"Like something straight out of a Jules Verne novel, an enormous tentacled creature looms out of the inky blackness of the deep Pacific waters. But this isn't science fiction. A set of extraordinary images captured by Japanese scientists marks the first-ever record of a live giant squid in the wild.The animal, which measures roughly 25 feet, was photographed 2,950 feet beneath the North Pacific Ocean."

Maine Fall Foliage Update!

"Maine Foliage Continues to Turn from North to South"

"AUGUSTA, Maine - Foliage in northern Maine and in border communities in the central part of the state is half way toward peak color according to the Maine Department of Conservation's (DOC) third 2005 fall foliage report.

Forest and park rangers are reporting moderate leaf color, ranging from 30 to 50 percent toward peak, in the foliage tracking zones covering all of Aroostook County, and the northern portions of Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset counties. Good weather in those areas has led to leaf drop of 30 percent or less thus far.

"The colors on Quaggy Joe Mountain and around Echo Lake are beautiful," said Aroostook State Park Manager Fritz Appleby. The park is located off of Route 1 south of Presque Isle.

Rangers have also observed increased color further south along Route 1 in towns along the New Brunswick, Canada border. In those areas and in the western mountains region along the Quebec, Canada border, leaf color is now as much as 30 percent toward peak. Foliage in the remainder of the state remains at less than 10 percent toward peak.

To provide the most accurate foliage information, DOC rangers will report conditions statewide every Wednesday through Oct. 12. Updated reports and information can also be obtained by calling the Maine foliage hotline at 1-888-MAINE-45. Learn more about Maine's fall touring routes and outdoor activities at www.visitmaine.com."

Today's strange but adorable moment...

"Animal Acts is a picture gallery of unusual relationships between animals.There are also pictures of animals just behaving [*VERY*] silly."

Um, actually, there are two such moments today...
(the one at right from Boing Boing)

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Satoogle Face

Satoogle Face "is like Google Maps but all you can see is a face. You can zoom in and out and even look at an X-Ray of the face. It's really very weird."

"Death in Venice"

Death in Venice: The Parody (from grow-a-brain)

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Newsflash: "Odysseus's tomb found?"

Odysseus's tomb found? (from MetaFilter): "The tomb of Odysseus may have been found on the island of Kefalonia, near the island now known as Ithaca, which means that Poros may have been the Ithaca described in The Odyssey."


From Sunday's news: "VENETIAN FIND"

Lexington Herald-Leader 09/25/2005: "VENETIAN FIND"



"The world is a wonderful book, but is of little use to those who cannot read."

-Carlo Goldoni, Venetian playwright, 1707-1793

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Newsflash: How do they name hurricanes? What happens if they run out of names??

Hurricane Beta on the way? Names for storms, hurricanes running out

(from Metafilter)

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There's nothing to see at this site...

http://WWW.IIIIIIII.COM: "There's nothing to see at all at this site. Absolutely nothing. But you'll soon realize that the site does exactly what the url says. You'll need sound."

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The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA)

Just what it says... The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA)!

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Beautiful, funny & out-of-the-ordinary photos of Maine... Enjoy!

Just a sample of some great Maine photography from The Thing of the Moment:

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While my ukulele gently weeps...

I thought this was going to be schlocky, but turns out that it's incredibly beautiful... Seriously! Enjoy!!

(from grow-a-brain)

Not to mention that Jake Shimabukuro's debut album Dragon is coming out on Oct. 4, and he's going to be playing near Boston (Somerville) on Oct. 26 and at Saint Anselm College in NH on Oct. 28!!

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The Personal Politics Quiz

I'm not sure I'd label myself quite the same way, but otherwise this little quiz doesn't seem too bad at all... Try it for yourself! Whatcha think?? (from Dappled Things)

OkCupid's Politics Test

You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(10% permissive)

You are best described as a:


You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.


"Which cuisine are you?" Quiz

Most of the questions aren't even about food, but the quiz came up with this rather "surprising" result anyway! :-)

You Are Italian Food

Comforting yet overwhelming.
People love you, but sometimes you're just too much.

