February 21

"Most fails happened when an element fall down earlier than expected."

Watch the single-take kinetic journey of a blue marble (Kaplamino previously).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:32 PM - 2 comments

How the Vietnam War's Napalm Girl found hope after tragedy

Kim Phuc, photographed after a napalm attack in South Vietnam in 1972, is interviewed on PRI.
posted by gen at 8:22 PM - 1 comment

The Mother of Invention

A new short story from Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor: "The city of New Delta was big, but her neighborhood had always been “small” in many ways. One of those ways was how people stamped the scarlet badge of “home-wrecking lady” on women who had children with married men... Only her smart home spoke (and sometimes sang) to her." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 6:05 PM - 1 comment

“Somebody once told me...”

Smash Mouth All StarSmash Mouth All Star But Every Word Is SomebodySmash Mouth All Star But I Take a Bite of an Onion Every Time He Says "Star"Smash Mouth But Recreated From Windows XP SoundsSmash Mouth All Star But Every Word Is Sung By Google TranslateSmash Mouth All Star But It's 24 Cartoon ImpressionsSmash Mouth All Star but it's Vintage Reggae Style Cover ft. Vonzell SolomonSmash Mouth All Star But It's a Spontaneous Piano Duet in PublicSmash Mouth All Star But I Add A Clothes Pin To My Beard Every Time He Says "The"Smash Mouth All Star But Composed In Mario Paint ComposerSmash Mouth All Star But All Notes Are In CSmash Mouth All Star But It's Even More BeautifulSmash Mouth All Star But It's ChiptuneSmash Mouth All Star But It's Metal Smash Mouth All Star But It's Jazz
posted by Fizz at 5:53 PM - 48 comments

Where Did All the Advertising Jobs Go?

For the first time on record, the number of people working in the industry is declining during an economic expansion.
posted by oprahgayle at 4:57 PM - 18 comments

Dismantling of a dam and restoring an ecosystem

The restoration of the ecosystem in the Elwha River Undoing the dam to restore what’s good for all animals [more inside]
posted by Yellow at 4:02 PM - 8 comments

He's either as smart as the devil himself or the luckiest bastard alive.

In 1985, KGB Colonel Vitaly Yurchenko defected to America. He told agents he had terminal stomach cancer and had decided to make the world right in the time he had left. Yurchenko told KGB secrets to the CIA and NSA, including important details about 55 to 60 KGB assets in America and two Soviet moles (Edward Lee Howard and Ronald Pelton) inside US intelligence. But three months in, he learned he didn't have terminal stomach cancer -- just a minor bowel disorder. So Vitaly Yurchenko changed his mind and escaped back to the Soviet Embassy. He told the media that the CIA had drugged and kidnapped him. “The agency had either been completely taken in by a brilliant Soviet intelligence officer, or allowed one of its top Soviet defectors to slip out of its hands.” (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq at 3:32 PM - 11 comments

Remember the 1998s?

Remember the Discman? Remember the best Discmens? Remember the wackiest Discman? Remember the first Discman? Remember the Data Discman?
posted by selfnoise at 1:31 PM - 67 comments

"The masculinization of fiction, 1800-1960"

The Transformation of Gender in English-Language Fiction is a long essay by Ted Underwood, David Bamman and Sabrina Lee that uses quantative analysis of over a hundred thousand works of fiction digitized by HathiTrust to look at the proportion of fiction written by women, and the proportion of female characters, from 1780-2007. To the authors' surprise both declined steadily and profoundly from 1800-1960, before rebounding. They also looked at gender divisions between male and female characters over the same period, finding that they had lessened. The Guardian has a short summary of the findings. And for more on gender representation in 19th Century fiction, the authors point to Understanding Gender and Character Agency in the 19th Century Novel by Matthew Jockers and Gabi Kirilloff.
posted by Kattullus at 1:04 PM - 12 comments

The future will be black. And female. And cybernetic.

