August 22

Rebuilding in Miniature

Ali Alamedy, an Iraqi artist living in Turkey after being forced out of his country, makes incredibly detailed dioramas of places he has read about but has never been. From filmmaker Veena Rao.
posted by growabrain at 6:32 PM - 3 comments

How to Find a Four-Leaf Clover

When I was in the third grade, we had a scavenger hunt at school.
posted by clawsoon at 5:58 PM - 16 comments

Possibly The Best (Cutest) Apology Letter Ever

Letter to park rangers in Sequoia National Park.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:22 PM - 31 comments

Separate pockets, padded bum rolls

In the 18th century, especially if you were a woman, clothes could be so complicated that you wouldn’t be able to get into them easily without someone else’s assistance. Ideas about privacy and intimacy were different then too – it was normal to be touched by a servant if they were helping you wash or dress. You can now watch a short video that shows how a well-off woman was dressed by her maid servant at that time.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:55 PM - 52 comments

“We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us.”

Did BioShock Define the Last 10 Years of Video Games? [A.V. Club] “Ten years ago today, Irrational Games’ sci-fi first-person shooter BioShock [YouTube] [Trailer] was released, and its story of a ruined undersea city and the brutal objectivist that led it to its doom was instantly canonized as one of the medium’s strongest artistic statements. The art-deco-adorned city of Rapture was realized with a depth and vision few games had ever approached and populated with some unforgettable characters, like the twisted artist Sander Cohen and the city’s power-hungry founder Andrew Ryan. Its grappling with Randian philosophy gave the dialogue a high-minded and dramatic flair, all of which culminated in its iconic twist and commentary on the futility of choice in video games. In the years since, BioShock’s shine has waned. So many of its most foundational elements found their way into games of all genres and scopes, and its flaws practically became more talked about than its merits.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 1:07 PM - 38 comments

The richest neighborhoods in many cities are also the most vacant

"But the pushers of market-friendly solutions, and even most affordable housing activists, miss a central point in the housing debate: we already have enough housing in this country. The problem is not supply. It’s just that the supply is owned by the wrong people. From downtowns to suburbs, there’s a glut of vacant housing and land owned by the rich. The one neat trick to solving the housing crisis: give the things owned by the rich to the poor." - Evict The Rich, Peter Moskowitz, Outline.
posted by The Whelk at 12:11 PM - 75 comments

Historic Battlefield Women and their Functions

Vivandieres were common and ubiquitous in the French armies up to WW I. The first link is a good overview with some nice paintings/photos. The second linkVivandieres in the military gives a more nuanced view of these women, and has link to references and a one-book bibliography. This last link is a Pinterest page 76 Best Vivandieres images with many of them having info attached.
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:23 AM - 12 comments

“Grated cheese to be renamed Pulled Cheddar”

Here on Albion, recent times have not been good for this ancient food. In Brighton, a travelling cheese festival ran out of cheese, causing concern at future locations. Before this, a similar discontent occured at a London cheese festival. Eleven blocks of prize-winning cheese were stolen. In an episode of Midsomer Murders, a wheel of cheese was the weapon of choice. An attractive sculpture in Hull was rejected, and more hatred. To top it all, people have started adding avocado to Mac and Cheese. In positive news, “Cheese is more accessible than ever”, a cheese toastie truck, Liverpool is the city to go to, and Pavé Cobble is named the UK’s champion cheese. Related: how long can you store cheese?, the Illuminati of cheese, and the post title.
posted by Wordshore at 10:29 AM - 46 comments

We don land gidigba! ('We've finally arrived!')

The BBC has launched a Pidgin English platform. The new platform is part of the BBC's plans to expand in Asia and Africa. [more inside]
posted by damayanti at 10:04 AM - 11 comments

Counterfeit Metal Oxide Semiconductor

Ken Shirriff examined the internals of Intel's first chip (a 64-bit RAM), including taking his own die photos. Fresh off this, he came across die photos of a different 64-bit chip and knew one of them was not what it seemed.
posted by Jpfed at 7:37 AM - 27 comments

Maybe Steve Jobs has a company in the afterlife?

Burning cars and cellphones to keep your ghostly ancestors happy. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by destrius at 7:16 AM - 5 comments

Mystery horse braids

From the Fortean Times: "I live in Costa Rica these days. My girlfriends family here own a farm with many horses. She tells me that many times in the past they have discovered some of the horses in the morning with their manes braided perfectly. She says the horses were in a remote part of the farm where there are no people. Anyone have a clue what could be going on here?" Some suggestions from Fortean Times readers: occultists, Bigfoot, and little girls. Warlocks are consulted. Academic papers are published. It gets a little malicious. Just don't blame the hedgewitch!
posted by misterbee at 2:31 AM - 40 comments

August 21

More like Mastodon't, amirite?

Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable
Ethan Zuckerman on a social network's surprising/disturbing source of popularity. [more inside]
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:45 PM - 41 comments

Some rural markets and towns even experienced a 55% decline post-plague

A new study of annual to multiannual levels of lead in the Alpine glacier, Colle Gnifetti, in the Swiss-Italian Alps provides further validation of the calamitous character of the plague and the accompanying events in the 14th century. These new hard-core data demonstrates the impact which the Black Death had on society and economy.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:57 PM - 7 comments

Six cents of every tax dollar to the moon

The Atlantic, August 1963: Two scientists argue that sending men to the moon is worth the cost.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:17 PM - 15 comments


Dogs on trampolines [bouncy EDM soundtrack]. That is all.

Wait, there is more: Bodega Cats (previously) posted a picture that charmed the internet: This looks like the CD cover for an all-cat, sassy girl band.

Ooh, one more thing: Everyone needs a hug.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:57 PM - 11 comments

Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves

The “Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves” is the perfect thing to send both white allies genuinely interested in learning more, and that special Facebook commenter who loves playing “Devil’s Advocate.” Whenever anyone asks you for stats, “proof,” or info no one who has an actual human schedule has the kind of time to provide, you can send them here. [Google Docs link via Teresa Jusino at The Mary Sue]
posted by cgc373 at 6:57 PM - 15 comments

"Boone... I'm going into the next office."

STAR GATE was one of a number of "remote viewing programs" conducted under a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK, GRILL FLAME, and CENTER LANE by DIA and INSCOM, and SCANATE by CIA. These efforts were initiated to assess foreign programs in the field; contract for basic research into the the phenomenon; and to evaluate controlled remote viewing as an intelligence tool. Records of the Stargate Program were published by the CIA earlier this year.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:19 PM - 13 comments

And other kids are being framed too.

Soul Snatchers: How the NYPD’s 42nd Precinct, the Bronx DA’s Office, and the City of New York Conspired to Destroy Black and Brown Lives [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 4:07 PM - 28 comments

Seersucker's Curious Class Struggle

Seersucker's Curious Class Struggle [via mefi projects] The Whelk provides a thorough, and thoroughly engaging, history of America's most underrated fabric.
posted by tel3path at 3:10 PM - 36 comments

Uncanny Japan

Uncanny Japan is Thersa Matsuura's podcast dedicated to Japanse folk lore, customs and historical oddities.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:04 PM - 3 comments

A Most American Terrorist

[Dylan] Roof was safeguarded by his knowledge that white American terrorism is never waterboarded for answers, it is never twisted out for meaning, we never identify its “handlers,” and we could not force him to do a thing. He remained inscrutable. He remained in control, just the way he wanted to be.
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah on what created Dylann Roof.
posted by AceRock at 12:58 PM - 26 comments

“Use some mercy, human.”

The Undertale Drama by Chloe Spencer [Kotaku] “Undertale’s stigma as a toxic fandom arose after incidents involving harassed YouTubers, pornography, and fans who plastered the internet with in-game jokes. Over time, a game that started out as heartwarming and lovable gained infamy for supposedly having one of the worst fandoms on the internet. Undertale’s descent into online infamy was largely due to the pervasive thought that there was only one way to play the game.” [Previously.]
posted by Fizz at 12:02 PM - 46 comments

The Steep Game

Alpine football in the Austrian Alps. SLYT
posted by zeikka at 11:20 AM - 5 comments

Neil Chayet (1939–2017)

Neil Chayet broadcast one-minute summaries of quirky lawsuits on the radio for more than 40 years. He died of small cell cancer last Friday, at age 78. Obits at NYTimes, the Boston Globe, and Harvard Law. [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:18 AM - 6 comments

After 15 years Whedonesque Shuts Down. Site was Inspired by MeFi.

Yesterday, Joss Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole accused him in a scathing editorial (published in The Wrap) of having multiple affairs with actresses, co-workers, fans and friends and of being a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals.” Today, in apparent response, Whedonesque has been shut down by its founders/admins. Whedonesque turned 15 on July 29. The site was inspired by MeFi, and its design was based on an early version of Metafilter, with mySQL/Perl code reportedly tweaked by Mefi's Own prolific. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM - 269 comments

Another deadly collision.

