guessed it, a man named Hugh Williams.
"An amazing tale, but is it history or just a an oft retold sea story? It could easily be a bit of each."
"GlassLab offers designers unprecedented access to molten glass. In public design performances or private sessions, designers and glassmakers collaborate, rapidly prototyping concepts and using the immediacy of hot glass as a catalyst for innovation.
"This film by Deidi von Schaewen documents GlassLab design sessions at Design Miami, Miami, Florida, 2007--2008 and at the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany, 2010--2011."
Hat tip to Alexei.
McDonald's Chicken McNuggets come in four specific shapes.
Fifty-nine percent of "tuna" sold in the United States is not tuna.
"Here are a few music examples from Draumalandið (Dreamland), a documentary about the exploitation of Iceland's natural resources, tells a story about huge things—the fortunes of a whole nation; the destruction of vast landscapes; and the global economic forces, greater still than any nation, that fuel it all—and for his soundtrack to the film, Valgeir has brought out a heavier set of tools. His entire roster of Bedroom Community labelmates contributes in some way to the creation of the score: classical composers Nico Muhly and Daníel Bjarnason, industrial wizard Ben Frost, and American folksinger Sam Amidon, along with a host of others, and the small orchestra assembled for the record swells from moments of expansive beauty into massive, surging symphonic force. Its harmonies are anxious, pulsing, driven."
"The Internet was supposed to let us bridge continents and cultures like never before. But after analyzing more than 10 million e-mails from Yahoo! mail, a team of computer researchers noticed an interesting phenomenon: E-mails tend to flow much more frequently between countries with certain economic and cultural similarities."
The first and only time I have ever been impressed by Stephen Colbert.
Alexander Borodin - Prince Igor, with The Kirov Opera
Director Roman Tikhomirov
"Russian composer Alexandre Borodin (1833-1887) spent nearly two decades working intermittently on the music and libretto of +Prince Igor, but he left the opera unfinished at his death. Acquaintances Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov completed it, and the opera debuted in St. Petersburg in 1890. Through rousing patriotic music flavored with Slavic and Oriental motifs, the folk opera centers on episodes in the life of Prince Igor Svyatoslavich (1150-1202), a Ukrainian ruler who wages war against Tartar invaders from the east known as the Polovtsy. After Igor (Boris Khmelnitsky) and his wife, Princess Yaroslavna (Nelly Pshennaya), sing duets and bid farewell, Igor and his son, Vladimir (Boris Tokarev), lead their army against the Polovtsy. Although Igor and his soldiers fight valiantly, the Polovtsy win the war and capture Igor and his son. The Tartar leader, Khan (Yevgeny Nesterenko), treats Igor and Vladimir with respect, sings a salute to Igor, and regales him when night falls with lively dancing (the 'Polovtsian Dances,' performed by the Kirov Ballet). Meanwhile, Vladimir falls in love with Khan's daughter. At home in the Ukraine, a plot to usurp Igor's throne unfolds. Then, with the help of a sympathizer, Igor and Vladimir escape, but the boy is recaptured. After Igor returns and reunites with Yaroslavna, his subjects rejoice, the plot against him defuses, and he prepares to march off again." - Mike Cummings, Rovi
"Toronto has edged ahead of Chicago to become North America's fourth most populous city."
"James Duane is a Regent University School of Law professor, former criminal defense attorney, and Fifth Amendment expert. He received some notoriety for his "Don't Talk To Police" video of a lecture he gave to a group of law students, which instructs citizens to never talk to police under any circumstances. After gaining mild popularity on sites such as YouTube and Google, his lecture received criticism from The Weekly Standard.
"In support of his "Don't Talk to Police" mantra, Duane cites, among other things that: 1) police have the ability to lie to criminal suspects during questioning, and sometimes employ this tactic; 2) police may have substantial evidence against even innocent witnesses and; 3) individuals convinced of their own innocence may have unknowingly committed a crime which they inadvertently confess to during questioning."
"In this episode, CBG19 makes impulsive, hasty, and unfair premature judgements based on guesses about movies that haven't come out yet!!"
(NSFW, enthusiasm, swears)
"Hussein Chalayan debuted his line of transforming dresses at this year's Paris Fashion Week."
Hat tip to thecampblogmike.
"Picture an assembly line not that isn’t made up of robotic arms spewing sparks to weld heavy steel, but a warehouse of plastic-spraying printers producing light, cheap and highly efficient automobiles."
Hat tip to the Sister of the Flea.
"The Blackbird, also called the Black Stone Violin, is a full-size playable violin made of black diabase after drawings by Antonio Stradivari (Stradivarius), but with technical modifications to allow it to be played."
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
- Abraham Lincoln
"Kaval sviri (the Flute Plays) is a traditional Bulgarian folk song. Popularized by the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, it was later used by composer Joseph LoDuca as the basis for the Xena fight theme, in the show Xena: Warrior Princess."
"Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul is a beautiful and moving short film that follows the lives of two young skateboarders from Afghanistan who attend the Skateistan charity project. Juxtaposing the harsh reality of life in Kabul with the hopes and ambitions of the country's children, the film is a touching ray of light from a country only ever in the news for all the wrong reasons."
"Love Crimes of Kabul is a 2011 documentary film following select cases of inmates at Badam Bagh women's prison in Kabul, Afghanistan where half are jailed for moral crimes. 'If they were good women, they wouldn't be here,' says a prison guard at the beginning of the film."
Directed by Tanaz Eshaghian.
"If the success of a commercial is measured by the number of heads it turns, then Galaxy chocolate's latest ad is nothing short of triumphant. Set against the idyllic Mediterranean coastline of the 1960s, the company's one-minute spot features ostensibly authentic footage of Audrey Hepburn — the late film and fashion icon whose slender, elfin visage evokes a Golden Age beauty that, for most, is beyond the realm of imitation. Yet that's exactly what production company Framestore pulled off for Galaxy, thanks to advanced VFX techniques and a meticulous attention to detail."
"Just when you think liberals can’t put any more distance between their pompous, outlaw self-image and their actual (hopelessly cowardly and conformist, push-comes-to-shove) beliefs."
"When the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a ban on plastic bags and required businesses to charge a nickel for paper bags, city leaders believed it would be better all around."
The first knock on consequence turns out to be an increase in shoplifting.
"Everything is a perfume by Lernert & Sander consisting of all fragrances launched in 2012."
What made St. Clair streetcars bunch up like this?
Bunching theory: Why three buses come at once.
Hat tip to the Sister of the Flea.
The Goon Show: Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan present The Lost Emperor, recorded in October 1955.
"In 1964 Archigram member Ron Herron proposed the Walking City, a giant mobile structure that would move to where the resources were. In 2005, Hugh Broughton Architects and engineering giant AECOM won an international competition to build the Halley VI base for the British Antarctic Survey. On February 5, 2013, it is officially opened."
"The meteor that exploded over the steppes of southwestern Russia sent a low-frequency rumble bouncing through the Earth, giving scientists new clues about the biggest cosmic intruder in a century."
"A metal-poor star located merely 190 light-years from the Sun is 14.46+-0.80 billion years old, which implies that the star is nearly as old as the Universe."