March 31

African Game Development

Aurion looks to be a standard and mechanically unremarkable retro action RPG with heavy Japanese design influences. But its design and feel are unmistakably fresh, offering a bold color palette and interesting unit designs. Its fiction is rooted in stories of exploitation and division, and in a desire for harmony.
This review of Cameroon's Kiro’o Games latest release is just one of the increasingly visible ways Africa's game developers are beginning to gain traction in their domestic and international markets. Last fall, Lagos hosted the inaugural West African Gaming Expo, bringing together startups, gamers, developers and investors for the first time. Games range from mobile only, extremely local - smash the mosquito or drive your matatu like a maniac - to educational - to full fledged RPG like Kiro'o's Aurion. Women are as much a part of this nascent industry, breaking barriers and encouraging others to join. Watch this space.
posted by infini at 9:21 AM - 0 comments

The Legend of Korra Saved My Sanity

"... one of the most startling things about this show is that fact that women in Legend of Korra are not required to be likeable." [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 at 9:07 AM - 4 comments

“They may be beneficial.”

Headgear Rule for Girls’ Lacrosse Ignites Outcry [New York Times]
Worried about the risk of serious head injuries in a sport where the players wield reinforced sticks and rifle shots with a hard, unyielding ball, Florida last month became the first state to require high school girls’ lacrosse teams to wear protective headgear.
posted by Fizz at 8:58 AM - 5 comments

Game of Thrones Catch-up Machine

With the new season of Game of Thrones less than two weeks away, you may benefit from the Game of Thrones Catch-up Machine, courtesy of lovereading.co.uk.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:45 AM - 4 comments

DO NOT ABUSE OR ENJOY THE BILL BELICHICK OFFSEASON SIMULATOR.

BILL BELICHICK OFFSEASON SIMULATOR. "This must be emphasized from the outset: The Bill Belichick Offseason Simulator is a tool, and not a toy. It does not exist to amuse you. It is meant to train prospective football coaches in the art and science of managing the travails of the offseason. Any fun you may have, or amusement you may find, while piloting this simulator is purely accidental, and should be reported as a software bug." (From Jon Bois, in case it's not immediately apparent.)
posted by kmz at 8:34 AM - 6 comments

"We don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents."

In the 80's and 90's, Robert Norman "Bob" Ross gave us The Joy of Painting. In each minimalist, 30-minute show, he would create an imaginary landscape using a wet-on-wet (or alla prima) oil painting technique while gently teaching viewers his methods. His signature, soothing comments described the "happy little clouds," "almighty mountains" and "happy little trees" that he was creating with his brush. Of the 31 seasons and 403 episodes that aired on PBS, the Internet Archive currently has the first 19 seasons (247 episodes) available for stream and download. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 8:07 AM - 33 comments

Women and social networks at work

Women often have decreased access to professional networks and mentors for a variety of reasons--men are more likely to mentor and sponsor other men, informal social networking often centers around gendered activity, women may simply not have the time to do after-work socializing. This is unfortunate, since networks and mentoring are incredibly valuable for female professionals and entrepreneurs. The obvious solution has been to encourage early-career women to network more and "better" and highly-placed women to mentor and support younger women, but this has had mixed results. It turns out that highly-ranking women do disproportionately mentor and support lower-ranking women--but only if they aren't "tokens" at their level of their own workplace but instead part of multiple women at that level. [more inside]
posted by sciatrix at 7:58 AM - 0 comments

Hey hey hey I'm a cat hey hey hey hey hi hello hey I'm a cat pet me hey.

How to train your human, an instructional video for cats.
posted by phunniemee at 7:56 AM - 14 comments

"Are you in the eighth grade?"

This week in The Dissolve’s Forum section, Noel Murray and Alan Sepinwall discuss Midnight Run and what makes the 1988 film an enduring favorite. This is not the first time Sepinwall has written about his favorite movie.

Midnight Run, previously, by our very own AlonzoMosleyFBI
posted by Room 641-A at 7:06 AM - 8 comments

"The explanation is the music."

Electronic musician Charles Cohen is interviewed for this year's Festival Présences Électronique in Paris, which follows with a roughly ten-minute clip of him performing (previously and more previously)
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:38 AM - 4 comments

March 30

"Those balls look right, they look good, and they're stayin'."

