Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Period Table of Awesome

Presented without comment because - other than an undignified "SQUEE!" -  what more can be said about The Boy Who Lived singing Tom Lehrer's "The Elements Song?"

The guest on the far right may be rolling his eyes, but you know Rhianna wants to muggle that.

via Nerdist

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We are all made of stars

It's Carl Sagan Day! Happy birthday Carl!

The Kepler spacecraft site is featuring winning entries from their Sagan Day essay contest.

Sponsored by Kepler and the SETI Institute, the contest honors, and was inspired by, Sagan's work and legacy.

At the site you'll find original music composed for the day, a remembrance by son Dorion Sagan, and the winning entry by Professor Renee James who shared this personal observation:

Carl Sagan was not an inspiration because he left everyone behind as he explored the farthest reaches of this universe. He was an inspiration because he invited us to accompany him on his journey, so that we could all get a small glimpse of that great cosmic ocean. And he convinced me that being a cosmic tour guide is as important as exploring a distant corner of the universe.

Image from Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener's  Atomic Robo & The Shadow From Beyond Time #4 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nerd Boyfriend

I've had a fashion intervention with a male friend or two. And I must admit, a lot of time and consideration is needed to develop one's personal style. But Nerd Boyfriend's stripped down site with clean lines and extraordinarily timeless portraits is like an effortlessly cool Tim Gunn just gave you the 411 on fashion know-how over coffee cups.

Taking delectably fashionable iconclasts from across the decades, this self proclaimed shopping guide and style blog is filled with yummy professor types like Carl Sagan and Albert Einstein, incorrigible artists such as Peter O'toole and Miles Davis, and ne'er do well forget-me-nots like James Dean and Ford Prefect (so what if he's fictional? It's poetic license and Mos Def).

Then he tells you where to buy their clothes in mainstream retail stores. Perhaps that last part was not loud enough. He tells you where to buy their CLOTHES. 'Nough said.

Go my nerdy brothers and take your naughty librarians with you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

John Stewart speech at Rally to restore Sanity

Herein lies the full text of John Stewart speech at the "Rally to Restore Sanity," as brought to you by the Examiner. Why do you care? Because he skewers the press without political motive:
"The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic."

Then decries sensationalism as the real evil in America:
"There are terrorists and racists and Stalinist and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate."

The examiner also carries darn good pictures. See above.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just Sayin Is All

So, I like thinking about science and words and pin-ups and how if I'm careful and articulate they will change the world. But perhaps you like thinking artfully about new music. JustSayinIsAll lays a palette of musical selections over poetic text strewn with an illumination of cutting edge images. Whether your visiting for the music samples or to find yourself a new avatar, just go. Go now.

"This track is as cold as the slick on the sidewalk. The words are as plain as translucents and whites. The chorus tapers and repeats like the drifts. The hope is rigid and melts like lonely delusions. And tonight when I lick it, it sticks to my tongue as I sleep."--December 12, 2008

Really? I mean, goddamn. Or try this one:

"Dwayne scratches his voice like a skipping vintage record over a freeform jazz riff to tweeze Macy Gray out of Louis Armstrong. Practically acapella, his voice is stretched and flailing at :48 when "CAPture what I say" tapdances his words against the floor in trip-a-let."--December 14, 2008

Kyle Pfister is the genius behind this wonderment. He makes videos on Vimeo too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Real Pictures of Alien Worlds

Imaging exoplanets (the term for planets outside our solar system) have come a long way since I brought an article discussing the first evidence of their existence into my "Current Problems in Astronomy" course in 1997. Phil Plait's, Bad Astronomy blog updates our ability to capture these elusive giants in his "Gallery of Exoplanets: Real Pictures of Alien Worlds." Don't expect details of planet surfaces and orbiting moons, for now we'll leave that to the matte painters of Star Trek, but do be prepared for spectacular spectrometry, Hubble images of multiple exoplanet solar systems and evidence of cold, cold worlds, some over 50 billion kilometers from their stars.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The pain of inter-web email technology

