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July 29

In 1963, Robert Dowlut was convicted of shooting two people: a shopkeeper during a robbery, and then his girlfriend's mother later the same night. Six years later, he was released from prison by a ruling from the Indiana State Supreme Court, due to a flawed police investigation. Today, Dowlut is the general counsel of the National Rifle Association. As the NRA's top lawyer, he has been a key architect of the gun lobby's campaign to define the legal interpretation of the Second Amendment.

The NRA's Murder Mystery: a great longread from Mother Jones.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:57 AM - 69 comments

This person made a giant spirograph and it's actually pretty awesome. [more inside]
posted by phunniemee at 7:10 AM - 37 comments

The location of the photograph used on the Boards of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children album cover has been found. See it on Google Maps.
posted by davebush at 6:40 AM - 45 comments

Last year at WisCon 37, I told a Safety staffer that I had been treated by another attendee in a way that made me uncomfortable and that I believed to be sexual harassment. One big reason I did was that I understood from another source that he had reportedly harassed at least one other person at a convention. I learned that she didn’t report him formally, for a lot of reasons that aren’t mine to say. I was in a position where I felt confident I could take the hit from standing up and telling the truth. So I did.

I didn’t expect, fourteen months later, to have to stand up and tell the truth about WisCon’s leadership as well.
Elise Matthesen talks about what happened after she reported being harassed at Wiscon 37, in a post also posted at C. Lundoff, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephanie Zvan, Sigrid Ellis and John Scalzi's respective blogs. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 5:37 AM - 310 comments

Leo Vroman, a Dutch scientist, artist and poet who lived in the US for many years, died in February of this year. Elsevier Connect did a great article back in 2012. It's rare that we see people who are great poets as well as passionate scientists. Leo Vroman was both; he needed more than just one outlet for an exceedingly curious and creative mind. His was an extraordinary life; he was a survivor of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, who managed to be reunited with his fiancée Tineke after the war. They married and remained together until his last day. [more inside]
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:33 AM - 1 comment

How the US Stumbled into the Drone Era [WSJ] As ubiquitous as Predators, Reapers, Global Hawks and their ilk may now seem, the U.S. actually stumbled into the drone era. Washington got into the business of using drones for counterterrorism well before 9/11—not out of any steely strategic design or master plan but out of bureaucratic frustration, bickering and a series of only half-intentional decisions.
posted by modernnomad at 4:25 AM - 6 comments

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the decision overturning Virginia's ban on Same sex marriage:
"We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance."
[more inside]
posted by peeedro at 1:48 AM - 81 comments

Even the Stars is a game about wandering through space without a purpose [more inside]
posted by hellojed at 12:51 AM - 26 comments

July 28

Mr. Phelan's Building. Medium's Sarah Agudo and Marcin Wichary investigate the building they work in: "Ancient and modern at the same time; multiple slices of time meeting under one penthouse-sporting roof." [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:40 PM - 9 comments

Build your own Universal Multi Dial Solar Time Device.
posted by Mitheral at 9:21 PM - 6 comments

The Devil In Disguise: Modern Monsters And Their Metaphors [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:13 PM - 20 comments

Jane Feltes was a producer for This American Life. She changed her name, left TAL, and became a coeditor at The Hairpin, where she created the How to Be a Girl series that included Beauty Q&A; the Friday Bargain Bin, in which Jane told us how to spend our weekly allowance; and a collection of beauty tutorial videos, the highlight of which might possibly be The Cat Eye Tutorial for its use of office supplies and magic. Office supplies as magic? Jane also came up with Women Struggling to Drink Water (previously). Jane left The Hairpin in 2013 and currently writes a beauty column for Rookie as a well as the occasional longer piece, such as the inspirational and practical (for teens and adults) A Guide to Finding Yourself. She also has a weekly column with Cosmopolitan in which she talks to married couples and gets them to share insight into their lives together: The Secret Life of Marrieds. [more inside]
posted by danabanana at 7:38 PM - 16 comments

The Ambush at Sheridan Springs. How Gary Gygax Lost Control of Dungeons & Dragons.
posted by chunking express at 7:23 PM - 70 comments

Last week, American doom/stoner metal band Sleep released a single entitled 'The Clarity', their first new recording in over sixteen years, via the 2014 Adult Swim Singles series. [more inside]
posted by item at 7:16 PM - 11 comments

