A retrofit of the sidewalk railings on the Golden Gate Bridge last year has caused the bridge to "hum" when wind conditions are just right (much to the annoyance of neighbors). Musician Nate Mercereau has responded to the complaints by creating several duets with the bridge. He explains his process in a Facebook post.
The Board Games That Ask You to Reenact Colonialism. A newish wave of sophisticated, adult board games have made exploitation part of their game mechanics. A reckoning is coming. "Puerto Rico is the only game I ever turned down even a single trial play of, because of a literal curl of my lip in distaste as I was being taught the game."
The death of the woman he loved was too much to bear. Could a mysterious website allow him to speak with her once more? A long-form essay from the San Francisco Chronicle. [more inside]
Don't trust Bigipedia (previously)? Want something more trustworthy and less physically possible? Look no further than The Museum of Everything, the eighteen-episode comedy audio sketch series with a dash of magical realism - so don't sweat the impossibility of a provincial museum just off the M3 that's curated by Tom Waits and contains literally everything (except maybe Badgerland (animated episode 3)). Well, not until you get to the... GIFT SHOP. (aaahhh...)
Jerusalem Demsas on progressive obstructionism which prevents Democratic-run states like California from building infrastructure and housing, making them outrageously expensive. "I thought that I was going to ride the Purple Line [a project that's been delayed for 20 years] when I was in high school. And that never happened. And people are really mad. So you have a situation here, where a very few people have managed to proffer up a bunch of facially neutral, race neutral, class neutral, explanations for why it’s a bad idea to build a public works project. And at the end of the day, the people who have suffered the most are domestic workers who are taking multiple bus lines, or having to figure out other ways to get to work every single day. And they’re bearing the cost of all of that." [more inside]
After Hand Tool Rescue restored a "grip anything" fractal vise, everybody got into it. Nebraska-based artist Steve Lindsay has been working on a modern metal one for six years. You can put a downpayment on one for yourself, but he doesn't know how much it'll cost when it's done.
Did You See What the Liberian Olympic Team is Wearing? [SLNTY] "Mr. Clemens is a Liberian American designer who founded his own company in 2004 with the motto, “Not for you, for everyone.” He was creating deconstructed unisex basics aimed at subcultures long rejected or neglected by the establishment fashion world long before diversity was an imperative and gender fluidity a movement, and has always been more interested in building a modern community than catering to the status quo. [more inside]
Joan Macdonald has not always looked like a bodybuilder. At 71, she weighed 90kg (14st 4lb), and had rising blood pressure and kidney troubles. She was also on medication for cholesterol and acid reflux, and her doctor wanted to double the dose. Her daughter, Michelle, expressed Macdonald’s dilemma bluntly. “You’re going to end up like your mother did in a nursing home!” she told Macdonald. “And people are going to have to look after you. Do you want that?” “Of course I didn’t want it,” Macdonald says now. “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.” A Guardian short profile of a woman who started lifting weights at 71. (Content warning: seems not great about health at any size.)
Desert Center, CA is that line on I-10 signs that you never exited to see. From the highway, it's abandoned buildings and oddly-arranged palm trees. There's a lot more to its history and the founder was quite a character.
Tom Jackson’s Postcard From the Past Twitter feed features old British postcards with captions taken from the messages written on the back. A lot of the cards are very funny but I’m not laughing at anyone but myself. It’s our own lives that are written on these cards … It strikes me that the past is funny and odd and serious and heart-breaking and packed full of people who feel a lot like us. Jackson also hosts Podcast From the Past, “the weekly podcast where we discover the memories, mysteries and stories held by postcards that for some reason we never threw away. Each time, host Tom Jackson – the creator of the Postcard From The Past twitter feed and book – welcomes two guests to the studio to share their cards and tell their stories.”
Looking at soil life on its own terms: adding tiny structures to soil to capture processes that rely on the physics of small. Great stuff for seeing something that surrounds us but is impossible to see unaided. There's a lot of soil research that has started with taking samples of the top 15cm and shaking it up in water, which is the only way to reliably grow *some* things, but we know kills others. How to see how others really live?
And in this round of the Professional Sports Teams With Racist Names Choose New Names Draft, for the 2022 season and onward, the Cleveland baseball team selects "The Guardians." Atlanta, you are on the clock.
"You saw that headline and thought: “This can’t possibly be real.” Alas, it is very much a real thing that’s really happening in America in 2021. The asteroid cannot come swiftly enough."
Emulation is a fascinating area of software engineering... Whilst the rest of world moves onto cloud first, massively distributed architectures, emulation is still stuck firmly in the 20th century writing single threaded C++ of all things. This project was born out of a desire to bring the best of modern design back to the the future of ancient computing history. [more inside]
"The FTC’s endorsement of the rules is not a surprise outcome; the issue of Right to Repair has been a remarkably bipartisan one, and the FTC itself issued a lengthy report in May that blasted manufacturers for restricting repairs. But the 5 to 0 vote signals the commission’s commitment to enforce both federal antitrust laws and a key law around consumer warranties - the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act - when it comes to personal device repairs."
