August 21

More like Mastodon't, amirite?

Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable
Ethan Zuckerman on a social network's surprising/disturbing source of popularity. [more inside]
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:45 PM - 7 comments

Some rural markets and towns even experienced a 55% decline post-plague

A new study of annual to multiannual levels of lead in the Alpine glacier, Colle Gnifetti, in the Swiss-Italian Alps provides further validation of the calamitous character of the plague and the accompanying events in the 14th century. These new hard-core data demonstrates the impact which the Black Death had on society and economy.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:57 PM - 2 comments

Six cents of every tax dollar to the moon

The Atlantic, August 1963: Two scientists argue that sending men to the moon is worth the cost.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:17 PM - 5 comments


Dogs on trampolines [bouncy EDM soundtrack]. That is all.

Wait, there is more: Bodega Cats (previously) posted a picture that charmed the internet: This looks like the CD cover for an all-cat, sassy girl band.

Ooh, one more thing: Everyone needs a hug.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:57 PM - 6 comments

Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves

The “Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves” is the perfect thing to send both white allies genuinely interested in learning more, and that special Facebook commenter who loves playing “Devil’s Advocate.” Whenever anyone asks you for stats, “proof,” or info no one who has an actual human schedule has the kind of time to provide, you can send them here. [Google Docs link via Teresa Jusino at The Mary Sue]
posted by cgc373 at 6:57 PM - 5 comments

"Boone... I'm going into the next office."

STAR GATE was one of a number of "remote viewing programs" conducted under a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK, GRILL FLAME, and CENTER LANE by DIA and INSCOM, and SCANATE by CIA. These efforts were initiated to assess foreign programs in the field; contract for basic research into the the phenomenon; and to evaluate controlled remote viewing as an intelligence tool. Records of the Stargate Program were published by the CIA earlier this year.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:19 PM - 7 comments

And other kids are being framed too.

Soul Snatchers: How the NYPD’s 42nd Precinct, the Bronx DA’s Office, and the City of New York Conspired to Destroy Black and Brown Lives [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 4:07 PM - 19 comments

Seersucker's Curious Class Struggle

Seersucker's Curious Class Struggle [via mefi projects] The Whelk provides a thorough, and thoroughly engaging, history of America's most underrated fabric.
posted by tel3path at 3:10 PM - 22 comments

Uncanny Japan

Uncanny Japan is Thersa Matsuura's podcast dedicated to Japanse folk lore, customs and historical oddities.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:04 PM - 2 comments

A Most American Terrorist

[Dylan] Roof was safeguarded by his knowledge that white American terrorism is never waterboarded for answers, it is never twisted out for meaning, we never identify its “handlers,” and we could not force him to do a thing. He remained inscrutable. He remained in control, just the way he wanted to be.
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah on what created Dylann Roof.
posted by AceRock at 12:58 PM - 19 comments

“Use some mercy, human.”

The Undertale Drama by Chloe Spencer [Kotaku] “Undertale’s stigma as a toxic fandom arose after incidents involving harassed YouTubers, pornography, and fans who plastered the internet with in-game jokes. Over time, a game that started out as heartwarming and lovable gained infamy for supposedly having one of the worst fandoms on the internet. Undertale’s descent into online infamy was largely due to the pervasive thought that there was only one way to play the game.” [Previously.]
posted by Fizz at 12:02 PM - 38 comments

The Steep Game

Alpine football in the Austrian Alps. SLYT
posted by zeikka at 11:20 AM - 2 comments

Neil Chayet (1939–2017)

Neil Chayet broadcast one-minute summaries of quirky lawsuits on the radio for more than 40 years. He died of small cell cancer last Friday, at age 78. Obits at NYTimes, the Boston Globe, and Harvard Law. [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:18 AM - 3 comments

After 15 years Whedonesque Shuts Down. Site was Inspired by MeFi.

Yesterday, Joss Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole accused him in a scathing editorial (published in The Wrap) of having multiple affairs with actresses, co-workers, fans and friends and of being a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals.” Today, in apparent response, Whedonesque has been shut down by its founders/admins. Whedonesque turned 15 on July 29. The site was inspired by MeFi, and its design was based on an early version of Metafilter, with mySQL/Perl code reportedly tweaked by Mefi's Own prolific. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM - 208 comments

Another deadly collision.