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From planettom:
"Instant Science Fiction Novel!"

planettom: Instant Science Fiction Novel!

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Getting the blog back up to speed...

Gentle Readers,

Thank you for your patience this past month as I've tried to return to a regular posting schedule at the beginning of this new semester! I'm nearly there, I think. In fact, this past month, I've been very undisciplined about categorizing my posts on del.icio.us, but I'm trying to fix that as we speak (or write, as the case may be...)

Then, I need to carve out the time to get back to writing you prose once more!

Thanks again for your kind attention and patience!

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Beware of Dog...

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For what it's worth...
More personality quizzes!

This one's based on only three questions... Whatcha think?

Your Personality Is

Rational (NT)

You are both logical and creative. You are full of ideas.
You are so rational that you analyze everything. This drives people a little crazy!

Intelligence is important to you. You always like to be around smart people.
In fact, you're often a little short with people who don't impress you mentally.

You seem distant to some - but it's usually because you're deep in thought.
Those who understand you best are fellow Rationals.

In love, you tend to approach things with logic. You seek a compatible mate - who is also very intelligent.

At work, you tend to gravitate toward idea building careers - like programming, medicine, or academia.

With others, you are very honest and direct. People often can't take your criticism well.

As far as your looks go, you're coasting on what you were born with. You think fashion is silly.

On weekends, you spend most of your time thinking, experimenting with new ideas, or learning new things.


"What cute animal are you?" Quiz

Another "for what it's worth"... What's your hidden adorable creature? Some friends of mine used to think I was an otter in a past life, and though I'm not really a big swimmer, I am rather positively buoyant...
You Are A: Lamb!

lambPeaceful and gentle, lambs have been used in religious imagery for millennia. Lambs are baby sheep, an animal tended by shephards since the dawn of history. As a lamb, you tend to stay together in a flock and graze on grassy land. Lambs don't mind being led and tend not to go off on their own.

You were almost a: Pony or a Puppy
You are least like a: Frog or a Mouse
What Cute Animal Are You?

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What's your pirate name?

In honor of Dale Brooker... (and yer new name is what, arrrr?)

My pirate name is:

Calico Ethel Bonney

Often indecisive, you can't even choose a favorite color. You're apt to follow wherever the wind blows you, just like Calico Jack Rackham, your namesake. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.



"Trivia: The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns" (!)
(from Clark Howard's Travel e-Scapes)


"With Net's help, musings go on a world tour..."

With Net's help, musings go on a world tour

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UPDATED: Artists erect giant pink bunny on Italian mountain

This doesn't seem possible... but who knows?

I stand corrected... Here's the poster!

(Darn... there was a fair, food and drink, dancing and music, and--not to mention--a 200-foot giant crocheted pink rabbit... Sorry I missed it!!)

And the rabbit itself? Tom sends a view of it already mounted by brave hikers. Note, he observes, the entrails...

The press release from the Gelitin art group reads,

"The things one finds wandering in a landscape: familiar things and utterly unknown, like a flower one has never seen before, or, as Columbus discovered, an inexplicable continent; and then, behind a hill, as if knitted by giant grandmothers, lies this vast rabbit, to make you feel as small as a daisy. The toilet-paper-pink creature lies on its back: a rabbit-mountain like Gulliver in Lilliput. Happy you feel as you climb up along its ears, almost falling into its cavernous mouth, to the belly-summit and look out over the pink woolen landscape of the rabbit's body, a country dropped from the sky; ears and limbs sneaking into the distance; from its side flowing heart, liver and intestines. Happily in love you step down the decaying corpse, through the wound, now small like a maggot, over woolen kidney and bowel. Happy you leave like the larva that gets its wings from an innocent carcass at the roadside. Such is the happiness which made this rabbit. i love the rabbit the rabbit loves me."

Oooh... I want one! :-)

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A million people stay up all night to taste some culture in Rome!

A great idea! I'd love to see some other cities do the same!!

(Though it'd be tough to match Rome's grandeur...)

