January 27

The Very Human Experience of Falling For a Robot

Aria Code podcast episode: Guys and Dolls. Host Rhiannon Giddens, along with Soprano Erin Morley, conductor Johannes Debus, machine learning researcher Caroline Sinders, and psychologist Robert Epstein explore Jacques Offenbach’s 1881 opera The Tales of Hoffmann and how its automated character Olympia echoes current day concerns about A.I. technology. [more inside]
posted by Zumbador at 3:29 AM - 0 comments


“It’s always about the family. A titanic battle is raging.” [FT; ungated] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 2:47 AM - 1 comment

Roxane Gay in Antarctica: The Things We Do for Love

Once upon a time, writer Roxane Gay and her wife, the illustrator Debbie Millman, set sail to Antarctica. Here, they each tell the tale—well, their version of it.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:52 AM - 1 comment

January 26

What time is it on the Moon?

Defining lunar time is not simple. Although the definition of the second is the same everywhere, the special theory of relativity dictates that clocks tick slower in stronger gravitational fields. The Moon’s gravitational pull is weaker than Earth’s, meaning that, to an observer on Earth, a lunar clock would run faster than an Earth one. [...] “This is a paradise for experts in relativity, because you have to take into account so many things.” 1300 words from Elizabeth Gibney for Nature.
posted by cgc373 at 5:21 PM - 30 comments

the posh and parentally blessed

[Vice] American Nepo Babies Have Nothing on the British Perhaps the British sequel to the ongoing (US-centric) nepo baby discourse, previously seen on the Blue here.
posted by cendawanita at 2:22 PM - 11 comments

"No ideas but in things" is an idea not a thing

No the CIA Didn't Invent "Show Don't Tell". Or maybe they did? Perhaps the effects of CIA money on the Iowa Writer's Workshop are overblown, but this piece in Current Affairs makes a strong case how the CIA has influenced "literature" in America. (previously)
posted by slogger at 1:31 PM - 30 comments

“...being accused of being a gamer, solve the problem like a gamer,”

The union-oriented Twitter account Daily Union Elections asked the world in a recent tweet, “Union folks, what is the best grievance/[Unfair Labor Practice] that you’ve ever won?” And the world responded in kind.
““A member was accused of playing video games on his work computer,” union organizing director Erik Strobl said. “I got him cleared by proving conclusively that the employer-provided graphics card couldn’t handle the resource-hungry game his supervisor claimed to have seen.””
The worker wasn’t even playing a game, but watching “a game review on his break (which is fine),” Strobl clarified, “but he was accused of installing unauthorized third-party software on a government computer (which he 100% didn’t do and, as I showed, couldn’t have done). Zero abuse of time or state property.” [via: Kotaku]
posted by Fizz at 12:28 PM - 7 comments

We all know what a rotten egg smells like, right?

Kenji López Alt answers the eternal question: Should I eat this? (SLNYT) (Archive link)
posted by adamrice at 11:43 AM - 19 comments

How Andrea Riseborough pulled off that shocking Oscar nomination

But a funny thing happened on the way to obscurity. Riseborough, a gifted English actress who has worked with everyone from Mike Leigh to Alejandro G. Iñárritu and won many admirers and allies in the process, somehow entered the awards season conversation.
posted by Etrigan at 10:42 AM - 23 comments

What Was Ethical Consumption Under Capitalism?

Adherence to TINECUC ["there is no ethical consumption under capitalism"] allows organizers to focus on building solidarity between workers or community members rather than buyers, whose common interests may be superficial. It is also, in a world system of production based on exploitation, a factually true statement, insofar as no purchase of anything made with exploited labor has any business branding itself “ethical.” But the unexamined phrase isn’t worth using; before people start attributing TINECUC to Marx or Lenin, we should figure out how Sandinista beans turned into Starbucks — and how anti-consumerist politics fell out of fashion on the American left.
posted by jshttnbm at 6:34 AM - 34 comments

January 25

“Everything That’s Bad, We Do in Tela"

