December 3

Blender 3D: Deform Modifier Stack tutorial by Notorious B.I.G & Frends

Ever wish you could learn about Blender 3D from Notorious B.I.G.? Sometimes all it takes is a little AI here, a little hip hop there, and before you know it, you learned something. Also making appearances: Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye, Snoop, Tupac...RIP
posted by circular at 3:08 PM - 4 comments

“All good things must begin.”

The thing that has surprised me most was really how cash poor she was. She’d journal just about every single day. She would write something in her journals and then she would work on her novels or a story or whatever. She would be doing calculations in the margins — word counts and how much she would be paid per word for something, how much money she had to get through the week, or how much or how little food she could purchase. Her shopping lists down to the penny. Which meant she had to go without a lot of things to produce the writing that we have been gifted. And it was kind of heartbreaking. From Tracing Octavia Butler’s Footsteps: An Interview with Dr. Ayana A. H. Jamieson [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 3:07 PM - 4 comments

If you list a book as published in 1602, it's in a different aisle.

SLNYT: What Happened to Amazon’s Bookstore? The state of Amazon today.
posted by Melismata at 10:20 AM - 50 comments

No knowledge of German required

Since its first release in 1961 the hymn “Danke” by Martin Gotthard Schneider has been one of Germany’s most popular Christian songs. But in 1993 comedian and theater director Christoph Marthaler made it a comic centerpiece of his popular play Murx den Europäer, often reprised. Marthaler’s version has itself been covered, such as by the Hafnarfjörður Brass Band and the male choir Voces Masculorum.
posted by Kattullus at 9:41 AM - 4 comments


You find yourself standing outside your college dorm hall. All of your friends are complaining about your Composition and Rhetoric Professor. He assigned a 10 page paper on Monday. The paper is due tonight...before midnight. [more inside]
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:38 AM - 15 comments

"They aren’t supposed to be used for frivolous things, she knows that"

"(emet)" by Lauren Ring is a speculative novelette involving surveillance technology, a tech worker who's "not even a cog in a machine, she’s just a drop of oil that helps the cog turn," and the programming of golems. It "was originally published in the July/August 2021 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, and is temporarily available on this page for the purposes of awards consideration." Ring's stories on the intersection of tradition and sci-fi futures also include "The Best Latkes On the Moon" ("This is how to make latkes when you’ve just turned eleven and it’s the first night of Hanukkah and you are alone on the moon.") and “Three Riddles and a Mid-Sized Sedan” ("I teach my daughter to chalk runes around the house, double yellow lines that forbid the cars from crossing."). [more inside]
posted by brainwane at 7:35 AM - 4 comments


Home Video: Your Kid Performing in Your Living Room at Christmas by Desi Domo, part of the rotating troupe of comedy performers at Characters Welcome NYC. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:58 AM - 4 comments

December 2

A Couple Of Lists Of Christmas Music

15 unconventional Christmas albums from the past 50 years,from KTVZ, Bend, OR. Also, 20 New-ish Christmas Albums That Actually Rule from Esquire. I will admit to ordering an album from one of these lists and expect to be pleased.
posted by hippybear at 10:31 PM - 57 comments

Now imagine paying for all those things completely on your own.

If you live by yourself — or as a single parent or caregiver ... this is your life. All the expenses of existing in society, on one set of shoulders. For the more than 40 million people who live in this kind of single-income household, it’s also become increasingly untenable. When we talk about all the ways it’s become harder and harder for people to find solid financial footing in the middle class, we have to talk about how our society is still set up in a way that makes it much easier for single people to fall through the cracks. [SL Vox]
posted by Lycaste at 10:22 PM - 72 comments

Come on baby, let me whisper in your ear

Before the Seattle sound grunged its way to the top of the charts, a power pop trio from Chicago dropped their debut album, International Pop Overthrow. Now a documentary by a filmmaker born four years after lead singer Jim Ellison died by suicide is tells the story in Out of Time: The Material Issue Story. It premieres in Chicago tonight at Lincoln Hall. [more inside]
posted by cyndigo at 5:14 PM - 26 comments

Just some tranquil DJ Mixes

Four new, mellow 70-ish minute mixes from Traumprinz, the anonymous/multi-aliased German DJ: To All Dreamers, To All Dancers, To All Lovers, To All Believers
Unlike earlier mixes, these incorporate a significant number of pieces by artists other than Traumprinz, from Hildegard Von Bingen to death's dynamic shroud.wav, from SHXCXCHCXSH to Underworld, from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma to Justin Bieber.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:27 PM - 4 comments

"Dazy keeps it simple: heart rot, butt rot, root rot."

