December 5

Asteroid Apophis Could Hit Earth. Here's How We Could Get to It First

99942 Apophis is a near-Earth asteroid with a diameter of 370 metres that will pass within 31,000km/19,000 miles (lower than geosynchronous satellites) of Earth on April 13 2029. In 2062, it could get a bit too close to Earth. In advance of the 2029 event, the Lunar and Planetary Institute recently held a virtual workshop called “Apophis T-9 Years: Knowledge Opportunities for the Science of Planetary Defense” with discussions on how best to observe Apophis's characteristics from Earth and from spacecraft. Gizmodo's George Dvorsky gives the details of the workshop in Asteroid Apophis Could One Day Hit Earth. Here's How We Could Get to It First. [more inside]
posted by ShooBoo at 1:04 PM - 11 comments

Spandex, it's a privilege, not a right.

For the 25th anniversary of the release of Hackers, London's Horse Hospital is hosting an exhibit of the costumes that Robert K Burton designed for the film. Dazed magazine features an interview with Burton as well as previously-unseen set Polaroids of the actors in costume. [more inside]
posted by subocoyne at 1:00 PM - 3 comments

In and around the solar system this week

Humanity and its machines have been busy finding stuff in space. The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program's Chang'e 5 landed in the Oceanus Procellarum, looked around, collected samples, and fired off a sample-laded return rocket towards an orbiter. (previously) [more inside]
posted by doctornemo at 9:35 AM - 2 comments

Aston Martin behind debunked anti-electic vehicle "study"

A recent report questioning the emissions benefits of electric vehicles has been convincingly debunked, but not before several media outlets ran with it. After some extensive digging into the companies and individuals behind the study, it has become clear that Aston Martin, despite attempts to distance themselves from the report, used a sock puppet PR firm registered to the wife of the company's Director of Global Government and Corporate Affairs. Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield details some of the many flaws in the report in a video for Transport Evolved. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu at 9:23 AM - 23 comments

All Eyes on Georgia

The key to passing Biden's agenda and disabling Mitch McConnell rests on Georgia. There could not be a more consequential runoff election. While incumbents Loeffler and Perdue run a "Save Our Majority" campaign in the midst of election fraud claims, Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff form a Black-Jewish coalition that could be key to opening a new era of civil rights in America, beginning with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Whether the U.S. becomes more or less democratic hinges on the Georgia runoffs on Jan. 5, 2021. [more inside]
posted by ichomp at 1:45 AM - 39 comments

The Trick of Orthodoxy

Economics truly is a disgrace - "This is very personal post. It is my story of the retaliation I suffered immediately after my 'economics is a disgrace' blog post went viral. The retaliation came from Heather Boushey–a recent Biden appointee to the Council of Economic Adviser and the President and CEO of Equitable Growth where I then worked. This is not the story I wanted to be telling (or living). Writing this post is painful. I am sorry." (via; previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:45 AM - 40 comments

December 4

Doris Akers

Despite being honored by the Smithsonian Institution as "the foremost black gospel songwriter in the United States", and being inducted into the Nashville Gospel Music Hall of Fame, "Nobody talks much about Doris Akers, or even gives her credit for her considerable part in shaping Post-War gospel music composition." (PDF) [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 8:22 PM - 1 comment

It was fifty years ago today...

And in the end: inside the heartbreak, the brotherhood, and why the Beatles' music still matters. (Rolling Stone) [more inside]
posted by blue shadows at 7:31 PM - 21 comments

Being Black in Sociology

Urban ethnographers do more harm than good in speaking for Black communities. They see only suffering, not diversity or joy. [...] Too many sociologists treat their carefully crafted representations of reality as fact, rather than fact-like.
Dr. Robyn Autry on Sociology's Race Problem.
posted by Rumple at 5:29 PM - 3 comments

Inside the New York Public Library’s Last, Secret Apartments

"There used to be parties in the apartments on the top floors of New York City’s branch libraries. " When the Carnegie Libraries were built, the buildings required caretakers, until modernization meant that live-in furnace-minders were no longer needed. Surprisingly for New York City, the apartments were left empty, or used for storage, though with space at a premium, they're starting to be used again.
posted by kalimac at 5:20 PM - 11 comments

Where you live is who you are: Erin O'Toole and the new culture war

CBC journalist Aaron Wherry looks at Canadian politics through the lens of Somewheres and Anywheres. [more inside]
posted by sardonyx at 11:40 AM - 50 comments

Interactive - Your Vax Priority

Find Your Place in the Vaccine Line interactive NYT piece. [more inside]
posted by theora55 at 11:19 AM - 105 comments

Flim Flam Man

Love him or hate him, but he's playing Flim on drums blind.
posted by saladin at 11:13 AM - 5 comments

Clarinet, no harmonica.

