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☆彡 ☆彡 ☆彡 ☆彡 It was like fireworks. ☆彡 ☆彡 ☆彡

It is the late 1800s. You are an innovative fireworks manufacturer in Yokohama, Japan, with an increasingly international audience (including, on at least one occasion, Ulysses S. Grant). But how to demonstrate to your worldwide customers what, exactly, you have on offer? Introducing the beautifully minimalist Hirayama Fireworks' Illustrated Catalog of Night Bomb Shells.
posted by nobody to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 5:33 AM
65 users marked this as a favorite

The core query softness continues without mitigation

Edward Zitron has been reading all of google's internal emails that have been released as evidence in the DOJ's antitrust case against google.

Zitron concludes that Google Search died on February 5th, 2019
posted by zenon to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 11:40 AM
59 users marked this as a favorite

By Amun, it's full of stars

Enclosed within its rugged mud brick walls the temple precincts at Dendera seem to be an island left untouched by time. Particularly in the early hours of the morning, when foxes roam around the ruins of the birth house or venture down the steep stairs leading to the Sacred Lake. Stepping into the actual temple is like entering an ancient time machine, especially if you look up to the recently cleaned astronomical ceiling. This is a vast cosmos filled with stars, hour-goddesses and zodiac signs, many of which are personified by weird creatures like snakes walking on long legs and birds with human arms and jackal heads. On the columns just below the ceiling you encounter the mysterious gaze of the patron deity of the temple: Hathor.
It might not have the iconic status of Giza or the Valley of the Kings, but the Dendera temple complex north of Luxor boasts some of the most superbly-preserved ancient Egyptian art known, ranging from early Roman times back to the Middle Kingdom period over 4,000 years ago. Most breathtaking is the ceiling of the temple's grand pronaos, which is richly decorated with intricate astrological iconography. But you don't have to travel to Egypt to see it -- thanks to photographer and programmer José María Barrera [site], you can now peruse an ultra-HD scan of the fully-restored masterpiece in a slick zoomable scroller. Overwhelmed? See the captions in this gallery for a deep-dive into the symbolism, or click inside for even more.
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 9:52 AM
58 users marked this as a favorite

“members of the Voyager flight team celebrate”


The Scientist of the Soul

The materialist world view is often associated with despair. In “Anna Karenina,” Konstantin Levin, the novel’s hero, stares into the night sky, reflects upon his brief, bubblelike existence in an infinite and indifferent universe, and contemplates suicide. For Dennett, however, materialism is spiritually satisfying. [...] “Darwin’s dangerous idea,” Dennett writes, is that Bach’s music, Christianity, human culture, the human mind, and Homo sapiens “all exist as fruits of a single tree, the Tree of Life,” which “created itself, not in a miraculous, instantaneous whoosh, but slowly, slowly.” He asks, “Is this Tree of Life a God one could worship? Pray to? Fear? Probably not.” But, he says, it is “greater than anything any of us will ever conceive of in detail worthy of its detail. . . . I could not pray to it, but I can stand in affirmation of its magnificence. This world is sacred.”
Daniel C. Dennett, Widely Read and Fiercely Debated Philosopher, Dies at 82
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 3:29 PM
53 users marked this as a favorite

Slowly, inch by inch, choice by choice, our stuff gets cheapened

The Problem with Adam Savage's Favorite Pencil: Former Mythbuster and MeFi's Own asavage goes on a surprisingly emotional tear about tool acquisition in the maker space, Blackwing 602s, Jeff Tweedy's pencil nerdery (🔔), and the "encheapening the product to increasening the profit" that has befallen his beloved PaperMate Sharpwriter #2. (It's not really about pencils.)
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 11:21 AM
52 users marked this as a favorite

Revolution in Tennessee


“I still wanted to help. But I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.”

