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Last updated September 24, 2014 12:29 PM PDT.

The incremental to surpass all incrementals

August 25, 2014 07:22 PM (30 days ago)
658 total comments, last 5 shown below...


A New Record!
September 24, 2014 12:31 PM

Charred Husk has just gotten his 86th kitten in Kittens Game! Guinness World Records have been notified but they so far have only responded with snorts of derision.

posted by charred husk (0 comments total) [remove from favorites] 1 users marked this as a favorite [!] [Flame!]
posted by charred husk at 9:31 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


surely the unicorns themselves would have shed more than a single tear for 2,500 of their mates if they had but a smidgen of compassion?

"Unicorn tear" is just a euphemism for a trace substance harvested from the unicorn pituitary gland. If that seems wasteful or heartless, well, you should see what cats to do mice sometime.
posted by JHarris at 10:17 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Quick, someone write a song about their kittenish civilization and post it to Music! Those threads never close!
posted by Rock Steady at 11:43 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Does my rendition of "I saw Three Ships" not count??? Is parody not a legitimate art form? Oh Weird Al! Comfort me!
posted by greermahoney at 11:45 AM on September 24


I'm completely serious when I say someone needs to record it and post it to Music. If they can write a simple ukulele part for it, I'll try and contribute a track.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:20 PM on September 24


Kutiman Returns

September 13, 2014 11:31 PM (10 days ago)
56 total comments, last 5 shown below...


And here is the slow-groove single #2: No One In This World.
posted by progosk at 6:59 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


The singer has her own arrangement of the same song, with a collaborator, on YouTube. Both her arrangement and Kutiman's are really gorgeous, but different. She calls the song "Fell".
posted by nangar at 10:59 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Wow, super cool to see a case where the vocals were independently finished and incorporated into a finished arrangement. They are indeed really different. Nikki Dodds' version is more mournful/ethereal and has that great vocal overdubbing; Kutiman's has more of a torchy, live soul band vibe. (The ending is genius.)

You can see how Kutiman has honed his craft since the last "album" too - the production, beat-matching, and tuning are all that much tighter, but it still sounds organic and "live."
posted by en forme de poire at 3:51 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I'm really liking Natty Princess, the French reggae band whose female members provide the horn section for "No One In This World". They have tons of performance videos on YouTube. My favorites so far are Forward, the title track from their album, and Horns praise. I should shut up now, or I'm just going to keep linking more stuff ...
posted by nangar at 10:19 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I meant to include this one too: Girls like the roots.

OK. I'm really trying to shut up and quit posting. I am, really.
posted by nangar at 12:10 PM on September 24


For fifteen hours, we hold sovereignty in our hands

September 17, 2014 01:58 PM (7 days ago)
1051 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Link's broken, rongorongo - here it is.

Claiming that they represent the future, because the 55% are mostly elderly, supporters of independence have started a new campaign called “The 45”

"Mostly elderly" is an annoying misrepresentation, whether it's from The 45 or from Frances Coppola. "Tended to be older" ≠ "mostly elderly".
posted by rory at 5:32 AM on September 24


[Fixed rongorongo's link.]
posted by taz at 6:15 AM on September 24


The 45 seems like an interesting choice of name.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:45 AM on September 24


Astonishing that this technology was only invented in the last six days.
posted by IanMorr at 12:05 PM on September 24


Well you know what the Scottish are like with inventing stuff.
posted by marienbad at 12:08 PM on September 24


Just some shitty nerds in an IRC channel.

September 6, 2014 06:56 AM (18 days ago)
755 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Beyond the nude picture threats and the website, let's not forget that there was plenty of real misogynistic backlash to Watson's speech. I'm not saying anyone here has done that, but I wouldn't want the these trolls to overshadow anything.
posted by brundlefly at 10:51 AM on September 24


I wouldn't call the nude picture thing a hoax misogynistic backlash, TBH. More a misogynistic backlash that happens to come in the form of a hoax.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on September 24


Oh, and #comicsgate appears to be trying to be a real thing.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on September 24


True. I was approaching it from the perspective that it was purely a trolling attempt. But there has to be misogyny at play to think that was an okay way to troll.

