Frequently dismissed as trivial or unimportant because untrue, rumors are a potent in the information war that characterizes contemporary conflicts, and they participate in significant ways in the struggle for the consent of the governed. As narrative forms, rumors are suitable to a wide range of political expression, from citizens, insurgents, and governments alike. The authors make a compelling argument for understanding rumors in these contexts as "narrative IEDs," low-cost, low-tech weapons that can successfully counter elaborate and expansive government initiatives of outreach campaigns or strategic communication efforts. Narrative Landmines - The Explosive Effects of Rumors in Syria and Insurgencies Around the World [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 4, 2013 -
About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy
, Maria Bamford
was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show
, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe
Web site. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Jan 26, 2013 -
This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects
) launched a new digital series: H+
. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+
, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 19, 2012 -
On November 30, the Tampa Bay Times published a sympathetic profile of Spring Hill, FL resident Gretchen Molannen: "Persistent genital arousal disorder brings woman agony, not ecstasy
." Her condition, also known as PGAD, is a rare sexual disorder (not recognized by the DSM,) 'characterized
by spontaneous, persistent, unwanted sexual arousal unrelated to feelings of sexual desire.' The Times reported that Ms. Molannen's condition had virtually destroyed her personal and professional life and led to several suicide attempts. One day after the article was published, she successfully committed suicide
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 7, 2012 -
The author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a popular MetaFilter topic
, was born
177 years ago today (November 30th 1835) in Missouri
. The printer, riverboat pilot, game designer
, journalist, lecturer, technology investor
, gold miner, publisher and patent holder
wrote short stories, essays, novels and non-fiction
under the pen name Mark Twain
. This included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(recently adapted into a musical
), one of the top five challenged books of the 1990s
, published in 1884-85 to a mixed reception
and with an ending that still causes debate
. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore
on Nov 30, 2012 -
Friendship is Optimal
is not a "My Little Pony" fanfic, but a SF story that starts with a procedurally-generated MLP MMO, and crescendos to what could very well be the Best Possible Outcome if self-optimizing algorithms are given /almost/ the right goals.
Some readers are horrified by the implications; some want to move into "Equestria Online" anyway. Whichever camp you fall in, you'll never forget the phrase "satisfy human values through friendship and ponies".
posted by DataPacRat
on Nov 28, 2012 -
She sat zazen, concentrating on not concentrating, until it was time to prepare for the appointment. Sitting seemed to produce the usual serenity, put everything in perspective. Her hand did not tremble as she applied her make-up; tranquil features looked back at her from the mirror. She was mildly surprised, in fact, at just how calm she was, until she got out of the hotel elevator at the garage level and the mugger made his play. She killed him instead of disabling him. Which was obviously not a measured, balanced action--the official fuss and paperwork could make her late. Annoyed at herself, she stuffed the corpse under a shiny new Westinghouse roadable whose owner she knew to be in Luna, and continued on to her own car. This would have to be squared later, and it would cost. No help for it--she fought to regain at least the semblance of tranquillity as her car emerged from the garage and turned north. Nothing must interfere with this meeting, or with her role in it. "Melancholy Elephants,"
an enthralling, Hugo Award-winning short story by Spider Robinson about a disciplined operative, a powerful senator, and a crucial mission to preserve humanity's most precious resource. (some spoilers inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 27, 2012 -
"To aid the national security community in imagining contemporary threats, the Australian Security Research Centre (ASRC) is organising Australia’s Security Nightmares: The National Security Short Story Competition
. The competition aims to produce a set of short stories that will contribute to a better conception of possible future threats and help defence, intelligence services, emergency managers, health agencies and other public, private and non-government organisations to be better prepared." (via
posted by vidur
on Sep 12, 2012 -
The Medical School at the University of California, San Francisco “presents Mini Medical School
for the Public, a series of programs providing an opportunity to learn about health and the health sciences directly from UCSF faculty members and other nationally-recognized experts.”
Videos particularly geared toward integrative medicine and healthy living can be found here.
(Most of the videos are between sixty and ninety minutes long.) [more inside]
posted by ferdydurke
on Sep 8, 2012 -
The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again
"Is there a greater cultural sin than a good story spoiled? The accepted modern posture is that knowing too much beforehand about the plot of a novel, a play, a movie, even a TV series, ruins the magic of experiencing it for the first time — renders it damaged goods, not worth one’s time or money.[..]
