Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
We're all pretty familiar with the first three dimensions -- after all, we experience those dimensions daily as we move about our world. But scientists and mathematicians have long gone three dimensions using thought experiments, conceptualizing a fourth dimension -- and of course, to many more dimensions beyond. You may have heard of the fourth dimension via Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, which mentioned the tesseract, a four-dimensional "hypercube." In L'Engle's work, the tesseract had... READ ON
Frontline is a PBS documentary series that has consistently offered the best reporting on a huge range of topics for over 25 years. Since 1983, Frontline has produced more than 480 documentaries on everything from politics to religion to personal finance. I can enthusiastically say Frontline produces documentaries I like, though I will caution that their war coverage in recent years has been so grim that it's often hard to watch.
Starting in 1995, Frontline took much of its programming online,... READ ON
Today's awesomeness: excellent travel writing from Fred Scharmen, a man who spent six days aboard Dettifoss, a container ship. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel on a container ship, a sort of paid stowaway on a long, slow journey? Well, even if you haven't, I personally think about this a lot. Without further ado, here are some choice snippets from this engrossing travelogue:
The only break was when Goodman, the Second Officer, invited me to come visit the bridge: "That sign... READ ON
Us _floss bloggers are obsessed with Stanley Kubrick. And why not, with an endless stream of new Kubrick-related material hitting the web? Not a month goes by without some new bit of Kubricky goodness blessing my screen (most of it sourced from the excellent Coudal Partners "Stuff About Stanley Kubrick" Archive). This week, I thought I'd share a few choice Kubrick remix videos -- in which web people take material from Kubrick's films and make new, weird stuff from them. First, a re-cut of the trailer... READ ON
In 2007, a young man by the name of Ryan Giesel created a Facebook group called If 100,000 people join, I'll eat every McDonald's value meal, #1-12. He wrote:
I will consume every value meal from McDonalds, starting with the Big Mac all the way to the Fish Fillet. I cannot get up, it will all be done in one sitting. I will consume every piece of food, but I can drink at my own discretion, I do not have to finish all twelve drinks. We will be recording this extravaganza for your viewing pleasures.... READ ON
In the late 1970's, director Werner Herzog made a bet with then-unknown director Errol Morris: if Morris ever finished his documentary Gates of Heaven, Herzog would literally eat his shoe. It may have seemed a safe bet for Herzog -- Gates is a very strange film: a slow, almost dreamlike documentary concerning a family's failing pet cemetery, and another man's thoughts on life and death, influenced by his day job running an animal rendering plant.
So, predictably, Morris finished his film, released... READ ON
I've pointed to nerdy analysis of Super Mario Brothers before. Back in February 2008, I came across a video that discussed Quantum Physics in Super Mario World, in which an anonymous blogger used a hacked Mario game to demonstrate a principal of theoretical quantum physics. Well, today we're moving from quantum physics to good old-fashioned regular physics. Specifically, the physics you learn in high school.
High school physics teacher Glenn Elert's students write something called The Physics... READ ON
Please excuse this field trip into total silliness, but the following two videos pretty much made my week. First up, animation genius Joe Nicolosi presents Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it). Yes, people, bask in the hilarious light of the Star Wars trilogy, pieced together from overheard snippets:
And now, a 3-year-old explaining the plot of Star Wars: Episode IV. Adorable and educational.
Hat tip to Boing Boing for the first... READ ON
Lawrence Lessig has been working in the area of copyright law for years. He's the go-to guy for explanations of what's wrong with copyright law, and how it might be changed to permit the kinds of uses that are already happening all around us (ahem, mashups, filesharing, remixes, etc.) while retaining important rights for copyright holders. Lessig recently wrote Remix, an appeal for reason against a system that criminalizes today's children, making remixing illegal. Lessig recently made an appearance on... READ ON
Last week, President Bush declared large parts of the Pacific Ocean as marine national monuments, permanently restricting commercial usage (like fishing and oil exploration) in those areas. Described as "vast," the protected areas total more than 195,000 square miles, which the New York Times reminds us is "an area larger than the states of Washington and Oregon combined" and also "bigger than California." Involved in the decision to protect those waters was Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, an oceanographer who has... READ ON
Thomas Jefferson wrote parts of the Declaration of Independence in a Philadelphia tavern.