Brush off the Dust Best of the Web 7/25-7/29/11

This week’s digest has some great photography included!  But, the stories are pretty unique and interesting, too.

1. Up, up and away!  The spectacular photos of world record-breaking balloonists taking to the sky

Record breakers: The magical moment a staggering 343 hot air balloons took to the air at the same time

Ok, so I really like hot air balloons.  They are colorful and perdy!  This is about a new record for balloons lifting off at the same time.  It is really in here for the pictures.  Read it by clicking here.

2. Historically Hardcore

Historically Hardcore - 50 Cent / Roosevelt

The Smithsonian’s new advertising campaign was covered in online design mag Whitezine…check out Andrew Jackson’s parrot!  Read it by clicking here.

3. Valentine Byler vs. the IRS “Pay unto Caesar — the Amish and Social Security

Amish Country News Buggy

This is a quirky, but fascinating piece!  Written in five parts for an Amish rag, it suffers from a little repetitiveness, but is still quite readable.  Did you know the Amish neither pay. nor contribute to Social Security?  Read it by clicking here.

4. Feds: Harvard fellow hacked millions of papers

Aaron Swartz's Reckless Activism

Aaron Schwartz is being indicted for hacking and stealing from JSTOR.  The young Harvard fellow was studying ethics and actually crashed the online service one day because of his downloading activity.  It is an interesting case, as he was planning put the articles on file-sharing websites.  JSTOR is a paid service, but if you have access to a university library you can pretty much use it at your leisure.  Read it by clicking here.

5. Research grant combines astrophysics and archeology to decipher ancient texts

A fragment from a "lost gospel" recently discovered in the Oxyrinchus Papyri. Credit: Egypt Exploration Society and Imaging Papyri Project, Oxford

Get your geek on!  Does it get any better?  Astrophysics and archaeology, together?  Read it by clicking here.

6. Books-rupturing-the-walls installation

Greatest picture ever!!  Boing-Boing covered this art piece for an office building in Portland.  It was commissioned by the ad agency who uses the space.  Read it by clicking here.

7. In Alchemy’s Defense

JH Magazine

Johns Hopkins professor, Lawrence Principe, is defending the honor of alchemists and their contributions to science:  “Most of the techniques that chemists now use in labs were developed in the Middle Ages,” Principe says. “What alchemists and chemists were doing at that time was incredibly similar.”  Enlightenment thinkers ran the campaign to discredit alchemists, but the processes developed were continued.  Read it by clicking here.

8. Say Good-bye to Your Dragon Tattoo: Why Translation Still Does and Will Always Matter

This blog post from Yale Press discusses the importance of translations and the dual contributions of two artists in a collaboration that may only span a few years, but can cross millennia!  Read it by clicking here.

9. Speaking Neatly

This is an ode to the skill of well-written aphorisms, while at the same time a cutting critique of Marxist aphorisms.  A neatly written piece that will goad some and thrill others.  Read it by clicking here.

10. As Chefs Become More Observant, Kosher Menus Go Gourmet

Deliciously Kosher: Moshe Wendel puts the finishing touches on a dish at Pardes, his restaurant in Brooklyn.

This article focuses on a Kosher revolution due to the fact that, “Much of this change has been propelled by baalei teshuvah chefs and diners, those who were raised in the religious world, left an observant life and returned, or those who became more observant later in life.”  Good article for foodies and those interested in the twists and turns of American culture and subcultures. Read it by clicking here.

11. Exiled Author Ma Jian banned from visiting China

ma jian

Chinese author, Ma Jian, comments on the worsening political condition in China, based on his own experiences and those of others imprisoned recently.  Interestingly, he points to the Beijing Olympics which taught the government that they could suppress and crack down without alienating the international community.  Read it by clicking here.

Hope you enjoyed it!!

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