Daveed Diggs has a new single about getting everything he ever wantedkah: a Puppy for Hanukkah.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:37 AM - 21 comments

walking taco, walking Frito pie, Petro; cf. Dorilocos, Tostilocos

Oaxacans, Mormons, And A Bag Of Chips: A Brief History Of The Walking Taco (Heavy Table): You might as well know, right at the outset, that Alice Waters does not approve of walking tacos. [...] But I can’t help but wince at her broader critique: “As perfect a symbol of a broken culture as I can imagine.” Because while a walking taco may not be, like, good for you in a nutritionist-approved way, if you look at the deeper cultural perspective, it turns out there’s much to savor—it’s less about how things fall apart than how they come together.
posted by not_the_water at 8:01 AM - 52 comments

Cave exploration robot contest

An Australian team has a combined robot on tracks and drone team for cave exploration Sometimes it's more competent on its own, sometimes the human operators do better. It's not just that it can cover terrain (like steep slippery slopes) that people can't, its navigation skills are sometimes excellent. [more inside]
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:32 AM - 9 comments

Your Personal Cloud

“Tell me your name and the name of your cloud and I'll send you a photo of your personal cloud from the skies above my home.” Name your own cloud, and check out the gallery of clouds others have named, like “Dustbunny”, “Floaty Friend”, and “Bartholomew.”
posted by wesleyac at 4:39 AM - 13 comments

Hafod Hardware Christmas Advertisements

Situated in the centre of Rhayader [Mid-Wales] is one of the oldest businesses in the town- Hafod Hardware. The shop is a traditional old fashioned ironmongers with wooden flooring and walls and ceiling lined in pine. "The shop is not 'Open All Hours', but we have been open since 1895." [more inside]
posted by Thella at 2:54 AM - 9 comments

December 3

With fewer tourists to entertain, it has found a much more important use

An empty Paris hotel now shelters the homeless - "In normal times the Hotel Avenir Montmartre is a tourist magnet with its views of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur church, but COVID-19 has scared off the usual guests. Instead, the hotel has opened its doors to the homeless." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 11:26 PM - 10 comments

RIP Alison Lurie, Pulitzer-winning novelist, 1926 - 2020

Alison Lurie, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who blended mordant wit and boundless empathy to chronicle the lives of women searching for self-knowledge and self-fulfillment while going about the business of everyday life, died Dec. 3 at a hospice facility in Ithaca, N.Y. She was 94. The death was confirmed by her husband, Edward Hower. He did not cite a specific cause. [more inside]
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:33 PM - 19 comments

Visualizing the R-value in yarn

Want to see a crocheted illustration of the importance of reducing the R-value? Norwegian biostatistician Kathrine Frey Frøslie explains in this 4-minute video.
posted by Quietgal at 7:14 PM - 19 comments

Like beggars by the wayside dressed in gay attire

Born in 1822 to a prominent family in Talbot County, Mary Elizabeth Banning moved with her older sister and widowed mother to Baltimore in 1855. Alongside tending to her ailing family members, she cultivated her penchant for the study and illustration of natural objects, especially mushrooms. After some correspondence with leading botanists of her time, in 1868 she began to write and illustrate a complete catalogue of the fungi of Maryland. The project took her more than twenty years and resulted in a manuscript of scientific descriptions accompanied by 175 detailed, 13" by 15", original watercolor illustrations of mushroom species, many of which previously unknown. [more inside]
posted by progosk at 4:36 PM - 13 comments

The Social Life of Forests

Trees appear to communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi. What are they sharing with one another?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:36 PM - 43 comments

Every Mr. Darcy (that you care about), ranked

Traditionally, people who click on articles ranking various Mr. Darcys are one of two types: a MacFadyen through the mists person or a Firth in the drink person. Therefore, I must apologize now, as both are tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me. Don’t @ me, Firth-hive. In honour of the 25th anniversary of the beloved 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, Emily Temple ranks all the Mr. Darcys she cares about in LitHub. Features (among others) a life-sized Mr. Darcy cake and Mr. Darcy as played by a Jack Russell Terrier.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:28 PM - 57 comments

