June 20

From the Moonrise Kingdom library

Did you once love a kids' book that no one else remembers? Are you looking for something unique to read at bedtime? Readers of Atlas Obscura share their favorite obscure childhood treasures.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:40 PM - 143 comments

Ooh, shiny

Cat remains unimpressed as man sharpens rusty knife.
posted by Lexica at 8:45 PM - 41 comments

All Hail Rockass and Stargoon!

What happens when the Portland Guinea Pig Rescue asks Janelle Shane (previously 1, 2) the question, "Have you ever trained a neural network to generate guinea pig names?” (Bonus: What guinea pig sounds mean)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:16 PM - 9 comments

In the Bering Sea, the orcas are winning

Alaska fishermen are losing the battle against hungry orcas.
posted by clawsoon at 6:53 PM - 31 comments

"No one is going to assume the big football player is gay."

Former tackle for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs Ryan O'Callaghan, who grew up believing there was absolutely no way he could live as an openly gay man, came out today in a feature article by OutSports. (tw: in-depth discussion of suicide) [more inside]
posted by Errant at 4:29 PM - 28 comments

Georgia on My Mind: All Bets are Ossoff

Tonight, the much anticipated results of the GA-06 Special Election will be known. Recent polling has shown Ossoff and Handel to be in a virtual statistical tie. Pro-Ossoff dinosaurs have been seen campaigning around the district and have made campaign signs into glitter bombs (Joan Walsh, The Nation! Here are 6 key things to watch for (Caitlin MacNeal, Talking Points Memo) as the results come in. Here are some resources (courtesy of Chrysostom) for following the results. [more inside]
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 3:54 PM - 1212 comments

Trouble afoot

The toe has gone missing before, after being swallowed by a patron, prompting the hotel to ask donors to step up (previously). But this time, Dawson City, Yukon's Downtown Hotel has reported that the key ingredient in its sourtoe cocktail (also previously) has been stolen. According to the Times Colonist: "Hotel manager Geri Colbourne says a couple came in late that night and requested the unique drink but the waitress was called away after pouring two shots. The toe was gone when she returned."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:36 PM - 59 comments

Branch line

The Forgotten Trains of India, photo essay.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:44 PM - 6 comments

It embarrassed me. I wanted to be a normal kid.

Dr. Mary Austin is a pediatric surgeon in Texas who sometimes performs fetal surgery to correct a birth defect that she herself has.
posted by stillmoving at 1:10 PM - 13 comments

'Cause ain't no such thing as halfway crooks.

Rapper Prodigy of Mobb Deep was reported dead today at the age of 42 from complications of sickle-cell anemia.
posted by lkc at 12:24 PM - 35 comments

No more "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times"

Public domain ebooks with modern typography, full proofing, complete metadata, and version control. Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style guide, lightly modernizes them, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to take advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:51 AM - 81 comments

“The situations that cause outrage never go away for us.”

Smaller, and Smaller, and Smaller. by Marlon James [Facebook Post] A Brief History of Seven Killings author Marlon James writes an essay on Facebook about being big, close, and black in the United States of America.
posted by Fizz at 11:42 AM - 5 comments

Amazon's New Customer

Ben Thompson at Stratechery argues that Amazon's recent acquisition of Whole Foods (previously) is all about buying a new "first and best" customer for its logistics ambitions: "Unlike Whole Foods, Amazon has no desire to be a grocer, and contrary to conventional wisdom the company is not even a retailer. At its core Amazon is a services provider enabled — and protected — by scale." In a few years we'll probably be calling this article prescient.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:40 AM - 46 comments

Science indicates domestic cats are still pretty wild, unlike dogs

University of Leuven geneticist Claudio Ottoni worked with an international team of almost 30 researchers to analyze the mitochondrial DNA of more than 200 ancient and modern cats, going back 9,000 years, to document the palaeogenetics of cat dispersal in the ancient world (full study on Nature) and the result is what many cat lovers have said for quite a while: cats are still close to their wild relatives. As reported on Ars Technica by Annalee Newitz, cats are an extreme outlier among domestic animals, noting that "humans have been intermittently guiding cat breeding for less than 1,000 years," unlike other domestic animals, like dogs and goats. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:12 AM - 16 comments

Our cranky future

Because of climate change, there will be less coffee in the future, and it will taste worse and cost more.
posted by goatdog at 10:55 AM - 45 comments