Top Navy admiral orders fleetwide investigation following latest collision at sea. Previous collisions involving U.S. Navy vessels. Discussion over at r/Navy suggests pervasive lack of sleep contributes to the problem.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:30 AM - 33 comments

How Blind Astronomers Will Observe the Solar Eclipse

Like millions of other people, Wanda Diaz Merced plans to observe the August 21 total solar eclipse...But she won’t see it. She’ll hear it. Diaz Merced is an astrophysicist who also happens to be blind. While searching for ways to study stellar radiation without relying on sight, she has developed a way to represent complex data about our universe as sound (transcript). [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:29 AM - 4 comments

Beyond the cheesy fried enchilada funnel cake: 2017 state fair foods

At this years Iowa State Fair (BBC previously) the usual corn dogs, golden fry choco pocket and cheeses and other foods on sticks (more previously) were available, amongst the butter sculpting, baking contests and writing your bucket list. These could be followed by Iowa's big pork leg, or perhaps Thanksgiving balls, apple tacos or bauder mud, washed down with honey lemonade. Or perhaps healthy choices like a vegetable, or peanut butter and jelly, on a stick (previously golden fried), eaten while Skip Hitchcock judges your potatoes or you rest up with your cow. Amongst the 44 new foods, the pork almighty emerged as a popular winner. But, what delicacies were available at other nearby state fairs... [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 8:35 AM - 32 comments

How Hate Groups Forced Online Platforms to Reveal Their True Nature

What gave these trolls power on platforms wasn’t just their willingness to act in bad faith and to break the rules and norms of their environment. It was their understanding that the rules and norms of platforms were self-serving and cynical in the first place. (SLNYT)
posted by Panthalassa at 7:14 AM - 36 comments

Bury My Heart at W. H. Smith's

RIP Brian Aldiss, British science fiction writer, part of The New Wave. He wrote the novels Non-Stop, Hothouse, Greybeard and the Helliconia trilogy. He also wrote the short story 'Super-Toys Last All Summer Long' which the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence was partially based on [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:13 AM - 53 comments

The Ancient Roots of "Make It New"

The Making of “Make It New” by Michael North is an exploration of the ancient Chinese origins of Ezra Pound's phrase "make it new". At first obscure, the phrase became well known when Pound became seen as the central figure of early English-language Modernism. In the latest issue of Translatlantica Clément Oudart puts North's article in context with recent scholarship in an introduction to a thematic issue on American modernism. In recent years Pound's centrality has been challenged, and his fascism has been recognized as fundamental to his poetry, as laid out in The Pound Error by Louis Menand. The phrase survives as a challenge to authors, and in 2014 Pankaj Mishra and Benjamin Moser discussed whether writers can still "make it new".
posted by Kattullus at 6:43 AM - 4 comments

Ellen Pao on sexism in Silicon Valley

"This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley My lawsuit failed. Others won’t." Ellen Pao: "I would sue Kleiner Perkins for sexual harassment and discrimination in a widely publicized case in which I was often cast as the villain — incompetent, greedy, aggressive, and cold. My husband and I were both dragged through the mud, our privacy destroyed. For a long time I didn’t challenge those stories, because I wasn’t ready to talk about my experience in detail. Now I am."
posted by gen at 5:17 AM - 39 comments

The Ice Cap Zone discovery shocked me, at least.

Turns out there's perhaps even more than we thought to the "Michael Jackson made music for Sonic 3" thing. Previously.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:21 AM - 1 comment

August 20

The momentum you give is the momentum you get

And yet there was something about electric bikes that offended me. He hadn’t worked to go that fast. And, after he braked, he wouldn’t have to work to pick up speed again. [SLNewYorker]
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 PM - 82 comments

Richard Claxton "Dick" Gregory (October 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017)

"You know the definition of a Southern moderate? That's a cat that'll lynch you from a low tree." That joke, delivered in the 1960s by trailblazing comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who passed away Saturday, seems unsettlingly relevant in today's America. Though we aren't in the midst of the struggle for civil rights, that joke was about the evils of white supremacy—something we are clearly still grappling with today.
[more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:45 PM - 50 comments


If you’ve never missed a flight, you’re spending too much time in airports. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:00 PM - 111 comments

Never Gonna Believe My Eyes

Foo Fighters featuring Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up. The Foo Fighters rickrolled their audience with the real thing in an interesting mashup.
posted by nevercalm at 3:24 PM - 25 comments

Edit the NYTimes yourself.

Think you have the editing skills to work for the New York Times? With the feature Copy Edit This!, Philip B. Corbett, The Times’s standards editor, has a number of editing challenges. Even better, there are point-and-click challenges every few weeks. Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
posted by zardoz at 3:18 PM - 22 comments

Jerry Lewis is dead.

