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We are now entering day 10 of protests in Ferguson, MO, protesting the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by local law enforcement officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. [more inside]
posted by Phire at 11:45 PM Aug 18 2014 - 2493 comments [256 favorites]

Things That Don't Suck, Some Notes on The Stand
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.

I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.

[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:31 PM Aug 19 2014 - 133 comments [168 favorites]

Nigella Lawson's Coffee Ice Cream: 4 ingredients. 1 step. No cooking. No churning. One of Food52's Genius Recipes.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:03 PM Aug 19 2014 - 76 comments [141 favorites]

WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
posted by divabat at 12:45 AM Aug 16 2014 - 69 comments [98 favorites (94 in the past 7 days)]

Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome. Naturalists first became aware of our invisible lodgers in the 1600s, but it wasn’t until the past few years that we’ve become really familiar with them. This recent research has given the microbiome a cuddly kind of fame. We’ve come to appreciate how beneficial our microbes are — breaking down our food, fighting off infections and nurturing our immune system. It’s a lovely, invisible garden we should be tending for our own well-being. But in the journal Bioessays, a team of scientists has raised a creepier possibility. Perhaps our menagerie of germs is also influencing our behavior in order to advance its own evolutionary success — giving us cravings for certain foods, for example.
Maybe the microbiome is our puppet master.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb at 4:48 AM Aug 18 2014 - 56 comments [94 favorites]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Why Can't a Smart Woman Love Fashion? [more inside]
posted by flex at 4:00 PM Aug 15 2014 - 33 comments [170 favorites (89 in the past 7 days)]

Downtown Soulville, WFMU's weekly show for classic soul 45s, hit its 20th anniversary on Friday. The learned, laidback cratedigger Mr Fine Wine has played an estimated 20,000 old soul 45s since the show's launch. The full shows from the last six years are available on the WFMU website. Expect two-hour bursts of soul vinyl, early RnB and Detroit funk from Matt Weingarden.
posted by garlicsmack at 4:17 PM Aug 16 2014 - 13 comments [89 favorites]

Brenna Twohy, representing Portland, OR, performs her poem "Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them," about Harry Potter, pornography, and non-consent, at the 2014 National Poetry Slam.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:28 PM Aug 19 2014 - 59 comments [89 favorites]

According to the Daptone Gold compilation liner notes (auto-playing music, click on "Biography"to read the notes), written by Pitchfork contributor Douglas Wolk, "the world capital of soul" has moved from the US ("between Memphis and Detroit, with occasional stopovers in New Orleans, Cincinnati and elsewhere") in the 1960, to Lagos in the 1970s, then it went into hiding, finally reappearing in Brooklyn, with Daptone Records. Let's go back - why Lagos in the 1970s? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:00 PM Aug 18 2014 - 10 comments [71 favorites]

With a combination of humor and fearlessness, Last Week Tonight has done an unlikely thing: spurred action. John Oliver’s segment on net neutrality this past June perfectly summed up what his HBO show Last Week Tonight is so good at: transcending apathy. It’s an ingenious formula that’s making a difference in the real world. “Making a difference” isn’t hyperbole. The FCC’s website actually crashed from overwhelming web traffic the day after Oliver’s segment originally aired. The Atlantic looks at How John Oliver Beats Apathy.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, previously
  • John Oliver on net neutrality, previously
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on FanFare
posted by Room 641-A at 3:11 PM Aug 16 2014 - 89 comments [69 favorites]

This fall, the South Dakota Historical Society Press will publish Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder - apparently full of "not-safe-for-children tales includ[ing] stark scenes of domestic abuse, love triangles gone awry and a man who lit himself on fire while drunk off whiskey" (or, more academically put, "full of the everyday sorts of things that we don't care to think about when we think about history"). They've been blogging the process of research, annotation, and publication at The Pioneer Girl Project, as well as stories about crabs, a new letter from Pa, really useful books, as well as photos and a series of interviews with the researchers involved via.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:52 AM Aug 20 2014 - 29 comments [68 favorites]

One of the great things about medieval art and architecture is that people just went in and did things. They didn’t build models and scale them up. Building great cathedrals and abbeys was a learning process as much as anything else. This means many of these apparently perfect aspirations to the Heavenly Jerusalem have some often quite comical mistakes, corrections and bodge-jobs that once you see, you can’t unnotice. Great Mistakes in English Medieval Architecture.
posted by verstegan at 3:59 AM Aug 17 2014 - 44 comments [64 favorites]

I quit liking things on Facebook for two weeks. Here's how it changed my view of humanity [more inside]
posted by flex at 7:44 AM Aug 18 2014 - 72 comments [63 favorites]

Pitchfork recently released a list of what they consider the 200 best tracks of the decade so far (2010-14). [more inside]
posted by threeants at 10:47 PM Aug 20 2014 - 155 comments [62 favorites]

The 2014 Hugo Award Winners were announced at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, Loncon3. The Hugo Awards are "the premier awards in the Science Fiction field, given annually for over 50 years in over a dozen categories." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:49 AM Aug 18 2014 - 96 comments [60 favorites]

Rónán Ó Snodaigh plays bodhrán, the Irish frame drum. For most traditional Irish musicians bodhrán's are the bane of their existence, often played poorly by people who can do nothing else, but in Rónán's hands, the bódhrán is a expressive instrument brought to life by a master who is willing to show you how to really play it. [more inside]
posted by salishsea at 3:24 PM Aug 20 2014 - 22 comments [59 favorites]

Tea Partiers say you don’t understand them because you don’t understand American history. That’s probably true, but not in the way they want you to think. The Weekly Sift examines the origins and beliefs of the Tea Party movement, tying it back to the Lost Cause movement. [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:59 AM Aug 22 2014 - 82 comments [58 favorites]

Shakespeare's Restless World is a BBC radio series (podcast link) where the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, explores England during the lifetime of William Shakespeare as represented by twenty objects, much in the way of his earlier A History of the World in a 100 Objects (previously). The focus is on Shakespeare's plays and how they were understood by his contemporaries. The series was also published as a book.
posted by Kattullus at 11:06 AM Aug 19 2014 - 11 comments [52 favorites]

10 Elaborate Floor Plans from Pre-World War I New York City Apartments
posted by nadawi at 4:58 PM Aug 18 2014 - 35 comments [51 favorites]

How to Be Polite
posted by keli at 3:49 AM Aug 15 2014 - 160 comments [182 favorites (50 in the past 7 days)]

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