The Oatmeal recently posted a collection of email archetypes, loosely based on the idiocy brought forth by the human-keyboard matrix, i.e., the inability to envision consequences when faced with an internet connection and a send button during the hours of 9am and 5pm, roughly speaking of course. Because there is no way that mere timing could inhibit the impulse to load your colleagues with unintelligible bullshit or useless, time-wasting responses to an email that wasn't even meant for you. Wax Wendy has an actual life experience that documents the latter for you, which is so intensely ridiculous, it induces rapid-fire wheeze-snort responses. The Oatmeal's hilarious send-ups of our daily "You've got mail" kind of pain are scary, insightful, and funny enough to make you spit out your coffee. "I hate your email signature" is my particular favorite. I wish I could append it to all my messages.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


October 10th, A most auspicious day       A most auspicious day

Heather Champ is encouraging people to document today, 10/10/10, in photographs.  Your pictures can be shared at the tententen flickr group; you have 10 days to upload them and join in the tengasm with the rest of tenopedes.  Random images will also be displayed starting tomorrow at her site - here.

So what's so significant about today, other than a randomly cool symmetry that won't happen again for another gigabillion years?  Well, if you look closely through your lens, you may just discover the meaning of life.

Heather Champ via laughing squid

Monday, April 26, 2010

Io9 Movie Mondays

Io9 has launched Movie Mondays, A live-tweeting event that involves selection of a sci-fi gem from Netflix's watch instantly library. Fans start the flick or their own DVD of a movie at the same time, all around the and then tweet the heck out of it.

It's kinda like watching a movie in your living room with all your geeky friends, except they can all talk while it's on. The inaugural event cued up the theatrical release of David Lynch's Dune. Followed by Christian Bale's lackluster performance in Reign of Fire the following week.

Taking part is easy, all you have to do is follow I09commentary on twitter or visit Io9, to find out the movie selection, then at Monday, 9:00 PM EST, fire up your DVD/Movie platform of choice and proceed to tweet your heart out using the @io9commentary reply tag or #io9moviemonday index tag.

Ahh, the things we will do to re-live MST3K.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's funny because it's true

Presented without comment ...


Friday, April 16, 2010

Star Wars: Uncut

Casey Pugh is the mastermind behind Star Wars: Uncut, the geekiest, home video inspired homage a cult movie could ever aspire to.

The entire length of George Lucas's fetish inducing opus, Star Wars: A New Hope, was first broken up into 473, fifteen second clips. Fans were then invited to recreate any scene they chose in any style they chose. 905 fans submitted their finished recreations via vimeo using pets as stars, clunky animation and, my personal favorite, the tried and true self video which were strung together, edited and overlaid with the original John Williams Score by Pugh's team.

It's the kind of home-cooked awesomeness that can only spawn babies. Indeed, more Uncut movies are in the works. And thus a new form of rabid, pop culture devotional is born. You can vote for your favorite submitted scenes a the the Star Wars: Uncut website and watch the entire movie any way you want.

The premiere of Star Wars: Uncut is being screened in Copenhagen at the CPH:PIX Festival on Monday, April 19. Pugh will be traveling to the festival and speaking about his unlikely collaboration with Lucas Film during his project. You can keep tabs on the film's reception, interviews and news bites on his website caseypugh.com

Are you listening New York? If you build it, they will come.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands

This is National Library Week in the US, and Neil Gaiman is serving as the honorary chair.  Euan Kerr of Minnesota Public Radio interviewed the writer and self described "feral child of librarians" about his love of libraries. His thoughts on their importance warms the heart of this librarian, and will likely ring true to any lover of the printed word. He reiterates the point that the institution and its stewards are more relevant than ever, acting as trusted guides through the wilderness of digital information. They're also stalwart and hysterical defenders of freedom of speech, and the privacy rights of patrons.

