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September 16

Having a rough day? Need something to make you feel better? May I present you with A DEN OF KITTENS, a video where the roar of their purring is punctuated by the occasional "Meep" as one after another pops up to discover the camera.
posted by quin at 9:11 PM - 4 comments

Watch The Previously Untold True Story Of David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Tony Visconti Recording “Warszawa” A humorous cartoon documenting the recording of David Bowie's 1977 song Warszawa.
posted by marxchivist at 8:52 PM - 3 comments

A few days ago, the first race of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)'s new Formula E Championship ran with the Bejing ePrix . The race is not quite a simple variant of Formula 1 with electric cars, as the heavy battery packs don't provide enough energy for a complete 50 mile race, so a second car is used to finish the race, and each Formula E car receives 10 specially designed tires per race weekend, which are designed to last the full race, compared to the 52 tires that Formula One cars receive. Though this is a serious race with serious vehicles, as veteran open-wheel and sports car driver Katherine Legge explains in a first-hand account of what it's like to drive the all-electric Formula E car, it's also an effort to promote the potential of electric cars via social media. Saturday's race was the first of 10 races, which will wrap up in June 2015. The Wire has a wrap-up of various news stories, and that article includes a full video of the race in Beijing. More information from Wired, and on the official FIA Formula E website.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:46 PM - 8 comments

In “The Strange Tale of Graceland Too,” Richard Murff writes for The Bitter Southerner, “Among the King’s acolytes, it’s hard to seem crazier than the average Presleyhead. But Paul MacLeod went plumb overboard.”
posted by ob1quixote at 8:27 PM - 1 comment

A new book by journalist Dana Goldstein profiles the deeply controversial history of the teaching profession in the US. A write up in the New York Times and the New Inquiry.
posted by latkes at 8:14 PM - 4 comments

It's official, Boeing's CST-100 and Space X's Dragon have been chosen to launch astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, ending Russia's dominance as the sole provider of rides to the ISS, which they haven't been shy about using for leverage. Meanwhile, develop of the Space Launch System, designed for travel beyond low earth orbit, continues for its maiden launch in 2018. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 PM - 14 comments

When the prices of the steel and (especially) gold Apple Watches are announced, I expect the tech press to have the biggest collective shit fit in the history of Apple-versus-the-standard-tech-industry shit fits. The utilitarian mindset that asks “Why would anyone waste money on a gold watch?” isn’t going to be able to come to grips with what Apple is doing here. Apple watcher and polarizing writer John Gruber offers a long meditation on Apple's philosophy, the (as yet unannounced) pricing tiers of the Apple watch, the "smartwatch" market versus the "watch" market, and the new frontiers of wearable technology.
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:55 PM - 59 comments

Binary stars are common in our galaxy. In fact, singleton star systems like ours make up only 15% of the systems in the Milky Way. In the 1970s, astronomers Kip Thorne and Anna Żytkow, imagined what might happen if a neutron star in a binary system merged with its partner, a red supergiant. Recently, a real example of this strange star-within-a-star, known as a Thorne–Żytkow object (TZO), appears to have been spotted. (Preprint.)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:39 PM - 18 comments

The recovery of Salyut 7 In 1985, the Soviet Union's space station Salyut 7 was crippled by an total electrical failure. Reactivating it would require a manual docking and working in bitter cold, 130 miles above the planet.
posted by bitmage at 5:06 PM - 14 comments

Portland’s paradox is that it attracts so many of “the young and the restless,” as demographers call them, that it has become a city of the overeducated and underemployed — a place where young people are, in many cases, forced into their semiretirement.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:32 PM - 53 comments

