December 2012 Archives

December 31

If you think you can magic us out of the progress trap with new ideas or new technologies, you are wasting your time. If you think that the usual “campaigning” behavior is going to work today where it didn’t work yesterday, you will be wasting your time. If you think the machine can be reformed, tamed, or defanged, you will be wasting your time. If you draw up a great big plan for a better world based on science and rational argument, you will be wasting your time. If you try to live in the past, you will be wasting your time. If you romanticize hunting and gathering or send bombs to computer store owners, you will be wasting your time. And so I ask myself: what, at this moment in history, would not be a waste of my time?
posted by latkes at 11:16 PM PST - 149 comments

Garth Turner, the former politician and now cranky (but funny and more or less accurate) blogger opines on real estate and the economy for 2013.
posted by anothermug at 5:27 PM PST - 26 comments

Raynoth and Zelanna are buddies, play videogames together (badly), then make Youtube videos out of them. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 4:39 PM PST - 1 comments

Guess My Word!I'm thinking of an uncapitalized English word, which you can try to guess. I'll tell you if my word is before or after your guess in alphabetical order. My word can be of any length from 1 to 15 letters. If my word starts with your word (e.g. my word is "cottage" and you guess "cot"), then it is considered to be after your word. You can only guess English words. The goal is to guess my word in as short a time as possible, or in as few guesses as possible, or whatever else you want to set as your goal. For leaderboard purposes, your time (starting when you make your first guess) and number of guesses will be tracked, but entering your name on the leaderboard is optional. There will be a new word every day.FAQ
posted by not_on_display at 4:05 PM PST - 188 comments


The year in space, according to NASA and the ESA, along with the best space photos of 2012.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:57 PM PST - 8 comments

It's the end of the year again - a new end and a new beginning - but just one bit of Samsāra, a word that means "the ever turning wheel of life" in Sanskrit and that's also the name of the ...spiritual documentary maybe? (trailer) recently released by the makers of Baraka (previously) and Chronos. Visually excitable people will pop their eyes with pleasure at the 4K shooting, but there's (a lot, lot) more than meets the eyes. It's presently screening in the U.S. and other countries and I can't help recommending it to anybody. Happy 2013!
posted by elpapacito at 2:09 PM PST - 13 comments

Michael Buerk: ""The arts, low and high, are dominated by them. The BBC is a private-school old boys' and girls' association. They edit most newspapers, even the Leftish Daily Mirror and the Guardian", he wrote."

Buerk also criticised the BBC's coverage of the Jubilee : "saying it was "cringingly inept" and had left him ashamed."

Michael Buerk rants about the BBC, the media and the UK.
posted by marienbad at 1:25 PM PST - 54 comments

One of those inevitable year-end traditions is Lake Superior State University's List of Banished Words, led this year by the currently ubiquitous "Fiscal Cliff", followed by the related political/economic shorthand "Kick the Can Down the Road". Of course, "YOLO" is on the list (as I predicted), along with "Double Down" (surprisingly NOT in reference to the KFC menu item), "Job Creators", "Spoiler Alert", "Bucket List", "Guru" (didn't Mike Myers kill that word in 2008?), the marketing-speak "Superfood", the twitter-driven verbed noun "Trending", the oxymoronic "Boneless Wings" and this year's pick for 'word that has lost all meaning': "Passionate". Of course, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV, an acronym not yet banned, but give it time...)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:16 PM PST - 70 comments

Teeth of the Sea are a quartet of clean-cut young men from North London. They work in shops. Together, they make a near indescribable noise, a bit like Sketches of Spain-era Miles Davis recordings reimagined by slightly scary, 30-something metalheads with a thing for Euro-sleaze cinema, cheap lager, philosophy and noise rock. They are, genuinely, not like other bands. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:24 PM PST - 9 comments

People taking photos :
9:03AM 9/11.
The 2004 Tsunami.
This was taken a second before a lightning strike the hikers. The kid on the left died.
6 bolts hitting the water at the same time.
Diet Coke & Mentos (click on pix to see the second candy).
Bored.
Gray squirrel leaping between two trees. 8 lives left.
Throw ups: A baby, a seaman, a group photo.
Fencing.
…I took a picture w/ no flash at the same time someone took a picture w/ flash[more inside]
posted by growabrain at 12:07 PM PST - 44 comments


The New York Times Magazine's latest issue, The Lives They Lived, is a tribute to cultural icons that have died in 2012. Adam Yauch, a.k.a MCA of the Beastie Boys, is featured on the cover. [more inside]
posted by danny the boy at 11:34 AM PST - 19 comments

Perched high up above the Thames in downtown London every month this past year a different writer has spent four days living in a replica of the Roi des Belges, the boat Marlow travels up the Congo in Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. Each author would write a short text during their stay "which explores London, rivers, the work of Joseph Conrad, or even all three." They would be visited on the last day by a journalist from The Guardian who recorded them reading their essay, poem or short story. Among the poets, historians and novelists were Adonis, Jeanette Winterson, Teju Cole, Michael Ondaatje and Kamila Shamsie. These recordings, each prefaced by a short interview, are all available on the Guardian website, to stream or download. Below the cut there is a link to each recording, with a short description. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus at 10:25 AM PST - 7 comments


2012: The year that netbooks Died. A five-year lifespan turned out to be all that netbooks got. Acer and Asus are stopping manufacture from 1 January 2013 - ending what once looked like the future of computing.
posted by adamvasco at 8:44 AM PST - 197 comments

Trickmousing: mice doing tricks, being awesome. [more inside]
posted by quin at 7:17 AM PST - 29 comments

Apollo Robbins is a spectacular pickpocket whose work extends to neuroscience, the military and magic.
posted by xowie at 7:12 AM PST - 27 comments


The cold hard facts of freezing to death. "The cold remains a mystery, more prone to fell men than women, more lethal to the thin and well muscled than to those with avoirdupois, and least forgiving to the arrogant and the unaware"
posted by zoo at 3:40 AM PST - 86 comments

Aria was an art movie/promotional stunt put out by Virgin Media in 1987 with famous directors providing a music-video take on various opera pieces. ( A full review by That Opera Chick). Of particular note is Julien Temple's (Of Earth Girls Are Easy fame) adaptation of Verdi's Rigoletto as a zany, cartoonish, ecstasy-fueled and very 80s farce set at the infamous Madonna Inn. Watch the whole delirious sequence here.
posted by The Whelk at 3:32 AM PST - 14 comments

Mike Auldridge, the influential dobro player has died. While he played with many people over the years (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, etc.), he was a long standing member of bluegrass band The Seldom Scene (caution, autoplay music). Here is The Seldom Scene playing 'Rider,' Mike takes a solo at about 6:40. [more inside]
posted by OmieWise at 3:20 AM PST - 10 comments

In 1820 Gregor MacGregor, chieftain of the Central American principality of Poyais arrived in London and explained his problem: his principality had a fine climate, friendly natives, and a democratic government, but it needed investors and settlers to help develop it and exploit its abundant natural resources. To this end his government was to issue a £200,000 bond which would pay off at a generous 6%, as well as land rights for a modest 3 shillings an acre. MacGregor would eventually raise funds worth £3.2 billion -at today's prices- for the entirely fictional principality; this makes him arguably the most successful con-men of all time. [more inside]
posted by rongorongo at 1:11 AM PST - 16 comments

December 30

I understand your great grandfather was a grave robber?
My family is Greek and they lived in Alexandria back when it was a Greek town. At that point there was a trade in mummy dust, which they called mummia, which was thought to be a cure all. Louis XIV actually used to carry mummia in a pouch and snort little bits of it. The problem was that by the late 19th century they didn’t have a bunch of old Egyptian mummies to dig up anymore. Instead, when criminals were executed, people would steal their bodies and take them to the middle of the Sahara and cover them in tar. They’d come back a year later, dig them up and sell them to apothecaries, where they’d get ground up. This was a burgeoning trade.
A Q&A with author, photographer, and ossuary expert Paul Koudounaris.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:55 PM PST - 17 comments

2012 in 4 minutes [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:53 PM PST - 30 comments

What is perhaps the best license ever applied to a pinball machine? Probably Star Trek: The Next Generation, which is surprisingly like playing an episode. Williams also released a special ROM of funny quotes from cast members that people can install into their machines. [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 8:01 PM PST - 62 comments



"This is the story of a woman who came in to the domain of the wind." Vento e Areia (The Wind) is a silent film from 1928 with arresting visuals, and a haunting story line about a woman who travels to the windy, desolate prairie land in the middle of America. Via 100 Cinematic Moments.
posted by codacorolla at 3:00 PM PST - 13 comments

Samson and the Stumps Sometimes, all one needs is a fluffy, adorable dog and some tree stumps to pose on. [via mefi projects]
posted by xingcat at 2:29 PM PST - 20 comments

What's the right age to introduce children to literature with challenging themes? Authors, teachers, librarians and critics weigh in. (SLNYT)
posted by Daily Alice at 2:14 PM PST - 60 comments

"Bobby grew up in Calicut on the Malabar Coast, part of its tiny community of Parsis, or Indian Zoroastrians. I knew that he had trained to be an engineer, and in 1942 had taken a commission in the British Indian Army. He had gone to war with the Bengal Sappers’ 2nd Field Company. Two years later, he had evidently run out of luck near Imphal." [more inside]
posted by BWA at 2:12 PM PST - 5 comments

"When faced with months to live, how do you say goodbye?" -- "Zach Sobiech, of Lakeland, Minn., doesn’t go far without his guitar in tow. Facing months to live, Zach is turning to music - writing and performing songs as a way to say goodbye to his friends and family." [more inside]
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM PST - 8 comments

Check out the fantastic 10 minute gag reel that accompanies Season 2 release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-Ray. (SLYT)
posted by kbanas at 1:03 PM PST - 165 comments

Once a Dallas restaurateur, Clyde Biggins has recently been released after 17 years in prison for drug offences. Unable to obtain a food licence, he has taken to giving away his legendary barbecued ribs, brisket and sausage from a truck on his front lawn, in return for donations. "No gauges, thermometers or gimmicks" and seasoned with just salt, pepper and chili powder. Texas BBQ Posse Approved. Find him if you can.
posted by criticalbill at 12:22 PM PST - 40 comments

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 9:12 AM PST - 26 comments

George White is 92 year old, and his wife died this year. This Christmas was the first he was to spend without her since the end of WW2. So he traveled to Switzerland to be with his kids, and he started blogging about it. (Via)
posted by growabrain at 8:21 AM PST - 38 comments

"Was it intended as a parody?" Asked Roger Ebert in his original review of the Patrick Swayze film "Road House," which premiered in 1989. [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:57 AM PST - 129 comments

December 29

Numberphile is a website containing short videos (approx. 5-10 min.) about numbers and stuff. Mathematicians and physicists play around with the tools of their trade and explain things in simple, clear language. Learn things you didn't know you were interested in! Find out why 493-7775 is a pretty cool phone number! What's the significance of 42, anyway? What the heck is a vampire number? Why does Pac-Man have only 255 screens? Suitable for viewing by everyone from intelligent and curious middle-schoolers to math-impaired adults. Browse their YouTube channel here. (Via)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:07 PM PST - 20 comments

For the 2012 iTunes Music Festival, 65 acts (including P!nk, One Direction, David Guetta , Jessie J, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Andrea Bocelli, Matchbox Twenty, Muse and many others) performed at the Roundhouse in London throughout the month of September. 40 performances are available in full online. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 10:07 PM PST - 9 comments

light AMPLIFICATION - Is the color of future of your future neon pink? Is the language Japanese? Are the city's an eternal nighttime of airbrushed martini glasses, glossy red lips and consumer electronics? Do you jam with the console cowboys in cyberspace? Then this is the tumblr for you. [via mefi projects]
posted by Artw at 9:09 PM PST - 44 comments

"When I visited China in 1998, Mbantu, the cabbie who drove me from the airport, couldn't stop telling me about how he had to take a fourth job because of the high cost of transportation. I caught up with Mbantu in Shanghai last year. Thanks to China's reformed approach toward transportation, Mbantu has enough money in his pocket to finally be able to afford a playground for his kids."--Thomas Friedman column generator
posted by bardic at 8:45 PM PST - 31 comments

The folks at International Pleating have been pleating stuff for four generations: silk, organza, Spandex, eco-fabrics, striped fabric, leather, metallic leather, retired kite-surfing kites, and more, in a variety of methods and techniques including Fortuny and mushroom pleating and that's-more-textured-than-pleated-really effects. When they're not pleating stuff, they blog about pleating — including good info about how to recognize a badly-pleated skirt, how to test your yardage for shrinkage, and a mindblowing level of detail about pleated bias circle skirts — and write free ebooks on topics like how to use machine pleating and cutting and calculating for pleated bias-cut skirts. And when they get bored, they pleat Doritos and potato-chip bags.
posted by Lexica at 8:14 PM PST - 32 comments

“When I spoke at the two Ron Paul events in Tampa, a young man kind enough to pick me up at the airport told me a fascinating story. The vast majority of young Ron volunteers in offices he visited all over the country were paleo. If a kid ordered pizza — which was always the primary or perhaps only campaign food — he was practically booed,” Atossa Araxia Abrahamian writes in The New Inquiry about the paleo diet, libertarianism, and the appealing idea of a healthy, undistorted state of nature to which we can return if we are only pure enough. [more inside]
posted by escabeche at 6:21 PM PST - 208 comments

Salt Walther died Thursday night, Dec. 27., at a residence in Trotwood, OH. The cause of death, as of now, is unknown. On May 30, 1973, he survived a crash that no one thought could be survived. His life was changed forever. (YT: warning: carnage, no fatalities) [more inside]
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 5:04 PM PST - 18 comments


This is probably one of the most unusual and creative dub records you're ever likely to hear. Imagine typical bottom-heavy, bass-filled Jamaican dub reggae -- complete with horns, percussion, the whole nine yards -- mixed with traditional Native American vocal music (don't ask how it works, just believe that somehow it does). Now add spoken word samples from Native American, black, Russian, women's lib, and other sociopolitical leaders discussing the effects of colonial imperialism and totalitarian governments on the common man (and, of course, woman), and what you get is this radically inventive album. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 4:10 PM PST - 29 comments

The Death of the American Shopping Mall "Online retailers are relentlessly gaining share in many retail categories, and offline players are fighting for progressively smaller pieces of the retail pie. A number of physical retailers have already succumbed to online competition including Circuit City, Borders, CompUSA, Tower Records and Blockbuster, and many others are showing signs of serious economic distress. These mall and shopping center stalwarts are closing stores by the thousands, and there are few large physical chains opening stores to take their place. Yet the quantity of commercial real estate targeting retail continues to grow, albeit slowly. Rapidly declining demand for real estate amid growing supply is a recipe for financial disaster."
posted by bookman117 at 3:57 PM PST - 129 comments

You've probably always wondered what it would sound like if someone mashed up Justin Bieber's Baby with Slipknot's Psychosocial. It sounds like this, and it's remarkably good. [more inside]
posted by quin at 3:27 PM PST - 15 comments

The Manzana de la Discordia is a block in Barcelona's Eixample district on Passeig de Gracia, between d'Arago and Consell de Cent. It is home to four buildings of the Modernisme style by four very different architects: (some pages in Spanish or Catalan) [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:02 PM PST - 7 comments

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here is a project initiated by San Francisco bookseller and poet Beau Beausoleil that began as a response to the 2007 bombing [previously on MeFi] of the Baghdad bookselling center Al-Mutanabbi Street. After the attack the authorities made an effort to revive the area but recently the government has begun to make life difficult for the booksellers and intends to turn the street into an animal market. The Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project consists of book art created by 260 artists and authors from all over the world, but also includes essays, exhibitions and readings, some of which have been put online as videos. You can see a lot of artists' books online at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts and the Centre for Fine Print Research (1, 2, 3). The history of the project was told in a recent essay in World Literature Today by Persis M. Karim.
posted by Kattullus at 2:12 PM PST - 5 comments

"A composer's dream : a fail-safe orchestra at one's fingertips obeying ever so gently to his every command : a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music. This is, in a nutshell what Pierre Bastien's "Mecanium" is all about" -Michel F. Côté. Watch him in action Live at Faster than Sound or enjoy a track from his album Mecanoid - Avid Diva. [more inside]
posted by mingo_clambake at 1:50 PM PST - 7 comments

The Campaign For Southern Equality announces Game On! [2m28s] in its latest push to make marriage equality an issue across the South, beginning January 2nd. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 1:45 PM PST - 19 comments

The Secret Lives of Readers Books reveal themselves. Whether they exist as print or pixels, they can be read and examined and made to spill their secrets. Readers are far more elusive. They leave traces—a note in the margin, a stain on the binding—but those hints of human handling tell us only so much. The experience of reading vanishes with the reader. How do we recover the reading experiences of the past? Lately scholars have stepped up the hunt for evidence of how people over time have interacted with books, newspapers, and other printed material.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:14 AM PST - 25 comments

Test run through Taxco, Mexico, home of the ultimate urban downhill mountain bike race.
posted by atomicmedia at 11:08 AM PST - 20 comments

Michael Caine is frank about his experiences on the set of The Muppet Christmas Carol. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:15 AM PST - 57 comments

2012's Best News Bloopers
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 AM PST - 33 comments

Bean-hole beans!
Robert Campbell of Glenburn, Maine, has been baking beans in a bean hole for nearly forty years. “Even when I don’t need the beans,” he says, “When Friday night comes it’s just an urge comes over me to start that fire and start baking bean-hole beans.”
posted by moonmilk at 9:01 AM PST - 47 comments

Networks of the Hanseatic League - The Hanseatic League was a late-medieval network of economically largely independent long-distance trade merchants which was based on trust, reputation and reciprocal relations. The informal cooperation among its members kept transactional, informational and organizational costs low, allowing the Hanse merchants to make good profits from the long-distance trade between the Baltic and the North Seas. Thanks to personal and institutional links with confederations of towns, the Hanse merchants were initially able to strengthen their international position of power. Since the late 15th century, however, the transaction costs of long-distance trade increased as a result of growing exclusivity and formalization efforts in the Hanseatic league. Moreover, changes in the European economic structure, triggered by the discovery of America, and internal conflicts ultimately led to the disintegration of the Hanseatic networks.
posted by infini at 8:15 AM PST - 14 comments

Wight's Law - a CPOY Gold Medal winning documentary by Zack Conkle about Jeffrey Wright, a high school physics teacher with a son with disabilities. (via reddit)
posted by plinth at 4:19 AM PST - 2 comments


A list of the most viewed articles on Wikipedia in 2012 from many of the site's main languages. [more inside]
posted by Winnemac at 1:00 AM PST - 56 comments

You either know who Dar Williams is or you don't, but chances are that if you know her music, you've got a bit of a story behind that. [more inside]
posted by Navelgazer at 12:59 AM PST - 62 comments

December 28


Of the final scene in The Deer Hunter, Ebert wrote: I won't tell you how it arrives at that particular moment (the unfolding of the final passages should occur to you as events in life) but I do want to observe that the lyrics of "God Bless America" have never before seemed to me to contain such an infinity of possible meanings, some tragic, some unspeakably sad, some few still defiantly hopeful.
The song was first written in 1918, and 20 years later it was introduced by Kate Smith as a patriotic “Peace Song”.
Here’s some trivia about the Deer Hunter, and a bio of the amazing Irving Berlin
posted by growabrain at 3:55 PM PST - 36 comments

Thinking of Holland you think of windmills and tulips, but the former is originally a Persian invention (as far as we know) while the latter came from Turkey. Worse, Holland is not even the name of the country you're thinking of. Luckily, there's a handy youtube video to explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 2:58 PM PST - 98 comments

"FBI files on Marilyn Monroe that could not be located earlier this year have been found and re-issued, revealing the names of some of the movie star’s communist-leaning acquaintances who drew concern from government officials and her own entourage." [more inside]
posted by graymouser at 1:47 PM PST - 20 comments

Vietnam - Looking Into the Past. Vietnamese photographer Khánh Hmoong takes pictures of Vietnamese landscapes and buildings, then superimposes a photograph from the past over the modern day setting. His work is similar to FILMography (previously on MeFi), Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov's World War II gallery: Link to the Past, and Ben Heine's Pencil Versus Camera. Via
posted by zarq at 1:30 PM PST - 3 comments

Have you ever wondered what the most common word is for any given country's history of wikipedia page? Me neither. But here it is, made into map form. [more inside]
posted by jeather at 1:29 PM PST - 38 comments

For the thirteenth year in a row, the Buffalo Bills have failed to make the playoffs, a new league record. The tallest building downtown is losing its major tenant. People seem to drive into the sides of buildings a lot. Yet Buffalo was named as the second "Merriest" city in the United States. Despite the odd calculation of that index, things are looking up for the City of Good Neighbors: [more inside]
posted by troika at 12:37 PM PST - 61 comments

Front Row (BBC Radio 4), 28/12/12 – 30mins. British stars of big American series like Homeland & House discuss why US TV and movies are so keen to employ UK actors right now. Answer seems to boil down to (a) proper theatre training (b) greater willingness to play unsympathetic characters and (c) botox-free faces still able to move in reaction shots. Damian Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Thandie Newton, Adrian Lester, Clive Owen, Ashley Jensen and Stephen Frears all take part. It’s an interesting discussion, though perhaps a little smug in its assumption of British superiority. I’d be interested to hear what American listeners make of it.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:32 PM PST - 80 comments



Minima Moralia: Reflections from the Damaged Life is a book written by German sociologist and philosopher Theodor W. Adorno during his exile in California in the 1940s. Translator Dennis Redmond has released his translation under creative commons (here is the same translation set up in a more book-like way). In his essay Promiscuous Reading, Mark O'Connell talks about his habit of never finishing books, but an exception being "this captivatingly strange and mordant text" Minima Moralia, "a thematically wayward aggregation of a hundred and fifty-three short essays and aphorisms that darts restlessly from one subject matter to the next, its fleeting yet intense engagements rarely spanning more than a page and a half." Among the subject matters Adorno addresses is the ethics of writing, which has reverberated down through the years, and is often set up in opposition to George Orwell's thought, as recounted by James Miller in the essay Lingua Franca. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus at 9:52 AM PST - 31 comments

Bigger than you think. A game, courtesy of dinty_moore
posted by leotrotsky at 9:06 AM PST - 23 comments

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen Take Phone Calls on New York Cable TV (1978) Part 2 Part 3 Stiv Bators is also on the panel. [more inside]
posted by Sailormom at 8:36 AM PST - 9 comments

A Conversation With Stephen King (NSFW language, MLYT) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:23 AM PST - 23 comments

2012: The year in graphs - as picked by the Washington Post Wonkblog's favorite economists, political scientist, politicians and other wonkys.
posted by Artw at 8:17 AM PST - 17 comments



Hobby Lobby, a craft store with 525 U.S. locations, has announced that it will defy a federal mandate to provide health coverage for all employees that includes emergency contraceptive coverage, and will pay a fine of $1.3 million every day. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:15 AM PST - 389 comments

Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wickham-Fiennes is 68 years old, a cancer survivor, and he's preparing to tackle a six month 2,000 mile trek across Antarctica at night. Partially to raise money for charity, but mostly because if he doesn't accomplish it, someone else might manage it instead.
posted by BZArcher at 7:11 AM PST - 18 comments

State of the World 2013: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky this year's model should be particularly interesting, given the current hyperactive state of the world and the abundance of available conceptual lenses
posted by infini at 5:49 AM PST - 22 comments

The D-Wave OneTM is the world's first commercially available quantum computer. "Our superconducting 128-qubit processor chip is housed inside a cryogenics system within a 10 square meter shielded room." (images) In other words, it's a programmable superconducting integrated circuit with up to 128 pair-wise coupled superconducting flux qubits (video). The first D-Wave was sold in 2011 for a rumored $10 million. At first there was a lot of skepticism about it, but an August Nature study proved it worked by successfully solving "13 times out of 10,000 for four-amino-acid and six-amino-acid sequences under the Miyazawa-Jernigan model of lattice protein folding." Investors Jeff Bezos and The CIA are happy. A 2048 qubit system is in the works about 1 million times faster.
posted by stbalbach at 1:04 AM PST - 58 comments

December 27

Seven For A Secret - an anonymous fanfic author creates seven unhappy ( or at least, unconventional ) endings for Disney Princesses by placing them in proper historical, mythological, or thematic context.
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 PM PST - 53 comments



What's Going On In Japan? "Really Japan is quite a remarkable case, since neither fiscal nor monetary policy seems to be working to achieve the anticipated results. This year Japan will have a fiscal deficit of around 10% of GDP and gross government debt will hit 235% of GDP, yet the country is still struggling to find growth. Instead of reiterating old dogmas (whether they come from Keynes or from Hayek) more people should be asking themselves what is happening here. This is not a simple repetition of something which was first time tragedy and is now second time tragedy, it is something new, and could well be a harbinger for more that is to come, elsewhere. Oh, why oh why are economists not more curious?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 3:56 PM PST - 82 comments


The Hundred Best Lists of All Time compiled and ordered by The New Yorker. All with links*, includes one-time**, revisable*** and regularly updated lists****, as well as some collections not in list format*****, lists in name only ****** and truly dubious entries*******. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:52 PM PST - 22 comments

The pitch was simple: “John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Blues Brothers, how about it?” But the film became a nightmare for Universal Pictures, wildly off schedule and over budget, its fate hanging on the amount of cocaine Belushi consumed. Soul Men: The Making of The Blues Brothers.
posted by Frayed Knot at 12:28 PM PST - 135 comments

"I was never threatened covering the cops beat nor while reporting on a big Mafia trial, but I was threatened – twice – for writing negative reviews of two restaurants. Shows where the passion is, I guess." Restaurant critics write about (and link to) their most negative reviews and discuss the measured and reasonable responses they received after their publication. [more inside]
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:22 PM PST - 54 comments


Of Fanás and Forecastles: The Indian Ocean and Some Lost Languages of the Age of Sail. Amitav Ghosh is tracing the culture and language of the lascars, the diverse Indian Ocean "natives" who made up the rosters on so many sailing ships. In 11 parts, the first nine are up now: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. RIDLH, of course
posted by OmieWise at 10:48 AM PST - 4 comments

The Dork Report is posting fairly in-depth album by album (frame by frame?) analyses of King Crimson's design and typography in a series called The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson Album Art. [more inside]
posted by mintcake! at 10:09 AM PST - 19 comments

Nimona is the shape-shifting, hell-raising sidekick to Ballister Blackheart, the biggest name in supervilliany. [more inside]
posted by mokin at 9:48 AM PST - 25 comments


Guided By Voices {previously} has put out more songs than you can imagine (since allegedly the mid-80s [GBV Doc, Audio NSFW]), most of them under 2 minutes [Concert from 1996]. Which certainly might make it hard to decide what album to start with. Judging by volume of cover versions however, there is no contest. By that metric, Alien Lanes is the most beloved Guided By Voices record. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:20 AM PST - 65 comments

