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March 1

“But the man’s uniquely evil, isn’t he?”

John Gray: The Truth About Evil:
Blair made this observation in November 2002, four months before the invasion of Iraq, when he invited six experts to Downing Street to brief him on the likely consequences of the war. The experts warned that Iraq was a complicated place, riven by deep communal enmities, which Saddam had dominated for over 35 years. Destroying the regime would leave a vacuum; the country could be shaken by Sunni rebellion and might well descend into civil war. These dangers left the prime minster unmoved. What mattered was Saddam’s moral iniquity. The divided society over which he ruled was irrelevant. Get rid of the tyrant and his regime, and the forces of good would prevail. If Saddam was uniquely evil 12 years ago, we have it on the authority of our leaders that Isis is uniquely evil today. Until it swept into Iraq a few months ago, the jihadist group was just one of several that had benefited from the campaign being waged by western governments and their authoritarian allies in the Gulf in support of the Syrian opposition’s struggle to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Since then Isis has been denounced continuously and with increasing intensity; but there has been no change in the ruthless ferocity of the group, which has always practised what a radical Islamist theorist writing under the name Abu Bakr Naji described in an internet handbook in 2006 as “the management of savagery”.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:35 PM - 0 comments

In Style: The Dress Doctors

"Before ready-to-wear and before fast fashion, American women created affordable clothing for themselves and their families with help from the Dress Doctors—the thrift experts, home economics professors, and fashion guide authors who advised women how to craft the most appropriate looks for less." Historian Linda Przybyszewski talks about the rise of home economics, women's entry into academic departments in higher education, and the origins of American theory on suitable, affordable clothing for everyday wear. Before the Dress Doctors, however, there was Mary Brooks Picken, the First Lady of Fashion. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:34 PM - 0 comments

"This movie was made in 1986. It invented all the cliches."

Matt Zoller Seitz hosted a sleepover for his 11 year old son and his son's friends. Soon it came time to watch a movie, which produced: Notes on watching "Aliens" for the first time again, with a bunch of kids .
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:29 PM - 8 comments

Wonders of Destruction in Arabic Fiction

Historians of war and society would like to believe that military conflicts have fixed beginnings and ends. Conventional depictions of the Lebanese civil war are no exception and typically confine that conflict within the notional temporal parameters of 1975–90. But the key aggravating features generally identified with the events of the Lebanese civil war—class resentments, echoes of the Arab-Israeli conflict on a regional scale, domestic geographical inequalities, sectarian rancor, and political infighting across the Lebanese scene—had been accumulating since 1948, and even earlier. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 4:06 PM - 3 comments

Baruch Morde... why?

Purim starts Wednesday night. A minor Jewish holiday best described as a cross between Halloween and St. Patrick's Day, Purim celebrates Esther. [more inside]
posted by Ruki at 3:19 PM - 5 comments

Spring's Herald in Bulgaria

Happy Baba Marta Day! Time to get your Martenitsas together and pick out a tree to hang them on when spring finally comes. ...Or, if you're not in Bulgaria, just read this. [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:01 PM - 2 comments

New music from L.A./Little Armenia

Bei Ru is a Los Angeles-based multi-genre music producer/composer known for his unconventional use of Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms combined with heavy drums, electronics, and a plethora of live instrumentation. His new album, ‘Saturday Night At The Magic Lamp’, blends electronica, Middle Eastern influences, funk and hip-hop, featuring musicians playing electric bass, electric guitar, electric oud, cello, keyboards and piano

If you listen to only one L.A.-based, Armenian-American, instrumental, electronic, Middle-Eastern, funk, hip-hop song today, make it "Sweet Temptress" [SLYT]
posted by Room 641-A at 2:24 PM - 7 comments

The 27-year hunt for a mystery New Wave song: Solved!

