Day: November 22, 2012

The man who sued his wife for birthing an ugly baby

ugly baby

‘Apparently in China, bad genes are grounds for divorce — and six-figure fines. “Failed relationships can get ugly,” says Ji Lin at the Irish Examiner, but the weird, sad tale of Jian Feng and his wife “really gives meaning to the old cliché.” The story starts out conventionally enough: Feng, a resident of northern China, met and married a beautiful woman, and they had a baby girl. That’s when things reportedly got, um, ugly. Feng was “so sure of his own good looks, so crushed by the wrinkly ugly mess that was handed to him in a swaddle, that he decided to sue his wife because the awful looking baby was totally her fault,” says Madeline Holler at Babble. And then things went from ugly to crazy: He won.’ (Yahoo! News)

Live From the Inside: A Radio Show Run by Psychiatric Patients

Psychiatric hospital in Tworki

‘ “It started,” he says, “by accident.” As a young, idealistic psychology student, Olivera interned at El Borda in the early nineties. “I found a lot of my friends and family kept asking me what it was like in there,” he explains. “I decided to let the patients tell them.” He started a radio workshop. Not as strange as it sounds in a psychiatric hospital that offers tango workshops, circus workshops, a patient-run bakery and an artist’s cultural center where the community and university students also come to paint. I have fallen down the rabbit hole.’ (The Atlantic).

Are we being watched?

‘We may finally have proof that there are aliens among us. Using a complicated system unknown to us humans, aliens appear to have managed to beam their image onto the spectacular Northern Lights sky.’  (Yahoo! News UK)

The Island That Wasn’t There

‘A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say.’

(BBC News)

Films Dispense With Storytelling Conventions

Cloud Atlas (novel)

‘Look past the award-season hype and the current bounty of decent, good, great movies, and one thing becomes clear: We live in interesting narrative times, cinematically. In “Cloud Atlas” characters jump across centuries, space and six separate stories into a larger tale about human interconnectedness. In “Anna Karenina” Tolstoy’s doomed heroine suffers against visibly artificial sets, a doll within an elaborate dollhouse, while in “Life of Pi” a boy and a tiger share a small boat in a very big sea amid long silences, hallucinatory visuals and no obvious story arc. In movies like these, as well as in “The Master” and “Holy Motors,” filmmakers are pushing hard against, and sometimes dispensing with, storytelling conventions, and audiences seem willing to follow them. The chief film critics of The New York Times, Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott, consider this experimental turn.’ (NYTimes)

Neuroscience of the human brain while freestyle rapping

Human brain, medial view

‘Using brain scans, scientists are trying to find how great freestyle rappers drop dope lines. Discovery News reports on a study conducted by researchers the voice, speech and language branch of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Here’s the paper: “Neural Correlates of Lyrical Improvisation: An fMRI Study of Freestyle Rap.” ‘ (Boing Boing)

An iPad Lover’s Take On The Microsoft Surface

“After using it for over a week now, it’s hard to come up with a lot of nice things to say about the Surface. Don’t get me wrong, there are some solid things here. But by and large, it’s a strange, buggy, and clunky product that I simply can’t imagine many people buying after the initial hype wears off.” (TechCrunch).

The Ballad of the Rad Cafes: London’s Coffeehouse Culture from 1959

A manual piston espresso machine.

“Before coffee houses were homogenized into interchangeable Starbucks, and sucked dry of atmosphere and character, the espresso bar was a meeting place for Beats, musicians, writers, radicals and artists. Each coffeehouse had its own distinct style and clientele, and provided a much needed venue for the meeting of minds and the sharing of ambitions over 2-hour long cappuccinos.It was the arrival in London of the first espresso machine in 1952 that started this incredibly diverse sub-culture, which became a focus for writers like Colin Absolute Beginners MacInness and pop stars like Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde, who frequented the famous 2-i’s cafe. This beautiful, short film serves up a frothy serving of London’s cafe scene in 1959, long before Starbucks ruined it all.” (Dangerous Minds)