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September 1

One hundred years ago today Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo. [more inside]
posted by lharmon at 5:26 AM - 4 comments

It strikes me that these two branches of science fiction are actually conditioning us to accept our current situation. Dystopia readers are waiting for a Katniss – and then everything will be all right. Post-apocalypse readers know they’re currently better-off, even if they’re being oppressed, than they would be with gangs of marauding slavers, rapists and murderers roaming the countryside. Science fiction was once a literature which encouraged change, which explored ways and means to effect changes. Now it’s comfort reading, it makes us feel good about our reduced circumstances because at least we’re not suffering as much as the fictional characters we read about.
Critic and science fiction writer Ian Sales is concerned about the state of the genre and what it says about our future.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:16 AM - 23 comments

This article talks to doctors and nurses on the front line treating patients in West Africa. It touches on why they take the risk of contracting Ebola, either from patients, or from each other. [more inside]
posted by Admira at 12:56 AM - 3 comments

August 31

James Murphy (formerly of LCD Soundsystem) has built an algorithm to musically interpret live data from the US Tennis Open which will create around 400 hours of music. All previous games can be listened to and each has a different flavour - it can get a little glitchy but try Djokovic vs Querry or Brengle vs Lisick for starters. Or have a play with the algorithm yourself.
posted by meech at 10:27 PM - 1 comment

I feel like a Mommy [SLYT, Buzzfeed]
posted by maggieb at 8:31 PM - 9 comments

March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.

Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.

About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:21 PM - 28 comments

Tens of millions a viewers a month watch Youtube videos of an orange and white cat and his friends playing in Minecraft. Twenty-three year old Joseph Garrett plans to use Minecraft as a platform for launching an educational channel. [more inside]
posted by carter at 6:19 PM - 20 comments

Thousands of cats served in the First World War -- as rat killers, as mascots for troops in the trenches, at sea, and elsewhere. War at its furriest.
posted by heurtebise at 5:52 PM - 21 comments

The Tick is a big, blue, nigh-invulnerable, possibly brain-damaged super-hero created by Ben Edlund in 1986. He has appeared in comic books (1988), animated TV (1994), and live action TV (2001). According to The Wrap, Patrick Warburton has worked out a deal with Sony to create a new Tick pilot for Amazon.
posted by Guy Smiley at 5:21 PM - 77 comments

Dreadlock Truth is an online community of people from all across the globe that have come together to share their information, experience, and knowledge regarding dreadlocks with others.
posted by josher71 at 4:32 PM - 12 comments

Post-Structuralism Explained with Hipster Beards; and Part 2 (DLBuzzFeed)
posted by acb at 3:26 PM - 39 comments

Taco Bell opens its "upscale" brand extension, U.S. Taco Co., in Huntington Beach: the first of what could be many. "It's food truck food you don't have to chase." The LA Times takes a first look. Money describes it as taking (secret) aim at foodies: "The goal is to win over entirely new customers, notably the folks who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Taco Bell, KFC, or Cinnabon." [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:42 PM - 98 comments

Authors can choose to respond to reviews in many ways. This is a bad choice. Found at the LJ of James Nicoll.
posted by PussKillian at 12:09 PM - 120 comments

Crypto machines.
posted by pjern at 11:51 AM - 9 comments

This is #WhatTransLooksLike
(see also: #WhatButchLooksLike, #WhatBiLooksLike, #WhatABearLooksLike)
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 9:34 AM - 22 comments

The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it.

“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
[more inside]
posted by flex at 9:26 AM - 71 comments

… all I want is potato chips.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:19 AM - 14 comments

Uncomfortable in His Own Skin ‘Your Face in Mine,’ by Jess Row, a Novel About Changing Race: [New York Times]
"When literary fiction dares examine the issue of race at all, it is usually done in an exceedingly tone-deaf way (think William Styron’s Confessions Of Nat Turner or Kathryn Stockett’s The Help) or from a somewhat safe remove (think Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue). It always seems as if the story is accompanied by a blaring announcement that it’s time for this (white) protagonist to learn something. Sometimes the pedantic drum-banging can get so excessive it drowns out everything else, including the inclination to tell a good story. If nothing else, the debut novel from Jess Row, Your Face In Mine, is a refreshing plunge into the deep end of the race conversation." [A.V. Club]
[more inside]
posted by Fizz at 9:17 AM - 6 comments

Animal hospitals in Texas, Florida, and Oregon won Veterinary Practice News’ ninth annual radiograph contest, which awards prizes for x-rays of unusual items found in pets' stomachs. [more inside]
posted by item at 8:52 AM - 29 comments

