November 29, 2014
How to make a hacked LED Pez Menorah "I've been making these for a few years now, and since people occasionally ask me how to make them I decided to document the process..." [via mefi projects]
"Maqamah is an old story in prose interspersed with poetry about the hero who is involved in different adventures. Towards the end of the story he disappears to show up in another guise in the next Maqamah (maqamah is singular from maqamat). So Maqamat is the collection of separate stories with unity in subject. Hariri’s Maqamat is one of the outstanding literary works of Arabic literature written in the 5th century." This is the introduction to an article on Hariri's Maqamat. You can read an English translation online in The Assemblies Of Al Hariri, Vol. I, translated by Thomas Chenery M.A. (1867) and Vol. II, translated by Dr. F. Steingass (1898), both on Archive.org. Hariri's Maqamat is heavily influenced by Hamadhani's Maqamat, considered to be the first collection of such writings, is also translated online (also on Archive.org). Both works include footnotes from the translators.
Kiese Laymon, American writer and Associate Professor of English at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, on the price of his Vassar College faculty ID. [more inside]
The school in Auckland with a radical 'no rules' policy (12:00; 2014) [via] has a little in common with the school in Framingham with a radical 'no curriculum' policy (9:13; 2009) [previously], which has a little in common with the self-directed IT school in Paris for ages 18 to 30 (2:13; 2014), which takes some inspiration from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (excerpt, 12:24; 1981).
A large, Yongle-Ming period Buddhist embroidery sold at auction this week for $45 million - the highest price ever paid for a piece of Asian art. The 11ft x 7ft (335cm x 213cm) silk & gold thread thangka from the early 15th century depicts "Raktayamari, a meditational deity in Mahayana Buddhism, in an embrace with his consort, Vajravetali." ~~~ Full screen hi-res zoom frame /// Short overview video /// NYTimes /// Note the 'Lot Notes' and 'Features' tabs in the main Christie's link (where there are overview/context essays too).
From the soon-to-be (and now actually) laid-off staff of Matt Taibbi's now-aborted magazine The Racket comes Racket Teen! Enjoy its collection of hip memes, hard-hitting cover stories, sexy freedom fighters, and deep investigative journalism, including the answer to the question that's been haunting us all: what really happened to Matt Taibbi?
I have come to the conclusion that anyone who thinks about Kafka for long enough inevitably develops a few singular, unassimilable and slightly silly convictions. (The graph may be parabolic, with the highest incidence of convictions – and the legal resonance is invited – found among those who have spent the most time thinking and those who have spent next to no time thinking.) My own such amateur conviction is that the life of Franz Kafka reads like a truly great comedy. I mean this (of course) in large part because of the tragedies in and around his life, and I mean it in the tradition of comedies like the final episode of Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder, which, after episode upon episode of darlings and foilings and cross-dressings, ends in 1917 with our not exactly heroes climbing out of their trench and running towards the enemy lines.—What kind of funny is he? is an essay by Rivka Galchen on Franz Kafka's life, based on the recently translated three-volume biography by Reiner Stach.
Remember the Sand Creek Massacre. "The 1864 murder of 200 innocent Indians is still largely forgotten. Many people think of the Civil War and America’s Indian wars as distinct subjects, one following the other. But those who study the Sand Creek Massacre know different." The Horrific Sand Creek Massacre Will Be Forgotten No More. "The opening of a national historic site in Colorado helps restore to public memory one of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated on Native Americans." [Previously]
Melvyn Bragg's been digging deep for more than 40 years. You may know In Our Time [previously], The South Bank Show [previouslier] or The Adventure of English. If you don't, you probably should. [more inside]
On Monday, the Supreme Court (with a recovering Ruth Bader Ginsburg) will hear argument in Elonis v. United States, a case where a man was convicted for posts and messages on Facebook that prosecutors treated as threats of actual violence. (trigger warning: descriptions of violence) [more inside]
Chespirito, the Mexican comic who set the tone for Latin American humor for decades, has died. [more inside]
Claudia Roden, the great chef-historian of Jewish food, believes that the detachable bits of ham and bacon that go into so many Spanish stews may – for secret Jews and Muslims alike – have served as a convenient way to appease the inquisitors when they called. In Majorca, as she notes in her book The Food of Spain, the "new Christians" conspicuously cooked large quantities of bacon out of doors in order to deflect suspicion. But for Grand Inquisitor Torquemada and his fellow kitchen sleuths, any man who bridled at a bacon butty would have instantly revealed his tainted blood.Labour leader Ed Miliband has consistently been mocked for being weird. Boyd Tonkin worries about the anti-semitic undertones of some of this criticism. [more inside]
Need to work off some of those extra Thanksgiving calories? Look no further than this Perfect Disco Workout featuring John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis.