Here then is a meaty nugget, because it discloses that economic policy impacts not just the range of commerce in books that prevails within an economic zone (such as a country); economic and social policy also impact what gets read, and by whom. If one can take the question crassly, then it devolves to the consideration of whether should our economic and social policies encourage a diversity of reading, or encourage the greatest magnitude of reading.Link
It is easy to oversimplify this argument: a nation that through its economic doctrines encourages the development of an oligopoly of bookstores begets a readership of mass-market book consumers, vs. a nation in which multitudes of small bookshops thrive encourages the development of a richer cross-section of arts and science. Historically this has been tied up in questions of selection and curation: indies stock a smaller range of titles, but with either 1) greater in-store variation across the types of authors and publishers represented, or alternatively 2) deeper exposure of a specific type of literature (e.g. show me a B&N that can match the collection of City Lights in San Francisco, or St. Mark's in New York).
Not long before Mary Queen of Scots had her own head chopped off, she had this bone chilling silver skull watch made. The case is opened by dropping the under jaw, which turns upon a hinge, while the watchworks occupy the place of the brain.
My mother was gone. It was a bump on her head, a big bump. I did not know; mother did not tell me. When she did, I fell. "No," I said. "No, not you! Do not go!" But there was no way. She sank fast, that was good. I let her go.Link (via Kottke)
Then one day I saw Sally. We went out for fish. I had cat fish; Sally had something funny, with a big tail.
"What is that thing?" I said.
"This?" A bite. "Fish!"
A shake of the head. "No."
Here's a collection of rare early Bill "Calvin and Hobbes" Watterson's toons from The Kenyon Collegian, his college paper from Kenyon, Ohio. They're a little edgier than the Calvin and Hobbes strips (but not as funny). Link (Thanks, Pat!)
Real-snow versions of Calvin and Hobbes's gory snowmen
Interview with Bill "Calvin and Hobbes" Watterson's mom
Will there be a Calvin and Hobbes movie?
Calvin and Hobbes slipcased complete collection coming
Bill Watterson reviews the new Charles Schulz bio
Jase sez, "I was doing a promo shoot for a friend's band. Their practice space was on the top floor of this old building, but they'd seen this old, disused bank vault in the basement. From now on, every time I picture intricate steampunk metalworking, I'll picture the inside of that vault door." Link (Thanks, Jase!)
Obviously it's fake. Audio speakers will not create a gravity field. But I'm not sure how they created the special effect. (Not that I know much about creating video effects.)How do you think it was done? Link
Perhaps they used some kind of fancy editing software. Or perhaps they did it a really low-tech way -- moving the objects one frame at a time to make it appear as if they were sliding towards the speaker. If they did it the latter way, they managed to make the sliding effect look very smooth.
Link to White House levitation, Link to NYC another levitation on YouTube, Link to Ramana's site (via Cabinet of Wonders)
Sen. Barack Obama will back a filibuster of any Senate FISA legislation containing telecom immunity, his campaign has just told Election Central. The Obama campaign has just sent over the following statement from spokesman Bill Burton: "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."Link
The author of the Cleveland Okie blog sent me some questions about my father, Robert J. Shea, the co-author of the Illuminatus! trilogy with Robert Anton Wilson. I thought you might be interested to learn a little of the other half of the Shea / Wilson team.
More information about Bob Shea and his work, including a Creative Commons licensed copy of his book, All Things Are Lights, is available at bobshea.net.
Q: Supposedly the idea for ILLUMINATUS! came from when your father and Robert Anton Wilson were sitting in a bar after work in Chicago, and your father suggested that it would be funny to write a novel that took seriously all the various crackpot conspiracy theories that were sent in to the Playboy Forum, which your father edited. Did your father ever give you his version of this story?Link
A: Yep, a lot of the themes in ILLUMINATUS came from when RAW and he worked at Playboy on the adviser. All of the crazy conspiracy theories gave them the idea to write a book that tied them all together. He never gave me his side of the story, really, but he didn't believe in all the conspiracy theories. He was pretty practical. He never trusted the government, however (who can blame him?), so he wouldn't put something past them like the Kennedy assassination, but he never really got too bent about it all. He was very scientific in his thought and believed in Occam's razor: the simplest explanation is likely the right one.
