Thursday, December 30, 2010

That's Art

Not sure if I'd call it sculpture or photography, or what exactly.  Then again I'm not an art critic, I just know what I like when I see it.

This is pretty freaking cool...

Water Sculpture from Shinichi Maruyama on Vimeo.

The artist in question is Shinichi Maruyama.  You can read an interview with him at The Morning News.

(via kottke)

I Give Up - The IPhone Is The Future

At the upcoming CES these guys will premier their clip on case and app witch turn the IPhone into a clinical quality ECG device capable of recording and wirelessly transmitting the readings anywhere...

The application makes a lot of sense, and it's super freaking cool.

Technology man, wow.

(via MC)

Rich & Talented In LA

A friend sent this video my way a while ago and I finally got the chance to check it out during the holiday lull.  You'll probably chuckle, especially if you like sports, and Seinfeld, and in this video if you enjoy jokes about LA...

There are a bunch more in the Narrow World of Sports series if you're interested.

(via EH)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There's Bombs In Them Thar Swamps

Well one bomb anyway, but it's a big one.  It seems that in 1961 the Air Force managed to let a couple of nukes drop in the Nahunta Swamp near Goldsboro, NC.  The pilot was only following procedure, his bomber having lost a wing in a storm.  One of the nukes wafted down on a parachute and the military picked it up quickly.  The other one, well it's still down in the muck somewhere...

The one they got back.

Good thing they didn't go off, we wouldn't be able to stop at Wilbur's on the way to the coast if they had...

(via Restoration Systems who had the picture and links to the wikipedia rundown on the incident)

Monday, December 20, 2010

File This Under Interesting Read

Now that finals season has wrapped for another semester in the academic sphere here are a couple of articles to take a look at while your brain is on hiatus.  If, you're a student or professor that is, otherwise these are just another thing to add to your (hopefully) already long reading list.

You may have caught wind of a recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education by a soon to be former term paper writer for hire.  His piece is worth reading, if only for its tone and lambasting of our system of higher education for failing the students it purports to educate (at least some of them).  If you brave the comments section (which, needless to say, is long and occasionally vituperative) your head may explode and you'll find plenty of folks questioning the truth of the story.

One of the more even keeled commenters pointed another essay by a former term paper writer from a couple of  years ago that hits on many of the same points.

Both authors say the students buying the papers are either simply unable to do the work, lazy students who can afford to pay for whatever they want, and non-native English speakers who are often just getting screwed by the system. The authors also discuss the writing process and what goes into writing 50 plus pages in a weekend.

Interesting, and potentially thought provoking reads if you're interested in writing generally and in educational and academic issues at an undergraduate and higher level.

The Shadow Scholar - The Chronicle of Higher Ed
The Term Paper Artist - The Smart Set (interview from On the Media)

The Great Facebook Dilemma

No, not whether you should switch to the newest profile, or which pictures you should tag yourself in.  There are many such dilemmas swirling around for the ever growing facebook community, but deciding whether to friend your parents on facebook is the only one I've seen a super cool flow chart for...

(via @anniecolbert, graphic from holy kaw)

Friday, December 17, 2010

9/11 Hypocrites

Well Jon Stewart has this covered lock, stock, and barrel...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Worst Responders
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

The whole episode is on the issue, I'd show it to you but Comedy Central's codes are once again not working well...
The GOP is an embarrassment to America.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

School Work

Being in grad school means doing lots of work.  Luckily it's fairly targeted so it tends to be more interesting and enjoyable than might otherwise be the case.  Most of the work though isn't anything that makes me feel like sharing.

My latest project is different though.  For an advanced GIS (think google maps, spatial processing and the like) this semester I built a google earth plugin based website that helps visualize the effects of sea level rise.  I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and you should go have a look and play around a bit.

I believe that the project is pretty neat as is but that its greatest potential lies in creating specific sea level rise overlays for selected regions and then constructing the corresponding 3-D buildings for the region in order to visualize sea level rise affects accurately and effectively.

I'd be interested in any thoughts or feedback that you feel like sharing as well.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Metrodome Comes Down

I always wondered what a collapsing dome stadium would look like...


(via kottke)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

China Keeps It Classy

I don't get why China persists in handling human rights issues and civil liberties so poorly.  I know they have a dictatorial communist regime background to work through, but they've done a pretty good job of modernizing and liberalizing the economy and it seems that they should be able to loosen up a bit on the people and thoughts side of things without the country crumbling and without even creating any real threat to the ruling party's grip on power.

But then a Chinese dissident gets the Nobel Peace Prize and the Chinese government goes nuts and handles the PR and the situation generally just about as poorly as they possibly could, especially on an international stage.

Which results in this picture from the Nobel ceremony...

Photo via Maddow Blog

The last time that a Nobel Peace Prize wasn't handed to the laureate or a family member representing them the Nazi's wouldn't let anyone attend.

Nice one China.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It'll Feel Good To Be Working

I came across this somewhere in my online rambles recently. The semester is drawing to a close and the urge to dither instead of finishing up papers is only getting stronger...

