December 12

Yusuf is this year's Lucia at school, as a robot

In Scandinavia, children make a Lucia procession every December 13th. This year Yusuf was able to lead the procession even though he cannot leave his home (Facebook video link) A school teacher and a pedagogue at a special needs school in Copenhagen have a 13 year old student with a genetic mutation that has forced him to stay home in order to avoid infections. Together, they built a robot for Yusuf, so he can not only attend class online, but also go along on school outings and participate in some physical activities. [more inside]
posted by mumimor at 1:29 PM - 1 comment

Bruce Brown, 1937-2017

Bruce Brown, foundational documentary filmmaker in two sports—surfing and motorcycling—is dead at 80.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:44 PM - 8 comments

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dies in office

At the age of 65, the Mayor of San Francisco died unexpectedly Tuesday morning. Ed Lee was a tireless advocate for San Francisco values, and was a huge supporter of the city's Sanctuary policies. He was the first mayor of Chinese descent, a huge deal in a city with a large Asian population that has not always reckoned with its racist past. He will be missed. He is replaced until a special election by London Breed.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:15 PM - 25 comments

Computron does not enter sleep mode for 10:36:02:22

Fandom for Robots, by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Short Story) Computron feels no emotion towards the animated television show titled Hyperdimension Warp Record (超次元 ワープ レコード). After all, Computron does not have any emotion circuits installed, and is thus constitutionally incapable of experiencing “excitement,” “hatred,” or “frustration.” It is completely impossible for Computron to experience emotions such as “excitement about the seventh episode of HyperWarp,” “hatred of the anime’s short episode length” or “frustration that Friday is so far away.”
posted by CrystalDave at 11:06 AM - 2 comments

See two aitch six ohhh

Buzzfeed's Eugene Lee Yang and Kelsey Darragh drink every state's most iconic alcohol, although the definitions of "most" and "iconic" are frequently stretched to breaking (video; contains strong language). [more inside]
posted by uncleozzy at 10:29 AM - 84 comments

We're HR and We're Here to ... Ahem ... Help

The New York Times reports on the growing dissatisfaction with HR departments' responses to sexual harassment allegations. Inspired by the #MeToo movement, more victims of harassment are coming forward to report incidents after they've taken place. But story after story suggests that HR may not only be ineffective, but actually be part of the problem. [more inside]
posted by zooropa at 9:53 AM - 53 comments

[Puts down snifter]

Time once again for our holiday tradition: The Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog by Drew Magary. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom at 9:41 AM - 63 comments

It's basically about the weiner dog

Earlier this year, Southern California-based sister band Haim released a video for their single "Want You Back," which demonstrated an effortless sort of swaggery cool. The video inspired parodies, most of which only highlighted how well done the original was: Some are very (intentionally?) bad. Some are bad, but earnest. Some are brief, but endearing. And one, featuring a weiner dog who transcends time and space, is very, very good. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie at 8:52 AM - 9 comments

Kipple Field Notes

Things We Carry, by Hillary Predko [Archive]
Kipple Field Notes is a work of independent research by Hillary Predko. This work is a self directed exploration of the question: "How might we use design to reframe systems of production, products, and methods of consumption to create a paradigm of resource stewardship which could protect the biosphere and build more resilient human communities?" This work explores the concept of kipple, or useless objects, in the context of maker culture, gentrification and mass production. The following five essays explore this question in a few different ways
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:47 AM - 6 comments

A few scenes of holiday shopping from yesteryear

Losing Ourselves in Holiday Windows
posted by jjray at 7:29 AM - 7 comments

Struggle for the Heart of Dixie

One month ago, Alabama's sleepy special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate was rocked by bombshell underage sexual assault allegations against far-right firebrand Roy Moore, lifting Democratic challenger Doug Jones into an unthinkable lead. But after state leaders resisted calls for Moore to drop out, GOP opposition eroded, with the most toxic elements of the party eventually giving full-throated endorsement (and $$$) to the twice-impeached theocrat. Polls showed Moore rebounding, but the unique confluence of scandal, tribalism, enthusiasm, and high stakes in this deep red state makes turnout impossible to predict. Polls are opening now, and close at 7PM central time -- stay tuned to see if the Yellowhammer state elects a radical child abuser... or the first Democrat in a quarter century. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 5:02 AM - 241 comments

