April 12

Remote accountability, body doubling, cafe/church sounds, & camaraderie

MeFi's own The Wrong Kind of Cheese covers five methods for getting accountability, including partners, groups, professionals, apps/gadgets, and events, then discusses flow and distractibility and and links to several ambient noise and faux sounds-of-colleagues websites. Also, the BBC covers Focusmate, Caveday, RemoteWorkmates, and the general phenomenon of sites to facilitate remote videocalls with strangers. Author Courtney Milan has been finding Focusmate extremely useful -- and it reconnected her with an old friend!
posted by brainwane at 7:36 AM - 0 comments

State-sponsored non-existent coffee shops

The Guardian describes how you can manipulate the conversation on Facebook by commenting from Page accounts, courtesy of former employee Sophie Zhang who describes how this technique is used to distort political discourse around the world.
posted by Stark at 5:34 AM - 12 comments

What exactly was the point of [ “x$var” = “xval” ]?

Shellcheck developer Vidar Holen asks and answers a question about arcane command-line syntax in about 1000 words.
posted by cgc373 at 1:39 AM - 10 comments

A man called Modi: some call him a murderer, others a messiah

Introducing the Prime Minister of India… most westerners probably wouldn't have know of the man if they hadn't heard about him on John Oliver (his snafu being hinted at in the show, here); others might have picked up the latest edition of Time magazine, a year or so back, where once he had been hailed as a hero, almost, and now was being put into a different box; and yet, there was more-to-come... [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy at 12:03 AM - 5 comments

April 11

We are Americans, after all; our national myth is Footloose.

The Strange Undeath of Middlebrow [more inside]
posted by gusottertrout at 11:12 PM - 24 comments

Teaching a Robot Dog to Pee Beer

Michael Reeves teaches his Spot Mini to serve beer.
posted by adept256 at 11:08 PM - 3 comments

The Untold Story of The Iroquois Influence On Early Feminists

"I had been haunted by a question to the past, a mystery of feminist history: How did the radical suffragists come to their vision, a vision not of Band-Aid reform but of a reconstituted world completely transformed?" [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 3:00 PM - 12 comments

Please close your eyes

Sam Green’s intimate portrait of composer Annea Lockwood shares with us a glimpse into the enthralling world of sound that she has been exploring and creating for many years. It is a touching and personal story of imagination and love. [more inside]
posted by Balthamos at 10:47 AM - 1 comment

It's Sunday. During a Pandemic. What else you got planned?!

Learn to Juggle 3 Balls.
posted by storybored at 9:42 AM - 29 comments

No success like failure

a natural history of the film maudit.
posted by sapagan at 4:43 AM - 38 comments

Stunt Cars and Reality TV Ain't Real, but tells us a lot about people

This is an old one, about even older stuff (2006-2008 ish?), but here's John Ficarra talking about providing stunt cars for TV and other productions, and one of them was for the TV Show "What Would You Do?". The results are pretty interesting. [more inside]
posted by kschang at 4:28 AM - 9 comments

April 10

"'Is this everything you will be trading in?' I ask. "

"Retriever" by Stephen Kearse is a short science fiction story about an employee of the United States Federal Gun Retrieval Agency: "I’m an agent of the 28th Amendment, the abolition of the 2nd." Published October 2020.
posted by brainwane at 8:59 PM - 34 comments

Never Demolish

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been named as the recipients of the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize [more inside]
posted by gusottertrout at 8:41 PM - 9 comments

Touch and consent

I Spent My Life Consenting to Touch I Didn’t Want SLNYT, by Melissa Febos. Content warning: sexual assault. "A year of isolation made me consider all the casual, unwanted touch women endure — and why it’s so hard to refuse it."
posted by medusa at 7:32 PM - 39 comments

billion laughs attack

Behold: the Iceberg of Cursed Computer Facts.
posted by theodolite at 2:32 PM - 55 comments

Advanced training for the dance your PhD contest

Professor André K. Isaacs' lab members spend most of their time solving problems in organic chemistry. They also make short dance videos and sometimes make other short films. There's also a recent short text interview.
posted by eotvos at 1:50 PM - 4 comments