Did you realize you could have a whammy bar for your Clavinet? After stumbling across Lachy Doley's cover of Voodo Child on such a contraption, I found a little bit of information about it (more music links on that page) and Doley's own look inside his instrument.
“A lot of people don’t like Gordon, who is haughty and rude, but I feel an affinity with this train because the contempt in which he holds all the other trains on the Island of Sodor comes very close to matching my own.” An overview of the characters featured on the Thomas and Friends Storytime podcast. (SLGuardian)
Cockatoos in Australia Are Teaching Each Other How to Loot Trash Cans [Sciencealert] "Before 2018, the results show these bin-opening skills of cockatoos were confined to just three suburbs of Sydney, each separated by quite a lot of distance. Yet after 2019, the technique had rippled out to 41 surrounding neighborhoods as well." [more inside]
Ryan adopts street cat Choonsik. Korean mega-messaging app KakaoTalk's most popular character is a lion who looks like a bear because he has no mane (he's a bit insecure about his short tail as well). Who are the Kakao Friends? [more inside]
Cybathlon is an international multi-sport competition that pairs disabled athletes with teams of scientists, engineers and researchers, inspired by the long-term goal of making everyday life more accessible for disabled people. [more inside]
Nick Rhodes & Wendy Bevan Release Second Album Of Four-Part Series [Top40-Charts.com] Astronomia is a 52-song, 4-volume project being released as 4 albums. Astronomia II: The Rise Of Lyra [YT Audio playlist] came out on June 20, 2021. It can be heard (or purchased) on these online services. (Previously: Astronomia I) [more inside]
Through long talks with Jason about the meaning of life, the nature of God, and how to make people happy, he’d come to see money as plain bad. How could it not be? It enabled organizations and “people who rely on the belief in evil” to do bad things. Armies, borders, possession, ownership—all bad. And not only did money enable what he deemed insane behaviour on a grand scale, the dependence on it, the fear of losing it, the focus on acquiring it wrecked people’s lives and drove them to be dishonest with themselves and others..."And then it just hit me. Like, I've had enough of this. I'm not playing this game anymore. And I was done. I had no use for money.”
Previously: how the USSR repurposed high resolution film salvaged from American spy balloons to use on their Lunik 3 moon probe. But then: One day in late 1959 or 1960 ... a crack team of four CIA agents worked through the night in stocking feet taking apart a kidnapped Soviet Lunik spacecraft without removing it from its crate. They photographed every part and documented every construction element, then perfectly reassembled the whole thing without leaving a trace. [more inside]
Bo Burnham started out as a geeky kid writing parody songs in his room, but the success of his work on YouTube soon launched him into a career in comedy, where he quickly won the respect of comics thrice his age. Three innovative specials and one acclaimed coming-of-age film later, Bo seemed to disappear from the scene for years... only to return in spring 2021 with INSIDE [trailer], a striking one-man/one-room pandemic comedy masterpiece, inventively cinematic in style, which devolves from clever social media parody to incisive sociopolitical critique to dystopian internet horror to a heartbreaking elegy for a dying world as it parallels his own emotional breakdown. Two months later, with six Emmy nominations and a nationwide theatrical release this weekend, there's plenty of Content to chew on -- a full track breakdown, lyrics, commentary, analysis, and beyond. Want it? Good. There's [more inside]
From when Mary Carillo had to fill in some dead air for NBC while nothing was happening at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, a badminton rant.
KMA’s radio housewives "filled the rural [Iowa] airwaves from the 1920s to the 1980s, with recipes, gardening advice, and friendship...They were the early mom influencers. They created a sacred space, a gentle gathering of women’s voices, which had no place in major media outlets. Here, they could be themselves: just women talking to lonely women over the airwaves." Lyz Lenz's Men Yell at Me newsletter considers wives, whiteness, and the construction of midwestern identity: When Women Filled the Air. [more inside]
The Boulevard Park Trio: One and Done This obscure Sacramento band's only record embodies the timeless beauty of bored, talented youth entertaining themselves in a hot, flat city in the 1990s. Well researched and detailed newsletter post about the punk scene in Sacramento in the 90's.
Pornhub has just launched a museum guide for classical nudes [TimeOut] but then the Louvre Calls in Lawyers Over Pornhub’s Hardcore Re-Enactments [Daily Beast] [more inside]
Catholic official resigns (Axios) after publication identifies him using legally obtained (and purchased) "anonymized" location data that links him to Grindr and gay bars. The New York Times did a big feature on the risks of this data in 2019 posted here previously. [more inside]
Chappell and Rispoli, writing for Neimanlab, argue that we should defund the [journalism] crime beat. (With some secondary links to questionable sources and or paywalled stuff.)