Spotify Playlists Are Extremely My Shit

Grace Spelman is obsessed with ultra-specific playlists. [All non-YouTube links are to Spotify] [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA at 4:15 AM - 18 comments

We add songs and they start playing all over the world

Meet The Music Nerds Behind The Tunes You Hear At Starbucks [more inside]
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 12:55 AM - 23 comments

All borderlands hum with the frequencies of the unconscious.

Paul Scraton walks a stretch of the Irish border and reflects on the visible and invisible, past and current, borders of Europe. [more inside]
posted by Helga-woo at 12:42 AM - 5 comments

December 11

The Coast Guard's 'Floating Guantanamos'

"In an expansion of the war on drugs, the U.S. Coast Guard is targeting low-level smugglers in international waters — shackling them on ships for weeks or even months before arraignment in American courts." (SLNYTM) [more inside]
posted by Chutzler at 9:35 PM - 13 comments

Nothing Says Appetizing Like Freeze-Dried Mice Holding Champagne

Competitive tablescaping: it's intense, it's a little weird, and it's growing. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:42 PM - 14 comments

Fiery the angels fell

The 10 Best Music Videos of 2017
posted by Artw at 7:21 PM - 22 comments

Only one Lucas won an Oscar for Star Wars.

David Welsh breaks down how Star Wars was saved in the editing room during the three months leading up the the release in May 1977. In February of that year, George Lucas had screened a rough cut of his new science fiction epic for some of his closest friends including Brian DePalma and Steven Spielberg. The reviews were bad, very bad. Lucas and his editing team headed by his wife Marsha Lucas went back and massively re-cut for the next ninety or so days to produce a coherent and exciting film from what had been confusing and flat.
posted by octothorpe at 7:05 PM - 94 comments

“DDR is now in this renaissance because we can be competitive again,”

The rise, fall and return of Dance Dance Revolution in America [Polygon] ““The lament of the DDR player in America [has always been] you find a machine, you’re just thrilled to play it, and the down arrow just doesn’t work at all,” says Felker, who placed third overall at KAC. “The sensors are just totally busted. You go to the tech and he says ‘Well, it works. It turns on.’ You’re like, ‘That’s not the point.’ I used to tell techs the arrow needs to be cleaned out a bit, and they would take some Windex and spray the top of the panel and wipe it. I’m like ‘dude, that’s not how this works,’ but they don’t want to do any work.”” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 5:38 PM - 23 comments

All Japanese persons, both alien and non-alien

Earlier this year a film curator at the Internet Archive digitized a 16mm color film reel shot by an unknown cameraperson which captured 17 minutes of footage from a concentration camp for Japanese-American citizens in Jerome, Arkansas in June 1944, showing the daily lives of detainees and camp personnel and their families. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious at 2:14 PM - 14 comments

Abortion clinic procedure room as sacred space

"I don't put basic reproductive health needs of women beyond the reach of compassion that I derive from my Christianity, whereas other people simply do." In a Radio Boston interview with host Meghna Chakrabarti, Dr. Willie Parker explains how his Christianity called him to help women who need abortions. "Even if I conceded that a fetus is a person on par with the woman carrying it, the problem still remains: How do you give rights to a fetus, to a person that's inside of a person, without taking rights from the person that the person is inside of?" [more inside]
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:03 PM - 54 comments

Let's be Wizards!

