October 18

Garth Greenwell on escape, and finding himself...

"I became an opera singer because I failed ninth-grade English..."
posted by dfm500 at 2:15 PM - 2 comments

Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination.

"...And so it was with a familiar disappointment that Somalis watched as details of the attack failed to headline broadcast news or resonate globally on social media. There was no impromptu hashtag of solidarity, no deluge of television coverage. It was as if the bombing were just another incident in the daily life of Somalis—a burst of violence that would fade into all the other bursts of violence. The lack of public empathy was startling but not surprising." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 1:51 PM - 13 comments

Always look for the helpers

California wildfires continue to rage but one doctor managed to rescue several newborn babies on his motorcycle. Devastating fires have been burning counties in Northern California for weeks now, leading to massive property destruction, death, and a healthcare crisis. New fires are cropping up in Santa Cruz County and Sausalito and Dublin. Fires have been worsened by a perfect storm of fire-favorable conditions. In addition to paid firefighters, incarcerated women are being paid $1/hour for fighting on the front lines.
posted by stillmoving at 1:02 PM - 23 comments


Rageaholic has matched over 200,000 YouTube videos to the last 20 years of ABC1's rage playlists in an easy to use interface. (They also have a free app: Google Play / Apple). The videos are a diverse mix of mainstream and rare music across many genres, including many little-known Australian, alternative and independent bands. (Via.) Also see: The The 30 Best 'Rage' Guest Playlists Ever. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 12:58 PM - 5 comments

The confusion (and history) of Catalonia's efforts towards autonomy

The Catalonian desire for independence goes back almost 400 years, though the siege and ultimate surrender of Barcelona to Philip V, king of Spain was a key turning point. In fact, the Eleventh of September in Catalonia has been synonymous with large demonstrations in support of Catalan independence since 1714, when Barcelona fell to the troops of Philip of Bourbon. Since then, Catalonia has been a part of Spain, but with varying levels of regional independence. It is now facing a very real deadline: Carles Puigdemont, the region’s president, must clarify if the region declared independence by Thursday, October 19, 2017, as Spain is ready to impose direct rule on Catalonia on eve of this deadline. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:32 PM - 13 comments

"You’re gonna show up naked sometimes."

Lin-Manuel Miranda interviews and writes about Stephen Sondheim (slnyt) for the New York Times Style Magazine's 2017 Greats Issue (slnyt).
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:16 PM - 6 comments

I, for one, welcome our new robot Go masters

Deep Mind reports a new Go-playing neural net. In 100 games against its predecessor — which defeated the human world champion — it won every game. It's vastly more efficient than its predecessor, because it uses a neural net to predict who's going to win instead of playing out a quick game from each possible lookahead. The network learned without access to expert human Go knowledge. It was trained entirely from self-play, and no knowledge of the game beyond board structure, legal moves and turn-taking built into the architecture and training schedule. [more inside]
posted by Coventry at 11:19 AM - 31 comments

What can brown and furry do for you?

Sean McCarren has been working for UPS for 17 years now and is a proud "driver of the big brown truck," he told BuzzFeed News. One of the greatest perks of his job, he said, is the dogs he meets on his routes. "I wish we could just hang out with the families and their dogs all day, but it's just not feasible," McCarren said. He explained that he and other UPS drivers will often take their work breaks to play with these dogs who run up to their trucks or greet them when they come to people's front doors. Five years ago, McCarren was inspired to start a Facebook group — a community of sorts — for him and other UPS drivers to share photos and videos of their pup friends. He named it UPS Dogs. (Tanya Chen, BuzzFeed News Reporter) [Links to FB but should be viewable w/o an account]
posted by Room 641-A at 11:01 AM - 16 comments

An Important Question Answered

posted by jenkinsEar at 10:25 AM - 72 comments

"We need the novel because paradise is always a lie"

the novel matters because it's fiction, and fiction, like truth, profoundly matters to the human species. In the age of Trump, when truth is so blatantly revealed as something dismissible, somehow simply no longer relevant, the novel matters even more, because to some extent we all live by fictions, we have all along survived by using them.
The novel in the age of Trump by Ali Smith.
posted by Kattullus at 10:21 AM - 11 comments

"I want tariffs. And I want someone to bring me some tariffs."

