"JANE (late 20s) sits hunched over a microscope. She’s attractive, but too much of a professional to care about her appearance." Hollywood producer retweets actual intros for female characters in actual proposed scripts.
Loudly, and apparently without caring who heard her, a research assistant at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City charged that her boss—noted paleoanthropologist Brian Richmond, the museum’s curator of human origins—had “sexually assaulted” her in his hotel room after a meeting the previous September in Florence, Italy. At the meeting, one person who heard the allegations was Bernard Wood, 70, a senior paleoanthropologist originally from the United Kingdom. In St. Louis, Wood canvassed younger researchers about their experiences with Richmond. He asked everyone the same question: “Does this alleged behavior come as any surprise to you?” He didn’t get the “yes” he was expecting.
One of the most compelling arguments for literary diversity has to do with the people who are following behind. If a little Mexican-American girl grows up with dreams of being a poet, what happens when she looks at the prize winners each year and doesn’t see anyone who looks like her? Can a young African-American man aspire to being a Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist if he doesn’t know that there is someone like him out there? I would argue the same thing happens for working-class kids, especially those in families more concerned with putting food on the table than getting to the symphony, families who see the arts as the sole pursuit of the rich (as my own working-class immigrant father did).
This week, copyright trolls came for @Dog_rates, the beloved Twitter account that rates dogs (but NOT saber-toothed tigers or t-rexes). In a chilling move, the troll threatened to make a similar attack on @Dog_rates's biggest rival/colleague, @EverythingGoats. Twitter has refused to comment.
The Brackets for The Morning News 2016 Tournament of Books by The Tournament of Books Staff [The Morning News]
You already know the titles and judges that will participate in this year’s tournament. You likely perused the “long list” for a glance at 86 of our favorite works of fiction from last year. You might have even checked out our 11 previous tournaments, just to whet your appetite—or maybe you have no idea what we’re talking about, in which case you should go read this primer. [Download the 2016 brackets as a .PDF][more inside]
Atlas Obscura brings us the story of the mid-20th Century "Peanut Butter Hearings", where the Peanut Butter Manufacturers Association faced off with the FDA (and the Peanut Butter Grandma, a.k.a. Ruth Desmond, head of the Federation of Homemakers) to hammer out the exact percentage of peanut butter that had to be peanuts. (via Mental Floss)
She’s the dead hooker in the trunk. A universal cautionary tale, the drug-using sex worker is too wretched to be relatable, too scorned for even countercultural cred. She is repulsive, unclean and immoral. She is pitiable at best, inhuman at worst—dismissed by police lingo about murders whose victims are drug-using street workers: “No Human Involved.” If she’s white, she’s lucky enough to be merely an abject victim. If not, she’s a deranged criminal. She’s a scarred, blotchy mugshot in your local paper’s coverage of prostitution stings—recycled without regard for privacy by anti-drug PSAs to let kids know that that’s what they’ll look like after years of doing dope. She’s the woman I’ve heard my escorting clients joke about not wanting to fuck with someone else’s dick—not realizing that they are talking to a sex worker who uses heroin, as I force myself to laugh along with them.
Cassandra Clare, fanfiction author turned bestselling author, has been accused of copyright infringement by Sherrilyn Kenyon for sharing such themes [pdf of exhibit] as "evil father who has to be killed", "magical swords that battle evil", "rebellious and beautiful female character" and "round room with magical portals". [more inside]
"I've got eight words for you: I've got two words for you: Fuck off" A Python code implementation of the sequence presented by @extranapkins in this tweet.
Funny or Die Made a Trump Biopic, Starring Johnny Depp [NYT]. The 50-minute comedy is streaming now at Funny or Die. (Head's up: NYT link has spoilers!)
‘Letterlocking refers to the folding and securing of any writing surface (such as papyrus, parchment, and paper) to function as its own enclosure.’ In their YouTube channel, Jana Dambrogio of MIT Libraries and her colleagues demonstrate a number of letterlocking techniques, from a simple method used by Russian soldiers in WWII, to more elaborate and ‘secure’ schemes employed by the likes of John Donne, Constanijn Huygens, Elizabeth Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I. [more inside]
The smuggler in the Mos Eisley Cantina scene from the original Star Wars who refers Obi-Wan to Chewbacca has been known for years as BoShek. But despite having an action figure of the character, the actor playing him was unknown. With help from the Rebel Scum forum, Billy Jensen was able to use social media detective work to track him down.
Kept in the dark for 60 years, fruit flies begin to reveal their genetic adaptations. In 1954, seven years after their cousins returned from space, a colony of fruit flies was plunged into a darkness which would continue through 1500 generations right up till the present day. The results of this study shed considerable light on the role of genetic variation in physical adaptation. Spoiler: [more inside]
Horses can recognise human emotion, study shows Man’s favourite neigh-sayer can not only tell whether a human might be in a bad mood, it can do so from a photograph. So brilliant! [more inside]
The Research Pirates of the Dark Web - "After getting shut down late last year, a website that allows free access to paywalled academic papers has sprung back up in a shadowy corner of the Internet."
