January 20

Why wouldn’t the giant robot in pads be there?

“I remember one day, my son, who was 7 or 8, had drawn me a picture of a hybrid robotic football-player-slash-cowboy. He was really sold: ‘You should do this! It would be so cool!’" The secret history of Cleatus, Fox Sports’s bizarre football robot.
posted by How the runs scored at 4:28 AM - 7 comments

wet noises intensify

Eels eat pizza
posted by not_the_water at 12:51 AM - 35 comments

January 19

Creating While Clean; 9 sober musicians

In the modern pop-culture tradition, being a musician has often come with a series of default lifestyle expectations, ones of indulgence and recklessness, larger-than-life living, and a diligent pursuit of altered forms of consciousness. Some see these expectations as having played a part in what happened to them, though most ultimately see their decisions and actions as also—if not mainly—a matter of their own psychology and personality and predisposition...What they have in common is that they are all, by their own account, for now, living sober. [more inside]
posted by Grandysaur at 11:35 PM - 6 comments


What if the Grand Canyon were inverted?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:44 PM - 12 comments

Walter Chandoha’s cat models […] must be alert, graceful and beautiful

In the internet age, we are all cat photographers. One study found that in Britain alone, more than 3.8 million photos and clips of cats are shared each day — twice the number of selfies shared (we love our cats more than we love ourselves) and more than twice the number of dog photos shared. Once upon a time, though, there was but One Cat Photographer to Rule Them All. His name was Walter Chandoha. (Hyperallergic)

By the time he died, on Jan. 11, Mr. Chandoha had taken some 90,000 cat photos, nearly all before cats had become viral darlings of social media. He was 98. (NYTimes) (Non-Times link, leaves out some adorable pics) [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:29 PM - 9 comments

Guitarist Phil Dürr, 1965-2019

Phil Dürr, best known as the guitarist for '90s Detroit funk/riff rock band Big Chief and later for blues singer Thornetta Davis, died at 53 on January 11th. This obituary sums up his life and work in loving detail. [more inside]
posted by outfielder at 7:58 PM - 2 comments

All Roads Lead to the Dog House

Few agree when precisely "old Seattle" died, but wherever you place the period, The Dog House was in many ways emblematic of the old days. It stood for 60 years as a working-class gathering space, offering cheap food and beer in its smoke-filled booths, and camaraderie in nightly singalongs around the organ. Knute Berger recalls how The Dog House "challenged the myth of Seattle nice." Jean Godden and J.A. Jance reminisced during the Dog House's final months in 1993, and Dog House regular Floyd Waterson remembers its last day in 1994. But the soul of the place was really in its people: longtime owner Laurie Gulbransen was remembered in an obituary in 2000; organist Dick Dickerson died in 2006. The corner of 7th & Bell hosted a 24-hour restaurant for nearly a century, with the Dog House's tenure bookended by the Bohemian Continental before it and the Hurricane Cafe after. The Hurricane closed at the end of 2014 and that old building was razed. The site is now known as Amazon Block 21.
posted by duffell at 7:40 PM - 16 comments


After Mermaids, a UK charity that provides services to young transgender and gender variant people and their families was awarded a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, some people complained and the Fund delayed the grant to review the charity. Now a UK gamer and YouTuber is playing through the entire game Donkey Kong 64 on Twitch to raise money for the charity. [more inside]
posted by Is It Over Yet? at 4:25 PM - 27 comments

Beans Have a Soul

I believe our best chance at preserving the integrity and dignity of our tradition is to return to our Pythagorean roots. We should become a cult.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:59 PM - 18 comments

"You won't have to worry about feeling desolate when autumn comes"

Hiroaki Sato (LitHub, 11/5/2018), "Haiku: The Evolution of a Strict Poetic Game": "In simplest terms, haikai meant rejection of poetic diction and adoption of language in daily use. Orthodox court poetry did not tolerate references to quotidian, down-to-earth things like shiru, 'soup,' and namasu, 'fish salad,' so incorporating daily elements was haikai. As Bashō himself explained, harusame no yanagi, 'willow in spring rain,' represented the world of court poetry, but tanishi toru karasu, 'a crow picking pond snails,' was haikai, according to Bashō's disciple Hattori Tohō." [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet at 3:42 PM - 20 comments

Einhundert jahre bauhaus

March 2019 will mark 100 years since the founding of The Bauhaus. Centenary festivities include the opening of the Bauhaus Museum Dessau in September of this year, and a tour by the Bauhaus bus, modelled on Walter Gropius' historic Bauhaus building. The tour began in Dessau at the beginning of January, and the bus will travel to Berlin, Kinshasa, and Hong Kong. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:56 PM - 2 comments


