August 26

Philly train station's iconic flipping departures board will be replaced

Philadelphia's 30th Street Station is home to one of the few remaining "split-flap display" departure boards. The flipping, clicking board, which is managed on four desktop computers running Windows 95, will soon be replaced by a digital display. Other stations' split-flap display boards have been replaced by digital displays that try and mimic the look and sounds of the original. Aficionados and nostalgics, take note: the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg may be acquiring 30th Street's board. Interested in seeing a split-flap board in action before they're all gone? Wikipedia has a list of remaining boards around the world.
posted by duffell at 6:33 AM - 0 comments

Fart Touch

Fart Touch
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:32 AM - 7 comments

University of Chicago writes a letter to its incoming freshman

The University of Chicago does not condone the creation of intellectual 'safe spaces'. [more inside]
posted by heyho at 4:52 AM - 48 comments

Utah doom

Salt Lake City progressive doom band SubRosa play a three-song set at Hellfest 2014. [Fat of the Ram, 0.04; Ghosts of a Dead Empire, 15.40; The Usher, 27:50.] [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:28 AM - 1 comment

August 25

iPhone security hack

A truly horrendous zero-day exploit has been revealed which targets the iPhone. Apple has issued an emergency update to correct it and advises all iPhone users to update immediately. The latest OS version, and only safe one, is 9.3.5. (More coverage)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:23 PM - 75 comments

How the Hunt Brothers Cornered the Silver Market and Then Lost it All

From a spot price of around $6 per ounce in early 1979, the price of silver shot up to $50.42 in January of 1980. In the same week, silver futures contracts were trading at $46.80. Film companies like Kodak saw costs go through the roof, while the British film producer, Ilford, was forced to lay off workers. Traditional bullion dealers, caught in a squeeze, cried foul to the commodity exchanges, and the New York jewelry house Tiffany & Co. took out a full page ad in the New York Times slamming the “unconscionable” Hunt brothers. They were right to single out the Hunts; in mid-January, they controlled 69% of all the silver futures contracts on the Commodity Exchange (COMEX) in New York.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:10 PM - 20 comments

El sueno americano

Tom Kiefer was named one of the 50 best emerging photographers for 2015 in the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards based on his El Sueno Americano project, which emerged from his work as a janitor at the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Over an 11-year period, he salvaged and cataloged hundreds of personal items thrown away in the facility. [more inside]
posted by drlith at 6:57 PM - 4 comments

Fingerwave Saint

“I wanted to create images that portray black women in a way that would inspire them not to be necessarily pretty, which is what most beauty stuff is about, but to kind of embody that and more within themselves,” Ms. Crowe said [NYT]. “Everything starts within you and how you feel about yourself. It’s just trying to glorify black women and make them imagine themselves beyond their wildest dreams.” [more inside]
posted by hilaryjade at 5:09 PM - 4 comments

Not just a menu item, but a way of lunch

The Slow & Sad Death of Seattle's Iconic Teriyaki Scene (Thrillist) But new Seattle -- with the locals priced out of the area, those that remain forgetting teriyaki exists, and newcomers ignoring it -- risks losing those real shops for good. Teriyaki could be heading the direction of deep-dish… just ask a Chicagoan about it and they’ll say, “Oh, that’s for tourists.” Teriyaki is from a different era, and it’s fading as fast as traffic-free days on I-5. Since teriyaki came to town, Seattle’s waved goodbye to the Kingdome, Kurt Cobain, and the Sonics. A signature stadium, a signature musician, a signature team -- and now, perhaps, a signature dish. [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave at 3:32 PM - 70 comments

Sail Away... Sail Away...

Because sometimes, when the stresses and hardships of earthly existence threaten to overwhelm, you just really need to see two Pokemon dancing to Orinoco Flow.
posted by garius at 3:31 PM - 30 comments

Una donna americana sta leggendo tutto il catalogo...

New York City's Karen Barbarossa is reading the Biblioteca Adelphi catalogue, in order, from 1965 through now. All of it. That's 653 titles, to date.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:58 PM - 7 comments

Narrative stinginess in binge-worthy shows.

"Delay of audience gratification has been a staple of episodic storytelling for a long time, but no show advanced the practice more than the grandfather of plotblocking, Lost. No matter how well-written the various flashbacks often were, the writers knew that what kept us hooked was the mystery of the island — and that storyline was illiberally meted out like capfuls of water to a thirsty man. Just enough to keep us alive. I’ve actually found that the shows that are the most “binge-worthy” are the most narratively stingy. You start each new episode almost out of frustration, hoping it will deliver a morsel of satisfaction, an inch of forward progress." Writer-director Andrew Matthews on Stranger Things and his idea of "plotblocking".
posted by gucci mane at 12:43 PM - 66 comments

The worst of the worst.

