Boing Boing 

Boing Boing tv: The Herd, "2020," music video by Mike Daly (buh-bye, 2008!)


(Video embed above, and here's a direct MP4 download.)

A special treat from Boing Boing tv for your New Year's eve revelry, we're gonna sneak this one last episode in before the clock strikes 2009 here! Enjoy this music video for Sydney, Australia-based band The Herd, directed by the phenomenally talented Mike Daly. More about the band's "glam/folk/tropical" music here. Every time we played this one in the BBtv editing bay, we all ended up dancing around the Final Cut windows. Mike Daly did incredible work here, there's not a frame of this I'd do differently, and it says so much about the year we're ending tonight, don't you think? Dig it, TRY not to dance, keep the faith my fellow mutants, and Feliz Año a todos ustedes, from all of us at the Boing Boing blogs, and the Boing Boing TV team! Peace.

Fish deboning gadget


Despite the silly name the Wunder Boner looks like a useful gadget for people who like to catch and eat fish. Do you think it works as advertised? (Via Arbroath)

Famed Malibu beach is disappearing under rising sea eroding

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Malibu homeowners with houses overlooking Broad Beach are fighting two battles. The first one is against public-access activists, who accuse homeowners of illegally using private security guards keep the public off the beach. The second battle is against a rising sea level erosion that has reduced the beach to a mere sliver. The LA Times reports with a story and video. The sandbagging efforts shown in the video seem futile.

Sandwiched between the advancing sea and coastal armor built to protect multimillion-dollar homes, the strip of sand is being swept away by waves and tides. Soon, oceanographers and coastal engineers contend, the rising ocean will eclipse the clash between the beach-going public and the private property owners: There will be no dry sand left to fight over.

...

"These folks in these overly rich communities will be sipping their martinis during some big El Niño and watching their backyards disappear in 5-feet chunks," [Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory] said. "In the end, Mother Nature and global warming will win. No matter how much concrete they pour, all of those sea walls and houses will end up in the ocean."

Malibu's vanishing Broad Beach a sign of rising sea levels, experts say*

(*Note: Michael Leddy of Orange Crate Art had a funny post a while back about news headlines with the words "experts say" in them.)

Billie Holiday Sings "Strange Fruit"


We often listen to Billie Holiday albums on slow-moving Sunday mornings. This version of "Strange Fruit" is remarkable and haunting to watch.

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers)

The Legend of Master Legend in Rolling Stone (complete story) by Joshuah Bearman

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BB pal Joshuah Bearman says:

I was planning to tell you about this epic tale I wrote for Rolling Stone about Master Legend, a real life superhero. But Boing Boing beat me to the punch! I was wondering if I could entice you to do an updated post now that the full story is not only available at RS but also, in full layout PDF on my blog

In addition to the layout, I put up a whole series of extra bonus Master Legend pictures. I mean, who can resist ML once you see him striking a pose in the sunset?

And that's the thing about ML. I really wanted to highlight his story for your readers, both because its right on point but also because I know that the narrative at Boing Boing (and in the wider world) about real life superheroes has mostly been bemusement at the weirdos in spandex. That was my perception of the world when I started reporting. But this is most serious look at what it actually means that people are doing this, and having found Master Legend and spent a lot of time with him, I realize that what he's doing is strange, yes, but also strangely sympathetic.

Yes, the story of Master Legend can be very funny at times, because Master Legend lives life like he's in a comic book. He even has a band, also called the Justice Force, made up of his superheroes, and they sing epic prog rock jams about the Manichean struggle of good against evil. But the thing is Master Legend is always trying to help people, every day. He's the type of dude who would give a guy his last dollar, and he doesn't have that much to start with. He made me genuinely think about what I do to help people. Take it from an enthusiastic reader who already saw the article and tracked me down to summarize as follows:

Everyone has a bit of Master Legend in them. But we don't have courage to let him out.

Awesome, right? I want to get Master Legend's story out to as many readers as possible, so they can all experience The Legend of Master Legend for themselves. I feel like the premature link was a bit of a false start, and if you can figure out a way to highlight it again, I'd be forever grateful. As would Master Legend.

