May 1

We got each other, and that's a lot

Fan Jeremy Fry dances to Bon Jovi at a 2009 Celtics game. Via this Aeon link: How being awesome became the currency of our time.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:13 AM - 1 comment

Why Spinoza still matters

At a time of religious zealotry, Spinoza’s fearless defence of intellectual freedom is more timely than ever Steven Adler, professor of Jewish Studies, in Aeon.
posted by joost de vries at 1:57 AM - 3 comments

Bitter Taste in My Mouth / Spit it Out With a Rhyme

Riz MC has just dropped his new mixtape Englistan. Released on St George's Day, it turns out that as a second generation immigrant he has some thoughts about identity and nationality. [more inside]
posted by sarcas at 1:27 AM - 1 comment

"A way cool dude. Really into tobacco."

Filmmaker and editor trappped makes eerie documentaries about prolific Youtubers. [Content warning: descriptions of child sexual abuse in third link (and possibly other Hampow93 vids).] [more inside]
posted by edeezy at 12:37 AM - 1 comment

My potions aren't fit for a BEAST, let alone a MAN!

On September 22, 2011, Justin Kuritzkes posted a short video called Potion Seller, in which he takes advantage of a distortion filter on his camera to act out both roles of a dialogue between a magnificently coiffed knight and an impish potion seller. This video inspired a small but dedicated fandom that persists even today. [more inside]
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:31 AM - 4 comments

April 30

Radzyn Stories

Radzyn, Poland 1933
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 11:37 PM - 1 comment

"The inside of her head felt slow with panic"

"The Choking Victim" by MeFi's own Alexandra Kleeman is a short story that portrays one new mother's anxiety. The dream-like fiction linked at the author's web site offers a wider perspective on her work. [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:34 PM - 0 comments

Shades of Purple

Prince's passing has inspired countless musical tributes, usually involving the title track of his magnum opus. Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and New Edition did distinct versions. So did Garth and Trisha Yearwood, Corey Taylor, the cast of The Color Purple and crowds in the streets in New Orleans. The Harlem Gospel Choir and 1,000 high school choir students made the most of the soaring chorus, and Prince protégé and backup singer Elisa Fiorillo gave an understandably emotional performance. Of course, no one can ever do it like the man himself.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:12 PM - 15 comments

Sir, Name? Sir! Name!

This website gives the meaning and distribution of millions of surnames all over the world. Plus, it suggests some interesting history about surnames.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:31 PM - 28 comments

how it's made in japan

Ever wondered what a possible Japanese equivalent for How It's Made could be like? The jstsciencechannel has one! There are from 2 to 150, and 151 to 309 videos to choose from. Sadly, they lack English subtitles, however there are a handful of videos that do have them. Starting with mayonnaise, the series takes you through the making of steel balls (available in English), the construction and testing of sewing machines, how rice crackers are made, a thermos factory, the recycling of PET bottles, a matcha tea factory and the creation of bamboo whisks, and plenty more.
posted by aroweofshale at 9:21 PM - 7 comments

People watching people watching cats

Most of you will have heard of Nyan Cat before. A similar number will know that there is a ten-hour version on YouTube. What you probably didn't know is that there is a ten-hour video of someone watching that ten-hour version. What you almost definitely didn't know is that there's a ten-hour video of someone watching someone else watch ten hours of Nyan Cat.
posted by brecc at 9:02 PM - 20 comments

Which is bigger: >---<

Optical illusions are not universal, and the differences in how we perceive them can help us to understand cognition. The famous Müller-Lyer illusion is not universal, but differs by culture, with some African tribes unable to see the illusion at all - possibly because of differences in environment. Individuals with autism seem less sensitive to the Sheppard's table illusion, which might help improve an understanding of the condition. Differences in responses are possible because different illusions trick your brain in different ways. BBC has a great history of the evolution of optical illusions, and, finally, here are some auto-kinectic illusions, because they are awesome.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:55 PM - 19 comments

