The story of Dr Zhivago’s publication is, like the novel itself, a cat’s cradle, an eternal zigzag of plotlines, coincidences, inconsistencies and maddening disappearances. The book was always destined to become a ‘succès de scandale’, in Berlin’s words, but the machinations and competing energies that went into seeing it into print, on the one hand, and trying to stop it going to print, on the other, make it the perfect synecdoche for that feint, counterfeint round of pugilism we call the Cold War.
—The Writer and the Valet
by Frances Stonor Saunders tells the story of Isaiah Berlin's part in publishing Boris Pasternak's novel Dr. Zhivago while Michael Scammell details the CIA's role
posted by Kattullus at 12:48 AM - 0 comments
Bicycling took off in Cuba
in the 1990s during a period of oil scarcity, and became an important means of business and daily travel. Since then motor vehicles have returned to prominence, and new bicycle parts are in short supply. A small network of mechanics trades used parts and applies their ingenuity to maintain Cuba's aging fleet.
posted by domnit at 6:02 PM - 4 comments
is a podcast wherein comedian April Richardson
and a weekly guest watch every Saved By the Bell
episode and discuss/critique them. She's almost done with the over 80 episodes (not including the larval form Good Morning, Miss Bliss
or the College Years
sequel), but you should probably start from the beginning
. [more inside]
posted by likeatoaster at 5:15 PM - 8 comments
How Long Does It Take to Get to Tatooine? [The New Yorker]
"We use much more brainpower on subjects that interest us."
posted by Fizz at 12:19 PM - 14 comments
"Longings and Desires"
, a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:02 AM - 26 comments
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
My father was introduced to the Fashion District
by his gay cousin, Napoleon Garcia, who would drag him to get yards of fabric at wholesale stores downtown. "Tito Nap," as I used to call him, was a fabulous man who was as fun as his colorful fashions.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:08 AM - 5 comments
Toward a Unified Theory of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Kim Kardashian—and maybe Kim Kardashian alone—has figured out how to make a fortune on the countless hours of emotional labor most women are expected to perform for free: smiling, looking pretty, being accommodating, being charming, being a good hostess.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:52 AM - 31 comments
Indian classical music mourns the untimely death of a child prodigy who grew into a graceful maestro.
Srinivas -- who introduced the mandolin to Indian classical music -- was one of the giants. Shockingly dead at 45, gone just far too young.
in. [more inside]
posted by rahulrg at 9:20 AM - 5 comments
Photographer Vanessa Ahlsborn's Machete Project "is an ongoing portrait and object archive that showcases the diversity of this blade style and the beauty of its users. Despite their fearsome reputation in western news media and popular culture, the machete is an extremely versatile and commonplace asset for many people across the world. By documenting the everyday user for whom the machete is an invaluable tool, the project seeks to question the viewer's assumptions about the machete, and by extension, the people who use it." [more inside]
posted by Dip Flash at 6:28 AM - 23 comments
Direct your eye-sight inward, and you'le find / A thousand regions in your mind / Yet undiscover'd. Travell them, and be / Expert in home Cosmographie
. / This you may doe safe both from rocke and shelfe : / Man's a whole world within himselfe. - Habington, 1635
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:24 AM - 4 comments
Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves?
William Langewiesche examines the ways in which airplane automation, entrenched cockpit culture, and difficult flying conditions led to the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, resulting in 228 deaths. [more inside]
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:16 AM - 57 comments
The secret ingredient in Geoff Beattie’s rich dark fruit cake.
Need a heartwarming story? "Geoff Beattie had arrived. Show after show, city after city, state after state, word began to spread about the mysterious widowed dairy farmer who was toppling the greats of Australian show cooking." Might you or someone you know have had a similar experience?
posted by gusset at 3:19 AM - 38 comments
"Face It, Tiger
" (the debut single!): your new favorite comicbook band is the Mary Janes. Vocals by Mary Jane Watson, drums by the amazing Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman
After building fan buzz
for months with her striking costume
debuted this week in the comic Edge of Spider-Verse #2
, which you can preview here
. In this alternate universe, Gwen Stacy was the hero who gained superpowers from that fateful spider-bite. Spider-Gwen has drawn critical praise
, while her debut comic has already sold to a second printing
Meanwhile, Edge of Spider-Verse
is a miniseries prelude to Spider-Verse
, Marvel's forthcoming Spider-Family Crossover comicbook-selling-event that vows to feature (almost) "every Spider-Man ever
For more deeply nerdy spider-geekery, read on. [more inside]
posted by nicebookrack at 11:47 PM - 13 comments
The final film in the Atlas Shrugged
) is now in theaters and the reaction has been a stupendous... meh
. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:46 PM - 126 comments
Wasteland 2 (previously)
, brought to life by the love of gamers everywhere, officially released today
. A direct sequel to Wasteland
from 1988 and a spiritual sibling to Fallout 1, 2, 3, and Vegas
, it was developed through a Kickstarter project started by Brian Fargo
. With an initial Kickstarter goal of $900,000, it quickly raised $2.9 million instead
. Reviews have been pretty good
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:04 PM - 69 comments
Prison gangs are becoming the custodians of order behind bars and on the streets
Books such as Christian Parenti's, Lockdown America
, and David Skarbek's,The Social Order of the Underworld
posit the idea that prison gangs such as the Aryan Nation
, The Mexican Mafia
, The Black Guerrilla Family
, and others serve a useful function. Prison gangs in an effort to keep their business interests going want order. Multiple gangs keep the other gangs in check. With the US having one of, if not the highest rate of incarceration it may be impossible to maintain any semblance of order without the gangs.
