Skip

January 27

"I sometimes think I am working in a madhouse."

Maybe the real state secret is that spies aren't very good at their jobs and don't know very much about the world. Adam Curtis entertainingly discusses the competence (or lack thereof) of MI5 and other spy agencies in this rather aged but still relevant article for the BBC. Note that you'll probably need a proxy of some sort to see the videos outside the UK.
posted by disclaimer at 8:44 AM - 0 comments

"Where is the door?"

Profile: Breaking down the problem of bound gaps [New Yorker]: After graduating with a Ph.D. in algebraic geometry from Purdue in 1991, Yiting Zhang kept the books for a friend's Subway franchise and found other odd jobs before taking up a part-time calculus teaching position at the University of New Hampshire in 1999.
“For years, I didn’t really keep up my dream in mathematics,” he said.

“You must have been unhappy.”

He shrugged. “My life is not always easy,” he said.
He published one paper in 2001. Then, in 2013, he submitted "Bounded Gaps Between Primes" to Annals of Mathematics, one of the most prestigious journals in the field, which contained a proof for a finite bound within which there exist an infinite number of pairs of primes. It was a stunning mathematical breakthrough. [more inside]
posted by ilicet at 8:29 AM - 0 comments

"Hands on your neck. Squeeze it tighter." (SLMINDFUCK)

THE HORSE RAISED BY SPHERES Directed by David O'Reilly.
posted by huguini at 7:39 AM - 10 comments

Tom Brady Cannot Stop

Ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, the New York Times Magazine's Mark Leibovich dives deep into Tom Brady, one of the "most famous [people] in the world nobody knows," and finds a man "bent on nothing less than subverting the standard expectations of how long a superstar quarterback can play like one." Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl about whether the Patriots deflated balls in their playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts -- and if so, how and why, with Coach Bill Belichick appearing to point the finger at Brady, the superstar quarterback himself. Others question the Deflategate/Ballghazi hype. [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 7:19 AM - 69 comments

Sea smoke in Maine

Sea smoke or steam fog, fog caused by cold air flowing over a body of comparatively warm water, the vapor condensing in small convective columns near the water surface and giving the appearance of smoke or steam. It is common in the Arctic and Antarctic, but if it is cold enough, it sometimes it happens in Maine; youtube links follow (some with music of varying quality): one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
posted by gudrun at 7:17 AM - 7 comments

This summer is starting to look Fantastic.

Fantastic Four, that is. The first teaser for Marvel's 3rd kick at the can of rebooting the Fantastic Four dropped this morning.
posted by Kitteh at 7:02 AM - 63 comments

A new face

Violet Pietrok was born with a Tessier Cleft, a skull defect. Surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital used 3-D prints of her skull to practice before cutting into Violet's own skull to repair the damage.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:39 AM - 6 comments

I hear you people like cats.

Here's 5 minutes of a cat doing cat things.
posted by phunniemee at 6:26 AM - 19 comments

The Rescued Film Project

The Rescued Film Project found 31 rolls of undeveloped film shot by a soldier during WWII. The WWII photos
posted by COD at 5:57 AM - 11 comments

Early culinary self-sufficiency

The History Kitchen takes a quick look at the food of the California Gold Rush, and has a recipe for Hangtown Fry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:35 AM - 9 comments

Each time I feel I am on the cusp of nirvana, I hit a wall

Ashwin Rodriguez visits a strip mall sensory deprivation clinic
"This place has not done proper soundproofing, and it is unnerving to head the occasional footstep or shutting door. I know it’s not going to happen, but part of me thinks maybe someone will open the door to this tank and steal my kidney. I begin to think, does anyone know I came here? Why didn’t they take down any of my information?"
posted by frimble at 3:57 AM - 21 comments

A ring around the sun

"The details that we see in the light curve are incredible. The eclipse lasted for several weeks, but you see rapid changes on time scales of tens of minutes as a result of fine structures in the rings," says Kenworthy. "The star is much too far away to observe the rings directly, but we could make a detailed model based on the rapid brightness variations in the star light passing through the ring system. If we could replace Saturn's rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon."
The first extrasolar ring system found turns out to be some 200 times larger than that of Saturn, easily eclipsing its parent star for days.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:22 AM - 9 comments

January 26

Take THAT, evil-doers!

Islamophobic Bus Ads In San Francisco Are Being Defaced With Kamala Khan. From the article: "Well, this is just brilliant. Racist adverts promoting hatred against Muslims are currently being run on buses in San Francisco - but someone has started covering them up with anti-hatred messages from Marvel's première Muslim superhero, Ms. Marvel." [more inside]
posted by surazal at 8:36 PM - 75 comments

These old photographs are in color. The world was black and white then.

