William S. Burroughs: "A Thanksgiving Prayer" (1986)

Uncle Bill, please lead us in A Thanksgiving Prayer.

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Watch a woman get 11 tattoos representing American tattoo history

Tattoo artist Clae Welch gives Casey Lubin eleven tattoos, in the styles of representative American tattoo artists from each decade in the last century. (WatchCut Video)

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Can you pass this personal financial literacy test?

Standard & Poor’s, Gallup, the World Bank, and George Washington University gave a five-question test on personal financial concepts to 150,000 people in more than 140 countries. Only 33% of people passed by demonstrating competency in three out of the four topics covered: risk, inflation, interest, and compound interest. Here's the quiz:

1. Risk Diversification: Question: Suppose you have some money. Is it safer to put your money into one business or investment, or to put your money into multiple businesses or investments?

2. Inflation: Question: Suppose over the next 10 years the prices of the things you buy double. If your income ALSO doubles, will you be able to buy less than you can buy today, the same as you can buy today, OR more than you can buy today?

3. Numeracy and Comparison (Debt): Question: Suppose you need to borrow $100. Which is the lower amount to pay back: $105 or $100 plus three percent?

4. Interest Compounding (Saving): Question: Suppose you put money in the bank for two years and the bank agrees to add 15 percent per year to your account. Will the bank add MORE money to your account the second year than it did the first year, or will it add the same amount of money both years?

5. Interest Compounding (Saving and Numeracy): Question: Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the bank adds 10 percent per year to the account. How much money would you have in the account after five years if you did not remove any money from the account?

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Man wearing full Amish garb clocks great time in marathon


This is Gordonville, Pennsylvania resident Leroy Stolzfus, 22, who recently finished the Harrisburg Marathon in three hours, 5 minutes and 45 seconds, close to what it would take for him to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He did it wearing his traditional Amish clothing.

Stolzfus told Penn Live that his nontraditional running garb doesn't bug him one bit. "In the summer heat, he said he tries to drink more water, but he doesn't do anything 'out of the ordinary.'"

"Leroy Stolzfus clocks a 3:05 at Harrisburg Marathon in full Amish garb" (Penn Live)

photo by Daniel Zampogna, PennLive Read the rest

What do bats and skateboarders have in common?

Bats and skateboarders have something special in common. They both use inertia to land their tricks which, in a bat's case, means landing upside down.

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Watch this film about living with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) by a filmmaker who has it


Don't miss this amazing film.

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Kamasi Washington and The Mountain Goats to play 2016 Noise Pop Music Festival in SF


Kamasi Washington, 34, is a saxophonist and composer who is carrying the spiritual jazz torch pioneered by the likes of John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, Albert Ayler, and Stanley Cowell. But his sound is not a retro trip. Washington, who has also played with Flying Lotus, Snoop Dogg, Herbie Hancock, and Kendrick Lamar, recently released his three hour album, aptly titled Epic. It's an immersive, post-post-bop modal groove that is utterly and entirely contemporary. Dig the performance above, recorded this summer for NPR's Jazz Night in America.

I was thrilled when our friends at San Francisco's Noise Pop Music Festival announced that Washington will be part of this year's killer lineup for the musical extravaganza taking place February 19-28 at clubs around the city. So far, the schedule also includes performances by The Mountain Goats, Parquet Courts, Vince Staples, The Cave Singers, Caucus, The Thermals, Film School, Diane Coffee, Wild Ones, Beacon, Astronauts, Etc., Palehound, and Heartwatch.

More details: Noise Pop Music Festival

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How to cook a marijuana marinated turkey


Happy Danksgiving!

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Last chance to buy a TV-B-Gone!


BB pal Mitch Altman informs us that he's ceased manufacturing on his marvelous invention the TV-B-Gone, a keychain remote control that turns off any television with a push of the button. It's great fun in sports bars, airports, restaurants, and wherever else there's an idiot box that annoys you! Grab one now because when they're gone, you'll have to make your own (also great fun). Mitch writes:

In 2003 I quit my job to explore ways of making a living doing what I love doing. It was kind of scary, since I had no idea how I would make enough money after quitting my work. But I knew that I had to quit doing what was only OK, to make time to explore what I truly love. One thing I knew was that I wanted to design and make one TV-B-Gone remote control -- just for me. I wanted to be able to turn TVs off in public places!

It took me a year and a half to make the first TV-B-Gone remote control. And when I did, I went all over San Francisco turning TVs off everywhere I went -- and enjoying the hell out of it! And, of course my friends all wanted one. So, I made them for all of my friends. But, oddly, most of their friends wanted one. And when it turned out that many of the friends of my friends' friends also wanted one, I thought it would be interesting to make a bunch.

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Bizarre mechanical techno music machine driven by a DJ turntable


Graham Dunning made this fantastic techno music-making contraption in which a DJ turntable triggers a variety of mechanical percussive sounds that are fed through effects boxes. Incredible!

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Friday eve in SF: "100 Years of Robot Art and Science in the Bay Area"


Tomorrow evening (11/20), San Francisco's de Young Museum will celebrate "100 Years of Robot Art and Science in the Bay Area" with an event organized by UC Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg and Alexander Rose, executive director of the Long Now Foundation. The program includes a "Long Conversation," sort of a relay race discussion that I'll be participating in along with ten interesting people whose work is at the intersection of art and technology! Bonus: My friend Kal Spelletich will also bring two of his "praying robots" seen above! Best of all, it's free and starts early (6:30pm)!

