Sunday, December 28, 2008

YouTube becomes a treasure trove of classical music



A 19-year-old going by the familiar pseudonym FranzFerencLiszt has uploaded hundreds of hours of high-quality classical music performances to YouTube. Below, as a sampler, is Arthur Rubinstein playing the complete Waldstein Sonata:







Helpful tip: you apparently get better sound quality if you add &fmt=18 to the video URL.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Because nothing says Christmas like Leonard Cohen



Britain is having what the Times has described as a “post-Diana's-death hysteria moment” regarding a bitter battle being fought between two versions of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the much coveted Christmas number one spot. There has even been a demonstration planned for Trafalgar Square over it. The Prime Minister and some-time world savior Gordon Brown has gotten personally involved.

It’s time someone cleared this up. I’ve listened to God-kows-how-many versions of “Hallelujah”, and here are the best three:

3) The Scandinavian singalong version (embedding disabled):

2) Alexandra Burke’s version:

1) Cohen’s live version:

Believe it or not, Britain has been there before. In 1953, "Answer Me" occupied the top two positions in the Christmas chart. The song had previously been the center of a controversy over the mixture of the sacred and the secular in the lyrics: the words were changed from "Answer me, oh my Lord" to "Answer me, oh my love" in order to appease offended Christians.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lost Dylan Album “Yonder Comes Sin” Shows Up on YouTube



Some tracks from a newly emerged live album from Dylan’s Christian period:

Aint Gonna Go to Hell


Thief on the Cross


We Just Disagree


Mary of the Wild Moor

Something more about Mary.

Full track list

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Favorite Songs When I Was Five



When I was about five years old, these three songs somehow captured my imagination.

3: The Seekers’ version of “Blowin’ in the Wind”:

2: The Bachelors’ version of “The Sound of Silence”:

1: Cliff Richard singing “Visions”:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Beautiful Hoax

Andrea Bocelli performs Giulio Caccini's Ave Maria:

Apparently, this was actually written around 1970 by a chap called Vladimir Vavilov. I still like it though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Top 10 Somali Pirate Bailout Headlines

Somali Pirates Apply to Become Bank to Access TARP

Kashkari Says Somali Pirates "Fundamentally Sound"

Somali Pirates in Discussions to Acquire Citibank

Somali Pirates Capture Bernanke, Paulson, Demand $700B Ransom. Dow Soars.

Compensation for Top Somali Pirates Cannot Be Slashed or Bailout Not Effective Says Paulson

Dr. Ron Paul Lauds Somali Pirates’ Return to the Gold Standard

Somali Pirates Union (SPU) Threatens to Begin Building Automobiles if TARP Funds Not Released Immediately

Gotcha Interview: Katie Couric Reveals Somali Pirates Woefully Ignorant of Supreme Court History

Somali Pirates Seek Goldman Sachs Merger to Become "Too Big to Jail"

Lou Dobbs Exclusive: Somali Pirates *Already* Own Citibank


Source Across the Curve

Leif Ove Andsnes plays Debussy



Another find from Classic FM TV

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A little Paganini

Alison Balsom plays Caprice 24 on trumpet:


Found at Classic FM TV

Monday, November 17, 2008

Classic FM TV

I just discovered Classic FM TV, where you can watch classical and crossover classical music videos for free 24 hours a day. Here, for instance, is a video I saw at the site of Miriam Stockley singing Remo Giazotto’s Albinoni Adagio:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) wrote an astounding 555 keyboard sonatas. Here are a few for your enjoyment.

Pogorelich #450:


Horowitz #23:


Pogorelich #366:


Horowitz #224:


Koblar #1:


Aregerich #141:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Original Rap Song: “This Is the Night Mail” 1936

It appears that “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was not the first rap song after all:

Source.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Amazing Animusic: “Pictures at an Exhibition” and More

Wonderful animation and the best version of "Pictures at an Exhibition" I’ve heard:



Strings:


Harp:


Pipes:


Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: Four Great Performances

The Theme from Shaft:


A show-stopping round/medley: Fly Me Off the Handel:


You Don’t Bring Me Flowers:


