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September 17

God bless Mike Brown and his family. This young man's murder has exposed corruption and evil and incompetence at every level in Missouri. Shaun King lays it all out on Ferguson. Previously, originally.
posted by Evilspork at 11:40 PM - 11 comments

What happened to pay toilets in the USA? In the early 1900s, when railroads connected America’s biggest cities with rural outposts, train stations were sometimes the only place in town with modern plumbing. To keep locals from freely using the bathrooms, railroad companies installed locks on the stall doors—only to be unlocked by railroad employees for ticketed passengers. Eventually, coin-operated locks were introduced, making the practice both more convenient and more profitable. Pay toilets then sprung up in the nation’s airports, bus stations, and highway rest stops. By 1970, America had over 50,000 pay toilets. By 1980, there were almost none.
posted by modernnomad at 10:52 PM - 32 comments

"If I had been born 10 years earlier, I don’t think I would be an animator," wrote Makoto Shinkai. Despite the fact that even his earliest animations were completed with a Mac and a tablet, his style is influenced by the works of prior Japanese animators, even earning him the title "the next Miyazaki," which he says is an honor, but overstating his skills. From his earliest short, Other Worlds, he set some of the tone and pacing featured in his subsequent works, which are discussed in the lead up to an interview Shinkai did with Tested. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 PM - 1 comment

Welcome to TextMechanic.com! A suite of simple, single task, browser based, text manipulation tools. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display at 10:36 PM - 12 comments

For those of you that haven't discovered her yet, I present Jessica Hernandez (and the Deltas). Demons, Sorry I Stole Your Man, Tired Oak, No Place Left to Hide, and Cry, Cry, Cry. (here's a handy Spotify playlist.)
posted by HuronBob at 9:26 PM - 1 comment

This is not the stirring tale of macho crew cuts and heroic deeds from The Right Stuff that is now a fat chapter in every U.S. high school history book. This is a tale replete with fumbling, bumbling, bickering and at least one insane-sounding notion. To nuke the moon.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:12 PM - 9 comments

Our cities are full of majestic monuments, stunning sculptures and artistic statues, each having a story to tell. Thousands of them have been made but only a few of them are really extraordinary and picture-worthy. That’s why our readers set out to find the world’s most creative statues and sculptures, which add color and emotion to the most boring areas of the cities. Brought to you by Bored Panda 25 Of The Most Creative Sculptures And Statues From Around The World
posted by JujuB at 7:29 PM - 18 comments

A movie star names things. The Toast tells us what movie stars really think as they film the films.
posted by Kitteh at 7:12 PM - 17 comments

Search for word usage in movies and television over time.
Movies and television shows often reflect cultural trends of the time they are made in. Even movies that take place during the past or future can say something about the present through metadata or production style. Using the Bookworm platform, Benjamin Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a tool that lets you see trends in movie and television dialogue.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:35 PM - 23 comments

Hyperreal numbers: infinities and infinitesimals - "In 1976, Jerome Keisler, a student of the famous logician Tarski, published this elementary textbook that teaches calculus using hyperreal numbers. Now it's free, with a Creative Commons copyright!" (pdf—25mb :) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 5:23 PM - 21 comments

Bad video game merchandise found on a Chinese website
posted by JHarris at 4:17 PM - 13 comments

The Smart car folks have come up with an idea to make crosswalks a little safer (SLYT, Smart Blue), the Dancing Traffic Light.
posted by agatha_magatha at 3:58 PM - 18 comments

Chip and Dale cartoon compilation (slyt)
posted by curious nu at 2:31 PM - 22 comments

Kumari in Kathmandu, Nepal: Living pre-pubescent girls are believed to be the earthly manifestations of divine female energy, incarnations of the goddess known as Taleju. There can be as many as 13 Kumari at any one time, and the practice can be dated as far back as the 17th century. At the onset of menses, the Kumari are retired and begin life as mere mortals, experiencing the world for the very first time. [more inside]
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:07 PM - 7 comments

Polls will open in less than twelve hours for a referendum to end the 307-year Union between England and Scotland. With an unprecedented 97% voter registration, including hundreds of thousands of 16 and 17 year olds, there are predictions of turnout well over 80% across the country. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave at 1:58 PM - 270 comments

Looking at Russian Valery Nosal's collection of 25,500 chewing gum wrappers may seem like a mere curiosity, but you gotta wonder about the ethnography of chewing gum around the world. Perusing the catalog you can find the some expected regional flavors, fascination with far away places, functional over taste chews, odd promotions, and, for a Scandinavian country, a surprising disregard for sustainability. Oprah and other chiclephobes should not click.
posted by cross_impact at 1:07 PM - 9 comments

Future Politics (PDF link) is a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign class by Jake Bowers on the political theory of science fiction and a great recommended reading and discussion list for the rest of us.

