February 23

UKIP's moment of truth?

Voting gets underway in the Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland by-elections today. [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo at 1:13 AM - 1 comment

No professional actors were harmed in the making of these commercials

Enjoy these 80s-drenched low-budget ads from Okanagan television station CHBC-TV (now a Global affiliate). You can spend an hour watching the whole series, but here's some prime cuts: Spaniard hairRad DoctorsMagical Savings • Gift RapO.K. Welders (Of Course) • And finally, the Downtown! Trilogy: 1, 2, 3.
posted by smasuch at 12:36 AM - 0 comments

February 22

An escalator can never break, it can only become terrifying

These pictures won't make you even slightly nervous about escalators
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:58 PM - 19 comments

Ser Pounce

Boer has never put a mouse in the armor, but he has put one of his cats inside and has "the scars to prove it."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:02 PM - 5 comments

In the greatest Hellmouth in the world

Hamilton in Sunnydale: Buffy the Vampire Slayer screencaps with Hamilton lyrics.
posted by jeather at 5:33 PM - 18 comments

It's Constituent Work Week!

It's Constituent Work Week, a time when, traditionally, members of Congress return to their districts and hold in-person townhall meetings. This year, however, more than 200 Republicans are skipping townhalls, despite calls from their constituents to hold them. [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger at 4:56 PM - 175 comments


Night In The Woods (yt trailer) is a story-focused adventure/exploration game about the adventures of Mae Borowski after she drops out of college and returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs. It is the creation Infinite Fall a development team consisting of Alec Holowka (Aquaria), Scott Benson (Late Night Work Club, But I'm A Nice Guy), and Bethany Hockenberry with a game-within-a-game rogue-like by Adam Saltzman (Canabalt). [more inside]
posted by juv3nal at 3:21 PM - 10 comments

Data Driven Depression

Much of Radiohead’s music is undeniably sad, and this post catalogs my journey to quantify that sadness, concluding in a data-driven determination of their most depressing song. Spotify’s Web API provides detailed audio statistics for each song in their library. One of these metrics, “valence”, measures a song’s positivity. ... So valence provides a measure of how sad a song sounds from a musical perspective. Another key component of a song’s sentiment is its lyrics, and it just so happens that Genius Lyrics also has an API to pull track-level data. To see how sadness evolved across all nine albums, I calculated the average gloom index per album and plotted each song by album release date.
posted by incomple at 2:39 PM - 58 comments

Caught in the closed fist of the bean.

This is Coffee, Comforting video for uneasy times.
posted by hot_monster at 2:27 PM - 10 comments

The Man Who Broke Ticketmaster

The scourge of ticket bots and the immorality of the shady ticket scalpers using them is conventional wisdom that's so ingrained in the public consciousness and so politically safe that a law to ban ticket bots passed both houses of Congress unanimously late last year. But no one actually involved in the ticket scalping industry thinks that banning bots will do much to slow down the secondary market.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:20 PM - 28 comments

Save for when you need to laugh for a good, long while ...

David Armand gained fame with his "interpretive dance" of "Torn", which gained further fame when Natalie Imbruglia joined joined him, giving us this wonderful moment. While covered on Mefi before, his recurring appearances on Fast and Loose and Trust Us With Your Life have given us a rich treasure trove of new performances. The collected works of David Armand ("Austrian interpretive dance artist Johann Lippowitz"): Holding Out for a Hero, I Will Survive, You Can't Hurry Love, Careless Whisper, Baby One More Time, Don't Stop Me Now, Love is All Around, We are the Champions, Eye of the Tiger, Fame, Folsom Prison Blues, Human, Eternal Flame, Man in the Mirror, That's My Home, Your Song, Wherever I Lay My Hat, and You're So Vain.
posted by WCityMike at 12:04 PM - 17 comments

Theory 7: Putin is named Vladimir

At no time in history have more people with less knowledge, and greater outrage, opined on the subject of Russia’s president [...] And what does Putinology tell us? It turns out that it has produced seven distinct hypotheses about Putin. None of them is entirely wrong, but then none of them is entirely right (apart from No 7). Taken together, they tell us as much about ourselves as about Putin. They paint a portrait of an intellectual class – our own – on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin
posted by griphus at 12:03 PM - 30 comments

Set Course for TRAPPIST-1, Make 12 Parsecs Joke Now

Astronomers have never seen anything like this before: Seven Earth-size alien worlds orbit the same tiny, dim star, and all of them may be capable of supporting life as we know it, a new study reports. The exoplanets circle the star TRAPPIST-1, which lies just 39 light-years from Earth — a mere stone's throw in the cosmic scheme of things. So speculation about the alien worlds' life-hosting potential should soon be informed by hard data, study team members said. Major Discovery! 7 Earth-Size Alien Planets Circle Nearby Star [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 10:45 AM - 71 comments