He was 91. Joseph or Jerome Levitch March 16, 1926
An American actor, comedian, singer, film producer, film director, screenwriter and humanitarian. He is known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He and Dean Martin were partners as the hit popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis. Following that success, he was a solo star in motion pictures, nightclubs, television shows, concerts, album recordings and musicals. [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:05 PM - 71 comments


Nintendo Switch owners weigh in on an iconic debate: Are hot dogs sandwiches? [Polygon] “Nintendo posed an important question to Switch owners several weeks ago: Is a hot dog a sandwich? It’s one of society’s most contentious debates, one with no clear-cut answer. But the results of the company’s poll are in — and Nintendo doesn’t seem so happy about them. In a June Ask Me Anything session on Reddit with Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi, fans first prompted the polarizing debate. When asked if Koizumi thought that a hot dog “counts as a sandwich,” his response was a flat “no.””
posted by Fizz at 11:50 AM - 115 comments

Lady Kung Fu is Alive and Well and Living in Queens

Ever seen "Enter the Dragon," the Bruce Lee masterpiece? Then you've seen Angela Mao. She portrayed his sister who got killed, in an epic battle between her and Robert Wall, a famous martial artist. I actually thought that was the highlight of the film. Anyhow, she disappeared from Hong Kong film-making in the early 90s and recently resurfaced in Queens NYC. The main article is a NY Times profile of her. This next article was posted last Thursday about an upcoming appearance of hers Angela Mao appearance
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:56 AM - 7 comments

Not THAT kind of cottaging...

A public toilet in Ewell Village, Surrey that was converted to semi-detached one-bedroom houses has gone back on the market for a staggering £330,000. While pointing out rising real estate prices, it also highlights the phenomenon of the conversion of public toilets to housing. On the Norfolk Coast, the "Wee Retreat," a public lavatory that is now a cottage, is available to rent as a holiday property, while in 2012, architect Laura Jane Clark finished transforming an underground Crystal Palace toilet into a livable flat. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:23 AM - 15 comments

the year of living with banksy

When I first moved to Los Angeles in July of 2013, I found a room for rent in a house on Craigslist. I soon learned the landlord, and the man I’d be living with, was none other... than the famous graffiti artist and incognito street poet Banksy. A satirical bit of prose by the fabulous Demi Adejuyigbe
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:08 AM - 13 comments

The Gibson Archives: a graphic and emotive depictions of shipwrecks

The Isles of Scilly (Google maps, Wikipedia) are an archipelago off the south western tip of the Cornish peninsula that include the southern-most point of the UK, and some of the most treacherous waters in the Atlantic. John Gibson, a seaman-turned-photographer, brought his camera to the rocky cliffs and photographed shipwrecks, rescue attempts, and local events, starting in 1865. The Gibsons of Scilly continued photographing wrecks and their community for five generations (website archive). In 2013, the family auctioned off four generations of their photographs, and the archive was purchased by Penlee House Musuem and Gallery. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 6:19 AM - 8 comments

Whose Free Speech Is It Anyway?

This week the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) posted, Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression, an essay examining the ramifications of corporate control of free speech. [more inside]
posted by fairmettle at 4:22 AM - 91 comments

Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Episode 7,219 - the Walnut Whip

The Walnut Whip is a volcano of chocolate encasing allegedly fondant and topped with a walnut, with spectacular variations. In further evidence of the decline of Britain, Nestlé have removed the Walnut, making it just a Whip and relaunching it in three so-called "flavours". This in addition to previous size reductions (shrinkflation) and the loss of the hidden second Walnut. Over a century old, the Walnut Whip is allegedly eaten every two seconds (not by the same person) and three constitute a luncheon. A rise in walnut costs is being blamed by some, and a poor harvest by others, while six packs with walnut will be allegedly available at Christmas. The Twitter has been unsurprisingly outraged, though you can make your own or even the coffee version.
posted by Wordshore at 3:56 AM - 45 comments

August 19

The truth has got its boots on: an evidence-based response to James Damore's Google memo

The truth has got its boots on: an evidence-based response to James Damore's Google memo [via mefi projects]
Mefi's own sciatrix drops science on Damore's unlistening head. Long, dense, and (from where I'm sitting) pretty darn definitive.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:43 PM - 94 comments

I, for one…

2017 has been a good year for robots, at least: three new world records for most robots dancing, fastest Rubik's Cube solving and First Robot Table Tennis Tutor. Below the fold I list alternate musical accompaniment for each story, from MeFite gmm. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:40 PM - 2 comments

900 men went into the water

The USS Indianapolis has been found, 18000 feet below the surface -- CNN story [more inside]
posted by vrakatar at 5:57 PM - 34 comments


For families divided by the U.S./Mexico border, there is one place where they are allowed to come together - almost. [more inside]
posted by cynical pinnacle at 5:39 PM - 7 comments

Hit that bell down below!

