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November 21

Ursula K. Le Guin on writing and freedom at the National Book Awards

On Wed Nov 19, 2014, in an awards ceremony emceed by Daniel Handler-aka-Lemony Snicket, Ursula K. Le Guin gave "the most ferocious speech ever given at the National Book Awards." Le Guin's acceptance speech for the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters touched on the Amazon vs Hachette throwdown and the practice of art in an age of capitalism. Video. Transcription.
Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings.
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:51 PM - 8 comments

How To Make Streaming Royalties Fair(er)

Let’s change how streaming royalties are calculated, and save the full-length album while we’re at it
posted by anazgnos at 4:30 PM - 30 comments

Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape

A new paper in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest Provides a detailed and comprehensive look at the gender gap between men and women in academic science.

Their (surprisingly optimistic?) conclusion?: Barriers to women’s full participation in mathematically intensive academic science fields are rooted in pre-college factors and the subsequent likelihood of majoring in these fields, and future research should focus on these barriers rather than misdirecting attention toward historical barriers that no longer account for women’s underrepresentation in academic science.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:13 PM - 22 comments

Akai Gurley

Last night, a 28 year old man named Akai Gurley was shot to death in a stairwell by an NYPD officer who was patrolling the Pink Houses in East New York. Gurley and his girlfriend had decided to take the stairs because the elevator was taking too long. Police Commissioner Bratton said today that the victim was “a total innocent” and called the shooting "an unfortunate accident." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:54 PM - 66 comments

The Real Lolita

Sally Horner was abducted by Frank La Salle in 1948. In Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Humbert Humbert asks: “Had I done to Dolly, perhaps, what Frank Lasalle [sic], a fifty-year-old mechanic, had done to eleven-year-old Sally Horner in 1948?” In Hazlitt magazine, Sarah Weinman tells the whole story & explores the similarities between Sally & Dolly. [potential triggers]
posted by chavenet at 1:40 PM - 14 comments

You make me days sour and my nights rancid. (SLCH)

The first son is named Royce, the second son is named Preston, the third son is named Lance And Blake (two names for just one son), and the fourth son is the dreaded Laramie. Which one of my toxic sons are you? Take this quiz to find out!
posted by graphnerd at 12:44 PM - 40 comments

The Illuminati Have A Website

"The Illuminati Organization is an elite collective of political leaders, business owners, entertainment celebrities, and other influential members of this planet. By uniting leaders of the world in an unrestrictive, private domain – free of political, religious, and geological boundaries – our organization helps to further the prosperity of the human species as a whole." The Illuminati sorta previously on Metafilter.
posted by marienbad at 12:25 PM - 28 comments

Were the Midterms Actually Bad News for the GOP?

A GOP columnist for the Houston Chronicle argues that the midterms signaled "spectacular, catastrophic failure" for the GOP. The columnist, Chris Ladd, identifies himself as a "GOPLifer." His assertion that the overwhelming Republican win on November 4 continued a very negative long term GOP demographic trend and ongoing failure to establish an appealing political platform has been recently highlighted by Lawrence O'Donnell and Daily Kos.
posted by bearwife at 11:51 AM - 95 comments

This spider rollin', they hatin', and tryin' to catch it to host larvae

The (Golden) Wheel spider is a huntsman spider native to the Namib Desert of Southern Africa. Like most other huntsman spiders, Wheel spiders don't spin webs, but build burrows in the sand that are reinforced by their silk, in an attempt to hide from their primary predators, the parasitic Pompilid or Spider Wasp. Enter the gymnastic abilities (and source of the name) for the Wheel spider, where the spider will curl up and roll down slope up to 1 meter per second to escape. But Wheel spider isn't the only huntsman to utilize a unique method to flee down hill. There's also the Moroccan flic-flac spider, named for the flic-flac motion of some gymnastic maneuvers (German video; turn on captions and translation for some assistance; description in English). The movement of this spider have inspired some robot designs (more information). And there are other "wheeling" insects, because it's faster to roll than run downhill. If the documentary footage of the Golden Wheel spider is all too serious, here are some clips of the Wheel spider set to music: let the good times roll, and this spider rollin' they hatin'.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:42 AM - 9 comments

