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November 27

Death of an Expert Crime Writer

Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL, best known as crime writer P.D. James, died today at the age of 94.
posted by orange swan at 11:14 AM - 4 comments

"Oops I Was Racist, Black Guy Come Here."

Racism Insurance Coverage for White Privilege is a clever short promoting the upcoming Sundance favorite Dear White People.
posted by quin at 11:09 AM - 1 comment

"The Little Big Man of the London underworld"

RIP 'Mad' Frankie Fraser aka The Dentist, ex enforcer for the Richardson gang and declared Britain's 'most dangerous man' by two Home Secretaries, spending 42 years in prison. In his later years he found work as an after dinner speaker, television personality and tour guide (last year he received an Asbo after an argument in his old people's home over someone sitting in his favourite chair)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:32 AM - 7 comments

Goodbye Turducken

The Nameless Turkey from a dimension beyond that which mortals can comprehend, which brings madness to all who gaze upon its unholy visage.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:31 AM - 5 comments

Thanksgiving Travel? Vermont Turkeys Used To Walk To Boston

"Turkey drives" were an autumnal tradition from the 1800s to the early 1900s, and involved the overland strolling of flocks of turkeys from all corners of Vermont to their destination — and demise — in Boston.
posted by terrapin at 10:30 AM - 4 comments

Now is the time to engage.

Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People Over Ferguson. "...Please try and remember how USEFUL you could be should you decide to be brave enough to speak up to the folks more likely to hear YOU than me." [more inside]
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:56 AM - 15 comments

Honey, let's us preserve the moment in pictures!

Put the little nipper next to.... [more inside]
posted by ecorrocio at 9:27 AM - 16 comments

When FDR moved Thanksgiving

The executive action that tore a nation apart (previously)
posted by Pararrayos at 8:48 AM - 11 comments

Thanksgiving and Black Friday not just American anymore!

Retailers prepare as Black Friday goes global. And even the UK is getting more and more into the feel of a Thanksgiving meal. Wow, even Denmark is joining the fray too!
posted by Kitteh at 8:04 AM - 65 comments

"the family is the unit of cultural preservation."

"Eat Turkey, Become American." (SLNYTimes essay)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:10 AM - 4 comments

Top 10 Martin Gardner Physics Stumpers

The list to follow is offered purely in a spirit of fun and education, and is not intended to be definitive. It concerns only the most basic physics concepts, and nothing electronic. No answers are offered. [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:09 AM - 45 comments

Phillip Hughes, 1988-2014

"He was a fun-loving, care-free sort of see-ball, hit-ball guy with a cheeky grin" ... "We would have late-night coffees and he would just be in awe of the fact he was playing for Australia.... He would just say 'I'm going to go out there and smash it bro'. That was how he would talk. He would not think about it. He would just go out there and whack the ball. He was just positive all the time, he never moaned or complained.
Australian test cricketer Phillip Hughes has died in hospital two days after being hit by a bouncer during a match between South Australia and New South Wales in Sydney. [Warning: graphic images.] [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim at 5:33 AM - 23 comments

Eckerd College paper schools it's college president on sexual assault

President of Eckerd college Donald Eastman III wrote a letter to the students about preventing sexual assault. His recommendation? Less alcohol and less casual sex. The college's student paper, The Current, responds in a civil, well spoken and cogent rebuttal.
posted by asavage at 5:11 AM - 38 comments

DIY Diagnosis: How an Extreme Athlete Uncovered Her Genetic Flaw

She started by diving into PubMed—an online search engine for biomedical papers—hunting down everything she could on Charcot-Marie-Tooth. She hoped that her brief fling with a scientific education would carry her through. But with pre-med knowledge that had been gathering dust for 30 years and no formal training in genetics, Kim quickly ran head first into a wall of unfamiliar concepts and impenetrable jargon. “It was like reading Chinese,” she says.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:44 AM - 7 comments

November 26

How likely is it that birth control could let you down?

