February 19

Food Wishes with Chef John!

Food Wishes with Chef John - Do you want to learn how to cook fancy meals? Simple meals? Was Alton Brown a bit too high-concept? An actual chef, with a puckish voice and self-deprecating humor and dedicated to education, tackles your questions on "How do I cook...(dish here)?" on the Food Wishes youtube channel. [more inside]
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:04 PM - 15 comments

“Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.”

17 Great Books About American Presidents for Presidents’ Day Weekend [The New York Times] “There’s nothing like a big juicy presidential biography when you’re looking for guidance about history’s long and hard lessons. We’ve selected some of our favorites by and about presidents from the past few decades — and including one that reaches back into the 19th century. Here’s to an inspiring Presidents’ Day weekend.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 7:00 PM - 6 comments

Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber

Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer at Uber, recounts her year of employment at the company, including stories of sexual harassment, retaliation by managers, and a pattern of inaction or coverups by the human resources department. [more inside]
posted by bluecore at 5:26 PM - 79 comments

Giving the magic away

Many of Pixar's films can seem like magic, and while much of that relies on storytelling, the art of animation has many, many, many skills in it. Pixar has partnered with the Khan Academy to provide a free practical introduction to how the best-of-the-best do their job. Because who doesn't want to understand how you simulate hair?
posted by petrilli at 5:14 PM - 2 comments

Hobbits, Hooligans and Vulcans

Or, a brief exploration of why politics makes us mean and dumb.
posted by the hot hot side of randy at 5:14 PM - 4 comments

The Russian Thread Reset

With the White House insisting that Air Force One won't be a prop, Trump pulled up to his airport hangar rally in Air Force One with the Air Force One theme playing in the background. [more inside]
posted by Talez at 3:00 PM - 280 comments

"it’s hard not to admire and be grateful for Tracey’s hubris"

Amanda Petrusich writes about a collector of African folk music named Hugh Tracey whose collection of more than ten thousand recordings has been digitized and partly made available online as the International Library of African Music on the South African Music Archive Project website. Petrusich also writes about the Singing Wells project, which aims to return copies of Tracey's recordings he made in Kenya and Uganda to the places where they were recorded, though their main focus is to make new recordings. Petrusich focuses on a recording of Kipsigi girls singing about a half-man half-antelope called Chemirocha, who turns out to have a rather surprising origin.
posted by Kattullus at 2:20 PM - 6 comments

The Colors of Japanese Internment

Similar questions might have echoed in the mind of the internee Bill Manbo, a car mechanic from Riverside, California, when he picked up a camera to document his surroundings after months of captivity at the Heart Mountain camp, in Wyoming. Though internees were initially prohibited from bringing cameras into the camps, that rule was loosened at Heart Mountain in 1943. The photographs of another internee, Toyo Miyatake, who was sent to Manzanar, in California, and assembled a makeshift camera from a lens that he had smuggled inside, have become essential records of the incarceration. But of all the most famous images of Japanese internment by either internees or government-hired photographers, only Manbo’s were in color. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 12:46 PM - 14 comments

The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

There’s a new automated propaganda machine driving global politics. How it works and what it will mean for the future of democracy.
posted by a_curious_koala at 11:12 AM - 41 comments

February 18

You can't go wrong with pizza, unless it's terrible pizza.

9 Things We Learned About A Guy Who Claims He’s Only Eaten Pizza For The Past 25 Years—one of 30 times that pizza news has made Consumerist very happy. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:31 PM - 128 comments

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you

For two years, filmmaker Jennifer Crandall has crisscrossed this deep Southern state, inviting people to look into a camera and share a part of themselves through the words of Walt Whitman. The 19th century poet’s “Song of Myself” is a quintessential reflection of our American identities.
Welcome to Whitman, Alabama. [more inside]
posted by Lexica at 8:24 PM - 17 comments

The Collaborator

The final, sad fate of Jar Jar Binks has been revealed by Chuck Wendig in the latest of his pre-Force Awakens Star Wars: Aftermath books.
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM - 85 comments

I got carded in whole foods

What's in this $5 kombucha anyway?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:41 PM - 73 comments

Clyde Stubblefield (1943–2017)

The Original "Funky Drummer" Clyde Stubblefield has died at age 73. (Okayplayer, Rolling Stone, NY Times, Washington Post) [previously] [more inside]
posted by Songdog at 2:55 PM - 38 comments

When I was your age, I got my first guitar....