Quite Pretty Until the Shoveling Starts

Drone footage of the snow storm aftermath in West Seneca. NY. [slyt | 4k]
posted by quin at 11:33 AM - 28 comments

[Chewie pauses by a pier-glass to slick down his hair]

In 1978, the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back was penned by a writer named Leigh Brackett. She passed away shortly thereafter and the script underwent a number of changes, first by George Lucas, before Lawrence Kasdan developed the final and more well-known screenplay. Brackett's initial draft is available for download here. The blog at starwarz.com highlights some of the more notable changes, such as Darth Vader not being Luke's father (though Luke's father appears as a character as a ghost Jedi on Dagoba), and a distinct lack of Boba Fett and carbon freezing. (Empire recently on the Blue) [more inside]
posted by dry white toast at 11:28 AM - 23 comments

'that's when it ... got started: When I began thinking I was special'

Since September 11, 2001, according to the START terrorism database, there have been twenty lethal terrorist attacks in the United States, resulting in the deaths of forty-six people. There have been, at most, a handful of assassinations. According to the FBI, from 2001 to 2011, there have been nearly 250 mass shootings, defined as the death of four or more people. According to USA Today, whose data on mass shootings is considered at least as reliable as the FBI's, there have been 191 mass shootings since 2006, with 34 described as "public" shootings—seemingly random events, stranger to stranger. Nearly a thousand people have died; many more have been wounded. What America feared after the 9/11 attacks—that it would be perpetually attacked by outsiders calling themselves Americans—finally has transpired, only with an awful twist: It is perpetually attacked by Americans who call themselves outsiders.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:04 AM - 39 comments

One of the oldest questions we have about ourselves.

Personhood Week: Why We’re So Obsessed with Persons, by Virginia Hughes (@virginiahughes), National Geographic:
"People have been trying to define personhood for a long time, maybe since the beginning of people. The first recorded attempt came from Boethius, a philosopher from 6th-Century Rome, who said a person was 'an individual substance of rational nature.' Fast-forward a thousand years and Locke says it's about rationality, self-awareness, and memory. Kant adds that humans have 'dignity,' an intrinsic ability to freely choose. In 1978, Daniel Dennett says it's intelligence, self-awareness, language, and being 'conscious in some special way' that other animals aren't. The next year Joseph Fletcher lays out 15 criteria (!), including a sense of futurity, concern for others, curiosity, and even IQ."
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:53 AM - 7 comments

Intersex Awareness

Inter/Act Youth is a group for young people with intersex conditions or disorders of sex development (DSDs) who share their stories with the world. Their parent organization is Advocate for Informed Choice, a legal group that works to stop irreversible "corrective/normalizing surgeries" on infants who cannot consent to the medically unnecessary procedures. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:10 AM - 16 comments

They still do not sell t-shirts.

27 years after their recording, Fugazi gives their first set of demos an official release. Alternative Press checks in with an appreciation (with SoundCloud streams of the entire release). The Washington Post recounts the band's early years. [more inside]
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:58 AM - 31 comments

Tchotchkes of our inner lives

There is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar — these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. Ian Urbina looks at The Secret Lives of Passwords for the NYT Magazine. (Possible trigger warning - opens with Cantor Fitzgerald looking for passwords the day after 9/11.) [more inside]
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:20 AM - 30 comments

