New York's highest court has redefined parenthood in a same-sex parenting case. (SLNYT) The Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in In the Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C. and Matter of Estrellita A. v. Jennifer D., that the non-married, ex-partner of a biological parent may seek custody or visitation rights of children they once agreed to conceive and raise as conceive and raise as co-partners with their exes. The Court, in a 6-0 vote, said that given the legalization of same-sex marriages and other societal changes that have upset the notion of "parents" as being a married man and woman, it was time for it to abandon the precedent of its 1991 ruling in Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M. [more inside]
Emma Allen reports from deep inside improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. (SLNewYorker) The UCB improv empire takes in millions a year. "Pyramid-scheme theories have been floated: if U.C.B. is charging so much for classes, does not compensate performers, and makes them pay for practice space and coaches, where's all the money going?"
The moment I realize I have skunks living in my yard, I become obsessed with them. Within a few weeks, I have the skunk skull on my desk, a stack of articles on skunks, and a copy of The Biology of the Striped Skunk, by B. J. Verts—the definitive textbook on the animal, published in 1967. (In fact, it’s the only textbook on the striped skunk.) I’m waiting for a bottle of skunk essence to arrive in the mail...[more inside]
It's the middle of the night in tropical Costa Rica, and you're wandering in the forest. Suddenly, you hear a sound like a jaguar having a really difficult bowel movement. But no! Actually it's a bird that looks like Jim Henson was asked to design a stoned alien. [more inside]
It may not have set the charts alight when it was first released in 2003, but it’s entirely possible that Maps by New York art-punk outfit Yeah Yeah Yeahs has been the single most influential song of the 21st century so far. How? Let’s look…
Hallig Hooge is a tiny German island in the North Sea. It's been occupied since 1593 and it's quite pretty. Lots of German tourists come visit for the day (video of Hooge). The Germans call it a Hallig instead of an island though, because unlike an island, it floods (2 minute video) every time there is a very high tide. [more inside]
International investors have a private court of appeal even in criminal matters - "A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. [ISDS] operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret." (via) [more inside]
Among the lesser-known post-Milne works involving Winnie the Pooh is Disney's syndicated comic strip, running from '78 to '88 (following all but one of the theatrical featurettes, preceding the first animated series and beginning before the live-action Welcome to Pooh Corner). It is most well known for its characterizations, as seen in a series of examples aptly named Poohdickery. You can read much more of the comic starting here (earliest comic in archive with working image). And apropos of this post about online Russian movies, the beloved and brilliant Soviet adaptation, Vinni Puh (One, Two, Three Part 1, Three Part 2) (Wikipedia: One, Two, Three).
Kevin Gilbert gives us the 1995 track Waiting, a song based on or in tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem I Am Waiting (a truncated version performed by him here with jazz background) [revised text from A Coney Island Of The Mind]. [more inside]
Because most people think of work like customer service when they think of remote jobs, these jobs are usually classified as clerical. 911 dispatchers are no exception. Unlike most clerical workers, though, 911 dispatchers often have to handle talking citizens through traumatic situations, often risking compassion fatigue and trauma themselves in the process. In order to get 911 dispatchers access to mental health services and support, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials are openly campaigning to reclassify 911 dispatchers as first responders. As part of that campaign, 911 dispatchers have been speaking out this week about some of the more harrowing experiences they've talked people in crisis through.
Deep Sadness is an artwork.