Metafilter's favourite android Janelle Monae announces her new album Dirty Computer. [more inside]
posted by daveje at 12:58 PM - 16 comments


Climbing is a huge part of the mythology and culture of road cycling, both professional and amateur. Legends are born on the slopes of mountains, at least going up them. The fun part, however, is going back down again so join ex-pro riders Si Richardson and Matt Stephens as they descend Mallorca's Sa Calobra. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago at 11:21 AM - 21 comments

Fast Food, Fair Wages

The systemic poverty and racism America faces today was not inevitable,” the statement continues. “It is the result of choices made by politicians and corporations.” The revival of The Poor People’s campaign on the 50th anniversary of Memphis sanitation workers’ strike seeks to combine the plight of the working poor, faith leaders, and the fight for a fair minimum wage for fast food workers. Behind the minimum wage fight, a sweeping failure to enforce the law. (Politico) Republicans silent on tip-pooling changes that woukd allow owners to pocket server’s tips. (Eater) [more inside]
posted by The Whelk at 10:25 AM - 6 comments

Worst Roommate Ever

“You’ve got your whole life in front of you. You’re pretty, you’ve got this house — well, you don’t have this house anymore. This house is my house.” (Warning, disturbing content.)
posted by backseatpilot at 9:32 AM - 75 comments

"Oh!" said his wife. "It's like the War"

Owen Stephens recalls how in 2000/01 he ran a roleplaying session for Wizard of the Coast's then new Star Wars D20 game when an elderly gentleman with actual commando experience showed up at his table. (Hat tip.)
posted by MartinWisse at 8:52 AM - 19 comments

"Joining a whisper network comes with a catch..."

"...it invites participants in on the condition of silence. And because of that, we often miss that whisper networks are a double-edged sword: the same secrecy that protects victims and whistleblowers can shield perpetrators as well." The Verge longform: When Whisper Networks Let Us Down by Sarah Jeong (cw: sexual assault)
posted by Jacqueline at 8:46 AM - 6 comments

A "plain, ordinary preacher from a farm in North Carolina."

The Rev. William "Billy" Graham has died at age 99. Washington Post obituary. Politico obituary. As a child, he was kicked out of a local youth group for being "too worldly." At age 14, upon the end of Prohibition, his father forced him and his sister to drink alcohol until they got sick, thus creating a lifelong aversion to drugs and alcohol for the rest of their lives. He rose to prominence after World War II, taking advantage of the new media of radio and TV. Criticized for his centrist views (as well as a registered Democrat), Bob Jones said that "Dr. Graham is doing more harm to the cause of Jesus Christ than any living man." An early integrationist, he was also accused of pandering to southern whites. Pastor to the presidents, he was a good friend of Richard Nixon and supported the Vietnam War. He also helped George Bush, Jr. stop drinking. His Crusades reached millions. Here is CNN's 10 things you didn't know about Billy Graham. God's Bully Pulpit: Time Magazine's feature story on his 75th birthday (paywalled) And hey, did you know that Mike and Karen Pence follow the "Billy Graham Rule"?
posted by Melismata at 8:34 AM - 47 comments

"a back door to the U.S. financial system."

A Chinese Casino Has Conquered a Piece of America
Imperial Pacific’s overnight domination of Saipan has generated deep unease among the island’s citizens, many of whom are convinced that their home has been bought. The company, they believe, set out to take over a little piece of America, politicians and all. Given the billions of dollars at stake, it’s not surprising someone would try. What’s shocking is that, so far, it seems to be working.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:29 AM - 11 comments

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:15 AM - 137 comments

This Design Generation Has Failed

And that’s when I decided that we — and by we I mean those of us currently drawing paychecks for professional design services — are design’s lost generation. We are the Family Ties-era Michael J. Fox of the design lineage. Raised by hippies. Consumed by greed. Ruled by the hand of the market. And nourished by the last drops of sour milk from the withered old teat of capitalism gone rabid. Living where America ends — Silicon Valley. Mike Monteiro on the ethical state of design's lost generation.
posted by gauche at 7:02 AM - 59 comments

The Temple of Knowledge

Ronald Clark’s father was custodian of a branch of the New York Public Library at a time when caretakers, along with their families, lived in the buildings. With his daughter, Jamilah, Ronald remembers literally growing up in a library, creeping down to the stacks in the middle of the night when curiosity gripped him. A story for anyone who’s ever dreamt of having unrestricted access to books.
posted by Stanczyk at 6:02 AM - 7 comments

