July 26

Does local establishment The Stars At Night stand up to scrutiny?

On a shelf behind the bar was a small, green plastic elephant. It belonged to a local called Sedge. Whenever he had a pint, he'd drop the elephant into it. It was called the Sedgephant. This is not a good anecdote, but it is the sort of thing that happens in pubs. - Phil Savage from PC Gamer reviews a pub. A pub in the game Everybody's Gone To The Rapture.
posted by ambrosen at 3:17 PM - 0 comments

Detroit '67

"This July marks the 50th anniversary of the civil disturbance and unrest that erupted in Detroit. [...] As we planned our coverage, we wondered: What would it have been like to witness the summer of '67 with the tools and technologies of today?" As part of its anniversary coverage, on July 23 the Detroit Free Press began posting news reports from the time along with current-day perspective via three social media accounts: Detroit1967 (Facebook), @Detroit_1967 (Twitter), and @Detroit_1967 (Instagram), while the Detroit Historical Society has collected over 400 stories from Metro Detroit residents as part of its Detroit 1967 Oral and Written History Project. [Note: some of the Detroit Free Press links may contain autoplaying content.]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:49 PM - 0 comments

Dull Universe

How The Mummy did Sofia Boutella dirty
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM - 18 comments

Aww Josh! What is that?

We've talked about Justin Trudeau. We've talked about The West Wing Weekly. But have we talked about Justin Trudeau on The West Wing Weekly? [JT segment starts at 45:04] [more inside]
posted by jacquilynne at 12:21 PM - 12 comments

I'm a dude, he's a dude, she's a dude, we're all dudes

At long last: Good Burger: The Oral History.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:51 AM - 15 comments

Norm Macdonald talks with David Letterman for an hour.

Norm MacDonald talks with David Letterman for an hour. At one point they discuss their experiences with OCD, anxiety and depression in a refreshingly candid manner.
posted by craniac at 9:58 AM - 20 comments

20 1 8 5 6 10 1 21 1 9 18 17 9 1 3 2 14 3 6

Betty Shannon, Unsung Mathematical Genius. Here, the authors of a Claude Shannon biography (who also recently did an AMA) explore his wife's role in his life.
posted by Jpfed at 9:55 AM - 6 comments

Animal behaviour in its own proper context.

Why Animals Do The Thing is a Tumblr blog focused on animal science education.
They often explain animal news articles and debunk anthropomorphic beliefs about nature.
Topics: Cats, Dogs: training, expressions, toxic food. Horses and Goats, Wolf packs, Snakes, Zoos and the AZA. They also have some cute pictures. [more inside]
posted by Lanark at 8:53 AM - 12 comments

“...regrets to inform you that this next test is impossible.”

Portal Done Without Mouse Movement [YouTube] The entire game is completed inbounds without moving the in game camera which is typically controlled by the mouse.
posted by Fizz at 8:51 AM - 11 comments

"Some people believe that it was cheating. I know it wasn’t."

Phil Ivey is one of the most famous poker players in the world, and has been part of more than one of the most important hands in the history of the game as we know it today. But it's been a while since he played in the most high-profile games.
posted by Etrigan at 8:22 AM - 20 comments


THE TOAST IS BACK FOR ONE DAY. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. So far: Link Roundup, and Harvard Magazine Personal Advertisements’ Many Synonyms For “Rich” or “Thin”.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:57 AM - 45 comments

Gin to Me is Home Now

The Poisoning, an essay by Alexander Chee [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 7:51 AM - 10 comments

Live and Let Live

This is a playable explanation of how we trust, why we don't, and who wins, through the lens of the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma[wiki]. Made by Nicky Case, n.b. music will play when you press Start.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:42 AM - 10 comments

July 25

When you try to whip them forwards, they buck you off

In Defence of the Bad, White Working Class. Shannon Burns writes thoughtfully in Meanjin about middle-class myopia in antiracist politics.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 10:29 PM - 129 comments

