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I just want to share this as far as wide as I can, because it says everything.

This, i believe…

ROGER EBERT: On kindness

Roger Ebert (1942-2013) was the world’s most respected and celebrated film critic. I can’t possibly do justice to his legendary career in the movies. For that, I…

The text, excerpted from Rober Ebert’s memoir reads, for the benefit of those who cannot see the image:

“Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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I was just now linking someone else to the brilliant work of Ze Frank, and it occurred to me:

1) How much I love the first episode of his new web show
2) How much it still affects me
3) How I need to listen to it every day until I internalise it.

autographedcat: (wait...what? - kitten)
Get the feeling someone at Global Compliance figured out a way to get their employer to pay for them to watch TV all day?

Seriously, I went into the wrong line of work...

'30 Rock' biggest ethics violator on TV – The Marquee Blog - CNN.com Blogs
If you think your co-workers are a handful, take a good look at the characters on your favorite shows. A recent study conducted by Global Compliance found that most people on TV are hardly politically correct, constantly violating ethics in the workplace.

The biggest offender? "30 Rock," which averages 11 violations per episode. On one show, Jack (Alec Baldwin) comments that a "chick lawyer" who handles sexual harassment presentations is "asking for it." According to Global Compliance, which is devoted to helping organizations achieve the highest degree of ethical behavior, Jack's remark violates Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Respect in the Workplace.
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Read a Thorough Chart of Bad Space Science in Movies -- Vulture
Read a Thorough Chart of Bad Space Science in Movies. The good news: Apollo 13 was totally accurate. You really can get three men back from the moon on the power it takes to run a coffee machine!
autographedcat: (qu'est-ce que c'est? - 9doc)
this is officially the dumbest thing I've seen in a month.

Yearbook Blacks Out Kids' Eyes for Fear of Porn Potential - ParentDish
What would you do if you got your kids' yearbook and all the eyes had been blacked out with magic marker?

Personally, I'd try to wake up. But at a school in England, the principal is very much awake and behind this whole thing. Apparently, she was so worried someone might cut out the kids' faces, paste them on child porn pictures and post them on the Internet -- yes, that's really her concern -- that she ordered the teachers to manually black out all the children' eyes.

Let's pause for a second to consider how lovely an illustration this is of what I call "Worst-First" thinking. That is, thinking up the worst, most perverse explanation for something first, instead of assuming a less dramatic, but far more likely, rationale.
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I love stuff like this. It serves no purpose other than to make you bend your mind around the world in interesting new ways. And that's kinda cool all by itself.

490 - Map of the World's Countries Rearranged by Population | Strange Maps | Big Think
What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

The result would be this disconcerting, disorienting map. In the world described by it, the differences in population density between countries would be less extreme than they are today. The world's most densely populated country currently is Monaco, with 43,830 inhabitants/mi² (16,923 per km²) (1). On the other end of the scale is Mongolia, which is less densely populated by a factor of almost exactly 10,000, with a mere 4.4 inhabitants/mi² (1.7 per km²).

The averages per country would more closely resemble the global average of 34 per mi² (13 per km²). But those evened-out statistics would describe a very strange world indeed. The global population realignment would involve massive migrations, lead to a heap of painful demotions and triumphant promotions, and produce a few very weird new neighbourhoods.
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I'd be hestiant to generalise this to all people (or even any other people) with Asperger's , but it's certainly a fascinating look at one individual.

What it's like to have sex with someone with Asperger's | Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist
You think it would be really fun to have sex with me. Because, I think you can tell from my posts, I’ll do anything. But maybe you can also tell from my posts that it’s a little bit weird. Because you know that I’ll say anything, too, but sometimes, I make you cringe.

I think I’m that way in bed, too.

This post is about work. And sex, which are two of the essential areas of life one needs to be able to function in before you can feel like a normal adult. And both sex and work are governed by a set of rules that many people are able to learn just by being in the world.
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There's nothing shocking in this, but its nice to have some numbers.

There Is More To The Local Movement Than Just Food : TreeHugger
According to a study commissioned by Michigan's Local First, "when West Michigan consumers choose a locally owned business over a non-local alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stays in the community. By contrast, only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remains in the community." This year, a coalition of groups is promoting a holiday challenge to shop downtown and support local businesses.
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The world is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we can imagine. And that is *awesome*.

Mark Morford: Your mind, well and nicely blown
We are never going to run out.

