December 9

The Mother of All Demos turns 50

On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave a demo of NLS, the "oN-Line System", to the Fall Joint Computer Conference of the ACM and IEEE. Later dubbed The Mother of All Demos, it demonstrated many concepts that would later become fundamental elements of personal computing, including the mouse, windows, hypertext, graphics, video conferencing, and word processing. [more inside]
posted by ckape at 3:45 PM - 2 comments

Smita Patil: The First Feminist In Indian Cinema

In a time where the feminist movement was fairly nascent in India and the film-industry was struggling between exploring social themes and conventional ones, Smita Patil was like the missing puzzle piece who fit just right. [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings at 12:59 PM - 3 comments

We didn't tell anybody what was going on in anybody else's room.

Cragne Manor is a text adventure commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Michael Gentry's Anchorhead. It's also a huge, ridiculous experimental collaboration.
posted by markx2 at 11:35 AM - 7 comments


Dimensions.Guide is a comprehensive and beautiful database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of all kinds of objects and spaces. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:51 AM - 9 comments

“a violence that continues to dehumanize and perpetuate racist ideas...”

Red Dead Redemption 2's Redface Proves How Far Games Haven't Come [Paste Magazine] “It’s nearly the end of 2018, and I have to write an article about blackface and redface in Red Dead Redemption 2. That sucks. It sucks, because it means no one bothered to interrogate the casting. It sucks, because I know the pushback I’ll get for being the one to call out readily apparent racism in a game that opened to $725 million in sales. It sucks, because we’re still having to have conversations about why the perpetuation of racist stereotypes and the dehumanization of people of color is bad. It sucks, because didn’t we just do this with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy? And it sucks, because I hoped maybe we could do better than Charles, and as a Native woman who got her start pleading with games journalists and developers to do better, I wouldn’t need to keep writing these articles.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 10:49 AM - 8 comments

We Don't Wants It

Andy Serkis joins the debate on Brexit by expressing Theresa May's inner Gollum. (slyt)
posted by Eleven at 9:55 AM - 12 comments

Arch history

The History of Architecture in Eleven Arches
posted by infini at 9:52 AM - 23 comments

twelve songs for the twelve days of christmas

1995 saw the release of You Sleigh Me, a compilation album of Holiday songs which featured an interesting selection of artists and many really good performances. Cassette Side A: Run Rudolph Run - Mary Kartzen, Blue Christmas - Collective Soul, Little Drummer Boy - Tori Amos, Christmas Lights - Donna Lewis, The First Noel - Billy Pilgrim, Make It Home - Juliana Hatfield [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:29 AM - 4 comments

The Smithsonian's 'Whale Warehouse'

A behind-the-scenes tour of the large facility that houses cetacean specimens for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
posted by carter at 7:47 AM - 1 comment

Hoping for a better world

Today is the 70th anniversary of the United Nation's passage of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. (Tomorrow will be the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) 45 nations have yet to ratify it. "Genocide" is a relatively new word, having been coined in 1943 to describe the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, but the practise is depressingly ancient and common. Biblical scholars argue about whether the Canaanites and Amalekites suffered genocide; Rome and Athens both committed genocides. A two-volume Encyclopedia of Genocide is available. The definition of genocide in the Convention is broader than the conventional usage, and Canadians might be dismayed to realize that forcing First Nations children into residential schools probably counts as genocide under the Convention.
posted by clawsoon at 6:15 AM - 10 comments

Uber is headed for a crash

What has made Uber a good deal for users makes it a lousy investment proposition. The notion that Uber, the most highly valued private company in the world, is a textbook “bezzle” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized — is likely to come as a surprise to its many satisfied customers. ... Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi effectively admitted that Uber isn’t profitable in any market when you factor in corporate overheads.
posted by mecran01 at 6:07 AM - 53 comments

"Route involved disappearing bridge over lake of fire. One star, no tip"

Uber engineers build an AI that can reliably beat 80s videogame classic Montezuma's Revenge.
posted by panama joe at 6:07 AM - 4 comments

December 8

Including "Ten Books to Help You Become a Librarian"

In "A Nella Larsen Reading List" (Lapham's Quarterly, Nov. 12, 2018), Jaime Fuller takes note of what the author of Passing and Quicksand herself seemed to enjoy reading: "The Harlem Renaissance novelist has faded in and out of focus ... although recent years have seen several biographies and an overdue obituary in the New York Times. Here is a list of books that flitted through her life." The third article in a series, its predecessors are "An Emily Dickinson Reading List" and "A Flannery O'Connor Reading List."
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:06 PM - 1 comment

Kittens to the left, kittens to the right, every friggin' night!

