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Current Topic: Recreation

Experience Human Flight
Topic: Recreation 2:21 am EDT, Apr 22, 2011


I've gotten old enough that I now understand why adults seek to escape reality.

Jay Keasling:

We have got to the point in human history where we simply do not have to accept what nature has given us.

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

Charles C. Mann:

I felt alone and small, but in a way that was curiously like feeling exalted.

Anne Frank:

As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you'll know that you're pure within and will find happiness once more.

Experience Human Flight

Urban Exploration -
Topic: Recreation 8:09 pm EST, Jan  3, 2011

Steve Duncan:

As an urban historian & photographer, I try to peel back the layers of a city to see what's underneath. From the tops of bridges to the depths of sewer tunnels, these explorations of the urban environment help me puzzle together the interconnected, multi-dimensional history and complexity of the great metropolises of the world.

Jacki Lyden:

Steve Duncan lives dangerously. The urban explorer goes underground, examining the hidden infrastructure of major cities all over the world -- their tunnels, subways, sewers.

In New York City, his favorite underground adventure, he could drown when the tide comes in or succumb to toxic gases in the sewers. He could be hit by a train or step on the third rail. And if he gets caught, he would be so under arrest.

So why does he do it? If you could have followed Alice down that rabbit hole, or Jules Verne to the center of the Earth, or gone to see the mandrake god in Pan's Labyrinth, wouldn't you do it? It's seductive. It's mysterious. It's what lies beneath.

Edward L. Glaeser:

During economic downturns, we begin to fear that we are entering a permanent period of decline. But we can avoid that depressing prospect if we recognize that a revival will not come from federal spending or another building boom. Reinvention requires a new wave of innovation and entrepreneurship, which can emerge from our dense metropolitan areas and their skilled residents. America must stop treating its cities as ugly stepchildren, and should instead cherish them as the engines that power our economy.

Urban Exploration -

A Piece Of The Action
Topic: Recreation 9:25 am EST, Dec 27, 2010

Geoff Dyer:

Strolling is for tourists and it's exhausting.

Roger Ebert:

Don't you have anything else to do?

Why wait?

Use your card at the CLEARlane to bypass long security waits and be on your way in minutes.

Damon Tabor:

I was on "vacation," part of a small tour group whose members had paid Geoff Hann, the owner of a UK-based company called Hinterland Travel, $3,700 for the pleasure of traveling in a war zone.

There are no backpackers or bus-tour day-trippers in Afghanistan, and proximity to danger is the real essence of a Hann trip. His tour is a chance to court your own demise -- a short walk on the Hindu Kush's dark side. If you were lucky, you would feel more alive at the end. If you weren't? It was best not to think about that.

Andrew Exum:

Everything in Afghanistan is hard, and it is hard all the time.

Ahmed Rashid:

Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western. Karzai and the US will not part ways but there is clearly a fundamental and growing tension between them that does not augur well for either the US or Afghanistan.

Anthony Cordesman:

Key elements of the Afghan government have become almost as serious a problem as the Taliban, and it is far from clear that we are fighting the same war.

These are not problems we can afford to keep ignoring.

Philip Gourevitch:

Do doped-up maniacs really go a-maiming in order to increase their country's appeal in the eyes of international aid donors? Does the modern humanitarian-aid industry help create the kind of misery it is supposed to redress?

The amputations brought the peace, which brought the UN, which brought the money, which brought the NGOs. All of them wanted a piece of the amputee action. It got to the point where the armless and legless had piles of extra prosthetics in their huts and still went around with their stubs exposed to satisfy the demands of press and NGO photographers, who brought yet more money and more aid.

Superior, Speed Fly on Vimeo
Topic: Recreation 12:38 pm EST, Dec 20, 2010

Marshall Miller:

Speedflying in the area of Mt. Superior, Utah.

From the archive:

Speedriding, speedflying and wingsuitflying in the area of Wengen, Switzerland.

Superior, Speed Fly on Vimeo

The National Parks: America's Best Idea | PBS
Topic: Recreation 8:12 am EDT, Sep 17, 2009

Ken Burns:

Filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature's most spectacular locales -- from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska -- The National Parks: America's Best Idea is nonetheless a story of people: people from every conceivable background -- rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. It is a story full of struggle and conflict, high ideals and crass opportunism, stirring adventure and enduring inspiration -- set against the most breathtaking backdrops imaginable.

