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"something like a sense of despair often took hold of me"

The Colour of Our Shame: 3 AM Magazine interviews Chris Lebron [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 29, 2014 - 3 comments

The happiest place on earth: TIJUANA!

I am on the western edge of the United States-Mexico border to understand more about the most publicised and most crossed border in the world. Ben Stubbs visits one of the most notorious borders in the world and reflects on Australia's frontier issues.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 11, 2014 - 12 comments

United Sweets of America

If every state had an official dessert, what would it be? (SLSlate)
posted by Metroid Baby on Sep 8, 2014 - 182 comments

How the burrito became a sandwich

NPR's Planet Money explains the history of the sales tax in the United States by tracing what kinds of sandwiches get taxed and why: How the Burrito Became a Sandwich. Bonus: In-N-Out Burger history in the podcast.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 22, 2014 - 154 comments

Cross-cultural experiences of schizophrenia

A new study by Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann and others found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.
posted by Rumple on Jul 19, 2014 - 24 comments

There’s lots of brutality...Horrible brutality.

Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail [more inside]
posted by jammy on Jul 14, 2014 - 11 comments

'that's so stupid that one can only cry at the foolishness of it.'

In the past week, Germany has found and fired an American mole in their intelligence agency, investigated another suspect in their defense ministry, and asked the CIA station chief to leave the country. Media reports offer an interesting view of a post Cold War world grappling with the unexpected* - spy vs spy among friends and allies, while traditional intelligence targets Russia and China play the part of bemused bystanders. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jul 11, 2014 - 56 comments

Majority Leader Eric Cantor defeated by Tea Party challenger Dave Brat

United States Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, has lost the Republican primary election in Virginia's 7th Congressional District to Dave Brat, a political newcomer and economics professor at Randolph-Macon College. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Jun 10, 2014 - 346 comments

"Just because we have the best hammer"

Presdient Obama gave a speech (video, transcript) at the United States Military Academy last month that outlined American foreign policy.
Reaction has been mixed. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 10, 2014 - 57 comments

Minute 319

Last November, after five years of remarkable negotiations that unfolded far from the Delta, representatives from the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a complex, multi-part water deal that will give them desperately needed flexibility for weathering the drought. More surprisingly, the two nations will join the team of environmental organizations to release a flood of more than 105,000 acre-feet of water – 3.8 million big-rig tankers' worth – into the Delta's ancient floodplain, and chase it with a smaller, permanent annual flow to sustain the ecosystem.

It is the unlikeliest of times to pull off a deal like this. Rather than hoarding all the water for themselves in this drought –– the river supplies some 35 million people –– the West's largest water agencies have pledged to send some all the way to the sea. That move is, to some extent, a long-overdue acknowledgment that the U.S. bears responsibility for the impacts its dams have caused beyond its borders. And after years of fruitless court fights in the U.S. by environmental groups, the Mexican government finally insisted that water for the Delta be a cornerstone of the broader deal.
For High Country News, Matt Jenkins describes the most ambitious water sharing plan ever created between Mexico and the United States (single page print version). For much more about this project and the water issues surrounding it, there's Eli Rabett's roundup of John Fleck's blogposts about this. (Or read the tl;dr version by Alex Harrowell.)
posted by MartinWisse on May 10, 2014 - 9 comments

But it's an honour to be leered at; what would you need decent pay for?

"NFL teams stepped easily into the creepy patriarch role. Today, they enforce expectations for the way their cheerleaders look (according to the suit, the Jills’ guidebook mandates everything from the cheerleaders’ nail polish color to how they clean their vaginas) while rewarding them, not with money, but with the supposed prestige of appearing as one of their city’s most desirable women."
[...]
"The old stereotype of cheerleaders as bimbos has also worked in the NFL’s favor. NFL cheerleading is such an obviously raw deal, some might assume that women must be stupid to agree to it. (Tell that to Dr. Monica Williams, who cheered for the Tennessee Titans while fulfilling a research fellowship at Vanderbilt.) That’s not a stigma that, say, coal miners fighting against unfair working conditions have to overcome to get what they’re owed."
Amanda Hess for Slate writes about the cheerleader revolt against low pay and humiliating working conditions. (previously) [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on May 8, 2014 - 113 comments

Nobody lives here.

