.... On a Lighter Note - Interesting & Intriguing

The death of VET FEE HELP
It was the student subsidy that was too good to be true. Students were the losers when billions were rorted by cowboys who spotted a government scheme that was just too easy to rip-off.

The History Of Light
For thousands of years, getting light was a huge hassle. You had to make candles from scratch. This is not as romantic as it sounds. You had to get a cow, raise the cow, have food to feed the cow, kill the cow, get the fat out of the cow, cook the fat, dip wicks into the fat. All that—for not very much light. Now, if we want to light a whole room, we just flip a switch. The history of light explains why the world today is the way it is. It explains why we aren't all subsistence farmers, and why we can afford to have artists and massage therapists and plumbers. (And, yes, people who do radio stories about the history of light.) The history of light is the history of economic growth—of things getting faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

How Stanley Kubrick Made His Masterpieces: An Introduction to His Obsessive Approach to Filmmaking
As each semester in my film course rolls around, it’s more and more apparent how time depletes the pop culture currency of those directors who did not make it into the 21st Century. A knowledge of Stanley Kubrick used to be a given, as was the understanding of what “A Stanley Kubrick Film” meant to film fans. Now he is a solution to a weird join-the-dots, as I watch students who know The Shining as a classic horror film grok suddenly that the same director made the headtrip 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Download the Complete Archive of Oz, “the Most Controversial Magazine of the 60s,” Featuring R. Crumb, Germaine Greer & More
Those of us from the wrong place or the wrong time have had to draw what understanding of the sixties we could from that much-mythologized period’s music and movies, as well as the cloudy reflections of those who lived through it (or claimed to). But now we can get a much more direct sense through the complete digital archives of Oz, sometimes called the most controversial magazine of the sixties.

Postcards to Ulay
Second Prize Winner of Tropfest Australia 24.

Download Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums: The New York Public Library, Bodleian, Smithsonian & More
In early February 2016, museums and libraries worldwide took part in #ColorOurCollections–a campaign where they made available free coloring books, letting you color artwork from their collections and then share it on Twitter and other social media platforms, using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.

Watch the Destruction of Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius, Re-Created with Computer Animation (79 AD)
A good disaster story never fails to fascinate — and, given that it actually happened, the story of Pompeii especially so. Buried and thus frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the ancient Roman town of 11,000 has provided an object of great historical interest ever since its rediscovery in 1599. Baths, houses, tools and other possessions (including plenty of wine bottles), frescoes, graffiti, an ampitheater, an aqueduct, the “Villa of the Mysteries“: Pompeii has it all, as far as the stuff of first-century Roman life goes.

Werner Herzog Offers 24 Pieces of Filmmaking & Life Advice
There are few filmmakers alive today who have the mystique of Werner Herzog. His feature films and his documentaries are brilliant and messy, depicting both the ecstasies and the agonies of life in a chaotic and fundamentally hostile universe. And his movies seem very much to reflect his personality – uncompromising, enigmatic and quite possibly crazy. How else can you explain his willingness to risk life and limb to shoot in such forbidding places as the Amazonian rain forest or Antarctica?

Frank Gehry's Lifelong Challenge: To Create Buildings That Move
With sculptural swoops and sweeps and unusual materials, Frank Gehry changed the course of architecture. His creations, such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, created a new architectural language.

What makes a photographer when everyone is taking pictures
When photographer Ken Van Sickle was 23 and living in Paris, he could barely afford rolls of film. One night, hearing that jazz great Chet Baker was playing, he went and took only two pictures, and one was blurry. So what's happened to photography now that everyone has the technology to take as many pictures as they like? Van Sickle offers his Brief But Spectacular take.

Architecture becomes a tool to fight poverty through this Pritzker winner
Architecture's highest prize was awarded to Chile's Alejandro Aravena, a man little known outside his field who is working to address real world problems of urban housing. Jeffrey Brown sits down with Aravena to discuss his philosophy as a designer.

Why Violins Have F-Holes: The Science & History of a Remarkable Renaissance Design
Before electronic amplification, instrument makers and musicians had to find newer and better ways to make themselves heard among ensembles and orchestras and above the din of crowds. Many of the acoustic instruments we’re familiar with today—guitars, cellos, violas, etc.—are the result of hundreds of years of experimentation into solving just that problem. These hollow wooden resonance chambers amplify the sound of the strings, but that sound must escape, hence the circular sound hole under the strings of an acoustic guitar and the f-holes on either side of a violin.

