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We like to think that we understand our universe.

The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction, by Jeff VanderMeer in The Atlantic.
posted by Sticherbeast on Nov 4, 2014 - 39 comments

To Raise, Love, and Lose a Black Child

Jordan Davis's mother, Lucia McBath, reflects on the guilty verdict in his murderer's trial. by Ta-Nehisi Coates (SLAtlantic) [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 8, 2014 - 18 comments

30 years of Coens

"In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Coen brothers' debut, Blood Simple, I’m re-watching their 16 feature films and attempting to jot down observations on one per day, in order of their release. For a fuller explanation of what I’m doing and why, see my first entry, on Blood Simple. (Here, too, are my entries on Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Intolerable Cruelty, The Ladykillers, No Country For Old Men, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davis." -- Christopher Orr, writing in The Atlantic.
posted by ricochet biscuit on Sep 29, 2014 - 84 comments

Have a Guinness (Latte) when you're tired

Starbucks Is Testing a Drink That Tastes Like Guinness (Without the Alcohol) by Samantha Grossman (@sam_grossman), Time magazine:
The new drink, called the Dark Barrel Latte, is being tested at select locations across Ohio and Florida, Grubstreet reports. It doesn't contain any alcohol, but it supposedly contains the dark, toasty, malty flavors of Guinness. A BuzzFeed writer who got his hands on one in Columbus confirmed that it really does taste like stout. Several customers who've tweeted about the drink agree that it tastes like Guinness — but the jury's still out on whether or not that’s actually a good thing.

When I asked a colleague who was born and raised in Dublin (Guinness's birthplace) how he felt about all this, he responded first with this GIF. Then, as he mulled it over a bit more, he added, "Holy hell. Worst." Then he posed a question: "American Guinness already doesn't taste like Guinness. So what will this taste like?" Then he barfed all over me and my stupid American ignorance.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 23, 2014 - 170 comments

the sea is a cup of death and the land is a stained altar stone

I don't know what it is about fecundity that so appalls. I suppose it is the teeming evidence that birth and growth, which we value, are ubiquitous and blind, that life itself is so astonishingly cheap, that nature is as careless as it is bountiful, and that with extravagance goes a crushing waste that will one day include our own cheap lives. Every glistening egg is a memento mori.
Annie Dillard ponders the disquieting thrall of the circle of life in her November 1973 essay for The Atlantic: The Force That Drives the Flower. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Sep 11, 2014 - 15 comments

Redder and redder, and prettier and prettier.

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious: How the worst apple took over the United States, and continues to spread.
posted by Faint of Butt on Sep 10, 2014 - 324 comments

a current overview of nuns in the US

The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it.

“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
[more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 31, 2014 - 79 comments

Email, the "cockroach of the internet" (that's a compliment)

Email is still the best thing on the internet
Getting an email address was once a nerdy right of passage for Gen-Xers arriving on college campuses. Now, the kids are waging a war of indifference on poor old email, culling the weak and infirm old-people technology. One American professor maintained that, to his students, "e-mail was as antiquated as the spellings 'chuse' and 'musick' in the works by Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards." The vice-chancellor of Exeter University claimed, "There is no point in emailing students any more." The youth appear to think there are better, faster, more exciting ways to communicate than stupid email.

Yet, despite all the prognosticators predicting it will—choose the violence level of your metaphor—go out of style, be put out to pasture, or taken out back and shot, email grinds on.

posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 23, 2014 - 140 comments

A tale of easy student Loans, for-profit schools & private equity

The most striking feature of the Direct PLUS Loan program is that it limits neither the amount that a school can charge for attendance nor the amount that can be borrowed in federal loans. "This is, for a private-equity firm, a remarkably attractive arrangement: the investors get their money up front, in the form of the tuition paid for by student loans. Meanwhile, any subsequent default on those loans is somebody else’s problem—in this case, the federal government’s." [more inside]
posted by TheLittlePrince on Aug 15, 2014 - 66 comments

