July 30

Greenpeace vs. Shell Oil: the Portland edition

A standoff between Greenpeace and Shell Oil is happening right now high above the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. Yesterday, using mountaineering equipment, thirteen protestors lowered themselves down from the magestically large St. Johns Bridge in a bid to prevent the passage of Shell's icebreaking ship MSV Fennica, which had been undergoing repairs in Portland and was scheduled to depart to assist Shell's oil drilling activities in the Arctic. The protesters have supplies to stay awhile. For now, the ship has turned around and a judge has ruled that Greenpeace will be charged $2500 for every hour the protest continues.
posted by lisa g at 1:38 PM - 91 comments

“The Germans were not there; the Lithuanians did it themselves.”

Double Genocide: Lithuania wants to erase its ugly history of Nazi collaboration - by accusing Jewish partisans who fought the Germans of war crimes.
"After Lithuanians got independence,” he told me, “we hoped that Lithuania would give us help.” But it was not to be. In one of its very first independent actions, before even fully breaking free of Moscow, Lithuania’s parliament formally exonerated several Lithuanian nationalists who had collaborated in the Holocaust and had been convicted by Soviet military courts after the war. The right-wing paramilitaries who had carried out the mass murder of Lithuania’s Jews were now hailed as national heroes on account of their anti-Soviet bona fides.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:40 PM - 47 comments

1,000 rockers just sent the Foo Fighters a message they can't refuse

Cesena is a small town up in northern Italy, that until yesterday was pretty-well unknown to the world. That changed this morning when a guy called Fabio Zaffagini presented to the Internet his year long-project of getting one thousand musicians to gather in a field and play Foo Fighter's Learn To Fly, with the sole objective of convincing the band to go and do a show in their town. You have to watch it.
posted by Cobalt at 11:48 AM - 128 comments

Beautiful storms.

Fourteen days and 12,000 miles of storm-chasing result in one beautiful video.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:45 AM - 25 comments

IN YOUR FACE, CHICAGO

Brooklyn Pizzeria Juliana's Named #1 In The United States
posted by poffin boffin at 11:30 AM - 170 comments

And the most important person in the world is...

Who is the greatest person who has ever lived? Those ranking by deaths prevented have put forth Norman Borlaug (over 1 billion), Viktor Zhdanov (300 million), Haber and Bosch (2.7 billion, but then there's the war crimes thing), and, of course, Stanislav Petrov (everyone). Lists of the most important people are often decided by popular vote, with Gutenberg, Einstein, and Darwin generally doing well, but don't count yourself out. More recently, as Cass Sunstein entertainingly covers, there have also been quantitative attempts to measure the most important person., including, most recently, a detailed algorithm by a computer science professor and a Google engineer that tells us that the most important people are, in order: Jesus, Napoleon, Shakespeare, and Muhammed. Smithsonian magazine commissioned them to come up with a special list of the most important Americans. You can also play a historical importance version of the who's hotter game using their algorithm.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:25 AM - 51 comments

“Writing is healing. Writing is art. Writing is learning.”

The Role of Writers in a STEM Obsessed Society
“As writers, it’s easy to think of how we matter to literature classrooms, but what the appointment of writers-in-residence in hospitals, history classrooms, foreign language learning spaces, and cooking schools reminds us is that we are relevant wherever there is humanity—which is to say, wherever humans are with their stories. Writing is healing. Writing is art. Writing is learning. As such, writing across the disciplines matters. Many models of artist residencies depend upon the retreat model, wherein the artist sequesters herself away with a small community of other artists. While these models have value, especially when considering how solitude relates to the creative process, it’s heartening to me to see more models catch on that value the place of the writer in society, rather than hidden away from it.”
posted by Fizz at 9:42 AM - 44 comments

