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Tanker-truck full of inedible pig blood

Welp, there's something you don't see every day. Unless you work at an abattoir.

“I’m Goin’ to Prom!”

Grotesque portraits from Christian Rex van Minnen


Christian Rex van Minnen's grotesque portraits are spectacular. IO9's Lauren Davis called them "portraits of aristocrats from another dimension." I love the crammed-together, rammed-together higgeldy piggeldy of insectoid body parts, high fashion, and toons. He's got a show on at Denver's Robischon Gallery.

2012-2011 - Christian Rex van Minnen (via IO9)

Ethan Zuckerman on civic engagement

It’s easy to find alarming evidence that we’ve lost our way when it comes to civics in the US. But longtime global activist and MIT prof Ethan Zuckerman says there’s a lot to get excited about too, if we’re willing to think in new ways about what it even means to be civically engaged in the digital age.

Ethan’s working with a group of scholars and practitioners (I’m one of them) to track how young people are expressing voice and exerting agency in public spheres through participatory politics. Registering to vote or campaigning for a candidate are obvious and important political moves. But so is appropriating Occupy for hurricane relief, mobilizing Hunger Games fans to organize for real-life civil rights, or producing a libertarian music video professing a crush on the economist Friedrich Hayek, (thanks Liana Gamber Thompson).

Dml civics 022

But here’s the rub. If we’re willing to take this expansive view of civics, how do we start to make sense of what any given activity really achieves in the world? When does “voice” make a difference? That’s the question Ethan took on this week in his keynote, How Do We Teach Digital Civics? at the Digital Media and Learning conference in Chicago. He offered this diagram as a way to map actions into one of four quadrants.

Want to figure out where your own civic moves fit in the mix? You can watch Ethan’s whole talk here. It’s an attempt to envision an approach to civics that engages young people’s imaginations and networks rather than telling them what to do.

English town council wants to abolish apostrophes in street-names to end "confusion"

The Conservative council in Mid-Devon, England has mooted a proposal to remove apostrophes from street signs, claiming they cause "potential confusion." I live on a street in East London with an on-again/off-again apostrophe whose presence depends on which database you're using. But given that all serious UK navigation and geocoding is done by postcode, this just seems like a bit of silliness.

The council communications manager Andrew Lacey said: "Our proposed policy on street naming and numbering covers a whole host of practical issues, many of which are aimed at reducing potential confusion over street names.

"Although there is no national guidance that stops apostrophes being used, for many years the convention we have followed here is for new street names not to be given apostrophes.

"In fact, there are currently only three official street names in Mid Devon which include them: Beck's Square and Blundell's Avenue, both in Tiverton, and St George's Well in Cullompton – all named many, many years ago. No final decision has yet been made and the proposed policy will be discussed at cabinet."

The science fiction legend Damon Knight used to semi-seriously advocate for the abolition of the apostrophe altogether. I remember thinking he had a point at the time.

Council considers ban on apostrophes in street signs [Press Association]

Loose Ends: "Hangin' on a String (Contemplating)" (1985)

NewImage From Loose Ends' 1985 LP A Little Spice, "Hangin' on a String (Contemplating)" was the first track by a British band to ever hit #1 on the US Billboard R&B Chart. And it's the perfect quiet storm for this Friday evening.

National Security Letters Unconstitutional, finds federal judge, who bans them

"Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge ruled Friday." Kim Zetter at Wired News has more on the order from U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who today ordered the government to stop issuing so-called NSLs. [Wired News] Xeni

Drew Friedman on The Caricature Art of Robert Grossman

Artist Drew Friedman has assembled a nice gallery of airbrush illustrator extraordinaire Robert Grossman's work. I became familiar with Grossman's illustrations by reading National Lampoon (Thank goodness the Boulder Public Library subscribed to it so I could read it when I was 11 years old). Grossman also did work for Paul Krassner's The Realist, and illustrated the cover of The Firesign Theatre's LP, Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers. Drew says:

Illustrator, sculptor, comics artist, animator Robert Grossman has had an astounding career covering the last 50 years. To say he's the greatest airbrush artist/caricaturist of all time isn't hyperbole, it's an understatement. Picking just a few samples from his incredible body of work is a near impossible task (he's created over 500 magazine covers alone!) but I'm presenting some of my favorites. If anyone deserves to have a career retrospective/anthology it's Bob Grossman. Check out these beautifully rendered, consistently brilliant and memorable illustrations, most chosen from the 60's-80's. As Steven Heller wrote: "his mordant wit is never duplicated".

Bob is still going strong, turning out wonderful new drawings and comic strips regularly for, among others, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and the NY Observer where I've been proud to have alternated with him as a regular cover artist for the last 20 years.

The Caricature Art of Robert Grossman

Best of Etsy Star Wars posters



On Wonderland, Alice has had a deep trawl through the world of Etsy Star Wars posters and rounded up a collection of top choices, including the Space Cowboy by CONCEPCIONSTUDIOS (top) and Vintage Pop Art set from Posterinspired (right).

Beautiful Etsy Star Wars posters

Look at this portrait of Sydney, Australia, in oranges and bananas

Just look at it. By Domenic Bahmann. Shared in the BB Flickr Pool.

Reuters suspends employee accused of aiding Anonymous

Earlier this week, 26 year old Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys was indicted on charges he handed Tribune Co. network passwords to Anonymous, which were then used to deface the LA Times website for about 30 minutes. The alleged offense took place in 2010, before Keys was hired at Reuters. The DoJ press release mentioned a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in the case. Today, Reuters suspended him with pay. Xeni

US to beef up missile defense along West Coast, to defend against possible North Korea attack

Uh-oh. The NYT reports that the United States "will deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to increase the Pentagon’s ability to blunt a potential attack from North Korea in a clear response to recent tests of nuclear weapons technology and long-range missiles by the North." Guess the Dennis Rodman basketball diplomacy thing had its limits. [New York Times] Xeni

CIA drone secrecy rejected by federal appeals court

A federal appeals court today ruled the CIA cannot continue to “neither confirm nor deny” the existence of the drone war, in a court case prompted by a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU. Here's the ruling. [Antiwar via Glenn Greenwald] Xeni

Eco headline of the week: Disposable chopstick addiction destroying China's forests

From the Washington Post: "China uses 20 million trees each year to feed the country’s disposable chopstick habit... 4,000 chopsticks per tree, that’s roughly 80 billion chopsticks per year." All those chopsticks have led to "rampant deforestation and forest quality far below the global average," and Greenpeace estimates the destruction rate at 1.18 million square meters of forest every year. Xeni

National Post wants to copyright article titles

Canada's National Post is trying to convince a court that article titles should be copyrightable, overturning centuries of law and practice. Well, that's dumb. (Thanks, Chris!) Cory

Cafe brazenly risks citation from department of sanitation


(Via Arbroath)