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Specialization is for insects

Ten desirable skills you can teach yourself is a nice round-up of terrific guides to teaching yourself new tricks including basic repair skills, learning a language (the Foreign Services Institute has a chart of how hard various languages are to learn), teaching yourself to code, building electronics (starting with soldering), getting yourself up to speed in photography, learning an instrument, developing a basic sense of design, the inevitable cooking tips, and even some starter self-defense moves. Also, a very nicely organized list of free online college courses.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:55 AM May 2 2012 - 30 comments [309 favorites]

Vox Roma

Over 143 episodes of audio, Mike Duncan has covered the founding of Rome through the Crisis of the Third Century in his History of Rome podcast [previously], having now reached the last pagan Emperor, Julian The Apostate. Enlivened by drawing on comparisons to popular culture, from The Empire Strikes Back (when Hannibal makes his appearance) to The Godfather (as a metaphor for Rome's social client system), Mr Duncan's work makes for fun, informative 25-minute sessions with the greatest empire of the ancient western world. If you're interested in more, the podcasts could be handily supplemented with... [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:32 PM Jul 10 2011 - 42 comments [305 favorites]

Javascript

What's a JavaScript Closure? Ever wonder about some of JavaScript's more advanced and esoteric features? Nathan Whitehead's interactive tutorial explains and walks through each of these concepts one step at a time. At the end of each lesson, you are encouraged to write short snippets of code demonstrating the concepts that you just learned, which are then automatically checked for errors and verified.

Perhaps you're new to JavaScript, or programming in general; CodeAcademy offers similar interactive tutorials that will teach you the basics, and hold your hand along the way. Perhaps you'd rather learn at a more even pace; CodeAcademy's CodeYear will introduce you to one new concept every week throughout 2012. [more inside]
posted by schmod at 9:43 AM Jan 20 2012 - 42 comments [305 favorites]

Because Print Is Not Yet Dead

Free online graph paper generators: variations of squares, triangle, rhombus, and hexagonal, circular and polar, for drawing, gaming, writing, note-taking and much more. Blank Sheet Music (Flash) for all arrangements (PDF). Create and edit your own grids, probability and logarithmic graphs, petri-dish inserts and storyboards. Also, multilingual  monthly and yearly calendars. Plus, more than you ever wanted to know about ISO paper dimensions and printable paper models of polyhedra. Prev-ious-ly.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 3:50 PM May 28 2012 - 36 comments [298 favorites]

Pulp Shakespeare

from ACT I SCENE 4

J: Your pardon; did I break thy concentration?
Continue! Ah, but now thy tongue is still.
Allow me then to offer a response.
Describe Marsellus Wallace to me, pray. [more inside]
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 6:48 AM Apr 20 2008 - 170 comments [295 favorites]

The truth has got its boots on: an evidence-based response to James Damore's Google memo

The truth has got its boots on: an evidence-based response to James Damore's Google memo [via mefi projects]
Mefi's own sciatrix drops science on Damore's unlistening head. Long, dense, and (from where I'm sitting) pretty darn definitive.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:43 PM Aug 19 2017 - 95 comments [293 favorites]

Things that will haunt you

Do you like creepy things? Lucia Peters has written an amazing series on "Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t" exploring Internet-age urban legends and carefully constructed hoaxes. From the world of underground video games that drive you mad, there is Killswitch and Majora's Mask. If you like modern takes on monsters, there is The Slender Man (who appears in Marble Hornets and EverymanHybrid), The Rake, and This Man. Horrible conspiracies can be found in the Indian Lake Project, the Montauk Project, and the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Haunted objects can be found in The Hands Resist Him and the Dybbuk Box. And, if you like little bits of creepypasta horror stories, check out Candle Cove and the Dionaea House. Be warned, even though this stuff isn't real (right?) there are often unsettling pictures and videos in these links. Now, I think I am going to go take a walk in the sun....
posted by blahblahblah at 10:26 AM Jan 13 2012 - 112 comments [291 favorites]

How to spot manipulative behavior

How to Spot Manipulation - PsychCentral
How to Pick Up on Manipulative Behavior - Basic guide from WikiHow
Are You Being Manipulated? Keys to Hidden Aggression - Good Therapy.org
Psychological Manipulation Resources - Band Back Together
Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation - cassiopaea.com
Subtly Controlling Behavior - Abuse and Relationships [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:48 AM Oct 29 2015 - 92 comments [291 favorites]

Of course, the frames are probably made from Chinese toothpaste...

A selection of eyeglasses for $8. (That's including your lens prescription.) Or if that's not to your liking, there's $39.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 8:24 PM Sep 19 2007 - 81 comments [288 favorites]

Highlights from Key & Peele's incredible run

In its all-too-brief 3½ year run, Comedy Central's sketch comedy powerhouse Key & Peele burned brightly, leavening Peabody-award-winning social commentary with sublime silliness and Hollywood-quality production values, all centered on the impeccable character acting of co-stars Jordan (Peele) and Keegan-Michael (Key). By the time its end was announced, characters like the Substitute Teacher, the East/West College Bowl players, and Obama's Anger Translator had captured the popular consciousness, while skits like TeachingCenter and Negrotown deftly spotlighted our most pressing problems. With the finale airing tonight, and the dynamic duo free to tackle other projects, why not revisit the program's concentrated brilliance in the form of ~100 of their very best short bits available on the web, sorted loosely by topic. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 10:27 AM Sep 9 2015 - 76 comments [288 favorites]

Where My Ladies At?

