January 17

Before we go any further: no, Mark Jackson didn’t murder anybody.

If you were an enormous fan of Mark Jackson circa 1990, and you wanted to buy his trading card on eBay in the last few months, you were out of luck. How Two Murderers Were Spotted on an Old Mark Jackson Trading Card.
posted by bondcliff at 5:06 PM - 7 comments

Determinedly advance technology better than Germany

Stanford’s Robotics Legacy
posted by cashman at 3:02 PM - 5 comments

Athens GA Inside/Out

Dancey post-punk legends Pylon 1980-83
Live: Danger/Feast On My Heart - Volume - Recent Title - Working is No Problem - Crazy - Danger - Weather Radio - No Clocks - Driving School - K
Studio: Beep - Yo-Yo - M-Train - Altitude - Precaution - Read a Book - Weather Radio - Cool - Italian Movie Theme [more inside]
posted by msalt at 2:24 PM - 17 comments

"Now I remember why I unfollowed you!"

Jack Dorsey Has No Clue What He Wants: A Q&A with Twitter’s CEO on right-wing extremism, Candace Owens, and what he’d do if the president called on his followers to murder journalists. [Ashley Feinberg, HuffPo]
What do you mean by clearer actions within the product?
"Just, you know, finding the report button isn’t the most obvious and intuitive right now. So that certainly slows things down."
But what’s the alternative to that?
"Making it more obvious? I don’t ... I mean, I’m not going to ... I don’t know what it looks like right now, but we know what’s wrong with it. So, you know, that’s what we’re working on."
In other words, the most the CEO of Twitter was able to tell me about specific steps being taken to solve the rampant, site-wide harassment problem that’s plagued the platform for years is that they’re looking into maybe making the report button a little bigger, eventually.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:16 PM - 65 comments

"Semenly" Harmless Back Pain

In a new case study, Irish doctors report the baffling case of a 33-year-old man who injected his own semen intravenously for a year and a half, a self-developed “cure” intended to treat his chronic back pain. It does not appear to have worked.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:01 PM - 91 comments

a fuller range of human sensory apparatus

This essay offers a chronological survey of the range of songs and musical productions inspired by Darwin and his theory since they entered the public sphere some 150 years ago. It draws on an unusual set of historical materials, including illustrated sheet music, lyrics and librettos, wax cylinder recordings, vinyl records, and video recordings located in digital and sound archives and on the Internet. If you'd rather listen than read, ecologist Jeremy Fox has gleefully compiled a dozen evolution- or Darwin-inspired songs for the listening.
posted by sciatrix at 1:42 PM - 7 comments

"Selfishness lasts a day; Civilization endures forever"

Tablets from some of the world’s oldest civilisations hold rich details about life thousands of years ago, but few people today can read them. New technology is helping to unlock them. How AI could help us with ancient languages like Sumerian (BBC Future), focused on Machine Translation and Automated Analysis of Cuneiform Languages (Github). There are tens of thousands of Mesopotamian administrative records from the 21st Century BC, and more than 50,000 Mesopotamian engraved seals, yet some 90% of cuneiform texts remain untranslated. Additionally, computers can detect marks too faint for human eyes, and compare stamp marks to identify related works in different collections. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM - 10 comments

the nicest sense of personal honor

CHRIS HAYES [podcast, "Why Is This Happening" 11 DEC 2018, transcript of podcast]: There is a mythos about like, "When we founded the country we broke with the old ways of Europe that were blood-soaked." JOANNE FREEMAN [professor of history and american studies, Yale] [twitter]: Right. CHRIS HAYES: "We created the rule of law and the revered Constitution, where we banished all of that stuff and we ... " And it's bullshit. That moment, that's just Mafia warlord-ism in a committee of Congress. JOANNE FREEMAN: For sure. There is this level of violence. You're absolutely right, that there is a pretty shiny narrative of early America that goes on for quite some time in the way we understand the past, and there wasn't a shiny moment. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:39 PM - 3 comments

Sometimes soaring like a dolphin, sometimes skipping like a stone

Bodysurfing — surfing waves without a board — is the most ancient of the wave-riding sports. Easy enough to learn in an afternoon and challenging enough to pursue for a lifetime, it's the sport of presidents and kids. Bodysurfers have been charging heavy waves at spots like The Wedge and Pipeline for decades. But until recently no one took on the world's biggest waves without a surfboard. Now a few bodysurfers have started swimming out at Nazare, Portugal, where surfing world records are regularly broken, and where bodysurfers look like flecks of foam on waves the size of skyscrapers. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 11:57 AM - 17 comments

“Get over here!”

