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September 7, 2009

Tim's thoughts: I contend that it is impossible to give a meaningful side-view of a round coin. For minimal cover... >>

American Numismatic Society, I Salute You

We've been talking a lot about the future of digitization, about how much digitization needs to improve, about the severe limits that digitization still imposes on many things—books, for instance.

So, here's a change of pace. Here is the almost perfectly digitizable object, almost perfectly digitized.


Small objects, easy to photograph in their entirety? Check.


Defined number of important views? Check. (Obviously two.)


Standard set of metadata? Check. (And click on one of the images above to see an example.)

So, given the ideal material for a digital archive, the American Numismatic Society delivers. There's a powerful search engine but their collection is pretty browsable, too. And, listen, I only collect coins that I intend to spend on the train, but I defy you not to get a little lost in these pages.

And every coin has its own stable permalink! Swoon!

The only thing missing is that you can't heft the coins, feel their contours. Fair enough. But I'll bet you could even generate 3D models from these images, using the depth information implied by the shadows. When I finally have a home 3D printer I'll crank out some of these guys and send 'em around.

And you know, ancient coins are perfect tokens of historical imagination, especially when captured so crisply. They're totally familiar but deeply strange. You can imagine keeping one in your pocket, feeling it in your hand.

Check these off the list. Now we just gotta get those books right.

Posted September 7, 2009 at 5:26 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Media Galaxy

September 2, 2009

Everyday Super Powers

Robin says,

This is a fun idea, and The Morning News' execution of it is crisp and super-readable: What's your hidden talent? Your... super power?

I liked this one, from Jessica Francis Kane:

You know how sometimes when you're trying to pour something from one glass into another, the liquid mostly just runs back down the edge of the first glass and spills all over the counter? Well, not for me it doesn't. Not a drop. I'm the daughter of a chemistry professor and this is my superpower. You have a half-pint you want to finish up in your pint glass so you don't look like such a lightweight? I'm the one you need. The trick is speed, angle, and confidence. You have to go fast, not tip slowly. You have to hold the emptying glass high, not touch it to the lip of the filling glass. Maybe it's a little thing, but aren't superpowers what we make of them? Lots of very thirsty people have been grateful for my help.

So what's yours? I'll start: I can fall asleep on any airplane, in any position, in under two minutes. Flight is my ultimate soporific. Now, great powers sometimes come great cost, and to tell you the truth, I have a hard time staying awake on planes if I have to. But more often, this is a blessing. Mmmokay see you guys in New York. Zonk.

Comments (16) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:57 AM

August 30, 2009

Tim's thoughts: Man, I never get to have any fun. ;)... >>

Your Future Portaphone

I love Matt Novak's blog Paleo-Future, which combines everything I love about paleoblogging and hot buttered futurism into a single delicious pie.

He hasn't posted a ton lately, and really, going after mobile phones is low-hanging fruit, but I was still delighted with today's look at portable phones (from a 1976 book titled Future Facts). It includes this quote:

For a while at least, the portaphone will remain a business tool or luxury item. In time, however, portaphones will get smaller and cheaper, just as transistor radios have.

First: "portaphones!" When did we stop applying multisyllabic prefixes to words? Probably around the same time "port-a" became uniquely associated with outdoor toilets.

Second: today, we would almost certainly have to reverse that analogy: "Over time, transistor radios became smaller and cheaper, just as celullar phones have today." I consider this a sign of the analogy's intrinsic merit.

Last: it's easy to look at old predictions of the future with awe at what they get right and glee at what they get wrong. But this should be taken seriously as symptoms. They show how the past dreamed itself, and indeed, how it dreamed the present, in all of its possibilities and constraints, into being.

Posted August 30, 2009 at 4:51 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Object Culture, Technosnark

August 25, 2009

Ta-Blet 2010

Tim says,

Fake Steve Jobs explains his non-thinking behind the new Apple tablet:

I started with the big questions. What is a tablet? Who will use it? And for what? If the tablet were a tree, what kind of tree would it be? And what of the word tablet itself? Ta is a Sanskrit root, for "gift." Blet is Proto-Indo-European meaning "to be perfect while lacking usefulness." Will you write on a tablet, or just read from it? Or will you just buy it and put it on your desk and look at it a lot and never use it at all? Or will you maybe carry it around and put on the table in restaurants to show the other humanoids in your tribe that you are more advanced and wealthy than they are, and they should fear you because you have powerful magic that they do not understand? You see what I mean? What is the anthropology here? And what about the ergonomics? Can you mount it on a wall? Will it have a shiny surface so that Macolytes can adore themselves as they use it in public? (Yes. It must.) The tablet must look and feel not like something that was made by man -- it must feel otherworldly, as if God himself made it and handed it to you.

Can't wait.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:37 AM

August 13, 2009

Welcome to the Choice Factory

Robin says,

Analogies are like soups.

But, even so, an original, well-crafted analogy is one of the best tools that exist for staking out new mental territory. So, here's one that just flipped my lid. Kevin Kelly takes us way back:

A few hours after the big bang 14 billion years ago, the total freedom available within the fine mist of light atoms and zipping particles drifting in the universe was stifling narrow. The possible arrangements between them were dreadfully few. You could count the actionable options for a helium atom on one hand. Compare that prison to the universe one billion years ago (at least in the neighborhood of Earth), when life unleashed an overwhelming explosion of freedoms. Millions of species, each of them an engine of options, filled the surface of a planet with staggering choices.

Reasons why this is mind-expanding:

  • "A few hours after the big bang 14 billion years ago." I know cosmologists talk like this all the time, but normal people don't, and every time I hear it, it's bracing. Like a glass of cold water in the face.

  • "[T]hat prison." Wow. The primordial universe as a prison! Solitary confinement, with no food iron or water oxygen. And it took us 13 billion years to dig a tunnel (or fashion a shiv?) and make our getaway.

  • Earlier he says "[a] mind, of course, is a choice factory" and here he calls a species "an engine of options." I think that's such an interesting lens. +10 to the cephalopods, I think.

Can't get the prison thing out of my head. Maybe the Big Bang itself was the breakout? Jeez. Creation as jailbreak. Evolution as heist movie? I'm taking it too far. Go read Kevin Kelly.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:58 PM

Compose Your Holes

Robin says,

Okay so first, Austin Kleon does the unthinkable, a photo-blockquote:


The part he's focused on is the line: "It's learning what to leave out. Like with good guitar players—it ain't the licks they play, it's the holes they leave." Then, Kleon writes:

It reminded me of Ronald Johnson, in his introduction to radi os, a long poem made by erasing words from Milton's Paradise Lost: "I composed the holes." (Johnson was quoting a composer whose name I forget at the moment.)

Composing the holes. That's what we do when we craft a piece of art, whether it's drawing or making a blackout poem.

It's often the holes in pieces of art that make them interesting. What isn't shown vs. what is.

The same could be said of people. What makes them interesting isn't just what they've experienced, but what they haven't experienced.

He goes on, and it's worth reading.

There's a really nice, subtle twist here. Our culture focuses so much on experience: soaking it in, racking it up, putting it to use. There are whole industries built around giving you crazy new experiences. So it seems pretty radical to say: Actually, skip it. Embrace the gaps in your experience, in your reading, in your knowledge. They're important, and in a way, productive.

(Via Zach Seward in Google Reader.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:09 PM

August 11, 2009

Andrew's thoughts: I don't think I was ever as into airships as I was when I read Thomas Pynchon's <a href="http://w... >>



I don't know about you, but I am enchanted by the idea of airships.

There's a new BLDGBLOG post up detailing a student's proposal to transform Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbor into an airport for zeppelins. The student's scheme to get the word out about the proposal is ingenious, and makes the post well worth reading, even if you don't care about airships.

But how could you not care about airships?

They are everything that cool stuff isn't supposed to be these days. They're slow and ungainly. They take up a lot of space. They telegraph their technology—unlike the iPhone, which is entirely opaque and therefore near-magical, the airship is obvious. It's a big balloon. Duh.

And yet. An NYC-to-Paris airship powered by the sun. What could be more grand?

There are, in fact, airship flights up here where I live, so you could say: "Enough with the blogposts, Sloan! Book a ticket." But that misses the point. I don't so much want to be in an airship as I want there to be other people in airships—lots of them—streaming in and out of San Francisco. (From the Ferry Building, naturally.)

Like this, except it wouldn't have to be trick photography, because the airships would all just be drifting... along...

Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:04 | Comments (7) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

August 9, 2009

World of Spin and Flame

(From Pruned. More sunscapes.)

Posted August 9, 2009 at 7:10 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, No Comment

August 6, 2009

Jasmine's thoughts: This is the coolest video I have ever seen. No joke. I feel inspired to document. Thanks for shar... >>

Long Walk Across China

Sometimes, every so often, somebody does something crazy to move a format forward. Robinson Crusoe. Citizen Kane. Maus.

And now: The Longest Way takes the photo-a-day video genre up a notch. Two notches. Four-thousand notches.

A few things that make this so ingenious: the characters that flit in and out of the scene, and therefore, the creator's life; his use of photos taken in super-quick succession to create an animated flip-book effect; oh, and China.

(Via Kottke.)

Posted August 6, 2009 at 10:36 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Worldsnark
Chris Saad's thoughts: Wait hang on - you MADE that - I thought it was an official demo lol... >>

Rhonda, Rhonda, Rhonda!

Wow. Tonight I got a chance to try Rhonda, a crazy drawing application that's somehow both 2D and 3D at the same time. It's like SketchUp for actual, uh, sketching.

So, this is just a video of me using Rhonda, played at 4X speed, which is to say, it might be really boring to watch, so feel free to skip it. All I know is, if some blogger I subscribe to tried out Rhonda, I would want him to post a video:

Posted August 6, 2009 at 12:46 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Design, Gleeful Miscellany, Technosnark

August 5, 2009

You Won't Find These on Threadless

Robin says,

Oh man, how much do I love these arcade boot-screen t-shirts?


Reminds me a bit of Gerhard Richter's stained-glass pixels. Or maybe it's the other way around.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:50 PM

July 30, 2009

Carla's thoughts: Really amazing! I didn´t know exist something like this, really good discovery. Thanks for ... >>

The Fiery Fuzz of Streetlight Bugs

Charlie McCarthy took long-exposure photos of insects buzzing around a streetlight. Then, voila:

Things I like about this:

  • The glowing arcs and curlicues evoke a bubble chamber, yeah?
  • Imagine being some slow-moving creature with long-exposure eyes. And this is just how you see the world. Bugs aren't dots; they're lines!
  • Charlie McCarthy is from Michigan!

(Via t&t.)

Posted July 30, 2009 at 7:35 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

July 27, 2009

Robin's thoughts: Wow! Masterful rendition.... >>

Sterling Cooper Hires An English Professor


That's right. There's a new redhead for everyone in the office to swoon over.

Mad Men Yourself, via Kottke.

Posted July 27, 2009 at 8:40 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Television

July 19, 2009

The In-Hoax

Tim says,

Mark Sample spots a review of a David Foster Wallace collection authored by a Don Delillo character. McSweeney's? Nope. It was published in the book review section of the academic journal Modernism/Modernity.

Update: M/M editor Lawrence Rainey and former managing editor Nicole Devarenne 'fess up [kinda] in an open letter to Mark.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:52 AM

July 1, 2009

What Canadian Expats Miss About Canada

Tim says,


The NYT asked:

In history class, in seventh grade (or as we like to say in Canada, grade seven) we learned the story of the American Revolution — from the British perspective. Turns out you were all a bunch of ungrateful tax cheats. And you weren’t very nice to the Loyalists. What I miss most about Canada is getting the truth about the United States.

— MALCOLM GLADWELL, a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author, most recently, of “Outliers: The Story of Success”

I also liked this quip from Simpsons writer Tim Long:

I miss the snow. Yes, I know the United States gets snow, but to my Canadian eye, American snow is like American health care: sporadic, unreliable and distributed unevenly among the population.
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:21 PM

A Special Canada Day Message

Tim says,

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:36 AM

June 27, 2009

Sanford's Odyssey, Book III

See Books I and II here.

But now, O Muse, you must sing of how Sanford, so handsome and competent as to appear on television like unto one of the deathless Gods, and like them possessed by a lust both mighty and confused, came to this pass.

As Dawn rose from her couch beside Tithonus- harbinger of light alike to mortals and immortals- the press met in council and with them, State Senator John "Jake" Knotts, the lord of thunder. Thereon Knotts began to tell them of the many sufferings of Sanford, for while he was Sanford's enemy, he also secretly pitied him away there in the house of the nymph Maria Belen Calypso.

"O Press," said he, coyly, "and all you other gods of media that live in everlasting bliss, I hope there may never be such a thing as a kind and well-disposed ruler any more, nor one who will govern equitably. I hope they will be all henceforth cruel and unjust, for there is not one of his subjects but has forgotten Sanford, who ruled them as though he were their father. Now, if there were an emergency in this state of Carolina, there would be none who could rule in his stead; for our Constitution has invested the power only in him. There he is, lying in great moral suffering in Argentina where dwells the nymph Calypso, who will not let him go; and he cannot get back to his own country, for he can find neither ships nor sailors to take him over the sea. At least, this is what rumors have told - no one, not his wife Jenny nor even his loyal security retinue, knows where exactly he may be. Furthermore, wicked people are now trying to keep his only lieutenant governor Andre Bauer, who is coming home from Charleston, where he has been to see if he can get news of the governor, from exercising constitutional authority."

"What, my friend, are you talking about?" replied Leroy Chapman, editor of The State, "does no one know where the governor is? Because we had heard that he was hiking the Applachian trail, where all princes of Hellas return to clear their head, relieve their burdens, and ejaculate their noblest utterances. Besides, someone should be perfectly able to protect Sanford, and to see him safely home again, before the press has to come hurry-skurrying back to meet him at the airport, or wheresoever he may be."

When he had thus spoken, he said to his junior reporter Gina Smith, whom he had nicknamed, for reasons of his own, Mercury, "Mercury, you are our messenger, go therefore and tell Calypso we have decreed that poor Sanford is to return home. He is to be convoyed neither by gods nor men, but after a perilous voyage of several hours upon a plane he is to reach fertile Atlanta, the land of the Georgians, who are near of kin to the gods, where you will look for his car, and then surprise him with an interview. He will then take his car to his own country, where we will pay him more attention than he would have brought back from Minneapolis, if he had been named nominee Vice President and had got home without disaster. This is how we have settled that he shall return to his country and his friends."

Thus he spoke, and Smith, who, I've just said, is sometimes known as Mercury, guide and guardian, scooper of Argus, did as she was told. Forthwith, in this telling of the tale, she did not merely look for Sanford at the airport, but she bound on her glittering golden sandals with which she could fly like the wind over land and sea. She took the notebook with which she writes down her interview transcripts or makes notes just as she pleases, and flew holding it in her hand over the Caribbean; then she swooped down through the firmament till she reached the level of the sea, whose waves she skimmed like a cormorant that flies fishing every hole and corner of the ocean, and drenching its thick plumage in the spray. She flew and flew over many a weary wave, but when at last she got to Buenos Aires which was her journey's end, she left the sea, and the majestic coastline of Buenos Aires, city by the river called by the men of that land de la Plata, and went on by land till he came to the condominium where the nymph Maria Calypso lived.

She found her at home. There was a large fire burning on the hearth, and one could smell from far the fragrant reek of burning cedar and sandal wood. As for herself, she was busy at her loom, shooting her golden shuttle through the warp and singing beautifully. Round her condominium there was a thick wood of alder, poplar, and sweet smelling cypress trees, wherein all kinds of great birds had built their nests- owls, hawks, and chattering sea-crows that occupy their business in the waters. A vine loaded with grapes was trained and grew luxuriantly about the back door of the condominium; there were also four pretty terrific restaurants grouped pretty close together, and turned hither and thither so as to make a kind of outdoor courtyard over which they flowed. It was really, really nice, even for Buenos Aires. Even a god could not help being charmed with such a lovely spot, so Mercury stood still and looked at it; but when she had admired it sufficiently he went and knocked on the door.

Calypso knew her at once- for all gods and journalists all know each other, no matter how far they live from one another- but Sanford was not within; he was on the sea-shore as usual, looking out upon the barren ocean with tears in his eyes, groaning and breaking his heart for sorrow. Calypso gave Mercury a seat and said: "Why have you come to see me, Mercury- honoured, and ever welcome- for you do not visit me often? Say what you want; I will do it for be you at once if I can, and if it can be done at all; but come inside, and let me set refreshment before you."

As she spoke she drew a table loaded with ambrosia beside her and mixed for her a really tasty nectar and ambrosia cocktail, with just a little bit of lime and mint, so Mercury ate and drank till she had had enough, and then said:

"We are speaking as goddesses - and journalists - to one another, and you ask me why I have come here, and I will tell you truly as you would have me do. The State sent me; it was no doing of mine; who could possibly want to come all this way over the sea where there are no Starbucks full of people to offer me mochaccinos or choice cookies? Nevertheless I had to come, for none of us other reporters can cross the Press, nor transgress its orders. We say that you have here the most ill-starred of all those who fought before the state aid of President Obama and sailed home in the fifth month after having refused it. On their way home they sinned against Public Opinion, who raised both heckles and cackles against them, so that all his brave companions perished, and he alone was carried hither by wind and tide. The Press says that you are to let this by man go at once, for it is decreed that he shall not perish here, far from his own people, but shall return to his house and country and give us conferences again."

Calypso trembled with rage when she heard this, "You gods," she exclaimed, "ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You are always jealous and hate seeing a goddess (or god) take a fancy to a mortal man, and live with him in open matrimony, of the shacked-up, sometimes long-distance, sometimes quickly in the bathroom kind. So when the rosy-fingered pages sweetly enticed Mark Foley, you precious reporters were all of you furious till you went and defeated his reelection in Florida. So again when Ceres fell in love with Vitter, and yielded to him in a thrice ploughed fallow field, for thrice three hundred dollars, the Press came to hear of it before so long and tried to killed Vitter with their thunder-bolts. And now you are angry with me too because I have a man here. I found the poor creature sitting all alone astride of a keel, for he was lonely, and had no adventures, in the bubble of politics you made for him, while he himself was driven by wind and waves on to my land. I got fond of him and cherished him, and had set my heart on making him immortal, so that he should never grow old all his days; still I cannot cross the Press, nor bring his counsels to nothing; therefore, if he insists upon it, let the man go beyond the seas again; but I cannot send him anywhere myself for I have neither ships nor men who can take him. Nevertheless I will readily give him such advice, in all good faith, as will be likely to bring him safely to his own country."

"Then send him away," said Gina/Mercury, "or we will be angry with you and punish you."'