February 20

I hear their screams

Howard Jones released Dream Into Action in 1985 [CD-based YT playlist, ~55m] and it made quite a splash on both sides of the pond and around the world, with several charting singles and gigantic sales. UK Vinyl Side One: Things Can Only Get Better [video], Life In One Day [video], Dream Into Action, No One Is To Blame [video, completely different version], Look Mama [video], Assault And Battery [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 11:52 PM - 41 comments

Exhibition of Memories

The Museum of Broken Relationships. "Before flying to Zagreb, I’d put out a call to my friends—What object would you donate to this museum?—and got descriptions I couldn’t have imagined: a mango candle, a penis-shaped gourd, the sheet music from Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 3, a clamshell drilled by a dental student, an illustration from a children’s book that an ex had loved when he was young—showing a line of gray mice with thought bubbles full of the same colors above their heads, as if they were all dreaming the same dream."
posted by storybored at 9:40 PM - 8 comments

The Shallowness of Google Translate

Douglas Hofstadter takes a deep dive into why AI techniques don't equate to real undersanding. longread.
posted by MovableBookLady at 6:58 PM - 79 comments

Mon Dieu, it's full of...

{gravelly voice} Throughout history, mythical creatures and phenomenon have been spoken of, described, searched for. Often, with no resulting evidence, no video, no photo. The Yeti, the Sasquatch, the Unicorn, non-hipsters who eat Blue Star donuts; the roll-call of unproven legends goes on. But now, deep in the Val de Bagnes of Switzerland, unambiguous photographic proof has emerged of the most mystical, most tasty of them all... (as discussed in the Irish media, a nearby sighting, and another, the anatomy of one, a herd or flock, just over the border in Italy, and a previous sighting of similar)
posted by Wordshore at 5:30 PM - 20 comments

RIP Thomas, the blind bisexual goose, 1980-2018

Thomas, a goose whose love life has delighted visitors to Waikanae's Waimanu Lagoons in New Zealand for many years, has died. His funeral featured a procession led by a bagpiper and a speech from the local mayor before the diminutive coffin was buried in a grave next to his life partner, Henry the swan. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel at 4:13 PM - 12 comments

In its house at R'lyeh, dead AI waits Deep Dreaming

The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel: Artificial Intelligence and Neoreaction - by Shuja Haider. A story of: Time travel, a future superintelligence as unavoidably but passionlessly vengeful God, neoreactionaries as the alt-right's intellectual avant-garde, neoreactionaries planning White Flight to Mars, Google's Deep Dream and "the Cathedral", libertarian transhumanism and libertarian fascism, Lyotardian far-rightists, Deleuzian Thatcherism and accelerationism, the Dark Enlightment, superrich supercapitalist super-villains, Silicon Valley hyperracism, Noys, Lovecraft, AI as class disparity amplifier.
And it isn't fiction.
posted by talos at 4:07 PM - 28 comments

Actually, my name is Austin Powers. Danger is my middle name

Just how dangerous are Winter Olympic sports?
posted by Stark at 12:37 PM - 65 comments

Dance or die!

Holly Dicker attends the biggest indoor hardcore rave in history to tell the story of Thunderdome and Holland's most significant youth culture movement. Legendary Dutch hardcore rave Thunderdome returns 5 years after their "final" 20th anniversary event in 2012. This is a great read about the history of a scene that inspired passion in a lot of people, as well as a detailed review of the event itself which seems rare in festival / rave culture.
posted by thedaniel at 11:02 AM - 15 comments

Missouri Fought For Years To Hide Where It Got Its Execution Drugs.