In 1986, a German teenager hit "record" on his cassette player to catch a New Wave song from the radio. But he missed the intro, and so had no idea what the song was called or who the artist was. Contacting music journalists in the 1990s proved unfruitful, so in 2002 he posted it online on his "Most Wanted" music page. For 11 years, the mystery song - known as Stay (The second time around) for its lyrics - was the source of intense speculation and detective work (including in AskMe), with dozens of potential matches eliminated. A YouTube post in 2007 broadened the search, but still yielded no answers. It wasn't until 2013, when a Swedish Radio host chanced upon a Reddit thread about the song and played it on air, that the mystery was finally solved by two listeners. [more inside]
posted by gemmy at 2:10 PM - 19 comments

An argument for more cats and fewer humans in genetics class

Unfortunately, what textbooks, lab manuals and web pages say about these human traits is mostly wrong. Most of the common, visible human traits that are used in classrooms do NOT have a simple one-locus, two-allele, dominant vs. recessive method of inheritance. Rolling your tongue is not dominant to non-rolling, unattached earlobes are not dominant to attached, straight thumbs are not dominant to hitchhiker's thumb, etc.
posted by sciatrix at 1:20 PM - 22 comments

Deep Soul: Rick Hall's brand of integration in segregated Muscle Shoals

How Muscle Shoals became music's most unlikely hit factory (previously, 2008) If you love music and musical history, you really owe it to yourself to see the superb "Must See" documentary Muscle Shoals now on NetFlix and other online venues - Trailer here. Rick Hall of Fame Studios is the quintessential American "rags to riches" story and the "peckerwood" group "The Swampers" (and eventually the competing Muscle Shoals Music Studio) that he unintentionlly spawned, are together responsible for many of the classic soul and R&B hits that are part of the very fabric of American Music. [more inside]
posted by spock at 12:34 PM - 11 comments

In Voodoo’s survival, a tale of black resilience

African religions fused with Christianity to create Voodoo, but today many open practitioners of the faith are white.
posted by josher71 at 11:52 AM - 4 comments

The plural of fish is not "tangible objects"

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States ruled (PDF) on the case of Yates v. United States, whether the captain of a fishing boat violated the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by throwing undersized red grouper overboard to avoid prosecution. [more inside]
posted by dirigibleman at 11:22 AM - 17 comments

Rediscovering San Francisco's Punk Scene in a Box of Old Negatives

In the late 70s, John Roberts was a visual arts major at San Francisco's Institute of Art who spent his free time documenting the Bay Area's blossoming punk scene. His photos—a mix of street photography, portraiture, and concert shots—uniquely captured the last moments of the city's pre-AIDS and post-hippie era. Roberts's best shots were from a tiny punk venue called the Deaf Club on Valencia Street. The Deaf Club was a deaf community center that hosted hardcore shows from 1978 to 1980—the resulting scene was grungy, sweaty, and truly bizarre, and Roberts's photos captured it perfectly.
posted by rtha at 10:24 AM - 13 comments

Showcasing The Dreams and Passions Of Russians Aged 1 to 100

Photographer Keen Heick-Abildhauge loves Russia and decided to ask various residents about their passions and ambitions. The result is Portraits And Dreams Of People From 1 To 100 Years Of Age.
posted by purplesludge at 10:04 AM - 9 comments

The first rule of Pittsburgh is you don't talk shit about Pittsburgh.

On January 6, 2014, Pittsburgh was in the middle of an especially harsh cold snap. The temperature had hit seven below zero, and the wind chill made going outside almost unbearable. But Kevin Sousa was elated. His Kickstarter campaign for Superior Motors had finally reached its goal of $250,000, and the contributions were still pouring in with nineteen hours left to go. Every time Sousa checked his phone, he saw dozens of new Twitter notifications letting him know that the campaign was doing better and better. He was pulling in an amount of restaurant seed money unprecedented in the history of Kickstarter, all to open a high-concept, multi-component restaurant in a seemingly hopeless place.
On Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa's attempt to revitalize a failing steel town through food, his previous restaurants' allegedly troubled financial history, and what information is owed to Kickstarter backers about their investment. [more inside]
posted by Stacey at 9:48 AM - 14 comments