Nik Freeman has created a map, based on census data, to illustrate the 47% of the United States where nobody lives.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 21, 2014 - 113 comments

My friend, if we go in the ditch you ain't fuckin' around with Chrysler.

In 1984, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers, represented by Bob White, and General Motors Canada, represented by Rod Andrew, sat down to negotiate a new wage agreement. GM had gotten the American UAW to agree to profit sharing and was dead-set on doing the same in the North; the Canadians were bitterly opposed to the idea. By the end of the negotiation, workers had struck, negotiators had been stabbed in the back, White and his allies had split from the UAW to form the CAW, and a compromise was reached that left everyone a bit unhappy - but the workers less so than their managers. Filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson used his unprecedented access to both teams of negotiators to craft Final Offer, "the best collective bargaining film ever made." You can stream the movie in its entirety at the National Film Board's website.
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 13, 2014 - 9 comments

The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime

"Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades. Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates ... we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates ... Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates." (Press Release) [more inside]
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Mar 27, 2014 - 22 comments

Grateful Dead vs. Phish and Other Distinctions

Music Machinery presents a map of each U.S. state's most distinct favorite band or recording artist, as well as an app for playing with the data.
posted by Navelgazer on Feb 26, 2014 - 75 comments

Legendary

After coming it at #19 in 2012, the great state of North Dakota was the happiest state to live in for 2013, according to The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 25, 2014 - 31 comments

The ‘Mustache of Justice’ has left the building.

Thomas Scully, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, once said, “Fifty percent of the social safety net was created by Henry Waxman when no one was looking.” After 40 years and 17 consecutive terms, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring from Congress. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 13, 2014 - 35 comments

The True Story of America's First Black Female Slave Novelist

In 2002 Henry Louis Gates jr. published The Bondwoman's Narrative. It was the first publication of a novel written in the 1850s by a former slave who wrote under the name Hannah Crafts. The original manuscript has been digitized by Yale's Beinecke Library. The book caused a splash at the time, sold well and was reviewed widely, including an essay by Hilary Mantel in the London Review of Books. The identity of Hannah Crafts was uncertain, which cast a slight shadow on its provenance, but Prof. Gregg Hecimovich discovered the writer's true identity. Her name was Hannah Bond and after escaping slavery she became a teacher in New Jersey. Journalist Paul Berman further fills in the story of Colonel Wheeler, the slaveowner whose family was depicted in The Bondwoman's Narrative. Wheeler was the US ambassador to Nicaragua in the 1850s and played a major part in the administration of General Walker, the American who became a short-lived dictator of Nicaragua and tried to set it up as a slave state.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 11, 2014 - 2 comments

Nuke 'em till they glow, shoot 'em in the dark

The Littlest Boy - Twenty years after Hiroshima, elite American troops trained to stop a Soviet invasion -- with nuclear weapons strapped to their backs. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 3, 2014 - 39 comments

Shell Games

The secretive business havens of Cyprus and the Cayman Islands face a potent rival: Cheyenne, Wyoming. At a single address in this sleepy city of 60,000 people, more than 2,000 companies are registered. The building, 2710 Thomes Avenue, isn't a shimmering skyscraper filled with A-list corporations. It's a 1,700-square-foot brick house with a manicured lawn, a few blocks from the State Capitol.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 22, 2014 - 32 comments

"Even to observe neutrality, you must have a strong government."

Court strikes down FCC's net neutrality rules
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 14, 2014 - 139 comments

Four years of declining prison populations

"I was startled and encouraged to see that under current policies, we are at a two decade-year low in the prison admission rate. To provide historical perspective, peg the change to Presidential terms: When President Obama was elected, the rate of prison admission was just 3% below its 2006 level, which was very probably the highest it has ever been in U.S. history. But by the end of Obama’s first term, it had dropped to a level not seen since President Clinton’s first year in office." -- Good news everybody, prison admissions in the US are at a two decade low, with total prison population decling for the fourth year in a row, leading Keith Humphreys to wonder why this hasn't been reported more widely.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 13, 2014 - 46 comments

YHBT YHL HAND. Repeat.

