November 19

The sea is full of saints

This past April a massive 80-foot steel kraken was purposefully sunk into the Caribbean Sea on top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy fuel barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater in order to jumpstart a new coral ecosystem, while also serving as a cutting-edge education center for marine researchers and local students from the surrounding British Virgin Islands. The project is titled the BVI Art Reef, and aims to use sculptures like the porous kraken as a base to grow transplanted coral.
[more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:29 PM - 2 comments

Charles Manson is dead at 83

Charles Manson, the mass murderer and cultural icon, has died. (NYT link) He was convicted of the murders of 9 people, most famously Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski, the movie director). However, Manson was not physically present for any of the killings, which were carried out by his followers, known as the "Manson family." [more inside]
posted by John Cohen at 10:30 PM - 36 comments

“the technical, artistic merit, while leaving all the garbage behind.”

Cuphead and the Racist Spectre of Fleischer Animation [Unwinable] “When asked in a Rolling Stone interview about the unfortunate associations of Cuphead‘s 1930s aesthetic, lead inking artist for the game, Maja Moldenhauer replies: “It’s just visuals and that’s about it. Anything else happening in that era we’re not versed in it.” But these visuals are weighed down by the history that brought them into being, despite the developers best efforts at stripping them of the more overt caricatures that are rife in cartoons for most of the first half of the 20th century. By sanitizing its source material and presenting only the ostensibly inoffensive bits, Studio MDHR ignores the context and history of the aesthetic it so faithfully replicates. Playing as a black person, ever aware of the way we have historically been, and continue to be, depicted in all kinds of media, I don’t quite have that luxury. Instead, I see a game that’s haunted by ghosts; not those confined to its macabre boss fights, but the specter of black culture, appropriated first by the minstrel set then by the Fleischers, Disney and others -twisted into the caricatures that have helped define American cartoons for the better part of a century.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 8:21 PM - 26 comments

The Simpsons Spoken Dialogue Comedic Songbook

Acai, one of many Guitar Hero experts on YouTube, flawlessly plays an arrangement of “Steamed Hams”, A.K.A. the “Skinner and The Superintent” portion of “22 Short Films About Springfield”. (A piano arrangement.)
posted by Going To Maine at 4:32 PM - 23 comments

The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

We utter the first syllables of a sentence while taking a leap of faith that we’ll be able to choose the right words en route and formulate phrases adequately as the words tumble out of our mouths and bring us to an intersection in our thoughts that demands our next move. This puts an upper bound on complexity. But written text, which can be more deliberately planned out and revised, is able to transcend this.
Linguist Julie Sedivy on the rise (and eventual fall?) of sentence complexity in written and oral languages.
posted by Rumple at 4:31 PM - 28 comments

Don't stay late, come home safe

Planet P Project is a science-fiction-inspired one-man band and an album by Tony Carey. Their debut album [46m] featured known single, Why Me. Planet P Project previously.
posted by hippybear at 2:31 PM - 8 comments

Subway time machine

Around this time of the year, the New York subway system offers rides on its "Holiday Nostalgia" train, which consists of eight restored cars from the 1930s, complete with vintage subway advertising and riders who show up in appropriate costumes. Lots of pictures. Transit Museum info page. More pictures! Video! Pix and video at the late Gothamist.
posted by beagle at 2:29 PM - 14 comments

I wasn’t meant for reality, but life came and found me.

Fernando Pessoa was a Portuguese wrter with nearly 80 different literary alter egos or "heteronyms". Each of which had a biography, psychology, politics, religion, physical description; the main characters being interconnected and with their own horoscopes
"I'm the empty stage where various actors act out various plays," he once wrote and “a drama divided into people instead of into acts”.
“I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist,” he writes in one poem. “I’m the gap between what I’d like to be and what others have made of me. . . . That’s me. Period.
His occult interests led him to a correspondence and friendship with Aleister Crowley who enlisted him in faking his suicide.
posted by adamvasco at 1:55 PM - 7 comments


