February 2020 Archives

February 16

The intersection of Conservation Biology and Global Pandemics

How love for endangered pangolins inspired a wave of coronavirus prejudice. Dr. Jonathan Kolby, a science policy specialist who studies the international spread of diseases through the wildlife trade and the global amphibian extinction crisis writes, "Dialogues about the new coronavirus should not allow the important topic of wildlife conservation to provide a smokescreen for prejudice...It’s OK to become angry that pangolins are going extinct; we should use this energy constructively to learn more about the issue and possibly support conservation efforts. With global teamwork we can prevail against both the emerging coronavirus pandemic and the illegal wildlife trade."
posted by primalux at 7:40 PM PST - 1 comment

A Musical Interlude...

Anne Akiko Myers, playing the world's most expensive violin, performs Arvo Pärt's "Fratres"...
posted by jim in austin at 7:37 PM PST - 4 comments

The Wildness of Maurice Sendak

The Wildness of Maurice Sendak is a fine biographic orientation to where Maurice was coming from (particularly the strains of his childhood). It's by Gabrielle Bellot, who writes a column called Wander, Woman. As an introductory video, this Moyers interview from 2004 is also insightful. (Maurice is clearly moved by what Joe Campbell said about 'Wild Things').
posted by Twang at 7:21 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

“I am the programming equivalent of a home cook.”

“I made a messaging app for, and with, my family. It is ruthlessly simple; we love it; no one else will ever use it.” —Robin Sloan, An app can be a home-cooked meal. [via Lobsters]
posted by oulipian at 4:00 PM PST - 11 comments

…mounds of dung and worm-eaten corpses, the hallmark triggers of disgust

"Disgust is inherently ambivalent—it at once revolts and attracts us. This reflects, for Strohminger, the larger evolutionary ambivalence that disgust stems from, since we “must balance the need for nutrition against the peril of toxic comestibles, the need to socialize against the threat of communicable disease.” In short, disgust may not derive from a simple aversion to harmful substances but from a tension between the desire to explore and consume new things and the dangers of doing so": Why We Love to Be Grossed Out (Nautilus) [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 3:11 PM PST - 10 comments

no one had defined a crossing in such achievable terms

The problem with the importance of being the first to do something is that something gets sliced and diced in more and more elaborate, and perhaps meaningless, ways. Was Colin O'Brady really the first to cross Antarctica unaided? He responds to the article.
posted by jeather at 2:35 PM PST - 11 comments


Before the Sci-Fi Channel (these days "Syfy" because we're all dumber now) officially launched, they aired a good amount of vaguely weird video and shimmery audio along with a launch timer. The last hour and twenty minutes of it are preserved on YouTube. Here's some of it without the timer. Also, here's a collection of 125 FTL Newsfeeds, the weird fake future newscast Sci-Fi aired that served both as mood setter and experiment in serialized storytelling. Here's a bunch of bumpers from 1990/2000. And the bumps from their short-lived "Sci-Fi World" block, featuring the song Funkytown. [more inside]
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM PST - 9 comments

Jazz with Bob Parlocha archive

Bob Parlocha was a jazz radio institution. He began spinning disks over four decades ago. This program fillled the late night airwaves in many cities across the USA. Jazz with Bob Parlocha continued that KJAZ feeling for twenty years until Bob's death in 2015. You can stream hundreds of hours of JWBP on the internet.
posted by rebent at 1:01 PM PST - 5 comments

Stop at that top turtle and you miss that it’s turtles all the way down.

But design isn’t magic. To address a wicked problem is to look for its roots — and there’s no hexagon map for getting there. Stop at “insufficient competitiveness” and what you get is a solution that can be tidy exactly because it doesn’t touch the deep causes of Gainesville’s economic stagnation. You get a solution that’s indifferent to the legacies of slavery and segregation, to the highway projects that systematically cut off and blighted East Gainesville, to East Gainesville’s miserable public transportation, and to Florida’s $8.46 minimum wage.
posted by Mrs Potato at 10:00 AM PST - 16 comments

plastic in your consoles, computer, modem, cables, plastic is everywhere

The inescapable impact of plastics in the video game industry [Eurogamer] Ed Annunziata loves the ocean. [...] It's an idea reflected in Annuziata's games, most notably, Ecco, his beloved series about a dolphin fighting to save the ecosystem and his species from mysterious aliens and human oppression. It is often considered one of the first environmental ocean games, but even Ecco couldn't predict the threat that would be posed by plastic pollution. "When I walk on the beach I see plastic bottles and wrappers left behind by weekend beach visitors," says Annunziata. "It's heartbreaking to see knowing that plastic trash will be floating around in the ocean for 1000 years." Plastic is a problem, and the same is true for the video game industry. Whether it's our consoles, our PCs, our game packaging, or just a water bottle you happen to throw away at a convention - it isn't solely our responsibility, but we undoubtedly bear some of the blame.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 9:46 AM PST - 16 comments

In a world where there is no compassion for those who stay...

‘Jumanji’ Producer To Develop Emerson, Lake & Palmer Song ‘Karn Evil 9’ As A Sci-Fi Movie [Deadspin] - New York Times bestselling author Daniel H. Wilson has been hired to adapt the screenplay [...] Centered on a society that has drained all its blood with a dependence on technology, the film will explore the world controlled by a pervasive and dictatorial technocracy. The annual “Karn Evil” — a macabre rite of passage — is a young person’s once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience unbridled freedom, before subjugating themselves to the ruling class. When people stop returning from their Karn Evil experience, fear drives a revolution to topple the status quo and the artificial intelligence discovered at its heart. [more inside]
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:11 AM PST - 53 comments

February 15

Note to Amazon: Flying under the radar was how the rebel alliance won

Local Bookstores Have A New Weapon In The Fight With Amazon - Bookshop.org [more inside]
posted by gryftir at 11:15 PM PST - 37 comments

Meta implications for financial 404's

One example: Malthusianism
Unchecked, exponential page growth outstripped the pixel supply. There was a catastrophe, and now the population is at a lower, more sustainable level.

posted by sammyo at 6:41 PM PST - 12 comments

ABCD-East to west, going on an Alphaquest

Doors up and down the halls / Wonder what's behind them all / Doors that lead to anywhere / Got to ABC what's there / Got to ABC decide / Where's the door I haven't tried / ABCD East to west / Going on an alpha quest! Alphaquest was a series of Sesame Street segments combining live action and animation, in which a girl goes through a hallway and into various rooms, each one representing a different letter of the alphabet. [more inside]
posted by bleep at 2:56 PM PST - 9 comments

Oh, cool, it's the ThunderCats (2nd reboot)! Check 'em out!

In 1985, ThunderCats debuted (YouTube, trailer + intro, 3 minutes), and ran for 130 episodes over 4 seasons (Thundercats.org, episode guide), promoted as "another children's animated fantasy [... with] lessons about respect, friendship, truth, honesty and justice" (Rankin Bass, PRpage). They also sold a lot of toys (Thundercats.org). The show was rebooted in 2011 (YT, 2 minute trailer; previously) by Studio 4°C (previously) for Cartoon Network. Now CN's rebooting the series again (Bleeding Cool), but now it's silly and crazy and outlandish, with cool action elements (Entertainment Weekly interview). Enough talking, on with the cartoons! YT playlist of official promo clips, and CN has the first two episodes online now.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:29 PM PST - 32 comments

We Pronounce It 'Sowr-ree'

Choir! Choir! Choir! and Barenaked Ladies sing 'One Week' (SLYT). [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 12:11 PM PST - 26 comments

An ominous-looking snail on the way to work

Modern Western secular assumptions about the relations between gods, human beings, animals and the Earth, or between men and women, or abstract and concrete entities, simply don’t apply to democratic Athens. This is the case Anderson wishes to make. To understand the Athenians properly, we must recognise that it isn’t just that they perceived the world differently, but that the world itself was different. What’s needed, he believes, is an ‘ontological turn’ in how we write histories of Athens. [more inside]
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:35 AM PST - 38 comments

On one hand, it's a great idea

Giggle is a "girls only social network" for Android and IOS. It uses "bio-metric gender verification software" to make sure the site is free of men. (Not boys. The site is "for girls" and "not for men.") Since it recognizes "gender" by bone structure, it admits it may have some problems identifying trans girls. But don't worry! "If you are at all concerned with the possibility of being misgendered, you are welcome to contact giggle HQ for manual onboarding." [more inside]
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:17 AM PST - 53 comments

"Imagine being able to jump over a giraffe"

BBC: "He holds the world's best mark at every age level from under-seven to under-12 and then from under-17 all the way to senior." Meet Armand "Mondo" Duplantis. Born in the USA, quietly setting records as a child pole vaulter, and now 20 and Swedish, confident, and the holder of several previous championship and age group records. Now he's broken the world record for pole vaulting - not once (alternate), but twice (with room to spare), in a week. The current record stands at 6.18 metres. (post title)
posted by Wordshore at 9:28 AM PST - 14 comments

Sometimes the cyberpunk future is OK

Psychology professor and electronic music artist Bertolt Meyer uses a prosthetic hand, but found it too imprecise to turn the tiny knobs on his synthesizer. So he, with the help of electronic engineer Chrisi Zollner from KOMA Elektronik and his husband Daniel Theiler, hacked his arm to control the synthesizer directly.
posted by JDHarper at 7:19 AM PST - 12 comments

a spring with voices

Mairi McFayden, an ethnologist and writer in the Highlands, writes about ecological crisis through the lens of the birds of the Scottish highlands, while digging into Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches, archives of Gaelic and Scots recordings from the 1930s onwards. “I’ll tell ye a thing, that I would never like tae let a spring pass withoot hearin the dawn chorus, because onybody that’s never heard that, they dinna ken whit they’re missin. Fir, it’s life tae me…John’s words are simple, yet profound: birdsong is an unselfconscious and effortless celebration of affirming presence, of life, of aliveness. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 6:37 AM PST - 4 comments

UNDESA World Social Report 2020

U.N. warns that runaway inequality is destabilizing the world’s democracies. The U.N. report is unusually clear-eyed on the power dynamics underlying today’s inequality struggles. “People in positions of power tend to capture political processes, particularly in contexts of high and growing inequality,” the report states. “Efforts to reduce inequality will inevitably challenge the interests of certain individuals and groups. At their core, they affect the balance of power.
posted by smoke at 4:42 AM PST - 21 comments

The race to the bottom continues

Target's grocery delivery company Shipt has a robust approach to worker relations. Workers who ask awkward questions or express dissent are deactivated, i.e. become ineligible to receive future work assignments because, as is increasingly common, they are not employees but contractors. [more inside]
posted by epo at 2:21 AM PST - 59 comments

"Are you telling me that computers can save this unlistenable disaster?"

Before he was considered a noted podcaster or something of a raconteur, before he made a Christmas album with Jonathan Coulton, before he said that punk rock was bullshit, before his music opened every episode of My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and before he was the frontman of The Long Winters, John Roderick led the short-lived Seattle buzz-band the Western State Hurricanes. The missing link between the Grunge scene and Seattle's late 90s indie rock explosion (led by tour mates and frequent collaborators Death Cab For Cutie), their debut LP Through With Love, recorded 20 years ago and long-thought unsalvageable, is finally available to listen to now. YouTube. Apple Music. Spotify. You can purchase the limited edition vinyl LP here. [more inside]
posted by JimBennett at 12:15 AM PST - 12 comments

February 14

Soul Gospel of the 1970s

The Time For Peace Is Now: Soul Gospel of the 1970s [more inside]
posted by ob1quixote at 10:16 PM PST - 4 comments

"I speak of none other than the computer that is to come after me"

Mathematicians Are Studying Planet-Sized Quantum Computers With God-Like Powers
posted by Long Way To Go at 5:33 PM PST - 50 comments

No stand-in used here

That time Jewelpet Sunrise, a Japanese magical girl with fluffy mascots cartoon series did a shot for shot recreation of the audition scene from Flashdance.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:56 PM PST - 25 comments

American Gray Squirrels: pets and pests, creatures of contrast

In the late 1800s, squirrels were favorite pets (Atlas Obscura), as seen by Benjamin Franklin's letter written in 1722, morning the passing of Mungo (Google books), and the 1851 book Domestic Pets: Their Habits and Management (Internet Archive), has a chapter on pet squirrels. John James Audubon wrote about the Migratory Gray Squirrel in The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, and describes how and when to capture a young squirrel to domesticate. In the late 19th century, American squirrels flooded London parks. To Victorians, uninitiated to the perils of invasive species, these creatures were exotic, attractive, even cuddly (Atlas Obscura), and their views were probably informed from Americans, who would even have portraits of their children painted, including pet squirrels (Artsy). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:20 PM PST - 35 comments

Why does my heart go on beating? Why do these eyes of mine cry?