Author Mary Roach's new book Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law has many excellent chapters on human/wildlife interaction. Here is one chapter about "danger trees," trees that are "dead soft" but not yet "dead fallen" and she talks to tree faller (or faller blaster) Dave "Dazy" Weymer about his work blowing up the tops of trees so that they don't come down unannounced and kill people. Here are a few Dazy Weymer videos from YouTube: an intro to being a faller blaster, felling a big spruce (no explosives) and blasting a small snag.
posted by jessamyn at 3:50 PM - 16 comments

As a Species, H. Sapiens Is Extraordinarily Samey

The signs are already there for those willing to see them. When the habitat becomes degraded such that there are fewer resources to go around; when fertility starts to decline; when the birth rate sinks below the death rate; and when genetic resources are limited—the only way is down. The question is “How fast?” from Humans Are Doomed to Go Extinct by Henry Gee
posted by chavenet at 2:27 PM - 100 comments

Belfast-based art collective wins Turner Prize

Meet the 2021 Turner Prize-winning Array Collective (via The Guardian). One banner in the síbín reads: “Prepared for peas, ready for sausage war” – a reference to perhaps the most notorious of Belfast’s paramilitary murals which, accompanied by a sinister image of armed, hooded men, reads: “Prepared for peace, ready for war.” Array’s rewording is a dig at the “sausage war” and the DUP’s concern earlier this year that British bangers would struggle to find their way to Northern Ireland owing to Brexit. It’s a typical move from Array – to disarm, in all senses, the violent symbols of the region’s past. “Sometimes the culture here just hands you a joke on a plate,” says Campbell.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:58 AM - 8 comments

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

In recent years Canadian news media has been saturated by PR professionals. Are they doing so to advance public discourse, or to advance their client interests?
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 10:12 AM - 12 comments

"Young Americans are sounding the alarm."

According to the most recent Harvard Youth Poll (NPR, Politico, The Harvard Crimson), 52% of 18-29 year-olds in the U.S. believe that the country's democracy is either "in trouble" or "a failed democracy."
posted by box at 9:51 AM - 76 comments

An Invitation to a Country House

Feeling the need to escape to the country and relax with some friends? May I suggest the Golden Age Mystery: a genre that grew in the wake of the trauma of World War I, providing readers with puzzles, excitement, and wise and/or witty detectives (and the occasional oaf) to watch at work. [more inside]
posted by PussKillian at 9:09 AM - 20 comments

Failing to Treat a Malevolent Force

Opinion: The bombshell about Trump testing positive also implicates the Trump family, Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 12/2/2021. The Trump family has long treated rules and laws as nuisances that are only for the little people. And the news [*] that Donald Trump tested positive for covid-19 before the first 2020 presidential debate shows that this tendency may be even more depraved and malevolent than you thought. *Trump tested positive for coronavirus before first debate with Biden, three former aides say… six days before he was hospitalized for covid-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center., WaPo, 12/1/2021.
posted by cenoxo at 9:06 AM - 45 comments

License to Ill

Havana syndrome resembles many other “contested illnesses,” only its sufferers — and promoters — are professional disinformation producers "Sometimes these communities can coalesce around unsubstantiated theories (as with Morgellons, an unfounded belief by some that mysterious fibers are growing out of their skin), but other times such networks can unearth tangible malfeasance (as with the childhood leukemia clusters in the late 1970s in Woburn, Massachusetts that were eventually traced to groundwater contamination from a local factory)."
posted by schmudde at 8:23 AM - 28 comments

The Man Who Introduced F1 Racing to America

Robert Daley: The Journalist Who Broke the Biggest Story in Motorsport History. He was also deputy commissioner of the NYPD and wrote 31 books (his official site), among them Prince of the City.
posted by goatdog at 7:42 AM - 3 comments

"Now, what was this case about? Missing plums, was it?"