The Independent has this report today on New Yorker Elizabeth Gibson who found a painting in a rubbish skip in Manhattan, which turned out to be Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo's 'Three People', a painting stolen from storage years ago, and worth $1 million!From the Independent:
She had it hanging on her wall for months before the gallery stickers on the back of the frame led her to investigate more. The painting has now been returned to its owner who bought it as a gift for his wife in the 70s.
Gibson will get only $15,000, the original recovery offer.
Four years ago, Ms Gibson spotted a 38in by 51in canvas in a skip on the city's Upper West Side and claimed it as her own. The picture – of three standing figures in blurred yellow, orange and purple – looked rather good on her living room wall. It would probably still be there if Ms Gibson's curiosity had not prompted her to try to find out more about the work. Her researches revealed not only its identity but its value – about $1m (£500,000).Link
A few months after finding the picture, Ms Gibson spotted Tamayo's signature in the upper right-hand corner and stickers on the back from a series of galleries – including one in New York which said it had no record of the work.
About a year later, she got the first inkling of what she had found when a friend brought her auction catalogues which showed that Tamayos were selling for $500,000. The friend also had art books, one of which had a Tamayo – her Tamayo – on its front cover. "I was stunned," she said this week.
The worm can figure out which users are trying to probe its command-and-control servers, and it retaliates by launching DDoS attacks against them, shutting down their Internet access for days, says Josh Korman, host-protection architect for IBM/ISS, who led a session on network threats.Link (via /.)
“As you try to investigate [Storm], it knows, and it punishes,” he says. “It fights back.”
As a result, researchers who have managed to glean facts about the worm are reluctant to publish their findings. “They’re afraid. I’ve never seen this before,” Korman says. “They find these things but never say anything about them.”
And not without good reason, he says. Some who have managed to reverse engineer Storm in an effort to figure out how to thwart it have suffered DDoS attacks that have knocked them off the Internet for days, he says.
As researchers test their versions of Storm by connecting to Storm command-and-control servers, the servers seem to recognize these attempts as threatening. Then either the worm itself or the people behind it seem to knock them off the Internet by flooding them with traffic from Storm’s botnet, Korman says.
Johnny of the Half Sasquatch blog sent me a link to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization about photos of "a possible bigfoot (thought to be a juvenile)." The photos were taken using a motion-controlled camera with an infra-red flash.
I immediately headed over to Loren Coleman's Cryptomundo blog, because I figured he'd have something to say about these photos. His verdict?
The animal is a bear with mange. No trickery was put forth, and it is rather incredible a few people could not believe what was right in front of their eyes with the above.Link
No photoshopping, no Chupacabear, no juvenile Sasquatch: sometimes a bear is merely a bear.
I got a review copy of Mark Ovenden's "Transit Maps of the World" in the mail today and promptly fell down the rabbit hole with it. The book does pretty much what you'd expect: shows you the maps for pretty much every transit system in the world, with some well-written commentary (history, trivia, graphic design challenges), including historical maps of the major transit systems as well as photos of some incidental artwork, like the stunning Deco covers the French put on the old Paris Metro maps.
This is sheer public transit/map porn, and I'm in love. The challenge of representing the geography and network logic of complex transit systems is a daunting one, and while many of the maps converge on solutions similar to the archetypal New York and London maps, others (like Tokyo and Hamburg) have sui generis solutions that are smart and unexpected.
This is the kind of book that would be incredibly fun to browse with kids as part of a world geography investigation -- and also the sort of thing that makes great bedtime reading if you want to salt your dreams with the possibility of travel to distant cities. Link