The NYT calculates the probability of pregnancy using 15 common birth control methods, for up to 10 years of both "typical" and "perfect" use. Protip: the graphs do slidey comparison things on mouseover!
posted by Ragini at 10:28 PM - 41 comments

Munchkin the Teddy Bear gets her exercise

Here is a video you might want to watch. It is a video of a Shih Tzu in a teddy bear costume walking on a treadmill. Which is why you might want to watch it. (SLYT)
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:16 PM - 26 comments

Her fortress of shit makes sense

The Secret Life of a Crime Scene Cleaner (via) [more inside]
posted by maggieb at 4:57 PM - 29 comments

Gulls are assholes

Whales Aren't Keen on Being Flayed Alive By Gulls by Ed Yong (National Geographic Phenomena). [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:18 PM - 33 comments

Y'all just had to get one last shot in, didn't you?

A eulogy for RadioShack. With hopes for a turnaround plan fading, RadioShack will now join other stores in opening on Thanksgiving. Jon Bois (previously) looks back on his time working for "strange, craven, five thousand-fingered strip-mall monster from a forgotten age."
posted by zabuni at 12:39 PM - 149 comments

some kind of unholy alt-lit creep triumvirate

My Salami Heart: Reflections on the Convergence of Art, Generosity, Success, Sex, and Law by Nick Kocz.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:23 PM - 17 comments

"The sister is in space"

Black to the future: science fiction writer Tananarive Due talks about afrofuturism and why it's important. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 12:20 PM - 12 comments

For John Dillinger

William S. Burroughs’ “The Thanksgiving Prayer,” Shot by Gus Van Sant [YouTube]
“Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986” first appeared in print in Tornado Alley, a chapbook published by William S. Burroughs in 1989. Two years later, Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, Milk) shot a montage that brought the poem to film, making it at least the second time the director adapted the beat writer to film.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz at 11:56 AM - 14 comments

The Middle Man - or, A Manual Of Treason

Hindu ki bas eik khasusiat: Baghl mein churi, moen par Ram Ram. My Urdu, at the time, was idiomatically sub-par. I had recently moved from Doha, Qatar, to General Zia ul Haq’s Lahore and his 9th grade Social Sciences textbook was nearly incomprehensible. The teacher read the line with a sneer. I intuited from his body language, and from the twitter that ran through the class, that this was a derisive remark, but I couldn’t quite follow: If someone had just been stabbed in the side with a knife wouldn’t he be crying to the gods in pain? What’s the shame here? I went home and asked my mother. She explained the idiom: Baghl mein churi does not mean a knife in the side but a knife concealed in the armpit of a garment. Moen pay Ram Ram is not a gesture towards pious invocation (like my grandmother’s recitation of Ya Rahman Ya Rahim)—it is meant to stand as insincere. The Hindu has only one characteristic: He conceals a knife, ready to strike, even as his lips intone Ram. I remember wanting to see or speak to a Hindu, to corroborate or defy this assessment, but Lahore in the mid-1980s held only bare traces—a place name, the legends of a boarded-up building, a strange spiral shape buried in the horizon—of its Hindu past. The city of Madho Lal or Chandarbhan had disappeared even from memories. Our teacher was a history enthusiast and he quickly warmed up to my hesitant question: Sir, why are Hindus never to be trusted?
Also in Urdu [PDF]. Manan Ahmed writes at Chapati Mystery [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:53 AM - 3 comments

The Voyage of the 'Resplendent'

For golden centuries, the clone empresses of the Second Zenith Empire have ruled the galaxy. The source and expression of their power is the Zenith Fleet: a hundred ancient starships, the only vessels in existence capable of exceeding light speed. One of them has somehow disappeared—and you, Astronaut-Superintendent Waechter, must assemble a crew and find it.
posted by Iridic at 10:27 AM - 15 comments

You must know thrilling things before you can write about them

I never correct anything and I never go back to what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used "terrible" six times on one page? And so forth. If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. A year before his death, James Bond author Ian Fleming explained how to write a thriller.
posted by shivohum at 10:19 AM - 23 comments

Eminem at 42

“im bored of the old men threatening young women as entertainment trend and much more interested in the young women getting $ trend. zzzz”
posted by josher71 at 10:04 AM - 53 comments

Jazzing up Thanksgiving

Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas gets a whole lot of love, but for sheer musical enjoyment it shouldn't overshadow his work on A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Here for your cooking-soundtrack pleasure are Thanksgiving Theme, Play it Again Charlie Brown (aka Charlie Brown Blues), Peppermint Patty, and Little Birdie (incidentally, Guaraldi's own vocal, and the first time any adult voice appeared on a Charlie Brown show). [more inside]
posted by Miko at 10:02 AM - 16 comments

Step #4: Hope it doesn't seek revenge.

