February 2020 Archives

February 29

Later, Trader Joe

Joe Coulombe, founder of the Trader Joe’s chain of grocery stores, dies at age 89. “[H]e found a new way to offer products like a then-exotic snack food called granola and California-produced wines that compared with anything from France. And he tried to make shopping for them fun.” [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 6:36 PM PST - 87 comments

Quarantine Cooking

Mefi's Own beijingbrown misted up my spectacles with his comic for the New Yorker Finding Relief from Coronavirus Anxiety.
posted by Mrs Potato at 1:56 PM PST - 30 comments


An (Almost) Comprehensive History of Rat Kings [Mental Floss]Behold the rat king! A ball of furry fury, a rat king occurs when the tails of rodents become twisted, wrapped, and warped into a knot so impossible that not even the world's most loyal Boy Scout could untangle it. Rat kings have been reported since the mid-16th century (almost entirely within Germany), and everything about them—from their name, to their cause, to their very existence—remains suspended in mystery. [...] The rat king's existence is debatable; while there are several preserved specimens, they might be fakes perpetrated by hoaxers who wanted to make a quick buck. Owing to a lack of solid contemporary evidence, zoologists remain skeptical of rat kings—but open to the possibility that they are freak accidents.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 12:10 PM PST - 38 comments

Coyolillo's Carnival, celebrating Afro-Mexican history

Located in the center of the coastal state of Veracruz, a 30-minute drive from its capital, Coyolillo (Google maps) is one of the few towns that takes pride in the country's African roots and presence, identifying itself as an Afromestizo, or "Afromixed," town. Preparing for Carnaval in Coyolillo (Pulitzer Center). The carnival in Coyolillo [...] dates back more than 100 years. [...] The event is known for the colourful robes, capes and animal masks – of bulls, deer, goats and cows – worn by participants. As such, the carnival is a unique expression of African-Mexican folk art (Guardian, in pictures). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:54 AM PST - 2 comments

Welcome to Revachol

“You’re faced with an early choice here: do you back Kim up in this rather straightforward situation (against a character who, I reiterate, is labeled only as Racist Lorry Driver), or do you, the guy with such extreme amnesia that he has a dialogue option to ask about the concept of money, suggest your partner is overreacting?” I Played Disco Elysium as an Absolutely Gigantic Fascist
posted by The Whelk at 10:46 AM PST - 20 comments

The Tales Are Sort of True

The Truth About Alligators in the Sewers of New York [SLNYT]
posted by chavenet at 10:38 AM PST - 9 comments

"Improvisation is a characteristic of both music and physics."

The secret link between jazz and physics: How Einstein & Coltrane shared improvisation and intuition in common. [more inside]
posted by youarenothere at 8:51 AM PST - 6 comments

Google controls which political emails land in your inbox

"Pete Buttigieg is leading at 63 percent. Andrew Yang came in second at 46 percent. And Elizabeth Warren looks like she’s in trouble with 0 percent. These aren’t poll numbers for the U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential contest. Instead, they reflect which candidates were able to consistently land in Gmail’s primary inbox in a simple test."
posted by clawsoon at 8:33 AM PST - 87 comments

February 28

"We saw, every day, the effects of giving somebody freedom"

Remember a few years ago when the owner of a credit card payment processing company based in Seattle raised the minimum wage of his employees to $70,000/yr while taking a huge pay-cut himself and capitalists the world over, afraid of their beloved & apparently suuuuper delicate system collapsing from such madness, flipped out? The BBC recently checked in with Gravity Payments and its owner Dan Price to see how things were going. Pretty damn well, as it turns out. (via, h/t Chrysostom)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:42 PM PST - 36 comments

"We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this"

MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews is a creep. This is not a new revelation, but in the wake of outrageous and nonsensical attacks on Bernie Sanders and a sexist exchange with Elizabeth Warren in which Matthews defended Michael Bloomberg against his own sexual harassment allegations, freelance journalist Laura Bassett, citing Matthews' treatment of Warren, has decided to speak out against Matthews in a GQ story detailing multiple instances of harassment that she had previously revealed without naming the perpetrator.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:29 PM PST - 44 comments

My gender identity is male and my gender expression is female.

CJ Duron (instagram) (previously) writes an essay on the difference between being gender creative and being transgender: When people call me a girl or misgender me I don’t really care. To me, gender is over. Gender is so last year. But when someone tells you their preferred pronouns, you should use those pronouns. [more inside]
posted by one for the books at 6:16 PM PST - 29 comments

More cute animals than you can shake a log at.

A webcam setup at a log on a creek in rural PA picks up years worth of fuzzy creatures wandering across the log. The long anticipated sequel, The Log 2: Another Year has even more including a very inquisitive bobcat.
posted by octothorpe at 5:23 PM PST - 23 comments

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer

Do Authors Write Where They Know? "That got me wondering: How far from a place they’ve called “home” do writers tend to set their works? The famous saying, of disputed origins, goes “Write what you know.” But do authors usually “write where they know,” like Zadie Smith? To answer this question, we took a look at [a list of] the best 100 books written since 1900. We then calculated every possible distance between book setting and author residence to find the smallest value for each book. This told us if at least part of their book was based on a place familiar to the author."
posted by storybored at 12:29 PM PST - 22 comments

Ancient ‘megasites’ may reshape the history of the first cities

Nebelivka, a Ukrainian village of about 700 people, sits amid rolling hills and grassy fields. Here at the edge of Eastern Europe, empty space stretches to the horizon. It wasn’t always so. Beneath the surface of Nebelivka’s surrounding landscape and at nearby archaeological sites, roughly 6,000-year-old remnants of what were possibly some of the world’s first cities are emerging from obscurity. These low-density, spread-out archaeological sites are known as megasites, a term that underscores both their immense size and mysterious origins. Now, some scientists are arguing the settlements represent a distinct form of ancient urban life that has gone largely unrecognized.
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM PST - 24 comments

Ice Ice Baby

In the depths of winter, Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire turns in to a frozen paradise, attracting ice fishers, snowmobilers, and... pilots. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot at 12:22 PM PST - 11 comments

sᴉxɐ-⅄ / sᴉxɐ-X

When up means down: why do so many video game players invert their controls? [The Guardian] “Imagine you are playing a video game where you’re looking out over an explorable world. You have a controller in your hand and you want your character to look or move upwards: in what direction do you push the joystick? If the answer is “up”, you’re in the majority – most players push up on a stick, or slide a mouse upwards, to instigate upward motion in a game. Most, but not all. A significant minority of players start every new game they play by going into the options and selecting “Invert Y axis”, which means when they push up on the stick, their onscreen avatar looks or moves downwards. To both sets of players, their own choice is logical and natural, and discussions about the subject can get quite fraught – as I found when I tweeted about it a few weeks ago. But why the perceptual difference? Is there anything definite that neuroscientists or psychologists can tell us about this schism?”
posted by Fizz at 11:28 AM PST - 122 comments

You can't be Ceres-ous

A comparison of asteroid sizes relative to New York City
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 10:53 AM PST - 19 comments

To the Tseshaht, these islands are not a wilderness but a homeland

Across the Americas, scientists robbed graves, pillaged cultural items, and at times trafficked in baseless theories about the inferiority of Indigenous people. [...] This history made archaeologists unlikely allies in the fight to reclaim First Nations lands in British Columbia. But the Tseshaht Archaeology Project had a track record: Its leaders, Denis St. Claire and Alan McMillan, both white, had been working in the region for decades, talking to elders and asking for the approval of Nuu-Chah-Nulth leaders. Their work came at a time of tidal change in the field, when a growing number of researchers began working collaboratively with First Nations, rather than exploiting their history and territory. St. Claire was even adopted into the Tseshaht, and given the rare opportunity to speak on behalf of the tribe. “They’ve always been so respectful,” Watts says of the men. They wanted to do archaeology in service of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth. A First Nation, a Fight for Ancestral Lands, And an Unlikely Alliance -- The Tseshaht people are working with archaeologists to write a new chapter in a fraught history. (Atlas Obscura) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:50 AM PST - 2 comments

You’re only as healthy as the least-insured person in society

“ For all but the independently wealthy in America, the best-case scenario for getting sick is being a person with good health insurance, paid time off, and a reasonable boss who won’t penalize you for taking a few sick days or working from home. For millions of the country’s workers, such a scenario is a nearly inconceivable luxury.” The Problem With Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home. The novel Coronavirus isn’t very deadly, that’s why it’s dangerous (The Atlantic) With 2 out of the 5 most common jobs in America bring food service or prep related, industry workers have taken to Twitter to describe how dangerous the current workplace and healthcare ituation is for staff and customers. Meanwhile, Doctors Prescribe Medicare-for-All: Single Payer Reform Endorsed by America's Largest Medical Specialty Society - The Lancet: “... a universal system, such as that proposed in the Medicare for All Act, has the potential to transform the availability and efficiency of American health-care services.” - Multiple Studies Show Medicare For All Saves Money (The Week) Why We Should Be Madder About The Uninsured
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 AM PST - 36 comments

Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet

Remember when Wikipedia was a joke? In its first decade of life, the website appeared in as many punch lines as headlines. The Office's Michael Scott called it “the best thing ever,” because “anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject—so you know you are getting the best possible information.” Praising Wikipedia, by restating its mission, meant self-identifying as an idiot. That was in 2007....
posted by growabrain at 9:53 AM PST - 77 comments

Pick Thine Own Story-Exploit

Netflix is asking a court to cancel the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark owned by publishing company Chooseco, in response to Chooseco's lawsuit against Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. "In contemporary parlance, any situation that requires making a series of unguided choices, or that provides an opportunity to go back and re-make a series of choices that turned out badly, is referred to as a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure," argued Netflix.
posted by adrianhon at 9:45 AM PST - 34 comments

Freeman Dyson 1923 - 2020

"Freeman Dyson Dies at 96; Wrestled With Questions of Physics and Morality" (SLNYT) Freeman J. Dyson, a mathematical prodigy who left his mark on subatomic physics before turning to messier subjects like Earth’s environmental future and the morality of war, died on Friday at a hospital near Princeton, N.J. He was 96. [more inside]
posted by jquinby at 9:37 AM PST - 30 comments

"He's not good or fast, so hopefully we're going to win this game."

