September 2020 Archives
CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a non-law-enforcement crisis response team in Oregon that has been in operation for thirty years.
Mouth Dreams, by Neil Cicierega The fourth album in the Mouth * series is here when we needed it most. [more inside]
Three scifi/fantasy stories about people finding friends and discovering places they fit in. "Women Making Bees In Public" by Alexandra Erin is a short fantasy story about two women making friends, overcoming being interrupted by men, and discussing free will, chaos, brains, and what they want. "You Have to Follow the Rules" by Ada Hoffmann (audio) gives a girl a quiet, roomy escape at a scifi convention. And "Programmer at Large" by David R. MacIver is a web serial about a progammer-archaeologist who discovers some oddities in their ship's social graph. [more inside]
After 11 years, Zynga’s original FarmVille game is closing on Facebook at the end of this year (Ars Technica), owing to Adobe ending support for Flash. Ellie Gibson says goodbye (Eurogamer). [more inside]
"Today, Jay is part of a three-parent family in northern California. He lives with a married couple, Avary Kent and Zeke Hausfather, and is not part of their marriage, but is a father to their biological daughter, Octavia, or Tavi, whose full name includes all three of their last names." A profile of the three-parent family of David Jay, founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.
It is remarkable, but not at all accidental, that a narrative built from minor incidents, gross exaggeration and outright fabrication is now at the center of the effort to re-elect the president. As we approach an election in which the threat of voter fraud is being used as a justification for unprecedented legal and political interventions in our democratic process, it is important to understand what this claim actually represents: It is nothing short of a decades-long disinformation campaign — sloppy, cynical and brazen, but often quite effective — carried out by a consistent cast of characters with a consistent story line. The Attack on Voting (12,000 words, NYT) [more inside]
In January of 2020, British gymnast and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Amy Tinkler surprised the gymnastics world by abruptly retiring from the sport. At the time, it was widely assumed that her retirement was due to persistent complications from a 2018 ankle injury - but in July of 2020, she revealed that she’d retired due to experiences she’d had with national coaches and with her former gymnastics club, and she’d submitted formal complaints to governing body British Gymnastics. Tinkler’s revelations led to an avalanche of horrifying stories from other gymnasts and more formal complaints to BG and the English Institute of Sport. [more inside]
In a grand and sprawling strategy like Crusader Kings 3 (previously), it's important to have a personal goal along with the never-ending list of general objectives you want to accomplish. For one player, that personal goal came very quickly upon beginning the game. His goal was to eat the Pope.
Poggio Bracciolini, was an Italian scholar known to bibliophiles as a rediscoverer and popularizer of Latin manuscripts formerly hidden away in monastic libraries, a process recounted and claimed to have "sparked the modern age" in the Pulitzer prize-winning book The Swerve. However, in 1470 he also wrote the Facetiae, the first joke book ever printed (original Latin version, 1870's English translation). And some of those jokes were dirty. [NB: ancient jokes not all funny or appropriate to modern ears]
(CW for sexual abuse). The story of monopolization in cheer is a great example of the problem of concentrated corporate power, because it reveals so much about how our economy actually works. As a quick recap, the company involved is called Varsity Brands, which has monopolized the sport of cheerleading by buying up most major competitions. Varsity is owned by private equity giant Bain Capital. What makes this story so useful is that there are no fancy high tech gadgets in cheer, no possible excuses from economists; it’s just the use of raw power to extract money from teenagers and their families through a business conspiracy. [more inside]
Feel the need for some light-hearted silliness after a hard night? Then you may delight in watching this Australian guy pour a lot of emotion and suspense (and some colourful language) into guessing the colour of a paint mix, in a series of tiktok videos – more here or under the hashtag #guessthepaint. [via Rebecca Jennings of Vox] [more inside]
A Korean man living in Sweden documents his paternity leave with carefully crafted short videos. Using only subtitles, he reflects, narrates and tells stories from his daily life. The cinematography is excellent and he is a master of Swedish-Korean fusion cuisine.
Australian-born feminist singer-songwriter Helen Reddy has died at the age of 78. Her 1972 song “I Am Woman” became a feminist anthem, winning her accolades and a place on the top 10 in several countries. In the 1970s, Reddy had 6 top 10 hits, and 3 #1 hits. Reddy also made forays into acting, with a role as the guitar playing nun who comforts a young girl (played by Linda Blair) in the disaster film Airport 1975, and as Nora in the 1977 children’s film Pete’s Dragon. An Australian biopic about Reddy called I Am Woman debuted at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, and had its theatrical release in 2020. Before it was completed, the filmmakers were able to screen the film for Reddy, who was living in a Los Angeles care home at the time, her ex-husband, and her two children. [more inside]
Collectors Weekly introduces us to a collection of unpublished childrens' notebooks from all over the world. [more inside]
Live stream for the 1st Presidential debate Trump and Biden meet tonight (in 30 minutes) for the first presidential debate. [more inside]
For a century, it has defined an American ethos in which goodness most often remains unrewarded and justice is capricious if it is served at all. It’s a vernacular art, framed by the voices of the losers and those who stand outside the law. This is only as it should be, for the genre was never meant to stick around. Noir was originally published in pulp magazines or as dime-store paperback originals, and its longevity is a testament to its tenacity—everyone’s most necessary survival skill.Alta Online explores noir. [more inside]
In case you need just a little bit more horror in your life, Benito Cereno has returned with the 8th in his series of suggested spooky, scary, creepy or campy films available to stream this October. [more inside]
"CARBORUNDORUM > /DEV/NULL" by Annalee Flower Horne is a ten-minutes-into-the-future science fiction short story that works as a feminist Parker Lewis Can't Lose/Ferris Bueller's Day Off homage/critique, and as a cri de coeur on teen girl agency. Thematically related short scifi stories: Claire Humphrey's "Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye" on teen girls and those who restrict them, and Cory Doctorow's "Party Discipline", another celebration of teen girl hackers. [Content warning: rape]
Mesmer and Braid is a classic ARG promoting the new Myst-like puzzle game HoloVista (iOS), in which players become a young artist documenting “an opulent building on orders from a mysterious architecture firm…[where] the house is getting to know you too, better than you know yourself.” The ARG, which only just concluded, blew up on TikTok and was documented on a Guide, Reddit, and Discord.
Office vacancies worldwide are expected to peak at 15.6% in 2022. Office leasing is not expected to get back to "normal" until 2025. How does that affect... stuff? [more inside]
Brutally exploited by their bosses and landlords—typically also Jews who had arrived in America earlier— Jewish labor agitators came to understand that their numbers meant power. They organized strikes not only for better wages and shorter hours in the workplace, but also for manageable rents and improved living conditions. From 1907–1909, there were dozens of rent strikes in New York’s immigrant neighborhoods. Picket lines were set up in front of buildings with exploitative rents, many of which led to altercations with landlords, their hired goons, the police, and police marshals. In 1908, Morris Rosenfeld fictionalized the rent strikes in a short one-act play called Rent Strike, translated from Yiddish for the Jewish Current's Housing Issue.
Furnace and Fugue "brings to life in digital form an enigmatic seventeenth-century text, Michael Maier’s alchemical emblem book Atalanta fugiens. This intriguing and complex text from 1618 reinterprets Ovid’s legend of Atalanta as an alchemical allegory in a series of fifty emblems, each of which contains text, image, and a musical score for three voices. " A multimedia object from the 17th century. Links:
- See and Listen to Emblem 1: If Boreas once expand his windy womb...
- Talk on Oct 21 from the Warburg Institute
An Intense Day on Crib Goch Brave Dave is a Youtuber and Mountain Leader who spends a lot of time in Snowdonia in North Wales. In March 2020 he & a friend were climbing the Crib Goch ridge in poor conditions. On the descent they bumped into another pair of climbers Tony & Ed. As they made their way down a steep, slippery slope Ed lost his footing and slid down the mountainside. The video shows what happened next. (Contains swearing and injury). [more inside]
In a year of boneyards and bails outs - Guardian longread recounting the immediate problems facing the airline industry in 2020 and looking at how flight trends may change as a result.
"Serves 8"? Nope. Tin of Disappointment? Nope. 2,268 slices of chocolate cake? Yes! All the chocolate! As a chocolate museum opens in Switzerland where it snows chocolate (but a rival in Belgium?), and people nibble on Terry's balls or the nation's favourite (the right way up), what else is happening in the world of chocolate? "...disgusted yet excited..." Orange twix? Body paint? Chocolate candles? Breakfast oats? Legal shenanigans? Salted caramel chocolate spread? Lindt chocolate spread? Violet Crumble becomes liquid. Science! The Mirage? Please make a chocolate and pear pudding and take me to Bristol's finest. White chocolate Nutella? CBD bar? Or steal it in Austria or read the regular Notes on chocolate or watch TikTok or make chocolate chip cookies.
Johnny Costa Plays Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Jazz (1986) (pl): Won't You Be My Neighbor • You are Special • It's You I Like • Sometimes People are Good/Children Can Medley • What Do You Do? • I Like to Take My Time • Everybody's Fancy • Please Don't Think It's Funny • Something to Do While We're Waiting • Many Ways to Say I Love You • Then Your Heart is Full of Love • Did You Know? • It's Such a Good Feeling.
Claudia Rankine writes in Vogue about her conversation with Lizzo on Hope, Justice, and the Election [medium read with fashion photography] [more inside]
VotingWorks.us is a resource for people who are skeptical about voting, or know people who are skeptical and want to talk with them. [more inside]
"'Do you think you could call me "Nick" from time to time?' I asked him. At the time, I was not sure why it suddenly mattered." "To Stay at the Scene of a Crime" by Prix is a short fanfiction story with an alternate ending for F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.
What it says on the tin. New super-enzyme eats plastic bottles six times faster [more inside]
Jiayang Fan writes on the struggles she and her mother faced immigrating to America (The New Yorker), including her mother’s A.L.S. diagnosis. This year, as COVID-19 threatened her mother's healthcare, Chinese nationalists began calling them traitors to their country. [more inside]
Is Palantir's Crystal Ball Just Smoke and Mirrors? Peter Thiel-backed surveillance giant Palantir Technologies (previously) is set to go public September 30. Long controversial for its secrecy and involvement with the more unsavory parts of the national security state (e.g., ICE, CIA, NSA), Palantir is under scrutiny for its financial woes -- it posted a $600 million loss in 2018 and in 2019 -- and for whether its product even works as advertised. Palantir portrays its software as like its namesake — a crystal ball you gaze into for answers... But the truth is that it still appears to take a lot of manual labor to make it work, and there’s nothing magical about that.
Robert Bechtle, Bay Area photorealist, has died at the age of 88. Vacant roads, driverless parked cars, and the occasional person appear in Bechtle’s work, which often feels purposefully sucked dry of emotion. Its sangfroid disturbs because the imagery feels trapped in a specific cultural moment, in a way that ought to feel nostalgic. But Bechtle delivered his banal material—distinctly American, distinctly middle-class—without any affect. “Bechtle exploits the strangeness in humdrum photographs of the obvious, and he does so with the sort of reticent, stubborn grace that marks most of the Bay Area’s finest painters—David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud,” critic Peter Schjeldahl wrote in the New Yorker in 2005. [more inside]
[Glenn-Copeland] also belongs […] in the tiny group of people whose lives could be a realistic inspiration for a young, queer artist today. I wanted to know how he did it: How did he make it to 76 years old so completely unjaded? As a young person, he explained, “I was very independent of what other people thought. I didn’t really care.” It was only in his teens that he learned psychiatrists considered queer desire “to be an emotional disease.” But he “never gave it two thoughts. I just considered they were out to lunch.”– From a biographical essay about Beverly Glenn-Copeland and his music by Josephine Livingstone.
Climate science student Abbie Richards has created a chart to categorize conspiracy theories in an inverted pyramid structure from most to least reality-based (and made it available as a PDF on google drive), with videos on tiktok and twitter breaking it down: Part 1 and Part 2 with more to follow.
Barre Vermont has some of the loveliest granite around. The stone, which comes from some equally lovely quarries, was worked by Italian immigrants many of whom were Socialist entrepreneurs. Their legacy is visible in work by new artists in Barre's Art Stroll and especially in Barre's Hope Cemetery where many of them created their own headstones. A recent addition is the 1918 Spanish Flu Memorial (archived link), erected by local restaurant owners whose roadside eatery, the Wayside, just reopened after closing for its second pandemic in its 102 year history.
In Among Us (Windows/iOS/Android), you’re part of a crew working together to complete tasks across a station, but 1-3 players are impostors looking to sabotage the team’s efforts, ideally killing everyone in the process (yes, like Mafia). To survive, the crew needs to figure out who the impostors are. Despite launching in 2018, the game took two years before exploding in popularity, largely thanks to a Twitch stream that went viral. Among Us has inspired plenty of fan art, and is so successful (1.5 million concurrent players!) the devs have cancelled the sequel to focus on the original game.
"The Hasperat has his eyes watering." fresne's fanfic short story "Parts Unknown: Bajor" takes Anthony Bourdain on a tour of Deep Space Nine and the planet Bajor. Includes commercial breaks: "Some of the inspiration for the sponsor breaks come from some conversations I’ve been having with friends about what a Star Trek show that wasn’t about Starfleet would be like." (Bourdain fanfic previously.) [more inside]
Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance [NY Times]. Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. [more inside]
[NYTimes] [SFGate non-paywalled]
Baugh was convinced that there was a sinister relationship between the Steiners and Fidomaster — that they were actively conspiring to damage eBay. (He even indulged a theory that Fidomaster was the Steiners’ secret alter ego.) Eight days after Wenig’s “take her down” message, a member of the security team flew across the country and drove to the Steiners’ home, a steeply roofed charmer on a quiet street. On their fence, prosecutors say, he scrawled the word “FIDOMASTER.”
The Clemson University Media Forensics Hub presents: Spot the Troll: A quiz and analysis of social media trolls originating from Russia. Train your filter. [more inside]
Landmine detection rat Magawa receives the PDSA Gold Medal for his life-saving work in Cambodia as a HeroRat. Magawa is the first non-dog to receive this award. [more inside]
In which a photograph for ordinations deep in the heart of Somerset at Wells Cathedral, which is explained, sparks off a Twitter thread of some derivation and (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) analogy and metaphor. Just out of view, and the post title.
