January 4, 2016

The History of Farting for Money

Linda Rodriguez at The New Republic: “Roland, court minstrel to 12th century English king Henry II, probably had many talents. But history has recorded only one.” (Originally posted with a few additional pictures on Atlas Obscura.) [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 11:47 PM PST - 24 comments

Bierce by way of 1 WTC

The Unsettling Arrival Of Speculative 9/11 Fiction [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:04 PM PST - 36 comments

“You can give a lousy customer the boot.”

What A Sex Worker Can Teach You About Working For Yourself
posted by divabat at 7:39 PM PST - 15 comments

The Brand Keeping Oprah in Business

Tyler Perry doesn't care what the critics think of his work. His audience always finds it. (Rembert Browne for Vulture)
posted by box at 7:17 PM PST - 9 comments

Ask Historians. It's not just for breakfast.

Reddit's /r/askhistorians "Best of 2015" thread is something you'll learn from, maybe. Probably the most rigidly moderated subreddit regarding historical topics, /r/askhistorians has some of the smartest answers you'll find to some of the most unusual questions they answered in 2015. Check the thread for questions answered in earlier years.
posted by disclaimer at 6:24 PM PST - 19 comments

An orangutan builds a hammock.

An orangutan builds a hammock [SLYT].
posted by rdr at 4:21 PM PST - 43 comments

The Vowel Space

Vowels can be tricky to describe phonetically because they are points, or rather areas, within a continuous space... [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog at 2:52 PM PST - 17 comments

My day with ABC's Dinosaurs

"I recalled watching the show as a kid, as ABC's TGIF lineup was a staple for kids my age back then, and I thought the show was bonkers but was too young to really enjoy the nuance -- or, as much nuance as a show with creepy looking puppet dinosaurs going for wink-wink adult comedy wrapped in the façade of a kids show on primetime network television could possibly have." Baseball blogger Christopher Fittz live-tweets a New Year's Day binge-watch of every episode of the 1990s sitcom Dinosaurs.
posted by shadow vector at 2:06 PM PST - 43 comments

Habibi Funk

Fadoul et Les Privileges, Morocco's answer to James Brown.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:26 PM PST - 7 comments

Solving the 'bidoon' problem

When citizenship can be bought and sold In 2007, a Syrian French businessman named Bashar Kiwan went to the Comoro Islands with his team. They proposed to the government that they could sell passports to the Emirates in exchange for a lot of money that would then go toward infrastructure and development. The Comoros were so broke that they decided to go ahead with this plan. It is unclear how many people have these passports, but some say up to 100,000 stateless people are now Comoro Island citizens despite never having been there.
posted by Michele in California at 1:24 PM PST - 12 comments


The Genius is a South Korean variety show that focuses on strategy and social politicking. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:35 PM PST - 17 comments

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy

The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel. By Rick Perlstein, New Yorker. Puts the rising number of calls for Emanuel to resign as mayor of Chicago in context.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:40 AM PST - 63 comments

A Ham4Ham for the ages

Before going into a two month digital hibernation, the Hamilton lottery pulled out all the stops for possibly the greatest Ham4Ham yet: The women of Hamilton singing "My Shot". (Alternate angle.) [more inside]
posted by kmz at 11:20 AM PST - 55 comments

You still writing? You in any newspapers?

Chris Rose’s Pulitzer crystal sits in his small French Quarter apartment, its glass badly chipped from various accidents. The disfigured accolade for his work on a reporting team at the Times-Picayune is a reminder of both prowess and loss... Since then, New Orleans’ news community has seemingly cast Rose aside. No journalism entity in town will hire him, he tells me, not even freelance... And so for all of 2014, the 53-year-old Rose was waiting tables to pay rent and feed his three kids.
The irredeemable Chris Rose
posted by spinda at 11:13 AM PST - 19 comments

Here children are killed at public expense.

The Best Facts I Learned from Reading books in 2015. "Last year, I learned a piece of information so startling that I spent months repeating it to anyone who would listen."
posted by blue_beetle at 11:03 AM PST - 49 comments


Concept artist Tom Rhodes asks fans to submit detailed descriptions of their RPG characters. He then illustrates a random selection each week on RnD Fantasy. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:32 AM PST - 13 comments

You just might find that you’re more… CHICKtacular (!)

What I Learned From One Month Of Not Eating Raw Chicken
MeFi's Own GregNog with a personal essay "that I hope resonates with a lot of people". [via mefi projects]
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:31 AM PST - 98 comments

No word on Unobtanium

Scientists find four new elements and complete the periodic table's 7th period. Nearly five years after elements 114 (Flerovium) and 116 (Livermorium) were officially added to the periodic table of the elements, IUPAC is recognizing four more. [more inside]
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 10:25 AM PST - 46 comments

Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?

Gordon's Alive! The Untold Story Of Flash Gordon
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:07 AM PST - 90 comments

But is there a Costco nearby?

"Also, by dramatising the wildness of the outside, it fetishises the cosiness of indoors." Cabin porn: why hideaways are hot right now (Jess Cartner-Morley, The Guardian) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:43 AM PST - 65 comments

Bigger Luke

The Bigger Luke Wiki: "Bigger Luke, commonly abbreviated to BL, or more uncommonly BgL, is the slightly larger manifestation of Luke Skywalker that is said to appear in certain scenes of the original Star Wars Trilogy, contrasting to Regular Luke. ... The activity of combing the original Star Wars trilogy for instances of Bigger Luke is known as Luking. ... There have been many elaborate theories as to why there exists a larger version of Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars films"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:27 AM PST - 140 comments

Saudi Arabia Lights Another Fire in the Middle East

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people of "terrorism-related offenses", including Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shi'ite cleric who supported protests against the Sunni government. In response, protestors in Tehran set the Saudi embassy on fire, and the Saudi and Bahraini governments cut diplomatic ties to Iran, ejecting Iranian diplomats and closing their embassies in Tehran. The United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassador to Iran as well. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 6:50 AM PST - 62 comments

“So many books, so little time.”

The Great 2016 Book Preview [The Millions]
We think it’s safe to say last year was a big year for the book world. In addition to new titles by Harper Lee, Jonathan Franzen, and Lauren Groff, we got novels by Ottessa Moshfegh, Claire Vaye Watkins, and our own Garth Risk Hallberg. At this early stage, it already seems evident this year will keep up the pace. There’s a new Elizabeth Strout book, for one, and a new Annie Proulx; new novels by Don DeLillo, Curtis Sittenfeld, Richard Russo and Yann Martel; and much-hyped debut novels by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and Callan Wink. There’s also a new book by Alexander Chee, and a new translation of Nobel Prize-winner Herta Müller. The books previewed here are all fiction. A non-fiction preview will follow next week. While there’s no such thing as a list that has everything, we feel certain this preview — at 8,600 words and 93 titles — is the only 2016 book preview you’ll need.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz at 5:50 AM PST - 46 comments

The Unseen Threat of Capital Mobility

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions -"The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 4:20 AM PST - 31 comments

Adrian Street: Sadist in Sequins

A shot of the wrestler ‘Exotic’ Adrian Street and his father (taken by press photographer Dennis Hutchinson in 1973) has been described by the artist Jeremy Deller as ‘the most important photograph taken in Britain after the war […] it is the perfect summation of the difficulty post-war Britain had to come to terms with being a post-industrial country.’ Its subject is quoted in a BBC News piece (by Steven Green) as having said that the picture is ‘worth a million words, because it hasn’t shut its gob [...] ever since it was taken.’ [more inside]
posted by misteraitch at 4:15 AM PST - 16 comments

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