March First, Then Win

119 years ago, today, the unthinkable happened, as far as the Europeans were concerned. The Ethiopian army trounced the Italians in the Battle of Adwa. Headlines such as ‘Abyssinia (Ethiopia) Defeats Invading Italians’; ’80,000 Ethiopians Destroy 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adwa’; ‘Italian Premier Crispi Resigns’; and ‘Abyssinia and Italy Sign Peace Treaty.’ peppered the European press. Adwa was placed on the world map and remained a historic story because of Ethiopia’s decisive victory against the Italian army on March 1st 1896 (Yekatit 23, 1888 according to the Ethiopian calendar).
'I am a woman. I do not like war. But I would rather die than accepting your deal."
attributed to Empress Taitu Bitul*, Wife of Menelik II [more inside]
posted by infini at 9:01 AM - 18 comments

Rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox Spotted in Yosemite National Park

For the first time in 100 years, a Sierra Nevada Red Fox has been spotted at Yosemite. Scientists have estimated the total Sierra Nevada red fox population numbers below 50 (fifty). [more inside]
posted by julen at 8:03 AM - 14 comments

Zaire 74 - Return to Africa

Soul Power is a documentary produced by Jeff_Levy-Hinte about the Zaire 74 festival, a three day music festival held in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1974 as a precursor to "The Rumble in Jungle" boxing match between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. [more inside]
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:52 AM - 4 comments

Aphex Waits: Tom vs Computer Control mashed up by Esmko

Eskmo took a few Tom Waits songs that he love and mashed them with Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 by Aphex Twin, and created Aphex Waits (Soundcloud with free DL; YouTube). If you'd like more weird electronic music from Eskmo, Dazed has a preview stream of his new album along with an interview about it. Then there's Eskmo's self-titled album on Grooveshark, which he released on Ninja Tune back in 2010, which lead to videos for Cloudlight [previously], We Got More [previously], and Color Dropping. He has also shared more music on Soundcloud.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:44 AM - 6 comments

Infocom and the Atomic Bomb

Over a series of nine blog posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), Jimmy Maher (previously) reviews and ruminates on Infocom's Trinity: Brian Moriarty's 1986 text adventure about the atomic bomb. Andrew Plotkin (previously) responds. If you weren't keeping up with the latest computer games in 1986, Trinity is playable online at the Internet Archive.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 7:25 AM - 21 comments

The $3,500 Shirt

"I somehow or somewhere got the idea," wrote Lucy Larcom in the 18th century, "when I was a small child, that the chief end of woman was to make clothing for mankind."
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:21 AM - 42 comments

Schiit Happened

The story of the start of Schiit Audio told through a series of forum posts.
posted by dreyfusfinucane at 7:08 AM - 6 comments

Bowling ball shoulders

Anthony Mason, iconic Knicks player, dead at 48. Daily Beast: Soul of the 90's. Where are they now in Sports? video interview.
posted by bq at 6:49 AM - 6 comments

Dad builds awesome snow sculptures every year

Dad builds awesome snow sculptures every year...and paints them!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:22 AM - 7 comments

❄ ☁ ☀ ☂

Seasons, a lovely animated short film by Yuri Norstein. [YouTube]
posted by Fizz at 5:54 AM - 6 comments

Shirley Scott, Queen of the Organ

Shirley Scott was a hard bop and soul jazz master of the Hammond B-3. She was a gifted composer, combo leader, and prolific recording artist, releasing the majority of her 40+ albums from the late 1950s to the late 1970s: [more inside]
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 4:48 AM - 7 comments

The Weird Al Yankovic Namesake Sandwich He Never Knew He Asked For

AVclub.com asked Weird Al Yankovic, "If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?" His answer:
I’d say a fire-roasted eggplant, some roasted red peppers, diced heirloom tomatoes, some thin-sliced red onions—maybe double up on the onions and have some caramelized onions on top of the sliced onions. A little basil, some arugula, some chopped and marinated mushrooms, maybe a slice of fresh avocado, some alfalfa sprouts, a dose of hummus, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and put it on a warm toasted French roll lovingly sprinkled with some truffle oil.
Challenge accepted.
posted by Lexica at 3:30 AM - 44 comments

"I'm here to get what's mine." - Fox's 'Empire'

​​Empire is a Monster That Is Eating Network Television - Buzzfeed​, Feb. 26, 2015:​
"When it comes to ratings, Fox’s Empire is on a trajectory that’s unprecedented in broadcast television’s recent history, which has mostly been marked by — to appropriate a phrase from Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Y. Gray) — drip drops, if not just​​ plain old slaughter. As of last week, it is the No. 1 show on network television in the 18 to 49 demographic advertisers seek. And once again, the show built on its ratings this week."​
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:00 AM - 26 comments