This time of year everyone on youtube has a dumb back to school hack to sell you. Cristine of SimplyNailogical has responded.
posted by phunniemee at 4:58 PM - 6 comments

Amazing talent

"For the past 96 years, the annual Santa Fe Indian Market has been the largest cultural event in the Southwest, bringing together upwards of 1,100 Indigenous artists from the U.S. and Canada, and 150,000 visitors from around the world, more than doubling the New Mexican town’s typical population. Indian Market takes place the third weekend in August, and it has long been considered the most prestigious arts show in the Native community." (Smithsonian)
posted by strelitzia at 3:17 PM - 4 comments

Artisanal Erasure

"A lie by omission may be a small one, but for a movement so vocally concerned with where things come from, the proprietors of craft culture often seem strangely uninterested in learning or conveying the stories of the people who first mastered those crafts." Lauren Michele Jackson examines The White Lies of Craft Culture. (slEater)
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 1:16 PM - 19 comments

'Ghost Signs' Have Stories to Tell

The faded advertisements on old brick buildings often go unnoticed, and they’re disappearing fast. Ghost signs have a special place in any city. Hand-painted signs were a popular form of advertising between the 1880s and the 1950s, before ads could be inexpensively mass produced, installed, and replaced. Their remnants offer a lens into a neighborhood’s past, reminding viewers about elements of commerce and life at certain points in history.
posted by adamcarson at 12:10 PM - 32 comments

Are plants sentient?

Research into a symbiosis between plants and fungi is challenging our ideas of consciousness and intelligence.
in the last few years there has been a explosion of interest in what is sometimes called plant "neurobiology." Plants and trees don't have brains and that's enough, in some quarters of the intellectual establishment, to settle in the negative the question of whether they sense, evaluate, think, learn, plan, act or feel. But that inference — from no brain, to no mind — may be too quick.
NPR - A Web of Trees and Their "Hidden" Lives
[more inside]
posted by Stonkle at 12:07 PM - 42 comments

Walking as Privilege

Discussing a new divide: those who walk because they can and those who walk because they must. Why people walk now and where they walk illustrates a cultural chasm. At the end of this article is a corollary article "The Walking Poor" you can click on to get the other side of the chasm.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:44 AM - 39 comments

Still searching for an escape, she took a hammer to the drywall.

The Moon in Her Doorway. (Saturday flash fiction) "She didn't know why the moon had smashed into her house, trapping her inside. After working a double shift, she had walked home on tired feet under a night sky. The moon had hung large and low on the horizon, like a silver dollar. It balanced on the hill above her neighborhood. She remembered thinking, "It looks like it could roll into my arms."And then it did. Or almost. It was larger than it looked."
posted by storybored at 8:28 AM - 6 comments

The Old Skunk in the Outfield

"A typical stolen base is over within four seconds; a typical single within eight; a typical triple within 12. The most elaborate and disorienting plays might get to 20 seconds. I have found a play that took 26 seconds, and one that took 29 seconds, but I have never seen a play that took longer." The Portsmouth High Patriots, though, once tried a trick play that ran two minutes and thirty two seconds.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:38 AM - 42 comments

August 18

Misunderstanding Japan

BBC Radio 4: Misunderstanding Japan "What images come into your head when you think of Japan? Dr Christopher Harding explores how Western media representations of Japan, from the very first Victorian travellers through to Alan Whicker and Clive James, have revisited the same themes." [more inside]
posted by gen at 11:59 PM - 46 comments

Goodbye, Chuck Entertainment Cheese

In a reversal of the current trend towards automation in the service industry, Chuck E. Cheese [previously] is retiring its animatronic show. Father John Misty has written a touching farewell.
posted by MrVisible at 11:51 PM - 23 comments

Surf II: End of the Trilogy (that's the joke, and maybe the best one)

Long ago in "The Good Old Days", surfers ruled. It was bitchin'! That was before the threat of chemical pollution, nuclear waste and the horror of Buzzz Cola....
And so opens Surf II (YT, trailer): The Nerds Strike Back (via), a 1980s teen gross-out surf parody with added nudity*, stocked with some notable actors, and a soundtrack suitable for a surf film from 1984. Currently placed somewhere between one of the worst movies ever (next to another 1980s "sex comedy," Lunch Wagon [nsfw trailer]) and on the other extreme, just as funny as Naked Gun [trailer]. The film is considered an acquired taste, but if it might be your taste, you can watch it on YouTube (disregard the title, there is no second part). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:35 PM - 15 comments

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