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February 9, 2012
A jolly hour on the trolley
Seattle is only one of five cities in the United States with a trackless electric trolley bus system. King County Metro operates 159 trolley buses on 14 routes that ply over 70 miles of trolley wire, and travel 2,906,297 miles annually. Last year, Metro found that operating new electric trolleys offered a superior financial scenario to new diesel buses. This is even before considering how much better a trolley performs on Seattle's steep hills, or how much less pollution it creates, being supplied by hydroelectric power. If you want to know a little more about how the system works, see some of the photos posted by a King County bus operator known as VeloBusDriver. Some of these photo sets explain the controls of an ETB, the innards of an ETB—so much cleaner than a diesel but so much more dangerous to poke around in—and aspects of how the trolley wire itself works, including the "special work" necessary for tasks such switching routes or traversing a drawbridge.
posted by grouse at 9:46 PM PST - 44 comments

Manningface
Peyton Manning is known as one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time. He holds many NFL all time records and led his team to victory in Super Bowl XLI. Manning has lost significant playing time due to a serious neck injury and it is not clear if he will return to the Colts next season, or to football at all. If he does decide to return to the gridiron to try and win another championship (to catch up with his little brother on that score) there is no clear consensus on what team he could possibly end up joining. With that speculation in the mind of every NFL fan this offseason, artist David Rappoccio has begun to visualize what it might look like if Peyton joined your local team.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:07 PM PST - 128 comments

Pantomime Course
Not for the first time, a paper-mache rhino terrorizes Ueno Zoo. Previously: ape, polar bear, tiger, zebra.
posted by Winnemac at 8:52 PM PST - 19 comments

news about Khan Academy, Udacity, MITx, and Stanford online courses
Recent news about free online education.
1, Khan Academy: Google's first employee, Craig Silverstein, is leaving Google and joining Khan Academy. [more inside]
posted by -jf- at 7:01 PM PST - 39 comments

mwah mwah mwah mwah woo woo woo woo
Yes, this will make your cheeks hurt! (SLYTHABV) [single link youtube husky and baby video]
posted by HuronBob at 6:20 PM PST - 39 comments

Blind Piano Prodigy
Rachel Flowers plays some of rock's toughest compositions on keyboard. Oh, and jazz and classics too. Impressive, for an eighteen-year-old. Who is blind.
posted by Doohickie at 5:50 PM PST - 17 comments

Put on your thinking cap.
The New Scientist writes about the attempts of scientists to induce an artificial state of being in the zone (also referred to as "flow") through electrical manipulation of the brain. As a bonus, they also include a forum link to homemade attempts to achieve the same thing. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 4:31 PM PST - 43 comments

Just what it says.
Dogs under water!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:01 PM PST - 39 comments

These people in the midwest, they wouldn't know a bagel from a donut. They only saw a bagel if one fell off a truck. Four professors were dissecting it before they found out what it's all about.
Hiya Freddie baby, give me a dozen...my life's blood, without bagels what is a day? Yah make it a dozen assorted. Dat's it, give me the garlic, the sesame, the onion, give me them all baby, that's it! They're still handmade eh? Hot Bagels! Wait a second let me PAY yah! Here you are, kid. Thank you. Have a good day.
posted by timshel at 3:27 PM PST - 71 comments

Chemicals are really simple. You mix a couple things together and sell it for more than the materials cost.
"In one corner of Manoj Bhargava’s office is a cemetery of sorts. It’s a Formica bookcase, its shelves lined with hundreds of garishly colored screw-top plastic bottles not much taller than shot glasses. Front and center is a Cadillac-red bottle of 5-Hour Energy, the two-ounce caffeine and vitamin elixir that purports to keep you alert without crashing. In eight years 5-Hour has gone from nowhere to $1 billion in retail sales. Truckers swear by it. So do the traders in Oliver Stone’s 2010 sequel to Wall Street. So do hungover ­students. It’s $3 a bottle, and it has made Bhargava a fortune."
posted by vidur at 3:26 PM PST - 59 comments

it was completely useless. Thanks.
Can't get enough horse_ebooks? Try horse_ebookmarklet.
posted by functionequalsform at 2:16 PM PST - 39 comments

The main thing about impersonation, Tom thought, was to maintain the mood and temperament of the person one was impersonating, and to assume the facial expressions that went with them.
The Composites - Literary characters imagned using police composition software
posted by The Whelk at 1:30 PM PST - 42 comments

"Those are not cats or kneeling cats on the bank note"
Cartoon images of "worshiping cats" on the Chinese 100 yuan RMB banknotes, "the equivalent of the 'Eye of Providence' on the US dollar," probably weren't designed as cartoon cats. A coin expert noted that there were no cat's whiskers on the bank note, as shown on the "clarified" image. But if you're looking for hidden images in Chinese currency, World War II era Chinese currency has many cases of hidden messages and over-printed propaganda (part 2 of a series on WWII Allied banknote propaganda).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:26 PM PST - 13 comments

Don't Phone Home From America's Prisons
Inmates and their families pay much higher rates for phone calls than average consumers. Most of this is due to kickbacks received by the prison system from providers. This has led to a marked increase in the use of contraband cell phones. Government recently commissioned the GAO to explore lower cost alternatives.
posted by reenum at 12:11 PM PST - 37 comments

The art of the teardown
There are more than a few websites that take electronic products and document their disassembly. What makes Mike Harrison's YouTube videos stand out is that while doing a teardown he attempts to identify the components and subsystems of a product and explain why a product was made the way it was made. From something as simple as a CD stereo system to a Jumbotron panel. Mike's website has been discussed previously. [more inside]
posted by toftflin at 12:10 PM PST - 12 comments