Are pop songs getting sadder every year? It ended when you said goodbye. [more inside]
posted by Gray Duck at 11:36 AM PST - 55 comments

The Food You Should Try

There is a country named Georgia (please do not ever mix it with the state). Georgia is famous for many things, like ancient culture, alphabet, nature, wine and of course food. Georgians are proud of their food even more as about culture. Top Georgian foods are: Khinkali, Mtsadi, Chakapuli and of course Khachapuri!
posted by irakli.cf at 11:11 AM PST - 36 comments

Worthwhile Canadian initiative

How emissions-intensive is your sex life, and does it matter? A Valentine's Day excerpt from The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success, a new book (free online) by Canadian climate policy expert Mark Jaccard. Jaccard is a professor of sustainable energy, former chair of the British Columbia Utilities Commission, and the architect of the BC carbon tax. Endorsements. [more inside]
posted by russilwvong at 10:52 AM PST - 19 comments

Overthinking John Cusack

The Holy Trinity of John Cusack Movies Tells a Cautionary Tale
posted by COD at 10:50 AM PST - 80 comments

“I was stabbed,” I said, and my voice sounded breathy.

The first thing people usually want to know is what getting stabbed feels like. The answer is that it feels like getting punched really hard. Or at least, I assume it’s what getting hit feels like. I’ve never been punched. I have been stabbed six times. (content warning: pictures of blood and stitched-up wounds)
posted by Etrigan at 10:50 AM PST - 16 comments

Love App-Tually

Mashable's series on digital dating. Jims looking for Pams, post-breakup pet custody and the glory days of Missed Connections. Here are the worst online dating behaviors and the "superfluous words we invented along the way to cope with the indignity of it all."
posted by storytam at 10:35 AM PST - 12 comments

Autistic Exhaustion

I'm now a weird mix of wired and tired. Being Autistic comes with a huge helping of fatigue for many. From masking and being social to sensory overload, everything takes more out of you when you're autistic. No one really has a solution, but here are a couple autistic people with tips for things that have helped alleviate some of their exhaustion. [more inside]
posted by stoneweaver at 9:40 AM PST - 17 comments

Revisiting Marry Him at 10 years on

Tracy Clark-Flory: "Just as heart-shaped candies and pastel greeting cards filled drug store shelves, in time for Valentine’s Day of 2010, a new book came out: Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by the journalist Lori Gottlieb . . . This opener is representative of what Gottlieb does repeatedly in the book: paint a caricature of petty, shallow, and self-aggrandizing women. Meeting in a bar with a group of single women in their thirties, Gottlieb relays outrageous examples of the reasons these sources say they once broke up with seemingly good men: He was bald, too optimistic, or a cryer. He bought the wrong kind of flowers, had long nose hairs, or loved her too much." [more inside]
posted by Carillon at 9:22 AM PST - 12 comments

Margaret Atwood on a scooter.

Here's Margaret Atwood on an electric scooter. That's it. That's the post.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:20 AM PST - 14 comments

The official coronavirus epidemic numbers don't add up

Body Count Viet Nam War casualty reporting as metaphor for the official numbers coming out of China concerning the coronavirus epidemic. [more inside]
posted by Bron at 8:53 AM PST - 57 comments

Even graduate students think poop is funny ...

The latest out of MIT: Smart diapers that tell you when it needs changing. (Via Mefi's Own™ adamg's Universal Hub)
posted by Melismata at 8:08 AM PST - 18 comments

You must submit to my will in order to get a big smile

If it turns out that, contrary to widespread assumptions, behavior modification techniques aren’t supported by solid data even when used with autistic kids, why would we persist in manipulating anyone with positive reinforcement? A rigorous new meta-analysis utterly debunks the claim that applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is the only intervention for children with autism that’s “evidence-based.” In fact, it raises serious questions about whether ABA merits that description at all. Previously on ABA from an autistic point of view: [1], [2].
posted by sciatrix at 7:19 AM PST - 15 comments

Living as a whole person instead of an idea of a person

The Alexander Technique has nothing to do with standing up straight. There is not one straight line in the body, or in the universe for that matter. This is an extended look letting ourselves be ourselves rather than applying artificial standards of correctness-- straight, upright, symmetrical, etc. It's about not letting a small part of our minds take charge of the rest of us. [more inside]
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:01 AM PST - 45 comments

Now sleep in the bed you've made

Right-Wing Backlash Greets Modest GOP Foray Into Climate Change House Republicans offered a modest proposal to slow climate change. It was not well-received.
The free market-group American Energy Alliance dismissed it as a “Republican-led Green New Deal lite” that amounted to a “climate messaging exercise.” The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute called it “bad policy that will not bring any political relief.” And the Club for Growth vowed to not endorse any candidate who backs what it called the “liberal” Republican climate plan.
[more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:00 AM PST - 71 comments

February 13

“There have got to be, like, millions"

We are used to thinking of earthworms as being beneficial, but a new kind taking over is not. [more inside]
posted by blue shadows at 10:05 PM PST - 21 comments

"Dead bears learn nothing"

Steve Searles is not really a cop, not really a civilian; he lives in limbo between those two worlds. […] Searles has carved out a niche and a career as Mammoth Lakes’ “bear whisperer,” a protector of the wild things that roam the night: the ubiquitous bears, deer, coyotes and all manner of high-country cat. He protects the residents and the 2.5 million annual visitors too, though they have the numerical advantage. They also have guns and cars … warm beds and cozy, muffin-scented kitchens. (Chris Erskine, LA Times) [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:28 PM PST - 4 comments

“Arthur [Morgan] and I are connected by that controller,”

Dutch’s real-life mom plays through Red Dead Redemption 2 [Polygon] “The 75-year-old mother of the actor who played Dutch van der Linde in Red Dead Redemption 2 played through the entire open-world game so she could understand what it was her son had done, and why millions hailed the work. And the essay she wrote about her experience is a wonderfully affirming, outsider’s commentary on fan culture, particularly in video gaming. Jessica Hoffmann Davis, an educator, playwright and author of four books about the role of arts in education, picked up a DualShock 4 controller after visiting FanExpo Boston in August 2019. Before that visit, Davis really had no idea of the depth of video games culture or why fans are so intensely devoted to them. “The only way I would get to experience my son’s celebrated performance was to learn to play Red Dead Redemption 2,” she writes.” [Essay via Reddit: Unsung heroes: Reconceptualizing a video game as a work of art.][**Contains Spoilers for RDR2**][Story Trailer for RDR2]
posted by Fizz at 6:52 PM PST - 17 comments

1810 Farmer's View of Homosexuality

From the BBC: "A diary written by a Yorkshire farmer more than 200 years ago is being hailed as providing remarkable evidence of tolerance towards homosexuality in Britain much earlier than previously imagined."
posted by NotLost at 6:42 PM PST - 20 comments

Apollo Masters fire

One of the only two vinyl lacquer production companies in the world, the Apollo Masters facility in Banning CA, burned down on February 6th. [more inside]
posted by ghostbikes at 5:57 PM PST - 6 comments

“Send Tigers Into Engagement Parties”

Rachel Howard on leaving a relationship built in a Bachelor world where partnerships are deals and looks are capital. Sarah Miller on reading Against the Couple-Form and an aromantic manifesto and taking a fight with her partner out of the private sphere. [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 5:46 PM PST - 1 comment

“a podcast that celebrates books and bold opinions”

The Lit Pickers is a literary podcast by Supriya Nair and Deepanjana Pal. Recording in Mumbai, they look on literature from an Indian perspective. There have been four episodes so far, each with a theme, focusing on literary festivals, protest poetry, getting back into a reading habit, and books about Indira Gandhi.
posted by Kattullus at 3:08 PM PST - 1 comment

"He Was Way Ahead of His Time, Unfortunately That Time Hasn't Come Yet."

Hollywood Reporter: He Was Star Wars' Secret Weapon, So Why Was He Forgotten?
posted by WCityMike at 1:47 PM PST - 13 comments

Even The Nicer Moments Are a Little Intolerable

The appeal is undeniable: a simple story of coming out of the shadow of a Great Man. Yet I don’t think that’s the process either of these books is really describing. There’s nothing straightforward in finding independence by way of dating a famous man. There are also tangled questions of agency and desire, of what’s in it for anyone who attaches herself to a celebrity. Infinite Jerk by Laura Marsh [The New Republic] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 1:30 PM PST - 6 comments

We all fear… but fear can be a gift

A24 has released the trailer for its medieval fantasy, The Green Knight, starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton. Directed by David Lowery, the movie is based on the poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
posted by adrianhon at 12:06 PM PST - 47 comments

Toffee planets: hard sci-fi with a crispy outer shell and gooey center

The Geology of Toffee Planets (PDF): A world with a lithosphere too thin to subduct (or with no lithosphere at all) could not support plate tectonics, with implications for heat loss, style of volcanism, atmospheric composition, and the frequency with which new reactive minerals reach the surface. Bodies with masses sufficient to yield thin lithospheres, then, might host tectonic and volcanic features similar to those that characterize the Venus lowlands [21] or Archean Earth [22], with high-standing terrain the exception, not the rule. This inference can be tested by efforts to search for exoplanet topography [23]. “Toffee Planets” Hint at Earth’s Cosmic Rarity -- Exoplanets with stretchy, flowing rock may be bereft of plate tectonics—and of complex life (Scientific American)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM PST - 9 comments

In the end, we do not think that there is a ‘gender-equality paradox.’

A Controversial Study Claimed To Explain Why Women Don’t Go Into Science And Tech. It Just Got A 1,113-Word Correction. “When we looked under the surface, this appears to be a case of massaging one’s data — selecting for different countries, particular gender measures, particular women-in-STEM measures — to produce the narrative that you want to see.” [more inside]
posted by shoesietart at 11:01 AM PST - 41 comments

more than a little bookish and very infatuated

"Let’s just blame it all on Washington, D.C. — it never gets old. The first known usage of emo dates back to the mid-1980s, when “emo-core” served as shorthand for “emotional hardcore,” a label applied to a wave of bands that deviated from the macho aggression of D.C. punk during the so-called Revolution Summer. What they had in common: a greater emphasis on melody, dynamics, and, yes, lyrics about feelings." The 100 Greatest Emo Songs of All Time
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:56 AM PST - 17 comments

A great tree has fallen

Joseph Shabalala, founder and musical director of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, dead at 78. International audiences primarily know the group through its appearance on Paul Simon's Graceland in 1986, but LBM has had a long career, going back to the 1960s. LBM helped popularize isicathamiya, a genre of Zulu a capella singing. Tributes to Shabalala have been published in Maverick Life, the Mail & Guardian, and IOL.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:55 AM PST - 32 comments

UTSA Makes Public Its Mexican Cookbook Collection

UTSA has made public its digitized Mexican cookbook collection. According to Atlas Obscura, UTSA is not only attempting to digitize its fragile collection, but also transcribing it. “I’ve had students in tears going through these, because it’s so powerful to see that connection with how their family makes certain dishes and where they originated,” says (UTSA Special Collections Librarian Stephanie) Noell.
posted by toastyk at 9:48 AM PST - 12 comments

What is this that stands before me? Heavy Metal turning fifty.

On This Day in 1970, Heavy Metal was born with the release of the song 'Black Sabbath' on the album Black Sabbath by the band Black Sabbath. 50 years later, the band reflects on their groundbreaking debut.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:48 AM PST - 57 comments

Cheating scandal? What cheating scandal?