How to Endear Yourself to an Asian Woman Writer

Here Be Dragons
People in the US are usually surprised when I say that my Thai mother lives in Ireland. “How did that happen? That’s so strange.” Strange, and their little laugh that accompanies the statement, are code for their assumptions about the education and mobility of this foreign woman of color, who in this case is my mom. She most recently worked for Salesforce, a fast growing tech company headquartered in San Francisco. When she moved to Singapore it was to work for Intel, another large tech company. She is ambitious and accomplished. She defies the stereotypes. My dad runs up against a different stereotype. That he, a white American man, lives in Thailand is not unusual. White American Men have more world-conquering powers according to a general, Western, unexamined assumption of normalcy.
posted by infini at 7:16 AM - 24 comments

Liberal Dude Erotica

#all men are garbage but this kind especially
posted by ellieBOA at 5:09 AM - 179 comments

A tale of music and memory unspooled through a schoolgirl's mixtape

Groove Is in the Heart celebrates the ritual of recording a compilation tape in the days before the infinite jukebox of the internet. [5-minute Guardian microplay] [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri at 3:56 AM - 40 comments

Conventionality Belongs to Yesterday

1980 Frankie Valli & The Commodores - Grease - Lots of white pants and rhinestones and people having fun. [more inside]
posted by vapidave at 12:35 AM - 18 comments

November 20

Kiwi tastes a golden nugget. It's delicious.

Nuggets, by Andreas Hykade, is a short animated film about addiction. [SLYT]
posted by Room 641-A at 11:16 PM - 24 comments

Punching in a nightmare

Requiem for Rod Serling "In his work, Serling would return often to the hardships of the war-weary, but he reserved some of his most powerful observations for broken-down boxers, particularly those who failed to achieve stardom."
posted by bitmage at 7:13 PM - 24 comments

"What I want to talk shit on is the paradigm of the Big Idea."

"I have worked at international development NGOs almost my entire career ... I’ve been frustrated by the same inefficiencies and assumptions of my sector that are now getting picked apart in public. Like the authors, donors, and governments attacking international development, I’m sometimes disillusioned with what my job requires me to do, what it requires that I demand of others. Over the last year, I read every book, essay, and roman à clef about my field I could find. I came out convinced that the problems with international development are real, they are fundamental, and I might, in fact, be one of them. But I also found that it’s too easy to blame the PlayPumps of the world. Donors, governments, the public, the media, aid recipients themselves—they all contribute to the dysfunction. Maybe the problem isn’t that international development doesn’t work. It’s that it can’t."
posted by ChuraChura at 5:22 PM - 41 comments

Always on Twine

Laura Hudson at NYT Magazine offers a great profile of Porpentine, one of the most talented voices working in an ultra-accessible medium for crafting new interactive fiction. She also reviews landmarks in the genre from other authors. What better time to celebrate the profusion of excellent Twine games out there? Links galore inside. [more inside]
posted by zeusianfog at 4:19 PM - 21 comments

The joy of being unbalanced

Common sense dictates that video games should be balanced. Of course they should be! Why wouldn't they? Well, it turns out there are actually some pretty cool things that can happen when a game isn't balanced. - The Unbalanced Design of Super Smash Brothers
posted by stoneweaver at 2:42 PM - 61 comments

Nothing but a Berliner

This post contains nudity.
Photographic history is chock-full of people who were painters before they became photographers, but very few were in women's wear to begin with.
When Hitler came to power in 1933, Erwin Blumenfeld produced this premonitory photomontage which in 1943 the US Airforce dropped in their millions over Germany cities.
Possibly his most famous early work is the series Nude under wet veil reflecting Botticelli and Cranach .
From his early Dada and Surrealist photomontages to his later New York fashion shoots, Erwin Blumenfeld insistently parodied objects of desire.
Here is an illustrated lifeline and a brief bio. from weimarart blogspot.
His fashion shots were masterpieces as were some of his nudes.
73 Thumbnails and wiki.
posted by adamvasco at 2:25 PM - 16 comments

Position yourself, whenever possible, at the top of a flight of stairs.