Breed-Solomon

Since it folds in three dimensions, we could store all of the world’s current data—everyone’s photos, every Facebook status update, all of Wikipedia, everything—using less than an ounce of DNA. And, with its propensity to replicate given the right conditions, millions of copies of DNA can be made in the lab in just a few hours. Such favorable traits make DNA an ideal candidate for storing lots of informations, for a long time, in a small space.
But how stable is DNA? The Reed-Solomon method, long used to error-check data transmission and duplication, is now being explored as an adjunct to the long-term archiving of information encoded in DNA. A post by Alex Riley at the PBS Science blog NOVA/NEXT.
posted by Rumple at 8:58 AM - 35 comments

Why You Should Never Say: ‘Beauty Lies in the Eye of the Beholder’

"When we use the phrase, what we seem to be trying to say is that there should be a lot of room for intelligent disagreement around aesthetics – and that we don’t feel comfortable about asserting the superiority of any one style or approach over any other. It implies an acute sensitivity to conflict and a fear of being rude or mean to others. However, by resorting to the phrase, what we actually do is unleash a stranger and more reckless situation: what we’re in effect stating is that nothing is ever really more beautiful – or uglier – than anything else. This suggestion then has a way of implying that the whole subject is essentially trivial. After all, we’d never say that truths about the economy or justice were in the eyes of beholders only. We know that big things are at stake here – and over time, we’ve come to positions about the right and wrong way of approaching these topics, and are ready to discuss and defend our ideas. We wouldn’t ever say that ‘the treatment of the poor is just a subject best left entirely to the eyes of beholders’ or ‘the best way to raise children is in the eyes of beholders,’ or ‘the future of the environment is in the eyes of beholders.’ We accept that there are dangers to arguing in aggressive and unfruitful ways; but we are confident that there are sensible and polite ways to advance through these tricky yet vital debates. The same should feel true around beauty."
posted by beisny at 8:07 AM - 96 comments

“Eve you wicked woman, you done put your curse on me!”

Jessica Gentile has compiled a brief-but-interesting listicle for Pitchfork: “Songs about PMS and Periods”
posted by Going To Maine at 7:37 AM - 21 comments

The Value of People with Down Syndrome

Karen Gaffney (TEDxPortland) speaks on history and present state of the value of people with Down syndrome. Gaffney (previously 1, 2), is the first living person with Down syndrome to receive an honory PhD and the president of an eponymous foundation dedicated to inclusion and advocacy. [more inside]
posted by plinth at 7:33 AM - 13 comments

Mapping the United Swears of America

Hell, damn and bitch are especially popular in the south and southeast. Douche is relatively common in northern states. Bastard is beloved in Maine and New Hampshire, and those states – together with a band across southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas – are the areas of particular motherfucker favour. Crap is more popular inland, fuck along the coasts. Fuckboy – a rising star* – is also mainly a coastal thing, so far. from Strong Language via Kottke [NSFW language, natch]
posted by chavenet at 7:25 AM - 104 comments

My envy: it is boundless. Life on a houseboat (or in this case, a ketch)

A decade ago, Susan Smillie bought a classic ketch, moored it on the Thames and moved aboard. Now hipster landlubbers squeezed out of the property market are taking to the water in droves. So what are the joys and challenges of a river residence? (No, it’s not cold in winter. Yes, she can only buy ebooks.) (slGrauniad)
posted by Kitteh at 6:51 AM - 68 comments

July 29

Planning for the next Vesuvius eruption

This Italian giant is nestled in the sprawling metropolitan area of Naples, population 3.1 million. We’re not talking “nearby” like Rainier is to Seattle or Popocatépetl to Mexico City. We’re talking a volcano smack in the middle of the city. It is merely ~12 km (~7.5 miles) from the summit craters at Vesuvius to downtown Naples. For your average pyroclastic flow from a volcano like Vesuvius, that is a trip that would take only about two and a half minutes.
The World’s Most Dangerous Volcano May Kill Another City
posted by spinda at 10:53 PM - 44 comments

Will the endgame pairing be Jo/Laurie, Jo/writing, or Jo/Cyborg Bhaer?