And, yeah. The #ComicsGate thing is hilarious. Are they even pretending this is journalistic ethics or some such nonsense this time around? I can't see how they can shoehorn it in.
posted by brundlefly at 11:49 AM on September 24


Comicsgate is literally about butts.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


🔙🙌🌼, ☁🌏. 👇💩. 🎦7⃣ 💯💯🆔 🌠😃💬: "😩"

August 30, 2014 01:30 PM (25 days ago)
89 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Is this only one to one messaging? When this first started making the rounds to reserve your username because I was under the impression that it was going to be more like twitter, but emoji only. That would be awesome.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:15 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm also disappointed it's not Bizarro-world-Twitter, I think that would've been used a lot more
posted by malevolent at 12:31 AM on September 1


I too thought it was going to be Twitteresque. Maybe in the future.
posted by Youremyworld at 6:04 AM on September 1


It turns out I'm really into mysterious pictogram stories. I've been sending and receiving emoji retellings of fanfics about magnifying glass (Sherlock Holmes) and toilet (John Watson) and their friends all day with another fan who turned out to be a truly brilliant emoji artist.
posted by wrabbit at 6:38 AM on September 1


Everybody Smiley Poops: The poetry and honesty of smiley face + winky face + eggplant
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:31 AM on September 24


A new and terrifying state has been born.

August 26, 2014 03:13 PM (29 days ago)
353 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Obama Must Strike Assad, Too - Bombing ISIL isn’t enough. The real problem is the Syrian regime.
It may already be too late. Two years ago, the United States could have killed ISIL before it was born with limited airstrikes on the Assad regime. Back then, the regime was on the run. Free Syrian Army rebels who promoted a “pluralistic, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society” were ripping through regime positions in northern and eastern Syria and even making gains in the capital. The desperate Assad regime only stanched the tide by initiating the first systematic aerial attacks on civilian neighborhoods. If the United States had denied Assad his air monopoly back then, moderate rebels would have regained the initiative, probably seized the capital and presided over moves toward democracy as they did in other Syrian territories.
...
By Jan. 6, rebels were within blocks of ISIL’s international headquarters; airstrikes on ISIL identical to the ones conducted last night would have delivered the death blow. But the only airstrikes rebels saw were regime attacks behind their front lines with ISIL, which forced them to suspend their offensive.
...
Don’t get me wrong: If the current airstrikes on ISIL are strong enough to affect ground developments, they will be enormously beneficial to Syria. I am in regular touch with moderate rebel commanders in the main rebel stronghold of Aleppo and in Kobani, a Syrian Kurdish city now under ISIL siege. The Kurds fear that ISIL may soon capture their area and slaughter thousands of civilians, and have pleaded for U.S. airstrikes against ISIL on multiple occasions. Monday night’s airstrikes are an important step forward.

 But airstrikes on ISIL only address the symptoms of Syria’s cancer. To destroy ISIL once and for all requires addressing the cause: the Assad regime.
AL QAEDA PLOTTERS IN SYRIA ‘WENT DARK,’ U.S. SPIES SAY
The attacks on the Khorasan Group also complicate U.S. efforts to partner with the more moderate opposition. One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes  “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.
@SCM_Syria: Translation of Harakat Hazm's condemnation of coalition strikes. Hazm were the 1st to receive TOW ATGMs in #Syia

Assuming ISIS could be defeated, who will take their place? It seems to me there is a risk that civilian infrastructure could collapse in rebel held areas, leaving people without water, food, etc. Things ISIS does seem to provide while they aren't beheading or raping people.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:15 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Yeah, let's just bomb everyone on all sides in Syria. I don't see how that could possibly go wrong.

