So a little while ago, I set out to write some tutorials that would guide the non-coding-but-computer-savvy journalist through enough programming fundamentals so that he/she could write a web scraper to collect data from public websites. [more inside]
posted by postcommunism at 5:29 AM Aug 29 2014 - 40 comments [114 favorites]
Former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita's blocked appointment
to teach at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has ignited a debate over academic freedom
. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu at 1:52 PM Aug 26 2014 - 434 comments [111 favorites]
The Feynman Lectures on Physics
All three volumes of The Feynman Lectures on Physics are now online. A fantastic resource for anyone interested in Feynman or physics in general.
, when the first volume was available.)
posted by citizenoftheworld at 3:48 PM Aug 25 2014 - 24 comments [128 favorites (101 in the past 7 days)]
You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts
is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials
, heartbreaking eulogies
, and agonizing run-ins with fascists
) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting
science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed
2006 novel Blindsight [full text]
-- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room
, the Philosophical Zombie
, Chernoff faces
, and the myriad quirks and blind spots
that haunt the human mind.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section
, tomorrow will see the release of
Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website]
, the long-delayed
"sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 11:17 AM Aug 25 2014 - 73 comments [191 favorites (96 in the past 7 days)]
The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters
: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it. [more inside]
posted by flex at 9:26 AM Aug 31 2014 - 73 comments [94 favorites]
“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
What's better than reading a judge ruthlessly dismantling arguments against marriage equality? Hearing
the judge's own voice as he makes lawyers arguing for Indiana's and Wisconsin's bans on same-sex marriage look like fools. Previously.
posted by ogooglebar at 6:25 PM Aug 27 2014 - 90 comments [74 favorites]
A father finds pornographic websites in his 9-year-old son's browser history in a surprisingly charming and amusing first-person essay
: “I know you were looking at porn.” A silence hung in the air between us as I tried to figure out where to go from there. He looked at me, eyebrows up and eyes wide open, on alert for whatever would come next. The past winter had torn up the road, and his still baby-fatted cheeks bounced along with the car as we headed back towards our house. The anticipation of my response was clearly getting to him. “Are you gonna say anything else?” “To be honest, I hadn’t really thought this far ahead,” I told him. “I only planned as far as this, telling you I knew.” [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:09 AM Aug 26 2014 - 159 comments [70 favorites]
"My count is now up to five. Five of my friends and fellow comedians have taken their own life.
It's shocking, but, sadly, not surprising. Non-comedians — or as we call them, 'civilians' — are always surprised. And I am always surprised they're so surprised. They have yet to realize the Two Big Things all comedians know.
" [may be triggering] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:26 PM Aug 28 2014 - 51 comments [67 favorites]
Looking for another source of public domain images? Yahoo research fellow Kalev Leetaru has extracted over 14 million images from IA public domain book scans, and so far 2.6 million of them have been posted to the Internet Archive Book Images photostream
, where they have become part of The Commons
. [more inside]
posted by fings at 9:31 PM Aug 29 2014 - 24 comments [63 favorites]
Ever wondered why your favourite movie star is now in straight-to-video hell? What the hell happened?
is a series of articles about the career ups and (mostly) downs of contemporary actors, actresses and directors who were once Hollywood stars (but who stumbled at one point) or serious contenders for stardom (but who did not make it). While the articles are made of known material and rather-matter-of-fact ("...but it got terrible reviews and bombed at the box office
"), they offer a singular perspective on what it takes to reach the A-list and stay on it. [more inside]
posted by elgilito at 10:25 AM Aug 30 2014 - 175 comments [63 favorites]
Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games
(28 min 33 sec; here's a pointer to the identical video at YouTube
: contains graphic sexual and violent game footage. Presented by Anita Sarkeesian
of the video blog, Feminist Frequency
. The website version (first link) is annotated to include links and resources, an "about the series" section, games referenced in this episode, and a transcript. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:11 PM Aug 27 2014 - 343 comments [62 favorites]
“Until a person has experienced career-harming bias...they simply don’t believe it exists.”
Why Aren't Women Advancing At Work? Ask a Transgender Person.
posted by sp160n at 8:44 AM Aug 29 2014 - 46 comments [59 favorites]
The Fast Show
summary from Wikipedia:
The Fast Show, known as Brilliant in the US, was a BBC comedy sketch show programme that ran from 1994 to 1997, with a special in 2000 and 2014. It was one of the most popular sketch shows of the 1990s in the UK. The show's central performers were Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day, Mark Williams, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Caroline Aherne. Other significant cast members included Paul Shearer, Rhys Thomas, Jeff Harding, Maria McErlane, Eryl Maynard, Colin McFarlane and Donna Ewin. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:03 PM Aug 30 2014 - 29 comments [59 favorites]
It was loosely structured and relied on character sketches, recurring running gags, and many catchphrases. Its fast-paced "blackout" style set it apart from traditional sketch series because of the number and relative brevity of its sketches; a typical half-hour TV sketch comedy of the period might have consisted of nine or ten major items, with contrived situations and extended setups, whereas the premiere episode of The Fast Show featured twenty-seven sketches in thirty minutes, with some items lasting less than ten seconds and none running longer than three minutes. Its innovative style and presentation influenced many later series such as Little Britain and The Catherine Tate Show.
Last night, Kate Bush performed her first concert in 35 years
at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. She last toured in 1979, following the release of Lionheart
. "Not since the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited for a one-off show in 2007 has there been such hype over a comeback." - The Guardian
. Last week, BBC 4 released an hour-long documentary called The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill
that reflects on Bush’s long and enigmatic career. It features appearances from Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Tori Amos, Annie Clark, Big Boi, Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Kahn, and more. Vimeo link. Guardian review
posted by porn in the woods at 9:47 AM Aug 27 2014 - 54 comments [58 favorites]
Bees & Bombs
is a tumblr of hypnotic GIF animations programmed by Dublin-based physics student Dave Whyte
posted by Mr. Six at 2:34 PM Aug 26 2014 - 19 comments [56 favorites]
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