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July 24

Norman Ornstein in the Atlantic asks Just how far out is the Republican fringe?
When Extremism Goes Mainstream.
One result is that even today, a Rasmussen survey shows that 23 percent of Americans still believe Obama is not an American, while an additional 17 percent are not sure.
Forty percent of Americans! This is no longer a fringe view.
Be sure to read the quotes by from various elected individuals. Here are just a couple : -
"Sex that doesn't produce people is deviate." —Montana state Representative Dave Hagstrom.
"It is not our job to see that anyone gets an education." —Oklahoma state Representative Mike Reynolds.
posted by adamvasco at 2:12 PM - 0 comments

Greg Abbott is running for governor of Texas. He's campaigning in Regal Cinemas as a pre-movie ad. Alamo Drafthouse, a competing chain, has a long history of making PSAs asking patrons not to talk or text during a movie (previously). They felt they had to respond. [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:48 PM - 34 comments

RIP Thomas Berger. If you know only one book by Thomas Berger, it's probably Little Big Man, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Dustin Hoffman. [more inside]
posted by Francis7 at 12:09 PM - 10 comments

Misleading on Marriage: how gay marriage opponents twist history to suit their agenda - "Much of what you hear about the purpose of marriage is ahistorical. Lisa L. Spangenberg on what the institution was traditionally fit for."
As someone in a same-sex relationship, I followed arguments for and against the overturn of DOMA with some interest. As a medievalist, my attention was particularly caught by arguments against DOMA on Twitter and elsewhere that asserted that Christianity and history unilaterally agreed that marriage means one woman and one man and coitus. This simply isn't historically accurate even within the context of Christianity and European history.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:53 AM - 29 comments

Betrayed by Silence — In a four part investigation, MPR News details the cover up of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Minneapolis and St. Paul. [more inside]
posted by supermassive at 11:34 AM - 9 comments

A young girl's questions about the Boko Haram abductions reveal an increasing consciousness of a misogynist world. How can her mother—a survivor of kidnapping and abuse—respond?
Lacy M. Johnson writes for Dame Magazine: "I Don't Want to Be a Girl."

[TW: graphic recountings of gendered violence] [more inside]
posted by divined by radio at 10:03 AM - 29 comments

1980s computer hacking supercut. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom at 9:40 AM - 38 comments

The gals at Anglo-Filles have an entertaining (and epicly long) talk about the history of Dracula and vampires as characters and symbols throughout the ages and throughout fiction - topics discussed include Varney The Vampire, The Vienna Vampire Scare, Where Does Sunlight Killing Vampires Come From, The Secret Spanish Dracula, and Jonathan Harker As An Abuse Survivor.
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 AM - 27 comments

In Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face, technology reporter Robinson Meyer details an experiment in which he tried actually going about his day to day life in downtown Washington DC while wearing CV Dazzle, (previously on MeFi) makeup and hairstyles to confuse facial recognition software. The technique is inspired by the old naval technique of dazzle camouflage, which sought not to conceal a ship, but to confuse viewers as to its size and heading. Similarly, CV Dazzle aims to confuse software by making your face look less like a face and more like a confusing collection of shapes. This proves to have unanticipated effects on how Robinson is perceived by humans as well, leading to insights about how our appearance signals our privilege and place in the social hierarchy, and how that can overlap or conflict with the digital wakes we leave.
posted by Naberius at 9:25 AM - 67 comments

In a sixth floor walk-up on New York City's Lower East Side, you'll find The Troll Museum. Run by a woman in elf ears named Reverend Jen Miller, along with her pet chihuahua, Reverend Jen Jr., it's dedicated to her admitted obsession with vintage Troll Dolls and memorabilia. Admission is free, however there is a suggested donation of $3000. [more inside]
posted by Mchelly at 8:29 AM - 22 comments

Where Restaurant Reservations Come From: Why did the practice develop? In the startup terms of our day, what problem did the institution of restaurant reservations solve? Well, the answer boils down to... sex and propriety.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:11 AM - 33 comments

You Are Now Entering the Demented Kingdom of William T. Vollmann: [The New Republic] Home to goddesses, dreams, and a dangerously uncorrupted literary mind.
posted by Fizz at 6:44 AM - 21 comments

