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March 2

All Other Food Stands Are Terrible

Grab Them By The Eyes is a new Flash strategy game about advertising. By Terry Cavanagh of VVVVVV fame.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 8:48 PM - 27 comments

How period trackers presume/impose heterosexuality, fertility, feminity

Maggie Delano discusses the crushing assumption of heterosexual fertility planning written into the very code of period tracking apps. A participant in the Quantified Self movement (described here by the wonderful Whitney Erin Boesel), Delano articulates for us the often-hidden, unique needs of women who are infertile or partnered with women, trans men and those not sexually active. I felt keenly her frustration at the way period trackers can never be 'neutral' or customisable outside of certain prescribed limitations, which have nothing to do with usability and everything to do with cultural expectations.
posted by averysmallcat at 7:11 PM - 99 comments

If you’ve never needed the welfare system, consider yourself lucky

A View from Inside the Welfare System.
posted by cashman at 6:22 PM - 33 comments

"Play is all about fun; what’s there to study?"

The Frivolous Function of Play
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:58 PM - 9 comments

The Unlikely Life of Afghanistan's First Female Taxi Driver

"The Unlikely Life of Afghanistan's First Female Taxi Driver" profiles Sara Bayahi, believed to currently be Afghanistan's only female taxi driver. That may not be the case for long, though, as she is teaching other women to drive in defiance of cultural taboos.
posted by Stacey at 5:11 PM - 7 comments

“We aren’t judged by the worst mistake we ever make."

The country’s largest state university system says it doesn’t discriminate against former prison inmates. Applicants say otherwise. [more inside]
posted by holborne at 4:37 PM - 33 comments

"We're all in trouble."

Father William "Bix" Bichsel, longtime protester and participant in the Plowshares movement (previously), died Saturday at age 86. [more inside]
posted by edeezy at 3:37 PM - 8 comments

Please wear 25-D glasses

Join Mr. Piggy on an adventure through time and space in the short, animated film Mr. Piggy Dies in 25 Dimensions. [SLV NSFW]
posted by Room 641-A at 3:33 PM - 24 comments

Accuracy in reporting

"The cartoonist has no idea how Net Neutrality works."
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:19 PM - 83 comments

38 / 50

In Nebraska, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon has struck down the state's anti-SSM laws as unconstitutional. He has issued an injunction allowing the state until March 9th to appeal.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:56 PM - 27 comments

The Death of a Missouri Politician

Tom Schweich, Missouri's state auditor and a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary, died in an apparent suicide on Feb. 26. [more inside]
posted by nangar at 1:32 PM - 36 comments

A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy That Would Please Crom Himself!

I have travelled back to that time to bring forth the Ultimate 1980s Fantasy Epic Ranking List Post! Single Link Tor Blog Post offering many further links, nostalgic euphoria and the inevitable objection to individual rankings.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:30 PM - 54 comments

You don’t need to be persuaded / You are being annotated.

Earlier this month, ...[(Rap) Genius] (previously)... quietly introduced what could become its most significant feature—the ability to annotate any page on the web. Currently in beta testing, the new functionality lets users add genius.com/ to the beginning of any URL to access a version of the page on Genius. The page is fully annotatable, so users can highlight and annotate any text on the page and view others’ annotations. The only public announcement of this feature so far is a mysterious, meme-bending billboard on Canal St. in NYC.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:17 PM - 75 comments

Those Who Wrote in Small Letters

For much of the tenth century, the Qarmatians enjoyed supreme power in northeastern Arabia, exacting tribute even from the caliphs in Baghdad and Cairo. They were an esoteric Isma'ili Shi'ite sect from the oases of the desert fringe and the islands of the Persian Gulf, where they built themselves an egalitarian utopia—"probably the only communist society to control a large territory, and to endure for more than a generation, before the twentieth century." Utopia, however, depended on the agricultural labor of thirty thousand Ethiopian slaves and the proceeds from constant raiding and pillaging. In 930, the Qarmatians stormed Mecca, killed thousands of pilgrims at the foot of the Kaaba, and removed the Black Stone to Bahrayn. A year later, they identified the Mahdi, their prophesied redeemer, in the form of a young Persian prisoner. They believed that once he assumed control of the Qarmatian state, he would lead them to even greater triumphs... [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 1:01 PM - 8 comments