Jesse A. Myerson described five economic reforms millenials should be fighting for in Rolling Stone. Conservatives were generally aghast at the suggestions. Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog wrote a response, "Five conservative reforms millenials should be fighting for". Liberals disapproved. Both articles argued for I. Employer of Last Resort II. Basic Income III. Land Value Tax IV. Sovereign Wealth Fund V. Public Bank. Ezra Klein discusses the trolling.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Jan 11, 2014 - 107 comments

A spectacular historical atlas refashioned for the 21st century

Here you will find one of the greatest historical atlases: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas's nearly 700 maps. Many of these beautiful maps are enhanced here in ways impossible in print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data—remarkable maps produced eight decades ago with the functionality of the twenty-first century.
posted by cthuljew on Dec 28, 2013 - 8 comments

New Mexico Fully Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Following the state Supreme Court's decision in Griego v. Oliver [pdf], New Mexico has become the 17th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Dec 19, 2013 - 59 comments

America's last political taboo

We were left wondering why a man who served 16 terms in Congress and who bravely came out as gay all the way back in 1987 felt the need to hide his atheism until he was out of office. Was it really harder to come out as an atheist politician in 2013 than as a gay one 25 years ago? Incredibly, the answer might be yes. For starters, consider that there is not a single self-described atheist in Congress today. Not one.
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 10, 2013 - 165 comments

“Storm from a clear sky”

Researchers have located a sunken World War II Imperial Japanese submarine on the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii. [more inside]
posted by bryon on Dec 3, 2013 - 33 comments

"...everybody’s worst fears are coming true, as far as we can tell."

Caught in Unemployment’s Revolving Door (SLNYT) [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Nov 17, 2013 - 187 comments

The eleven nations of America

"There’s never been an America, but rather several Americas—each a distinct nation. There are eleven nations today. Each looks at violence, as well as everything else, in its own way." " [more inside]
posted by aka burlap on Nov 7, 2013 - 83 comments

PLUTONIUM MOUNTAIN

From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site for 456 nuclear devices. The test site was known as "The Polygon." Testing was stopped in 1989, but the long term effects remained. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 6, 2013 - 11 comments

Social Network Analysis Collaboration Knowledge Service (or, SNACKS)

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.
posted by crossoverman on Nov 3, 2013 - 38 comments

United States Devil Map

Can't decide where to go trick or treating? Jonathan Hull has created an interactive map of all the places in the U.S. with words like Devil, Hell, or Satan in the name. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Oct 31, 2013 - 10 comments

WWI in Color

World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

Clearly I don't belong here

Which (US) state matches your personality? A fun little quiz based on an exhaustive psychological study of American attitudes.
posted by desjardins on Oct 23, 2013 - 251 comments

Looking out the window while landing on the moon

Simultaneous video and selectively played audio of every Apollo lunar landing on one screen. (via Collect Space) [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 22, 2013 - 8 comments

Warning: This will probably make you angry about silly things.

Scrapple, Half-smokes, Marionberry Pie, Cowboy Cookies and Akutaq: Deadspin responds to Slate's wonderful state-by-state sports map (previously) with a map of regional foods, complete with highly opinionated rankings and commentary.
posted by Navelgazer on Oct 17, 2013 - 186 comments

United States of America

Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 29, 2013 - 49 comments

What *do* you call a drive through liquor store?

In 2003 there was the 2003 Harvard dialect survey. (Previous) which was taken up by Joshua Katz for a PhD project looking at regional dialect variation in the continental US (previous). Now he has created a quiz that takes this data and tells you where in the continental US they speak like you. For the ambitious, there's also the full 140 question version.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 28, 2013 - 171 comments

"Big waste country, the U.S."

