"If the phone rang and you were in another room, you had to come running: in that immediate sense, and in a way that now seems comical, your phone controlled you. And before the ‘90s, there was no caller ID, an inconvenience which ensured, for that benighted first century-plus of the instrument’s analog existence, the first premise of phone horror—that you could never know for certain whose voice, or what sound, would issue from the other end of that raised receiver
." - HiLoBrow is in the middle of a series
exploring the tropes and history of Phone Horror. Of particular note is the brief historical connection between the telephone and the world of occult crypto-science
- The Atlantic explains further.
posted by The Whelk
on Jun 25, 2014 -
: "Something is wrong on Twitter. And people are noticing. Or, at least, the kind of people we hang around with on Twitter are noticing. And it's maybe not a very important demographic, this very weird and specific kind of user: audience-obsessed, curious, newsy. Twitter's earnings last quarter, after all, were an improvement on the period before, and it added 14 million new users for a total of 255 million. The thing is: Its users are less active than they once were. Twitter says these changes reflect a more streamlined experience, but we have a different theory: Twitter is entering its twilight." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore
on Apr 30, 2014 -
If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good.
No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce
, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Jan 3, 2014 -
In short, I have, since the age of about 2, been a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears, and neuroses. And I have, since the age of 10, when I was first taken to a mental hospital for evaluation and then referred to a psychiatrist for treatment, tried in various ways to overcome my anxiety. Surviving Anxiety
posted by Ghostride The Whip
on Dec 23, 2013 -
According to researchers who analyzed all 729 constitutions adopted between 1946 and 2006, the U.S. Constitution is rarely used as a model. What's more, "the American example is being rejected to an even greater extent by America's allies than by the global community at large"...
"There are about 30 countries, mostly in Latin America, that have adopted American-style systems. All of them, without exception, have succumbed to...constitutional crisis[es]—your full range of political violence, revolution, coup, and worse. But well short of war, you can end up in a state of "crisis governance," he writes. "President and house may merely indulge a taste for endless backbiting, mutual recrimination, and partisan deadlock. Worse yet, the contending powers may use the constitutional tools at their disposal to make life miserable for each other: The house will harass the executive, and the president will engage in unilateral action whenever he can get away with it." [Juan Linz] wrote that almost a decade and a half ago, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, let alone the Tea Party.
's Alex Seitz-Wald makes a case against the U.S. Constitution:
The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It
posted by zardoz
on Nov 5, 2013 -
Charles C. Mann writes for The Atlantic
This perspective has a corollary: natural resources cannot be used up. If one deposit gets too expensive to drill, social scientists (most of them economists) say, people will either find cheaper deposits or shift to a different energy source altogether. Because the costliest stuff is left in the ground, there will always be petroleum to mine later. “When will the world’s supply of oil be exhausted?” asked the MIT economist Morris Adelman, perhaps the most important exponent of this view. “The best one-word answer: never.” Effectively, energy supplies are infinite. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 29, 2013 -
"If you spend any time looking for records at flea markets and garage sales, you come to recognize a variety of common vintage records: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Barbra Streisand, box collections of "best of" classical music, the band America.
And then there are the rare finds, the albums that you would never expect to exist. My latest find at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair falls into that category ... it became my possession for $2. And now yours, via SoundCloud, for nothing."
Sounds of X-15s, Atlas missiles, Nieuport biplanes, and more
posted by Chutzler
on Apr 9, 2013 -
Author Jon Meacham has a new book out on Thomas Jefferson. It is reviewed in the New York Times
: Cultivating Control in a Nation’s Crucible
But this book does not address its principal concern, power, until Jefferson has accrued some. When it comes to the force that he wielded as a slaveholder, Mr. Meacham finds ways to suggest that thoughts of abolition would have been premature; that it was not uncommon for white heads of households to be waited on by slaves who bore family resemblances to their masters; and that since Jefferson treated slavery as a blind spot, the book can too. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Dec 3, 2012 -
Are Your Facebook Friends Stressing You Out? (Yes.)
- "The finding, which is similar to one determined last year, is nice as a headline: It's both unexpected (friends! stressing you out! ha!) and ironic (the currency of the social web, taking value rather than adding it!). What's interesting, though, is the why of the matter: the idea that, the report theorizes, the wider your Facebook network, the more likely it is that something you say or do on the site will end up offending one of that network's members... Unsurprisingly, per the study's survey of more than 300 Facebook users, 'adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.'" [more inside]
posted by flex
on Nov 27, 2012 -
What Will the 'Phone' of 2022 Look Like?
"Is the iPhone 5 the last phone? Not the last phone in a literal sense, but this is the apotheosis of this device we would call a phone...It's not clear to me that there is any such device as the phone in 2022. Already, telephony has become a feature and not even a frequently used feature of those things we put in our pockets." [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange
on Sep 14, 2012 -
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic
, recently touched on a couple of interesting aspects of the American Civil War. First, Racism Against White People
briefly looked at how Southern intellectuals argued that Northern whites were of a different race. Then a subthread in the comments on that post spawned an investigation of American Exceptionalism in History
and the notion of preserving democracy in the context of the American Civil War. After all, "if a government can be sundered simply because the minority doesn't like the results of an election, can it even call itself a government?" Definitely check out the comments of both posts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jul 8, 2012 -