July 20

The national parks staff who have to scrub and vacuum caves every winter

Spare a thought for national parks staff who have to scrub and vacuum caves every winter. It can take up to two weeks and is exhausting work, but these specialised staff feel houseproud after cleaning out Tasmania's public caves. So, what's involved?
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 12:09 AM - 0 comments

July 19

Folk legend Happy Traum has passed

Happy Traum, a stalwart of the Greenwich Village and Woodstock folk scenes and longtime friend and collaborator of Bob Dylan, died on Wednesday at age 86. The Hudson Valley magazine Chronogram first reported the musician’s death, and his close friend and fellow musician John Sebastian confirmed to RS that the cause was cancer.
posted by thirdring at 8:43 PM - 4 comments

“Why have I been allowed so little pleasure out of my books?”

In 1948, successful playwright Dodie Smith published I Capture the Castle, the coming-of-age story of a young woman written as a series of journal entries. Smith was influenced by Joyce and Proust and spent years meticulously editing the novel "with a care that would not have disgraced Flaubert," only to be devastated when it became a bestseller rather than a critical success. In the New York Review of Books, Anna Leszkiewicz makes the case for the novel's ambitious metatextual qualities: 'The Small-Girl's Proust' (archive.is).
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:16 PM - 8 comments

Lazy is a coward's term

Jim Smith of the YouTube channel Midwest Magic Cleaning talks about the words "lazy" and "motivation" [SLYT 20 min], while also dealing with the burnout of producing internet content and moderating comments: In that video I explained what depression was how it can lead to a house looking like this, and explained that the occupants of the house had gone through extensive periods of depression. There were two overwhelming comments on that that I have deleted by the literal thousands: "You can be poor but still be clean" even though they're literally watching a cleaning channel that's called Midwest Magic Cleaning. [...] The other one was [...] saying things like "Yeah they're poor but they still have a fancy PC, two video game consoles, a big flat screen TV, a name brand fancy couch." They're literally making up stories because I bought 100% of that as gifts for Christmas [or] handed down when I upgraded my own...
posted by AlSweigart at 2:56 PM - 19 comments

Dust Off Yer Accordions

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his last album Mandatory Fun, Weird Al Yankovic just released a brand new single: “Polkamania!,” a medley of a dozen of the biggest pop hits of the last decade. And yes, it is a polka medley. [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:01 PM - 25 comments

IRS collected $1 Billion from Rich Tax Scofflaws

IRS reports collecting $1 billion from rich households’ back taxes (WaPo, July 11, 2024; archive link). For years, the tax agency simply didn’t try collecting sizable debts owed by 1,600 people with annual incomes of at least $1 million. [more inside]
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:00 PM - 26 comments

Love triangle for the ages

Close Looking: Lieven van Lathem's Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies Join the Getty's ongoing video series on close-looking, where intriguing personalities explore the details of art works they cherish. Do you want to hear how a Flemish illuminator, Lieven van Lathem dazzled readers in 1464 with the manuscript, Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies? Senior Curator of Manuscripts, Beth Morrison selects her favorite pages from the romance story that showcases a love triangle, exotic adventures, and extraordinary worlds in tiny manuscript spaces. SLYT 6:43
posted by bq at 12:29 PM - 1 comment

the office (BUT WITH CARS)

The Best New TV Show Is Somehow This Chevy Dealer’s Surprisingly Good Parody Of ‘The Office’
posted by chavenet at 12:17 PM - 1 comment

New tech helps find hidden details in whale, cassowary calls

New tech helps find hidden details in whale, cassowary and other barely audible animal calls
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 11:03 AM - 1 comment

For Book Lovers

Sex educators, counselors and coaches recommend their favorite books. SLNYT
posted by storybored at 7:56 AM - 11 comments

$168.5 billion and counting

Biden administration cancels another $1.2B in student debt (Axios). President Biden’s Complete Track Record on Student Loan Forgiveness: "The Biden administration has now cumulatively forgiven $168.5 billion in federal student loan debt for 4.75 million borrowers." [more inside]
posted by kristi at 7:28 AM - 30 comments

Nothing's shocking

I Was A Creative Force Behind One Of The Biggest Rock Bands Of The '90s. Then I Watched Them Erase Me From Their Story.
posted by Kitteh at 7:23 AM - 31 comments

A new unity like a bundle of sticks

Horny for fascism - on the medias quest to put the best possible spin on Trump and MAGA.
posted by Artw at 7:02 AM - 32 comments

