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.
Today is International Animation Day, and YouTube is featuring some great animated films available on their site. My favorite is "Sita Sings the Blues," which is excellent, and has an amazing story behind it -- basically, the movie includes some old songs which ran into copyright troubles getting clearance for the songs (and the songs were critical to the movie), so the creator decided to give the movie away for free under a Creative Commons license. The movie is funny, sweet, and also informative. Note... READ ON
Update: the entire documentary is now available online for free!
A new PBS* documentary, The Botany of Desire, premieres Wednesday night (tonight!) at 8pm on PBS stations throughout the US. It's based on the popular Michael Pollan book of the same name, and I urge you to carve out two hours (in most markets between 8pm - 10pm) on Wednesday night to watch it. The program is packed with science, history, and beautiful photography.
I've seen the film in advance, and I highly recommend it,... READ ON
Here's a lovely blog consisting simply of old photos, advertisements, paintings, and such: Turn of the Century. Pictured below: two of my favorites; at left, The Garden Portrait (c.1910), at right, "His Name Is Ben": The Portrait of a Coyote (1909). There are tons and tons more where that came from. NOTE: the way you navigate between pages on the Turn of the Century blog is clever but may be unfamiliar to some folks; just click the huge black-and-gray arrows on the left edge of the... READ ON
So here's a guy who goes by the name Klinginem, rapping the Eminem jam "Without Me" in Klingon (I'm sorry, tlhIngan Hol for you native speakers). This is possibly the nerdiest thing I've seen all year. The one thing I'll say for it is that it handily demonstrates that the Klingon language is indeed fully-developed...once you can rap in a language, it's legit. Enjoy the video, including lots of performance shots of Klinginem and his crew. (I would post the Klingon word for 'crew' but all the online... READ ON
If you've been watching Mad Men lately, you've seen a fictionalized version of Conrad Hilton, the hotelier and great-grandfather of Paris Hilton. The "Connie" Hilton seen on Mad Men is quite eccentric (even loony at times), though the real-life character was apparently motivated mainly by his experience in the Great Depression, his Catholic faith, and his deep commitment to charity. (Though yeah, he arguably might have wanted a Hilton Hotel on the moon.) Anyway, my friend Will Maier was reading Herzog... READ ON
In honor of Bill Nye's appearance (yelling "I'm just a speck!") in We Are All Connected, I thought I'd round up some clips of his classic science show for kids. Enjoy!
Quicksand is just really, really wet land!... READ ON
On January 1, 1969, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger wrote artist M.C. Escher a letter asking Escher to provide an image for the Stones' second volume of greatest hits, entitled Through The Past Darkly. Jagger was a big Escher fan, and addressed the letter to "Maurits," the "M" in "M.C." Well...turns out Escher was NOT a Stones fan. Below is the correspondence, as reproduced by a World of Escher forum post from 2002. It's kind of mind-blowing to think that an artist would turn down the chance for a... READ ON
Did you enjoy the auto-tuned "Cosmos" song featuring Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking? If so, get ready for more science/music awesomeness. Here's another song and video by the same artist (Colorpulse) featuring: Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye.
You can download MP3s and learn more from SymphonyOfScience.com.
Complete lyrics are after the... READ ON
I'm not sure whether this counts as a science video or just a "stupid human trick," but either way: did you know that baby shampoo lets you blow huge bubbles from your mouth? Brandon Hardesty thinks it's AMAZING. And it kind of is. Amaze your babies, your friends, your pets...but maybe not your parents.
This is just a short video of Mr. Hardesty showing his masterful technique for blowing huge bubbles using baby shampoo. Slightly gross (since he gets baby shampoo all over his face and neck) but... READ ON
If you're on Twitter, you must follow this awesome Twitter account: TweetsofOld. What is it? Well, it's actual headlines from historical newspapers, posted throughout the day. The headlines are often hilarious and bizarre, and they're tagged with a year and location ("NY1919" means New York, 1919). For... READ ON
12+1 = 11+2, and "twelve plus one" is an anagram of "eleven plus two."