December 11

The uncertain new world of labour

New world of work leaves 'precariat' living on edge [Reuters] - "In 1997, Pierre Bourdieu[1] argued that the 'precariousness' of modern work was a big problem. The French intellectual claimed that the decline of secure jobs and clear career paths led to 'the destruction of existence … to the degradation of every relationship with the world, time, and space'. Everyone, he said, was affected, because no one could escape the fear of being rendered precarious." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 5:49 AM - 0 comments

The Guardians and the War on Truth: TIME's Person of the Year

The Guardians and the War on Truth: For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians — Jamal Khashoggi, the Capital Gazette, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo — are TIME's Person of the Year. [more inside]
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:39 AM - 2 comments

How the IRS Was Gutted

An eight-year campaign to slash the agency’s budget has left it understaffed, hamstrung and operating with archaic equipment. The result: billions less to fund the government. That’s good news for corporations and the wealthy. SL ProPublica/The Atlantic by Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger (previously)
posted by crazy with stars at 5:38 AM - 2 comments

Unexpected item in the bagging area

This was the day Parliament was supposed to have its "meaningful vote" on the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK government and the EU - a supposedly "soft Brexit" that is anything but. But Theresa "Contempt of Parliament" May has postponed the vote, supposedly to renegotiate the backstop designed to prevent a reemergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland, possibly to "focus minds" by running down the clock (108 days and ticking), and possibly because she seriously believes that cherry-picking is still possible. The EU's response is that the Withdrawal Agreement and its backstop are as good as they will get. [more inside]
posted by rory at 2:41 AM - 32 comments

December 10

In Sighisoara, the story of Emil & Xaver

The other day I promised you that I would explain the mystery that lies behind this tombstone in which two soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who fought and died in the First World War... and who were buried together. By Guillem Clua (translated) [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave at 10:49 PM - 14 comments

If you can read this, leave me alone I'm watching Hallmark movies.

Why an ad for bootleg Hallmark socks is one of the most ubiquitous of the holiday season. Have you been bombarded with strange online ads for socks about Hallmark movies? It's not a clever marketing ploy by the network. It's all about drop shipping. [more inside]
posted by dw at 9:33 PM - 23 comments

Obviously burritos, corn dogs, dumplings, Pop-Tarts are all calzones

Earlier this year @Phosphatide stepped into the (apparently never, ever, ever ending) "what is a sandwich" debate with the Cube Rule of Food, a six-part classification system for dishes based on the location of the starch. @indirect then stepped in to clarify the finer points. Therefore, according to the Rule: nigiri sushi should be categorized as toast, stacked toast as a sandwich, a hot dog as a taco, pigs in a blanket as sushi, and cheesecake as quiche. via Kottke [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 7:52 PM - 49 comments

Reconsidering the Jewish American Princess

Jamie Lauren Keiles writes for Vox on Jewish American Princesses: The JAP, as a figure, is a paragon of nuance, as complex as the Jewishness and womanhood she draws from. At worst, she is the dybbuk of the upwardly mobile, the ever-haunting spirit of the Jewish nouveau riche as it tries to find its place in the American class system. At best, she performs her own kind of Jewish drag, reclaiming the anti-Semitic tropes of yore as a positive ideal of Jewish womanhood. I see her as a queen of multitudinous existence.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:17 PM - 8 comments

"It’s like finding a whole new reservoir of life on Earth"

A multidisciplinary team of scientists affiliated with the Deep Carbon Observatory are nearing the end of a decade of collaboration to explore and study life in Earth’s subsurface. After sampling microbes from hundreds of boreholes as deep as 5 km underground and 2.5 km below the seafloor, the researchers have begun reporting some of their findings [scroll down for illustrations below appendix]. [more inside]
posted by theory at 4:46 PM - 19 comments

Bizarre "Dark Fluid" with Negative Mass

Our best theoretical model can only explain 5% of the universe. The remaining 95% is famously made up almost entirely of invisible, unknown material dubbed dark energy and dark matter. The two have always been treated as separate phenomena. But my new study, published in Astronomy and Astrophysics, suggests they may both be part of the same strange concept – a single, unified “dark fluid” of negative masses.
posted by MovableBookLady at 3:28 PM - 18 comments

Thy Flesh Consumed.