"From the icebox, he removes a small burlap sack with half a dozen plums inside it, places the bag on the counter next to the sink, and closes the icebox.... " The short fantasy story "This is Just to Say" by Timothy Mudie (previously) features a world-weary and idiosyncratic private eye, a worried wife, and the back story behind a couple of poems.
posted by brainwane at 7:32 AM - 4 comments

Fisher Price's Iconic Toy Telephone Now Actually Makes Phone Calls

Remember the classic toy Chatter Phone made by Fisher Price? It now has a version with bluetooth and can make calls. Gizmodo reports. The Onion reflects. [more inside]
posted by ShooBoo at 7:31 AM - 27 comments

"why he might just be the forgotten Shakespeare for our times"

John Lyly: The Queer Shakespeare is an episode of the Not Just the Tudors podcast where Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb interviews fellow historian Dr. Andy Kesson about the Elizabethan playwright John Lyly, who was "even more keen than Shakespeare on genderbending characters and unconventional love affairs". On the Before Shakespeare website, Kesson has written a lot about the works of John Lyly, as well as a book and several journal articles. He's also working with theater director Emma Frankland on a staging of Lyly's best known play, Galatea. They, and other people involved in the production, talk about the play and performing it in the 21st Century, through trans, queer, deaf, and other lenses, in a series of videos.
posted by Kattullus at 2:56 AM - 4 comments

December 1

How I Became The Internet's Most Notorious Bike Thief

How I Became The Internet's Most Notorious Bike Thief: A globetrotters guide to stealing the same bike in the same laneway, over and over again. []
posted by hippybear at 10:23 PM - 13 comments

Shout Your Abortion: the Good News

Following 2015 efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, Amelia Bonow’s unapologetic abortion disclosure prompted an outpouring of abortion stories on social media via the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion. There's a book. But there's also an action starting today to publicize the availability of abortion pills, medical help, and legal help. There are flyers, posters, etc. in the downloadable toolkit. Previously
posted by rikschell at 6:42 PM - 8 comments

Amazon poised to pass UPS, FedEx to become largest US delivery service

Amazon has been steadily building up vast logistics and fulfillment operations since a 2013 holiday fiasco left its packages stranded in the hands of outside carriers. Bank of America analysts predicted Amazon delivered 58% of its own packages in 2019, making it the fourth-largest delivery service nationwide, according to Digital Commerce 360. By last August, Amazon was estimated to be delivering 66% of its own packages. Amazon’s in-house delivery operations have become a major advantage during this year’s holiday shopping season, which has been particularly challenging due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a global supply chain crunch and labor shortages. Beyond leveraging its own trucks and planes, Clark said Amazon has been shipping goods to new ports to avoid blockages.
posted by folklore724 at 6:28 PM - 28 comments

Don't try to understand it. Feel it.

I used to be able to understand 99% of the dialogue in Hollywood films. But over the past 10 years or so, I've noticed that percentage has dropped significantly — and it's not due to hearing loss on my end. It's gotten to the point where I find myself occasionally not being able to parse entire lines of dialogue when I see a movie in a theater, and when I watch things at home, I've defaulted to turning the subtitles on to make sure I don't miss anything crucial to the plot. [more inside]
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 PM - 127 comments

It's Only a Little Stale

A recipe for an ancient cookie "If cookies go 1,300 years without getting eaten, they get carefully preserved in a case at the British Museum." [more inside]
posted by kathrynm at 4:20 PM - 8 comments

Deadlock Empire (Single-link Web puzzle/game)

Slay dragons, master concurrency! Fun little puzzle solving game playing around with all the ways parallel processes can go wrong under the guise of an epic battle between Sequentialists and Parallelists The skills you need are your intelligence, cunning, perseverance and the will to test yourself against the intricacies of multi-threaded programming in the divine language of C#. Each challenge below is a computer program of two or more threads. You take the role of the Scheduler - and a cunning one! Your objective is to exploit flaws in the programs to make them crash or otherwise malfunction. [more inside]
posted by mincus at 1:56 PM - 8 comments

"When I open it and it's not broken, it's Christmas!"