Top Navy admiral orders fleetwide investigation following latest collision at sea. Previous collisions involving U.S. Navy vessels. Discussion over at r/Navy suggests pervasive lack of sleep contributes to the problem.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:30 AM - 36 comments

How Blind Astronomers Will Observe the Solar Eclipse

Like millions of other people, Wanda Diaz Merced plans to observe the August 21 total solar eclipse...But she won’t see it. She’ll hear it. Diaz Merced is an astrophysicist who also happens to be blind. While searching for ways to study stellar radiation without relying on sight, she has developed a way to represent complex data about our universe as sound (transcript). [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:29 AM - 6 comments

Beyond the cheesy fried enchilada funnel cake: 2017 state fair foods

At this years Iowa State Fair (BBC previously) the usual corn dogs, golden fry choco pocket and cheeses and other foods on sticks (more previously) were available, amongst the butter sculpting, baking contests and writing your bucket list. These could be followed by Iowa's big pork leg, or perhaps Thanksgiving balls, apple tacos or bauder mud, washed down with honey lemonade. Or perhaps healthy choices like a vegetable, or peanut butter and jelly, on a stick (previously golden fried), eaten while Skip Hitchcock judges your potatoes or you rest up with your cow. Amongst the 44 new foods, the pork almighty emerged as a popular winner. But, what delicacies were available at other nearby state fairs... [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 8:35 AM - 44 comments

How Hate Groups Forced Online Platforms to Reveal Their True Nature

What gave these trolls power on platforms wasn’t just their willingness to act in bad faith and to break the rules and norms of their environment. It was their understanding that the rules and norms of platforms were self-serving and cynical in the first place. (SLNYT)
posted by Panthalassa at 7:14 AM - 36 comments

Bury My Heart at W. H. Smith's

RIP Brian Aldiss, British science fiction writer, part of The New Wave. He wrote the novels Non-Stop, Hothouse, Greybeard and the Helliconia trilogy. He also wrote the short story 'Super-Toys Last All Summer Long' which the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence was partially based on [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:13 AM - 57 comments

The Ancient Roots of "Make It New"

The Making of “Make It New” by Michael North is an exploration of the ancient Chinese origins of Ezra Pound's phrase "make it new". At first obscure, the phrase became well known when Pound became seen as the central figure of early English-language Modernism. In the latest issue of Translatlantica Clément Oudart puts North's article in context with recent scholarship in an introduction to a thematic issue on American modernism. In recent years Pound's centrality has been challenged, and his fascism has been recognized as fundamental to his poetry, as laid out in The Pound Error by Louis Menand. The phrase survives as a challenge to authors, and in 2014 Pankaj Mishra and Benjamin Moser discussed whether writers can still "make it new".
posted by Kattullus at 6:43 AM - 4 comments

Ellen Pao on sexism in Silicon Valley

"This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley My lawsuit failed. Others won’t." Ellen Pao: "I would sue Kleiner Perkins for sexual harassment and discrimination in a widely publicized case in which I was often cast as the villain — incompetent, greedy, aggressive, and cold. My husband and I were both dragged through the mud, our privacy destroyed. For a long time I didn’t challenge those stories, because I wasn’t ready to talk about my experience in detail. Now I am."
posted by gen at 5:17 AM - 41 comments

The Ice Cap Zone discovery shocked me, at least.

Turns out there's perhaps even more than we thought to the "Michael Jackson made music for Sonic 3" thing. Previously.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:21 AM - 2 comments

August 20

The momentum you give is the momentum you get

And yet there was something about electric bikes that offended me. He hadn’t worked to go that fast. And, after he braked, he wouldn’t have to work to pick up speed again. [SLNewYorker]
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 PM - 88 comments

Richard Claxton "Dick" Gregory (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017)

"You know the definition of a Southern moderate? That's a cat that'll lynch you from a low tree." That joke, delivered in the 1960s by trailblazing comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who passed away Saturday, seems unsettlingly relevant in today's America. Though we aren't in the midst of the struggle for civil rights, that joke was about the evils of white supremacy—something we are clearly still grappling with today.
[more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:45 PM - 53 comments


If you’ve never missed a flight, you’re spending too much time in airports. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:00 PM - 116 comments

Never Gonna Believe My Eyes

Foo Fighters featuring Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up. The Foo Fighters rickrolled their audience with the real thing in an interesting mashup.
posted by nevercalm at 3:24 PM - 25 comments

Edit the NYTimes yourself.

Think you have the editing skills to work for the New York Times? With the feature Copy Edit This!, Philip B. Corbett, The Times’s standards editor, has a number of editing challenges. Even better, there are point-and-click challenges every few weeks. Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
posted by zardoz at 3:18 PM - 22 comments

Jerry Lewis is dead.