Highlighting the issue of censorship, the American Library Association has released its list of the ten most frequently challenged books for 2009.  There are both new and classic titles on the list, and the most frequently cited reasons for requesting their removal from shelves are offensive language, sexual content, or religious viewpoint.  “Protecting one of our most fundamental rights – the freedom to read – means respecting each other’s differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read.”

I recommend exercising your rights, and picking up a copy of a challenged book.  Or you can join One Book, One Twitter, a "big read" project that aims to use the power of social media for good, and get people reading and talking about the same book this summer.  Vote for your favorite from Wired's list of ten candidates.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Enhance the Everyday

Stylist, photographer, and author Pia Jane Bijkerk's blog, "Enhance the Everyday," especially her homewares tag, is an aesthetics worshiping gem worth its little hand-made buttons. Why shouldn't we shamelessly pursue our ideas of beauty and relentlessly apply them to our daily rituals? Pre-packaged ideas about our homes and our bodies have become the sad after effect of a reality television driven nation. Too often I forget to just acquire what I really, really like and hang other ideas. What makes me feel fabulous (And you know, I've found a million uses for that top hat) makes me look fabulous and therefore the world a little more fabulous because of it.

Visit Bijkork's blog and revel in that which is a little bit retro and a little bit modern and a little bit everyday.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Brad Neely

I have to admit, this post was inspired by wax|wendy's St. Patrick's day post.

You've probably already seen a Brad Neely cartoon. Perhaps it was his cult classic "Cox & Combes Washington Washington" cartoon that debuted on the now defunct Super Deluxe website (which was subsumed by the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim). Or maybe one was included in a viral e-mail sent around the office that made you laugh so hard, your co-workers sprinted over to your cubicle to find out what was causing your debilitating nose snorting.

Neely, an comic book artist from Austin and purveyor of Creased Comics, was made infamous by the New York Times for his insouciant, unauthorized, alternative film soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone called Wizard People, Dear Reader (not unlike a brilliant one off Riff Trax). He and his hilarious knock-off was also featured in the documentary film "We Are Wizards," (the "Trekkies" of J.K. Rowling fans). His irreverent cartoons are akin to watching a seventies tootsie roll commercial on acid. Therefore, they should not be missed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cleverest Women Drink You Under The Table

The Telegraph article, "Cleverest Women are the Heaviest Drinkers," reports on a comprehensive study carried out by the London School of Economics that followed thousands of 39-year-old women. The study determined that the more educated women are, the more likely they are to drink alcohol on most days. Similar trends were spotted for men, but in the case of women, their alcohol consumption could even be predicted from their scores in school tests taken when they are as young as five. "Women who achieved "medium" or "high" test marks as schoolgirls are up to 2.1 times more likely to drink daily as adults."

The scientists reasoned the women tended "to have children later, postponing the responsibilities of parenthood" and also, "may have more active social lives or work in male-dominated workplaces with a drinking culture."

Obviously, the blogosphere has more entertaining speculation. Everything from "college being a four-year pub crawl" and acclimatizing educated women to drinking cultures (*cough*, not my college) to the pleasure women derive from delving in the sense of entitlement drinking provides and the availability of such commodities dependent on the larger size of their pocketbooks. One of my personal favorites, expounded on the amount of alcohol it takes a smart person to deal with how retarded the world is.

But borrowing an example from the Cokie Roberts, Don Imus, and Chris Wallace scandal, "No, We're Not Going to Shut Up," Michel Martin from NPR illustrates how there is a strong historical impression that women should sit down and shut up in the workplace.

"It used to be that men with a shred of power could say whatever they wanted about women and women had to put up with it, or get a man to duel for them or something...I cannot help but think that what the fury is really about is the loss of entitlement."

Studies show that women who are as assertive as men at the office are struck by a Double-Bind Dilemna. From the New York Times article, "Feminine Critique,":

"...women who act in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes...are considered less competent. But if they act in ways that are seen as more “male” —“act assertively, focus on work task, display ambition” — they are seen as “too tough” and “unfeminine.”

