Popular Favorites

Showing posts and comments from:  

Popular posts and comments marked as a favorite most often in the past seven days. Also check out a curated list of highlights at Best Of MetaFilter. You can subscribe to popular posts across all sites via RSS or Twitter and Comments via RSS.

Comments

Popular Posts

The █████████ Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr to hold press conference Thursday as Mueller report expected to drop (CNN) Your guide to Mueller's report on Trump: What's in it, what's not and what comes next (NBC); Marcy Wheeler’s primer How to Read the Mueller Report (“The first step is to know what is supposed to be in there and what isn't supposed to be in there -- something a lot of people get wrong.”); Justice Dept. to release two versions of redacted Mueller report (CNN); 25 Subplots to Watch in the Mueller Investigation (Politico); Memo to the Press: How Not to Screw Up on the Mueller Report (Lawfare); Maxing It Out for Trump Josh Marshall (TPM) on how the fix is in. This is the US politics megathread.
posted by zachlipton to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 9:26 PM
137 users marked this as a favorite

The Radical Egalitarian Politics Of Weird Al’s "UHF"


A normal failure

How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer (Gregory Travis, IEEE Spectrum)

Boeing produced a dynamically unstable airframe, the 737 Max. That is big strike No. 1. Boeing then tried to mask the 737’s dynamic instability with a software system. Big strike No. 2. Finally, the software relied on systems known for their propensity to fail (angle-of-attack indicators) and did not appear to include even rudimentary provisions to cross-check the outputs of the angle-of-attack sensor against other sensors, or even the other angle-of-attack sensor. Big strike No. 3. None of the above should have passed muster.
posted by Johnny Wallflower to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 6:45 AM
65 users marked this as a favorite

Tell me about a complicated man

Pour One Out For Ulysses S. Grant, Adam Gopnik inThe New Yorker:
Though he [Ron Chernow] does the usual justice to the military saga of the Civil War, and Grant’s decisive part in it, his book aims to rehabilitate Grant as a politician and as President. He makes a convincing case that Grant actually behaved nobly, even heroically, while in the White House. He pressed the cause of black equality under the law, and was consistently on the right side of Reconstruction-era issues—winning more heartfelt praise from Frederick Douglass than Lincoln ever did.

posted by the man of twists and turns to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 10:18 PM
62 users marked this as a favorite

Civilizations Lost in Deep Time

“Wait a second,” he said. “How do you know we’re the only time there’s been a civilization on our own planet?” [...] There are fossils, of course. But the fraction of life that gets fossilized is always minuscule and varies a lot depending on time and habitat. It would be easy, therefore, to miss an industrial civilization that only lasted 100,000 years—which would be 500 times longer than our industrial civilization has made it so far.
posted by ragtag to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 2:06 PM
62 users marked this as a favorite

I just really like this genre


Are Prisons Obsolete?

“As prison abolition moves from margin to center, it's important to spotlight those who have theorized and practiced it, like Ruth Wilson Gilmore, so we don't, to paraphrase Beth Richie "win the mainstream and lose the movement." Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind (NYT magazine) “Prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba wants us to explore some truly radical notions that force us to inspect those instincts towards punishment. Hear her dismantle what she calls the current "criminal punishment system" and instead employ the ideology of restorative justice.” (Chris Hayes’ Why Is This Happening?) “Outspoken opponents of abolishing the prison industrial complex typically portray abolitionists as politically inactive academics who spout impossible ideas. None of this could be further from the truth. ” Jailbreak Of The Imagination (Truth Out) Prisons and Class Warfare: An Interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Verso) “They Are Trying To Kill Us In Here. (The Appeal) “Abolition is both a practical organizing tool and a long-term goal.” (Transform Harm)
posted by The Whelk to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 10:37 AM
51 users marked this as a favorite

The Crack Monster: the mystery of Sesame Street's creepy lost short

[Jon] Armond was haunted by the video for decades. He mentioned it to other Gen X’ers who’d been brought up watching Sesame Street but no one else seemed to remember it. Did the the video even exist, or was his memory just playing tricks on him? Finally, after decades of looking, in the earlier days of the internet, he found Jennifer Bourne, a cartoonist who also grew up fearing the crack monster. She began poking around on Muppet-themed message boards and Snopes, and, little by little, an odd congregation of people started to form online, a virtual support group for people who were terrorized by the clip. Slate link includes a text article, video of the short, and audio with more details from PRI's Studio 360.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 12:50 PM
50 users marked this as a favorite

"Where would we be without the words of Japanese women?"

