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Far beyond "every good boy does fine"

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People Toby W. Rush's "Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People" covers a massive range of topics like pitch, rhythm, scales, intervals, and harmonics. The online book itself is arranged as a collection of about 50 PDFs that offer diagrams, notes, and tips for everything music theory related. [more inside]
posted by Lexica at 4:51 PM Oct 23 2014 - 24 comments [210 favorites]

What to read when pressed for time.

17 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Read in a Sitting by Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature:
This week author Ian McEwan expressed his love of short novels, saying “very few [long] novels earn their length.” Certainly it seems like a novel has to be a minimum of 500 pages to win a major literary award these days, and many genre novels have ballooned to absurd sizes.

I love a good tome, but like McEwan many of my favorite novels are sharpened little gems. It’s immensely satisfying to finish a book in a single day, so in the spirit of celebrating quick reads here are some of my favorite short novels. I’ve tried to avoid the most obvious titles that are regularly assigned in school (The Stranger, Heart of Darkness, Mrs Dalloway, Of Mice and Men, Frankenstein, The Crying of Lot 49, etc.). Hopefully you’ll find some titles here you haven’t read before.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:39 PM Oct 23 2014 - 42 comments [194 favorites]

I also check my skeletons twice. You can never be too careful.

I waited silently for her to explain that the female pelvis is shaped slightly differently from the male’s, with a larger opening for childbearing. That part was the giveaway. The real purpose of the exercise was to make her prove her conjecture with measurements--to translate the theory to practice. I also wanted her to explain why this sexual dimorphism--that is, this sexually determined physical difference--is not nearly so pronounced in nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees.

She spoke: Males have one fewer pair of ribs than females.
When teacher Robert S. Root-Bernstein got this answer to his question on how you should distinguish between male and female skeletons, he had to find a way to make her realise her error without disparaging her religion.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:12 AM Oct 20 2014 - 271 comments [100 favorites]

hassled by the cops for taking too many photographs of freight trains

Please tell me the most Dad thing your dad has ever done
posted by griphus at 7:05 AM Oct 23 2014 - 238 comments [99 favorites]

You probably should play all of these...

With thousands of reader suggestions, Kotaku has published a directory of "Classic PC games you must play". The most voted for free games [links go to places you can download games]: Star Control II, Tyrian, Zork, Battle Zone, Myth II, and Daggerfall. Some of the most votes for games that are available for $10 or less:Master of Orion ($5),Quest for Glory ($10), Planescape ($10), Total Annihilation ($6), Heroes of Might and Magic III ($9), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis ($5), Little Big Adventures 2 ($5), Descent ($10), and Betrayal at Krondor ($6). More idiosyncratic than PC Games list of the top games, but the people have spoken...
posted by blahblahblah at 10:39 AM Oct 23 2014 - 102 comments [91 favorites]

"...to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out."

Endnotes: David Foster Wallace, BBC Documentary. [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 12:50 PM Oct 19 2014 - 5 comments [85 favorites]

Unique taste — and the capacity to avoid the basic — is a privilege.

'She (and it is always a she) cherishes uninspired brands — a mix of Target products, Ugg boots over leggings, and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes (the ultimate signifier of basicness) — and lives a banal existence, obsessed with Instagramming photos of things that themselves betray their basicness (other basic friends, pumpkin patches, falling leaves), tagging them #blessed and #thankful, and then reposting them to the basic breeding grounds of Facebook and Pinterest.' Anne Helen Petersen on why 'basic' is just another word for class anxiety. [Single link Buzzfeed] [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:56 AM Oct 21 2014 - 200 comments [77 favorites]

When you meet a stranger, look at his shoes.

The Rise Of Men’s British-Made Shoes
The most famous Northampton technique is the 'Goodyear welted' shoe. Invented in 1869 by Charles Goodyear, Jr., the Goodyear welted process is the footwear equivalent of the off-side rule: until somebody sits you down and talks you through it, it’s quite hard to understand.

The process involves approximately 75 components and 200 separate operations. On average, the whole process, from start to finish, takes eight weeks to complete. The main benefit of footwear that is made using Goodyear welted construction is that it can be resoled repeatedly, giving the shoe a longer lifespan.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:15 PM Oct 20 2014 - 78 comments [66 favorites]

Do you fold it or wad it?

Buzzfeed conducted a(n unscientific) poll of over 300,000 readers on their bathroom habits. Some startling findings: most people pee in the shower, some people take their pants and/or their shirt off to poop, and 21% of respondents have their toilet paper facing the wrong way. The gulf between sitters and standers is widening, and the sitters contingent is winning. (Previously on sitters vs. standers.) [more inside]
posted by desjardins at 7:57 AM Oct 21 2014 - 219 comments [65 favorites]

Douchebag: The White Racial Slur We've All Been Waiting For

I am a white, middle class male professor at a big, public university, and every year I get up in front of a hundred and fifty to two hundred undergraduates in a class on the history of race in America and I ask them to shout white racial slurs at me. The results are usually disappointing. [more inside]
posted by 724A at 9:36 AM Oct 19 2014 - 172 comments [62 favorites]

Let Me Tell You About Homestuck

5 years.
7,000 pages.
13,000 panels.
700,000 words. [Approximately the length of the Bible.]
Over 3 hours of animation.
Over 23 hours of soundtrack.
15 separate games, in 3 unique styles.