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul McCartney Live in Israel




25 Most Brilliant Novels In Order of Appearance



1813, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen



1839, Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens



1847, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte



1848, Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens



1848, Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray



1850, David Copperfield, Charles Dickens



1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe



1857, Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope



1866, Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky



1869, War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy



1891, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde



1903, The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler



1906, The Jungle, Upton Sinclair



1910, Howards End, E. M. Forster



1915, Of Human Bondage, Somerset Maugham



1930, Cakes and Ale, Somerset Maugham



1931, The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck



1934, A Handful of Dust, Evelyn Waugh



1936, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell



1939, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck



1940, You Can’t Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe



1940, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway



1952, East of Eden, John Steinbeck



1987, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe



2001, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Amy Tan

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ten Great Limericks

There was an old man of Darjeeling
Who boarded a bus at Ealing.
It said on the door,
“Don’t Spit On the Floor,”
So he stood up and spat on the ceiling.

A canner exceedingly canny
One morning remarked to his granny:
“A canner can can
Any thing that he can
But a canner can’t can a can, can he?”
Carolyn Wells

There once was a lady from Guam,
Who said, "Now the sea is so calm
I will swim, for a lark";
But she met with a shark.
Let us now sing the ninetieth psalm.

There once was an old man of Lyme.
Who married three wives at a time;
When asked, "Why a third?"
He replied, "One's absurd!
And bigamy, sir, is a crime."
William Cosmo Monkhouse

The star of "Anne Frank" was erratic,
And the critics were less than ecstatic --
Her acting so grim,
When the Germans marched in,
Cried the audience, "SHE'S IN THE ATTIC!"
Arthur Deex

A major, with wonderful force,
Called out in Hyde Park for a horse.
All the flowers looked round,
But no horse could be found;
So he just rhododendron, of course.

There was a young man of Nepal
Who had a mathematical ball
The cube of its weight
Times pi, minus eight,
Was four thirds of the root of **** all.

There was an old woman of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They came back from the ride
With the woman inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

There was a young man so benighted,
He never knew when he was slighted;
He would go to a party,
And eat just as hearty,
As if he'd been really invited.

There was an old man in a hearse,
Who murmured, "This might have been worse;
Of course the expense
Is simply immense,
But it doesn't come out of my purse."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Don't Miss Pandora’s Last Waltz

Pandora allows you to listen legally to customized radio for free online, but unfortunately it is likely to soon go out of business. If you haven’t tried it, you should (although I believe it’s only available here in the USA). They even have the Beatles!

The great thing about it is that Pandora has such a large selection of music, including classical music. All you have to do is put in the name of a composer and Pandora will play music by that composers and others from the same era. For instance, I never get tired of listening to this Vivaldi station.

I’ve also discovered lots of interesting music through this Scott Joplin station.

I hope the links work!

More

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Blind, Autistic Slave Who Helped Form Modern Music

Blind Tom Wiggins was one of the most remarkable individuals in American history. Not only was he born blind and a slave, but he was also very probably autistic. Yet, he became a true pioneer of modern music. Here John Davis plays one of Blind Tom's compositions, the Cyclone Gallop:

John Davis goes in search of Blind Tom’s grave:

The fascinating story of Blind Tom and his mindboggling talents can be found here.

A musical heir of Blind Tom was Missouri’s own John William “Blind” Boone. His story was perhaps less tragic than Tom’s, but still remarkable. Blind Boone, whose mother was a runaway slave, could have become a wealthy man through his music but he appears to have given most of his income away. Here John Davis plays Blind Boone’s Southern Rag Medley No. 2:

You can read more about Blind Boone here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Leonard Cohen at Glastonbury 2008

Hallelujah:


There Ain’t No Cure for Love:


Anthem:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Counteracting Global Warming by Manipulating the Earth’s Albedo

Theoretically, global warming can be reversed by reflecting more of the sun’s energy back into space. The cheapest and simplest solution to global warming I’ve seen is to increase cloud cover by spurting seawater up into the sky. This short video about it is well worth watching:

Another plan, the Global Albedo Enhancement Project, involves covering a vast area of desert in white plastic. Keeping the plastic white seems to be the hard part. The use of vacuum-cleaner robots has been considered.

There are also things that the average citizen can do to help raise the earth’s albedo.

What got me thinking about albedo was this article from Tree Hugger.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Good News On the Environment

Sapphire Energy claims that it has a scalable and cost-effective method of producing gasoline from algae, sunlight, and carbon dioxide. It seems too good to be true, but the company does boast the support of the prestigious Wellcome Trust, so maybe they really can do it! I recently read that converting the entire US corn crop to ethanol would still only produce enough to meet 6% of the country’s gasoline needs, so it looks like algae and electric power are the best options. Link.