posted by 2manyusernames at 4:19 PM - 38 comments
The political economy of a universal basic income
: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable
given the demographics of ideology... UBI
— defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable
and politically achievable
among policies that might effectively address problems
of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 3:45 PM - 51 comments
This morning, the New York Times published "Wrought in Their Creator’s Image
", an article talking about the new network series “How to Get Away With Murder", produced by Shonda Rimes
and starring Viola Davis. The articles claims about the beauty and character of Black women have created a discussion, from Rimes herself
and others about the stereotype of the "angry Black woman
" and whether Ms. Davis is, as the Times suggests #lessclassicallybeautiful
than other women because of the age and color of her skin.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:35 AM - 49 comments
Parks and Recreation
's Aubrey Plaza has just been named as the voice of Grumpy Cat
in the upcoming movie Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever
. This is not the first time Plaza's acted in an Internet meme turned movie: she was in Safety Not Guaranteed
(based on a personal ad hiring a time-travelling assistant
as well as CollegeHumour's fake Daria trailer (prev)
. Will it do better than The Slender Man
or Snakes on a Plane
posted by divabat at 10:32 AM - 56 comments
"This is a column about Katie Ledecky.
It has a simple thesis. The thesis is that Katie Ledecky kicks ass."
posted by troika at 10:07 AM - 28 comments
Circular Confabulation: [Vimeo]
"A collection of diverse artifacts gathered in the forest, each one is representing a person who participated in the 2008 Bilderberg meeting at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia, United States. The topic at that specific meeting was cyber terrorism. It was recorded by an anonymous security guard and then encrypted."
posted by Fizz at 9:22 AM - 12 comments
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is now living in Williamsburg.
When he's not plotting a return to power (charges
of corruption and human rights violations in his home country notwithstanding), he is trying to live a "normal life" in the neighborhood synonymous with hipsters and Hasids. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:11 AM - 18 comments
What do you do with a vintage synth keyboard collection but not enough ways to make use of them all? Well, if you're Graham Massey, and you stumbled across the forgotten history of Women's Organ Quartets who might have overwhelmed the senses of audiences with their weird electronic music, you put together a four-woman keyboard band, and you take up the drums. Read on, for the story of the Sisters of Transistors
, "a tale which wanders between truth, history and myth, and involves panic in America, army issue organs, a Derbyshire pub and a member of 808 State!
" [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM - 7 comments
is a short documentary about Klaus Kemp, master of the Victorian art of diatom arrangement. (via
posted by stoneweaver at 7:26 AM - 3 comments
The assumption that synthetic biology makes it easy for anybody to “engineer biology” is not true.
The underlying vision holds that well-characterized biological parts can be easily obtained from open-source online registries and then assembled, by people with no specialist training outside professional scientific institutions, into genetic circuits, devices and systems that will reliably perform desired functions in live organisms.
This vision, however, does not even reflect current realities in academic or commercial science laboratories
posted by sammyo at 6:44 AM - 13 comments
Avast ye maties, it be Talk Like A Pirate Day! When ye be finished dressin up to get free donuts
, take a look at this beauty of a link
, where a man wonders 'bout the existence of black pirates!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:05 AM - 31 comments
The most feminist moments in sci-fi history
-- from 1905 Indian feminist proto-sf to the rescue of Star Trek by female fans and beyond.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:58 AM - 15 comments
The dance of the peacock spider
"With their ornately-colored bodies, rhythmic pulsations, and booty-shaking dance moves, male peacock spiders attract the attention of spectating females as well as researchers. One such animal behavior specialist, Madeline Girard
, collected more than 30 different peacock spider species from the wilds of Australia and brought them back to her lab at UC Berkeley. Under controlled conditions, she recorded their unique dances in the hopes of deciphering what these displays actual say to a female spider and how standards differ between species.'
posted by dhruva at 8:12 PM - 21 comments
« Older posts