Saying "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" is getting tiresome

Evesham Journal: Live: Worcestershire hit by global IT outage. BBC Live: Worldwide travel and banking hit after cybersecurity update causes IT chaos. Guardian Live: Global IT outage live: software update causes chaos with transport, banks and businesses. Daily Mirror: Emergency Cobra meeting held as NHS and airports hit by global IT outage. Online service stability checker.
posted by Wordshore at 4:27 AM - 178 comments


Swear words and profanities from around the world. [CW: swear words and profanities from around the world]
posted by chavenet at 1:17 AM - 36 comments

July 18

Singapore Approves 16 Insect Species for Human Consumption

Singapore Approves 16 Insect Species for Human Consumption
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 6:41 PM - 22 comments

"Excuse me madam, were are you going with this..."

"Wherever I goddamn like." (slyt, 1:11) Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala in a key diplomatic scene from the series The Expanse. Aghdashloo in a interview: "Well, my major is political science and international relations. I studied political science in the UK, forty-two years ago I started, and got my BA in 1984. As of then, like any other political student, I used to call myself a student, the fact that I was coming from a revolution in Iran, made me believe that leaving Iran, there was no place for a young outspoken actress like myself". 'The Ethics of Avasarala'
posted by clavdivs at 6:36 PM - 20 comments

If that pattern isn’t size inclusive, you can fix that

Frustrated because the patterns you want to knit aren’t in your size? Tried to “scale up” only to find that some measurements were waaaaay off? DH’s Guide to Knitting for Big Bois is an extensive video that will walk you through how to knit that amazing garment and make it fit YOUR body.
posted by rednikki at 5:54 PM - 3 comments

Biden may be edging closer to dropping out of presidential race

Behind the Curtain: Top Dems now believe Biden will exit [more inside]
posted by NotLost at 5:01 PM - 446 comments


bye bob
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 1:25 PM - 140 comments

"Complaints having been made as to football being played by women…"

Dick, Kerr Ladies is a website by Gail Newsham about the legendary women's soccer team of munitions factory workers who started playing in 1917 and who routinely played against other women's teams for tens of thousands of paying spectators, until a combination of misogyny, fear of competition, and assholery, led the English Football Association to ban women's football from professional grounds. John Simkin has written short biographies of Alice Kell, Lily Parr and many other pioneering female footballers. On a recent episode of their football history podcast It Was What It Was, Jonathan Wilson and Rob Draper tell the story of Dick, Kerr Ladies and place them in historical context.
posted by Kattullus at 11:45 AM - 7 comments

Featuring two Sean Connerys

100 of the Greatest Posters of Celebrities Urging You to Read [LitHub]
posted by chavenet at 11:26 AM - 44 comments

"Phoenix is a vision of America's future"

George Packer on "the most American city" as a harbinger of what's coming for us collectively. [more inside]
posted by ryanshepard at 9:43 AM - 24 comments

Bananas Don’t Taste Like They Used To. Here’s Why.

The breads, puddings, and tarts of your grandparents’ generation were made with a completely different banana. Brandon Summers-Miller at epicurious. (archive.org link)
posted by bq at 9:20 AM - 39 comments

Five year prison sentence for attending a Zoom call.

Reported by The Guardian. Five supporters of the Just Stop Oil climate campaign who conspired to cause gridlock on London’s orbital motorway have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms. Roger Hallam, Daniel Shaw, Louise Lancaster, Lucia Whittaker De Abreu and Cressida Gethin were found guilty last week of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance for coordinating direct action protests on the M25 over four days in November 2022. Hallam received a five year sentence on Thursday, while the other four were each sentenced to four years. All five had spoken on a Zoom call trying to recruit potential volunteers for the actions, which involved activists climbing motorway gantries at strategic points on the motorway, which encircles London and is a key road transport link.
posted by AlSweigart at 9:02 AM - 66 comments

She can have a drawbridge anyway.

