December 2010 Archives

December 31

"The Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution are, by a time-honoured custom, invariably addressed to a "juvenile audience." This term, however, has always been held to be an elastic one, and to include those who are young in spirit as well as those who are young in years. The conditions, therefore, necessarily impose on the Lecturer the duty of treating some subject in such a manner that, whilst not beyond the reach of youthful minds, it may yet posses some elements of interest for those of maturer years." Thus began the preface to Waves and Ripples in Water, Air and Æther (alt. link: Google books), the published version of the 1901 lecture given by J.A. Fleming, M.A., D.Sc, F.R.S., providing a good overview of the lecture series that started in 1825 (list in PDF). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:59 PM PST - 20 comments

The Most Serene Republic of San Marino. According to legend, the tiny country of San Marino was founded in 301AD by Saint Marinus of Rab, and is thus the world’s oldest republic. Occupying 24 square miles around Mount Titano in the middle of Italy, it is the fifth smallest country in the world. [more inside]
posted by kmz at 11:41 PM PST - 30 comments

Radio Spiritworld (Inter-dimensional) is the only station broadcasting from the afterlife into the living world. Well, actually it's a half an hour of wonderfully inventive audio-comedy from Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper, writers and creators of Look Around You, who between them have worked on or appeared in all the recent British comedies you love. [iTunes download link]
posted by Kattullus at 9:56 PM PST - 12 comments

Bob Dylan had a radio show, the Theme Time Radio Hour, from May 2006 to April 2009. The archive contains shows on themes such as Thanksgiving Leftovers, The Bible, and Women's Names (click on the arrows to download the full radio show).
posted by Copronymus at 8:40 PM PST - 20 comments

"It's a stretch of pavement both enriched and torn apart by class and ethnic divisions. When you go over a bridge or under a viaduct on this street you've left one country for another. It's the American melting pot at full boil." Halsted Street USA. (1995, 56 minutes, Color)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:22 PM PST - 13 comments

The first pictures of China's "5th generation" fighter prototype were leaked this week. The aircraft, believed to be the J-20, is expected to have its first flight in early 2011. [more inside]
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:54 PM PST - 50 comments


(NSFW) BUTT magazine (previously, previouslier) has undergone a huge redesign this year and asked readers to submit reviews of their sexual encounters. They don't always go well. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM PST - 23 comments

In Memoriam: a toast to some of those who left us in 2010.
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM PST - 22 comments





You are in a warm, dark, comfortable place. This has been your place since you became aware that you are alive. It's almost time to enter a different world now. In 1986, Activision published a roleplaying computer game called Alter Ego. Unlike the action and fantasy titles that ruled the day, this game simulated the course of a single ordinary life. Beginning at birth, players navigated a series of vignettes: learning to crawl, reacting to strangers, getting a first haircut. The outcome of each scenario subtly influenced one's path, and with every choice players slowly progressed through infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Graphically minimalist -- one's lifestream is represented by simple icons, and the scenarios are all text -- the game was nevertheless engaging, describing the world in a playful, good-natured tone tinged by darkness and melancholy. And it had quite a pedigree; developer and psychology PhD Peter Favaro interviewed hundreds of people on their most memorable life experiences to generate the game's 1,200 pages of material. Unfortunately for Dr. Favaro, the game didn't sell very well. But it lives on through the web -- PlayAlterEgo.com offers a full copy of the game free to play in your browser, and the same port is available as a $5 app for iPhone and Android. More: Port discussion group - Wishlist - Vintage review - Original game manual (text or scans)
posted by Rhaomi at 9:51 AM PST - 46 comments

Just in time, perhaps one of the most anticipated online video releases of 2010 has arrived. RedLetterMedia presents the Plinkett Review of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. (3 parts, 110 minutes) [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 8:49 AM PST - 147 comments

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has declined to pardon William H. Bonney, aka Kid Antrim, aka Henry McCarty, but best known as Billy the Kid. [more inside]
posted by steambadger at 8:11 AM PST - 44 comments

I’m crammed into a burrow so small that my knees are up around my ears and the boom mike keeps slamming into my head, inhaling the potent scent of toffee-apple brandy and trying to drink a talking mouse under the table. But is it really the boom mike that’s making my head pound? I know for sure that my camera man doesn’t usually have two heads. I have to face facts. The mouse is winning.
No Reservations: Narnia. [more inside]
posted by pts at 8:11 AM PST - 40 comments

Wormworld Saga, a beautiful online graphic novel by Daniel Lieske.
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM PST - 13 comments

“We want them to enjoy the level of celebrity attention that I usually get,” says George Clooney. “If you know your actions are going to be covered, you tend to behave much differently than when you operate in a vacuum.” —He’s talking about the “anti-genocide paparazzi” of the Satellite Sentinel Project, which has hired private satellites to monitor troop movements around Abyei during the upcoming Sudanese referendum in the hopes of preventing war crimes. Patrick Meier has some thoughts on whether this Panopticon approach might work, and if we could even tell.
posted by kipmanley at 7:35 AM PST - 5 comments

"They're not out to make a quick buck, they're looking to protect the integrity of the franchise and its mythology." 1998's Star Trek Insurrection went through a number of different plots before becoming the film we ultimately saw. Starting out as Star Trek: Stardust, the first take on the idea involved Captain Picard going all Heart of Darkness on a former friend from his Starfleet Academy days in a bid to find the Fountain of Youth. That treatment evolved into a remarkably Avatarish story called simply Star Trek IX in which Picard must go upriver to kill a malfunctioning Data as part of a Federation/Romulan alliance to displace strange alien natives from a planet teeming with a valuable and rare ore (spoiler: Picard actually kills Data in this treatment, and Tom Hanks was supposed to have a major role somewhere). Let the late Michael Piller guide you through the writing of Insurrection in his unpublished book Fade In: The Making of Star Trek: Insurrection (his "last great gift to the fans and to aspiring writers everywhere") in which he presents his original story treatments, story notes from his bosses at Paramount, surprisingly reasonable Trekker-type reactions from actors Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, and much more. First made freely available by TrekCore.com, Piller's family has since asked that it be removed, but you'll still find the file roaming the Internet if you boldly go looking for it. [more inside]
posted by Servo5678 at 6:38 AM PST - 104 comments

Time for a break, Rosie. All the day long, Whether rain or shine She’s part of the assembly line. She’s making history, Working for victory Rosie the Riveter [more inside]
posted by HuronBob at 5:31 AM PST - 16 comments

"The first image you have of many of your favourite films is probably a Bill Gold creation." His sparse, iconic poster designs have helped to define movies for over six decades, from Casablanca, Dial M for Murder and My Fair Lady, to A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist and The Sting. His longest-lasting creative partnership was with Clint Eastwood, spanning every Eastwood movie from 1972’s Dirty Harry to 1993’s Mystic River — not forgetting the unforgettable design for Unforgiven. When Eastwood presented Gold with a Lifetime Key Art Award from the Hollywood Reporter in 1994, he simply called Gold "the greatest." A signed, limited edition collection of his greatest works can be yours for just £400. It's not simply a record of the posters he ended up creating, but a fascinating look into the artistic process, from sketch to billboard. When Lars Trodson asked Gold about his phenomenal career in 2009, he answered with characteristic understatement: "I can hardly believe it."
posted by londonmark at 4:44 AM PST - 10 comments

...if all these neocons who worship the Ancient Greeks, like Victor Davis Hanson, really want to know what their precious Greeks were like, those boy-fucking, throat-slitting, 400-verse war-song reciting founders of our glorious civilization and all that, they should go live in a Pashtun village.... Well, the Pashtun are sensible people too. They don’t have much to lose, and they’re not that scared of dying.... They’ve got nothing coming from the whole Thomas Friedman world, and they’d be fools to think they do.
from The War Nerd: Market Lessons from the Pashtun [more inside]
posted by orthogonality at 2:49 AM PST - 46 comments

The last roll of Kodachrome film was given to Steve McCurry, who took the famous Afghan Girl photograph with it, and yesterday was the last day that you could get it processed. here are some of the frames from that roll. previously
posted by delmoi at 2:12 AM PST - 46 comments

In an action "unprecedented in the democratic world" Moshe Katsav, the eighth President of Israel, has been convicted of rape. The former President is expected to appeal the conviction, which carries a minimum penalty of four years in prison. There is little sympathy for Moshe Katsav on a day that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as "a sad day for the State of Israel and its residents." The Jerusalem Post is left with one question: Should the plaques come down?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:07 AM PST - 40 comments

December 30


Do American citizens really want the agriculture jobs "illegals" are "taking?" Apparently not... "Only 8,600 people expressed an interest in working in the fields, says Ms Machuca. But they made demands that seem bizarre to farmworkers, such as high pay, health and pension benefits, relocation allowances and other things associated with normal American jobs. In late September only seven American applicants in the “Take our jobs” campaign were actually picking crops."
posted by ShadePlant at 7:05 PM PST - 113 comments

Someone's made a short film out of Charles Burns' Black Hole. [contains nudity, profanity, mildly annoying interface] (via io9)
posted by Eideteker at 6:40 PM PST - 12 comments

Notes from the Road is a Tumblr with "notes, photos & video of the Leonard Cohen 2010 World Tour by: J.S. Carenza III". Also: Emily St John Mandel on the tour, at The Millions: Take This Waltz: Leonard Cohen’s Tour Comes to an End
posted by chavenet at 3:19 PM PST - 7 comments

"We tried to pick images that quickly became popular, generated hundreds of thousands of views, were interesting, and/or somehow changed the Internet as we knew it." Imgur has become the standard among social news and media websites for sharing images. With the weight of 20 billion annual views, Imgur presents The Best Images of 2010. (Anti-memesters beware, the list is full of 'em)
posted by Taft at 2:50 PM PST - 51 comments

Amazon has patented a system that would allow gift recipients to return a gift before they even get it. [more inside]
posted by special-k at 2:12 PM PST - 75 comments

A Gallery of Art Deco bookbindings.
One of the artists was Paul Legrain (who also worked with Rose Adler); was the tutor of Mary Reynolds, accidental surrealist companion and lover of Marcel Duchamp. She was also a bookbinder extraordinaire.
posted by adamvasco at 1:31 PM PST - 7 comments

Eclectic, cheerful and interesting visuals with plenty of links worth exploring to other sites: Vintage | Ephemera | Comics | Children's Illustration | Poster Art from the The Martin Klasch Blogspot. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 1:31 PM PST - 3 comments


Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
posted by reenum at 12:20 PM PST - 150 comments

For all the faults of the poorhouse, the system it replaced was perceived to be even worse. In post-Revolution America, if you were poor, you could be "farmed out" at public auction to the lowest bidder. [more inside]
posted by Knappster at 11:59 AM PST - 8 comments

In a more recent action of book banning, Amazon appears to be banning books about incest that are not top rated titles. Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein is available, for example. Covered here as well.
posted by dibblda at 11:11 AM PST - 156 comments


Anko is a French bulldog who likes to eat.
posted by bewilderbeast at 10:35 AM PST - 30 comments

After a test flight nearly ended in disaster at the start of the Civil War, Professor Thaddeus Lowe recovered his balloon and headed back North. Recognizing the potential use of air vehicles in the war, he managed to get an invitation to the White House in order demonstrate the capabilities of balloons in the war effort. [more inside]
posted by nomadicink at 10:31 AM PST - 12 comments

During the month of December, tor.com has been publishing essays on the Twelve Doctors of Christmas. Today artist Pia Guerra gives us the gift of an extended metaphor: the fifth Doctor as a Volvo. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:30 AM PST - 38 comments

Super style simply strikes you? Jeweler nOir teamed up with DC Comics for a line of sparkly Superhero accessories. Wear Gotham city as a ring or just beat Diana at her own game.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM PST - 33 comments

Wm. M. Chace, former dean at Stanford then president at Wesleyan and later at Emory University, argues affirmative action at the great American public universities is dead, that opposition to affirmative action has drastically reduced minority enrollment at public universities, and only the private institutions can now carry out this public good. (And see Chace’s interesting earlier memoir: 100 Semesters: My Adventures as Student, Professor, and University President and What I Learned Along the Way. [And an earlier MeFi conversation about his article The Decline of the English Department.])
posted by JL Sadstone at 9:04 AM PST - 27 comments

Cosmic Journeys is a documentary series on various astronomical and space-related subjects, e.g. supermassive black holes, Apollo 12, whether the universe is infinite and many more. The creators, SpaceRip have a lot of other, shorter videos online as well. They are indexed here. Most, if not all, of the videos are available in HD.
posted by Kattullus at 8:45 AM PST - 2 comments

The Star Wars Holiday Special edited down to just over 5mins so you can actually watch it (well the low-lights) without too much pain. After than you might want a Star Wars free year.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:00 AM PST - 52 comments

OVer a decade before PSN and XBLA there was Sega Channel. [more inside]
posted by griphus at 7:47 AM PST - 29 comments

Ebert reviews Jamie Stewart's "Man in Blizzard," shot during the recent snows in NYC Scroll down to view Vertov's "Man with a Camera" (version with some nice added music here), which inspired the short. Vertov has inspired many before.
posted by cubby at 7:42 AM PST - 15 comments


Within that small and very specific sub-genre of musical Americana identifiable as the train imitation, there is one amazing performance, from 1926, that set the standard: Pan-American Blues. The man who recorded it did a fine and fanciful job of evoking the sounds of a fox chase as well, and his rhythmically compelling solo rendition of John Henry stands as testament to the potential for musical greatness achievable by one man and a humble harmonica. He was an African-American who was a founding member of the Grand Ole Opry, a musical institution that we rarely (as in, never) today associate with black people, and his touching and tragic story, documented here, is one that will be of interest to those concerned with the racial, economic and socio-cultural history of American popular music. He stands at one of its more unexpected intersections: his name is DeFord Bailey. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 AM PST - 15 comments

One of the 'Dutch' (actually from Aruba and the band from Germany) most prided disco icons, Bobby Farrell, frontman of Boney M., passed away in st. Petersburg. A Crazy Dancer who arguably never got any real money for his success which was the story for this commercial. Most recent appearance of Boney M., a creation of Frank Farian (previously) was probably Ma Baker's sample in Lady GaGa's Pokerface.
posted by stFire at 4:27 AM PST - 24 comments

Jessica McLeod draws incredibly cute, funny, awesome cartoons. Cartoons about educated pigs, space rabbits, bad yetis, and rude flowers. You should be warned, they are very cute.
Mungo Bean: Adventure Pig!, Book 2, Book 3 Part 1, Part 2
Bad Yeti, Yeti Party
Space Rabbits: In Space, Planet Of, Battle for the Planet Of, Tea With A
Miscellaneous comics: The Indefatigable Miss Manners, Working Class Elf, Ghost Farm
She has a webcomic, Activities For Rainy Days [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 3:28 AM PST - 10 comments

"In the late '60's I worked for Bell Labs for a few years managing a data center and developing an ultra high speed information retrieval system. It was the days of beehive hair on the women and big mainframe computers. One day I took a camera to work and shot the pictures below."
posted by channey at 2:38 AM PST - 69 comments

It appears that Sony's PS3 is fatally and permanently hacked. fail0verflow, a team of European hackers demonstrated quite convincingly (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. [more inside]
posted by pjern at 2:25 AM PST - 106 comments

"This is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will interest any readers, but it has interested me."-C. D. Quick... what was Darwin's most popular book? If you answered The Origin of Species, you were wrong. It was his last book, published the year before he died, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms With Observation of Their Habits (illustrations [first presented 1 Nov. 1837, as noted in the record of the Royal Geological Society]). Darwin noted when he was beginning his career that worms churned up soil, causing heavier objects to sink slowly in the soil. He noted that all soil had passed through the alimentary duct of worms. It started off a fashion of cultivating worms by gardeners that continues to the present day. -We recently learned that we owe an element of our unique cerebral cortex, or pallium to our marine worm ancestors. (In amphibians, the cerebrum includes archipallium, paleopallium and some of the basal nuclei. Reptiles first developed a neopallium, which continued to develop in the brains of more recent species to become the neocortex of mammals." [&, ultimately, you and you and we]) [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation at 1:20 AM PST - 11 comments

December 29

"Cablegate Comix" is a series of comics "recounting true stories that came to light on November 28, 2010 — when WikiLeaks published confidential documents of detailed correspondences between the US State Department and its diplomatic missions around the world." 1, 2, 3, 4 [more inside]
posted by brundlefly at 10:43 PM PST - 17 comments

In My Darkest Hour There are a number of songs that evoke a similar image... these three share a kinship. Arlo's song is his alone. Billy Joel's "Light as Breeze" was written by L. Cohen. And, the final entry is L. Cohen's , which reverses the image a bit...and then turns it around again..."Suzanne"
posted by HuronBob at 10:14 PM PST - 7 comments

Vadrum drums over some familiar classics ... Mozart's overture to The Marriage of Figaro (original). The William Tell overture (original). Rossini's overture to The Barber of Seville — you'll recognize it at 1:20 (original). Mozart's "Rondo Alla Turca" a.k.a. "Turkish March," from Piano Sonata No. 11, K. 331 (original). [more inside]
posted by John Cohen at 9:32 PM PST - 19 comments

The Last Text [more inside]
posted by P.o.B. at 8:35 PM PST - 36 comments

Muppets With People Eyes. [SLTumblr]
posted by kipmanley at 8:23 PM PST - 61 comments

IN Gear, swinging London of 1960s and SOHO bohemian Coffee Bars of London, 1959. These are a few of the 500+ vintage documentary shorts called "Look at Life" that ran at the Odeon and Gaumont cinemas during the 50s and 60s. (via Dangerous Minds) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive at 6:41 PM PST - 15 comments

What a Face A tribute to character actors with "distinctive" looks. [via mefi projects]
posted by null terminated at 5:02 PM PST - 81 comments


Journalistic flamewar erupts over secret chat logs. It's a disagreement between Salon's Glenn Greenwald and Wired.com's Kevin Poulsen over the proper use of IM chat logs between Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo. Revelant links within. [more inside]
posted by chaff at 2:31 PM PST - 171 comments

What does it mean to be Canadian? It isn't about an ethnicity, a religion, a language, or a shared heritage or history. From CBC's Ideas comes the two-part radio documentary, Being Canadian. "From east to west, public intellectuals and private citizens (both new and old Canadians), tell film-maker Sun-Kyung (Sunny) Yi about the concerns, the questions, and the challenges of living together in a multicultural and diverse society." It is also the story of how and why a Korean family became Canadian, first in the law, and then in their hearts.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:17 PM PST - 120 comments


The division of post-WWII Berlin reached everywhere in the city, even underground, sealing stations throughout the long decades of the Cold War. They were the first “ghost stations”, which can now be found everywhere: the Paris Metro (previously), Los Angeles, the London Underground, New York City, and the aforementioned Berlin, remaining as entombed time capsules that are passed by millions every day.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:12 PM PST - 10 comments

Jonathan Blattmachr, one of the country's leading estates and trusts experts, feels that helping his clients reduce their tax liability helps the IRS close loopholes that he and his colleagues use. As with most attorneys, there are some clients who weren't happy with his work, but Mr. Blattmachr pushes on with his efforts.
posted by reenum at 12:00 PM PST - 18 comments


ELLE does it again. Indian actress and former "Miss World" Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is said to be considering legal action after becoming the most recent victim (previously on MeFi) of the magazine's skin-lightening addiction. In India color is strongly associated with caste, and lightening is a multimillion dollar industry. [more inside]
posted by hermitosis at 11:39 AM PST - 107 comments

"You'll live on in films forever!" Daniel Radcliffe beheaded on QI christmas special (SLYT)
posted by sarastro at 11:05 AM PST - 36 comments

The Empathy Deficit: "A recent study finds a decline in empathy among young people in the U.S." In fact, the report concludes "empathy levels have been declining over the past 30 years." Podcast on this topic here.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:16 AM PST - 110 comments

19th-century newspaper ads for patented stomach cures and digestive aids [...] foregrounded mince pie as the K2 of digestive summits. But for every published warning on the dangers of mince, the newspapers published a poem, essay, or editorial praising it as a great symbol of American cultural heritage or a nostalgic reminder of mother love and better times bygone—or even, as the State of Columbia, South Carolina, asserted in 1901, a beneficial Darwinian instrument that had "thinned out the weak ones" among the pioneering generations.
So wrote Cliff Doerksen in his wonderful, James Beard award-winning article Mince Pie: The Real American Pie. Doerksen not only gives the history of this once most American of foods, he also makes two mince pies from 19th Century recipes to see if they are indeed all that. This is but one of many great articles Doerksen wrote for The Chicago Reader in recent years (links to a selection below the cut). Sadly, Cliff Doerksen passed at the age of 47 just before Christmas. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus at 8:26 AM PST - 73 comments

Meet the woman without fear. Growing up as a Buddhist, I was taught a lot about fearlessness and conquering fear (previously). But being fearless may not be all it's cracked up to be. [more inside]
posted by outlandishmarxist at 8:10 AM PST - 32 comments


In 1996 a film was released that combined the animated Looney Tunes with the reality based basketball star Michael Jordan. That film was called Space Jam. Incredibly, Warner Brothers still maintains the movie's website, which is a snapshot of web design from the time period. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 7:37 AM PST - 70 comments

There's weird taxidermy, weirder taxidermy, and weirdest taxidermy. There's even weird taxidermy auctions. But, all in all, these animals are the same old stuff. Lisa Black however has come up with a new spin on an old concept - steampunk taxidermy. Some images may be NSFW.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:03 AM PST - 16 comments

A video montage tribute to Pixar Animation Studios by video mash-up maker and film-lover Leandro Copperfield. [more inside]
posted by SkylitDrawl at 4:39 AM PST - 18 comments

The Big Picture: 2010 in Photos (part 2, part 3). just in case you missed it
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:09 AM PST - 16 comments


Nigeria's film industry produces 50 films a week. "Nigerian films are as popular abroad as they are at home. Ivorian rebels in the bush stop fighting when a shipment of DVDs arrives from Lagos. Zambian mothers say their children talk with accents learnt from Nigerian television. When the president of Sierra Leone asked Genevieve Nnaji, a Lagosian screen goddess, to join him on the campaign trail he attracted record crowds at rallies. Millions of Africans watch Nigerian films every day, many more than see American fare. And yet Africans have mixed feelings about Nollywood."
posted by artof.mulata at 2:35 AM PST - 10 comments

According to The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the US recession which started in December 2007 actually ended in June 2009. But unemployment (not to be confused with under-employment), always considered to be a lagging indicator, has continued to rise. [more inside]
posted by Mutant at 2:31 AM PST - 19 comments


The book “Traumgedanken” (“Thoughts about dreams”) contains a collection of literary, philosophical, psychological and scientifical texts which provide an insight into different dream theories. To ease the access to the elusive topic, the book is designed as a model of a dream about dreaming. Analogue to a dream, where pieces of reality are assembled to build a story, it brings different text excerpts together. They are connected by threads which tie in with certain key words.
posted by chavenet at 1:10 AM PST - 8 comments

December 28

Denis Dutton (Wiki) has died. Denis founded and edited the website "Arts & Letters Daily", gained notoriety, admiration and respect for his strongly held views on Art, Philosophy and Science. He taught at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand from 1984 until his death. He was a founding member of New Zealand Sceptics, a former voice over artist (a skill he would often use to great effect lampooning hollywood) often a provocateur, and was named by Time Magazine in 2004 as "one of the worlds most influential media personalities." 9 February 1944 – 28 December 2010 RIP. [more inside]
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 7:46 PM PST - 56 comments

Don't Stop the Pop: the mashup of the year's top 25 songs, from DJ Earworm! (Previously on Mefi: 2007, 2008, 2009. ) [more inside]
posted by estlin at 7:27 PM PST - 38 comments

HaikuLeaks Cable is poetry 65 haikus in 1830 cables [more inside]
posted by unknowncommand at 6:59 PM PST - 13 comments

The List. After losing his wife Meghan to breast cancer, Adam Warner has set out to complete his wife's to-do list, which has already taken him in a train across Canada and on pilgrimage to India. From the (newly revived) Chicago Public Media program Love & Radio. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:09 PM PST - 9 comments

My younger brother recommended me this incredibly awful educational movie. It's called Rock Odyssey, but I can't find anything about it. Parts 1, 2, 3 (linked above because it's the one with the song), 4, 5.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:55 PM PST - 13 comments

You may know Mefi's own Lore from Lore Brand Comics (Related but with Monsters Previously) but did you know he is pushing the limits of free avatar creators at Hall Of Lores? Now you do.
posted by The Whelk at 4:42 PM PST - 10 comments

40,000-year-old rock paintings are alive. "These organisms are alive and could have replenished themselves over endless millennia to explain the freshness of the paintings' appearance," Professor Pettigrew told BBC News.
posted by longsleeves at 4:40 PM PST - 22 comments

Google's sheer size and power is staggering - and of course a little disconcerting. But ultimately are they ensuring the internet remains open and user friendly? CBC Radio had a great piece on the Algorithm That Changed World on how Google has helped keep the internet useful and spammers at bay. As a user, I have not found any other search engine that come close in giving me useful results. Intelligent Life's take on Apple vs Google, shows how this open system vs closed system philosophical differences plays itself out with product strategy. Of course, Google's user-centric world can suck if you have ever written a book.
posted by helmutdog at 4:14 PM PST - 106 comments

Jayaben Desai passes away. Ms. Desai came to national prominence in the UK for her leading role in the 1976-78 strike at Grunwick Processing's photo processing labs in North London, a dispute that shattered stereotypes about south Asian women workers in Britain, in the face of police violence, the antics of the McWhirter brothers and ambiguous support from the official trade union movement. [more inside]
posted by Abiezer at 3:33 PM PST - 5 comments

Smiling Victorians is a collection of photos of smiling Victorian (and Edwardian!) people. And one photo of the Victorianest smile of all!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:23 PM PST - 21 comments

Alie & Georgia have an unusual culinary hobby. [more inside]
posted by chairface at 2:43 PM PST - 13 comments

The 4th Amendment Underclothes are a way to send a message to the TSA. Next time you undergo an X-ray body scan, wear these and let the law enforcers know you won't be scanned without at least reminding them what they violate when they do so.
posted by fantodstic at 1:47 PM PST - 64 comments


New Year's has always been a day for eating lucky foods. [more inside]
posted by madred at 12:58 PM PST - 21 comments

"Sticks and Stones." Jonsi (of Sigur Rós) did a song for How to Train Your Dragon. Now there's an official music video featuring scenes from the movie. [more inside]
posted by kmz at 12:52 PM PST - 8 comments


An oldie, but a goodie: Michael Lewis goes to Columbia's School of Journalism to see what such schools actually do to prepare their students.
posted by reenum at 11:54 AM PST - 16 comments

The long take, an uncut, uninterrupted shot in film, is seen by some as the counter to CGI, the last great field for cinematic art. The linked page features six clips from 1990 on, plus the opening shot from Orson Welles' 1958 film, Touch of Evil. Alfred Hitchcock's film from a decade earlier, Rope, took the long cut further, with the whole film shot in eight takes of up to 10 minutes each, a decision shaped by the limit of the physical recording media. With digital media, the long take could be pushed further, as with Russian Ark, from 2002. The movie was shot in one long take, with the narrative working through the history of Russia, set within The State Hermitage Museum, and captured in one day on the 4th take. If the long takes are a tad long for you, try the "short" long takes that are one-shot music videos [videos inside] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:25 AM PST - 74 comments

Last week, UConn's women's basketball team beat Florida State to win an unprecedented 89 games in a row. Here's the halftime show from that game. [more inside]
posted by phaedon at 10:35 AM PST - 19 comments

Paul Copansky, a.k.a. Paul from the Diamond Center, reminisces about Ed "Hi Kids!" Barbara, Steven "Top of the Hill Daly City" Matthew David, and Harvard E. "Pete" Palmer, Jr., the adman who put these characters on the San Francisco/Bay Area's UHF band in the 1970's and 1980's. [more inside]
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 10:03 AM PST - 14 comments

Wikileaks may have been the big news, but there were numerous other data breaches in 2010. [more inside]
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:56 AM PST - 26 comments

NYC's Dumbest: NYC Sanitation Workers Destroy A Ford Explorer [NSFW language]. [more inside]
posted by ericb at 9:41 AM PST - 187 comments


"In many places the concentration [of convicted residents] is so dense that states are spending in excess of a million dollars a year to incarcerate the residents of single city blocks."
Using rarely accessible data from the criminal justice system, the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Justice Mapping Center have created maps of these “million dollar blocks” and of the city-prison-city-prison migration flow for five of the nation’s cities. The maps suggest that the criminal justice system has become the predominant government institution in these communities and that public investment in this system has resulted in significant costs to other elements of our civic infrastructure — education, housing, health, and family. Prisons and jails form the distant exostructure of many American cities today.
See the several linked pdfs.
posted by OmieWise at 8:30 AM PST - 59 comments

A classical music riot is violent, disorderly behavior that usually occurs during the premiere of a controversial piece of music. Here are some famous examples: [more inside]
posted by Ljubljana at 8:06 AM PST - 94 comments

I'm still not sure why it's the list for 2011 when we're still not out of 2010 yet, but here's the latest from Project Censored of 25 under-reported stories.
posted by anothermug at 7:47 AM PST - 19 comments


Metroidvania flash game with backtracking? Check. Antagonistic motherly narrator? Check. Wonky camera effects? check. Go play K.O.L.M. (via JIG) [more inside]
posted by juv3nal at 3:01 AM PST - 9 comments

Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) was an avante-garde Japanese composer who took influences from jazz, pop music, and traditional Japanese music. In his lifetime he composed over 100 film scores, and 130 concert pieces. Just last week, there was a tribute to his work at Carnegie Hall as part of their JapanNYC Festival. A documentary about his work is available on Veoh (requires Veoh plugin) and on Youtube (1 2 3 4 5 6). [more inside]
posted by azarbayejani at 12:05 AM PST - 8 comments

December 27

If you're a man, get married and stay married, because married men outlive bachelors (but only if they talk as much as their wives). If you're a woman, have a baby after 40, but don't put anything on your face that you wouldn't put in your stomach. [more inside]
posted by Knappster at 11:43 PM PST - 29 comments

A Real Science of Mind Neurobabble piques interest in science, but obscures how science works. Individuals see, know, and want to make love. Brains don’t. Those things are psychological — not, in any evident way, neural.
posted by shivohum at 10:50 PM PST - 21 comments

Video produced by the California Highway Patrol of the 7.1 1989 San Francisco Bay Area earthquake and the rescue attempts that followed. It focuses on the Bay Bridge and the Cypress collapse. This video has some intense footage, including much that I'd never seen of the rescue efforts. [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer at 10:08 PM PST - 22 comments

From the opening frames of this mesmerizing video: "A crazy idea was born. Early sunday on Swordfish 2010 we got a crazy idea of duck-tape our GoPro Hero camera on the tip of a sword and do some swings to see how it looked. We started slow just to see if the camera was holding together, then stepping it up. All recording are done in real speed." The music really makes the video. (via)
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:17 PM PST - 54 comments

Mama Cass Elliott's granddaughter singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" Sometimes a bit of nostalgia combined with a sweet child is just worth sharing.
posted by HuronBob at 9:16 PM PST - 22 comments

Unusual Off-road Locomotion documents vehicles that are often "too eccentric, too expensive compared to the improvements or too far ahead of their time."
posted by brundlefly at 8:48 PM PST - 6 comments

The Line Between Science and Journalism is Getting Blurry….Again by Bora Zivkovic is an excellent, James Burke-ish, essay on science, journalism, and a hopeful future for science journalism. [more inside]
posted by ardgedee at 8:01 PM PST - 4 comments

Sotomayor, Kagan shift Supreme Court debates to the left. The liberal wing is no longer drowned out by Scalia and his fellow conservatives during oral arguments.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:26 PM PST - 35 comments

Still Life with Animated Dogs is a witty and candid cartoon by Paul Fierlinger, animator of Sesame Street's Teeny Little Super Guy, recounting his life from being a dissident artist in 1960s Czechoslovakia to being a successful animator in the US. He tells his lifestory by talking about the dogs he's owned over the years, Roosevelt, Ike, Johnson and Spinnaker. Warning: Something may get stuck in your eye.
posted by Kattullus at 4:40 PM PST - 8 comments

Take oysters, parboile hem in her owne broth, make a lyour of crustes of brede & drawe it up wiþ the broth and vynegur mynce oynouns & do þerto with erbes. & cast the oysters þerinne. boile it. & do þerto powdour fort & salt. & messe it forth.

