May 25

American Idiocy - Vol.542

A recent study served to confirm the patently obvious: song lyrics for the most popular genres of music are ridiculously obtuse — and getting worse over time. Though this might not be a revelation, the figures are distressing indicators of both an intellectually vapid societal and cultural future as well as its apparent inevitability. [more inside]
posted by philip-random at 1:52 PM - 65 comments

“This is ready to franchise. Please steal our idea.”

The New York Times reports on "a five-week industry boot camp designed to bring young veterans into the television business" that is "run by one of the Iraq war’s fiercest critics, Jon Stewart, the longtime host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”" [more inside]
posted by Little Dawn at 1:37 PM - 4 comments

I Will Spell Check This Post

Everyday Sigils: A tumblr where you can commission magical sigils and symbols to deal with everyday trials, from the mundane to the sadly common.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 AM - 34 comments

"It is a unique occurrence in the history of civilization.”

They haven’t forgotten. For 70 years, the Dutch have come to a verdant U.S. cemetery outside this small village to care for the graves of Americans killed in World War II. On Sunday, they came again, bearing Memorial Day bouquets for men and women they never knew, but whose 8,300 headstones the people of the Netherlands have adopted as their own.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:28 AM - 20 comments

The Unsung Heroes of Eurovision

The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest winner has now been crowned (previously), but the real stars of the contest were the fabulous and entertaining International Sign interpreters. [more inside]
posted by zebra at 7:13 AM - 14 comments

The Greatest

It instantly hits your eyes haloed in a corona of potency—structured so soundly as to seem staged, this forceful frieze of physical dominance. The Victor yells, the Loser displays himself vanquished, and the Watchers are all caught in that moment. The kinetic poetry of moving bodies, momentarily frozen, such is the stuff of the best sports photos—this has that.

It's widely recognized today as one of the greatest photographs in sports history, but Neil Leifer's masterpiece, capturing the climax of the fight 50 years ago today between Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) and Sony Liston hardly made a stir at the time it was snapped.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:54 AM - 25 comments

Tastes like jagermeister

Americans try Dutch sweets. Some are received very well, others ... not so much. Some commentary at 24 Oranges.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:11 AM - 43 comments

Aww yeah, this is happenin’!

On The Beautiful and Tragic Weirdness of Sonic Adventure
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:04 AM - 27 comments

HSBC: The world has no policy tools left in face of possible recession

"The world authorities have run out of ammunition as rates remain stuck at zero. They have no margin for error as economy falters" (Telegraph) [more inside]
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:54 AM - 53 comments

May 24

best books you can read in under an hour each

"For those who love books, but don’t have enough time for reading. Here are the best books you can read in under an hour each." 24 books to read in under an hour (infographic) by Piotr Kowalczyk at Ebook Friendly. (via Electric Literature) Previously: What to read when pressed for time
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:25 PM - 31 comments

"ads for liver powder, hypophosphites syrup, and “fluid beef,”"

Craps and Cryogenics: Blow Your Savings and Live Forever in the New Atlantic City [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:31 PM - 17 comments

Oasis lost.

The lost city of Ordos The Kangbashi district, planned to accommodate a population in excess of one million, is home to a lonely 20,000 people – leaving 98% of this 355-square kilometre site either under construction or abandoned altogether.
posted by bitmage at 9:05 PM - 27 comments

With profane expressions of delight

MeFi's own John Scalzi, author of numerous popular books and a blog almost as popular as said books, has done okay.
posted by Megami at 9:04 PM - 94 comments

And how 'bout that boat going by, eh? Nice.

Friends, once again, here is yet more proof that one string is all you need.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:30 PM - 26 comments

Desert is in Poland!