Mortal Kombat 11 [YouTube] [Gameplay Trailer] [Story Trailer] A new level of brutality, plus a peek at the roster.
posted by Fizz at 11:45 AM - 15 comments

Canadian government up creek with paddles

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business. You might think the last thing you'd stumble onto on a rural road in central Kentucky is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But the owners of Mammoth Cave, Canoe, and Kayak decided to use a photograph of Trudeau and his family to promote their business.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 10:31 AM - 13 comments

“It started off fairly mild”

“I was spending hours a day trying to get him to see other people’s views. But the more he would watch these videos, the more he reinforced his opinions. If I said something, he’d just send another video to ‘prove’ his point. He’d shut down conversations if I didn’t relent and agree with him. He wanted to debate things with me — but only up to a point. Eventually, he’d expect me to side with him.”
When YouTube Red-Pills The Love Of Your Life
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM - 118 comments

Waves in the Æther

The Route of a Text Message: how it was typed, stored, sent, received, and displayed.
posted by HumanComplex at 10:00 AM - 6 comments

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver has died. She was 83. [more inside]
posted by gauche at 9:20 AM - 71 comments

Everyone Reinvents Taylorism

“Yet while they introduced some novel details, neither Gantt nor Taylor created the task system. It has a much longer history and was one of the principal methods of organizing labor under slavery. Under the task system, an enslaved person would be assigned a set “task” or quota that he or she was expected to complete by the end of the day; this was in contrast to the gang system, where enslaved people labored under constant supervision for a set period of time. In some cases, slavers who used the task system even gave monetary bonuses for achievement above set targets. They “dangled the carrot” in a way that resembles not just Gantt’s methods but those of the gig economy today. Indeed, except for the base payment and the critically important ability for workers to quit, Gantt’s new system was in nearly every respect the same as the system used by some slaveholders, a fact that Gantt made no attempt to hide. Rather, he acknowledged that the word “task” was “disliked by many men” because of its connection to slavery, and he regarded this negative connotation as its “principal disadvantage.” How Slavery Inspired Modern Business Management
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 AM - 29 comments

District of Despair

On a Montana Reservation, Schools Favor Whites Over Native Americans (cw self-harm, suicide) [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 7:42 AM - 7 comments

Maybe American mobile phone carriers aren't exactly telling the truth

Ground truthing wireless reality in a rural state Carriers Verizon, AT&T, et al claimed that Vermont was well covered by mobile phone networks. A state employee tested the truth of this by driving through every single town, checking connection strength with a box of phones. The results (mapped) reveal massive coverage voids and big swathes of low signal strength, especially in rural areas.
posted by doctornemo at 6:26 AM - 31 comments

it was suddenly so uncool to look rich

“People were dripping in gold. There was bling on clothing, jewelry, accessories,” says Christina Binkley, who covered fashion for the Wall Street Journal. “Fashion had been really loud and it was a huge party, and then that shifted literally overnight.” How the Great Recession Influenced a Decade of Design
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:18 AM - 37 comments

You have to educate them about the basics of the taste first

Saowanit says a proper Sriracha sauce needs to be what Thais call klom klom — the hotness, the sour, the sweet and the garlic all blending together seamlessly, none overpowering the other. The American version, she says, just brings heat.
Saowanit Trikityanukul grew up making Sriracha. She's not impressed with your devotion to the Rooster sauce.
posted by Vesihiisi at 5:12 AM - 78 comments

Early Modern Medicine Casebooks

The casebooks of Simon Forman and Richard Napier, 1596–1634 In the decades around 1600, the astrologers Simon Forman and Richard Napier produced one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history. The Casebooks Project, a team of scholars at the University of Cambridge, has transformed this paper archive into a digital archive.
posted by Lezzles at 2:48 AM - 7 comments

Perhaps the blood of MeFites would be better?

A startup is offering a liter of blood of a young person for $8K, 2 liters for $12k. Business Insider: “Because blood transfusions are already approved by federal regulators, Ambrosia does not need to demonstrate that its treatment carries significant benefits before offering it to customers.” Payment is by Paypal (previously), and more previously on Ambrosia. SFGate: “But the science remains unclear about whether infusions of young blood can help fight aging.” Scientific America: “'It just reeks of snake oil,' said Michael Conboy, a cell and molecular biologist at the University of California.” Young blood transfusion on wikipedia, and did Keith Richards? In the UK, 'Ambrosia' signifies a different sticky substance put inside yourself to make you feel good.
posted by Wordshore at 1:41 AM - 76 comments

