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September 14

A week of Ctrl-Alt-Del posts on Raymond Chen's blog The Old New Thing begins with a simple blog post: Who wrote the text for the Ctrl+Alt+Del dialog in Windows 3.1?. What followed was a mixture of confused tech journalism and Chen's patient Windows archaeology. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:06 PM - 1 comment

How pointe shoes get made, at Freed's of London (official shoe makers of the Royal Ballet). Has that whet your appetite? You can try your hand at the Royal Ballet's company class (or the Bolshoi's, if that is more your speed). If you never got a chance to take ballet as a kid, be inspired by the adult beginner ballet students of Kathy Mata. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 5:16 PM - 17 comments

In the late 1990s, Portland-based programmer Kevin Lewandowski shifted his musical discography efforts from a manually maintained drum'n'bass website to a community-built effort, and named the effort Discogs. The site grew, slowly at first, focusing on documenting any and all details of electronic records, then hip hop, rock and jazz, and eventually any sort of recorded audio, more or less. Other key changes include the 2005 addition of the Discogs Marketplace, and the contentious Version Four update, which changed the way submissions are moderated, making all pending submissions publicly visible. The latter change resulted in "the oggercide," but it was the former that brought about a vinyl revolution, uniting a world of record sellers small and large in one well-visited vinyl (and CD, cassette, DVD, etc.) record store. Last month, Discogs held its first in-person record sale, in Portland, Oregon.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:00 PM - 6 comments

Al-Qaeda deliberately targeted the 9/11 attacks at the backbone of the world's financial system in lower Manhattan, to cripple US and world banking. That totally didn't happen and, national emergency aside, the US's (and world's) financial systems kept operating as normal, with no runs on banks and the NYSE trading at normal volumes just a week later. With the destruction of the physical infrastructure of banking and telecommunications in lower Manhattan, Alan Greenspan stranded in Zurich, and no one having any idea what was going on, how did that happen? Within 41 minutes, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson issued a short statement on Fedwire that the Fed fund transfer system was fully operational and the Fed would remain open until "an orderly closing could be achieved." Within 3 hours, the Fed issued a short statement that "The Federal Reserve System is open and operating. The discount window is available to meet liquidity needs." The financial system, the Fed declared, would not fail. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:40 PM - 35 comments

Ten Second Songs covers pop songs in twenty different styles: Linkin Park - In The End, Ariana Grande - Problem, Jason Derulo - Talk Dirty To Me [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:58 PM - 4 comments

It's not always obvious, but Cracked does some amazing true life interviewing and reporting buried in a (very) thin veneer of black humour. From John Cheese's writings on growing out of alcoholism to Robert Evans' personal experience articles, they do a surprisingly good job at telling intense, hard-to-read stories. This is their take on sex slavery. Holy shit trigger warnings.
posted by ChrisR at 1:36 PM - 59 comments

Entangled. "Forced to care for her catatonic lover Malcolm after a secret quantum experiment goes awry, Erin is determined to uncover the cause of his condition — even at the risk of her own life. This riveting contemporary science-fiction story, from one of the writers of Orphan Black, bridges alternate dimensions as it explores how far a person will go for someone they love." From the TIFF 2014 festival.
posted by homunculus at 12:52 PM - 4 comments

No, the above quote is not the answer to “How many total episodes are there of the various “Law & Order” franchises?”. In actuality, those nine words conclude one of the most exciting films of the 1940’s (and the direct ancestor of Dick Wolf’s prolific franchise). Welcome to “The Naked City”. [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:07 PM - 9 comments

“Goddamit, I ain’t got no motherf--n’ name for it yet, motherf--ker!” (language NSFW)
posted by danabanana at 10:25 AM - 35 comments

"Aint Nothing Shine Brighter Than That Bad Boy": The Inside Story of Hip-Hop's Most Notorious Label
posted by supermassive at 9:44 AM - 3 comments

“True, the Nazis were trying to find the Ark of the Covenant so they could destroy the world,” Canuto says. “But methodologically and legally they were in the right.” Why archeologists hate Indiana Jones. Also, why doctors don't like medical dramas; what is inaccurate about TV portrayals of lawyers and the legal process (PDF); and, finally, the terrific analysis of the portrayal of academics in children's books. When your profession is portrayed on TV, what do they get wrong?
posted by blahblahblah at 9:11 AM - 145 comments

"It irritates me because it seems such a self-conscious way to live. But, to be fair, it’s almost always completely unselfconsciously done. It’s people like me, carping at the camcordsters, who are overthinking how life should be experienced. We’re the ones who are trying to impose our opinion of how things should be enjoyed. 'Why can’t you just look at a view!?' we fume, but we never ask ourselves: 'Why can’t you just let people enjoy the view in the way they want!?' Exasperated by people staring at their phones instead of the world around them, we end up staring at people staring at their phones, miss the sunset, fireworks display or penguin feeding time, and don’t even walk away with a video to watch later." (SLGuardian)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:33 AM - 38 comments