So you want to be a wizard? (PDF) Julia Evans (aka @b0rk, possibly MeFi’s own?) is a programmer, debugger, ‘zine author, speaker, and prolific blogger. Julia does a great job of pulling back the curtain on how computers work at a lower level than most people (including many in tech!) are familiar with, and by doing so is introducing systems programming to a much wider audience in an enthusiastic and approachable way. [more inside]
posted by yeahwhatever at 11:59 AM - 13 comments

Dark lipstick looks amazing until it doesn't

"You’re badly dehydrated and starving, but check out those smoochers! Just…don’t…move and you’ll maintain the hotness. Sure, your friends will eventually notice that you haven’t participated in their conversation for hours, but when they inquire into what’s up with you, strike a sexy, mysterious pose and their concerns will sail out the window." (slReductress) [more inside]
posted by Kitteh at 11:06 AM - 74 comments

C ya laterrrrr

Dan Hett, whose brother Martyn was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing, has created a hypertext game based on his experience in the aftermath of the attack. [CN: terrorism, death, grief]. [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo at 9:58 AM - 6 comments

Descent Fanzine (5 vols, 1994-1999), by Stephen O'Malley

"DESCENT MAGAZINE was a fanzine published between 1994-1999 by Stephen O'Malley [Sunn O)))], many issues were in great collaboration with Tyler Davis (The Ajna Offensive). You can now download a free PDF portfolio (360mb) compilation of all five issues of DESCENT MAGAZINE. The issues are also individually available for download [on his site]. Please read the notes on each issue as well. There are related goodies on that site as well."
posted by OmieWise at 8:58 AM - 3 comments

Cooking with The Onion

Instructional cooking videos are all the rage these days, and the fine folks at The Onion are getting in on the action. Learn how to make a Perfect One-Pot, Six-Pan, 10-Wok, 25-Baking Sheet Dinner. Or How To Sharpen Your Knife With Your Sword. Here's one for How To Make Slow-Cooked Russet Potatoes That Fall Right Off The Bone. Too hard? Can You Hapless Fuckwits At Least Handle An Omelette?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:41 AM - 58 comments

View From 30,000 Feet

View From 30,000 Feet. Airport runways, reinterpreted as minimalist art, drawn to scale. [via mefi projects]
posted by bondcliff at 7:38 AM - 16 comments

He takes shots other people haven't even tried before

“Pistol” Pete Maravich vs. George “Iceman” Gervin — H-O-R-S-E
posted by timshel at 6:43 AM - 22 comments

You Can Go With This OR You Can Go With That

Among internet-based quizzes, some of the most interesting ask you to decide which of two categories various similar-sounding-or-looking things fit into. John Atkinson's very literate comic Wrong Hands has gotten into it with...
Renaissance Artist OR Coffee?
Greek Philosopher OR Ailment?
Font OR Dog Breed?
and he's not the only one... [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:38 AM - 21 comments

Obi's Nightmare

Ramón Esono Ebolé is a cartoonist from Equatorial Guinea who has been jailed by the state since September for the publication of a graphic novel satirizing Equatorial Guinea's dictator, Obiang Nguema. "Obi's Nightmare" imagines Obiang forced to live as an ordinary Equatorial Guinean, "A sort of gleefully gross-out Christmas Carol with a serious moral message about the damage corruption had caused." You can read the graphic novel online (and here's an excerpt, translated to English). You can also play Obi's Nightmare, the game! This year, Ebolé was the recipient of the Courage in Cartooning award from the Cartoonists Rights Network International.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:31 AM - 2 comments

The Last Aztarac

One of the rarest arcade games out there is a color vector machine from Centuri, one of their few in-house titles, called Aztarac (more info - gameplay video). Designed by Tim Stryker, it was a color vector game and only saw a production run of 500 machines (some say more like 200). It is ultra-rare, and almost no units are known to exist intact. The machine failed in the market and Stryker got out of games, eventually finding success as the creator of the MajorBBS bulletin board software before tragically taking his own life at the age of 41.
This is the story of how Tim Stryker's lost, personal Aztarac machine was found for sale in an ad, and how it was restored.
posted by JHarris at 3:19 AM - 35 comments

Johnny Marr & Maxine Peake's The Priest.

