Friday, August 29, 2008
( 8:58 PM ) The Rat
ICE CREAM ADOPTS SCOTS FLAVOURS.
Three Scottish delicacies—the Arbroath smokie, haggis and shortbread—are being turned into ice cream flavours.
Harrods will be offering customers the flavours, along with 17 other regional favourites from across Britain, over the next few days. The Taste of Britain cone also features Yorkshire pudding, sausage and mash and Worcestershire Sauce. Black pudding, Cornish pasty and Welsh Rarebit are also on the menu.
The ice cream's creator, master gelatiera Gino Soldan, told the BBC Scotland news website that the Scottish tastes had their challenges. He said: "The fishy one [the Arbroath smokie] was the most difficult of the three because it was difficult to find the fish—everything is made with the real ingredient"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:58 PM
Thursday, August 28, 2008
( 1:28 PM ) The Rat
BORIS JOHNSON'S OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK. This, my friends, is why there'll always be an England. Pic here.
We only had a few seconds left to get ready. There were 91,000 people in the stadium and (allegedly) about 1.5 billion watching apathetically at home. I advanced to the little plastic sign on the red carpet saying ‘Mayor of London’, and as we waited to be called to the centre of the arena I decided I had better spruce myself up. Now the crowd were roaring and waving their red light sabres, and hastily I got out my wallet, mobile, keys, and all the other clobber that might impair my flag-waving performance, and handed them to a chap on my left. I rolled my shoulders like Rocky, and rehearsed the agenda again in my head. What could possibly go wrong? Take flag, get red circle out to left, wave four times, hand flag to flag-bearer. Piece of cake. Just as I had it taped, just as I was in the zone, I became aware of a chap beaming and pointing at his midriff. Then another chap was pointing at me, jabbing his finger in the direction of my stomach. Was I too fat? Was I insufficiently Olympian? ‘Button,’ said the chap. ‘Do up button.’ I looked and saw that my fellow performers on the podium all had their jackets done up, and so did my charming Beijing counterpart, Mayor Guo. I reached instinctively for my middle button, and then thought, sod it. I checked swiftly with the chap from the International Olympic Committee, and no, there is no Olympic jacket-button protocol. Open or shut: it’s up to you. I was going to do it my way, and on the matter of jacket buttons I was going to follow a policy of openness, transparency and individual freedom. I am sad to see that some Chinese bloggers are now attacking me for my ‘lack of respect’, since there was no disrespect intended. It’s just that there are times when you have to take a stand...
Also liked this bit:
Ever since I was a child I have believed that the only man-made structures visible from space are the Belgian motorway system and the Great Wall of China. Alas, this turns out to be balls. To see the Great Wall of China from the Moon you would have to be able to discern a human hair from two miles away. It’s big, the Great Wall, but not that big. I am afraid the myth was invented in 1754 by the English antiquary William Stukeley. No scientists now accept the claim, though the ever-obliging China Daily still claims it’s possible if you know where to look.
# Posted by The Rat @ 1:28 PM
( 5:36 AM ) The Rat
THE 'E' STANDS FOR 'EVIL.' Apparently EU restrictions are being enforced at the Royal Albert Hall. No more of that head-banging, you young hooligans! (No, but seriously... GRR.)
Under the directive which came into effect in April, the broadcaster must ensure performers are not exposed to excessive levels of noise.
Noise control officers have been sitting in on rehearsals to take volume measurements and ensure orchestras keep below 140 decibels—the noise of a gunshot of firecracker...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:36 AM
( 4:51 AM ) The Rat
6-YEAR-OLD STARES DOWN BOTTOMLESS ABYSS OF FORMAL SCHOOLING. My favorite thing in this has got to be the photo/caption.
Basic math—which the child has blissfully yet to learn—clearly demonstrates that the number of years before he will be released from the horrifying prison of formal schooling, is more than twice the length of time he has yet existed. According to a conservative estimate of six hours of school five days a week for nine months of the year, Bolduc faces an estimated 14,400 hours trapped in an endless succession of nearly identical, suffocating classrooms.
This nightmarish but undeniably real scenario does not take into account additional time spent on homework, extracurricular responsibilities, or college, sources said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:51 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
( 9:55 AM ) The Rat
We all know that a party, a palace, a great enterprise, a writers' and journalists' banquet, a cordial atmosphere of frank and spontaneous friendship, are essentially horrifying. Citizen Kane is the first film to portray this with some awareness of this truth.