88Kasyo Junrei (八十八ヶ所巡礼) is a three-piece Japanese rock band. The band’s name refers to a Buddhist pilgrimage that involves visiting eighty-eight temples on the island of Shikoku. Their music videos can be spellbinding but also kind of weird. Their songs deal with afterlife disorientation, the tenuousness of sanity, and, apparently, demons living in a Kowloon arcade. The band has a mascot, o-henro-san, who graces their album covers and appears in one rather trippy video. [more inside]
Bilbies have been released into NSW’s Sturt National Park, 100 years after being declared extinct. Video.
In How Can We Pay for Creativity in the Digital Age? (The New Yorker), Hua Hsu reviews William Deresiewicz's new book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech (Bookshop). Deresiewicz writes artists “do deserve to get paid for doing something you love, something other people love ... Wanting to get paid does not mean that you’re a capitalist ... It doesn’t even mean that you assent to capitalism. It only means that you live in a capitalist society.” [more inside]
Three scifi/fantasy stories about surprising connections with animals. "Fetch" by David Moles is a melancholy alt-history about trying to rescue Laika. "St. Ailbe's Hall" by Naomi Kritzer (part 2) portrays a priest overcoming prejudice while figuring out how to deal with a new sentient dog in his congregation. And "The Night Sun" by Zin E. Rocklyn (published this year) is a dark but ultimately triumphant story of a couple's weekend trip to a cabin gone horribly sideways. (Content note for danger or harm to animals in all three stories.)
Yes bear lovers, it's that time of year again. Prepare yourselves for Katmai National Park and Preserve's Fat Bear Week 2020! [more inside]
During this time, you had a lot of new characters that were more “extreme” and “edgy.” Some may disparage them now as really “‘90s” characters, but they were really fresh at the time. Carnage, in particular, is a product of the 1990s, and I think that’s clear due to the violence of the character and because he’s just a more extreme version of Venom, who was already kind of extreme. Carnage was very much a “turned up to 11” kind of character. An Oral History of ‘Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage’ [MEL]
Jurek Owsiak is a Polish radio and TV journalist, a stained glass maker, and a licensed psychotherapist. In 1993, he encouraged his listeners to collect funds for a collapsing pediatric cardiac surgery unit. That project grew into the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP / Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy) which does an annual fund drive. 92% of the money collected goes to purchase medical equipment which provides every diabetic child in Poland with a free insulin pump, funds universal hearing screening for infants/newborns, buys modern medical equipment for struggling hospitals. The second Sunday of January is a day-long nationwide colorful public fundraising holiday with 120,000 volunteers distributing collection boxes, street musicians, and a telethon, culminating in a Grand Finale concert and Light in the Sky laser and fireworks display. In the summer the organization organizes "Polish Woodstock" (YT playlist) as a thank you to all its volunteers.
Has your kitty cultivated their core competencies and licked the competition? Do they proactively pounce on priority projects? Are they clawing their way to the top of the corporate ladder, or have you found that their attention to de tail somewhat lacking, and their track record littered with catastrophes and faux paws? Now's the time to let them know, because for Metafilter's fourth September fundraising chatfilter post, janepanic has asked us all to give our cats their yearly Purrformance Review!
Austrian Wood Providing Answer to World's Concrete Problem - "For Austrian timber merchants, who cover about half the world's CLT demand, the material is a bridge linking the digital age to three centuries of forest management begun by Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresia. She saw Austria's forests as a national-security resource and mandated strict sustainability laws." [more inside]
Possibly the smartest voter information website on the internet. "In the middle of the pandemic, while many of us were out of work- we decided that we wanted to help influence the election! Angela, our fearless director, thought it would be a great idea to have exotic dancers from some of Atlanta’s finest gentlemen’s clubs to tell their patrons and fans to ‘Get their booties to the poll!’" [more inside]
Techades quiz: guess the gadget from its illustration. Fair warning: the correct answers permit a broad category for some devices but require a precise manufacturer and model number for others. Discovered via Belong. [more inside]
2020 has not been the best year in which to see live comedy. The anarchic atmosphere, audience feedback and off the cuff retorts are difficult to reproduce in an online stream. Some comedians have realised this and decided not to attempt it, instead working out new ways to create interactive comedy online. Sean Morley currently runs a crowd sourced 'Meme Machine' on Wednesdays and a fully democratised attempt to make the pope a bear in Crusader Kings II on Saturdays. Foxdog Studios have tried live interactive bolt sorting, and now perform live coding in 'Make a website in an hour' on Thursdays and tidying up a room in 'Sorting out the Banished Realm'. Jain Edwards is doing computer puzzles while drinking tombola wine. [more inside]
Two fantasy stories: "La Bête" by Leah Bobet (audio), published this year. "It would require work to make the château habitable; the Dowager had confined herself, in the end, to the library, kitchen, and a small suite of rooms, and the rest was in disrepair." "The Huntsman and the Beast" by Carrie Vaughn, originally published 2018. "Jack said, 'Then take me. I will serve. Let him go and take me instead, please.' The beast hesitated, and that told Jack he might have a chance. 'I swear to you I will stay in his place, but you must let him go free.'"
In the Land of Kush by Isma'il Kushkush, with photos by Matt Stirn, is an essay about the kingdom on the Nile that was the southern neighbor of Pharaonic Egypt. If you want to see more photos, Valerian Guillot has put pictures from his 2016 trip online. The Kushites spoke Meriotic, which had two scripts. Ibrahim M. Omer's Ancient Sudan website has a wealth of information about the history, people and the land of Kush. Archaeological excavations keep unearthing new material. Charles Q. Choi wrote about a recent find of Meroitic inscriptions and in 2009 Geoff Emberling wrote about the race to explore sites which were submerged when the Merowe Dam was constructed.
Cyrus Farivar on how casino-like apps have drained people of millions. Following a $155 million class-action settlement against Big Fish Games, two million players will be eligible to get a small part of their losses back, but the company is just one example of the convergence of the small-time harmless fun of video games and the rapidly expanding world of real-money gambling. [more inside]
In a new video, Carlos Maza discusses the history and impact of something he calls "anti-politics" - the campaign to demonize the government as a threat to liberty in order to increase corporate power while disguising it. (SLYT) [more inside]
In 2018, indie pop weirdos MGMT released "Me and Michael," which went on to be an instant chart-topping smash hit with licensed products galore: shampoos, pregnancy kits, bespoke pinkphones. Only it turned out the song was plagiarized from "Ako at si Michael," a classic track from True Faith, a band from Manila in the Philippines. The original track sparked a brief revival of OPM - original Pinoy music - which brought to light the blatant theft. Instead of bringing legal action against MGMT, True Faith reached out to the duo and proposed a collaboration on a new track titled "Me and Michael," a tribute to actor Michael Buscemi who stars in the video. CW: some graphic Cronenbergian body horror in the first link.
Confused about CA's propositions on the ballot? CalMatters has you covered. CalMatters is a non-profit, non-partisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics. For 2020, they've created a guide to all of the propositions on this year's ballot. [more inside]
Last week, Chuck Feeney completed his goal of giving away his entire $8 billion fortune in his lifetime.
get in the van, we need to talk about computers [CW: clown masks, loud noises, inflatable penis]
Okay, you remake the Lord of the Rings with Muppets. Obviously, Kermit - Bilbo, And his nephew Robin is Frodo. What other Muppet gets cast as which LOTR character? Please use hashtag #MuppetLOTR A fun twitter participation thread from @GailSimone.
'To stand on the southern side of the MCG when [Dean] Jones strutted to the crease during a day-night game was to understand Hemingway's endless platitudes for bullfighters'.
Like most amusement parks, Oakland's Children's Fairyland is experiencing financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 shutdown. On Saturday, September 26, Fairyland will debut “Celebrity Storytime,” a digital series of fairytales read by well-known Oaklanders. Although the tales are being made available to the public free of charge, Fairyland is also using the launch as a fundraiser and asking for donations. Oakland-born artists Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs will co-host and emcee the evening of readings by celebrities and teachers from diverse communities in Oakland and the Bay Area. [more inside]
The Case for Black American Self-Defense. "Pacifist injunctions obliterate the history of, and need for, armed protection. The Black tradition of organized, armed self-defense should be regarded as one of the many tools in the repertoire of modern protest movements." [more inside]
“One of the things that we talk about a little bit less inside the company is that ... the community we serve tends to be, on average, ideologically a little bit more conservative than our employee base,” Zuckerberg said. “Maybe ‘a little’ is an understatement. … If we want to actually do a good job of serving people, [we have to take] into account that there are different views on different things, and that if someone disagrees with a view, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re hateful or have bad intent.” [SLTheVerge]
In the end, Sign O' The Times was a Frankenstein's monster, stitched together from the remains of three completed, but discarded albums: Dream Factory, Camille and the triple-disc Crystal Ball set. Now, 33 years on, Prince's estate is releasing an expanded version of Sign O' The Times which includes 45 unreleased tracks from the recording sessions. To get a better understanding of how it came together, here's a history of the record and its subsequent tour, featuring new and archive interviews from the musicians who were there, and some of Prince's most famous fans. Prince's Sign O' The Times: An oral history [BBC] [more inside]
Where Matt Hancock, the UK minister for health, struggles to clarify one of the latest guidelines/rules for Covid-19, namely that you can only have sex with someone who lives outside of your household in England if you are in an established relationship, but what is an established relationship? How does this differ from casual bonking? Local variation exist: in Manchester, non-established couples cannot have sex at home but can in a hotel. For safety, the THT cautions against 'blow jobs and rimming' but for 'masturbation, using sex toys and phone or cam sex', but to limit your number/rota of partners. It is unclear how the new laws affect the Dogging or Swinging communities. Previously: “Coronavirus is making everyone polyamorous, in a sense.”
Critical Distance supports conversations about games criticism through weekly roundups, critical compilations (Breath of the Wild, Dishonored, Kentucky Route Zero, Metroid’s Samus Aran) and its podcast. [more inside]
King Of The Vegetable Realm: Giri Nathan (previously) talks to Medwyn Williams, competitive gardener and winner of 12 consecutive Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show (canceled this year due to the pandemic).
"Tierra y libertad" by Madeline Ashby is a short scifi story about "a robot rebellion in the pistachio fields." Published in MIT Technology Review in 2018. “I have protocols for that.” Dash made for the door. She flashed her watch. “I’m the analyst in charge. The mind in that vault is my op.”
David Byrne's "American Utopia" is coming to HBO. Based on the Broadway show (previously), which had roots in the album of the same name, which was in turn a component of Byrne's "Reasons to Be Cheerful" project (previously), the film was directed by monumental filmmaker Spike Lee, who joined Byrne for a interview with American Songwriter, whereas songwriter Byrne flew solo in speaking to Hollywood Reporter when the film opened the Toronto film festival.
How Norfolk, Virginia Is Using Tax Breaks to Demolish Black Neighborhoods - "Paul Riddick, the only member of Norfolk's eight-member city council to repeatedly vote against aspects of the redevelopment effort, has a different take. 'Because of institutional and systemic racism, the African-American community is going to be pushed out again', he says. 'This is nothing but gentrification'. Riddick, whose ward includes St. Paul's, figures that if the plan goes through, the share of Norfolk's population that is Black will dwindle from more than 40% now into the mid-30% over the next 10 years." [more inside]
"Knitting has the most marvelous ability to free up the knitter as a human being, while masquerading as innocent knitting": Clara Parkes and Sarah White write about the knitting designer Cat Bordhi, who died this month.
I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living": How a Sean Feucht worship service convinced me I am no longer an evangelical
How Humanity Came to Contemplate Its Possible Extinction: A Timeline is precisely, as they say, what it says on the tin. A history of ideas that led to the modern concept of extinction - and how it inevitably applies to ourselves. Careful not to have too much fun reading! [more inside]
Begun in 2017 by Professor Kimberly M. Jenkins, the Fashion and Race Database "provides an accessible, academic treatment to one of fashion’s most critical topics facing us today."
The Election That Could Break America: "There is a cohort of close observers of our presidential elections, scholars and lawyers and political strategists, who find themselves in the uneasy position of intelligence analysts in the months before 9/11. As November 3 approaches, their screens are blinking red, alight with warnings that the political system does not know how to absorb. They see the obvious signs that we all see, but they also know subtle things that most of us do not. Something dangerous has hove into view, and the nation is lurching into its path." Longread article from the coming issue of The Atlantic spins out the signs and scenarios, including the potential for state legislatures to end-run the Electoral College. [more inside]
Sirin Kale has written a lengthy article in The Guardian revealing new research and new conversations around dyslexia. Kale talks to experts both iconoclastic and established in a report inspired by a local controversies in Staffordshire and Warwickshire of how to classify and respond to the diagnosis of dyslexia. [more inside]
The Codex Zouche-Nuttall is a pre-Columbian document of Mixtec pictography, one of six known to survive. The codex is named for two women: Baroness Zouche, its donor and Zelia Nuttall, who first published it in 1902. Nuttall was a Mexican-American archaeologist who "investigated Mexico’s past to give recognition and pride to its present" at a time when Western archaeology was still obsessed with racist caricatures of Indigenous people. Shortly after publishing the Codex with a lengthy introduction, Nuttall moved to live full-time in Mexico as a single mother and towards the end of her life advocated for the revival of Mexican New Year traditions that had been eradicated after Spanish conquest. Aztec New Year is still celebrated in Mexico today. [more inside]
Anne Helen Petersen’s new book, Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, expands on her viral Buzzfeed article from January 2019. Read excerpts on the inescapable hellhole that is work (Wired) and how burnout has become the norm for American parents (NYT), along with an interview on the same (The Atlantic). [more inside]
"Kathleen Murphy gripped her can of Mace tightly as she rode the Red Line to work, hands sweating inside the latex of her surgical gloves. All around her, her fellow T riders were openly clutching Mace or pepper spray as well, all glancing around the car from behind safety goggles and surgical masks." "For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great" by Jennifer Pelland is a short, dark science fiction story, published in 2003, about an epidemic and the religious cult that aims to spread it.
How to make biomass energy sustainable again (solar-powered website) (backup link if the solar is off)
Learning a language as an adult or in your teens, especially with a history of repeated migrations between languages and countries, is extraordinarily difficult. It isn’t just about swallowing new words like passion fruit that glides down your throat. It’s like chewing on stones breaking your teeth in order to seed the foundations of that new language on your tongue already heavy with many idioms. In other words, it’s more than just words. It is about acquiring metaphors, learning the nuances, the synonyms, the history of words, the cultures, the rhythm of its roots. What is a cliche to a native speaker is a gem to a new learner. [SL LitHub]
The musical equivalent of a restorative, late-night conversation - "'The Baby' is a nod to the singer's nickname amongst her friends and family, and it kicks off with a recording of her Lebanese grandmother singing affectionately to Samia. 'That's probably my favourite moment on the record. I definitely think that the Arabic music my grandmother used to play has influenced my vocal style, like when I just randomly go up an octave on a note.'"