CW Developing ‘Hyper-Stylized’ Reboot of ‘Little Women’ "Disparate half-sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy band together in order to survive the dystopic streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined – all while trying not to kill each other in the process." [more inside]
posted by betweenthebars at 9:47 PM - 73 comments

A Renegade Trawler, Hunted For 10,000 Miles By Vigilantes

It was an unexpected end to an extraordinary chase. For 110 days and more than 10,000 nautical miles across two seas and three oceans, the Bob Barker and a companion ship, both operated by the environmental organization Sea Shepherd, had trailed the trawler, with the three captains close enough to watch one another’s cigarette breaks and on-deck workout routines. In an epic game of cat-and-mouse, the ships maneuvered through an obstacle course of giant ice floes, endured a cyclone-like storm, faced clashes between opposing crews and nearly collided in what became the longest pursuit of an illegal fishing vessel in history. (SLNYT)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:24 PM - 22 comments

"like Piers Morgan in a lift"

The top 50 assholes in cinema - by Andrew Blair, Den of Geek
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:52 PM - 91 comments

Seriously.

The Verge's web sucks.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:04 PM - 73 comments

'Feminist' seemed to put guys off, but now I realize, who cares?

Bumble, founded by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, is a dating app where women call the shots. [more inside]
posted by halifix at 6:50 PM - 76 comments

Boron is a Subdued Element...

Kaycie D. is an animator and artist who grew up on Disney films and has used that inspiration to create her own anthropomorphized illustrations of the chemical elements.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:29 PM - 22 comments

Top 10 Medieval Butt-Licking Cats

The nastiest habit of medieval cats seen via illuminated manuscripts.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:00 PM - 58 comments

Books about women don't win big awards: some data

"When women win literary awards for fiction it’s usually for writing from a male perspective and/or about men. The more prestigious the award, the more likely the subject of the narrative will be male. I analysed the last 15 years’ results for half a dozen book-length fiction awards: Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics’ Circle Award, Hugo Award, and Newbery Medal." Nicola Griffith notes the absence of stories about women from prize-winning novels--even when those novels are written by women. The Seattle Review of Books adds an interview with Griffith on the writing and aftermath of her original blog post.
posted by sciatrix at 1:33 PM - 87 comments

Taking It Slow, Until She Took Charge

A delightful story of a 50-something couple, formerly single and living with their parents, who have found love.
posted by glaucon at 1:14 PM - 9 comments

Potential MH370 wreckage found

Potential MH370 wreckage found Wreckage of an actuator from a Boeing 777 has washed ashore on the island of Reunion. [more inside]
posted by bobloblaw at 1:02 PM - 86 comments

Jamestown Rediscovery

Yesterday, the Jamestown Rediscovery and the Smithsonian Institution announced that they had identified the remains of Capt. Gabriel Archer, Rev. Robert Hunt, Sir Ferdinando Wainman and Capt. William West, four of the earliest leaders of the Jamestowne settlement. Among Archer's remnants was a small silver box that researchers have identified as a Roman Catholic reliquary. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:51 PM - 21 comments

Can't keep a secret

Who first said Motherf$cker on TV? What was with Lesbian Kiss Episodes? Are Crossover Episodes ever a good idea? Why do Bottle Episodes make good television? What was Cousin Oliver Syndrome? [more inside]
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:23 PM - 13 comments

"If measured on the U.S. political spectrum, he’d be 'left of center.'"

The Making of Leopoldo López: A closer look at the democratic bona fides of the rock star of Venezuela's opposition. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:12 PM - 3 comments

What? And Give Up Show Business?

(Or I CAN Get Arrested in This Town!) Aspiring actor Jason Stange nailed the audition for the role of an evil doctor in the forthcoming horror film Marla Mae. The low budget production was shot in Olympia Washington, where the local paper took an interest. [more inside]
posted by Naberius at 11:14 AM - 18 comments

Hollywood and Vine

Logan Paul has conquered the internet, but he can’t figure out how to conquer the world
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:35 AM - 66 comments

"That was definitely an E-ticket!"

"Roger roll, Discovery." The sweet, sweet sounds of NASA mission control audio snippets, edited for your sampling and ringtone pleasure as MP3 and M4R downloads.
posted by Laminda at 10:15 AM - 19 comments

I run a university. I’m also an Uber driver.