I'm not at Fuqua, but I took a class up there this past semester, and mostly I think the options profiled fit the options that a lot of Nicholas School students are eying as they start to think about life after grad school.

Plus it made me laugh, twice.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Go Domesticity!

So I've known the tuck the corners together trick for a while (my fiance taught me) but it never occurred to me that you could fold a fitted sheet this well on your own...

Can you tell it's finals season?

(via kottke)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Take A Stand Already

Well, here we are again with the Dem's showing exactly why I get so frustrated with them.  Given a pretty cut and dry winning position on extending the below $250,000 Bush Tax cuts while letting the millionaires return to paying something slightly closer to their fair share, Obama and the Dem's are getting ready to give it all away.

Ezra Klein has a clear eyed piece on how this happened and why it's such a familiar process at this point, you should read it...

And you should watch this new add running on DC cable and in Iowa:

(video via PL)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Read This Now - Google Strikes Back

So the guy who was scamming for links and a good google ranking by screwing over his customers probably wishes he hadn't given that interview to the NYT.

Google has a post up explaining the options they considered and how they ended up tweaking their algorithm to get smarter and stop rewarding negative links. 

We can say with reasonable confidence that being bad to customers is bad for business on Google. And we will continue to work hard towards a better search.
Nice to see them jump on the problem and embrace it as an opportunity to get better.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Finding Your Way

It can be a big scary world out there and sometimes you just don't have time to fold your map up neatly and tuck it away somewhere safe to keep it from getting bent out of shape.

Thanks to Emanuele Pizzolorusso you can just cram your map in your bag or a pocket and be on your marry way.  Check out Design Boom for more shots...

If you're headed to NYC, London, Berlin, Rome, or Paris you can buy one for the trip.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Only Good Republican

Is apparently a lame duck Republican.  Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) lost to a tea party backed extremist this past round of elections and since then he's been calling things pretty clearly.  Yesterday he went after his climate change denying colleagues...

Think Progress has more on Inglis and his straight shooting of late.

And yes the Holiday Inn Express line makes it all worthwhile.  Not a firebrand talk but a good one.

John McCain's Legacy

Take it away Mr. Stewart and friends...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
It Gets Worse PSA
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Knock on wood that the Daily Show has their act together with embed codes and we can start showing them to you again from time to time...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Read This Now - Andy Harris Makes Me Sick

Steve Benen has the story of a newly elected Republican Congressman who is outraged that he doesn't get his taxpayer subsidized health care until February and wants to know why he can't purchase coverage from the government to cover the gap (that would be a public option).  What makes it even more worthwhile is that Harris spent the entire campaign promising to repeal the Affordable Care Care (that's health care reform if you aren't into the details).

Make sure to read the whole thing, the zinger is worth it.

(via DE)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Time To Read

Grad School is keeping me busy of late and I have no time for pleasure reading, or all the other stay up to date reading that blurs that line so well.  Suffice it to say that the New Yorkers are stacking up.

So it was really nice this weekend to get to hear a great little piece of writing on the radio.  The winner of NPR's most recent round of three minute fiction had just been announced and they read the piece, which was really outstanding, and did a nice interview with the winner and the judge, author Michael Cunningham.

If you're not familiar with three minute fiction, NPR's judge gives a prompt, the first and last lines of the story this time, and you write one that can be read in three minutes (about 600 words).

To read Roosts, by Zach Brockhouse click here.  It's so worth the three minutes...

Remeber those Jordan - Bird Mickey D's Spots?

They could do a new set with Kyle Singer...

I may still have not been to a game, and I'm definitely nonplussed about college sports these days, but that's pretty impressive.

(via LC)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting High

I've always liked this info-graphic from the WaPo on DC's height limits and I thought that I had shared it before but couldn't find it after discussing the limits in a class this morning.  So here you go.  I don't want to get into all of the specifics of the arguments that surround maintaining the limits or loosening, especially considering that I doubt any changes are looming due in no small part to the need for congressional legislation to change the rules.

I will say that I grew up in DC (ok, Takoma Park) and I'm a staunch defender of the limits.  I also find it amusing that it's mostly displaced NYC folks who agitate for a change and that the argument that DC is empty in the evening because it doesn't have enough density is laughable at best.

But enjoy the info-graphic before I get caught up in a rant, and if you must know more check out this post from We Love DC.

Monday, November 8, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be

The Lebron Nike commercial was stupid, but the Cleveland response is priceless and pitch perfect and may never be topped...

You can watch the original commercial here.

(via kottke)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Millenium Falcon Gun Turret To Go

Um this makes me want to get one of those phones...

Hint: make sure you pay attention to the game background, yeah that's it.

Story is at MobileCrunch.

How FDR Rolled

I'm not sure what will come of the next couple of years in terms of American governance, but I think that it's safe to say there will only be more time wasting and name calling and obstruction, and that much much less will be accomplished than was in the past two years.

For all of my complaints about the Obama Administration not throwing its weight around as much as I would have liked, it's worth noting how much they did get done.  Ezra Klein (who you should be reading) did a better job of that than I could a couple of days ago, make sure to skim it at least.