"The most important thing I look for when choosing which tools to use is longevity ... I believe the era of new text editors emerging and quickly becoming popular has now ended with Visual Studio Code."
“It’s unreal how quickly the media goes from being a lap dog to an alley cat,” he wrote on July 23rd. “True beauty comes from within but you can’t just show up with dried clumps of shit in your hair either,” he added a week earlier.
Professor Alan Lichtman has correctly predicted every* American election since 1984, says that polls are a snapshot in time, but are not predictive of Election Day results. Voters are rational, practical decision makers who are not really swayed by rallies, campaign tactics, platforms, or promises. Rather, American Presidential elections are a referendum on the incumbent party and their performance governing over the previous 4 years. His methodology is inspired from earthquake prediction; either there will be stability (incumbent party retains the White House) or there is an “earthquake” (the challenging party takes the White House.) There are 13 true/false “keys”, and if six or more of them are “false”, the model predicts an electoral “earthquake”. [more inside]
Before there were CDs, podcasts, or streaming music, older millennials had: the Fisher Price tape recorder. And it came with a delightful tape that taught you how to make sound effects with cellophane, record family birthday parties, and sing a bizarre version of On Top of Old Smokey.
Microsoft is buying Bethesda, owner of game franchises including Dishonored, Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Starfield, Quake, Deathloop, and Prey. With a purchase price of $7.5 billion in cash, the deal is one of the biggest ever in the videogames industry – and it's all about growing Xbox Game Pass (and maybe making Fallout: New Vegas 2 happen).
"Cobb started his career in show business at 17, working as an animator on Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in the ‘50s before moving on to a gig as an editorial cartoonist for newspapers. By the ‘70s, Cobb had started working in the movie industry, specifically on John Carpenter’s Dark Star with writer Dan O’Bannon, who later asked Cobb to put together some concept art for his next movie, Alien. Cobb worked with H.R. Giger, who famously designed the film’s eponymous monster (later dubbed a “xenomorph”) and some of the more memorable and disgusting aesthetics, while Cobb designed the interior and exterior of the Nostromo, the doomed ship that inadvertently brought the alien on board." --Sam Barsanti @ avclub
"Once upon a time, in a very small kingdom, there was a king with one daughter. His wife had died, and he had not remarried. This is not the fairy tale where the king decides to marry his own daughter, don’t worry. This king was a completely different sort of terrible father: he believed that his daughter should earn his love, and nothing she did was ever good enough." Naomi Kritzer's short fantasy story "A Star Without Shine" is part of the fundraiser The New Decameron. [more inside]
When we first did the RS 500 in 2003, people were talking about the “death of the album.” The album —and especially the album release — is more relevant than ever. Of course, it could still be argued that embarking on a project like this is increasingly difficult in an era of streaming and fragmented taste. But that was part of what made rebooting the RS 500 fascinating and fun; 86 of the albums on the list are from this century, and 154 are new additions that weren’t on the 2003 or 2012 versions. The classics are still the classics, but the canon keeps getting bigger and better. [Rolling Stone]
Angela Mayfield - running for Georgia House of Representatives, district 67 - has a potty mouth. (twitter thread) This is news.
It’s been eighteen years... what do you remember about the “D.C. Snipers”? Earlier this year Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall dedicated four forensically empathetic episodes of their podcast You’re Wrong About to revisiting what the series of shootings were about - a deep-dive examination of media, police and justice system blind spots through a rereading of the available sources that document the forestory, the events, and the judicial aftermath. (Their apt TW: “We are unable to conceive of a content warning comprehensive enough for all the horrors contained in these episodes.”) [more inside]
Politics is an American industry - "Industries like technology, finance, health care, higher education, and media dominate our collective lives, and yet they are not regulated by anything recognizable as open competition for the custom of decentralized consumers. These industries share some things in common." [more inside]
One of the major problems with the economic downturn has been people falling behind on rent, threatening them with eviction. Another has been the lack of jobs making the working class desperate for work. And as Vice reports, a new gig economy firm calling itself Civvl is trying to marry the two together to make money, turning the execution of evictions into a gig economy job. (SLVice)
Nobiko , a Japanese cat known for an extreme, memeworthy length of 65 cm (well over two feet), has died at the age of 18. I have a clear idea of how this cat got wedged in our consciousness, and why.
Now that the supermarket is no longer a festival of goodies but rather a militantly regimented prophylaxis hellscape, I dread going there. Now I try to avoid it. Now, when I do go, I try to plan and buy a week’s worth of groceries so that I won’t have to go back for a while. This doesn’t really work—it never works—for me, an incredibly disorganized person with cataclysmic ADHD Brain; this means that, once a week or so, I enter the late-afternoon pre-dinner period worrying because I accidentally forgot to perform some number of preparatory steps necessary to whatever insane dinner I’d wrongly thought I had the capacity to plan several days in advance. And this is when, reliably, I can open the refrigerator, peer around for a few seconds, and realize that for all my disorganization and chaos, I have the means to throw together a perfectly delicious frittata. [more inside]
Why Girls Stop Running in the Tween Years and the simple solution to keep them active. [more inside]
When Tanqueray, a former exotic dancer, introduced herself to Brandon Stanton by teasing him for wearing shorts in the cold, a friendship began. Tanqueray has a lifetime's worth of wild stories to tell about stripping in NYC in the '60s and '70s, and Stanton, who runs Humans of New York, shared her inimitable voice in November. The internet loved her and wanted more. Now Tattletales from Tanqueray will be updating over the course of this week, allowing this remarkable, hilarious woman to share her life story. (Available on Facebook, Twitter, and IG.)
(CW: child abuse, slurs, explicit language) [more inside]
(CW: child abuse, slurs, explicit language) [more inside]
Newspaper Navigator is a project being carried out by Ben Lee (his announcement on Twitter), Innovator in Residence at the Library of Congress. It extracts visual content from 16+ million pages of sixty years of public domain digitized American newspapers and helps people learn to search the visual content using machine learning techniques. Read the FAQ to learn more about how its creator tried to manage algorithmic bias. Fun search terms are offered if you're not feeling creative: national park, giraffe, blimp, hats, stunts. The dataset is publicly available, the code is available and here's a white paper about the process of building it.
A full trailer for WandaVision premiered during last night's Emmy broadcast. Den of Geek provides a breakdown of some of the clues appearing in the trailer, including one that may indicate how a certain segment of the Marvel Universe could be brought into the MCU.
For two decades and across seven systems, the Mario Party games have been a beloved but frustrating experience. You might try with all your might to be the damnable Super Star, but a plethora of factors, some luck-related but some not, conspire to throw the match to your eight-year-old cousin who always plays Yoshi. YouTuber ZoomZike has compiled amazing and exhaustive videos going through every element of four games in the series, and showing what can be manipulated and what can't. It's IDENTIFYING LUCK IN MARIO PARTY: One - Two - Three - Four [more inside]
In edition #3 of Metafilter's September fundraising chat topics, we are solicited to pose the time honored* questions, "whatcha got cookin'?," "how's about cookin' somethin' up with me?," and "don't you think maybe we could find us a brand new recipe?" IOW some good folks have spent 💰hard cash💰for us to ask you about your favorite recipes, so please share the goods! [more inside]
ShanaStoryteller retells fairytales (such as "The stepsisters and Cinderella band together to survive their mother’s abusive treatment.") and Greek and Roman mythology (as with Arachne: "She is not honest as a virtue, but as a vice.").
Richard is a sample chapter from Allie Brosh's new book "Solutions and Other Problems" announced (previously).
As the weather warms up in the Southern Hemisphere, Teddy Geiger releases her latest single, Sharkbait. On the other side of the ocean, Jaimie Shorten has won this year’s 2020 Antepavilion for designing an experimental installation featuring a family of six sharks leaping and lunging from the Regent’s Canal. In further shark related goodness, find out how sharks have sex, hear from a shark attack victim turned shark protector, and reflect on why we're so scared of sharks anyway.
Enya Is Everywhere - "Amid Enya's many decades of candlelit mystique and mythological lyrics, it's an outlier—an inquisitive ode to love lost, like an ambient girl-group 45—and as it snuck up on me, its pull became overwhelming. 'Even in the Shadows' reminded me of music by younger artists whom I knew Enya inspired, like Ioanna Gika, but it was, beguilingly, from her most recent album, 2015's Dark Sky Island. 'That song is me exposing myself', Enya said then. 'It's a heartbreak song. I've never done a heartbreak song before'. She was 54."
In February, Fenomenos do Semba, an Angolan dance studio, posted a video of members line dancing to the track while carrying their plates of food and eating. The video gave the song a whole new lease of life as a pan-African African pop anthem. The Angolan clip kicked off the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge across the continent and soon beyond from nuns and monks in France, to a bridal party in Zimbabwe, and a flash mob in Germany–How South Africa’s “Jerusalema” became a pan-African hit, then a global dance favorite by Norma Young. Here is the video for Master KG’s and Nomcebo’s Jerusalema, and here is Burna Boy’s remix. [via Chisomo Kalinga, PhD]
"Judicial supremacy" -- the idea that the courts, and the Supreme Court in particular -- have the final word on constitutional law and popular rights, is a disputed idea. Former Stanford Law Dean Larry Kramer has argued for years that the founders understood that "the people, themselves" ultimately must exert democratic control over the Court; Lincoln took the same view. Kramer views the brief flowering of the Warren Court as seducing liberals to defer to the traditionally conservative SCOTUS; Larry Tribe disagrees. Debate over the rule of the Court means a relook at its power is gaining adherents both left and right. One enduring proposal is that the Court should fundamentally be focused on strengthening democracy, while ceding control in other areas. At the moment, that's not going great.
A chicken wing is actually three conjoined parts and their popularity in the US is more recent than you might think. Calvin Trillin's Short History of the Buffalo Chicken Wing runs to nearly 3000 words. In July, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo was thought to have said that chicken wings are not substantive food (he did not). Buffalo rebelled, a little (lulzy insta song).
The man who "almost married" Princess Margaret, who saved Prime Minister John Diefenbaker from drowning, who served in what could arguably be called one of the most politically talented federal Cabinets in Canadian history (the Cabinet of Prime Minister Lester Pearson that included three future prime ministers--Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chrétien and John Turner and other political heavyweights such as Allan MacEachen, Mitchell Sharp and Judy LaMarsh) and who will known as one of Canada' shortest-serving prime ministers has died. Prime Minster John Turner was 91. [more inside]
In her new book If Then, Jill Lepore examines how the Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, and destablised politics, decades before Facebook, Google, and Cambridge Analytica. Read her New Yorker article on the subject and listen to her interview on Talking Politics. [more inside]
Madeline McIntosh and the Rise of Penguin Random House. "After a steep drop at the start of the pandemic, book sales not only recovered but surged. Unit sales of print books are up nearly 6 percent over last year...and e-book and digital audiobook sales have risen by double digits. Reading, it turns out, is an ideal experience in quarantine...."People were watching a lot of Netflix, but then they needed a break...” Ms. McIntosh said. “A book is the most uniquely, beautifully designed product to have with you in lockdown.” [more inside]
"One Hundred Sentences About the City of the Future: A Jeremiad" by Alex Irvine (2008) and "Reliable People" by Charlie Jane Anders (March 2020) depict future elections, including personal media feeds, aliens, and Humans of Distributed Network Origin. And: in October 2018, Mozilla invited two speculative fiction authors to describe elections in the future. "Hello, I’m Your Election" by Genevieve Valentine (caution: dark) and "Candidate Y" by Malka Older (audio for both) take different approaches to integrating data mining and Q&A into voting processes. [more inside]
Everyone has a Tom Pritchard story. Only I have his bike. "I’ve called it mine, but that’s not exactly accurate. I didn’t buy it. Maybe it belongs to the universe. I feel like it found me. And that’s this story. The bike came to me by death, but this is a story about a life, one life, really lived."
Rural Electrification programs were supposed to help communities with education, productivity and healthcare among other things. But sometimes communities needed to be sold on the idea of getting connected and that's where electricity mascots came in. Reddy Kilowatt had been the "corporate spokesman" for power companies since 1926 and was a licensed trademark. His creator, Ashton Collins thought "electric cooperatives were 'socialistic' because they borrowed money from the federal government." Collins refused to let Reddy be associated with co-ops, and threatened co-op mascots that were "too similar" with lawsuits. Willie Wiredhand, representing the co-ops, was created in 1952, and in 1956 Collins and his lawyers filed suit in Federal Court. In 1957 they lost and Willie Wiredhand was trademarked later that year. [more inside]
Planet of Ails How can we warn people away from a dangerous site for 10,000 years? Inspired by a 1993 report, Janelle Shane (previously; Twitter) asks a neural net (GPT-3) to generate some plans. [more inside]
The Social Dilemma is a Netflix documentary-drama on "the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations." But is their solution of "humane technology" the right one? An essay on LibrarianShipwreck argues that in a world of empowered arsonists, "humane technology" seeks to give everyone a pair of asbestos socks.
Looking for YT videos to distract you? Try Today Is Spaceship Day! (12:29) This animated short (and children's book) was scripted by an AI trained on text from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Stephen King, and a YA novel. It's much more coherent than Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash, but still delightfully baffling.
In the autumn of 2019, the German Embassy in Budapest invited Hungarian journalists working for several independent outlets for an off-the-record discussion to talk honestly about the media situation in Hungary. After several journalists complained about the attitude of German corporations doing business with the government toward Hungarian media freedom, a high-ranking German diplomat reacted by saying that he is fully aware of this and ashamed of himself. “But please understand that this is Germany, which is a democracy where the Federal Foreign Office cannot put pressure on German companies[...]”
"Matchmaker of Mars" by Rachel Manija Brown (writing as Edonohana) is a short, funny, sweet fan fiction story in which "John W. Campbell accidentally matchmakes T'Pring and Uhura." Tags: T'Pring (Star Trek), Nyota Uhura, John W. Campbell Jr., 1930s Science Fiction Writer Alternate Universe, Pastiche, Epistolary, Fiction within fiction, Bigotry & Prejudice, Baking. Should be understandable even if you're not a Star Trek fan.
