May 19, 2016
How Nigeria has come to dominate the competitive Scrabble circuit. [SLWSJ]
Your long wait is over. Public service announcement: as of Tuesday, you can finally own Cop Rock on a triple DVD box. NYT: Sometimes “worst” is a misnomer for “ahead of its time.” On Tuesday Shout! Factory releases “Cop Rock: The Complete Series,” a three-disc package that provides a chance to revisit this TV curiosity. Watching the 11 episodes — the original 16-episode order was truncated when the show didn’t generate ratings — is fascinating, and not always in a train wreck way. When “Cop Rock” worked, though that was only intermittently, it worked quite well. Previously.
Today, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives took to the floor, shouting "Shame!" at their Republican colleagues, after the Republican members of Congress used an unusual method to defeat a bill that appeared to have passed and would have protected LGBT workers from discrimination by government contractors. [more inside]
Some of you may already be aware that the looooooong gestating miniseries based on Stephen King's "Dark Tower" books has finally begun filming (previously) with MeFi favorite Idris Elba in the lead role of Roland (Pictures have already been taken of him on set). As with any beloved piece of literature, fans have their reservations about what changes may occur from the original text. But as any Dark Tower fan will tell you, this is no ordinary book series. And it looks like Stephen King is hinting that the miniseries will follow in kind (Spoilers ahoy).
The beta test of Project Earth is finally over. First, the bad news: this update comes with a server wipe. Yes, we know you've poured time and effort into your 'lives' on Earth, and it's disappointing to lose your progress. Unfortunately, this can't be helped. We experimented with methods of porting existing avatars into the new version, but it brings a host of compatibility issues with our new character-creation system (more on that later). As a consolation, we're planning another exciting in-game 'End of the World' event, so you can go out with a bang.
Women, literally, have more drive than men. Nowadays, only 16% of car trips are for commuting. The majority of the remainder are spent running errands, and it's women who account for the lion's share of those hours behind the wheel. The same holds true in cities where more trips away from home involve travel by public transportation. Yet most transit plans aimed at easing traffic congestion target work commuters through options such as telecommuting and hub-and-spoke public transit designs. [more inside]
Need to hire a video production company? You're in luck! Fred and Sharon make movies. Or, if Fred and Sharon are all booked up, Eyetech Video Productions might be available.
Hyper-Reality presents a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media.
Last fall's entire BAHfest* East is up on YouTube (finally), including the keynote address, "The Negative Repercussions of the Repopulation of Deer Species". [more inside]
Christian Faur has been on the blue before, but here you get to see his process. He also details how he cleans his art.
NY Times obituary. On May 11, he retired from 60 Minutes after 46 years. "His Canadian sensibility grounded his work," said fellow journalists. 1998 profile: "He never played it safe." He famously reported on the horrors of Vietnam in Cam Ne: When President Lyndon Baines Johnson was outraged, he wanted to know if Safer was a Communist. "When he was told that Morley was 'not a communist, but just a Canadian', LBJ apparently said `Oh well, I knew he wasn’t an American'."
[Mora] Weigel had a revelation: she was always turning to a man to tell her what she was after, and the institution of dating was to blame. It trained women “in how to be if we wanted to be wanted.” Hence “Labor of Love,” an exploration of that training, in which Weigel reaches two main conclusions. The first is that though dating is passed off as a leisure activity, it really is a lot of work, particularly for women. It requires physical effort—all that primping, exercising, shopping, and grooming—as well as sizable investments of time, money, and emotion. In our consumer society, love is perpetually for sale; dating is what it takes to close the deal.
Though we've come a long way since Bernie, Donald and Hillary formally launched their campaigns, there's still a while to go before polling stations open. Recently, Barack enjoyed a Nordic State Dinner , delivered a commencement speech of our time, and pushed through rules including extending overtime pay to more than four million Americans. On the campaign trail, Hillary takes Kentucky while Bernie takes Oregon. Meanwhile, Donald clarifies that there's no VP for Marco with him, but Marco wants people to leave him alone anyway, people make wild speculations about Bernie's possible VP pick, Ted pretends Donald does not exist, Reince pleads "come together", and in coal country Hillary mentions a Bill role as a potential running mate is a bit coy. [more inside]
Use this tool to see if you can drive in Great Britain with your non-GB driving licence. Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland. [more inside]
The history of the wafuton goes back to ancient times more than three centuries before the Common Era. Considered to be good for the health, yet convenient to roll, store, and air, the Japanese futon is rather a different beast from that more familiar convertible futon common in the West. William Brouwer is credited with the original concept and industrial design of the wooden structure, while in Japan, it is master craftsmen like Hisayoshi Nohara, Grand Champion of Futon Making, who are revered for their work. You can try one out in a ryokan.