To hide the identity of the new pharmacy, the state has taken extraordinary steps. It uses a code name for the pharmacy in its official documents. Only a handful of state employees know the real name. The state fought at least six lawsuits to stop death row inmates and the press from knowing the pharmacy’s identity. Even the way Missouri buys and collects the drugs is cloak-and-dagger: The state sends a high-ranking corrections officer to a clandestine meeting with a company representative, exchanging an envelope full of cash for vials of pentobarbital. Since 2014, Missouri has spent more than $135,000 in such drug deals. - The secretive company behind Missouri’s lethal injections [SLBuzzfeed]
posted by supercrayon at 10:59 AM - 40 comments

What is reality, man?

Trypophobia may not be a real phobia. There is no green apple Gummi Bear flavor. Basically, our senses may not be reliable.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:49 AM - 92 comments

“an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography”

The strange history of an imperial skirmish in Niger
posted by infini at 7:55 AM - 3 comments

Stop calling it seaweed.

From Overfishing to Sustainable Farming. The innovative 3D model for ocean farming employs hurricane-resistant anchors on the seafloor at the edges of the farm, connecting with ropes to buoys on the water’s surface. Another rope runs horizontally about eight feet below the surface. The kelp is grown on ropes hanging down off the horizontal rope, creating a vertical growing space. “Next to the kelp, we’re growing scallops and mussels, also vertically, and then further down, we have oysters in cages, and then clams actually down in the mud,” Smith explains. “The vertical-water-column approach reduces the farm’s footprint, and the multiple species create a diversity so that a farmer is protected should anything cause one of those crops to falter or fail in a given season.”
posted by emjaybee at 7:40 AM - 23 comments

There's no wine at Wendy's

Wendy's Shabbat. The story of some eighty-something Jewish friends and their 97-year-old rabbi, who found an unorthodox way celebrating their Friday night meals. From the new film by Rachel Myers.
posted by Mchelly at 5:30 AM - 17 comments

Who kills Bambi?

‘People think the deer are lovely. Then they learn more about it’: the deer cull dilemma. The Scottish Highlands have a deer problem. Is shooting tens of thousands of them the only solution?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:01 AM - 134 comments

Cambridge researchers attempt to vaccinate against Fake News

“The idea is that once you’ve seen the tactics, and used them in the game, you build up resistance,” said Sander van der Linden, director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab. Researchers at the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab have built an online game designed to reveal the key strategies used in the creation and dissemination of fake news. About the game. Previous related research into the subject from the same institution.
posted by Chairboy at 2:32 AM - 26 comments

My ready meal is none of your business

Jack Monroe (previous) has responded to a now deleted tweet by Bath Conservatives suggesting Monroe is the poster girl for eating on £10 a week. Monroe's response: I have lived, waiting in fear for this moment, for almost six years. Waiting, to be upheld as some kind of justification for the deepest incisions of Conservative cuts as they seek to justify their barbaric policies by attaching them to someone who can be used as an example of ‘pulling themselves up by their bootstraps’. [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo at 1:33 AM - 32 comments

February 19

from psy-op pamphlet to stateside souvenier

Afghan War Rugs And The Lossy Compression Of Cultural Coding [Twitter][Spooler (req. login) ] [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:58 PM - 3 comments

Shattered convictions I thought were reflecting you

CCM artist Leslie Phillips had been marketed as "the Christian Cyndi Lauper", and it didn't sit well with her. The producer for her 4th album, T Bone Burnett, helped her morph her sound and put enough, um, ambiguity in the album that Leslie was able to start a new, secular music career as Sam Phillips. But here is that brilliant, acoustic textured, questioning, and yearning [and receommended for non CCM audiences too] Leslie Phillips album from 1987: The Turning [YT playlist, ~40m]. Side A: River Of Love, Love Is Not Lost, The Turning, Libera Me, Carry You [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:03 PM - 21 comments

Your Cortex Contains 17 Billion Computers

It's a neural networks of neural networks up in your noggin. (Dr. Mark Humphries for Medium) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 PM - 38 comments

devoid of verse numbers and footnotes, so it reads less like a textbook.

