October 23

It’s slightly more than 200 years old, and it was born in Germany.

“It’s just a big illusion”: How homeopathy went from fringe medicine to the grocery aisles Homeopathy is a $1.2 billion industry in the US alone, used by an estimated 5 million adults and 1 million kids. It’s become such a staple of America’s wellness industry that leading brands such as Boiron and Hyland’s are readily available at high-end health-focused chains like Whole Foods and Sprouts, supermarkets like Ralphs, and superstores such as Walmart. Analysts project that the global homeopathic market will grow 12.5 percent by 2023. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:26 PM - 6 comments

Just take a walk down lonely street / to Haegumgang Hotel

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has visited the Mt Kumgang resort, ordering the project promoted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Trump to be razed, denouncing the buildings as 'just a hotchpotch with no national character at all'. Mt Kumgang's Haegumgang Hotel was the brainchild of a Queensland property developer in 1987, and originally floated on the Great Barrier Reef. It is commemorated in model form in the Townsville Maritime Museum.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:50 PM - 6 comments

Non-famous open math problems which anyone can understand

Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand. A MathOverflow thread.
posted by escabeche at 4:31 PM - 11 comments

Crusader Kings 3 will let you become the pope of your own cannibal cult

Crusader Kings 3 [YouTube][Annoucement Trailer] “Crusader Kings 3, the next installment of Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy franchise, is arriving next year on PCs — via Steam and Xbox Game Pass for PC. Paradox shared the news this weekend at its annual PDXCON gathering for fans of the publisher’s game. Crusader Kings 3 is highlighting cunning, calculating, scheming and all sorts of other Saturday-matinee adjectives as chief components of the player’s drive to build their medieval dynasty. [...] Now celebrating its 15th year, the Crusader Kings franchise has taken a million players through an endlessly rewritten history of Europe in the Middle Ages. The most recent game in the series launched seven years ago — Crusader Kings 2, strictly for PC, in 2012. Paradox recently made that title free for everyone via Steam in observance of the PDXCON festivities. [via: Polygon]
posted by Fizz at 3:25 PM - 23 comments

Why can't I profit from all these Limes?

"New reporting underlines how the scooter boom has proven popular with consumers and investors alike, but remains far from having a sustainable business model." The scooter boom is hot with fundraising, and people who believe that they're the future of urban transit, but a reports in The Information (Paywalled) shows that Lime is losing $300 million on revenues of $420 million. Why? Part of the problem is that their scooters don't last long enough to make a profit. How long do they last? About 28 days, at least in Louisville.
posted by SansPoint at 2:14 PM - 36 comments

everyone can skate and destroy

A video of mom and her son riding an adaptive skateboard has gone viral on the interwebs this week. It's a great video with a smiling kid and devoted mom, but Lau Patron wants you to know the real story behind the video. (Single link twitter thread)
posted by vespabelle at 2:07 PM - 11 comments

Canadian Gothic

"As an expat living in Canada, the more I live here, the more I'm convinced I'm actually stuck in some kind of cryptic horror nightmare country that's subtly and slowly eating away at me." [SLTwitterThread; Threadreader version]
posted by KTamas at 1:56 PM - 74 comments

Data on clay

"If you're interested in cuneiform writing, you'll be pleased to hear that the major cuneiform symbol groups have been assigned blocks in Unicode," says Robert Mesibov, a data auditor and retired zoologist in West Ulverstone, Tasmania, Australia. "There are also online resources for everyday computer users who want to learn more about cuneiform and the cuneiform-using cultures. The Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus (ORACC) project not only welcomes new participants, but is also strong on FOSS and open data."
posted by cgc373 at 12:56 PM - 7 comments


"I’ve talked to people who feel they know Bach very well, but they aren’t aware of the time he was imprisoned for a month. They never learned about Bach pulling a knife on a fellow musician during a street fight. They never heard about his drinking exploits."
posted by clawsoon at 12:32 PM - 26 comments

Those Sorts Of People

“When the rude masses began arriving from Eastern Europe, the WASPs got paranoid that they were, to use the phrase chanted by the rioting Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, about to be “replaced.” They turned on their former class siblings, the German Jews, with whom they’d once shared the upper rungs of American society. As the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, many old-line WASPs embraced a toxic mix of social Darwinism and eugenics.” To Serve Is To Rule: On WASPs and the longing for a more polite ruling class. (Harper’s)
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM - 11 comments

But where's Skinny Boy?

