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How making 'Veronica Mars' changed the movie business.

Ever since Rob Thomas’s beloved TV show Veronica Mars got canceled, he’s wanted to make it into a movie. Turns out all he needed was the help of 91,585 of his biggest fans. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 6, 2014 - 142 comments

Welcome to Bell Labs

The legendary Bell Labs Complex in Holmdel, New Jersey was designed by Eero Saarinen and is a gargantuan example of modernist architecture. Though it was shuttered in 2007, there are plans to revitalize it into a mixed use commercial area. However those plans eventually play out, it's fun to have a look at the place both then and now. As a bonus, feast your eyes on a pair of back-to-back videos that first show the construction and opening of the facility in 1962 and then (starting at the 2:35 mark in the second video link) a commemoration of the facility's 20th anniversary in 1982 (Part one, Part two, Part three).
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Feb 24, 2014 - 28 comments

"Give me LI-berty or take the blinking phone out."

"In the mid-20th century, in response to the United States’ rapidly expanding telephone network, executives at the Bell System introduced a new way of dialing the phone. Until then, for the most part, it was human operators — mostly women — who had directed calls to their destinations." The new system, which eliminated letters from phone numbers and set the stage for an automated national (and eventually international) dialing system. was met with a minor rebellion against "creeping numeralism." The Atlantic examines "Our Numbered Days: The Evolution of the Area Code." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 23, 2014 - 99 comments

I Just Hope Grapes Comes Through This Okay

In a deal worth $5.2-billion, Canadian media conglomerate Rogers has obtained broadcasting rights to NHL games across Canada for the next 12 years. While the NHL and its players appear to come out winners, the deal is a blow to Canada's other media conglomerate Bell, whose sports network TSN has lost all national NHL programming just five years after winning the rights to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song from public broadcaster CBC, home to HNIC for over 60 years. As for the CBC, they will retain rights to broadcast games for four years in what president Hubert Lacroix described as a "partnership" where they will pay nothing, make nothing, and have no control over content. Considering HNIC is the only CBC English-language programming that consistently places in Canada's top 25 English TV shows and allegedly brings in up to 50% of its ad revenue and 30% of its audience, speculation regarding the future of a hockey-free CBC, last brought up during last year's NHL lock-up, abounds, with many characterizing it as a crisitunity for a clueless and complacent corporation.
posted by Alvy Ampersand on Dec 1, 2013 - 56 comments

He has a very distinct presence

W. Kamau Bell Is Trying To Become A Thing
A few years ago, sick of performing for San Francisco audiences who didn’t want to hear about race or politics, he was ready to quit comedy completely. Now he’s the host of TV’s most diverse, boundary-pushing nightly talk show, which just happens to be the flagship of a new network. No pressure or anything.

Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on fxx.com and Video on Demand
Previously on MetaFilter: Sarah Silverman talks about the roasting she got at the James Franco roast
posted by andoatnp on Sep 15, 2013 - 23 comments

What a marvelous day in the market

Markets of Britain
posted by twoleftfeet on Mar 4, 2013 - 17 comments

Listening to the past, recorded on tin foil and glass, for the first time in over a century

Towards the end of the 1800s, there were three primary American groups competing to invent technology to record and play back audio. Alexander Graham Bell worked with with Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell in at their Volta Laboratory in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., while Thomas A. Edison worked from his Menlo Park facilities, and Emile Berliner worked in his independent laboratory in his home. To secure the rights to their inventions, the three groups sent samples of their work to the Smithsonian. These recordings became part of the permanent collections, now consisting of 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made. But knowledge of their contents was limited to old, short descriptions, as the rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass recording media are fragile, and playback devices might damage the recordings, if such working devices are even available. That is, until a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory came together to make 2D and 3D optical scanners, capable of visually recording the patterns marked on discs and cylinders, respectively. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 10, 2012 - 21 comments

R.I.P. Professor Derrick Bell

Derrick Bell, Law Professor and Civil Rights Advocate, dies at 80. Bell was a pioneer of critical race theory and the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School. Bell was also a lover of gospel music, and hosted an annual gospel choir concert.
posted by likeatoaster on Oct 6, 2011 - 25 comments

Erasure

While their song Always may be forever enshrined in the minds of a generation of Adult Swim fans as the theme to the online game Robot Unicorn Attack, 80's synth-pop duo Erasure are still around, touring and putting out albums after 26 years.