CURVE: Clinging to a smooth, curved surface high above a sentient abyss, a girl tries to cover the few feet back to safety without losing purchase and falling to her death.
posted by brundlefly at 9:55 AM - 49 comments

T̳̻̜he̱̘̮̗ ̰͓̘͙͎̱ri̹̞v̗̬͈̜e̻͈̘̰̫r̯͓̮̜be̦d̫ wi̹̱̪̼͔͉l̮̘̦̱̳͚l̩ ͖r̠͙̟̟͇uṋ̜͈ ̞̻̝r̲e̖̣̭̟͉̲̘d̳̙̤͙̠̱ ͓̺ͅw͍̲͎i̮͇͙̜͓̘ͅt̳̹̯̳̹h̰̻ͅ ͙̞͎̺͈t͎̮͔̬h̘e̲͔̭̲ ̞͎̭̦̭b͔̘̠̭̻̗ḻ̭̼̱̻o̮̥̥̜̺̮̣o̲͚͚d ̝̺͎͎o̟͉f̞̰̭̳ t̟h̲e̜̼̘ ͎̥͔̼s̗͎̼̗a̩ͅi̯n̲̠͈̪͍͎t̮͎̫͙͚ͅs

Zeal & Ardor (previously) has released a live-in-the-studio video of "Blood In The River" [THIS IS LOUD]. Good mood music. Loudwire has more about Z&A.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:49 AM - 17 comments

I got a pocket full of dreams

The New York Public Library is creating a "digital time-travel service for New York City with historical maps, collections rich in geospatial data, and the public's help." Meet the NYC Space/Time Directory, a searchable atlas of New York City's past, which includes an interactive, digitized collection of maps and photographs dating back to the mid-19th century. Space/Time comes from NYPL Labs' ongoing Remix project, previously highlighted on MeFi in Room 641-A's post, "We're gonna need a bigger hard drive." [more inside]
posted by zarq at 8:51 AM - 3 comments

The solstice, the librarian, and the size of the Earth

The Guardian: "Eratosthenes of Cyrene was the chief librarian at the great library of Alexandria in the third century BC. So the story goes, he read in one of the library’s many manuscripts an account of the sun being directly overhead on the summer solstice as seen from Syene (now Aswan, Egypt). This was known because the shadows disappeared at noon, when the sun was directly overhead. This sparked his curiosity and he set out to make the same observation in Alexandria. On the next solstice, he watched as the shadows grew small – but did not disappear, even at noon..."
posted by Wordshore at 6:11 AM - 44 comments


This summer’s highly anticipated total solar eclipse, on August 21, is still more than two months away. But on Tuesday—one day before the summer solstice, or the first official day of summer—the U.S. Postal Service will release a tiny tribute of its own to the rare celestial event. Its new stamps celebrating the eclipse are the first ever to use thermochromic ink that changes the image on the stamp at the touch of a warm finger. [SLNewsweek]
posted by hippybear at 2:40 AM - 15 comments

June 19

our system favors the films with truly abysmal critical receptions

The 50 Best Good Bad Movies [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:15 PM - 256 comments

Something with lactate crystals. Manchego?

Inside the annual Oxford-Cambridge wine tasting contest.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:04 PM - 22 comments

Convert your transit card to a wearable; step 1: dissolve in acetone

Tired of carrying around your transit agency's contactless smart card? (for instance, in the San Francisco Bay Area, several transit agencies use Clipper Cards) Stephen Cognetta figured out how to convert it into a wearable by dissolving it in acetone, and has provided step-by step instructions and suggestions of different ways to wear the extracted chip.
posted by larrybob at 2:40 PM - 74 comments

"You never forget where you came from."

In Béisbol Experience: The 50 Man Interview, ESPN has collected some intimate details of the lived experiences of Latino Major League Baseball players, focusing on family, learning English, food, money, ballpark culture, and identity. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu at 2:31 PM - 7 comments

Free legal advice *(some restrictions apply)

Free Legal Answers "is a virtual legal advice clinic. Qualifying users [in some US states who meet income guidelines] post their civil [i.e. not criminal] legal question to their state's website [up to three times per year]. Attorney volunteers, who must be authorized to provide pro bono assistance in their state, log in to the website, select questions to answer, and provide legal information and advice."
posted by jedicus at 1:22 PM - 13 comments

"The smell is potent for a quarter mile, and lasts for weeks."