Works by Japanese Women is a 12 part series by Kris Kosaka for The Japan Times on Japanese female authors, starting with an introduction. The articles all focus on writers who've been translated into English. The contemprary authors are Hiromi Ito, Mieko Kawakami, Yuko Tsushima, Kaori Ekuni, Takako Arai, Nahoko Uehashi and Yoko Tawada. Earlier writers featured in the series are late 19th Century short story writer Ichiyo Higuchi, feminist playwright and novelist Fumiko Enchi and the series ended with an encouragement to read the thousand year old works of Sei Shonagon and Murasaki Shikibu. The series also included a profile of the pioneering feminist magazine Seito.
posted by Kattullus to MetaFilter on Apr 20 at 3:08 PM
49 users marked this as a favorite

Parochialism in Western philosophy & engaging with non-Western thought

Led willingly by Fate: Peter Adamson considers how to combat parochialism in philosophy. "Philosophy has a problem. It is an academic field that is strikingly non-diverse, at a time when universities and their students are increasingly concerned with diversity..." This is an excellent and engaging essay by Peter Adamson (@HistPhilosophy, previously) on the need to engage with non-Western philosophy and thought.
posted by homunculus to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 11:55 AM
48 users marked this as a favorite

it wasn’t really sci-fi because it was beautifully written

Why are authors still sniffy about sci-fi? Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Machines Like Me, is a fiction about science – specifically, artificial intelligence. It is set in an alternative reality where Alan Turing does not kill himself but invents the internet instead; where JFK is never assassinated and Margaret Thatcher’s premiership ends with the beginning of the Falklands war. The near future of the real world becomes the present of the novel, giving McEwan the space to explore prescient what-ifs: what if a robot could think like a human, or human intelligence could not tell the difference between itself and AI? Machines Like Me is not, however, science fiction, at least according to its author. “There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future,” McEwan said in a recent interview, “not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas.” There is, as many readers noticed, a whiff of genre snobbery here, with McEwan drawing an impermeable boundary between literary fiction and science fiction, and placing himself firmly on the respectable side of the line.
posted by octothorpe to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 7:22 AM
45 users marked this as a favorite

Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the N.R.A.

The NRA is millions of dollars in debt, but seems to have deeper troubles. Most of their money is spent on high salaries and high living for NRA insiders, much of it funneled through a public relations firm, Ackerman McQueen, which kicks back much of the money those same insiders. It's similar to the executive pay scandals at the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Red Cross, but carried to a whole new level. Previously, there were thoughts and prayers for them here.
posted by Bee'sWing to MetaFilter on Apr 20 at 12:40 PM
42 users marked this as a favorite

American Mexican Food

The United States of Mexican Food is a project by Eater and Gustavo Arellano about the wonderful varieties of Mexican food in the US that are uniquely American.
Welcome to the United States of Mexican Food: The canonical dishes of regional Mexican-American food, from ACP to hot tamales, plotted from California to Georgia
posted by vacapinta to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 11:58 AM
42 users marked this as a favorite

The Black Feminists Who Saw the Alt-Right Threat Coming

Before Gamergate, before the 2016 election, they launched a campaign against Twitter trolls masquerading as women of color. If only more people had paid attention. In 2014 Shafiqah Hudson noticed an odd hashtag purporting to be from black feminists arguing against father's day. But the language these accounts were using read to her as a parody of AAVE, and some of the photos were of people she knew didn't use twitter. This led her and I’Nasah Crockett down a racist rabbit hole that led to 4-chan, right before gamergate.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 7:59 PM
39 users marked this as a favorite

Why I Take All My First Dates to Olive Garden

When I meet women on dating apps, I always want to know if I can take them to the Olive Garden, my treat. It’s a solid opener; a way to know if we’re compatible. If they’re the right kind of woman for me, they’ll respond with an enthusiastic yes.

