Saturday, March 12, 2011


Watching, Waiting

Watching, Worrying

Fukushima: How dangerous is it?

Remember Ian Hore-Lacy is a publicist for nuclear power promoters.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mapped tsunami intensity across the Pacific Ocean caused by the magnitude 8.9 earthquake which struck Japan on March 11, 2011.
Here at the Planet's Whim
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 3/11/11

Spring Break

Keep an eye out for the tsunami!

Mardi Gras

Beads Would Just Detract

That's why the satin pants half dude is wearing all of "Swirly Girl's."

Not His Cup of T & A

Ben Hoffman's roof-top rant was shot in L.A., not NOLA. (Current TV)

Better Painted

Late Night Laughs




"Glow Sticking Lessons"... starring Andy Richter as the walrus.

Culinary Speed Dating

Seattle Single Chef seeks farmer friend for possible LTR.

Marketplace Meeting Place
Audio Embed: Puget Sound Public Radio 3/11/11,
Reporter: Joshua McNichols.

Science Nerd's Book of  'Modernist Cuisine'

Nathan Myhrvold put his degrees in mathematics and geophysics, as well as Ph.D.s in mathematical economics and theoretical physics, to work at Microsoft, where he served as the company's chief technology officer... Until the mid-1990s, when he took a leave of absence to go to a professional chef's school in France.

Being a Microsoft millionaire allowed him to indulge his life-long interest in food. His scientific approach dictated the form of his book: "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking"...
Maybe his Microsoft influence made it so large.
A Scientific Approach To Cooking
Audio Embed: Weekend Edition Saturday 3/12/11,
Host: Linda Wertheimer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

60-second Inception

A One Minute Movie

Each year a competition called "Done in 60 Seconds" has entrants create a one minute video encapsulating the plot of a favorite film... Wolfgang Matzl, chose "Inception" with 19th century paper cutouts.

Pump It Up

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, and Michael Greenberger, former Director of Trading and Markets at the CFTC, talk about Wall Street "banksters" and speculation's role in rising commodity prices.

Elvis Costello - "Pump It Up" - This Year's Model (1978)

One Colorful Story

8,000 gallons of industrial printer ink bound for a newspaper company in Portland, Maine was spilled during a single vehicle "inkcident."
(Click picture to enlarge. -- via Geekologie)

Give Up Catholicism For Lent

Stephen Colbert's act of devotion to a religion he no longer practices.

Giving Up Political Power

The Dalai Lama's act of devotion to the people he still leads in spirit.

Giving Up Everything But Beer

An Iowa home-brewer's terrible sacrifice for a religious experience.


Enraged conservatives are crying foul after NPR fundraising executive Ron Schiller was caught on tape making disparaging remarks about the Tea Party and saying "we would be better off in the long-run without federal funding." That'll be put to the test soon.

Even before prankster/activist/convicted felon James O'Keefe released the hidden camera video, public TV and radio programming was facing perhaps the greatest threat in its history, as Republicans talked about killing off the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Although CPB supplies only 2% of NPR's budget, many local public broadcasters are far more reliant on federal subsidy, and their reaction (more than the right wing's) caused NPR's board to oust president & multiple PR disaster Vivian Schiller as well.
Kill All the Schillers
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 3/9/11,
Host: Robin Young.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

King of the Hill

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sharia?

What do you do about a Congressman who believes that Muslim Americans should be investigated for failing to denounce terrorist organizations, when the Congressman (Peter King, R-NY) has his own history of openly supporting terrorism by the Irish Republican Army?

Blame Moderate Whites For Supremacists Too?

Rep. King has a long history interacting with Muslims who live in his Long Island district and some say his relationship with the Muslim community changed drastically after 9/11.

Robert Kolker, Contributing Editor for New York Magazine, wrote an article this week on the Congressman's relationship with Muslims.

Dr. Faroque Khan, former chief of medicine at Nassau Medical Center and member of the board of trustees at the Long Island Islamic Center was one such friend and supporter King abandoned.
Peter King's History With Muslims
Audio Embed: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway, Hosts: Celeste Headlee & John Hockenberry.

