Sunday, January 30, 2011

Read This Now - The Constitution

You can read the actual document in all it's glory and see how it has grown and changed and been amended over the years at the National Archives site.

Even if you don't run over there to take down all 4400 words you should take the time to read Jill Lepore's piece on the Constitution from the January 17 New Yorker, which is currently available on line.  It's a great look at the history of the document and the various arguments and political cries that have arisen around it during our nation's history.

One big take away is that it's pretty difficult to take the whole thing in and make sure your on top of it, even if you like to wave a pocket copy of the Constitution around at political rallies...

Crying constitution is a minor American art form. “This is my copy of the Constitution,” John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, said at a Tea Party rally in Ohio last year, holding up a pocket-size pamphlet. “And I’m going to stand here with the Founding Fathers, who wrote in the preamble, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ ” Not to nitpick, but this is not the preamble to the Constitution. It is the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.
Read the whole thing, it's one of the best things I've read recently and it's more fun than reading the actual Constitution.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saving The Oceans

I fell in a wee little TED rabbit hole this morning and really enjoyed this quick talk from Greg Stone about helping get the Kiribati MPA ball rolling:

This might well be because I went out to Saipan to help keep the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument ball rolling down the home stretch.  The fact that I enjoyed Sex Lives of Cannibals so much doesn't hurt either as far as Kiribati is concerned.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tennis Anyone?

I always forget that the Australian Open gets the season started so early, probably because I'm not about to get out and hit a ball around in January.  This little gem isn't of Kim Clijsters cruising through the early rounds but of her cruising through the post match interviews...

(via ESPNW, of which I'm not yet sure what to make)

For good measure here's Clijsters doing amazing things on court...

Update: Tennis Australia got a bee in its bonnet and pulled the clip I had up from YouTube so here is the next one I found, it's longer but Clijsters plays well and I want to have video of her on court up as well...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ah Grad School

I'm going for a professional masters degree and not a PhD and I'm almost done with my two year program and I've liked most of my projects, but I can still appreciate this video...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wake County's Scrabble Score

The one and only Stephen Colbert took a look at the mess currently embroiling the Wake County School Board and school system and summed it up in a single word...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Disintegration
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>Video Archive

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When Science Attacks

Interesting look at the effect of flipper bands used in studies of penguins in Nature, made all the more fun by the fact that there's video...

You should check out the news article as well, it's an easy read and not technical, which does point out that over the years some studies have found issues with bands and some have found no effects (the technical paper is subscription only).

It's also interesting from a journalistic and technological prospective to see how Nature is working to incorporate mixed media and take advantage of online options to expand the coverage of this story.  There's even a podcast on the story, although I haven't listened to it yet.  I think it works very well in this case.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

F#@$ You Mavis Beacon

I kept wanting to yell that while I played Z-type.  It's like missile command but you kill the incoming ships by typing their words.

It's kind of fun, and probably good typing practice, but it's too easy and there doesn't appear to be any point.  I quit after clearing 30 waves and getting bored.  For some reason I still felt like sharing...

(via kottke)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcoming The Cyborg Overlords

Because they are, after all, us...

I really enjoyed this talk from Amber Case, it reminded me a bit of one I shared a while back about game design and human behavior.  Then again it could just be because I'm hooked on Battlestar Galactica.

(via EK)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Groban Sings Kanye

This is everywhere right now and it made me laugh so it may as well be here too...

Bonus link to the SFJ review of Kanye's latest in the New Yorker.

Read This Now - Poetic Flow

This probably counts as backlisting or some such nonsense since we all should have read it about a month ago. But I just got to it and you should find the time to read Kelefa Sanneh's sort of review of Jay-Z's Decoded, which also covers rap as poetry and provides a quick, cliff-noted sort of rap history overview...

Happily, readers looking for a more carefully annotated collection of hip-hop lyrics can turn to an unlikely source: a rapper. In recent weeks, “The Anthology of Rap” has been upstaged by “Decoded” (Spiegel & Grau; $35), the long-awaited print d├ębut of Jay-Z, who must now be one of the most beloved musicians in the world. The book, which doesn’t credit a co-writer, is essentially a collection of lyrics, liberally footnoted and accompanied by biographical anecdotes and observations. “Decoded” has benefitted from an impressive marketing campaign, including a citywide treasure hunt for hidden book pages. (The book’s launch doubled as a promotion for Bing, the Microsoft search engine.) So it’s a relief to find that “Decoded” is much better than it needs to be; in fact, it’s one of a handful of books that just about any hip-hop fan should own. Jay-Z explains not only what his lyrics mean but how they sound, even how they feel...
Go read the whole thing online or in the December 6 issue of the New Yorker if you have it lying around.

New Bluefin Price Record

A Bluefin tuna recently sold for about $525 a pound at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo setting a new record.

The AP has a short video where the buyers cite the freshness and quality of the tuna to justify the price...

Sadly the AP fails to mention the decline of Bluefin population worldwide.  Which is also a contributing, if not the main driving, factor in their increasing price.

Unless we manage to stop overfishing them, Bluefin will get more and more expensive as they become rarer until eventually someone buys the last fish.

(via Eater)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Read This Now - The Sky Is Falling

I'm cleaning out the bookmark folder full of links that I found interesting but never got around to sharing this past fall.  Some of them were time sensitive and wouldn't be worth rehashing now, even if I got in an extra witty line or two.

Others are fairly timeless, if a bit seasonal, like this lovely little piece from The Morning News from back in October.  It seems that every fall Osage Oranges litter the sidewalks near Carl Schurz Park in NYC.  Only Janice Nimura and her kids didn't know that's what it was until this fall...

Or hedge-apple. Or monkey ball, horse-apple, brainfruit. The fruit of the Osage orange tree, Maclura pomifera, a member of the mulberry family, sometimes called bow-wood, because the Osage Indians prized its tensile strength for making weapons.
Read the whole thing it's a treat and will only take about 5 minutes.

Since I worked for a time on a ship built with quite a bit of Osage I have a couple of bonus Osage factoids  for you.  It's purported to be the first botanical sample that Lewis and Clark sent back on their epic journey.  Even more interesting, especially if you're building boats with Osage is the fact that it is so dense it doesn't float.