Women Who Conquered the Comics World
Robbins knows something about the glass ceiling for women cartoonists because she first hit it herself in the early 1970s, when she tried to join the male-dominated “underground comix” movement based in San Francisco. After the men cartoonists shut her out, Robbins joined forces with other women cartoonists to create their own women’s-lib comic books. She went on to become a well-respected mainstream comic artist and writer, as well as a feminist comics critic who’s written myriad nonfiction books on the subject of great women cartoonists and the powerful female characters they created. Naturally, Robbins has spent some time hunting down the original cartoons from the women who paved the way for her career, and as luck would have it, she found the very first comic strip ever drawn by a woman, “The Old Subscriber Calls” by Rose O’Neill, practically in her backyard.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:17 PM - 5 comments

"We have all these 600 year old books on how to fight, so we thought wouldn't it be cool if we did this?" The New York Times video team visits the world of German longsword fighting, a variety of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA).
posted by Diablevert at 3:06 PM - 16 comments

For the first time ever Sir Ken Robinson (of Do schools kill creativity? fame) attended a TEDx and it was in his home town of Liverpool. As well as presenting the second half, he was interviewed (part one, part two) and gave the epilogue.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:29 PM - 2 comments

Entertainment Weekly has declared 2014 the "Summer of Butts"
posted by ColdChef at 2:11 PM - 76 comments

Roxane Gay lists the rhetorical questions of TV chef Ina Garten
posted by The Whelk at 2:11 PM - 23 comments

If there is one thing we've learned from movies like Terminator and the Matrix, it's that an artificial robotic intelligence will one day force mankind into a seemingly hopeless battle for its survival. Now a new book by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom provides detailed arguments in support of your fears of Skynet, and ideas about we might protect ourselves from an A.I. Apocalypse: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. An excerpt at Slate discusses how intelligence could be related to goals: You Should Be Terrified of Superintelligent Machines. Ron Bailey reviews Bostrom at Reason Magazine. The Chronicle of Higher Education also has a new article that discusses more than Bostrom's book: Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat? [more inside]
posted by dgaicun at 2:06 PM - 70 comments

Bryan Cranston performs the entire MLB post-season. (SLYT)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:52 PM - 11 comments

College admissions officers attribute the organization’s success to the simplicity of its approach to students. It avoids mind-numbingly complex talk of financial-aid forms and formulas that scare away so many low-income families (and frustrate so many middle-income families, like my own when I was applying to college). QuestBridge instead gives students a simple message: If you get in, you can go. Yet the broader lessons of QuestBridge aren’t only about how to communicate with students. They’re also how our society spends the limited resource that is financial aid. The group’s founders, Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, are now turning their attention to the estimated $3 billion in outside scholarships, from local Rotary Clubs, corporations and other groups, that are awarded every year to high school seniors. The McCulloughs see this money as a wasted opportunity, saying it comes too late to affect whether and where students go to college. It doesn’t help the many high-achieving, low-income strivers who don’t apply to top colleges — and often don’t graduate from any college. Continue reading the main story “Any private scholarship given at the end of senior year is intrinsically disconnected from the college application process,” Dr. McCullough said, “and it doesn’t have to be.” - The New York Times takes a look at Questbridge, "which has quietly become one of the biggest players in elite-college admissions." (SL NYTIMES)
posted by beisny at 1:51 PM - 21 comments

Relax on your pristine white couch and enjoy these realistic depictions of motherhood.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:23 AM - 69 comments

25 Famous Women on Childlessness
posted by stoneweaver at 11:03 AM - 121 comments

Meet Weesha, a fashion blogger who lives in Dubai. She likes Wednesday Addams dresses, coordinating pink clothes and accessories, and bold flats. She's also quite open about her insecurities and personal history. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:29 AM - 9 comments

Silicon Valley Has Officially Run Out of Ideas : The winner of this year's TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Award is Alfred Club, basically "Uber for servants"
posted by gwint at 10:14 AM - 172 comments

Between the Lines: tracing the controversial history and recent revival of Inuit facial tattoos.
posted by Rumple at 9:48 AM - 13 comments

The Power Broker is 40 years old today. To commemorate the occasion, the Daily Beast conducted a rare interview with Robert Caro, author of The Power Broker, master prose stylist, researcher, and typewriter enthusiast.
posted by ferret branca at 9:27 AM - 17 comments