Neurodiversity on display

With his project Special Books by Special Kids, special education teacher Christopher Ulmer interviews neurodiverse people about their lives and interests. [more inside]
posted by R a c h e l at 6:53 PM - 2 comments

When Windows Update attacks

Weather reporter braves the affront [SLYT]
posted by maggieb at 6:12 PM - 26 comments

You're my special friend

Kazoo Kid - Trap Remix
posted by Rhomboid at 5:45 PM - 3 comments

and they shall beat their swords into plowshares

Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ - teacher, poet, and Jesuit priest; lionhearted activist for peace and FBI Ten Most Wanted alum; who set Vietnam War draft files on fire with homemade napalm, co-founded the Plowshares Movement to end nuclear war and weaponry, ministered to men and women with AIDS at St. Vincent's starting in 1984, and Occupied Wall Street in his late 80s - has died at age 94, on the 41st anniversary of the Vietnam War's end. He loved a good arrest photo.
posted by sallybrown at 5:02 PM - 61 comments

Boom.

Harry and Liz are flicking through some pictures from the Invictus Games when Harry gets a call from Michelle. You'll never guess what happens next... [In tweet]
posted by Wordshore at 2:59 PM - 31 comments

"There's no point in writing it all down if nobody ever reads it."

One breezy afternoon in 2001, two friends of mine, Richard and Dido, were mooching around a building site in Cambridge when they came across a battered yellow skip. Inside were 148 handwritten notebooks. Some were crammed into an old bottle box that had jaunty green print on the side: "Ribena! 5d!" Most were scattered across the bricks exultantly. A few had royal emblems from George VI's time. Others were bright, bubblegum colours, tangerine and mushy-pea green. A chalky jotter that Dido picked up broke like chocolate. Inside, the rotted pages were filled with urgent handwriting. Running up one of the margins were the words, "Hope my diaries aren't blown up before people can read them – they have immortal value." There was no name or return address on the books. The diarist was simply "I" who had lived, and then died, and been pitched in a skip.
Diary of a somebody: could I solve the mystery of 148 lost notebooks? is an essay by Alexander Masters about the writing of his new book, A Life Discarded.
posted by Kattullus at 2:12 PM - 33 comments

Radiohead's Corporate Empire

It seems Radiohead are not so much a band as a conglomerate, having the sort of financial structure you would expect to be more associated with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs than bands from Oxfordshire. They have been directors of some 20 companies since they formed, according to Companies House. This is not just interesting for gossip. Radiohead’s financial structure shines a light on one of the lesser discussed facts of the music industry: if you want to be a great band, it can help if you are as good at finance as you are at music, or at least have a team supporting you who are. [SLGrauniad]
posted by chavenet at 12:26 PM - 29 comments

Or, disdyakis triacontahedron

Introducing the d120 [more inside]
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:07 PM - 29 comments

I hereby claim credit for this when it shows up on various CSIs

Fingerprints! Everybody's got 'em...except for folks with adermatoglyphia, aka "immigration delay disease", a rare, benign genetic mutation that disrupts the formation of fingerprint ridges by disrupting RNA transcription tied to the SMARCAD1 gene.
posted by cortex at 12:03 PM - 10 comments

The Suicide Note as Literary Genre

“Everything has gone for me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.”
posted by standardasparagus at 11:38 AM - 22 comments

I Want Your Email Address

I Want Your Email Address. Don’t think about it. Just enter your email address into any of the places I’ve provided for you. Then, you can be on your way. I made it extremely easy for you to join my mailing list, and yet you think this is a game. This is not a game. I want your email address! And I want it NOW!
posted by chrisamiller at 10:56 AM - 40 comments

Dog is my Copilot

Mister Bentley the Dog and his human, Bradley Friesen, document their rotor-borne adventures up and down the pacific coast of Canada in a Robinson light helicopter. (Don't worry, Mister Bentley always straps in and wears his ear-pro). [via]
posted by Alterscape at 10:40 AM - 4 comments

Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria

Robert Kennedy, Jr. brings some light to the subject: "They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil."
posted by BentFranklin at 10:33 AM - 31 comments