Their 14th studio album, Tomorrow’s World, was released in the UK on Monday (October 11 in the U.S.), along with an official video for its first released song, When I Start To (Break It All Down). A (better) non-autotuned version labeled "Rehearsal Video" is on YouTube. (An abbreviated history of their work, with official music videos and links to several concerts, can be found within.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 5, 2011 - 53 comments

Reach out and touch someone. We're Beatrice

The Porticus Centre is a repository for historical material from Beatrice Foods, Bell System and the Borden Company. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Aug 11, 2011 - 10 comments

Bell's-lettres

Alexander Graham Bell's Delightfully Weird Sketchbooks . You know him as the inventor of the telephone, but Graham Bell also came up with horse-pulled kites, really sweet airplanes, "ghost effects" with an "elliptical reflector", and a better seesaw. More of Bell's papers from the Library of Congress.
posted by twoleftfeet on Mar 11, 2011 - 24 comments

Don't let the oscilloscope fool you

"In the late '60's I worked for Bell Labs for a few years managing a data center and developing an ultra high speed information retrieval system. It was the days of beehive hair on the women and big mainframe computers. One day I took a camera to work and shot the pictures below."
posted by channey on Dec 30, 2010 - 69 comments

For Whom the Bell Tolls...

With a population of 36,664 and 2.5 square miles in size Bell, California is number thirteen in the twenty-five smallest cities in the United States. Median annual household income is about $36,000; per capita income for the city is $9,905 with 24.1% of the population below the poverty line. Residents of this tiny city "have a higher property tax rate than homeowners in Beverly Hills." A recent L.A. Times investigative report has revealed that exorbitant salaries are being paid to city officials. Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo collects an annual salary of $787,637 with 12% increases scheduled every July. Assistant City Manager, Angela Spaccia collects $376,288 with a similar 12% annual pay increase. Police Chief Randy Adams who runs a 46-person department earns $457,000, which is 33% higher than that of his Los Angeles counterpart. And ... part-time city council members collect almost $100,000 a year each.* The District Attorney is investigating why the part-time council members take-home $8,083 per month while a $400 monthly stipend was expected. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Jul 27, 2010 - 87 comments

So I got arrested by the SWAT team last night…

So I got arrested by the SWAT team last night… Jeremy Bell's office was stormed by Ontario Police looking for some Lego blocks he bought online. An eyewitness account.
posted by boo_radley on Dec 4, 2009 - 140 comments

Pizza Hut. Taco Bell. Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

I'm at the Pizza Hut! What? I'm at the Taco Bell! What? I'm at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell!
posted by stresstwig on Aug 4, 2009 - 78 comments

What Musick is there that compar'd may be To well-tun'd Bells enchanting melody!

A thousand echos: Bells on Sunday from BBC Radio 4. Campanology is a dying art, despite having loyal devotees. Evan Davis learns how it's done. Here's a modern introduction to bell ringing; here's something a bit older. [more inside]
posted by Helga-woo on Jul 5, 2009 - 8 comments

Circumvention of Bell's Throttle Monster: three alternatives.

On November 20th, the CTRC made a landmark ruling that defeated the CAIP's plea to stop Bell's conjuration of the Deep Packet Throttle Monster. However all was not lost, as consumers of Bell's copper pipes can take solace in three recent developments that aim to reclaim the pipes for We, the little guy. hooray! [more inside]
posted by tybeet on Jan 17, 2009 - 28 comments

Silly pencil pushers! You can't KILL Physics! What's that? Oh, physics *research*. You've won this round!

