February 28

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver free on YouTube in certain countries

Good News! Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is now free on YouTube in countries where no one owns the streaming rights, with plans to upload the entire archive. This includes all of Latin America, a lot of Asia (except China, India and most Arab countries), all of Eastern Europe, plus France, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. If you want to check for sure, you can do so on this map, or you can just try watching the latest episode. And then you can join in on Fanfare discussions of the show.
posted by Kattullus at 11:49 PM - 1 comment

Texas Red...and Other Chili Recipes

The dish known as chili, or chilli, or chile, is a land of contrasts. Let's just get that out of the way up front.

The origins of chili are not fully clear, but it seems to have come primarily from San Antonio Texas in the 1800's, where a hash or stew of beef, chili peppers, and other spices called "chili con carne" was popular. It is apparently not of Mexican origin but rather a "Tex-Mex" recipe of primarily US origin.

Anyway, on to the recipes! [more inside]
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:36 PM - 12 comments

Academic turns PhD about kangaroo socialisation into a music video

ANU academic and songwriter wins global Dance Your PhD competition for kangaroo socialisation music video. Australian National University academic Weliton Menário Costa's elaborately choreographed video Kangaroo Time (Club Edit) explaining his study of social behaviour in kangaroos wins the worldwide Dance Your PhD competition.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 6:17 PM - 9 comments

Guster Keeps Going All Day

Ex-Boston-Street-Band Guster has a new album coming out and they've released two new songs. Keep Going has a fantastical music video. All Day is a lyric video. Their last album was 5 years ago.
posted by hippybear at 5:59 PM - 9 comments

the insatiable desire to swerve

'After not one but two positive reviews a day apart in The New York Times – “a warm, intimate book, a volume of apple-cheeked popular intellectual history” – and an excerpt in The New Yorker, the book vaulted into the NYT bestseller list. It went on to reel in a Pulitzer and a National Book Award. While The Swerve picked up these laurels in the non-fiction category, [...] Greenblatt, in essence, took a small truth and made of it a big falsehood; one that many people, given The Swerve’s critical and commercial success, are inclined to believe.' In a 2023 essay 'The Italian Job', Luke Slattery attempts to set the swerved record straight.
posted by mittens at 3:29 PM - 8 comments

Liberty (Emu) City

LiMu Emu (and Doug) get dirty. [SLYT] Saturday Night Live cut this sketch for time but you should make some time to watch it.
posted by bbrown at 2:52 PM - 10 comments

If It Ain't Woke, Don't Fix It

As we have seen before with other image models like DALLE-3, the AI is taking your request and then modifying it to create a prompt. Image models have a bias towards too often producing the most common versions of things and lacking diversity (of all kinds) and representation, so systems often try to fix this by randomly appending modifiers to the prompt. The problem is that Gemini’s version does a crazy amount of this and does it in ways and places where doing so is crazy. from The Gemini Incident by Zvi Mowshowitz [Part I, Part II] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 1:46 PM - 36 comments

Sleight of the 'Invisible Hand'

A surprisingly interesting case study on what the left hand does, when the other is the invisible hand of the market: How Boeing broke down: Inside the series of leadership failures that hobbled the airline giant. "It was that managerial decisions, made over a period that spanned more than 20 years and four CEOs, gradually weakened a once vaunted system of quality control and troubleshooting on the factory floor, leaving gaps that have allowed sundry defects to slip through" (non-paywall), changing Boeing from an engineering product company to the McDonnell Douglas finance machine. Previously (1) (2) (3).
posted by rubatan at 12:44 PM - 28 comments

Officer-Involved Book Banning

Sheriff Robert Norris is speaking into his body camera. “Today’s date is April 20, approximately 7 a.m. Just want to document my visit to the Hayden Library. My attorney and I are just curious and would like to document this visit to see what kind of materials are on display here.” Norris, the sheriff of Kootenai County, Idaho, meets up outside the library with Marianna Cochran, the founder of CleanBooks4Kids, a “grassroots group of North Idaho citizens alarmed at the abundance of books sexualizing, grooming, and indoctrinating kids in our local libraries at taxpayer expense,” to search for the book Identical, which Norris says he had “seen an image [of] floating on social media.” [...]