Sheep is life

Sheepfilter, part 3: Churros were the first sheep to come to the New World by way of the Spanish conquerors from Spain in the 1540's. The sheep thrived on the semi-arid Southwest and became an integral part of Navajo culture, tradition and religion. But by 1973, there were fewer than 450 "old style" Churro sheep remaining on the Navajo Reservation. A few individuals took an interest in preserving the rare breed, and--after many twists and turns over the course of a few decades--today the Navajo-Churro Sheep is back from the brink of extinction and once again playing a role in the Navajo economy and way of life (video). [more inside]
posted by flug at 12:28 AM - 15 comments

January 16

BBC follows the Bishan Otters

Why this adorable otter family took over Singapore's streets (BBC) After crashing a British otter-fan wedding proposal, the famed Bishan Otter Family have been followed by BBC documentary cameras. Bernard "OtterGrapher" Seah has quickly become the go-to expert at respectfully tracking the Bishan Otters. [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave at 11:53 PM - 12 comments

John (Jack) Bogle (1929-2019)

Jack Bogle has died. "If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands down choice should be Jack Bogle. For decades, Jack has urged investors to invest in ultra-low-cost index funds. In his crusade, he amassed only a tiny percentage of the wealth that has typically flowed to managers who have promised their investors large rewards while delivering them nothing – or, as in our bet, less than nothing – of added value. In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment-management industry. Today, however, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me." -- Warren Buffett, 2016 [more inside]
posted by pmurray63 at 11:40 PM - 25 comments

Remembering why the backstop is needed

These pictures show what life looked like during the troubles. The future of the Irish border is one of the key issues of the Brexit negotiations. Because of its sensitive history, there are fears over what might happen if a hard border and checkpoints returned.
posted by Long Way To Go at 9:15 PM - 38 comments

Bird Box (Abridged)

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross scored the Netflix film Bird Box, and they've done a digital release of an abridged score available now. A full score on physical product will be available later. For now, they've put the track Outside on YouTube for everyone.
posted by hippybear at 8:29 PM - 9 comments


Catalog number STUMM433 is a Mute Records box set of John Cage's 4'33" interpreted in sixty different ways by sixty different artists, including New Order, Einstürzende Neubauten, The Afghan Wigs, Goldfrapp, Moby, and Depeche Mode, totaling roughly six hours of music. Each recording will be paired with a video; here is Laibach's (NSFW). [more inside]
posted by ardgedee at 6:15 PM - 40 comments

International House Of Champions

The Camaro IROC-Z “There were only 166,976 total IROC-Z's made during the years in production. If you subtract the ones that were totaled in accidents and the ones stolen and parted out, you don't have many left. They are fast becoming the modern era's vehicle of choice among collector's.” [more inside]
posted by nikaspark at 6:13 PM - 61 comments

Many of the best stories are waiting to be written

One year after launching its Local Reporting Network to support investigative journalism in small-city newsrooms, independent journalism nonprofit ProPublica examines what they've learned in the process.
posted by duffell at 5:45 PM - 7 comments

so far unidentified gene on sheep chromosome 10

The St Kilda Soay Sheep Project. The research project has been running since 1985. Counts "of the whole of Hirta’s Soay sheep population has been conducted most years since 1952". About the sheep.
posted by readinghippo at 2:57 PM - 6 comments

Goth as duck

Australia’s Hot Duck Is Goth and Lives in a Sewage Pond.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:54 PM - 26 comments

tl;dr, it's Falun Gong evangelism

You've seen the ads. But what's the deal with Shen Yun?
posted by Etrigan at 2:20 PM - 72 comments

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening

Through trial and error (mostly error, he says), Vermonter Peter Burke has developed a great way to enjoy fresh greens year-round without special equipment and at low cost. He describes his method in a book and a podcast. Yankee ingenuity at its finest.
posted by No Robots at 12:29 PM - 14 comments

Christiana Herringham: artist, campaigner, collector

Christina Herringham (1851–1929) was a founder and benefactor of the National Art Collections Fund in 1903. Her career as an artist and art writer is less well known. Herringham undertook early experimentation with tempera painting alongside her translation of Cennino Cennini’s (c.1370-c.1440) treatise on painting techniques [1st ed., 2nd ed. via Archive.org]. Herringham’s meticulous approach to understanding “medieval art methods” was a catalyst for the foundation of the Society of Painters in Tempera. Her writing for the art press [Burlington Magazine, no free previews] ... reveals her expertise on the technical aspects of connoisseurship. 'The greatest living critic': Christiana Herringham and the practise of connoisseurship [PDF, abstract from University of Sussex]. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:15 PM - 1 comment