"I stop talking, realizing that everyone at the table is looking at me"

Patrick Blanchfield writes for The Revealer: God And Guns
Setting aside both its lyrical merits and ideological upshot, of all responses to Obama’s remarks, Skynyrd’s song had the distinction of being perhaps the most honest – and, as a matter of simple description, the most analytically accurate. For the bare fact of the matter is that whatever you may think of God, or of guns, American history would be unrecognizable without the influence of both. God and machine, ever-in-tandem, producing a nation “strong” not just in the narrow sense of being powerful, but also in the etymological sense of resolute violence, of an abiding legacy of wreckage unparalleled by any other nation on Earth.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:58 AM - 5 comments

BUT SHE WAS A BUNKO SCREAM JAR

The Register reports on an audio track a company devised to transfer unwanted sales callers to, which they call "Extension 666," made of detuned singing, distorted hold notices and bursts of garbled static. They posted the track on SoundCloud. Notes: don't have the volume up very high for the sake of your speakers, and it loops after about two-and-a-half minutes.
posted by JHarris at 8:24 AM - 60 comments

"I'm having an amazing life, and it isn't over yet."

Born April 30, 1926, Cloris Leachman has appeared in a multitude of roles on stage, film, and especially television. In addition to an Oscar for her role in The Last Picture Show, she holds the record for most acting Emmys, at eight. This fall she will star with George Takei on a Lifetime original sitcom, Friends with Government Benefits, and just last week it was announced that she will play Zorya Vechernyaya in the Starz television adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. [more inside]
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:43 AM - 28 comments

The Bank of England is moving to polymer banknotes

The next Bank of England £5, £10 and £20 banknotes will be printed on polymer. "The new fiver will be issued in September 2016. On 2 June, the full details of the design and security features will be revealed and a range of training materials for retailers and businesses will be released. The £10 note will be issued in 2017 and the £20 note by 2020. Polymer banknotes are cleaner, more secure, and more durable than paper banknotes. They will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience, and increase the quality of banknotes in circulation."
posted by lungtaworld at 5:27 AM - 80 comments

Man of two voices.

It's entirely possible that you haven't heard anyone quite like Ghana's King Ayisoba. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:23 AM - 13 comments

Reel Wild Cinema

Hosted by Sandra Bernhard, clips from Something Weird Video’s (previously) catalogue and a heavily edited main attraction that cut down some feature length z-movie to a presentable bite-sized clips made up 1996's Something Weird Video. SWV has put up the entire run on their Youtube channel, so if you’re looking for some trashy fun, check it out. It’s not safe for work, but Puritans will be happy to know everyone’s best bits get covered in episodes like the “Nudist Camp Night.” Ta-tas get covered with happy faces and front bottoms with Stop signs! (via the twice Hugo nominated Black Gate).
posted by Mezentian at 3:38 AM - 1 comment

April 29

What gravity?

Tareq Alsaadi performs gravity-defying aerobatics with the SAB Goblin Nitro radio-controlled helicopter — in one case, with some interesting LED patterns on the blades
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:19 PM - 12 comments

A recipe for fried mayonnaise.

Fried Mayo.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:10 PM - 55 comments

A Ghost in the Machine

Someone turned a YouTube comment into something good. Prepare to shed a tear or two. (SLV)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:59 PM - 11 comments

Bike Batman

Meet “Bike Batman,” Seattle’s vigilante reuniting stolen bikes with their owners. [more inside]
posted by mbrubeck at 8:33 PM - 10 comments

This Just In

The Breaking News Generator - Today's top story... you! Or, whatever you want. Add your pic, write the headline and we'll go live to the scene. Sort of.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:17 PM - 6 comments

One man's trash is another man's treasure

In 2014, Provo, Utah-based rock band Neon Trees' lead singer Tyler Glenn's came out as gay and Mormon. At the time, he seemed optimistic in his ability to navigate both identities, reporting that he received positive messages from Mormon church leaders shortly after coming out. In 2015, he commented that the LDS church seemed to be changing for the better. But with the release of the single "Trash" from Tyler's new solo endeavor and Rolling Stone's related article, it appears that all has not been well in Zion. [more inside]
posted by subversiveasset at 5:20 PM - 17 comments

