Saturday, January 31, 2009

I never got around to reading J K Rowling's Harvard commencement speech...

I never got around to reading J K Rowling's Harvard commencement speech...: "

I never got around to reading J K Rowling's Harvard commencement speech due to my serious lack of interest of the whole Harry Potter thing. I was a fool, then, because her speech is lovely. You can both read the text and watch the video online.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.


(Via blog.)

Your Saturday Amusement


Your Saturday Amusement: "

Fake covers to fake novelizations of real filmsdone in 60s style. Awesome.


(Via Whatever.)

Urban Legends of the Super Bowl

Its the day I do taxes

Urban Legends of the Super Bowl: "In an interview with the LA Times a few years back, renowned folklorist Alan Dundes ventured to explain why Super Bowl Sunday has become the focus of so many larger-than-life..."

(Via Urban Legends and Folklore.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Really Close Look at the Inauguration

A Really Close Look at the Inauguration: "A photographer took a 1,474-megapixel picture of President Obama's swearing-in and posted it online."

(Via Pogue's Posts.)

Keeping up with Lost (with a DATABASE!!)

Keeping up with Lost: "Ed Note: Boingboing's current guest blogger Steven Johnson is the author of six books, most recently The Invention Of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution and the Birth Of America, for which he is currently on book tour. He's also the co-founder of the hyperlocal community site

All the hullabaloo about the news from Washington yesterday has been a distraction from the real event of the week: the fact that S05E01 of 'Lost' is airing tonight, which means we are all about to be treated to another few months of utterly baffling prime time television. Though I've been known to argue in public for the growing complexity of today's popular culture, I've long since given up on trying to figure out what is actually happening on 'Lost,' and prefer to just sit back and let the byzantine plot twists and spatial-temporal jumps wash over me. But like many fans of the show, I suspect, I've always been fascinated by the question of exactly how much of 'Lost''s web the producers and writers of the show have planned out, and how much they're making up as they go along.

So it was delightful to read in the Times this weekend this profile of 'Lost''s script co-ordinator, Gregg Nations, who has apparently been maintaining a master document of all the various events and connections over the show's four year run. This line caught my eye:

Had he a background in computer science, Mr. Nations now says, he might have approached the ‘Lost’ project differently. ‘The best thing would have been to create a database where everything’s linked, and if we’re talking about Jack and what was established in his first flashback episode, you could click on something that takes you there,’ he said. But as an accountant, he was more inclined just to make notes in a ledger. ‘I’ve just created these Word documents, and I just write everything down.’

I think this captures exactly what makes these ultra-complex shows ('The Wire' being the other canonical, non-sci-fi example) so different from what has come before them on television: if you're trying to synthesize the entire history of the show, the proper form for conveying all that information is not a linear narrative. It's a relational database.


(Via Boing Boing.)

Animated running animal skeleton

Animated running animal skeleton: "skeleton.gif

This animated animal comes from Mark Weaver's Make Something Cool Every Day.
(via Morbid Anatomy)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Vice Presidential Handlers Lure Cheney Into Traveling Crate | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Vice Presidential Handlers Lure Cheney Into Traveling Crate | The Onion - America's Finest News Source: "
Vice Presidential Handlers Lure Cheney Into Traveling Crate
Vice Presidential Handlers Lure Cheney Into Traveling Crate
JANUARY 13, 2009 | ISSUE 45•03

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Gore Already Regretting Promise To Help Clinton Move Out
MARCH 22, 2000
Countdown To The Recount 2004
OCTOBER 27, 2004
WASHINGTON—A team of nine specially trained handlers have successfully lured outgoing vice president Dick Cheney into a reinforced steel traveling crate in order to transport him back to his permanent enclosure in Casper, WY, official sources reported Monday. 'He's a smart one. Once he sees the crate, he gets pretty nippy, but we've learned a few tricks over the years,' chief VP wrangler Ted Irving breathlessly said while applying pressure to a deep gash on his forearm. 'If we break a rabbit's legs and throw it in there, he will eventually go in to finish it off. Doesn't work with dead rabbits, though. Cheney only eats what he kills.' Irving "

(Via .)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Satellite image of inauguration

Satellite image of inauguration: "Capitalllll

This is a half-meter resolution image of the US Capitol and National Mall taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite this morning during President Obama's inauguration. That sure is a lot of people. 2009 Inaugural Celebration. Washington D.C. National Mall (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!)


(Via Boing Boing.)