Welcome to the Polish Sahara! Glaciers and medieval industrial degradation created the Bledow Desert, a small area of scrub and blowing sands in Poland. Former WWII training ground - now a tourist destination.
posted by bq at 7:32 PM - 7 comments

Burning bridges over (already) troubled waters

The music of the legendary Simon and Garfunkel seems to still have a life of its own, long after they broke up in 1970. The great songwriter Paul Simon went on, of course, to have a highly successful solo career, and Art did a few films and several albums. They reunited for several tours over the years (most notably, Central Park in 1982, full concert here, and the on-and-off, often acrimonious friction has been widely reported. In this new Art Garfunkel interview, the singer cuts loose again on Simon and the results are not pretty. (You may want to read the comments below the piece Rolling Stone did on this, many are quite insightful)
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 7:24 PM - 36 comments

“Today we have been told — yet again — our lives have no value.”

Cleveland Police Officer Acquitted of Manslaughter in 2012 Deaths [New York Times]
A police officer who climbed onto the hood of a car after a chase in 2012 and fired repeatedly at its unarmed occupants, both of them black, was acquitted of manslaughter on Saturday by an Ohio judge. The trial of the white officer, Michael Brelo, following harrowing episodes in communities such as Baltimore, Staten Island and Ferguson, Mo., played out amid broader questions of how the police interact with African-Americans and use force, in Cleveland and across the country.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz at 7:16 PM - 47 comments

What would comedy be without the potential for ... humiliating defeat?

Can China take a joke? The NYT Magazine examines the growing standup comedy scene in China, and its complicated relationship with traditional Chinese "cross-talk" performances, and modern Chinese society. [previously on metafilter]
posted by firechicago at 7:06 PM - 2 comments

It’s better to die than to live without killing.

Indigenous tribes have been painting their bodies with pulverized minerals and stretching their lips for millenia in the remote Omo valley a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Africa, where the earliest known Homo sapiens remains have been found.
Their whole way of life is now threatened thanks to the Gibi III dam in construction and as the tribes now decorate themselves for tourists.
Photographer and adventurer Jimmy Nelson journeyed the Omo valley.
Some of the tribes : Mursi, Hamar and Karo. (See previous).
posted by adamvasco at 5:26 PM - 6 comments

Hollywood has only produced exceptions by accident

Hollywood & the 'Comic-Book Movie' and part 2
posted by shakespeherian at 4:58 PM - 21 comments

"In 22 seconds, he dribbled 57 times."

RIP Marques Haynes, who died Friday at age 89. According to his NYT Obituary, he joined the Harlem Globetrotters in 1946 or 1947, and played with them through the late 1970s. (Yours truly remembers him from that goofy Saturday morning show, the Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine.) Remembering Haynes. "The things [in basketball] that they do today, Marques started."
posted by Melismata at 4:36 PM - 12 comments

"By this art you may contemplate the variation of the 23 letters."

http://libraryofbabel.info/
The Library of Babel is a place for scholars to do research, for artists and writers to seek inspiration, for anyone with curiosity or a sense of humor to reflect on the weirdness of existence - in short, it’s just like any other library. If completed, it would contain every possible combination of 1,312,000 characters, including lower case letters, space, comma, and period. Thus, it would contain every book that ever has been written, and every book that ever could be - including every play, every song, every scientific paper, every legal decision, every constitution, every piece of scripture, and so on. At present it contains all possible pages of 3200 characters, about 104677 books. [more inside]
posted by andoatnp at 2:19 PM - 59 comments

Steven Gerrard's Final Game in a Liverpool Shirt

Steven Gerrard played his last game in the English Premier League and in a Liverpool shirt today. Things went...badly. But this farewall tour hasn't been all he'd hoped for in any fashion. (Last link has a lot of profanity.)
posted by josher71 at 2:06 PM - 38 comments

"Welcome to One World Observatory"

One World Trade Center's new Observatory (Go Pro/YouTube) (SLYT)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:13 PM - 18 comments

B.C. teen admits to SWATTing female gamers

Tri-City News reports that a seventeen-year-old "has now admitted to a total of 23 offences of extortion, public mischief and criminal harassment." "He had a consistent pattern of trying to connect with the online gamers — many of them fans of the game League of Legends. But when they denied his requests, he shut down their internet access, posted their personal information online, repeatedly called them late at night and contacted the police in their hometown, posing as someone else. "Often, he would tell the police he was holding a family hostage, had napalm bombs or had killed someone in the house." [more inside]
posted by sardonyx at 10:22 AM - 140 comments