Dan Exton, the head of research at Operation Wallacea, recalls standing on the beach in Tela with Antal for the first time and thinking there couldn’t possibly be a coral reef beneath the murky water. “I almost cancelled the dive,” he said. But as soon as he descended, Exton saw “mind-blowing coral. I’d never seen a reef like that. Everywhere you looked, something unusual was happening.” from The Mystery of the Healthy Coral Reef [Nautilus; ungated]
posted by chavenet at 11:36 PM - 5 comments

The little black and white movie that could

Love it or hate it, there is no denying the influence and impact of one little movie from 1994. Join everyone involved with the movie in celebrating three decades of Clerks with the late 2022 documentary We're Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today [1h13m]. Covers the entire Clerks trilogy and some of the View Askewniverse, and is mostly a lot of people amazed this even happened. And wow, a lot happened!
posted by hippybear at 9:07 PM - 38 comments

The Traditional Cultures Behind Genshin Impact

Open-world RPG gacha game Genshin Impact heavily draws from and features traditional cultural arts, particularly Chinese arts - such as engaging a professional Chinese Opera artist to sing for operatic character Yun Jin (live concert version). For this year's Lantern Rite (the in-game equivalent of Lunar New Year), their YouTube channel features collaborations with more traditional Chinese artisans, such as a short film set during the Shexian Lantern Festival and art handmade using Chinese woodblocks.
posted by creatrixtiara at 8:08 PM - 9 comments

Japanese Music Sirens

A lengthy post at airRaidSirens.net details the mechanical Yamaha Music Sirens of Japan. These can be played with a keyboard, but sadness: "some were being removed or are going to run until they die and will not be repaired." And if they're replaced, it will naturally be with something electronic. They play familiar old tunes which signal the start of a factory's working day, etc. There's a link to a playlist embedded in the article. [more inside]
posted by Rash at 3:22 PM - 16 comments

A new kind of smartwatch with a special living component

A slime mold for your wrist! By taking care of a living organism within the watch, feeding it a mixture of water and oats, users can enable the slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) to grow, forming a living wire that in turn enables a heart rate sensor. [more inside]
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:57 PM - 36 comments

The end of Frank.

The biggest bank in the country did something extraordinary: It said it had been conned. JPMorgan Chase is suing Frank Financial Aid (YouTube), a higher education financial aid company it bought for $175 million in 2021. The finance company now alleges that Frank massively misrepresented its work and assets, and paid a data science professor to create millions of fake accounts. [more inside]
posted by doctornemo at 1:39 PM - 41 comments

Dashing Diva Nails Abandoned MLM Plans After Executive Rant Sent to ALL

I'm a guy, so I have never heard of Dashing Diva, which I understand has a cult following for its high-quality pre-made nails with great color selection, and reasonable prices, and they sell direct as well as in major drugstores and supermarkets. However, I do track MLMs at times, and I was surprised to see a mention on BehindMLM.com that DashingDivas had abandoned their attempt to go MLM after major member backlash. And the story indeed had less to do with MLM, and more to do with one man's hubris... [more inside]
posted by kschang at 12:55 PM - 18 comments

Imagine that a dead man arrives in a city.

Paul La Farge died about a week ago. He wrote strange, luminous novels, works of fiction that often did not fit easily into simple categories, and he also was an essayist. Not quite inexplicably, he became known several years ago for the publication of The Night Ocean, a metafictional novel about an author with an eldritch obsession.
posted by cupcakeninja at 12:53 PM - 9 comments

"breaking ground in the field of longevity"

How to Be 18 Years Old Again for Only $2 Million a Year Middle-aged tech centimillionaire Bryan Johnson and his team of 30 doctors say they have a plan to reboot his body. [more inside]
posted by bitteschoen at 12:07 PM - 100 comments

The trunnions support the rotor in the turret structure

War Thunder is an MMO about tanks and guns and things. Its playerbase has a lot of overlap with people who use tanks and guns for a living, as evidenced by how they won't stop leaking classified documents to ask for changes to the video game. [more inside]
posted by one for the books at 10:37 AM - 14 comments

Ain’t It Funny How the Knight Moves?