Here’s a radical idea for a sales tax on carbon that is then refunded directly back to consumers: carbon emissions are reduced and the cash goes back to the people. There is an obvious element of wealth redistribution that diehard capitalists might find objectionable, but in theory you can escape the tax for the most part by purchasing different products. It’s way out there, but it just might be brilliant. Link.

The Portugese are world leaders on renewable energy. They are building the world’s largest photovoltaic solar farm and stimulating their economy by developing clean-energy manufacturing industries. Link.

Britain is building enough wind turbines to power all of its homes. China is trumping that by aiming for a tremendous 100 gigawatts of wind. That's an increase that is about equal to the entire amount of wind-produced electricity currently available worldwide. Unfortunately, with about 20 times the population of Britain China’s future energy needs are projected to be so immense that even 100 gigawatts will only make up about 5% of the requirement.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A dedicated gas tax would effectively fund clean energy

There are few good options for raising the enormous amounts of money needed in order to transform into a clean-energy economy. I think a 5% gas tax is a very attractive option if the funds are dedicated solely to the development of renewable energies like wind, solar, algae, etc. The tax could be implemented at the beginning of the year when gas prices are lower. This approach would actually provide an incentive for oil-producers to keep prices down: the higher the price of gas went, the more money would be put into developing alternative products.

The idea is not as unpopular as one might suppose:


The US consumes about 12 billion gallons of gas a month. At $4 a gallon, that’s 48 billion dollars, so a 5% tax could bring in $2.4 billion monthly or $28.8 billion annually. Scientific American calculated the cost of converting the US to solar power at $420 billion over forty years. A 5% gas tax would take about fifteen years to raise that amount if gas use remained stable and the pre-tax price averaged $4.00 per gallon. However, I expect that after 2015 the number of vehicles using gas will start to decrease rapidly. If the dedicated gas tax failed to influence oil poducers to keep prices low, it would at least encourage the purchase of alternative vehicles.

I think a 10% dedicated tax would be even better! Whatever the percentage, the tax would terminate when use of gasoline in vehicles ended.

Graph found at the Breakthrough Institute blog.

(This post is an alternative to a previous post suggesting a monthly use tax on vehicles, which I deleted)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cool Earth: no good deed goes unpunished

Cool Earth is a cooperative effort led by a Conservative businessman and a Labour politician aimed at preserving rainforests by enabling individuals and organizations to pool their resources and purchase large areas of them:
WHEN millionaire businessman Johan Eliasch decides to head for his country estate, it involves a slightly longer trek than a drive to the Cotswolds.

After leaving his office in London’s Mayfair, it is a 12-hour journey by air and road before he can view his 400,000-acre plot in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The estate is the size of Greater London.

Eliasch, 43, a banker, film producer and chief executive of the Head sports equipment company, has bought it from a logging company to protect the plants and wildlife. He sees himself as a pioneer on the new frontier of climate change.

Eliasch, who is also deputy treasurer of the Conservative party, is part of a growing trend towards “green colonialism”. Link.

According to Cool Earth, an average acre of rainforest locks in more than 100 tonnes of carbon. Sponsors are invited to contribute about $140 to protect one acre. Eliasch has suggested that the entire Amazon could, in theory, be purchased for about $50 billion. Such an astronomical investment seems like a promising proposal when you consider that logging in the rainforests is thought to contribute more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all of the human activity in China or the United States.

More background on Cool Earth here and here.

Unfortunately, Cool Earth’s plans seem to have been completely misunderstood by some in the Brazilian government:
. . . the daily O Globo from Rio de Janeiro reveals that a private report by the Abin, Brazilian Intelligence Agency found out that Johan Eliasch, a Swede businessman who works as a consultant for British prime minister Gordon Brown, estimated that the whole Amazon Forest can be bought for about US$ 50 billion.

Apparently, Eliasch's purpose is to encourage British businessmen to buy real estate in the area. Brazilian authorities have been investigating Eliasch's participation in the acquisition of 160,000 hectares of land in the states of Amazonas and Mato Grosso.

Eliasch is head of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Cool Earth, which is in the Brazilian government's black list as suspect of doing monkey business in the Amazon. Link.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How about a 2020 ban on gas-powered vehicles?

