You can now access all the past editions of The Daily Planet on the green Category bar on the top of each page under the heading PlanetPOV, and also under Speaker’s corner.
Vintage Gary Larson:
Enormous forest xylophone plays Bach’s Cantata 147
Helmet camera captures high-speed Chile bike race [Use FULL screen!]
RSA Animate – Language as a Window into Human Nature
Wonderfully Eerie Living Portraits by Alexa Meade
Another VERY Guilty Dog
See into ten thousand windows
Zoom in to an incredible level of detail and explore the 80 Gigapixels London: the world’s largest 360° Panorama as of November 2010.
A photo exhibition at New York’s Robert Mann Gallery titled Food For Thought presents a wide-ranging visual feast of photos that have at least one obvious thing in common: Food. Even Ansel Adams took food photos!
You’ve likely seen the work of Hildreth Meière. Radio City Music Hall, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Temple Emanu-el in New York City, the National Cathedral, the National Academy of Sciences and the Nebraska State Capitol are just a few of the noteworthy buildings decorated by Meière’s Art Deco mosaics and murals. For an artist whose work is so omnipresent, she’s not exactly a household name.
A new exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., organized by St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is honoring the work and legacy of the late artist by displaying sketches, cartoons, photographs, models, mosaics and painted altarpieces. They’re selections from more than a hundred of the artist’s commissions originally collected for an exhibition at St. Bonaventure University in 2009.
How tricking the eye reveals the inner workings of the brain
SHAPE DISTORTION ILLUSION
This illusion is known as the Caf Wall illusion, and it was first discovered by Richard Gregory’s laboratory in a caf in Bristol, in the U.K. The black and white tiles are perfectly straight, but look tilted. It is a shape distortion illusion: an object will appear to take on shapes that are different from its actual shape. Like brightness and color illusions, shape distortion effects are also produced by the interaction between the actual shape of the object and the shapes of nearby figures. For the brain, perception is very often dependent on context.
Some stationary patterns generate the illusory perception of motion. The illusory effect is usually stronger if you move your eyes around the figure. For instance, in this illusion, invented by the scientist Akiyoshi Kitaoka, the “snakes” appear to rotate. But nothing is really moving, other than your eyes! If you hold your gaze steady on one of the black dots on the center of each “snake,” the motion will slow down or even stop. Because holding the eyes still stops the illusory motion, we speculate that eye movements are required to see it. Vision scientists have shown that illusory motion activates brain areas that are similar to those activated by real motion.
Dan Savage, the brilliant sex columnist, has become one of the most important ethicists in America. Are we screwed?
…Before her death, Lederer made clear that the Ann Landers pseudonym, which she had inherited in 1955, would die with her. But that did not prevent would-be successors from seeking to assume her mantle in more symbolic ways. On the auction block that November were Lederer’s writing desk and typewriter, on which she had composed her responses to correspondents like Desperate in Denver and Nervous in Nevada. When the bidding was over, an advice columnist named Dan Savage happily walked away with them. Today, the desk sits in Savage’s office in Seattle, where he serves as editorial director of the city’s alternative weekly The Stranger and writes his own hugely successful weekly sex advice column, “Savage Love.” His correspondents have included a woman signing off as “Fucking Asshole Idiot Losers” (FAIL), who faced a very modern problem. “My husband and I have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy when we’re apart,” she began.
“A few months ago, I hooked up with a guy on a business trip who said he and his wife have the same arrangement. He was lying. His wife found out and started harassing me on Facebook. I truly feel horrible. How can I know if someone is really in an open relationship when they say they are? I am so done.”
Savage pointed out, “The only way to verify that someone is in an open relationship is to speak to that person’s partner—and as that would constitute ‘telling,’ FAIL, it would be a violation of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.
“But even a couple with a ‘please ask, do tell’ policy probably has a rule against 2:00 a.m. calls from drunken hotel-bar pickups. So you’ll have to trust your gut, FAIL, which failed you here. Just remember this on your next business trip: The further a married person is from home and the drunker that married person is, the likelier it is that that married person is lying to you.”