This is the good news. Wait, check that: This is the astonishing, God-exploding, soul-altering, holier-than-wow news you must sip like a fine absinthe and jack straight into your bloodskin like a heroin bomb and then suck into your very anima like Lindsay Lohan on a coke bender.

It might sound obvious, the idea that wonders will never cease, that we will continue to be blown away by new discoveries for as long as we shall exist, that the world will keep astonishing us with stunning ideas, organisms, diseases and cures, synapses and connections, modes of being and ways of understanding for all eternity, despite our efforts to thwart it, deny it, reject it, or dumb ourselves down so much that we no longer have a goddamn clue what's going on.

But it's not obvious at all. We are, after all, nothing if not preternaturally jaded and wary. Many assume we're at a point in history when we've made most of the major breakthroughs and discoveries, have established all the laws of time and physics we are ever going to need. No more man on the moon, no more discovery of antibiotics, no more E=MC2, no more sorry-Pope-the-world-ain't-flat kind of epiphanies left.
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I've been reluctant to weigh in on the TSA scanners because there simply wasn't enough data, pro or con, to really make a decision about their safety. Jason Bell goes a long way towards giving us more hard data to consider, and it's somewhat alarming.

I still maintain that the real problem with this sort of thing is that it doesn't actually improve the safety of air travel to any meaningful degree, unless the object is to make flying so onerous that no one bothers to do it anymore.

My Helical Tryst: Review of the TSA X-ray backscatter body scanner safety report: hide your kids, hide your wife
Last spring, a group of scientists at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) including John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard Ph.D., Robert Stroud, Ph.D. and Marc Shuman, M.D. sent a letter of concern to the TSA regarding the implementation of their 'Advanced Imaging Technology', or body scanners as a routine method of security screening in US airports. Of specific concern is the scanner that uses X-ray back-scattering. In the letter they raise some interesting points, which I've quoted below:
  • "Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed."
  • "The X-ray dose from these devices has often been compared in the media to the cosmic ray exposure inherent to airplane travel or that of a chest X-ray. However, this comparison is very misleading: both the air travel cosmic ray exposure and chest X-rays have much higher X-ray energies and the health consequences are appropriately understood in terms of the whole body volume dose. In contrast, these new airport scanners are largely depositing their energy into the skin and immediately adjacent tissue, and since this is such a small fraction of body weight/vol, possibly by one to two orders of magnitude, the real dose to the skin is now high."
  • "In addition, it appears that real independent safety data do not exist."
  • "There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations. We are unanimous in believing that the potential health consequences need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted."
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    Ok, this is both hysterical and illustrative of why I dislike the TSA security protocols. I don't personally care if they see or touch my junk. I would happily strip naked and walk through the scanner if it just meant getting through the line faster.

    I dislike the TSA security protocols because they don't actually work. There's a reason the term "security theatre" was coined, and why it's appropriate here.

    Adam Savage: TSA saw my junk, missed 12" razor blades

    The TSA isn't the most respected of governmental agencies right now, but at least it comes by the poor reputation honestly. The lack of standards, inconsistent application of searches and policies, and occasional rude agent all combine to make flying an unpleasant experience. It's often derided as "security theater," which describes the experience of Mythbuster Adam Savage before a recent flight.

    Savage was put through the full-body scanner, and while he joked that it made his penis feel small, no one seemed to notice the items he was carrying on his person. The video tells the rest of the story.


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    Not being a parent myself, I have no personal insights to add here, but have long wondered at the incredible amount of structure most kids seem to grow up in these days, compared to when I was growing up.

    If we try to engineer perfect children, will they grow up to be unbearable? - By Katie Roiphe - Slate Magazine
    Can we, for a moment, flash back to the benign neglect of the 1970s and '80s? I can remember my parents having parties, wild children running around until dark, catching fireflies. If these children helped themselves to three slices of cake, or ingested the second-hand smoke from cigarettes, or carried cocktails to adults who were ever so slightly slurring their words, they were not noticed; they were loved, just not monitored. And, as I remember it, those warm summer nights of not being focused on were liberating. In the long sticky hours of boredom, in the lonely, unsupervised, unstructured time, something blooms; it was in those margins that we became ourselves
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    Story about the duo who wrote and produced the NPR rap video I posted the other day.

    A viral transmission
    Fresh out of Ivy League colleges, a pair of unemployed 2005 Corvallis High School graduates have created a rap parody song about National Public Radio. And in the time it takes to say “Talk of the Nation,” it’s gone viral on YouTube.

