February 24

blacks swans, the dragon king, and the power law

How Dragon Kings Could Trump Black Swans, MIT Technology Review, 4 AUG 2009.
Sornette goes on to identify a number of data sets showing power laws with outliers that he says are the result of positive feedback mechanisms that make them much larger than their peers. He calls these events dragon kings. What’s interesting about them is that they are entirely unaccounted for by a current understanding of power laws, from which Nassim Nicholas Taleb built the idea of black swans.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:35 PM - 0 comments

“...the dogs run on about ten acres of her family’s 142-acre farm.”

Our Lady of Strays [Outside] “The world's greatest dog sanctuary is on a small farm in Costa Rica, where hundreds of canines run wild over the land — eating huge piles of food and slobbering happily on Lya Battle and her small band of dedicated volunteers.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 9:17 PM - 2 comments

The Jobs Americans Do

Popular ideas about the working class are woefully out of date. Here are nine people who tell a truer story of what the American work force does today — and will do tomorrow. [slNYT]
posted by ellieBOA at 8:59 PM - 3 comments

Caesar, ironically, was born the usual way

C-sections are a boon for humans, who can have very complicated birth situations due to their big heads. But they're not the only mammals with C-sections! (Note: ALL VIDEOS ARE GROSS.) [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:37 PM - 8 comments

Democrats: Now what?

Which way, Democrats?
What Democrats should learn from 2016
The wrong way to rebuild the Democratic Party
posted by latkes at 4:11 PM - 118 comments

"The concept of being able to do literally anything is hard to grasp"

Arbitrary Code Execution Glitches in video games have allowed creators of Tool-Assisted Speedruns break open a game entirely, using nothing more than the controller inputs that are normally used to guide in-game actions.

Originally used just to skip to the end credits screens, since then ACE has been used to program games to run other games. One recent example by MrWint, begins as a demonstration of running Pokemon Gold from within Pokemon Yellow, and quickly escalates from there. [more inside]
posted by radwolf76 at 3:37 PM - 22 comments

April the Giraffe

April the Giraffe is due to give birth to her fourth giraffe baby at the age of 15. Zookeepers have set up a live stream of her pen in the days approaching its arrival. [more inside]
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 2:21 PM - 13 comments

The photography of Maria Svarbova

Maria Svarbova is a Slovakian photographer who specializes in white and pastel compositions with bright accents, featuring people in carefully static and sometimes eerily affectless poses. The Dining Room. Pool Without Water. Healthy Teeth, Good Mood.

Standing apart somewhat from the rest and visually remarkable in its own right is (n.b. nudity) God's Mirror.
posted by cortex at 1:59 PM - 4 comments

Or eight legged Proclaimers?

Numerous pictures of animals that look like they're about to drop the hottest albums of the year.
posted by howfar at 1:00 PM - 30 comments

A real Great Escape

Double-sided ramps were built inside the pits. One crew hauled stretchers filled with corpses up the ramp, and another crew pushed the bodies onto the pyre. In a week, the Burning Brigade might dispose of 3,500 bodies or more. Later, the guards forced prisoners to sift through the ashes with strainers, looking for bone fragments, which would then be pounded down into powder.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:44 AM - 15 comments

Portions of the Following Program Have Been Pre-Recorded

Live from 1981, it's the 53rd Academy Awards—complete with original commercials! [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 8:54 AM - 40 comments

My conclusion: I really don’t understand why dancers turn CW.

Ballet photographer Kent G. Becker asks, Why Do Ballet Dancers Turn Clockwise? While he doesn't come up with a good reason other than "tradition", it's an interesting look at how little variation there is, even compared to other spinning endeavors -- athletes seem to turn mostly counterclockwise, but not as overwhelmingly as ballet dancers.
posted by Etrigan at 8:45 AM - 31 comments

Lo Mein and Plantains

Take a trip to Manhattan's Upper West Side and you might come across a ungentififed relic of naturally occurring fusion cuisine - La Caridad 78 - the last remaining Cuban-Chinese restaurant in town.
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 AM - 25 comments

We can fly with our spirit

Miyazaki Dreams of Flying by Zach Prewitt. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 7:56 AM - 28 comments

The Competing States Hypothesis

How Europe became so rich - "In a time of great powers and empires, just one region of the world experienced extraordinary economic growth. How?" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 6:32 AM - 52 comments