Fast-and-loose culture of esports is upending once staid world of chess (NBC): Botez, 24, is good and fast. She holds the title of Woman FIDE Master, was the first female president of the Stanford University Chess Club and remains one of the best players in Canada. And under normal circumstances, she probably wouldn't be losing to her anonymous online opponent. ¶ But on the monitor to her right, Botez was also talking to more than 1,000 viewers who were watching the game as she offered a mix of live commentary, trash talk and thanks to the viewers who had given her contributions. ¶ Players like Botez now serve as some of the most visible ambassadors of chess -- and, it can be argued, the game's first entertainers. If chess hustling turned pro, it would look something like what Botez does.
posted by not_the_water at 7:50 AM PST - 15 comments

One thing about him is that he be lactose intolerant, and so there be

Learning the Ropes , by Simon Rich, at the New Yorker. A salty tale of Black Bones the pirate and his ice-hearted roving partner Rotten Pete. “The only man I trust is me First Mate, Rotten Pete the Scoundrel, and I only trust him as far as I can keep me eye peeled on his hook hand. Rotten Pete is so rotten, he’d sell his mother for a piece-of-eight. I’ve seen him stab his peg leg through his brother’s screaming face, just to have himself a laugh. He’s got a black beard right up to his eyes and he loves to keep it slick with dead men’s blood.”
posted by mwhybark at 7:42 AM PST - 13 comments

Coffee Break Sessions

Why not enjoy your coffee with some vinyl in the morning? Brazilian groovesJapanese city pop and jazz-funkJazz from the USSR [more inside]
posted by capricorn at 5:46 AM PST - 6 comments

Google Interviewing Process for Software Developer Role in 2020

If you’re looking for a success story, this is the wrong post for you. A software engineer describes his recent experience of interviewing at Google. [more inside]
posted by Cardinal Fang at 4:46 AM PST - 123 comments

February 27

Girls Just Want To Have Fun In Isolation Without Hazard

Cyndi Lauper's isolated vocal track from the recording session for her classic 1983 pop song Girls Just Want To Have Fun (slyt via). [more inside]
posted by fairmettle at 11:23 PM PST - 19 comments

Fashion designed by, run by, and tailored to, lizards

Meet the Fashion Brand for lizards, sexpots, and three-headed babes. The lazily but brilliantly-named “Fashion Brand Company” was founded in 2018 by Penelope Gazin, and has been delivering deliciously irreverent apparel ever since. Like a sweater covered in nipples, or a three collared dress. It’s as if Gazin has vacuumed up the detritus of our REM cycle dreams and turned it into a cornucopia of kitsch sweaters, hot jester pants, and teeny tiny cowboy hats for hers-and-hers outfits with the pet lizard you never asked for, but absolutely need. She's also partly responsible for Witchsy, a shop that's like Etsy for artists.

And in keeping with this week's theme, there's a tote bag.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:57 PM PST - 8 comments

Forgive me he started it

Kids in NZ write confessions of their worst sins (SL twitter thread) in the style of William Carlos Williams, then design them using Canva.
posted by jeather at 5:26 PM PST - 7 comments

“Oftentimes, the alternative to polarization is suppression,” Klein says

Groups that are rising in power want their needs reflected in politics and culture, groups that feel themselves losing power want to protect the status and privileges they've had, and this conflict is sorting itself neatly into two parties.
In his new book, "Why We're Polarized," Ezra Klein (Vox founder and political blogger) shows polarization isn't necessarily the problem some claim, and makes the case that Trump's election can be directly linked to the ongoing demographic shifts in the USA. [more inside]
posted by rebent at 2:50 PM PST - 57 comments

Macavity routinely breaks local noise ordinances!

the lyric “he’s broken every human law” implies that Macavity has committed such crimes as tax evasion, homicide, war profiteering, and quite possibly adultery interfering with a human marriage [more inside]
posted by aihal at 2:30 PM PST - 88 comments

As a mom and grandmother, this is aspirational

How a Hacker's Mom Broke Into a Prison—and the Warden's Computer. Wired
posted by Mom at 11:00 AM PST - 18 comments

A homeless philosopher and a robotic bird team up to solve crime

An AI program has learned the storytelling and art style of the legendary "God of Manga" mangaka Osamu Tezuka to create a completely original manga. Using 65 volumes of Tezuka's classic works, such as Black Jack and Phoenix, as its training set, the AI generated the plots, character bios, and character designs for the eponymous "Paidon",the story of a homeless philosopher named Paidon that has turned his back on society to solve criminal cases with his robotic bird partner, Apollo, in 2030 era Tokyo. The manga, which was secondarily illustrated and polished for publication by human artists, was released today in Kodansha's weekly manga serial Morning with a sequel already in the works. [more inside]
posted by Young Kullervo at 10:43 AM PST - 13 comments

Build it (well) and they will come (to use transit instead of SOVs*)

If you've traveled or lived in different major cites around the world, or browsed lists like The Top 10 Best Public Transit Systems in the World (World Atlas, 2018), the fact that Asian and European cities are considered to have better transit systems than cities in the U.S. is no surprise. Jonathan English wrote a pair of lengthy articles for Citylab in 2018, looking at the history of transit in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit? (Don't Blame Cars.) Streetcar, bus, and metro systems have been ignoring one lesson for 100 years: Service drives demand. Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S. -- The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:34 AM PST - 42 comments

Extract. Contaminate. Deny. Profit.

“A lot of guys are coming up with cancer, or sores and skin lesions that take months to heal,” he says. Peter experiences regular headaches and nausea, numbness in his fingertips and face, and “joint pain like fire.” Beyond Fracking, America’s Radioactive Secret (Rolling Stone) “ Fourteen years later, not one assessment of the damage to natural resources after the two 2005 hurricanes has been completed. None of the 140 parties thought to be responsible for the spills has been fined or cited for environmental violations.” How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled (ProPublica) Satellite images confirm fears, Ohio gas well blowout leaked more than many countries do in a year (Ars Technica) “ The movie highlights DuPont's legal maneuvering, showing the company seeking to evade liability by "notifying" customers that the chemical was in their water at levels the notice suggested were "safe" — starting a time clock running for the statute of limitations on DuPont's liability.“ Dark Waters shines a light on DuPont’s history of covering up contamination.
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM PST - 20 comments

Oh lord, the backlog.

Why am I still playing Skyrim? [PC Gamer] “Journey to the Savage Planet. Dragon Quest Builders 2. Phoenix Point. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Shenmue 3—those are just some of the games I'm yet to finish in the last few months. Some I haven't even started. In this relatively fallow period for PC releases, my pile of shame is somehow still growing. I should be catching up on the games that launched in the frankly silly September-to-November 2019 bottleneck. I need to clear the slate so I'm ready and refreshed for Doom Eternal, Resident Evil 3, and Cyberpunk 2077. Instead most weekday evenings go in precisely the same way, as if my life is being directed by the dullest screenplay imaginable: with dinner done and the washing up to one side, I have about an hour of games time if I want to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I have every intention of starting something new or making a beeline for the credits on a game I once put to one side. Then, there I go: I'm playing Skyrim again.”
posted by Fizz at 9:31 AM PST - 72 comments

In defiance of their mandate “to reconstitute reality.”

For Decades, Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside of Switzerland’s Official Maps
posted by Chrysostom at 8:46 AM PST - 25 comments

Ma Yu Ching's Bucket Chicken House (est. 1153)

The Oldest Company in Almost Every Country (That is Still in Business)
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:37 AM PST - 52 comments


On August 9, 2008, you’ll be on top of the world. You’ll have just won the biggest ultimate game of your life on home soil in Vancouver. You’ll be surrounded by family, friends and teammates, with a world championship gold medal around your neck. But you’ll feel lost. On February 19, 2018, after almost 15 years of struggling with drugs and alcohol, you’ll enter uncharted waters. On this day, a new chapter will begin as you make the best decision of your life and check yourself into a treatment centre where your new roommate struggles with meth addiction and has five bullet holes in his chest. You’ll find common ground and become friends. What happened?
posted by Etrigan at 8:05 AM PST - 5 comments

ITMFA VI: Again & Again

According to Rolling Stone, at an impeachment acquittal 'celebration,' the president "started rambling about his behavior in Ukraine, calling himself a victim, while also seeming to get somewhat paranoid, telling the crowd the Democrats will say, “let’s impeach him” again." However, after Republicans voted almost unanimously to acquit him on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Trump’s constant commentary and increasing willingness to flout traditional legal processes signal that the president feels emboldened and unrestrained, said Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers,” a history of White House chiefs of staff. As noted by over 2600 former DOJ officials in an open letter calling for AG Barr to resign, "[g]overnments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies." Based on the framing and ratification debates for the U.S. Constitution, impeachment scholar Cass Sunstein says to "[t]hink about what the American Revolution was fought for, and you’ll have a good clue of what impeachment is all about." [more inside]
posted by katra at 7:56 AM PST - 237 comments

“Am I . . . real to you kids?”

David Sedaris on aging, as his father approaches the end of his life.
posted by BekahVee at 6:52 AM PST - 24 comments

A disappointing anointing

"He opened his Bible to Psalm 39—an uneasy poem of both praise and gloom that includes the words “every man at his best state is but vapor”—and noticed a small spot of oil. Joyce assured him the grandkids hadn’t been near the book. It could only have come from God." Ruth Graham writes about a "modern miracle", the Bible flowing with oil.
posted by clawsoon at 6:06 AM PST - 28 comments

February 26

Oof, boom, er-tum, tootle, yum tah-dah!

This was in a book I had in junior high school, called The Bawdy Bedside Reader. [more inside]
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:45 PM PST - 15 comments

Take Time

Play All, a collection of 17 music videos by The Books. (track links inside) [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 11:27 PM PST - 4 comments

It's now made people all over the world very happy too.