They walk into the library, and for the next 45 minutes search for “obscene” books in the Young Adult section while Norris’s camera is rolling in one of the most bizarre police body camera videos I’ve ever seen.
404media: Police Bodycam Shows Sheriff Hunting for 'Obscene' Books at Library [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 11:43 AM - 43 comments

HBO and David Peterson De-Arabize Dune for the Screen

Writing for the New Yorker, Manvir Singh asks whether the removal of Arabic elements from the language of the Fremen by David Peterson (the creator of Dothraki and other constructed languages) has more to do with making the language "realistic" or with Hollywood's inability to portray Arabs—especially desert-dwelling Arab freedom fighters—as good guys, rather than as terrorists. [more inside]
posted by TheProfessor at 9:22 AM - 82 comments

Skewered Meat, Skewered

Skewered meat is Middle Eastern in origin, but kebabs got their start with the Ottomans. Skewered meat is Greek in origin, from way back. Skewered meat is different when it comes to Persian Kebab. Skewered meat leads to debate. Skewered meat is from the dawn of humanity. Meats on a stick can be many things, including spread on the Silk Road, and the varieties go on and on. [more inside]
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:20 AM - 33 comments

It's not even very good!

AI is already better than you. "You cannot shame this technology into disuse any more. That only works if quality is something the people with money care about. The problem with the continuing erosion of the games industry, the dehumanisation of game workers and the brutal treatment of outsourced work, is that many roles in the games industry are already treated as if they were automated. You are appealing to the better nature of money men who do not have one."
posted by simmering octagon at 5:11 AM - 67 comments

The men don't know, but the little girls understand

I'm about as far from this record's target demographic as it's possible to get, but I know a great pop single when I hear one. And THIS is a great pop single: Caity Baser: I'm a Problem
posted by Paul Slade at 4:56 AM - 34 comments

"I want to help these weirdos of the world get their day in the sun."

Have you heard of the scaly-foot snail? The Takin? The Indian Purple FrogConsider Nature is a blog devoted to the oddballs of the animal world, combining biology, ecology, and a heavy dose of NSFW humor. [more inside]
posted by chaiminda at 3:34 AM - 1 comment

Airfoil - Bartosz Ciechanowski

"The particles are zipping around in random directions, constantly entering and leaving this region. However, despite all this motion what you’re seeing here is a simulation of still air." Elaborate 14,000-word web-essay by Bartosz Ciechanowski (previously) via lobster.rs
posted by cgc373 at 3:07 AM - 4 comments

Lo-fi beats to smash Tokyo to

The Godzilla Meditation Series, lightly animated stills from kaiju movies with ambient music. From Kaijutopia. [more inside]
posted by Shepherd at 2:57 AM - 6 comments

"Joking in humans requires quite complex cognitive abilities"

The teasing behaviour was similar to that adopted by young human children, according to the researchers, in that it was intentional, provocative, persistent and included elements of surprise, play and checking for the recipient’s response. The human equivalent might be sticking your tongue out at someone and then running away to gauge their reaction. This style of teasing could even form the foundation for more complicated forms of humour. from Why some animals have evolved a sense of humour [BBC] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 2:16 AM - 10 comments

February 27

Conservation park home to koalas near Brisbane to grow by 213 hectares

Major conservation park home to koalas near Brisbane to grow by 213 hectares (526 acres). The state government purchases a large parcel of land that will be added to the Daisy Hill Conservation Park, which features mountain bike tracks, walking paths, picnic areas, horse riding trails, and a koala centre.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 7:40 PM - 9 comments

Mapo Tofu Recipe: The Real Deal

I was parked in my parents’ bedroom, flipping through the channels of countless historical dramas (you can literally go through ten straight channels, and each time the screen changes, you’ll see actresses in traditional dress, fighting back tears in disturbingly clear HD), Chinese nature documentaries (run little deer, ruuuun!), and mindless extended infomercials for the best Chinese dried dates you’ll ever taste, or your money back guaranteed (…or not). Anyways, I was knocked out of my stupor when my limited Chinese vocabulary was able to detect that the latest cooking program I had settled on was featuring a professional chef explaining how to make Mapo Tofu the right way. [more inside]
posted by cupcakeninja at 6:01 PM - 28 comments

Please help find a real "Rosie the Riveter"

There's longer article with pictures and a video here The Collings Foundation is restoring a P-47 Thunderbolt, and inside the fuselage they found a handwritten note. It's signed by either "Sue Tharp” or “Sue Thorp," who was working on the production line of Republic Aircraft in Evansville, IN in late 1944. Can anyone help find her? [more inside]
posted by wenestvedt at 5:45 PM - 8 comments

Depp v Heard: who trolled Amber?

