May 19

Martin Tower is no more.

Built during the boom times of American Steel, Martin Tower was seen as the crowning achievement and as a sign of corporate greed all in one. [more inside]
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 12:18 PM - 0 comments

The Social Dynamics of Fantasy Dragons

Even if the new season had managed to minimize plot holes and avoid clunky coincidences..., they couldn’t persist in the narrative lane of the past seasons. For Benioff and Weiss, trying to continue what Game of Thrones had set out to do, tell a compelling sociological story, would be like trying to eat melting ice cream with a fork. Hollywood mostly knows how to tell psychological, individualized stories. They do not have the right tools for sociological stories, nor do they even seem to understand the job. The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones by Zeynep Tufekci (previously). Caution: Spoilers for the current season of GoT.
posted by Cash4Lead at 12:01 PM - 1 comment

But are there depression jeans?

There is no "depression gene". The authors go on to demolish every other "depression gene" connection in the existing literature. They went after the lot. Nothing. No clear evidence for any given gene, in any polymorphic form, with any effect on depression, as either measured by itself or in combination with any other environmental effect. Paper (paywalled). [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 5:54 AM - 39 comments

May 18

Jon Batiste's 'The Game of Thrones' Song

Jon Batiste's 'The Game of Thrones' Song [SLYT]

"Now you, I understand, are a huge Game of Thrones fan, right?"
"No. Never seen a single episode."
"How did you write a song recapping the entire series?"
"Well, I've seen plenty of memes online, so, just put it together like that, you know."
"Oh. That's all you know about Game of Thrones?"
"Yep. But I think I nailed it. Jim?"
posted by kirkaracha at 10:15 PM - 16 comments

This economics journal only publishes results that are no big deal

Start with the name: Series of Unsurprising Results in Economics (SURE). The journal publishes papers with findings that are, well, really boring — so boring that other journals rejected them just for being boring. Its first paper, published Tuesday, is about an education intervention that was found to have no effects at all on anything.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:01 PM - 21 comments

Hail Satan?

What is religion? There's not a convenient or easy answer. [more inside]
posted by aloiv2 at 8:37 PM - 14 comments


What lies beneath: Robert Macfarlane travels 'Underland.' "From prehistoric cave paintings to buried nuclear waste, underground spaces record how humans have lived. To explore Underland means voyaging into the deep past – and raises urgent questions about our planet’s future." This is a brilliant essay by Robert Macfarlane on the themes of his book Underland. [more inside]
posted by homunculus at 6:46 PM - 4 comments

there is no Other

Rhiannon Giddens and Francisco Turrisi's I'm On My Way, Ten Thousand Voices, and the title track from their new album there is no Other. A live performance of three tracks from the album and an interview from Paste Studio NYC. Giddens, Turrisi, producer Joe Henry, and engineer Ryan Freeland talk about the instruments featured on the album. Giddens and Turrisi in Performance and Conversation on May 1, 2019 (1 hour, 11 minutes). [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:05 PM - 5 comments

The Scott Rea Project

Butcher Scott Rea makes sausages. Pork & Wild Garlic Sausages. Black Pudding , (blood sausage, be warned). Venison & Stout Sausages. He has a number of from field to table videos, for instance going through the whole process of slaughtering and butchering a lamb. [more inside]
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:04 PM - 8 comments

"She’ll spend most of her life on a chain in a stall"

Wildlife tourism isn’t new, but social media is setting the industry ablaze, turning encounters with exotic animals into photo-driven bucket-list toppers. Activities once publicized mostly in guidebooks now are shared instantly with multitudes of people by selfie-taking backpackers, tour-bus travelers, and social media “influencers” through a tap on their phone screens. […] Photographer Kirsten Luce and I set out to look behind the curtain of the thriving wildlife tourism industry, to see how animals at various attractions—including some that emphasize their humane care of animals—are treated once the selfie-taking crowds have gone. (Natasha Daly, National Geographic)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:21 PM - 16 comments

“Pokémon Go with building blocks.”

Minecraft Earth is Microsoft’s wild shot at the next Pokemon Go-style AR blockbuster [YouTube] “Microsoft today unveiled its previously teased follow-up to Minecraft, a sequel of sorts. It’s a free-to-play Augmented Reality game called Minecraft Earth, and it’s designed for modern Android and iOS phones. A closed beta is planned for this summer, likely to be limited geographically, with a gradual roll-out through the whole world. The game allows players to collect Minecraft blocks as they walk around their neighborhoods, to engage in augmented reality mini-games in public spaces, and to create their own virtual buildings, which can be shared and explored.” [via: Polygon] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 2:26 PM - 30 comments

Fanny Fielding Art

Hello Dear. I am an artist based in Hertfordshire UK using mostly watercolour and can often been seen out and about painting on the streets and wherever takes my fancy. [NSFW language.]
posted by chavenet at 12:51 PM - 11 comments

The piano was surprisingly durable

The merry maniacs at Megabots Inc. surprise Queen of Shitty Robots Simone Giertz with a GIANT version of her chopping machine. Mayhem ensues.
posted by merriment at 11:30 AM - 11 comments

How do we know the Earth is round?

