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November 22

NFL Concussion Settlement

How much is a brain worth to the NFL? FRONTLINE reporter Jason Breslow hosts a three minute video on the latest development between the NFL and former players. What's the monetary value of a human brain in this context? [more inside]
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:44 PM - 6 comments

Queer Birds

Birds, like quite a few other animals, can exhibit Gynandromorphism. Homosexual behavior in birds is also common. The phenomenon of avian spontaneous sex reversal has been well-documented, starting with Aristotle. Now modern researchers have uncovered yet another way in which birds are hacking sex roles: scientists think white-throated sparrows may actually be evolving a second pair of sex chromosomes.
posted by helpthebear at 2:31 PM - 5 comments

People think making art is easy ...

Sarah's Scribbles creatively balances several delightful influences. In an interview last winter, Sarah C. Andersen said her charming, silly, misanthropic, self-doubting, and relatable web comics (including her first "truly 'viral'" success, "Waking Up") have connections to Yotsuba (note: reads right to left) and Ponyo, plus Calvin and Hobbes (many previously). In comments this month associated with an FML, she added early Winnie the Pooh to the list and also mentioned where to find her illustrations in another style under another name. Her recent work for College Humor combines her comics with light essays. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:44 AM - 3 comments

Where the rubber meets the road

Firestone operates one of the largest rubber plants in the world in Liberia. Firestone Liberia received a lot of positive press in the past few months after "stopping Ebola in its tracks" on its plantation in the country. But 22 years ago, Firestone Liberia played a different role in shaping Liberia's trajectory.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:10 AM - 3 comments

Feminism and Censorship

“The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalized groups,” writes Niamh McIntyre on a proposed, protested, and then cancelled debate on abortion organized by Oxford Students for Life. The Oxford abortion controversy, argues Lizzie Crocker, is the latest example of an increasingly common instinct among certain feminists to argue that certain subjects and certain arguments are either off limits or simply not up for debate.
posted by shivohum at 11:04 AM - 60 comments

Tiny buildings. Make me happy.

Miniature buildings, beloved by many but collected by few. (SLNYT) Whatever your view of their intrinsic value (or lack thereof), it’s hard not to have an emotional reaction when confronted with the 1,200 or so small buildings on display here: the little churches with their soaring steeples, the quaint storefronts, the homespun bowling alleys, Art Deco theaters, Ferris wheels and farmhouses, all of them handmade and many dating to the late 19th century. [more inside]
posted by carmicha at 8:53 AM - 7 comments

Went to that rave, wish I'd gone to that one ... wait, or did I?

Rave flyers from all over the world, mid-1980's thru the early 2000's. Over 20,000 pieces of original Underground, Rave, Club, and Disco memorabilia (rave flyers, rave posters, laminates, tickets, etc.). My first massive rave, Toon Town's UFOs Are Real. Find a party you've been to and post in comments!
posted by King Sky Prawn at 8:10 AM - 18 comments

Slip Out the Back Jack; Make a New Plan Stan...

She Ate Combos: And 20 Other Surprising Relationship Last Straws Explained "Paul Simon crooned there are "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and Megan Rosati claims there are 52, but that's not even the tip of the iceberg when you're talking about reasons for dumping someone. "
posted by 724A at 7:40 AM - 121 comments

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple."

If you missed it when it first aired, you might want to check out the 2013 UK Channel 4 documentary Fabulous Fashionistas, which features six stylish, active women ranging in age from 73 to 91. If you're in the UK you can view the documentary here. If you live elsewhere, YouTube has some clips and Bust offers us a written overview. Michele Hanson has some pithy words on why she'd like to slap the Fabulous Fashionista commentator, and as a lovely little pendant on the topic of older women and style, here's a 2009 Guardian article by author Alison Lurie, "The Day I Threw Away Fashion".
posted by orange swan at 7:00 AM - 14 comments

We're all Huxtables

Wesley Morris & Rembert Browne over at Grantland have an amazing email discussion on the meaning of the Bill Cosby sexual assault revelations.
posted by jferg at 6:22 AM - 131 comments

"A good story is a good story, period."

