July 22

The unforgettable sound ... and it's also your Free Thread

Describe, recollect, or muse upon, a significant sound or voice in your life - heard regularly, or just once, or historically in some way. Perhaps the first time you heard your partner or child, a piece of music, birdsong, a TV theme, a sound from a movie, or a sound or voice on a memorable trip, anything which has stuck in your mind ... Or write about whatever is on your mind, in your heart, on your plate or in your journal, because this is your weekly free thread. [Recentish]
posted by Wordshore at 12:00 AM - 11 comments

July 21

Neither utopian nor dystopian, but open to radically weird possibilities

What is today called “artificial intelligence” should be counted as a Copernican Trauma in the making. It reveals that intelligence, cognition, even mind (definitions of these historical terms are clearly up for debate) are not what they seem to be, not what they feel like, and not unique to the human condition. Obviously, the creative and technological sapience necessary to artificialize intelligence is a human accomplishment, but now, that sapience is remaking itself. Since the paleolithic cognitive revolution, human intelligence has artificialized many things — shelter, heat, food, energy, images, sounds, even life itself — but now, that intelligence itself is artificializable. from The Five Stages Of AI Grief by Benjamin Bratton [Noema; ungated]
posted by chavenet at 11:59 PM - 2 comments

DashCon at 10: I single-handedly destroyed fandom culture?

I was 15. I had been to three conventions. One of them was a rabbit convention.
posted by one for the books at 11:26 PM - 0 comments

Homo Sacer - not too long; still didn't read

Never got around to reading Homo Sacer? Me either. So I watched this animatic. But consider, in the next election, when you pick a Sovereign, you're also picking who gets to be Bios, and who gets to be Zoë. Homo Sacer reviewed in a YouTube video essay, The link that started this post AGAMBEN HOMO SACER ANIMATIC, Homo Sacer slide deck [Triple Link YouTube]
posted by otherchaz at 8:39 PM - 2 comments

So This Is How They Remind Us

Nickleback, "How You Remind Me," & the Slow Death of Grunge Surprisingly good video essay from Trash Theory that places Nickelback's early 2000s success in the context of CanCon, post-grunge, and the 9/11 release date of Nickelback's breakthrough album, Silver Side Up.
posted by jonp72 at 7:22 PM - 4 comments

“Open your mind and I’ll transport you to another realm”

The DragonStrike instruction video cassette was like nothing else TSR ever did, a mix of live action and early 90s computer graphics, all in the service of introducing a board game that was “essentially Dungeons and Dragons with training wheels”, as Don Jolly put it in an entertaining essay about it. YouTuber William SRD has also made a video exploring the cult classic video, as the last part of four episodes about the DragonStrike series of games. You can play the original video game at the Internet Archive.
posted by Kattullus at 2:47 PM - 5 comments

The character in question? A 216-year-old red oak tree.

Earlier this year, Floyd County School District cancelled their planned community read following complaints that the middle-grade novel depicts a monoecious red oak, a tree with reproductive parts that can pollinate and flower simultaneously. In the book, originally published in 2017, the tree claims an identity that is “both” female and male and responds to diverse pronouns. Author Katherine Applegate visited Floyd, VA this month. ‘Wishtree’ Author Responds To Virginia Community’s Cancellation Of ‘One Book’ Program (audio interview with transcript, WVPB)
posted by bq at 1:57 PM - 12 comments

Once locally-extinct Murray crayfish on track to thrive again in SA

Once locally-extinct Murray crayfish on track to thrive again in South Australia's River Murray. The species has been mostly absent from the South Australian stretch of the river for around 40 years. Now, the population is getting another boost.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 1:01 PM - 2 comments

Exit Through the Grift Shop

On November 14th of 2022, I received an FTX sponsored bobblehead of Jordan Poole. This was only a few days after the FTX collapse. I realized I had a collectors item and found other similar sports related collectors items at home such as a Webvan hockey puck. Combining my passion for entrepreneurship, risk taking, and collectibles, I built a collection of artifacts from failed companies, products, toys, and sports. [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 12:23 PM - 20 comments

Joe Biden Steps Down as Democratic Nominee Presumptive

I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:56 AM - 768 comments

Bare chested men are ugly! Rolling Stone told me so!