Three European 14th Century cookbooks: [more inside]
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:33 PM PST - 46 comments

A quite ugly but intriguing map of English dialects in North America.
posted by nickheer at 3:22 PM PST - 114 comments

The AP reports that the drug policy in Portugal is paying off.
posted by gman at 1:50 PM PST - 39 comments

Al Jazeera's top 10 stories of 2010.
Including top 10 news, features, and opinion stories by reader hits.
posted by Taft at 1:45 PM PST - 18 comments


Retronaut: someone who makes the conscious effort to experience life outside of time and modernity. Artist David McDermott. Chris Wild, keeper of the How To A Retronaut Site, full of arcane anachronisms: WWII in modern Amsterdam, Map of abandoned London tube stations, 50 years of Japanese concept cars, 1940's London in high resolution color images and much more.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:09 PM PST - 8 comments

Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 11:11 AM PST - 116 comments

“Box 73 and Box 96 contain interesting manuscripts on drunkenness, swearing, adultery and much more...”. The Bentham Transcription Project is using crowdsourcing to transcribe 40,000 unpublished manuscripts of utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832 but still sits and watches. (prev) In four months, they've knocked off 435 already. [more inside]
posted by msalt at 11:11 AM PST - 11 comments




Wondering at the route US vs. German unemployment has taken, I found some clues here and there, but the overriding factor seems to be the German model[1] and works councils.[2] [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 9:41 AM PST - 34 comments


The final hours of the Deepwater Horizon.
But this was a disaster with two distinct parts — first a blowout, then the destruction of the Horizon. The second part, which killed 11 people and injured dozens, has escaped intense scrutiny, as if it were an inevitable casualty of the blowout.
It was not.
David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul report for the New York Times on the Deepwater Horizon disaster. [more inside]
posted by spitbull at 6:14 AM PST - 72 comments

Holiday season getting you down? Perhaps knowing how Brian Butterfield spent Christmas might cheer you up. Bonus feature: the full Peter Serafinowicz 2008 Christmas special, part 1, part 2, part 3. Previously, Brian Butterfield's netsight. Profoundly not safe for work.
posted by Ahab at 12:29 AM PST - 9 comments

December 26

Did the Scots visit Iceland? New research reveals island inhabited 70 years before Vikings thought to have arrived. This appears to be the first physical evidence that confirms the stories of celitc monks being on the island when the Norse arrived.
posted by novenator at 11:23 PM PST - 41 comments

Earlier this year, the BBC's Arena produced and aired an excellent documentary on Brian Eno entitled "Another Green World" containing "a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics". [more inside]
posted by item at 10:56 PM PST - 20 comments

For your listening pleasure, I present to you the Zelda Rag, performed (with no prior practice) by Tom Brier. When that gets old, there's also a ragtime adaptation of the horse race theme from the Ocarina of Time that is not to be missed. And if Zelda's too easy, you can try the theme from Ghosts and Goblins. And, finally, an actual rag from Final Fantasy VI: the Spinach Rag. [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu at 8:55 PM PST - 22 comments

Unsung. Helen Mirren honestly appraises Hollywood at a rewards show earlier this month, but no one told you about it.
posted by parmanparman at 8:06 PM PST - 92 comments

Merry Christmas from lostlevels.org: An unreleased beta of The Legend of Zelda! Videos showing it off: 1, 2, 3. Cutting Room Floor has documented the differences from the release version.
posted by JHarris at 7:29 PM PST - 10 comments

25 years of Christmas Dad tapes his kids reacting to Christmas for twenty-five years and edits it together into a single video. (via)
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 PM PST - 59 comments

The singing sewermen of London would like to remind you to bin it, don't flush it. Warning: contains carolling and traces of rhythm. (hat tip: Boing Boing)
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:24 PM PST - 16 comments

Mr. Gbagbo was not on-board the plane. A French foreign ministry spokesman told reporters, "'the legitimate authorities' of Ivory Coast asked that the plane be grounded and, in his words, 'that it is precisely what we have done.'" [more inside]
posted by sswiller at 3:40 PM PST - 13 comments

The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English and The 100 Funniest Words in English by Robert "Dr. Goodword" Beard. Yes, it's promoting a couple of books, but scroll down to see the complete lists (and a few examples of his write-ups on each). Nothing LOLCAT-ish, you ailurophiles, but good for your abibliophobia. I hope the fine assemblage here at MetaFilter (you are all so becoming and not at all anencephalous) will not beleaguer the author or cause an argle-bargle. Well, I must absquatulate, so, see you later allegator.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:04 PM PST - 74 comments

Animalarium is full of wonderful images and videos, contemporary and vintage, The Insects' Christmas is especially charming. Animals as an endless source of creative inspiration. An exploration of the finest in art, illustration, crafts and design from around the world featuring animals, both real and fantastic [slightly nsfw].
posted by nickyskye at 12:46 PM PST - 2 comments

Everybody knows TVTropes is the best and most time-killing-est way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more. Enter Useful Notes. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 11:00 AM PST - 43 comments

Cinelan 3 Minute Stories are short documentaries on diverse subjects, such as The London Review of Books personals section, 60s martial arts legend and self-styled 'deadliest man alive' Count Dante and The R.O.M.E.O.s, a group of five old friends from New York in their 70s and 80s who go out to eat and talk about stuff. If you have more time New Video Digital has some full length documentaries (and a few other films) such as The Atomic Cafe, Oscar winner From Mao to Mozart, and season one of Michael Moore's The Awful Truth TV series.
posted by Kattullus at 10:27 AM PST - 3 comments

A dude eats nothing but Christmas candy for a week.
posted by gman at 9:45 AM PST - 66 comments


Whether you're buying gifts or returning gifts; a holiday message: Why other lines always move faster than your line.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:53 AM PST - 54 comments

Low on money, don't despair, before money there was barter and you can still barter! Bartering for space. Bartering for the use of a car. Bartering food for pints of beer. Bartering books you've read for books you haven't read. Bartering gifts you don't want for gifts you do want. Bartering for dental care. Bartering for baby sitters time. Bartering time on your couch for time on someone else's couch. Bartering time in your home for time in someone else's home. Bartering your UK Council flat for someone else's council flat. Time as a currency alternative. Time banks, bartering your free time for time money. A list of 101 US based timebanks. A timebank in New York. Timebanking in The UK. A bartering exchange. Another bartering exchange. And another bartering exchange.Yet another bartering exchange. A UK based bartering exchange. Obligatory tale of serial bartering: a paperclip for a house. Lest you think bartering is for small transactions only, China barters infrastructure for $9B worth of copper. All the BarterNews you'll need to keep abreast of the fast moving world of barter!
posted by Mutant at 3:50 AM PST - 22 comments

"This is a full recreation of Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past using Minecraft. This replication is to scale and is an accurate portrayal of the original SNES game. The map is 512 x 512 x 104. This project took over 100 hours to complete." (Shorter preview version.)
posted by Avenger50 at 3:16 AM PST - 25 comments

Ganondorf has a simple request for Christmas, via Brawl in the Family. (An Musical number in web comic form. Audio and Zelda required.) [more inside]
posted by loquacious at 1:48 AM PST - 6 comments


December 25

Amanda Palmer and a sock puppet stage a meticulous re-enactment of a scene from Jim Henson's Labyrinth (see the original scene here), with a special guest appearance by a very famous writer as David Bowie's mullet. Happy Boxing Day!
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:45 PM PST - 23 comments

Great Rock and Roll Pauses (permalink) is a short story from Jennifer Egan's collection of linked stories A Visit from the Goon Squad. A 76-page series of PowerPoint slides, it's told by a 12-year-old girl who documents her autistic brother's collecting of Clearmountain pauses, the moments in rock and roll songs when the music dramatically stops and then restarts, which are named after famed music producer Bob Clearmountain. The songs mentioned in the story include: Foxy Lady - Jimi Hendrix; Please Play This Song on the Radio - NOFX; Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin; Bernadette - The Four Tops; Young Americans - David Bowie; Mighty Sword - The Frames; Supervixen - Garbage; Long Train Runnin’ - The Doobie Brothers; The Time of the Season - The Zombies; Faith - George Michael, Closing Time - Semisonic; Roxanne - The Police; Rearrange Beds - An Horse. More examples can be found in this previous MeFi post and a number of other excellent sites. [more inside]
posted by jng at 10:51 PM PST - 41 comments

A Thousand Ways To Please A Husband With Bettina's Best Recipes from 1917. A Thousand Ways To Please A Family. Free online with retro illustrations and stories. [more inside]
posted by melissam at 8:39 PM PST - 12 comments

Two Christmases previously, but still a classic: Francis Coppola's and William Burroughs's The Junky's Christmas. Now on YouTube in four parts: 1 2 3 4 [more inside]
posted by clarknova at 6:53 PM PST - 10 comments

Japan's Okunoshima Island once produced chemical weapons. After 1945, the facilities where shut down but the buildings remained and the island became famous for something else: Being home to hundreds and hundreds of rabbits. ((via)
posted by The Whelk at 6:27 PM PST - 28 comments

It just isn't Christmas without Space Ghost.
posted by JHarris at 6:23 PM PST - 27 comments


The users of 4chan recently conducted a survey. The results are pretty much what you'd expect. (cloud link, wait for it to load)
posted by inedible at 4:13 PM PST - 68 comments



Elizabeth Beresford MBE, creator of the Wombles, has passed away. Whether you're a fan of Elizabeth Beresford, her books (recent covers), the animated shorts (voiced by Bernard Cribbens), or the many, many, songs (by Mike Batt)- remember to keep recycling and a womblin'.
posted by Sparx at 12:43 PM PST - 21 comments

Gorillaz offers their new album, The Fall, for free online listening, for the small price of giving them an email address for their mailing list. (Does not require email verification.) [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 10:53 AM PST - 24 comments


Shinchi Maruyama creates "sculptures" by throwing handfuls of liquid into the air and photographing them. [more inside]
posted by gman at 9:24 AM PST - 15 comments

Jingle Bells, gujarati/tamil style. A year ago or so, MTV India released two Christmas-themed bumpers/music-videos, each an animated rendition of the Xmas classic "Jingle Bells" in regional dialects and in regional musical styles: gujarati/tamil and punjabi. [more inside]
posted by LMGM at 8:49 AM PST - 9 comments

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY TO CHILDREN WHILE TRACKING SANTA WITH NORAD Every year NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) helps track Santa Claus's movement around the globe [previously]. The transcript of First Lady Michelle Obama's conversations with kids on Christmas as she watches the radar, sent to the White House press list last night, is absolutely adorable. Much more at the Norad Santa headquarters, and an interview with the head researcher at the Department of Energy tasked with tracking St Nick.
posted by jtajta at 7:02 AM PST - 42 comments

Bush's memoir, Decision Points, gets a Foucauldian analysis in the London Review of Books. Awesome quote: "On his first trip to Paris in 2002, Junior, now president of the United States, stood beside Jacques Chirac at a press conference and said: ‘He’s always saying that the food here is fantastic and I’m going to give him a chance to show me tonight.’"(Book mentioned previously.)
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:53 AM PST - 91 comments

Kelley Turgeon's painting of Toronto's iconic streetcars won a contest for the Toronto Star Emerging Artist Cover Contest. Along with $2500 in prize money for the contest winner, the winning painting was also published Friday on the front page of the newspaper. Photographer Brian Labelle noticed because he had taken an eerily similar photograph in 2007. [more inside]
posted by typewriter at 6:46 AM PST - 53 comments

This is surely, without question, the best interpretation of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" ever recorded. The best. Merry Christmas!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:34 AM PST - 24 comments

December 24

These days, with Christmas getting more and more commercial, it's occasionally hard to keep track of all the reasons to celebrate. One of the big reasons though is a very special birthday. The birth of something that changed the world. I'm referring, of course, to the birth of the world wide web. [more inside]
posted by sarastro at 10:42 PM PST - 21 comments

Merry Christmas from Shallow Gravy (aka Hank Venture and best friend-slash-spoiler alert Dermott) and most of the cast of The Venture Bros. that Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick could assemble without calling anyone else. [more inside]
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:57 PM PST - 13 comments


This Christmas Eve spare a thought for the Chrildren of Iceland, who will be suffering a traumatising visit from Kertasníkir, or "Candle Beggar", the thirteenth and final of the strange and somewhat sinister Icelandic Santas, or Yule lads, who are the childre of the ogress Gryla. Most of them don't seem to care if you've been bad or good - mainly they want to steal your food and wreck stuff. [more inside]
posted by Artw at 9:11 PM PST - 27 comments

It was sixty-five years ago tonight that a child was born in the little town of Burslem [more inside]
posted by Sailormom at 7:52 PM PST - 27 comments


In the 1970s Edwin Land constructed the Moby C: the world's largest instant camera. Not to be confused with its smaller cousin, this one-of-a-kind Polaroid produces incredible 40x80 (1:1) prints. After serving nearly 20 years as "the museum camera", Joe McNally put it to the task of heroic portraiture. He's again employed it to take some beautiful ballerina photos.
posted by clarknova at 6:48 PM PST - 1 comments

Amidakuji, or "Ghost Leg," is a lottery party game from Japan. At the top of a sheet there are a number of spaces for people to write their names. At the bottom there are prizes. There are an equal number of each. Between them is a map obscured behind a sheet. The map is made of straight vertical lines connecting the names and prizes. Connecting those lines at random intervals are horizontal lines. When it's time to pick winners, the sheet is removed and players can follow the lines to find their prize. You follow the line from your name down until you encounter any horizontal line, which you must follow, then continue down, continuing to follow all horizontal lines you encounter, until you reach your prize. No two horizontal lines can touch. Provided that, the process is perfectly deterministic and reversable. The same ends are reached whether you follow from the top down or the bottom up. If you have difficulty visualizing this, check the Wikipedia page. [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 6:11 PM PST - 18 comments

The recently released motion picture Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is based on two short films by director Jalmari Helander: Rare Exports Inc. (2003) [previously] and Rare Exports: Official Safety Instructions (2005). (NSFW due to naked Santa)
posted by Knappster at 5:24 PM PST - 5 comments


On Christmas Eve, exactly 100 years ago, Luisa Tetrazzini, the most famous opera singer of her day, sang in the streets of San Francisco as a gift to the city she loved. 250,000 people, most of them survivors of the 1906 earthquake listened in silence as she began with "The Last Rose of Summer," then sang along as she ended with "Auld Lang Syne."
posted by williampratt at 4:27 PM PST - 9 comments


This topic is best summarized with a question; what would it be worth to you to have a video of your great-grandparents? How might your children or grandchildren appreciate your efforts at personal archiving? [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation at 3:03 PM PST - 21 comments

(I've seen the term floating around for a bit, so I figured I'd write up a quick summary. My apologies if its too dumbed down; just trying not to leave anyone behind! Please note, most links NSFW due to language.) Hashtag rap, previously also known as yoda raps (noun, not verb), was officially coined by Kanye West on Funkmaster Flex's HOT97 radio show on November 2. The term--a nod to the way online posts are tagged (especially on Twitter, which Mr. West is a noted user of) using hash symbols in order to categorize the post's content--refers to the recent rise in rap lines which drop the usage of "like" and "as", and instead substituting those words with a pregnant pause (which is sometimes dispensed with), thus truncating what is normally a simile or metaphor into a sort of short setup followed by a (hopefully) funny punchline. [more inside]
posted by jng at 2:40 PM PST - 40 comments

Randolph Carter received an interesting proposition over email. A Nigerian politician offered the scholar a once in a lifetime business opportunity that could provide wealth for both parties if Carter could make a small initial investment. Carter needed the money to finance his research into obscure Polynesian cultures, especially references to a strange god named "Cthulhu"... [more inside]
posted by clockworkjoe at 2:35 PM PST - 15 comments

The Manganiyar Seduction "The Manganiyars are a group of hereditary professional folk musicians from Rajasthan, India."
posted by dhruva at 2:15 PM PST - 4 comments

Many people here in the U.S. have heard Willie Nelson's Christmas song, Pretty Paper (first made famous by Roy Orbison). But few know that it was based on a disabled man who sold pencils and paper in front of Leonard's Department Store (the one with its own subway). Or was it a blind couple? His name has been lost to history even as he is immortalized in song.
posted by TedW at 1:13 PM PST - 4 comments

OMG CHRISTMAS KITTY. Move over Maru, the internet has a new cat sensation: Linus! He taps things. He licks things. . He apologizes to chairs. And sometimes he wears little costumes (wait for the end).
posted by The Whelk at 11:49 AM PST - 36 comments

Flickr user ElectroSpark collects and shares “random bits of vintage ephemera from mid-century vacationers,” with many in the form of charming round-cornered Kodachromes. In particular, his Fairs & Expos set with its collection of holiday snapshots from Brussels ’58, New York ’64 and Expo ’67 in Montreal, are all from a by-gone era. The collection includes both vintage graphics and photos.
posted by netbros at 11:48 AM PST - 5 comments

Evocative photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva of "nomadic tribes of reindeer herders in my homeland, the Republic of Yakutia, which is located in eastern Siberia." You can read more about the indigenous peoples of Arctic Russia here (as you might guess, the outlook isn't rosy), and if you're curious and want more links, there's a zillion of 'em here.
posted by languagehat at 11:26 AM PST - 7 comments

Originally published in Guitar Player magazine in 1990, here is Jas Obrect's interview: Ry Cooder – Talking Country Blues and Gospel -- I only wish it was online when I made my Dark was the Night post. Now is it is part of the Jas Obrect Music Archive, where you can also find ''Rollin’ and Tumblin' '': The Story of a Song (See also Hambone Wille Newbern - Roll and Tumble Blues for the first recording of those lyrics) -- not to mention Jerry Garcia: The Complete 1985 Interview and Bob Dylan’s ''Highway 61 Revisited'': Mike Bloomfield v. Johnny Winter and Blues Origins: Spanish Fandango and Sebastopol among many, many others. There is quite the cornucopia of interesting, informative music articles there. Check it out--you will dig it.
posted by y2karl at 11:24 AM PST - 8 comments

While elusive on broadcast or cable television, YouTube has the holiday specials you're looking for. John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together (Part 1 2 3 4 5 6). The Christmas Toy (Part 1 2 3 4 5). A Muppet Family Christmas (Part 1 2 3 4 5).
posted by hippybear at 10:39 AM PST - 22 comments



Then That's What They Called Music is a series of posts on the Onion AV Club where writer Nathan Rabin (previously) listens to all of the NOW! That's What I Call Music CDs from 1999 onwards. The essays read like a history of a forgotten world, reminding you of terrible yet infectious pop tunes, and are full of great links, snappy writing and one man's struggle to deal with why the Black Eyed Peas, the most corporate band in America, are so popular. [more inside]
posted by Sifter at 9:42 AM PST - 29 comments

For many years the BBC had a tradition of showing a dramatisation of a classic ghost story at Christmas. This tradition is being continued this year with Whistle and I'll Come to You being shown tonight staring John Hurt. An adaptation of the same classic MR James story was shown in 1968 staring Michael Hordern beginning the tradition (1, 2, 3). [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:14 AM PST - 22 comments

Stop and smell the roses. In this time of hectic preparation for year's end, last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping, baking etc. let us not forget the gift of idleness and its endearing virtue. Some may disagree, but what is the use of progress if it fails to offer time for relaxation and contemplation? Sit back, relax and enjoy your time off from the daily toil. Christmas is upon us with the message of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. (thanks be unto the Presurfer for this Christmas gift) [more inside]
posted by caddis at 8:29 AM PST - 5 comments

Tom Scholefield (a.k.a. Konx-om-Pax after a publication by Crowley) is a Glasgow-based artist who works in a number of different media. Much of his work is in a colourful quasi-futuristic style he calls hyperreal. A lot of his work is in collaboration with musicians, either to create cover art or music videos. He also DJs, and has made several mixes available.
posted by Dim Siawns at 8:21 AM PST - 2 comments

Koolaid Man in Second Life: “Maybe the Internet is for me what Paris in the 20s was for Joyce, Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein or New York in 50s was for Jasper Johns and Rauschenberg.” Jon Rafman (previously with the 9eyes Google Streetview blog) gives guided tours of Secondlife, and records some of his experiences. Being related to Secondlife, some content is naturally not work safe. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 8:21 AM PST - 12 comments

Pope’s child porn 'normal' claim sparks outrage among victims. Pope Benedict XVI said this week that as recently as the 1970's, pedophilia was "theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” but conceded that in 2010 it's gotten pretty bad, and brought "humiliation" on the church. Understandingly, victims feel differently.
posted by rodmandirect at 8:15 AM PST - 101 comments

"Two New York City men feel a tremendous responsibility to respond properly when they mysteriously receive hundreds of letters addressed to Santa Claus at their Chelsea apartment." [more inside]
posted by pwally at 7:04 AM PST - 54 comments

Christmas Eve Gift! [more inside]
posted by nimsey lou at 7:02 AM PST - 10 comments

It is late on Christmas Eve in Hong Kong; scarcely an hour to go before the 25th. I'm unsure how accurate some of these are, but no matter, it's the spirit that counts: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
posted by bwg at 6:57 AM PST - 5 comments

World War One Christmas Truce MP3 (via)
posted by nam3d at 5:51 AM PST - 17 comments

Fritz Leiber Jr. was born 100 years ago today. An actor (and son of an actor) and writer, he is best known for his characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (old school website). Project Gutenberg has some stories. Previously on Metafilter. [more inside]
posted by maurice at 4:36 AM PST - 19 comments

World's Oldest Optical Illusion Found? A 15,000 year old piece of an atlatl (spear chucker) shows definite signs of being a Gestalt shift optical illusion (as demonstrated here, here, and in the classic duck/rabbit picture). Although not as well defined as modern optical illusions (like the really tripped out Neave Strobe), it likely demonstrates a stage of cognitive awareness in human psychological development.
posted by novenator at 3:59 AM PST - 12 comments

December 23

For the Love of Elephants *starts with a short ad* Shot on location in Kenya, For the Love of Elephants closely observes the process by which an orphaned elephant named Sities survives the first days of recovery after arriving at an elephant rehabilitation centre near Nairobi, Kenya. previously [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu at 11:05 PM PST - 5 comments

There are lots of great films in the public domain and many of them are online. OpenFlix has 600, including a bunch of Chaplin, sci-fi and horror B-movies, film noir and HD versions of The Kid, M and Night of the Living Dead. Drelb has 400, including Buster Keaton's The General and Steamboat Bill Jr., episodes of Bonanza and Dragnet and Three Stooges shorts. Crazeclassics has over a 100, including The Third Man, Roger Corman's The Little Shop of Horrors, Bringing Up Baby and To Kill a Mockingbird. Ampopfilms has 80, including His Girl Friday, Reefer Madness, Destination Moon and the 1954 animated version of Animal Farm. Gravitas Ventures has 35, notably Vampyr, Death Rides a Horse and Borderline.
posted by Kattullus at 10:03 PM PST - 19 comments

SLYT: Awesome Silent Monks singing the Halleluia chorus! Did this really not make it here yet? Totally awesome, but delete with prejudice if it's lame or a double. If not, Happy Holidays to everyone!
posted by trip and a half at 9:17 PM PST - 24 comments

Howjsay.com is a unique online speaking dictionary that offers clear pronunciations of English words, phrases, slang terms, technical terms, brand names, proper names, profanity, and many foreign words, including common variations and alternatives. Astoundingly, the sound files are not computer-generated -- every single one of the site's 138,152 entries are enunciated in the dignified tones of British academic and polyglot Tim Bowyer, who has steadily expanded its glossary over the years using logs of unsuccessful searches and direct user suggestions. The site is part of Bowyer's Fonetiks.org family of language sites, and is also available as a browser extension and as a mobile app for iPhone/iPod and Blackberry.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:30 PM PST - 27 comments

High Society Mini-site to accompany an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection on the history and culture of mind-altering drugs. Includes image galleries, essays and a quiz.
posted by Abiezer at 8:08 PM PST - 2 comments

The Guardian Review literary quiz. It may be a little easier than the venerable quiz down the page. And if it isn't, it still looks like fun.
posted by goofyfoot at 7:55 PM PST - 13 comments

Jarvis Popovich takes requests and "gives credit to the asker." He doesn't know how to play guitar and is willing to prove it! He has a facebook fan page and one of those twitter accounts. I give you: Songs Butchered Beautifully. (Over 100 songs and counting.)
posted by cjorgensen at 7:49 PM PST - 17 comments



Pat Robertson calls for the legalization of marijuana.
posted by gman at 4:03 PM PST - 82 comments


Having trouble explaining to non-technical folks why net neutrality is important, or wondering about it yourself? This simple and appealing single serving site is a 2-minute primer on the idea, and should help!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:59 PM PST - 29 comments


In keeping with the holiday spirit, a story of a teenage boy doing right by somebody else, just because he can.
posted by COD at 2:40 PM PST - 32 comments

YouTube has a fair number of recordings of well-played classic arcade games. Dig Dug, Mr Do!, Mr Do's Castle, Do! Run Run, Lady Bug Part 2, Bagman, Super Bagman, Q*bert, Venture, Zoo Keeper, Moon Cresta, Scramble, Make Trax, Phoenix, Rastan. click through for more [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 1:44 PM PST - 35 comments

A Beijing graphics design house makes with the stylish and creepy in a Neil Gaiman adaptation of his tongue-in-cheek mini-story, "Nicholas Was."
posted by Kitteh at 1:32 PM PST - 9 comments

Meet the Ethical Placebo: "A provocative new study called 'Placebos Without Deception,' published on PLoS One today, threatens to make humble sugar pills something they’ve rarely had a chance to be in the history of medicine: a respectable, ethically sound treatment for disease that has been vetted in controlled trials." [Via]
posted by homunculus at 1:09 PM PST - 76 comments

A few days ago, Los Angeles Times food critic, S. Irene Virbila, was photographed and kicked out of Jordan Kahn's new Beverly Hills restaurant, Red Medicine. [more inside]
posted by PBR at 12:30 PM PST - 85 comments

List of Libre Games. Open Game Systems. Compendium of Free Role Playing Games. Free RPGs at 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters. Tired of role-playing game books the size and price of textbooks? You've got a lot of alternatives. [more inside]
posted by Zed at 12:23 PM PST - 18 comments

Kasio Kristmas (2 3 4 5) Traditional Christmas Songs played on a casio keyboard by a man in a conehead mask.
posted by The Whelk at 11:33 AM PST - 10 comments

Connecticut was once the home of the national bell business, with more than 30 bell foundries based in East Hampton alone. Now a lone survivor, Bevin Brothers Manufacturing, is thriving there, manufacturing everything from cow bells with college logos for the football season to traditional sleigh and dinner bells. (Lifted from girlhacker)
posted by growabrain at 11:26 AM PST - 6 comments

Japanese woodblock print images | wonderful vintage commercial graphics | the Folk Museum Kawachinagano | old books | ceramics and laquerware from The Digital Archive Project of Osaka which has an interesting online museum to explore with some excellent art and illustrations. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 9:58 AM PST - 5 comments

ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark presents his Strange But True hitting feats of 2010. Only in baseball's...umm...unique scoring system could someone get caught stealing 3B, and then safely steal 3B on the next pitch. Warning: both links contain auto playing video with ads at the top.
posted by dry white toast at 9:44 AM PST - 24 comments

Do you sometimes feel underdressed at parties and or other would-be swanky deals? Do you want people to come up and tell you "This is a really volcanic ensemble you're wearing, it's really marvelous"! If so, just in time for the great annual suits and ties, black-tie, tuxedo festivities and the mythical 'Masquerade Ball' (Perfect Shoes. Perfect Waistcoat. Perfect Gloves. Perfect Mask. Don’t be shy, and don't forget to shake your tail.); the ultimate custom attire for the ultimate romantic look on new years eve, (or any other high-fashion affair) this genderless outfit is perfect for anybody; guaranteed to accentuate fluid curves, sharpen up your style, yet also bring forth that natural sharp angular profile, assured to put natural beautiful shiny skin-plates on display. Begin assembling today, if you want to assemble in time! That is all (oh yeah, brush your tongue-jaws before you go out, all of them).
posted by infinite intimation at 9:40 AM PST - 11 comments

In late 1999 Kevin Rowland, vocalist and mastermind behind Dexys Midnight Runners released an album called My Beauty. It had been a bewilderingly long time since his last LP – eleven years. Everything about My Beauty, however, was equally bewildering. [more inside]
posted by mintcake! at 8:39 AM PST - 47 comments

The snowpocalypse has hit Britain, again, and you've still not bought a snow shovel. Naturally, all the shops have sold out and have no idea when they'll get more. Let the Internet help you by sending you a reminder for next year...
posted by mr_silver at 8:39 AM PST - 58 comments

