MetaFilter posts by rory.
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"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

Is he the world's unluckiest man or the luckiest? Either way, Croatia's Frane Selak, who had already gained attention for escaping death seven times, has just hit the jackpot with his first lottery ticket in forty years. How can we normal mortals compete?
posted on Jun-19-03 at 7:00 AM

If life's a game, how do you win? We've been mapping our paths through life for centuries, but it took an American Civil War-era publisher to turn it into a boardgame (after Lincoln's new beard killed demand for his line of clean-shaven presidential portraits). In the age of the PC we can find the answer to life in games, live parallel lives in games, simulate the evolution of life in games, and search for everlasting life in games - but can they beat the dusty old box and dice? And what life lessons are all these games teaching us?
posted on Mar-26-03 at 3:22 AM

Here is the News. The old news, that is: the entire 3500 hour British Pathé Film Archive covering news, sport, social history and entertainment from 1896 to 1970, with low-res clips available for free, was launched today.
posted on Nov-19-02 at 4:45 AM

Before the Berlin Wall, there was Hadrian's Wall, one of the most successful attempts ever to keep noisy neighbours at bay. It's still an impressive sight, even though most of its stone has been recycled over the centuries. Nothing beats walking it in person, but thanks to the web you can see a 3D VRML model of one of its forts, read about the digital imaging of thousands of written documents unearthed at another, and even read a 2000-year-old request to "send me some cash as soon as possible".
posted on Sep-19-02 at 9:01 AM

One kid's mission to watch every post-apocalyptic movie ever made. Conveniently, he sorts them by cause of the apocalypse: cyborgs; plague; zombies; nukes; and 'misc'. (The sixth link on the page - 'working' - turns out not to be one of the causes of the apocalypse, at least in Hollywood.) How would you like the world to end?
posted on Feb-19-02 at 7:48 AM

Let's make today Link KPMG Day. Why? Because apparently they think that people need their permission to link to them [via]. This sort of nonsense is completely antithetical to the spirit of the web.
posted on Dec-3-01 at 3:43 AM

Reasons for Liking Tolkein at the London Review of Books. "In his fiction, he created a machine for the evocation of scholarly frisson. The thrills are the thrills of knowledge hidden, knowledge uncovered, knowledge that slips away... what Freud called the 'the uncanny': 'the over-accentuation of psychical reality in comparison with material reality'. Isn't that what being a bookish adolescent is all about?"
posted on Nov-20-01 at 5:22 AM

do u mail or Do you email? Hyphenless email drops the e as Josh Davis retreats to his virtual cave.
posted on Nov-19-01 at 5:20 AM

To concentrate chemicals in solution, just add water: 'a chance discovery so unexpected it defies belief and threatens to reignite debate about whether there is a scientific basis for thinking homeopathic medicines really work.'
posted on Nov-9-01 at 2:19 AM

World's steepest street claims a life. 'What appears as a young couple out to have a bit of fun with a wheelie-bin has ended in tragedy.'
posted on Feb-28-01 at 4:16 PM

Gives a whole new poignancy to the term 'hosed'. Hearing about this sort of destruction always makes me feel like time is running out to see the world's wonders before they're gone.
posted on Feb-7-01 at 2:22 PM

Interview with the (Secretary of the) Vampire. Hitler's secretary, now 80, describes the man in this interview with The Times. (Via Arts and Letters Daily.) 'After all the despair, all the suffering, not one word of sorrow, of compassion. I remember thinking, he has left us with nothing.'
posted on Sep-25-00 at 1:08 PM

Put the keyboard down, and back away from the MetaFilter... and you thought coups only happened in Fiji. Via wetlog, of course.
posted on May-25-00 at 11:33 PM