50 worst album covers of all time, per Rolling Stone.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 9:30 AM - 46 comments

Taylor & Francis sells access to research material to Microsoft AI

Authors have expressed their shock after the news that academic publisher Taylor & Francis, which owns Routledge, had sold access to its authors’ research as part of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) partnership with Microsoft—a deal worth almost £8m ($10m) in its first year. [more inside]
posted by cupcakeninja at 6:31 AM - 34 comments

Cheers as snuggling marsupial sighting sparks hope

Cheers as snuggling marsupial sighting sparks hope for fire-ravaged colony. An image of two greater gliders cuddled up in a treetop nesting box has been hailed as a long-awaited sign that efforts to rehabilitate a colony in NSW are working.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 1:48 AM - 3 comments

A difficult interview subject

Everett doesn’t often validate specific interpretations or theories of his work. The fact that this work often manages to be simultaneously hilarious, ambiguous, deeply moving, and filled with a kind of muted anger at America complicates efforts to interpret either it or Everett’s politics. When he is in the humor to indulge interpretations, he will often entertain a potential reading by saying that it’s not what he intended, but, as far as he is concerned, the process of meaning-making, insofar as it can be said to be a duty, belongs to the reader alone—and it is the reader alone, through their engagement with the text, who completes this process of meaning-making. Everett refuses to hold your hand or tell you what to think. from Several Attempts at Understanding Percival Everett [The Millions] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 1:13 AM - 6 comments

July 20

Baldly going where no one has gone before

William Shatner Lent Me His Hairpiece (1996, 12 1/2 minutes), "an untrue story" and fan-made video, directed and written by Ken Hegan and rescued from off a VHS tape. IMDB, Film Threat description, Everything2 node. Starring Gary Jones (later of Stargate SG-1) as William Shatner.
posted by JHarris at 11:27 PM - 9 comments

Plate Tectonics and the Fermi Paradox

A recent paper on The Importance of Continents, Oceans, and Plate Tectonics for the Evolution of Complex Life (pdf) by Stern and Gerya, published in Nature, suggests that the rarity of planets with continents and plate tectonics might resolve the Fermi Paradox -- the problem of explaining why we haven't found intelligent, communicative, extraterrestrial life given that plausible models say such life should be abundant. [more inside]
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 4:46 PM - 28 comments

A testament to the power of art

In an artist statement, Sikander noted that “Witness” forcibly reinserts women as participants in and spectators of patriarchal law and morality, demanding agency and autonomy through natural elements in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Justice Ginsburg’s 2020 death. When it came time for the works to be installed at the University of Houston campus last February, Sikander and the school were met with intense backlash from far-right, anti-choice lobbyists and organizations that decried the work as a “satanic abortion idol” and petitioned for the exhibition’s cancelation. from Shahzia Sikander Says No to Repairing Her Beheaded Sculpture [Hyperallergic] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 11:44 AM - 26 comments

The push to put native grains on the menu

This superfood has been around for 60,000 years, so why don't we use it more? A group of First Nations Australians is leading the push to put native grains on the menu, foster an industry that stays in Indigenous hands, create employment, and improve health.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 11:10 AM - 5 comments

Can’t sleep trees will eat me

The mystery of the Welland trees faces. [more inside]
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:13 AM - 17 comments

Open and Shut

When technology fails, not even Morse code can save you. If you are stuck in the Crowdstrike boot loop, you can't use a battle-tested encoding trusted by pilots, submariners, and amateur radio nerds.
posted by verylazyminer at 9:09 AM - 16 comments

RIP Golden Swallow

Cheng Pei-pei, ‘queen of martial arts’ movies, dead at 78 Actress Cheng Pei-pei, best known for her martial arts roles in films such as “Come Drink with Me” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” has died. She was 78. “It is with a heavy heart that we announce that the rumors are true. Our mother, Cheng Pei Pei, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loved ones on July 17,” her family wrote in a statement posted on Facebook Friday. [more inside]
posted by LostInUbe at 5:33 AM - 18 comments

How Do You Restore a Chestnut Forest or an Apple Orchard? Very Slowly.

This botanic garden is determined to bring back the American chestnut tree and heirloom apples that taste like those grown 500 years ago. It won’t be easy. Margaret Roach for the NYT. “When you operate a botanic garden, you hope that it’s here in perpetuity,” he said, and you work with that horizon in mind, not just the current year’s displays. “You expect that this property, that this garden is going to survive long past anyone who’s actively managing it.”
posted by bq at 4:29 AM - 21 comments

Solidarity Never Changes

In a surprising move, the staff of Bethesda Game Studios - creators of the first person based Fallout games, Starfield, and The Elder Scrolls - have moved to collectively unionize under the Communication Workers of America (CWA). (SLIGN) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:48 AM - 16 comments

​The cable hadn’t malfunctioned; it had disappeared

The modern world turns out to rely greatly on unprotected bits of equipment in remote places. “We are talking about thousands and thousands of kilometers of infrastructure between Europe and the United States and Asia,” says Katarzyna Zysk, a professor of international relations and contemporary history at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies in Oslo. “This is a network that is extremely hard to surveil, to monitor and to protect. This is infrastructure that is highly vulnerable to sabotage.” from A Subsea Cable Went Missing. Was Russia to Blame? [Bloomberg; ungated]        [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 12:42 AM - 8 comments

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 - 4 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 - 8 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 - 18 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 - 27 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 - 30 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 - 36 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 - 2 comments

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 - 2 comments

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 - 32 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 - 33 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 - 41 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 - 211 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 - 42 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 - 23 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 - 642 comments


bye bob
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 1:25 PM - 142 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 - 26 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 - 42 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 - 71 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

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