This War of Mine is a computer game by Polish developers 11 Bit Studios about being a normal citizen during a modern Eastern European civil war, drawing especially on the Siege of Sarajevo. It has been called an antidote to Call of Duty for its unremittingly bleak depiction of war, though it has been criticized for being an unrealistically grim portrayal of life in a besieged city by some, including a survivor of the Siege of Sarajevo. These and other issues are discussed on the strategy game podcast Three Moves Ahead. [This War of Mine previously]
Lost your car? This might help. Just "do the damned experiment".
Connecticut's Office of The Child Advocate Releases Report on Sandy Hook Shootings "Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was an isolated young man with deteriorating mental health and a fascination for mass violence whose problems were not ignored but misunderstood and mistreated, according to a report released Friday by a Connecticut state agency." [more inside]
While talk of a moonbase or terraforming Mars has tended to dominate the discussion for the first step in human colonization of the solar system, another possibility exists: floating habitats above the cloud tops of Venus. [more inside]
Underneath Savile Row, the home of British bespoke tailoring, work goes on that is seldom seen by those that walk along the street. James, apprentice coatmaker and Paul, his master, encapsulate a life dedicated to craft and precision. (SLVimeo)
On December 31, 1999, a fast-food employee was cryogenically frozen, waking up centuries later to find himself in a bewildering future. This is his story. (SLYT)
To me Frederic M. Richards was Grandpa Freddy, a jolly man who always wore a silly brown jacket with elbow patches, who delighted in showing me how to spin the lazy Susan at the breakfast table, who insisted I help him move a one-ton rock up his path, who challenged me to fruit-eating contests. To his parents and siblings he was the weird youngest son. To a generation of biophysicists he was, apparently, a defining thinker.Thanks to Wikipedia and the tireless efforts of one 73 year old volunteer, Ben Lillie discovers his grandfather could've won a Nobel Prize.
On Sundays, The New Inquiry publishes Sunday Reading, a collection of links with minimal context and maximal depth [more inside]
"It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better'n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves." After reading Neal Cassady's 16,000 word letter, Jack Kerouac threw out his draft of On the Road and started over, in the style he's now famous for. Ginsberg took the letter and lost it. Kerouac thought it had fallen over the side of a house boat. But now the Joan Anderson letter has been found. [more inside]
"Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List" is an actual science paper accepted by a journal. Original Source.
Seashells? Distant planets? Beautiful mold.
Many people have discussed discussed the Bir Tawil trapezoid before, a piece of land unclaimed by either Sudan and Egypt, because both would rather possess the disputed (and more fertile) Hala'ib triangle. [more inside]
Halloween and Thanksgiving are two of the slipperiest holidays in the American tradition. Costumed masquerading and trick-or-treating used to happen on Thanksgiving, while Halloween was mostly devoted to vandalism. As Americans did they best to stamp out the vandalism, they also cleaned up the unruly traditions of Turkey Day, banishing the Thanksgiving Ragamuffins to October. [more inside]
What goes on in the brains of simultaneous interpreters. Miles told me about an agricultural meeting at which delegates discussed frozen bull’s semen; a French interpreter translated this as “matelot congelés”, or ‘deep-frozen sailors’. (via) [more inside]
Tor.com presents Max Gladstone's A Kiss With Teeth, in which an ancient evil settles down and tries out middle-class married life.
Tropical Islands is the mother of all water parks, built inside one of the world's largest buildings, with a separate play area for the kinder while the teens and adults discreetly down their pina coladas or Erdinger weissbiers in the thatch-roofed bars overlooking the beach. It's safe, and clean, and organized and curated and manicured to within an inch of its life. It's got that Malaysian high concept futurist vibe going, combined with German thoroughness and attention to detail, for an experience that's pretty much what you'd expect if Disneyworld opened a park in Singapore, only with fewer dire declarations of death to drug smugglers. It is in short thoroughly enjoyable if you're in Berlin and for some reason decide you want a relaxing tropical beach-side day out in an environment that's barely less artificial than an L5 space colony.
Marine salvage master Captain Nick Sloane is the man to call when your cruise ship or supertanker founders at sea. "Sloane had a six-man team. They found the Ikan Tanda lying broadside to the weather about two miles offshore. It was rolling heavily and was being swept by seas so large that the entire deck was going under, and waves were bursting over the top of the superstructure. The waves were running 14 seconds apart, an interval just large enough to allow each member of the team, in helmet and life vest, to be winched down onto the deck and take cover. They landed on one of the massive cargo hatches, unhooked from the harness, rolled to the edge, and dropped down to the side deck to crouch behind a coaming—the raised steel perimeter around a cargo hatch—just as the next wave swept across."