Investigate Al Cattah!

Whiskers blew himself up in a crowded dog park, 5/08.

Madison Maneuver

Surprise procedural move strips public employees' bargaining rights...
What does this mean for the health of Wisconsin's state government?

Reich: Walker trampling workers, will 'pay a huge political price'
Fineman: It's a national level GOP partisan political provocation

Maddow: All your base is under attack

Sheen, Behind the Scene

How much of the actor's public "meltdown" is real or an act?
Multiple Realities, or Personalities?
Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 3/9/11.

Will Charlie Make It to Sitcom Heaven?

Click picture to enlarge... Answer key on the National Post.

Don't Forget to Floss

Wisconsin convicts gained local fame when they almost escaped from prison using simple but sturdy rope ladders made out of dental floss.
(This American Life, via Current TV)

Claim Ruffles Feathers

A study suggests that hens might "feel the pain" of distressed chicks.

Little Feat & friends - "Dixie Chicken" - Midnight Special (1977)

Changing Online Partners

YouTube announces a partnership with Next New Networks. Will this be a positive for site quality or end the access-to-all amateurs era?

Warner Brothers becomes the first major studio to team up with Facebook for offer instant streaming of popular movies. Is it a Netflix killer, or reason to dump the old subscription via mail business model?

What’s the Tweetiquette?

In the latest Freakonomics Radio segment on Marketplace, a dialogue about Twitter taboos. Is it rude to follow no one if you’re followed?

Weighing in are Joe Fernandez, the CEO of a company called Klout, which that analyzes Twitter data; and Duncan Watts, a research scientist at Yahoo! and co-author of a recent paper called “Who Says What to Whom on Twitter.”
Do Social Network 'Rules' Follow?
APM & WNYC's Freakonomics Radio Podcast 3/8/11,
Hosts: Kai Ryssdal and Stephen J. Dubner

Technorati also offers a guide for deciding who to follow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Barack O Mau Mau?

Mike Huckabee's smiling man speaking mean-spirited inanities act has finally gone too far, and drawn the wrath of Stephen Colbert.

Mike Huckabee is "On Notice" until he says something outrageous that will get him more unwanted attention on The Colbert Report.

The Rivingtons - Papa Oom Mow Mow (1962)

Churnalism School

“News is what somebody somewhere wants
to suppress; all the rest is advertising.”

-- Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe
A new website in the UK is trying to help the public distinguish between independent journalism and reports that simply regurgitate information from publicists. Churnalism allows users to compare press releases with actual news articles to see how much they overlap. Martin Moore is the Director of the Media Standards Trust, the organization that launched the site. He explains how independent journalism is increasingly being replaced with “churnalism.”
Churning Out PR
Audio Embed: WNYC's On The Media 3/5/11,
Host: Bob Garfield.

A Life of Illusion

Japanese mathematics professor Kokichi Sugihara is one of the world's leading experts of optical illusion. But it's a world where up is down and dimensions aren't as they appear. Rod Serling would like it.

Official Language

Incomprehensible Shouting Named Official U.S. Language

Watt You're Doin'

Do the "smart" meters that utility companies around the United States are installing to cut back on energy costs and usage transmit too much information about your life?

It takes a lot of extrapolation, and correlation with information from other sources, to translate your raw power consumption data into a meaningful lifestyle profile... Suspicious privacy advocates are getting nervous; maybe paranoid.
Smart Meters, Dumb Idea?
Audio Embed: PRI's Living On Earth 2/25/11,
Host: Bruce Gellerman.

Beatles for Sale (UK) / Beatles '65 (US)

Hollywood Having It All

It's Possible and Profitable

A graphic demonstration of Oscar vs Box Office from Slash Film

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kinetic Typography

You've Never Seen Conan Quite Like This

Jacob Gilbreath illustrates Conan O’Brien’s NBC Tonight Show farewell speech (AKA the “please do not be cynical” speech)

Nearly History

An Encyclopedia of Almost America

In his new book "Then Everything Changed," CBS News Senior Political Correspondent Jeff Greenfield rewrites major historical events based upon small things that could have happened, but didn't... And using those "what ifs," speculates on outcomes that keep him up at night.