Russia's Forbidden Art
Fifty years ago, a Russian painter and archaeologist, Igor Savitsky, created a museum in the remote desert of Uzbekistan, where he stored tens of thousands of works of art that he had saved from Stalin's censors. The Savitsky museum, in Nukus, would come to be recognised as one of the greatest collections of Russian avant-garde art in the world. Witness talks to the son and grandson of one of the artists, Alexander Volkov, whose work Savitsky saved.

The British Museum Is Now Open To Everyone: Take a Virtual Tour and See 4,634 Artifacts
The British Museum charges nothing for admission, of course, but now the internet has freed it in the geographical sense as well.

Does the House Always Win?
The world of in-game betting where gamblers test their skill and luck almost as the action happens is growing fast as the lucrative new frontier for the betting world, and is particularly popular in the huge Asian market. Does it pose a threat to the integrity of some our most popular sports?

Hunting with eagles
Deep in the unforgiving wilds of far western Mongolia, the last remaining Kazakh eagle hunters harness a powerful force of nature. The burkitshi, as they are known in Kazakh, are proud men whose faces reveal the harshness of the beautifully barren landscape they call home. They have an extraordinary bond with the golden eagle, which to them represents the wind, the open space, the isolation and the freedom found at the edge of the world. Australian photographer Palani Mohan has spent years documenting the noble hunters, culminating in a book available now from Merrell Publishers. Mohan says only 60 eagle hunters remain, and fears the ancient tradition could disappear within 20 years.

The dogs that conquered space
Humans were too risky, monkeys too fidgety, so the Soviet Union chose dogs as its first cosmonauts. It is a story of science, sacrifice and – for those that survived – sausage-filled celebrity.

Banana Slugs: Secret of the Slime
Beneath the towering redwoods lives one of the most peculiar creatures in California: the banana slug. They're coated with a liquid crystal ooze that solves many problems slugs face in the forest — and maybe some of our own.

David Carr Gives 10 Pieces of Work & Life Advice to UC Berkeley Graduates
David Carr took seven years to get through college. He didn’t have a Master’s degree or a PhD. Before he made it big writing for The New York Times, he spent time in rehab and on welfare. David Carr didn’t fit the profile of your average commencement speaker. And yet Carr, who died in the Times newsroom on Thursday night, earned his spot speaking before the 2014 graduating class at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Known for his insightful reporting on changes in publishing, television and social media, Carr understood the world these young journalists were entering. And when he offered 10 pieces of graduation advice, you know the students took note.

The Birthing Business
The BBC’s Mariko Oi explores the global costs of childbirth as she compares her own experiences through pregnancy and preparation for motherhood. She speaks to the OECD about why expensive healthcare doesn't always equate to quality of care. Plus Tom Sackville, chief executive of the International Federation of Health Plans, explores why birth in the US is so expensive. Katy Watson in Brazil speaks to a mother about why many women in the country opted for an elective cesarean, and private healthcare. Plus Shilpa Kannan in India reports on the problems of juggling childcare and employment for an increasingly female workforce.

How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 Million Jobs And Reshape The Economy by 2025
Zack Kanter has spent quite a bit of time lately thinking about autonomous cars, and he wanted to summarize his current thoughts and predictions. Most people – experts included – seem to think that the transition to driverless vehicles will come slowly over the coming few decades, and that large hurdles exist for widespread adoption. Zack believes that this is significant underestimation. Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced.

NASA Collection of Space Sounds
NASA Puts Online a Big Collection of Space Sounds, and They’re Free to Download and Use

How Powerful is Stomach Acid
#1373 Wonder of the Day.

The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever
The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever – NPR Handpicked 300 addresses going back to 1774.

NPR Pictorial Essay on Buzkashi
Buzkashi – a Central Asian Polo like game played with a headless goat.

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco - Is It Still Worth Going to College?
Earning a four-year college degree remains a worthwhile investment for the average student. Data from U.S. workers show that the benefits of college in terms of higher earnings far outweigh the costs of a degree, measured as tuition plus wages lost while attending school. The average college graduate paying annual tuition of about $20,000 can recoup the costs of schooling by age 40. After that, the difference between earnings continues such that the average college graduate earns over $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age.

British Pathe video of the ancient city of Khiva in 1937
British Pathe video of the ancient city of Khiva in 1937, south east corner of Turkestan (now Uzbekistan - formerly part of Soviet Union, USSR).