Zoo. Season Two. "...But anyway, the sloth and the ants: The evil four-star general — who has his own plan to save the world, which is called the Noah Objective and involves releasing a gas that kills off all the infected animals, and actually seems kind of reasonable if you think about it, because, like, look at the list of things the animals have done — storms the science plane and starts detaining everyone. But the earthquake sloth gets free and shrieks and ...." [more inside]
This year, Somaliland is celebrating its silver jubilee (though there are concerns and disappointments), and recently held its 9th annual Hargeysa International Book Fair in the (unrecognized) country's capital. The theme this year was leadership, and its connection to art, culture, and creativity. HIBF is the biggest annual event in Somaliland, drawing 11,000 attendees this year, it's an advertisement for a republic that showcases itself as a kind of "anti-Somalia." [more inside]
As of August 3rd, it is again legal to play Daily Fantasy sports in New York State. But having spent a fortune on legal bills (and even more on marketing) it may be too late for the two major players in the DFS world, DraftKings and FanDuel (previously) to ever become profitable. ESPN and Outside the Lines go into what went wrong (Spoiler alert: "The implosion of the daily fantasy industry is a bro-classic tale of hubris, recklessness, political naïveté and a kill-or-be-killed culture.")
ITT Tech has ceased enrolling new students. On August 26, the US Department of Education prohibited ITT Tech from enrolling new students who receive federal financial aid. Less than 1 week later, the embattled school will no longer enroll new students at all. Current students may continue their studies this year. [more inside]
A quadcopter one inch in diameter can carry a one-gram charge. You can write some code to say: ‘Here are thousands of photographs of the kinds of things I want to target’. A one-gram shaped charge can punch a hole in nine millimeters of steel. You can fit about three million of those in a semi-tractor-trailer. You can drive up I-95 with three trucks and have 10 million weapons attacking New York City. They could be here in two to three years.
The death of the Buzzfeed crossword puzzle after less than a year leads FiveThirtyEight Senior Writer Oliver Roeder to survey the state of indie crosswords ("The Times is a Budweiser lager; the indies are small-batch saisons and IPAs."). [more inside]
"Takamatsu went out with [the] regular dive customers -- the ones who dove for fun. They had no idea Takamatsu was searching for a body." [SLNYT] [warning: some graphic details re body decomposition]
The Secret Nazi Attempt to Breed the Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts. [Longreads] The bestselling author of ‘The Eighty Dollar Champion’ describes the Nazis’ secret stud farm, where dubious visionaries imagined a breed of perfect (and perfectly white) horse. [more inside]
Object Dreams is a blog that catalogs the output of varying text prediction algorithms. Here's part of a Batman: The Animated Series episode it wrote, "The Penguin makes things worse by killing Batman. He has happened to Batman and he is visibly criminal. Batman isn’t still around. Batman is in a cloud. The Penguin finds that he is astounded by killing the man who loves him most. He feels responsible for the death of Gotham’s prominent Batman. He loves the man that Batman isn’t." These programs create Yelp! reviews of the Paris Catacombs, IMDB content warnings, and scripts for Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown - among other things. [more inside]
[more inside]"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence." Walter Benjamin, Art in the Age of Mechanical ReproductionThis is our point of entry today: to take old chestnuts and try to crack them to see what pops out. Our subject is Disneyland. Our topic: charm.
Jimmy Maher of The Digital Antiquarian tells the story of Sierra Entertainment's gamble on the MS-DOS/IMB platform shaped PC gaming as we know it: from creating the first game with a cinematic score (and later helping to make the Sound Blaster a standard feature of home PCs); to pioneering the genre of adventure games with rich storytelling; to a female-friendly marketing and design strategy that was decades ahead of its time.
Nanowire Mesh Monitors Mouse Brains - "Injectable 'neural lace'* brain-computer interface works in mice for months at a time." (via) [more inside]
"No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target." [more inside]
Beyond Spam: Hormel's secret weapon for predicting the future of food Around 2007, Hormel quietly embarked on a venture that would take it deeper than it had ever been into the cupboards and kitchens of Americans, many of them immigrants, many of them young. It led to a series of acquisitions and a blitz of research and development that helped round out its pantry of products and inoculate it against the fickle modern food trends of a kale-and-quinoa world.
