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if the men find out we can shapeshift, they're going to tell the church

Contouring 101 (SLYT)
posted by Four String Riot at 4:17 PM Nov 15 2017 - 60 comments [167 favorites]

Thanks for nothing

Day 303: it's turkey time, and Republicans are putting tax and spending cuts on the table, which many are finding an unpalatable centrepiece. CBO estimates suggest that poor Americans' gooses in particular will be cooked if the bill passes, with households earning under $50,000 increasingly worse off. Republican senators have stated, on the record, that major donors will not be inviting them back for a second helping of support if the tax cut bill fails. The House bill has been served but the Senate bill is still in the oven, and preparing it will involve two opposed groups coming together with a shared purpose, and also some way of massaging the figures so they won't increase the deficit. [This is a catch-all US politics thread; Roy Moore talk goes here] [more inside]
posted by Merus at 8:35 AM Nov 19 2017 - 728 comments [101 favorites]

The Myth of the Male Bumbler

Male bumblers are an epidemic. A nice explanation to provide to those who confess to be worried that they can't tell the difference between sexual assault and asking someone out on a date. [more inside]
posted by janey47 at 11:17 AM Nov 15 2017 - 60 comments [77 favorites]

Timbuktu's learned history and legacy

Timbuktu has long been Africa's El Dorado. Located on the southern edge of the Sahara and north of the Niger river (Google maps), what was initially a small river-side settlement bloomed as a trading hub for salt, gold, slaves, ivory and later, books. While its academic prominence has never returned to its peak of centuries past, it is still a treasure trove of ancient manuscripts from western Africa, maintained and protected through the years by families who have kept these works safe from numerous regime changes. These are the lost (and found) libraries of Timbuktu (hour long documentary on Vimeo from documentary producer; more info from BBC Four and stream if you're in the UK). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:36 AM Nov 16 2017 - 28 comments [77 favorites]

DnDish: simplifying D&D (you know, for kids)

Kevin Makice (@kmakice) is a geek dad who tried to get his boys into Dungeons and Dragons with a 4th Edition starter kit, but they lost interest due to all the nuanced rules, but they liked their dad's painted miniatures. So he set about simplifying D&D and made a pared down version of the game he loved in a 3 page PDF: DnDish. The game worked for his 7-12 year olds, with the kids making their own campaigns. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:08 AM Nov 17 2017 - 67 comments [66 favorites]

If I pretend I'm bad at this, will you do it for me?

Male Incompentence is a Subtle Form of Misogyny talks about the larger picture of many men's refusals to perform emotional labor in the frame of gender politics.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:30 AM Nov 15 2017 - 210 comments [61 favorites]

Stripping The Copper Out Of The Economy

“Billions of dollars of this debt comes due in the next few years. “If today is considered a retail apocalypse,” Bloomberg reported, “then what’s coming next could truly be scary.” Eight million American retail workers could see their careers evaporate, not due to technological disruption but a predatory financial scheme. The masters of the universe who devised it, meanwhile, will likely walk away enriched, and policymakers must reckon with how they enabled the carnage.“ - The Cause and Consequences of the Retail Apocalypse - David Dayden for The New Republic.
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM Nov 15 2017 - 77 comments [54 favorites]

"And all the Victoria Sponge that comes with it!"

Black Girl in a Big Dress is an online comedy series "about an African American Anglophile cosplayer in love with the Victorian Era who's trying to bring a fantasy courtship from her re-enactment events into the real world."
posted by jedicus at 9:52 AM Nov 17 2017 - 30 comments [54 favorites]

How well do matchboxes learn?

Machine Learning Explained. In this essay Rodney Brooks, one of the founders of iRobot and emeritus professor at MIT, explains machine learning in layman's terms. He uses a real-life example of one of the first machine learning algorithms, a tic-tac-toe program implemented in the 1950s using matchboxes(!). The essay gives you an appreciation of how machine learning is different from human learning, and what its limitations are -- nice, given the hype surrounding AI today. [more inside]
posted by storybored at 12:47 PM Nov 18 2017 - 38 comments [50 favorites]


FR. Reginald Foster, The Vatican's Latinist []
The number of Foster’s students runs into the thousands, and many of them are now themselves some of the most dedicated teachers in the field. “When I was in college I asked people, ‘Hey, we all know Latin is a language. Does anybody actually speak it anymore?’ And they told me there was one guy, some guy at the Vatican, who still spoke the language, and that was Fr. Foster,” says Dr. Michael Fontaine, a professor of Classics at Cornell University. “I said to myself, ‘I have to study with this guy.’ And that changed everything for me.” Dr. Paul Gwynne, professor of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the American University of Rome, said of Foster, “He is not just the best Latin teacher I’ve ever seen, he’s simply the best teacher I’ve ever seen. Studying Latin with the Pope’s apostolic secretary, for whom the language is alive, using the city of Rome as a classroom . . . it changed my whole outlook on life, really.”
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:13 PM Nov 16 2017 - 26 comments [46 favorites]

The Worst of the Web?

