Space News

1. First rocky extrasolar planet discovered!

2. Water discovered on moon!

[click to enlarge]
3. This is only news to me, but I didn't know about the existence of Eris, Makemake, Haumea and Ceres. I especially didn't know that Ceres is suspected of having an ocean of liquid water below its surface and that in 2007 NASA launched the Dawn space probe to explore it in 2015!

See also:
How Many People Are In Space Right Now

2 Albums You've Never Heard

Someone couldn't wait for another Wes Anderson soundtrack so went ahead and made one themselves. Fortunately for us it's a pretty decent knock-off. Even better is that that someone was Nicholas Gurewitch, creator of the Perry Bible Fellowship, the most consistently funny comic strip I've ever seen online. Oh to be multitalented...

You can download it here.

Here's the tracklist:

1. Cumulus
2. Donovan - Hi It’s Been a Long Time
3. Andrew’s Waltz
4. The Kinks - So Long
5. Les Boréades - Piggies
6. Paul Simon - The Obvious Child
7. Artur Rubenstein - Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini - Var. #7
8. Belle and Sebastian - Fox in the Snow
9. With a Chance of Rain
10. Mike Berry and The Outlaws - Don’t You Think it’s Time
11. Hindi Beatles medley
12. The London Double Bass Sound - Moses Fantasy (paganini)
13. Ion Laceanu - Briu
14. The Rolling Stones - Mother’s Little Helper
15. The Flight of the Bumblebee* (Sinfonia Lahti Cello and Bass Ensemble) (Rimsky-Korsakov)
16. The Zombies - Beechwood Park
17. John Cale - Paris 1919
18. The Who - Can’t Explain
19. English Chamber Orchestra - Water Music Suite No. 2 in D
20. Sparks - Whipping and Apologies
21. Itzhak Perlman - Caprice #2 in B Minor by Paganini
22. The Damned - Jet Boy Jet Girl
23. The String Quartet - Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground)
24. Sigur Ros - Olsen Olsen

Listening to the State being interviewed on the Sound of Young America I learned they made an album that was declared unsuitable for release by Warner Brothers. Judge for yourself by downloading it here (although it's really only for State completists).

Elephant House

I just stumbled upon this great flickr set of Edward Gorey's home on Cape Cod (now a museum). A few years ago I was looking at a book of photos of his house that showed a small door at the back of a closet that led into a secret sunny room that housed his childrens book collection (sadly not a part of this flickr set). The man had so many books they had to shore up the beams holding the house up!

Here are some interesting tidbits from Wikipedia:

• Roomed with poet Frank O'Hara while studying French at Harvard.

• Although many people assumed he was English based upon his aesthetic, Gorey was American and had never visited Britain.

• In later years he wrote and directed numerous evening-length entertainments, often featuring his own papier-mâché puppets, in an ensemble known as La Theatricule Stoique.

• For many years he religiously attended all performances of the New York City Ballet.

• His knowledge of literature and films was unusually extensive, and in his interviews, he named Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Francis Bacon, George Balanchine, Balthus, Louis Feuillade, Ronald Firbank, Lady Murasaki Shikibu, Robert Musil, Yasujiro Ozu, Anthony Trollope, and Johannes Vermeer as some of his favorite artists.

• Gorey was also an unashamed pop-culture junkie, avidly following soap operas and TV comedies like Petticoat Junction and Cheers, and he had particular affection for dark genre series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman: The Animated Series, and The X-Files; he once told an interviewer that he so enjoyed the Batman series that it was influencing the visual style of one of his upcoming books.

• Although Gorey's books were popular with children, he did not associate with children much and had no particular fondness for them. Gorey never married, professed to have little interest in romance, and never discussed any specific romantic relationships in interviews. In the book The Strange Case of Edward Gorey, published after Gorey's death, his friend Alexander Theroux reported that when Gorey was pressed on the matter of his sexual orientation, he said that even he was not sure whether he was gay or straight. When asked what his sexual preferences were in an interview, he said,
“I'm neither one thing nor the other particularly. I am fortunate in that I am apparently reasonably undersexed or something...I've never said that I was gay and I've never said that I wasn't...what I'm trying to say is that I am a person before I am anything else...."

Know Your History

I really really try to not blatantly rip-off boingboing on a daily basis but this it too fantastic:

And it has an annotated version (swoon!):

This is the same guy who made a "premake" of Ghost Busters (sadly not as good). See also Steve Martin's underrated Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid:

It also reminded me of this fantastic Origins of the Moonwalk video (which along with my previously posted Little Prince video is a little damning for MJ):

Lastly there's the kids adaptation of Raiders (that I have and can give to you if you want it—call me) which I'm obligated to add:

Good night Amsterdam!

My New Favorite Font

Loyal readers will remember that my all time favorite font is Rad:

Today that has changed. Henceforth I will only be using Barf Bold:

End of message.

The Maria Bamford Show!

I just watched every one of these and wish there were more. Another person on my list of people I wish I was friends with (new tag!). I think this is the best web series I've ever seen. I'm going to rip each one off youtube before they disappear!

Season One
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Season Two
 [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

"I believe in the human mind's power to create 
fantasies that reassure itself in times of trouble."

Where No Man Has Gone Before

Oh Jesus. I just read this on the New Scientist website:
A recent finding by Sasha Kashlinsky at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, does not make sense. His team has found a group of galaxy clusters moving at an extraordinary speed towards a small patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela. Kashlinsky calls it the "dark flow", in tribute to those other cosmic mysteries dark matter and dark energy.

There is no obvious reason why the clusters should be moving at such breakneck speeds, unless they are experiencing an unusually strong pull from something beyond the visible horizon. But what? The most obvious answer is that there is something big out there, far bigger than anything in our known universe. Such a behemoth would impose a kind of "tilt" on the universe, causing matter to move in one particular direction - as observations of the dark flow suggest.

If such cosmic megastructures do exist, though, they merely replace one mystery with another. One of the foundation stones of cosmology is the Copernican principle, which says that there is nothing special about our region of the universe. So if there are megastructures beyond our horizon, there should be megastructures in our patch, too. We haven't seen any.

There are also suggestions that the pull might be from another universe altogether. That would be good news for proponents of eternal inflation theory, which suggests that the universe should actually be composed of "mini-universes" that have bubbled off from one another.

You and I however both know that beyond the edge of space is a giant electrical storm that after flying through for no good reason, gives god-like powers to those it doesn't kill:

Lovecraft / Doré / Ernst Mashup Illustrations

I just wandered across these illustrations for H.P. Lovecraft's literally awesome story At the Mountains of Madness from what I believe was a 1936 issue of Astounding Stories. Besides looking a little like Matt Diffee's New Yorker cartoons, they also reminded me of Gustave Doré's illustrations for Dante's Inferno. If no one does it soon I'm going to add making a collaged together Doré illustrated Lovecraft à la Ernst's Une Semaine de Bonté to my list of neverending art-projects!

Doré's illustrations of Dante and Virgil at the Gates of Hell: