JS Bach was born exactly 334 years ago, so now you can create Bach-ified harmonies on today's Google Doodle using AI. [more inside]
Spreadsheet Horror Stories "These stories illustrate common problems that occur with the uncontrolled use of spreadsheets. In many cases, we identify the area of risk involved and then say how we think the problem might have been avoided." [more inside]
Disney is adding Star Wars lands to its American parks. This TechCrunch article is an in-depth look at how they're doing it with quite a few pictures that have me really excited. The official word is that Disneyland's version will open on 5/31 and Disneyworld's debuts on 8/29. [more inside]
Formula Is Feminist. Her baby, her body, her breasts, her choice. It sounds obvious, but in the world of breastfeeding promotion, it has become anything but. The latest example is the British Medical Journal’s self-congratulatory announcement that the journal and its sister journals would ban formula advertising from their pages...It’s nice that they want to be part of the solution, but this action actually makes them part of a much bigger problem. Formula is a legitimate solution to what is often a serious health problem (and a feminist solution to an age-old gendered problem). The argument the BMJ has deployed to explain its decision to limit advertisements isn’t justified by the scientific evidence and instead shows its willingness to pressure women to use their bodies in culturally approved ways. [more inside]
If you want to escape in a world of fantasies, to tromp through an imagined landscape populated by creatures and characters from ancient myths, Arthurian legends, folklore, and more contemporary nursery rhymes (Atlas Obscura), check out British author and illustrator Bernard Sleigh's 1.8 meter wide excursion into unreality, An Ancient Mappe of Fairyland, Newly Discovered and Set Forth (1925, via jjjjjjjijjjjjjj''s Big Map Blog, previously). There are also two other versions at the Library of Congress: one with slight variations and an associated booklet, and a smaller scale image, possibly an early draft, or possibly designed to be a tiled image on linen.
Animated Antiquity: Cartoon Representations of Greece, Rome and Beyond by Chiara Sulprizio. "I have been a big animation fan since I was a teenager, and I am also interested in the reception of Greco-Roman culture in the modern age. I figured I would merge these two interests and that is pretty much how this project was born. I want to trace and explore the many manifestations of ancient Greece and Rome in the realm of cartoons and animation, since the inception of the medium in the late 1800s to the present day."
Jane Kamensky, author of A Revolution in Color - The World of John Singleton Copley: A Boy With a Flying Squirrel (nytimes.com). Elizabeth Hand, author of Hard Light: the same phoenix in flames tattoo with the motto TOO TOUGH TO DIE as the protagonist in her book Generation Loss. Kevin Wilson, author of Baby, You’re Gonna Be Mine: Buster and Annie from the cover of his book The Family Fang. Brian Keene, author of The Rising: the cover of his book 4x4 as a back piece. China Miéville, author of The Scar, Iron Council: "skulltopus". Rob Hart, author of Take-Out: tattoo inspired by the cover of his book New Yorked. Joe Clifford, author of The One That Got Away: sleeve commemorating getting two books published and major life changes. Kristen Proby, author of the Safe With Me series: one musical note for every book she has had published. Brian Panowich, author of Bull Mountain: Bull Mountain back piece (first session). Melissa F. Olson, author of the Old World urban fantasies: griffin back piece inspired by her book Boundary Crossed. (All links are SFW.) [more inside]
“ In his 1859 preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Karl Marx implies that at earlier points in its development, capitalism is still “progressive” because it produces rapid increases in productivity. There aren’t enough material goods to support everyone at this stage, so socialism would only amount to the redistribution of scarcity. But at some point, Marx argues, production increases to such a scale that it becomes possible and necessary to socialize the existing mechanisms of production and redistribute the social product fairly. This would, for some, be enough to constitute socialism: a democratically run, centrally planned economy that ensures every person’s material needs are met. A Walmart for the people, with the same low prices and efficient logistics but without the poverty wages—and no billionaires at the top raking in the profits.” The People’s Republic Of Walmart? Could large megabusinesses be a starting point for a democratically planned economy?
The Kirk Center's Ben Sixsmith reviews K-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (1968-2017). [more inside]
SOAS London is hosting an exhibition of Ghanaian film posters from the 1980s. These dramatic and highly charged images, usually some six or seven feet high, were conspicuously displayed by the roadside or in prominent public positions to alert filmgoers to the release of new films. Many of these films were made locally in Ghana or imported from Nollywood, Bollywood, and Hollywood. Their iconography emphasised the melodramatic, combining a blend of elements that drew on the local beliefs that intersected with the range of popular imported films, such as the imagery of America's Hollywood and India's Bollywood that were also shown in Ghana.