John Romero Celebrates Doom's 25th Anniversary With Nine New Levels [Kotaku] “The original Doom first came out 25 years ago, on December 10, 1993. To commemorate the cruel, unceasing passage of time, designer John Romero is revisiting his beloved demonspawn baby. Today, Romero announced Sigil, a Doom “megawad” containing nine new single and multiplayer levels. It’s basically a big mod, but from one of the original game’s creators. The goal, Romero said on Sigil’s website, was to pick up where Doom’s original episodes left off in terms of both design and story. Sigil is coming out in February and will be free to download.” [YouTube][25th Anniversary Trailer] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 3:27 PM - 23 comments

Gallup's Migration Research Center

Measuring our world in motion - How many people want to leave their country? Where do they want to go? How do people feel about migrants living in their communities? How do migrants feel about their own lives?
posted by unliteral at 1:46 PM - 2 comments

All The Time I've Wasted Watching Better Versions of Me

“I feel so crowded,” I wrote to a friend, “so many people are trying not just to be a person — but trying to be the exact person I want to be.”
posted by perplexion at 11:40 AM - 41 comments

Minneapolis fights housing segregation

On Friday, the Minneapolis city council passed a 481-page plan called Minneapolis 2040, "a comprehensive plan to permit three-family homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods, abolish parking minimums for all new construction, and allow high-density buildings along transit corridors." Single family home zoning is a major contributor to housing segregation.
posted by soelo at 10:57 AM - 53 comments

The challenge was to capture my knowledge into a computer program.

CastlevaniaBot is a plugin for the Nintaco NES emulator that plays Castlevania. It "is a system that simulates the same decision-making process that I perform when I have a controller in hand. Creating it involved articulating in elaborate detail the physics that govern Simon Belmont’s 8‑bit world and all the tactics required to be an expert vampire killer."
posted by Jpfed at 10:42 AM - 6 comments

Reflection as a self-congratulatory proxy for action

"Conservative funders focus on the big picture, act quickly, do not micromanage, provide significant general operating funds, fund for twenty or thirty years, support leaders and movements, engage in policy and politics, and treat grantees as equal partners. Progressive funders—with a few exceptions—intellectualize, are severely risk-averse, focus narrowly, fund isolated strategies and programs, avoid politics, and treat grantees like parasites and freeloaders." 10 things progressive funders must learn from conservative ones, or we are all screwed.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:31 AM - 29 comments

“It feels like someone is following me, personally.”

The New York Times investigated location tracking in apps, and the results are creepy. The app-makers themselves appear to be unmoved by the findings: “You would have to be pretty oblivious if you are not aware that this is going on," says one CEO. Yet plenty of recent research indicates most people are unaware of how common location-tracking via mobile app has become, and app-makers aren't in a rush to clue us in. [more inside]
posted by faineg at 8:12 AM - 45 comments

we are the descendants of the grandmothers who wouldn’t die

These Mayan Weavers Could Be Paving the Way For Indigenous Communities to Trademark Their Work [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 6:49 AM - 3 comments

New Autocrats in Eastern Europe

The New Autocrats by Griff Witte (@griffwitte) is a photoessay about the Czech Republic, Poland, Rumania, and Hungary.
posted by kingless at 5:21 AM - 8 comments

Mr. Eisenstein Goes to Hollywood

Eisenstein versus Sinclair: H. W. L. Dana and “¡Que Viva México!” (Angela Shpolberg, LA Review of Books). [more inside]
posted by sapagan at 5:06 AM - 2 comments