"It’s underwhelming fossil fish of the month again. That wonderful time of the month where we take a look at one of the underwhelming fossil fish specimens in the Grant Museum collection. By staring at and reading about unloved, unspectacular fossil fish specimens I hope to increase global fishteracy as well as explore the question, why do we have material like this in museums? What is the point? What is the value? Maybe we also learn something important about ourselves. Something like, ‘I don’t find bad fish fossils particularly fascinating’. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s the journey not the destination that matters right?" [more inside]
posted by moonmilk at 7:05 PM - 11 comments

Michel Martin, in her last week as host of NPR's "Tell Me More," responds to conversations about work/life balance such as Anne-Marie Slaughter's much-commented 2012 "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", (previously) where "the discussion too often ends where it began: with privileged, mostly white women at the forefront." [more inside]
posted by drlith at 6:45 PM - 11 comments

"So, my life was not too bad. It was during the period where I was still panhandling daily and doin' good at that due to looking much younger than my eighteen years. It was weeks before I went to jail again and became straight up regular homeless and got all the way sunk into street prostitution and then severe mental illness. It was before the years when I was utterly severed from even one note of music I liked. So, in other words, at that moment, I was somewhat holding it together." (link goes to a magazine article scan). Carla Bozulich (of Evangelista, The Geraldine Fibbers and others) has a heart-rending epiphany in the wire magazine. (via | previously)
posted by dng at 6:21 PM - 25 comments

Parisians claim that in Paris, one is never more than 400 yards away from a Metro station. In Los Angeles, I am equally certain that one is always within 400 yards of a palm tree. Scores of streets are lined with them; they are ubiquitous in domestic and public gardens; they rise from hilltops; they tower above cemeteries; they front museums, movie studios, hotels, hospitals, municipal buildings, modest apartments, and lavish villas; they are clustered around swimming pools; they dominate the skyline — they are everywhere, and have never been more popular. The city’s 200-year love affair with palms has never ceased, and rather than waning, the affair is waxing. From the first palms planted by Spanish padres to the city of Beverly Hills, which recently, in an act of cosmetic alteration, created a palm-lined, palm-bisected thoroughfare on upscale Rodeo Drive, the palm has been the tree of choice for Angelenos. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:50 PM - 38 comments

Practice with Pronouns is a site that lets you practise subject, object, possessive, and reflexive forms of English third person pronouns. It comes with a few of the most common options, but you can also fill in whatever pronouns you like. Useful for both English learners and people wanting to practise using nonbinary pronouns.
[more inside]
posted by Lexica at 5:00 PM - 21 comments

"Marilyn Myller" - a stop motion short by Mikey Please [previously]
posted by brundlefly at 4:57 PM - 4 comments

A day-by-day map of World War I. [more inside]
posted by absalom at 3:25 PM - 16 comments

Mental Floss links to free How-To guides from a hundred years ago that are still helpful if you need to mesmerize someone or name a baby
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM - 34 comments

Katie Crouch writes beautifully on suicide, Sylvia Plath and San Francisco
posted by Sebmojo at 2:52 PM - 10 comments

Philby's boss was Sir Stewart Menzies, who, we are told, "rode to hounds, mixed with royalty, never missed a day at Ascot, drank a great deal, and kept his secrets buttoned up behind a small, fierce mustache. He preferred women to men and horses to both." Menzies was an amateur at a time when his adversaries were professionals. Philby's fellow Soviet spy Donald Maclean was a mess. But since he was a mess with the right accent and background he easily found a home in the British spy service. At one point, Macintyre says, Maclean "got drunk, smashed up the Cairo flat of two secretaries at the U.S. embassy, ripped up their underwear, and hurled a large mirror off the wall, breaking a large bath in two. He was sent home, placed under the care of a Harley Street psychiatrist, and then, amazingly, after a short period of treatment, promoted to head the American desk at the Foreign Office."
Kim Philby, the Soviet spy who infiltrated MI6, is the subject of a Malcolm Gladwell article in The New Yorker. Gladwell argues that Philby's story is not about spying but "the hazards of mistrust." He is interviewed on a New Yorker podcast about his article. Gladwell's article is also a review of Ben Macintyre's book on Philby, A Spy Among Friends. Gladwell reviewed Macintyre's previous book, Operation Mincemeat and argued that spy agencies might be more trouble than they're worth.
posted by Kattullus at 2:13 PM - 25 comments