Move the knight to every square in order, right to left, top to bottom. Except don’t land anywhere the queen can take you, and don’t take the queen.
posted by Etrigan at 10:20 AM - 17 comments

the game's map software identifies the UN Buffer Zone as a military area

The history of Cyprus is a problem in Pokémon Go [Eurogamer] “Pokémon are banned across a sizable swathe of Cyprus. There isn't a physical wall to keep them out - at least not in most areas. But in Pokémon Go a large area across the width of the Mediterranean island is still a Pokémon no-Go area, thanks to the country's past. Before being contacted by Pokémon Go players based in Cyprus, I admit to being pretty ignorant of the island's recent history, and how its geography remains shaped by the after-effects of the country's 1974 Greek-backed coup and subsequent Turkish-led invasion. History lesson aside, the country remains divided by a United Nations Buffer Zone, a red ribbon on maps that cuts across the middle of the country. The internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus lies to the north, while in the south sits the island's larger Greek Cypriot-dominated region. Between the two sits the Buffer Zone - an area which on paper sounds like a hazard, but in reality is home to 10,000 people - where Pokémon cannot spawn naturally.”
posted by Fizz at 8:00 AM - 11 comments

Gonna take a pass on this one

GoTo, maker of LastPass, has updated their blog with new information regarding a security incident that took place in November 2022, reports The Verge. [more inside]
posted by slogger at 7:20 AM - 43 comments

Top Escape Rooms

The Top Escape Rooms Project (TERPECA) has announced its 2022 list of the world's best escape rooms. Or, at least, the world's best games that are playable in English. Language requirement notwithstanding, TERPECA's top games are mostly in continental Europe, with the number one slot going to Greece's Chapel & Catacombs, a mix of horror maze, escape room, and interactive theatre. At #14, the US makes its first appearance with Houston's Houdini-themed The Man From Beyond, another theater/escape room hybrid. The UK just scrapes into the top 50, with Macclesfield's Mr. Copplestones' Curiousity Shop coming in at #47. [more inside]
posted by yankeefog at 6:48 AM - 22 comments

Adult Swim Drops Justin Roiland After Domestic Abuse Charges

Adult Swim has cut ties with Justin Roiland in the wake of the news that the Rick and Morty co-creator was charged with felony domestic abuse in Orange County. Sources say the show is set to continue, with Roiland’s voice roles to be recast. Though Roiland will still be credited as co-creator, fellow co-creator Dan Harmon will now be the lone showrunner. The show is locked in through season 10.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:10 AM - 82 comments

Old Crockern invites

The lungs of the nation: Last weekend 3,000 people rallied to Dartmoor [SW England] to protect the right to camp wild on the uplands. Recent court case found that this right was wrong. [more inside]
posted by BobTheScientist at 2:58 AM - 12 comments

January 24

This of course is Fflewddur Fflam, that outrageous bard

Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007) was an author of numerous beloved works of childrens' and young adult literature, most notably The Chronicles of Prydain, Westmark, and the Vesper Holly adventures. In 1994, his publishers produced a short film of a "visit" to his home in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, in which he speaks about imagination, writing, and his love of place.
posted by biogeo at 6:49 PM - 33 comments

The Stickiest Non-Sticky Substance

Adhesives based on gecko skin can hold huge weights – without sticking to anything. Derek Muller, aka Veritasium, is explaining how Geckos can stick to surfaces without being sticky. Van der Waals forces provide the glue. (Thanks to Veritasium on Youtube)
posted by nostrada at 1:44 PM - 8 comments

“Boogie with a suitcase”

Pop Muzik was a 1979 song, written by Robin Scott, sung by Robin and Brigit Novik, and drumming by Phil Gould (later of Level 42), as part of the M synth-pop project. The video, directed by Brian Grant, parodies the Saturday Night Fever opening shots. It reached #1 in 10 countries; Robin (75) still sometimes records. [Previously] [Performance] [Lyrics]
posted by Wordshore at 1:42 PM - 57 comments

