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December 28

My identity is my creation

Sleaford Mods are an English Hip hop/Post-punk duo based in Nottingham. This year the NME asked them to record a Christmas Message (NSFW swearing) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:38 AM - 2 comments

December 27

How to Draw (expert mode)

Model Sheets is a Twitter feed where someone is collecting model sheets from all kinds of cartoons, including South Park, classic Warner Bros. and Disney, Don Bluth, cable cartoons, old saturday morning stuff, and anime.
posted by JHarris at 9:02 PM - 6 comments

'Happy People' before Herzog

Werner Herzog's 'Happy People' is less a film made by Werner Herzog than a film sculpted by Werner Herzog, as he selected and subsequently narrated ninety-four minutes of material taken from Dmitry Vasyukov's four-hour documentary of the same name. Vasyukov's four episodes, by season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. (SLYTs)
posted by mr. digits at 7:46 PM - 7 comments

Kids Only Please. No Rough Ridin'

Rise and Fall of the American Kiddie Ride - Coin-operated kiddie rides used to be ubiquitous outside grocery stores and shopping centers throughout America. In the age of the iPad, what happens to them, and do kids even care any more? [more inside]
posted by litlnemo at 6:57 PM - 34 comments

Founding Fathers of Hip Hop

The Founding Fathers [1hr25min] "unsung DJ's who contributed to the foundational principals of the music known today as Hip Hop. This documentary transports you to a journey back to the early underground disco days of the streets and parks throughout New York City." Narrated by Chuck D, with plenty of primary interviews and slammin' beats.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 2:54 PM - 2 comments

Does not apply to Google, Apple, or Facebook.

It looks like "Do Not Track" is in trouble.
posted by pjern at 2:48 PM - 41 comments

I'll admit my brains started leaking out of my ears around mashup #5.

2014 is coming to a close. Likely you've seen the previous post about DJ Earworm's 2014 mashup, in which 25 songs (and their videos) were compressed into a 4 minute and 11 second mix. But while the United State of Pop is the oldest game in town, it's far from the only one. Here a half-dozen other takes. [more inside]
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:31 PM - 4 comments

Synthetix.FM Ultimix 2014

Rick Shithouse and Synthetix.FM's 2014 year end synthstraviganza [more inside]
posted by rebent at 2:15 PM - 6 comments

Turn away. Our creative lives are limited.

  • The correct definition of ‘game’
  • Narrative vs Mechanics
  • Randomness vs Skill
  • The importance of realism
  • Casual vs Hardcore
Daniel Cook: the top 5 game design debates I ignored in 2014
posted by MartinWisse at 12:13 PM - 38 comments

The Sounds of Things to Come

Sound of Cinema - British Sci-Fi from the BFI Days of Fear and Wonder - BBC Radio 3 talks to film composer Stephen Price about The Shape of Things to Come, Alien, Gravity, and other science fiction soundtracks.
posted by Artw at 12:09 PM - 2 comments

How about those airplane seats?

JetBlue is adding luggage charges and packing more seats on its planes, and customers are freaking out. Is contemporary airline service so bad because the airlines are colluding to make you suffer, as Tim Wu writes in the New Yorker? Or because low-price, a la carte service is what fliers actually want, as Alison Griswold writes in Slate? For a data-rich deep dive into what passengers really hate about air travel, see "The Unfriendly Skies" (.pdf), a report on five years worth of air travelers' complaints to the US Department of Transportation.
posted by escabeche at 11:04 AM - 124 comments

"Oh my god, I got it."

On Christmas Eve, 7 year old Evan set up a camera to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus. (SLYT)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:08 AM - 54 comments

"Whatever the orientation, fans are passionate about their ships"

"Perhaps shipping also reflects the yearning for a small moment of control in a chaotic world. Children often react to their inherent powerlessness by retreating to the wide-open spaces of their imagination. They make their dolls kiss (or fight), and feel a sense of control that they lack in the real world. As fans, people may not be the author of the fictional worlds they love to inhabit, but when they ship, they can momentarily grab the wheel in the most exhilarating of ways — envisioning and championing relationships that demonstrate their own mastery of a created universe, and their true feelings about how love should exist in that world, if not indeed in their own." [via mefi projects; single-page format]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:02 AM - 71 comments

Comes the beer refreshing

Never Better is The Awl’s goodbye to 2014. The most recent one is Last Year's Punch by Dan Nosowitz. Another notable one is Good Things of 2014, a complete list. Including: [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:44 AM - 5 comments

“Those buildings were taken down not long after I took that picture.”