"Roman 'White Night' beats the rain: A million people stay up all night to taste some culture"

(from ANSA)

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The last words of Pope John Paul II

ANSA.it - The last words of John Paul II

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The latest from the "did you know this?" department...

Our moon has at least twelve different names in English (some a bit more poetic than others...)

More on the "Harvest Moon" here...

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Forensic Astronomy?

"Forensic Astronomy is the practice of using astronomy in legal cases to find the exact lighting conditions existing during a crime. It was used in a case in 1857 by a U.S. President. Lately, forensic astronomers are using their practice to find out all sorts of things. One astronomer has recently figured out just when exactly the Autumn Moon rose over the High Sierra. This [past] Thursday, should you [have] happen[ed] to find yourself at Glacier Point, you [could] see exactly what Ansel [Adams] saw."


Katrina: A Man-Made Disaster

"Katrina: The anatomy of a man-made disaster"


"What is your worldview?"
(Can a fable reveal the truth?)

What Is Your World View?

"You are a fairly broadminded, romantic and reasonably content.

You value kindness and try to live by your ideals.

You have strong need for security, which may be either emotional or material.

You respect truth and are flexible.

You like people, and they can readily make friends with you.

You are not very adventurous, but this does not bother you."


Away for the weekend...

Gentle readers,

Thank you for your patience these last couple of weeks while I adjust to a new schedule at the start of a new semester!

In addition, I just wanted to let you know that, chances are, there'll be no postings on Saturday... Though I live in Maine, I've never seen moose in the wild, so we're going on an organized trip. However, the usually rather docile "Alces alces" is really only particularly active during mating season, and so this outing has the rather unfortunate title of the "moose rut," leading my very best friends to ask if we're looking for pointers. (A: Um, no.)

See you next week!
Thanks again!!

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BookCrossing In Cultural Theory: Take the Survey!

"Here's an easy way to touch base with your inner student — help a Doctoral candidate and talk about BookCrossing all in one swoop.

BookCrossing member Lynne McNeill — a.k.a.
CrazyCatLady — is a Doctoral student in Folklore Studies with Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is writing her dissertation on BookCrossing and other similar activities such as GeoCaching and LetterBoxing. As she notes, 'BookCrossing is an excellent example of a whole class of contemporary activities that deal with the concepts of travel, space, and community in a global society.'

You can help out and be a part of the research by taking the survey at https://beta.sjcme.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=695711209594. More information about Lynne's doctoral dissertation project and contact information can also be found at the link. Your participation is voluntary and your information confidential."


Your ideal career?

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.
(Of course, I'm simultaneously "artistically-challenged"... *sigh*)



"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."
- Edward Abbey


Signs of Intelligence: "Monkeys See More Than a Stranger in the Mirror"

Monkeys See More Than a Stranger in the Mirror: "Two animal species--dolfins, and our closest genetic cousins, chimpanzees--have demonstrated full self-recognition when looking in mirrors. When chimps see a mirror, they immediately examine two body parts they usually never see--the inside of their mouths and their behinds."
(from The Week magazine, August 12 2005)


"This is really weird. Follow the rules..."

This is really weird...

(I don't know if it's true, but it is kinda fun...)

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"I could have taught more," Pablo Tac--a nineteenth-century Native American brought to Rome to study to become a missionary--wrote, "but who could teach others what they don't know? What I knew, I taught. What I didn't know, I've left. Better to be quiet than saying lies."


Writers on Venice

"My beautiful, my own
My only Venice-this is breath! Thy breeze
Thine Adrian sea-breeze, how it fans my face!
Thy very winds feel native to my veins,
And cool them into calmness!"
-Lord Byron, "The Two Foscari"

"Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy."
-Lord Byron, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"

"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go."
-Truman Capote

"Until it seems the whole city (Venice-Venus)
will be covered with gold pollen shaken
from the bell-towers, lilies plundered
with the weight of massive bees . . ."
- Hilda Doolittle, "Tribute to the Angels"

"It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone."
- Erica Jong

"White swan of cities slumbering in thy nest . . .
White phantom city, whose untrodden streets
Are rivers, and whose pavements are the shifting
Shadows of the palaces and strips of sky."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Venice"

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"If you were a dog, what kind would you be?"