Animated stories that parents tell their children: How milkshakes are made (really bouncy grass) and why you have to be quiet on trains (beware of bears, they're unstoppable). But if you're grown up now and want to really know if your parents were full of ... molasses, let Ken Jennings share the truth behind 17 things parents tell their kids, and five more excerpts from his collection of such because-I-said-so-isms.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:39 PM - 22 comments

How the price of paint is set in the hearts of dying stars

The Smithsonian Magazine reminds us that "Barns are painted red because of the physics of dying stars", summing up a more detailed post by Google employee Yonatan Zunger on the nature of stars, the atmosphere, and cheap paint found on barns.
posted by mathowie at 7:18 PM - 44 comments

It also means "unboil" is now a word.

Scientists unboil an egg, and it may be a big deal. "This method … could transform industrial and research production of proteins," Such as new, and much faster ways of producing anti-bodies to fight cancer and cheese-makers who could use recombinant-proteins to improve their products.
posted by quin at 7:15 PM - 29 comments

"What kind of life is this?"

Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, flew teenage fashion bloggers, Anniken Jørgensen, Frida Ottesen and Ludvig Hambro, to the Southeast Asian country’s capital of Phnom Penh, where they experienced a modicum of a Cambodian textile worker’s life for a month in 2014. Their experience is the subject of a five-part reality show available online, titled "Sweatshop - Deadly Fashion." [more inside]
posted by gemutlichkeit at 5:42 PM - 31 comments

Of course I’m a classics teacher. There’s a Parthenon behind my head.

The Jennifer Lopez vehicle "The Boy Next Door" opened this past weekend and earned a paltry 12% on the Tomatometer. There's nothing terribly unique about this number deep in the cinematic dumping ground that is January, but people are quickly taking notice on how absolutely bonkers the film really is. This starts with the trailer and then moves on to the film itself, which is that rare beast in this era of boring SyFy Channel schlock: A bad movie that never stops being fun. If you need further convincing, witness one moment from the film that was recently singled out by Slate. It's a thing of beauty.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:31 PM - 106 comments

Let it Plow, Let it Plow, Let it Plow

Find yourself elsewhere than in the grips of Juno, the Blizzard of 2015? Want to play the home game? Track the plows of NYC using the PlowNYC map. Want something faster than 15 minute update intervals, or less NYC-centric? Twitter's got you covered.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:51 PM - 232 comments

Carles is back bb!!!

Carles, of Hipster Runoff fame, is back with Carles.buzz.
posted by josher71 at 2:13 PM - 18 comments

Albums That Never Were

Albums That Never Were [more inside]
posted by goethean at 2:02 PM - 22 comments

A new way to tackle ultra-poverty

A new approach to assisting the "ultra-poor" – the poorest people on the planet – is showing promising results. In up to 95% of cases, the approach has been shown to help people exit the category of ultra-poverty, defined as living on less than 50 cents per day. [more inside]
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:50 PM - 22 comments

“Let’s ask, in the 21st century, are there limits to free speech?”

UK should consider ban on Mein Kampf, says Scottish Labour MP [The Guardian]
Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, Scottish Labour MP Thomas Docherty has written to culture secretary urging a ‘sensitive debate’ on allowing its sale.
posted by Fizz at 12:51 PM - 91 comments

don't forget your empathy at home

On Running and Street Harassment
This past Saturday, eight different men verbally harassed me. Two stepped into my path and said they wouldn’t move unless I gave them a high five. The murmurs, the coos and looks, all serve as reminders that I am not a person to them.

By the seventh man, I was tired. He told me he could look at that ass all day. I told him to shut up. He said to me, “Don’t worry, baby, I still love you,” and my skin went clammy with defeat. And there was something about hearing the word “love” come out of his mouth that made me want to push him into traffic.
[more inside]
posted by saucy_knave at 12:32 PM - 128 comments

Whistling at Your Mom

Oh my God, I'm ashamed that your are my son. The Peruvian show Sílbale a tu Madre (Whistling at your Mom) takes a...creatively confrontational approach to fighting street harassment. They enlist the mothers of chronic catcallers to catch their offspring in the act, a process involving makeovers, hidden cameras and very public shaming. [more inside]
posted by gottabefunky at 11:08 AM - 49 comments

Beautiful People Get What They Want

Emma Munger's Men of Twin Peaks Pinup project are ready to wish your sweetheart a saucy and studly Valentine’s Day! (SLTumblr)
posted by valkane at 10:32 AM - 15 comments

