October 17, 2018

Art and technology meet in Stargazing: A Knitted Tapestry

Australian software engineer Sarah Spencer hacked a 1980s knitting machine to create a massive star map. [more inside]
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:49 PM PST - 17 comments

"Some students knew beforehand and still consumed the cookies"

A Davis high school student allegedly baked her grandfather’s ashes into a batch of sugar cookies and gave them to classmates, some of whom were aware they contained human remains before they ate them, authorities said Tuesday. […] Asked if the allegation seems credible, [Police Lt.] Doroshov gave a long sigh. “Yeah.” (SL LA Times)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:46 PM PST - 126 comments

It's competitive gourd season, motherf**kers

From Barnesville, Ohio, Topsfield and Marshfield, Massachusetts, to Half Moon Bay, California, contest and county fair records for "heaviest pumpkin" have been falling like autumn leaves. National records have also been crushed beneath the weight of some impressive specimens - a new Canadian record (1,959 lbs), a new UK record for the largest pumpkin grown indoors (2,433.9 lbs), and a new U.S. (and North American) record (2,528 lbs). The current world record of 2,624.6 lbs still stands for now. Have pumpkins maxed out? [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:20 PM PST - 17 comments

A.. AH... SOM...THI...TO...E EAT...?

Eighteen year old high school student Hyun Cha
Lost all his family
Here, alone
At the end of the world
SWEET HOME - Youngchan Hwang, Carnby Kim
CW: violence, self-harm, suicide, monsters [more inside]
posted by Existential Dread at 8:13 PM PST - 10 comments

When I'd Give Her The World, She Asks Instead For Some Earth

The Tony award-winning 1991 Broadway production of The Secret Garden (adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel) is not particularly well-known. Its house is haunted by the past and its young heroine struggling to grow into the future. The show's sophisticated examinations of love and loss and its depiction of youthful self-discovery was deeper than typical musical fare. The main record we have of this show is the Original Broadway Cast recording [discogs], which features Daisy Eagan, Mandy Patinkin, and John Cameron Mitchell (very much pre-Hedwig), amongst others, and contains between song scenes which flesh out the story even for those who have never seen the show. Here's a YouTube playlist (I apologize for the commercials). [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 8:13 PM PST - 33 comments

Because of Mark Twain, Somehow

The Soylent Corporation maestro is under attack for making Soylent Green out of people. But we need people who take risks. We need people who try. We need people to eat. In Defense of Soylent Green Inventor Henry C. Santini (after the Popular Mechanics defense of Elon Musk)
posted by Artw at 7:44 PM PST - 29 comments

Patterns in Nature: RSB 2018 shortlist

The Royal Society of Biology’s 12 shortlisted entries range from symmetries seen under a microscope to camouflaged insects
posted by MovableBookLady at 7:38 PM PST - 4 comments

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship provides focus on the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:37 PM PST - 25 comments

There can be no greater issue than that of archiving in this country

The largest collection of the papers of President Theodore Roosevelt has been digitized and is now available online from the Library of Congress. Consisting of 276,000 documents and 461,000 images, the collection includes letters, speeches, executive orders, scrapbooks, diaries, White House reception records and press releases of his administration, as well as family records. [more inside]
posted by waninggibbon at 6:18 PM PST - 3 comments

When I Came Out to My Parents, Kimchi Fried Rice Held Us Together

I'd always thought that you're supposed to learn something about yourself when you come out, but I think I learned more about my parents.
It meant something to me that in the midst of my mother's grave disappointment, during a time in her life when everything had seemed to change, the rug pulled out from under her, somehow she and I could seek refuge in this one thing that would never change. I was still her son and she was still my mom, and kimchi fried rice—something only she could make—was still my favorite thing to eat in the entire world.
By Eric Kim.
posted by Lexica at 5:39 PM PST - 10 comments

Attack method #268324: Sonar Phishing

Don't have a photo of your victim to break into their phone? Too lazy to walk to the printer to smash that fingerprint ID roadblock? Not to worry: now you lazy cracker kids can infect your mark's device with the latest and greatest sonar phishing tech. Thanks, Lancaster University: Researchers Used Sonar Signal From a Smartphone Speaker to Steal Unlock Passwords (SL Motherboard). [more inside]
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 4:55 PM PST - 9 comments

Abortion to be decriminalised in Queensland

For over 100 years, abortion in Queensland has been a crime, unless a doctor considered it necessary to "prevent serious danger to the woman's physical or mental health". Last night, the Queensland parliament voted in favour of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill. The Bill removes abortion from the criminal code, allows abortion on request up to 22 weeks, and introduces safe access zones of 150 metres around clinics to shield women from harassment. [more inside]
posted by fever-trees at 4:51 PM PST - 9 comments

