December 4

Hafod Hardware Christmas Advertisements

Situated in the centre of Rhayader [Mid-Wales] is one of the oldest businesses in the town- Hafod Hardware. The shop is a traditional old fashioned ironmongers with wooden flooring and walls and ceiling lined in pine. "The shop is not 'Open All Hours', but we have been open since 1895." [more inside]
posted by Thella at 2:54 AM - 2 comments

December 3

With fewer tourists to entertain, it has found a much more important use

An empty Paris hotel now shelters the homeless - "In normal times the Hotel Avenir Montmartre is a tourist magnet with its views of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur church, but COVID-19 has scared off the usual guests. Instead, the hotel has opened its doors to the homeless." [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 11:26 PM - 4 comments

RIP Alison Lurie, Pulitzer-winning novelist, 1926 - 2020

Alison Lurie, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who blended mordant wit and boundless empathy to chronicle the lives of women searching for self-knowledge and self-fulfillment while going about the business of everyday life, died Dec. 3 at a hospice facility in Ithaca, N.Y. She was 94. The death was confirmed by her husband, Edward Hower. He did not cite a specific cause. [more inside]
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:33 PM - 6 comments

Visualizing the R-value in yarn

Want to see a crocheted illustration of the importance of reducing the R-value? Norwegian biostatistician Kathrine Frey Frøslie explains in this 4-minute video.
posted by Quietgal at 7:14 PM - 10 comments

Like beggars by the wayside dressed in gay attire

Born in 1822 to a prominent family in Talbot County, Mary Elizabeth Banning moved with her older sister and widowed mother to Baltimore in 1855. Alongside tending to her ailing family members, she cultivated her penchant for the study and illustration of natural objects, especially mushrooms. After some correspondence with leading botanists of her time, in 1868 she began to write and illustrate a complete catalogue of the fungi of Maryland. The project took her more than twenty years and resulted in a manuscript of scientific descriptions accompanied by 175 detailed, 13" by 15", original watercolor illustrations of mushroom species, many of which previously unknown. [more inside]
posted by progosk at 4:36 PM - 7 comments

The Social Life of Forests

Trees appear to communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi. What are they sharing with one another?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:36 PM - 33 comments

Every Mr. Darcy (that you care about), ranked

Traditionally, people who click on articles ranking various Mr. Darcys are one of two types: a MacFadyen through the mists person or a Firth in the drink person. Therefore, I must apologize now, as both are tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me. Don’t @ me, Firth-hive. In honour of the 25th anniversary of the beloved 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, Emily Temple ranks all the Mr. Darcys she cares about in LitHub. Features (among others) a life-sized Mr. Darcy cake and Mr. Darcy as played by a Jack Russell Terrier.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:28 PM - 32 comments

1872 Equine Flu

In 1872 the U.S. economy was growing as the young nation industrialized and expanded westward. Then in the autumn, a sudden shock paralyzed social and economic life. It was an energy crisis of sorts, but not a shortage of fossil fuels. Rather, the cause was a virus that spread among horses and mules from Canada to Central America.
posted by ShooBoo at 1:22 PM - 4 comments

New apple variety discovered in UK

Archie Thomas stumbled across solitary windfall fruit that could be cross between cultivated apple and European crab apple. Thomas admitted he may be biased, but said he thought the apples tasted great. “Tart but not wincingly-so, and with enough sweetness to eat raw … They speak of the terrain of Wiltshire; unimproved chalk grassland and chalk streams,” he added. As for the name, Thomas said he felt pressure to get it right: “I have too many ideas. My seven-year-old son wants me to call it Cristiano Ronaldo but that’s not happening. My wife, Hannah, is the apple of my eye, so she’s in contention.” (via The Guardian)
posted by Bella Donna at 12:04 PM - 17 comments

Glad I dropped Disney+ and not HBO Max

Warner Bros. will launch every 2021 movie on HBO Max at the same time they hit theaters -- CNBC; Warner Bros. Smashes Box Office Windows, Will Send Entire 2021 Slate to HBO Max and Theaters -- The Hollywood Reporter; ‘Dune,’ ‘Matrix 4,’ and Every 2021 Warner Bros. Film to Debut on HBO Max and in Theaters at Same Time -- Indiewire
posted by valkane at 11:36 AM - 78 comments

some bragged about children; others threw them to the wolves

Shedd, Oregon. December 25, 1948. “Dear Friends,” wrote Marie Bussard, a homesick mother of three. “Now that Christmas is here again... we find that there is too much news to fit into a note on each card. We have borrowed this idea of a Christmas News Letter from our friends the Chambers and the Danns.” So they’re the ones to blame. A year-end ritual we have learned to love and hate simultaneously, the holiday newsletter has always been Americanish—efficient, egalitarian and increasingly secular.
posted by sciatrix at 11:21 AM - 14 comments

