Striking new selfies from the InSight lander on Mars

Since the InSight robotic lander touched down on Mars last week, engineers have been putting its scientific instruments through their paces. This included extending the lander's 6 foot (2 meter) robotic arm that will be used to deploy instruments and take images of the Martian surface.

"Today we can see the first glimpses of our workspace," said mission principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

People, these images are from the surface of Mars! MARS!

NASA's Mars InSight Flexes Its Arm (NASA)

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Impressive upcycling of a CVS receipt

As we know, the absurdly long CVS receipts are due to the rise of data mining and target marketing. A fellow from Lakewood, Ohio recently Tweeted his ingenious upcycling of one of those ridiculous receipts. From News 5 Cleveland:

Andrew said he got the idea quite on accident – he bought a few items (less than 10, he said) from the Rocky River CVS, then laid the receipt out on his bedroom floor to take a picture of it to send to his friends.

He came back later and actually thought the receipt was one of the blinds that had fallen on the floor. “…they’re cheap blinds so they fall off pretty often,” he said in a chat with News 5.

“…and when I realized it was actually the receipt, I thought it would be funny to see if it fit in the window, and it happened to fit perfectly,” he said.

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Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham dissects "You Can Go Your Own Way"

I'm a lifelong fan of Fleetwood Mac's California cocaine trilogy of Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, and Tusk. In the new 150th episode of Hrishikesh Hirway's excellent Song Exploder podcast, Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham (who the band recently booted out after 44 years) deconstructs the emotional mindset-- it's about his tumultuous relationship with Stevie Nicks -- and brilliant musicianship behind the 1977 classic "You Can Go Your Own Way" from Rumors. Listen below.

Also announced in this episode, the wonderful Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down will take over as Song Exploder's host in 2019! Congrats Thao!

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Gorgeous free mix of contemporary and archival "world music" and avant-garde soundscapes

Composer and producer Josiah Steinbrick -- who has worked with the likes of Devendra Banhart and Danger Mouse along with releasing his own music -- is also a rigorous record collector and curator of all varieties of outernational music -- ancient and contemporary -- and experimental/avant-garde sounds from around the globe. Through his Instagram feed, Josiah has turned me on to countless new artists, musical cultures, and sonic experiences. This week, ARP's Cult Cargo program on NTS Radio presented Josiah's mix of "pan-global contempo/archival selections from the past 12 months of vari-functional sculptural laments, hypno-pulses, and abstractions in HD." Far fucking out. Listen below.

Playlist:

TOMOKO SAUVAGE Clepsydra

REX ILLUSIVII Dream

KӢR Az Esam Loza

DISCO VUMBI Jo-Docuroma

APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL Morse Beat Roar

FRANÇOIS BAYLE Toupie Dans Le Ciel

PALTA, SPORTS Forårets Skørhed

CHAM-PANG Tant Pis Pour Les Heures De Sommeil

PANAQUIRE / OSWALDO LARES QuitipláS

STINE JANVIN Zen Garden

MADANG / RAGNAR JOHNSON Boma, Kaean

SUBA Wayang 04

WRONG WATER Cotton

KONRAD KRAFT Arc 12

PHEW Sonic Morning = 音の朝

RAMZI Evora

UWALMASSA Untitled 07

NSRD Kādā Rītā (One Morning)

NAM DI VILLAGE / LAURENT JEANNEAU Lantene (Moon) Women

ARTURO RUIZ DEL POZO Tarka En Brukas

NOZOMU MATSUMOTO Climatotherapy

NIAGARA Damasco

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Watch David Lynch's weird TV commercial for Adidas

David Lynch has directed many television commercials but this one from 1993 for Adidas, titled "The Wall," gives any surreal perfume commercials (including Lynch's own) a run for their money. (See what I did there?) You can find a directory and clips of Lynch's other commercial, ad, and promo work here.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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Satanic statue part of holiday decorations at Illinois Capitol

The Satanic Temple of Chicago has installed a stately and elegant statue at the Illinois Capitol between the Christmas tree and Hanukkah menorah. Predictably, some people are pissed. Approximately 4.5 feet tall, the statue features a snake around an arm with the hand clutching an apple. The pedestal is emblazoned with the statement "Knowledge is the greatest gift." From CNN:

"We feel it's a First Amendment issue, we have other displays there -- a Hanukkah menorah and Nativity scene," (Secretary of State's office spokesperson Dave) Drucker said. "If you have displays of one type you need to be consistent and allow everyone to do so, aside from hate speeches and other unacceptable things."

