Epcot renovation now underway. (via FP)
Epcot renovation now underway. (via FP)
No Pattern Required tells us about the KUBA Komet, a 5'7" tall, 7' wide, 300lb TV that could swivel all the way around:
Wow! What can I say about this TV, but Wow! Is this not the most retro, kitschy, crazy TV you have ever seen? This is the Kuba Komet from Germany, and I am totally in love. The KUBA Corporation manufactured the Komet from 1957 to 1962 in Wolfenbuttel, West Germany. These were kind of an early version of the entertainment center, as there were 8 speakers embedded in this along with a record player, a radio, and a TV tuner in the bottom cabinet. For an extra charge you could also get a early version of a type of tape recorder and a Remote control with UHF tuner!
Founded in 2009 by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, University of the People is the world's first tuition-free completely online university, offering Associate and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science. Students are asked to pay a one-time application fee ($50), and $100 end-of-course final examination fees. Aside from that, there is no tuition and all courses, books, and resources are provided free of charge online. UoPeople is approved to grant degrees by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), and is currently working to seek accreditation.
In keeping with its mission, UoPeople strives to ensure that no qualified individual is excluded from a chance at higher education for financial reasons. To assist students in financial need with their examination fees, UoPeople has dedicated student scholarship funds. Corporate sponsors include Hewlett-Packard's sponsorship of 100 HP Scholars as part of the UoPeople Women Scholarship Fund, as well as Intel Foundation's sponsorship of women students from Haiti. In the near future, UoPeople will launch a Micro-Scholarship Portal, the first of its kind, to allow donors to contribute to individual students.
To date, the university has been funded by Shai Reshef, and by grants from various foundations including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Kauffman Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, The Goodman Family Foundation, and The Passport Foundation, among others. With $6 million more, the University will be self-sustainable. In its quest to reach sustainability, UoPeople is currently in discussions with several foundations regarding grants, and is always seeking philanthropic and corporate donations.
The Daws brothers' "Missing in the Mansion" is a great little Blair-Witch-style short horror movie about ghosts in Disneyland. It's actually plenty scary. Inside the Magic's Ricky Brigante, an association producer on the movie, notes that it was shot mostly on location at Disneyland, which must have taken some doing.
As I looked at these pictures of the babies being evacuated, I had a depressing thought. What are the financial situations of these babies’ parents? Are they poor? Do they have insurance? Are they on Medicaid? Medicaid is a health program that pays for medical services for those who cannot afford them. It is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. In some ways, I’d be happy if you were learning this information for the first time right now; the reason being that you don’t have to rely on Medicaid. Regardless, I suspect that if you had some “Medicaid” in your pocket last night, you’d have gladly given it to these precious babies to ensure their health and safety. It’s a good thing. If one of those babies were poor, I don’t suspect you’d want to punish her because her dad got laid off from his manufacturing job or because leukemia killed her older brother and bankrupted her parents just in time for her birth. If you don’t like these examples, tough shit; they’re how people get poor in the United States of America in 2012. I don’t want you to like them.
Read the rest: "After Sandy" (robdelaney.tumblr.com)
Former FEMA Director Michael “Can I come home?” Brown is upset with President Obama for responding to Hurricane Sandy “so quickly.”
“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”Heckuva Job Brownie Criticizing Obama for Preparing Too Quickly (Via Cynical-C)
This Washington Post article by Ian Shapira is the most comprehensive account I've seen of what happened to HMS Bounty, a replica of the 18th century tall ship which starred in the 1962 Marlon Brando "Mutiny on the Bounty" film, and various Pirates of the Caribbean movies. No definitive word on exactly what caused the accident, but many theories.
In the LA Times today, a remembrance of Ms. Christian.
Even other sea captains are mystified.
Above, a Coast Guard photo of the foundering HMS Bounty.
(thanks, Andrew Thaler)
Just in time for election season, XKCD's Randall Monroe has busted out another of his amazing, wall-sized infographics, this one depicting the swings to the left, right and center of the senate and the house, through all of US electoral history.
A wonderful article by Liz Szabo in USA Today on "I heart boobies," "save the ta-tas," and all those other horrible sexualized breast cancer campaigns that raise dubious funds for dubious goals and leave those of us who have the disease feeling demeaned. There is nothing sexy about breast cancer, and Szabo does a fantastic job in this piece explaining why. Above, one of the worst such campaigns I have ever seen.