A lesbian metal song about kittens? Yes please. For something a bit more holiday-themed: Krampus Bitch. (From L.A.'s Sapphic Musk)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:26 PM - 6 comments

Photos of Isolated Tribes

In 2018, Jimmy Nelson published his second major project titled "Homage to Humanity." He visited 34 indigenous cultures in five continents, revisiting some from his previous journey. While his first book was a collection of pictures, this time the photographer decided to expand and added travel journals, maps, local facts, and personal interviews, shifting the focus of his story from the objects he captures to the journey itself. [more inside]
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:34 PM - 8 comments

Ready Player Two?

Back in 2009, the first Mario AI competition was held, using Markus Persson's Infinite Mario. Robin Baumgarten won, but the contest fizzled out after a couple of years. Then in 2015, youtuber SethBling (best known for his Minecraft and Mario hacks) coded a machine learning Lua program to play Super Mario games, cleverly named MarI/O. What was revolutionary is that this neural net was evolutionary. (Good explainer if you don't want to watch video.) But what was really meant as a demo took on an extra life of its own with Luigi/o, a livestream that's been running for months, improving the code, and finally completing every level of Super Mario Brothers. [more inside]
posted by rikschell at 7:47 PM - 3 comments

Disappearing Acts - An elegy on loss

Disappearing Acts A crushingly sad article about the mass extinction we are all participating in, with photos from Nick Brandt and others. [more inside]
posted by specialk420 at 3:19 PM - 15 comments

Liminal: Sigur Rós as a living, breathing eco-system

Welcome to Liminal. Liminal is an ‘endless’ Sigur Rós ambient playlist which is live today [May 8, 2018], brought to you by Jónsi, Alex Somers and Paul Corley. It will be built over linear time into a never-finished project. Albums will be released, volumes added to. Liminal, both live and locally, takes the listener to a place neither here nor there; a “liminal" space. Liminal + Liminal 2 + Liminal 3 = approximately 3 hours of ambient "chill-out" music from Iceland, both original compositions and remixes of works by this trio and others. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 2:11 PM - 10 comments

“It had never been done before on a system using the Z80 processor"

Joystick: The Untold Story of Ottawa's Coke-Fueled 1980s Video Game Industry. "Quest for Tires would become the first cartridge video game produced in Canada, and was a hit, winning 'Game Of The Year' from Video Game Update magazine who said 'B.C.’s Quest for Tires isn’t so much a computer game as it is an interactive cartoon'. Hailed as a game that is not another 'shoot the aliens and save the world scenario', and had 'first rate' animation." [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:01 PM - 20 comments

Black Grooves

Black Grooves is a monthly online music magazine highlighting the latest releases - often reissues of classic, underground, lost or simply underrated albums - by black musicians. It is edited by the staff at Indiana University's Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC). [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings at 12:17 PM - 4 comments

The Hard Border And The Forever War

“And, in the intervening decade since that photo was taken, there hasn’t been a holiday season in which the United States was not at war. This is a fact so utterly banal that it barely warrants mention anymore. When that photo was taken, we’d been at war in Afghanistan for almost as long as the Soviet Union was.” Deployed for the holidays: Troops at the border missed Thanksgiving to carry out an ill-defined and unjustifiable mission. They weren’t alone. (Outline)
posted by The Whelk at 10:35 AM - 18 comments

Skibidi: PART DEUX, errm, два!

Little Big's "Skibidi" (previously) now has its own Everything Wrong With video as well as a Making Of the Music Video (Russian language). More ominously, a #skibidichallenge has been virally propagating the "Macarenova" ("Gangnamevich"?) over the Web. (Many YouTube links) [more inside]
posted by zaixfeep at 9:34 AM - 13 comments

“I’m gay, black, a furry—pretty much everything a Republican hates—”

SonicFox Steals The Show at The Game Awards [YouTube] Dominique “SonicFox” McLean took home the award for Best Esports Player tonight at The Game Awards in Los Angeles. The 20-year-old full-time student and fighting game ace gave a candid acceptance speech that was one of the night’s more heartfelt moments. Stepping on stage in his now-iconic fursuit, McLean gave an acceptance speech that was funny, honest, and worth watching. [via: Kotaku] [YouTube][The Game Awards Full Show] [more inside]
posted by Fizz at 9:23 AM - 20 comments

Pikachu vs Eevee

If we're going to live in a world of ruthless competition, let it be like this.
posted by storybored at 8:54 AM - 13 comments

I wasn’t going anywhere except the airport.