Scrap Dragon is a delightful story by the wonderful Naomi Kritzer (previously). Both text and audio, so you can read or listen, courtesy of the Cast of Wonders podcast. Featuring the youngest of three daughters and a talking nutria. [more inside]
posted by kristi at 8:13 AM - 4 comments

Please don't

Riki Lindhome, American actress, comedian, and 1/2 of the musical duo Garfunkel and Oates (previously) has a request for her new baby: Don't Google Mommy. (SLYT)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:05 AM - 14 comments

We Didn't Start the Fire (Bardcore | Medieval/Renaissance Style Cover)

We Didn't Start the Fire (Bardcore | Medieval/Renaissance Style Cover). [more inside]
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 6:40 AM - 16 comments

How to build a new world locally

What if in addition to a traditional "Get Out the Vote" campaign, your work also created a stronger community? What if you could turn a bunch of stolen corrugated signs into a block party? In "How to Build a New World Locally", organizer Madeline Talbott describes a strategy of using dedicated volunteer precinct captains to GOTV for progressive candidates in Chicago. She provides an optimistic path for fighting fascism by working very locally. [more inside]
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:00 AM - 10 comments

The Demon Slayers

To fans and foes alike, he comes across as an outrageous yahoo, and he knows it, a Chick tract come to life for internet virality. (slLongreads, Harper's)
posted by Kitteh at 5:25 AM - 16 comments

Remove the squid

I said remove the squid.
posted by Alex404 at 4:29 AM - 21 comments

Oreo Blue

Consumers often find broken Oreo cookies to be a disappointment, viewing them as imperfect and less enjoyable. However, the philosophy of Kintsugi teaches that there is beauty in imperfections and that items can become more valuable when repaired thoughtfully. from Oreo — Kintsugi By Leo Burnett Tailor Made, São Paulo [CW: advertising, ad agency preening] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 12:00 AM - 34 comments

July 17

"A fantastic success story": How brush turkeys are taking over

"A fantastic success story": How brush turkeys are taking over Australian cities. Researchers have charted the historical crash, comeback and conquest of cities by the Australian brush turkey.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 7:28 PM - 13 comments

Rule No. 1: Don't Cry Be Rich

TripleS and the rise Of K-Pop girls’ crypto-capitalism.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:15 PM - 27 comments

They’re like an explosion in a lab

The unexpected poetry of PhD acknowledgements A lovely multimedia essay from the Australian National University’s College of Science. [more inside]
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 4:01 PM - 8 comments


Now on Youtube, there is GROW Kingdom! Watch each short animation, then click to determine what to do next. See if you can predict what your actions will do. I bet you won't guess correctly! It's still fun, absurd, amazing, charming and wonderful. If you don't remember GROW, as it's been a few years, see inside.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 1:58 PM - 12 comments

the scripted sunset environment can be forced regardless of 'IRL' time

"Perhaps part of the beauty of taking a picture of a sunset is that while you are doing it it’s likely that a million other people are doing it as well – at exactly the same time. I love this idea of collective practice, something we all engage in despite any artistic concern, knowing that there have been millions before and there will be millions after." Penelope Umbrico discusses her artwork Suns from Sunsets from Flickr.
posted by jessamyn at 12:30 PM - 10 comments

Fascism portrays itself as irreverent even as it represses dissent

Making Hitler funny may be a break with the reverence Hitler demanded at gunpoint. But it also ends up being a way to give Hitler back his aesthetics and part of his glamor. When Downfall Hitler launches into an attack on road construction, it’s incongruous and absurd. But it’s also Hitler getting you to cheer along as he attacks the incompetence and inconvenience of a sclerotic democratic bureaucracy—and attacking sclerotic democratic bureaucracy is a thing that the real Hitler actually did. A dollop of humor makes the anti-establishment rage go down easy, not least because it distracts you from the fact that the “establishment” in question is just anyone the fascists decide to target. As the political scientist Jonathan Bernstein explains, “drain the swamp” is a successful slogan precisely because it’s a catchier way to say “liquidate our enemies.” from Fascists Know How to Turn Mockery Into Power [Foreign Policy, from 2020; ungated]
posted by chavenet at 11:23 AM - 39 comments

The hippos are charming -- that's plain

If you like hippos and friends then you might like Maurice Sendak on his friend James Marshall (NYT archive) [more inside]
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 10:46 AM - 2 comments

"I'm just GWAR"

The A.V. Club kicks off a new A.V. Undercover with GWAR covering "I'm Just Ken"
posted by Kitteh at 9:29 AM - 16 comments

She Makes Wigs Good Enough for Naomi

Shani Lechan’s wigs have been worn by cancer patients, neighborhood moms and supermodels. Her golden rule? They can’t look “wiggy.” “I looked at my best friend, who was married at the time, and I’m like, ‘I’m going to make you a wig, your wig is not good,’” Ms. Lechan said. “Then my mom wanted a wig, and then her friend wanted a wig, and this whole thing started.” Sandra E. Garcia for the NYT
posted by bq at 9:10 AM - 10 comments