In 2008, strange flyers started showing up in the streets of San Francisco. If you followed up on them, they led you to a discreet office in the financial district. Inside was the Induction Center for the Jejune Institute. Sit in the lounge chair provided, watch the induction video (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), and then…. Well…. And then things really got weird... [more inside]
posted by meese at 2:10 PM - 24 comments

DataGenetics is "a technology consultancy specializing in unlocking the value stored in large databases" and which runs an interesting blog. [more inside]
posted by alby at 1:59 PM - 2 comments

SLYT of some guys exploiting causal perception in order to do something funny.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:05 PM - 37 comments

"Since the first face transplant, in 2005, only three American hospitals have performed the procedure. Many of the twenty-eight transplants were partial, sections of the face transplanted from deceased donors. Richard's transplant was a full face and is said to be the most ambitious ever. Rodriguez likens the medically complex procedure to the Apollo moon landing." (previously, previously) [note: contains before and after photos]
posted by trillian at 12:03 PM - 42 comments

This 3 minute video of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner rehearsing for the 2014 Farnborough airshow is notable for the performance takeoff, sure, but hey check out those slipping turns, and the forward slip to a landing, in a jetliner. Remember the Gimli Glider? [upbeat pseudo-techno music warning]
posted by pjern at 12:03 PM - 54 comments

The first British pier opened 200 years ago this month in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. Photographer Simon Roberts spent three years documenting the country's remaining piers. (The Guardian) Roberts describes his collection of photographs, Pierdom, as "a comprehensive survey of Britain’s Pleasure Piers," and he captures the current state of powerful reminder of the achievements of Victorian engineers and entrepreneurs. The Telegraph has a bit more on how he set up his process. The Photographers' Gallery has a slideshow of some of Simon's photos, and Lens Scratch has a still series of his photos.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:50 AM - 8 comments

Psychiatric magazine ads from the seventies.
posted by Iridic at 11:37 AM - 27 comments

Margot Adler, most widely known as a journalist and New York correspondent for NPR, passed away this morning at 10:30 am at the age of 68 from complications related to endometrial cancer, according to a Facebook post from her son Alex. In addition to being a successful journalist and correspondent, Adler was a Wiccan priestess and a member of the board of advisers of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. Adler is well known in the pagan community in America for her seminal 1979 book Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America. [more inside]
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:31 AM - 48 comments

OkCupid: we experiment on human beings! But by comparing Love Is Blind Day to a normal Tuesday, we learned some very interesting things. In those 7 hours without photos...people responded to first messages 44% more often, conversations went deeper...in short, OkCupid worked better. When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2,200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started “blind”. Those conversations melted away. The goodness was gone, in fact worse than gone. It was like we’d turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight.
posted by shivohum at 10:09 AM - 96 comments

Your ‘Craft’ Rye Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana. The Daily Beast covers the phenomenon of a large list of whiskey brands serving only as bottlers, purchasing their spirits from a "hulking factory in Indiana". Thirdhand hattip to blogger SKU for leading the charge on this. [more inside]
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 10:06 AM - 166 comments

A right-wing Indian politician's racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim books are making their way to schools in Gujarat. [more inside]
posted by Ragini at 10:02 AM - 35 comments

Smith doesn’t really have an hour to spare tonight. He and his bandmates are scrambling through what might be their only rehearsal for their first US headlining tour, which launches later this week. The goal is to road-test new material for the follow-up to DIIV’s 2012 debut album, Oshin, an underground breakout hit that marked them as one of indie rock’s most promising bands on the rise. Tomorrow he has to take care of countless logistical matters for the tour such as picking up borrowed gear and buying a van, which would be stressful enough for a random Tuesday. But tomorrow is also the 22nd birthday of Smith’s girlfriend, the model and acclaimed pop singer Sky Ferreira, and he needs to make it special after spending much of her 21st birthday stressing out about an impending European tour. “Last year I blew it,” Smith says. “She was so upset.” On top of all that, he’s also supposed to meet with his probation officer upstate, one of many unpleasant consequences of being arrested for heroin possession and other crimes last September in upstate Saugerties, New York.
posted by josher71 at 8:58 AM - 11 comments

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Rep. Tim Ryan (OH), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) are among those have been participating in the Live the Wage Challenge, posting on social media about their experiences. The Challenge (pdf) "asks elected officials, community leaders, advocates and anyone concerned about the growing inequality in this country to walk in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by living on a minimum wage budget for one week. That’s just $77."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:31 AM - 96 comments