World War I in photos

A 10-Part Series By Alan Taylor. "One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1914, a series of events set off an unprecedented global conflict that ultimately claimed the lives of more than 16 million people, dramatically redrew the maps of Europe, and set the stage for the 20th Century."
posted by Librarypt on Jul 30, 2014 - 11 comments

considering & rethinking bathrooms

Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian):
"Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 22, 2014 - 181 comments

The Ghetto Is Public Policy

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 12, 2014 - 31 comments

The Call Is Coming From Inside The Grave

"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 - 53 comments

Another 100+ Things You Should Read

(Slightly more than) 100 fantastic pieces of journalism – by the same staff writer at The Atlantic, a follow-up to this popular post from 2011. (Looks like it takes him about five months to assemble them all on one page.)
posted by LeLiLo on May 22, 2014 - 10 comments

A Eulogy for Twitter

The Atlantic: "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 - 175 comments

America’s Everyday Black-Market Economy

Your Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer (SLThe Atlantic)
posted by box on Apr 22, 2014 - 81 comments

The problems of economic segregation and US cities.

In the first two parts of a five-part series, The Atlantic looks at US cities with the highest levels of income segregation and US cities where the poor are segregated from everyone else. (dlTheAtlantic)
posted by Kitteh on Mar 24, 2014 - 44 comments

"There is no humor in heaven.”

The Dark Psychology of Being a Good Comedian. The Atlantic discusses humor's role as a coping mechanism, as a defense mechanism and as a cognitive tool. Also compares funny people to psychotic ones.
posted by raihan_ on Feb 27, 2014 - 19 comments

One look at the Fiji house and he gets the message

The Atlantic's yearlong investigation on the current state of fraternities in America, and the lawsuit industry that rides alongside.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 20, 2014 - 119 comments

BUT I DIDN'T FREAKING TOUCH IT!!

Do not play this game. You will be dead in seconds. Did it get popular using sneaky tactics? Probably not. But do you want it to haunt your dreams? No, you don't. Stave off your existential despair in some other way. I repeat, do not play this game.
posted by cashman on Feb 3, 2014 - 116 comments

Discovering a bat under your bare posterior can be traumatizing.

What Makes a Good Toilet?
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 20, 2014 - 34 comments

What Happens When the President Sits Down Next to You at a Cafe

"The world is made of people: I get this. Our republic only works if we know our leaders are fallible humans. I disagree with the U.S. government about plenty. None of this kept me from experiencing immediate, full-on, feverish anxiety."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 19, 2014 - 24 comments

If you see the Buddha on the road

The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side is an Ebook about the rarely discussed but long-understood-by-insiders phenomenon of the "sexually voracious" Buddhist leader who "preyed on vulnerable women."
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 15, 2014 - 32 comments

What is the genealogy of the AMA?

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]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 7, 2014 - 36 comments

There is a waiting list

A School With a Sense of Place
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 3, 2014 - 15 comments

The Elmore Leonard Paradox

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 - 60 comments

He Tried Therapy, All We Have Left Is DTFMA

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 - 40 comments

What worked well 224 years ago is no longer the best we can do.

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.
The Atlantic'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 - 78 comments

Energy crisis, industrial pollution, Kodachromes and more...

From The Atlantic, a series of photography that documents America in the 1970s: the Pacific Northwest | New York City | the Southwest | Chicago's African-American community | Texas [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 29, 2013 - 20 comments

Speaking in foreign tongues

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates has spent the last few months in Paris specifically studying French. His latest dispatch, "Or Perhaps You Are Too Stupid to Learn French," looks at how hard it is to apply the rules of new language in real time, while fighting with one's perceptions and limitations (Other dispatches are here).

Washington Post writer Jay Matthews asks if learning a foreign language is worth it and recounts his own struggles studying Chinese. Another WaPo writer, Elizabeth Chang, recalls her experience in learning Arabic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 22, 2013 - 200 comments

The Statesman

In Defense of Henry Kissinger - The 20th Century's Greatest 19th Century Statesman [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 4, 2013 - 92 comments

If it's consensual, can it ever be wrong?