Bookish Beauty Tips from the Toast.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:18 PM - 9 comments

Snip Snip goes the vasectomy

The Amazing True Story Of My Exploding Balls
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:10 PM - 73 comments

Key and Peele - Aerobics Meltdown

Key & Peele's dark parody of the 1988 aerobic championship (previously)
posted by rebent at 2:10 PM - 51 comments

a "disjoined, incoherent stream of historical tidbits."

This would not make Chipotle the first major American chain restaurant to decorate with death iconography from another culture (that distinction may go to P.F. Chang's, with their terracotta soldiers), but I'm of the opinion "death by burrito" should be about portion size, and not about inadvertently invoking the wrath of an ancient deity.
So it turns out those "Mayan" glyphs at Chipotle restaurants are indeed of Mayan origin, explains Taylor Jones in Slate. (Via Languagehat)
posted by MartinWisse at 1:03 PM - 35 comments

Ruin Porn Ruins Chernobyl

Photographers prowl the streets of Pripyat . ...at each new location we visited, photographers were picking up dolls and books and clothes, draping them across steel-strung beds or sitting them upright on mantelpieces. However in trying to show the truth, these visitors are slowly destroying it. [more inside]
posted by Omnomnom at 1:02 PM - 26 comments

Charles the Third, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith

When Prince Charles becomes king, will he be able to stop his compulsive ‘meddling’? And if he can’t, what will it mean for the monarchy and the United Kingdom? (SLGuardian)
posted by Chrysostom at 12:28 PM - 157 comments

From Wrestling Legend to Double Amputee, Kamala Keeps Fighting

The name Jim Harris probably doesn't mean much to many pro wrestling fans, however, most would be very familiar with his alter ego, Kamala. Billed as hailing from Uganda, Kamala, who never spoke, was portrayed as a dangerous, cannibalistic savage. After debuting the Kamala gimmick in Memphis in 1982, his career peaked in the mid-80s when he had a main event level feud with the biggest star of the era, Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately, as detailed in this article from the Bleacher Report, the past few years have been challenging for Harris both medically and financially, but he maintains a positive outlook. [more inside]
posted by The Gooch at 12:06 PM - 10 comments

Fakelore, bowdlerized fairy tales and new American legends

The term "fakelore" has one basic core definition: modern tales that are similar to true folklore, the stories and traditions of a culture or group. But there are a few different takes on what exactly fakelore is, from the anti-alcohol lessons inserted in the modified fairy tales re-written and illustrated by George Cruikshank, which earned Horatian satire from Charles Dickens, to Paul Bunyan (the Red River Lumber Company produced the most well-known material; full scans - but this hasn't kept people from giving him a grave marker) and Pecos Bill (Google books preview), who were created as for marketing purposes or to replicate traditional tall tales, and more recently 'so-called "multicultural folktale" picture books [that] are a popular means for teaching about other cultures, especially in the primary grades.'
posted by filthy light thief at 11:42 AM - 21 comments

VERSION 2.0: “New Testament” expansion pack. Adds Jesus features.

1.6 “Sodom and Gomorrah” N.S.F.W. glitch identified and removed. Bible now free of “Homosexuality” virus. . .
2.7 “Jesus AutoSave” feature. Restores Jesus to previously saved form three days after data loss. . .
6.9 Limited-edition Kanye West Messiah edition available. “Yeezus” features added. . .

"Bible System Updates" by Megan Amram for Shouts & Murmurs (The New Yorker)
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:41 AM - 15 comments

Yale Wins The Shootout

Goalkeeper Saves Five Penalties - With His Face (SLYT) A soccer match between the Yale Bulldogs and the North Carolina Tar Heels comes down to the most epic penalty kick shootout you'll ever see. A sketch from Studio C.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:35 AM - 22 comments

Stink-eye? Or bored-eye? More like bird-eye: the shoebill's steady gaze

"A few days ago, my son, Lucas, and I took the train to Prague for his school break. Usually, when I visit a city, my first port of call is whatever passes for a botanical garden but when he told me that Prague’s zoo contained not only giant salamanders but also two pairs of shoebills, I could not resist the temptation..." (John Burnside's essay in The New Statesman.) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:36 AM - 4 comments