And if you are damned if you do and damned if you don't without cultivating a suitable outlet for your rage, any wonder why that glass of chardonnay is looking a little less frisky? [via the Gothamist, thanks Maria].

Monday, April 5, 2010

Periodic Table of Sci-fi Film and Television

Thanks to Steph (and those crazy, crafty artists at Gawker) for the above Periodic Table of Sci-fi Film and Television. 'Nough said.

Friday, April 2, 2010

No Rest for the Wicked

Had a chat on Saturday regarding the general creepiness and horror genre overtones inherent in fairy tales. The verdict on Rumpelstiltskin? It doesn't really have a good guy. Even the princess tries to welch out on her deal.

Enter, Andrea L. Peterson's No Rest For the Wicked, a clever, darkly moody, brilliantly penned webcomic based on a mash-up of the grimmest fairy tales. Exactly what type of girl did Little Red Riding Hood grow up to be? What kind of creature tempts children too near an oven? And exactly what is inspiring about a girl with no hands?

It's a fun romp, deliciously laced with dark moments like bitter chocolate sprinkled in cookies. Enjoy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes

Daina Taimina's book mixing math and crochet won the UK's 'Odd' Prize, the Diagram Award with a non-euclidean tribute to home economic arts. "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes" is filled with over 200 color photograph's and Taimina, a mathematics professor at Cornell University, also gives you a delightful crash course in curvature and differential geometry using examples like pears and kale to represent complex forms.

The pictures are so awesome I don't know what to do with myself. The images are organic, futuristic and (dare I say) a little bit steam punk in application. Why, why aren't all of our clothes made with hyperbolic planes?

For a more in-depth explanation of hyperbolic geometry including an interview with Taimina, "Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane: An Interview with David Henderson and Daina Taimina," by Cabinet Magazine contains vivid examples. For more about Taimina, the London Times article, "How crochet solved an age-old maths problem," has an interesting (if albeit overtly patriarchal) overview on how this traditionally feminine handicraft was initially dismissed by Taimina's friends and family but went on to fuel her breakthrough in modeling impossible mathematical forms.

The London Mathematical Society called it a coffee table book of the highest quality and the images should inspire mathematicians and crafty fingers alike. Math is delicious!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Take me out to the black

200 miles up, and armed with an 800mm lens, astronaut Soichi Noguchi is able to capture amazing, abstract views of the Earth from his vantage point on the International Space Station. The station only got web access this year, but Noguchi is taking full advantage, posting his pictures to Twitter several times a day. Think about that the next time you're updating your foursquare location.

Follow him @Astro_Soichi. photo: Arabian sand dunes

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rise of the Flapper

So I've been known to glorify a pin-up or two., fancy a burlesque show and traipse myself off the a 20's themed fancy dress party. Some of these highly estimable obsessions could use some context. Mental Floss has a lovely article, "The Rise of the Flapper," that describes the movement of post World War I women to kick up their heels and roll down their stockings. Early pioneers of feminism, flappers followed the suffragettes in flaunting patriarchal authority by putting on trousers, throwing caution to the wind, and making their own decisions about how they wanted to live their lives. Well-done, sister suffragettes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School

At the intersection of studio art and cabaret you will find Dr. Sketchy. These twice monthly salons give artists the chance to exercise their life drawing skills and become part of the show. The models don't just pose - there are skits, dancing, and contests throughout the evening. It's life captured in ink and paint while it's happening. The focus is on the models, talented performers from the burlesque and drag stages, and other beautiful people with "unusual physiology, insane costuming, or extreme physical skills". Dr. Sketchy is headquartered in NYC, and can be found in 80+ cities worldwide.

photo credit: Andras Frenyo / NYT

Monday, March 22, 2010

Style Rookie

It has occurred to me that I'd never even heard of Tavi Gevinson till a few weeks ago. This Chicago-based fashion blogger, known for her unique yet-edgy, Chanel-like drive, witty commentary, and razor-edged style dissections is not yet fourteen. I want to dis-like her. There has to be some weird, exploitative, pop-culture catch. But the idea that this pubescent wearing "awkward jackets and pretty hats" started blogging quietly and invisibly underneath her parents noses and was only outed because she needed their permission to appear in a New York Times magazine article is too smooth a reticent dork/geek, drama/in-your-face combo move not to admire. Target's new Rodarte line for their Go International series is said to be inspired by her personal style.