David Simon runs into Governor Martin O'Malley on the Acela. O'Malley, current governor of Maryland and former mayor of Baltimore, was one of the inspirations for Tommy Carcetti, the ambitious Baltimore politician in Simon's series The Wire. O'Malley hates this connection, and has let Simon know. Still, both Simon and O'Malley were able to put aside differences and share a beer and a photo. [more inside]
posted by spaltavian at 6:02 AM - 40 comments

Narrowly saved from the scrapyard just a few years earlier by then-mayor Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco's historic fireboat Phoenix has been credited with saving the Marina District from a blaze in the wake of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Following this heroic feat, two anonymous residents donated $300,000 towards the purchase of a second fireboat, Guardian, and a $50,000 gift from a Buddhist temple in the Marina funded her refurbishment. While Guardian's 1,200-mile journey from Vancouver did not go entirely smoothly, the crew arrived safely to a hero's welcome in San Francisco, including a water display from Phoenix. Now, with a recent vote, city supervisors have approved funding to build the city's first new fireboat in 60 years. [more inside]
posted by annekate at 3:11 AM - 17 comments

Unlike most murder ballads, The Long Black Veil doesn't retell the story of an actual murder. Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin borrowed bits of stories about Valentino and a murdered priest and a Red Foley chorus and crafted their own story in 1959 to create what he hoped would be a folk song for the ages. [more inside]
posted by julen at 1:39 AM - 40 comments

Pet Shop Boys, still going strong after over 30 years, and still as inventive as ever, debuted their "orchestral pop biography in eight parts for electronics, orchestra, choir, and narrator" at the BBC Proms last night. A Man From The Future [audio only, BBC3 recording, available for 4 weeks, 1h55m] is an exploration of the life of Alan Turing. The performance includes Chrissie Hynde performing classic PSB accompanied by a full orchestra in the first half, and the premiere of AMFTF as the second half.
posted by hippybear at 12:30 AM - 18 comments

July 23

In 1964, less than 7% of Mississippi’s African Americans were registered to vote, compared to between 50 and 70% in other southern states. In many rural counties, African Americans made up the majority of the population and the segregationist white establishment was prepared to use any means necessary to keep them away from the polls and out of elected office. As Mississippian William Winter recalls, “A lot of white people thought that African Americans in the South would literally take over and white people would have to move, would have to get out of the state.”
This summer fifty years ago well over a thousand volunteers went to Mississippi to help register as many African-Americans as possible to vote, in the Freedom Summer, which would end with at least seven people murdered for their support for the campaign. For PBS's American Experience series, director Stanley Nelson has created a movie about the campaign, which you can watch online. A transcript, introduction and other resources are also available.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:29 PM - 10 comments

Beyoncé's "Rosie the Riveter" Instagram photo is causing internet waves. The Independent has a more substantive, historically concerned article.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:22 PM - 248 comments

There were a number of notable firsts for women elected to office as early as the late 1800s, and there is a significant history of women running for president and vice president in the United States, but until 1984, no woman had been nominated to as vice president in one of the major parties. 30 years ago, the Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale announced Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, and she accepted the nomination to resounding roar of excitement (another version, on YouTube; transcript). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:31 PM - 15 comments

"The Soup" host Joel McHale takes a classic 1959 Ford Skyliner to new heights with "Veep" star Tony Hale. Comedians in Cars Getting Cocaine.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:16 PM - 27 comments

A Church Divided Over Marriage Equality
The Church’s rules against homosexuality have divided Methodists for forty years. Attempts to abolish or even soften these rules have failed at every General Conference, the quadrennial meeting of the denomination, since they were first added, in 1972, to the Book of Discipline, which contains the Church’s laws and doctrine.