“A neo-Buddhist sci-fi romp through the embryonic Gaian hive mind” is an audio-visual experience for meditating on space, and the earth, and us.
If you’d like a more structured, user-friendly experience check out the library of texts and audio excerpts used to create the site.
Curated by u/CuratorOfTheLibrary
posted by Going To Maine at 10:36 AM - 6 comments

Bro Culture, Fitness, Chivalry, and American Identity

Imperial wars overseas always come home eventually, and they do so in complex ways. The fact that millions of people listen to Jocko Willink, buy Black Rifle Coffee Company merchandise, and dabble in more extreme fringes is a product of decades spent elevating not just military service writ large but violent combat overseas against ill-defined Others. For every Jocko Willink, there’s an Eddie Gallagher, the SEAL who was convicted of and then recently pardoned for war crimes after becoming a cause célèbre for large swathes of the online right [more inside]
posted by Carillon at 10:17 AM - 27 comments

Arecibo collapse

Arecibo observatory collapse video footage Incredibly a drone was conducting a remote inspection of the Arecibo observatory support cables at the exact moment it collapsed. (video on twitter)
posted by GuyZero at 9:24 AM - 38 comments

"...she does not belong in talk radio as practiced in North America"

A host on a morning talk-radio news show quits after racist threats. Supriya Dwivedi, host on Toronto AM talk-radio station 640 CFMJ, resigned after enduring increasingly aggressive threats from listeners. Her resignation follows months of online harassment which she contends in a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission was feebly-addressed by her employer Global and its parent company Chorus Entertainment.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 9:07 AM - 23 comments

The Beirut Port Explosion: Forensic Architecture

"Mr Collett contended that from an engineering perspective, the arrangement of goods within the building was the spatial layout of a makeshift bomb on the scale of a warehouse, awaiting detonation." Forensic Architecture, a research group based at the University of London, investigates the Beirut Port explosion and publishes its findings. (Forensic Architecture previously on the blue) [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:03 AM - 9 comments

"I may have just found my new favourite content discovery mechanism"

Oisín Moran explains how he made his self-quoting tweet
posted by Stark at 8:46 AM - 5 comments

Now we know where the toilet paper went

"Hi... Two Zero Two Zero?"
"Please, call me 2020."

posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 8:20 AM - 7 comments

The Hypocrisy of Dave Chappelle’s Power Play

“He convinced Netflix to pull his old sketch show from streaming by saying it made him feel bad. Funny how that works.” (Medium)
posted by girlmightlive at 8:14 AM - 30 comments

100 Tampons

Yes it's that Sally Ride story, put to beautiful song. [previously]
posted by phunniemee at 7:55 AM - 9 comments

"choose who joins your conversation"

"BBC Dad" Robert E. Kelly (previously, previously) "knows something about interruptions" so he made an ad for Twitter (1-minute subtitled video) to help advertise Twitter’s new conversation settings. (People can mark individual tweets so that "Everyone", "People you follow", or "only people you mention" can reply (which means that, if desired, a user can make a tweet un-reply-able). Twitter started testing this feature early this year and now it's apparently available for all users.) Yes, his kids are in the ad.
posted by brainwane at 6:27 AM - 6 comments

December 2

Sanna Marin: The feminist PM leading a coalition of women

They were all women. At the time the photo was released, only one leader of the five-party coalition was over the age of 34.

Previously on MeFi...
posted by dfm500 at 7:27 PM - 9 comments

Admit it. You're Fascinated

Do Rats Have Orgasms?
posted by BadgerDoctor at 3:47 PM - 39 comments

Solar is 89% cheaper and wind 70% cheaper than it was in 2009

Why did renewables become so cheap so fast? And what can we do to use this global opportunity for green growth? A new report from Our World in Data.
posted by Cash4Lead at 2:12 PM - 81 comments

What Is the Sound of Thought?