How can imagining the future help us understand the present? How does considering the future help us think critically about politics today?...The future hopes and imaginings of past political thinkers do not include either enough detail or enough information about our rapidly changing technological, social, political, and economic landscape to provide us with enough practice to confidently confront the future as citizens as it happens to us. Science fiction allows us a much more detailed view of life in alternative futures, and the writers that we choose to read here tend to think seriously and logically about how current cutting edge technology might have social and political ramifications — however, science fiction authors are also mostly working on a narrative and thus may skim over core concepts that ought to organize our thinking about politics and society. Thus, we read both together in order to practice a kind of theoretically informed futurism (which is not the same as prediction or forecasting, but is more like the practice of confronting the unexpected).
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:07 PM - 2 comments

FanSince09 is a Twitter celebrity. He’s known for retweeting some of the worst people on Twitter. Recently, he played detective and was able to use social media to track down some alleged Philadelphia gay bashers.
posted by josher71 at 12:04 PM - 40 comments

How To Home Brew Beer in Your Kitchen, from Drink [Craft] Beer:
Brewing beer in your home can be as simple, or as complicated, as you want to make it. Here, we’re going to present the simple way. There is a lot of science you can get into, but we’re going to skip a lot of that as there are a lot of people who can tell you about it a lot better than we can. And they have books out (John Palmer’s How to Brew (online), and Charlie Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewing). We’d recommend reading these books at some point. You’ll learn a lot about why everything happens, how brewing really works and just a lot more in-depth information. If you want to make this a serious hobby, those are two can’t miss books.

In this article, though, we’re going to run through step-by-step how to brew in a small kitchen setting. We know many of you live in apartments (we do), and we’ve heard too many people say they can’t brew because of this. You can! We know this, because we do it. We’ll show you how to go about brewing your first batch. Plus, we’re including pictures to really show you how it’s done. So, let’s get brewing!
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:54 AM - 56 comments

Since 2009, a statue of Buddha has been quietly reducing criminal activity and increasing community in one Oakland neighborhood.
posted by Lexica at 10:47 AM - 44 comments

Rebuild the Universe an incremental game that starts with the smallest unit possible to end with the universe itself. Bonuses, special effects and more await you in this incremental game.
posted by boo_radley at 10:25 AM - 46 comments

Have you ever wondered who owns the largest private collection of artifacts related to the Alamo? Well, wonder no more. The answer is vocal mega-creep and platinum-selling recording artist Phil Collins.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:22 AM - 44 comments

You’re about as sexually attractive to me as a turtle: Coming out as asexual in a hypersexual culture

plus, more from the author: the author's tumblr, essays (on the inside, your reason, "playing devil’s advocate" with someone else’s identity, missing out, coming out as asexual, asexuality pre-and-post-transition), other writings and articles ("Enjoy Your Houseful of Cats": On Being an Asexual Woman), videos (introduction to asexuality, a talk @ UVA about asexual relationships, shit people say to asexuals), and a list of arguments she's had with other people on the internet (but, why be asexual?)
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 9:52 AM - 75 comments

Belgium Grants Jailed Rapist, Murderer Euthanasia
posted by davidstandaford at 9:34 AM - 43 comments

Breathtaking and epic warriors, monsters, and gods: The graphic art of Zhong Fengua.
posted by shivohum at 8:51 AM - 11 comments

Ten different blog title generators
posted by oceanjesse at 8:16 AM - 22 comments

The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind. A short history of the Heaven's Gate Millenarian Cult and the (ex?) members who still keep the page running seventeen years after their last contact with the leader and members.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:15 AM - 13 comments

Fan stories, like midrash, give voice to characters who aren't front and center in narratives as we've received them. Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, who blogs at Velveteen Rabbi, has published an essay in Transformative Works and Cultures on the parallels between fan works that fill gaps in pop culture stories and midrash used to fill gaps in the Torah.
posted by emjaybee at 7:52 AM - 21 comments