KVLY-TV

If I asked you where the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere was located, would you say North Dakota? [more inside]
posted by sockermom at 12:29 PM - 58 comments

This is Criminal

Criminal is a podcast with "Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. The show’s producers [Phoebe Judge, Eric Mennel, and Lauren Spohr] are full-time radio people, but Criminal is what we do when we go home at night." Part of the Radiotopia collective, Criminal delivers fascination and intrigue in every episode.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:16 PM - 10 comments

Oddly soothing shapes and colors in motion

Animated Gifs by Florian de Looij (SLTumblr) [more inside]
posted by royalsong at 11:55 AM - 13 comments

Fewer Women Run Big Companies Than Men Named John

Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John, a sure indicator that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place in corporate America. Among chief executives of S&P 1500 firms, for each woman, there are four men named John, Robert, William or James. We’re calling this ratio the Glass Ceiling Index. (SLNYT, inspired by a 2-page PDF report from Ernst & Young which computed analogous numbers for board directors.) [more inside]
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:19 AM - 22 comments

First-ever snapshot of the dual nature of light

Scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have captured "The first ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave" (images of the photo and the microscope in right hand column) using "EPFL’s ultrafast energy-filtered transmission electron microscope – one of the two in the world." The EPFL's explanatory video: Two-in-one photography: Light as wave and particle. Reference: Simultaneous observation of the quantization and the interference pattern of a plasmonic near-field. Nature Communications.
posted by cwest at 10:58 AM - 23 comments

A Brutal Beating Wakes Attica's Ghosts

A Prison, Infamous for Bloodshed, Faces a Reckoning as Guards Go on Trial Warning, explicit descriptions of extreme violence
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:46 AM - 16 comments

Rousey Demolishes Zingano - Is Cyborg Next?

Cat Zingano is one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters in the world. She was the first woman in UFC history to win a fight by technical knockout, the first woman in UFC history to win Fight of the Night (awarded to both participants in the most impressive bout on a card) and was 9-0 in her professional career, with only one of those fights going the full five minutes (she won by unanimous decision). It took Ronda Rousey 14 seconds to beat her in the headliner match of UFC 184. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 9:29 AM - 89 comments

Sadness is a legitimate emotion.

Pre-therapy, this is the only thing I was ever taught, implicitly and explicitly, about sadness: It is bad.

You do not want it. If you've got it, you should definitely try to get rid of it, fast as possible. Whatever you do, don't subject other people to it, because they do not like that.

Sadness can be legitimately problematic, absolutely. If your sadness comes from seemingly no place or even an obvious place but keeps you from participating in life or enjoying anything and refuses to abate no matter how long you go on letting it express itself, you of course can't keep living like that. But culturally, we aren't allowed to be sad even for a little while. Even when it's perfectly sensible. Even when, sometimes, we need it.
Journalist and author Mac McClelland explores the relationship between recovering from PTSD and learning how to live in the presence of sadness: How I Learned To Be OK With Feeling Sad. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio at 8:59 AM - 54 comments

Isaiah 2:3-4

Introducing Wunderland Kalker: Come for the nuclear breeding facility, stay for the locomotive themed roller coaster and flying elephant.
posted by bq at 8:35 AM - 5 comments

The Color of Pomegranates, rescored by Nicolas Jaar and Juno Reactor

When Martin Scorsese introduced his Film Foundation’s newly restored version of The Colour of Pomegranates at the Toronto film festival in September he told the expectant audience they were going to witness images and visions “pretty much unlike anything in cinema history”.

The 1969 Armenian film, voted 84th best of all-time in the most recent Sight & Sound magazine greatest movies poll, only gained a belated official release in western cinemas in 1982, but even the cinephiles and critics who have lauded the film with such extravagant praise since should now prepare to see Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece afresh.
For a taste of what has been restored, you can watch the entire unremastered film in two parts on YouTube, and the whole film in lower quality on Archive.org. For another novel experience, you can view a much higher quality of the film with a new score by Nicolas Jaar, and see a lower quality version with the new score by Ben Watkins AKA Juno Reactor, as commissioned by the Bialystok Film Festival in Poland last year. Juno Reactor had previously used visuals from Pomegranates for the video of "God is God." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:15 AM - 19 comments

This story is about the guards.

