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Art installation celebrates decades of surf culture

quiksilverfandango.jpg Surf brand Quiksilver got together with skater Tony Hawk and Paris design collective Fandango to create a neat, very well-designed installation called I was a teenager in the.... It's basically a series of bedrooms that reflect each decade of surf culture. via Dezeen Image by Chi Chi Mendez

An evening meal in total darkness at Opaque

The room is pitch black. There is absolutely no light in here, not even an emergency exit or the glow of a cell phone.

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Climate Change: Countering the Contrarians

Scientific American talks evidence, digging into seven arguments against the reality of climate change that, if not the most frequently-cited in general, are certainly the most frequently cited in BoingBoing comment threads. Personally, I've started trying to avoid the snarky, dismissive tone this piece veers a bit into...I just don't think it helps anything to make the honest skeptics feel mocked. (The oil lobbyists, the anti-semetic conspiracy nuts, etc. can be easily and freely mocked on an individual basis.) But that aside, the article is worth reading. Good answers given for:

  • Anthropogenic CO2 can't be changing climate, because CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere and the amount produced by humans is dwarfed by the amount from volcanoes and other natural sources.
  • The alleged "hockey stick" graph of temperatures over the past 1,600 years has been disproved. It doesn't even acknowledge the existence of a "medieval warm period" around 1000 A.D. that was hotter than today is.
  • Global warming stopped a decade ago; the earth has been cooling since then.
  • The sun or cosmic rays are much more likely to be the real causes of global warming.
  • Climatologists conspire to hide the truth about global warming by locking away their data. Their so-called "consensus" on global warming is scientifically irrelevant because science isn't settled by popularity.
  • Climatologists have a vested interest in raising the alarm because it brings them money and prestige.
  • Technological fixes, such as inventing energy sources that don't produce CO2 or geoengineering the climate, would be more affordable, prudent ways to address climate change than reducing our carbon footprint.

Scientific American: Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense

Surprised kitten is surprised

As Sean Bonner tweeted over the weekend, this may well be the best 17 seconds of your life.

Cactus flowers: an intro to the indie game mind warps of Jonatan Söderström

With just a handful of years under his game development belt, 24 year old Jonatan Söderström — better known by his handle Cactus — has already become something of a cult legend in indie circles, particularly for his relentless, near-manic prolificness, as illustrated above by Crayon Physics creator Petri Purho‘s inspirational desktop background.

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Supreme Court upholds Obama ban on release of detainee torture photos

The US Supreme Court today rejected an appeals court ruling that ordered the release of photos that document war-on-terror prisoners being tortured by U.S. military personnel. At first, President Obama said he would not ban the release of the images, then changed his mind. The ACLU say they'll keep fighting.

Hamster rides teeny-tiny subway (photos)

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"Edie's Big Adventure," spotted on Dangerous Minds. Says Edie the hamster's "person," Victoria Belanger, who shot these photos:

I'm a photographer for the [New York City] DA's office and there is a women there who makes these models (trains, apts, buildings, etc) for court cases, as a visual aid for the jury. The train is perfectly hamster sized so I brought my super tame hamster into work yesterday for a little photo shoot. They came out better than expected. I'm really excited about them.
(newyorkshitty.com, alternate link for partial gallery is here)

Food choices, obesity, and health care: one provocative stat to chew on

On eating, obesity, and health care in the United States: "If the incidence of obesity fell to its 1987 level, it would free enough money to cover the nation's uninsured population."

Website documents iPhone apps rejected by Apple

The website apprejections.com tracks mentions of applications that have been rejected by Apple for sale in the App Store. More at readwriteweb.

Why paywalls won't help most big newspapers

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Photo:Rayphua

A few years ago, I moved a small local newspaper's online edition behind a paywall. Most free content was removed from the web. Instead, we sold a PDF of the newspaper. Web traffic plummeted from about 15,000 views a month to about 8,000. The PDF edition attracted only a few hundred subscribers on top of the daily print run of about 9,000. In other words, it was a big success.

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Interactive map of growing food stamps usage in US

"The number of food stamp recipients has climbed by about 10 million over the past two years, resulting in a program that now feeds 1 in 8 Americans and nearly 1 in 4 children."

Rusting space-marine robot toys


Man, I am all over these $45 space-marine "Bertie" robots from Tenacious Toys -- rusted and beat up and full of character, designed by Ashley Wood.

Bertie (via Superpunch)

Game-guilds can be modelled using the math of street gangs

The structure of guilds in video games mirrors the structures of criminal gangs in the real world, and both can be modelled using the same mathematics, say a group of Chinese and American scholars. Unfortunately, their paper isn't published in a proper open access journal, so we can't review their findings -- only the abstract.
Quantifying human group dynamics represents a unique challenge. Unlike animals and other biological systems, humans form groups in both real (offline) and virtual (online) spaces--from potentially dangerous street gangs populated mostly by disaffected male youths to the massive global guilds in online role-playing games for which membership currently exceeds tens of millions of people from all possible backgrounds, age groups, and genders. We have compiled and analyzed data for these two seemingly unrelated offline and online human activities and have uncovered an unexpected quantitative link between them. Although their overall dynamics differ visibly, we find that a common team-based model can accurately reproduce the quantitative features of each simply by adjusting the average tolerance level and attribute range for each population. By contrast, we find no evidence to support a version of the model based on like-seeking-like (i.e., kinship or "homophily").
Human group formation in online guilds and offline gangs driven by a common team dynamic (via /.)

(Image: Guild Wars, a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike photo from dalvenjah's Flickr stream)

EU memo on secret copyright treaty confirms US desire for global DMCA

Michael Geist sez, "The European Commission analysis of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement's [ed: a secret, restrictive copyright treaty that the Obama administration will not release on "national security" grounds] Internet chapter has leaked, indicating that the U.S. is seeking to push laws that extend beyond the WIPO Internet treaties and beyond current European Union law (the EC posted the existence of the document last week but refused to make it publicly available). The document contains detailed comments on the U.S. proposal, confirming the U.S. desire to promote a three-strikes and you're out policy, a Global DMCA, harmonized contributory copyright infringement rules, and the establishment of an international notice-and-takedown policy."

EU ACTA Analysis Leaks: Confirms Plans For Global DMCA, Encourage 3 Strikes Model (Thanks, Michael!)

David Carr on the changing news biz: "all reigns are temporary"

NYT's David Carr on the changing news biz, as witnessed from Manhattan: "[A] life of occasional excess and prerogative has been replaced by a drum beat of goodbye speeches with sheet cakes and cheap sparkling wine. It's a wan reminder that all reigns are temporary, that the court of self-appointed media royalty was serving at the pleasure of an advertising economy that itself was built on inefficiency and excess. Google fixed that."