April 3

Ted Chiang Explains the Disaster Novel We All Suddenly Live In

What we’re living through is only partly a disaster novel; it’s also—and perhaps mostly—a grotesque political satire. A 1250-word email conversation between Halimah Marcus and Ted Chiang for Electric Literature.
posted by cgc373 at 11:53 PM - 0 comments

An enigma inside an Enigma

Elgar's Enigma Variations has become a well loved piece of classical music, but due to clues the composer wrote in the program and hints he left during his life, it has also led to many attempts over the years to solve the seeming mystery hidden within it. A recent elaborate attempt to crack the code is detailed in over 100 blog postsof course not everyone agrees.
posted by blue shadows at 9:18 PM - 2 comments

Voleflix, a public domain movie site

MeFite malevolent trawled some lists of public domain movies (lots of great film noir) and put together a new, improved, or at least free version of Netflix. Behold: Voleflix! Includes films featuring Ed Wood, Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, Vincent Price, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, Stanley Kubrick, Boris Karloff, Frank Sinatra and more… It also has daft Voleflix Originals and rates your taste in movies from your watchlist. [via mefi projects]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:56 PM - 8 comments

Not Very Well Hidden, Really

Crossword editors are strange arbiters of cultural relevance. Read tweets by Awkwafina or Olivia Wilde on learning that they’ve been immortalized in the black-and-white grid—it’s the bookish version of handprints on a slab outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. But any pub-trivia attendee—exposed to categories on craft beer or things that smell like sourdough or whatever the emcee is into—will tell you that personnel is policy. That crossword mainstays such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal are largely written, edited, fact-checked, and test-solved by older white men dictates what makes it into the 15x15 grid and what’s kept out. The Hidden Bigotry of Crosswords By Natan Last [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 10:21 AM - 67 comments

Universal Right To Food

As NYC expands its free meal program to include anybody in the city, no questions asked, and food banks across the country report shortages and half-mile long car lines, food policy experts think expanding and increasing SNAP could stave off poverty and increase public health. Meanwhile, dairy farmers urged to dump milk as demand declines.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM - 64 comments

The American Film Institute Movie Club

The American Film Institute is inviting you to movie night - every night. The American Film Institute will select an iconic movie each day for the world to watch together, via their new Movie Club, creating a communal viewing experience during these unprecedented times of social distancing. [more inside]
posted by gudrun at 8:51 AM - 8 comments

Ain't No Sunshine

Bill Withers, the soul legend who penned timeless songs like “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from heart complications according to a statement from his family. He was 81. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 8:49 AM - 81 comments

Join us as we take Venture all the way from the Pacific Ocean 460 miles

Venture to Idaho Join us as we take Venture all the way from the Pacific Ocean 460 miles inland to Idaho up the Columbia and Snake rivers. Learn about the perils of the Columbia River Bar, the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition and the cataclysmic floods which altered the landscape through which we traveled. Stay with us while we take a jet boat through Hell's Gate on the upper Snake.
posted by lungtaworld at 8:32 AM - 3 comments

Wholesome gaming post.

The 88-year old grandma who's played Animal Crossing: New Leaf for 4,300 hours (check out her beautiful flower garden) has started to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons. She also has a character in the new game named after her, called Audie, a wolf with a nice pair of sunglasses and some spectacular winged eyeliner. Her name is significant, as Audie is the username used by Audrey when playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Nintendo decided to pay tribute to her as a thank you. In this unboxing video, Audrey answers some fan questions and opens a brand new gift - the new, limited edition New Horizons Switch console. She also boots up the game, finding out that her first villager friends are Katt and Bam. [via: Kotaku]
posted by Fizz at 7:53 AM - 11 comments

Alternative to Audible

Libro.fm is a neat alternative to Audible. Points in its favor: DRM-free; kick-backs to independent bookstores; credits never expire; not owned by Bezos. Like with Audible, the first month is free. Switching from Audible? First three credits are free by using the code SWITCH. Yes, they have far fewer books than Audible, but the selection is pretty good overall and the sale books have some great titles as low as 69 cents. [more inside]
posted by dobbs at 7:12 AM - 10 comments

The Worm is Back!

The "worm" has returned. The futuristic redesign of the NASA logo introduced in 1976 was retired in 1992 with the agency reverting back to the classic "meatball" logo. While the "worm" logo is returning to use, the press release suggests both logos will co-exist and they are "still assessing how and where [the worm] will be used".
posted by Fortyseven at 4:30 AM - 56 comments

Overly Descriptive Color Palettes, or Hiya, Jerking Grapefruit!

Do you wish your Crayola box were populated with Ungentlemanly Light Grey and Unauspicious Lilac? Colors.lol has you covered. [more inside]
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 12:42 AM - 8 comments

April 2

Which character are you?

This personality test from the Open-Source Psychometrics Project will rate your similarity to over 400 fictional characters, out of works ranging from Parks and Recreation to Pride and Prejudice. [more inside]
posted by mbrubeck at 8:36 PM - 170 comments

COVID-19 projections for hospital resource usage

COVID-19 projections for the US, state by state The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation from the University of Washington has offered this tool to help hospitals predict what resource usage will be like over the next few weeks. Numbers are updated daily.
posted by Quietgal at 6:26 PM - 43 comments

This post has no dreams.

Ten Rules from a Reader (of Crime and Mystery Fiction) "1. No dreams, please. Supposedly it was Henry James who first said: “Tell a dream, lose a reader.” Billy Collins once wrote a poem called “On Reading In The Morning Paper That Dreams May Be Only Nonsense.” “You hit the pillow and moments later,” he wrote, “your mother appears to you as a llama, shouting at you in another language.” ... There may be people whose dreams provide brilliant insights into their character or provide clever solutions to problems that eluded them during their waking hours. But I’ve never met anyone like that. Any time a friend of mine begins recalling a dream for me, I begin mentally scrolling through my Netflix queue trying to decide what I’ll watch on TV after dinner.... [more inside]
posted by storybored at 6:02 PM - 42 comments

Opening in a litterbox near you ...

CATS: the Butthole Cut: the Trailer (SLYT) (context 1) (context 2) (vanity fair) [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 3:59 PM - 37 comments

smoke-filled rooms

Over the last two years, the Trump administration has sought to undo Obama-era car and truck tailpipe emission regulations, basing their argument on a flawed analysis of U.S. automobile fuel economy standards and 'phantom vehicle miles traveled [VMT]'[PDF].
Gutting fuel economy standards during a pandemic is peak Trump, but then so too is Going Full 'Shock Doctrine' by indefinitely suspending some pollution laws even though air pollution makes respiratory diseases like COVID-19 more dangerous (see Kurt, Zhang and Pinkerton 2016)
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:47 PM - 15 comments

If I Wrote a Coronavirus Episode

Tina Fey, Mike Schur, and 35 more TV writers on what their characters would do in a pandemic. Vulture posed the question to dozens of showrunners, creators, and writers; 37 of them responded with scene scripts, monologues, and episode outlines, including a hilarious Skype session between Frasier and Niles, a classic locker-room speech from Coach Taylor, an excerpt from Selina Meyer’s biography, and a vlog for Rogelio De La Vega’s biggest fans.
posted by pjsky at 3:46 PM - 13 comments

Dr. Bonnie Henry: (virtual) holder of hands for the Canadian public

[I]n the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s soft-spoken provincial health officer, has become beloved in households across the country. Each day as she addresses the province at 3 p.m. local with the latest data and policy plan – later beamed across the nation in evening broadcasts – she’s become a holder of hands for the Canadian public. The Dr. Bonnie Henry Fan Club, a fan-curated list of kind words and links about Dr. Henry. "Dear Dr. Bonnie," a tribute song by two Vancouver fans, set to the tune of Hamilton's "Dear Theodosia." Juno Award-winning jazz musician Phil Dwyer's "The Ballad of Bonnie Henry." [more inside]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:35 PM - 18 comments


"Frumpy yeast geneticist" Sudeep Agarwala explains how to make your own yeast. More about Dr. Agarwala here. Original Twitter thread here.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 2:29 PM - 39 comments

Self-isolating with rescue ducks

posted by clawsoon at 2:27 PM - 6 comments

Blaze a rainbow path across everything in sight 🌈

Magical Rainbow Sponge (SLYT)
posted by oulipian at 1:13 PM - 11 comments

6 Feet Away or 6 Feet Under: NYC This Week

Tompkins Square Park---The Brooklyn Bridge (Part 2)---Union Square---Grand Central Terminal---The Nitehawk---Brighton Beach (Walgreens)---The Oculus---Central Park---Papaya Dog---I Feel Fine
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:49 PM - 8 comments

Things fall apart

Cristina Monet-Palaci could be described as the First Lady of ZE Records. Her chirpy, sinister single "Disco Clone" was the first the label released. She gained infamy for her updated cover of "Is That All There Is", which Leiber and Stoller forced the label to withdraw (though it came out through other means). After releasing two albums, Doll in the Box and Sleep It Off, she married ZE owner Michael Zilkha, and kept a low profile as the "Madame Bovary of the freeway." Though she spoke of recording another album, her only post-1982 recording is DJ Ursula's single "Urgent, Anxious". Cristina died on 2 April 2020 from complications of the coronavirus. [more inside]
posted by pxe2000 at 11:52 AM - 4 comments