The Boss (slyt) I realized it wasn’t about how well you played it, it was how good you looked doing it. [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:01 PM - 32 comments

"The Straight Men Who Made America's First Gay Record"

Like a magic mirror held up to America's heteronormative postwar culture, its music reflected a dignified, and seductive, vision of gay life. Just below the album's title read the teaser: "For adult listeners only—sultry stylings by a most unusual vocalist."
55 years ago Lace Records released "Love Is a Drag", where a male vocalist sang standards written for female singers. The people behind it were a mystery until one of them contacted J. D. Doyle of Queer Music Heritage in 2012 and was interviewed (transcript, mp3). YouTube has a few tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4. Doyle put the LP in context in an interview with Color Magazine.
posted by Kattullus at 11:49 AM - 15 comments

Nijntje's 'Spiritual Father' has passed away

On Thursday, Dick Bruna died in Utrecht. He was 89 years old. CBC obit, WaPo obit. The Dutch artist created Miffy in the 1950s. [more inside]
posted by Rash at 10:52 AM - 12 comments

RIP Jane Roe

Norma McCorvey passes away at 69... Ms. McCorvey, the iconic Roe in Roe v. Wade, just passed away in an assisted living facility at the age of 69.
posted by Samizdata at 10:08 AM - 24 comments

Hygge is so 2016

Meet kalsarikannit, the word for drinking at home without pants on.
posted by infini at 9:22 AM - 53 comments

Ice Dragon boat | Bateau dragon sur glace

This weekend, Ottawa is hosting the first North American ice dragon boat festival. Ice dragon boating has its own international federation, and Ottawa is the latest addition to its international series. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:45 AM - 11 comments

CRS-10 Launching!

T-Minus 2 minutes! SpaceX is hosting a webcast of today's launch of CRS-10. This is a historic launch for two reasons. The first is that it's the first time launch pad LC-39A has been used since the space shuttle. The second is they're doing a return to launch site in the day time.
posted by Talez at 7:00 AM - 28 comments

You must always caulk the wagon.

The Forgotten History of 'The Oregon Trail,' As Told By Its Creators (Previously, previouslier, previousliest) [more inside]
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:45 AM - 31 comments

Interactive Julia Set Generator

Oooh! [Via the (ever wonderful) Kottke]
posted by carter at 5:52 AM - 19 comments

February 17

In these words I often think you'd recognize me

Midnight Oil has announced dates for the Great Circle 2017 reunion tour [more inside]
posted by ZenMajek at 7:51 PM - 29 comments

The Kids Think I'm A Shoe

Stan Smith and the iconic shoe that bears his name are profiled in New York Magazine.
posted by chrchr at 7:43 PM - 16 comments

A president's words. A supervillain's mouth.

Behold the Red Skull-Donald Trump mashup. D.M. Higgins replaces a classic Marvel villain's dialogue with choice president Trump quotes. [more inside]
posted by doctornemo at 7:29 PM - 20 comments

"Al is unique. There’s nothing like him in the history of funny music."

WaPo: Was ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic the real star all along? After nearly 40 years of parodying celebrities, the accordion-playing nerd has become a legend in his own right.

"Pac-Man," a spoof of The Beatles' "Tax Man" from the new Weird Al box set, Squeeze Box.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:10 PM - 71 comments

Sit Down or Get Out of the Way

Why Does This One Couch From West Elm Suck So Much?
posted by gyc at 5:51 PM - 104 comments

Slow death on Manus, the sad story of Eaten Fish

(Content warning: attempted suicide, sexual assault, other awful stuff that goes on in Australia’s offshore gulags). Eaten Fish is the nom de plume of a 24-year-old Iranian cartoonist who has been imprisoned in a detention center in Papua New Guinea since trying to seek asylum in Australia by boat in 2013. Fish — real name Ali — has severe OCD and anxiety, and says he has been abused and sexually assaulted while in the prison camp. [more inside]
posted by retrograde at 5:38 PM - 16 comments

If 60's Were 90's

In 1993, UK music collective Beautiful People released Rilly Groovy [official video], the first single from the electronica/EDM/house album If 60s Were 90s, an album built largely around Jimi Hendrix samples. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 3:47 PM - 8 comments

That outward sign of an inward or unseen calamity.

