Kirby Runyon and five fellow science team members from the New Horizons mission to Pluto are at the 48th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas this week, promoting an alternative planetary definition (PDF, 2 page paper; PDF of their poster). They are offering a drastically different definition from the one the International Astronomical Union (IAU) set in 2006 (previously), one which would increase the planet count from 8 to 110 in our solar system. [more inside]
You may have heard that sitting in chairs is slowly killing anyone who works in an office. Now, however, you can buy the Altwork Station, an office chair that will definitely not kill the user.
There is no ignoring the control that president Bashar Assad’s regime tries to exert over its citizens and, once again, sport is no different. The relative success of the team is both a passing panacea and a propaganda opportunity, the former for the people and the latter for the president. To present a thriving football culture to the world fits in entirely with the agenda of normalisation, of having quelled the rebellion, of stabilisation and control. However, as we discovered, the reality is far from that... Ultimately, this is a story of 23 Syrian footballers, 23m Syrian people, 4.9m refugees, six years of war and one president.
German scientists are switching on “the world’s largest artificial sun” in the hope that intense light sources can be used to generate climate-friendly fuel. [The Guardian] “The Synlight experiment in Jülich, about 19 miles west of Cologne, consists 149 souped-up film projector spotlights and produces light about 10,000 times the intensity of natural sunlight on Earth. When all the lamps are swivelled to concentrate light on a single spot, the instrument can generate temperatures of around 3,500C – around two to three times the temperature of a blast furnace.”
Notes on Masterchef Australia, by blogger Adam Cadre (17,500 words)
"Eden, the ground-breaking Channel 4 project, saw 23 strangers cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves in a corner of the West Highlands ... Instead of being crowned reality TV celebrities and fought over by agents, the 10 who made it through the 12 months have learned that only four episodes have been shown – the last seven months ago."
Four people were killed and twenty-nine injured in a terrorist attack in Westminster yesterday afternoon. [more inside]
"Not reading, Bayard believes, is in many cases preferable to reading and may allow for a superior form of literary criticism—one that is more creative and doesn’t run the risk of getting lost in all the messy details of a text. Actual books are thus 'rendered hypothetical,' replaced by virtual books in phantom libraries that represent an inner, fantasy scriptorium or shared social consciousness." [more inside]
"Thinx boss Miki Agrawal wanted to break taboos about the female body. According to some employees, she went too far." "Sexual-Harassment Claims Against a 'She-E.O.'" — New York Magazine, March 20, 2017 [more inside]
Medium is now selling monthly subscriptions
Nothing Else Matters . Caroline Baran is 15 and has a much older voice. Time After Time (also with PMJ), Hello [more inside]
In 2011, Andrew Tait installed MS-DOS 5.0 and systematically updated it all the way through Windows 7. Now he's done it again, but starting with MS-DOS 3.10 and going all the way to Windows 10.
Cameo appearance by Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time game.
Cameo appearance by Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time game.
People Share the Most Pointless Argument They’ve Been Passionately Involved In, inspired by reddit. (Pleated Jeans has a single-page version without the unfunny commentary.)
The World Go Championship is underway in Japan. Organized by the Nihon Ki-in, it is the first international tournament that will include both professional human players and an artificial intelligence Go-playing program. 1st-day coverage is up on youtube, with commentary from Michael Redmond and Antti Tourmanen (commentary begins at 2:53). [more inside]
The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself To Death. Mary’s story looks different to different people. Within the ghoulishly cheerful Lyft public-relations machinery, Mary is an exemplar of hard work and dedication—the latter being, perhaps, hard to come by in a company that refuses to classify its drivers as employees. SLNewYorker, written by the always-interesting Jia Tolentino.
Retired Microsoftie and video game nerd Ed Fries [previously] tells the tale of how he and former Atari engineers Ron Milner and Michael Albaugh chased down a forgotten Easter Egg in Atari arcade game Starship 1, programmed by Ron and released in 1977, making it a contender for the title of the oldest known video game Easter Egg.