UC Berkeley professor Stuart Russell and the Future of Life Institute have created an eerie viral video titled "Slaughterbots" that depicts a future in which humans develop small, hand-sized drones that are programmed to identify and eliminate designated targets. In the video above, the technology is initially developed with the intention of combating crime and terrorism, but the drones are taken over by an unknown forces who use the powerful weapons to murder a group of senators and college students. UC Berkeley professor's eerie lethal drone video goes viral [Warning: graphic violence]
posted by chavenet at 1:16 PM - 52 comments

The ting goes skrrrahh, pap, pap, ka-ka-ka

UK comedian Michael Dapaah, better known under his pseudonym Big Shaq, has become an unlikely grime music icon with his simple ode to men who never take off their coats: Man's Not Hot. Recently Dappah sat down with Genius to explain the song. See also the Genius page for annotated lyrics. And here's the original viral freestyle.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 12:16 PM - 17 comments

If God gave us Devora, the judge, Ruchie Freier should be a judge

This is Ruchie Freier, a 52-year-old Hasidic Jewish grandmother who has blazed a trail in her insular religious community with so much determination that the male authorities have simply had to make room. Eleven years ago, she became one of the first Hasidic female lawyers in Brooklyn,and last November, she was elected as a judge to civil court. She has done so not by breaking the strict religious rules that govern ultra-Orthodox women's lives, but by obeying them so scrupulously that there are limited grounds for objection.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:48 AM - 3 comments

Thanks for nothing

Day 303: it's turkey time, and Republicans are putting tax and spending cuts on the table, which many are finding an unpalatable centrepiece. CBO estimates suggest that poor Americans' gooses in particular will be cooked if the bill passes, with households earning under $50,000 increasingly worse off. Republican senators have stated, on the record, that major donors will not be inviting them back for a second helping of support if the tax cut bill fails. The House bill has been served but the Senate bill is still in the oven, and preparing it will involve two opposed groups coming together with a shared purpose, and also some way of massaging the figures so they won't increase the deficit. [This is a catch-all US politics thread; Roy Moore talk goes here] [more inside]
posted by Merus at 8:35 AM - 187 comments


J'Dess and Chris Rio do battle on The Voice Nigeria. [SLYT]
posted by clawsoon at 7:35 AM - 11 comments

November 18

this is the definitive ranking

Colin J. Carlson, part of the Parasite Extinction Assessment & Red List, couldn't sleep recently and decided to assign letter grades to the weird foxes (here's a threadreader compilation for the Twitter-averse, but it doesn't include the numerous entertaining replies). [h/t ChuraChura]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:36 PM - 43 comments

The man behind the mask

Meet Doug Jones, One Of The Biggest Movie Stars You’ve Probably Never Seen
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:06 PM - 25 comments

Boil a Peanut?

Where did the idea of boiled peanuts come from? And why? Turns out, of course, it's more complicated than you knew. And then it got even more complicated when Congress got involved. Part Two
posted by MovableBookLady at 7:52 PM - 46 comments

“It’s still quite raw,”

Charlotte Gainsbourg Finds Her Own Voice [The New York Times] “Ms. Gainsbourg engages with her family’s glorious, tangled history as never before. On one level, it’s an album about grief, tinted by the deep loss she felt after the 2013 death of her older half sister, the photographer Kate Barry (whose parents were Ms. Birkin and the film composer John Barry). But it’s also an album about pleasure, full of pulsating disco beats and cool pop choruses that feel like Ms. Gainsbourg’s birthright. Above all, it’s an album that comes directly from her heart.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 6:52 PM - 9 comments

Tweets of Birds

@everybird: Robot posting every bird on the planet. Mostly accurate. Random bird order, last bird posted in 2019. By @nah_solo (Lucas Quinn). See below for list of birds
posted by Going To Maine at 4:04 PM - 11 comments

The brain in the jar wants out, you know.

A marginal but useful definition of insanity is not knowing what genre of book you are in; depression is knowing, but being helpless to change it.
Beth Boyle Machlan on writing, memory, and helplessness.
posted by Rumple at 3:33 PM - 10 comments

How well do matchboxes learn?

