Favorites from Foci for Analysis
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Some recent backtracking from what we have been calling “Microservices” has sparked anew the debate around that software architecture pattern. It turns out that for increasingly more software people, having a backend with (sometimes several) hundreds of services wasn’t that great an idea after all.
When (and why) right-wing conspiracy theories converge with faux-progressive wellness utopianism. A weekly podcast hosted by Derek Beres, Matthew Remski and Julian Walker whose experiences as cult survivors and yoga teachers inform their insights. In addition to the podcast and the extensive notes for each episode, resources include Redpilled , an "ever-growing list of wellness industry figures that have posted, shared, or explicitly created QAnon-related content."
Bijan Stephen interviews Frank Cifaldi and Kelsey Lewin (The Verge) of the Video Game History Foundation on their efforts to preserve videogame history by studying original source code, art, sketchbooks, documentation, and correspondence. They’ve already deconstructed Aladdin, reconstructed Days of Thunder, and recovered the NES version of SimCity. On October 30, they’ll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the The Secret of Monkey Island by looking through its source material with creator Ron Gilbert.
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.
I look at Classic Era scifi as a string of broken promises. Never went back to the Moon. Hardly any jetpacks. Gigabit internet in the city, dial-up in the country. But still I dream. What's a thing you'd like to invent, something maybe near-plausible, or something entirely fanciful? Can solve a societal problem, a personal problem, or no problem at all. Technological, biological, philosophical, what do you dream about improving?
Along with his new self-described “dystopian” solo album ANIMA, Thom Yorke has released a companion one-reeler of the same name, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Shot in Prague and Les Baux-de-Provence, the short film (watch here) follows Yorke dozing off while riding an underground train. When he finds himself unable to exit the station, he leaps across the turnstile and lands into a surreal world where he dances with a small army of people.
Clandestine Kenyan team has been paid and assisted by the CIA to take down terror suspects since 2004. “We’re really hands-on. We don’t just hand them the money once a month”, one US official said.The CIA and MI6 run a paramilitary execution squad in Kenya (part 2), started under Bush and continuing under Obama and Trump.
“Unconstitutional killings” include a family man wrongly slain due to mistaken identity, and allegations a terror suspect was summarily executed.
Britain’s MI6 plays a key role in identifying suspects for a ‘kill or capture’ list and finding and fixing their location.
Kellyanne Conway will step down from her role as White House counselor (previously, she was Donald Trump's third campaign manager, following Paul Manafort and Corey Lewandowski) at the end of this month to spend more time with her family (she promises 'less drama, more mama'). Her husband, DC lawyer George Conway, will step away from his role in the Lincoln Project (previously). He added that he'll continue to support the project 'passionately.' These announcements came as good news to at least one person--daughter Claudia Conway, 15, who announced yesterday that she was seeking emancipation from her parents. Kellyanne, George, and Claudia all mentioned taking a break from social media.
Facing Eviction, Residents Of Denmark's 'Ghettos' Are Suing The Government Earlier this summer, after it became clear that his housing project, called Mjølnerparken, would be targeted as part of a sweeping plan to rid the country of immigrant-heavy areas by 2030, Mehmood and 11 of his neighbors filed a lawsuit against the Danish government, with support from the Open Society Justice Initiative. The lawsuit, which alleges discrimination and seeks to invalidate a section of the government's so-called "ghetto package," comes as the country begins to grapple with broader questions about racism in light of global focus on the issue.
Kayhan Kalhor, playing a solo setar performance in Tehran's Abgineh museum (runs 55:34). Kalhor is also a master kamencheh player, an instrument he discusses here. More about the setar, previously.
Malone Mukwende, 20, is a second-year medical student at St George’s, University of London. “On arrival at medical school I noticed the lack of teaching in darker skin. We were often being taught to look for symptoms such as red rashes which I was aware would not appear as described in my own skin,” he told BME Medics. “When flagging this to tutors it was clear that they didn’t know of any other way to describe these conditions on patients of darker skin tones and I knew that I had to make a change to that.” (Atlanta Black Star, July 9, 2020) The result is "Mind the Gap: A Handbook of Clinical Signs in Black and Brown Skin."
Let's travel back to the spring of 2011, where several Mefites had the idea of starting a Metafilter magazine.