Rosa Maria Segale was born in 1850 in rural Italy. At age four, she and her family moved to Cincinnati, where as a teenager at a school run by the Sisters of Charity, she decided she would join them. As Sister Blandina, her sights were set on the west. She was sent to a small town in Colorado Territory and she spent two decades in the region, tending to the ill, educating the poor, building schools and hospitals, speaking up for the rights of Hispanics and displaced Indians, facing down known bandits including one* Billy the Kid (PDF) and saving at least one man from hanging, as depicted in "The Fastest Nun in the West," a 1966 episode of Death Valley Days. [more inside]
With less than two months until 2017s most important cultural and voting event, another major problem has occurred. Against staff resignations, a possible ineligible entry and a hostile backdrop, the Russian selection, Julia Samoylova, has been barred from traveling to the event host due to entering the Crimea from Russia, a decision which may not be surprising. The Russian Foreign Minister is apparently outraged, and the EBU is trying to broker a settlement. Across the bookmakers, Italy is currently the clear favorite to win, with Bulgaria, Sweden and Belgium also receiving much betting, with strong showings from ex-Yugoslav countries and some commentators thinking this could be Australia's year in Europe.
New York Presbyterian provides a Spotify playlist of 100 songs to do CPR to, including the eponom-appropriate "I Will Survive". Obligatory "Office" link.
Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel. ‘Five years ago, China’s most charismatic politician was toppled from power. His disgrace allowed his great rival to dominate the political stage in a way unseen in China since the days of Chairman Mao. All this was made possible by a murder. And the story of that murder begins not in China but in a British seaside town.’ A BBC News magazine article by Carrie Gracie (also available in podcast form). Previously: i, ii, iii.
RIP Chuck Barris, dead at 87. NYT obit. Forever associated with The Gong Show, he not only created The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, but he was also a songwriter who wrote game show themes and the hit "Palisades Park" for Freddy Cannon. And perhaps he's a CIA assassin as well? He wrote the "autobiography" Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, later made into a film with George Clooney and Drew Barrymore.
Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware - A dive into the thriving black market of John Deere tractor hacking.
Yahoo's defining moment had nothing to do with its accomplishments. When we look back on Yahoo knowing what we do today, it's clear that Yahoo's true self was revealed in a single, stark meme. I'm talking, of course, of the infamous Yahoo Answers query "how is babby formed?"
With 100 different cats, he rubbed the plant matter on a sock or a square of carpet, and set the material in the cats’ line of sight. Then he waited. Catnip Ain’t the Only Plant That’ll Send Your Kitty to Blissville [more inside]
How a Christian movement is growing rapidly in the midst of religious decline A Christian movement led by popular independent religious entrepreneurs, often referred to as 'apostles,' is changing the religious landscape of America.
A dad turns his six-year-old son's drawings into reality. They're also on Instagram.
An early 20th-century journalist and travel writer, William Buehler Seabrook was once among the most successful wordsmiths of his day. He joined camel raids in Arabia, attended voodoo rites in Haiti, and supped with cannibal kings in Africa. Along the way, he became friendly with Aleister Crowley, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and many of the other most notorious figures of his era.
"Take your router and carve this stave onto it using the tip of a narwhal tusk. Place the router in a bucket and fill the bucket with Brennivín. Leave the router soaking in the bucket for twenty four hours. Your Wifi will always be super-fast and your house will smell of caraway." [more inside]
The Most Unsatisfying Video In The World Ever Made [soothing music, oddly] (unsatisfying video previously). Cleanse your emotional palate with this Previously Satisfying Video.
Watch a nerdy girl with a Dad Joke personality do Biggie Smalls with just her voice and iPad. All of Rebecca's videos.
30 Years Ago: A Look Back at 1987 "Three decades ago, the long-fought Iran-Iraq war had reached a deadly stalemate, the stock markets took a huge hit on Black Monday in October, American politicians were gearing up for the 1988 presidential race, Baby Jessica was rescued from a well, broadcast live on CNN, and much more. Photographers were also busy documenting the lives of Pee-wee Herman, Menudo, Mikhail Gorbachev, Howard Stern, Princess Diana, Donald Trump, Bernie Goetz, and many others. Take a step into a visual time capsule now, for a brief look at the year 1987." (Alan Taylor, The Atlantic)
I wasn't even paying enough attention to the announcements or the upcoming anime charts to know that what would become the Japanese anime fandom's biggest anime of Winter 2017—a moe animal girls show based off of a defunct mobile game rendered in exceedingly poor CG—even existed. But here we are.Trying to explain the weird charm of Kemono Friends. [more inside]
Those with a penchant for 1960's futuristic designs would find a lot to like in the building at 505 North Orlando Avenue. It's swooping glass walls on all four sides gave it a unique profile that seemed thematically linked to nearby Cape Canaveral. Yet this result of the Cocoa Beach development boom would lead a very strange existence for the next fifty years involving unfortunate elevator designs, the savings and loan crisis, hurricanes and a climactic suicide. Welcome to the Glass Bank.
