Archive for October, 2009
Photographs of Tibetan monks at Longwu monastery
Hollywood is a cruel place that traffics on the looks of big stars. Which makes it insane there are actually working actors out there who have hideously ugly faces. Well, ugly stars out there… we salute you. Here are the 10 Ugliest Faces In Hollywood
Apple iPhone owners wondering if there is a case of swine flu nearby can now find out instantly with a new program that tracks outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Outbreaks Near Me is an application for the popular smartphone developed by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston in collaboration with the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Right, I’m going to tell you the so called secrets of mastering eq. I know everybody thinks it’s the compression that makes that lovely stable full sound, but without balancing the tone, the compression wont make that happen alone.
Today, we’ve compiled an extensive list of 22 modern day sculptures that are as cool as they are freaky. These three-dimensional pieces of art are mind-blowing not just because of the materials that have been used but because they leave an indelible mark on our memory. From the hyper-realistic sculptures from Ron Mueck and Duane Hanson to the magically moving sculptures of Peter Jansen and Saúl Hernández, each piece tells an interesting story. It is only through our shared experiences that we come to appreciate how sculptures have evolved as an art form as we reflect on the meaning of each visual piece.
Insurers Spending $700K a Day to Kill Healthcare Reform
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Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 03:10:04 PM PDT
Wow, that could be providing a helluva lot of healthcare.
Washington, D.C. – A campaign finance watchdog’s analysis of insurance and HMO political contributions and lobbying expenses found the industries spent $126,430,438 over the first half of 2009 and $585,725,712 over the past two and a half years to influence public policy and elected officials. The group, Public Campaign Action Fund, found that in the first part of 2009, the industries were spending money at nearly a $700,000 a day clip to influence the political process and that the monthly pace of political spending this year has increased by nearly $400,000 over the average spent per month in the previous two years.
In addition to PAC contributions to our “public servants,” that’s funding 875 registered lobbyists for the insurance industry, and 920 for the HMOs. Which really is hardly a drop in the bucket for the industry, when you take into consideration their CEO compensation, which ranges from $3 million to $24 million.
Nice to know what our premiums are paying for, huh? We could cut out the middleman here. We could start giving all the money we’re spending on premiums directly to our representative and Senators. Maybe then they’d listen to us, the people who hired them, when it comes to vote.
Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD, lambasted the countercultural movement for marginalizing a chemical that he asserted had potential benefits as an invaluable supplement to psychotherapy and spiritual practices such as meditation. “This joy at having fathered LSD was tarnished after more than ten years of uninterrupted scientific research and medicinal use when LSD was swept up in the huge wave of an inebriant mania that began to spread over the Western world, above all the United States, at the end of the 1950s,” Hofmann groused in his 1979 memoir LSD: My Problem Child.
For just that reason, Hofmann was jubilant in the months before his death last year, at the age of 102, when he learned that the first scientific research on LSD in decades was just beginning in his native Switzerland. “He was very happy that, as he said, ‘a long wish finally became true,’ ” remarks Peter Gasser, the physician leading the clinical trial. “He said that the substance must be in the hands of medical doctors again.”
The preliminary study picks up where investigators left off. It explores the possible therapeutic effects of the drug on the intense anxiety experienced by patients with life-threatening disease, such as cancer…
A Collection Of Pre-1930 Awkward Family Photos
CULTURE BUZZ These pictures should give you a pretty good idea of what AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com would’ve looked like 100 years ago. It starts out cute, but turns ugly and creepy fast…
Brad Laner’s Eichler house
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Some of the artwork comes from Laner’s mother, Judy Koenig. She painted the triptych in the living room while getting her master’s degree at Cal State Northridge in the 1990s. Laner commissioned her to paint the geometric piece on the other wall.
1. The Mystery of Picasso (1956) Renowned French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot follows his dear friend – Pablo Picasso – through the creation of twenty pieces, in a film that is a work of art within itself.
NEWTON, Massachusetts (CNN) — For Laura Geraghty, April 1, 2009, started out just as any other day. It was sunny but cool, she remembers.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — The actions of a justice of the peace in Louisiana who refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple have prompted some top officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, to call for his dismissal.
As part of its Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up a few of the best local stories of the day.
Mable Randon is suffering from the late stages of cancer. She’s bound by a wheel chair and only breathing with the help of an electrically-powered oxygen machine. Rucks Russell of KHOU in Houston reports that the local power company sent her a disconnection notice because of late bills. She applied to the Critical Customer Program, a payment plan seemingly tailor-made for people in Randon’s condition who depend on electric life support — but she was denied.
Her provider, Freedom Power, already had the most complaints of any energy company in Texas. The Texas Public Utilities Commission launched an investigation into Randon’s case on Wednesday, which will keep the power on for the time being. Texas-based Amegy Bank has set up a charity fund to help her keep her lights on.
