November 20

"They respect each other and they can read each other."

Tanja Brandt loves photographing animals. A recent project involves Ingo, a Belgian shepherd, and Poldi (Napoleon), a one-year-old owlet.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:43 PM - 0 comments

A half-century old machine that forces her to breathe.

The Last of the Iron Lungs "In 2013, the Post-Polio Health International (PPHI) organizations estimated that there were six to eight iron lung users in the United States. Now, PPHI executive director Brian Tiburzi says he doesn’t know anyone alive still using the negative-pressure ventilators. This fall, I met three polio survivors who depend on iron lungs. They are among the last few, possibly the last three."
posted by rhizome at 11:13 PM - 2 comments

The Worst of the Web?

The end of Net Neutrality to be announced by the FCC as early as this Thanksgiving week. As early as tomorrow, Tuesday, November 21, in the year of our lord 2017, the FCC may announce their intention to dismantle the Obama-era rule that guarantees that all web traffic be created equal. Fast lanes for some websites, blocking competitors' websites for others (let's not forget that Comcast is looking to buy some of Fox while we discuss this). [more inside]
posted by General Malaise at 7:14 PM - 44 comments

Tommy wore dresses because his tail interfered with pants.

Tommy Tucker was a male grey squirrel who toured the United States wearing women's fashions and selling war bonds to support America in WWII as well as other charitable endeavors. He died in 1949, was stuffed and was bequeathed to the Smithsonian in 2005. While the museum maintains an archive of Tommy Tucker related ephemera (and possibly dresses), the actual stuffed squirrel lives in the lawyer's office who had been handling the bequest according to this podcast. (prev, via)
posted by jessamyn at 5:43 PM - 12 comments

Do we have to be dead & dug up from the ground to be worthy of respect?

Native Americans had long tried to prevent the theft of their dead. But it was not until the 1960s, in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, that activists turned collections into a question of conscience: Why were U.S. museums filled almost exclusively with the bones of Native Americans? “When a white man’s grave is dug up, it’s called grave robbing,” as the Tohono O’odham activist Robert Cruz said in 1986. “But when an Indian’s grave is dug up, it’s called archaeology.”
The long ethical arc of displaying human remains: A look at why museums exhibit Egyptian mummies, but not Native American bones, by Chip Colwell.
posted by Rumple at 5:28 PM - 18 comments

Your reckoning. And mine.

Your Reckoning. And Mine. As stories about abuse, assault, and complicity come flooding out, how do we think about the culprits in our lives? Including, sometimes, ourselves. [content warning: sexual assault, harassment] [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger at 5:19 PM - 18 comments

Bus! No!

The Weather Channel was photobombed by a bus today. (slyt)
posted by curious nu at 4:15 PM - 43 comments

ice + ice = baby

They were once Olympic rivals — one the captain of the U.S. women's hockey team, the other the captain of Canada's women's hockey team. But now Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette are celebrating the birth of their daughter. [more inside]
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:24 PM - 27 comments

Dance It to the Next Level

What better way to share your love of video games and your love of dance than by combining them? (SLYT)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:17 PM - 2 comments

Witch Dollhouse

Amazingly intricate dollhouse of three stories by Gayle Palama. Ignore the first two photos. These are close-up photos of each floor of the dollhouse. The amount of work that went into the furniture and goods and decor of these rooms is truly astonishing. Hover on a photo and a short title will pop up. I found this blog of hers which may provide more info. Annadancie
posted by MovableBookLady at 12:48 PM - 14 comments

"5.2 percent of the hospital’s liver transplants during that time"

Some U.S. Hospitals Don’t Put Americans First for Liver Transplants: At a time when there aren’t enough livers for ailing Americans, wealthy foreigners fly here for transplant (SLProPublica)
posted by crazy with stars at 11:17 AM - 40 comments

One 2007 report put the figures for Flemish-Walloon marriages at 1%

Flemish bitterness about this lies close to the surface, as so much else does in the fields of Flanders. At the monument on an autumn morning I met a local writer, André Gysel: “There are six million Danish people; they have a country,” he told me. “We have six million but we share our country with these other people and we give them €1,000 a year from each of us. And they never say thank you.” He paused, witheringly: “Mer-ci!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:55 AM - 39 comments