The fart heard round the world: how an Australian musician's fart went viral. "When an Australian musician recorded his fart on his phone he had no idea it would become an educational talking point for music students all around the world. His 7-tone fart was so unique, he turned it into a symphony and it went viral." [2m9s]
posted by hippybear at 9:38 PM PST - 11 comments

Nobody is an instagram influencer.

posted by Grandysaur at 3:38 PM PST - 32 comments

Music fair, music foul, music played by Teddy Powell

The talented Teddy Powell and His Orchestra perform Serenade To A Maid (1941). WARNING: undignified
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:08 PM PST - 10 comments

⬆️⬆️⬇️⬇️⬅️➡️⬅️➡️🅱️🅰️ RIP

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, creator of the Konami Code, a cheat code first used in Gradius and later popularised in Contra, has died at 61. The Konami Code has been used in over 100 Konami games, and has spread far and wide beyond the company in games, software, and other media. [more inside]
posted by adrianhon at 1:48 PM PST - 39 comments

comparing bluejeans seams is relatively useless

A Key FBI Photo Analysis Method Has Serious Flaws, Study Says After ProPublica’s reporting last year, scientists at UC Berkeley tested one of the FBI Lab’s photo analysis techniques, identifying bluejeans by the pattern on their seams, and found flaws that challenge the method’s reliability. [ProPublica]
posted by readinghippo at 1:19 PM PST - 41 comments

Cinematic, emotional piano from neoclassical pianist Sarah Coponat

Cosmos, a piece inspired by the disorienting beauty of spaceflight. Ocean, a crashing journey through stormy seas. Sarah is notable not only for her wild use of arpeggios, but also for her pop covers. For fans of Nils Frahm, Max Richter, Yann Tiersen, Daniel Thorne, Liszt, and Ravel.
posted by fake at 12:37 PM PST - 3 comments

Thomas Pynchon Unmasked

Thomas Pynchon Unmasked The great California writer—if unknowingly—answers our questions about a U.S. Department of Jesus, moving back to the Golden State, and winning a Nobel Prize. By David Kipen
posted by chavenet at 12:19 PM PST - 30 comments

Thanke God quoth Sir Edward Hungerford/That this Fart proved not a Turdd

Libel is a form of political poetry, more crass or ribald than your average satire. Popular in the Renaissance, libels were often circulated among friends rather than published. In 2005, Professors Andrew McRae and Alastair Bellany collected 350 libels from old manuscripts in university libraries and published them online at Early Stuart Libels. Perhaps most famous is "The Censure of the Parliament Fart," which received an airing in The Guardian; the poem tells of a "stincking" motion made in Parliament by House of Commons member Henry Ludlow in 1607, and the imagined reactions of his peers. Read the editors' introduction; the poem begins on this page with painstakingly detailed context notes. [more inside]
posted by sugar and confetti at 12:03 PM PST - 19 comments

All Cops Are Apostates

“ For Torres and many others, including famed El Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero, expression of true faith meant advocacy for a revolutionary reorientation of society. If charity couldn’t feed the hungry, then the only choice was a more radical option.“ The Saints Of The Christian Left (Protean) The Institute for Christian Socialism is an ecumenical institute founded on the conviction that the socialism of the Gospel is irreconcilable with capitalism and demands Christian participation in the emergence of new forms of political economy today. - Current Affairs interview with IfCS co-founder Josh Davis on the history of Christianity and leftist movements (YouTube)
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 AM PST - 9 comments

The work I now want to do no longer fits into the Post scheme

The political awakening of Norman Rockwell.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 AM PST - 25 comments


The History Of Farts In Video Games [GEEK] “As video games mature, their ability to simulate different aspects of the world we live in just gets better and better. From early days when black and white spaceships jittered across displays to the immersive 3D virtual worlds we expect in 2017, the vidya experience gets more and more like reality. That’s a long-winded (no pun intended) way to say that you can fart in video games. Yes, this might seem like a silly use of our time, but this is Geek. We’re all about exploring the sacred as well as the profane. What better way to do so than to look at digital representations of gas passing from the digestive system through the butt? For whatever reason, developers have been including farts in video games for decades. Let’s don our gas masks and venture into digital history to discover how flatulence has been used in gaming through the years.” [Gaming's Greatest Farty Butts][YouTube]
posted by Fizz at 7:53 AM PST - 33 comments

How Lifesaving Organs For Transplant Go Missing In Transit

Scores of organs — mostly kidneys — are trashed each year and many more become critically delayed while being shipped on commercial airliners, a new investigation finds.
posted by Etrigan at 7:29 AM PST - 13 comments

We've Got To Go Talk To The Bobs

In a surprise announcement, Disney CEO Bob Iger, who oversaw the company's growth and expansion after the tumultuous ouster of Michael Eisner in the 2000s, is stepping down from the role, with Disney Parks head Bob Chapek succeeding him. (SLSlate) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:23 AM PST - 32 comments

congenital blindness and schizophrenia

People Born Blind Are Mysteriously Protected From Schizophrenia (Vice): Over the past 60-some years, scientists around the world have been writing about this mystery. They've analyzed past studies, combed the wards of psychiatric hospitals, and looked through agencies that treat blind people, trying to find a case. [...] These findings suggest that something about congenital blindness may protect a person from schizophrenia. This is especially surprising, since congenital blindness often results from infections, brain trauma, or genetic mutation -- all factors that are independently associated with greater risk of psychotic disorders. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 7:12 AM PST - 17 comments

Biogas Propulsion

Can a fart propel you in zero g? I ask two aerospace engineers to find out. (SLImgur)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:39 AM PST - 48 comments

"In a very real sense, the couriers work for Foodora"

"The couriers are selected by Foodora and required to deliver food on the terms and conditions determined by Foodora in accordance with Foodora's standards. In a very real sense, the couriers work for Foodora, and not themselves." In a "historic precedent for precarious workers", the Ontario Labour Relations Board has ruled (PDF) that Foodora workers are eligible to join a union. The votes they cast months ago to unionize (previously) can now be counted.
posted by clawsoon at 5:33 AM PST - 11 comments

February 25

We are happy to work on this project; we are happy to see it grow

European software recruiter Honeypot has put together a few quality short documentaries on open source products. [MLYT] Elixir, Ember.js, GraphQL, and most recently, Vue.js. [more inside]
posted by cowcowgrasstree at 11:31 PM PST - 9 comments

You'll come apart and you'll go black

David Roback guitarist for Mazzy Star died today, cause unknown. Guitarist for Opal, Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, and as already mentioned, Mazzy Star, David Roback, was a quiet storm of beautiful guitar playing and song writing. Sorry, I don't have more to say about him. Here's other peoples words and his music. [more inside]
posted by evilDoug at 10:33 PM PST - 33 comments

Lobster Theremin:5 years of euphoric, spacy epic trance, scuffed electro

It all started with an EP in 2013 by Berlin-based Palms Trax, "three slices of Detroit and Chicago-inspired house" (plus a remix) on a label with a somewhat laughable, but memorable, name: Lobster Theremin. That EP set the stage for a banging first year, when the label formed two sub-labels: a black label series to showcase a more pounding style of techno, and the white label series to explore house music and more vintage styles, "although that slightly fell apart" (interview). Skip ahead, and there are 11 sub-labels and Lobster Distribution (Discogs x2). They recently marked 5 years (Resident Advisor) with two retrospective compilations: Lobster Heavy Classics and Lobster Deep Classics (Spotify x2). You can also dive into official YouTube playlists or the podcast series on Soundcloud.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:36 PM PST - 5 comments

35 years of Singing From The Big Chair

Feb 25, 1985, Tears For Fears' second album Songs From The Big Chair was released. The album was a giant international success, both in its own sales and the success of its many singles. Perhaps you haven't listened in a while, or perhaps never listened before! 80s pop with a confrontational, deeper vein! Side A: Shout [video], The Working Hour, Everybody Wants To Rule The World [video], Mothers Talk [video] [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:28 PM PST - 38 comments

Over half were suspected fakes

To test how prevalent counterfeits are online, Marketplace purchased dozens of well-known products — ranging from electronics to sportswear to cosmetics — from five popular online retailers: AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Wish. [more inside]
posted by blue shadows at 9:18 PM PST - 73 comments

An inmate and a guard in a prison...

He has thought of everything...
posted by dfm500 at 6:24 PM PST - 4 comments

The Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain

The new digital collection includes two- and three-dimensional images from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo. Everything is released under a Creative Commons Zero license. Jump down the rabbit hole at the Smithsonian Open Access portal.
posted by carter at 5:17 PM PST - 14 comments

Hold the soapwort

A team of international scholars versed in culinary history, food chemistry and cuneiform studies has been recreating dishes from the world’s oldest-known recipes.
posted by bq at 2:51 PM PST - 26 comments

Not that we’re supposed to call it a “relationship.” It’s a “situation.”

Ask Polly counsels a women who moved off-grid with an emotionally stunted older man: “All of these allergies to love are really a longing for love in disguise. You can see that now, right? You haven’t fallen in love before because you’ve never taken the risk of making yourself vulnerable to another human being before. You chose to pioneer with a robot just so you could finally experience vulnerability. AND IT’S WORKING! Isn’t that cause for celebration? I’m serious! Now you finally know how much you value love! Now you realize that love needs to be affirmed through words! Now you know that you need verbal proof that this man loves you!” [more inside]
posted by ambrosen at 2:05 PM PST - 38 comments

Plugged In On a Stronger Current

Roseboro’—she fiercely defended that apostrophe, reserving her family name, Roseborough, for her life on the stage—was more zealous than many a missionary. She was utterly convinced that books were all that mattered in life. She offered to give one promising young writer her ideas “as you put cloves into an apple you are going to roast.” And yet, though she championed voices who are today seen as canonical and left behind a literary legacy with which few other readers and editors can compete, she died destitute, rarely leaving her rented rooms on Staten Island. From The Strange, Forgotten Life of Viola Roseboro’ by Stephanie Gorton
posted by chavenet at 12:12 PM PST - 3 comments

Set As Wallpaper (Tiled)

Hey, here's MS Paint in Javascript. [more inside]
posted by theodolite at 11:29 AM PST - 20 comments

Explain your thinking. Don't make it mysterious.

How to help someone use a computer. Knowledge lives in communities, not individuals. A computer user who's part of a community of computer users will have an easier time than one who isn't. Phil Agre's classic text on helping others use computers. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 11:29 AM PST - 47 comments

Barcelona Prepares

“ The climate emergency is here, and to tackle it the (Barcelona) City Council has declared the climate emergency with an action plan for 2020-2030, establishing a hundred robust, urgent and effective measures to speed up the way the city adapts to climate episodes in the next few years and mitigate the effects in the short to mid-term.” The Six Part, 563.3 million euro Climate Emergency Plan includes severely limiting traffic, expanded urban green-spaces, and low-carbon municipal food halls.
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 AM PST - 10 comments

There you sit, broken-hearted / paid for shit, got outsmarted

Headline-writers around the globe fired off some real beauties in 2014 when a Beverly Hills auction house put a 40-inch coprolite--that's fossilized poop--up for auction. A private collector wound up dropping a hot load of cash, to the tune of $10,370. Soon after, a nugget of doubt rose to the surface: the purportedly petrified poo-poo came from the Pacific Northwest's Wilkes Formation, known for producing mineral deposits in the form of twisty, knobbly faux-turds. Vertebrate paleontologist Andrew Farke, writing for the at the Integrative Paleontologists blog, was one of many to highlight the likely fecal fallacy.
posted by sugar and confetti at 9:12 AM PST - 13 comments