Machine Learning Explained. In this essay Rodney Brooks, one of the founders of iRobot and emeritus professor at MIT, explains machine learning in layman's terms. He uses a real-life example of one of the first machine learning algorithms, a tic-tac-toe program implemented in the 1950s using matchboxes(!). The essay gives you an appreciation of how machine learning is different from human learning, and what its limitations are -- nice, given the hype surrounding AI today. [more inside]
posted by storybored at 12:47 PM - 31 comments

Unleashing grumpy-old-man Skynet on the academic world

Tabatha Southey asks: Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?
posted by scruss at 11:35 AM - 78 comments

The Avocado visits some old magazines

The Avocado, originally formed as a diaspora from the Onion AV Club comment section, has now become an excellent website in its own right. Recently they have been running retrospectives of old magazine issues and it is a fascinating and funny look into recent US history. [more inside]
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:24 AM - 20 comments

"I don't think any bastard knows who I am anyway..."

RIP Malcolm Young co-founder, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for AC/DC. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:38 AM - 81 comments

Live from Harare

Ten of thousands of Zimbabweans are in the streets of Harare after the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the Zimbabwe Republic Police approved a rally led by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association against President Mugabe’s continued stay in office. Mugabe was placed under house arrest earlier in the week in what the army insisted was not a coup. This appears to be the culmination of a power struggle between Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe and recently ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe, now a billionaire in one of the world's poorest countries, was once considered a revolutionary hero after leading Zimbabwe to independence from Great Britain.
posted by clawsoon at 5:21 AM - 24 comments

Norway’s Medieval Wooden Churches Look Plucked From a Fairy Tale

The Smithsonian has a scrolling gallery of Norwegian "stave" churches, named after the "stavers", the load bearing pillars that keep them from collapsing. Wooden medieval architecture taken to fascinating, beautiful extremes.
posted by hippybear at 4:39 AM - 20 comments

November 17

One of our submarines...

Argentine submarine San Juan has been missing for more than two days. [more inside]
posted by ctmf at 9:55 PM - 26 comments

this list is bullshit

The 50 best Superhero Movies Of All Times - Because this debate is already well-worn territory, we at The Ringer set out to develop a ranking that goes beyond personal opinions—to try to synthesize the overall goals and spirit of these films in order to identify the ideal superhero movies. In order to do that, we took into account four factors—Critical Success, Box Office Performance, Rewatchability, and Timelessness—and ran them through a fancy formula to come up with an overall score. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:17 PM - 112 comments

The antithesis of Riot Grrl

How mid-2000s emo groomed underage girls and poisoned teen boys (TW). Emo, the alternative/punk offshoot dealing with (male, mostly negative) feelings has had a problem with misogyny for a long time, having dominated the alternative-music culture of the 00s with an exclusively male worldview whose attitude to women, ranging from objectification to contempt, permeated the formative experiences of a generation of music enthusiasts (the writer Jessica Hopper described it as the antithesis of the Riot Grrl experience). And now, it now turns out, that sexually predatory behaviour is endemic in the scene, with musicians and promoters preying on fans, many of them underage.
posted by acb at 6:12 PM - 63 comments

"The interior is a world of aesthetic chaos"

Game designer @MaxKriegerVG says "If you want a fully immersive 'postmodern design hellscape' themed dining experience I highly recommend dinner at The Cheesecake Factory—from a design perspective that place is fuckin wild and I'll talk a little bit about why (here's a threadreader compilation for the Twitter-averse). And he links to an Eater story about the designer.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:18 PM - 65 comments

“We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing & tuning.”

Star Wars Battlefront 2 players took on EA, and won (for now). [Polygon] “The microtransactions are gone from Star Wars Battlefront 2, at least for the moment. The fans, with their days, if not weeks, of outrage over the paid content, have won their fight against Electronic Arts. Just like that, the day before it was set to be officially released, the for-pay currency has been removed from the game. Good.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 5:16 PM - 48 comments

I'm so sorry. He forced me to make this post.