Anyway, I had just finished reading a story I thought was really bad; I closed the book and said to myself, “I can do that.” I realized quite a bit later that I had given myself permission to write a bad story, but nevermind. I wrote a story in a notebook, the three-ringer lined paper kind, and I rented a typewriter. At least I knew it had to be typed double space, but that’s all I knew. I had never met a writer and there wasn’t a wealth of how-to books back then. I used the anthology for a clue about where to send the story and came up with Astounding Magazine. I sent off the story, and while I had the rented typewriter I wrote another story in the same notebook, copied it and this time sent it to Amazing. John Campbell at Astounding Magazine sent me a letter of acceptance along with a form to be notarized stating that it was an original story and I was the writer. I had no idea that that was not standard, and followed the instructions, and presently I received a check. I bought the typewriter with it.
For Amazing Stories, R.K. Troughton interviews should be a SFWA grandmaster already Kate Wilhelm, writer & novelist, co-creator of the Milford and Clarion Writing Workshops, designer of the Nebula Award. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse at 3:24 AM - 4 comments

November 21

Exciting New Developments in Slurping and Drooling and Hurrrr

For over sixteen years, the webcomic Jerkcity (previously over twelve years ago, wow) has provided beloved characters and (largely worksafe, except for maybe #191 and #5014 although they lack nudity) vulgarity. But more recently, the Jerkcity experience has been expanded by collaborative fan efforts that have been integrated into the main site (along with other site updates like tags and dialogue transcripts): redrawing project Jerkcity HD (some comics NSFW) and audio dramatization project Jerkcity Hi-Fi (if you're using headphones, you might want to turn them down a little when you listen). Too many details on these and other fan-efforts (and how people can contribute) inside. [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ at 11:11 PM - 19 comments

Sharon Isbin: Classical guitarist extraordinaire

Sharon Isbin is the Founder and Chair of the Guitar program at Julliard; she is widely heralded as one of the best classical guitarists on earth. To get you started, give a listen to the sublime nature of Isbin's gift as she plays the exquisite Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega [more inside]
posted by Vibrissae at 10:01 PM - 18 comments

ಠ_ಠ

DisapprovalLook.com, for all of your look of disapproval needs, plus numerous variations.
posted by jedicus at 9:01 PM - 37 comments

When My Mom Was an Astronaut

Jennifer Peepas (aka Captain Awkward) writes about infinite parallel universes from the perspective of an adopted child.
posted by automatic cabinet at 8:44 PM - 8 comments

The honest alternative to Kickstarter

Introducing WorkHarder, a “non-funding online platform for creative projects.” From Daily Show producer Jena Friedman, there's now a wonderful solution for all the artists out there who can't find enough friends to give them easy cash. [more inside]
posted by Catblack at 8:31 PM - 14 comments

The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.

The video they don't want you to see: IRREFUTABLE PROOF that Bill Hicks is Alex Jones
posted by ennui.bz at 6:33 PM - 40 comments

In space, no-one can hear you click every once in a while

Orbits are hard [SLFridayTimeWaster]
posted by slater at 6:31 PM - 103 comments

Ursula K. Le Guin on writing and freedom at the National Book Awards

On Wed Nov 19, 2014, in an awards ceremony emceed by Daniel Handler-aka-Lemony Snicket, Ursula K. Le Guin gave "the most ferocious speech ever given at the National Book Awards." Le Guin's acceptance speech for the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters touched on the Amazon vs Hachette throwdown and the practice of art in an age of capitalism. Video. Transcription.
Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings.
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:51 PM - 28 comments

How To Make Streaming Royalties Fair(er)

Let’s change how streaming royalties are calculated, and save the full-length album while we’re at it
posted by anazgnos at 4:30 PM - 79 comments

Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape

A new paper in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest Provides a detailed and comprehensive look at the gender gap between men and women in academic science.

