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December 20

The Barbarous Years

The Shocking Savagery of America's Early History, a look at historian Bernard Bailyn's book.
Bailyn has not painted a pretty picture. Little wonder he calls it The Barbarous Years and spares us no details of the terror, desperation, degradation and widespread torture—do you really know what being “flayed alive” means? (The skin is torn from the face and head and the prisoner is disemboweled while still alive.) And yet somehow amid the merciless massacres were elements that gave birth to the rudiments of civilization—or in Bailyn’s evocative phrase, the fragile “integument of civility”—that would evolve 100 years later into a virtual Renaissance culture, a bustling string of self-governing, self-sufficient, defiantly expansionist colonies alive with an increasingly sophisticated and literate political and intellectual culture that would coalesce into the rationale for the birth of American independence. All the while shaping, and sometimes misshaping, the American character. It’s a grand drama in which the glimmers of enlightenment barely survive the savagery, what Yeats called “the blood-dimmed tide,” the brutal establishment of slavery, the race wars with the original inhabitants that Bailyn is not afraid to call “genocidal,” the full, horrifying details of which have virtually been erased.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:45 AM - 0 comments

NASA emails spanner to the ISS Space Station

"Astronauts on the International Space Station have used their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in an email. It is the first time hardware has been "emailed" to space. Nasa was responding to a request by ISS commander Barry Wilmore for a ratcheting socket wrench."
posted by marienbad at 9:41 AM - 8 comments

Miami, Miami, you've got style....

On August 21, a federal judge in Florida ruled that that the state's ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional, but the ruling was stayed until January 5. Although the state Attorney General appealed the ruling and asked for a further stay, both the 11th circuit, and os of last night the Supreme Court have denied the appeal, and Florida will become the 36th marriage equality state on January 6th. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:16 AM - 19 comments

The Queen of Torture

"She dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked." "But instead of being sanctioned, she was promoted."
posted by 445supermag at 7:12 AM - 31 comments

In geologic terms it's imminent. In biologic, maybe within a lifetime.

Earth's Magnetic Field May Be About to Flip [summary] - "Earth's last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years -- roughly a human lifetime. The rapid flip, much faster than the thousands of years most geologists thought, comes as new measurements show the planet's magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal and could drop to zero in a few thousand years." (via)
posted by kliuless at 6:09 AM - 14 comments

#Gad hi fynd, Gad hi fynd

A year on, y'all may be sick to death of Frozen and new versions of Let it Go, but surely there's room for the Welsh version as translated and sung by the 14 year old Rebekah West? Bonus: sing along version with lyrics.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:19 AM - 22 comments

December 19

US drone strikes: data analysis

41 men targeted, but 1,147 people killed: New analysis of data conducted by the human rights group Reprieve raises questions about the accuracy of intelligence guiding 'precise' drone strikes.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 9:29 PM - 62 comments

2 bassists, 2 clarinets, 1 cellist, 1 tape-delay technician, 1 pianist

Bing & Ruth is a modern classical ensemble that plays minimalist, piano-driven music. Several videos from Tomorrow Was The Golden Age (RVNG Intl.), their 2014 album, are on Youtube: Warble, TWTGA, Police Police Police Police Police, The Towns We Love Is Our Town (Alternate), and Reflector. Their first album, City Lake, can be streamed on Soundcloud. The Bing & Ruth and Kenitle Floors EPs can be streamed on Bandcamp.
B&R is the project of David Moore, who also leads (parodic?) bluegrass band The Piledrivers and country band Pepper Johnson, and is member of experimental electronic group Emar Diem and blues rockers Langhorne Slim & The Law. In October, Will Stephenson interviewed Moore for BOMB. In 2010, Le Blogotheque released a short film of Moore set to his music.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:09 PM - 7 comments

At 20 a little coquette, at 40 not married yet, at 50 a suffragette!