Major League Baseball proposes huge expansion of playoffs So, what’s the controversy all about? It involves a proposal to up the number of playoff teams in each league to seven from the current five, while adding games to the wildcard round. In a sport that sells nostalgia as part of its package, any alteration of the postseason is enough to draw the ire of traditionalists. [Details below] [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:22 AM PST - 97 comments

Great Impractical Ideas in Computer Science

Want to make simple games? Create basic animations? Program a Turing machine? Generate fractals? Why not use the sophisticated new development environment called *checks notes* Microsoft Powerpoint??
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:46 AM PST - 19 comments

February 12


A bot-generated web comic about how millenials are ruining it all for boomers. [via mefi projects]
posted by Going To Maine at 11:55 PM PST - 51 comments

North Sea megaengineering

The North Sea, between Great Britain, continental Europe and Scandinavia, has been the focus of several megaengineering ideas, most recently a Dutch proposal to enclose it with two massive dams, one running from Scotland via the Shetland Islands to Norway, and the other from Cornwall to Brittany. The so-called North European Enclosure Dam is estimated to cost between 250 and 500 billion Euros—or merely 0.1% of the GDP of the areas bordering the enclosed regions, which would in turn be protected from rising sea levels due to climate change. The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, which put forward the proposal, stresses that it would be technically feasible, as all sea depths along the routes are relatively shallow, though mentions that the eventual consequences of damming the North Sea would be it turning into a freshwater lake, disrupting marine ecosystems. The idea is intended not so much as an immediate plan for action as a plausible illustration of the likely costs of mitigation if climate change is not reined in. [more inside]
posted by acb at 2:22 PM PST - 98 comments

This Broom Does Not Actually Fly

Warnings - a short poem. "Product warnings excite the imagination. They are the secret history of clever ideas that didn’t quite translate into application." [more inside]
posted by stoneweaver at 2:16 PM PST - 11 comments

an engine, learning suite and distribution platform

What DREAMS are made of [Launch] [Trailer] [Gameplay: How do you make stuff?] “Dreams is a thing of wonder. The play, create, share vision pioneered by LittleBigPlanet is at the beating heart of everything this software is, and it excels in all three areas. Describing it as a game almost undersells what's been achieved here; Dreams is so much more than that. Effectively, this is an engine for creating almost anything you can think of. It's very possible to make your own levels, of course, but using the set of tools at your disposal, you can create animations, films, sculptures, paintings, music, and more. It's cliché to say stuff like this, but the limit really is your own imagination. Think of this: in Sackboy's original adventure, someone made a functional calculator using hundreds of gadgets and gizmos tethered together. It was, at the time, unbelievably impressive. In Dreams, a calculator is just one of dozens of in-built tools you can plonk into your creation at any moment.” [via: Push Square] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 2:05 PM PST - 30 comments

In short, the picture was a sensation

The trailer for Wes Anderson's latest movie, The French Dispatch, is out. It "brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city", and stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Lois Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Christoph Waltz, Cécile de France, Guillaume Gallienne, Jason Schwartzman, Tony Revolori, Rupert Friend, Henry Winkler, Bob Balaban, Hippolyte Girardot, Anjelica Huston, Kate Winslet, and others. [more inside]
posted by adrianhon at 11:18 AM PST - 121 comments

Lawrence Ray arrested update...

Lawrence Ray arrested, previously on the blue... In 2019, the blue linked to an expose that was published about abuse at a small college in Westchester. Finally, it seems the wheels of justice are turning, thanks in most part to that expose. Victims family find some relief.... Warnings for sexual abuse of teenagers and cult-like behavior.
posted by rich at 11:02 AM PST - 19 comments

The Alchemy of Meth

Meth began to thrive in Missouri for many of the same reasons it thrives in other disaffected towns in the rural Midwest: As factory jobs evaporated or migrated overseas, the ones left behind often paid less and came with fewer benefits. Some Missourians turned to making and selling the drug to supplement their income; others took to using it, as a performance-enhancing medication. Meth furiously ramps up productivity, allowing people to work longer hours “or bear the work they were doing,” Pine says, “which can be backbreaking, like concrete work; or boring, like factory work or truck driving.” In his new book The Alchemy of Meth, anthropologist Jason Pine chronicles how methamphetamine addiction reshaped rural Missouri, and beyond. Sarah Holder reports for City Lab. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 10:26 AM PST - 41 comments

what did i see to be except myself?

Lucille Clifton honored strength, resilience, hope, and beauty in hundreds of poems over her long career. She received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2007, honoring a living U.S. poet whose "lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition," and the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America. She was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. [more inside]
posted by kristi at 8:59 AM PST - 9 comments

RIP Paul English

Paul English, Willie Nelson's longtime drummer, enforcer, and friend, has passed. For almost fifty years, Paul English [previously] spent his nights literally watching Willie Nelson’s back, as his drummer. The rest of the time he functioned as Willie’s more figurative back—a job that runs 24/7. [...] As Willie explained to an associate who’d wondered why he kept an asshole like Paul on the payroll, especially when he couldn’t keep time as a drummer: “He’s saved my life.” Willie sang about their times together in his song Me And Paul. Paul English was 87.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:49 AM PST - 33 comments

Comics: the Horror in the Nursery! Saved by the Comics Code Authority!

Some 60 years ago, during the era of McCarthyism, comic books became a threat, causing a panic that culminated in a Senate hearing in 1954. [...] The reaction to the suspected scourge was the Comics Code (CBLDF) — a set of rules that spelled out what comics could and couldn't do. Good had to triumph over evil. Government had to be respected. Marriages never ended in divorce. [...] What adults thought was best for children ended up censoring and dissolving years of progress and artistry (Buzzfeed News), as well as comics that challenged American views on gender and race. Consequently, that cemented the idea that this was a medium for kids — something we've only recently started disbelieving. The insane history of how American paranoia ruined and censored comic books (Vox) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:04 AM PST - 40 comments

Eternally Nostalgic, and Alarmed at How Things Are Now

What has happened in journalism in the twenty-first century is a version, perhaps an extreme one, of what has happened in many fields. A blind faith that market forces and new technologies would always produce a better society has resulted in more inequality, the heedless dismantling of existing arrangements that had real value, and a heightened gap in influence, prosperity, and happiness between the dominant cities and the provinces. The political implications of this are painfully obvious, in the United States and elsewhere: in journalism, the poorer, the more nativist, the angrier parts of the country (which vote accordingly) are the ones where journalism can’t deliver on its public promise because of its severe economic constraints. Journalism is a case in which it’s going to take a whole new set of arrangements, and a new way of thinking, to solve the present crisis. Can Journalism Be Saved? by Nicolas Lemann in the NYRB]
posted by chavenet at 7:25 AM PST - 2 comments

Mapping the Gay Guides

Mapping the Gay Guides aims to understand often ignored queer geographies using the Damron Address Books, an early but longstanding travel guide aimed at gay men since the early 1960s. Mapping the Gay Guides turns these travel guides into accessible visualizations, useful in exploring change in queer communities over time. [more inside]
posted by k8lin at 6:54 AM PST - 5 comments

Explore 6 million college syllabi

opensyllabus.org scraped 6 million syllabi and put them into a searchable database.
posted by gwint at 6:40 AM PST - 26 comments

Mycelium: Is there anything it can't do?

Soil's Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests - "In the 'underground economy' for soil nutrients, fungi strike hard bargains and punish plants that won't meet their price." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 6:32 AM PST - 12 comments

What was your leg doing by his mouth?

The Neighbor's Window, a short film by Marshall Curry. And winner of this year's Oscar for short film. [more inside]
posted by Mchelly at 6:13 AM PST - 15 comments

What color is your name?

Synesthesia.me: A Synthesia Project by Bernadette Sheridan
posted by romakimmy at 2:45 AM PST - 21 comments

February 11

I would not have expected that I would have to remind the gentlemen..

Today, February 12th, the US Mint releases the 2020 Native American $1 coin, the latest in a series of dollar coins with Shoshone guide Sacagawea on the obverse (heads side) and a reverse (tails side) design that changes by year. The 2020 design, the first to feature an Alaska Native, honors civil rights pioneer Elizabeth Peratrovich who is relatively little-known outside the state of Alaska. [more inside]
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:41 PM PST - 16 comments

Why a rotary cellphone?

"Because in a finicky, annoying, touchscreen world of hyperconnected people using phones they have no control over or understanding of, I wanted something that would be entirely mine, personal, and absolutely tactile,while also giving me an excuse for not texting. " Justine Haupt has developed a truly wonderful homebrew rotary cell phone. Many other fascinating projects are on her portfolio page. [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:10 PM PST - 70 comments

You are in a maze of twisty little AirBnB rentals, all alike

That night I knock on the doors of the other apartments in the building ... standing at an open door, I notice something: the artwork on the walls is the same as in my apartment, so are the sofas, table and chairs. I return to my apartment, open my laptop and click on my host’s Airbnb profile. I count seven listings for the building I’m staying in, all with identical furniture, all with the same bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.
posted by carter at 1:54 PM PST - 157 comments

The Birds

The Great Flamingo Uprising of 2010
posted by qi at 1:47 PM PST - 16 comments

But every few minutes the game reminds me of its worldview and politics.

Games That You Can't Let Yourself Think About [Vice Gaming] “So The Division has become another one of those games where I compartmentalize the experience. Most of the time I am playing a gorgeous open-world shooter with a wintry look that I love year-round. [...] But every few minutes the game reminds me of its worldview and politics (made more pitiful by the ways it assiduously tries to be apolitical). Whenever The Division tries to portray its characters as heroic, their work and mission somehow noble, it’s a tone-deaf travesty. [...] Mind you, there is a lot of media that requires a healthy dose of doublethink or skepticism. But it’s rare that I find something that is such a bifurcated experience, where my feelings only switch between appreciation and outright loathing. This isn’t a game with “problematic” elements. It’s more like a video game Dorian Gray: something beautiful and captivating that, if you glimpse its true nature, is also utterly appalling.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 1:42 PM PST - 37 comments

"Capital and Ideology"

I found a PDF of a presentation made by Thomas Piketty about his new book. Its coming out in English next month. Previously from September 2019 when the French original version was released.
posted by Mrs Potato at 1:24 PM PST - 6 comments

"Toddlers Are Delighted With Themselves"

“A posed picture of your child perfectly dressed and coiffed, that’s not reality,” McLean told me. Photos that kids take of themselves, however, with their baby teeth on display and their tongue hanging out, “are precious mementos,” she said. “Toddlers think that they are amazing. This is a time when children are so unselfconscious, so accepting of how they look and who they are.” (Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:18 PM PST - 15 comments

Nothing at Stake

Kogonada's video essay on Cuarón's Roma: In this new video essay, Columbus director Kogonada explores how the in-between moments of the protagonist’s daily existence serve as the heart of Cuarón’s vision—and connect it to the themes of life, death, and rebirth in a few very different works in his filmography, including the dystopian thriller Children of Men and the space odyssey Gravity.
posted by sapagan at 11:45 AM PST - 1 comment

Any Lock Can Be Beat If You Own The Keys

The Washington Post reports in a longform feature about Crypto AG - a Swiss firm providing encryption technology to countries around the world world since WWII - all while being owned secretly in a joint venture between the CIA and West German intelligence, allowing them to introduce back doors so that they could easily decode the 'secure' communications of Crypto's customers. (SLWaPo)
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:51 AM PST - 41 comments

Abolition Constitutionalism

"[C]riminal procedure and punishment in the United States still function to maintain forms of racial subordination that originated in the institution of slavery — despite the dominant constitutional narrative that those forms of subordination were abolished. Key aspects of carceral law enforcement — police, prisons, and the death penalty — can be traced back to slavery and the white supremacist regime that replaced slavery after white terror nullified Reconstruction. Criminal punishment has been instrumental in reinstating the subjugated status of black people and preserving a racial capitalist power structure. Many individuals have therefore concluded that the answer to persistent injustice in criminal law enforcement is not reform; it is prison abolition." By Dorothy E. Roberts in the Harvard Law Review
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:27 AM PST - 11 comments

Science Writing - Behind the Scene

A New York Times science writer gives insight to the writing process by annotating his T.Rex article. For budding science writers, a glimpse behind the art of clear explanation. And in particular the issues that apply specifically to science writing: "Science takes time. Often a lot of time. It can be brutal, tedious work. I try my best not to romanticize it, but rather to describe it as a process that often involves a lot of people working together. And oftentimes their jobs may not be the most exciting. In this case, Aaron Giterman wasn’t a scientist mentioned on the paper. Dr. Zanno had mentioned to me that they worked with a technician who pieced the leg back together, and I thought it would be important to the story to highlight his work alongside that of the paper’s authors." [more inside]
posted by storybored at 10:09 AM PST - 2 comments

the bezzle

With few exceptions, the only rich people America prosecutes anymore are those who victimize their fellow elites. Pharma frat boy Martin Shkreli, to pick just one example, wasn’t prosecuted for hiking the price of a drug used to treat HIV from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He went to prison for scamming investors in a hedge fund scheme years before. Meanwhile, in 2016, the CEO [Don Blankenship] whose company [Massey Energy] experienced the deadliest mining disaster since 1970 served less than one year in prison and paid a fine of 1.4 percent of his salary and stock bonuses the previous year. Why? Because overseeing a company that ignores warnings and causes the deaths of workers, even 29 of them, is a misdemeanor.
The Golden Age Of White Collar Crime [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:57 AM PST - 17 comments

If you wanted to confuse Instagram, here's how.

