Archive for March 17th, 2012

March 17, 2012

Pink Slime

pink slime by mac mcrae

‘Boneless lean beef trimmings,’ occasionally referred to as  pink slime, are made from meat trimmings passed through a centrifuge then squeezed through a tube the size of a pencil, during which time it is exposed to ammonia gas. The combination of the gas with water in the meat results in a reaction that increases the pH (lowering acidity) and killing any pathogens such as E. coli. At the end of the process, the beef is at least 90 percent lean.

The typical beef production process results in beef trimmings, consisting of fat and meat, that frequently had been cooked down to recover the oils from the trim because it was not profitable to otherwise separate the meat from the trimmings. However, today much of these beef trimmings are sent as USDA-approved cuts of meat to special separation plants, where centrifuges separate the beef from the fat. The production process was pioneered by Eldon Roth, who in the 1980s founded Beef Products Inc.

March 17, 2012

Rose Mary Woods

the end of loyalty

Rose Mary Woods (1917 – 2005) was Richard Nixon’s secretary from his days in the Congress in 1951, through his Vice Presidency, Presidency, and until the end of his political career. Before H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman became the operators of Nixon’s presidential campaign, Woods was Nixon’s gatekeeper. Rose Mary was born in northeastern Ohio, part of blue-collar America and as most such households were then, her family was strongly Democratic. Following graduation from McKinley High School, she went to work for Royal China Inc., the city’s largest employer. Her fiance died during WWII; to escape the memories of her hometown she moved to Washington, D.C. in 1943, working in a variety of federal offices until she met Nixon while she was a secretary to the Select House Committee on Foreign Aid.

Impressed by his neatness and efficiency, she accepted his job offer in 1951. She developed a very close relationship with the entire Nixon family, especially First Lady Pat Nixon. Fiercely loyal to Nixon, Woods claimed responsibility in a 1974 grand jury testimony for inadvertently erasing up to five minutes of the 181⁄2 minute gap in a June 20, 1972 audio tape. Her demonstration of how this might have occurred — which depended upon her stretching to simultaneously press controls several feet apart (what the press dubbed the ‘Rose Mary Stretch’) — was met with skepticism from those who believed the erasures, from whatever source, to be deliberate. The contents of the gap remain a mystery.

March 17, 2012



Okayplayer is an online hip-hop and alternative music website and community. The group was co-founded by The Roots’ drummer Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson as a loose musical collective in 1987, and evolved into an online community in 1999. In 2004, Questlove launched Okayplayer Records as a spin-off of the community, in partnership with Decon. The community is made up of recording artists (who keep their official internet homes there) and message board users. Artists and staff, as well as those who post to the site’s message board, call themselves ‘okayplayers’ or ‘OKPs.’

Okayplayer has been identified as an online community that allows people to bypass traditional media. An example of such a collaboration fostered by the site is the Foreign Exchange project, with Little Brother’s vocalist Phonte Coleman and Dutch producer named Nicolay meeting on Okayplayer, and making an album together by sending tracks and verses back and forth over the Internet. The album, ‘Connected,’ was released before the pair had met in real life. Okayplayer organize regular tours and an annual ‘Roots Picnic’ all day event. Okayplayer artists include: The Roots, Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, and RJD2.

March 17, 2012




reCAPTCHA is a system originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s main Pittsburgh campus, and aquired by Google in 2009. It uses CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) to help digitize the text of books while protecting websites from bots attempting to access restricted areas. reCAPTCHA is currently digitizing the archives of ‘The New York Times’ and books from Google Books.

reCAPTCHA supplies subscribing websites with images of words that optical character recognition (OCR) software has been unable to read. The subscribing websites present these images for humans to decipher as CAPTCHA words, as part of their normal validation procedures. They then return the results to the reCAPTCHA service, which sends the results to the digitization projects. The reCAPTCHA program originated with Guatemalan computer scientist Luis von Ahn, aided by a MacArthur Fellowship. An early CAPTCHA developer, he realized ‘he had unwittingly created a system that was frittering away, in ten-second increments, millions of hours of a most precious resource: human brain cycles.’