Entire Machinima YouTube Channel Set To Private [Kotaku] “With no public announcement or advanced warning to many creators, the entire Machinima Youtube channel was effectively wiped from the internet recently. All videos on the channel are now private, making them unable to view. [...] News of the videos began to spread yesterday, but it’s unclear when the switch to private happened. Many creators seemed not to have been aware that their videos would be set to private. “Otter Media really just went and deleted Machinima, Happy Hour, Respawn, Realm, Prime, Inside Gaming, ETC, everything.” Jeremy Azevedo, a former creator and employee of Machinima tweeted after learning about the news. Other former creators were shocked to find years of videos now gone.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 2:00 PM - 14 comments

A brief history of secular mindfulness meditation in the West

Deconstructing Mindfulness: Embracing a Complex Simplicity. "There’s been a marked increase in studies of mindfulness and meditation in recent years. I’m worried that many of today’s researchers may think they know what they’re doing. ... [I]t makes all the sense in the world that we deconstruct mindfulness, by which I mean that we understand it to have a history, a 'side view.' It’s not a given or an absolute. It comes from somewhere. Mindfulness has been constructed." [more inside]
posted by homunculus at 11:20 AM - 15 comments

Just me and my dog and an impossible view

In 2018, three up and coming singer-songwriters, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus joined forces to form the supergroup boygenius. Last summer, they recorded a six song EP with a cover evoking a certain other supergroup. In November, Pitchfork filmed a thrilling set of theirs performing at Brooklyn Steel. [more inside]
posted by octothorpe at 7:28 AM - 11 comments

January 18

Civilisation (1969) and Civilisations (2015), British views of the past

In 1966, David Attenborough, the controller of the recently launched BBC2, asked historian Kenneth Clark to host a show, which would become Civilisation (Wikipedia), which inspired audiences in the UK and US to go to head to art museums after each of the 13 episodes originally aired, in 1969 and 1970, respectively, as noted in The Seductive Enthusiasm of Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation” by Morgan Meis for the New Yorker. Almost 50 years later, BBC returned to the theme, now titled Civilisations (Wikipedia), with three presenters, Mary Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Schama, who looked beyond the Great Men of Europe (BBC). And it's all online ... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:00 PM - 25 comments

Tea by sea. Cha by land.

History of the word for 茶 (tea). Silk road land based trade led to the spread of 'cha' based words, but 'te' based words come from the sea based trade.
posted by freethefeet at 9:42 PM - 26 comments

An alarming, nearly floor-to-ceiling jumble of crumpled papers

The Grolier Club, the nation’s oldest society of bibliophiles, just celebrated the centennial of its grand Manhattan home. Yes, there’s a secret staircase hidden in a bookshelf. No, do not use gloves in its library.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:39 PM - 11 comments

Hi, my name is Bill, and I’m a recovering normie.

In which the Boozy Barrister / Boozy Badger (previously) and his online presence lured a hooman into attending a furry convention, and he delivers his subsequent report: How I Realized that Furries are Better than Me (…and just how low of a bar that was) [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 8:38 PM - 6 comments

Our team is red hot, your team ain't doodley squat!

Most right-thinking people agree that dogs are better than cats. Some people—those who have been infected with toxoplasmosis, probably—believe cats are better than dogs. Regardless, they can be taught to get along (the animals, that is).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:47 PM - 51 comments

Flash Point

The abysmal failure known as the Fyre Festival (previously) is the stuff of legends. This week, Netflix and Hulu rolled out competing documentaries covering the fiasco. Now, both documentary teams are accusing one another of ethical lapses, while the festival's incarcerated founder and the social media agencies who hyped the festival are profiting off of the films. The Ringer has the story.
posted by duffell at 7:35 PM - 33 comments

the brittleness of children and the egos of driven men

In the fall of 1938, Wendell Johnson recruited one of his clinical psychology graduate students, 22-year-old Mary Tudor, who was avid but timorous, to undertake exactly that experiment. She was to study whether telling nonstuttering children that they stuttered would make it so. Could she talk children into a speech defect? The university had an ongoing research relationship with an orphanage in Davenport, Iowa, so Johnson suggested she base her study there. And thus, on Jan. 17, 1939, Mary Tudor drove along the high, swooping bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River to the Soldiers and Sailors Orphans' Home. The study she began that morning became the subject of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the State of Iowa and the University of Iowa.
posted by sciatrix at 3:51 PM - 27 comments

