April 16

Food Origins: Why Jesus never ate a banana

69 percent of the global diet is "foreign," says a study that pinpoints the origin of 151 food crops (interactive map) Since the mid-20th century, diets around the world have become more diverse and more homogenous, with supermarkets and other retail outlets the world over increasingly offering a similar range of food options. [more inside]
posted by winesong at 7:45 PM - 1 comment

"This is invisible walls explained, once and for all."

PannenKoek2012: "If you’ve wondered where I’ve been for the past 10 months, it was working day and night on this one video." (YouTube, 3hours, 45 minutes) [more inside]
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:18 PM - 1 comment

Meat asks the trivia questions.

They're made out of meat.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:02 PM - 6 comments

The Cloud Under The Sea: the ships that repair undersea cables

The world’s emails, TikToks, classified memos, bank transfers, satellite surveillance, and FaceTime calls travel on cables that are about as thin as a garden hose. There are about 800,000 miles of these skinny tubes crisscrossing the Earth’s oceans, representing nearly 600 different systems, according to the industry tracking organization TeleGeography. The cables are buried near shore, but for the vast majority of their length, they just sit amid the gray ooze and alien creatures of the ocean floor, the hair-thin strands of glass at their center glowing with lasers encoding the world’s data. If, hypothetically, all these cables were to simultaneously break, modern civilization would cease to function. [more inside]
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:48 PM - 10 comments

Got WiFi? Will Spy

“anyone from a landlord to a laundromat – could be required to help the government spy.” (Guardian) The Guardian covers the Houses expansion of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Although presented as a re-authorization, “The Turner-Himes amendment – so named for its champions Representatives Mike Turner and Jim Himes – would permit federal law enforcement to also force “any other service provider” with access to communications equipment to hand over data.” [disclaimer: I am related to the author of this article.] [more inside]
posted by CMcG at 5:40 PM - 3 comments

The world's oldest-known wombat is about to turn 35

Lovingly known as Mr Wine, the world's oldest-known wombat about to turn 35. Found as an orphan in Tasmania in 1989, Wain the wombat — also known as Mr Wine — is shuffling toward his mid-30s at a zoo in Japan, exceeding the average age of his wild counterparts by an estimated 20 years.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 3:35 PM - 5 comments

Imagine that, Oklahoma octopus

Oklahoman Cal Clifford asked for a pet octopus at every birthday, Christmas and major holiday. For his ninth birthday, Cal's parents made his dream come true. Then the eggs started to appear... [more inside]
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:55 PM - 19 comments

30 years since the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA)

What's in your prenatal vitamin? Dr. Gunter on the recent U.S. Government Accountability Office's report: Only one product contained everything listed on the label (within the accepted deviation).
What's really in that sports supplement? 23 of the 57 products (40%) did not contain any detectable amount of the labeled ingredient. 7 of the 57 products were found to contain at least one FDA-prohibited ingredient.
Revealing the hidden dangers of dietary supplements (and archive version): Since 2005, when he found his patients were being sickened by a Brazilian weight loss supplement containing anti-depressants and thyroid hormones, Cohen has become something of a mix of Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes in the supplement world. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:39 PM - 21 comments

I can think of at least one more

Librarians have never been a quiet bunch: Information, after all, is power. To mark National Library Week—typically celebrated the second full week of April—Atlas Obscura, fittingly, went into the archives to find our favorite stories of librarians who have fostered cultural movements, protected national secrets, and fought criminals. 6 Badass Librarians Who Changed History: How German Librarians Finally Caught an Elusive Book Thief 📚 The Librarian at the Nexus of the Harlem Renaissance 📚 The Radical Reference Librarians Who Use Info to Challenge Authority 📚 The Women Who Rode Miles on Horseback to Deliver Library Books 📚 A Day in the Life of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Librarian 📚 The Librarian Who Guarded the Manhattan Project’s Secrets
posted by Rhaomi at 12:39 PM - 7 comments

How did a priceless Nez Perce collection from Idaho end up in Ohio?