Why I Quit Being So Accommodating. This is the story of a man who found out what it was costing him, his family, and his business career, to let himself be a universal Good Fellow, at the beck of and call of every Tom, Dick and Harry who wanted him to do a favour.
posted by zoo at 8:01 AM PST - 98 comments




December 26


The GallifreyCrumb Tinies (Contains Doctor Who Spoilers) [more inside]
posted by zarq at 8:42 PM PST - 16 comments

Wiktenauer is a catalog of fighting manuals and other primary sources related to historical European martial arts.
posted by zamboni at 7:24 PM PST - 11 comments

A collaboration between 26 designers to create 26 space and sci-fi themed letters. A series of 26 sci-fi and space themed typographic art prints.
posted by Sailormom at 5:03 PM PST - 29 comments

What do you get if you slice a Menger Sponge on a diagonal plane?
Watch this video to find out.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:59 PM PST - 44 comments

Generosity and Political Preferences [.pdf]
We test whether generosity is related to political preferences and partisanship in Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States using incentivised dictator games. We document that support for social spending and redistribution is positively correlated with generosity in all four countries. Further, we show that donors are more generous towards co-partisans in all countries, and that this effect is stronger among supporters of left-wing political parties. All results are robust to the inclusion to an extensive set of control variables, including income and education.
[more inside]
posted by wilful at 4:52 PM PST - 35 comments


In 2011 a group of 40 women known as The Materialistics exhibited a collection of their art work called "The Grand Tour" at the Customs House in South Shields, England. "The Grand Tour" comprised 50 pieces of art work and it took The Materialistics a year to create them. What made this collection remarkable was the medium used to create these art works: they were not painted or sculpted, but knitted, crocheted, and embroidered. Through needlework, The Materialistics had recreated 50 well-known works of art in painstaking detail: Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, Edvard Munch's The Scream, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Pablo Picasso's Woman in Garden, Rembrandt's self-portrait, Dante Gabriel's Rosetti's Daydream, Gustav Klimt's The Kiss, and many more. [more inside]
posted by orange swan at 2:40 PM PST - 12 comments

150 years ago, on December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were hung in Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The men were hung after being convicted by a U.S. military commission for participating in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Originally, 303 were sentenced to death, but President Lincoln commuted the sentences of most of those convicted. The war was waged in the Minnesota River Valley. The Minnesota Historical Society's page on the hangings is here. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's six-part series on the war is here. Minnesota Public Radio has an online photographic display on the war. This American Life's episode on the war is available through the program's website. Indian Country Today reports on efforts in Minnesota to remember the war, including a memorial dedicated in Mankato today. Following the war, most Dakota were expelled from Minnesota.
posted by Area Man at 2:32 PM PST - 31 comments

The Royal Air Force Museum London will be launching in Summer 2013 a signature exhibition commemorating and celebrating the national institution that is Airfix. This will chart the history of this Great British Institution by displaying original Box Art as well as Airfix’s most popular models from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s in the Museum’s Art Gallery. In preparation, this post will focus upon the history* of the company, its founding in the late 1940s by a Hungarian immigrant, through its boom years in the 1960s, the later years of decline and under investment, and finally its current resurgence in the market place. Look at the ways in which Airfix products are developed, including the painstaking research and the cutting edge technology used to design and manufacture modern kits. (text inspired by numerous sources) [more inside]
posted by infini at 12:23 PM PST - 17 comments

Facebook's privacy settings even confuse former Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:21 PM PST - 55 comments

Gerry Anderson, creator of many 1960's puppet series (shot in Supermarionation) has passed away. He was responsible not just for Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and many others, but also the creator of the 60's live action shows UFO, Space 1999 and Space Precinct. Anderson suffered from mixed Alzheimer's in recent years died peacefully in his sleep Wednesday lunchtime.
posted by Webbster at 11:55 AM PST - 65 comments


An early tale of the Internet
posted by msalt at 8:21 AM PST - 37 comments

Education is becoming less and less of an equalizer, as it has gradually fortified class barriers. The NYTimes investigation uncovered that culture has increasingly become the best indicator of upward mobility. [more inside]
posted by nikayla_luv at 7:43 AM PST - 136 comments

1973 news report on the training of Glasgow bouncers, This Week: Documentary about 1960s Glasgow Gangs
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:31 AM PST - 7 comments

Come on into the MASSIVE Railroad Pictures Archive for, well, pictures of railroads. Over 3 million photos (!), over 100k locomotive pictures. Browse by railroad (defunct railroads are under Fallen Flags!), or browse by location, or look at rolling stock (over 700k pictures!). Looking for a way in? Check out the Editor Picks and Contributor Picks pages.
posted by OmieWise at 7:22 AM PST - 8 comments

"The dystextia was the first clinical sign that we had that she was having a stroke," Impaired speech is a common sign of a stroke, he says. But in this case, the woman had lost her voice because of a cold. So the series of mangled messages were the smoking gun of a language problem. He and his colleagues describe the case in the Archives of Neurology.
posted by 445supermag at 7:20 AM PST - 5 comments

A remarkably non-sensational report on polyamorous families. Bookended by 50 Shades of Grey and Gigolos, this 20/20 "special report" on Sierra, Martin, Molly, David, Aaron, Romy, Mark, and J provides a lovely counterpoint to the usual moralizing hand-wringing one finds in media coverage of open relationships.
posted by smammy at 7:20 AM PST - 14 comments

In a sea of plastic USS Enterprise and Millennium Falcon model kits, models of the Doctor's TARDIS tend to be paper craft, DIY affairs or Cookie Jars, and imperfectly reflect some of the craft's more notable attributes. Until now.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:49 AM PST - 21 comments

From the early fifties to the mid-seventies, the Nashville based Excello Records released the kind of raw blues, R&B, and rock & roll that maybe wasn't ever going to make it to the Top 40, but was full of grit and sweat and soul, for those who liked their American roots music unadulterated. Their most well-known release was probably Slim Harpo's Baby Scratch My Back, but rocking blues like Lazy Lester's I Hear You Knockin' and Leroy Washington's Wild Cherry are little unpolished gems which deserved their place on any self-respecting cheap bar's juke box. Lowdown blues like Lonesome Sundown's My Home Is a Prison also found a welcome home at Excello, as did tunes that blurred the distinctions between country/rockabilly and R&B, like Lazy Lester's I'm A Lover Not A Fighter, and latin-tinged swamp-rock chuggers like Charles Sheffield's It's Your Voodoo Working. Then there were the straight up country tunes (reminiscent of that classic early Johnny Cash sound) like Al Ferrier's I'm the Man, or rough-hewn, raucous rockabilly like Johnny Jano's Havin' A Whole Lotta Fun. In short, Excello Records was a microcosm of the sound of the South, and though their artists mostly never achieved much in the way of wider national fame, they are an important part of the patchwork quilt of American pop music history. The tunes included in this post are just the tip of the iceberg: there's so much to explore from this one amazing little label. Happy searching!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:07 AM PST - 7 comments


December 25

This 1987 live-action film version of an allegorical fantasy by Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren was co-produced by Swedish, Norwegian, and Soviet filmmakers; shot in Sweden, Scotland, and the USSR; and starred a mixed British/Russian/Swedish cast. Among others, it featured confirmed wizard Christopher Lee and an adolescent Christian "This Isn't a Car" Bale, and was scored by Abba's Benny Andersson. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte at 3:53 PM PST - 11 comments

"Yet when I went before the Public Assistance Committee [to plead for more benefit] they asked me if the baby was being breast-fed and when I said yes, they reduced the allowance for a child.' [Daily Mail - Although not their usual fare].
posted by marienbad at 3:21 PM PST - 12 comments

edible frags and human atomisers
Swallowable perfume—! Is this the logical outcome of precarity, atomisation and hyper-individualism—to reassert yourself, now, as a human atomiser? The vagaries of genetic difference and skin chemistry now allow you, as the ad breathily encourages, to “Go beyond accessory. Express uniqueness. Swallowable perfume: a new cycle of evolution.” Only five years after the Lululemon sweatable perfume hoax debuted, it has already become reality.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:05 PM PST - 17 comments

The Case Against a Smoke Free America "Tobacco is viewed as pure vice by public health officials. Surgeon General Everett C. Koop famously hoped for a smoke-free America by the year 2000. Koop echoed Lucy Page Gaston, the early twentieth century prohibitionist who campaigned for 'a smokeless America by 1925.' This impulse was revived by Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who testified before Congress in 2003, 'I see no need for any tobacco products in society.'... In Elizabethan England, the then novel act of smoking was described as 'dry drinking.' The metaphor is apt: Neither alcohol nor tobacco is essential to life, but both offer pleasant flavors while enhancing mood and sociality. And, of course, both are harmful when consumed in excess."
posted by bookman117 at 1:00 PM PST - 230 comments

"This is all out of Lord of the Flies and Karl Rove is Piggy and we’re supposed to all chase him around with spikes and throw him on a fire?" An assortment of popular conservative pundits are trapped on a luxury cruise with well-heeled members of their audience, right after losing the election. One question hangs in the air: who is responsible for this loss?! Hilarity ensues.
posted by markkraft at 12:59 PM PST - 108 comments

Idle No More. (Note: music autoplay.) A year after the housing crisis in Attawapiskat (previously), Chief Theresa Spence is on the 14th day of a hunger strike. In a teepee close the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, she waits for a meeting with Prime Minister Harper in order to address ongoing poverty on reserves and the implications of Bill C-45, which strips protected status from thousands of miles of Canadian waterways, as well as ongoing plans for oil pipelines across the North and Harper's plans to bring legislation allowing for the privatization of reserve lands. An international surge of support from Indigenous Peoples, organizing through social media (including Facebook and Twitter) has seen demonstrations across North America, including thousands of First Nations activists marching on Parliament Hill, a rail blockade in Sarnia, Ont., and an open letter from Canadian academics, an open letter from The Assembly of First Nations, and other actions. [more inside]
posted by jokeefe at 12:40 PM PST - 22 comments

An assortment of songs by various artists on a common theme: Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas [more inside]
posted by byanyothername at 11:55 AM PST - 13 comments

"People haven’t been fascinated by this book because the translation is mellifluous or beautiful,” said Michael F. Suarez, a professor of English at the University of Virginia who directs the Rare Book School there. “People haven’t been attracted to this book because the presswork is beautiful. It’s not.” Instead, the Bay Psalm Book is treasured for being the first surviving piece of printing done in the British North American colonies. Only 11 copies, many incomplete, today survive. Remarkably two of those copies belong to the same owner, Boston's Old South Church. This month, the church made the controversial decision to sell one (the first such sale in 65 years), and it could bring as much as $20 million for the church's endowment.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:59 AM PST - 7 comments

Hey everyone let's watch Aaron Long's Fester Fish, that irreverent cartoon scamp, as he watches his nephew, goes, uh, fishing, makes some friends, and takes his boozy girlfriend Blotty to meet his fokes for Christmas. (VIA CARTOON BREW - note, preroll ads before most cartoons) [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 10:45 AM PST - 5 comments

I have known him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek was glowing with compassion; and, while his looks were softened into pity, I have heard him use the language of the most unbounded ill-nature. Some affect humanity and tenderness, others boast of having such dispositions from nature; but he is the only man I ever knew who seemed ashamed of his natural benevolence.
From "The Man in Black," by Oliver Goldsmith, author of She Stoops to Conquer and The Vicar of Wakefield.
posted by Iridic at 10:31 AM PST - 2 comments

Turns out many of Ridley Scott's Prometheus' flaws were the result of shoddy editing and mismatching elements from essentially two different scripts.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:25 AM PST - 99 comments




""Why in hell," he observed impatiently, "do all them goddam hypocrites keep the poor bums waiting for two, three hours while they get off their goddam whimwham? Here is a hall full of men who ain't had nothing to speak of to eat for maybe three, four days, and yet they have to set there smelling the turkey and the coffee while ten, fifteen Sunday-school superintendents and W.C.T.U. [Women's Christian Temperance Union] sisters sing hymns to them and holler against booze. I tell you, Mr. Ammermeyer, it ain't human." -- H. L. Mencken's A Bum's Christmas is the best Christmas story for those more of the humbug than the happy holidays persuasion.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:28 AM PST - 22 comments

Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality [FULL TEXT HTML]: "We used data from a very large study, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)–AARP Diet and Health Study (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00340015), to determine whether coffee consumption is associated with total or cause-specific mortality. The current analysis, involving more than 400,000 participants and 52,000 deaths, had ample power to detect even modest associations and allowed for subgroup analyses according to important baseline factors, including the presence or absence of adiposity and diabetes, as well as cigarette-smoking status." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb at 4:08 AM PST - 85 comments



Twenty two years ago today, a British physicist, former trainspotter, science fiction fan and computer builder, with the help of Robert Cailliau and other colleagues at CERN, executed the first successful communication between a HTTP client and server on the Internet. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 3:13 AM PST - 30 comments

Martians. Nuff said.
posted by timsteil at 12:29 AM PST - 13 comments

December 24

Funk singer Marva Whitney, who was dubbed Soul Sister #1 by her mentor James Brown, has passed away at the age of 68. Backed by the whip-crack James Brown band (the JBs), Whitney's raw expression was just what the doctor ordered for those who wanted their funk uncut. Witness the supreme grooving goodness of It's My Thing (live TV appearance), Unwind Yourself, What Do I Have To Do To Prove My Love To You, I Made a Mistake Because It's Only You, and Things Got to Get Better (another live TV appearance, with James Brown himself conducting the band and Whitney resplendent in platinum blonde afro). Here she is in a southern-flavored soul ditty recorded for Excello in 1972 called Live and Let Live. Later in her career she cut an album with a JBs soundalike band from Japan called Osaka Monaurail, which included a recreation of the James Brown hit Give It Up or Turnit a Loose. And here's a radio interview from 2006, in which she reminisces about meeting James Brown and working under his wing. Heaven is a funkier place tonight. RIP Marva Whitney. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:25 PM PST - 13 comments

The man who first brought us inside a crime lab on television has died at 90. He starred in the Odd Couple with Tony Randall and was the lead in Quincy M.E. He lost his voice to throat cancer in the 1980's but taught himself to talk again. He was one of a kind and will be missed.
posted by UseyurBrain at 6:48 PM PST - 82 comments

Authors choose their favourite short stories. For the next two weeks over the festive period we will be running a short story podcast each day. Our contributing authors introduce the stories they have chosen to read. Ford reads Carver. Gordimer reads Saramago. Selfs reads Borges. Postcasts are being posted here. [previously]
posted by shakespeherian at 6:18 PM PST - 3 comments


The Church of La Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most famous under-construction Catholic church in the world. Started in 1882 under the direction of Francisco de Paula del Villar, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi took over construction in 1883, after which it became his life's work. La Sagrada Familia was dedicated in 2010, after the installation of the roof, and is scheduled to be complete in 2028 Let's look around: [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:35 PM PST - 27 comments

Ben Carlin was born in Western Australia in 1912. He served during World War II with the Royal Indian Engineers, and while awaiting demobilization Carlin came across a decommissioned Ford GPA (an amphibious Jeep). He was sure that "with a bit of titivation you could go around the world in one of these things." [more inside]
posted by obscurator at 11:57 AM PST - 10 comments

Historically, the city states of the Malay Peninsula often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China and Siam. Closer relations with China were established in the early 15th century during the reign of Parameswara, founder of Melaka, when Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca. Impressed by the tribute, the Yongle Emperor of China is said to have presented Princess Hang Li Po* as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan of Malacca (+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims the courtiers and servants who accompanied the princess settled in Bukit Cina, intermarried with the locals and grew into a community known as the Peranakan. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they retained many of their ethnic and religious customs, but assimilated the language and clothing of the Malays. They developed a unique culture and distinct foods. Nyonya cuisine is one of the most highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered some of the most difficult to master but very easy to love and enjoy.
posted by infini at 11:17 AM PST - 25 comments

Jewel in the Night is the first song recorded on the International Space Station. Colonel Chris Hadfield's companions in space are both also musicians.
posted by bwerdmuller at 10:27 AM PST - 12 comments

India's hand drawn movie posters are artistic, hilarious, and full of pastel colors.
posted by reenum at 10:25 AM PST - 10 comments

The Spirit of Christmas (SLYT, gross, bloody, disrespectful nightmare fuel, in other words, classic CYRIAK) [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:53 AM PST - 10 comments

Electronic Toys From Holidays Long Past (274 picture SL imgur gallery)
posted by radwolf76 at 9:26 AM PST - 77 comments


December 25th was the day of the Roman cult of Sol Invictus, the undefeated sun. The Philocalian calendar of AD 354 is the earliest literary reference both of this and of Jesus’ birthday. Many people accept that there is a connection between the two, not least because the Bible likens Jesus to the sun. Christian celebration on the 25th was well established following the outlawing of Paganism by Theodosius after the year 381. In the subsequent centuries, many traditional midwinter customs such as feasting, gift giving and bringing evergreens into the house became associated with it. The Puritans couldn’t decide whether to hate this because it was Catholic or because it was Pagan. In any case, they tried to ban it both in revolutionary England and in their religious republic in Massachusetts. Misrule was always present, but in the 19th Century, wassailing started to annoy the wealthy, who promoted a sentimental process of domestication. In recent years some people have behaved as if there were something offensive about the religious elements of our traditional midwinter celebration, while others even claim to believe that there is a campaign to do away with it altogether; I can only hope you won’t mind if I wish you – a very merry Christmas.
posted by apodo at 8:17 AM PST - 78 comments

Useless Machine: Advanced Edition [slyt] [via (with a how to)]
posted by quin at 8:08 AM PST - 8 comments

The First Rough Draft of History: A Behind-the-Scenes History of Newsweek Magazine
posted by zarq at 7:12 AM PST - 2 comments

A man buys a tiny 400sq foot apartment in Soho, and over a period of two years, creates an amazing, transforming living space than can reasonably sleep four.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:53 AM PST - 166 comments

Thank God its Christmas quiz time! Your annual dose of devilishly difficult quizzing, hot from the Isle of Man - the King William College Quiz. [more inside]
posted by biffa at 3:51 AM PST - 102 comments

Somebody got really, really stoned and came up with a rather creative interpretation of Pulp Fiction (slreddit) [more inside]
posted by mannequito at 3:15 AM PST - 48 comments

This year's festive Doctor Who Christmas episode will feature a new companion, a new theme tune and title sequence and a new look to the Tardis interior! But look out for those scary Snowmen! [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:28 AM PST - 121 comments

December 23

What It Takes to Build a Lego Hobbit [cached version] - How Lego's An Unexpected Gathering was designed from the 2,700 pieces of the modern Lego "system of play", which remains compatible with a brick design that goes back to 1958. Despite worries that the stacking brick system has become less creative, a persistant series of complaints that have spawned their own bingo card, it remains hugely popular, in part through quality control and clever licensing. The Lego Bag-End house also comes in a life size version.
posted by Artw at 11:31 PM PST - 41 comments


It's almost Christmas, and if you have not yet had your fill (and then some) of holiday music, you can hear non-stop Jingle Jams on (W)XPN2 online, also available through NPR.org. If the randomness of radio isn't your thing, NPR has a more (alternative) holiday music for your listening pleasure, from a cappella renditions of sacred music for the Christmas season from the English Tudor era (58 minutes) and live jazz piano holiday music, to funky takes on the seasonal themes and five blues tunes to counter all that cheer. NPR also attempts to answer: what makes a modern pop holiday tune sound like Christmas?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:50 PM PST - 18 comments

Galeazzo Frudua, of Bologna, Italy, possesses an uncannily good ear for harmony, and has produced a series of videos that painstakingly and expertly analyze and demonstrate for you the vocal harmonies employed in various Beatles songs. His perceptive commentary, his very, very capable singing voice, unassuming manner, impressive video editing skills and, hey, his charming Italian accent all combine to create tutorial videos that are fun and educational viewing. Start with the first one he made, for Nowhere Man, and then, well, just check 'em all out. You won't be disappointed.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:43 PM PST - 36 comments

"Edlinger began to climb. As the last competitor, everyone at Snowbird knew how high he must get to beat his rivals and win the event. With apparent ease, he climbed past their high-points, until pausing beneath a huge overhang that had defeated all-comers. At that moment, a narrow shaft of sunlight pierced the cloud cover and illuminated Edlinger. When he completed the route, the only one from the world's best to do so, the crowd erupted. Until this point, American climbers had been unsure about competition climbing. After Edlinger, they were converted." - Patrick Edlinger, age 52, died on December 10, after years of battling depression following a near-death fall in the nineties that prevented him from climbing at the same level. [more inside]
posted by Riton at 6:57 PM PST - 10 comments

In the summer of 1545, the Mary Rose, one of Henry VIII's most powerful warships, was sunk in the English Channel while preparing for battle with the French fleet. But this post is not about her, it is about a 'face-off' between a man running an electric lathe and one using a foot-powered type, to see who can produce the best quality wooden bowl in the shortest time. How are these two events connected? [more inside]
posted by woodblock100 at 6:44 PM PST - 26 comments

December 21st came and went and somehow humanity's still here, but have you ever wondered how many apocalypses you've survived so far? The Goddamn Apocalypse can help.
posted by secretdark at 5:16 PM PST - 35 comments

No other hangar in the world is commodious enough to accomodate the giant. With longer wings than a Boeing 747 (70m) and ¾ of the length of an Airbus A380, but with a maximum take-off weight of only 130 tons (less than a Boeing 767), the Bristol Brabazon was only built to hold 100 passengers. The hangar that was made for it is under threat of being demolished and replaced with housing after the closure of Filton Airport, Bristol. Luckily, the red-trousered Mayor of Bristol has promised to intervene. [more inside]
posted by ambrosen at 4:15 PM PST - 19 comments

Michael Jordan
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:31 PM PST - 24 comments

"Mele Kalikimaka" (Ukelele cords) is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The phrase is borrowed directly from English but since Hawaiian has a different phonological system - Hawaiian does not have the /r/ or /s/ of English and doesn't have the phonotactic constraints to allow consonants at the end of syllables or consonant clusters - "Merry Christmas" becomes "Mele Kalikimaka". Enjoy the canonical version with Bing Crosby And The Andrew Sisters (lounge remix) or by KT Tunstall or Bette Milder or Jimmy Buffet or Gianni And Sarah or The Puppini Sisters or Reel Big Fish or Country Western style or pared down instrumental or Celtic Rock style or performed on the Metro by Pokey LaFarge or ..whatever the hell this is.
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM PST - 16 comments

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre present Christmas: 12 Days of Christmas, Silent Night, Baby It's Cold Outside, Coldplay Christmas, Killer Reindeer Song, Xmas Songs You Daren't Sing, and more. Much more from the Socks here and here, on subjects ranging from Doctor Who to the credit crunch to phone hacking to Skye to Star Wars.
posted by Catseye at 10:50 AM PST - 6 comments

Today I am sharing a video of a woman with quadriplegia who has trained her brain to use a robotic arm to feed herself chocolate. Merry Christmas!
posted by jason's_planet at 10:37 AM PST - 18 comments

The fake intellectual invites you to conspire in his own self-deception, to join in creating a fantasy world. He is the teacher of genius, you the brilliant pupil. Faking is a social activity in which people act together to draw a veil over unwanted realities and encourage each other in the exercise of their illusory powers. The arrival of fake thought and fake scholarship in our universities should not therefore be attributed to any explicit desire to deceive. It has come about through the complicit opening of territory to the propagation of nonsense. An essay by Roger Scruton from Aeon magazine.
posted by chavenet at 10:19 AM PST - 57 comments

Super Fireball Battle
posted by griphus at 10:07 AM PST - 10 comments


"Reading comments on any article about pantyhose, you’d think we were talking about the Gaza strip, not flimsy tubes of nylon. Trends come and go... But there’s something about pantyhose that’s oddly divisive." Autumn Whitefield-Madrano on The Beheld with Hosed: Conservatism and the Return of Pantyhose. [more inside]
posted by flex at 8:01 AM PST - 90 comments

Henson Alternative's Miskreant Puppets bring you The Twelve Awkward Days Of Christmas. (Possibly not suitable for all ages.)
posted by hippybear at 6:25 AM PST - 15 comments

"The brutal* gang rape of a student in Delhi on December 15 has ignited anger across the country. Youth and students from various cities raised their voices demanding a safer society for women and an end to violence in every form*. From the capital* city of Delhi to Hyderabad and Guwahati, protesters turned up in large numbers to register their protest." (text via The Hindu's slideshow) Women protesters were also sexually harassed during these protests. *may contain triggers
posted by infini at 5:30 AM PST - 97 comments

How Steve Rogers copes with being woken up into a world he never made, seventy years after being frozen in ice: diary comics. (SLTMBLR)
posted by MartinWisse at 3:22 AM PST - 31 comments

December 22

Decay is a free, downloadable zombie film set entirely at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:52 PM PST - 15 comments

For your listening pleasure: A Five Guys hamburger review, Songified (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:15 PM PST - 60 comments

Rhinoceroses are purple, they have rounded faces like hippos, they have long, curved stinging tails like scorpions, and they have flashlights in their mouths. Oh, and when those lights are activated, they make pig noises. This is actually a great toy for a kid who’s afraid of the dark and also afraid of conventional, non-cute, non-noise-making flashlights. Or for someone who needs a primer in the genetic-engineering technology of 2075 and how it will be used to create monstrous hybrids to serve our every need, including our need for rhinoceroscorpion light sources. It's time for the A.V. Club's annual Cheap Toy Roundup.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:12 PM PST - 14 comments

ಠ_ಠ
posted by grouse at 8:04 PM PST - 53 comments


Camel Dressage Just what it says on the tin. (sytp)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:50 PM PST - 23 comments

In The Public Domain Review, John Glassie reviews one of Athanasius Kircher's greatest works, Mundus Subterraneus (Underground World), …intended to lay out before the eyes of the curious reader all that is rare, exotic, and portentous contained in the fecund womb of Nature.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:30 PM PST - 4 comments

Yuletube.
posted by curious nu at 4:27 PM PST - 2 comments

As happens all over the world regularly, one night a team of artists got together to paint some art on the sides of trains. This group, however, used their naked bodies... and a fire extinguisher. (SLVimeo, NSFW, via Common Folk Collective.)
posted by knile at 3:50 PM PST - 44 comments

Albert L. Comer Sr., 91, Maryland’s (or the USA's - article ambiguity) last surviving son of a Confederate veteran, died earlier this week. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 3:11 PM PST - 6 comments

Some say that surf guitar started here: Johnny Guitar Watson - Space Guitar
Young John Watson's first appearance on wax: Chuck Higgins & his Mellotones - Motor Head Baby
Also back in the day: Johnny "Guitar" Watson - The Bear
And not so far back in the day - a Frank Zappa jam with Tuva throat Singers, Chieftains and Johnny ''Guitar'' Watson [more inside]
posted by y2karl at 2:34 PM PST - 10 comments

NASA explains Why the World Didn't End Yesterday [more inside]
posted by jammy at 2:19 PM PST - 56 comments

Television viewers in China were shocked last Friday when state broadcaster CCTV aired V for Vendetta unedited in prime time. Previously, Chinese search engines would not even return results for the anti-totalitarian 2006 film; CCTV-6 did at least harmonize the title by translating it as "V Special Forces", rather than the more common translation given in pirated DVD editions, "V the Revenge Killing Squad". [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees at 2:11 PM PST - 53 comments

DJ Schmolli - Perfect Love. In a previous FPP a number of Mefites liked his work, so I thought I'd pass this new piece of his along for your mashup viewing pleasure.
posted by WCityMike at 10:26 AM PST - 7 comments

The Hairpin publishes a (satirical) article entitled Chamberpots: A Resurgence? about a pair of Park Slope hipsters and their embrace of chamber pots and cheap rent. The article is picked up by Curbed, MSN Money, and the Daily Mail, all of whom miss the satire, and a Slate blogger uses the article to comment on the lack of affordable housing in Brooklyn.
posted by apricot at 8:50 AM PST - 62 comments


Christmas round-robin letters: The revenge Lynne Truss (of Eats, Shoot and Leaves) battles against round robin Christmas (and in this case fictional) newsletters from people she barely knows.
posted by feelinglistless at 5:23 AM PST - 54 comments

A Liberian-American reflects on the experiences of Africans who have moved to the United States, a growing community that accounts for 3 percent of the U.S.'s foreign-born population.
posted by infini at 1:08 AM PST - 9 comments

Indoors

Two men sit in this room, spinning non-linear yarns about the creation of interactive fiction. One sits at a small table. Another stands by a shelf along the wall, which is filled with many grey, rectangular objects that you can't quite make out from here.

