MetaFilter posts by rory.
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Four years on from Britain's exit from the EU, how's it going? Swimmingly, say its supporters, who argue that we should stop blaming Brexit for our economic ills. Most people in the UK have more of a sinking feeling about it, but the prospects for repairing or reversing the damage are unclear.
posted on Mar-18-24 at 6:16 AM

Yesterday, the UK press were astir over the prescription of an American chemistry professor (or "egghead", as UK journalists know them) for the perfect cup of tea, to which she recommended adding salt, of all things. The outrage! Ridiculous! Etc. The US embassy issued a tongue-in-cheek press release about how this didn't represent official US policy, and how they would “continue to make tea in the proper way—by microwaving it.” This, in turn, was an excellent excuse for the UK press to keep the story going (warning: Daily Mail) by pretending to take them literally.
posted on Jan-25-24 at 8:06 AM

These entrancing maps capture where the world’s rivers go. When Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs looked online for a map of the world’s rivers based on their ocean destination, he found nothing on a global scale with high resolution. “It’s like, how does this thing not exist? So, I just instantly put it on my to-do list."
posted on Jan-14-24 at 8:03 AM

Why watch heads never set the time on their watches.
posted on Jan-13-24 at 7:13 AM

Safety on the railway in Latvia is no laughing matter. (It's all great, but the best is at the very end.) This stop-motion animation produced by Animācijas Brigāde features their long-running characters the Rescue Team. Fancy a trip to London or Greece? Or a spot of Latvian history?
posted on Mar-15-23 at 5:42 AM

The trip to Rose Cottage is Cal Flyn's account of a trip to Swona, a remote Scottish island that was abandoned in 1974. A herd of cattle has been running wild there for decades.
posted on Oct-2-22 at 6:53 AM

It started with a tweet highlighting an episode from On the Air, a series of short animations from BBC Northern Ireland of talk radio from The Gerry Anderson Show dating back to the 2000s. The hypno-hen soon went viral, and now the late broadcaster's family have set up a website in his honour.
posted on Sep-24-22 at 6:07 AM

One week ago today, an underwater volcano whose 5km-wide caldera sat 150 metres below the surface of the Pacific Ocean erupted, sending a plume of ash into the stratosphere and across most of the Kingdom of Tonga, an island nation of 100,000 people. Its sonic boom was heard 9,000km away in Alaska, the atmospheric shockwaves circled the world twice, and it caused a tsunami which reached New Zealand, Peru, California, and other Pacific nations—but most badly affected Tonga itself, just before most of the country was blanketed by ash.
posted on Jan-22-22 at 1:49 PM

Once you see a seagull swallowing a rabbit, you can't unsee it. Gulls gulp down squirrels, rats, puffins, goslings, pigeons, fish, sharks, and starfish, and hunt yet more pigeons and even octopuses.
posted on Oct-10-21 at 8:12 AM

Three years ago, Canadian musician Jessica Stuart tried again to find a lost friend in Japan. The resulting twenty-minute short film about her quest is a touching story of brief childhood friendships that echo through a lifetime, the experience of being an outsider, memories meeting the present, how and why we fall out of touch, and what that means for us. Last year Stuart and the filmmakers came together remotely to reflect on the film and its reception.
posted on Oct-9-21 at 7:53 AM

September 1990. Judas Priest, the world's biggest heavy metal band, had released some patchy albums since their peak years of 1976-84, with a turn to pop metal and a follow-up anchored by a drum machine. The previous month, they'd been embroiled in a trial claiming that subliminal messages on an old album had driven two youths to suicide. A week after the judge threw out that case, the band released one of their finest albums, and in its title track, arguably their finest song: Painkiller. Now, thirty years later, it's the subject of a delightful YouTube reaction video by vocal coach and opera singer Elizabeth Zharoff, who says, "This will be my very first time hearing Judas Priest and Rob Halford, so I'm quite excited." If you haven't heard either yet, why not make it yours?
posted on Apr-13-21 at 12:18 PM