And why did it take over a century for the collection to return home? "A testament not only to our resilience, but to other people’s acknowledgment of basic humanity." A story about a collection of artifacts returning to its appropriate home with a surprisingly heartwarming coda. Video interviews about the collection and its voyage, and breathtaking images from the Wetxuuwíitin’ collection. [more inside]
posted by bq at 10:07 AM - 4 comments

Digital preservation, access control, and scholarly needs

'So, I hope CLOCKSS does have a complete digital copy of the journal, but the question is: will CLOCKSS make it available? This all depends on CLOCKSS assessment of whether a “trigger event” has occurred here.' Ross Mounce, commenting on the disappearance of recently-concluded chemistry journal Heterocycles from the web more than four months ago, raises questions about nonprofit digital archive CLOCKSS ("Controlled LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe)"), and similar "dark archives" that preserve research journals in a kind of escrow. (CLOCKSS has, so far, released "66 journals comprising 13,000 articles" into Open Access.)
posted by brainwane at 9:48 AM - 10 comments

Blue Andrew Man Huang Group

Blue Man Group & Andrew Huang 🥁🌵 DESERT PORTAL Music Video [5m, Blue Man Group YT channel] Getting weird with Blue Man Group [11m15s Andrew Huang YT channel]
posted by hippybear at 6:40 AM - 9 comments

“Anything about us, without us, is against us.”

There are clear continuities between the two German genocides. Many of the key elements of the Nazi system – the systematic extermination of peoples seen as racially inferior, racial laws, the concept of Lebensraum, the transportation of people in cattle trucks for forced labour in concentration camps – had been employed half a century earlier in South-West Africa. Heinrich Göring, the colonial governor of South-West Africa who tried to negotiate with Hendrik Witbooi, was Hermann Göring’s father.
–From the essay Three Genocides by forensic architect Eyal Weizman.
posted by Kattullus at 5:35 AM - 15 comments

Landmark building in Copenhagen on fire

Old Stock Exchange Building from 17th Century burns Yet another building renovation gone wrong.
posted by palnatoke at 2:39 AM - 12 comments


Rest of World shadowed workers in São Paulo, Lagos, Dhaka, and Jakarta to get an intimate look at how they spend their breaks between orders. from Portraits of gig workers in rare moments off the clock [Rest of World]
posted by chavenet at 2:01 AM - 8 comments

April 15

The strangest new sport in the Netherlands: tegelwippen, "tile whipping"

The strangest new sport in the Netherlands: tegelwippen, "tile whipping", or "whipping away" the paving stones. "A lot of people think that tiles are easier, but actually when you have larger trees, you get very few weeds underneath them and you can make it really easy," she says. "When I had paving I would never sit here, but now it’s a garden, it’s cooler in summer and in the spring, it’s lovely." [more inside]
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 11:39 PM - 15 comments

Here I am

The Etak Navigator "Today, I’d like to tell you about the Etak Navigator, a truly revolutionary product and the world’s first practical vehicle navigation system."[via]
posted by dhruva at 9:48 PM - 25 comments

RIP Rico Wade, 1972 - 2024

Rico Wade of the Organized Noize production team has died. Operating from Wade's mom's dirt-floor basement in the early 90s, Organized Noize convened a group of artists that came to call itself the Dungeon Family. That group gave the world the first couple Outkast albums, the first Goodie Mob album, and several great singles. It's not an exaggeration to say that Rico Wade made some of the greatest American music of the last 50 years. It's an incredibly sad loss. [more inside]
posted by kensington314 at 1:04 PM - 15 comments

It is a terrible time for the press to be failing at reaching people

I believe it was a mistake to give away journalism for free in the 1990s. Information is not and never has been free. I devoutly believe that news organizations need to survive and figure out a revenue model that allows them to do so. But the most important mission of a news organization is to provide the public with information that allows citizens to make the best decisions in a constitutional democracy. Our government derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed, and that consent is arrived at through the free flow of information—reliable, fact-based information. To that end, news organizations should put their election content in front of their paywall. The Constitution protects the press so that the press can protect constitutional democracy. Now the press must fulfill its end of the bargain. from Democracy Dies Behind Paywalls [The Atlantic; ungated]
posted by chavenet at 12:49 PM - 64 comments

The Backdoor To The Entire Internet That Didn't Happen

A rather large drama unfolded a couple of weeks ago when it was discovered that someone had installed a backdoor into an installation utility used by much of the Open Source community. Backdoor found in widely used Linux utility targets encrypted SSH connections [Ars Technica] This was found by accident, a worker was maintaining his own code and found discrepancies in computer performance and investigated. How one volunteer stopped a backdoor from exposing Linux systems worldwide [The Verge] This seems to have been largely the work of one online account that spent years gaining trust in the group that maintain this tool. THE OTHER PLAYERS WHO HELPED (ALMOST) MAKE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BACKDOOR HACK [The Intercept] The Mystery of ‘Jia Tan,’ the XZ Backdoor Mastermind [WIRED] Today, Fedora announced its own systems all clear of this thwarted backdoor attempt. CVE-2024-3094: All Clear
posted by hippybear at 10:58 AM - 53 comments

“Are you a gay Republican or a Republican gay?”