One of the first things it did was hire an anthropologist. [more inside]
One of the first things it did was hire an anthropologist. [more inside]
Following an admission yesterday by the government of Uzbekistan that its president, Islam Karimov, had suffered a stroke, it is now being reported that he has died. He was the only person to have led an independent Uzbekistan and it is unclear who might succeed him, as his once-popular (at least as far as her father was concerned) daughter Gulnara has been under house arrest since 2014 after a feud within the family. Last year, Daniil Kislov, whose Ferghana news agency was among the first to report Karimov's illness and death, had some reflections on Karimov's last few years of authoritarian rule.
Rudy Van Gelder, best known for his work at legendary Bluenote Records, influential sound engineer, dead at 92. (Previously on Metafilter, RVG) Spotify playlist of his recordings.
Gene Wilder has died at age 83. Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. [more inside]
Can smiling make you happier? Maybe not. We have no idea. ... The basic finding of Strack’s research—that a facial expression can change your feelings even if you don’t know that you’re making it—has now been reproduced, at least conceptually, many, many times. ... In recent years, it has even formed the basis for the treatment of mental illness. An idea that Strack himself had scoffed at in the 1980s now is taken very seriously: Several recent, randomized clinical trials found that injecting patients’ faces with Botox to make their “frown lines” go away also helped them to recover from depression. [more inside]
It’s not that “exposure” doesn’t exist. It does, sort of, but it’s more along the lines of “networking.” [more inside]
Donny is flopping about on immigration and his "deportation force," and the view of Donald as a bigot are solidifying, as Hillary's camp keeps up the race-themed attack on Donnie. Meanwhile, Donny bought $10 million in ads for this week, his biggest buy yet, focusing on the economy. Ads will air in battleground states, including Colorado and Virginia, where Clinton’s top aides — citing the growth in minority communities and college-educated white voters — feel confident enough to pull local ads. And to keep things lively, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton trade jabs over their health. With a bit more than 70 days to go, it's too soon for Hillary to run out the clock, so let's go, get back on your feet!
Meet Octobot: Squishy, Adorable and Revolutionary [The New York Times] “This squishy eight-armed machine is the world’s first fully autonomous soft-bodied robot. Researchers at Harvard University created the octopus by three-dimensional printing, using silicone gel, which gives it its flexible, rubbery texture. On Wednesday, they unveiled their adorable step toward the robot uprising in the journal Nature [.PDF]. The scientists said in their paper that their creation could be a foundation for the future of soft-bodied robots.”
The end of WTF D&D's epic saga of 90's music stars and cosmic horrors has finally begun, half a year after that post (which contains links to the entire story so far). Zack and Steve's zany game logs from the interim: Death Star plans on Naboo (1, 2), Dark Heresy: The Lost Dog Detectives (1, 2), a redneck WWE wrestler, a 90's Marvel character trapped in the Cinematic Universe (1, 2) and a Ghostbusters franchise in North Dakota (1, 2). As evidenced by the site's archives, much pointing and laughing at sourcebooks did indeed also ensue.
After conspicuously not standing up during the National Anthem played at a preseaon NFL game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick explained that his actions were a tribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Moreover, he went on, the song itself has a racist history. If you unfamiliar, here is Jason Johnson of the Root to explain: Lt. Francis Scott Key and the history of the US National Anthem's racist 3rd Verse.
In their struggle for survival against killer mites, bees get an unlikely ally: Monsanto. [more inside]
Following the success of previous BBC Four 'slow TV' programmes, including All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride & Canal Trip, and Slow Week, BBC4 is inviting viewers aboard for a very special journey through one of the most spectacular and beautiful bus routes in Britain. The 'Northern Dalesman', as the bus on the route is called, has been rigged with specialist cameras as it travels on its journey, snaking across the iconic landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. Filmed in real time, the cameras capture the road unfurling, the passing scenery and the occasional chatter of local passengers. Two hours of scenery and quiet, no ads, no idiot voice-over ... all television should be this way. (Previously)
Free Soviet movies, with English subtitles. Cartoons! Comedy! Sci Fi! Melodrama! Drama Drama! Adventure! Everything!