From Castletown, it's the quiz of the year! It's back and as hard as ever!
posted by biffa at 7:08 AM PST - 95 comments


Maturl Remrit: A Dwarf Fortress Tale. [more inside]
posted by griphus at 6:48 AM PST - 31 comments

109 Cats in sweaters. You're welcome.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:46 AM PST - 79 comments

Bianca is a 24-year-old software writer and escort from Toronto, Ontario. She was born in Hamilton, Ontario and lived in Dublin, Ireland for many years. She likes cash, properly compiled HTML and four star or higher hotels. She dislikes claims of latex allergies. [more inside]
posted by clearly at 6:11 AM PST - 67 comments

A previously unknown kind of human—the Denisovans—likely roamed Asia for thousands of years, probably interbreeding occasionally with humans like you and me, according to a new genetic study. More.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:05 AM PST - 30 comments

THE HOMEMADE XMAS VIDEO by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones from 1986 (1, 2, 3, 4)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:05 AM PST - 3 comments

Puppies vs spring door stops.
posted by bwg at 3:20 AM PST - 25 comments

"Snowball Cam has no visible moving parts but [is] able to roll across most terrains, even up hill." A new generation of spycams - very mobile spycams - have been prowling the northern arctic islands of Norway for an upcoming BBC TV program on polar bears. Bilzzard Cam has two electric motors that propel it across the snow - on skis - at speeds up to 40 mph. When threatened by the bears, it releases the onboard decoy device - the Snowball Cam - seen in action here.
posted by woodblock100 at 1:43 AM PST - 34 comments

A new working paper entitled "The Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Public Health and Welfare" by economists Hugo Mialon, Andrew Francis and Handie Peng at Emory University finds that same-sex marriage bans reduced tolerance for gays and increased the MSM syphilis rate, perhaps by making monogamy less common. The authors also find that same-sex marriage bans tended to reduce tolerance for cohabiting sex, as well as reduced abortion and teen pregnancy, although these effects on teen pregnancy appeared to be very short-lived. They ultimately find no consistent evidence that same-sex marriage bans had any effect on marriage or divorce. A link to the paper can be found here, and a link to their legal appendix here. [more inside]
posted by scunning at 12:13 AM PST - 38 comments

December 22

Crew from NASA's International Space Station send holiday greetings to all people of planet Earth.
posted by Taft at 10:09 PM PST - 29 comments

Now that winter is officially here, maybe you're thinking about warmer times, and your vegetable garden. Here are some online tools and resources to help you plan your next bumper crop. Mother Earth News Garden Planner is an online app that can help you layout your garden, and once you've done that, it'll tell you when you should start planting, based on your location. It even takes into account things like successive sowing and crop rotation, all with an eye towards organic farming practices. (Don't like associating with the Mother Earthers? The same app is available via GrowVeg.com.) Considering more unusual varieties this year? How about heirloom varieties? Seed Savers Exchange | Victory Seeds | Seeds of Change. And of course, there's always Burpee for your more garden variety seeds. And be sure to check out these composting tips. Or if all of this is just too much work, you can always sign up for a share in a nearby CSA.
posted by crunchland at 9:29 PM PST - 22 comments

At 89, radio and TV announcer Fred Foy is dead. The booming intro voice for the Lone Ranger, and later the Green Hornet television series, Foy was also Dick Cavett's announcer, for several years. [more inside]
posted by paulsc at 7:35 PM PST - 15 comments

Halfway through the third book of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, there is a throwaway reference to a doomed starship, one whose incredible splendor was matched only by the cosmic absurdity of its maiden-day annihilation. But the story didn't end there. Unbeknownst to many fans, this small piece of Adamsian lore was the inspiration for an ambitious and richly-detailed side-story: a 1998 computer adventure game called Starship Titanic. Designed by Douglas Adams himself, the game set players loose in the infamous vessel, challenging them with a maddening mystery laced with the devilish wit of the novels. The game was laden with extra content, including an in-depth strategy guide, a (mediocre) tie-in novel by Terry Jones, a whimsical First Class In-Flight Magazine, and even a pair of 3D glasses for one of the more inventive puzzles. Key to solving these puzzles was the game's groundbreaking communications system -- players interacted with the ship's robotic crew through a natural language parsing engine called SpookiTalk, whose 10,000+ lines of conversational dialogue spawned 16 hours of audio recorded by professional voice actors, including John Cleese, Terry Jones, and even Douglas Adams himself in several cameos (spoiler cameo). Want to experience the voyage for yourself? Then watch this narrated video playthrough (intro (ads) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9? 10 11 12 13) ...or click inside for a information on how to run the game for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux (along with a bunch of other goodies!). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 7:28 PM PST - 109 comments

Never-seen Hells Angels Photos, 1965 - LIFE photographer Bill Ray and writer Joe Bride recall the weeks they spent with Sonny, Buzzard, Hambone, Big D, other Angels and their "old ladies." Of the 36 photos in the gallery, only one had been previously published. (via Daily Jive) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive at 7:08 PM PST - 79 comments

Do you like the wholesale destruction of everything you cherish? Do you like roguelikes? Then you're in luck because two new roguelikes are yours to play, the zombie-apocalypse city survival fest Rogue Survivor, and the Gamma Worldesque ASCII-Fallout-analogue Caves of Qud. Both are still in beta, both will keep you away from the dinner table over the holidays.
posted by Kattullus at 6:24 PM PST - 23 comments

The credibility of Skeptoid podcast creator, Brian Dunning, has come under fire from the Science Blog / Skeptic community after he posted a questionable podcast regarding DDT. A comprehensive fact check in two parts hit the web soon thereafter, followed by other critiques - suggesting that Dunning's objectivity may be tainted by conservative / libertarian political leanings. [more inside]
posted by jnnla at 5:55 PM PST - 37 comments

If you own a car built before 2007 or any small gas engines, you may be replacing them soon.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 5:51 PM PST - 67 comments

The Wikileaks Cablegate scandal is the most exciting and interesting hacker scandal ever. I rather commonly write about such things, and I’m surrounded by online acquaintances who take a burning interest in every little jot and tittle of this ongoing saga. So it’s going to take me a while to explain why this highly newsworthy event fills me with such a chilly, deadening sense of Edgar Allen Poe melancholia.

But it sure does.


Bruce Sterling on the world of post-Wikileaks diplomacy.
posted by Artw at 5:12 PM PST - 396 comments


Sydney's Siberia a digital poem by Jason Nelson. (via @neilhimself)
posted by juv3nal at 4:15 PM PST - 3 comments

And just think: When your shitty kid marries someone you violently disapprove of 20 years from now, this song -- with its references to blowjobs and songs that were ground into the ground before the kid was a twinkle in your eye -- will serve as the couple's first dance. As you watch your offspring and new in-law twirl around the dance floor, you will reach for a glass of Champagne Loko (President Kid Rock won't try to ban the stuff until he's up for re-election in 2032) and wonder how everything went so, so wrong.

The Village Voice presents the 20 Worst Songs of 2010. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:32 PM PST - 169 comments


Merriam-Webster Online has come up with its take on the top word of the year -- plus nine others that are close to the top. (I'm partial to no. 10, furtive, myself.)
posted by anothermug at 3:05 PM PST - 25 comments

The next time your computer won't do what you want, just give it a stern talking-to.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:59 PM PST - 26 comments

This morning, firefighters responded to a reported fire in an abandoned laundry building on Chicago's South Side. There was a major collapse of the rear wall which caused the roof truss to fail. A "mayday" transmission (8 minutes in) prompted a 3-11 alarm response to rescue at least four firefighters were trapped in the rubble. Two firefighters, Edward Stringer and Corey Ankum, were killed. 14 other firefighters were injured, 4 critically. Many of the injured were hurt while frantically searching for their comrades. [more inside]
posted by rollbiz at 1:13 PM PST - 54 comments


Just in time for the holidays, Santabot. But can Santa pass the Turing Test, (previously)?* From the same guy who brought us God Chat (also previously). *Short answer: Nope.
posted by misha at 12:29 PM PST - 23 comments

Rifftrax's new holiday release (preview highlight clips) tackles one of the most notorious bad movies of recent years, the infamous Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, filmed at a struggling Flordia amusement park and produced by a porno director. More on the movie: Agony Booth, Invasion of the B Movies, WFMU's Out Of Context Cinema. (Unfortunate note: the full version is $10, but includes the movie itself.) (Side link: The park SatICB was filmed at, Pirates World, went out of business when Disney World opened up. The locations seen in the movie are all condos now. Before it closed they were known to host rock concerts, archive.org hosts a video of the Grateful Dead playing Pirates World) [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 12:25 PM PST - 18 comments

In 1974, a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder was frustrated with a new fad of throwing paper airplanes in the stadium, and wrote to the Browns to let them know. The Brown's response likely failed to alleviate his concerns.
posted by CharlieSue at 11:29 AM PST - 55 comments

This year's top holiday duet doesn't feature Mariah Carey or Will Ferrell. It's Rodney the Mailman [local news] and Andrew WK [original], live from the Chicago offices of the Onion AV Club in their Holiday Undercover project. In typical Andrew WK style, a slightly... different version is also available.

But this is not Rodney's first appearance -- nor are these covers few and far between. [more inside]
posted by Madamina at 11:05 AM PST - 3 comments

Sweet and simple - be merry and Let It Dough! (goofy SLNYT filter)
posted by peachfuzz at 10:56 AM PST - 6 comments


Deep in Cathar country lies Bugarach and it's Magic Mountain. As reported in UK Daily Telegraph, The mayor of the picturesque French village has threatened to call in the army to seal it off from a tide of New Age fanatics and UFO watchers, who are convinced it is the only place on Earth to be spared Armageddon in 2012.
posted by adamvasco at 10:21 AM PST - 25 comments

Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’. 'A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week. Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt. They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs. The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel. No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.'
posted by VikingSword at 10:21 AM PST - 48 comments

"Designed by Giant Robot head guru Eric Nakamura and his friend Len Higa, the car was stripped down and operated on extensively, with a simple goal in mind: transform this Scion car into one giant Nintendo Entertainment System. " The Scion Gallery and Giant Robot team up to curate "Pixel Pushers" a show about the 8-bit aesthetic. The Scion gallery's tour of the show.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 AM PST - 7 comments

Visually sumptuous, Gurafiku is a collection of visual research pertaining to Japanese graphic design. Assembled by the designer abroad; Ryan Hageman. Some of the categories: Ukiyo-e | Illustration | Typography |Manga | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's |1990's. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye at 9:21 AM PST - 6 comments

Feeling outflanked this holiday season? Perhaps you need to brush up on your stratagems. But how many stratagems do you need? [more inside]
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:37 AM PST - 33 comments

This clip of the baby preacher has been floating around the internet for a while. If you've never seen it before, it's memorable - this toddler, too young to be able to talk, is imitating a preacher in front of a church congregation. [more inside]
posted by rodmandirect at 7:25 AM PST - 60 comments

"People that like Spider-Man and super heroes and villains and violence and kissing would like this play." A six-year-old girl reviews -- sorry, "re-piews" -- the injury-plagued production of Julie Taymor's Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, currently in previews in New York.
posted by escabeche at 6:40 AM PST - 46 comments

How do you get a Comic Sans user to stop, just stop? An eloquent, well-designed, appeal. With stickers! [more inside]
posted by pompelmo at 5:56 AM PST - 169 comments

A new paper about bees in Biology Letters, Blackawton bees concludes with "We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before." The authors are 25 children between 8 and 10 from the Blackawton Public School, becoming the youngest scientist to be published in a Royal Society journal.
posted by rpn at 3:54 AM PST - 16 comments



December 21

Chinese punk you ask? No, we're not talking about heroin. This is Chinese punk. [more inside]
posted by dubusadus at 11:47 PM PST - 27 comments


Getting to advanced reading level content. As pioneered by Adrien Chen of Gawker, by far the most interesting application of the tool is its ability to rate the overall level of material on any given site, simply by dropping site: [domain.com] into the search box.
posted by Muirwylde at 9:15 PM PST - 52 comments

Extra, by Ken Ishii. [NSFW]
posted by boo_radley at 9:10 PM PST - 31 comments

Vanishing Act. Paul Collins tells the story of Barbara Newhall Follett. The daughter of authors Wilson Follett and Helen Follett, Barbara began writing at the age of 4. As she grew older, she developed a private language of her own, evolved from her view of the world of nature. Her first book, The House Without Windows, was published when she was twelve. In December 1939 Barbara walked out of her apartment and was never seen again. "Some prodigies flourish, some disappear. But Barbara did leave one last comment to the world about writing—a brief piece in a 1933 issue of Horn Book that earnestly recommends that parents give their own children typewriters. 'Perhaps there would simply be a terrific wholesale destruction of typewriters,' she admits. 'An effort would have to be made to impress upon children that a typewriter is magic.'" The entirety of her known writings now resides in six boxes at the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library. (via longreads)
posted by ocherdraco at 7:37 PM PST - 33 comments

DANCING ALONE TO PONY (somewhat NSFW due to solitary bumping and grinding)
posted by oinopaponton at 6:18 PM PST - 25 comments

When you see a song from 1924 called "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy", you just wanna hear it, right? Then, maybe, read some contemporary observations on it. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:44 PM PST - 35 comments

"This page shows a scale model of the solar system, shrunken down to the point where the Sun, normally more than eight hundred thousand miles across, is the size you see it here. The planets are shown in corresponding scale." [more inside]
posted by bwg at 5:36 PM PST - 63 comments

A space wardrobe - images of the National Air and Space Museum’s collection of spacesuits from throughout the history of American space exploration.
posted by Artw at 5:00 PM PST - 9 comments

Neal Fegan, of the Montana Transit Authority, designs custom-built, one-of-a-kind velocipedes with an 8-point steering system. [more inside]
posted by gman at 4:28 PM PST - 17 comments

"The Star Wars Christmas Special" by Gamervision finally rights the wrong that was "The Star Wars Holiday Special" (which is available on YouTube, should you want to go there: Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3).
posted by SkylitDrawl at 4:05 PM PST - 24 comments

"Dungeons and Drawings," in which two artists reinterpret the D&D Bestiary.
posted by brundlefly at 3:03 PM PST - 27 comments

"And she was like 'oh my gosh I'm going to have the son of God'. And then she was like 'no I can't, I'm not married and stuff.'" The Christmas story, told by Kiwi kids.
posted by embrangled at 2:40 PM PST - 51 comments



The anti-gay donations that Target apologized for? They never stopped.
posted by hermitosis at 12:51 PM PST - 92 comments

1884: Yesterday's Future. A story of outstanding heroism in the face of deception, subterfuge and treachery. Conjuring up the belief that it was made forty years before film was even invented, 1884: Yesterdays Future tells of a future that might have been but never was. Directed by Tim Ollive, the film is a mix of animation, puppetry and two dimensional and three dimensional computer generated imagery (CGI) set against backgrounds created using stunning artwork, model sets and period photographs from the Hulton Picture Library division of Getty Images. [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 12:46 PM PST - 5 comments

Welcome to the Hunger Games. Some call this trilogy the next Twilight, though others beg to differ. Either way, Stephenie Meyer is a fan (as is Stephen King) and the upcoming movie is generating all kinds of buzz, even two-plus years before its scheduled debut. [more inside]
posted by cereselle at 12:00 PM PST - 95 comments

30 Years of BAD National Geographic Pictures - Some of the highlights of Bruce Dale's 30 year career at National Geographic including 10 trips to China beginning in the late 1970's, the hologram cover for the 100th anniversary edition, and mounting a camera on the tail of a jumbo jet for in-flight photographs.
posted by roaring beast at 11:46 AM PST - 26 comments


In 1933, a mysterious benefactor posted an ad in the local Canton, Ohio paper, offering some Christmas funds to people who might otherwise shy away from asking for aid, even in those tough times. That Anonymous Giver went by the pseudonym "Mr. B. Virdot," and ended up giving some money to 150 families and people in town who wrote in with their personal stories. The unknown person's identity was never revealed, and his true identity was not even known to his grandson, until the mysterious benefactor's daughter gave her son, Ted Gup, a battered suitcase full of letters and checks signed by "Mr. B. Virdot". The mysterious man was Samuel J. Stone, a Jewish man whose family had fled Romania when he was young. Stone had done well in the United States, and owned a small chain of clothing stores in 1933. The story of the mysterious gifts hasn't faded from Canton, and on November 5 of this year, Stone's grandson, Gup, gave a public talk to the community and decedents of the original recipients of Virdot's gifts. And now, Canton residents are bringing back the spirit of Virdot. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 AM PST - 16 comments

Amazing 450 page presentation created in Google Docs. From Google Demo Slam: three animators took three days to create a presentation that would make Powerpoint and Keynote cry. via Engadget
posted by sweetkid at 10:37 AM PST - 33 comments

Sherman's March and America is a digital representation of historian Anne Sarah Rubin's project on how Americans have remembered General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea in 1864. The funnest part are the interactive maps. Clicking on the yellow-highlighted pins opens up a video exploring the significance of that spot on the map. Each map represents a different genre of memories of the march (civilian, soldiers, fiction, etc). My favorite is the narrative of the events in Milledgeville, Georgia on the Soldiers Map, featuring plastic toy soldiers and burning cardboard buildings.
posted by marxchivist at 10:34 AM PST - 16 comments

The final data for the 2010 Census has just been released, showing the last decade's trends in population, growth and diversity. [more inside]
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:31 AM PST - 68 comments

Food Court Flash Mob sings the "Hallelujah" chorus. This time things go poorly. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:08 AM PST - 37 comments

Brian Burke is tormented by how much terror you can squeeze into ten seconds. Ten seconds in a car careening into oncoming traffic on a stretch of Indiana highway just shy of the Ohio border. Ten seconds sailing sideways through sheets of falling snow, straight at a reinforced truck. Ten seconds with the same unthinkable ending every time. [more inside]
posted by BZArcher at 9:05 AM PST - 29 comments

Idris Elba was cast to portray Heimdall in the upcoming Thor movie. This has got the Council of Conservative Citizens (an American white nationalist group) all in a tizzy, since traditionally the Norse gods were all white, since Norsemen were, well... just about all white. Gabe raises the point - can a racist clock be right twice a day? via
posted by FatherDagon at 7:27 AM PST - 307 comments

Jafar Panahi is back in prison. The acclaimed Iranian director, one of the leading figures in the Iranian New Wave, was jailed this week for six years — and banned from filmmaking for 20 years — after his prosecution for allegedly working on a film about the disputed Iranian presidential election of 2009. (The New Republic recently trumpeted his status as "the filmmaker laureate of The Green Movement.") Another filmmaker, Muhammad Rasoulof, received a six-year sentence on similar charges. "This is a catastrophe for Iran's cinema," Columbia University professor Hamid Dabashi told the Guardian. [more inside]
posted by Joey Bagels at 6:54 AM PST - 9 comments

Baltimore scandal! Denise Whiting, the owner of Cafe Hon and originator of "Hon Fest" has stirred up controversy in Charm City by trademarking "Hon". People are really, really, up in arms, including the editorial writers of the Baltimore Sun and another business down the street. Denise Whiting responds. More of her defense here.
posted by josher71 at 6:24 AM PST - 81 comments

"I can sense stars, and their whispers amid the roaring of our own Sun." So goes one poetic status of the Voyager 2 twitterfeed, which appeals to my sense of wonder like nothing else on the internet. Interstellar space probes and microblogging go hand in hand in the 21st Century.
posted by Kattullus at 5:21 AM PST - 23 comments

Thought to be first entered in April 2009 by a team of British explorers, Hang Son Doong is now believed to be the world's largest cave. Interactive map.
posted by paulsc at 4:24 AM PST - 37 comments


Dsankt (previously, previously-er) explored the Paris Metro for quite some time, and came back with great photos and a series of posts on what's down there. [more inside]
posted by vivelame at 3:37 AM PST - 7 comments

The smell of the Moon. Space. Pharaohs. Graffiti. Anger. Rain. Phantoms. Cancer. The Middle Ages.
posted by Paragon at 3:17 AM PST - 17 comments


December 20

Labyrinths – not to be confused with mazes – are being rediscovered as tools for contemplation, meditation, reflection, and community well-being, as well as inspiration for architecture, music, dance, ritual, business, and visual art. [more inside]
posted by velvet winter at 11:34 PM PST - 19 comments


Sure, it was cute when Bambi slipped all over the ice, but the story usually ends less adorably. Upon finding a deer stuck on the ice, you can chip away the ice and let it swim free, winch it off the ice by the leg, or even blow it off the ice with a helicopter, but it probably won't matter—the deer will die anyway, and you'll just end up getting in trouble. Just this week, eight tiny reindeer fell into a lake at a Christmas park. Their entombed bodies are protruding through its icy surface for all the visiting kids to see. (Maybe coyotes did it.) People have been rescuing deer from the ice every winter for decades and decades and decades. If you want things to end well, let the professionals handle it.
posted by waldo at 8:25 PM PST - 53 comments


"...it can be predicted that male and female astronauts will engage in sexual relations during a mission to Mars." And then there are the babies....Martian babies. Sex On Mars: Pregnancy, Fetal Development, and Sex In Outer Space
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:12 PM PST - 58 comments

Legendary hip hop producer DJ Premier interviewed in the XXL Icon Interview and The Smoking Section. Remarkably candid conversations about his life in East Coast hip hop, with interesting stories about his work with Jay-Z, Biggie, Puff, Nas, Jeru the Damaga, Group Home, Suge Knight, Christina Aguilera and of course, Guru. On finding records to sample: "Well, there’s still diggin’ spots. If you’re in that world like I am, you know the spots, you see everybody—Just Blaze, Alchemist, Large Professor, Pete Rock—we still pop up in those spots. You got Big City records, you got Turntable Lab, you still have A1, you got Academy, you know. I’m not gonna tell you all the digging spots."
posted by the mad poster! at 5:56 PM PST - 11 comments

Short vids by photographer Noah Kalina: Chinese Herb store, (A guy standing still in the midst of movement), Seltzer (wonderfully NSFW!), Space Rail, Earl, The Floss Boss (also NSFW, due to some pubic hair & candy floss combination), a cat. 30 more, there… From his blog: A fitting portrait of Julian Assange by Phillip Toledano, a Giant Sesame Bagel Admiring Its Own Beauty... [more inside]
posted by growabrain at 5:30 PM PST - 5 comments


Vimeo Video School is a fun place for anyone to learn how to make better videos. Start by browsing the Vimeo Lessons, or find specific video tutorials created by other members.
posted by netbros at 4:53 PM PST - 4 comments


BBC Correspondent Brian Hanrahan, who rose to fame during his coverage of the Falklands Conflict in 1982, has died at the age of 61. [more inside]
posted by penguin pie at 4:06 PM PST - 10 comments

Though it was eclipsed in press coverage by the repealing of DADT, congress congruently relaxed regulations on community based, Low Power FM radio stations. [more inside]
posted by furnace.heart at 2:45 PM PST - 46 comments

A Foreigner's Guide to American Culture After De Tocqueville, just about every European sent to the United States has treated the posting as an invitation to help diagnose the country's faults and suggest ways in which they might be fixed.
posted by modernnomad at 1:40 PM PST - 162 comments

"We gathered our favorite cutting-edge content creators from across the internet and gave each of them a deceptively simple mission -- tell a short story in an innovative way." Showtime presents: Short Stories. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 1:38 PM PST - 4 comments

Minimalist logos on labels. I didn't realize this was possible, but I want to eat Nutella even more now.
posted by Leta at 1:27 PM PST - 61 comments

It's holiday time! Perhaps you'd like to add some DIY decoration to your gifts. Let's make some "Literary Leaf Gift Tags." Which book should you make them from? Oh, any old book will do—say, this one looks splendid. Et voila! Gift tags that are perfect for the literate aesthete, complete with mentions of "gaunt human skulls" and "slave labor camps." [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco at 12:57 PM PST - 8 comments

Life Flashes By (Mac, Windows installers, .slg file and SLUDGE engine for linux) is an introspective It's A Wonderful Life/Christmas Carol-like kickstarter funded interactive story by Deidra Kiai (reviews 1,2,3). [more inside]
posted by juv3nal at 12:50 PM PST - 3 comments

Carol of the Bells is a well known, traditional handbell song. Carol of the Belts, not so much. (NSFW, SLYT). From Here Come the Mummies.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:45 PM PST - 17 comments

Stephen Harper once referred to the Canadian Senate as a "dumping ground for liberal cronies". He has now appointed his 36th senator, more than double the number of appointments by his predecessor, Paul Martin. Of further interest is that while 5/17 of Martin's appointments were members of the opposition party all 36 of Stephen Harpers appointments were directly affiliated with the conservative party. His most recent appointments? A Priest and a former CFL Comissioner
posted by sarastro at 12:36 PM PST - 35 comments

If you lived in Canada in the 80s and 90s, then the holiday season meant one thing: Give like Santa, save like Scrooge.
posted by mightygodking at 11:25 AM PST - 42 comments

Some 10 minutes after driving Chris Williams's Packard-engined Behemoth my hands were still shaking, my voice was croaking and the cool autumn wind was chilling my sweaty overalls. My face was cherry red from the infernal heat of the engine and my eyebrows singed from its 24 flaming exhaust stubs. In my entire career I have never driven anything as visceral, as physical or as sheer bloody terrifying as Mavis, the 42-litre Packard-engined Bentley.
posted by veedubya at 11:03 AM PST - 47 comments

First Time to the Nether! (SLYT) If you like hearing people being endearingly excited and/or Minecraft, you'll like this.
posted by jragon at 10:43 AM PST - 56 comments

So what does the question "Why don't you believe in God?" really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking "what makes you so special? How come you weren't brainwashed with the rest of us?"

Ricky Gervais explains why he's an atheist.
posted by swift at 10:40 AM PST - 309 comments


The Daily Patdown - Your daily Dose of Security Theater. Some pictures of groping therein. [via mefi projects]
posted by Burhanistan at 9:33 AM PST - 46 comments

Oil-absorbing booms from the BP oil spill are being recycled into plastic parts for the (now in production and delivered to customers) extended-range EV Chevy Volt.
posted by SirOmega at 9:28 AM PST - 23 comments


Jonah Keri looks at the unconventional methods being used by the Texas Rangers to improve the durability and effectiveness of their pitching staff.
posted by reenum at 8:58 AM PST - 13 comments


Steambirds: Survival (flash) is a sequel to Steambirds, the steampunk turn-based shooter, and is as addictive as patent medicine.
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 AM PST - 9 comments

CBS investigates the next financial meltdown: The coming crisis with U.S. state budget shortfalls. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:14 AM PST - 124 comments

Check out this 60 Mminutes segment about people with superior autobiographical memory, who can remember virtually every day of their life. [more inside]
posted by nomadicink at 7:13 AM PST - 40 comments

... the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese at 6:26 AM PST - 79 comments

And now, the latest digital short from The Lonely Island- I Just Had Sex (Feat. Akon).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:24 AM PST - 37 comments


Various international toilet rules: Where do I put the paper?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:14 AM PST - 44 comments

The British Government wants to ban porn from the internet. The move would force ISPs to block all pornographic content unless users had 'opted in' (providing a handy list of people who wish to view pornography) and is said to be motivated by a desire to combat the early sexualization of children. There is no word on how 'porn' is to be defined.
posted by unSane at 4:01 AM PST - 136 comments

This evening in Charleston, SC, a Secession Ball! When they don their "period formal" hoop skirts tonight some ladies may rue the fact that have no slaves to pull their corsets tight. The ladies and their escorts, many of whom are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who would like us to believe that the Civil War was not about slavery. The NAACP, and others disagree. The NAACP has organized a peaceful protest.
posted by mareli at 3:44 AM PST - 116 comments

folktek do beautiful things with sound and sculpture that are so unique as to defy description
posted by mhjb at 1:18 AM PST - 10 comments

Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
posted by novenator at 12:14 AM PST - 79 comments

December 19

Two years ago, Deepwater Wind proposed a wind farm off the shore of Block Island, Rhode Island which would have been the country's first offshore wind farm. Ever since, one legal battle after another has brought the project all the way to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:06 PM PST - 26 comments

A 3 hour podcast interview (part 2 here) with British comics legend Pat Mills, most famous for the anti-war WW1 strip Charley's War, the creation 2000ad and many of the most enduring characters within it, superhero hunter Marshall Law and numerous other comics. His work usually combines combines dark humour, a dash of left wing politics and ludicrous amounts of violence, now as much as ever with puritan zombie hunter Defoe. Subjects discussed in the intreview include the death of artist John Hicklenton, being Irish-English, Sláine and the comparitive lack of celtic heroes in modern popular culture, Oliver Cromwell and the Levellers. Bonus link: 20 pages of Metalzoic, Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neills "lost" story.
posted by Artw at 9:00 PM PST - 18 comments

"At the time, in the field that we flopped into, the artists wrote and performed all of their own material,” Felice recalled. “Then, after a while, the road got to them. They couldn’t think, they couldn’t doodle around on the front porch with a guitar, they couldn’t stroll through the woods and get inspired. So Boudleaux and I were the first people who came to Nashville who didn’t do anything but write. We were the factory." What do the songs Love Hurts, Rocky Top, Bye Bye Love, and Wake Up Little Susie have in common? Why, they were all written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, of course! Perhaps best known for the hits they penned for the Everly Brothers, The Bryants were an American husband and wife songwriting duo whose compositions, mostly country music, are estimated to have been on hundreds of millions of records sold. Let's get to know them a bit better, shall we? [more inside]
posted by ORthey at 8:09 PM PST - 13 comments

The History of Monuments (slight artistic nudity) is a 42 meter long mural by Wang Qingsong. Before clicking "more inside" try to guess what materials he used to make the work... [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 6:27 PM PST - 16 comments


Christmas and Toy Catalogs: 1942-1992 (Warning: heinousness inside). But wait, there's more vintage Christmas advertising.
posted by bwg at 5:07 PM PST - 35 comments

When Parents Attack Text.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:48 PM PST - 123 comments

Misinformation and the 2010 Election - A Study of the US Electorate. The key findings of the study are:

1. Perceptions of Misleading and False Information An overwhelming majority of voters said that they encountered misleading or false information in the last election, with a majority saying that this occurred frequently and occurred more frequently than usual.