The Deaths of Effective Altruism [archive] by Leif Wenar is a critical assessment of the effective altruism movement, taking in Sam Bankman-Fried and billionaires, Peter Singer and other philosophers, and GiveWell and the wider network of charities working off effective altruistic ideas.
posted by Kattullus to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 8:11 AM
43 users marked this as a favorite

Fine-Feathered Friends

The two flat “blades” of a feather on either side of the main shaft are called vanes. In living birds that fly, the feathers that arise from the hand, known as the primaries, have asymmetrical vanes: the leading vane is narrower than the trailing one. It stood to reason that vane asymmetry was important for flight. And because fossils of Microraptor and its kin show asymmetrical feathers, some researchers argued, these animals must have been able to fly.

Recent work by flight biomechanics experts, including me, has overturned this received wisdom about feather vane asymmetry. Our research shows that feather shape is largely optimized to allow the feather to twist and bend in sophisticated ways that greatly enhance flight performance. Merely being anatomically asymmetrical doesn’t mean much. What matters is that the feather is aerodynamically asymmetrical, and for this to be the case, the vane asymmetry must be at least three to one—that is, the trailing blade needs to be three times wider than the leading one. Below this ratio, the feather twists in a destabilizing rather than stabilizing way during flight.
Scientific American: Why Feathers Are One of Evolution’s Cleverest Inventions [includes helpful illustrations -- and some truly stunning 4K+ photography]
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 6:43 PM
36 users marked this as a favorite

Ukraine war heading into third summer

As Congress has finally passed the Ukraine aid bill, hope is returning to the frontline, where Ukrainian troops are increasingly struggling to hold out against a numerically superior Russian force that also has a lot more ammunition to spend. This post has some status updates and commentary on the war at present.
posted by Harald74 to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 6:32 AM
35 users marked this as a favorite

"so many tech demos end up hiding an ugly truth deep down"

Amazon Go, "a new kind of corner store," that company's futuristic storefront where you installed an app on your phone, and could shop for things just by picking them up off of shelves and walking out the door with them, is being shut down. Some random internet person called "Matt Haughey" described his experience with the store, and how it wasn't nearly as magical as it seemed: as it turned out it was a kind of technological sleight-of-hand, instead of using RFIDs and weight-sensing shelves and other techno-devices, they just had a whole lot of people watching cameras. Another random person on Mastodon points out the whole-lot-of-people part was probably a bunch of subsistence contractors in other countries. A third random person notes, even doing that, the store concept couldn't be made to work. Meanwhile the important gigantic hovering electronic head of Jeff Bezos floats above us all, unmoving but watching, silently.
posted by JHarris to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 1:24 PM
33 users marked this as a favorite

See also Arkell v. Pressdram

The maker of a "Fuck the LAPD" t-shirt received a takedown notice from the Los Angeles Police Foundation on the grounds that the shirt infringed its trademark on "LAPD". Their lawyer's response was nothing if not concise.
posted by Horace Rumpole to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 12:14 PM
32 users marked this as a favorite

That mysterious font is Festive, not Stymie


"Animals speak their own language... it’s a lot simpler to figure out."


No Tech for Apartheid organizers fired

In an internal memo Wednesday, Google announced the firing of 28 employees in connection to a protest of Project Nimbus. The previous day inside Google offices in New York and California, a couple dozen employees staged a sit-in to bring awareness to the $1.2 billion Israeli government contract. It began in 2021 and provides cloud computing services to Israel—specifically, we’ve recently learned, to the Israeli Ministry of Defense—and though it has faced internal criticism since its inception, efforts against it have naturally intensified since October 7th. The memo from Google’s global head of security Chris Rackow was ominous. “If you’re one of the few who are tempted to think we’re going to overlook conduct that violates our policies,” he wrote to the company’s thousands of employees, “think again.” From Marisa Kabas of The Handbasket.
posted by Bella Donna to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 4:13 AM
28 users marked this as a favorite

If only your economy room included an escape pod

Little Workshop is an award-winning French studio specializing in high-quality immersive 3D experiences for the web. Their portfolio contains many charming and fun projects you can try out yourself, including endless city generator Infinitown, cute procedural dungeon crawler Keep Out!, pulsing geometric music visualizer TRACK, and Arde Madrid, a multi-scene recreation of Ava Gardner's home in Francoist Spain. Their latest and most ambitious project: EQUINOX, a slick, stylized adventure game set in a failing starship in deep space, complete with a full soundtrack and voice acting in a mobile-friendly interface. Read the case study on their website, or check out their other projects (including the dearly-departed Mozilla MMORPG BrowserQuest).
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 9:57 AM
28 users marked this as a favorite

"Greetings, citizen! Are you getting enough oxygen?"