In pictures: Imperial pomp
German photographer Frank Herfort has spent several years travelling across the former Soviet Union, taking pictures of the grand buildings constructed since the fall of Communism.

Sap Discovery Could Turn Syrup-Making Upside Down
Last year researchers at the University of Vermont announced something that could change the way we think about Vermont — or at least how it produces its famous maple syrup.

Bill Gates on Charlie Rose
An hour with Bill Gates on his mission to end poverty in third world countries by 2035.

Rediscovering a Martin Luther King Jr. speech
In November, the only known recording of a 1962 speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. was uncovered. Not heard for more than 50 years, King delivered this notable speech in the wake of a number of attacks on black churches. The NewsHour's Stephen Fee reports on the rediscovered recording and the document that inspired it.

murder of crows

Why does Malcolm Gladwell write what he does?
The best-selling author’s new book is about underdogs and power battles. But is he a David or a Goliath? Jon Ronson interviews the writer for The Culture Show.

Student Asks Noam Chomsky for Dating Advice
Noam Chomsky is a pretty unlikely celebrity. As a preeminent anarchist theorist, his political writing is full of passionate intensity, but in his numerous public appearances, he conforms much more to images associated with his day job as a preeminent academic and linguist. He’s very soft-spoken—I’ve never heard him raise his voice above the register of polite coffee-shop conversation—and frumpy in that elder scholar kind of way: uncombed gray hair, an endless supply of sweaters and corduroy jackets…

So, yes, it’s amusing when, in the short clip above, a young Chomsky fan asks the 85-year-old “father of modern linguistics” for advice on how to talk to women. Chomsky’s nonplussed response is honest and heartfelt. He has nothing to offer in this regard, he says: “I got out of that business 70 years ago.” If it seems like Chomsky’s math is a little off—he was married in 1949—consider that he and his wife Carol met when they were both just five years old.

murder of crows

Why does Malcolm Gladwell write what he does?
The best-selling author’s new book is about underdogs and power battles. But is he a David or a Goliath? Jon Ronson interviews the writer for The Culture Show.

Read 10 Free Articles by Hunter S. Thompson That Span His Gonzo Journalist Career (1965-2005)
Most readers know Hunter S. Thompson for his 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. But in over 45 years of writing, this prolific observer of the American scene wrote voluminously, often hilariously, and usually with deceptively clear-eyed vitriol on sports, politics, media, and other viciously addictive pursuits. (“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone,” he famously said, “but they’ve always worked for me.”) His distinctive style, often imitated but never replicated, all but forced the coining of the term “gonzo” journalism. But what could define it? One clue comes in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas itself, when Thompson reflects on his experience in the city, ostensibly as a reporter: “What was the story? Nobody had bothered to say. So we would have to drum it up on our own. Free Enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger gone mad on drugs in Las Vegas. Do it now: pure Gonzo journalism.”

Guy explains imperial measurements to "prove" how logical they are.
Matt Parker of Head Squeeze cleverly explains the imperial system of measurement and why it might not be the best way to measure things. In this video, you get to learn a few new measurement types that you'll probably never use in life.

Charles Mingus’ “Top Secret” Eggnog Recipe Contains “Enough Alcohol to Put Down an Elephant”
Just in time for a hard-drinking Christmas, the Village Voice brings us the “top secret” eggnog recipe from “Angry Man of Jazz” Charles Mingus. Despite his generally irascible temperament, Mingus had a legendary “zeal for parties and drink” and “felt the yuletide spirit—or spirits, if you will—according to biographer Janet Coleman.” Mingus passed his recipe to Coleman over the phone, and she published it in Mingus/Mingus: Two Memoirs. The ‘nog, the Voice tells us, “calls for enough alcohol to put down an elephant,” so if you happen to be hosting one, this might just come in handy. Humans seem to dig it too. Coleman called it “a concoction so delicious and mind-blowing, you would do anything to make sure you saw him at Christmas.”.

BOXES - The unsung innovation at the heart of the global economy
Why You Can Send A Shirt Around The World For Pennies. The Planet Money T-shirts traveled around the world on their way to you. The women’s shirt was made in Colombia, from cotton grown in the U.S. The men’s shirt was made in Indonesia and Bangladesh. All this travel was made affordable by one simple innovation: the shipping container.