Shakeup at the Oscars

In June, the Academy released a list of six hundred and eighty-three new members—a record number; forty-six per cent of them were female and forty-one per cent were nonwhite, representing fifty-nine different countries. They included the actors John Boyega, America Ferrera, Ice Cube, Idris Elba, Daniel Dae Kim, and Gabrielle Union; the directors Ryan Coogler (“Creed”), Marjane Satrapi, and the Wachowski siblings; and three Wayans brothers, Damon, Marlon, and Keenen. “I think they were just, like, ‘Man, there are six thousand members. We’ve got to put at least two Wayanses in!’ ” Marlon told me. “You want diversity, just go to the Wayans tribe.” Led by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, its first black president, the Academy tries to solve its diversity problem.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:13 AM - 27 comments

Jumping the air gap silently

Malware lets a drone steal data by watching a computer’s blinking LED The pinpoint flickers, emitting from the LED hard drive indicator that lights up intermittently on practically every modern Windows machine, would hardly arouse the suspicions of anyone working in the office after hours. But in fact, that LED was silently winking out an optical stream of the computer’s secrets to the camera floating outside. [more inside]
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:07 AM - 24 comments

Menses or Men Says?

Laydeez! Wish you had more options to deal with your period? Mensez can help! A Kansas chiropractor has invented a product that is an adhesive in lipstick (get it? lip-stick?) form that is "used to seal the vagina during menstruation until the woman goes to urinate". [more inside]
posted by chaoticgood at 8:37 AM - 90 comments

"...and still the viol shrieked on without slackening."

Revel in the mad piping errrr... foot stompin' rock of The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' newest opus, "The Dukes of Alhazred". The Lovecraftian-inspired jam-masters have been at it for aeons now (25 years in linear time), and this is their first full length release since 2007's "The Shadow out of Tim". [more inside]
posted by FatherDagon at 6:57 AM - 13 comments

"Abhorrent [...] blatant violation of academic freedom"

An Iowa senate bill would require candidates for professor positions to disclose their political party registrations, and would prohibit state universities from hiring professors who would skew the "partisan balance" of the faculty by more than 10 percent in either direction. [more inside]
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:40 AM - 81 comments


"In one occupational boogeyman, Bangaloreans can see their future and their fears." IT worker as hated yet envied figure in India. Is this about class divides, cultural gaps, ecological stress, spousal abuse, or something else? (SLBloomberg)
posted by doctornemo at 5:36 AM - 9 comments

Does the hydrogen atom offend you? Then pluck it off.

Derek Lowe on the first synthesis of triangulene by a team of researchers at IBM Zürich using a scanning tunneling microscope:
This is a molecule that we’ve known for a long time could exist, but no chemist had ever seen it or been able to make it. Now we can reach in and tug on individual atoms, though, and that does the trick – just the thought of direct mechanical synthesis being the way to make an elusive species like this is enough for me.
[more inside]
posted by metaquarry at 4:48 AM - 17 comments

We've Got Movie Sign!!!

Netflix has announced a release date for the new MST3k. AVClub also did a cool interview with Joel and some of the new cast. (previous mst3k)
posted by valkane at 3:52 AM - 89 comments

Instrumental music from Brazil

Programa Instrumental SESC Brasil is an on-going series of videos (each ca. 50-55 minutes long) on YouTube of live performances of Brazilian instrumental music, much of it more-or-less jazz-tinged. See for example: veteran percussionist Wilson das Neves leading a 14-piece band; or accordionist Renato Borghetti (with Arthur Bonilla on guitar), a virtuoso exponent of gaucho music; or Drummer Vera Figueiredo & her trio, joined part-way through their set by the trombonist Bocato; or guitarist Renata Montanari & her quartet; or São Paulo pianist Louise Woolley & 12-piece band; or the funk outfit Black Mantra… but that merely scratches the surface: there are dozens of other fine performances to be found. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch at 2:12 AM - 4 comments

February 21

“No friends. Nothing else to do. Nothing to fill the cold hour.”

One of them had to die, so the other could live a normal life. They did everything together, until one, or the other, wrote "We have become fatal enemies in each other's eyes. We feel the irritating deadly rays come out of our bodies, stinging each other's skin. " [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:35 PM - 14 comments

Beatbox Dog

Check out the elegant original version (the dog is not stressed or angry; dogs do this). Here's the Drum'n'Bass edit. Finally, Trololo. [all videos contain growling and music] [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:00 PM - 14 comments

“It was just another piece of bread cooking in the oven.”

