May 28

Progress is painfully uneven

Baltimore, 15 years after The Wire [more inside]
posted by arcticseal at 8:52 AM - 1 comment

Education crisis in Oklahoma

"Of 513 school districts in Oklahoma, 96 have lopped Fridays or Mondays off their schedules — nearly triple the number in 2015 and four times as many as in 2013. An additional 44 are considering cutting instructional days by moving to a four-day week in the fall or by shortening the school year." The 2018 state budget, which was sent to Governor Fallin this week, cuts $34 million from education. Here is Oklahoma's study: Analysis of Expenditures of Districts on a Four-Day School Week (PDF)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:53 AM - 33 comments

Australians behaving badly in Japan (Tokugawa-era)

Fresh translations of samurai accounts of the arrival of a “barbarian” ship near the Japanese town of Mugi have confirmed the legend of an Australian convict pirate ship visiting Japan in 1830. [more inside]
posted by acb at 5:36 AM - 12 comments

Read something

Need something to read on a Sunday? The story of Codes and Codebreakers in World War I is an interesting little chapter which is still less-known than the famous codebreaking effort of WWII. Maybe you're intrigued and want to read the whole online book, Codes, Ciphers and Codebreaking, or, if codes aren't your thing, maybe A History of the Telescope or Missions to the Planets or Elementary Chemistry or any of the other on Greg Goebel's Vectors site - dedicated to educational writings on science, technology, and history.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:38 AM - 5 comments

AlphaGo's farewell?

Lessons from AlphaGo: Storytelling, bias and program management "Over the past few days, AlphaGo has taken the world by storm once again. Over a week in Wuzhen, it beat the worlds’ best player Ke Jie three times, a team of players from China, and finally lost a game (unavoidable, since it played against itself in a human pair-go match) ... In fact, the most interesting reveal happened only after the match, and that is when DeepMind released the first set of self-play games where AlphaGo played itself (similar to how it is trained in order to improved the AI). Those games were surprisingly non-human, so much so that it is not clear at a glance if the average human go player can learn anything from them. "
posted by dhruva at 4:37 AM - 14 comments

Medieval fantasy city generator

This application generates a random medieval city layout of a requested size. The generation method is rather arbitrary, the goal is to produce a nice looking map, not an accurate model of a city.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:13 AM - 15 comments

May 27

Meet Doormouse

Doormouse is a recent graduate of Kitten School, and the star of a series on how to tame a scared or feral kitten. [more inside]
posted by Deoridhe at 10:57 PM - 10 comments

What book of the Bible is that from?

Dovahkin Damacy. Nick and Griffin explore Skyrim mods. The last ten minutes are genuinely, surprisingly, transcendant.
posted by Sebmojo at 10:42 PM - 11 comments

"Stephen Harper with a smile" wins Canadian Conservative leadership race

Earlier tonight, the Conservative Party of Canada brought its long leadership race (previously) to a close with the election of Andrew Scheer. Scheer is a social conservative who got his biggest boost of the night from supporters of anti-abortion candidates Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux, though Scheer, like Harper, appears to be uninterested in re-opening that debate. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 7:53 PM - 44 comments

Everyone needs to snug

22 Hilarious and Wonderful Animal Memes
Dogs Bending Human Rules
Dogs Who Are Afraid of the Most Ridiculous Things
Dogs Dogs Dogs
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:51 PM - 20 comments

Bird's eye view

Dronestagram is like Instagram for -- you guessed it -- international drone photography and videos.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:35 PM - 3 comments

I need a helicopter

We're Poly Now, a music video by Chris Fleming.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:53 PM - 24 comments

Velvet Elvises not included.

