April 14

Sorry for ruining Wordle for you

What if your Wordle strategy was to always start with the same 4 words, all with unique letters? That would use 20 letters, with the exception, of J, K, Q, V, X, Z. Slate's "The Fastest Wordle Winning Strategy Ever" (archive). [more inside]
posted by ShooBoo at 12:51 PM - 34 comments

All those who wander are not lost

Why do some people always get lost? "While it’s easy to show that people differ in navigational ability, it has proved much harder for scientists to explain why. There’s new excitement brewing in the navigation research world, though. By leveraging technologies such as virtual reality and GPS tracking, scientists have been able to watch hundreds, sometimes even millions, of people trying to find their way through complex spaces, and to measure how well they do. Though there’s still much to learn, the research suggests that to some extent, navigation skills are shaped by upbringing."
posted by dhruva at 9:15 AM - 37 comments

War on Drugs and on Tricky Greens

Cool suburban dads can ask for nothing more: Adam Granduciel, genius frontman of The War on Drugs is touring with The National this fall and really loves to golf (registration-free version).
posted by MattD at 7:35 AM - 11 comments

Mars Wants Movies

"The History of Sci-Fi Film from 1900 to the Present." Under the title Robots and Rayguns, Mars Wants Movies [YT channel] is methodically reviewing the history of sci-fi on film – the classics along with the forgotten. (At the time of posting, it is at Episode 16, for the year 1936.) From Episode 1: "In this ongoing series, I will delve into the history of science fiction cinema. …This introductory episode sets the stage for the history of the genre that dominates Hollywood today. But in the early 20th Century, the genre was a mix of science fiction, fantasy, adventure, and experimentation that evolved with the technology of the 20th Century." The series also looks at other contemporary milestones in movies, plus the scientific, cultural, and historical events of the times. "From interstellar adventures to dystopian futures, the genre has captivated audiences, allowing them to contemplate the possibilities of technological advancements, extraterrestrial life, and the consequence of our own scientific pursuits."
posted by McLir at 7:05 AM - 6 comments

Seven layers of vermillion crustaceans, topped with a claw to the sky

“The toughest reservation in France, it turns out, is not at a Michelin-starred destination like Mirazur or Septime. It’s at an all-you-can-eat buffet situated in a municipal rec center in the smallish city of Narbonne.” Not exclusive, but exclusively serving French cuisine, it served 380,000 people last year for €52.90 each (plus drinks, sold at retail price), but there are 9 types of foie gras, a pâté en croûte made with 7 different meats, and a record breaking 111 varieties of cheese on the cheeseboard. The place settings and silverware and gilt and chandeliers deserve to be seen – they are not of your ordinary buffet restaurant. (New Yorker, archive)
posted by ambrosen at 5:43 AM - 19 comments

this world is still mostly undefined

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Uncommonly Lovely Invented Words for What We Feel but Cannot Name A review by Maria Popova on her blog The Marginalian.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 4:41 AM - 8 comments

The Oldest Boats Ever Found in the Mediterranean

Five Canoes Discovered Northwest of Rome Are the Oldest Boats Ever Found in the Mediterranean. The 7000-year-old vessels offer evidence of advanced seafaring technology and an extensive regional trade network, a new study suggests. [more inside]
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 2:40 AM - 12 comments

We'll Have To Share

As further argued by the authors in a forthcoming Berggruen Press volume, “the Planetary as a scientific concept focuses on the Earth as an intricate web of ecosystems, with myriad layers of integration between various biogeochemical systems and living beings — both human and non-human. Drawing on earth system science and systems biology, this holistic understanding is being enabled by new planetary-scale technologies of perception – a rapidly maturing technosphere of sensors, networks, and supercomputers that collectively are rendering the planetary system increasingly visible, comprehensible and foreseeable. This recently-evolved smart exoskeleton — in essence a distributed sensory organ and cognitive layer — is fostering an unprecedented form of planetary sapience.” The open question is how, and if, human governance in the late-stage Anthropocene can align with the knowledge we are now attaining. from The Third Great Decentering [Noema]
posted by chavenet at 1:51 AM - 3 comments

April 13

Apparently, Meta deems climate change too controversial for discussion

How Meta Nuked A Climate Story, And What It Means For Democracy, David Vetter, Forbes, April 11 2024 [more inside]
posted by MrVisible at 5:37 PM - 59 comments

The Interdimensional Jukebox

Dune the Broadway Musical [Showtunes] - Baby On Board [Barbershop] - Carolina-O [Indie Country] - Sabrosito Amor [Latin] - Rising Sun Gospel [Soul] - Allegro Consort in C [Classical] - You Spilt a Coffee on my Dog [R&B] - Potion Seller [60s Folk] - I'm Not Your Star [Screamo] - SNES Greensleeves [Chiptune] - Syncopated Rhythms [Jazz] - Tavern Serenades [Fiddle] - My Tamagotchi died in '98 [Country Pop] - Senna Tea Blues [Bluegrass] - Unexpected Item in Bagging Area (A Cowboy's Lament) [Americana] - Herb's Whisper [Hip-hop] - Metropolis Pt. 3 [Prog metal] - F**k You Elmo [Acoustic Guitar] - Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet [Orchestral] - ムーンライト【.】【3】【1】[Vaporwave] - Dreaming Miku [Vocaloid] - The Deku Tree’s Decree [Broadway] - Website on the Internet [50s A Capella] // Meet Udio — the most realistic AI music creation tool I’ve ever tried [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 3:17 PM - 26 comments

Jack Conte | SXSW 2024 Keynote

Death of the Follower & the Future of Creativity on the Web [46m] "Patreon CEO Jack Conte explains how the current internet algorithms are killing the traditional "follower" for creators, threatening their creative freedom and livelihoods." [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 3:09 PM - 8 comments

We Lived Alone: The Connie Converse Documentary

A documentary (40m youtube video) from 2014 covers some of the life of the enigmatic singer/songwriter Connie Converse. Interviews with some of her closest relatives, and animator Gene Deitch, all of whom kept many of her letters and recordings. previously: 2016, 2009 (cw: depression, probable suicide)
posted by 2N2222 at 2:36 PM - 4 comments

“I don’t fear your wings, man.”

Conan O’Brien Needs a Doctor While Eating Spicy Wings is the season 23 finale of Hot Ones [previously], where Sean Evans asks Conan O’Brien questions while they eat chicken wings with increasingly spicy hot sauce. It goes off the rails pretty quickly.
posted by Kattullus at 1:59 PM - 31 comments

Powered by Techno-Guff

Autonomous car racing is a rapidly advancing field that combines cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), fast mobility stacks, innovative sensor technologies and edge computing to create high-performance vehicles that can perceive their surroundings, make decisions, and race competitively without human intervention. [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 12:14 PM - 11 comments

Blue whales seen engaging in full-on combat during courtship ritual

Blue whales seen engaging in full-on combat during spectacular courtship ritual. In a sight not seen in the area for more than two decades, male whales have been spotted racing and fighting to capture the attention of a female off South Australia's south-east coast.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 11:28 AM - 2 comments

Death of a Satanic Panicker

"I began to add a few things up and realized there was no way I could come from a little town in Iowa, be eating 2,000 people a year, and nobody said anything about it," said one of Bennett Braun's patients, later in life. Braun, a psychiatrist specializing in repressed memories, was a leading figure in the Satanic Panic of the 80s and 90s, and now he is dead (NYT obit; archive link here).
posted by mittens at 10:32 AM - 54 comments

Religious Freedom vs. Abortion Ban

ACLU files a suit for religious exemption based on Judaism, Islam, and Paganism. ACLU: "On September 8, we filed suit to stop SB 1 on the grounds that it violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Our class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Hoosier Jews for Choice, and five women who, like many Hoosiers, have sincere religious beliefs that they must be able to obtain an abortion under circumstances prohibited by Indiana’s abortion ban. Our plaintiffs are at risk of needing an abortion in the future that are allowed by their religious beliefs." [more inside]
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 9:34 AM - 23 comments