Canadian Inventor of Hawaiian Pizza Defends Pineapple After Iceland's President Disses Fruit Topping [CBC.ca] “The president of Iceland has made a bold, shocking statement about a Canadian invention. President Guoni Johannesson recently told a group of high school students during a Q&A that he was fundamentally opposed to pineapple on pizza — and that's not all. He went on to say if he could, he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping. We demanded an interview with the president.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 8:32 PM - 114 comments

Where's... Willow?

UN Women Egypt commissioned some adorable 'Where's Wally'-style illustrations of three workplaces, representing technology, science, and politics. There are some women hidden in the pictures, and finding them neatly demonstrates the unbalanced ratio.
posted by Joh at 7:17 PM - 12 comments

Fun Time da ya Time Fit da Bus-Rida

An oldie but a goodie: All 25 of the G.I. Joe PSA parodies, made by Eric Fensler circa 2003, Remastered in HD and Compiled in one youtube video (previously, previouslier)
posted by mannequito at 5:33 PM - 46 comments

No idea how these people got their cats wedged into their neural nets

pix2pix-tensorflow uses machine learning to allow you to draw an outline and get back an image, constructed by mashing up pieces from a database of thousands of stock photos. In other words, you draw a outline of a cat, and you get back an image of a cat. Output ranges from the fairly straightforward to the horrifyingly twisted to the terrible mistake. The algorithm has also been turned loose on building facades, shoes, and handbags.
posted by zachlipton at 3:43 PM - 43 comments

I guess you could call it (puts on shades) a Glock-enspiel

Vitaly Kryuchin performs some popular melodies using Glock pistols
posted by pjern at 2:29 PM - 30 comments

The Age of Female Dominance, Brought to You by Robots

There’s a lot of speculation on how robots taking over people’s jobs could impact the economy. After all, if nearly half of American jobs are automated in the next 20 years, what will people do? And while automation does include losses of jobs, it could also change what we value when it comes to skill sets. For example, care-related work, like nursing and education, will likely remain human. Jerry Kaplan, a futurist and professor at Stanford University, thinks that automation could place a premium on the type of work that women tend to be good at, like person-to-person interaction, reading human emotion, collaboration, and creativity.
posted by Glibpaxman at 1:10 PM - 39 comments

Annoyed Elephant Chases Tourists for Miles

Going on a safari affords you the chance to see amazing animals out in their natural habitat. It's thrilling, but there's also an underlying sense of nervousness. These tourists on a safari ride through Kruger National Park in South Africa fully realized this when an elephant decided to chase after their vehicle for several miles. What started out as an awe-filled sighting quickly became more of a edgy slow-speed chase. "He's coming! He's coming!" one of the tourists says. "Oh my god, please go!"
posted by grobertson at 12:54 PM - 9 comments

Open Source Flatpack Urban Farm Pavilion

Ikea's Space10 lab has released open source plans for the Growroom, a 2.8 x 2.5 meter spherical garden.
posted by romakimmy at 11:19 AM - 49 comments

Sure, Mark 4:9 and Matthew 11:5, but Luke is oddly silent on the issue

Those edit boys at Auralnauts (of whom previously, previously, pre— oh just do a bloody search) are at it again, with an edited dub of Star Wars: A New Hope in which R2-D2 has a speaking voice. (Specifically, that of voice actor Scheiffer Bates.)
posted by cortex at 10:52 AM - 17 comments

Cora searches for a place outside of racism's insidious grasp

In Strange Horizons, Na'amen Gobert Tilahun reviews Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad and Ben H. Winters's Underground Airlines, two recent novels that integrate speculative fiction and fictional slave narratives. His critique includes an interlude asking (and answering), "How can you tell if a narrative is meant for a white audience?"
posted by mixedmetaphors at 10:18 AM - 14 comments

The integrity of the game is at steak

In the 84th minute of his team's 0-2 loss to Arsenal yesterday, Sutton United's reserve keeper Wayne Shaw was shown eating a pie on the bench. With all of Sutton's substitutes used and the non-league side happy just to be in the fifth round, it seemed to be, as Shaw would later describe it, "a bit of fun". It wasn't. [more inside]
posted by 7segment at 9:32 AM - 68 comments


Pretty much exactly what you imagine. Yes, it's a real hashtag. [Some NSFW illustrations there.] [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:48 AM - 33 comments

identify, capture and quickly deport

"The Department of Homeland Security issued a sweeping set of orders Tuesday that implement President Trump's plan to increase immigration enforcement, placing the vast majority of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation." (SLtheUSAToday) [more inside]
posted by Huck500 at 7:49 AM - 302 comments

But we planned that obsolescence ourselves!