Fashion Victims

The “arsenic” ball gown sits on a headless dressmaker’s form in the basement archives of Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum as senior curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, wearing cotton conservators’ gloves, expounds upon its vintage (late 1860s), its provenance (Australia), its exquisite construction—and, most relevantly, its ability to kill.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:52 AM - 27 comments

Dracula but before and lesbian

With only 4 more episodes before the end of the first season, now is the perfect time to catch up on the web series Carmilla, a modern take on the 1872 Gothic novella that launched a thousand lesbian vampire ships. [more inside]
posted by brookedel at 9:36 AM - 12 comments

Horrifying alternate universe what-ifs

In a world which, thankfully, is not the one we live in a goateed version of Randall Munroe also maintains a what-if blog.
posted by zeptoweasel at 9:24 AM - 38 comments

To be misunderstood in your own lifetime doesn’t make you a failure

Kickended is an archive of kickstarter projects that got 0 backers over the life of their campaigns. The Grauniad discusses it with the creator, Silvio Lorusso. [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:23 AM - 26 comments

Ether One

A British team cautiously develops a game that simulates a sample case of dementia.
posted by mmiddle at 8:25 AM - 21 comments

Winter in Vogue

Thirty images of winter, created over the past century by Vogue magazine.
posted by orange swan at 8:14 AM - 20 comments

And then the Golden Retriever is like

EAT THIS! SNIFF THAT! SNIFF THOSE TOO! CHEW ALL THESE! SNARF THIS THING IN PARTICULAR! [more inside]
posted by fuse theorem at 8:13 AM - 38 comments

Is that an elephant in your

There are dozens of questions surrounding Magic Leap’s supposedly magical, definitely mysterious, and potentially overhyped creation. Will it be an “eyeglasses-like device,” as The Wall Street Journal has reported, or a pair of contact lenses that project images right on our eyeballs? What’s it for? Does it have practical applications? Or is it all about entertainment? And when will it be available?
posted by sammyo at 7:44 AM - 31 comments

Marry someone who will take care of the kids

It’s Not Your Kids Holding Your Career Back. It’s Your Husband. A new study of Harvard Business School graduates found that high-achieving women are not meeting the career goals because they’re allowing their partners’ careers to take precedence over their own. This echos earlier advice by Xerox CEO Ursula Burns to "marry down" someone who will take care of the kids.
posted by mooselini at 7:08 AM - 103 comments

So What, Who Cares? Email Newsletter

So What, Who Cares? by Lisa Schmeiser - What is news or pop culture without context? Every day, I'll point out three to five things that you might like to know, explaining why they matter (So what?) and who they affect (Who cares?). Archives here.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:53 AM - 13 comments

A Chat with Dionne Osborne, the Vocal Coach Who Changed Drake's Style

What I found in those recordings was that he has the most comfortable voice. It wasn't showy, and it had a very nice tone: it sounded so conversational. He wasn't singing at you, but singing to you. A lot of singers overdo it, try to bombast you, but Drake doesn't. And the average person can sing Drake's songs, and that's part of what they love.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:04 AM - 16 comments

"Plastics."

Legendary director Mike Nichols, who made an incredible debut nearly fifty years ago with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and then managed to follow that up with The Graduate, has died at the age of 83. Younger audiences may also know him for The Birdcage, the HBO miniseries Angels in America and his last film Charlie Wilson's War.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:02 AM - 65 comments

How To Write A Shitty Young Adult Novel

"Books are dead. It's sad, but it's basically true. Sure, you can eke out a decent living if you dedicate yourself to your craft, spend years researching niche topics, and fleshing out the true human characteristics of your characters–that is, if you're extremely lucky and enormously talented. Or you could write a young adult novel."
posted by Jacqueline at 4:33 AM - 125 comments

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