It's not rocket surgery

A malaphor is a Blend of malapropism +‎ metaphor. Examples: "We'll burn that bridge when we get to it"... "Even a blind squirrel is right twice a day"... "If a bear shits in the woods, does it make a sound?"... "An apple a day leaves the whole world blind" [more inside]
posted by growabrain at 2:51 PM PST - 129 comments

A Fighting Chance

Monday, October 15: CNN, 'Why Elizabeth Warren is #1 in Our New 2020 Rankings'; WaPo, 'Elizabeth Warren Has Her Act Together: Democratic 2020 Hopefuls Better Wake Up'. Boston Globe, Warren Releases Results of DNA Tests [more inside]
posted by box at 2:23 PM PST - 210 comments

"Twitter’s focus is on a healthy public conversation."

Twitter has released a dataset consisting of 1.24GB of messages and 296GB of media "that we believe resulted from potentially state-backed information operations on our service", according to the company. They come from "3,841 accounts affiliated with the [Internet Research Agency], originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran. They include more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts", and are being made publicly available in partially-anonymized form. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:51 PM PST - 16 comments

Status and meaning of photography in a digital world drowning in images

What next for photography in the age of Instagram? Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian's photography critic, examines the changing landscape of a thriving medium, and provides updates on his musings on an ever-evolving art form from six years ago, covering everything from the absurd number of photography festivals held each year to the value of truth in photography in the age of Photoshopping, in contrast with videos of a fatal shooting at an Iranian protest that went viral. In his prior piece, O'Hagan compared photographs netting high bids at auctions, between the 1906 "old master," Edward J. Steichen's The Pond - Moonrise, and Andreas Gursky's "The Rhine II". Adding to the discussion is the fact that the latter was, as Gursky said, digitally altered to "leave out the elements that bothered me." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:16 PM PST - 13 comments

American Mercenaries

A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War. [Buzzfeed News] “Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf. On that night, December 29, 2015, their job was to carry out an assassination.” [more inside]
posted by supercrayon at 11:51 AM PST - 36 comments

The NCAA Is Gaslighting You

In a longform piece for Deadspin, Andy Schwarz talks about how the argument at the core of the NCAA's justification for not allowing players to be paid - "the fans demand it" - not only doesn't hold up to any sort of scrutiny, but also how the NCAA works to make people buy into their view even with all the evidence against it. (SLDeadspin)
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:46 AM PST - 19 comments

The world is dying; come see it

"The world is on fire but the new Google Pixel 3 — a Good Phone, which I do recommend you buy if you like Android and can afford it, although its updates are mostly incremental — in my pocket is cool to the touch. ... My neck hurts. I am never not looking down. When I am not looking at my phone, I become slightly anxious. And then, when I do actually look at it, I become even more so. It reminds me of how I once felt about cigarettes. I don’t recall exactly when my phone became such a festival of stress and psychological trauma, but here we are." Matt Honan reviews the Google Pixel 3 for Buzzfeed News through a haze of existential angst about the smartphone revolution. (via Daring Fireball.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:33 AM PST - 56 comments


Training compassion ‘muscle’ may boost brain’s resilience to others’ suffering. "It can be distressing to witness the pain of family, friends or even strangers going through a hard time. But what if, just like strengthening a muscle or learning a new hobby, we could train ourselves to be more compassionate and calm in the face of others’ suffering?" Compassion Is Like a Muscle That Gets Stronger With Training: Loving-kindness meditation and compassion training boost empathic resilience. [more inside]
posted by homunculus at 10:40 AM PST - 14 comments

The Fascist Creep

“In Germany in 1933, Wilhelm Reich, in analyzing how a society chooses fascism, rejected the all-too-easy notion of the duped masses. He insisted that we take seriously the fact that people, en masse, genuinely desired fascism. Ignorant masses weren’t manipulated into an authoritarian system they do not actually want.” No Joke (Real Life) “And that brings me to the point of this little essay. How did America end up so hilariously, amazingly, spectacularly stupid, it couldn’t even figure out when fascism, comic-book fascism, in fact — replete with cartoon dictator, demonization, scapegoating, camps, bans, and so on — was rising right in front of its eyes?“ Why America Didn’t See Fascism Coming (Medium) Republicans Are Adopting the Proud Boys ( Daily Beast). “The past three years have seen a proliferation of such groups: organized reactionaries of various political tendencies seeking out ideological enemies (mostly, but not exclusively, on the anti-capitalist left) to beat to a bloody pulp.” Boys To Men (Baffler)
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 AM PST - 69 comments

It's like battling a monster

Elite Wildland Firefighters Are The Pride Of The Blackfeet Reservation [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 10:04 AM PST - 1 comments

Fiat Lux!