Six months and counting

Gaza in a Million Pieces - Arwa Damon, founder and president of the charity INARA, writes for New Lines Magazine of her observations now that she's able to enter Gaza || Le Monde: Despite promises, Israel still restricts aid to Gaza (ungated) || Washington Post: Crutches and chocolate croissants: Gaza aid items Israel has rejected (ungated) || New Yorker (Isaac Chotiner interview with Yuval Abraham): Inside Israel’s Bombing Campaign in Gaza || Haaretz: Israel Has Declared Record Amount of West Bank Land as State-owned in 2024 || Mondoweiss: ‘Come out, you animals’: how the massacre at al-Shifa Hospital happened || Sydney Morning Herald (12 April): Australian former reporter, now aid worker, shot at in Gaza [more inside]
posted by cendawanita at 9:25 AM - 80 comments


Landmark Vote for Trans Rights Law (Human Rights Watch) – "Germany’s parliament on April 12, 2024, passed a landmark law that allows transgender and non-binary people to modify their legal documents to reflect their gender identity through an administrative procedure based on self-identification …" [more inside]
posted by the_dreamwriter at 9:04 AM - 3 comments

Wagon breaks down

In 1971, three student teachers in Minneapolis, MN created a little computer game about westward expansion in the United States. Over 50 years later, The Oregon Trail series has sold more than 65 million copies and has been inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. But the original creators never made a penny off the game. This is a lovely, slow-placed documentary about how the game was made and spread, with background information about the state of the computer industry and education in MN at the time. [more inside]
posted by bq at 8:32 AM - 13 comments

The Shape of Scents

On mapping olfaction, neuroscientist Jason Castro writes:
Our noses may turn out to be geometers not of the world’s fixed and invariant properties, but of its evolved and Earthly processes.
posted by criticalyeast at 6:32 AM - 3 comments

The Black Sun of Democracy

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is arguably one of the oldest continuously functioning democracies in the world, and greatly influenced the thinking of the founders of the United States. This post is about the argument over just how old it is, why that matters, and what eclipses have to do with it. [more inside]
posted by evilmomlady at 5:29 AM - 11 comments


Na Cailleacha, from the Irish word ‘cailleach’ meaning a witch or a divine hag, want to explore what it means to be women who are getting older and arguably becoming invisible and to devise strategies to overcome the challenges of ageing. Their latest project is the School of Hibernia: a tableau vivant of Raphael's School of Athens with all the roles modelled by women. [more inside]
posted by BobTheScientist at 3:18 AM - 1 comment

Wide Awakes in America

And that Northern strength, to many, looked like the Wide Awakes. The Republicans, after all, had performed best in states where the movement was largest, among exactly the kind of young, laboring moderates the Wide Awakes mobilized. In the final assessment of the New York Tribune, the most popular Republican newspaper, the election was decided by the Democratic Party’s internal divisions and by the massive Wide Awake movement. That organization “embodied” the Republican cause, the Tribune argued, becoming a concise symbol for millions who hated the Slave Power. from The Club of Cape-Wearing Activists Who Helped Elect Lincoln—and Spark the Civil War [Smithsonian]
posted by chavenet at 1:01 AM - 8 comments

April 12

26-year-old researcher just helped identify 12 new dinosaurs

26-year-old researcher just helped identify 12 new dinosaurs. Samantha Beeston spent endless hours in outback Queensland scanning hundreds of dinosaur bones that had been dug up over more than 15 years.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 7:31 PM - 4 comments

That vast, astonishing, multiplicity of vision

“So when I started working on the story that turned into All Systems Red, I realized right away I wanted to write an AI that didn't want to be human…I was thinking a lot about what an AI would actually want, as opposed to what a human might think an AI would want…. I think it would want that connection to other systems, that vast, astonishing, multiplicity of vision.”—Martha Wells, from her keynote speech at the annual Jack Williamson Lecture at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:28 PM - 38 comments

Why do Rabbits like IPAs? Because they're hoppy!