Strange Fruit

New cover of Strange Fruit "It’s a small and safe thing, using music as a political statement, but at a time when we feel utterly powerless to fix what is so clearly broken with our country, any action at all feels like progress." From Cover Me

posted by Gorgik at 9:53 PM - 4 comments

A looming male fertility crisis

A newly published meta-analysis of 185 studies of 42,935 male-bodied people from 1972-2011 [pdf] found that sperm concentration has fallen by 52.4% in North America, Europe Australia and New Zealand—with no sign of stopping. No significant trends were seen in South America, Asia and Africa, but the authors noted that limitations in the underlying studies made it impossible to rule out a significant trend in those continents as well. [more inside]
posted by jedicus at 7:54 PM - 60 comments

🚒 🎶 🐕

Siren Songs of Samoyeds [howling and sirens, h/t Miss Cellania]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:05 PM - 17 comments

"Are my methods unsound?" "I don't see any method at all, sir."

Pence Breaks Tie as Senate Votes to Begin Debating Obamacare Repeal [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger at 5:51 PM - 699 comments

Billy Bragg on Roots, Radicals, and Rockers

What do you get when a bunch of British school boys in the mid-'50s play Lead Belly's repertoire... on acoustic guitars? Skiffle. And Billy Bragg wants you to get to know the music that brought the guitar to post-war British pop. (YT video of his recent talk at the Library of Congress, with transcript.) [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:06 PM - 17 comments

"the living record of a universal mind"

The British Library has digitized Leonardo da Vinci's Notebook ('The Codex Arundel') and made 570 digitized images available online. [via] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A at 2:43 PM - 6 comments

Terrific TV titles

How Opening Titles Became So Damn Good. (SLVWired)
posted by storybored at 2:30 PM - 33 comments

My whole family is being chipped

On Aug. 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger. (SLNYT) Once that is done, any task involving RFID technology — swiping into the office building, paying for food in the cafeteria — can be accomplished with a wave of the hand.
posted by stillmoving at 1:03 PM - 123 comments

Lasseter: the man who found that fabled reef, a man from death returned

Field-Marshal Sir William Birdwood wrote: " The annals of Central Australian exploration are tragic and heroic, but it is long indeed since I read a more moving story of endurance and heroism in the face of terrific odds than the epic which Mr. Ion Idriess has woven out of the last few months of the life of L. H. B. Lasseter." Lasseter's Last Ride was published in 1931, then turned into a folk song and a (possibly related) poem. This story mixes facts, half-truths, rumours, stories (PDF) — adds a twist of drama, waits 80 years and serves up a story nearly as reliable as Ulysses, wandering his own Mediterranean desert. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:17 PM - 7 comments

Cousins, identical cousins...

"Pet brothers from other mothers..." [more inside]
posted by cooker girl at 11:15 AM - 23 comments

The Transported Man

"Teleportation killed the Mona Lisa." So begins The Punch Escrow , a novel about everyday teleportation gone awry in the year 2147, by MeFi's own analogue . Available all over the interwebs today from places you buy books. [more inside]
posted by bitterkitten at 10:30 AM - 31 comments

“In the right context you can make words do all kinds of things.”

The Last Days of New Paris is China Miéville’s novella about a surrealist Paris magically overlapping with our realist Paris.
At the back of the book, Miéville offers endnote citations of the surrealist art that inspired his writing. I corralled all the art in this post.
posted by adamvasco at 10:12 AM - 22 comments

At Play in the Carceral State

At Play in the Carceral State. Waypoint looks in depth at the intersection of gaming with prisons and prison culture, with a special focus on Gitmo. (Waypoint, previously.)
posted by kmz at 9:56 AM - 6 comments

“So that’s what I was for—there to handle cheese.”

Americans are drinking less milk than ever before, but fast food restaurants are saving the dairy industry by coming out with tons of new menu items featuring dairy products, especially cheese. A look at how a government-backed dairy industry group teamed up with Taco Bell to create the Quesalupa and convinced McDonald's to switch from margarine to butter. [more inside]
posted by Copronymus at 9:31 AM - 79 comments

“It’s real. Those emotions are real. The loss is real.”