The Legend of Master Legend

Far Side reenactments

 3095 3128817813 293B061E63 Far Side Reenactments is a Flickr pool devoted to photographic stagings of Far Side strips. (Example a left by entitee.)
Far Side Reenactments (via Laughing Squid)

Boing Boing tv faves from 2008: Mark's Tour of Intelligentsia Coffee


Another installment in our "faves from 2008" BoingBoing tv retrospective -- this two-parter in which Mark Frauenfelder gets an exclusive tour of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea. Above, part one, below, part two, and MP4 links for download here:

* A Morning at Intelligentsia Part 1
* A Morning at Intelligentsia Coffee Part 2

Snip from the original post:

Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea is based out of Chicago, Illinois and has recently opened up a new store in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Kyle Glanville, head of research and development at Intelligentsia and winner of the 2008 US Barista Championship shows Mark how they acquire and roast some of the finest coffee in the world.

The word intelligentsia derives from the Latin word intelligentia, meaning a group of people engaged in complex mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture. Kyle Glanville has been laboring to promulgate a new coffee culture with Intelligentsia to combat the "get up and go" mentality, and Mark is along for the ride to learn the careful art of roasting coffee.

Intelligentsia is located at 3922 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90029 and is open 7 days a week.

And see also this related BBtv episode: Looking for the Perfect Bean: Kyle Glanville's World Coffee Tour, part 1 - Brazil (direct MP4 Link).


Danny Choo visits Afro Samurai Creator's Japanese Star Wars Art Collection


You may remember Danny Choo from an earlier Boing Boing tv episode this year -- the "prince of Akihabara" donned his Stormtrooper finery and led some of Silicon Valley's finest CEOS through a tour of Tokyo's famed otaku district, with Joi Ito. So, Danny is also the son of famed fashion designer Jimmy Choo, and he is very well-known in Japan as a web personality, and a curator of truly wonderful nerdy things. He's like a long-lost Boing Boing cousin! Anyway -- today, Danny checks in with some amazing snapshots.

"I was at the creator of Afro Samurai's house the other day and he dug up some Japanese style Star Wars art," Danny says. This stuff is incredible. Here's the photo set link for Danny's visit with Takashi Okazaki. And below, beneath the snapshot, the trailer for Afro Samurai, which I have yet to see. Thanks Danny!



Boing Boing faves from 2008: George Lucas in "The Boba Fett Mystique"


We're revisiting some of our favorite Boing Boing tv episodes during the holiday break, and while the one I'm embedding here (MP4 link here) is perhaps not going to win any Pulitzers, it was one of the most fun we had shooting anything ever. I won't spoil the surprise, but it involved making people in an office building very uncomfortable, and had absolutely nothing to do with George Lucas or Boba Fett. As for the bait 'n' switch title -- just work with me here, this was our April Fool's Day episode for 2008. And as for why it's worth posting today? If you're anywhere near an office park or an elevator with strangers in it, I strongly recommend you do this on New Year's Eve.

The One Man Living Cartoon Factory

This isn't new, but a quick search finds no prior mentions of Ennio Marchetto on Boing Boing and I'm sure many of you will appreciate the One Man Living Cartoon Factory. This clip is from a show in Amsterdam in 2004.

Thanks, Susan!

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers)

Web videos from China

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My Institute for the Future colleague Lyn Jeffery, a cultural anthropologist specializing in China and co-editor of the 88 Bar blog, turned me on to Youku Buzz, a blog devoted to one of China's largest video sharing sites. On the front page right now: videos about Chinese college girls becoming "professional housewives," a public serenade, and a drunk driver pissing on armored cars. Youku Buzz

Mind hack: turn down the TV volume

Lowering the TV volume a little more each day can help you improve focus. UC San Francisco neuroscientist Michael Merzenich told Prevention magazine that the technique trains your brain "to filter out background noise." TV-Brain Workout

Ken Hollings's Welcome To Mars book

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A couple years ago, my pal Ken Hollings, a UK journalist and outré culture chronicler, presented a mind-blowing radio series called Welcome To Mars, about the "fantasy of science in the early years of the American Century." In the series, Ken maps the connections between UFOs, weird science, vintage science fiction, the space race, and LSD. It's an amazing series and now it's been followed by a fantastic book, Welcome To Mars: Fantasies of Science In The American Century 1947-1959, published by Strange Attractor Press. Timed with the book's publication, 3am Magazine have just published a fascinating interview with Hollings. From the interview:
The Flying Saucer, like the effects of LSD and the dangers of atomic radiation are all phenomena whose real power exists outside the human sensory spectrum: each in its own way defies detection and categorization in any conventional sense. They are, in the words of former RAND president Donald Rumsfeld, ‘known unknowns’. One way of studying them is to examine how large organizations, such as RAND and the Pentagon, respond to their existence; another is to examine them obliquely through popular culture, to see how the public imagination responds to it. Reactions to the Flying Saucer were conditioned to an appreciable extent by the spread of the new electronic media and the interdisciplinary approach to mass communication that accompanied them during the period covered in my book. It’s not an accident that 1957, the year which sees Sputnik launched into Earth orbit is also the year when Marshall McLuhan first publicly states that the medium is the message. Both incidents represent a threat to the established status quo which had previously been embodied by the Flying Saucer. Fantasy is only theory that has subsequently been rendered unworkable.
Ken Hollings interview (3am Magazine), Buy "Welcome To Mars" (Strange Attractor)