The Satanic Temple says that its members are atheists who are often interested in community activism, according to the group's website.

"We do not promote a belief in a personal Satan," the website says. "To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions." The group says it embraces the "struggle for justice" and believes people should "strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures," according to its website.

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Far out t-shirts that celebrate the SETI Institute!

Is there life out there? That's one of the mind-boggling questions that the SETI Institute explores through its scientific research, all the while inspiring our own curiosity and sense of wonder about our place in the universe. SETI stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and the official mission of the organization, founded in 1984, "is to explore, understand and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe and the evolution of intelligence." Support their efforts with these far out new t-shirts from the SETI Institute's Chop Shop Store.

Above, the iconic SETI Logo tee. Below, a graphic expression of SETI pioneer Frank Drake's "Drake Equation" used to estimate the number of technological civilizations that could have developed in our galaxy. And lastly, a design honoring the scientists whose pioneering work underpins the search for extraterrestrial intelligence: Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Carl Sagan, Frank Drake, and Jill Tarter.

SETI Institute t-shirts (Chop Shop Store)

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(FAKE) The most intense street fight you will ever see

UPDATE: Alas, it's funny but it's fake.

Watch below. A triumphant Manhattan moment. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. I'm going to see it again and again and again and again and again.

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Disgusting Food Museum coming to Los Angeles

Sweden's Disgusting Food Museum is opening a touring exhibition in Los Angeles's Architecture and Design Museum. The exhibit runs from December 9 to February 17. "What we find disgusting has to be learned -- it's purely cultural," says curator/psychologist Samuel West. This is a fine opportunity to taste foods you've been curious about, like fermented shark, durian, maggot-infested cheese (above), bull penis (seen below), or mouse wine (also below). From CNN:

...American favorites such as root beer and Jell-O salad sit in the museum alongside fried tarantula and cooked guinea pigs. "If you give root beer to a Swede they will spit it out and say it tastes like toothpaste, but I think it's delicious," he notes...

While many food-related "museums" of late have mostly just been opportunities for novel selfies, West is adamant that the Disgusting Food Museum is there to help people learn and think critically, not just to pose for photos. The downside? "One of my worries that it will start stinking in here," West says.

Also see posts about Samuel West's previous Museum of Failure here and here.

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Meet the proprietor of the last chess supply store in New York City

Imad Khachan is proprietor of Chess Forum, the last chess shop in New York City.

“When no other place will welcome you, you have a seat [here],” Khachan says.

Khachan is the subject of King of the Night, a short documentary above by Molly Brass and Anne Hollowday.

(The Atlantic)

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Watch Stephen Hillenburg's fantastic pre-SpongeBob student animation from 1992

In 1992, seven years before the premier of SpongeBob SquarePants, the late Stephen Hillenburg was enrolled in CalArts' Experimental Animation Program. As a student, he created his first cartoons, including "The Green Beret" (1992) seen above, which landed him his job at Nickelodeon, working on Rocko's Modern Life and, later, developing SpongeBob SquarePants.

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Archaeologist dug up a 500-year-old skeleton wearing boots

Archaeologists at an excavation site for London's Thames Tideway Tunnel (the "super sewer") dug up a 500-year-old skeleton who died with his boots on. Based on the location of the find, the boots, and other signs, the fellow may have been a fisherman or sailor. From National Geographic:

"It’s extremely rare to find any boots from the late 15th century, let alone a skeleton still wearing them," says Beth Richardson of the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA). "And these are very unusual boots for the period—thigh boots, with the tops turned down. They would have been expensive, and how this man came to own them is a mystery. Were they secondhand? Did he steal them? We don't know."..

The position of the body—face down, right arm over the head, left arm bent back on itself—suggests that the man wasn’t deliberately buried. It’s also unlikely that he would have been laid to rest in leather boots, which were expensive and highly prized.

