Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
Harrison Harrison Ford, correspondent for Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously (previously), answered questions on Ask Me Anything (slreddit). You may also recognize Mr. Ford as Dr. Indiana Jones.
Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister were the victims of medical and genetic experiments at the hands of Josef Mengele in Auschwitz. She recently did an AMA on Reddit.
Pentagon papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg held a Reddit AMA this week, and found out something new about the whole affair - 43 years later.
The Atlantic attempts to explain how Reddit's Ask Me Anything became a "mainstream delight." [Previously]. [Even more previously]. [Even more previously than that]. [more inside]
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
More than half the population of small, rural Madras, Oregon (population: ~6059) and its surrounding community is served by one clinic: Madras Medical. At the beginning of 2006, the clinic's doctors and nurses decided to ban pharmaceutical reps from visiting their practice. No more free lunches. No more free drug samples. No more gifts. And yet.... "It's made us better doctors." (Via) [more inside]
Harmony Korine's new film Spring Breakers [trailer] is "an outrage and an abomination. It’s also some kind of masterpiece." Or maybe it's swill, or just plain old racist. In any event, the movie looks gorgeous, courtesy of cinematographer Benoît Debie, best known for his work on his work on Gaspar Noe's Irreversible and Enter the Void. Actress Ashley Benson thinks the sex scenes were beautiful: "It wasn't raunchy. It was telling a story." Actor Gucci Mane, meanwhile, fell asleep during his sex scene. Korine showed up on Reddit to answer questions, but his responses were somewhat incoherent.
r/IAmA (previously) has been gaining in popularity since Barack Obama stopped by to answer questions last August. Yesterday Bill Gates showed up to talk about his charity work and his global concerns; earlier in the week, journalist Matt Taibbi explained why breaking up the banks should be the Holy Grail for activists, and The Pirate Bay's co-founder Peter Sunde talked about why he hopes TPB dies soon. Dan Rather fielded questions via video recordings, while Arnold Schwarzenegger preferred to write his answers down (warning: kind of illegible). In the last month alone, three members of the House of Representatives showed up – Jim McGovern (MA), Jared Polis (CO), and Zoe Lofgren (CA). Meanwhile, actor Dante Basco admitted he had a crush on Emmy Rossum while she was doing a simultaneous AMA; needless to say, Redditors mentioned it to her, resulting in an adorably awkward exchange between the two.
Starting around 1:30 p.m. Pacific time yesterday— and announced less than 30 minutes before — Barack Obama answered redditors’ questions about war, taxes, basketball, and beer. In Reddit jargon, the chat was an “AMA” (“Ask Me Anything”) in the “IAmA” subreddit (as in “I am a chef,” “I am a plumber,” “I am a President of the United States”). (SLWired) [more inside]
The power of the Reddit AMA: Forbes on the "interview revolution that has everyone talking." "Comedian Louis CK took a chance on a Reddit AMA by offering Redditors the chance to purchase his Live at Beacon Theater performance for $5 through his website. The result: over $1 million in sales in the first 10 days and a new distribution method. (previously) ... One New York Times bestselling author I spoke to saw their Amazon rank jump from 800 to 400 and stick, meaning a spike in hundreds and possibly thousands of books a day for more than a week." Just today, Kevin Smith and Steve Albini stopped by to chat with Redditors; other celebs who have done AMAs include Bob Odenkirk, Ken Jennings and Molly Ringwald. But it's not all about celebrities -- ordinary people with interesting stories do AMAs as well, including a former "Daily Show" intern and a couple who met through a Craig's List missed connections ad.
"This is day 86 on my full return South Pole Expedition 2011/2012. I'm quite hungry and about to pick up my last cache by my second pulk which I left on the way in. As a part of my motivational plan I have on purpose not made notes on what goodies I have left behind in the cache, and on this last one, I didn't expect very much." --Aleksander Gamme [more inside]
Woody Harrelson has been critically acclaimed for his leading role in the upcoming film Rampart. Harrelson has just recently begun an AMA (ask me anything) post on reddit to promote the film. But because he only wanted to discuss and promote the film (and has avoided some rather embarrassing questions), the reactions have been less than great. [more inside]
Giancarlo Esposito, the actor currently known best as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad (and, of course, the veteran of many, many other roles), is doing an AMA on Reddit, and responding to some of the questions via his YouTube channel. [Presumably, spoilers for BB ahead.] He also explains this.
Should you be allowed unrestricted knowledge of your own genetic makeup? Or should your doctor be the one to decide how much you can know about your own genes? Currently direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies (such as 23andMe) allow consumers to discover which genes they have inherited. But some influential people are arguing that the general public is harmed by the ability to freely access this type of information. The American Medical Association is urging the FDA to make it so that genomic information is only available to a person through a personal physician or medical counselor. As a counterpoint the geneticists at the Genomes Unzipped website provide a six point statement on why People Have A Right To Access Their Own Genetic Information. [more inside]
From the journal Nutrition, a paper(pdf) criticizing the new American dietary guidelines. [more inside]
Shadofax at MovingMeat has an interesting writeup about two WSJ articles on the AMA's RUC and warring specialities. [more inside]
Medical Marijuana Apartheid -- as the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy misrepresents (PDF source) the new policy of the American Medical Association (PDF source) in regard to medical marijuana, and the U.S. Congress lifts the ban on Washington D.C.'s Initiative 59 ("the first time Congress has given its assent to a state or local law that permits medical use of marijuana") -- one writer questions whether the "back-door" decriminalization of cannabis has institutionalized class- and race-based discrimination.
Iwase Yoshiyuki "In the late 1920s, young Yoshiyuki received an early Kodak camera as a gift. Since the main livelihood of the town came from the sea, he gravitated there, and soon found a passion for "the simple, even primitive beauty" of ama – girls and women who harvested seaweed, turban shells and abalone from beneath the coastal waters." "By the late 1960s, they had disappeared. This body of work stands as the final, most comprehensive visual document of the life and work of these divers." [NSFW] [more inside]
It's not your imagination, Americans (and those of us who live in similar cultures) really are getting fatter. The latest Journal of the AMA has the reports.