On this she took her leave, and Maria went out to look for Sanford, for she had heard the message. She found him sitting upon the beach with his eyes ever filled with tears, and dying of sheer home-sickness; for he had got tired of Calypso, and though he was forced to sleep with her in the cave by night, it was she, not he, that would have it so. As for the day time, he spent it on the rocks and on the sea-shore, weeping, crying aloud for his despair, and always looking out upon the sea. Calypso then went close up to him said:

"My poor fellow, you shall not stay here grieving and fretting your life out any longer. I am going to send you away of my own free will; so go, put some pants on, and use my credit card to buy a plane ticket, coach or business class, that it may carry you safely over the sea. I will put bread, wine, and water on board to save you from starving. I will also give you clothes, and will send you a fair wind to take you home, if the gods in heaven so will it- for they know more about these things, and can settle them better than I can."

Sanford shuddered as he heard her. "Now goddess," he answered, "there is something behind all this; you cannot be really meaning to help me home when you bid me do such a dreadful thing as to fly coach. Not even a well-found ship with a fair wind could venture on such a distant voyage: nothing that you can say or do shall make me get on board that plane unless you first solemnly swear that you mean me no mischief."

Calypso smiled at this and caressed him with her hand: "You know a great deal," said she, "but you are quite wrong here. May heaven above and earth below be my witnesses, with the waters of the river - and this is the most solemn oath which a blessed god can take- that I mean you no sort of harm, and am only advising you to do exactly what I should do myself in your place. I am dealing with you quite straightforwardly; my heart is not made of iron, and I am very sorry for you."

When she had thus spoken she led the way rapidly before him, and Sanford followed in her steps; so the pair, goddess and man, went on and on till they came to Calypso's condo, where Sanford took the seat that Mercury had just left. Calypso set meat and drink before him of the food that unadventurous Americans eat; but her maids brought ambrosia and nectar and delicious tapas for herself, and they laid their hands on the good things that were before them. When they had satisfied themselves with meat and drink, Calypso spoke, saying:

"Sanford, noble son of, um, Sanford, so you would start home to your own land at once? Good luck go with you, but if you could only know how much suffering is in store for you before you get back to your own country, you would stay where you are, keep house along with me, and let me make you immortal, no matter how anxious you may be to see this wife of yours, of whom you are thinking all the time day after day; yet I flatter myself that at am no whit less tall or well-looking than she is, for it is not to be expected that a mortal woman should compare in beauty with a super-hot Argentinian TV reporter."

"Maria," replied Sanford, "do not be angry with me about this. I am quite aware that my wife Jenny is nothing like so tall or so beautiful as yourself. She is only a woman, whereas you are an immortal. You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night's light -- but hey, that would be going into sexual details..."

"While all the things above are all too true -- at the same time we are in a ... hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike of Zeus snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes...

"Nevertheless, I want to get home, and can think of nothing else. If some intrepid reporter wrecks my political future when I am on the way to the airport, I will bear it and make the best of it. I have had infinite trouble both by land and sea already, so let this go with the rest."

Presently the sun set and it became dark, whereon the pair retired into the inner part of Maria's condominium and went to bed.

To Be Continued...
Posted June 27, 2009 at 9:27 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Books, Writing & Such, Gleeful Miscellany, Snarkpolitik

June 25, 2009

Sanford's Odyssey, Book II

A Continuation of Book I...

Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Two or Two-Thirtyish, appeared, Sanford rose and dressed himself. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet, girded his flag pin about his shoulder, and left his room looking like an immortal god. He at once sent the criers round to call the people in assembly, so they called them and the people gathered thereon; then, when they were got together, he went to the place of assembly comb in hand- not alone, for his two aides went with him, for his wife would not go for fear of looking like Silda Spitzer or Dina McGreevey. Minerva endowed Sanford with a presence of such divine comeliness that all marvelled at him as he went by, and when he took his place at the podium, even the oldest councillors made way for him.

Sanford rose at once, for he was bursting with what he had to say. He stood in the middle of the assembly and the good herald Pisenor brought him the microphone. Then, beginning in media res, "Sir," said he, "it is I, as you will shortly learn, who have convened you, for it is I who am the most aggrieved. I had not got wind of any trip to Appalachia about which I would warn you, but I do love hiking there. I used to organize hiking trips, actually, when I was in high school. I would get a soccer coach or a football coach to act as chaperone, and then I'd get folks to pay me 60 bucks each, or whatever it was, to take the trip, and then off we'd go and have these great adventures on the Appalachian Trail..."

Here Sanford began to ramble. Finally, he returned to the matter at hand. "But I guess where I'm trying to go with this is that there are moral absolutes and that the law of the gods indeed is there to protect you from yourself, and there are consequences if you breach that, even if you tie yourself to the mast and plug your security detail's ears with wax so you can hear the sirens' song. Killing the sun's oxen is a consequence. This press conference is a consequence.

"My grieveance is purely personal, and turns on two great misfortunes which have fallen upon my house. The first apology is to my excellent wife, who was chief among all you here present in being dicked around with by me. She was made to tell a ridiculous story about my going 'to be alone,' 'to write,' 'to be away from my boys' on Fathers' Day.

"I would also apologize to my staff, because as much as I did talk about going to Argos, Rome, or the Appalachian Trail -- those were each one of the original scenarios that I'd thrown out to Mary Neil, that isn't what -- where I ended up. And so I let them down by creating a fiction with regard to where I was going, which means that I had then, in turn, given as much as they relied on that fanciful song of the bards, let down people that I represent across the Peloponnese. And so I want to apologize to my staff and I want to apologize to anyone who took in a poor wandering stranger who was secretly a war machine, anybody who lives in Carolina, for the way that I let them down.

"But the last is much more serious, and ere long will be the utter ruin of my career. The press, all the chief men among them, who thought I might work in the White House someday, are pestering my chief of staff to verify that I am a real, live, Republican. They are afraid to go to Mitt Romney, asking him to choose the one he likes best, and to provide interviews to them, but day by day they keep hanging about my office, sacrificing our oxen, sheep, and fat goats for their banquets, never giving so much as a thought that someone may desperately need a break from the bubble wherein every word, every moment is recorded -- just to completely break out of it, and go off and have adventures, just fly different places around the world; get myself a job; carry a hundred dollars emergency money, and either find a job there with the locals and come back, or come on home. This is not justifying, because, again, what I did was wrong, period, end of story. But still... I mean, hey. It's a bubble.

"No national political career can stand such recklessness; we Republicans have now no Reagan to ward off harm from our doors, and I cannot hold my own against it all. I shall never all my days be as good a man as he was, still I would indeed defend myself if I had power to do so, for I cannot stand such treatment any longer; my house is being disgraced and ruined. Have respect, therefore, to your own consciences and to public opinion. Fear, too, the wrath of heaven, lest the gods should be displeased and turn upon you. I pray you by Jove and Themis, who is the beginning and the end of councils, [do not] hold back, my friends, and leave me singlehanded- unless it be that my brave father George W. Bush did some wrong to the country which you would now avenge on me, by aiding and abetting these rumors, which are all true. Moreover, if I am to be eaten out of house and home at all, I had rather go ahead and caress some erotic curve of the hips in Argentina, for I could then take action to some purpose, and serve Meet the Press with notices that I've split the country to get my Johnson wet, whereas now I have no remedy.

"And so I've been back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. And the one thing that you really find is that you absolutely want resolution.

"And so oddly enough, I spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina, so I could repeat it when I came back here in saying, you know, while indeed from a heart level, there was something real, there in Argentina with Calypso, it was a place based on the relationship I had as host of the feasts to the people of Carolina, based on my sons, based on my wife, based on where I was in my life's journey, based on where she was as measured by the fates, a place I couldn't go and she couldn't go.

"And that is, I suspect, a continual process all through life, of getting one's heart right in life. And so I would never stand before you as one who just says, by Zeus, I'm completely right with regard to my heart on all things."

"But what I would say is, I'm committed to trying to get my heart right. Because the one thing that -- (and here the goddess made his voice inaudible) -- and all others have told me is that the odyssey that we're all on in life is with regard to heart, not what I want or what you want but, in other words, indeed this larger notion of truly trying to put other people first."

With this Sanford dashed his staff to the ground and burst into tears. Every one was very sorry for him, but they all sat still and no one ventured to make him an angry answer, save only Antinous, who spoke thus:

"Sanford, insolent braggart that you are, how dare you try to throw the blame upon us members of the press? It is the Republicans' fault not ours, for they are very artful dudes. These eight years past, and close on twelve, they have been driving us out of our minds, by encouraging each one of us, and sending him messages without meaning one word of what she says. And then there was that other trick they played us. They set up a great tambour frame in the press room, and began to work on an enormous piece of fine needlework, with a picture of WMDs in Iraq. 'Sweet hearts,' said Rove, Cheney, and Bush, 'Al-Qaeda is indeed dead, or at least sidelined; but still do not press me to marry again immediately, wait- for I would not have skill in needlework perish unrecorded- till I have completed an invasion of Saddam's country, to be in readiness against the time when he might maybe attack us, or maybe someone else. He is very rich with chemical and even nuclear weapons, and the soccer moms of the nation will talk if he is laid out without a pall.'

"This was what they said, and we assented; whereon we could see them working on their great web of intelligence all day long, but at night they would unpick the stitches again, saying they were fooled by the CIA. They fooled us in this way for three years and we never found them out, but as time wore on and she was now in her fourth year, one of their aides who knew what they were doing told us, and we caught them in the act of trying to cover up their work with tortured confessions, so they had to get us to think that torture was actually okay, whether it really was torture or no.

"And when you're not lying to us about war, you're picking up undercover officers in airport bathrooms, frequenting prostitutes, having affairs with your staffers' wives, or hitting on the underage interns. What are you guys, Democrats?

"The press, therefore, makes you this answer, that both you and the Republicans may understand-'Quit dicking around with us, and we might not think that everything you tell us is a fucking lie'; for I do not know what will happen if you go on plaguing us much longer with the airs you gives yourself on the score of the accomplishments you made, and how you kept the country safe because Cheney is so clever. We never yet heard of such a Republican; we know all about Gonzales, Brownie, Miers, and the famous hacks of old, but they were nothing to Sarah Palin, any one of them. It was not fair of Palin to treat us in that way, making us think she was actually a serious national candidate; and as long as the Republicans continue in the mind with which heaven has now apparently endowed them, so long shall we go on calling you on your obvious bullshit; and I do not see why you should change, for you still get all the honour and glory, and it is we who pay for it, not them. Understand, then, that we will not go back to our lands in New York or Washington, neither here nor elsewhere, till you, your wife, your lover, your sons, your staffers, and everyone who knew anything about this has made their choice and given an exclusive interview and (we can hope) incriminating photos and juicy anecdotes to some one or other of us."

To be Continued...
Posted June 25, 2009 at 12:33 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Snarkpolitik

June 11, 2009

Howard Weaver's thoughts: Editorial: Look up and dream – or maybe not ... Published: Saturday, June 6 2009 - 12:00 ... >>

Be a Space Man. Think About the Future.

Oh jeez. Beautiful. The trailer for a new Louis Vuitton campaign, featuring Sally Ride, Buzz Aldrin, and Jim Lovell. Shot here in SF by Autofuss with their giant computer-controlled cameras. (You can see them in the background, circling like lunar movie-droids.)

(Via faketv.)

Posted June 11, 2009 at 4:05 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

June 1, 2009

The Earth is Hiring (Extended Remix)

Robin says,

I gave Paul Hawken's "the earth is hiring" commencement speech mixed marks, but I feel like I should upgrade my assessment, because it did one of the best things any piece of rhetoric can do: It started an interesting conversation.

Dan comments:

I have never been able to warm to an argument that posits "the Earth" as a central player. The earth is not hiring.

Rather, each graduate will help build a world from the materials left to them from past generations of humans and other living creatures. Their challenge is to work together to build a good world for themselves and for the next generations that will come.

Tim called this the "now do it bigger, and more humble" approach... and I can already tell that this going to become a recurring phrase on Snarkmarket.

But Saheli says:

...but I also think the reason why that too big/more humble canvas doesn't work for many people is their brains are not widescreen enough to properly count disappearing possibilities; and their engines are not rational enough to abstain from some large source of affection, approval and courtship. By Deifying the Earth and ennumerating Her gifts, Hawken provides that external motivator and waves away the necessity for rationally understanding the dangers of failure. So I understand your critique, but I can see why Hawken's metaphorical fancy makes more sense for a large class of college graduates.

"Their engines are not rational enough." What a great phrase.

From there we get into supernova-prevention schemes and the ethics of museum guards with guns. This is a thread you gotta read.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:50 PM

May 20, 2009

It Was Citizen Kane

This Kids in the Hall sketch has come up twice in conversation this week. I consider it, like the film that gives it its name, essential viewing. Enjoy.

Posted May 20, 2009 at 5:39 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Movies, Television

May 19, 2009

In This Civil War Reconstruction, The Union Has Dinosaurs

Tim says,


I like this so much. From

The attraction, called "Professor Cline's Dinosaur Kingdom," imagines a lost chapter from Civil War history. It supposes that in 1863, a group of paleontologists inadvertently stumbled upon a valley of live dinosaurs. The discovery comes to the attention of the Union Army, who, recognizing the destructive power of the giant lizards, decide to capture them and unleash them on the Confederate Army. Naturally, it results in Jurassic Park-inspired carnage.

H/t to friend (and former student) Drea Nelson.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:25 PM

May 18, 2009

This Presidential NatSec Briefing Brought to You by 123Publish

Matt says,

To me, the thing that's striking about these national security briefings isn't the hokey combo of Bible verses and combat pics, it's the amateurish design. Something tells me whoever creates Obama's briefing papers has to consult a 133-page stylebook.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:20 AM

March 23, 2009

Legit Money, Printing Paper

Tim says,

Idris Elba, best known for playing Stringer Bell in seasons 1-3 of The Wire, is now playing Charles Minor, Michael's new boss on The Office. (Which, when you think of it, if David Simon had ever gotten around to telling the story of put-upon postmillennial office workers in America, is essentially the same story.)

Part of Stringer's conceit on The Wire is that he wants to turn drug dealing into a modern business. He wants even his front businesses to run well. But it's still dissonant, to say the least, to watch this Baltimore man-god walk among the paper salesmen in Scranton. Rex and the commenters at Fimoculous cracked me up.

Rex: Yeah, that totally threw me too: Stringer Bell on The Office last night...

kittyholmes: I guess he's finally using all those business classes.

jed: Well, he did run the copy shop.



Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:14 AM

March 10, 2009

I Used To Be Able To Get Into These Parties

Matt says,

fashionfightnight.jpgSteve Marsh might be the second-best writer in the entire Greater Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. And he's written what might be the best introduction to a magazine website party photo gallery this week. It's insider-y and superficial and pompous and awful and I love it. The event being photographed is the third annual Fashion Fight Night, which I'll let Steve describe:

It's fashion photographer vs. fashion photographer, with each ring holding a photographer, a model, and a team of stylists. Each snapper would shoot for three five-minute rounds, and then their results—the photographs—would be projected on a big screen hanging on the wall, and the crowd would hoot and holler, and the judges would cast their votes and come to a decision. At which point the ring announcer, KFAN radio's Dan "The Common Man" Cole, would lift the arm of the winning photographer.
Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:36 PM

March 9, 2009


Tim says,

Don't get dizzy now: Jason Kottke picks up on a word I kind of made up in response to one of his posts and runs with it:

Retronovation n. The conscious process of mining the past to produce methods, ideas, or products which seem novel to the modern mind. Some recent examples include Pepsi Throwback's use of real sugar, Pepsi Natural's glass bottle, and General Mills' introduction of old packaging for some of their cereals. In general, the local & natural food and farming thing that's big right now is all about retronovation...time tested methods that have been reintroduced to make food that is closer to what people used to eat. (I'm sure there are non-food examples as well, but I can't think of any.)

No sooner does Jason oh-so-gently throw down the gauntlet than Waxy, who almost certainly meant nothing of the kind, answers the question by linking to an amazing post about a transcript of a story conference between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan about Raiders of the Lost Ark:

(Key: G = George; S = Steven; L = Larry)

G — The thing with this is, we want to make a very believable character. We want him to be extremely good at what he does, as is the Clint Eastwood character or the James Bond character. James Bond and the man with no name were very good at what they did. They were very, fast with a gun. they were very slick, they were very professional. They were Supermen.

S — Like Mifune.

G — Yes, like Mifune. He's a real professional. He's really good. And that is the key to the whole thing. That's something you don't see that much anymore.

Mining 1930s throwaway serials and 60s genre films to create the blueprint for 1980s blockbusters = retronovation, definitely.

But while we're on the subject, let me say a little about the word itself. I write a lot of things super-fast. But I toiled over this word. "Retrovation"? I asked. "Retrinnovation"? It was Mayostard/Mustardayonnaise all over again. "Retronovation" is the clear winner, not only because it sounds better, but because it's etymologically correct: retro + nova => "backwards new." (Or, "return to begin.") Also, hats off to Jason for omitting the hyphen (i.e. "retro-novation"). Fie on the hyphen! The hyphen is only there to draw attention. In fact, I've retronovatively changed the word in my original post to scrap the hyphen I put there. Vive retronovation! Old is the new now!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:25 PM

March 7, 2009

Tim's thoughts: None of the alphabet could exist without writing, but W is the only letter whose name refers to h... >>

The Names of Letters

In English, the names of (some) vowel sounds are given by a smaller subset of those sounds -- so "A" involves one of the pronunciations of "a," ditto "E," "I," and "O," with the exception of "U," which by all rights ought to be "oo" instead of "yoo." Let's just chalk this up to the Y-as-an-assistant-vowel phenomenon, whereby the "U" in words like "cute" or "fume" is pronounced "yoo." And "I" is a dipthong, but that's neither here nor there.

Consonants are generally either given by a pronounciation of a consonant plus a vowel ("B" = "bee") or a vowel plus the consonant ("S" = "ess"). "W" is weird, as is "H," "Y" is and always shall be a mess. "Q" is, surprisingly, not bad; even if it slights the typical sound of the consonant -- arguably, so does "C."

Consonants are even harder than vowels to articulate completely in isolation, so it seems obvious that you need SOME vowel with the consonant. But why do some letters get the vowel in front and others the vowel in behind? And while most letters get the short e in front or the long E behind, this isn't universal - "J" and "K" could just as easily by "Jee" and "Kee" (assuming that "G" was "ghi" or "gay" or "goo" or something else).

You could say that as a general rule, names of letters avoid being homonyms with meaningful words, but "B," "C," "J," "P," and "T" violate this rule -- in the case of "B," pretty drastically.

I'm willing to entertain the possibility that there is some partial motivation for the sounds we use -- maybe "M, "N," or "S" appear more often at the end of words than other letters, so they get known by an end-consonant sound.

Think with me -- imagine an alphabet where all the names of consonants were reversed, so that:

"B" = "ebb"
"C" = "ack" / K = "eck"
"D" = "edd,"
"M" = "mee"
"N" = "nee"

and so on. What would be wrong with that pronunciation of the alphabet?

Posted March 7, 2009 at 5:31 | Comments (10) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 27, 2009

Light as Sound

It's really the fluorescents themselves making the sound; Atushiro Ito uses mics attached to the bulbs, massively amplified and processed. Get out of town. (Via Peter Kirn.)

