Wagner James Au sez, "OpenWorm, as the name suggests, is a collaborative open source project to computationally create a simple artificial life form -- an earth worm -- from the cellular level to a point where it's sophisticated enough to solve basic problems. They're still in early stages, with the latest demo, a developer on the project tells me, being 'a particle simulation of five connected muscle segments moving together through a body of water.'"
This 2006 gameshow clip shows contestants running back and forth atop a deep pool of non-Newtonian fluid -- ooblek -- without sinking in. They run, they skip, they hop, and maintain admirable aplomb atop the surface. It gets especially nice when the host stops in his tracks and sinks down into the mucky depths.
Matt says: "In his commencement address to the graduating class at Southern Virginia University (a largely Mormon school), Mitt Romney urged the graduates to 'Get married, and have a quiver full of kids if you can.'"
Mitt Romney went on to say:
“I don’t think God cares whether you get rich,” he cautions. “I don’t think he hopes that your business will make a huge profit. I know a lot of religious people who think God will intervene to make their investments grow. Or he’ll get them a promotion. To make their business a success. But life on this earth is about learning to live in a place where God does not make everything work out for good people.”
The good people over at Narrative.ly caught up with some of the surviving cast members of the 1995 film Kids. Written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark, Kids was a raw glimpse at life inside New York's early 90s skater and club scene. I remember the film for being both terrifying and making me feel like I was one of the most boring people in the world. The stars of the film were all real kids from that scene, and many of the storylines were also legit.
The kids say the film was accurate, except for the most fantastical stuff. There’s no denying they weren’t sober during filming. Even the scene with Javier Nunez, at fourteen, by far the youngest of the skate crew, and three other little kids mashed on a couch smoking a joint and pontificating about god and life—that too was real. The virgin hunter, the AIDS plotline, and the rape scene at the end were fictional.
Kids was responsible for launching the careers of both Chloë Sevigny and Rosario Dawson.
Korine, nineteen at the time, and Clark, then over fifty, wrangled the troops from the skate clique, supplementing them with more non-actors from Washington Square Park and the club scene, and across downtown—including Chloë Sevigny, from tony Darien, Connecticut, who had been hanging out with the crew in Washington Square Park for years. They plucked a then fifteen-year-old Rosario Dawson from her stoop in the East Village. Vibe magazine was shooting a commercial on her block, and her father told her to go downstairs to get discovered. Korine heard her laughing loudly at a strange man who looked like Jesus, walked over and told her, “You’re exactly what I wrote.”
Others didn't fare so well. RIP Casper and Harold.
Read the whole story here.
[Posted from Guatemala City]
As reported previously on Boing Boing, the Guatemalan government has declared a 30-day State of Siege in 4 communities surrounding the Canadian-owned San Rafael Mine (aka Escobal Mine), following anti-mining protests that turned violent. Guatemalan photojournalist James Rodriguez of mimundo.org has published a photo-essay on Facebook with images he shot today inside the emergency zone. I am republishing some of the images here, with permission, for those who do not have access to Facebook.
Guatemala: state of siege declared as Army, police crack down after protests against Canadian-owned mine
Residents of four towns east of Guatemala's capital woke up to news that their communities had been placed under a 30-day State of Siege by the administration of President Otto Perez Molina, following anti-mining protests that turned violent. One policeman was killed, six civilians were wounded by rubber bullets, and a number of police cars were burned and overturned on roadways. Here is the government's official public announcement. Public gatherings in the area are banned for 30 days.
According to Guatemalan Defense Minister Col. Ulises Giron Anzueto Noah (shown at right, photo today by Carlos Andrino), 3,500 total personnel participated in operations to bring the "estado de sitio" (state of siege) into effect. Some soldiers entered the areas in armored personnel vehicles and tanks. Hundreds of police officers were involved, as were private security officers for the Canadian-owned Escobal mine at the center of the controversy.
Evan from Fight for the Future sez, "All of your phone calls, emails, petition signatures, and tweets are working. The privacy-killing back-from-the-dead zombie bill CISPA is a bit stalled in the Senate, with over $605 million in lobbying spent on it already, it's bound to be back to haunt us in some form soon. So we made an infographic to get everyone up to speed. This Spring, we'll be organizing the largest online privacy protest in history, to send this bill back where it belongs. Join us?"