Neil Gaiman: Why Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't work (Gaby Wood for The Guardian):
"I feel like some kind of alchemist," Gaiman suggests. "I have to go to the cupboard and take one ounce of Snow White and two ounces of Sleeping Beauty, and heat the Sleeping Beauty and froth the Snow White and mix them together: it's kind of like fusion cuisine. It tastes like both of them but it's actually a new dish."
Are fairy tales back in fashion? Certainly, the recent success of Disney's films Frozen and Maleficent seems to point to something. But most of the fairy tales we know have come to us via 17th century France or 19th century Germany, and have since been subject to so many retellings and rebellions that trends are difficult to map.
Everybody Sexts is collection of nude images (re-imagined as illustrations) that people sent via their phone, accompanied by the story and reasons why such explicit photos were sent.
Deep Visual-Semantic Alignments for Generating Image Descriptions. A model that generates free-form natural language descriptions of image regions. Holy crap.
"Martha Gellhorn’s pen pals included Eleanor Roosevelt, Maxwell Perkins, H.G. Wells, her husband (later, ex-) Ernest Hemingway, and Peggy Schutze, my maternal grandmother." Author Amy Shearn shares some of the letters her grandmother received from legendary war correspondent Martha Gellhorn with the hope that, "if I studied Martha, the writer who wanted to be a mother, and Peggy, the mother who wanted to be a writer, some golden mean would eventually present itself."
Over the years I have taken countless photos perhaps under the deluded belief that if I don’t visually document everything then those very things won’t exist because I have a magic camera and enchanted iPhone. Or maybe because I just like to take pictures. Either way, it has resulted in me having an untold number of images that I have time and time again organized into coffee table books that remain unpublished because of The Man (or because my own publisher wishes to remain profitable).[more inside]
"It was a normal day when I grabbed my sketchpad and began to doodle. What came out was little scribbles of a horrible little creature: the Shark Cat. The initial design was based on the thresher shark. I found that the short face and extremely large eyes worked well with the cat aesthetic. However, as I kept sketching, I noticed that almost any shark species could be adapted." Shark Cats, portraits of terror, by concept artist/illustrator Brynn Metheney, who has more work on her Instagram account. (Not to be confused with the cat in a shark costume on a Roomba, previously).
"Childcare providers’ wage growth was lower than the growth in wages paid to fast food workers. They were consistently in the bottom second or third percentile in salary rankings, sharing that status with parking lot attendants, laundry workers, fast food employees, and bartenders. Perhaps most strikingly, the people who care for our youngest children earn less than those who care for animals in zoos or homes."
Marion Barry, former 4-term mayor of Washington DC, has died at the age of 78.
"Grief porn enters the Facebook era" "And, like regular pornography, the internet has transformed it. Freed from the already relaxed constraints of tabloid journalism, grief porn is no longer obligated to fake newsworthiness or importance. You don't need to die in a particularly tragic way; your death doesn't need to be the occasion for punishment or law-enactment. You just need to have produced consumable, shareable content before your untimely death. Rather than a news angle allowing a writer to smuggle grief porn into a paper, a grief-porn angle allows a content creator to smuggle a shareable unit onto Facebook." An interesting essay by Kelly Conaboy, ironically on Gawker.
Hello. This year's Supreme Cat Show is taking place in Birmingham, England. The one-day show is one of the largest cat fancy competitions in Europe with over one thousand cats being exhibited. Observe Norwegian Forest Cat 'Kattjeules Tinkerbell', while Kirsty, who was at the event showing her Persian cat, said grooming the long-haired cat to get him show-ready was a lot of work and takes 20-30 minutes a day. In 2011 the process paid of for Mrs Murray and her moggie Mr Bojangles (whose show name is “Imperial Grand Premier & Supreme Kitten Isadoryou Mr Bojangles”) won the kitten category.