Katrin and Janine do an eating tour of New Orleans vis-a-vis a shot-for-shot copy of a Simpsons Episode (s.29 ep.17). There are some good stills here. The attention to detail is impressive. [more inside]
posted by Gorgik at 8:14 AM - 9 comments

Sam Jordison on the best and worst of the Booker Prize experience

The Booker Prize (one of the most prestigious literary awards in the English-speaking world) is pay-to-play, and that's not even the worst part, as the publisher of Lucy Ellmann's sprawling and singular Ducks, Newburyport tells us.
posted by Etrigan at 8:05 AM - 39 comments

"I am happy to report that the New Gallery feels just like the old one."

What’s lost isn’t always lost. Sometimes a researcher sifts through a dark corner of a storage unit and uncovers a forgotten artifact. It’s been happening a lot in Philadelphia, of all places.... Cambridge University fellow Jason Scott-Warren posted on his blog that the Free Library of Philadelphia’s annotated copy of the First Folio was once John Milton’s (previously on the blue). And then a South Philly t-shirt shop found and restored the mannequin (WMMR) from Mannequin (trailer on YouTube). But was it really Emmy? Kim Cattrall tweeted that, no, the mannequin on display was a fake. Dan McQuade unraveled the mystery for Jezebel, which, for one week, took over his life.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:01 AM - 9 comments

Death By Structural Power

OluTimehin Adegbeye, writing for The Correspondent: "People die violent deaths in both the US and Nigeria – why do I fear it there and not here? Where people have little power, they become more vulnerable." [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:51 AM - 1 comment

Guerrilla Gatherers

California tribes are breaking the law to maintain their traditional ways of life. [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 6:58 AM - 4 comments

Shades of blue

Lapis lazuli is a deep-blue metamorphic rock that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color.
By the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. It was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Fra Angelico.
Shades of blue on wikipedia.
Via localstain
posted by growabrain at 5:25 AM - 18 comments

Why Mordor Failed

Sauron’s hegemonic collapse holds potent lessons for the Trump administration. (Austin Gilkeson for Foreign Policy Magazine) “Oct. 21 is, of course, the 65th anniversary of the U.S. publication of one of the classic examinations of Mordorian strategy. Mordor’s downfall can be traced to three primary failings, all of which the Trump administration is also currently facing. The administration would do well to study the Red Book of Westmarch (now in the public domain), The Notion Club Papers, and other ancient texts related to Mordor.” [more inside]
posted by mwhybark at 5:11 AM - 25 comments

October 22

TPL upholds decision to host transphobic hate activists

At their board meeting tonight, the Toronto Public Library upheld a decision to allow transphobic hate activist Meghan Murphy to host an event, despite widespread protests from the community, a 6,000 signatory petition spearheaded by authors who will boycott the library, a potential ban from Pride Toronto, and criticism from the mayor of Toronto. [more inside]
posted by Conspire at 8:26 PM - 66 comments

I'll Tell You Later

NBC News reporter Adiel Kaplan is no stranger to FOIA requests, and the odd results that they might return. But a recent request of theirs was puzzling, as it included an inexplicably redacted watermelon. (SLTwitter) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:37 PM - 6 comments

A New Era in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland will legalize same-sex marriage and decriminalize abortion. Regulations for free local abortion services will be in place in Northern Ireland by March 31, 2020; same sex marriage licenses on January 13. While abortion was decriminalized in England in 1967 and marriage equality passed in 2013; the legislation did not extend to Northern Ireland. The End of Northern Ireland's Restrictive Laws Won't Undo the Trauma, but It Will Help the Hurt.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:28 PM - 6 comments

Who is the internet: Dril, or Bruce Chatwin?

Chatwin was the internet if we imagine that the internet could be a better version of itself; that it could meet a certain ideal that may well have existed, whether explicitly or in some Platonic heaven, when it was invented was just a few short months after Chatwin’s death, but with which any regular internet user must have long-since grown disillusioned. Dril, by contrast, is a great realist: he gives us the internet as it appears.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:29 PM - 23 comments

South Carolina and Pennsylvania‘a latest attacks on Abortion rights

Both states are considering banning abortion at 6 weeks. In South Carolina, state senators held a subcommittee hearing on Tuesday on House bill 3020, which, like the Pennsylvania bill, would ban abortion after a heartbeat can be detected. On Tuesday, the subcommittee voted to advance the bill to a full committee hearing. The members also voted to strip an exception for rape and incest from the bill. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:31 PM - 15 comments


Unpacking [YouTube][Gameplay Trailer] “Unpacking is a puzzle game about moving your possessions into a new home. And by “your,” I mean “somebody else’s.” By unpacking and arranging objects—all of which click and clack oh-so-satisfyingly—you’ll gain “a sense of intimacy with a character you never see and a story you’re never told.” It’ll be out next year.” [via: Kotaku]
posted by Fizz at 2:26 PM - 32 comments