"And They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love"
"Methodists should call meeting on gay divide, pastor says"
"Ranks of defiant United Methodist clergy rise"
"Defrocking of Minister Widens Split Over Gays"
posted by davidstandaford at 4:56 PM - 21 comments

Why Silicon Valley Needs The Coder Grrrls Of Double Union, The Feminist Hacker Space
The lack of women in the tech world isn't just a pipeline problem--it's one of rampant sexism. Enter the haven of Double Union.
[more inside]
posted by Lexica at 4:44 PM - 67 comments

Rethink Homelessness asked a bunch of homeless people from Orlando to write down something about themselves that people who walk by them wouldn't otherwise know.
posted by gman at 3:41 PM - 43 comments

"Ancora Tu" is an Italian phrase roughly translating to "You Again". It's also the name of a classic 1976 pop song by Lucio Battisti and Mogol. [more inside]
posted by rollick at 2:39 PM - 0 comments

inside Sun Noodle, the secret weapon of america's best ramen shops29 ramen shops serving sun noodles across the US

but, have we taken ramen too far? [more inside]
posted by yeoz at 2:32 PM - 82 comments

Which sport are you physically most suited for? Find out with some help from the BBC!
posted by phunniemee at 1:56 PM - 129 comments

And the bartender's, like, "No kidding. You think I wished for a twelve-inch pianist?" So the guy processes this. (SLNewYorker) [more inside]
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:51 PM - 129 comments

"...it's social media that has helped build the public case against Russia" in Ukraine. One example is liveuamap.com, who "gather information from open sources and put it on the [Google] map" using familiar Google Maps markers for a Reds (Pro-Russian) vs Blues (Pro-Ukraine) theater map. Shaded regions indicate the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR; Red), Lugansk People's Republic (LNR; Purple), the MH17 crash site (Yellow), and the MH17 ceasefire zone (green). The posts linked to by each marker include a link to the source via a chain icon at the bottom of the post.
posted by jwells at 12:55 PM - 7 comments

Galaxy Quest: The Oral History
posted by Nimmie Amee at 12:54 PM - 124 comments

"I was a nervous wreck because I was about to betray my beloved grandmother and visit her darkest secret. Her secret had a name, and I was going to see him." (SLNYTimes: Modern Love)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:35 PM - 14 comments

It's hardly breaking news, but more and more people are questioning the race to the Ivy League that in some cases begins as early as preschool. And in addition to perpetuating the increasingly-rigid class structure in the US, the Ivy League colleges are inadvertently creating and admitting students who have no idea how to really take advantage of the resources available to them. So writes William Deresiewicz in his article, "Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League" from the New Republic:
So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time. I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class. She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion.
See also Deresiewicz's earlier article, "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education" from American Scholar, previously discussed on the blue.
posted by math at 12:34 PM - 128 comments

All of The Baffler's back issues are available online, for free. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:30 AM - 28 comments

Look: it’s not that I’m a dick when it comes to this stuff. It’s that I like to think that I have standards based on exposure to the interdependent duo of lit and life. But if I decide not to wuss out and instead uphold my particular notion of standards, I’m a dick, and being a dick could lead to dickish reviews of my own stuff from Shane Jones, his friends, and friends of the publisher. George Saunders told us all to “err in the direction of kindness.” But is this essay/review I’m writing unkind? Is it selfish? Is it generous? Is a kindness policy maybe too simple?
Lee Klein worries about small-press book reviewing in an ambivalent, lukewarm take on Shane Jones's new novel Crystal Eaters (excerpt) that others have, all the same, called cowardly and dickish.
posted by RogerB at 9:49 AM - 38 comments

Throwing a theme party? Need some background music whilst checking out your ex's facebook pics? Do you pine for times gone by? Step into the Nostalgia Machine!
posted by stinkfoot at 8:35 AM - 104 comments

A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again.
posted by tocts at 8:28 AM - 16 comments

A "pulled-back subpoena was the most flagrant example of how the commission, established with great ceremony by Mr. Cuomo in July 2013, was hobbled almost from the outset by demands from the governor’s office." (SLNYT, ~6800 words)
posted by Chutzler at 7:57 AM - 33 comments

On its 15th Anniversary, Buzzfeed takes a look back at cult comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous while Bustle compares Drop Dead Gorgeous pageant moments with real life pageant moments.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:07 AM - 55 comments

The History of Autocorrect
...some of the calls were quite tricky, and one of the trickiest involved the issue of obscenity. On one hand, Word didn't want to seem priggish; on the other, it couldn't very well go around recommending the correct spelling of mothrefukcer. Microsoft was sensitive to these issues. The solution lay in expanding one of spell-check's most special lists, bearing the understated title: “Words which should neither be flagged nor suggested.”
posted by frimble at 6:40 AM - 75 comments

