Activity from mcwetboy
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Photoshopping monsters into your wedding photos is now a thing. It started not that long ago, when a wedding photo featuring a T. rex chasing the wedding party went very, very viral. Now it seems every couple getting married wants a shot of the wedding party fleeing a threat to be pasted in later. From the Maclean's article: "'We're still trying to figure out what goes in the background,' [photographer] Tony [Lombardo] says. 'The couple hasn’t figured out yet what they want to be chased by.'" AT-ATs and Sharktopus have already been done. It's already getting old. Has it already gone too far [via]?
Phantom of the Paradise bombed but was insanely popular in Winnipeg. Flash Gordon did poorly in North America but was a huge hit in the UK. I'm curious: have there been other movies that were relatively unsuccessful but had inexplicable pockets of success?
FML Listings posts incredulous commentary about outrageously overpriced real estate listings in Toronto. Look at the run-down bungalows -- in North York! -- listed for a million dollars and despair. Canada's housing bubble, on full display. Via Maclean's.
The Banana Jr. 9000 lives. No, really. The Bloom County icon comes to life thanks to RetroMacCast co-host John, a "highly modified" Mac Plus shell, and a Mac Mini. Via Cult of Mac.
Prime Focus A little tumblelog about astrophotography, both professional (e.g., the Hubble and other space- and ground-based observatories) and amateur, with a certain amount of geeking out about the equipment and the science. I set this up to prevent my personal blog from being completely taken over by look-at-the-pretty-space-pictures posts, which I'm now doing here with reckless abandon.
Have a website? Use Google AdSense? Ever wonder what your cut of the ad revenue was? Google just revealed it this morning: 68 percent for content ads, 51 percent for search.
Death to the spoiler police! Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams takes a stand against people who insist on spoiler alerts: "[O]nce a work enters the pop culture vernacular, it is not society's responsibility to provide you with earmuffs until you finally get around to experiencing it. ... But for the love of God, if you really don't want to know about a book/movie/television show, do the rest of the world a favor and stop hanging out in the online discussion groups about it." Via Roger Ebert.
Braille is facing extinction, says Canadian newsweekly Maclean's, thanks to strained budgets, audiobooks and text-to-speech. "In the 1950s about half of all blind children learned Braille, says the U.S. National Federation of the Blind. Today, that number has fallen to 10 per cent -- and it's about the same in Canada. For some, like NFB director Mark Riccobono, that means we're letting blind children grow up as illiterate as Braille's 19th-century contemporaries. 'If only 10 per cent of sighted children were being taught [to read],' he told Maclean's, 'that would be considered a crisis.'"
Science fiction writer Janet Kagan, who posted here as realjanetkagan, died Friday after a long illness (COPD).
I'd like to learn more about tripods. Whenever I visit a camera store or a store site, or Manfrotto's site, I'm bewildered, and I'd rather not be. Instead of asking for recommendations based on my criteria (as in previous questions here and here), I'd like to understand tripods (and heads) as a category so that I can figure out for myself what I need for whatever it is I have in mind, whether it's my digital SLR, a MiniDV video camera, or even a small apochromatic refractor or spotting scope. Are there any resources online, or any books, that I can start with?
In addition to his work on the design of the 200-inch Hale telescope, amateur astronomer Russell W. Porter (1871-1949) designed and produced a remarkable, bronze-cast garden telescope in the 1920s. Fewer than 60 of these unusual Newtonian reflectors were ever made, and they're even harder to find now: earlier this year, one went for $18,000 at auction. But a reproduction of the Porter Garden Telescope is now available, for a mere $59,000 (it's cast bronze on a marble pedestal); a local cable station has a profile of the people behind it. Via Sky and Telescope.
Down syndrome and Alzheimer's. People with Down syndrome are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's, and at a much earlier age: three-quarters of them will get it by the age of 65, compared with one-tenth of the general population. This Globe and Mail article looks at a relatively new phenomenon due, in no small part, to longer life expentancies among those with Down syndrome.
FRN My latest project is a blog about trains in all their forms -- historical and modern, freight and passenger, real and model -- and the people who are crazy about them. When "trainspotter" becomes synonymous with all obsessives, you know that train fans have a reputation for being just a little bit fixated. "FRN" is railroader's slang: it stands for "fuckin' railroad nut." (Oh look, another three-letter acronym with the F-bomb in it. Of course I have to name a blog after it.)
When Jack Williamson published his first story, Isaac Asimov was eight years old. Seventy-three years later, his novella, "The Ultimate Earth," won the Hugo and Nebula awards. Easily the longest career in science fiction, and one of the most distinguished, came to a close yesterday: Williamson died at the age of 98. (Boing Boing, Locus.)
