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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 on Aug 18 at 11:45 PM - 1485 comments

So if Thor is a woman now, and Marvel is a Disney subsidiary, does that make her a Disney Princess? For Tor.com, historian and geek Ada Palmer answers this joke question seriously and thoroughly while using it as a springboard to look at what makes a Disney Princess and what it says about us.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 20 at 1:55 PM - 26 comments

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 on Aug 19 at 9:28 PM - 46 comments

British subtitles
posted by The Whelk on Aug 20 at 1:06 PM - 18 comments

That these men, these U.S. Marines, openly engage in this behavior, openly harass and denigrate women and minorities — under their real names, their real pictures, with no fear of repercussions — reflects a perceived tolerance of their actions. Senior leaders have never told them not to do it, never said that it’s unacceptable, and they’ve never seen anyone get in trouble for it. Although women have been in the US Marines for nearly one hundred years now, a large "traditionalist" Marine culture still resents them and others in private and now increasingly in public through social media. [more inside]
posted by Lord Chancellor on Aug 20 at 1:48 PM - 11 comments

Representing New England in the Little League World Series, the Cumberland, RI American team lost to Jackie Robinson West of Chicago in a 8 - 7 game Monday night. Coach Dave Belisle's consolation speech to his team has been making the rounds as an example of the best of youth coaching. [more inside]
posted by Ruki on Aug 19 at 10:59 PM - 18 comments

A compilation of people fucking up the ice bucket challenge. (Mildly NSFW).
posted by empath on Aug 20 at 9:21 AM - 103 comments

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 on Aug 18 at 4:48 AM - 55 comments

The Oral History of CSNY's Infamous 'Doom Tour'
posted by josher71 on Aug 20 at 11:03 AM - 19 comments

GQ: The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit. "For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend - or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Aug 20 at 1:21 PM - 18 comments

One of the craziest "crowdsourcing" exercises in Marketing today is Lay's "Do Us A Flavor" Contest for new potato chip flavors. The first year in the U.S., 'Cheesy Garlic Bread' defeated 'Chicken & Waffles' and 'Sriracha' in a popular vote to earn its creator a million dollar prize. Exporting the competition to Canada (where it was named "Do Us A Flavour"), had a more dubious result when 'Maple Moose' outpolled 'Creamy Garlic Caesar', 'Perogy Platter' and 'Grilled Cheese & Ketchup' then bombed in the stores. But both contests are back for 2014, with American contenders 'Bacon Mac & Cheese', 'Cappuccino', 'Mango Salsa' and 'Wasabi Ginger' and the Canadian competitors 'Bacon Poutine', 'Cinnamon Bun', 'Jalapeño Mac & Cheese' and 'Tzatziki'. No wild animals there, but in the U.K., their British brand Walkers is doing it's own "Flavour" with six choices: 'Cheesy Beans on Toast', 'Hot Dog with Ketchup', 'Pulled Pork in BBQ Sauce', 'Steak Fajita', 'Chicken Curry' and 'Ranch Raccoon' (no Rocket Raccoon endorsement implied).

If you thought it couldn't possibly be worse, here's how it could be. (based on past experience, 'Rancid Owl' and 'Marsupial Medley' COULD be future contenders)
posted by oneswellfoop on Aug 20 at 2:22 AM - 123 comments

All of California remains in drought with over 80% in worst categories of 'extreme' or 'exceptional' drought. Reservoir levels are 50% below average. (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 18 at 8:18 PM - 68 comments

Video has emerged showing the beheading of journalist James Foley. James Foley has been reportedly beheaded by Isis in retaliation for US airstrikes in Iraq. He was working in Syria when he was reported missing in 2012. [more inside]
posted by lpcxa0 on Aug 19 at 4:35 PM - 165 comments

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 on Aug 19 at 1:31 PM - 119 comments

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 on Aug 19 at 11:06 AM - 11 comments

Weird Twitter users @BLIPPOBLAPPO and @CRUSHINGBORT posted a blog entry on July 24th titled "3 REASONS BENNY JOHNSON SHOULDN’T CALL OUT PLAGIARISM: HE’S A PLAGIARIST, HE’S A PLAGIARIST, AND HE’S A PLAGIARIST" Ben Smith, the editor in chief at Buzzfeed responded to these allegations in an email to a Gawker employee calling Buzzfeed Benny "one of the web’s deeply original writers". @Crushingbort and @Blippoblappo responded with a blog post the next day with even more instances of Buzzfeed Benny's plagiarism. Buzzfeed editors started looking at all of Benny's posts and after finding 41 instances of plaigarism decided to fire him.
posted by josher71 on Jul 27 at 8:57 AM - 61 comments

On Twitch, two fish are playing Street Fighter II. It's unexpectedly entertaining.
posted by Bulgaroktonos on Aug 20 at 10:12 AM - 45 comments

Bárðarbunga, an Icelandic volcano named after a Norse viking, is maybe going to erupt soon. Webcams are standing by.
posted by slater on Aug 20 at 11:23 AM - 59 comments

In the wake of the great miracle fruit craze of the late 00's, Francis Lam tested two more obscure taste distorters: adenosine 5′-monophosphate, which blocks the sensation of bitter flavors, and Gymnema sylvestre, a South Asian herb that does the same for sweetness.
posted by Iridic on Aug 20 at 10:04 AM - 25 comments

Nicki Minaj (autoplaying video) is a singer, rapper, songwriter and actress who is known for her outlandish outfits, makeup, and wigs, and gutsy, lyrically skilled rapping. She creates personas or "masks" in her music and videos to communicate her message. Recently, she released an album cover online to promote her new release, Anaconda, and to create buzz. Boy did it. (All links NSFW.) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 29 at 10:57 PM - 325 comments

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