October 12

Dancing With Death

These vintage photographs and postcards of women dancing and flirting with skeletons (NSFW) are more than mere memento mori or snapshots of ladies at carnivals having a jolly wheeze in the face of death—they are in some respects quite transgressive. Some of these pictures were intended as, well, shall we say, “educational erotica” giving the viewer a frisson of arousal while at the same time battering them on the head with the salutary warning that the wrong kind of boner could lead to disease and death. Something those Decadent artists used to bang (ahem) on about in their paintings.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:38 AM - 23 comments

A Person Who Has Not Seen A Star Is Born Ranks Its Entire Soundtrack

Natalie Walker, who is really just the best, has done "something very dumb that will destroy my existing relationships and cut nascent ones off at the root" .
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:37 AM - 12 comments

Skibidi ua-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa

{randomly NSFW} Skibidi is the latest release by the Russian dance/rave/art/electro/satire Little Big. The band/collective have a reputation for their videos, which include the Disney-lawyer-baiting AK-47, Kim Jong Un tribute LollyBomb, the gangster culture Give me your money, to the retirement home Faradenza, the street life With Russia from love, the nightmare-inducing Hateful Love, and the unforgettable {definitely NSFW} piano-playing Big Dick.
posted by Wordshore at 5:04 AM - 19 comments

libraries change lives

Of course libraries can be a temple of books. I love nothing more than a well-stocked bookshelf and a leather armchair, but if, like me, you are into that sort of thing, you probably have the benefit of a literate upbringing. You were probably never in danger of being left behind. But we need to be careful of our romantic mistake, because a "temple of books" can be a very easy target for those looking to cut costs. [more inside]
posted by freethefeet at 5:00 AM - 29 comments


A pigeon is spying on you. "We needed a way to keep an eye on the American citizens without them knowing. It was imperative, for their own safety of course. We hired only the best. It took years. We designed, built, tested, failed. We persisted. Eventually, over decades, we had it. A fleet of covert technological surveillance devices unlike anything the world had ever seen. We called them, 'Birds'"
posted by episodic at 1:37 AM - 41 comments

October 11

dispensing with the soft focus in adoption stories

Why do you think we are asked to lean so hard into this fantasy of everyone being the same, deep down? Nicole Chung (formerly of the Toast; previously) in conversation with Mira Jacob (previously) about Chung's new memoir All You Can Ever Know. [more inside]
posted by miles per flower at 6:35 PM - 11 comments

She Says, He Sues

One of the men named in the Shitty Media Men spreadsheet (earlier), author and filmmaker Stephen Elliott, has now followed up his recent essay "How An Anonymous Accusation Derailed My Life" with a lawsuit against Moira Donegan, creator of the list, for libel and emotional distress.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:12 PM - 80 comments

"...now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life."

"I was looking forward to being 30, flirty, and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose." Top Chef alum and Season 15 Fan Favorite Fatima Ali writes for Bon Appétit magazine about being diagnosed with terminal cancer and being told she has less than a year to live. [more inside]
posted by primalux at 4:26 PM - 20 comments

Capitalism with a communist face

You buy a purse at Walmart. There’s a note inside from a “Chinese prisoner.” (vox.com)

“First, a shopper in the US or Europe finds a note in the pocket or on a tag of a product from a big retailer — Walmart, Saks, Zara. The note claims the product had been made using forced labor or under poor working conditions. The writer of the note also claims to be in a faraway country, usually China. The shopper takes a photo of the note and posts it to social media. It’s reported on by all sorts of publications from Reuters to Refinery29, where the articles reach millions of readers.

Then the hysteria cools, and the story falls into the viral news abyss.”
posted by sudogeek at 2:23 PM - 16 comments

Should marrying a child be allowed?

She was 16. He was 25. Even in an era when the median age of marrying has climbed higher and higher, unions like Phil and Maria’s remain surprisingly prevalent in the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, an estimated 248,000 children were married, most of whom were girls, some as young as 12, wedding men. [more inside]
posted by hydra77 at 1:11 PM - 101 comments

Co*Star: the Record Acting Game

Today is the day your bizarrely specific dream comes true: this is your chance to act with Vincent Price in scenes from An Enemy of the People and The Importance of Being Earnest. [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 12:12 PM - 23 comments

I think that we basically waited out the span of his short-term memory

I want to tell you a story about Grinch. (original Twitter thread here)
posted by Etrigan at 11:49 AM - 19 comments

Please Adjust Your Set for Live Disasters

Live Disasters is not just a video game. It is a surreal, dizzying piece of art comprised of a nightmare collage of hallucinated blasts of cable news coverage, disaster fetishism, and staticky, between channel weirdness from American multimedia artist (mefi's own) Andrew Vennell. You play as a perpetually-crashing airliner that is on fire. You can fly around, collecting power-ups, avoiding obstacles, and ejecting passengers with the space bar. Or not! [more inside]
posted by Krazor at 10:54 AM - 17 comments