Posted February 27, 2009 at 10:59 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 24, 2009

My New Rock Band

Matt says,

How is it that it's been four whole days and nobody's alerted me to BuzzFeed's Wikipedia Band Name Generator? My band is called Newport Historic District, and our first album is titled, "Cooling Influences of the World." The album cover will be an artful crop of this image.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:07 PM


Matt says,

One eyebrow raises: The Minneapolis Star Tribune published an original article about the Singularity.

Both eyebrows raise: They illustrated the story with this image, by Mark Boswell.


I sort of love this. Thanks, Taylor.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:00 PM

February 21, 2009

Tim's thoughts: I also have a SECOND "office" in my kitchen -- there's a half wall separating the main kitchen ar... >>

Workspace Minimalism

Oh, man -- Lifehacker has a powerful strategy for home office clutter. The principle is, don't add more shelves to organize your stuff or spaces to put it in -- they'll just fill up with more junk, like cars and highway lanes in Atlanta. Instead, eliminate physical matter wherever you can, by scanning and shredding your files. Then, you must prebind yourself into a limited, manageable, securable amount of space. You must move your workspace into the closet.


Attentive Snarkmarket readers may know that this is where it gets interesting.

You see, one of the Snarkmasters already has a workspace in his closet, and while not an exact copy, it actually looks a whole lot like that very elegant picture above. And sometimes we joke about the whole "office in a closet" idea.

Another Snarkmaster, who lives in a city that, while not cheap, offers a whole lot more square feet for the money than the locale of SM#1, has a whole library in his apartment, filled with bookshelves and comfy chairs and file cabinets. But it's also full of empty boxes, piles of books and papers, strollers and baby toys, the occasional laundry basket full of clothes, old card catalogues that are really cool-looking but that he hasn't figured out what to do with, and these super-beautiful pocket doors that he uses to just close up the whole mess while he taps away on his laptop in the dining room.

The point is, one of these methods has achieved a kind of zen simplicity. The other may very well offer its own path to enlightenment, but it's going to require a lot of digging to come out on the other end. So, to you, sir, kudos.

Posted February 21, 2009 at 1:32 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Design, Gleeful Miscellany, Object Culture, Self-Disclosure

February 18, 2009

That's It, I'm Moving to Canada

Matt says,

Seriously?? When asked, 34% of Americans say they want to live in Orlando, making it the fifth most desirable city in the country? Are these people talking about the same Orlando I grew up in and now assiduously avoid? The country's preeminent symbol of suburban suck? In what the New Yorker recently nicknamed "The Ponzi State"?

And my beloved Minneapolis, with its resplendent lakes and parks and great restaurants and arts and culture and evenforPetessake the Mall of America, is one of the five least popular?! That's just messed up.

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:24 PM

February 13, 2009

glitch's thoughts: how do you think the world would be experienced if you could somehow experience it from this pers... >>

Different Ways of Seeing

I tell you, these tilt-shift videos aren't just cute. They're an important new way of seeing. I'd liken them to the cosmic-radiation coloring schemes so often used for images from space. Nebulas don't actually look like that to the human eye, but it's kinda crucial that we can see them that way. Likewise, oil rigs and helicopters don't actually look like this to the human eye... but it's kinda crucial that we can see them this way:

Nice music, too!

Via MBV.

Posted February 13, 2009 at 3:14 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 12, 2009

Google Blank

Tim says,

Google buys a defunct paper mill, which it's turning into a data center. I can't help but think of the missed opportunities:

  1. Google Blank: DIY Search and Document Creation.
  2. Okay, that was too cute. How about Google Paper Services for Enterprise? Google sells you its Apps suite, tech support, AND the paper you print your documents on. And everything you photocopy ends up in a Google search engine.
  3. Google File: (im)personal archive services.
  4. Google is going to print its own money.
  5. New team-building exercise: all Google employees to collaborate on a five-act play with at least 500 speaking parts.
  6. Google Airplanes.
  7. Googlegami.
  8. Google Trading Cards: collect all your top searches!
  9. Google Direct Mail: We store your documents, email, and contacts, AND will send your letters for you!
  10. So many possibilities.

    Comments (9) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:26 AM

January 28, 2009

Tim's thoughts: 1) I am obsessed with women's hair in general, and curly hair in particular, and this lady's got ... >>

Her Morning Elegance

I love the jaunty stop-motion bed-walking.

Posted January 28, 2009 at 9:53 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

January 7, 2009

It's What's Good In the Neighborhood

I lived in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood for a year in 2001-2002. My state senator was this guy named Barack Obama.

My favorite show on local TV there was called "Check, Please." Three people from all over Chicago would recommend their favorite restaurants -- everything from casual neighborhood hangs to places with wine lists longer than your couch -- and they would each go to all three, then review them together.

Well, Ezra Klein got a hold of an early, unaired episode of "Check, Please" featuring -- yes -- Barack Obama. He's plugging the Dixie Kitchen, one of my favorite places for catfish. So this just made me happy today.

Posted January 7, 2009 at 12:58 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gastrosnark, Gleeful Miscellany, Snarkpolitik, Society/Culture

A Look Back at Looks Ahead

Matt says,

Even more fun than reading predictions for 2009: reading predictions for 2008. NYMag's predix for the biggest business stories of 2008 royally missed the mark (e.g. Goldman Sachs will end the year at $300/share ... ouch). ReadWriteWeb's predix mostly bombed (Hakia goes mainstream? massive Facebook/Google decline? Twitter and Tumblr acquired?).

(I found this by searching Fimoculous.)

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:35 PM

December 27, 2008

"Goo-goo-ism?" Seriously?

Matt says,

Was it Write Like Tom Friedman Day at the NYT on Christmas, Paul Krugman?

Just didn't want to let that one go unremarked.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:04 PM

December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Robin

Matt says,

I do agree that Facebook takes all of the honor out of remembering your friends' birthdays. But it also averts all of the drama of forgetting them. So ... net win. Post a review of the Prelinger film. And if you get to speak to Rick Prelinger, tell him he better put that sucker up on under a Creative Commons license. And it better be better than this.

For your birthday, I'm getting you a Facebook gift.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:11 AM

December 12, 2008

Snarkmarket's Best of '08

Matt says,

In case you missed the comments to this thread, we're soliciting your nods and votes for the best interviews and speeches of '08.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:27 PM

December 7, 2008

Saheli's thoughts: Crap, I think you just found my consumerist Christmas sweetspot.... >>

Design Your Own Muppet


You can either buy the mail-order kit or go to FAO Schwartz in NYC now -- or starting in February, you can design your own Muppet "whatnot" (muppet code for "humanoid extra") online.

Posted December 7, 2008 at 5:30 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

November 26, 2008

You Get Two Guesses

Tim says,

Does this abstract come from The Onion or The New York Times?

Modern pentathlon has been cut from five events to four in a bid to boost its popularity and stay in the Olympics, combining shooting and running into a single event.
Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:45 PM

November 10, 2008

Adventures in Dorm Food

Matt says,

Cake in a mug is the new omelette in a bag.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:50 PM

October 19, 2008

'Bout damn time

Matt says,

Slate redesigns. Again. For the last year or so, I've debated doing a follow-up post on my snark-out of their 2006 redesign, just to verify that I never got over my initial awful reaction to the site. I've got some problems with the new design, but they're minor compared to my feelings on the former look.

I have this funny feeling that the separation between the "Today in Slate" and "Slate Blogs" tabs isn't going to last ...

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:21 AM

October 9, 2008

Lego + NRA =

Matt says,

BrickArms. Nefarious. From Things.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:02 AM

September 13, 2008

An Irresistible Entertainment

Matt says,

The Howling Fantods has concluded its David Foster Wallace motivational poster contest. (via)

Gasp. DFW killed himself yesterday. How awful.

This MetaFilter thread collects some of his inimitable work:

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:55 AM

September 4, 2008

Hard-Hitting RNC Commentary

Matt says,

Random Twitterer is right, yo. Sarah Palin's suit is the surprise hit of the night. I'm the guy that has long hated coverage of female candidates that insisted on mentioning their clothing choices, but seriously, I want that suit. Even my potential appearance in Steve Schmidt's talking points about male blogger misogyny cannot prevent me from complimenting that fierce piece of gun-metal grey hottness.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:30 PM

August 24, 2008

NYT Discovers Linkblogging

Matt says,

... and it's good. (Don't miss the running tally of good reads in the sidebar.) Keep it up, Mr. Kuntz.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:36 AM

August 21, 2008

Dirty Talk

Matt says,

A MeFi commenter describes sex talk:

Q: You like sex? You are a person who likes the sex acts that we are currently engaged in?
A: Yes! I am! I like sex!
Q: You like sex! In fact, you are a person who likes sex as much as a prostitute likes sex!
(Via this awesome thread. See also: "I am never really going to close the dork tag.")

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:05 AM

August 3, 2008

Embarrassment Manifest

Matt says,

One of the reasons I love Ask MetaFilter is that I often come across questions that I'm very curious about, but would never have thought to articulate. This question is one of those:

When I think of / remember something embarrassing from my life, I compulsively make some kind of noise. It seems to happen unconsciously, before my censor can catch it and stop myself (it even happens when I am in a quiet or inappropriate place). It's not especially loud, in fact it's often under my breath. The sound is usually just a quiet grunt, or a word/syllable or two. ... It usually only happens when I'm remembering something palpably embarrassing or humiliating from my life -- not for mild everyday kind of stuff. ... So what is this, do I have some kind of low-grade tourette's syndrome? Is there a name for this phenomenon? Does it happen to others or is it unique to me?
This happens to me sporadically, and from the dozens of responses on Ask MeFi, it's not uncommon.

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:08 PM

July 28, 2008

Peter's thoughts: Yes, it's hydrochloride, but I have to agree that the hydrochloride article was not very helpful ... >>

Lifehack of the Month: Truly Generic Pills

If you're like most people, you purchase Benadryl. A slightly smaller and savvier subset of you will always reach for the drugstore's "generic" counterpart, e.g. Waldryl. Stop this madness, all of you.

As you might know, Benadryl (available at for $5.29 for a box of 24 capsules) and Wal-dryl ($3.99 / 24 capsules) are otherwise known as "25 mg. of diphenhydramine HCI." Compare. Yes, that is 400 tablets containing 25 mg. of diphenhydramine HCI, for about $10 when you factor in shipping. Once more with feeling:

Benadryl - 22¢ / pill
Wal-dryl - 16¢ / pill
True generic - 2.5¢ / pill

As a fan of Unisom (34¢ / pill) and Claritin (66¢), the truly generic equivalents (Unisom:Claritin: 6¢) have been a revelation.

Before you buy any mildly expensive drug over-the-counter, plug its name into Amazon and see what pops up. Many of you may already know all about this, but surely I've delighted someone.

Posted July 28, 2008 at 5:00 | Comments (17) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

July 17, 2008

The New Yorker Can Be Funny!

Matt says,

For some of you, this week's Shouts & Murmurs is the typical bland gimmick repeated ad nauseam. If you're like me, however, it will crack you up.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:42 PM

June 12, 2008

House of Leaves

Matt says,

My new goal in life is to find that my architect has embedded an elaborate puzzle into the woodwork of my tony Central Park mansion. (via)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:37 AM

Dear Santa

Matt says,

All I want for Christmas is a solemn promise that no one will ever use the word "cybergenic" unironically again for the rest of my life, please.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:06 AM

June 10, 2008

Google Contra

Matt says,

If anything made it necessary for Robin to curb his allegiance to the now-deprecated Bloglines RSS reader, it's this. GReader recognizes the immortal Contra cheat code.

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:11 PM

June 9, 2008

Missed connection: Casper

Matt says,

Infocult flags a nice haunted house story posted in Craigslist's rentals section.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:14 PM

June 2, 2008

Put That In Your Easy-Bake Oven and Burn It

Matt says,

"I had corn dogs, chocolate cake and rum for breakfast yesterday. Then I went on a hike, and explored an abandoned mine shaft that I don't think I was supposed to enter. I didn't have to get anyone's permission or tell anyone where I was going. Later, I touched a girl with my penis, and nobody yelled at me or sent me to talk to the councilor about it. I watched a scary movie that had boobies and swears in it, and then I stayed up until 2 AM because I didn't feel like going to bed.

"Childhood has nothing on adulthood. Being a grown-up is an awfully grand adventure." -- My new favorite MeFi commenter

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:06 PM

May 21, 2008


Matt says,

Over at, I'm ranting about how the practice of settling the tab at restaurants is woefully broken. It's launched me on a campaign to demand separate checks whenever dining with a group. Thought this was worthy of the Snarkmarket hive mind. Do you have any foolproof systems for handling checks that must be split? Are there any establishments you've been to that deal with this ingeniously?

Comments (15) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:40 PM

April 30, 2008

March 24, 2008

For a Limited Time: Actual Snark on Snarkmarket

Matt says,

I love this Ask MeFi thread listing retorts to common sayings. Among my favorites:

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.But you catch the most with bullshit.
There's no "I" in "team."Yeah, but there's an "m" and an "e."
The squeaky wheel gets the oil.It's also the first to get replaced.
The early bird gets the worm.But the early worm gets eaten.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:01 PM

March 14, 2008

I, For One, Welcome Our New Avian Overlords

Matt says,

OMG, Jessa's right: the birds are going to rule us one day. Article 1:

And article 2:

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:11 PM

January 31, 2008

Augmented Driving

Matt says,

Things points to the fascinating idea of the "virtual cable" for driving directions in cars. There's been a lot of recent buzz about projecting data on car windshields. The virtual cable is a three-dimensional line drawn onto the road ahead showing you exactly where you're going. Trippy, probably distracting, but nonetheless fascinating.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:56 PM

January 7, 2008


Matt says,

Infocult points to a Texas bride who had her cake made in her own image.


Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:51 AM

January 6, 2008

How Do You Look?

Robin says,

Here's a quirky, innovative piece from Current UK. I just spent five minutes trying to describe it, but kept deleting what I wrote because it didn't make any sense. You'll see what I mean. Odd, simple, recursive, riveting.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:45 PM

December 10, 2007


Matt says,

Needed: a term for when your phone makes calls to random entries in my address book on its own volition, usually as a byproduct of unintentional button-mashing. Somehow, my phone intuits the romance/dating-related entries and goes straight for them. It's particularly enamored of one of my exes, which can be awkward. But not as awkward as the time it sent a discouraged suitor of mine five copies of a text message to a friend describing what I was going to wear that night.

I understand that keyboard lock (and probably looser jeans) would mostly solve this problem. But until I decide whether those are sacrifices I'm willing to make, I need something to describe this phenomenon. Ghost-dialing?

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:00 PM

The Standing Stone

Matt says,

Thanks to "The Year in Ideas," I now want a Gomboc. Only they cost 1,001 €.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:49 AM

November 21, 2007

'I Need Me Some Battlestar'

Robin says,

Re: the Writers' Guild Strike... good god... I didn't think about this! (Was just showing my sister dotBoom, which is actually pretty funny. Puppets resurgent!)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:56 PM

November 16, 2007

Change Like the Seasons

Robin says,

My favorite Sartorialist posts are always the ones where he catches someone he's snapped before after an interval of many months. It's fun to see... change!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:21 AM

November 9, 2007

Problems = f(Money)

Robin says,

This might be the ultimate Friday night link: hip-hop charts and graphs.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:22 PM

November 6, 2007

West Siiiide!

Matt says,

David from Ironic Sans snapped some pretty wonderful shots of kids in his Upper West Side building on Halloween.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:29 PM

October 22, 2007


Robin says,

Cribbed from Portraits of people and their breakfasts. Minimal and lovely.

Suddenly realizing I need to up my breakfast game in a big way. I don't actually want to be part of the cup-of-coffee crowd (as I currently am).

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:40 AM

September 30, 2007

Proof of Purchase

Matt says,

A diary/blog written on scanned receipts. (Gadgetopian.)

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:38 PM

September 20, 2007

There Be Pirates

Matt says,

I realize this is 24 hours too late, but on any day of the year, the International Chamber of Commerce's Weekly Piracy Report is the best reminder that for all our iPhones and gizmos, the world is still much the same as it was 300 years ago. An excerpt from this week's report:

Five robbers, in two motor boats, armed with guns and knives boarded an anchored chemical tanker from the bow using ropes and hooks. Duty crew spotted the robbers and raised the alarm. The robbers broke the padlock on the forward store and stole ship's stores and escaped. Bonny signal station was called many times but did not respond. Master requested for additional guards from agents.
Note: Armed theft is a serious crime and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, or whatever. But that somehow doesn't mitigate the vision of a crew of peg-legged, one-eyed, 'do-ragged blaggards scaling the side of a sailboat with knives in their teeth, threatening to make some scurvy sea dogs walk a plank. (Clearly I saw this on Read/Write Web.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:02 AM

September 18, 2007

An Old Google Easter Egg

Robin says,

Pleasingly dorky. It makes me happy (and optimistic for Google) that it is still online.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:18 PM

September 15, 2007


Matt says,

charibarrow.jpgIt doesn't exactly look comfortable, and it's not exactly pretty. But it's a chair-barrow with a lamp attached to it. It's even apparently got little shelves hidden beneath the armrests. I want one! Alas, all the text is in German, and I don't see anything that resembles an "add-to-cart" button.

(Via my bookstore. See also: Bibliochaise.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:27 AM

September 3, 2007

The Mystic Experience of Space

Robin says,

This new movie about the Apollo program sounds terrific:

The astronauts also talk about seeing "the whole circle of the Earth" at once, as Mr. Duke puts it. "That jewel of Earth was just hung, up in the blackness of space," he says, holding his hands out, cupped, as if to cradle the sphere.

Whenever astronauts speak about the experience of seeing earth from space, it makes you wish everybody could see it that way. Er, I mean, I guess they sorta can. But I imagine it loses quite a bit in the translation.

Actually, wait -- I like this one better -- it looks like the picture you'd snap out the window of a Virgin Galactic flight to the moon!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:00 PM

On a Completely Different Note

Robin says,

Is it weird to follow ruminations on the American character with an awesome drumming gorilla? Somehow it's not.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:27 PM

September 2, 2007

The Best Thing I've Read All Weekend

Robin says,

Rainer Maria Rilke by way of Alex Soojung-Kim Pang:

Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

How cool a name, by the way, is "Rainer"?

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:23 PM

August 25, 2007

Stained-Glass Pixels

Robin says,

The Cologne Cathedral has a new stained-glass window. Via.

Update: High rez. Oh, and the artist is Gerhard Richter who, if not already famous, would have to be made famous on the basis of his name alone.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:07 PM

August 20, 2007


Robin says,

Xeni Jardin just posted the oddest thing over at Boing Boing: ten minutes of ambient audio from La Antigua, Guatemala.

It's very well-recorded, quite weird, and somewhat transporting (as I sit here listening, typing away on other things, in a San Francisco office basement).

Do these things exist en masse anywhere on the web? I know lots of people (well, you know: musicians, documentary filmmakers, etc.) record them. Seems like someone must have assembled an archive.