Lawrence Schall, the President of Oglethorpe University, decided to learn more about Uber by becoming a driver in his free time. He writes: "I wanted to understand the sharing economy. Instead, I got schooled in the failures of Atlanta's public transit system. . . . I assumed the people who used Uber fell into three basic categories: young people (including lots of students at my own university) responsibly avoiding drinking and driving on nights out, business people who had switched to Uber for a faster response and lower cost, and folks like me who occasionally used Uber to avoid the hassles of traffic, parking or just because it’s the cool new thing to do. Yet in my dozen-plus Uber forays thus far, I’ve encountered no one who fits those categories." [more inside]
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:58 AM - 117 comments

Our neighbour

Pechito Alejandro Ferreiro, better known as Pechito, lived with his 2 dogs on the corner of two busy avenues in the Palermo barrio of Buenos Aires for 12 years. Well-known and well-liked in the area, he died in 2013. In this short film he tells his story.
posted by jontyjago at 9:34 AM - 5 comments

“...the Canada you once knew and were so proud of, is no longer Canada.”

“My name is Donald Sutherland. My wife’s name is Francine Racette. We are Canadians....” [The Globe and Mail]
“Did you know that? If you don’t live here all the time you can’t vote. Americans who live abroad can vote. They can vote because they’re citizens! Citizens! But I can’t. Because why? Because I’m not a citizen? Because what happens to Canada doesn’t matter to me? Ask any journalist that’s ever interviewed me what nationality I proudly proclaim to have. Ask them. They’ll tell you. I am a Canadian. But I’m an expatriate and the Harper government won’t let expatriates participate in Canadian elections.”
[more inside]
posted by Fizz at 9:28 AM - 136 comments

"Perhaps the most difficult part is keeping a group in harmony."

There are more than 285 competitive bagpipe bands in the United States, made up of thousands of pipers and drummers. Bands are divided into grades based on skill: Grade 5 is the lowest, akin to Little League; Grade 1 is the majors. In May 2014, the Massachusetts-based Stuart Highland Pipe Band was promoted to Grade 1, and next month they'll be facing off against other top-level bands in Glasgow at the annual World Pipe Band Championships. But first, the Stewies made their North American debut at the premier level at a competition in Ontario: Blowhards: On the road, down the bottle, and across the border with Boston’s greatest competitive bagpipe band. [more inside]
posted by zarq at 7:51 AM - 26 comments

What we wanted was to adjust the car to the city

How Groningen invented a cycling template for cities all over the world
Motorists woke up one mid-70s morning to find new one-way streets made direct crosstown journeys impossible by car. Forty years later Groningen boasts two-thirds of all trips made by bike … and the cleanest air of any big Dutch city [more inside]
posted by moody cow at 7:25 AM - 92 comments

“Let the posh bingo begin!”

The Man Booker Prize Longlist has been announced! This year, it includes more US authors than Brits (per country breakdown), the first Jamaican nominee and three first-time authors. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 7:24 AM - 18 comments

"She was a wife of Kalaiopuu, the chief when Lono [Captain Cook] came"

nupepa : Another place to talk about Hawaiian-Language Newspapers. A few selected highlights: Duke Kahanamoku Off to Hollywood, 1936 -- More bats found, 1905 -- Names of the stevedores who participated in Queen Liliuokalani’s funeral, 1917 -- The Beautiful Flag of Hawaii / Let it forever wave -- Hei, cat’s cradle, Hawaiian style, 1916 -- On eating stones, 1894 -- Did Not Forget His Mother Tongue
posted by No-sword at 6:40 AM - 4 comments

extra sauce

Two More Eggs is the new series by the Chapman brothers, creators of Homestar Runner (YouTube playlist link)
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:39 AM - 14 comments

Fitted

Activity trackers train users to love lives that are all work.
posted by almostmanda at 6:34 AM - 131 comments

Operation Vula

How the ANC sent encrypted messages to one another during the struggle against apartheid. Talking to Vula is a series of six articles by Tim Jenkins about the project from the ANC`s monthly journal Mayibuye from May 1995 to October 1995. (via Schneier) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges at 1:31 AM - 14 comments

"We are the megadead."