Top 10 Cryptozoology Stories of 2008

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Over at Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman ends 2008 with his annual Top 10 list of the biggest cryptozoology stories of the year. Topping the list, of course, was the Georgia Bigfoot Hoax. Number 2 was a BB favorite, the Montauk Monster. Find out more about the rest of the magical mystery beasts, from the Giant Elephant Shrew to the Colorado Lion, over at Cryptomundo. Top 10 Cryptozoology Stories of 2008

Today on Offworld

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Today on Offworld, still feeling the holiday pinch of a games industry still not running on all rotors until after the New Year, we looked instead at a number of happenings on the fashion front, from a hoodie fit for Punch-Out!'s Little Mac, to the latest in the series of gawpingly gorgeous Pokemon t-shirts (!), to a shirt fit to be Offworld's own. We also saw plaintive graffiti in Left 4 Dead, a fantastic new energy drink commercial from the man behind epic pixel-art explosions 'Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006' and 'Kings of Power 4 Billion %', listened to a live four-man Korg DS-10 jam, and saw how Japan has channeled Chris Cunningham to advertise its newly released version of BioShock. Finally, we took a long look at Spelunky, a new procedurally generated freeware PC game that blends the best bits of Rogue/Nethack with 8-bit platforming, and is setting the bar very high for 2009's indie ilk.

BioShock commercial

Bioshocckcccomm Over at Boing Boing Offworld, Brandon blogged a TV commercial for the BioShock PS3 vidgame. The ad reminds me of the nonsensical, arty Mr. Plow commercial on The Simpsons. (Thanks for the reminder, TR0NK!) a Simpsons bit where Homer stars in a nonsensical, arty perfume (?) commercial. Anyone remember that?
BioShock commercial

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

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Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, we saw a portable Nintendo 64, flipped through a box of fluffy disks, and reviewed one of those newfangled Atom-powered MIDs. Rumors abound that Steve Jobs may be in perfect health. Vogue has an $830 sleeve for your $380 netbook. John found a crazy bookshelf, a delux 12-inch notebook from Asus, and a freaky nail-brush. He marveled at 10 vintage erector sets. Rob saw the forthcoming Sony P's keyboard in glorious art-o-vision, a super-thin TV set from LG, an intelligent toilet, and a beautiful (or maybe hideous) walkman clone that doesn't work. There was a magnetically attachable iPhone camera lens, a USB eraser, and a transforming flashlight in disguise.

DIY biohackers in the news

We've posted quite a bit about DIY biohackers over the years, but the trend continues as the tools become cheaper and the information easier to find. A few days ago, the Associated Press took a quick look at amateur gene jockeys. From the AP:
In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith L. Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly.

"People can really work on projects for the good of humanity while learning about something they want to learn about in the process," she said...

In Cambridge, Mass., a group called DIYbio is setting up a community lab where the public could use chemicals and lab equipment, including a used freezer, scored for free off Craigslist, that drops to 80 degrees below zero, the temperature needed to keep many kinds of bacteria alive.

Co-founder Mackenzie Cowell, a 24-year-old who majored in biology in college, said amateurs will probably pursue serious work such as new vaccines and super-efficient biofuels, but they might also try, for example, to use squid genes to create tattoos that glow.
"Amateurs are trying genetic engineering at home"

The Octonauts Are Where It’s At

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As promised, here’s a post about kids’ books, and specifically Meomi’s fabulous The Octonauts series.

We’ve tried to give Mark F. credit for turning us on to The Octonauts, but he refuses to take it, going so far to insist that he’s never seen these books. OK, fine. The books in question are The Only Lonely Monster, The Sea of Shade, and the new release, The Frown Fish. All hold the attention of the grownups, the teenager, and the school-age tike in the house. Seriously, everyone should run out and get these.