Worried that your feline house-mates will ruin Thanksgiving with their evil kitty machinations? Fear not! Once you learn How To Trap A Cat In 3 Easy Steps, you can feel safe in the knowledge that your furry ball of mischief is safely jailed by cat psychology!
posted by quin at 10:01 AM - 25 comments

Mood music for movie viewing, from Cinespia's cemetery film viewings

If you're looking for a little mood music before and/or after watching a movie, you might enjoy the Cinespia experience at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Wikipedia). But if you're not likely to join the crowd in Los Angeles, you can recreate a part of that movie warm-up/cool-down experience with Cinespia's archive of mixes from various notable musicians. Their site currently lists 11 mixes from the likes of Cut Chemist, The Gaslamp Killer (previously), David Holmes and Carlos Niño, but if you dig into the Internet Archive, you can find 38 more mixes (including a good number of paired before-and-after mixes) from even more artists, set to a range of movies, classics both older (North by Northwest, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and newer (Bladerunner, The Big Lebowski).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:56 AM - 1 comment

Bob's your uncle and Bertha's your aunt

Aunt Bertha is a web-based platform that connects Americans in need to locally available government programs, non-profit organizations, and community-based resources that offer free or low-cost assistance with health and dental care, job placement, emergency and long-term shelter, clothing and household goods, child and elder care, legal aid, assistance with navigating the social safety net, and much more. All programs are searchable and sortable by ZIP code, city, or eligibility. Find food, health, housing, job training programs and more, anywhere. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio at 8:00 AM - 24 comments

Snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen

Frozen: One year later
posted by Artw at 7:27 AM - 118 comments

Rule-by-princess is the predominant form of government

Adventure Time Forum, The Leading Journal of Adventure Time Research, Commentary, and Analysis released its first issue. [more inside]
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:14 AM - 22 comments

Louder Than Bombs

"A few months earlier, an archivist friend had mentioned over lunch that she had a connection to my hometown—in fact her first job as an archivist was in St. Louis, organizing the papers from a midcentury study of radioactivity in children’s teeth. I had been unable to shake the story, and found myself up late at night reading about nuclear weapons testing, or daydreaming during work about purity and milk, innocence and poison, the movement of invisible contamination. A follow-up with my archivist friend revealed that the archive contained letters from children—to scientists, and to the tooth fairy." From The Appendix: "Atomic Anxiety and the Tooth Fairy: Citizen Science in the Midcentury Midwest."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:11 AM - 4 comments

Cat Owners In Japan Are Giving Their Cats Funny Anime Eyes

Because, well, why wouldn't you?
posted by Ziggy500 at 6:22 AM - 22 comments

Detroit masters at work...

You are perhaps aware that The Funk Brothers is the name given to the masterful session players behind more 60s and 70s Motown hits than you can shake a tambourine at. You probably know they were great. But when you take away the lead vocal tracks by Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and other singing icons of the era, and hear the purely instrumental versions of those familiar tunes, it becomes all the more apparent, or rather, absolutely undeniable just how brilliantly talented these musicians and arrangers were. Absolute monsters, as we say. Let's start things off with the backing track for the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrel hit Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and after that, there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:12 AM - 44 comments

Approaching shadow

With a knife in his hand, a pig butcher said he would chop me. He wanted his spirit back.

Fan Ho's black and white street photography of 1950s Hong Kong
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 5:37 AM - 16 comments

Bouncing Here and There and Everywhere

TFL Future Streets Incubator is like the Cult of Skaro for transport planning, creating innovative ways to improve London's transport infrastructure. These include such things as turning parking spots into tiny parks and cycle scramble green lights, but the Jewel in the crown of these schemes is The Bounceway , the world's longest commuter trampoline.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:23 AM - 9 comments

Rainy Day

Pencil and Paper Games is devoted to games you can play with nothing more than a pencil and a piece of paper (some of which can be played on the site, for those who do not have access to a pencil and paper, or remember what those are.) [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog at 5:02 AM - 10 comments

All the feels.