Nebraska Will Become A 'Mecca For Hackers' If Right To Repair Bill Passes. As "right to repair" bills continue to gain traction, Apple lobbies against them in the cornhusker state. [more inside]
posted by aspersioncast at 7:12 AM - 54 comments

The Next Financial Crisis Might Be in Your Driveway

[U.S.] auto debt hit a record in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, when a rush of year-end car shopping pushed vehicle loans to a dubious peak of $1.16 trillion. ... It’s an alarming number, big enough to incite talk of a bubble.
posted by Etrigan at 6:46 AM - 83 comments

"We were work proximity associates."

How To Keep A Healthy Distance From Your Terrible Co-Workers - in which Dante Jordan sets out a case for avoiding interaction with one's colleagues at any and all cost.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:46 AM - 78 comments

150+ gravesites vandalized at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in Missouri

The gravesites of more than 170 Jews were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in University City, Mo., sometime over the weekend. [more inside]
posted by listen, lady at 4:59 AM - 69 comments

Europe's child refugee crisis

At an age when most kids need supervision to do their homework, hundreds of thousands of minors are crossing continents alone. [SL The New Yorker]
posted by The Illiterate Pundit at 12:35 AM - 14 comments

February 20

“Everything starts as somebody's daydream.”

SFWA Announces 2016 Nebula, Norton, and Bradbury Award Nominees! [SFWA.org] The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is pleased to announce the nominees for the 51st Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 7:30 PM - 40 comments

The Time Of Your Life

The Time Of Your Life is a 30 minute play/dance piece showing a man being swept quickly through the iconic moments of his life. Written and performed by the Gecko theatre company, The Time Of Your Life was one of the last programmes ever recorded at BBC Television Centre and was broadcast live on BBC Four in November 2015, as part of a two hour farewell to the studio. [more inside]
posted by dng at 6:02 PM - 1 comment

"Midlife Divorced Lady Cliche"

Scrubbing a Stranger
posted by R.F.Simpson at 5:29 PM - 54 comments

He finds the corsets very uncomfortable.

Christian Fuchs: The man who dresses up as his ancestors.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:36 PM - 32 comments

Leaves of Crass

"Readers who picked up The New York Times on March 13, 1852, might have seen a small advertisement on Page 3 for a serial tale set to begin the next day in a rival newspaper. “A RICH REVELATION,” the ad began, teasing a rollicking tale touching on “the Manners and Morals of Boarding Houses, some Scenes from Church History, Operations in Wall-st.,” and “graphic Sketches of Men and Women” (presented, fear not, with “explanations necessary to properly understand what it is all about”). It was a less than tantalizing brew, perhaps. The story, which was never reviewed or reprinted, appears to have sunk like a stone. But now comes another rich revelation: The anonymously published tale was nothing less than a complete novel by Walt Whitman.
Grad student Zachary Turpin discovers a long lost Walt Whitman novel, about a year after he discovered a long lost Whitman self-help treatie. [more inside]
posted by Stanczyk at 12:15 PM - 29 comments

"Why drink alone when you can drink with your pet?"

Cat wines are the latest manifestation of a growing trend of pet owners treating them like people. Over the past 15 years, “the pet market has been transformed by humanization of pets,” said David Sprinkle, the research director at marketresearch.com....“The term ‘pet parent’ has increasingly replaced ‘pet owner,’” Mr. Sprinkle said. Cat products and supplies make up 30 percent of the $40 billion United States pet market, excluding services, he said. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:13 AM - 78 comments

The Stuff of Fiction

Over the next few months, the Public Theatre in New York will present "A Well Ordered Forum", four evenings which will be livestreamed, featuring :artists, thinkers, journalists, performers, and politicians will come together at The Public to consider what it means to be responsible citizens and how culture can respond to politics". Tonight's panel, "The Stuff of Fiction", which will kick off at 7:30pm Eastern, includes playwright Tony Kushner; poet, essayist, and playwright Claudia Rankine, acclaimed author Salman Rushdie, and moderated by David Remnick, "to make sense of an American moment when truth can feel stranger than fiction." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:23 AM - 4 comments

I’m a commis in a Chinese restaurant kitchen, this is what I do

The dude at the chopping board has already pushed the lettuce, diced seafood, and salted fish from his side to our side of the table. We take a quick glance at the order sheet. First, we grab a medium-sized portion of rice. Then we transfer everything from our side of the table to the table directly accessible to the wok guys. We tell him, “no MSG, not too oily”. We then fetch a serving tray, six small plates, a small rice bowl, and a metal dish. The wok guy makes the fried rice, dumps it in the metal dish, then we portion the fried rice using the small rice bowl (so that every portion is in a neat little mound). This fried rice example is a very simple example involving a bit of communication between our section and the wok line.
posted by destrius at 6:40 AM - 42 comments

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