But how to describe the books? They’re cute and creative. There’s a hip Japanese influence and engaging storylines. The 6-year-old says, “They live under the sea in a big Octopod. They’re cool. They have adventures.” Nuff said.

The Octonauts

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers)

Boing Boing tv Best of 2008: TCHOcolate Magical Mystery Tour Trilogy


Continuing in our retrospective of favorite BBtv episodes from 2008, today's feature is an encore presentation of our three-part visit to the delicious, trippy, techy TCHO factory in San Francisco. The "chocolate for a new generation" startup was hacked together by a space shuttle technologist, Timothy Childs, and the founder of Wired, Louis Rosetto.

Part one is embedded above, parts two and three below, and here are direct MP4 links to all: one, two, three. Snip from the original post:

In part one of Boing Boing tv's multi-part exploration of Tcho, we begin in the lab, and learn about the origins of chocolate: it's a weird looking fruit with biological roots in faraway tropical lands. How this fruit is cultivated, harvested, and cured determines the flavor of the final product, and we learn about the hedonics -- the sensual nuances -- of this exotic and temperamental element.

Blog posts with more chocolicious background on all that we experienced there:


Tiny microhabitat to study marine organisms

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MIT researchers have built a tiny microhabitat to study the food chain of marine microbes. The microbial ecosystem is about the size of a piece of chewing gum, or microscope slide. From the MIT News Office:
The MIT study is one of the first detailed explorations of how sea creatures so small -- 500,000 can fit on the head of a pin -- find food in an ocean-size environment...

Depending on the organism being studied, nutrients or prey are injected with a syringe-based pump into the device's microfluidic channel, which is 45 mm long, 3 mm wide and 50 micrometers deep. "While relying on different swimming strategies, all three organisms exhibited behaviors which permitted efficient and rapid exploitation of resource patches," (professor Roman) Stocker said. It took bacteria less than 30 seconds, for example, to congregate within a patch of organic nutrients.

This new laboratory tool creates a microhabitat where tiny sea creatures live, swim, assimilate chemicals and eat each other. It provides the first methodological, sub-millimeter scale examination of a food web that includes single-celled phytoplankton, bacteria and protozoan predators in action.
Tiny ecosystem

More Resistance to Free Range Kids

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I know Lenore Skenazy’s terrific blog, Free-Range Kids, has been mentioned on BB before, but IMHO it’s relevant, especially when our kids are home from school for two weeks and we as parents have to choose between letting them zone out for hours with the new videogame Santa brought them, or giving them the opportunity to explore the world around them and perhaps push their abilities with a difficult project.

For Skenazy, Christmas Day included a call from the police about her son because he was trying to ride a commuter train by himself to visit a friend. The friend’s parents were waiting on the other end, but that apparently wasn’t good enough for the train conductor. She describes their experience:

He – Izzy – has ridden this route solo a dozen times before. It’s a straight shot on a commuter train and, as always, he was being met at the other end by his friend’s family. But today’s conductor was appalled to see a boy riding alone.

For some reason, the conductor wouldn’t talk to me, even though Izzy called from the train when the ordeal began. The man had no interest in hearing me state what Izzy had already been telling him: We believe a child of 10 is perfectly capable of taking a half hour journey by himself.

So instead the conductor and his superior got off at Izzy’s stop and then, as the train just sat there (I’m sure no one was a rush to get to their families on Christmas day), they awaited the police. I got a call from the friend’s dad who was waiting to take Izzy home. “We cannot leave the station,” he said.”

“Why not?”

“The police have to decide what to do next.”

This is the sort of story that really chaps my ass. I’m firmly ensconced in the camp that believes today’s kids are being robbed of self-reliance and instead being instilled with fear and couch-potato health. Our own kids have to wear their helmets when biking or skating, but they get to go on adventurous bike rides; the 13-year-old frequently rides on his own or with friends. The 6-year-old doesn’t venture out on his bike without us, but he does explore the few acres of woods around us by himself and he’s so fond of sliding down the hill by our house that we bought him a long rope for Christmas so he can “rappel” back up the hill and slide down again.