The Age of Rudeness. An essay by Rachel Cusk. "Society organizes itself very efficiently to punish, silence or disown truth-tellers. Rudeness, on the other hand, is often welcomed in the manner of a false god. Later still, regret at the punishment of the truth-teller can build into powerful feelings of worship, whereas rudeness will be disowned. Are people rude because they are unhappy? Is rudeness like nakedness, a state deserving the tact and mercy of the clothed? If we are polite to rude people, perhaps we give them back their dignity; yet the obsessiveness of the rude presents certain challenges to the proponents of civilized behavior. It is an act of disinhibition: Like a narcotic, it offers a sensation of glorious release from jailers no one else can see." [more inside]
posted by storybored at 3:30 PM - 29 comments

“Without stories, we wouldn't be human beings at all.”

Philip Pullman Unveils Epic Fantasy Trilogy The Book of Dust [The Guardian] “The as-yet-untitled first volume of The Book of Dust [Amazon], due out on 19 October, will be set in London and Oxford, with the action running parallel to the His Dark Materials trilogy [wiki]. A global bestseller since the first volume, Northern Lights, was published in 1995, Pullman’s series has sold more than 17.5m copies and been translated into 40 languages. Pullman’s brave and outspoken heroine, Lyra Belacqua, will return in the first two volumes. Featuring two periods of her life – as a baby and 10 years after His Dark Materials ended – the series will include other characters familiar to existing readers, as well as creations such as alethiometers (a clock-like truth-telling device), daemons (animals that are physical manifestations of the human spirit) and the Magisterium, the church-like totalitarian authority that rules Lyra’s world.” [Previously.]
posted by Fizz at 2:48 PM - 49 comments

Une Femme Coquette

An early and rare Godard short film, Une Femm Coquette, has been uploaded to youtube. [via].
posted by Think_Long at 1:29 PM - 4 comments

Calculating inequalities at math camp

Equations and Inequalities: Math, Race and Fellowship looks inside a math summer camp aimed at low income non-white and non-asian kids in New York. This program aims to scoop up kids who have a natural aptitude for math, but don't have a privileged family background. Fighting against systemic inequalities like family income, race, parental education, and media portrayals of who is a mathematician. Francis Su, the outgoing President of the Mathematical Association of America (and the first non-white holder of that title) addresses similar issues in his beautiful outgoing speech. [more inside]
posted by Joh at 1:23 PM - 10 comments

James Hogue - Alexi Santana

He woke up one morning and decided to become someone else. (SLNewYorker)
The questions I was asking him weren’t real questions, he explained. They were the products of a story line in my head, whose relation to his life was at best coincidental. [more inside]
posted by zinon at 1:16 PM - 4 comments

Turnbuckles everywhere sigh in relief - RIP George "The Animal" Steele

Wrestling legend George "The Animal" Steele (real name Jim Myers) has died at the age of 79. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 1:10 PM - 23 comments

“Keeping Up With The Kattarshians.”

An Icelandic news website has released a live, reality-style YouTube show featuring four, nine-week-old kittens living in a dollhouse stocked with bunk beds, toys and of course cameras.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:43 AM - 38 comments

This question of library handwriting is an exceedingly practical one

In September 1885, a group of librarians spent four days discussing major issues for libraries, including handwriting. Though typewriters had been commercially available for over a decade, librarians were still handwriting their catalog cards to catalog their expanding collections, but their writing was without consistency . Thomas Edison was cited for his described handwriting style for telegraph operators (paywalled source), and from this, Melvil Dewey and his crew of “a dozen catalogers and librarians” hashed out the rules of library hand, a precise, almost mechanical style. If you enjoy that summary, you may enjoy The (Lengthy) Context and History of Library Hand, with ample notes and references. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:43 AM - 23 comments