I'm the Draft List at This Brewery, and No, You Can't Have a Light Beer "Sure, we made a 'normal' IPA once. But then we were like, why make a beer that's enjoyable to drink when we could make a beer that's not?" [McSweeneys]
posted by cozenedindigo at 4:25 PM - 74 comments

Dogs And Language

Here's a summary of various studies that look at dogs and language. A couple of videos are included, one of them is this video: Dogs understand words as we do [2m20s] which is a summary of this paper, one of several linked in the first link in this post. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 2:14 PM - 40 comments

"If you're watching this now then you're procrastinating too"

44 seconds of procrastination by Philippa Rice, cartoonist and maker of whatever this thing is
posted by moonmilk at 12:19 PM - 9 comments

Parallel Lives

A timeline that displays famous historical figures who lived concurrently in a given year [via]
posted by ellieBOA at 10:26 AM - 29 comments

Lost Tapes From Major Musicians Are Out There. These Guys Find Them.

Lost Tapes From Major Musicians Are Out There. These Guys Find Them.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:01 AM - 9 comments

What do we owe the dead?

Voices of Mourning by Hannah Gold. An interesting personal essay on the book About Ed by Robert Glück, exploring grief and mourning. It also raises the question - whose life is allowed to be remembered for the person they were rather than their surrounding political context?
posted by colourlesssleep at 9:08 AM - 2 comments

Learning to milk wild camels is just one challenge for this dairy

Learning to milk wild camels is just one challenge for this dromedary dairy. When you think of camels, you probably imagine them in a desert. But in lush, green Hunter Valley paddocks, Michelle Phillips keeps 50 — and their milk is in high demand.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 8:27 AM - 10 comments

Levine mostly finds this amusing

OpenAI Training Bot Crawls 'World's Lamest Content Farm' 3 Million Times in One Day “If you were wondering what they're using to train GPT-5, well, now you know,” Levine wrote in his post.
posted by bq at 8:13 AM - 46 comments

^•ﻌ•^ฅ oh, hello ฅ^•ﻌ•^ฅ...

meow.camera lets you watch live feeds from hundreds (thousands?) of cozy and custom-decorated cat feeders set up throughout various cities in China. [more inside]
posted by nobody at 7:32 AM - 10 comments

We had the Sex Pistols play here and you’re worse!

“I was 25,” she says. “I’d go for my mouth and nothing would come out. It started when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, and I just put it down to the pregnancy, but it wasn’t a happy time in my life. I think my then-husband wasn’t that keen on having a baby, blah blah blah, it was a difficult time, which we got through, but I think it impacted on me a bit.”
Folk legend Linda Thompson has been suffering from dysphonia since the early seventies, making it harder and harder for her to record new albums. For her latest, she got other people to sing her songs, called it Proxy Music and recreated the album cover from Roxy Music's eponymous debut. Alexis Petridis interviews her for The Guardian on the album and her personal history in folk.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:09 AM - 11 comments

Marine worm with extraordinary vision

Marine worm with extraordinary vision "The wide-eyed sea worm Vanadis has long interested the world's vision scientists. But the worm has been difficult to study because it lives in the open sea and is only active at night. Now a research team has managed to locate an Italian worm colony and can establish that the worm has a completely unique sight." [paper]
posted by dhruva at 1:41 AM - 18 comments

The classy, healthy, and ethical thing to do is move on

Rejection isn’t the same as heartbreak, which entails a past acceptance. A rejection implies that you don’t even warrant a try. From the reject’s perspective, the reciprocity of heartbreak looks pretty appealing. And if you’re going to suffer, it may as well be exciting. Who would choose the flat desolation of rejection over rough-and-tumble drama, especially if they end the same way? The cliché—tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all—is comforting to the heartbroken, but damning to the rejected. No matter how unpleasant or unequal, a breakup is at least something you share with someone else. Rejection makes only one reject. from The Rejection Plot by Tony Tulathimutte [The Paris Review; ungated]
posted by chavenet at 12:37 AM - 29 comments

