Friday, July 20, 2012

Best of the Week #68

I have been getting things done this week. Namely, a brand spanking new Satellite Sentinel Project report. BAM.  I worked a ton on all of the aspects of this report, so read the blog post: "Satellite Sentinel Project Solves Mystery of Sudan Cellphone Video." 

I may be biased, but I really think this is a legitimately cool project – satellite imagery, eyewitness reports, videos, photos, oh my!
  • Few have ever heard of the Nuba Mountains village of Um Bartumbu, and fewer still have been there. It is located in the conflict-torn state of South Kordofan, Sudan, where troops fighting for the government of Sudan, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North, or SPLM/A-N, have been fighting since June 2011. Um Bartumbu Village does not appear on most maps, but it hosts a clinic, a mosque, Sudanese Church of Christ, several storerooms, a communal grinding mill, and copses of desert date trees. But for new eyewitness reports obtained by citizen journalists, the recent discovery and release of a cellphone video, and new confirmation from DigitalGlobe and Landsat satellite imagery, the world would never know of the razing of the village and the forced flight of its inhabitants. (read more)
My most popular post this week was the Zucchini Apricot Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Glaze, and it was picked up by the Christian Science Monitor! :)

I’m hopping on the apricot train and planning to make something truly epic this weekend – a mash-up of this pistachio cake, and this peach cake, but with apricots. Yummmmmm.

And now for the Best of the Week!

Probably one of the better uses of a law degree – “Is Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems’ Legally Accurate? A Law Professor Explains in Line-by-Line Reading.

I’ve read 46 out of the “101 Books We Can’t Live Without.” And another book list - I've read 16 of these: “88 books that shaped America, at the Library of Congress.”

I don’t love the caption, but I want to find a way to work this image into my daily life.


Word of the week, brought to you by LOTR-Emily:
  • Empyrean – n. – The highest heaven or ultimate bliss. "The new espresso machine in the office made Emily feel like she had reached a state of empyrean."  
Things I’ve never thought about: “How the Gorgeous, Sometimes Fictional Sound of the Olympics Gets Made”  It’s a mix of microphones in crazy places and faking it!
  • "But, it probably goes back to the movie Robin Hood, I have a memory of the sound and I have an expectation. So I was going, 'What would be really really cool in archery to take it up a notch?' And the obvious thing was the sound of the arrow going through the air to the target. The pfft-pfft-pfft type of sound. So we looked at this little thing, a boundary microphone, that would lay flat, it was flatter than a pack of cigarettes, and I put a little windshield on it, and I put it on the ground between the athlete and the target and it completely opened up the sound to something completely different." 
  • Just to walk through the logic: based on the sound of arrows in a fictional Kevin Costner movie, Baxter created the sonic experience of sitting between the archer and the target, something no live spectator could do. 
  • "That afternoon we went out on a canoe with a couple of rowers recorded stereo samples of the different type of effects that would be somewhat typical of an event," Baxter recalls. "And then we loaded those recordings into a sampler and played them back to cover the shots of the boats."
  • The real sound, of course, would have included engine noises and a helicopter whirring overhead. The fake sound seemed normal, just oars sliding into water. In a sense, the real sound was as much of a human creation as the fake sound, and probably a lot less pleasant to listen to.
You thought we were done with this whole “Call Me Maybe” thing…but oh wow I love this on 3 levels: 1) It’s “Call Me Maybe;” 2) “Pamplemousse” means grapefruit in French and is one of my all-time favorite words (just behind “murmur”); and 3) I really like Pamplemousse the band in general.

Hallelujah  - because a world without bras would be a sad world indeed. “World’s Oldest Known Bra Found.”

An interesting paragraph in this interview with Junot Diaz (author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao):
  • Another reason for the fiancée’s absence, of course, has to do with one of the story’s Big Themes. A large part of Yunior’s problem as a character is that he suffers from that most typical of masculine deficiencies: an inability or unwillingness to imagine the women in his life as fully human. He really can’t see the woman he messes with, not really. I don’t present the fiancée because Yunior never really saw her in the first place. Part of what happens to Yunior in this story is that by the end he begins to address that socially acquired deficiency—he actually starts to gain the ability to see women. Perhaps now, for the first time, he can cohere an authentically human self—but only future tales will tell.
I think I'm a mix of "optimist" and "realist."

Awesome infographic/video: "Lolo Jones, Cleared for Takeoff."

What would you do: Run in the Olympics for a country that killed 28 members of your family? Or NOT run in the Olympics at all? Read about it
  • Marial is also a refugee from Unity State, in what is now South Sudan - and therein lies the problem. Because South Sudan has no National Olympic Committee, and because Marial has chosen not to run for Sudan (whose security forces killed 28 members of his family), he has been left without a national Olympic sponsor.
Einstein gets yarn-bombed in DC!

  • People headed into the National Academy of Sciences this morning passed by a curious sight: The institution's memorial of Albert Einstein was covered in yarn from head to toe, resulting in a colorful oddity that greeted researchers and other staffers on their way into the office.

Awesome (but not in a good way) photos: “Colorado Wildfires Photos: The Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs.”

Interview with an author: “Caitlin Moran on How to Be a Woman, How to Be a Feminist.”
  • Unless you’re gone and handed back your vote to Parliament or wherever, all women in the first world are feminist by default.
  • "Because the purpose of feminism isn't to make a particular type of woman. The idea that there are inherently wrong and inherently right 'types' of women is what's screwed feminism for so long ... What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy, and smug they might be. Are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are."
  • Absolutely shaggy macaroons. [Editor's note: Ok so that’s not particularly relevant – just an awesome phrase.]
Good adulting advice:
  • Monologues about your stress level are right up there with discussing how your urinary tract is feeling. OK, it’s not nearly that bad, but both are topics best reserved for people who really, really love you or people who are being paid to help you solve this particular problem.
And finally, this article reminds me of my own brush with a wild alligator. “IN CASE OF ALLIGATOR ATTACK...” (Yes, this is a picture of me.)

Have a great weekend!