A new Tortoise investigation suggests that Heard was trolled by an army of bots, some of them apparently operating from Saudi Arabia. [more inside]
posted by goo at 3:52 PM - 32 comments

Step By Step Repair

What if we could extend those basic principles — that repair should be social, embodied, intuitive, accessible — beyond the device or object? Could we apply these logics at the scale of civic systems and public spaces?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:20 PM - 3 comments

How did poetry manage to fall down the stairs of relevance?

Fast-forwarding to today, it seems that poetry no longer garners the attention that it used to. In the whirlwind of today’s society, poetry has found itself fighting for attention against newer art forms such as film and music. Movies and music have seamlessly captured the raw emotions and societal complexities that once danced within the lines of poems and they have done so in a manner that is outwardly more entertaining and approachable. All the while, poetry has taken a dramatic shift and evolved into an art form that is highly confessional and often accompanied by illustrations and other visuals. It is certainly possible that this increasingly personal style of poetry has not appealed to all enthusiasts of this genre and this may attribute to a decline in readership. from Should Modern Newspapers Publish Poetry? [The Artifice]
posted by chavenet at 3:09 PM - 42 comments

At the time he was alive and well and singing in Amsterdam.

Here's Jacques Brel on the Dutch television program Club Domino in the early Sixties. [50m] The songs are in French and the host speaks Dutch, but wow, he does a thing with his song delivery, reminds me a bit of Sinatra or Dylan with how he's living the moment.
posted by hippybear at 2:42 PM - 10 comments

Beautiful faces. beautiful clothes, beautiful soundtrack

When bewildered by the current state of affairs in the world, I turn to things like this to brighten my day. I love beautiful tailoring and design in clothing. But the reason for my post is that a friend of mine does the soundtrack for MaxMara couture runway shows, We go back a fair bit. We both worked an artsy restaurant in Soho NYC in the late 70's. Dishwashers. $4.00 an hour cash, and one meal. This is when Soho was still affordable. [more inside]
posted by Czjewel at 1:34 PM - 3 comments

There is no way of living in direct contact with reality

Almost everyone I’ve met would be well-served thinking more about what to focus on. Building mental models, figuring out the explore vs exploit trade-off, and more. [more inside]
posted by osmond_nash at 1:24 PM - 23 comments

Help. Police. Murder.

Chaotic off-brand Willy Wonka pop-up exhibit ends with police intervention
Obviously, when the poor Charlie And The Chocolate Factory enthusiasts showed up at Box Hub Warehouse, the event looked nothing like what the event description suggested. Instead, they were confronted with a sad-looking, mostly empty warehouse with a bouncy house and some ramshackle decorations. Jack Proctor, a dad who took his kids to the event, told STV News that “we stepped inside to find a disorganized mini-maze of randomly placed oversized props, a lackluster candy station that dispersed one jelly bean per child, and a terrifying chrome-masked character that scared many of the kids to tears.” [...] "The Oompa Loompa from the knock off Wonka land experience looks like she’s running a literal meth lab and is seriously questioning the life choices up until this point."
The face behind Willy Wonka 'scam': How Billy Coull 'conned' kids by using AI generated images to sell 'immersive' experience - More shocking pictures emerge of ‘shambles’ Willy Wonka experience - Employee contracts signed with "erasable ink" - Actor hired as Willy Wonka for cancelled event called it a place 'where dreams went to die' - 'Willy Wonka' chocolate experience boss 'truly sorry' after 'chaos' - Read the ChatGPT-generated event "script" [PDF]
posted by Rhaomi at 1:03 PM - 61 comments

I know you will probably put it up again

just to tick me off. In the early 2000s, gaming magazine GameNOW spent two years sneaking the same screenshot of Final Fantasy VIII into every issue, just to needle a single irate reader.
posted by signsofrain at 12:14 PM - 10 comments

Eugenics Powers IQ and AI

What kind of intelligence is valued in AI? Writing for Public Books in 2021, Natasha Stovall (previously) asked us to consider whether the claim that conceptually undergirds IQ—that "human intelligence is universal, hierarchical, measurable"—is reified in the development of AI. The answer seems clear from today's perspective; we use the same terminology to talk about AI advances as we do "gifted" individuals (e.g., verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, processing speed, working memory.) More provocatively, Stovall charges that such a "reductive definition of human ability" has a coherent lineage from eugenics through the popularization of IQ and on to today's version of AI—and that all of the above are rooted in whiteness.
posted by criticalyeast at 12:00 PM - 35 comments

To the Moon (eventually) but with great food!