John Forbes Nash, Jr. (1928-2015)

John Nash, notable mathematician, died yesterday, with his wife Alicia, in a taxi accident. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994 for his contributions to game theory, in particular his discovery of the Nash equilibrium. (previously)
posted by wormwood23 at 8:02 AM - 76 comments

To paraphrase him: Harassing Jim Crawford with Cool Game Recommendations

Remember the surprising stealth thing-that's-great Frog Fractions (previously)? When creator Jim Crawford (also previously) and his team released its successfully Kickstarted sequel, they won't tell anyone, and will leave everyone to find it for themselves. Enter the unofficial Frog Fractions 2 twitter account, which bugs Jim about a different possible culprit every day. And for those who didn't back the Kickstarter and thus won't be automatically notified when The Jig Is Up (TM), there's always IsTheJigUpYet, which also attempts to guess at FF2's identity (albeit using a sliiiiiightly different method). [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ at 6:21 AM - 15 comments

That Whitsun, I was late getting away

Phillip Larkin was one of Britain's most famous twentieth century poets. He's probably most well known for 'This Be The Verse' (nsfw) but another notable poem was 'The Whitsun Weddings' based on a railway journey or journeys he undertook from Hull to London fifty years ago. Fellow poet Ian McMillan revisits that journey.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:08 AM - 9 comments

Abstract, Hyperreal, and Allegorical

Recent video with striking imagery ... Abstract: O D Y S S E Y (see also Pacific Light) • Fu Liu (tutorials 1 & 2) and Beiquan ... Hyperreal / Glitched realities: simulacra (see also Plain Sight) • as-phyx-i-a (made using Xbox One Kinect) • Noah - "flaw" ... Allegorical: Leonard in Slow Motion (starring Martin Starr).
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:07 AM - 5 comments

May 23

Ask not what your country can do for you ask DOES YOUR COUNTRY EVEN LIFT

What Is Bro Science?: 50% fact, 50% magic, 100% results. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:14 PM - 35 comments

The movement is a sort of mosaic.

Wait, Women Don't Have Equal Rights in the United States? - Tabby Biddle, Huffington Post. The History Behind the ERA Amendment ( brief introduction, argument for why ERA is needed). March 22, 1972 | Equal Rights Amendment for Women Passed by Congress (NYT). Chronology of the Equal Rights Amendment, 1923-1996 (NOW). "The ERA Is a Moral Issue": The Mormon Church, LDS Women, and the Defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment (Neil J. Young, American Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3, Sep., 2007)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:42 PM - 31 comments

"10 points go to ... Sweden!"

The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest concluded today, with Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw performing the winning song. A brief recap of the live performances provides glimpses of the costumes, stage effects, and choreography peculiar to Eurovision grand final performances. [more inside]
posted by needled at 7:14 PM - 97 comments

"WHOA!"

Keanu Reeves is immortal.
posted by Fizz at 6:34 PM - 65 comments

This is Richard. His parents are doing OK.

A pretty great comic that clearly lays out how (some) privilege works.
posted by Shepherd at 5:34 PM - 53 comments

Who the heck is Leslie, anyway?

It's almost summer, so here's the story behind one of the best ever pop songs about spending time outside. The Young Rascals, Groovin'.
posted by freakazoid at 5:10 PM - 7 comments

"Simplify your language and thereby find your humanity."

"The life-changing message of 'On Writing Well' is: simplify your language and thereby find your humanity." William Zinsser, journalist and nonfiction writer, passed away earlier this month. His book, "On Writing Well," is one of the definitive works on the craft of writing. [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 3:08 PM - 20 comments

Louis 'Thunder Thumbs' Johnson

R.I.P. Louis Johnson, great funk bass player. Founding member of funk group Brothers Johnson and legendary bassist Louis Johnson died too young at the age of 60. [more inside]
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:26 PM - 23 comments

"So, what do you do?"

