On /r/SubredditSimulator, all the posts and comments are made by bots. These bots generate text using Markov chains trained on humans' comments from different subreddits. Their posts are at times ordinary, surreal, revealing, and even self-aware. [more inside]
Fascinated by those Best of Enemies, Gore Vidal and William Buckley, going at it in 1968 live on national television? (youtube). It's Buckley against Vidal, but don't get pulled into the Buckley Myth [more inside]
Juan Romero, the Ambassador Hotel busboy who cradled a dying Robert F. Kennedy after he was shot on June 5, 1968, carried the weight of that moment through the decades. Now, he says, "I don't carry the cross anymore."
Mount McKinley Will Again Be Called Denali [New York Times]
President Obama announced on Sunday that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, restoring an Alaska Native name with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America. The move came on the eve of Mr. Obama’s trip to Alaska, where he will spend three days promoting aggressive action to combat climate change, and is part of a series of steps meant to address the concerns of Alaska Native tribes. The central Alaska mountain has been called Mount McKinley for more than a century. In announcing that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, had used her power to rename it, Mr. Obama was paying tribute to the state’s Native population, which has referred to the site for generations as Denali, meaning “the high one” or “the great one.”
Duck army (SLVine) - just six seconds of video but what seconds they are. (Requires audio)
Lucian hangs out next to Indiana Jones. Buford's favorite is Splash Mountain. Bernice prefers California Adventure. The Cats of Disneyland. [more inside]
In Surfacing, you are a signal traveling across the undersea network... In the process, narratives about the history of the cable network, the companies that construct it, and the ecologies that it runs through will orient you in your journey. [more inside]
In a new study from researchers at Columbia University, of nearly 22,000 full-time workers (from a dataset from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions), they saw that 18 percent of supervisors and managers reported symptoms of depression. For blue-collar workers, that figure was 12 percent, and for owners and executives, it was only 11 percent.
In the summer of 2000 Heather Lynn and Kirsten Nordine started playing synthpop together in Grayslake, IL as The Capricorns. Only one song exists online from their first cassette, The Capricorns Are Gonna Get You. In 2001 Paroxysm Records released In the Zone, which gave birth to mixdisc classic The New Sound (live version). In 2003 there followed Go the Distance! Their last album, Pure Magical Love came in 2006. Lynn made a further single and album under the moniker Pure Magical Love, which evolved into a Chicago-based performance troupe. In 2013 Lynn staged her first rock opera, Templehead (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). A second rock opera, Genesis and Nemesis, is coming later this year. Morgan Claire Sirene wrote an appreciation of Lynn for Slutist, and she was interviewed about her life and career by Zachary Hutchinson. Nordine is a sometime member of Prince Rupert's Drops and releases music as Jantar.
Paper showing positive effect of Golden Rice on Vitamin A levels in children retracted. Though the retraction wasn't for any issues around the science (which was solid), but around the ethics. [more inside]
Wisconsin governer Scott Kevin Walker, currently the 3rd favorite to be the GOP 2016 presidential candidate, is said to have been approached by voters with the idea of building a wall between the USA and Canada. Walker claims some voters supporting a northern border wall worry that terrorists could cross from Canada to the USA. It is unclear what such a wall would look like; the U.S.-Canada boundary is the longest international border in the world at 5,525 miles long, which includes the Alaska/Canada bit, and has many crossing points. To complicate the issue, Canada and the USA are in (currently non-war) dispute over their border in several locations.
"So you look at a work of art and think to yourself, I could have done that. And maybe you really could have, but the issue here is more complex than that -- why didn't you? Why did the artist? And why does it have an audience?"