Stuff like this should be happening to clever pre-adolescents who are too young to know better than to dream big and conquor the world. Remember 11th grader, Daniel Burg solved the plastic bag recycling problem in three months.

Bloggers like Tavi have been heralded as the new "frontline of fashion." Well, I know it was no sensible person with an active imagination and sense of aesthetics who thought it was okay to bring the Eighties back to the market. That could have only been thought up by a hack-worthy adult. Enjoy Tavi's blog, Style Rookie and get yourself some learning.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Find Me A Dodo' And Other Absurd Requests

Read National Public Radio blog post, "'Find Me A Dodo' And Other Absurd Requests," which describes the journey of short film director, Laurie Hill as he created, "Photograph of Jesus," which won the 2009 McLaren Award for New British Animation at Edinburgh International Film Festival. Produced in response to a request to create a film using material from the Getty Hulton Archive for the Short and Sweet Film Challenge, the film follows archivist Matthew Butson through a short, magical, stop motion ride of the extremely varied, always unpredictable, and very often hysterical requests received by one of the world's oldest and largest archives of photography. The film uses cutout images attached to wires to illustrate the story and its better than a world of chalk drawings.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Architecture in Dinnerware

On my wish list are the architecturally inspired "Palace Collection," designed by Alessandro Zambelli for Italian dinnerware geniuses Seletti. Each set of six cereal bowls, soup dishes, dinners plates and desert saucers stack to create a Renaissance era Florentine building when not in use. Serving dishes are inverted to make the roofs. When unstacked you literally eat off the floor, err, floorplan. These dishes will make it perfectly normal for adults to own dollhouses. As long as you can eat off them. The Palace Collection is available in April from A-R and the Conran Shop. New York Times article, "Architecture in Dinnerware," also has a nice review. Delicious.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Joan Paper Doll, Mad Men Season 3

Dyna Moe, the talented artist, vintage enthusiast and Mad Men apologist behind the wildly popular Mad Men Illustrations on Flickr came out last Autumn with her Mad Men series 3 Joan Paper Doll kit. Moe has become the official unofficial artist de facto for the series, illustrating calendars, contests, Christmas cards and desktop wallpaper. Unfortunately, though you can download her creations from her "Mad Men Illustrated," page, she is unable to sell prints or merchandise
with any of the images due to a request from the Lionsgate affiliates who own AMC.

There is a lovely "Q & A," with her at the AMC Mad Men website.

PS Notice the blood stains on the "Tractor Dress"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Literacy, Curiosity, Education, And Being 'In Your Face'

Called, "the Carl Sagan of the 21 Century" and "sexiest astrophysicist alive" by Time Magazine, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Neil Degrasse Tyson is not only the sometime guest of John Stewart's The Daily Show and Stephen Cobert's The Colbert Report. He's best known a that gutsy guy who took Pluto of the planetary guest list in 2006.

In NPR Interview "Neil deGrasse Tyson On Literacy, Curiosity, Education, And Being 'In Your Face'" he discusses the meaning of "science literacy", the importance of thinking for yourself, and why kids should be allowed to break things.

In high school, teachers warned me about spreading my interests too thin. The phrase "Jack of All Trades But Master of None," escaped one of their lips. So don't forget to read Linda Holmes epilogue, "Why Educators Need A 'Cultural Utility Belt," where deGrasse Tyson explains why that's just bunk. Hey, if it was good enough for Da Vinci then it should be good enough for grade schoolers.

You can catch deGrasse Tyson hosting Nova's Origins series and The Pluto Files on PBS.