After controversy over a bull sculpture's genitalia the owner of a Hurricane, Utah restaurant removed the offending penis from his business' sign. In an interview (skip to 19:50) he made sure it was known he wasn't bowing to pressure and removed the penis for aesthetic reasons, and that the testicles are staying.
posted by edeezy at 11:27 PM - 45 comments

Where cameras cannot go

After sketching combat in WWII, Howard Brodie drew the Watergate trial, Klaus Barbie, and Jack Ruby. Bill Robles drew Charles Manson and his followers, Roman Polanski, and the Unabomber. Richard Tomlinson drew "Son of Sam" and John Gotti. Elizabeth Williams illustrated the Central Park Jogger Case, Martha Stewart, the Times Square bomber. Aggie Kenny sketched Oliver North, Angela Davis, and the Gainesville Eight trial. They are all featured on The Illustrated Courtroom blog*, and Kenny and Williams were interviewed about their craft. Their book, The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art, came out last year from CUNY Journalism Press. [more inside]
posted by Hypatia at 7:44 PM - 5 comments

Unless you are a table.

Comedian Mitch Hedberg died 10 years ago today. He was known for his distinctive style of delivery and short, often absurd jokes. [more inside]
posted by palindromic at 6:08 PM - 83 comments

The Road from Westphalia

Jessica T. Matthews reviews Henry Kissinger's "World Order" and Bret Stephen's "America In Retreat":
Almost from the beginning of its history, America has struggled to find a balance in its foreign policy between narrowly promoting its own security and idealistically serving the interests of others; between, as we’ve tended to see it in shorthand, Teddy Roosevelt’s big stick and the ideals of Woodrow Wilson. Just as consistently, the US has gone through periods of embracing a leading international role for itself and times when Americans have done all they could to turn their backs on the rest of the world. Two new books now join this never-ending debate.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:23 PM - 12 comments

Choctaw Generosity

Just sixteen years years after the Trail of Tears, the Choctaw Nation collected $710* and sent it to Ireland to help during the potato famine. In 1992, a group of Irish people retraced the Trail of Tears to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the gift. [more inside]
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:13 PM - 11 comments

An unappetising look at food choice, flavour and control in US prisons

Kevin Pang, 'What Prisoners Eat': It is within my civic right as a dedicated grocery shopper and keeper of leftovers, imprinted in the Charter of Man, that I am free to eat however much I want, of what I want, when I want. In prison, that right is stripped away. Craving pizza on a Saturday night? Feel like washing it down with cold beer? It’s not happening. Your right is reduced to eating portion-fixed food dictated by a warden on a set schedule. If you’re hungry after dinner, you’ll go to bed hungry.
posted by averysmallcat at 2:45 PM - 30 comments

Who the heck knows what lurks that deep in the ocean?

Great White Shark Disappears, Hunt for Super Predator Begins Data from a Great White tag plus signs of bleaching (presumably from stomach acid) suggest that the nine foot long Great White to which the tag was attached may have been eaten by a "Super Predator." An obsessive search for information followed the recovery of the tag. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California at 2:44 PM - 53 comments

Friday Night Meatballs

The Power of Real-Life Friendships
Late in 2013, Sarah Grey, 34, was going stir-crazy as a work-from-home writer and mom in Philadelphia. “We were just collapsing onto the couch at the end of every day to watch TV,” she recalls. “We never saw friends and barely even talked to our neighbors.” So Grey took to Facebook with a post that has since gone viral: “Starting next Friday, we’re cooking up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs every Friday night and sitting down at the dining room table as a family—along with anyone else who’d like to join us. Friends, neighbors, relatives, clients, Facebook friends who’d like to hang out in real life, travelers passing through: you are welcome at our table,” she wrote.
[more inside]
posted by graymouser at 2:00 PM - 75 comments

Lost in the Holacracy

In 2013, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh announced plans to reorganize the company as a holacracy, or a management structure that replaces job titles and hierarchical relationships with self-organizing units. The move has generated resistance from Zappos employees; so much so that, in a long memo, Hsieh says he is going to "rip the bandaid" and give employees until April 30 to either get on board with holacracy or take a severance package. Meanwhile, Hsieh and his close associates are having difficulty saying what the principles of holacracy even are. Commentary on the memo from Andrew Hill and Kim Nash.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:36 PM - 168 comments

When you have gatekeepers the stories are obviously much more controlled

Oh, honey, food is ALL about power! [more inside]
posted by Lexica at 12:46 PM - 10 comments

For much of the 80s, a bona fide movie star

"In the hands of another actor, she could have just been one more detail in Scott’s design scheme, a clothes horse in a coil of cigarette smoke. But Young makes Rachael breathe. It’s a tricky role: she must seem slickly artificial, while hinting all the time at warm humanity. As Harrison Ford’s jaded ex-cop Deckard falls for her, the whole film hinges on us understanding why. That she pulls it off owes a lot to her raw presence – but presence is the lifeblood of movies."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:43 PM - 38 comments

Musical Inventiveness and Electronic Sophistication

Children's music composer Ruth White is better known for her early work with the Moog synthesizer - including an album based off the poetry of Baudelaire. [more inside]
posted by beefetish at 12:01 PM - 5 comments

Some Squee For Your Monday

A monkey meets puppies for the first time.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:39 AM - 33 comments

British Girls' Comics

Girls' Comics of Yesterday From the 1950s to the turn of the 21st century, generations of British girls enjoyed weekly comics full of text and picture stories, about an astonishing range of topics: ballerinas, aliens, ghosts, Victorian serving-girls, magic mirrors, wicked stepparents, boarding schools, horse riding, sci-fi dystopias, boys, plucky heroines solving mysteries, and really anything you could imagine ... although to be honest, there were a lot of ballerinas. [more inside]
posted by daisyk at 11:38 AM - 13 comments

For days, the only thing on state TV was a continuous loop of Swan Lake.

