"StoryCorps is an oral history project that has collected 65,000 stories from 100,000 participants since 2003 using sound booths and mobile studios. However, with the newly developed StoryCorps mobile app, the booth is no longer needed. Now anyone with a mobile phone can record an interview and upload the audio to the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress." [more inside]
After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, a Baking Blogger Uses Cake to Tell Her Story About a year into blogging, one of Sung’s cakes went viral: a cupcake version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar...and Sung’s social media following exploded ...She was even approached by a publisher to write a cookbook. And then..."I felt a thickening of flesh where my breast meets my rib cage, and I was like, ‘Huh. That could just be my rib?’ [But] it turned out that there were two tumors in there.”
When workers first arrived on the lot that Monday morning, they got a message through a security guard or a colleague or a handwritten sign taped up to the wall: Don’t turn on your computer. Later, someone might pop in and deliver the latest directive fourth-hand: “Unplug your computer from the wall.“ Which plug? The network cable? The power cord? Who knows? Just unplug everything. Says one worker: “It was all the hysteria of not knowing.” --One year later, what it was like to work at Sony when all their internal systems got hacked.
I would argue that Faerie endeavors to cultivate in readers a quality of attention that registers the most diminutive details, that perceives the world as though under a spell. (SLNYT) [more inside]
25 years of climate talk history in one comic: Richard Monastersky & Nick Sousanis explore the history of climate treaty negotiations in Nature's special Paris Climate Talks issue. The goal of the Paris Talks is to limit emissions so that Earth won't warm by more than 2°C, and there are many reasons to be optimistic about the prospects for an agreement - but what will it really take to limit warming to 2°C??
The inconveniences of daily life are not the significant problems.Bret Victor: What can a technologist do about climate change?
The world that scrolls past you on Twitter is not the real world.
You cannot calibrate your sense of what’s valuable and necessary to the current fashions in your field.
"Two years ago, Finnish illustrator and designer Vesa Lehtimäki put out a 38-page hardcover book of photos of Lego-built scenes showing imagined scenarios on the snow planet Hoth. It was a delightful collection of pictures full of levity, depicting AT-AT Walkers kicking through fresh powder, snowtroopers on skis, and Chewbacca covered in snow. Today, Lehtimäki is back with an expanded collection of Lego Star Wars photography, titled Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy." [more inside]
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), the largest health insurance company in the state, announced in October that it is discontinuing it’s popular Blue PPO provider plans for individuals. BCBSIL says the move was made to keep affordable plan options for all individual plans, citing “applicable laws” requiring plan rates to be based on total medical cost of all members. This move affects only self-insured individuals, while those in group plans continue to have access to the traditional broad PPO network of doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. [more inside]
The Paris-based magazine Télérama have published a conversation between Thom Yorke and author/activist George Monbiot. Yorke is a professed fan of Monbiot's writing, and throughout the interview, the two men discussed climate change.Throughout the conversation, Yorke and Monbiot discuss how they've responded to climate change in their day-to-day lives—becoming vegetarian, Radiohead's carbon neutral touring initiative, and so on. Yorke said that for a time, figuring out how to reduce his carbon footprint became an obsession.
Sorry We're Closed is "an awareness project by designer and educator, Kelly Holohan", designed to bring attention to LGBTQ human rights around the world. It's on at the AIGA Philadelphia, but you can see the posters here.
Shoemaking (the job of a cordwainer) is a very particular blend of artistry and science. Here are some masters at work: Emiko Matsuda at Foster & Son; artisans at Saint Crispin's; and at Paul Parkman. [more inside]
The Frankenburb: Retrofitting most suburbs is less likely than having a few successful ones remain as they are while many more simply fail outright.
"Jane the Virgin is doing some of the most serious, most valuable work I’ve seen in a long time, and that work is rooted in a radically frank depiction of new motherhood." Links may contain spoilers, but also this show is very silly so knowing some things that happen will probably not ruin your enjoyment of the rest of it [more inside]
Faig Ahmed mixes traditional carpet-weaving with 3D sculpting and computer display glitches. It really ties the centuries together.
Ashley Terrill was in hiding the first time I heard her voice, splitting time between her Los Angeles home and a $600-a-night room at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Terrill had locked her laptop and phone in a secret vault, and would only contact me on disposable phones—all because, she claimed, the estranged co-founder of Tinder was trying to destroy her. And that fear was mutual. [more inside]
In 1993 the BBC produced a television series known as "From A to B: Tales of Modern Motoring." One episode in particular stands out for shining a rare light on the peculiar practice of badge engineering cars to reflect subtle gradations in status. The result is somewhere between the Maysles' Salseman and Easton Ellis' American Psycho.