The Turn of the Century Posters that Warned against the Horrors of a World with Women’s Rights
posted by Alexandra Michelle at 7:04 PM - 63 comments

Couples

Snapshots of LGBT life in Midcentury America Coursey of the ONE national gay and lesbian archives at the University of southern California libraries.
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM - 11 comments

Insight into Military Flight Simulation

Ars Technica's Lee Hutchinson reviews a military grade F-18 flight simulator.
posted by juiceCake at 3:51 PM - 20 comments

Friday Fun... with a twist

It's finally Friday, and I feel like celebrating with a smooth grooving' twist... and a little mashed potato and a little... [more inside]
posted by ecorrocio at 3:00 PM - 6 comments

California's whooping cough crisis, Latinos affected disproportionately

"'It really speaks to the lack of access to health insurance that's particularly predominant within the Latino community,' says Sarah de Guia, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, an advocacy group. Latinos make up 62 percent of the uninsured, she says, either because they can't afford to pay for health insurance, or because they're afraid that signing up for coverage will expose family members who aren't lawfully present in the U.S." California Whooping Cough Infections Run High Among Latino Babies, NPR. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:37 PM - 14 comments

How Surface Texture Affects Blood Stain Patterns video

hello, i'm new to metafilter. happy to be here. this is a cool video of how surface texture affects blood stain patterns. happy friday!
posted by minhrootloop at 2:32 PM - 29 comments

Reading is hard…It takes time…tl;dr;lit attempts to address this problem

This bot takes works of literature and algorithmically summarizes them, a chapter at a time, to 1% of their original length. These are then read aloud by the lovely voice of Fiona, a Scottish speech synth, and posted at on Twitter at convenient 3 hour intervals. This way entire works of literature can be consumed in bite-sized algo-chunks, giving you the gist of the book, without any troublesome cause to actually ‘read’ or ‘understand’ it at all…
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:53 PM - 21 comments

Everything You Need To Know About The Dangerous Teen Trend ‘Wodehousing’

Everything You Need To Know About The Dangerous Teen Trend ‘Wodehousing’
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:41 PM - 38 comments

It's a great day for America, everybody!

Tonight Craig Ferguson will host The Late Late Show for the last time and wrap up with an interview with Jay Leno. If you can't stay up late enough to watch it live, you can stream it tomorrow (at least in the USA.) [more inside]
posted by pwb503 at 1:40 PM - 29 comments

Why does it matter that you're female?

3 female computer scientists held a Reddit AMA. You can totally guess what happened next.
posted by bq at 1:18 PM - 107 comments

"Californy is the place you ought to be"

So Notch loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimmin' pools, movie stars. [more inside]
posted by cwest at 12:18 PM - 135 comments

Not everyone needs a hug.

What ethnic groups are generally uncomfortable with hugging? How do you say "hug" in French? Why Asians don't always hug. Should I hug my Japanese friend? More hugs please, we're Chinese [NYT]. Do you know how to give an "American hug"? Ahmadinejad criticized for hugging. Ebola's cultural casualty: hugging in Liberia [NYT]. Kiss, hug, or shake hands? How to give a man a hug.
posted by psoas at 10:43 AM - 99 comments

Chesty Morgan: A life more than skin deep

Chesty Morgan: A life more than skin deep [more inside]
posted by Nevin at 10:04 AM - 19 comments

1964 Chevy Malibu

The Weirdest Things You Never Knew About The Making Of Repo Man
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM - 68 comments

The bloom is off the Wildrose

In what will no doubt live on as one of the most stunning political moves in Canadian political history, Alberta Wildrose Party (and official opposition leader) Danielle Smith, along with 8 other Wildrose MLAs, crossed the floor of the legislature to join the ruling Progressive Conservatives, under the leadership of Premier Jim Prentice. She also proposed that the Wildrose party formally merge with the PCs, which the Wildrose administration and members reject. While floor-crossings are not uncommon in Canadian politics, there has never before been a complete capitulation of an official opposition party to the governing party before. [more inside]
posted by Kurichina at 9:06 AM - 38 comments

Chasing Paper

An investigation for Scientific American by MeFi's own cgs06 uncovers evidence of widespread fraud in scientific publishing's peer review system. Alarming signs point to the Chinese government as a source of institutional support and funding for questionable papers and fake peer reviewers. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:01 AM - 22 comments

With the jawbone of an ass

Modern Farmer describes centuries of military love for the humble donkey. Though the U. S. Army officially ended its pack mule program in the 1950s, current soldiers and Marines-- along with the Afghan Army itself -- have trained again to use donkeys and mules in mountainous terrain. [more inside]
posted by Hypatia at 8:39 AM - 8 comments

Birdies, prunes, cheese and whiskey: smiling (or not) for the camera

... in the Victorian era (1837-1901), a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. They took their cues from much of Europe's fine-art portraiture. Some say photographers even suggested those posing say "prunes" to heighten the effect. Smiling was something captured on children, peasants and drunkards, hardly something you'd want for your family legacy.

