September 17, 2020

"we no longer simulate slime mold, but take inspiration from its growth"

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!
posted by jessamyn at 8:29 PM PST - 24 comments

Built To Last

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.
posted by zamboni at 5:21 PM PST - 99 comments

13 minutes of humans being nice, plus swears

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.
posted by ardgedee at 5:06 PM PST - 11 comments

Minnesota’s ‘Root Beer Lady’ Lived Alone in a Million-Acre Wilderness

Minnesota’s ‘Root Beer Lady’ Lived Alone in a Million-Acre Wilderness [more inside]
posted by gt2 at 4:57 PM PST - 19 comments

Murderbot, is that you?

"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."
posted by not_on_display at 4:29 PM PST - 48 comments

Spinach and a sunbeam

Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP
posted by clew at 4:24 PM PST - 11 comments

Music Gear Bechdel Test

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.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:04 PM PST - 24 comments

"Did you catch the debate last night?"

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.
posted by the sobsister at 11:11 AM PST - 3 comments

The Number One Question I Get Asked Is Did Anyone Fart In My Mouth?

How we made: The Human Centipede [Grauniad] [Content may be NSFW, it being about The Human Centipede and all.] [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 9:59 AM PST - 44 comments

The Wreck of the Pere Marquette 18

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]
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:37 AM PST - 9 comments

sculptures with a twist

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]
posted by bitteschoen at 8:56 AM PST - 19 comments

Few Quids on the Block

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]
posted by adrianhon at 8:50 AM PST - 46 comments

"shortly before his troubling and inexplicable disappearance"

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]
posted by brainwane at 5:24 AM PST - 5 comments

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