Recently Emily Graslie, of the fantastic natural history tumblr and youtube series TheBrainScoop, was asked a question about whether she had personally experienced sexism in her field. Her response is fucking amazing.
Inside is her goldmine of awesome female science educators online with channels that focus on Science Technology Engineering and Math. My work day is fucked.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb at 3:57 AM Dec 6 2013 - 37 comments [287 favorites]

It's a great day for America, everybody

After David Letterman signs off and the Worldwide Pants production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Scot making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of puppets (and a couple of scantily-costumed stagehands). Now on YouTube for your viewing pleasure, the complete collection of Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show musical numbers: "Say Hey (I Love You)" by Michael Franti and Spearhead - "White Lines" by Duran Duran - "Wonderful Night" by Fatboy Slim - "Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants - "Oops!...I Did It Again" by Britney Spears - "MMMBop" by Hanson - "In the Navy" by Village People - "Fireball" by Don Spencer - "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz - "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music - "She Taught Me How To Yodel" by Frank Ifield - "Fire" by The Prodigy - "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 4:51 PM Jan 18 2010 - 128 comments [286 favorites]

Let Me Tell You About Homestuck

5 years.
7,000 pages.
13,000 panels.
700,000 words. [Approximately the length of the Bible.]
Over 3 hours of animation.
Over 23 hours of soundtrack.
15 separate games, in 3 unique styles.

PBS once called Homestuck the "Ulysses of the Internet". Its author, Andrew Hussie — who resembles Joyce in his impishness, stylistic maximalism, and fondness for disturbing smut — calls it "a story I've tried to make as much a pure expression of its medium as possible". It has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring proms and dominating Amazon makeup reviews. But most importantly, it's a rollicking good read, equal parts slapstick and epic, bildungsroman and cultural commentary.

What on earth about it makes its fans so overly zealous? And how the hell does one start the daunting process of reading Homestuck? If you're even the remotest bit curious about this Internet phenomenon, the following is a teensy-weensy introduction to just what makes Homestuck so terrific. [more inside]
posted by rorgy at 1:14 AM Oct 16 2014 - 231 comments [286 favorites]

Basically every classic game and system in your browser

A gigantic list of browser-based emulators and classic game ports covers everything from the Amiga to the ZX-Spectrum. Some things not to miss for either the nostalgic or the lover of classic games: Play Dune 2 (the original RTS) in HTML 5; Command and Conquer; an authorized version of many Sierra adventures (works on iPads too); beautiful versions of the Nintendo Game and Watch games; a nice Apple //e emulator (Bard's Tale! Neuromancer! Karateka!); and, of course, every NES game [a few of these mentioned before]. All in your browser!
posted by blahblahblah at 7:42 PM May 15 2013 - 32 comments [283 favorites]

Even if Bloomberg Didn't, You Can!

Programmers will tell you that coding is one of the most approachable skills there is. If you want to learn, there's Code Academy, or perhaps LearnPython.org. There are major non-profits that want to help you learn, free books, and videos. Great! Finished with all of those? [more inside]
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:27 AM Jan 25 2014 - 102 comments [282 favorites]

The Mother of All Self Links?

Metafilter is laying off 3 of its staff, including long time moderator and frequent moral compass Jessamyn who is moving on to Internet Archive’s Open Library. November 2012, Metafilter experienced a sharp drop in traffic. Slate asks "Why has Google forsaken Metafilter?" But the problem is endemic of a larger issue. Google is breaking the internet. [more inside]
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:59 PM May 22 2014 - 734 comments [282 favorites]

communication breakdown

Why you're (probably) not a great communicator [more inside]
posted by flex at 6:14 PM Jun 24 2014 - 23 comments [279 favorites]

Things you never thought you could do with your camera

One of the most amazing user-led projects out there, CHDK firmware turns cheap Canon cameras into photography powerhouses. You can take take time-lapse movies as in this stunning sunset example; automatically photograph lightening; easily make pretty HDR images and stereograms; have unlimited depth-of-field; and, perhaps most impressively, take photographs with shutter speeds of 1/60,000 of a second!
posted by blahblahblah at 8:18 AM Mar 13 2008 - 69 comments [278 favorites]

Buying a scalpel set doesn't make you a surgeon, but...

Not all of us need, or want, $10,000 worth of Adobe and Microsoft software to be creative. So, here's some alternatives, each available on every major platform:

GIMP, for all your drawing and photo-editing needs. (Windows and OSX.)
Inkscape, for vector graphics creation.
Scribus, for incredibly powerful document creation.
FontForge, if you want to make your own fonts.
OpenOffice, the old standby for word processing, spreadsheets, and all those other office needs. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew at 10:03 AM Feb 20 2009 - 189 comments [277 favorites]

I ♥ DULUTH, The Story of the Maria Bamford Show

About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy, Maria Bamford was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe Web site. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan at 4:41 PM Jan 26 2013 - 100 comments [275 favorites]

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