Adult Swim is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Space Ghost: Coast To Coast by showing all the episodes in no particular order on YouTube right this very moment. Relive the early days of Cartoon Network's dimwitted dadaist superhero insanity, or become enthralled for the first time.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 8:45 PM
27 users marked this as a favorite

Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur

One Minute Park allows you to visit parks from around the world for one minute each. These are just one minute videos, not webcams. Eventually the project will fill in all the minutes (1440) in a day. You can create your own One Minute Park to help achieve this goal.
posted by chavenet to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 12:32 AM
26 users marked this as a favorite

Vicky Osterweil on the muddled anti-politics of contemporary movies

Image without metaphor in Dune 2: Because in 2024, I don't find it hard to believe that people are incredibly excited by the vision of an anti-colonial guerilla movement driven by Islamic faith defeating a massive and technologically dominant empire... I do find it hard to believe that more people in 2024 aren't outraged that Dune Part Two literally features a talking embryo.

Civil War, a piece of radical-centrist, middle brow bothsideism is not only sure to be the most successful film he has made, it is also by some margin the worst. But to my pleasant surprise, it's not a completely terrible and evil film. It is just a deeply mediocre one.
posted by spamandkimchi to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 12:53 PM
26 users marked this as a favorite

How easily & cavalierly the works of decades & centuries are demolished

It seems there is only one model for today’s ‘man of action’, and that is Shock and Awe. Overwhelming force deployed suddenly and overwhelmingly. A theatrical performance with no audience as such, only a houseful of victims. The lions eat the circus and then tweet about it. Ask no questions, tell only lies, and double down, triple down, quadruple down. The ineffably stupid ‘move fast and break things’ that has so much to answer for in our time. Our new ‘Innovation Hub’ has an asinine three-word slogan: ‘Grow Ignite Disrupt’. It would make just as much sense to have ‘Paper Scissors Stone’ for a motto. And rather more to have ‘Smash Grab Run’. from In Florida by Michael Hofmann [London Review of Books] [CW: DeSantis]
posted by chavenet to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 12:35 AM
25 users marked this as a favorite

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(Apologies, this got long) Oh this hits so close to home. Not for me, but for my wife. We both came to running later in life (I was 35, she was ten years older than me and started a few years later when she was almost 50). When we were first married, running meant running to the store to buy a pack of cinnamon rolls to split. But after we... [more]
posted by gmatom to MetaFilter on Apr 24 at 6:22 AM
135 users marked this as a favorite

I've said this about "effective altruism" before elsewhere, but: There's a particular strain of technically-competent, ideologically-adrift cryptointellectual who somehow just stops asking questions the moment they've got a mental model that "makes sense" to them. You've met them on the hellbird and they've got a prominent... [more]
posted by mhoye to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 9:02 AM
107 users marked this as a favorite

I'm reading a book on longtermism (involuntarily) and it reminded me of my thoughts on abortion. It's easy to advocate for future humans, as a class, because they don't exist yet and so they can never disagree with you, they always exist exactly as you imagine them. Maybe longtermism is an escape from reality for the EA folks the way that abortion... [more]
posted by fleacircus to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 10:04 AM
82 users marked this as a favorite

Annnnnd now I see that the famous Browns letter is referenced in the post. Dear Ickster, some asshole is signing your name to redundant comments. [view]
posted by Ickster to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 1:11 PM
67 users marked this as a favorite

You really, really have to admire people who are willing to put their livelihood on the line in this way, especially when tech hiring seems to be in a bad place. There are a lot of connections between the George Floyd uprisings and the present situation, but one of them is that lots of people are mobilizing purely because they hate... [more]
posted by Frowner to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 7:53 AM
59 users marked this as a favorite