I walked to the airport simply to see if it could be done. It was an expedition, like Magellan circumnavigating the earth or Lewis and Clark trekking to the Pacific Ocean, except we were heading to a place that had already been thoroughly discovered—by some 30 million passengers a year—and is only five miles, as the crow flies, from midtown Manhattan.
posted by gyusan at 8:12 AM - 55 comments

December 7

I bless the [covers] down in Africaaaaaa

Toto's Africa played on Japanese traditional instruments - koto, tsugaru-shamisen and steel drum (via NHK Blends). [more inside]
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:44 PM - 24 comments

"Leave it to a zombie show to take deadnames seriously."

To Zombie Land Saga's Lily Hoshikawa, The Best Trans Girl I've Seen In Anime: I’ve been watching anime for as long as I can remember and I never really found a character I could relate to over my gender troubles. That’s why I’m so grateful to know that you’re here. These days, I’m settled a little more comfortably as a trans person, but I saw a lot of myself in you and the turmoil we shared. You gave me a little push to be more expressive with my gender identity. I’ll always appreciate that. [more inside]
posted by one for the books at 9:57 PM - 11 comments

"This is probably a good idea, and I feel fit and confident!"

National Treasure Alexandra Petri (previously and ubiquitously) has compiled a list of 100 holiday songs, ranking them from Most Especially Heinous to Best. (She expounded upon the worst holiday song of all a few years ago.)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:15 PM - 156 comments

“[F]rom chocolate chips to Sriracha.”

Just in time for the MetaFilter Cookie Swap, the Washington Post has put together a Holiday Cookie Generator!
(Or, really, an ingredient-based cookie search.)
Mmm, cookies.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:59 PM - 19 comments

Fantastical Piñatas

The artist’s most recent series Illuminated Piñata pulls characters from the Luttrell Psalter (c. 1325-1335). Works from his Bosch series will be on view at the Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, CA in the group exhibition BEAST, opening February 2, 2019.
posted by MovableBookLady at 5:40 PM - 7 comments

Australia's national drink?

Lemon, lime, and bitters - a staple of golf, bowling and other clubs in Australia, could be considered the default non-alcoholic beverage. But how did it get this way when most other countries are unfamiliar with its piquant delights?
posted by smoke at 4:48 PM - 51 comments

It's Friday, Wanna Fight About Football?

The Offside Rule and The Guardian name the best 100 female soccer players of 2018.
posted by Tentacle of Trust at 2:13 PM - 16 comments

Browser wars update: Microsoft gives up

In 2015, Microsoft announced Internet Explorer would no longer be actively developed, in favor of their new web browser, Edge featuring a new proprietary rendering engine, EdgeHTML. In 2017, MS ported Edge to Android and iOS; instead of EdgeHTML they used Chromium (on Android) and WebKit (on iOS), both wrapped in Microsoft's UI. Chromium is an open-sourced browser platform for which the development is lead by and the project is hosted by Google.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the termination of their proprietary browser technology in favor of Chromium. [more inside]
posted by ardgedee at 11:06 AM - 82 comments

"That dead fly just makes me want to look away. And wash my hands."

Who Wore It Best? US book covers vs. UK book covers for 2018 (SLLitHub)
posted by not_the_water at 10:09 AM - 29 comments

9 and 3 or 8 and 4

"For decades, the standard instruction was that drivers should hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions, as envisioned on a clock. This, it turns out, is no longer the case. In fact, driving that way could cost you your arms or hands in particularly gruesome ways if your airbag deploys." Get with the times: You’re driving all wrong (NBC news) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:52 AM - 73 comments

"why is this a WHOLE ASS bop" -YouTube comment

Botnik feat. Morrissey – Bored With This Desire To Get Ripped
posted by josher71 at 9:39 AM - 13 comments

“...we retract the lips and cheeks using an OptraGate lip retractor.”

Disney Has a Horrifying New Method to Create Video Game Teeth [YouTube] “The ideal teeth appearance depends on the social and cultural context of the subject, as well as on their age since teeth appearance changes over time,” Disney researchers said in a paper titled Appearance Capture and Modeling of Human Teeth [.pdf]. “We present a system specifically designed for capturing the optical properties of live human teeth such that they can be realistically re-rendered in computer graphics. To capture the beauty of both the teeth and the oral cavity, Disney researchers needed their volunteer to remain still while a barrage of 54 different lights blasted at his face for 10-15 second intervals while a camera snapped pictures.” [via: Motherboard]
posted by Fizz at 8:47 AM - 37 comments