Be a Lady They Said

Be a Lady They Said Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go. [more inside]
posted by amanda at 8:51 AM PST - 8 comments

here and now

Chris Hayes interviwed philosopher Martin Hägglund on his podcast Why Is This Happening: The Meaning Of Life[podcast, transcript], on his book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom - " it is accepting the fact that life is finite that is essential to understanding and shaping life itself. In fact, he argues, it’s only because life is finite that it has meaning." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:32 AM PST - 15 comments

“human condition,” and now

Poets Respond. Since June 2014, Rattle has published a poem a week written about a public event that occurred within the previous week. "News cycles rarely last more than a week, let alone a year. One reason poetry lags behind other forms of contemporary media might be this delay—how can poetry be part of the conversation when it enters so late?"
Jan 23, 2018 “Permission” by Noel Quiñones: When I say Puerto Rico I mean an opening in the skin / where gold turns green under my scalp.
Feb 23, 2020 “Coronavirus in China” by Anthony Tao: Masks. Wearing them, / we were more aware / of the other.
Our eyes locked more often, / for longer, searching for provocation, / gauging interest

Dec 17, 2019 “Flown” by Wendy Cannella: But who can hum along / to a tiny, rushing song?
Nov 17, 2019 "Crushes" by Ori Fienberg: Most have heard stories of the lead-covered Bibles soldiers of the great wars carried into battle, whose words protected their hearts. But when bibles ran out they used other books [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:47 AM PST - 1 comment

Wholesome esports

The Adorable Moment 7-Year-Old Simone Lim Became A Pokémon Junior Champion [YouTube]Meet Simone Lim. She’s the new Pokémon Oceania International Juniors Championships champion. She faced off in Melbourne against the older and formidable Justin Miranda-Radbord. He’s defending champ with a long list of achievements, including 21-time Regional Champ. Lim seemed to come out of nowhere to claim her crown. This was her first year competing; she ranked top four in Malaysia Regionals and at a Singapore Special Event, which would be impressive enough for most players. But Lim is not most players. After winning the first match, Lim lost the second but came back for an impressive finish.” [via: Kotaku]
posted by Fizz at 7:44 AM PST - 4 comments

BSA Files for Bankruptcy Amid 300 Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, a sign of the century-old organization's financial instability as it faces some 300 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as Scouts. The organization says it will use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust to provide compensation to victims. Scouting programs will continue throughout. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 6:58 AM PST - 93 comments

Pre-existing conditions is a thing, again

Trump has gutted Obamacare for many. In 2018, President Donald Trump’s administration rolled back Affordable Care Act regulations and allowed so-called “junk plans” in the market. Consumers mistakenly assume that the plans with lower monthly costs will be better than no insurance at all in case of a medical catastrophe, but often the plans aren’t very different from going without insurance altogether. [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:34 AM PST - 92 comments

This isn't his first rodeo

So apparently Madison Bumgarner has been secretly competing in rodeo events for years.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:02 AM PST - 32 comments

February 24

Menstrual cycles and athletes

Several high-profile sports teams (USWNT, AFLW, Chelsea FC) have revealed they are using information about athletes’ menstrual cycles to tailor training programs, enhance performance and endeavour to avoid injury. Here are some recommendations for how menstruating people can tailor their training to their cycle. [more inside]
posted by mosessis at 8:36 PM PST - 4 comments

Recipe Hacks: fake news of cooking videos

The fake 'kitchen hacks' with billions of views (BBC video) -- most are deceiving, and some are dangerous, from suggesting that you put molten caramel on a spinning whisk, or dunk strawberries in bleach. But apparently First Media now states that they only showcase recipes that work, unlike a prior statement made to Food scientist and YouTuber Ann Reardon (previously) that "whether the recipes worked or not was never their concern." Reardon debunks fake TroomTroom and 5-Minute Craft videos, and exposes dangerous 5-Minute Crafts & So Yummy how-to videos, but also makes 200 year old candy recipes from The Complete Confectioner (Archive.org).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:32 PM PST - 54 comments

Lost soul bent on revenge

Ten years ago, Scorpion played the Mortal Kombat theme on an accordion (bayan) and was noticed by many, including Geekosystem, Neatorama, and Mortal Kombat co-creator / voice of Scorpion, Ed Boon. Scorpion also returned a few years later to play the Mortal Kombat theme on a glass harp. The bayan previously. The glass harp previously and previouslier.
posted by Wobbuffet at 7:50 PM PST - 7 comments


Travelling petting zoos with scorpions and tarantulas spread the love. Stillwater -- Brooklyn -- maybe one will visit near you. Some insectariums also have petting zoos, for instance in Philadelphia and Victoria, Canada.
posted by clew at 7:00 PM PST - 11 comments

Two Moments in Time: Funky Bugs

Sampled by more than a few in the land of hip hop, Scorpio was released by Dennis Coffey in 1971. It has a pretty awesome break at the 1:12 mark. Totally unrelated, ten years later (or maybe eleven years, depending on how you want to count it), Grandmaster Flash released Scorpio. Named after one of the band members, Scorpio did ok on the charts.
posted by ashbury at 6:18 PM PST - 7 comments

Beware the burning sting!

Scorpions are often inspiration for some of the deadliest (and outlandish) ways of creating burning pain. For example, a legendary Chinese poison was made by “sealing venomous snakes, scorpions, and centipedes into a jar and having them fight” which reveals more about cultural relations in ancient China than how to make poison. In Game of Thrones, the way to stop flaming dragons was to use a version of one of the first siege engines, the Roman scorpio, a torsion weapon that you can make yourself (Pdf)! And if you just want to wish you were dead, you can eat the Trinidad Scorpion, one of the hottest peppers in the world, as this fascinating discussion of hot peppers in India shows.
posted by blahblahblah at 5:04 PM PST - 4 comments


Treasure Hunters Headed to Jail After Concealing Their Discovery of Viking Treasure Trove. The metal detector enthusiasts, along with two coin dealers who assisted in selling the concealed find, have all been sentenced to up to 10 years in jail. The collection is worth an estimated $15.4 million.
posted by moonmilk at 4:41 PM PST - 16 comments

Not a stinger, but named after a thing with a stinger...

A brief history of the scorpion, with recipe and flaming cocktail safety tips. ╰()╯('-')╰()╯ A longer history of the scorpion bowl. ╰()╯('-')╰()╯ Additional scorpion cocktail and scorpion bowl recipes.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 4:17 PM PST - 6 comments

'Nok, 'Nok! Who's Head? Zarak

Great 12 minute overview of the Transformer Scorponok and close ally Lord Zarak in their various print, toy and screen versions, by YouTuber Chris McFeely [SLYT] [SLSCORP]
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:57 PM PST - 4 comments

Justice has a nasty sting!

She's a police officer by day. But, by night, she takes to the streets and fights crime with powerful pinching pedipalps and a stinging tail! [more inside]
posted by Slothrop at 3:54 PM PST - 4 comments

Crop Is On! I Sop Corn!

Do you feel that predatory arachnid links are almost perfect except for their subject’s letter order? Fear not! How to become Coin Pros . Learn how Cops Iron . And finally, swoon at Pi Croons . [more inside]
posted by lalochezia at 2:21 PM PST - 23 comments

Modelling 2019-nCOV outbreak

Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCOV virus. This Lancet article published in late January has proven prescient. "Our findings suggest that independent self-sustaining human-to-human spread is already present in multiple major Chinese cities, many of which are global transport hubs with huge numbers of both inbound and outbound passengers (eg, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen). Therefore, in the absence of substantial public health interventions that are immediately applied, further international seeding and subsequent local establishment of epidemics might become inevitable. On the present trajectory, 2019-nCoV could be about to become a global epidemic in the absence of mitigation...." [more inside]
posted by storybored at 1:58 PM PST - 944 comments

These scorpions, while not live, are definitely wired

Sit back, relax, and watch Dave or Angel demonstrate how to make a scorpion out of wire. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:28 PM PST - 3 comments

wrecks it after a riotous all-animal party

The most disturbing talking animals in film – ranked! [The Guardian]
posted by readinghippo at 11:38 AM PST - 31 comments

Extraordinary chessboard or Kickstarter scam

"If you follow the Internet chess scene closely you will no doubt have noticed the new kid on the block: Regium. Purportedly an e-board that can connect to all the major chess websites and play seamlessly with a real physical board, over the Internet! [...] While we want to believe as much as any chess lover, we have a few doubts about these claims as well as the conduct of Regium. Here are some reasons for caution." Lichess investigates the Regium chessboard [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 11:24 AM PST - 30 comments

Katherine Johnson has passed at the age of 101.

NASA announced this morning that "Hidden Figures" computer Katherine Johnson has passed away. Katherine Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, WV, August 26 1918, and worked for NACA (later NASA) as one of their top "Computers" from 1953-1986. In addition to her work on the Mercury program that was highlighted in the movie Hidden Figures she worked on the Apollo program, LANDSAT, the Space Shuttle, and authored 26 research reports. [more inside]
posted by BZArcher at 10:19 AM PST - 91 comments


A surreal, trope-tastic short movie. By Salvatore Ganacci forBusiness Club Royale via Weird Universe
posted by chavenet at 10:09 AM PST - 7 comments

Harvey Weinstein, Convicted Rapist

After a several weeks long trial and five days of deliberation, Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. (SLGuardian) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:23 AM PST - 62 comments

Conditions Of The American Working Class

“...the fastest-growing occupations in San Francisco were taxi drivers, chauffeurs, couriers, messengers, and personal care aides.” The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here And It Sucks (New Republic) “ “Platforms like this, they exist to twist people who have no other recourse … It’s depressing, and makes it hard to feel like it’s worth getting up in the morning.” Horror Stories From Inside Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (Gizmodo) Youtube Moderators Forced To Sign Statement Acknowledging Their Job Can Give Them PTSD (The Verge) “ “Today, I was expected to clean up after 300 people in 10 minutes, alone,” he wrote. “This is not physically possible.” The Usher Uprising, are movie theaters the next wave of unionization? (Mel) Kickstarter and Amazon warehouse employees hold historic union elections, drives. How To Organize Your Workplace (Without Getting Caught) [more inside]
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM PST - 9 comments

“338 it is and welcome to Walmart”

The Postal Service Fired Thousands of Workers for Getting Injured While Delivering and Processing Your Mail: USPS forced out 44,000 workers who got injured on the job. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the effort, part of a five year program, violated the law. But the Postal Service has fought its workers’ claims since 2007. (SLProPublica by Maryam Jameel)
posted by crazy with stars at 9:01 AM PST - 4 comments

Scorpions Live

Also presented without comment.
posted by rikschell at 8:54 AM PST - 14 comments

526.5 Live Scorpions

Presented without comment: United States Postal Service regulations for mailing live animals
posted by Mchelly at 8:24 AM PST - 30 comments

“a rhythmic, chaotic catastrophe of cooking!”

Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 Is A Chaotic Cooking Game Set In The Back Of A Food Truck Driven By Cyborgs [YouTube][Game Trailer] “Cooking food can be a relaxing or even therapeutic activity. But not in Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! That’s because you are cooking in the back of a moving food truck driven by two cyborgs in a dystopian future. In that case, things are a bit more...chaotic. CSD3 is the third entry in the Cook, Serve, Delicious series and it released earlier this week. These games are all about cooking lots of quality food, quickly and accurately. [...] Each day in CSD3 starts with you crafting a menu of different foods and snacks to serve and then you head out to three stops, where hungry people await. On the way to each stop, you can prep food to help make your life easier. ou use various keyboard keys to slap together food. For example, simple food like chicken nuggets has you hit the “N” key a few times to place raw chicken nuggets into your deep-frying baskets. Then you hit the “D” key to dunk the food into the burner and finally, you hit enter to close that window and let the nugs cook.” [via: Kotaku] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 7:04 AM PST - 9 comments

The defector who brought North-South Korean romance to life

An implausible love story in which a (literally) high-flying South Korean heiress accidentally paraglides into North Korea, lands on a soldier and falls in love with him has become the latest Korean drama smash hit. Crash Landing on You is in many ways a typical K-drama romance, but has been widely praised for its well-researched and nuanced portrayal of North Korea, something it achieved by having a real-life North Korean defector on its writing team, as BBC Korean's Subin Kim explains.
posted by Etrigan at 6:16 AM PST - 4 comments

Seeing is believing

What Is the hardest language in the world to lipread?
posted by Literaryhero at 2:39 AM PST - 16 comments

February 23

"sometimes God takes a radical position against oppression"

Writer, musician and speaker, Andre Henry [twitter] was hired to be the managing editor of Christian lifestyle publication Relevant Magazine, which went well right up until he wanted to publish something every day for Black History Month in 2019.
A Case for the Ongoing Black Exodus from White Evangelicalism - "The refusal of so much of the white evangelical world — including megachurches, non-profits, conferences, and media platforms — to speak prophetically and act courageously in the face of a global resurgence of white nationalism has been a great betrayal to many Black Christians that were committed to multiculturalism and “racial reconciliation.”" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:22 PM PST - 24 comments

Mdou Moctar, from mysterious Saharan musician to touring the world

Mdou Moctar was drawn to music for a long time, first known for his majestic singing of the Koran, then for his unique guitar style, inspired by Tinariwen (jamming with Red Hot Chili Peppers members in 2012), an internationally famous Tuareg band who also played "desert blues" (previously). Regionally renowned, his music was traded around the Sahara via cell phones, before getting broader distribution (previously). In 2015, he played Prince's role as "the kid" in a Kickstarter-funded version of “Rain the Color of Blue With a Little Red in It” (previously; short Guardian article; soundtrack on Bandcamp). Late last year, his latest album, Ilana: The Creator (Bandcamp) was touted as perhaps the most fiery psych-rock of the 21st century (NPR), earning him the title of The Hendrix of the Sahara in his Esquire interview.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 PM PST - 8 comments

A Museum of Nothing

No Show Museum is a museum dedicated to artworks which depict nothing in all its forms, as Notion, Statement, Lacuna, Reduction, Invisibility, Emptiness, Annihilation and Refusal. It features artworks by various well-known artists, such as Ai Weiwei, Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, Karin Sander, lots and lots of Yves Klein, and many, many others. For more info on the artists and their works, click the little “i” sign next to their names. The “information” tab on the website will answer most of your questions, and two short videos will show you what exhibitions looks like.
posted by Kattullus at 3:14 PM PST - 21 comments

Documentaries as Advertising

From Food Evolution to At the Fork to Farmland to The Painful Truth, corporate interests are turning to indie documentaries for influence (100Reporters): Though most moviegoers might imagine that a director’s only client is his or her audience, the reality of documentary filmmaking is more complicated, as industry groups, advertising agencies and companies today hire filmmakers to tell their stories, which are released and streamed to the public as independent documentaries. In much the way that Facebook users have been targeted unwittingly for political propaganda and misinformation campaigns, viewers of documentary films have become captive, unsuspecting audiences for industry messaging that is shaping how we think about controversial topics, whether it is how we should grow food, manage the opioid addiction crisis, or address climate change.
posted by not_the_water at 11:09 AM PST - 13 comments

Buy, By, Bye

Homophones, Weakly. (via Words & Stuff)
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:54 AM PST - 36 comments

The most anarchist of anarchist book outfits

For Contingent Magazie, Karin Falcone Krieger tells the story of Dover Books, which democratized knowledge, revived paper dolls, and helped create the trade paperback. [more inside]
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:57 AM PST - 34 comments

Pervasive contingency as Italian slasher flick

Charles Petersen writes for the New York Review of Books about the adjunctification crisis in higher education, how it fits into larger labor movements, and how "college for all" policies could change things.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:45 AM PST - 4 comments

A maze of deliciousness

The romance, the practicality, the energy efficiency: the fruit wall. Or, how one grows peaches in Northern France and the Low Countries during the little ice age. Come for the low tech, stay for the romance of wandering a warm orchard.
posted by dame at 3:44 AM PST - 16 comments

February 22

For all the love we leave behind

There is a car, in the hospital parking lot.

It is a faded red, covered with dust.

Other cars have parked and left on either side of it, every day, but this car remains.

I pass by it, as I find parking, on my way in to work.

I know what it means.

Twitter | Threadreader
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:15 PM PST - 25 comments

‘What Am I Going To Do To Keep Her With Me?’

Turning to music for comfort was always a natural thing for Army 1st. Lt. Elizabeth Elliott, an officer in the Army Band. She turned to that familiar place on November 8 2018, when her daughter Madison was stillborn a day after her heart stopped beating.... This weekend, the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will perform the debut of a new piece inspired by her experience, composer Brian Balmages’ Love and Light, at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria.
posted by Etrigan at 6:09 PM PST - 3 comments

Relax, Greg, it’s just a joke.

Jokes I’ve told that my male colleagues didn’t like slMcSweeney’s [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah at 5:06 PM PST - 26 comments

Jersey wuz here

Hi Haters: “Who let New Jersey have a Twitter,” a guy named Gary wondered, on Twitter, not long ago. “your mom,” the State of New Jersey responded. With moments like getting baited by the feds over Sentient Pork Roll, the realness of Central Jersey, dunking on Delaware, and declaring itself the Pizza Capital of the World, @NJgov is redefining what it means to be an official state Twitter account.
posted by Miko at 4:58 PM PST - 42 comments

You Drank The Water? There's Nothing We Can Do!

A non-speaking 7 year old with mutant mind powers is used to shelter a population from nuclear war, and while being there, life becomes a psychic/technological surveillance nightmare. The newest HBO series? No, it's Planet P Project's [Wikipedia] 1984 rock opera album [Discogs] Pink World [Wikipedia]. The full album [1h19m] is a terrific 80s rock journey; the accompanying video album [2 songs, 8m40s] was nightmare fuel for many of the MTV generation. I'm not alone in loving this album. [Blogspot] Lyrics for the album from Genius. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 4:55 PM PST - 4 comments

"Anything to declare?" *taps temple with finger*

Five Questions About...This Brain in a Jar That Was Stopped at the [U.S./Canada] Border (SL Vice).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:21 PM PST - 9 comments

You okay?

A man finds out how much his 1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph is worth. (SLAntiquesRoadshow)
posted by theodolite at 3:58 PM PST - 28 comments

“When my grandmother died I did not go to her funeral.”

The story of my grandmother confused people, especially Jewish Americans, who understandably assume that any story about escaping the war to the US is a happy one. But individual lives are more complicated than great sweeps of history, and while Sala was alone and frustrated in America, Alex and Henri went on to live gloriously successful lives in France.
I could never understand my grandmother's sadness – until I learned her tragic story by Hadley Freeman.
posted by Kattullus at 2:34 PM PST - 13 comments

Emily Dickinson in 2020: "here we are, still living it"

Lynne Feeley writes: "It is impossible to read representations of Dickinson across the decades without noticing that she is always partially created in our own image, or in the image of the day. The literary scholar Virginia Jackson has chronicled these changing faces of Dickinson (Princeton Univ. Press) and their effect on how her work is perceived and treated: there’s the “aesthetic model” of the 1890s: the modernist one of the 1920s; the “professional model” of the 1950s, when male editors such as Thomas Johnson set out to revert the poems to their “original” forms; the feminist model of the 1980s; the queer model of the 1990s—and so on. The Dickinson of 2020, at least as far as Smith and Ackmann have portrayed her, is driven." Emily Dickinson Escapes (Boston Review) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:18 PM PST - 2 comments

Iridescence as Camouflage

Iridescence seems like a straightforward tradeoff: Make yourself more attractive to potential mates, while putting yourself at greater risk of predation because you're more visible. It turns out, though, that iridescence can act as camouflage. Fake beetles with solid colours suffered more predation from birds than iridescent fake beetles, and humans found 80% of the solid-coloured beetles but only 17% of the iridescent beetles. Paper. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 11:29 AM PST - 11 comments

You have seen the blurs. They are everywhere foregrounded in the news.

Rise of the Blur: A specter is haunting photojournalism -- an actual, visible specter (N+1): "But these blurs in your newsfeed are purposeful, perhaps even artful. They are being chosen, with notable regularity, by photo editors to illustrate our most serious political stories. Why?"
posted by not_the_water at 10:57 AM PST - 18 comments

ADDing in NevADa

After the Republican Party canceled their Nevada Caucuses to prevent any challenge to President Donald Trump, today's 2020 Democratic Presidential Caucus is the only contest. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:03 AM PST - 1958 comments

The 2020 Fumble Invitational

Previously on the Fumble Dimension, Jon Bois and Kofie Yeboah introduced a golf game with a course designer that could be charitably described as "broken", and asked fans to design the Worst Course Ever.
This time, Jon and Kofie play that course. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:44 AM PST - 22 comments

Was this swaddle for a girl baby or a boy baby?