Then, there was the matter of oral hygiene.
Advances in dental care and ubiquitous technology: why people started smiling for the camera, and why we say cheese, with a whistling bird, some whiskey, and a little flash game thrown in for good measure. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 AM - 9 comments

Ruff-ruff-ruff-ruff mew-mew-mew-mew ...

This is probably the cutest thing you'll see this Christmas. By far the best Christmas TV advert in the UK at the moment, even cuter than the John Lewis penguin (previously), and on a par with my all-time favourite, the Country Life ad.
posted by essexjan at 8:26 AM - 29 comments

Lose yourself

Dérive is a smartphone app inspired by the Situationists that encourages you to wander your city. You can use the general deck, use one for Abu Dhabi, Biella, Ithaca, Johannesburg, Kampala, New York City, Paris or San Francisco, or make your own
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:17 AM - 16 comments

No Joke Is Too Obvious Too Miss

Pretending to be ghost on Tinder is a mildly funny idea. But less (or more?) funny is how much determination men will bring to bear in their effort to miss the joke.
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:13 AM - 52 comments

"I also like getting a good night’s sleep."

Me: I’d like to get a little more physically active.
Them: You should come run a marathon on the weekend!
Why I don’t like hackathons, by Alex Bayley aged 39 1/2.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:59 AM - 69 comments

December 18

For your holiday listening and/or karaoke pleasure...

Here's the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Instrumental Complete and Vocal Complete. Nice, eh? Well, there's more: Abbey Road Instrumental Complete and Vocal Complete.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:32 PM - 41 comments

It's red, white, and hypnotic all over

Decking the halls just wouldn't be the same without the mysteriously stripy hooks of sugar and cavities we call candy canes. But from whence did these delicate, tongue-spearing delights come from? The answer is still shrouded in mystery. (Includes a link to The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-cook, and Baker's striped candy recipe from 1844, for the old-school DIY types.) Hat tip to Gizmodo for the video. [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:15 PM - 8 comments

Trolljägarna

Swedish journalist Robert Aschberg, the television show Troll Hunter, Research Group and the ethics of exposing trolls.
The goal of Troll Hunter is not to rid the Internet of every troll. “The agenda is to raise hell about all the hate on the Net,” he says. “To start a discussion.” Back at the Troll Hunter office, a whiteboard organized Aschberg’s agenda. Dossiers on other trolls were tacked up in two rows: a pair of teens who anonymously slander their high school classmates on Instagram, a politician who runs a racist website, a male law student who stole the identity of a young woman to entice another man into an online relationship. In a sign of the issue’s resonance in Sweden, a pithy neologism has been coined to encompass all these forms of online nastiness: näthat (“Net hate”). Troll Hunter, which has become a minor hit for its brash tackling of näthat, is currently filming its second season.
posted by frimble at 10:56 PM - 23 comments

It ain't all bad

Bill Gates: Good News You May Have Missed in 2014
posted by gwint at 9:59 PM - 48 comments

The Year in Great Sentences (SLBrooklynMagazine)

“My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.”
posted by mr. digits at 8:28 PM - 11 comments

The Trouble with Teaching Rape

"Imagine a medical student who is training to be a surgeon but who fears that he’ll become distressed if he sees or handles blood. What should his instructors do?" -"Criminal-law teachers face a similar question with law students who are afraid to study rape law." The author worries about "a growing rape exceptionalism, which allows fears of inflicting or re-inflicting trauma to justify foregoing usual procedures and practices of truth-seeking."
posted by anewnadir at 8:27 PM - 54 comments

"Stephen Colbert": Great host? Or *the greatest* host?

Tonight! He's "a well-meaning, poorly informed, high-status idiot." An it-getter. A knight. A doctor (of fine arts). A Real American Hero. And after tonight, his arched eyebrow of justice will never again grace American television screens in quite the same way. "Stephen Colbert": a brief retrospective. Truthiness - The White House Correspondents' Dinner - Better Know a District - Formidable Opponent - Tek Jansen - Papa Bear - I Am America (And So Can You!) - Americone Dream - The ThreatDown - Late Night Fight! - Testifying to Congress - The Rally to Restore Sanity - Colbert Super PAC - Maurice Sendak - Wheat Thins - Lorna Colbert - Tolkien-off - Ask a Grown Man - The Decree. So much more inside. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 8:15 PM - 120 comments

Another step into the future for cybernetics

Colorado shoulder-level double-amputee Les Baugh successfully controls two robot arms by thought alone, allowing him to put cups on shelves and perhaps buy a soda from a machine. BusinessInsider has more details. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:58 PM - 8 comments

"Does this mask smell like nitrous oxide to you?"