Humanity's Incredible Impact on the World's Biomass

Understanding the Anthropocene Extinction From CBC's Quirks and Quarks "But when it comes to animals, there's also been a major shift, from wild to domestic. Milo said our planet now has 20-fold more biomass in domesticated livestock like cows, pigs and sheep than in all the wild mammals — like elephants, caribou and whales — combined. And there are twice as many domesticated birds as there are wild ones"
posted by helmutdog at 2:14 PM - 4 comments

it is a metaphor

The white bellbird sings its pile driver tune when a potential mate is nearby. It starts facing away from her, and then whips around to blast the loudest, record-setting note right into her face. [SLNYT]
posted by ohkay at 12:15 PM - 17 comments

Working With Land

"It's our right to impose ourselves on that land and use that land so it benefits us," Floyd says. "It made sense to turn [the lots] into a community garden because you don't have any fresh food around here." Community gardens beautify urban space, but some seek to transform urban society. (Chicago Reader) Oyster reefs are making a comeback–by protecting coasts from the ravages of climate change (CNBC) “ For birds, soil organisms, small mammals, and bees and butterflies, prairie strips also provide much-needed food and habitat. As the benefits of regenerative practices like these are made increasingly clear, the pressing question has become: What would it take to get more farms to use them?” Planting Native Prairie Could Be a Secret Weapon for Farmers (Civil Eats)
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 AM - 21 comments

A Convocation of Biological Art

Kate Lacour is a cartoonist and artist whose work is bloody, funny, gross, and beautiful (Content Warning). [more inside]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:45 AM - 7 comments


What's the Difference is a mailing list and archive run by Brette Warshaw. Each issue explores the difference between similar things: tomatoes; eggs; pasta; uncooked flesh; salts; Catholic places of worship; law enforcement officers; sandwiches; wetness falling from the sky; Broccolis; and many more
posted by dobbs at 7:54 AM - 12 comments

Mats Järlström's fight shows you never cross an engineer

A Swedish engineer's umbrage at a traffic ticket has led to a six-year legal fight and now a global change in the speed with which traffic light signals are timed. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 6:54 AM - 86 comments

The privatization of voting infrastructure

How Amazon.com moved into the business of U.S. elections - "Amazon.com Inc's cloud computing arm is making an aggressive push into one of the most sensitive technology sectors: U.S. elections." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 5:38 AM - 29 comments

And it stoned me

Stones/Water/Time/Breath is a participatory sound art piece composed you can perform anywhere there is a body of water. Composed by experimental musician Dean Rosenthal.
posted by Miko at 5:27 AM - 20 comments

An issue of particular importance to long-term investors

An unprecedented climate change lawsuit against American oil giant Exxon Mobil is set to go ahead in New York. "Exxon's trial on the fraud claims will start on Tuesday and is expected to last 15 days. Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who led Exxon for a decade, is among those likely to appear in court." E&E News article. InsideClimateNews article. CBS. [more inside]
posted by Not A Thing at 1:07 AM - 11 comments


posted by eyeballkid at 12:57 AM - 127 comments

October 21

Sound and Motion

Who needs adorable animal antics? You do! You can find little howlers at r/tinyawoos and lots of gamboling at r/Zoomies. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:42 PM - 12 comments

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, spreading life science with Barbies and in prisons

A slingshot and a fishing pole can get you 50-80 feet up, celebrating and exploring the last biotic frontier (NPR article and 8 minute video), just like Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, forest ecologist and a science communicator (The Evergreen State College), and her DIY (ESC) TreeTop Barbies (New York Times). When she's not in the treetops or promoting science and education to young people, she may be bringing life science to prisoners (5 minute TED Talk). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:18 PM - 5 comments

The Force Will Be With You ... Always

The latest (and final?) trailer for "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:19 PM - 266 comments


“blur” A man sees his father’s life through blurred photographs. YouTube.
posted by ColdChef at 7:14 PM - 1 comment

“beat” refers to beatific

Allen Ginsberg on the day after Kerouac died, and on the day of his funeral. Bill Tremblay's poem on the funeral. Jack Kerouac, gone fifty years ago today.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:31 PM - 13 comments

How To Radicalize A Normie

Continuing his series on the Alt-Right Playbook (previously, previouslyer), Ian Danskin now focuses on the means by which the alt-right recruits new members, from bringing them into the fold to leading them down into the depths of the movement. (SLYT)
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:34 PM - 7 comments

Why did the Boeing 737 Max crash?