"Ever wondered what your inner dog breed was? Now you can find out. Just go to this link, click on the 'What dog are you?' game link, answer 10 short questions and you will find out. Also included is a short description of the breed, the breed's origin, and a picture of your new dog self." (from Internet Scout Project Weblog)

Not to mention they've got a fun little interface!

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Dictionaraoke: Over 30 of your favorite songs, "as performed by the audio pronunciation samples from online dictionaries." (from The Singing Dictionary (via MetaFilter)

Including, of course, "Michelle"!

(Cute, but doesn't quite rock like "The Girl from Ipanema," "What's New, Pussycat?", or especially "Another Brick in the Wall" though...)

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"New Orleans' Flood in Your City" (from MetaFilter)

New Orleans Flood in Your City MetaFilter: "Map overlays of the New Orleans flood over various US cities."

The latest from the "now, this is extremely nasty" department...

"A gross creature which gobbles up a fish's tongue and then replaces it with its own body has been found in Britain for the first time. The bug, which has the scientific name cymothoa exigua, was discovered inside the mouth of a red snapper bought from a London fishmonger.

The 3.5 cm creature had grabbed onto the fish's tongue and slowly ate away at it until only a stub was left. It then latched onto the stub and became the fish's 'replacement tongue.'"

UPDATED (9/16): Um, there's even a photo...


"The Miniature Earth"

"If we could turn the population of the earth into a small community of 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today, it would be something like this:

61 Asians
12 Europeans
14 Americans (from North and South America)
13 Africans
01 Australian (Oceania)

50 women
50 men

67 are not Christian
33 are Christian (Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox)

6 people own 59% of the entire wealth of the community
13 are hungry or malnourished
14 can't read
only 7 are educated at a secondary level

Of the village's total annual expenditures of just over US$ 3,000,000 per year:
US$ 181,000 is spent on weapons and warfare...
US$ 159,000 is spent on education...
US$ 132,000 is spent on health care.

If you keep your food in a refrigerator and your clothes in a closet, you are richer than 75% of the entire world population.

If you have a bank account, you're one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world.

25 struggle to live on US$ 1.00 per day or less...
47 struggle to live on US$ 2.00 per day or less."


"Venice Film Festival Highlights New Cinematic Endeavors"

====== In The News ====
"Venice Film Festival Highlights New Cinematic Endeavors
Movies offer us a brief few hours of respite from the everyday toil of life, and whether they are comedic or dramatic in their general orientation, they remain a fairly common form of entertainment and artistic expression from Singapore to the Silicon Valley. Film festivals, whether they are in the South of France or the American South, offer a concentrated and highly dynamic environment where a myriad of persons involved in the cinematic process come together, and the media dutifully follows. For the past week or so, many of these personages have come together at the Venice Film Festival (the oldest such festival in the world), which concludes on September 10th. Some of the films featured include a new “blue-collar musical” by noted auteur and actor John Turturro, George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck”, and Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain”. Another film that has garnered considerable attention is the film adaptation of the Pulitzer-Prize winning play, “Proof”, authored by David Auburn. Regardless of the stiff competition at the festival, only one film will be awarded the highly coveted Golden Lion, which will be handed out on the final day of the festival. The first link leads to news story from the San Francisco Examiner that provides some details on director John Turturro’s Venice Film Festival entry, “Romance & Cigarettes”. The second link will take visitors to a story from the CBC on Terry Gilliam’s hope that his latest film, The Brothers Grimm, will find a more welcoming and critical audience in Venice than it has thus far in both the US and Canada. The third link leads to some nice reporting on some of the Festival’s films from the Guardian’s own Geoffrey McNab. The fourth link will lead users to the homepage of the Festival, where interested parties can peruse information about the general schedule of films, along with news releases directly from their headquarters. The fifth link leads to the very thorough Film Festivals website, which provides a host of material on all of the major film festivals across the globe, along with an extensive archive of previous coverage that dates back to 1995. The final link leads to the official homepage for the film “Proof”. Here visitors can watch a short preview of the forthcoming film and learn a bit more about the general contours of the film’s plot. [KMG]"
(from The Scout Report 11/36, September 9, 2005)

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"Is that airline safe?"