The end of Net Neutrality to be announced by the FCC as early as this Thanksgiving week. As early as tomorrow, Tuesday, November 21, in the year of our lord 2017, the FCC may announce their intention to dismantle the Obama-era rule that guarantees that all web traffic be created equal. Fast lanes for some websites, blocking competitors' websites for others (let's not forget that Comcast is looking to buy some of Fox while we discuss this). [more inside]
posted by General Malaise at 7:14 PM Nov 20 2017 - 116 comments [45 favorites]

ice + ice = baby

They were once Olympic rivals — one the captain of the U.S. women's hockey team, the other the captain of Canada's women's hockey team. But now Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette are celebrating the birth of their daughter. [more inside]
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:24 PM Nov 20 2017 - 33 comments [40 favorites]

“How does it feel to know that I’m never, ever, ever going to stop?”

How One Woman's Digital Life Was Weaponized Against Her
posted by capnsue at 2:39 PM Nov 15 2017 - 65 comments [39 favorites]

The man behind the mask

Meet Doug Jones, One Of The Biggest Movie Stars You’ve Probably Never Seen
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:06 PM Nov 18 2017 - 26 comments [39 favorites]

The monarchy that is money

The climate crisis? It’s capitalism, stupid. Benjamin K. Fong ( NYT Opinion) Kim Stanley Robinson: We’ve Come To A Bad Moment And We Must Change, climate change, capitalism, and dystopia.
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 AM Nov 21 2017 - 52 comments [39 favorites]

“Alter Dark allows you to patch NES ROMs in the browser via a REST API.”

Alter Dark is a new project that lets you create your own screensavers out of NES ROMs. It was put together by Rachel Weil, an NES homebrew expert and glitch enthusiast, and recently shown off at NodeConf EU in Dublin. For Weil, it combines two of her favorite things: messing around with NES software and the dated aesthetics of screensavers. The name is also a play on the After Dark software package release in 1989 which consisted of, among other things, a flying toaster screensaver.” API files and code at GitHub. Rachel Weil also discusses how screensavers influenced her work, spurring a years-long obsession with putting screensavers where they don't belong. [YouTube]. [via: Kotaku]
posted by Fizz at 3:51 PM Nov 16 2017 - 4 comments [38 favorites]

this is the definitive ranking

Colin J. Carlson, part of the Parasite Extinction Assessment & Red List, couldn't sleep recently and decided to assign letter grades to the weird foxes (here's a threadreader compilation for the Twitter-averse, but it doesn't include the numerous entertaining replies). [h/t ChuraChura]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:36 PM Nov 18 2017 - 48 comments [38 favorites]

The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

We utter the first syllables of a sentence while taking a leap of faith that we’ll be able to choose the right words en route and formulate phrases adequately as the words tumble out of our mouths and bring us to an intersection in our thoughts that demands our next move. This puts an upper bound on complexity. But written text, which can be more deliberately planned out and revised, is able to transcend this.
Linguist Julie Sedivy on the rise (and eventual fall?) of sentence complexity in written and oral languages.
posted by Rumple at 4:31 PM Nov 19 2017 - 38 comments [38 favorites]

I wasn’t meant for reality, but life came and found me.

Fernando Pessoa was a Portuguese wrter with nearly 80 different literary alter egos or "heteronyms". Each of which had a biography, psychology, politics, religion, physical description; the main characters being interconnected and with their own horoscopes
"I'm the empty stage where various actors act out various plays," he once wrote and “a drama divided into people instead of into acts”.
“I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist,” he writes in one poem. “I’m the gap between what I’d like to be and what others have made of me. . . . That’s me. Period.
His occult interests led him to a correspondence and friendship with Aleister Crowley who enlisted him in faking his suicide.
posted by adamvasco at 1:55 PM Nov 19 2017 - 12 comments [37 favorites]

"I’ve been keeping a straight face for thirty-five years."

The Church of the SubGenius Finally Plays It Straight, Eddie Smith
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:21 PM Nov 21 2017 - 38 comments [37 favorites]

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