PixelThis is the first incremental game (previously, more) to use the movement of the mouse as its gameplay input rather than clicking. But if you don't want to play it as a game, you can make one simple tweak to it and transform it into an oddly relaxing web toy. [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 7:01 AM - 36 comments

Australian television raconteur and polymath critic (and tango enthusiast) Clive James, part of a small wave of intellectual exiles in the 1960s, and now lingeringly dying of leukemia and emphysema, has published a poem titled "Japanese Maple" by way of leave-taking.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:52 AM - 20 comments

Watch this little girl identify fonts.
posted by pjern at 6:37 AM - 48 comments

"Feminism Has Conquered the Culture. Now Comes the Hard Part: A debate on this unprecedented opportunity"
By Rebecca Traister and Judith Shulevitz
posted by davidstandaford at 6:33 AM - 38 comments

Ken Burns’ new film The Roosevelts is 14 hours long. Which hours should you watch? [vox.com]
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns's latest PBS opus, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. If you'd rather stream, the entirety of the miniseries will be available on PBS.com, PBS member sites, and various PBS digital platforms. (It leaves streaming Friday, Sept. 26, so hurry.) It will also be rerun frequently on PBS and comes out on DVD/BLURAY Tuesday. So that's a whole host of ways to watch. But should you? This sucker, like many of Burns's most famous films, including The Civil War, Baseball, and The War, is really, really long. It's seven installments, of roughly two hours each, so you'll be devoting around 14 hours of your life to this thing. If you really, really like the Roosevelts, that's great, because this is a terrific screen biography of the famous family. But what if you're more Roosevelt-curious?
posted by Fizz at 6:21 AM - 34 comments

"Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That is, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research." --- NPR reports [audio] on postdocs & the scientific workforce as part of a series on the funding crisis in biomedical research. The series also includes When Scientists Give Up [audio], and U.S. Science Suffering From Booms And Busts In Funding [audio].
posted by Westringia F. at 6:17 AM - 49 comments

What India Can Teach Silicon Valley About Its Gender Problem [more inside]
posted by infini at 4:22 AM - 27 comments

This week, of course, provided a glorious example of how technology companies have normalized being indifferent to consent: Apple ‘gifting’ each user with a U2 album downloaded into iTunes. At least one of my friends reported that he had wireless synching of his phone disabled; Apple overrode his express preferences in order to add the album to his music collection. The expected 'surprise and delight' was really more like 'surprise and delete'. I suspect that the strong negative response (in some quarters, at least) had less to do with a dislike of U2 and everything to do with the album as a metonym for this widespread culture of nonconsensual behaviour in technology.
Deb Chachra talks about the age of non-consensual technology. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 3:34 AM - 170 comments

For London's Cabbies, Job Entails World's Hardest Geography Test
posted by ellieBOA at 3:15 AM - 23 comments

"Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum." (via)
posted by hat_eater at 2:23 AM - 17 comments

"this obsession with testing and using test scores to punish students and teachers —that’s the crisis"
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:23 AM - 23 comments

September 15

If you live in the Boston area and would like to attend science, technology, math, or engineering lectures, you'll find Fred Hapgood's exhaustive and continually-updated list of Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering in the Boston Area very useful. (Here's his list of sources.) Perhaps you know of a list like this for lectures in your locality or field of preference?
posted by not_on_display at 10:47 PM - 5 comments

Radical Librarianship: how ninja librarians are ensuring patrons' electronic privacy [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:51 PM - 33 comments

The 2014 Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses, or BAHFest, is a month away. If you're not sure what is in store, you can watch the entire festival (1 hr 32 min), or jump to the winning presentation: Tomer Ullman: The Crying Game (Q&A), or why babies are so annoying and the competitive advantage crying babies likely gave to warriors from times past. "I don't want to get too much into the technical details, so let's not." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:27 PM - 12 comments

Wonder Woman’s Secret Past: Feminism, free love, and a superhero’s real powers. [Via]
posted by homunculus at 8:08 PM - 14 comments