And, I am now officially in love with the idea of capturing stretches of ambient noise in cities that I visit -- as a means to teleport back, on demand, any time in the future.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:26 AM

August 18, 2007

Holy Collection, Batman

Robin says,

So my friend Corey has an insanely huge collection of Batman posters, puzzles, mugs, lunch boxes, shirts, cereal, underwear -- you get the idea --


-- that he is now offering to some lucky fan via a Batman costume contest.

Of course.

I love it that he is administering the contest via Flickr. I also love it that all the photos are tagged "iwanttobebatmanwhenigrowup."

But I do I think Corey should probably require entrants to hold up a sign that say "gimme the loot, Jones" or something... otherwise, how do we know this is really George (age 27) and James (age 8)?

Anyway. Now's the time to get that Riddler costume out of the closet.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:19 AM

August 16, 2007

The Poe Toaster Revealed?

Matt says,

Edgar Allen Poe's masked fanatic has allegedly unmasked himself. A 92-year-old Poe-head named Sam Porpora claims to be the originator of the annual tradition of celebrating Poe's birthday with roses and cognac. But he says he's not sure who's continued the toast each year since 1976. The mystery remains ...

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:27 PM

August 15, 2007


Robin says,

Over-the-top street art of the day.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:41 PM

August 13, 2007

Post-Apocalyptic Tourism

Robin says,

Abandoned Soviet-era trains in Abkhazia. Is it weird that I am seized with the desire to go there and wander among them? Who could resist?

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:23 PM

Use the Force (When No One's Looking)

Robin says,

My former Current colleague OldschoolBrian shares this nerdy revelation:

When the train arrives on the platform, if I am the first person waiting to get on, I wait for the train to stop, then I raise my right hand to the level of my abdomen, extend my index and middle finger and slowly move it about 4 inches from left to right as the subway doors open. I do this to emulate the appearance that I have opened the subway doors using nothing but the shear will of my mind. People see me do this all the time. I don't mind. I have been doing this for years. Still don't mind. I do not do this upon exiting the train. BUT I DO, DO IT.

Go ahead, act like you don't do some weird shit when you think no one is looking.

I've started to realize that I actually talk to myself a lot. I think I am pretty good at doing it only when no one is around, though. Not sure if that makes it better... or worse.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:02 PM

Club Bill Gates

Robin says,

Oh man. I so want to go here.

If you owned a small diner in a grim Eastern European capital... which tech entrepreneur would you name it after?

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:33 AM

August 12, 2007


Robin says,

Jan Chipchase has a fun anecdote about our pattern-seeking brains. It involves dance clubs and movies playing backwards.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:03 PM

August 9, 2007

Walkability Throwdown

Robin says,

C'mon Snarkmatrix -- whatcha got? Can your neighborhood's walk score beat Cole Valley's astonishing 97?

Comments (15) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:12 PM

August 7, 2007

'No Real Than You Are'

Robin says,


"We saw something bobbing about in the sea and we decided to take it out of the water," said a stall worker. "It was a life-sized Lego toy."

It's just... I mean... wow.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:36 PM

August 6, 2007

31 Syllables

Robin says,

Via our pal at the Lost Temple:

If we falter in resolve

Just because the task is hard,

No accomplishment can follow:

It is the world's way.

Discovered, appropriately, while cleaning.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:17 PM

Hours of Fun

Matt says,

Check out the tagset of user Kio. Also, "indigenous content." (Via.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:35 AM

July 15, 2007

'Seizing the Opportunity by the Forelock'

Robin says,

Ah, worthy Sunday reading: 1) Samurai Song by Robert Pinsky. 2) The Samurai Creed by, uh, some samurai.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:53 PM

July 10, 2007

A Store for Nerds

Robin says,

Just got back from a fantastic wedding in Tampa. Lots to blog. But... for now... CSS New and Used.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:13 PM

July 2, 2007

Neo-Cyberpunk Junta Hipster Fantasia, BAM!

Robin says,

Speaking of the visual public sphere... the new Kanye West video is insanely evocative:

Sort of a Kanye-as-Akira thing. Love it.

The day we are able to make works of journalism this irresistible, democracy will get up and dance.

(You know, I just wrote that, and then suddenly imagined democracy as like one of the back-up dancers in Thriller. Kinda seems right somehow.)

Comments (6) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:21 PM


Robin says,

Interview with Alex Kubalsky, a designer of modern Transformer toys:

What would you like to design that hasn't been designed yet?

Just an odd object that transforms into another odd object for no reason. Just so because it looks interesting as it transforms. It is not so much about what it is in a and b - but the path itself is c. The transformation itself is the interesting thing!


While we're at it: original Transformers instruction booklets. For the record, I never used these, and was sooo proud of myself.

Okay, fine, one more thing: You've Got the Touch.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:45 PM

June 28, 2007

The Very Definition of America

Robin says,

Albert Einstein, 1935, a letter to a childhood friend:

I have now set up home in this curious new world and am still brooding like an old hen on the same old scientific eggs, even if the bodily warmth which one needs for brooding has rather diminished over the years. What is so nice in this country is that the people don't sit so much on top of one another and, as a result, feel more comfortable with each other. So I sit here the whole summer in a quiet bay and sail in a little sailing boat as much as I want to.

From a collection of famous people's letters, soon to be auctioned off. I think Google should buy them and put them online (e.g.). Would be cool, quirky, philanthropic thing to do.

P.S. You know, I'd never realized until just now that "brooding" actually means sitting on eggs or baby birds. Changes my impression of the word somewhat.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:34 AM

June 25, 2007

Street Art

Robin says,

But think Caravaggio, not Banksy. Sort of totally brilliant.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:16 AM

June 20, 2007

Chanced Upon Absurdly

Robin says,

Garance Franke-Ruta awesomely begins a blog post like this: "I was rereading some 17th century essays recently..."

They were essays on youth vs. wisdom, it turns out -- here's a blockquote from Francis Bacon:

The errors of young men, are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men, amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner. Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles, which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and, that which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them; like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn.

I don't know about that whole line-up, but "pursue some few principles, which they have chanced upon absurdly" is pretty terrific and, er, rings true.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:52 PM

My Heart Is An Idiot

Robin says,

Meta-concept: a documentary in progress, in public.

Actual concept: a documentary about the guys behind Found magazine.

ACTUAL actual concept: a documentary about love!

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:01 PM

June 17, 2007

Maybe We Could Get Matt to Narrate This

Robin says,

Ah hahaha -- speaking of sharp and funny -- please note "In the Year 2030, the Young Hotshot at My Office Tries to Walk Me Through 'Centaur,' Apple's New Mind-Orb-Based Operating System."

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:05 PM

June 15, 2007

All Roads

Robin says,

A tangle of tracks. Wonderful.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:59 PM

It's Hard to Tell the Difference

Robin says,

From the mind that brought you the public domain photoblog Thank You, The Man comes...

Jam Band Fan or Taliban?

It has a nice ring to it.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:33 PM

June 14, 2007

Art for Our Time

Robin says,

Ceramic statues photographed in mid-shatter. Absolutely fantastic. Via the liberal arts 2.0 blog and a long chain of blogs preceding it.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:38 PM

June 13, 2007


Robin says,

Nothing you can tell me will convince me this is real. Nothing.

Comments (17) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:26 PM

Doodle Doodle Doodle

Robin says,

Saul Steinberg's Smithsonian stationary doodles. Reminds me of presidential doodles. And I've heard Obama is a huuuge doodler; here's evidence.

(Man, I could just say "doodle" all day.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:00 AM

June 11, 2007

Wild Orchids and Trotsky

Robin says,

Richard Rorty died. I didn't know that much about him, except that he was a pragmatist (in the philosophical sense) and I like pragmatists, but this little snippet is pretty fantastic:

Jurgen Habermas writes a short obituary for philosopher Richard Rorty, who passed away on Friday. "One small autobiographical piece by Rorty bears the title 'Wild Orchids and Trotsky.' In it, Rorty describes how as a youth he kicked around the blooming hillside in north-west New Jersey, and breathed in the stunning odour of orchids. At the same time he discovered a fascinating book at the home of his leftist parents, defending Leon Trotsky against Stalin. This was the start of the vision which accompanied the young Rorty to college: philosophy is there to reconcile the celestial beauty of orchids with Trotsky's dream of justice on earth."

From that website signandsight, which I've mentioned before.

Update: Ah, here's the actual piece by Habermas.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:52 PM

June 7, 2007

Weird Stuff from Finland

Robin says,

A ship in a cathedral. A rooster made of light. I really enjoy Alex Soojung-Kim Pang's blog.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:27 PM

June 4, 2007

Just Hop on My Skylab

Robin says,

This is my favorite Double-Tongued Dictionary entry in a looong time: skylab. File under: English, Philippines, transportation. There's even a video!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:41 AM

May 27, 2007

How'd It Get to be a Pentagon, Anyway?

Robin says,

In the Washington Post, Steve Vogel tells the tale of the Pentagon's shape. Not to ruin it or anything, but this is funny: It was designed that way to fit on an oddly-shaped plot of land. Then it got moved. But there wasn't time to change the plans. So they kept it a pentagon!

Via Danger Room.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:06 PM

May 21, 2007

The Layabout's Tale

Robin says,

All those people just hanging out in the middle of the day... who are they? It is the indispensable job of the reportorial class to actually find answers to questions the rest of us pose idly. Chris Colin does just that over in the Chronicle.

Unrepresentative, but awesome, quote:

"John," who is 18 and was strolling through Yerba Buena Gardens one Thursday morning, laid out his typical itinerary: "Watch the grass grow, get high, hit on the ladies."

How does he pay rent? "If you ask 100 girls for $10, that's $1,000, that's rent," he explained logically.

Ah. Right.

Via the Globe's Ideas section.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:22 PM

Ethnography of Lolcats

Robin says,

Slate slideshow on lolcats.

I admit it: I think they are hilarious.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:45 PM

May 20, 2007

That's Releasing the Chi

Robin says,

Shatner Woo Remix:

I think this just became the definitive case for remixable culture.

Via M. Migurski.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:51 PM

May 5, 2007

A Glimpse of the Retro-Future

Matt says,

Jarah blogs what may be the best headline of all time, courtesy of Wired's Malcontents.

(Note: This blog post is essentially Jarah's blog post, with an additional layer of attribution. I love how recursive blogging can be. I'm trying to think if I've ever seen a blog post retain the entire meme trail of an item before. How awesome would it be to see "Wired via Jarah via Matt via" at the end of a post? Can you guys think of anything like that?)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:38 PM

May 3, 2007


Robin says,

Ridiculous (right?) but awesome: Why Google should buy Starbucks. Via Romenesko's great Starbucks Gossip blog.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:12 AM

April 29, 2007

Sunday of Wonders

Robin says,

I. Jan Chipchase is a kind of design ethnographer, traveling the world to see how people actually use things in their everyday lives. He takes wonderful pictures along the way -- always with unusual perspectives. He's in Turkey now:


II. I am not entirely clear on the nature of this competition, but I like the winners, especially John Klein, whose work reminds me of Zaha Hadid's:


III. Apparently, we've found the Fortress of Solitude -- note the tiny, tiny person in the lower left:


IV. French kids in free fall -- literally:


(Via Photojojo.)

V. Finally: All that is solid melts into, er, a mess. It'll be slow going in the Bay Area for a while:


Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:45 PM

April 24, 2007

Meta Free for All

Robin says,

Stephen Colbert and Sean Penn in a metaphor-off. U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky adjudicates. This might be the greatest thing I have ever seen.

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:58 PM

Reconstructing Landscapes from Memory

Robin says,


Edwin Zwakman. That is all.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:02 PM

April 20, 2007

Cruel 2 B Kind

Robin says,

I played Cruel 2 B Kind, one of Jane McGonigal's big public games, a while back here in SF. Here's the Current pod. Fast-forward to 1:45 if you want to see me talk about my booty.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:29 AM

April 11, 2007

Pictures Tagged 'Bladerunner'

Robin says,


Virtual China looks at Flickr photos tagged shanghai and bladerunner. Also tokyo, london, etc. I love it that that title can be so specifically descriptive.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:33 PM

April 3, 2007

Only for Fellow Ask MeFi Nerds

Matt says,

Still catching up on RSS feeds (only 3,692 items left to go!), and so far, this is the best April Fool's page. Google's entries were kinda disappointing.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:33 PM

March 16, 2007

Helvetica Haiku

Robin says,

Wherever there is a haiku contest, I must enter it. (And don't forget, I'm a haiku champion.)

This time the theme is fonts, specifically Helvetica.

My entry:

Snow falls on posters
A lonely face, sad, whispers:
'I'm neo-grotesque.'
Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:07 AM

March 12, 2007

A Short Chain of Lives

Robin says,

It was a beautiful summer* night here in San Francisco, so what better to do now than ponder the shape of history?

Here is a hint: It is something like a dime sitting on top of the Empire State Building.

And here is a treat: There is a commenter on Daily Kos who was born in 1929! Oh, how I pledge to prowl the holo-grid when I'm 78...

*I know, weird, right?

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:05 PM

March 9, 2007

World Accent Quiz

Robin says,

Cognitive Daily does a fun experiment every Friday -- this week's asks you to identify world accents. Takes five minutes. They'll report the results next Friday.

I think more blogs should run informal experiments on a regular basis... it might even begin to resemble massively multi-citizen science.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:27 PM

February 23, 2007

Fields of Vision

Robin says,

What would you display in your multi-screen war room data hub thing?

I'm thinking... something like this mixed with something like this.

(P.S. Does Pruned find great images or what?)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:44 PM

February 14, 2007

There's Even a Cameo from the Commodore 64

Robin says,

"You're in the iWorld, Bill... and I am a god here."

This video comes with a big heap of JobBiasTM but it really made me laugh. The dark ballad of the Finder might be the best part.

Digg it if you're the sort of person who does that.

Comments (6) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:04 AM

February 9, 2007

The News from 2027

Robin says,

Best. Headline. Ever:

Yuki-Taro Autonomous Snowplow Robot Saves The Day

(Also note that this story features the phrase "chomping snow and pooping blocks.")

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:50 PM

February 5, 2007

Thank You, The Man

Robin says,

Behold, a blog of public domain photos (with what one can only assume is public domain snarky commentary) from various sort of hilarious .gov sources. Thank you, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:58 PM

February 2, 2007

It's Pronounced Dee-Jay Wee-Jay

Robin says,

Oh awesome: DJ WiiJ is the art of the djing with the wiimote.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:34 PM

January 29, 2007

For a Limited Time

Matt says,

Both of these things will expire soon:

1) You've got a month to check out the Harvard Business Review's list of breakthrough ideas for 2007 before it goes into the paid archive. Full of counterintuitive goodness, although the articles are of uneven quality. All-in-all, provocative.

2) Copy, Right? has posted a mammoth dump of cover songs, including a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Good Enough," from The Goonies. I loved that song because it sounded obnoxiously good as the MIDI track to the NES game Goonies II. I actually remember Goonies II being a surprisingly creepy and atmospheric game; it had these maze sequences scored by a brooding arpeggio that just freaked me out.

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:12 PM

January 26, 2007

The Same Sun

Robin says, slideshow of Mars Rover photos.

The last image is the stunner.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:26 PM

January 12, 2007

World Freehand Circle Drawing Champion

Robin says,

This is perhaps even more random than that last entry: Watch this guy draw a perfect circle on a chalkboard.

The build-up is oddly suspenseful, yeah?

(Via Kottke.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:23 PM

Sketchy Directions

Robin says,


The punchline is: The letter got there!

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:01 PM

January 2, 2007

Note to Self: Make This Part of Everyday Vocab

Robin says,

Double-Tongued Word Wrester defines "who laid the rail." I don't know if I quite get it. I do know that I love it.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:39 PM

January 1, 2007


Matt says,

John Brockman's got his crew of deep thinkers he commissions with answering humankind's big questions, I've got mine. So how 'bout it, folks? What are you optimistic about? Why?

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:08 AM

December 30, 2006

Change Blindness

Matt says,

Although this is not the "coolest psychology experiment ever," as billed, it's pretty freaky all the same. It makes me wonder what other giant glaring things we fail to perceive on a daily basis.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:28 AM

December 22, 2006

Behold, the Austrian Avatar of Poseidon's Son

Robin says,

One of my favorite words is 'protean.' The dictionary definitions all say it means versatile and mutable, which I agree with, but nowhere can I find reference to what I was always sure was its other, subtler shade: opportunistic, ambitious.

Anyway, there's no reason to debate it, because we have a human definition: Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's serious about global warming now. Withholding any kind of actual policy analysis, I am simply in awe of him as a player:

Schwarzenegger argued that in a "Nixon goes to China" way he is uniquely poised to lead on the environmental front. Calling himself a "sane Republican," he said his pro-business philosophy and fiscal conservatism shield him from accusations of being "the tree hugger, the crazy guy out there who wants to live on the moon and talk about the spirits and all this holistic stuff."

"With me they can't do it, because my whole history is different," he said, puffing thoughtfully on a fat cigar in his smoking tent in a courtyard of the state Capitol. "It's unexpected, so therefore you have a better chance to have an impact. . . . All those businesses would never have a better guy than me."

P.S. Via the Wikipedia entry on Proteus comes a new favorite word: mytheme, for "an irreducible nugget of myth." Awesome!

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:36 PM

December 17, 2006

Live Action Hamster Video Game

Matt says,


Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:51 PM

Variations on a Theme

Matt says, Twice a month, graphic artists reimagine popular icons. Behold the wizardry. MeFidelic.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:33 PM

December 14, 2006

Stop Motion Excellence

Robin says,

Tony vs. Paul. (Via.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:49 PM

December 5, 2006

Stabbed, Stuck, Suspended

Robin says,


First, scope the crazy tiger-full-of-arrows installation. Then, see Matthew Woodson draw it. Weird, I know, but I love it.

His blog is full of step-by-step drawing deconstructions.

(Via Drawn.)

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:23 AM

December 1, 2006

Probably the Most Masculine Thing in the Universe

Robin says,

Also, totally what YouTube was invented for: shared videos of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team doing their pre-game haka. So awesome.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:53 PM

November 21, 2006

Blogs, Physics, and Nerd Love

Robin says,

This tale of blog-mediated romance is nerdy and sweet.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:17 PM

November 20, 2006

Robin's thoughts: Although in Matt's defense his head is somewhat less than perfectly spherical.... >>

Portrait of the Artist As a South Park Character



Posted November 20, 2006 at 3:24 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

Equine Quartet

Robin says,

Direct animated horses as they sing a sweet little song.

If you don't click on that link there is no hope for you.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:03 PM

November 15, 2006

The Dance in the Aisle

Robin says,


Here's a great bit of artwork from Jen Wang: She renders the airline attendants' pre-flight safety routine as... a dance!

My sister is a dancer and is always talking about finding the dance in everyday activity: Not making it into a dance, as they do in musicals, but just recognizing the grace and rhythm inherent in normal, uncontrived motion.