What Is the Sound of Thought? (The MIT Press Reader): Why do we include the sounds of words in our thoughts when we think without speaking? Are they just an illusion induced by our memory of overt speech? Related: That Little Voice in Your Head, If You Have It, May Be Aligning Your Thoughts (Neuroscience News)
posted by not_the_water at 8:38 AM - 54 comments

Castles in the Sky

While renovating a house in San Francisco, a couple discovered a diary, hidden away for more than a century. It held a love story—and a mystery. [SL Atavist]
posted by ellieBOA at 6:27 AM - 25 comments

Stephen Biesty, take note

Salvage operations on the SS Golden Ray: In September 2019, the SS Golden Ray left the port of Brunswick, Georgia carrying a load of cars. It capsized shortly thereafter in the shallow waters of St. Simons Sound. Salvage operations have now begun, and it is fascinating to see how such a massive object is moved. The star of the show is the VB 10000, a massive gantry crane built on two barges. The wreck will be cut into eight sections, and a few days ago the first section was removed. (Facebook photo album) [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:04 AM - 29 comments

Metal Kenneth Copeland

Andre Antunes creates metal versions of popular music. His most recent work adapts the preaching of Kenneth Copeland and Paula White to the genre.
posted by adept256 at 2:33 AM - 15 comments

December 1

My Neighbor, Miguel

A short documentary about a magical San Francisco resident and artist (SL Vimeo) (CW: while not the majority of the film, he does talk about his experience of living through the AIDS crisis)
posted by treepour at 4:30 PM - 5 comments

kindred spirits

"I love Anne of Green Gables. I have for years. That’s one of my favourite things. She’s such a can-do kind of girl, that’s why I’m crazy about her. And that Gilbert Blythe? He’s a charmer. And Marilla, a lady who knows just how she wants things to go? Oh yes, I think I can appreciate that as well.” Aretha Franklin loved Anne of Green Gables, and Canadian author and journalist Evelyn C. White explores why that might be.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:07 PM - 15 comments

Correlation, causation or curse?

In 2017, a 29 year-old woman in Mexico City was given an MRI while undergoing an exorcism. Then things got weird: 8 out of 13 participants (61.53%) [in the research] had accidents and sudden events that put their lives in danger. [pdf paper] via Tom Whitwell's annual list
posted by gottabefunky at 12:04 PM - 46 comments

Elliot Page Is Trans

Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page announces that he is transgender. Variety also posted an article about his announcement.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 10:35 AM - 94 comments

*slaps roof* this bad boy can fit so many fucking polyhedra in it

You looking for Platonic solids? Maybe some versi-regular polyhedra? How about some regular hexagonal toroidal solids? We've even got self-intersecting quasi-quasi-regular duals, though we can't legally insure those.

We got all this and more down at dmccooey's visual polyhedra site, your one-stop shopping destination for HTML5 polyhedral renderings.
posted by cortex at 9:48 AM - 27 comments

A century-old entomological mystery solved

He Was a Stick, She Was a Leaf; Together They Made History — A surprise clutch of eggs has solved a century-old leaf insect mystery. (SLNYT)
posted by beagle at 9:36 AM - 8 comments

"I was never in your--"

The Supernatural Finale Aired, And Tumblr Exploded - a longform video dissection of the long-running CW show Supernatural, its exceptional fandom, their favorite ship (Destiel), and the controversial finale, by vlogger Sarah Z. [YT, 1:45:34; video has spoilers for virtually the entirety of the fifteen-season show] [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:22 AM - 32 comments

Nut Cracker Suite

The Best Ways to Remove a Rusted Nut from a Bolt. It's an aggravating DIY challenge. And it turns out that the most commonly used techniques (WD-40, simple wrench, Vise-grips) aren't the most effective. The simple wrench in fact, makes things worse. (SLYT). The video lists sixteen (!) ways to conquer the rusted nut, from easiest to hardest.
posted by storybored at 8:52 AM - 49 comments

Roadmap for autonomous vehicles

Tesla has released a re-written version of its "Full Self Drive" software. Beta testers has been posting enthusiastic reviews. The company has pulled off the trick of getting customers to pay for and test software where they still bear responsibility as drivers. Others, such as Waymo, prefer to run trials in carefully mapped areas with driverless vehicles. Autonomy promises fewer cars on the road and , less space dedicated to parking. Perhaps manufacturers will prefer to profit from their own vehicle networks rather than by selling cars to the public? Tesla talks (contentiously) about providing systems which are much safer than imperfect human drivers - but the developing technology must cross a chasm of "edge cases" to succeed. This can be painful: there have been fatalities associated with driver's employing Tesla's auto-pilot and FSD, to date. A world of Robotaxis will also end numerous transport related jobs. But can we be confident it will never happen? The technology will surely tempt governments and planners.
posted by rongorongo at 7:08 AM - 98 comments

Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola Lobby Against Xinjiang Forced Labor Bill