December 9

"I am a scavenger salvaging lost aesthetics"

Carrie Ann Baade [NSFW] paints pictures that link “the power of historical masterworks with [her] own experience as a contemporary artist.” Her work is fragmentary using an image bank culled from Renaissance and Baroque art which is used to contemplate “the ageless issues of morality, politics, and the individual quest for self-expression.[NSFW] She describes herself as “a kind of Dr. Frankenstein attempting to piece together the sublime.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:09 PM - 2 comments

après nous, l'enfer

The 2018 fire season in California has been the deadliest and most destructive in the state's history, and made visible smoke across the USA. The Carr Fire, in and around Redding, killed eight as it burned 359 square miles over a month and a week, whose deadliest day came from a fire tornado, a long 150 Minutes of Hell
The tornado signified with horrifying clarity the reality California faces. As wildfire season intensifies, conflagrations will increasingly defy efforts to control them, becoming more powerful and erratic as they race into communities, striking in ways that once seemed unfathomable. “As much as I hate to say it, this is what the future of wildfires looks like[ed],” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. “Except the acceleration hasn't ended yet.”
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:06 PM - 28 comments


Rémy Métailler rides Mountain Bikes with a mounted GoPro.
Here he is taking the Medellín Challenge in Colombia.
Photos from the same race.
Here he is @ The RedBull Valparaiso Urban DH 2014
posted by growabrain at 5:49 PM - 16 comments

The Mother of All Demos turns 50

On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave a demo of NLS, the "oN-Line System", to the Fall Joint Computer Conference of the ACM and IEEE. Later dubbed The Mother of All Demos, it demonstrated many concepts that would later become fundamental elements of personal computing, including the mouse, windows, hypertext, graphics, video conferencing, and word processing. [more inside]
posted by ckape at 3:45 PM - 21 comments

Smita Patil: The First Feminist In Indian Cinema

In a time where the feminist movement was fairly nascent in India and the film-industry was struggling between exploring social themes and conventional ones, Smita Patil was like the missing puzzle piece who fit just right. [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings at 12:59 PM - 3 comments

We didn't tell anybody what was going on in anybody else's room.

Cragne Manor is a text adventure commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Michael Gentry's Anchorhead. It's also a huge, ridiculous experimental collaboration.
posted by markx2 at 11:35 AM - 22 comments


Dimensions.Guide is a comprehensive and beautiful database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of all kinds of objects and spaces. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:51 AM - 15 comments

“a violence that continues to dehumanize and perpetuate racist ideas...”

Red Dead Redemption 2's Redface Proves How Far Games Haven't Come [Paste Magazine] “It’s nearly the end of 2018, and I have to write an article about blackface and redface in Red Dead Redemption 2. That sucks. It sucks, because it means no one bothered to interrogate the casting. It sucks, because I know the pushback I’ll get for being the one to call out readily apparent racism in a game that opened to $725 million in sales. It sucks, because we’re still having to have conversations about why the perpetuation of racist stereotypes and the dehumanization of people of color is bad. It sucks, because didn’t we just do this with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy? And it sucks, because I hoped maybe we could do better than Charles, and as a Native woman who got her start pleading with games journalists and developers to do better, I wouldn’t need to keep writing these articles.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 10:49 AM - 19 comments

We Don't Wants It

Andy Serkis joins the debate on Brexit by expressing Theresa May's inner Gollum. (slyt)
posted by Eleven at 9:55 AM - 21 comments

Arch history

The History of Architecture in Eleven Arches
posted by infini at 9:52 AM - 27 comments

twelve songs for the twelve days of christmas

1995 saw the release of You Sleigh Me, a compilation album of Holiday songs which featured an interesting selection of artists and many really good performances. Cassette Side A: Run Rudolph Run - Mary Kartzen, Blue Christmas - Collective Soul, Little Drummer Boy - Tori Amos, Christmas Lights - Donna Lewis, The First Noel - Billy Pilgrim, Make It Home - Juliana Hatfield [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:29 AM - 4 comments