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:55 AM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
( 10:27 PM ) The Rat
The high poetry in Tamburlaine is not shaped to express what is but to make something happen, or, by a kind of incantation, to make something have happened.
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:27 PM
( 4:56 PM ) The Rat
TERMINAL GENTRIFICATION. I'd need more data before I was convinced this was solely the fault of rich people with second and third homes—but the pattern being described is certainly there. London is certainly more Disneyfied, by a lot, than it was when I was here last (2002).
London is an example of a place that's becoming less real, or certainly less affordable, to most of the people that would normally live there. If you think Manhattan is expensive, double it and you have central London. Like Tokyo a generation before, people tolerate long commutes if they have a job downtown. Unlike Tokyo, the shortage of even remotely affordable housing has occurred thanks to foreign capital, with so many second and third homes there. As in Venice, houses that once held five families now have one—and they're seldom home. The result is that the mix of housing stock available is now hardly a mix, it's all upscale. It's terminal gentrification.
While Toronto isn't London or Venice, and we don't have to worry about being overrun by billionaire Russians just yet, there is an increasing sense that downtown is expensive and so be it. Toronto's saving grace is that condo towers offer small but inexpensive places to live in the centre of the city. Lose this, and where would many of the people who live and work in Toronto go? Or where would young people buy their first home? Venice, London, New York's Upper East (or West Side or most of Manhattan, for that matter) are becoming perfect cities. Like gated communities, these are places where we will never bump into anything unexpected, it will only be international brands, great restaurants and the most important public institutions. Our ideal of the perfect city could become the unreal city...
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:56 PM
Saturday, August 23, 2008
( 9:57 AM ) The Rat
OOOOH... (Although, the caption's idiotic. But that's hardly the photographer's fault.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:57 AM
Thursday, August 21, 2008
( 8:31 AM ) The Rat
WORLD OF WARMTH. Whoa.
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:31 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
( 11:41 AM ) The Rat
WHAT YOU KNOW VS. HOW MUCH YOU KNOW ABOUT IT.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:41 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
( 5:40 PM ) The Rat
'High-brow' is an ominous addition to the English language.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:40 PM
( 3:46 PM ) The Rat
"IT WAS, FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD, ART." This is awesome. (Requires sound, but it's short [just 55 seconds].)
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:46 PM
( 5:14 AM ) The Rat
SEX AND THE SEMICOLON, via A&LD.
[In a 2,700-word essay on the semicolon in the Financial Times,] Butterworth, who had worked in the States, wondered why so many Americans shared Donald Barthelme's sense that the mark was "ugly as a tick on a dog's belly." His answer: As a culture, we Yanks distrust nuance and complexity.
Ben McIntyre, writing in the Times of London a couple of months later, added to the collection of semicolon snubbers: Kurt Vonnegut called the marks "transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing." Hemingway and Chandler and Stephen King, said McIntyre, "wouldn't be seen dead in a ditch with a semi-colon (though Truman Capote might). And Kilpatrick, in a 2006 column, restated those sentiments at a higher pitch, calling the semicolon "girly," "odious," and "the most pusillanimous, sissified, utterly useless mark of punctuation ever invented."
The haters haven't had the floor to themselves, of course. John Irving, in an appreciation of Vonnegut in the Times of London, declared himself an unrepentant fan of semicolons. Philip Hensher of the Independent defended the semicolon as "a cherished tool, elegant and rational." And Kathy Schenck, who blogs about editing at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote last month that though journalists may scorn it, she still likes the semicolon. "It's like a slur in music, leading you to the next thought without making you stop to rest."
Nevertheless, the semicolon has been suffering. Paul Collins, in a recent Slate article, cited a study showing "a stunning drop in semicolon usage between the 18th and 19th centuries, from 68.1 semicolons per thousand words to just 17.7"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:14 AM
Monday, August 18, 2008
( 11:30 AM ) The Rat
RECENT SEARCH REQUEST.
are rats self aware?
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:30 AM
( 11:27 AM ) The Rat
CDC POWERLESS TO STOP SPREAD OF VIRULENT MAYONNAISE-BORNE PATHOGEN, via the Onion. Suddenly I'm craving some pasta salad.
According to information released by the CDC to all major television and radio stations, ingestion of the mayonnaise-borne virus results in shooting body pains, headaches, fevers, internal bleeding, abnormal gait, loss of muscle control, dementia, and, in its final stages, a slight decrease in one's desire to consume mayonnaise...