My Fellow Prisoners by Mikhail Khodorkovsky [New York Review of Books]
I’m writing these notes because I want people who care about these things to know what I have personally experienced in prison. Over time I’ve turned from an ordinary victim into an interested observer, and I’ve discovered that for many people the prison world remains terra incognita. And yet in our country one in every hundred people is currently in prison; one in ten (maybe by now one in seven) of the male population passes through prison at some point in their lives. Moreover, prison has a terrible effect on the majority of both prisoners and guards. It’s not yet clear, in fact, which group is affected more. Society has to do something about this human tragedy. And for a start people need to know about it.
posted by Fizz at 8:04 AM - 6 comments

It's Not Crazy, It's Sports

It's Errol Morris Week at Grantland. Six short documentaries created by Academy Award winning filmmaker Errol Morris (previously) will be rolled out this week. The first, entitled The Subterranean Stadium, about a league of electric football players, was posted today.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:33 AM - 3 comments

The man with the golden arm

At age 14, James Harrison had major surgery and required 3.4 gallons of donated blood. As soon as he turned 18, he began donating blood himself, and it was discovered that his blood contained an antibody that, when given to Rh- mothers of Rh+ babies, prevents Rhesus disease. [more inside]
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:23 AM - 24 comments

Either I'm a sexual deviant, or they're wrong

Did Amazon Sink the Queen of Online Erotica? - Phoebe Reilly, Vulture
"Engler is an underappreciated pioneer, a self-proclaimed feminist in furry-cat slippers. To put her crowning achievement demurely, she challenged the book-publishing industry's denial of women's appetite for sexually explicit books. She wrote tawdry, lowbrow novels, and published hundreds of others, that freed romance from its lame euphemisms well before Fifty Shades of Grey, and she did so in a digital format long before the Kindle and the iPad allowed e-books to flourish.

"To put it less demurely: There were readers out there, lots of them, who didn't want to read about thick manroots. They wanted hard cocks. So that's what Ellora's Cave gave them. Easily and often."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:07 AM - 52 comments

"Thank you. Goodbye."

"Thank you. Goodbye." Director Vania Heymann (previously, also of Interactive Bob Dylan Video fame) has set his sights on Israel's upcoming elections, and leant his considerable cinematic talents to a local change campaign. The result is a compelling minute-long commercial highlighting the power of voting. (SLYT)
posted by Silky Slim at 5:29 AM - 5 comments

A lie spread by turkeys who don't want to be stuffed

Perhaps no other classical composer was as obsessed with good food and wine as Gioachino Rossini, who claimed he would only visit America if his close friend, legendary chef Antonin Carême, accompanied him. Because of his culinary devotion, many dishes are named "alla Rossini." One of the most decadent is Tournedos Rossini, a heart-stopping combination of beef filet, fois gras, butter, black truffle, and Madeira. In honor of Signor Crescendo's birthday on February 29, here is a recipe for that infamous dish. And while it’s cooking, how about some bel canto? [more inside]
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 5:02 AM - 14 comments

"In Chinese, mei-mei means sister."

Best friends forever: Separated in China, 2 girls reunite in U.S.
Mae and Mai spent the first years of their lives in the same orphanage in southern China, before they were adopted by families on opposite coasts of the United States. They were inseparable in China. As close as sisters. They ate together and played together, and even after they were moved to separate foster families in the same town, they went to school together and often shared meals at one girl’s home. Adoption may have saved their lives, but they both lost someone they loved.

This week, four years after the best friends were split up, the girls reunited in Oakland, where they’re receiving treatment for the same genetic blood disease at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.
posted by Lexica at 3:34 AM - 6 comments

The Mass Murderer on Your $20

He was the worst kind of populist, and believed in a shortsighted, cheap, selfish populism. The kind of populist who sneers at wussy bleeding-heart Americans like Ralph Waldo Emerson and their moralizing against Indian removal when there’s cheap land to be had. The kind who rages at the expertise of elitist eggheads like Nicholas Biddle and Henry Clay putting regulations in the way of easy profits. The kind who’s absolutely OK with Southern postmasters ripping up abolitionist pamphlets in the mail.
If the Reagan people want to put Ronald Reagan on the $20 bill and boot Andrew Jackson off, I’m all for it.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:36 AM - 169 comments

March 1

Violin videos: Women playing music written by women

Each video inside depicts at least one woman playing Western art music composed by a woman, on a violin. Most of the videos include other performers and other instruments as well. Before you can perform the music of women composers, first you have to find it. Links are included to some sheet music and recordings of violin music by women composers. [more inside]
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 9:26 PM - 10 comments

Titan, awash in oceans of liquid methane and full of azotosomes?