You can see a small door, a small table, a shelf, Dave and Steve here.
posted by Malor at 12:36 AM PST - 15 comments

December 21



Adults over 50 are the fastest growing demographic for online dating sites, according to a recently [sic] study from UCLA’s department of psychology. Yet while older adults often value companionship over passion and marriage, experts say frisky behavior by seniors should never be underestimated. “I hesitate to generalize that they’re only having gentle, intimate moments,” says Melanie Davis, co-president of the national Sexuality and Aging Consortium. “Older adults can have really hot sex.” But not, typically, in long-term care facilities.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:43 PM PST - 34 comments

The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 10:40 PM PST - 115 comments


It's that time of year again, and here to warm your heart and get you into the holiday spirit, it's Eric Idle performing the beloved seasonal favorite, Fuck Christmas. Ho Ho Ho!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:39 PM PST - 20 comments

For the next apocalypse, you can buy all of your fire starting supplies at IKEA.
posted by ShooBoo at 6:42 PM PST - 41 comments




The UK Christmas No.1 spot in recent years remains dominated by reality jugganaut The X-Factor, despite a successful campaign to get a nice sweary number to the top spot (previously) and a surprise challenge from some singing spouses. This year the Cowell complanceny is being challenged by a charity single to support victims of the Hillsborough disaster - but there's a dark horse, or should that be...a dark fish?
posted by mippy at 3:16 PM PST - 11 comments

Doesn't your cat also deserve a personal cat transit system? And a custom-designed armoire? [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer at 1:25 PM PST - 37 comments

Last Year Rifftrax, the MST3K spin-off movie riffing series, completed a "best of five years" compilation video. Why not get into the festive seasonal mood with three more "best of" clips from such beloved holiday classics as SANTA CLAUS AND THE ICE CREAM BUNNY - MAGIC CHRISTMAS TREE - and of course, THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL.
posted by The Whelk at 12:49 PM PST - 28 comments




Back in March, 2011 comedian Paul Gilmartin started a podcast called The Mental Illness Happy Hour. He interviews fellow comedians, listener guests, and health professionals about issues surrounding addiction and mental health. 93 episodes later, the show has thrived and expanded with a community forum, anonymous surveys, and now a blog. Paul Gilmartin was also recently a guest on fellow comedian Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast, making for an entertaining episode about computer art, comedy and mental illness. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam at 10:35 AM PST - 16 comments


Described as the path to a new golden age of energy, hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' is marketed as an economical, safe, and environmentally sustainable method. An investigation by the NY Times may suggest otherwise. Meanwhile, people throughout the country are faced with the prospect of drilling in their back yards. What are small communities to do? Ask the BLM to withdraw the leasing or perhaps just be ignored. Maybe its time to map the fight.
posted by occidental at 9:05 AM PST - 79 comments

On March 20th 1913, Song Jiaoren, China’s first democratically elected prime minister, was assassinated as he waited for a train in Shanghai. With him died China's best shot at democratic government.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:29 AM PST - 6 comments


The video for "Gangnam Style" is the first to reach one billion views (short scale) on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 7:52 AM PST - 143 comments

Flash Friday: If you can't wait for until 2015 for the new Star Wars film, good news: you can find out how good it will be right now!
posted by mightygodking at 7:34 AM PST - 66 comments

Just in time for Christmas: Bargain Bin Blasphemy.
posted by jbickers at 6:42 AM PST - 23 comments

Cowboys vs. Pirates [Flash]. Not a court case, just a shootin' party.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:34 AM PST - 3 comments

Computer Boy! (also available here): Abe Forsythe made the movie Computer Boy when he was just 18. It's a 50 min. spoof of The Matrix that was filmed in less than two weeks at actual Matrix shooting locations in Australia and cost just over $2000 to make.* It became a cult hit when it was released online in 2000 & was one of the first internet films to hit 500,000 views.* (wikipedia, imdb) [more inside]
posted by flex at 12:59 AM PST - 11 comments

December 20


Peruvian artist Ana Teresa Barboza uses embroidery and fabric mixed with drawings and photo transfers to create "human and animal bodies that cause tenderness and terror alike." [brief bio in Spanish] Her latest works, ANIMALES FAMILIARES, depict surprising animal and human interactions. Past works detail anatomy and tackle modes of dress, makeup, and disguises. [Links may contain artistic nudity, Spanish]
posted by bobobox at 5:56 PM PST - 5 comments

Miss Peppermint sums up some highlights of 2012, in the style of Azealia Banks, with some obscenities for good measure.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:43 PM PST - 16 comments

Explore the BBC sound of the 1960s with 4 demos of Radiophonic equipment. [more inside]
posted by LinnTate at 4:03 PM PST - 11 comments


The 50 Worst Columns of 2012. (Don't worry, it's from AtlanticWire, so there's no Daily Mail hiding here)
posted by mippy at 3:03 PM PST - 64 comments

This Christmas, The Middleman and Wendy return to fight yet another science fiction franchise's villains (previously) in: THE PARADOXICALLY FESTIVE MORTALITY.
posted by kmz at 2:39 PM PST - 8 comments



Time magazine has selected its best wire photojournalist. (Warning: many very disturbing photos.) He is Marco Longari, whose vivid photos of telling moments are almost all from the Middle East. Bonus: Time has also posted Pete Souza's "Portrait of a Presidency."
posted by bearwife at 1:16 PM PST - 10 comments

RelationshipFilter: Date Lab from The Washington Post and Dinner With Cupid from The Boston Globe are both columns that follow couples before and after their first blind date.
posted by OmieWise at 12:47 PM PST - 15 comments


DJ Earworm has released his annual "United State of Pop" mashup of the year's 25 most popular songs according to Billboard's charts: Shine Brighter. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 12:19 PM PST - 39 comments


They were local bodybuilders with a penchant for steroids, strippers, and quick cash. And they became expert in the use of a peculiar motivational tool: Torture.
"Pain & Gain" [part 1, part 2, part 3] [print version: 1,2,3], a series of articles from 1999-2000, chronicles a true life story of kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder. Just the thing to inspire a "small" "character-driven" action-comedy from noted auteur Michael Bay. [Trailer]
posted by dersins at 11:49 AM PST - 27 comments


The Ghosts of Christmas - A spooky SF story for Christmas by Paul Cornell.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM PST - 4 comments

Here is NASA's Z1 Prototype Spacesuit and Portable Life Support System featuring a rear-entry design (interviews with spacesuit engineers Cristina Achondo and Amy Ross). And yes, it looks a little familiar.
posted by elgilito at 11:23 AM PST - 23 comments

The rise and rise of Leonard Cohen’s once-forgotten classic A song of its time and of today.
posted by lungtaworld at 11:13 AM PST - 59 comments

It's no secret that eleven-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte has given some less than stellar interviews, but did you know that he's also terrible at commercials? [MLYT] [more inside]
posted by Krazor at 11:03 AM PST - 37 comments

This isn't just a list of awesome video games from 2012... There will be some not-so-great games listed here as well. There will be some games that didn't release in 2012, but still made a mark on the year regardless. There will even be some games that will never release.
The 50 games that defined 2012: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]
posted by griphus at 10:53 AM PST - 38 comments

Robert Bork, the conservative jurist at the heart of two political firestorms--in 1973 he carried out the "Saturday Night Massacre" by firing Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and in 1987 had his nomination for the Supreme Court rejected by the Senate after a combative confirmation hearing--died yesterday. A perennially divisive figure, Bork's passing drew encomiums from the right and condemnation from the left.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:49 AM PST - 88 comments


It's December, and that means it's time for the Miss Universe pageant! Which means it's time for Tom and Lorenzo's hilariously snarky rundown of the National Costume portion!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The Miss Universe pageant. For all your apocalyptic fashion needs.
posted by KathrynT at 9:55 AM PST - 113 comments

The year's finest one minute and fifty-two seconds of rock'n'roll: crunchy and childish, clever and determined, the work of a dynasty that will take over every palace in the land.Said the Gramophone on Birthdays by The Mouthbreathers
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:43 AM PST - 15 comments


Unicorn Pug in the Garden (slyt)
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:20 AM PST - 22 comments

Jeremy Norman, an avid gamer for nearly 30 years, says violent games may have had nothing to do with shooting tragedies, but they no longer "provide an entertaining release." Norman was a reporter during the Virginia Tech shootings and now has children a few years younger than the ones killed in Newtown. "I don't want to explain to my son why daddy is shooting the guys on the television. Why that's okay, but when it happens in real life, people cry."
posted by winecork at 9:02 AM PST - 181 comments

How to write about Indonesia as a westerner.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:10 AM PST - 32 comments

Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.
posted by samhyland at 6:59 AM PST - 45 comments

This is Workflowy. If Simple Note isn't quite enough, and Evernote is way too much, this might fit the bill. It's an outlining tool that supports tags, and is easy to navigate and rearrange. If you've drunk the GTD Kool-Aid, it's a pretty lightweight way to organize things. reluctant hat tip to Farhad Manjoo
posted by leotrotsky at 6:47 AM PST - 77 comments

The Beatles Performing Shakespeare. In 1964, the Fab Four added another art under their belt — live theater — when they performed Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in color, to the sound of shouting hecklers (scripted, part of the play) and someone yelling “Go back to Liverpool!” (unscripted, decidedly unshakespearean).
posted by nickyskye at 6:02 AM PST - 13 comments

Horrible Histories, the historical sketch show on the BBC inspired by the books of the same name, has been featured previously on Metafilter. Not mentioned, however, were the real gems of the show, Historical Desktops [MLYT]: [more inside]
posted by primer_dimer at 5:23 AM PST - 10 comments

'If you’re like me, you’ll have asked yourself many times, “Why do toucans have such ridiculously big bills?”' [more inside]
posted by panaceanot at 5:20 AM PST - 32 comments

Based on the hit videogame, Fruit Ninja: The Movie The Brostep Video (SLYT. Caution, contains dubstep-like music.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:42 AM PST - 21 comments

Research Says: Studying Economics Turns You Into a Liar The researchers ultimately ran their test on 258 students from various majors, including business, economics, the humanities, sciences, law, among others. And there was a clear gap: even though a large portion of students lied from every field, economics and business students lied a much more often than everybody else. As shown in the table below, just 22.8 percent of them honestly reported the colors of the flashing circles, even when it cost them that extra euro. More than half of humanities students, on the other hand, were honest. Same went for law students, who appeared to play against type. (They also claim that the *study* made the difference and not just the type of student that signed up for that kind of study.)
posted by aleph at 12:41 AM PST - 80 comments

December 19

The New York Times is previewing their latest technology in the longform journalism piece Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek (username: avalanche/password: preview). Scroll down slowly to enjoy all the photos, slideshows, and movies that go along with the piece, which looks to be adding new chapters to the story over time.
posted by mathowie at 9:49 PM PST - 47 comments

The NYT Book Review just named it one of the 5 best fiction books of the year. The AV Club helpfully posted a video to show you what happens when you open it. Actually, lots of folks posted videos to show you what happens when you open it. Other folks raved in print about the author and his career. The Comics Journal asked a dozen critics of the author's work to send in reviews; this one focuses on the role of disability in the narrative. This one notes the book "is in a very primary sense a comic about women and the private lives they lead, and it investigates more fully than any other comic I have ever read the way they age, fall in love, explore their sexuality, come to terms with compromises they’ve had to make as they’ve grown, accept their limitations, confront squandered ability, have children (or choose not to have children), marry (or stay single), and make sense of the world around them." You might find Chris Ware's Building Stories worth a look or two. Or fourteen. [more inside]
posted by mediareport at 9:35 PM PST - 28 comments

Coming Out to My Child
posted by cthuljew at 8:06 PM PST - 22 comments


100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N' Roll). A continuous stream of popular guitar riffs in a single take, sync'ed to tablature. Made with soundslice.
posted by stp123 at 7:30 PM PST - 29 comments

In this interview with Collectors Weekly, opium antiques expert Steven Martin talks about How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict.
posted by naturalog at 7:20 PM PST - 41 comments

Are you a spiritual wanker?
posted by msalt at 7:09 PM PST - 59 comments

Welcome to Pyongyang! "Koryo Tours commissioned a DPRK (North Korea) gaming company to develop a racing game that lets you drive around Pyongyang in a locally made Pyonghwa Motors vehicle, see some of the sites and compete for a good race time! Collect fuel along the way, avoid the attentions of Pyongyang's traffic ladies, and try not to crash into any of the local cars, or the DHL vans! This unique game is currently online exclusively on Koryo Tours' website (do note that it may take some time to load properly - so do stay patient before starting)." [more inside]
posted by condesita at 5:38 PM PST - 36 comments

Did U.S. General David Petraeus grant friends access to top secret files?
"Petraeus was forced out of the CIA in part because his mistress read sensitive documents. Now it is alleged he granted two friends astonishing access to top secret files as he ran the Afghan surge. In a painstaking investigation, Rajiv Chandrasekaran reveals how the volunteers won big donations from defence firms – and how they pushed the army towards a far more aggressive strategy."
posted by ericb at 5:12 PM PST - 41 comments


BLDGBLOG has a new Books Received post about the latest books to cross their desk. Previously
posted by Cloud King at 2:56 PM PST - 2 comments


Hammerpoint Interactive released its new MMO The War Z on Steam yesterday. It has not been a good launch. [more inside]
posted by boo_radley at 1:29 PM PST - 126 comments


Youtube user CHDanhauser, who has a long-maintained website devoted to Star Trek: The Animated Series, has begun posting self-created fan episodes of the show, apparently providing all the v/o solo. AND LET THE HEAVENS FALL Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 PTOLEMY WEPT Part 1 Part 2 Mr. Danhauser also hosts a range of genuine vintage 1970s animated trailers and bumpers as well as some he has crafted himself on his youtube channel. Bonus rerun: MEFi's oown ChurchHatesTucker's genius eponymous No Kill I video.
posted by mwhybark at 12:14 PM PST - 24 comments


It is common behavior for humans to develop an avatar to present a larger-than-life version of themselves on the web, often as a defense mechanism. For the first time, this activity has been observed in another species.
posted by oulipian at 11:53 AM PST - 48 comments

John Fahey at The New Varsity 10/11/1981:
On The Sunny Side Of The Ocean/Spanish Two-Step
Lion
Steamboat Gwine 'Round De Bend [more inside]
posted by OmieWise at 11:38 AM PST - 7 comments

This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) launched a new digital series: H+. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM PST - 66 comments

It's not a bag, it's a coat. Tired of extra airline fees even for carry-on luggage? The Jaktogo is a bag that tuns into a... stylish coat.
posted by GuyZero at 10:37 AM PST - 83 comments

(SLYT) Not your average flashmob.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:36 AM PST - 30 comments

IT'S FUN TO USE LEARNING FOR EVIL: 4 million hotel rooms around the world using Onity brand computerized locks can be unlocked with a device built into the case of a magic marker.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:31 AM PST - 55 comments

A 22-year old student, Imogen Hedges of London's Kingston University, has invented an unknitting machine to ravel knitted items and wind the yarn into skeins for re-use. I do have my doubts about how much time this machine would actually save, but the machine, which is made out of a bicycle, is a very clever contraption and a lot of fun to watch in action, and its facility for steaming the yarn as it winds it is ingenius.
posted by orange swan at 10:14 AM PST - 29 comments

Actor and writer James Urbaniak (Venture Brothers, American Splendor) has a wry, occasionally upsetting "fictional podcast" with every episode written by a new author. Getting On With James Urbaniak.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM PST - 23 comments

All the Whos Down in Whoville are Aliens
But just what are the Whos down in Whoville? Are they human? What is the Grinch? What’s the connection between these Whos and the Whos living on the speck-of-dust planet in Horton Hears a Who!? Are those Whos who Horton heard the same species of Whos of which Cyndi Lou Who (who was not more than two) is a member?
Related: Is Whoville located on a Who Planet? Previously on the Blue: The Grinch.
posted by asnider at 9:06 AM PST - 43 comments

Phil Plait presents the Best Astronomy Images of 2012. Plait and Bad Astronomy previously.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:43 AM PST - 15 comments

In May 16, 1961, Park Chung-hee ended the Second Republic of South Korea by military coup. On December 18, 2012, his daughter, Park Geun-hye, became South Korea's president by democratic election under the Saenuri party against human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, of the DUP. [more inside]
posted by curuinor at 8:26 AM PST - 33 comments


ShortList has been reviewing British high-end (gourmet) burgers for the last few months. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 8:06 AM PST - 37 comments

Gigapixel image of the Khumbu Glacier and Mount Everest Taken by filmmaker David Breashears this is a gigapixel image of Everest (the mainly rock peak to the left of centre) and surrounding area taken in Spring 2012. To get an idea of the scale Everest basecamp can be seen in the bottom-centre area of the image. Best viewed fullscreen.
posted by jontyjago at 7:55 AM PST - 32 comments

"I was sitting with some friends in Woodstock when a telephone call was forwarded to me from someone who claimed to be from NASA, and who wanted to use a piece of my music to contact extraterrestrial life. I said, 'C'mon, if you're for real you better send the request to me through the mail on official NASA letterhead!'"
Laurie Spiegel is a composer and a humanist software developer. [more inside]
posted by obscurator at 7:46 AM PST - 10 comments

Kayden Kross writes, at length, about opposing Measure B and making a DMV-style sex test. Both SFW.
James Deen makes the world's most expensive burrito and is also a food critic. NSFW banners.
Kayden Kross shares a funny moment in a porn script and a funny text conversation with a porn star. NSFW text.
James Deen got a "shit head kitten". NSFW banners, still.
Kayden Kross dresses up her fleshlight like David Foster Wallace and like a hot dog. NSFW fleshlights.
James Deen waxes nostalgia for Nine Inch Nails and the era when people listened to albums, not songs. Banners still NSFW.
Kayden Kross shares pictures of her horse and pictures of herself buying her horse's love. Also stories about riding her horse. Also pics of her bunny. All SFW.
James Deen has a crush on Lexi and Stoya and Daisy and Stoya and Maddy and Stoya and occasionally he writes them haiku. Blatantly NSFW the lot of them. Plus banners.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:37 AM PST - 46 comments



"For finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union, Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year." Runners-up included Malala Yousafzai, Tim Cook, Mohamed Morsi, and Fabiola Gianotti.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:31 AM PST - 53 comments

Rock Cellar Magazine has come up with a list of eleven songs to listen to in case the world comes to an end on December 21 2010. [more inside]
posted by Sailormom at 4:12 AM PST - 44 comments


Hacker sets up SiriProxy and a Raspberry Pi-controlled relay to make his iPhone's Siri voice control open his garage door
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:30 AM PST - 21 comments

Google underwater
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:45 AM PST - 20 comments

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw at 12:14 AM PST - 84 comments

December 18

Golden eagle snatches kid. (Warning: slow motion section features inexplicable music choice.)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:28 PM PST - 333 comments

"This year, two monumental genres with decidedly global pedigrees arrived on our shores and attempted to crack the American pop code, with one enjoying far more decisive success than the other...One of those is definitely sexier and zeitgeistier than the other, but that doesn't always result in sustained cultural relevance."
K-Pop, EDM, and Baby Brosteps Toward a More Global Pop Landscape
posted by mannequito at 7:50 PM PST - 33 comments


Anne Hathaway and Samuel Jackson compare notes.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:58 PM PST - 43 comments


The X-Men animated series opening sequence redone in stop-motion (SLYT).
posted by griphus at 6:47 PM PST - 28 comments

Decades after he wrote an investigative series on Scientology, the writer examines just what happened. From the piece: "In the mid-1980s, journalist Joel Sappell and a colleague began a five-year examination of the Church of Scientology that would ultimately produce a 24-article series. It would also change Sappell’s life in ways both mystifying  and unnerving." Links to the 24 stories he and his partner wrote for the LA Times.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:35 PM PST - 23 comments

Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative Party's former Chief Whip, resigned his position last September after he allegedly called police officers "f–cking plebs", [previously] although he has consistently denied this. New video evidence indicates that the leaked police logs of the incident were false and that a serving police officer may have been involved in a conspiracy to unseat a Cabinet Minister. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:05 PM PST - 52 comments

Richard Wright & Pink Floyd - Keyboard, synthesizer & electronics equipment [pdf]. A comprehensive, detailed and readable analysis of the keyboards, synthesizers and assorted electronics used by Rick Wright, the other members of Pink Floyd and assorted studio and live accomplices. [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:57 PM PST - 20 comments

In 2012, 40 percent of Americans didn’t vote. The research on this website is an attempt to determine why so many citizens opt out of this fundamental civic duty, using extensive survey research as well as interviews with nonvoters to give a voice to those who are often ignored or marginalized by politicians and the news media. [via this phys.org article that provides a nice summary]
posted by cthuljew at 4:38 PM PST - 63 comments


SLYT: The New York Times released a video today of an incident from September 10th: Preacher Terry Jones was in Times Square, staging a one-man anti-Muslim demonstration, and a Beatles fan who was passing by chose to weigh in.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:15 PM PST - 69 comments


The newest segment in the Charlie Rose Brain Series, addressing Post-Traumatic Stress (SL Video) [more inside]
posted by beisny at 11:43 AM PST - 6 comments

Eleanor Davis watched some friends skin a roadkill'd fox, and illustrated the process.
posted by curious nu at 11:23 AM PST - 27 comments

In 1965 (or 1966, or...1964, depending on your source), three northeast garage rock bands came together to create the definitive early garage rock Christmas Album that time has since forgotten. Merry Christmas from The Sonics, The (Fabulous) Wailers, and The Galaxies features everything from Bob Dylan sound-alikes, fantastic originals, sincere classics... and weird goof-arounds. [more inside]
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:13 AM PST - 12 comments


Frost Flowers: "...they are made of such thin sheets of ice, they will melt away as the sun rises higher in the sky. You may get frost flowers again the following day, but unless the conditions are just right the chances are your first glimpse may be your last."
posted by OmieWise at 11:08 AM PST - 30 comments

“What I’m about to show you,” he says, “you can’t tell a soul about it. If you did, it would be major trouble. Trouble with a capital ‘T.’ ” He sips his drink and tugs the quilt away.

Mawmaw takes a step back. She’s looking at some kind of elephant. With hair.

“Don’t worry. She’s not dangerous,” Tommy says. “Bread Island Dwarf Mammoth. The last wild one lived about ten thousand years ago. They’re the smallest mammoths that ever existed. Cute, isn’t she?”

The mammoth is waist high, with a pelt of dirty-blond fur that hangs in tangled draggles to the dirt. Its tusks, white and pristine, curve out and up. The forehead is high and knobby and covered in a darker fur. The trunk probes the ground for God-knows-what and then curls back into itself like a jelly roll.