Btw, according to new research, mayo is not actually the culprit nearly as often as people think.
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:27 AM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
( 5:16 PM ) The Rat
WHAT IS BURGER KING THINKING? I actually really like this ad... Link via Consumerist.
Burger King is using the airport security screening metaphor—blocking bad people from getting through the gates—as a way to convey that they (Burger King) simularly screen for only quality ingredients.
But what the hell is going on in this picture?
First I saw a nervous looking onion.
Then I noticed it had its pants down.
Then I noticed the angry pickle… and then the examination glove?!
It seems that the Onion depicted in this image isn’t a quality ingredient. Yikes.
The Onion is standing in the middle of the airport with his pants around his ankles while an angry, brawny “pickle” slips on a examination glove in preparation for a body cavity search.
I’ve got so many questions.
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:16 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
( 3:55 PM ) The Rat
KING PENGUIN RECEIVES NORWEGIAN KNIGHTHOOD.
The knighthood ceremony began Friday morning with speeches and a fanfare before Nils arrived, under escort with the King's Guard Color Detachment. Nils then reviewed the troops lined up outside the penguin enclosure at the zoo, waddling down the row of uniformed soldiers, occasionally stopping to crane his neck and peer inquisitively at their crisp uniforms before being guided forward by his handler.
Nils was then knighted by British Maj. Gen. Euan Loudon on behalf of Norway's King Harald V. Loudon dropped the king's sword on both sides of Nils's black-and-white frame, and the penguin's colonel-in-chief badge, tied to his flipper, was swapped for one symbolizing his knighthood...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:55 PM
( 11:09 AM ) The Rat
MASSIVE CHEATING BY CHINA AT THE OLYMPICS (and not only in gymnastics). I'm shocked!
# Posted by The Rat @ 11:09 AM
( 7:21 AM ) The Rat
THAT'S CUZ MEDIEVAL PEASANTS WEREN'T AMERICAN.
When family rights advocate John De Graff started doing some historical research, he came across a shocking discovery—that medieval European peasants had more vacation time than modern American office workers.
De Graff, the national coordinator of Take Back Your Time Day, based his figures on the number of religious holidays peasants took off to eat, drink, and spend time with their families, and found it was about two weeks extra. He even printed up T-shirts saying: "Medieval Peasants Had More Vacation Than You"...
Compare with "Leading Travel Agency Thomas Cook Says Holidaymakers Defy Downturn."
Thomas Cook chief executive officer Manny Fontenla-Novoa told reporters the group, a unit of German retailer Arcandor, has so far seen no evidence of [British] consumers cutting back on holidays or trading down.
"The main holiday is a 'must have' item for consumers. In our experience, people will cut back on all sorts of other things before they cut back on their holiday," he said...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:21 AM
( 3:35 AM ) The Rat
FUN LITTLE PIECE ON classical music and violence.
[W]hile classical music is routinely presented as either a benign ‘relaxing’ medium for babies, lovers and taxi drivers, or healing the wounds of history, it has also been a catalyst for civil disorder.
In Italy, the monarchistic Italians took the very name of Verdi as an acronym for revolt (Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia), and the ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves,’ from his opera ‘Nabucco,’ was hummed seditiously until the naturally shy Italians were confident enough with the tune to burst into full voice at the composer’s funeral.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Richard Wagner used to get up in fine silks and plenty of aftershave, before writing the music for the Second World War. And he has been the soundtrack of every conflict since—his ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ blaring out of tanks in Iraq and previously helicopters in Vietnam, courtesy of the napalm-loving Colonel Kilgore. And so we’re back to film; this time Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now.’
Back in the real world, if you think Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies getting jeered at the Proms is uncivilised, you should have been around in Vienna in the 1920s when the police were regularly on standby as Schoenberg, Webern and Berg roused the Viennese to regular scuffles with their singalong 12-tone ditties...
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:35 AM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
( 6:40 AM ) The Rat
EU REDISCOVERS TASTE FOR BENDY CUCUMBERS. From a few weeks back.
It's official: European diktats on the size and shape of fruit and vegetables are bananas.
Even the European Commission now wants them scrapped to avoid wasting good food in times of global shortage.
The commission, in a step backed by the UK, will this week attempt to reform strict rules governing standards on such matters as the colour of leeks, the bendiness of cucumbers and the shape of carrots.