"A press release from Cornell explains how the researchers used some creative chemical modeling to construct a hypothetical, methane-based cell that's stable in Titan's sub-zero oceans. They call their alien life form an "azotosome."" [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:29 PM - 24 comments

On pregnancy, waiting and the malleability of time

"I am waiting for my baby, waiting for summer, waiting for knowledge, but the waiting itself becomes the knowledge and then, even as I am so hungry for transition I am practically clawing out of my skin, I begin to mourn and maybe to fear the fading of this particular consciousness: the Zen state, the acid trip of gestation, and its changed relationship to time."
posted by averysmallcat at 6:58 PM - 10 comments

The Book of Life

After a year, The Philosophers' Mail (previously) has concluded its project. But fret not: it has been succeeded by The Book of Life, a continuously updated online book that "aims to be the curation of the best and most helpful ideas in the area of emotional life."
posted by jedicus at 6:05 PM - 4 comments

“But the man’s uniquely evil, isn’t he?”

John Gray: The Truth About Evil:
Blair made this observation in November 2002, four months before the invasion of Iraq, when he invited six experts to Downing Street to brief him on the likely consequences of the war. The experts warned that Iraq was a complicated place, riven by deep communal enmities, which Saddam had dominated for over 35 years. Destroying the regime would leave a vacuum; the country could be shaken by Sunni rebellion and might well descend into civil war. These dangers left the prime minster unmoved. What mattered was Saddam’s moral iniquity. The divided society over which he ruled was irrelevant. Get rid of the tyrant and his regime, and the forces of good would prevail. If Saddam was uniquely evil 12 years ago, we have it on the authority of our leaders that Isis is uniquely evil today. Until it swept into Iraq a few months ago, the jihadist group was just one of several that had benefited from the campaign being waged by western governments and their authoritarian allies in the Gulf in support of the Syrian opposition’s struggle to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. Since then Isis has been denounced continuously and with increasing intensity; but there has been no change in the ruthless ferocity of the group, which has always practised what a radical Islamist theorist writing under the name Abu Bakr Naji described in an internet handbook in 2006 as “the management of savagery”.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:35 PM - 35 comments

In Style: The Dress Doctors

"Before ready-to-wear and before fast fashion, American women created affordable clothing for themselves and their families with help from the Dress Doctors—the thrift experts, home economics professors, and fashion guide authors who advised women how to craft the most appropriate looks for less." Historian Linda Przybyszewski talks about the rise of home economics, women's entry into academic departments in higher education, and the origins of American theory on suitable, affordable clothing for everyday wear. Before the Dress Doctors, however, there was Mary Brooks Picken, the First Lady of Fashion. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:34 PM - 6 comments

"This movie was made in 1986. It invented all the cliches."

Matt Zoller Seitz hosted a sleepover for his 11 year old son and his son's friends. Soon it came time to watch a movie, which produced: Notes on watching "Aliens" for the first time again, with a bunch of kids .
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:29 PM - 159 comments

Wonders of Destruction in Arabic Fiction

Historians of war and society would like to believe that military conflicts have fixed beginnings and ends. Conventional depictions of the Lebanese civil war are no exception and typically confine that conflict within the notional temporal parameters of 1975–90. But the key aggravating features generally identified with the events of the Lebanese civil war—class resentments, echoes of the Arab-Israeli conflict on a regional scale, domestic geographical inequalities, sectarian rancor, and political infighting across the Lebanese scene—had been accumulating since 1948, and even earlier. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 4:06 PM - 6 comments

Baruch Morde... why?

