So if you haven’t heard, Tom Waits was on The Simpsons last night, voicing “a gravelly voiced paranoiac” prepper and joining the long list of illustrious and not-so-illustrious guest stars who’ve graced the show since it started screening way back in 1989. His appearance got us thinking about some of the more unlikely guest stars and/or performances the show has seen over the years — and so we’ve amused ourselves after the jump selecting some of our favorites, from Johnny Cash playing a psychedelic coyote to Thomas Pynchon breaking a 40-year TV silence. Did we miss any of your favorites? Go ahead and let us know. (And advance apologies for the quality of a couple of the clips — Simpsons videos are like hen’s teeth on YouTube.) … Read More
1. Here’s a clip of Orbital and Stephen Hawking performing at the opening ceremony for the Paralympics, which just kicked off in London. Those Hadron Collider dancers might be our favorite part.
2. A Doctor Horrible sequel within the next year? We don’t know how Joss Whedon is going to find the room… Read More
For whatever reason Errol Morris’ 1991 documentary on Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, is almost impossible to find on DVD, and while the filmmaker recently tweeted plans for a re-release (“It was never properly color corrected and is one of my best films”), we can’t seem to find any proof that it will be happening anytime soon. That’s why we’re happy to announce, thanks to a tip from Jason Kottke, that a version of the film has made its way onto YouTube; both the sound and picture quality aren’t all that great (which is a real shame, given that frequent Morris collaborator Philip Glass did the soundtrack), but you still get all of the good stuff — not only an intimate glimpse at his work and theories about the universe, but details about the renowned physicist’s early years, courtesy of interviews with several family members, as well as his childhood nanny. Enjoy! … Read More
Yesterday, The Guardian released a list of the 100 greatest nonfiction books to coincide with the release of the shortlist for the BBC’s Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction, and it’s bound to ruffle some feathers. They’ve divided up the books into 17 categories, from Art to Travel, with a few ostensibly divisive entries thrown in (e.g., the only book in the “mind” category is Sigmund Freud’s 1899 opus, The Interpretation of Dreams). We’ve chosen our favorites from the bunch and included them below, though not without hemming and hawing before we made our decision. Should we include the most popular books — those that have impacted the most lives or changed the course of history? Or should we include those that were written with the most skill, though they might be less loved? In the end, we decided on a mix of the two, though we realize they aren’t always mutually exclusive. If you’d like to weigh in, then follow this link to nominate a book you think has been unjustly omitted from the list, and see our choices after the jump. … Read More
Earlier this month, we appealed to those of you who scored better on the verbal portion of the SAT with our mixtape for English majors and other word nerds. Now, it’s time to see how the other half lives. We’ve compiled a slew of songs for those of you who maybe spent a little too much time in the chem lab, who cheered for Weird Science’s Anthony Michael Hall as if he were one of your own, and who still might have a poster of the periodic table on your bedroom walls. Dearly beloved lab rats and Bunsen enthusiasts, we give you ten songs that lift science up where it… Read More
“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach. [Contacting aliens would be] a little too risky … If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
— Stephen Hawking, as quoted in Discovery Channel’s three-part series Stephen Hawking’s Universe, is wary of aliens and nervous about direct contact. Turns out that ChatRoulette is an acceptable medium of communication, however. Have no idea what we’re talking about? Photo evidence* after the jump.… Read More
This just in from our friends at TwentyFourBit: “Third Man Records have announced the upcoming 7-inch vinyl release of ‘A Glorious Dawn,’ an Auto-Tuned remix of Carl Sagan’s dialogue from his ‘Cosmos’ television series; the remix, which features Stephen Hawking, first gained notoriety after composer John Boswell uploaded it to YouTube earlier this fall.” It’s due out on November 9th.
If you have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about, check out the song after the jump.… Read More