In a vote in Brussels, Britain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany will support moves to reform the marketing standards amid fears that they are making the world food crisis worse. The standards are so strict that thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetables are discarded each year because they are not beautiful or big enough. Farmers throw away mountains of cherries, onions, peas, plums and spinach among other fruit and vegetables.
Last month a market trader in Bristol was prevented by inspectors from selling a batch of kiwi fruits because they were 1mm smaller than the rules allowed. Tim Down lost £1,000 in sales and was not allowed to give away the 5,000 fruit because they breached the rules.
The commission has drawn up a plan to scrap standards for 26 fruit and vegetables including apricots, onions, peas, carrots and melons. In a compromise to try to push the reforms through it has agreed to maintain standards on 10 items, including tomatoes, apples, pears, strawberries, lettuce and kiwi fruit...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:40 AM
( 5:34 AM ) The Rat
ATHLETES ONLY AS OLD AS CHINA SAYS THEY ARE. Via IKM.
Mind you, this is the same IOC that responded with the speed and urgency of Michael Phelps kicking off the wall to murky allegations of figure skating cheating in Salt Lake City's Winter Games six years ago by changing an official result in the pairs event to essentially douse a resulting news media firestorm.
When in North America, do as the North Americans do (overreact). When in China, overlook.
For better or worse, these are the shrug-and-don't-tell Olympics, undoubtedly because it would be considered impolitic to embarrass the Chinese after they went to such great expense to throw the world this lavish party.
If Internet access is sketchy, work around it. If the American speedskater and activist Joey Cheek's visa is revoked on the eve of the Games, get over it. If there is evidence against Chinese gymnasts beyond the usual Olympic suspicions, don't believe it...
# Posted by The Rat @ 5:34 AM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
( 4:37 PM ) The Rat
ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM COUPÉ. Some fun bits in this.
Just the other day, I read a report that said musicals in London's West End are bucking the trend with higher than ever audiences. This, you might think if you were a normal, well balanced soul, is a good thing. But sadly the red top reporter was not. He was just bothered that bigger audiences meant Andrew Lloyd Webber would have even more money. And that made him incandescent with fury.
Why? It's not like Andrew Lloyd Webber spends his evenings being carried around council estates in Slough in a sedan chair, waving his jewels out of the window. He just gets on with his life in a way that has no effect whatsoever on the way you live yours or I live mine.
I don't yearn for many aspects of the American way but they do seem to have this dreadful bitterness under control. When they see a man pass by in a limousine, they say: "One day, I'll have one of those." When we see a man pass by in a limo, we say: "One day, I'll have him out of that."
All this past week, I've been driving around in a Rolls-Royce coupé and it's been a genuinely alarming insight into the bitterness of Britain's obese and stupid underclass. Because when you drive this enormous monster past a bus queue, you realise that hate is not an emotion. It's something you can touch, and see and smell...
Also don't miss the comments. My favorites:
I'm very surprised that a Rolls received such a disrespectful reaction. I thought it was understood that while it was acceptable for the lower orders to hurl epithets, rocks and similar at Ferraris and Porsches (and compulsory at BMWs), the Rolls—and to a certain extent the Bentley—was exempt.
—Michael, Pittsburgh, USA
The important question is could the hamster see over the dashboard while reaching the pedals?
—Phil Medway, Singapore, Singapore
Rolls Royce is a boring car made for sad people. Happy people drive Porsches!
—Simon, London, UK
# Posted by The Rat @ 4:37 PM
( 9:48 AM ) The Rat
TRADING PLACES. Interesting TNR piece on the future of American cities.
Race is not always the critical issue, or even especially relevant, in this demographic shift. Before September 11, 2001, the number of people living in Manhattan south of the World Trade Center was estimated at about 25,000. Today, it is approaching 50,000. Close to one-quarter of these people are couples (nearly always wealthy couples) with children. The average household size is actually larger in lower Manhattan than in the city as a whole. It is not mere fantasy to imagine that in, say, 2020, the southern tip of Manhattan will be a residential neighborhood with a modest residual presence of financial corporations and financial services jobs.
If you want to see this sort of thing writ large, you can venture just across the Canadian border to Vancouver, a city roughly the size of Washington, D.C. What makes it unusual—indeed, at this point unique in all of North America—is that roughly 20 percent of its residents live within a couple of square miles of each other in the city's center. Downtown Vancouver is a forest of slender, green, condo skyscrapers, many of them with three-story townhouse units forming a kind of podium at the base. Each morning, there are nearly as many people commuting out of the center to jobs in the suburbs as there are commuting in. Two public elementary schools have opened in downtown Vancouver in the past few years. A large proportion of the city's 600,000 residents, especially those with money, want to live downtown.