In terms of electoral politics and talking points though it's hard to argue with this angry take over on First Draft.  I'll give you the ending but you should check it out, it's short and cathartic and quite blue (in the language sense).

You had majorities. You had power and you told us you were powerless. Why would anyone reward that with more power? Why would anyone think that's a good idea?
It was also interesting to hear Rob Reich talking about whether this was 1994 and Clinton or 1936 and FDR on the radio the other day.  Reich says Obama needs to look at how FDR rolled if he wants to get reelected, and I think he's right. 

The piece also played a great clip from a 1936 speech that FDR made that I had astonishingly never heard before.  The choice bits are below, you can read the prepared text and listen to the whole thing at UVA's archive site.

Reminds a bit of another favorite speech of mine.

(First Draft rant via Dependable Erection)

Go Deep

I was just going to put this link on twitter but it's over capacity, and while the birds lifting the whale is kind of a cute graphic, I don't feel like waiting around for them to get their act together this morning.

Instead I'll tell everyone here that Design Boom has a great set of pics from The Underbelly Project which got a nice mention in the NYT earlier in the week but with less art.

'the underbelly project' by workhorse and PAC
(above) by boxi and ethos
image © luna park
Lots more to see if you click through.

There's probably an interesting reflection to the relative merits of sharing via blog or twitter and how down interfaces affect the relationship buried in all of this...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Best Headline Ever

Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be

The article isn't bad either.

(via EESK)

What A Wreck

Check out this awesome boat...

The awesomeness level is increased with the knowledge that it's a sculpture, and that it moves along like a boat.  It's called love love and you can get the details, including a video on artist Julien Berthier's site.

A little Captain Jack Sparrowish no... (and I can't find a video of him stepping onto the dock as the raft sinks, so use your imagination)

(via RC)

And Maybe We Shouldn't Let Everyone Vote

I'm actually not going to make that argument, I'm a pretty staunch advocate of fuller and more direct democracy (at least in theory).  That said this recent piece of polling from Bloomberg is just another reason to not be surprised with the outcomes of American elections.  In short most voters are stupid and highly uninformed...

52-19 likely voters told Bloomberg that income taxes had gone up for the middle class under the Obama Administration.

And yet...

The Obama administration has cut taxes -- largely for the middle class -- by $240 billion since taking office on Jan. 20, 2009. A program aimed at families earning less than $150,000 that was contained in the stimulus package lowered the burden for 95 percent of working Americans by $116 billion, or about $400 per year for individuals and $800 for married couples. Other measures include breaks for college education, moderate- income families and the unemployed and incentives to promote renewable energy. 
That's a pretty unflattering piece of info right there.

(via HTWW)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I voted last week, and it was terrific.  North Carolina allows people to vote early for most of October, it's a chance to avoid the hassle and crowds that often accompany election day.  And while I didn't take advantage of it, early voting is when you can register and vote in one fell swoop in NC.

If you haven't voted yet go do it, and if you're in North Carolina keep this in mind when you're filling in your ovals...

via the Indy

Elaine Marshall on the other hand is a pretty accomplished lady, she got my vote.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saving Money, Saving The Planet

People like to save money, if you show them how to do it (especially if it's easy) they will.  It never ceases to amaze me what a poor job of using this piece of information environmentalists do.  If you can get folks to cut their energy usage because it saves them money, do it.  Don't bother with a bid spiel about how it will save the planet or combat global warming or so on.  People don't need to care about saving the planet to help do so.

Why climate change prevention advocates aren't more results oriented is a mystery that I've given up trying to solve.  I'm with Richard Branson on this one who told the New Yorker (in a great innovators issue profile a few years ago) that we will eventually save the planet because it will make the people who come up with the solutions very, very rich.  That works on a small scale too.  Showing people that if they change to CFL bulbs, unplug electronics when not in use, and turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees they'll save on their utility bills is the same thing only on a micro scale.

Saving the world is nice and all, but financial incentives are powerful motivators.

So it was great to see the front page piece in the NYT last Tuesday about a group on Kansas that has taken this tact and successfully gotten several small towns to reduce their energy consumption and their bills, all without mentioning climate change or saving the planet. 

Getting 5% energy reductions in the Midwest, where only 48% of people agree that climate change is an issue is an amazing feat.  This is a project that needs instant replication everywhere. 

Be sure to read the whole story.  The NYT also has a page for the Beyond Fossil Fuels series of which this story is a part, and a slide show of the Kansas towns involved in the project.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams Will Never Be Able To Leave His House

Once he sees all of this 'Muslim Garb' everywhere, check out the new 'Muslim Garb' tumblr...

Like the king of Jordan, actor Alexander Siddig is also fond of Muslim Star Trek garb.  
(via TPM)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Yep that's a crock of shit name.  Jack Black's latest is either going to be a lot of fun or kind of terrible, it's too early to tell.  Either way we're probably in for quite the ride...

Episode two is up already.  You can read an interview with some of the folks behind the project, including HCAN, at Speakeasy.