Sophie Ploeg is an artist and historian know for her richly detailed paintings of fabrics. She draws inspiration from historical works and has listed what she views as the best works capturing the intricacies of lace or the texture and sheen of velvet. [more inside]
posted by jacquilynne at 4:34 PM - 2 comments

Why Vimto sales soar during Ramadan

Vimto, a drink born and commemorated in Manchester sees sales spike during Ramadan as it has become a popular way to break the fast. [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo at 1:37 PM - 27 comments

Gregg Allman, born a Ramblin' Man on Dec. 8, 1947, has died

Gregg Allman, Soulful Trailblazer of Southern Rock, Dies at 69 Gregg Allman, the soulful singer-songwriter and rock n' blues pioneer who founded The Allman Brothers Band with his late brother, Duane, and composed such classics as "Midnight Rider," "Melissa" and the epic concert jam "Whipping Post," has died at age 69, Billboard has learned. He was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1999 and underwent a liver transplant in 2010. ~ From BILLBOARD [more inside]
posted by pjsky at 12:57 PM - 80 comments

"like a badly behaved uncle at a wedding"

In 2014 The Guardian published artist Laura Dodsworth's photos of 100 women's breasts and their thoughts about them. Now there's a follow-up: Me and My Penis. (nsfw)
posted by jessamyn at 12:23 PM - 22 comments

Global Urban History

Global and urban history has been converging in recent decades. My own interest is captured by the liminal space between culture and history and geography. Some favourites include Lagos: Mapping a Pre-Colonial West African City and the extremely well done the racism behind Kampala.
posted by infini at 12:16 PM - 3 comments

Bom Bom Boodely Bom Bom Boodely Bom Bom Boodely Bom!

Harvard Student Group Performs A Cappella Tribute to John Williams During Commencement Ceremony
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:08 PM - 12 comments

The Tiny House of Your Dream is Actually a Nightmare

"I thought [living in an RV] would be a perfect Instagram scenario -- I'd be naked, wrapped in an American flag with my hair blowing in the wind, with people taking my photo" "Justin, who lives in a tiny house in Portland, OR (of course), talks frankly about what he has to do without. "I really miss having a washer/dryer. That kills me," he says. And since he and his girlfriend cook all the time, not having a dishwasher or a ton of counter space is a real problem. "I see tiny houses with mini-fridges and a two-burner stove top with no oven. And I think, 'what the hell do you cook?'" [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 11:00 AM - 87 comments

Shell game

In California, millions of dollars' worth of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are disappearing. Farmers are perplexed, the cops are confused, and the crooks are getting richer. How? The product is easy to move, and the evidence is consumed. Nut theft previously.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:56 AM - 8 comments

They took the handcuffs from him and handcuffed me

When she was a scrawny 11-year-old, Sherry Johnson found out one day that she was about to be married to a 20-year-old member of her church who had raped her. [more inside]
posted by galaxy rise at 10:39 AM - 20 comments

Three weeks of pain decided in the last 30 minutes

With one stage left, Nairo Quintana wears the Maglia Rosa in the 2017 Giro d'Italia. Things have never looked this bad for him. [more inside]
posted by lmfsilva at 9:54 AM - 11 comments

Bamboo Architecture Biennale

Cutting-edge structures in a small Chinese village illustrate the beauty and strength of bamboo, just as China is moving away from this sustainable material.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:53 AM - 10 comments

How many megapixels does that have?

Photographer Joshua Paul shoots F1 auto races using a 1913 Graflex 4x5 film camera and the results are quite spectacular.
posted by octothorpe at 7:38 AM - 25 comments

This is my surprised face.

“an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component”
A mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan targeted the movement opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures.
posted by adamvasco at 5:59 AM - 11 comments

Why ISIS Declared War on Egypt’s Christians

It is unlikely that this strategy will succeed the way ISIS envisions in Egypt, but the attempt to implement it will leave a trail of destruction that will primarily devastate Egypt’s Christian minority. The group’s genocidal program may perhaps backfire as it did for their jihadi predecessors of the 1980s and 1990s, whose wanton killing of civilians dried up any base of popular support. But as the ISIS ideologue al-Harmasy hints, there is deep-rooted sectarianism in Egyptian society that has been fanned by Islamists for decades, to which government policies have also contributed.
-Mokhtar Awad is a research fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, here he examines reasons behind the latest strategies of ISIS in Egypt (alt) [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation at 4:49 AM - 4 comments