2. Evidence of Misinformation Among Voters The poll found strong evidence that voters were substantially misinformed on many of the issues prominent in the election campaign, including the stimulus legislation, the healthcare reform law, TARP, the state of the economy, climate change, campaign contributions by the US Chamber of Commerce and President Obama’s birthplace. In particular, voters had perceptions about the expert opinion of economists and other scientists that were quite different from actual expert opinion.
[more inside]
posted by caddis at 1:54 PM PST - 53 comments

A Humanitarian Gift Guide: Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a scarf from a brothel survivor. [more inside]
posted by MrBCID at 1:16 PM PST - 26 comments


Creep, a devastating (and oddly seasonal) animated short by Alex Heller. [more inside]
posted by hermitosis at 12:09 PM PST - 53 comments

The Flowing Great Wall is an ongoing photo series by Wang Wenlan, the Director of the photography department at The China Daily. [more inside]
posted by Ahab at 11:06 AM PST - 4 comments

Knitting a sweater is like saying "I love you" 150,000 times in a row. But it's too late for most of us to turn yarn into sweater this year (even those of us who crochet really fast). If you didn't schedule your holiday crafting successfully, here are some excuses for not crafting. Don't knit or crochet? Gift ideas for your favorite crocheter or knitter.
posted by asperity at 9:39 AM PST - 53 comments

Neil Gaiman wants a Christmas tree, just one problem, he's Jewish. And he's not the only one debating this issue. There's a discussion over at slate.com on whether or not Jews should own a Christmas tree.
posted by Fizz at 9:07 AM PST - 131 comments

The Great Typekit Table — Finding a good Typekit font for long blocks of text is hard, but Sleepover has done it so you don't have to. They've pared it down accord­ing to two sim­ple rules: first, the font has to have low­er­case, upper­case, bold, italic, and bold italic; sec­ond, the font can't be hand­writ­ing, script, or mono­space.
posted by netbros at 7:00 AM PST - 37 comments


In recession-hit Saginaw, MI, the initial setting of Simon and Garfunkel's "America", mural painter Eric Shantz has begun painting the lyrics to the song on abandoned buildings.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:46 AM PST - 41 comments


But street football doesn't really exist any more, Cooper admits. "Many children have never played outside. And in some cases their parents haven't either." He cites a 2009 survey by the charity Living Streets which found that only half of five- to 10-year-olds had ever played in their street, whereas nine of out 10 of their grandparents had. How the increasing professionalisation of soccer at all levels in the UK has led to the death of park and street footie for ordinary kids.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:46 AM PST - 24 comments

December 18


Streets of Fire (part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) is a 1984 film directed by Walter Hill and co-written by Hill and Larry Gross. It was described in previews, trailers, and posters as "A Rock & Roll Fable." It is an unusual mix of musical, action, drama, and comedy with elements both of retro-1950s and 1980s. ... The film was promoted as a summer blockbuster but failed critically and commercially, grossing only USD $8 million in North America, well below its $14.5 million budget. Its dynamic musical score by the likes of Jim Steinman, Ry Cooder, and others, as well as the hit Dan Hartman song "I Can Dream About You", however, has helped it attain something of a cult following among fans.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:27 PM PST - 59 comments

Psycho Killer dance - Tengobaila sure does like improvisational, spontaneous, informal, interpretive, freestyle dancing ... and she has uploaded 857 videos to prove it, find your fave. (Via B3TA) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive at 9:03 PM PST - 27 comments

Meet the Gifford Children's Choir out of Racine, Wisconsin as they perform Still Alive from Portal. [more inside]
posted by Evilspork at 7:48 PM PST - 42 comments

digitalculturebooks is an imprint of University of Michigan Press which releases scholarly books under a creative commons license. They've got 19 books published already and more on the way. Among those on offer are poet and English professor Kevin Stein's Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age, anthropologist Bonnie A. Nardi's My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, English professor Buzz Alexander's Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?: Twenty Years of the Prison Creative Arts Project and English professor Elizabeth Carolyn Miller's Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siècle. If you don't want to read a whole book they also have essay collections, such as Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina and Best Technology Writing 2008, which includes pieces by, among others, Cass Sunstein, Robin Meija and Walter Kirn. [previously, Rock Paper Shotgun scribe Jim Rossignol's This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities]
posted by Kattullus at 7:35 PM PST - 6 comments

The most detailed photo of the surface of the sun looks like this. It was taken by the team at CA's Big Bear Solar Observatory. They have some other neat images of our nearest star at their website. [more inside]
posted by fantodstic at 5:02 PM PST - 46 comments

My brother often informs me that I live 'the life of Riley'. The other night while re-reading Bill Bryson's Made in America I noted he mentioned the origin of the phrase was a popular 1880s song (possibly 1883) Is That Mr. Reilly? by Pat Rooney, in which "the hero speculates on what he would do with a fortune", and revived for use during WWI. Curious, I found several possible origins, though the song remains the top contender. Dictionary.com defines life of Riley as "a carefree, comfortable, and thoroughly enjoyable way of living. The term became popular and eventually 'The Life of Riley' was used as the title of an American radio sitcom (Wiki), followed by a movie and television series. It was used again with the alternate spelling 'The Life of Reilly' in 1995 as the title of a short film from Ireland, and in a 2006 movie starring Charles Nelson Reilly. In 2009 'The Life of Riley' was the name of a British television comedy. Now that's a phrase with staying power. It's the name of an Irish band, an online store in the UK, it was used by a sign maker, and quite obviously, as the moniker of several drinking establishments, such as the Life of Riley Tavern in Portland, Oregon; The Life of Reilly - Irish Pub & Restaurant in Baltimore, in the United Kingdom as the 'Life Of Riley' in Glasgow, Lanarkshire; and 'Life of Reilly Pub' in Harrow, Middlesex; and with a strange possessive at the 'Life of Reilly's Pub and Grill' in Long Beach, New York. Let's also not forget the mysterious MeFite LifeofRiley, whose stats stand entirely at zero. My main reason for writing all this is to ask: how many Mefites use this term? I do, but unfortunately my brother is wrong: I don't live the life of Riley. I might one day, if I win the lottery . . .
posted by bwg at 5:00 PM PST - 29 comments

Fantastic weekly music news and interview program Sound Opinions presents the 2010 edition of their annual Holiday Christmas Spectacular, featuring weird and wonderful holiday tunes curated by record collector Andy Cirzan. [mp3 link to show, approx 1 hour] This year, they're also offering a limited time download of Andy's 2-disc compilation. (Get it quick -- download disappears Jan 1.)
posted by hippybear at 3:28 PM PST - 4 comments

The Onion presents: The People Who Mattered In 2010 [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:08 PM PST - 84 comments

People who enjoyed Rap News 5 - Wikileaks & the war on journalism which covered the Iraq War Logs (featuring, er, Donald Rumsfeld and Bill O'Reilly) will probably enjoy the new episode Rap News 6 - Wikileaks' Cablegate (featuring, er, Hillary Clinton, Alex Jones and others). [more inside]
posted by memebake at 2:59 PM PST - 11 comments

Katja's Aurora Page. Katja Gottschewski, German expat somewhere in Norway, posts an immense amount of awesome aurora pictures on her blog-homepage. [more inside]
posted by Namlit at 2:50 PM PST - 4 comments

This post is a) NSFW or grandmothers, b) Derivative of previous stuff on Metafilter. Having said that, here goes: Canada is a Spanish production company. They do ads, fashion and the best videos I've seen in a very long time. You'd do well to start here. [more inside]
posted by Cobalt at 2:09 PM PST - 28 comments


Your apps are watching you
posted by peacay at 12:31 PM PST - 79 comments

Jessica Harper, whom most mefites will recognize as the star of Phantom of the Paradise and Suspiria, has reinvented herself as The Crabby Cook and recently released a book full of recipes and survival tips. Among the treasures on her YouTube channel: fun with her young relatives in "Christmas Cookie Crisis."
posted by hermitosis at 12:01 PM PST - 16 comments

Atheist Camille Paglia slams atheist Christopher Hitchens for not doing his research and suggests we should value the bible like literature.
posted by aunt_winnifred at 11:52 AM PST - 101 comments

Daniel Mustard has had quite a year. From homelessness on the streets of New York, to singing Creep on Opie and Anthony's homeless shopping spree, to getting sober, to getting a record contract. Is this the American dream?
posted by Xurando at 11:10 AM PST - 10 comments

In the 1920's, there was a series of race cars developed by Count Louis Zborowski, Chitty Bang Bang I through IV. Though in the film version of Ian Fleming's book the name came from the sound the cars made, there is some conjecture that the name is based on a bawdy WWI song. Zborowski died before finishing Chitty Bang Bang 4, (also known as the Higham Special). The car killed its next owner in a particularly grisly fashion and was buried on the spot by his horrified friends. [more inside]
posted by 445supermag at 11:10 AM PST - 19 comments

Videogames reach the uncanny valley with the facial animations (yt video) in Rockstar's L.A. Noir, their 1940s Los Angeles set detective game.
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM PST - 77 comments

Fried GnoccAAAAH! (SLYT, fun starts at about 1:00.)
posted by griphus at 9:52 AM PST - 36 comments


Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric and Davin Wood (composer on "Awesome Show, Great Job!") are going to release an album as Heidecker & Wood. It includes an eight minute Christmas suite that they just released for free. It straddles the line between parody and nostalgic tribute kinda amazingly.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:17 AM PST - 16 comments


"What do we see when we look straight at the sun and then close our eyes? That's right, a bright moving disk that lasts several seconds. Every child knows this afterimage effect. We use the afterimage effect for a completely new brand experience, for the first advertising commercial that doesn't use a directly visible logo, but by doing so generates a more intensive connection to the target group. We developed a cinema ad for BMW motorcycles that turns spectators into astonished fans. It does this by using an afterimage of the brand to literally get inside people's heads."
posted by grouse at 8:41 AM PST - 55 comments

Teeny tiny apocalypse. [more inside]
posted by rtha at 8:26 AM PST - 23 comments

Open.mapquest.com uses OpenStreetMap (previously, -er, -erer, -est) data served through MapQuest's own server, and any edits feed back into the main OpenStreetMap database. [more inside]
posted by scruss at 8:18 AM PST - 13 comments

This year the IceHotel, built out of 30,000 tons of snow and 4,000 tons of ice, features a Tron room. Cool does not even begin to describe it. [more inside]
posted by dabitch at 7:34 AM PST - 15 comments

December 17

The Watson Artificial Intelligence system has been discussed on MeFi before. The Jeopardy AI will get a chance to prove its skills in early February when it squares off against Jeopardy titans Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter for the prize of a million dollars.
posted by grandsham at 9:30 PM PST - 32 comments


It may take years, but some researcher will travel to Pakistan’s tribal areas and produce a definitive study on what it’s been like to live amidst an aerial bombardment from American pilotless aircraft. When that account inevitably comes out, it’s likely to find that 2010 — and especially the final quarter of 2010 — marked a turning point in how civilians coped with a drone war that turned relentless. (previously: 1,2)
posted by Joe Beese at 7:20 PM PST - 151 comments

I Love You is an animated short by Rinat Timerkaev that is reminiscent in style of the works of anime director Makoto Shinkai. Russian audio, no subtitles. [more inside]
posted by dmit at 7:04 PM PST - 14 comments

Dream of the 90's is a short music video promoting the upcoming sketch comedy series Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. [more inside]
posted by OverlappingElvis at 6:44 PM PST - 71 comments

Burial & Flight I BEGAN THIS SERIES TEN YEARS AGO in rural Kenya. When I started photographing, I thought I was working on a localized story about how HIV was destroying African society. Over the years, as I broadened my travels to China and Mexico, I began to see similarities in the composition of villages wherever I went. Only later did I fully realize that the quiet moments I documented in the African bush, Mexican plains, and majestic Chinese mountains represented small pieces of a great shift.
posted by metagnathous at 6:11 PM PST - 5 comments

Mocknick Productions Literary Agency is an example of a breed of "agents" that charge writers to represent them, and is listed on the Writers Beware list of Thumbs Down Agencies. His agency does have one unique feature though: the public face of the agency is a sex doll virtual hostess. [more inside]
posted by happyroach at 5:25 PM PST - 27 comments

The House of Sharing is a place for the Halmoni to to live together and heal the wounds of the past while educating the future generations of the suffering they survived.
The View From Over Here details her visit to the House of Sharing, a therapeutic group home and museum for surviving "comfort women", who were systematically raped by the Japanese military during World War II. The museum displays art for and by the survivors. Via Ask a Korean. [more inside]
posted by ignignokt at 4:34 PM PST - 5 comments

Knoword is a game where it's good to be loquacious.
posted by tehloki at 4:17 PM PST - 53 comments

Visdüm Tooten, a short film by Don Hertzfeldt. [more inside]
posted by ooga_booga at 4:08 PM PST - 12 comments


It's been 30 years since the last log drive. Log drives were a way of life in the woods. In Quebec, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Minnesota and Connecticut. The last one in Maine was 1976. [more inside]
posted by woodjockey at 4:05 PM PST - 18 comments



Friday Flash Fantasticness: Neutral has released another new room escape game, Linkage. Enjoy! [more inside]
posted by phunniemee at 3:06 PM PST - 15 comments

Sad news out of California today for the avant-garde and experimental rock world: Rocks Off has learned from multiple online sources that Don Van Vliet of influential rockers Captain Beefheart passed away today at the age of 69 after a battle with multiple sclerosis. Van Vliet's management confirmed his death to Rolling Stone.
posted by chavenet at 2:22 PM PST - 168 comments

Planet Hunters lets users comb through data from the Kepler mission in search of exoplanets. [via Bad Astronomy]
posted by brundlefly at 2:15 PM PST - 4 comments

The Cassini team announced a possible cyrovolcano on Titan. A key difference between this find and cyrovulcanism on Enceladus is the probable existence of a thousand-meter peak and lobe-shaped flows similar to terrestrial vulcanism. Their video release explains the evidence with 3-d models of the features. More speculative, Guillaume Robuchon speculates that Pluto might have liquid water under an icy surface, assuming it has enough of a rocky core to support heat production through radioactive decay.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:51 PM PST - 23 comments

Even one of the greatest lines ever spoken in a movie can become hopelessly clichéd when repeated enough times, right, Toto? (SingleYouTubeContaining58Clips) [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:47 PM PST - 30 comments

Keenan Cahill's been posting his lip-sync videos to youtube for a while now. Last month he had a special guest star step in (a little over a minute in).
posted by yeti at 1:10 PM PST - 24 comments

After nixing the idea a year ago, Chevy is again toying with the idea of bringing back the El Camino in 2015. The car will be modeled after the Holden Ute, a popular vehicle in Australia.
posted by reenum at 12:59 PM PST - 68 comments

The Proposal. "After a decade of being together, I finally proposed to my long time love Sara. [This] movie trailer was shown on December 12th, 2010 at 4pm at the Red River Theater in Concord, NH. Sara had no idea." [more inside]
posted by zarq at 12:33 PM PST - 60 comments

It's Friday, which means it's time for some meat eating, surfing, burger flipping fun. (flash)
posted by aspo at 12:00 PM PST - 8 comments


Gold dispensing ATM machines are becoming more popular. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach at 11:55 AM PST - 97 comments


Welcome to Isle of Tune. A music sequencer for the modern colonial. (Flash)
posted by eyeballkid at 11:34 AM PST - 11 comments

There was a brouhaha around the name of a particular micro-genre, tossed out amongst other titles for a new genre variant: rape-gaze. The discussion started with a listing of genre names applied to the band Salem, a band whose debut album ranked high in some year-end charts. That specific genre title was coined by the group Creep, who chose the label themselves as some alternative to the more prevalent "witch house" genre title. More music and music pondering inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:18 AM PST - 63 comments

Not you. (SLYT)
posted by mhum at 11:08 AM PST - 27 comments


Friday Frivolity: A highlight reel of clips from the BBC show Walk on the Wild Side, featuring voiceovers for animals so you finally get to know what's really going on in all those nature documentaries. This BBC playlist has previews for a lot of the individual episodes. (I got region-blocked on a few of those videos, but most seem to work fine.) [more inside]
posted by kmz at 9:18 AM PST - 13 comments

Dragon Magazine's "Sage Advice" column ran for over 30 years, offering advice to DMs and players about anything and everything within the D&D world. Comics Alliance has compiled The 11 Strangest D&D Questions Ever Asked, culled from this searchable archive.
posted by hippybear at 8:51 AM PST - 126 comments

My Cardboard Life is an adorable web comic with a lot of texture. [more inside]
posted by Sibrax at 8:47 AM PST - 9 comments


Early in 1903, the success of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland, was a rousing success. Thirty years later it was made into a movie starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst production. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan at 7:17 AM PST - 22 comments

Leandra Medine is 21 and lives with her parents on the Upper-East Side. She also has an amusing hobby, or maybe a feminist fashion statement. Either way, Leandra is repelling men. [more inside]
posted by timory at 6:56 AM PST - 162 comments

In the wake of Glenn Greenwald's post about the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention ("For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell"), Jeralyn at the criminal justice blog Talkleft offers a detailed argument that both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and relevant case law suggest that "Bradley Manning should not be in maximum security or solitary confinement." As the Justice Department tries to build a case against Julian Assange based on his contacts with Manning, what do we really know about the 22-year-old queer intelligence analyst being held at Quantico who says he leaked the Collateral Murder video and all those diplomatic cables? [more inside]
posted by mediareport at 5:49 AM PST - 239 comments

The George Ewart Evans collection of oral interviews on rural English life. 250 recordings of interviews and songs made by oral history pioneer George Ewart Evans between 1956 and 1977, many in Suffolk, with a smaller number in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Reginal Hoskins the thresher, Annie Cable the kitchen maid, Baron Rhodes of Saddleworth. They're all pretty fascinating.
posted by OmieWise at 5:33 AM PST - 6 comments


Biome Terrain Mod is a modification for Minecraft that allows tweaking the world generation parameters for the regions in the game. The Minecraft Forums are running a contest to find cool generation settings. Some of the results are quite striking.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 3:54 AM PST - 94 comments

Is "Muslim" a derogatory term? An online reputation defense company warns a San Francisco civil rights group that a Google search for their name pulls up a "derogatory comment."
posted by anirvan at 3:51 AM PST - 54 comments

FFF! Sudoku Combat - race head to head to complete the grid. [more inside]
posted by carsonb at 3:36 AM PST - 5 comments

"Among medieval artistic media it was the microchip": the historian Alexander Murray on ivory carving. The Gothic Ivories Project, a new website launched this week by the Courtauld Institute in London, aims to build a database of every surviving ivory sculpture made in Europe between 1200 and 1530. The 400 objects currently on the site, ranging from combs to chesspieces, include some images of astonishing beauty and intricacy.
posted by verstegan at 3:09 AM PST - 10 comments

Vision Machine by Greg Pak, a free comic about the not-so-distant future.
posted by cthuljew at 2:01 AM PST - 6 comments

Since approximately 26% of Canadian children age 2-17 are now considered obese, few would disagree that drastic measures are warranted. A dude and his wife have decided that the best way to inspire kids to get some exercise outdoors is to run daily marathons across the country. [more inside]
posted by sarastro at 1:01 AM PST - 41 comments

Sugar collecting is an interesting hobby. The thought of collecting sugar packets sparked my curiousity at first and now I enjoy all types of sugar information. Sugar really has been important through the ages, as a commodity, a sign of wealth, a metaphor for happiness. On my site, you will find historical information, facts and pictures, etc. To me, I see sugar more as a decoration [also, previously] instead of a food. The concept of sugar can be so universal. Embark upon an adventure through this website and take a look at sugar through my eyes. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious at 12:20 AM PST - 14 comments

December 16

Beyond the Real Life is a World of Warcraft fan movie, blending live action and special effects with in-game footage. The follow-up to a 2006 short called The Edge of Real Life, Beyond the Real Life tells the story of Tank the warrior and Bubbleballs the paladin on a quest to save Tank's love interest after she is kidnapped by a Horde mage. The acting and writing aren't in danger of winning any awards, but the mix of machinima and live action is very well done, and there are some pretty good gags in there, both WoW-related and otherwise. (via RPS)
posted by The Pusher Robot at 11:45 PM PST - 5 comments

"Normal" human pregnancies last 40 weeks, right? Well, no; they can vary quite a bit by the mother's race, age, number of previous children, family history of delivering early or late, home state, work habits, and even the fetus' HLA type. So where does that "40 week" thing come from? Oh, dear. So check out this super-nerdy pregnancy statistics website, from an engineer mom who is collecting data from the public (see the raw data and auto-generated graphs, and read the FAQ about the survey, with more cool graphs). Looking for day-by-day probabilities on when that baby's due? This would be your stats table with daily prediction (adjust dates at top of page as needed). Of course, you could always shut up your constantly inquiring relatives and friends another way.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:49 PM PST - 45 comments

Rooster Teeth's Immersion is like Mythbusters for video games, and isn't afraid to ask the hard questions: What is it like to drive a real world car from a game's 3rd person perspective? Do the clothes worn by women in Japanese fighting games offer any protection whatsoever? What is it like to be Mario in a outside version of a side-scrolling platform game?. Finally, would Xbox Live-style trash talk would distract a real Special Operations soldier?. [˙ǝdou˙pɹɐɥ oslɐ ˙uoıʇɔǝʇoɹd ou ˙pɹɐɥ sʇı :sɹǝʍsuɐ]
posted by blahblahblah at 9:26 PM PST - 23 comments

Word Lens REPLACES text viewable in your iPhone camera with its translation, in real time, with formatting intact. Be sure to watch the demo video. Pretty much straight up magic. The app itself is free, but Spanish->English or English->Spanish dictionaries are $5 each, via in-app purchase. It's been a while since my jaw has dropped like this from any piece of software.
posted by 3rdparty at 7:37 PM PST - 95 comments

Land Girls and Lumber Jills is an exhibit at Scotland's National War Museum. It explores the history of the Women's Land Army and the Women's Timber Corps. These two organizations were formed during the First World War to compensate for shortages in male laborers in agriculture and forestry, respectively. The museum's exhibition ties in a collection on flickr, interviews and a book available for order online. Other sources online will allow one to hear audio samples of the Land Girls' stories, read Land Girls' and Lumber Jills' memoirs and watch old propaganda clips about them or more recent documentary videos (more on YT). Officially commemorated in 2008, these civilian service organizations have also been the subject of a film, "The Land Girls" (trailer), an ITV sitcom, and a BBC series (Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

The British Women's Land Army model was successfully replicated in the U.S. with the Woman's Land Army of America (whose members were known as "farmerettes") and in Australia with the Australian Women's Land Army.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 6:06 PM PST - 8 comments


Douglas Burgdorff is a director who makes disturbing short films (all links not safe for work) about: the color red, partying, drugs, drugs and skateboarding, friendship, lollipops, and... um... Taylor Swift? Not for the faint of heart, nor the easily disgusted. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 4:57 PM PST - 13 comments

The Digital Version Of The Nativity Story, told through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon and more. [more inside]
posted by ericb at 3:51 PM PST - 18 comments

Mass Brawl on Ice! [SLYT] KHL teams fight 6 seconds into game.
posted by Fizz at 2:23 PM PST - 83 comments

Best Music Writing 2010 - Links inside! [more inside]
posted by chaff at 2:22 PM PST - 15 comments

An open letter to all fans of Science Fiction from Tom Hunter, Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Award - The Arthur C. Clarke Award, the yearly award for best Science Fiction novel published in the UK, could be in trouble.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM PST - 26 comments

“There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.” - C.A.R. Hoare, from the Top 50 Programming Quotes of All Time.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:09 PM PST - 39 comments

In December 1966, ABC 's Stage 67 broadcast a teleplay of Truman Capote's beloved short story, "A Christmas Memory." It won both an Emmy, and Peabody, and was narrated by the author himself. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
posted by timsteil at 1:47 PM PST - 6 comments

More, perhaps, than any other rock star of his generation, Jagger has made it his business to understand and control the mechanics of his own stardom.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:46 PM PST - 22 comments

Chinese ghost cities. Big bubble.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:13 PM PST - 45 comments

If you've ever watched the movie "The Battle of Britain", you surely must remember Squadron Leader Evans, a man with a horribly burned face. That role was played by William Foxley, his only appearance in film, and that was really what he looked like. In 1944,. Bill Foxley was navigator in a Wellington bomber which crashed shortly after takeoff. He got out of the wreck safely, but he heard a crewmate screaming inside and went back in and dragged the poor fellow out. In doing so he was horrifically burned, destroying his face and badly ruining both his hands. He lost one eye and the cornea of the other was badly scarred, leaving him nearly blind. As a member of the "Guinea Pig Club" he underwent almost 30 surgeries over three years to fix his hands and rebuild something like a face, which is what you saw in the movie. Bill Foxley got on with his life, and this week he died at age 87.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:11 PM PST - 21 comments

Dostoyevsky's "Der Idiot" copied by hand Martin copied the entire book "Der Idiot" of Dostojewski by hand. He exchanged the main figure Myskin with his own name: Martin.
posted by riley370 at 1:04 PM PST - 32 comments

Yahoo to shut down Del.icio.us, other sites. After a series of layoffs, Yahoo announced internally that a number of Yahoo products would be shut down, and others merged into existing features of the Yahoo main site.
posted by zabuni at 12:52 PM PST - 262 comments

Faces from the Past is a blog of beautiful images of fascinating people, including Djuna Barnes, Audrey Hepburn, Louise Brooks, Sappho and Eve. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan at 12:41 PM PST - 7 comments

'Phone-Wielding Shoppers Strike Fear Into Retailers.' 'A revolution in retailing—what Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive Mike Duke has dubbed a "new era of price transparency"—and its arrival is threatening to upend the business models of the biggest store chains in America. Until recently, retailers could reasonably assume that if they just lured shoppers to stores with enticing specials, the customers could be coaxed into buying more profitable stuff, too. Now, marketers must contend with shoppers who can use their smartphones inside stores to check whether the specials are really so special, and if the rest of the merchandise is reasonably priced."The retailer's advantage has been eroded," says Greg Girard of consultancy IDC Retail Insights, which recently found that roughly 45% of customers with smartphones had used them to perform due diligence on a store's prices. "The four walls of the store have become porous."' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword at 12:37 PM PST - 108 comments

CreatureCast is a collaborative blog and podcast from evolutionary biologist Casey Dunn, who uses it as a teaching tool at the Dunn Lab at Brown University. The Lab investigates ways in which evolution has produced a diversity of life, and the blog includes neat, invertebrate zoology-related videos that may cover anything from "mating when you're stuck to a rock" to Flying with Squid to Multicellularity to Diving for Jellies. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq at 12:24 PM PST - 2 comments

Director Blake Edwards, Dies at 88. A prolific writer and director, honorary Oscar recipient, and husband to Julie Andrews, Edwards died of complications from Pnuemonia. He was the director of such classics as Days of Wine and Roses, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Victor/Victoria and, of course, the Pink Panther film series. Does your dog bite?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:17 PM PST - 57 comments

A busy day for Google, as it soft-launches BodyBrowser (latest betas of Safari, Firefox and Chrome required.). Using a combination of HTML5 with the <canvas> tag with WebGL (essentially plugin-free OpenGL for 3D on the web), BodyBrowser makes the human body as accessible as a mapping application.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:09 PM PST - 12 comments

Google's new Ngram Viewer lets you track the history of words in six languages, including several flavo(u)rs of English. Whether it's the rise and fall of a single word, the evolution of technology, or the mysterious seventeenth-century proliferation of fart jokes, there's a lot to play with. More at the Official Google Blog.
posted by theodolite at 11:34 AM PST - 74 comments

Favimon: Like Pokemon with favicons. [via mefi projects]
posted by sveskemus at 10:58 AM PST - 43 comments

LinkedIn has analyzed the millions of resumes stored on the site and revealed the top 10 most overused, cliched, buzzwords used on resumes this year. Number 1 is "Extensive Experience."
posted by COD at 10:42 AM PST - 87 comments

"Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts information to Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East in twenty-eight languages. Much of the information comes from the places where those twenty-eight languages are spoken.... Reporters are also working, sometimes clandestinely, in countries where RFE/RL bureaus aren’t allowed. The mission is to tell people living in those countries what is happening to them." -- Facts Meet Freedom: On the Air in Afghanistan, by P. J. O'Rourke
posted by valkane at 10:28 AM PST - 12 comments

A shady "male enhancement" peddler is the unlikely subject of a landmark case holding that e-mails are not subject to warrantless searches. [more inside]
posted by *s at 10:25 AM PST - 15 comments

Back on August 15, 2010, Aesop Rock kicked off a sprawling collaboration effort, with input by 28 artists, with an eclectic collection of videos spanning from music videos to odd clips and a Kimya Dawson recording studio dance party, works by photographer Chrissy Piper, and lots of music, from unreleased tracks, remixes, and mixtapes. There's even a post about being manhandled by a nude model, written by the Dwarvs front-man Blag Dahlia. Going back to the beginning of the site, the second post was a collection of facts about bats, and the only obvious connection back to the tragic impetus for the title of this ongoing collaboration (900 bats) -- over 900 bats were torched to prevent disruption of work on the ongoing renovations of the historic Bala Quila (also spelled Bala Qila) fort in Alwar, Rajasthan, in north-eastern India. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:13 AM PST - 4 comments

Ken Rex McElroy for years had terrorized the small town of Skidmore Missouri, and was considered the town bully. He had been charged with more than 20 felonies, robbing, raping, burning, shootings. He intimidated people by driving by at night and firing a shotgun blast, putting a rattlesnake in their mailbox, etc. He was murdered on July 10, 1981. No one in town would identify Ken Rex's killer and no one has ever been charged with his killing, though there has been intense speculation about who did it. There have been various dramatic depictions of the crime. Is vigilante justice ever justified?
posted by Xurando at 9:53 AM PST - 148 comments


PhDChallenge.org proposed a challenge: To have the phrase "I smoke crack rocks" included in a peer reviewed academic paper. The winner is Gabriel Parent from Carnegie Mellon, who included it in his paper [PDF].
posted by reenum at 9:08 AM PST - 54 comments


Forming (NSFW - cartoon nudity) is a webcomic by Jesse Moynihan (NSFW) that tells the history of the evolution of man via the machinations of various alien entities whose familiar names (and unfamiliar stories) have been recorded in various religions throughout time. [more inside]
posted by lyam at 7:49 AM PST - 24 comments

Do you enjoy The Criterion Collection's packaging design? Do you like Eric Skillman's design blog, where you've seen the process for such design as Night of the Hunter, Stagecoach, and Che? Have you already fallen in love with Sam Smith's design blog, where you've seen him work through things like Modern Times, House, and Everlasting Moments?