How to dismantle an everything bagel

In celebration of little indie film Everything Everywhere All At Once receiving 11 Oscar nominations, YouTube queer media analyst and commentator James Somerton takes his usual deep dive into the movie. The Queer Nihilism Of Joy (31m) is a journey through confusion and nihilism and into joy. Queer joy.
posted by hippybear at 1:03 PM - 34 comments

A lungful of air is like a multifunction toolkit for humpback whales

For Humpbacks, Bubbles Can Be Tools (Doug Perrine, Hakai Magazine, 2022-12-20) [more inside]
posted by Not A Thing at 11:07 AM - 3 comments

Four more found guilty of seditious conspiracy

Three members of the far-right Oath Keepers and a fourth associate have been convicted of seditious conspiracy (Washington Post) by a Washington, DC, jury for their role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection. This is the second set of convictions: A jury found Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and another leader of the group guilty of seditious conspiracy in a separate trial in November. Seditious conspiracy is difficult to prove, but the Justice Department convinced both juries. [more inside]
posted by kristi at 11:01 AM - 43 comments

"Hollywood Fireball" like no other

Nikki Finke, "Hollywood's most reviled reporter" died last October, and was just as good at breaking power structures as she was in burning bridges... "She could be rude, aggressive, highhanded — so it wasn’t a shock that, mixed into the respectful newspaper obituaries and affectionate tributes, there were harsh takedowns." [Warning: SLNYT]
posted by foxywombat at 9:34 AM - 5 comments

More Mobility Less Mining

This report [in English] finds that the United States can achieve zero emissions transportation while limiting the amount of lithium mining necessary by reducing the car dependence of the transportation system, decreasing the size of electric vehicle batteries, and maximizing lithium recycling. En español aqui. [more inside]
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 9:31 AM - 8 comments

The things that make us happy make us wise

Back in 2004, plans were announced for a sumptuous new edition of John Crowley's beloved fantasy novel Little, Big, to be published in 2006 to mark the book's 25th anniversary. Years passed, the project stalled, irate subscribers started demanding their money back. Then in 2021 Neil Gaiman stepped in to rescue the project, and this week it was announced that the first copies have shipped. Gaiman has posted a video of himself unboxing his copy.
posted by verstegan at 8:27 AM - 42 comments

Unwind the Doomsday Clock?

SINCE 1947, THE Doomsday Clock has ticked away [more inside]
posted by sammyo at 7:29 AM - 29 comments

Donghua has its own identity, and it’s one worth knowing

Chinese animation is a vibrant, distinctive industry — so why do so many people still call it ‘anime’? [Polygon] ““Donghua” — much like “anime” for Japanese speakers — is simply the Chinese word for “animation.” After decades of stagnation in the animation industry, going as far back as the Cultural Revolution, China has entered what many tentatively call a rebirth in the field. It’s the result of 20 years of a Chinese identity crisis in animation, as the industry struggled to compete with the likes of Disney, Pixar, and Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli. While donghua’s current form is heavily influenced by anime, it has its own identity. From the beginning, the medium has constantly evolved to meet the mindset of the society it comes from. Chinese animation has been around for nearly a hundred years.” BONUS: [10 best donghua to get into Chinese animation]
posted by Fizz at 5:39 AM - 16 comments

A Defining Look of the Nineteen-Eighties

From the 1984 début of those first seven books, the Vintage Contemporaries design attracted immediate attention. It felt perfectly of the moment, a snapshot of the mid-eighties. If you’re a book collector of a certain age you can close your eyes and see it now. from The Artist Whose Book Covers Distilled the Nineteen-Eighties by Dan Kois [The New Yorker; ungated] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 4:55 AM - 25 comments

In an HBCU first, Howard awarded $90 million military research contract

The US Pentagon invests $90M in a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) [archive.ph]
posted by bendy at 12:55 AM - 17 comments