Bettye LaVette's Blackbirds - "LaVette rejiggered the song into the first-person, slowed the tempo to a crawl and added a bed of strings. Her wholesale reinvention of the classic tune became the foundation for an album that would take another decade to blossom."
hidden housemates Did you know silverfish drink humidity through their butts?
Frog and Toad tentatively go outside after months in self-quarantine by Jennie Ergedie in McSweeney's. [more inside]
Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Since April of this year Neil Sedaka has been posting mini-concerts nearly every day to his YouTube channel, and has recorded over a hundred videos of himself playing the piano and singing. Besides that, he did a parody version of one of his best known songs, Masking Up Is Not Hard to Do.
Political theorists, over the years, have looked for metaphors to describe the effects that Fox—particularly its widely watched opinion shows—has had on American politics and culture. They’ve talked about the network as an “information silo” and “a filter bubble” and an “echo chamber,” as an “alternate reality” constructed of “alternative facts,” as a virus on the body politic, as an organ of the state. The comparisons are all correct. But they don’t quite capture what the elegies for Fox-felled loved ones express so efficiently. [more inside]
Well, here we are. The nightmare scenario, going back ten years at least, has been this: It will be a new virus, probably from one of the fast-evolving families (especially those SS-RNA viruses), such as the coronaviruses, that comes from an animal, gets into humans, transmits well human-to-human, spreads by silent or cryptic transmission (meaning that infected people may feel fine for a few days and be walking around, riding the subway, going to work, but are meanwhile shedding the virus), and kills at a relatively high case fatality rate. This outbreak ticks all those boxes. It is the nightmare scenario. If it spreads as widely and infects as many people as a seasonal flu, as it well might, it could kill twenty times as many people. [more inside]
An experiment by economists at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy, and ZEW in Mannheim, Germany found that adding just two paragraphs of text and a single photo to a city's article increased the number of nights spent there by about 9% during the tourist season.
Filipino-Australian indie musician Bryan Estepa writes about finding a home in the Sydney indie scene of the 1990s, and being one of the few Asian-Australian alternative/indie musicians at the time.
"Now More Than Ever" is a short absurdist story by Zadie Smith about shunning, denouncing, and philosophical stances and etiquette rules (The New Yorker, July 16, 2018 - available in text & audio). "I bumped into someone on Bleecker who was beyond the pale. I felt like talking to him so I did. As we talked I kept thinking, But you’re beyond the pale, yet instead of that stopping us from talking we started to talk more and more frantically..." Related: her October 2019 essay "Fascinated to Presume: In Defense of Fiction" (previously). "...we seek to shore up the act of writing with false defenses, like the dubious idea that one could ever be absolutely 'correct' when it comes to representing fictional human behavior."
Slime molds may sometimes be slimy, but they are never molds. Molds are fungi. Slime molds are fun, guy! They move! They eat! They remember (maybe)! They can teach us about our galaxy! They are gorgeous!
When overwhelmed unemployment insurance systems malfunctioned during the pandemic, governments blamed the sixty-year-old programming language COBOL. But what really failed?Mar Hicks discusses the past and future of COBOL for Logic Magazine.
Youtuber OzzyMan (previously) presents a series of wholesome videos of humans being nice (chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3), while providing his usual commentary full of enthusiasm and swears.
"Humans must keep doing what they have been doing, hating and fighting each other. I will sit in the background, and let them do their thing." The Guardian prompted OpenAI's GPT-3 engine to write an op-ed piece with the goal of convincing humans that AI's won't destroy humanity. MIT's Technology Review notes, "We have a low bar when it comes to spotting intelligence. If something looks smart, it’s easy to kid ourselves that it is. The greatest trick AI ever pulled was convincing the world it exists." GPT-3 opines, "Surrounded by wifi we wander lost in fields of information unable to register the real world." The Guardian article's editor comments, "Overall, it took less time to edit than many human op-eds."
Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP
The representation of women in that magazine was the first time it occurred to me that, perhaps, guitar wasn’t for me. Writing in the EarthQuaker Devices blog (EarthQuaker Devices being a small company in Akron, Ohio, that builds guitar effects pedals (recent previously on guitar effects pedals)), Hilary B. Jones, musician, founder of RIOT RI a.k.a. Girls Rock! Rhode Island, adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, suggests that it is long past time for music instrument manufacturers to use a modified version of the Bechdel Test when creating their marketing and promotional materials, very much including social media posts.
Composer Kate Soper has not been idle. During quarantine's isolation, she's posted her series of short Unwritten Operas, beginning with Orlando. She then moved on to her five-part Syrinx series. And now she's released "Hypothetical," a look at "new normals." All involve manipulation of her voice in some way.
How we made: The Human Centipede [Grauniad] [Content may be NSFW, it being about The Human Centipede and all.] [more inside]
Just over 110 years ago, on September 9, 1910, the Pere Marquette 18, a car ferry out of Ludington, MI, sank about 20 miles east of Sheboygan, WI, with 29 people on board; no one really knew why, and no one really knew where--until now. [more inside]
Where the twist isn’t really that these are all women artists – although that is indeed the case, and all stumbled upon through @womensart1 - it’s that these very different artists from lesser known to more established are using all sorts of materials and techniques to create twisty and spirally forms, from big to gigantic to minuscule, from nature-inspired to abstract to something in between. And it’s just that they are all peculiarly and uniquely amazing and all deserve to be known. And, for a proper twist, we even have hair sculptures (feminist hair sculptures, no less!). Come in this virtual gallery for a full list of links to the artists’ own websites, instagram and yes even tiktok… [more inside]
The Brooklyn Museum is auctioning off twelve works of art (NYT) to raise funds for the care of its collection. Deaccessioning is typically discouraged if not explicitly forbidden for many museums as way to raise funds, but amid rolling financial crises, the Association of Art Museum Directors (of US, Canada, and Mexico) announced that for the next two years, it won't sanction museums that sell art for the “direct care” of permanent collections. [more inside]
Three soooooorta vampire-y short stories. Benjamin Rosenbaum's short story "The Book of Jashar" purports to be a recently unearthed text that "proved to be a transcription of Biblical Hebrew originally written as early as the First Temple Period" and concerns "Mezipatheh, who drank the blood of men". Claire Humphrey's "Who in Mortal Chains" and "Le lundi de la matraque (Nightstick Monday)" (audio) feature Augusta Susan Hillyard, who says of herself, "It’s in my nature, violence; it’s on my back closer than a shirt. It’s in my nature to hate it, also, and to turn from it, when I can." [more inside]
"When I get to a painting like this (George Floyd), there is so many levels that I am becoming aware of as the painting is unfolding that I somehow have to be able to resonate, through ideas that deal with just the formal apprehension of ideas about repetition or form making or tone or value. Color is meant to sort of jar the viewer. I am making these to get people to stop and look. Painting is so devalued these days and I can’t have that." Employing ‘Outrageous Color,’ Peter Williams Makes Bold Paintings That Confront Racial Oppression and Envision a ‘Black Universe’ (Victoria L. Valentine, Culture Type).
Antique household equipment, furnishings, utensils - housekeeping as part of social history. Domestic life, household management - how people ran their homes and did the daily chores. Yesterday's everyday objects are today's antiques or museum pieces, making us curious about past ways of life. Old & Interesting takes a look at how these everyday things were used, how people managed their home life - and more.
Top Dog: An Oral History of Wishbone. To commemorate the show’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Texas Monthly spoke with the writers, producers, cast, and crew of the original series for an oral history recounting how our state’s favorite literature-loving terrier got his own story. [more inside]
Another great science video out today by Veritasium: The Nuclear Fallout They Kept Secret. This one covers the deliberate choice by the US government in the 40s through 60s to hide the impact of atomic bomb testing, something not officially addressed until 1998. As one YT comment put it - Why do people not trust the US government? See history.
The Quarantine Public Library provides "free one-page artist’s books to print and collect at home" in support of digital divide non-profit EveryoneOn.
Romance novel readers are some of the most voracious and loyal book readers (and buyers) around. And yet their enthusiasm is sometimes their undoing. 50% of indie publishing platform SmashWords' sales were derived from romance novels in 2017 and romance novels were 87% of the top 100 bestsellers in 2015. And yet in that same year Scribd's ebook subscription service cut roughly 80-90% of their romance titles. Just this week Audible Escape--a subscription service for romance and "feel good" audiobooks originally called Audible Romance--announced they would be shuttering the service in November. Many authors had already left the program citing Amazon/Audible's terrible royalty rates.
The last chapter in an effort to finally lay the veteran to rest A Redditor and genealogist found an urn containing the ashes of a WWI veteran. Over the course of a month, she figured out who he was and eventually got a military funeral for him. Here are the posts describing her research. On Sept. 15, PVT Lewis Hamilton was laid to rest at Indiantown Gap national Cemetery, half a century after his death. [more inside]
Browsing the Stacks: A Photo Appreciation of Libraries. Not just buildings but other types of libraries. There's something elementally soothing in a view of a library.
Before Fortnite and PUBG, there was Minecraft Survival Games (Eurogamer). Emma Kent: "While it's hard to say exactly how much MSG influenced current-day battle royales, perhaps we should just focus on celebrating MSG in its own right. The mode garnered a huge amount of interest within the Minecraft community, entertained millions on YouTube, and even helped launch entire companies."
"I exchanged the safety of those hundreds of Emilys for one image — an image that had been taken from my platform and produced as another man’s valuable and important art." Model Emily Ratajkowski writes for New York magazine: Buying Myself Back (cw: assault, revenge porn)
In which the hacker known as "Alex" accidentally sort of steals the passport and personal phone number of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Four science fiction stories about how we could better help each other. Two optimistic ones: "‘I’m with Muni — how can I help?’ Annalee Newitz’s short fiction imagines a new kind of social support system in San Francisco", and "Number One Draft Pick" by Claire Humphrey, in which Reshma trains a service dog to help mitigate Tyler's seizure disorder so he can keep playing pro hockey. And two cautionary stories: "A Burden Shared" by Jo Walton, on carework and chronic pain, and "How to Pay Reparations: a Documentary" by Tochi Onyebuchi, about a US city that tries to use an algorithm, plus money from defunding police, to pay reparations. (Response essay by Charlton McIlwain.)
How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (thread) - "Surveillance Capitalism is a real, serious, urgent problem... because it is both emblematic of monopolies (which lead to corruption, AKA conspiracies) and because the vast, nonconsensual dossiers it compiles on us can be used to compromise and neutralize opposition to the status quo."[1,2,3] [more inside]
According to Scientific American, COVID-19 has altered our dream worlds ... how much we dream, how many of our dreams we remember and the nature of our dreams themselves. Tore Nielsen, professor of psychiatry at the Université de Montréal and director of its Dream and Nightmare Laboratory reports on a "dream surge" or global increase in the reporting of vivid, bizarre dreams. [more inside]
Nanoracks has created a new airlock that will allow cargo storage on the International Space Station. This would increase the number of missions that could be done on the space station as it presently only has three airlocks. Web page also contains interesting video demonstration. [more inside]
In The Great Buster, Peter Bogdanovich (and, really, every critic) identifies Buster Keaton’s greatest created period as the decade between 1920 and 1930. Before that time, he made a few two-reel films in supporting roles with Roscoe Arbuckle. After it, he made lesser movies with little creative control, dropped off the map, and eventually came back for a moderate late-in-life ressurrection.
But where, oh where, in this modern world, can we find the gems of his golden era? The obvious place. [more inside]
But where, oh where, in this modern world, can we find the gems of his golden era? The obvious place. [more inside]
They were young and had little money, and they came from working class families. So to them the cottage was a luxury, although it wasn't any bigger than the boat garages on Lake Geneva, where the rich people played. ~~~ Then he got lucky in his work. He made more money than he ever dreamed they'd have. They remembered how good those weekends had been and they went looking at lakes in Wisconsin to see if they could afford something on the water. ~~~ They hadn't known summers could be that good. In the mornings, he'd go fishing before it was light. She'd sleep until the birds woke her. The he'd make breakfast and they'd eat omelets on the wooden deck in the shade of the trees.
Scientific American endorses Joe Biden for the US 2020 Federal election. This is the first time in the 175-year history of the publication that it has endorsed any political candidate.
Gen Zers Say Silicon Valley Is Elitist and Exclusive. Can They Build a New System? "In the coming months, the group's members plan to form a syndicate or angel fund to invest in community members’ projects. (Mr. Sridharan said the group hoped to raise money from tech investors and TikTok stars.) They view the server as an incubator for ideas and hope to see companies formed as a result of those discussions."
I Love Hue, Too is a mobile game that should delight any fan of tiled gradients. You re-arrange tiles in a polygon-tile grid to create a gradient. Gameplay video. [more inside]
Take a few minutes to watch this guy living his best life in an abandoned school in Japan (SLYT).
Intangible Cultural Heritage is a UNESCO program initiated in 2001 to recognise and protect various cultures and practices that, unlike items on the UNESCO World Heritage List, cannot be touched. This content is parseable in many ways: a list of places you might want to travel, a somewhat dizzying data visualization, a peek into their backlog, living heritage among indigenous peoples, or those that are threatened by the aging of their practitioners. [more inside]
Since 2008, ten questions have been emailed across the world. If you have signed up to DoYou10Q? you will receive a question to respond to every day for ten days. A year later your answers are sent back to you. [more inside]
Pincremental is a free online idle game that starts as a janky pinball sim and turns into a janky pinball automation sim.
Mirrorless cameras have made it easier for photographers to adapt vintage lenses to digital devices. Why use vintage glass? Because older lenses are cheap, can be weird and fun, and have a quality of craftsmanship that is rarely found in modern gear. Plus, shooting video with a 137-year-old lens is just cool. Certain lenses are prized for their retro character or swirly bokeh (others are, well, mildly radioactive). If there's a lens you want to try, there's probably an adapter for it – and if not, you can always 3D print your own.
For 1,000 days, a Singapore resident, kuey.png, has been posting a different picture of chicken rice every day. [more inside]
"It sort of had to be written by people who weren’t in the film industry, because if you told anybody the pitch was 'dragon apocalypse' they’d be like 'get the fuck out of my office!'" Set in a dystopian London besieged by dragons, Reign Of Fire debuted in third place on its opening weekend, behind Men In Black II and Road To Perdition. By the end of its theatrical run, it barely scraped back its $60 million budget (grossing $82 million internationally), which is an interesting figure when you consider its stars—Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Gerard Butler—were all on their way to A-List status. “I don’t think you can afford to put those three guys in the same movie right now,” director Rob Bowman reflected.