PBS once called Homestuck the "Ulysses of the Internet". Its author, Andrew Hussie — who resembles Joyce in his impishness, stylistic maximalism, and fondness for disturbing smut — calls it "a story I've tried to make as much a pure expression of its medium as possible". It has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring proms and dominating Amazon makeup reviews. But most importantly, it's a rollicking good read, equal parts slapstick and epic, bildungsroman and cultural commentary.

What on earth about it makes its fans so overly zealous? And how the hell does one start the daunting process of reading Homestuck? If you're even the remotest bit curious about this Internet phenomenon, the following is a teensy-weensy introduction to just what makes Homestuck so terrific. [more inside]
posted by rorgy at 1:14 AM Oct 16 2014 - 175 comments [232 favorites (61 in the past 7 days)]

Always remember it is YOUR project and YOUR paper and YOUR thesis.

"As the academic year begins again, new PhD students across the country (and further) are slowly settling into their fresh surroundings. I stayed at the same university when I made the switch to postgraduate research but I still remember feeling quite lost at the start, not knowing what to do or where to be. I’m now entering the final year of my studies and have (I hope) picked up some useful knowledge along the way.

"So I’ll cut right to the point: below is a list of handy tips, tricks, general advice and things I wish I knew when I started my PhD. The list was put together from chats with other PhD friends of mine, but is by no means exhaustive (nor is it in any particular order, though it did get quite long…). Hopefully it will help somebody. Please share your comments at the bottom if you have things to add – the more the merrier." Things I wish I knew when I started my PhD… from Between a rock and a hard place.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:37 AM Oct 18 2014 - 59 comments [60 favorites]

Spinach dip and pork rinds for dinner? Heavy cream on everything? Yes.

The "Keto Diet" is deigned to keep your body in a constant state of ketosis. Originally designed to help people with sever epilepsy, it has become quite a popular way to lose a large amount of weight in a short period. [more inside]
posted by lattiboy at 5:11 PM Oct 18 2014 - 126 comments [55 favorites]

Woof.

A review of the uncomfortable, colonialist-islander RPG, Dog Eat Dog
posted by michaelh at 12:45 PM Oct 22 2014 - 32 comments [54 favorites]

Don't Let's Stop

Why is the world in love again?
Why are we marching hand in hand?
Why are the ocean levels rising up?
It's a brand new record
for nineteen-ninety,
They Might Be Giants' brand new album:
FLOOD (43m)
Or, if you'd rather meet James Ensor, there's John Henry (57m)! For something Fingertippy, there's Apollo 18 (43m)! More recent: Nanobots (45m) - Join Us (47m) - The Else (38m) (Official links from the band's YouTube channel! Oh, and they also have a podcast.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 2:33 PM Oct 20 2014 - 48 comments [51 favorites]

"How are things in the Land of Youth?" Ursula Le Guin blogs from 85

Legendary science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin blogs about her 85th birthday. For those who don't already know about her, here's a Wikipedia selected bibiography. For those who do, here's an Appreciation of Le Guin following her receiving the National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters last month.
posted by aught at 1:53 PM Oct 21 2014 - 23 comments [50 favorites]

Opera On Demand

Top hat at the cleaners? Opera glasses broke? Lost your box? Watch The Metropolitan Opera, the Bavarian State Opera (Deutsch, English) Vienna State Opera, or concerts from the Berlin Philharmonic and a variety of options from medici.tv and The Young Vic, The Globe, The Royal Opera House, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and more. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:42 AM Oct 17 2014 - 9 comments [53 favorites (49 in the past 7 days)]

Bill Cosby/Hannibal Buress

Hannibal Buress called out Bill Cosby for the sexual abuse charges against him onstage in Philly recently: "Thirteen? And it’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. Well, yeah, you’re a rapist, so, I’ll take you sayin’ lots of motherfuckers on Bill Cosby: Himself if you weren’t a rapist. …I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. …I’ve done this bit on stage, and people don’t believe. People think I’m making it up. …That shit is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it, trust me. You leave here and Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That shit has more results than Hannibal Buress." Timeline of Abuse Charges. (TW: Sexual Abuse)
posted by josher71 at 9:27 AM Oct 21 2014 - 309 comments [49 favorites]

Dogs reenacting U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments

If there is any justice in the world, this will revolutionize the way you consume Supreme Court news. Fed up with the Supreme Court's refusal to allow cameras at oral arguments, John Oliver has proposed an alternative to existing television coverage that relies on artists' renderings of the justices. Oliver has released more than ten minutes of raw footage of dogs dressed up like the members of the Court, and has challenged news outlets to use the footage to create less-boring recreations of oral arguments. [more inside]
posted by heisenberg at 5:09 PM Oct 22 2014 - 28 comments [49 favorites]

Seriously, it's not an RPG supplement

Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library has just released brand new scans of the Voynich Manuscript. The entire collection is available in JPEG and TIFF, and the new scans look pretty nice. The Beinecke's main page for the Voynich (previously) gives a high-level overview of what the Voynich is, but René Zandbergen's site is probably a better place to start. Just want to poke around? Try the Voynich Manuscript Voyager, which lets you zoom in and bookmark any location in the book. Or the Voynichese Query Viewer, which provides visual search results. And don't forget the text, which the Voynich information browser provides in your choice of transcription. [more inside]
posted by bigbigdog at 12:28 AM Oct 24 2014 - 21 comments [48 favorites]

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