Super Blood Wolf Moon 2019

No, it's not that T-shirt. It's actually a total lunar eclipse and "super moon." NASA: Viewers in North and South America, as well as those in western parts of Europe and Africa, will be able to watch one of the sky's most dazzling shows on Jan. 20, 2019, when the Sun, Earth and Moon align at 9:12 p.m. PST (12:12 a.m. EST), creating a total lunar eclipse. The full moon will also be at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, called perigee. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:37 PM - 44 comments

Burn Brian 2019

Burn Brian 2019: the "Queen of Shitty Robots" shares some unfortunate news (SLYT) (previously). "I don't want to be a brain tumor girl -- like, I don't want this to be my thing. I want to be badass builder girl who can build whatever she wants and does random projects and goes to space and is allowed to do headstands." [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 2:36 PM - 30 comments

To Save the Sound of a Stradivarius, a Whole City Must Keep Quiet

To Save the Sound of a Stradivarius, a Whole City Must Keep Quiet Make sure to read it to the end. I love it when technology is used to preserve art.
posted by riffola at 1:24 PM - 19 comments

Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac

"In a landmark decision by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), McDonald's lost the right to the trademark "Big Mac" across Europe to the Ireland-based, fast-food chain Supermac." [more inside]
posted by gauche at 1:11 PM - 40 comments

“She decides to leave for Europe, with hopes of a better life.”

Bury Me, My Love [YouTube][Game Trailer] “A powerful interactive tale of one woman’s migration from Syria to France. The game takes place via a WhatsApp-style cellphone conversation between Nour and her anxious husband, Majd, who remains in war-torn Homs, caring for elderly relatives. I play as Majd, responding to my wife’s text messages, offering support and advice through a series of dialogue choices. Nour is a middle-class professional who works in the medical field. She wants to escape the war that has destroyed her life and the lives of everyone she knows. Nour’s journey takes her through many countries, across stiffly guarded borders as well as perilous mountains and seas. She falls in with a variety of fellow refugees and migrants. Some aid her. Others seek her help. Others exploit her.” [Play the Game's Prologue for Free Here] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 1:03 PM - 3 comments

Unendowed with wealth or pity

@girlziplocked asks, "What's a dirty secret that everybody in your industry knows about but anyone outside of your line of work would be scandalized to hear?" Twitter responds with dozens of reports of systemic fraud, abuse, prejudice, corruption, incompetence, and precarity from restaurants, heavy industry, non-profits, technology, theatre, shipping, customer service, flower arranging, medicine, law, art, education, government, senior care, agriculture, telecommunications, and virtually every other sphere of modern economic activity. [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 11:14 AM - 170 comments

Do unto otters...

Pete (the otter) and Shu-Shu (the Scottie) - in which a Scottie dog convinces an injured otter to try swimming. [Lots of photos and circa 2009 web design]
posted by moonmilk at 10:39 AM - 9 comments

‘Our country is in a hellhole right now’—Cardi B

As the partial US government shutdown winds up its fourth week, we learned that President Trump directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his Moscow Tower Project (BuzzFeed), a bombshell development immediately condemned by Democrats (Politico) as obstruction of justice if not an impeachable offense (Lawfare). House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler both pledged to investigate (AP). Attorney General nominee Bill Barr, writing to DAG Rod Rosenstein last June about "Muller's 'Obstruction' Theory", also declared, "[I]f a President […] suborns perjury[…], then he, like anyone else, commits the crime of obstruction." In other Cohen news, the Wall Street Journal revealed he hired an IT Firm to rig early CNBC, Drudge Polls to favor Trump, subsequently stiffing the firm and Trump (allegedly). Cohen still intends to testify before before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on on February 7th, despite concerns for his family (CNN) after Trump's repeated hostile public remarks. [more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:40 AM - 289 comments

“purpose paradigm”

“However, the truth is that there is no convincing evidence at all of this supposed success. A fast-growing body of reports, analyses, and research, including reports from Amnesty International, shows how self-regulating business initiatives, including the palm-oil certification scheme of Unilever, make no real impact or worse, inhibit real change with a false illusion of progress. “One of the systemic problems that Unilever’s ‘sustainable’ palm-oil scheme refuses to acknowledge,” says Eric Gottwald from the International Labor Rights Forum, “is that workers on plantations need independent trade unions to improve their working conditions, not corporate-sponsored “certifiers.” A six-month long investigation into Unilever’s supply chain in 2017 by five millennial journalists from Investico, a Dutch platform for investigative journalism, did not find evidence to back up Unilever’s leadership claims either. At the five certified palm-oil plantations that they visited in Indonesia, as part of the investigation, the team encountered the same environmental and labor violations that are known to be pervasive among non-certified plantations.” Big Business Has a New Scam: The ‘Purpose Paradigm’ Multinational corporations are luring millennial workers with empty promises and self-serving slogans. (The Nation)
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 AM - 2 comments