100 proofs the earth is a globe. David Morgan-Mar, author of the webcomic Darths and Droids and otherwise qualified person, is spending this year posting 100 short essays with different points of scientific evidence/proofs that the earth is round. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:09 AM - 75 comments

Climate Change Podcasters Unite!

Doug Parsons of America Adapts interviews hosts of eight climate change podcasts: Warm Regards, Climactic, No Place Like Home, Climate Ready, Climate One, The Climate and Security Podcast, MIT’s Climate Conversations, and Reversing Climate Change. [more inside]
posted by carter at 5:08 AM - 2 comments

The boy in the photo

In the summer of 2018, BBC cameraman Andy Alcroft was waiting to film an interview at Exeter St David’s railway station, when he was approached by one of Amar’s friends. “You should do a report about him - Amar. The boy who came over from Iraq. Remember him? He’s got an amazing story,” he said. Andy took some contact details and we went to meet Amar in the Devon village where he still lives. We thought we might end up doing some kind of “catch-up” feature. “Whatever happened to the orphan Amar?” - that kind of thing. But when Amar revealed he had been receiving unexpected social media messages from a stranger, the story took an unexpected turn.
posted by satoshi at 2:01 AM - 22 comments

May 17

Choo-choo, here comes the coffee train!

In a world of crazy coffee-making contraptions (Espresso Made in Italy) the "cafetière-locomotive" or coffee-making train stands apart (Atlas Obscura), pairing railroad fever ( and increased interest in coffee (PBS). First patented in 1861 (Early Tech) by an Italian architect living in Paris, Jean Baptiste Toselli, this bit of "domestic theatre" was reserved only for the very wealthy, as they were never mass-produced.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 PM - 17 comments

Optimal Arkanoid

The new glitchless, tool-assisted speedrun of the NES version of Taito's classic arcade hit Breakout clone Arkanoid is 10% faster than the previous record. It was done in an interesting way: the runner simulated the game on a frame-by-frame level in a C++ reimplementation, then used it to brute force a solution to each level, which required a year's worth of CPU effort (split across six cores) to accomplish. Here are full details, including video (12m) of the result played back in an emulator. For extra fun, he made an ASCII-art version of the run!
posted by JHarris at 8:13 PM - 26 comments

Virtual Angkor: Visualising the Medieval Cambodian Metropolis of Angkor

Virtual Angkor is "a groundbreaking collaboration between Virtual History Specialists, Archaeologists and Historians designed to bring the Cambodian metropolis of Angkor to life. Built for the classroom, it has been created to take students into a 3D world and to use this simulation to ask questions about Angkor’s place in larger networks of trade and diplomacy, its experience with climate variability and the structure of power and kingship that underpinned the city." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus at 6:06 PM - 3 comments

Gmail Tracks Your Purchases

It seems that Gmail reads receipts for things you purchase that end up in your inbox, storing them under a 'Purchases' page. It's hard to find where this stuff is stored, and even harder to get rid of it. [more inside]
posted by Quackles at 5:50 PM - 88 comments

Democracy Sausage finder

Democracy is hungry work, so helps Aussies find a polling place to suit their democratic and saturday barbie needs. It's federal election day in Australia.
posted by adept256 at 4:14 PM - 166 comments

Hospice for Children

Where Should a Child Die? Hospice Homes Help Families With the Unimaginable
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:04 PM - 10 comments

A Stroll Through The Cursor Park

Need a place to rest your mouse while reading the agenda? Be sure to leave some space for a cursor park. [more inside]
posted by bbuda at 3:41 PM - 9 comments

Eye can't believe it

r/confusing_perspective is the place for puzzling perspectives, confusing angles, and missing context.
Cat's face
Runner of the skies
Perfect timing
Pretty nails
Beach baby and Park Baby
Dilma Rousseff
Luckily my son grew into his hand [more inside]
posted by growabrain at 2:37 PM - 29 comments

The Problem with Advice

A philosopher ponders why advice so often fails to land. She further distinguishes between instruction, advice, and coaching in an illuminating manner. This essay jibes with my self-help journey and ultimate dissatisfaction with the genre. [more inside]
posted by bbrown at 1:23 PM - 36 comments

OpenAI GPT-2 Implementation

Talk to Transformer - "See how a modern neural network completes your text." (1,2,3; previously; via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 1:11 PM - 65 comments

“None of us asked for your data. But we have it anyway, and forever.”

