October 21

Julian May (1931-2017)

Science fiction author Julian May has passed away at age 86: "In Memoriam: Julian May" from the SFWA; "May the Force Be With Her," a profile related to her First Fandom Hall of Fame Award; Chicon II / TASFIC entry at Fancyclopedia 3 ("Julian May was the first female chairman of a Worldcon"); "Julian May," her entry in The Encyclopedia of SF; her ISFDB entry; interviews with May from 1982 and 2015. Perhaps best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile (a brief appreciation; B&N retrospective; TVTropes entry), May's first SF story sales are available online ("Dune Roller" Astounding, Dec. 1951, with illustrations by May; "Star of Wonder," Thrilling Wonder Stories, Feb. 1953) along with several letters to Astounding: 1, 2, and 3.
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:09 AM - 1 comment

“...closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace.”

Big-budget, single-player gaming isn’t dead (yet) [Ars Technica] “Yesterday's news that EA is shutting down Visceral Games is bad news for fans of franchises like Dead Space and for the studio's unnamed Star Wars project. But the abrupt shutdown has also caused a bit of an existential crisis to creep into the game industry chatter regarding the future of big-budget, single-player, story-driven gaming in general. [...] Looking around at the most popular games these days, it's not hard to see the market shift Söderlund is talking about. From Hearthstone and Overwatch, to Playerunknown's Battlegrounds and Rocket League, to Dota 2 and League of Legends, to Clash of Clans and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege, and on and on, the games getting the most player attention (and money) today tend to be never-ending online competitions.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 10:46 AM - 7 comments

Welcome to the Literature Club!

It's October, month of horror! Unrelatedly, Doki Doki Literature Club! (steam) is a cute (and free) Visual Novel, roughly 2-4 hours long, where you can join a Literature Club, write poetry and make new friends! Some tips: it's much better played blind, it has a somewhat slow start, and it's not over until you've seen the credits. Oh, and it's definitely not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.
posted by Memo at 8:56 AM - 4 comments

Midwestern Girl would very much like to be excluded from this narrative

A man travels from New York to Florida. There’s no reason for Midwestern Girl to be in this story, but there she is in Virginia at a rest stop, gas pump in her hand. Iowa, the man says, looking at her car’s tags. You’re a long way from home.
Am I? she wonders.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:46 AM - 24 comments

Doll's Eyes: Fatal if consumed by humans.

Cat Whitney posts a collection of photos and brief descriptions [twitter thread] of her favorite spooooooky plants and fungi.
posted by moonmilk at 7:43 AM - 13 comments

Sticky wicket

Cricket is rotting away. Everything worthwhile about it is being destroyed
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:48 AM - 26 comments

October 20

Life Is Peachy: Nü Metal And America

Invisible Oranges on the rise of nü metal and its reflection of the emptiness of Clinton-era suburbia.
So you have a mass a teens growing up in pointless “towns” with no discernable industry or economy in a nation that had declared itself to have reached the “end of history,” in which no big dreams ought be strived, run by parents dedicated to the fiction that life is a non-event bereft of hardship. Who wouldn’t be miserable? Who wouldn’t be angry?
posted by Existential Dread at 10:02 PM - 49 comments

You make me so happy it turns back to sad

Taylor has a new song out. I find it more appealing than LWYMMD. In fact, it's Gorgeous.
posted by hippybear at 7:56 PM - 55 comments

The whisper network

“[The] news has brought to the surface the private conversations women have been having — the warnings whispered to each other to avoid getting hurt. As women have written in the past few days, these whisper networks are a lifeline...
They have helped keep me safe. But a concern keeps gnawing at my conscience, and I don’t have an answer: What about the women who don’t get this information?
Relying on a whisper network isn’t enough; the current situation is unacceptable, and we need to think about what we can do to change it.”

It’s time to weaponize the "whisper network”
posted by Grandysaur at 7:39 PM - 39 comments

Fornasetti Small-Scale Archtecture

He's been called a surrealist but he seems more of a classicist with a touch of surrealism. Back in the 1950s Fornasetti, along with Gio Ponti, started making limited editions of architecturally interesting furniture. Most of them are in museums now but here's one went that went to auction, having once been owned by Henry Bernard, the French architect and Fornasetti's friend: Sinai & Sons Auction (be sure to click on "Read More") [more inside]
posted by MovableBookLady at 6:24 PM - 8 comments

