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December 18

"A superhero can do anything to change that world."

India's New Comic Book Hero Fights Rape, Rides On The Back Of A Tiger
She's a not a superhero in the comic book tradition. Her power is the power of persuasion and the power of an idea. She's riding the tiger all over India and creating a movement [to] deal with sexual violence.
posted by Librarypt at 5:49 AM - 0 comments

Run Derby Run!

Derby was born with very deformed front legs... With the aid of 3-D printing, the world is moving a lot faster for him. (article here)
posted by HuronBob at 3:09 AM - 12 comments

The Timber Joke

There was a lumberjack who chopped trees all day and would yell "TIMBER" just before each tree would fall… There are plenty of versions of the “Timber” joke on YouTube, many done as part of a beginning ASL course. Most of these retellings seem identical to on another. For a refreshing take on the joke, check out this over-the-top version in Pidgin Signed English. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious at 2:50 AM - 4 comments

Writers can now afford butter with their Toast

Contributors to The Toast are paid a flat, one-time fee of $50 on publication. No further compensation is due, even if The Toast re-publishes the contribution. The Toast also reserves the right to edit at will.
These aren't ideal provisions, but they're not uncommon. What is uncommon: contributors must hand over copyright and waive all moral rights (including the right of attribution).
MeFi favourite The Toast came under fire on Tuesday, as according to Writer Beware, it turned out they paid their contributors a flat $50 fee for all rights in perpetuity. This is not surprising behaviour for an internet content farm, but what may be surprising was the resolution. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 2:00 AM - 36 comments

"As such, Helen herself has a beauty rating of 1.186 helens"

in the iliad helen speaks the last lament for hector. the only man in troy who showed her kindness is slain—and now, helen says, πάντες δέ με πεφρίκασιν, all men shudder at me. she doesn't speak in the iliad again. homer isn’t cruel to helen; her story is cruel enough.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:33 AM - 9 comments

December 17

The Enduring Art of the Lowcountry Basket

Grass Roots: The Enduring Art of the Lowcountry Basket (video 27:21). Sweetgrass Baskets: "This basket-making tradition came to South Carolina in the 17th century by way of West African slaves who were brought to America to work on plantations." The Sweetgrass Basket Tradition: "Sweetgrass basketmaking has been part of the Charleston and Mt. Pleasant communities for more than 300 years." Sweetgrass Baskets: A History (pdf): "Coiled basketry, one of the oldest African crafts in America, appeared in South Carolina during the late 17th century." The South Carolina Lowcountry. Sweetgrass (Muhlenbergia filipes). [more inside]
posted by cwest at 11:38 PM - 4 comments

The rise of Bolivia's Aymara people, as seen in architecture and fashion

Bolivia has undergone a significant change under the three terms of President Evo Morales, the first president to come from the country's indigenous majority. Members of that majority have found prosperity, increasing the prestige of indigenous design and style, as seen in this seven minute segment on the new buildings and minor twists on old fashions adopted by Bolivia's indigenous bourgeoisie, from Financial Times' coverage of the displays of the Aymara people's new-found wealth. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 PM - 10 comments

PEOPLE! LEMME HEAR YUH! LET'S SEE SOME HANDS! LET'S MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!!

The Best of Paul Stanley's Epic Stage Raps - the video companion piece to "People, Let Me Get This Off My Chest" [previously]
posted by not_on_display at 9:21 PM - 6 comments

Spoiler: Schadenfreude

What happened When Marissa Mayer Tried to Be Steve Jobs
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:02 PM - 101 comments

Love before War

There's all this talk about a manned trip to Mars. But there's another planet to consider visiting before a trip to Mars - NASA is now studying how to send people to Venus.
posted by ShooBoo at 5:41 PM - 35 comments

Twitter Bots for My Real Friends, Real Bots for My Twitter Friends

Darius Kazemi, aka @tinysubversions, is a bot-maker extrordinaire. Known for his inspiring talk on creativity and the lottery at XOXO last year, Kazemi has founded NaNoGenMo and the Bot Summit, created such wonderful Twitter Bots as Olivia Taters, (actually by @robdubbin) For My Real Friends, Miraculous Pictures and Two Headlines. Today he posted about his process in creating Content Forever, a writeup which covers many angles in creating readable bot writing, including escaping phenomena as the Wikipedia philosophy phenomenon.
posted by dame at 3:03 PM - 15 comments

Behind the scenes at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Are you interested in plants? The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew aren’t just a tourist attraction -- they also run one of the world's leading botanical research institutes. To show off how important and fascinating modern plant science can be, they've commissioned a series of snazzy short videos to showcase their work. Start with the award-winning Forgotten Home of Coffee (6:00) (based on this worrying Kew study from 2012), then come back for the rest. [more inside]
posted by rollick at 2:49 PM - 7 comments

