Saturday, 07 July 2012
INTERESTING STUFF – 7 July 2012
MILTON GLASER – FOREVER ASTONISHED
If you don't recognize Milton Glaser's name, here are a couple of his iconic design images to remind you.
He is one of the most accomplished and prolific designers of the 20th century. Five years ago, when he was 83, he talked about his work, his life and his continuing astonishment. TGB reader Tom Delmore made the video possible for us.
EARTH'S DAY IS NOW ONE SECOND LONGER
I'm betting not many of you noticed but last Saturday, the world's timekeepers added one second – a “leap second” - to our 24-hour day. The adjustment was needed, say the scientists, to account for the slowing of the rotation of Earth which is gradually increasing the length of the solar day.
Earth is slowing at a greater rate than I would have guessed; the timekeepers have added a second on 25 occasions since they began in 1972.
Did you know that in the era of the dinosaurs, Earth's day was only 23 hours long? Also, some scientists worry that adding the second to the official day every now and then will eventually crash the world's computer networks.
There is whole lot more interesting stuff about the leap second at this New York Times story.
BABY RED PANDA WITH A PUMPKIN IN THE SNOW
I suspect that TGB's Sunday musicologist, Peter Tibbles, is somewhat allergic to cute kitten videos. That may have something to do with his sending this cute red panda video.
MERLE HAZARD'S SURFER FISCAL CLIFF
Merle Hazzard bills himself at his website as
”The first-and-only Nashville country artist to sing about derivatives, mortgage-backed securities and physics.”
In this video, he provides a much-needed, if too short, respite from political stupidity. Here's Merle's Fiscal Cliff song, surfer style.
You can find more of Hazzard's songs at his YouTube channel – such titles as Greek Debt, H-E-D-G-E, Quantitative Easin' and more.
BOOKSHOPS IN ENGLAND AND IRELAND
Over at the GuardianUK, they've been holding a literary landscape series with videos, author and reader writings about books, and especially information from readers and owners about that supposedly endangered species, bookshops.
But take a look at this screenshot of the paper's interactive book store map:
Check out that number in the lower right corner of London and its environs: 643 shops. Even Liverpool with only one-sixteenth the population of London has 293 book stores. I could be wrong but I don't believe New York City, with similar population to London, comes anywhere near the British capital's total and might not be much more than Liverpool's.
The map also includes literary locations such at Beatrix Potter's holiday home, The Jane Austen Centre and the farm house that was the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.
Spend some time with the whole section. It's terrific fun.
WHERE THE HELL IS MATT?
Ever heard of Matt Harding? I sure hadn't until Nikki of From Where I Sit emailed this video.
It seems that Matt is making a career – literally – out of traveling the world to dance with people in as many countries as possible and then edit videos of it all for the internet.
There is a new video every year or two for a total so far of five. You can see the previous four and find out more than you ever wanted to know about this web phenom at Matt's website.
BEAUTY OF POLLINATION
TGB reader, Laura Gordon sent this video made by award-winning cinematographer, director and producer, Louie Schwartzberg. It is some gorgeous closeup and slomo images of nature reproducing itself from his much longer film, Wings of Life. It is awesome – in the old-fashioned, real meaning of that word.
Schwartzberg says that the mystery of disappearing bees in the world is terrifying because we depend on pollinators for one-third of the fruits and vegetables we eat. It's worth watching his full TED Talk on this subject here – it's only eight minutes including, at the end, the video you just watched.
DO MORE POLITICIANS SEEM TO BE DUMBER THAN THEY USED TO BE?
The Republican Party of Texas released its platform about a week ago and it is frightening in its stupidity. Some jaw-dropping excerpts:
“We urge that the Voter [sic] Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.”
You know, the legislation that finally made it possible for blacks to vote in the south without poll taxes and all. Here's another brilliant plank in the platform:
“Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas,” and teachers and school boards should be given “more authority to deal with disciplinary problems.”
Right-o. Let's beat the ABCs and multiplication tables into their little noggins. And while we're at it, let's see if we can make the kiddies as stupid as we are:
”We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
Talkingpointsmemo asked the Texas Republican party if they really, really, really meant to oppose the teaching of critical thinking skills:
”[Communications Director Chris] Elam said the members of the subcommittee 'regret' the oversight, but because the mistake was part of the platform approved by the convention, 'it cannot be corrected until the next state convention in 2014.'”
WHALE CREATES A PERSONAL RAINBOW
After that Texas Republican Party item, I think we need to cleanse our palate, so to speak, with something beautiful.
The person who shot this video on a whale watching cruise in Nova Scotia says he did not realize what he had captured until watching the pictures much later.
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog if you have one.