Feel The Pulse Of The Morning Once Again

When was the last time you read Maya Angelou's 1993 Inaugural Poem "On The Pulse Of The Morning"? It might be time to experience that inspirational poem [6m25s] again. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 3:53 AM - 5 comments

February 23

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily

In 1969 a young danish girl had been given permission to travel the countryside alone (on foot), which apparently was considered highly unusual at the time. She even had a document with a stamp from the local police chief. In this video a reporter asks what she would do to protect herself if harrassed. [speaking only]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:06 PM - 58 comments

Triumph of the Will and the Cinematic Language of Propaganda

Folding Ideas is a Youtube channel that analyzes movies and video games. By popular demand, the latest video is on Triumph of the Will and how it reflects fascist ideology and the historical context in which it was made.
posted by RobotHero at 7:18 PM - 20 comments

Cloudflare not happy times

Cloudflare CDN has been dumping uninitialized memory from its reverse proxies, including all sorts of things that are supposed to be under HTTPS. Like passwords and private messages from dating sites and cookies and online password manager data. [more inside]
posted by hleehowon at 5:57 PM - 133 comments

Archaeogenomic evidence reveals prehistoric matrilineal dynasty

For societies with writing systems, hereditary leadership is documented as one of the hallmarks of early political complexity and governance. In contrast, it is unknown whether hereditary succession played a role in the early formation of prehistoric complex societies that lacked writing. Here we use an archaeogenomic approach to identify an elite matriline that persisted between 800 and 1130 CE in Chaco Canyon, the centre of an expansive prehistoric complex society in the Southwestern United States. We show that nine individuals buried in an elite crypt at Pueblo Bonito, the largest structure in the canyon, have identical mitochondrial genomes. Analyses of nuclear genome data from six samples with the highest DNA preservation demonstrate mother–daughter and grandmother–grandson relationships, evidence for a multigenerational matrilineal descent group. Together, these results demonstrate the persistence of an elite matriline in Chaco for ∼330 years. (fulltext)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:42 PM - 3 comments

“It doesn't ring like anything I know,”

Anonymous Sources, Pharmacy Pills, and Gang Wars: Inconsistencies raise questions about "Pill City," a Baltimore tale of drugs and murder. [City Paper] “But there are inconsistencies that raise questions about the veracity of "Pill City." After The Sun's Justin Fenton reported neither local nor federal officials could confirm many claims in the book, Deutsch responded in a post on Medium. "Until last week, I never knew what it felt like to be on the other end of reporters' barbed — and biased — questions," he wrote. Then he goes on to call out: Fenton; David Simon, who said the book is "by and large, a wholesale fabrication" on Twitter; and Baltimore City Paper, whose story, which you are reading, had not yet been published.”
posted by Fizz at 2:45 PM - 21 comments

Hi-Phi Nation

Hi-Phi Nation is a new podcast that uses narrative storytelling to explore ideas in philosophy, featuring thoughtful interviews with philosophers and nuanced storytelling, created by philosopher Barry Lam. [more inside]
posted by latkes at 1:05 PM - 8 comments

Metrics for Community Toxicity

From Google, Perspective API for scoring comments Perspective is an API that makes it easier to host better conversations. The API uses machine learning models to score the perceived impact a comment might have on a conversation. [...] We’ll be releasing more machine learning models later in the year, but our first model identifies whether a comment could be perceived as “toxic" to a discussion. [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave at 11:22 AM - 114 comments

Naoki Urasawa's Manga Exertions

Urasawa Naoki no Manben is a NHK documentary series in which mangaka Urasawa Naoki (20th Century Boys, Yawara, Master Keaton) goes around talking to and filming other cartoonists at work. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 10:27 AM - 4 comments

Get Out

“Get Out” Lets Black Men Be Scared Instead Of Scary: "Not until films like the Purge trilogy and Peele’s Get Out have black men been allowed access to the countryside, and depicted as vulnerable — a privilege they are rarely afforded in real life — rather than caricatured by the associations usually attached to their mythic bodies or the rumors of their sexual prowess. These films grant black men a rare aura of grace precisely by staging their moments of vulnerability in a suburban landscape, traditionally depicted as pristine and white." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:01 AM - 36 comments

Apolitical old-timeyness

How to make a wooden bucket. 6th generation cooper George Smithwick charmingly discusses his craft as me makes a bucket. [more inside]
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:38 AM - 18 comments

If your beers have sexist names, it's clear your beers aren't for me.