Come on, you know you’ve thought to yourself, “I wonder if there’s a way to lick my cat and groom him or her at the same time?”
How street kids in the Bronx taught me it’s OK to be biracial and gay - As a “nerdy, Mexican, gay, Mormon child of the ’80s and ’90s,” cartoonist Terry Blas had trouble figuring out his identity… until an experience in New York taught him a valuable lesson. [more inside]
Kafkaesque: A Word So Overused It Has Lost All Meaning? by Alison Flood [The Guardian] On Monday night, Han Kang’s strange, disturbing, brilliant novel The Vegetarian won the Man Booker International prize. Shortly afterwards, dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster announced that searches for the word “Kafkaesque” had “spiked dramatically” in the wake of her win, because the novel “has been described by its British publishers (and by a number of reviewers) as Kafkaesque”.
In 1938, as the Great Depression was winding down, a Texas radio station began airing “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls,” a variety show broadcast every Wednesday night from the state prison in Huntsville. The show featured male and female prisoners singing, strumming, dancing, and acting. At one point, it had five million listeners, who sent in as many as a 100,000 fan letters each year. Executions were stayed so that they would not conflict with the show, which was performed in an auditorium 50 yards from Old Sparky, the state’s electric chair.A Peek at the Golden Age of Prison Radio — The Marshall Project: Nonprofit journalism about criminal justice [more inside]
Property speculators own nearly 20 percent of all property in Detroit. Though their practices vary, speculation often changes the role and use of property in neighborhoods and communities. At its most extreme, speculation generates vacancy and abandonment. It is often a practice with minimal investment that hastening the deterioration of houses, commercial, and industrial buildings.
What you see here are the owners of multiple parcels of land in the city of Detroit.
What you see here are the owners of multiple parcels of land in the city of Detroit.
Movies With Mikey is a YouTube series by video game voice actor and writer Mikey Neumann. In every episode, Mikey anaylizes an often misunderstood, under-rated, or critically panned movie (or sometimes just a movie he really, really likes), blending humor and a blustery narrative with thoughtful insight. (MLYT) [more inside]
Need a new mattress? Come on down to Mattress Firm! Or try the one at the other end of the strip mall. And if that doesn't grab you, why not try the one at the end of the block? Maybe the one across the street from that one is more to your liking. Why are there so many mattress stores in the US? [more inside]
The Secret Order of the Slice: photographer Chris Gampat captures the magical moment of opening a pizza box. [more inside]
In 2003, the small Kochi Racetrack in southern Japan was in trouble. The Lost Decade hit the provincial raceway hard, and the staff was scrambling to find some way to stave off bankruptcy. One day, they found an unlikely savior. This is the story of Haru Urara, the losingest racehorse in Japan, and how she gave hope to millions.
Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer.
An interview about pleasure, ownership, censorship, and harassment with artist Stephanie Sarley. "Keep MeFi Weird May" continues with some videos that are decidedly NSFW despite containing only hands and fruit.
Laurie Anderson - Empty Places March 12, 1990, Iowa City [1h30m] (a fairly watchable VHS audience bootleg) [more inside]
Frank Clyde Brown always planned to publish a collection of North Carolina folklore, but it seems he was never able to stop collecting long enough to actually assemble his material. After his death, some of Brown's colleagues intervened, and a collection was eventually published under their editorship. The seven-volume Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore was released between 1952 and 1964 by the Duke University Press.And you can find the complete collection online thanks to Archive.org and Hathi Trust. [more inside]
How some of the greatest rappers make rhymes is an impressive video from Vox that explains how the best artists manipulate rhymes, beats, and motifs in exciting ways.
A data visualization of Two Centuries of U.S. Immigration by MeFi member, Max Galka. His latest project foiamapper (freedom of information act mapper). You can "Search for government information by keyword or see what other people and news organizations are requesting." Or you can "Browse by Government Agency: FOIA logs, record systems, and contact information for making a Freedom of Information request." foiamapper faq. Previously from mgalka, MeFi Projects 1 & 2.