No American city looks like Vancouver at the moment. But quite a few are moving in this direction. Demographic inversions of one sort or another are occurring in urban pockets scattered all across America, many of them in seemingly unlikely places. Charlotte, North Carolina, is in the midst of a downtown building boom dominated by new mixed-use high-rise buildings, with office space on the bottom and condos or rental units above. Even at a moment of economic weakness, the condos are still selling briskly.
We are not witnessing the abandonment of the suburbs or a movement of millions of people back to the city all at once. But we are living at a moment in which the massive outward migration of the affluent that characterized the second half of the twentieth century is coming to an end. For several decades now, cities in the United States have wished for a "24/7" downtown, a place where people live as well as work, and keep the streets busy, interesting, and safe at all times of day. This is what urbanist Jane Jacobs preached in the 1960s, and it has long since become the accepted goal of urban planners. Only when significant numbers of people lived downtown, planners believed, could central cities regain their historic role as magnets for culture and as a source of identity and pride for the metropolitan areas they served. Now that's starting to happen, fueled by the changing mores of the young and by gasoline prices fast approaching $5-per-gallon. In many of its urbanized regions, an America that seemed destined for everincreasing individualization and sprawl is experimenting with new versions of community and sociability...
# Posted by The Rat @ 9:48 AM
( 6:44 AM ) The Rat
OLYMPIC OPENING USES GIRL'S VOICE, NOT FACE.
A 7-year-old Chinese girl's face was "not suitable" for the Olympics opening ceremony, so another little girl with a pixie smile lip-synched "Ode to the Motherland"—the latest example of the lengths Beijing took for a perfect start to the Summer Games.
A member of China's Politburo asked for the last-minute change to match one girl's face with another's voice, the ceremony's chief music director, Chen Qigang, said in an interview with Beijing Radio. "The audience will understand that it's in the national interest," Chen said in a video of the interview posted online Sunday night.
Lin Miaoke's performance Friday night, like the ceremony itself, was an immediate hit. "Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke becomes instant star with patriotic song," the China Daily newspaper headline said Tuesday. But the real voice behind the tiny, pigtailed girl in the red dress who wowed 91,000 spectators at the National Stadium on opening night really belonged to 7-year-old Yang Peiyi. Her looks apparently failed the cuteness test with officials organizing the ceremony, but Chen said her voice was judged the most beautiful.
During a live rehearsal soon before the ceremony, the Politburo member said Miaoke's voice "must change," Chen said in the radio interview. He didn't name the official. So Peiyi's voice was matched with Miaoke's face.
"We had to make that choice. It was fair both for Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi," Chen told Beijing Radio. "We combined the perfect voice and the perfect performance." Chen couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:44 AM
Sunday, August 10, 2008
( 3:42 PM ) The Rat
BEST SEARCH REQUEST IN QUITE SOME TIME: is there a secret giant plan to make all people with tea-colored skin
# Posted by The Rat @ 3:42 PM
Saturday, August 09, 2008
( 8:15 PM ) The Rat
AS OF NOW, this (official site here—but tonight was the closing night anyway) is the best theatrical production I've yet seen in London. This is on the basis of two criteria: 1) quality of the play (which means it easily trumps this and this, despite the phenomenal male leads in both; and also this, this and this), and 2) what-the-director-made-of-it (which is why it beat out this and this, even though they both weren't bad).
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:15 PM
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
( 8:54 PM ) The Rat
POSSIBLE SHAKESPEAREAN THEATER FOUND IN LONDON. Also reminiscent of this quote from the London Walks website: "I passed someone in a yellow safety hat the other day—she said she was excavating for the Museum of London. I said Where are you? She said About 1450."
The theater where "The Merchant of Venice" and "Romeo and Juliet" likely debuted and where William Shakespeare himself may have trodden the boards has likely been discovered in east London, archaeologists at the Museum of London said Wednesday...
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:54 PM
( 8:16 PM ) The Rat
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FREQUENT FLYER FEES. Handily integrated chart, compiled jointly by SmarterTravel, Airfarewatchdog, and FrequentFlier. Ratty has learned to channel her OCD into accumulating frequent-flier miles, which explains how she was able to score Newark-Heathrow + Istanbul-Newark tickets for just US$61.20. (The flights "cost" 50K miles, but most were from credit-card bonuses of one kind or another—before this trip, I'd flown a lifetime total of only 5,590 miles on this airline [Continental]. Point being, that these things are very much worth your time—even despite the new penalties, and even if, like me, you don't actually fly all that often.)
