July 11, 2016

“The man wanted to frighten me and I decided he couldn’t do that.”

A takeaway shop owner has spoken about how he “took away the power” of an armed would-be robber by simply ignoring him. Ahmed said he had witnessed years of violence in Egypt before emigrating to New Zealand, and the quiet predictability of his life in Christchurch influenced his low-key reaction. “My heart was beating quickly, I was scared, but I wasn’t going to show him that. That is why my nature is cool. I have been 20 years here and never seen any fighting. In Egypt it happens every day but in New Zealand I am calm because it is a safe country.”
posted by h00py at 11:39 PM PST - 54 comments

Marie Kondo vs a literal can of beans

People had an unnaturally strong reaction to the arrival of this woman and her promises of life-changing magic. There were people who had been doing home organizing for years by then, and they sniffed at her severe methods. (One professional American organizer sent me a picture of a copy of Kondo’s book, annotated with green sticky notes marking where she approved of the advice and pink ones where she disapproved. The green numbered 16; the pink numbered more than 50). But then there were the women who knew that Kondo was speaking directly to them. They called themselves Konverts, and they say their lives have truly changed as a result of using her decluttering methods: They could see their way out of the stuff by aiming upward. NYT Magazine article, comments mostly worth browsing.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:37 PM PST - 170 comments

"We have to choose between silence and the acceptance of risk."

Even Doing Academic Research On Video Games Puts Me At Risk: On managing personal information in a risky field.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:20 PM PST - 29 comments

"You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!"

A baby training with Rocky Balboa. Yup.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:44 PM PST - 12 comments

Ladies of the 1980s

Bitch Flicks offers a number of pop culture related essays (mostly film) from their recent website event, Ladies of the 1980s Theme Week. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:39 PM PST - 7 comments

"Her hands are soaked in blood and history will write her that way."

In 2006, Emma Sky was a 36-year-old working for the British Council in the Middle East when she hired on as Political Advisor to US General Odierno, Corps Commander for Iraq. According to this writer, she is the "Mother of Daesh". A former colleague compares her to le Carre's Little Drummer Girl. Emma Sky speaks for herself in Slate (she blames Obama) and The Atlantic ("Iraq is Finished"). (NB: the first link goes to a very long article, which includes the entire testimony of Emma Sky before the UK Irag Inquiry. At the very end of the linked piece are a number of other links to more info.)
posted by CCBC at 3:31 PM PST - 59 comments

In a seedy basement laboratory...

The Sega Saturn is a home video game console that was released in 1994, and in the subsequent 20+ years many of the Saturn CD drives have failed. But a tinkerer known as Dr Abrasive has finally cracked the console's DRM. This in-depth video of his process is technical, but probably/hopefully interesting even for non-programmers.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 3:07 PM PST - 23 comments

...and rise above

Bury It, the latest track from CHVRCHES, featuring Hayley Williams and with an outstanding video by comics artist Jamie McKelvie.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM PST - 39 comments

I’d Love to See a Walrus Before I Die.

On August 8, Crystal Cruises' ship "Crystal Serenity" will depart Anchorage, Alaska for a month-long cruise through the legendary Northwest Passage. Price per person: $120,095. Understandably, not everyone is thrilled with the idea of a 68,870 gross ton, 820-long, diesel-powered luxury liner cruising the fragile Arctic. [more inside]
posted by Scoop at 1:48 PM PST - 62 comments

There's a bear in there

And a chair as well! There's people with games and stories to tell. It's Play School. The much loved Australian children's television program celebrates 50 years on the air. [more inside]
posted by adept256 at 1:02 PM PST - 15 comments

Life Behind the Stacks

The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries
posted by boo_radley at 12:39 PM PST - 16 comments

Shorter Human Mode

Users come in all shapes and sizes; some tall, some short, some seated. Since the user interacts in a room-scale VR space with a realistic approximation of their body, the physical dimensions of both the space and the user matter. Depending on the design of the space and the dimensions/limitations of that user, they may not be able to interact with the space in an ideal fashion, if at all.
Accessibility in VR: Head Height, first in a continuing series of articles.
posted by carsonb at 12:24 PM PST - 8 comments

Why 'Tough' Treatment Doesn't Help Drug Addicts

Maia Szalavitz [mefi's own maias] talks about her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (transcript) - "We have this idea that if we are just cruel enough and mean enough and tough enough to people with addiction, that they will suddenly wake up and stop, and that is not the case."
posted by kliuless at 11:43 AM PST - 56 comments

Everybody has a story to tell.

Minnesota's nickname is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." But for local reporter Boyd Huppert and photojournalist Jonathan Malat of KARE-11, Minneapolis, it's also the Land of 10,000 Stories. Their long-running news segment highlights touching, local, human interest pieces, and has won multiple awards for excellence in journalism. A special hour-long compilation of eight popular stories aired last year.
posted by zarq at 11:41 AM PST - 5 comments

Space Dashboard

Wondering what's going on in space right now? Space Dashboard. [more inside]
posted by zamboni at 11:06 AM PST - 15 comments

hammer vs. drum

Blacksmith vs. Minotaur - BattleBots
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:00 AM PST - 52 comments

(W)Here lies Constance Wilde?

"Oscar Wilde’s long-suffering wife is supposed to be buried in Italy. So what’s her gravestone doing in a cemetery in Spain, and who lies under it?" [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:39 AM PST - 4 comments

First you pee.

