Dear Clusterflock: What was the most comforting condolence sentence you ever heard?

Stolen from Metafilter. I don’t have a MeFi account, so I can’t even favorite things over there, much less comment. So I figured I’d re-pose the question here.

The MeFi thread is great, but bring tissues. I loved this one most:

My uncle, Albert Crary, was an extraordinary man. Not only was he an explorer and scientist of both poles (The Crary Mountains in Antarctica were named by him and the A.P. Crary Science and Engineering Center at McMurdo Station was named fo him) but he gathered stories like no one I’ve ever met. At his public memorial in Washington DC at, I believe, the Cosmos Club, speaker after speaker got up and told about his staunchness, his incredible endurance, but most importantly, they all told a funny story about him: The time he fell off the ice shelf and what he said to the preacher after his rescue when the preacher came looking for a good sermon. The time he went shopping for supplies in South America when they were running a geophysical line across a South American swamp. The time my father put my brother up to calling him and acting like a dumb reporter asking the stupidest questions imaginable about the ice island T3.

Months later, we had a private memorial in his hometown of Canton, New York. One-by-one his nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends got up and told more stories. To all of us he’d been the source of fun, support and laughter when we were growing up – he never let any of us take ourselves too seriously, but he was always there when anyone needed help. When my turn came, I got up, told my story and then said this:

Everyone deserves an Uncle Albert, we were just fortunate enough to have had one.
posted by BillW at 5:23 PM on March 30

(Via the wonderful Ed Yong.)

No matter where you are, it’s colder in Oymyakon, Russia

Frozen bridge in Oymyakon Russia

Daily problems that come with living in Oymyakon include pen ink freezing, glasses freezing to people’s faces and batteries losing power. Locals are said to leave their cars running all day for fear of not being able to restart them.

Even if there was coverage for mobile phone reception the phones themselves would not work in such cold conditions.

(via The Daily Mail)

(Photographer Amos Chapple’s site)

Dear Clusterflock,

I’m still thankful for all you guys.

The Silent Flute by Bruce Lee

Miracle Jones, the pearl of Texas, tosses a Bruce Lee poem to the youtube gods…

Sex is best when you lose your head

In the past thirty years, the conventional wisdom has been destroyed. The truth is that females of most species actively seek multiple partners to have sex with. If the aim of males is to put their sperm into as many females as possible, females are trying, with equal determination, to get the very best sperm to fertilise their eggs – even if that means having sex with many males in turn.

One-stop shopping

One-stop shopping for luck, banking, and healthcare on 10th Street and 3rd Avenue.

File under: Legendary Rowers

Meet my friend Pat Quesnel, the first person to row solo across the Pacific . . .

I was looking around for photos for a project using these terms: man and boat, man and row boat, small boat and man, arctic row boat, Faroes row boat, falling row boat, row boat tiny, row boat at sea, row boat ocean, rowing archive, rowing museum, Faroes metal boats tiny Ocean, skiff, skiff and man, high-walled skiff, and Faroes skiff. This photo turned up on ebay and I thought “Well, maybe. It’s a newspaper photo, rights should be reasonable,” and so I saved a copy in my project folder. I rejected the photo for the job but bothered to read the caption before I tossed it and, fuck a Roosevelt Elk, it’s my old friend Pat Quesnel from Kodiak, the first person to row solo across the Pacific. I have not contacted him in years but I still miss his company.
Read more

Residence (for Rick N.)

I built a house all around this day. I inspected the lumber piled in the lean-to, pulled stacks of boards from the moist blackness, planed and trimmed quarter-sawn planks, and checked decades-old Southern yellow pine for squareness and warp. No less than one hundred spiders perished on account of my actions, and for that I’m sorry. Read more

Offline Friend Request EULA

By my (for reasons that will soon become obvious) Twitter-only friend @ChrisKubica:

For those who asked, here is the EULA to be my friend

If you are my friend offline, you agree:

Heretoforwith;

Your stuff is my stuff. Your food is my food. I can sleep on your bed. I can give you kittens. I can take your kittens. I can play your music and your apps. You will provide cuddling within 4-hour’s notice. I can ride your dog even if he or she is too small when compared to my size. I can eat whatever is in your fridge or on your counter. I can sit on your counter. I can ask you questions. You will provide all answers in writing, orally and on 8-track cassette. I can wear your various clothing. I can has cheeseburgers. I can show you unicorns. I can believe in rainbows. You will believe in rainbows or pretend to believe in rainbows when I am about. I can have your milk and your jewelry. I can call you good and bad names. I can rock in your hammock and borrow your car. You may guard my house. You should buy me marshmallows. You will buy me books, read me books and lend me your books indefinitely. You will lend me everything indefinitely. You will provide me with five copies of the entire universe. . . .

If, having read the EULA, you wish to request offline friendship with Chris: Anyone also not on Facebook, feel free to use my offline Friend Request template (PDF)

Update: Unfriend Request Form

the divide

I’ve taken a lot of photographs, but this one always surprises me when I rediscover it. It’s one I’m most thankful for, if only for the luck of being there at the exact right moment.

Project Nim

From the director of Man on Wire, Project Nim:

Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.

