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February 23, 2011
Build your own Watson Jr.
It’s not simple, and there’s a lot of hand waiving involved, but an IBM researcher has published a guide to building your own "Watson Jr." using only commodity hardware and open source software. [Previously 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5] [via]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 11:04 PM PST - 29 comments

Old Man's War
(Metafilter's own) science fiction author John Scalzi potentially has a movie coming out. It's to be based on his work Old Man's War. Wolfgang Petersen is apparently set to direct. [more inside]
posted by converge at 10:59 PM PST - 40 comments

Blurbodoocery Inc.
The NYTimes profiles the "Queen of the Mommy Bloggers" Who is it? Why, Dooce, of course! The article also gives shoutouts to Nie Nie, Mama Pundit, Pioneer Woman, Selfish Mom, and Because I Said So, among others. [more inside]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:31 PM PST - 72 comments

Zadie Smith and Gemma Sieff, Talking.
"On February 2, 2011, Harper’s Magazine and New York University’s Creative Writing Program held a discussion between Harper’s New Books columnist Zadie Smith and Reviews editor Gemma Sieff. The following is a transcript of their conversation, which covered such topics as the influence of motherhood on female novelists throughout history, the peculiar pitfalls faced by authors who write both fiction and criticism, and the place of Eminem in the hip-hop canon. Smith’s first New Books column for Harper’s appears in the March 2011 issue, now available on newsstands and to subscribers on harpers.org."
posted by chunking express at 8:08 PM PST - 6 comments

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Congressman
David Wu will cut you, with his claws. Representative David Wu (D-OR) sends out pictures of himself in a tiger costume, his staffers wonder about his mental state; he denies any issues claiming he feels GRRRRREAT! (scroll down on the MSNBC page for tigery picture goodness). [more inside]
posted by aloiv2 at 7:59 PM PST - 62 comments

The Definition of a Full Motion Video Game, Prior to the Kinect
In the early to mid 90s there was a trend in video games to use newfound CD processing capabilities to make interactive movies. These were called Full Motion Video Games (wiki), and they are cataloged by the site FMV World. In addition to a blog, it also has writings about FMV games, systems that play the games, some recorded play-throughs, and a list of games from 1991 to present. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 7:42 PM PST - 23 comments

Are you better off today than you were four, no, forty years ago?
The Most Shocking/Depressing/Enraging Interactive Infographic You Will See Today unless you've been in the "top 10%" since 1969. Move the sliders for other interesting/surprising/sad perspectives into parts of the past century.
Disclaimer: "Income Growth" is just one data point of many regarding economic well-being in the USofA, some of which appear elsewhere in non-interactive form elsewhere on the site. Your personal mileage may vary. Remember, if you've done well despite not being in the "top 10%", then somebody else has done worse.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:49 PM PST - 176 comments

It's a secret to everybody.
BS Zelda Retrospective (SLYT). In honor of Zelda's 25th anniversary this month, this is an interesting look at the live-broadcast Satellaview games in the Zelda series, which had some compelling and strange tweaks to the Zelda formula. The beginning is an introduction to the service, and the fun bit begins at 8:50.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:29 PM PST - 13 comments

"You're Adam, a five-year-old boy sneaking your pet rat into your seven-year-old sister's underwear drawer."
In Character: Actors Acting is a series of photos featuring Jeff Goldblum, Jane Lynch, Laurence Fishburne, Geoffrey Rush and 26 other actors reacting to short character prompts from photographer Howard Schatz.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 6:23 PM PST - 35 comments

Objects Are Closer Than They Appear
"The purpose of this video is to show the importance of spotting, no matter where you jump but in particular in the mountains. The group was the 2nd to exit, the drop was at the wrong place (not a pilot error though) and nobody noticed until it was almost too late. It was pure coincidence and only the quick reaction by the skydivers involved prevented injuries or worse." SLYT; 1.35 [more inside]
posted by bwg at 5:34 PM PST - 28 comments

Hip hop EP inspired by film Moon
Selene is a hip hop EP inspired by Duncan Jones' fine science fiction film Moon. The beats, which heavily sample Clint Mansell's score for the movie, were created by Max Tannone, best known for mashup album Jaydiohead, Doublecheck Your Head and Mos Dub/Dub Kweli. The MC is Brooklyn rapper Richard Rich.
posted by Kattullus at 5:23 PM PST - 21 comments

I WILL kill you!
In 1979, gaming company Avalon Hill (since bought by Hasbro) released a board game based on the popular science fiction novel Dune. Regarded by many as a masterpiece of the form, it is an asymmetrical wargame designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge and Peter Olotka, the people who created Cosmic Encounter. Six different factions vie for control of the desert planet Arrakis. As WickerNipple notes in his Everything node on the game, “Instead of giving subtle differences to the various factions like most games, Dune gives huge differences and advantages, that don't over-balance things only because every faction receives them.” The thing is, each player has special rules that give them very different options and abilities compared to the other sides, and yet the game remains balanced (especially when played by a full six players). The game has been long out of print due to the Frank Herbert estate refusing to re-license. Fantasy Flight Games is rumored to be working on a release of the game without the Dune license. Importantly, all the necessary files are available on the game's BoardGameGeek page to construct a copy of the game. (Homebrew game board - Rules, cards, counters and extras - Windows freeware game client and server) [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 5:20 PM PST - 58 comments