Google has announced Stadia, its platform for streaming video games. It's designed to instantly run demanding games on (and seamlessly between) ordinary PCs and mobile devices. As always, Digital Foundry gives you the performance details.
Nona Willis Aronowitz on the short-lived Men's Liberation movement of the 1970s: This is the story of the few years when men tried to spark a parallel, pro-feminist movement linking the personal to the political, with varying levels of success—only for it to go very, very wrong.
Mass Incarceration: the Whole Pie 2019. The United States incarcerates 2.3 million people, more than any other country. Where and how does mass incarceration actually happen?
Hey, wow! It entirely slipped under MY radar (and probably yours) that Vangelis released an album earlier this year. (!) Nocturne: The Piano Album is an album of, well, Vangelis playing mostly just (electric) piano. The maestro of (in his words) "playing everything at once" is focussing mainly on the simple keyboard sound, although he certainly can't resist throwing in a few other synths for texture. The program [YT playlist] is largely original compositions with some remade classic Vangelis music mixed in for good measure. Side A: Nocturnal Promenade; To The Unknown Man; Movement 9, Mythodea (piano guest - Irina Valentinova); Moonlight Reflections [more inside]
Karen Uhlenbeck has won the 2019 Abel Prize (Quanta article). Uhlenbeck is the first woman to win the prize since its creation in 2003. Awarded annually by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Abel prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in mathematics. [more inside]
[Jon] Harchick (previously) is the godfather of “the Drinkers”—a niche community of YouTubers who just… drink water. […] The Drinkers’ channels are simple and the videos short—typically clocking in at under a minute. Most channel’s just feature video after video after video of the YouTuber looking at the camera, pouring a glass of water or taking the top off a bottle, and slamming that H2O— that’s it. At times the number of these videos per channel can climb well into the thousands.
The village of Gotham, just west of Bunny and close to Thrumpton, is known for its clever fools (more) of some 700 years ago. Residents, known as Gothamites, allegedly built the fence to house the cuckoo on top of a 3,000 year old Neolithic burial mound on a hill to the south. The village also contains a square, several pubs, a 12th century church, a well-equipped hall and a chippy. More etymology. Stop stealing the sign, superhero fans and locals alike.
Just a couple of short animations by Dušan Vukotić (1927-1998), a Yugoslav cartoonist, author and director of animated films of Montenegrin descent, the best known member of the Zagreb school of animated films: Cowboy Jimmy (1957); The Avenger (1958); Piccolo (1959); Cow on the Moon (1959); Surogat (1961); Igra (1962)
In retrospect, finding her first half siblings was too easy. She signed up for an online forum for adoptees and donor-conceived children, and quickly met another woman whose mother had also been treated by Cline. She looked the woman up on Facebook and saw her photos. “I was like, Oh my goodness, I think that is my sister, ” Ballard says.
Rascal Flatts restaurants failed nationwide. Did a Mafia soldier pull the strings? Frank Capri received witness protection and used his new identity to wreak havoc on developers of Toby Keith restaurants. Then, he did it again. The most ridiculous and representative USA story you'll read today.
Sir Thomas Beecham notoriously likened the sound of the harpsichord to "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm" - as if that were a bad thing. If, however, such sounds are music to your ears, you have come to the right FPP. For starters, here’s Jean Rondeau playing Le Vertigo by Pancrace Royer; and, by the same composer, Yago Mahúgo performing La Marche des Scythes... [more inside]
Game Maker's Toolkit is a YouTube channel about how video games are made. In each video, creator Mark Brown intersperses interviews and quotes from developers with his own canny analysis to describe how Nintendo prioritizes "play", how games handle regenerating health, how game designers protect players from themselves, down to in-depth looks at, for instance, the design of single level in Hitman. His series "Boss Keys" explores world/level design of individual games, most recently Metroid Prime.
There is a curious history behind it, dating back to the Second World War. And, it's starting up now.
