Most Favorited Posts in the Past 7 Days (24 hours, 30 days, 12 months, all time)
Here's a quick guide to what the numbers mean. Subscribe

The secret lives of cats

Playful pets, fearsome fighters or deadly hunters? Millions of us have cats in our homes, yet we know very little about them. In this series, Liz Bonnin joins forces with some of the world's top cat experts to conduct a groundbreaking scientific study. With GPS trackers and cat cameras, we follow 100 cats in three very different environments to find out what they get up to when they leave the cat flap.
Last October, BBC's flagship science programme Horizon devoted a series of 3 episodes to tracking and analysing the secret lives of cats. These episodes are now available on Youtube. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 8:35 AM Nov 18 2014 - 53 comments [89 favorites]

Nobody in history has ever listened to an entire episode front-to-back

This is what we know about A Prairie Home Companion
posted by brundlefly at 1:42 PM Nov 19 2014 - 331 comments [88 favorites]

Always on Twine

Laura Hudson at NYT Magazine offers a great profile of Porpentine, one of the most talented voices working in an ultra-accessible medium for crafting new interactive fiction. She also reviews landmarks in the genre from other authors. What better time to celebrate the profusion of excellent Twine games out there? Links galore inside. [more inside]
posted by zeusianfog at 4:19 PM Nov 20 2014 - 21 comments [88 favorites]

"The Culture represents the place we might hope to get to"

The long-term optimism comes from the the fact that no matter how bad things seem and how idiotically and cruelly we behave. . . well, we've got this far, despite it all, and there are more people on the planet than ever before, and more people living good, productive, relatively happy lives than ever before, and—providing we aren't terminally stupid, or unlucky enough to get clobbered by something we have no control over, like a big meteorite or a gamma ray buster or whatever—we'll solve a lot of problems just by sticking around and doing what we do; developing, progressing, improving, adapting. And possibly by inventing AIs that are smarter and more decent than we are, which will help us get some sort of perspective on ourselves, at the very least. We might just stumble our way blindly, unthinkingly into utopia, in other words, muddling through despite ourselves.
In 2010 Jude Roberts interviewed Iain M. Banks for her PhD. Banks discusses his utopia, The Culture, which he created in a series of science fiction novels.
posted by Kattullus at 9:07 AM Nov 19 2014 - 69 comments [83 favorites]

You wanna understand America, don't come here — go to the movies

Rich Hall’s How The West Was Lost (What started with Red River mostly ended with Blazing Saddles; from 20th C. cultural behemoth to object of satire; the Western genre and the archetype of the cowboy.)

There’s a tradition of Brits coming to the US to explain this young country and expose the folks back home to America. From Charles William Janson and Thomas Ashe on through Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson, foreigners with funny accents and strange vocabulary have set foot on American soil in an effort to explore the place and its people. But for the Brits to truly understand America, two things might be necessary: an American expat and (more importantly) MOVIES! Because an insider’s take on Hollywood’s misportrayal, mythmaking, stereotypes, historical ignorance, misunderstanding, bullshit, and skewed lens through which we see (and are shown) ourselves as Americans can get pretty interesting as well as informative.

Stuff like: [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:37 PM Nov 16 2014 - 19 comments [70 favorites]

How does it work? CBT vs anti-depressants

Cognitive behavioural therapy is the best-studied form of psychotherapy. But researchers are still struggling to understand why it works (Single Link Nature.com). [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:34 PM Nov 18 2014 - 37 comments [66 favorites]

Somewhere in-between Chop Suey and Pork Roll, the truth lies.

Recently on The Blue we've had discussions about American Chop Suey and New Jersey Pork Roll, but what about other regional favorites, like Lutefisk, Scrapple, or the French Dip Sandwich? Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are a few links to get you started:
posted by Room 641-A at 12:54 PM Nov 17 2014 - 97 comments [64 favorites]

About THAT Kid

"Every day, your child comes home with a story about THAT kid. The one who is always hitting shoving pinching scratching maybe even biting other children. The one who always has to hold my hand in the hallway. The one who has a special spot at the carpet, and sometimes sits on a chair rather than the floor. The one who had to leave the block centre because blocks are not for throwing. The one who climbed over the playground fence right exactly as I was telling her to stop. The one who poured his neighbour’s milk onto the floor in a fit of anger. On purpose. While I was watching. And then, when I asked him to clean it up, emptied the ENTIRE paper towel dispenser. On purpose. While I was watching. The one who dropped the REAL ACTUAL F-word in gym class."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:42 AM Nov 15 2014 - 113 comments [60 favorites]

Visualisations: oh, I get it now!