Where the Death Penalty Still Lives. In the U.S., 20 states and the District of Columbia have abolished capital punishment and four others have imposed a moratorium on executions. Of the 26 states that remain, only 14 handed down death sentences last year for a total of 50 across the country — less than half the number six years before. California, which issued more than one-quarter of last year’s death sentences, hasn’t actually executed anyone since 2006. A new geography of capital punishment is taking shape, with just two percent of the nation’s counties now accounting for a majority of the people sitting on death row. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 12:33 PM - 18 comments

Edible uses of cheese

In Sweden, they dice it and pour coffee over it, while in Minnesota they dice it and smother in crushed seasoned tortilla chips (previously). Some people add a banana on the side, or perhaps some blackberries. Other people turn it into waffles, or put it inside vegetables. TV chefs bake it with paprika, or turn it into a pinwheel. In Florida, it is hidden in pie crusts, while others hide it inside bread, and others drizzle honey on their balls. But how do you eat yours? [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 11:50 AM - 68 comments

Finger Lickin' Good

Ledington continues to leaf through the family scrapbook, pausing here and there to share a memory or an anecdote about his uncle [Harland Sanders]....But what I'm really interested in is the handwritten note on the back of the document. At the top of the page, in blue ink, it reads, "11 Spices — Mix With 2 Cups White Fl." That's followed by an enumerated list of herbs and spices. Eleven herbs and spices. And the measurements for each. [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:43 AM - 54 comments

"I encourage ESPYs to…change the category to Best Adaptive Athlete"

Bethany Hamilton: surfing with only one arm isn't as hard as beating the stigma (Guardian)

In Bethany Hamilton’s mind, winning the ESPY award for best female athlete with a disability would have been like “rewinding back to square one”—square one being the fateful day 13 years ago when she was attacked by a 14ft tiger shark and lost her left arm.

Which is why, this year, she withdrew her name from consideration.
[more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:33 AM - 4 comments

Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature

Microsoft Excel blamed for gene study errors. [G]ene symbols such as SEPT2 (Septin 2) and MARCH1 [Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase] are converted by default to ‘2-Sep’ and ‘1-Mar’, respectively.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 11:23 AM - 125 comments

All mixed up

What do we call people of multiple backgrounds? Leah Donnella writes about the complexities of naming yourself and being named by others. She also links to Evoking the Mulatto, a project to explore black mixed identity in the 21st century. [more inside]
posted by cubby at 11:23 AM - 10 comments

Come See the Softer Side of Sears

In the wake of Sears Holdings' reorganization of its assets, which included the liquidation of several of its brick-and-mortar outlets (including its former flagship store in Chicago), the Canadian arm of the retailer announced it was following in the stead of Yahoo! by revealing an in-house redesign of its logo as a reflection of the future, and its expected perseverance amid online competition.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:29 AM - 22 comments

What's it like to be a woman in comedy? Oh, it's my favorite question.

"If you watch a lot of television and you don't know what could happen to lesbians if they don't die, this is a show about that. I promise you, no lesbians die in this show." Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito play a lightly fictionalized version of themselves -- a married couple who co-host a standup comedy show in Los Angeles -- in their new sitcom, Take My Wife. [more inside]
posted by amnesia and magnets at 9:52 AM - 12 comments

An actual crime, or just “suspicious activity”

How Nextdoor.com is Tackling Its Racism Problem [more inside]
posted by almostmanda at 9:40 AM - 55 comments

“Fear is a natural response,”

One Third of Parents Avoid Reading Children Scary Stories, Study Finds [The Guardian] “A survey of 1,003 UK parents by online bookseller The Book People found that 33% would steer clear of books for their children containing frightening characters. Asked about the fictional creations they found scariest as children, a fifth of parents cited the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with the Child Catcher from Ian Fleming’s Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang in second place. Third was the Big Bad Wolf, in his grandmother-swallowing Little Red Riding Hood incarnation, fourth the Grand High Witch from Roald Dahl’s The Witches, and fifth Cruella de Vil, from Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians.”
posted by Fizz at 9:39 AM - 50 comments

Loomings

Loomings.net, not to be confused with loomings.com
posted by holmesian at 9:32 AM - 10 comments

"Do I save the robin, or do I eat it?"

