Japanese woman comes to America to search for buried treasure- but it's the fictional buried treasure in the movie "Fargo". She's come to North Dakota's "Siberia" to end her own life and the language barrier and our perceptions of Japanese 'normal' get in the way. [more inside]
Scott Budnick walked away from his position as head of the production company that made the Hangover movies to run a prison-reform advocacy group. Budnick volunteers as a writing teacher at various prisons, focusing on youthful offenders who went behind bars before the age of 18. He also uses his Hollywood connections and natural drive ("I’m ADD to the fullest. I like going and going and going and getting shit done.") to lobby for prison and justice reform, including Proposition 47, which reclassified many petty theft and drug crimes to misdemeanors.
Building the First Slavery Museum in America - David Amsden, The New York Times
"From their weathered cypress frames, a dusty path, lined with hulking iron kettles that were used by slaves to boil sugar cane, leads to a grassy clearing dominated by a slave jail — an approach designed so that a visitor’s most memorable glimpse of the white shutters and stately columns of the property’s 220-year-old 'Big House' will come through the rusted bars of the squat, rectangular cell. A number of memorials also dot the grounds, including a series of angled granite walls engraved with the names of the 107,000 slaves who spent their lives in Louisiana before 1820. Inspired by Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, the memorial lists the names nonalphabetically to mirror the confusion and chaos that defined a slave’s life."[more inside]
Putin's Russia: Like a gangster running a crime syndicate, Putin muscles opponents and assassinates critics. Nonetheless, his bid in Ukraine may be reactionary to NATO edging closer to Russia's borders. As Dan Carlin notes, it's as if Russia began training Mexican soldiers. Meanwhile, everyone needs a hero.
Kathy Sierra talks about the myth of meritocracy in tech and how skater culture broke her heart. You might know Sierra as the unfortunate victim of mega-troll weev, but her concise and touching analysis of her years as a promising skater shows an entirely new side of her.
Anyone who writes articles on the web knows the maxim: "Don’t read the comments." Fortunately for Yoni Appelbaum, a recent Ph.D. in history from Brandeis University, the well-known writer Ta-Nehisi Coates routinely ignores that rule.How a history Ph.D. who was on the tenure-track market ended up in with a pretty good gig in journalism, primarily because of the quality of his comments.
The 1970's Batman parody Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. is being rebooted (again) with YouTube stars Grace Helbig and Hannah "My Drunk Kitchen" Hart in the title roles. [more inside]
When President Obama appointed Tom Wheeler (a former top telecom lobbyist) as chairman of the FCC, he got a lot of grief for selling out his '07 pledge to protect Net Neutrality -- the founding principle long prized by open web activists that ISPs cannot privilege certain data over others, without which dire visions of a tiered and pay-for-play internet loomed. Earlier, weaker attempts at net neutrality had failed in court, and the new chairman looked set to fold. But after an unprecedented outcry following last year's trial balloon for ISP "fast lanes" -- including a viral appeal by John Oliver, a public urging by the president, and perhaps Wheeler's own history with the pre-web NABU Network -- the FCC yesterday voted along party lines to enact the toughest net neutrality rules in history, classifying ISPs as common carriers and clearing the way for municipal broadband. ISPs reacted with (Morse) venom, while congressional Republicans are divided over what they called "Obamacare for the internet."
In 2010 Garrick Ohlsson, the first American to win The International Chopin Piano Competition (in 1970), delivered an insightful two hour lecture (plus Q&A) at UC Berkeley about what exactly makes Chopin's music so great. Highly recommended for anyone that likes seeing people who are really passionate about something explain their passion.
"A bottle of nerve manna, a disappearing golf ball and some rocks...it all adds up to the Hardly Boys' toughest case yet. The Hardly Boys have returned to Rangeley Lake for another relaxing summer at the Hardly Inn. Fishing, boating, tennis and their friend Chip Mason await them, but the boys soon find themselves enmeshed in a perplexing mystery that puts to the test their sleuthing skills and secret dog powers..." [more inside]
How Adam Savage became obsessed with building a scale model of the maze from Kubrick's film The Shining. The Making Of and The Making Of The Making Of (both SLYT). [more inside]
Poet, author, director, actor, cultural icon... Leonard Nimoy has passed away at age 83 from constrictive pulmonary disease. Rest well, Spock, you will be missed.