David Perell writes: "The actual story of the 737 Max crash begins with that McDonnell-Douglas purchase in 1997, 21 years before the first accident in late 2018. Unfortunately, media coverage of the crash mostly ignores Boeing’s corporate history. " [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:31 PM - 65 comments

Cake village

Lynn Nolan explains: “All of the buildings, bar the Miner’s Arms and Eyam Tea Rooms, are made from individual bricks which are no bigger than an inch long. There are lights inside the buildings, which allow you to see the glasses in the pub and the sweets in the shop through windows, which are made out of gelatine sheets.” Lynn spent three months recreating Eyam (pronounced “Eem”) using over 50 different cakes and eight litres of whisky, baked by residents of the Derbyshire village (tinkly music video). How to make a church. Previous constructions include Youlgrave, made out of Christmas cake, icing and marzipan, and Bethlehem, made out of 36 whisky-soaked cakes.
posted by Wordshore at 12:55 PM - 12 comments

progress of the field of software engineering between 2004 and 2016

Nowadays, professionally, I am extremely conscious of this sort of style choice or convention, trying hard to ensure it's consistent across the team, organization, or better yet with the rest of the broader community. At the time, though, I was programming basically alone, and idiosyncrasies, like this mistaken naming convention, could persist for years. 3500 words from Li Haoyi, "a software engineer, an early contributor to Scala.js, and the author of many open-source Scala tools such as the Ammonite REPL and FastParse," describing a 300-line version of Asteroids he wrote when he was fourteen.
posted by cgc373 at 12:22 PM - 7 comments

The legal afterlife of Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

"Bartleby is referred to again and again in court records, where he is not evoked as a signal of ambiguity but reduced instead to pure obstacle: a bad citizen whose intentions cannot be surmised. There is no room in law for something beyond logic, because rational explanation is the key to argument." In I Would Prefer Not To, Your Honor, Daniel Tovrov looks at references in the American judicial system to Herman Melville's infamously noncompliant Bartleby. Bartleby may primarily be referenced as a flattened symbol of insubordination, but he's also present as a symptom of a flattening system. [more inside]
posted by mixedmetaphors at 11:12 AM - 15 comments

for the utterly preventable harm he said he’d endured

For My Incarcerated Clients, There Is No Winning by Peter Borenstein [The Marshall Project] [more inside]
posted by readinghippo at 10:48 AM - 8 comments

Portrait of an Inessential Government Worker

Michael Lewis profiles federal government worker Art Allen: “I’ve only thought about one problem in my life,” said Art, with an odd little laugh, which sounded half like a chuckle and half like an apology for speaking up. “Which is how to improve Coast Guard search and rescue.” [more inside]
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:17 AM - 27 comments

Raising My Daughter to Be an Octopus Lover

I was thirteen when we arrived in Toronto after leaving Dubrovnik, as Yugoslavia was on the brink of civil war. My parents told me and my sisters that we’d come and stay for a year, until political tensions settled down. They picked Canada because that’s where we could get our papers. They chose Toronto because we know one person there.
Somewhere along the way of trying to lose my accent, I lose myself. While learning English, I shed pieces of my old self and language in order to assimilate. I’m not sure when it happens. It takes one move to become an immigrant, but years can pass before you discard bits of your heritage.
“Hoba! Hoba!” my daughter screeches, using the short word for ‘hobotnica’—octopus in Croatian. My friend says, “She’s Croatian alright.”
posted by dmit at 9:56 AM - 9 comments

a contest of storytelling

Around the world, there’s a battle of storytelling about migrants and Muslims. Populists are winning Because it’s a contest of storytelling, the sworn enemies of the populists are people like me: writers and journalists. Truth tellers, writes Suketu Mehta.
posted by Mrs Potato at 8:47 AM - 8 comments

"Horrifying and arousing in equal measure."

Someone's been replacing the dustcover of former British PM David Cameron's memoirs with their own far superior version (SL Guardian).
posted by Paul Slade at 8:27 AM - 16 comments

Polls across Canada are open for the 43rd general election

As of 7am Pacific Time, polls are open across Canada for what looks to be one of the closest and least predictable elections in Canadian history, one which, unlike many previous elections, probably won't be decided until the last votes are cast on the west coast. This is as good a time as any to remember that day in 1849 when elite mobs burned down Parliament but were peaceably defeated by the first government in the British Empire to be responsible to a democratically elected Parliament. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 7:00 AM - 379 comments

Hogwarts Is the Best-Known UK Academic Institution in America

For those of a more progressive worldview, however, a nation is also an ideal, the land being merely the body beyond which there is a “soul” of a nation. This is certainly true of Britishness, which has developed into something far more than a physical country, let alone an ethnic group. Britishness has become a sort of idea – and a very profitable one at that. from Harry Potter and the importance of soft power in by Ed West in UnHerd
posted by chavenet at 5:25 AM - 15 comments

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