“What’s a goshdern Bread Island Dwarf Whatever doing in my yard?” Mawmaw asks.
Shirley Temple Three by Thomas Pierce
posted by y2karl at 11:02 AM PST - 17 comments

Learn how to cook Korean food with Aeri Lee and Maangchi. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 10:38 AM PST - 26 comments

Astronaut, and Expedition 33 Commander, Sunita Williams gives a tour of the International Space Station.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM PST - 27 comments

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis do a tiny desk concert at NPR. (Includes Same Love, posted previously.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:28 AM PST - 18 comments

Torontoist has named their 2012 Advocacy heroes, including Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke for his work supporting GLBT rights in memory of his son Brendan (Previously) and the AHL's Toronto Marlies, the first professional sports team to pledge their support for teammates, coaches, and fans of all orientations.
posted by BZArcher at 10:25 AM PST - 6 comments


Income based repayment is touted as a solution to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill looming for people who take advantage of this program.
posted by reenum at 7:37 AM PST - 134 comments


Jam Odyssey is a holiday hack brought to you by This Is My Jam. It generates an automated megamix of any user's last year of jams. [more inside]
posted by mkb at 6:57 AM PST - 34 comments

He’s got a shaved head, piercings, tattoos, love of punk rock – and a pension book. Leicester’s oldest punk is a familiar sight in the city centre. His incredible story, however, is less well known. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian at 3:01 AM PST - 52 comments

On December 5th, Instagram's founder Kevin Systrom announced that Instagram would cut support for Twitter cards. On December 10th, Twitter updated its mobile apps to include Instagram-like photo filters. On December 12th, Flickr did too. On December 16th, the New York Times reported that Systrom may have perjured himself during the process of selling Instagram to Facebook. On December 17th, Instagram updated its terms of use to announce, among other changes, that its users now
"agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."
In response, Wired has posted How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account. Previously.
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:39 AM PST - 192 comments

December 17

"Video Game Character Wrestling is a Twitch channel run by a guy named Bazza. He said earlier how when he first ran it like a month ago, he 'was happy he got 50 viewers, maybe he could get 50 the next time too', and it just fucking exploded, with an average of 2000-3000 viewers in recent matches," (Via this Something Awful thread). Video Game Character Wrestling is an improbable live-action machinima spectacle which pits AI controlled versions of major game characters (and some real-ish personalities) against one another in a brawl for it all. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 8:45 PM PST - 11 comments

The intro scene to 'Midnight in Paris' (2011. SLYT)
posted by growabrain at 8:40 PM PST - 70 comments

Lapham's Quarterly, Winter 2013 - Intoxication - essays and notes on drug-taking, from across eras.
posted by daksya at 8:30 PM PST - 9 comments

Pull My Daisy Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie - 1959. Written and narrated by Jack Kerouac. Featuring Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Larry Rivers. An account of the making of: The Making (and Unmaking) of Pull My Daisy by Blaine Allan.
posted by unliteral at 7:01 PM PST - 13 comments

00:49 Cut to footage from inside of a Ms. Pac Man Arcade game factory. We watch as employees assemble the video game in mass production. [via] [more inside]
posted by griphus at 6:15 PM PST - 19 comments

The Guardian, the 191-year-old British daily newspaper whose name is synonymous with broadly left-leaning values, is reported to be planning to open an Australian online-only news operation. The venture (which has not been confirmed) is said to be headed by current Saturday Guardian editor Katherine Viner, and to be a joint venture with Australian philanthropist Graeme Wood, who already runs a not-for-profit media site). The Guardian already runs a US online news operation (previously) with local reportage and commentary. [more inside]
posted by acb at 4:52 PM PST - 57 comments

Senator Daniel Inouye, Democrat and senior senator from Hawaii, has died at the age of 88 from respiratory problems. [more inside]
posted by Rangeboy at 3:54 PM PST - 109 comments

The Glitch [slyt]
posted by cthuljew at 3:54 PM PST - 17 comments

Oswald Iten has a keen eye for the color design of animated films. You probably shouldn't be suprised by the fact that Hayao Miyazaki's animated features have extremely well thought-out color design. But did you know that the colors of Dumbo's 70th anniversary home video release are very different from from the earlier one? And have you ever thought about how animation background paintings would look like on their own? Also: puppet animation is included, too.
posted by dst at 2:44 PM PST - 12 comments

"Just as Christianity was offered as an alternative to the pagan ways of ancient people, so was the McRib offered as an alternative to the chicken nugget." Yes, the McRib is back ("and front, and other parts probably best not to mention"), hitting stores today. A product of "restructured meat technology," the meat in the McRib is manufactured at a processing plant at McDonald's HQ in Illinois. Not sure if there's a McRib near you available for purchase and consumption? The McRib Locator is here to help. [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 2:23 PM PST - 112 comments


Brian Lam quit Gizmodo after feeling burnt out from a frantic digital existence. “I was tired of doing posts that were obsolete three hours after I wrote them,” Mr. Lam said. “I wanted evergreen content that didn’t have to be updated constantly in order to hunt traffic. I wanted to publish things that were useful.”
posted by winecork at 12:52 PM PST - 53 comments


"I have a confession to make. I think I'm in friend-love with you. I don't want to date you or even make out with you. Because that would be weird. I just so desperately want for you to think that I am this super-awesome person because I think you are a super-awesome person" -- A single link webcomic by Yumi Sakugawa.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:42 PM PST - 82 comments

109 years ago today, on December 17th 1903, Orville Wright lay down and flew 120 feet at 10 feet per second on the Wright Flyer. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 12:04 PM PST - 25 comments

From the comedic duo Key & Peele, mentioned twice before on MetaFilter, comes Pizza Order, the funniest sketch I've seen in years. Their new season has had some terrific moments – Dubstep, I said "Bitch", Slow Brotion, and School Bully, amongst others – but Pizza Order is something special.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:49 AM PST - 98 comments

Cards Against Humanity is a card game for horrible people. Often described as an x-rated version of the more widely available Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity has picked up a following since a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011. For months, the game was out of print (but no worries as you could always roll your own since 2009), but luckily a new printing was made available in time for the holidays. As part of the celebration, the Cards Against Humanity folks also released a bonus holiday pack following the "pay what you want" model. But would admittedly horrible people be willing to pay for something that was free? Let's find out. [more inside]
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:27 AM PST - 104 comments



The Toronto Star has recently published a three-part story (1, 2, 3) on the life and death of toddler Stella Joy, who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) at age 2. As this disease is considered 100% fatal, Stella's mothers (link to blog) chose not to have Stella undergo radiation treatment in order to preserve as much quality of life as possible. The love of Stella's family and community as they support her and each other through her death is truly inspiring. [more inside]
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:26 AM PST - 13 comments


A big tree.
posted by curious nu at 9:49 AM PST - 56 comments

Founded over beers in the summer of 2007, Caught by the River aims to document three friends' (and their friends') obsessions with British angling, waterways, books, records, movies, and pubs. [more inside]
posted by ryanshepard at 9:21 AM PST - 2 comments

Slow motion video from the 2011 Czech Flyball Championship: Athleticism, speed, caught balls, missed balls, clean passes, misjudged passes, and really astonishing streamers of drool. If you're wondering "What is flyball?", the short documentary What Is Flyball? might address that question. [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog at 9:02 AM PST - 11 comments

Van Life See also: Van Life; Van Life; My Van Life; Lives in a Van; V, W, Bus. Not to be confused with the also excellent The Lady In The Van. [more inside]
posted by OmieWise at 9:01 AM PST - 21 comments


The Scanadu Scout (as part of the X-Prize) is aspiring to be a mobile medical device that can help you keep track of your physical stats on a day to day basis, as well as providing urinalysis and influenza testing to your smartphone along with a host of other features. And with an estimated $150 price-tag, it could be put into the hands of nearly everyone. [video with developer]. [via][previously]
posted by quin at 8:45 AM PST - 13 comments


James Lipton interviews Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle interviews James Lipton. And while we're at it.... [more inside]
posted by zarq at 7:59 AM PST - 48 comments

Cheetahs off-leash at a racetrack. (Spoiler: the cheetahs catch the lure.)
posted by asperity at 7:33 AM PST - 36 comments


Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of the original Mega Man, a series-spawning platformer-shooter starring a blue robot with a gun for a hand who traverses dangerous levels and defeats robot bosses, gaining a new weapon with each boss he defeats. In celebration, Capcom has officially released a fan game, Street Fighter x Mega Man, with the Street Fighter cast (who made their own debut twenty five years ago in August) taking the role of the bosses. Watch the trailer or download it from Capcom's website!
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:24 AM PST - 27 comments

"A lifelong fan of The Lord of the Rings, for the last 50 years [Vince Donovan] has been amassing an enormous collection of all things J.R.R. Tolkien. So much so, he hired an architect to design a house to contain it."
posted by gladly at 6:18 AM PST - 18 comments

  • I did not know the incense storing temple,
  • I walked a few miles into the clouded peaks.
  • No man on the path between the ancient trees,
  • A bell rang somewhere deep among the hills.
  • A spring sounded choked, running down steep rocks,
  • The green pines chilled the sunlight's coloured rays.
  • Come dusk, at the bend of a deserted pool,
  • Through meditation I controlled passion's dragon.
Stopping at Incense Storing Temple, Wang Wei (699-759)
posted by lemuring at 5:48 AM PST - 13 comments

Why 256 bit keys are long enough. A nice graphic explanation by Schneier why brute-force attacks against 256-bit keys will be infeasible until computers are built from something other than matter and occupy something other than space. [more inside]
posted by Twang at 4:29 AM PST - 34 comments


December 16

What does Bob Dylan's voice sound like? Opinions differ (possible understatement alert) . But that hasn't stopped people from trying to explain how to listen to Bob Dylan (previously on Metafilter). But what happens when Dylan's voice is held up to an academic's magnifying glass? Or amplifier, as the metaphorical case may be? University of Chicago professor of music Steven Rings, a proponent of a branch of music theory known as transformational theory and author of Tonality And Transformation (in-depth review), offers one such perspective in his lecture Here's Your Throat Back, Thanks for the Loan: On Dylan's Voices (runtime 41:50)
posted by Perko at 9:52 PM PST - 96 comments

Baseball Magazine, founded by Jake Morse in 1908, was the first monthly baseball magazine in the United States. The LA84 Foundation has posted free online copies of the first thirteen years of Baseball Magazine. [more inside]
posted by escabeche at 9:12 PM PST - 8 comments

Dog Takes Over College Radio Station for extremely serious pledge drive purposes
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:48 PM PST - 30 comments

Ever played Monopoly? Then you've played a board game that was designed by a woman (it was, under its original title, "The Landlord's Game," the creation of Elizabeth Magie). Want to play more board games designed by women? Let's go! [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco at 7:32 PM PST - 24 comments

Something nice.
posted by 256 at 7:17 PM PST - 52 comments

Meet the puggles [more inside]
posted by Kerasia at 6:36 PM PST - 28 comments

Why does my juice taste of Zogs sex wax? If you've ever wondered what the balls from the Sony Bravia ad were like in real-life, then this is probably close. Some berries may have been hurt in this production. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal at 5:49 PM PST - 14 comments

Eric's Trip, first Canadian band to be signed to Subpop. (video is halfway down the page: I was unable to extract a workable link to include here) I've collected a lot of stuff from friends over the years and luckily, i personally bothered to lug 4 tracks machines, mics and old video cameras to the shows at the time. Talking friends into holding the camera or keeping an eye on the input levels. I'm really glad i kept all those VHS tapes and reels of super8 films safe. The boxes of cassettes stored at my folks house still play great after 20 years. In 2007 i started transferring all these tapes into digital form to put this movie together, dubbing old VHS tapes was the scariest thing as some of them would barely play but i eventually got them all. I was excited that with use of modern editing stuff, i could finally sync up old video with better sounding tapes recorded at the same show, or editing together footage i had with someone else’s camera angle of the same show that i got from them years later. I worked on this movie for four years with much love until i finally had what i thought was a good document of what Eric's Trip really was. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:30 PM PST - 16 comments

2012 has been one great year for pitcher R.A. Dickey. He climbed Kilimanjaro. He published a well-received autobiography revealing for the first time that he'd been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. He starred in a documentary about the knuckleball at the same time as he continued his reinvention of the pitch, to often dramatic effect. After a fantastic season, he became the first knuckleball pitcher, and one of the oldest pitchers ever, to win the Cy Young Award, pitchers' highest honor. And now, pending a contract extension, he's been traded to the rapidly improving Toronto Blue Jays.
posted by RogerB at 4:01 PM PST - 40 comments

Jesse and Laura are cooking and eating their way through the United Nations, and raising money for World Food Program USA as they do.
posted by booksherpa at 3:44 PM PST - 14 comments


Unable to visit the infamously badly reviewed Guy's American Kitchen & Bar? Never fear, for Metafilter's own mccarty.tim has you covered with a Guy Fieri Menu Item Generator.
posted by The Whelk at 2:41 PM PST - 76 comments

Maldita Castilla (Cursed Castile) is an action arcade game in the style of Ghost 'n' Goblins themed after Amadis of Gaul*. [more inside]
posted by ersatz at 12:55 PM PST - 10 comments

Could 2012 have been the greatest year in the history of the world? Steven Pinker makes the case in this week's Spectator.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:49 PM PST - 64 comments

Rabble rabble walla rhubarb rhubarb? [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 10:58 AM PST - 31 comments

Filmography 2012 [more inside]
posted by blue_beetle at 10:38 AM PST - 6 comments

Cyriac hates fun-fairs. [11s SLYT]
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:29 AM PST - 20 comments

Eat ramyun like a man (SLYT ramenblue)
posted by needled at 9:13 AM PST - 52 comments



"Claims of institutional racism against black people have dogged the World Bank for decades. The current president has a real opportunity to end the scourge." [more inside]
posted by infini at 4:35 AM PST - 10 comments

December 15

Cold Specks hails from London, and is fronted by Canadian singer [and sometimes guitarist] Al Spx. Her vocals are beautifully inspired by gospels of the American South. [more inside]
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:22 PM PST - 29 comments


NASA Johnson Style (Yes, it's a Gangnam Style Parody, but it's a pretty damn good 'un) SLYT
posted by ColdChef at 6:15 PM PST - 43 comments

(minor Spoilers should be assumed for most of the post) Fringe, which many have called a cult show, has a pension for playfully populating its episodes with pop culture references and has continued to do so into its fifth and final season. [more inside]
posted by sendai sleep master at 2:10 PM PST - 75 comments

Just an ordinary low key 3D beer commercial. SLYT
posted by Xurando at 11:20 AM PST - 49 comments

For shell grumps and net.curmudgeons and people who think Internet search is just too cluttered with bitmaps, DuckDuckGo (previously) offers TTY search. Sadly, there is no telnet interface, you'll need to use a newfangled web browser.
posted by pashdown at 9:02 AM PST - 26 comments

Promiscuous Males And Choosy Females? While previous studies have poked holes in Bateman's classic experiment, a recent study reveals fundamental methodological flaws. PDF slides with an excellent explanation.
posted by stp123 at 8:39 AM PST - 56 comments


A Lost Map On The Tramway In Istanbul
In Turkey, there lives a mysterious minority known as the “secret Armenians.” They have been hiding in the open for nearly a century. Outwardly, they are Turks or Kurds, but the secret Armenians are actually descendants of the survivors of the 1915 Genocide, who stayed behind in Eastern Anatolia after forcibly converting to Islam. Some are now devout Muslims, others are Alevis –generally considered an offshoot of Shia Islam, even though that would be an inaccurate description by some accounts–, and a few secretly remain Christian, especially in the area of Sassoun, where still there are mountain villages with secret Armenian populations. Even though Armenian Gypsies wouldn’t strictly qualify as Secret Armenians, they share many traits with the latter, including reluctance or fear to reveal their identity even to fellow Armenians.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:35 AM PST - 15 comments

Humon's illustrated (and explained) animal mating habits. [somewhat NSFW]
posted by cthuljew at 6:03 AM PST - 15 comments


Feeling a little bit worn? Need to upgrade your body? We've been doing it for a long time. An overview of more recent advances (PDF) and a near-future timeline. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:11 AM PST - 9 comments

I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera.
posted by infini at 3:02 AM PST - 8 comments

December 14

People posting photographs of their bookshelves:
Father in Law's Library, built by hand in about 5 years: The card file. Details & overview.
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare: Building Wall Shelving for 9000 Books.
“…first time in years I've been able to get most of my books out of cardboard boxes and onto shelves…”
My desk after four months of working in a bookstore.
Nigella Lawson's library. [more inside]
posted by growabrain at 9:23 PM PST - 54 comments

The Evolution Series, by artist and animator Jeff Victor. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by zarq at 8:42 PM PST - 3 comments

"Free Music Archive and Creative Commons want to dethrone one of the most notoriously copyrighted songs in the world. " [via mefi projects]
posted by aniola at 7:42 PM PST - 60 comments

This ant was as large as a hummingbird.
posted by curious nu at 5:06 PM PST - 32 comments

SUNY Plattsburgh Assistant Professor, Danielle Garneau uses road kill data collected by her students using a free data collection app to track wildlife migration patterns (WARNING: Some links contain pictures of road kill). via
posted by agatha_magatha at 3:54 PM PST - 6 comments

The BBC is reporting that police arrived at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut soon after 09:40 local time today, answering reports that a gunman was in the school's main office. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 2:19 PM PST - 3142 comments

Academic, writer and tattooist Gemma Angel is in the final year of her doctorate: researching the three hundred preserved, tattooed pieces of human skin in the Wellcome Collection. Check out her website, Life & 6 Months, for writing on the tactile experience of handling the skins, how to find out which part of the body a sailor's "unseen" tattoo was on, and tattoo collectors in fiction. [more inside]
posted by daisyk at 2:11 PM PST - 13 comments


The best classical performance you've never heard: the remarkable violinist Amandine Beyer plays the Diverse Bizzarrie Sopra La Vecchia Sarabanda Ò Pur Ciaccona, by 17th-century composer Nicola Matteis. Here she discusses trying to recreate Matteis's original violin technique, to understand why the Baroque composer, whose work pre-dates Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote his pieces the way he did. Previously, Beyer and her ensemble Gli Incogniti breathed life into one of classical music's most overplayed masterpieces, Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:06 PM PST - 16 comments

***You have connected to THE GUILD BBS*** Vorple version 2.4

Type LOGIN to enter the
Adventurers' Lounge
posted by pravit at 12:25 PM PST - 34 comments

BigBang, "Fantastic Baby" (slyt, K-pop).
posted by Diablevert at 11:45 AM PST - 42 comments


Alferd (or Alfred) Packer has inspired musicals, songs, tourists, cookbooks, students, films and government employees. Even the local library and the state archives have found it necessary to document Packer's journey from maneater to vegetarian. Some still claim he was innocent.
posted by QIbHom at 11:00 AM PST - 10 comments

Can autonomous vehicles navigate the law? This year has been full of big news about the progress of self-driving cars. They are currently street legal in three states and Google says that on a given day, they have a dozen autonomous cars on the road. This August, they passed 300,000 driver-hours. In Spain this summer, Volvo drove a convoy of three cars through 200 kilometers of desert highway with just one driver and a police escort. Cadillac's newest models park themselves. The writing, one might think, is on the wall. But objects in the media may be farther off than they appear.
posted by modernnomad at 10:53 AM PST - 83 comments

Jul!, a creative and delightfully disturbing animated advent calendar (some images possibly NSFW). Via.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 10:15 AM PST - 5 comments

Dec 15th, 1992 : The Chronic, Dr. Dre's first solo album, is released. [more inside]
posted by dubold at 10:07 AM PST - 36 comments

GIF and circumstance: A random and automated parody of #whatshouldwecallme-style tumblrs (previously) matching a random gif to a random recent tweet that contains the word "when." Potentially NSFW. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 AM PST - 17 comments




Ever wanted to see rugby highlights animated in lego? Of course you have! [more inside]
posted by Scottie_Bob at 8:01 AM PST - 6 comments

Driving in Russia. (SLYT) (warning: contains footage of many many car accidents.)
posted by alms at 7:44 AM PST - 118 comments

MTB vs. Soccer
posted by unSane at 7:02 AM PST - 44 comments

Looking for a double-helix transistor to magnify your oblidisk? Want to discuss balooning algorithms or Dormison's Paradox? Ever wondered about Swedish teutonic logic commands, the Hans-Rodenheim Law of Vectoral Momentum, Fankel readings, Mornington axions, the Armistan Codex, Envels, or the newest breakthroughs in ion insulate plate technology? Come here for all your VX needs, whether it be tech updates, fixes, or conventions! [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:02 AM PST - 31 comments




The Bald Knobbers were a vigilante group founded in the southern part of Missouri in the years after the Civil War. Though the group originally formed as a hedge against rampant crime and to protect citizens against marauding gangs, the Bald Knobbers themselves began terrorizing locals in an effort to enforce "clean living". The Bald Knobbers, who wore frightening masks, are not to be confused with The Baldknobbers, who make frightening faces.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:46 AM PST - 28 comments

"British comics go through peaks and troughs, and currently we’re in a peaky bit. In the mental graph I’m going to attempt to construct in your head, the x-axis begins around 1977 and the y-axis is the amount of interesting stuff happening. Up, down, up, down. Imagine at the moment that we are up." -- Hayley Campbell on "why we're banging on about comics so much", as The New Statesman holds a week of British comics blogging. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 5:12 AM PST - 24 comments

December 13

Petition to 'Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016' garners over 25,000 signatures thus requiring an official White House response. [more inside]
posted by mazola at 11:41 PM PST - 95 comments

For your low-fi electronica fix: The Twoism forum presents One on Twoism: a mixed compilation series inspired by Boards of Canada.
◆ Volume 5 - mp3 download - lossless FLAC
◆ Volume 4 - mp3 download - lossless FLAC
◆ Volume 3 - mp3 download - lossless FLAC
◆ Volume 2 - mp3 download - lossless FLAC
◆ Volume 1 - mp3 download - lossless FLAC
posted by dunkadunc at 10:33 PM PST - 17 comments


To say that Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur L'Enfant-Jesus (Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus) is a masterpiece is a gross understatement. Over sixty years after its composition, it has rightfully earned the recognition of being one of the most important piano works of the 20th century. ... [It] is one of the most personal and intimate pieces Messiaen ever wrote, and it gives the listener a close look at Messiaen the person. Messiaen was a deeply religious person, and although his faith influenced every single piece he wrote, the Vingt Regards is almost like his own personal spiritual diary. - Keith Kerchoff [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen at 8:56 PM PST - 16 comments

Tweedland has some interesting stories and characters. Here's two to get you started:
Robert de Montesquiou - "Tall, black-haired, rouged, Kaiser-moustached, he cackled and screamed in weird attitudes, giggling in high soprano, hiding his little black teeth behind an exquisitely gloved hand – the poseur absolute. He was said to have slept with Sarah Bernhardt and vomited for a week afterwards."

Lord Berners - "As a child, having heard that if you throw a dog into water it will learn how to swim, he threw his mother's canine companion out of the window on the grounds that if one applies the same logic it should learn how to fly. (The dog was unharmed, and he was "thrashed" by his mother.)"
posted by unliteral at 8:17 PM PST - 7 comments

Last night was the grand opening of the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, the only museum of its kind in North America. The video is narrated by MoMath's chief of content, mathematical sculptor George Hart (better known in some circles as Vi Hart's dad.) The sculpture of the space of three-note chords in the video is based on the work of Dmitri Tymoczko, and the lovely curved hammock of strings a visitor is sitting in at the end is a ruled quadric surface. Many more videos at the Museum of Mathematics YouTube channel. Coverage from the New Scientist. (Previously on MetaFilter.)
posted by escabeche at 7:55 PM PST - 24 comments


Today marks the implementation of the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act. The late Billy Mays is widely seen as the cause of the ire that produced the act
posted by Xurando at 5:57 PM PST - 38 comments

The Pinokio Lamp (SLVimeo), a student project to design an inquisitive, playful animated desk lamp [via].
posted by figurant at 4:53 PM PST - 13 comments

GlamourFilter: Opening Night at La Scala. Pictures from La Scala's opening nights, dating through the fifties and sixties. (Main story here, slideshow here, those links in Italian, but easy enough to figure out for non-speakers.) Pictures of Callas, Toscanini, Princess Grace, Dick and Liz, and many more, all looking impossibly fab and glamourous. (Via the always informative and entertaining Opera Chic.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:06 PM PST - 10 comments

William F. House, known by many in the field as the "Father of Neurotology," has died at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with developing the cochlear implant, pioneering the use of the operative microscope in ear and brain surgery, and, with his brother Howard, establishing the House Ear Institute. [more inside]
posted by robstercraw at 3:53 PM PST - 2 comments

Gorgeous time lapse footage of the journey of the M/V Matson Maunalei loading up in Honolulu and taking the 35 day trip to Long Beach. As you probably know, those containers on the merchant ship are filled with pallets, the single most important object in the global economy , previously. Shipping containers on Metafilter.
posted by cushie at 2:54 PM PST - 19 comments

I love you, dad One of my fondest childhood memories is me sitting on a sled, being dragged along a thinly snow covered road by my dad. I was looking up at him and reflecting on the fact that he is also an individual person, just as I am. He has his own thoughts, his own wants, and his own memories. He’d had an entire life to live before I even existed.
posted by winecork at 2:46 PM PST - 42 comments

Darcy O’Neil’s “Art of Drink” blog examines temperance images from the 1800s, the meaning of temperance, historical drinking and driving ads, and a couple of bitters labels for good measure. [more inside]
posted by Revort at 1:43 PM PST - 15 comments

Billed as "Factory Sourcing Made Easy," Maker's Row is a searchable database of American factories, their specialties, their locations, and which parts of the production process they can help you with.
posted by OmieWise at 1:24 PM PST - 7 comments

The A.V. Club have just released their annual list of noteworthy/insane/ridiculous band names.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 1:20 PM PST - 95 comments

The US Justice Department has settled with the banking giant HSBC for $1.92 billion dollars for money-laundering. Here are Matt Taibbi's and Glenn Greenwald's takes on it
posted by Cloud King at 1:15 PM PST - 111 comments

"To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants [...] but they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be." Anil Dash laments The Web We Lost, and offers some suggestions for moving forward.
posted by oulipian at 1:13 PM PST - 74 comments

Snapshot Serengeti A Zooniverse animal-spotting project. Bird-bombs, charismatic megafauna, snuggling buffalo, ghosts of serval cats. Maddeningly addictive citizen science. Even the 'nothing here' landscapes are lovely.
posted by Erasmouse at 12:31 PM PST - 19 comments

Walking With Walken, a short film [10min] from 2001 about an amateur comedian who maybe takes his Christopher Walken impressions a little too seriously.
posted by mannequito at 12:07 PM PST - 10 comments


Silent retreats’ rising popularity poses a challenge: How to handle the quiet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM PST - 24 comments

On misogyny in comedy: Why women are a "problem".
posted by custard heart at 11:10 AM PST - 39 comments

Brutal Baroque: An Ode To Midcentury Modern Churches: French photographer Fabrice Fouillet traveled across Europe photographing some of the most important examples of postwar churches, creating a catalogue of the spaces called Corpus Christi. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor at 10:34 AM PST - 18 comments

Luminol, a song by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, performed live in Mexico City. 12 minutes long and worth every minute.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:32 AM PST - 11 comments

The Kansas City Star has concluded a year long investigation of the beef industry, and the results may sicken you. Literally. (contains slaughterhouse image) To quote the Huffington Post article on the investigation: This is the true state of affairs . . . just four companies process more than 87 percent of the beef packed in the U.S., and take advantage of novel, money-saving techniques that significantly increase the risk of contamination by foodborne pathogens, leading to hundreds of preventable illnesses every year.
posted by bearwife at 9:48 AM PST - 90 comments

The hard-core kinky action inside your slice of Camembert.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:11 AM PST - 61 comments


Banknote.ws attempts to collect and classify images of all the world's paper currency, both historical and modern, whether it's sublimely beautiful or utterly worthless. If you prefer your banknotes with snarky commentary, hasten to James Lileks' Engraveyard.
posted by theodolite at 8:41 AM PST - 15 comments

Wet Cat - The Song (SLYT)
posted by SassHat at 8:32 AM PST - 8 comments


If you’re interested in vintage knitting and crochet patterns, you might like to check out Re Knitting, the blog of a retired West Yorkshire woman named Barbara who for the past two years has been helping to sort and catalogue the U.K. Knitting and Crochet Guild’s collection of magazines, pattern booklets, pattern leaflets and other publications. Barbara has posted about some of her finds among this collection, which are sometimes drool-worthy, sometimes hilarious, and always interesting. She’s come across such evocative knitting artifacts as: patterns for delicately crocheted WWI-era patriotic tea cosies and milk jug covers, the WWII-era official guide to knitting for the army, instructions for crocheting your own cloché out of paper, patterns for very sexsai 1930’s bathing suits and very mod Mary Quant sweaters, patterns for sweaters commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s 1977 Jubilee celebration, and patterns documenting Roger Moore’s pre-James Bond career as a knitwear model.
posted by orange swan at 8:01 AM PST - 17 comments

