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Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment - "The poor do not employ one another, because the necessities they require are produced and sold so cheaply by the rich. The rich are glad to sell to the poor, as long as the poor can come up with property or debt claims or other forms of insurance to offer as payment..." [more inside]
You see them everywhere—exhausted young women pouring all their spare energy into organising, encouraging and taking care of young men who resent them for doing it but resent them even harder when they don’t. You see them cringing for every crumb of affection before someone cracks and it all goes wrong and the grim cycle starts again. You can fritter away the whole of your youth that way. I know women who have. - Laurie Penny, Maybe you should just be single [SL NewStatesman]
In March of 2010, programmer Eric Fry discovered a cheap digital tuner from Realtek could be modified to receive more than mere TV and FM Radio. Much more. [more inside]
This exhaustive list of useful mental models from the founder of DuckDuckGo, drawing on Charlie Munger's concept of mental models is well worth exploring. It contains a surprising amount of interesting jumping-off points to rules-of-thumb and insights from various fields, from Hanlon's Razor to the critical concept of BATNA in negotiation; and including such useful startup ideas as technical debt, organizational debt, and hunting elephants or flies.
R is quickly becoming the programming language for data analysis and statistics. R (an implementation of S) is free, open-source, and has hundreds of packages available. You can use it on the command-line, through a GUI, or in your favorite text editor. Use it with Python, Perl, or Java. Sweave R code into LaTeX documents for reproducible research. [more inside]
Sung in incoherent pseudo-English, Adriano Celentano's Prisencolinensinainciusol (1973) could be thought of as an early example of rap.
They were a couple of blokes from a small city in in England who started out messing around with instruments. Paul played the guitar and drums, and Phil the saxophone, but both were interested in electronic music by the likes of Kraftwerk. Phil also liked hip-hop, and Paul got into acid house in the late 1980s. One afternoon, Paul slapped together a happy little song based on a sample from a now-forgotten instrumental cover version of some pop hit, and called the little ditty Chime. Even before it was pressed on vinyl, DJs were asking for it, and Orbital was born. [more inside]
There seems to be a recent golden age of genuinely terrifying indie horror games that experiment with new ways to upset you. Slender [PC/Mac, free], is based on the creepy Slender Man mythos and has been garnering rave reviews and videos of terrified reactions as you try to escape the being that draws ever closer. The 4th Wall [free or $1 on Xbox/PC] is a even more abstract take on existential dread. SCP Containment Breach [PC, free] features the very disturbing Sculpture (even the picture in that link will creep you out) from the SCP series, it follows another SCP game - The Staircase. And there is more - Which [PC, free] has you stumble in the dark; Ib [PC, free] places you in the shoes of a girl in an abandoned art gallery, and Candles [free, Win/Mac] is all about atmospherics. On top of that, there are some cheap independent commercial games that generate great scares, such as Lone Survivor [online demo] and the now-famous Amnesia: The Dark Descent [PC/Mac/Linux, $20], whose upcoming sequel A Machine for Pigs, may have the best title of any game.
NickCaveFilter: Fifty years ago this very day, Nicholas Edward Cave [previously] crawled from the womb and started to plot. At 16 he formed his first band which evolved quickly into the Boys Next Door [Shivers]. This in turn mutated into the Birthday Party (1980) who terrorised the post-punk soundscape in Australia and the UK [Release the Bats | Nick the Stripper]. The Birthday Party relocated to England and in 1984 the band imploded in an orgy of drugs and booze. Shortly after Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were born [The Ship Song - video & solo live | The Mercy Seat - video & live | Where the Wild Roses Grow], and 23 years and 11 studio albums later (not to mention a best selling book, a great screenplay, some acting and several soundtrack projects) he is still going strong. But, instead of sitting on his musical laurels he decided to get back to basics and, in 2006, grew a huge moustache and formed Grinderman – a four piece with a primeval hybrid Birthday Party/Bad Seeds sound [No Pussy Blues | Honey Bee]. Fellow Mefites, I ask you to raise a glass to Mr. Cave… And, especially if you are not familiar to his work, don’t forget to “look inside” for my primer on the enigma that is Nick Cave, one of the finest song-writers on the face of this miserable planet. [more inside]
Something of a rarity on film, Jim Henson and Frank Oz get a chance to "ham" it up without a script, when The Muppet Movie director James Frawley requests some camera tests to see how the puppets look when filmed on location. The hilarious result: Part One | Part Two
The Big Lebowski as written by Shakespeare.
The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody: Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. (From BBC Three.) Oh, and... [more inside]
With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
America's gun problem is completely unique: Why is it that for all the outrage and mourning with every mass shooting, nothing seems to change? To understand that, it's important to grasp not just the stunning statistics about gun ownership and gun violence in the United States, but America's very unique relationship with guns — unlike that of any other developed country — and how it plays out in our politics to ensure, seemingly against all odds, that our culture and laws continue to drive the routine gun violence that marks American life. [more inside]
I Was A Teenage Sexist - "Girls – the ones we think of as “cool” – don’t trust other women, women who play by gender “rules” that the rest of us cannot quite understand. The most important things those women can seemingly do are spend money on clothes and appeal to the opposite sex. Meanwhile, we ourselves don’t feel particularly female. We only feel like people. It’s a tough fall. People intuitively detect that attitude, go out of their way to remind you that you’re not fooling anybody. You are a woman, and you will only ever be a woman." [more inside]
In 1999, officials in Vienna, Austria, asked residents of the city's ninth district how often and why they used public transportation. "Most of the men filled out the questionnaire in less than five minutes," says Ursula Bauer, one of the city administrators tasked with carrying out the survey. "But the women couldn't stop writing." - How to Design a City for Women [more inside]
In the mid-1800s, a snail spent years glued to a specimen card in the British Museum (now the Natural History Museum) before scientists realized it was still alive. What became of this snail? Ask Metafilter found out! [more inside]