Margaret Atwood (and artist Johnnie Christmas) have created Angel Catbird, a comic book about a winged human/cat/bird hybrid. It will be published by Dark Horse, and chronicles the adventures of a genetic engineer whose DNA is mixed with that of a cat, and an owl. The comic is part of her advocacy work for Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives.
posted by Shepherd at 9:05 AM - 7 comments

The Mammoth Pirates

In Russia's Arctic north, a new kind of gold rush is under way: With the sale of elephant tusks under close scrutiny, “ethical ivory” from the extinct woolly mammoth is now feeding an insatiable market in China. This rush on mammoth ivory is luring a fresh breed of miner – the tusker – into the Russian wilderness and creating dollar millionaires in some of the poorest villages of Siberia. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:36 AM - 16 comments

Zoe Quinn's new game.

Zoe Quinn's new game (SLYT).
posted by brevator at 4:11 AM - 47 comments

The Country Restaurant

The Most Exclusive Restaurant in America
Damon Baehrel’s methods are a marvel, and his tables are all booked until 2025. Or are they?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:25 AM - 84 comments

They do what they can, then move on.

For years, passengers on Washington State ferries have spent their trip working on communal jigsaw puzzles. It is a delightful, adorable thing. Here are some pictures. Here are a few more. The New York Times is on it.
posted by duffell at 3:04 AM - 32 comments

Nobody's Perfect...

Best Supporting Weirdo is a movie mashup of " interesting, eccentric, and iconic characters", introducing themselves, making famous moves and saying famous quotes, and reacting to everything (often with NSFW language).
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:50 AM - 18 comments

Turn and look

John V. Muntean's magic angle sculptures: The Shape of Imagination | Knight Mermaid Pirate Ship | Dragon Butterfly Jet
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:36 AM - 2 comments

Your Call: A young black man's education

Mychal Denzel Smith, author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, discusses his new book: "We have to be willing to let go of the things that we think that we like about ourselves because if they are things that deny others access to respect and dignity and humanity, then they're not things worth having. So we have to be willing to let go." (MDS: previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:34 AM - 2 comments

August 24

It's science, not mind-control!

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is an Alaska-based research facility that studies an energetic and active region of the upper atmosphere. It is a group of high-frequency radio transmitters that send a focused beam of radio-wave energy into the aurora zone. Last year, instead of shutting it down, the US Military sold HAARP to the University of Alaska Fairbanks . But conspiracy theories abound: for example, HAARP caused the Haiti earthquake, or controls the weather” This weekend, HAARP's new owner will hold an open house to prove the facility 'is not capable of mind control’
posted by leahwrenn at 8:22 PM - 64 comments

A large pot of tea would have already been prepared

The light had to be wound up like a giant grandfather clock every 30 minutes. Every 20 minutes we pumped up the air pressure to the paraffin. This was a subtle ruse to keep us awake and alert, as was the little hammer that banged away on the brass every second through the night. At the highest level the light itself burned and the giant mirrors, the reflectors, turned like a slow-motion merry-go-round supported on a huge bath of mercury. To light the paraffin you had to cause a mini explosion in the light room, allowing a small cloud of paraffin vapour to form in the air, shielding your face while igniting the gas with a burning taper.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:06 PM - 37 comments

Company Hop Farms, Brew Tanks, Distributors Oh My!

What "Selling Out" Allows a Craft Brewery to Do (Serious Eats) Far be it from me to act as a propaganda arm for a $200 billion company headquartered in...uh, is it Belgium at the moment? But I thought it was time someone went to the original founders and employees of the numerous craft breweries that have been acquired, not just by ABI but by other corporate beverage behemoths, like Constellation Brands, Heineken, and Mahou San Miguel, to try to get the full story. What's been going on since these acquisitions—for better or for worse? Does anything actually improve when Big Beer buys you? [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave at 3:00 PM - 64 comments

It's a feel-good story

Rings is a movie that is a sequel to the movie Ring, a heart-warming tale about a little girl who falls in a well. Here, she gets out of the well again and gets to meet lots and lots of people, including everybody on a plane! I mean she kills them all, but those are the times we live in.
posted by angrycat at 2:06 PM - 76 comments

Read Like a Victorian

VictorianSerialNovels.org is a project by Dr. Robyn Warhol and her student Colleen Morrissey that helps you read Victorian novels in serial, as they would have been experienced by readers at the time. The site currently covers three time periods: 1846 - 1848, 1859-1861, and 1864-1866. Texts are sourced from project Gutenberg and Librivox (when available).
posted by Going To Maine at 2:06 PM - 5 comments

Green Homes, With a Dash of Hyperbole

Green Homes That Will Make You Want To Go Off The Grid And Live In A Forest If living in a tropical bamboo home nestled inside a green village on the island of Bali doesn't sound better than a skyrise apartment in a concrete jungle, then I just can't even.
posted by Michele in California at 1:51 PM - 32 comments

