August 3

Ursula K. Le Guin’s blog archive is back online

“In 2010, at the age of 81, Ursula started a blog. 2017's No Time to Spare collected a selection of her posts into a book, and for a time, those posts were unavailable online. They've now been restored.” Here’s Le Guin’s introductory post. [via]
posted by Kattullus at 1:45 PM - 0 comments

‘It has to be known what was done to us’

Reading the criminal complaint in June 2020, the Steiners got a view for the first time of what had been going on inside eBay during their torment. “The vitriol towards us, where did it come from?” David asked. “We didn’t even know these people,” Ina added. “We were helping their customers sell more. That should be a good thing.” (CW: stalking, harassment)
posted by bondcliff at 1:44 PM - 6 comments

I've been trying to tell you

Pond House [YouTube] is the first music to surface from the forthcoming release I've Been Trying to Tell You by English trio Saint Etienne: an album (their tenth) "made largely from samples and sounds drawn from the years 1997-2001, a period that was topped and tailed by Labour's election victory and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Was the optimism of that era a lost golden age, or was it a period of naïvety, delusion and folly?" The album is accompanied by a short film [trailer @ YouTube] directed by Alasdair McLellan.
posted by misteraitch at 12:42 PM - 1 comment

Fake accounts and likes were being used to sway elections globally

When she wasn’t working to scrub away vanity likes, [Sophie Zhang] diligently combed through streams of data, searching for the use of fake pages, fake accounts, and other forms of coordinated fake activity on politicians’ pages .... Was it more important to push for a case in Bolivia, with a population of 11.6 million, or in Rajasthan, India, with a population close to 70 million?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:24 AM - 7 comments

A Film On Possibility

British trancecore band Enter Shikari spent the last few days releasing a series of mini-documentaries, partially about the making of their 2020 album Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible [YouTube playlist], but more interestingly about the state of humanity's existence in the 21st century, what lies ahead, the challenges we face today, and how our systems in place now tend to bring out the worst in us.

A Film On Possibility: 1 - EXISTENTIAL RISK (20m), 2 - THE NATURAL WORLD (26m), 3 - SOCIETY (28m), 4 - STRUCTURE (28m) [more inside]
posted by glonous keming at 8:30 AM - 5 comments

"It's history, my friend."

Presenting the top contender for "feel-good moment" from this year's Olympics in Tokyo: in the Men's High Jump event, Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi tied for first and faced a tiebreaking jump-off. Instead, Barshim proposed to officials that they simply share the gold. [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM - 53 comments


Following up on their award winning documentary on the history of the Seattle Mariners, Jon Bois and his compatriots at Secret Base now turn their eyes to Atlanta to dissect the Dirty Birds themselves, the Falcons. (SLYT)
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:43 AM - 4 comments

August 2

Foreign fighting: escaping the cheese bell

Thomas Hegghammer on the Cheese Bell Theory of foreign fighting: "that foreign fighting provides strategic depth - and hence longevity - to movements that would otherwise crumble under domestic repression." [more inside]
posted by russilwvong at 11:52 PM - 12 comments

Danny Elfman's Second Solo Album

It slipped under my radar, but last month Danny Elfman put out an album, Big Mess. [Wikipedia] It's industrial/grunge rock (includes 2/5 of NIN!) with an orchestral grounding. Hints of minimalism, triple dueling guitars, and a seething cauldron of hate and anger about Trump and 2020. Enjoy! Disk One: Sorry [video, behind the scenes], True [video], In Time, Everybody Loves You, Dance With The Lemurs, Serious Ground, Choose Your Side, We Belong [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:13 PM - 5 comments

“This Is Going to Change the World”

As the new millennium dawned, a mysterious invention from a charismatic millionaire became a viral sensation—then went down in flames. Ever since, I’ve wondered: Was it all my fault? - the story of selling the story of the Segway.
posted by ShooBoo at 10:18 AM - 100 comments

Too Many Wellness Drinks

How Big Beverage Poured Empty Promises Down Our Throats
posted by box at 10:15 AM - 44 comments