It's time to take a stand against sexist beer marketing. [more inside]
posted by Kitteh at 8:29 AM - 168 comments

Is your commute insufficiently terrifying? Good news.

The Washington Post brings us a tool to check which of your local bridges might be "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete". [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 8:21 AM - 50 comments

The Last Supper

Alien: Covenant | "Prologue: Last Supper" [4m45s]
posted by hippybear at 3:45 AM - 83 comments

Good for the arts

Slate is publishing short stories that "imagine the dystopian future of Trump's America" in the Trump Story Project. Direct links plus a bonus below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:42 AM - 32 comments

UKIP's moment of truth?

Voting gets underway in the Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland by-elections today. [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo at 1:13 AM - 72 comments

No professional actors were harmed in the making of these commercials

Enjoy these 80s-drenched low-budget ads from Okanagan television station CHBC-TV (now a Global affiliate). You can spend an hour watching the whole series, but here's some prime cuts: Spaniard hairRad DoctorsMagical Savings • Gift RapO.K. Welders (Of Course) • And finally, the Downtown! Trilogy: 1, 2, 3.
posted by smasuch at 12:36 AM - 31 comments

February 22

An escalator can never break, it can only become terrifying

These pictures won't make you even slightly nervous about escalators
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:58 PM - 94 comments

Ser Pounce

Boer has never put a mouse in the armor, but he has put one of his cats inside and has "the scars to prove it."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:02 PM - 14 comments

In the greatest Hellmouth in the world

Hamilton in Sunnydale: Buffy the Vampire Slayer screencaps with Hamilton lyrics.
posted by jeather at 5:33 PM - 30 comments

It's Constituent Work Week!

It's Constituent Work Week, a time when, traditionally, members of Congress return to their districts and hold in-person townhall meetings. This year, however, more than 200 Republicans are skipping townhalls, despite calls from their constituents to hold them. [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger at 4:56 PM - 1439 comments

AT THE END OF EVERYTHING HOLD ONTO ANYTHING

Night In The Woods (yt trailer) is a story-focused adventure/exploration game about the adventures of Mae Borowski after she drops out of college and returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs. It is the creation Infinite Fall a development team consisting of Alec Holowka (Aquaria), Scott Benson (Late Night Work Club, But I'm A Nice Guy), and Bethany Hockenberry with a game-within-a-game rogue-like by Adam Saltzman (Canabalt). [more inside]
posted by juv3nal at 3:21 PM - 12 comments

Data Driven Depression

Much of Radiohead’s music is undeniably sad, and this post catalogs my journey to quantify that sadness, concluding in a data-driven determination of their most depressing song. Spotify’s Web API provides detailed audio statistics for each song in their library. One of these metrics, “valence”, measures a song’s positivity. ... So valence provides a measure of how sad a song sounds from a musical perspective. Another key component of a song’s sentiment is its lyrics, and it just so happens that Genius Lyrics also has an API to pull track-level data. To see how sadness evolved across all nine albums, I calculated the average gloom index per album and plotted each song by album release date.
posted by incomple at 2:39 PM - 67 comments

Caught in the closed fist of the bean.

This is Coffee, Comforting video for uneasy times.
posted by hot_monster at 2:27 PM - 15 comments

The Man Who Broke Ticketmaster

The scourge of ticket bots and the immorality of the shady ticket scalpers using them is conventional wisdom that's so ingrained in the public consciousness and so politically safe that a law to ban ticket bots passed both houses of Congress unanimously late last year. But no one actually involved in the ticket scalping industry thinks that banning bots will do much to slow down the secondary market.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:20 PM - 32 comments

Save for when you need to laugh for a good, long while ...