The Italian scientific community was stunned when Italian scientists, seismologists, were recently sentenced to years of prison for manslaughter, for failing to predict the lethal earthquake in Aquila in 2009. Other scientists have resigned to their jobs in protest, and even some relatives of the victims condemned the sentence as ridiculous.
The world press was reporting on the dark ages of inquisition in Italian courts and labs. But then, journalistic investigations discovered political scandals that implied a plot to downplay earthquake dangers in Aquila, involving Berlusconi and his cabinet. Silvio Berlusconi can't control earthquakes any more than seismologists can, but he's always been keen on controlling media. Read the rest
Read the rest
The Walt Disney Company today announced that it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction valued at $4.05 billion, with Disney paying "approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing." Press release announcing the deal here. Here's a list of all the media Disney already owns: ABC; Pixar; Marvel; as well as Hollywood, Mammoth and Buena Vista Records, just for a start.
So here's one interesting snip: "Our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years."
Here are a few notable books that have recently crossed my desk:
Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families. Written by the editors of Wired's Geek Mom blog, this book offers a wide range of activities for geeky families: role-playing games, cooking, costume-making, science projects, and crafts. I liked the article about how one Geek Mom dealt with her husband's voluminous comic-book collection by storing it under a bed she modified by sticking 6-inch risers under the legs.
Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures, by Joe Kubert. Comic book great Joe Kubert passed away earlier this year. Best known for Sgt. Rock, Tarzan, and Hawkman in the 1960s and 70s, this anthology of Kubert's 1940s work reveals his versatility in a variety of genres, including horror, humor, and romance.
Is That All There Is?, by Joost Swarte. For some reason, I discovered the work of Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte before I read Hergé's Tintin, even though it's now clear to me that Swarte's style was inspired by Hergé. But I would never dismiss Swarte as being derivative. In fact, I prefer his work over Hergé's (don't shoot me). This anthology of Swarte's alternative comics from 1972 showcases his famous clean-line style that makes reading his work a pleasure.
Yesterday, I wrote about the Supreme Court's hearting for Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, which threatens to undermine the very nature of property itself, taking away your right to sell, modify, loan and give away any foreign-made object that has embodies one or more copyrights. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Parker Higgins has a close reading of the judges' reactions at the hearing. It's hard to know which way they'll go:
Today the Court mirrored our concerns about the right of Americans to resell the goods that they’ve legally acquired — from books to smartphones to cars — just because those goods happen to contain copyrighted materials and were manufactured overseas.
Defenders of Wiley’s position are quick to denounce those concerns as overblown. It's curious, then, that Wiley’s own lawyer, former Solicitor General Ted Olson, was hard-pressed to explain why. Justice Breyer asked about specific examples — buying a book overseas to give to your wife in the U.S., or reselling a Toyota manufactured in Japan with numerous individually copyrighted components — and did not seem impressed with the answers he got. And when Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Roberts questioned Olson about the "parade of horribles," raised by Kirtsaeng and supporting amici (including EFF), he asserted that, yes, indeed, sales of foreign made goods might require approval from the copyright holder, whether the seller is a Toyota distributor or a university library:
… if you’re going to use the product created by someone else in a way that’s contemplated by the copyright laws, maybe it’s required that you actually comply with the copyright laws by going to the owner of the copyright and saying, look, here’s what I propose to do, can I have a license to do this?
It goes without saying that a secondary market that exists only with the permission of innumerable copyright holders is a poor substitute for the genuine article. Consumers would be worse off for it, and it’s not what Congress intended.
You've Been Owned: Stand Up For Digital First Sale [EFF Action Center]
From TV Newser: "Scouten, stationed in the Rockaways section of Queens, got a real New York welcome Monday as Sandy’s surge sent waves into the street and took him down, as shown on CBS This Morning." (thanks, @milesobrien)
The always-excellent Haunted Dimensions has excellent directions for making your own gingerbread replica of the Phantom Manor, Disneyland Paris's answer to the Haunted Mansion, along with a gallery of others' haunted gingerbread creations. Yum!
50 Watts has a gallery of Philippe Caza's early work. Caza writes, "I was a great fan of Moscoso, Crumb, Griffin, and some other US underground comix that I could find at one bookseller in Paris."
I think his work is also reminiscent of Heinz Edelmann, the Yellow Submarine artist, and Peter Max.