He was 91. Joseph or Jerome Levitch March 16, 1926
An American actor, comedian, singer, film producer, film director, screenwriter and humanitarian. He is known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He and Dean Martin were partners as the hit popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis. Following that success, he was a solo star in motion pictures, nightclubs, television shows, concerts, album recordings and musicals. [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:05 PM - 76 comments


Nintendo Switch owners weigh in on an iconic debate: Are hot dogs sandwiches? [Polygon] “Nintendo posed an important question to Switch owners several weeks ago: Is a hot dog a sandwich? It’s one of society’s most contentious debates, one with no clear-cut answer. But the results of the company’s poll are in — and Nintendo doesn’t seem so happy about them. In a June Ask Me Anything session on Reddit with Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi, fans first prompted the polarizing debate. When asked if Koizumi thought that a hot dog “counts as a sandwich,” his response was a flat “no.””
posted by Fizz at 11:50 AM - 130 comments

Lady Kung Fu is Alive and Well and Living in Queens

Ever seen "Enter the Dragon," the Bruce Lee masterpiece? Then you've seen Angela Mao. She portrayed his sister who got killed, in an epic battle between her and Robert Wall, a famous martial artist. I actually thought that was the highlight of the film. Anyhow, she disappeared from Hong Kong film-making in the early 90s and recently resurfaced in Queens NYC. The main article is a NY Times profile of her. This next article was posted last Thursday about an upcoming appearance of hers Angela Mao appearance
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:56 AM - 7 comments

Not THAT kind of cottaging...

A public toilet in Ewell Village, Surrey that was converted to semi-detached one-bedroom houses has gone back on the market for a staggering £330,000. While pointing out rising real estate prices, it also highlights the phenomenon of the conversion of public toilets to housing. On the Norfolk Coast, the "Wee Retreat," a public lavatory that is now a cottage, is available to rent as a holiday property, while in 2012, architect Laura Jane Clark finished transforming an underground Crystal Palace toilet into a livable flat. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:23 AM - 16 comments

the year of living with banksy

When I first moved to Los Angeles in July of 2013, I found a room for rent in a house on Craigslist. I soon learned the landlord, and the man I’d be living with, was none other... than the famous graffiti artist and incognito street poet Banksy. A satirical bit of prose by the fabulous Demi Adejuyigbe
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:08 AM - 13 comments

The Gibson Archives: a graphic and emotive depictions of shipwrecks

The Isles of Scilly (Google maps, Wikipedia) are an archipelago off the south western tip of the Cornish peninsula that include the southern-most point of the UK, and some of the most treacherous waters in the Atlantic. John Gibson, a seaman-turned-photographer, brought his camera to the rocky cliffs and photographed shipwrecks, rescue attempts, and local events, starting in 1865. The Gibsons of Scilly continued photographing wrecks and their community for five generations (website archive). In 2013, the family auctioned off four generations of their photographs, and the archive was purchased by Penlee House Musuem and Gallery. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 6:19 AM - 8 comments

Whose Free Speech Is It Anyway?

This week the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) posted, Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression, an essay examining the ramifications of corporate control of free speech. [more inside]
posted by fairmettle at 4:22 AM - 94 comments

Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Episode 7,219 - the Walnut Whip

The Walnut Whip is a volcano of chocolate encasing allegedly fondant and topped with a walnut, with spectacular variations. In further evidence of the decline of Britain, Nestlé have removed the Walnut, making it just a Whip and relaunching it in three so-called "flavours". This in addition to previous size reductions (shrinkflation) and the loss of the hidden second Walnut. Over a century old, the Walnut Whip is allegedly eaten every two seconds (not by the same person) and three constitute a luncheon. A rise in walnut costs is being blamed by some, and a poor harvest by others, while six packs with walnut will be allegedly available at Christmas. The Twitter has been unsurprisingly outraged, though you can make your own or even the coffee version.
posted by Wordshore at 3:56 AM - 45 comments

August 19

The truth has got its boots on: an evidence-based response to James Damore's Google memo

The truth has got its boots on: an evidence-based response to James Damore's Google memo [via mefi projects]
Mefi's own sciatrix drops science on Damore's unlistening head. Long, dense, and (from where I'm sitting) pretty darn definitive.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:43 PM - 95 comments

I, for one…

2017 has been a good year for robots, at least: three new world records for most robots dancing, fastest Rubik's Cube solving and First Robot Table Tennis Tutor. Below the fold I list alternate musical accompaniment for each story, from MeFite gmm. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:40 PM - 2 comments

900 men went into the water

The USS Indianapolis has been found, 18000 feet below the surface -- CNN story [more inside]
posted by vrakatar at 5:57 PM - 34 comments

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