RIP Bell Labs "After six Nobel Prizes, the invention of the transistor, laser and countless contributions to computer science and technology, it is the end of the road for Bell Labs' fundamental physics research lab."
posted by Eideteker on Aug 28, 2008 - 56 comments

The Year of Net Neutrality, Part 2

It seems that previous MeFi post heralding The Year of Net Neutrality may have been frighteningly accurate. Between the recent CRTC and the FCC filings on Bell's illegal throttling practices in Canada, and FCC ruling against Comcast to "Stop Blocking Internet Traffic" in the USA, it seems the issue is finally sparking action, and we may be seeing much more to come. For those interested, there is an open-source documentary called Human Lobotomy which discusses the way this issue weighs on freedom of press and freedom of speech, and also an activist blog, Save the Internet which promises to stay abreast of the issue.
posted by tybeet on Aug 8, 2008 - 5 comments

Will Rigby recounts meeting some pre-indie rock heroes.

A founding father of DIY indie rock, Will Rigby recounts the pilgrimages to locate underground rock legends Alex Chilton, (during his wry Americana deconstructo anarchy phase), and the 'McCartney' to Chilton's Big Star 'Lennon', the Brydsian Chris Bell. Blogs on bands may not seem to rate but cats with these sensibilities, unlike today, seemed incredibly uncommon then . Also mentioned, the Dbs, Little Diesel, and Mitch Easter. Free Mp3s of the rare 45s included.
posted by celerystick on May 2, 2008 - 12 comments

talk about it, talk about it, talk about it, talk about it.

Everybody on the dance floor for two of the high masterpieces of disco from 1979: Lipps Inc.'s Funkytown and Anita Ward's Ring My Bell. Hey, Funkytown even has its own comprehensive website! No doubt about it, 1979 was a very BIG year for disco. Not everyone back in '79, though, was ready to shake their booty. Oh well. Doooooooooooooooooooooooo [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 3, 2008 - 176 comments

Canadian Wireless Data Access Worse than Third World Countries

Recent discussion regarding the iPhone availability in Canada (Rogers says they'll carry it - Then denies doing so) has spurred ideas as to what it might cost. This tore open a nasty wound in the hearts of Canadians, having realized that their mobile data access is worse than that of third world countries. A petition has already been started.
posted by patr1ck on Apr 9, 2007 - 29 comments

Saved by the T-Shirt?

Screech Powers from the 1989-1993 teen comedy series "Saved by the Bell," is hoping to sell enough T-shirts with his photo on them to try to raise $250,000 so he doesn't lose his gray two-story house under a foreclosure order.
posted by Guerilla on Jun 17, 2006 - 53 comments

New FCC head seeks to quietly gut independent DSL carriers.

New FCC head seeks to quietly gut independent DSL carriers. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has circulated a proposal that would eliminate the requirement of phone companies to lease their phone lines to competitors, effectively cutting the throat of independent DSL carriers such as Covad, and their customers, such as EarthLink, AT&T, Concentric, AOL, and Sprint. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave Baby Bells the right to sell long distance service in exchange for opening up their networks to the public. Now the Bush administration are poised to undo this, killing a multibillion dollar industry, and giving monopoly control back to the Baby Bells, who aren't quite so small anymore, thanks to corporate mergers. If you like having all the broadband choices you currently have, you may want to contact the FCC commissioners, toot sweet.
posted by insomnia_lj on Jul 26, 2005 - 38 comments

Bell System Memorial

Bell System Memorial.
posted by hama7 on Jul 25, 2004 - 6 comments

We don't care. We don't have to.

Bell System Memorial. State approved, centrally planned and controlled: no, not this, the old Bell System. Don't miss the photos (including the first car phone!) and ads (sometimes ironic). Offsite: the affiliated Telephone Tribute, a few old Bell ads from the Prelinger archives, and an entertaining US telephony history from Bruce Sterling's famous Hacker Crackdown.
posted by tss on Mar 30, 2003 - 4 comments

Plan 9 from Bell Labs open sourced.

Plan 9 from Bell Labs open sourced. [posted up top so the open source people who weren't reading the unrelated other Plan 9 thread don't miss it.]
posted by baylink on Jun 11, 2000 - 0 comments

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