Rachel Sanders of Buzzfeed compares the menus of venerable NYC eateries a 100 years ago to today.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 AM - 53 comments

Beautiful. NSFW imagery.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:14 AM - 11 comments

Great American Eclipse of 2017. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:57 AM - 44 comments

Do you like television? Touch my nose! You are banished!
posted by angrycat at 6:28 AM - 19 comments

End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email — THIS Labor Day weekend, odds are you’ll peek at your work email on your “day off” — and then feel guilty about it.
posted by cenoxo at 6:26 AM - 46 comments

I don't doubt characterising Orwell as a talented mediocrity will put noses out of joint. Not Orwell, surely! Orwell the tireless campaigner for social justice and economic equality; Orwell the prophetic voice, crying out in the wartime wilderness against the dangers of totalitarianism and the rise of the surveillance state; Orwell, who nobly took up arms in the cause of Spanish democracy, then, equally nobly, exposed the cause's subversion by Soviet realpolitik; Orwell, who lived in saintly penury and preached the solid virtues of homespun Englishness; Orwell, who died prematurely, his last gift to the people he so admired being a list of suspected Soviet agents he sent to MI5.
For the BBC's Point of View series, Will Self tackles the cult of Orwell.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:14 AM - 71 comments

If you're alone and you need a friend
Someone to make you forget your problems
Just come along baby
Take my hand
I'll be your lover tonight
posted by Going To Maine at 1:41 AM - 9 comments

Wilson recently calculated that the only way humanity could stave off a mass extinction crisis, as devastating as the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, would be to set aside half the planet as permanently protected areas for the ten million other species. “Half Earth,” in other words, as I began calling it—half for us, half for them. [more inside]
posted by viggorlijah at 12:10 AM - 40 comments

August 30

Vulfpeck (previously) was "conceived...as a German version of the Funk Brothers – session musicians who performed most of the instrumentals on the 1960s Motown records [previously]. The idea was to channel that era of the live rhythm section." [more inside]
posted by stinkfoot at 11:39 PM - 5 comments

Just 3 days before they would go into effect, Federal Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the admitting-privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements of Texas's recently passed HB2 (remember the one with the filibuster?), finding that they placed an undue burden on women, especially those in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. [more inside]
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:05 PM - 26 comments

Batman has been spotted on Japanese highways, or rather, someone dressed in a Dark Knight Rises style Batman suit and on a custom batcycle-like trike in the Chiba Prefecture, earning him the nickname Chibatman. He has been found and interviewed (Japanese without subtitles), and he even invited the interviewer back to his bat lair humble home. The 41 year-old Chibatman works as a welder, and he wears his Batman costume when he commutes to work, "because I want to see everyone smile."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:04 PM - 24 comments

The Fast Show summary from Wikipedia:
The Fast Show, known as Brilliant in the US, was a BBC comedy sketch show programme that ran from 1994 to 1997, with a special in 2000 and 2014. It was one of the most popular sketch shows of the 1990s in the UK. The show's central performers were Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Caroline Aherne. Other significant cast members included Paul Shearer, Rhys Thomas, Jeff Harding, Maria McErlane, Eryl Maynard, Colin McFarlane and Donna Ewin.

It was loosely structured and relied on character sketches, recurring running gags, and many catchphrases. Its fast-paced "blackout" style set it apart from traditional sketch series because of the number and relative brevity of its sketches; a typical half-hour TV sketch comedy of the period might have consisted of nine or ten major items, with contrived situations and extended setups, whereas the premiere episode of The Fast Show featured twenty-seven sketches in thirty minutes, with some items lasting less than ten seconds and none running longer than three minutes. Its innovative style and presentation influenced many later series such as Little Britain and The Catherine Tate Show.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:03 PM - 27 comments

AM/FM - the story of London's pirate radio stations [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by aniola at 3:35 PM - 2 comments

Announced at the end of June, Emojli was billed as "the emoji-only network." One source called it worse than Yo. It launched yesterday with 70,000 names registered. The creators of the app 🌠 Tom Scott (previously on Metafilter) and 😃 Matt Gray (who shows up frequently on Tom's YouTube channel) presented a talk: "Emojli: Behind the Scenes and Why You Should Never Build An App."
posted by BungaDunga at 1:30 PM - 87 comments

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles. The decline of birds might have something to do with this recent news that half the insects (and spiders, crustaceans, slugs, worms) are gone.
posted by sfenders at 12:14 PM - 58 comments