"A sudden wake of airline crashes has moved the European Union to compilea list of 'blacklisted' airlines they believe travelers should avoid.But there are now a number of resources which track airline safety forconsumers. The most regarded list is compiled by the International Air Transport Association. Launched in 2001, the IATA's "Operational Safety Audit"currently lists 58 carriers that have met its test. Audits are validfor two years and after that an airline is re-examined. Examinations include sending out a team of six experts for a five-day period toinspect all aspects of operation - from mechanics to management andcargo to cabin. The airline is deemed to meet international standards after being given one year to correct any problems found. Not every one of the 250 worldwide airlines are involved in voluntary audits which makes ranking all airlines nearly impossible. The list will slowly grow as pressure is applied for more international standards. Consumers can consult the list at http://www.iata.org/iosa/registry"
(from Clark Howard's Travel e-Scapes
- 8 September)

Itailan bleeding statue not miracle

ANSA.it - Bleeding statue not miracle

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My question this week to "Ask Metafilter"

A couple of weeks ago, I asked a question about "The European" newspaper, published from 1990-1999. Actually, the reason why I asked is because, in the name of fostering European understanding, they had asked readers for jokes which didn't target a specific nationality. Seems that such jokes are rare, because what they tended to get were jokes that made fun of absolutely EVERYBODY (along the lines of the famous "Heaven and Hell in Europe", for example). I've been trying to find these. Any suggestions where I might be able to find this old content of "The European" newspaper, or else any other good suggestions for similar jokes? A good one that I've been trying to remember how it all goes involves a sinking ship filled with international passengers, but which doesn't have enough lifeboats..." [more]

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More horror stories from Katrina
(from Metafilter)

"Blair apologizes to Britons caught in New Orleans during Katrina. The British Foreign Office was repeatedly "rebuffed" by both US State Department and Louisiana state officials when it came to getting their own citizens out. Some US rescuers even took photos of stranded Britons, and asked them to flash their tops (a la Mardi Gras)...leaving without them when they wouldn't comply. British nationals were left to fend for themselves as US citizens were given priority for evacuation. Get ready for more stories like this as foreign nationals who survived Katrina make it home."

(posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:43 PM PST
[60 comments total])

I can only pray that these "show me" stories aren't true...


More on Cuba & Hurricanes
(from Metafilter)

"Weathering the Storm: Lessons in Hurricane Risk Reduction from Cuba [pdf] Oxfam America report described Cuba's community-based response system in April 2004, five months before category 5 hurricane Ivan tore across the island but resulted in zero deaths. From Medicc Review: 'Of those evacuated, fully 78%... were sheltered in the homes of family, friends or neighbors. 8,026 tourists were transferred to safe areas. 359,644 boarding school students were transferred to their homes. 898,160 farm animals in vulnerable areas were moved to safer ground.' The International Red Cross had similar praise for Cuba's planning after Hurricane Michelle in 2001: 'The contrast between events in Cuba and earlier disasters, such as Hurricanes Mitch and Georges in 1998 and the floods in Venezuela in 1999, is enormous...'"
(posted by mediareport at 8:34 PM PST
26 comments total])

"Michellaneous" fun from The Presurfer

  • "Are you concerned about where you are going to arrive if you dig a very deep straight infinite hole on Earth? Your problems are solved! This is another funny Google Maps application. Surf on the map, find where you will dig your hole and click there. After this, click on 'Dig here!' and you will see the place where, one day, you will put your feet..."

  • "Do you want a unique portrait of your very own DNA? DNA11 creates DNA portraits through an extraordinary combination of science and art. The process begins with the DNA being collected using a patented, non-invasive technique: depositing your saliva into a tube..."