In These Games, Death Is Forever, and That’s Awesome [Wired] ““Permadeath” has been growing in popularity among game designers in recent years. Although it can take different forms depending on which game you’re playing, the message is always the same: Mistakes have consequences. [...] The games today that use permadeath as a feature are something of a hybrid of old and new. They have more storyline than Pac-Man but the emphasis is not on a heavily scripted Hollywood-style narrative. Rather, the game’s fictional worlds set the scene, establish a strong sense of place, but give the players more leeway to imagine their own personal stories.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 8:46 AM - 59 comments

The Thing in the Woods

In 1962 woodsman David McPherson Sr. found himself deep in the forest of Lutes Mountain, some 15 kilometres west of Moncton, N.B., staring upwards at a 181-kilogram white box with cameras and hanging from a tree by a deteriorated parachute. What began as a day of scouting timber would turn into the mystery of "the thing in the woods" that would stay with his family for the next 55 years.
posted by twilightlost at 8:33 AM - 25 comments

Sadiq Khan Takes on Brexit and Terror

It is Khan’s lot to have emerged as a national figure just as London is more vulnerable, and more at odds with the rest of Britain, than at any other point in its recent history. The New Yorker profiles London's Mayor. (SLNewYorker)
posted by Ziggy500 at 7:41 AM - 7 comments

"This is a commodity that has been fundamentally disrupted."

Taxi medallions in New York City (one of the prime examples economists give when discussing rent seeking) have plummeted in value by more than half since Uber and Lyft came to town, which has had knock-on effects including three credit unions that specialize in loaning money against medallions going into conservatorship, with one analyst comparing it to the subprime mortgage crisis.
posted by Etrigan at 6:05 AM - 52 comments

"We live in Generation U Mad Bro"

South Park raised a generation of trolls (slAVClub)
posted by sigma7 at 5:14 AM - 172 comments

"A happy and Quiet Valentines Day with no drains blocked!"

The Guardian's Underwhelming UK Holiday Photos (previously) has grown into a rich archive. Enjoy underwhelming photos of office Christmas decorations, heatwaves, snowmen, Valentine's day (and again), pancakes, and many more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye at 3:15 AM - 10 comments

July 24

My briefcase full of bees ought to put a stop to that

Later that very same year, on International Bring A Shit-Ton Of Bees To Work Day... DR. BEES (Harry Partridge, YouTube, 02:11) [more inside]
posted by flabdablet at 10:04 PM - 16 comments

the omphalos

Why don't Americans know their own Dutch history?
What's left of New Amsterdam in Lower Manhattan
A forgotten American founding father: Adriaan van der Donck
How New Amsterdam influenced America
Author Russell Shorto, of The Island At The Center Of The World [Guardian, NY Times, Bookslut] also gives a lecture on Dutch-American relations and history, drawing heavily on the New Netherland Project Translations at the New York State Library and Archives, part of the New Netherland Institute, where Dr. Charles Gehring is busy at work Decoding the Dutch for over the past 40 years
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:58 PM - 15 comments

I bet he can't identify mushrooms either

Man is very upset after mistaking squash for cheese
posted by AFABulous at 5:23 PM - 172 comments

"He does have a lot of challenges, but he doesn't know that."