"Very legal & very cool"—Individual 1

The Special Counsel's office has been busy lately, beginning with Michael Cohen's surprise court appearance last Thursday to plead guilty to lying about the Trump Tower Project in Moscow (PDF) and then Michael Flynn's heavily redacted sentencing memo on Tuesday (PDF). While Cohen's guilty plea filing was expansive—finally linking "Individual 1" (Donald Trump) formally to the Special Counsel investigation (WaPo)—here's how to read between the lines of Mueller's blacked-out memo on Flynn (CNN). Mueller’s sentencing memo for Flynn doubles as a warning to Manafort (Natasha Bertrand, The Atlantic), and it should worry Kushner and Trump (Bloomberg). But what's behind those lengthy redactions? One clue: As Flynn case winds down, investigation of Turkish lobbying persists (NYT). It's all leading up to a big day Friday (CNBC), with expectations of Michael Cohen's sentencing memos, new details in Paul Manafort's case, James Comey's closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill, and George Papadopoulos's release from prison. [more inside]
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:10 AM - 385 comments

The Last Chess Shop In New York City

King of the Night is a short documentary about Imad Khachan, the owner of Chess Forum, the only remaining chess shop in New York City. (SLYT, published by The Atlantic)
posted by carter at 6:19 AM - 15 comments

Part of the journey is the end.

Avengers: Endgame The epic conclusion to Avengers: Infinity War
posted by Fleebnork at 5:53 AM - 144 comments

Solas means "Pride"

Thursday night, BioWare's official blog posted a teaser for the next game in the Dragon Age series, possibly subtitled "The Dread Wolf Rises."
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:16 AM - 60 comments


Two images of the miners' strike, an instant apart: so which is the classic? The great photographers Don McPhee and Martin Jenkinson both shot a miner in a policeman’s helmet confronting cops at Orgreave – but whose image became iconic, and who decides? (previously)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:13 AM - 6 comments

December 6

"…about as likely to happen as your brain falling out of your butt."

On Tuesday, The New England Journal of Medicine tweeted the most recent addition to its photo series of the most visually arresting medical anomalies. The image is of a mysterious, branchlike structure that, posted elsewhere, would probably pass for a cherry-red chunk of some underground root system or a piece of bright reef coral. But this is no creature of the deep. It’s a completely intact, six-inch-wide clot of human blood in the exact shape of the right bronchial tree, one of the two key tubular networks that ferry air to and from the lungs. And it was coughed up in one piece. (SLTheAtlantic)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:52 PM - 63 comments

All men Believe They Are Good

Hannah Gadsby has had it with "good men" talking about bad men, especially in Hollywood. Previously, and on Fanfare. Via WaPo.
posted by Alensin at 7:45 PM - 52 comments

Amazon vs. Brands

An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands. The next time you buy a PopSockets cellphone grip from Amazon, be forewarned: It likely won’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty — because it won’t be coming from PopSockets or one of its authorized sellers. That’s one of the trickle-down effects of a power move that Amazon recently made against PopSockets and other brands that sell their goods through the largest online store in the U.S. Amazon is taking more control over where and how product manufacturers can hawk their wares on Amazon.
posted by MovableBookLady at 5:15 PM - 29 comments

I have no idea who stuck these eels in here or why.

Young monk seal, this is not how to fish for eels. This phenomenon, eels getting stuck in seals' noses, is rare; the team has observed only three or four cases of eel-nose in the past four decades.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 3:17 PM - 38 comments

you can dance if you want to, that'll be $9.50 please

Rapper 2 Milly is suing Epic Games for including his signature dance moves in Fortnite without his permission. [more inside]
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:41 PM - 39 comments

Homosapien too

Pete Shelley, front man for The Buzzcocks has died today of a heart attack. You want words? Honestly, I don't really have much to say. Follow the links, listen to the music. Youngs, form your own opinions, olds, do what you do. As for me, him and his band formed an important background of much of my misspent youth. If you've got more and better links please add them otherwise... . [more inside]
posted by evilDoug at 1:40 PM - 105 comments

How we waste time!

“People say that their loved ones matter the most, but the way they divide their time doesn't bear that out. This is because of how the brain works: we are programmed to avoid thinking about the time left to us to live.” - Why a Christmas drinks advert has all of Spain sobbing [more inside]
posted by beisny at 11:45 AM - 45 comments


The bizarre, touching story behind Rocky IV's robot butler "Designed, controlled and voiced by Robert Doornick, the founder of US company International Robotics, the robot has had a more successful acting career than many of his fellow cast-members. Known as Sico, it is the first non-human member of America’s Screen Actors Guild." [more inside]
posted by Servo5678 at 11:38 AM - 13 comments

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