Yep, that's America Ferrera.

Read This Now - Ladies & Gentlemen, Kevin Drum

I haven't been following Kevin Drum since he moved on to MoJo.  I don't remember why exactly, but it probably had to do with how his posts and feed appeared in my google reader.

It seems that I may have been missing some good stuff though, if his latest is any measure of what he has been up to...

But you can't just say this, even though it's plainly true. You have to pretend to take conservative arguments about this seriously. You have to write detailed responses, complete with quotes from law professors and health experts. You have to pretend that this is an actual issue, not just a handy attack point. And so we all spend mountains of time in a sort of pundit fantasyland where we all agree to talk about stuff that we all know nobody truly cares about.
Go read the whole thing to find out what exactly he's talking about.  Or don't, he's made his point in that graph alone.

(via EK)

Read This Now - Who's On Your TV Screen

This unscientific and admittedly imprecise glimpse of night time talk show guests this fall is still worth a look, if only for the quality of the design.

I was pretty impressed with the presentation and with the straight forward text outlining the limitations of the project.  It would be interesting to see a bigger and more robust study looking at guests across a wider range of shows in a variety of time slots...

(via Speakeasy)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Read This Now - Stepping Backwards Into Blindness

We also could call this one Republicans can't handle the truth.  From the NYT lead editorial today...

With one exception, none of the Republicans running for the Senate — including the 20 or so with a serious chance of winning — accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming. 
Be afraid people, it's your future they are messing with...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day - Water

Blog Action Day this year brings us back around to a topic that I should be focusing on more; water.

I still recall the tag line - our most precious resource - whenever the topic comes up and honestly I could ramble on for hours about various water issues and the importance of recognizing the challenges we face and choosing to take action to protect our water resources (I could also go on and on about water and the coastal hazards that it engenders).

Perhaps more so than any other water issue we should be paying attention to our clean drinking water resources.  We need to be planning for a hotter future with more people who need water.  We'll have to change many of our water use habits and landscaping will be important, as will storing water in reservoirs in ways that don't threaten the health of the attached ecosystems (we need to avoid the old canard of biting the hand that feeds us).

The recent scary Hungarian toxic sludge incident should focus our thoughts on protecting our water.  The most recent coverage of that tragedy in the NYT highlights the dangers posed by aging soviet-era facilities that threaten similar incidents.  Closer to home we need to be aware of the dangers posed by coal ash and it's impoundment in similar storage ponds that are equally vulnerable and can also wreak havoc on our water resources.

I don't have the time to get in depth on the issue and Earth Justice does a much better job than I could anyway.  So head over to their site and learn a little bit about the trouble with coal ash and what you can do to help protect your drinking water.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Raul Nuez is this year's Union of Concerned Scientists Science Idol, his cartoon will be the cover of the UCS calendar for the next year...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Read This Now - Quenching A Food Desert

Food deserts are areas without easy access to fresh food, particularly produce.  They are unfortunately common in lower socio-demographic urban neighborhoods throughout the country.

In Burlington, VT though, the Diggers Mirth Veggie Truck is providing some relief.

Barry Estabrook rode along a few weeks back and he shares the story.

While you're at it you should check out the Intervale Center and have a peek from above.

Go West!

If only it were real...

This is pretty fantastic, it has been bouncing around facebook and emails among our generation, I wonder if you can get a copy of the game to play on a computer these days...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting Greener, Environmentally And Financially

To be honest I can't recall if Euro's come in green.  But the little central Italian village of Tocco da Casauria is making a pretty penny with it's new green power installations, and it's also drawing international attention.  It was great to see this article as the above the fold front page lead in the NYT yesterday...

Apparently the NYT has it set up so that I can't embed the photo here, instead of pulling it down and putting it back up, I'll just say that it was a neat little article.  The residents of the town have embraced the renewable power and since the excess power is being purchased for the grid the local taxes for trash removal and some other city services are being paid for.  All in all, it is a small but remarkable and promising success story.

No you didn't miss the link, if the NYT doesn't want to share the artwork for the story then I won't link to it.

A History Lesson

Of sorts I suppose...

Kottke was right, this was the best thing I saw today.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Bigger Boat

Well, NOAA has one now.  Actually they've had the R/V Henry B Bigelow for a while now but she's just making her way to Woods Hole, the ship's putative home port. 

The Cape Cod Times has a nice little rundown about the new ship and her capabilities, automated fish species sorting anyone?  Flat screens that prompt researchers to sample specific fish based on research requests and associated printers that run off id bar codes for the samples? The Bigelow is the boat for you.

I also enjoyed the mention that since the Bigelow is bigger than her predecessor and therefore trawls more slowly 630 side by side trawls were performed in order to construct a conversion matrix so that the newer records would remain compatible with the older data.

You can see the official NOAA specs here.

The Cape Cod Times ran a nice graphic as well...

You're An American, Act Like It

Fresh from the wilds of the internets comes this great Uncle Sam poster...