July 22

Impressionist and voice artist Lewis Macleod tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood with the help of some famous names. (NSFW, SLYT)
posted by Dragonness at 10:39 PM - 13 comments

NPR's Planet Money explains the history of the sales tax in the United States by tracing what kinds of sandwiches get taxed and why: How the Burrito Became a Sandwich. Bonus: In-N-Out Burger history in the podcast.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:19 PM - 154 comments

Columboldies is a tumblr featuring furniture/clothing/etc. from the tv show Columbo.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:34 PM - 31 comments

An animated interpretation of the strange life of Boston Corbett, the man who killed John Wilkes Booth. It was animated in charcoal, pastels and crayon on the pages of 12 paperback books. [more inside]
posted by bq at 8:17 PM - 5 comments

Doing his best Orson Welles impression, Ze Frank administers a Voight-Kampff Test to a Vancouver TED audience.
posted by kliuless at 8:08 PM - 27 comments

Sixteen-year-old Agnes Quill has inherited an ancient family curse, brought about by the loss of her parents. Several of our key scholars have accounted for and confirmed that she has the ability to see and communicate with spirits trapped between worlds. In several confidential journal entries, Agnes describes the events of her parents’ funeral, where the ghost of her Grandfather, Ages Quill, visited her. It was then that he explained the nature of specters and how he used his connections with them to great advantage throughout his career. Ms. Quill's stories are written by Astronaut Academy creator Dave Roman, and illustrated by a growing collection of artists. (via io9)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 PM - 3 comments

"Saying "Hey, I like Kim" isn't as inspiring to people as us getting married. And anyone that's in a relationship knows that in order to get to the point to get married and then to be married and to then carry on, it needs that work put into it. Right now, people look at it and it's like, "Wow, that's inspiring." Meaning that love is infectious. You know, God is infectious—God flowing through us and us being little-baby creators and shit. But His energy and His love and what He wants us to have as people and the way He wants us to love each other, that is infectious. Like they said in Step Brothers: Never lose your dinosaur. This is the ultimate example of a person never losing his dinosaur. Meaning that even as I grew in cultural awareness and respect and was put higher in the class system in some way for being this musician, I never lost my dinosaur." GQ interviews Kanye West. [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods at 7:08 PM - 34 comments

Una Baines' unreleased album with her band The Fates has been reissued by Finder's Keepers on vinyl. You may know Una Baines as the first keyboard player in the Fall, as a founding member of Blue Orchids or from a short lived stint in Nico's backing band. The Fates were a "women's group" operating at the intersection of post-punk, english mysticism, indie and folk. (Link goes to an interview at the defunct online Fall zine Reformation!) [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:44 PM - 6 comments

Last month, a twelve-year-old girl named Lauren Arrington was credited with research showing that lionfish, an invasive species, were surviving in water with a much lower percentage of salinity than was thought possible. [more inside]
posted by PussKillian at 6:10 PM - 79 comments

Stories of Change: - Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.
An inside perspective from local visual storytellers on everyday life in North Africa.
The Storytellers.
Timeline.
The Stories.
posted by adamvasco at 4:54 PM - 3 comments

Small South Carolina town rallies for fired lesbian police chief
LATTA, S.C. (AP) -- When openly gay police chief Crystal Moore was fired by a mayor who condemned her lifestyle as "questionable," she feared her two decade career in law enforcement in this town was over. Then, this conservative, small town rebelled.

The people of Latta, who voted overwhelmingly for a state amendment banning gay marriage eight years ago, turned against the mayor, stripped him of his powers and the town council rehired Moore. They said her dedication to the town mattered more than her sexual orientation.
posted by Lexica at 4:43 PM - 61 comments

An Oral History of the 1989 Cleveland Indians. It was 1989, and no one knew that the usually predictable world of Major League Baseball was about to get as topsy turvy as it could. Here's the story of a plucky band of misfits, fighting against the entrenched baseball establishment, to obtain success in their efforts against their playing opponents, and an evil owner bent on relocation. [more inside]
posted by LoRichTimes at 1:13 PM - 35 comments

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