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The Infinity Burial Project "proposes alternatives for the postmortem body that promote and facilitate an individual engagement with the process of decomposition." Be sure to check out their mushroom death suit.

The architecture of stunt work is as-yet unrealized, but well-worth pursuing. The idea of constructing architecture around so-called "narratives" of daily (or not-so daily) life can often result in impractical or overly-whimsical patterns, but then again it can result in some seriously awesome stuff. And the world needs stunt schools.

The University of the Michigan's Center for Japanese Studies Electronic Publications has a bunch of old book available online. Subject matter is varied, but you never know when something's going to come in handy, and hey, free!

A Tae Bo class in Korea, working out in perfect resonant frequencies, caused a 39-story skyscraper to shake. No joke.

This just in: Al Franken is still a badass. This time he's stumping for the repeal of DOMA. I love that guy.

Orchestra culture appears to be as jaded and dumbed down as anything else in America. Ho hum.

Linkland.

Jun. 29th, 2011 02:10 pm
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Master film composer Bernard Herrmann, particularly noted for his Hitchcock scores, would have turned 100 today. NPR has an awesome tribute to his lasting genius.

The Mona Lisa will not be leaving the building. The Louvre has apparently rejected a proposal by Italy to borrow the work for a 2013 exhibition. Apparently, the work hasn't left France since 1974. If you ask my mother, the real Mona Lisa hasn't been on display for years, but is instead kept in storage somewhere while an obvious (to her) copy now hangs on the wall--the bulletproof glass that shields it also serving to make it difficult for the casual observer to realize the substitution. If this is the case, then I suppose the museum has a vested interest in never loaning it out to anyone ever again.

Good news: Björk is releasing a new album soon. Bad news: It's inextricably linked with apple products. Sigh.

Feministing has a good opinion piece up about Bristol Palin and rape culture. In her new memoir, Palin-the-younger describes her first sexual encounter with Levi Johnston, and it sounds a whole hell of a lot like a date rape. But she won't acknowledge it as such; perhaps she can't. The tendency when dealing with the Palins is to dismiss them and anything that happens to them as part and parcel of their own petard, and to some extent that's true. But I can't help feeling that Bristol Palin is just a big walking victim, with no awareness whatsoever of her own victimhood. She makes me incredibly sad.

D r i f t g l a s s takes on the recent furor over whether or not people should go to college, and he ladles the reality on nice and thick. This is a fantastic and thought-provoking read about not just college, but about the facts of life in working America. It even has a nod to new high school models that are looking more toward skills training than college training. Check it!

Linkland.

Jun. 19th, 2011 02:08 pm
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Julie Klausner deplores the latest trend of women-as-little-girl and laments its pervasiveness throughout all areas of pop culture.

In connection with the above, Tami associates said trend with Zooey Deschanel and wonders if this trend is race/class specific. Is there a black Deschanel or a latina Deschanel? she wonders. Or is the girly-kitten movement irrevocably tied to middle-class whiteness?

(In a related note, I just bought a romper the other day and I look adorable in it. But I would never claim to like "rainbows, Girl Scout cookies, and laughing a lot" on an online dating site. I'm more of an "ice cold beer, splatter-gore comedies, and mismatched socks" kind of gal. Oh, and I love quantum physics, though I do admit that math is hard for me. Man, identity is hard.)

All Things Considers takes a look at how the college horror story is back. Apparently, worries over whether or not college is worth it have circulated ever since the first major post-college recession of the 1970s. Also apparently, college is, in fact, totally worth it.

Clarence Clemons, saxophone player extraordinaire, has died. RIP Big Man.
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In what has to be the biggest "duh" in the history of duhs an official global report has found not just that the War on Drugs has failed, but that it has had devastating consequences for the world community. And I say unto you: "Duh."

Feministing provides links to two new blogsites that challenge the idea that we live in a post-racial or post-sexist society. Click on the link and check out I'm not racist but... and I'm not sexist but... for glimpses of the ongoing racism and sexism that is subtly rampant in the global culture.

The judge of the Australian Sir John Sulman Prize for subject, genre, or mural painting apparently decided the fate of the finalists with a coin toss. And he's not sorry he did it either. Some people are up in arms about it, but I think it's an interesting statement about the nature of competition in the realm of the subjective. Because if you think about it, one man's opinion is as arbitrary as a coin toss.

