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Just wash your pants, people

Levi's recommends freezing jeans, instead of washing them, as a way to save water. The idea is that freezing will kill the bacteria that make your pants smell. But Stephen Craig Cary, an expert in low-temperature microbial life, begs to differ. Maggie

Cloud computing and labor disputes: University locks striking profs out of their coursework and email

Robert Spahr, an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University Department of Cinema & Photography, writes,

I wanted to let you know that we are not only in the middle of a labor strike, but most importantly, a public university has shown by their actions, the dangers of Cloud Computing.

The University has disabled faculty email, and locked them out of their personal work contained in Blackboard (a course management system) as well as censoring pro-union comments from the official University Facebook page.

Myself, and some fellow faculty and students quickly produced a blog and Twitter feed to combat this censorship.

Turns out the uni isn't just nuking pro-union statements, but any questions about the labor dispute posted by its students and other stakeholders.

What happens when you flush a toilet in the world's tallest building

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. It's located in Dubai, a city with a lot of other skyscrapers. What Dubai doesn't have: A central sewage infrastructure that can accommodate the needs of a bunch of skyscrapers.

You see the problem.

Last night, while listening to NPR's Fresh Air, I heard Kate Ascher, author of The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper, explain what happens to sewage from the Burj and Dubai's other tall buildings. It's only Tuesday, and this may be the craziest fact I hear all week.

TERRY GROSS: Right. So you know, you write that in Dubai they don't have, like, a sewage infrastructure to support high-rises like this one. So what do they do with the sewage?

KATE ASCHER: A variety of buildings there, some can access a municipal system but many of them actually use trucks to take the sewage out of individual buildings and then they wait on a queue to put it into a waste water treatment plant. So it's a fairly primitive system.

GROSS: Well, these trucks can wait for hours and hours on line.

ASCHER: That's right. I'm told they can wait up to 24 hours before they get to the head of the queue. Now, there is a municipal system that is being invested in and I assume will connect all of these tall buildings in some point in the near future, but they're certainly not alone. In India many buildings are responsible for providing their own water and their own waste water removal.

So it's, it's really – we're very fortunate in this country that we assume we can plug into an urban system that can handle whatever waste the building produces. That's not the case everywhere else in the world.

GROSS: Well, it really illustrates one of the paradoxes of modern life, that we have these just incredible structures that reach, you know, that seem to reach to the sky and then in a place like Dubai you have a 24 hour long line of trucks waiting to dispose of the waste from those buildings.

ASCHER: Right. Well, you know, you have to remember that a place like Dubai really emerged in the last 50 years. It was a sleepy, you know, Bedouin town half a century ago. And what you do is when you bring in the world's, you know, most sophisticated architects and engineers, you can literally build anything, including a building of 140 or 150 stories. But designing a municipal network of sewage treatment is in some ways more complex.

It certainly requires more money and more time to make it happen, so one just seemed to jump ahead of the other.

Image: Big Rigs, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from daveseven's photostream

If Cormac McCarthy was a Yelp reviewer

Yelping with Cormac is a rather arch and very funny Tumblr with a simple premise: what if Cormac McCarthy was addicted to reviewing restaurants and stores on Yelp?

Whole Foods Market
Noe Valley - San Francisco, CA
Cormac M. | Author | Lost in the chaparral, NM
Four stars.

The sheriff and the posse were now a block away and riding seven abreast rifles in hand and horses snorting and wildeyed. The outlaw dropped his pistol and stiffwalked into the parking lot of a grocery store. Around him young women in skintight sporting clothes stopped and stared.

The ground shook as the posse rode up on the parking lot entrance but the sheriff stopped his riders with a raised hand and sawed his palamino around sending the animal sidestepping like a showhorse into a newspaper box which fell over with a great cacophony. When the noise subsided the neighborhood and the parking lot were silent. The riders and the outlaw and the women frozen like actors in some gypsy roadshow.

A rider wearing an elaborate mustache and carrying a Winchester onehanded nudged his quarterhorse toward the sheriff. Hell he’s right there sheriff.

I know it. Im lookin at him same as you.

What are we waitin for then.

We caint touch him now deputy. They got their own way here.

The riders watched as the women left their station wagons and strollers and encircled the outlaw. As if some ancient instinct united them. Silent as wolves and staring intently at the broken man standing there. He saw his mistake and called out to the riders reaching toward them with his one good arm but was struck down with a savage blow from a rolled yoga mat.

Yelping with Cormac (via Making Light)

Russian historian charged with grave robbing after police discover "gruesome tableau" of 29 mummified bodies in his home

A man identified as Russian historian Anatoly Moskvin has been charged with desecrating graveyards after Russian police found 29 mummified bodies dressed in bright clothes and posed like dolls in a "gruesome tableau" in his home.

The national daily Moskovsky Komsomolets said Moskvin was detained at a cemetery while carrying a bag of bones. But Kriminalnaya Khronika, an online publication specialising in crime news from the Nizhny Novgorod region, said police investigators had discovered the bodies when they visited Moskvin to consult him about the desecration.

Moskvin, who had long been known in the region for his interest in the dead, wrote several articles about cemeteries in the region. A linguistic expert by training, he specialised in Celtic culture and studied 13 foreign languages....

In a 2007 interview with the newspaper Nizhegorodsky Rabochy, or Nizhny Novgorod Worker, Moskvin said he had inspected 752 cemeteries, often travelling 20 miles a day by foot.

Last month he wrote a piece for a publication on necrology to explain his interest in the dead. He said that when he was 12, he came across a funeral procession whose participants forced him to kiss the face of a dead 11-year-old girl. He said he later grew interested in the occult.

Russian historian kept 29 mummified bodies at home, police say

Climate denier as Borat: what if Christopher Monckton was really a long-running Sacha Baron Cohen character?

Australian comedy-news program The Hamster Wheel covers archconservative British politician Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, a Thatcherite climate denier, and former editor for The Sunday Telegraph and other right-wing papers. The Hamster Wheel decides that Monckton (who once advocated confining people with AIDS to lifetime quarantine) must actually be a long-running Sacha Baron Cohen ("Bruno," "Borat") character and makes a compelling case that this must be so.

The Hamster Wheel: Lord Monckton (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Then we take Berlin

Reminder: I'm doing a live reading in Berlin tonight at 2000h (Sankt Oberholz, Rosenthaler Str. 72, Berlin Mitte). Tschüss! Cory