((n - (r - 1)) ÷ n) × w

Best Ever Albums aggregates 17,000 "greatest album" charts to establish a statistical consensus on popular music rankings. [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 2:46 PM - 69 comments

Changing climates of history

Neither Thucydides, Gibbon, von Ranke, nor Braudel ever cited a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters. They did not worry themselves about fluctuations in the Siberian High or the Southern Oscillation. The vast majority of more recent historians also remained untroubled by such concerns. However, in the past five years, a handful of highly distinguished historians have come out with new books that put climate at the center of historical explanation. What on Earth is going on? [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 2:07 PM - 14 comments

Black people don't have that luxury to be able to tap out...

"Too often, when I'm using my fiber-optic space to share, vent, rant, and process the realities of being Black in America, I'm faced with White people responding with comments and private messages that I'm attacking, disappointing, angering, or hurting them. Or, they use patronizing language like, 'Stacey, you're much smarter than this,' or 'I thought you were a more reasonable person.'

"How do I let them know that when I say things like 'White supremacy needs to be destroyed,' that I'm not talking about personally destroying them? How do I not become frustrated at those who jump in to debate and discredit what Black people are experiencing, in our own threads?" White Women, Please Don't Expect Me to Wipe Away Your Tears, by Stacey Patton at Dame Magazine. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:06 PM - 45 comments

Ceiling cat is watching you lift the table

ⓂⒺⓂⒺ ⒷⒶⓁⓁ - the Internet meme-themed pinball machine
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:46 PM - 26 comments

The Year Before

A fascinating BBC Radio Seven Four xtra audio documentary about life and events in the UK in the run up to World War One. Written and narrated by Michael Portillo, but don't let this put you off. Starts with "The long summer." If you are not in the UK, you may need to spoof your IP address to listen to them.
posted by marienbad at 12:35 PM - 4 comments

AMC testing subscription service for movie theaters

Alamo Drafthouse aside, not many movie theater chains have reported increased attendance in the past few years. Large chains have propped up revenues with ticket price hikes, premium concessions and drinks, but the specter of Netflix and other home viewing platforms looms ominously over the industry. Annual ticket sales in the U.S. have declined to 1995 levels from their high in 2002 (although revenues have grown 3.6% annually over the same period, well outpacing inflation). This January, AMC Theaters will begin testing a new business model in partnership with MoviePass, beginning in Denver and Boston. Subscribers can pay $30-45 a month for a membership good for one film per day at any AMC location. The move echoes a 2013 effort to reopen an independent theater in Oakhurst, CA using a member subscription model. Will it be enough to get more film aficionados off their couches and into a theater seat? The jury's still out.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:55 AM - 87 comments

2015: Flashpoints Abound

A Pessimist's Guide to the World in 2015. Skirmishes in the South China Sea lead to full-scale naval confrontation. Israel bombs Iran, setting off an escalation of violence across the Middle East. Nigeria crumbles as oil prices fall and radicals gain strength. Bloomberg News asked foreign policy analysts, military experts, economists and investors to identify the possible worst-case scenarios, based on current global conflicts, that concern them most heading into 2015. [Bleah interface; interesting content.]
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:41 AM - 31 comments

Inside Beijing's Airpocalypse

"If all the other schools have a dome, then we’ve got to have a dome." Inside Beijing's airpocalypse, a city made 'almost uninhabitable' by pollution
posted by gottabefunky at 10:47 AM - 59 comments

Congress ends federal government ban on medical marijuana

Congress quietly ends federal government's ban on medical marijuana Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy. Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so.
posted by joedan at 10:14 AM - 51 comments

"a new aesthetic of digital decay has started to emerge"

But if you look at a Shitpic, you can instantly tell the level of virality by how worn it looks, how legible its text is, how many watermarks adorn it. You can count them much like you would rings on a tree. A pristine-looking meme engenders skepticism—“This can’t be that funny, it hasn’t been imperfectly replicated enough.”
The Awl on the rise of the shitpic.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:05 AM - 53 comments

And you thought your apartment was nice

Inside Seguine Mansion, Staten Island's Eccentric Historic Home Burke lives in the Seguine Mansion on the southern tip of Staten Island, and unlike most [Historic Home caretakers] he has full access to the mansion, which is filled with his own collection of antique art and furniture. He throws three lavish parties each year: an all-white Spring garden party, a period-costume Fall BBQ, and a black tie Christmas party. His best friend, a doberman named Rusty, can sit on any piece of furniture he wants, from a 19th century French wingback sofa to the Chippendale dining set. Why can Burke do all that? The short answer: it’s his house. Or at least, it kind of is.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:44 AM - 13 comments