After two decades of Brazilian military dictatorship, Brazilians were inspired by a football club which made a point of voting on absolutely everything. Socrates and Corinthian Democracy. It was the "greatest team I ever played in because it was more than sport."
When a decomposing, century-old film becomes a haunting meditation on memory (Aeon): Created using a decomposing 35mm print of the crime drama The Bells (1926), the experimental short Light Is Calling (2004) depicts a dreamy encounter between a soldier and a mysterious woman.
Hi everybody. Yesterday* I posted this question, asking about sending my son to preschool. And today...
I send monthly letters to my two-year-old nephew, and started included small crafts with them - origami, window stars, coffee filter snowflakes, a friendship bracelet. What are other small, flat-ish things that I can make for him?
The history of paper engineering in books, or the making of "pop-up books" didn't start as a way to entertain children, but in the search for more tools to educate adults, including some proto-computers from as early as the 13th century. Let Ellen G. K. Rubin, known also as The Popup Lady, regale and inform you at length, in either the form of a 50 minute presentation for the Smithsonian Libraries, or read through her website, where she has a timeline of movable books and see the glossary for definitions of the different movements as starting points. Or you can browse the Smithsonian's digital exhibition (the physical exhibition ended a few years ago). And of course, there's plenty more online.
Sufi Muslims in Yemen would boil up the grounds of their coffee cherry leaves and pass around a dark potion as they prepared for a night of dhikr, or meditative chanting. A sixteenth-century Muslim writer named Abd al-Qadir al-Jaziri noted the habits of the mystics:
The video for Hania Rani's new song, F Major, is a single shot featuring the pianist and 3 dancers performing outdoors in -7C weather in Iceland.
(CW: Dark coronavirus/pandemic humour) Frankie Boyle on the pandemic: “Mistakes have been made in the handling of the crisis. Like flying the Buckingham Palace flag at half mast when the Queen’s not in, which is just an advert for burglars. In my local park, someone has tried to cheer people up by chalking 'You Got This!' on the ground. Literally the last thing you want to hear in a pandemic.” ... “The Prime Minister has written to every household in the UK. As that letter lands on the doormat, I won’t be the only one who’ll be picking it up with a couple of snooker cues, like a contestant on a Japanese game show.” Previous Frankie: 
Inspired by the movie Dodgeball, here are some obscure or 'less seen' competitive sports: Buttacrobatics If you look in the same direction your opponent points, you lose 10 year old girl wins Kent Bazemore's UNO tournament Bike Football T-shirt Relay PG-13 remake of The Human Centipede Trampoline Roman candle battle Portable belt sander races Ice soccer Brick Racing
The Radiohead Public Library is now open for business.
35 years later, the Bhopal disaster continues to destroy lives: “It would be better if there was another gas leak which could kill us all and put us all out of this misery,” said Omwati Yadav, 67, who can see the Union Carbide factory from the roof of her tiny one-room stone house, painted peppermint green with orange doors. Her body shaking with sobs, she cries out: “Thirty five years we have suffered through this, please just let it end. This is not life, this is not death, we are in the terrible place in between.” [Photos]
“ She started the job in April 2018, and within two months, or nearly 100,000 items, the lifting had destroyed her back. An Amazon-approved doctor said she had bulging discs and diagnosed her with a back sprain, joint inflammation and chronic pain, determining that her injuries were 100% due to her job. She could no longer work at Amazon. Today, she can barely climb stairs. Walking her dog, doing the dishes, getting out of her chair – everything is painful. According to her medical records, her condition is unlikely to improve.” Amazon’s internal injury records expose the true toll of its relentless drive for speed (Reveal) "We already knew that the facility had serious problems with injuries, but what we now know is Amazon is fully aware of these problems” New Report Shows 'Shockingly High' Number Of Injuries At Amazon's Staten Island Warehouse (Gothamist) Amazon’s On-Site Emergency Care Harms Those It’s There To Protect (Intercept)
AI Dictionary is a Twitter bot that tweets a . I wanted to see how much OpenAI's language model actually knew, so I tried to get it to define words... but I accidentally had it set to 'random', not 'best'. [via mefi projects] Semi-related: OpenAI’s GPT-2: the model, the hype, and the controversy (Towards Data Science), and Experimenting with OpenAI’s Improved Language Model (short post on Medium), which notes "The public at large will need to become more skeptical of the content they consume online."