Two Manchester greats have teamed up to make a album about homelessness. The Guardian has its excellent first track (The Priest) and a background article that's well worth reading.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:35 AM - 6 comments

Extreme tort reform - NZ’s ACC

Would you give up the right to sue for personal injury actions if all of your injury treatment costs, rehabilitation costs, lost wages/salary, and family support were paid for? Tort Reform, Kiwi-Style (Peter H. Schuck, 2008) Yale Law School Faculty Scholarship Series. 1679. [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert at 1:01 AM - 21 comments

You may make it, though LEGO most definitely won't

Why Lego won’t ever make military-related toys. "While you’ll see a lot of spaceships and weaponry like swords or tiny 18th-century muskets, you’ll (sic) definitely won’t ever see military-related Lego toys. Plastic toy soldiers have never gone out of fashion among grade-schoolers, yet adhering to a strict internal policy Lego chose to forfeit some pretty good profits because it doesn’t think war should be seen as child’s play." [more inside]
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 12:47 AM - 52 comments

December 10

Weird Arby's Guy, also Weird Satanist Guy, wasn't actually interviewed

In 2011, former 7 Action News Reporter Julie Banovic did a story about a car smashing through an Arby's in Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Then in March 2016, the story circulated again, this time with a much more entertaining interview. "I thought perhaps the end of days was upon us. But it turned out it was just a disoriented old lady in a champagne-colored Toyota Avalon, crashing into my world like DNB circa 1996," said the fake Arby's employee. That "weird Arby's guy" is Andrew Bowser, who also edited himself as "weird satanist guy" in a WDIV story on the satanic statue unveiling in Detroit. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:36 PM - 4 comments

Yes, it's an 𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 spider, dammit

Lucas the Spider is a test character being developed by animator Joshua Slice, voiced by his nephew (also named Lucas). He has produced two brief videos so far: in which he introduces himself and in which he politely asks to come inside.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:34 PM - 22 comments

Live In a Blissful Bubble For Your Own Safety

A 13-year-old girl managed to become a writer for on-line sports publications. She pretended to be a man and kept up the masquerade for eight years. [more inside]
posted by CCBC at 4:47 PM - 51 comments

Why these friendly robots can't be good friends to our kids

MIT's Sherry Turkle writes about the new wave of "sociable robots" we're seeing. "These machines are seductive and offer the wrong payoff: the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship, the illusion of connection without the reciprocity of a mutual relationship. And interacting with these empathy machines may get in the way of children’s ability to develop a capacity for empathy themselves."
posted by forza at 3:42 PM - 67 comments

' “spit” here refers to a horizontal rotisserie '

A baumtorte, or baumkuchen, is a traditional German cake, so-called because the thin layers of batter resemble tree rings when sliced. This 'king of cakes' is traditionally made on a cake spit, or rotisserie, the baumkuchen is one of several so-called "spit cakes": "The exact origin of Baumkuchen, like that of so many other food specialties, seems murky. One theory is that it began as a Hungarian wedding cake. Another is that it was invented in the German town of Salzwedel, in the early nineteenth century, where it quickly became a favorite of the visiting Prussian king. Polish sekacz, Lithuanian sakotis, and Swedish spettekaka are other regional versions of what are classified as spit cakes, a term that might give pause in this era of blood-and-guts chefs. Fortunately, “spit” here refers to a horizontal rotisserie (now powered by electricity) that spins constantly above or in front of a wood or gas fire as the baker ladles over it anywhere from ten to thirty-six layers of sunny batter, which has the consistency of a foamy liquid custard." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:30 PM - 43 comments

Be calmly aware that this may periodically expand, contract or combust.

"[Songs from the Edges] is a playlist of this week's top 100 or so fan discoveries from the 1500+ microgenres I help track at Spotify. Some of the styles you will know, some you won't. Some you won't like. Some may make you lunge towards the Skip button after 4 seconds. But see if you can keep yourself from hitting it quite yet. That song may sound weird, but there's a group of people somewhere for whom it's the most exciting thing happening right now. Maybe they have a point. " [more inside]
posted by peppercorn at 2:12 PM - 24 comments

Hi everyone. I'm happy to share with you an announcement about Lyrebird.