Hall Pass

A married man has the urge, but things get crazy when wives do, too.

Free Pass

As committed as they were to fidelity in their marriage, 'B' and 'N' had one surprising exception... An open-ended deal for a free pass.

If they ever "got the chance" to bed the one celebrity fantasy figure they'd designated beforehand, they'd given each other permission to go for a one-nighter without guilt, shame and/or recriminations.

"Without success," I thought when I first heard of it... In our early 30s none of us looked likely to be cast in "Indecent Proposal." Mocking shock, I asked why the hell 'B' had even brought up the subject.

'B' & 'N' were total New Yorkers. It was where they grew up, married and I where met them. But business had smiled on 'B' and brought him (all expenses paid) to Los Angeles, where I worked at the time... More importantly, it was the magic fantasy land where dreams came true, of everyday chance star encounters and home of Meredith Baxter-Birney...
His free pass!

His initial exposure was the lone season of "Bridget Loves Bernie." The show's premise featured the marriage between a wealthy Irish Catholic teacher (Bridget) and a Jewish cab driver (Bernie) whom she met at a bus stop.

You know he's from New York, but did I mention 'B' was a trial lawyer? He ripped the short-lived show to shreds with prosecutorial fervor:
  1. If she's wealthy, why is she waiting for public transit?
  2. If he's a real cab driver, why isn't he at a taxi stand?
  3. And if transport brought them together, why not his cab?
He didn't have a problem with the then controversial "mixed marriage" angle... Happens all the time in NY. And he was willing to stipulate to the court that they were young, good-looking and to the plausibility of physical attraction resulting in a dance without pants.

When 'B' made his pick she was cast as Nancy Lawrence Maitland (of "Family " 1976-1980), a quickly married & divorced young mother who had walked in on her husband Jeff (John Rubinstein) making love to one of her friends in the first episode. As he explained his deal, 'B' pictured Meredith's fantastic figure in lightweight sweaters perfect for Pasadena. She had not yet become TV uber-Mom Elyse Keaton (of "Family Ties" 1982-1989)... Different setting and different sweaters.

Expired Pass

I don't know what happened to 'B's' dream; whether he "recast;" or even if he's still married to 'N'... But the real life Meredith changed teams in 2005 after 3 marriages and 5 kids; revealed the switch in 2009 to beat a gossip tabloid expo; and at age 63 is promoting her book -- "Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering."
Meredith Baxter on CBC radio's Q with Jian Ghomeshi 3/4/11.

Look To The Skies


From the Atlantic photo essay on Antarctica: The Aurora Australis,
as seen from the Amundsen-Scott Station, South Pole (7/14/09)


Science, Adventure & Whimsy intersect in California's high desert.

National Geographic Channel's new show "How Hard Can It Be?" attempted to replicate the flying cartoon balloon house from "Up."


Multiple shapes and colors fill the sky over Gujarat, India.

Sunrise at Guanabara Bay

Captured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Roberto Machado Alves.

Test Drive

Shira Lazar rides shotgun with Software Engineer Sebastian Thrun during a test of Google's self driving car at the TED 2011 Conference.

Fine Young Cannibals (1989)

Economics: Easy as Pie

Income Inequality for Dummies

Mark Olmsted explains using two things Americans love: pizza & cats.
(via Huffington Post)

New Country for Old Men

America Plus will maintain diplomatic relations with poor America.

Can U.S. Economy Grow Indefinitely?

In The Great Stagnation,
economist Tyler Cowen argues that U.S. economic growth largely plateaued in the 1970s.

He tells Renee Montagne the resources that fueled the country's progress over the last 300 years are largely gone, and expectations need to be readjusted... Mostly downward.
Stick A Fork In It
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 3/7/11.

