January 26

"Where’s my donut-shaped space station? Where’s my ticket to Mars?”

The Writing on the Wall: Sci-Fi’s Empty Techno-Optimism by Eli Horowitz for Blood Knife.
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 4:45 AM - 3 comments

Is there an aesthetic dominating today's English-language written SF/F?

Elizabeth Sandifer suggests that we are now experiencing a "clear aesthetic shift in how sci-fi works" in observations that started as this Twitter thread. She notes "Diversity as an underlying assumption....A massive dollop of fanfic and romance influence....It’s stylistically a big tent" and suggests the prospective name "Tor Wave." (Followup comments from Sandifer.) A related conversation about the label "squeecore" started with an episode of the Rite Gud podcast (transcript) and has drawn responses from Doris V. Sutherland - "'Squeecore' and the Cartoon Mode in SF/F", Camestros Felapton - "Is there a dominant mode of current science fiction?", Cora Buhlert - "Science Fiction Is Never Evenly Distributed" & "More on the Squeecore Debate", and Simon McNeil - "Notes on Squeecore". [more inside]
posted by brainwane at 4:21 AM - 6 comments

How It Feels to Be an Asian Student in an Elite Public School

"The dwindling number of Black and Latino students at these high schools is a great concern and a mystery. Bill de Blasio, when he was mayor of New York, suggested the heart of the problem." "That does not reckon with history. Decades ago, when crime and socioeconomic conditions were far graver than they are today, Black and Latino teenagers passed the examination in great numbers. In 1981, nearly two-thirds of Brooklyn Tech’s students were Black and Latino, and that percentage hovered at 50 percent for another decade." [NYT link]
posted by 47WaysToLeaveYourLover at 12:48 AM - 6 comments

You know, as a scientist, you want to figure something out.

The Snowflake Mystery - "I've done a lot of my career in astronomy and astrophysics. Nobody ever asks you what it's good for, I mean, never. Not even once did anyone say, 'What are those black holes gonna be used for?' No, 'Saturn's rings, why do you care about Saturn's rings? What's the motivation for studying Saturn?' nobody asks that. Every time I give a talk, people are like, 'What are you doing? What on earth is this for?' I'll tell you the real reason, the real reason that I got into this. You look at a snowflake and you kind of go, 'Um, actually, (laughs) we don't have any idea how that works.' Well, that doesn't work. We have to know how that works, dammit!" [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:21 AM - 3 comments

January 25

"His images moved minds."

American photographer Steve Schapiro has died. Never heard of him? You've probably seen his work: MLK, Ali, Robert Kennedy, James Baldwin, the American Civil Rights movement, John Lewis, Midnight Cowboy, Brando, Magritte, Warhol and Sedgewick, De Niro, Bowie, Ike & Tina Turner. [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:56 PM - 5 comments

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

All Eyes on You So you wish to fight street crime but you want to maintain your privacy for reasons. [more inside]
posted by jadepearl at 8:13 PM - 7 comments

I never metafiction I didn't like.

What happens when cartoons try to make cartoons and fail? This. I Like Pink (1994). Wacky Delly (1996). Dedede: Comin' At Ya! (2002/2003). Handsome Keroro (2004 - skip to 48:53). Mint's Hints (2011).
posted by BiggerJ at 7:44 PM - 10 comments

…an exceptional melding of hardcore, noise, and pop…

⋈ The Armed are an anonymous hardcore punk collective from Detroit. Their latest album Ultrapop scored an 8.2 on Pitchfork. This is the video for WHERE MAN KNOWS WANT (live). This is ALL FUTURES (Live).
posted by signal at 5:34 PM - 9 comments

“I don't believe in art. I believe in artists.”

Marcel Duchamp archives have been put online by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and two international institutions.
The Archives; over 20,000 documents and nearly 800 museum exhibits all zoomable. Enjoy.
posted by adamvasco at 3:36 PM - 3 comments

Lighthouses of Europe

Lighthouses of Europe
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 2:29 PM - 23 comments

(Schwarzenegger voice) ZEISS...to meet you!