Interviews with the author of Coming Out Republican: A History of the Gay Right, Neil J. Young, on the podcast Conspirituality & at the Culture Study newsletter: The handful of lesbian Republicans contended that supporting reproductive freedom was consistent with gay Republicans’ belief in personal autonomy and limited government, “when we say the government should stay out of our wallets and out of our bedrooms, this is what that means!” However, even though a slight majority of Log Cabin members consistently called themselves pro-choice, more didn’t want the organization to take a public position because they thought that abortion wasn’t a “gay issue.” [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:17 AM - 21 comments

Tokyo’s Public Toilets Will Leave New Yorkers Sobbing

The prevailing philosophy about public facilities of all kinds is that they must be indestructible and require minimal upkeep, since that is what they will get. Fighting the forces of disintegration is too costly and requires too much vigilance. These are the arguments of a society driven by self-disgust. [more inside]
posted by praemunire at 9:30 AM - 54 comments

A Free Download Now and Forever

“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is now available as a free download! Written by Christopher Schwarz and first published in June 2011, “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is revered by many as a philosophical tome as well as a how-to book. The book includes instructions for building your own tool chest, as demonstrated here by MetaFilter's Own™ and JimCoin™ creator bondcliff!
posted by slogger at 8:25 AM - 17 comments

Faith Ringgold, 1930-2024

Faith Ringgold passed over the weekend. A crafter, an artist, a thinker, a mentor. I am maybe not the best person to eulogize her, but her life and work have touched so many and deeply influenced generations of Black artists. Her passing is a loss, her memory will be a blessing. [more inside]
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:02 AM - 14 comments

Sheep are much cannier than we give them credit for

Sheep are much cannier than we give them credit for. These ovine facts may surprise you. The humble sheep might be considered by some as the perfect embodiment of docility. But they are not mundane mindless mammals — not in the slightest.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 7:27 AM - 22 comments

crankin' out tunes

In her article Th'infernal Drone: In Praise Of The Hurdy-Gurdy Jennifer Lucy Allan notes that in "Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights the soundtrack to hell is a giant and infernal hurdy-gurdy". She discusses, among others, Stevie Wishart, who can be seen here giving a quick introduction to the hurdy-gurdy, and performing her composition Vespers for St. Hildegard and duoing with daegeum player Hyelim Kim. Corinna de Fonseca-Wollheim profiled Matthias Loibner in the New York Times [archive link] and his performance with Nataša Mirković of Schubert's Winter's Journey. For an overview of the history of the instrument, hurdy-gurdy player Fredrik Knudsen made a half-hour video or you can read A Brief History of the Hurdy-Gurdy by Graham Whyte.
posted by Kattullus at 5:35 AM - 24 comments

Freedom. What is Autonomy to you? (Free Thread)

What does free will / autonomy / self agency mean to you? The right to choose your own destiny, to make your own mistakes, and to feel the consequences of your actions? Or talk about anything you like, it's your weekly Free Thread!
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:25 AM - 69 comments

Sort of an Everyman

20 Minutes of Charles Schulz Drawing Peanuts [via Kottke.org]
posted by chavenet at 1:35 AM - 11 comments

April 14

COOOOKIIIEEEES! (a-rum-rum! a-rum-rum-rum-rum!)

Muptown Funk (previously) keeps rolling along, recently with two longer videos concerning Sesame Street: ranking every Waiter Grover sketch (50 minutes), and a deep dive into the stomach history of the Cookie Monster (20 minutes)!
posted by JHarris at 9:27 PM - 8 comments

Who really invented the flat white?