Their (surprisingly optimistic?) conclusion?: Barriers to women’s full participation in mathematically intensive academic science fields are rooted in pre-college factors and the subsequent likelihood of majoring in these fields, and future research should focus on these barriers rather than misdirecting attention toward historical barriers that no longer account for women’s underrepresentation in academic science.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:13 PM - 40 comments

Akai Gurley

Last night, a 28 year old man named Akai Gurley was shot to death in a stairwell by an NYPD officer who was patrolling the Pink Houses in East New York. Gurley and his girlfriend had decided to take the stairs because the elevator was taking too long. Police Commissioner Bratton said today that the victim was “a total innocent” and called the shooting "an unfortunate accident." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:54 PM - 90 comments

The Real Lolita

Sally Horner was abducted by Frank La Salle in 1948. In Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Humbert Humbert asks: “Had I done to Dolly, perhaps, what Frank Lasalle [sic], a fifty-year-old mechanic, had done to eleven-year-old Sally Horner in 1948?” In Hazlitt magazine, Sarah Weinman tells the whole story & explores the similarities between Sally & Dolly. [potential triggers]
posted by chavenet at 1:40 PM - 25 comments

You make me days sour and my nights rancid. (SLCH)

The first son is named Royce, the second son is named Preston, the third son is named Lance And Blake (two names for just one son), and the fourth son is the dreaded Laramie. Which one of my toxic sons are you? Take this quiz to find out!
posted by graphnerd at 12:44 PM - 50 comments

The Illuminati Have A Website

"The Illuminati Organization is an elite collective of political leaders, business owners, entertainment celebrities, and other influential members of this planet. By uniting leaders of the world in an unrestrictive, private domain – free of political, religious, and geological boundaries – our organization helps to further the prosperity of the human species as a whole." The Illuminati sorta previously on Metafilter.
posted by marienbad at 12:25 PM - 34 comments

Were the Midterms Actually Bad News for the GOP?

A GOP columnist for the Houston Chronicle argues that the midterms signaled "spectacular, catastrophic failure" for the GOP. The columnist, Chris Ladd, identifies himself as a "GOPLifer." His assertion that the overwhelming Republican win on November 4 continued a very negative long term GOP demographic trend and ongoing failure to establish an appealing political platform has been recently highlighted by Lawrence O'Donnell and Daily Kos.
posted by bearwife at 11:51 AM - 115 comments

This spider rollin', they hatin', and tryin' to catch it to host larvae

The (Golden) Wheel spider is a huntsman spider native to the Namib Desert of Southern Africa. Like most other huntsman spiders, Wheel spiders don't spin webs, but build burrows in the sand that are reinforced by their silk, in an attempt to hide from their primary predators, the parasitic Pompilid or Spider Wasp. Enter the gymnastic abilities (and source of the name) for the Wheel spider, where the spider will curl up and roll down slope up to 1 meter per second to escape. But Wheel spider isn't the only huntsman to utilize a unique method to flee down hill. There's also the Moroccan flic-flac spider, named for the flic-flac motion of some gymnastic maneuvers (German video; turn on captions and translation for some assistance; description in English). The movement of this spider have inspired some robot designs (more information). And there are other "wheeling" insects, because it's faster to roll than run downhill. If the documentary footage of the Golden Wheel spider is all too serious, here are some clips of the Wheel spider set to music: let the good times roll, and this spider rollin' they hatin'.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:42 AM - 12 comments

Quite Pretty Until the Shoveling Starts

Drone footage of the snow storm aftermath in West Seneca. NY. [slyt | 4k]
posted by quin at 11:33 AM - 31 comments

[Chewie pauses by a pier-glass to slick down his hair]

In 1978, the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back was penned by a writer named Leigh Brackett. She passed away shortly thereafter and the script underwent a number of changes, first by George Lucas, before Lawrence Kasdan developed the final and more well-known screenplay. Brackett's initial draft is available for download here. The blog at starwarz.com highlights some of the more notable changes, such as Darth Vader not being Luke's father (though Luke's father appears as a character as a ghost Jedi on Dagoba), and a distinct lack of Boba Fett and carbon freezing. (Empire recently on the Blue) [more inside]
posted by dry white toast at 11:28 AM - 25 comments