The Smithsonian's 'Whale Warehouse'

A behind-the-scenes tour of the large facility that houses cetacean specimens for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
posted by carter at 7:47 AM - 2 comments

Hoping for a better world

Today is the 70th anniversary of the United Nation's passage of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. (Tomorrow will be the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) 45 nations have yet to ratify it. "Genocide" is a relatively new word, having been coined in 1943 to describe the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, but the practise is depressingly ancient and common. Biblical scholars argue about whether the Canaanites and Amalekites suffered genocide; Rome and Athens both committed genocides. A two-volume Encyclopedia of Genocide is available. The definition of genocide in the Convention is broader than the conventional usage, and Canadians might be dismayed to realize that forcing First Nations children into residential schools probably counts as genocide under the Convention.
posted by clawsoon at 6:15 AM - 14 comments

Uber is headed for a crash

What has made Uber a good deal for users makes it a lousy investment proposition. The notion that Uber, the most highly valued private company in the world, is a textbook “bezzle” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized — is likely to come as a surprise to its many satisfied customers. ... Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi effectively admitted that Uber isn’t profitable in any market when you factor in corporate overheads.
posted by mecran01 at 6:07 AM - 87 comments

"Route involved disappearing bridge over lake of fire. One star, no tip"

Uber engineers build an AI that can reliably beat 80s videogame classic Montezuma's Revenge.
posted by panama joe at 6:07 AM - 5 comments

December 8

Including "Ten Books to Help You Become a Librarian"

In "A Nella Larsen Reading List" (Lapham's Quarterly, Nov. 12, 2018), Jaime Fuller takes note of what the author of Passing and Quicksand herself seemed to enjoy reading: "The Harlem Renaissance novelist has faded in and out of focus ... although recent years have seen several biographies and an overdue obituary in the New York Times. Here is a list of books that flitted through her life." The third article in a series, its predecessors are "An Emily Dickinson Reading List" and "A Flannery O'Connor Reading List."
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:06 PM - 1 comment

Kittens to the left, kittens to the right, every friggin' night!

A lesbian metal song about kittens? Yes please. For something a bit more holiday-themed: Krampus Bitch. (From L.A.'s Sapphic Musk)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:26 PM - 9 comments

Photos of Isolated Tribes

In 2018, Jimmy Nelson published his second major project titled "Homage to Humanity." He visited 34 indigenous cultures in five continents, revisiting some from his previous journey. While his first book was a collection of pictures, this time the photographer decided to expand and added travel journals, maps, local facts, and personal interviews, shifting the focus of his story from the objects he captures to the journey itself. [more inside]
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:34 PM - 19 comments

Ready Player Two?

Back in 2009, the first Mario AI competition was held, using Markus Persson's Infinite Mario. Robin Baumgarten won, but the contest fizzled out after a couple of years. Then in 2015, youtuber SethBling (best known for his Minecraft and Mario hacks) coded a machine learning Lua program to play Super Mario games, cleverly named MarI/O. What was revolutionary is that this neural net was evolutionary. (Good explainer if you don't want to watch video.) But what was really meant as a demo took on an extra life of its own with Luigi/o, a livestream that's been running for months, improving the code, and finally completing every level of Super Mario Brothers. [more inside]
posted by rikschell at 7:47 PM - 3 comments

Disappearing Acts - An elegy on loss

Disappearing Acts A crushingly sad article about the mass extinction we are all participating in, with photos from Nick Brandt and others. [more inside]
posted by specialk420 at 3:19 PM - 17 comments

