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"Stephen Colbert": Great host? Or *the greatest* host?

Tonight! He's "a well-meaning, poorly informed, high-status idiot." An it-getter. A knight. A doctor (of fine arts). A Real American Hero. And after tonight, his arched eyebrow of justice will never again grace American television screens in quite the same way. "Stephen Colbert": a brief retrospective. Truthiness - The White House Correspondents' Dinner - Better Know a District - Formidable Opponent - Tek Jansen - Papa Bear - I Am America (And So Can You!) - Americone Dream - The ThreatDown - Late Night Fight! - Testifying to Congress - The Rally to Restore Sanity - Colbert Super PAC - Maurice Sendak - Wheat Thins - Lorna Colbert - Tolkien-off - Ask a Grown Man - The Decree. So much more inside. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 8:15 PM Dec 18 2014 - 124 comments [223 favorites]

"one of the best interviews you’ll ever hear, providing genuine insight"

Slate's "25 Best Podcast Episodes Ever" Podcasts are nothing new to the Blue, and roundup lists are a dime a dozen towards the end of the year, but it's always interesting to listen to a curated list of favorites. Most of the episodes they chose are from the last 5 years, featuring an eclectic mix of stories about love, popular culture, personal success, and public failure; there are deconstructions of the what seems mundane at first glance, and tragedy that is difficult to process.
posted by Political Funny Man at 8:06 PM Dec 15 2014 - 56 comments [140 favorites]

Endless Jingling

Endless Jingling [via mefi projects] cortex made this. how do we stop him. why would he do this. mods please delete cortex
posted by Greg Nog at 8:17 AM Dec 16 2014 - 180 comments [126 favorites]

Jackie chan gets hurt. A lot.

1. Start with a DISADVANTAGE
2. Use the ENVIRONMENT
3. Be CLEAR in your shots
4. Action & Reaction in the SAME frame
5. Do as many TAKES as necessary
6. Let the audience feel the RHYTHM
7. In editing, TWO good hits = ONE great hit
8. PAIN is humanizing
9. Earn your FINISH
The 9 Principles of Action Comedy: what makes Jackie Chan's action scenes work, by Tony Zhou. (Previously.)
posted by MartinWisse at 1:38 AM Dec 17 2014 - 81 comments [112 favorites]

Young Frankenstein at 40: not so young, but still Brooks' finest film

Director Mel Brooks spent a lot of money on white handkerchiefs while making his 1974 tour de farce, Young Frankenstein. "I gave everybody in the crew a white handkerchief," said the 88-year-old comedy legend during a recent phone interview. "I said, 'When you feel like laughing, put this in your mouth.' Every once in a while, I'd turn around and see a sea of white handkerchiefs, and I said, 'I got a hit.'"

Young Frankenstein was more than a hit. It is a comic masterpiece.
An interview with Mel Brooks on the 40th anniversary of Young Frankenstein, with an overview of the events that lead to what Mel Brooks calls 'by far the best movie I ever made.' [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 4:05 PM Dec 20 2014 - 42 comments [78 favorites]

Unedited Footage of a Bear *

"This is unedited raw footage of a bear I filmed with my cell phone. I'm not sure what kind of bear this is." (NSFW, intense flashing at 9min mark)

* Sponsored by Claridryl—"Take life in your hands"
[more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:04 PM Dec 16 2014 - 102 comments [76 favorites]

Everyone is poised to attack anyone. But it's all a joke.

How Chan-Style Anonymous Culture Shapes #gamergate Twitter user A Man In Black attempts to untangle the gamergater mindset using identity -- any identity as vice, and lack of identity as a chief virtue.
posted by boo_radley at 9:31 AM Dec 16 2014 - 170 comments [70 favorites]

For your holiday listening and/or karaoke pleasure...

Here's the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Instrumental Complete and Vocal Complete. Nice, eh? Well, there's more: Abbey Road Instrumental Complete and Vocal Complete.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:32 PM Dec 18 2014 - 42 comments [69 favorites]

Pilot-wave theory “seems to me so natural and simple..."

This idea that nature is inherently probabilistic — that particles have no hard properties, only likelihoods, until they are observed — is directly implied by the standard equations of quantum mechanics. But now a set of surprising experiments with fluids has revived old skepticism about that worldview. The bizarre results are fueling interest in an almost forgotten version of quantum mechanics, one that never gave up the idea of a single, concrete reality.

The experiments involve an oil droplet that bounces along the surface of a liquid. The droplet gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce. At the same time, ripples from past bounces affect its course. The droplet’s interaction with its own ripples, which form what’s known as a pilot wave, causes it to exhibit behaviors previously thought to be peculiar to elementary particles — including behaviors seen as evidence that these particles are spread through space like waves, without any specific location, until they are measured.

Particles at the quantum scale seem to do things that human-scale objects do not do. They can tunnel through barriers, spontaneously arise or annihilate, and occupy discrete energy levels. This new body of research reveals that oil droplets, when guided by pilot waves, also exhibit these quantum-like features.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:26 AM Dec 14 2014 - 103 comments [68 favorites]

Tiny desk make big sound (NPR)

"Truth be told, you should really set aside a weekend and watch all 83 sets back-to-back. But until then, here's a cross-section of favorites, from pop to opera, hip-hop, jazz, rock, country and whatever genre is broad enough to contain the Sun Ra Arkestra." 2014: The Year In Tiny Desk Concerts (here's the full list ).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:02 PM Dec 16 2014 - 31 comments [67 favorites]

Highway to the danger zone.