It's now loved all over the world, but who really invented the flat white? This is the little-known story of how Italian sugar growers in the Sunshine State are said to have inspired the invention of the flat white (a type of coffee) — a drink that would go on to become a global sensation
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 8:22 PM - 52 comments

27 small press books to support a less corporate reading ecosystem

In the wake of SPD shutting down (previously), here is a books roundup focusing this time on recent releases from small presses. [more inside]
posted by joannemerriam at 8:20 PM - 5 comments

The hush money trial: background and timeline

The first criminal trial of a former US president is set to begin on April 15. Attorney Teri Kanefield lays out the timeline of events and provides extensive background, with a special focus on Michael Cohen. [more inside]
posted by kristi at 8:11 PM - 67 comments

Readers are needy creatures, Morrison’s letters suggest

Rejection letters written by Toni Morrison when she was working at Random House.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:14 PM - 5 comments

Machine Melody

Aphex Twin's 2001 double album drukQs is an unusual blend of Richard James' characteristically intricate, intense, and chaotic electronic soundscapes and a smaller set of more subdued neoclassical pieces performed on prepared pianos -- performed, that is, by computer. One piece in particular, Avril 14th, became a breakout hit for James -- at barely two minutes, its gorgeous, evocative rendition of a delicate Satie-esque melody in the clicking, lushly analog tones of a real Disklavier piano struck the perfect balance between human soul and machine precision, and remains to this day his best-known and most-beloved track. Explore the beauty and melancholy of this lovely piece with a wide variety of innovative covers, backstory theories, and a charming deep dive into the music theory behind it by YouTuber ixi.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:13 PM - 18 comments

We Need To Talk About Grilled Cheeze

56 Cheeses, 56 Grilled Cheeses: Which One is Best? [25m] sounds like a stunt post from some random YouTuber, but it's actually from Epicurious, and is by a professional cheesemonger. It's more educational and entertaining than you might expect when you first start.
posted by hippybear at 4:44 PM - 51 comments

Sorry for ruining Wordle for you

What if your Wordle strategy was to always start with the same 4 words, all with unique letters? That would use 20 letters, with the exception, of J, K, Q, V, X, Z. Slate's "The Fastest Wordle Winning Strategy Ever" (archive). [more inside]
posted by ShooBoo at 12:51 PM - 70 comments

All those who wander are not lost

Why do some people always get lost? "While it’s easy to show that people differ in navigational ability, it has proved much harder for scientists to explain why. There’s new excitement brewing in the navigation research world, though. By leveraging technologies such as virtual reality and GPS tracking, scientists have been able to watch hundreds, sometimes even millions, of people trying to find their way through complex spaces, and to measure how well they do. Though there’s still much to learn, the research suggests that to some extent, navigation skills are shaped by upbringing."
posted by dhruva at 9:15 AM - 68 comments

War on Drugs and on Tricky Greens

Cool suburban dads can ask for nothing more: Adam Granduciel, genius frontman of The War on Drugs is touring with The National this fall and really loves to golf (registration-free version).
posted by MattD at 7:35 AM - 17 comments

Mars Wants Movies

"The History of Sci-Fi Film from 1900 to the Present." Under the title Robots and Rayguns, Mars Wants Movies [YT channel] is methodically reviewing the history of sci-fi on film – the classics along with the forgotten. (At the time of posting, it is at Episode 16, for the year 1936.) From Episode 1: "In this ongoing series, I will delve into the history of science fiction cinema. …This introductory episode sets the stage for the history of the genre that dominates Hollywood today. But in the early 20th Century, the genre was a mix of science fiction, fantasy, adventure, and experimentation that evolved with the technology of the 20th Century." The series also looks at other contemporary milestones in movies, plus the scientific, cultural, and historical events of the times. "From interstellar adventures to dystopian futures, the genre has captivated audiences, allowing them to contemplate the possibilities of technological advancements, extraterrestrial life, and the consequence of our own scientific pursuits."
posted by McLir at 7:05 AM - 7 comments

Seven layers of vermillion crustaceans, topped with a claw to the sky

“The toughest reservation in France, it turns out, is not at a Michelin-starred destination like Mirazur or Septime. It’s at an all-you-can-eat buffet situated in a municipal rec center in the smallish city of Narbonne.” Not exclusive, but exclusively serving French cuisine, it served 380,000 people last year for €52.90 each (plus drinks, sold at retail price), but there are 9 types of foie gras, a pâté en croûte made with 7 different meats, and a record breaking 111 varieties of cheese on the cheeseboard. The place settings and silverware and gilt and chandeliers deserve to be seen – they are not of your ordinary buffet restaurant. (New Yorker, archive)
posted by ambrosen at 5:43 AM - 24 comments

this world is still mostly undefined

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Uncommonly Lovely Invented Words for What We Feel but Cannot Name A review by Maria Popova on her blog The Marginalian.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 4:41 AM - 8 comments