Shaking the Rafters

Mutiny on the Sex Raft “He wants to be very progressive and radical giving power to the women,” says Lindeen, “but when it comes to the crisis of the captaincy he’s very macho.”
posted by CheapB at 12:11 PM - 36 comments


Somebody is watching Star Trek TNG using their phone camera. With a cute filter enabled.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:03 PM - 27 comments

The professional must reshape and expand their service to add value

Merger is a new short film "about the future of work, from cult director/designer Keiichi Matsuda (HYPER-REALITY). Set against the backdrop of AI-run corporations, a tele-operator finds herself caught between virtual and physical reality, human and machine. As she fights for her economic survival, she finds herself immersed in the cult of productivity, in search of the ultimate interface." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus at 11:45 AM - 6 comments

"A flock of sheep brings humanity and freedom to the city.”

Paris Pastoral: A City Recultivated Mira Kamdar discusses the history, present and future of urban agriculture in Paris. Including: urban shepherding -- concrete honey, and Paris as a refuge for bees -- biodiversity -- 19th century glass bells for local agriculture -- zoning -- dedicated livestock trams -- and paths for hedgehogs to circulate among suburban gardens.
posted by Hypatia at 11:14 AM - 6 comments

“...designed to appropriate any voice activated device.”

Project Alias By BjørnKarmann “Alias is a teachable “parasite” that is designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both when it comes to customisation and privacy. Through a simple app the user can train Alias to react on a custom wake-word/sound, and once trained, Alias can take control over your home assistant by activating it for you. When you don't use it, Alias will make sure the assistant is paralysed and unable to listen by interrupting its microphones. Follow the build guide on Instructables or get the source code on GitHub.” [Vimeo]
posted by Fizz at 11:09 AM - 20 comments

Over here we call that a "Kaiju Pizza"

Westbrook, Maine is a small city (not town! They're very particular about that) in Southern Maine heretofore known primarily as the location of the SD Warren Paper Mill, formerly the world's largest. This week, the town became nationally known as the location of another world's largest: perhaps the biggest rotating ice disk anyone's ever seen.
posted by selfnoise at 10:10 AM - 22 comments

Writing Systems

This web site presents one glyph for each of the world’s writing systems. It is the first step of the Missing Scripts Project, a long-term initiative that aims to identify writing systems which are not yet encoded in the Unicode standard. As of today, there are still 146 scripts not yet encoded in Unicode.
posted by zamboni at 9:56 AM - 10 comments


Ever have one of those days? (SLYT)(NSFW)
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:38 AM - 15 comments

Minorcan Food of Florida

Way down in St. Augustine, Florida, America's oldest city*, jewel of the First Coast, you'll find a unique and largely unheralded culinary tradition: Minorcan food. [more inside]
posted by saladin at 8:50 AM - 10 comments

My ancestors did wrong. It's right here in black and white.

#1 is Edie. She's 45 years old, and valued at $800. And she, her, it's hard to say the word…owner...it's not right. This is my second great grandfather, William Hayes Paxton. #2, Julia. She's 26, valued at $1400. The list goes on. There are 44 names on this list.
After Two White Colorado Women Unearthed The History Of Their Slave-Owning Ancestors, They Turned To Reparations by Ann Marie Awad, Colorado Public Radio (article and audio of radio interview at link). [more inside]
posted by medusa at 8:02 AM - 24 comments

not just for students

The Literary Canon Is Mostly White. Here’s an Alternative Latin American Reading List [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin at 6:31 AM - 24 comments

rtyn mbdx: the mysterious modern art of google image search

Type two random 4 letter ‘words’ into google images and you’ll get a set of abstract art paintings. Why? A reddit forum which tries to identify mystery objects has identified a, er, mystery... [more inside]
posted by AFII at 12:59 AM - 28 comments

January 15

The Real-life Room of Requirement.

A Three-Act Tribute to Libraries. (slThis American Life): "Five of us went to libraries around the country that day.... And one of the things that we found everywhere were even-tempered, unflappable librarians. Like at the Palo Verde Public Library in Phoenix, a library user named Cindy, in a maroon sweatshirt and fanny pack, broke into song to get the librarian to understand exactly which Amy Grant Christmas album she wanted." [more inside]
posted by storybored at 10:23 PM - 6 comments

Namibia is not particularly close to Mount Kilimanjaro

Artist's installation in African desert to play "Africa" forever.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:02 PM - 88 comments


Quick-sort with Hungarian (Küküllőmenti legényes) folk dance.
posted by capricorn at 6:47 PM - 21 comments

Wheezer or Weezer?

Can you distinguish classic cheerlessness from modern melancholy? Who Wrote It: Edgar Allan Poe or an Emo Band? (Mental Floss)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:30 PM - 25 comments

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