It's hard to get things right and we will fail; we must be humble

Shaping our children's education in computing : a talk by Haskell designer Simon Peyton Jones at Strange Loop about computer science in childhood education- its nature and place, and the work of effectively implementing it.
posted by Jpfed at 9:47 AM - 46 comments

Larger Spleens Help Bajau “Sea Nomads” Dive

'Sea Nomads' Are First Known Humans Genetically Adapted to Diving. "For hundreds of years, the Bajau (previously) have lived at sea, and natural selection may have made them genetically stronger divers."
posted by homunculus at 9:40 AM - 9 comments

“We had insolently threatened to roast the Duck.”

How we roasted Donald Duck, Disney's agent of imperialism [The Guardian] “We had received death threats, an irate woman had tried to run me over and neighbours – accompanied by their children – had stoned the house where my wife, Angélica, and I lived in Santiago, shouting: “Long live Donald Duck!” It was later discovered that the 5,000 copies of the third printing of the book [How to Read Donald Duck] had been taken from a warehouse by the Chilean navy and cast into the bay of Valparaíso. What had we done to incur such enmity? Armand and I had denounced Walt Disney as an agent of American cultural imperialism, incarnated in the life, adventures and misdeeds of Donald Duck, that innocuous icon, then one of the most popular characters in the world.”
posted by Fizz at 9:29 AM - 14 comments

For Sale: Haunted Shoes. Very Cursed.

Haunted teddy bears, eyeglasses, dolls, and teacups are big business on eBay. So we bought some. [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 9:26 AM - 15 comments

Environmental protection is incompatible with capitalism

What Is Eco-Socialism? (Motherboard)
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 AM - 14 comments

for the rest of your life

How I Learned to Love Bonsai, Harley Rustad - "When my amateur attempts at the art weren’t working, I went to YouTube star Nigel Saunders"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:07 AM - 6 comments

Inuit of Clyde River v Big Oil, a block to seismic testing

How an Inuit community won against Big Oil (New Republic), in which the Clyde River community teamed up with Greenpeace Canada to forge a new relationship in the wake of Greenpeace's public apology for demonizing the traditional practice of seal hunting and won in Canada's Supreme Court to block seismic testing that would have had a ound impact on marine animals.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:38 AM - 6 comments

A Tale of Two Games

With Magic: The Gathering turning 25 this year, it's creator Richard Garfield is not resting on his laurels. November sees the release of not one, but two brand new Garfield designed card games with very different philosophies - Keyforge on the tabletop and Artifact online. [more inside]
posted by PenDevil at 5:59 AM - 38 comments

This is how the test will go:

New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops (1976)
posted by edeezy at 12:24 AM - 11 comments

October 10

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)

Everything you need to know about the final weeks of Brexit in five minutes
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:31 PM - 109 comments

The Life Of Saint Death

Santa Muerte (previously) is considered the patron saint of outsiders. In popular culture she’s been painted as the patron saint of drug traffickers and gangsters, who are drawn to her for her deathly appeal. But she has also come to be known as a representative for trans and queer individuals, as well as undocumented immigrants. […] This short documentary from AJ+ follows the celebrations of a group of Santa Muerte devotees in Queens, New York who believe that since death comes for us all, it’s best to be on her side when she does.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:20 PM - 2 comments

Free Your Self

The Chemical Brothers have a new song out, from last month. I finally found it not on a streaming service. The Chemical Brothers - Free Yourself. It's possible they have a new album coming out (their first since 2015). [EBW 12 is apparently imminent, Free Yourself is a direct descendent.] [more inside]
posted by hippybear at 9:00 PM - 8 comments

It’s incredible what you can accomplish when you’re not high.

My name is Neal, and I’m a marijuana addict. But I’m not a child with intractable epilepsy, or a veteran with PTSD, or a person who just wants to chill a little, or Willie Nelson. Unless you count writing articles about marijuana, I’m not profiting from the industry. I’m just a middle-aged house dad with a substance-abuse problem. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 6:43 PM - 107 comments


Airbnb and the commodification of home - "What does this to do our relationships with one another? When every interaction becomes a rateable exchange, we can no longer just be two humans holding a conversation: we are conducting a business transaction in which your ‘communication’ will be given a score out of five."
posted by unliteral at 5:24 PM - 42 comments