Every year, thousands of drowned wildebeest feed this African ecosystem. These mass drownings occur when an estimated 1.2 million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Their ecologically important migration is under increasing threat. Ecologist Amanda Subalusky describes the aftermath and importance of a recent mass wildebeest drowning in the Mara River, where she conducts ecosystem research with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. According to her co-author, Emma Rosi, "To put this in perspective, it's the equivalent of adding ten blue whale carcasses to the moderately-sized Mara River each year."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:01 PM - 16 comments

Is that… is that from Harry Potter?

What if companies interviewed translators the way they interview coders?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:23 AM - 88 comments

Well, I was killed in 1963 one Sunday morning in Birmingham

John Fea, Professor of American History and Chair of the History Department at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, documents his experience with the Returning to the Roots of the Civil Rights Tour on his blog, The Way of Improvement Leads Home. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:53 AM - 3 comments

Flying cars: coming to the skies near you ... perhaps soon-ish

The Paris Air Show starts today, and features a list of known names showing off their newest aircraft, but there will also be some serious attempts to present flying cars. UK-based Neva Aerospace is promoting its AirQuadOne concept (PDF, press release), while the better-known Airbus has their Vahana concept, which is being pitched as on-demand aviation, in line with Uber's near-future goal of low-cost air taxis in Dubai and Dallas, TX by 2020. Not to be left out, Larry Page is backing the Kitty Hawk Flyer, less flying car, and more more human-sized drone that can only land on water. Looping back to the Paris Air Show and flying cars, AeroMobil, the sleek car-with-wings from Slovakia is back to the Air Show, after a serious crash in 2015.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:52 AM - 40 comments

“it’s like you’re a sedimentary rock that’s gathering all these layers”

‘Fiction takes its time’: Arundhati Roy on why it took 20 years to write her second novel [The Guardian] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 10:49 AM - 4 comments

When the corner of your shower floor isn't easily accessible

The best places to cry in New York, mapped. Most of them are even free.
posted by Mchelly at 10:47 AM - 31 comments

Moving from peaking to booming

Less than a decade ago, peak oil was a constant source of anxiety on MeFi (and around the world), but now the world faces an oil price anchored around $55/barrel. The reason is the swarm - US shale producers that can clamber into the market profitably at that price, and which are getting ever more competitive post recent fracking-bust as they drive down costs (and eliminate jobs, which are increasingly in renewables). Though the future is never certain, almost every major OPEC nation needs prices above $55 to balance their budget. While increased fossil fuel use can be very bad for climate change, the fracking boom is leading to the rapid replacement of coal with natural gas, which is generally a good thing for CO2 emissions, though leaking methane mitigates the benefit to an unceratin extent.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:36 AM - 50 comments

Gaudi's First House

Gaudy? No, it's just Gaudi and his first house, now open to the public. His works always make me smile. I'm not so sure I'd want to actually live in them, but maybe I would.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:33 AM - 17 comments

Did you collect them all?

Hope you managed to cash out of your Pokemon Go gyms this morning, because they've been disabled in preparation for a major overhaul of the game. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:26 AM - 34 comments

Supreme Court rules government can't refuse disparaging trademarks

This will reinstate trademark protections for an NFL team and a rock band with racial slurs as names.
posted by koavf at 10:08 AM - 38 comments

The Underground is heating up

Over the years, the heat from the trains soaked into the clay to the point where it can no longer absorb any more heat. Tunnels that were a mere 14 degrees Celsius in the 1900s can now have air temperatures as high as 30 degrees Celsius on parts of the tube network.
As it's a nice, balmy 31 degrees in London at the moment, have a refreshing article about cooling off the Underground.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:13 AM - 40 comments

The Nixoniad - Shakespeare's modern history plays in context

This essay analyses the sequence of seven plays by William Shakespeare known variously as the Modern Histories, the American Plays or the Nixoniad. Written by Shakespeare between 1971 and 1976, some during his extended stay in New York from 1969 to 1974 and the rest after his return to England, the American Plays cover roughly three decades of US history.... As Shakespeare's Julius Caesar causes some unexpected controversy, you might enjoy reading this essay (from 2015) on some of his other political plays: The Nixoniad - Shakespeare's modern history plays in context. [more inside]
posted by great_radio at 9:01 AM - 10 comments