That's "one hundred ten", not "six"

Donald Knuth Lectures - a playlist of 110 lectures (most of them about an hour long) on TeX, mathematical writing, algorithms, data structures, hardware, cryptography...
posted by Wolfdog at 6:15 AM - 10 comments

Hundreds of thousands of women who aren't driving about it

Women's March AND March for Life Reproductive rights are an often contentious flash point in American politics, and this weekend, in the midst of a the Trump shutdown (current Omnigate catch-all thread on mefi), that flash point will be in Washington, as both the March for Life and the Women's March make their way to the National Mall. The Women's March started in 2017 as a global protest for recognition of women's issues upon the election of Donald Trump, and at 500,000-1,000,000 participants was supposedly the largest march on Washington since the Vietnam War protests, and made pussy hats a thing (although in 2018 they were less of a thing), while the March for Life, though smaller at tens of thousands, is both much older, starting in 1972, and used to draw much bigger crowds, and also tends to be a bit more religiony. Wherever you stand on the issue, this is the weekend they're marching about it in Washington. [more inside]
posted by saysthis at 5:05 AM - 45 comments

Puputov Cocktails and Other Shitty Weapons

(SL Vice) People have definitely tried to kill each other with shit. What follows is an (almost certainly incomplete) chronological history of poo as a weapon. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 3:37 AM - 16 comments

January 17

A family of drunken tourists has been terrorizing New Zealand

For weeks, a terrible family of unruly tourists has wrought a trail of destruction from Auckland all the way to Hamilton. A large man in red shorts and a white tank top, a woman in a unicorn onesie, and a small, angry boy are the unwilling public faces of this terrible family who number about 12, according to multiple witnesses. [more inside]
posted by thirdring at 10:33 PM - 69 comments

With ingestible pill, you can track fart development in real time

Scientists often hope to break ground with their research. But a group of Australian researchers would likely be happy with breaking wind. The team developed an ingestible electronic capsule to monitor gas levels in the human gut. When it’s paired with a pocket-sized receiver and a mobile phone app, the pill reports tail-wind conditions in real time as it passes from the stomach to the colon. [more inside]
posted by cynical pinnacle at 6:20 PM - 26 comments

Technological Tristesse

Sad by design. "While classical melancholy was defined by isolation and introspection, today’s tristesse plays out amidst busy social media interactions. Geert Lovink on ‘technological sadness’ – the default mental state of the online billions."
posted by homunculus at 6:10 PM - 11 comments

Green Gold

The early 1950s were boom years for chlorophyll. Hailed as a miracle odor-buster, it was added to everything from cigarettes to dish soap, as Tedium's Ernie Smith reports. While the '50s fad eventually fizzled, pseudoscience profiteers are behind a resurgence of chlorophyll in everything from skin care products to anti-cancer treatments.
posted by duffell at 5:46 PM - 11 comments

New Truths or Old Traps?

Gideon Lewis-Kraus writes for the NY Times on the promise and problems of ancient DNA: Imagine that the written history of our current era were lost to time, and paleogenomicists of the future were trying to explain the peopling of North America on the basis of a few bones that dated from between the 16th and 20th centuries. If these bones included the descendants of British, Spanish and French colonists as well as those of Yoruba slaves, the researchers might conclude that European migrants arrived together with African migrants and that their “sex-biased admixture” created the people known henceforth as Americans. From our perspective, those geneticists wouldn’t exactly be wrong about all this — but nobody would accuse them of being right, either.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:43 PM - 6 comments

Before we go any further: no, Mark Jackson didn’t murder anybody.

If you were an enormous fan of Mark Jackson circa 1990, and you wanted to buy his trading card on eBay in the last few months, you were out of luck. How Two Murderers Were Spotted on an Old Mark Jackson Trading Card.
posted by bondcliff at 5:06 PM - 7 comments

Determinedly advance technology better than Germany

Stanford’s Robotics Legacy
posted by cashman at 3:02 PM - 5 comments

Athens GA Inside/Out

Dancey post-punk legends Pylon 1980-83
Live: Danger/Feast On My Heart - Volume - Recent Title - Working is No Problem - Crazy - Danger - Weather Radio - No Clocks - Driving School - K
Studio: Beep - Yo-Yo - M-Train - Altitude - Precaution - Read a Book - Weather Radio - Cool - Italian Movie Theme [more inside]
posted by msalt at 2:24 PM - 16 comments

"Now I remember why I unfollowed you!"

