Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 10 Worst Corporations of 2008

In the 20 years that we've published our annual list, we've covered corporate villains, scoundrels, criminals and miscreants. We've reported on some really bad stuff - from Exxon's Valdez spill to Union Carbide and Dow's effort to avoid responsibility for the Bhopal disaster; from oil companies coddling dictators (including Chevron and CNPC, both profiled this year) to a bank (Riggs) providing financial services for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet; from oil and auto companies threatening the future of the planet by blocking efforts to address climate change to duplicitous tobacco companies marketing cigarettes around the world by associating their product with images of freedom, sports, youthful energy and good health.

But we've never had a year like 2008.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Anatomy of a Meltdown (newyorker)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant Garde 1910-1917 (Getty Museum)
with pdf links to exhibit books.
(via gmt+9)
An in-depth study of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cell Defender
I see the birthrate of suckers is still keeping pace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious."
Big 3 Automakers show up to DC in private planes.
[Conspicuous consumption, outdoors-style] When a treehouse has a commercial wine-bar, doesn't it defeat the purpose of 'treehouse'? It's beautiful architecture and all, but this whole extreme treehouse movement deleted the idea of rusticity.

About a 97-year old botanical arts maestro (pingmag)
The Mostly True Story of Helvetica and the New York Subway System
Really interesting reading on design for public use.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mr. Etch-A-Sketch

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sine Wave Speech. A cool auditory illusion (via metafilter)

Friday, November 14, 2008

In the WTF category, this photo was literally, honestly published on the whitehouse.gov server. No shit.
So much has been said about the subprime mess, that it's getting difficult to find fresh perspective. I think this article delivers in spades.

The End (Portfolio) by Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker)

There weren’t enough Americans with shitty credit taking out loans to satisfy investors’ appetite for the end product. The firms used Eisman’s bet to synthesize more of them. Here, then, was the difference between fantasy finance and fantasy football: When a fantasy player drafts Peyton Manning, he doesn’t create a second Peyton Manning to inflate the league’s stats. But when Eisman bought a credit-default swap, he enabled Deutsche Bank to create another bond identical in every respect but one to the original. The only difference was that there was no actual homebuyer or borrower. The only assets backing the bonds were the side bets Eisman and others made with firms like Goldman Sachs. Eisman, in effect, was paying to Goldman the interest on a subprime mortgage. In fact, there was no mortgage at all. "They weren’t satisfied getting lots of unqualified borrowers to borrow money to buy a house they couldn’t afford," Eisman says. "They were creating them out of whole cloth. One hundred times over! That’s why the losses are so much greater than the loans. But that’s when I realized they needed us to keep the machine running. I was like, This is allowed?"
fish-blimp (vid)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Private Snafu - Booby Traps (1944)
This is one of 26 Private SNAFU ('Situation Normal, All Fouled Up) cartoons made by the US Army Signal Corps to educate and boost the morale the troops. Originally created by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Phil Eastman, most of the cartoons were produced by Warner Brothers Animation Studios - employing their animators, voice actors (primarily Mel Blanc) and Carl Stalling's music.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vintage Cereal Box archive

When all you needed to sell cereal was a hillbilly goat.

A bizarrely minimalist Tokyo McDonalds (core77)
Early Star Wars storyboards (flickr)
If these are legit, I'm not sure why these aren't getting more play...
Honda Legs (sciam) with video (wmv)

Monday, November 10, 2008

I want:
Fly Stick Van De Graff Electrostatic Wand

Friday, November 07, 2008

After the Imperial Presidency (Herald Tribune, longish)
The assertion and expansion of presidential power is arguably the defining feature of the Bush years. Come January, the current administration will pass on to its successor a vast infrastructure for electronic surveillance, secret sites for detention and interrogation and a sheaf of legal opinions empowering the executive to do whatever he feels necessary to protect the country. The new administration will also be the beneficiary of Congress's recent history of complacency, which amounts to a tacit acceptance of the Bush administration's expansive views of executive authority. For that matter, thanks to the recent economic bailout, Bush's successor will inherit control over much of the banking industry. "The next president will enter office as the most powerful president who has ever sat in the White House," Jack Balkin, a constitutional law professor at Yale and an influential legal blogger, told me a few weeks ago.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Flat bulb.
I'm not sure why there's a need for a flat lightbulb, but I like it.
Worst. Promotion. Ever.
Guinness Book of World Records-breaking pinata, here in Philly. That you're not allowed to break. Epic Suck.

Eventually, however, officials announced that the breaking would not be happening, and people were asked to leave.

Most spectators left by 3 p.m., many booing and expressing dissatisfaction as they left.

Heald apologized for the postponement, citing police concerns that the breaking would cause a surge of running to grab the pinata's contents (yeah, no shit. that's typically what happens when a pinata breaks. you were expecting maybe something else? -Ed).

Comics.com is releasing their entire United Features Syndicate archive for free, including every Peanuts strip ever drawn! Fantastic!
Make a flatbed scanner camera.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We did it. Now it's time to root out the gophers and stop the damage that Bush is dead-set on inflicting in his final weeks.
8 years of agonizingly wrongheaded and arrogantly corrupt policy don't lie. These guys know no shame and they're already hard at work on rewarding their crony constituency at the expense of the economy, human health and the environment. There's work to do.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Just cool.
George Bush won by 537 votes in Florida in 2000. We can't let this happen again. Your vote COUNTS! Make sure you use it and use it wisely. Our future depends upon it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Krugman on what to expect next week from the Rump of the GOP (nytimes)

But the G.O.P.’s long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries, seems likely to accelerate as a result of the impending defeat.

This will pose a dilemma for moderate conservatives. Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration’s dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year’s election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign’s tactics have grown ever uglier. But one of these days they’re going to have to realize that the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance.