March 28

At FedEx, we considered that problem for about three seconds

The FedEx Problem: In which the author uses Euclidean geometry to determine, based on the US Population, the idea location for FedEx's giant hub in Memphis (spoiler: It's about 315 miles off. Then, the guy who wrote the original scheduling software for FedEx shows up at Hacker News with the real story, and some war stories about the founding of FedEx: [more inside]
posted by joshwa at 7:45 PM - 0 comments

Aussies v. Black Caps

In a few short hours the final of the Cricket World Cup will be held at the 'G. With some games of the World Cup reaching a billion viewers globally, it has now come down to a dream final between co-hosts Australia, who have won the cup four times, and first time finalists New Zealand. [more inside]
posted by inflatablekiwi at 4:52 PM - 10 comments

This town is crooked!

Lavenham was a wool boomtown during the 15th and 16th centuries. It grew so fast that many of the houses were hastily built with green timber that proceeded to twist and warp.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:17 PM - 27 comments

The creek the city loved to hate

Charlotte, NC is unusual in not being located on the coast of an ocean, lake, or major river. Instead, it has Little Sugar Creek: The creek the city loved to hate
posted by hydropsyche at 3:07 PM - 10 comments

“It’s Over!”

Amanda Knox Acquitted of 2007 Murder by Italy’s Highest Court [New York Times]
"ROME — Italy’s highest court overturned the murder convictions of Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend on Friday, throwing out all charges and ending a long-running courtroom drama over the killing of a British student in 2007. The ruling in favor of Ms. Knox, a 27-year-old former exchange student from Seattle, and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, 31, was a shock in Italy, where the convictions had been expected to be upheld in the stabbing death of the British student, Meredith Kercher.
Previously. Previously. Previously. Previously.
posted by Fizz at 2:46 PM - 44 comments

Ingredients: The mumbled chantings of a certified tea shaman…

Steven Smith, teamaker, passed away last Monday. He was a co-founder of Stash teas, founder of Tazo tea, and most recently, founder of the eponymous Steven Smith lines of teas. [more inside]
posted by Secretariat at 1:32 PM - 19 comments

Lonely is the Night, Detroit 1983

This is simply a 1983 concert video of Billy Squier performing the single greatest cocaine fueled butt rock song ever made in all of its glory. [more inside]
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:01 PM - 37 comments

Time for Joy Division! Time for Joy Division! Time for Joy Division!

Teletubbies Joy Division Edit. Chris G. Brown has made a video mashup that may ruin, or redeem, your memories of the Teletubbies. The pairing was suggested in comments after Mark Holland tweeted this image, with the comment, "The Teletubbies are fucking terrifying in black and white." More background at Vanyaland.
posted by tula at 12:26 PM - 19 comments

Connecting the Dots

With all the upheaval in the skies and on the ground, here is one person's opinion on why the U.S. is fighting beside Iran in Iraq and against it in Yemen. Putin tells Iran that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Yemen. All the while...negotiators from six world powers (the P5+1) are attempting to strike a deal with Iran to restrict its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. As Iran nuclear talks 'enter endgame' in Switzerland...China and Russia say they will show up tomorrow. Keeping things cloaked in intrigue: the US accuses Israel of spying on nuclear talks with Iran and Putin says Western spies plot against Russia before polls, blurs the picture further.
posted by Emor at 12:15 PM - 26 comments

"There is something maddeningly attractive about the untranslatable"

Variations on the Right to Remain Silent is an essay by poet and classicist Anne Carson about translation, cliché, divine language and the way some words violently resist being explained. She touches on Homer, Sappho, Joan of Arc, Friedrich Hölderlin, and the painter Francis Bacon.
posted by Kattullus at 11:42 AM - 5 comments

Tired of the same old dystopias?

Randomized Dystopia suggests a right that your fictional tyranny could deny its citizens!
I was talking with a friend about trends in dystopian fiction, and we talked a little about the underappreciated rights that don't get as much airtime. So I created Randomized Dystopia. You can hit Reload on the main page to get a right from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or use the Custom Terribleness page for the option of a specifically sexist or ageist dystopia.
[more inside]
posted by Lexica at 11:31 AM - 17 comments

"Can I look at it?" "No, no - you've seen enough of that one..."

Les Paul's 1954 Custom: The One & Only Original by Michael Molenda, Guitar Player. More on Les Paul, and his partnership with Mary Ford, at Gibson.com. YouTube: How High The Moon (1951). [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:10 AM - 10 comments

Five Biases Pushing Women out of STEM

By now, we’ve all heard about the low numbers of American women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). My own new research, co-authored with Kathrine W. Phillips and Erika V. Hall, indicates that bias, not pipeline issues or personal choices, pushes women out of science – and that bias plays out differently depending on a woman’s race or ethnicity.
posted by sciatrix at 10:43 AM - 12 comments

At first, many of the role players just ignored me.

The worlds of anime cybersex roleplay and Bar Rescue are rarely combined. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:15 AM - 12 comments

This Charming House Includes a Warm Radioactive Glow in Every Room!

With interest rates at an all time low (and likely to increase later this year), the spring home selling season should see plenty of new real estate listings. Many of those listings will feature terrible real estate photos (which has been covered before). It's amazing how good photography can make the difference in selling a house in 8 days versus 8 months. But with the rise of photo apps comes the worst thing to happen to property listing photos: bad HDR real estate photography.
posted by jca at 9:23 AM - 21 comments

Amelia is an intrepid name

The biting cold of a March morning did little to dissuade fans of Amelia Edwards, founder of the Egypt Exploration Society, from turning out in force to watch the unveiling of her blue plaque at 19 Wharton Street in London this week. Edwards joins a small list of women writers including Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Shelley and Agatha Christie, chosen to be celebrated by the scheme as its first female Egyptologist.
As one dives deeper into Amelia Edwards' contributions to Egyptology, one begins to wonder*, was it she who was the real Amelia Peabody, so well known to us through the words of Elizabeth Peters? [more inside]
posted by infini at 9:15 AM - 4 comments

Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins

"The plaintiff, Ellen Pao, had accused the firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, of discriminating against her in the course of her employment and eventual dismissal. The decision handed Kleiner a sweeping victory in a case that had mesmerized Silicon Valley with its salacious details while simultaneously amplifying concerns about the lack of diversity in the technology industry." Pao is now the CEO Reddit - Relevant Reddit thread.
posted by marienbad at 8:52 AM - 28 comments

Our protagonists, our characters, can be anyone.

Elsinore is an adventure game set in the world of Shakespeare's Hamlet - which places it, historically, in 16th century Denmark. Since we began work on the project a year or so ago, I've shown the playtest build to family, friends, and strangers alike. After they're done playing, intermingled with their feedback on gameplay, they often point to Ophelia and ask: Why is she black?
For Gamasutra, Katie Chironis, team lead and writer of Elsinore talks about why they made the protagonist black, the possibilities of black people living in Denmark in the 16th century and why history and "history" in games is so often whitewashed.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:05 AM - 95 comments

March 27

DDWIWDD (sent from a friend ;)

Dan Deacon "When I Was Done Dying" for Off The Air on Adult Swim - "Tapping nine unique and talented animators (whose work had all appeared previously on the show) to create a beautiful and seamless journey through the afterlife..." [previously!]
posted by kliuless at 11:42 PM - 21 comments

pay for review

Editor quits journal over pay-for-expedited peer-review offer "With a tweet yesterday, an editor of Scientific Reports, one of Nature Publishing Group’s open-access journals, has resigned in a very public protest of NPG’s recent decision to allow authors to pay money to expedite peer review of their submitted papers. "
posted by dhruva at 10:24 PM - 24 comments

Good evening, and welcome to SBS World News Australia. I'm...

Lee Lin Chin is an Australian television presenter best known for anchoring SBS World News for over a decade. She is also utterly hilarious, most recently attracting attention for her own take on a 'mean tweets' video. [more inside]
posted by Quilford at 9:25 PM - 12 comments

Leftist Concepts: Trust (x) vs. Agency (y)

Je ne suis pas liberal: Entering the quagmire of online leftism "Classifying leftist ideology in a framework of agency and trust, I find a buried contradiction at the heart of anti-oppressive activism, one in which practitioners pathologically self-position themselves in a space of chronic moral jeopardy."
posted by lalochezia at 8:16 PM - 102 comments

Pics or it didn't happen

How I taught my dog to text me selfies
posted by a lungful of dragon at 7:27 PM - 18 comments

Bitcoin Brawl

The Race to Replace Bitcoin
An epic battle between two bitcoin 2.0 contenders grips the crypto world
posted by andoatnp at 6:43 PM - 67 comments

Sparkly Vampires!

I want to give you a brief window into my life in this little corner of journalistic endeavor. Ready? Here goes. Today, the Verge newsroom got into a heated debate about whether or not vampires can poop. I'm not kidding.
This is the greatest Yahoo! Answer on whether vampires can poop
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:58 PM - 47 comments

Try not to get stuck!

Deep Cave in Edwards, Texas, has a regular entrance, and a ...rather more claustrophobic one.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:17 PM - 52 comments

Can't Keep From Crying

John Renbourn, the highly influential English guitar player, and one of the co-founders of Pentangle, has died. There's a nice appreciation from The Guardian here. Farewell, Mr. Renbourn.
posted by talking leaf at 4:13 PM - 27 comments

H₂WHOA!

Toshio Shibata’s Mesmerizing Photographs of Water [New York Times]
The Japanese photographer Toshio Shibata is fascinated by water — in particular, the way it interacts with man-made structures. For the later half of his almost-40-year career in photography, he has explored this relationship in novel ways, hiding horizon lines and taking the perspective of the water itself with his camera, visually evoking its rushing sound.
posted by Fizz at 2:36 PM - 8 comments

Anyone have a Pop-up blocker? For houses?

Washington DC is going through a real estate boom. Except there isn’t a lot of real estate to build on. The unique combination of population density, rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods and lax zoning and code regulations means developers eager to cash in on the District’s real estate boom have been taking hundred year old rowhouses bought for a song, throwing on a third floor “pop-up” and converting them into condo units. More often than not, the designs of the pop-ups look nothing like the rest of the neighborhood, prompting neighbor ire about the character of the neighborhood architecture being changed. [more inside]
posted by Karaage at 2:10 PM - 63 comments

On Swedish dads, paternity leave and adorable, tow-headed kids

This sweet set of photographs by photographer Johan Bävman depicts Swedish men caring for their children during paternity leave. Many of these men indicate that they are still considered rather unusual despite Sweden's notably progressive stance on paternity leave. The UK is changing, too: from this coming month, paternity leave will be more generous for men thanks to the efforts of the Lib Dems.
posted by averysmallcat at 2:07 PM - 18 comments

Why not a whole fryer?

We initially started with 12 or 13 ingredients in the Bloody Mary. But one day, about two and a half years ago, I stuck a cheeseburger on a toothpick on a Bloody Mary and wrote on a Facebook post: “Am I going too far?” The next thing I knew, I had 100 comments. Everyone loved it. It seemed to me to be so ridiculous, but I got home and I sat down at the table and said to my wife, “Wow, I think we’re on to something.”
--I Started Milwaukee’s Epic Bloody Mary Garnish Wars
posted by almostmanda at 1:20 PM - 49 comments

Making More Time For Work

The Shut-In Economy The dream of on-demand, delivery everything is splitting tech-centered cities into two new classes: shut-ins and servants.
posted by The Whelk at 1:13 PM - 59 comments

Uptown Passover

This is that age old
Passover tale that's retold
This is what we listen to
While eatin' through those matzah pieces

posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:46 PM - 18 comments

It started with Dinosaurs

I Raised Henry. A brief photo essay.
posted by gwint at 12:12 PM - 16 comments

Outlook favorable

Obamacare turned 5 years old this week and the overall negative popular opinion on the legislation is starting to be replaced by positive experiences. GOP Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) found this out to her chagrin when she posted an image on her official Facebook page, slamming the Affordable Care Act and asking constituents to share their Obamacare nightmare stories. The response probably wasn't what she expected.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:05 PM - 106 comments

In Sweden, you don’t do anything until you do it right.

...he co-wrote four songs on the Backstreet Boys’ self-titled 1996 debut album, one of which, “Quit Playing Games With My Heart,” went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. And with that, his career took off. You probably know most of what comes next. For instance, you probably know that, to date, Martin has co-written 19 songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100, and another 36 that charted in the top 10 but didn't manage to hit #1. You probably know that many of those songs were recorded by Katy Perry (who has recorded 10 top-10 songs with Martin), Taylor Swift (six top-10 songs with Martin), Britney Spears (also six), P!nk (five), and the Backstreet Boys (five). You might also know that Martin’s 19 chart-toppers put him at third place on the all-time list behind Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon (26). Stereogum's Michael Nelson on superproducer/songwriter Max Martin, complete with a list of 30 Essential Max Martin Songs.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:40 AM - 35 comments

“It’s always the husband. Just watch Dateline,”

The Husband Did It - "Gone Girl depicts the true crime obsession as a feedback loop"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 AM - 22 comments

Who the Hell Is Stromae?

"All over SXSW, kiosks were plastered with posters that posed a provocative question: "Who the hell is Stromae?" It's a question you wouldn't ask in many places outside North America. " NPR's SXSW showcase at Stubb's BBQ attempted to answer the question for an American audience who aren't necessarily too familiar with the superstar Belgian musician/rapper/fashion designer. [more inside]
posted by yasaman at 11:15 AM - 19 comments

Tacos in Los Angeles

Tacos 101: Part I: History and Etiquette. Part II: Condiments, Meat, and Tortillas. Part III: The LA Taco Scene. A Beginner’s Guide to Offal Tacos. The Rise of the Compton Taco. Tacopedia: A Complete Guide to the Taco Styles of LA.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:55 AM - 39 comments

When two fonts love each other very much...

Move over Brangelina. And Bennifer. And Kimye, TomKat*, and Desilu. And sporks. And ligers. EVERYONE MOVE OVER! We're making room for the world's first genetically engineered superfont.
Comic Papyrus is finally here. [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion at 10:50 AM - 40 comments

Making cats look silly, for a good cause

Saving birds' lives at the risk of making cats die of embarrassment
Domestic cats and tweety birds the world over have had a long-standing and rather one-sided feud: cats kill as many as 3.7 billion birds, mostly songbirds, every year in the US alone. One Vermont-based company, Birdsbesafe, is seeking to protect our feathery friends while imposing a little whimsical shame on our murdery, furry friends. How? With terrible, early-90s-esque scrunchies.
posted by Lexica at 10:38 AM - 86 comments

What is up with bra sizing, anyway?

In recent years, many women will have noticed new articles insisting that most of us wear bras that don't fit and that women should measure themselves in a new way. But the sizes that are easily and cheaply available to women are nowhere near the sizes that these experts insist women should be wearing. How did this state of affairs come to be? It turns out the answer lies in the history of bra manufacture. [more inside]
posted by sciatrix at 10:30 AM - 67 comments

When the invaders came, they went underground. No, not metaphorically.

Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey When the invaders came, Cappadocians knew where to hide: underground, in one of the 250 subterranean safe havens they had carved from pliable volcanic ash rock called tuff. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California at 9:37 AM - 13 comments

Obama gets to know Omar

President interviews David Simon
posted by savitarka at 9:37 AM - 18 comments

Rated SC for self control

Time for a Sesame Street parody: Star S'Mores (Star Wars), with Cookie Monster and Grover as guest stars. [more inside]
posted by Wolfster at 9:22 AM - 11 comments

Billy Zane is Alive and Well - Also it's Z-A-N-E

Actor Billy Zane responds to a... somewhat confusing outpouring of grief from his fans - particularly the tween girl segment of his fandom, which is apparently far greater than he realized - who seem to believe something bad has happened to him. Billy would like to reassure his... very devoted fans he is alive and well, while wishing they'd pay a little more attention to how he spells his name.... [more inside]
posted by Naberius at 8:14 AM - 43 comments

"Hobsbawm was a marked man, and he knew it"

The two sides in the Cold War, finding each other irresistible, ended up in a contrapuntal relationship where, as George Urban put it, ‘they marched in negative step, but in step all the same.’ They had their spies, we had ours. They had their files, we had ours. True, we didn’t have gulags. But what kind of democracy is it that congratulates itself on not having gulags? Never mind the dragnet surveillance, the burglaries, the smearing of reputations, the bugging of public telephone boxes, cafés, hotels, banks, trade unions, private homes, all this legitimised by the thesis that everyone is a potential subversive until proven otherwise – the problem is that the defenders of the realm took on the symptoms of the disease they were meant to cure.
– In the essay Stuck on the Flypaper historian and journalist Frances Stonor Saunders goes through the recently released MI5 file on Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm [previously] to explain how the British secret service surveilled and interfered with the lives of British citizens during World War II and the early part of the Cold War.
posted by Kattullus at 8:09 AM - 10 comments

Forget poison ivy

The Gympie Gympie is an Australian plant with spindly stems and heart-shaped light green leaves. Brushing your hand against it can make you throw up from the pain. Using it as toilet paper has made people shoot themselves. (SLio9)
posted by Chrysostom at 7:41 AM - 57 comments

The TSA checklist

A 92-point checklist, obtained and published by The Intercept, reveals what kind of passenger behavior can merit a red flag for TSA agents responsible for pulling out possible terrorists and criminals out of airport security lines. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:23 AM - 112 comments

Towards a 21st century orchestral canon

In December, grad student and occasional NYT music writer Will Robin asked on Twitter, "What are the best large-scale orchestral works of this century?" He Storified the responses, with links for listening, and then on Tuesday, streamed the result: Symphomania, a 24-hour marathon of sixty 21st-century orchestral works by sixty different composers, on Q2 Music at WQXR in New York. Starting tonight at midnight, WQXR is repeating the stream. [more inside]
posted by mediareport at 7:17 AM - 6 comments

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