Angry Birds and the end of privacy [Vox] “Though it doesn’t often come up and is confusing to think through, almost every app on your phone is full of third-party advertising intermediaries — at a minimum, ad software owned by Facebook or Twitter or Google, but often a couple dozen other companies you haven’t even heard of, as well. This includes game apps as innocuous if obnoxious-seeming as Angry Birds and its descendants, like Fruit Ninja (by the Australia-based Halfbrick Studios) and Candy Crush (by Malta-based developer King). These third parties collect information that allows them to keep intricate histories of your behavior, and use it to make money from you in ways you might not expect or even see. [...] The fact that it’s all so confusing is kind of the point, obviously. And as a result, mobile games have escaped the level of scrutiny we’ve applied to social media companies, despite being — as a category — nearly equally popular and far more likely to be used by children.” [h/t Johnny Wallflower] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 12:59 PM - 10 comments

America's Achilles Heel

Rising up from the flat, wooded west flood plain of the Mississippi River are four massive concrete and steel structures that would make a pharaoh envious: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ greatest work, the two billion-dollar Old River Control Structure (ORCS). The ORCS saw its second highest flood on record in March 2019, and flood levels have risen again this week to their fifth highest level on record. While the structure is built to handle the unusual stress this year's floods have subjected it to, there is reason for concern for its long-term survival, since failure of the Old RIver Control Structure would be a catastrophe with global impact. [more inside]
posted by ragtag at 12:39 PM - 16 comments

"Update your glossary: Pop music no longer means 'music that’s popular'"

Carly Rae Jepsen, queen of [fill-in-the-blank], releases Dedicated today (streaming links) , her follow up album to cult hit E-MO-TION in 2015. Is it a sign o' the times, that pop(ular) music is now a sub-genre of music, directed towards the "highly specific constituency bridging the indie-rock club and the gay video bar"? [more inside]
posted by galleta monster at 12:02 PM - 19 comments

Industrial Inducement of Over Eating leads to weight gain

One thing that was kind of intriguing was that some of the hormones that are involved in food intake regulation were quite different between the two diets as compared to baseline
posted by hugbucket at 12:01 PM - 23 comments

use the Golden Mean: 380° for 8 minutes, with a shake halfway through

Bill Oakley and his friend Chris Onstad figure out the best frozen foods to cook in your air fryer, and how to cook them.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:44 AM - 15 comments

this bobcat clawed its way to the top of a power pole

Bobcat perched atop electrical pole on Alligator Alley crawls down to safety [Fort Myers News-Press, May 9] "How did the bobcat get to the top of the power pole? It climbed there, of course, sometime Thursday along Interstate 75 in Collier County near mile marker 78."
posted by readinghippo at 11:27 AM - 17 comments

Tierra de Resistentes

Defending the jungles, mountains, forests and rivers of Latin America has never been this dangerous. Six of the ten most hostile countries for leaders and communities defending the environment and their ancestral lands are located in Latin America, according to UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst’s 2016 report to United Nations. [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 10:21 AM - 1 comment

It’s an unfortunate story, but one that needs to be told.”

"...on Monday evening, at Mr. Colicchio’s restaurant Craft in Manhattan, Mr. Adjepong presented the full menu: “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Through Food,” a dinner that zigzags across the Atlantic Ocean, retracing the forced migration of enslaved Africans and illuminating the deep and lasting global culinary influences of the continent." A Chef Tells the Story of the Slave Trade Through Dinner
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:16 AM - 22 comments

is it easy to keep so quiet?

The National have released their 8th studio album, I Am Easy To Find. (spotify) The album is accompanied by, and provides the soundtrack for, a 26 minute short film of the same name directed by Mike Mills and starring Alicia Vikander, which depicts the life of a woman. (CW: textual mentions of abuse) [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong at 7:32 AM - 15 comments

l'etat, c'est moi

The Magic Of Estate Sales, Ann Friedman
I’m not anti-Kondo, but you can put me down as a firm skeptic. I believe that the physical things you collect as you move through your life—even those that don’t make your stomach flip with joy—add up to something more than their individual utility or aesthetic appeal or heirloom potential. They aren’t just things, they’re your things. And if you remove yourself from the picture, the stuff you surround yourself with tells a story about you. It is a physical autobiography you write by living. Which is why I love estate sales.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:30 AM - 65 comments

Quinn Christopherson wins this year's Tiny Desk Contest

n his 2019 Contest entry video, "Erase Me," Christopherson muses about his complicated experience with privilege as a transgender man.
posted by PussKillian at 7:00 AM - 7 comments

I.M. Pei, Master Architect, Dies at 102 [SLNYT]

I. M. Pei, who began his long career designing buildings for a New York real estate developer and ended it as one of the most revered architects in the world, died early Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 102. Best known for designing the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the glass pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre in Paris, Mr. Pei was one of the few architects who were equally attractive to real estate developers, corporate chieftains and art museum boards (the third group, of course, often made up of members of the first two). And all of his work — from his commercial skyscrapers to his art museums — represented a careful balance of the cutting edge and the conservative.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:34 AM - 35 comments

A new history of Arabia, written in stone

On a small rock found in Jordan, Ahmad Al-Jallad, a linguistics professor in the Netherlands, discovered text that he thought could be the oldest known record of literary expression in Arabic.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:02 AM - 3 comments

"So this is heaven? I hate it."

