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July 28

A day-by-day map of World War I. [more inside]
posted by absalom at 3:25 PM - 0 comments

Mental Floss links to free How-To guides from a hundred years ago that are still helpful if you need to mesmerize someone or name a baby
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM - 6 comments

Katie Crouch writes beautifully on suicide, Sylvia Plath and San Francisco
posted by Sebmojo at 2:52 PM - 0 comments

Philby's boss was Sir Stewart Menzies, who, we are told, "rode to hounds, mixed with royalty, never missed a day at Ascot, drank a great deal, and kept his secrets buttoned up behind a small, fierce mustache. He preferred women to men and horses to both." Menzies was an amateur at a time when his adversaries were professionals. Philby's fellow Soviet spy Donald Maclean was a mess. But since he was a mess with the right accent and background he easily found a home in the British spy service. At one point, Macintyre says, Maclean "got drunk, smashed up the Cairo flat of two secretaries at the U.S. embassy, ripped up their underwear, and hurled a large mirror off the wall, breaking a large bath in two. He was sent home, placed under the care of a Harley Street psychiatrist, and then, amazingly, after a short period of treatment, promoted to head the American desk at the Foreign Office."
Kim Philby, the Soviet spy who infiltrated MI6, is the subject of a Malcolm Gladwell article in The New Yorker. Gladwell argues that Philby's story is not about spying but "the hazards of mistrust." He is interviewed on a New Yorker podcast about his article. Gladwell's article is also a review of Ben Macintyre's book on Philby, A Spy Among Friends. Gladwell reviewed Macintyre's previous book, Operation Mincemeat and argued that spy agencies might be more trouble than they're worth.
posted by Kattullus at 2:13 PM - 6 comments

In 2008, strange flyers started showing up in the streets of San Francisco. If you followed up on them, they led you to a discrete office in the financial district. Inside was the Induction Center for the Jejune Institute. Sit in the lounge chair provided, watch the induction video (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), and then…. Well…. And then things really got weird... [more inside]
posted by meese at 2:10 PM - 9 comments

DataGenetics is "a technology consultancy specializing in unlocking the value stored in large databases" and which runs an interesting blog. [more inside]
posted by alby at 1:59 PM - 2 comments

SLYT of some guys exploiting causal perception in order to do something funny.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:05 PM - 26 comments

"Since the first face transplant, in 2005, only three American hospitals have performed the procedure. Many of the twenty-eight transplants were partial, sections of the face transplanted from deceased donors. Richard's transplant was a full face and is said to be the most ambitious ever. Rodriguez likens the medically complex procedure to the Apollo moon landing." (previously, previously) [note: contains before and after photos]
posted by trillian at 12:03 PM - 28 comments

This 3 minute video of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner rehearsing for the 2014 Farnborough airshow is notable for the performance takeoff, sure, but hey check out those slipping turns, and the forward slip to a landing, in a jetliner. Remember the Gimli Glider? [upbeat pseudo-techno music warning]
posted by pjern at 12:03 PM - 37 comments

The first British pier opened 200 years ago this month in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. Photographer Simon Roberts spent three years documenting the country's remaining piers. (The Guardian) Roberts describes his collection of photographs, Pierdom, as "a comprehensive survey of Britain’s Pleasure Piers," and he captures the current state of powerful reminder of the achievements of Victorian engineers and entrepreneurs. The Telegraph has a bit more on how he set up his process. The Photographers' Gallery has a slideshow of some of Simon's photos, and Lens Scratch has a still series of his photos.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:50 AM - 5 comments

Psychiatric magazine ads from the seventies.
posted by Iridic at 11:37 AM - 20 comments

Margot Adler, most widely known as a journalist and New York correspondent for NPR, passed away this morning at 10:30 am at the age of 68 from complications related to endometrial cancer, according to a Facebook post from her son Alex. In addition to being a successful journalist and correspondent, Adler was a Wiccan priestess and a member of the board of advisers of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. Adler is well known in the pagan community in America for her seminal 1979 book Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America. [more inside]
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:31 AM - 40 comments

OkCupid: we experiment on human beings! But by comparing Love Is Blind Day to a normal Tuesday, we learned some very interesting things. In those 7 hours without photos...people responded to first messages 44% more often, conversations went deeper...in short, OkCupid worked better. When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2,200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started “blind”. Those conversations melted away. The goodness was gone, in fact worse than gone. It was like we’d turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight.
posted by shivohum at 10:09 AM - 81 comments