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QUIZ: What is your brain's pattern?

Your Brain's Pattern

You have a tempered, reasonable way of thinking.
You tend to take every new idea in, and meld it with your world view.
For you, everything is always changing. Each moment is different.
Your thinking process tends to be very natural - with no beginnings or endings.

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Murphy's Law Calculator

"Murphy's Law (If anything can go wrong, it will) was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base. It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, a project designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. With the Murphy's Law Calculator you can find out in advance whether you will be able to successfully repair your VCR, get to a meeting on time, impress your date, or be a success at any activity whatsoever. There are five factor to deal with: urgency, importance, complexity, skill and frequency. Each factor can be rated from 1 to 9." (from The Presurfer)

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Well-Travelled Gargoyle Comes Home to Vermont

"Sally Beyor noticed he was gone in mid-June. One of the two gargoyles that have sat atop the stone pillars at the end of her Fairfax driveway for two years had disappeared. She called her lawyer to make a note of it and then wrote off the incident to pranksters.

It turned out that the gargoyle was simply taking a vacation. Perhaps inspired by the French film 'Amelie' or the traveling lawn gnome in the Travelocity.com commercials, this gargoyle had an adventure of his own. He returned to the same pillar top in mid-August as if nothing had happened.

'I was sitting outside having coffee with my tenant ... when he looks up and says, 'Hey, the gargoyle's back,' Beyor said. Beyor replied, 'Maybe there's a note,' and to her surprise, there was.

'Had a great trip. It's good to be home! Gargy,' said the note that also came with a $20 bill and photos of his trip." [
more from The Rapid City Journal]

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"Venice could be Italy's New Orleans"

ANSA.it -Venice could be Italy's New Orleans


"Doomed Cities": New Orleans and Venice (from CBS News)

CBS News The Doomed Cities September 2, 2005


"The Director Who Films Your Life" Test

Sofia Coppola
Your film will be 78% romantic, 31% comedy, 37% complex plot, and a $ 31 million budget.

Relatively inexperienced (The Virgin Suicides, Lost In Translation) as a director, but already highly respected and connected -- her dad, Francis, directed all The Godfather movies, Apocalypse Now. Also, at last word she's dating Quentin Tarantino, so I'm sure he'll have some input into the substance of your film. Sofia's good at making the romantic drama that is your life. Who didn't have at least a lump in the throat at the end of Lost In Translation? She's already won one Academy Award for her writing, now she'll be the first woman to receive one for directing -- YOUR FILM!

Which of 24 famous directors would be best for making the movie of your life?

Find out at The Director Who Films Your Life Test.

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Venice's Regata Storica (from Metafilter)

"Yesterday Venice had its annual Historical Regatta, a traditional rowing competition whose origins date back to the 13th century and is held each year on the first Sunday of September. As it coincided with the Venice Film Festival, photographers were probably busier snapping pictures of George Clooney and fellow stars... so there's not much online about this year's event yet [like the photo above] but for your visual enjoyment here's a quick selection of images from past editions of the regata (more from this gallery of last year's event), showing both the rowers in the actual competition as well as the historical parade in traditional costumes; a few black and white images from the past (sorry, small and not good quality but still interesting): the regata in 1918, in 1956, in 1969, and in the 1970's; and, from the age before photography, famous paintings and engravings."

(posted by funambulist on Metafilter at 3:26 AM PST
[2 comments total

The race course of the Regata Storica follows the full length of Venice's Grand Canal. Venetians row rather oddly... Traditionally, they stand up rather than sit down (that way they could make out better the narrow navigable channels which wind their ways through the Venetian lagoon). And they don't just row gondolas either! Every year for the Regata, there are traditional youths' races in pupparini, women's races in mascarete, team races in 6-man caorline and the climax with men's races in streamlined racing gondolini. (You can even get a sense of what these different traditional boats are like on the website of the rowing club of Venice's Giudecca island here!)