With the words "some days are grumpier than others," the official Grumpy Cat twitter feed announced today that Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce), possibly the most famous cat on earth, passed away this week from complications of an infection. Despite the grumpy face, little Tardar Sauce was apparently the sweetest of cats, and paradoxically, the grumpiness brought joy to millions. She will be missed.
posted by litlnemo at 5:01 AM - 78 comments

California's Agriculture: The Dreamt Land

An excerpt from The Dreamt Land, a new book by Mark Arax.... This was fertility supercharged by irrigation and the science of the Agricultural College at the University of California—the most extensive and intensive farming experiment in the world. No other landscape in history had been so bent by the designs of man. The Great Central Valley, 450 miles long and 60 miles wide, had resembled in its natural state a rolling savanna not unlike the Serengeti. Then a man named Porteous invented the Fresno Scraper, a five-foot-wide hunk of sheet iron that revolutionized the movement of dirt. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 1:38 AM - 5 comments

May 16

Paid Paternity Leave Benefits Everyone, and May Reduce Family Sizes

In Scotland, despite increased opportunities, fathers remain reluctant to take full advantage of work-provided parental leave and support, despite professing to want to be equal partners with mothers in child care, to the possible detriment of their workplaces (Harvard Business Review). Mandatory parental leave for fathers is good for business, as it would level the playing field for women at work and home (Forbes). And after men in Spain got paternity leave, they wanted fewer kids, while women started showing preferences for slightly larger families (Quartz).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:44 PM - 30 comments

Discovering an Iconic Literary Character Was Based on Your Grandfather

Did Joseph Heller Base Catch-22's John Yossarian on Julius Fish? A grieving family finds a WWII journal that leads them to discover so much about Julius Fish, how he served his country, and inspired Joseph Heller. Heller was stationed with Lt. Fish on Corsica. [more inside]
posted by narancia at 2:36 PM - 9 comments

Any boss who sacks anyone for mourning today is a bum!

RIP Bob Hawke - the longest-serving Labor prime minister of Australia has died at the age of 89. [more inside]
posted by decent rooms and a bath at 1:15 PM - 38 comments

The Best Ideas Are the Ones That Make the Least Sense

Rory Sutherland for Entrepreneur Magazine discusses psychological magic tricks in advertising
posted by bq at 1:02 PM - 69 comments


Super Mario Maker 2 [YouTube][Announcement Trailer] [Nintendo Direct] “Super Mario Maker 2 is looking like a substantial upgrade over the original build-your-Mario-game. Today during a Nintendo Direct video, Nintendo detailed a huge number of features coming to the Switch game, chief among them co-op play, so that you can build and design levels with another player on the same console. You’ll also be able to play through created levels online with up to four other people.” [via: The Verge] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 11:55 AM - 21 comments

The English Word That Hasn't Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years

The word lox was one of the clues that eventually led linguists to discover who the Proto-Indo-Europeans were, and where they lived. 1250 words from Sevindj Nurkiyazova for Nautilus.
posted by cgc373 at 11:50 AM - 34 comments

a knitted representation of how much men talk in Montreal city council

Montreal borough mayor Sue Montgomery has been knitting a colour-coded scarf during city council meetings to show how often and for how long men speak compared to women. While men are speaking, she knits with red yarn; while women are speaking, she knits with green. Currently, the scarf is 75-80% red. There is relative parity on city council--31 women and 34 men--so it is not a case of lack of representation; instead, Montgomery attributes it to "an imbalance in the mental and emotional space those 34 men take up...I’ve said, ‘Just make your point and sit down.’ And they say, ‘Well, that’s democracy and we have to debate.’ What they don’t understand is that they don’t have to put on a show." [more inside]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:57 AM - 39 comments

"Books are an Irishman’s dessert."

We asked ambassadors where they eat when they’re homesick. We did not expect Taco Bell and Ikea. Secret Mongolian menus, Candy Saturdays, and a mother's love: the Washington Post is on the case.
posted by duffell at 10:41 AM - 28 comments

Housing is the largest single expense for the average American

The high cost of housing – especially of rental homes – is an urgent public policy crisis and a golden political opportunity for progressive candidates and policymakers willing to show leadership. The Data for Progress Homes for All report lays the groundwork for a truly progressive housing policy capable of ending the crisis, as a guide to policymakers and voters alike. (PDF)
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 AM - 11 comments

« Older posts