Teenagers are using group accounts to flood Instagram with random user data that can't be tied to a single person.
posted by Etrigan at 8:45 AM PST - 33 comments

Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company

“You don’t think of the Sistine Chapel as a work of papal art, it’s by Michelangelo and Raphael [among others], but somehow because the artists are Indian and their names have never been known, the work has been pigeonholed as ‘Company School’ art. The key thing has been to remove the Company from the centre of the story and foreground the genius of the Indian artists, it’s a tragedy that Ghulam Ali Khan, Shaikh Zain ud-Din and Yellapah of Vellore are names people simply don’t know,” he continues. (from the BBC article) [more inside]
posted by korej at 7:31 AM PST - 7 comments

Real alchemy: The exciting world of condensed-matter physics!

The new era of polariton condensates (pdf) - "Imagine, if you will, a collection of many photons. Now imagine that they have mass, repulsive interactions, and number conservation. The photons will act like a gas of interacting bosonic atoms, and if cooled below a critical temperature, they will undergo a well-known phase transition: Bose-Einstein condensation. You will have a 'superfluid of light.'" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 6:24 AM PST - 7 comments

Self-balancing uni-cycle

Footage of a 1935 Motoruota Monowheel.
Background and wikipedia.
Previously on metafilter
posted by growabrain at 3:40 AM PST - 16 comments

February 10

“Its call goes something like this…”

A two minute clip of the 10th annual Leonard J Waxdeck bird calling contest at Piedmont High School. (May, 1973) [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 11:35 PM PST - 7 comments

Pipeline protests erupt across Canada

Armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided a camp on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory last week, in what some are calling “the next Standing Rock.” For years Wet’suwet’en First Nations people and supporters have been blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline by building camps and villages in the pipeline’s way. In response to this week’s RCMP raid, people blockaded the ports of Vancouver; 57 of those protesters were arrested today as satellite protests also erupted in Montreal, Ottawa, and Saskatchewan. Freda Huson, a spokesperson of the hereditary chiefs who has lived in the path of the pipeline since 2010, says “Our people’s belief is that we are part of the land. [...] And if we don’t take care of her [...] we as a generation of people will die.[more inside]
posted by hungrytiger at 10:29 PM PST - 46 comments

Feb 10, 1971 - Carole King - Tapestry

It's hard to describe how huge the impact of Carole King's second album, Tapestry, released 49 years ago today. She was the Billie Eilish of her day, winning the top four Grammys and selling billions of streams millions of albums with her strong presence and her personal style. Every song written by her, keyboards/piano by her, this is her. Listen for the first time, or listen again; it's truly great. Side A: I Feel The Earth Move, So Far Away, It's Too Late, Home Again, Beautiful, Way Over Yonder [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 10:06 PM PST - 41 comments

Korean Classic Film — Korean Film Archive streaming 200 classic films

For those looking to journey into Korean Cinema after Parasite's big win at the Oscars, the Korean Film Archive launched a YouTube channel with more more than 200 titles currently streaming, free to watch, with subtitles. VIA
posted by dancestoblue at 9:00 PM PST - 10 comments

MIT has improved the passive solar still

"...at a rate of 5.78 liters per square meter(per hour)" for the rooftop prototype" "The team settled on a 10-stage system for their proof-of-concept device, which was tested on an MIT building rooftop. The system delivered pure water that exceeded city drinking water standards, at... (given rate)". [more inside]
posted by aleph at 7:10 PM PST - 46 comments

ICANN and Verisign now planning to raise .com TLD prices

On the heels of the controversial sale of the .org TLD by ICANN last year, which may still be on pause after much pushback, ICANN is now also working with Versign to introduce annual price hikes for the .com TLD up to 7% a year over the next few years. While the additional funding will also support DNS stability and security, the plan doesn't seem to have much support. ICANN is still accepting public comments through February 14 for consideration.
posted by p3t3 at 4:08 PM PST - 38 comments

How a cutscene is assembled

The game Bloodborne (a few previouslies: here, here, and here) uses a number of cutscenes to convey important story information and set the mood before its boss battles. In this YouTube video, Lance McDonald uses a heavily modified version of the game to enable a developer feature that allows free camera movement at any time. He reveals a number of impressive stage-magic tricks of perspective, lighting, and prop movement (normally obscured by the camera's viewport) that combine together to create the seamless cutscenes entirely in the game's engine. Spoilers for the game throughout. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla at 3:32 PM PST - 3 comments

Thanatotheristes degrootorum

’Reaper of death’: Fearsome new dinosaur species discovered in Alberta [Calgary Herald] [more inside]
posted by readinghippo at 3:05 PM PST - 18 comments

O Sea, You Can See

2019 Ocean Art Underwater Photo CompetitionUnderwater Photography Guide, January 13, 2020: “... winners include dramatic animal behavior, stunning marine life portraits, heart wrenching and uplifting conservation scenes, weird and wonderful blackwater creatures, ocean adventure, and many, many photos that showcase the powerful beauty that is found in our underwater planet. The judges evaluated thousands of entries from 78 countries...” [desktop images; previous contest winners in 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010].
posted by cenoxo at 2:58 PM PST - 6 comments

Bogus Cinderellas are the “outsiders” of the philatelic world

A functioning postal service, made visible in stamps, is an unmistakable expression of national legitimacy. [...] The postage stamp is an excellent vehicle for spurious, tenuous, or completely fictitious states to declare their existence. In philatelic circles, such stamps are called bogus Cinderellas: “bogus” because the states represented are dubious, and “Cinderella” because they carry no real postal value*. Most serious stamp collectors consider them illegitimate despite their extraordinary ability to conjure an entire nation on a tiny piece of paper. In short, bogus Cinderellas are the “outsiders” of the philatelic world. (Outsider Art Fair) See also/via: The Joy of Collecting Stamps From Countries That Don’t Really Exist (Atlas Obscura) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:41 PM PST - 16 comments

“But you're back to stay, right? At least for one more day?”

Revisiting Animal Crossing: New Leaf Was A Mistake [Kotaku] “There’s a reason why I don’t return to Animal Crossing games long after I stop playing them. In Animal Crossing, the life simulation game goes on whether you’re there or not. The hours and calendar days pass in real-time. The seasons change. The villagers mosey on about their business. The weeds grow. The cockroaches take residence in your home. Whenever I make the decision to quit playing an Animal Crossing game, I never want to return for fear of triggering an animal’s decision to leave town due to my neglect. [...] In New Leaf, your character plays the role of town mayor. Colton let me have it when I spoke to him, lecturing me on the importance of what it meant to be an elected leader, only softening the blow by exclaiming his happiness at seeing me. Every other villager in Tennant reacted a bit differently. Each laying on the guilt with emotional surgical preciseness—cutting me deep.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 12:41 PM PST - 32 comments

"The artistry on display is still absurd to this day"

"Vagrant Story is 20 years old! It is not only in the conversation as the best game Square has ever made, it is a towering achievement of the genre both at an artistic and technical level. Here I will share some details about the game that even Hideo Kojima was jealous of ⬇️⬇️⬇️" [via @dreamboum]
[Non-Twitter link via ThreadReaderApp]
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:22 AM PST - 20 comments

Afternoon of the Pawnbrokers

Home again in post-crash, subprime Indiana. "There is no cultural divide between the coastal financial elite and the petty usurers in flyover states; there is only the capitalism of small differences, the scalability of exploitation. The operations are the same." (SL The Baffler by Jonathon Sturgeon)
posted by crazy with stars at 9:36 AM PST - 44 comments

"ten fingers for twenty-one strings and magic takes place"

Malian Ballaké Sissoko is a master of the kora. Listen to him play Nalésoko. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:36 AM PST - 9 comments

out of the blue: Jim Hall of Baltimore

“The inspiration for the film was Jim. He’s such a passionate, friendly, open-minded, and courageous man – a role model of sorts,” Bregel said in an interview with vimeo.com, which recently There’s a lot to know about Jim Hall, a retired Baltimore planner of 40 years: He planted trees all over the city. He has a great collection of city maps. And in 1967, Hall began an art project that would take 40 years to complete – transforming his body via tattoos and surgery – into a work of art. But those things alone aren’t why Jonathan Bregel and Steve Hoover (aka friendzone) chose to make this admirably restrained short piece about Hall titled “out of the blue.”
posted by Harry Caul at 9:22 AM PST - 6 comments

Romance, money, and capitalism

Captain Awkward on money, romance, and capitalism: I’m stressed about my boyfriend’s money management skills and how I can help him without getting myself into a bad financial situation. I also recognize that he’s probably embarrassed on top of being stressed, so I’m trying not to make him feel ashamed. He was raised below the poverty line and when he made it “big” in his industry, he was earning huge salaries, so I think he’s allowed himself to fully enjoy it. Now he’s unemployed but is still living a “huge salary” lifestyle. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 8:41 AM PST - 34 comments

The Unforeseen Dangers of a Device That Curbs Drunken Driving

Ignition interlock devices are becoming ubiquitous. They can distract drivers and cause crashes. (SLNYT)
posted by Etrigan at 8:38 AM PST - 63 comments

"a little something to get us 2nd graders Crunk"

5th Quarter: Bands of the South is a web series spotlighting Marching Band culture, from elaborate field shows to intense fanfares. (Episode 1 on Instagram). Co-curator Russell Hamilton shares personal memories of the Southwest DeKalb High School Marching Panthers coming to give motivational drills. Co-curator Renata Cherlise includes family photos of her parents "living it up at ‘The Classic’ representing The Bethune Cookman Wildcats."

Blvck Vrchives is a collaborative platform for visual histories created by Renata Cherlise in 2015. The most recent project is The Class of Blackness which explores collective memories of everyday Black life through the yearbooks of predominately Black high-schools across America. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:19 AM PST - 3 comments

Autistic people on TV are often white men - The Outsider is different

In The Outsider, Cynthia Erivo plays Holly Gibney, a strange and gentle private investigator "As an autistic woman, I found Holly’s mere existence on-screen to be more than I had expected. While she isn’t explicitly given an autism diagnosis, her mannerisms, speech patterns and highly specific skills are suggestive. There are so few of us in the public consciousness. I undeniably love the character; I’ve always had a soft spot for characters who are strange but talented." [more inside]
posted by shoesietart at 8:01 AM PST - 10 comments

attachment breeds fear

Money Is the Megaphone of Identity - "If you don't give money its purpose, it will end up defining yours." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 5:11 AM PST - 8 comments

February 9

Something wonderful under the bed - craft magazines archived

Something Under The Bed is a comprehensive bibliography collection of crafting magazines. Akamoraih's website started when in 2003 she went looking for details on a doll crafting magazine at the Library of Congress and 'I was shocked to discover that not only does the Library of Congress not archive a copy of all periodicals, it isn't even aware of most craft magazines. I felt betrayed! When I queried, I was informed that "they don't concern themselves with women's hobbies."' Outrage became action, sparking a ongoing archiving of craft periodicals from soft toys to tatting to chainmail. Akamoraih estimates she'll have catalogued her own collection by 2025... maybe.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:50 PM PST - 21 comments

"I think it's probably time to just own it."

Nicole Cliffe, writing in her Substack newsletter, catalogues her childhood ("Childhood was a nightmare. I did so much masking, which I didn’t know was masking until…a few years ago?") and reflects on her hyperlexia, stimming, difficulty with peer interactions and excessive sensory input, and academic career. She concludes, "I am probably autistic." and comments, "I have been saying 'I've got a lot of autistic traits' for a while, I've been saying 'I'm not precisely neurotypical' for a while, but I think it's probably time to just own it."
posted by brainwane at 2:45 PM PST - 85 comments

Forecasting U.S. politics: focus on the turn-out

Rachel Bitecofer came into the world of political forecasting with a bold pitch, predicting that Democrats would pick up 42 House seats in 2018 (Christopher Newport University), some four months out from the election, compared to other predictions calling for less than 30 (The Crosstab). They took 41 (Wikipedia). With 16 Months to go, Negative Partisanship Predicts the 2020 Presidential Election (CNU.edu) (spoiler: Democrats are a near lock for the presidency, are likely to gain House seats and have a decent shot at retaking the Senate). If she’s right, it wouldn’t just blow up the conventional wisdom; it would mean that [...] whole industry of experts is generally wrong. An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter (Politico) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:21 PM PST - 171 comments


After many years' mysterious absence, the original model and animation for the Dancing Baby has been found, and re-rendered at 60fps for modern display resolutions. Here is the story. [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar at 12:50 PM PST - 47 comments

The time I almost killed [name redacted] with a Gandalf toy

Sex, drugs and Gandalf: Confessions of a movie theater employee [SB Nation]
“There I was, making the cones, while my coworker Justin popped popcorn. Then, the dares started. “Make the next batch of popcorn with double salt,” I’d say. “Quadruple-dip the next cone,” he’d retort. Then it got bad. “Put that plastic Gandalf figurine in the cone,” Justin said, gesturing to a toy that came with the kids meal he had for lunch. Trying to maintain my composure while laughing, I crafted the scoop of ice cream around the 1.5-inch Gandalf. I dipped it, wrapped it, dropped it in the deep freeze and didn’t think about it again.”
Some jobs immediately ingratiate you to anyone who has a shared experience. Working at a movie theater is one of them. I worked at movie theaters from age 14 until I left college, starting as a lowly usher in Sydney, Australia, and ending up as the senior manager of a theater in North Carolina. The settings couldn’t be further apart, but they shared something in common: Movie theaters are weird-ass places.
posted by Fizz at 12:12 PM PST - 20 comments

Educated Fools

In past years, I used to despair: Does anyone in the Democratic Party get it? Of late, I think a few in the leadership do. But does most of the party still not get it? This is a high school nation. Even now, after all the years of pumping up college education as the only way to survive, there’s still close to 70 percent of U.S. adults from age 25 and older—yes, living right now—who are without four-year college degrees. If a college education is the only way to survive in a global economy, then the party’s effective answer to anyone over 30 is: It’s too late for you. And of course, that message gets across. 
 Educated Fools (SLTNR)
posted by wittgenstein at 8:41 AM PST - 69 comments

Aphantasia? Aphantastic!