HTWW had this little nugget up the other day, but they couldn't find it's original source or creator.  Be sure to let them (or us) know if you have the info.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Read This Now - Getting Raw

Tony Bourdain has a new book out, or maybe it's been out for a while but I just heard about it.  I thoroughly enjoyed Kitchen Confidential and after this rambling, eviscerating, and ultimately redeeming review from another of my favorite food writers (Michael Ruhlman), Medium Raw is on my reading list.

Ruhlman closes it out thusly, be sure to check out how he gets there:

But the facts are these. In the same way that great food writing is about more than just the food, so too is Medium Raw commentary on matters well beyond the incestuous world of restaurants and cooks. This book of memoir, travel writing, food writing and reportage is entertaining, informative, thought provoking, and genuinely artful in its structure and satisfactions.  He would surely lose what little respect he has for me were I to say this to his face, but Bourdain proves himself here to be the most insightful commentator on food and restaurants and chefs writing today.  By far.  By a mile.  I seriously hope this is the last book he writes.  He’s a freak of nature, and somehow it’s just best that way, that he remain untouchable.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Hundred And Fifty Nine Seconds

Of delightful hand dancing to help brighten your mood...

Yes, the internets really are quite something.

(via CMW)

Way Outside The Box

We're going to need ideas like this to pull off a livable and fun word in the future...

Yep, asphalt is another one of those things that depends on fossil fuels, they are literally everywhere.

(via Ebert)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Say Cheese, Or Hmmm Now I Kind Of Want An IPhone

This is pretty neat, looking at least...

All the details are at Gadget Lab, which is always full of good stuff.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Get Along Little Kitties

So Ikea let a bunch of folks bring their cats to a store in England and gave the cats the run of the store (more or less) for the evening.  Seems mostly for fun, but the end of the video is an Ikea ad, and it's a pretty good one...

And yes, of course there is a parody...

(via EESK)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bigger And Badder

You may have noticed some new posts on the blog that seem to have miraculously appeared from the very ether of the internets.  If you're a keen observer, you'll recognize the posts as not new but relocated ones.

When Coppola Comments first started I was on a very political bent and wanted to keep the lighter side of life separated from my screeds.  These days it makes a lot more sense to just have all of the ramblings right here together.  So page Too is now part of the main blog and won't be getting any new updates, it will remain as an archive of sorts, although of course now all of those posts are here as well.

We'll also be cleaning up and expanding the labels that we use, since they had been limited to Read This Now posts and now they have expanded to include the labels used on page Too.

So have fun, explore the older posts if they're new to you, and please keep coming back for the new ones of all shapes and sizes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our National Parks

I'm finally in a class on land use and policy, which is a topic that fascinates me.  So much so that I'm sharing some of the 'reading' for the last class.

Those quotes are because I think you should find 45 minutes to watch the Ken Burns film This Is America.

It isn't embeddable so you'll have to follow the link.  The film is beautiful, informative, and entertaining.  In short, it's worth your time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Read This Now - Reading List

These three pieces all come from the very good Best of the Moment from The Browser...

Did you know that Darwin was one of the pioneers of environmental management and terra forming?  Seems he started the project that turned Ascension from a barren volcanic cone about as far from anything else as you can get.  To a fairly lush and green volcanic cone in the middle of the ocean.

Actually there are atheists in fox holes. One of them happens to cover a Navy Chaplain's back...

"He trusts God to keep him safe," says RP2 Chute. "And I'm here just in case that doesn't work out."
See also the quote from the Chaplain Corps historian.

And William Gibson discusses Google and our relationship with it and cyberspace.
Google is not ours. Which feels confusing, because we are its unpaid content-providers, in one way or another. We generate product for Google, our every search a minuscule contribution. Google is made of us, a sort of coral reef of human minds and their products. And still we balk at Mr. Schmidt’s claim that we want Google to tell us what to do next. Is he saying that when we search for dinner recommendations, Google might recommend a movie instead? If our genie recommended the movie, I imagine we’d go, intrigued. If Google did that, I imagine, we’d bridle, then begin our next search. 
That should keep you out of trouble for a while.

The Best 4:50 You'll Spend Today - Courtsey Of Ben Folds, Nick Hornby, & Pomplamoose

Keep watching through the end, you'll laugh and hear about a cool album collaboration on its way out.  Also that's a staggering amount of books, not sure if it makes me feel better or worse about my to read pile...

(via Snarkmarket)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Not really, but I love that line and I just couldn't resist.

Seems that fishermen going after cow-nose rays in the Potomac River netted themselves an 8 foot bull shark this week.

Pic courtesy of Buzz's Marina via WP
Over at Bay Daily, Tom Pelton was quick to point out that the shark's presence is actually an encouraging sign, given the decline in shark populations world wide.  From a local standpoint it's good as well since shark's are one of the few predators of cow-nose rays which are a horribly destructive, and more or less invasive, species that wreak havoc on Bay oyster beds and aquatic vegetation.

NPR had an interesting story last month on the increase in white shark sightings in New England in the late summer that you might like to check out as well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fish Out Of Water

Quite literally actually...