In 1983, at the height of the Cold War, the National Film Board of Canada produced War with Gwynne Dyer, a seven part series in which the historian Gwynne Dyer traced the evolution of total warfare from its origins to the present day. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 12:44 AM - 7 comments

Famous Fluid Equations Are Incomplete

The Singular Mind of Terry Tao - "Imagine, he said, that someone awfully clever could construct a machine out of pure water. It would be built not of rods and gears but from a pattern of interacting currents." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:34 AM - 17 comments

The Dark Knight Cringes

Activist Deray McKesson took this photo of an armored vehicle parked at the Waller County, TX jail. JPat Brown at Muckrock asked the Waller County Police Department for "[a]ny documentation (receipts, work orders, emails ) regarding customization of armored vehicles in the office's possession, specifically the application of the 'Batman/Dark Knight' logo. They were not amused. However, it's likely that the Chief Deputy is telling the truth, since companies like The Armored Group makes vehicles that are similar to the one spotted at the Waller County jail. This same company was mentioned in a October 2014 Mother Jones article about militarization of police forces across the country.
posted by snortasprocket at 12:04 AM - 29 comments

July 28

Last survivors of the Indianapolis

Warship's Last Survivors Recall Sinking in Shark-Infested Waters
posted by Artw at 11:23 PM - 19 comments

The Hijacking of Flight 102

About a month ago Motherboard posted about artist Jesse England looking for a lost Mac game that he played in his 7th grade social studies class. He knew it was about terrorism and an aircraft hijacking but not much else besides some images he remembered, which he drew out and shared in hopes someone would recognize it. Fortunately, he found it, and decided to share it with everyone. Let's Play: Research Paper Writer
posted by gucci mane at 8:15 PM - 17 comments

"I think we only use 10% of our hearts."

Peter Watts: No Brainer.
For decades now, I have been haunted by the grainy, black-and-white x-ray of a human skull. It is alive but empty, with a cavernous fluid-filled space where the brain should be. A thin layer of brain tissue lines that cavity like an amniotic sac. The image hails from a 1980 review article[PDF] in Science: Roger Lewin, the author, reports that the patient in question had “virtually no brain”. But that’s not what scared me; hydrocephalus is nothing new, and it takes more to creep out this ex-biologist than a picture of Ventricles Gone Wild. What scared me was the fact that this virtually brain-free patient had an IQ of 126.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:02 PM - 47 comments

Freddy Krueger vs. Spiderman? I'd buy that for a dollar.

An Illustrated Guide to Iconic Fictional Weapons.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:00 PM - 39 comments

Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?

Isobel Varley had her first tattoo when she was 49, then went to become a Guinness Record holder for the most tattooed female pensioner. She died recently. Part of a Guardian photo series of "Aged Rebels"[slightly NSFW]
posted by growabrain at 6:41 PM - 17 comments

Well, the ground return is Santa Monica Bay.

If you think finding a short in a light switch or lamp is your idea of fun, imagine having the time of your life with this little repair. You probably won't find much of the stuff you need at the Home Depot.
posted by pjern at 5:53 PM - 32 comments

"Well, here goes something into nothing."

In 2010, nearly fifty years after her death, and more than a hundred years after she became the first person to sing on the radio, the remains of Eugenia Farrar were finally laid to rest. Fittingly, her porcelain memorial urn has her own recording of that first song -- "I Love You Truly" -- etched into its surface using a lathe (similar to the process used for early cylinder recordings). Laura LaPlaca's thoughtful essay -- musing on the materiality of this final remaining artifact of a historic broadcast that otherwise left little trace -- describes this final resting place as Farrar's "ashen physical remains protected by the materialized solid form of her voice." [more inside]
posted by orthicon halo at 4:47 PM - 2 comments

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