(via marginal revolution)

Dharun Ravi

How do you feel about Dharun Ravi’s guilty verdict? Here’s background from the New Yorker, and the recent announcement in the Atlantic.

Inventor Portrait: Ralph Baer

The inventor of the gaming console:

Ralph Baer is often called the father of video games. His invention, the Magnavox Odyssey, was the first home console system.

Since he turns 90 years old this week, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the video game, I chose for this video some bits from our interview in which we talk about, among other things, why he’s still inventing at 90 years old.

(thanks, Chris)

Teju Cole on Kony and the White Savior Industrial Complex

Alexis Madrigal asks:

What would it be like to have an intellectual class more like Teju Cole & less like Tom Friedman?

Context.

(thanks, Sarah)

Smithsonian Magazine’s Photo Contest Finalists Announced

The finalists for Smithsonian Magazine’s 9th Annual Photo Contest were just announced and voting for the Readers’ Choice selection is currently open. There are some true gems covering all manner of subject matter – what a wonderful world we live in.

(Photo credit: Village Boys Relaxing by Nimai Chandra Ghosh, finalist in the People category)

smoke signals

Made by Hand, The Beekeeper

Made by Hand is a great series of short films about people who devote themselves to the art and craft of making or doing something well. The knife maker video posted at kottke.org is a fine example. This episode is about Brooklyn beekeeper Megan Paska.

Local farmer Megan Paska has witnessed beekeeping as it morphed from an illegal (and possibly crazy) habit to a sustainable, community-supported skill. Mirroring beekeeping’s own ascendance, she found more than just a living: “This is the first time in my life when I’ve just felt absolutely on the right path.”

(via @fchimero)

from the comments

Carole Corlew:

War correspondent Marie Colvin was a swashbuckler long before the black eyepatch. She performed daring feats for a living, then partied like a rockstar. She collected men easily and left them behind. A woman told me once that the French people in the Paris bureau could not understand Marie, “in French or English. Because of the New Jersey accent.” The remark puzzled me. Marie did not have an accent. She was a fast talker, and in the days before she contributed broadcast reports was something of a mumbler. I know now she was in a hurry. She had only a few years and was rushing toward her fate.

In fact, the story goes that when chided about her smoking habit, she insisted tobacco would not be the thing that got her in the end.

Update:

Lou Carr predicted Marie wouldn’t last as a foreign correspondent. He said she would end up back in Oyster Bay, married and driving around a station wagon loaded with kids. He was wrong. But maybe that’s where Marie is headed, across the way, with the 2-year-old boy whose so quiet death broke her heart a few hours before she joined him.

30 Photos of a Chinese Sex Toy Factory

humans having fun

via Colossal

from the comments

Aaron Winslow:

I’m the horse. Everything else is everything else.

The Amish Project

A 24-year-old student went 90 days without using a cell phone, email or social media. Yahoo News interviewed him about the experience:

I definitely just lost complete contact with people that normally would have been part of my life. I mean it’s also an interesting metric for your life to see who some of your closest friends are, you know, and who’s willing to take the time.

I find it an interesting thought experiment to contrast this idea with Clusterflock, which is the clearest example in my life of the relationship-building power of the internet and social technology. The internet made it possible to seek out an entirely new tribe of people – people with which I have so much in common and so much to talk about, but that I hadn’t realized existed.

But then there are social networks like Facebook, which at their worst takes all of the people who are already part of your life – your co-workers, your school chums, your family – and hands them a level of intimacy about our lives that they haven’t really earned and don’t particularly deserve. I think that’s why it’s so interesting when these online relationships predicated on intimate knowledge but passive communication go bust when one party pulls out of Facebook – we’re just learning a hard lesson about the differences between that kind of intimate knowledge and true friendship, which for the longest time I thought were one and the same.

A couple relatives recently found me on Google Plus (I use it primarily for the sad remnants of what was once Google Reader). I hadn’t even acknowledged their existence before they were already commenting on every single piece of information attached to my name. This, I’m told, is keeping in touch.

headline of the day

Should a Life Coach Have a Life First?

The Six Weirdest Cities People Actually Live In

Look, we’re idiots: None of us knows what, exactly, goes into city planning, but we assume it’s probably a lot of distinguished gentlemen emailing each other about math, statistics and blueprints. But somewhere along the line, somebody accidentally CC’ed the insane asylum, and we wound up with the following civilizations that simply should not be.

(via @tylercowen)

“It’s killing that is very distant but also very personal,” says anthropologist Neta Bar. “I would even say intimate.”

Chris Kyle is the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003, and killed 255 people in six years.

A crowd had come out to greet them. Through the scope he saw a woman, with a child close by, approaching his troops. She had a grenade ready to detonate in her hand.

“This was the first time I was going to have to kill someone. I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to do it, man, woman or whatever,” he says.

“You’re running everything through your mind. This is a woman, first of all. Second of all, am I clear to do this, is this right, is it justified? And after I do this, am I going to be fried back home? Are the lawyers going to come after me saying, ‘You killed a woman, you’re going to prison’?”

But he didn’t have much time to debate these questions.

“She made the decision for me, it was either my fellow Americans die or I take her out.”

He pulled the trigger.

(via the browser)

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