January 23

Literally the worst commercial you have ever seen in your life

Black Eyed Peas’ Label Sues Pooping Unicorns Toymaker For $10M The Black Eyed Peas’ record label is suing the makers of a pooping unicorn toy over the company’s unauthorized parody of “My Humps.”...In a promotional video published last summer, the unicorns perform a parody of “My Humps” involving lyrics like “Whatchu gonna do with all that poop? All that poop?” and “Gonna get loopy off my poopy!” [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:08 PM - 53 comments

AI Reporter Bites Dog

“In short, a close examination of the work produced by CNET's AI makes it seem less like a sophisticated text generator and more like an automated plagiarism machine, casually pumping out pilfered work that would get a human journalist fired.”
posted by gauche at 6:22 PM - 33 comments

Fort Walgreens

The recent spike in shoplifting is both overblown and real. And almost everyone is profiting from it (including you). [Curbed.com]

“They’re professional and self-employed,” said David Rey, who, after years overseeing security teams in New York department stores, published Larceny on 34th Street: An In-Depth Look at Professional Shoplifting in One of the World’s Largest Stores. “Just like what we do for a living — going to work — they pay their bills and rent and raise their children off the proceeds that they get from shoplifting.”

None of the boosters interviewed for this story could name someone who shoplifted for any other reason than to support a drug habit.
posted by riruro at 5:39 PM - 92 comments

Eggflation is just price gouging.

Cal-Maine's stock is up 47% from a year ago. Cory Doctorow describes the origins of Eggflation. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 1:49 PM - 74 comments

It can become airborne days after it’s sprayed and drift for miles.

The EPA tells Audubon it “is still reviewing whether over-the-top dicamba can be used in a manner that does not pose unreasonable risks to non-target crops and other plants. Fuller was no anti-pesticide crusader. He sells dicamba and tolerant seeds and thinks farmers should be able to use it except in the heat of summer. When the [Arkansas State Plant] board received a record number of dicamba-related complaints in 2017, he joined the unanimous vote to ban spraying after April 15.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:10 PM - 14 comments

200K tech jobs gone in 2022, 50K already in 2023

layoffs.fyi is tracking the latest downturn in tech employment. Is it due to previous over-hiring and recent high interest rates? Or is it perhaps "social contagion" in the C-suite? NYT: Tech Layoffs Shock Young Workers. The Older People? Not So Much (archive link). [more inside]
posted by gwint at 9:01 AM - 106 comments

$2.8B settlement reached in class-action suit over residential schools

Officials announced Saturday that the [Canadian] federal government and 325 First Nations have agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit, seeking reparations for the loss of language and culture brought on by Indian residential schools, for $2.8 billion.
posted by Etrigan at 5:58 AM - 11 comments

A World of Petty Tyrannies

When I tell people I earn my living as a copyeditor, I am typically met with one of two responses: rapt admiration or an almost physical revulsion. from The World Through a Copyeditor’s Eyes by Jeff Reimer [The Bulwark]
posted by chavenet at 4:28 AM - 26 comments

Yo Dawg

Happy Monday, freedom lovers! We heard you like free things so we decided to put a whole bunch of free things in your free thing. [more inside]
posted by taz at 2:19 AM - 71 comments

January 22

Flower Wonderland! It's Like A Candy Store!

An intergenerational family business ends up being the last of its kind, but still keeps chugging along somehow. How The Last Artificial Flower Factory In NYC Handcrafts Designs For Celebrities [13m, Insider Business "Still Standing" series]
posted by hippybear at 2:55 PM - 11 comments

I love you so bad.

It's the coolest mutual admiration society event ever. On The Amber Ruffin Show - John Oliver Explains How The Brits Do Christmas, and We Have Questions [YT 13:25]. Crackers and minced pie are covered. And, how do they really feel about giant red bows in car commercials and It's a Wonderful Life? [more inside]
posted by Glinn at 1:56 PM - 30 comments

« Older posts