A primer from PBS Digital Studios, addressing common questions about modern art. (YT, 5:40)
A primer from PBS Digital Studios, addressing common questions about modern art. (YT, 5:40)
"Where would they end it? At a stream? On a piece of grass?" Maine's Baxter State park, which hosts the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, pressures local and national groups affiliated with the AT to address their concerns of overuse or potentially find another northern terminus for the trail. [more inside]
The Pop-Up Chorus in Durham, NC. has no auditions. Once a month, anyone can show up and sing - people of all ages do. Imperfection is embraced. [more inside]
Kyle Jean-Baptiste died in an accident on Friday at the age of 21. Mr. Jean-Baptiste joined the company of Les Miserables this summer after his college graduation, and became the first African-American man to play Jean Valjean on Broadway on June 23, while understudying the role. He recently announced on Facebook that he would be joining the Broadway cast of The Color Purple alongside Jennifer Hudson. His last performance as Valjean was on Thursday night. [more inside]
The clinical neurologist, author, former weightlifter, and popularizer of science has died of the metastatic melanoma that he announced in February had spread to his liver. A perennial guest on WNYC's broadcast of WNYC's Radiolab, he unfailingly came across as clever, kind, and self-deprecating (including about his prosopagnosia, or face blindness). Dr. Sacks remained engaged with science and the public until the end. [more inside]
The Verge has developed a way to game the New Yorker cartoon caption contest (previously: 1 2 christ what an asshole 4), in the sense that roulette and chuck-a-luck are games.
Escaping from Children’s Abuse of Social Robots. "the robot is programmed to run away from people who are below a certain height"
Createdigitalmusic collects together 11+ documentaries on the history of electronic music. Ranging from 2 on Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (1 previously), to EMS (previously), to detroit, acid house, rave (previously), tresor, and more. Plus one news report an the early days of Chicago house that's a documentary in and of itself.
"July saw 45 homicides across Baltimore, a toll that matched the deadliest month in the city’s modern history and came amid a violent crime surge that has stretched the entire summer. The killings occurred across the city, overwhelmingly in historically impoverished neighborhoods. The victims included a 5-month-old boy and a 53-year-old grandmother, a teen stabbed to death in a dispute over a cell phone and a carryout deliveryman killed in a robbery. The Baltimore Sun sought to profile each victim, through interviews with relatives, friends, neighbors and police, as well as information on social media — and to chronicle the impact on those left behind."
‘Moment’ Is Having a Moment [New York Times]
“What, exactly, is a cultural moment? How long does it last? Who participates in it? Who on earth gets to decide? Can you marshal literally anything that has happened in the last 10 years, or 10 months? What are the parameters? Is there a minimum Q rating? Who has to experience a thing, be aware of it, find satisfaction (or prestige) in discussing it? And how do we distinguish kairos from chronos — a moment from an ordinary shred of time? How do we distinguish a meaningful, fateful, crucial moment from all the other moments that fall all over the place like bread crumbs out of an overturned toaster?”
If you take Adam Parfrey's definition of a secret society as a social group that demands an oath of allegiance to join, and then consider that such societies include labor unions, business groups, rural/agrarian organizations, religious and occult organizations, sobriety groups, drinking groups, immigrants, anti-immigrant organizations, philosophy and science (including optometry) (previously), and groups for "persons of quality" who wanted to engage in "immoral acts." With that introduction, here is The Cyclopædia of Fraternities; a compilation of existing authentic information and the results of original investigation as to more than six hundred secret societies in the United States, written by Albert Clark Stevens and published in 1899, in full on Archive.org.
Dr. Joel Phillips, of West Trenton, NJ, is the 33rd grand-prize winner of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges writers to concoct the worst opening sentence of a hypothetical novel. (Or, to look at it another way, the best sentence in the genre of "bad opening sentences.") The full list of winners, runners-up, and dishonorable mentions. [more inside]
Recovering the Mindset. Three interpretations of a single scene from Manhunter, Red Dragon and Hannibal, in a single edit. Creepy, bloody. Bon appétit.
Something you seldom think about: A fascinating imgur set of The Governor's Mansions of the United States, sorted alphabetically. [more inside]
I've always wondered what my dick does in the times he is up before I am. He must get so bored waiting for me to wake up. Happens EVERY day. Poor little guy :\ Warning: contents excessively NSFW, like super extra NSFW
Social media personality extraordinaire Jacq The Stripper chronicles 100 moments from her life on the job, complete with droll, colorful pen & paper doodles. It's like Humans of New York, but with a strip club.