A national seance

“I wanted the whole nation to be terrified,” he continues. “And yet they would be creating the very thing they’re terrified of. What if they wanted to see a ghost to the extent that they actually created it? What if they supernaturally held hands in the dark, millions of people all wanting the same thing to happen at the same time?” - 25 years later the cast and creators tell tell the story of Ghostwatch, the one of the BBC's most spooky and controversial shows. (Previously)
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM - 38 comments

Funny Girl

"There was an expectation that girls would be quieter. And wouldn't ruin their dresses and wouldn't be roughhousing and cracking jokes in church," she says. "And I was very often doing a lot of those things," thanks in part to her father's encouragement to let her be what she was: funny. Today we encourage our daughters to be ambitious and athletic, opinionated and outspoken. We want them focused on STEM and outfitted in T-shirts that read, "Who runs the world? Girls." But what if raising truly empowered girls also means raising funny ones? What if we teach our daughters that humor is their turf — just as much as any boy's? -- Want to raise an empowered girl? Then let her be funny. (By Ellen McCarthy, Washington Post)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:34 PM - 6 comments

The judge who codes

Profile by Sarah Jeong of U.S. District Court Judge for Northern California William Alsup, 72, the presiding judge in Oracle v. Google (about Android and Java APIs) and also will preside in Waymo v. Uber (previously.) Judge Alsup is a long-time ham radio operator and programs in BASIC.
posted by larrybob at 2:46 PM - 23 comments

Not your average felines

Adventure cats! They climb rock walls, they swim in the ocean (don't miss the instagram), they ride bicycles and motorcycles and skateboards and surfboards! But don't make them walk. [more inside]
posted by AFABulous at 2:16 PM - 11 comments

Beating on someone else’s drum is a big no-no. It’s a big dis …

An oral history of the 2002 movie Drumline. Nick Cannon's greatest gift to popular culture (and arguably the 'most sports movie ever' despite not featuring any actual sports) was inspired by superstar music producer Dallas Austin's years in his high school band, but it ended up becoming about the culture of halftime events at HBCUs. [more inside]
posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:56 PM - 17 comments

Am successfully passing as a cat. No one suspects a thing. Woof.

This is Nathan the Beach Cat, and she loves the beach. Video evidence [Facebook, cheery music]. Instagram
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:43 PM - 10 comments

A Mortician's Tale: “What would a mortician’s private emails look like?”

Video games have never really gotten death.... Death in games is a punishment, a roadblock, a temporary setback, an opportunity. It's not a real end; it's mechanical, never philosophical.... A Mortician's Tale ... takes death—the real thing, that universal human experience of being divorced from all sensation, from existence itself—and handles it in direct, even quotidian ways. It makes the end of life visible, and in doing so crafts one of the only meditations on death in videogames that feels authentic.
[more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:36 PM - 6 comments

The head of a fool on the neck of an ass

JP Koning presents a pictorial history of the Spanish dollar and its legacy around the world.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:06 PM - 6 comments

Playboy to Feature Its First Transgender Centerfold

When French model Ines Rau heard the news she would be centerfold, she cried from happiness. “It was a compliment like I’ve never had,” she said. (SL NYT)
posted by stillmoving at 12:20 PM - 27 comments

...where the reckoning of self happens.

What Miyazaki’s Heroines Taught Me About My Mixed-Race Identity, by writer and poet Nina Li Coomes. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:53 AM - 6 comments

Human Extinction

Kids? Just say no is an essay wherein the author propounds risk aversion, wrapped in a moral imperative to do no harm, or "anti-natalism". In Tropical Depressions the authors circumvent an idea of "human utilitarianism" in order to survey affective disorders and ecological expressions of morbidity. Bookmark this apocrypha between streams of "Electric Dreams" and Blade Runner 2049 in your First World Problems folder.
posted by marycatherine at 11:30 AM - 49 comments

Alternate histories and the "Mournful Dowry"

The Guns of the South and C.S.A. strike radically different tones, but both begin with the same ambitious objective: to venture an answer to the question of whether, given a change in historical course, America’s original sin might be redeemable. The black filmmaker answers a resounding “no,” while the white science-fiction writer a hopeful “maybe,” but they both exemplify the genre of alternate history at its best and most compelling: savvy, thoughtful, entertaining, and provocative. They do more than speculate about history as it might have been: they challenge their audience to think about history as it is, and history as it is told.
Renee de Groot examines some of the more than 150 American Civil War alternate histories which have been written since 1900.
posted by Rumple at 10:03 AM - 40 comments