Japan's Best Boring Halloween Costumes [Kotaku] “...at this annual event in Japan, participants are trying to do something far simpler—boring, even. This event is called “Jimi Halloween” (地味ハロウィン), with jimi (地味) meaning “mundane,” “plain,” or “subdued.” [...] Here are some of the best mundane costumes: Someone who cannot get a seat at the food court in the mall. The costume of a person wearing black clothing that has played with a cat. This woman is dressed as a person who is taking a photo of a meal. The person who cleans the escalator’s handrail. Someone about to win Old Maid. This man is dressed as a right-handed person. A person who is drinking a hot beverage. This is a costume of a person who would get mistaken as store staff at an eyeglasses shop. A person who has just purchased an umbrella the moment it stops raining. A guy who can’t find where his seat is at the baseball stadium.”
"Swedish pop was dominated by roving bands in garish costumes until Abba changed everything. Benny Andersson now leads one of those groups." [NYT] Benny Anderssons Orkester (Benny Andersson's Orchestra, BAO) went on tour this past summer. Here they are performing ABBA's song On And On And On, their own songs Story Of A Heart and Fait Accompli. Also, here's 18 minutes from one of this summer's shows [edited, good stuff]. All videos are amateur audience videos, but generally pretty watchable.
Vice debunks wellness myths, all in one handy list. A look into what the real science says about apple cider vinegar as a cure-all, whether gluten-free food is healthier, whether detoxing is good for you, microwaves and radiation risks, the benefits of colonics, and whether antiperspirant causes breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.
The ancient Greek story of a school massacre is a lesson we need to learn. “We labor in part with the misunderstanding of what the word hero means. And there is dangerous beneath that cornerstone of every college myth class, “the heroic pattern”, perhaps most well-known popularly in the form of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, the heroic journey. The “heroic pattern” is a crass oversimplification of narrative myth and a naive perpetuation of its limitations.” A long, critical read.
Hasegawa Takejirō was a late 19th century Japanese publisher, specializing books for Western audiences. Kyoto University of Foreign Studies has a gallery of his woodcut chirimen-bon (crepe paper books). Some of the books feature distinctive calligraphic English brushwork text, now turned into a typeface.
We asked Angelo to illustrate and describe the many incredible inventions made by prisoners that he had made, seen, or heard about over the years. These inventions are attempts to fill needs that the restrictive environment of the prison tries to suppress. The inventions cover everything from homemade sex dolls, condoms, salt and pepper shakers to chess sets, privacy curtains and ways of communicating between cells.
Four years after the release of No Cities to Love and one month after drummer Janet Weiss left the band, Sleater-Kinney released its new album today. Called The Center Won't Hold it's a clear collaboration with Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and for better or worse, a clear departure from their older material. What it means to Listen to Sleater-Kinney now. (track listing inside)
What It's Like To Stage In A Michelin-Starred Restaurant In France: The French brigade system and the ritual of staging has defined what it means to train as a fine dining chef for more than a century — and it broke me after a week.
Miriam Follin is a Swede who fell in love with a Chinese man, and in the process fell in love with rural China. Her videos document her life in the forests, mountains and farm villages of Qinghai and Shaanxi provinces. They have a dreamlike quality layered on top of an intense curiosity and devotion to nature and family.
“Amazon has built a vast logistics empire by subjecting its workforce to extreme forms of technological discipline — designed to keep workers isolated, fearful, and maniacally productive. This piece sets out to surface the “weapons of the weak” wielded by workers to resist this regime. I talked to current and former Amazon employees, spoke with warehouse worker organizers, read exit interviews on Indeed and Glassdoor, and visited online forums where Amazon workers congregate to complain, commiserate, shoot the shit, and seek and offer advice. I learned a great deal about the regime of total surveillance and bodily control that Amazon has built to manage its growing logistics workforce. And I learned about the counter-strategies that workers deploy to resist the dehumanization, boredom, pain, and mental anguish that Amazon’s disciplinary apparatus exacts.” Surviving Amazon