'Is her husband one of us or of those places?' Of those places. 'Kdto!' They had suspected as much. The messenger gave them the address and left. Family began to look for people who knew people in Britain. Calls were made; letters were written: We have our person in this place; can you check on her and give us advice? In the end, family decided to bring Aunty Flower back home: 'Let her be mad here with us.' [more inside]
Next March, the Baltimore Museum of Art is opening an exhibition curated entirely by 17 members of the museum's security team. “Our security officers spend more time in our galleries and living among our collection than any other staff within the institution,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “It is their perspectives, their insights, and their relationships with the art and daily interactions with our visitors that will set the stage for Guarding the Art to be an exceptional experience.” [more inside]
"We know as much about teaching and learning as we do about public health. The difference is most of us don't know how much we know. By the time you finish high school you know what vitamins are, what germs are, and where babies come from. You probably don't know similar basic facts about how people learn and how best to teach them." - Greg Wilson, author of Teaching Tech Together (among other things, and in the blue previously) takes 40 minutes to sum up what everyone in technology should know about teaching and learning.
From the superb California Sun daily newsletter: "At the start of 2020, the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America had roughly 1,700 members. There are now 5,500. The growing ranks have been fueled by a new wave of Hollywood leftists seeking transformational change, including high-profile members such as 'The Big Short' director Adam McKay and Rob Delaney of 'Catastrophe.' Hollywood Reporter interviewed dozens of showbiz workers for a piece titled 'Hollywood’s Socialism Boom.'"
At last, I asked: Why send it to me? “It’s like when you feed a stray cat and it leaves you a dead bird on your porch,” Prickett replied. “I sent it to you as a gift. I mailed Foodies to writers I admire and a few musicians. One film director, I think. A handful of lit professors and Weird Al Yankovic. If you got one, it’s because I liked something you wrote. It could be anything from a critical tome to a tweet. In your case, I liked a short story of yours,” he said. “And sorry, but I’m going to have to keep sending yours to your mom. It isn’t a perfect system but it’s the one we have.” On the Trail of a Mysterious, Pseudonymous Author by Adam Dalva [The New Yorker; archive] [more inside]
Learning to Love GMOs. "...many environmental groups have...quietly walked back their opposition as evidence has mounted that existing G.M.O.s are both safe to eat and not inherently bad for the environment. The introduction of Bt corn, which contains a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally insect-resistant bacterium that organic farmers routinely spray on crops, dropped the crop’s insecticide use by 35 percent. A pest-resistant Bt eggplant has become similarly popular in Bangladesh, where farmers have also embraced flood-tolerant “scuba rice,” a variety engineered to survive being submerged for up to 14 days rather than just three. Each year, Bangladesh and India lose roughly four million tons of rice to flooding — enough to feed 30 million people — and waste a corresponding volume of pesticides and herbicides, which then enter the groundwater." [more inside]
This ode to the husk (Twitter thread) will take you back to a simpler time. The 90s - when young and old alike venerated the husk.
GM Will Suck Lithium From the Salton Sea to Make Batteries [Autoweek] "Controlled Thermal Resources will pump hot, salty water from deep below the Salton Sea and extract the lithium from it, along with clean thermo energy at the same time. Cleaner water goes back into the Salton Sea and the ground beneath it. It’s a win-win." [more inside]
While other billionaires seek to leave the mess they made back on Earth by riding on space fantasies, Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer escapes in miniature: a $24-million miniature Canada in HO scale.
Why we're blind to the color blue. I'm always in the market for surprising facts. One of my favorites is that the color blue is always out of focus for the human eye. It's hard to believe since it appears that we see blue clearly, but it's astonishing when shown an example.
Is your team working within a Scrum framework? Is it not working for you? Do you feel micromanaged, overworked, overwhelmed with meaningless meetings? Your team might be using Scream. The Scream Guide explains all. [more inside]
"Need a fun way to learn about computational text analysis for digital humanities?" Well, "we should tell you about The Data-Sitters Club, how it works, and who we are. It all started one day when Quinn Dombrowski was on vacation in Las Vegas and started getting nostalgic about Ann M. Martin’s iconic series about girlhood in the upper-middle-class American suburbs of the 1990s." Start with "Quinn's Great Idea" to read a series of colloquial narratives chronicling research using the Baby-Sitters Club corpus. For example: Curious about what we can learn from the series's formulaic "Chapter 2" duplications?
Lost Tables and its companion site Lost Dishes chronicle the history and recipes of influential and iconic former restaurants in the St. Louis, Missouri area, complete with oral histories, photographs, and menus.
Reality TV Has Remade Our Politics. But Just for One Party. (slPolitico)
Is Netflix's distribution model changing the content of what we watch? (Peter Labuza, LA Times; archive link). Labuza writes that "giants such as Netflix are positioned to control which films get made and how, without necessarily following the preferences of consumers." [more inside]