The US International Trade Commission has voted to proceed with a complaint filed by bankrupt solar manufacturer Suniva, joined by SolarWorld, under Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act claiming imported cells and modules "caused significant harm" to US solar manufacturing. If ITC finds in Suniva's favor, they could vote to impose tariffs of $0.25/watt on cells , along with a floor price on modules of $0.74/watt. [more inside]
posted by Existential Dread at 9:11 AM - 22 comments

The Future is Nothing but a Robot Punch

The long-awaited duel between America's Megabots and Japan's Suidobashi Heavy Industry has finally arrived (YT). [more inside]
posted by Krazor at 8:04 AM - 30 comments

Gord Downie 1964-2017

Promise me, promise me,
They bury me some place I don't want to be,
You'll dig me up and transport me, unceremoniously,
Away from the swollen city-breeze, garbage bag trees,
Whispers of disease and the acts of enormity
And lower me slowly, sadly and properly
Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy

Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip, has died.
posted by GuyZero at 7:10 AM - 130 comments

She made it sound like a bad-ass bitch boot camp

Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded
Content warning for abuse of all sorts, please tread carefully. [more inside]
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:03 AM - 31 comments


Jan van Hooff visits chimpanzee "Mama", 59 yrs old and very sick [Youtube] [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert at 4:29 AM - 12 comments

I think punk did save me, and that music sounded like I felt

“My name is Chris Packham. What you probably don’t know about me, because I’ve been hiding it most of my life, is that my brain is different than yours because I’m autistic. I’ve spent 30 years on the telly, trying my best to act normal, when really I’m anything but.”

On October 17th, The National Autistic Society announced television presenter, photographer, naturalist, and campaigner Chris Packham as its new ambassador. On the same day, the BBC broadcast a documentary about his life with Aspergers: Asperger's and Me.
posted by popcassady at 4:23 AM - 5 comments

How To Get Covered in London Parakeets

You will need an Oyster card, an apple, a sturdy constitution, and this Londonist guide to London's iconic feral parakeets.
posted by nerdfish at 4:18 AM - 19 comments

Vulcan, you are Cleared for Take-off

On 18th October 2007 G-VLCN, better known as XH558 took to the air for the first time in 14 1/2 years. [more inside]
posted by Z303 at 12:14 AM - 24 comments

October 17

He did the mash, he did the Markov mash

Wikipedia Markov Masher takes your two topics and Markov-ily mixes their Wikipedia articles to generate simulated silliness. [more inside]
posted by Jpfed at 10:47 PM - 39 comments

Getting Buffett's number

Warren Buffett, Oracle or Orangutan? A statistical analysis of the Sage of Omaha's investing aptitude.
posted by storybored at 8:56 PM - 14 comments

New Atheism's Idiot Heirs or 2nd Wave Internet Skepticism

In the heydey of the internet messageboard, let’s say in the 1990s, a certain species of idiot materialized. He was male, aggressively pedantic, self-professedly logical, committed to the hard sciences, prone to starting sentences with “actually,” and almost always devoted to the notion that his disbelief in God imbued him with intellectual superiority. This archetype’s golden years were the 2000s, a decade that saw George W. Bush’s politicized creationism and the use of web forums peak in unison. [more inside]
posted by Telf at 7:52 PM - 118 comments

“Unimpressed women who don’t give a shit about you”

When you queef and he says it’s not that funny but you definitely aren’t going to be mature about it. (all links NSFW!)

When you can’t reconcile your need for independance with your fear of being alone.

When you’re leaving the motherfucking office.

When he can’t find the condoms.

When your friend promises there will be food at this party so you skip dinner and when you arrive there isn’t one fucking charcuterie plate in sight. [more inside]
posted by Grandysaur at 7:46 PM - 16 comments

Lord , Carry Him Now 🙏🏾

Celtics’ Gordon Hayward Suffers Gruesome Ankle Fracture in Opener [WARNING: Graphic Video of Injury of Fractured Ankle] [YouTube] “Less than six minutes into his first game as a member of the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, Gordon Hayward badly fractured his left ankle on a failed alley-oop attempt. The injury is a crushing blow to the Celtics in their quest for Eastern Conference superiority. Hayward, a forward who signed a four-year, $128 million contract with the Celtics in July, was to pair with Al Horford and Kyrie Irving in a new Big Three for a team that has been on the rise for the last several seasons. On the play, Hayward was leaping toward the basket to receive a pass from Irving when he became entangled with LeBron James and Jae Crowder of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hayward landed on his left foot, which twisted in gruesome fashion under him as he crumbled to the floor.” [via: The New York Times]
posted by Fizz at 7:38 PM - 24 comments