It's been nearly a decade since we last saw it, so why not take another starlit stroll through the Planetarium and Projector Science Museum.
posted by cortex at 2:09 PM - 16 comments

Kicking Kickstarter

Crowdfunding site Kickstarter made all sorts of creative people (artists, game designers, musicians, etc) despair when they announced they were moving to the blockchain. [more inside]
posted by rikschell at 1:01 PM - 59 comments

On post-viral sequelae

Results of a 20-year study have established a causal link between the Epstein-Barr virus and Multiple Sclerosis. [more inside]
posted by Dashy at 12:29 PM - 36 comments

I trust people with the capacity for pregnancy

You Are Not Owed a Reason for Somebody's Abortion Caitlin Cruz writes about writing about reproductive rights: "No one owes us their reasons for having an abortion, and it is not our job to convey relief, give praise, or recoil at certain reasons for abortion if we do learn them." [more inside]
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 12:25 PM - 8 comments


NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is at L2. What’s next? (Previously on Metafilter)
posted by cenoxo at 8:46 AM - 29 comments

Economists Behaving Badly

Economists Behaving Badly. A senior economist at Stanford submits a paper to the Journal of Political Economy. It gets rejected. The story doesn't end there. Featuring: the University of Chicago free speech policy, "I do not negotiate with terrorists," uncertainty quantification. Via Andrew Gelman's blog.
posted by escabeche at 7:27 AM - 36 comments

School for the Agonisingly Well-Informed

Australian university teacher Tegan Bennett Daylight on student mental health issues: "....20-something student Tom Paech described his generation as being “agonisingly well-informed” – a perfect phrase to describe young people who have “no means of remedying the situation, like the captain of a sinking ship who knows exactly where the hole is in the hull but has no way of plugging it”. Note his use of the word “captain”, which I know was partially unintentional. These young people don’t just feel like the crew on a sinking ship. They feel like they’re the captain, which suggests they are helplessly responsible while the ship goes down."
posted by MiraK at 7:19 AM - 38 comments

Can Science Fiction Wake Us Up to Our Climate Reality?

"...I had to remember to breathe, and to blink. Hours passed. I stopped to finish my water and looked ahead to see our destination, a lake glittering in the far distance. Almost all Robinson’s novels involve an experience of this kind—a long, difficult, rocky journey through a mountain landscape, on Earth or elsewhere, accomplished through sustained concentration that lifts one out of time. The main thing is to start, then to keep going, finding your way one step at a time. It never occurs to you to stop. Even if the path isn’t set, the job before you is clear: you have to get down the mountain before dark."

The Best Case Scenario
posted by y2karl at 5:50 AM - 34 comments

I had a virtual wife who loved me; we had a virtual extended family

It slaps, it's funny, it's sharp as hell, and there's a cowboy and a Sims character in it. What more could you want? It's Love Online, by Bungalow Jonathan.
posted by rorgy at 5:03 AM - 2 comments

Your Favorite Author's Latest Book

Bookfeed.io is a no-frills way of following your favorite authors. You provide a list of writers you like, and Bookfeed generates an RSS feed with their new books. [more inside]
posted by yankeefog at 4:02 AM - 10 comments

January 24

Current Anthropology

Rare African script offers clues to the evolution of writing - "In a study just published in Current Anthropology, a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, showed that writing very quickly becomes 'compressed' for efficient reading and writing. To arrive at this insight they turned to a rare African writing system that has fascinated outsiders since the early 19th century."[1,2,3,4,5] [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 11:26 PM - 14 comments

What Goes Up...

Line Goes Up is a very long, highly detailed, and meticulously researched investigation into and polemical take-down of the NFT and crypto scene by Dan Olson. [more inside]
posted by motty at 6:31 PM - 75 comments

Bonds of Sentiment

Denton Welch -- restorer of immaculate doll houses, painter, writer -- wrote for only eight years before passing away in his thirties. And yet in his short life, which stretched from England to Shanghai, he found himself at the heart of a web of writers from Roald Dahl to William Burroughs, crafting an acutely observed, quasi-colonialist, literature of personal and emotional displacement that ties together a sub-canon of the subaltern, sexually complex, and aesthetically charged. A role model to John Waters and influence on Auden, Forster, and Sitwell, his melancholy and dyspeptic presence seems right to recommend for a winter's read.
posted by SandCounty at 2:50 PM - 7 comments

Winter cozy beaver lodge

Six minutes of trailcam inside and near a beaver lodge in Washington State. No background music or narration; background noises and explanatory text. No-one gets eaten. Furry beasts pass back and forth. [more inside]
posted by clew at 2:30 PM - 23 comments

It's alright I'm okay/It's alright It's okay

Treat yourself to almost forty minutes of exploring the raw tracks of the Bee Gee's 'Stayin Alive' and see how it is put together, courtesy of the Youtube channel Home Studio Simplified.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:20 PM - 30 comments

'There's just a disconnect': Maryland basketball

Maryland football has a ceiling on how strong fan interest can become, as the school has to compete with two passionate NFL fan bases in Washington and Baltimore. So I've been baffled by the school's decision to invest so heavily in a sport where they have to contend with heavyweights like Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan in their own division.
posted by 47WaysToLeaveYourLover at 12:59 PM - 11 comments