Bruce Dern is a life-long runner. Three interviews with Runner's World discuss his obsession with running and how it interplays with his acting. From 1978, Running Is a Hard Act to Follow:
In the case of certain roles such as The King of Marvin Gardens, where the character stays with me for months after the movie is over, it is hard to get rid of him. It’s a frustration of the character. I think the same thing is true of running. All of my acting is on the theory of working from the inside out. Everything happens inside and then it comes out and the person grows out of that. Well, the running is the same thing for me. It happens from the inside out. It's the need and the desire that then makes the body go out and do it. And the desire to improve.
[more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:48 PM - 17 comments

A Catholic woman grapples with the death of her sister's newborn baby. [more inside]
posted by Charity Garfein at 7:43 PM - 17 comments

"10 Lessons From Real-Life Revolutions That Fictional Dystopias Ignore"...because sometimes the biggest problems with Science Fiction is less 'getting the Science wrong' and more 'getting the Social Science wrong'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:23 PM - 25 comments

Unfortunately it has only just finished, but a a live first-ever autopsy was performed on the second colossal squid ever to be found intact, by the Te Papa and Auckland University of Technology. The first colossal squid to be found is on display at the same university (site down at the moment, possibly due to traffic; archive.org cached site). Direct link to 86 minute Youtube video. Currently there is no word on the disposition of the squid remains.
posted by Evilspork at 5:50 PM - 20 comments

Everyday is Sunday (Tous les jours dimanche) is a series of surreal pictures taken by photographer Manolo Mylonas in the poor and tumultuous Department of Seine-Saint-Denis, where he lives (interview in French). For those who wonder about the sheep herd on a concrete ramp, they are part of an experiment in urban agriculture (in French, other pictures). There's no explanation for the horse on the balcony, but this is probably how it got there.
posted by elgilito at 4:45 PM - 5 comments

Women are called upon every day to prove our right to participate in music on the basis of our authenticity—or perceived lack thereof. Our credentials are constantly being checked—you say you like a band you've only heard a couple of times? Prepare to answer which guitarist played on a specific record and what year he left the band. But don't admit you haven't heard them, either, because they'll accuse you of only saying you like that genre to look cool. Then they'll ask you if you've ever heard of about five more bands, just to prove that you really know nothing. This happens so often that it feels like dudes meet in secret to work on a regimented series of tests they can use to determine whether or not we deserve to be here. The "fake geek girl" test is one, door guys stopping female musicians carrying gear to make sure they're actually in the band and not just somebody's girlfriend is another. Big rock magazines that interview male musicians about gear and female musicians about sexual harassment—that's up there too.
—Meredith Graves talks about musical authenticity and gender, taking Andrew WK and Lana Del Rey as her examples. Graves is in the noise rock band Perfect Pussy. Here's a video for their song "I", a live performance and a short segment where Graves and bandmate Ray McAndrew buy books.
posted by Kattullus at 4:37 PM - 54 comments

The Disney Food Blog offers in-depth news, reviews, and information about food and restaurants in Disney’s parks, resorts, and cruise ships, along with reviews and photographs of and about anything food-related in Disney parks, resorts, movies, and events. Disney food FAQs. Disney food news.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:11 PM - 49 comments

To highlight the vulnerabilities of an unsecured web interface in Canon Pixma printers that allows the uploading of arbitrary binaries as firmware, information security consultant Michael Jordan has made a printer run Doom (video) as part of a presentation at 44Con 2014. [via]
posted by figurant at 3:10 PM - 28 comments

Circle of Fifths - 2048 Infinite
posted by boo_radley at 2:53 PM - 23 comments

The SummHarry, all the Harry Potter books summarized in cartoon form by Lucy "Stop Paying Attention" Knisley. Full size; previously on the blue.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:57 PM - 41 comments

Every competitive cooking show in America, ranked by the A.V. Club
posted by psoas at 12:56 PM - 108 comments

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