Snakes on Film Some people nitpick movies or TV shows for historical accuracy or continuity. Me, I nitpick 'em for their snakes. Seeing someone scream in terror at a snake that I can immediately identify as a harmless species you can buy at the local pet store for sixty bucks spoils my fun, so I'm spreading the joy. Snakes on a You-Know-What has had its snakes debunked and profiled; I'll do the same for as many other films, movies and short videos as I can track down. For that niche who likes both snakes and movies. (Yeah, him.)
Apache on OS X is giving me some trouble. It's been working fine for years on previous Macs, but now I can't load my own user account site folder (/~username/) on my Intel iMac, which arrived last week -- I'm getting a 403.
DFL My blog about last-place finishes at the Olympics was first posted to MetaFilter back during the Athens Games in 2004. It's been dormant since then, but I wanted to let you know that it's back for the Winter Games in Torino. (Just FYI; don't double-post this.) Find out who came last before NBC gets around to telling you who came first.
The Projects RSS feed has no way of directly clicking on the project URL. The URL is the votes page; the title and URL are not included in the
. If this is unintended, I suggest one of the following: change the to the project URL, and have a link to the votes page at the end of the ; or keep the the same but repeat the title, with a link to the URL, at the start of the .
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is (a) Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, (b) facing a five-count indictment from the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, (c) the author of The Apprentice, a book that is, in the words of The New Yorker's Lauren Collins, "Libby's 1996 entry in the long and distinguished annals of the right-wing dirty novel," or (d) all of the above. Via Making Light.
Google Blog Search -- in beta, of course. Works by crawling blogs' RSS feeds. Should Technorati be nervous?
I'd like to see the poster and tags for each post in my RSS newsreader. Do you think the RSS feeds could be updated to include them in the
Half the blogs I read have links to the Blogads survey today, which reminds me that I've been meaning to do a readership survey for one of my sites. There are a plethora of web sites offering survey tools (if this page from SurveyMonkey, which is doing the Blogads survey, is any indication); which one(s) would you recommend? (Free or very nearly so is preferred, natch.)
Dynamic map of Switzerland. Google Maps isn't the only mapping service using Ajax: map.search.ch, which does the same thing for Switzerland, launched last October.
MeFi Ottawa: 11 members, spousal units and lurkers made it to Pub Italia last night, where we consumed obscure beers, made boisterous small talk, annoyed other patrons with our flash photography, and crafted inappropriate shoutouts. So far, sboivert's photos and my photos have been posted to the MetaFilter pool on Flickr; aedra's photos, containing many more shoutouts, will be up once I let her have some time in front of this computer.
Brent and Eivind's Couchbike Adventure. "In 2002, two intrepid cyclists rode a human powered couch through Maritime Canada." Via Gadling.
The weather just got a lot more accessible. The National Weather Service's weather data is now freely available in XML format for SOAP clients; it had previously been only available through commercial providers or in a difficult-to-decipher format. Not knowing anything about web services, I'm not sure about the implications, but I imagine that anyone who knows their SOAP could build their own weather app really easily.
In the course of answering PurplePorpoise's pillow question, I mention (for background) that I suffer from a painful, chronic autoimmune disease. This is Pretty_Generic's response. That didn't hurt much, really -- less than my back does most days -- but it doesn't make him any less of an insensitive prick. Mocking someone's illness shouldn't be considered good conduct.
I don't care if it is phrased in the form of a question. Using AskMe to get in a second post because you "already shot [your] wad today with a different MeFi front page post and thought this merited a posting" is just not on.
Highway Route Markers collects highway signs from around the world. The Upstate New York Roads Site lists (and reproduces) every exit sign for many of the state's freeways. Let me reiterate: Every. Exit. Sign. The net has something for everyone, even those of us with an unhealthy obsession with road signs.
Father Cornelius (Neil) Horan doesn't just spread his end-of-the-world message by running onto the track during Formula One races and accosting hapless Brazilian marathoners (more here, here and here) -- he writes books, too, excerpts of which you can download for your edification and salvation. From what he says, better hurry. (Via Colby Cosh)
I'd like to know the number of athletes from each country competing at the Olympics -- basically, the size of each country's delegation -- for a little project I'm working on. The Athens 2004 site and the news orgs' sites I've checked do not provide such information, from what I can tell.
PrinceValium is right: followup.metafilter.com would be a nice pony. (more)
"Here's a little song [3.1 MB MP3] I wrote the other day while I was out duck hunting with a judge . . . It's a new song, it's dedicated to the FCC and if they broadcast it, it will cost a quarter of a million dollars." Eric Idle responds to the FCC's crackdown on the F-word. NSFW without headphones. Via Ceejbot.