May 26

Tour Ancient Greece with the Classics: ToposText

"ToposText is an indexed collection of ancient texts and mapped places relevant the the history and mythology of the ancient Greeks from the Neolithic period up through the 2nd century CE. It was inspired by two decades of exploring Greece by car, foot, or bicycle, and by clumsy efforts to appreciate επί τόπου the relevant information from Pausanias or other primary sources. ... Selecting a site from either the list or the map opens up a table of two-line snippets from ancient authors ... . Selecting from this index list, which can be filtered by date, genre, and relevance, connects one to the full text of 240-odd works in English translation, some with the original Ancient Greek as well. [Y]ou can select and read the passages in ancient literature that give a place its historical and cultural meaning. While you are reading, the map alongside shows the location of the ancient places mentioned." Available for iOS, Android, and web.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:41 PM - 2 comments

there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing

The Remarkable Melonseed Skiff
We often fall in love with our eyes first, and it is pure romance and “love at first sight”. Later we attempt to justify our feelings by trying to become rational and objective, but it was usually that first flush of visual fantasy that started the adventure. And, like most of our romances, that’s how it usually is with boats too, and that’s how it was with the Melonseed Skiff.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:39 PM - 8 comments

"I've forgiven that little girl for being so frightened"

Julia. "In grade 8, Julia was bullied so badly by a group of girls that she changed schools without telling anyone. Soon after, the girls from her old school showed up at her house and rang her doorbell. She didn’t answer it. For the past 20 years, Julia’s been wondering what those girls wanted." [more inside]
posted by storybored at 8:09 PM - 39 comments

Algebra Bad Lunch and Infidelity...RIP Caitlin Bree

Lisa Spoonauer best known as Caitlin Bree in Kevin Smith's directorial debut Clerks has passed away at age 44 of unspecified causes. Tributes from Smith and others are online.
posted by jonmc at 7:28 PM - 23 comments

Music scholar Katya Deve explores the history and geography of hip-hop.

The Geography of Hip-Hop is an interactive map documenting the history and geography of hip-hop. The map (and accompanying essay) explore how hip-hop has spread around the world and how different cites have developed their own distinct sounds and styles of hip-hop. The interactive hip-hop map allows you to browse and listen to hip-hop music by location. The map features 955 songs, most of which you can listen to directly from the map. The size of the markers on the map reflects the number of artists featured from that location. In this way you can get a rough idea about the size of the hip-hop communities in these different urban locations. [via Maps Mania]
posted by Room 641-A at 6:27 PM - 11 comments

The Thoughts of a Spiderweb

Web thoughts Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the head.
posted by dhruva at 6:23 PM - 9 comments

More like a DONK

In October 2014, one of the Narrow Angle Cameras observing the moon's surface aboard the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recorded a wild, jittery image. The cause of this was determined to be vibrations from a collision with a micrometeoroid at approximately 7 km/s, which fortunately didn't damage the spacecraft or camera. Astronomer Dr. Alex Parker has processed the captured image to produced an audio reconstruction of the strike. SPANG.
posted by figurant at 4:55 PM - 19 comments

$20 in League of Legends vs $20 at the Dollar Store

What can you get for $20 in-game vs IRL? Polygon investigates.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:59 PM - 19 comments

Random Violins

infinitestringquartet.com - no bow necessary; just drag and drop the circles on the grid and see what happens.
tl;dr it makes music! [via jessamyn]
posted by not_on_display at 3:31 PM - 10 comments

Cooler than you think...

and he married Gilda Radner! George Edward "G. E." Smith -born 01/27/52--is an American guitarist. He was the lead guitarist in the band Hall & Oates and the musical director of Saturday Night Live. [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp at 11:52 AM - 47 comments

“...we wanted the people that you meet in the world to be credible,”

Far Cry 5 asks you to kill thy neighbor [Polygon] Far Cry 5 [YouTube] takes place in the fictional Hope County in the very real state of Montana — a state that, even today, is wrestling with issues like gun control, religious tolerance and citizen’s access to public lands. Fight against religious fanatics hell-bent on taking over a piece of the American West [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 11:36 AM - 75 comments

C3P0 Throws Down ... and Many, Many Other Star Wars Oddities

STAR WARS NOTHING BUT STAR WARS MIXTAPE (Trailer)
posted by WCityMike at 10:26 AM - 3 comments

Ne Plus Ultraviolet

Spanish photographer Javier Torres writes about how to take fluorescent pictures. Also a lot of other nice stuff on photography basics and principles.
posted by cortex at 10:04 AM - 8 comments