    The four-and-a-half minute video parody, “Good Radiation,” is the work of Adam Cole and Jenna Sullivan. Since it was made public on YouTube on Monday, as of Wednesday it has drawn more than 28,000 views and comment from some of the best-known names in public radio.

    Pretty good for two well-educated college graduates with biology degrees and stellar resumes who can’t find jobs. Both are currently living with their parents in Corvallis. Cole graduated with a master’s degree from Stanford University earlier this year. Sullivan earned an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 2009.
    Both public radio fans, they wanted to do something creative. The whole project took about a week to produce, including the writing, recording and filming, which was completed at Cole’s parents house in Corvallis.
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    Perspective. Let me show you it.

    (I love infographics like this. Sometimes, a picture really *is* worth a 1000 words.)

    mental_floss Blog » The True Size of Africa
    Africa is the world’s second-largest continent (Asia is #1), but gauging the actual size of something that seems so far away can be difficult. Fortunately, Kai Kraus has created this incredible visual aid to help put the mind-boggling size of the land mass into perspective. It is fascinating to see that the U.S., most of Europe, China and Japan still don’t fill up the entire surface area of the continent.

    It would be interesting to see a few different models that contain other countries, such as Russia, Canada and Mexico.


    (h/t Marian Call)
    autographedcat: (newsflash!)
    Fermilab Experiment Hints At Existence of Brand-New Elementary Particle | Popular Science
    Physicists working with a Fermilab neutrino experiment may have found a new elementary particle whose behavior breaks the known laws of physics. If correct, their results poke holes in the accepted Standard Model of particles and forces, and raise some interesting questions for the Large Hadron Collider and Tevatron experiments. The new particle could even explain the existence of dark matter.

    Working with Fermilab's MiniBooNE experiment — the first part of the larger planned Booster Neutrino Experiment — physicists found evidence for a fourth flavor of neutrino, according to a new paper published in Physical Review Letters. This means there could be another particle we didn’t know about, and that it behaves in a way physicists didn’t expect.
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    Whatever you think of The Sun and its "Page 3 Girls", this is a great lampoon of the Old Spice commercial.

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    Absolutely awesome

    British team send paper plane to the edge of space before it flies back to Earth | Mail Online
    NASA, eat your heart out. Who needs a multi-billion-dollar spacecraft to study the Earth when you can use a paper plane?

    Pictured here is the incredible British mission to send the plane 17 miles into the atmosphere to capture images of the curvature of the globe using a miniature camera.

    The plane, which has a 3ft wing span and is made from paper straws covered in paper, was launched using nothing more powerful than a large helium balloon.

    The craft soared to 90,000ft before the balloon exploded, freeing the plane to glide back down, taking photographs as it descended.

    And the cost of Operation PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space)? A modest £8,000.
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    This is pretty awesome. (Note that he used *damaged* records to do the roof -- no useful music was destroyed *grin*)

    Nashville Musician Shingles His Roof With Records : TreeHugger
    Nashville Musician Matt Glassmeyer is, according to Jazz.com, a bit of an inventor. Now we learn that he is a repurposer, using 350 damaged records to build a roof on his porch.
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    The Goats Must Be Crazy... (h/t to [livejournal.com profile] epi_lj)

    Gutsy Goats Caught Scaling Super-Steep Dam (Pics) : TreeHugger
    Dams are among the most daunting examples of mankind's engineering savvy, and they're also perhaps the most environmentally impactful, too -- but none of that could keep this brave herd of Ibex goats from scaling the sheer face of one such dam in Italy. While it may be a testament to the impressive climbing prowess of the goats, such displays also speak wonders about nature's ability to overcome some of the toughest obstacles we can throw at her.
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    "The Real Sloths of Costa Rica" is my new reality TV show....

    Living in the slow lane: Hundreds of orphaned sloths given a new lease of life at Costa Rican sanctuary | Mail Online
    Tucking into a tasty carrot snack, this bright-eyed baby sloth is making a happy recovery after being orphaned just days into its young life.

    The adorable creature is just one of 100 being cared for by volunteers at the Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, Central America.

    Some are barely the size of a human hand and wouldn't have stood a chance if left alone in the wild.

    But they have been given a new lease of life thanks to the centre which was set up by married couple Luis Arroyo and Judy Avey-Arroyo after an orphaned sloth was brought to their door by neighbours 18 years ago.


    Lots of adorable photos with the article.

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