Peter Lynch, investor, bestselling author and philanthropist
Charlie Rose interviews former Fidelity Investments fund manager turned philanthropist Peter Lynch. The interview offers insights into Peter Lynch's philanthropic interest in education and how he feels about the pressures of managing 'the average people's money' for philanthropic organisations. The second half of the interview provides a glimpse of Peter Lynch's approach to investment, in particular how he engaged with companies he invested in and what type of questions he would ask to better understand companies.

Stephen Fry removes some fog by explaining cloud computing
Stephen Fry explains the history of computer thinking and the revolution of utility in cloud computing in this 5 minute animation. This is also an interesting study of viral marketing...

The Smithsonian Picks “101 Objects That Made America”
The Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 research centers, and 140-plus affiliates boast the world’s largest collection—137 million items, in addition to a staggering array of photos, documents, films, and recordings. Choosing which to include in The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects from such a wealth of options was no easy task...

Charlie Rose - Interviews Warren Buffett and his son and his grandson...
Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Howard Graham, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and author of 40 Chances - Finding Hope in a Hungry World, and Howard Warren Buffett, lecturer at Columbia University.

Veni, Vidi, Graffiti...
Graphic art, vandalism, social comment... Graffiti

The New Yorker - How Blackberry Fell
Looking at the rise and fall - but mostly the fall - of Blackberry.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos Buys Washington Post
The Washington Post Company announced on Monday that it was selling its flagship newspaper and other publications to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million. The deal marks the end of four generations of family ownership for the iconic paper, and comes in the wake of The New York Time's sale of the struggling Boston Globe, announced on Friday. On npr's KQED radio station Scott Shafer discusses the future of newspapers with guests Ken Doctor, news industry analyst for Outsell, a global research and advisory firm; and author of "Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get" and Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute.

Stanley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films (The First and Only List He Ever Created)
From openculture...

How Strong Is a Horse?
When you think of strong animals, what comes to mind? You probably won’t think of a chicken. Or a pig. But you might imagine an elephant. There’s one animal, though, whose very name conjures up the image of power. What are we talking about? The horse…of course!

Berlin Street Scenes Beautifully Caught on Film (1900-1914)
OpenCulture do the time warp and revisit the street life of Belle Époque Berlin. Bikes, cars, trolleys, trains — they all crammed the streets of a city moving headlong into modernity. And with a fair amount of chaos to show for it. But, even so, these were idyllic days. Shot between 1900 and 1914, the videos show a more relaxed city, one unaware that World War I and decades of destruction were right around the corner.

The Conversation - Unknown Wonders
Australia is famous for its natural beauty: the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kakadu, the Kimberley. But what about the places almost no one goes? The Conversation asked ecologists, biologists and wildlife researchers to nominate five of Australia’s unknown wonders.

openculture: 100 Metropolitan Museum Curators Talk About 100 Works of Art That Changed How They See the World
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to lose yourself in contemplation of a single work? What about that giant one at the top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Grand Staircase? For every visitor who pauses to take it in, another thousand stream by with hardly a glance. The above commentary by curator of Italian paintings, Xavier Salomon, may well turn Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s The Triumph of Marius into one of the Met’s hottest attractions.

It’s often difficult for the average museum-goer to understand what the deal is in one of these densely populated, 19th century oils. Salomon supplies the needed historical context—general Gaius Marius parading captive Numidian king Jugurtha through the streets upon his triumphal return to Rome.

As is 82nd and 5th, an online series that aims to celebrate 100 transformative works of art from the museum’s collection before year’s end. In addition to Salomon’s compelling thoughts on The Triumph of Marius, some pleasures thus far include Melanie Holcomb, Associate Curator of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, geeking out over illustrated manuscript pages and fashion and costume curator Andrew Bolton recalling his first encounter with one of designer Alexander McQueen’s most extreme garments. Each video is supplemented with a tab for further exploration. You can also find the talks collected on YouTube.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, these commentaries provide virtual museum-goers with a highly personal tour, and can only but enrich the experience of anyone lucky enough to visit in the flesh.

The Charlie Rose Guest List
This link takes you to the list of guests that have appeared on the program of Charlie Rose - one of the leading contemporary US media personalities - whose thoughtful and insightful questioning means that he attracts fascinating personalities from a wide variety of human endeavour to his interviews that cover hot topics in science, literature, poltics, religion, music and the arts.