Tinkertoys CEO Peg Wheelsticks declined to comment

How many ways can you stack six 2x4 lego bricks? In 1974, LEGO said it was 102,981,500. But! High school student Mikkel Abrahamsen and mathematician Søren Eilers revisited the problem and got 915,103,765. Here's the paper [pdf] with the details and some nice graphs and illustrations. And if that's not enough for you, see also On the entropy of LEGO [pdf] by Eilers and Bergfinnur Durhuus.
posted by cortex at 11:39 AM - 6 comments

Remembering the SS Mendi

"In February 1917 the SS Mendi, a First World War troopship, was carrying 802 men of the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC), bound for the Western Front. Many had never seen the sea before. The men had signed up because they believed that, despite being oppressed by the white South African government, if they demonstrated loyalty to the British Empire, it would gain them a voice in their deeply divided land." so writes Historic England writing about one of the more tragic events in British history:
"On 21 February 1917, the British ship, the SS Mendi was sunk off the Isle of Wight. It was hit not by a German torpedo, but by another British ship, the Darro, in thick fog....The Darro made no attempt to rescue the men in the water, and the Mendi’s Royal Navy escort ship was able to find only a very few." [more inside]
posted by vacapinta at 10:18 AM - 9 comments

Moving the heaviest item in the museum's collection

Did they build the building around it? No, they did not.
posted by dfm500 at 10:02 AM - 23 comments

4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump

In which Dale Beran traces the rise of 4chan and how a bunch of lulz-loving guys in their parents' basements seized on the loser-winner Trump as the ultimate prank on an outside world they had long abandoned. Long, but full of insights and well-worth the read. Ends with a challenge and note of hope for the left.
posted by criticalbill at 10:02 AM - 70 comments

The Anton Chekhov-George Saunders Humanity Kit

A little over three years ago I asked George Saunders whether I could sit in on one of his MFA classes at Syracuse, and, flabbergastingly, he said okay. In an effort to transmit the benefits of the taking the class to readers more widely, Maria Bustillos put together the Chekhov–Saunders Humanity Kit.
posted by AceRock at 6:54 AM - 9 comments

"It's almost like the oceans are getting ready for a heart attack."

A new study published in Nature says that the overall oxygen content of the ocean has declined by 2% over the past 50 years. Because oxygen is always unevenly distributed in the ocean, that 2% average represents a larger drop in some areas than others. Bacteria in areas of low oxygen tend to produce nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas that has risen in a way similar to CO2 over the decades since the industrial revolution. Low O2 leading to more N2O from the ocean is another likely global warming feedback loop. Projections indicate that we could lose 7% of the ocean's oxygen by 2100. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper at 4:29 AM - 52 comments

February 16

The first chapter is omitted for the time being.

Soviet attempted calendar reforms. Featuring the five and six day weeks.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:04 PM - 16 comments

Get a job, you lazy hipster.

Cats are weird. Or so says Jeff Wysaski of Obvious Plant (previously)
posted by QuakerMel at 8:03 PM - 13 comments

Counting your Kegels? There's an app for that!

The game has a downloadable app and a pink device with sensors that is inserted into the vagina to play. Users play games on the app, which are powered by movements of the pelvic floor muscles made around the controller inside the woman. In at least one level, for instance, contracting pelvic floor muscles will cause a butterfly on the game screen to fly upward.
posted by waving at 4:04 PM - 50 comments

Fans of Love | Love Has No Labels [YouTube] [Ad Council] For years, kiss cams have been a big part of American sports culture. This year, Love Has No Labels puts a twist on the kiss cam by turning it into a symbol for unbiased love. In the stadium, fans cheered for love in all its forms - regardless of race, gender, disability, age or religion.
posted by Fizz at 2:41 PM - 10 comments

Good Good Goofs

The first episode (content warning: tarantulas) of the TV Show based on the podcast My Brother, My Brother And Me has dropped. What's MBMBAM, other than "an advice show for the modren era"? Well there's this long and very thoughtful meditation on the McElroy Brothers' brand of goofy kind humor. Or you could find out from the fans directly. Or just listen to some classic bits like Amelie, I Hate You, Ron, or Tim McGraw's Krav Maga. [more inside]
posted by kmz at 1:49 PM - 70 comments

Technically it's the middle of the Afsluitdijk

Rarely is the question asked: what point in the Netherlands is the furthest away from any buildings and how far away can you get from people?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:20 PM - 20 comments

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