Then you will probably hate Fake Criterions, a Tumblr blog showcasing Criterion designs for such notable films as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Ernest Goes to Jail, and Three Ninjas.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:27 AM PST - 51 comments

Defenestration: we've seen posts mentioning it in the Blue, but not one dedicated to the idea in full. Even Mefi's own defenestration hasn't done a proper post on it (but please, Sir, no need to throw yourself out the window over it). The first thing to note is just how awesome the word defenestrate is, from the Latin de- (out of) + fenestra (window), which came to fame via Prague (live reenactment in July 2009; plus a nifty Lego version) and in this movie clip (actual defenestrations begin at 6.39), but history is filled with notable defenestrations (Wiki), such as the one in 1993 where "Toronto lawyer Garry Hoy fell to his death after attempting to demonstrate the strength of his office tower's windows", and of course someone has cobbled together a Top 10 List (and let's not forget the opening credits of SCTV or the fate of one John Locke). We don't hear much of it these days (although in October 2010 the news reported a story of mass self-defenestration owing to Satanism, a tale that that later was, er… thrown out the window), but defenestration has become an art landmark in San Francisco, and naturally it is classic Hollywood staple (Ten Memorable Movie Defenestrations). It has even been used at xkcd. While I have at times defenestrated objects, I am pleased to say I have never been defenestrated myself. And lastly, you have to appreciate the clever geek pun of defenestrating your computer, which doesn't mean tossing it out the window, but instead replacing Windows with an alternative OS such as Linux.
posted by bwg at 7:03 AM PST - 52 comments

His radio station was shut down. His medical license was revoked. So he ran for Governor. (Time, 1932), and almost won. Twice. "Dr". John R. Brinkley, the goat gland doctor, (previously on Metafilter) had six weeks. He also had a plane, a huckster's skills, a staff skilled in promotion, and lots of chutzpah. [more inside]
posted by julen at 6:43 AM PST - 10 comments

Two brothers pull off the heist of the century when they steal money from a criminal kingpin. The kingpin retaliates by abducting one brother's girlfriend. Now the brothers and their two close allies must team up and rescue her, deal out some pain, and get away with their lives. You may think this sounds vaguely familiar, but you've never seen Nintendo's classic Super Mario Bros. depicted like this. Presenting The Brothers Mario [SLYT; contains strong language and scenes of violence; rated M-for-Mature].
posted by Servo5678 at 6:33 AM PST - 35 comments

Chrome for a Cause. From now until December 19th, every tab you open on Chrome with this extension installed will help raise funds for five different charities (The Nature Conservancy, Charity: Water, Doctors Without Borders, Un Techo para mi Pais and Room To Read).
posted by fight or flight at 4:50 AM PST - 35 comments

Santastic V Yet more holiday mash-ups, alternate treatments and bootleg remixes. [more inside]
posted by Mwongozi at 2:54 AM PST - 12 comments

The Local Government Act 2000 brought directly elected mayors to the UK. Take up was limited and success was mixed. If you were lucky you got Stuart Drummond. If you were unlucky you got Peter Davies. Davies, the mayor of Doncaster, is widely seen to have exacerbated existing problems in the town.

This week, the Localism Bill was introduced to Parliament promising referenda on directly elected mayors in the twelve largest cities in England. In advance of this, council leaders are being turned into 'shadow mayors'. The problem? The leaders don't actually want these new powers.
posted by ninebelow at 2:27 AM PST - 9 comments

*Santa* is a Concept, not an idea. It's an Emotion, not a feeling. It's both Yesterday and Today. And it's Tomorrow as well. Santa winds infinite Possibilities around finite Limitations to evoke the essence of invention and the Odour of Nostalgia. It has the complexity of Simpleness and the Simplicity of complexitiveness. It begins with the Hiss of Power and ends with the Ah of Surprise. *Santa* is.
posted by creeky at 1:51 AM PST - 18 comments


December 15

Please enjoy a bit of the (somewhat negative) oeuvre of The Misfits, chief rivals of Jem & The Holograms. Were their songs truly better? You be the judge. [more inside]
posted by mintcake! at 11:53 PM PST - 30 comments

A lawfirm perusing the New York Times archives has examined how physician W. J. Mayo, famed industrialist Henry Ford, anatomist and anthropologist Arthur Keith, physicist and Nobel laureate Arthur Compton, chemist Willis R. Whitney, physicist and Nobel laureate Robert Millikan, physicist and chemist Michael Pupin, and sociologist William F. Ogburn foresaw the year 2011 from the year 1931, with commentary. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:46 PM PST - 13 comments

MusicNewsFilter: This year's inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame are: Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Darlene Love, Dr. John, and Tom Waits. Among those who will have to wait until next year: Bon Jovi (in the first year he was eligible), the J. Geils Band, the Beastie Boys and Donna Summer.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 PM PST - 114 comments

Election night, Kenya, 2007. The votes roll in, and at some time around 11pm, as victory seemed imminent for the opposition candidate, all televisions in the country went black. When broadcasts resumed in the morning, the incumbent had materialized enough votes to soundly win the election. In the aftermath, a wave of violence broke out in which some 1,300 people were killed. In opposition to a domestic investigation of the violence, Kenyan MP's chanted 'Don't be vague; go to the Hague!' Now, three years later, some officials are a bit less enthusiastic. A series of articles on the ICC investigation of political violence in Kenya: I II III IV [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu at 6:27 PM PST - 5 comments



Armor Games has just released another entry into the launch genre (Penguin Sports, Hedgehog Launch, IntoSpace, etc.) called, simply enough, Flight.
The game is wrapped around a storyline told with cutscenes, starting with a girl who wants her mother home for Christmas. Folding the letter into a paper airplane, she launches it out the window, where it travels around the world, with others adding their wishes to it. As with other launch variants, boosters keep you aloft, and you can purchase upgrades adding to - and replacing - your plane. [more inside]
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:58 PM PST - 28 comments

Full Utah Phillips concert from 2007: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. If you don't know who Utah Phillips is, be prepared to meet one of the great performers of our age, telling funny stories and cracking jokes, singing great songs, and generally being a world treasure. If you want to know more about this great singer, songwriter, and peace and labor activist, you can watch an hour long documentary on him from Democracy Now that was made after he passed away in 2008. [previously]
posted by Kattullus at 4:45 PM PST - 26 comments

Papal gymnastics. Just your typical day at the Vatican. Topless muscle-bound gymnasts perform for the Pope, appreciative cardinals and waving nuns. Make your own jokes.
posted by illy at 4:42 PM PST - 45 comments

Does the language we speak shape our thoughts? The Economist is hosting an interactive online debate running all this week. Lena Boroditsky, a Stanford psychologist, supports the motion that it does, while Mark Liberman, a linguist from the Univ of Pennsylvania opposes it. Elsewhere you can read a WSJ article in which among other things Boroditsky argues that Japanese and Spanish speakers have a different sense of blame, and listen to a lively in-depth seminar at the Long Now Foundation. All her articles and papers are available in PDF online.
posted by philipy at 4:35 PM PST - 72 comments

Better Than the Van - free places to stay for bands on tour. Sorta like Couchsurfing, but for travelling musicians.
posted by dobbs at 3:41 PM PST - 16 comments

The Harrier Jump Jet makes its final flight over England. The venerable Jump Jet, famous for its hovering capability, is to be decommissioned - along with the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal - as part of Britain's cost-cutting measures. It will be replaced by the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. Another story w/video. Is this "the beginning of the end of plane-making in Britain"? [more inside]
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:13 PM PST - 41 comments


The music video (SLYT) for the New Pornographers' single "Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk" turns the cheerful, bouncy pop tune into an elegy for the ravaged Gulf Coast. (The NPs previously.)
posted by eugenen at 2:19 PM PST - 23 comments

Need a little political philosophy? Why not try this conversation on economics, the human person and democracy between conservative Catholic legal scholar Robert George and the always fascinating African-American studies professor and philosopher Cornel West? [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:52 PM PST - 8 comments

bolo`bolo is a book about an anarchist utopia, the name of the utopia itself and the plural of that utopia's organizational unit - the bolo. ... Bolo`bolo is also a plan for a transformation from our current state, the planetary work-machine, to another social organization mode based on local organization and a microclimate of cultures that form the unit of social cohesion.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:17 PM PST - 100 comments


The New York Times presents an interactive map of America's population separated by race, income, and education, according to census data from 2005 to 2009. One dot for every 50 people. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by schmod at 12:08 PM PST - 80 comments

Menagerie is a an exhibition of black-and-white portraits of of zoo animals by Anne Berry. Ms. Berry uncovers a deep gravitas in her animal subjects hauntingly reminiscent of Civil War daugeurrotypes (like this rhinocerous) or the breezier portraits of Margaret Cameron (like this deer). (Whatever you do, don't miss the gorilla.)
posted by Faze at 12:07 PM PST - 10 comments

Not in the headlines: Swedish parlor philosophy of fair play, law and order, slooowly explained by police chief John Lind. [more inside]
posted by Namlit at 11:33 AM PST - 8 comments

United States Artists is a new Kickstarter-style funding network specifically for artists. USArtists is partially funded by Mark Bradford. Bradford's involving site is here, but be aware that it autoplays chill-out music and is FLASH INTENSIVE.
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 AM PST - 9 comments

The Speakularity is coming. So says (MeFi's own) Matt Thompson of NPR, posting at NiemanLab as part of its series, Predictions for Journalism 2011. Constant social feedback plus machine learning could improve automatic speech transcription to the point where it’s finally ready for prime time. And when it does, the default expectation for recorded speech will be that it’s searchable and readable, nearly in the instant. I know this sounds totally retrograde, but I think it’s something like the future.
posted by beagle at 10:51 AM PST - 21 comments

For their January 2011 "Meaning of Life" issue, Esquire has relaunched their "What I've Learned" online archive featuring "wisdom and damn good advice from more than a dozen years" of 300+ celebrity interviews. Plus a video starring Daniella Ruah, of the show NCIS: Los Angeles, lip-synching advice from the archive: The Greatest Things Ever Said. (Video) [more inside]
posted by zarq at 10:44 AM PST - 18 comments

The death penalty in America is “a strange social fact that stands in need of explanation.” John Paul Stevens served as Associate Supreme Court Justice from 1975 to 2010 and became a beacon for progressive and liberals. Here he writes on the death penalty, reviewing David Garland’s new book Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition.
posted by JL Sadstone at 10:19 AM PST - 55 comments


"For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:44 AM PST - 254 comments


The railgun is a long-range, high-energy gun launch system that uses electricity rather than gunpowder or rocket motors to launch projectiles capable of striking a target at a range of more than 200 nautical miles with Mach 7 velocity. [more inside]
posted by three blind mice at 7:00 AM PST - 125 comments

After hearing of a recent heist in which a bandit wearing a motorcycle helmet robbed the Bellagio of $1.5 million in chips (the 10th Vegas casino robbery this year), I remembered the scene from Ocean's 11 where Reuben expounds upon why it is nigh impossible to steal from a Las Vegas casino. But that simply isn't true. Granted, no one has infiltrated a casino for a massive $160 million haul, but sizable losses have occurred over the years: 18 Casino Heists: The Strange, The Surgical, and The Stupid; 5 Most Famous Casino Heists in History, Top 10: Epic Las Vegas Heists; 13 Real Heists from Around the World (there is duplication of mentioned events on these sites, as well as non-casino-related crimes). Casino Security (Wiki) may be high tech (Google .pdf quickview), but it's not unbeatable (Casino insider tells (almost) all about security). Of course, there are other ways to steal from a casino, but you might still get caught. And it's hard to find much lore about successful robberies, mostly because casinos don't want that kind of publicity. [more inside]
posted by bwg at 6:53 AM PST - 37 comments

Do you use Boy Words or Girl Words? My point is that kids get it. That this world is changing and that kids GET it. There are kids being raised to simply ask about gender if they are uncertain. Have you ever heard a person refrain from using a pronoun for an entire conversation instead of asking? It’s one of the most awkward things ever. Kids aren’t OK with that nonsense. They just ask. Via.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:45 AM PST - 188 comments

(American Big Box Retailer) Target's recent holiday TV spots feature original music from several indie music acts, including Guster, Bishop Allen, and Blackalicious. They've collected the songs from the ads, plus several more, into a free-to-download album. [Direct Download if you're squicky about visting Target's site] [more inside]
posted by snapped at 6:40 AM PST - 38 comments

In 2002, the Hartlepool United F.C mascot, H'Angus the Monkey (so named because local fishermen once hanged a monkey in the mistaken belief it was a Napoleonic spy), was elected to the office of Mayor of Hartlepool with promises of free bananas for schoolchildren. In 2010, the man behind the monkey suit, Stuart Drummond, was elected for his third term and has been voted among the ten best mayors in the world. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan at 4:29 AM PST - 16 comments

Anémic Cinéma is the only film that Marcel Duchamp is credited with directing.
It's a short, just over six minutes, and was made using rotoreliefs.
You can play with some here and here.
Optical illusions present images which are "true" but inconsistent.
Inconsistency, Anemic Cinema, and the Rotoreliefs - Michael Betancourt. (Duchamp previously 1; 2;)
posted by adamvasco at 4:09 AM PST - 4 comments

Silverpop Systems Inc, an email marketing firm with 105 customers has had its database systems hacked last week. [more inside]
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:45 AM PST - 49 comments

December 14

Google's pilot program for Chrome OS is well underway, with the new operating system being distributed on free Cr-48 Notebooks, to generally favourable impressions. Chrome OS relies heavily on cloud computing, where software and data live on servers and are accessed by a client, and product manager Caesar Sengupta going as far as to say they will have failed if cloud computing does not become the norm. Not everyone is happy about that thought through, with Richard Stallman warning it may be a trap. Like the Cr-48s attractive design but not so sure about ChromeOS? You could always sneak Ubuntu onto it.
posted by Artw at 11:49 PM PST - 96 comments

Bad Astronomer Phil Plait presents "The Top 14 Astronomy Pictures of 2010". [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor at 11:35 PM PST - 10 comments

The Cell: An Image Library collects visualizations of single-cell structures, mechanisms and events. (via) [more inside]
posted by jjray at 10:35 PM PST - 3 comments

guitar It doesn't get much better than this.... I would suggest you close your eyes as you listen..
posted by HuronBob at 8:11 PM PST - 73 comments


Insert Coin is a new stop-motion animation by Ninja Moped (who made the equally impressive 8-bit trip). The animation, featuring only quarters on a black blanket, is so flawless that it is generating some discussion among Net skeptics and counter-skeptics. [more inside]
posted by dgaicun at 7:44 PM PST - 53 comments

Back in April 1986, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson stole a truck. The owner eventually got it back, but the incident resulted in a messy televised trial that gripped the nation. Then in February 2004, the victim recounted the story to Conan O'Brien. [more inside]
posted by Servo5678 at 7:29 PM PST - 29 comments

Dear John, Love, Bennett: A video love letter from Bennett to John Matrix of the 80's action movie Commando. (SLYT)
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 6:42 PM PST - 19 comments

Theo de Raadt: I have received a mail regarding the early development of the OpenBSD IPSEC stack. It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into our network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack. [more inside]
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:48 PM PST - 94 comments

Ants: Nature's Secret Power [Hulu] [more inside]
posted by phunniemee at 4:04 PM PST - 13 comments


A map of the world drawn entirely through Facebook connections. "All of the country borders are entirely drawn using Facebook friend connections."
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:17 PM PST - 58 comments


He is one of a handful of U.S. and European scientists searching for universal patterns hidden in human conflicts — patterns that might one day allow them to predict long-term threats. Rather than study historical grievances, violent ideologies and social networks the way most counterterrorism researchers do, Aaron Clauset and his colleagues disregard the unique traits of terrorist groups and focus entirely on outcomes — the violence they commit. Call it the physics of terrorism.
posted by chavenet at 2:59 PM PST - 19 comments

"Today you.... tomorrow me." Have you ever picked up a hitch-hiker? A redditor shares a moving story. [more inside]
posted by papafrita at 2:56 PM PST - 71 comments

Filmography 2010 (SLYT) [via] [more inside]
posted by AceRock at 2:08 PM PST - 8 comments

From June until August they hid out in their camp in the scrub oak up in the foothills, avoiding the search parties. Then they began coming down into the city by day, passing within a quarter-mile of Elizabeth's home. They walked the streets dressed as religious pilgrims from the New Testament. Mitchell had a long beard and a walking stick. Elizabeth and Wanda covered everything but their eyes. And no one figured it out. This American Life contributor Scott Carrier profiles the Messianic cult of Brian David Mitchell, the abductor of 2002 media icon Elizabeth Smart.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:47 PM PST - 60 comments

When John Van Antwerp MacMurray was dispatched to Asia in 1925 as the American Envoy to the Republic of China, he brought a Kodak motion picture camera with him.
posted by Iridic at 1:47 PM PST - 4 comments

But the sheer magnitude of the thefts — 11,528 appliances, to be precise — over a relatively brief period suggests to some in city government and the recycling industry that a more organized enterprise may be at work as well.Who, then, is stealing the household appliances of New York City?
posted by R. Mutt at 1:39 PM PST - 52 comments

Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci - who swept elections just a few days ago - is allegedly the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:12 PM PST - 6 comments

Uh, the Postal Service began receiving Letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters through programs such as Operation Santa, Letters To Santa & Globe Santa. Individuals or Groups fill out a form, and then basically make a kids' wish come true. Some letters get replies. Some Letters go to Macy's. Some busy elves even stay up all night to help. Like Tonight.
posted by Israel Tucker at 12:48 PM PST - 16 comments

Should-we-eat-it-filter: A 2,400-year-old vat of soup has been discovered in China. [more inside]
posted by jocelmeow at 12:19 PM PST - 63 comments

Last Thursday, thousands of prisoners in Georgia's state prisons went on strike - refusing to leave their cells or do work. It could be the largest prisoner protest in history, yet it is going unreported by the mainstream media. [more inside]
posted by BZArcher at 12:11 PM PST - 108 comments

Ewart Scott Grogan was a British-born figure of controversial sorts, the kind of fellow who would either end up buried in Westminster Abbey-or hanging from a yard-arm. After he survived as soldier in the Second Matabele War, he went on to be the first European to traverse the distance of the African continent from the South in Cape Town to Cairo in the North to win the hand of his bride-to-be from a skeptical father. He started the trek with the uncle of his bride-to-be in February 1898. Two years later, Grogan returned to London, a lone hero (the uncle turned back part way through). In 2007, MeFite Julian Smith retraced Grogan's path, "in part to dispel [his] own pre-wedding jitters," and wrote a book about Grogan's journey, and his own. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM PST - 5 comments

Restrepo is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, "Restrepo," named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90-minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese at 12:04 PM PST - 41 comments

"John Jacobson teaches his original choreography for the song Planet Rock. Planet Rock is an original composition of John Jacobson and all credit goes to him. The original video is also available for free viewing on his website. Enjoy the video, and may your double dream hands stay dreamy!"
posted by SkylitDrawl at 11:31 AM PST - 18 comments

'What's a home worth?' 'There are problems in appraisal land that transcend weak housing markets and debt-ridden borrowers, and that are causing home buyers and would-be refinancers to miss out on low rates and dream houses. "There's been a pendulum swing in appraisals comparable to the one we've seen in mortgage credit, from foolishly lax to overly restrictive," said Walt Molony of the National Association of Realtors. He reported that as recently as October, one in 10 member agents said they'd had a contract canceled as a result of a low appraisal, 13 percent said they'd had a contract delayed, and 16 percent said they'd had a contract negotiated to a lower sales price as a result of a low appraisal.'' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword at 10:36 AM PST - 90 comments

movies. [SLYT] By Good Neighbor. [more inside]
posted by phaedon at 10:28 AM PST - 10 comments



The second Humble Indie Bundle just got put up for sale. This time, the bundle contains Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos and Revenge of the Titans - all DRM free. You decide what you want to pay for the games, and as with the previous bundle, you can choose to let part of your payment go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and/or the Child's Play Charity. [more inside]
posted by ymgve at 9:47 AM PST - 66 comments

Dmitar Sasselov is an astrophysicist, Director of the Origins of Life Initiative at Harvard and a co-investigator of the Kepler space telescope project to find Earth-like planets around the Cygnus constellation and discover extraterrestrial life. But no matter how successful the Kepler project may be, it still won't answer the most fundamental questions of astrobiology: How diverse is life in the universe? If alien life exists, will it have Earthly DNA and proteins? Or will it run on something else? So Dr. Sasselov has decided to collaborate with two synthetic biologists, asking them to create a life form based on mirror-image versions of what we know as the essential building blocks of living things on Earth. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 9:36 AM PST - 13 comments

Julian Assange has been freed on bail of £240,000. A number of supporters were present, and some others contributed funds towards the bail amount.
posted by steviehero at 8:12 AM PST - 414 comments

"The Festival of Lights is an annual event taking place in Lyon between 8th and 11th December 2010. The people of Lyon place candles or little candle lamps in their windows in honour of the Virgin Mary. The origins of the festival date back over 150 years, to 1852 when a statue of the Virgin Mary on Fourviere Hill was to be inaugurated."
posted by IndigoJones at 7:57 AM PST - 5 comments

Every zombie kill in The Walking Dead in 69s (NSFW) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:56 AM PST - 84 comments


Stem cell transplant has cured HIV infection in 'Berlin patient', say doctors. Doctors who carried out a stem cell transplant on an HIV-infected man with leukaemia in 2007 say they now believe the man to have been cured of HIV infection as a result of the treatment, which introduced stem cells which happened to be resistant to HIV infection.
posted by Fizz at 7:23 AM PST - 34 comments

Today marks 60 years since Frosty the Snowman was released. It was recorded by singing Cowboy Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys a year after his iconic recording of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". [more inside]
posted by inturnaround at 7:15 AM PST - 24 comments


You didn't much like Raptorize and were hoping for something about real raptors (not F-22 fighters), therefore I am pleased to give you the goods on Birds of Prey. Raptors are birds that hunt (or scavenge) for meat, not plant life, and share several physical traits (although they can vary in size from miniature (pygmy) owls to Andean condors). Eagles and hawks (accipitridae), among the largest birds of prey in the United States), falcons (falconidae), condors, harriers, kites, ospreys (pandionidae), owls (tytonidae and strigidae), secretary birds (sagittariidae) and vultures (cathartidae) are all raptors; all have hooked beaks, fantastic visual acuity and sharp talons. The word raptor comes from the Latin rapere (to seize), apt description of their hunting style. Raptor breeders abound, as do raptor associations (quite a list at the Global Raptor Information Network). Rescue and rehabilitation organizations nurse injured raptors back to health; you can Adopt-a-Bird, and even donate regularly to help the birds via your very own Raptor Center Credit Card. Failing that, you can always help others learn more about conservation of these magnificent and beautiful creatures. And if you are super keen, you can attend the Winter Raptor Fest 2011. [more inside]
posted by bwg at 6:38 AM PST - 22 comments

The Christian left is a term originating in the United States, used to describe a spectrum of left-wing Christian political and social movements which largely embraces social justice. "We will not be profiled or pigeonholed and we will not ‘Be Quiet.’ We’re Christians. We’re Liberals. Please get used to it. Thank you."
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 5:54 AM PST - 145 comments

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy with Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly. Well, right or wrong they sing either way.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:26 AM PST - 12 comments

Kerfuffle in the LA Art Scene- the possibility that both the mural and its whitewashing are the art - from artist Mario Muller's Truffle Hunting
posted by pt68 at 3:21 AM PST - 14 comments

A leaked document shows the EPA under the Bush administration approved the pesticide clothianidin for widespread use on many crops, including corn, despite the findings from EPA scientists that it was a bee-killer. It may be responsible for the recent "Honeybee Depopulation Syndrome," which has been negatively affecting agriculture throughout North America. Previously.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:01 AM PST - 41 comments


December 13


The Dating Game’s 10 best celebrity contestants. (MLYT) [more inside]
posted by gman at 7:45 PM PST - 22 comments

Enrique Morente, a controversial, influential giant among flamenco singer-songwriters, died today in the Madrid clinic La Luz, where he had been in an induced coma for the last several days. He was said to have been suffering from stomach cancer, and last week had entered the hospital for surgical intervention for hemorrhaging. [more inside]
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:43 PM PST - 4 comments

Serge Daney (1944 - 1992) is often cited as one of the greatest film critics. After joining the legendary film magazine Cahiers du cinéma (which he would eventually edit) at age 20, Daney wrote extensively on the changing place of movies in culture, on directors new and old and on television, war and even sports. He founded the film magazine Trafic before dying of AIDS in 1992.

Though some of his essays have been officially translated and a small book of his writings has been published in English, the vast majority of his work remains untranslated into English. That hasn't stopped a devoted group of cinephiles from taking matters into their own hands. [more inside]
posted by alexoscar at 5:57 PM PST - 12 comments

Google presents: TeachParentsTech.org (via the official Google blog). You'll never have to teach your parents how to copy and paste, attach a file to their email or transfer files again.
posted by peacheater at 5:40 PM PST - 68 comments

Giving What We Can is a movement founded by Toby Ord , a 31 year old Oxford academic on slightly more than average income who plans to give away a million pounds during his lifetime. [more inside]
posted by philipy at 4:40 PM PST - 52 comments

A very bad day for libraries: Today's Supreme Court deadlock casts Doctrine of First Sale into doubt for products made abroad. The Supreme Court today deadlocked on the question of whether Costco committed copyright infringement by selling Omega watches produced and purchased overseas. In effect, this deadlock upholds the 9th Circuit appeals court ruling that the First Sale doctrine does not apply to products produced outside the United States. Thinking of selling, lending, or transferring ownership of something originally produced overseas -- like, say, a book? This ruling calls the legality of such sales into question. [more inside]
posted by artemisia at 3:35 PM PST - 167 comments

You'd better get the robot those letters so he can be awesome. One of the most technically challenging banner games JayIsGames has developed, Robot Wants Jig is a metroid-ish platformer in which you acquire upgrades by collecting the letters of JAYISGAMES and unlock new areas of the map. A map of the game world is below in case you get hopelessly lost. [more inside]
posted by tehloki at 3:15 PM PST - 17 comments


How do you tax religious communists engaged in capitalism through an exempt religious corporation? The Stahl Hutterian Brethren is a 65-member community of Hutterites that runs a 30,000 acre farm in Washington. The community is incorporated as a religious corporation. Its members give all their "time, labor, services, earnings, and energies" to the community. They disavow individual property ownership, draw no salary, and do not contribute to or collect Social Security benefits. Instead, the community provides for its members' personal needs. And now it is the subject of the most fascinating 9th Circuit tax case [PDF] you'll read this year!

But before you dig into the 9th Circuit opinion, here's a great summary and commentary by law professor Shaun Martin. The case addresses the very tricky question of whether, as employees of a non-profit religious corporation, the community members should be allowed to deduct their living expenses, which are paid for by the corporation (they're communists, after all). Tricky additional fact: The 65-member community is all one big family.
posted by The World Famous at 2:00 PM PST - 36 comments

12-year-old Nicky Wishart wanted to save his youth centre from being shut down due to funding cuts. This gets him questioned and tracked on Facebook by British anti-terror police.
posted by divabat at 1:43 PM PST - 44 comments

“A member of the armed forced wrote our bib numbers on our foreheads and arms in permanent marker, presumably to facilitate the identification of our dead bodies.” What happens when a gay man in his 40s and his boyfriend decide to run the nearly insane Tough Mudder obstacle course amid a sea of generally shirtless “non-homosexuals.” Tasks include manhandling lubed-up monkey bars, fording ice-cold lakes, and conquering steep mud hills. (It almost – but doesn’t quite – include falling into a burning ring of fire.) [more inside]
posted by joeclark at 1:28 PM PST - 51 comments


There are generally two approaches to thinking about games: narratology and ludology. The first emphasizes story, the second play. The next time I played Super Mario, on the Wii (you can order all the vintage games), I found myself in a narratological mode. Mario reminded me of K. and his pursuit of the barmaid Frieda, in Kafka’s “The Castle,” and of the kind of lost-loved-one dreams that “The Castle” both mimics and instigates.