Liminal: Sigur Rós as a living, breathing eco-system

Welcome to Liminal. Liminal is an ‘endless’ Sigur Rós ambient playlist which is live today [May 8, 2018], brought to you by Jónsi, Alex Somers and Paul Corley. It will be built over linear time into a never-finished project. Albums will be released, volumes added to. Liminal, both live and locally, takes the listener to a place neither here nor there; a “liminal" space. Liminal + Liminal 2 + Liminal 3 = approximately 3 hours of ambient "chill-out" music from Iceland, both original compositions and remixes of works by this trio and others. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:11 PM - 10 comments

“It had never been done before on a system using the Z80 processor"

Joystick: The Untold Story of Ottawa's Coke-Fueled 1980s Video Game Industry. "Quest for Tires would become the first cartridge video game produced in Canada, and was a hit, winning 'Game Of The Year' from Video Game Update magazine who said 'B.C.’s Quest for Tires isn’t so much a computer game as it is an interactive cartoon'. Hailed as a game that is not another 'shoot the aliens and save the world scenario', and had 'first rate' animation." [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:01 PM - 25 comments

Black Grooves

Black Grooves is a monthly online music magazine highlighting the latest releases - often reissues of classic, underground, lost or simply underrated albums - by black musicians. It is edited by the staff at Indiana University's Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC). [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings at 12:17 PM - 4 comments

The Hard Border And The Forever War

“And, in the intervening decade since that photo was taken, there hasn’t been a holiday season in which the United States was not at war. This is a fact so utterly banal that it barely warrants mention anymore. When that photo was taken, we’d been at war in Afghanistan for almost as long as the Soviet Union was.” Deployed for the holidays: Troops at the border missed Thanksgiving to carry out an ill-defined and unjustifiable mission. They weren’t alone. (Outline)
posted by The Whelk at 10:35 AM - 18 comments

Skibidi: PART DEUX, errm, два!

Little Big's "Skibidi" (previously) now has its own Everything Wrong With video as well as a Making Of the Music Video (Russian language). More ominously, a #skibidichallenge has been virally propagating the "Macarenova" ("Gangnamevich"?) over the Web. (Many YouTube links) [more inside]
posted by zaixfeep at 9:34 AM - 14 comments

“I’m gay, black, a furry—pretty much everything a Republican hates—”

SonicFox Steals The Show at The Game Awards [YouTube] Dominique “SonicFox” McLean took home the award for Best Esports Player tonight at The Game Awards in Los Angeles. The 20-year-old full-time student and fighting game ace gave a candid acceptance speech that was one of the night’s more heartfelt moments. Stepping on stage in his now-iconic fursuit, McLean gave an acceptance speech that was funny, honest, and worth watching. [via: Kotaku] [YouTube][The Game Awards Full Show] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 9:23 AM - 22 comments

Pikachu vs Eevee

If we're going to live in a world of ruthless competition, let it be like this.
posted by storybored at 8:54 AM - 16 comments

I wasn’t going anywhere except the airport.

I walked to the airport simply to see if it could be done. It was an expedition, like Magellan circumnavigating the earth or Lewis and Clark trekking to the Pacific Ocean, except we were heading to a place that had already been thoroughly discovered—by some 30 million passengers a year—and is only five miles, as the crow flies, from midtown Manhattan.
posted by gyusan at 8:12 AM - 58 comments

December 7

I bless the [covers] down in Africaaaaaa

Toto's Africa played on Japanese traditional instruments - koto, tsugaru-shamisen and steel drum (via NHK Blends). [more inside]
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:44 PM - 25 comments

"Leave it to a zombie show to take deadnames seriously."

To Zombie Land Saga's Lily Hoshikawa, The Best Trans Girl I've Seen In Anime: I’ve been watching anime for as long as I can remember and I never really found a character I could relate to over my gender troubles. That’s why I’m so grateful to know that you’re here. These days, I’m settled a little more comfortably as a trans person, but I saw a lot of myself in you and the turmoil we shared. You gave me a little push to be more expressive with my gender identity. I’ll always appreciate that. [more inside]
posted by one for the books at 9:57 PM - 11 comments

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