Each week for a year, the folks in the special collections library at the University of St. Andrews are taking a how-to book from the collection and following its instructions for a project, in order to get a clearer sense of what life was like a century or two ago. Thus far in 52 Weeks of Historical How-Tos
, they've learned how to make shoe polish like an 1825 footman
, bake mince pie from 10 different recipes dating from 1710-1862
, perform parlour tricks to amaze your friends
, and take photographs via the wet collodion process
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:57 AM Mar 9 2014 - 10 comments [91 favorites]
Are you a fan of inventive, black-humored sci-fi/fantasy animation? Desperate to fill the Futurama-shaped hole in your heart? Look no further than Rick and Morty
, the superb new Adult Swim series from animator Justin "Lemongrab" Roiland and Community darling Dan Harmon
. Inspired by a (terrible and very NSFW) Back To The Future knock-off
, the show pairs a naïve young teen (Morty) with his cynical, alcoholic, mad scientist grandfather (Rick), each episode exploring a trope -- dreams, aliens, innerspace, parallel universes, virtual reality -- and turning it inside-out with intricate plotting
, eye-catching art
, and dark, whipsmart humor
(with plenty of improvisation
along the way). A ratings hit
already secured for a second season
, the show returns from an Olympics-induced hiatus tomorrow -- in the meantime, why not sample the six episodes aired so far: Pilot
- Lawnmower Dog
- Anatomy Park
- M. Night Shaym-Aliens!
- Meeseeks and Destroy
- Rick Potion #9
. Want more? Promo/highlight reel
- AV Club reviews
- Rick & Morty ComicCon panel
- Storyboard Test
- Soundtrack samples
- Play the "Rushed Licensed Adventure" point-and-click game
posted by Rhaomi at 2:20 PM Mar 9 2014 - 59 comments [80 favorites]
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the classic Infocom text adventure based on "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
To celebrate, BBC has put up a "spit and polish" refresh of the game, playable in your browser
. [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 6:43 AM Mar 10 2014 - 82 comments [79 favorites]
found that black boys
can be seen as responsible for their actions
at an age
when white boys still benefit
from the assumption that children
are essentially innocent." [more inside]
posted by joannemerriam at 12:09 PM Mar 12 2014 - 40 comments [79 favorites]
“The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost-effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every “endpoint,” or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.
Edward Snowden submits written testimony to an EU committee investigating mass surveillance, and answers questions.
The testimony takes place 3 days ahead of his highly anticipated SXSW appearance, to take place later today. Snowden is expected to speak about privacy, security, mass surveillance programs, free speech and whistle-blowing in a rare remote video appearance before a live audience.
Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo finds this “deeply troubling” in a letter he's sent to the organizers of the conference.
Meanwhile, people who wish to #asksnowden questions can use the hashtag on Twitter. The talk is to take place at 12pm PT, today.
posted by fantodstic at 3:32 AM Mar 10 2014 - 82 comments [73 favorites]
"In 1805, a twenty-three year-old Bostonian called Frederic Tudor launched a new industry: the international frozen-water trade.
Over the next fifty years, he and the men he worked with developed specialised ice harvesting tools, a global network of thermally engineered ice houses, and a business model that cleverly leveraged ballast-less ships, off-season farmers, and overheated Englishmen abroad. By the turn of the century, the industry employed 90,000 people and was worth $220 million in today’s terms. By 1930, it had disappeared, almost without trace, replaced by an artificial cryosphere of cold storage warehouses and domestic refrigerators." [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:58 PM Mar 12 2014 - 45 comments [73 favorites]
Brian Greene is now offering an online course on the theory of relativity.
There are two versions of the class, one with math and one without. Additional information was provided during Greene's recent Ask Me Anything
on reddit, during which he agrees with a redditor who recommends Leonard Susskind's "Theoretical Minimum"(previously)
as a good preliminary.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:07 PM Mar 11 2014 - 43 comments [68 favorites]
A Lie Agreed Upon: David Milch's Deadwood
(SLVimeo, NSFW). A video essay by film and TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, narrated by Jim Beaver and edited by Steven Santos, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the show's premiere. [more inside]
posted by zombieflanders at 6:02 PM Mar 11 2014 - 81 comments [58 favorites]
Many animals, cats in particular, are graceful creatures capable of leaping high and far with remarkable precision. But sometimes they miss.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:59 PM Mar 10 2014 - 72 comments [55 favorites]
Cultural production of ignorance provides rich field for study.
'Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford, is one of the world's leading experts in agnotology
, a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance. It's a rich field, especially today when whole industries devote themselves to sowing public misinformation and doubt about their products and activities.' [LATimes link, use privacy setting in browser for access] [more inside]
posted by VikingSword at 12:59 PM Mar 9 2014 - 20 comments [52 favorites]
Six years ago, PBS's feature documentary program, Frontline
, aired Sick Around the World
, a documentary examining health care systems around the world -- and specifically how all those featured were generally superior to the American system. (2008 MeFi post
Today, the American Senate subcommittee on primary health and aging
brought the debate over single-payer care to Washington. C-SPAN has a fine video of the hearing
, which features seven witness representing health care systems and think tanks from around the US and the world. [more inside]
posted by greatgefilte at 9:06 PM Mar 12 2014 - 56 comments [48 favorites]
Richard D. James is someone whose work can probably be considered outsider art. By almost anyone's standards, his work is eccentric, quirky and idiosyncratic. Its flaws (such as tape hiss and clipping) are arguably as charming as its finer points (such as whole worlds of original sounds), and its deviations from the norm are what make it so endearing, otherworldly and engaging. James seems a good subject for a case study
due to how little music theory he took for granted, and how much he built his own musical principles from scratch, which is a noble goal for anyone trying to carve their own niche in the musical ecosystem.
posted by mannequito at 6:09 PM Mar 13 2014 - 46 comments [43 favorites]
While the UK-based FACT magazine
surveys a broad range of popular music content, its regular mix series
tends to focus on electronic and hip-hop. Since January, however, the website has featured three distinctive mixes that buck this general trend: Peanut Butter Wolf's 24-hour soul music mix
for Valentine's day; the Wild Beasts's eclectic, short-and-sweet mix
of classical, black metal, poetry, rock, and folk in support of their new album Present Tense
; and Slowdive's rock-and-shoegaze mix
compiling many of their inspirations in celebration of the band's reunion
. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 7:12 PM Mar 10 2014 - 5 comments [42 favorites]
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