The best bits of the extraordinary meeting of the Handforth Parish Council Planning and Environment Committee held on Thursday 10th December 2020 at 7:00​pm (via Twitter). Eighteen minutes that explain all you need to know about British politics. Committee member Jackie Weaver is having her moment in the sun.
posted on Feb-5-21 at 2:47 AM

If you've watched any restoration videos on YouTube, you'll have seen a lot of rusty parts being dipped in paint stripper before reassembly. But have you seen home-sand-blasting, spot-welding, and meticulous recreation of individual screws and springs from scratch, until each antique piece of junk looks newer than new? My Mechanics is the Swiss master of mechanical restoration, with hours of calming viewing: Oil lamp. Ox-tongue iron. Kitchen scale. Ratchet screwdriver. Broken rusty lock with missing key. He also has a separate channel about how he does it, an Instagram page, Twitter feed, and a nice line of T-shirts.
posted on Sep-14-20 at 3:41 AM

It's the swearingest Aussie YouTube cooking channel that we need in these difficult times. Nat's What I Reckon shows you how to make Quarantine Sauce, Carbo-Rona Sauce, Quarantine Spirit Risotto, End of Days Bolognese, Sin Bin Soup and the Crowd Goes Mild Curry. NSFWFH if you have kids or other sensitive humans around.
posted on Apr-25-20 at 7:02 AM

Tim Brooke-Taylor , one third of the legendary comedy trio The Goodies, has died of Covid-19.
posted on Apr-12-20 at 8:29 AM

Tonight, at midnight Brussels time, or 11pm UK time, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland formally leaves the European Union, entering a transition period of eleven months in which little will change in most people's everyday lives, yet momentous changes will continue to take shape. The UK government is seeking to downplay the looming impact of 1 January 2021 by calling today the day they "Got Brexit Done", mentioning transition as little as possible, and hoping that most voters will assume that Project Fear has been disproven and that anything that happens in 2021 is all the EU's fault. But at least half of the UK knows otherwise, and parts of it are already making other plans.
posted on Jan-31-20 at 3:40 AM

Despite never having set foot in a nightclub, Rupa Biswas made a Bengali disco album on holiday in Canada in the early 1980s, which sank without trace. Decades later, her son discovered that copies were selling online for hundreds of dollars and that one track in particular had racked up millions of views on YouTube. Now the singer is receiving proceeds from the Numero Group reissue and corresponding with fans around the world.
posted on Jan-23-20 at 8:05 AM

If a week is a long time in politics, the two weeks since Boris Johnson's government announced the prorogation of the UK Parliament (previously on Mefi) has been an age. Johnson has lost his majority, lost (and/or ejected) 22 Conservative MPS, and lost six out of his first six votes in Parliament. Since the dramatic scenes at the close of Parliament on Monday night, we have learned that the government's act of prorogation is unlawful (subject to an appeal to the UK Supreme Court to be heard next Tuesday), and that even the barest of outlines of Operation Yellowhammer, the government's contingency plan for a No Deal Brexit, is enough to demonstrate that Project Fear was always Project Reality.
posted on Sep-12-19 at 2:03 AM

Western Europe’s tallest skyscraper will be visible from 60km away, unimpeded by much in the way of other buildings, because it's going to be in the middle of the Danish countryside. Elsewhere in the land of Lego and Scandi Noir, buildings grow from fjords, resemble icebergs, recycle, out-lean Pisa, get wavey, look spiky, express themselves, and capture clouds. Danish architecture is on the rise: today, Copenhagen; yesterday, and tomorrow, the world.
posted on May-28-19 at 5:08 AM

Ebola is out of control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the second-worst outbreak in history. The WHO says the national and regional risk levels are very high, and with the number of new cases increasing in recent weeks, the UN is strengthening its response. Neighbouring countries are considering using an experimental vaccine which has shown impressive results in the DRC itself, but the challenge there is dispensing it: health workers are met with mistrust, and work in constant fear of armed attack, with some having to lie about being doctors in order to treat people.
posted on May-27-19 at 4:13 AM