Anthony Bourdain: the College Course

Bourdain's influencers, movies and literature, infused his work. There's no doubt Bourdain's profound influence on how we view the world as travelers, as storytellers, as both outsiders and insiders, as consumers — of food, culture and media — will stir thoughtful discourse for years to come. But if you're a student at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, you'll have a chance to discuss all things Bourdain — and earn college credit for it — as early as 2019. Professor Todd Kennedy, the head of the university's film studies program, is teaching a new class entitled "Anthony Bourdain and His Influencers" next spring.
posted by MovableBookLady at 4:17 PM - 8 comments

The Emu and The Weasel

What happens when some emus and an ostrich meet a weasel ball.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:56 PM - 42 comments

Healing Personal Trauma is Central to Undoing the Patriarchy

"Men are caught between a natural desire for their full humanity (the ability to be emotional, vulnerable and empathic) and their desire to remain privileged and in dominator mode. 'Because the law and the economic and social order are heavily weighted in favor of men, the infantile needs of adult males are affirmed by a machinery of power, which does not affirm or validate the needs of adult women.'" A meditation and guide on how to heal from toxic masculinity and move towards positive masculinity. [more inside]
posted by stoneweaver at 3:31 PM - 13 comments

Professor sanctioned for refusing to write a recommendation letter

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has disciplined a professor who retracted his offer to write a letter of recommendation for a student who wished to study in Israel. After the associate professor refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student, the student went public about it, the professor was sanctioned by not getting his merit raise and his planned sabbatical was cancelled and he cannot apply for sabbatical for 2 years. [more inside]
posted by k8t at 1:53 PM - 148 comments

F*ck it, we’ll do it live!

On Warner Bros.’ remake of “A Star Is Born,” actor-director Bradley Cooper and co-star Lady Gaga refused to settle for the traditional practice of pre-recording their songs and later lip-synching on set. Instead, they embraced the more risky approach of performing the movie’s songs live. The studio was aware of the danger, but with the help of state-of-the-art technology, a dedicated crew and some of the most innovative sound professionals around, Cooper and his team pulled it off.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:25 PM - 43 comments

Corruption in the 42nd

The State Sponsored Conspiracy to Destroy Pedro Hernandez Shaun King, journalist and co-founder of Real Justice PAC, has leveled charges against NYC 42nd Precinct detectives and an Assistant District Attorney that puts most conspiracy theories to shame. [more inside]
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:09 PM - 32 comments

And she nailed it, of course

The surviving members of Nirvana played a short set at CalJam 18, with guest performers including Joan Jett taking Kurt Cobain's role for "Breed", "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and "All Apologies".
posted by Etrigan at 11:40 AM - 16 comments

We the Polarized

The Hidden Tribes of America - Social scientists and researchers from YouGov, in conjunction with the More in Common initiative, researched the current state of civic life in the United States. Among their major findings:
  • 87% of Americans: "most divided our country has been in my lifetime"
  • 70% frustrated by how "both sides" handled Kavanaugh nomination
  • But 77% say that "the differences between Americans are not so big that we cannot come together"
And "[they] uncovered a different story, one that probes underneath the issues that polarize Americans, and finds seven groups that are defined by their core beliefs, rather than by their political opinions, race, class or gender." The hope is by calling out and understanding the polarization (and tribalism that underlies it), we can fix it and come together. [more inside]
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:49 AM - 102 comments

"One of my favourite shots is the aquarium-like garage..."

Russian photographer Daria Garnik's project Gagarin looks at "the nostalgic traces" of Yuri Gagarin's life in his hometown of Gzhatsk, which was renamed in his honour in 1968.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:43 AM - 3 comments

"I am a different person"

"Hark! A Vagrant, such as it is, is an archive website now." About ten years ago, Kate Beaton started posting her history-themed comics at "Hark! A Vagrant" [previously]. She's now moving on to other comics and books projects. "I miss making humour comics, but coming back to them, I will have to figure out what that will look like." Beaton dedicates this archive to her late sister Becky.
posted by brainwane at 9:22 AM - 43 comments

What does depression feel like?

What does depression feel like? A spoken word and dance performance. (Performance starts at 0:08 after a short ad)
posted by tickingclock at 8:19 AM - 3 comments

The Plasticians: Death is not The End

Dr. Gunther von Hagens developed the preservation process of plastination in the late 1970s, which "unite[s] subtle anatomy and modern polymer chemistry." The result was not only a preservation process that improves medical teaching, but also allowed for the creation of Gunther's Body Worlds exhibits. Now, suffering from Parkinson's disease, which he says is "like practising dying," von Hagens wants to be plastinated when he dies, where his wife, fellow anatomist Dr. Angelina Whalley said she will eventually join him on display. Gunther has asked his wife to transform him into an exhibit. “It’s somehow finalising his life’s work,” she said. “I understand now that it’s more an appreciation and an expression of love for me to do it.”
posted by filthy light thief at 5:25 AM - 27 comments