I need another outlet. And there follows my return to art. 📚 🎨

​​P​hDs​:​ Creative Writing - from the PhD research blog Deathsplanation:​
​"​I almost went to college to study art. I even interviewed for a place. I had a portfolio and everything. That was more than a decade ago and honestly, I can’t even remember if I got in. But I didn’t go. Things changed, life took a drastic turn, and I wanted to leave everything behind. And so I did. I ended up at university, pursuing another passion of mine: archaeology; history, anthropology. ​​

​"​I have never strayed that far from art. It’s always been there, in my life. But recently, it’s been a lot more… present.​"
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:32 AM - 4 comments

Try to make you angles as non-euclidean as possible

Yoga Fhtagn A holistic workout were we tone our bodies while slowly losing our minds (SLYT 3d6 SAN loss)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:45 AM - 18 comments

Arithmeticfilter

Nothing but an endless supply of mental arithmetic problems. Five levels of difficulty, from "10 - 6" to "√370881." [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 8:41 AM - 17 comments

100 milligrams twice a day of "shut up and deal with it"

"But here's the facts: Like most other psychiatric disorders, we are really unlikely to hurt another person. Even when we're really upset at someone, we're still convinced that it's entirely our fault, so we mostly take it out on ourselves. That's a big reason why we self-injure -- it's punishment as much as relief -- and why suicide attempts are as routine as daylight saving time for many of us."
5 Realities of Life for People With Borderline Personalities
posted by almostmanda at 8:30 AM - 38 comments

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Dear Kitten Attends a Superbowl Party. Bonus: a room full of evaporated people.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:59 AM - 19 comments

GOOD EMAIL

Tips for crafting the perfect email subject line. [SLCH]
posted by Librarypt at 6:42 AM - 64 comments

The youth of Greece are revolting

In a functional market economy, the classic couple in a posh restaurant are young and close in age. In my travels through the eurocrisis – from Dublin to Athens – I have noticed that the classic couple in a dysfunctional economy is a grey-haired man with a twentysomething woman. It becomes a story of old men with oligarchic power flaunting their wealth and influence without opprobrium. [more inside]
posted by Hartster at 5:11 AM - 119 comments

Why you should stop relying on your phone, and buy a nice camera

Like beer and pop music, it was easy to make do with what’s cheap and available, only to look back on a life of Dave Matthews and Bud Light and wonder why I’d gotten by on “good enough.” Because I am aging, and because I have the memory of the original Tamagotchi, I am profoundly grateful to have these clear, high-resolution photos of the people I loved and love. [more inside]
posted by craniac at 3:16 AM - 115 comments

B is for Bevan and his Bogan Mates

An A to Z of Australia Day, by Sydney Morning Herald cartoonist Cathy Wilcox.
posted by acb at 1:54 AM - 17 comments

Adam Curtis's Bitter Lake.

Bitter Lake "is a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer." [available on the UK BBC iplayer for a month] [trailer with Curtis's preview]
posted by feelinglistless at 12:52 AM - 16 comments

January 25

And Canada's most racist city is....

Maclean's brings to the forefront the dark reality faced by the country's aboriginal population. Maclean's article on Winnipeg has generated a lot of buzz in the city and beyond, and a mixed reaction. What's more, the statistics speak to those still tempted to claim the problem isn't as bad as America's race issues.
posted by xm at 10:23 PM - 22 comments

Lindy West and her troll

Former The Stranger and now GQ writer Lindy West talks on This American Life with an abusive troll who pretended to be her dead father immediately after his death. Don't let the description put you off: he apologizes, for real. [more inside]
posted by librarina at 9:58 PM - 36 comments

BaconCat, 2003-2015

MeFi's own jscalzi suffers the loss of his beloved pet. Ghlaghghee (pron. "Fluffy"), a.k.a. the world-famous BaconCat, has passed away after a brief illness. John writes a quiet, typically wry eulogy and appreciation.
posted by PsychoTherapist at 9:56 PM - 84 comments

Fingers Crossed for Next Time ROU_Xenophobe

Just Read The Instructions and Of Course I Still Love You are the names Elon Musk has chosen for the east coast and west coast SpaceX spaceport drone ships. The names are from the late Iain Banks Culture novel Player of Games, and are indicative of the attitudes taken by Culture AI spaceships in naming themselves (a full list of Culture Vessel Names may be found here) An introduction to Iain Banks on Mefi previously, and on Mefi again at his passing ("The Culture represents the place we might hope to get to").
posted by emmet at 9:56 PM - 39 comments

"They all love them some Founding Fathers"