The New Yorker profiles the father of modern video games, Shigeru Miyamoto. (via Kotaku)
posted by incomple at 1:11 PM PST - 37 comments

Merry Christmas music from the North Point iBand, using borrowed iPhones and iPads
posted by growabrain at 12:38 PM PST - 9 comments

Excited for the 3D Yogi Bear movie this holiday season? Me too. Here's an alternate ending! (Possibly NSFW.)
posted by naju at 12:11 PM PST - 85 comments

Looking for a winter vacation get-away? How about going to Chernobyl? "Tours to Chernobyl are extreme tourism, plenty of curious people are looking for extreme adventures," he said. previously
posted by Xurando at 11:52 AM PST - 35 comments

Zombie Baby, Fucking Jane Austen, The Last Witch Hunter, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, American Bullshit, Better Living Through Chemistry... just some of the titles that made this year's Black List, a list of the best unproduced screenplays of the year as voted on by industry insiders. LA Times and Deadline Hollywood have pieces on it and here's an October audio interview with Franklin Leonard, creator of the Black List. In past years, aspiring screenwriters could find PDFs of the scripts online. It's gonna be a lot harder now.
posted by dobbs at 11:50 AM PST - 42 comments

Approximately 40 books dealing with LGBT issues were vandalized with what appeared to be urine in Lamont Library on the Harvard campus on November 24, according to a report filed Friday by the library security staff to the Harvard University Police Department. Something similar (minus the peepee) happen in San Francisco, where they took the books and made Art!
posted by Blake at 11:13 AM PST - 69 comments

DJ Assault (born Craig De Sean Adams, aka Craig Diamonds "The Street Narrator") is a Detroit-based music producer, who was part of a movement to bring ghetto-tech, aka booty house, from the urban streets of Detroit to the suburban club circuit. With his Jefferson Ave. label, he's bringing it directly to you, via the internet, for free. Four albums, 22 EPs, 11 DJ mixes, and three bonus collections of rap and "accelerated funk", all streaming and downloadable. [Warning: most music is NSFW or those sensitive to repetitive, crude lyrics]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:49 AM PST - 25 comments



Geoff Apps has been building and riding his own distinctive cross country cycles since the late 1960s. Unlike the members of the Rough Stuff Fellowship, who traditionally used touring or road bikes, Geoff's designs come from his background in motorbike trials (previously). After more than twenty years off the market, his latest design will soon go into production: the Cleland AventuraTT.
posted by scruss at 10:29 AM PST - 17 comments

Localfilter: Today in Tokyo, legislation passed that will further restrict manga and animation "glorifying or exaggerating illegal sexual acts." Ten of the biggest comics companies are protesting the Tokyo International Anime Fair, sponsored by the city, responding that a focus on their mode of expression is unfair. Blogger Dan Kanemitsu reports.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:04 AM PST - 53 comments

Beethoven is so much more than Für Elise and the Fifth symphony. [more inside]
posted by Namlit at 9:54 AM PST - 25 comments

A Federal Judge in Virginia has ruled the mandate in the recently passed Affordable Health Care Act unconstitutional. This unlikely result means that the Supreme Court will be in the position to decide whether or not all or part of the health care reform remains intact. Some argue this development may reflect the success of broad-reaching Republican efforts in recent years to tilt the political alignment of the Federal judiciary. Others, naturally, disagree.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:43 AM PST - 205 comments

Geeky Bibliopegy. Custom hand-bound journals and albums, featuring Buffy, Firefly, Doctor Who, etc. Check the blog for additional details on many of the volumes.
posted by kmz at 9:08 AM PST - 5 comments

Max Spaiser of The Suits of James Bond presents: The Template for 007. More on Dr. No costuming: 2-eyelet derby, 2-button turnback cuff, trilby.(Clothes on Film previously)
posted by shakespeherian at 8:57 AM PST - 27 comments

250-year-old birch bark canoe found in barn to be returned to Canada. While we are on the subject, you could do worse than to spend an hour today watching this fascinating 1971 documentary on a Birch Bark Canoe builder. (Not terribly often you come across a video captioned in Cree.) More YouTube Birch Bark Canoe building goodness.
posted by spock at 8:51 AM PST - 27 comments

"Hann sells his Afghanistan tours as a chance to see the country's rugged outback while sleeping on dirty teahouse floors and tackling the country's roads in minibuses that buck like mechanical bulls ... Obviously, Hann's tours attract adventurous travelers, but they're not adrenaline freaks or war junkies. Most are past middle age, unmarried, fairly mild-mannered, and childless," Damon Tabor on tourism in Afghanistan.
posted by geoff. at 8:47 AM PST - 18 comments


The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles' second film, has inspired a legend around the lost footage excised by the studio to make it more appealing to audiences. The film's making is a cautionary tale in letting the studio have creative control, and the finished product pained Welles to his dying day. The mythical status of the lost footage has inspired a few to try and track it down. [more inside]
posted by reenum at 7:26 AM PST - 25 comments

Prog 1 to Prog 1500- Every cover of the British science fiction comic 2000AD from the years '77 to '06 in 3 and a half minutes. (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:55 AM PST - 28 comments


"Tubal Cain" was the name of a Christian version of the Roman Vulcan. It's also the nick of YouTube user and retired shop teacher mrpete222 in his many videos covering machine shop tips and procedures. [more inside]
posted by DU at 6:36 AM PST - 19 comments

Italy’s government teeters on the brink: tomorrow (Tuesday) a no-confidence vote should decide whether we have another three years of bunga-bunga partying, "escort" (= prostitute) scandals and international gaffes from the leader of this NATO partner and founding EU member, or whether Silvio Berlusconi will be sent home. Some think it’s a hilariously stupid (SLYT) to suggest he might step down. [more inside]
posted by aqsakal at 4:39 AM PST - 40 comments

Dancing with Cats is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats to dance with them, or why. [more inside]
posted by greatgefilte at 3:58 AM PST - 38 comments

Audio slideshow: Photography of Sir Wilfred Thesiger Sir Wilfred Thesiger took nearly 40,000 photographs during his eight decades of travels throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Now, to mark 100 years since his birth, Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum is displaying some of his most striking images.
posted by Lezzles at 3:53 AM PST - 9 comments

W Magazine has Ryan Trecartin to make a fashion spread. [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata at 3:48 AM PST - 8 comments

December 12

I enjoyed Green Sangha's Plastic State of Mind.
posted by serazin at 10:03 PM PST - 13 comments

Raptorize: every week is raptor week. Via photographi-ca on Flickr. [more inside]
posted by bwg at 10:02 PM PST - 20 comments

Japan Air Raids "is an ongoing project to build a digital archive dedicated to the international dissemination of information about the World War II air raids against Japan." They have seeded it with quite a bit of material (e.g. Target Tokyo, narrated by Ronald Reagan in the documentary and propaganda section) and promise there is much more to come. [Warning, some images may disturb] [via]
posted by unliteral at 9:13 PM PST - 21 comments

Stephen H. Kanner, FAIA. The late architect Stephen Kanner made wonderful buildings in Los Angeles.
posted by xowie at 7:12 PM PST - 7 comments

Dr. Seuss does Star Wars. Transmogrifications by Seattle cartoonist Adam Watson.
posted by nrobertson at 6:57 PM PST - 21 comments

An anonymous hacking outfit called "Gnosis" has infiltrated Gawker Media, hijacking the front page and leaking the company's internal chat logs, source code, and content databases along with the usernames, email addresses, and passwords of over 1.3 million users (including Gawker staff). The attack, which was motivated by what the group describes as the "outright arrogance" with which the company's bloggers taunted anonymous imageboard 4chan (semi-previously), affects every site in the Gawker network, including Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Jezebel, Deadspin, Jalopnik, and io9. While most of the leaked passwords are encrypted, more than 200,000 of the simpler ones in the torrent file have been cracked, and the links between account names and email addresses are in plaintext for all to see. Since the integrity of Gawker's encryption methods remains in doubt, it is recommended that anyone who has ever registered an account on any Gawker property change their passwords immediately, especially if the same log-in information is used for other services.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:55 PM PST - 312 comments

Porky in Wackyland vs Dough for the Do-Do ... A trippy side-by-side comparison of two surreal cartoons : one by Robert Clampett from 1938, and the other a color remake from Friz Freleng in 1949.
posted by crunchland at 6:44 PM PST - 16 comments

Google presents: Zeitgeist 2010: How the World Searched, based on the aggregation of billions of search queries people typed into their search engine this year. Accompanying YouTube Video
posted by zarq at 6:24 PM PST - 12 comments

In May 2010, New Zealand introduced a new Animal Welfare Code effectively banning the kosher slaughter of animals, or “shechita”. Agriculture Minister, David Carter, rejected a recommendation from advisers that Jewish ritual slaughter of livestock be exempted from animal welfare rules under the Bill of Rights - which provides for freedom of religious practice. The new welfare code had a requirement that all commercially slaughtered animals first be stunned, and forbade the importation of raw kosher poultry. Carter argued the Code was required on humane grounds, citing a study that said the animals suffered pain. A study which Dr Temple Grandin has subsequently criticised. Jewish law prevents stunning on the basis that this is, in fact, cruel to animals. Halal meat in New Zealand is stunned prior to slaughter. The Jewish community contested the Code through the courts as a direct attack on the freedom to practise Judaism in New Zealand. Bans on ritual slaughter inevitably raise the ugly spectre of anti-Semitism. In November, immediately before the case was due to be heard, Carter made an abrupt u-turn. The practice of shechita on poultry was declared no longer illegal while the Government also agreed to negotiate the ban on sheep. New Zealand Jews will still have to import beef from Australia, where shechita is allowed. The reversal raised the ire of animal rights groups, and raised questions about Carter's motivations in considering the ban. Previously.
posted by szechuan at 6:19 PM PST - 75 comments

WikiRebels, the first in-depth documentary about WikiLeaks has (rather appropriately) been leaked to the web and is now available on Youtube. (Part 2 3 4).
posted by SkylitDrawl at 6:18 PM PST - 10 comments

Growing evidence suggests suicide bombers may be just ... well, suicidal. The idea is controversial and contentious, to be sure, but there is a small but growing movement among social scientists that the reasoning behind suicide bombing might be more mundane than religious "fanaticism" or "deluded" ideology. [more inside]
posted by zooropa at 5:58 PM PST - 22 comments

You may have heard that the weather in the midwest has been somewhat inclement. Hoping for a scoop, FoxNews left their cameras running in the snowed-under MetroDome last night. The result was somewhat dramatic.
posted by jadayne at 5:30 PM PST - 68 comments

Before you pay to volunteer abroad, think of the harm you might do: A damning report says that well-intentioned westerners do little to alleviate the lot of poverty-stricken children in developing countries. See also this article about the flip side of Western do-gooderism.
posted by fernabelle at 4:37 PM PST - 68 comments

"Desperately Seeking Susan" [Sontag] [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese at 3:44 PM PST - 14 comments



Two hours just to sort through the error messages. What happened to that Airbus A380 (Qantas flight QF32) whose engine caught fire in mid-air between Singapore and Sydney in November 2010? One of the five crewmembers on the flight deck recounts the story, which centres on airplane computer systems as much as on keeping tons of metal in the air. [more inside]
posted by joeclark at 11:23 AM PST - 40 comments

"Rock Springs is a mining town - coal mainly. All the men who lived here in town were not shaving in honor of the Frontier Days Celebration and did they look terrible. We heard that a prize was to be given to the one who had the best growth of alphaalpha on his mug." -- The travel scrapbooks of Ruby and Sam Anglund, 1935-1956. [more inside]
posted by heurtebise at 11:17 AM PST - 5 comments

Men's Adventure Magazines is a blog inspired by the 1956 "Weasels Ate My Flesh" cover of Man's Life, featuring hundreds of covers from "Men's Adventure" magazines from the 50s and 60s. (some blog entries have a little bit of illustrated partial nudity here and there) [more inside]
posted by empath at 11:14 AM PST - 26 comments

On a rainy August morning in 2007, the news rippled through New Jersey’s law enforcement ranks, officer to officer, department to department. Joseph Colao was dead. Today, it’s clear Colao was more than just a doctor, friend or confidant to many of the officers. He was their supplier. The first in a three-part Star-Ledger series on the secret world of steroid use by law enforcement officers and firefighters.
posted by valkane at 8:50 AM PST - 76 comments

Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 8:42 AM PST - 7 comments

The Ocucaje desert in Peru is one of the richest marine fossil sites in the world. Now that it is starting to draw attention from the outside world, questions are being raised over who should be allowed access to the treasures. [more inside]
posted by arabelladragon at 8:10 AM PST - 2 comments

Don't know what to buy your sexy nerd for Christmas? Maybe he/she would enjoy a customizable Cthulhu sex-toy. Or a "fully interactive" Na'vi experience. Or a steampunk death-ray. Or a ride on a silicone Gryphon. (All links NSFW)
posted by hermitosis at 8:01 AM PST - 70 comments


Sahel Sounds is the blog of ethnomusicologist Christopher Kirkley, a.k.a. MeFi's own iamck. It's about the contemporary music of the Sahel, which is the Southern border of the Sahara, focusing on West Africa. It has long been a region of great musical ferment. The most famous musicians today are Tinariwen (previously), but there's a great deal more out there. Kirkley travels around trading music, Western songs in exchange for Saharan, which he mostly receives off cellphone memory cards. Kirkley has made three compilations, Sahelsounds, the Promo CD and Music from Saharan Cellphones volumes 1 and 2 (the numbers link to downloads). Kirkley has also collected and recorded videos. The Guardian interviewed Kirkley on the subject of cellphones' effect on Saharan music, which he has written about. Mark Richardson of Pitchfork was prompted by one of Kirkley's collections to write about musical scarcity in today's infoglut society. Besides the collections, there are a lot of other songs on the blog, the entire archive is wonderful and worth reading through.
posted by Kattullus at 6:04 AM PST - 12 comments

Blastoff! SLYT slow motion shuttle liftoff. (Up to 60,000 frames per second)
posted by troll on a pony at 5:49 AM PST - 27 comments

Nigel Kneale's adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four was one of the most controversial television programmes of its time. Broadcast live, it made "unusually extensive and imaginative use of filmed inserts (14 in total). These sequences bought time for the more elaborate costume changes or scene set-ups, but also served to 'open out' the action." And now you can watch it too! The full version is currently on Youtube. Short of the John Hurt film released in 1984 being posted online, the 1954 BBC TV adaptation is about as doubleplusgood as it gets for now. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:00 AM PST - 12 comments

Two Explosions in Central Stockholm. A car bomb and apparent suicide bomber. [more inside]
posted by three blind mice at 1:19 AM PST - 69 comments

Occasionally here on MetaFilter, the subject of an FPP 'drops by' to add information or respond to comments. That happened to Robert Krulwich the other day over on his blog 'Krulwich Wonders ...'. In one of his posts he had wondered why the first lunar astronauts had only walked less than a hundred yards from their lander. Who better to drop by and give him the answer but Mr. Neil Armstrong ...
posted by woodblock100 at 12:44 AM PST - 59 comments

December 11

Pummelvision squishes your entire life into mere minutes. Let it access your photos on Flickr, Facebook or Tumblr, then hook it up to your Vimeo or YouTube account. In a matter of hours, you'll have a super fast, rather unique slideshow set to music (brought to you by Jake Lodwick, creator of Vimeo, amongst other things).
posted by mewithoutyou at 11:27 PM PST - 17 comments

Findings: A Daily Roundup of Academic Studies Serious, Sublime, Surreal and Otherwise, compiled by Kevin Lewis
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:36 PM PST - 12 comments

Fernando Volken Togni created a set of illustrations for Oryx Magazine of 24-hours in world cities: New York, Shanghai, Moscow, Madrid, Casablanca, Beirut, Phuket, Zurich, and Barcelona.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:56 PM PST - 4 comments

Nightscapes by photographer Anthony Kurtz. Other albums include "So Close to Never Happening", "American Protests 2003-2010", "India: Beautiful Struggle", "iReality", "Hip Hop Elements", "Ministry of Truth". [more inside]
posted by bwg at 5:50 PM PST - 5 comments

"A general rule of thumb: Go underground to avoid artillery and conventional bombing runs, but go up as high as possible in a chemical weapons attack." A major South Korean newspaper reports on what to do in the case of North Korean attack and the state of evacuation shelters in Seoul. [more inside]
posted by needled at 4:12 PM PST - 28 comments



"Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish... The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,... The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.” Dick Nixon, the taped gift that keeps giving, catalogs ethnic types. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality at 10:11 AM PST - 113 comments

The Who in 1965. They are featured in a French documentary on the Mods. You can skip ahead to the Who live songs if you are not in the mood to watch the whole documentary.

From Google Translate: "Discover the new English youth in the district of Hammersmith, London suburbs and particularly the movement "mods" or "Modern", new dandies, mavericks ouvrier.Les interviews from rural youth about drugs, Police headquarters, politics, racism, society in general, alternate with concert footage of WHO on a small stage in London. Interview in French Kit Lambert, manager of the WHO, about Teddy Boys movement, rockers, mods."
posted by zzazazz at 10:09 AM PST - 9 comments

Vladimir Putin sings "Blueberry Hill" - SLYT
posted by Huplescat at 9:52 AM PST - 49 comments

Cold War vs. Modern Day U.S. Propaganda - from Russian Times
posted by eviemath at 9:09 AM PST - 21 comments

"Do I wear a toupee?" One blog takes up William Shatner's challenge with meticulous detail and scientific inquiry.
posted by Leezie at 8:51 AM PST - 14 comments



Flying Shards of Hot Glass. Reports of consumer injuries led Consumer Reports to investigate the safety of glass bakeware. It turns out that US-made Pyrex glass bakeware is no longer as resistant to thermal shock as it used to be, nor as resistant as European-made Pyrex still is. [more inside]
posted by palliser at 8:38 AM PST - 53 comments

Blah Blah Blah. (youtube, 0:41 sec) Blah blah blah blah; blablah blah. Blah Blah blablabla? Blah blah blah! [more inside]
posted by Greg Nog at 8:02 AM PST - 23 comments

A car dealership in CA has a brand new 1987 Buick GNX on the showroom floor. It's been there since 1987. GM only produced 587 of this model, and it is believed that this vehicle is the only new one left on the planet. The GNX was a hot rod; turbocharged, high horsepower, and could match any production vehicle available in the US, going 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds. The $29,389 stick price from 1987 equates to $54,771 today. Sorry Buick enthusiasts, the dealership says the car is not for sale.
posted by COD at 7:43 AM PST - 85 comments

After a 25,000 vote campaign on facebook, Brian Blessed is now available as a downloadable voice for TomTom GPS devices. Fortunately, the resounding actor's excited acceptance speech only shattered windows for three city blocks.
posted by BZArcher at 5:39 AM PST - 76 comments

December 10

Twelve Tales of Christmas is a podcast just launched by The Guardian featuring notable modern authors, such as Jeanette Winterson, Ali Smith, Colm Toíbin and Julian Barnes, reading one of their favorite short stories, by authors including JG Ballard, Katherine Mansfield, Italo Calvino, Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver. A story will be posted daily for the next 12 days. The first author and story is Philip Pullman reading The Beauties by Anton Chekhov (mp3). [rss, iTunes]
posted by Kattullus at 9:39 PM PST - 8 comments

What does your cat do when you're not around? RePURRters: The Movie. (Camera Operators: Charlene Butterbean, Fudge, Gizmo, Jett, Milo, Moca, Mousse, Nutkins, and Penelope)
posted by dersins at 6:51 PM PST - 47 comments


Blues Houseparty is a fun, entertaining and highly recommended 57 minute documentary that takes us into a Virginia houseparty of 1989, where the assembled Piedmont blues and gospel musicians and their friends pick guitars, sing, dance and engagingly reminisce on the houseparties of old. Amidst hearty laughs, barbecue and general good times, the guests recount personal memories of fun and rowdiness, corn liquor, 500-pound hogs, the devil's music and the Lord's music. There's a whole lot of cultural history on display here, a slice of black American life that is all but gone now. The mood is infectious, to say the least, and the music just keeps getting better and better throughout the film. The next best thing to being there!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:26 PM PST - 13 comments

Endeavor is a game about a dwarf trying to recover an ancient secret. Or maybe it’s about exploring and collecting treasure. Or maybe it’s about collecting powerups. Or maybe it’s just about killing things. It's a metroidvania style flash game based on an idea originally created for Ludum Dare by Zillix. Playable on Newgrounds, Kongregate, & JayIsGames [more inside]
posted by juv3nal at 5:26 PM PST - 22 comments

“And you can't help thinking, Jesus! The ghosts that walk here at night. Because movies are filled with the stuff of everyone's dreams, and you know what a studio is? A dream factory.”* There is something grand about old movie palaces: their slow decline, the rococo detail, their interpretation all over the world and their inevitable decay and fall. Above them all, in my nostalgic memory, is the atmospheric majesty of The Mighty Civic, still in use, and the Wintergarden underneath. [QTVR] [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 5:10 PM PST - 7 comments


Has something gone wrong with the scientific method? That's the big question Jonah Lehrer (pr-e-vi-ous-ly) raises in his new New Yorker piece on the Decline Effect. (Sub required; check the summary here, or pdf here.) Dave Bry at The Awl uses Lehrer's revelations to start and extended riff on how much science one really needs; Lehrer himself goes into more detail about why he wrote the article in a lengthy blog post at Wired, and as for me --- well, I think I'm just going to spend a few days being a little less certain that we can prove very much about how a few extra X chromosomes affect corporate bottom lines, whether you can tell dick about the nature of liberalism or conservatism by where and how people glance at things, or even what the hell is going on with that damn burger.
posted by Diablevert at 3:37 PM PST - 51 comments

Tokyo Compression.
posted by bwg at 3:32 PM PST - 35 comments

Authorities believe a 16 year old boy found dead last month on a Milton, MA street fell out of the wheel well of an aircraft. Last month, the suburb of Milton, MA, was horrified when the mutilated body of a teenager was found in the road. The body lacked identification, but was eventually found to be that of Delvonte Tisdale, age 16, from Charlotte, NC. The mystery of how he got there when he had been seen the night before in his bedroom seems to have been solved: authorities now believe he stowed away in the wheel well of an aircraft from Charlotte to Boston, and fell out as the airplane approached Logan airport. [more inside]
posted by kpht at 3:29 PM PST - 59 comments

How much money do you make with that webcomic internet thing? Dorthy Gambrell of Cat And Girl Answers.
posted by The Whelk at 3:28 PM PST - 48 comments

Charitable Thoughts About Bedbugs from the new standard for random web infographic funnies, Lunchbreath. Since his last appearance here, LB has also offered useful lifestyle advice about Craigslisting, Home Security, Maslow's Hierarchy, Inadequacies, Designer Portfolios and Greenwashing, as well as less practical content about Business Lumberjacks, Underachieving AT-ATs, Cow Stomachs and Moose Lips.

But if you prefer a daily format that resembles a conventional comic strip but contains 3-to-5 times the punchlines, may I recommend Bug, which has recently covered Snappy Comebacks, Thrill-seeking, Fezes, Optimism, Home Security (yes, related to Lunchbreath's piece), Looting (also semi-related) and Graverobbing.

OR if you just want some single-panel pop-culture in a distinctive style, say Hello With Cheese. Now you can't tell me webcomics are totally boring for at least two weeks.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:28 PM PST - 9 comments

How They Look Now is a LJ community with one focus: finding more current pictures of past stars, from that kid in those 1980s Moody Blues videos (who went on to star on stage and screen), to the diverse cast of Legend (1985 trailer).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:21 PM PST - 10 comments


"Sometimes I can almost visualize parts of myself, the ones I’m most proud of, atrophying. I wish I had an app to monitor it! I notice that my thoughts are homeopathic, that they mirror content I wish I weren’t reading." Sad as Hell: n+1 on the internet's effect on the self and the book Super Sad True Love Story (which has an damn good book trailer). The novel is set in a dystopian future where constant access to the internet results in a world “dense with panic and media.” [more inside]
posted by The Devil Tesla at 2:45 PM PST - 7 comments

Ballerina Project — Nine years ago, young photographer Dane Shitagi walked up New York City’s Broadway towards the highly patronized and well known STEPS dance studios in search of a ballet dancer who could help him begin his project: to capture images of ballerinas in urban environments. Those images first started appearing on Blogspot, but have since migrated to Facebook. [via]
posted by netbros at 2:14 PM PST - 9 comments

AZO strikes again. Showreel 2010 features more jumping, juggling and WTF DID THAT GUY JUST DO??? Previously and previously.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:24 PM PST - 54 comments


Working on the Ending. Writer Gail Godwin reflects on the way she works now: "Inevitable for the old writer is the slowdown of word retrieval... All it once took was the slightest tug at the bell for the vigorous servant, accompanied by backup synonyms, to report for duty... You can rail at your 'senior moment' like those tiresome people who bring a conversation to a halt because they can’t remember the name of a place or person... Or you can leave a blank, to be filled in later... For me, a consolation prize of word delay has been an increased intolerance for the threadbare phrase. I don’t want anyone on my pages to 'burst into tears' or 'just perceptibly' do anything, ever again."
posted by ocherdraco at 12:50 PM PST - 12 comments

Ten years after it was canceled, cult teen drama TV show The Opposite Sex is on youtube in its entirety. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:41 PM PST - 16 comments

Eskmo's new video We Got More made by b3ta wunderkind cyriak. Previously
posted by boo_radley at 12:22 PM PST - 21 comments

We know companies with a larger percentage of women directors show a higher incidence of "positive events"[ .pdf ], while "Women Matter" [ .pdf ], a 2007 McKinsey study found that adding Women to a company's board of directors improved ROE, EBIT and share price growth. A business case for including women on the board. [more inside]
posted by Mutant at 12:12 PM PST - 16 comments

An interactive music video by Japanese band Sour that is easily the coolest thing I have seen all week. I recommend connecting to at least your Facebook account; it's worth it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:01 AM PST - 46 comments

"Motherfucker, I just gave you the most important advice that anyone in the whole world has ever given you. You may not understand the profound importance of this advice. If you learn nothing else from reading this, you need to learn these two things. SHOWER EVERY FUCKING DAY, AND WEAR DEODORANT EVERY FUCKING DAY." The Digipen Survival Guide full of sage guidance. [more inside]
posted by yeloson at 10:58 AM PST - 74 comments

I have no idea how this pug fell in the toilet, or why. (SLYT) (Hideous laughter in audio track)
posted by griphus at 10:44 AM PST - 57 comments

For Adam Parfrey, Publishing the Unabomber's Book Is All In a Day's Work. The owner and operator of notorious publishing house Feral House and a partner (along with his wife Jodi Wille) behind Process Media discusses his life, work, and what he will not publish. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:33 AM PST - 6 comments

Since 10:24 AM ET, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has held "a filibuster [or] a very long speech" on the tax cut deal brokered between the president and congressional Republicans. Watch it live on C-SPAN 2. Vermont's Peter Welch leads the charge against the deal in the House. The President has called his opponents "sanctimonious" and "unrealistic."
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:17 AM PST - 364 comments

"Are the American People Obsolete?" an essay by Michael Lind of the New America Foundation. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:39 AM PST - 45 comments

Aaron's World - a kids podcast about dinosaurs, by a kid.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM PST - 3 comments

From Shinosaka to Tokyo (ver. 2)
posted by crunchland at 8:48 AM PST - 5 comments

Though she publicly denied it, the records show that Bea Arthur was a truck driver in the Marine Corps.
posted by hermitosis at 8:41 AM PST - 60 comments

Cool little video profile of Chad Robertson, co-owner, with his wife, Elisabeth Prueitt, of San Francisco's Tartine bakery. Chad is obsessed with bread. [more inside]
posted by AceRock at 8:22 AM PST - 16 comments

After starring in First Kid with the immortal Sinbad, Brock Pierce was left wondering what to do with the rest of his life. He decided to set out and make his fortune accumulating and selling items in EverQuest and World of Warcraft.
posted by reenum at 7:32 AM PST - 54 comments

ReturnTheDVD.org "Dear Archbishop Nienstedt, We write to you as a small group of faithful Catholics. This letter, however, represents the voices of thousands of families who were as disheartened as we were by the DVD Preserving Marriage in Minnesota..." [more inside]
posted by jillithd at 7:11 AM PST - 31 comments

"Today we're talking to a real Irishman about the financial crisis in Ireland - so what exactly is going on over there?" "Do you really want to know? Well I'll tell you" A remarkable and succint description of where we are post global recession. Warning - quite sweary.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:02 AM PST - 50 comments

December 9

A new movie, The King’s Speech, (official site / trailer / clips) depicts King George VI of England's struggle to overcome his problem with stuttering and find his voice, in time to deliver the historic radio speech that prepared London for WWII. The film is being hailed as a potential Oscar-contender, for its unique, sensitive portrayal of stuttering -- a sharp contrast to the way movies traditionally present those who suffer from the disorder.. Slate offers a slideshow of ten video clips: A History of Stuttering in the Movies [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:46 PM PST - 38 comments

Protesters clashed with police and attacked Prince Charles's limousine as riots raged in the heart of London after MPs voted to triple university tuition fees. Video's here.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 11:15 PM PST - 193 comments

"Love Padlocks" (SFW) - not what you might think they are. [more inside]
posted by HopperFan at 8:47 PM PST - 38 comments

The woman you'd love your woman to be like. (SLthe sun: page 3YT)
posted by cthuljew at 7:48 PM PST - 87 comments


Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. The title should explain itself.
posted by lauratheexplorer at 7:13 PM PST - 24 comments

You can tell if a person is liberal or conservative by how a person responds to your "gaze cues". Look away at something while you're talking and a liberal will tend to look at it, too. Conservatives are "completely immune" to this effect. [more inside]
posted by MuadDib at 6:47 PM PST - 94 comments

Choosing Beef With Jack O'Shea, Making Pfannkuchen (a sweet yeast dough fried in oil) with Lars Siebert at the oldest bakery in Berlin, Mannfred Otte baking Apple strudel and 6 similar culinary videos from The Department of the 4th Dimension studio . Also, Making Espresso in Venice, (CA). Other tasty topics at 'Perfunkt' with support from Emil Rathenau
posted by growabrain at 4:50 PM PST - 11 comments

Robert Rodriguez's Machete ( Previously) started out as a joke, and went on to be a rather successful film. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry feels the movie doesn't portray Texas positively and has revoked the productions tax breaks. possibly at the cost of Texas's film industry.
posted by djduckie at 4:28 PM PST - 79 comments

I lost my little [noun]
I lost my [adjective] girl too
I [verb] just everything
So [adjective] I messed with you

Create your own song of sadness and regret with the Blues Maker.
posted by gottabefunky at 3:16 PM PST - 25 comments

After more threats of extinction than anyone could remember, the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation unexpectedly made good on a threat of its own and closed the doors to its parlors on Tuesday night. ... About 50 parlors around the city were shuttered. Some 1,000 employees lost their jobs. And a revenue stream that had funneled tens of millions of dollars a year to breeders, track owners and related businesses dried up. Another piece of gritty old New York had gone the way of the Automat and the Times Square peep show.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:21 PM PST - 35 comments

Comedy Central introduces its new logo! In the words of Jay Sherman (whose show used to be on CC) it sucks. Its simplicity and stupidity will get it compared to other classic logo disasters (previously on MeFi: Gap, SyFy, UK Space Agency, aol, 2008 GOP Convention, 2012 London Olympics twice, Quark, other logos to laugh at and not found on MeFi: Tropicana). But seriously, is the logo's similarity to a Copyright Symbol (©) part of an anti-piracy campaign? [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:08 PM PST - 86 comments

When the Xbox Kinect (previously) was released a month ago, it promised a new era of controller-less gaming. The system is certainly selling well heading into the holidays, but reviews so far are mixed. The minor injuries are expected, but with some less than impressive early game releases, some think that the system is only partially living up to its pre-release hype. But what happens when open source software fanatics get their hands on this new technology? [more inside]
posted by auto-correct at 1:50 PM PST - 38 comments

Is Chillwave the Next Big Music Trend? - Wiki: Chillwave is a debated genre of music where artists are often characterized by their heavy use of effects processing, synthesizers, looping, sampling, and heavily filtered vocals with simple melodic lines. Its musical predecessors are diverse and include the synthpop of the 1980s, shoegaze, ambient, musique concrète and various types of music outside of the Western World. In this case, nostalgia of 80s synthpop is filtered through a distorted lens, re-envisioning the era in a more vague and lo-fi sense. Just don't call them that. You can always check in at the Hipster Runoff (the birthplace of the term) for news about the vaguely new subgenre. [more inside]
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 1:42 PM PST - 103 comments


Ron Paul, 11-term Republican Congressman for the 14th Congressional district of Texas, original Tea Partier (warning: YouTube), libertarian presidential candidate, and author of End the Fed (Bloomberg review) today announced that he is next in line to chair the United States House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology in charge of, among other things, oversight of the Federal Reserve. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:09 PM PST - 187 comments

Some scientists have used stem cells to regenerate myelin in mice, paving the way for new MS treatments. Other scientists have created mice from two fathers. Meanwhile, using stem cells to treat paralysis advances from mice to monkeys.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 12:38 PM PST - 23 comments

A Hobo is a person that travels to work. A tramp is a person that travels and won't work. A bum is a person that will neither travel or work. Folklore abounds with the irresistible pull or joys of the freight hopping lifestyle: "it'll get in your blood. You're not agoing anywhere. You don't care. You just ride.". The largest hobo population was probably during the Great Depression. There are fewer freight-hoppers and hobos today (around 20,000) than there were in its heyday (over 500,000), mostly because the high speed of trains today makes it dangerous to hop on and off the train. Still, there's no better way to see the world than from the top of a freight train. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious at 12:08 PM PST - 38 comments

A Hamburger Today addresses the phenomenon of the undying McDonald's burger using SCIENCE!. As seen previously on Metafilter.
posted by Dim Siawns at 12:00 PM PST - 21 comments


Top 10s of 2010. Each Saturday, we pore through our favorite tips and tricks to find 10 great hacks surrounding any subject, from food and thumb drives to browsers and Wi-Fi. Here are our most popular Top 10s of 2010.
posted by nickyskye at 11:27 AM PST - 15 comments


James Burke's popular television show Connections is available in its entirety online. Connections, which ran in 1978, was a unique take on the question of historical and scientific advancement. From wikipedia: "The series traced paths of invention and discovery through their interrelationships in history, with each episode chronicling a particular path, usually in chronological order. ... It was followed by the 20-part Connections2 (1994) and then the 10-part Connections3 (1997) series. Later, it was shown in more than 50 countries and appeared in about 350 university and college curricula. Additionally, the book that followed the series was also a best seller." [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:59 AM PST - 76 comments

"Care packages" aren't JUST for troops in harm's way. Video transcript available here.
posted by MILNEWSca at 9:52 AM PST - 8 comments

"SonderKommando Revolt is a Wolf3D mod about real WWII revolt against the Nazis in the famous Auschwitz extermination camp." [more inside]
posted by griphus at 9:50 AM PST - 26 comments


Monday, December 6, 2010: WASHINGTON “Attorney General Eric Holder announced today the results of Operation Broken Trust, a nationwide operation organized by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to target investment fraud. To date, the operation has involved enforcement actions against 343 criminal defendants and 189 civil defendants for fraud schemes that harmed more than 120,000 victims throughout the country. The operation’s criminal cases involved more than $8.3 billion in estimated losses and the civil cases involved estimated losses of more than $2.1 billion. Operation Broken Trust is the first national operation of its kind to target a broad array of investment fraud schemes that directly prey upon the investing public.” —Or, well, maybe, perhaps, not so much. [more inside]
posted by kipmanley at 9:10 AM PST - 24 comments

"A few weeks ago, my alge­bra class was assigned a project called “Math­e­matic Karaoke,” for which were told to pick a song, make it about num­bers (and stuff), and record our­selves singing it. [....] Of course, Sin­gle Ladies was my tune of choice."
posted by borkencode at 8:10 AM PST - 47 comments



Game On! is a PSA by the Leicestershire Teenage Pregnancy Partnership that uses an 8-bit video game format to get across its message of safe sex.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 6:20 AM PST - 34 comments

Is Netflix Streaming Its Way Towards Disaster? In the wake of last month's price hike, Edward Epstein (author of The Big Picture and The Hollywood Economist) explores a few issues with Netflix's turn toward streaming video. The licensing deals Netflix cobbled together before studios fully grokked the value of streaming are expiring in the next year or two, outlets like Amazon and HBO are starting their own streaming services, and the right of first sale, which allows Netflix to buy DVDs and then rent them over and over, doesn't apply to streamed content. Via this post from Slashfilm, which adds more links and info. [more inside]
posted by mediareport at 5:45 AM PST - 126 comments


The radical human rights and subversive hacking group known only as Anonymous has struck again. In a retaliatory campaign dubbed Operation Avenge Assange, the group is conducting distributed denial-of-service attacks against perceived opponents of Wikileaks. PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, the Swedish prosecutor's office, and even Senator Joe Lieberman are among the targeted.