P.S.: Remember how comments were busted for like a week? Well, they're fixed now. So comment away!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:18 PM

October 27, 2006

Sundarbans, Space, and Shelter-Suits

Robin says,

Pruned has been full of interesting imagery lately:

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:35 PM

October 16, 2006

Welcome to the Future

Matt says,

Item #602 on this Web page is my new favorite thing. It is -- brace yourself -- a staple-less stapler. Put your tongue back in your mouth. Buy one today! I got mine here.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:45 AM

October 15, 2006

Secrets Buried Deep in Time

Robin says,

Who wrote the Voynich Manuscript?

Why are there 63,360 inches in a mile?

And what will be the ultimate fate of the universe?

This and more at mathematician John Baez's fantastic, kaleidoscopic web page. Found via his recent Long Now lecture.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:50 PM

October 11, 2006

Two Sentences

Matt says,

My new favorite thing comes from MeFi Projects, and it's called "two sentences." The idea is to follow up one innocuous sentence with another one that's surprising or delightful in some way.

E.g. "I'm leaving you. I'll be back tomorrow." or "She felt the hand move up her back. Surely it was a hand."

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:51 PM

October 9, 2006

Maize Maze

Robin says,

Was just explaining to a non-midwesterner the danger and delight of the corn maze. The link talks about Minnesota, but we have them in Michigan, too. In fact, corn mazes and cider mills are what I miss most this time of year, way out here in autumn-impaired California.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:14 PM

October 5, 2006

Treatise on Nihilism

Robin says,

xkcd never fails to charm.

P.S. I am a little embarrassed to say I bought the shirt. The rules: It will be worn only on weekends. In the confines of my apartment. While playing board games.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:12 PM

Questioning Her Commitment to Sparkle Motion?

Matt says,

This is in no way okay. It's a clip from Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen, in which a coach demonstrates a pageant routine for his four-year-old trainee. (Thing-full.)

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:11 AM

October 3, 2006


Matt says,

Two gems from MeFi this morning:

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:01 AM

October 2, 2006

Night Falls in Reykjavik

Robin says,

Hey guys, let's turn off all the lights so we can see the stars. (Kottke-riffic.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:07 AM

October 1, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Burritos

Robin says,

The Burritoeater 2006 Slab Scrum begins. Frankly this is worth reading even if you don't live in San Francisco: Burritoeater features some of the best, most over-the-top food writing around.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:13 PM

September 28, 2006

This Is Not Worth a Post, But

Robin says,

I kept reading these headlines as "Former Converse Chief Is Found in Namibia", "Converse Ex-C.E.O. Will Stay in Namibia, For Now," etc. -- but it's COMverse, not CONverse.

I had this awesome image of a sneaker billionaire on the lam, sneaking through Africa with little more than a pair of Chuck Taylors to his name... but no, he's from some a telecom firm. Oh well.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:28 PM

September 22, 2006


Robin says,

Presidential doodles! YES!

Warren G. Harding, though... WTF?


Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:43 PM

September 14, 2006

Britannica Probably Has a Picture of a Brain or Something

Robin says,

Check out the photo used to illustrate the concept of happiness on Wikipedia. It's pretty much perfect.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:59 PM

September 6, 2006

How Can They Be So Smart? They Don't Have Thumbs!

Robin says,

I know it's cliché to be like, "whoah, dolphins are cool," but... whoah, dolphins are cool.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:11 PM

August 28, 2006

8.5" x AWESOME

Robin says,


Crazy paper art! (Click past the homepage, then check out the 'A4 papercut' stuff. It's so rad.) Via Core77.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:16 AM

August 18, 2006

I Just Found a Little Piece of My Soul

Robin says,

YouTube isn't great because it has music videos and stuff (see below).

It's great because it has this.

Why the clip is cool, in adult terms: It's a rare view of industrialism as joyful and fun, not sinful and dehumanizing.

Why the clip is cool, in kid terms: CRAYONS!

Comments (9) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:15 PM

Gimme a Treadmill, Gimme a Beat

Robin says,

Ultimate Friday music video viewing, via vcritic.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:47 PM

August 15, 2006

...On a Plane

Robin says,

Great. First no gels or liquids... now this.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:27 AM

July 19, 2006

Can You Jam with the Console Cowboys in Cyberspace?

Robin says,

1. Whoah.

2. Just... whoah.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:02 PM

July 10, 2006

Geometric Art

Robin says,

20060710_rampart.jpgLovely. Via.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:36 PM

July 8, 2006

Onward, Light Cone

Robin says,

I know I mentioned this before, but seriously, the RSS feed that tracks the progress of your personal light cone through deep space is just way too cool.

Just hours ago, mine cruised past p Eridani, 26.6 light-years from Earth. I used a cool open-source astronomy app called Stellarium to track it down.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:21 AM

July 6, 2006

The Happy Hive Mind

Matt says,

Cambrian House: anyone can submit an idea, anyone can vote for or against that idea, anyone can contribute the code/creative work to execute that idea, and the folks who do get paid.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:09 PM

June 29, 2006

The Giantess Pinocchia

Matt says,

I agree with the Gadgetopia folks, this giant marionette is way too creepy.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:32 PM

June 28, 2006

Avian Android Warriors from 1986

Robin says,

So, um, did anybody else watch Silverhawks back in the mid-80s? Because I did and it is AMAZING to see it again.

It is actually somewhat better-animated than some other old favorites (ahem). I make no such claims for the writing, though.

P.S. Scope the space-squid at 9:30. It turns into a space-bike.

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:03 PM

June 27, 2006

What a Weenie World

Robin says,

Whoah! Excellent visualization of relative sizes of planets and stars! Via el boing.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:01 PM

May 19, 2006

Illusion is the Ultimate Weapon

Robin says,

Oh my god. The M.A.S.K. intro sequence., circa 1985, is amazing. (And I second everything Dustin says here.)

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:04 PM

May 9, 2006

Thanks for the Intervention

Matt says,

I promise I don't link to McSweeneys every time it updates:

Dear Kelly,

Thank you for crying hysterically during the intervention and repeatedly shifting the attention to yourself. I'm not sure if that was intentional, but if it was, you are a true friend. A person can use a few breathers during such an intense meeting, and your sobbing jags and incomprehensible wailing really helped by raising serious questions about your own stability and obvious addiction to OxyContin—or whatever it was that spilled out of your purse during one of your many Kleenex expeditions.

So again, thanks.


P.S. Everyone in group here at the center is really looking forward to meeting you.


Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:46 PM

April 28, 2006

End-of-Week Notes

Matt says,

  • Oh my God! They killed Nnenna! Bastards!
  • Chris Daughtry's performance of "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" on American Idol this week was incredible. It a) made me not hate that song, and b) made me push Chris to the top of my favorites list, even ahead of my beloved Paris.
  • Check it:, from '05 Poynter summer fellow Will Sullivan.
  • So you wanna blog? LaFry breaks it down.
  • Why didn't anyone tell me Newsvine CEO Mike Davidson's blog is really awesome?
Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:51 PM

April 27, 2006

It Sounds Unnatural... And Yet...

Robin says,

Dude... beeramisu!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:29 PM

April 25, 2006

Turns Out the Eyepatch is A-OK

Robin says,

Unlike Dustin, I was going to post this the moment I heard the opening chords. It's a Flickr song.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:26 PM
karin's thoughts: HEY! I went to that fundamentalist christian high school. And I occasionally weblog. Where are my... >>


Saturday was the immortal Minnesota Geek Prom. (Full disclosure: Because I'm rumored to occasionally contribute to a so-called "Weblog," I was given free VIP admission for me and a guest. I took my buddy Nathan, but I would totally have taken you if you'd asked.)


  • I wish I'd been cool enough in high school to be friends with the girl who wears leather to the prom and sneaks in a flask of bourbon. That made the 10-year-old Omnimax movie infinitely more entertaining.
  • Actually, now that I think about it, I did go to my high school "prom"* with a badass, leather-wearing girl. And I was, if anything, slightly geekier then than I was at the actual Geek Prom. So the whole experience was kinda dejà vu.
  • As Alexis notes, I was not crowned prom king, nor was she crowned prom queen, despite the honest-to-goodness Klingon tattoo on her chest, and despite my Buffy thesis and singing of the score to Evita.
  • Chuck Olsen's hott MNStories video story will give you the best taste of the exuberant mood that reigned o'er the evening. (Look for me very briefly at about 5:04.)
  • Alexis' photos will give you the best taste of my adorkableness. (Note: there's also some XXX NSFW geek ass on display. Not mine, though.)
  • While there was an ironic sheen on all of this, there also seemed to be unspoken widespread understanding that yes, most of us present truly were geeks. And we were embracing it. And it was awesome. I'm totally going next year. And I will be King of the Geeks.

* Because I went to a fundamentalist Christian high school, we did not have an actual "prom" with actual "dancing." Instead, we had the Bible-rific "Junior/Senior Banquet," typically held at schools like Bob Jones University.

Posted April 25, 2006 at 3:30 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

Faking It

Robin says,

Jonathan Grubb blogs eight ways to fake it. Number one:

Count to five before answering any question.
I learned this from my friend Matt. When someone asks you a question, especially in an interview/work type situation, look off into the distance and count to five then answer the question as usual. You will seem thoughtful and deep. This trick works way, way better than it should.


Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:19 PM

April 22, 2006

Broadcast News

Matt says,

Horrible segues, with anchorman Clive Rutledge:

"... Experts say speed dating's popularity continues to rise. After seeing that clip featuring the hottie in the halter-top, something else is rising, too, heh-heh, if you catch my drift—that's right: interest rates. Today the Federal Reserve recommended they be upped by half a percent."

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:28 AM

April 20, 2006

Jarah's thoughts: Fresno misses you! We've no one to make our very own pop-up videos. FWIW, H Street has essentiall... >>


People throw skeptical glances my direction when I say I enjoyed living in Fresno. But it's true. I often describe Fresno as having been completely emptied of people sometime in 1943, and repopulated only in the last few years. That's not how it was at all, but the city is filled with traces of incredible, abandoned Americana -- gorgeous motel signs, classic theaters, dive bars, thrift stores. The city is phenomenally diverse, more culturally varied than even the rest of California, which itself makes the rest of the US look inbred.

When I interviewed for the job in Fresno, among the things that drew me to the city was coming across one of those old, beautiful motel signs. It was just sitting in a parking lot, leaning against a building in the middle of nowhere (it was downtown, but "middle of nowhere" still kind of applies). I figured the sign had to have a story, and I loved the thought of being a reporter there and getting to unearth that story.

Months later, I found out that the sign was leaning against the building that housed the H Street Collective, a space for some of Fresno's most brilliant artists to practice and display their work. H Street was a beautiful nightmare. Its walls were covered to the last inch in the most grotesque, eyepopping, otherwordly art. The bathroom of the collective was the artists' sandbox, stuffed with visual ideas and experiments, half-painted creatures, obscenities, paint on the floor, on the toilets, on the stall doors.

The H Street that was is no longer. But you can still find the work of some of the artists on many of the walls of Fresno. And one of my favorite H Street artists, Mehran Heard, has an awesome Web site.

Posted April 20, 2006 at 10:34 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Recommended, Society/Culture

NY Mounties

Matt says,

Just to prove I can actually still write posts longer than five words for Snarkmarket, here's an awesome New York Times article about mounted police. Enjoy!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:47 AM

April 17, 2006

Lambretta Twist

Robin says,

Check out this awesome old Italian scooter commercial. (Note: There was an embedded player there until I decided I hated it.) It seems like it's winding down about two-thirds of the way through but NO.

Yes, this is exactly what kind of Monday it is.

(Via the 'move.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:53 AM

Big Wheelin'

Robin says,

The chase is on
Originally uploaded by sloanro.
Easter Sunday in San Francisco: a Big Wheel race down Lombard Street. It was sort've ridiculously well-documented.
Comments (10) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:39 AM

April 14, 2006

Popular Projects


MetaFilter has long had one unbreakable rule: Thou shalt not self-link. Thou mayest e-mail thy link to thine fellow MeFites, but never, never must thou posteth said link to the front page of MetaFilter.

This rule kept a lot of crappy Web hobbyist sites from being posted to MetaFilter, I'm sure. But it also meant that MeFites who made something legitimately post-worthy often wouldn't get their stuff linked on the site until it had already become popular somewhere else. So Matt Haughey created MeFi Projects, where members could pimp their own stuff to their hearts' content. Other members could vote for the stuff they liked best, and post it to MeFi if they wanted.

It's been wildly popular. Just yesterday, Adrian Holovaty posted about his databasing the tragic, excellent Washington Post "Faces of the Fallen" project.

And it just got totally better. Matt Haughey has made an archive of the most popular projects by month.

Favorite new discovery? Roundtuit: a community blog for posting the great ideas you'll never do.

Posted April 14, 2006 at 9:26 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Technosnark

Mundane Task-Hacks

Matt says,

Ian promises to do for shoelace-tying what the Japanese did for t-shirt-folding. (Boing.)

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:35 AM

April 2, 2006

File Under: Bright Ideas

Matt says,

A combo lock that uses words instead of numbers. I dig it. (Ferreterrific.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:42 PM

March 12, 2006

Great Shirts

Matt says,

Amorphia Apparel. I especially like this. (Projects.mefi.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:35 PM

March 10, 2006

Tornado - Tornado - Panther

Robin says,

Psst. Super Secret Dance Society.

(Via Saheli, who brings it up by way of Shahrukh and Bollywood. Let me just add that I think Saheli's read on our shared obsession with mass choreographed dance numbers is exactly correct. Most recent fix: the Mushaboom video [33MB .mov].)

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:21 AM

March 8, 2006

Hack Netflix

Matt says,

Somehow, the Assimilated Negro has come up with a worthy follow-up to the Blink Don't Wink™ campaign: the Netflix Neighborhood Challenge. His theory is that different neighborhoods get completely different tiers of Netflix service. If you've had Netflix delivered from different addresses, you've experienced the disparity in service; some places it's lightning-quick, others it's just speedy. Quoth the Negro:

So now I'm thinking there's probably some "neighborhood priority system" going on behind the scenes at the 'flix. And I'm planning to break the case. I'm going to be bringing my netflix returns around with me to the various neighborhoods I visit in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And we'll see who gets the shaft, and who gets [insert smart funny line that plays off the 'who gets the shaft' setup here].

Do we have any other case studies on this matter? Have you noticed any difference in Netflix return speed based on your neighborhood, or um, level of education/body odor?

I think we should blow this up nationwide, and give it a Google Maps mashup.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:32 PM

March 2, 2006

It Has Well-Greased Wheels

Robin says,

Correction: I am actually going to call my new band Hedonic Treadmill.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:49 PM

March 1, 2006

Crazy Maps

Matt says,

Who said maps have to be on Google to be cool? Clearly not Bill Rankin. The interface is the jank, but the pretty maps are worth it. Manhattan mapped according to building heights. America's international economic footprint. The many shapes of South America.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:14 PM

We Will (Rhetorically) Rock

Robin says,

I'm going to call my band The Hortatory We.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:51 AM

February 27, 2006

The View from the Street

Robin says,


Michael Cho documents the creation of a rad window display.

Man, I wish more stores had rad window displays.

(Via Drawn!)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:37 PM

February 16, 2006

Freaky Little Food People

Robin says,

Oh look... there are tiny people... in my food...

The little soldiers are my favorite, by far.

(Enter the Waxtrix.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:55 PM

February 15, 2006

A Fine Entertainment

Matt says,

Did I say Gondry + Kanye = Yay? Try Gondry + Chappelle + Kanye + Mos + Erykah + Jill + Legend ...

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:38 AM

February 14, 2006

Love Me Tender

Matt says,

Awww. Happy Valentine's, everyone. From MNSpeak.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:22 PM


Matt says,

The elements of spam.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:43 AM

February 11, 2006

Hall of Best Knowledge

Matt says,

A Flickr photoset pairing prose with whimsical typography. Also, a Tetris valentine. (Waxtastic.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:52 AM

February 9, 2006

Say Freeze!

Matt says,

Make a stun gun out of a disposable camera. Actually, though, don't. But now you could. Although you might prefer to make your own home theater projector (will need magnifying glass and duct tape) instead. (Ferreterrific.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:06 AM

February 8, 2006

Coming Soon: Anthropomorphic Cartoon Version

Robin says,

Photo swiped from National Geographic

New favorite animal: the golden-mantled tree kangaroo.

It's one of the "Lost World" gang.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:43 AM

February 7, 2006

Google: High in Fiber!

Matt says,

Every week it seems another story comes out about Google's oh-so-mysterious plans for the "dark fiber" it's been purchasing. Does anyone else suspect the reason for the proliferation of this story is the sexy, noirish sound of the words "dark fiber"? Would we have heard twice about this if the story involved Google exploring "wavelength-division multiplexing" technologies?

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:48 AM

February 6, 2006

Random Retro

Matt says,

Have you ever been stuck looking for a retro music sample reminiscent of that peppy 1950s film style? Ask MeFi to the rescue. That is all.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:57 PM

January 29, 2006

Universal Snark Systems, Inc.

Robin says,

New favorite Wikipedia entry: a list of fictional companies. Here's a quiz -- see if you can name the source of each fictional company:

  • LexCorp
  • Cogswell Cogs
  • Rearden Steel
  • Cyberdyne
  • InGen
  • Shin-Ra Electric Power Company
  • Monopolated Light and Power

Answers in the comments.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:00 PM

January 23, 2006

SMB2, All Jazzed Out

Matt says,

Best ever. Adrian H has recorded a gypsy jazz version of the Super Mario Bros. 2 main theme, and it's crazy delicious, much like the game itself.

SMB2 was the unsung Super Mario Bros. game, and I could never figure out why. The feminist in me always appreciated that the Princess in SMB2 was finally given some agency beyond being the helpless, fainting damsel in distress that drives the plot in most Mario games. And she had the power of levitation, which was much cooler than Mario's janky raccoon tail in SMB3. (Although his cape in Super Mario World was excellent.) The game also had a very cool, cute, recognizably Japanese aesthetic about it. And something about plucking and chucking vegetables was oddly comforting. Two thumbs up, to the game, and its gypsy jazz revival.

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:22 PM

January 22, 2006

Uncannyville USA

Robin says,


Okay, first guess: Is the picture above a real city, or a tiny model of one?

Then click here.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:52 PM

January 18, 2006


Matt says,

McSweeneys makes two funnies today:

1) Troubling Tyra-mails censored from aired episodes of America's Next Top Model.

2) Places where I can find a woman like Jesse's girl, years later. (I eagerly await the corollary list, "Places where I can find Jesse, years later.")

And Defective Yeti gives us the funniest thing I have read on the Internet in three months (via MeFi): Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure. (Warning: will not be funny if the phrase "you are likely to be eaten by a grue" means nothing to you.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:54 AM

January 2, 2006

Sculptures from the Uncanny Valley

Matt says,

Check out this gallery of incredible sculptures by Ron Mueck -- uncannily lifelike depictions of people at their most vulnerable, all scaled to smaller- or grossly larger-than-life dimensions. His work's currently on exhibit at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. More Mueck. Google image search.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:11 PM

Awwwwww ...

Matt says,

In honor of the mindnumbing cuteness of this story (via Boing2), please again make appropriate obeisances to Cute Overlord. Er, load. Overload. (Awww!)