Benchmark Testing "There's No Such Thing as Bad Publicity"

Following the debut of Intel's new 9th generation CPUs, Intel published a set of benchmarks commissioned from third-party Principled Technologies - ten full days before the press embargo was to be lifted. A set of benchmarks, that upon closer inspection, are suspect at best. With mistakes ranging from poor memory settings on the AMD systems and different hardware per test system, to the Intel CPUs given high-performance coolers with AMD CPUs running stock or unsuitable coolers and actually disabling half of the AMD Ryzen CPU's cores, there's a lot of questions about the testing Intel released ahead of the press embargo date. Steve Burke of Gamers Nexus drove to Principled Technologies' offices and sat down with one of the co-founders to try to find some answers.
posted by Punkey at 1:38 AM - 41 comments

October 9

The last full measure of devotion

As life ends for one person, it is just beginning for someone else. That is the bittersweet reality of organ donation, and the staff and care givers at St. Luke’s Meridian have found a way to honor that process with something they call the “walk of respect.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:56 PM - 24 comments

dun dun dun da-dun DUNNNN dunnnn

Super Mario Bros, with a live big band score, featuring Guy In Headband on solo NES controller.
posted by cortex at 7:17 PM - 19 comments

the faint sound of a grown ass man SCREAMING in pain

A True Story About My Trip to the Dentist
posted by griphus at 4:54 PM - 33 comments

The Specialized Field of Fetal Surgery

Dr. Timothy Crombleholme has dedicated his career to fetal surgery. Article from D Magazine. [Post title is from Longreads on the article.]
posted by readinghippo at 3:24 PM - 5 comments

"pRoVen INnoCeNt"

Despite everything, Justice Kavanaugh was sworn in to the SCOTUS on the evening of Saturday, Oct 6, by Chief Justice John Roberts. The NY Times has reported evidence of tax fraud from the '70s and '80s; Donald Trump and his family evaded a tax bill that could have been as high as half a billion dollars. Trump is currently the President of the United States. Nikki Haley, ambassador to the U.N., has announced her resignation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produced a new report warning of warming by as much as 1.5°C as early as 2040. More shady shit around Trump's 2016 campaign is coming out. [more inside]
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:29 PM - 1304 comments

What We Owe to Each Other

"If 'Seinfeld' was a show about nothing, 'The Good Place' is a show about everything — including, and especially, growing and learning. By all rights, it should probably be awful — preachy, awkward, tedious, wooden, labored and out of touch. Instead, it is excellent: a work of popular art that hits on many levels at once. It has been not only critically acclaimed but also widely watched, especially on streaming services, where its twists and intricate jokes lend themselves to bingeing and rebingeing." [more inside]
posted by lunasol at 2:29 PM - 77 comments

“a slight ready salted flavour with a hint of pine”

“Some of us appreciate the seasonal tastes of the season, like your pumpkin beers and cinnamon-steeped fruit bakes. But as the end-of-year holidays approach, the ambition of these seasonally-specific snacks increases significantly. Case in point: The British-based Iceland grocery chain has just released these holiday-themed crisps (which we know as potato chips): “Luxury Christmas Tree Flavour Salted Hand-Cooked Crisps.” [via: The Takeout]
posted by Fizz at 12:07 PM - 40 comments

Hear the Otherworldly Sounds of Skating on Thin Ice

This small lake outside Stockholm, Sweden, emits otherworldly sounds as Mårten Ajne skates over its precariously thin, black ice. “Wild ice skating,” or “Nordic skating,” is both an art and a science. A skater seeks out the thinnest, most pristine black ice possible—both for its smoothness, and for its high-pitched, laser-like sounds. YouTube video link.
posted by hydra77 at 11:02 AM - 45 comments

"I’m an English person who has not been to Mexico" (NOT ACCURATE)

As research for a new play, Daniel Radcliffe visited the fact-checking department at The New Yorker. He even got to fact-check an article, saying, "I’m more nervous about this than I am about going onstage tonight." This is not Radcliffe's first office gig. It's good to see young actors with backup career plans.
posted by Etrigan at 10:57 AM - 23 comments

The Bermuda Triangle of Wealth

"The promise, the deal, was almost unheard of: “work hard, work smart, create value for society, and you’ll become wealthy, your own master for all eternity.” The slave works for his owner. The indentured servant for his master. The communist for everyone. The American for himself. It’s a powerful idea, a powerful motivator, and a powerful system. [...] And they make perfect competitors. For those who have forgotten their first Economics lecture: Perfect Competition: 'In a perfect market the sellers operate at zero economic surplus…This equilibrium will be a Pareto optimum, meaning that nobody can be made better off by exchange without making someone else worse off.' Oh. Right. That sounds fun.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:25 AM - 28 comments

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