'that's when it ... got started: When I began thinking I was special'

Since September 11, 2001, according to the START terrorism database, there have been twenty lethal terrorist attacks in the United States, resulting in the deaths of forty-six people. There have been, at most, a handful of assassinations. According to the FBI, from 2001 to 2011, there have been nearly 250 mass shootings, defined as the death of four or more people. According to USA Today, whose data on mass shootings is considered at least as reliable as the FBI's, there have been 191 mass shootings since 2006, with 34 described as "public" shootings—seemingly random events, stranger to stranger. Nearly a thousand people have died; many more have been wounded. What America feared after the 9/11 attacks—that it would be perpetually attacked by outsiders calling themselves Americans—finally has transpired, only with an awful twist: It is perpetually attacked by Americans who call themselves outsiders.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:04 AM - 45 comments

One of the oldest questions we have about ourselves.

Personhood Week: Why We’re So Obsessed with Persons, by Virginia Hughes (@virginiahughes), National Geographic:
"People have been trying to define personhood for a long time, maybe since the beginning of people. The first recorded attempt came from Boethius, a philosopher from 6th-Century Rome, who said a person was 'an individual substance of rational nature.' Fast-forward a thousand years and Locke says it's about rationality, self-awareness, and memory. Kant adds that humans have 'dignity,' an intrinsic ability to freely choose. In 1978, Daniel Dennett says it's intelligence, self-awareness, language, and being 'conscious in some special way' that other animals aren't. The next year Joseph Fletcher lays out 15 criteria (!), including a sense of futurity, concern for others, curiosity, and even IQ."
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:53 AM - 10 comments

Intersex Awareness

Inter/Act Youth is a group for young people with intersex conditions or disorders of sex development (DSDs) who share their stories with the world. Their parent organization is Advocate for Informed Choice, a legal group that works to stop irreversible "corrective/normalizing surgeries" on infants who cannot consent to the medically unnecessary procedures. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:10 AM - 19 comments

They still do not sell t-shirts.

27 years after their recording, Fugazi gives their first set of demos an official release. Alternative Press checks in with an appreciation (with SoundCloud streams of the entire release). The Washington Post recounts the band's early years. [more inside]
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:58 AM - 34 comments

Tchotchkes of our inner lives

There is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar — these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. Ian Urbina looks at The Secret Lives of Passwords for the NYT Magazine. (Possible trigger warning - opens with Cantor Fitzgerald looking for passwords the day after 9/11.) [more inside]
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:20 AM - 31 comments

How to Endear Yourself to an Asian Woman Writer

Here Be Dragons
People in the US are usually surprised when I say that my Thai mother lives in Ireland. “How did that happen? That’s so strange.” Strange, and their little laugh that accompanies the statement, are code for their assumptions about the education and mobility of this foreign woman of color, who in this case is my mom. She most recently worked for Salesforce, a fast growing tech company headquartered in San Francisco. When she moved to Singapore it was to work for Intel, another large tech company. She is ambitious and accomplished. She defies the stereotypes. My dad runs up against a different stereotype. That he, a white American man, lives in Thailand is not unusual. White American Men have more world-conquering powers according to a general, Western, unexamined assumption of normalcy.
posted by infini at 7:16 AM - 27 comments

Liberal Dude Erotica

#all men are garbage but this kind especially
posted by ellieBOA at 5:09 AM - 205 comments

A tale of music and memory unspooled through a schoolgirl's mixtape

Groove Is in the Heart celebrates the ritual of recording a compilation tape in the days before the infinite jukebox of the internet. [5-minute Guardian microplay] [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri at 3:56 AM - 40 comments

Conventionality Belongs to Yesterday

1980 Frankie Valli & The Commodores - Grease - Lots of white pants and rhinestones and people having fun. [more inside]
posted by vapidave at 12:35 AM - 18 comments

November 20

Kiwi tastes a golden nugget. It's delicious.