April 11

In Defense of Never Learning How To Cook

Finding independence in a perfectly cooked egg I found it while walking through the home-goods section of T.J. Maxx, the American retail equivalent of the Garden of Earthly Delights, at 8:00 on a Tuesday night in 2015.... Somewhere among these novelties I spotted a carelessly abandoned gadget calling itself the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker. The cashier who rang me up did not share my enthusiasm for the cheery cockiness of its packaging, which proclaimed that it “Perfectly Cooks 6 Eggs at a Time!” Baffled, she asked me a question, the answer to which would have embarrassed anyone but me: “Don’t you know how to boil water?” [more inside]
posted by Toddles at 8:19 PM - 101 comments

Rare turtles are making a comeback after a virus almost wiped them out

These rare turtles are making a comeback after a virus almost wiped them out. Nearly 100 captive-bred Bellinger River snapping turtles have been released into the wild, the biggest number yet for the breeding program after a virus nearly wiped them out in 2015.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 8:09 PM - 2 comments

Online, we are all Girls.

blog post from molly soda. a really interesting collection of links: some abstract, some avant garde, some silly; all exploring concepts of girlhood from different angles. there's been a lot of talk online about "girls". what can that mean? maybe some of this will help! [more inside]
posted by _earwig_ at 6:26 PM - 1 comment

Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, Found

The 30-year hunt to find the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert bus
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:54 PM - 18 comments

Region 9 has thrown up a detective story for archaeologists.

Pompeii: Breathtaking new paintings found at ancient city A wide residential and commercial block, known as "Region 9", is being cleared of several metres of overlying pumice and ash thrown out by Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago.(Pompeii previously)
posted by bq at 11:59 AM - 22 comments

Lengthy how-I-get-to-sleep notes

"Notes on sleep" by Jed Hartman: "For many years, I had various forms of insomnia, and I still occasionally have trouble falling asleep and/or wake up too early and can’t get back to sleep. This page covers some of the things that have and haven’t helped me with that." And: "2024 sleep masterpost" by Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz for short): "Occasionally people on the internet ask for the community's collected wisdom about sleep. This is what I can think of for my own sleep routines, tips, and tricks, plus what I do about various confounding factors.... I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, primary insomnia, sleep maintenance insomnia, and ADHD." The latter has people sharing their experiences in the comments. (Disclaimer: I know both these people.)
posted by brainwane at 9:54 AM - 45 comments

Hey voter voter voter voter... SWING!

See how demographic swings could impact the 2024 election: 538's new Swing-O-Matic shows which states could flip under different scenarios. [ABC News]. 538's Swing-O-Matic page gets interactive under the bold headline Create your own scenario with a bunch of sliders you can push back and forth to see how minor demographic shifts might have major implications for the 2024 US Presidential election.
posted by hippybear at 8:51 AM - 102 comments

Columnists and Their Lives of Quiet Desperation

Most columnists are mediocre. This is not their fault. Almost no one on earth is capable of having two good ideas per week... [more inside]
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:12 AM - 43 comments

OJ Simpson dead at 76

OJ Simpson dead at 76 Remember the slow white suv LA chase?
posted by robbyrobs at 7:44 AM - 105 comments

Following in her hoofsteps

Exploring the Wallowas with the modern-day "Horsewomen of the Hen Party" The descendants of Jean Birnie, founder of the Oregon Hen Party previously, follow her journeys into the Wallowas on horseback, surmounting challenges, deepening bonds, and absorbing the beauty of nature, in this documentary short from OPB.
posted by calamari kid at 7:24 AM - 1 comment

Two tennis balls surgically removed from scrub python

Two tennis balls surgically removed from scrub python. A Far North Queensland wildlife carer says he has seen just about everything in his 20 years on the job until he was called about a surprise find in a Cooktown backyard.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 7:13 AM - 10 comments

Welcome the new Overlords

How Did American Capitalism Mutate Into American Corporatism
In short, this corporatism – in all its iterations including the regulatory state and the patent war chest that maintains and enforces monopoly – is the core source of all the current despotism.
posted by adamvasco at 6:25 AM - 48 comments

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