Robbo sez, "Molly Crabapple's first major solo show, SHELL GAME, closed last Tuesday. Yesterday she released hi-res versions of the works under Creative Commons Share-Alike Non-Commercial. In her words:
"Without the support of hundreds of people online, Shell Game would never have happened. The internet believed in me, believed in the promise of my art, and showed that in concrete ways.
The internet gave me Shell Game.
I want to give them something back.
Today is May Day. The day of workers, immigrants, beautiful young girls, and rebellion. I'm releasing all the art from SHELL GAME on Creative Commons. Share. Remix. Make art. Wheatpaste the world."
Reddit user Lumpytuna found a trunk of wonderful old junque in her attic and videoed the unboxing, as well as posting a great inventory set to Imgur. The ensuing discussion is lively and funny.
[UPDATE, 2pm Guatemala time: Judge Yassmin Barrios has suspended the trial for five days, at the request of the defense. The trial is scheduled to re-open on May 7, 2013.]
A brief update from Guatemala, where the genocide trial of General Efraín Ríos Montt and his former head of intelligence Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez continues today. The trial is historic not only for Guatemala: never before has a domestic court in any nation tried a former head of state for genocide.
The OSIJ blog riosmontt-trial.org has an excellent explainer on the strange state of confusion the trial is in today; here's a previous update from them.
Judge Yassmin Barrios' courtroom in Guatemala City is packed with press, witnesses, the accused, and attorneys. At the time of this blog post, a new de facto defense team that consists of one lawyer previously expelled for bad behavior in the courtroom, and a public defender who asked the court to remove him from the casel—well, they're currently playing a video titled simply "Guerrilla," and displaying a slideshow with graphic images of wounded soldiers. If you can figure out what's going on, you're a few steps ahead of me.
Writer Darren Naish, who blogs at Tretrapod Zoology, took this photo of a Larus gull attempting to chow down on an awkwardly shaped starfish. (And, really, are there any other kind of starfish? Especially when you're trying to fit them in your mouth whole?)
You might remember Larus gulls from a recent piece I wrote on speciation and evolution. According to Naish, they might have another place in the story of evolution, as well. Regardless of how Sisyphean this gull's dinner plans may appear, Larus gulls actually (successfully) eat a lot of starfish. So many, in fact, that, as Naish explains in a recent post, they might be prompting one species of starfish to slowly turn a different color — an adaptation that makes the species less visible to gulls.
This tiny skeleton, just 6 inches long, was found a decade ago in Chile's Atacama Desert. Scientists now report that DNA and other test results prove that it is human. Fox Mulder believes otherwise. "Alien-Looking Skeleton Poses Medical Mystery" (Discovery, thanks Syd Garon!)
And here is more about this specimen's provenance and its unwitting participation in a new documentary about ETs visiting Earth, titled Sirius.
PepsiCo, in an attempt to appear hip, hired Tyler, the Creator to direct a series of Mountain Dew commercials. Tyler, the Creator took advantage of this opportunity to make an ad that was so over-the-top racist that it would have to be pulled. It's a triple win for Tyler, the Creator, who ends up getting (1) a ton of money, (2) lots of publicity, and (3) street cred for punking the befuddled suits at PepsiCo.
In a statement to AdWeek, a Pepsi representative said, "We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended. We have removed the video from all Mountain Dew channels and have been informed that Tyler is removing it from his channels as well."
The ad is the third in a series of ads directed by rapper Tyler, the Creator, who is black. The first depicts the goat (named Felicia) assaulting the woman, a waitress at a restaurant that has run out of Mountain Dew. The second shows the goat fleeing from police.
Eleven years ago, Brenda Heist of central Pennsylvania vanished. She had dropped off her kids, then 8 and 12, at school. Dinner was defrosting. Laundry was half-done. And then she was gone without a trace. There was a long investigation. Her husband was considered a suspect at one point. Eventually, she was declared dead. Then last week, Heist walked up to police in South Florida and told them who she was. Not surprisingly, her children aren't ready to forgive her. From CBS News:
"Mom Brenda Heist resurfaces 11 years after abandoning kids"
It began when three strangers reached out to comfort (Heist) as she cried in despair in a park in 2002, then offered to let her accompany them. She took them up on it…
Heist decided to join the three strangers as they hitchhiked for a month along Interstate 95 on their way to South Florida. She told (Lititz Borough Police Detective John Schofield) she slept in tents and under bridges, survived by scavenging restaurant trash and panhandling, and kept her previous life a secret, contacting no one and using a pseudonym.