Also via B2, Joss Whedon cracks me up.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:36 PM

January 1, 2006

Happy New Year '06

Matt says,

Here's hoping 2006 turns out less tragic than 2005.

And to that end, the 2006 question of the year is What is your dangerous idea? New respondents this year include Helen Fisher and Douglas Rushkoff. Step to it, Snarketeers. What is your dangerous idea?

Comments (17) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:09 PM

December 16, 2005

In 2005, Tim Berners-Lee ...

Matt says,

... starts a blog. Go thank him for the Internet. (Waxtastic.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:34 PM

December 13, 2005

A Yahoo Company

Matt says,

I'm keeping this Greasemonkey script installed for at least a day. I don't know why I get such a kick out of seeing every site I go to labelled "A Yahoo! company!" but I'm milking it while the humor lasts.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:13 AM

December 12, 2005

Beautiful Barf Bags

Matt says,

A few years ago, Virgin Airlines held annual barf bag design contests, and posted the best entries on Some of them are pure genius. How much prettier a place would our world be if companies routinely held design contests for mundane things?

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:56 AM

December 9, 2005

Turkish De-lame

Matt says,

I may never have empathized with an article more than this one. I had the exact same motivation for trying Turkish Delight, and the exact same reaction. How many of us poor youths did C.S. Lewis scar with that "candy"?

Comments (9) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:03 PM

December 8, 2005

Games to Buy Me for Christmas

Robin says,

Does "Shadows Over Camelot" sound totally rad or what?

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:46 AM

November 26, 2005

More Than Meets the Eye

Matt says,

Sorry for the BoingBoing link, but THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE THING.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:01 AM

November 18, 2005

Your New Obsession

Matt says,

If there is one thing you must never, never do, it's press this button.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:05 AM

November 9, 2005

AdCritic 2.0

Matt says,

For those of us who miss the old days of AdCritic, Tim Yang (of Geek Blog fame) has created The Ad Blog. Dorkcellent.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:01 AM

November 3, 2005

Privacy Is a Conversation

Matt says,

Pop Quiz: What is the meaning of the word "privately" in this sentence when the context is the front page of The Washington Post?

Top White House aides are privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest political strategist remains in the administration.
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:53 AM

October 25, 2005

Awe summe

Matt says,

Tee-hee (via):

Wha be tha blake prevy lawe
That bene wantoun too alle tha feres?
Ya damne righte!
Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:22 AM

October 20, 2005

My High Score is 36

Robin says,

Clive Thompson points out Poom, a tiny little Flash game. Hosted at '' for reasons that will soon become evident.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:04 PM

Don't... Know... What to Say...

Robin says,

You can't handle this. You might think you can, but you can't. (Thanks, Rod.)

Comments (9) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:58 AM

October 19, 2005

Conversation Piece

Matt says,

Is it just me, or is the "foobars are a conversation" meme totally played out? The first hundred Google results for the phrase "are a conversation" reveal that among other things:

I could go on. At what point does (did?) this phrase lose all effective meaning?

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:24 AM

October 18, 2005

Mini Wonders 2

Matt says,

Speaking of miniature photography, these photos of a model railroad set are so incredible I'm actually reposting them from Boing Boing, even though you probably already saw them thrice by now.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:31 PM

October 17, 2005

When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best

Matt says,

Saving this for future use.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:27 PM

October 13, 2005

Jenga ... Jenga ...

Matt says,

Revel in the pointlessness of this. (Thingtacular.)

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:34 PM

October 11, 2005

Superhero Physics

Robin says,

Thor, the Marvel Comics superhero modeled after the Norse god, had a funny way of flying: He'd fling his hammer Mjolnir (so much fun to say!) and then immediately grab it again. The mighty mallet would pull him aloft.

Would that really work, though?

Find out in the Boston Globe's Ideas section!

The guy profiled in the article is James Kakalios, a physics prof at the University of Minnesota. He also studies... sand. Hello -- interdisciplinary project??

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:02 PM

October 10, 2005

Scrabble Scramble

Matt says,

This printable emergency Scrabble game is the best ever. More peez. (Via.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:45 PM

October 9, 2005

The Long Tail of Lego

Matt says,

If you're not as avid a Lego aficionado as Robin is, you might have missed many of the company's incredible moves into the Age of Amazon. Lego has made CAD artists out of its customers, and has done a generally awesome job of encouraging, ahem, citizen-created content. As well as utter product customization. Chris Anderson lays it all down on his blog, tagging also to an excellent FastCompany overview. It has been fascinating watching how a 73-year-old company can completely reinvent itself. If I can think really hard, I can think of some other organizations that might learn some lessons from all that.

Related: Try a Lego pinhole camera, via BoingBoing. Or buy a half-ton of Legos, via Kottke.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:24 PM

October 6, 2005

The Mothball Fleet of Suisun Bay

Robin says,

Check it out -- decommissioned Navy ships in Suisun Bay, about 30 miles east of San Francisco! Click forward and back in the photostream to see more... creepy.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:21 AM

September 28, 2005

The Waiter Sneaks Up Silently Behind You

Robin says,

I believe that the old saying "everyone has a story to tell" is, in fact, untrue.

What everyone really has hidden deep within them is a theme restaurant.

And I so wish this one was mine.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:25 PM

September 14, 2005

Your Parents Help You Hook It Up

Robin says,

The first Zelda commercial (MPEG file). I want to say it's hilariously bad, but I just watched it three times in a row, so I guess on some level it's really, really excellent.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:34 PM

September 13, 2005

English Grad Students Do Webcomics Too

Robin says,

Animals have problems too.

Also noted: Animal reviews! The otter gets 8.8/10. Seems fair. (Via.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:41 PM

August 31, 2005

Sad Time to Joke

Matt says,

Google announces plan to destroy all information it can't index. Also: The Onion is sporting a nice newsy-lookin' redesign. And it's opened its online archives back to 1996. Hott.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:21 AM

August 26, 2005

Aaron McFamous

Matt says,

Hello? Why has nobody pointed out that Friend of Snarkmarket (and the wizard behind EPIC's musical goodness) Minus Kelvin has his mug all up in the September issue of Wired?! There I am, reading the magazine, when all of a sudden, "Is that Aaron?? Holy crap, that's Aaron!" OK, so he mentioned it himself. But if a blog post falls in the forest without an RSS feed -- nah. That's cooler than is physically possible, A.M.! Congrats!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:02 PM

August 22, 2005

Cat Stuff

Matt says,

catstuff.jpg I will gladly post this link from my friend El Fe to, because as the site posits, stuff + cats actually does = awesome.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:15 PM

August 21, 2005

Calvin and Hobbes Revisited

Robin says,

I can't remember where I found this now, but it is excellent.

Excellent I say.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:27 PM

Like Sands of Time ...

Matt says,

This is actually a fascinating way to view time.

PS: Speaking of sands of time, I lost a lot of those checking out this site, dedicated to testing the limits of CSS. Fellow geeks, check it out. Many of the CSS hacks are ridiculously tedious and have no real-world applications, but they will absolutely expand your view of what CSS can do.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:20 PM

August 19, 2005


Robin says,

This site is rad! 89.43 cups of coffee and it's OVER.


Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:55 PM

August 18, 2005

Oh Google

Robin says,

What a crazy company:

While Google's plans for the cash remain a mystery, the company left a clue that suggests the size of the offering wasn't arbitrary. The number of shares Google plans to sell is 14,159,265. Those are the first eight digits that follow the decimal in the value of pi (3.14159265), which is a number that represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:40 AM

August 9, 2005


Matt says,

While in Gameworks at Tampa last weekend, I discovered the new recreational craze that's poised to grip the nation: 3-puck, 2-paddle air hockey (I have no idea who those people are, but they're playing 3P2P). Let that sink in for a moment. Three pucks. Two paddles. Eternal glory.

It's called the SEGA Hockey Stadium, and it's pretty much worth lobbying City Hall to bring it to your town.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:03 AM

August 8, 2005

A Low-Key Little Animated Short for You

Robin says,

Nice little animation.

Sound required. Best not be sipping coffee.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:54 PM

August 7, 2005


Robin says,


Behold, the new darling of the blogosphere: ART LAD!

The real reason I'm linking is his first post. You seriously need to click and check it out -- it's like the sum of humanity's subconscious fears as rendered in tempera by a six-year-old.


Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:34 PM

August 4, 2005


Robin says,

Here's the best commentary I have seen anywhere on South Korea's cloned dog.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:47 PM

July 31, 2005

Quite a Combo

Robin says,

Bikinis and museums? Unexpectedly hot in juxtaposition.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:56 PM

July 28, 2005


Robin says,

A team of engineers at the University of Liverpool has helped reproduce an ancient Iraqi harp ... the Lyre of Ur. I don't know why, but that just seems cool.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:23 PM

July 19, 2005

Officially a Nerd

Matt says,

I got the shirt. Not "got" as in "purchased" but "got" as in "understood." I'm not that big a nerd. But yeah, by the way, if you other nerds never got the memo, uninstall the monkey (or at least roll back to install version 0.3.5-, test here to see if you're vulnerable).

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:05 PM

July 14, 2005

And If You Call Now ...


Great Ask MeFi question: Why are infomercials so darn addictive?

Most of us have been pulled in by an early-morning infomercial at some point, right? I remember being up late one night as I was packing up my dorm room after my junior year in college, when the infomercial for Nads came on the TV. Drawn at first by my incredulity that anyone would actually name a product "Nads", I quickly got sucked in by the fun Australian accents, the video (shown over and over) of a wife waxing her husband's back hair, and the infectious exuberance of the product demonstrators. ("I got Nadded!" one of them squeals.)

One of the staged scenarios for the infomercial features a group of ladies cheerily talking eyebrow waxing over cocktails around a picnic table. One of them mentions that Nads is organic, and another wonders aloud what it would taste like. At that point the lead product demonstrator whips out a spoon, grins conspiratorially at her tablemates, and digs right in to the tub of bright green hair removal cream.

The next day, I was telling all my friends about this amazing show. Most of them couldn't wait to see it, and one of them had caught it too. The next night, we waited for "Nads" to air again, and this time we were ready with a tape in the VCR. That summer, we watched "Nads" over and over. It was great.

To this day, when I see Nads available for sale in any drugstore or supermarket, I feel a tiny frisson of delight.

The last best infomercial I saw was for a ceramic hair straightening iron, which proves that you don't even have to have any shred of consumer interest in the actual product to find its infomercial fascinating.

Last year, NPR took a look at the infomercial in honor of the genre's 20th anniversary.

Update: More highlights from the Nads infomercial, which posed as a show entitled "Worldwide Health and Beauty Discoveries." Ha! I love it! I got Nadded!

Posted July 14, 2005 at 8:58 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

In the Mood

Matt says,

Surprisingly interesting: the LiveJournal mood tracker. Also: wow, the United Airlines flight attendant uniforms were beautiful in the late '60s (and then took a drastic turn towards utter hideosity from which the airline still struggles to recover). (Both via Things.)

And from Gadgetopia: I want this keyboard to exist NOW.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:04 AM

July 12, 2005


Matt says,

Nice! EPIC gets a mention on must-read gay blog Towleroad. Robin, Aaron, we have truly arrived.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:44 AM

July 6, 2005

My Interview with Scott McCloud

Matt says,

He's awesome. Can't say I was the most inspired interviewer, but this was fun to do.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:38 PM

July 5, 2005

Yay, Gender Subversion

Matt says,

It was really nice to see the President showing us the meaning of freedom on Independence Day. (Via.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:52 AM

June 25, 2005

Giant Baby

Matt says,

Heh. (Via.)

PS: Now that Michael Jackson is retreating from the limelight a little bit, I'm happy Tom Cruise has decided to step up to play the part of Insane Celebrity. It's the role he was born for. Although it sucks that he killed Oprah.

Comments (6) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:44 PM

June 8, 2005

The Ultimate Zeitgeist

Matt says,

A peek into the mind of God. A live feed of changes to Wikipedia. (Joshlicious, but also Waxtastic.)

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:18 PM

June 5, 2005


Matt says,

Color me mind-blown. (Waxtastic.)

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:55 PM

June 1, 2005

Make Your Own Comics

Matt says,


I feel pretty confident that will change your life.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:40 PM

May 29, 2005

"All of Us Abuse the Hand Sanitizer"

Matt says,

I was reminded of this the other day, when I wrote a story about sex ed:

The other day I realized, as a cold claw of pure fear squeezed my frantic heart, that I have been working as a video clerk for ten months.

The immortal first line of True Porn Clerk Stories, one of my favorite no-longer-updated blogs that's an awesome read from start to finish.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:59 PM

May 27, 2005

Removing Price Tags

Matt says,

If this works, then the blog Tricks of the Trade will have contributed a true service to mankind:

There is a better way to remove a price tag from a gift than trying to peel it off with your fingernail. Place a piece of tape over the sticker and rub it with your finger, leaving an end to pull on. Then rip the tape off like you would a band-aid, and the price tag will go with it.
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:11 PM

May 26, 2005

Sketch Comedy on the Web

Matt says,

Did Olde English make the Web rounds when I wasn't looking? 'Cause some of their stuff is hilarious.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:56 PM
Aaron's thoughts: You don't like beaches? Well, ain't that a beach! ... >>

Dr. Beach Lays It Down


Well lookit that. Fort de Soto is the best beach in America this year, according to the guy who comes up with the arbitrary list of the best beaches in America.

That's totally where I used to kick it back in St. Petersburg. I don't actually like beaches -- at all -- but de Soto has some pretty cool lagoon action going on.

Posted May 26, 2005 at 2:54 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

May 24, 2005

Robin's thoughts: That's fantastic!... >>

Mais Qu'est-Ce Que J'Etais Venu Faire, Moi?


In 1947, Raymond Queneau wrote the same simple story about a man on a train 99 different ways. The book Exercises in Style became a bestseller in France, and its English translation is in its second edition. (You can find it here in French.)

This year, Matt Madden wants to do the same thing with comics. His forthcoming book, also called Exercises in Style, retells the mundane tale of a man on a late-night trip to the fridge in 99 different incarnations. A preview of the book is available on Madden's Web site.

I love the way this little storytelling gimmick fuels the imagination. The way you can spend lifetimes thinking about how meaning shifts in each quarto of a Shakespeare play, flipping through a few of Madden's exercises can make his nothing little characters come alive in your mind. As you move from drawing to drawing and note the changes in perspective or tone, you can imagine rich interior worlds. In one variation, the trip to the fridge is frightening. In another, it's fantastical. If you're like me, by the time you've clicked through just a few, you begin to understand the fridge-goer as a character on some deep existential quest.

But my favorite thing on the site is a variation submitted by one of Madden's guest artists, Sébastien Trahan. It's in French, but you don't need to understand French to appreciate it. (Just know that "14h11" in French means 2:11, etc.)

Posted May 24, 2005 at 10:08 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

May 13, 2005

Tetris Shelves

Matt says,

A link worth posting even if many of you probably already saw it on Boing Boing.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:19 PM

May 1, 2005

Dromedary Droid

Robin says,


If you're thinking to yourself, "Is that a robot camel jockey??," the answer is yes, yes it is.

Via Global Voices.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:44 PM

April 28, 2005

Taylor's thoughts: How did they know that 16 million ancestors were having the same chromosomes those of Genghis Kha... >>

Random Mongolian Genetic Trivia Item of the Day

Recently, a geneticist at Oxford University, Dr. Chris Tyler-Smith, and geneticists from China and central Asia took blood samples from populations living in regions near the former Mongol empire, and they studied the Y chromosomes. These are useful in establishing lineage because Y chormosomes continue from father to son. Dr. Tyler Smith and his colleagues found that an anomalously large number of the Y chromosomes carried a genetic signature indicating descent from a common ancestor about a thousand years ago. The scientists theorized that the ancestor was Genghis Khan (or, more exactly, an eleventh-century ancestor of Genghis Khan). About eight per cent of all males in the region studied, or sixteen million men, possess this chromosome signature. That's a half per cent of the world's population. It is possible, therefore, that more than thirty-two million people in the world are descended from Genghis Khan.

-- from Ian Frazier's story "Invaders," in the April 25th New Yorker.

More on Genghis Khan, playa, from the Guardian.

Posted April 28, 2005 at 9:08 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

April 26, 2005

Someone REALLY Wants the Oil

Matt says,

This is my new favorite thing. Also see: The Daily Show's GayWatch. (Via my 2nd favorite thing.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:04 PM

Door = Bell

Robin says,


Via Treehugger, a door that is its own doorbell. There's a whole octave range built in there, so a visitor could knock out whatever melody she felt like. Fun!

P.S. 24-hour comic coming soon. Well... soon-ish.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:59 PM

April 21, 2005

Hypothetical NY

Matt says,

Images of the N.Y. that might have been. This was apparently on Boing Boing and Kottke a month ago, but I missed it coming and going. (Via Things.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:57 AM

March 31, 2005

The Poetry of LiveJournal

Matt says,

"I know that I only knew him for a day, and much of that time I was wasted and he was a little drunk, but I do remember liking it when I looked into his eyes and I liked it when he put his hand on my back when we were in the car to make sure I was doing okay. I really liked how he held my hair back when I was throwing up." -- Buffy06, LJ Poet Laureate

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:52 PM

March 17, 2005

Why'd You Miss School Today?

Robin says,

Two words: Baboon crisis.

Via our secret correspondent from the monkey world.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:30 AM

March 13, 2005

Peter's thoughts: Why wouldn't he do The Reeve? Maybe it's more Snoop Dogg's style...... >>

The Canterbury Tizzales

Among the acts I had the pleasure of seeing at this weekend's Rogue Festival was a performance of the Canterbury Tales, told in rap (scroll down).

Baba Brinkman, a medieval-studies-grad-student-turned-professional-hip-hopper from Vancouver, laid down rhymes from the Pardoner, the Miller and the Wife of Bath in an Eminem-inflected lyrical flow, occasionally digressing from Chaucer to offer M.C.-ed treatises on hip-hop's place in the evolution of language and the history of oral storytelling.

He got a standing ovation and rave reviews from all in attendance. In fact, the reaction from the ladies seating behind me is probably best described as "orgasmic cooing."

So check out the videos and the audio samples, and definitely check this guy out if he comes to your town.

Posted March 13, 2005 at 7:16 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 10, 2005

rAchel's thoughts: Dear Aaron, But if she were asexual, she would by definition neither have desire nor need... >>

Message from Earth: Ikea couch, $75 o.b.o.

I know I've just been busting on NASA...


...but this is, admittedly, cool.

Posted March 10, 2005 at 1:01 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 3, 2005

ldblake's thoughts: "eminence gris" is a reference to "the elephant in the room"... the looming subject that is never... >>

Apparently I Get Last Place in the Search Bee

I just saw the term "eminence gris" in a blog-post and I don't know what it means. (Well, I mean, I get the gist, but I feel like there is probably some cool connotation I am missing.)

But I can't find a definition anywhere! Not through Google, not on Merriam-Webster, not in the Wiktionary.

Ironic that I saw it on a a blog about search.