Twitter user @premium__heart said "Close your eyes and imagine an apple. What do you see?" They also provided a link to a more-complex visualization experiment. Responses have been…interesting.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:51 AM PST - 123 comments

[realistic utopia]

Three Californias, Infinite Futures - "Kim Stanley Robinson on science fiction, utopia, and the reissue of his Three Californias trilogy." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 4:12 AM PST - 16 comments

February 8

New mocktails! Bartenders pick their favorite non-alcoholic spirits

Wine Enthusiast "asked bartenders of both boozeless and traditional venues to share their favorite non-alcoholic bottles and help avoid the many clunkers." The past year, a growing number of non-alcoholic bottlings were introduced to sip during Dry January, or any time a short detox is needed. Some mimic traditional spirits or pre-mixed cocktails, while others have flavors that are harder to pin down. But all provide a faux-spirit base toward zero-alcohol options that are more than just fancy juice boxes. "You're trying to create an elevated, complex drink," explains Chris Marshall, founder/CEO of Sans Bar, a venue in Austin that serves only zero-proof cocktails. "To do that, you need a base to build your drink around." [more inside]
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:55 PM PST - 34 comments

Cashmere Crisis in the Himalayas

Pashmina, the softest cashmere in the world, is grown in one of its most extreme locations. This photo essay documents life for Cashmere farmers at 4000 metres and -40 (celsius or fahrenheit, it's the same!).
posted by smoke at 6:49 PM PST - 9 comments

I’m the Type of Person Who Posts This on Metafilter

Dan Brooks on the culture of Types, the difference between being things and doing them, and the freedom to become something other than what you are now. [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 5:00 PM PST - 38 comments


THIS is YOUR Department. Jump right in with your contribution. What have you seen, in the past month, which was stupid, unlifelike, ridiculous or merely incongruous? Do not generalize; confine your remarks to specific instances of absurdities in pictures you have seen. Your observation will be listed among the indictments of carelessness on the part of the actor, author or director.
As we know, nitpicking movie mistakes is not a new hobby and Photoplay Magazine had an entire feature that published the snarky letters of sharp-eyed moviegoers. Let’s take a look at February of 1920. Here Are the Tropes, Cliches and Sloppy Mistakes that Annoyed Moviegoers 100 Years Ago
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 1:17 PM PST - 14 comments

Delicate structures made with steady hands and many coins

Thumbsam1 stacks coins (YouTube videos) into a delicate tower, a complicated, patterned tower, a bridge, and more towers. [via Mltshp]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:45 AM PST - 5 comments


The VW Beetle in computer & video games: this gallery shows the famous VW Beetle in different games on different computers and video games.
posted by Fizz at 11:29 AM PST - 17 comments

The Five Funniest Tiny Desk Concerts

Weekend diversion! Stephen Thompson from NPR Music curates a video playlist of the five funniest Tiny Desk Concerts. The performers are Fragile Rock, Reggie Watts, "Weird" Al Yankovic, Dan Deacon, and Neil Innes. Total Playtime runs about 1h15m.
posted by hippybear at 10:06 AM PST - 17 comments

Hmong & Lao Americans Face Deportation

Trump administration proposal to deport thousands of Hmong and Lao Americans back to Laos could be detrimental to families in Minnesota. It's only the latest attack on immigrants and their children: Cambodian Americans have already been deported back to Cambodia. The Deported Americans. When de facto Americans are deported.
posted by toastyk at 9:57 AM PST - 22 comments

Explore free production music

Surprisingly good downloadable music clips in a wide range of genres, all licensed under Creative Commons.
posted by blue shadows at 9:41 AM PST - 5 comments

Fake spiders weave tangled webs

Jonathan Pruitt was a rising star in behavioral ecology, lured from UCSB to McMaster University by the Canada 150 program, with fascinating research about personality and social behavior in spiders. Then one of his co-authors got an email with a question about a dataset of his that she had used in a publication, forcing her to ask serious questions of her own about all of the data he had provided her and leading to retraction of their publications together. [more inside]
posted by hydropsyche at 8:24 AM PST - 37 comments

The atomic age⁠ at last? Manipulating bits to manipulate atoms

After decades of decline, the U.S. national fusion lab seeks a rebirth - "A visionary new leader aims to expand and diversify the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory—and get back to building fusion reactors." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 1:11 AM PST - 26 comments

Canadian minivan cooking channel

Foresty Forest is an outdoor enthusiast who worked at a factory to fund long distance bicycle tours. In 2018 he started living out of a 2009 Chevy Uplander minivan due to punishing Toronto apartment rents. [more inside]
posted by zymil at 1:07 AM PST - 11 comments

February 7

"Hey, we're the Alaska Heat."

"Don’t call them the Glennallen Panthers. Or the Tok Wolverines, or the Barrow Whalers. They are the Alaska Heat, and while every kid on the team has an allegiance to one of those schools, they gladly put aside school pride in order to play high school hockey." [more inside]
posted by vespabelle at 7:47 PM PST - 5 comments

But does it collect your doodles?

A user read through the terms and conditions of his Wacom drawing tablet, and discovered that Wacom collected Google analytics data. He went on a journey to see exactly what that data was. Wacom responds.
posted by aeroboros at 7:43 PM PST - 26 comments

We're making a few assumptions here, but

Maybe we could go to the moon using four USB chargers instead of the original Apollo 11 computers.
posted by cortex at 4:43 PM PST - 94 comments

When You Put It On, Something Happens.

Few items of clothing have stood the test of time like the Members Only jacket. Whether you were an original purveyor of the 65 percent polyester, 35 percent cotton jacket back in the 1980s, or part of the millennial hipster generation that brought it back in the early 2000s, one thing has always been clear: There’s just something about this simple jacket that makes it eternally relevant. An Oral History of the Members Only Jacket [MEL Magazine]
posted by chavenet at 2:16 PM PST - 83 comments

"The system’s structure determines its properties and behaviors"

David Roberts[twitter] is a journalist at Vox who writes about energy and climate change. He tackled the question of how renewable energy sources, like wind, solar and hydroelectric, can integrate with existing electrical grid architecture and provide power to people in the United States: Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt. -" Now, I grant you, “grid architecture” is not a term designed to set the heart aflame. But it is extremely important, and the stakes are high. The danger is that policymakers will back into the future, reacting to one electricity crisis at a time, until the growing complexity of the grid tips it over into some kind of breakdown. But if they think and act proactively, they can get ahead of the burgeoning changes and design a system that harnesses and accelerates them. Now is the time to rethink the system from the ground up." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:06 PM PST - 14 comments

“outsiders, misunderstood by the haughty, self-righteous realms of men.”

It's not easy being green: a brief history of orcs in video games [Eurogamer] “Like giants, fairies, or dragons. I'd fought them in HeroQuest, all protruding lower canines and piercing red eyes, brandishing meat cleavers and falchions above their heads. I'd defended castles from them in the Dungeons & Dragons board game DragonStrike. I'd even controlled orcish warriors and catapults and giant snapping turtles in Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness. I didn't have the language for it at the time, but I'd placed orcs in the realm of folklore, a part of our collective storytelling public domain. That is, until my Year Five teacher jokingly called a story I'd written a 'Tolkien rip-off' and lent me her personal, faded hardcover of The Hobbit. It was, I thought at the time, even cooler than C.S Lewis. It had bigger battles. Dragons. Gollum. And a lot more orcs. Orcs. Evil. Disposable. Generally up for a party but will probably end up killing each other. Disposable. Bad at tactics but too numerous for it to really matter. Disposable. Just good enough at fighting to make our heroes look cool, but never good enough to pose a real threat. Disposable. This isn't what makes them endearing, and enduring, though. [...] we might look at orcs as the fantasy genre's counterculture. Perpetual outsiders, misunderstood by the haughty, self-righteous realms of men.”
posted by Fizz at 11:13 AM PST - 41 comments

(Hekk.. How can I deal with it..)

My Cat's Reaction When His Bed Is Taken Away By My Dog with bonus cute and funny sleeping moments compilation at the end. Meet MilkyBoki* a very fluffy Samoyed/polar bear and his pal GB (Gwangbok), a very fluffy cat, along with their human companion. Adorable entertainment with gentle music, silly sound effects and the occasional laugh track. Subtitled in Korean and English. [more inside]
posted by Glinn at 10:46 AM PST - 32 comments

Some of those who work forces: Seattle 2020 edition

The Seattle Police Department, found by the DOJ in 2012 to have a “pattern or practice” of violating the constitutional rights of citizens (especially people of color), accepted a consent decree in 2012 to avoid a federal lawsuit. Since then officers have chafed at the new oversight, and the police department has again fallen out of compliance with the consent decree. This month, the Seattle Police Officers Guild (the police union) has recently elected in a landslide a new hardline head whose campaign ad appears to celebrate police brutality. [more inside]
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:03 AM PST - 21 comments

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean folks aren't out to get me

The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have reportedly compiled an average of 3,000 data points on every voter in America. The Republican A great long read on the state of disinformation in the US (also touches on such campaigns elsewhere). [more inside]
posted by dbmcd at 9:59 AM PST - 38 comments

A step away, we're a step away, that's what makes it all okay

Porn plots: They ain’t great. Be it horny schoolteachers, suspiciously sexy pool cleaners, or conveniently biologically unrelated step-siblings, it’s always really just been a means to a generally messy end. This latter subgenre—often referred to as “fauxcest” (get it?)—is particular having its “moment” within the industry, as they say. It’s a particularly ridiculous premise, so it’s somewhat comforting that at least some porn people behind the scenes realize this. How else would you explain a sing-along music video for “A Step Away,” the uncomfortably good single about step-sibling love affairs courtesy of Brazzers? As one YouTube commenter pointed out—it’s somehow already a better musical than Cats. [more inside]
posted by Carillon at 9:42 AM PST - 28 comments

the power of magic, unicorns, and whatever else we use to make adapters

"People spend a lot of time and money adjusting themselves so that they can sit and be positioned for maximum comfort and effectiveness in their power wheelchairs. If we can transfer that energy into their gaming set up, why not? Instead of having to figure out new positions with pillows and anything else that someone might need to be comfortable and play games, this would give them the option to enjoy these virtual worlds with the comforts they have already figured out. " The XBox Adaptive controller (previously and previouslier) can now be paired with the free Freedom Wing Adapter to turn a power wheelchair into a game controller. [more inside]
posted by Stacey at 8:35 AM PST - 11 comments

Harry Potter un der filosofisher shteyn

A Yiddish translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone has just been published, translated by Arun Viswanath, an Orthodox Jewish American with heritage from India and roots in the Catskills, and partly financed by the government of Sweden (where Yiddish is an officially recognised minority language). Faced with the challenge of how to simultaneously stay true to the original material whilst imparting a Yiddish feel to it, Viswanath was judicious with his changes. [more inside]
posted by acb at 8:27 AM PST - 15 comments

CollegeHumor Helped Shape Online Comedy. What Went Wrong?