Victor Glover will be the first African-American to eat maple cream cookies and smoked salmon while traveling to and from the Moon on the Artemis II mission
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:42 AM - 10 comments

A Closer Look at Self-immolations in Freedom Struggles

Dying in the Truth: Self-immolation is an unthinkably costly and tragic method of last resort sometimes used by those striving for justice and freedom in asymmetric conflicts. The first person to perform this fiery protest as a modern political tactic is Thich Quang Duc, who sat in the lotus position at a busy intersection in Saigon in 1963 and set himself on fire to decry Buddhist suffering under a pro-Catholic regime. Since the birth of the tactic in 1963, the world has witnessed some 3,000 incidents of self-immolation, according to sociologist Michael Biggs. About 160 of these occurred in Tibet between 2011 and 2018, marking one of the greatest waves of suicide protests in history. Considering the extent of the practice, we, scholars and practitioners of nonviolent resistance, must ask ourselves: Why do some people prefer to die in the truth, rather than to live in a lie? And does the involvement of death, in and of itself, automatically place any tactic in the camp of violence?
posted by infini at 8:27 AM - 103 comments

"I wake up later and I can’t pretend anymore."

Maureen F. McHugh (previously) wrote two short scifi stories recently in which folks navigate modern uncertainty with a fantastical twist. In "The Goldfish Man" (2022), "Before everything went to hell I was making double vases." In "Liminal Spaces" (2024) (which feels in conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin's Changing Planes), "There was a broad corridor going off to the left that she definitely didn’t remember. It shook her out of her ruminations." [more inside]
posted by brainwane at 7:44 AM - 6 comments

A new emergency procedure for cardiac arrests aims to save more lives

A new emergency procedure for cardiac arrests aims to save more lives – here’s how it works. New Zealand is just the second country to approve a novel defibrillation procedure for some patients. With current survival rates very low, it is hoped the new method will save many more lives.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 6:26 AM - 15 comments

Who told them to seek escapism instead of an escape?

The “Disney adult” industrial complex The grown-up Disney superfan has become a much-mocked phenomenon online. But creating these consumers was always part of the corporation’s plan. [more inside]
posted by knownassociate at 6:02 AM - 59 comments

Not every prediction came true

The top thinkers of 1974 were gathered together in the pages of “Saturday Review,” for a special issue celebrating that magazine’s 50th anniversary. In a series of essays, each one tried to imagine their world 50 more years into the future, in the far-away year of 2024 ... The future they’d hoped for — or feared for — is detailed and debated, offering readers of today a surprisingly clear picture of the future they’d expected in 1974. from 50 Years Later: Remembering How the Future Looked in 1974 [The New Stack]
posted by chavenet at 1:46 AM - 47 comments

February 26

Donald Trump's Rhetoric

The Unique Rhetoric of Donald Trump [20m] Dr. Jennifer Mercieca, professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Texas A&M University, discusses the unprecedented rhetorical devices Donald Trump has used to build a cult-like following, capture the attention economy, and allowed him to avoid accountability despite major political controversies and legal challenges. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 7:06 PM - 34 comments

Pilot program using ancient cultural burning technique

Pilot program using ancient cultural burning technique to prepare for future bushfires in NSW. Residents on NSW's South Coast were trapped with nowhere to flee to but the beach when Black Summer bushfires advanced on their towns, but a new cultural burning program aims to keep key roads open during emergencies.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 6:45 PM - 6 comments

Barney the Tv Border Collie watches Jurassic Park 'n Stuff

On YouTube, Barney the Tv Border Collie wants to save Bella from the werewolves in Twilight.*
*My God, what is this doing to Barney's brain!?