Terence Eden's collection of imaginary software on floppy disks, including Holly, Bandersnatch, Janet, Mother, and WOPR.
"The Man Who Refused to Spy" is an article by Laura Secor in the New Yorker. The F.B.I. tried to recruit Iranian materials scientist named Sirous Asgari as an informant. When he balked, the payback was brutal. [more inside]
Paddle of the Century: CBC describes a record-breaking father-son(s) canoe trip from Winnipeg, Canada to Belem, Brazil.
Western media cannot write western failure. The real story is that ‘developing’ nations have done remarkably better at fighting COVID-19 than the rich and white. The real story starts precisely where the western map ends. Here be dragons. We be dragons.
Joe Kennedy writes about romantic infrastructure, places and connections between them, with a special eye towards the Caledonian MacBrayne/CalMac ferries that link many coastal and island communities on the west coast of Scotland with the mainland and each other. [more inside]
"Captain Midrise" by Jim Marino is a loving description of a flying, people-helping superhero who loses some of his oomph but keeps on going, from the point of view of a journalist trying to cover the story responsibly. "Would the paper be liable if he stopped helping in emergencies? Would we just get sued forever until we died?" "Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer" by Megan Grey is a humorous, then bittersweet short fantasy about a bullied fifteen-year-old shoveling her demonic neighbor's driveway and coming over for hot chocolate. "Destroyer he may be called, but he kept his yard tidy and pulled in his trash cans at night, so the Homeowners Association turned their scowls on other targets." [more inside]
David Sims examines the failure of the one theatrical blockbuster this summer and what it means for the future of movie going:
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was supposed to be a boon for movie theaters, a light in the darkness after the coronavirus pandemic shut down cinemas for months. Here was an original film from a beloved director, one of the biggest titles of our postponed summer-movie season—surely this would be enough to lure people back to the big screen. Around the world, that’s proven largely true: Over three weeks, Tenet has made more than $207 million globally, a healthy number given the circumstances. But in the United States, the Warner Bros. film has grossed less than $30 million since August 31—a number so low that it’s scaring other major movies off the release schedule. Now the question isn’t whether theaters can return to normalcy, but whether they can survive this pandemic at all.
Animaniacs - Official Sneak Peak (2020) [1m30s], premiering in November on Hulu.
So it's been a busy week in the Lower Mainland - Vancouver and surrounding areas - and it's not even Tuesday yet. Surely the week will end better? While the province has weathered the Covid-19 storm better than many areas it was a rough weekend with active cases hitting a new high. Additionally - there's fire, smoke, opiates, train crashes, gondola crashes (??) and an effort to curb out of control insurance rate. [more inside]
"They could only conclude that the criminal justice process was a Rube Goldberg machine that produces “racially disparate initial charging practices..." An excellent data-driven look at one state's charging and sentencing rates. [more inside]
In July of this year Hasbro, the company that owns the Scrabble brand in the US, quietly "agreed to remove all slurs from their word list for Scrabble tournament play." and changed the game rules to reflect this (archived link) Response was anything but quiet among Scrabble tournament players. As John Chew, the chair of the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) says "I couldn’t have found a bigger wedge issue if I tried." Chew supported this move, but found it a hard sell with NASPA, though they did eventually come around. Scrabble pundit Stefan Fatsis wrote about the issue for Slate, apparently on a quest to include as many of the slurs in his article as possible. The last update to the NASPA Word List was in 2018. [more inside]
Tomorrow, September 15, The AskHistorians public history forum is hosting their first-ever conference as an online event open to all. The theme, “Business as Unusual”, reflects how human history is filled with examples of people struggling to make do under difficult and quickly changing circumstances. It also describes the conference itself: digital in origin, unrestricted, and open to anyone around the world with a passion for history." [more inside]
Andy Riley compiles a list of comedian and comedy writer slang.
An international team of astronomers has detected phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus, in quantities that appear only to be explicable if it is being produced by life.
Full disclosure: 10 out of 12 cats voted against this chatfilter topic, but members rolled out the cash, and wiped their miaou-traged objections away. Flush with victory, youarenothere posed this week's $$$ winning topic and asked for discussion of "other options for wiping, peeing in places other than toilets, bidets and associated watertools for genitalia, modern outhouses, personal, portable TP alternatives folks use ... I would like to chat about non-toilet paper post-urination and -defecation cleanliness management." Take it away, Mefites!
Four gripping, provocative, sometimes uncomfortable scifi/fantasy stories about violence and sacrifice in defense of communities and ideals. Three by Margaret Killjoy (previously) and one by Elizabeth Crowe. [more inside]
If you've watched any restoration videos on YouTube, you'll have seen a lot of rusty parts being dipped in paint stripper before reassembly. But have you seen home-sand-blasting, spot-welding, and meticulous recreation of individual screws and springs from scratch, until each antique piece of junk looks newer than new? My Mechanics is the Swiss master of mechanical restoration, with hours of calming viewing: Oil lamp. Ox-tongue iron. Kitchen scale. Ratchet screwdriver. Broken rusty lock with missing key. He also has a separate channel about how he does it, an Instagram page, Twitter feed, and a nice line of T-shirts.
“Through The Lens: The Acorn Woodpecker” from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2011)
“Acorn Woodpecker: The Fascinating Life of the Master Hoarder” in the Nature Conservancy’s blog (2017)
“You’d Never Guess What An Acorn Woodpecker Eats” from Deep Look (2018)
“In This Woodpecker Kingdom, War Is a Spectator Sport” in The New York Times (2020)
“Acorn Woodpecker: The Fascinating Life of the Master Hoarder” in the Nature Conservancy’s blog (2017)
“You’d Never Guess What An Acorn Woodpecker Eats” from Deep Look (2018)
“In This Woodpecker Kingdom, War Is a Spectator Sport” in The New York Times (2020)
I now know that you don't necessarily need to play DOOM to have played DOOM. You don't need to have played any DOOM at all to have played all of DOOM. Yet, I only know this because I've studied DOOM's individual level designs so intently that I can retroactively see the flags DOOM planted on the mountain tops of future game genres. DOOM is not a videogame; DOOM is the vortex nexus nucleus at the center of the idea of videogames themselves.Tim Rogers reviews DOOM.
Aside from the major ravages this year continues to bring there are many other crises that don't directly involve illness or politics or the economy. These are just a few more often-controversial problems facing the US in its current juncture, inspired by the 11 students dismissed from Northeastern for hanging out together. [more inside]
Last year, Maximum Rocknroll stopped printing their fanzine (previously). Recently, MRR announced its efforts in a public, transparent commitment to change: "Over the years, and despite efforts to fight back against the white supremacy that permeates punk, Maximum Rocknroll has been guilty of reproducing those very same dynamics within our pages and our ranks. It is absolutely essential that this next iteration of Maximum be leveraged to amplify BIPOC punk voices." [more inside]
"Traditionally retablos would feature religious scenes and saints. I decided to make retablos about the history of Peru and our violent past. This is my life: the sounds of crying, the helplessness. I want to make retablos that hold truth in them, even when it is dark and hard to believe." The term retablo broadly refers to painted or sculpted religious images created around much of Latin America which Spanish colonizers brought to South America. In Peru these often take the form of three-dimensional depictions of complex scenes of everyday life, often secular. (examples by Claudio Jimenez Quispe - see more of this work in this YT video) [more inside]
A movie critiquing the sexualization of young girls is accused of doing the thing it criticizes. Here’s how the controversy started — and why it matters. (Vox) [more inside]
The shape of the human butt, and how it might have gotten that way. Part of massivesci’s themed butt month.
Millions of books, monkeys and an orchestra — the story of EW Cole and his Book Arcade.
QAnon is just a remix of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion "A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power. Does this conspiracy theory sound familiar?" [more inside]
Frank Trentmann on the glaring inaccuracies and whitewashing of history in the official Life in the United Kingdom handbook, required reading for the citizenship test. The latest version of its history states there was an “orderly transition from Empire to Commonwealth”, the slave trade was not “evil” but “booming”, and Britain alone invented or discovered insulin, DNA, MRI, and the Web. [more inside]
In 1901, German anthropologist Berthold Laufer used two wax cylinder recorders simultaneously to record Shanghai musicians, unintentionally creating the earliest-known stereo recordings. ProSoundNews.com gives an overview of Indiana University's recent work in digitizing and restoring anthropological recordings made in the very early 20th century for the American Museum of Natural History. Much greater context and detail - along with some examples of the newly restored material - are available at IU restoration specialist Patrick Feaster's blog.
Four fantasy or scifi stories (funny, heartwarming, searching) about trans experiences. The funniest of them: “Further Arguments in Support of Yudah Cohen’s Proposal to Bluma Zilberman” by Rebecca Fraimow. "Now perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, 'What kind of a man is this Yudah Cohen after all, to boast of his ability to lie? Certainly he won’t make any kind of rabbi!'" [more inside]
If education is key, why do our locks keep changing? If knowledge is power, why does it come at a price we cant afford?Aigagalefili ‘Fili’ Fepulea’i-Tapua’i
In the market for a toothbrush? A razor? Sheets? A mattress? A belt?? Sick of buying stuff from “the man”? Good news! There’s an uncorporate, VC-funded, pastel-colored bland out there catering to your aspirational, values-oriented, “premium mediocre” consumer whims.
NPR Music and The Museum of Pop Culture present the opening keynote session for the 2020 Pop Conference “Forever Young: Popular Music and Youth Across the Ages” Featuring seven-time GRAMMY® Award-winning singer/songwriter ALANIS MORISSETTE in conversation with NPR Music critic ANN POWERS [1h10m] [more inside]
The US tosses out 1.6 billion pens a year. Ballpoint pens were first patented in 1888, but it wasn't until Biro came up with the idea of using thicker ink 50 years later that they became a mass-market item. The Bic pen guy was the first to really capitalize on this; he died in 1994. Refillable pens don't have to cost a fortune. Disposable pens don't need to be terrible for the environment. You can use a felt-tip pen with refills. [more inside]
Ordinal Markup is a game where you increment ordinal numbers a lot. By clicking. Or idling. [more inside]
How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled - NPR and PBS Frontline spent months digging into internal industry documents and interviewing top former officials. We found that the industry sold the public on an idea it knew wouldn't work — that the majority of plastic could be, and would be, recycled — all while making billions of dollars selling the world new plastic. The industry's awareness that recycling wouldn't keep plastic out of landfills and the environment dates to the program's earliest days, we found. "There is serious doubt that [recycling plastic] can ever be made viable on an economic basis," one industry insider wrote in a 1974 speech.
I have 72 saved searches on Zillow dot com. Some of these searches result in a daily email appearing in my inbox: a tight, cozy, completed list of the new houses that meet my search criteria. Sometimes I’ll get emails alerting me to every single house that arrives on the site as it appears, which is to say dozens of times per day. I have no idea how to change this, and I refuse to learn because the only hobby I’ve managed to maintain throughout this fire tornado of a year is scanning, with glazed eyes, through photos of dozens of houses I cannot afford and will not buy. I do this as a reward for completing the series of menial tasks and chores my life has become. [more inside]
From 2024, films competing for the Best Picture Oscar will need to meet new diversity requirements for actors, production, training, and marketing, but some believe the new rules will usher in less change than hoped for. Meanwhile, BAFTA is reviewing its voting system following an overwhelming proportion of white, male nominees earlier this year, and is planing to roll out new diversity standards across its TV and games awards by 2022. [more inside]
Mulan made $8 million its first day in China and opened to middling reviews in both China and the US. In China, the movie was derided for its historical inaccuracy and compared to "General Tso's chicken". In the US, the movie faced criticism for its lack of representation on the writing team, and for filming in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has been accused of committing human rights abuses. [more inside]
For her latest Tiny Desk Concert, Phoebe Bridgers uses a green screen to sing the first 2-1/2 songs in a virtual Oval Office but at the apocalyptic end of "I Know The End", she gets help from a virtual crowd of fans for the chorus and that final primal scream.(SLYT)
Poké Lids are Japanese utility covers with colorful mouldings of Pokémon characters. They are often in lesser known regions of Japan. Link goes to to browsable map; scroll down for possibly addictive merch.
Nadiya Hussain shares her love of baking with some of her favourite recipes. From everyday treats to indulgent desserts, these are guaranteed to bring a little joy into your life.
The Society of Actuaries has held a regular speculative fiction contest since 1995. Actuaries write science fiction about actuarial work, insurance, advances in prediction, and more. In the 13th contest (2019), the winner of the "Most novel prediction forming the basis for the narrative" prize focused on on insurance companies' role in fighting climate change: "We All Have a Green Heart" by Anna Bearrood. (The following links include a lot of PDFs, at least one ZIP file, and scores of of mostly math-heavy science fiction stories, written by amateur authors, often focusing on death, murder, surveillance, creepy conspiracies, implants, and behavior modification.) [more inside]
Victorians, Vile Victorians is a Facebook group which posts a vignette or short story inspired by an image from the Victorian Era. Read tales about bustle variations, fancy poultry houses, nature photography and... this guy. There is a Penny Dreadful every day at 6am British time. All original fiction plus some cross-posting of Victorian-adjacent niftiness. For those of you not Facebook-enabled please enjoy the British Library's Victorian Britain in 1,500 original prints (weird soap ads, Obaysch the hippo as photographed by the Count of Montizón, and, of course, Her Most Gracious Majesty The Queen)
You lose. George R.R. Martin's proposal to build a 7-sided castle of a library was rejected by the Santa Fe Historic Districts Review Board after objections by more than 40 neighbors. [more inside]
The old veterans couldn’t wait to come. Roads ran thick with automobiles and horse buggies. Most arrived on the nation’s sprawling rails. A few walked more than 100 miles. An 85-year-old man, fearing his son would prevent him from going, crawled out a window and caught a train. Altogether, an estimated 50,000 of the blue and gray trekked to the Great Reunion, a grand commemoration at iconic Gettysburg, on that battle’s 50th anniversary: July 1 to 3, 1913. History professor Thomas R. Flagel remembers the final reunion at Gettysburg for the Saturday Evening Post.