He is known as the abimor and he's the most mysterious killer of all time. [more inside]
posted by juliplease at 5:13 PM - 14 comments

A Public Comittment To The Future Generation

“Since then, the federal government has failed to offer any childcare programs anywhere near as generous as those created by the Lanham Act. Through the Head Start program launched in the 1960s, the federal government has tried to improve access to childcare. But with a limited number of slots available and eligibility to participate restricted by income, the program is even further removed from a universal ideal. Nor have the 50 states sought to create any better childcare options. Jurisdictions that provide universal free preschool remain the exception; meanwhile, daycare expenses continue to devour family budgets in large metropolitan areas.” Every Parent Deserves A Nanny State - Vanessa A. Bee, Current Affairs.
posted by The Whelk at 2:31 PM - 11 comments

From zero to chess champion in 30 days

Max Deutsch is an obsessive learner. Last year he embarked on a quest to master twelve incredibly difficult skills in twelve months. This is story of his final and most challenging month of the past year: Defeat world-champion Magnus Carlsen at a game of chess .
posted by noneuclidean at 12:22 PM - 56 comments

DnDish: simplifying D&D (you know, for kids)

Kevin Makice (@kmakice) is a geek dad who tried to get his boys into Dungeons and Dragons with a 4th Edition starter kit, but they lost interest due to all the nuanced rules, but they liked their dad's painted miniatures. So he set about simplifying D&D and made a pared down version of the game he loved in a 3 page PDF: DnDish. The game worked for his 7-12 year olds, with the kids making their own campaigns. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:08 AM - 65 comments

"And all the Victoria Sponge that comes with it!"

Black Girl in a Big Dress is an online comedy series "about an African American Anglophile cosplayer in love with the Victorian Era who's trying to bring a fantasy courtship from her re-enactment events into the real world."
posted by jedicus at 9:52 AM - 30 comments

Make Cybertron Great Again.

The new Transformers: Power of the Primes toys were released early! The assortment includes fan-favorite and classic G1-era character Jazz. But one eagle-eyed toy collector noticed tiny Cybertronian writing under the Autobot symbol: 4 characters that translate to MAGA. As in Make America Great Again, the campaign slogan of President Donald Trump and the battle cry of the current movement of white nationalists. Which is especially galling as Jazz was one of the few classic characters voiced by a person of color: the great Scatman Crothers of The Shining.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 8:51 AM - 31 comments

The only review of the film Baby Driver you'll ever need.

In which science-fiction author and sometime game writer Chuck Wendig's review of the car-chase crime movie Baby Driver goes off on an unexpected detour, thanks to fantasy author Sam Skykes: in Storify version and original flavor Twitter. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:37 AM - 40 comments

Don't Waste Your Wishes, say The Killers

Christmas with The Killers! 2006: A Great Big Sled ft. Toni Halliday [more inside]
posted by one teak forest at 8:18 AM - 5 comments

Call Mr. Plow, that's my name, that name again is Mr. Plow.

"The idea, that Homer buy a massive truck and pay for it by becoming Springfield's snow removal hero, was born out of a single desire: Writer Jon Vitti wanted to meet Adam West. " Mr. Plow at 25: How 'The Simpsons' Classic Pushed New Boundaries and Helped Cement Show's Legacy
posted by bondcliff at 7:43 AM - 30 comments

"The song doesn’t offer any answers; I have none."

Into the Perilous Night: An Essay by Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers: I wrote a nearly complete first draft of “What It Means” in one afternoon in my kitchen in Athens, Georgia. As a song, I didn’t know if it was worth a shit. But I had to get those feelings off my chest. The song at least felt honest and real. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:28 AM - 10 comments

Wasn't This the Plot of Coen Brothers Movie?