Two questions in one, relating to a new web site I'm working on. First: is there any knowledge base software out there that is reasonably simple to configure? What I have in mind could conceivably be done through Movable Type or a wiki, but the kbases I've seen are a better fit. Suggestions? And second: my hosting provider does not register .info domain names -- can anyone recommend a .info registrar?
Eloquence posts a thread about Mother Teresa, in which he writes, "the Wikipedia article about her gives a much more balanced picture than most media reports." Trouble is, a Wikipedia member named -- wait for it -- Eloquence is a substantial contributor to that very Wikipedia article, and has, as far as I can tell (see article history), written much of the material about the controversy. (See also his contributions to the related Talk page.) This could be considered a self link as a result. Is it?
"If I get a chance, I'll do it again. I think a bear would make a good pet." In a story that shocked Ottawa, an apparently clueless Quebec woodsman kidnaps a black bear cub, dunking it under water and dragging it by its hind leg. Police and wildlife officers force him to surrender the bear, which is released 60 km from its mother. Charges are pending -- definitely for possessing illegal wildlife, definitely, possibly for animal cruelty.
Another post praising Howard Dean leads to charges of DeanFilter. There may be something to those charges: there have been several uncritical and laudatory Howard Dean posts on MetaFilter over the past few months, some of which seem interchangeable. And, as matteo points out, it's probably only going to get worse. We complain (rightly) when a post reeks of viral marketing; why shouldn't this be any different? Shouldn't we be more skeptical of breathless posts that coo over politicians? Aren't we (well, not me per se, but American voters) being sold something? Dean may well be the bee's knees, but still.
The Directory of Open Access Journals, launched this month by Lund University Libraries in Sweden, links to peer-reviewed online scholarly journals whose entire content is freely available. (More inside.)
"How do you talk about domestic violence without portraying violence or having some statement about violence?" PSAs about domestic abuse developed by the Calgary-based HomeFront Society have been judged too graphic to show on television. Violent acts from actual domestic-abuse investigations are depicted in public settings: a boardroom, a restaurant. They will not be broadcast, but are available for download online (MPEG format). Warning: These ads are extremely difficult to watch. They hit you like a ton of bricks. But isn't that the point?
Since what is and is not a violation of the Geneva Conventions is a subject of some discussion as a result of today's news, this collection of the complete texts of the Geneva Conventions (as well as other treaties) should be a useful reference. Of particular relevance is the Third Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Ragdoll cats have interesting personalities, a devoted following, and a very, very strange creation myth.
British books, built badly. British publishers' habit of putting out hardcovers with glued (rather than sewn) bindings and non-acid-free paper makes many rather expensive books start to fall apart after only a few years, Slate's Christopher Caldwell reports.
Was Stalin assassinated to prevent him from launching a nuclear attack on the United States? "'The circumstantial evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of non-fortuitous death,' said Jonathan Brent, a professor of Russian history at Yale University. 'And to support this further, we now have solid evidence, non-circumstantial evidence, of a cover-up at the highest level.'"
Yesterday, the Province of Alberta launched an adoption web site for its foster care children. Detailed and often heartbreaking profiles of each child are available, including their background and behavioural problems (many, for example, suffer from fetal alcohol effect). But critics complain that too much information about the children is being made available, and that the site is reducing the children to the level of commodities. (Not the first adoption web site, but it's a first for a Canadian province, I think.)
Several blog entries make multiple appearances in the trackbacks of the shuttle thread: does MT's trackback function re-ping the server every time a single post is updated (as so many of us were doing yesterday as the shuttle story developed)?
Ireland's road signs are notorious for getting travellers lost, but the Irish government has announced that it will finally do something about it.
"My daughter can't be bulimic. I don't diet. We don't talk about calories or fat or weight loss. Much of our family life centres around food. Look at my job as a restaurant critic!" Joanne Kates is the restaurant critic for the Globe and Mail; her daughter suffered from anorexia. Today, the Globe published their story in their own words.
MetaFilter is not about us; it's about what we find out there on the web. If so, we should be in the background of our posts if not outright invisible, and we should avoid phrasing our posts as personal blog entries. First example: "I found no post ... I only post it now ... as I see in my weblog's referer log ... that's how a few people found my site." Second example: " I hope ... I've searched ... It has special relevance to me since I am ... Being 25 and wanting to pay off my loans, I may have ... " And posts like this, which are all about personal experience and nothing else, are right out.
Sorry to be posting again so soon, but, pursuant to Smart Dalek's request, I've put together a little calendar of upcoming MetaFilter events in iCal format. Nothing too fancy, just me manually adding events to the calendar as I receive them. Nothing is on the calendar yet, so submit something, already. Details on subscribing to (if you use iCal on Mac OS X 10.2.1 or later) or viewing the calendar are here. Hope you like it.
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