The study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Applied Animal Behavioral Science, adds to the growing body of evidence that many animals respond favorably to species-specific music. This is music that takes into account a particular animal's favorite sounds, hearing range, commonly used tones and other factors.Introducing: Music For Cats [more inside]
Robert Macfarlane says we are losing the best descriptive words for our landscape. This matters, he says, "because language deficit leads to attention deficit. As we deplete our ability to denote and figure particular aspects of our places, so our competence for understanding and imagining possible relationships with non-human nature is correspondingly depleted. To quote the American farmer and essayist Wendell Berry – a man who in my experience speaks the crash-tested truth – “people exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love, and to defend what we love we need a particularising language, for we love what we particularly know.”"
Imagine you could invest in the stock market last week, with perfect knowledge of how it will move this week. 25 year old Frenchman Max-Hervé George does not need a Delorean, he is the beneficiary of a very unusual 8000 euro life insurance policy that lets him do just that. He could be a billionaire by the end of this decade and, by the end of the next, his contract would be worth more than the insurance company which stands behind it, Aviva France.
Linda Holmes describes her favorite Survivor moment: Not Just Eating Bugs For Money! A Story Of 'Survivor' And Strategy. "This is a story of watching a couple of people who aren't very likable lose a million dollars, fair and square, because they got outfoxed."
A graduate student at MIT has published an analysis of the Mars One colony plans. Turns out that surviving off local crops is a bad idea. [pdf] Mars One is an ambitious and highly publicized plan to start a colony on Mars by launching groups of astronauts on a one-way trip to the red planet. The Mars One foundation claims that all of this is feasible with current technology: Falcon heavy launchers, Dragon capsules, inflatable structures, and life support systems similar to the International Space Station. Sydney Do, a Ph.D candidate in MIT's Strategic Engineering Research Group disagrees. His detailed and impressive analysis of the Mars One architecture reveals a few surprising and counter-intuitive results: the astronauts are better off eating food delivered from Earth, and the need for spare parts to sustain life support system ends up dominating the materials required to keep the colony going.
The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year (previously on Metafilter) has revealed its 2015 shortlist. [more inside]
NYMag profiles American military deserters in Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.
Desertion is always a solitary choice, but it can be especially so for those who seek refuge in other countries. The deserter in exile is cut off from community, family, and country, knowing there may never be a safe way home. For the alienated troops who fled to Canada in the early years of the Iraq War, the decision seemed to offer solace. The northern border has always welcomed disaffected Americans, from the British Union Loyalists who opposed the Revolutionary War to the draft dodgers and deserters avoiding Vietnam. Between 1965 and 1975, roughly 50,000 U.S. citizens took shelter in Canada, where the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau quietly embraced them. In the first three years of the Iraq War, at least 200 new American troops joined them, believing they would find the same open arms. Most of the new deserters chose to live and work in cities like Toronto and Montreal without revealing their military past; only about two dozen stepped forward publicly to request political amnesty as “war resisters.”
It’s happened to me several times at a literary event — sometimes one at which I’m reading or speaking — that a kindly, affable chap, after regaling me with a long account of his next book, smiles generously and asks me what I do at Penguin, or how long I’ve been working for the venue. When I say, Oh, actually I’m a writer, a spasm of embarrassment comes over his face. As it should. Not, of course, because of any career’s merit over another’s, but because he’s revealed his inability to see me as a writer. A flustered flash of insight has taken place.Katherine Angel on the problems of gender representation in literature. [more inside]
Eddie Marritz, a cinematographer and photographer in remission from small-cell carcinoma, was a participant in one of NYU's Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety research studies. Marritz, and the researchers, take us through the experience. Magic Mushrooms and the Healing Trip. (7 min) [more inside]
"Bien sûr," Delzor said. He had even seen them: affectless men and women with a deathlike pallor, high nasal voices, and the characteristic drooping at the chin – men and women who he knew for a fact had died and been buried. "Ayiti, se repiblik zonbi," Delzor added. Haiti is the republic of zombies.[more inside]
The Question is the Question: Dilip D'Souza on the competitive sport of 'Quizzing' in India. "Quizzers branch out like fractals, into the minutiae, looking for questions in the interstices of knowledge.” [more inside]
The Only Woolley Rhinoceros Calf Ever Found: Woolley Mammoths of all ages have been found. Adult Woolley Rhinoceros finds are so rare they can be counted on one hand. This is the first baby
What color is this dress? is a really strange phenomena currently seen taking over twitter, as people see a blue dress with black lace while others insist it is white with gold. So far, no one can tell why exactly it is happening, other than it is baffling for both sides.
Two llamas enjoy several minutes of lliberty while evading the
Keystone Cops Sun City llaw enforcement.