Maureen Walsh's Moment
Republican state rep. Maureen Walsh (WA, 16th District) gives a heartbreakingly earnest speech on behalf of marriage equality.
posted by hermitosis at 11:13 AM PST - 107 comments

It sounds like a need a subwoofer
What does a nebula sound like? "Astronomer Paul Francis from the Australian National University has used [recording from spectrographs] and converted them into sound by reducing their frequency 1.75 trillion times to make them audible, as the original frequencies are too high to be heard by the human ear." His projects so far include a comet, quasar, and the life of a sunlike star. His explanation of the "Celestial Orchestra" is worth a listen.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 10:49 AM PST - 21 comments

Good thing he never got a flat.
The Man Who Lived on his Bike is a 3 minute short by Canadian filmmaker Guillaume Blanchet, who spent 382 days riding his bicycle through the streets of Montreal in order to explore what life would be like if he actually lived on a bicycle.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:28 AM PST - 11 comments

Stupid new future
If people thought Apple's voice assistant Siri was conservative, then Iris, a similar feature for Android (which uses the search engine ChaCha), will blow their mind.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:08 AM PST - 84 comments

.................................@
Tumbleweeds (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:49 AM PST - 29 comments

And they're still friends six years later
A baby bear and a baby wolf playing with one another. That is all.
posted by mightygodking at 9:48 AM PST - 64 comments

The Unfortunate Trials of the Tyrant Lizard King
T-Rex Trying...
posted by lullaby at 9:30 AM PST - 25 comments

:P
"Viewer’s movement and expressions are mimicked by an animal’s head which is overlaid on the viewer’s reflection."
posted by griphus at 9:26 AM PST - 20 comments

Why some people think Noam Chomsky is wrong
It's not news that Noam Chomsky's views on foreign policy are controversial. Paul Bogdanor's The Chomsky Hoax collects links to articles critiquing those views, including the Top 200 Chomsky Lies (pdf) and economist J. Bradford Delong's My Very, Very Allergic Reaction to Noam Chomsky. Other prominent critiques include Noam Chomsky: A Critical Review (by MeFi's own Russil Wvong), George Shadriou's Dissecting Chomsky and Anti-Americanism, and David Horowitz's series of articles on Chomsky in Frontpage Magazine (Part I, Part II, response to rebuttals).
posted by shivohum at 9:09 AM PST - 285 comments

Steve Jobs FBI files
Please be advised that the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release regarding (STEVEN PAUL JOBS) is now available.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:28 AM PST - 50 comments

The Narrative Eros of the Infographic
This Chart Is a Lonely Hunter: The Narrative Eros of the Infographic via the Millions
posted by AceRock at 8:10 AM PST - 4 comments

The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible
“The words of the 1611 King James Bible ring out today in books, poems, popular songs, speeches, and sermons. But who translated it, and what made this particular translation so influential? Inspired by the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Manifold Greatness tells the story of one of the most widely read books in the English language, through online content, exhibitions, and more.” Previously on Metafilter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
posted by found missing at 8:07 AM PST - 8 comments

Take Your Parent To Work Day
"Four percent of respondents reported that a parent actually showed up for the candidate's job interview"
posted by freshwater at 8:02 AM PST - 131 comments

How the zebra came by his stripes.
How the zebra came by his stripes. "Why zebras evolved their characteristic black-and-white stripes has been the subject of decades of debate among scientists. Now researchers from Hungary and Sweden claim to have solved the mystery."
posted by estherhaza at 7:22 AM PST - 35 comments

Tearoom: Too busy sucking on a ding-dong
In 1962, the Mansfield (Ohio) Police Department stationed officers armed with a movie camera behind a two-way mirror in a public restroom known for its "cruisy" atmosphere. With the help of the footage shot, dozens of men were arrested, prosecuted, and convicted on sodomy charges, which at the time carried mandatory minimum sentences of a year in prison. In 2007, the original surveillance footage was obtained by filmmaker William E. Jones. He's screened the unedited 56 minute film as Tearoom at festivals and museums the world over, providing a clandestine look at the scrutiny small-town Midwestern gay men faced in the 1960's. [warning: explicit, NSFW material lies beyond most links] [more inside]
posted by item at 6:51 AM PST - 82 comments

Your favourite childhood book, perhaps?
All the books in the world. Except one.
posted by jbickers at 6:11 AM PST - 30 comments

“Blow him, he’s kind of tall.”
Louis Virtel is an editor over at AfterElton.com and an avid twitterer. For the last few months he has been making an hilarious web series called Verbal Vogueing in which he rants about celebrities and pop culture. Still ongoing, there are currently ten installments; here is episode one: "The Immaculate Conniption".(NSFW audio) [more inside]
posted by aldurtregi at 5:36 AM PST - 2 comments

Pick an icon, any icon
The Laberinto of Andrea Ghisi is a 17th-century magic trick in book form. Pick an image from the 60 arrayed in front of you, and tell the magician only which quadrant it appears in. Repeat the process twice on different pages, and he can tell you what image you chose. You can see the trick performed at around 2:20 in this video, play a simulation, or see the book digitized in its entirety.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:05 AM PST - 13 comments

Christy Moore, Ballad of an Ordinary Man
"I learnt this song in Grimsby over in England about 1987. It was during the Thatcher era. There was all kinds of things happening, over in England. But I'll say one thing about Thatcher, some fantastic songs were written during her reign." Christy Moore -- Ballad of an Ordinary Man (SYLT)
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:54 AM PST - 34 comments