"New York animation artist Jeff Hong has created less-than-rosy portrayals of Disney characters as they might fare in today’s world. They are not cheery images, but they are poignant in their depictions of very real challenges, from animal testing and ocean pollution to drug addiction and teen suicide."
The Fake Strongmen of Morning News Explain How They Get Away with It -- A chat with Chop and Steele.
A paper model designer has created a simple tool about posting on Social Media based on an algorithm by Federico Cerioni. Paper model designer, Giuseppe Civitarese, known in the paper model community as Paperpino, has created a simple paper model as a guide for posting on social media. It might even be useful to us here at MetaFilter. The model is based on an algorithm created by italian communications and digital media consultant, Federico Cerioni.
1941: Werner Heisenberg—aging wunderkind, formulator of quantum mechanics, key scientist in Hitler's nuclear program—has traveled to Denmark to seek out Niels Bohr, his old mentor. Why has he come? What can the two have to say to each other? How much of the world can be preserved or destroyed in the course of a ten minute walk?A radio adaptation of Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn. With Simon Russell Beale as Niels Bohr, Greta Scacchi as Margrethe Bohr, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Werner Heisenberg. [more inside]
Henry Warren retired from tobacco farming in 1968 and wanted to amuse himself. He started with a single miniature building, but midway through decided to build something more. For the next nine years, he spent every day with a cigarette in his mouth and a Coca-Cola in his hand, building an idealized miniature country town: Shangri-La. [more inside]
In honor of UNESCO World Poetry Day, I offer up a poem that has been a part of my life for decades: Ithaka, by C.P. Cavafy [translation from Greek, with additional translations linked on the page]. [more inside]
Day 87 of Mark Baumer's vlog and blog of walking across the country barefoot is laugh out loud funny. Two months ago, on day 101 of his walk to raise awareness about climate change, the day after the presidential inauguration, he was struck by an SUV and killed. "We would have been better off electing a barrel of burning tires," read the inscription on the photo he had posted to his website the previous day, the last photo he would ever publish. [more inside]
California, including the southern desert region, has received record rainfall this winter, which has lead to a once in a decade "super bloom" that is bringing visitors from as far as Europe, Africa and Asia. If you want to head into Anza-Borrego, California's largest state park and about a four-hour car drive from Los Angeles, KCET has directions to some sights to see, and Desert USA has a wildflower report plus more resources. If you were ever considering a spontaneous trip to the desert, now is your time. Peak bloom for Anza-Borrego wildflowers is expected to occur mid-March and last until the end of the month.
Hi Stranger is a brief animated film by Kirsten Lepore. It features sincere affirmations and also a totally benign claymation butt.
Supa Hot Fire is still not a rapper but today he's delivering some scorching new flames. [more inside]
They Used to Last 50 Years
Now refrigerators last 8–10 years, if you are fortunate. How in the world have our appliances regressed so much in the past few decades? ... Now, many appliances break and need servicing within 2-3 years and, overall, new appliances last 1/3 to 1/4 as long as appliances built decades ago. ... Why is this happening, and what’s really going on?[more inside]
"Romances and Play-books too much gratifie the Humours of the Populace; but humble and sincere Christians, with Delight recall to minde Gods Mercies, and with Awfulness tremble at His Judgments," quoth the anonymous editor of London's Dreadful Visitation, a compilation of the weekly bills of mortality collected in the year 1665. While intended to provide a record of the course of that year's plague, these bills inadvertently provide a cross-section of the ways people died in a 17th-century metropolis, including Kingsevil, Grief, Wormes, Lethargy, Griping in the guts, Purples, French-pox, Livergrown, Stone, and Suddenly. [more inside]