3D Map of Universe Captures 43,000 Galaxies

The 2MASS Red­shift Sur­vey (details here) took 10 years to com­plete, and it has now yield­ed the finest 3D map of the uni­verse ever made, cat­a­logu­ing more than 43,000 galax­ies with­in 380 mil­lion light-years from Earth. The new map was pre­sent­ed last week at the 218th meet­ing of the Amer­i­can Astro­nom­i­cal Soci­ety. You can view the map in a much big­ger for­mat here and, as one user sug­gests, you may want to “right click and save as desk­top back­ground.”

Space.com has more details on this incred­i­ble map­ping project. Thanks Robin for send­ing along.

Don’t miss us on Face­book and Twit­ter.

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Penn Sound: Fantastic Audio Archive of Modern & Contemporary Poets

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia hosts an exten­sive and pret­ty remark­able audio col­lec­tion of mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary poet­ry, with a gen­er­ous help­ing of prose writ­ers thrown in. Direct­ed by Al Fil­reis and Charles Bern­stein (whose U. Penn exper­i­men­tal poet­ry cours­es are them­selves works of art), the col­lec­tion includes hun­dreds of names you’ll rec­og­nize imme­di­ate­ly, and oth­ers who are not house­hold names, but ought to be.

You can start with the stars, includ­ing John Ash­beryF. Scott Fitzger­aldAmiri Bara­kaEzra PoundWilliam Car­los Williams, and Vladimir Mayakovsky… But don’t be afraid to dig around for a while too. We were delight­ed to find “The Out­cry,” a favorite poem by the won­der­ful William Bronk, and sev­er­al fas­ci­nat­ing pod­cast inter­views with Cid Cor­man.

For more poet­ry, don’t miss the read­ings in our col­lec­tion of Free Audio Books.

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Vari­ety, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly.

A Digital Reconstruction of Washington D.C. in 1814

What did the U.S. cap­i­tal look like 200 years ago? Find­ing a sat­is­fac­to­ry answer to this ques­tion is very dif­fi­cult since there are very few reli­able images, maps and writ­ten accounts from Wash­ing­ton’s ear­ly days. This is why Dan Bai­ley, direc­tor of the Imag­ing Research Cen­ter (IRC) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, Bal­ti­more, has approached archi­tec­tur­al his­to­ri­ans, car­tog­ra­phers, engi­neers, and ecol­o­gists to “recre­ate a ‘best guess’ glimpse of the ear­ly city.” The video above is the result of the IRC’s work, show­ing a city that was, they say, “a rough work in progress.”

Noth­ing was pol­ished. The scale of the fed­er­al city was that of a per­son, not of immense mar­ble bureau­cra­cy. There were cab­ins and barns on the Cap­i­tal Lawn. The first fence around the Capi­tol was to keep the cows out. Con­gress­men came to town for the leg­isla­tive ses­sions, many times sleep­ing 3 to a room in a board­ing house, and work­ing in unfin­ished build­ings.

An in-depth arti­cle about the ongo­ing project was pub­lished in The Wash­ing­ton Post.

By pro­fes­sion, Matthias Rasch­er teach­es Eng­lish and His­to­ry at a High School in north­ern Bavaria, Ger­many. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twit­ter.

Chemistry on YouTube: “Periodic Table of Videos” Wins SPORE Prize

A few years ago, we post­ed about an ambi­tious project out of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Not­ting­ham called The Peri­od­ic Table of Videos. The project is pret­ty much exact­ly what it sounds like – an online peri­od­ic table in which each and every ele­ment gets its own brief intro­duc­to­ry video, “star­ring” the researchers and fac­ul­ty of the uni­ver­si­ty’s chem­istry depart­ment. Video jour­nal­ist Brady Haran has kept each episode loose and unscript­ed, and the sci­en­tists’ enthu­si­asm for their sub­ject is infec­tious, even — or per­haps espe­cial­ly — when their exper­i­ments go awry (Keep an eye out espe­cial­ly for the won­der­ful­ly wooly Pro­fes­sor Poli­akoff, whose hair alone should earn him first billing).