The panda gangbang took place deep in the basement of the Kink armory, where rivulets of the long-suffocated Mission Creek still trace a path between moisture-eaten columns, and the air hangs heavy with a stony dampness. Emily Witt explores the experiences and motivations of participants in acts of extreme pornography. Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic considers "Is some sex wrong even among consenting adults?" [Language NSFW, possible trigger warnings, as descriptions and language are graphic]
posted by MoonOrb on May 18, 2013 - 207 comments

"What If We Never Run Out of Oil?"

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 - 86 comments

I have a crazy friend who says we dont need zipcodes...is he CRAZY?

On July 1, 1963, The US Post Office introduced the five-digit ZIP Code with a series of PSAs broadcast on national TV. The Atlantic looks at a new report [PDF] that details the history of the now $9.5 billion a year product and its current state of affairs.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 25, 2013 - 64 comments

"solved the problems of both journalism and advertising at once"

Does BuzzFeed Know The Secret? The National Republican Congressional Committee seems to think so, since they redesigned their website. But they're just following BuzzFeed's advice. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 15, 2013 - 67 comments

Fwoosh! Zoom!

"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 - 38 comments

"Exposure Doesn’t Feed My Fucking Children!"

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013. Summary. The Atlantic responds.
posted by lalex on Mar 5, 2013 - 196 comments

Don't go out and sell your U.S. Steel stock

The Land of the Free: How Virtual Fences Will Transform Rural America (originally posted on v-e-n-u-e.com)
posted by DynamiteToast on Feb 8, 2013 - 34 comments

The Word of the Father

Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father [single-link Atlantic]
posted by killdevil on Feb 2, 2013 - 20 comments

A Million First Dates: How online romance is threatening monogamy

A recent Atlantic article magazine raises the question of whether online dating discourages long term commitment. This is not the first time Atlantic has raised concerns about online dating sites. In 2006, the tone of an article on the topic was neutral. Not so much in 2010, 2011, and more recently. But perhaps we just all need more data.
posted by bearwife on Jan 29, 2013 - 65 comments

A Milestone Year for Media

On the heels of a recent announcement that it will experiment with online pay models, The Atlantic featured sponsored content today from The Church of Scientology, a post entitled "David Miscavige Leads Scientology to Milestone Year."
posted by Apropos of Something on Jan 14, 2013 - 252 comments

Literary magazine throwdown

n+1 picks a fight with: [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Jan 8, 2013 - 23 comments

"Where sex is work, sex may just work differently" & "the WEIRDest people in the world?"

When sex means reproduction, certain proclivities may simply not be part of cultural models of sexuality: "Barry and Bonnie Hewlett had been studying the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for many years before they began to specifically study the groups' sexuality... [T]he Hewletts conclude, "Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group."" [more inside]
posted by flex on Dec 9, 2012 - 83 comments

Next year it will start around Halloween.

From the Atlantic's In Focus:2012: The Year in Pictures [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Dec 4, 2012 - 69 comments

"If I was to die, today or tomorrow, I do not think I would die satisfied till you tell me you will try and marry some good, smart man that will take care of you and the children"

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 - 44 comments

"Which is another way of saying that Facebook is George Costanza's worst nightmare: It enforces, second by second, the collision of worlds."

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 - 135 comments

Phillip Marlow's throbbing core of misogyny

Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses male mythology, biology and Raymond Chandler's Private Dick
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 26, 2012 - 45 comments

What's gonna happen outside the window next?

Noam Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong
posted by cthuljew on Nov 18, 2012 - 55 comments

The Beautiful Blackboards at Quantum Physics Labs

The Beautiful Blackboards at Quantum Physics Labs (from The Atlantic)
posted by moonmilk on Oct 28, 2012 - 36 comments

Photographs of Robots

Robots at Work and Play (a photo gallery from the Atlantic).
posted by tykky on Oct 18, 2012 - 7 comments

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