Participants include:

Josette Melchor (Grey Area Foundation for the Arts)

Dorothy R. Santos (writer, curator)

Tim Roseborough (artist, musician, former Kimball Artist-in-Residence)

John Markoff (author of Machines of Loving Grace)

Karen Marcelo (dorkbotSF)

David Pescovitz (Boing Boing and Institute for the Future)

Catharine Clark (Catharine Clark Gallery)

Alexander Rose (director, Long Now Foundation)

Pieter Abbeel (professor, Computer Sciences, UC Berkeley)

Terry Winograd (Computer Science department, Stanford Univeristy)

Kal Spelletich (Seemen)

With special VJ Jenny Odell

Ticket Information

Complimentary tickets for the long conversation are distributed beginning at 5:30 pm at the Koret Auditorium entrance. Seating is limited. Tickets are first come, first served.

Programming and general admission to the permanent collection galleries are free of charge during Friday Nights at the de Young. A discounted $15 ticket is required to visit the special exhibition galleries.

Long Conversation (de Young)

“100 Years of Robot Art and Science in the Bay Area” Long Conversation November 20th 02015 (The Long Now Foundation) Read the rest

Happy birthday, Mickey Mouse: creepy photo and first two cartoons!

Above, The Mickey Mouse Club, circa 1930. Below, Mickey's first appearance, a May 15, 1928, test screening of the cartoon Plane Crazy. The film wasn't picked up by a distributor and as a result we celebrate Mickey's birthday on November 18 because that day in 1928 was the first public appearance of the mouse, in Steamboat Willie (below).

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Listen to the soldiers' musical soundtrack of the Vietnam War


We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a new book by veteran Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, about soldiers' musical memories and the impact of James Brown, Eric Burdon, Country Joe McDonald, and other popular artists on the Vietnam experience and our understanding of it.

At KQED's Next Avenue, Bradley shared the "Top 10 Songs of Vietnam" mentioned by the hundreds soldiers they interviewed for the book. Here are the top three with Bradley's comments on them:

1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals

No one saw this coming. Not the writers of the song — the dynamic Brill Building duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; not the group who recorded it — The Animals and their iconic lead singer, Eric Burdon; not the 3 million soldiers who fought in Vietnam who placed extra importance on the lyrics. But the fact is that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is regarded by most Vietnam vets as our We Shall Overcome, says Bobbie Keith, an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Vietnam from 1967-69. Or as Leroy Tecube, an Apache infantryman stationed south of Chu Lai in 1968, recalls: “When the chorus began, singing ability didn’t matter; drunk or sober, everyone joined in as loud as he could.” No wonder it became the title of our book!

2. I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die Rag by Country Joe & The Fish

Misunderstood and misinterpreted by most Americans, Country Joe’s iconic song became a flashpoint for disagreements about the war and its politics.

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"America's Best Bathroom" is a small town's public toilet

The small town of Minturn, Colorado won the 2015 America's Best Bathroom Contest put on by Cintas, a company that handles restroom cleaning and supplies among other things. Minter's Town Planning Director Janet Hawkinson was involved in the design of the restrooms, inspired by the entrances to gold and silver mines. From the Denver Post:

The two restrooms, one for men and one for women, sit a few feet apart and feature fabricated wood pieces — 320 different pieces total — on the sides where they face each other to mimic an adit, or an entrance to a mine in honor of Minturn's rich mining history. Inside the bathrooms, walls are painted turquoise and copper and feature steel butterflies on the ceiling. Conception, design and construction were all done locally.

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Man built an incredible underground bunker in his backyard


British maker and video host Colin Furze dug up his backyard and built a fantastic underground bunker under his lawn to save himself from the apocalypse or at least hide out and play videogames, rock out on his drum kit, and chow down on canned goods.

"There are more things to add such as air filtration and different power source but it's a great space," Furze says.

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Live in your very own haunted mental asylum


For $1.5 million, you can be the proud new owner of Westland, Michigan's Eloise Complex, a building that started in 1839 as a poorhouse and has served as a tuberculosis ward and insane asylum before closing in 1984. During the Great Depression, it had as many as 10,000 residents. Oh, did I mention that it's haunted?

The main five-story building is 150,000 square feet wile the site contains a 19th century fire station, decommissioned power plant, and two maintenance building. Bonus, it backs up to an eighteen hole championship golf course!

Here's the real estate listing.

"Own a former mental asylum" (MLive)

"Haunted Former Mental Asylum For Sale in Michigan" (Mysterious Universe)

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Amazing face transplant gives firefighter new mug


In 2001, the roof of a flaming building fell on volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison, burning his firefighting mask onto his head. As a result, Hardison, now 41, has spent more than a decade without a face. Now, Hardison has the face of David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old who died in a bicycling accident and donated much of his body for transplant. Surgeon Eduardo Rodriguez and a team at the New York University Langone Medical Center performed the facial transplant, "the most extensive" in history according to the hospital.

Hardison also received a new scalp, ears, ear canals, chin and cheek bones, and Rodebaugh's nose. Previously unable to close his eyes totally, he now has eyelids and also muscles for blinking.

New York University paid for the transplant, totaling $850,000 to one million dollars.

"Biography of a Face" (New York Magazine via CNN) Read the rest

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