Jack Dorsey Has No Clue What He Wants: A Q&A with Twitter’s CEO on right-wing extremism, Candace Owens, and what he’d do if the president called on his followers to murder journalists. [Ashley Feinberg, HuffPo]
What do you mean by clearer actions within the product?
"Just, you know, finding the report button isn’t the most obvious and intuitive right now. So that certainly slows things down."
But what’s the alternative to that?
"Making it more obvious? I don’t ... I mean, I’m not going to ... I don’t know what it looks like right now, but we know what’s wrong with it. So, you know, that’s what we’re working on."
In other words, the most the CEO of Twitter was able to tell me about specific steps being taken to solve the rampant, site-wide harassment problem that’s plagued the platform for years is that they’re looking into maybe making the report button a little bigger, eventually.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:16 PM - 61 comments

"Semenly" Harmless Back Pain

In a new case study, Irish doctors report the baffling case of a 33-year-old man who injected his own semen intravenously for a year and a half, a self-developed “cure” intended to treat his chronic back pain. It does not appear to have worked.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:01 PM - 88 comments

a fuller range of human sensory apparatus

This essay offers a chronological survey of the range of songs and musical productions inspired by Darwin and his theory since they entered the public sphere some 150 years ago. It draws on an unusual set of historical materials, including illustrated sheet music, lyrics and librettos, wax cylinder recordings, vinyl records, and video recordings located in digital and sound archives and on the Internet. If you'd rather listen than read, ecologist Jeremy Fox has gleefully compiled a dozen evolution- or Darwin-inspired songs for the listening.
posted by sciatrix at 1:42 PM - 7 comments

"Selfishness lasts a day; Civilization endures forever"

Tablets from some of the world’s oldest civilisations hold rich details about life thousands of years ago, but few people today can read them. New technology is helping to unlock them. How AI could help us with ancient languages like Sumerian (BBC Future), focused on Machine Translation and Automated Analysis of Cuneiform Languages (Github). There are tens of thousands of Mesopotamian administrative records from the 21st Century BC, and more than 50,000 Mesopotamian engraved seals, yet some 90% of cuneiform texts remain untranslated. Additionally, computers can detect marks too faint for human eyes, and compare stamp marks to identify related works in different collections. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM - 9 comments

the nicest sense of personal honor

CHRIS HAYES [podcast, "Why Is This Happening" 11 DEC 2018, transcript of podcast]: There is a mythos about like, "When we founded the country we broke with the old ways of Europe that were blood-soaked." JOANNE FREEMAN [professor of history and american studies, Yale] [twitter]: Right. CHRIS HAYES: "We created the rule of law and the revered Constitution, where we banished all of that stuff and we ... " And it's bullshit. That moment, that's just Mafia warlord-ism in a committee of Congress. JOANNE FREEMAN: For sure. There is this level of violence. You're absolutely right, that there is a pretty shiny narrative of early America that goes on for quite some time in the way we understand the past, and there wasn't a shiny moment. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:39 PM - 3 comments

Sometimes soaring like a dolphin, sometimes skipping like a stone

Bodysurfing — surfing waves without a board — is the most ancient of the wave-riding sports. Easy enough to learn in an afternoon and challenging enough to pursue for a lifetime, it's the sport of presidents and kids. Bodysurfers have been charging heavy waves at spots like The Wedge and Pipeline for decades. But until recently no one took on the world's biggest waves without a surfboard. Now a few bodysurfers have started swimming out at Nazare, Portugal, where surfing world records are regularly broken, and where bodysurfers look like flecks of foam on waves the size of skyscrapers. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 11:57 AM - 16 comments

“Get over here!”

Mortal Kombat 11 [YouTube] [Gameplay Trailer] [Story Trailer] A new level of brutality, plus a peek at the roster.
posted by Fizz at 11:45 AM - 15 comments

Canadian government up creek with paddles

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business. You might think the last thing you'd stumble onto on a rural road in central Kentucky is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But the owners of Mammoth Cave, Canoe, and Kayak decided to use a photograph of Trudeau and his family to promote their business.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 10:31 AM - 13 comments

“It started off fairly mild”

“I was spending hours a day trying to get him to see other people’s views. But the more he would watch these videos, the more he reinforced his opinions. If I said something, he’d just send another video to ‘prove’ his point. He’d shut down conversations if I didn’t relent and agree with him. He wanted to debate things with me — but only up to a point. Eventually, he’d expect me to side with him.”
When YouTube Red-Pills The Love Of Your Life
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM - 114 comments

« Older posts