I wish it was longer and had more info, but it's fascinating nonetheless.  These little guys are seriously amazing, not to mention they can cause a pretty decent commotion if they come flying on board, especially at night and on a sailboat where you can hear them.

(via BF)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tommy John

With Nationals' phenom Stephen Strasburg reportedly getting ready for Tommy John surgery the baseball corner of the internets has lit up with folks discussing the process and the road to recovery and comparing various pitchers who have returned to dominance after the procedure etc etc perhaps even ad nauseum.

The bottom line definitely seems to be that it isn't a career ending injury / surgery these days and that we'll have to wait and see.  Also, that this is a major bummer for baseball fans everywhere, not just those pulling for the Nats.

It looks like one of the most interesting things out there concerning TJ surgery may be Braves' pitcher Kris Medlin's  new blog documenting his recovery from the procedure two weeks ago.  If he keeps it up it will definitely be worth following.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Read This Now Flashback

The dash is missing from the title of this post since it isn't an actual RTN, rather it's a way to clean up the oldies archive from before we started using labels here.  Coppola Comments has evolved a bit since then and this is just another tiny step along that path. 

Thanks for reading.

These are the Read This Now items that appeared in the sidebar prior to March 2008:

Shooting Stars

This video of asteroids discovered since 1980 is phenomenal, and amazingly spectacular.  Make sure to read the info section (from the youtube page)...

View of the solar system showing the locations of all the asteroids starting in 1980, as asteroids are discovered they are added to the map and highlighted white so you can pick out the new ones.
The final colour of an asteroids indicates how closely it comes to the inner solar system.
Earth Crossers are Red
Earth Approachers (Perihelion less than 1.3AU) are Yellow
All Others are Green

Notice now the pattern of discovery follows the Earth around its orbit, most discoveries are made in the region directly opposite the Sun. You'll also notice some clusters of discoveries on the line between Earth and Jupiter, these are the result of surveys looking for Jovian moons. Similar clusters of discoveries can be tied to the other outer planets, but those are not visible in this video.

As the video moves into the mid 1990's we see much higher discovery rates as automated sky scanning systems come online. Most of the surveys are imaging the sky directly opposite the sun and you'll see a region of high discovery rates aligned in this manner.

At the beginning of 2010 a new discovery pattern becomes evident, with discovery zones in a line perpendicular to the Sun-Earth vector. These new observations are the result of the WISE (Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer) which is a space mission that's tasked with imaging the entire sky in infrared wavelengths.

Currently we have observed over half a million minor planets, and the discovery rates snow no sign that we're running out of undiscovered objects.

Orbital elements were taken from the 'astorb.dat' data created by Ted Bowell and associates at
szyzyg put the video together.  I found it via Neil deGrasse Tyson's twitter feed - @neiltyson.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Is Biodiversity?

It's a good question, and a disturbingly difficult one to give a good succinct answer to (kind of like sustainable seafood or any number of other environmental buzz words and terms).

In this case a picture (or many of them) is, if not worth a thousand words, at least worth watching...

Biodiversity 2010 from iLCP on Vimeo.

The video is from the International League of Conservation Photographers, a very interesting organization that does some amazing and beautiful work.

(via BD)

China Does Things Large

Like walls, and dams, and populations, and now traffic jams.

An epic traffic jam in China is now in it's ninth day, and officials think it may drag on for a full month before sorting itself all the way out.

I haven't found any pictures that do the mess justice, at over 100km of gridlock we'll need some aerial shots for that.  Maybe there will be a google earth update? You can however, read about the jam and see what traffic expert Tom Vanderbuilt has to say about whether it will become a permanent settlement.

(via kottke)

The WSJ has a slide show with some interesting shots, mostly of how the truck drivers are coping with the mess. Thanks to KS for the tip and pointing out that media access is probably being controlled (this being China and all) and that aerial photos may well be banned.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Read This Now - The Right Answer

I've been staying away from the Park51 nonsense, largely because it is, more so than most things labeled as such, deserving of the moniker.

I don't have the patience to explain it, so I'll just say it's simple: you either believe in the principles on which America was founded and are happy to have your neighbors worship as they choose, or you don't (which makes you anti-American).

Senator Jeff Merkley writing in the Oregonian, makes the point much more eloquently (as well he should, it's nice to see some decent leadership on this one, in fact we're going to give you the whole thing since it really isn't fair to run an excerpt from this piece)...

The debate swirling around the proposed mosque and Muslim community center in lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center site has, for many, tapped into strong emotions of a national trauma that is still raw. But in the churning political and constitutional arguments, one question has not been adequately addressed: what makes a mosque near ground zero offensive?
Nearly everyone in this debate affirms the constitutional right for the mosque's construction. Indeed, that right is a cherished founding principle. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The constitutional freedom of religion [is] the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights." It is no accident that the right to worship in accordance with one's own conscience is enshrined in the First Amendment.

