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Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 11:11 AM Dec 27 2010 - 116 comments [690 favorites]

Bratabase is a crowdsourced "bra database" made to help women find the right bra (interview with the creator). According to many studies, over 80% of women aren't wearing the correct bra size: "there's a lot of misinformation about bras out there". For instance, D cups just aren't that big ("Clearly there are a whole lot more D+ cups out there than people assume") and not all D cups are the same size ("from left to right 30D, 32D, 34D, 36D, 38D. Five different band lengths, five different cup volumes. All D Cups"). Most of these links contain photos and therefore may be NSFWish for some. [more inside]
posted by flex at 6:44 PM May 31 2012 - 124 comments [590 favorites]

Never had an Indian mom? You poor, deprived wretch! Meet Manjula.
She'll be happy to teach you to make Naan, Rotis, Pani Puri, Vegetable Pakoras, Paneer, Raita, Navattran Korma, Palak Paneer, Pulav, Malai Kofta, Aloo Gobi, Chana Masala, Hari Chutney, Ras Malai, Gajar ka Halwa and much more! I can... almost... smell her kitchen. *sigh*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:18 PM Dec 7 2008 - 50 comments [550 favorites]

Halfway through the third book of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, there is a throwaway reference to a doomed starship, one whose incredible splendor was matched only by the cosmic absurdity of its maiden-day annihilation. But the story didn't end there. Unbeknownst to many fans, this small piece of Adamsian lore was the inspiration for an ambitious and richly-detailed side-story: a 1998 computer adventure game called Starship Titanic. Designed by Douglas Adams himself, the game set players loose in the infamous vessel, challenging them with a maddening mystery laced with the devilish wit of the novels. The game was laden with extra content, including an in-depth strategy guide, a (mediocre) tie-in novel by Terry Jones, a whimsical First Class In-Flight Magazine, and even a pair of 3D glasses for one of the more inventive puzzles. Key to solving these puzzles was the game's groundbreaking communications system -- players interacted with the ship's robotic crew through a natural language parsing engine called SpookiTalk, whose 10,000+ lines of conversational dialogue spawned 16 hours of audio recorded by professional voice actors, including John Cleese, Terry Jones, and even Douglas Adams himself in several cameos (spoiler cameo). Want to experience the voyage for yourself? Then watch this narrated video playthrough (intro (ads) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9? 10 11 12 13) ...or click inside for a information on how to run the game for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux (along with a bunch of other goodies!). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 7:28 PM Dec 22 2010 - 109 comments [540 favorites]

This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant; that's just the name of the song, and that's why I call the song Alice's Restaurant. [more inside]
posted by Miko at 10:32 PM Nov 24 2010 - 164 comments [534 favorites]

Eating healthy on a budget isn't just for hipsters on food stamps. While some have called Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman's ideas about cooking and eating "elitist," there are many cooks who are smart enough to know that cooking at home is the only way to eat healthy on a budget. While Jamie Oliver pledges to give all school children "10 recipes that will save their lives," almost anyone on any budget can change the way they shop for, prepare, and think about food. [more inside]
posted by sararah at 3:35 PM Mar 17 2010 - 80 comments [517 favorites]

With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 1:14 PM Sep 29 2013 - 974 comments [486 favorites]

Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced.
posted by kimdog at 8:06 AM Oct 8 2009 - 844 comments [466 favorites]

"You're really smart!" Psychologist Carol Dweck says that praising a child for being smart only teaches the kid to avoid any effort that might fail. "When we praise children for their intelligence, we tell them that this is the name of the game: Look smart, don't risk making mistakes." Malcolm Gladwell chimes in with his thoughts on the importance of being a smart kid, "What a gifted child is, in many ways, is a gifted learner. And what a gifted adult is, is a gifted doer. And those are quite separate domains of achievement."
posted by revgeorge at 7:15 AM Feb 13 2007 - 218 comments [460 favorites]

"I guess it started for me when, as a young sci-fi movie fan, I did a fanzine at age 12 to 15... that’s when I learned how relatively cheap and easy it was to self-publish, at least for a small circle of weirdos. Later, after comics went up to 50¢, I started collecting stuff equally weird but much cheaper than comic books: kook literature." - Rev. Ivan Stang