A century ago, we swaddled infants in basic gowns. Why is that so hard now? How we ended up in a culture so obsessed with the gender identity of infants turns out to be a complicated, century-long tale involving everything from Sigmund Freud to 1980s advances in medical technology.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:09 AM PST - 30 comments

We Can't Have a Feminist Future Without Abolishing the Family

To spend any amount of time with [Sophie] Lewis is to feel that the world she imagines is nearby. Whether we realize it or not, many of us are already familiar with her arguments for abolishing the family. When we talk about the prevalence of domestic violence and child abuse—when some of us find ourselves inside family units that perpetrate these crimes—we acknowledge that, in horror movie parlance, the violence is coming from inside the family. [more inside]
posted by jshttnbm at 6:59 AM PST - 32 comments

Private Riches, Public Squalor

Study: A year is too short for a U.S. worker to earn middle-class life - "The widening gulf... between what American life costs and what American jobs pay is a central fact of American political economy that the public appears to have understood long before economists." [The New Midlife Crisis] [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 3:33 AM PST - 49 comments

February 21

A very French scandal

A billion-dollar scandal turns the "king of manuscripts" into the "Madoff of France." [more inside]
posted by praemunire at 5:12 PM PST - 6 comments

Bumblebees Solve a 17th-Century Psychological Puzzle

None of these tasks—and the performance of the bees—is a formal indicator of consciousness. In fact, nothing is,” Chittka said at his presentation at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Austin, Tex. “But all of these taken together, I think, nudge the probabilities in the right direction.”
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:47 PM PST - 4 comments

“She’d watch & watch & watch, but could never figure out when to join”

The best $500 I ever spent: My autism diagnosis: “While many of the nonautistic people I talked to in those years seemed to assume that autism was at risk of being over-diagnosed, I was more worried about who was still being left behind. I wasn’t seeing rich people buying autism labels for their kids or people pretending to be autistic for fun. I was seeing the same lack of awareness that failed me decades ago still failing other autistic people — especially autistic people of color.” [cw: suicidal ideation] [more inside]
posted by ambrosen at 2:28 PM PST - 38 comments

The Horrifically Dystopian World of Software Engineering Interviews

Jared Nelsen describes what it's like interviewing for software engineering jobs in 2020 as an experienced hire. After the article hit number 1 on Hacker News, he wrote a follow-up.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 2:10 PM PST - 162 comments

Seashells glued to Jesus

Based on worldwide reader submissions, the Tumblr blog Shifty Thrifting has been collecting ridiculous secondhand items since May 2013. The admins have their fave categories of thrift store finds. But maybe you prefer housewares and home decor, like this pair of unusual lamps? Or tshirt designs? How about a rainbow-pooping panda? Or slogans, whether mysterious or over-the-top?
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:04 PM PST - 14 comments

Taking Over the Democratic Party, with Friends

This post was inspired by several comments by Your Childhood Pet Rock, in Marketing His Way to Monopoly, on Michael Bloomberg’s run for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination. [more inside]
posted by NotLost at 12:48 PM PST - 11 comments

Jackie Robinson vs. Malcolm X

How two civil rights icons waged a public, ideological feud through op-eds and public speeches
posted by toastyk at 12:19 PM PST - 4 comments

"In terms of antibiotic discovery, this is absolutely a first"

Artificial intelligence yields new antibiotic (MIT): Using a machine-learning algorithm, MIT researchers have identified a powerful new antibiotic compound. In laboratory tests, the drug killed many of the world's most problematic disease-causing bacteria, including some strains that are resistant to all known antibiotics. It also cleared infections in two different mouse models. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 10:36 AM PST - 33 comments

Nothing more British than fish and chips, brought in by immigrants

"Fish and chips are the undisputed National dish of Great Britain," declare the National Federation of Fish Friers (The NFFF), who briefly mention the Jewish immigrants who brought fried white fish to England. Atlas Obsucra's Gastro Obscura documents that history of Jews fleeing persecution in Spain, with a brief retelling of the longer podcast from Simon Majumdar. Curious Rambler credits Belgian housewives with the invention of chips, while Wikipedia has a global array of styles and possible sources for chips (previously). Happy Fish Fry Friday!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:39 AM PST - 48 comments

“...the meritocracy argument rears its head.”

The Gray Area of Casting For Characters of Color in Games [The Verge] “People of color are more visible in games today than ever before. We’re even seeing many taking center stage, such as Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins, Alex Hunter in FIFA 17’s single-player campaign “The Journey,” and Kait Diaz in Gears 5, not to mention the rosters of Overwatch and Apex Legends. Yet even if that appears to be progress for people of color, it’s not always the case behind the scenes. Making a woman the face of the macho Gears series may be a bold move, but if you go by her last name, Kait is also a Hispanic woman being played by a white actor, Laura Bailey. [...] Whitewashing is prevalent in all other kinds of media, too, but it’s more ambiguous in games. Rather than facing censure, many of the above performances have even been rewarded with nods from BAFTA and The Game Awards. That gray area precedes games to the animation industry, where actors frequently voice other genders and races, some even done by the same person. In these circumstances, the vocal performance ultimately matters far more than the person’s background.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 8:53 AM PST - 22 comments

Celebrating the short stuff

Le Cinéma Club is a uniquely curated streaming platform screening one film every week, for free. [more inside]
posted by youarenothere at 8:47 AM PST - 5 comments

Beauty of snow and winter

Snow, Powder Surfing + Debussy = Meditative [more inside]
posted by storybored at 8:40 AM PST - 18 comments

Appalachian Mardi Gras

On the Saturday before Lent, the tiny Swiss village of Helvetia, West Virginia celebrates Fasnacht. [more inside]
posted by peeedro at 6:54 AM PST - 11 comments

My 72 Hours in a Viral Tweet Vortex: A Diary

Alexis Pereira is not an English teacher. That is important to know up front. But he did pretend to be one on Twitter, for a single joke tweet, which blew up. Pereira reflects back on the brief time between his posting the joke and the Twitterverse moving on to its next war.
posted by Etrigan at 6:21 AM PST - 59 comments

America's Unofficial Rest Stops

An essay about living in the "drive through country" of Montgomery County, Maryland.
posted by serathen at 4:03 AM PST - 17 comments

February 20

VHS Diabetes Pronunciation Battle

A battle of words! Two foes contend, and with the support of a late arrival a clear victor emerges. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 11:45 PM PST - 8 comments

"We no longer have hope for anything other than a quick death"

'It looks like judgment day': inside Syria's final battle (FT) - "Trapped between a closed border and advancing forces, opponents of the Assad regime face a humanitarian crisis." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 10:37 PM PST - 6 comments

The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake

If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familial system that liberates the rich and ravages the working-class and the poor. The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together. [more inside]
posted by beisny at 5:21 PM PST - 89 comments

everything is forum wars

The debate over subtitles, explained
In January, Parasite director Bong Joon-ho planted his flag in the subtitle camp, stating during his Golden Globes acceptance speech (for Best Foreign Language Film) that “once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” After Parasite’s Oscar win, it seemed that fans of foreign films had punched a sizable hole through that wall.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:28 PM PST - 94 comments

Did The Early Internet Activists Blow It?

With all of the issues we've seen with the internet these days - abuse, disinformation, doxxing, and so on - many people have been arguing that the early pioneers of the internet miscalculated and set the stage for what has been happening. In a longform piece for Slate, Wikimedia Foundation and former EFF counsel Mike Godwin argues that while there have been missteps, their position is still sound. (SLSlate)
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:06 PM PST - 43 comments

Raspberry Pi - now in Blueberry and Strawberry flavors!

Techie @sailorhg (sailor mercury), who likes to put the 🌸 soft in software 🌸, has made a name for herself writing approachable tech zines and making tech femme clothing and stickers. Last year, she converted her transit cards into wearable jewelry. This year, she's been building her own fruit-themed computers, like the Strawberry Pi and Blueberry Pi. [more inside]
posted by jillithd at 3:12 PM PST - 10 comments

We will never find dignity in air travel

You should just never do that, because we can all see you and feel a bit defiled by what we are witnessing, but even if you don’t care about how creepy you seem, you should still never, ever, ever do it, because as well as being bizarrely aggressive and somewhat frightening, it is undignified, and the margin of error here simply does not allow for it. Know that for the rest of your days you are going to feel hotly embarrassed about this thing you are doing now on the plane. Have some respect for your future self, and do not do it.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:57 PM PST - 158 comments

The false promise of “renewable natural gas”

It’s no substitute for shifting to clean electricity. To stay in line with the targets laid out in the Paris climate agreement, the US needs to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, known as “deep decarbonization.” Virtually every credible study on deep decarbonization agrees on the basics of a strategy to get there...This strategy — for which I use the shorthand “electrify everything!” — is beginning to catch on, especially in California, which is always something of a preview of broader trends to come. In a relatively short span of time, a robust “all-electric movement” has emerged, as dozens of towns and cities take steps to encourage all-electric construction in new buildings...Natural gas utilities do not like this movement one bit. The more all-electric buildings there are, the fewer natural gas ratepayers there are. An all-electric future inevitably involves the obsolescence, or at least the substantial diminution, of natural gas utilities. Naturally, they are fighting back furiously, with astroturf groups, PR campaigns, and lobbying at the local level.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:40 PM PST - 56 comments

There Will Be Blood

The Tampon Wars: the battle to overthrow the Tampax empire. Tampax, the Proctor & Gamble owned menstruation product, dominates the feminine hygiene market. But a wave of disruptors have come to destroy them. [Guardian Longread] [more inside]
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:19 PM PST - 38 comments

post-traumatic narratives

"One thing we often do with narratives of sexual assault is sort their respective parties into different temporalities: it seems we are interested in perpetrators’ futures and victims’ pasts. One result is that we don’t have much of a vocabulary for what happens in a victim’s life after the painful past has been excavated, even when our shared language gestures toward the future, as the term “survivor” does. What I have found myself hungering for, in short, is literature that stretches past legal testimonies and sentimental appeals toward what, for lack of a better phrase, I’m calling post-traumatic futurity. What is the situation of survivors who saw the injury proven and exposed—and maybe even punished—and saw, also, that nothing much changed? I am curious about their vision of things. I want to know how they think things should be." Lili Loofbourow writes for the New York Review of Books on fiction, non-fiction and sexual assault. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 11:25 AM PST - 4 comments

"I can’t believe I’m being gaslighted by a room full of children"

Was Leonardo DiCaprio Actually a Star Before Titanic? An intra-Slate Gen X debate.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:20 AM PST - 110 comments

The Worst Way to Write an Email, But For Buildings

Why Generative Design in architecture is unlikely to succeed. [more inside]
posted by q*ben at 11:05 AM PST - 23 comments

"Well, no, I’m sad, and I want to make you sad, too.”