Inside the dark, biohacked heart of silicon valley

I think this is all a result of a complete detachment from authenticity by these tech founders. They present a version of themselves that isn’t real, and then, when they look in the mirror, they see how inauthentic they really are, and the only way they can handle the illusion they’ve created is through drugs,” said one Silicon Valley insider who often spends time with the biohacking-obsessed ultrarich. “It’s all synthetic and it’s all an illusion.” The pandemic only heightened this, with people slipping into more extreme activities in their quest for control. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 11:47 AM - 44 comments

It just makes sense

LeVar Burton steps up his Jeopardy! campaign.
posted by Alex404 at 11:35 AM - 46 comments

Victory Over Pandemic Day, but it's just...Thursday again

"Everything feels so close that I fear I’ll miss the instant when this is over...one day I’ll look around and find the moment of catharsis never happened because life isn’t a movie and it just chugs along with its assortment of thrills and sorrows and longueurs and I’ll have to wrest that big moment from looking at lines on a graph, lines I yearn for with all my soul but can’t actually feel in my body. What if the pandemic ends and I’m just my same little garbage self?" (Lydia Kiesling, The Cut; part of the Wild Speculation series.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:14 AM - 42 comments

"I became a total Republican playing this game" - Larry Borowsky (1992)

City simulators like SimCity are serious games — the kind that gets coverage well beyond the video game press. The kind of game that appears in school curriculums. The kind of game your non-gaming uncle has probably spent hundreds of hours in. On the surface, they appear to be exactly what they say: a simulation of a city. But any simulation is only as good as the model it’s built on, and the model underpinning SimCity has quite the history. In the video above, I unboxed the secret ideology hiding in the formula that built SimCity, and how that’s reflected in one of the most popular gaming series of all time.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 AM - 44 comments

Gene flow with Neanderthals exists in all modern humans

That thing you heard about Africans not having Neanderthal DNA wasn't the conclusion of any studies. It was an assumption used in studies to calculate how much Neanderthal DNA was in European genomes. Now that researchers have directly compared Neanderthal and African DNA, they've found that Africans carry surprising amount of Neanderthal DNA. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 5:27 AM - 11 comments

Words failed me in Finnish, so I came out in English

In 2010, the language still hadn’t caught up. “Homo,” the term in popular usage, was the same word bullies used. “Gay,” although foreign and new to me, felt more welcoming and safe. After I came out, I moved to London and then New York and lived in English. I discovered that “gay” also means “happy”; that “queerness” denotes so much more than just sexual orientation. The vagueness is there by design: These words encompass all forms of queer life and recast them in a more positive light. In English, I found more room to breathe, to evolve. Part of the reason for this has to do with history: The gay rights movement originated in the United States; English is the movement’s de facto mother tongue. Unlike elsewhere in the world, where silence has done a lot of the talking for gay people, in the Anglo-American world, queer life has been vocal for a long time.
posted by folklore724 at 3:05 AM - 5 comments

April 9

God's Poet

Earl Simmons, better known by his stage name DMX, has died at the age of 50. The Yonkers rapper's trademark growl dominated the turn-of-the-millenium scene with hits including Get At Me Dog, X Gon' Give It To Ya, Party Up (Up In Here), Ruff Ryder's Anthem and Where The Hood At? His gruff delivery and tough persona emphasized street authenticity and he leaves a catalog of great club bangers, but he was also in turns candid, vulnerable and spiritual. [more inside]
posted by Superilla at 11:16 PM - 27 comments

A new concept of understanding the sea as a garden.

A Spanish chef is cultivating a grain that needs neither irrigation nor fertilizer to grow: It comes from the sea.
posted by Leeway at 1:14 PM - 28 comments

Pepsi Bluescreen

You would think that nowadays, this charming Japanese ad for bottled water would make extensive use of CG effects, but you would be wrong (via @cabel)
posted by gwint at 12:36 PM - 30 comments

Stop meatposting

Meatposting is word I made up just now. It refers to the practice of posting pictures of meat on social media with captions that glorify its consumption. ... meat is basically fossil fuels, except more delicious. It is a thing society uses every day but that is fueling a climate crisis causing massive human suffering, particularly among vulnerable populations. Climate-concerned meatposters forget this because meat culture is powerful. Independent climate journalist Emily Atkin writes about the damage done by memes and social media images that promote meat. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 11:54 AM - 158 comments

What if seeing devices looked like us?