And we understand that a small hamlet in the forested hills of Sonoma County isn’t the same as the wilds of NYC or Chicago, but we’re fairly secure in thinking that we’d lean toward the free-range side even in those environs. We make it a point to take our kids to big cities several times each year, and they’re allowed to wander a bit. Sometimes it’s scary – I once lost my then 10-year-old in the American Natural History Museum in NYC for about 20 minutes after he begged me to let him take the top route while I took the bottom. When we eventually found each other I scared him even more by yelling at him; this was my own fear actualized, which I later had to apologize for. But hey, he knows I care and that I’m not perfect, and hopefully I gave him an example of cleaning up your outbursts. And when we returned to the museum this year, he had a great story to tell his little brother.

--Shawn

Free Range Kids

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers)

Video of weird worm

Wormmmmmminverttt Flickr user pokerchampdaniel posted a video of a very strange worm he found under a log in New South Wales, Australia. He couldn't identify it but commenters say it's a Nemertea. It's very odd.
"Strangest Invertebrate Ever" (Thanks, Justin Ried!)

Battelle's '08 Predictions: How'd He Do?


Boing Boing partner and Federated Media founder John Battelle publishes a list of predictions every new year -- and at the end of that year (like, as in now) he revisits them, to see how he did. In short, he was pretty spot-on for 2008. His year-in-review posts are fascinating and insightful, and he's frank about even the parts that missed the mark. Snip:

Reading over my predictions for 2008, I was struck with one thing: It wasn't a list. It was more of a narrative, making decoding how I did that much more difficult. After the narrative, I focused on the biggies - Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, and Newscorp/FIM. I'll have to keep that in mind when I post my predictions for 2009 on Jan 1 next year.
Excerpts from a few of the company-specific predictions, reviewed:
Google:
1. 2008 will be the year Wall Street gets frustrated with Google. Sometimes, a picture says it best [ Image above, at top of post - XJ ]. It's clear the bloom came off the Google Wall St. rose in 2008.

2. Google will continue to struggle with its display advertising business, at least as it is traditionally understood, in part due to a culture conflict between its engineering-based roots and the thousands of media-saavy sales and marketing folks the company has hired in the past two years
I think this clearly occurred (note Armstrong's acknowledgement of this issue here, Comscore noted that Google had just 1.5% of the display market by June), but with the appointment of David Rosenblatt as President, Display, I expect the conflict to be resolved, at least temporarily. I do not believe, however, that this issue is anywhere near off the table. To do display right, you have to act like a publisher.

Yahoo:
1. Yahoo, meanwhile, will spend most of 2008 trying to figure out what to do with what it bought in 2007, and attempting to articulate a strategy that is anything but "we have 500 million users, so we must be important." By mid year, it will have succeeded.
Well, I was right about the first part, and very, very wrong about the second. I guess I was just too optimistic that Yahoo would get its shit together by mid year. Both the bear hug that was the lost Microsoft deal, and then the goat rodeo that was the lost Google deal, killed any clarity at Yahoo. But I do believe there is a comeback story to be written there. It just won't be Jerry writing it.

Predictions 08: How Did I Do? (Battellemedia)

Eyelash growth drug

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new prescription drug, Latisse, for lengthening eyelashes. The active ingredient in the drug was first used to treat glaucoma. Then the manufacturer, Allergan, realized that one of the side effects, eyelash growth, was marketable. From Scientific American:
The med... should be available by March from a doctor or with a prescription from one. Price tag: $120 for a month’s supply. According to manufacturer Allergan, the drug usually nets results two to four months after users start it. Potential side effects: Some 4 percent of users experience eye itching and redness, and it may also temporarily darken the skin of the eyelid, according to the company...

It's not clear exactly why Latisse promotes eyelash growth, but the company speculates that the drug may increase the length and amount of hair that sprouts during the growth cycle. It’s possible that the drug may also spur eyebrow and scalp hair growth, doctors told the Wall Street Journal. But Allergan spokesperson Heather Katt says the company hasn't explored using Latisse for those purposes.
New eyelash-lengthening drug approved

Radio for flight simmers

Talk about a niche. Sky Blue Radio is an Internet radio station for hardcore flight simulator enthusiasts. In operation for more than a year, the station says it has 750,000 listeners a month. Of course, real pilots aren't permitted to listen to the radio. From Air & Space Smithsonian:
 Themes Skyblue Images Top Logoleft The music selections are largely pop/rock, old and new, everything from Frankie Valli and the Beatles to John Cougar Mellencamp. “We have a little something for most,” says (founder Richard) Rudd. “We prefer to stay away from songs containing vulgarity, as we like to think of the station as family-orientated..."