It is independent of the fickleness of fortune

How to Spend 42 Days Stuck in Your Room
posted by Chrysostom at 11:32 AM - 6 comments

Rome Didn’t Fall In A Day

“ The popular story version of this particular falling empire might focus on a twice-divorced serial philanderer and bullshit artist and make him the villain, rendering his downfall or ultimate triumph the climax of the narrative. But it’s far more likely that the real meat of the issue will be found in a tax code full of sweetheart deals for the ultra-wealthy, the slashed budgets of county public health offices, the lead-contaminated water supplies. And that’s to say nothing of the decades of pointless, self-perpetuating, and almost undiscussed imperial wars that produce no victories but plenty of expenditures in blood and treasure, and a great deal of justified ill will.” How Do You Know If You’re Living Through the Death of an Empire? (Mother Jones) Patrick Wyman, host of the Tides of History and The Fall of Rome Podcast, goes on Trashfuture to discuss late antiquity, measuring imperial fall by letter circulation, western senatorial families as multi-national corporations, and possible future political organizations. (1:17:00)
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 AM - 45 comments

A detailed taxonomy of wacky elephant drawings

Elephas Anthropogenus After the fall of the Roman Empire, elephants virtually disappeared from Western Europe. Since there was no real knowledge of how this animal actually looked, illustrators had to rely on oral and written transmissions to morphologically reconstruct the elephant, thus reinventing an actual existing creature. This tree diagram traces the evolution of the elephant depiction throughout the middle ages up to the age of enlightenment.
posted by bq at 8:34 AM - 13 comments

Alright, say it. These videos are down-right screwy.

CONCATENATION, an experimental video by Donato Sansone, with sound and music by Enrico Ascoli (1 minute, composed of stock video clips, assembled in a Rube Goldberg type video, with implied violence). Not familiar with Goldberg? Here, he'll show you how to get Something for Nothing (previously). See also: 787 Cliparts by Oliver Laric, a short, silent animation. [Videos 1 & 3 from Kottke]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:14 AM - 10 comments

“The Four”

Four Of The World's Best Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Players Create Epic Gameplay Montage [YouTube][Cinematic Combat Montage] “RinHara5aki, Kleric, CHC Yu-Da, and Peco are, on their own, some of the most technically impressive The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild players on the planet — their videos showcasing advanced and obscure combat methods have accrued millions of views on YouTube. The four of them getting together for a single video is almost too much to handle. “The Four” is a combat montage that is the result of four months of work, and it is meant as a last hurrah for Breath of the Wild. With a sequel on the way, group leader RinHara5aki thought it would be a good idea to make a love letter to the game before saying goodbye.” [via: Polygon]
posted by Fizz at 7:04 AM - 18 comments

Crowdsourced list of companies and their hiring status

Amazing crowdsourced list of companies and their current hiring status This live, editable and growing Airtable file detailing which companies have layoffs, hiring freezes or are still actively recruiting is fascinating and might be a terrific resource for those of us who have had a job loss due to the economic impact of Covid-19. Also, scroll down for impact by business sector.
posted by vers at 6:48 AM - 4 comments

Nobody was hurt.

A train engineer intentionally drove a speeding locomotive off a track at the Port of Los Angeles because he was suspicious about the presence of a Navy hospital ship docked there to help during the coronovirus crisis, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
posted by PMdixon at 6:46 AM - 88 comments

L'Orchestre national de France Plays "Bolero"

A powerful performance in a time of social distancing (SLYT)
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:06 AM - 12 comments

Yes, THAT Betty Boop

Mr. Boop: a new daily comic strip [Alec Robbins] invented about what it’s like being married to Betty Boop (slTwitter); also on Thread reader. [more inside]
posted by minsies at 5:42 AM - 28 comments

If you ever come back to Hackensack

Adam Schlesinger, of essential power-pop band Fountains of Wayne, has passed at 52.
posted by foodbedgospel at 5:03 AM - 78 comments

Stockholm, Are You Listening?

Why Don DeLillo deserves the Nobel by Gerald Howard [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 2:26 AM - 16 comments

April 1

Yo dawg I heard you like rock...