The Uru or Uros people (Wikipedia) live in what is now Bolivia and Peru. Of the three groups of the Uru, the Uru-Iruito still inhabit the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca and the Desaguadero River, crafting floating islands (Google maps panorama) out of totora, a thick reed that grows abundantly in the high-altitude fresh water. Up to the 1980s, the Uru or Uros kept their islands further from the shore, about 9 miles out in the lake, far enough from shore that few visitors bothered to motor out to them. But in 1986, a huge storm devastated the islands and forced many Uros to rebuild closer to shore, near the comparative security of Puno (Google maps), the largest city on Lake Titicaca, which meant more tourists could also visit (Slate). [more inside]
Baba Is You: The Rules Are the Game [Polygon] “Each stage is a small 2D space containing a variety of objects and characters, along with corresponding words that describe the rules of the puzzle. To solve each puzzle, I must change the preset rules of the stage by rearranging the words to create new rules altogether. In the first stage, we see a white rabbit — the baba — and a yellow flag. They are separated by three rocks and sandwiched between two stone walls. Also on the stage are its rules: Baba Is You, Flag Is Win, Wall Is Stop, Rock Is Push. Since “Baba Is You,” I can control the bunny. Since Rock Is Push, the bunny can push aside the rocks. And since the Flag Is Win, I can touch the flag to complete the stage. Or I can modify the rules written on the stage to complete the puzzle another way entirely.” [YouTube][Game Trailer] [more inside]
“I grew up with Betty Crocker as my model and who I thought I’d be,” she said. “And then there was Betty Friedan with The Feminine Mystique, which opened up this universe! After college, I literally gained a lot of weight on one of Betty’s triple-fudge layer cakes while trying to digest the other Betty’s liberation manifesto. I graduated [college] in 1972 with subscriptions from my mother to both Brides magazine and Ms. magazine. That’s why I was unhappy.”
Writing for The Cut, Rachel Syme profiles Cathy Guisewite, creator of the loved and hated, mainstream working woman comics page staple and merchandising phenomenon that was Cathy: "AACK!"
Writing for The Cut, Rachel Syme profiles Cathy Guisewite, creator of the loved and hated, mainstream working woman comics page staple and merchandising phenomenon that was Cathy: "AACK!"
Ta-Nehisi Coates is an optimist now. Previously by Coates: The Case for Reparations; and also: a history of how his thinking on reparations has evolved. And out in the wider world, the conversation that he revived has grown: The Atlantic considers how black middle class children grow up to become black lower class adults; Vox summarized the Democratic debate on reparations, and showed how research tells us the problem of the racial wealth gap cannot be solved by universal policy. Bloomberg thinks reparations are not pie but bread for the hungry masses - in the sky.
Design100 gives a bunch of tabletop-game designers a simple prompt and asks them for no more than 100 words on the topic. The blog started with "What is the one thing that tabletop games do better than any other form of entertainment?" and posts every week or so. Hidden Gems is a particularly good catalog of games to check out.
With 10 days until Brexit (perhaps), Britain's sovereign Parliament has taken back control. Speaker John Bercow has frustrated the government's plans to bring back the Withdrawal Agreement for a third meaningful vote, which can now only take place in this session on Parliament's terms. Although a majority of MPs voted last week against leaving with no deal and in favour of requesting an extension to Article 50, leaving the EU on 29 March remains the law of the land and the default position of Article 50, unless the latter is revoked or extended. Everything now depends on the European Council, the actions of Theresa May, and the unpredictable voting blocs of Parliament. [more inside]
Why You Shouldn't Bury Your Pet in the Back Yard - Companion animals are part of our families, but inevitably the time comes for us to say goodbye to them due to old age or disease. [more inside]
Learn about different museums and their collections through colouring! 113 institutions have made available colouring sheets based on the artefacts in their collection. http://colorourcollections.org, write up at My Modern Met.
It was only the third biggest bolide to enter Earth’s atmosphere on record, so astronomers can be forgiven for missing it at the time. Now, after sifting through data obtained from monitors meant to detect illicit nuclear detonations, a Canadian scientist has determined that a meteor approximately 10-14 meters (33-46 feet) in diameter streaking over Kamchatka, Siberia on the 18th of December 2018 at about 11:48 AM local time exploded over the Bering Sea with the energy of about 173 kilotons of TNT. And it turns out we also have pictures. [more inside]
Inspired by Rainer Marie Rilke's book "Letters to a Young Poet," 79 year-old lesbian artist Barbara Hammer ruminates on the experiences of living with advanced cancer while making art. In this performative lecture delivered at the Whitney on October 10, 2018, Hammer shares guidelines and film clips from her long-term art-making practice.The Art of Dying or (Palliative Art Making in the Age of Anxiety) by Barbara Hammer (1939-2019) [more inside]
It's 1906, and the librarians are bored, bored, bored by the American Library Association's Narragansett Pier (R.I.) Conference. So a few of them they sneak off and decide to found a small, subversive club of their own: The Bibliosmiles, "'Librarians Who Are Nevertheless Human' dedicated to 'keeping the dust off our top shelves,'" through comic song and speech, in the belief that "libraries could be a vital and innovative part of progressive change." Though short-lived, the group nonetheless had a long-lasting influence on library humor. Say the magic password—"Cheer Up, ALA"—and win a tour through semi-imaginary institutions, the umbrella problem, and an archive devoted to humor by and for librarians. [more inside]
Andre Williams, R&B singer, songwriter, and producer, has died at the age of 82 on March 17. Originally known for a string of often raunchy hits on various Detroit labels in the 1950's and 60's, his career was derailed in the 70's and 80's thanks to addiction. By the 90's he had cleaned up and gotten a second wind with the assistance of a variety of younger "garage rock" bands, leading to a series of albums and tours with artists as varied as The Sadies, The Dirtbombs, and Green Hornet. Blog review of a live show in Cleveland, 2010. [more inside]
the simplest explanation, the one that best obeys the principle of Occam’s razor, is that both Shakespeare and the Fair Youth were gay or bi, against the backdrop of a fluidly sexual society where such distinctions made less difference than they do today.