When he’s not running his business, Rudd is a flight simulation enthusiast, or “flight simmer.” As a virtual pilot, he favors the Boeing 737-700 for short hops and the 767-300 for longer hauls. He’s also a home-builder of simulated cockpits, with two projects in the works: cockpit replicas of the Aero Vodochody L29 and the Beechcraft 65A. With Sky Blue Radio, Rudd wants to entertain his fellow flight simmers with music, yes, but he also wants to keep his listeners informed about the latest trends in flight simulation. “As far as news is concerned, we tend to only look at things that are happening within the flight simulation community,” says Rudd. “We will not cover world topics. The belief is that people tuned in to Sky Blue Radio are carrying out their hobby, and so do not need or want to have ‘real life’ thrust on them during that time.”
Tuning In

Another Tuvan Throat-singing Bluesman

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Since Tuvan throat-singing seems to be a popular topic around here, I wanted to shine a little light on another throat-singing bluesman from the Bay Area, Seth Augustus. That's Seth on the right in the photo above, way out in the Tiaga in Tuva. Seth studied under Tuvan throat-singing master Paul Pena, and you can check out music from his latest CD on his music site (warning, flash-based interface ahead). From Seth's bio:

Soon after hearing Tuvan music, Augustus met the legendary Bluesman and self-taught throatsinger, Paul Pena (Ghenghis Blues), who mentored him in throatsinging, as well as vocals and Blues guitar. The two became close friends during the last 6 years of Paul's life. In 2000, Seth traveled to Tuva, began to study with throatsinging masters from the group Chirgilchin, and learned to play the Igil (Tuvan 2-stringed fiddle). All of this has colored and lodged itself into his sound.

Seth is playing a free gig this Friday in San Francisco, so if you live in the Bay Area and like this kind of music, head over to the Mission this Friday night. Here's the details from Seth:

I'm doing a free show in San Francisco this Friday, January 2nd at the Socha Cafe, 3225 Mission Street (@ Valencia), from 8 - 11 pm. It's usually pretty quiet there so we'd love it if you come out and help us fill up the place. They have great food/beer/wine and joining me will be Ricky Garrett on drums and possibly Lemon Degeorge on harmonica.

I think the Spider Robinson quote on Seth's site sums things up nicely: "This is the music God hears in His sleep when he has a high fever." (Thanks, Howard!)

-Bruce

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers)

Best Astronomy Images of 2008 Talk in NYC

crabpulsarwind_sm.jpg Dr. Robert J. Nemiroff, the editor of the wonderful Astronomy Picture of the Day site, will be giving a free talk in NYC this Friday, showing off his picks for the best astronomy images of 2008. From the announcement:

As happens every year around this time, an editor of APOD will be reviewing the Best Astronomy Images of 2008 in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History. This year the lecture occurs on Friday, January 2. The lecture begins at 6:15 pm and runs roughly one hour. The lecture will be held in the Kaufmann Auditorium and will be free for all to attend.

Of course, you can pick your own favorites from their massive archive of the largest collection of annotated astronomical images on the Internet. The picture here is an x-ray image of the Crab Pulsar wind nebula. (Thanks, Howard!)

-Bruce

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers)

Maile Waltz on Uke


Amy Crehore found this sweet video of John King performing "the Maile Waltz" on ukulele.

Maile Waltz on Uke

What's the deal with the 250 mini-earthquakes at Yellowstone?


Radley Balko of The Agitator is having fun by posting a news brief about "250 small earthquakes that have occurred in Yellowstone National Park since Friday," along with a link about the supervolcano sleeping under Yellowstone:

This last happened at the Yellowstone volcano approximately 650,000 years ago. The caldera that it left is 53 miles long and 28 miles wide. In the area surrounding Yellowstone, 3000 square miles were subjected to a flow of pyroclastic material composed of 240 cubic miles of hot ash and pumice. Ash was also thrown into the atmosphere and blanketed much of North America. It can still be identified in core samples from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.

...

Another catastrophic eruption is also possible. The effects of such a disaster are hard to even comprehend. Bill McGuire, professor of geohazards at the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at the University College of London told the UK Daily Express, "Magma would be flung 50 kilometers into the atmosphere. Within a thousand kilometers virtually all life would be killed by falling ash, lava flows and the sheer explosive force of the eruption. One thousand cubic kilometers of lava would pour out of the volcano, enough to coat the whole USA with a layer 5 inches thick." He adds that it would once again bring "the bitter cold of Volcanic Winter to Planet Earth. Mankind may become extinct."

Supervolcano at Yellowstone