The Fast Draw Explains Stocks and Bonds

Cycle complete, it all comes back to cats... And your pizza is gone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Celebrity Flavors

Stephen Colbert can't handle Jimmy Fallon getting his own Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor, but he's good with a spoon... And a tune.

Have a favorite flavor suggestion of your own? Use this do it yourself carton template and submit your handiwork to the Huffington Post... Sadly, not everyone will be winning.

But What If Charlie Sheen Really Is?
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 3/4/11
Was ‘Two and a Half Men’ ever this compelling?

Rolling Stone's Toure, with guest host Matt Miller 3/4/11.

SNL's Bill Hader, Duh... Winning!

Fake @mayoremanuel Exposed

The man behind Twitter-gate scam is a Chicago journalism professor.

Tax Time

Since 2007 this "IRS Pencil Sharpener" has been up on the web.

But CBS News documented one couple's trying three different tax-filing methods to see which would bring them the best returns.

One Man Bands

Teenage Dream (Katy Perry) / Just The Way You Are (Bruno Mars) a capella covers by Mike Tompkins

Darth Bieber

James Earl Jones dramatic reading of lyrics from "Baby, Baby, Baby" by Justin Bieber happened on the Gayle King Show on OWN, 2/16/11.

Mars Scars in 3-D

Click to enlarge, then look at the image through red-blue glasses to get the 3-D effect of this European Space Agency stereo image of an unnamed crater near Huygens Basin in Mars' southern hemisphere.

Chelsea Does Conan

Well she would except for that fear of fire down below.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

UFO - Science? Fiction?

Intriguing British Document Dump

See E.T. In The Tree

No surprise, really... In the movie 'E.T.' was a botanist.

Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland

As Patton Oswalt sees it, we all fall into one of three science fiction fantasy archetypes.

The comedian thinks that he and his circle of high school friends could be parsed into one of three different categories — Zombies, Spaceships, and Wastelands — that shaped their paths to adulthood, their careers, and their lives. Oswalt says he realizes now that he's a Wasteland...
But what are you?

Patton Oswalt Geeks Out
Comedian Patton Oswalt reads the title essay from his book.
The quiz exists, but just asks you to choose. Too lame to link.

Teenage Wasteland

Dirk Quinn, solo acoustic guitar - Baba O'Riley

Quilt Show Controversy

I came across this report from Hampton, VA's Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show and shared the link with a friend who is an avid teacher of the craft.

The quilt, by Kathy Nida of California, depicts a homeless woman and her unborn child living in a cardboard box. Nida says the quilt is about being one paycheck away from desperation and begging for help.

My reaction was to the tremendous sense of vulnerability in exposure.

My friend was shocked by the upset interviewees' insensitivity over the issue of the woman's homelessness... And she decided to post it in an online forum of quilters to see how they'd react.
"I think in bygone years quilting may have been connected with all white, older Christian women making feed sack quilts. Now, however, there is a much wider cross section of both quilters and quilts... Plus contemporary 'art quilts' are popular."
Among the initial feedback:
  • Artists have a right to create, but I don't have to like it
  • Recognition of the ideas of poverty, women's vulnerability, etc.
  • Indignation... Quilting is for (pleasant) entertainment only
That last one elicited a suggested warning sign: "You may see a troubling aspect of society and be moved to do something about it!"
There were 5 pages of lively debate over the next day, including:
"Several writers (who) went back and forth with some strong opinions, but nothing inappropriate..."
Until the administrator shut down the topic.
"First time I've ever seen that on this board. I am so disappointed that he/she felt that a spirited discussion warranted shutting it down. I guess body parts and/or controversy are just too scary for some. Sad."
Representational Art in any medium can be quite provocative... Not everybody likes that feeling. But being moved is the whole point of it.

Talk To An Iraqui

This American Life presents a simple opportunity for conversation.

River of Ducks

It's an annual event this time of year for duck herders in Bataan, Philippines, also home of the infamous WW II human death march.

Which Came First?

Chicken made from eggshells, from the fiendish mind of Kyle Bean, U.K. based freelance designer and hand crafted model maker.