The Kiss and tell interview
This ABC "The Business" interview from 6 March 2013 sees Ticky Fullerton talk to Gene Simmons. Vveteran American band KISS is a brand worth up to $5 billion, according to infamous God of Thunder Gene Simmons, who says everyone can make a better life for themselves if they make the effort. The interview touches on an extensive range of issues and Gene Simmons is more than a happy to share his views and advice on all of them - as an iconic musician, successful business and family man...

David Lynch Talks About His 99 Favorite Photographs at Paris Photo 2012
This OpenCulture feature by Colin Marshall is about David Lynch. We don’t need to tell you, about the richness of David Lynch’s contribution to motion pictures. But the auteur also has an ongoing relationship with still photography which the past decade has seen emerge into public light. Years ago, Colin Marshall attended an opening in Los Angeles—the city so thoroughly captured by Lynch’s surrealism—of an exhibition of his own shots. Now, the Los Angeles Review of Books presents Lynch’s commentary, in the video above, on 99 pictures taken by others. Listen to him describe his viewing approach—that of a voyeuristic, all-feeling detective—and you’ll never look the same way at curtains, women’s shoes, stone Buddhas, and festering sores again.

Manufacturer Vita Needle Finds Investment in Older Workers Turns a Big Profit
The PBS NewsHour feature is on the Vita Needle company. The average age of Vita Needle's workers is 74 years old, and that's no accident. The manufacturing company has intentionally hired seniors - a decision that has increased profits and benefited older workers who often have a harder time finding a job. Paul Solman reports on their unique model for doing business.

Ray Kurzweil's Top 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic for 2013
Will you be better off this year than your were in the past? To the futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil, the answer is a resounding yes. "We are far more productive and healthy and better off in every way than we were in the past," Kurzweil, the author of the new book How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, told Big Think in a recent interview.

Developers plan $500m mini-China in Australia
This Chinadaily article from 6 December 2012 notes that Australia plans to open a Chinese theme park with highlights including a full-scale replica of the gates to the Forbidden City. Local residents, who hope to boost the region's economy through tourism, are showing a huge interest in the project.

Pinching himself: a digital pioneer's sweet ride
This "The Age" article from 4 December 2012 by Christopher Niesche, considers how the founder of, Greg Roebuck, started as a "software guy" and now runs a company worth $1.8 billion.

Andrew Olle lecture: Mark Colvin on the digitisation tsunami
In the 2012 Andrew Olle lecture, Mark Colvin examines the multiple fronts on which traditional journalism finds itself under pressure as a result of the rise of the Internet. Mark's concern centres on the important role “good journalism” plays in a democracy.

Wonderopolis - What Are Spoonerisms?
Does your brain sometimes go faster than your mouth? If you’re like most kids, that definitely happens from time to time. Your brain races along at light speed, but your lips and tongue struggle to keep up. When that happens, funny things often follow. Slips of the tongue — when you accidentally switch consonants, vowels or sounds in words — are called Spoonerisms. They’re named after Revered William Archibald Spooner, who was Warden of New College in Oxford, England. Poor Reverend Spooner was known for constantly mixing up his words! Spoonerisms are particularly funny when the mixed-up versions still make sense. Sometimes slips of the tongue make no sense at all. At other times, though, what comes out is a real word or phrase — it’s just not the one you intended!

What Big Highways Mean For China's Small Villages
This npr "Picture Show" from 18 October 2012 tells the story of how China's development impacts on previously isolated communities via a sereis of pictures by Japanese photographer Go Takayama who befriended a hitch hiker from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region whose family still sustainedthe traditional nomadic way of life — until now.

Here's The Scoop On Cat Poop Coffee
This "The Salt" feature from npr is not for the squeamish, but a must-read for coffee connoisseurs... - The alternative to hotels
Highlighting this website is neither meant as an inducement to travel (though this is not being discouraged either!) nor as an endorsment of the site itself. Instead it is meant to illustrate how the Internet challanges tradiational business models and is a fountain of new ideas and business models that are facilitated by the global reach of the Internet.

Think you’re tough? Don’t answer that until you learn a little more about the honey badger…
This is another fascinating feature from the Wonderopolis website. When you think about the fiercest animals on Earth, what do you think of? Lions? Tigers? Bears? Oh my! You probably don’t think about the honey badger, do you?

We, the Celeste staff are amazed by the survival skills and resilience of the humble honey badger - (Mellivora Capensis) ...

A priceless sip of old Beijing
This article highlights a little known tradition, kept alive at the Lao She Teahouse in Beijing.