The human eye webcam. [SLYP]
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:25 AM - 28 comments

The Weight of Breasts that Aren't There

"The demands of the trans community have advanced from medical transition, to depathologization, to the institutional recognition of the possibility of trans happiness. But the question of what dysphoria actually is—a market preference, a neuroanatomical difference, an ontological mismatch between soul and body, a structure of desire—still lacks a satisfying answer. " [more inside]
posted by Amberlyza at 10:07 AM - 17 comments

"They asked for a tiny desk concert. They got a tiny desk concert."

Tiny Desk Meets SXSW: Clipping "Leave it to clipping. to innovate around the central notion of the Tiny Desk; to take the series' emphasis on close-up intimacy and transport it to new heights of, well, tininess. This is, after all, a band that contains multitudes. Producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes craft a bed of hip-hop, industrial music and noisy experimentalism, then set loose rapper Daveed Diggs, whose violent imagery summons '90s horrorcore and a thousand bloody movies." [more inside]
posted by gladly at 6:18 AM - 19 comments

"A Discredited Balkan Prince of No Particular Merit or Distinction”

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged 99 [Grauniad] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 4:24 AM - 195 comments

April 8

Safety of an asocial society

Safety is fatal: dynamics of social trust in human cultures
posted by daksya at 9:59 PM - 12 comments

After Working at Google, I’ll Never Let Myself Love a Job Again

Writing in an editorial for the New York Times software engineer and former Google employee Emi Nietfeld recounts how she bought into the sense of community espoused by Google - and how that wound up harming her when she was sexually harassed by her technical lead. (SLNYT) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:03 PM - 96 comments

This is your mother. Are you coming home?

Margaret Atwood reflects on hearing Laurie Anderson for the first time.
posted by Silvery Fish at 1:19 PM - 54 comments

Othering Heights

Bringing more data and analysis to the question of "is it economics or race," University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, analyzed the demographics and home county characteristics of the 377 Americans arrested or charged in the Capitol insurrection. He found that counties with the most significant declines in the non-Hispanic White population are the most likely to produce insurrectionists who now face charges. "Put another way, the people alleged by authorities to have taken the law into their hands on Jan. 6 typically hail from places where non-White populations are growing fastest." [more inside]
posted by PhineasGage at 11:00 AM - 25 comments

what is 70 meters long and has 93 penises

Its existence has been marked by turbulent periods when it was in danger or at serious risk of being damaged. After being rescued many times, the Tapestry has survived and continues to reveal its secrets today. The full Bayeux Tapestry is now accessible on every computer screen and tablet. For the first time, you will be able to freely explore the entire Tapestry with a never seen quality of images. [more inside]
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:58 AM - 36 comments

WIRED offering non-journalists a residency program

"Between a pandemic, climate change, and advances in technology that continue to reshape almost every way of life, the past year has been a bellwether for work in the US. At WIRED, we believe some of the people best situated to cover this rapid evolution—from growing pains to genius pivots and everything in between—are the people who know those industries from the inside. That’s why we’re launching a new program called the WIRED Resilience Residency." Last month Wired magazine announced that it is "looking for new voices to provide an insider perspective on rapidly changing industries." [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 9:02 AM - 13 comments

"Are you doing good?" "No. Irreparable damage has been done."

What would happen if I tried to explain what's happening now to the January 2020 version of myself? Julie Nolke is back, doing "one year later." Most recent video discussion here.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:50 AM - 55 comments

US tech company hiring and decarceration

"What I learned going from prison to Python" by Shadeed "Sha" Wallace-Stepter: "Total strangers with a very different background and life from my own had connected the dots in a way that led to me learning to code." One of those strangers was engineering leader Jessica McKellar, who speaks at tech conferences to ask: "Mass Decarceration: If We Don’t Hire People With Felony Convictions, Who Will?" [more inside]
posted by brainwane at 7:25 AM - 7 comments

Hypogene speleogenesis: hydrogeological and morphogenetic perspective

Want other scientists to cite you? Drop the jargon. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 6:14 AM - 23 comments


“Every time I heard ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ by Blue Öyster Cult, I would hear the faint cowbell in the background and wonder, ‘What’s THAT guy’s life like??’” — Will Ferrell

Twenty-one years ago today, "More Cowbell" aired on SNL.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:40 AM - 79 comments

April 7

stagnant waters made us uneasy with their silence

A geologist summarizes the legends and science of bottomless pits, bogs, and lakes at Spooky Geology. [more inside]
posted by eotvos at 10:55 PM - 22 comments

The Coen Bros. knew, so did Denzel and everybody else.