Your ‘Craft’ Rye Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana. The Daily Beast covers the phenomenon of a large list of whiskey brands serving only as bottlers, purchasing their spirits from a "hulking factory in Indiana". Thirdhand hattip to blogger SKU for leading the charge on this. [more inside]
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 10:06 AM - 143 comments

A right-wing Indian politician's racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim books are making their way to schools in Gujarat. [more inside]
posted by Ragini at 10:02 AM - 22 comments

Smith doesn’t really have an hour to spare tonight. He and his bandmates are scrambling through what might be their only rehearsal for their first US headlining tour, which launches later this week. The goal is to road-test new material for the follow-up to DIIV’s 2012 debut album, Oshin, an underground breakout hit that marked them as one of indie rock’s most promising bands on the rise. Tomorrow he has to take care of countless logistical matters for the tour such as picking up borrowed gear and buying a van, which would be stressful enough for a random Tuesday. But tomorrow is also the 22nd birthday of Smith’s girlfriend, the model and acclaimed pop singer Sky Ferreira, and he needs to make it special after spending much of her 21st birthday stressing out about an impending European tour. “Last year I blew it,” Smith says. “She was so upset.” On top of all that, he’s also supposed to meet with his probation officer upstate, one of many unpleasant consequences of being arrested for heroin possession and other crimes last September in upstate Saugerties, New York.
posted by josher71 at 8:58 AM - 6 comments

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Rep. Tim Ryan (OH), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) are among those have been participating in the Live the Wage Challenge, posting on social media about their experiences. The Challenge (pdf) "asks elected officials, community leaders, advocates and anyone concerned about the growing inequality in this country to walk in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by living on a minimum wage budget for one week. That’s just $77."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:31 AM - 86 comments

Why R.E.M.’s Out of Time Is the Most Politically Significant Album in U.S. History (Hint: It's not the music).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:10 AM - 94 comments

Toni Bentley on the most famous dominatrix in France, and her companion.
posted by Mistress at 7:38 AM - 11 comments

The oldest still-working telephone number in New York City is at least 80 years old. And you've probably heard of it: Pennsylvania 6-5000. It's the number of the Pennsylvania Hotel. Built in 1919 as a grand luxury destination, it has inspired a movie and a Bugs Bunny cartoon, Dada artwork, and of course became immortalized in song. [more inside]
posted by Mchelly at 7:16 AM - 37 comments

This summer's Transformers 4 have seen its fair share of negativity, considering it's a master class in economics and its predecessor is Michael Bay's first art movie (last linked discussed previously.)
posted by Harald74 at 6:41 AM - 43 comments

Every month or so there is a new scandal - mass snooping by the NSA, allegations of price-fixing by giant energy companies, major banks corruptly rigging interest rates, giant modern bureaucracies like Serco and G4S ripping off the taxpayer, children's entertainers from the past charged with sexual abuse.

But these stories never seem to add up to a bigger picture. They are isolated events . And our reaction is always the same - shock and horror, and then it all subsides and we are ready to be shocked and horrified when the next scandal comes along.
Adam Curtis may be the only person who is able to use the ousting of Tamara Mellon from Jimmy Choo, the age of the American muckracking journalist and the light entertainment career of Diana Dors -- amongst other diversions -- to explain the need for a new journalism to investigate the new structural powers ruling us.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:24 AM - 19 comments

On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio. Inside was a blank thank-you note and an Ohio state driver’s license. The ID belonged to a 28-year-old man called Aaron Brown—6 feet tall and 160 pounds with a round face, scruffy brown hair, a thin beard, and green eyes. His most defining feature, however, was that he didn’t exist. I know that because I created him.
posted by spock at 4:44 AM - 30 comments

Welcome to Haider, a Bollywood version of Hamlet set for a controversial, much anticipated release this autumn. Vishal Bhardwaj's latest Shakespearian adaptation turns the Prince of Denmark into a philosophy student from Kashmir, the former Himalayan princedom, who returns home from university after hearing that his doctor father has disappeared and his mother is in a new relationship. View the trailer here - captions available. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:41 AM - 17 comments

July 27

"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:40 PM - 13 comments

Is Race Plastic? My Trip Into the "Ethnic Plastic Surgery" Minefield The writing is delightful, the subject is unsettling and the advice not to google any of the proceedure images should be heeded.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:04 PM - 30 comments