"Fertile Ground" asks you to place yourself in the shoes of a young woman in South Dakota facing tough decisions in the wake of a one night stand. With a Choose Your Own Adventure format, you have to make the best choices you can. [more inside]
The music video to the song Los Villanos, by a band called Poolpo, is pretty damn joyous. I like it and I hope you like it too.
from NYMag: When the notorious cancer doctor Gil Lederman cadged an autograph from a dying George Harrison, the world was appalled. But as Lederman scrambles to salvage his reputation, the very nature of his experimental practice has come under attack.
A radical plan for transplanting a head onto someone else’s body is set to be announced. But is such ethically sensitive surgery even feasible? (SLNewScientist)
"We don't want them to see diversity as a burden or a moral obligation. We want them to see it as a business imperative."UCLA’s Bunche Center for African American Studies has released its 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report: Flipping The Script [PDF]. The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive story (with lots of sidebars.)
The Holy Junk Heap: In 1896, a cache of manuscripts -- mostly fragments -- was discovered in the storeroom ("genizah") at the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo. The collection outlines a 1,000-year continuum (870 CE to the 19th century) of Jewish Middle-Eastern and North African history and comprises the largest and most diverse collection of medieval manuscripts in the world, including Jewish religious texts such as Biblical, Talmudic and later Rabbinic works (some in the original hands of the authors), "letters, wills, bills of lading, prayers, marriage contracts and writs of divorce, Bibles, money orders, court depositions, business inventories, leases, magic charms and receipts" which give a detailed picture of the economic and cultural life of the North African and Eastern Mediterranean regions, especially during the 10th to 13th centuries. [more inside]
"I tilted my head in cartoon-like confusion. Where had he picked that up? Bruce Lee? He knew nothing of martial arts nor had he ever watched Kung Fu Panda (this is where my brain went). So I asked Noah to repeat himself. Perhaps I’d misunderstood or heard it incorrectly."
As she and Plummer munched their respective fractions of peanut-butter bar, they recalled A Royal Christmas. “We played every awful hockey rink all the way from Canada to Florida,” Andrews said. “We had huge buses we could sleep in. It was with the London Philharmonic and the Westminster Choir and the Somebody Bell Ringers and the Something Ballet. And Chris and me doing our bit. It turned out to be great fun under awful circumstances, didn’t it?” “The bus was the most fun,” he said. “We had our own bar, so we couldn’t wait to get there.”If you have not yet read this Vanity Fair article about Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, their lifelong cranky friendship, and the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, doing so will probably make your day at least 50% better.
Football fans – and here I naturally include myself – act as if they are mentally ill. This is an article that is nominally about football, but is just as much about the pressures of modern life and the plight of men (in particular, but not exclusively). This is both a very personal account and an observation of how others behave. It is about being a football fan, but also the impact of social media on our appreciation of life (and sport), and how constantly striving for more can lead to increased unhappiness – even if you attain it.
A little girl started feeding the crows accidentally, decided to make it a habit, and now receives gifts in return. Apparently, this is a crow thing.
Today we bid a sad farewell to the last of the old-school Mississippi Hill Country bluesmen: Mr. Robert Belfour was a purveyor or that gritty, driving, riff-based, often one-chord Hill Country style pioneered by people like Mississippi Fred McDowell, and in more recent years popularized by artists like RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Jessie Mae Hemphill. Let's take a listen, then, as we pay our respects to the "Wolfman", to some of his rocking, soulful blues. Here's Black Mattie, I Got My Eyes On You, Hill Stomp, Go Ahead On, My Baby's Gone, Done Got Old and You Got Me Crying. And here's an hour-long recording from February 2013, via NPR: Robert Belfour: Live In Concert.
Masha Tupitsyn interviewed by Keaton Ventura for Sex Magazine:
What sort of trouble? Mainly the reaction was, what is this? What are you doing? This isn’t a novel. This isn’t fiction. This isn’t straight criticism. It’s all mixed up. Or this criticism is too personal or too critical about the wrong things. But the minute I would call Beauty Talk nonfiction people would accept the terms that I using. So it was always about how I was categorizing that book. What I was calling it. That would determine how people would respond to the book and its ethos, which I always thought was absurd. If I called it nonfiction, if I called it essays, if I called it criticism, people accepted the book more. But if I said it was fiction, people would say, Well, this is not what fiction does. Fiction does this and criticism does this, and you have to keep these things separate and clear. But I am really not interested in keeping things separate. Not in my work and not in my life either. I’m interested in looking at them and putting them together because I think one of the problems with Western culture in general is that everything is reduced to binaries and categories because it keeps us from fundamentally being able to make valuable links. To connect the dots.[more inside]
Dang! Have you ever seen waves get so cold they turn to slurpee? Get seawater cool enough, but not too cold; keep it agitated, and you get some beautiful waves.