This whole situation is a ridiculous joke, or it would be if people weren't dying. Evil ones and innocent ones.
posted by Justinian at 3:59 AM on September 24


Exclusive: Syrian minister says U.S.-led strikes going in 'right direction'
"As for the raids in Syria, I say that what has happened so far is proceeding in the right direction in terms of informing the Syrian government and by not targeting Syrian military installations and not targeting civilians," he said.
Targeting civilians? You mean like you've been doing every day with barrel bombs?
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:05 AM on September 24


Two years ago, the United States could have killed ISIL before it was born with limited airstrikes on the Assad regime. Back then, the regime was on the run. Free Syrian Army rebels who promoted a “pluralistic, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society” were ripping through regime positions in northern and eastern Syria and even making gains in the capital.

LOL. Right, because the West overthrowing a dictator through military action worked out so well every time we tried it in the ME. Boy, once we overthrew Saddam, a democratic paradise in Iraq! Then there is Libya - boy it's so great there right now, all those rebels who promoted a “pluralistic, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society”, are now spilling into Chad, Niger and Mali:

"In the three years since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled by Libyan rebels and Nato airstrikes, fighting between militia has plunged the country into civil war and seen Tripoli fall to Islamists. The involvement of Qatar, Egypt and the UAE risks a wider regional war"

Btw. Libyan Dawn, which now controls Tripoli is an ISIS like organization that also receives its backing from external sources and the conflict is clearly spreading across the borders.

Good luck with overthrowing Assad militarily - that's the very worst thing we could have done. Had we done that, Jordan and Lebanon would have a civil war - because just as you're not able to contain the Libyan conflict to Libya, which is spreading to sub-Saharan neighbors, so you wouldn't be able to contain a Syrian civil war to that fractured country (see also how a fractured Iraq spills over into Syria).

We should have left those societies to evolve their own solutions to the dictatorships of Saddam, Assad and Khaddafi. Instead, we involved ourselves militarily and made the situation infinitely worse. How many civilians were killed and terrorist organizations flowered before and after our military engagement? Those deaths and those consequences are on our heads.
posted by VikingSword at 8:47 AM on September 24


The 8 Proxy Wars Going On in Syria Right Now
posted by Apocryphon at 10:30 AM on September 24


The Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy

September 2, 2014 08:21 AM (22 days ago)
173 total comments, last 5 shown below...


This handy timeline may help anyone trying to discuss the history of alcohol use and the history of temperance and abstinence campaigns in the U.S.
posted by kewb at 3:01 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Except for one comment upthread, the use of "Puritan" has been metaphorical, not as reference to literal historical Puritans. People are talking about a sort of moral judgement towards so-called vice; rather than hats with buckles. It oddly has currency among people outside the traditional religious conservative community.
posted by spaltavian at 6:26 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


"Even drinking more than is recommended, without displaying clinical symptoms of problem drinking or alcohol dependence (and these are not subtle), is generally better for you than drinking nothing."

Whatever you say about the benefits of drinking--and excellent social lubricant is quite a sufficient reason to bring out the bubbly, in my view--those of us with these unmistakable symptoms know better than to be lured by some magical benefit conferred by this 'couple of drinks' canard. There is simply no such thing for many of us--that's one of the not subtle symptoms! Early on the the big book of AA, heavy drinkers are distinguished from 'drinkers of our type'--even AA has no objection to non-problem drinking. "To your very good health, my friends!"
posted by Anitanola at 1:32 PM on September 7


Previously : Alcohol Helps the Brain Remember, Says New Study
posted by jeffburdges at 7:27 AM on September 24


Much of what people call "puritanical" mores about drinking date back to the 19th century, and not much earlier. They are much more Baptist than Puritan, and, in the case of the temperance movement, they tend to be coded as "feminine." The reaction, such as it was, occurred the other way around.

This is all true, but it seems like a bit of a nit to pick. Nobody was really talking about the actual Puritans, as in the 16th century English Protestant separatists; perhaps it would be better to distinguish between capital-P Puritans and lowercase-p "puritans", which is a word that generally refers to moralistic pleasure-avoiders in common modern American English usage.