The third year, we built a ship in the desert

Wasteland Weekend is a Mad Max-inspired festival in California City, California. (SLVimeo)
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:14 PM - 11 comments

All Prior Art

All Prior Art is a project attempting to algorithmically create and publicly publish all possible new prior art, thereby making the published concepts not patent-able. The concept is to democratize ideas, provide an impetus for change in the patent system, and to preempt patent trolls. The system works by pulling text from the entire database of US issued and published (un-approved) patents and creating prior art from the patent language. While most inventions generated will be nonsensical, the cost to computationally create and publish millions of ideas is nearly zero – which allows for a higher probability of possible valid prior art. [more inside]
posted by Existential Dread at 3:00 PM - 27 comments

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

Elisabeth Moss will star in a 10-episode Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood is a consulting producer; The 100's Bruce Miller wrote the script and is an executive producer along with Daniel Wilson (The Handmaid's Tale feature film), Fran Sears (The Sophisticated Gents) and Warren Littlefield (Fargo). [more inside]
posted by melissasaurus at 2:48 PM - 59 comments

Holes, as adapted by Richard Kelly

You want to adapt a lighthearted whimsical YA novel for the big screen; who do you hire for the screenplay? The original author? Nah. Just get the guy who wrote Donnie Darko. Holes, by Richard Kelly [pdf]. Featuring nuclear holocaust, prostitutes, and mercy killings. [more inside]
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:09 PM - 32 comments

Physicists and their love-hate relationship with animals

On the one hand, physicists sure do love cute baby animals and clever puns. On the other hand, animals can really mess things up sometimes.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 12:00 PM - 33 comments

Moving On: the story of a life passing, told in yellow yarn

The stop-motion animation video for James' "Moving On" is the story of a life passing, told in yellow yarn. BAFTA award winning Scottish animator Ainslie Henderson explains what inspired him: It’s 2014, and I’m on the phone to Tim [Booth, lead singer of James]. He is describing how the band came to write MOVING ON, and what the words mean to him. The story he tells me is deeply moving; one thing that stayed with me is his describing death as a birth. Days later this conversation echoes around my mind while I’m listening to the song as I walk past a typical Scottish woollen knitwear shop. My eyes flit over a ball of wool in the window while the word “unwinding” is sung....
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:55 AM - 16 comments

Manly Health

Diet and fitness advice from Walt Whitman. (SLNYT)
posted by Miko at 11:51 AM - 13 comments

The most famous trade for a backup catcher in baseball history

What do you do when your team is aiming for the World Series, but nobody on your team can catch your knuckleballer? It's a tale of panic, mistaken identity, emergency flights over cleared airspace, and missing jock cups... It's an oral history of the Doug Mirabelli trade. (SLSports)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:38 AM - 14 comments

I, personally, do not care for apples. But I like you just fine.

I love you like a fat lady loves apples.
posted by phunniemee at 11:30 AM - 30 comments

It's cold, eh

Atlantic Canada is still getting some winter this "spring". Here's what a guy from Saskatchewan thinks about winter, just in general; some Manitobans' responses, previously.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:26 AM - 16 comments

How Sweden's Roads Became the Safest in the World

When Vision Zero first launched, Sweden recorded seven traffic fatalities per 100,000 people; today, despite a significant increase in traffic volume, that number is fewer than three. "The largest resistance we got to the idea about Vision Zero was from those political economists that have built their whole career on cost-benefit analysis. ... although they might not say it explicitly, the idea is that there is an optimum number of fatalities." [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 11:26 AM - 25 comments

You Ask Me for A Hamburger.

What is Cuil Theory? One Cuil ( ‽ ) is one level of abstraction away from the reality of a situation. A pictorial guide. [more inside]
posted by lalochezia at 11:05 AM - 20 comments

Is This A Bubble?

A Poem About Sillicon Valley Made Up Of Quora Questions
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM - 29 comments

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