When he isn’t offering advice, the openly gay Savage has also made a name for himself by serving as a kind of gonzo avenging angel for the nation’s sexual minorities. In 2000, he went on assignment for Salon.com to cover the presidential campaign of the Christian right’s boutique candidate, Gary Bauer, while suffering from a bad case of the flu. After listening to one of Bauer’s harangues against gay marriage, Savage decided to pose as a campaign volunteer and infect the candidate by licking doorknobs, coughing on staplers, and slobbering on pens around Bauer’s Iowa headquarters, making that the subject of his dispatch. Then, in 2003, Savage went viral in a different way, after Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum compared same-sex marriages to “man on dog” relationships. In response, the columnist held a contest among his readers to redefine the word “santorum” as vividly as possible as a new term in the sexual lexicon. The winning definition—unforgettable and unprintable—quickly spread so widely online as to eclipse the Google ranking of the senator himself. Which was, of course, the point. Santorum lost his seat in 2006. Landers, who struggled with accepting homosexuality and whose idea of tough language was “kwitcherbellyachin,” probably would not have approved.
People with a strong moral identity are measurably inspired to do good after being exposed to media stories about uncommon acts of human goodness, according to research at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.
To appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the research shows a direct link between exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and “moral elevation” – a suite of thoughts and emotions about being a better person that can lead to “pro-social” action.
“The news media have a tendency to celebrate bad behaviour, from Charlie Sheen’s recent exploits to articles that focus the spotlight on criminal and other aberrant behaviour,” says lead author Karl Aquino, a professor at the Sauder School of Business who studies issues such as social status and dominance, forgiveness and reconciliation, workplace victimization and moral behavior.
“Our study indicates that if more attention was devoted to recounting stories of uncommon acts of human virtue, the media could have a quantifiable positive effect on the moral behavior of a significant group of people.”
“Focusing on individual examples of extraordinary goodness within the crisis may be a more effective and subtle way to encourage people to donate than inundating them with stories and pictures of need and desperation.”
This is Orismar de Souza, a homeless man in Brazil, who decided to build the car he couldn’t buy using junk, spare parts and a hammer and chisel. Four years later, the “shrimpmobile” has him back on his feet.
Souza, 35, had to panhandle in the Brazilian city of São José de Piranha and go hungry for four months in order to raise the initial $270 he needed for sheet metal, which he cut into shape using a borrowed hammer and chisel. He scrounged a 125cc motorcycle engine, and gathered other junked parts from all over the region.
While Souza had decorated and traded metal cans as a child in exchange for food and clothes, he had no other experience in working with metal, and almost gave up when the steelwork became too difficult.
“Nobody believed, everybody laughed at me,” Souza told Globo.com. “I was very humbled by this, but I won and I built my car alone with my own hands. ”
By December, Souza was able to replace the motorcycle engine’s kickstarter with a car ignition, and add in a gearbox with reverse. The mostly Fiat shrimpmobile can reach 50 mph on the highway, and Souza has been able to use it to find a home and a job in the local sugarcane fields.
Souza says his next goal will be to save enough money to have a garage for his creation. We wouldn’t bet against him.
Oh, and by the way–11THOUSAND people rallied at the Ohio capital Saturday to start referendum against anti-union law
The fifth series of US ad agency drama Mad Men will not hit TV screens before March 2012 because of stalled contract talks with its creator.
In a statement, cable network AMC said the delay was “due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations” with creator and executive producer Matt Weiner.
Deadline reported Weiner is fighting demands involving product placement, a reduced running time and cast changes.
The new series had been scheduled to be broadcast in the US in July.
From the Onion:
- Aries You’re not the kind of person who can wear those stylish strappy heels, mostly because you’re too stupid to figure out how shoes go on.
- Taurus Love, wisdom, and luck are all strong in your zodiac sign this week, providing further proof that you are not your zodiac sign.
- Gemini The bellboy will be a little intimidated by your entire luggage, but, frankly, a single suitcase nuke won’t do the job on a city that size.
- Cancer You’ll become embroiled in a vicious conflict between those who feel Queens of the Stone Age are overrated and those who want control of the cocaine trade on the Eastern Seaboard.
- Leo You’re starting to believe that your neighbor is trying to hide something from you with all those clothes she insists on wearing.
- Virgo The stars have nothing to say to you this week, as they’re trying to work on their own future for once, if you don’t mind.
- Libra Spice things up in the bedroom this week by inviting someone to go in there with you for some intercourse.
- Scorpio You’ll have strange dreams in which a bearded hippie in a long robe urges you to cast off your burdens and join him at the right hand of his father, but it’s probably nothing.
- Sagittarius Next week will be a joyful whirlwind of magic, laughter, and romance, so it’s too bad you’re going to miss the whole thing.
- Capricorn You’ll be saddened when it turns out that all those people who only like you for your money turn out not to be very good friends.
- Aquarius Old promises come due this week when you’re reminded of your pledge to get a real job just as soon as the Portuguese prime minister retires.
- Pisces You’ll continue to spend your days covered in feathers and bird shit, proving that being dressed by birds every morning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”
— Dorothy Parker