The colorful street art and murals of L.A.-based artist Septerhed.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:10 AM - 2 comments

In the 1960s, the city of Sheffield redeveloped their neglected market square into a Hole in the Road. "A small early forerunner to Meadowhall-type malls; but with more drunks and dodgy smells," the Hole was filled in and paved over in the 90s. [more inside]
posted by moonmilk at 7:53 AM - 17 comments

Yann Frisch. Vivement dimanche, Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde, Champion du Monde de Magie.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:11 AM - 2 comments

'I place the blame for gaming history at the feet of the medium itself, or rather the industry that runs it. You can turn on the radio and hear the entire post-Beatles spectrum of popular music history represented as you run down the dial; flip through cable channels on a Sunday afternoon and you're as likely to see yet another repeat airing of an '80s release like Die Hard or Back to the Future as you are something that hit theaters in the past five years. For games, though, you practically have to go digging to find the classics. And chances are you won't even find them.' Jeremy Parish on the preservation and availability of classic video games. [more inside]
posted by ersatz at 3:36 AM - 9 comments

They have a very sexy cow in Murky Waters, the tiny, rural village you find yourself in for the duration of Chapter 4. The peasants are devoted to their cow, and dedicate themselves to her every need, guarding her jealously and evangelising about her voluptuous udder. They seem to take less care of their daughters, who keep wandering off and getting killed. Quick, better screw some of them first!
Kate Simpson is collecting all the ladycards in The Witcher: part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. (The Witcher, for those who don't know, gave the player collectable trading cards for each character they ahem "romanced".)
posted by MartinWisse at 2:35 AM - 48 comments

September 13

Hear "Give It Up", a beautiful new track from Kutiman's followup to "Thru You". Five years after the original Thru You project, Israeli producer Kutiman is teasing the release of a new collection of original tracks, painstakingly stitched together from unrelated YouTube videos. [more inside]
posted by Silky Slim at 11:31 PM - 26 comments

Physically, intellectually and emotionally, cows are far more complex than we give them credit for.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 11:15 PM - 39 comments

"Scientists reset human stem cells to earliest developmental state" The paper, published in Cell, is available under a CC-3.0 license. [See: earlier Mefi post] [more inside]
posted by peacay at 7:05 PM - 18 comments

Ultra Street Fighter IV ultra combos without the cinematic camera (cf. with the cinematic camera).
posted by griphus at 3:49 PM - 20 comments

Ian McEwan: the law versus religious belief. [The Guardian]
The conjoined twins who would die without medical intervention, a boy who refused blood transfusions on religious grounds…Ian McEwan on the stories from the family courts that inspired his latest novel.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz at 3:49 PM - 10 comments

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this photograph from the International Space Station and tweeted "Words can't describe how it feels flying through an #aurora. I wouldn't even know where to begin..." Not many can share his experience, but photographer Paul Williams captured an aurora while on a flight from London to New York (stills on Flickr). NASA's Science News has an article on Flying Through a Geomagnetic Storm, with information on how auroras are formed, and a bit more on what it's like to fly through them, with an accompanying video (previously).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:33 PM - 16 comments

If you have a good cat and you don't want to lose it, you must rub its nose and four legs with butter for three days, and it will never leave the house. [more inside]
posted by Quietgal at 1:10 PM - 63 comments

According to Kathy Griffin, when she expressed interest in hosting The Late Late Show, she was told they were "not considering females at this time." This is especially ironic considering that the current Late Late Show host, Craig Ferguson, stated that he thought the next host should "unquestionably be a female." Even worse, there was some talk about David Letterman's Late Show hosting spot going to a woman after he stepped down, but no dice. [more inside]
posted by Sara C. at 1:03 PM - 108 comments

An appeals panel of the Seventh Circuit ruled yesterday (pdf) that Wisconsin may immediately implement a photo ID law, for the November 4th election. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM - 64 comments

1944 Locomotive firing course. Traffic demands during World War II taxed American railroads to their capacity. Orders for new steam locomotives kept the builders busy. Along with the need for more locomotives came the need for men trained to operate them. Responding to this situation, the Education Department of the State of New York, through its State University system and the Bureau of Industrial and Technical Education, published a Suggested Unit Course in Locomotive Firing. The course was prepared by curriculum writers at Seneca Vocational High School in Buffalo, and was issued from Albany in 1944.
posted by pjern at 11:36 AM - 6 comments

In the somewhat tumultuous debate over the Scottish independence (previously), and with less than a week before the historic vote, a new voice has risen out of the fray.
posted by Evilspork at 10:15 AM - 68 comments

Michael Winslow does Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." The original here for comparison. Bonus behind the scenes footage. [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:23 AM - 16 comments

The class war in American politics is over. The rich won. [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:58 AM - 128 comments

"There is nowhere to have a quiet chat – if a channel controller wants to discuss a commission, they must first book time in a glass-walled meeting room named after some long-gone BBC character – the Del Boy or Wilfred Pickles suite or something. The Mr Pastry Suite or the Basil Fawlty Snack Bar would have been no more likely to produce creative ideas, but at least it might have been fun getting the summons." (SLGuardian)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:32 AM - 61 comments