The right kind of woman for me is someone who won’t give me a hard time about the things I like. The kind of woman who will let me pocket all the leftover breadsticks and doesn’t care if we only discuss our favorite sexual positions and what kind of appetizers look best off the limited-time-only menu. We’re at Olive Garden because it’s kitschy and cute. Nothing that happens needs to be a serious thing. It’s no big deal.

posted by Johnny Wallflower to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 5:59 PM
39 users marked this as a favorite

In Kākāpō breeding season news…

Kākāpō (previously on MetaFilter) are having a record breeding season: more than 76 chicks have hatched from 49 out of the 50 breeding females. Since there are only 147 adult Kākāpō on the planet (so few that Wikipedia lists every one of them by name) this is a very big deal. And in breaking Kākāpō news, Solstice just laid another 3 eggs last night - her third nest this year!
posted by simonw to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 8:03 PM
37 users marked this as a favorite

Lip Liners: Writers on the Power of Red Lipstick

"I have worn lipstick since long before he was born; every day, for many years. I can’t remember, though, when habit became ritual. I feel as though if I could, if I could pin down the moment that commenced a daily ceremony, I might demarcate between girl and woman with clear, metaphoric ease. But when and how do you become a woman? It is a long, raw process that doesn’t seem to end." That's Jessica Friedmann, one of a dozen writers included in this round-up from Longreads: When Lips Speak for Themselves: A Reading List on Red Lipstick.
posted by MonkeyToes to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 7:38 AM
37 users marked this as a favorite

The Top Ten Numbers Between One and Ten

On September 22, 1989, minutes before going onstage, David Letterman had second thoughts about the Top Ten List planned for that evening's show. In "about two minutes," Late Night head writer Steve O'Donnell improvised a new one and dictated it directly to the show's chyron operator. The result was possibly the most surreal bit ever aired on this very surreal show. (SLYT)
posted by How the runs scored to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 8:04 PM
36 users marked this as a favorite

Vattu

Evan Dahm published the thousandth page of his fantasy comic Vattu yesterday. Set in the same variegated world as Rice Boy and Order of Tales, Vattu is about a girl from a nomadic culture and her reckoning with an empire: how, and whether, she can live within it, escape it, fight it, reform it, or survive it.
posted by Iridic to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 8:13 AM
36 users marked this as a favorite

What is best for your kids is what works for you

"Many of the benefits cited do have some basis in evidence, just not always especially good evidence. And even when the evidence is good, the benefits are smaller than many people realize." An economist looks at the statistical evidence for three hot-button "best practices" in baby-rearing.
posted by drlith to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 6:35 PM
34 users marked this as a favorite

Posts

Popular Comments

Why does the exhaustive biographer overlook Lyndon Johnson’s virulent misogyny? i dunno! "At 26:45, @RobertACaro acknowledges that his wife is his entire research team - the only person he trusts - for all his work. @BrianLehrer suggests, "Maybe she deserves coauthor credit." Caro laughs and says, "Well, she... [more]
posted by entropicamericana to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 8:16 PM
135 users marked this as a favorite

"I still can’t get over the fact that American police are so predictably violent towards innocent people that you can literally call in a hit on somebody by making a fake 911 call. ....Like a guy was just (rightly!) convicted of murder for swatting somebody else, which is basically the legal system admitting that its enforcement arm is free to... [more]
posted by The Whelk to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 11:53 AM
125 users marked this as a favorite

I once served on a jury where the defendant claimed the police officer had told him they were impounding his car (an ordinary minivan) because it was so nice and valuable. The defendant was not a native English speaker, and had recalled this with sincerity rather than the poor attempt at a joke (by the police officer) that it obviously was, and the... [more]
posted by davejay to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 1:31 PM
124 users marked this as a favorite

I believe it was John Scalzi who said, "The failure mode of 'clever' is 'asshole.'" Throw in a group of people with the power to kill people without consequence, and well, that line is even easier to cross. [view]
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 11:33 AM
102 users marked this as a favorite

reminds me of my dad's story about bringing one of his old dogs to the vet due to a problem with its foot. The vet lifted said dog onto the examination table, gave her a looking over and concluded that the best course of action would be to take her into town for an x-ray etc. Which annoyed my dad as that meant he'd lose half a day. My dad... [more]
posted by philip-random to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 8:40 AM
98 users marked this as a favorite

This is the bit I keep coming back to (emphasis added): Some of the company’s most senior execs, notably Chris Cox, agreed that Facebook needed to give serious publishers a leg up. Others pushed back, especially Joel Kaplan, a former deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush who was now Facebook’s vice president of global public policy. Supporting... [more]
posted by zachlipton to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 10:01 AM
95 users marked this as a favorite