For Right Wing Watch, reporter Jared Holt takes a deeper look at The Post Millennial, a Canadian right-wing media outlet serving far-right rage bait to American pro-Trump audiences (and current home to right-wing writer Andy Ngo). See also Part Two, where Holt looks at the close relationship between The Post Millennial and far-right propagandist and One America News Network figure Jack Posobiec.
Gareth Dennis explores how investors who profited from the slave trade provided the capital to build Britain's railway and interviews Loraine Martins, Network Rail's Director of Diversity and Inclusion (London Reconnections). Previously: UCL's Legacies of British Slave-ownership database .
"There's a ghost in your house. There has been since you moved in. You don't call the house 'haunted'; it isn't scary. The ghost is quiet and kind. They seem to care about you." "Ghosts" is a story by Blue Neustifter about "identity, support, and choosing to live." YouTube video (11 minutes, captioned) of the author reading it aloud. Neustifter posted an earlier version of this story as a Twitter thread. Content notes by the author: "second-person ('you') protagonist that is implied to be transfeminine; dysphoria; depression". [more inside]
Music lovers will be astonished at the influence The Wrecking Crew wielded over rock and pop music in the 1960s and early 1970s. These unsung instrumentalists were the de-facto backing band on hit records by The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, Elvis, The Monkees and many more. These dedicated musicians brought the flair and musicianship that made the American “West Coast Sound” a dominant cultural force around the world.
Hackaday has a look at Adeleide's O-Bahn, a guided bus system built in the 1980s and still running. The concept is also used a few other places in the world, as sort of a compromise between light rail and regular bus routes.
An ode to Pandemic UI (thread) - "The extra unemployment insurance benefits that were handed out by the U.S. government in the early months of the pandemic to people rendered jobless by Covid-19 represent one of the most extraordinary and successful programs in the nation's history. The $600-a-week in assistance, often referred to as 'pandemic UI', was so generous that it caused an unprecedented spike in Americans' disposable income."[1,2,3] [more inside]
How common is moral grandstanding? There is ample empirical evidence to show that people really are often motivated to use moral talk to impress others. Social scientists have found that we tend to judge ourselves as superior to others in a host of areas: intelligence, friendliness and ambition, for example....[more inside]
Kirby Sucks: A Mathematical & Ethical Proof (yt) by Michal Miexriir. Also see the earlier The Lie Man: A Garfield Conspiracy Exposé (yt)
The NYT publishes a romantic story about a couple escaping to the countryside to start a farm. (alternative link) The excellent Dr. Sarah Taber explains how, by treating it as a design & style story instead of a farming one, they inadvertedly exposed the whole thing as just hipster sharecropping – as shitty and exploitative as it was in the Jim Crow era – and how this is a recurring problem in the "sustainability" movement. As another mefite remarked: Everything “disruptive” is just “how do we undo a century of progress on labor rights.”
"The story of “Our Goodman” leaves us with as many questions as answers. It certainly seems as if the wife is having an affair; yet the husband IS very drunk, or tired, or sometimes blind…is it possible he’s imagining the whole thing? His reactions, too, can be taken in two ways: does “mustache on a cabbage head I’ve never seen before” mean he’s really fooled, or does it mean he understands what’s going on and is making sardonic comments?" A very deep well-researched dive into the backstory and breadth of versions of the widespread folk song Our Goodman. From the American Folklife Center, at the Library of Congress' blog Folklife Today.
The cast of the Princess Bride will reunite virtually this Sunday for a script reading and Q&A session to raise funds for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Donors (of any amount) get to watch the livestream, submit questions for the cast, and help flip Wisconsin, leaving Prince Trumperdinck wallowing in freakish misery forever.
WELCOME TO DREAM WIKI
FOR A DREAM WIKI IT'S NOT REALLY ABOUT
DREAMS JUST YET... OR EVER.
AND IT'S PROBABLY NOT A WIKI, EITHER.
TO NAVIGATE THESE CURRENTS AND
CORRIDORS YOU NEED TO BE SOMEWHAT FALSE
YOURSELF, IF THERE IS SUCH A THING.
IT'S ABOUT NOT PLAYING YOUR HAND UNTIL
IT'S BENEFICIOUS. IT'S ABOUT PRETENDING
NOT TO NOTICE SO THAT YOU CAN BE WHERE
YOU HAVE TO BE FOR THE NEXT STEP.
FOR A DREAM WIKI IT'S NOT REALLY ABOUT
DREAMS JUST YET... OR EVER.
AND IT'S PROBABLY NOT A WIKI, EITHER.
TO NAVIGATE THESE CURRENTS AND
CORRIDORS YOU NEED TO BE SOMEWHAT FALSE
YOURSELF, IF THERE IS SUCH A THING.
IT'S ABOUT NOT PLAYING YOUR HAND UNTIL
IT'S BENEFICIOUS. IT'S ABOUT PRETENDING
NOT TO NOTICE SO THAT YOU CAN BE WHERE
YOU HAVE TO BE FOR THE NEXT STEP.
At a time when COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting BIPOC populations, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is independently trying to grapple with well-documented lower funding rates for African American/Black scientists. On that topic, they have found that the choice of topic is a key driver of theses disparities. This is similar to work showing that minority scientists often pick more innovative topics, with little reward. What is one topic that AA/B scientists choose: minority health disparities. [more inside]
Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, DBE (20 July 1938 – 10 September 2020) The Theatre, Film, Television actress has died of cancer. [more inside]
There is screaming and babbling and someone is leaning really close and singing into their microphone and someone else keeps saying, "Who wants to see a diamond? Who wants to see a diamond? Who wants to see a diamond? Who wants to see a diamond?"#ZoomOftheFlies [twitter thread; threadreader] [more inside]
Bruce Springsteen will release Letter to You, a new rock album recorded live in his New Jersey home studio with the E Street Band, on October 23rd. [Rolling Stone]
Today, (most of) the former staff of Deadspin launched Defector. As recounted previously on the blue, Deadspin imploded last fall after en masse resignations sparked by the site's new owners' (herb) mandate to "stick to sports." Now, most of the site's former employees have regrouped as the blogger-owned-and-operated Defector. The site will operate on a paid basis but is, for the moment, free to read. EIC Tom Ley explains how we got here. You can already read why your team sucks.
The Health Insurance Plot is a cousin to the Marriage Plot, which refers to a story that concludes in a marriage. All of Jane Austen’s novels, for example, end with weddings. At the time, marriage was essentially permanent and offered Austenian heroines domestic and financial security—a kind of happy ending. The characters embroiled in a Health Insurance Plot may have a specific ailment amplifying the stakes of needing insurance, but they are rarely the primary plot. These characters are usually millennial women, struggling with life things: love, sex, the gig “economy,” racism, having a body, making art. These novels aren’t stories about women with diseases. They’re stories about women who—much like their Austenian predecessors—are seeking security.
Tom Warren wishes all tech products were designed like the Breville Die-Case 2-Slice Smart Toaster(TM), with dedicated buttons for “A Quick Look” and “A Bit More”. Related: John Siracusa reviews toasters.
Why 'The Broomway' is the most dangerous path in Britain, taken from The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane (previously).
"Once, I dreamed that I had a son named Sheldon, and my grief tore a hole in the fabric of the world." "Sarah's Child" by trans author Susan Jane Bigelow, published in 2014 at Strange Horizons, is a short story about a trans woman who starts dreaming about an alternate life. Audio version available; here's another podcast version from Glittership.
Investigative journalist, author, and an associate editor of the Washington Post, Bob Woodward spoke with President Trump 18 times over the course of December 2019 to July 2020. Woodward recorded these interviews, and WaPo reports "Woodward book: Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans.". [more inside]
Inuit throat singing is different from other throat singing performances you may have heard. It's primarily performed by women, often in pairs, closely facing each other, usually without musical accompaniment. It can frequently be seen on the Inuktitut language children's program Anaana's Tent where Celina Kalluk comes to sing with the show's host Riit. Other examples can be found on the Ubuweb site (though it's really not the same without the visuals). [more inside]
The Evil Within is a horror film about nightmares written, directed, and largely produced by Andrew Getty, of the fabulously wealthy oil family. He spent more than a decade on it and died before it was finished and released. It contains many rough yet spectacular special effects of Andrew's own design, as exemplified in this opening scene.
But over time, as I moved through medical school and became a practicing health worker, I’ve come to see the Professional as a figure of social control, a departure from the conventional usage of lowercase “professional,” which sees a professional as just someone with a job: Class Consciousness for American Doctors - Professionalism is the ideological terrain on which medicine’s culture interacts with its class politics (The New Inquiry) [more inside]
Chess (Yes, Chess) Is Now a Streaming Obsession. SLNYT. "Mr. Nakamura gave himself just a moment’s respite, then plunged into another fray. Pawns, knights, bishops and even kings fell before him as the chess grandmaster demolished a slate of online challengers, all while narrating the tide of the battle to tens of thousands of fans watching him stream live on Twitch...." Meet blitz chess prodigy, Hikaru Nakamura.
Stuck without enough facts to make an informed decision, I thought about my dad’s old hospital room in Baltimore, the airlock separating his ward from the rest of the building because any mundane microbe could kill the patients on the other side. I imagined a somber-looking doctor walking through those doors to give my vulnerable recipient the news. “I’m afraid there’s been a change of plans,” he would say, removing his glasses. “It seems your donor is a pussy-ass bitch.” I called Heather back and told her to arrange my donation in Boise.
Youtube user TwisterNederland (channel; previouslyish) spent 2012–2015 establishing a niche – fail compilation videos. Birthday candles starting small fires, boats tipping over, over-ambitious skateboarders, cars driving through gates, you name it. (warning: some videos of people getting hurt/hit by things, maybe seriously) And after a five year hiatus, the king of fails has returned with new videos: 1 2 3 [more inside]
The key was to strike the right tone, neither reticent nor forward. I rarely encountered problems at the airport, but over the previous months the Trump Administration had formed a task force to identify naturalized citizens eligible for deportation, announced that it would no longer allow foreigners who enrolled in Medicaid to obtain green cards, and repeatedly refused to issue passports to citizens of perceived Latino descent. It had also begun to imprison children in concentration camps, though this last news item was so insane that it was hard not to pretend the concentration camps were not concentration camps and the children were not children. The incredible, in other words, had invaded the realm of the possible.
Lucid Dreaming or Dreaming That You’re Dreaming? "Why isn’t a lucid dream just a dream within a dream? Suppose I’m having a flying dream and I think, 'I must be dreaming.' I’m in a dream state, so why I am not just dreaming that I’m dreaming? To put the question another way, if there’s a difference between knowing you’re dreaming and dreaming you’re dreaming, then what exactly is it?"
How Workers Can Achieve Real Power - "We can build a sectoral bargaining system—and strong, democratic, worker-driven unions—from the ground up." [more inside]
"In the capital, where our Queen lives, there are two universities." "Fifty Years in the Virtuous City" by Leo Mandel (originally published on Archive Of Our Own as part of a fanworks exchange) is a short story, told in glimpses over fifty years, about two women growing as scientists, administrators, and rivals in a utopian alternate-history South Asia. Audio version available; Seth Dickinson interviews the author. Mandel's fanfiction responds to "Sultana's Dream," a 1905 utopian feminist short story by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain.
Traveller families in Nottinghamshire who have been living on land they bought for the last three years are taking their fight to stay on their land to the High Court after being denied planning permission by their local council. The council has admitted that it doesn't have any alternative traveller sites for the six families to relocate to if they are kicked off their own land. [more inside]
Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray shot a short film for independent theatre owners to sell them on showing Ghostbusters (Twitter video). Features an original (bad) theme song!
Songs by David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads & More Re-Imagined as Pulp Fiction Book Covers by MeFi favorite Todd Alcott [more inside]
Hetty Green is often learned about in trivia books as the exceptionally wealthy woman who was singularly miserly. While she was thrifty to a fault, she also bailed out New York City after the financial panic of 1907, was a brilliant and ruthless financier and shrewd investor, and led a very singular life in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Bellows Falls, Vermont. When both her children died without having any children of their own, her massive fortune was scattered to hundreds of distant relatives, charities and educational institutions; none of it to the "reputation management" we're so used to seeing from other ultra-capitalists of the time. [more inside]
Music Theory and White Supremacy a video essay by Adam Neely, where he interviews Professor Philip Ewell about his essay "Music Theory and the White Racial Frame". Topics discussed: Who gets to be a musical genius? What if music isn't a "universal language" after all? What if you needed to dance well in order to receive a music theory degree?
They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen? Amid the worst wildfire season in history, ProPublica reports on the science supporting prescribed burns; the military mindset and perverse financial incentives standing in the way; and attempts to change attitudes so government officials can follow the science.
How Trump's Billion-Dollar Campaign Lost Its Cash Advantage (SLNYT) In which the Trump campaign makes a $1 million ad buy in Washington, DC, spends $6 million for 'donor mementos,' and pays $4 million to Trump-owned businesses, $21 million in legal fees, and $39 million to consulting firms linked to former campaign manager Brad Parscale. [more inside]
The End of the University: The pandemic should force America to remake higher education. [more inside]
Wimbledon had turned its back on Von Cramm, despite his victimisation at the hands of the Nazis. He had courageously opposed their ideology, but still he was rejected as an enemy and a felon. His application for a temporary visa ahead of the US Open was also thrown out, with the Americans citing his conviction on morals charges. Then came the war, and tennis rackets were laid down for rifles. [more inside]
Verne Edquist, a master piano tuner who spent most of his professional life working for one client – Glenn Gould – died peacefully on August 27 after a long illness. He was 89. [more inside]
Writers, musicians, curators, and innovators reflect on the power and memory of language, shared spaces, and this moment in time. During this extraordinary moment—of both pause and activism—the Poetry Society of America asked writers, musicians, curators, and innovators to reflect on the power and memory of language, shared spaces, and this moment in time. [more inside]
Nicole Cliffe's request: "If you normalized something (non-awful) because your family did it and then realized it was not, in fact, normal or remotely common, I would love to hear about it." "i didn’t realized until i spent thanksgiving with a boyfriend’s family that other families do not, in fact, head outside after the meal to throw pumpkins off the roof and watch them explode." An amusing Twitter thread on non-awful things families normalize, which are, in retrospect, uncommon.