The company grew from a scrappy startup to a digital media player. Now it’s clinging to life after mass layoffs. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 7:55 AM PST - 13 comments

U.S. Healthcare: getting less for more

America’s sky-high health-care costs are so far above what people pay in other countries (Peter G. Peterson Foundation) that they are the equivalent of a hefty tax, Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton say. They are surprised Americans aren’t revolting against these taxes. Every American family basically pays an $8,000 ‘poll tax’ (per-head tax) under the U.S. health system, top economists say (Washington Post, Jan. 7, 2020) It Looks Like Health Insurance, but It’s Not. ‘Just Trust God,’ Buyers Are Told. Some state regulators are scrutinizing nonprofit Christian cost-sharing ministries that enroll Americans struggling to pay for medical care, but aren’t legally bound to cover their members’ claims. (New York Times, Jan. 2, 2020; archived link)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM PST - 28 comments

Billy Porter Delivers the LGBTQ State of the Union

(video) “And mine will contain more complete sentences,” Porter advised.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:34 AM PST - 7 comments

The People of Las Vegas, by Amanda Fortini

"Consider these demographics, and one starts to understand why the people of Las Vegas get overlooked... I have often wondered whether the general ignorance about Las Vegas is born of laziness, snobbery, or an altogether more insidious impulse. Las Vegas was, of course, déclassé and embarrassing from the start: founded by the Mafia, the first “unaristocratic” Americans, as Tom Wolfe wrote, “to have enough money to build a monument to their style of life.”
It’s frequently said that Las Vegas has no culture, but that’s not true. My Italian relatives from Illinois—my aunts with their Carmela Soprano hairdos and long acrylic nails—love it for a reason. They love playing the slots downtown at the Golden Nugget and going out for martini dinners at old-school Italian places. (At one of these, I heard Pia Zadora breathily sing about her “accidents and arrests.”) They love Cirque du Soleil shows, where you can sit and watch first-class acrobats fly across the stage while you sip from a plastic cup of beer. Las Vegas is vernacular culture—“prole,” Wolfe called it—and thus, he notes, “it gets ignored, except on the most sensational level.”
Those who think of themselves as cultured and educated look down on Las Vegas as garish and brazen. But concern about “good taste” is often just socially palatable code for classism and racism. This is a working-class town that’s nearly 33 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Black, and 7 percent Asian. It has one of the largest populations of undocumented immigrants in the country, and the eighth-highest rate of homelessness."
posted by growabrain at 12:22 AM PST - 27 comments

February 6

How did you celebrate Ronald Reagan Day?

California Governor Gavin Newson issued a proclamation declaring February 6, 2020 Ronald Reagan Day. [more inside]
posted by kendrak at 10:53 PM PST - 78 comments

Ecuador vs. Chevron

Environmental lawyer who won case against Chevron for causing "Ecuadorian Chernobyl" has lost everything. [more inside]
posted by blue shadows at 10:43 PM PST - 4 comments

The Ragtag Squad That Saved 38,000 Flash Games From Internet Oblivion

Flashpoint and other enthusiasts have archived tens of thousands of games ahead of the software platform's demise at the end of this year. [Wired] [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:26 PM PST - 8 comments

Why Isn't the 'Wayne Gretzky of Women's Hockey' Better Known?

Angela James was women's hockey's first superstar and remains the only black player to captain Canada at the senior level. So why isn't she a household name? [more inside]
posted by urbanlenny at 7:37 PM PST - 6 comments

Boda Boda Madness

'boda boda madness by dutch photographer jan hoek and ugandan-kenyan fashion designer bobbin case is a project capturing nairobi’s motortaxi drivers, known as boda boda, who, in their effort to strengthen their appeal to customers, add striking features to their motorclycles, turning them into artworks on wheels.'
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:59 PM PST - 4 comments

Fighting rural racism from the inside

Andy and Stosh used to enjoy dropping in to the local fire company's bar in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. In deep red coal country, these places are are part of the community's fabric, "a cross between a fire station, a sports bar, and a church basement." But when the bartender took a racist swipe at Stosh, who's black, he and Andy, his white half-brother, spoke out publicly, setting them at odds with local people and institutions. The fallout has left them wondering whether "after years of working side by side, drinking in the same bars, they are as much a part of this community as anyone else. Whether their community loves them enough to change." ‘Cancel culture’ in coal country: Two Trump-voting brothers on a mission to fight racism in Schuylkill County, from Jen Kinney for Pennsylvania public radio's Keystone Crossroads).
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:39 PM PST - 32 comments

Playing to Find Out What Happens

“There was a whole ruleset with a welcoming community, of an easy to learn system with gatekeeping kept to a minimum. It’s Powered By the Apocalypse. And it is my favourite system. And in my opinion, the gayest.” @ThatAceGal writes about her experiences exploring queer identity and seeing a queer community form through the Powered By the Apocalypse RPG system(s).
posted by Maecenas at 3:19 PM PST - 15 comments

"There is no splitting these things apart."

Last fall, playwright Will Arbery's Heroes Of The Fourth Turning ran off-Broadway in NYC. Set in a small Wyoming town, it covers a few hours on an evening in August, 2017 when four graduates of a conservative Catholic college, modeled on Wyoming Catholic, who have returned to celebrate their mentor's success. A Play About The Nuances Of Conservatism In The Trump Era [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:42 PM PST - 4 comments

The Love Song of J. Alfred Skimbleshanks

@cats_wasteland is a Twitter bot that, according to its creator, "mashes up lyrics from CATS with the rest of T.S. Eliot's writings" by taking "the first words from two consecutive lines from CATS and then extend each with other words from T.S. Eliot, choosing next words based on the probability of one word following another."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:21 PM PST - 5 comments

Vote for the ‘No Homework Party’

RTE teamed up with the 3rd and 4th class (aged 8-10) pupils of Glenbeg National School to explain the voting system ahead of Saturday’s general election in Ireland. [more inside]
posted by scorbet at 1:11 PM PST - 12 comments

Birds are wild.

Wild thing about birds... "wild thing about birds is that you can imagine a truly outrageous bird, like make up a bird on the spot, and the bird probably exists"
posted by vespabelle at 12:49 PM PST - 16 comments

Old CSS, new CSS

"I’m here to tell all of you to get off my lawn. Here’s a history of CSS and web design, as I remember it." 14,000-plus words from eevee at fuzzy notepad.
posted by cgc373 at 10:29 AM PST - 61 comments

"A vision of the future: Mario's shoe stamping on Bowser's face forever"

Amiibots is an automated Twitch stream that hosts amiibo figure fighters submitted by Exion Vault's community fighting each other in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in endless succession, twenty-four hours a day.
posted by JHarris at 10:19 AM PST - 10 comments

"Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again"

Explaining the Executive Order Proposing to Hand Design Authority Over to President Trump
posted by Mrs Potato at 10:03 AM PST - 46 comments

a language that you want for your child

When we talk about the history of American sign languages, we often speak about Martha's Vinyard and about the French sign language speakers who helped build ASL. But indigenous peoples were using sign languages long before this, and theirs (developed to speak between nations) left its own imprint on what would become ASL. The language survived despite attempts to crush its use by both American and Canadian governments. Today, First Nations communities, especially Deaf indigenous people, are fighting to keep the language alive. [more inside]
posted by sciatrix at 9:12 AM PST - 4 comments

Don't forget to like, subscribe, and comment.

The mass Twitch exodus: Why streamers are leaving [Polygon] “A few years ago, if you were a streamer, you were on Twitch — simple as that. Outside of a few select content creators, everyone who wanted to be a streamer had to use Twitch’s platform. It was the only viable game in town. But over the last year, the streaming landscape has changed. Twitch still remains the largest streaming platform, but some of its biggest creators are signing exclusive contracts with platforms like Mixer, Caffeine, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming. Which leaves fans with a question: Why? The answer is a lot more complicated than you might think.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 9:02 AM PST - 28 comments

Eat him (Pro/Con) | Date him (Pro/Con)

Vamp is three hundred years old but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets a charming werewolf. FANGS chronicles the humor, sweetness, and awkwardness of meeting someone perfectly suited to you but also vastly different. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 7:39 AM PST - 19 comments

February 5

Continental liar from the state of Maine

Brief histories of contested national conventions: Republican, Democratic.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 PM PST - 12 comments

Crochet away, with Jonah

At 5, Jonah picked up a crochet hook, and with a YouTube tutorial on making a dishcloth (he wanted to make an octopus), he learned to crochet. That was about seven years ago, and you can see how far he's come by looking at his work on his Instagram account, and his tutorials on YouTube. No hooks? No problem! Jonah shows you how to use your fingers to knit a hoodie (full instructions for free from Yarnspirations). "After a very hard, busy, chaotic day in this busy world with school, it's just nice to know that I can come home and crochet in my little corner of the house while sitting by the one I love most: my mom," Jonah told NPR last year. [via Mltshp]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:05 PM PST - 39 comments

hot singles near me

Video director and conceptual artist ani acopian (Youtube | Instagram) wasn’t having much luck with dating apps so she partnered with Amazon to make a better one.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:19 PM PST - 35 comments

“Life is like a B-picture script.”

Indomitable Icon of Hollywood's Golden Age Kirk Douglas, an A-Lister if ever there was one, is dead at 103 years old. [more inside]
posted by allandsome at 4:39 PM PST - 74 comments

You see where this is going, right?

"This daily rollout will be an experiment of sorts, a kind of live essay. I honestly don’t know if it will work, or whether it’s wise, or whether I can even pull it off. The essay may shift in the unspooling, and I’m still not sure how some of the later pieces will resolve. But I hope this form speaks to the content I’ve been wrestling with for so long. I hope by the end it makes sense."
Tevis Thompson, author of Saving Zelda (previously) and co-creator of the Second Quest graphic novel (previously) is finishing what began as a review of the best games, worst games and critical failures of 2018, a work that has taken a year to finish. [more inside]
posted by mhoye at 4:38 PM PST - 8 comments

Something is happening in Norway

Researchers are no longer in doubt: Global warming has begun to make Norway warmer and wetter. [Visual storyboard showing the impacts of climate change in Norway.]
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:28 PM PST - 25 comments

This unprecedented post is remarkable, novel and really excellent.

Researchers tracked 25 positive terms in clinical-research articles published between 2002 and 2017, and input the authors’ names into the Genderize database...positive words in the title or abstract garnered 9% more citations overall, and 13% more citations in high-impact journals. ...the analysis also found that such self-flattering words were 80% more common in 2017 than in 2002. (paper)
posted by sammyo at 1:26 PM PST - 9 comments

Each person’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint

"Grief is what’s going on inside of us, while mourning is what we do on the outside." David Kessler on the Difference Between Mourning and Grief [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 11:45 AM PST - 25 comments

"There are indications that inhabitants may have departed in a hurry"

"There are indications that inhabitants may have departed in a hurry; doors wide open, personal effects left in a jumble." The ghost village of Al Madam is a place of strange beauty, two rows of homes and a mosque about an hour's drive from Dubai, half buried in shifting sands. Photographers love it, for good reason. If you can't visit it yourself, at least you can take a virtual visit. [more inside]
posted by litlnemo at 10:40 AM PST - 12 comments

The Automotive Police State

Legal historian Sarah Seo [twitter] appeared on the podcast The War On Cars to discuss her book Policing The Open Road[HUP], which covers the development of traffic laws and police stopping cars in the United States[New Rambler] and the concurrent increase in police and policing power[Atlantic]: How Cars Transformed Policing, Sarah A. Seo [Boston Review] - "Before the mass adoption of the car, most communities barely had a police force and citizens shared responsibility for enforcing laws. Then the car changed everything." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:23 AM PST - 25 comments

"..from every shires ende / Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende"

The University of Saskatchewan has released an app (link to web version; iTunes and Google play versions also available) that will read you the General Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, for those who want to hear how it would have sounded in the 14th century. Plans are afoot for at least two more apps, covering the Miller's Tale and other stories. This is one of the last academic projects that the late Chaucer scholar and some-time comedian Terry Jones worked on before his death a couple of weeks ago.
posted by hanov3r at 9:18 AM PST - 27 comments

Undercover Boss, the most reprehensible propaganda on TV

It’s a shameless endorsement of capitalist inequality that may as well end each episode by reminding everyday Americans that they should shut up and be grateful their lives are controlled by such selfless exemplars of virtue. It’s class warfare in everything but name. [more inside]
posted by Carillon at 8:55 AM PST - 45 comments

AI & Diversity: What Could Go Wrong?