See also, Barney the Tv Border Collie watches Dances with Wolves
same * as above
And don't get me started on skateboarding Frenchies in China
Seriously, what hath Dog Named Stella Wrought!?
posted by y2karl at 5:43 PM - 13 comments

Detroit Coney

"While no one place can definitively claim to be the birthplace of the Coney dog, Michigan, by sheer volume and duration of its Coney restaurants, makes a strong bid. Detroit’s famous Coney dog restaurants, American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island, followed Todoroff’s Original Coney Island in Jackson, Michigan, which dates its beginning to 1914." 'The Cult of the Detroit Coney Dog, Explained.'
posted by clavdivs at 2:36 PM - 44 comments

Like Jo Jo's and Devil Strips

Suaerkraut balls are a hometown favorite here in Akron, so much that we even named our baseball team after them (well, for only one day), and have our own local sauerkraut ball factory. Of course you can make your own, but they're just not as good. [more inside]
posted by slogger at 2:16 PM - 21 comments

Death of an airliner

While reviewing the handful of 747 accidents caused by airframe failings, the narrator mentioned that the United Airlines 747-122 – which had lost its cargo door out of Honolulu on February 24th, 1989 – was repaired and returned to service... I was just curious about what became of United Airlines’ N4713U after the media intensity surrounding that fateful night. Was it was still flying? At the very least, I thought I’d find a story that got more and more “interesting” as the airliner aged. . . And I wouldn’t be disappointed. [more inside]
posted by ShooBoo at 12:13 PM - 34 comments

Did firearms render armour obsolete in the late Middle Ages/Renaissance?

The short answer is… It’s complicated.
posted by AlSweigart at 8:07 AM - 19 comments

I thought it was a laugh but people in the audience cry a little

From Sniffles The Mouse to Bugs Bunny to The Grinch... Chuck Jones: Extremes and InBetweens - A Life in Animation [1h24m] (Originally recorded on VHS from Australian TV in 2000.) [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 6:38 AM - 6 comments

It's your Monday Morning free thread feat: House Plants

I have two spider plants in my office, of the just plain green leaf variety. What are you keeping green in your place? Or talk about anything you like, it's a free thread!
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:48 AM - 111 comments

The food is not what it seems

While Minnesota sushi can ostensibly be found in restaurants, and has appeared on television, its origins are both obscure and humble. The "Minnesota" part of the claim is, however, base calumny. The European mode is another variant. The dish may share some DNA, cultural or otherwise, with molded salmon mousse. Could it be traced back to the Roman tradition of "concealed food?" Probably knot, that would be stretching it. Order falls, chaos reigns. [more inside]
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:14 AM - 31 comments

What Australia's climate was like 350,000 years ago

This "underground library" shows what Australia's climate was like 350,000 years ago. Naracoorte Caves study shows Australian ice age was wetter, more animal-friendly, than first thought.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 3:29 AM - 2 comments

The changing political cleavage structures of Western democracies

The causes of populism are at the heart of the most significant political and social science debates. One narrative contends that economic globalization resulted in real suffering among less-educated working-class voters, catalyzing populism. Another narrative contends that populism is an adverse reaction to cultural progressivism and that economic factors are not relevant or only relevant symbolically through perceptions of loss of cultural status. Even though the evidence suggests that the generational change argument suggested by the canonical book of Norris and Inglehart does not hold empirically, the cultural narrative nevertheless seems to be particularly influential. from The Populist Backlash Against Globalization: A Meta-Analysis of the Causal Evidence [Cambridge University]
posted by chavenet at 1:41 AM - 57 comments

Non-binary Oklahoma student dies after school fight

16-year old Nex Benedict died on February 8th (wiki), a day after being beaten unconscious by 3 other students in their Owasso High School bathroom. [more inside]
posted by rubatan at 1:31 AM - 103 comments

February 25

Live those dreams, Scheme those schemes

Todd In the Shadows undertakes an epic troll of Brits with ONE HIT WONDERLAND: "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
posted by rongorongo at 11:16 PM - 37 comments

Listing was definitely a symptom of patriarchy.

Genevieve Hudson: "I was not feminine enough to have an eating disorder, I told myself."
Content warning for disordered eating and body dysmorphia.
I eat no muffin with my coffee. I drink no milk. I pull a tough hat over short hair. I scribble lines of tough ink over tough skin. I see thin, nonbinary bodies that have sprouted wings.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:38 PM - 14 comments

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