2014: The Year in Garbage

THIS YEAR STUNK. It’s possible all years are this bad, but we don’t think so. 2014 was simply a trashpile of world events and sewer people. The slop started piling up at the start and never slowed down. It reeks in here. Did anything good even happen? We can’t say with certainty.
posted by almostmanda at 9:08 AM - 80 comments

Master of Fear

Although he has already created several notable soundtracks for his films John Carpenter has just released his debut album Lost Themes. Interview.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:21 AM - 9 comments

U.S. and Cuba to Start Talks on Normalizing Relations

In an unexpected move, Alan Gross is being exchanged with the (remaining) Cuban Five and the US and Cuba plan to start talks on normalizing relations. [more inside]
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:11 AM - 182 comments

Sealioning Explained by The Last Psychiatrist and Louie

When Was The Last Time You Got Your Ass Kicked? The viral Wondermark sealion strip confounds many by casting its villain as polite with ostensibly reasonable demands, but four years prior, Alone thoroughly explains the tenets summed up in the strip, and the mechanics of bullying in general, with some help from a scene from Louie. [more inside]
posted by deathmaven at 7:24 AM - 126 comments

Yuletide Whambience!

This is what happens when you slow Wham's "Last Christmas" down by a factor of 8.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:06 AM - 29 comments

The Lost World of British Tape Recording Clubs

A few years ago radio producer Mark Vernon bought a hoard of old reel-to-reel audio tapes in a car boot sale in Derby, as a job lot with an elderly and very heavy tape recorder. Coaxing the old machine back to life, he realised he had rescued the jettisoned archive of the Derby Tape Club—a group of amateurs who made, played and swapped recordings in the 1960s and 70s, when domestic tape-recording was in its infancy and before the audio cassette had conquered the world. A radiophonic elegy to an anonymous group of people and their forgotten enthusiasm: domestic tape recording and amateur radio in the 1960s and '70s.
Over the years, Vernon has acquired other archives and put together radio shows, oral histories, and a compilation CD. Listen to the lost sound-scapes of The Leicester tape recording club; the Nottingham Cooperative tape recording club; and the London tape recording club [Breakdown here]. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:05 AM - 5 comments

"In some respects, the wedding doesn't differ from most others."

The BBC's Ouch blog tells the story behind a 1940 Pathé newsreel showing a Deaf couple's wedding. [more inside]
posted by Catseye at 4:44 AM - 10 comments

Jackie chan gets hurt. A lot.

1. Start with a DISADVANTAGE
2. Use the ENVIRONMENT
3. Be CLEAR in your shots
4. Action & Reaction in the SAME frame
5. Do as many TAKES as necessary
6. Let the audience feel the RHYTHM
7. In editing, TWO good hits = ONE great hit
8. PAIN is humanizing
9. Earn your FINISH
The 9 Principles of Action Comedy: what makes Jackie Chan's action scenes work, by Tony Zhou. (Previously.)
posted by MartinWisse at 1:38 AM - 79 comments

December 16

"Walking around a city will never be the same"

We want our tools to sing of not just productivity but of our love of curiosity, the joy of wonderment, and the freshness of the unknown. —Eric Paulos, “Manifesto of Open Disruption and Participation
In his essay “Walking in the City,” the French scholar Michel de Certeau talks about the “invisible identities of the visible.” He is talking specifically about the memories and personal narratives associated with a location. Until recently, this information was only accessible one-to-one—that is, by talking to people who had knowledge of a place. But what if that data became one-to-many, or even many-to-many, and easily accessible via some sort of street-level interface that could be accessed manually, or wirelessly using a smartphone?
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:20 PM - 28 comments

There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas

It was Christmas Eve. I begin this way because it is the proper, orthodox, respectable way to begin, and I have been brought up in a proper, orthodox, respectable way, and taught to always do the proper, orthodox, respectable thing; and the habit clings to me. Of course, as a mere matter of information it is quite unnecessary to mention the date at all. The experienced reader knows it was Christmas Eve ... It always is Christmas Eve, in a ghost story.
In Told After Supper (1891), Jerome K. Jerome parodied the tradition of telling Christmas ghost stories, but it's plain to see that he had fun writing them. And horror writer Ramsey Campbell, himself the author of a number of Christmas stories, recently dropped by /r/WeirdLit to list off a few places to find more. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:06 PM - 12 comments

What does man seek? Whatever it is, it may have died in the Salton Sea.