"Everyone Just Knows He's an Absolute Monster" Scott Rudin's ex-staffers speak out on abusive behavior. [more inside]
posted by chinese_fashion at 6:09 PM - 52 comments

Photo ID

Remi Wolf's new clip (yt) has all the makings of a summer hit. This is the track's second vid (yt) though, and is probably worth your time.
posted by kfholy at 2:52 PM - 10 comments

"It is, by far, the easiest way to write a tune as you can clearly see"

Exuberant composer Guy Michelmore demonstrates how to write a tune using dogs, how to use inversions to improve your chord progressions (featuring an impressively impractical visual aid), how to write music while trapped in the boot of a VW Polo. Or if you you're in a hurry, how about music theory in 16 minutes? Bonus: Guy introduces the people of Britain to Cabbage Patch dolls in 1983. [more inside]
posted by tomcooke at 2:16 PM - 2 comments

The Lives of Others

When Clar told her his age, Tracey’s next words came tumbling out: “Where were you born?” “Come By Chance Cottage Hospital,” Clar said. Tracey stood stock still for a second, her mouth agape. Then she ran, leaving her mop and cart behind. Clar shivered. In that moment, a secret began to worm its way into the light.
Two women gave birth on the same day in a place called Come By Chance. They didn’t know each other, and never would. Half a century later, their children made a shocking discovery. A long read about serial baby mixups, "Nurse Tiger", and mid-century life in rural Newfoundland, written by Lindsay Jones.
posted by Rumple at 12:59 PM - 27 comments

The Tamagotchi in its many forms has never shied away from death

A Very 90s Death: The Tamagotchi Cemetery (Burials And Beyond): While many parents bought their offspring Tamagotchis as toys, others thought that a child taking responsibility for a digital creature would be an ideal pre-pet investment, to see if they were mature enough to understand the needs of another living thing. While this is an ideal moralistic exercise, what occurred in reality was a pocket of brief generational trauma where young children woke up to find that, after sleeping though muted midi cries of hunger at 3am, their new toy had perished overnight. You killed your first pet. This culpability for death is one of the strangest qualities in toy history; even the death of shoals of Sea Monkeys failed to elicit such a primal reaction of grief and blame from the very young. In the new world of portable digital pets, they were expected to entertain, but not truly die. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 8:37 AM - 30 comments

April 6

This is not who I am.

A Christian “purity” movement in the 90s promoted a biblical view of abstinence before marriage. But two decades later, followers are grappling with unforeseen aftershocks. RetroReport has the story.
posted by Toddles at 8:51 PM - 172 comments

Fotomat's Greatest Hits

The Internet K-Hole is back: A vast amount of very amateur snapshots taken from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s, with absolutely no other context provided or needed. Mostly a whole bunch of people I've never seen before... but if I scroll long enough—hours maybe—I will see an image of myself somewhere, I am sure of it. NSFW warning: a minute amount of lite smut compared to the gargantuan size of the collection; however, the second picture in the latest post happens to be of a butt. The one after that it is Lemmy in a hotel room. Then comes the panopoly of randos. [ previously | via ]
posted by not_on_display at 8:45 PM - 105 comments

OMG, why is #DionneWarwick trending on twitter?

Dionne Warwick asked twitter earlier today, "Do you have an unusual pet? Send me a picture with my hash tag #dionnewarwick. I want to see how strange this can get." Twitter responded, which is why she's trending. The replies are full of ALL kinds of pets!
posted by hippybear at 6:36 PM - 9 comments

Eternal Sunshine of the Monetized Ghost Life

"I want a chisel, not a sledgehammer, with which to delete what I no longer need. I don’t want to have to empty my photo albums just because tech companies decided to make them “smart” and create an infinite loop of grief." I Called Off My Wedding. The Internet Will Never Forget (Lauren Goode, Wired). [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:33 PM - 63 comments

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