February 28

Urban Sketching: See the world one drawing at a time

The Urban Sketching Manifesto: 1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation. 2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel. 3. Our drawings are a record of time and place. 4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness. 5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles. 6. We support each other and draw together. 7. We share our drawings online. 8. We show the world, one drawing at a time.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:44 PM - 5 comments

The final days of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva

On Tsvetaeva, tragedy and the end of the tsarist era. There's a whole series of these articles about Russian poets told through their last days. A bit morbid, but quite appropriate tributes to the artists, as well as a good starting-point for those interested in Russian poetry.
posted by averysmallcat at 6:51 PM - 3 comments

Legendary Shark Lady Eugenie Clark Has Died at Age 92

Icthyologist, shark behaviorist, ocean explorer, and passionate conservationist, Dr. Eugenie Clark died on Wednesday from lung cancer. She was 92. [more inside]
posted by MissySedai at 6:46 PM - 19 comments

Brother From Another Planet

“I’m always surprised to see what I do,” Jean-Luc Godard admits at the beginning of a talk delivered, nearly four decades ago, at Concordia University in Montreal. Could the single most influential filmmaker of his generation, who is still a provocateur at age 84, possibly be as baffled as we? [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 3:36 PM - 7 comments

Tour Bus Confidential: Behind Music's Bumpy Road Show

Once invited to party with their employers, today's long-haul bus drivers are taken for granted and under threat of extinction as the the music industry continues to slash costs. DAVID PEISN
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:18 PM - 21 comments

“The world’s most fantastic, yet tender and pathetic love affair.”

Wings of Desire. "[There] stood the imposing figure of Tesla, wearing a crown of two pigeons on his head, his shoulders and arms festooned with a dozen more, their white or pale-blue bodies making strong contrast with his black suit and black hair, even in the dusk. On either of his outstretched hands was another bird, while seemingly hundreds more made a living carpet on the ground in front of him, hopping about and pecking at the bird seed he had been scattering. It was Behrend’s [the scout’s] impulse to rush in, shoo the birds away and, seizing the missing man, rush him back to the auditorium. Something caused him to halt. Such an abrupt action seemed almost sacrilegious. …" [Via]
posted by homunculus at 2:02 PM - 10 comments

Hyperreal Internet

David O'Reilly (previously), animator and creator of the indie game Mountain, and Kim Laughton, post-internet artist, have started the tumblr blog #HYPERREALCG. It's dedicated to "showcasing the world's most impressive & technical hyper-real 3d art." A number of tech outlets have picked up on the project, apparently (?) taking it at face value: Gizmodo, Huffington Post, Laughing Squid. A fun bit of trolling and perception for your Saturday afternoon.
posted by naju at 2:02 PM - 26 comments

LA's cultural and historical legacy: more than being able to turn right at a red light

HistoricPlacesLA is the first online information and management system specifically created to inventory, map, and help protect the City of Los Angeles' significant historic resources. It showcases the city's diversity of historic resources, including architecturally significant buildings and places of social importance as well as historic districts, bridges, parks, and streetscapes. You can search for specifics or try some popular seaches, and the map view let's you combine different overlays and base maps.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:00 PM - 6 comments

History Respawned

History Respawned is a show where historians consider historical video games - like Papers Please, Diablo III, Assassin's Creed Unity and Wolfenstein: The New Order - with host Bob Whitaker, a history PhD and professor from Dallas, Texas.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:26 PM - 10 comments

Right Place Art; Wrong Place Vandalism

Urban tagging is urban right?
There is a difference between graffiti tagging and street art.
Is urban graffiti a force for good or evil?
But what happens when it moves to the country?
Andre Saraiva aka Mr. Andre seems to have overstepped the mark.
Is Mr Andre tagging in Joshua Tree?
posted by adamvasco at 12:03 PM - 86 comments