"Demolished: the end of Chicago's Public Housing" A look back at Chicago's 20th-century public housing high-rises, and how they were taken down. Also an interesting form of web presentation. (SLNPR)
posted by doctornemo at 6:11 AM - 8 comments

Make them go, "Oh, oh, oh" As you shoot across the sky

A somewhat impressive firework display (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:34 AM - 34 comments

December 26

Jerry Lee Lewis: still alive and making music, at 79

The Killer at Peace: Jerry Lee Lewis's Golden Years
In the living room, directly above Lewis' chair, is a framed photo from the day in December 1956 when Lewis, Cash, Carl Perkins and Presley – a.k.a. "the Million-Dollar Quartet" – hung out and recorded at Sun. Elvis is at the piano, looking upward, eyes fixed on Lewis. Above the bar is a photo from the sessions for the Class of '55 LP, a 1985 reunion of Lewis, Perkins, Cash and Roy Orbison. "All of them, really good friends," he says quietly. "All gone." Lewis took his survival as a point of pride by naming his 2006 comeback LP Last Man Standing. "A lot of people didn't like it when I said that. But they had to accept it."
Jerry Lee Lewis is still alive and rocking, having just released his third album in the 2000s, titled Rock & Roll Time, though his most raucous days are behind him.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:31 PM - 39 comments

Tony Bennett/Bill Evans, Village Vanguard Reissue, Complete Riverside

The Concord Music Group (the Group's labels) is due to release on vinyl The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings in January 2015. This past November 2014, the Concord Music Group released the vinyl reissue, on the Riverside label, of The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961/The Bill Evans Trio. Also due up, is the vinyl reissue of The Complete Riverside Recordings/Bill Evans sometime in early 2015. (The pertinent info about the future releases is at the bottom of the page just linked.) [more inside]
posted by cwest at 9:36 PM - 14 comments

"Well kiddo, in real life, that doesn't matter at all."

Chiara Bautista makes art about love and loss.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:11 PM - 9 comments

Sights from Zelda games that will probably never be released again

It's Zelda Day! Presented for your consideration: BS-Zelda, the satellite radio-based Zelda games that never got released outside of Japan.
The first BS Zelda game was an update/modification of the original Legend of Zelda. It was intended to be played over four weeks, an hour at a time, with different areas of the overworld unveiled each week. Here is video, with broadcasts included: 1 (YT 1h) - 2 (YT 58m) - 3 (YT 58m) - 4 (YT 1h2m) Each takes several minutes to get started, which mirrors the time delay before the game started when broadcast.
The second game was called Ancient Stone Tablets, and it used the Link To The Past engine, and much of its map. YouTube playlist (YT 12 items, 3h50m)
More information and emulator files hacked to be playable are at: The BS-Zelda Homepage. [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 4:15 PM - 11 comments

It's a White Industry

It's a white industry, writes Chris Rock on show biz, from the lowliest focus-group testing gig to being a film executive. [more inside]
posted by aydeejones at 3:32 PM - 196 comments

I want to feel what he feels

A Sunni-Shia Love Story Imperiled by al Qaeda (by Ruth Michaelson).
Sabrine and her soldier husband managed to marry against all odds, including her family’s wrath. Now, their love story faces an even bigger threat—his abduction by the Nusra Front.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:24 PM - 3 comments

"No army has accomplished more than printed textbooks have"

Many are worried about what [e-book] technology means for books, with big bookshops closing, new devices spreading, novice authors flooding the market and an online behemoth known as Amazon growing ever more powerful. Their anxieties cannot simply be written off as predictable technophobia. The digital transition may well change the way books are written, sold and read more than any development in their history, and that will not be to everyone’s advantage. Veterans and revolutionaries alike may go bust; Gutenberg died almost penniless, having lost control of his press to Fust and other creditors. But to see technology purely as a threat to books risks missing a key point. Books are not just “tree flakes encased in dead cow”, as a scholar once wryly put it. They are a technology in their own right, one developed and used for the refinement and advancement of thought. And this technology is a powerful, long-lived and adaptable one.
From Papyrus to Pixels is a long essay in The Economist about the changing form of books, presented both as a traditional web-scroll, as an e-book and in audio form.
posted by Kattullus at 2:12 PM - 27 comments

The gift that keeps on giving (information to the NSA)

They see you when your sleeping, they know when you're awake. They know if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!
posted by HMSSM at 1:07 PM - 21 comments

"...perhaps even purchased at an alien trade show."