How Alibaba co-opted anti-Valentines day and exceeded Black Friday

Two minutes and one second into its annual mega-sale, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba hit $1 billion in sales, quickly passing Amazon's 2017 Prime Day sales record. By the end of the day, the final sales tally rang in at $25,386,927,848, about 40% higher than last year's record. How do you hype a commercial holiday that dwarfs Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States? A musical number from Pharrell Williams, as part of a lavish gala in Shanghai with Nicole Kidman, Karen Mok and Maria Sharapova. And why November 11? To co-opt Singles' Day, which was created in the 1990s by a group of university students at Nanjing University, before the Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma founded Alibaba.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 AM - 26 comments

Let battle commence: The 2017-18 Ashes

It's time. In just a few days, the first ball in The Ashes (mens) will be bowled. Beginning in 1882, the current score is Australia: 32, England: 32. A few previous players, one of whom could bowl a bit. The Ashes are part of a tour of Australia and New Zealand by England which concludes after five months. England start without their star player while Australia have undertaken some unexpected squad selections. Joe Root, the England captain previously punched by Australia's star player, may be a decisive factor; diplomatic incident and in-play violence are, unlike previously, unlikely but not impossible. There will be much verbal abuse from players and spectators, plus mental disintegration. In the Women's Ashes, currently drawing to a close, Australia have retained the urn. Previously.
posted by Wordshore at 7:46 AM - 21 comments

their day in court

In theory, there are two parts to an immigration court case. The prosecution (ICE attorneys) has to show that an immigrant is removable — that he either has no legal status in the US or that he’s done something that allows the government to strip his legal status from him — and that he doesn’t qualify for any form of “immigration relief,” which can mean formal legal status or another form of protection from deportation. But without a lawyer, good luck figuring out what any of those forms of relief even mean — much less whether you qualify for them.
So New York City and eleven others are providing lawyers to immigrants facing deportation. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:35 AM - 2 comments

His iron-clad fleet flowed forward

One hundred years ago today began the Battle of Cambrai. On November 20th, 1917, the British army launched the first massed tank attack in history. Nearly five hundred vehicles, accompanied by air power, poison gas, and swarms of infantry, slammed into German lines before the northern French city of Cambrai. [more inside]
posted by doctornemo at 6:07 AM - 6 comments

Everything but the clouds

Cory Arcangel (previously) describes his artwork/Super Mario Bros ROM hack "Super Mario Clouds" as "an old Mario Brothers cartridge which I modified to erase everything but the clouds." Except, as Patrick LeMieux discovers when reverse-engineering the ROM, "Arcangel’s ROM hack does not actually contain Nintendo’s ROM". There was no erasure. This video documents Patrick's analysis of Arcangel's ROM and his own attempt to erase "everything but the clouds".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:42 AM - 34 comments

In the Land of Vendettas That Go On Forever

I had flown to the Balkans in late July 2017 to learn about blood feuds, or the ancient oaths of vendetta sworn between warring families and passed on from one generation to the next. The killing is concentrated in northern Albania—in the rural, often unreachable villages of the Accursed Mountains, and in the modern city of Shkodër, one of the oldest municipalities in southeastern Europe. Here, justice works like this: When a man is murdered, his family avenges his death by similarly executing either the killer himself or a male member of his clan. Sometimes, after a killing has been successfully vindicated, the feud is settled. Other times, the head of the family that initiated the feud, while admitting both sides are now ostensibly “equal,” nonetheless chooses to perpetuate the cycle by killing a second male from the avenging family.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:23 AM - 31 comments

Tsunami Bomb

During WWII, the United States and New Zealand conducted secret tests of a "tsunami bomb" designed to destroy coastal cities by using underwater blasts to trigger massive tidal waves. [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert at 2:18 AM - 12 comments