James Hong talks to Ben Mankiewicz

He's been seen on screen since 1950, starting with an appearance on Groucho Marx's 'You Bet Your Life' and at 92, is showing no signs of stopping now. The TCM host chatted with the actor with 445 credits on his IMDB page, for CBS Sunday Morning.
posted by Webbster at 12:28 PM - 19 comments

The Inky Depths #4: Slender Snipe Eel (Deep Sea Duck)

What in the wet wonder of the watery world? Wait - a sea duck?!? NO. This is no duck. (How many ducks do you know who have their anus on their throat?) Intriguing, no? Well then slither your slender snipe self into the ---> [more inside]
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:48 AM - 7 comments

Automation is different. It's different because it's automated.

"....[Github's] Copilot doesn't just limit itself to code. It also likes to insert itself into my writing. So, as an experiment, I decided to let Copilot write a post for me."
Software is a complex business. It's a lot like a food industry. You can make a lot of food, but you can't make a lot of food without a lot of people. Software is the exact opposite. You can make a lot of people, but you can't make a lot of people without a lot of software.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:29 AM - 24 comments

Free Thread & Robin

It's a fourth Free Thread and this is the one that has Alicia Silverstone in it I guess? I really hadn't planned this whole thing around the Warner Brothers run of Batman movies but it just sort of happened. Anyway, no link, no topic, just come on in and chatter about stuff. Oh, and if you're newish or lurkerish on MetaFilter or just feeling friendly, you should also stop by the Introduce Yourself thread over on MetaTalk and give a wave. [more inside]
posted by cortex at 10:50 AM - 113 comments


It’s 1992, and you’re sitting in your school’s computer lab. In between assignments, you whisper to your friend, “Check this out.” In the C:\DOS directory, you run QBASIC.EXE, then load up GORILLA.BAS. Before long, you and a friend are two gorillas battling it out atop skyscrapers with exploding bananas.
posted by curious nu at 8:46 AM - 27 comments

The golden age of music is now.

Thought old music was killing new music? Bandcamp's Essential Releases of the 2021 - just one of their extensive Best Of 2021 lists - and Soundcloud's 2021 Playback are here to prove you wrong.
posted by mhoye at 8:40 AM - 26 comments

Pst! Mefites! What's your take on the job market?

The Labor market is in disarray. Is what we're hearing the same thing we're experiencing? You Quit. I Quit. We All Quit. And It’s Not a Coincidence. What is work like for those of us outside of the media maelstrom? [more inside]
posted by Violet Blue at 8:24 AM - 97 comments

Erik Visits A Thousand American Graves

As part of his postings on the blog Lawyers, Guns, and Money, labor historian Eric Loomis has a running series where he visits the graves of notable and infamous figures in American History. (Previously on the Blue.) Recently, he reached a major milestone, and thus the thousandth grave he visited was that of televangelist, "faith healer", and con man Oral Roberts. [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:04 AM - 19 comments

“I believe Isaac became addicted to sloth trafficking"

A notorious sloth cartel kingpin vanished. I will admit that the headline is what hooked me, but the article is very worth a read - SLNatGeo story about how the pet and tourist trade is damaging the sloth population in Colombia and fuelling criminal cartel activity.
posted by Megami at 6:07 AM - 11 comments

"As far as I know, this is the first bicycle powered treehouse elevator"

It's all about just doing fun things — the kind of stuff you always dreamed about doing as a kid [...] a pretty significant part of my life is believing that you shouldn't stop doing that. SLYT — you may want to skip this if you have a fear of heights.
posted by wesleyac at 5:59 AM - 3 comments

The 2,000 Pound Bee has left the hive.

As one of the founding members of the Ventures and the composer of the original Hawaii Five-O theme, Don Wilson was a legend in the genre of surf guitar, in spite of never intending to be part of the subculture's scene. While at home, Wilson passed away at the age of 88.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:22 AM - 21 comments

Break Up With Beliefs

The question: What do I do when I know exactly what I want to do in life but the odds always seem to go against me? The suggestion: Our brains are masterful collectors. If you were to illustrate a map of our clever little minds, they might look like the interior of one of my favorite museums, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post (heiress to the Post Cereal fortune). […] Sometimes, I visualize my brain this way: various rooms each with a different purpose defined by fixation, and a collection of dusty, difficult-to-find objects to support that purpose. [From Out of the Blue, a newsletter by Mari Andrew, via]
posted by ellieBOA at 3:36 AM - 13 comments