You may know of the Church of the SubGenius, that parody religion that worships the almighty "Bob" and was a fixture of MTV and Night Flights back in the day. But do you know of its SECRET ORIGINS? Co-founder Ivan Stang corresponded with hundreds of "mad prophets, crackpots, kooks & true visionaries," from sincere cults to winking charlatans to utter nutjobs to hate groups to independent artists and musicians, with some respected names thrown in, and synthesized them into a half-joking, half-serious celebration of the kook spirit. These days of course the forward-thinking crackpot looking for sheep goes directly to the internet. But while it lasted Stang and co-authors Mike Gunderloy, Waver Forest and Mark Johnston collaborated to document this vanished scene in the legendary book HIGH WEIRDNESS BY MAIL. (All links within may quickly lead someplace NSFW by the nature of the beast.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 3:05 PM Aug 27 2012 - 133 comments [451 favorites]

While Adult Swim is generally regarded as the pioneer of irreverent short-form animation -- especially for 'toons that reimagine past hits -- it wasn't always the king. In fact, the late-night programming block arguably found its birth in a series of short toons and interstitials that ran in the heyday of its daytime alter ego, the venerable Cartoon Network. The brainchild of C.N. Creative Director Michael Ouweleen and Hanna-Barbera chief Fred Seibert, these cartoons reinterpreted the network's properties through stock footage, indie music, and original animation in a wide variety of styles, as well as introducing prototypes of characters that would become some of the most famous in the history of American animation. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 9:50 AM Dec 30 2008 - 80 comments [429 favorites]

TIME FOR SOME STORIES (warning: contains heavy amounts of all-caps and awesome)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:50 AM Jan 21 2008 - 98 comments [425 favorites]

"Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you are." -- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin [more inside]
posted by zarq at 5:39 AM Dec 22 2013 - 152 comments [417 favorites]

A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 11:35 AM Dec 22 2011 - 107 comments [403 favorites]

[NSFW: swear words galore] Hecklers, the bane of many a performance. Here you can watch a documentary about Hecklers [ part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 ] and other critics. Someone at the beginning of that "Heckler" movie says something like, "A show was never made better because of a heckler." If only all of the banter was as funny as when Matt Walsh was heckled at SXSW. More often, it's like how Kyle Kinane states right off the bat during his act: "Every trainwreck needs a fuckin’ caboose; let’s get it over with," before he launches into a semi-drunken 9-minute conversation/shoutfest. But every once in a while, you get the perfect "point, counterpoint" moment. Let's see how different stand-up comedians react when the social contract of audience/performer is broken. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display at 10:57 PM May 16 2011 - 96 comments [365 favorites]

It is the central, most eyecatching feature of the modern Oval Office. But for over a year, abandoned by a captain said to be harsh and venereal, it drifted slowly, its huge frame creaking, locked in ice, in the land of endless night. [more inside]
posted by felix at 9:56 AM Jan 27 2009 - 123 comments [364 favorites]

♪ Why do we always come here?
I guess we'll never know.
It's like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show!
[more inside]
posted by zarq at 4:11 PM Nov 10 2013 - 120 comments [363 favorites]

Peggy Wang, a senior editor at Buzzfeed, has recently displayed a pronounced knack for aggregating what feels like some of the best of Pinterest in tips/lifehacks, home decor ideas, and DIY projects shared around the web. Exhibit A: 52 Totally Feasible Ways To Organize Your Entire Home; Exhibit B: 22 Things You're Doing Wrong; Exhibit C: 33 Meticulous Cleaning Tricks [more inside]
posted by flex at 4:07 PM Oct 1 2012 - 69 comments [359 favorites]

Got some free time over the New Year's long weekend? Well, here's every episode (or damn near it) of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Boondocks, Clone High, Metalocalypse, Moral Orel, Robot Chicken, South Park (alt), Venture Brothers, Futurama. Or over here, there's all those and more. But wait my friends, there's more, yes, even more: for the same low price, I'll include the Ultimate Motherlode of Music Video (11,500 of them, or your money back!), alphabetized for your viewing pleasure. Just free up some bandwidth, and step inside ...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:30 AM Dec 29 2006 - 156 comments [353 favorites]

In a five part series he wrote a few years ago, blogger J. Brad Hicks breaks down how, in the mid-1960s, the Republican party made a conscious decision to rebrand themselves as the party of Christians, and in doing so, how they had to shift the ideology of the churches to what he calls a "false gospel". [more inside]
posted by quin at 1:36 PM Sep 15 2010 - 208 comments [340 favorites]

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