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Misc.

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google

TIME: Detroit's Big Gamble

Google’s new LIFE photo archive is an impressive online collection of recently-digitized images dating back to the 1750s.

A search for “1975,” the year I was born, yields some interesting results. Some notable TIME covers from 33 years ago that prove there’s nothing new under the sun: “Can Capitalism Survive?” (see: the global money crisis) and — better yet — “Rebates and Smaller Cars: Detroit’s Big Gamble,” pictured above (see: the the proposed Detroit bailout).

Same with 1948, the year my parents were born.

And I’ve also enjoyed perusing the images from 1920, my 88-year-old grandmother‘s birth year. A few pics from that year that caught my eye include:

— “Typical 1920s big city street…
— “Three women in classic 1920’s attire…
— “The 1920 Yale News Board magazine edit staff…
— “Model wearing fashionable satin dress and coat very indicative of 1920’s style.
–“3rd Ave. elevated railroad running alongside the Bowery.

You can find more info about the LIFE photo archive on the Google blog:

The Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination; The Mansell Collection from London; Dahlstrom glass plates of New York and environs from the 1880s; and the entire works left to the collection from LIFE photographers Alfred Eisenstaedt, Gjon Mili, and Nina Leen. These are just some of the things you’ll see in Google Image Search today.

We’re excited to announce the availability of never-before-seen images from the LIFE photo archive. This effort to bring offline images online was inspired by our mission to organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. This collection of newly-digitized images includes photos and etchings produced and owned by LIFE dating all the way back to the 1750s.

Only a very small percentage of these images have ever been published. The rest have been sitting in dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints. We’re digitizing them so that everyone can easily experience these fascinating moments in time. Today about 20 percent of the collection is online; during the next few months, we will be adding the entire LIFE archive — about 10 million photos.

(Emphasis mine.)

Categories
Misc.

My Favorite Podcasts: Updated

As I’ve noted before, I really love podcasts. And I wanted to update the list of my favorite podcasts that I posted last year. So here goes.

First, here are some recent finds; none of these are new, but they’re new to me ((If you’ve never listened to a podcast and wonder what all the fuss is about, check out this three-minute YouTube video: Podcasting in Plain English.)).

The Sound of Young America ((Note that the title is misleading; the show has little to do with America’s youth.)). Tagline: “A Public Radio Show About Things That Are Awesome.” Textism has a good overview of this podcast.

The Moth‘s format is simple: People get up on stage, without notes, and tell stories about their personal experiences. There’s some wonderful, wonderful stuff here.

RadioLab. A podcast about science and philosophy. Sometimes it’s a little too experimental, sonically speaking, for me. But the topics are always intriguing.

And then there are my (mostly well-known) favorites: podcasts that I’ve been listening to for a while and still really like:

This American Life,

— the ESPN Soccernet podcast ((Which also happens to have a lively Facebook group)),

The New Yorker Out Loud,

On the Media,

PRI’s The World, and

World View, from the New York Times.

Got a favorite podcast to share? Let us know in the comments.

Categories
Misc.

Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker on The Splended Table

If you’re in America’s Pacific Northwest and you like Southeast Asian food — specifically Thai cuisine — then you’ve got to make your way to Pok Pok Whiskey Soda Lounge. That’s the name of Andy Ricker’s restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I haven’t been there, but it sounds like my kind of place: simple, savory Thai food served in a casual atmosphere.

Pok Pok isn’t a conventional Thai restaurant like you’d usually find in the US. It’s a “food garden” with indoor and outdoor seating. And the menu doesn’t include Thai staples that are common in the West, like pad thai and green chicken curry, but rather regional food from Thailand’s north and northeast. Pok Pok was voted The Oregonian‘s 2007 restaurant of the year. (Click here for a YouTube video tour of Pok Pok compliments of the Oregonian.)

Owner Andy Ricker — who learned about Thai cuisine during his travels here — was recently interviewed by Lynne Rossetto Kasper for the excellent Splendid Table radio show. You can find the episode here, and here’s a direct link to the mp3.

The segment starts at 14 min., 40 sec. and goes to about 24 min.

(Thanks to Austin Bush — an Oregonian who knows a thing or two about Thai food himself — for the link.)

Categories
Misc.

“No helmet? No problem!”

2015-11-28_helmetjpg

Thanks to the eagle-eyed KB for discovering that a photo I took here in Bangkok in October, 2006 has made its way into an Internet meme ((Related newley.com post: “My Buddy Lands a Deer — A Mile Offshore“; verification at Snopes.com: “Deerly Departed.”)) featuring funny photos of motorcycles and motorcyclists.

Above is the image. Someone grabbed it from my Flickr photostream and added it to this collection of photos purporting to document silly scenes ((Many of the images remind me of “Bikes of Burden,” a book that, in fact, contains authentic images from Vietnam.)) in Vietnam. (Many of the images in this Web collection are from other parts of Asia, it appears.) Someone in KB’s master’s degree program at a Bangkok university forwarded her the email and the images, and KB recognized my pic among the others.

While I’m no stranger to Vietnam, I actually snapped the image above — hat tip to A for spotting the guy that day — in the Bang Na area of Bangkok on a Saturday afternoon. The driver seemed to be transporting the bucket on his head since he had no other way to carry it.

But I like the appended caption better: “No helmet – no problem. I got what I need.”

Categories
Misc.

Michael Crichton, Master Storyteller, Dead at 66

Michael Crichton has died of cancer at the age of 66. His most popular books, of course, included “Jurassic Park,” “The Andromeda Strain,” and “Timeline.” And while I’ve read many of his thrillers — most recently “Next,” about genetic engineering — my favorite of his books was “Travels,” which I liked for its compelling stories told in a spare, direct style. (Most people don’t realize that Crichton penned a travel book.)

Some snippets in which Crichton is remembered:

LA Times: Michael Crichton dies at 66; bestselling author of ‘Jurassic Park’ and other thrillers

Wired: The Rich, Mixed Legacy of Michael Crichton

New York Times: Builder of Windup Realms That Thrillingly Run Amok

I also enjoyed reading what James Fallows has to say about Crichton. A thought for Michael Crichton

…Crichton had his enemies, especially after his recent anti-global-warming book (which I chose not to read). That he was married five times suggests that his personal life was not entirely tranquil. And he was hyper, hyper aware that in America he was regarded as a “genre” writer whereas in Italy, for example, he would be listed among the big names of Quality Lit.

But I was honored to have met him 20 years age, when I was living in Japan, and to have been a friend since then. He seemed unassuming, funny, charming in every way — the unusual famous person who was genuinely considerate of one’s spouse and kids. Very earnest about his political causes, including a very prescient argument fifteen years ago about the impending decline of the “Mediasaurus,” now known as MSM. And, there is no way around it, incredibly talented. At one point in the 1990s, he was responsible for the #1-rated TV show (ER), the #1 box office movie (Jurassic Park), and the #1 best selling-novel — and I’m not even sure now which of his novels it was. He must have been the only person in history to have paid his way through medical school by writing successful novels.

I loved hearing from him about oddball “practical” matters. For instance, height: he appeared to be nearly 7 feet tall, and explained to me (6’2″) that up until 6’6″ height was an advantage, but after that it was a big inconvenience — door frames, beds, airplane seats. Or, getting ready for book writing bursts: He said he removed complications from his life while writing by having exactly the same food at every meal, so he never had to waste time deciding what to eat. He was a tech enthusiast, and the most passionate Mac advocate ((For more on the Mac angle, see this touching note in Macworld: “Remembering Michael Crichton“)) I have encountered.