Nuggets, by Andreas Hykade, is a short animated film about addiction. [SLYT]
posted by Room 641-A at 11:16 PM - 24 comments

Punching in a nightmare

Requiem for Rod Serling "In his work, Serling would return often to the hardships of the war-weary, but he reserved some of his most powerful observations for broken-down boxers, particularly those who failed to achieve stardom."
posted by bitmage at 7:13 PM - 24 comments

"What I want to talk shit on is the paradigm of the Big Idea."

"I have worked at international development NGOs almost my entire career ... I’ve been frustrated by the same inefficiencies and assumptions of my sector that are now getting picked apart in public. Like the authors, donors, and governments attacking international development, I’m sometimes disillusioned with what my job requires me to do, what it requires that I demand of others. Over the last year, I read every book, essay, and roman à clef about my field I could find. I came out convinced that the problems with international development are real, they are fundamental, and I might, in fact, be one of them. But I also found that it’s too easy to blame the PlayPumps of the world. Donors, governments, the public, the media, aid recipients themselves—they all contribute to the dysfunction. Maybe the problem isn’t that international development doesn’t work. It’s that it can’t."
posted by ChuraChura at 5:22 PM - 42 comments

Always on Twine

Laura Hudson at NYT Magazine offers a great profile of Porpentine, one of the most talented voices working in an ultra-accessible medium for crafting new interactive fiction. She also reviews landmarks in the genre from other authors. What better time to celebrate the profusion of excellent Twine games out there? Links galore inside. [more inside]
posted by zeusianfog at 4:19 PM - 21 comments

The joy of being unbalanced

Common sense dictates that video games should be balanced. Of course they should be! Why wouldn't they? Well, it turns out there are actually some pretty cool things that can happen when a game isn't balanced. - The Unbalanced Design of Super Smash Brothers
posted by stoneweaver at 2:42 PM - 62 comments

Nothing but a Berliner

This post contains nudity.
Photographic history is chock-full of people who were painters before they became photographers, but very few were in women's wear to begin with.
When Hitler came to power in 1933, Erwin Blumenfeld produced this premonitory photomontage which in 1943 the US Airforce dropped in their millions over Germany cities.
Possibly his most famous early work is the series Nude under wet veil reflecting Botticelli and Cranach .
From his early Dada and Surrealist photomontages to his later New York fashion shoots, Erwin Blumenfeld insistently parodied objects of desire.
Here is an illustrated lifeline and a brief bio. from weimarart blogspot.
His fashion shots were masterpieces as were some of his nudes.
73 Thumbnails and wiki.
posted by adamvasco at 2:25 PM - 16 comments

Position yourself, whenever possible, at the top of a flight of stairs.

Bookish Beauty Tips from the Toast.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:18 PM - 9 comments

Snip Snip goes the vasectomy

The Amazing True Story Of My Exploding Balls
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:10 PM - 73 comments

Key and Peele - Aerobics Meltdown

Key & Peele's dark parody of the 1988 aerobic championship (previously)
posted by rebent at 2:10 PM - 53 comments

a "disjoined, incoherent stream of historical tidbits."

This would not make Chipotle the first major American chain restaurant to decorate with death iconography from another culture (that distinction may go to P.F. Chang's, with their terracotta soldiers), but I'm of the opinion "death by burrito" should be about portion size, and not about inadvertently invoking the wrath of an ancient deity.
So it turns out those "Mayan" glyphs at Chipotle restaurants are indeed of Mayan origin, explains Taylor Jones in Slate. (Via Languagehat)
posted by MartinWisse at 1:03 PM - 36 comments

Ruin Porn Ruins Chernobyl

Photographers prowl the streets of Pripyat . ...at each new location we visited, photographers were picking up dolls and books and clothes, draping them across steel-strung beds or sitting them upright on mantelpieces. However in trying to show the truth, these visitors are slowly destroying it. [more inside]
posted by Omnomnom at 1:02 PM - 26 comments

Charles the Third, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith

When Prince Charles becomes king, will he be able to stop his compulsive ‘meddling’? And if he can’t, what will it mean for the monarchy and the United Kingdom? (SLGuardian)
posted by Chrysostom at 12:28 PM - 158 comments

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