What would happen if the US and the EU both decided to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles as of a future date about twelve to fifteen years in the future, say 2020 for instance? That ought to give automakers plenty of time to adjust and it wouldn’t place any limitations on vehicles already on the road prior to that date.

Norway has already been considering banning gas vehicles, although the Norwegians are apparently thinking of switching to ethanol whereas it seems to me that electric vehicles would probably be preferable.

A future ban would be a great spur to technological innovation and would make an enormous contribution to both energy independence and the environment. It would be an example for China and India and the rest of the world too.

There are two principle drawbacks to replacing gas with electric: the energy for the electricity has to come from somewhere and the range of current electric vehicles is too short. The first objection is really just one aspect of the great general question of where we should get our power from in the future and there are obviously several answers (solar, wind, nuclear, “clean” coal, etc.). The range of electric vehicles is constantly improving: lithium-ion batteries should bring the distance up to 250 or 300 miles. There is also the option of using battery-exchange stations for long trips.

Distance is obviously a much smaller problem in limited areas like Hawaii. Big cities are another special case. Here are a couple of guys testing out electric vehicles in London. The cars shown are a bit unsafe and unsexy, but they’re fun:

For more information on environmentally friendly vehicles, read AutoblogGreen - a fascinating blog that is frequently updated.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Classic Children’s Television

Some of the BBC’s attempts to kill off the amazing John Noakes (after a couple of minutes of dog stuff)-back when children’s TV presenters were expected to risk life and limb:

Patti Smith on kids TV!

Philip Glass on Sesame Street:

JK Rowling Interview:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One Blog, Four Links

It’s adorable but it probably won’t end well . . .

The calendar for September, 1752

The Tale of the Harvard Gringo

World’s coolest bike

I stole one of his photos for this LOL Cat:
funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Some Crazy-Ass Videos

Petra Haden, “Don’t Stop Believin’”

Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Choir, “Sweet Home Alabama”

Bulgarian Idol, "Without You" Take 1

Bulgarian Idol, "Without You" Take 2 (with awesome audience support!)

African High-School Dropout’s Windmill Brings Electricity To Village

Here’s a very inspiring video about a teen-ager in Malawi who built a working windmill from old parts after seeing a picture of one in a book:

Here is William’s Blog.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Remarkable people

Vidal Sassoon’s streetfighting past

Emilie du Chatelet, woman of science

Germaine Tillion, resistance leader

Looking for more remarkable people? Why not borrow someone from the library?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Mountain Goats Video

My favorite American band offers a new development of the old Subterranean Homesick Blues here-are-the-lyrics theme: “Sax Rohmer #1”

More Mountain Goats: “This Year”

“Song For an Old Friend”

Friday, April 25, 2008

Her Majesty’s Wall of Sound

Here are some entertaining British attempts to emulate Phil Spector’s production techniques.

1960s: The Walker Brothers, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”


1960s: Marianne Faithfull, “Is This What I Get for Loving You?”


1970s: Wizzard, “See My Baby Jive”


2000s: The Pipettes, “Because It’s Not Love (But It’s Still a Feeling)”


And one of Spector’s tracks with Starsailor from a few years ago, “Silence Is Easy”

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yusuf Islam Lets the Cat Out

Here are some nice new songs from the latest Yusuf Islam CD, An Other Cup.

Midday (Avoid City After Dark):

I Think I See the Light:

Heaven/Where True Love Goes:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

GLASS: a Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts

At last, a movie that I’m actually interested in seeing:

An interview with the director:

Here are some Indian dancers and a piece from the excellent Passages collaboration between Glass and Ravi Shankar:

A mighty vision of Philip Glass in the clouds over Edinburgh:

And a video from the New York Times about a visually stunning setting of Glass’s opera Satyagraha.

Stephen Fry on Room 101

Here's a very entertaining interview with Stephen Fry. Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Wacky Graphs II

Good graphs that somehow didn’t make the front page of GraphJam:
funny graphs
see more funny graphs

funny graphs
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funny graphs
see more funny graphs

funny graphs
see more funny graphs

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Intriguing stories from the past month or so

Supergrid” could power 100% of human needs from 1% of the world’s desert

Operation Cumulus: did UK government drown 35 people?

Wal-Mart, doing the right thing

A gripping read that’s just plain scary

Charity that costs government 14 times more money than it raises!