Want to teach your kitty the proper way to use the toilet? Viiru the cat shows you how it's done. (SLYT)
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:01 AM PST - 25 comments

They're only at Denmark

Would you like to see a video profile for every country in the world? Alphabetically?
posted by bq at 9:48 AM PST - 11 comments

Postcards from the Great Divide

Postcards from the Great Divide: political stories from a divided America, is a nine part short film series from across the country telling stories of our politics and our culture. (Washington Post article on the series.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:03 AM PST - 1 comments

Underground, underwater

In Zarrilli's view, there is no time to waste. By 2030 or so, the water in New York Harbor could be a foot higher than it is today. That may not sound like much, but New York does not have to become Atlantis to be incapacitated. Even with a foot or two of sea-level rise, streets will become impassable at high tide, snarling traffic. The cost of flood insurance will skyrocket, causing home prices in risky neighborhoods to decline. (Who wants to buy a house that will soon be underwater?) - Can New York City Be Saved In The Era Of Global Warming? - Rolling Stone.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM PST - 35 comments

Fix It In Production

Finally going to get that independent film project off the ground? Think you're ready to go into production? A 1st Assistant Director Tells You What Mistakes To Avoid When Shooting An Independent Film. The main takeaway? It's all about planning, planning, and more planning.
posted by hippybear at 8:37 AM PST - 9 comments

The Pocket Watch Database

Dive down the rabbit hole of vintage (American) pocket watches with the Pocket Watch Database.
posted by jedicus at 7:49 AM PST - 6 comments

Cameron-May-Corbyn-Eagle

BBC: Theresa May set to be UK PM after Andrea Leadsom quits - "Theresa May is set to become the UK's next prime minister after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest to become Conservative Party leader. The timing of the handover of power from David Cameron is currently being discussed, but could be within days." And over at Labour.... BBC: "Labour leadership: Angela Eagle says she can unite the party" - "Angela Eagle has said she can provide the leadership "in dark times for Labour" that Jeremy Corbyn cannot, as she launched her leadership challenge." [more inside]
posted by marienbad at 7:43 AM PST - 902 comments

Then there's the laser rot.

How modern tech saved my 'Dragon's Lair' arcade game
posted by griphus at 6:39 AM PST - 15 comments

“You fill out all this paperwork, they just push you out.”

One year out: On July 13, 2015, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Here’s what their lives are like now. [The Washington Post] Few aspects of the Obama administration have been uncontroversial. Yet releasing 348 people from prison early provoked remarkably little criticism. To date, President Obama has commuted more sentences than his seven predecessors combined; when the president granted clemency to 46 nonviolent drug offenders last July, many of whom were sentenced under laws that no longer exist, critics mostly complained that he hadn’t let more people go free.
posted by Fizz at 5:49 AM PST - 14 comments

When the joke backfires

Women Were Included in the Civil Rights Act as a Joke And a racist joke, at that. But working women and black civil rights lawyers had the last laugh when they brought women’s workplace rights to the courts and won.
posted by infini at 5:33 AM PST - 16 comments

Unlike the Men in Her World, She Doesn’t Cower

While Pynchon has been placed firmly into the masculine canon of the previous century, Oedipa is his breakout character: a woman who, against all odds, strives to remake the world into a place of meaning and structure. It is the men in Pynchon’s California who are secondary: they are duplicitous, flighty, and weak .... In our present moment, it is necessary, rather than radical, to be paranoid. Paranoia is now the result of being aware and observant. We are being watched, tracked, traced, and catalogued. Oedipa’s nightmare has become our reality. Therefore, 50 years later, we should allow her to become our guide. Nick Ripatriazone on Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49
posted by chavenet at 3:35 AM PST - 14 comments

What Meetups Tell Us About America

"We collected data on each of the 127,000 Meetup events created in the United States since 2002 and analyzed this data to understand what people care about across the country. What we found confirmed several city stereotypes: the Bay Area is the home of tech, New York is the epicenter of fashion, and D.C. reigns supreme in multiculturalism. We also looked into what Meetup data tells us about the other homes of tech, and the cities most interested in music, and finding love."
posted by ellieBOA at 2:55 AM PST - 15 comments

"New patients have to wait four years for their first appointment"

The number of Britons taking steps to change their gender has shot up dramatically in recent years, leaving vulnerable people waiting years for treatment, reports the Guardian. [more inside]
posted by winterhill at 2:17 AM PST - 14 comments

“We built voice modulation to mask gender in technical interviews.”

interviewing.io is a platform where people can practice technical interviewing anonymously and find jobs based on their interview performance. Women historically haven’t performed as well as men—specifically, men were getting advanced to the next round 1.4 times more often than women, and had a 20% higher average technical score from interviewers. In an attempt to erase this difference, interviewing.io added voice modulation to their online interviews.
posted by Rangi at 1:05 AM PST - 15 comments

Mashup? More like Smash-up.

Megaplex is an 80-minute mix of music and "thousands of cuts from more than 80 movies", edited to be "dense enough to pressurize these diamonds in the rough into gleaming treasures" (complete with an "Epilepsy Trigger Warning"; NSFW for brief nudity, violence and extreme grossness), from SmashTV, dedicated to "long form entertainment for a generation of Youtube junkies looking for their next fix".
SmashTV content previously posted here: "Skinimax", "Memorex", and their most impressive shorter piece "Christopher Walken Dance Now" (with dead link; here's where it is now).
If 80 minutes is too long for one big bite, they have broken it up into somewhat smaller pieces: [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:55 AM PST - 3 comments

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