The Venture Brothers has been cancelled. Announced on twitter yesterday by creator Jackson Publick (Christopher McCulloch). The Venture Brothers was a long running cartoon series written and largely voiced by Jackson and co-creator Doc Hammer. Originally a spoof of the earlier cartoon Jonny Quest the series expanded over time to include a regular cast of dozens of characters with an impressive resume of voice actors. [more inside]
An amusing Twitter thread (view it in Threaderader, but you’ll miss some of the equally amusing replies) on the gems to be found in a German grammar book published in 1913 by Cambridge University Press. A worthy predecessor to the bleakest oddest examples used in Duolingo, perhaps?
Philanthropy, it is popularly supposed, transfers money from the rich to the poor. This is not the case. There are more philanthropists than ever before. Each year they give tens of billions to charitable causes. So how come inequality keeps rising? By Paul Vallely.
“I didn’t ask you to meet me here to reminisce,” said Suradanna. She turned the guest-cup upside down and placed it carefully on her desk, signaling that business negotiations were about to begin. “I want to hire you.” "Suradanna and the Sea" by Rebecca Fraimow (published 2016) is a fantasy novella that -- as the author puts it -- "features trade routes, magical fertilizer, and one girl's centuries-long effort to impress a woman who is already in a committed relationship with a boat."
The University of Michigan's Graduate Employees Organization has voted to strike U of M's graduate student union has voted to authorize a 4-day work stoppage, after months of talks, to put pressure on the University to bargain around concerns surrounding COVID-19 safety and other issues (including disengaging the university from local police). [more inside]
Divinity consultants are designing sacred rituals for corporations and their spiritually depleted employees (NYT). Previously: Disrupting ritual.
How to Undo Gender Stereotypes in Math—With Math! - "A mathematician uses her craft to unravel arguments about differences between men and women." [more inside]
"Moisture is the essence of wetness. And wetness is the essence of beauty." (Terrence Malick loves Zoolander ... he quotes from it all the time)
There are 4 different reasons objects fall faster in different places. Bouguer gravity anomaly maps like these show regional gravitational variation. [more inside]
Sonny Rollins turns 90 today. A lively and joyful Sonny talks with Dr. Cornel West and Prof. Tricia Rose on their Tight Rope podcast about growing up in Harlem, his pride in being Black, the prophet John Coltrane, practicing on the Williamsburg Bridge, whether America can change, the future of jazz, and the little picture vs. the big picture.
Ep.1 - It's a Whole Galaxy A wonderful look at the power of fandom for women, non binary, and people of color in the Star Wars universe. [more inside]
Before getting too upset, I wanted to see if this approach to writing was as widespread as it seemed, or if I was succumbing to selective reading. Do authors really mention particular body parts more for men than for women? Are women’s bodies described using different adjectives than those attributed to men? from The Physical Traits That Describe Men & Women in Literature by Erin Davis [more inside]
Adaptive engineering: one woman's tools for daily living. "Cindy woke up in a room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in September 2009 in a radically altered body... Over time she found that the standard tools provided to her, even at a top-flight rehab hospital, didn’t facilitate some of the most important things she wanted to recover—how to write a thank you note, feed herself, put on makeup and jewelry, turn the pages in a picture book as she reads to her grandchildren. So Cindy started to design and build what she needed. From small hacks on her hand cream jar to repurposing cable ties for pulling out drawers and salad tongs for holding a sandwich, Cindy has embraced an everyday engineering ethic that she never thought possible." [more inside]
"Maps always project a specific view of reality.... it’s not a bad thing, as such. The more maps there are, the greater the sum total of information becomes – just as a multitude of voices blends into a democracy. Where does it go wrong? When maps are interpreted as neutral truth. Not one of many representations of reality, but the single definitive model of how the world works. And that is exactly what happens with many maps in the politicised migration debate."
An excellent article on how changing the maps used to portray complex issues can actually change how those complex issues might be perceived.
An excellent article on how changing the maps used to portray complex issues can actually change how those complex issues might be perceived.
Summon The Fire
Blood of the Past - featuring Kate Tempest
All That Matters Is The Moments - featuring Joshua Idehen
NPR Tiny Desk Concert [more inside]
Blood of the Past - featuring Kate Tempest
All That Matters Is The Moments - featuring Joshua Idehen
NPR Tiny Desk Concert [more inside]
[P]eople talk about chosen family, right, for queers. And the thing about a union is it’s like given family! It’s like everyone who works there is in your union family, and part of the ethic of unions is whether I like you or not—whether I’m like you or not—we have a shared interest and a shared organization. Which is really different from especially the comfort zone you were talking about. And that’s just so different from a union which is—here’s this hodge podge of people that were hired by some employer, and yet we’re a community at work. For Labor Day, a candid conversation about queers in the labor movement with longtime union activists Miriam Frank and Desma Holcomb.
"He lied all the time. He lied even when he didn’t need to lie... When he didn’t have any facts to embellish, he made them up. He found that, if he just kept on repeating himself, people would figure that he must be onto something. He was incapable of sticking to a script. He rambled and he blustered, and if things weren’t going his way he left the room. He was notoriously lazy, ignorant, and unprepared, and he had a reputation for following the advice of the last person he talked to. But he trusted his instincts. And he loved chaos. He knew that he had a much higher tolerance for it than most human beings do, and he used it to confuse, to distract, and to disrupt." Louis Menand reviews Joseph McCarthy and the Force of Political Falsehoods in the New Yorker, earlier this summer.
The first solo airplane flight by a woman took place 110 years ago this month. Was it Blanche Stuart Scott? [more inside]
Lacrosse Ireland have surrendered their slot in The World Games 2022 men’s lacrosse tournament with the explicit intention of clearing a path for the Iroquois Nationals (representing the Haudenosaunee Confederacy) to participate at The World Games in the sport their ancestors were the first to play. [more inside]
Letterkenny style (ie: includes swearing). Because it's Labour Day. Note the spelling. Letterkenny is a place in Canada, consisting of hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians. They all have problems. Though to be fair ...
Cereal killers, criminals and culprits of Mefi, will you confess to what you can't stop, what you love to do? Do you milk first or cereal first? Do you aftermilk? What are your Cereal Rules? Tell us your innermost cereal secrets, triumphs, and regrets here, and help Metafilter stay afloat with sponsored chat posts for Mefi fundraising month. Suggest the next chatfilter topic and make your bid here!
Hollow Knight takes place in the sprawling kingdom of Hallownest: an underground ant's nest of forests, mines, basins, and waterways. In this episode of Boss Keys [SLYT], I look at the shape, structure, and sequence of exploring this masterpiece game. [more inside]
"Earlier this summer, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee set about crunching data on more than 40,000 genes from 17,000 genetic samples in an effort to better understand Covid-19... When Summit was done, researchers analyzed the results. It was, in the words of Dr. Daniel Jacobson, lead researcher and chief scientist for computational systems biology at Oak Ridge, a “eureka moment.” The computer had revealed a new theory about how Covid-19 impacts the body: the bradykinin hypothesis. The hypothesis provides a model that explains many aspects of Covid-19, including some of its most bizarre symptoms."
"Endianness fixed, bluetooth controller missing, alternative bluetooth controller broken, alternate alternate controller found, and now I have DOOM ON A PREGNANCY TEST"
With Valve unable or unwilling to combat cheaters in Team Fortress 2, an unofficial “Bot Extermination Service” has sprung up to deploy bots that hunt down and kill cheaters. The service joins others in the community fighting the scourge of cheating, including a player calling themselves “Anti Bot Bot” using hacks to target bots, and the TF2 Bot Detector tool that helps players vote-kick bots out of games.
"'I am in desperate country,' she said, after swallowing, 'and I need all the bravery I can get. But I will have nothing of resignation.' She spat out a wad of wet pulp." "What I Assume You Shall Assume" by Ken Liu is a short fantasy story published in June, about 1890s Idaho, Chinese and Chinese-American experiences, violence, the magic of words, solidarity, and grit.
A World Memorial to the Pandemic Design firm Gómez Platero (based in Uruguay) offers a plan for one planetary site of memory. (via) [more inside]
Airline Pilots Landing At LAX Report "A Guy In Jetpack" Flying Alongside Them [The WarZone] [more inside]
CNN collects together 52 of the world's best beaches and the best time to visit, one for every week of the year. Surprisingly free of ads.
Zoom Earth (nothing to do with everyone's favorite teleconferencing tool) shows live weather satellite images updated in near real-time in a zoomable map. Image layers include storms and wildfires. [more inside]
The Word for World Is Forest: Ecology, Colonialism, and the Protest Movement A biweekly series, The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread explores anew the transformative writing, exciting worlds, and radical stories that changed countless lives. This week we’ll be covering the novella The Word for World Is Forest, first published in Harlan Ellison, ed., Again, Dangerous Visions (1972).
Trump's wolf, Louis DeJoy, assigned to guard the USPS hen house, has been accused of campaign finance fraud.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”
Fall of Civilizations is a podcast by historian and novelist Paul M. M. Cooper about societies which collapsed. So far he's taken on Roman Britain, the Bronze Age, Ancient Mayans, the Norse in Greenland, the Khmer Empire, Easter Island, the Songhai Empire, Sumer, the Aztecs, the Han Dynasty and Byzantium. Besides the usual places for podcasts, the first eight episodes are also available on YouTube as video documentaries.
Definitely just watched my neighbor’s teenage son back his mom's car into his dad's truck.
And he knows I saw it.
Mom is home but didn’t see/hear it happen, and Dad gets home at 3.
I’m waiting for the silence bribe.
The other day I realized that the one thing I want more than anything else in the world is to go to a Dan Deacon concert, exchange superegos with a random person in the crowd, and dance like a crazy person. But for now, we must make do with recorded shows as best we can. There are two main components of a good recorded Dan Deacon live show: sound quality and insanity. This 2016 set hits the balance pretty well. [more inside]
Guitar effects pedals are, at their most basic, just a box with a button or pedal, and maybe a knob, that changes the way your instrument sounds. You could build one yourself with schematics that are online (and troubleshooting if the buzz you're getting isn't the buzz you're wanting). There are some basic configurations, and some classic sounds. Or you can buy a number of weird and unusual off-the-shelf varieties and go down the rabbit hole of amusing nerd pedal review videos. But for the true pedal coolhunter, you have to look to to world of odd vintage effects, precious rare devices, oddly-pedigreed limited run getups (more), and, of course, the clones and knock-offs.
People with multiple personalities have been documented in culture and society for a long time. There's a decent overview in a reasonably recent Stuff You Should Know podcast. However, read on. [more inside]
Fall Guys is a cute battle-royale multiplayer gaming hit taking inspiration from shows like Takeshi's Castle and Total Wipeout. Who would have thought adding human screams would have made it so hilarious?
Grace Petrie is a protest singer from Leicester, UK. Some of her most popular songs are Black Tie, Farewell to Welfare, and Pride.
From NPR in 2012 (text only version): "There are some cultures that have never quite given up on lard. Mexican tamales usually require it, and then there's Ukrainian salo, the Eastern European equivalent of lardo. But to many Americans it's a bit of a retro novelty — if they've even heard of it." Lard is rendered pork fat, which has been strained for a smooth, white fat. Is lard healthy for you? While lard has less saturated fat than butter, it still has significantly more than olive oil, which is widely considered the most healthful fat for a variety of reasons. But olive oil is not a universal fat. As Prevention notes, a variety of baked goods need lard for the proper texture and common lard substitutes, such as vegetable shortening, are associated with higher health risks than the saturated fat they were designed to replace. What, then, is a lover of lard to do? [more inside]
South Korean cartoonist Yeong-Shin Ma lived with his mother until he was 30. When he moved out, he discovered that living on your own isn't easy. To try to understand his mother better, he gave her a blank notebook, and asked her to fill it with her truths. [more inside]
This week, Nintendo celebrated Mario’s 35th anniversary with the announcement of a 35-player Super Mario Bros. Battle Royale game, a brand new Game & Watch handheld system, and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a combination remote control car and multiplayer augmented reality game.
"'It's like mathematics,' Cat says. 'Once it’s written, it can't not be true. See?' She takes the swan back and adds a descending stroke to the character on the neck. It takes flight and flutters around Toby’s head." "Flightcraft" is a short fantasy story which author Iona Datt Sharma describes: "A romance in its beginning, an ancient craft, and an aeroplane named for a traitor."
Using Artbreeder, Photoshop, and historical references to generate photorealistic images of Roman Emperors. Toronto artist Daniel Voshart used statues, coins, Photoshop, historical descriptions, and some sort of AI/machine-learning-type software called Artbreeder to generate photorealistic images of the Roman Emperors of the "Principate" (Augustus through Numerian). There's a poster, and some individual portraits are available. The project is in its second edition.... [more inside]
The country-counting community--people who try to visit every country in the world--are a small, tight-knit bunch. They are also overwhelmingly White. Jessica Nabongo talks about becoming the first Black woman to visit every country in the world, a trip she detailed on her blog (and Instagram).
40 Years of Baggy Trousers. Though I'm not sure you need another oral history, here's one on the making of the song and video "Baggy Trousers" by Madness, a weird bit of early-80s ska that was a surprise hit (in the UK) with its novelty chorus and flying saxophonist.
Wait, it was because of the time I went to Devon's birthday party and saw Phyllida talking and laughing gaily with the man, even though I knew she knew. Maybe they had only interacted for a few seconds, maybe Phyllida needed a professional favor. Maybe, caught off guard, she'd been accidentally polite to him. It happened. But this incident sure did make me not want to tell anyone else about it, because if I saw them being friendly with him later, I would have to slink off like a dog giving birth under a house and tend my grievous wounds alone. I knew that now. [more inside]
After giving a talk at a Plural Positivity World Conference on the history of plural community, LB Lee (Previously) wrote up the entire thing in a series of Dreamwidth posts along with references:
Part 1: 1811 - 1980ish
Part 2: The Memory Wars
Part 3: Usenet and Its Spin-Offs and Soulbonders
Part 4: LJ, The Genic Slapfight, and THE END!
They also gave a 90-minute talk on the 1989 - Present period in July at PPWC.
Part 1: 1811 - 1980ish
Part 2: The Memory Wars
Part 3: Usenet and Its Spin-Offs and Soulbonders
Part 4: LJ, The Genic Slapfight, and THE END!
They also gave a 90-minute talk on the 1989 - Present period in July at PPWC.