"performance claims without benchmarks probably aren't true"

A scientific test of keyboard latency. "Gaming" keyboards are middle-of-the-road, while the lowest-latency keyboard tested is about the last thing you'd think of for computer gaming.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:59 PM - 65 comments

...watching a wounded antelope trying to bring down a wounded antelope

Frankie Boyle in The Guardian: "Perhaps the next leader will be Boris Johnson, a man who sees genocide as the first stage of a planning application. Boris, a malevolent baked Alaska, is living out in public the great dramatic sweep of a life that asks what if a hero, instead of a single tragic flaw, had all of them. Or perhaps it will be David Davis, a man who seems to suffer from the same lack of imagination as his parents. Or Jacob Rees-Mogg (a man who has taken the phrase “stalking horse” rather too anthropomorphically), who, when he’s not on the run from Westworld: Victorian Britain, seems to be one of those people who flicks through the Old Testament looking for the sexy bits." (Contains very dark humor)
posted by Wordshore at 3:53 PM - 25 comments

She remains in command of the beat.

Roxane Gay interviewed Nicki Minaj for the NY Times Magazine. "Minaj does not temper her swagger or sexuality. Sometimes, when I am daydreaming, I marvel at the phrases “dick bicycle” and “If you wanna ménage I got a tricycle” from “Side to Side,” which are so damn clever and funny and vulgar but also accurate as hell for a song Grande once described as being “about riding leading to soreness.”
posted by ChuraChura at 1:18 PM - 26 comments

You don't have to be millionaires to dance to good dance music in the US

"I'm an American. The Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States, in cooperation the National Broadcasting Company, has invited a number of naturalized citizens to talk about the American citizenship which they have recently acquired, a possession which we ourselves take for granted, but which is still new and thrilling to them. Today, we are delighted to have with us as [a] guest with us on this program, the distinguished scientist, Doctor Albert Einstein, who has this very morning, just a few hours ago, taken his citizenship examination." In 1940, on the eve of the United States' entrance into World War II, then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Immigration and Naturalization Service wanted to promote tolerance toward immigrants. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:09 PM - 6 comments

Mate he's obsessed with toilets

I worry it seems patronising to praise a famous 59-year-old man for doing as little as managing not to be a politically incorrect arsehole (again, a sadly surprising rarity), but I feel there’s something more than that with Big Nev, something genuinely quite affecting and inspiring.
Tristan Cross explains why former Wales & Everton keeper Neville Southall is such a mensch on and off Twitter.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:58 AM - 14 comments

That's no bull!

There is an escaped cow in Prospect Park in Brooklyn! (FB video). [more inside]
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 10:19 AM - 36 comments

Transcribing decades-old science fiction fanzines

The James L. "Rusty" Hevelin Collection contains over ten thousand science fiction fanzines. The library of the University of Iowa is scanning them and has done more than 800 so far. It has set up a page on its DIY History site where people can transcribe old zines to make the computer searchable. For more about Rusty Hevelin, read his obituary, and for more about the collection read these two articles by Jacob Brogan from 2015 and 2017.
posted by Kattullus at 10:17 AM - 5 comments

Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius

Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius
posted by JeffL at 10:07 AM - 51 comments

Playing with FIRE

The internet subculture of FIRE (Financial Independence and Retiring Early) is a community of people working to retire (or achieve financial independence) at aggressively young ages using some unconventional methods. [more inside]
posted by mosst at 9:38 AM - 69 comments

Loyal citizens who stand for Americanism

A Night at the Garden - a short archival documentary of a pro-America rally held at NYC's Madison Square Garden, in 1939. [more inside]
posted by progosk at 9:27 AM - 19 comments

The Secret History of Fruit Leather

Also known as Amardeen, it all started in Syria.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:04 AM - 17 comments

Fair-Weather Friendly

Affiliate marketing is the seedy underbelly of online product reviews and commerce. That won't surprise anyone, but the extent of these momentary, modern gold rushes might. David Zax receives a free mattress from a reviewer who can't give them away fast enough and decides to peel back a few of the industry's less plush layers.
posted by gilrain at 7:38 AM - 59 comments

The Potato Metaphor for Emotional Labor

In some relationships, the person needing support shows up in the kitchen with potatoes at the ready. They are saying, “Here. These are my potatoes. Cleaned and ready for your pan.” In other relationships and situations, the person seeking support makes it harder to find their potatoes... The potato metaphor is useful because it highlights how the person being supported has an active role in how laborious the emotional labor involved really is... Lopsided potato-handling can be damaging to ease, equity, and harmony in relationships.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:59 AM - 35 comments

Think Daft Punk meets Deep Forest with the fearlessness of Nina Simone.