The Bleak Humor of Tehran’s One and Only Standup Comic (New York Review of Books): "His monologue grew only more morbid from there, delving into what he described as his loveless, meaningless existence and his hatred for the macho behavior he saw in the world all around him. Yet there was something wonderfully endearing about his exaggerated melancholy, which often veered into unrepeatably obscene riffs. It was all so clearly at his own expense, and delivered so brazenly, that it had the crowd laughing along with him. “You’re thinking I’m a typical comedian who is sad on the inside and wants to make you happy,” he said. “Well, no, I’m sad, and I want to make you sad, too.” And everyone laughed. ¶ I realized that I had been expecting certain clichés to be fulfilled: that this would be another example of the Middle Eastern comic using satire to fight back against political repression—an evergreen topic for a Western correspondent. Instead, this was an awkward, abrasive, deliberately transgressive set, at times closer to performance art than comedy…"
posted by not_the_water at 10:28 AM PST - 3 comments

Radio Sputnik comes to Kansas City

Sputnik (fka The Voice of Russia and RIA Novosti) is a news agency established by the Russian government-owned news agency Rossiya Segodnya (Wikipedia), with Radio Sputnik operating in 30 languages, covering over 130 cities and 34 countries. In the U.S., Radio Sputnik operates around Washington, D.C., and now leases airtime in Kansas City (Inside Radio). When commuters spin the radio dial as they drive through Kansas City, Missouri, these days, between the strains of classic rock and country hits they can tune in to something unexpected: Russian agitprop (NY Times; Chicago Tribune mirror). My Life at a Russian Propaganda Network: I thought they’d let me be a real journalist at Sputnik news. I was wrong. (Andrew Feinberg for Politico, 2017) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 9:09 AM PST - 10 comments

The Myth of Johnny Appleseed

From Dr. Sarah Taber (previously on the blue): come for the hickory milk recipe, stay for the description of how John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, co-opted Native American agricultural practices that far pre-dated his supposed seed-sowing. [twitter]
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:49 AM PST - 32 comments

“The games retail market is dying.”

Hard Sell: GameStop employees report extreme pressure from ‘desperate’ bosses [Polygon] “In more than a dozen interviews with Polygon, current and former GameStop employees spoke of a tightening regime of strict sales targets and intrusive customer scripts, designed to extract as much value as possible from the company’s dwindling base. All the employees we spoke to said they were concerned about the future of the company. Most reported their customer numbers had decreased noticeably in the last year. “I’ve seen a change in the sheer desperation the company has towards its profit margins,” said one store manager with multiple years’ experience at the company. “The company is frantic and distrustful,” said one assistant manager. “You can feel it in every message they send. The structure is falling apart and they’re scrambling.” “I think they’ll close a thousand stores this year,” said one former store manager with many years’ retail experience.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 7:22 AM PST - 85 comments

RIP: Larry Tesler, inventor of copy & paste

RIP: Larry Tesler, inventor of copy & paste [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 6:04 AM PST - 78 comments

Solvitur ambulando

At 7:32am on Feb 6th 2020 I walked out of my flat in London with the sole intention of getting lost and going on a really big walk across the UK with no specific direction or purpose or ending…
posted by gwint at 5:59 AM PST - 11 comments

Needs more bear

When your stuffed teddy bear moo's when you take it out to play..... you know you've gone too far. [more inside]
posted by mightshould at 5:32 AM PST - 3 comments

A Useful Tool For Radicalizing Your Peers

HOW BIG IS A BILLION? "1,000,000,000" doesn't cut it. A billion is far too large to understand by merely seeing a one followed by 9 zeroes. It is 1,000 millions. The interest on $1,000,000,000 accrues $1,370/day. It would require 4,000 bank accounts to safely store $1,000,000,000. But the best way to understand the size of a billion is to do what we do best... Scroll! Each 1 pixel thick line represents 100. [more inside]
posted by JimBennett at 1:53 AM PST - 38 comments

How heat and drought turned Australia into a tinderbox

A scrollable photo montage from the ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Story Lab, based largely on satellite imagery, documents this summer's fire season from its unprecedented early start in September.
posted by flabdablet at 1:30 AM PST - 6 comments

February 19

A Whole New World

Last night:
Me: Got any homework?
Anna: Nah.
Me: Whatcha gonna do?
Anna: Have a map I’m working on.
Just found this on her desk.

posted by Going To Maine at 10:24 PM PST - 61 comments

Charles A Libby, photographer of Spokane

Through His Eyes: It’s because of Charles A. Libby that we know what early Spokane looked like is a 2013 article about this extraordinary commercial photographer who's career spanned 7 decades and his negatives and their corresponding catalog books (photos for sale, after all) are all now housed at the Northwest Museum Of Arts And Culture (2015 article with many photo examples), and can (I believe now) all be seen online. Here's a very early (1903) photo from the online collection and here is one from 1966 taken along the same street. [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:47 PM PST - 10 comments

Witness to Vitesse

The Limits of High Speed Rail.
posted by storybored at 9:30 PM PST - 21 comments

Hewers of Wood, Screwers of Everyone

I can forgive Americans for being clueless. I can forgive them their ignorance about this big, cold, confusing place just to the north of them. And that’s why I want to clear something up, once and for all, so I can put your minds at rest and save us all a lot of time and energy. Here it is: Canada is fake.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:13 PM PST - 37 comments

"This was the first time I've had a patient play an instrument"

Violinist plays Mahler and Gershwin as surgeons remove brain tumour.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 6:05 PM PST - 11 comments

Marketing His Way to Monopoly

Tom Scocca on what it means for democracy when pundits, politicos, and the powers that be tell voters that “Michael Bloomberg is the only person who can beat Donald Trump, because he has the power to beat Donald Trump, because he has the money”: Can he alone fix it? As Charles M. Blow asks, are Democrats willing to forego their party values, and do they even need to? [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 5:04 PM PST - 304 comments

Marble racing is now the pinnacle of motor sports

With the Daytona 500 in the rearview and the start of the Formula 1 season yet a few weeks away, race fans are finding their fix with the brand new, zero emissions Marbula One marble racing series. First, the racers must qualify, and then they face off in a ten lap grand prix race. (via Jalopnik)
posted by chrchr at 1:17 PM PST - 30 comments

"fully analyze the living text that is a man, it must be done four ways"

To Dream of a Jewish President, Talia Lavin (on twitter as @chick_in_kiev) writes for The New Republic: "What would it mean for Bernie Sanders, America’s most famous Jewish politician, to become its commander in chief?" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:06 AM PST - 51 comments

Rarely is the question asked: why is there so much Xtian Sonic fan art?

Dancing right on the border of “extremely online” and “extremely offline,” you will find the Christian Sonic the Hedgehog fandom.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:55 AM PST - 19 comments

The sweaters, the dancing in socks, the keyboard guitar...

As the final of Iceland's qualifying contest for Eurovision 2020 draws near, one song and (especially) video has received some attention - Think about Things. Wiwibloggs: “Last weekend, Daði Freyr and his group Gagnamagnið qualified for the Söngvakeppnin grand final with the Icelandic version of their song, also titled 'Gagnamagnið'. But they’ll be taking the English version, 'Think About Things' to Iceland’s grand final on 29 February.” However, other entries such as Oculus Videre stand in their path to representing Iceland...
posted by Wordshore at 10:49 AM PST - 21 comments

"Librarians, too, are often exposed to trauma."

As Compassion Fatigue Takes its Toll, Schools and Public Libraries Take Steps to Support Librarians (School Library Journal): "Caring for others is often part of the job of being a school and youth librarian. In librarianship, as in some other professions such as nursing, there’s growing awareness that this caregiving is a form of work layered on top of other job responsibilities. It’s emotional labor, and when librarians are overworked and drained from dealing with others’ needs and not having time for their own, it can lead to what researchers call compassion fatigue. ¶ Librarians are often counseled at professional conferences, on blogs, and on social media that to ward off compassion fatigue, they must practice self-care: go for a walk during lunch hour, take a five-minute meditation break, drink enough water. Although these tips are useful on an individual level, not everyone is able to take advantage of them, and to some, they seem like Band-Aid suggestions that don’t address the underlying causes of burnout. However, some schools and public libraries are taking compassion fatigue seriously and using effective strategies to support their staff and insulate them from burnout." [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 9:29 AM PST - 22 comments

A new kind of WMDs – Weapons of Mass Disruption

Digital technologies are changing global politics — and the United States is not ready to compete.
As a first step, U.S. government officials need to understand how authoritarian regimes are using these tools to control their populations and disrupt democratic societies around the world.
1. Finding Our way Out of the Darkness.
2. China is a Challenge but not the only challenge
3. Rolling Back Digital Authoritarianism
posted by adamvasco at 8:59 AM PST - 3 comments

Re-envisioning construction as a circular economy

[Reducing the impacts of buildings on the world] is not just about adding more solar panels, biomass boilers, and all the other bolt-on gadgets to tick the green assessment boxes. It requires a fundamental shift in our attitude to materials. “We have to think of buildings as material depots,” says Thomas Rau , a Dutch architect who has been working to develop a public database of materials in existing buildings and their potential for reuse. There are now over 2.5m square metres of building matter logged in his Madaster database [....] He has developed the concept of “material passports”, a digital record of the specific characteristics and value of every material in a construction project, thereby enabling the different parts to be recovered, recycled and reused. The case for ... never demolishing another building (The Guardian)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:28 AM PST - 27 comments

"It’s still so beautiful, a pink version is just one step cooler"

Trendiness and the prospect of Instagram clout have led to photogenic plants like the pink princess and monstera oblique being sold for ten or a hundred times what they were going for a decade ago, and the sale of unusual houseplants is now a big business. But with the rise in rare plants comes the rise of rare plant scams.
posted by Copronymus at 8:12 AM PST - 15 comments

Talk Tree to Me

New York City parks are using a designer's "tree font" to plant secret messages with real trees. Katie Holten, a visual artist, has created a New York City tree font. Each letter of the Latin alphabet is assigned a drawing of a tree from the NYC Parks Department’s existing native and non-native trees, as well as species that are to be planted as a result of the changing climate. For example, A = Ash. Now, the NYC Parks Department plans to actually plant some of the messages as real trees in parks and other public spaces. Everyone is invited to download the free font, NYC Trees, and to write words, poems, messages, or love letters, in Trees.
posted by wicked_sassy at 5:57 AM PST - 24 comments

February 18

Brexit just keeps getting better

UK to close door to non-English speakers and unskilled workers, headline from the Guardian. According to the article, the plan would be for a points based system for work visas, with the ability to speak English worth 10 points out of the required 70. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah at 7:49 PM PST - 161 comments

Now explain "All Star"...