David Armand gained fame with his "interpretive dance" of "Torn", which gained further fame when Natalie Imbruglia joined joined him, giving us this wonderful moment. While covered on Mefi before, his recurring appearances on Fast and Loose and Trust Us With Your Life have given us a rich treasure trove of new performances. The collected works of David Armand ("Austrian interpretive dance artist Johann Lippowitz"): Holding Out for a Hero, I Will Survive, You Can't Hurry Love, Careless Whisper, Baby One More Time, Don't Stop Me Now, Love is All Around, We are the Champions, Eye of the Tiger, Fame, Folsom Prison Blues, Human, Eternal Flame, Man in the Mirror, That's My Home, Your Song, Wherever I Lay My Hat, and You're So Vain.
posted by WCityMike at 12:04 PM - 17 comments

Theory 7: Putin is named Vladimir

At no time in history have more people with less knowledge, and greater outrage, opined on the subject of Russia’s president [...] And what does Putinology tell us? It turns out that it has produced seven distinct hypotheses about Putin. None of them is entirely wrong, but then none of them is entirely right (apart from No 7). Taken together, they tell us as much about ourselves as about Putin. They paint a portrait of an intellectual class – our own – on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin
posted by griphus at 12:03 PM - 53 comments

Set Course for TRAPPIST-1, Make 12 Parsecs Joke Now

Astronomers have never seen anything like this before: Seven Earth-size alien worlds orbit the same tiny, dim star, and all of them may be capable of supporting life as we know it, a new study reports. The exoplanets circle the star TRAPPIST-1, which lies just 39 light-years from Earth — a mere stone's throw in the cosmic scheme of things. So speculation about the alien worlds' life-hosting potential should soon be informed by hard data, study team members said. Major Discovery! 7 Earth-Size Alien Planets Circle Nearby Star [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 10:45 AM - 80 comments

Shakeup at the Oscars

In June, the Academy released a list of six hundred and eighty-three new members—a record number; forty-six per cent of them were female and forty-one per cent were nonwhite, representing fifty-nine different countries. They included the actors John Boyega, America Ferrera, Ice Cube, Idris Elba, Daniel Dae Kim, and Gabrielle Union; the directors Ryan Coogler (“Creed”), Marjane Satrapi, and the Wachowski siblings; and three Wayans brothers, Damon, Marlon, and Keenen. “I think they were just, like, ‘Man, there are six thousand members. We’ve got to put at least two Wayanses in!’ ” Marlon told me. “You want diversity, just go to the Wayans tribe.” Led by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, its first black president, the Academy tries to solve its diversity problem.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:13 AM - 27 comments

Jumping the air gap silently

Malware lets a drone steal data by watching a computer’s blinking LED The pinpoint flickers, emitting from the LED hard drive indicator that lights up intermittently on practically every modern Windows machine, would hardly arouse the suspicions of anyone working in the office after hours. But in fact, that LED was silently winking out an optical stream of the computer’s secrets to the camera floating outside. [more inside]
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:07 AM - 30 comments

Menses or Men Says?

Laydeez! Wish you had more options to deal with your period? Mensez can help! A Kansas chiropractor has invented a product that is an adhesive in lipstick (get it? lip-stick?) form that is "used to seal the vagina during menstruation until the woman goes to urinate". [more inside]
posted by chaoticgood at 8:37 AM - 98 comments

"...and still the viol shrieked on without slackening."

Revel in the mad piping errrr... foot stompin' rock of The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' newest opus, "The Dukes of Alhazred". The Lovecraftian-inspired jam-masters have been at it for aeons now (25 years in linear time), and this is their first full length release since 2007's "The Shadow out of Tim". [more inside]
posted by FatherDagon at 6:57 AM - 14 comments

"Abhorrent [...] blatant violation of academic freedom"

An Iowa senate bill would require candidates for professor positions to disclose their political party registrations, and would prohibit state universities from hiring professors who would skew the "partisan balance" of the faculty by more than 10 percent in either direction. [more inside]
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:40 AM - 85 comments

TECHIE AMONG THREE BURNT ALIVE IN GARUDA BUS MISHAP

"In one occupational boogeyman, Bangaloreans can see their future and their fears." IT worker as hated yet envied figure in India. Is this about class divides, cultural gaps, ecological stress, spousal abuse, or something else? (SLBloomberg)
posted by doctornemo at 5:36 AM - 9 comments

Does the hydrogen atom offend you? Then pluck it off.

Derek Lowe on the first synthesis of triangulene by a team of researchers at IBM Zürich using a scanning tunneling microscope:
This is a molecule that we’ve known for a long time could exist, but no chemist had ever seen it or been able to make it. Now we can reach in and tug on individual atoms, though, and that does the trick – just the thought of direct mechanical synthesis being the way to make an elusive species like this is enough for me.
[more inside]
posted by metaquarry at 4:48 AM - 17 comments

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