The world could be free to sing Happy Birthday without being sued by as early as next month.
When “Mike” spotted a newspaper advert for a clinic making prosthetic fingers in the 90s, he thought it was a scam. But the ex-yakuza member had booked himself a consultation within the hour. For almost a decade, a stumpy pinkie on his left hand had marked out his previous allegiance to the criminal world, preventing him from leading a normal life. A fake little finger, he thought, sounded outlandish, but it was worth a shot. It might allow him to disguise his past—and help shield against Japanese society’s prejudiced view of ex-yakuza members in search of redemption. [more inside]
Carbonating the World. "Overweight, obesity, and diabetes have been spreading throughout the world hand in hand with the consumption of ultra-processed foods, especially sugar-sweetened beverages. My country, Mexico, has almost the highest per capita consumption of sugary drinks in the world, where 70 percent of added-sugar consumption comes from those products. You can stand in front of any audience and ask who has a relative with diabetes, and a landscape full of hands will rise before you, revealing a tragedy that has already caught up to us." [more inside]
"I thought I was pretty good at Snapchat. Then I watched my little sister ..." Buzzfeed's Ben Rosen learns to Snapchat like a boss from his 13-year old sister. "I would watch in awe as she flipped through her snaps, opening and responding to each one in less than a second with a quick selfie face. She answered all 40 of her friends’ snaps in under a minute. How was this even possible?"
What It's Like Experiencing Canada as a Refugee [video] “Amidst ongoing attacks from public figures such as Donald Trump, it's easy to forget that Syrians and other desperate refugees are, in fact, people. One person is pushing back and rolling out the red carpet: Kourosh Houshmand. [more inside]
Caution: Silly Walk Zone
Life with hypochondria, as described by an anonymous and humorous buzzfeed user.
New Software Can Actually Edit Actors' Facial Expressions A new software, from Disney Research in conjunction with the University of Surrey, may help cut down on the number of takes necessary, thereby saving time and money. FaceDirector blends images from several takes, making it possible to edit precise emotions onto actors’ faces. [more inside]
Studio Heads Of The Classic Era Ranked In Terms Of Personal Awfulness -by resident Hollywood expert The Whelk [via mefi projects]
In October 2014, eight women came forward to the Toronto Star stating that well-known CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi had assaulted them. [Previously on Metafilter] As the case against Ghomeshi finally went to trial this month, it has prompted criticism over the way the defense has treated the women testifying against him. Canadian radio host and therapist Svea Vikander has decided to share her personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault, one for each day of February: "This trial is not only about a man who violated the four women pressing charges, but about whether we, as a society, trust women who tell...It's personal for me...But I can't not do it. The Ghomeshi scandal has one hell of an undertow." [more inside]
A Fine Mess: How Not to Assert Your Copyright in the Youtube Age by Vlad Savov [The Verge] [more inside]
An open letter to Gloria Steinem on Intersectional feminism. By Sarah Grey at theEstablishment.co [more inside]
A Shrove Tuesday pancake history, with seventeenth century recipes! Take twenty eggs, with halfe the whites, and beat them half an houre or more...
WRITE YOUR OWN FANTASY GAME FOR YOUR MICROCOMPUTER (PDF) is a beautifully illustrated guide to programming (what else) fantasy roleplaying games on early personal computer hardware, along with its companion WRITE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE PROGRAMS (also PDF), covering text adventures. Hat tip to the game design Tumblr Put Games Here for the original link. [more inside]
Emojis are like modern-day cave paintings: simple, direct, visual. And because visual images are processed far faster than text, emojis can be among the quickest ways to send a message of support or concern. Anti-bullying advocate Monica Lewinsky has partnered with Vodafone on a new tool set for teens. [VanityFair]
Having fallen down the rabbit hole of British colonial cinema history, I thought to share some of the wonderful discoveries with you.
When Jenny and Jenna, two Black singers regularly posting Kpop covers on YouTube, found that they were often confused for each other, they decided to band together and form CoCo Avenue, currently the world's first all-Black Kpop group. Other Black Kpop performers include RaNia's Alex, Insooni, Lee Michelle, and Tasha a.k.a. Yoon Mi Rae.
"You wouldn’t see it in most classrooms, you wouldn’t know it by looking at slumping national test-score averages, but a cadre of American teenagers are reaching world-class heights in math—more of them, more regularly, than ever before." Peg Tyre in The Atlantic covers the new wave of deeper, faster, and hopefully broader math education. [more inside]
Daniel Bryan is arguably the most beloved professional wrestler in the entire world; he is also widely considered to be one of the best professional wrestlers of all time. He has not wrestled a match since April of 2015, when injuries forced him out of action - after they had previously cost him much of 2014 as well. He spent 2015 training regularly and going to doctors hoping to learn that he could continue to be a professional wrestler, and finally, last week, learned conclusively that he could not. This is his retirement speech.