Thorium: abundant nuclear energy with minimal drawbacks.

Anyone want a free laptop?

Anyone want a free car? Israel goes electric (watch the embedded video – very inspiring)

Extra windpower to fuel Denmark’s cars

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Greatest Beatles Covers from YouTube – a Top Ten

10) Regina Spektor: “Real Love”

9) Emmylou Harris: “For No One”

8) Johnny Cash: “In My Life”

7) Sarah McLachlan "Blackbird"

6) tied-Wilson Pickett: “Hey Jude”

6) tied-Cilla Black: “Step Inside, Love” demo

5) Los Fabulosos Cadillacs: “Strawberry Fields Forever”

4) Vanessa-mae: “Because”

3) Jake Shimabukuro: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

2) Fiona Apple: Across the Universe

1) Rick Wakeman: “Help” with “Eleanor Rigby”


Bonus newer Beatley track from Paul McCartney: “English Tea”


Honorable Mentions (good covers, lousy videos)

Will Downing: “Michelle”

Aimee Mann: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (not much of a video)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Maurice André, Trumpet Master

Here’s an extraordinary performance of Marcello’s adagio:

Maurice with Dizzy:

Yo, Granada!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

GraphJam Rocks!

GraphJam is a wonderful idea--a site where you can submit silly graphs like these:
funny graphs
see more funny graphs

funny graphs
see more funny graphs

funny graphs
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funny graphs
see more funny graphs

funny graphs
see more funny graphs

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Some links worth clicking

African tribal fashions

In New York City minor subway infractions can lead to nightmares

North Korea has 14 women and 8 men shot for no good reason

Dude invents new letter and it actually gets added to the alphabet

A Venn diagram that explains Britain’s various names

Awe-inspiring pictures of Dubai developments

"Everyone knew dimethylmercury was bad," says Sugden. "No one knew it was this bad."

Bach’s face reconstructed

Some woman makes a good case for staying in Iraq (but the US still can’t afford to)

Iraq: everybody lost, no matter which side they were on

Your Stuff: If It Isn't Grown, It Must Be Mined

Dick Cavett: Bobby Fischer before he went crazy

The 61-year-old eccentric behind Abercrombie & Fitch

Uber-cute lion-hug video

More cute: before and after

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Emerging Energies-Some Positive Developments

An ingenious plan that uses variations in ocean temperature to boil ammonia and generate electricity

Abu Dhabi is building a primarily solar-powered, carless city in which people travel in pods along magnetic tracks

Dongtan: China’s green city, coming soon

Mexico taking the lead on environmentally friendly housing.

AFL-CIO blog: green economy could save manufacturing

A new method that uses sunlight to generate hydrogen power from sea water

Massive wind farms are regenerating rural economies in western Texas

New Arizona solar plant will power 70,000 homes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Three Solutions for Global Warming

Solution 1: a new method of capturing carbon dioxide emissions
Solution 2: using ocean-based pipes to promote algae growth
Solution 3: going solar (below)

Scientific American recently announced a grand solar-power plan that would “generate 100 percent of all US electricity and more that 90 percent of total US energy ” by 2100 at a cost of about $10 billion a year for 40 years. Here is their synopsis:
A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.

A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.

Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.

A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.

You can read the details of the plan here.

What about the cost?
Although $420 billion is substantial, the annual expense would be less than the current U.S. Farm Price Support program. It is also less than the tax subsidies that have been levied to build the country’s high-speed telecommunications infrastructure over the past 35 years. And it frees the U.S. from policy and budget issues driven by international energy conflicts.

Without subsidies, the solar grand plan is impossible. Other countries have reached similar conclusions: Japan is already building a large, subsidized solar infrastructure, and Germany has embarked on a nationwide program. Although the investment is high, it is important to remember that the energy source, sunlight, is free. There are no annual fuel or pollution-control costs like those for coal, oil or nuclear power, and only a slight cost for natural gas in compressed-air systems, although hydrogen or biofuels could displace that, too. When fuel savings are factored in, the cost of solar would be a bargain in coming decades. Link.


Recent news about solar energy developments can be found here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Marni Nixon's Greatest Hits

Marni Nixon singing “Shall We Dance” for Deborah Kerr

Marni Nixon singing “Tonight” for Natalie Wood

Marni Nixon singing “I Could Have Danced All Night” for Aubrey Hepburn

Marni Nixon interview

Extreme Soccer

An amazing display of skills:


Related: Parkour

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A car that runs on air


The main drawback seems to be that electricity is needed in order to compress the air in the first place. But what if that electricity was generated by sunlight?