Learning by doing, and getting paid for it

This week, the Biden-Harris administration announced the largest federal investment in Registered Apprenticeships in the history of the United States, with new policies "to ensure all workers – including women, people of color, veterans, and those that have been historically left behind – have equitable access to good-paying jobs". [more inside]
posted by kristi at 8:52 AM - 24 comments

A 2.4 billion year old rock and the origins of complex life

At 2.4 billion years old, this shiny black rock could tell scientists an enormous amount about the origins of complex life. A 2.4-billion-year old microfossil found in the Pilbara's Hamersley Ranges could be a missing link in the evolution from simple to complex life, according to researchers.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 8:16 AM - 3 comments

Read The Plaque

A gigantic map of all* the cool plaques in the world. [more inside]
posted by zamboni at 8:07 AM - 19 comments

The Brazillian Phoenix who Played the Gig Economy

Priscila Barbosa was lured to Boston on a failed promise. With no realistic alternatives, she found her way into the dark side of the gig economy, taking on Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, and others. Hundreds of thousands of dollars later, the FBI found her. From WIRED. (long read) [more inside]
posted by hydra77 at 7:58 AM - 12 comments

The creature's popularity was wonderfully wide.

I had a hippopotamus. "I had a hippopotamus; I kept him in a shed And fed him upon vitamins and vegetable bread. I made him my companion on many cheery walks, And had his portrait done by a celebrity in chalks. His charming eccentricities were known on every side. The creature's popularity was wonderfully wide. He frolicked with the Rector in a dozen friendly tussles, Who could not but remark on his hippopotamuscles. If he should be affected by depression or the dumps By hippopotameasles or hippopotamumps I never knew a particle of peace 'till it was plain He was hippopotamasticating properly again...." [more inside]
posted by storybored at 6:34 AM - 17 comments

From τὰ φυσικά (ta physika) to physics

From τὰ φυσικά (ta physika) to physicsIn popular histories of science in Europe the history of physics is all too often presented roughly as follows, in antiquity there was Aristotle, whose writings also dominated the Middle Ages, until Galileo came along and dethroned him, following which Newton created modern physics ... In this [series] of blog posts, I shall be taking a much more detailed look at how modern physics emerged during the early modern period and the scholars who were behind that emergence... [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog at 5:48 AM - 4 comments

The distributed brain

Headmen, shamans, and mothers: natural and sexual selection for computational services "The human brain, which evolved to acquire, store, and process information to make beneficial decisions, is likewise energetically expensive to build and maintain yet plausibly has idle capacity much of the time. We propose that humans evolved to use advantages in information or computational resources to provide computational services to others via a language-based “network” in exchange for payments of various sorts that helped subsidize the energetic costs of the brain."
posted by dhruva at 1:53 AM - 22 comments

How this bears on our own time is fairly obvious

One wonders if he could picture our current moment, when desire and expression are so ready-made, so undemanding and yet so effortlessly able to mollify and monopolize our attention. Open your streaming services—film, TV, music. The choices are overwhelming. Funny, then, that so much of it looks and feels the same, that every artist and writer and musician can tell of unproduced passion projects, that dissenting voices are so easily drowned out. Quantity drowns quality. That which exists is good; that which is good exists. What doesn’t exist is a challenge to this state of affairs. from The Last Avant-Garde [Alexander Billet reviews Dominique Routhier’s “With and Against: The Situationist International in the Age of Automation.” in the L.A. Review of Books; ungated]
posted by chavenet at 12:21 AM - 6 comments

July 16

How to unlearn pain

This Might Hurt is a documentary about a revolution in the understanding and treatment of chronic pain that has been quietly brewing over the last few decades. We know that millions of people around the world suffer from chronic pain and other debilitating bodily symptoms. Medication (such as opioids) don't often help, or carry intolerable side effects, and traditional cognitive-based psychotherapy doesn't seem to fare well either. Can we do better? Increasing evidence accumulated over the last few decades suggests that focusing on hidden powerful emotions may make all the difference, at least for some people. It all dates back to an iconoclastic New York City physician named John Sarno, (NYT link, archive.today version here) whose mission to rid the world of back pain inspired a legacy of controversy and devotion. [more inside]
posted by greatgefilte at 8:56 PM - 24 comments

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