Business groups and major companies like Apple have been pressing Congress to alter legislation cracking down on imports of goods made with forced labor from persecuted Muslim minorities in China. (previously: 1, 2, 3)
posted by - at 5:19 AM - 21 comments

A US immigrant on racism and shame

One of the surprises of the 2020 Presidential election was that Trump’s percentage of immigrant votes grew. By this I mean that my white friends were surprised. I was not surprised. Let’s talk about immigrant racism. To look at me, I am white. I have certainly benefited from my skin color throughout my life, but that whiteness was a suit I had to learn to wear. When my family moved to Philadelphia in 1970, they were moving into one of the most racist cities in America at the time, presided over by racist mayor Frank Rizzo. Mike Monteiro on Medium: My People Were In Shipping. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 4:47 AM - 38 comments

November 30

Volcano charges filed

A year ago 47 people, mostly tourists, were on Whakaari / White Island when the volcano erupted killing 22 people and injuring most of the rest. Today New Zealand authorities filed 13 safety violation charges against 10 organizations and three individuals. Each of the organizations faces a maximum fine of NZ$1.5 million (US$1.1 million). Each individual charged faces a maximum fine of NZ$300,000 (US$211,000).
posted by Mitheral at 2:53 PM - 23 comments

Ben Bova, 1932-2020

Ben Bova, six-time Hugo-Award-winning editor and author of 140 futurist fiction and non-fiction works has died. [more inside]
posted by mhoye at 2:47 PM - 57 comments

A New Jazz Century

From the Adult Swim Festival 2020, a remarkable performance by saxophone player Colin Stetson, which includes two unreleased tracks, "The love it took to leave you" and "Strike your forge and grin." [more inside]
posted by yasaman at 1:59 PM - 23 comments

Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics

These pages attempt to show the first uses of various words used in mathematics. Research for these pages is ongoing, and a citation should not be assumed to be the earliest use unless it is indicated as such. Mathematical Words: Origins and Sources by John Aldrich is an excellent article and companion to this web site.
posted by smcg at 12:41 PM - 7 comments

A Mission to Make Virtual Parties Actually Fun

Gretchen McCulloch explores the rapidly-growing world of proximity-based chat platforms (Wired) like Gather, CozyRoom, Spatial.Chat and Rambly. "What makes a party feel like a party, I've concluded, is that there are multiple conversational options that you can move between." Previously.
posted by adrianhon at 11:24 AM - 24 comments

Sweet Land of Liberty

94 years ago in May, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its 1927 pro-eugenics 8–1 decision Buck v. Bell, which found that, if it is in the compelling interests of the state, governments may involuntary sterilize “unfit” people who “sap the strength of the State”—that this is in keeping with the United States Constitution and other United States law. The SCOTUS ruling would be cited at the Nuremburg Tribunals by a fugitive Nazi party official charged with war crimes in his defense. It has never been overturned. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious at 11:23 AM - 17 comments

DeepMind "solves" protein folding

AlphaFold: a solution to a 50-year-old grand challenge in biology : "This will change medicine. It will change research. It will change bioengineering. It will change everything"
posted by gwint at 8:55 AM - 37 comments

How old, ambient Japanese music became a smash hit on YouTube

Seven out of 50 video clusters the researchers identified are deemed "situational" music. This designation doesn't operate under the standard concept of genres but rather the context in which the music takes place. This includes relaxation music like "Ambient/Chillout," "Sounds of Nature," and the ASMR-affiliated "Hair Dryer Sound." The paper concludes that situational music, sometimes deemed trivial by musicologists, is growing in popularity. They also found a cluster of "Ethiopia/South Sudan Music," suggesting the context of a local scene comparable to '80s Japanese ambient music. 2800 words from Catherine Sinow on YouTubecore for Ars Technica.
posted by cgc373 at 8:18 AM - 22 comments

Prehistoric rock art in Colombia

'One of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest' writes Dalya Alberge at The Guardian. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch at 6:46 AM - 11 comments

The Nova Scotia - Boston Tree

This tree from Nova Scotia is now in Boston Common. The Nova Scotians send one every year. Why? [Twitter][Threadreader] [more inside]
posted by jazon at 6:39 AM - 15 comments

A Whale Dismantling Building Site

The National Museum of Ireland - Natural History in Dublin (known affectionately as the Dead Zoo) needs a renewal of its leaky roof. However, accessing the roof means first de-installing two whale skeletons suspended from the ceiling. Updates of the ongoing work are being reported on Twitter under the hashtag #DeadZooDiary. [more inside]
posted by scorbet at 6:28 AM - 6 comments

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