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.
posted on Mar-19-19 at 3:50 AM

With 22 days to go, Britain is unprepared for any kind of Brexit and unable to decide which way to turn, with May's government operating under a cloak of secrecy and considering prolonging the indecision if parliament's second vote on her Withdrawal Agreement fails next week. The endless Brexit lies have left us in an Orwellian nightmare, with some MPs receiving death threats every single day. Now new lies are doing the rounds of social media, as questionable money buys who knows what amount of under-the-radar campaigning in advance of a possible second referendum. Bookmakers, though, consider the odds of a second referendum to be worse than those of No Deal (5/1 versus 4/1 respectively), with the odds of the latter shortening.
posted on Mar-7-19 at 5:00 AM

In a few hours, Theresa May is due to give a statement to Parliament about her Brexit Plan B, after a week of even more floundering about than we've come to expect. Gina Miller writes about the need for MPs to use the parliamentary sovereignty that she fought for. David Lammy MP argues that even a Norway outcome would be lose-lose. A backbench effort to rule out a no-deal Brexit is supposedly supported in private by much of the government, who don't want to do it themselves for fear of splitting their party. But might explicitly ruling out No Deal mean that May's deal ends up getting through?
posted on Jan-21-19 at 4:03 AM

Britain's parliament is now at war with its government—and it's winning.
posted on Jan-9-19 at 6:35 PM

This was the day Parliament was supposed to have its "meaningful vote" on the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK government and the EU - a supposedly "soft Brexit" that is anything but. But Theresa "Contempt of Parliament" May has postponed the vote, supposedly to renegotiate the backstop designed to prevent a reemergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland, possibly to "focus minds" by running down the clock (108 days and ticking), and possibly because she seriously believes that cherry-picking is still possible. The EU's response is that the Withdrawal Agreement and its backstop are as good as they will get.
posted on Dec-11-18 at 2:41 AM

This is how we radicalized the world. "This era of being surprised at what the internet can and will do to us is ending," writes Ryan Broderick of BuzzFeed News, after the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil. "The damage is done. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably spend the rest of my career covering the consequences."
posted on Oct-30-18 at 4:56 AM

Two days after thousands marched in London for a People's Vote, Bloomberg reports that political insiders helped hedge fund managers make millions by shorting the market over the EU referendum. Security analyst James Patrick adds evidence that more millions were made by betting the opposite way on cryptocurrencies. In Westminster, hardline Tories tell Theresa May to get ready for no-deal, even as evidence piles up that a no-deal Brexit will ground Britain to a halt and that there's no back-up plan for Northern Ireland. One study indicates that Brexit has already slowed UK growth by 2.1%, and is costing the UK government £440 million a week. Brexiters are discovering that the UK already had the best model: EU membership.
posted on Jun-25-18 at 6:18 AM

Mate, I really don't care. The issue of Brexit was settled almost two years ago. We have ten years from the point at which we leave the European Union to negotiate a free trade agreement. Your next ten years are irrelevant. I was not prepared to end up with absolutely the most harmful outcome imaginable. If they don't support and help Theresa May to get a deal, there is the risk of having somebody much, much more aggressive. You're deluded if you think you'll be able to blame the debacle just on them. I'm beginning to think I may have voted the wrong way.
posted on May-25-18 at 5:24 AM

Last week's Commonwealth Games brought a warm glow to many viewers in the "Home Countries" of the UK, but for those with ties to the wider Commonwealth it was a reminder of the chill now surrounding them. This week, stories of elderly members of the Windrush generation (named for the ship that brought the first post-war West Indian migrants to Britain in 1948) being dismissed from their jobs, denied NHS care, refused reentry to Britain, and even deported to countries they hadn't visited since childhood, brought the consequences of former Home Secretary Theresa May's "hostile environment" for undocumented migrants into the full view of the British public and press, after years of warnings from lawyers, reporters, MPs and the people affected.
posted on Apr-20-18 at 7:57 AM