Amelia Schonbek considers Swan Lake's place in Soviet politics for Hazlitt. [more inside]
posted by mynameisluka at 11:36 AM - 4 comments

"The response has been absolutely incredible"

One of the core tenets of UX is that you've got to design like "the user is drunk." Any feature of your site has to be able to be used by someone who could be drunk - because, invariably, the user will mess it up otherwise. Wonderful idea. The thing is, it is hard to test. I and a lot of beer will test this for you.
Review of Mathbreakers. Review of Gizmodo.
Related Gizmodo article
posted by Going To Maine at 11:29 AM - 14 comments

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH

The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover, a short essay by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 11:14 AM - 24 comments

Unicorn Thieves

Inside Lululemon's Booming Underground Resale Market
posted by box at 10:43 AM - 47 comments

Trans 100 2015

The Trans 100 (pdf) is not an award ceremony. It is not a list of the “Best” or the “Most Important” trans people. It is not a popularity contest and there are many individuals absent from the list who are doing excellent work. More are no longer with us. To quote The Trans 100 Co-Founder Jen Richards, The Trans 100 “is an intentionally curated list of out trans people who are working on trans issues in the United States and having a positive impact.” [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:26 AM - 11 comments

crunchy, crispy, meaty sailboats of spicy chemical flavor

[E]ven though the restaurant's cartoonish decor bordered on offensive, it was still a temple to a people and a cuisine that America couldn't ignore. Taco Bells were everywhere. In every strip mall. Off every highway exit. Even the racists, the immigrant-haters, the people who'd laugh at my elementary-school stand-up comedy routine would run for the border.

You can laugh or sneer at Taco Bell. Shake your head at its high fat and salt content. Go ahead and lecture on what true Mexican food is. My mom would probably just roll her eyes at you, and take a broken yellow shard of crispy taco shell and use it to scoop up the pintos, cheese, and salsa.
John DeVore writes about finding the "unexpected, self-affirming solace" of home... at Taco Bell. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio at 10:18 AM - 57 comments

It's a Hard Life

In which we enter the subconscious of Freddie Mercury and find ourselves in the midst of an amazing costume party. (SLV)
posted by swift at 10:00 AM - 6 comments

Responsive web design + accordions / cats = the Catcordian

The Catcordion is a web-based accordion constructed from famous Internet cats. It will destroy your productivity.
posted by nerdfish at 9:28 AM - 16 comments

Criticism vs. Attack?

Last week, two critiques of Kevin Carey's new book, The End of College, coincidentally appeared on the same day in Inside Higher Ed: one by Joshua Kim and the other by Audrey Watters and Sara Goldrick-Rab. [more inside]
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:44 AM - 54 comments

The King is dead(ish), long live the King!

Trevor Noah, a South African comedian who has appeared on TDS three times, has been chosen to replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:04 AM - 78 comments

Many bananas died to give us this protection

Adweek points to Groupon as the current reigning monarch of social media. Someone/s at Groupon have been killing it with jokes on Facebook, responding to questions about a deal they offered for the Banana Bunker, a product that is apparently a real thing. Previously.
posted by lauranesson at 7:45 AM - 30 comments

Nebula with gas streams – cat fur, garlic powder, salt, flour, cumin...

Artist Creates Artificial Space Images Using Food Supplies
Brooklyn-based artist, Navid Baraty’s latest project “WANDER Space Probe” creates a fictional universe constructed from food and home supplies. Partially edible, Baraty’s photographs are made by arranging household items on a scanner. With the help of a pinch of sugar, cinnamon, flour, and a glass of coffee, Baraty produces stunning images of an alternate galaxy.
posted by moody cow at 5:08 AM - 14 comments

Will Scunthorpe be safe this time?