Michael Chabon:

Art is a form of exploration, of sailing off into the unknown alone, heading for those unmarked places on the map. If children are not permitted--not taught--to be adventurers and explorers as children, what will become of the world of adventure, of stories, of literature itself?

Once something is fetishized, capitalism steps in and finds a way to sell it.

Jeff Goldblum, in Jurassic Park:

You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it, you want to sell it!

Jamie Hogan:

I'm an engineer, and if one genius bear can do it, sooner or later there might be two genius bears.

The National Parks: America's Best Idea | PBS

E-mails from an Asshole
Topic: Recreation 8:04 am EDT, Jul 10, 2009

This is a collection of e-mails I have sent to people who post classified ads.

My goal is to mess with them, confuse them, and/or piss them off.

These are the ones that succeeded.

Richard Hamming:

If you do not work on an important problem, it's unlikely you'll do important work.

Samantha Power:

There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

E-mails from an Asshole

Getting Up to Speed
Topic: Recreation 8:04 am EDT, Jul 10, 2009

Jon Gertner:

This is a story not about Amtrak but about trains, and the problem with any story about trains in America is that you often find yourself thinking about Amtrak, and you often find yourself thinking about how nice it would be if you weren't thinking about Amtrak. This is especially true when you're actually riding on Amtrak.

You see:

That's not grime you're seeing, it's historical charm.

J.M. Harper:

This is not my home.

Also in the archive:

Train Runs Through Bangkok Market

Model Railroad Slums

Getting Up to Speed

Dinosaur Kingdom, Natural Bridge, Virginia
Topic: Recreation 8:21 am EDT, May 20, 2009

Roadside America:

Dinosaur Kingdom is a twist on the biblical Creationist view that people and dinosaurs lived together. Here, people live with dinosaurs -- but only until the dinosaurs eat them.

As the tour begins, visitors are asked to imagine themselves in 1863. A family of Virginia paleontologists has accidentally dug a mine shaft into a hidden valley of living dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the Union Army has tagged along, hoping to kidnap the big lizards and use them as "weapons of mass destruction" against the South.

What you see along the path of Dinosaur Kingdom is a series of tableaus depicting the aftermath of this ill-advised military strategy.

Donald Rumsfeld:

Building a new nation is never a straight, steady climb upward. Today can sometimes look worse than yesterday -- or even two months ago. What matters is the overall trajectory: Where do things stand today when compared to what they were five years ago?

Kurt Schwenk, via Carl Zimmer:

I guarantee that if you had a 10-foot lizard jump out of the bushes and rip your guts out, you’d be somewhat still and quiet for a bit, at least until you keeled over from shock and blood loss owing to the fact that your intestines were spread out on the ground in front of you.

From the archive:

Pablo Escobar purchased the 8.4 sq mile Napoles Estate, about 200 miles from Bogota, in 1978.

He turned it into a fantasy land with concrete dinosaurs, a bullfighting ring and a private zoo that would have made Michael Jackson jealous, with giraffes, elephants, kangaroos and hippopotamuses.

To keep them company, he built a herd of concrete dinosaurs.


Rewilding: the process of creating a lifestyle that is independent of the domestication of civilization.

Dinosaur Kingdom, Natural Bridge, Virginia

World of Goo
Topic: Recreation 7:09 am EST, Nov 24, 2008

World of Goo is a physics based puzzle / construction game. The millions of Goo Balls who live in the beautiful World of Goo don't know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious.

From the archive:

"We are on the cusp of perfection of extreme evil -- an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond weapons of mass destruction," Joy warned recently in Wired magazine.

You must learn to love the Goo, for it loves you.

I wait in eager anticipation of Grey Goo Graffiti.

Only you can prevent Gray Goo

World of Goo

In Parkour, Climbing Walls Because They’re There
Topic: Recreation 8:06 am EDT, Oct 17, 2008

“What’s cool about the sport is, it’s all about confronting yourself and seeing what you’re capable of,” she said. “That’s very instructive in life. So, as far as my injuries go, it’s a little like the catcalls I get. I may not like it all that much, but it’s not going to stop me.”

From the archive:

Spread the word: This delirious import is the most (maybe the only) fun action movie of the summer—swift, funny, filled with actual stunts instead of digitized mayhem, and primed at a moment's notice for megaton ass-kicking.

When a body plummets down a stairwell or is hurled against a slot machine, it does so with conviction.

The spread of parkour into the woods of Georgia and the deserts of Arizona occurred almost entirely through the boundlessness of Internet message boards.

In Parkour, Climbing Walls Because They’re There

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