Next month, California votes on 11 propositions covering everything from rent control to transportation funding to taking control of the shared concept of time itself. State and local offices, judges, and local ballot measures on everything from homeless services to a public bank are all up for grabs, not to mention several competitive House races. Register to vote by October 22nd (or anytime through Election Day) or check your voter registration. Then find your polling place and your ballot. We'll take the state propositions one-by-one, and everyone can discuss what's on the ballot in your part of the state. [more inside]
posted by zachlipton at 10:00 AM PST - 89 comments

me, ordering a 3x3: is this a recuperation?

The Weird World of Secret Menus, Alison Pearlman
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that variations on the expression to hack the menu have been used to describe off-menu ordering at fast-food chains almost exclusively. This language, derived from computer hacking, encapsulates the secret-menu subculture that revolves around them. When I hear the verb hack used this way, I picture someone trying to game a system. Convinced that an organization can’t be trusted to act in her interests, she resorts to work-arounds and trickery. At the root of her approach is a reciprocal alienation: the system treats the individual as faceless and interchangeable, so the hacker views the system as a monolithic adversary.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:19 AM PST - 68 comments

Reply All episode 127 and 128: The Crime Machine

New York City cops are in a fight against their own police department. They say it’s under the control of a broken computer system that punishes cops who refuse to engage in racist, corrupt policing. The story of their fight, and the story of the grouchy idealist who originally built the machine they’re fighting.
PJ Vogt tells the story of the New York cop who brought data to policing, and the unintended consequences that followed. Part 1 (45 minute audio with transcript). Part 2 (40 minute audio with transcript).
posted by rebent at 9:07 AM PST - 15 comments

Caroll Spinney (STILL ALIVE), aka Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Retires

After nearly 50 years, Caroll Spinney (WHO IS STILL ALIVE) has announced that he is stepping down as the primary performer of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Spinney, last of the original Sesame Street Muppeteers, has already taped his final performances as Messrs. Bird and Grouch have already been taped for Sesame Street's 50th season, which will air next year. The tall yellow role will be taken by Matt Vogel, currently Count Von Count and Kermit the Frog; the short green role will be taken by Eric Jacobson, currently at least 10 other Muppets.
posted by Etrigan at 8:43 AM PST - 31 comments

Herb is the healing of a nation

Today is the day recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada. Canada is the second country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis after Uruguay (it has been decriminalized but not legalized in Portugal). The rules around cannabis sales and consumption will vary from province to province and from municipality to municipality. In British Columbia, where there is a backlog of private business licences waiting to be processed, pot will be available immediately through the provincial government's BC Liquor Distribution Branch, for sale online or in one lone storefront in Kamloops. Meanwhile, the federal government has announced it will move quickly to pardon those with past convictions for simple possession. [more inside]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:40 AM PST - 111 comments

I should’ve gone to therapy but instead I came back to Mississippi.

Bim Adewunmi on Kiese Laymon and his new book, Heavy. I write the way I write because my mother and my grandmother encouraged me not to write that way most of my life... But also, I listened to them talk to one another. And sometimes in private, I would hear my mother and my grandmother and my aunts talking in a way that I had never...just nothing I had read sounded like that. Maybe some Toni Morrison sounded like it, but I just heard them reckoning in a way that I wanted do in my art. I know English. I know all the rules. I read damn near all the books. I mean, I literally have to read all the books! So if I wanna fuck around with the language, I can do that. Because my mama created a fucking reading machine.” [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura at 5:27 AM PST - 14 comments

Teacup pigs are popular on YouTube and Instagram once again..

What most sellers/owners don't know (or won't tell you) is that most of these micropigs aren’t going to remain small ... " It’s a universal truth that what’s old will eventually become new again, and what’s beloved on Instagram or YouTube can never truly die. And so, adopting teacup pigs, a fad inspired partly by Paris Hilton in 2007 (the same year Hilton’s reality series, The Simple Life, ended) is back. " [more inside]
posted by Faintdreams at 3:05 AM PST - 42 comments

In Every Way Shopping Reinforced Hierarchy. Until Sears.

The catalog undid the power of the storekeeper, and by extension the landlord. Black families could buy without asking permission. Without waiting. Without being watched. With national (cheap) prices! How the Sears Catalog Undermined White Supremacy in the Jim Crow South -- a catalogue of fascinating articles curated by [MetaFilter's Own™] Jason Kottke
posted by chavenet at 1:13 AM PST - 25 comments


Alice Mann has won the 2018 Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize for her series 'Drummies' featuring South African teams of all-female drum majorettes
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:42 AM PST - 10 comments

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