I AM GROOT.
posted by plinth at 7:50 AM - 42 comments

Yes, we could more easily aim toward something considered more “objective” at this point, simply listing the facts as presented by the developer/publisher. But oh my goodness, what now? See – see where this notion of objectivity has so quickly taken us? Objectivity is now demanding that we parrot information given to us by the creator/publisher of the game, and not apply our own critical faculties – our own subjective expertise – to this.
-Some Subjective Thoughts On Objectivity [in Games Criticism]
posted by griphus at 7:30 AM - 96 comments

...the reality of ISIS and what this group seeks is opaque to the public, and to policymakers not clued into the private salons where the details of secrets can be discussed. Even among those policymakers, the compartmentalized national security establishment means that no one really grasps the whole picture. The attempt to get the US into a war in Syria a year ago was similarly opaque. The public cannot make well-informed decisions about national security choices because information critical to such choices is withheld from them. It is withheld from them at the source, through the classification-censorship process, then by obfuscations in the salons and think tanks of DC and New York, and then finally through the bottleneck of the mass media itself.
The Solution to ISIS Is the First Amendment by Matt Stoler [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz at 7:30 AM - 34 comments

Superdimensional: a side-scrolling game with a surprising mechanic. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:27 AM - 4 comments

Nairobi Noir is a beautiful collection of photographs taken at night on the streets of Nairobi. Sometimes chilling, sometimes grim, always evocative
posted by darsh at 7:15 AM - 6 comments

In This Horror Film, Blood Is All Too Real [New York Times] ‘Terror at the Mall’ on HBO documents an Attack in Kenya.
One year ago, gunmen from the Shabab militant group in Somalia laid siege to the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Armed with AK-47s and grenades, they stalked their victims from a gourmet burger restaurant at the entrance to the vegetable aisle of a grocery store at the back. The British filmmaker Dan Reed assembled thousands of hours of footage gleaned from more than 100 security cameras inside the mall, video from television crews and modest cellphones, as well as still photographs. Then he and his team tracked down more than 200 people and interviewed 82 of them on camera, many survivors or their rescuers.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz at 7:04 AM - 2 comments

In superheated London, where stratospheric land values beget accordingly bloated developments – authorities are allowing planning policies to be continually flouted, affordable housing quotas to be waived, height limits breached, the interests of residents endlessly trampled. Places are becoming ever meaner and more divided, as public assets are relentlessly sold off, entire council estates flattened to make room for silos of luxury safe-deposit boxes in the sky. We are replacing homes with investment units, to be sold overseas and never inhabited, substituting community for vacancy. The more we build, the more our cities are emptied, producing dead swathes of zombie town where the lights might never even be switched on.
The Guardian's architecture and design critic Oliver Wainright discusses housing development policy in London and the new city it is ushering in. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:09 AM - 19 comments

The importance of the culture-of-poverty approach is that it allows for recognition of the accumulated history of racism and inequality, but posits the ongoing effects of these as mediated through black cultural pathologies. It therefore permits American liberals to identify with opposition to racism while pushing them towards policy solutions geared towards the transformation of black people, and not American society.
With every crisis in Black America the same pathologies the Black community supposedly suffers from -- veneration of the criminal lifestyle, lack of proper family structures, abhorrence of education as acting white -- are trotted out as an explanation, by conservative commentators as that's just how those people are, by supposed liberals as the unfortunate end product of Black history in America. There's just one problem: they're lies. The culture of poverty does not exist.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:49 AM - 77 comments

Man races London Underground train between stops, gets back on the same train
posted by grahamparks at 1:02 AM - 39 comments

A heavily-illiustrated article on Jeff Wilson ("Professor Dumpster") and the evolution of his thirty-six square feet of open-air accommodation: Living Simply in a Dumpster
(previously)
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:32 AM - 41 comments

September 16

With successful tramways in Portland, London, Caracas, Constantine, Algeria, and many more, and with systems proposed for Seattle, New York City, The Golden Age Of Gondolas Might Just Be Around The Corner as Transit Planners Look to the Sky with Cable Cars, Gondolas. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:00 PM - 30 comments