Musician Rob Scallon (previously) sits down with Musician/Historian Dennis James (wiki) as he sets up, explains and demonstraits a glass armonica.
posted by bondcliff at 1:37 PM - 9 comments

For much of Amazon’s history, people thought of it as a retailer.

Amazon’s Toll Road A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) a nonprofit organization and advocacy group with a focus on sustainable community development. [more inside]
posted by Lanark at 12:45 PM - 21 comments

if human: kill()

Slaughterbots 2. The Future of Life Institute follows up on their 2017 video about autonomous killer drones. (previously)
posted by doctornemo at 11:34 AM - 4 comments

My life as a Turkey (vimeo link)

I came to realize that these young turkeys in many ways were more conscious than I was. Had I known what was in store—the difficult nature of the study and the time I was about to invest—I would have been hard pressed to justify such an intense involvement. [more inside]
posted by mightshould at 11:04 AM - 9 comments


"David," a short film directed by Zach Woods, starring Will Ferrell, William Jackson Harper, and Fred Hechinger.
posted by Quonab at 10:57 AM - 8 comments

The british do take their wars seriously, don't they?

"A report has come in from the Soemba,
That their salvoes go off like a Rhumba,
Two guns, they sound fine,
But the third five point nine,
He am bust and refuse to go boomba."
When the Dutch gunboat Soemba needed a new gun just a month before D-Day or it wouldn't be able to participate, it stood no chance to get one, until Rear Admiral A.D. Nicholl thought to raise the request in verse rather than prose. That was the start of a long chain of limericks as various departments put their oar in, but in the end the Soemba got her boomba. (Via Niels Henkemans.)
posted by MartinWisse at 10:19 AM - 8 comments

December, in my memory, is white as Lapland

"There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths; zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes;….and books that told me everything about the wasp, except why." A recording of Dylan Thomas reading 'A Child's Christmas in Wales'. The story of how the recording came to be. "Though they did not hear from Thomas himself, they did hear from his manager who encouraged the duo to call Thomas at his New York hotel, the Chelsea. According to Holdridge, “And we called and we called and we called.” Eventually, Holdridge began rising early, phoning at 4:30 or 5 in the morning, hoping to catch Thomas just as he was coming in from the night before. That worked."
posted by bq at 10:19 AM - 8 comments

chrome extensions to help you study a foreign language while you netflix

SL Vulture
posted by wowenthusiast at 10:13 AM - 7 comments

Opt Outside

Outdoor Advent Calendar from 1000 Hours Outside. Includes cold and warm weather activities such as 20 minute bird count, holiday decorations walk, red & green picnic dinner, and hot cocoa hike. Happy December!
posted by carolr at 9:58 AM - 5 comments

Those Cute Cats Online? They Help Spread Misinformation.

We may have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their scanners — but we now know why. (SLNYT) A mainstay of the internet is regularly used to build audiences for people and organizations pushing false and misleading information. [more inside]
posted by Text TK at 9:49 AM - 14 comments

"What’s your name, and what’s your age, and what’s your trade, good man?"

Three speculative tales of suspense and escape. “The Passing Bell” by Amy Griswold (also available in audio): “It’s kind of you to put me up,” I said, jingling pennies in my pocket to encourage such generosity. In a town so small it had neither pub nor inn, I considered myself fortunate to be offered the chance to sleep in the blacksmith’s loft. "Authenticity Soup" by by Alison Wilgus (previously): She had not put the tent together outside the pressurized dome of the city. And she had not been wearing a surface suit. Or gloves. "I Am Tasting the Stars" by Jennifer R. Donohue (published this year) features a list, champagne, a boat, and a mutiny: "We’re good at finding what we need, having enough. It’s why they still humor me, and my list; I’ve brought them years of plenty, no matter how ridiculous the ask."
posted by brainwane at 7:32 AM - 1 comment