The Making of Apocalypse Now Remixed/Revisited
This Open Culture feature from 16th August 2012 is about Apocalypse Now, which hit theaters exactly 33 years ago this week. And to commemorate that occasion, Open Culture served up a short remix film, Heart of Coppola, that weaves together scenes from the film, footage from behind the scenes, and audio of the great Orson Welles reading from Heart of Darkness, the Joseph Conrad novella upon which Apocalypse Now was loosely based.
This link takes you to a Charlie Rose  "In Memoriam" feature on internationally reknown Australian art crtic Robert Hughes who passed away on 7th August 2012. 

Andrew Denton's "Enough Rope" - 2006 Interview with Robert Hughes
This interview from 2006 sheds further insights on the life and thinking of the late Robert Hughes.

Spoiler Alert: Jon Stewart Isn't Happy with Olympics Coverage
In this feature from "The Atlantic" on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", Jon Stewart pointed out all the ways news channels spoil Olympics results for viewers, even when they say they won't. "The games, of course, are taking place in London, five hours ahead of the East Coast," Stewart said. "Luckily the news channels are watching out for you." From telling viewers to mute their TVs (god forbid they change the channel) but displaying winners in obvious photos and bold headlines, to saying "Spoiler Alert" without giving spoiler-phobes a second to plug their ears, none of the channels seem to get how spoiler alerts work. Even NBC cut to commercial break with a cliffhanger, only to ruin the suspense with a commercial promoting Missy Franklin's heart-warming post-gold medal interview on The Today Show. The one broadcast that got it right, according to Stewart: NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams.

There is a more serious side to this, as NBC has been heavily criticised as not understanding that in a Twitter and facebook era where news travels fast, the concept of time delayed broadcasts on an iconic event such as the Olympics is far less acceptable than in years gone by.

The Cufflink Collector - The Moore the Better
"The Cufflink Collector" blog offers an eclectic mix of comments and discoveries from the world of "fine art". Each entry covers two differnt subject matters as well as a picture of unusual cufflinks. In the first one described here, while battling the inhospitable weather in Toronto, the scribe stumbled across the largest collection of Henry Moore sculptures in the world...

Do All Whales Have Bumpy Skin?
This "Wonderopolis" feature discusses a number of issues related to whales that have occupied the minds of many: Do all whales have bumpy skin? Do whales have hair? ...and most importantly: Can whales get sunburned?

Where do Bugs Sleep?
Another curious piece on insects on the eclectic "Wonderopolis" website.

Belarus Soldiers Parade On Independence Day
A more potent deterrent than "Mutually Assured Destruction"?

Jonah Lehrer: Cities Are the Knowledge Engines of the 21st Century
In this "Big Think" thought piece by Daniel Honan, he explores how Jonah Lehrer and Geoffrey West view cities in contrast to businesses and what businesses might be able to learn from the apparent random and chaotic interactions of people within cities.

The Fairfax board is culpable: Beecher
The ABC's Emma Alberici is joined by former Fairfax editor Eric Beecher and Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, Robert Manne, in this Lateline program to discuss the current state of Fairfax.

Times-Picayune Editor on Commitment, Accountability Amid Cutbacks
In this PBS Newshour program from 13 June 2012 Judy Woodruff, Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss and The New York Times' David Carr discuss how New Orleans just became the largest U.S. metro without a daily. After 175 years, one of the nation's oldest daily newspapers -- The Times-Picayune -- announced Tuesday that 200 staff members would lose their jobs this fall.

Marc Lewis: Memoirs of an Addicted Brain
This program from the ABC's Big Ideas series is about Marc Lewis, who was a drug addict before he became Professor Marc Lewis, neuroscientist.

Jeremy Rifkin on the Third Industrial Revolution
In this ABC Big Ideas program, writer and thinker Jeremy Rivkin delivers this address to the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) in London on the critical need to develop our economies into a post carbon Third Industrial Revolution, or else we’ll spiral into a ‘dangerous endgame’. Rivkin is the president of the Foundation of Economic Trends and the author of numerous books on the impact of scientific and technological changes in on the economy, the workforce, society and the environment. Rifkin is compelling in addressing the coming convergence of internet technology and digital communications with energy and environmental issues. He has been an advisor to the European Union since 2002 and in that capacity has been the principle architect of the Third Industrial Revolution long term economic sustainability plan addressing the global economic crisis, energy security and climate change.