What the million-mark sales of Lady Gaga's latest album mean to the future of the recording industry.

The SF Giants totally rule:

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Fish lovers beware! Illegal fishing and poor regulation mean that that red snapper you think you're eating might actually be rockfish (and that's not all).

Ezra Klein had some questions for Paul Ryan, and Paul Ryan actually responded. Kinda. (Krugman wasn't impressed.)

Lest we forget that sexism swings both ways, AlterNet brings us five stupid, unfair, and sexist things that are expected of men.

Making fun of Sarah Palin never seems to get old. It also never seems to fail to make me sad somehow.

Looking at pictures of awesome people hanging out is cool apparently. I'm actually not sure what I think of it, although I'm tempted to find it silly and strangely uninteresting. Besides not all of the cool people who are hanging out seem that happy to have had their special moment captured in celluloid, so that brings up the ugly specter of the drawbacks of celebrity culture.

From Feministing: "Make no mistake, while there are plenty of well meaning people who call themselves pro-life, there’s nothing "pro-life" about the radical anti-choice movement. This movement repeatedly incites violence against providers. They are waging a war against those who try to peacefully offer legal, vital medical care." 'Nuff said.

TV on the Radio on World Cafe! (Also 'nuff said, but in a good way this time.)

The brilliant and inspiring Shirin Neshat gives a TED talk about the power and responsibility of producing art in exile. Be sure to check it!
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Terry Moore explains that we've all been tying our shoes wrong for years in a vintage talk from TED.

In a peculiar study men, rather than women, are found to benefit the most from cultural outings like art museums and the theater. Meanwhile, women's health and happiness was improved by sporting events and church attendance. Which might explain why I will, apparently, never be happy. I enjoy the periodic ball game, but I'll be caught dead before I go to church. I demand a re-study.

Scientists have found untold numbers of rogue gas giant planets throughout the Milky Way Galaxy and are now hypothesizing that said gas giants--with their amazing asteroid trapping abilities--might be responsible for the relative peace that the smaller, more interior, rocky planets (like ours!) enjoy. Yay for gas giants!

Krugman talks about the looming possibility that we may be heading for a third depression. This type of stuff seriously freaks me out, but I feel honor-bound to share it. Heads in the sand won't help us here.

A scathing look at the myth of "post-racial-ness" from Feministing. The reality of race in the US is another thing that people have got to get their goddamn heads out of the sand about.

Eddie Vedder turns to the ukelele on his newest solo album. And you can listen to it in its entirety until its May 31st release. (FYI: Eddie's cover of "Dream a Little Dream" is particularly sweet.)
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NASA + Art = Awesome. The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is hosting an exhibition of NASA-inspired art. Works by such artists as Annie Lebowitz, Alexander Calder, and Andy Warhol (to name but a few) will be featured. The show runs from May 28 to October 9 and is free to the public.

NPR's "All Songs Considered" explores [electronic] dance fever in its latest online broadcast. A must-listen for all those who like to shake their booties.

In other music news, blogger Kismet Nuñez discusses how Beyonce's latest single "Run the World (Girls)" broke the Internet and more importantly what the breakage and its cause means to feminist discourse.

Democrat Kathy Hochul has won the special election for a congressional seat in a traditionally Republican New York district. The outcome of this election will now be characterized as either a referendum on Republican health care policy--specifically the backlash against the Ryan Plan--or a demonstration of how the Tea Party movement is to the Republicans what the Green Party movement has been to the Democrats: namely, a vote-killer. Tea Party candidate Jack Davis took a whopping 9% of the vote, and that 9% might arguably have gone to the Republican nominee in his absence. I really wish someone would do a rundown of numbers over the course of this contest to try and get at more nuanced determination of how the Ryan Plan and the Tea Party actually impacted on this election. And if I see one, you can bet you will too.

Eric Cantor continues to show off his repugnant side. (You all remember his role in the censorship of the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, I hope.) He's latest despicable act is the holding hostage of relief aid for Joplin, Missouri in exchange for cuts in federal spending. Now I recognize that some spending cuts are necessary, although they must be implemented in tandem with tax increases--something that Cantor and his party vehemently oppose--but using the pain and suffering of thousands as cudgel to push this kind of legislation through is deplorable. And I really, really hope that the Angry Black Bitch isn't the only one to call him out on it before this is all over.