KQED has been posting its Truly CA documentary videos on YouTube, including Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea, a touching look at the rise and fall of the accidental ocean that is less than 100 years old in its current form, narrated by John Waters and featuring interviews from residents who have seen its better times. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:30 PM - 13 comments

It's All About That Neis (...and those Latkes)

Here are cool Jewish acapella songs about Hanukkah: Chanukah (Shake it Off) and All About That Neis [more inside]
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:30 PM - 8 comments

We Call It N'awlins

Let Me Tell You About New York City [SL Toast]
posted by KernalM at 7:28 PM - 28 comments

Judging a Book by Its... Well, You Know

Do you like books for more than just the words inside? Here, thanks to MeFi's own Jason Kottke, are four and a half lists of the best book covers of 2014.
posted by Etrigan at 5:32 PM - 8 comments

Unedited Footage of a Bear *

"This is unedited raw footage of a bear I filmed with my cell phone. I'm not sure what kind of bear this is." (NSFW, intense flashing at 9min mark)

* Sponsored by Claridryl—"Take life in your hands"
[more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:04 PM - 96 comments

Mandatory condoms for porn shot in Los Angeles County

9th Circuit upholds Los Angeles County law mandating the use of condoms in porn shoots. Decision here. Will this force the porn industry out of Los Angeles? [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:47 PM - 52 comments

Happy Birthday Hero

Chelsea Manning turns 27 this week and some people have written to her.
Joe Sacco, Alan Moore, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Terry Gilliam, Edward Snowden among others. It will be her 4th birthday in prison.
posted by adamvasco at 4:29 PM - 21 comments

Ulf is content.

Meet Ulf. He lives north of the Arctic Circle and makes boat. He swims daily (brief male buttock shot), does household chores, and relaxes. Ulf is content. [10 minutes, Vimeo]
posted by Wordshore at 3:47 PM - 26 comments

Tiny desk make big sound (NPR)

"Truth be told, you should really set aside a weekend and watch all 83 sets back-to-back. But until then, here's a cross-section of favorites, from pop to opera, hip-hop, jazz, rock, country and whatever genre is broad enough to contain the Sun Ra Arkestra." 2014: The Year In Tiny Desk Concerts (here's the full list ).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:02 PM - 30 comments

Pilots of Instagram:

beautiful views from the cockpit, violating rules of the air [more inside]
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 1:06 PM - 66 comments

The snow's coming down

This Friday, Darlene Love will perform "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on David Letterman's show for the 28th and last time. She's performed it every year since 1986, on both Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman. Here's a supercut compilation of her performances. [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 at 12:57 PM - 18 comments

Seattle’s unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck

Seattle's unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck — "In short: There is no plan to resolve the dispute over cost overruns, which are ubiquitous on projects like this; at $4.2 billion, it's the most expensive transportation project in state history. The tunnel will have no exits - no ingress or egress - throughout the entire downtown core (which makes the support of downtown businesses all the more mystifying). It won't allow transit, only cars. It will be tolled, highly enough, by the state's own estimates, to drive nearly half its traffic onto the aforementioned side streets. It will be a precarious engineering feat, the widest deep-bore tunnel in history, digging right between a) Puget Sound and b) the oldest part of Seattle, with vulnerable buildings and God-knows-what buried infrastructure. Also: Pollution. Climate change. It's the 21st f'ing century. On and on. People said all this and more, in real time, to no avail." [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu at 12:34 PM - 152 comments

Null Pointers for All

Dr Dobbs, one of the oldest programming publications announces the end.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:23 PM - 39 comments

"Witness 40": Exposing A Fraud In Ferguson

Report: Darren Wilson's Key Witness Lied About Everything: A summation of the findings of The Smoking Gun's investigation into Sandra McElroy also known as "Witness 40", a key witness for Officer Darren Wilson which may have been instrumental in preventing an indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. [previously]
posted by quin at 12:18 PM - 119 comments

Babelfish Not Required

On Dec 15, 2014, Microsoft announced the first public beta preview for new Skype Translate, a service which will (eventually) work as a go-between to help break down language barriers during voice calls. The initial trial is Spanish <> English only, [2m marketing video] but that's only the beginning. How, though, does it work? And the even bigger question, DOES it work? (The answer appears to be yes.)
posted by hippybear at 11:17 AM - 51 comments

Everyone is poised to attack anyone. But it's all a joke.

How Chan-Style Anonymous Culture Shapes #gamergate Twitter user A Man In Black attempts to untangle the gamergater mindset using identity -- any identity as vice, and lack of identity as a chief virtue.
posted by boo_radley at 9:31 AM - 132 comments

Taliban attacks Pakistani military-run school

Tuesday’s attack killed 141 including many children in grisly battle lasting several hours. The Pakistan military has launched massive air strikes in its remote border region against the Taliban in retaliation for the massacre in a Peshawar school on Tuesday morning that left at least 141 dead, 132 of them children. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus at 9:24 AM - 133 comments

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