KHOU also has a video.
Darla Tolliver and her husband, Jim, are just $28,000 away from owning their home after making payments since 2001, reports Claire Galofaro of the Bristol Herald Courier in Virginia. But now, after Jim lost his job, they are three months behind on their mortgage, and fearing foreclosure. “It’s like you’re in quicksand, and the more you struggle and try to get out, the more you sink” remarked Darla. “My life is in that house…the thought of losing it is unbearable.”
Bessie Mae Berger, 97, is homeless. She lives with her two sons in a Chevrolet Suburban, reports Bob Pool of the Los Angeles Times. Her sons, Larry and Charlie Wilkerson, are both unemployed and get by on disability checks and food stamps. A damaged nerve and degenerative arthritis, respectively, forced them out of work years ago. They now panhandle for extra change — Berger holds a sign reading “I am 97 years old. Homeless. Broke. Need Help Please.” Because they insist on living together, they have been repeatedly denied government-subsidized housing, and are running into brick walls navigating government aid programs. “There’s a million empty homes here in California, but they can’t seem to find one we can live in,” said Larry. The Times also has an affecting audio slideshow, showing how the family lives in their own words.
Top 10 Creepiest Ghost Movies
12.10.09 # 9:48 # Top Ten # 19 Comments
It is fast approaching that unique portion of the year when all true matters arcane and diabolical are given the festive treatment, as Halloween prompts folks to deploy their broomsticks for something other than sweeping up after the household pet. Although we have recently seen cinematic quotas of the supernatural gobbled up by vampire and zombie flicks, it would be remiss to overlook the genuine chills instilled by the most successful exponents of the ghost movie genre. So here are ten of the scariest ghost movies to put the frighteners on us poor, trembling cinema-goers
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — President Obama will visit New Orleans on Thursday for the first time since taking office, to address rebuilding efforts in the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina four years ago.
President Obama will visit New Orleans, Louisiana, on Thursday to talk about rebuilding efforts.
During his trip, Obama will visit a charter school and host a town hall meeting to hear residents’ concerns, the White House said.
The president’s visit will focus on efforts to help rebuild the Gulf Coast, including cutting red tape and easing funding so residents can become self-sufficient.
“The president made a promise to come to New Orleans and wanted to fulfill that promise as soon as his schedule allowed,” said Nicholas Shapiro, White House spokesman.
Though this is Obama’s first trip there while in office, he has been to New Orleans five times since Katrina, Shapiro said.
Wall Street On Track To Award Record Pay
BEAUTIFUL LOSER, TORTURED KILLER
How Two Veterans of the L.A. Punk Scene Wound Up on a Collision Course, Until Only One Was Left Standing
Most electronics industry analysis is obvious at best and misinformed at worst, but this one made us chuckle. Analyst firm Broadpoint AmTech has released a report that claims that, rather than diminish sales of OS X, Microsoft’s impending release of Windows 7 may actually help sell Macs. They cite the chart above, which seems to show a boost (especially after Vista) in Mac sales right after Microsoft releases a new OS version.
Now, even they admit they’re making connections here that probably aren’t there — there are tons of factors involved in both sales of Windows OSes and Mac computers (we’d just mention that Windows 7 seems to be getting fairly good reviews so far, and while no one would argue that Vista wasn’t a disaster, I’d argue that iPods and iPhones were much better “Mac sales helpers” after 2001 and 2007 than Windows would ever be), and there’s no real evidence here that Microsoft’s releases have any bearing at all on their competitors’ numbers.
But it is a nice thought for us Mac faithful to hang on to anyway — in the next few weeks, as Windows users vibe on their new and shiny and have their super fun release parties, we can know that if we just wait, Mac sale
Rachel Maddow first came on my radar in the spring of 2004, when she, along with Lizz Winstead and Chuck D of Public Enemy hosted an early morning radio show called Unfiltered on the newly minted Air America, an attempt to counter rightwing talk radio with liberal programming.
Radio has this ability to make the listener feel like they share a secret with the hosts and the few, hard-to-know listeners out there. I hoped people tuned in to listen to the hosts trade jokes and talk about politics and music, and mostly I wanted other people to learn about this Maddow character, who brought to every episode a dynamic mix of sparkling good humour, intelligent analysis and a broad view of what issues should matter.
Unfiltered didn’t make the first round of reshuffling at Air America, but Maddow hung in, hosting her own eponymous radio show and eventually moving to television, first as a guest pundit and now as a host of her own night time political talkshow on MSNBC.