Craig Murray Sentenced to 8 Months in Prison

Craig Murray, historian, journalist, whistleblower and former diplomat, has begun an 8 Month Prison sentence over his reporting of the former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s Trial in 2020. Craig is the first person in the world to be jailed for supposed “jigsaw identification” of witnesses. Craig has previously reported on the Assange extradition hearing, the Israeli Elbit weapons factories in the UK and the Philip Cross Affair at Wikipedia.
posted by Lanark at 9:35 AM - 22 comments

The Weeknd vs. Abel Tesfaye

With an instantly recognizable voice and songs that have been streamed several billion times, The Weeknd is one of the most ubiquitous pop stars in the world. But where does Abel Tesfaye end and his dark, grimy public persona begin? Mark Anthony Green finally gets the artist to explain. [GQ]
posted by ellieBOA at 9:28 AM - 17 comments

The Dangerous Ideas of “Longtermism” and “Existential Risk”

"So-called rationalists have created a disturbing secular religion that looks like it addresses humanity’s deepest problems, but actually justifies pursuing the social preferences of elites."
posted by simmering octagon at 9:06 AM - 73 comments

“The addition to your edition”

The TLS relaunched their podcast at the beginning of last winter, with hosts Thea Lenarduzzi and Lucy Dallas. Usually the format is two interviews about an article each in each week’s issue, bracketing a couple of shorter items. Among the subjects covered are Christina de Pisan, Vivian Gornick and Dungeons & Dragons, Agatha Christie and the return of live opera and Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon’s relationship and Arsène Wenger. A word of warning, if you’re prone to buying books, every episode is like a trap set before you, just last Friday I ordered The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero which was discussed on last week’s episode, along with William Blake.
posted by Kattullus at 4:25 AM - 10 comments

August 1

True! Who are you? Perry Mason?

Lesley Ann Warren Answers Every Question We Have About Clue [more inside]
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:19 PM - 10 comments

The Concert For Bangladesh

Sunday, August 1, 1971, George Harrison (Beatle, Wilbury) got some of his friends together for two charity concerts. The Concert For Bangladesh [Wikipedia] is a film that documents those extraordinary concerts. You can watch it on Vimeo. [1h30m]
posted by hippybear at 12:53 PM - 24 comments

Winter Comes For Activision Blizzard

On July 20th, following a multiyear investigation in which the company stonewalled the state of California at every turn, the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision Blizzard over a pervasive "frat boy" culture of sexual harassment and abuse. (CW: suicide, harassment, rape) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:52 PM - 45 comments

I believe that Islam as a religion at its core treasured women

Amel Bashir is little known outside her home country; she is a Sudanese fine artist, who was born in Port Sudan and raised in Jedda and now lives in Khartoum.
A Guardian article and some larger reproductions of her intricate work.
posted by adamvasco at 11:03 AM - 3 comments

Christopher Lee reads Sherlock Holmes Stories

Christopher Lee reads Sherlock Holmes stories. Interested? [more inside]
posted by wittgenstein at 9:22 AM - 10 comments

The Rise of Mixed Events at the Tokyo Olympics

Seven Olympic sports have added mixed events. The new events pose interesting tactical and strategic challenges. "On Saturday, the race’s unique configuration meant that Lydia Jacoby, the gold medalist in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, wound up swimming the second leg for the U.S. against Adam Peaty of Britain, the men’s world-record holder. Caeleb Dressel, the men’s 100-meter freestyle champion, later anchored the Americans by trying to swim down three women but was too far behind and was slowed by rough water that churned in front of him. The U.S. finished fifth, three seconds behind Britain, whose relay team set a world record." [more inside]
posted by storybored at 7:03 AM - 17 comments

I love my wife. My wife is dead. ~~Richard Feynman

A love letter. In June of 1945, his wife and high-school sweetheart, Arline, passed away after succumbing to tuberculosis. She was 25-years-old. 16 months later, in October of 1946, Richard wrote his late wife a heartbreaking love letter and sealed it in an envelope. It remained unopened until after his death in 1988.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:51 AM - 16 comments

July 31

Space Juggling

Space juggling "The first rule of Space Juggling is that thrown balls move in straight lines." Interview with Adam Dipert
posted by dhruva at 7:49 PM - 16 comments

That New Peppa Pig Album Got the Streets Talkin

Pitchfork reviews Peppa Pig's Peppa's Adventures: The Album
posted by box at 2:16 PM - 14 comments