Any tips? At this point I'm interested not only in the definition, but also in the meta-level of how to find it.

Posted March 3, 2005 at 10:36 | Comments (5) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

Saheli Gets MeFied

Matt says,

Whoa! Frequent Snarketeer Saheli draws much MetaFilter love! Although I can't claim to exactly understand the generator of said love.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:09 PM

A Story in Two Acts

Robin says,

Act One.

Act Two.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:00 AM

March 2, 2005

So True

Robin says,

Jeff Cz.: "Snark often contains more truth than objectivity."

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:31 PM


Robin says,

Definition: "This is a word for the act of jumping down internet rabbit holes, following one link to another, with overtones of procrastination."

Example (from a comment): "cyberhypercavicunicucunctatalinkus is what has happened when you're reading about BGP on wikipedia when you start work, to check a single fact, and you've just been tapped on the shoulder by a co-worker asking if you're coming to lunch, and you realise you know what the Prandtl-Glauert singularity is, and how to feed horses."

Neologism courtesy of Saheli*

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:01 PM

February 27, 2005

Search Bees

Robin says,

Like spelling bees, but for finding stuff! That is such a cool idea!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:16 PM

February 21, 2005

Matt's thoughts: Ha! That's awesome! Of course, not as awesome as <a href=" >>

Rockin' the 5-7-5


I just won a haiku contest! The deal was, you had to write "one or more haiku about [your] favorite fruit or vegetable." So, clearly:

O delicate pea
Alone, you are quite worthless
In aggregate: yum.

Apparently I now get two boxes of fresh organic produce from Westside Organics! Woo-hooooo!

P.S. What am I going to do with two boxes of fresh organic produce??

Posted February 21, 2005 at 6:20 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany


Matt says,

Every hour of every day for a year, this man filmed himself punching a time card. (AskMe.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:31 PM

February 9, 2005

alexandra the grrrr's thoughts: whatEVER. they totally knew it was each other. or one of them did. they could tell by the writing... >>

Make a Movie Out of This Story Immediately, Please

So check this out:

Two Jordanians had a torrid online romance and, after several months, decided to get married. When they met F2F for the first time, they were shocked to discover that they were already husband and wife. According to an Agence France-Press article quoting the official Jordan News Agency, the two were separated from each other but had coincidentally met (again) and fallen in love (again) in a chat room while disguised by their screen names. The rekindled romance ended immediately after they discovered the truth.


Also, slightly sad.

Quirky story via Boing Boing.

Posted February 9, 2005 at 4:33 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

January 27, 2005

Weirdness on the Internets

Matt says,

The Wikipedia Unusual Articles page is clearly the best thing ever. Look! It's your friend and mine, Jennifer 8. Lee! Project Mohole! OS Tan!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:24 PM

January 21, 2005

Da G

Robin says,

P.S. Everybody already has Gmail, right? If not, e-mail me (robin at this site) and I'll hook you up. It is the Stephen Buckley of webmail. (See below.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:14 PM

January 20, 2005

To Poe!

Matt says,

Filed under: Traditions I love.

Every year since 1949, a mysterious man has stolen to the grave of Edgar Allen Poe on January 19 to lay down a part-empty bottle of fine cognac and a trio of roses. The man, who's known as the "Poe Toaster," wasn't deterred by this year's cold spell.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:50 PM

January 19, 2005

Why Is This So Cool? I Don't Know

Sometimes a phrase just strikes you exactly the right way, and you go: whoah. Well, here's one that just did that to me:

Hipparchus' Star Catalog.

Link is to a cool NYT article about a very Indiana Jones-ish discovery (i.e. something cool hiding in plain sight; no undead Nazi goons). But really, it's just the name that gets me: The Star Catalog. Sooo love it.

Posted January 19, 2005 at 9:27 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

January 18, 2005


Robin says,

I have discovered a blog that views the world entirely through the lens of fugliness.

Begin reading it immediately.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:03 PM

January 1, 2005

Happy New Year

Robin says,

And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld la-ang syne

Here's to high hopes for 2005!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:10 PM

December 17, 2004

'She begins to visibly adolesce.'

Robin says,

No added value here... just a link. It's funny!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:55 PM

December 7, 2004

A Coveted Crowd

Look out... the market of snark has just received, for the first time in its brief but luminous history, a review copy of a book.

Like, for free!

Take a moment to understand the implications, faithful readers and commenters: A well-established publishing house seeks to curry favor with you!

It's a cool book. (I will not reveal its title, because I am a marketing genius.) Look for the Snarkreview this weekend.

Posted December 7, 2004 at 7:22 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

November 5, 2004



Enough electoral maps! Go look at some cool concept cars designed by teenagers!

Posted November 5, 2004 at 8:11 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

October 11, 2004


Robin says,

No idea what this movie is about, but I'm totally intrigued.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:43 AM

October 5, 2004

Debate Dilemmas

Tomorrow's Democracy Deathmatch pits Johnny "Dreamboat" Edwards against Dick "STFU" Cheney. This is the fight we've all been waiting for -- if "we all" means me, Xtina (thanks, Tim!), and New York Times election correspondent Todd Purdum.

A week ago, I couldn't believe the fateful matchup was almost upon us, and I couldn't wait to see it. Edwards vs. Cheney! It's like matter vs. antimatter! Fire vs. ice! Will Smith vs. Tommy Lee Jones! It's the bout of the century.

But then, a week ago, I hadn't seen "Laguna Beach."

Yeah. You heard me. The real O.C.

When I read this fawning NYT review of the show, I was morbidly curious. By the first commercial break at 10:38, I'd already changed my desktop wallpaper and bidded on a leather I Heart Talan iPod case on eBay.

And it wasn't just Laguna Beach last Tuesday, either. Starting at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. Eastern Time, I was fastened to my couch as MTV treated me to the pilot of the glorious Gilmore-Girls-meets-CSI splendor of UPN's "Veronica Mars." By 8 p.m., I was already MTV's love-monkey, during the back-to-back eppies of "The Real World: Philadelphia," featuring TRW's first ever gay black hottie castmate. Double the drama in half the time. Then, at 9, it was over to UPN to catch the next episode of Ronnie Mars, which finished just in time to watch the new Real World, and the Laguna Beach pilot.

The point is, teenstervision's getting good. Bunim-Murray Productions has assembled a legitimately interesting cast for this year's Real World. The trashy teen dramas are getting better scripted every season -- unless they're not scripted, in which case they're better yet. Mark my words, we're truly coming upon a golden age of bad television.

Whatever. Laugh now. Turn on "Veronica Mars" tomorrow night and give it two commercial breaks. You'll come crawling back here, looking for links to the Television Without Pity discussion forums. And I'll be waiting.

As for the debate, it starts at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. If I lived on the East Coast, there'd be a problem. But as it is, by the time that sassy blonde Veronica Mars utters her first boiling retort, Dick Cheney will be picking little bits of poor Johnny Edwards' neck out of his teeth. And I'll be here, blogging it.


Posted October 5, 2004 at 2:17 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

September 27, 2004

Bitter Rage is Funny

Jim Romenesko, he of journalism blog fame, has a side project: Starbucks Gossip. And it just got featured in the NYT.

The article basically just copies-and-pastes some of the funnier comments in a thread about whether or not to tip baristas. Example:

I will gladly tip the first barista who doesn't try to correct me when I say I want a "medium" coffee. Not "benti" or "crumpo" or whatever the hell made-up word Starbucks uses, I want a MEDIUM coffee.

Your Dad

Ha! I love that!

Posted September 27, 2004 at 11:34 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

August 14, 2004's thoughts: 'Ello. Could non-Poynter emails be provided for you young gentlemen? I have things of an... >>

And We're Off...

Robin and I ship out tomorrow to our respective stops in California (I'm going straight to Fresno; he's making a week-long stop-off in Michigan before heading to Sacto). So Snarkmarket, a little dusty and unused these past couple weeks while we've been making our preparations to move, will continue to gather dust for a week or so more. I know it will be difficult for you to bear the continuing wait. But next time you hear from us, it'll be from Californ-eye-ay. And we'll be back with a vengeance. Promise.

Posted August 14, 2004 at 10:24 | Comments (7) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

July 12, 2004

Robin's thoughts: Although I have to say, blogginess notwithstanding, <a href=" >>

Rise of the Pseudo-Blogs

Dude, the chairman of the FCC has a blog.

Except it's totally not a real blog. It's just a sequence of memos presented in vaguely blog-like format.

Now, I'm not sayin' he's gotta be all like, "I had Cheerios for breakfast, I heart Dashboard Confessional, Bush sux, my name is Michael Powell, here is a link to Boing Boing" to be a legit blogger.

But the whole point of having a blog is to:

  • keep up a steady stream of entries, like a little pulse;
  • share ideas freely, even (or especially!) if they aren't fully fleshed-out or, indeed, self-consistent; and
  • write with an authentic voice.

The FCC chairman fails on all of these counts. I'm a little surprised; this is a guy who's legitimately techno-hip, who understands new media and loves his TiVo.

To their credit, AlwaysOn, the site hosting Powell's "blog," refers to it in some places as a "regular series of columns," which is more accurate.

("Apparently another characteristic of real blogs," you say, "is that they belabor points that don't actually merit public comment or discussion. Such as whether the FCC chairman's blog is really a blog." To which I reply: Aww, go read a book.)

Posted July 12, 2004 at 5:16 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

June 20, 2004

Superheroes, Meet South Asia

Robin says,

Oh man, this is WEIRD. And awesome. Who's next? Who would Superman turn out to be if his space capsule crashed in Andhra Pradesh instead of Kansas?

(Link via Boing Boing.)

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:36 PM

June 17, 2004

kevin.'s thoughts: So I decided to go to Cory's talk at MSR, it was pretty cool, and here's the link to the txt vers... >>

Mr. Doctorow, I Presume

Snarkmarket stalwart Kevin saw Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing fame, give a talk last night at the University of Washington. In an entry titled "holy geek!" Kevin writes:

I talked to Cory a little before his talk, before I actually realized that he was the person giving the talk. He's a pretty cool guy, and I learned a neat camera trick from him. If you want to take a long exposure shot, and you need to steady the camera, you can use a neck-strap to help you out. Loop the neck-strap around your leg and pull the camera away from your body until it's taut. As long as you keep the tension, you've got a pretty good makeshift tripod. It's good for taking night pictures when you don't have a good flash or you don't want to use the flash, so you need to take a longer exposure picture.

This is the cool thing about blogs. Imagine if there was a Kevin for every neat talk that happened, everywhere, and really good software to filter and sort it all. There would be even more stuff to blog!! No, actually, there would be a deep, rich record of all the interesting events that happen in the world that currently either a) evaporate instantly, or b) disappear forever into the dungeon-like archives of newspapers and magazines.

Posted June 17, 2004 at 4:24 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

June 16, 2004

Robin's thoughts: More on the Pistons and ... >>

Go 'Frotown!

Oh, sweet!

I've loved the Pistons since their back-to-back championships of '89 and '90. And they just made it to number three.

Joe Dumars, the general manager, was one of the original Bad Boys. I remember shouting his name with the rest of the crowd at the Palace: "Joe Duuuuuuuumars!"

Posted June 16, 2004 at 1:31 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

June 15, 2004

Previously on Snarkmarket: Why do influential world leaders have such ghetto e-mail addresses?

Today on Snarkmarket: Why do giant global organizations have such ghetto websites? I mean, OMFG. Forget Sudan, the United Nations website is clearly the world's biggest humanitarian disaster.*

I've been complaining about a micro-version of this problem for some time now. Have you ever checked out the website of a member of your state government? It's often sad. Here's mine. This I don't get as worked up about since more states started giving their legislators shiny, functional spaces under the umbrella of the state website. (Although even these can be fugly.)

I'll grant that the UN website is probably an unimaginable morass of information. (I think the current ratio of people on earth to UN satellite programs is running roughly 1:3.) All the more reason not to design your site using 1-2-3 Publish.

*JOKE! Please don't forget about Sudan. In fact, give money!

Posted June 15, 2004 at 8:30 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

May 13, 2004

Matt's thoughts: "Sit on" one of Maya Lin's elemental paeans to nature? Did you not read the part where she et... >>

Meet the Designer

Image comes from NYTimes.comHere I am, checking out The New York Times' multimedia feature on garden furniture design, when I come across the following paragraph:

The classic garden bench has been reinvented. Stones, near right, by Maya Lin are made of fiberglass-reinforced concrete in three sizes, $356 to $1,156; from Knoll,

WTWWJDF??! Maya Lin, the legend, the 20 year-old second-generation American girl who probably did as much as any other artist to catapult this country into the age of modern art, the paragon of artistic integrity who etched sorrow into smooth black stone, Maya Lin is designing garden furniture?!?

Oh, but it's true. And it doesn't end there.

Lin's latest corporate work reflects the themes she has developed in her 20-year career. Her Winter Garden for American Express has a water wall that offers soothing sounds and a floor that undulates like a hillside meadow. The flowing spaces in her apartment for Peter Norton, founder of software maker Norton Utilities, can be zoned off with sliding partitions, much like a traditional Japanese house. Her wall in the lobby of the headquarters of the Principal Financial Group has a creek running through it, an open invitation to feel the flowing water.

Rolling hills inspired Lin's curvilinear lounge chair, which also conforms to the contours of the human body. Non-Western objects, such as Chinese porcelain pillows and African headrests, were models for Lin's collection for Knoll Inc., the office-furnishings maker. The collection, called Stones, consists of seats and a coffee table made of precast concrete.

Well, if I was a bit taken aback at first, I, for one, have already mellowed. The pictures of Lin's unembellished artistry, paired with the soothing words and phrases of Corporate America -- "Aveda," "Principal Financial Group," "curvilinear lounge chair" -- have proved an opiate to my disquiet. After all, artists must make money, right? And it's better, isn't it, that the corporatists should have rolling oceanic sculptures for their art than gawky metallic polluto-machines made from the fledglings of endangered species? And with her line of lawn chairs, Lin's art won't just be for the elite, but available to the masses, which is a plus, right? Right?

Posted May 13, 2004 at 8:39 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

April 30, 2004

kevin.'s thoughts: Hey, that's really good, I like it. Congrats on being a hardcore c0m1x3R... or something.... >>

No Superheroes Here


As you may recall, last Saturday I drew a comic book. It consumed twenty-four hours, a buncha pens, and one of those super-fat "Magnum" markers. I consumed five Cokes and three bagels.

Here's the result: Ornithology (1.7MB PDF, 23 pages)

You'll probably enjoy it most if you print it out, but it reads pretty well on screen, too.

Check out the last page to see the seeds of the story: sentences and scenarios from friends, revealed at the stroke of midnight. I didn't quite manage to use them all... I think the one I most regret leaving out is "warm weather = girls in backless shirts." Maybe if it was "warm weather = dots with lines around them" I would have had time to work it in.

I'm tempted to make a bunch of disclaimers here, but nah. Perhaps a reminder that the entire comic was produced in 24 continuous hours of feverish and progressively less-coherent rendering will set your expectations at the right level.

Read on!

Posted April 30, 2004 at 12:46 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

April 28, 2004

Welcome Aboard, Viscountess

Robin says,

Whoah, check out the ridiculously comprehensive list of honorifics available to British Airways passengers. (Click on the Title drop-down menu.)

"Tengku"! I love it!

(Link via Boing Boing.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:36 AM

What Stomps In the Shadows

The small South Asian nation of Bangladesh has plenty of problems: poverty, disease, overpopulation, illiteracy, corruption, flooding, cyclones... and now, apparently, wild elephant attacks.

I don't know about this, though:

Wild elephants frequently raid human habitation during harvesting season. At nightfall they enter the fields and damage crops, trees and homes. The entire herd then melts into the forest at daybreak.

What are these, ghost ninja elephants??

Posted April 28, 2004 at 10:19 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

April 25, 2004

Truly Gleeful Miscellany

Some things you don't explain. This would be one of them. Play around with it for a bit, but I'll point you to some of my favorites.

This is all from the cruel mind of Don Hertzfeld, an animator who's worked with the likes of Mike Judge and Bill Plympton to bring us The Animation Show.

And speaking of illustration, congrats to Robin, who completed his 24-hour comic, in case you didn't see it.

Posted April 25, 2004 at 10:43 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

April 23, 2004

Robin's thoughts: Hey Shawn! Glad you found the blog. I can't wait for the Pop Comics compilation; I'd like to give... >>

The Thirteenth Labor

Yeah, sure, he had to clean some pretty nasty stables. And there was that thing with the three-headed dog.

But did Hercules ever write and draw a 24-page comic book in 24 hours?

I thought not.

That's because a challenge like this ain't for chumps. Luckily, I'm an old comics pro.

I'm sure you recall the adventures of the Baker Bobcat in The Torpey Talk-About, Baker Middle School's paper of record.

Perhaps you were a fan of my, er, avant-garde editorial cartoons in The State News.

Or maybe you saw the centerpiece. Disclaimer: Not my finest hour.

Well, that was all just preparation.

Pop Comics in Sarasota. Midnight tonight to midnight on Saturday. 24 hours. 24 pages.

... Read more ....
Posted April 23, 2004 at 11:55 | Comments (8) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

April 14, 2004

Chicken Porn

Matt says,

Am I late to a now-tired Web meme? Because Subservient Chicken is really funny.

BTW, wow. Just, wow.

(Via Wiahd.)

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:33 PM

April 9, 2004

Tela Totius Terrae

Robin says,

Oh, sweet: a list of computer terms in Latin. Among them:

FAQ -- Frequenter Allatae Quaestiones

Internet -- 1. subst. Internetum; Interrete,is n. 2. adj. Internetalis,e; Interretialis,e

(Link via Languagehat.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:32 PM

April 6, 2004

John Lytle's thoughts: To see latest photo of Xanadu in Kissimmee, Florida; ... >>

Home Sweet Home, 2024

Rob Pegoraro's tour through Microsoft's home of the future reminded me of my own tour through a conceptual future home, lo these many years ago.

It's circa 1990. My sister's in town for the weekend, and my parents tell me to find some suitable family activity for us to undertake. Flipping through the section in the yellow pages that describes all the things one can allegedly do in Orlando, I come across the perfect thing -- a useless only-in-the-land-of-Disney tourist trap created just to beguile naive children into dragging their hapless parents hence ... Xanadu.

When we get there, it's about an hour till closing time. Just as well, because the "tour" of the place only takes about half an hour. Also, I'll probably suffer legitimate emotional damage if I have to spend any more time in that godawful structure. Imagine, if you will, the graphical rendering of an explosion from Final Fantasy II built out of frozen shaving cream.

Xanadu is now an abandoned, molded-out pod in the middle of nowhere, and some urban adventurers have brought it to the Internet for us all to see, as well as giving us some of the building's history:

It was designed by architect Roy Mason. There were three of these built, one in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, one in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and this one in Kissimmee, FL. This is the last remaining house, as the others have been torn down. They were created by inflating large, walk-through balloons and spraying them with foam. After the foam hardened, doors and windows were cut out, and fireproofing and paint applied. The idea was to create a very energy efficient "smart" house controlled by a computer. The end result was something that looked like it came right out of Logan's Run. The place ended up as a tourist attraction and eventually went under as technology developed and it became obsolete. The Kissimmee Xanadu closed in 1996 and was put up for sale. It was used for storage for a while by the owners and still not been sold to this day.