While there are parts of the world where intelligent robots are drowning themselves, it’s good to see technology being used for good elsewhere. In New Hampshire, a group of eighth graders designed and created a 3D-printed wheelchair for a six-month-old kitten named Ray who is unable to use his rear legs due to a spinal condition. On top of that, he was born with abnormally tiny eyes, leaving him blind.
The little charmer (full name: Ray Catdashian) also has an Instagram account.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:01 PM - 9 comments

Brothers Keepers

The cautionary tale of the Harlem hoarders, the Collyer brothers. I've known about this story since 1954, when Marcia Davenport wrote the novel My Brother's Keeper, a romanticized portrait of this sad story. I'd never seen these pictures.
posted by MovableBookLady at 4:51 PM - 15 comments

Ratted out

"A forgotten Eden, belonging only to albatrosses, penguins and seals, South Georgia is one of the most remote islands on the planet....We were there for a simple purpose – to free South Georgia from the rats that had plagued the island for almost two hundred years." [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:05 PM - 21 comments

Hello, camp director? I was on your website and I don't see them.

For years, summer camp has been known as a technology- and parent-involvement -free zone. But cell phones are making that harder and harder to do. Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp?
posted by Mchelly at 2:00 PM - 55 comments

Comedy Bang Bang 500

An Oral History of the Funniest Podcast Ever
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:50 PM - 29 comments

Stay tuned, presumably, for "squid on a grid"

Let's play a mathematical game I call Swine in a Line. [YouTube, about 3 minutes]. The video is broken into short parts so you have time to think; here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. If you prefer text (and spoilers), here is the blog post with detailed explanation.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:12 PM - 9 comments

Paint no more.

Microsoft has killed Paint after 32 years of faithful service.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:40 AM - 118 comments

Come for the kitties, stay for the mad knife skillz

Chef and cat owner (or cat owner and chef, if you prefer) Jun Yoshizuki (previously) likes to prepare lavish birthday meals for his cats. His YouTube channel, Jun's Kitchen, has lots of great human food, as well as knife techniques, but his chill cats figure prominently in most of them. (Also previously as one half of Rachel and Jun.) [h/t]
posted by Room 641-A at 9:18 AM - 9 comments

Grow your own Purple Crystals [SLYT 4 min 4 sec]

Growing your own purple crystals. A fun, simple and educational diy project With a little potassium, some aluminium sulphate, water, a glass container, an airing cupboard (or similar space), and a little patience you can cultivate your own decorative purple crystals. This video explains how. [more inside]
posted by Faintdreams at 7:53 AM - 8 comments

The colors of time

On 16 October 1913, two Frenchmen landed in the port of Durrës, or as it was then called, Durazzo, in the recently created Albania. They opened an elongated lacquered trunk, and took out a folding camera mounted on a tripod. They inserted a glass plate, and made photographs of the port, a curious kid in the gate of the former Venetian fortress, two Muslim boys at the base of the wall – one of them also separately –, a man with an attractive face with three or four chickens in his hand, a master who offered his services on the square with a huge-wheeled oxcart and a Ferris wheel pieced together from raw beams. Then they removed the glass plates, and repacked the camera into the trunk. These were the first color photos ever created on today’s Albania. [more inside]
posted by kmt at 7:48 AM - 10 comments

Back to nature

Kate Kato is a designer who creates recycled paper models of the natural world. My favourites are her enhanced 3D books.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:10 AM - 4 comments

That time the Great Crown of England was pawned

In February 1338, the English Parliament approved a forced loan from Edward III's English subjects in support of his war against King Philip VI of France: 20,000 sacks of wool, which were to arrive in friendly Antwerp just before Edward landed with his troops in July. English wool, then the best in the world, could easily be converted into the gold needed to pay for troops and supplies. When Edward landed in Antwerp, his allies were there to greet him: The Duke of Brabant, the Count of Hainault, the Duke of Guelders, the Margrave of Juliers, and a host of lesser princes. But the wool wasn't. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 6:13 AM - 18 comments

I before E, except after... W?

Most kids who grow up speaking English learn the "I before E" rule, complete with its subparts "except after C" and "or when sounding like A". And some people learn some of the major exceptions, like "weird" and "height" and "caffeine" (so many exceptions, in fact, that as Stephen Fry and QI point out, the rule is essentially useless). But not many people go as far as Nathan Cunningham and use their programming skills to see whether C is really the letter that should be cited as the main exception. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 5:56 AM - 46 comments

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