Researchers at the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms present ObamaNet, the first architecture that generates both audio and synchronized photo-realistic lip-sync videos from any new text. Contrary to other published lip-sync approaches, theirs is only composed of fully trainable neural modules and does not rely on any traditional computer graphics methods. [more inside]
posted by sockermom at 1:35 PM - 74 comments

“Sizzling circuits!”

Mega Man 11 Announced [YouTube][Video Game Trailer] “Mega Man 11 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One in 2018, Capcom announced today. The game is a side-scrolling action platformer in the vein of the previous 10 Mega Man games, but with 3D visuals. Capcom said Mega Man 11 will be released in “late 2018,” in time for the Blue Bomber’s 30th anniversary. Working on the title are producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya and director Koji Oda, both veterans of Capcom and the Mega Man series. The pair talked about their goals for the new Mega Man, referring to the game as something of a rebirth for the character. The game’s art director and character designer, Yuji Ishihara, created a new look for Mega Man, which “leaked” earlier this year on the Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 release. Here’s a peek at the character art for Mega Man 11.” [via: Polygon] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 1:22 PM - 13 comments

Josephine Baker, Hero

Dancer, French Resistance spy, Philanthropist, Civil Rights activist: she did it all. Her story is full of astonishing events. The main link is a good overview with some good videos, illustrating her spoofing stereotypes of "savages" and her comedic style. Then there's her cheetah, her rainbow tribe, her secret messages, her castle, her speech at the Washington March with Dr. King, her honors from the French government, and more. This next link is from a magazine for teenagers but the story on Ms. Baker is well done with a few details not in the main link. Hero [more inside]
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:49 AM - 5 comments

Boisebration

Jon Bois, author of MeFi-celebrated multimedia narrative 17776 and creator of Breaking Madden, Chart Party, and Pretty Good, has written dozens of pieces (fictional and nonfictional) about class, feminism, aging, sports, politics, wonder, education, and art. Following the jump, a collection of links. (previously) [more inside]
posted by brainwane at 11:27 AM - 25 comments

Poetry And Music For Christmas

Centerpoint: Poetry And Music For Christmas [Bandcamp link, album can be streamed there] is an album by musician Jeff Johnson and poetry by Keith Patman read by Dallas McKennon. It's meditative and quiet and insightful and perfect for the Advent season.
posted by hippybear at 10:08 AM - 1 comment

"A Muppet Family Christmas" is extremely my shit

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a beloved holiday classic, but many may not be as familiar with A Muppet Family Christmas, a television special broadcast in 1987 and 1989, but never released on home media in its original and complete version due to various rights issues. It's noteworthy as one of the few Muppet vehicles with appearances and references to characters from the four major franchises (The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock) and for featuring a cameo by Jim Henson as himself. You can watch John Lagomarsino explain why the special is extremely his shit. You can watch a version of the special via YouTube.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:31 AM - 77 comments

Cats go well with the holidays

Simon's Cat has the right spirit And, as always, they do love the wrapping paper. (If you must resort to the easy out of wrapping for the holiday with cat help, gift bags are acceptable diversions, too.) [more inside]
posted by mightshould at 7:10 AM - 9 comments

Trump, punch, golf and bird

The Atlantic's top 25 News Photos of 2017, 2017: The Year in Photos 1, 2, 3 (some possibly nsfw)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:29 AM - 17 comments

December 9

New Zealand’s First Christmas

The Christian origins of Christmas meant that before European contact, the celebration had no place in the calendar of Aotearoa. The first celebration of Christmas in New Zealand coincided with Abel Tasman’s voyage to New Zealand in 1642. Unfortunately, things did not get off to a good start.
New Zealand’s First Christmas [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert at 11:54 PM - 8 comments

Psion, the Next Generation

Gemini: An in-depth look at the successor to the original Psion Series 5 PDA. [more inside]
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 11:28 PM - 24 comments

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