We were delight­ed to learn that the PTOV has just been award­ed a very well-deserved Sci­ence Prize for Online Resources by the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence. In fact, the project has proven so suc­cess­ful over­all that Haran has embarked on a sim­i­lar col­lab­o­ra­tion with the uni­ver­si­ty’s physics depart­ment, and he’s also brought the chemists back for a new series about mol­e­cules. The most pop­u­lar video from that series, which we’ve post­ed above, address­es a ques­tion that has kept us all up till dawn at least once in our lives: What hap­pens when a cheese­burg­er is dunked in hydrochlo­ric acid?

Don’t miss the free chem­istry cours­es list­ed in our col­lec­tion of 380 Free Online Cours­es.

via ArsTech­ni­ca

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly

City of Eight Million Soundtracks

“Soli­tude,” wrote Hen­ry David Thore­au in Walden, “is not mea­sured by the miles of space that inter­vene between a man and his fel­lows. The real­ly dili­gent stu­dent in one of the crowd­ed hives of Cam­bridge Col­lege is as soli­tary as a dervish in the desert.” If you’re search­ing for soli­tude these days, even in Times Square, you won’t need much diligence–just an iPod and a pair of ear­buds. But watch out! Your soli­tude might be shat­tered by Tyler Cullen, a stu­dent film­mak­er at the School of Visu­al Arts, who recent­ly had the audac­i­ty to say to his fel­low New York­ers: Hey You! What Song Are You Lis­ten­ing To?

Via Kottke.org

The Musalman: The Last Handwritten Newspaper in the World

Tucked away in the crowd­ed south­ern Indi­an city of Chen­nai, in the shad­ow of the Wal­la­jah Mosque, is an unflat­ter­ing build­ing. But what hap­pens inside the build­ing is remark­able. Every day since 1927, a ded­i­cat­ed team has worked tire­less­ly to cre­ate a hand­writ­ten news­pa­per, The Musalman (in Urdu: مسلمان). Today, there’s a team of six work­ers who work on the news­pa­per dai­ly. Four of the work­ers are known as kat­i­bs, writ­ers ded­i­cat­ed to the ancient art of Urdu cal­lig­ra­phy. They have the most mod­est of facil­i­ties: two wall fans, three light bulbs, and one tube light in an 800-square-foot build­ing. But watch­ing the video, you learn how this news­pa­per has sur­vived for three gen­er­a­tions — every­one who works there is absolute­ly devot­ed to the task. In fact, they are pre­pared to work on The Musalman until their “last breath,” an unde­ni­able pas­sion.

In the mod­ern era where almost every pub­lished work is cre­at­ed dig­i­tal­ly, it is refresh­ing to see the tra­di­tion of cal­lig­ra­phy endure with The Musalman. We can only hope the rest of us can appre­ci­ate The Musalman’s his­to­ry and its efforts to sur­vive as much as its ded­i­cat­ed read­ers do.

To learn more about The Musalman, read this Times of India sto­ry. For more about the world’s hand­writ­ten news­pa­pers, please see this post on Brain­Pick­ings.

Eugene Buchko is a blog­ger and pho­tog­ra­ph­er liv­ing in Atlanta, GA. He main­tains a pho­to­blog, Eru­dite Expres­sions, and writes about what he reads on his read­ing blog.

The Guitar Prodigy from Karachi

Usman Riaz began play­ing clas­si­cal piano at 6, then took up the gui­tar at 16. Fast for­ward four years, and you have this — the 20-year old Riaz play­ing his song “Fire­fly” in a music video that’s more like a mini indie arts film than any­thing else. At times, Riaz plays his Mar­tin XC1t like a piano key­board, but, all along, you can hear his acknowl­edged influ­ences — Kaki King, Michael Hedges, Don Ross and, of course, Jim­my Page. (Don’t miss these relat­ed videos.) You can learn more about the Karachi musi­cian in this two-part inter­view here and here, and also find his short album, Flash­es and Sparks, on Ama­zon here.

via 3 Quarks Dai­ly

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Don’t Dance at the Jefferson Memorial: A Quick PSA

Any­one know what law these dancers were vio­lat­ing, since the arrest­ing offi­cer appar­ent­ly does­n’t know (or won’t say)?

Update: This article/post gives you the back­sto­ry. It explains that the dancers were “there protest­ing a … court deci­sion [hand­ed down] ear­li­er this month that upheld a ban on danc­ing with­in the memo­r­i­al.” The mem­bers of the “civ­il danceobe­di­ence” were charged with demon­strat­ing with­out a per­mit, and then released a short time after. That’s the answer to the ques­tion, in short…

via Boing­Bo­ing

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