Pen & Oink Pen & Oink is a blog featuring modern and classic picture books, and interviews with children's book illustrators-- including lots of great images of their work and process. And there's some awesome doodles of pigs. [via mefi projects]
posted by moonmilk at 7:59 AM PST - 3 comments

Meteorologist and climatologist Barbara Mayes Boustead has loved the Little House books since she was a little girl. At her blog Wilder Weather, Barbara makes "connections between weather and climate concepts, events during Laura’s time and in her books, and present or future weather and climate concerns." For example, in October of 1880, a storm is brewing. "The initial shot of cold air brought near-freezing temperatures and a little bit of precipitation up north on the 14th. The low pressure system deepened on the 15th as it got spinning in eastern Nebraska, pulling cold air around behind it while it brought moisture up from the south. Then, the low pressure just sat there for a while and deepened. As it got deeper, the winds behind it – in eastern South Dakota – got stronger. The storm stayed in the area of northwest Iowa to southern Minnesota through the 16th, then pulled away into northern Michigan on the 17th, leaving cold air and breezy conditions behind it." And in De Smet, South Dakota, Laura Ingalls and her family settle in for the beginning of the Long Winter. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 7:57 AM PST - 43 comments

GameSpy's long-defunct Daily Victim was a daily first-person essay and illustration (by Dave "Fargo" Kosak, now of Blizzard Entertainment, and Michael "Gabe" Krahulik, then and still of Penny Arcade) which paid humorous tribute to the various individuals one meets online. Users would vote 1-5 on each one, and on the weekend, the top-voted Victim would get an additional essay and a properly colored and shaded image, often feeding into an ever-growing continuity. This website presents an archive of the complete series, along with some explanatory articles, all long gone from Gamespy's website, and in so doing provides a glimpse into the internet culture of a decade ago. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:39 AM PST - 11 comments

J-Rabbit: "Happy Things." (youtube, via) [more inside]
posted by zarq at 7:37 AM PST - 5 comments

There came into existence in the late 90s, two genres of music that took rock music, using just about any metric, to opposite extremes. Then someone came along and decided to cram them together into the same songs. [more inside]
posted by legospaceman at 7:20 AM PST - 31 comments


Lettering vs Calligraphy: an epic battle you decide. [more inside]
posted by Sailormom at 5:59 AM PST - 12 comments

The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan at 5:37 AM PST - 18 comments

BBC Radio 4's Mastertapes series is nearing the end of its first run. Each artist selected gives John Wilson a 30-minute interview about a key album in his or her career, followed by a second 30-minute episode opening the floor to questions from fans. They play snippets of relevant songs live, which can be heard in full along with other bonus material on the programme's website. The first series has already featured Billy Bragg, Susan Vega, Paul Weller, Brinsley Forde, Ray Davies and Corrine Bailey Rae - and will close this week with The Zombies. It's pretty good.
posted by Paul Slade at 5:07 AM PST - 8 comments

Tower Bridge forced to open for 50 foot rubber duck. Apparantly it was meant to celebrate the launch of the "new Facebook Fundation, a bursary granting funds and rewards for daft ideas to encourage Brits to have more fun." The ETA on when the giant Ernie will arrive for his bath is still unclear.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:48 AM PST - 40 comments

Alan Cooper and the Goal Directed Design Process The heart of the problem, he concludes, is that the people responsible for developing software products don’t know precisely what constitutes a good product. It follows that they also do not know what processes lead to a good product. In short, they are operating by trial and error, with outcomes like customer satisfaction achieved by little more than blind luck. By Hugh Dubberly, first published AIGA GAIN Journal, 2001
posted by infini at 3:25 AM PST - 28 comments

Perhaps the greatest Irish band in history. They came from Liverpool, a city with an Irish population so large that it's known as "The Real Capitol of Ireland," and with an accent, "Scouse," that betrays its Irish influence. There were four in the band, and three were of Irish descent. [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:24 AM PST - 126 comments

The complicated and contradictory life of Cecilia Chang, former dean at St. John's University. [NYT] Having enjoyed a meteoric rise at St. John's as a fundraiser in the 1980's and 90's, and having served there as an administrator for over thirty years, in 2010 Chang was accused of embezzling $1 million from the school to pay for "lingerie, trips to casinos and her son’s tuition bills." [NYT] Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that she was using foreign scholarship students as her servants, making them clean and cook at her home for up to 20 hours a week. [NYT] And during her trial, it came to light that Chang's first husband, Ruey Fung Tsai - with whom she argued over millions and divorced bitterly - was executed in broad daylight back in 1990. As he lay dying in the hospital with three bullets in his back, he wrote on a piece of paper, "My wife did this" and handed it to the police. She was never charged. [more inside]
posted by phaedon at 1:27 AM PST - 39 comments

If a man finds himself attracted to a woman who doesn't conform to this list (more on the specifics of the list in a minute), does he not count as a man? What if she's "perfect" for him? What if she makes him feel like a whole person for the first time in his life, but she just happens to have chunky ankles? What does "perfect" mean then? What does "hot" mean? What does "the One" mean? What we're setting up here is an impossible cultural standard that excludes...well...100% of women. Because literally no one is that weird Frankenstein's Monster-with-Benefits that your art department put together. In her typical masterful style, Jezebel's Lindy West reminds us that being a perfect woman is no excuse for being actively harmful to humanity.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:15 AM PST - 68 comments

Google Maps App by Google for Apple's iOS is now available. It features turn-by-turn voice navigation and streetview. It's a welcome end to "Map-gate". [more inside]
posted by panaceanot at 12:05 AM PST - 130 comments


December 12

Can I play you... um... some of the new things I've been doing, which I think could be commercial? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen at 8:49 PM PST - 12 comments

Since he became Egypt’s first democratically elected leader last June, Morsi has displayed both extraordinary political acumen and a tone-deafness that has plunged his country into deeper unrest. In November, he deftly helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, averting a bloody ground war in the Gaza Strip. Days later, he lost much of the goodwill he had earned by issuing an edict that awarded his office near-dictatorial powers. Sometimes, Morsi can seem like the inspiring guardian of Egyptian democracy—such as when he courageously dismissed the military junta that had claimed the right to rule post–Hosni Mubarak Egypt. At other times, he can seem like a mouthpiece for the deeply conservative Muslim Brotherhood—declaring women unfit for high office and advocating for an international law to ban religious insults. (And sometimes he simply seems awkward, such as when he sat down for a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gilliard in September at the United Nations and proceeded, for several excruciating seconds, to publicly adjust his genitals.) So far, the only certainty about Morsi is that his ultimate intentions remain unknown. - The New Republic, Understanding Mohamed Morsi: His journey from farm boy to most powerful man in the Middle East.
posted by beisny at 8:13 PM PST - 19 comments

It’s amazing the Anonymous documentary We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists ever saw the light of day. It’s not that no theaters wanted to show it — it performed well at film festivals — or that filmmaker Brian Knappenberger didn’t want to release it. He just couldn’t finish it. And that’s just the way it goes when you’re making a documentary about an ever-expanding and ever-evolving group like Anonymous. (via Wired) [more inside]
posted by warbaby at 7:40 PM PST - 12 comments

Ivan Day has a food history blog. So does India Mandelkern. [more inside]
posted by zamboni at 6:30 PM PST - 5 comments

"Older parenthood will upend American society." "Is waiting to have kids a big mistake?" "Why do women believe they can delay children for so long?" "Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age."
posted by vidur at 6:30 PM PST - 162 comments


A five-part series on the ultimate limit on technology, and how that limit could help us find other civilizations: 1 2 3 4 5 [via]
posted by cthuljew at 5:31 PM PST - 16 comments




Save the Day -- try to save all the townsfolk in your rescue chopper before natural disaster strikes.
posted by boo_radley at 2:21 PM PST - 55 comments

Titles sequences for all five series of Breaking Bad in the style of The Wire (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:27 PM PST - 26 comments

This is a compilation of every headline (with screenshots) seen on "The Simpsons". These Simpsons headlines come primarily with the Springfield Shopper, Springfield's only major newspaper. The compilation includes such memorable headlines as "SQUIRREL RESEMBLING ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOUND", "AWFUL SCHOOL IS AWFUL RICH", and "PARADE TO DISTRACT JOYLESS CITIZENRY"
posted by winecork at 12:58 PM PST - 32 comments


"Somebody whispered to me, 'That's Nirvana. You're Kurt.'" For the (scalper's delight) 12-12-12 Benefit Concert for Hurricane Sandy (and anti-poverty programs), Paul McCartney will front a reunited Nirvana.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:10 PM PST - 386 comments

Want to watch a film based on a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil? No, for that one you'll have to wait until Christmas. Until then: Martin Guerre: A Musical Journey.
posted by Wordwoman at 12:10 PM PST - 5 comments

For your enjoyment,
Two tangentially-related short videos with just a thread from my mind holding them together:
Understanding Music ——————&—————— Solo, Piano
posted by carsonb at 11:27 AM PST - 5 comments

The early '90's t-shirt merchandising hysteria that accompanied The Simpsons' series premiere ignited an even larger bootleg "black Bart" social response that continues to resonate.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 10:50 AM PST - 41 comments

"It's like watching 'Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes', says filmmaker James Balog. He's describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice."
posted by brundlefly at 10:34 AM PST - 36 comments



"In the fall of 2011, Wired hired writer Quinn Norton to embed with the activists in the Occupy Wall Street movement .... Now, Norton looks back on the year of Occupy"
".... There was no critique in Occupy, no accountability. At first it didn’t matter, but as life grew messy and complicated, its absence became terrible. There wasn’t even a way to conceive of critique, as if the language had no words to describe the movement’s faults to itself. There was at times explicit gagging of Occupy’s media teams by the camp (General Assembly, or GA), to prevent anything that could be used to damage the movement from reaching the wider media. Self-censorship plagued those who weren’t gagged, because everyone was afraid of retaliation. No one talked about the systemic and growing abuses in the camps, or the increasingly poisonous GAs ...."
posted by MILNEWSca at 9:38 AM PST - 147 comments

Westvleteren is considered among many to be the holy grail of beers. Produced by 22 monks in a secluded Belgian monastery, it is one of the hardest beers to obtain in the world. It's now going on sale in the US for a very limited release (apparently to raise funds to replace the monastery's roof). Despite the $85 per six pack price tag, fans are lining up all over the country to obtain this legendary beer.
posted by slogger at 9:23 AM PST - 104 comments


Inside the 100 mile ultramarathon run from America's highest incorporated city.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:08 AM PST - 12 comments

Zeus's Affairs - a visualization of all of Zeus's various affairs. The large black circles represent Zeus, the lines on the inside of the circles represent his 'lovers' (or victims), the colored lines connect them to their children on the outside of the circles.
posted by empath at 8:44 AM PST - 35 comments

If you like watching other people work, you are going to love the YouTube channels of Myfordboy, Keith Fenner and Tubal Cain. [more inside]
posted by DU at 7:44 AM PST - 11 comments

Sephardic Music: A Century of Recordings is a discographic website charting the recording of Sephardic secular and liturgical songs. It includes great sections on 78 rpm recordings, early repertory, and modern recordings. Samples of songs are littered throughout, but many can be found in the Appendix section on 78 labels (at the bottom of the page) and the Songs section of the Appendix. There are many other parts of the site to explore, but the Bibiliography deserves a special mention, as does this page providing samples of 125! different recordings of the popular song A la una over the past 100 years.
posted by OmieWise at 7:41 AM PST - 12 comments

David Maisel takes x-ray images of sculptures and other objects from antiquity. The result is beautiful and creepy. [more inside]
posted by Dragonness at 7:20 AM PST - 5 comments


This youtube video explains VENGEANCE - The Story of Curmudgeon's Revenge: Members of a forum for Jeep JK Wrangler owners came together for one of their own in a quite extraordinary way. When it became clear that one of their original members was losing his battle with cancer several members flew from all around the country to his house, bought his jeep, drove it across the country, and then spent almost a year converting it from a Jeep into something they call VENGEANCE, "A Badass 2-Door Jeep JK Wrangler Worthy of its Name". Now they're auctioning it to raise money so his daughter can go to college.
posted by Blake at 6:48 AM PST - 8 comments


The cryptic album Hawaii: Part II has finally been released after a months-long mystery, and it sounds like a mix between Katamari Damacy and early 20th century pop. Includes chiptune rapping, time travel, and the Erlking of German folklore. A bonus track, Variations on a Cloud, is also worth a listen.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:58 AM PST - 8 comments

Press X not to Die - one woman's story of self-harm and videogaming
posted by mippy at 4:56 AM PST - 17 comments

Audio recordings usually include a low-level background noise caused by electrical equipment. The hum contains small frequency fluctuations which are propagated consistently over entire power grids. By storing the pattern of grid-wide fluctuations in a database forensics experts are able to use the hum as a watermark. This can determine when the recording was made, where it was made and whether it was recorded in a single edit. [more inside]
posted by rongorongo at 3:38 AM PST - 43 comments

Sumit Suman recently visited a site, did not sign up for anything, did not connect via social media, but got a personal email from the site the next day. Here’s how they did it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:37 AM PST - 52 comments

'Homeland,' Obama’s Show. The award winning TV show does little to alleviate the myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims, writes Joseph Massad, a scholar at Columbia University. "The racist representation of Arabs is so exponential, even for American television [..] that one does not know where to begin." [more inside]
posted by kiskar at 2:59 AM PST - 84 comments

Study Finds Epigenetics, Not Genetics, Underlies Homosexuality: Epigenetics – how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches, called epi-marks – appears to be a critical and overlooked factor contributing to the long-standing puzzle of why homosexuality occurs. In the current study, researchers from the Working Group on Intragenomic Conflict at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) integrated evolutionary theory with recent advances in the molecular regulation of gene expression and androgen-dependent sexual development to produce a biological and mathematical model that delineates the role of epigenetics in homosexuality.
posted by aleph at 1:06 AM PST - 102 comments

December 11

Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC). (Report: PDF / Talking Points: PDF.) Similar to its predecessors, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:26 PM PST - 21 comments



A plan submitted to congress sets a new course for the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "If the National Ignition Facility does not achieve ignition by the end of fiscal year 2012 using a cryogenically layered deuterium and tritium target that produces a neutron yield with a gain greater than 1, the Committee directs NNSA to submit a report (PDF) by November 30, 2012 that (1) explains the scientific and technical barriers to achieving ignition, (2) the steps NNSA will take to achieve ignition with a revised schedule, and (3) the impact on the stockpile stweardship program." [more inside]
posted by FuturisticDragon at 9:56 PM PST - 18 comments

Ravi Shankar, sitar virtuoso, has died at 92.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:07 PM PST - 126 comments

The Mystery of the Phantom Likes. Bernard Meisler at Read Write Web is trying to find out why his dead friends are liking stuff on Facebook. [more inside]
posted by Diablevert at 8:19 PM PST - 63 comments

Raising Arizona is notable among the Coen Brothers’ filmography for seamlessly fusing the ravishing grimness of their drama with the slapstick antics of their comedy. ... [It] is an intensely bittersweet film. That it is admittedly hilarious distracts from this sorrow, but it doesn’t dampen it. If not the absolute best by the Coens, it’s certainly their most charming. - Michael Nordine [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen at 8:12 PM PST - 112 comments

Environmental and Native American activists in Flagstaff, AZ face federal charges for allegedly "interfering with a forest officer" after a protest action in which they "quarantined" the Coconino National Forest Service lobby to protest a decision permitting the expansion of the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort onto the San Fransisco Peaks – a site regarded as sacred by the Navajo, Hopi, and Havasupai people. The proposed expansion entails the use of treated sewage effluent, aka reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking operations. These events occurred on the same day that the USDA and Forest Service issued a final report (pdf) which outlines recommendations for working more closely with Native representatives surrounding sacred sites issues.
posted by Scientist at 7:46 PM PST - 19 comments

Doyon admitted he was shutting down free speech in the name of free speech, but he defended the tactic as “no different than taking up seats at the Woolworths lunch counter.” Christopher Doyon, also known as "Commander X", arrested for activities variously described as civil disobedience or cybercrime, flees the law and grizzly bears. (SLAT)
posted by kengraham at 6:13 PM PST - 49 comments

Girls: Fact + Fiction Gallery (some images MNSFW)
posted by ColdChef at 4:50 PM PST - 29 comments


When Michael Woodford discovered a staggering level of fraud in the optical multinational, Olympus, he was determined to expose it. As CEO of the company he was promptly fired for his efforts, and believed his life was in danger. [more inside]
posted by smoke at 3:41 PM PST - 16 comments

Ayn Rand, Jim Henson, Sidney Nolan, and Yoko Ono in Conversation on ARPNET. 17 April 1976 – The transcript presented here records a conversation between four figures from the broad spectrum of culture: puppeteer Jim Henson; Russian-American writer, philosopher and playwright Ayn Rand; painter Sidney Nolan; and artist and musician Yoko Ono. A few months after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, The Agency’s tests with the ARPANET convened these four individuals, each with a distinct sense of, as well as the potential means for, a competing world-view.
posted by Erasmouse at 1:48 PM PST - 84 comments

Episode 4 of Bendito Machine, titled Fuel Machines, has been released. (Previous three episodes, art and more on the blog)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:08 PM PST - 7 comments

Ever wish pop songs were more verbose or circumlocutory? If so, Dave Werner's risible Extraneous Lyrics will no doubt entertain. In addition to 2012, he also has 2011 and 2010 editions.
posted by O9scar at 12:57 PM PST - 13 comments

The Translucent Jewel Caterpillar, the Nudibranch of the Forest. Gorgeous caterpillar covered in break-off gumdrops that may help it escape predators. Turns into a bright orange furry moth.
posted by AceRock at 12:53 PM PST - 18 comments

Victoria's Secret has a new line of feminist-friendly underwear: PINK ♥s Consent. Except not really -- it's a hoax site created by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. The internet's response has been tremendous.
posted by Gordafarin at 12:39 PM PST - 78 comments


Porridge. A slang term for a prison sentence, "Porridge" is one of the more unusual situation comedies in BBC's history. [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:26 PM PST - 22 comments

"A viral photograph of a young boy who opted to wear pink shoes on his first day of preschool has sparked intense debate in the blogosphere."* [more inside]
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM PST - 148 comments

A Special Holiday Message from your friends Lil Bub and Andrew WK.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:55 AM PST - 5 comments

Candied salted bacon "We want to warn you ahead of time that it will take all of your strength to not eat the entire pan before it all cools. It's just as tasty cold mind you, but while warm it's a perfect food that will take you away to your happy place. If you claim to not have a happy place, the warm candied, salted bacon will provide one for you." Now what else can we do with it? Bite-sized Bacon Caramels and Candied Bacon Fudge perhaps? (Not to be confused with Bacon Caramels and Bacon Caramel Fudge). Previously
posted by spock at 11:32 AM PST - 59 comments

Born in violent, divided Tijuana Mexico, Ruidosón, a musical movement blending chillwave, latin rhythms, and politics is attracting notice of critics north and south of the border. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:08 AM PST - 6 comments

NextNature's Koert van Mensvoort writes about Ukranian woman, Valeria Lukyanova, who is a body artist also known as the Human Barbie. Believed to be fake, she's proven herself to be a real live human being. He takes this opportunity to remind us about Anthropomorphobia – the fear of recognizing human characteristics in non-human objects, in an essay exploring the Twilight between Person and Product.
posted by infini at 10:34 AM PST - 49 comments

The Barclay James Harvest's "Titles" remains memorably catchy in spite of its faintly irritating musical parlor trick of lyrics created entirely from Beatles song titles. -- Allmusic.com. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 9:46 AM PST - 15 comments

Released today: the top Google searches of 2012. Also, the top Google searches in the UK. Hungry for more "Best of 2012" collections? Curious about "best of" versus "most popular"? There's much [more inside]
posted by misha at 9:34 AM PST - 21 comments


Gay marriage: Religious 'opt-in' offered, but not to CofE - "The Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages, the government has announced. Other religious organisations will be able to "opt in" to holding ceremonies, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said. But she added that the Church of England and Church in Wales had "explicitly" stated strong opposition and would not be included." Included in the legisation is "Amending the 2010 Equality Act to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple."
posted by marienbad at 8:52 AM PST - 70 comments

It seems strange, 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, that ordinary Russians would still be hungry for details about how ordinary Americans eat and pay mortgages. But to Mr. Zlobin’s surprise, his book — published this year and marketed as a guide to Russians considering a move abroad — is already in its fifth print run, and his publisher has commissioned a second volume. - MOSCOW JOURNAL, A Hunger for Tales of Life in the American Cul-de-Sac (SLNYTIMES)
posted by beisny at 8:51 AM PST - 16 comments



It has been 15 years since the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia. The decision was perhaps the most important Aboriginal rights decision in Canadian history, radically framing the notion of Aboriginal title and creating several legacies in common law. [more inside]
posted by salishsea at 8:02 AM PST - 9 comments

I am a brilliant English teacher. So, I quit. An English teacher with experience in public schools and charter schools details her layoff at the former and her disillusionment at the latter in a first-hand account of the state of education in the States.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 7:43 AM PST - 116 comments

Google circa 1960.
posted by marxchivist at 7:33 AM PST - 25 comments


On Dec 11, 1862 the Union Army was pinned on the Northern shore of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, unable to cross the river and invade the town. This desperate situation led to two decisions by General Burnside of the Union Army that ultimately had wide ranging effects not just on the outcome at Fredericksburg, but on how the US would conduct war in the future. [more inside]
posted by COD at 7:17 AM PST - 40 comments

The Gay Marriage Plot: On November 6, four states -- Maine, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota -- took the side of gay marriage in ballot referenda. The improbable sweep for an issue that spent decades as an across-the-board political loser has already changed the landscape for gay rights in America -- and could provide a new framework for other causes.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:12 AM PST - 140 comments

As this research report will show, North Koreans today are learning more about the outside world than at any time since the founding of the country. North Korea is consistently ranked by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders as the country with the least free media in the world. This ranking reflects the country's complete lack of an independent domestic media, its legal restrictions against accessing foreign media and the harsh punishments it metes out against citizens who violate those restrictions. Yet, since the late 1990s the information environment in North Korea has undergone significant changes. Although the media environment remains extremely restricted by international standards, North Koreans' access to outside media has grown considerably over the past two decades. Many inside the country continue to develop new ways to access information while avoiding the ever-present risk of detection and punishment.
posted by DiesIrae at 7:02 AM PST - 13 comments

You better watch out. My dad's a superhero! A short and sweet story from artist Jon Laing.
posted by jbickers at 6:52 AM PST - 5 comments


First the Bubble. Then the Short. Now the Long.
Some neighborhoods in Oakland are as devastated as any of the worst hit regions across America — Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix. Now the morphing of the housing bust and foreclosure epidemic into a lucrative multi-billion dollar opportunity for major investors is also uncannily centered upon Oakland and the greater Bay Area, where companies flush with hedge fund cash are buying up homes by the thousands. The entire sweep of the US housing bubble, financial crisis, and foreclosure wave can therefore be told by looking at persons and companies with intimate links to Oakland and the Bay Area. What follows is one account.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:52 AM PST - 41 comments


"We had a bunch of extras from the community, St. John the Baptist Parish. It was cool, re-creating this history with black Southern extras whose families have lived there forever. They knew what went on back then. Then there was a social-dividing issue between the extras that mirrored the ones between their slave characters in the movie. The ponies were pretty, and they looked down on the extras playing cotton-picker slaves. They thought they were better than them. And the people playing the house servants looked down on the people playing the cotton pickers. And the cotton pickers thought the people playing the house servants and the ponies were stuck-up bitches. Then there was a fourth breakdown, between the darker skinned and the lighter skinned. Obviously not for everybody, and it wasn’t a gigantic problem, but it was something you noticed. They started mirroring the social situations of their characters, being on this plantation for a few weeks."
Playboy interview with Quentin Tarantino for the upcoming Django Unchained.
[more inside]
posted by mannequito at 1:33 AM PST - 78 comments

New plasmon technique breaks classical diffraction limit of light Plasmon techniques have been showing up in some strange newer tech (Solar Cells, Metamaterials) This time researchers at CalTech have found a wave (using plasmons) to focus laser light (with a wavelength of hundreds of nanometers) into a point of "a few nanometers" across. Among the possible applications listed is a new kind of microscope that could image cell features, a 50x increase in disk drive density, and the usual increase of bandwidth and fiber optic communication capabilities.
posted by aleph at 12:50 AM PST - 17 comments

December 10

The Man who Fell to Earth was Nicholas Roeg's Sci-fi classic featuring a fragile cocaine addicted David Bowie, between his Thin White Duke days and his Berlin trilogy, as a homesick alien falling into despair. Years later Duncan Jones - AKA Zowie Bowie, subject of a sentimental song on Hunky Dory - would make a Sci-Fi film of his own with similar themes of isolation.
posted by Artw at 10:20 PM PST - 28 comments

Landfillharmonic: The world sends us garbage, and we send back music -- Favio Chavez, Orchestra Director
posted by jacquilynne at 9:58 PM PST - 6 comments

Seinfeld for the modern era. [sltf]
posted by Talez at 7:39 PM PST - 48 comments

The Tech, a newspaper at MIT, has published a report about MIT students' stress. (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:22 PM PST - 70 comments

Detroit's Lewis Cass Technical High School, Then and Now. Period photos superimposed over the historic building's abandoned interiors, presented by detroiturbex.com.
posted by milquetoast at 6:44 PM PST - 19 comments

Simpsons series 24 episode 7 (The Day The Earth Stood Cool) aired last night, being the hipsterification of Springfield, complete with urban nomads, artisanal donuts, Homer's new attire, the Decemberists, Marge being confused by The Onion, and gentrification. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 5:10 PM PST - 109 comments

Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty has been named the best film of 2012 by the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Board of Review. Does it endorse torture? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen at 4:52 PM PST - 140 comments

I asked whether the behavior of Brooks and others at News Corp. wasn’t a reflection of the corrupted journalistic values that Elisabeth had taken issue with in her lecture. She collected her thoughts, folded her arms, and said, “Yes is the quick answer. But, at the same time, I’m a champion of the plurality of voices and diversity of audience, and I think that doesn’t mean that in certain cases behaviors cannot match one’s values.” The New Yorker on Elisabeth Murdoch, in the wake of her lecture at MacTaggart, which was openly critical of both her brother James and her father's infamous News Corporation.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:36 PM PST - 13 comments

Operation Delirium. "The military’s secret Cold War experiment to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals. Decades after a risky Cold War experiment, a scientist lives with secrets." [Via]
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM PST - 44 comments