The footwear firm that gave counterfeiters the boot
In this BBC Business News article, Kim Gittleson dicusses how Tony Post, a former marathon runner and chief executive of Vibram USA who introduced the minimalist and stunningly successful Five Fingers running shoe in 2007, applied a novel strategy to confront counterfeiters.

'How Creativity Works': It's All In Your Imagination
What makes people creative? What gives some of us the ability to create work that captivates the eyes, minds and hearts of others? Jonah Lehrer, a writer specializing in neuroscience, addresses that question in his new book, "Imagine: How Creativity Works". Lehrer defines creativity broadly, considering everything from the invention of masking tape to breakthroughs in mathematics; from memorable ad campaigns to Shakespearean tragedies. He finds that the conditions that favor creativity — our brains, our times, our buildings, our cities — are equally broad. Lehrer joins NPR books' Robert Siegel to talk about the creative process — where great ideas come from, how to foster them, and what to do when you inevitably get stuck.

Oregon Field Guide: Pine Butterflies
This Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) item looks at an exceedingly rare population explosion of pine butterflies that fills the Malheur National Forest with a virtual snowstorm in August. The mysterious outbreak may occur for 2 or 3 years and then disappear for 3 decades. The beauty extracts a price: the butterflies, while caterpillars, ate needles off 250,000 acres of trees.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Closes Book On Hard Copies
The Encyclopaedia Britannica has been around since the 18th century and has become a staple of libraries and school classrooms. But now the company has decided to do away with its hard-copy editions and will only publish its content digitally. in this npr's Robert Siegel talks to Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopaedia Britannica, about the change.

Writing Rules by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman & George Orwell
In this "Open Culture" contribution from 31st January 2012, are some useful hints to become a better writer. Listen to the advice of writers who earn their daily bread with their pens. Here is a collection of them and some tips from a few other veterans — namely, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman.

Around the World in '100 Objects'
In this extended conversation, PBS Newshour's Jeffrey Brown talks to Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum and author of "A History of the World in 100 Objects," about the 16th century double-headed, serpent turquoise mosaic and what it's like to run a museum. Originally presented as a BBC radio series and now a book published in America, "A History of the World in 100 Objects" tells the story of humanity using artifacts selected from the British Museum.

How Does an Eraser Work?
The "Wonderopolis" site is a treasure chest of information on things we may or may not have always wondered about...

Interviews, Writers, Quotes, Fiction, Poetry - Paris Review
The Paris Review has on line, in decade order, interviews that it has conducted with the world's greatest authors; including Robert Frost, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, John Steinbeck, Anthony Burgess, Joan Didion, Italo Calvino, Aldous Huxley, Ernest Hemingway, and a fantastic 1957 interview with Truman Capote.

Australia Network - Newsline: Urban Aesthetics 12/08/2011
Urban Aesthetics in Seoul South Korea - Since 1995 Seoul City Council has required property developers to allocate 1% of the value of developments to "public art". This Newsline episode examines how the project has impacted on the face of Seoul, and on how the plan is being modified for the future.

Science of Taste
Did you know that about 95 percent of what we think is taste is actually smell? Or that the way we perceive flavor comes from a complex relationship between our senses, emotions and memories? As scientists decode how our taste and olfactory receptors work, top California chefs are taking that knowledge and creating alchemy in the kitchen.

Inside North Korea
Earlier this year, David Guttenfelder, chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, along with Jean H. Lee, AP bureau chief in Seoul, were granted unprecedented access to parts of North Korea as part of the AP's efforts to expand coverage of the isolated communist nation. The pair made visits to familiar sites accompanied by government minders, and were also allowed to travel into the countryside accompanied by North Korean journalists instead of government officials. Though much of what the AP journalists saw was certainly orchestrated, their access was still remarkable. Collected here are some of Guttenfelder's images from the trip that provide a glimpse of North Korea.

From Ball and Chain to Cap and Gown: Getting a B.A. Behind Bars
This 2011 NPR feature is about a college that is tougher to get into than Harvard, Princeton or Yale: Bard College. Not the campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., but the one behind bars in five Empire State prisons. The privately funded Bard Prison Initiative is putting convicts through a rigorous B.A. program that would challenge even the smartest Ivy Leaguers.

Photos of Sikkim by Alice Kandell Now Online
Between 1965 and 1971 photographer Alice S. Kandall made a number of trips to Sikkim India, on the border with Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. Kandall donated 15,000 of her Sikkim images to the US Library of Congress in 2010 and 300 of the images can be seen online.