Tjitji tjurta (translation ‘all you kids’) inma-ku a pakala (translation ‘get up and dance’) tjitji tjurta Tjitji tjurta inma-ku a pakala tjitji tjurta [more inside]
posted by Thella at 6:00 AM - 7 comments

October 16

NZ’s Experience with Deregulation & Privatisation

The US had Reagonomics, the UK had Thatcherism, while New Zealand had Rogernomics and Ruthanasia.... [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert at 9:43 PM - 11 comments

A Shit Leopard Can't Change its Spots.

John Dunsworth, who played park supervisor Jim Lahey in the long running Canadian series The Trailer Park Boys, has died at the age of 71.
posted by lkc at 7:00 PM - 53 comments

“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”

How we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate his legacy [The Guardian] “For a century or more, Sigmund Freud has cast a long shadow not just over the field of psychoanalysis but over the entire way we think of ourselves as human beings. His theory of the unconscious and his work on dreams, in particular, retain a firm grip on the western imagination, shaping the realms of literature and art, politics and everyday conversation, as well as the way patients are analysed in the consulting room. Since Freud’s death in 1939, however, a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas. Now Freud is viewed less as a great medical scientist than as a powerful storyteller of the human mind whose texts, though lacking in empirical evidence, should be celebrated for their literary value. The following debate, conducted through emails, was prompted by the forthcoming publication of Frederick Crews’s book Freud: The Making of an Illusion, which draws on new research materials to raise fresh questions about Freud’s competence and integrity.” [Previously.] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 5:01 PM - 49 comments

"I could have made something empowering."

Bennett Foddy, he who made exquisite torture games QWOP (MeFi), CLOP (MeFi) and GIRP (MeFi), released a new game as part of the October Humble Monthly, called Getting Over It. It'll be available on Steam on December 6, but in the meantime you can watch this trailer. It is a surprisingly realistic model of a guy in a cauldron with a pick trying to climb a mountain.
posted by JHarris at 4:24 PM - 20 comments

"He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation"

Day 270: Season of war. [this is the U.S. politics thread.] [more inside]
posted by lalex at 3:32 PM - 779 comments

How Much More Are You Hiding?

The new trailer for Marvel's "Black Panther" is here (SLYT).
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:30 PM - 72 comments

Grace and Measure

Richard Wilbur, poet, translator, and lyricist, has died. He was 96. [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 2:18 PM - 14 comments

My kid could do that! Oh, wait, no. Never mind.

Callum Donovan-Grujicich is an twelve year-old artist who lives in Whitby, Ontario with his parents, his younger brother and his beloved dog Jiggs. From about the time he was learning to walk, Callum showed a strong inclination towards expressing himself through art, preferably in three dimensions. At the age of ten he began experimenting with the creation of art dolls and has been passionately constructing them ever since. They are made from a variety of materials, including paper clay, wire armature, acrylic paint, fabric, stuffing and various found objects. He hand sews all the clothes.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:13 PM - 22 comments

A Fire Story

When cartoonist Brian Fies's house burned down, he started drawing. [more inside]
posted by Lexica at 12:22 PM - 15 comments


What Sewing Samplers Tell Us About Women’s Lives from the 17th to 19th Centuries.
The Fitzwilliam Museum's exhibit Sampled Lives exhibition shows how samplers (needlework training and practice) hold hidden messages in symbolism and contain clues of the lives of women and girls who made them. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:24 AM - 11 comments

me too

If every person who has been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Me too is sweeping across facebook and Twitter. Note: this is a post about sexual harassment and assault.
posted by theora55 at 8:30 AM - 191 comments

'Twitter today is a cesspool of hate. A plague of frogs.'

Designer and man-about-Internet shares his personal history of Twitter.
posted by nerdfish at 6:50 AM - 193 comments

Some days you are the dog and others you are the fire-plug.

Surviving a 15,000-feet fall. One very bad day over, in, and on the Pacific Ocean. (via) [more inside]
posted by doctornemo at 6:42 AM - 22 comments

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