How to make a cool glowing table using the natural holes in Pecky Cypress and photoluminescent resin.
posted by quin at 12:36 PM - 14 comments

"confessions of a one-time religious right icon"

Frank Schaeffer: "You can’t understand why the GOP was so successful in winning back both houses of Congress in 2014, and wrecking most of what Obama has tried to do, unless you understand what we did back then." [more inside]
posted by flex at 11:38 AM - 63 comments

A LOVELY J.R.R. TOLKIEN DOCUMENTARY FROM 1968

An entertaining half hour spent with a man who initiated many of us into realms of magic, shifting our consciousness away from the mundane into the mystic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:52 AM - 9 comments

Clearly someone was eating it, but doing so was a hidden pleasure.

The Booty-Eating Renaissance
Anilingus is having a moment.
posted by davidstandaford at 9:12 AM - 111 comments

The Top Nerdy

Yes, there are a LOT of Year-End Best Of Lists (some people say too many - at the same time they make up consensus lists).
But sometimes it just helps to give a 'Best Of' list a different angle, like THE TOP 20 NERDY THINGS OF 2014, which includes two appearances by Neil deGrasse Tyson (#14 and #6) and two "G.I.Joe-related" items (#16 and #8). [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:43 AM - 15 comments

Instagram+Twitter+Tinder = Plague

Plague is a new social networking app that spreads information like a contagious disease. You see a post from someone who is geographically close to you. Swipe up to spread it to the users nearest to you, swipe down to not share it. The more fun part is posting your own content and watching it travel around globe. These articles explain with more detail.
posted by Fig at 8:30 AM - 19 comments

Chatty checkout! Try to escape this conversation...

NES My Life "Mundane everyday challenges (such as finding a job, dealing with ultra conservative relatives, or deleting unwanted dick pics on a dating site) envisioned as classic black box retro 8bit Nintendo games." [via mefi projects]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:47 AM - 5 comments

38,686 Civil Engineers

"This subreddit is exclusively for pictures of infrastructure. Paved roads and other public transit, agriculture, freight, waste management, and water systems are all things we could live without but we really don't want to (and they look cool too)" [more inside]
posted by growabrain at 7:40 AM - 16 comments

The Tsunami: 10 Years Later

Today is the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that changed life in South and South East Asia. Aceh bore the heaviest losses and the ASEAN remembers the toll of destruction. This event changed the way global agencies coordinate large scale disaster relief. Many lessons were learnt. Other regions which felt the impact hold memorial services too.
posted by infini at 3:15 AM - 24 comments

December 25

Every breath you take

The Creepy Surveillance of Elf on a Shelf. How does the ubiquitous holiday tattletale work its behavioral magic? By teaching kids to expect that there's always someone watching.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:13 PM - 92 comments

Algorithms are essentially thoughtless.

Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty: Author and Web design consultant Eric Meyer lost his daughter Rebecca to a brain tumor earlier this year, as mentioned previously on the Blue--or in this case the Purple. At the year's end, Facebook's Year in Review app has been sending him ghastly reminders of this recent history with an auto-populated, cheerily decorated slideshow featuring pictures of his dead daughter. Mediating on the influence of such algorithms in our lives, he writes: To call a person “thoughtless” is usually considered a slight, or an outright insult; and yet, we unleash so many literally thoughtless processes on our users, on our lives, on ourselves.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:46 PM - 75 comments

Santa-styled silk-specks' slithering sped to sixteen seconds

Silkworms in Santa Hats [SLYT]
posted by gray17 at 6:50 PM - 5 comments

Yeah, the streets are deserted, and that's big news.