Two weekends ago, people waited in line to stand over a hole cut in the ice of Michigan's Little Traverse Bay to view a submerged 1,800-pound marble crucifix. It was placed there in 1962, at a depth of 22 feet, to serve as a memorial to deceased divers and others who have lost their lives in maritime accidents. Poor weather has precluded viewings in recent years. The weather cooperated this year, and people couldn't help but notice that Jesus' arm was missing. Come spring thaw, a search for the wayward appendage is planned. [more inside]
(Twitter thread by @netmanchris) “This is crazy. Study shows three people in a conference room over 2 hours can result in a Co2 level that can impair cognitive functioning ... If you’re making decisions at the end of the meeting, you’re mentally less qualified to do so.” The 2015 Harvard study (PDF) and 2016 discussion. @SamRNolen: “Love to advance my career by bringing an oxygen tank to meetings and taking a ear-shattering hit from it as soon as anyone starts talking.” @rogerlipscombe: “I always assumed it was the fumes from the whiteboard markers, to be honest.”
Ryan Creamer (real name) is a rising star on Pornhub with nearly 4 million views--but his videos are fully clothed and safe for work, even if the banner ads around them aren't. After noticing the website's "Work for Us" option, the writer and comedian began posting short videos with names like "POV FOREHEAD KISS COMPILATION" and "I Hug You and Say I Had a Really Good Time Tonight and Then I Go." In an interview with Buzzfeed News (article SFW, links within article very NSFW) Creamer says: "It can come across like I’m making fun of sex workers, but everyone who is in this industry has been so, so nice. That’s made me feel really good." [more inside]
The Open Notebook is hosting a science-themed Peeps diorama contest. Tableaus include Peepola Tesla, the Peepiodic Table of the Elements, and Grace Hopper, Compeeper Scientist. Voting is open through March 26, and the gallery of entries is here. Not to be confused with the now-discontinued Washington Post Peeps diorama contest, previously on MetaFilter.
Ahead of the documentary film Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, the BBC are getting inside the head of the man who was Frank Sidebottom. Also if you are near Manchester there's an exhibition about Frank Sidebottom/Chris Sievey at the Central Library on now. Thank you.
The Maps Descriptive of London Poverty are perhaps the most distinctive product of Charles Booth's Inquiry into Life and Labour in London (1886-1903). An early example of social cartography, each street is coloured to indicate the income and social class of its inhabitants.[more inside]
Dom Krapski writes about (krap.ski) his encounter with the disintegrating corpse (image) of Rosie, a large great white shark (image) currently sitting in a murky vat (image) of formaldehyde in an abandoned wildlife park in Australia. Photos by Garry Moore.
Sarah Smith, née Stone, was an English natural history illustrator and painter (Wikipedia; Design and Art Australia Online), who started turning dead specimens into "living" illustrations when she was not yet 20, was largely self-taught in her draughtsmanship technique. At only twenty-one, she was invited to exhibit four of her paintings at the Royal Academy, closed to women at the time. Australians would recognise her art from her illustrations in John White's Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales (Archive.org), published in 1790. This journal is one of the 5 first fleet accounts of the new colony. And in the first half of the 1790s, her drawings were featured with other artists and published in the monograph Museum Leverianum (Archive.org). [more inside]
Musicards is a collection of music theory flash cards for the beginner and intermediate music student. Learn note names, chords, key signatures at your own pace.
Gregor Sailer is an Austrian photographer. His projects include Closed Cities, effectively invisible, artificially created urban agglomerations that are hermetically sealed off from the eyes of the world either by walls or by their hostile surroundings; The Potemkin Village, haunting images of fake towns; and The Box, an exploration of small scale secret Soviet facilities such as design bureaux for weapons, aircraft, space and military electronics.