But, many mosque opponents argue, just because it can be built does not mean it should be. They say it would be disrespectful to the memories of those who died on 9/11 to build a Muslim facility near the World Trade Center site. I appreciate the depth of emotions at play, but respectfully suggest that the presence of a mosque is only inappropriate near ground zero if we unfairly associate Muslim Americans with the atrocities of the foreign al-Qaidaterrorists who attacked our nation.

Such an association is a profound error. Muslim Americans are our fellow citizens, not our enemies. Muslim Americans were among the victims who died at the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks. Muslim American first responders risked their lives to save their fellow citizens that day. Many of our Muslim neighbors, including thousands of Oregon citizens, serve our country in war zones abroad and our communities at home with dedication and distinction.

Some have also argued that the construction of the mosque would hand a propaganda victory to Osama bin Laden. I think the opposite is true. Al-Qaida justifies its murder by painting America as a nation at war with Islam. Celebrating our freedom of religion and Muslim Americans' place in our communities is a blow to al-Qaida's ideology of hate and division. We strengthen America by distinguishing, clearly and unequivocally, between our al-Qaida enemy and our Muslim neighbors.

President Bush understood the importance of separating the terrorists from over a billion peaceful Muslims around the world whose faith has been used as an excuse by those bent on killing. Speaking at a mosque just six days after the World Trade Center attack, President Bush said, "These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that."

I have great respect for the sentiments of the survivors and family members of those who died on 9/11, and understand that some may not regard the situation this way. But our fundamental religious freedom and our national security -- in addition to fairness for our fellow citizens -- will be well served by drawing a bright line between our Muslim friends and neighbors at home, and our al-Qaida enemy abroad.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City has also spoken well on the subject.

You know who else gave a good statement on this, Ron Paul. Check it out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lizzie Warren For Sheriff

I'd heard this video was out there, but no one told me that it was auto-tuned country rap with line-break dancing in addias...

(via too many places to count)

Read This Now - How Rich

James Surowiecki has a nice rundown on some of the issues with our current tax structure and the problems that face arguments in favor of reforming it.

Interestingly he convincingly declares that this is not a case where simpler would be better.  Instead as American incomes have become increasingly stratified, among the rich, very rich, and filthy rich in particular, what we need is more tax brackets at higher levels...

This makes no sense—there’s a yawning chasm between the professional and the plutocratic classes, and the tax system should reflect that. A better tax system would have more brackets, so that the super-rich pay higher rates. (The most obvious bracket to add would be a higher rate at a million dollars a year, but there’s no reason to stop there.) This would make the system fairer, since it would reflect the real stratification among high-income earners. A few extra brackets at the top could also bring in tens of billions of dollars in additional revenue.
Make sure to read the whole thing.  Surowiecki continues to write simple, informative, and entertaining financial columns, you should try to read them all.

(via TMN which has just joined the reader)

Color Me Impressed

Pretty Sure this is about the most ridiculous baseball catch I've ever seen...

(via AC @ Kottke)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Joy & Terror Of Grad School

Grad School has long been heralded as a refuge from which to wait out economic storms.  But when your time is up and you have to head back out into the real world it can still be a scary place. 

Especially when this is happening...

Nice visual presentation and demonstration of unemployment trends during the current recession.  Latoya Egwuekwe put the video together and has been updating it fairly regularly as new data becomes available.

If we aren't already large scale farmers in the mid-west looks like we might be headed to DC or Burlington, VT.

(via MB on fb)

About That Oil

Welcome back sports fans!

It feels like a lot must have happened while I was off the grid, but it was August after all, so mostly folks were probably lying low and trying to avoid the heat.

I did hear on the radio that the Administration and BP were claiming that most of the oil had already dissipated from the Gulf.  If you're anything like me your reaction was along the lines of  'Yeah, right.  Good luck with that.'

And indeed those claims are proving likely to be too good to be true.  With a group of Gulf based scientists and reasearchers refuting the Administration's claims, and instead reporting that as much as 79% of the leaked oil may still be in the Gulf (not including the oil that has certainly washed into the fragile wetlands of the region).

Check out the Bloomberg story for the details and let us know if you come across the actual memo (I haven't found it yet).

Kate Sheppard says the Administration's math on the Oil Disaster reporting doesn't add up.

Update II:
The AFS Blog has a bit more from the academic side of the story and links to the actual report and figures.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Read This Now - It's Gonna Be Quiet In Arizona

Rage Against the Machine has organized the Sound Strike, a musical boycott of Arizona in response to it's new immigration law.  Several groups have canceled scheduled shows and hundreds are vowing not to visit the state...

"We have to intervene in order to do whatever we possibly can to limit that state's ability to function and implement the law," Zack de la Rocha, of the band Rage Against the Machine, says in a Web video he's produced. He's organized a boycott of Arizona called The Sound Strike. So far, he's recruited artists ranging from Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails to Latino bands such as Los Tigres del Norte. Jorge Hernandez says Los Tigres del Norte's decision to join the boycott was personal: If the Los Angeles musicians were to come to Arizona, he says, they worry that police could detain them. 
NPR has the story, check it out.