The Oldest Boats Ever Found in the Mediterranean

Five Canoes Discovered Northwest of Rome Are the Oldest Boats Ever Found in the Mediterranean. The 7000-year-old vessels offer evidence of advanced seafaring technology and an extensive regional trade network, a new study suggests. [more inside]
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 2:40 AM - 12 comments

We'll Have To Share

As further argued by the authors in a forthcoming Berggruen Press volume, “the Planetary as a scientific concept focuses on the Earth as an intricate web of ecosystems, with myriad layers of integration between various biogeochemical systems and living beings — both human and non-human. Drawing on earth system science and systems biology, this holistic understanding is being enabled by new planetary-scale technologies of perception – a rapidly maturing technosphere of sensors, networks, and supercomputers that collectively are rendering the planetary system increasingly visible, comprehensible and foreseeable. This recently-evolved smart exoskeleton — in essence a distributed sensory organ and cognitive layer — is fostering an unprecedented form of planetary sapience.” The open question is how, and if, human governance in the late-stage Anthropocene can align with the knowledge we are now attaining. from The Third Great Decentering [Noema]
posted by chavenet at 1:51 AM - 5 comments

April 13

Apparently, Meta deems climate change too controversial for discussion

How Meta Nuked A Climate Story, And What It Means For Democracy, David Vetter, Forbes, April 11 2024 [more inside]
posted by MrVisible at 5:37 PM - 60 comments

The Interdimensional Jukebox

Dune the Broadway Musical [Showtunes] - Baby On Board [Barbershop] - Carolina-O [Indie Country] - Sabrosito Amor [Latin] - Rising Sun Gospel [Soul] - Allegro Consort in C [Classical] - You Spilt a Coffee on my Dog [R&B] - Potion Seller [60s Folk] - I'm Not Your Star [Screamo] - SNES Greensleeves [Chiptune] - Syncopated Rhythms [Jazz] - Tavern Serenades [Fiddle] - My Tamagotchi died in '98 [Country Pop] - Senna Tea Blues [Bluegrass] - Unexpected Item in Bagging Area (A Cowboy's Lament) [Americana] - Herb's Whisper [Hip-hop] - Metropolis Pt. 3 [Prog metal] - F**k You Elmo [Acoustic Guitar] - Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet [Orchestral] - ムーンライト【.】【3】【1】[Vaporwave] - Dreaming Miku [Vocaloid] - The Deku Tree’s Decree [Broadway] - Website on the Internet [50s A Capella] // Meet Udio — the most realistic AI music creation tool I’ve ever tried [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 3:17 PM - 31 comments

Jack Conte | SXSW 2024 Keynote

Death of the Follower & the Future of Creativity on the Web [46m] "Patreon CEO Jack Conte explains how the current internet algorithms are killing the traditional "follower" for creators, threatening their creative freedom and livelihoods." [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 3:09 PM - 10 comments

We Lived Alone: The Connie Converse Documentary

A documentary (40m youtube video) from 2014 covers some of the life of the enigmatic singer/songwriter Connie Converse. Interviews with some of her closest relatives, and animator Gene Deitch, all of whom kept many of her letters and recordings. previously: 2016, 2009 (cw: depression, probable suicide)
posted by 2N2222 at 2:36 PM - 4 comments

“I don’t fear your wings, man.”

Conan O’Brien Needs a Doctor While Eating Spicy Wings is the season 23 finale of Hot Ones [previously], where Sean Evans asks Conan O’Brien questions while they eat chicken wings with increasingly spicy hot sauce. It goes off the rails pretty quickly.
posted by Kattullus at 1:59 PM - 34 comments

Powered by Techno-Guff

Autonomous car racing is a rapidly advancing field that combines cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), fast mobility stacks, innovative sensor technologies and edge computing to create high-performance vehicles that can perceive their surroundings, make decisions, and race competitively without human intervention. [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 12:14 PM - 16 comments

Blue whales seen engaging in full-on combat during courtship ritual

Blue whales seen engaging in full-on combat during spectacular courtship ritual. In a sight not seen in the area for more than two decades, male whales have been spotted racing and fighting to capture the attention of a female off South Australia's south-east coast.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 11:28 AM - 2 comments

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