November 19

The sea is full of saints

This past April a massive 80-foot steel kraken was purposefully sunk into the Caribbean Sea on top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy fuel barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater in order to jumpstart a new coral ecosystem, while also serving as a cutting-edge education center for marine researchers and local students from the surrounding British Virgin Islands. The project is titled the BVI Art Reef, and aims to use sculptures like the porous kraken as a base to grow transplanted coral.
[more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:29 PM - 15 comments

Charles Manson is dead at 83

Charles Manson, the mass murderer and cultural icon, has died. (NYT link) He was convicted of the murders of 9 people, most famously Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski, the movie director). However, Manson was not physically present for any of the killings, which were carried out by his followers, known as the "Manson family." [more inside]
posted by John Cohen at 10:30 PM - 168 comments

“the technical, artistic merit, while leaving all the garbage behind.”

Cuphead and the Racist Spectre of Fleischer Animation [Unwinable] “When asked in a Rolling Stone interview about the unfortunate associations of Cuphead‘s 1930s aesthetic, lead inking artist for the game, Maja Moldenhauer replies: “It’s just visuals and that’s about it. Anything else happening in that era we’re not versed in it.” But these visuals are weighed down by the history that brought them into being, despite the developers best efforts at stripping them of the more overt caricatures that are rife in cartoons for most of the first half of the 20th century. By sanitizing its source material and presenting only the ostensibly inoffensive bits, Studio MDHR ignores the context and history of the aesthetic it so faithfully replicates. Playing as a black person, ever aware of the way we have historically been, and continue to be, depicted in all kinds of media, I don’t quite have that luxury. Instead, I see a game that’s haunted by ghosts; not those confined to its macabre boss fights, but the specter of black culture, appropriated first by the minstrel set then by the Fleischers, Disney and others -twisted into the caricatures that have helped define American cartoons for the better part of a century.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 8:21 PM - 71 comments

The Simpsons Spoken Dialogue Comedic Songbook

Acai, one of many Guitar Hero experts on YouTube, flawlessly plays an arrangement of “Steamed Hams”, A.K.A. the “Skinner and The Superintent” portion of “22 Short Films About Springfield”. (A piano arrangement.)
posted by Going To Maine at 4:32 PM - 26 comments

The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

We utter the first syllables of a sentence while taking a leap of faith that we’ll be able to choose the right words en route and formulate phrases adequately as the words tumble out of our mouths and bring us to an intersection in our thoughts that demands our next move. This puts an upper bound on complexity. But written text, which can be more deliberately planned out and revised, is able to transcend this.
Linguist Julie Sedivy on the rise (and eventual fall?) of sentence complexity in written and oral languages.
posted by Rumple at 4:31 PM - 35 comments

Don't stay late, come home safe

Planet P Project is a science-fiction-inspired one-man band and an album by Tony Carey. Their debut album [46m] featured known single, Why Me. Planet P Project previously.
posted by hippybear at 2:31 PM - 11 comments

Subway time machine

Around this time of the year, the New York subway system offers rides on its "Holiday Nostalgia" train, which consists of eight restored cars from the 1930s, complete with vintage subway advertising and riders who show up in appropriate costumes. Lots of pictures. Transit Museum info page. More pictures! Video! Pix and video at the late Gothamist.
posted by beagle at 2:29 PM - 19 comments

I wasn’t meant for reality, but life came and found me.

Fernando Pessoa was a Portuguese wrter with nearly 80 different literary alter egos or "heteronyms". Each of which had a biography, psychology, politics, religion, physical description; the main characters being interconnected and with their own horoscopes
"I'm the empty stage where various actors act out various plays," he once wrote and “a drama divided into people instead of into acts”.
“I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist,” he writes in one poem. “I’m the gap between what I’d like to be and what others have made of me. . . . That’s me. Period.
His occult interests led him to a correspondence and friendship with Aleister Crowley who enlisted him in faking his suicide.
posted by adamvasco at 1:55 PM - 10 comments


UC Berkeley professor Stuart Russell and the Future of Life Institute have created an eerie viral video titled "Slaughterbots" that depicts a future in which humans develop small, hand-sized drones that are programmed to identify and eliminate designated targets. In the video above, the technology is initially developed with the intention of combating crime and terrorism, but the drones are taken over by an unknown forces who use the powerful weapons to murder a group of senators and college students. UC Berkeley professor's eerie lethal drone video goes viral [Warning: graphic violence]
posted by chavenet at 1:16 PM - 62 comments

The ting goes skrrrahh, pap, pap, ka-ka-ka

UK comedian Michael Dapaah, better known under his pseudonym Big Shaq, has become an unlikely grime music icon with his simple ode to men who never take off their coats: Man's Not Hot. Recently Dappah sat down with Genius to explain the song. See also the Genius page for annotated lyrics. And here's the original viral freestyle.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 12:16 PM - 22 comments

If God gave us Devora, the judge, Ruchie Freier should be a judge

This is Ruchie Freier, a 52-year-old Hasidic Jewish grandmother who has blazed a trail in her insular religious community with so much determination that the male authorities have simply had to make room. Eleven years ago, she became one of the first Hasidic female lawyers in Brooklyn,and last November, she was elected as a judge to civil court. She has done so not by breaking the strict religious rules that govern ultra-Orthodox women's lives, but by obeying them so scrupulously that there are limited grounds for objection.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:48 AM - 5 comments

Thanks for nothing

Day 303: it's turkey time, and Republicans are putting tax and spending cuts on the table, which many are finding an unpalatable centrepiece. CBO estimates suggest that poor Americans' gooses in particular will be cooked if the bill passes, with households earning under $50,000 increasingly worse off. Republican senators have stated, on the record, that major donors will not be inviting them back for a second helping of support if the tax cut bill fails. The House bill has been served but the Senate bill is still in the oven, and preparing it will involve two opposed groups coming together with a shared purpose, and also some way of massaging the figures so they won't increase the deficit. [This is a catch-all US politics thread; Roy Moore talk goes here] [more inside]
posted by Merus at 8:35 AM - 496 comments


J'Dess and Chris Rio do battle on The Voice Nigeria. [SLYT]
posted by clawsoon at 7:35 AM - 12 comments

November 18

this is the definitive ranking

Colin J. Carlson, part of the Parasite Extinction Assessment & Red List, couldn't sleep recently and decided to assign letter grades to the weird foxes (here's a threadreader compilation for the Twitter-averse, but it doesn't include the numerous entertaining replies). [h/t ChuraChura]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:36 PM - 48 comments

The man behind the mask

Meet Doug Jones, One Of The Biggest Movie Stars You’ve Probably Never Seen
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:06 PM - 26 comments

Boil a Peanut?

Where did the idea of boiled peanuts come from? And why? Turns out, of course, it's more complicated than you knew. And then it got even more complicated when Congress got involved. Part Two
posted by MovableBookLady at 7:52 PM - 50 comments

“It’s still quite raw,”

Charlotte Gainsbourg Finds Her Own Voice [The New York Times] “Ms. Gainsbourg engages with her family’s glorious, tangled history as never before. On one level, it’s an album about grief, tinted by the deep loss she felt after the 2013 death of her older half sister, the photographer Kate Barry (whose parents were Ms. Birkin and the film composer John Barry). But it’s also an album about pleasure, full of pulsating disco beats and cool pop choruses that feel like Ms. Gainsbourg’s birthright. Above all, it’s an album that comes directly from her heart.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 6:52 PM - 9 comments

Tweets of Birds

@everybird: Robot posting every bird on the planet. Mostly accurate. Random bird order, last bird posted in 2019. By @nah_solo (Lucas Quinn). See below for list of birds
posted by Going To Maine at 4:04 PM - 11 comments

The brain in the jar wants out, you know.

A marginal but useful definition of insanity is not knowing what genre of book you are in; depression is knowing, but being helpless to change it.
Beth Boyle Machlan on writing, memory, and helplessness.
posted by Rumple at 3:33 PM - 10 comments

How well do matchboxes learn?

Machine Learning Explained. In this essay Rodney Brooks, one of the founders of iRobot and emeritus professor at MIT, explains machine learning in layman's terms. He uses a real-life example of one of the first machine learning algorithms, a tic-tac-toe program implemented in the 1950s using matchboxes(!). The essay gives you an appreciation of how machine learning is different from human learning, and what its limitations are -- nice, given the hype surrounding AI today. [more inside]
posted by storybored at 12:47 PM - 37 comments

Unleashing grumpy-old-man Skynet on the academic world

Tabatha Southey asks: Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?
posted by scruss at 11:35 AM - 80 comments

The Avocado visits some old magazines

The Avocado, originally formed as a diaspora from the Onion AV Club comment section, has now become an excellent website in its own right. Recently they have been running retrospectives of old magazine issues and it is a fascinating and funny look into recent US history. [more inside]
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:24 AM - 21 comments

"I don't think any bastard knows who I am anyway..."

RIP Malcolm Young co-founder, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for AC/DC. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:38 AM - 82 comments

Live from Harare

Ten of thousands of Zimbabweans are in the streets of Harare after the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the Zimbabwe Republic Police approved a rally led by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association against President Mugabe’s continued stay in office. Mugabe was placed under house arrest earlier in the week in what the army insisted was not a coup. This appears to be the culmination of a power struggle between Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe and recently ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe, now a billionaire in one of the world's poorest countries, was once considered a revolutionary hero after leading Zimbabwe to independence from Great Britain.
posted by clawsoon at 5:21 AM - 24 comments

Norway’s Medieval Wooden Churches Look Plucked From a Fairy Tale

The Smithsonian has a scrolling gallery of Norwegian "stave" churches, named after the "stavers", the load bearing pillars that keep them from collapsing. Wooden medieval architecture taken to fascinating, beautiful extremes.
posted by hippybear at 4:39 AM - 21 comments

November 17

One of our submarines...

Argentine submarine San Juan has been missing for more than two days. [more inside]
posted by ctmf at 9:55 PM - 26 comments

this list is bullshit

The 50 best Superhero Movies Of All Times - Because this debate is already well-worn territory, we at The Ringer set out to develop a ranking that goes beyond personal opinions—to try to synthesize the overall goals and spirit of these films in order to identify the ideal superhero movies. In order to do that, we took into account four factors—Critical Success, Box Office Performance, Rewatchability, and Timelessness—and ran them through a fancy formula to come up with an overall score. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:17 PM - 118 comments

The antithesis of Riot Grrl

How mid-2000s emo groomed underage girls and poisoned teen boys (TW). Emo, the alternative/punk offshoot dealing with (male, mostly negative) feelings has had a problem with misogyny for a long time, having dominated the alternative-music culture of the 00s with an exclusively male worldview whose attitude to women, ranging from objectification to contempt, permeated the formative experiences of a generation of music enthusiasts (the writer Jessica Hopper described it as the antithesis of the Riot Grrl experience). And now, it now turns out, that sexually predatory behaviour is endemic in the scene, with musicians and promoters preying on fans, many of them underage.
posted by acb at 6:12 PM - 63 comments

"The interior is a world of aesthetic chaos"

Game designer @MaxKriegerVG says "If you want a fully immersive 'postmodern design hellscape' themed dining experience I highly recommend dinner at The Cheesecake Factory—from a design perspective that place is fuckin wild and I'll talk a little bit about why (here's a threadreader compilation for the Twitter-averse). And he links to an Eater story about the designer.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:18 PM - 66 comments

“We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing & tuning.”

Star Wars Battlefront 2 players took on EA, and won (for now). [Polygon] “The microtransactions are gone from Star Wars Battlefront 2, at least for the moment. The fans, with their days, if not weeks, of outrage over the paid content, have won their fight against Electronic Arts. Just like that, the day before it was set to be officially released, the for-pay currency has been removed from the game. Good.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 5:16 PM - 48 comments

I'm so sorry. He forced me to make this post.

He is known as the abimor and he's the most mysterious killer of all time. [more inside]
posted by juliplease at 5:13 PM - 14 comments

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