Frank Williams 1942-2021

Sir Francis Owen Garbett 'Frank' Williams, founder and long-time principal of the Williams Formula One team and (probably) the world's longest lived tetraplegic died on Sunday aged 79. [more inside]
posted by Urtylug at 6:26 AM - 11 comments

prepair too wante too TIPE LYKE DIS A LOTT

15 years ago, Something Awful Forums poster Dave Bulmer (Twitter) began a multi-year attempt to fill the hearts of his fellow posters with childlike joy at Christmastime - epically silly serialized, illustrated and even musical stories filled with crossovers inspired by British childhoods past and present. And it worked. On the tenth anniversary of each, he has been preserving them on their own site. Today, the sixth and final year begins (currently only via the next/previous buttons), but to avoid spoilers, you'd better start at the beginning of Year 1. (Also, Year 5 is a special case.) It's time... to WIGGLE HE. Mannie infoes beloe the foldey! (Full disclosure: yes, that's me in the archived comments from a decade ago, but I wasn't involved in production.) Previously. [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ at 4:18 AM - 2 comments

David Dalaithngu

David Dalaithngu, acclaimed Australian actor, died on November 29 at the age of 68. [more inside]
posted by greenhornet at 3:12 AM - 24 comments

November 30

First they came for our news, then our homes, now our pets

There are many reasons life is unaffordable for many Americans. Stagnant wages and the high costs of housing and healthcare have been well covered by the media. What there’s been less writing about is how private equity has impacted the houses we live in, the news we read and even how we care for our pets. Mass changes in ownership overtaking entire economic sectors raise important questions for Americans: Should we be pressuring our politicians to create policy that ensures whole industries don't get eaten up by the investor class? If so, at what point should we intervene? [more inside]
posted by Violet Blue at 10:23 PM - 55 comments

The Yamaha DX7 synthesizer's clever exponential circuit, reverse-enginee

The Yamaha DX7 synthesizer's clever exponential circuit, reverse-engineered [Ken Shirriff's blog] "The Yamaha DX7 digital synthesizer was released in 1983 and became extremely popular, defining the sound of 1980s pop music. [technical chip information] In this blog post, I examine this circuit—implemented by a ROM, shifter, and other circuitry—in detail and extract the ROM's data." [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 8:25 PM - 29 comments

What Whale Barnacles Know

In the grand scheme of things, Michael Moore regrets losing his sense of smell decades ago as the result of chemical exposure in veterinary school. It may have spared him some discomfort, though, on the day in September 2010 when he arrived on a beach in Massachusetts to examine the colossal decaying carcass of a washed-up humpback whale... He did see one sign of life, however: clusters of freeloading whale barnacles, embedded in the whale’s skin like calcium carbonate body piercings. Their shells clicked softly as they extended their feathery back legs, sweeping the air for plankton that were no longer floating by. For generations, these hitchhikers have been recording details about their hosts and their ocean home. (SLHakai)
posted by ShooBoo at 7:48 PM - 8 comments

Welcome to the pyrocene

In Ten Million a Year, David Wallace-Wells (previously 1, 2, 3), writing in the London Review of Books, helps us comprehend the incomprehensible brutality of air pollution.
posted by rossmeissl at 5:36 PM - 9 comments

They're all Mormon...

and so is every influencer you’ve loved in the past decade.
posted by clawsoon at 1:47 PM - 74 comments

“I’m much too busy to die”.

Dancer, singer … spy: France’s Panthéon honours Josephine Baker as the first Black woman inducted into the Paris mausoleum for revered figures.
You know, friends, that I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad.

A life of resistance [more inside]
posted by adamvasco at 11:18 AM - 14 comments

Gay Men Earn Degrees at Highest Rate, Study Finds

Roughly 52 percent of gay men in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 36 percent of all adults. Mittleman said that gay men of every racial and ethnic group outperformed their straight male counterparts. “I think it’s especially striking within the Asian American population, given the fact that they generally have the highest levels of degree attainment in America,” Mittleman said. “Even within that already high-achieving population, gay men earn more college degrees than straight men.”
posted by folklore724 at 10:36 AM - 21 comments

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