"Masuma Ahuja and Denise Lu for the Washington Post applied a technique called databending to a bunch of photos. The idea is that computer files — even though they represent different things like documents, images, and audio — encode data in one form or another. It's just that sound files encode beats, notes, and rhythms, whereas image files encode hue, saturation, and brightness. So when you treat image files as if they were audio, you get some interesting results. Jamie Boulton has a detailed description on how to do this yourself with Audacity Effects." [via]
posted by Room 641-A at 9:48 PM - 15 comments

Born in 1913, Rose Murphy was an imaginative and percussive jazz pianist and singer nicknamed "the Chee-Chee Girl" for obvious reasons. Although she didn't make many recordings, she continued to perform up until her death in 1989. [more inside]
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:20 PM - 6 comments

King Arthur Flour's Flourish blog investigates America's Love Affair With Pizza from the home cook's perspective. In The Beginning asks "When did Americans start making their own pizza at home, from scratch, rather than piling into the Studebaker to drive down to the pizza parlor for takeout?", and answers by reproducing pizza recipes from 1945, 1954, and 1961. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:30 PM - 57 comments

Evgeny Morozov, for The Guardian: The rise of data and the death of politics
This "smartification" of everyday life follows a familiar pattern: there's primary data – a list of what's in your smart fridge and your bin – and metadata – a log of how often you open either of these things or when they communicate with one another. Both produce interesting insights: cue smart mattresses – one recent model promises to track respiration and heart rates and how much you move during the night – and smart utensils that provide nutritional advice. In addition to making our lives more efficient, this smart world also presents us with an exciting political choice. If so much of our everyday behaviour is already captured, analysed and nudged, why stick with unempirical approaches to regulation? Why rely on laws when one has sensors and feedback mechanisms? If policy interventions are to be – to use the buzzwords of the day – "evidence-based" and "results-oriented," technology is here to help.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:03 PM - 21 comments

Doesn’t every adventure begin that way? I was lying in bed reading on a Saturday evening, and without even looking I idly scratched a spot on the right side of my chest –- at that point I had a chest, not breasts. As I did, my fingers rode over a small something, a little like a speed bump about an inch below and two inches to the left of my right nipple. “That’s a lump!” I thought, and suddenly I had a right breast. With a lump in it.
posted by michswiss at 5:35 PM - 30 comments

The New York Times came out today endorsing marijuana legalization. The New York Times’ editorial board on Saturday called on the federal government to legalize marijuana. Citing alcohol prohibition, social costs and states’ movements, the board argued “after a great deal of discussion” that “the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization.”
posted by toastchee at 5:27 PM - 124 comments

A riposte to the bros: duo Maggie & Tae take on bro country in "Girl in a Country Song" - “Like all we’re good for is looking good for / You and your friends on the weekend, nothin’ more / We used to get a little respect / Now we’re lucky if we even get / to climb up in your truck, keep our mouths shut, and ride along.” [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 5:13 PM - 48 comments

Linda Stein's wearable sculptural avatars
Linda Stein wants people to armor themselves in her art. She creates full-length wearable sculptures embedded with all manner of found objects, including driftwood, engraving plates, steel wire, zippers, pebbles and comic book imagery of superheroes.
  [more inside]
posted by Lexica at 4:51 PM - 4 comments

The BBC will be covering World War One in great detail over the next four years. They've already started, with podcasts, interactive guides, online courses, programs new and old plus much, much more. Perhaps it's best to start at the beginning, with Professor Margaret MacMillan's Countdown to World War One (podcast link) or the account of her fellow historian Christopher Clark, Month of Madness. Of course, how the war started is still contested by historians, as recounted in The Great War of Words. The latter two are also part of the main WWI podcast. Or you can dive into the Music and Culture section, go through an A-Z guide or look at comics drawn by modern cartoonists.
posted by Kattullus at 1:23 PM - 17 comments

Fantastic 4-Song Concert - Neil Finn at KEXP
A few months old, but still worth a listen. Neil visits the KEXP studio in Seattle and plays 4 songs from his latest album, Dizzy Heights.
posted by dotgirl at 12:27 PM - 4 comments

After over a decade in development hell, George Miller's return to the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, has emerged at San Diego Comic-Con with a teaser trailer. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly at 12:21 PM - 140 comments