Since it debuted on the blue in '11 // Epic Rap Battles of History preppin' // to score itself more than a billion views // and become TopDog of the pack YouTube
Made by NicePeter and EpicLloyd // (two improv comics by Maker employed) // The series pits icons of legend renowned // in a slick-wit freestyle rap throwdown
With snappier writing, and better FX // online celebs (and Google Ad checks) // The Epic Rap crew's halfway done with the brew // that is Epic Rap Battles of History Part Deux
The midseason's close? It comes out today. // In one corner: Santa Claus, fresh from his sleigh
And his prophet o' doom? "He ain't Mayan," ERBoH sez.
It's Snoop Dogg -- Snoop Lion -- as mothafuckin' Moses
[WHO WON?][WHO'S NEXT?][more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 12:33 PM PST - 27 comments

"Thinking too much about chalk," and the full texts it cites: Thomas Huxley's "On a Piece of Chalk" and GK Chesterton's "A Piece of Chalk".
posted by curious nu at 11:35 AM PST - 5 comments

Alex Moulton RIP. For decades, Moulton Bicycles has manufactured an innovative space-frame bike of his design that the man described as "not a quadrilateral bit of piping"—his bikes are instantly recognizable for their small wheels, suspension, and a take-apart trusswork of small-diameter tubes. Although expensive and not very common, they are iconic among bike aficionados, and have inspired at least one competitor, Kimori of Japan, where his bikes have a devoted following. [more inside]
posted by adamrice at 11:05 AM PST - 15 comments

Julia Callon makes dioramas inspired by 19th Century women novelists. More dioramas (and other projects) can be seen on her website.
posted by leesh at 10:48 AM PST - 6 comments

John McAfee [recent previously], eccentric Silicon Valley mogul and creator of a McAfee antivirus software, lowered his taxes by relocating to Belize a few years ago. But his expatriate neighbor Gregory Faull was not a fan McAfee's dogs, prostitutes and partying. After Faull was shot to death last month Belize police named McAfee a "person of interest" in the case. McAfee went on the lam and invited Vice Magazine to join him, which must've seemed like a good idea at the time. McAfee was soon arrested and has since been fighting extradition back to Belize from a Guatemalan jail. McAfee said yesterday he just wants to return to a "normal life" in the U.S.
posted by nowhere man at 10:42 AM PST - 70 comments



Do you know this man? You may not recognize his face, but his voice --and oh, what a voice -- is probably buried somewhere in your childhood memories of American television. Paul Frees was Boris Badenov, The Pillsbury Dough Boy, Burgermeister Meisterburger, The Haunted Mansion's Ghost Host, Toucan Sam, K.A.R.R., Morocco Mole, and ... [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:29 AM PST - 30 comments

The Art of Incredipede is a short video documenting the inspiration (predominantly woodcuts) and progression of the unique game-art for Incredipede. [more inside]
posted by secretdark at 9:27 AM PST - 7 comments

New York Times Magazine "Hollywood Issue": Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship. Accompanied by an online web series of 13 original, short films: Wide Awake, each starring an actress whose performance helped 'define the year in film.' [more inside]
posted by zarq at 8:42 AM PST - 16 comments


Gene Weingarten: Since 1979, Brian Murtagh has fought to keep convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald in prison. (Here is the single-page link.) Warning: graphic details of the murders of Colette MacDonald and her two small children. [more inside]
posted by flex at 8:18 AM PST - 40 comments

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was a member of the De Stijl group of artists along with Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. [more inside]
posted by Sailormom at 8:14 AM PST - 6 comments

Fresh is the story of a 12 year old drug pusher and the world he inhabits. It stars Sean Nelson as Fresh, Samuel L. Jackson as his father, Sam, and Giancarlo Esposito as the dealer Esteban. The whole film is on Youtube in multiple parts.
posted by marienbad at 7:59 AM PST - 32 comments


Photographer Patrice Laroche has created an image series that answers, once and for all, how to make a baby. [sfw]
posted by quin at 7:22 AM PST - 17 comments




New York Times' Lens blog: Looking at the Tangled Roots of Violence in Northern Nigeria highlights the work of Benedicte Kurzen. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:34 AM PST - 2 comments

Whoever let the tape roll on at a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road studio, 47 years ago, deserves our gratitude for several reasons. For reminding us that these exalted and almost absurdly famous musicians could sound like rank amateurs trying to teach themselves their newest song. For giving non-musicians a window onto the utterly mundane reality of the recording process, i.e. the endless waiting around for the engineer to get the tape cued up into the right spot. For giving us an audio glimpse of Lennon and McCartney's continual nutty banter, which can be quite entertaining. All that and more to be heard in The Beatles in Studio - Rubber Soul (1965) and Rubber Soul (Think For Yourself) 1965 Session.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:39 AM PST - 49 comments

Up and coming? Looking for exposure? Trying to break into a field? You might consider working on spec to get that name recognition, or even... for FREE!

But if you are looking for a professional to do something for you, I would strongly recommend you do not ask for it for free. [more inside]
posted by drfu at 2:42 AM PST - 84 comments

Syrian music of revolution and war. The first song is by Ibrahim Qashoush, a fireman and amateur poet from Hama, he was called the "nightingale of the revolution".
posted by stbalbach at 12:08 AM PST - 6 comments

December 9

Telomerase gene therapy seems to have extended mice lifetimes and improved health and age related diseases. They applied the therapy to adult mice, not embryos, and they used a DNA modified virus to deliver the therapy. The first linked article mentions an average life extension of 24%. The original article (EMBO Molecular Medicine) is here.
posted by aleph at 11:59 PM PST - 40 comments

As part of his long-term Genesis project, Sebastião Salgado shares photographs of the nomadic Nenets of northern Siberia.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:40 PM PST - 16 comments


Anyone who has spent any time at all on the Western side of San Francisco is familiar with the name Sutro. Being the 24th mayor of the City was actually one of his smaller and lesser-known accomplishments. Born in Prussia in 1830, he first made a name for himself with The Sutro Tunnel, which was used to drain water from underneath the Comstock Lode, improving working conditions and lowering the mine's operating costs. He sold his interest in the company he founded and left for San Francisco, where he built himself a mansion, among other things... [more inside]
posted by MattMangels at 7:32 PM PST - 24 comments

Both characters remained fully clothed and there were no genital shots. But this was still the most explicit sexual content Wildenborg had seen in a video game. “It was at this point I decided to release the patch to the public,” he says. “I tossed the name 'Hot Coffee' on the file, based on the fact that the girlfriends would ask CJ in for some 'coffee' as a euphemism for sex. Hot Coffee was the first modification for San Andreas.” - The history of Grand Theft Auto's infamous "Hot Coffee" mod.
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM PST - 37 comments

Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987.   Via The Iwebender Channel

Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
posted by y2karl at 6:42 PM PST - 10 comments


Photorealism has been highlighted here on the blue, where 2D work is made to look 3 dimensional. But what about the opposite? Artist Alex Meade's live-model photographs look like paintings. [more inside]
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:05 PM PST - 16 comments

As the conversation about the state of games criticism continues, there is a site that acts as a platform for some of the best writing in the field by theorists, critics, and independent developers: Nightmare Mode dot net. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 4:48 PM PST - 11 comments


"There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation." [Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics]
posted by vidur at 3:52 PM PST - 79 comments

Four days after her 21st birthday, Amy Winehouse sang at the SWR3 New Pop Festival in Baden-Baden. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen at 2:59 PM PST - 24 comments

Rites of Spring, Live at 9:30 Club, 1985: Hain's Point (and another 1985 version from BCC Comm. Center) [more inside]
posted by OmieWise at 2:12 PM PST - 12 comments

On December 2, the American Psychiatric Association's board of trustees voted on the latest revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to be published as the fifth edition (DSM-5) in May 2013. The results of the vote have not been released publicly, and some have questioned the limited press coverage of decisions that will affect people worldwide who receive psychiatric diagnoses. Dr. Allen Francis, chair of the DSM-IV revision committee, says that the board "has given its final approval to a deeply flawed DSM 5". (The title of this post is also drawn from this link.) [more inside]
posted by catlet at 1:04 PM PST - 61 comments

Can the 'Swiss finishing school' be saved? The finishing-school tradition dates from the 1800s, when wealthy debutantes began coming to Switzerland, famed for its clean air, majestic mountains and multilingual population. Here, they would complete their education by acquiring the domestic and life skills needed to run a household – and to attract a suitable husband. The goal was to produce an ideal mate, someone refined and accomplished with impeccable manners. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad at 1:00 PM PST - 28 comments

Tony says to me, “Why don’t you try little Jon”. Well, all right, let’s try him. And after just the first few notes out of his mouth I said, “Yes! This is him. This is the one! This is the one who should sing it”. He had this cute little voice - he was still a kid, and his voice really hadn’t even come down in pitch yet. It was still a little high but he had a great feeling for it. And of course, we all know what this little kid went on to do – he became one of the biggest rock and roll stars of all time. Jon Bon Jovi's first professional recording: R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas [more inside]
posted by klausman at 11:56 AM PST - 18 comments

A gallery of The Kingdom of Cipher: a breathtaking world in Minecraft miniature. [sl-imgur; Minecraft previously]
posted by MimeticHaHa at 11:27 AM PST - 28 comments

Long-time favorite usenet indexing site NzbMatrix has closed its site as part of a recent sweep of DMCA related takedowns on similar sites. Other recent shutdowns include Newzbin, Newzbin2, and NZBsRUS. [more inside]
posted by TomMelee at 10:40 AM PST - 50 comments

When sex means reproduction, certain proclivities may simply not be part of cultural models of sexuality: "Barry and Bonnie Hewlett had been studying the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for many years before they began to specifically study the groups' sexuality... [T]he Hewletts conclude, "Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group."" [more inside]
posted by flex at 8:07 AM PST - 83 comments

A tale of two shipping containers in photos.
posted by heatherann at 7:35 AM PST - 97 comments

Deciphering the Tools of Nature’s Zombies: The ability of parasites to alter the behaviour of their hosts fascinates both scientists and non-scientists alike. One reason that this topic resonates with so many is that it touches on core philosophical issues such as the existence of free will. If the mind is merely a machine, then it can be controlled by any entity that understands the code and has access to the machinery. This special issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology highlights some of the best-understood examples of parasite-induced changes in host brain and behaviour, encompassing both invertebrate and vertebrate hosts and micro- and macro-parasites. Full issue annotated inside: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb at 7:21 AM PST - 13 comments

Patrick Moore (1923-2012). Gamesmaster, Xylophone player, RAF navigator, Astronomer extraordinaire, Patrick Moore has died from old age. Aged 89 the longest running presenter of any TV show in existence (The Sky at Night) inspired millions, taught everyone to look up, and leaves behind an educational legacy that has touched millions. [more inside]
posted by ewan at 5:53 AM PST - 62 comments

Why Privacy Matters, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, by Daniel J. Solove
The nothing-to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. The data-security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the "most common retort against privacy advocates." ... To evaluate the nothing-to-hide argument, we should begin by looking at how its adherents understand privacy. Nearly every law or policy involving privacy depends upon a particular understanding of what privacy is. The way problems are conceived has a tremendous impact on the legal and policy solutions used to solve them.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:27 AM PST - 67 comments

How do I empower someone without language, sign, or gesture? What is it like to experience aphasia, dysnomia, auditory and visual distortions, and variable physical sensations? At times I imagine that entering into my son's sensory world—his own particular neurocosm, perhaps I should say—is a bit like walking into Lewis Carroll's Wood With No Names ...
English professor Amy Leal wrote about her young son's son's unexplained regressions and loss of skills last year in Little Boy Lost. This year she returns with a beautiful and heartbreaking study of her son's condition in Dream Map to a Mind Seized.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:00 AM PST - 6 comments

Many of you Americans of a certain age (say, um, 40 to 60-somethings?) may find the Flickr set Museum of American Packaging (comprising 1,711 photos) to be a certain kind of stroll down a certain offshoot of the proverbial Memory Lane.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:52 AM PST - 50 comments

December 8

Mavelous is an open-source web/HTML-based ground control station for amateur UAVs/DIY drones. It is the first open-source ground control station that lets you control your drone from your tablet or even your phone. (Related: 1 2 3) [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by double block and bleed at 10:10 PM PST - 23 comments

Rosalind.info is a website with bioinformatics problems inspired by Project Euler (previously, previouslier.) [more inside]
posted by lizarrd at 8:24 PM PST - 21 comments

"Premature babies born at the edge of viability force us to debate the most difficult questions in medicine and in life. After just 23 weeks of pregnancy, Kelley Benham found herself in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a daughter born so early neonatologist doctors would call her a "micro preemie." New technologies can sometimes keep micro preemies alive, but many end up disabled, some catastrophically so. Whether to provide care to these infants is one of the fundamental controversies in neonatology. This is the story of how Benham and her husband, Tom French, made the difficult choice: Fight for the life of their micro preemie baby or let her go?" [more inside]
posted by zarq at 7:53 PM PST - 70 comments

Chow.com tells you how to ship cookies and other treats for the holidays: "You don't want to ship any cookie or baked good that won't hold up for three to five days sitting around your house in the container you plan to ship in. Not sure? Do a test batch and see what happens." [more inside]
posted by purpleclover at 7:06 PM PST - 9 comments

Nicholas Johnson, author of Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica, committed suicide on November 28, in West Seattle. His friend and former roommate Jason Anthony (mentioned in the acknowledgements of Big Dead Place) has written an obituary. An obituary from the book's publisher, Feral House. An adaptation of Big Dead Place remains in development with HBO. Previously.
posted by Xere at 5:43 PM PST - 29 comments

In April 1998, Ninja Tune duo Up Bustle & Out traveled from Bristol to Havana. They were greeted by legendary flautist Richard Egües, who would be their guide to meeting and recording a number of Cuban musicians over the next two months. The result was the two-volume Rebel Radio: The Master Sessions, an adventurous meeting point between 'the smokeyness of Bristol and the coolness of Havana'. UB&O's Rupert Mould kept a journal which he would later publish as The Rebel Radio Diaries.
posted by mannequito at 2:52 PM PST - 7 comments

Between Peter Jackson’s penchant for cartoonish unserious gore and Bob McCarron’s off-screen makeup effects manipulations, Braindead achieves something that approaches inspired genius in the heretofore unknown artform of human carnage. The film is filled with moments of joyous slapstick tableaux... And then there is that moment where Braindead finally breaks through to achieve a transcendentally surreal glory of excess where Tim Balme wades into battle against the zombies armed with a lawnmower, drenching an entire room in showers of blood. (Braindead holds the record for the greatest amount of artificial blood ever used in a film). The film is a work of perverse genius. - Richard Scheib
posted by Egg Shen at 2:52 PM PST - 41 comments

I am BUSY today, far too busy for a rant, but then I felt one coming on, and was worried I might end up with a migraine if I tried to stifle it. You know how it is. So let’s talk about sexism in history vs. sexism in fantasy. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 2:26 PM PST - 127 comments


Following the slope formula of a morbid turn of mind is not the only reason to orbit the obits. Every now and then, the reading's well worthwhile! Marty Reisman, 82, a Wizard of Table Tennis, Dies.
posted by 0rison at 12:58 PM PST - 9 comments

Ottermelon So tasteless he cries.
posted by zscore at 12:58 PM PST - 29 comments

The subtitles aren't accurate, but that shouldn't stop your enjoyment of this Russian adaptation of 'The Hobbit'.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM PST - 18 comments

For everyone who's thinking about assassins today, I offer up Sondheim and Weidman's take. [more inside]
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:46 PM PST - 15 comments

The University of California recently released its design for a new logo, and has launched an extensive visual rebranding campaign around it. Though the aim of the new logo is to convey a spirit of modern innovation, detractors feel it lacks the gravitas of the old seal, likening the new logo to a Swedish cake roll, and have started a petition to halt the change to the University's visual identity.
posted by Numenius at 12:41 PM PST - 122 comments

The band Mano Negra are here introduced by MTV Europe in 1990. They are today best known for having been the original band of singer Manu Chao, but they were a pretty damn good band in their day. The band went from strength to strength but broke apart in 1993 after building a train and bringing ice to Macondo (or its inspiration, the city of Aracataca, Colombia). Manu Chao talks briefly about the trip here. His father, respected novelist and journalist Ramón Chao, accompanied his son's band and wrote a book describing the journey, which has been translated into English as The Train of Ice and Fire. The publisher of the translation, Route Online, made a YouTube playlist of related videos. The most interesting and substantial one has Ramón sharing a number of stories from the voyage (subtitled in English).
posted by Kattullus at 12:26 PM PST - 4 comments

On the screen of the Romantic Motor-Vu drive-in theater on 33rd South in Salt Lake City, Charlton Heston, as Moses in the The Ten Commandments, throws his arms wide before what appears to be a congregation of cars at prayer. Originally published on December 22, 1958 in Life Magazine.
More from J.R. Eyerman: Behind the Scenes of a Stanley Kubrick 's Spartacus'.
(Previously on M-F)
posted by growabrain at 11:34 AM PST - 5 comments

The Annual Post-It Show
posted by infini at 10:43 AM PST - 2 comments

I'm already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, Lena Dunham's $3.7 million dollar book proposal.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:38 AM PST - 134 comments

Douglas Bourgeois is a living "visionary imagist" artist from St. Amant, Louisiana, a small town between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Bourgeois paints in a hyper-detailed magical realist style, often featuring pop culture icons and everyday objects, and more recently exploring threats to Louisiana's environment. A 2003 traveling exhibit of Bourgeois's work was accompanied by a catalog, Baby-Boom Daydreams. Bourgeois also designed the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage poster featuring Irma Thomas (scroll down for an image of the original Katrina-inspired painting American Address).
posted by CheeseLouise at 9:31 AM PST - 5 comments

Metallica ends Napster feud: "Metallica has announced its entire back catalogue is to be made available on music streaming service Spotify, ending a 12-year feud with Napster co-founder Sean Parker. Drummer Lars Ulrich appeared on stage with Mr Parker, a Spotify investor, to discuss their bitter legal battle that took place in 2000."
posted by marienbad at 9:13 AM PST - 71 comments



The simulated brain - "First computer model to produce complex behaviour performs almost as well as humans at simple number tasks." [1,2,3,4,5,etc.]
posted by kliuless at 6:09 AM PST - 22 comments

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: "Widely considered the most important environmental book of the 20th century, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring has been reissued after 50 years. Margaret Atwood considers its impact and legacy."
posted by Fizz at 5:44 AM PST - 19 comments

Nefertiti, the jumping space spider, has died. Neffi (whose name means "the chosen one") apparently adapted from the typical hunting behavior of a redback jumping spider to that of her microgravity environment, "sidling up to her prey instead of leaping onto it". [more inside]
posted by ellF at 4:45 AM PST - 30 comments

Do you know the story behind the Magic 8 Ball? Without a doubt
Can you tell me about the magic inside? As I see it, yes
Can I put it back together using my own magic? Signs point to yes
Can I make my own Magic 8 Ball digital app instead? Most likely [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam at 4:22 AM PST - 24 comments


The dividing line between being deaf and hard-of-hearing is naturally somewhat fuzzy to most people: the paper "Personal and Social Identity of Hard of Hearing People" by Mark Ross argues that the distinction should be made on the basis of whether the person in question "developed their linguistic skills primarily through the auditory channel, and if they are capable of comprehending verbal messages through listening alone." Yet, this definition brings up new questions: while the role of Deaf culture is well understood as a factor in the development of a social identity in those growing up deaf, is there a similar phenomenon of "hard-of-hearing culture"? And how do those growing up hard-of-hearing develop a social identity? [more inside]
posted by Conspire at 12:25 AM PST - 23 comments

December 7

Reinhold Weege, creator of Night Court has passed away at 63. Weege got his start writing for sitcoms like Barney Miller, its spinoff Fish and M*A*S*H, but was most famous for Night Court the long-running Harry Anderson vehicle for NBC. (Night Court was not the only legal-related show he created, though - he also had the short-lived Park Place, set in a legal-aid clinic.) Due to the success with Night Court he was able to go into semi-retirement, but he was reported to be recently working on a new play. [more inside]
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 11:05 PM PST - 55 comments

A new DOE-funded study has concluded liquified natural gas exports will help the US economy. (PDF) In this report, the word "environment" occurs four times -- none of them with respect to impact on, or cost to the environment of either extraction or transportation. [more inside]
posted by dylanjames at 9:49 PM PST - 60 comments

Breaking The Taboo, an ambitious and star-studded critique of the War on Drugs, saw its public premier today via YouTube.
posted by troll at 8:20 PM PST - 24 comments

Audio only, Newport 1966: Joan Baez - Farewell Angelina
Recorded Jan. 13, 1965, released 1991: Bob Dylan - Farewell Angelina
B/W Video 1966 Joan Baez - Farewell Angelina
Tablature and lyrics following those of the Dylan recording: dylanchords: Farewell Angelina
French TV 1967: Nana Mouskouri - Adieu Angélina
Bratislava 1989, avant de la Révolution de velours: Joan Baez - Farewell Angelina
From the 90s, or so I believe: Nickle Creek - Farewell Angelina
June 19, 2010 at Kidzstock: Joan Baez and Jasmine Harris - Farewell Angelina [more inside]
posted by y2karl at 8:15 PM PST - 33 comments

BANE OUTTAKES. Contains TDKR spoilers, but also fiber.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:36 PM PST - 58 comments


The Hairpin's Jia Tolentino holds three interviews with virgins. (Trigger warnings on the second and third stories.)
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:37 PM PST - 12 comments

The great Russian animator Fyodor Khitruk passed away on December 3rd at the age of 95. You might know him as the director of the delightful Vinni Puh. (Parts one and two can be seen here with subtitles, for part three see this previous post.) [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio at 6:33 PM PST - 15 comments

Sir Thomas Urquhart was a Scottish writer most well known for translating Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel from its original French. He borrowed or invented a number of words in order to capture Rabelais' inventiveness, and his own writing.
In Six Degrees of Sir Thomas Urquhart we learn the delights of such words as biblotaph or Quomodocunquizing or Hypotyposis among many others.
Sir Thomas was also a veritable hero of slang.
posted by adamvasco at 4:01 PM PST - 16 comments

Ultima Ratio Regum is a middle-ground between roguelikes, RPGs and strategy games. It has no fantasy elements and seeks instead to be closer to a realistic history simulator, and a strategy/4x game which just happens to be in ASCII. Combat is rare and deadly – whilst these mechanics are modeled in detail, exploration, trade and diplomacy factors will have just as much effort put into them.
posted by boo_radley at 3:21 PM PST - 23 comments

On November 30, the Tampa Bay Times published a sympathetic profile of Spring Hill, FL resident Gretchen Molannen: "Persistent genital arousal disorder brings woman agony, not ecstasy." Her condition, also known as PGAD, is a rare sexual disorder (not recognized by the DSM,) 'characterized by spontaneous, persistent, unwanted sexual arousal unrelated to feelings of sexual desire.' The Times reported that Ms. Molannen's condition had virtually destroyed her personal and professional life and led to several suicide attempts. One day after the article was published, she successfully committed suicide. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 3:13 PM PST - 40 comments

The Best WWII Movies You [Probably] Haven't Seen: Page 1, Page 2
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:44 PM PST - 46 comments

Google+ has been derided as a “virtual ghost town” and a “complete failure” unpopular even with Google employees. All of which has heightened the resentment shared by Reader fanatics. Today, they are a population dispossessed. Many have disappeared off the grid, while others struggle to rebuild communities that were, with a few keystrokes, deleted. All of them — the dental student in San Antonio, the academic librarian in Boston, the game developer in San Francisco — yearn for the scroll-tracked Shangri-La that was. They wonder why Google deep-sixed superlative features, years in the making, for an upstart social network, a Facebook clone. In the year past, the same question has been framed and phrased in a thousand different ways — why force an unproven social network on users at the expense of an organic one? [SLBF]
posted by chavenet at 2:18 PM PST - 115 comments

Elves are infesting our shelves! Originally a self-published labor of love, The Elf on the Shelf rose to fame after being photographed in the arms of actress Jennifer Garner. Five years later, it has spawned a movie, a float in the Macy's parade and a bit of a backlash.
posted by jrossi4r at 1:48 PM PST - 65 comments

The competition's website lists several ways to kill a python...It suggests shooting the snake in the head with a firearm or decapitating it with a machete. Wildlife officials say the 2013 Python Challenge is not only about killing snakes. "One of things that is very important to us is to educate the public about the Burmese python and how this species is impacting the state of Florida," Segelson said.
posted by 445supermag at 12:59 PM PST - 56 comments

He is not the only one. Computer rankings are proliferating, said Kenneth Massey, a professor of math at Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, Tenn., who has been ranking teams since 1995. “When I started, there were six or seven,” he said. “But every year, it gets bigger and bigger.” Massey currently tracks more than 100 college football rankings.

With so many competitors, what is the appeal of creating one’s own rankings?