Caza posts his recent (and excellent) work on his blog (which is in French).
Death Waltz Recording Company deals in exquisitely-curated horror/cult movie soundtracks reissued on vinyl in gorgeous packaging with newly-commissioned cover art. Several months ago, I posted about their fantastic reissue of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's Escape From New York soundtrack. Since then, I've picked up several more Death Waltz reissues like Giuliano Sorgini's "Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue," Johan Söderqvist's "Let the Right One In, " and John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's "Halloween II." Surprise, surprise, now I want all of them. In fact, Death Waltz offers a subscription service for six releases in limited-edition colored vinyl complete with a numbered lithograph and poster. Yes, that will be on my holiday wish list. Juno Plus just posted an interview with Spencer Hickman, Death Waltz's zombie-in-chief:
Where was the idea for Death Waltz born? My three loves have always been music, movies and art, and I’ve always worked within that to an extent, whether it’s doing horror fanzines, putting on film festivals or working in record shops. And I was just thinking there’s a real lack of soundtrack music out on vinyl, even though vinyl is the only physical format growing in sales. So I decided to do start my own label – it’s just something I wanted to do. It was originally only going to be soundtrack reissues but now we’re moving into current films…
You obviously have a predilection for horror – where does that stem from?
I think I was 12, and my dad gave me a copy of The Exorcist on bootleg video. Around that time I was watching stuff like Salem’s Lot on TV, scaring myself shitless. There was a video shop that opened up down the road from us, and because there were no laws then, we joined and I would go down and rent stuff like Cannibal Holocaust. I remember watching a double bill of Cannibal Holocaust and Last House On The Left when I was about 13. I’m surprised I’m a functioning member of society. I basically watched a lot of shit and then the odd gem.
"In discussion with Death Waltz’s Spencer Hickman" (Juno Plus)
Listen to bits of Death Waltz releases on Soundcloud
The images above — prepared by NASA hurricane researcher Owen Kelly — were taken on Sunday, before Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the United States' Northeast coast. They're made from radar data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, and they show a feature of this storm that helps explain why it's caused much more destruction than you might expect from a Category 1 hurricane.
In the right-hand image, showing a close-up of the storm's eye, you can see a feature labeled "eyewall". Those are vertical cloud walls that surround the eye, and they're the spot with the strongest winds in the whole storm.
Placed in context, the TRMM-observed properties of Hurricane Sandy’s eyewall are evidence of remarkable vigor. Most hurricanes only have well-formed and compact eyewalls at category 3 strength or higher. Sandy was not only barely a category 1 hurricane, but Sandy was also experiencing strong wind shear, Sandy was going over ocean typically too cold to form hurricanes, and Sandy had been limping along as a marginal hurricane for several days.
That eyewall, says NASA and New Scientist, is the result of Sandy's Frankenstorm nature. Despite all the factors that should have made this storm weak, it represented the merging of several storm systems. Because of that, Sandy was stronger than a Category 1 storm normally is.
Via Michael Marshall
Jason Smith made this awesome father-daughter power-loader costume for his baby daughter, who gets to play Ripley as they stalk the night streets. This is parenting at its finest.
Sixty milliseconds is fast. But sometimes, it's not fast enough. That's the gist of a great explainer by Cassie Rodenberg at Popular Mechanics, which answers the question, "Why do transformers explode?"
Before I link you over there, I want to add a quick reminder of what transformers actually are.
Although giant robots that turn into trucks do also explode from time to time, in this case we are talking about those cylindrical boxes that you see attached to electric poles. (Pesco posted a video of one exploding last night.) To understand what they do, you have to know the basics of the electric grid.
I find that it's easiest to picture the grid like a lazy river at a water park. That's because we aren't just talking about a bunch of wires, here. The grid is a circuit, just like the lazy river. Electricity has to flow along it from the power plant, to the customers, and back around to the power plant again. And, like a lazy river, the grid has to operate within certain limits. The electricity has to move at a constant speed (analogous to what engineers call frequency) and at a constant depth (analogous to voltage). This is where transformers come in.
Read the rest
Walter Piorkowski's startling image above of live newborn lynx spiderlings at 6x magnification won 2nd place in Nikon's 2012 Photomicrography Competition. The winning image, at right, was Dr. Jennifer L. Peters and Dr. Michael R. Taylor's image of the blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo at 20x magnification.