Modern linguistics is founded on a radical premise: the equality of all languages. “All languages have equal expressive power as communication systems,” writes Steven Pinker. “Every grammar is equally complex and logical and capable of producing an infinite set of sentences to express any thought one might wish to express,” says a recent textbook. … Where native speakers are concerned, no language, dialect, or accent can meaningfully be described as primitive, broken, or inferior.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:29 AM - 22 comments

Ghostbusters is the best comedy ever made about the limits of the Lovecraftian worldview. By Max Gladstone.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:41 AM - 90 comments

81 year-old Charlie goes to Burning Man. (NSFW)
posted by loquacious at 1:18 AM - 15 comments

September 12

As a teenager, I began sponsoring a poverty-stricken boy in the Caribbean. Twelve years and thousands of dollars later I flew down to meet him - and to learn if my efforts did any good at all.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 11:09 PM - 58 comments

U2's thirteenth studio album Songs Of Innocence was released for free download via iTunes this week (with surprisingly good reviews and some naysayers). And of course, some controversy about how it was distributed... But it's been 5 1/2 years since the release of their last album. What on earth have they been up in the meantime? [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 8:34 PM - 120 comments

Kate Davis performs 3 covers:
feat. Postmodern Jukebox - Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass
at New York Humane Society - Katy Perry's Roar
and three years ago on the Lennon Bus - Imagine
[more inside]
posted by carsonb at 8:22 PM - 13 comments

The Most Punk Rock Diary Entry Ever. Discovered by Jason Isbel, as reported by Badass Digest.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:51 PM - 47 comments

Cheaper, faster production of hydrogen from water claimed. [more inside]
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 6:10 PM - 33 comments

100 Bass Riffs: A Brief of Groove on Bass and Drums. From the folks at Chicago Music Exchange who previously brought you 100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N' Roll).
posted by wabbittwax at 5:51 PM - 23 comments

This Girl's Body Art Forces Viewers To Question Where Reality Ends And Nightmares Begin
posted by Michele in California at 4:19 PM - 30 comments

Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? "The continuing debate over a murky sexual encounter at a 2008 convention for cheekily anti-establishment skeptics underscores a broader dilemma: How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?"
posted by homunculus at 3:26 PM - 228 comments

Stasi office interiors.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:11 PM - 24 comments

In response to criticism over the banning of infamous subreddit TheFappening, where private photographs of women (both celebrities and not) were being circulated, Reddit chief Yishan Wong released a controversial op-ed stating that Reddit considers itself "not just a company running a website where one can post links and discuss them, but the government of a new type of community." T.C. Sottek, writing for The Verge, asserts that if this is the case, then Reddit is assuredly a failed state. [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:23 PM - 231 comments

"Stand Still, Stay Silent" is the follow-up to Minna Sundberg's successful webcomic "A Redtail's Dream" (previously), but instead of a 550 page Finnish fantasy tale, it's a post-apocalyptic but still very Scandinavian story intended to run for years. After 10 months of almost-every-weekday pages, she has taken a short break for the end of 'Book One' and it's a good time to catch up. (SPOILERS INSIDE, but reading from the beginning is still strongly recommended) [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:08 PM - 8 comments

The story of the world’s longest wooden board.
posted by jessamyn at 12:58 PM - 35 comments

When last we checked in with Toronto mayor Rob Ford, he had just come back from a stint in rehab. The ensuing summer found him apparently clean and sober, although still with an aura of scandal (last weekend he was subpoenaed in an extortion case) and despite great efforts, polls had Ford trailing by more than ten points in the race in August. Earlier this week, things took another shocking turn when he was admitted to hospital with an abdominal tumour. With 2:00 PM today as the deadline for candidates to add or remove their names to or from the ballot, many speculated on how Ford's health concerns would affect the race (the two candidates polling in fourth and fifth bowed out of the race in the last two weeks). This morning, hours before the deadline, Ford announced he was withdrawing his name from the mayoral ballot, but he would be running for city council. He has asked his brother and erstwhile campaign manager, rookie councillor Doug Ford, to run for mayor in his place. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:46 PM - 110 comments

We’re making a book. The margins are important. Do you know how important? [SLMed]
posted by infini at 11:40 AM - 43 comments

We were each other’s firsts. I was 16, a stressed-out immigrant kid, she was the daughter of Colombian Catholics who were quite fond of the church’s policy on pre-marital sex. So it took us quite a while to awkwardly, semi-defeatedly concede to each other that we had run out of excuses to avoid sex. “This weekend?” I said grimly. A very sweet Guardian piece called "My parents helped me to lose my virginity" by novelist Boris Fishman.
posted by jbickers at 11:26 AM - 12 comments

The FBI has recently released details on how the Silk Road black market was taken down. [more inside]
posted by ubiquity at 11:06 AM - 37 comments

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