Having a rough day? Need something to make you feel better? May I present you with A DEN OF KITTENS, a video where the roar of their purring is punctuated by the occasional "Meep" as one after another pops up to discover the camera.
posted by quin at 9:11 PM - 33 comments

Watch The Previously Untold True Story Of David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Tony Visconti Recording “Warszawa” A humorous cartoon documenting the recording of David Bowie's 1977 song Warszawa.
posted by marxchivist at 8:52 PM - 11 comments

A few days ago, the first race of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)'s new Formula E Championship ran with the Bejing ePrix . The race is not quite a simple variant of Formula 1 with electric cars, as the heavy battery packs don't provide enough energy for a complete 50 mile race, so a second car is used to finish the race, and each Formula E car receives 10 specially designed tires per race weekend, which are designed to last the full race, compared to the 52 tires that Formula One cars receive. Though this is a serious race with serious vehicles, as veteran open-wheel and sports car driver Katherine Legge explains in a first-hand account of what it's like to drive the all-electric Formula E car, it's also an effort to promote the potential of electric cars via social media. Saturday's race was the first of 10 races, which will wrap up in June 2015. The Wire has a wrap-up of various news stories, and that article includes a full video of the race in Beijing. More information from Wired, and on the official FIA Formula E website.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:46 PM - 34 comments

In “The Strange Tale of Graceland Too,” Richard Murff writes for The Bitter Southerner, “Among the King’s acolytes, it’s hard to seem crazier than the average Presleyhead. But Paul MacLeod went plumb overboard.”
posted by ob1quixote at 8:27 PM - 8 comments

A new book by journalist Dana Goldstein profiles the deeply controversial history of the teaching profession in the US. A write up in the New York Times and the New Inquiry.
posted by latkes at 8:14 PM - 23 comments

It's official, Boeing's CST-100 and Space X's Dragon have been chosen to launch astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, ending Russia's dominance as the sole provider of rides to the ISS, which they haven't been shy about using for leverage. Meanwhile, develop of the Space Launch System, designed for travel beyond low earth orbit, continues for its maiden launch in 2018. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 PM - 40 comments

When the prices of the steel and (especially) gold Apple Watches are announced, I expect the tech press to have the biggest collective shit fit in the history of Apple-versus-the-standard-tech-industry shit fits. The utilitarian mindset that asks “Why would anyone waste money on a gold watch?” isn’t going to be able to come to grips with what Apple is doing here. Apple watcher and polarizing writer John Gruber offers a long meditation on Apple's philosophy, the (as yet unannounced) pricing tiers of the Apple watch, the "smartwatch" market versus the "watch" market, and the new frontiers of wearable technology.
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:55 PM - 148 comments

Binary stars are common in our galaxy. In fact, singleton star systems like ours make up only 15% of the systems in the Milky Way. In the 1970s, astronomers Kip Thorne and Anna Żytkow, imagined what might happen if a neutron star in a binary system merged with its partner, a red supergiant. Recently, a real example of this strange star-within-a-star, known as a Thorne–Żytkow object (TZO), appears to have been spotted. (Preprint.)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:39 PM - 21 comments

The recovery of Salyut 7 In 1985, the Soviet Union's space station Salyut 7 was crippled by an total electrical failure. Reactivating it would require a manual docking and working in bitter cold, 130 miles above the planet.
posted by bitmage at 5:06 PM - 18 comments

Portland’s paradox is that it attracts so many of “the young and the restless,” as demographers call them, that it has become a city of the overeducated and underemployed — a place where young people are, in many cases, forced into their semiretirement.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:32 PM - 89 comments

Women Who Conquered the Comics World
Robbins knows something about the glass ceiling for women cartoonists because she first hit it herself in the early 1970s, when she tried to join the male-dominated “underground comix” movement based in San Francisco. After the men cartoonists shut her out, Robbins joined forces with other women cartoonists to create their own women’s-lib comic books. She went on to become a well-respected mainstream comic artist and writer, as well as a feminist comics critic who’s written myriad nonfiction books on the subject of great women cartoonists and the powerful female characters they created. Naturally, Robbins has spent some time hunting down the original cartoons from the women who paved the way for her career, and as luck would have it, she found the very first comic strip ever drawn by a woman, “The Old Subscriber Calls” by Rose O’Neill, practically in her backyard.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:17 PM - 17 comments

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