If you hold one mental image of [mathematician] Andrew Wiles, he wants it to be this: not the triumphant scholar with the medal around his neck, but the child learning to glory in the state of being stuck. Wiles is famous for cracking Fermat's Last Theorem. He was asked by blogger Ben Orlin what themes he would like to share with a broad public audience. So he talked about being stuck. [more inside]
posted by storybored at 8:51 AM - 22 comments

“It’s so complicated,”

Rupi Kaur Is Kicking Down the Doors of Publishing [The New York Times] “In the three years since her blockbuster “Milk and Honey” was first self-published and later picked up by Andrews McMeel Publishing, she has dealt with all the issues other women face on Instagram and off: comparisons, aggression, bullying. But she has also built a community and an audience there in particular, with 1.6 million followers. Daunted by the tough stuff, she remained, because “it came back to the accessibility,” she said. “Instagram makes my work so accessible and I was able to build a readership,” Ms. Kaur said recently in a cafe in SoHo. “But then I always feel like within the literary world there’s of course downsides, because you have that label attached to your work and then, for some reason, that means you aren’t a credible literary source.”” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 8:35 AM - 19 comments

The Colonel Rocks Social Media

Just last night, someone on Twitter noticed that the official account for KFC was actually following some people - eleven, to be precise. He took a closer look to find out why.... [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:26 AM - 37 comments

A Catfishing With a Happy Ending

Pretty much your run of the mill "lonely old man deceives lonely young woman on the internet" story, but with a nice (and heart-warming) twist.
posted by Hartster at 7:00 AM - 28 comments

You're a quack smudge on these lockers called life

Hello. We trained predictive keyboards on 'Scrubs' scripts and wrote the exact average episode of 'Scrubs' (single link to a tweet)
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:23 AM - 44 comments

San Marino wants YOU ... to compete at Eurovision

After limited success since joining the contest in 2008 -- one Grand Final appearance in eight tries -- San Marino's national broadcaster, RTV, is teaming up with 1in360.com to find "The Internet Candidate" for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Ten finalists will have the opportunity to compete to represent the country in Lisbon; keeping in line with Eurovision's mission to promote technological innovation, "parts of the [final round] will be filmed and broadcast in 360 and virtual reality." If you wanna be seen by everyone, wanna be in the dream and have some fun ... if you wanna be on the hook, simply take a look! [more inside]
posted by zebra at 6:01 AM - 8 comments

There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch

Cosmic Crisp is the next thing in apples -- 12 million cloned offsets to be planted, their apples in stores maybe in 2019. Higher prices for sweeter crisper fruit. [more inside]
posted by clew at 1:33 AM - 111 comments

October 19

all-sequined sheath dresses, ridiculous ruffles, giant fake rhinestones

Tacky is also a way of saying, “That is too much.” It’s a way to say, “Hush.” You’re too loud, too bright, too attention-seeking. You take up too much space. You’re too costume-y. You’re too dramatic. Your excesses are not welcome here. Its antithesis is that old chestnut “flattering,” which, in my experience, applies to any item of clothing that makes you seem smaller than you are, both in personality and in physical size. (See also “tasteful,” which assumes a hell of a lot about whose taste you are trying to please.) An essay on tackiness, by Margaret Eby.
posted by Grandysaur at 6:27 PM - 36 comments

An Anatomy of the Worst Game in ‘Jeopardy!’ History

"...yet still nothing could have prepared us for Tuesday night: the worst game in Jeopardy! history. That, my friends, is the moment that then–two-day winner Manny Abell became a three-day winner with a sum of one (1) dollar, besting his opponents’ combined total of zero (0) dollars. ... Our boy Manny, who entered Final Jeopardy in third, is responsible for the greatest abomination in the long history of Jeopardy!dom. And he will get to come back for more."
posted by Evilspork at 5:41 PM - 41 comments

California bans salary history requirements

The new law, banning employers from asking about salary history, goes into effect Jan 1, 2018. AB 168 also requires employers to provide the pay scale on request - no more, "tell us what you made before, and we'll tell you if you might be a candidate for the position." [more inside]
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:27 PM - 98 comments

The Ad Man and the Opiate

How the Sacklers, especially Arthur, helped create the current opiod crisis.
posted by MovableBookLady at 2:27 PM - 40 comments

critters of youtube

dogs trying on halloween costumes | cats trying on halloween costumes
posted by phunniemee at 2:01 PM - 7 comments

I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference

While Google Street View may have made it easy to see the world from a roadway (also, also), as well as other selected locations, allowing some people to curate artistic and fascinating vistas from the automated panoramas, since 1999 Untraveled road allows travelers to document scenic views themselves and identify must-see locations for fellow travelers. While focused on the United States and more specifically National Parks and Monuments, as well as US highways, Canada, England and Italy are also represented. If you don't know where to start, check out locations popular today.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:18 PM - 6 comments

Crash crash crash, but not for real REALS

DestructionNation posted a series of videos where they drive virtual vehicles over 100 consecutive speed bumps at high speeds in the simulation video game, BeamNG.drive. Oddly relaxing and hypnotic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:40 PM - 46 comments

I think it is our national sin.