For Passionate Thinkers
Forty years of incredible programming from Ontario's public broadcaster now viewable on the Web at The TVO Public Archive. Samples include: Imprint 1993: Leonard Cohen talks about his poetry and music. The Education of Mike McManus 1977: Timothy Leary talks about what freedoms the drug culture wrought and reflects on his own role in bringing about these changes. Talking Film 1980: The Cinema Of John Huston offers anecdotes about Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, and Truman Capote. Allan Gregg in Conversation 2007: Carol Off/Alvin Toffler, authors of Bitter Chocolate and Future Shock. [more inside]
posted by netbros at 4:25 PM PST - 17 comments

The Blues and the Abstract Truth
Exactly 50 years ago today, composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Oliver Nelson recorded his seminal album The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Featuring Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Roy Haynes, and Freddie Hubbard, the Impulse album is often cited as among the great recordings in early 1960s jazz, and the tune Stolen Moments in particular has become a standard.
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 3:59 PM PST - 27 comments

Happy Trails (of Tarnation) To You
Nicholas Gurewitch, the insane genius behind the surreal webcomic The Perry Bible Fellowship, is now the co-creator of a new online live-action series, an Adult Swim-ish psychedelic-comedy Western: Trails of Tarnation. The first episode is up...NOW. [more inside]
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:48 PM PST - 37 comments

Life
Salon.com's "Real Families" section features personal essays about modern family life submitted by their readers. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 2:37 PM PST - 15 comments

Who owns Kafka?
An ongoing trial in Tel Aviv is set to determine who will have stewardship of several boxes of Kafka’s original writings, including primary drafts of his published works, currently stored in Zurich and Tel Aviv.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:40 AM PST - 41 comments

Contested RCMP files on Tommy Douglas released.
Tommy Douglas: Greatest Canadian. Famous as a Saskatchewan NDP leader, and for creating Canadian medicare.

In an affidavit filed in Federal Court, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service argued that full disclosure of the file on Douglas could endanger the lives of confidential informants and jeopardize the agency’s ability to conduct secret surveillance. [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:27 AM PST - 25 comments

Defend It Yourself
Obama Justice Department Finds DOMA Unconstitutional, Will Not Defend in Court The Justice Department just today sent a letter to John Boehner and other house leaders informing them of the decision. Here is the DOJ's official statement on the decision.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:59 AM PST - 346 comments

OK, time to own up.
Online astroturfing is more advanced and more automated than we’d imagined. [more inside]
posted by randomination at 9:49 AM PST - 114 comments

"This time...it's OFF THE HOOK!"
ET Sequel: "ET-X" [SLYT].
posted by Fizz at 8:55 AM PST - 37 comments

Roadrunner 3D
Roadrunner 3D -- Wile E. Coyote (Genius) discovers bungie cord.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:14 AM PST - 65 comments

Wisconsin O'Keefed?
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is refusing to talk to Senate Democrats in (or rather currently not in) his state. He is, however, apparently willing to talk to David Koch, because that's who The Buffalo Beast's Ian Murphy pretended to be when he got on the phone with Walker and recorded a 20-minute conversation about breaking unions, tricking the Democrats into coming back to pass legislation, the hotness of Mika Brzezinski, and how Walker would love to be "shown a good time" next time he visits Koch in California. [more inside]
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:03 AM PST - 921 comments

Moooom, Daaaad, Google's being weird again!
Google's Doodle-4-Google program, where kids can design a variation of the company's homepage logo, is creating a bit of stir this year with the requirement of the child's social security number. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 AM PST - 37 comments

"also known as foxy… makes Ecstasy look like aspirin, and users claim it induces this childlike wonder."
Teddy Wayne and the art of "random similarities." In 2007 Teddy wrote a parody article for Radar about a "clandestine party for students at the Upper East Side private school Dalton called "Sindergarten" ... the attendees act like kindergarteners—some girls sing "Ring-Around-the-Rosie," other teens finger-paint and play children’s games, they all receive gold stars on their foreheads at the end of each party—thanks to a the club drug foxy…a hallucinogen similar to Ecstasy said to facilitate a childlike sense of wonder with the world." In 2008, CSI: NY had a story arc where, "prep schoolers act like little children ... Girls sing “Ring-around-the-Rosie,” teens finger-paint and play other children’s games, Bryce affixes a gold star to the forehead of each attendee at the end of each party, and a lab scientist describes foxy to the detectives as "methoxy diisopropyltryptamine… also known as foxy… makes Ecstasy look like aspirin, and users claim it induces this childlike wonder." But, according to CBS lawyers, these are all "random similarities."
posted by geoff. at 6:37 AM PST - 52 comments

@MayorEmanuel Tells the Story of Two Mayors
Using Storify Tim Carmody at Snarkmarket gathered this tale of a Chicago election.
posted by cgc373 at 6:10 AM PST - 25 comments

He's a charmer
The world's biggest family: The man with 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren
posted by rodmandirect at 4:19 AM PST - 66 comments