More compressed-air cars here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A nifty global development presentation

Check out the use of animated graphics in this intriguing and surprisingly upbeat presentation on global development by Hans Rosling:

More from Gapminder.org.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Lost Monty Python: Birds Eye Peas

Before there was SPAM, or even a Wicker Island . . . Birds Eye Peas!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Feast of Goodies You Might Have Missed

ideas

10 signs of intelligent life on YouTube

10 positive items from the Islamic world

I Am the Very Model of a Model Libertarian

How Henrietta attained immortality

Solar-powered internet cafes (in Gambia)

Pay attention to road signs! (picture)

Chinese anchor makes unexpected comments

Lack of sewing skills (no warm undies!) might have doomed Neanderthals

The web page that could have saved the Neanderthals (scroll down for image)

Inside the Iranian government on 911

The German healthcare system

D Day on a shoestring (4-minute video)

Rush Limbaugh’s Nightmare: pink-clad “feminazis” ready to whoop ass

Why repealing the tax cuts might stimulate the economy

MBA the easy way

An insider explains Scientology

Citigroup buys bank, cancels accounts of people who pay on time (read down all the way)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Uncle Sam’s Color Photoblog of the 1930s and 1940s











US government photos of the 1930s and 1940s. See the whole set on flickr.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paris Hilton Announces Economic Stimulus Package

Paris Hilton called Friday for roughly “$145 zillion trillion” in tax relief for individuals and businesses that she said would “provide a shot in the arm” for the economy, “but not in like a druggy, smelly hippy sort of way.”

Her comments reflected a heightened sense within the celebrity community that a multi-billion dollar economic stimulus package is now a must-have accessory. Though she hasn’t mastered the details yet, Ms. Hilton essentially suggests a combination package that would include a permanent tax waiver for individuals who must subsist entirely on massive inherited fortunes and an immediate three thousand dollar tax rebate for all females between the age of thirteen and twenty four.



There is a growing consensus among top economists that very young female consumers provide the best “bang for the buck.” According to Professor Milkin Banx of Yale Business School, “the multiplier effect of putting cash in the hands of young girls is extraordinary. If you give a tax rebate to people with incomes over $200,000 dollars, they tend to put most of it into savings, which creates a multiplier effect of around about 0.45 only. However, if you give money to girls between the ages of thirteen and twenty four they will spend on average three times as much as you give them. The multiplier effect is approximately 3.0. We now know how to jumpstart any economy anywhere and at any time.”

If Congress acts quickly, checks could be in the hands of twenty million young American women and teens as early as Friday, February 1. Banx expects that the $60 billion dollars paid out by the treasury will result in $120 billion additional consumer spending by Monday, February 4 and $180 billion by the following Friday.

In laying the foundation for a plan rooted in tax policy, Ms. Hilton held fast to a central theme that increased spending rather than the production of goods and services is the route to prosperity. Hilton is also calling for the elimination of sales tax on any items that are pink or fluffy.

Britney Spears’ rival package, by contrast, calls for an extension of free non-prescription drug benefits to all Americans, coupled with a 500% sales tax on clothing and other body coverings (with an exemption for tattoos). The latter provision is aimed squarely at the unfashionable classes.

Ms. Hilton laid out her ideas for an economic rescue package only in broad strokes. She said that her plan was “big enough to make a difference in an economy as large as such as ours is and also in states like North Dakota and South Africa and the Iraqs. I know I can make a difference and hopefully stop this vicious cycle of people without food and shelter going around with off-brand handbags and ugly clothing and like not taking proper care of their chihuahuas and everything.” She did not use economic jargon terms like “recession” but acknowledged that “there is a lot of the paparazzi looking scrawny and underfed lately and they are staring at me sort of really like scary.” She said that this was giving her severe anxiety, panic attacks and claustrophobia.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

LOL Cats and Similar Critters

Since I don't like cats (other than lions and tigers), I was one of the last people on earth to find out about LOL Cats. I only started looking at them after I saw the LOL Chairs mentioned two posts ago. Anyway, here's a few:
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ARRR! Where�s me grog, wench?
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upgraded ram
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