It’s a given: Everyone hates spoilers. Except when they don’t. Two researchers in the psychology department of the University of California at San Diego recently decided to test whether we really hate spoilers, or just like to say we do. What they found surprised them: The majority of people apparently like having a story spoiled for them. In fact, we may enjoy spoiled stories even more than the unspoiled versions. Is it true? Do we secretly crave predigested plots the way some foodies sneak Big Macs when no one’s looking?"
Pdf link to study. [more inside]
posted by nooneyouknow
on Aug 29, 2012 -
The drawings of Ron Franciere circa 1962-1988
— "Ron Franciere was something of a mystery to me. Ran into many dead ends trying to find information on him. I posted some images on my website Bighappyfunhouse. I received emails that held a few stories of Ron and his life - but nothing ever lead me to contacting Ron Franciere. Then, I received an anonymous comment on my website."
posted by unliteral
on Aug 21, 2012 -
What kind of an Eeget are ya?
Not sure what MeFi will make of this wry little monologue, or indeed what the World-Wide World will make of the chap's accent, but it has humour, and truth, and I know plenty of people who 'spake' just like that...
posted by ironjelly
on May 29, 2012 -
" a comic about the effects of horrible mutating mimic blobs on a strained romantic relationship.
posted by The Whelk
on Feb 21, 2012 -
So if I'm thinking about this talk, I'm wondering, of course, what is it you take away from this talk? What story do you take away from Tyler Cowen? One story you might take away is the story of the quest. "Tyler came here, and he told us not to think so much in terms of stories." That would be a story you could tell about this talk. It would fit a pretty well-known pattern. You might remember it. You could tell it to other people. "This weird guy came, and he said not to think in terms of stories. Let me tell you what happened today!" and you tell your story. Another possibility is you might tell a story of rebirth. You might say, "I used to think too much in terms of stories, but then I heard Tyler Cowen, and now I think less in terms of stories!" That too, is a narrative you will remember, you can tell to other people, and it may stick. You also could tell a story of deep tragedy. "This guy Tyler Cowen came and he told us not to think in terms of stories, but all he could do was tell us stories about how other people think too much in terms of stories."
Tyler Cowen's TED talk on the danger of storytelling.
posted by storybored
on Dec 26, 2011 -
is a way for you and your family to share and preserve your stories, one question at a time.
The site takes its name from the Proust Questionnaire
. Stories can be viewed in several different ways and be set as private or public
posted by unliteral
on Jul 19, 2011 -
One day in 1984 character actor Stephen Tobolowsky
, the original, unaired pilot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
) was walking down the street when Jonathan Demme
pulled up and asked if he wanted to see a movie he was finishing. Tobolowsky accepted: taking his girlfriend Beth Henley
, they went to the Academy Linwood Dunn Theatre
to watch the rough cut of the movie, Stop Making Sense
. The audience in the otherwise empty theatre consisted of Tobolowsky
, Henley, and Demme, along with members of Talking Heads
, including David Byrne
and Tina Weymouth
. Later, Byrne
on his bike
and asked if he wanted to work on a new movie
. Interest sparked again, and during the ensuing collaboration Tobolowsky shared his past experience of psychic phenomena. Inspired, Byrne went on to write Radio Head
. The song was heard by Thom Yorke
and became the name of his band
. All of this is a true story, based on puzzling evidence
. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul
on Jul 17, 2011 -
Hobo Lobo of Hamelin
is a thing by a dude, who’s all like, “I’m Gonna Make a Thing.” And then he did. Or is doing. Or, you know, whatever. This dude can be found on the internet. He websites to put food on his family. A wonderfully crafted and designed illustrated book for the digital age.
posted by netbros
on Jul 2, 2011 -
Leslie Slape has been a professional storyteller for more than 20 years. This column will feature some of her favorite short folktales from around the world. Come on, snuggle up in the rocking chair, and get ready for a story. [more inside]
posted by infini
on May 30, 2011 -
I don't watch American Idol. I'm not even remotely interested. But I did happen across this clip
of barista Chris Medina, who impressed me less with his singing during his audition (which is great) than with his heart (SLYT; 4.55). Excuse me, but I've got something in my eye.
posted by bwg
on Jan 29, 2011 -