Diverse Editions: Barnes & Noble Fifth Avenue has partnered with Penguin Random House to release a new collection of classic novels with "culturally diverse" covers. But as Elizabeth Minkel notes on Twitter, they appear to have chosen the titles by applying machine learning to "scour a corpus of 100+ books to determine whether or not the protagonist was explicitly described as white, and if they weren't, they went to town!" [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:08 AM PST - 61 comments


Google Opens Votes For Your Pokémon Of The Year, All 890 Included [Nintendo Life] “In the build-up to Pokémon Day, taking place on February 27th, Google has opened a voting system which allows fans to display their love and affection for their favourite Pokémon. You can access the voting form by clicking here (can also search 'Pokémon of the Year' or 'Pokémon' in Google). You can actually vote for one Pokémon per region once per day, with voting closing on 14th February. Google notes that "all forms of each species count as the same Pokémon" and that "your votes will be stored until the vote ends and cannot be deleted".”
posted by Fizz at 7:52 AM PST - 43 comments

In Praise of (the Fashion of) Tintin

Think of Tintin and you’ll most likely picture a round-faced, ginger-haired grass who hails from Belgium, yet has a suspiciously good British accent. And while the aforementioned is mostly certainly, definitely true, what you’re probably missing from your list is: cultured menswear fashionista.
posted by Etrigan at 7:27 AM PST - 20 comments

Arrival of a train

L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat (1896). L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat (2020). (via)
posted by sapagan at 1:44 AM PST - 48 comments

February 4

Betty White Gets The Giggles

30 second scene from Hot In Cleveland in 2015. (Audio maybe NSFW but no foul language.) It apparently took a while to get that one take. [Outtake reel, 60s]
posted by hippybear at 9:34 PM PST - 14 comments

Haircut Practice

It started with a tweet: Still no word on whether or not they will let me take over Peanuts. [more inside]
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:59 PM PST - 28 comments

🤟 o'er the land of the freeeeee 🤟

Artist Christine Sun Kim interviewed about preparing to ASL interpret the National Anthem and America the Beautiful at the 2020 Super Bowl. (All links YouTube).
posted by vespabelle at 8:41 PM PST - 4 comments

How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class

As McKinsey’s John Neuman admitted in an essay introducing the method, the “process, though swift, is not painless. Since overhead expenses are typically 70% to 85% people-related and most savings come from work-force reductions, cutting overhead does demand some wrenching decisions.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:21 PM PST - 70 comments

Getting up close and personal with the moon

Andrew McCarthy explores the universe from a backyard in Sacramento, CA, and shares his images on Instagram. Recently, he shared a 400 Megapixel Moon photo on EasyZoom. If you want to name the features you're seeing, check out Visit The Moon's lunar atlas, or Google Moon for a different view. McCarthy also provides a short video introduction to amateur astronomy, breaking down how to better see into space. [via Mltshp]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:23 PM PST - 5 comments

The Edison of the Slot Machines

‘But in the slot cheat business, triumph is always short-lived. Less than two years after The Monkey Paw’s invention, fresh innovations in security rendered it obsolete. Indeed, the legacy of The Monkey Paw wasn’t so much in its lasting efficacy, but in the confidence it instilled in Tommy. Archimedes once said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth.” At the end of the nineties, Tommy Carmichael declared, “Give me a slot machine and I’ll beat it.”’
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:01 PM PST - 14 comments


The Joy of Cooking Naked. "Despite the occasional splatter burn, nudists say their relationship to eating, at home or in restaurants, is better and healthier without all the clothing." (SLNYT)
posted by Melismata at 5:37 PM PST - 64 comments

Your Boots can injure or kill you.

The dangerous speed-lace hook. "So I'm out for my hike this morning with a 45 lb pack, my Hanwag Alaska GTX Boots and my Kahtoola Micro-Spikes... I'm coming down a steep rocky grade and suddenly both of my feet are somehow shackled together, resulting in a major wipe-out that somehow, miraculously resulted in no damage to my pathetic body. As I lay in the rock-slide assessing if I'd broken anything I realized that my feet were inexplicably connected at the ankles. One of the links on my spikes had caught a speed lace hook on the opposite foot and hooked my boots together."
posted by storybored at 1:58 PM PST - 61 comments

"Russian priests should stop blessing nukes: church proposal"

"Russian priests should refrain from the practice of blessing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that can inflict indiscriminate loss of life ..." [more inside]
posted by milnews.ca at 1:12 PM PST - 13 comments

"He said, 'No, women don't eat that'"

"No one suspected me": Women food critics dish on dining out for a living
posted by komara at 12:12 PM PST - 25 comments

Honk More, Wait More

Police in Mumbai, India were tired of drivers honking while stopped at red lights, so they hooked a few of the lights to decibel meters. The more you honk, the longer the light will take. They put up signs but not everyone figured it out, so they put up a video to explain it. There's also a New York Times article here.
posted by Slinga at 12:06 PM PST - 30 comments

Carbon dating counterfeit whisky

Nuclear fallout exposes fake 'antique' whisky (LiveScience): Nuclear bombs that were detonated decades ago spewed the radioactive isotope carbon-14 into the atmosphere; from there, the isotope was absorbed by plants and other living organisms, and began to decay after the organisms died. Traces of this excess carbon-14 can therefore be found in barley that was harvested and distilled to make whisky. [...] Then, they evaluated allegedly rare whiskeys from 1847 to 1978, and found that nearly half the bottles weren't as old as they were supposed to be. One bottle, a Talisker with a label indicating it was distilled in 1863, was likely distilled between 2007 and 2014. A bottle of Ardbeg from 1964 was probably distilled after 1995, and a Laphroaig labeled 1903 dated to 2011 or later. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 11:28 AM PST - 38 comments

The Best Of All Possible Keyboard Layouts

How was the Sholes QWERTY type-writer designed? Was it meant to slow typists down, or to speed them up?
I added up all of the possible word matches found in my word pair database, for all of the adjacent type-bars in his keyboard. I found 3877 total word matches for these type-bar pairs. This is out of a total of 1,239,045 found word matches, or about 0.3%. So I rewrote my simulation for this new standard, trying to find keyboards with this few total word matches of colliding type-bar pairs. With this new approach, it takes on average more than five million (about 5.9 million) random tries to find a keyboard layout that is as good as QWERTY.
By the constraints of the 19th century, the QWERTY keyboard is shockingly well optimized. But we're not typing on 19th century machines anymore. And QWERTY might not have been the best solution available even in the 19th or early 20th centuries (PDF). Why can't we give up this odd way of typing? [more inside]
posted by fedward at 11:07 AM PST - 44 comments

Images of America

In Focus, The Atlantic's long-running photo series, is focusing on US States this year. Every week will bring a photo set for a new state. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot at 10:09 AM PST - 6 comments

Yes world, there were horses in Native culture before the settlers came

Horse history was purposely distorted. “We have calmly known we've always had the horse, way before the settlers came. The Spanish never came through our area, so there's no way they could have introduced them to us," reads one quote from a Blackfoot (Nitsitapi) study participant in Collin’s doctoral study. [...] The dissertation posits that the discrepancy between the Spanish “reintroduction” theory and the story reflected by current evidence has to do with a cultural bias that is still present within Western academia. Collin theorizes that because horses were a symbol of status and civilization in Spain during that time, and because conquerors needed to illustrate the Native people as savage and uncivilized to justify their conquest to the Queen of Spain, the truth about the relationship between Native peoples and the horse was purposefully distorted.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:51 AM PST - 54 comments

“Ask me about Loom.”

Why 'Loom' Remains the Hidden Gem of Lucasfilm Adventures [VICE]
Cobb’s advertisement gives us a hint of why it was not as commercially successful, in spite of its artistic achievements. The description of the game only talks about the technical aspects - animations, music, controls - but not what the game is about. Loom was technically impressive - the original pixel graphics depict a wonderful world in only 16 colors; the soundtrack also made a wonderful use of the sound card by including a variety of pieces from Tschaikovski’s Swan Lake. The game takes its time to establish the world, with elegance and poise, in contrast with the riotous humor of Monkey Island. Loom is not bombastic, it has funny moments but not laugh out loud. Its fantasy world will not blow you away immediately - but it will steal your heart if you persevere.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:22 AM PST - 33 comments

You are over-encumbered and cannot run.

• Pack-Ratting in Video Games: Do Players Have to Have It All? [Gamasutra] “Many people like to collect. It is a compulsion, a hobby, maybe even an instinct. Video games these days have noticed this behavior. If players love to scavenger hunt whenever they pick up a controller, then developers have a responsibility to manage this compulsion. How does a developer do this; put systems in place to manage or outright prevent players from hoarding? They usually either limit the player to encourage them to think about what they carry, or they encourage the player to grab all that they can find. The most important thing a developer needs to figure out is when to do one or the other. When it is fine to let a pack rat roam free? [...] Regardless of if the game is fast or slow paced in a relative sense, playing a game should not feel like a chore. The developer can get around this by either keeping the actual amount small, or by centering an interesting mechanic/mini game around it. Similarly, if a game developer decides to place limits on what or how much a player can carry, that player is more willing to accept the limitation if there is a clear dynamic at work.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 7:16 AM PST - 85 comments

February 3

“Yeah, you could have motorcycles.”

Inside the comically doomed production of Wild Wild West.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:08 PM PST - 65 comments

The impossible task of reconciling internat'l tourism and climate change

52 Places to Go in 2020 is the latest New York Times international travel guide, and this year's unspoken theme is "responsible tourism." Read the piece [...] and you might conclude the entire planet has morphed into one giant, eco-friendly playground, with new nonstop service to Ulaanbaatar and Lima making access easier than ever.  It’s all bullshit, of course. A 2018 study (abstract; PDF) published in the journal Nature Climate Change announced tourism alone—that’s nonessential pleasure travel—is responsible for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The traveling public is freaking out. It knows about flight shaming (Guardian); it loves Greta Thunberg [....] But it still wants to sit on a beach in Aruba. Why Tourism Should Die—and Why It Won’t (New Republic) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 5:34 PM PST - 153 comments

how do I sign up

And downstairs, a group of liberal white women have gathered around a long wooden table to admit how racist they are. [more inside]
posted by arabidopsis at 4:12 PM PST - 67 comments

Now you have [1-9]{1,9} problems.

iHateRegex, a regex cheatsheet for the haters. [more inside]
posted by signal at 4:09 PM PST - 59 comments

Cards Against Humanity Bought Clickhole

The card game company purchased the comedy website from G/O Media in an all-cash deal, and transformed Clickhole into a majority employee-owned company.
posted by Etrigan at 3:52 PM PST - 34 comments

Privatizing the United States Army Was a Mistake

"It all sounded so attractive, from both a financial and emotional point of view. Instead of feeling responsible for veterans, we could now outsource our guilt. We could finally have it all."
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:49 PM PST - 13 comments

Nixon Broke the Senate Gavel

That weird, handle-less ivory gavel John Roberts has been banging is a replacement for the original 1784 Senate gavel. Nixon broke the original. [more inside]
posted by head full of air at 2:44 PM PST - 3 comments

"It's not yucky!"

PawsOfOz is a NW Arkansas rescue organization. In 2018, the owners adopted Marcelo, a young boy who was terrified of dogs. Fortunately for everyone, Mini the senior Chihuahua stepped up to welcome Marcelo to the family.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:40 AM PST - 14 comments

"I am one of a kind," she said. "Ah, but what kind?"

Catherine Burns: The Vanishing of an Oscar-Nominated Actress [Scott Feinberg and Scott Johnson, The Hollywood Reporter]
Burns was actually the oldest of the film's four stars, and her acclaim was all the more unexpected because she possessed, in her own words and others' lacerating estimation, "a funny face." Five-foot-1 and freckled, she was not Hollywood's idea of a starlet. Dick Kleiner, a syndicated columnist, wrote, "Twenty years ago, they wouldn't have let her inside a studio gate." Kleiner noted that she had a face "like an intelligent marshmallow," while The New York Times' Vincent Canby said her body was "shaped like a fat mushroom." But even those who used such cruel and sexist language couldn't help but admire her acting. Ebert's future partner Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune urged people to remember "the homeliest" of Last Summer's stars come Oscar time, and the photo accompanying his article read, "Cathy Burns: Not prettiest … but the most talented."
[more inside]
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:31 AM PST - 27 comments

All over the world it's the same, it's the same.

Divorce, Iran Style - Iran Family Court Rooms This link is to a YouTube video of a seventy-five minute documentary inside an Iranian family courthouse.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:27 AM PST - 5 comments

The Bowl Bowl

In an arbitrary battle of bowls, Mediterranean chain Cava wins the ring ... but not everyone is impressed: "If Cava elicits any emotion from customers, it’s deep, unsettling ennui. ... Cava is only a place to be alone with your choices, namely the weird flavor combo you decided to overload in your bowl. ... a meal at Cava is like an allegory about the dangers of too much choice, overabundance, flavor without context or consideration." [more inside]
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:03 AM PST - 27 comments

...as if you’re seeing a kaleidoscope in black and white

Twenty five years ago this month A Guy Called Gerald released his fourth album, Black Secret Technology. The last Jungle album. Or the first DNB album. You choose. [more inside]
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:22 AM PST - 9 comments

" they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?'"