In the face of this onslaught PayPal has partially capitulated: agreeing to release funds from the Wikileaks account. [more inside]
posted by clarknova at 12:08 AM PST - 560 comments

December 8

An opinion piece in Slate argues that the scientific agenda would benefit from increasing the paltry six percent of American scientists who identify as Republican. (This statistic previously on Metafilter.) Knight Science Journalism Tracker offers peer review of this point.
posted by jjray at 10:30 PM PST - 98 comments

“When I was a kid growing up I was obsessed with animals and monsters… I’d draw them everyday, and when I grew up I either wanted to be a zoologist or a monster hunter… When I got a bit older I realized that being a zoologist was less exciting than I had imagined, and that ‘monster hunter’ isn’t even a real job, so I just kept drawing. I pretty much do the exact same thing at 29 years old that I did when I was 9 years old.” Nicholas Di Genova weaves organisms together in pen and ink. [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 at 9:07 PM PST - 11 comments

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper sings Sweet Caroline. [more inside]
posted by 256 at 8:05 PM PST - 40 comments

Loving father. Caring husband. Secret octopus. Octodad! "Master mundane tasks with his unwieldy boneless tentacles while simultaneously keeping his cephalopodian nature a secret from his human family."
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:14 PM PST - 27 comments

Olga Kotelko is 91, and she has probably set more athletic world records—and will continue to set more—than most of us will in our lives. We all age, but she is aging differently. Scientists are trying to figure out why...but she is just trying to find someone who can keep up.
posted by dubitable at 6:01 PM PST - 25 comments

So I wondered, what if the largest countries had the biggest populations? (via)
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:49 PM PST - 49 comments

Taxi III Stand Up and Cry Like a Man - a short but powerful clip in which taxi drivers talk about their experiences in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive at 5:11 PM PST - 9 comments

Invasive amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling (CVS) tests are commonly used to determine the chromosomal, structural and genetic abnormalities in fetuses. But could they eventually become obsolete? A Chinese study has found that a complete copy of the fetal genome exists in the mother's blood, suggesting many prenatal diagnoses could potentially be performed noninvasively. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 4:11 PM PST - 30 comments

2010 Has seen its share of one-hit-wonder hip hop acts. Standing out from the crowd is a collective of creative youngsters (ages 16-19) from Los Angeles known as OFWGKTA (Odd Future/Wolf Gang/Kill Them All). [more inside]
posted by broadway bill at 4:07 PM PST - 34 comments


This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
posted by Artw at 3:18 PM PST - 20 comments

True American Dog is where I go for my silliness these days. It's a single panel photoshop comic about animals. And what animals! There's Kooly the Bear, Eagle, Dog and many more. It's about as silly as it gets, in a good way.
posted by Kattullus at 2:56 PM PST - 31 comments

The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:17 PM PST - 80 comments


Freeman Davis, better known as Brother Bones, was a whistler and player of the bones. As his story goes, he started in Montgomery, Alabama, hearing his mother whistle. He made his way to Long Beach, California, where he was a shoe-shining entertainer called Whistling Sam. Somewhere along the way, he gained popularity with the bones as Brother Bones, leading a group called Brother Bones and His Shadows, as heard here in Rosetta and Listen To The Mockingbird. Their 1948 instrumental version of the 1920s jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown was chosen as the theme song for the Harlem Globetrotters. Brother Bones was also featured in the blackface minstrel show movie, Yes Sir, Mr. Bones. Freeman Davis died in 1970, and in 2002 he was paid tribute at the Rhythm Bones Society's Bones Fest 6, honoring the 100th anniversary of his birth. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:13 PM PST - 6 comments

During the first world war, thousands of horses were drafted into the War Effort and sent to the Front. Faced with a horse shortage, the Thomas Ward steelworks in Sheffield acquired an elephant and her handler from a passing circus. Lizzie Ward worked at Thomas Ward's for a number of years, getting up to various pranks before she retired with sore feet.
posted by emilyw at 1:07 PM PST - 6 comments

Every DNS dot net, a free DNS provider, deactivated Wikileaks’s DNS entry (news article) after the latter allegedly breached the former’s terms of use. EveryDNS.net is not Easy DNS dot com, an unrelated Toronto domain registrar. But, as EasyDNS founder Mark Jeftovic relates, try telling the Internet that.
posted by joeclark at 12:05 PM PST - 101 comments

A hot carbon-rich gas giant exoplanet, WASP-12b, has been discovered. As the lead author of the paper being published today, Nikku Madhusudhan, says: ""This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there". In particular, the discovery supports theories that there are likely to be planets made of diamond and graphite out there.
posted by philipy at 11:53 AM PST - 43 comments

In his easily digested and insightful summary of America's long term outlook, Bill Gross writes that we're all living in Billy Joel's Allentown now and that the easy solutions, as is often the case, aren't necessarily the right ones.
posted by jimmymcvee at 11:04 AM PST - 56 comments

The University of Washington's Vienna: 1900 collects a number of pieces from the height of Austrian café society. [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 10:22 AM PST - 8 comments

This is a tool assisted speed run of the 1997 PSX game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In it arukAdo (the author) abuses glitches in the engine to destroy the basic rules of the game world. Some highlights (though it's worth watching all the way through for fans of the game): The player character, Alucard, moves like a Trueblood vampire, warps through space to obtain items earlier than normal, blinks in and out of existence, and destroys the very fabric of reality. He explores areas outside the normal bounds of the game, hovers myseriously in place, and annihilates the prince of darkness in seconds. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 9:52 AM PST - 87 comments



"Fantastic Journal is a blog about architecture, design and other things too," written by Charles Holland, a director of London-based FAT. [more inside]
posted by maxwelton at 3:31 AM PST - 1 comments

2019: A Future Imagined - A short film were Syd Mead, designer and concept artist (probably most notable for for his work on Blade Runner, Aliens and Tron) “reflects upon the nature of creativity and how it drives the future.” (SLVimeo)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:06 AM PST - 13 comments

MeFi's own Jacob Appelbaum visits Iraq, offers a hand after Katrina, exposes security holes, creates spaces for learning and sharing, represents for Wikileaks and Tor and is generally superhero like.
posted by serazin at 12:12 AM PST - 56 comments

December 7


This year GQ magazine, a major arbiter of the cool, has anointed # "symbol of the year." GQ explains: "Hashtags have changed the way we think, communicate, process information. # is everywhere." What we have here is one of the great comeback stories in the history of competitive punctuation. Today, &, © and ® have been left in the dust (of course@retains its status in email).
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 PM PST - 124 comments

The Department of Homeland Security and Wal-Mart have announced a partnership to promote the recent "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign, which urges citizens to report "suspicious activity." At select locations, a brief DHS video message will urge shoppers to "contact local law enforcement" if they see anything out of the ordinary. Over 230 stores began playing these short videos Monday, with another 588 stores in 27 states to come on-board in the next few weeks. [more inside]
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 4:32 PM PST - 189 comments

One of the biggest challenges you're going to face in your life is how to fold a fitted sheet.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:52 PM PST - 138 comments


WitStream is your 24-hour live comedy ticker. An endless flow of up-to-the-minute comedy and commentary delivered to you in real time. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:53 PM PST - 6 comments

"In six days every single living cell in the world will die. You have one chance to save the world." This is a short adventure game. Use arrow keys to move around and the space bar to interact. If you want to play this, avoid reading the thread. You do not want it spoiled. It is not a twisty game, but in this journey it is better to not know what lies ahead.
posted by Kattullus at 2:42 PM PST - 109 comments

Corexit [Bing cache] is mostly what BP has used on the spill. There are a few things to know about Corexit. One is that is was banned in U.K. over ten years ago because it is so toxic, as in poisonous to humans and sea life. ... Corexit was also used on the Exxon Valdez spill. Now read carefully: Almost all the clean up workers who worked on the Exxon Valdez spill are dead. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese at 2:13 PM PST - 45 comments


If you enjoy the sublime beauty of woodcut prints, you'll be in heaven when you check out The Society of Wood Engravers online Gallery of Annual Exhibitions (4 years running!). Examine the individual engravings that make up the Millenium Ark. A short explanation of "What is wood engraving?" and the Process for your edification. Video: Woodcut printing 1450-1520. Also checkout artistandy's YT channel for more engraving videos.
posted by spock at 1:05 PM PST - 5 comments


More than 80% of old film has been lost forever. But that which remains - including a heavily restored long tracking shot of Dunkirk from a tramway in 1913, London in 1955, and Prague in 1947 - are incredibly evocative of history. Much more at Europa Film Treasures and the Huntley Film Archives. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:15 PM PST - 16 comments

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a self-described holy rascal, with an often sarcastic twitter feed. His blog, Beyond Religion, has covered a wide variety of issues, both spiritual and political, from descriptions of God, the relationship between religion and science, the reality of Christian law, and the role of women in Israel. In today's post, he defines and defends the role of myth in religion: “Myth” is not the same as “falsehood.” Myth is a narrative structure used to convey some of the deepest truths we humans can glean. Myths are not believed in but unpacked and lived."
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 11:14 AM PST - 35 comments

Fiction is more than an entertainment, more than an intellectual exercise that sharpens one’s sensibility and awakens a critical spirit. It is an absolute necessity so that civilization continues to exist, renewing and preserving in us the best of what is human. [PDF] [more inside]
posted by Omon Ra at 11:13 AM PST - 9 comments


In honor of it's 100th anniversary, the Boy Scouts of America is offering 4 original merit badges that were offered 99 years ago: Carpentry (pdf of original pamphlet), Signaling (pdf of original pamphlet), Pathfinding (pdf of original pamphlet), and Tracking (pdf of original pamphlet). [more inside]
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:26 AM PST - 41 comments



A longitudinal study to be published in Jan 2011's Pediatrics (abstract, PDF of article) shows that GLBT youth are about 40 percent more likely to be punished by schools, police, and courts than their straight peers. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:31 AM PST - 27 comments

The attack on Pearl Harbor was neither the U.S.' first armed conflict leading to WW II, nor the last Axis attack on American soil. [more inside]
posted by Zed at 9:21 AM PST - 29 comments

Desaturated Santa. Brody Qat uses a gray santa suit, contact lenses, and makeup to stand out in a crowd of Santas (previously). She explains here. More pics. Via Neatorama.
posted by condour75 at 9:13 AM PST - 37 comments

Who was Eddie Klep? Everybody knows about the black man who integrated the major leagues in 1947, but hardly anyone knows about the white man who integrated the Negro Leagues the year before. Eddie Klep was no role model, but he deserves to be remembered, and Chuck Brodsky (who's written a bunch of baseball songs) did his part with the "Ballad of Eddie Klepp" (YouTube, lyrics). The name actually has just one p; Brodsky regrets the error (which is also made in this short piece, with lively quotes from Klep's wife). (Thanks, Ken!)
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM PST - 9 comments

All of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits ... played at once.
posted by dobbs at 8:14 AM PST - 92 comments

Julian Assange has been arrested after turning himself in in london. He has been refused bail by the court and has been remanded to custody until at least the 14th of December. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden on charges that he committed an offense called "Sex by surprise." He has vowed to fight extradition.
posted by orville sash at 7:58 AM PST - 1279 comments


Corpses on Everest [more inside]
posted by josher71 at 7:04 AM PST - 90 comments

"I was really excited to get the chance to finally meet these pandas, but when I asked to see them, I was told (after a lengthy pause) that they had grown too big, and her mum had sent them back to the zoo only the week before." Billy Bullshit celebrates the tall tales that we all pretend to swallow until the teller is well out of earshot.
posted by mippy at 6:23 AM PST - 29 comments

Photos from the Los Angeles Times Archives from Shirley Temple to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
posted by sonika at 5:45 AM PST - 15 comments

This documentary is the story of two Mennonite brothers from Manitoba who were forced to make a decision in 1939, as Canada joined World War II. In the face of 400 years of pacifist tradition, should they now go to war? Ted became a conscientious objector while his brother went into military service. Fifty years later, the town of Winkler dedicates its first war memorial and John begins to share his war experiences with Ted. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation at 1:55 AM PST - 19 comments

Whisperlude, a new song based on Alfonso Cuarón’s 1995 Academy Award-nominated retelling of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess. (from Pogo, a Metafilter favorite previously posted here, here, and here)
posted by SkylitDrawl at 12:55 AM PST - 4 comments

December 6

The City As Dominant Agent... Parag Khanna of the New America Foundation on the probable fall of the nation-state and the rise of the City, the obstacles facing it, the futures it could embrace, and what examples are out there. [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata at 11:22 PM PST - 21 comments


Mad Men D&D Character Alignments from the venerable mightygodking
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 PM PST - 194 comments

As winter rolls around, my thoughts turn to warming myself. And I can't think of a more efficient way to do it than with a rocket stove. [more inside]
posted by psycho-alchemy at 5:47 PM PST - 28 comments

During the show's history Mystery Science Theater did many musical bits. Topless Robot recently linked to the "13 best" Mystery Science Theater 3000 songs. It's not a bad list, although there are some notable exclusions. About those, click through.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 5:22 PM PST - 62 comments

Amazing dance animation. Ryan Woodward submitted this to Sundance Film Festival. Sad that they didn't accept it because it really is beautiful.
posted by chrisp18938 at 4:35 PM PST - 27 comments

From Mefi's own him, How to write badly well: Live on Stage. [more inside]
posted by Taft at 4:15 PM PST - 15 comments


Paths of Flight [more inside]
posted by bwg at 3:33 PM PST - 13 comments


A Nude Awakening - The TSA and Privacy. An insightful article about the TSA and fundamental freedoms from the Oklahoma Daily Student newspaper. via
posted by blue_beetle at 2:48 PM PST - 48 comments

One of the most distinctive voices in Canadian broadcasting has been silenced. Mark Dailey, longtime announcer, on-air reporter and anchor for Toronto's Citytv, died today at the age of 57. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:33 PM PST - 44 comments

Byzantine Blog is what it says on the tin, a blog about Byzantium. It is written by Tom and Kim Sawford, with the occasional guest post by Laura Diaz-Arnesto. The blog has been going for over a year and a half now, and so has an extensive backlog of posts on a wide variety of subjects, for example: Byzantine holy relics in Siena in Tuscany, Princess Theophano who married Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, photos of mosaics and other art, the horrific realities of prostitution, the islands of Thasos and Lemnos and a couple of posts on Byzantine medicine, mandrake and wolfsbane. Besides essays and photos the blog also links to various sites, articles, podcasts et cetera that dwell on Byzantine matters.
posted by Kattullus at 2:14 PM PST - 20 comments

The Republic of Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement is the United States' first Free Trade Agreement with a major Asian economy, and its largest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. It has supporters and detractors.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:22 PM PST - 49 comments

Chen has a daily routine—waking up at 3am, she makes her way to the vegetable wholesaler and sets up her stall, which she tends till seven or eight in the evening. The first to arrive in the dark, damp market and the last to leave, other stall-owners have fondly nicknamed her ‘market manager.’ Chen holds the stall her father left her dearly. Yuan-Jin Vegetables is her everything. Selling at “a bundle for 30 dollars*, three bundles for 50,” Chen earns only marginal profits. Yet, her frugality has allowed her to donate about NT$10 million (nearly Rs1.5 crore) [approx. US$330,000] towards various charitable causes, including helping schools, orphanages and poor children.
posted by nickyskye at 1:20 PM PST - 17 comments

"Toity poiple boids / Sittin on da koib / A-choipin an’ a-boipin / An’ eatin doity woims." From Atlantic Avenue to Zerega Avenue (map), the kinds of New York City accents made famous by the likes of Archie Bunker, Jimmy Breslin and Travis Bickle are disappearing. But though you may not often hear “foath floah” for "fourth floor" in Manhattan anymore, documentary filmmaker Heather Quinlan knows you can still hear strains of the old mellifluous tones in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, and that's exactly what she's setting out to document in her film If These Knishes Could Talk.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:05 PM PST - 51 comments

On Friday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released their preliminary report regarding the Qantas Flight 32 in-flight engine failure. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot at 12:37 PM PST - 30 comments

Why Are There No Great Women Chefs? In 2007 Michelin awarded French chef Anne-Sophie Pic three stars, making her only the fourth woman in her country’s history to receive that honor (fifty years had passed since the last of her sex had garnered that third sparkler).2 The following year, in the United Kingdom, it was considered breaking news when ten female chefs won any Michelin stars at all...[For] the 2009 James Beard Awards gala... “Women in Food” was the chosen motif, but since only sixteen of the evening’s ninety-six nominees were, in fact, women, it seemed like a cruel joke. In the end, only two of those sixteen went home victorious, out of nineteen winners total...[I]n Bravo tv’s Top Chef Masters competition, a paltry three out of twenty-four American “Masters” were women. [via 3 Quarks Daily]
posted by caddis at 12:27 PM PST - 131 comments

Frank Miller is titan of comics, whose noirish take on superheroes in the 80s has been hugely influencial. But back in 70s Miller was just an aspiring artist showing off his portfolio to Neal Adams, who proceeded to rip him him a new one.
posted by Artw at 12:24 PM PST - 76 comments


The naughtiest word in English? In an unbelievable coincidence, first a prime time Radio broadcaster [on the serious BBC Radio 4 station], then the well known political correspondent & broadcaster Andrew Marr on the same station, then Nick Herbert MP in the House of Commons, all managed to Spoonerise the name of a government minister with his position. His name? Jeremy Hunt. His department? Culture. All started by... James Naughtie. See what he did there?
posted by dash_slot- at 12:06 PM PST - 58 comments


C-SPAN airs Prop 8 appellate trial live. Prop 8 was the ballot measure that removed the right to marry from same-sex couples. Covered previously, previously, ZOMG PREVIOUSLY. Expect fun arguments about standing!
posted by klangklangston at 10:49 AM PST - 139 comments


In 2004, Minnesota student Dan Markingson committed suicide while participating in a clinical drug trial for various mood disorders. Trial sponsors the University of Minnesota and AstraZeneca were cleared of blame by the FDA in 2005. Last week, a group of faculty members at the university wrote an open letter to the university's Board of Regents requesting further investigation due to "troubling questions" that remain unanswered and a concern over "conflicts of interest" in the Academic Health Center.
posted by modernnomad at 9:38 AM PST - 21 comments

Google eBooks, the new Google eBooks store that will compete with Amazon on price and selection. Introducing Google eBooks (video). Launch USA only. NPR: "..independent booksellers will get a cut of the revenue when people buy e-books on their local seller's website instead of directly from Google."
posted by stbalbach at 9:19 AM PST - 85 comments

If you've ever wanted to created your own conlang, or are simply interested in how languages work, the Language Construction Kit might be a good place to start. [more inside]
posted by kmz at 9:00 AM PST - 10 comments

The cost of raising a child from cradle to 18 has risen to $222,000. Chiefly among the reasons is parents' desire to "cultivate" their children.
posted by reenum at 8:55 AM PST - 122 comments

Pinterest is a social catalog service. Think of it as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can post collections of things you love, and "follow" collections created by people with great taste.
posted by Jodio at 8:01 AM PST - 35 comments

In the time of the Chou Dynasty it was believed there existed Ten Celestial Suns. Each day, one sun would be harnessed to a jade dragon and drawn across the heavens, bringing life and light to the world. It was their duty, all they had known - but in their hearts a cold and secret fire grew... [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:08 AM PST - 22 comments

The X-37B OTV has landed. (previously) and (previously) Launched in late April the space plane was tracked by amateur astronomers and sky watchers during its 7-month stay in orbit. The X-37 has he capability to maneuver changing orbit, track, and altitude. This led to a cat and mouse game with the earthbound skygazers. The X-37B is one of the latest in a series of experimental aircraft known as the X-planes. [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:29 AM PST - 46 comments

At the Bartos Theater, in conversation with Henry Jenkins, these speakers [Yochai Benkler and Cass Sunstein] don’t so much square off as share their hopes and fears for the emergence of online democracy. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation at 12:16 AM PST - 7 comments

December 5


Haruki Murakami talks about fiction in the 21st century. Part of the International Herald Tribune Magazine's year-end issue, 2011: Global Agenda. [more inside]
posted by azarbayejani at 7:58 PM PST - 36 comments

In remembrance of the Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War, the Liljenquist Family recently donated their rare collection of almost 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs to the Library of Congress. These achingly poignant portraits speak volumes. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:47 PM PST - 98 comments

Fast food - ads vs. reality
posted by crayz at 3:32 PM PST - 132 comments

Need a gift for the geek who has everything, or for your know-it-all uncle? How about naming a novel mathematical proof after them? TheoryMine will sell you the naming rights to a proof generated by their software algorithm. [more inside]
posted by Jakey at 2:50 PM PST - 25 comments

Figment.com is a new, free community and platform for young people to share their fiction writing, "connect with other readers and discover new stories and authors. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site." (Via)
posted by zarq at 2:35 PM PST - 19 comments

Frank W. Lewis, longtime cryptic crossword setter for The Nation, passed away on Nov. 18 at the age of 98. Although best known for his puzzles, of which he set nearly 3000 over sixty years, Lewis also had a distinguished career with the War Department. His work on the team deciphering Japanese shipping codes during World War II led to awards for Exceptional Civilian Service, Outstanding Civilian Service, and Bletchley Park Service. [more inside]
posted by ecurtz at 2:10 PM PST - 16 comments


'A majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries' political life, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.' However, they 'have mixed feelings toward militant religious groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. According to the survey, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing the current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion. About 85% of Pakistani Muslims said they would support a law segregating men and women in the workplace. Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Jordan were among the most enthusiastic, with more than three-quarters of Muslims polled in those countries reporting positive views of Islam's influence in politics: either that Islam had a large role in politics, and that was a good thing, or that it played a small role, and that was bad.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword at 1:29 PM PST - 72 comments

Short Film: A New Flavor -- Sometimes you need a best friend to take the ice cream away and make sure you don't give up on love. (mildly NSFW.)
posted by longsleeves at 12:33 PM PST - 17 comments

How is it possible for an individual to build a planetarium? In most cases it is impossible. One must first truly love the beauty of the night sky and be willing to share that love with others. Wisconsin Man Builds Planetarium in His Backyard. [more inside]
posted by fixedgear at 12:11 PM PST - 20 comments


How Annie Got Shot. A look at the market for fine art photography and the sorry-state of Annie Leibovitz's finances. [more inside]
posted by chunking express at 11:58 AM PST - 36 comments

As the UK coalition government plans swingeing cuts and students take to the streets to protest, one mother asks us to remember the 'Nouveau Pauvre'. Some commentators react unfavourably to her impending 'austerity Christmas'. [more inside]
posted by mippy at 11:45 AM PST - 58 comments

Fruitlands was a Utopian agrarian commune established in Harvard, Massachusetts by Amos Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane in the 1840s, based on Transcendentalist principles. An account of its less-than-successful activities can be found in Alcott's daughter Louisa May Alcott's Transcendental Wild Oats.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:32 AM PST - 8 comments

William Gibson offers interesting perceptions of our world The insight on the connection between the perceived threat from terrorism (not his term) and the attraction of lottery tickets (about half-way down) pushed me over to post this, but the rest of it is worth your time, too.
posted by mojohand at 11:25 AM PST - 82 comments

Draw Brandon Draw is a web comic by Brandon B. that follows short, surreal story arcs. The current arc (which seems to be shaping into something more sustained) is about psychics living in a closed community called "The City". The comic itself is mostly work safe, but the current blog content is Not Safe For Work. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 11:18 AM PST - 4 comments

Measure-theoretic probability: Why it should be learnt and how to get started. The clickable chart of distribution relationships. Just two of the interesting and informative probability resources I've learned about, along with countless other tidbits of information, from statistician John D. Cook's blog and his probability fact-of-the-day Twitter feed ProbFact. John also has daily tip and fact Twitter feeds for Windows keyboard shortcuts, regular expressions, TeX and LaTeX, algebra and number theory, topology and geometry, real and complex analysis, and beginning tomorrow, computer science and statistics.
posted by grouse at 11:15 AM PST - 17 comments


A worshiper at a California mosque called frequently for violent jihad against the West. This freaked out his fellow attendees so much that they took out a restraining order on him... and learned he was an informant planted by the FBI.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:27 AM PST - 73 comments

~Price Reduced~ 1.4 acre property in Lincoln, Montana. Great fishing and hunting! Cabin not included.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:37 AM PST - 55 comments

The Blindness of the Woods (NSFW -- yarn puppet people engaged in adult activities) is a short film from Amautalab. [more inside]
posted by fings at 7:27 AM PST - 25 comments

Firefox goes live with streaming cuteness. Firefox LIVE features six cameras focused on two baby female red panda cubs and their immediate family playing inside a glass-protected play area in the Knoxville Zoo.
posted by Sailormom at 6:54 AM PST - 31 comments

Have you noticed the cartoon characters overtaking Facebook? Well, you're not alone because the national media sure has. This new Facebook meme is supposedly all about raising awareness for child abuse. But is this meme really accomplishing anything? Maybe not. And for good measure, some links for those who would REALLY like to help.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:28 AM PST - 201 comments

The Science of Godmanship [annotated], in which the late Robert Anton Wilson (novelist, philosopher, psychologist, essayist, editor, playwright, futurist, polymath, civil libertarian and self-described agnostic mystic) examines Quantum theory and other weirdly weird stuff. [more inside]
posted by philip-random at 12:58 AM PST - 58 comments

December 4

This Old Poem Those familiar with the long-running PBS TV series This Old House may be able to discern where I am going with this series of essays. Basically, I seek to rehabilitate (by rewriting) well-known poems.... [more inside]
posted by kid ichorous at 10:00 PM PST - 43 comments

Fusion Magazine and The International Journal of Fusion Energy Research were popular publications of the Fusion Energy Foundation, ostensibly an organization devoted to "foster and support research and development for fusion as a new energy source." [more inside]
posted by FuturisticDragon at 8:29 PM PST - 11 comments

A Cupcake
By Neil Sanders
posted by Taft at 7:38 PM PST - 16 comments


Most cards in North America are made by United States Playing Card Company (USPC) which owns Bicycle, Bee, Tally-Ho (favored by Penn and Teller), Hoyle, and KEM(notably 100% plastic). USPC helped the WWII war effort with its production of playing cards with hidden maps. [more inside]
posted by el io at 5:55 PM PST - 26 comments

Georgina Cranston travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to photograph the women who work deep inside some of the country's disused gold mines. [more inside]
posted by gman at 5:40 PM PST - 13 comments


Old man winter has arrived. That means sugaring season and maple syrup (pdf) production is not that far away. Creamed, crystalized or liquid, there are treats for everyone. Previously
posted by woodjockey at 4:49 PM PST - 25 comments

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the lefty Jewish magazine Tikkun, wants to save Obama -- by primarying him from the left.
posted by orthogonality at 4:43 PM PST - 69 comments

New Weird Australia is a not-for-profit, government-sponsored initiative promoting new eclectic & experimental music - plenty of free downloads & podcasts are available on the site.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:11 PM PST - 6 comments