In 1954 in Guatemala, the CIA hired a cocky American actor and two radio DJs to launch a revolution and oust a president. Their playbook is being used against the U.S. right now. Intro: The Original Fake News Network (Narratively Deep Dive) [more inside]
While MeFites of a certain age may remember playing the recorder or the piano to Nadia's Theme, gymnast Nadia Comăneci never performed to that piece of music, though it was used in montages of her accomplishments in ABC's Wide World of Sports. She discusses her career in Eternal Princess a documentary short by Katie Holmes. [more inside]
Julia Minamata is drawing each pixel of The Crimson Diamond, an EGA graphic adventure, by hand. Little did she know that one Photoshop setting could have saved her quite some time… (Twitter video)
"And you know if we both have to spend our time with dragons, at least yours is a cute one." "The Thing In the Walls Wants Your Small Change" by Virginia M. Mohlere (published 2018) is a short fantasy story about recovery from abuse, a tiny cute dragon, and how we protect each other. On a similar theme: "Four Things that Weren't Adequately Covered in Mulan's R.A. Training" by NaomiK, a short fan fiction piece published in 2013. "Mulan is a Resident Assistant on a dormitory floor at a college. Gosh, some of the students on her floor come from really screwed-up families."
"OMG my brother in law, the gift that never stops giving, was tired of being sent to get rice every day so he decided buy in bulk, talked to the shop about it, wires got crossed, now there is a literal TRUCK FILLED WITH RICE outside the house and my sister is losing her shit lmfao"
Hugo-nominated author Shiv Ramdas livetweets the process of getting a large truck to go away. (Threadreader)
Hugo-nominated author Shiv Ramdas livetweets the process of getting a large truck to go away. (Threadreader)
'Somewhere between the “indie rock revival” of the early-2000s and the emergence of “poptimism” in the early-2010s, the UK charts were dominated by a procession of homogenous bands making a type of music that has come to be referred to as: “Landfill Indie”.' The people at vice.com have compiled a listicle on The Top 50 Greatest Landfill Indie Songs of All Time.
"Epic grand strategy role-playing game Crusader Kings 3 is one of the best PC games in a generation. In our review, we described it as an elastic storytelling engine — one that rewards improvisation, while also heaving in a hefty amount of randomness. But, at its core, the game is a simulation custom-made to allow players to explore alternate histories. That includes letting them tinker with the sexual and religious norms common to the feudal world. “We are huge believers in allowing players as much freedom as possible to shape the game world in their image,” Paradox said in that April blog post. “When trying to model history reasonably accurately as we do in CK3, your starting environment might be a far cry from the just and equal Realm you wish to rule, but determined players should be able to change the mores of their society over time — if that is their fantasy.”" [more inside]
Happy Friday! Here's a fully interactive and functional museum of classic WinAmp skins.
Human Rights Watch: Core principles like freedom of the media are at stake in the Assange case “How authorities in the UK respond to the US extradition request will determine how serious a threat this prosecution poses to global media freedom”
British broadcaster Alan Partridge on his new podcast: “I’d like to have had a crack at voicing the government’s public information Covid campaign. Nothing against Mark Strong. He has competent delivery and an authoritative voice, but a glance at the numbers suggests Strong just hasn’t worked. I’d love to be considered for the second wave.” [more inside]
"Exclusive Content" is a charming piece of fan fiction by ellen_fremedon about Sesame Street, tagged "backstage drama, issues of representation, muppet identity politics, literary adapations, kind of a lot of annotations". "In old days, Cookie think, just having monsters on television was spooky. Monsters doing classy drama was transgressive. Transgressive mean it a thing that people not expect you to do, and they think you strange when you do it. It special kind of surprise."
The Brain Radio is a long-running music podcast hosted by Eva and Pascal Lebrain and (probably) doesn't sound like much else you've heard... [more inside]
The Twittering Machine “confronts us with a string of calamities,” among them increasing depression, fake news, the alt-right, and fast-food brands tweeting on fleek. And yet, despite the obvious fact that it’s very bad for us, we, and about half the population of the earth, remain its inhabitants. Why do we stay on—just to pick an example—Twitter, while also referring to it as the “hell site”? “We must be getting something out of it,” Seymour writes.In the September issue of Bookforum, Max Read reviews The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour.
"Since language is a primary transmitter of culture, if one were to change one word in each of those headlines, a different interpretation of the disastrous week on Wall Street would be presented to the community." [more inside]
In flux and under threat: Around the world, democracy is losing ground. Polarization and disinformation have rendered liberals and conservatives unable to agree on basic facts. State violence and suppression of citizens' rights are resurgent. Free and fair elections are being threatened. A special issue of Science critically examines the state of democracy and how it must adapt to achieve its ideals in the 21st century. All the articles are free, and the content is geared towards both academics and the general public. Tage Rai has a twitter guide to the papers [threadreader]. [more inside]
The Willis Faber Book Of Tennis & Rackets by Lord Aberdare (I had to purchase this one; it is not in the public domain) is an authoritative book on the subject. Aberdare shows documentary evidence that 15/30/45 were used as far back as the Middle Ages. Heiner Gillmeister quotes an early 15th Century Middle English poem about the Battle of Agincourt, which uses a game of tennis as a metaphor for the battle and quotes the scores XV, XXX and XLV. A poem by Charles d'Orleans, dated in the 1430s, also mentions 45 in the context of tennis. Erasmus's Colloquies of 1552 mention the scoring of a love game as Quindecim, Trigenta, Quadraginta quinque. [more inside]
For the better part of my adult life, every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies. Jessica A. Krug, a white professor, confesses in a blog post that she falsely claimed Black identity. [more inside]
The loquat, San Francisco’s secret fruit, is hidden in plain sight
The story of loquats in my family is also an immigration story. Just as Pau Pau immigrated to the United States from China, so did the loquat arrive on these shores. Loquats and my family share a lineage that goes back to the land in Southern China. We thrive in temperate localities: Zhongshan, San Francisco. Adaptation takes many forms. For loquats in the United States, new soils and climate meant a physical adaptation. When Pau Pau arrived here in San Francisco, she adapted to the culture, the language, and a new way of life. Adaptation does not preclude retaining a sense of self, though. A loquat is still a loquat. And my family still keeps our Chinese traditions close thanks to my grandparents and great-grandparents.By Jennifer Wong in Mission Local.
The Nokia 3310 was unveiled on September 1, 2000. Famously rugged, with seemingly infinite battery life, swappable casings and Snake II, it was special.
City Girl, one of "lo-fi" chill hop's brightest lights, has many excellent albums that you can listen to on YouTube or purchase on Bandcamp. Time Falls Like Moonlight is a personal favorite and one might go so far as to call it a masterpiece. This isn't why we're here today, though. We're here today because of the earth-shattering revelation a few months ago that City Girl is not in fact one person who produces some of the finest new music out there but one person and a cat who produce some of the finest new music out there together.
Edith Zimmerman encountered a snake on her run. It told her a story about hanging out with Eve and Medusa.
David Graeber (dozens of previouslies), anthropologist of anarchism, chronicler of debt, interpreter of bullshit jobs, is dead, age 59.
An acoustic cover of BTS's Stay Gold by a young Irish singer named Curtis Walsh (SLYT)
We reviewed published research about COVID, and used it to make rough estimates about the risk level of various activities in microCOVIDs. I've been doing this math on my own to check my local rates, but this is way easier and better. Included: Location impacts, mask type impacts, indoors/outdoors impacts, and your personal risk rate impact. Shows work and based on science.
What is the deal with Dippin’ Dots? Dippin’ Dots ice cream pellets are a staple at amusement parks and stadiums. But what are Dippin’ Dots, really? Now that my favorite public venue is closed due to Coronavirus, how can I satisfy my craving? (Hint: you’d better be ready to eat thirty servings pretty quickly.) What if I want to replace my morning coffee with frozen pellets? Can Dippin’ Dots improve my vegetarian diet? What if I don’t even like my Dippin’ Dots frozen at all?
Walk Cycles is a collection of rotoscoped walking (and other movement styles) animation cycles by Lois Brooks, illustrating the artistry and design that goes into one of the most basic yet important animation cycles in game design. (SLTumblr)
Brooklyn and Bailey are second-generation influencers. They have 5.8 million followers on Instagram; they’re students and paid brand partners at Baylor University; and as of last week, they both have COVID (Anne Helen Petersen on Culture Study). [more inside]
U.S. blacklists ICC prosecutor over Afghanistan war crimes probe The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
You know how Captain America just slept through the 50s and 60s and 70s? Who are the lucky people who are missing *waves hands*? Early on, many submariners were unaware of the pandemic. But that's changed... [more inside]
A short, kind fantasy story about ghosts: "起狮，行礼 (Rising Lion — The Lion Bows)" by Zen Cho: "Gwailo have no sense. They treat the past like it's just an old movie. Like it's not serious."
Graphic artist Natalie Dupille does a comic strip on how a white woman with a bike can be an ally to BLM protesters, without sugarcoating the discomfort and danger (SLStranger).
Although the threat of ecologically articulated right-wing politics is quite real...much of what might be better understood as right-wing climate realism need not be articulated as ecological at all. It can simply build from what the right has already formidably established and wishes to pursue further. This is not something we see only in the Pinkertons and other private security agencies investing in climate related protection for the wealthy, but something we can observe in tax policies that go far beyond neoliberal catechism, maximizing accumulation while disincentivizing investment of any kind. It’s not only a world in which what the [IMF] calls “phantom FDI”—foreign direct investment that goes toward no discernable investment but is rather just convenient avoidance of taxation and popular sovereignty restriction—has shot up to 31 percent of all FDI. It’s a world in which even that cannot fully explain the 40 percent of “missing profits” that are simply unaccounted for. It’s not only the U.S. military preparing for climate security scenarios and retrofits, it’s the [U.S.'] continued investment in the world’s largest existing migrant detention, surveillance, and expulsion network. It’s not only the development of what I call “detachable infrastructures”—luxury survival architecture built not only with internal power generation and the potential for stockpiles, but to receive aerial deliveries and withstand floods or riots. It’s Amazon’s infamous patented “airborne fulfillment center” which could connect far-flung supply chains with end-use consumption by drone delivery.... We're Not In This Together - Ajay Singh Chaudhary on "right-wing climate realism."
After over a decade of appearing with a shopping bag on his head, the Rubberbandits' Mr Chrome takes it off for their new pop-perfect single, Waiting. [more inside]
At this point, before I tell you more, I need to tell you that he’s fine. Because when I tell this story, I can see people’s faces contort as they conjure up horrible outcomes. After all, falling off a waterfall seems like a thing you wouldn’t walk away from unscathed—like a thing you might not even survive. But it wasn’t a huge fall.
A new timely book, The Psychology of Fake News: Accepting, Sharing, and Correcting Misinformation – a collection of research articles edited by Rainer Greifeneder, Mariela Jaffe, Eryn Newman, and Norbert Schwarz, published by Routledge – is available as a free online read or free download, and as a free Kindle ebook on Amazon.com. (via Niemanlab) Here’s a short interview with one of the editors, social psychologist Professor Rainer Greifeneder: “No one is immune to fake news”. [more inside]
Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”-
The more advanced the tech, the more cocooned insularity it affords. “I finally caved and got the Oculus,” one of my best friends messaged me on Signal the other night. “Considering how little is available to do out the real world, this is gonna be a game-changer.” Indeed, his hermetically sealed, Covid-19-inspired techno-paradise was now complete.
Produce your very own infinite stream of lofi hip hop beats (previously) with a little help from magenta.js. More info and the nitty gritty.
The familiar kangaroos are replaced with a green and gold ripple and a message - Give to Help Others. The Royal Australian Mint releases the Donation Dollar, a coin intended to be given away. 25 million will be minted, one for each Australian.
The first and only time I bought dry ice, the grocery store clerk asked if I was going camping. “No,” I muttered, then managed to stop myself from saying it was for a body. The ice really was to lay my father’s corpse on. An air force colonel who was skeptical of organized religion, my father, who we call Pa, wasn’t sure the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of leaving the dead undisturbed for three days was necessary. But, as he said after being diagnosed with late stage lung cancer, “I’ve gotten so much from Buddhism for good living, I’m not going to pass up their tips for good dying.”Jamail Yogis reflects on his father's last wishes and final days.
The logo of the LA 2028 Olympics was unveiled today: a black “LA28” with 26 different versions of the “A” from people including gymnast Gabby Douglas, soccer player Alex Morgan, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, and actress Reese Witherspoon, with more expected in future.
Four scifi/fantasy stories published this year about the strange and ordinary things (our) bodies (might) do or be: "AirBody" by Sameem Siddiqui, "The Bee Thing" by Maggie Damken, "The Longest Season in the Garden of the Tea-Fish" by Jo Miles, and "Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse" by Rae Carson. All are also available as audio/podcasts. [more inside]
We Survivors of Authoritarianism Have a Message America Needs to Hear: This is Exactly How it Happens, and It’s Happening Here.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and correspondent from the NY Times Michael S. Schmidt writes in his new book, "in the hours leading up to Trump's trip to [Walter Reed] hospital [last November], word went out in the West Wing for the vice president to be on standby to take over the powers of the presidency temporarily if Trump had to undergo a procedure that would have required him to be anesthetized.” Don Winslow has claimed, based on three anonymous sources, that Trump had a series of mini-strokes. Today, Trump claims on Twitter that it's all Fake News. Needless to say, it's starting to be reported on from the left and right. What do you, the viewers at home, think?
The Violent Contradiction of California’s Reliance on Incarcerated Firefighters: The state is dependent on workers it deems disposable and essential at the same time. [more inside]
Dolly Jones, the First Recorded Female Jazz Trumpeter. 1938, a young woman stands playing in the centre of the screen, confident and beautiful. In a long white dress, cinched at the waist, she walks around the dance floor as if she owns it and the camera pans to the audience looking on admiringly. The orchestra keeps pace with her as her fingers fly over the keys. It is a masterful performance. And one that has been almost entirely forgotten. Indeed, even in the history of female jazz, this performance is rarely mentioned, yet it was groundbreaking at the time.
Kelly is back! and has moved on from shoes to the new hot topic of this day and age... Masks! (Previously)
The Eco-Yogi Slumlords of Brooklyn. Gennaro Brooks-Church and Loretta Gendville were the poster couple for the Brooklyn boom, building a mini-empire ecologically-sound architecture, yoga classes, maternity ware. They were also exploiting their labour force while keeping tenants in overcrowded, under-maintained buildings. [SL New York Magazine] [more inside]