Purim starts Wednesday night. A minor Jewish holiday best described as a cross between Halloween and St. Patrick's Day, Purim celebrates Esther. [more inside]
posted by Ruki at 3:19 PM - 32 comments

Spring's Herald in Bulgaria

Happy Baba Marta Day! Time to get your Martenitsas together and pick out a tree to hang them on when spring finally comes. ...Or, if you're not in Bulgaria, just read this. [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:01 PM - 3 comments

New music from L.A./Little Armenia

Bei Ru is a Los Angeles-based multi-genre music producer/composer known for his unconventional use of Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms combined with heavy drums, electronics, and a plethora of live instrumentation. His new album, ‘Saturday Night At The Magic Lamp’, blends electronica, Middle Eastern influences, funk and hip-hop, featuring musicians playing electric bass, electric guitar, electric oud, cello, keyboards and piano

If you listen to only one L.A.-based, Armenian-American, instrumental, electronic, Middle-Eastern, funk, hip-hop song today, make it "Sweet Temptress" [SLYT]
posted by Room 641-A at 2:24 PM - 11 comments

The 27-year hunt for a mystery New Wave song: Solved!

In 1986, a German teenager hit "record" on his cassette player to catch a New Wave song from the radio. But he missed the intro, and so had no idea what the song was called or who the artist was. Contacting music journalists in the 1990s proved unfruitful, so in 2002 he posted it online on his "Most Wanted" music page. For 11 years, the mystery song - known as Stay (The second time around) for its lyrics - was the source of intense speculation and detective work (including in AskMe), with dozens of potential matches eliminated. A YouTube post in 2007 broadened the search, but still yielded no answers. It wasn't until 2013, when a Swedish Radio host chanced upon a Reddit thread about the song and played it on air, that the mystery was finally solved by two listeners. [more inside]
posted by gemmy at 2:10 PM - 41 comments

An argument for more cats and fewer humans in genetics class

Unfortunately, what textbooks, lab manuals and web pages say about these human traits is mostly wrong. Most of the common, visible human traits that are used in classrooms do NOT have a simple one-locus, two-allele, dominant vs. recessive method of inheritance. Rolling your tongue is not dominant to non-rolling, unattached earlobes are not dominant to attached, straight thumbs are not dominant to hitchhiker's thumb, etc.
posted by sciatrix at 1:20 PM - 42 comments

Deep Soul: Rick Hall's brand of integration in segregated Muscle Shoals

How Muscle Shoals became music's most unlikely hit factory (previously, 2008) If you love music and musical history, you really owe it to yourself to see the superb "Must See" documentary Muscle Shoals now on NetFlix and other online venues - Trailer here. Rick Hall of Fame Studios is the quintessential American "rags to riches" story and the "peckerwood" group "The Swampers" (and eventually the competing Muscle Shoals Music Studio) that he unintentionlly spawned, are together responsible for many of the classic soul and R&B hits that are part of the very fabric of American Music. [more inside]
posted by spock at 12:34 PM - 17 comments

In Voodoo’s survival, a tale of black resilience

African religions fused with Christianity to create Voodoo, but today many open practitioners of the faith are white.
posted by josher71 at 11:52 AM - 6 comments

The plural of fish is not "tangible objects"

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States ruled (PDF) on the case of Yates v. United States, whether the captain of a fishing boat violated the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by throwing undersized red grouper overboard to avoid prosecution. [more inside]
posted by dirigibleman at 11:22 AM - 25 comments

Rediscovering San Francisco's Punk Scene in a Box of Old Negatives

In the late 70s, John Roberts was a visual arts major at San Francisco's Institute of Art who spent his free time documenting the Bay Area's blossoming punk scene. His photos—a mix of street photography, portraiture, and concert shots—uniquely captured the last moments of the city's pre-AIDS and post-hippie era. Roberts's best shots were from a tiny punk venue called the Deaf Club on Valencia Street. The Deaf Club was a deaf community center that hosted hardcore shows from 1978 to 1980—the resulting scene was grungy, sweaty, and truly bizarre, and Roberts's photos captured it perfectly.
posted by rtha at 10:24 AM - 16 comments

Showcasing The Dreams and Passions Of Russians Aged 1 to 100

Photographer Keen Heick-Abildhauge loves Russia and decided to ask various residents about their passions and ambitions. The result is Portraits And Dreams Of People From 1 To 100 Years Of Age.
posted by purplesludge at 10:04 AM - 11 comments

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