Today, Iowa, the first state in the 2020 US Presidential Primary, will determine its delegates to the primary conventions. With the Republicans uniting around Trump, the Democratic challenger is yet to be determined... [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:57 AM PST - 2190 comments

“I miss Maroon 5,” said literally nobody.

ICYMI, Here's Shakira And J. Lo's Super Bowl Halftime Show [YouTube][Full Performance 14:24] “For twelve minutes in Miami on Sunday night, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira made history as the first Latinas to lead a Super Bowl half-time performance. Lopez honored her heritage by wearing a feathered cape that showed the U.S. flag on one side and the Puerto Rican flag on the other. She opened the cape up to show the Puerto Rico side as her daughter Emme Muñiz and a children’s choir joined her for the opening notes of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” An hour after Demi Lovato delivered a flawless rendition of the national anthem, Lopez’s performance was an unmissable combination, particularly on a night when Donald Trump and Mike Bloomberg had also aired campaign ads. The special guests included J Balvin and Bad Bunny, two Latin American superstars who had a breakthrough in the U.S. in 2019.” [via: Vanity Fair]
posted by Fizz at 5:58 AM PST - 92 comments

BoJack Horseman and Ibsen

Prestige Television's Greatest Trick.
posted by sapagan at 4:08 AM PST - 12 comments

February 2

Nor, again mercifully, does it explain what it means by BACON HOLE.

AI recipes are bad (and a proposal for making them worse)
I’ve seen neural net recipes that call for crushed sherry or 21 pounds of cabbage. One of my personal favorites is a recipe called “Small Sandwiches” that called for dozens of fussily chopped, minced, and diced ingredients - before chucking them in the food processor for 3 hours. Part of the problem has been neural nets with memory so terrible that halfway through the recipe they forget they’re making cake.
[more inside]
posted by Lexica at 7:51 PM PST - 45 comments

Somebody said it three times, didn't they?

Betelgeuse is also known as alpha Orionis because it is usually the brightest star in the constellation Orion. Right now, though, it is at its lowest recorded brightness, and getting dimmer. This is of particular interest since the difference is obvious to the naked eye, and observers familiar with the constellation of Orion will find that it looks odd indeed. Oh, and also because Betelgeuse is the closest star to Earth that might go supernova... [more inside]
posted by BrashTech at 6:44 PM PST - 40 comments

Trump's plans to expand the Travel Ban in 2020

Early in January 2020, word came that the White House was considering expanding its much-litigated travel ban (ACLU) to additional countries amid a renewed election-year focus on immigration issues by Donald Trump, according to four people familiar with the deliberations (The Guardian). The Wall Street Journal named possible countries on January 21, based on reports of a list circulating. Ten days later, the official list of newly listed countries was confirmed (New York Times): Africa’s biggest country, Nigeria, as well as Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania. Trump’s travel ban expansion is an unexpected win — for China (Washington Post Op-Ed). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 3:30 PM PST - 23 comments

‘Cheer’ Uses Concussions To Make The Case For Cheerleading

Diana Moskovitz, DeadspinUnnamed Temporary Sports Blog Dot Com: ‘Cheer’ Uses Concussions To Make The Case For Cheerleading [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu at 10:46 AM PST - 38 comments

But what really kept the tale going was the wax

The Ghost Hunter, by Leah Sottile. In The Avatist issue 99, January 2020. The story goes like this: Sometime around the year 1694, a ship wrecked near the foot of a mountain in Oregon. The area’s indigenous people named the peak Neahkahnie (knee-ah-kah-knee), “the place of the god”—a wide, tall mountain that appears to rise out of the Pacific Ocean like a giant climbing out of a bathtub. Its shoulders are cloaked in a dense forest of spruce and cedar, where elk find refuge in mists and leave hoofprints in the mud. For more than three centuries, the Nehalem-Tillamook people have told the tale of a ship that crashed there, a devastating collision of man and nature. [more inside]
posted by mwhybark at 10:08 AM PST - 11 comments

Formerly enslaved queer freedom fighter William Dorsey Swann, the Queen.

Born in Maryland around 1858, Swann endured slavery, the Civil War, racism, police surveillance, torture behind bars, and many other injustices. But beginning in the 1880s, he not only became the first American activist to lead a queer resistance group; he also became, in the same decade, the first known person to dub himself a “queen of drag”—or, more familiarly, a drag queen. The Nation: The First Drag Queen Was a Former Slave. Pink News: Researcher says first self-described drag queen was a former slave who ‘reigned over a secret world of drag balls’ in the 1800s.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:26 AM PST - 10 comments

Mary Higgins Clark, 1927-2020

“Her style was clean — no profanity or sex — her heroines endearing and her resolutions tactful . . . . Her books embodied the spirit of a tabloid-adoring aunt ready to whisper to you about extraordinary danger just lurking around the corner, waiting to find you.” An obituary and appreciation by Sarah Weinman of the Los Angeles Times. [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 9:03 AM PST - 18 comments

Turning green streets red

Berlin-based artist Simon Weckert went on a walk with 99 smartphones in a toy wagon. A video on YouTube, and some details, featuring a quote from Moritz Ahlert’s short essay on The Power of Virtual Maps.
posted by wachhundfisch at 7:30 AM PST - 47 comments

Thank you all for the gifts and the flowers

"Getting Married Today," the song that ends the first act of Stephen Sondheim's landmark 1970 musical Company, has been long considered the fastest number on Broadway. [more inside]
posted by How the runs scored at 7:27 AM PST - 23 comments

In Richmond, Lynchburg legislator learns to beware of what you ask for

Why would a legislator file a bill to do something he doesn’t want done? Del. Wendell Walker, R-Lynchburg. introduced a bill to remove a statue of Harry F. Byrd from Capitol Square. Not because of the former governor and senator's part in history supporting segregation, but as retaliation for Gov. Northam's support for VA cities to have the power to remove confederate statues around the state. After all Byrd was a Democrat. To Walker's surprise- his democratic colleagues are looking forward to removing the statue of one of Virginia's most racist sons. He is trying to withdraw the bill- the rules committee has denied his request.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:14 AM PST - 45 comments

How much do you love your pet?

Korean pizza chain, Mr Pizza, offers pizzas for pets. They call it Mr Petzza.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:33 AM PST - 13 comments

West is where all days will someday end

Refugees is track #2 on British classic progrock band Van der Graaf Generator's 1970 studio album The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other, which came out half a century ago this month -- arguably the first "proper" Van der Graaf album, albeit officially the second. Refugees was to became one of VdGG's signature songs. Versions of it have since appeared on at least 5 of their albums, and over the past five decades it was performed live time and again, both by VdGG in its several incarnations and by frontman and singer/songwriter Peter Hammill in solo performances. [more inside]
posted by bleston hamilton station at 2:52 AM PST - 6 comments

Gourd between two rocks

Why did the British not colonize Nepal? A long article by Amish Raj Mulmi on how and why Nepal, which one of its rulers dubbed "a gourd between two rocks" (India and China), remained more or less independent through the colonial period.
posted by tavegyl at 2:25 AM PST - 4 comments

A man a plan

Happy palindrome day to all of you!
posted by Dumsnill at 1:10 AM PST - 32 comments

February 1

Historic Prime-Time TV Show Intros

22 new series premiered through the winter and spring of 1985, 13 of them represented here by their theme intros and the remaining 9 through their network promos, as no intros for them were available at the creation of this video. Only 3 of these shows survived for at least another season: Crazy Like a Fox, Mr. Belvedere, and Moonlighting.
YouTuber RwDt09 has a stunning passion for American TV show history. As you’ll see within, they have archived and collated an inconceivable number of show intros. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 7:26 PM PST - 73 comments

Cannibal mermaids?

Amy Discovers Jo's AO3 Handle And Drags Her In The March Family Groupchat.
Amy: “When John’s sister is hospitalized with a potentially fatal case of pneumonia, he and Sherlock pay her a visit in the hospital. When his sister’s wife assumes that he and Sherlock are a couple, will he face the truth? Or continue living a lie?”
Beth: wait when did she post this
Amy: uhm February 2011
Beth: are you fucking kidding me that’s when i got pneumonia
Beth: i almost died
Amy: ya i was there i remember
Beth: did she literally write sherlock holmes fanfiction about the time i got pneumonia and almost died [more inside]
posted by shirobara at 6:24 PM PST - 26 comments

"I hope you can see this, because I am doing it as hard as I can."

Eleven years ago, Aqua Teen Hunger Force characters invaded Boston and the city was shut down (YouTube, 4 minutes) in the 2007 Boston Mooninite panic (Wikipedia). If the whole thing is a blur, here's a 14 minute video (Vimeo), capturing the media mania, and the subsequent press conference on haircuts in the 70s (YT, 6 minute Fox News clip), and looking back, 10 years later (YT, 10 minutes), with more context to the events.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:16 PM PST - 39 comments

Malinda Russell, Lena Richard, Edna Lewis, Leah Chase

Rewriting the history of American cooking. In The Jemima Code in 2015, Toni Tipton-Martin redefined the history not only of black foodways but of American foodways at large. Her 2019 book Jubilee: Recipes from two centuries of African American cooking adapted the historical recipes for a modern-day kitchen. "Over the course of 30-plus years, the Los Angeles–born journalist and food editor compiled more than 150 black-authored cookbooks spanning over 200 years in pursuit of overturning the prevailing story line that white chefs and home cooks are the sole heroes of American gastronomy." (Interview in Taste) [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:14 PM PST - 5 comments

Safety Meeting

"We have safety meetings every Monday and Friday after lunch. Statistically, most accidents happen right after lunch, so the idea is to talk about it before it happens, as if talking is a kind of protective spell, a hex against fiery death, or crushing death, or the whirring blades of amputation, or decapitation. Every accident is preventable, will be said during the hex, and it will be believed too."
An excerpt from 'Work' by Bud Smith.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:55 PM PST - 20 comments

“I’m having a really good day today.”

Huey Lewis returns with a new album — and a new outlook on life Nineteen years since his last album and two years after being diagnosed with Ménière’s disease (which causes his hearing to fluctuate from nonexistent to the “really good”), Huey Lewis is back with the News and releasing a new album, Weather. Check out the single from the album, "While We're Young", which would've felt right at home on Sports or Fore.
posted by Servo5678 at 1:51 PM PST - 15 comments


F9: The Fast Saga [Official Trailer] “Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena, next year’s The Suicide Squad). F9 sees the return of Justin Lin as director, who helmed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of the series when it transformed into a global blockbuster.”
posted by Fizz at 12:51 PM PST - 57 comments

Gravitational Forces

Prof Claudia de Rham’s ‘massive gravity’ theory could explain why universe expansion is accelerating and account for dark energy. [more inside]
posted by blue shadows at 11:42 AM PST - 20 comments

So You Rented Out a Meth House

Cleaning for trace amounts of methamphetamine is a costly and time-consuming domestic nightmare.
posted by Etrigan at 11:34 AM PST - 51 comments

Sorry, this is what you think it is.

Andy Gill, guitarist and founding member of legendary post-punk band Gang of Four, has died today following a short respiratory illness. I'm sorry, it's true. Andy Gill has left this plane for points further afield. You can dig into the gory details here. I remember the first time I saw the cover of The Gang of Four's Entertainment album. I was shocked by the naked truth of the text that promised hard biting commentary, vicious satire, and a musical attack that would match it. I did not expect it to be danceable as well. [more inside]
posted by evilDoug at 10:37 AM PST - 56 comments

Watching the virus mutate in real time

When the story of the coronavirus (2019-nCOV) is finally written, it might well become a template for the utopian dream of open science. As detailed accounts of the first cases have been published in prominent medical journals, it's clear that scientists were among the first responders at hospitals in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the outbreak. [more inside]
posted by heatherlogan at 6:12 AM PST - 15 comments

Xenophobia and anti-Asian racism in the wake of the Coronavirus

'I am not a virus': France's Asian community pushes back over xenophobia In a southeastern Paris district known as the go-to place for Asian cuisine, business is down at Pascal Corlier’s Vietnamese restaurant, a side-effect of China’s coronavirus health scare that has sparked panic and a rise in xenophobic incidents. Some nervous customers have begun to ask waiting staff if they are Chinese, according to Corlier, whose Vietnamese father-in-law runs the kitchen and serves up traditional dishes like pho soup. Others are simply staying away. “There’s a sort of unfounded psychosis setting in around the Asian community and Asian food,” the restaurateur said, adding that his revenues were down 40% for the first few weeks of 2020 compared to the same period a year ago. [more inside]
posted by Umami Dearest at 12:05 AM PST - 70 comments