# Posted by The Rat @ 8:16 PM
( 10:45 AM ) The Rat
WELCOME HOME OPERATION PURPLE CAMP.
[T]he Sierra Club, in conjunction with the National Military Family Association, hosts Operation Purple Camp each summer, allowing 10,000 kids the change to get in touch with nature at over 60 different week-long camps across the country. This might seem like an odd partnership, but the Sierra Club’s motto is to explore, enjoy and protect the wild places on the planet, and, according to Brittany McKee, the Sierra Club’s National Military Representative, the Sierra Club wanted to get people out in nature and realized there is an entire group (the kids) that is having to serve and could use a chance to be kids.
Many of the children attending have never been to summer camp, much less an island, or tried snorkeling or kayaking. Most told counselors that if they were not at camp they would be watching tv, playing video games or sleeping in.
Over half of the people in the audience have a loved one or partner currently serving. As Haegele put it, the camps are designed to provide a bit of brief respite and support-building for kids who have had to grow up faster than they may want. [...]
It was hard to be in the audience and not be moved. Kids who not only have the stress of not talking to a parent for months on end, but also have to take on extra chores and miss out on summer events because their care-giving parent no longer has time, were given a chance to let go and be kids in the great outdoors. Speaking with one family, whose father had been to Iraq twice, the camps are so important for the kids to allow them to release and find kids they can relate to. According to Barron, the first day of registration over 1,000 people applied, many waiting 6 hours for the site to catch up and allow new registrants. With over 12,000 applicants, and 10,000 attendees, Operation Purple was able to get almost every kid to camp this summer...
# Posted by The Rat @ 10:45 AM
( 6:19 AM ) The Rat
'BY CONTRAST, NO DOGS YAWNED DURING THE NON-YAWNING CONDITION.'
Dr Senju and his team wondered whether dogs—that are very skilled at reading human social cues—could read the human yawn signal, and set out to test the yawning capabilities of 29 canines.
The team created two conditions, each five minutes long, in which a person—who was a stranger to the dog—was sat in front of the animal and asked to call its name. Under the first condition, the stranger yawned once the dogs had made eye contact with them. "We gave dogs everything: visual and auditory stimulus to induce them to yawn," Dr Senju, told BBC News.
Under the second condition, the same procedure was followed, but this time the stranger opened and closed their mouth but did not yawn. This was a precaution to ensure that dogs were not responding to an open mouth, explained Dr Senju...
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:19 AM
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
( 7:39 AM ) The Rat
LIGHTS, CRANACH, ACTION! Found this after stumbling upon this at the Courtauld yesterday.
How did the good ladies of Wisteria Lane find themselves part of a show provoking interest among art historians internationally?
Conceived by Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives in its first season had an executive producer, Michael Edelstein, who had also studied art history at the University of California. As Edelstein recalls, once composer Danny Elfman (who wrote the music for The Simpsons) came on board to write the distinctive theme tune for Desperate Housewives, it raised the bar for the accompanying titles. "When Danny said 'yes' to us, we were thrilled and realised that we needed to find something that would live up to his music."
Numerous titling companies were considered and the winner was yU+co, whose director on the project, Yolanda Santosa, worked with the firm’s creative director Garson Yu. Santosa, who has since moved on to launch her own Los Angeles-based branding agency, remembers the assignment well. "Marc Cherry knew he wanted to start with Adam and Eve because Eve is the first woman," says Santosa, "and she's the first desperate woman"...
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:39 AM
Monday, August 04, 2008
( 6:41 PM ) The Rat
The music from Bach's pen of course just poured out—it had to, being required as he was, once he arrived at St. Thomas's in Leipzig, to produce a cantata for every Sunday and feast day of the ecclesiastical year, leaving out Lent, which meant somewhere in the region of sixty cantatas a year. The story goes that he was once asked how he came up with all his melodies. And Bach is said to have replied, 'Well, I wake up in the morning, I get out of bed, and I step on them.'
—from a recent BBC 3 broadcast
# Posted by The Rat @ 6:41 PM
Friday, August 01, 2008
( 7:18 PM ) The Rat
WHY DO AMERICANS INSIST ON BUYING CHEAP CRAP? Via Consumerist.
# Posted by The Rat @ 7:18 PM