By the way Los Tigres are kind of a big deal. Try to find yourself a copy of the May 24th New Yorker article, it's a good one.

So Long Dan Schorr

Sunday mornings will never be the same without you.

For as long as I've been listening to NPR Dan Schorr has been providing insight and context for whatever the major issues of the moment might be.  He was always straightforward and forthright and he never failed to call it like he saw it.

NPR devotes and anyone who's ever read, listened to, or watched the news lost a friend when he passed away today at 93.

NPR, of course, has the story (listen to the special here).  And many big names in today's news world are remembering him fondly tonight.

Until about an hour ago I had never seen a picture of Dan Schorr, even though I could recognize his voice in an instant...

(this one's from the NPR website)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Read This Now - Larger Context

Eugene Robinson does not, as they say, mince words in putting the Sherrod story in the larger context of attacks on the Obama Administration...

The Sherrod case has fully exposed the right-wing campaign to use racial fear to destroy Obama's presidency, and I hope the effect is to finally stiffen some spines in the administration. The way to deal with bullies is to confront them, not run away. Yet Sherrod was fired before even being allowed to tell her side of the story. She said the official who carried out the execution explained that she had to resign immediately because the story was going to be on Glenn Beck's show that evening. Ironically, Beck was the only Fox host who, upon hearing the rest of Sherrod's speech, promptly called for her to be reinstated. On Wednesday, Vilsack offered to rehire her

Shirley Sherrod stuck to her principles and stood her ground. I hope the White House learns a lesson. 
Be sure to read the whole thing.

Someone picked the wrong lady to railroad this time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1/21 Of The Story - The Vilsack Affair

I think that folks are right to be hard on the Obama administration and particularly on Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack over the whole Shirley Sherrod affair.  The way the Administration comported itself reeked of fear, shortsightedness, and unfairness.  I won't take up your time rehash the sordid details, you've already read them somewhere else from someone who is probably a better writer than I am (if you haven't Glenn Greenwald has a good outline and a few links).  I will say that you should take two or three minutes (the length of the edited video) and read Amy Davidson's post from the New Yorker.

Then you should take 43 minutes, when you have a chance, and hear what Sherrod actually had to say.  It's not a bad talk and her message is a good one...

Now that things are starting to get put back in place and appropriate apologies are being made one can only hope that this travesty will serve to make the media and the Administration take a deep breath and ask all the important questions the next time a right wing site sets out to smear someone.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What If The Tea Party Was Black

This is one of the best and most creative political uses of Youtube I've seen in awhile, plus the song is actually good, and there's no denying that the man has a point...

(via JW)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The New York Times Can't Handle The Truth

Not when it comes to torture at least.  The NYT has been refusing to call it torture when Americans do it, but if the same tactics are used in China (or elsewhere abroad) well clearly that's torture...

From a Thursday article on Bush Administration authorized torture (yeah, you heard me)...

A former Bush Justice Department official who approved brutal interrogation methods by the C.I.A. has told Congress that he never authorized several other rough tactics reportedly inflicted on terrorism suspects — including prolonged shackling to a ceiling and repeated beatings. 
And on Friday the same abuse perpetrated by the Chinese...
Others named in the same warrant and caught by the Chinese police had described beatings, suffocation, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and other forms of torture to get them to disclose details about the human rights group to which they all belonged. 
That's what we call a load of bull (astute readers will have noticed that the NYT even went with torture in the headline for the Friday piece).

Glenn Greenwald has been doing the heavy lifting on this story, you should check out his post on these stories and several others following the NYT's piss-poor journalistic standards, especially this long one.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two Good Graphs

The picture kind, it's hard to beat a good visual.  Ezra Klein had a couple of doozys this week...

Why we need extended unemployment benefits:

That's something like 15 million people for whom there just aren't jobs available no matter how hard they're looking.

And meanwhile this happened...

Average folks are out of work, and the corporations who created this mess are enjoying increased earnings, brilliant.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Climate Change

It's happening outside and for several of the Triangle's universities it's finally happening indoors as well.

This week the N&O reported that Duke will set thermostats at 76 in the summer and 68 in the winter (give or take a couple of degrees and excepting dorms and hospital buildings).  State is working on a similar initiative, but UNC isn't mentioned.

This is great news, and not just because it means I won't have to bring a long sleeved shirt to wear in the LSRC during the warmer months while I'm in an ENVIRONMENTAL master program (yes, I was raising my voice there).  The financial savings should be pretty decent as well, which is important in these uncertain times that see universities losing state funding at alarming rates.  Throw in the new NC legislation allowing state universities to keep the savings they reap from energy effeicency improvements and we're off and running.

(sorry I can't find a link to a story on the legislation, trust me it's happening, link in update if possible)
(and yes, that first link does include a wicked burn)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Didn't See That Coming

While the California Prop 8 lawsuit has garnered national attention over the past several months, somehow a federal case opposing the Defense of Marriage Act flew under the radar (or my radar at least).

Suffice it to say, as of right now DOMA is not the law of the land.  Appeals are certain to follow, but for now put this one in the common sense win column.

(via DE)