1872 Equine Flu

In 1872 the U.S. economy was growing as the young nation industrialized and expanded westward. Then in the autumn, a sudden shock paralyzed social and economic life. It was an energy crisis of sorts, but not a shortage of fossil fuels. Rather, the cause was a virus that spread among horses and mules from Canada to Central America.
posted by ShooBoo at 1:22 PM - 5 comments

New apple variety discovered in UK

Archie Thomas stumbled across solitary windfall fruit that could be cross between cultivated apple and European crab apple. Thomas admitted he may be biased, but said he thought the apples tasted great. “Tart but not wincingly-so, and with enough sweetness to eat raw … They speak of the terrain of Wiltshire; unimproved chalk grassland and chalk streams,” he added. As for the name, Thomas said he felt pressure to get it right: “I have too many ideas. My seven-year-old son wants me to call it Cristiano Ronaldo but that’s not happening. My wife, Hannah, is the apple of my eye, so she’s in contention.” (via The Guardian)
posted by Bella Donna at 12:04 PM - 22 comments

Glad I dropped Disney+ and not HBO Max

Warner Bros. will launch every 2021 movie on HBO Max at the same time they hit theaters -- CNBC; Warner Bros. Smashes Box Office Windows, Will Send Entire 2021 Slate to HBO Max and Theaters -- The Hollywood Reporter; ‘Dune,’ ‘Matrix 4,’ and Every 2021 Warner Bros. Film to Debut on HBO Max and in Theaters at Same Time -- Indiewire
posted by valkane at 11:36 AM - 90 comments

some bragged about children; others threw them to the wolves

Shedd, Oregon. December 25, 1948. “Dear Friends,” wrote Marie Bussard, a homesick mother of three. “Now that Christmas is here again... we find that there is too much news to fit into a note on each card. We have borrowed this idea of a Christmas News Letter from our friends the Chambers and the Danns.” So they’re the ones to blame. A year-end ritual we have learned to love and hate simultaneously, the holiday newsletter has always been Americanish—efficient, egalitarian and increasingly secular.
posted by sciatrix at 11:21 AM - 16 comments

“A neo-Buddhist sci-fi romp through the embryonic Gaian hive mind” is an audio-visual experience for meditating on space, and the earth, and us.
If you’d like a more structured, user-friendly experience check out the library of texts and audio excerpts used to create the site.
Curated by u/CuratorOfTheLibrary
posted by Going To Maine at 10:36 AM - 7 comments

Bro Culture, Fitness, Chivalry, and American Identity

Imperial wars overseas always come home eventually, and they do so in complex ways. The fact that millions of people listen to Jocko Willink, buy Black Rifle Coffee Company merchandise, and dabble in more extreme fringes is a product of decades spent elevating not just military service writ large but violent combat overseas against ill-defined Others. For every Jocko Willink, there’s an Eddie Gallagher, the SEAL who was convicted of and then recently pardoned for war crimes after becoming a cause célèbre for large swathes of the online right [more inside]
posted by Carillon at 10:17 AM - 34 comments

Arecibo collapse

Arecibo observatory collapse video footage Incredibly a drone was conducting a remote inspection of the Arecibo observatory support cables at the exact moment it collapsed. (video on twitter)
posted by GuyZero at 9:24 AM - 39 comments

"...she does not belong in talk radio as practiced in North America"

A host on a morning talk-radio news show quits after racist threats. Supriya Dwivedi, host on Toronto AM talk-radio station 640 CFMJ, resigned after enduring increasingly aggressive threats from listeners. Her resignation follows months of online harassment which she contends in a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission was feebly-addressed by her employer Global and its parent company Chorus Entertainment.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 9:07 AM - 25 comments

The Beirut Port Explosion: Forensic Architecture

"Mr Collett contended that from an engineering perspective, the arrangement of goods within the building was the spatial layout of a makeshift bomb on the scale of a warehouse, awaiting detonation." Forensic Architecture, a research group based at the University of London, investigates the Beirut Port explosion and publishes its findings. (Forensic Architecture previously on the blue) [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:03 AM - 9 comments

"I may have just found my new favourite content discovery mechanism"

Oisín Moran explains how he made his self-quoting tweet
posted by Stark at 8:46 AM - 5 comments

Now we know where the toilet paper went

"Hi... Two Zero Two Zero?"
"Please, call me 2020."

posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 8:20 AM - 8 comments

The Hypocrisy of Dave Chappelle’s Power Play

“He convinced Netflix to pull his old sketch show from streaming by saying it made him feel bad. Funny how that works.” (Medium)
posted by girlmightlive at 8:14 AM - 32 comments

100 Tampons

Yes it's that Sally Ride story, put to beautiful song. [previously]
posted by phunniemee at 7:55 AM - 9 comments

"choose who joins your conversation"

"BBC Dad" Robert E. Kelly (previously, previously) "knows something about interruptions" so he made an ad for Twitter (1-minute subtitled video) to help advertise Twitter’s new conversation settings. (People can mark individual tweets so that "Everyone", "People you follow", or "only people you mention" can reply (which means that, if desired, a user can make a tweet un-reply-able). Twitter started testing this feature early this year and now it's apparently available for all users.) Yes, his kids are in the ad.
posted by brainwane at 6:27 AM - 9 comments

December 2

Sanna Marin: The feminist PM leading a coalition of women

They were all women. At the time the photo was released, only one leader of the five-party coalition was over the age of 34.

Previously on MeFi...
posted by dfm500 at 7:27 PM - 9 comments

Admit it. You're Fascinated

Do Rats Have Orgasms?
posted by BadgerDoctor at 3:47 PM - 39 comments

Solar is 89% cheaper and wind 70% cheaper than it was in 2009

Why did renewables become so cheap so fast? And what can we do to use this global opportunity for green growth? A new report from Our World in Data.
posted by Cash4Lead at 2:12 PM - 84 comments

What Is the Sound of Thought?

What Is the Sound of Thought? (The MIT Press Reader): Why do we include the sounds of words in our thoughts when we think without speaking? Are they just an illusion induced by our memory of overt speech? Related: That Little Voice in Your Head, If You Have It, May Be Aligning Your Thoughts (Neuroscience News)
posted by not_the_water at 8:38 AM - 54 comments

Castles in the Sky

While renovating a house in San Francisco, a couple discovered a diary, hidden away for more than a century. It held a love story—and a mystery. [SL Atavist]
posted by ellieBOA at 6:27 AM - 26 comments

Stephen Biesty, take note

Salvage operations on the SS Golden Ray: In September 2019, the SS Golden Ray left the port of Brunswick, Georgia carrying a load of cars. It capsized shortly thereafter in the shallow waters of St. Simons Sound. Salvage operations have now begun, and it is fascinating to see how such a massive object is moved. The star of the show is the VB 10000, a massive gantry crane built on two barges. The wreck will be cut into eight sections, and a few days ago the first section was removed. (Facebook photo album) [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:04 AM - 29 comments

Metal Kenneth Copeland

Andre Antunes creates metal versions of popular music. His most recent work adapts the preaching of Kenneth Copeland and Paula White to the genre.
posted by adept256 at 2:33 AM - 16 comments

December 1

My Neighbor, Miguel

A short documentary about a magical San Francisco resident and artist (SL Vimeo) (CW: while not the majority of the film, he does talk about his experience of living through the AIDS crisis)
posted by treepour at 4:30 PM - 5 comments

kindred spirits

"I love Anne of Green Gables. I have for years. That’s one of my favourite things. She’s such a can-do kind of girl, that’s why I’m crazy about her. And that Gilbert Blythe? He’s a charmer. And Marilla, a lady who knows just how she wants things to go? Oh yes, I think I can appreciate that as well.” Aretha Franklin loved Anne of Green Gables, and Canadian author and journalist Evelyn C. White explores why that might be.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:07 PM - 15 comments

Correlation, causation or curse?

In 2017, a 29 year-old woman in Mexico City was given an MRI while undergoing an exorcism. Then things got weird: 8 out of 13 participants (61.53%) [in the research] had accidents and sudden events that put their lives in danger. [pdf paper] via Tom Whitwell's annual list
posted by gottabefunky at 12:04 PM - 46 comments

Elliot Page Is Trans

Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page announces that he is transgender. Variety also posted an article about his announcement.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 10:35 AM - 94 comments

*slaps roof* this bad boy can fit so many fucking polyhedra in it

You looking for Platonic solids? Maybe some versi-regular polyhedra? How about some regular hexagonal toroidal solids? We've even got self-intersecting quasi-quasi-regular duals, though we can't legally insure those.

We got all this and more down at dmccooey's visual polyhedra site, your one-stop shopping destination for HTML5 polyhedral renderings.
posted by cortex at 9:48 AM - 27 comments

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