'Manuscripts' Encourages Readers To Approach The Bible Like A Novel [NPR] “But there's also been a surge of interest in engaging with the Bible in the same way you would a novel, free of footnotes and asides. That's the approach taken by the small team behind Manuscripts, a new version of the Bible in the form of individual pocket-sized volumes – the first of which are coming out this month after a successful crowdfunding campaign. "Our research showed us that people were often intimidated by how it's traditionally been presented; as one big book," says Manuscripts creative director Jacob Scowden. "We wanted to give an ease to it, and reemphasize the effectiveness of reading the Bible as individual books."” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 6:12 PM - 61 comments

No chicken for you! (and no wages for you)

While in the USA they sell scratch and sniff cards, and in Australia serve tanks and discuss naked wrestling, in the UK KFC aren't doing well. Following several days of closures and "everything but chicken" menus, most branches of KFC stay shut. This began when, though warned, KFC switched to a cheaper deliverer - "optimised delivery scheduling" - who promptly could not deliver ("It's pretty complex!"). Speculation on why continues, while KFC staff are being accused of chicken smuggling and "encouraged" to take holidays by KFC. Politicians have been contacted by constituents (some resorting to vegetables), while closures also affect Taco Bell. As ever, Twitter (and dead royalty) is unhappy, though in the not-distant future, a tasty new flavour of chicken may be sold in Britain. Mmm!
posted by Wordshore at 5:26 PM - 75 comments

Fair go, sport!

“The irony of athletes from Great Britain, which spent £275m on preparations for the Rio games, raising fundamental questions about fairness in a race against an athlete from a country that spent less than £1.9m has somehow been lost” wrote the South African author and commentator Sisonke Msimang. Grauniad link.
posted by spaceburglar at 3:32 PM - 5 comments

Ancient Hill Rice Rediscovered

A staple of African cooking that was thought lost was found in a small field in Trinidad. The fat, nutty grain, with its West African lineage and tender red hull, was a favored staple for Southern home cooks during much of the 19th century. Unlike Carolina Gold, the versatile rice that until the Civil War was America’s primary rice crop, the hill rice hadn’t made Low Country plantation owners rich off the backs of slaves. The search for the missing grain led to Trinidad and Thomas Jefferson, and now excitement among African-American chefs. [more inside]
posted by MovableBookLady at 3:13 PM - 16 comments

"This is really scorched earth"

IBM Sues Microsoft's New Chief Diversity Officer To Protect Diversity Trade Secrets: IBM has filed suit against one of its longtime executives, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, alleging that her new position as Microsoft’s chief diversity officer violates a year-long non-compete agreement, allowing the Redmond company to use IBM’s internal secrets to boost its own diversity efforts. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 1:51 PM - 48 comments

Cooking with Ursula K. Le Guin

Recipes based on food from Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand Of Darkness
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM - 11 comments

May it be a refuge and a mirror.

A Silent Place launches. The new project by Jonathan Harris consists of slightly animated, slightly interactive images, displayed slowly and with a meditative soundtrack. The images are drawings of and inspired by Utah-area pictographs. [more inside]
posted by doctornemo at 11:47 AM - 3 comments

Rednecks: a short fiction

"The miners are coming down from the hills, rising up out of the ground... They have knotted red bandanas around their necks, as if their throats have already been cut." A short story about very fine people from North Carolina novelist Taylor Brown, inspired by the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain--the largest labor uprising in United States history--and the bloody 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.
posted by xylothek at 8:08 AM - 8 comments

The Mess at Meetup

Meetup was supposed to be different. While much of the tech industry struggled to create inclusive work environments and free itself from the kinds of workplace harassment allegations that have spewed out of major companies like Google and Uber, Meetup was mission-driven, diverse, profitable, and user-focused. But last year, facing increasing competition, Meetup started negotiating an acquisition with WeWork—and everything changed. [slGizmodo]
posted by ellieBOA at 4:08 AM - 82 comments

Ike Did 9/11

Happy Presidents’ Day, they’re all awful. Here’s one ghastly fact about 45 presidents.
posted by The Whelk at 3:15 AM - 92 comments

Back in 1973, there was a girl from Tennessee

'Dolly Said No To Elvis' by Mark Nevin (ex Fairground Attraction), animated by Heather Colbert ... being the true story of the time a certain singer songwriter turned down The Colonel. It proved to be the right decision.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:56 AM - 11 comments

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