1 in 6 Americans become sick from foodborne illness each year, and like a norovirus infection, the blame is easy to spread around. Where does foodborne illness happen, and does it matter? Doug Powell of Barfblog (previously) notes that peer reviewed studies claim in-home food safety failures account for anywhere from 15 to 90% of food poisoning cases, which is enough variance to make anyone shrug. But what do we really know when it comes to foodborne illness? Read on for a stomach-turning romp through what food safety research tells us about a question as old as Ask Metafilter. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself at 12:51 PM Dec 15 2014 - 110 comments [65 favorites]

The Barbarous Years

The Shocking Savagery of America's Early History, a look at historian Bernard Bailyn's book.
Bailyn has not painted a pretty picture. Little wonder he calls it The Barbarous Years and spares us no details of the terror, desperation, degradation and widespread torture—do you really know what being “flayed alive” means? (The skin is torn from the face and head and the prisoner is disemboweled while still alive.) And yet somehow amid the merciless massacres were elements that gave birth to the rudiments of civilization—or in Bailyn’s evocative phrase, the fragile “integument of civility”—that would evolve 100 years later into a virtual Renaissance culture, a bustling string of self-governing, self-sufficient, defiantly expansionist colonies alive with an increasingly sophisticated and literate political and intellectual culture that would coalesce into the rationale for the birth of American independence. All the while shaping, and sometimes misshaping, the American character. It’s a grand drama in which the glimmers of enlightenment barely survive the savagery, what Yeats called “the blood-dimmed tide,” the brutal establishment of slavery, the race wars with the original inhabitants that Bailyn is not afraid to call “genocidal,” the full, horrifying details of which have virtually been erased.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:45 AM Dec 20 2014 - 29 comments [65 favorites]

Black people don't have that luxury to be able to tap out...

"Too often, when I'm using my fiber-optic space to share, vent, rant, and process the realities of being Black in America, I'm faced with White people responding with comments and private messages that I'm attacking, disappointing, angering, or hurting them. Or, they use patronizing language like, 'Stacey, you're much smarter than this,' or 'I thought you were a more reasonable person.'

"How do I let them know that when I say things like 'White supremacy needs to be destroyed,' that I'm not talking about personally destroying them? How do I not become frustrated at those who jump in to debate and discredit what Black people are experiencing, in our own threads?" White Women, Please Don't Expect Me to Wipe Away Your Tears, by Stacey Patton at Dame Magazine. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:06 PM Dec 17 2014 - 72 comments [64 favorites]

The art of making a book, in various forms

The art of making a book (original video on Facebook, without added music) takes you through the traditional manual process of bookbinding, from selecting and setting the individual letters to finally binding the book in leather and adding finishing touches. If you'd like to try your hand at something similar but with some modern flourishes, there are plenty of tutorials and guides, linked below. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 PM Dec 14 2014 - 18 comments [63 favorites]

There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas

It was Christmas Eve. I begin this way because it is the proper, orthodox, respectable way to begin, and I have been brought up in a proper, orthodox, respectable way, and taught to always do the proper, orthodox, respectable thing; and the habit clings to me. Of course, as a mere matter of information it is quite unnecessary to mention the date at all. The experienced reader knows it was Christmas Eve ... It always is Christmas Eve, in a ghost story.
In Told After Supper (1891), Jerome K. Jerome parodied the tradition of telling Christmas ghost stories, but it's plain to see that he had fun writing them. And horror writer Ramsey Campbell, himself the author of a number of Christmas stories, recently dropped by /r/WeirdLit to list off a few places to find more. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:06 PM Dec 16 2014 - 12 comments [55 favorites]

Behind the scenes at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Are you interested in plants? The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew aren’t just a tourist attraction -- they also run one of the world's leading botanical research institutes. To show off how important and fascinating modern plant science can be, they've commissioned a series of snazzy short videos to showcase their work. Start with the award-winning Forgotten Home of Coffee (6:00) (based on this worrying Kew study from 2012), then come back for the rest. [more inside]
posted by rollick at 2:49 PM Dec 17 2014 - 12 comments [55 favorites]

At 20 a little coquette, at 40 not married yet, at 50 a suffragette!

The Turn of the Century Posters that Warned against the Horrors of a World with Women’s Rights
posted by Alexandra Michelle at 7:04 PM Dec 19 2014 - 71 comments [55 favorites]

When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person

Which box do you check when you don’t belong in any box? How do you navigate the world when the world is built on identifying with one group or another group, male or female, and the place that feels most right to you is neither? [more inside]
posted by moody cow at 5:49 AM Dec 15 2014 - 158 comments [52 favorites]

"Witness 40": Exposing A Fraud In Ferguson

Report: Darren Wilson's Key Witness Lied About Everything: A summation of the findings of The Smoking Gun's investigation into Sandra McElroy also known as "Witness 40", a key witness for Officer Darren Wilson which may have been instrumental in preventing an indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. [previously]
posted by quin at 12:18 PM Dec 16 2014 - 130 comments [51 favorites]

Seattle’s unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck

Seattle's unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck — "In short: There is no plan to resolve the dispute over cost overruns, which are ubiquitous on projects like this; at $4.2 billion, it's the most expensive transportation project in state history. The tunnel will have no exits - no ingress or egress - throughout the entire downtown core (which makes the support of downtown businesses all the more mystifying). It won't allow transit, only cars. It will be tolled, highly enough, by the state's own estimates, to drive nearly half its traffic onto the aforementioned side streets. It will be a precarious engineering feat, the widest deep-bore tunnel in history, digging right between a) Puget Sound and b) the oldest part of Seattle, with vulnerable buildings and God-knows-what buried infrastructure. Also: Pollution. Climate change. It's the 21st f'ing century. On and on. People said all this and more, in real time, to no avail." [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu at 12:34 PM Dec 16 2014 - 164 comments [51 favorites]

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