Here is the story as given by the local news, but a TLDR version was provided by @notwokieleaks on Twitter: Detroit cops posing as drug dealers tried to arrest Detroit cops posing as drug buyers and then they all had a fistfight in the middle of the street.
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:24 AM - 46 comments

November 16


FR. Reginald Foster, The Vatican's Latinist []
The number of Foster’s students runs into the thousands, and many of them are now themselves some of the most dedicated teachers in the field. “When I was in college I asked people, ‘Hey, we all know Latin is a language. Does anybody actually speak it anymore?’ And they told me there was one guy, some guy at the Vatican, who still spoke the language, and that was Fr. Foster,” says Dr. Michael Fontaine, a professor of Classics at Cornell University. “I said to myself, ‘I have to study with this guy.’ And that changed everything for me.” Dr. Paul Gwynne, professor of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the American University of Rome, said of Foster, “He is not just the best Latin teacher I’ve ever seen, he’s simply the best teacher I’ve ever seen. Studying Latin with the Pope’s apostolic secretary, for whom the language is alive, using the city of Rome as a classroom . . . it changed my whole outlook on life, really.”
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:13 PM - 24 comments

We've changed kings since then, some of us twice. No one cares.....

… one remembers. The uncounted. US Military officials say that the air war against ISIS is the most precise in history. [more inside]
posted by lalochezia at 6:16 PM - 16 comments

What's new, Atlas?

Boston Dynamics has posted a new video. It's 54 seconds of a robot doing things I never thought they could do. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 6:05 PM - 104 comments

What If It Was Voodoo?

For years, this day had seemed inevitable. It was the predictable end to nearly a decade of well-documented and thoroughly-investigated psychological and physical torment: threatening phone calls, notes, strange encounters, vandalism, fires, animal killings, and a half-dozen violent physical attacks; all perpetrated by an unknown assailant. There were about a hundred documented incidents between 1982 and 1989. Someone was terrorizing her. After Cindy’s death, there was a thorough investigation. It culminated in the lengthiest and most expensive public inquest in British Columbia’s history. Cindy’s death was ruled a suicide. The Mysterious Death of Cindy James [more inside]
posted by mannequito at 4:52 PM - 13 comments

I have time left. I have a feeling I could still get a little sexier.

Each year Mallory Ortberg explores the horror of what it takes to be crowned People's Sexiest Man Alive. She began with Adam Levine. Then there was Chris Hemsworth and David Beckham. Now, Blake Shelton has been named Sexiest Man Alive. God have mercy on his soul.
posted by Emily's Fist at 4:50 PM - 106 comments

Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, possibly some condiments

The Greggs £24 advent calendar has 24 tear-off doors that customers can exchange for a treat in a Greggs shop - though the choice of promotional picture has raised eyebrows. However, the UK Evangelical Alliance says it is "not too outraged" about the Greggs nativity scene (contradictory quote), while a vicar from t'north is not amused. Becky Barnicoat rounds up some tweets, while Peter Ormerod argues this is not an issue to be outraged about. (First mentioned by fearfulsymmetry)
posted by Wordshore at 4:42 PM - 28 comments

Girl Gangs UK & US

Teddy Girls and Drag Racers. The Teddy Girls had their own style but were often overshadowed by the Teddy Boys. This is a short photo-essay on the girls. Next, we have a photo-essay on a girls' drag-racing team, the Dragettes of the Kansas City Timing Association drag strip in the 1950s. They preferred convertibles and they worked as their own mechanics, too. The Dragettes
posted by MovableBookLady at 4:41 PM - 6 comments

“Alter Dark allows you to patch NES ROMs in the browser via a REST API.”

Alter Dark is a new project that lets you create your own screensavers out of NES ROMs. It was put together by Rachel Weil, an NES homebrew expert and glitch enthusiast, and recently shown off at NodeConf EU in Dublin. For Weil, it combines two of her favorite things: messing around with NES software and the dated aesthetics of screensavers. The name is also a play on the After Dark software package release in 1989 which consisted of, among other things, a flying toaster screensaver.” API files and code at GitHub. Rachel Weil also discusses how screensavers influenced her work, spurring a years-long obsession with putting screensavers where they don't belong. [YouTube]. [via: Kotaku]
posted by Fizz at 3:51 PM - 4 comments

Every physical record shop and record event on the planet

An Interactive Map of Every Record Shop in the World. (You're welcome.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:41 AM - 25 comments

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