"Since first opening in 1934 in a converted sheepfold off 67th Street, on the western edge of Central Park, the storied franchise (which is still licensed by the Parks Department) has been a reliable hit. Joe Baum put the restaurant on the national culinary map during the 1960s, and when Warner LeRoy doubled the capacity several years later and added the famous Crystal Room, it became one of the great circus-dining destinations in the world. LeRoy’s heirs ran the profitable old production for years (in 2006, it was still the second-highest-grossing restaurant in the USA, behind Tao Las Vegas), until the great crash of 2008 brought their company to its knees. Now, after years of drama and delay, Tavern on the Green has opened its doors once again, this time under the direction of a hospitality operation originally from Philadelphia called the Emerald Green Group. " So begins Adam Platt's zero star review of the re-opened Tavern On The Green. Others have not been glowing. Even the Post got a few kicks in. Peter Wells' scathing takedown in the New York Times might be better experienced with some happy sheep.
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM - 69 comments

Brat packer sends brat packing... [more inside]
posted by drlith at 11:24 AM - 27 comments

A macabre-sounding headstone leads investigators to uncover a fascinating slice of American history. From the endlessly fascinating, and surprisingly long-running, Straight Dope message board.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 11:21 AM - 18 comments

NESMania is one man's quest to conquer every NES title, or at least all 709 officially seal-of-quality-licensed ones released in the West. [more inside]
posted by wanderingmind at 11:13 AM - 28 comments

Polyamorous people still face plenty of stigmas, but some studies suggest they handle certain relationship challenges better than monogamous people do. The Atlantic Monthly takes on the subject of polyamory, and seems to mostly be respectful and get it right.
posted by hippybear at 10:52 AM - 62 comments

It's Sunday, and maybe you've got nothing better to do than lie in bed and play A Game About Squares.
posted by egypturnash at 9:55 AM - 48 comments

Weird Twitter users @BLIPPOBLAPPO and @CRUSHINGBORT posted a blog entry on July 24th titled "3 REASONS BENNY JOHNSON SHOULDN’T CALL OUT PLAGIARISM: HE’S A PLAGIARIST, HE’S A PLAGIARIST, AND HE’S A PLAGIARIST" Ben Smith, the editor in chief at Buzzfeed responded to these allegations in an email to a Gawker employee calling Buzzfeed Benny "one of the web’s deeply original writers". @Crushingbort and @Blippoblappo responded with a blog post the next day with even more instances of Buzzfeed Benny's plagiarism. Buzzfeed editors started looking at all of Benny's posts and after finding 41 instances of plaigarism decided to fire him.
posted by josher71 at 8:57 AM - 57 comments

More than any other editor except Harold Ross himself, Katharine White gave The New Yorker its shape, and set it on its course. -- William Shawn. Almost 20 years ago - and almost 20 years after her death - the New Yorker profiled its legendary editor in Lady with a Pencil. [more inside]
posted by julen at 7:38 AM - 5 comments

Regulators 1, Lyft 0 (or perhaps 0.5). After trying to launch its unlicensed "ride sharing" model in New York City, Lyft has capitulated to the regulators' demands and will instead launch as an ordinary livery car service -- using only TLC-licensed cars with TLC-certified drivers. [more inside]
posted by MattD at 6:38 AM - 40 comments

Originally published in 1962 as a short story in the Saturday Review, under the title "From a Teacher’s Wastebasket", Up the Down Staircase stands as the seminal novel of the American public school system. Its author, Bel Kaufman, died this week at age 103. Turned into a movie in 1967, the book and its author have an impact on teachers decades on.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:55 AM - 15 comments

It’s the darker side of competition that Milton Friedman and his free-market disciples tend to downplay: If parents value high test scores, you can compete for voucher dollars by hiring better teachers and providing a better education—or by going easy in grading national tests. Competition was also meant to discipline government schools by forcing them to up their game to maintain their enrollments, but it may have instead led to a race to the bottom as they too started grading generously to keep their students.
So it turns out that the good results of the Swedish school voucher system of "free" school choice, long the benchmark for those wanting to disrupt public schooling were created by, well, cheating.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:56 AM - 41 comments

Anil Dash reflects on the changing meaning of public content online.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:40 AM - 32 comments

July 26

Depending on one's point of view, Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works. You can hear the whole crazy album on YouTube, or stick with the most song-like track (featuring bagpipes, tribal beats and some sort of scream-singing), Caledonia, seen here with an unofficial video. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:23 PM - 6 comments

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