Oh my god this makes me hate effective altruism even more, something I thought wasn't possible. Where is the fucking guillotine when you need one? Like me a dozen years earlier, Ord was excited by Peter Singer’s “shallow pond” argument. What he added to it, he said, was a way of measuring how many people’s lives he could save. The simple... [more]
posted by Frowner to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 9:46 AM
57 users marked this as a favorite

Kiwibots food delivery robots were also just remote controlled by low wage workers. Also, all the people tagging and training AI in Kenya and the Philippines (who also get PTSD from doing it), weirdly left out of many conversations about the topic. Their jobs are basically Winston Smith's job but for capitalism. The AI "George Carlin"... [more]
posted by picklenickle to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 1:57 PM
54 users marked this as a favorite

Uh huh. I can't even get my local supermarket to believe there's nothing in the bagging area. [view]
posted by Melismata to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 2:14 PM
52 users marked this as a favorite

MetaFilter: the room full of old nerds [view]
posted by hippybear to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 1:49 PM
51 users marked this as a favorite

The only thing that's costing lives is the war continuing. Russia's shown it's happy to grind up whoever Ukraine sends to the front for however long it takes for Ukraine to sue for peace. Cool, so let's give up and let Ukraine get steamrolled. At least more people won't die, right? Because, you know, people in Russian-occupied Ukraine... [more]
posted by Method Man to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 12:27 PM
50 users marked this as a favorite

As all the search engines fail into enshitification and needless AI wackiness, Yahoo! sees their opportunity and blows the dust off their old web directory that's been sitting in a closet forgotten. [view]
posted by Clever User Name to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 12:09 PM
50 users marked this as a favorite

Literally the police department “Fuck the Police” was written about. Fuck those guys. [view]
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 1:09 PM
50 users marked this as a favorite

Yesterday I might have read that Civil War thinkpiece, but having seen it last night, today I won't. I'm Team DirtyOldTown from our FanFare thread on this. I came out of it wondering what on earth people are thinking when they say that it lacks context or is centrist or "bothsideism". The context for the movie is the entire last... [more]
posted by rory to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 2:28 PM
48 users marked this as a favorite

This is as badass as computer engineering gets. Programming a nearly 50 year old 64k computer that's outside the solar system with a lag time of almost a day. Simply amazing. [view]
posted by indexy to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 1:40 PM
48 users marked this as a favorite

I knew pretty much everything that Hofmann brings up in his essay, but to have it all gathered in one place and put into context was really depressing. For all their reputations as bastions of left-wing thought, how on earth do institutions like Harvard and Yale keep turning out such virulently destructive anti-intellectuals as DeSantis and... [more]
posted by Frowner to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 6:55 AM
46 users marked this as a favorite

I’m not sure this is a Hollywood problem. I think this is an everywhere problem, brought on by 80s neoliberalism allowing inequality to flourish. Inequality takes time to really ramp up, so now we are seeing it doing it’s thang now that things have got so unequal. [view]
posted by The River Ivel to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 8:20 AM
45 users marked this as a favorite

Which specific premise is untrue? I don't know if this is what Kattullus is saying, but to my eyes, the whole point of the article is that Singer's allegory is false because it believes money will save lives as simply and directly as running into the pond. I don't think Singer has ever seen someone save a drowning child. There... [more]
posted by fuzzy.little.sock to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 3:31 PM
44 users marked this as a favorite

{looks around the room at literally thousands of books} Shit. [view]
posted by metametamind to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 8:18 PM
42 users marked this as a favorite

Google dropped their "Don't Be Evil" motto, but now they've adopted "IBM Did Nothing Wrong" [view]
posted by AlSweigart to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 6:03 AM
42 users marked this as a favorite

tl;dr "Any Salad Can Be A Caesar Salad (if you stab it enough)" [view]
posted by lalochezia to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 8:26 AM
40 users marked this as a favorite