“It’s kind of a nerdy hobby,” Massey said. “It combines sports with math and computers, three things that don’t ordinarily go together.” [more inside]
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:13 PM PST - 20 comments

On December 7, 1941 Elizabeth McIntosh was a reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. A week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor she wrote a first-person account of the attack and its aftermath. Her editors thought the graphic content would be too upsetting, especially as it was directed at the women of Hawaii, and never published it. Now, 71 years later, her article appears for the first time.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:49 AM PST - 20 comments

Back in July, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on his Facebook page that users of the service had enjoyed over 1 billion hours of viewing in the month of June. The post was (and is) public, and subscribed to by over 200,000 users (some of whom were journalists). Netflix stock jumped for the day on the news. But the SEC was apparently less impressed. [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion at 11:13 AM PST - 42 comments



Teachers: The Webseries, starring the Katydids, is an independent youtube project of eminently flavourful vignettes centered on a cluster of elementary school teachers. It is at times absurd, charming, glorious, and maybe just a bit close to home- all while absolutely nailing its comedic timing.
posted by Algebra at 10:27 AM PST - 5 comments


"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."
The Mormon Church has launched a new initiative that encourages compassion towards the LGBT community.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:20 AM PST - 171 comments

What started as a glorious powder day ended in a desperate fight for survival after three skiers were buried by a killer avalanche in the backcountry of Stevens Pass, in Washington's Cascades. Megan Michelson lived to tell about it, but she can't shake off a haunting question: How did a group of expert skiers make such a deadly mistake?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 AM PST - 16 comments

2Day FM's DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian phoned the King Edward VII Hospital from Australia on Wednesday morning pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles asking for an update on the condition of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The call was described as a prank by the DJs who made it and foolish by the hospital. The nurse who answered the call, Jacintha Saldanha, was convinced by the impersonation and relayed confidential medical details. Today Ms Saldanha was found dead, early reports indicate the death is not suspicious and is suspected to be suicide. [more inside]
posted by samworm at 8:57 AM PST - 242 comments

Iranian Human Rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, currently serving a 6 year term in Tehran’s Evin prison, for ‘violating the Islamic dress code’ and ‘for acting against national security’ as ended her second hunger strike, when travel restrictions against her family were rescinded. [more inside]
posted by what's her name at 8:55 AM PST - 3 comments


Chaos the dog has a wonderful way of keeping herself entertained: Stairs. [more inside]
posted by quin at 7:03 AM PST - 34 comments

The Golden Spike Company plans to offer moon flights for around $750 million.
posted by xowie at 6:39 AM PST - 49 comments

"For the seventh time in less than 70 years, a report has been commissioned by the Government which has dealt with concerns about the press. It was sparked by public revulsion about a single action – the hacking of the mobile phone of a murdered teenager. From that beginning, the scope of the Inquiry was expanded to cover the culture, practices and ethics of the press in its relations with the public, with the police, with politicians and, as to the police and politicians, the conduct of each."
The report, in four volumes of around 500 pages each, is available for download.
posted by rjs at 5:44 AM PST - 38 comments

If you are in the 7 foot tall club in the US there is a 16% you play in NBA. Which is a good thing, as getting all your clothes custom made isn't cheap. Sports Illustrated takes a look at what life is like when you live in a world that was not designed for the very tall.
posted by COD at 5:22 AM PST - 88 comments

What's life like aboard a nuclear submarine? For starters, here's over eight hours of C-SPAN 2, as they took their cameras aboard the USS Wyoming SSBN back in 2000, co-hosted by Rear Admiral Malcolm Fages and writer Robert Holzer. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew at 5:04 AM PST - 23 comments

Thanks, Textbooks. A Collection Of The World's Finest Academic Writing. (Updated Every Monday). *or not
posted by Toekneesan at 4:45 AM PST - 26 comments

MissRepresentation calls out advertisers for their portrayal of women in their 2012 roundup video. Also under scrutiny this gift giving season: 20 Examples That Spencer's Gifts Hates Women.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:21 AM PST - 107 comments

Disruptive Pattern Material: Blechman on Camouflage The Maharishi designer traces the pattern from natural science, via red coats fighting the Boer wars, to modern day battlefields Via.
posted by infini at 1:35 AM PST - 25 comments

December 6

Franz Kafka's hallucinatory A Country Doctor anime by Kōji Yamamura. The original text is very short.
posted by stbalbach at 11:47 PM PST - 9 comments

Some catfish have learnt a new trick [original paper] since being introduced to a French river around 30 years ago: they can beach themselves to hunt pigeons along the river bank. These catfish were around 90-150 cm (about three to five feet) long, but there are many species, some of which can be much larger. But you're probably safe from these. [previously]
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:21 PM PST - 35 comments


The European Commission is resisting pressure from US firms and public bodies designed to derail its privacy proposals, which include a limited 'right to be forgotten' that would allow users to demand their data be removed from Internet sites. Facebook claims it would actually harm privacy by requiring social media sites to perform extra tracking to remove data which has been copied to other sites. Google says it's unworkable. Others say it would be a threat to the American right to free speech. Big Data hates the idea because privacy is bad. Meanwhile, advertising may soon follow you from one device to the next -- privately. (Via) [more inside]
posted by Mezentian at 8:06 PM PST - 52 comments

The NFL is again thinking of getting rid of kick offs. Recently kickoffs were moved from the 30 to the 35 yard line in an effort to create more touch backs (and thus fewer returns of kicks) and reduce injuries. Now they're considering getting rid of kick offs altogether. [more inside]
posted by theichibun at 7:28 PM PST - 84 comments

Researchers found that the pattern of murder in Newark, NJ is very similar in pattern to the spread of an infectious disease. Could this research show law enforcement a new way to predict where murders will occur?
posted by reenum at 7:11 PM PST - 14 comments

Some evil bastard has stuffed a bag of dope into a hole behind my house and turned my life into the backdrop of a James Ellroy noir.
posted by growabrain at 7:03 PM PST - 101 comments

The Stopped Dead: a 1200x18000 pixel infographic cataloging The Walking Dead's 347 on-screen zombie deaths by season, character, and weapon. [spoilers]
posted by Egg Shen at 6:26 PM PST - 16 comments


Paul Harris is the head of the Marriage License Department for Clark County, in the American state of Washington. Today, after 40 years with the same man, he can finally apply for his own marriage license. [more inside]
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 4:48 PM PST - 104 comments


"Honey laundering is a complex exercise that involves several players in the honey chain from apiary to wholesaler to retailer. In the case against ALW, evidence was presented to show the use of fake country-of-origin documents for shipments, replacement of labels on Chinese containers with fraudulent ones, switching of honey containers in a third country, and even the blending of Chinese honey with glucose syrup or honey from another country."
posted by vidur at 3:55 PM PST - 37 comments

Airing before the Saturday morning cartoons on Detroit's WDIV, Kidbits (Optical illusions pt. 2, pt. 3) delivered snappy science from the Detroit Science Center, along with a handy venue for PSAs and goofy local ads. [more inside]
posted by klangklangston at 3:50 PM PST - 5 comments

BALTIMORE ALLSTARZ LOST TAPES WILDOUT WHEELIE BOYZ [mlyt, nsfw: rap music]
posted by ennui.bz at 3:41 PM PST - 10 comments

Bomb Sight is an interactive map of every bomb dropped on London during the Blitz.
posted by empath at 2:58 PM PST - 39 comments

"For some time after Tony Scott tragically, mysteriously took his life earlier this year we tried to think of some way to honor his work and explore it on the Notebook. A proper response was found by filmmaker, editor and Notebook contributor Gina Telaroli, who suggested a kind of critical exquisite corpse, and in this manner forge a way—or an attempt—to fit the forms of Tony Scott's oeuvre to the content critics would contribute."
posted by brundlefly at 2:48 PM PST - 2 comments

Four of the five songs nominated for the 2013 Grammy for Best Dance Recording are international hits. The fifth is so obscure it has raised questions about how it got there. I Can't Live Without You by Al Walser is one of the five nominees for Best Dance Recording. Walser's lack of popularity on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube when the nominations were announced, along with his previously claims to be a voting member of the Recording Acedemy, has led to accusations of foul play or vote manipulation. The music press is now asking, "Who the hell is Al Walser?"
posted by thecjm at 2:14 PM PST - 136 comments

How do you pack your bag for a seven-year, 22,000 mile international reporting assignment? Pulitzer winning foreign correspondent Paul Salopek is preparing to walk from Africa to South America and document the whole journey. [more inside]
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 1:38 PM PST - 46 comments

TransLAtions! Get your free lit-e-rary transLAtions here! Ya want Ovid? Ya got Ovid! Ya got all your classic French poets, your Germans, your Italians, your Russians! Ya got a verse rendering of Zorilla's Don Juan Tenorio with parallel Spanish text! Ya got a rare translation of Vazha-Pshavela's Georgian epic Host and Guest! Everything downloadable in every major format! All edited by A.S. Kline!
posted by Iridic at 1:18 PM PST - 8 comments

Professor Liar: A Parlor Game Idea. By Zach Weinersmith of SMBC fame.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:31 AM PST - 58 comments


Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book, Antifragile, was release at the end of November. His previous books centered on describing the problems of prediction. The new book is a conversational, sometimes diatribe, about, "How to live in a world we don't understand". [more inside]
posted by KaizenSoze at 11:17 AM PST - 37 comments


This is a video of a game which replicates Portal's physics system in 2 dimensions on the TI-83 graphic calculator. The game was developed by a 20 year old student studying game design. A download link is available here.
posted by codacorolla at 10:55 AM PST - 22 comments

120 years ago, in Paris, Blaise Bontems made a mechanism for reproducing birdsong. More recently, Michael Start restored it to working condition and recorded a video. [more inside]
posted by gilrain at 10:50 AM PST - 8 comments

Every Thursday, Film School Rejects posts things "learned from the commentary tracks of an iconic movie": Commentary Commentary [more inside]
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM PST - 28 comments


A gamelan ensemble performs a cover of Gang of Four's "Not Great Men".
posted by carrienation at 9:24 AM PST - 25 comments

Spectacular jets powered by the gravitational energy of a supermassive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy Hercules A (pdf) illustrate the combined imaging power of two of astronomy's cutting-edge tools, the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, and the recently upgraded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in west-central New Mexico.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:11 AM PST - 30 comments

My friends and I weren’t popular in high school, we weren’t dating all the time, and we were just trying to get through our lives. It was important to me to show that side. I wanted to leave a chronicle—to make people who had gone through it laugh, but also as a primer for kids going in, to say, “Here’s what you can expect. It’s horrifying but all you should really care about is getting through it. Get your friends, have your support group. And learn to be able to laugh at it.”
The Oral History of Freaks and Geeks [more inside]
posted by mokin at 8:51 AM PST - 75 comments


Women's rights are for men? Arguments for expanding women's rights on the basis that men will benefit have a long history. Two well-known examples from the US: During the struggle for women's suffrage in the US, one of the arguments put forth was that
women deserved the vote because they were different from men. They could make their domesticity into a political virtue, using the franchise to create a purer, more moral "maternal commonwealth." This argument served many political agendas: Temperance advocates, for instance, wanted women to have the vote because they thought it would mobilize an enormous voting bloc on behalf of their cause, and many middle-class white people were swayed once again by the argument that the enfranchisement of white women would "ensure immediate and durable white supremacy, honestly attained."
A similar argument crops up in debates over coeducation at formerly all-male liberal arts colleges history of coeducation at US colleges, where "[s]upporters of coeducation often argued that the presence of women would have a civilizing effect on male students," and the decision by administrators to admit women was often based on largely economic concerns. [more inside]
posted by eviemath at 7:59 AM PST - 185 comments

Families in Flux:"As household arrangements take new directions, scientists attempt to sort out the social effects" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:50 AM PST - 7 comments

Have you experienced the sublimely calm and gorgeously unfolding melodic beauty of Djivan Gasparyan's music? Here's Shepherd's Song, A Cool Wind Is Blowing, I Will Not Be Sad In This World, Ojakhum and Eshkhemed. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:45 AM PST - 13 comments

Tim Cook's Freshman Year: The Apple CEO Speaks Prior to his death on Oct. 5, 2011, Steve Jobs made sure that the elevation of Tim Cook—his longtime head of operations and trusted deputy—to Apple chief executive officer would be drama-free. “He goes, ‘I never want you to ask what I would have done,’” recalls Cook. “‘Just do what’s right.’ He was very clear.” ... In his most wide-ranging interview as CEO, Cook explains how Apple works now, talks about the perception that he’s “robotic,” and announces the return of Apple manufacturing to the U.S.
posted by The Deej at 7:42 AM PST - 144 comments

What it's like trying to crack into the National Football League.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:25 AM PST - 15 comments


The last survivor of the 1917 Halifax Explosion is believed to have died in 2010. Today, on the 95th anniversary of the accident, those who came after share how the legacy of history's largest detonation of conventional explosives has affected their lives. [previously]
posted by 256 at 7:10 AM PST - 5 comments

NASA has released an updated set of Earth at Night images, obtained via the Suomi NPP satellite's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). A set of images is available on Flickr. [more inside]
posted by DigDoug at 6:27 AM PST - 37 comments

"HS Dent, an economic forecasting firm, compiled Census data [PDF] on spending behavior and presented them as a series of demand curves... The curves measure average annual expenditure for a given product over the age of the consumer." [more inside]
posted by griphus at 6:25 AM PST - 38 comments

Meet Monty, your designated driver. Don't be alarmed, GOOD BOY! he's trained. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan at 6:00 AM PST - 25 comments

"For a few months in 1922, throngs of America’s youth — from schoolkids to shopgirls — were swept up in a leaderless pyramid scheme that promised “something for nothing” and encouraged promiscuous flirtation. These were the “Shifters.” This is their (brief) story." (NYTimes link) Previously on the flappers and flapper slang: 1, 2.
posted by OmieWise at 5:21 AM PST - 43 comments

The only two things missing in Bach’s music are randomness and sex. This book review was written by Jeremy Denk, who has a blog where you can find more good writing about music.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:11 AM PST - 13 comments

The times of The Times of India - world's largest broadsheet English daily
posted by Gyan at 3:54 AM PST - 11 comments

The École Polytechnique Massacre, also known as the Montreal Massacre, occurred on December 6, 1989 at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A man armed with a knife and (legal) gun shot twenty-eight people before killing himself. Claiming he was "fighting feminism," he killed fourteen women and wounded ten women and four men before killing himself. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 12:55 AM PST - 68 comments

December 5

[LydiaCallisFilter] Signing Science
posted by cthuljew at 11:42 PM PST - 14 comments

The citrus fruit called Buddha's hand or fingered citron, which "looks like a cross between a giant lemon and a squid, and can perfume a room for weeks with its mysterious fragrance," is currently in season in the northern hemisphere. Lacking pulp and juice, it does have long, pointed "fingers" full of curious non-bitter white pith. The skin is yellow and smells like flowers and bright lemon. [more inside]
posted by purpleclover at 10:29 PM PST - 45 comments

Nicki Minaj? Nope, Chuck Testa.
posted by boo_radley at 9:50 PM PST - 40 comments

Georgian-born Armenian, Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) was a controversial director in the Soviet era. At first he followed the state mandated style of Socialist Realism, but in 1964 he broke out into his own style with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (YT), a dream-like film that combines expressionistic camera techniques, ethnography, and the logic of folktales. The film won almost every, award in sight on the 1964 film festival circuit, but it was also of the restrictive Soviet approach to the arts. The film was banned by authorities, but Parajanov did not return to realism, and instead paid tribute to the Armenian troubadour Sayat-Nova ("King of Songs" in Persian). The Color of Pomegranates (1968) is a film that sought to portray Sayat-Nova through images inspired by his life and poetry. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:01 PM PST - 9 comments

Vaguely Interesting stuff. Here's two to get you started:
Calling from the grave - If you ever felt slightly claustrophobic using a traditional BT telephone kiosk, this might be down to its unique architectural history – the design of the UK’s world famous red telephone boxes was inspired by a nineteenth century tomb.
Mass trespass - The Duke of Devonshire’s gamekeepers were on high alert. A left-wing group had been agitating in the Derbyshire village of Hayfield, threatening to “take action to open up the fine country at present denied us.” Their target was Kinder Scout, part of the Duke’s extensive moorland estate in the Peak District. But if they wanted to trespass on His Grace’s land, they would have to get past the gamekeepers.
posted by unliteral at 8:30 PM PST - 6 comments

The Bear was found on a motorway, lost all his fur (twice), got poisoned, had a hole ripped in his throat, lost chunks of ear and went awol for six weeks. But at 17 he's still going strong - The cat with 17 lives
posted by Artw at 8:16 PM PST - 29 comments

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, AC DBE, wife of Sir Keith and mother of Rupert, was an outspoken philanthropist. She died overnight in Australia, aged 103.
posted by wilful at 8:01 PM PST - 16 comments

Word from Rio de Janeiro is that Oscar Niemeyer, celebrated Brazilian Modernist architect, co-architect of the UN headquarters in New York, and designer of its capital city, Brasília, has passed on at the age of 104. The NYTimes obituary has links to his famous buildings in Brazil, but a more comprehensive link of Brasília can be seen at a 50th anniversary retrospective at Wallpaper.
posted by stannate at 6:48 PM PST - 27 comments

When everything was unknown, they were there. / When anything could happen, they were there. MuchLoved is Mark Nixon's series of photographs of well-worn transitional objects.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:21 PM PST - 19 comments


Ron Blakey makes paleogeographic maps of the ancient world.
The paleogeographic maps show the varied landscapes of the ancient Earth through hundreds of millions of years of geologic time, including distribution of ancient shallow seas, deep ocean basins, mountain ranges, coastal plains, and continental interiors. Tectonic features shown include subduction zones, island arcs, mid-ocean ridges and accreting terranes.
posted by zamboni at 5:19 PM PST - 14 comments

A recent German television documentary, Tests and the Dead, has revealed that, between 1983 and 1989, the East German government sold its citizens to Western pharmaceutical companies for research, with firms such as Hoechst and Sandoz having paid the cash-strapped dictatorship as much as €430,000 for the ability to test experimental drugs on selected patients in special clinics. The patients were not informed of the tests, and at least several have died as a result of their treatment.
posted by acb at 4:22 PM PST - 21 comments


Designer Matt McInerney is setting out to redesign every logo in the NFL as an uncomissioned fun side project. He's up to 20 of them and the results so far are pretty damn good. Fast Company has a bit more about the project.
posted by mathowie at 3:40 PM PST - 72 comments

Isaac Newton vs Rube Goldberg (SLVimeo) [more inside]
posted by vidur at 3:39 PM PST - 5 comments


81-year-old Senator Alan Simpson does a decent gangnam while encouraging you to do something better with your time and social web skills.
posted by anothermug at 3:12 PM PST - 21 comments

My Cat is a Bus. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 2:39 PM PST - 34 comments

An article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings compares twelve different studies to determine which way of drying one's hands is the most sanitary, and concludes that the provision of Paper Towels is more effective than Blow Dryers. (previously: paper towels found to be less environmentally-friendly in paper commissioned by Dyson, inventor of the Airblade)
posted by Greg Nog at 2:09 PM PST - 74 comments

First there was Grease. Then there was Two of a Kind. And now, at long last, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta have reunited once more, to produce... well, this. [more inside]
posted by something something at 12:44 PM PST - 204 comments

It is Christmas Eve (or the 7th night of Chanukah), and the Stahlbaums are having a lavish party in Germany, or Harlem, or 1770s Washington, DC, or a 1970s-esque retro-future, or a cabaret or any number of times and places ... and then the magic happens! [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 12:20 PM PST - 11 comments

Screw organic chemistry, I'm just going to write about cats. James Ashenhurst uses (sometimes highly unorthodox!) cat pictures to explain topics in stereocatmistry, starting with On Cats, Part 1: Conformations and Configurations. [more inside]
posted by beryllium at 11:31 AM PST - 43 comments

I am devastated to read that jazz master and Kennedy Center honoree Dave Brubeck has died. His influence on jazz was wide and profound. His frequent collaborator and the composer of one of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s best known tunes, “Take Five,” Paul Desmond, said of the sound of his alto sax, “"I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini." Brubeck was well-known for his use of differing time signatures, again referencing “Take Five” which was in 5/4 time and another example, “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” in 9/8 time. Desmond passed away in 2005, and Brubeck has left the earthly plain to join him in the Heavenly Jazz Band. RIP. (MLYT)
posted by Lynsey at 9:54 AM PST - 182 comments


Look At This Instagram (Nickelback parody) (video, ~3 min.)
posted by flex at 9:22 AM PST - 45 comments

Jimmy Fallon, Mariah Carey, The Roots, and some guests peform All I Want for Christmas is You with classroom instruments (their Call Me Maybe previously).
posted by Copronymus at 8:35 AM PST - 53 comments

Deck the Halls with Macro Follies: EconStories.tv is at it again, with their signature brand of musical Austrian economics lessons poking fun at Keynesian stimulus. Sings Thomas Malthus: ♫Silent Night♫ No shoppers in sight... ♫ The general glut has caused our plight ♫ Spend your money to clear our shelves! ♫ In consumption we'll save ourselves! ♫ Underconsumption is born—I view your savings with scorn...♫ (previously, previouslier) Still no NGDP-level targeting songs, sadly.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:33 AM PST - 15 comments

Harrods, in the bustling heart of London, is in a good location for a shop. So is the Macy’s in Herald Square, which boasts of serving 350,000 New Yorkers every day at Christmas time. Whereas down at the Mulka Store, in the furthermost reaches of South Australia, George and Mabel Aiston used to think themselves lucky if they pulled in a customer a week.
The Loneliest Shop In The World [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:39 AM PST - 23 comments

Talking Moose lives! [more inside]
posted by jessamyn at 7:22 AM PST - 63 comments

The video for musician Kim Boekbinder's song 'Gypsy', which was directed and edited by The Whelk [via mefi projects]
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 AM PST - 30 comments

Yesterday, the New York Post published a dramatic image on its cover of a Queens man just seconds from being hit by a Q train after being pushed by another man who is now in custody. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:51 AM PST - 179 comments

At its WCIT meeting in Dubai, the UN's ITU has quietly approved a collection of RFCs called 'Requirements for Deep Packet Inspection in Next Generation Networks' (Y.2770) designed to standardize broad spectrum traffic sniffing. The European Parliament recently passed a resolution against the ITU asserting exactly this sort of control over internet standard.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:29 AM PST - 23 comments

The Bloop is a mysterious recurring sound in the world's oceans that has puzzled many over the years (previously). Now scientists think they know the answer: icequakes.
posted by zardoz at 3:05 AM PST - 30 comments



Yesterday was Day 80 of the NHL lockout, with the situation looking pretty grim after a failed intervention by US federal mediators. Then on Monday, WBZ-TV Boston's Steve Burton surprised everyone by leading off his segment with this bombshell. Tuesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Union Director Don Fehr took the unusual tactic of stepping back to allow owners and players to negotiate directly. With the annual Board of Governors meeting happening Wednesday and a press conference scheduled afterwards, NHL insiders across twitter are expressing cautious optimism that the puck will soon be dropped.
posted by mannequito at 2:18 AM PST - 65 comments

Professor Oak and Jigglypuff sing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. [SLYT] CAUTION: amateur voice acting, general silliness ahead
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:06 AM PST - 22 comments

December 4

In which Dolly Parton and The Tubes battle for Cher's soul. [more inside]
posted by mintcake! at 9:21 PM PST - 27 comments

More often than not, some of the best observers of places are those not originally from there. Leon Borensztein was born in Poland, settled in Israel and emigrated only later in life to the U.S. in 1977. But unlike de Tocqueville and other aristocratic travelers of old, he had to make ends meet and stumbled into taking commercial pictures of average, normal Americans as a fly-by-night job to pay the bills. Borensztein’s portraits—comprised in his new book, American Portraits, 1979–1989, published this month by Nazraeli Press—took place on the sidelines of commercial gigs. His tools and techniques were dictated by his means: a generic backdrop, a camera, simple and spare. -- TIME Lightbox
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 PM PST - 3 comments

Good grief. [more inside]
posted by availablelight at 8:49 PM PST - 21 comments


After several failed attempts against other schools, a lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson School of Law for providing misleading employment data to prospective students is moving forward.
posted by reenum at 6:52 PM PST - 42 comments

[Joseph] McElroy's sense of original and authentic contemporaneity makes him the most important novelist now writing in America, the artist who has most consistently combined the mastering capabilities of systems perspectives and an art of excess. Women and Men is the capstone of his career and, I believe, the most significant American novel published since Gravity's Rainbow. - Tom LeClair [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen at 6:18 PM PST - 18 comments

Denis Medri (original source) envisions the original trilogy Star Wars characters as high school students and faculty.
posted by deborah at 5:56 PM PST - 57 comments

Tired of cranky commentary about U.S. government spending? Maybe it needs more sequins. Or a ballet. Or Ray Bradbury. Ladies and gentlemen, Stan Freberg presents "The Federal Budget Revue" (part 1; part 2; part 3). [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:04 PM PST - 3 comments


If you've ever been to Hawaii, chances are that you've passed through the John Rodgers Terminal at Honolulu International Airport without giving it a second thought. The great-grandson of distinguished American Commodores John Rodgers and Matthew Perry; John Rodgers was the second American naval officer to fly for the United States Navy and a submarine commander in WW1; but what earned him the honour of having the airport named for him was the amazing and inspiring first open-ocean flight to Hawaii. [more inside]
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:41 PM PST - 6 comments

"Reading is always an act of empathy" - John Green of Crash Course (previously) explains "How and Why We Read" (... and recommends his favorite books). [more inside]
posted by mrgrimm at 4:12 PM PST - 19 comments


Luke Gygax and E. Gary Gygax Jr, sons of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax have announced they have formed TSR Games. The company's first, brave, foray into the market will be a print publication: Gygax Magazine with a very familiar logo. Apparently D&D owner Wizards of the Coast (and its owners, Hasbro) the last trademarked “TSR” for a game company in 2003, opening the door for the Brothers Gygax to scoop up the name for their company Hexagonist Publishing LLC on May 25, 2011. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian at 3:11 PM PST - 76 comments

In 1960 humorist Georges Bernier, author François Cavanna and comic artist (and artistic director) Fred Aristidès began publishing the satirical magazine Hara Kiri, which attacked the French establishment, including politicians, the government and Catholic Church. In 1961 and 1966 it was temporarily banned by the French Government. The magazine's covers were often tasteless, NSFW, "famously perverted, bizarre and highly creative and at the time, and in fact even by today's standards in a league of their own." [more inside]
posted by zarq at 3:04 PM PST - 16 comments

Shane Carruth has released a trailer for Upstream Color, his long awaited follow up to Primer. The film's synopsis is given as:
A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
It premiers at Sundance (via)
posted by octothorpe at 2:57 PM PST - 39 comments

Daniel Kim is back again this year with the Pop Danthology 2012, a mega mash-up of 55 pop songs from 2012 (SLYT).
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:07 PM PST - 25 comments

Halabja chemical weapons: A chance to find the men who armed Saddam? "Nearly 25 years ago, Iraqi forces killed thousands of their own civilians using chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Halabja. Now steps are about to be taken to discover which country - and possibly which factory - supplied some of the chemicals." Via BBC
posted by marienbad at 2:02 PM PST - 24 comments

Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World is the tale of the struggle of Dikembe Mutombo to prevent the end of the world due to the Mayan calendar running out of time. You have to stop people from dancing Gangnam style and persuade Ohio to vote; you have to destroy cheap Black Friday toys; you have to destroy the Powerball winning numbers to prevent a literal Hollywood fatcat from producing another Vampire romance. And the game is an ad for a product that appears once in the loading screen. [more inside]
posted by ersatz at 1:04 PM PST - 36 comments

From the Atlantic's In Focus:2012: The Year in Pictures [more inside]
posted by OmieWise at 12:46 PM PST - 69 comments

Any parent of a young child will have experienced the ignominy of reaching a page in a picture-book featuring a giraffe and being ignorant of the appropriate sound with which to impersonate said animal. Here is that sound
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:41 PM PST - 74 comments

The 2012 Turner Prize for modern art has been awarded to video artist Elizabeth Price for her work The Woolworths Choir of 1979 (excerpt). Price beat a number of contenders, including visual artist Paul Noble (nominated for a series of pencil drawings of a fantastic metropolis named Nobson Newtown), Luke Fowler (with a film titled All Divided Selves, about the controversial Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing) and the splendidly named performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd. Before winning the Turner Prize, Price was best known as a member of 1980s indiepop band Talulah Gosh, though is by no means the only former member to have a notable post-band career.
posted by acb at 11:46 AM PST - 14 comments