"DES MOINES, IA – Word must have gone out early, either by word of mouth, or by all those social media platforms that conservatives have discovered since 2008, or perhaps by that strange wingnut telepathy only practiced by the true initiates who know all the conjuring words. (People could make Lois Lerner jokes secure in the knowledge that every single person in Iowa who would find them funny was somewhere in the hall.) In any case, the rhetoric at the Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by Steve King and Citizens United, was startlingly muted. Oh, they hit all the proper notes. Liberty! Constitution! American exceptionalism! And the melodies were consistent; the first few bars were gloomy as they meandered through the many failures of the current administration, many of them largely imaginary, and then the final movement was all sunshine and rainbows and Republican promises of a brighter day. Every speech was like a Requiem Mass that concluded with a rousing chorus of 'Tomorrow.'" Charles P. Pierce of Esquire has some colorful choice words to say about the recent Iowa Freedom Summit.
posted by quiet earth at 8:33 PM - 44 comments

SS Pieter Schelte

The "world's largest ship" is named after a Nazi war criminal. Unsurprisingly a few people have a problem with that.
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM - 77 comments

British Actors, American History

“I played a soldier confronting President Lincoln in the film Lincoln, and I say to him, in the winter of 1865, ‘When are we going to get the vote?’ and then there I am, 100 years later, depicting Dr. King, alongside the very same actor, Colman Domingo — we confronted President Lincoln together — we are now in a jail cell, asking for the vote again, in 1965,” Oyelowo said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “I’ve played a preacher in The Help, I played a fighter pilot in Red Tails, I played someone who was in a sit in, was a Freedom Rider, was a Black Panther, then goes on to be a senator in The Butler. They’re all characters that took me on this journey through what it has been to be a black person for the last 150 years.”

Oyelowo stopped, paused, and corrected himself slightly here. In nearly every role he’s taken on since he arrived in the United States, he’s portrayed the sojourn for what it’s like to be a black American for the last 150 years. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:26 PM - 9 comments

Money, privilege, luck, connections

“Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.
posted by naju at 4:27 PM - 96 comments

Straight Masterpiece

L. Young & Da Youngstaz get funky! An amazing a cappella version of the already amazing funktastic anthem Uptown Funk. [more inside]
posted by jammy at 1:28 PM - 33 comments

Anime Eyes

Anime Eyes with MAC- A how to.
posted by josher71 at 12:21 PM - 23 comments

Optical Illusion art of Robert Gonsalves

A massive gallery of Incredible Optical Illusion Art by Robert Gonsalves
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:14 PM - 15 comments

Some Girls Want Out: Spectacular Saintliness

Hilary Mantel on St. Gemma Galgani, St. Therese of Lisieux, and "holy" and secular anorexia, stigmata, and hysteria. "We can see, as ‘Catholic neurologists’ of the time did, that Gemma’s symptoms are a representational strategy. They are an art form and a highly successful one; they are also (possibly) the product of mental pain and distress turned into physical symptoms. . . . When we think of young adults in the West, driven by secular demons of unknown provenance to starve and purge themselves, and to pierce and slash their flesh, we wonder uneasily if she is our sister under the skin." (warning: gruesome) [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 11:02 AM - 24 comments

10th Century Travels among the Norse, Bulgars, Khazars and Others

The Risala of Ahmad ibn Fadlan is a tenth century travel narrative of an emissary of the Caliph to the Iltäbär of the Volga Bulgars. He described his encounters with many peoples on his journey, but the Risala is most famous for his account of the Rus and their funeral rites, who probably were Norse people who had settled along the Volga. If these were indeed the Norse, ibn Fadlan gives one of the most detailed contemporary descriptions of the Norse before they started writing down their own stories some centuries later. He was not the only Muslim to have encounters with the Norse, as Judith Gabriel explains in Among the Norse Tribes. Another 10th Century description of the Norse was by the Jewish al-Tartushi from Al-Andalus. Michael Crichton used the Risala as the basis for his novel Eaters of the Dead, which later was made into the movie The 13th Warrior. Both book and film left something to be desired in terms of historical accuracy.
posted by Kattullus at 10:59 AM - 17 comments

"Mr. President, is you OK? Is you good? 'Cuz I wanted to know."

In addition to posting the State of the Union to Medium before the end of the press embargo, the Obama administration has delivered another sop to the young whippersnappers of today by having the president get interviewed by three stars of YouTube: comedian GloZell, designer Bethany Mota, and vlogbrother Hank Green.

You can watch the interviews, read takes on how they went from Hank Green himself, the WaPo, NPR, and the NYT, and enjoy some grousing from FOX and Bloomberg Politics's response to said grousing.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:25 AM - 22 comments

« Older posts

Posts