The Rise and Fall of the Ultimate Doomsday Prepper

Barrett Moore had ordered 2 million N95 masks, held enough freeze-dried food to feed families hiding from global Armageddon for decades, owned a small arsenal of guns, and fortified a pole barn in which to wait out the collapse of civilization. But he had something no one else could buy: knowledge that the end was coming and that the supply chains would snap; the best hope your family had was holing up in his northern Michigan compound while things fell apart.
posted by darkstar at 12:38 PM - 174 comments

Anyone Can Whistle

Stephen Sondheim's 1964 musical Anyone Can Whistle [Wikipedia] was a genuine flop. It's rarely produced, and the original production was never filmed. But in 1995, a concert version was mounted at Carnegie Hall as an AIDS fundraiser, starring Bernadette Peters, Madeline Kahn, and Scott Bakula. Presented in glorious single-camera VHSovision, that performance is on YouTube. [2h9m] Here is a half-hour lecture on the background of the show. [Vimeo] Here is the Broadway libretto [PDF] if you want to follow along. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 11:16 AM - 13 comments

Fancy Footwork

Jookin' Buckin' Choppin' Footworkin' Boogie Jiggin' Swag and Krumping are just some of the dances you can watch and enjoy in this twitter thread.
posted by vespabelle at 8:49 AM - 3 comments

48 Hours

A two part series from Criminal, the podcast. Hear directly from these real life victims of a robbery/kidnapping/rape/extortion scheme and how the Vallejo police turned on them in a surreally horrifying twist. [more inside]
posted by amanda at 8:05 AM - 19 comments

Interlewd with the Great Gouda

It’s quite astonishing to learn that Pac-Man was allotted 14-pages in a porn mag whose format was dedicated to nudity, dirty jokes and cigarette ads. Even more surprising is no one complained that he was. Writer, historical researcher and self-confessed vidiot Cat DeSpira unpacks an odd feature from the April 1982 issue of Oui Magazine in this blog post for her site Retro Bitch. [CW boobs and butts] [more inside]
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 8:03 AM - 24 comments

there are hundreds of Mario games that exist, and even more that don't

jan Misali, amateur linguist, asks a seemingly simple question: how many of the Mario games are "Super Mario" (or 'mainline') Mario games? It turns out to be surprisingly complex, because of the dozens of Mario games released over the years, there's only universal consensus on three. [more inside]
posted by Merus at 5:47 AM - 20 comments

“English spelling is ridiculous”

These norms in the literacy of English speakers today are so well entrenched that simple adjustments are very jarring. If ai trai tu repreezent mai akshuel pronownseeayshun in raiteeng, yu kan reed it, but its difikelt and disterbeeng tu du soh. It just looks wrong, and that feeling of wrongness interrupts the flow of reading.
Typos, tricks and misprints is an essay by linguist Arika Okrent about why English spelling is so damn weird.
posted by Kattullus at 1:49 AM - 55 comments

July 30

Shut up, Tasmania!

"Many of you are wondering, how did we get from Zero Covid and being the envy of the world to being an experiment in what happens when the Delta variant rips through an unvaccinated population?" The Australien Government has a helpful Honest Government Ad breaking down exactly how the massive outbreak in Sydney that is working hard to become a national franchise came about. If you'd like an on-the-ground explanation straight from the states' mouths, Meanwhile in Australia parts 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 will catch you up on the past eventful month.
posted by rednikki at 4:35 PM - 28 comments

costs $56,000 per year

A few weeks ago, the FDA approved a costly Alzheimer's drug developed by Biogen, but for what benefit?
1. There is not strong evidence that Amyloid beta plaques causes Alzheimer’s disease, even if aducanumab showed a reduction in those plaques.
2. Aducanumab did not show any real-life outcomes like improvement in cognitive outcomes or reduction in mortality.
posted by spamandkimchi at 3:49 PM - 41 comments

I should buy Björk a boat

The 2005 video for Björk's Triumph of a Heart (alternative) follows a familiar three-act story: relationship difficulties lead to one partner storming off for an evening of wild fun while the other (played here by Nietzsche) ponders at home; thoughts and regrets on both sides; and a return and reconciliation. However, a brief scene around 3:55 became something else... [more inside]
posted by Wordshore at 2:25 PM - 20 comments

"Who owns my name?"