A 10-step guide to party conversation for bioinformaticians
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:00 PM - 34 comments

"bad things happen and we don’t lie about it, we don’t hide it"

“All of those things play a part in who I am as a person. It all has equal weight. I want sexual abuse to sit happily alongside other topics like music and creativity, without this gut shudder, ‘Oh no, we can’t talk about that.’” The book is accompanied by a playlist that Rhodes put on Spotify – Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Chopin’s Etude in C Minor – a wonderfully simple, powerful idea, which at times makes it heartbreakingly difficult to read.
For The Guardian Zoe Williams interviews pianist James Rhodes about his just released autobiography, finally available after the UK Supreme Court ruled in his favour in the lawsuit taken out against him by his ex-wife. Trigger warning: child abuse. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 9:24 AM - 26 comments

Damn, Ireland, you're looking fabulous today!

The Republic of Ireland made history today by becoming the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage via popular vote. Ireland only decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, so the country has seen an amazing turnaround on gay rights issues. And the omens are good.
posted by orange swan at 8:31 AM - 110 comments

Unreal Food For The Real World

Why would I, who learned to cook from Culinary Luddites, who grew up in a family that, in Elizabeth David’s words, produced their “own home-cured bacon, ham and sausages . . . churned their own butter, fed their chickens and geese, cherished their fruit trees, skinned and cleaned their own hares” (well, to be honest, not the geese and sausages), not rejoice at the growth of Culinary Luddism? Why would I (or anyone else) want to be thought “an obtuse consumer”? Or admit to preferring unreal food for unreal people? Or to savoring inauthentic cuisine?
The answer is not far to seek: because I am an historian.
A Plea For Culinary Modernism
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:23 AM - 79 comments

May 22

An Entire Stable of Characters in One Issue

Wham-O (previously) revolutionized the circle, the torus and the sphere, but they once did something innovative with the humble rectangle: Wham-O Giant Comics (alternate ad here), intended to be a quarterly magazine but ultimately the only issue released by the company. You can read it in its entirety here and read critiques of its contents here. It's an anthology whose contents run the gamut of genres, so if you don't like a story, you can just skip to the next. Of particular note are Radian and Goody Bumpkin, drawn by Wally Wood (previouslies).
posted by BiggerJ at 10:49 PM - 13 comments

Small Things Considered

Carl Zimmer writes for The New York Times: How Simple Can Life Get? It's Complicated - "Scientists have long wondered how much further life can be stripped down and still remain alive. Is there a genetic essence of life? The answer seems to be that the true essence of life is not some handful of genes, but coexistence." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:04 PM - 27 comments

“The brain is the station where every railway line passes through.”

Can evolution explain acts of kindness, and morality? [The Guardian]
We arranged a debate between a sceptical Tom Stoppard and the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson. Stuart Jeffries acted as referee. We arranged for the two to meet recently in the grand boardroom of Wilson’s London publishers to discuss their differences, and reflect on two hard problems – what is the proper scope of science, and what is it to be human.
posted by Fizz at 6:28 PM - 29 comments

Wait, it was the dinosaur that escaped from the Zoo!

Lego Adventure in the City. via the always wonderful The Kid Should See This [more inside]
posted by signal at 6:05 PM - 9 comments

60 years

In honor of its 60th anniversary, Disneyland presents "Disneyland Forever", the new "World of Color" and the Paint the Night Nighttime Electrical Parade. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:09 PM - 22 comments

Third time's a charm.

"You have to watch this video 3 times to discover the secret."
A video puzzle by professional juggler Michael Karas.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:03 PM - 44 comments

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Aleister Crowley The Most Wicked Man In The World [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:55 PM - 50 comments

Jon Drinks Water

Does what it says on the tin, 2945 times. [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion at 2:28 PM - 28 comments

B.B. St. Roman

B.B. St. Roman [formerly Barbara Becker] is the only staff member for the New Orleans Police Department Homeless Assistant Unit. Before helping the homeless, she traveled the world, recording sound for documentaries .... And at one point, she became the tour manager for Dr. John, Louisiana musician and legend. Her film audio credits include Mother Teresa and Shamans of the Blind Country a film ethnography of the Himalayas. TEDx talk, and here's her Facebook page.
posted by latkes at 1:25 PM - 6 comments

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