In light of those clues, archaeologists believe the man died accidentally and his body was never recovered, although the cause of death is unclear. Perhaps he fell into the river and couldn't swim. Or possibly he became trapped in the tidal mud and drowned...

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Can an AI determine if a song is danceable?

BB pal Lissa Soep of YR Media (formerly Youth Radio) writes:

Our Interactive team delved into Spotify's algorithm to discover how songs on the platform are scored for their "danceability." We were intrigued by this use of Artificial Intelligence to quantify something as personal and cultural as what makes us want to move our bodies. So we built a tool that invites users to rate a curated playlist for each song’s “danceability” and compare that rating against the one Spotify produced algorithmically. Our writer Deborah Raji uses the project to raise fascinating questions about what it means for AI to be making its way into so many corners of our lives.

"Can You Teach AI to Dance?" (YR Media)

(Image: detail of illustration by Symone Woodruff-Hardy) Read the rest

China launching lunar spacecraft to test growing plants on the dark side of the Moon

Later this week, China plans to launch its Chang'e-4 spacecraft to the far side of the lunar surface. The aim is to land a rover on the dark side of the moon for the first time. Blocked from direct communication with the Earth, the lander and rover will depend on China's Queqiao communication satellite launched in May. From Scientific American:

The lander will also conduct the first radio astronomy experiments from the far side of the Moon—and the first investigations to see whether plants will grow in the low-gravity lunar environment...

The ultimate goal of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) is to create a Moon base for future human exploration there, although it has not announced when that might happen.

One of (the experiments) will test whether potato and thale-cress (Arabidopsis) seeds sprout and photosynthesize in a sealed, climate-controlled environment in the low gravity on the lunar surface.

“When we take the step towards long-term human habitation on the Moon or Mars, we will need greenhouse facilities to support us, and will need to live in something like a biosphere,” says Anna-Lisa Paul, a horticultural scientist at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

(image: CNSA rendering of Chang'e 4 Rover on the Moon) Read the rest

Incredible images of NASA spacecraft's arrival at asteroid this morning

After traveling two billion miles over more than two years, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has arrived at asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft will survey the asteroid, collect a sample, and bring it back home in 2023. From NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona:

This series of images taken by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft shows Bennu in one full rotation from a distance of around 50 miles (80 km). The spacecraft’s PolyCam camera obtained the thirty-six 2.2-millisecond frames over a period of four hours and 18 minutes.

Below is a set of images compiled during OSIRIS-REx's approach. Learn more at: ISIRIS-REx: Asteroid Sample Return Mission.

From NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona:

From Aug. 17 through Nov. 27 the spacecraft’s PolyCam camera imaged Bennu almost daily as the spacecraft traveled 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km) toward the asteroid. The final images were obtained from a distance of around 40 miles (65 km). During this period, OSIRIS-REx completed four maneuvers slowing the spacecraft’s velocity from approximately 1,100 mph (491 m/sec) to 0.10 mph (0.04 m/sec) relative to Bennu, which resulted in the slower approach speed at the end of the video.

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Watch this loving restoration of a rusty old hammer to its former glory

Steve of Miller Knives found an extremely rusty old Estwing hammer at a flea market and restored it beautifully. The process is the product. Read the rest

A 7th grader's a cappella cover of Nirvana's Nevermind... all of it

In the mid-1990s, a 7th grader named Tom Clark gifted his buddy a cassette containing his cover of Nirvana's then-new album Nevermind. All of it. A cappella. In 2008, the recipient released the cassette to the world. Above is Tom Clark's "Nevermind" and the story is below:

so i got a little story for you. early to mid nineties. i am in 7th grade. art class. you know how you really get to know the other 3 or 5 people at yr table. you become friends. well, this young gent and i had a passion for a little underground band-then known as nirvana.

at some point i lent this lad a random mixtape i had lying around. it probably had bad rock music on it. he lost the tape...

to repay me...FOR SOME REASON HE THOUGHT THAT HE WOULD MAKE ME A TAPE OF HIMSELF SINGING THE ENTIRE ALBUM 'NEVERMIND' BY NIRVANA---a cappella STYLE!!!

...recorded in a karoake machine...complete with puberty-filled voice cracking and occasional incorrect lyrics. pause and record style editing.

(via /r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

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