Taichung’s Rainbow Family Village - this formerly drab neighborhood was whimsically transformed by 86-year-old veteran Huang Yung-fu's colorful artwork, becoming a minor tourist attraction and a popular location for photo shoots. And while most Taiwanese military dependent villages are scheduled for demolition, an online campaign won a promise by the city's mayor to preserve the painted village.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:38 PM PST - 6 comments


Max Keiser (previously) writes in the Guardian about a strategy to try and cause JP Morgan to crash; a strategy which he encourages. [more inside]
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 3:30 PM PST - 35 comments


From the journal Nutrition, a paper(pdf) criticizing the new American dietary guidelines. [more inside]
posted by peacheater at 11:00 AM PST - 74 comments

"The purposes of the Association shall be to advance anthropology as the science that studies public understanding of humankind in all its aspects."
At this year's meeting of the American Anthropological Association, the organization's board adopted a new mission statement whose description of its goals omitted all mention of anthropology as a science. An online debate ensued. Some researchers in the anthropological sciences are upset about the changes, while right-wing culture warriors see it as another salvo in the "science wars" or the takeover of the discipline by "fluff-head cultural anthropological types who think science is just another way of knowing." Other anthropologists think this is an opportunity to broaden the discipline and embrace non-scientific forms of knowledge. [more inside]
posted by RogerB at 10:10 AM PST - 55 comments

The December Lights Project: A short story archive An archive of fanciful, feel-good stories that will keep updating throughout December. These are tremendous fun if you like scifi, magic and fantasy. One of my favorites so far is Queen of the Kitchen, by Karen Healey.
posted by SaharaRose at 8:45 AM PST - 4 comments

Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin’
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin’

What a surprise to read that couplet on "The New Yorker's" website, in an article about Jay-Z's new book. It also discusses Adam Bradley's "Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop," an academic study that respects rap lyrics as serious poetry. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee at 7:07 AM PST - 82 comments

Excuse me, have you heard the word? (SLVimeo, Possibly NSFW or sanity)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:10 AM PST - 48 comments

Bored of Ke$ha, Fergie, and their various American contemporaries performing "hip-hop"-"tinged" "pop"? Say "alo" to apple-cheeked Romanian-German star Miss Platnum. Maybe start with Mercedes-Benz and She Moved In, before moving on to her earliest and biggest hit, Give Me the Food. [more inside]
posted by eugenen at 12:03 AM PST - 47 comments

December 3

“Office of Career Services” sipa_ocs@columbia.edu Date: November 30, 2010 15:26:53 EST To: xxx

Hi students, We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance. The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

Regards, Office of Career Services. [more inside]
posted by - at 11:48 PM PST - 430 comments


Could punk rock save Cairo, IL? (Previously.) Maybe not. What about Reddit ? [more inside]
posted by wayland at 9:14 PM PST - 27 comments


Joy Division bassist Peter Hook talks about performing tracks from Unknown Pleasures.
posted by Artw at 9:10 PM PST - 17 comments

Apparently, ducklings do not do well waddling in wild winds. SLYT.
posted by maryr at 8:28 PM PST - 42 comments

MBC Star Audition, an American Idol-style singing competition show from major Korean broadcaster MBC, let aspiring contestants audition via YouTube. Audition videos can be seen through the mbcaudition YouTube channel. Videos had to be 100 seconds or less, with contestants (solo or group) singing a K-pop song. Contestants from over 25 countries submitted videos, giving viewers a glimpse of their talent (and room decor). [more inside]
posted by needled at 7:57 PM PST - 5 comments

California's ailing Republicans: A dying breed? 'Republicans are relishing the coming of a new day on Capitol Hill. But across the country in California, the party of Nixon and Reagan is drifting toward obscurity. The latest sign of imperiled health: In a year Republicans notched big victories in Congress, governor's offices and statehouses around the nation, California Democrats made a clean sweep of eight statewide contests on Nov. 2. Democrats padded their majority in the Legislature, where the party controls both chambers and no congressional seats changed parties. California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today, even though the state population has since grown by about 10 million.''It's been said the future happens first in California, and the state hit a little-noticed milestone this month that will have implications in voting booths for years to come. For the first time, Hispanics account for more than half the students in the state's public schools. They will be tomorrow's voters.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword at 6:40 PM PST - 47 comments

"Holland Reynolds, a star runner from a small private high school in San Francisco, collapsed at the state cross-country meet and crawled across the finish line to clinch the championship for her team." Her coach, Jim Tracy, had been increasingly debilitated by Lou Gehrig's disease during the season, which made her and the team "really want to win it for Jim." The video of the race is here. Holland Reynolds approaches the finish line at 19 minutes 33 seconds into the video.
posted by ferdydurke at 5:24 PM PST - 40 comments

In 1972, miners at Duke Energy's Brookside coal mine in Harlan County, KY voted to organize with the United Mineworkers of America. When the company refused to accept a contract, the workers went on strike. [more inside]
posted by TrialByMedia at 5:24 PM PST - 24 comments

Kanye and I had exchanged emails days after the Taylor Swift incident, but between him being inundated with criticism and my own personal distraction—a recently discovered brain tumor, of all things—this conversation, a month later, was our first real catch-up. [more inside]
posted by daniel_ at 4:27 PM PST - 55 comments

Anonymously submit why you hate the job you can't leave. [more inside]
posted by gman at 3:54 PM PST - 51 comments

First, Mark read Twilight. I think it's safe to say he's not a fan. Then he read Harry Potter and likes it a lot more. Now, he's watching Firefly, reading The Hunger Games, and rereading Harry Potter.
posted by kmz at 3:10 PM PST - 28 comments



Sure, soon the sound of one more holiday song will make your ears bleed, but it’s early in the season, which makes it a great time to enjoy some classic renditions. And what could be better for the songs of the season than the Hammond B-3: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Jimmy Smith) , Greensleeves (Jimmy Smith) , Baby Its Cold Outside (Jimmy Smith with Wes Montgomery) , Santa Clause is Coming to Town / White Christmas (Jimmy McGriff) , I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause (Jimmy McGriff) , Sleigh Ride / Jingle Bells (Al Caiola, Riz Ortolani & Jimmy McGriff) and my favorite Silent Night (Jimmy Smith)
posted by TheShadowKnows at 2:32 PM PST - 26 comments

The second edition of Steven Blush's American Hardcore: A Tribal History has just been published by Feral House. Additionally, Steven has posted 911 mp3s of hardcore punk as a soundtrack for your reading.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 2:23 PM PST - 36 comments

Elaine Kaufman, who became something of a symbol of New York as the salty den mother of Elaine’s, one of the city’s best-known restaurants and a second home for almost half a century to a bevy of writers, actors, athletes and other celebrities, died Friday in Manhattan. She was 81.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:39 PM PST - 21 comments

To locate Inky’s target, we first start by selecting the position two tiles in front of Pac-Man in his current direction of travel, similar to Pinky’s targeting method. From there, imagine drawing a vector from Blinky’s position to this tile, and then doubling the length of the vector. The tile that this new, extended vector ends on will be Inky’s actual target.
Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior [more inside]
posted by griphus at 12:45 PM PST - 43 comments

Brackenwood is six short (and award winning) flash animations by Adam Phillips that develop story lines around creatures that live in a fictional forest planet called Brackenwood (previously and previously). There are more recent episodes, and a game based on the world has been made. [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:35 PM PST - 4 comments

If you are from Indiana, you know what happens next. An argument can be made that this is Indiana's state food. It probably came from the culinary influence of this community. People in Illinois eat this too, but my Mother, who hails from the "City of Firsts," insists that they don't do it right. There are others who scoff and insist that Indiana's state food must be this. Some just insist that it should be made the Official State Sandwich. Either way, they're both delicious and are best followed by a ubiquitous Indiana dessert. Does it all sound simple and boring? You have no idea until you try it. Does it all sound horribly unhealthy? Well, you have to die of something and you might as well have a good meal first.
posted by snottydick at 11:49 AM PST - 104 comments

Strange CW Keys , a collection of interesting and totally unique Morse Code keys made by Jari Vainio, OH6DC in Finland.
posted by jackspace at 11:40 AM PST - 10 comments

Soviet funk. SLYT: Chervona Ruta in Pesnya vsegda s nami (1975). Get on the добра нога!
posted by languagehat at 11:38 AM PST - 21 comments

Food Court Flash Mob sings the "Hallelujah" chorus.
posted by sonika at 11:38 AM PST - 71 comments


Celebrities do odd commercials, and not just in Japan. (SLYT) The same Norwegian program has brought similar joy (?) to the world before.
posted by yiftach at 11:06 AM PST - 37 comments


A new brand of super shoppers use coupons and other discounts to get products for absurdly low prices. The Web has turned this group from a series of independent operators into cohesive groups, frustrating retailers.
posted by reenum at 9:24 AM PST - 126 comments

Let's say you're me and you're in math class, and you're supposed to be learning about factoring. Trouble is, your teacher is too busy trying to convince you that factoring is a useful skill for the average person to know with real-world applications ranging from passing your state exams all the way to getting a higher SAT score and unfortunately does not have the time to show you why factoring is actually interesting. It's perfectly reasonable for you to get bored in this situation. So like any reasonable person, you start doodling. [more inside]
posted by ErWenn at 8:39 AM PST - 27 comments


Previously on Metafilter, we unearthed hundred year old scotch. So let's talk about scotch. There's a lot to say. [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:31 AM PST - 99 comments

If you enjoy games like Myst and Riven, take a crack at Cageling. It's a good thing your prison is a luxurious rococo palazzo, because you'll probably be there for a while. [more inside]
posted by Quietgal at 7:38 AM PST - 26 comments

We've all seen Harry Potter fan art before. But Constantine Michael also offers up Inglorious Basterds, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Doctors, and Mad Men. [Via.]
posted by morganannie at 7:05 AM PST - 26 comments

When you receive your Logonom logo, you’re not just opening a symbol, a brand or a small representation of you, you’re also opening peace of mind. And that’s something we’ve worked hard for 113 years to pack into each and every box.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 6:39 AM PST - 33 comments

Ron Santo, legendary Cubs third baseman and longtime broadcaster has passed away due to complications of bladder cancer. He was the first player in the major leagues to play with type 1 diabetes, a fact he kept secret for years. "This Old Cub" is a documentary which (in part) detailed the Hall of Fame's snubbing of Santo. Number 10 will be remembered for his pizza, the millions raised for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, but most of all his passion for Cubs baseball during good times and not so good times.
posted by achmorrison at 5:53 AM PST - 43 comments

December 2



"In order to renew my Fangraphs membership, every six months, Dave Cameron flies out to meet me in an unmarked parking garage in Washington DC, where I swear a blood oath by candlelight on a stack of Necronomicons never to write anything complimentary about Derek Jeter’s mobility or range. Cameron’s post about Jeter yesterday was faithful to our sworn mission. The awful secret of Derek Jeter’s fifth Gold Glove requires a little background in a few of the more esoteric domains of human knowledge. This may be the most important blog post I ever write; if it is the last, dear readers, only you will know the truth." Sure, FanGraphs appears to be a geeky site for baseball stat-heads who live in their mothers’ basements, crunch numbers whilst sipping Diet Dr. Pepper, and invent silly acronyms instead of dating girls. But FanGraphs bloggers quite firmly embrace their own nerdiness – even going so far as to create NERD, the stat, which rates the “watchability” of a team. Furthermore, they so often blend humor, politics, literature, and philosophy into their writings that to shun the site is to deprive yourself of fascinating, scrumptious nuggets of surprisingly accessible, occasionally math-heavy, and nearly always well-written baseball geekery. Would you like to know if better players have more Twitter followers? Wondered, Is The DH Dying? Derek Jeter cheated... so what? How about a lengthy meditation on baseball and the science of happiness? [more inside]
posted by ORthey at 9:20 PM PST - 30 comments

"When you send a text message on the Verizon network, you can address your text by choosing a name out of your contact list, or you can address it by typing in a phone number. You can also type in a name. And if you type in L-E-I-L-A, then—bizarrely—your text will come to me. This is a blog about the texts I have received. All of them are from strangers, intended for other Leilas, but obviously they missed their marks."
posted by danb at 9:11 PM PST - 48 comments

Murderbullets, 102 pages of power armour, guns, mega-scale rapidly mutating biological horror, cancer sticks, tanks and general comics mahem by James Stokoe.
posted by Artw at 9:10 PM PST - 17 comments

"From 1965 to 1971, we played together, inventing one thing or another.... But, like the bride of Bluebeard, there was one door I was not allowed to enter. That was the door marked “Colorforms”. That alone was off limits. Harry had invented Colorforms, the vinyl plastic pieces that stuck to a shiny surface. And he was convinced that there was no idea or application involving Colorforms, nor could there be, that he had not thought up already.... [H]e would entertain no further discussion on the subject. The very mention of “stick-ons” was off limits. The door to Colorforms was shut and bolted. Until 6 years later, through a curious set of circumstances, I broke it down once and forever." The Colorforms Years is Mel Birnkrant's illustrated history of two decades of ups and downs working with Colorforms, the first plastic-based creative toy and one of the first toys promoted in television commercials. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn at 8:20 PM PST - 68 comments

"Weddings are elaborate in Dagestan, the largest autonomy in the North Caucasus. On August 22 we attended a wedding in Makhachkala, Dagestan's capital: Duma member and Dagestan Oil Company chief Gadzhi Makhachev's son married a classmate. The lavish display and heavy drinking concealed the deadly serious North Caucasus politics of land, ethnicity, clan, and alliance." Thus begins a highly informative and somewhat amusing diplomatic cable, recently leaked by wikileaks. [more inside]
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 7:15 PM PST - 38 comments


Following the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the rail networks of East and West Berlin were divided, necessitating the closure of a number of stations, creating ghost stations, through which West Berlin trains slowed, but did not stop. They appeared on West Berlin U-/S-Bahn maps as stations at which trains do not stop, in the case of stations lying in East Berlin through which trains passed or as out of service. The map also included some stations reachable only from East Berlin trains. The East Berlin map omitted the West Berlin lines and stations entirely. [more inside]
posted by hoyland at 6:44 PM PST - 17 comments

Jimmy Wales Meme [more inside]
posted by memebake at 4:37 PM PST - 56 comments



You be like, "Maury, I'm not the father of that baby." And post-structuralism is like, "You ARE the father of that baby." Post-structuralism Explained. (NSFW SLYT) [more inside]
posted by fryman at 2:54 PM PST - 30 comments

New Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (previously and previously) announced today that he is canceling the Transit City LRT construction plan so the city can concentrate on building subways. The fact that millions of dollars have already been spent and that new subway lines might not be finished until 2020 is apparently beside the point. What matters, according to Ford, is that “The war on the car is over.”
posted by spoobnooble at 2:38 PM PST - 88 comments

Google Maps and Label Readability. No really, it's an interesting read.
posted by azarbayejani at 2:33 PM PST - 32 comments

Our Meth House. Jenn Friberg and Rob Quigley bought a home in Bristol, PA. What they didn't know is that it been used as a meth house. Too bad they didn't read How to avoid buying a meth house first.
posted by fixedgear at 2:31 PM PST - 32 comments

An RC flight around lower New York City Featuring nice, close passes of the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
posted by rouftop at 2:21 PM PST - 39 comments


"This site features the full audio from the rare LP record First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival, published by Creative Computing in 1979." [more inside]
posted by not_on_display at 1:11 PM PST - 6 comments

UX Week 2010 videos are here! Hello, everybody. I have just a couple minutes and I want to share with you a very simple idea, something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately that is based on a quote that is often attributed to Pablo Picasso. He said at one point that good artists copy but great artists steal, and I’ve always wondered what really he meant by that. Jeffrey Veen, co-founder of Typekit gives us 5 Minutes on Imitation in Design. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation at 1:05 PM PST - 10 comments

Maybe you really like cycling. Maybe you also a have a partner who really likes cycling. Maybe you need a tandem. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot at 11:43 AM PST - 55 comments

Haircut is a choose-your-own-MUSICAL-youtube-adventure. It is awesome.
posted by juv3nal at 11:36 AM PST - 17 comments

The real reason Jews don’t have more Hanukkah music is that historically, American Jewish singer-songwriters were too busy making Christmas music. ‘White Christmas,’ ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ ‘Silver Bells,’ and ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)’ were all written by Jews. Both Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have their own Christmas albums. The No. 1 best-selling Christmas album of all time is from Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, the Jewish smooth-jazz legend Kenny G. American Jews have always produced a lot of holiday music, just not Hanukkah music. American Hasidic Jewish Reggae musician Matisyahu (not the other Matisyahu) offers an opinion on why there isn't more Hanukkah music and releases his own Hanukkah song called Miracle. On the flip-side, Mormon senator Orrin Hatch wrote and recorded his own Hanukkah song last year called Eight Days of Hanukkah.
posted by albrecht at 11:20 AM PST - 75 comments

"It is only fitting that the story of the brain should be a visual one, for the visuals had the ancients fooled for millenniums. The brain was so ugly that they assumed the mind must lie elsewhere. Now those same skeletal silhouettes glow plump and brightly colored, courtesy of a variety of inserted genes encoding fluorescent molecules. A glossy new art book, “Portraits of the Mind,” hopes to draw the general reader into neuroscience with the sheer beauty of its images." Slide Shows: The Beautiful Mind and Portraits of the Mind [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:07 AM PST - 6 comments

Hans Rosling [previously, previously] compares the health and wealth of 200 countries over 200 years in 4 minutes using the best infographic ever. Interactive Flash version here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:41 AM PST - 36 comments

A popular New Zealand young woman's magazine's causes contoversy. [NSFW] The online magazine asked its (mainly young, female) readers to submit anonymous pictures of their breasts so that they could be viewed and rated by others. [more inside]
posted by chairish at 10:31 AM PST - 98 comments

One million books will be given away for free in the UK & Ireland as part of World Book Night. Any adult can apply to receive a box of 48 copies of their favorite from a list of 25 titles, by the likes of John le Carre and Toni Morrison, and give them away as they please. The ambition is to roll out the idea worldwide in future years if it proves a success in the UK.
posted by philipy at 10:16 AM PST - 27 comments

Interested in doing a small favour to the environment? In raising awareness about planetary issues? In supporting an international environmental organization? Next time you’re going to share a document, save it as a WWF. [more inside]
posted by Shepherd at 10:08 AM PST - 45 comments

"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. " -- Douglas Adams [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:54 AM PST - 73 comments

Darren Tanke has been guest blogging at Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings about his preparation of a Gorgosaurus (as seen here). [more inside]
posted by brundlefly at 9:46 AM PST - 4 comments


After a viral pandemic struck the world a few years ago, scientists had to scramble to stop the spread of the virus but they could do nothing for those who had already been infected. Now those who were exposed face their biggest challenge yet.... High School. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:11 AM PST - 10 comments


Paul Thomas Anderson (the auteur behind There Will Be Blood and Magnolia) is planning to adapt Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel, Inherent Vice. Robert Downey Jr. would play the lead role of Doc Sportello.
posted by naju at 9:05 AM PST - 37 comments

Rhys Millen drifting his 750-horsepower Hyundai Genesis coupe up Serra Do Rio Do Rastro in Santa Catarina, Brazil. (SLYT hoon filter via.)
posted by Ahab at 8:48 AM PST - 48 comments

The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding". The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese at 8:28 AM PST - 73 comments

In today's example of kids smarter than you and I, Wired follows the exploits of two teens competing at the International Olympiad in Informatics.
posted by reenum at 8:21 AM PST - 14 comments

Sam Cohen, Father of the Neutron Bomb RIP. Remembered by many for his influence on Alex Cox's movie, Repo Man. He wrote an interesting autobiography. It was initially published on the web but now has become a rare book. [more inside]
posted by warbaby at 8:01 AM PST - 28 comments

A simple idea: take an ordinary savings account, but instead of paying interest to account holders, hold a lottery to see who gets the lump sum. Freakonomics Radio investigates Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts (Part 1, Part 2), which combine two things that seem completely at odds with each other: saving money and gambling. In Highland Park, MI, PLS accounts have been very successful at converting "non-savers" into "savers". Why hasn't it caught on in the US? It's illegal in most states, of course.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 7:43 AM PST - 33 comments

A little ahead of schedule, Yahoo, AOL and Bing have released their lists of items most often searched for in 2010. Google hasn't released their list but you can see popular searches using their Insights program.
posted by morganannie at 6:58 AM PST - 53 comments

The OEIS Movie is simply a slideshow of one thousand plots from the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, at two plots per second with sequence-generated music. [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog at 6:16 AM PST - 12 comments

User reviews in app stores are notorious for their high percentage of uselessness. Users downrate when none of the windows of an Advent Calendar app open in mid-November and a dog to human translator doesn't actually translate their dog's barking. [more inside]
posted by Omnomnom at 5:27 AM PST - 71 comments

Will December 7, 2010 be remembered as the day the banking system collapsed? Probably not, but if it does, you'll have to praise or blame revolutionary (football, movie, kung fu master, deodorant model, philosopher) icon Eric Cantona, whose Youtube mumblings are currently inspiring a European-wide bank protest.
posted by elgilito at 4:41 AM PST - 39 comments

December 1


In Chattanooga, early in the first week of March 1867, rains came, and did not stop for four days. It was not until March 14 that the floodwaters began to subside, and the city was left covered in mud and debris and nearly destroyed. More than a century later, archaeologist and UTC Professor Dr. Jeff Brown became fascinated by strange architectural features he was finding on some of Chattanooga’s downtown buildings. [more inside]
posted by infinitewindow at 10:08 PM PST - 22 comments

The Long Recall is a daily news aggregator chronicling the buildup to the U.S. Civil War. The daily posts are "digests of the news and commentary that an intelligent American might have had accessible 150 years ago."
posted by lalex at 9:49 PM PST - 11 comments

Considering Jonathan Coulton's lyric-writing, any text-based video of one of his songs is going to be good. But when graphic artist Jarrett Heather committed acts of "kinetic typography" to the ode to suburbia "Shop Vac", he made a SLYT that deserves multiple viewings.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:24 PM PST - 67 comments

A great gift for the archivist and/or audiophile in your life! Just in time for the holidays, donate NOW only $60 to preserve for posterity the controversial, the scandalous, the quixotic, the Springsteen-ian, the timeless classics, plus many, many more wax cylinder recordings from UCSB's Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project. [more inside]
posted by unknowncommand at 9:22 PM PST - 8 comments

A Brief History of Mathematics is a BBC series of ten fifteen-minute podcasts by Professor Marcus du Sautoy about the history of mathematics from Newton and Leibniz to Nicolas Bourbaki, the pseudonym of a group of French 20th Century mathematicians. Among those covered by Professor du Sautoy are Euler, Fourier and Poincaré. The podcasts also include short interviews with people such as Brian Eno and Roger Penrose.
posted by Kattullus at 9:17 PM PST - 11 comments

“NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST (11am PST) on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.” Watch it HERE live. [more inside]
posted by Sprocket at 9:09 PM PST - 102 comments


"Regardless of political stance, no one can deny the joy felt upon seeing your loved ones return home safely -- WelcomeHomeBlog.com is a site celebrating that amazing feeling. Visit daily for heartwarming stories, videos and pictures of members of our courageous armed forces returning home to their families and friends..."
posted by zizzle at 8:10 PM PST - 5 comments

The Lur is an overblown ancient northern European wind instrument made of bark or carved solid wood, with an incredibly "noble" sound (usually). [more inside]
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 7:08 PM PST - 15 comments

With it's new redesign Gawker, and it's affiliates, will be moving away from being blogs. They want to be like Television.
posted by Artw at 6:34 PM PST - 63 comments

"Every year my wife and I throw a party and when I send out the photos I add famous people."
posted by oinopaponton at 3:57 PM PST - 101 comments


Ever wanted to start smoking a tobacco pipe? Begin by selecting from the many types of pipes available. Next, choose a tobacco type and flavor. Pipe smoking has a long and storied history- many a famous man, woman, or fictional character would not be parted from his or her pipe (link slightly NSFW). Pipes in art. Books about pipes. And of course, there is widely varying opinion on just how healthy pipe smoking isn't.
posted by nzero at 2:41 PM PST - 111 comments

The Creation Museum is seeking tax breaks to expand by building an ark-themed amusement park.
“We’re going to get this Ark Encounter,” Link said. “With every ark there is a rainbow and at the end of this rainbow is a pot of gold.”
posted by halseyaa at 2:09 PM PST - 101 comments

Dr Stephen Duckett, recently of Australia, has been heading Alberta's Health board. After an injudicious cookie related media distraction, he is released from his position. He has apologized from the CEO's blog, but his position was still terminated. Here is some of the joy that has developed.
posted by LD Feral at 2:04 PM PST - 49 comments

‘Don’t let up on ’em. Drive ’em off the road. Starve ’em to death. Pull their money out of their bank accounts.’ The colorful, on the lam Randy and Evi Quaid are interviewed and profiled at length in the newest Vanity Fair and Esquire magazines.
posted by item at 1:55 PM PST - 44 comments

Few bands have undergone as many reinventions as the Misfits (no, not those Misfits). Formed in New Jersey in 1977 by Glenn Danzig (vocals and keyboard), Jerry Only (bass) and Manny Martinez (drums), the original lineup played at CBGB and released one unclassifiable guitar-less rock single. In late '77 guitarist Franché Coma was brought on and Martinez was kicked out of the band in favor of a drummer named Mr. Jim. With this lineup, their sound began to take on a more defined sound, merging with the developing second wave of North American punk rock. [more inside]
posted by 256 at 1:53 PM PST - 58 comments

"I Hope This Gets To You" is a "digital love letter" by Walter C. May of The Daylights. He hopes it gets to her "organically—through tweets, links passed between friends, and blog posts."
posted by Avenger50 at 1:53 PM PST - 8 comments

A Serbian Film: Not “torture porn” but an allegory of civil war. Reputed to be a frightening, unwatchable movie reminiscent of torture porn, A Serbian Film (IMDB listing) is actually, according to Jim Henshaw, “exquisitely shot and beautifully designed.… There is no explicit sex and many of the worst horrors are clearly fake. This is not a film that panders to fans of horror or porn, but it definitely is about exploitation.… [T]en minutes in you realize what you are really watching is a re-creation of the Serbian experience of the Balkan wars…. The horrific scenes described above and others that I found far more unsettling are clearly the atrocities of the Balkan conflict moulded into horrific set pieces within the metaphor of a porn film gone horribly wrong.”
posted by joeclark at 1:48 PM PST - 58 comments

Midwest label Suburban Sprawl puts out a CD of X-Mas music every winter. They've collected the last eight years of them here. Highlights include The High Strung, The Hard Lessons, and the common lament, "Santa Just Crashed Into My House and He's Drunk as Fuck."
posted by klangklangston at 1:11 PM PST - 16 comments

Think your taxes are high now? A list of the top ten salaries in the US in 1941, and the taxes they paid (spoiler: 65-73% tax rate! but, still doesn't include total compensation, though, which makes it a little sketchy). Interestingly, the NYTimes couldn't figure out two of the names, C.S. Woolman (who is probably C.E. Woolman, one of the founders of delta airlines) and another mysterious name, J.C. Owsley, that seems to be unidentifiable...
posted by yeoz at 1:10 PM PST - 91 comments


No Return Address. An epistolary short story by Sigrid Ellis. (via)
posted by kmz at 12:19 PM PST - 6 comments



back in October, when reddit was helping raise money for DonorsChoose, Stephen Colbert (major reddit fan, BTW) provided us with an extra incentive: if we raised $500,000 before the rally, he would let reddit ask him anything. Well, you guys held up your end of the deal ($575,000 and counting, with the vast majority of donations coming from redditors). You asked some great questions. And now, we have answers to the top 11, as voted by you. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 11:30 AM PST - 28 comments

In a new paper , Harvard economics Alberto Alesina and Nathan Nunn and UCLA economist Paola Giuliano correlate "societies with a tradition of plough agriculture" with "female labor force participation, female participation in politics, female ownership of firms, the sex ratio and self-expressed attitudes about the role of women in society." In short, if your ancestors used a plough, you're likely to think women belong in the kitchen.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:11 AM PST - 30 comments

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March. Drilling will continue in other parts of the Gulf of Mexico under new safeguards. Previously.
posted by gerryblog at 11:06 AM PST - 28 comments

300&65 Ampersands is a Tumblr blog celebrating the beauty of the ampersand. (Archive)
posted by shakespeherian at 10:38 AM PST - 25 comments


The Blanks perform Katy Perry, Cee-Lo, and Duck Sauce. You might know them from elsewhere.
posted by djgh at 9:30 AM PST - 11 comments

ARTSAT Internet Radio uses SuperCollider and telemetry data from the PRiSM picosatellite to make music. The satellite weighs only 1kg and measures 10cm on each edge of its cubic body. (Google translationdirect radio link for your audio player)
posted by mkb at 9:18 AM PST - 4 comments

Bowing to pressure from right-wing critics, the National Portrait Gallery has decided to remove David Wojnarowicz's film "A Fire in My Belly" from its groundbreaking exhibit "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture". [more inside]
posted by ryanshepard at 8:38 AM PST - 108 comments

"The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late." New York magazine explores the connection between the Pill and the infertility industry. The XX Factor blog takes issue with the article, calling it "sexist" and "condescending."
posted by desjardins at 8:32 AM PST - 99 comments

Wall Of Paul. Paul Tatara used to be one of CNN.com's film critics, until his negative review of Black Hawk Down (one of many, many pans) led to death threats and a freelance contract he declined to renew. Since 2007 he's been blogging about "music, sports, politics, religion, firecrackers, action figures, babies, fast food, heroes, hypocrites, air conditioning, parades, cream puffs, and a slew of other topics that have come to shape my consciousness." [more inside]
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:50 AM PST - 34 comments


In defense of Simply Red. A look at Mick Hucknall, and the 25 years since the band's debut Picture Book.
posted by Askiba at 7:02 AM PST - 43 comments

Built as part of the fifth /dev/fort developer retreat, Spacelog.org allows you to explore early space missions via the original NASA transcripts. Currently live are Mercury 6 which made John Glenn the first American in orbit, and the 'successful failure' Apollo 13 (The transcribed key moment and the original). Alongside the transcripts are supporting materials from the NASA archives including photography and descriptions of the mission phases. The developers are looking for help to digitise the Gemini 7, Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 missions.
posted by garrett at 6:34 AM PST - 11 comments

Holey sweater? Fixed! Use a piece of foam, some wool and a felt needle. No knitting skills required.
posted by ouke at 5:34 AM PST - 63 comments