Obey Martha: Shepard Fairey Pays a Large Tribute to Martha Cooper and “Defiant Youth” in New York
An interview from the "Brooklyn Street Art" web site with Shepherd Fairey. On a visit to New York in 2010 LA based 'Pop Artist' Shepherd Fairey talks about US immigration, hype and Los Angeles whilst pasting the side of a building.

Travelling Fit
Australian marathon travelling specialists – great way to see the world and keep fit doing it.

Being Ernest: John Walsh Unravels the Mystery Behind Hemingway's Suicide
In this 2011 article, John Walsh from The Independent writes about the suicide of Ernest Hemingway.
The Calgary Stampede
This is the must see event for holiday makers in Canada - it runs in early July every year and is not to be missed.
This Online Newspaper Directory offers links to over 6,000 newspapers from around the world...
Korean News
Daily News from the Korean Central News Agency (DPRK) in English and Spanish.

Koryo Tours - Tours & Tour Dates
The best tour operator into the DPRK.
Smithsonian Wild
Amazing footage of wild animals captured with the use of motion-triggered 'camera traps'.

Coffee & Health
This 2011 article formed an important part of the ongoing debate within the Celeste office with regard to the health benefits of coffee.
Hidden Depths
This 2010 BBC radio program is about London-born Graham Hawkes, who is the man who has created a submersible vessel that flies through the deepest ocean like a plane. Peter Day reports from his workshop in California.

David Finkel's Real-Life Hurt Locker
This 2010 ABC Big Ideas program is NOT one of the lighter contributions to this site. David Finkel wrote "The Good Soldiers" after being embedded with the US Army Infantry in Iraq for 8 months. He visited the Perth Writers Festival in early 2010 and this is him chatting about his Iraq experience and the book - moving!

What I Wish I Had Known When I Was 18 | Open Culture
In this 2010 interview, British writer and actor Stephen Fry offers some pearls of wisdom for the young (but they’re no less valuable for those a bit longer in the tooth).

Apocalypse, Again
GQ Francis Ford Coppola 2010 Interview on Apocalypse Now, the death of Dennis Hopper and more....

The Greatest Film Scenes Ever Shot
In 2010, The Observer film critic Philip French and a panel of leading film critics discuss the most memorable film scenes ever shot.
Water Drop Filmed in 10,000 Frames Per Second - Open Culture
The folks at MIT show you a drop of water like you’ve never seen it before. A great little outtake from the Discovery Channel program “Invisible Worlds In The Water.”
Picasso Painting on Glass - Open Culture
From the fantastic OPEN CULTURE web site Picasso at his home in Vallauris, painting on glass with a camera rolling on the other side. The scene is an outtake from Visite à Picasso (A Visit with Picasso), a 1950 film by Belgian filmmaker Paul Haesaerts.

A radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years
Every analyst's dream - to know what the future will hold...

BBC - Five minutes with: Richard Dawkins
Short & Sharp ......BBC 5 minute interviews with lots of interesting people like Richard Dawkins, Michael Pallin, AC Grayling, Sir Johnathan Miller, Moby, Alain de Betton, Rolf Harris, Emma Bunton, Stephen Fry, etc.....

Pendulum Waves
We sometimes just have to stand back and wonder at mother nature and other areas of human endeavour...
100 Photographs That Changed the World by LIFE - The Digital Journalist
In 2003, LIFE Magazine wondered if photographs had a similar ability like the written word to "Change the World" - we let you be the judge...

Photo Essay: Indonesia: Land of Contrasts
A photographic journey through one of our close neighbours.

Cormac McCarthy's Venomous Fiction
A 1992 New York Times interview with Cormac McCarthy author of "Blood Meridian" and "No Country for Old Men".

The Joe & Kurt Show
A 1992 Playboy interview with Joseph Heller and writer Kurt Vonnegut.

Martin Luther King Jr  Letter from a Birmingham Jail
This letter from August 1963 was written in response to a public statement of concern and caution issued by eight white religious leaders of the South. 

Superman Comes to the Supermarket
Originally published in 1960, this series of Esquire magazine articles by Norman Mailer is his debut in political journalism examines John F Kennedy. 

Aldous Huxley interview-1958
A rare 1958 interview from the author of "Brave New World".
1939 Alfred Hitchcock Lecture
A great interview with Alfred Hitchcock from March 1939.