March 20

Composed By, Arranged By, Producer, Performer

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]
posted by hippybear at 5:22 AM - 10 comments

March 19

Karen Uhlenbeck has won the 2019 Abel Prize

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]
posted by louigi at 9:03 PM - 5 comments

A wholesome little oasis of highly hydrated young people

[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.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:15 PM - 37 comments

Gotham. It's pronounced Gotham.

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.
posted by Wordshore at 5:24 PM - 17 comments

6 short films by Dušan Vukotić

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)
posted by sapagan at 3:36 PM - 4 comments

The Fertility Doctor’s Secret

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.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:53 PM - 44 comments

Some sort of metaphor.

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.
posted by bongo_x at 1:58 PM - 31 comments

Gifted performers expertly fingering their exquisite instruments

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]
posted by misteraitch at 12:54 PM - 18 comments

Smart talk about games, whether or not you're playing them!

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.
posted by Zephyrial at 12:45 PM - 13 comments

Hay Fever is Big in Japan

There is a curious history behind it, dating back to the Second World War. And, it's starting up now.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:34 PM - 19 comments

As you can see, the Urus have always lived in the lake

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]
posted by filthy light thief at 11:25 AM - 7 comments


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]
posted by Fizz at 10:21 AM - 45 comments

A controversial icon who is hard to stan

“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!"
posted by Going To Maine at 9:12 AM - 41 comments

"There’s nothing wrong with writing people checks! Let's start there."

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.
posted by MiraK at 6:58 AM - 72 comments

Game design thoughts in 100 words or less

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.
posted by Etrigan at 6:37 AM - 5 comments

Europe: The Final Countdown

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]
posted by rory at 3:50 AM - 453 comments

Why You Shouldn't Bury Your Pet in the Back Yard

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]
posted by jjderooy at 3:06 AM - 47 comments

not just for mindfulness

Learn about different museums and their collections through colouring! 113 institutions have made available colouring sheets based on the artefacts in their collection., write up at My Modern Met.
posted by freethefeet at 2:49 AM - 4 comments

You didn't see that big fireball in December? Neither did astronomers.

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]
posted by theory at 1:27 AM - 22 comments

March 18

Guess what: the art of dying is the same as the art of living

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]
posted by edeezy at 9:14 PM - 2 comments

A Rally of Librarians Who Are Nonetheless Human and Other Bibliohumor

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]
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:25 PM - 6 comments

The Black Godfather has passed.

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]
posted by soundguy99 at 7:21 PM - 8 comments

Queering Shakespeare

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.
posted by latkes at 5:04 PM - 6 comments

But he himself was broken / Long before the sky would open

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]
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:08 PM - 27 comments

Meetings: not a place to make decisions in.

(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.”
posted by Wordshore at 3:02 PM - 53 comments

I Hold the Door Open For Strangers (IN PUBLIC, ALMOST CAUGHT!)

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]
posted by duffell at 2:37 PM - 27 comments


Why are Pyrex dishes exploding in the oven?
posted by Chrysostom at 1:58 PM - 109 comments

The Peeple's Choice Award

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.
posted by terooot at 1:13 PM - 8 comments

You know he was, he really was...

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.
posted by Webbster at 12:21 PM - 12 comments

Some comfortable others poor

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]
posted by goblin-bee at 12:06 PM - 5 comments


Dom Krapski writes about ( 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.
posted by not_the_water at 11:38 AM - 19 comments

The art of Sarah Stone, early British illustrator of Australian wildlife

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 (, 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 ( [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:57 AM - 2 comments

Help for Music Beginners

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.
posted by storybored at 10:12 AM - 4 comments

Curious Architectural Phenomena

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.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:54 AM - 8 comments

Brands Are Not Your Friends

H.Bomberguy (of Mermaids charity fame) discusses brand twitter, advertising, ‘realmericals’, and harnessing performative political outrage for profit in WOKE BRANDS (26:43)
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 AM - 12 comments

How David Weber Orders a Pizza

The telephone rang again. Jason wanted to groan and roll his eyes, but he suppressed this urge and put on the mask of outward neutrality expected of a Pizza Maker Second Class. [...] He slapped the flour dust from his hands, grasped the receiver, and placed it next to his ear. The light codes on the telephone's front panel danced from flashing red to solid green, letting him know that a live connection had been established. "Pizza Barn," he intoned. "Is this for dine in, pick up, or delivery?"
A simple phone call between Pizza Maker Second Class Jason Wilkins and a shadowy Customer. [more inside]
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:59 AM - 34 comments

You said it Tyrus, I’m one of the good ones.