To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America's Trash Is Treasure: Johnson Zeng is a Chinese trader who travels across the U.S. in search of scrap metal. By his estimate, there are at least 100 others like him driving from scrap yard to scrap yard, right now, in search of what Americans won’t or can’t be bothered to recycle. His favorite product: wires, cables, and other kinds of copper. His purchases, millions of pounds of metal worth millions of dollars, will eventually be shipped to China. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 7, 2013 - 29 comments

Cast the first Yellowstone

Massive earthquakes in Chile and Japan have been found to cause the dramatic increase in violent quakes around fracking's largely unregulated wastewater injection wells observed in the Midwest in the past two years, where injected water acts as a lubricant for geological faults that were previously thought to be "dead" or stable for millions of years.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 1, 2013 - 12 comments

Economic Mobility in the U.S. Varies Geographically

A team of economists from Harvard and UC Berkeley studying the effects of tax expenditures on economic mobility has released data showing that economic mobility in the U.S. varies dramatically between different geographic areas. The authors' website includes a summary of their findings. According the NY Times article on the study, which has a nifty map and tools to play with the data, the authors only found relatively small correlations between tax credits for the poor and higher taxes on the rich and economic mobility. However, the following four factors did correlate with greater economic mobility in a region: the size and dispersion of the middle class, more two-parent households, better schools, and more civic engagement (measured through membership in religious and community groups). Matthew Yglesias comments on the study at Slate. [more inside]
posted by Area Man on Jul 22, 2013 - 51 comments

"...we should take a close look at repealing compulsory education."

Utah State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) has introduced a proposal to abolish compulsory education for children in his home state. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 17, 2013 - 188 comments

"align the nation’s political landscape with its natural resource base"

our highly speculative proposal for the reconfiguration of the political geography of the United States to better conform to the spatial distribution of various water resources, such as rivers, aquifers, and man-made infrastructures.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 15, 2013 - 14 comments

The Talk: how to de-escalate a situation, for young people of color

"It's a lesson that many of us got from out folks at some point, often before we got that other uncomfortable parent-child conversation about the birds and the bees. Don't move suddenly. Answer questions clearly, and with yes, sir and no, sir. Don't raise your voice. If you're handcuffed, don't say anything until we [your parents] get there. The details differed depending on where you lived and your parents' particular concerns, but the point was for us to get through any encounter with the police without incident." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 15, 2013 - 52 comments

The jury's in... and they can't deny that view, either.

A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 14, 2013 - 81 comments

Audio recordings of 1964 interviews with Civil Rights activists

Robert Penn Warren's book Who Speaks for the Negro? was a collection of interviews with various men and women involved in the Civil Rights Movement published in 1965. Vanderbilt University has made all the interviews available as audio and transcripts, taken from the original reel-to-reel recordings. Among the interviewees were Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Septima Poinsette Clark, Ralph Ellison, Stokely Carmichael, James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin. On the page for each interview there are links to related documents, such as letters, photos and contemporary news articles.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 5, 2013 - 13 comments

Every library and museum in America, mapped

“There’s always that joke that there’s a Starbucks on every corner," says Justin Grimes, a statistician with the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington. "But when you really think about it, there’s a public library wherever you go, whether it’s in New York City or some place in rural Montana. Very few communities are not touched by a public library.”
posted by EvaDestruction on Jun 7, 2013 - 18 comments

"Things are meant to be for a reason"

'It could have been us, but things happen. Sometimes it's better to be patient than right." Mindy Cradell has little regret about letting an older woman in front of her, while standing in line for the lottery. That woman, Gloria Mackenzie, became the sole winner of the $590 million Powerball jackpot, the largest in the history of American lotteries.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 7, 2013 - 64 comments

This space is the no-touching zone.

The bizarre border between the United States and Canada (SLYT)
posted by desjardins on Jun 5, 2013 - 62 comments

The poverty of suburban America

During the decade 2000-10 in the USA, for the first time the number of poor people in major metropolitan suburbs surpassed the number in cities. Between 2000 and 2011, the poor population in suburbs grew by 64% — more than twice the rate of growth in cities (29%). By 2011, almost 16.4 million residents in suburbia lived below the poverty line, outstripping the poor population in cities by almost 3 million people. These are some of the grim findings of ‘Confronting Suburban Poverty in America’, a report by the Brookings Institution, and the implications of this report and its contents are that much more significant for Brookings is conservative in its outlook and advocacy. via
posted by infini on May 29, 2013 - 58 comments

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