Mangling an author's text is a clear violation of the author's Moral rights, an element of copyright which is very weak in the United States and very strong elsewhere (primarily in civil law jurisdictions). (The moral right is the right of an author to be identified as the creator of a work, and for the work represented as their creation to be unaltered by other hands, so that the relationship between creator and created work is clear.)
[...]
The doctrine of Moral Rights varies from territory to territory, but it's a heck of a stretch to extend it to this activity. It's one thing for a publisher or retailer to send out copies of your books in which words are changed around without your permission. It's another thing altogether for the reader themself to decide to read their legally acquired books in such a way as to change the text.
Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow argue about the legality if not morality/desirability of the Clean Reader app, that strips swearwords from ebooks.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:04 AM - 124 comments

More clichés than you can shake a stick at. (stick not included)

"Confessions of an Idiom" a 2½ minute animated film depicting a confrontation between the elephant in the room and the skeleton in the closet. Many turns of phrase and one plot twist.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:19 AM - 8 comments

March 29

Spin theory

Twirl an upside-down soda glass and toss it down a tabletop (somewhat like the hero in the video game Tapper), and the glass will pull off in a direction opposite of the spin. Spin a granite curling stone and throw it down the ice, however, and it will travel in the same direction as the spin. Video blog SmarterEveryDay looks at physics theories that try to figure out why this counterintuitive result happens.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:38 PM - 7 comments

Nils Frahm declares March 29th Piano Day with a free album

At the end of 2014 I had an immediate urge to release a solo piano album which I recorded some time ago, and I was looking for a specific occasion to do so. I wanted it to be a nice surprise for everyone, so I thought of a meaningful release date to begin with.

Seconds later it came to my mind: I was about to create my own holiday in order to come up with a reason for this release. Moreover, if I could be proud of something, then of being responsible for an annual celebration of the piano. And here comes the best bit, Piano Day will happen on the 88th day of the year, which most of the time is the 29th of March. Piano Day is intended to be the most joyful of all holidays.
Join with Nils Frahm in celebrating Piano Day by enjoying his album Solo for free (sample: "Wall"), or enjoy other celebrations of the piano in his Piano Day 2015 playlist.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 PM - 17 comments

“Every person is a half-opened door leading to a room for everyone.”

Tomas Transtromer, Nobel-Winning Poet, Dies at 83 [New York Times] Previously.
posted by Fizz at 8:41 PM - 13 comments

Dough wrapped around a filling

Dumpling Week has come to Serious Eats! Learn about dumplings around the world, which frozen potstickers are best, where chicken and dumpling soup came from, and how to make your own pierogi, xiao long bao, and gyoza. It's a dumpling party!
posted by sciatrix at 8:33 PM - 53 comments

^[U__*]^

FROLIC RPG: the world’s first procedurally generated emoticon adventure! by porpentine
posted by NoraReed at 7:07 PM - 9 comments

Why should authors not embrace the networked world?

"It’s hard not to hear cultural ruin, melodramatic as that may be, in every interrupting chirp and chime of a phone receiving a text or a call or blasting a video through its speakers on a packed subway train. The citizen in me, greedy for chances at quiet reflection and, frankly, to be left in peace from unwelcome noises, shudders and laments. But the artist in me, the writer, asks a more probing question, if not necessarily more optimistic: what might I do with all this?" Novelist Steve Himmer explores how to write about our increasingly interconnected world in "Reader, I Muted Him: The Narrative Possibilities of Networked Life."
posted by ocherdraco at 5:09 PM - 14 comments

Bad news for anyone born with a silver spoon in their mouth

How does your choice of spoon material impact your dining experience?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:06 PM - 44 comments

Needs more dickbags, Anne

Anne Bronte: the last, but not least, of the Bronte sisters Thirty years before Nora Helmer famously slammed the door in her husband's face, Helen Huntingdon did the same. And, as an added bonus, Helen - by earning her own living as a painter - became an outlaw as well as a rebel. [more inside]
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:14 PM - 19 comments

If you can't see it, you can't be it

With WrestleMania 31 mere hours away, let's talk about representation in pro wrestling. And really, lessons that apply for any form of entertainment.
If you don’t use positive representation to speak to new fans who look different, who act different, who have new ideas, you’ll never have new fans at all.
If You Can't See It, You Can't Be It: The Importance of Representation in Modern Day Wrestling [more inside]
posted by misskaz at 2:06 PM - 15 comments

Every great story seems to begin with a snake.

Rattlesnakes inspire search-and-rescue robot design Rattlesnakes have provided the inspiration for the movements of a robot designed for entering dangerous environments. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California at 2:05 PM - 6 comments

Frankie and Johnny were lovers. My how that couple could love!

Paul Slade tackles the story behind the American blues/folk song Frankie and Johnny, tracing the lyrics back to an 1899 St. Louis murder, and exploring the history of the song, its subjects, and its variations. [more inside]
posted by julen at 1:40 PM - 15 comments

I was stumped. So of course, I asked Facebook.

"Let's talk about matter/anti-matter annihilation in the early Universe."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:42 PM - 34 comments

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