Goodnight, Sweet Prince. NASA is ceasing its attempts to communicate with the Martian Rover Spirit, whose last transmission home occurred in March. Spirit's original mission was intended to last only three months, but his determination pushed him on through years of vital exploration endeavors across the Martian landscape. He will be missed.

You just can't beat schlock horror films, or their LOLariously awesome jacket art. (I really, really want to see Lurking Fear. And Night of the Demon, too, because its about Bigfoot!)

Obacchi Jacket Lunch Box shows us how to make a bento box look like the cover to Phoenix's "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix." Fun for the whole family.
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KaTe Bush's new album Director's Cut is out today, but NPR has more awesome music waiting in the wings. Listen to the new Death Cab for Cutie album, Codes and Keys, in its entirety until May 30th.

The Tesla Orchestra plays Lady Gaga and Girl Talk. A feast for the eyes and ears.

Ezra Klein on eBooks vs Books and how he keeps finds fewer and fewer reasons why Books are still better.

d r i f t g l a s s disects a Rapture-themed straw man argument about how evangelicals supposedly contribute more to charity than hot-tub loving atheists.

Krugman on the tendency of liberals to keep getting snookered by conservative cranks, and how that tendency is probably not going to end anytime soon. This town loves a winner, yo.

Arthur Rackham's illustrations for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. So, so beautiful.
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Because the world is just so interesting.

Cibo Matto return! (And it's about darn time.)

Ezra Klein talks to Robert Rubin about the difference between the 1995 and 2011 debt ceiling crises.

Jeffrey Goldberg calls the NY Times out on their deplorable coverage of rape cases, and specifically points out some of the ethical questions involved in journalistic treatments of this particular crime.

An interview with the incomparable Stephen Hawking. More personal than scientific, but cool nonetheless.

Murder ballads have always been interesting, especially when you consider the gender-weighting that typically goes on in them. Murder ballads performed by women are therefore even more interesting.

Linkland.

May. 16th, 2011 03:00 pm
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Eli Pariser talks about the dangers of Internet filtering. Search engine algorithms are creating an online world in which we never see the alternative view, a trend that really has to stop.

Craig D. Nelson presents the history of nuclear power in Japan, from their first--and terrible--experience of nuclear power in 1945 to the problems of nuclear power dependance in the aftermath of the Tohoku Disaster.

Three states--Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland--have begun to push hard for the criminalization of videotaping police brutality. We want you, Big Brother. [sigh]

More trouble on the Israeli border as the so-called Arab Spring reaches Palestine. Protesters flooded the borders from Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and the Gaza strip. I constantly hope for a solution that will enable both Israeli and Palestinian sovereignty, but I still worry. There's so much anger and fear on both sides, and so many innocent people caught in the tangled web.

Southwest's policy of fat-shaming continues. I know they have good deals, but I think I'm just going to have to keep boycotting them.

Ezra Klein on the havoc the Ryan plan has caused and the various Republican responses to it.

An incredible performance of Ready to Start by the Arcade Fire.

And the incomparable Ben Harper is back with a solo album. Listen to some cuts at the link.
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Nathan Fillion ain't slick.

Ten famous works of art that will never be the same again because of human actions. This is an interesting article that covers acts of deliberate vandalism by crazies and ideologues as well as plain old ooopses, but I think it focuses a little too much on classical objects and ignores some recent, pertinent tomfoolery. Maybe they should have expanded the list to fifteen? Dunno. It's still very well worth a look.

Ezra Klein discusses how Henry Reid's reintroduction of the DREAM Act and not Obama's recent speech is the most important event in immigration politics of the last 48 hours.

Totally awesome! Vintage "Masters of the Universe paintings by Earl Norem, William George, and Esteban Maroto. (I especially love the one with dinosaurs. That's an extra helping of win!) Courtesy of Monster Brains.

Paul Krugman brings to our attention the utterly pathetic attempts of freshman House Republicans to try to get President Obama to make the Democrats stop calling them out on Medicare. There's not much you can say about this one, really. The situation pretty much speaks for itself. But Republicans clearly feel that they're the only ones allowed to play the politics game. I sincerely hope the Democrats tell them to stick it. Metaphorically speaking.

KaTe Bush has re-recorded a number of her songs, correcting previous tracks that she felt didn't make the grade, and is releasing them as a new album: Director's Cut. You can listen to it in its entirety on NPR until its US release on May 23rd.

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