Before it happened, most American liberals would have never imagined that Maddow could have her own programme on any cable network, much less the same network that had, just a few years before, tried to pull in a rightwing audience by giving hard right nut Michael Savage his own show (before pulling it after he told a gay caller to die from Aids).
It’s not just that Maddow is a liberal. After all, MSNBC had already given a spot to liberal commentator Keith Olbermann and his frequent, angry rants. It was mostly hard to imagine a cable news network rewarding a pundit for being sober-minded and nuanced in her analysis, as well as suspicion that homophobia would prevent it from promoting a lesbian who favours a more masculine way of dressing.
But 2008 was a year for re-arranging American expectations about who gets to have a voice in public. The Democratic candidate was not only black, but also overtly professorial, and this didn’t diminish his popularity with the public. Hillary Clinton and, yes, even Sarah Palin normalised the idea of more female authority in politics. In a very short period of time, the unthinkable became the reality, and Maddow had her very own MSNBC programme.
Maddow’s audience is still small, but she inspires devotion in her fans, because she doesn’t fit the tedious mould of most political talkshow hosts. Maddow openly identifies with the wild world of the liberal blogosphere, and even went so far as to wear pajamas on her show to cheekily demonstrate solidarity with bloggers after Palin denounced the netroots.
Like bloggers, Maddow knows that the key to building rapport with your audience isn’t making yourself into an aloof portrayal of authority, but to show your human side and sense of humour. To this end, Maddow lets her idiosyncrasies become known, such as her obsession with classic cocktails.
But what really endears her to American liberals is the way she takes her job and the authority it gives her seriously. Maddow is less interested in the shouting fests that dominate most cable news and instead favours in-depth interviews with experts who are permitted to show their expertise on air without being interrupted. Hers may be the only show on cable news were feminists come on air to speak their minds without being paired off with belligerent sexists who dominate the conversation by yelling over their points.
But Maddow isn’t opposed to fair-mindedness. She often brings on conservatives for the same kind of in-depth interviews, and even when she strongly disagrees, she always gives them a chance to air their views (and generally hang themselves with those views). Her show is the exact opposite of Bill O’Reilly’s show. Where he cuts people off for saying things he doesn’t like, Maddow digs in deeper.
She also gives far more coverage to issues other hosts avoid because they’re big downers. Maddow is the only reliable source of televised information on the growing problem of domestic terrorism in the US, and the only mainstream pundit to pay attention to the network of anti-abortion activists that quietly support the few that work up the courage to shoot doctors or bomb clinics. She doesn’t treat the rapid growth of the extreme right in America like it’s a joke or a minimal issue, as do other hosts, but as a serious threat to our democracy. In her transition to the mainstream media, the only thing Maddow seems to have given up is the thick-framed glasses she prefers to wear off-camera.
Unfortunately, the Maddow magic might not have much of a lifespan. During the US election, there was a hunger for televised liberal content, and no one does it better than Maddow. It seems that now, most liberals have turned off their TVs and returned to getting most information from the internet, and Maddow’s ratings have plummeted as a result.
Video clips of her shows are routinely traded on liberal blogs, but that doesn’t translate into ad revenue for MSNBC. Hopefully, the next round of US elections will push her ratings back up again, because we can’t afford to lose the sole voice of intellectual liberalism in the cable news desert.
This really cool project allows a grand piano to “speak”. We don’t know any details about its construction but we had to share. The keys are being hit by solenoids in a manner to replicate human speech. Click through to the video, it’s worth it. You may have to allow the popup to see the video, and it is in german, but the piano is clearly speaking english. We want one to keep around the office. It could read our emails to us.
The Holy Mountain (1973): You and I are gonna live forever.
Your Friend says: “What did you do last night?”
You respond: “Got weird and watched The Holy Mountain.”
Yes, This will be exactly what you tell someone after watching this film. I’ll take a stab at explaining the plot. So, it’s about this Jesus look alike guy known as “the thief” who after falling into some bad luck is befriended by a limbless dwarf. (Please note: This character makes me very uncomfortable and sad). They’re paling around one day when they witness gold descend upon the city from a mystery tower. Being curious, the thief ventures inside the tower to find the gold’s origin. Once inside he finds a character known as the alchemist and his tattooed assistant. With their guidance the thief learns that he can turn his own shit into gold. Yes, they show this whole glorious process.
The rest of the film follows the thief, the alchemist and their seven companions (each companion representing an astrological planet) journey to gain the secret of immortality on a holy mountain. There is tons of insane imagery throughout this movie: some beautiful, some gnarly but all interesting. I have read that in preparation for the film the central cast members and the director took mushrooms and LSD and lived in a commune together. Method acting at it’s best! Tom Cruise, you should be taking notes. It is above all visually stunning work of artistic genius.
WARNING: This film contains scenes of animal cruelty.