Gregg Popovich is head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. At a time when black athletes and even black sports reporters are being targeted by Trump, Popovich has spent much of the past year stepping outside of his normally reserved role to use his white privilege in ways perhaps no white man in sports ever has.
posted by Bob Regular at 12:28 PM - 37 comments


So you want to make a stamp? This letterboxer will walk you through every step - from choosing your rubber to carving tips & tricks. If you want reclaimed materials, try corks or styrofoam. Or you can use paper strips infused with glue. The versatile potato may also be your friend.
posted by sibilatorix at 12:11 PM - 6 comments

Marmaduke is no longer a suspect

The strip in question shows Jon grabbing a cup on the counter and taking a big swig, apparently in the belief that it's filled with coffee. "Congratulations, Mr. Arbuckle," says Liz. "You are going to give birth to a fine, healthy litter of puppies." That Jon drinks dog semen has become an article of faith among many Garfield fans.

Was this interpretation right or was it wrong? For years the debate has raged, but we may finally have received a definitive answer:

Garfield Creator Jim Davis Denies That Jon Drinks Dog Semen In A 1990 Comic Strip
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:43 AM - 138 comments

Manipulative bastard, your name is C̸a̸t̸ Dog

Dogs really do turn on the puppy eyes when humans look at them, according to researchers studying canine facial expressions. Scientists have discovered that dogs produce more facial movements when a human is paying attention to them – including raising their eyebrows, making their eyes appear bigger – than when they are being ignored or presented with a tasty morsel (study).
[more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:25 AM - 19 comments

Even k9 failures are good dogs, Brent

They just don't care to sniff for bombs (slWaPo)
posted by k5.user at 11:18 AM - 21 comments

So pure even my mom couldn't find anything negative to say

The cutest cockatiel sneezes you will ever see

Supplemental material:
Cockatiel sings to baby (sample comment: Magical moment caught on video. "Welcome to earth little one, may your journey be blessed" the cockatiel sings.)
Cockatiel sings Totoro theme
Cockatiel sings dubstep
Cockatiel plays the drum

posted by sunset in snow country at 10:01 AM - 13 comments

museum camouflage

Photographer Stefan Draschan haunts the art museums, waiting to capture photos of People Matching Artworks. Other projects include People Sleeping in Museums and Couples Matching.
posted by moonmilk at 8:58 AM - 6 comments

I think I may sneeze.

The complete (so far) Gazorra TNG Edits. Returning to the internet thanks to the deniably plausible youtuber Byron Hussie. A fresh new shelf for a mefi fave (Previously. Very Previously.) Because unceasing suffering needs some laugh breaks. [more inside]
posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:49 AM - 22 comments

The Players' Tunnel

The players' tunnel at Stadion Rajko Mitić in Belgrade is infamous. Why? Experience the walk for yourself (loud volume!) on the day of the Eternal Derby.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:31 AM - 16 comments

'Tis the no'

“Look, I don't mean to be hyperbolic (I do), but trust me when I say that candy corn is quite possibly the biggest possible affront to the world's best food group. (No disrespect meant if you're one of those people who love the controversial kernels, but let's talk because I have a lot of questions for you.) Whatever your opinions on the waxy pellets of sugary doom, I'm pretty sure that we can agree on this: candy corn most certainly does not belong on pizza.” [via: Teen Vogue]
posted by Fizz at 7:37 AM - 95 comments

Good morning! Ecological Armageddon is Here

Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished FROM The Guardian: “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.” [more inside]
posted by pjsky at 7:06 AM - 45 comments

All in the game

Davon Mayer was a smalltime dealer in west Baltimore who made an illicit deal with local police. When they turned on him, he decided to get out – but escaping that life would not prove as easy as falling into it
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:29 AM - 5 comments

We did this.

After almost a month of coalition negotiations, 37 year old Jacinda Ardern will be New Zealand’s second-youngest Prime Minister ever. [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert at 5:21 AM - 29 comments

Blackcurrant cordial with hot water

‘Just let her do the album by herself’: An oral history of Bic Runga’s Drive
posted by Sebmojo at 2:41 AM - 5 comments

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