There exists a trilogy of complete Portguese live-action Pokemon fanfilms. That is all. (Subtitles available, and not the automatically generated kind; click the Subtitles/CC button on the video's lower right.) Playlist links: The Mysterious Virus. Destiny of a Hero. The Light of Hope Part 1, Part 2. (MLYT) [more inside]
"The patient tested negative for HIV, tuberculosis, lime disease, syphilis, coccidioides, histoplasma and cryptococcus." After four years of MRIs, a person's mysterious headaches, seizures and altered sense of smell and memory are diagnosed as a tapeworm growing throughout his brain.
Racing to Checkpoint Charlie – my memories of the Berlin Wall by Haruki Murakami [The Guardian] The Japanese novelist on why the fall of the Berlin wall has such resonance with his novels.
Girls Poop, Too! (SLYT)
President Josiah Bartlett, the First Lady, and Chief of Staff Leo McGarry sing "Wonderful Christmastime".
Hey, Parents. What Minecraft Is Doing to Your Kids Is Kind of Surprising. - A comprehensive look at how Minecraft is enabling kids (and adults) to be more creative, collaborative, and aware of some harsh life-lessons. [more inside]
Maria Popova on the story, art, and universal truths of this year's best books for kids. [more inside]
Professor Shyguy comes in like a wrecking ball. Awesome chiptune arrangement, great vocals, and a music video that's far funnier than it has any right to be.
Have you ever wanted to pretend the mods are removing tweets from your timeline? Well, now you can! [via mefi projects]
How much is a brain worth to the NFL? FRONTLINE reporter Jason Breslow hosts a three minute video on the latest development between the NFL and former players. What's the monetary value of a human brain in this context? [more inside]
Birds, like quite a few other animals, can exhibit Gynandromorphism. Homosexual behavior in birds is also common. The phenomenon of avian spontaneous sex reversal has been well-documented, starting with Aristotle. Now modern researchers have uncovered yet another way in which birds are hacking sex roles: scientists think white-throated sparrows may actually be evolving a second pair of sex chromosomes.
Sarah's Scribbles creatively balances several delightful influences. In an interview last winter, Sarah C. Andersen said her charming, silly, misanthropic, self-doubting, and relatable web comics (including her first "truly 'viral'" success, "Waking Up") have connections to Yotsuba (note: reads right to left) and Ponyo, plus Calvin and Hobbes (many previously). In comments this month associated with an FML, she added early Winnie the Pooh to the list and also mentioned where to find her illustrations in another style under another name. Her recent work for College Humor combines her comics with light essays. [more inside]
Firestone operates one of the largest rubber plants in the world in Liberia. Firestone Liberia received a lot of positive press in the past few months after "stopping Ebola in its tracks" on its plantation in the country. But 22 years ago, Firestone Liberia played a different role in shaping Liberia's trajectory.
“The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalized groups,” writes Niamh McIntyre on a proposed, protested, and then cancelled debate on abortion organized by Oxford Students for Life. The Oxford abortion controversy, argues Lizzie Crocker, is the latest example of an increasingly common instinct among certain feminists to argue that certain subjects and certain arguments are either off limits or simply not up for debate.
Miniature buildings, beloved by many but collected by few. (SLNYT) Whatever your view of their intrinsic value (or lack thereof), it’s hard not to have an emotional reaction when confronted with the 1,200 or so small buildings on display here: the little churches with their soaring steeples, the quaint storefronts, the homespun bowling alleys, Art Deco theaters, Ferris wheels and farmhouses, all of them handmade and many dating to the late 19th century. [more inside]
Rave flyers from all over the world, mid-1980's thru the early 2000's. Over 20,000 pieces of original Underground, Rave, Club, and Disco memorabilia (rave flyers, rave posters, laminates, tickets, etc.). My first massive rave, Toon Town's UFOs Are Real. Find a party you've been to and post in comments!
She Ate Combos: And 20 Other Surprising Relationship Last Straws Explained "Paul Simon crooned there are "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and Megan Rosati claims there are 52, but that's not even the tip of the iceberg when you're talking about reasons for dumping someone. " [cached version]
If you missed it when it first aired, you might want to check out the 2013 UK Channel 4 documentary Fabulous Fashionistas, which features six stylish, active women ranging in age from 73 to 91. If you're in the UK you can view the documentary here. If you live elsewhere, YouTube has some clips and Bust offers us a written overview. Michele Hanson has some pithy words on why she'd like to slap the Fabulous Fashionista commentator, and as a lovely little pendant on the topic of older women and style, here's a 2009 Guardian article by author Alison Lurie, "The Day I Threw Away Fashion".