Why R.E.M.’s Out of Time Is the Most Politically Significant Album in U.S. History (Hint: It's not the music).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:10 AM - 100 comments

Toni Bentley on the most famous dominatrix in France, and her companion.
posted by Mistress at 7:38 AM - 12 comments

The oldest still-working telephone number in New York City is at least 80 years old. And you've probably heard of it: Pennsylvania 6-5000. It's the number of the Pennsylvania Hotel. Built in 1919 as a grand luxury destination, it has inspired a movie and a Bugs Bunny cartoon, Dada artwork, and of course became immortalized in song. [more inside]
posted by Mchelly at 7:16 AM - 40 comments

This summer's Transformers 4 have seen its fair share of negativity, considering it's a master class in economics and its predecessor is Michael Bay's first art movie (last linked discussed previously.)
posted by Harald74 at 6:41 AM - 52 comments

Every month or so there is a new scandal - mass snooping by the NSA, allegations of price-fixing by giant energy companies, major banks corruptly rigging interest rates, giant modern bureaucracies like Serco and G4S ripping off the taxpayer, children's entertainers from the past charged with sexual abuse.

But these stories never seem to add up to a bigger picture. They are isolated events . And our reaction is always the same - shock and horror, and then it all subsides and we are ready to be shocked and horrified when the next scandal comes along.
Adam Curtis may be the only person who is able to use the ousting of Tamara Mellon from Jimmy Choo, the age of the American muckracking journalist and the light entertainment career of Diana Dors -- amongst other diversions -- to explain the need for a new journalism to investigate the new structural powers ruling us.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:24 AM - 21 comments

On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio. Inside was a blank thank-you note and an Ohio state driver’s license. The ID belonged to a 28-year-old man called Aaron Brown—6 feet tall and 160 pounds with a round face, scruffy brown hair, a thin beard, and green eyes. His most defining feature, however, was that he didn’t exist. I know that because I created him.
posted by spock at 4:44 AM - 33 comments

Welcome to Haider, a Bollywood version of Hamlet set for a controversial, much anticipated release this autumn. Vishal Bhardwaj's latest Shakespearian adaptation turns the Prince of Denmark into a philosophy student from Kashmir, the former Himalayan princedom, who returns home from university after hearing that his doctor father has disappeared and his mother is in a new relationship. View the trailer here - captions available. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:41 AM - 19 comments

July 27

"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:40 PM - 13 comments

Is Race Plastic? My Trip Into the "Ethnic Plastic Surgery" Minefield The writing is delightful, the subject is unsettling and the advice not to google any of the proceedure images should be heeded.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:04 PM - 35 comments

"Masuma Ahuja and Denise Lu for the Washington Post applied a technique called databending to a bunch of photos. The idea is that computer files — even though they represent different things like documents, images, and audio — encode data in one form or another. It's just that sound files encode beats, notes, and rhythms, whereas image files encode hue, saturation, and brightness. So when you treat image files as if they were audio, you get some interesting results. Jamie Boulton has a detailed description on how to do this yourself with Audacity Effects." [via]
posted by Room 641-A at 9:48 PM - 15 comments

Born in 1913, Rose Murphy was an imaginative and percussive jazz pianist and singer nicknamed "the Chee-Chee Girl" for obvious reasons. Although she didn't make many recordings, she continued to perform up until her death in 1989. [more inside]
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:20 PM - 8 comments

King Arthur Flour's Flourish blog investigates America's Love Affair With Pizza from the home cook's perspective. In The Beginning asks "When did Americans start making their own pizza at home, from scratch, rather than piling into the Studebaker to drive down to the pizza parlor for takeout?", and answers by reproducing pizza recipes from 1945, 1954, and 1961. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:30 PM - 57 comments

Evgeny Morozov, for The Guardian: The rise of data and the death of politics
This "smartification" of everyday life follows a familiar pattern: there's primary data – a list of what's in your smart fridge and your bin – and metadata – a log of how often you open either of these things or when they communicate with one another. Both produce interesting insights: cue smart mattresses – one recent model promises to track respiration and heart rates and how much you move during the night – and smart utensils that provide nutritional advice. In addition to making our lives more efficient, this smart world also presents us with an exciting political choice. If so much of our everyday behaviour is already captured, analysed and nudged, why stick with unempirical approaches to regulation? Why rely on laws when one has sensors and feedback mechanisms? If policy interventions are to be – to use the buzzwords of the day – "evidence-based" and "results-oriented," technology is here to help.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:03 PM - 27 comments

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