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor

After almost two weeks of speculation, it has been announced in Nature: At a distance of 1.295 parsecs, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri is the Sun’s closest stellar neighbor and one of the best-studied low-mass stars. Here we report observations that reveal the presence of a small planet with a minimum mass of about 1.3 Earth masses orbiting Proxima with a period of approximately 11.2 days at a semi-major-axis distance of around 0.05 astronomical units. Its equilibrium temperature is within the range where water could be liquid on its surface. (paywalled article w/ abstract) [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:56 AM - 80 comments

El Paquete Semanal

The Cuban CDN El Paquete is a weekly service where someone (typically found through word of mouth) comes to your home with a disk (usually a 1TB external USB drive) containing a weekly download of the most recent films, soap operas, documentaries, sport, music, mobile apps, magazines, and even web sites. [more inside]
posted by srboisvert at 11:53 AM - 7 comments

(what the dormouse said)

"Welcome to Five Course Trivia! Five days a week, we’ll post five questions about something from the culinary world, from soup to nuts and all dishes in between."
posted by Iridic at 11:28 AM - 10 comments

A project of the Rational Dress Society

"Just as we reject the mini-mansion in favor of the city, refuse the automobile in favor of the train, JUMPSUIT offers a way to forego the insular logic of self-expression in favor of forming communal bonds." [more inside]
posted by enn at 11:13 AM - 112 comments

Have You Ever Tried to Buy an EpiPen?

Many adults and children with severe allergies rely on the EpiPen for emergencies. However, since 2008, the cost for a package of two has gone from $95 to $608, a price jump of more than 450%. This jump coincides with the purchase of the device by Mylan Pharmaceuticals. But why has the price of EpiPens skyrocketed? (NYT) [more inside]
posted by Existential Dread at 10:32 AM - 137 comments

#breakfast

"By elevating the otherwise ordinary experience of eating breakfast into a social event, even if that socializing is all digital, the solitude of many breakfasts becomes more bearable." Breakfast on Instagram Is Magical and Insanely Popular, by Alana Massey for Extra Crispy.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:13 AM - 22 comments

dragging around your case files vs. telling the truth with vulnerability

"...there's no lasting glory there, in the middle of a dude entourage. Sometimes you feel like the smartest of the lot, the funniest, the most insightful, the most interesting. But then you realize you're just the girlfriend. And after that, you're just the ex-girlfriend. You don't matter at all. Everyone pledged to be friends forever, but you were the one who didn't matter."
posted by amnesia and magnets at 9:50 AM - 24 comments

The good, the bad and the downright disgraceful.

The Best and Worst of Olympics Reporting on Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas
The international media is aflutter with assessments of the Olympic Games, but how did the media themselves fare in reporting on the city of Rio and its favelas?
posted by adamvasco at 9:01 AM - 4 comments

This post is under 24 hour video surveillance

Brockville, Ontario is the newest place to add an Internet Purchase Exchange location to their municipality -- this one in a video surveilled section of the police parking lot. The idea seems to be relatively recent, but catching on, starting with one of the first in Mobile, Alabama and now with locations in Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Utah, and across Canada. With over 100 murders now linked to Craigslist, is this an idea whose time has come?
posted by Shepherd at 8:26 AM - 25 comments

Sega Digitizes What Nintendon't

The Sega Digitizer System, a tool used by graphic designers in late 80s/early 90s.
posted by griphus at 7:49 AM - 12 comments

The sky over Baltimore city was the color of a dull nickel...

‘OK, this is it,’ ” Stanley recalls. “I said to myself, ‘This is where the rubber hits the road. The technology has finally arrived, and Big Brother, which everyone has always talked about, is finally here.’
Monte Reel at Bloomberg in his article "Secret Cameras Record Baltimore's Every Move from Above" about how Persistent Surveillance Systems Inc. brought an air force surveillance system from Fallujah to Balitmore.
posted by ennui.bz at 6:54 AM - 29 comments

Bandcamp Daily

According to the NYT, Bandcamp has "hired a smart staff to create about 20 times the amount of editorial content that had been there previously, writing about music that had just been posted as well as parts of its deep and woolly catalog, in a feature called “Bandcamp Daily.”" [more inside]
posted by rebent at 6:29 AM - 24 comments

Rio Olympics : Did the IOC's gamble pay off

BBC: Awarding the Olympic Games to the Brazilian city of Rio in 2009 was viewed as a gamble by some critics. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saw it as the perfect opportunity to re-emphasise its core message of taking the spirit of sport to as many people as possible. IOC president Thomas Bach maintains it was a risk worth taking. "The Brazilians were great hosts and really united behind these Games," he said. "They turned this great competition into a party for everybody."
posted by marienbad at 6:02 AM - 49 comments

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