Ever wondered why your favourite movie star is now in straight-to-video hell? What the hell happened? is a series of articles about the career ups and (mostly) downs of contemporary actors, actresses and directors who were once Hollywood stars (but who stumbled at one point) or serious contenders for stardom (but who did not make it). While the articles are made of known material and rather-matter-of-fact ("...but it got terrible reviews and bombed at the box office"), they offer a singular perspective on what it takes to reach the A-list and stay on it. [more inside]
posted by elgilito at 10:25 AM - 173 comments

It’s as if every child under age 5 in the United States has seen it. Four times. The New York Times Magazine explores the world of unboxing videos and boggles at the appeal of DisneyCollector, an anonymous and seemingly independent female toy 'reviewer' who may be earning over seven figures. Are the videos' popularity connected to ASMR?
posted by bq at 8:31 AM - 94 comments

A New Yorker Faces His Phobia, One Stroke at a Time [New York Times] With Intensive Swim Lessons, a Man Attacks His Fear of Water
"Traumatized by childhood incidents, Attis Clopton was deathly afraid of water, so he attacked his phobia by enrolling in a program of swimming lessons."
posted by Fizz at 6:35 AM - 25 comments

Katherine G. Johnson: NASA Mathematician (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:34 AM - 16 comments

How did something as loud as a bell—something which is experienced so much more often, and more powerfully, by hearing than by sight—become dumb?
[more inside]
posted by tykky at 12:05 AM - 20 comments

August 29

Confessions of a Fat Bastard: Texas Monthly's Daniel Vaughn on the life of a full-time barbecue writer.

"Since Texas Monthly named me the nation’s first and only full-time barbecue editor in March 2013 (previously), my health has been a topic of international discussion. My job requires that I travel from one end of the state to the other eating smoked brisket, one of the fattiest cuts on the steer. And I can’t forget to order the pork ribs, sausage, and beef ribs. Of course my diet is going to raise eyebrows. Including those of my doctor."
posted by porn in the woods at 10:37 PM - 47 comments

Looking for another source of public domain images? Yahoo research fellow Kalev Leetaru has extracted over 14 million images from IA public domain book scans, and so far 2.6 million of them have been posted to the Internet Archive Book Images photostream, where they have become part of The Commons. [more inside]
posted by fings at 9:31 PM - 24 comments

Mathematician Zachary Abel builds impressive Mathematical Sculptures from office supplies and other household objects. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:48 PM - 11 comments

Big list of Games – "An unfiltered list of games featuring a leading lady, because such a list should exist."
Have a suggestion for a game?
Leading Ladies in Media – "Highlighting female protagonists in Film, TV, Comics, and Books."
Bonus link: hardcore gamingFuck Yeah 1990s
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:33 PM - 26 comments

Staging lives: "Who do you want to be? Or, more accurately, who could you have been? Czech photographer Dita Pepe takes these musings quite literally, re-imaging her life in a hundred different scenarios in her series Self Portraits with Men. Pepe’s photographs are disarming in their nonchalant subtly, the artist possessing an uncanny ability to become a seamless member of each family." [more inside]
posted by Salamandrous at 4:21 PM - 25 comments

"... now, my sight and my world and my life have all returned." Vision: Healing the Blind in Ethiopia [vimeo, 10m] [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. at 1:47 PM - 7 comments

St. Paul police roughly assault and arrest man, who is black and sitting in public area waiting for his kids. [SLYT] Police defended arrest but all charges were dropped by St. Paul police against 27-year old Chris Lollie. Lollie is filing complaint and now plans on suing.
posted by Mike Mongo at 1:30 PM - 362 comments

This week Allstate Insurance released its 10th annual Best Drivers Report for the 200 largest US cities. It's wicked pissah being at the bottom (again). [more inside]
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 12:57 PM - 110 comments

The Nishiyama Silk company explains their silk production process from reeling silk out of the boiled cocoons through handweaving the final cloth. Their factory video is a three minutes of hypnotic machine motion (along with some adorable socks on the weavers).
posted by janell at 12:44 PM - 9 comments

Justice Map [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:25 PM - 16 comments

“Worldcon is like a family reunion,” said longtime convention-goer and fanzine writer Curt Phillips, at a panel about the history of Worldcon. After a few days, I could only agree. It was indeed like being at a family reunion, in that it felt like you were spending your time with elderly relatives. You might want to talk to them and listen to their stories, but you’ll have to tolerate some offensive and outdated opinions along the way.
For the Daily Dot, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw examines how the growing generation gap is changing the face of fandom, comparing the recent London Worldcon with the Nine Worlds convention run the weekend before.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:20 PM - 54 comments

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