Steven Bochco, the 10-time Emmy Award-winning co-creator, producer and showrunner of such groundbreaking TV police dramas as Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, and (non-cop) Doogie Howser, M.D., died on Sunday of complications of leukemia at the age of 74.
posted on Apr-2-18 at 4:18 AM

"The only thing the government will find between Norway and Canada is the wreck of the Titanic." As the UK hunkers down for what could be its penultimate Christmas in the EU, the real price of Brexit begins to emerge, and it's uncannily close to that infamous figure of £350m a week—before the UK has left. While preparing to enter the most difficult stage of negotiations, Theresa May has reaffirmed her commitment to prior, fundamentally irreconcilable positions (and sacked a key ally). Despite what was touted by the press as a successful conclusion to Phase One, analysts argue that the UK is about to discover that you can’t always get what you want—unless you want a transition deal not a day longer than two years, in which case, here, have 21 months.
posted on Dec-21-17 at 5:47 AM

The chimney map is one of only three known copies of a 17th century map of world produced by the Dutch engraver Gerald Valck, which was found stuffed up a chimney in Aberdeen and saved by the National Library of Scotland. The story of its finding, conservation and unravelling has been told across three short films, as well as in the library's magazine (pdf, pages 15-18).
posted on Dec-9-17 at 4:55 AM

In an extraordinary moment in a week full of them, it became clear yesterday that the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis has been bluffing on Brexit, and that the 58 (or 57, or 50-60) impact assessments he has alluded to for months, and which were requested by Parliament six weeks ago, do not, in fact, exist.
posted on Dec-7-17 at 2:54 AM

"Almost everything that Brexiters say now, in the circumstance of having chosen to leave, makes much more sense as a response to being forced to leave. ... Instead of the generosity, confidence, patience and optimism that might be expected to accompany victory what we see amongst Brexiters is an oscillation between sour, crabby, resentful anger and bellicose, belligerent, defiant anger. That anger seems, if anything, to grow with each passing week."
posted on Nov-24-17 at 3:39 AM

Because sea levels rise and fall over time, geological definitions of continents consider the continental crust and not just the part above sea level today. Over the past twenty years, mounting evidence has pointed to a lost continent straddling the Australian and Pacific plates: Zealandia. This week, findings from a drilling expedition suggest that it may have been closer to land level than once thought, providing pathways for animals and plants.
posted on Sep-27-17 at 5:05 AM

Vidal Sassoon: Anti-fascist warrior-hairdresser. Towards the end of his life, the famous hairstylist recounted his days as part of the 43 Group, a group of Jewish British ex-servicemen who fought the fascist organisations they encountered at home on their return from the Second World War. The UK was the only country in Europe other than Franco's Spain to allow fascist parties after 1945.
posted on Sep-5-17 at 6:35 AM

Kelp is a large seaweed that grows in underwater forests along temperate coasts, sustaining many marine species in turn. The Kelp Highway Hypothesis postulates that Pacific Rim kelp forests and the wealth of fish, mammals and birds that they supported sustained maritime hunter-gatherers spreading into the New World 16,000 years ago. Kelp species play an important role in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines, and fuelled the production of soda ash in the Scottish Highlands and islands until the industry's collapse in the 19th century, which in turn fuelled emigration to North America and beyond. Charles Darwin wrote of the kelp forests of Tierra del Fuego that "if in any country a [terrestrial] forest was destroyed, I do not believe nearly so many species of animals would perish as would here, from the destruction of the kelp".
posted on Dec-14-16 at 9:15 AM

Building a hydro-electric dam on a bed of water-soluble gypsum was never the best idea, but engineers kept it under control for thirty years by filling any holes that appeared in the bedrock with cement (a process known as grouting). Now the repair workforce has fallen by 90%, the bedrock is getting weaker, the sluice gates are jammed, and spring meltwater threatens to burst the dam and send a wall of water twenty metres high flooding towards the cities downstream.
posted on Mar-3-16 at 8:27 AM