This is real rock. Played on a turntable. Loud.
posted by not_on_display at 9:15 PM - 14 comments

RIP Krzysztof Penderecki, composer, 1933-2020

A few days too late, because I thought it'd have already been posted, but: Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki died on March 29, 2020. Renowned among other things for his keen explorations of musical timbre, he is particularly well-known for his composition "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima," and (probably often unknowingly) for his music having been included in the soundtracks of movies such as The Shining. [more inside]
posted by invitapriore at 9:11 PM - 23 comments

Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art

Does Mo Rocca's tale of assembling a jigsaw puzzle in isolation make you wish you had your own – but you're concerned about coronavirus-affected mail? New Zealand's Te Papa Museum has you covered, with many works of art available as digital jigsaw puzzles. Prefer American artists? The Colby Museum of Art has a few puzzles for you. Seeking bucolic British scenery? The Pendon Museum has digital jigsaw puzzles featuring early 20th century country scenes in a range of difficulties from children to adults. You can also assemble selections from National Geographic's photo collection piece by piece. [more inside]
posted by rednikki at 8:39 PM - 13 comments


Building the Perfect Profanity (Discover): Researchers asked what makes certain words rude, and what happens when you compound profanity with normal words. [The authors] took 487 common, innocuous English words and asked participants to consider how well they would lend themselves to being combined with a profanity (they give the example "assdoor"). "We examined a potential source of emergent tabooness when combining extant taboo words (e.g., shit) with common nouns (e.g., gibbon) to form novel compounds (e.g., shitgibbon). [...]The five strongest candidates for taboo compounding included sack, trash, pig, rod, and mouth ... the five least acceptable candidates were fireplace, restaurant, tennis, newspaper, and physician." (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review study abstract)
posted by not_the_water at 5:34 PM - 76 comments

Punctuating the Crisis

I am being hounded by EM-DASHES! Help! How has #covidー19uk become a trending hashtag? Nobody types them in.
posted by Etrigan at 3:14 PM - 43 comments

You're The Man Once Again, Dog

YTMND is back. (via waxpancake)
posted by kmz at 3:02 PM - 23 comments

Father, city engineer, pancake curator

Edward C. Bennett’s lovely legacy: The Bennett family wrote a descriptive account of their patriarch, a man they clearly adored. “Ed was unnaturally calm, patient, and kind. His sons witnessed when he would smash his thumb with a hammer and he would just say, Nuts!” [more inside]
posted by areaperson at 1:32 PM - 9 comments

Tuba Skinny -- Maple Leaf Rag

Tuba Skinny -- Maple Leaf Rag [more inside]
posted by y2karl at 12:52 PM - 10 comments

Games in the time of etc

Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle
"This special one-week bundle features $1,071 worth of games and ebooks for just $30. 100% of the proceeds from your bundle purchase go to support organizations responding to COVID-19. For example, delivering protective gear to safeguard healthcare workers and providing medical care to infected patients."
Humble Bundle on MeFi, previously. [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong at 10:37 AM - 51 comments


What do the names of British houses mean? [slNYer]
posted by Chrysostom at 9:59 AM - 40 comments

Welcome to the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Digital Library

The ACM Digital Library has opened their doors.
Recognizing that many computing researchers, practitioners, and academics are now working remotely, ACM is committed to supporting research, discovery and learning during this time of crisis. For the next three months, through June 30, 2020, we are making all work published by ACM in our Digital Library freely accessible.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:37 AM - 16 comments

Take it slowly. This book is dangerous!

Dr. Seuss Raps over Dr. Dre Beats. Youtuber and film director Wes Tank raps Fox in Socks. And if you want more: Green Eggs and Ham.
posted by emjaybee at 7:01 AM - 21 comments

April Foods (or Fool's) Day 2020

"Can we agree this year's April Fool's pranks will consist only of delicious desserts disgusted as boring, less-delicious foods?" and "the only april fools jokes i wanna see tomorrow are like: i baked bread today. april fools, i actually baked a cake" share a common sentiment: instead of pranks that might materially deceive anyone on April Fool's Day 2020, let's do silly food-related things. Or make a food bank donation. (Not following those guidelines: the fake announcement "Today Google stops funding climate change deniers" advocating Extinction Rebellion.)
posted by brainwane at 6:29 AM - 35 comments

He's busy now in other dimensions. He's not resting.

Tom Every, a.k.a. Dr. Evermor, died on Monday, March 30, 2020 at age 81. His art park, home of the Forevertron, has been featured on PBS, and, naturally, in Atlas Obscura. His body of work, in which junkyard objects gained new life as whimsical creatures and imposing sci-fi contraptions, helped define a genre of sculpture and anticipated the steampunk moment in style. Evermor's art can also be seen at The House on the Rock and in various other places around Wisconsin.
posted by eirias at 6:28 AM - 12 comments

"Most people use vim in two stupid dimensions. But not me."

posted by ardgedee at 6:25 AM - 22 comments

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