It could break down any hour

Algiers - "The Underside of Power" (video). "On June 23, Matador Records will release [Algiers'] second album, The Underside of Power, a work of political critique that draws on and repurposes aggressive '80s punk, Italian horror soundtracks, modern-day hip-hop and R&B, film, literature, current events and continuing tragedies, all conceived as national politics on both sides of the Atlantic were boiling over. If there's anything in their history that the members do agree on, it's that the group — named for The Battle of Algiers, the 1960s film about an anti-colonial uprising — has always prized a collective instinct, where no one vision is definitive." Ned Raggett for NPR, on the band Algiers and their stunning new album.
posted by naju at 7:15 AM - 16 comments

“Girls like grossing ourselves out too.”

Some makeup bloggers are a little more... intense than others. Jezebel takes a look at "The Rising Gore Girls of Instagram". (Content Warning: fake but convincing blood and guts)
posted by Etrigan at 6:30 AM - 19 comments

From Garching to Innsbruck in 7 days

From Garching to Innsbruck in 7 days [via mefi projects] "Hello, dear reader! I’m Michael, a 25-year-old recent graduate of computer science at TUM. This is the public diary of my hiking trip which will take me from the FMI building in Garching, Germany, where I studied for my master’s degree, to Innsbruck, Austria, where I spent the first 23 years of my life." [more inside]
posted by mdonley at 4:38 AM - 4 comments

June 18

Sub-Etha Radio With Pictures.

Because we clearly needed yet another version, Nick Page has animated the first episode of the Hitchhiker's Guide Radio Series.
posted by Sparx at 9:42 PM - 45 comments

aryan invasion

How genetics is settling the Aryan migration debate "The thorniest, most fought-over question in Indian history is slowly but surely getting answered: did Indo-European language speakers, who called themselves Aryans, stream into India sometime around 2,000 BC – 1,500 BC when the Indus Valley civilisation came to an end, bringing with them Sanskrit and a distinctive set of cultural practices? Genetic research based on an avalanche of new DNA evidence is making scientists around the world converge on an unambiguous answer: yes, they did."
posted by dhruva at 9:18 PM - 12 comments

Those bitches can't get under your skin. They can't even.

Jason Headley (previously) offers a mantra for our times with this honest meditation.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:03 PM - 11 comments

Rosalie Sorrels (1933-2017)

The Difficult, Adventurous, Happy Life Of Rosalie Sorrels
posted by falsedmitri at 7:24 PM - 6 comments


The Corsairs Project - by photographer Samuka Marinho. An imagining of a 24-hour period set in the Golden Age of Piracy. Act I Act II Act III Act IV Act V Act VI Act VII Act VIII Act IX Act X
posted by unliteral at 6:15 PM - 5 comments

The most powerful woman, and one of the most powerful people, in sports.

... nothing mattered more to Jeanie Buss than the family business — than her father’s legacy. [...] She is the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, as her late father wished. Four months ago, she fired her brother and also the team’s 17-year general manager on the same day, and installed trusted friend Earvin “Magic” Johnson as president of basketball operations. Then she prevailed in an ugly court battle with her two older brothers that confirmed she will run the Lakers for the rest of her life. ~ From roller hockey to the Lakers: How Jeanie Buss became the most powerful woman in sports By Tania Ganguli, LA Times
posted by Room 641-A at 3:44 PM - 8 comments

Whether he actually went through life fat drunk and stupid, I don't know

Stephen Furst, best known as Flounder in the classic comedy Animal House has shuffled off this mortal coil.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM - 81 comments

A Sociology of the Smartphone

A Sociology of the Smartphone, 10 years after the launch of the iPhone. Interesting longread by Adam Greenfield. Via VersoBooks.
posted by growabrain at 2:21 PM - 32 comments

A problem common law was used to address in the past

Ethereum is a blockchain, a "decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference." In a phrase, use algorithms to replace contracts, or "code is law." But what if there was a bug that let let someone extract $53 million and walk out with it?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:57 PM - 58 comments

Online Mathematics Textbooks

"The writing of textbooks and making them freely available on the web is an idea whose time has arrived. Most college mathematics textbooks attempt to be all things to all people and, as a result, are much too big and expensive. This perhaps made some sense when these books were rather expensive to produce and distribute--but this time has passed."
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:09 AM - 33 comments

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