"Thus far we've discussed the history of adding oysters to stuffings. But historic precedent doesn't automatically equate with deliciousness. In the case of oyster stuffing, though, I'm telling you now that deliciousness is guaranteed." (Daniel Gritzer - Serious Eats)
November 29th marks the 25th anniversary of the US H1-B visa, a highly-coveted three-year employer-sponsored visa for skilled workers that can eventually lead to a Green Card - eventually. SmithsonianAPA presents a collection of art about the H1-B experience, primarily from people that have held or are holding H1-B visas (mostly South Asians, since Indians make up the majority of H1B applications), as well as some H-4 dependent spouses. H1-B visa holders are also sharing their experiences on Twitter. (previously)
This time of year, many of us will make a pilgrimage to see our families. Halls will be decked, candles will be lit, and ancient stories will be told. Hopefully everything for you will be hugs, warmth, light, and reconnection with the people you love. But if you are dreading dealing with that one jerk relative or bracing yourself for an onslaught of intrusive questions and and awkward topics, here’s a guide to keeping your cool and choosing your battles when everyone around you is making it weird.
The Secret History of the Mongols is the oldest surviving Mongolian-language literary work, and is regarded as the single most significant native Mongolian account of Genghis Khan. Linguistically, it provides the richest source of pre-classical Mongolian and Middle Mongolian, and while you can read it in various translations, it can be quite a slog. That's why Mongolian rappers Gee of/with Click Click Boom team up with Jonon to present a musical version of Mongolian History, in Mongolian. Luckily, there are English subtitles to this video, but there's still a gap between knowing the words and knowing what they mean. With that, you can find a collections of links as annotations below. [more inside]
Playing in the Red: College athletic departments are taking in more money than ever – and spending it just as fast — a Washington Post report on how perennial NCAA powerhouses and aspiring contenders alike are using student fees to pay for exploding athletic department budgets. [more inside]
Felipe Smith is the creator of Peepo Choo (warning auto-loading video ad), but you might know him as the writer of the All New Ghost Rider. He also happens to be the only black writer working at either Marvel or DC Comics.
"If you are a regular in the pubs around Spitalfields, you may have noticed a man come in to collect bottletops from behind the bar and then leave again with a broad smile, clutching a fat plastic bag of them with as much delight as if he were carrying off a fortune in gold coins. This enigmatic individual with the passion for hoarding bottletops is Brazilian artist and Spitalfields resident Robson Cezar, and he needs to collect thousands because he makes breathtakingly intricate pictures with them." His work reveals the beautiful possibilities of the bottle cap. [more inside]
I have built a working miniature replica of the patriarchy in my mind. I would like very much to bust it up or burn it down. But I am afraid I don’t know how. Though I do have some ideas.Claire Vaye Watkins On Pandering
As part of the one-hour special Adele at the BBC hosted by Graham Norton, the program featured an audition of Adele impersonators demonstrating their talents. Among the performers was a mild-mannered nanny calling herself Jenny. Actually, that's probably not the name they know her by.
The Double Life of John le Carré James Parker reviews John le Carré: The Biography, by Adam Sisman: [more inside]
The British Museum is relaunching its YouTube channel. It's currently considering four themed series, and will pick the one - or ones - that get the most likes. The overview video sets the stage. Here are the four exemplars offered for your consideration: [more inside]
Steve Meretzky has released a treasure trove of (minimally redacted) Infocom working documents. Written from 1981 to 1987, these internal documents were instrumental to Jason Scott when producing his documentary GET LAMP and have now been released on the Internet Archive. They include business memos, playtester notes, design documents, mockups by their packaging designer, and a tantalizing look into the elements of games that got cut or never fully developed. Stanford University has the originals.
We asked former Republican speechwriter [for Mark Sanford, an experience he describes in The Speechwriter] Barton Swaim to write a totally pandering stump speech for an imaginary GOP presidential candidate — one who espouses only positions that a majority of Republicans agree with. Here’s the speech he wrote, including notes to explain his phrasing, behind-the-scenes pro tips on appealing to Republican voters and the data he used to decide which positions to take.
So Amazon opened a new bookstore, and Paul Constant covered it for the Seattle Review of Books and ended up writing an eloquent defense of independent bookstores. [more inside]
We've seen 'All-Natural' Fire Tornadoes and 'Home-Made' Fire Tornadoes, but The Slo-Mo Guys have finally brought us a Slow-Motion Fire Tornado.