Red Rogue is "a side-scrolling roguelike-like" available standalone on multiple platforms and on the web, free! [more inside]
posted by adamdschneider at 11:27 AM PST - 42 comments

NYCbaton is a blog that gives a different Instagram-using New Yorker the chance to post a photo and story of their life in NYC each day. Every day, there's something different from someone else, but it's an interesting view of the city from so many contributors. It is reminiscent of Sweden's national Twitter account, and how a different resident posts each day to that feed.
posted by mathowie at 10:57 AM PST - 9 comments


Got round about a hundred thousand dollars going spare? Then you'll be wanting a custom built shark/dolphin/killer whale sub/boat Seabreacher
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:04 AM PST - 41 comments

Remains of the Day. "Wedding photographers tend to assume we have the best clients—impervious to things like divorce and disease. But despite the unending blog posts by photographers about the “honor” of shooting so-and-so’s nuptials, we know about as much about our clients as they do about us... Which is another way of saying not much."
posted by muddgirl at 9:39 AM PST - 31 comments

Matthew Baldwin (MeFi's Own* Defective Yeti*): " ...That’s why I come armed to every social engagement with board games, to help facilitate that whole human interaction thing that people thought was important before smartphones gave us an excuse to avoid eye contact with others. It’s also why I give games as gifts—and why, for more than a decade, I have been helping others do likewise. And so, my annual Good Gift Game guide, showcasing those board and card games from the last year or so that are easy to learn and teach, fun and engrossing to play, and that can be completed in 90 minutes or less." (additional notes & more games for the 2012 guide) [more inside]
posted by flex at 9:20 AM PST - 55 comments

In a video shot at World Maker Faire in 2011, artist Andrew Salamone is shown demonstrating the knitting machine he's adapated and programmed to knit images, and displaying some of the amazing work he's produced with it: a ski mask with an image of his face on the front, a "break beat" scarf, and a sweater featuring a picture of Bill Cosby wearing a sweater with a picture of Bill Cosby on it. Salamone hopes to someday get Cosby to accept and wear the sweater he's designed. God knows Cosby can't reject this sweater on the grounds that it's in any way inferior to the sweaters he's worn in the past. Check out more of Andrew Salamone's knitted art on his web site. In my favourite piece, Salamone recreates a still from "The Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody".
posted by orange swan at 8:20 AM PST - 38 comments



With a 45-point spread between critics and audience, this ten-year-old action film was a box-office failure. It features an actor whose characters die so often on screen that there is a YouTube tribute to his many cinematic demises. The fictional fighting style featured in the film was also used in another film written by the same chap. The lead actor has a body of work that ranges from the sublime to the straight-up surreal. At age 13, he found the media attention so intense that he would run away during press conferences.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:21 AM PST - 125 comments

Horror movies aren't just for Halloween: Silent Night, Bloody Night, Black Christmas, To All A Good Night, Christmas Evil (starring Fiona Apple's dad as a homicidal Santa), Gremlins (in which Phoebe Cates learns there is no Santa Claus), Silent Night, Deadly Night (which inspired Parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 despite--or perhaps because of--denunciations by Siskel & Ebert and parents' groups), Elves, and Jack Frost
posted by jonp72 at 7:20 AM PST - 36 comments

"New Englanders learn quickly to dismiss the chowder where tomato ruins its gorgeous broth, where references to New York tarnish its name...However, few know how such distinctions came about in the first place, what processes were involved that resulted in one person's disgust of another's beloved creation, and why, to this day, do we stand by such convictions?" The New England Chowder Compendium, from the McIntosh Cookery Collection at the UMass Amherst library. [more inside]
posted by Miko at 5:40 AM PST - 92 comments

"The condom was invented almost 100 years ago and very little has been done to make its use easier or more pleasant. " No longer. "Two engineers from Delft, Paul Breur and Adnan Tunović, have finally solved decades of issues that men have had with using condoms. " A handy demonstration video is available at the link.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:57 AM PST - 127 comments

Fuck This Jam "is a jam centered around the theme of making a game in a genre you hate." Some of the highlights include Dear Esteban, which will "blow an existential hole in the player's perception of their own realities" (walkthrough); Totally Accurate Toilet Simulator; Crystal Crashers, a "match-one" Flash game; T.Y.P.O., Teletype Protocol Operation; GolfXTRM; The Message, an interactive story about space; and Fuck This Dungeon, an orc/goblin murder simulator. [via]
posted by benzenedream at 12:06 AM PST - 20 comments

December 3

Frog Peak Music has a number of interesting publications UNBOUND for your perusal. Highlights include Divisions of the Tetrachord by John Chalmers, The Early Works of James Tenney by Larry Polansky and Prose Collection by Christian Wolff.
posted by Bistle at 11:36 PM PST - 4 comments

James Groccia is a ten-year old with Asperger syndrome and self-describes at the "most loyal Lego fan". He is involved in a Lego playgroup to help with developing his social skills. After spending two years saving for his dream set, he was disappointed to discover that it was no longer in production and was priced beyond what he could afford on the secondary market. He decided to ask Lego for help. Lego responded.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:00 PM PST - 108 comments

Ehrich Weisz may not have had much formal education, but he grew up to be Harry Houdini, self-educated stunt performer, escape artist, and owner of "one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." Houdini bequeathed much of his collection to the Library of Congress, which received 3,988 volumes from his collection in 1927, including a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Archive.org has more of the Harry Houdini Collection online. He also put a great deal of research into his tricks, as seen in his letter to Dr. W. J. McConnell, a physiologist at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, written up after Houdini's watery grave stunt in 1926.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:53 PM PST - 5 comments

At age 70, and after 46 years of building Leuken's Village Foods into a three-store chain (two in Bemidji, Minnesota, one in Wahpeton, North Dakota), Joe Leuken is ready to retire. He could have sold the stores to the highest bidder. Instead, he's giving them to his employees. [more inside]
posted by Lexica at 8:26 PM PST - 36 comments

The news that Duchess Catherine is expecting a baby set off a storm of tabloid squee, speculation on her maternity wardrobe, and, of course, a joke Twitter account (@RoyalFoetus: RT IF YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SERVING ME). But the reason the royal family announced the pregnancy so early, reportedly shy of 12 weeks, is not very funny. A Royal Spotlight on a Rare Condition:
It used to be a major cause of death in women until the 1950s when they introduced IV fluids. ... there are a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of women are treated really badly. They’re treated like they’re faking it or that they just don’t want their child. We have a lot of women who have lost pregnancy after pregnancy, or who had abortions because they just couldn’t tolerate it.
[more inside]
posted by purpleclover at 7:40 PM PST - 70 comments

The festive season is approaching, so it's time for everyone's favorite giant Swedish straw caprid to suffer from repeated attacks. Already ("The front hoof smells of petrol") this year's goat at Gävle has been attacked. Of the 76 goats to date, 33 have been burnt (includes goats burnt down more than once and goats only partially burnt), 7 vandalised (includes goats thrown in the river), 1 run over and 1 stolen, giving a survival rate of 45%. The goat attracts international attention and attacks; in 2001 a tourist from Cleveland, Ohio was jailed for 18 days [Swedish] [English] for igniting the goat. Last year's goat survived to December 2nd (traumatic video). Gävlebocken is 13 metres tall and consists of 3.6 tonnes of straw. While intact it tweets, and blogs in Swedish and English. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 7:20 PM PST - 30 comments


On Monday September 24th, Mandolin Brothers were visited by 3/5ths of The Punch Brothers: Chris Thile, along with Chris Eldridge and Noam Pickelny. Chris played their Lloyd Loar 1924 F-5 mandolin and their 1925 Fern. Among the numbers they played was a lovely rendition of Tennessee Waltz. Previously [more inside]
posted by Bartonius at 6:21 PM PST - 16 comments


What's cuter than a corgi in motion? A corgi lying completely inert. What's cuter than that? A corgi lying still so his owner can vacuum him. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:58 PM PST - 31 comments


That rover the United States sent to Mars found something. It won't blow your mind, but it's interesting if you're into Mars geology.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:40 PM PST - 58 comments

Voyager One, the furthest man made object from earth, recently entered the boundary between the heliosphere and interstellar space. Scientists from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have nicknamed this boundary area the Magnetic Highway.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 3:02 PM PST - 35 comments

For the past few years, Topless Robot has run a column called Fan Fiction Friday (NSFW text, criticising the worst of the worst in fan-fiction (probably NSFW), crack-fiction, vile fan-fic and bad grammar in a style similar to MST3K. Several weeks ago Topless Robot founder Rob Bricken made the leap to Gawker Media's science-fiction-and-science website io9, and announced to the surprise of many that FFF would continue. Two weeks in (NSFW) io9 editor Annalee Newitz announced that FFF would be cancelled claiming "it's not going to work on io9". [more inside]
posted by Mezentian at 2:53 PM PST - 113 comments

At the western edge of Golden Gate Park sit two Windmills, claimed to be among the largest in the world. Built over 100 years ago to irrigate the park, they were eventually made functionally obsolete by electric water pumps and were allowed to fall into a state of neglect. The North (Dutch) Windmill was given a face-lift in 1980, and more recently The South (Murphy) windmill has been completely restored. For the first time in decades both windmills started spinning, appropriately enough, on Queen's Day earlier this year. The entire reconstruction process of the South Windmill is documented in this extensive photo gallery.
posted by MattMangels at 2:47 PM PST - 11 comments

In 1928 Heiress Nancy Cunard founded the Hours Press in France publishing among others Aragon and Beckett both at one time her lovers.
Her relationship with African-American musician, Henry Crowder caused a major scandal and 1934 Nancy Cunard published Negro: An Anthology which was banned in the British West Indies and several West African colonies on the grounds of its "seditiousness".
It was inspired by her observance of the infamous Scottsboro Boys case.
posted by adamvasco at 2:32 PM PST - 2 comments

Trevenge depicts Christmas from the perspective of sentient Christmas trees. After being hacked down and shipped to homes, they are subject to "humiliation" by humans, who decorated them and make them stand in their living rooms. The Christmas trees have had enough, and go on to massacre and kill an entire town as part of their uprising.
• [Not the least bit safe for people who anthropomorphize objects, don't do gore, or don't do creepy violence - Seriously]
posted by Blasdelb at 2:14 PM PST - 26 comments

"Draw some random points on a piece of paper and join them up to make a random polygon. Find all the midpoints and connecting them up to give a new shape, and repeat. The resulting shape will get smaller and smaller, and will tend towards an ellipse!" [code to make this in Mathematica] [a version which allows you to watch the process step by step, with 10 vertices or 100]
posted by ocherdraco at 2:09 PM PST - 65 comments

The results of the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee Election were released today, and the three men elected were Jacob Ruppert, who owned the Yankees for 24 years and helped steer the team from mediocrity in the 1910s to some of the greatest teams in baseball history; Hank O'Day, one of the longest-serving umpires in league history and the man who made the official ruling on Merkle's Boner, and Deacon White, the first great catcher and one of the main players in the first baseball dynasty, the Boston Red Stockings of the 1870s National Association. [more inside]
posted by Copronymus at 2:03 PM PST - 9 comments

Mister nice guy - As a cartoonist, Tim Kreider seemed to loathe almost everybody. His essays tell a different story.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:00 PM PST - 10 comments

In 1964, Zambia joined the Space Race with help from Edward Makuka Nkoloso, an enthusiastic, if overly optimistic, primary school teacher (partial transcript, video very much of its time). Though the rocket never left Lusaka, and there was never any real support from either the Zambian government or UNESCO, Nkoloso's project caught the imagination of Spanish artist Cristina de Middel in her short film, The Afronauts. Middel explains, "The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices. It's just like saying strong words with a beautiful smile." via.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:50 PM PST - 8 comments

Interested in writing comics? Here are dozens of links on how to do it.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM PST - 23 comments

Super Mario Beads 1 2 3 (mlyt) [more inside]
posted by cthuljew at 10:16 AM PST - 7 comments

Pool Women Cartoon
posted by fleetmouse at 9:39 AM PST - 79 comments


Dispatch from the Boring 2012 conference.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:13 AM PST - 8 comments

From the BBC blog of documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis: "Save Your Kisses For Me: How the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Israeli Right became co-dependents in an abusive relationship." Includes images / film clips from the BBC news archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 8:34 AM PST - 37 comments

A soccer stadium in Palestine was destroyed recently and a number of European based footballers signed a letter condemning the act. Palestine has historically been a difficult place to be a footballer, up to and including being imprisoned, although Mahmous Sarsak has since been freed. Despite all of this, it looks like at least the Palestinian women’s game is on the up and up.
posted by josher71 at 8:24 AM PST - 35 comments

Trench Talk now entrenched in the English Language - Military historian Peter Doyle and Julian Walker, an etymologist at the British Library, have written Trench Talk about how words from the first World War have become part of everyday English. [more inside]
posted by pointystick at 8:13 AM PST - 22 comments


Gloria, the first video from the fantastic Dutch musician Junkie XL's new album Synthesized, is a deadpan love letter to the cheesy music videos of the late '80s, early '90s. [more inside]
posted by quin at 7:59 AM PST - 20 comments

In China, people are being evicted from their homes at an alarming rate, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. Eager to spur economic development, local Communist Party officials have used violence and intimidation to force people out of their homes and farmland, including employing private gangs to attack residents who won't comply with eviction orders. In Hebei Province, however, one father-and-son duo, both devotees of Bruce Lee and facing a gang of over 30 men outside their house, decided to fight back--and won. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:57 AM PST - 31 comments

Author Jon Meacham has a new book out on Thomas Jefferson. It is reviewed in the New York Times: Cultivating Control in a Nation’s Crucible
But this book does not address its principal concern, power, until Jefferson has accrued some. When it comes to the force that he wielded as a slaveholder, Mr. Meacham finds ways to suggest that thoughts of abolition would have been premature; that it was not uncommon for white heads of households to be waited on by slaves who bore family resemblances to their masters; and that since Jefferson treated slavery as a blind spot, the book can too.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:28 AM PST - 44 comments

"When most Americans think of surveillance drones, it conjures up an image of a Predator drone in a far-off land unleashing a missile against a terrorist suspect. The last thing they think of is a flying surveillance vehicle over their own city. But an increasing number of federal, state, county and municipal police departments are purchasing drone surveillance vehicles of one sort or another to watch Americans. And a few have even discussed arming the drones." - Drones over America. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to more than double its fleet of Predator drones for surveillance missions inside the United States. Despite Problems, there is a push to expand domestic use. Much of that push comes from a "powerful" lobbying group that most Americans have never heard of: the Unmanned Systems Caucus. Drone Makers Push Congress to Move Up Domestic Deployment Date (follow the money). More? ACLU blog posts related to domestic drones. Here is a Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations, last updated in April. Insiders assure You have nothing to worry about, but a little remarked-upon court decision may bring the domestic drone age one flight closer to your doorstep. (previously)
posted by spock at 7:18 AM PST - 72 comments

The Daily, much-lauded iPad-only news operation is "ceasing standalone publication" on December 15. The News Corp publication launched Feb. 2, 2011 with cooperation from Apple and its nascent Newsstand app. Previously.
posted by brentajones at 5:55 AM PST - 24 comments


Researchers at the National Veterinary School of Alfort in Paris recently carried out a study of the friendliness of different cat breeds, surveying the owners of 129 cats about the cats' interactions with people. The survey determined that pedigree cats are significantly friendlier than crossbreeds, a difference which the researchers put down to pedigree kittens being left with their mothers for longer at a crucial developmental period and/or breeders selecting for friendliness as a genetic trait. The friendliest breed of cat is reportedly the sphynx, an exotic hairless breed, possibly due to its reliance on proximity to humans to keep warm.
posted by acb at 4:12 AM PST - 55 comments

Frog Dreaming, aka The Quest (North America), aka Go Kids (UK), aka The Spirit Chaser (Sweden) features Henry Thomas as an American orphan in Australia investigating an aboriginal legend at a flooded quarry in Devils Knob national park. And yes, it's available in its entirety on youtube.
posted by mannequito at 3:45 AM PST - 14 comments

" Assassin Jerome Johnson was a black neo-Nazi as well as a practiced marksman and member of the NRA. He also thought he was God. The night before murdering Colombo, he arrived by bus from Cambridge, Mass., carrying a caged monkey. " Mark Ames and Alexander Zaitchik dive into the shadowy CIA underworld, tracing the murder of CIA house banker Nicholas Deak.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:27 AM PST - 35 comments

Creating Art from Failure. Take one epochal album by one of rock's legendary bands (called "one of the dullest and most confusing albums I've heard this year" by Rolling Stone on its release.) Name it after the nickname the band has given the venues where they appear, and for which they had written a song, which they neglected to put on the album itself. And then there's the album cover ... [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:55 AM PST - 151 comments

December 2

...the story said that they were trying to get me here to become a model, that I was a goat herder… I mean, I’d seen goats, but really? And that I didn’t speak a word of English. I spoke five languages! Totally mythology. I had no clue about that… I arrived, and the next day, I had 64 members of the press. An interview with Iman. Part I and II. (Via The Beheld.) [more inside]
posted by latkes at 9:34 PM PST - 18 comments

"It’s really simple. I just want as many guys as possible who have an opinion about how they see women treated in culture whether it’s an observation about the news or speaking up about how they feel when their wife comes home and tells him about an instance of gender discrimination." - Comedian Jen Kirkman on why she started MA'AM: Men Against Assholes & Misogyny.
posted by mokin at 9:20 PM PST - 53 comments

Brain Pickings presents the Best Design Books of 2012. Because you weren't really going to get anything done today anyway, right? [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:54 PM PST - 14 comments

Hanukkah draws nigh and that means latkes. [The oil in which the potato pancake is cooked symbolizes the miraculously long-burning fuel that lit the Second Temple.] Bubala Please shows you how to keep it real. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen at 6:07 PM PST - 75 comments

Got writer's block? Cartoonist's block? Songwriter's block? Stuck for stocking stuffer? Storymatic to the rescue. It's a box of 500 cards, each of which supplies a few words of inspiration, created by a Brian Mooney, a teacher of creative writing. Storymatic Project: there are only two rules.
posted by beagle at 5:39 PM PST - 19 comments

Never leave a Husky home alone....
posted by HuronBob at 3:15 PM PST - 57 comments

The French actor Denis Lavant has done some incredible things. In his latest film, Holy Motors, he plays eleven different roles, including The Banker, The Beggar Woman, the Motion-Capture Specialist, Monsieur Merde, and The Dying Man. Here, Lavant (as The Accordionist) leads a band on a stroll through the Église Saint-Merri in Paris as they perform R.L. Burnside's "Let My Baby Ride" in the film's show-stopping entr'acte.
posted by Mothlight at 12:08 PM PST - 33 comments


New Case Law in Sovereign Debt Restructuring...in Lego Form [more inside]
posted by JPD at 11:00 AM PST - 22 comments


Landings at San Diego Int Airport Nov 23, 2012 - 4.5 hours of plane landings in 30 seconds
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:37 AM PST - 33 comments

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad?
...and other foodie figures of speech. A few more to nibble on. Or jump to 27:25 of this week's World in Words to hear butchered renditions of the podcast crew's favorites (iTunes link)
posted by iamkimiam at 9:44 AM PST - 17 comments

Smack My Kitty Up (An edit/remix of the video to Superchunk's Crossed Wires) MLYT
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:38 AM PST - 11 comments

"Why should I load up on debt just to binge drink for four years when I could just create an app that nets me all the money I’ll ever need?" Young entrepreneurs are ditching college in droves, seen by some as a bad investment while dropping out is a "badge of honor" in Silicon Valley, whose lionized heroes include Zuckerburg, Jobs, and Gates - all college dropouts themselves.
posted by four panels at 9:31 AM PST - 133 comments

Ariel Meadow Stallings (creator of Offbeat Mama and Offbeat Bride) on liberal bullying: "...what's the biggest challenge we deal with every day? The challenge that has my editors second-guessing every post and quaking in fear, just waiting for the awfulness to begin? It's attacks from our fellow progressives... Increasingly, I've started recognizing this kind of behavior for what it is: privilege-checking as a form of internet sport. It's a kind of trolling, with all the politics I agree with, but motivations and execution that turns my stomach. It's well-intended (SO well-intended), but when the motivations seem to be less about opening dialogue about the issues, and more about performance, righteousness, and intolerance for those who don't agree with you… well, I'm not on-board." [more inside]
posted by flex at 8:57 AM PST - 180 comments

Your Holiday Mom: "This season, supportive moms have gathered to send a holiday message to all LGBTQ children, teens and young adults who are without family support and who would like a 'stand-in Holiday Mom'–or 40! Knowing that not every mother is ready to accept her own LGBTQ child exactly as-is (as hard as this is for us to imagine), we moms have written to extend our love beyond that of our own family."
posted by cowboy_sally at 8:21 AM PST - 15 comments

The Hawkeye Initiative Hawkeye drawn in some "classic" comic poses.
posted by drezdn at 7:42 AM PST - 36 comments

Killing Them Softly - Trailer(Youtube) - is based on a 1978 novel by George V. Higgins (Boston's Balzac), set in Boston. The movie was filmed in New Orleans and set in 2008. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:23 AM PST - 17 comments

The BBC explore the olfactory delights of rakfisk, "trout sprinkled with salt and fermented in water for up to a year." But is it as smelly as Surströmming, fermented Baltic Herring from neighboring Sweden, or as extreme as the Icelandic Hákarl, basking shark buried in a hole and fermented for several months and tasting "similar to very strong cheese slathered in ammonia"? [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 6:49 AM PST - 52 comments

Frank Fairfield is a folk musician who feels like he came fresh out of another century. He plays banjo (The Winding Spring & Nine Pound Hammer and Cumberland Gap), guitar (Call Me A Dog When I'm Gone and Bye, Bye, My Eva, Bye, Bye), and fiddle (Rye Whiskey and Poor Old Lance [with quartet], which is the piece that introduced me to him).
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:45 AM PST - 16 comments

The Economics of Caring There's something deeply flawed about an economic system that measures utility but not the attachments we feel to another person, or to one's homeland.
posted by infini at 5:41 AM PST - 26 comments


Destroying the Commons by Noam Chomsky: "The Charter of the Forest demanded protection of the commons from external power. The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population: their fuel, their food, their construction materials, whatever was essential for life. The forest was no primitive wilderness. It had been carefully developed over generations, maintained in common, its riches available to all, and preserved for future generations -- practices found today primarily in traditional societies that are under threat throughout the world." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:21 AM PST - 30 comments

December 1

From thecatamites of Space Funeral and jchastain of MONSTER KILLERS fame comes Goblet Grotto, "Millionaire coolgame franchise and mystery pak" featuring "over 2000 hours of cave-based gameplay". [more inside]
posted by pravit at 9:05 PM PST - 8 comments


For the past two years, in a loft apartment in downtown Los Angeles, Craig Thornton has been conducting an experiment in the conventions of high-end American dining. Several nights a week, a group of sixteen strangers gather around his dining-room table to eat delicacies he has handpicked and prepared for them, from a meticulously considered menu over which they have no say.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:04 PM PST - 51 comments


The crowdsourced film 26 Years opened in first place in Korean movie theaters this weekend. The movie languished in development for four years, before finally being completed by collecting donations online - when fundraising closed on October 20 this year, 21,233 contributors had kicked in 747,790,000 Won (about 690,000 USD). The contributors' names are listed in the movie's ending credits. The movie's controversial subject matter involves a plot to assassinate former S. Korean president Chun Doo-hwan, in reprisal of his role in the Gwangju Massacre of 1980. The movie is based on Korean comics artist 강풀 Kang Full's web comic 26 Years, serialized from April 2006 to October 2006. (Some links in Korean)
posted by needled at 4:58 PM PST - 6 comments

It's touched the hearts of all sorts of people, but after twenty-four years, the final issue of Nintendo Power is here. One thing's for sure: if the cover doesn't make you feel all kinds of fuzzical nostalgia, then the doctors have called to say that you're dead inside and it's clear that your life is a god damn mess.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:00 PM PST - 68 comments

The houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata) is a turkey-like bird found in sandy and stony desert-like regions. The bustard is a favored prey of the falcon, though it has a strong defense against its predator: the forceful excretion of a dark green anal slime. The bustard's meat is prized as an aphrodisiac (or possibly a diuretic) by falconers, and its mating display is flamboyant, though slightly disorienting. [more inside]
posted by obscurator at 3:56 PM PST - 16 comments

dj bc's beloved holiday mashup series Santastic returns with Santastic Seven: It's a Wonderful Mash. Previously.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:55 PM PST - 4 comments



My Dearest Barack: A collection of letters that student Dylan Hansen-Fliedner wrote back to the Obama campaign, in response to donation requests.
posted by growabrain at 1:33 PM PST - 16 comments

"The experiences of women may not be easy to portray in the aggressive world of videogames. If such a game is made - and I hope it is - it will be because its creators demanded to be heard. It will be created because women made it." (Source)
While the vast majority of video game titles are designed primarily by men, women have been a part of video game development since the earliest arcades. Here are some of their games: [more inside]
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 12:55 PM PST - 40 comments

The modern equivalent of hammering your ploughshare into a sword. Man sees a new AK-47 stock in a shovel handle, then decides to not stop at that.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:41 PM PST - 49 comments


Militants versus musicians in Mali. Extremist groups controlling Northern Mali [previously, previously] have been cracking down on musicians. "Western" music has been banned, but so has Mali's age-old griot tradition. [more inside]
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:44 AM PST - 32 comments

I was born in Washington DC. I was potty trained at one and a half. Was reading at age two. Saw my first porn at a drive-in when I was six, in the back seat. Started getting in trouble with the law when I was about ten. And then kept getting in trouble until twenty one I went to prison and then when I got out came to Tennessee and went to college here in Johnson City and then I’ve just being doing art ever since. Art has saved my life, it’s like the best therapy in the world. Jon Ronson meets Bryan Saunders, who has created 8,700 self-portraits including, including most notably, 50 whilst under the influence of various different drugs (previously)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:33 AM PST - 23 comments

There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."
Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:19 AM PST - 214 comments


"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 4:27 AM PST - 109 comments


The African King With A Multi-Billion Dollar Empire RBH functions as a communitybased investment company whose primary investment aim is to generate the income required for the funding of sustainable projects. Income generated from RBH’s commercial interests is invested in infrastructural development, as well as in the members of the Nation itself. Over the past decade, more than R4 billion ($475 million) has been spent on roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities. This has benefited not only the Bafokeng, but other people living in the North West Province of South Africa, the area which the RBN calls home.
posted by infini at 3:11 AM PST - 5 comments

What adults may remember best about Bazooka, however, is disappearing. The tiny comic strip featuring the eyepatch-wearing brand mascot Bazooka Joe that has been wrapped around each piece of gum since 1953 is being replaced.
posted by chavenet at 3:06 AM PST - 49 comments

The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:12 AM PST - 19 comments