Christmastime for the Jews! In a hysterical claymation-style animated short about Jews having free reign over the country on Christmas, Darlene Love [previously] sings about the many benefits of not celebrating the holiday. [more inside]
posted by Servo5678 at 6:38 PM - 19 comments

It's beginning to smell a lot like Mongolian beef

io9 tells us that Chinese food on Christmas is no longer just a Jewish tradition and digs up an ethnographic article examining the birth of the customary meal: Chinese food is unkosher and therefore non-Jewish. But because of the specific ways that Chinese food is prepared and served, immigrant Jews and their children found Chinese food to be more attractive and less threatening than other non-Jewish or treyf food. Chinese food was what we term "safe treyf." [more inside]
posted by bq at 5:48 PM - 32 comments

Band Aid: Secrets and Stories From the Star-Studded Session

Sting, Boy George, Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and Simon Le Bon on the 1984 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" session.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:35 PM - 17 comments

A recipe for an Icelandic song

Take one part saw (1:15 in). Add one part glockenspiel and one part fiðla. Then, a dash of harmonium and some drum brushes. Accentuate with a cello, then layer with keyboards. Finally, add some piano and ensure there are two parts harp. Very carefully blend and Gleðileg jól! Amiina (previously) have bakaðar you a song.
posted by Wordshore at 3:03 PM - 6 comments

The Most Surreal Season

In 1959, iconic Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí agreed to design several holiday greeting cards for Hallmark, "with several stipulations. He asked for $15,000 [$122,200 in 2014 dollars] in cash in advance for 10 greeting card designs, with no suggestions from Hallmark for the subject or medium, no deadline and no royalties." [more inside]
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:39 PM - 32 comments

Amazon One-hour Delivery

Amazon has worked diligently on improving its product delivery process. Same-day delivery is pretty standard now in parts of the country where they have closer distribution centers. They have also implemented lockers for pickup and have been working on developing a delivery method by remote control. In Manhattan, they have now implemented a one-hour delivery service for $7.99 (and two-hour delivery is free). Coming soon to a city near you. [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:26 AM - 74 comments

You know what you can't screw up, though.

Red Letter Media drunkenly reviews the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special as part of their Best of the Worst series. [more inside]
posted by clarknova at 11:13 AM - 35 comments

More Weird New Christmas Music than you can shake a Christmas Tree at

Christmas music permeates America between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but so much of it is tired covers of covers of songs we have all heard hundreds of times. Isn't there anyone, out there, who is making original and possibly weird Christmas music? Is most of it free and freely streaming on Bandcamp?
Well, yes.
Let's start with John Hughes-ian Xmas Movie Soundtrack and move on from there. Like any Christmas present, there's lots [more inside]
posted by sleeping bear at 10:38 AM - 9 comments

How close are you willing to get?

2014: The Year in Pictures. [SLNYT]
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:02 AM - 24 comments

Is this the place where I ask questions I can't get answers to?

The New York Public Library's Instagram feed (as discussed previously for its #ReviewsOnTues feature) is now serializing the librarians' latest find:
We found an old recipe box while cleaning out a desk, and it was labeled "Interesting Reference Questions," the contents of which ranged from total stumpers to funny mispronunciations.
[more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 7:34 AM - 41 comments

Merry Dunkmas

There will be several NBA games on TV this Christmas day. But they just don't make the basketball like they used to, do they? Perhaps you would be more interested in that Old Timey Basketball instead. For that we have the NBA On Youtube Google Doc. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:10 AM - 31 comments

The timelapse video that rules them all

A 6-minute video of Earth from space, featuring aurora borealis, cities at night, storms, and other wonders, created by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from 12,500 images taken during his ISS Blue Dot mission.
posted by elgilito at 3:01 AM - 9 comments

"Returning to Earth, that was the challenging part"

Forty-five years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second man to walk on the moon. It made him one of the most famous people in the world. And it has haunted the rest of his life.
posted by cozenedindigo at 1:04 AM - 45 comments

December 24

Jan Terri for the holidays

Chicago's own Jan Terri offers up her version of "Ave Maria" paired with an interpretive video for your Xmastime enjoyment [more inside]
posted by flex at 7:22 PM - 5 comments

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