A long-form essay from The Toast (of which you may have read) about life and grieving and gentleness and joy and ... look, just read it: No Matter How Your Heart Is Grieving: Disney for the Sad
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:50 AM - 25 comments

The greatest story Reddit ever told

The first communication I ever received from Dante Orpilla landed in my mailbox one morning in the summer of 2011. The handwritten letter, filling up six pages of legal-sized paper, arrived in an envelope stamped with a return address to the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Ore.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:35 AM - 10 comments

The reviewers reviewed

Paul Rose, late of surreal teletext magazine Digitiser, writes about scripting the Pudsey The Dog movie, a film about a dancing dog with the dubious honor of retaining a 0% rating on RottenTomatoes.
posted by mippy at 3:27 AM - 20 comments

How to Defeat the Islamic State

How to Defeat the Islamic State. "Over the last thirteen years, America’s foreign policy has consisted mostly of defining what we don’t want: Saddam, Al-Qaida, Qaddafi, Boko Haram, the Islamic State. But we have failed to define what we do want. Rather than pausing to define the ultimate aim of our involvement – the very point of war for military action is just a means to a political end – we have rushed ahead anyway: Ready, Shoot, Aim. Unfortunately, we now have quite the track record of removing one monster only to find a more brutal monster in his place. This global war will never end without a coherent American strategy and we don’t have one for Iraq and Syria at the time of this writing. [...] To defeat the Islamic State and to further American interests, the United States must create a legitimate secular, political alternative for Iraq’s Sunnis."
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:04 AM - 61 comments

November 25

Students applauded and were visibly moved in the game's final moments

The best learning games are always fun. Try playing them yourself and see if you enjoy them. No matter how advanced your understanding of the subject matter, a good game should still be fun. I've understood algebra and number partitions for decades, but DragonBox and Wuzzit Trouble are still challenging puzzlers that I like to fiddle with on long airline flights. All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways. In fact, this is the reason games work so well for learning: Players are intrinsically motivated to identify and succeed at understanding the game's mechanics.
The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning provides a basic introduction to the use of video games in education, gives several thought-provoking examples, and points to numerous sites with related goals, including Edutopia's articles on game-based learning and Graphite's reviews of digital games with educational content. Meanwhile, this being what The Guardian has just called "Board games' golden age," resources such as Play Play Learn, BoardGameGeek's Games in the Classroom, and The Dice Tower's recent countdown of "Top Ten Games for the Classroom" offer interesting options for the tabletop as well. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:28 PM - 5 comments

@eventuallybot

@eventuallybot @eventuallybot is a Twitter bot that generates short films in GIF format, sourced from shreds of random YouTube clips. The films all tell stories, but sometimes the stories don't make a lot of sense. [via mefi projects]
posted by xingcat at 8:46 PM - 5 comments

Sleepless in Shanghai

Shanghai Tango - Whimsical illustrations.
posted by unliteral at 7:25 PM - 8 comments

“Here’s another one you don’t wanna hear. And frankly, neither do I.”

The Disastrous Show That Made The Replacements Legendary "Stinson’s remarks, as well as a series of other unexpected antics, placed the band’s show at Chicago’s Grant Park on July 4, 1991 as one of the most legendary concerts in history as 50,000 screaming fans bore witness to the very live and public breakup of one of rock & roll’s most underrated bands."
posted by mkelley at 7:00 PM - 10 comments

Bob Dylan Plays Concert for One Insanely Lucky Superfan

Ongoing Swedish film series Experiment Ensam (Experiment Alone) films people experiencing things completely alone that are usually reserved for large crowds. Past films focused on lone people at comedy clubs or karaoke bars. The filmmakers thought a lot bigger for this one and made arrangements with Bob Dylan and his touring band to perform a private show for 41-year-old Bob Dylan superfan Fredrik Wikingsson at Philadelphia's Academy of Music.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:57 PM - 41 comments

Ice cream is the solution to all of life’s problems

San Francisco Ice Cream Wars: What Your Allegiance Says About You from KQED Pop. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:07 PM - 79 comments

"stopped vampires from pinning their crimes on babies and children"

A selection of curious notes from videogame patch logs.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:04 PM - 38 comments

Is Africa cursed by oil?

Oil and conflict in Nigeria's Niger Delta region: Between the barrel and the trigger. In the most recent issue of The Extractive Industries and Society, Cyril Obi examines the "resource curse" explanation for the “failure” of African states: poverty, corruption and violent conflict. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:11 PM - 16 comments

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