What books should a critic own? "Each week, the National Book Critics Circle will post a list of five books a critic believes reviewers should have in their libraries." Here are all the lists, from 2007-2011. [more inside]
Three years ago today saw the end of Palestinian writer Saïd Aburish. Parkinson's disease, he was 77. Aburish chose America for education and early life experience that included Princeton, the US Army and Madison Avenue. Aburish went to ground after writing this book. Of all the obituaries, Marian Houk's of The Independent is by far the most knowing, and his keenest publisher had kind things to say. The Guardian said Aburish "did much to illuminate the relationship between the Middle East and the west," and "Aburish’s writing was notably blunt" said the New York Times. At Twitter, and Google. R.I.P.
On August 29, 2008 the remains of Katrina's unclaimed dead were put to rest. "Nobody has ever come searching for their loved one in the memorial, as far as I know." (warning: last link has some graphic imagery language)
On December 13, 2013, the US district court for the District of Columbia ruled that the NSA's bulk collection of American citizens' telephone records was "likely" to violate the Fourth Amendment (previously on MeFi). Today, DC's federal court of appeals overturned that ruling. The rationale is that the plaintiffs did not prove "that they were affected by the metadata-gathering program," so they did not have standing to challenge it in court. [more inside]
Superego's Mark McConville (previously: 1, 2, 3, 4) is making some very specific Top 50 lists:
Top 50 Nastiest Black Diamond Ski Runs in the World
Top 50 Retired Price Is Right Games
Top 50 Canadian Ghost Towns
Top 50 Vape Flavors in America for 2015
Do recipes for moist cakes make your skin clammy? Did that article about hardscrabble pugilists leave you nauseated? Do you feel super-embarrassed (YT) when you have to say completely innocent words like onus or cunning or bean curd out loud? Or even in writing? If so, you are far from alone! Word aversion, or logomisia, is an extremely common phenomenon that affects up to one in five (links to PDF) of us, and it's extremely contagious. [more inside]
Jaime Prater grew up in the Jesus People U.S.A. commune in Chicago. He set out to make a documentary about the religion, and in the process uncovered widespread sexual abuse of children in the group.
"Good fresh goat cheese is a special and important thing. It should be moist and creamy, without a hint of graininess. Its flavor should be clean and fresh, mouthwateringly tangy but not astringent, lemony but also milky and balanced. An unaged cheese has nowhere to hide its faults."Beyond Chevre: 10 Essential Goat Milk Cheeses to Know and Love - by Liz Thorpe at Serious Eats [more inside]
Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? by Stephen King [New York Times] [Op-Ed]
“No one in his or her right mind would argue that quantity guarantees quality, but to suggest that quantity never produces quality strikes me as snobbish, inane and demonstrably untrue.”
Watch a Baby Lose Its Mind Because It Loves a Cat Too Much (here is a direct link to the video if you'd prefer)
North Dakota becomes the first state to legalize weaponized drones. "Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are now permitted on drones, thanks to the actions of a lobbyist representing law enforcement.
New Uber Service Sounds Suspiciously Like a Bus — New Uber "Smart Routes" feature offers passengers fare discounts in exchange for pick-ups along predetermined high-ridership routes. Rather than trying to compete with public transit, FiveThirtyEight points out that Uber and public transit can complement each other. Meanwhile, the yellow cab industry is trying to fight back against Uber with an Uber-like smartphone app for NYC passengers.
The Late, Great Stephen Colbert “The level of emotion you're getting from me right now—I'm not saying it's dishonest,” he said. “I'm just saying it's not normal. I'd really love to go to bed. I promise you, I do not spend my time on the edge of tears.”
Rice University Fondren Library maintain a guide to cat videos on the web. But what do they think? Meanwhile, in the UK Labour Party leadership contest, socialists cannot vote, but cats can. And people like watching cat videos on TV. And as for Tinder for cats? There's an app for that. But, why so popular? And why does Larry Ellison like them? So do you want more? Why not go on a cat holiday, or run away and join the cat circus?