In the week before Paris grabbed the world's attention, Boko Haram (previously) staged an attack on the northeastern Nigerian town of Baga which reportedly forced 20,000 people to flee and left hundreds or even thousands dead. A Baga survivor who hid for three days said that, after breaking cover and escaping, "for five kilometres, I kept stepping on dead bodies".
posted on Jan-14-15 at 3:53 AM

A new article in Nature warns that "the costs of a melting Arctic will be huge", thanks in part to the likely release of "a 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates" beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, "either steadily over 50 years or suddenly". An abrupt release is "highly possible at any time", says Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, who has observed plumes of methane up to a kilometre wide bubbling to the surface in the area.
posted on Jul-25-13 at 2:42 AM

Is a ’director’s cut’ ever a good idea? The director's cut has been a feature of the home video landscape for years, getting a significant boost from multi-disk DVD and now Blu-Ray sets. There are some pretty bad ones around, but which are the best? Movie sites like Shortlist, IGN Movies,, FilmWad and Empire have all given us lists of the best (and worst), and online discussions have suggested others (Blade Runner tops most lists, but beyond that they diverge significantly). Where do you start when that two-hour epic isn't epic enough?
posted on Apr-3-12 at 9:48 AM

Britain's finest Baroque portraitist , on a par with Frans Hals, has been all but forgotten, but a new BBC documentary and associated website seek to address that. William Dobson, 1611-46, was painter to Charles I's court during the English Civil War, and the turmoil of the period meant that much of his biography and even the names of the subjects of his portraits were lost. But many of his portraits have survived, and they're astonishing.
posted on Oct-1-11 at 4:13 AM

Split Enz were to New Zealand what the Beatles were to the UK, and like the fabs their legacy is impressive: an endlessly entertaining back-catalogue and some inspiring solo and band offshoots. One of these, Crowded House, captured more of the world's attention, but few in New Zealand would question the priority of the Enz. Which must be why, in 2007, Radio New Zealand made an eight-hour documentary series split over ten podcasts about their fascinating journey from art-folk-classical-prog to New Wave pop mastery: Enzology is essential listening for any Split Enz fan, featuring "excerpts from all the hits and numerous album tracks, plus previously unreleased demos, live recordings and studio out-takes gathered from the band members' personal archives and elsewhere".
posted on Apr-28-11 at 5:16 PM

It's our language, not yours. So, you were born in an English-speaking country founded by the English, speak English, have a degree in English, write and publish in English, have lived in England for years, and would like to become an English citizen? Sorry, you failed our English test to determine whether you have workable English, so you can't be English.
posted on Aug-19-04 at 10:19 AM

"The story of Scott's last expedition to the south pole will, I feel sure, be already known to many of you ... it is one which for courage, endeavour, endurance and unselfishness even in the face of death, will, I feel, never be surpassed.... I feel you will understand the difficulties met with when I tell you that the negatives from which these slides were made and the slides themselves were developed and washed with the aid of melted ice."
posted on Aug-17-04 at 6:53 AM

The Office as training video? "The staff had just returned from lunch and all the managers were in a training room, sitting in a semi-circle and looking really pleased with themselves. Then one of them blurted out 'Mahna Mahna' at us without warning. We just stared blankly back at them."
posted on Aug-12-04 at 4:38 AM

Bono's commencement address to U.Penn. "The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape.... That's what this degree of yours is, a blunt instrument. So go forth and build something with it." [via Ed]
posted on Jun-2-04 at 3:54 AM

Around the States in Eighty Days. Monty Python's Eric Idle is three quarters of the way through a North American tour and keeping an extensive online diary as he goes. "I would never be sitting at home writing my memoirs like this. There's just something about the time available and the different places we visit that invites introspection."
posted on Dec-5-03 at 6:53 AM

Looking for a new use for that webcam? Go fly a kite! Kite Aerial Photography has caught the imagination of photographers and hobbyists around the world, and some of the results are spectacular.
posted on Nov-26-03 at 5:31 AM

Badgers badgers badgers badgers FLASH MOVIE FLAAASH MOOOVIE.
posted on Sep-10-03 at 3:32 PM

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