Explained Visually (EV) is an experiment in making hard ideas intuitive [source: hackernews] There are plenty more mathematical visualisations around, too...
posted by katrielalex at 8:01 AM Nov 15 2014 - 9 comments [58 favorites]

(Info?) --> [Y] --> (Beautiful?) --> [Y] --> (Most?) --> [Y] --> /WIN/

The Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2014 celebrate excellence and beauty in data visualizations, infographics and information art. posted by Room 641-A at 5:20 PM Nov 15 2014 - 14 comments [58 favorites]

Insight: "A major cause of being poor is not having enough money..."

"It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that giving them money is a great way to reduce that problem." Giving small amounts of money to poor people works more efficiently than any other anti-poverty approach, doesn't lead to "laziness," improves health and happiness, fights crime and addiction, and just might lead to the kind of minimized consumption needed to prevent ecological crisis. (Works even better when it's enshrined as a right, as a few real life examples have shown.)
posted by blankdawn at 1:29 AM Nov 17 2014 - 177 comments [53 favorites]

give! it! 100!

If you gave yourself a challenge to try something for a hundred days in a row, what would you do? Learn a new language? Pick up a musical instrument? Push your body's limits? Get married, have a baby, keep the love going?
posted by divabat at 11:15 PM Nov 17 2014 - 22 comments [53 favorites]

My New Folding and Throwing Technique is Unstoppable

John Collins, holder of the world record for paper airplane flight distance, shows you how to fold that airplane. Here, he demonstrates the plane to David Rees[previously], along with a few other designs, which he also teaches to you: the Tube, the Boomerang, and the Tumbling Wing. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display at 5:43 PM Nov 16 2014 - 11 comments [50 favorites]

Barry Can't Arf Weld

A short film about large scale Forging of special steels. Filmed at Firth Rixson in Sheffield. If you'd like to see very large machines bashing the crap out of very hot pieces of metal guided by very skilled workers, this is eight minutes of beautifully shot film that is very much for you.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:25 AM Nov 19 2014 - 33 comments [48 favorites]

None of us had any money, and all of us had time.

William McPherson was the editor of the Washington Post Book World and won a Pulitzer Prize. He retired early to explore and document Eastern Europe just after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Now he is poor and living in a welfare-subsidized housing project. His article in The Hedgehog Review is a clear-eyed personal look at surviving on an economic knife's-edge in America.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:29 AM Nov 16 2014 - 55 comments [47 favorites]

Treadmill for sale, shrimp not included.

Of shrimp and senators. My name is David, and I am the marine biologist who put a shrimp on a treadmill—a burden I will forever carry.
posted by bitmage at 9:58 AM Nov 15 2014 - 49 comments [46 favorites]

No, it wasn't because of velociraptor attacks

Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for millennia. It's one of the greatest mysteries of early human civilization.
[more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 6:30 PM Nov 17 2014 - 85 comments [46 favorites]

We may get a shirt celebrating women in science.

Thanks To That Shirt, We May Get a Shirt Celebrating Women In Science by Mika McKinnon for io9:
"Along with [the newly-designed shirt] provoking quite a few giggles, Elly Zupko, the woman behind the design has been talked into trying to make the shirt for real with the intention of donating proceeds to science diversity programs. She's soliciting names and images of women in science who should be featured on the fabric. Zupko has a lot of logistics to figure out, but she's enthusiastic and buoyed by the support of others eager to celebrate the wide diversity of women in science who have contributed so much over the years. If all goes well, the take-away of this mess will be the Project Scientist for the another incredible space mission wearing another shirt covered in ladies, but this time celebrating them instead of objectifying them.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:56 PM Nov 16 2014 - 311 comments [44 favorites]

Stop calling me 'the Ebola nurse'

"I never had Ebola, and politicians who lie do nothing to protect your health."
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM Nov 17 2014 - 109 comments [43 favorites]

*A good dictionary and usage dictionary are strongly recommended.

David Foster Wallace’s Syllabus for His 2008 Creative Nonfiction Course: Includes Reading List & Footnotes [salon.com]
Class Rules & Procedures (1) For obvious reasons, you’re required to attend every class. An absence will be excused only under extraordinary circumstances. Having more than one excused absence, and any unexcused ones at all, will result in a lowered final grade. After the first two weeks, chronic or flagrant tardiness will count as an unexcused absence.
posted by Fizz at 3:12 PM Nov 16 2014 - 72 comments [40 favorites]

« All Popular Favorites