This brought to mind some ugly childhood things, things I carry with me, and I’ve come to understand I’ll never really be rid of. For nearly all of my elementary school life, my best friends were the kids in my neighborhood. One kid in particular, though he was older than me, we were incredibly close. Like commingling of LEGO’s, sleepovers at... [more]
posted by Ghidorah to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 7:04 AM
86 users marked this as a favorite

If you know where the cop bar on your neighborhood is and they have a wifi jukebox you can have a grand old time. Ask me how I know. [view]
posted by East14thTaco to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 2:03 PM
84 users marked this as a favorite

The youtube user with the Letterman clips is a man named Don Giller (aka the Donz or Donz5 from the old alt.fan.letterman). He's made it his mission to catalogue and record (or acquire the recordings) of every single letterman late night since the beginning and then some (I used to be his neighbor, the spare room with walls covered with... [more]
posted by NormieP to MetaFilter on Apr 22 at 8:29 PM
83 users marked this as a favorite

A day or two after the Ethiopian crash, I was taking a cab after a celebratory dinner here in Washington DC and this topic came up in conversation with the cab driver. We had a friendly debate speculating as to the cause of the crash. He took the position that it was a software problem with Boeing almost completely at fault whereas I opined that... [more]
posted by exogenous to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 7:42 AM
80 users marked this as a favorite

“There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future,” McEwan said in a recent interview, “not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas.” ...says the guy who clearly hasn't read any decent SF, or even understands the genre.... [more]
posted by leotrotsky to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 7:40 AM
77 users marked this as a favorite

not-at-all-prone-to-failure software industry wants to provide insight into an industry that's (previously) been held up as the standard to which software should aspire, well… Have no fear. His basic message is that the MAX failure is a result of software engineering culture slipping its way unimpeded into aircraft engineering. [view]
posted by Tell Me No Lies to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 7:11 AM
74 users marked this as a favorite

Hoo boy. Lot to unpack here. I don't have expertise with everything in this study, but the electrophysiological component is in my wheelhouse. So first, my own summary of what this study is about based on my reading of it. The brain is the most metabolically demanding organ in the human body (and in that of most other large, complex animals).... [more]
posted by biogeo to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 7:47 PM
71 users marked this as a favorite

I honestly don't understand why dental care is so de-coupled from medical care. [view]
posted by runcibleshaw to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 7:50 PM
71 users marked this as a favorite

My Heathers confession: I loved this movie when I was a teen. So much so that I made my very Christian older brother and his wife rent it to watch with me. “You’ll love it!” said I. “It’s hilarious.” (Often times I say that teenagers are stupid and that their brains aren’t fully formed and we shouldn’t let them near sharp objects or... [more]
posted by greermahoney to MetaFilter on Apr 17 at 10:21 PM
67 users marked this as a favorite

I have noticed that just about everything cops write on social media comes off as sinister and threatening, even when they're trying to be sincere. Police are a cult and the cognitive dissonance breaks your brain at some point. [view]
posted by bleep to MetaFilter on Apr 21 at 11:10 AM
65 users marked this as a favorite

The pull quote in the post reads SO differently from the POV of a woman writer than from a man writer as I initially thought. [view]
posted by bleep to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 7:57 PM
64 users marked this as a favorite

I think Arnett's essay makes it pretty clear she's not there for the food. As she says: There’s something comforting about the fact that my Olive Garden is located in the neighborhood where I grew up. It’s where my evangelical family and I used to eat together before we stopped speaking. Before I came out, before I stopped going to church,... [more]
posted by schroedinger to MetaFilter on Apr 18 at 6:26 PM
64 users marked this as a favorite

There is, as many readers noticed, a whiff of genre snobbery here... A whiff? More like an overwhelming, gag-inducing stench. I'm not reading his book, if he hasn't bothered to read any of the thoughtful, erudite, literary science-fiction treatments of this kind of subject. [view]
posted by Kirth Gerson to MetaFilter on Apr 19 at 7:38 AM
62 users marked this as a favorite

There's a programmer out there who, because they didn't think about system redundancy in a life-safety situation, should be charged with 350+ counts of involuntary manslaughter. Putting the blame on a single programmer won't get you the results you want. Problems like this are systemic failures, and it's not actually possible for any one... [more]
posted by asterix to MetaFilter on Apr 23 at 9:11 AM
60 users marked this as a favorite