Each Friday, for more than two years, The Root has responded to emails and comments from our readers (and some people who obviously don’t read The Root). Not today. Today, there will be just one email and one response.
[more inside]
posted by Etrigan at 6:19 AM - 77 comments

MySpace has lost all music uploaded between 2003 and 2015

The issue was first noticed about a year ago. MySpace have confirmed that all the music is lost and cannot be recovered. "Due to a server migration files have been corrupted and unable to be transferred to our updated site." [more inside]
posted by daisyk at 4:04 AM - 41 comments

March 17

Tulip Mania --> Poppy FOMO

Large desert blooms, labeled "superblooms" (previously) have been happening with greater than average frequency in the last few years, a consequence of wet-dry weather swings and fire activity. Social media has caught on, and capturing one's self sprawled in a field of wildflowers is now an essential selfie ritual. [more inside]
posted by q*ben at 9:35 PM - 23 comments

King of Surf Guitar

Dick Dale, godfather of surf guitar, dies aged 81. (Guardian) Richard Anthony Monsour, better known by his stage name Dick Dale, was an American rock guitarist, known as The King of the Surf Guitar. He pioneered and created what many call the surf music style, drawing on Middle-Eastern music scales and experimenting with reverberation. He worked closely with Fender to produce custom made amplifiers, including the first-ever 100-watt guitar amplifier. [more inside]
posted by valkane at 7:44 PM - 83 comments

Deep Park

Photographers often talk about making pictures rather than taking them: constructing something from the scene in front of the camera that is related to it but not subordinate to it. A photo of a tree or a soldier has a life independent of its subject. Bruce Polin began making these images in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park around the time of the last presidential campaign. He had been shooting mostly in his home studio, but when the divisive rhetoric of the election heated up, he felt the need to get out among strangers, from all cultures he could find. The park was ideal. The camera was big. [more inside]
posted by octothorpe at 6:24 PM - 8 comments

Well this is Bleeping Creepy...

The Government Is Using the Most Vulnerable People to Test Facial Recognition Software Research shows that any one of us might end up helping the facial recognition industry, perhaps during moments of extraordinary vulnerability. [more inside]
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:16 PM - 18 comments

We got bored while you were gone.

Blair Braverman (previously) just finished the Iditarod. Her fans were doing their part, too. [SLtwitter, very short story, but man it got dusty in here]
posted by hippybear at 2:45 PM - 31 comments

Good Society: a tabletop roleplaying game of Jane Austen and others

Good Society, the RPG is a collaborative roleplaying game "that seeks to capture the heart, and the countenance, of Jane Austen’s work. It is a game of balls, estates, sly glances, and turns about the garden. At least on the surface. Underneath this, just as in Austen’s own novels, it is a game of social ambition, family obligation and breathtaking, heart-stopping longing." Notable for blowing past their original Kickstarter goal of $4000 Australian in the first two days and winding up at $154,774 Australian, enabling better printing, more supplemental books, and donations to public libraries. [more inside]
posted by Mogur at 1:41 PM - 15 comments

Something to make you smile

Maybe a future grandmaster? "Tani is a reminder that refugees enrich this nation — and that talent is universal, even if opportunity is not." (SLNYT)
posted by blue shadows at 1:40 PM - 2 comments

Wait, what grow on trees?

The marginalia of Jeanne de Montbaston in The Romance of the Rose. This is an illuminating piece of scholarship by historian Sara Öberg Strådal on the overlooked imagery in 14th century marginalia, in this case in the medieval French poem Le Roman de la Rose (written circa 1230 and 1275, BnF fr. 25526) by artist Jeanne de Montbaston (possibly nsfw, via.) [more inside]
posted by homunculus at 12:55 PM - 4 comments

The Orange Alternative: There Is No Freedom without Dwarfs

The cheeky gnomes taking over Wrocław -- Cute as they may be, each statue is a nod to the Orange Alternative, an anti-Soviet resistance movement that helped bring down Poland’s oppressive communist regime in the 1980s (BBC Travel). By opposing conformism and consumerism with intelligent humour, the Orange Alternative (Pomaranczowa Alternatywa) movement achieved a considerable artistic victory over the Communist regime. Their continuing influence upon Polish political protest is noticeable to this day. ( [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 AM - 7 comments

Look Up From Your Hash Browns

Micah Cash's Waffle House Vistas Project collects images that document Southern communities as seen through the windows of Waffle Houses. In each instance, the point of view is the customer’s. Each photograph looks out from booths and chairs, making the viewer a witness to intertwined narratives of poverty, transience, and politics. [more inside]
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:27 AM - 29 comments

What Happens When Techno-Utopians Actually Run A Country? Fascism.

Spoiler, it's Italy; and Nigel Farage and Steve Bannon make an appearance. SLWired This is real-time reporting on using the internet to manufacture consent toward a goal that the participants initially would have rejected by using a beloved Italian comedian and his innocent blog. [more inside]
posted by djinn dandy at 8:40 AM - 25 comments

Bee-Lieve it Or Not

A bookstore tweets about a mysterious object left behind. Poetry follows. (Link is to first tweet)
posted by PussKillian at 8:28 AM - 16 comments

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