When You’re Just Drawn That Way: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Interestingly enough, the only two women to comment on/protest this objectification are the two women explicitly drawn to be objectified sex symbols: Betty Boop and Jessica Rabbit.
When it comes to housing, Australia and Berlin are worlds apart. In Australia, as in much of the English-speaking world, housing is treated as primarily a vehicle for investment and wealth creation, a state of affairs which began with the privately-financed speculative building of colonial times, and is firmly entrenched in the culture; 70% of Australians own their own homes, and the “Australian Dream” is still widely held to be home ownership, though these days the home may well be a trendy inner-city apartment rather than the traditional bungalow on a quarter-acre block. In Berlin, however, the vast majority of residents are renters, and they have considerable political clout, as they have had for decades. [more inside]
Donald Trump isn't funny anymore. Currently leading the polls in part due to a reaction to the Paris attacks that saw him inciting hatred against Muslim Americans with defamatory lies, Trump has eased off calls for a database of Muslims in favor of a new target, Black Americans, retweeting fake crime statistics provided by neo-nazis and supporting the beating of black protestors at his rallies. Let’s be clear, millions of Americans love Trump and are perfectly fine with him advancing racist lies. writes activist Shaun King, It’s ugly, but this, ladies and gentlemen, is America. 2015.
In the ten years it ran on ABC, it seemed like everybody who was anybody had been a guest star on "The Love Boat". Well, not quite, and one weird Tumblr now exists to fix that... Love Boat Insanity inserts pictures of those who missed the Love Boat into the familiar logo - people who were doing other things, or the producers would not have approved of, as well as others who were too young at the time, or too old or too dead or just purely fictional. Over 850 guest stars so far...
What We Owe the Students at Princeton A Crooked Timber discussion of naming public architecture and engineering in the context of the recent Princeton controversy over Woodrow Wilson.
"Enya emerges from the shadows wearing a full-length black taffeta dress and a velvet shrug. She’s 54, but she has the skin of someone much younger — or someone who spends most of her time in an Irish castle. She looks like a mix of Deanna Troi and my mom, which is to say, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. She appears, nods as the room applauds her, and disappears without a word. “Now, for a light mingle,” the exec announces." -- Anne Helen Petersen on Enya, her avoidance of celebrity, her history, her massively successful career, and her castles.
Every Philip Seymour Hoffman Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best By Nathan Rabin [Vulture.com]
“...we figured this would be a good time to delve deep into Hoffman’s filmography to determine what art of Hoffman’s is objectively, definitively better than his other art. In making our selection, we considered both the quality of the film as well as Hoffman’s performance. Though we strived to be as complete as possible, we were not able to see Mockingjay Part 2 ahead of this article, nor were we able to track down two of his most obscure early films, Szuler and Joey Breaker, left behind in VHS format. We still, however, had an awful lot to sift through, much of it awfully good.”
"I can still hear him signing off his show similar to the way he concluded his letter to Amy Melder: “You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There is no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.” Some have suggested that this message sought to instill children with a sense of self-importance, but to believe that is to fundamentally misunderstand Fred Rogers. At the core of Rogers’ mission was the paradoxical Christian belief that the way to gain one’s life is to give it away." (SL Atlantic)
Electronic composer Dan Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, has just released his long-awaited new album, Garden of Delete. But he hasn't just released an album - he's created an entire, detailed, sorta disgusting lore. [more inside]
"Given that we still have so far to go, why am I telling people they should stop writing secure messaging tools? Because we have too many other tools we also need." Decentralized collaboration is how programmers work on software projects; it's also a good model for nonprofits, NGOs, and distributed teams of all kinds, especially ones which operate in risky environments or have powerful adversaries, according to this essay by Eleanor Saitta, a security consultant, systems thinker, and activist. She lists a number of system properties such teams need (decentralization, offline-friendliness, end-to-end encryption, etc) and two dozen ideas for needed tools: mind mapping, wiki, map-based storytelling, work assignment and tracking, reference management, and so on. [more inside]
You may have heard about n-grams, which identify particular strings of text in a large corpus (an n=3 n-gram could be "plate of beans"). You probably have played with Google Ngram search which lets you look through millions of books to see the first use of the phrase, or when it was most popular (though be warned, recent research shows some limitations, such as the false popularity of a certain expletive in the 1700s). The newest is the Reddit ngram search by 538, which lets you chart the rise and fall of things progressive and regressive. I await more insights in the discussion...
"The results suggest that how much people like bitter-tasting foods and drinks is stably tied to how dark their personality is.”
Heavenly Nostrils by Dana Simpson. It all started when Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this led to Phoebe being granted one wish, and using it to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. [more inside]