Jennie Alexander, Musician and Greenwoodworker

The Lost Art Press blog has published a biography of Jennie Alexander, lawyer, jazz musician, and pioneer in modern greenwoodworking. More information is available at her website.
posted by jedicus at 9:26 AM - 5 comments

Paul Romer and the World Bank and "Bankspeak" and

Paul Romer is an economist whose academic contributions focus on how endogenous improvements in production contribute to long-run growth. Last July, he was appointed chief economist of the World Bank. This week, he was apparently removed from his managing duties after his staff rebelled against his management style, apparently in part for asking them to communicate more clearly. [more inside]
posted by dismas at 9:14 AM - 15 comments

"we were sure the bees would sense our goodwill"

The cost of keeping bees. By getting a few hives we could save the bees, and in return the bees could save our bank account. It would be a mutually beneficial relationship.
posted by threetwentytwo at 8:47 AM - 46 comments

UK, EU & WTO — a presentation

A look at the UK, EU and WTO with an eye on Brexit. Includes a brief explanation of the WTO system, and a taste of how negotiations work in the WTO
posted by infini at 7:51 AM - 4 comments

Do you still want to believe this?

The Nerdwriter examines the recent film Logan using popular culture critic John G. Cawelti's essay on Chinatown(PDF) as a jumping off point to see where it fits in the life-cycle of genre films. (Nerdwriter previously)
posted by octothorpe at 5:03 AM - 37 comments

"In 1967 we were counted. In 2017 we seek to be heard."

At a historic convention in the centre of Australia, indigenous leaders from across the country have outright rejected the idea of mere recognition in the constitution, instead calling for a representative body to be enshrined in the nation's founding document and a process established working towards treaties. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is the result of three days of deliberations during the national gathering. [more inside]
posted by valetta at 4:38 AM - 39 comments

A Typical Day in a Blockchain-Enabled World Circa 2030-FINTECH FUN

Let’s follow Crowley the Crocodile as he goes about his day in the year 2030, from the moment his bitcoin-powered bioalarm clock wakes him, until he eats his late night pizza ordered using a rating service that runs without human owners. - this exploration of FinTech first appeared at Blockchain Futures which explores uses and avenues for the blockchain and other FinTech forms [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation at 3:45 AM - 54 comments

We're Closer Than Ever

Cherry Lane Theater, November 1989: Lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr (Miss Saigon) and Composer Davie Shire (Saturday Night Fever) open their "bookless book musical" Closer Than Ever, a two act musical revue without dialogue that ran for 312 performances; a grown-up collection of song performances, each an individual story that all echo and reflect on each other. The original cast album is available to listen to on YouTube [23 tracks] [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 3:42 AM - 3 comments

May 25

This is the one that will define the contours of this century

On food & climate change: "We can still act and it won’t be too late" (The Long Read - The Guardian) If people feel as if they don’t have control over their lives, or that their children don’t have a good future, then they will resist efforts to deal with climate change because right now they’re concerned about feeding their child. It’s a luxury to worry about climate change; you have to have enough to eat before you start worrying about what’s going to happen to the planet 30 years from now. If we do not pay attention to increasing inequality – and the fact that technology and globalisation are accelerating – there will be a backlash.
by Barack Obama
posted by CrystalDave at 11:49 PM - 53 comments

Goonfish is evolving!

The Australian Pokédex, by Paul Robertson [1-29][30-57][58-86][87-111][112-130][131-151] [more inside]
posted by grobstein at 9:02 PM - 18 comments

Energy Innovations: Geochemical, Sunlight, Oxygen, Flesh, Fire

Olivia P. Judson in Nature: "Over the course of Earth history, the harnessing of free energy by organisms has had a dramatic impact on the planetary environment. Yet the variety of free-energy sources available to living organisms has expanded over time. These expansions are consequences of events in the evolution of life, and they have mediated the transformation of the planet from an anoxic world that could support only microbial life, to one that boasts the rich geology and diversity of life present today. Here, I review these energy expansions, discuss how they map onto the biological and geological development of Earth, and consider what this could mean for the trajectories of life–planet systems elsewhere." [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:58 PM - 11 comments

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