"Does my name belong to me? My face? What about my life? My story? Why does my name refer to events I had no hand in? I return to these questions because others continue to profit off my name, face, & story without my consent." A Twitter thread (also a post on Medium) by Amanda Knox (previously), in response to Matt Damon’s new film Stillwater, "hamfistedly inspired" by her story.
posted by bitteschoen at 5:38 AM - 64 comments

The dark art of contact tracing

"I asked for a world class team of contact tracers." In which Australians The Chaser make lemonade from pandemic lemons.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:49 AM - 41 comments

July 29

"The war has changed."

Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe (WaPo) The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.” [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:05 PM - 260 comments


The flow of sheep from above. More aerial photography from Lior Patel.
posted by clawsoon at 8:36 PM - 16 comments

Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage

Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage How did an iconic celebration of harmony descend into mayhem? Woodstock 99, the first film in Bill Simmons' Music Box HBO series, examines how the festival collapsed under the weight of its own misguided ambition. [more inside]
posted by dmh at 1:11 PM - 36 comments

If👏 you're👏 not👏 Kubla👏 Khan👏

and👏 are👏 not👏 in👏 Xanadu👏 do👏 not👏 a👏 stately👏 pleasure👏 dome👏 decree!👏
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:31 PM - 331 comments

Every girl crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man

Dusty Hill, bassist for and long-time member of ZZ Top, has passed away at the age of 72. [more inside]
posted by hanov3r at 8:16 AM - 94 comments

"a moonshot that might just land"

Man v food: is lab-grown meat really going to solve our nasty agriculture problem? If cellular agriculture is going to improve on the industrial system it is displacing, it needs to grow without passing the cost on to workers, consumers and the environment (The Guardian, long read)
posted by bitteschoen at 5:01 AM - 38 comments

But Wait! There's No More...

Ron Popeil, inventor and king of TV pitchmen, dies at 86 [AP] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 3:28 AM - 51 comments

"When it’s gone, where will all these lost souls go?"

The Last Dirty Picture Show: a love letter to the Tiki Adult Theater
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 2:13 AM - 14 comments

July 28

Patria y Vida

A Black uprising is shaking Cuba’s Communist regime. Millions around the world know “Patria y Vida” — “Fatherland and Life” — the scintillating music video that inverted the Cuban Communist Party’s slogan — “Fatherland or Death” — and became the anthem of protests in Cuba on July 11. Less familiar is “Oe’ Policia Pinga” — roughly, “F--- the Police” — by the rappers Marichal and Daryelo Sánchez. [more inside]
posted by leslietron at 6:27 PM - 42 comments

Bipartisan infrastructure deal reached

A bipartisan $550 billion infrastructure spending deal passed a test vote in the US Senate, with support from 17 Republican senators. [more inside]
posted by russilwvong at 5:10 PM - 78 comments

first, prep buccinator space for planting

Introducing Name Drop: A Daily Trivia Game from the New Yorker [more inside]
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:05 PM - 17 comments

Gawker is back

The Gawker name was toxic, but also weirdly revered; an intractable combination. It could not be brought back because it could never be what it once was, and also because what it once was was sued out of existence by a professional wrestler. After a hiatus of five relatively uneventful years, Gawker is back.
posted by gottabefunky at 4:00 PM - 47 comments

looking for recalcitrant molecules

How much carbon could soil actually sequester? Despite rising enthusiasm for carbon farming in Europe and the U.S., some soil scientists are less optimistic about the climate impacts of soil carbon sequestration. Projects such as the Harnessing Plants Initiative and the Marin Carbon Project have multiple worthy goals but may be overstating the actual carbon sequestration benefits. “I have The Nature and Properties of Soils in front of me — the standard textbook... The theory of soil organic carbon accumulation that’s in that textbook has been proven mostly false … and we’re still teaching it.” [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:56 PM - 13 comments

"The volcano… is not performing today."

Tom Scott tried to film an Icelandic volcano and it was a complete disaster (Fagradalsfjall eruption previously). Tom Scott is no stranger to Iceland, having made a number of YouTube videos there, including when he went to check whether the northernmost part of Iceland was still above water, why you can't swim between two continents, and that submerging yourself in power plant wastewater is sometimes a good idea.
posted by Kattullus at 1:51 PM - 10 comments

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