January 23

Math History

Take an online journey through the history of math - "'History of Mathematics' explores the origins of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and more... Take the Pythagorean theorem. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who lived in the sixth century B.C., famously related the side lengths of a right triangle in the equation a2 + b2 = c2. But a clay tablet reveals that people in Mesopotamia had worked out the relationship more than 1,000 years earlier."[1,2,3,4]
posted by kliuless at 11:11 PM - 4 comments

How Encanto and Moana explain America

SL Atlantic: "The casita is threatened. The heart must be restored. But all is not lost, the future is not set. That’s the message. America has bounced back from worse, much worse—but it’s not just Miranda who is worried. More and more of the world sees the flame of America’s miracle flickering too."
posted by contrapositive at 6:30 PM - 29 comments

Legendary French designer Thierry Mugler dies at 73

Manfred Thierry Mugler, the French designer known for his precision cuts and sense of theatricality, has died at age 73. Born Dec. 21, 1948, in Strasbourg, France, Mugler began designing in the 1970s. He eventually became known for his dramatic, avant-garde designs. [more inside]
posted by kitten kaboodle at 6:14 PM - 13 comments

I have a soft spot for this kinda food. It's right below the stent.

All Praise the St. Louis Bagel and Its Infinite Potential The infamous, vertically sliced St. Louis bagel is not an abomination—it’s a brand-new playing field for a brand-freaking-new game.
posted by lalochezia at 6:06 PM - 52 comments

How fast can a monkey swim?

Saturday: four monkeys escaped from a truck in Pennsylvania. Three were recaptured but the fourth is on the loose. 24 hours later: a monkey is spotted running into a wood near Canterbury, Kent in England. So, just how fast can a monkey swim?!
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:50 PM - 42 comments

Not Your Normal Jukebox Musical

The best place to start, perhaps is with the Grammy Award-winning Original Cast Album [Grammy.com] for Tony-winning musical Jagged Little Pill [Wikipedia], with music by Alanis Morissette and book by Diablo Cody. Two ways to listen: YouTube Playlist, or (much more fun) a Virtual Album Celebration with the cast [1h16m] as they listen to the album together for the first time ever and record their reactions. Now, let's dig in. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:55 AM - 4 comments

Barge Chillling Beach

There's the official name of places and what people actually call it. For a long time, Vancouver, B.C. had Guelph Park. But when Viktor Briestensky put up a sign proclaiming it, "Dude Chilling Park" and the city took it down, residents resisted and signed a petition to keep the name what they called it. A surprisingly chill Parks Board listened and renamed the park. Last November a barge washed ashore (NYT) at Sunset Beach in Vancouver during flooding. Despite attempts to dislodge it, it has remained firmly in place. Residents have adopted it, taking selfies, and made requests to decorate it. The Parks Board, for the general amusement of the public, have placed a sign, "Barge Chilling Beach". The barge even tweets. [more inside]
posted by blueberry monster at 9:51 AM - 20 comments

At-will for me, but not for thee

An injunction has been granted against seven health-care workers changing jobs. Several employees of Wisconsin's ThedaCare-Neenah hospital told their employer on dates between December 21 and January 7th of their intent to cease employment there and begin work at Ascension St. Elizabeth on January 24th, citing better working conditions and benefits as a primary motivator for their decision to change jobs. This Thursday, ThedaCare filed in court to block their former employees' new employment, and on Friday, Outagamie County Circuit Court Judge Mark McGinnis granted a preliminary injunction, preventing the seven health-care workers from working at Ascension pending resolution of the case. [more inside]
posted by jackbishop at 9:06 AM - 140 comments

The noise started at the beginning of November

It was described by residents of north Brooklyn Heights as a mechanical chirp or a high-pitched, repeating whirr. Some thought it was a car alarm; others, a motor noise. It had a strange way of seeming to move around the neighborhood depending on where you stood. Whatever it was, as it continued nonstop for days, and then weeks, it slowly drove people crazy.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:01 AM - 53 comments

AI assisted drawing with hardware acceleration.

Turn primitive shapes into realistic landscapes. Watch a demo. Try the online app, or download the nVidia Canvas desktop app, though you will need a graphics card with RTX.
posted by adept256 at 4:01 AM - 12 comments

The Cockroaches were playing the long game

Venerable Australian institution, The Wiggles, have clinched the top spot in the poll of Australia's favourite songs of the year with a cover of a Tame Impala song. [more inside]
posted by Megami at 2:00 AM - 14 comments

January 22

Game developers at Raven Software unionize

Following a weeks-long walkout, several dozen game developers at Raven Software have formed the Game Workers Alliance Union. [more inside]
posted by ®@ at 7:58 PM - 9 comments

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