The Mary Sue asks Which Songs Are Definitely Not About What People Think They’re About? Starting with the not-so-patriotic "Born in the U.S.A.", "American Woman" and "Fortunate Son", moving on to the not-so-romantic "Every Breath You Take", the no-so-religious "Hallelujah" and the not-semi-positive "Semi-Charmed Life" and so on... What songs do you love in spite of or because of the mismatch between their image and their actual lyrics?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:53 PM PST - 303 comments

Rest in peace, Nurse Kellye

Actress and artist Kellye Nakahara, best known for playing nurse Lt. Kellye Yamato on the long-running series M*A*S*H, has passed away at the age of 72. Coverage from CNN, Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Time. [more inside]
posted by bluecore at 5:23 PM PST - 45 comments

Kickstarting Tech Unionization

In March of last year, employees at the tech crowdfunding Kickstarter, tired of the poor working conditions there, announced that they were seeking to form a union under the umbrella of the Office and Professional Employees International Union. In response, management engaged in anti-union tactics, including firing two employees engaged in organizing. In the end, however, with a vote of 46-37, Kickstarter's employees are now officially unionized. [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:25 PM PST - 69 comments

Ass And You Shall Receive

Donkey Gets A New Ball, Falls Head Over Hooves In Love With It (SLDigg)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:39 PM PST - 32 comments


The truth about hydration: should you drink eight glasses of water a day? Why drinking water all day long is not the best way to stay hydrated. Should you drink water out of a chocolate syrup bottle? Why you should drink water first thing every day. The wellness influencers who never drink water. Why don't men drink water? Does drinking water make you sweat more or less? This is what you should know. Why do we drink so much bottled water? Can you drink expired bottled water? Does drinking more water help you hydrate your dry skin? How long you can live without water? Hate drinking water? There's an app for that. Am I drinking too much seltzer water? Drinking too much water will kill me, and I don’t care. Is your pet drinking more than normal? The Rock drinks a truly unfathomable amount of water every day. There’s a persistent myth that you shouldn’t drink water while eating. You can disregard it. A quarter of humanity faces looming water crises.
posted by Fizz at 12:30 PM PST - 108 comments

“Reading Colonialism in Parasite”

An incisive article about Parasite.
posted by azalea_chant at 12:00 PM PST - 30 comments

"my whole survey of the world’s surface and the heavens"

Jules Verne’s Most Famous Books Were Part of a 54-Volume Masterpiece, Featuring 4,000 Illustrations: See Them Online. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:52 AM PST - 4 comments

How A Rice Cooker Works

Old-fashioned rice cookers are extremely clever - SLYT from Technology Connections. "Bet you didn't think a rice cooker was so interesting, did ya?"
posted by carter at 10:40 AM PST - 67 comments

Ideas Behind Their Time

Humans have been telling stories presumably since we evolved to speak. We’ve been using dice, or something quite like them, since at least 3,000 BCE. Why did it take us so long to combine them? Historian Anton Howes asks: Why weren't role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons invented before the late 20th century?
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:36 AM PST - 57 comments

The Acorn Princess

The Acorn Princess is an LGBT fairy tale and animated short about a prince, a princess and their wedding. [trailer]
posted by simmering octagon at 8:29 AM PST - 8 comments

Let the fire fall in Yosemite

In the summer of 1871 or 1872, James McCauley starting what would become a major draw to Yosemite for almost a hundred years: the fire fall (Firefall.info). It became a summer celebration, night after night, drawing hundreds, then thousands. The last fire fall was on Thursday, January 25, 1968, as the crowds were too big and too destructive to the natural setting. Huell Howser talked with people who were part of the firefalls in 1996 (Chapman University, with embedded video; in parts on YT: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), and at the end, he noted that there's a natural firefall in Yosemite, but it only happens for a few weeks in February. CBS This Morning has a segment on the natural illumination of Horsetail Falls (LA Times). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 AM PST - 17 comments

February 17

Yes, we're making this for us, and we're inviting you to come in

"When Perth Festival's incoming artist director Iain Grandage announced that his first edition would open with a week of exclusively Indigenous work, it was a big deal: this has never been done before in Australia." Excellent long review by arts editor Dee Jefferson at the ABC. [more inside]
posted by freethefeet at 11:58 PM PST - 4 comments

Rest In Peace, Lone Swordsman

Famed British DJ and producer Andrew Weatherall passed away today. He was 56. Coverage from The Gaurdian, The BBC, Pitchfork, Resident Advisor, and Optimo’s JD Twitch. Weatherall is best known as the producer of Primal Scream’s Screamadelica and a key launcher of the acid house scene in the UK, one-third of The Sabres of Paradise, and one half of Two Lone Swordsmen.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:34 PM PST - 31 comments

Embroidery tattoos: needle work of needlework

People Are Getting Colorful Tattoos That Look Like Embroidery on Skin (My Modern Met): "From thread painting to freestyle, stitchers have a lot of choices when it comes to making images with thread. Embroidery tattoos feature two predominant methods that are inspired by the ancient practice: cross stitch and crewel. The cross stitch tattoo, first made popular by Eva Karabudak, has designs formed by tiny "X" marks, while the crewel approach mimics the satin stitch on the skin." Brazil's Duda Lozano is the the master of the patch tattoo. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 5:09 PM PST - 22 comments

Adios AMIGO and Watch Out for the FLORR

Charles Portis, an Arkansas native best known for his 1968 novel True Grit, died on Monday at a Little Rock hospice facility. He was 86. [Arkansas Online] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 3:24 PM PST - 19 comments

hungry for a change

The Man Behind The Counter In an iconic photo from 60 years ago, four young African American men sit at a Woolworth’s lunch counter and stare resolutely back at the photographer behind them. Behind the counter is a young busboy. His name was Charles Bess. Here is his story. By Sayaka Matsuoka
posted by bq at 2:46 PM PST - 14 comments

Don't click the "Culinary Horrors" link, tho

Who's the, uh, guy with the thingamabob, the... fuck!, I can't think of... Smith? No, it's not-- John Locke! That's who I was thinking of. LOL. Sorry for the tartle.
posted by Etrigan at 1:58 PM PST - 13 comments

Landscapers save moose

What it says on the tin (slyt) Come for the moose, stay for the people
posted by mumimor at 1:44 PM PST - 13 comments

Those are some big pipes

Jonathan Scott plays In the Hall of the Mountain King on the organ of Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in Budapest. [more inside]
posted by mrgoat at 11:23 AM PST - 17 comments

“How about a nice game of chess?”

The Best Board Games of the Ancient World [Smithsonian Magazine] “Long before Settlers of Catan, Scrabble and Risk won legions of fans, actual Roman legions passed the time by playing Ludus Latrunculorum, a strategic showdown whose Latin name translates loosely to “Game of Mercenaries.” In northwest Europe, meanwhile, the Viking game Hnefatafl popped up in such far-flung locales as Scotland, Norway and Iceland. Farther south, the ancient Egyptian games of Senet and Mehen dominated. To the east in India, Chaturanga emerged as a precursor to modern chess. And 5,000 years ago, in what is now southeast Turkey, a group of Bronze Age humans created an elaborate set of sculpted stones hailed as the world’s oldest gaming pieces upon their discovery in 2013. From Go to backgammon, Nine Men’s Morris and mancala, these were the cutthroat, quirky and surprisingly spiritual board games of the ancient world.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 10:53 AM PST - 29 comments

Ashe Juniper, aka Cedar, the tree Texans love to hate

In winter months, many Texans come together to share hatred of a specific tree: the cedar (Texas Monthly, 1997), or more specifically Ashe Juniper (Juniperus ashei) (Native Trees of Texas). To some, it's an evil tree that attacks people with its pollen, drinks all the water and is a fire hazard (Texas Monthly, 2018). To others, it's a forager's dream, with medicinal and edible qualities (Foraging Texas), and long prized for their resistance to rot (Central Texas Gardener), mountain cedars were valued for fence posts, telephone poles, and homesteads. Elizabeth McGreevy, a Texan ecologist, challenges the myths about cedar, Texas’ most hated tree (Reporting Texas). You can read more at her website.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM PST - 17 comments

crude gospel

"In this episode of [the podcast] Horns of a Dilemma, Darren Dochuk, associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, discusses his new book, Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America. Dochuk explores how oil grafted itself to the soul of the United States and became part of its identity. He uses the term “wildcat Christianity“ to describe the actions of oil prospectors who used the profits from their ventures to support Christian missionary endeavors around the world and traces how the religious identity and cultural identity of the United States are intertwined with this natural resource. "
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:20 AM PST - 1 comment

"I was a bad influence on the Beatles"

Musical icon James Taylor (previously) has released an audio memoir, Break Shot, and has a new album, American Standard, dropping this month (excerpts available from NPR). In a wide-ranging interview with The Guardians's Jenny Stevens, Taylor talks about overcoming childhood trauma and heroin addiction, his musical and personal relationships, and his life as a songwriter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:47 AM PST - 20 comments

Signed, Sealed, & Undelivered

In 1926, a seventeenth-century trunk of letters was bequeathed to the Dutch postal museum in The Hague, Netherlands. The trunk belonged to perhaps the most active postmasters and post-mistresses of the day, Simon and Marie de Brienne, a couple at the heart of the European communication networks. The chest contains an extraordinary archive: 2600 "locked" letters sent from all over Europe to this axis of communication, none of which were ever delivered and many of which have never been opened.
posted by Lezzles at 4:19 AM PST - 15 comments

February 16

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 - 14 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 - 2 comments

“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 - 32 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 - 16 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 - 23 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 - 12 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 - 6 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 - 23 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 - 21 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 - 63 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 - 36 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 - 39 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 - 44 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 - 58 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 - 17 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 - 14 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 - 66 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 - 14 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 - 5 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 - 51 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 - 26 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 - 39 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 - 58 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 - 37 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 - 18 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 - 17 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

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 - 13 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 - 13 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 - 48 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 - 75 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 - 8 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 - 19 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 - 2 comments

“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 - 4 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 - 16 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

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 - 40 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 - 7 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 - 15 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 - 67 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 - 159 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

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 - 53 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 - 41 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 - 37 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 - 17 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 - 43 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 - 36 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 - 7 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 - 187 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 - 40 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 - 15 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 - 13 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 - 23 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 - 25 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 - 80 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 - 36 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 - 6 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 - 74 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 - 5 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 - 60 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 - 45 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 - 11 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 - 38 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 - 34 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 - 73 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 - 24 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 - 25 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 - 56 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 - 45 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 - 49 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 - 26 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 - 68 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 - 59 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 - 12 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 - 22 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

“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 - 62 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 - 142 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 - 33 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 - 2 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 - 13 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 - 26 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 - 2262 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 - 91 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 - 22 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 - 12 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 - 9 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 - 46 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 - 44 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 - 31 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 - 71 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 - 25 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 - 36 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 - 21 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 - 50 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 - 69 comments