When the Sun Briefly Turns Off the Power

Europe's Solar Power Industry Braces For Solar Eclipse On the morning of March 20, 2015, a solar eclipse will pass over all of Europe, visible from Turkey to Greenland. A decade ago, that probably wouldn't have mattered to anyone except people who love astronomy... But now, 3 percent of Europe's electricity grid comes from solar power... [more inside]
posted by Michele in California at 10:47 AM - 50 comments

I've traveled over dried earth and floods

It's been 20 years since PJ Harvey emerged from a time of isolation and song writing that produced the album To Bring You My Love.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:35 AM - 22 comments

All You Wanted To Know About Chinese Dumplings

A Detailed Explanation of The Varieties of Chinese Dumplings plus a recipe for Vegan Steamed Or Pan-Fried Chinese Dumplings.
posted by purplesludge at 9:27 AM - 49 comments

dreams of being in The West Wing and in the West Wing have blended

Beyond Josh Lyman Politics: How The West Wing Miseducated My Political Generation
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:51 AM - 59 comments

Bringing a Daughter Back From the Brink with Poems

The most optimistic people often struggle the hardest. They can’t quite square what’s going on in the world with their beliefs, and the disparity is alarming. [slnyt]
posted by ellieBOA at 7:31 AM - 40 comments

Lorn's The Maze to Nowhere EPs, experimental, accessible and free

Lorn has never been one to shy away from the darkness in his music. However, where as his previous release, Ask the Dust (Grooveshark) was bleak and mechanical in it's struggle with its demons, The Maze to Nowhere (Bandcamp) is melodic, fuzzy and at times even warm. If you've listened to Lorn's previous releases, 'warm' is generally not a word associated with his tunes. Whereas his previous effort worked with the bleakness of empty space, we find him filling in those cracks on this album with static, fuzz and ambient effects. The resulting product is a much more organic sounding beast, and man, does it sound great.
From the Sputnik Music review of Lorn's first of ? parts in The Maze to Nowhere series of pay-what-you-want EPs on Bandcamp, which now includes Part 2 and Part 3, still with no end in sight. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:19 AM - 5 comments

Before Belleville, there was...

La Vieille Dame et les Pigeons (The Old Woman and the Pigeons) by Sylvain Chomet (SLYT)
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:54 AM - 4 comments

"If I give up hope, you get another DC sniper"

As deep as my words moved people, if I’d not had him onstage with me I can’t promise you that I would have been strong enough to make it through in the way I did. I wouldn’t have been strong enough to resist the urge to compel people to do something bad, or approve of something violent. But that night, on that stage, a white man, the more privileged in American society, stood in solidarity, silently, stoically, quietly, staunchly, with his friend, as his friend neared physical breakdown because of the pain, and let him know: ‘I’m there.’ That’s a shining example of what I as a man should do for a woman, what I as a straight man should do for gay people, it’s what the tough kid should do to the kid who’s getting bullied around by the fuckass tough kid, you know what I mean?”
In The Guardian, Alexis Petridis interviews Killer Mike and El-P talking about Run the Jewels, their friendship and especially the show they did in Ferguson the night the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:14 AM - 22 comments

February 27

Burn After Reading

The story of The Anarchist Cookbook and William Powell, regretful author.
posted by Artw at 6:42 PM - 69 comments

Iconic Images and their Photographers

Iconic Photographers Pose With Their Most Famous Photographs. [more inside]
posted by Deoridhe at 5:58 PM - 14 comments

Buried in-her-own-mind Treasure

Japanese woman comes to America to search for buried treasure- but it's the fictional buried treasure in the movie "Fargo". She's come to North Dakota's "Siberia" to end her own life and the language barrier and our perceptions of Japanese 'normal' get in the way. [more inside]
posted by naight at 5:02 PM - 15 comments

Hangover Producer Seeks to Repay His Debt to Society

Scott Budnick walked away from his position as head of the production company that made the Hangover movies to run a prison-reform advocacy group. Budnick volunteers as a writing teacher at various prisons, focusing on youthful offenders who went behind bars before the age of 18. He also uses his Hollywood connections and natural drive ("I’m ADD to the fullest. I like going and going and going and getting shit done.") to lobby for prison and justice reform, including Proposition 47, which reclassified many petty theft and drug crimes to misdemeanors.
posted by Etrigan at 4:21 PM - 18 comments

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