Dalhousie Dental School is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal. A group of about a dozen seniors known as the DDS 2015 Gentlemen's Club have been posting crude jokes about sexual violence and female subjugation in a closed Facebook group, targeting female students and including jokes about using dental anesthetic as a rape drug. The administrations choice to go with a restorative justice approach has not been met with much approval. Dalhousie is still trying to recover from it's last sexual violence scandal not that long ago.
posted by thelaze at 7:54 PM - 38 comments

"[A] bit contemplative & a bit misty-eyed"

Interactive-fiction-game makers Simogo have coded up a free, five-minute long story as a a gift to fans: The Sensational December Machine. (Download required, but worth it.)
posted by Going To Maine at 7:49 PM - 1 comment

Hot pictures of naked bikes

The 2014 Cycle EXIF Top Ten - it was a great year for absurdly pretty bikes.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 5:46 PM - 24 comments

Steve Jobs: interview about buying music online

In April 2003, the day after Steve Jobs announced the iTunes store, Esquire's Andy Langer interviewed Jobs at Apple. Although Jobs cut the interview short after less than twenty minutes, it's nevertheless an interesting read, as is Langer's more recent recollection of the interview.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:01 PM - 15 comments

A cat is objectively valuable

Ayn Rand reviews children's movies. By Mallory Ortberg.
posted by Mchelly at 2:28 PM - 47 comments

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it: chip reviews

"To be frank, these chips taste exactly like they are named. Simply, nothing more, and nothing less. The relatively spicy Tapatío hot sauce burns, while the acidic, and citrusy lime flavor shocks the tongue. The classic combination of chile and lime is once again revealed, and executed. Probably the only thing we find a bit unsuspecting about these chips is that there is no cheese flavor at all. Each, and every one of the other Tapatío-FritoLay snacks, seemed to have an underlying cheese flavor among them. For good, or for bad, the cheese flavor was there in all the other; but with these, they simply delivered spicy hot chile and lime." Chip Review takes a look at Lay's "Tapatío and Lime" flavor. More reviews in the Tapatio category of chips. Lime/Limón reviews; salt-and-vinegar. These are general reviews, for their 2014 countdown, see below the fold. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:10 PM - 55 comments

What do we talk about when we talk about podcasting?

Nick Quah of Hot Pod briefly interviews Jesse Thorn about how the rest of the media world reports on podcasting. "The recent boom in podcast coverage that we’ve been seeing over the past few weeks, while wonderful, has also tended to gravitate around a few shows: Serial, Radiolab, Marc Maron, Comedy Bang Bang, etc. That coverage has also exhibited a tendency to frame podcasting as experiencing something of a renaissance, or revival. [But] this isn’t the case. Podcasts have been steadily and quietly growing for the past decade [...] So why has the revival narrative stuck?"
posted by ocherdraco at 1:30 PM - 68 comments

Fair and impartial justice for all Americans

The Department of Justice issued a memo today (pdf) stating that the litigation concerning gender identity employment discrimination regarding transgender Americans working in the federal government will be covered under the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:07 PM - 27 comments

drowning in corn, buried in grain

drowning in corn - the story of one teenager's near-death experience inside the grain bin that killed his friends

npr has a series on grain entrapment (wiki): Buried in Grain alongside a database of grain entrapment deaths including teenagers as young as 13.

posted by and they trembled before her fury at 11:13 AM - 88 comments

When earworms attack!

Ever had a song stuck in your head?* Investigations into earworms, musical hallucination and memory are shedding some light on the link between music and memory. [more inside]
posted by asok at 11:13 AM - 53 comments

"...we are in the realm of beyond stupid with this."

"Now we get to the part that moves from jokes and silliness to serious, which is: This is not just now a case study in how not to react to cyber threats and a case study in how to not defend your networks, it's now also a case study in how not to respond to terrorism threats." Cybersecurity expert Peter W. Singer discusses the Sony's reaction to the "Guardians of Peace" hack. [more inside]
posted by quin at 11:05 AM - 171 comments

It's like eating with a bunch of animals

Sometimes getting together with family for the holidays feels like the entire event has gone to the dogs (and cat).
posted by hippybear at 10:38 AM - 10 comments

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