Now 54, Heist told police she spent seven years living with a man in a camper and working odd jobs, but more recently she was homeless again, living in a tent facility run by a social service agency.
"She said she was at the end of her rope, she was tired of running," Schofield said.
I once read that people who litter not only have little respect for the world around them, but that they also have little respect for themselves. I believe it. So is it any wonder that Walmart -- which is owned by a handful of the richest people on Earth yet shows little respect for employees, shoppers, communities, and taxpayers -- would have litter strewn, filthy stores?
Rob Cockerham says:
I wrote an article, with a bunch of photos, which illustrates the very sad state of Walmart stores in Sacramento. It's widely known, but I thought it might be a good idea to document the current state of my local stores and call out the billionaire owners to do a better job with their properties.
I got thrown out after 330 pictures.
Officer Perez from the Elk Grove police department approached me and said that he had been summoned because someone was "taking pictures of women." Two more officers arrived on the scene and asked to look through my photos, which I allowed. I was asked if I lived in Elk Grove or was just visiting.
I believe the officer took this photo as she attempted to view the photos. She clicked through them. "They are just pictures of trash."
I explained that I was taking photos for this article I was writing called "Get Your Shit Together Walmart", wherein I would document the state of Walmart stores and ask their league of billionaire owners to meet the community standards of cleanliness in their stores. They were not impressed.
"I'm sure your house isn't clean all the time," one officer suggested, defending Walmart.
"True, but I don't invite people over when it is a mess," wasn't my actual reply.
Officer Perez told me that taking photos was against the rules at Walmart and told me that I would have to leave Walmart and not return.
Excellent collection of DIY geeky and arty mailboxes. "22 unusual and creative mailboxes you don’t see everyday" (via MAKE)
Given a standard Tetris engine (which drops pieces in a pseudorandom order, has previews, and allows holding), this method will allow you to play Tetris forever. As always, the most fascinating thing about this is the specialized vocabulary used to describe the method:
Worst case bag distributions such as H?XX?X? and H?XXX?? deserve a special mention. The first piece 'H' denotes a piece which must be placed in Hold in order to follow the STZ loop procedure. Pieces from the LJO loop are denoted by '?', and the remaining pieces are denoted by 'X'. Using 3 previews and Hold, it is only possible to see the first 4 pieces of the bag before the second piece enters the screen. This means you only see H?XX, and only know the first piece of the LJO loop. Because H must be put in Hold, you are forced to make a decision without knowing the order of the rest of the LJO loop. If the O comes first, you can follow the procedure above without problems. The rest of the time you will run into complications like this:
Craig Owens writes about the quest to find a "last big secret" in the mysterious, epic game Shadow of the Colossus.
Time and time again he'd load the game, steer Agro towards this postcard-perfect view, and then dismount from the steed. While Agro trotted away quietly, he would carefully walk up to one of the many rocks overhanging the edge of the bluff. And he'd wait, watching the birds fly by. And then Ozzymandias would jump into the sky.
Sounds kind of like asking Sony for updates on when development-hell sequel The Last Guardian will be released.
TOPSY TURVY WORLD is one of the new titles from Flying Eye, the kids' imprint of London's wonderful NoBrow publishing. Like the rest of the line (recently reviewed titles include Welcome to Your Awesome Robot, Monsters and Legends and Akissi), Topsy Turvy World is brilliantly conceived, beautifully executed, and not quite like anything else in kids' publishing today.
Topsy Turvy World is a wordless collection of surreal paintings presented as two-page spreads. Though there's no story per se, the paintings do progress from the merely whimsical to the outright bizarre. The artist, Atak (a pseudonym for the German illustrator Hans-Georg Barber) manages to make things weirder and weirder without even hinting at horror, which is a great trick and makes this a perfect picture book for small kids like my daughter, who experienced unvarnished delight as we snuggled up at bedtime, working our way through all the strange and funny situations depicted on each page (the final spread is a real crescendo!).
Topsy Turvy World is already out in the UK, and will hit the USA on June 11 (you can pre-order it now). The nice folks at Flying Eye were kind enough to supply some samples to go with this review -- check them out below the jump!
TOPSY TURVY WORLD [Flying Eye]