According to today's Gazzettino newspaper of Venice, this past year there was also a new contest between the city's rowing clubs in 4-man gondolas (won by our own nearest rowing club, the Remiera Casteo) and a challenge in galeoni (which hold eight rowers and a steersman) between the University of Venice at Ca' Foscari and the city's architectural university (IUAV). UVe won, and all its student team members apparently earned a tuition-free year as a result! The rectors of the two universities hope to open the competition up next year to other Italian and foreign universities, so be sure to start training now!!


"Katrina's real name: global warming" (link from "cyberpunk" author Bruce Sterling)

Snip from Boston Globe story by Ross Gelbspan:

Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.

Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.

In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations and lobbying campaign. In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory yet when President George W. Bush was elected president -- and subsequently took suggestions from the industry for his climate and energy policies.

As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we have already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change.

Against this background, the ignorance of the American public about global warming stands out as an indictment of the US media.

(Thanks, Bruce Sterling)

A related item, from a 2001 National Geographic story:

[T]he North Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico regions can expect increased hurricane activity in the next 10 to 40 years. The number of major hurricanes has more than doubled in the last six years. The increase is part of a long-term climate shift that is likely to persist for several decades..."

(from Boing Boing, posted by Xeni Jardin at 03:14:46 PM)


Borders' Coupon: 20% Off TOTAL PURCHASE for Students!!

Borders - Feature - students

Anecdote on civil defense in Cuba"

Don't know how accurate all this is, but it certainly gives food for a lot of thought...

  • "less than 2 months ago, cuba was able to move 1.7 million people on short notice.
  • the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. people know ahead of time where they are to go.
  • they come to your door and knock, and tell you, evacuation is coming, then they come and tell you, now.
  • if no electricity, they have runners who communicate from a headquarters to central locations what is to be done.
  • the country's leaders go on TV and take charge. but not only the leaders are speaking. the TV weatherpeople are knowledgeable. and the population is well educated about hurricanes.
  • they not only evacuate. it's arranged beforehand where they will go, who has family where. not only pickup is organized, delivery of people is organized.
  • merely sticking them in a stadium is unthinkable. shelters all have medical personnel, from the neighborhood. they have family doctors in cuba (!), who evacuate together with the neighborhood, and already know who, for example, needs insulin.
  • if they evacuate to a countryside high school -- a last resort -- they have dormitories there.
  • they also have veterinarians and they evacuate animals. they begin evacuating immediately, and also evacuate TV sets and refrigerators, so that people aren't relucatant to leave because people might steal their stuff.
  • it's not throwing money at the problem. it's not financial capital, it's social capital. the u.s. in this sense has zero social capital.
  • dealing with hurricanes in cuba, as compared with how it's done in the u.s., is similar to the differences in how they deal with medicine. it's not reactive; it's proactive. they act as early as possible. the u.s. doesn't have civil defense, it has civil *reaction.* "

(more from Boing Boing)


"18-year-old 'pirates' a school bus, rescues 100 from NOLA"

"Eighteen-year-old Jabbor Gibson jumped aboard the bus as it sat abandoned on a street in New Orleans and took control. 'I just took the bus and drove all the way here... seven hours straight,' Gibson admitted. 'I hadn't ever drove a bus.' The teen packed it full of complete strangers and drove to Houston. He beat thousands of evacuees slated to arrive there. Authorities eventually allowed the renegade passengers inside the dome. But the 18-year-old who ensured their safety could find himself in a world of trouble for stealing the school bus. 'I dont care if I get blamed for it,' Gibson said, 'as long as I saved my people.'"

"Bird's Eye View of Destruction"

"If you go to Google Maps and type in 'New Orleans,' you'll see that along with 'map,' 'satellite' and 'hybrid,' a red "Katrina" tab has been added." (from The Presurfer)

Bird's Eye View of Destruction (from MetaFilter):
Post-Katrina [aerial] images are now available on Google Maps. Click 'satellite' to see the before. Here's Superdome. Here's Highway 610 disappearing into the water, abandoned cars littering it. via Google Sightseeing." (posted by Kattullus at 8:02 PM PST) [15 comments total]