Who knew the future would be so fugly?

If you do nothing else this year, please take the opportunity to relive a part of my childhood. Watch at least a few minutes of the documentary about Xanadu. You won't regret it.

More on Xanadu from Neuroscape.

A report from when Xanadu was the future.

(By the way, the future is clearly straw houses. You heard it here first.)

Posted April 6, 2004 at 10:39 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

April 2, 2004

A Strong (Shark) Finish

Get it? Fin-ish?

Err, anyway, I can't leave Snarkmarket weighed down with New Yorker links on a Friday afternoon! So here, lookit this:

Apparently, sharks once had legs.

Posted April 2, 2004 at 3:20 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 29, 2004

Entrails for Jesus

Great news, everyone! The 12th book of the incredible Left Behind series is almost out, and this time, Jesus returns! Rock on! Unbelievers may well be discomfited by these books, but that's only because they don't recognize the glory and truth of Our Risen Lord and Savior in passages like the following:

"Tens of thousands of foot soldiers dropped their weapons, grabbed their heads or their chests, fell to their knees, and writhed as they were invisibly sliced asunder," the authors write. "Their innards and entrails gushed to the desert floor, and as those around them turned to run, they too were slain, their blood pooling and rising in the unforgiving brightness of God."

Ahem. As a good gay backslid Catholic boy, I just have to take a moment in the wake of this book and The Passion and Jack Kelley and that whole Spanish Inquisition thing to point out that not all Christians are obsessed with lacerated flesh, gushing innards, and/or severed heads and raining limbs. Please don't judge us.

Posted March 29, 2004 at 1:54 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 26, 2004

Kevin's thoughts: wow that's cool. try closing your eyes in between when he says half of them. The sound cha... >>

Your Morning Freak-Out

Sooo it turns out that what you hear is determined in part by what you see. Case in point: the McGurk effect. Languagehat explains it like this:

If your ears register /ba/ and your eyes [register] a mouth saying /ga/, you'll "hear" /da/.

Which doesn't sound that impressive... until you actually try it.

I love brains.

Posted March 26, 2004 at 9:47 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 17, 2004

kevin's thoughts: it's true, donald rumsfeld is a lethal fighting machine. <a href=" >>

It's Funny Because It's True

I think the most successful Onion articles are the ones that make you go: "Ha ha ha ha! That is hilarious! And yet... not entirely implausible..."

Well, here you go.

I mean seriously, scroll down to Matt's DARPA item and tell me you can absolutely, positively rule out the existence of a super-warrior championship.

That's what I thought.

... Read more ....
Posted March 17, 2004 at 8:50 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 12, 2004

Clive's thoughts: ahahahah!... >>

Pimpin Large

Clive Thompson recently discovered a crazy light-up watch and linked to it. I checked it out, and what caught my eye wasn't the flashy blue LEDs; it was the promotional copy:

Now what really makes this watch stand out, is the light up feature, the watch lights up every light in a spiral and then off in a spiral every 2 minutes. Super flashy and you will be Pimpin large. Pimpin was never easy till now. Grab one and see for yourself. There is nothing like it.

"Pimpin was never easy till now." I love that. And I have a feeling it's got legs. Let's pull up a random piece of Land's End apparel and try out our new catch-phrase, shall we?

Men's Cashmere Vest

We use only top-grade white cashmere from the Kashmir goats raised in Inner Mongolia. Their downy undercoat hairs are the finest, strongest and most pure. We insist on using two-ply yarns, twisted just enough to add strength and prevent unsightly pilling (a process we're continuously improving). It's the best way to give you a plusher, more substantial sweater that lasts. Pimpin was never easy till now.

Success! And now, to prove the pimptastic power of this new all-purpose marketing slogan, let's surf on over to

Chandelier With Toile Shades in Blue or Black

An old favorite makes a triumphant return -- toile is the home decorating must-have of the moment. Scrolling metal base with burnished bronze finish. Can be used with or without shades. 22" H. 24" diameter. 36" chain. Uses five 60W bulbs, max. (not included). Some assembly required. Imported from China. Pimpin was never easy till now.

I think you see what I'm talking about. This thing is the penicillin of pimpology.

And, as a proponent of open source pimpware, I am making it immediately available in the public domain. Pimpin was never easy... till now.

Posted March 12, 2004 at 10:30 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 8, 2004

Robin's thoughts: Ooh, I like that study. They're very... >>

A Boy and His Blog

I'm grooving on these frequent, article-length, well-reported Campaign Desk articles. This one's particularly interesting.

Political blogs are mostly written by men, it turns out. While this is hardly news to me, it's odd how rarely I've stopped to think about it. Tara McKelvey and Garance Frank-Ruta represent over at TAPPED, but otherwise, I don't read any female political bloggers on a regular basis. So now I just feel vaguely unsettled. Besides Wonkette!, where are the female-written political blogs?

Note that despite women's absence from the political blogosphere, even in the Campaign Desk article Kathleen Hall Jamieson continues her unchallenged hegemony over the realm of Random Sources, commenting on everything from women's thoughts on the rodeo to the impact of talk radio.

Posted March 8, 2004 at 5:12 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany
Haley's thoughts: My name is Haley and i have to write a paper on the smells of spring and i need help with some th... >>

The Sweet Smells of Spring


Last night, I was reading "Perdido Street Station" on the couch as a warm-ish breeze rolled in through the open door, carrying the smell of smoke in from somewhere -- maybe clear across the Big Bayou.

This morning, the Key was snapping with the cool smells of burned-off fog and fresh-cut grass as I wound my way to work.

Both times, I thought: Yes, I would like this to last forever, please.


What is it about smells?

Actually, that's a rhetorical question, because I know exactly what it is about smells: Olfaction is our most ancient sense, and it is wired deeper into our brains than any of the others. Waaay back in the day I did a whole project about this.

The point is, it's not just dreaminess that lends special import to familiar smells (although dreaminess cannot, of course, be discounted): They affect us on a deeper level, and may in fact be more directly associated with memory, than any other kind of sensory input.

Posted March 8, 2004 at 10:17 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

March 2, 2004

Move Over, Atkins

From The Onion:

New Nietzschean Diet Lets You Eat Whatever You Fear Most

Fat Is Dead, proclaims the ambitious title of the dense, aphoristic nutrition plan, which was written by Friedrich Nietzsche in the late 1880s and unearthed three years ago. After reaching bestseller lists in Europe, the book was translated into English by R. J. Hollingdale and published by Avon last month.

"One must strive to eat dangerously as one comes into the Will to Power Oneself Thin," Nietzsche wrote. "What do you fear? By this are you truly Fattened. You must embrace your Fears, as well as your Fat, and learn to Laugh as you consume them, along with Generous Portions of Simple Salad. Remember, as you stare into the lettuce, the lettuce stares also into you."

Me, I'm on the Hegelian Diet, a dialectic between seven-layer nacho dip and Baked Lays.

(Thanks to Tim for the link!)

Posted March 2, 2004 at 10:53 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 26, 2004

Rumsfeld vs. Blanka

Matt says,

Go! (Via MetaFilter.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:21 PM

February 20, 2004

The Engines of Creation

I've discovered a new role model.

Jonathan P. Brown works at the Field Museum in Chicago. He also builds amazing things with Lego Mindstorms, like, oh, you know, a robot that can solve the Rubik's Cube. There's also a cannon that can see and a robotic hang-glider.

I so admire people who are smart and have interesting jobs (Brown is an archaeological conservator at the museum) and creative hobbies.

I mean, this is what it's all about, right? We ditched that whole hunter-gatherer thing so we could spend at least some of our time creating for creation's sake.

That notion gets some play in a St. Petersburg Times article about Brown's Rubik's Cube robot from 2001. Here's what Mike Wilson writes:

The cube wasn't going to help anybody do anything. So -- this is the big question -- why bother?

"It's something you do just to see if you can do it," [Brown] says. "I thought it was an amusing thing to do."

It occurred to us that this impulse -- the simple wish to know what you can accomplish -- is at the very root of creativity and innovation. Without that impulse in clever human beings, we wouldn't have computers or the Hoover Dam or the Sears Tower. And without it we'll never get the things we need to continue surviving on this torn planet. That impulse can save the world.

The article also includes this charming line -- another reason, I think, to take Brown as a role model:

[Brown's] 5-year-old son, Rush -- named after Benjamin Rush, a signatory to the Declaration of Independence -- has his own Legos.

"As you can imagine, they are kept separate. Underlined. We do borrow bits from each other, under very controlled, mutual-hostages situations," Brown says.

Posted February 20, 2004 at 3:55 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 19, 2004

Robin's thoughts: It's so funny that you wrote this, because I was totally about to send Dan Okrent an e-mail to sa... >>

I like what I've read of Dan Okrent, public editor of The New York Times.

I don't like his picture.

I can't really tell you why, he just looks worn-down, vaguely unhappy, insincere, trying too hard to look like a man of the people. I wonder if this is how everyone else sees Howard Dean?

Anyway, I know Robin disagrees with me, and I understand this post is worth nothing at all, but I'd felt I'd raise the point regardless, because the picture's all up on the front page of NYT.c, harshing my buzz.

And while I'm bashing Dan Okrent (what else are ombudspeople for?), is it just me, or is he way self-obsessed and tortured about Dan Okrent and his role and his place in the universe? Every column's filled with these asides, "Gentle reader, your concerns are half-right and half-wrong. It's like this lesson I've learned from my mother, which I always kept in my head as I was editor of Time, 'Dan,' she once intoned, 'you're half-right and half-wrong.' Do you see, Gentle Reader, how I am just like you? I am, in fact, one of you." (Take this one, for example.) His latest column was an interview with himself. Dude, if you're that hard up for the opportunity to navel-gaze, get a blog.

Oh, wait.

Posted February 19, 2004 at 7:25 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 17, 2004

Bag of Miscellaneous Food!

Matt says,

This is serious gleeful miscellany. CraigsList rocks the party that rocks the body.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:35 PM

February 13, 2004

21.4% Chance of Marital Bliss

A few researchers at the U. Washington have announced that they can predict if a marriage is going to fail or succeed.

I wonder if they've re-jiggered their algorithm to take into account the recent gay marriages in San Francisco. According to information from Focus on the Family and the Campaign for California Families, these developments will destroy an estimated 5.3 percent of all marriages.

Posted February 13, 2004 at 4:53 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 7, 2004

Jerome Norris's thoughts: I sit through the credits to pick up on the names of the composers and artists whose music was ... >>

Defending the Pretentious

We can all relate to this month's Esquire Complaint -- people who sit through the credits. I'm not sure why I'm linking to it, because I'm an Esquire subscriber, and unless you are, you probably can't read it. And in any case, it's good enough and short enough that I'm going to reproduce it here in toto. Sorry, Esquire:

You are fooling no one. You know who you are. You are impressing no one, and it is time you learned the truth: Nobody thinks you're smart because you sit through the closing credits at the end of movies.

You do this all the time (and particularly at the end of Miramax films). The movie concludes, the houselights come up, and you silently pretend to be fascinated by the cast listing. Somehow, this is supposed to indicate that you are a serious person. What this actually proves is that you are an inefficient person, because all the information you are pretending to ascertain is already on the Internet (and most of that information doesn't matter to anyone who doesn't actively work in the film industry). You do not have a favorite gaffer. You do not care what record label released the soundtrack. You do not know the difference between the motion caption coordinator and the environmental technical director, so why would you care who these people are (or who their first assistants are)?

Now, I realize you do this because you think your date will think you're intellectual. She does not. She either thinks you're a pretentious fraud (which you are), or she suddenly feels insecure (because she can't figure out why she's supposed to care who the secondary location scout was). The movie is over. Leave the theater. Go to the bathroom.

Being one who sits through the credits, I take umbrage, even as I appreciate Chuck Klosterman's sneering. But I'd like to answer on behalf of the Credits-Watchers. (Others who watch the credits, feel free to chime in.)

... Read more ....
Posted February 7, 2004 at 3:57 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

February 3, 2004

kevin's thoughts: "Isn't it Ironic" is about irony in the same vein that The Gift of the Magi is ironic. Specially... >>

Why Ask MeFi is the New MeFi

This thread about the pronunciation of the word "forte" turns out to be excellent. As does this one, about popular songs of misunderstood intent.

These two posts, in conjunction, raise an interesting issue (if you're me) that I'd like to call out here.

People always snark out Alanis Morissette for misusing the term "Ironic." But it seems to me she clearly didn't do so. Her usages of the term are all "poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended." And it seems like all the protestations amount to, "That definition doesn't count."

Posted February 3, 2004 at 11:30 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

January 25, 2004

david's thoughts: Happy Birthday! Right?... >>

Have You Ever Googled Your Birthday?

If you ask the History Channel, it won't mention anything particularly notable that happened on November 18, 1980.

Google begs to differ.

On November 18, 1980, President and Mrs. Carter watch the movie "It's My Turn" before retiring to bed.

A huge, triangular UFO floats around a 100-mile span in Northern Missouri and Kansas, according to reports.

The sixth season of "Laverne and Shirley" begins with the dizzy duo moving to Los Angeles, ushering in a whole new era of hijinx and hilarity for the popular show.

A 19-year-old gangbanger named Gil Porras is beaten to death by rival gang members in East L.A. Police arrest one man for the murder, José Luis Frutis, then accidentally shoot him in the chest during questioning, while Frutis is handcuffed to a chair. Frutis spends 18 years in prison before another inmate, Joey Garcia, confesses to the crime.

The Chicago Public Library rededicates its first branch library after renovations on the 76-year-old building are completed.*

A judge dismisses the lawsuit brought by the Citizens Against UFO Secrecy to gain access to National Security Agency UFO-related documents. The judge writes in his decision that "the continued need for secrecy far outweighed the public's right to know."

Terri announces to her diary: I have a feeling that Ron and I are going to be together for a long, long time ... it just feels "right." I know how patently cornball that sounds - and I know that I’ve said it a thousand times before, about other men in my life - but I really MEAN it this time.*

A grand jury in Pinellas County, Fla., indicts Larry Mann for the first-degree murder and kidnapping of 10-year-old Elisa Nelson. Mann is currently on death row.

Fabolous, a rapper who will become famous for his inability to correctly spell the word "fabulous," is born.

Aliens in Ontario abduct a woman and experiment on her before returning her to Earth.

Elsewhere in Ontario, a woman named Pat Thompson has a baby, and names him ...

Posted January 25, 2004 at 12:41 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

January 21, 2004

Sad, Sad Ovoid

Robin says,

You've seen those Zoloft commercials with the sketchy little ovoid characters, right? Clive Thompson has an example, and a very mature disclaimer that I agree wholeheartedly with.

That said -- this Flash parody made me laugh so hard I snorted grape juice out my nose! Well, almost.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:10 PM

January 11, 2004

Lord of the Blogs?

OK, it's not a blog exactly, but it's pretty cool, whatever you want to call it. The King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, publishes handwritten missives to his people every day on his website.

I wish President Bush did that. Oh wait. I don't.

See this BBC article for more.

Posted January 11, 2004 at 11:59 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

January 1, 2004

Matt's thoughts: Um, no. But I could go on Fleshbot and find a couple hundre... >>

I could comment on this article as being another repudiation of the CW that a monolithic group of Clinton insiders -- and thus somehow Clinton himself -- is dead set against Howard Dean, but I want to focus instead on the very last thing in the article. Check out the e-mail address Sidney Blumenthal gave to the Guardian. Yes, that's right:

Do you mean to tell me that the right-hand man of the former American president and current Godfather of the Democratic party can not find an e-mail address more fitting his station than a ghetto free Yahoo account? I mean, Sid. Come on. is totally not taken. And it looks like has been registered by a D.C. consultant (with, I might add, an only slightly less ghetto AOL address... dodgy!), whose kneecaps I'm sure you can have broken if he's not authorized to use your name or likeness or whatever.

I mean, I'm pretty certain that any e-mail addressed to would receive a reply from entitled "Hapless Peon, Your Request for Communication Has Been Denied; Prepare to Die," but still, that is like the lamest calling card ever.

Posted January 1, 2004 at 4:16 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

Happy New Year


Posted January 1, 2004 at 1:08 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

December 18, 2003

The Fellowship of the Bling

Matt says,

This is, in fact, what I am talking 'bout.

One, yo.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:05 PM

December 15, 2003


Hey, here's a moral philosophy quiz, found on Matthew Yglesias's blog.

As noted in his comments section, these quizzes aren't at all revealing if you just "game" them -- pick the answers you know will result in a particular classification (in this case, a particular moral philosopher).

But if you keep your mind innocent of ethics 101, you might be able to get an honest analysis.

My top three matches were Aquinas, Aristotle, and Spinoza. So apparently the last four centuries of progress in moral philosophy have been lost on me.

Posted December 15, 2003 at 6:23 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

November 26, 2003

Aaron's thoughts: My first reaction to this was something sort of a snarky snigger. Of course, it isn't really a ... >>


tpoe.jpgHoward Hallis has drawn a picture of everything.

Examining just one piece of the 14-foot-long mural, we find: Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger next to Tia and Tamara "Sister, Sister" Mowry next to Tyra Banks; Stan Lee next to R. Crumb next to Blastoise (Pokemon #9); and "My Grandfather, Harry Hallis" next to "Benji" next to (my favorite) "No idea who this is," an anonymous blonde.

This is like one of those crazy conglomerations of naked people organized by Spencer Tunick. Except... there are robots... and... actually, never mind, it's not like one of those at all.

(Hilarious! The villains are all in hell! I could scroll through this thing for days.)

Posted November 26, 2003 at 1:42 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

November 23, 2003

Another Sure Sign It's the 21st Century

Robin says,

I was watching "Duck Dodgers" on the Cartoon Network, and Porky Pig said: "C-c-can I put a shirt on? My nipples are getting cold."

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:39 PM

November 19, 2003

Dave's thoughts: Another quantum entanglement page (illustrated, lots of examples, no math) can be found at: ... >>

Quantum Iraq

Sure, sure, we journalists talk a good game about the importance of engaging stories and evocative pictures... but come on, people really just want more contests!

Nicholas Kristof is soliciting better names for last spring's war in Iraq. He writes: "I'll report the top five suggestions and give those writers Iraqi 250-dinar notes with Saddam's portrait."

Here's my entry: Saddam Entanglement. It's like quantum entanglement, get it? That's when two particles mysteriously affect one another even when separated by a huge distance (the 6,000 miles from Washington to Baghdad, say). Wikipedia says: "Einstein famously derided entanglement as 'spooky action at a distance.'"

Hmm, maybe I should have made Spooky Action at a Distance my backup entry...

Anyway, Saddam Entanglement is also apt because let's face it, quantum physics is almost -- almost -- as confusing as the situation in Iraq right now.

Posted November 19, 2003 at 2:53 | Comments (8) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany, Journalism
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