If the thrust of your argument was that we shouldn't tar the actual Puritans with the same brush used on 19th c. temperance crusaders, I might actually agree with that, but only because my opinion of the temperance movement, seen as it is in hindsight, is fairly low. Doubtless they had their reasons and were well-meaning, but behind every calamity is a bunch of well-meaning people.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:54 AM on September 24


"The decision of this Court is but one studied decision among many"

September 3, 2014 09:53 AM (21 days ago)
113 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Judge Posner's decision.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:33 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


From NPR's article on this latest US appeals court decision:
Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee, said that Wisconsin and Indiana had given the court "no reasonable basis" for forbidding same-sex marriage. Indeed, he said, "The only rationale that the states put forward with any conviction is ... so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously."
Emphasis mine, to clarify that not all Reagan appointees are like Feldman, stuck in some period in the past, or so blinded by their own biases that they cannot see there is no damned reason why sexual orientation plays any role in permission or prohibition of marriage.

In fact, Posner focused on an aspect of marriage I think is annoying to dwell on in the first place: the children. Also from NPR:
As to the Indiana and Wisconsin cases decided on Thursday, Judge Posner wrote that at their "deepest level" they are about "the welfare of American children." The argument that the states "press hardest," he noted, is that they "seek to encourage marriage" between a man and a woman as a way of protecting children who can be the product of accidental pregnancies. And, he said, states argue if the biological parents aren't married, the children are often abandoned to a single parent or foster care. "Overlooked by this argument," said Posner, is that many of those children are adopted by homosexual couples, and "would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married."
In short: the sexual orientation doesn't matter, it's about the love and commitment that is displayed through marriage (debates of the necessity of marriage to display love and commitment aside). I don't there should be any focus on marriages being about making or raising children, and the NPR article goes on to cover Posner's comments on that topic, too, but I'll leave those there, to avoid further tangents.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:15 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Emphasis mine, to clarify that not all Reagan appointees are like Feldman, stuck in some period in the past, or so blinded by their own biases that they cannot see there is no damned reason why sexual orientation plays any role in permission or prohibition of marriage.

Yeah. And, for what it's worth, Reagan also nominated Vaughn Walker, the judge who struck down Prop 8 in California.

That Reagan nomination got stuck in the Senate however, because the Democrats were concerned Walker was anti-gay*. He was renominated by George Bush in '89, and that one went through.

* Irony: He is gay.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Ruling overturned.
posted by Evilspork at 2:37 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Overturned isn't exactly the right word, since the two courts are on completely different levels, and it's generally kind of weird for a state court judge to focus so much on US rather than state law. It's definitely good news, though.
posted by Corinth at 9:34 AM on September 24


Black Males, Autism, and the Police

September 3, 2014 05:54 AM (21 days ago)
12 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Yeah, I totally get that. My sister was horrified, she's generally on top of reading her son and anticipates all kinds of interactions. But this was a case of him seeing one of the things that genuinely pleases him and reacting before she even noticed. The symbol on the hat is a kind of new fixation for him.

As a side note, spending time with someone that is profoundly autistic makes me so aware of the things that each of us are intrinsically drawn to or averse to. We are sensual creatures. Being around my nephew over the years and getting to know the things he gets excited to see or hear or touch and how they wane...it is just fascinating.
posted by readery at 1:19 PM on September 4


If you've an autistic child, then you should probably consider emigrating. Cops behave less like violent psychopaths almost everywhere else.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:45 AM on September 6


David Perry has been posting a lot lately about the cult of compliance.
posted by Lexica at 9:19 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Why Violent Cops Rule

4 PA Cops Arrested After Joy Ride & Firework Prank on Other Cop Goes Wrong
posted by jeffburdges at 4:22 PM on September 13


Disability related : Florida Deputies Gun Man Down as His Son Tries to Explain that He’s Deaf

Cop culture related : Pentagon Official Doesn't Know Why Local Police Need The 12,000 Bayonets Feds Gave Them
posted by jeffburdges at 9:21 AM on September 24


"Professors are citizens."

August 26, 2014 01:52 PM (29 days ago)
601 total comments, last 5 shown below...


...in his/her claim that that there is some inherent "right" for every "people" to have a "state" entails some very unhappy historical consequences.

I didn't claim that. Nor did I intend to, as I just attempted to clarify earlier.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:48 AM on September 24


Actually, in Israel's case you can't really even say "this thing that is happening right now should stop," e.g. the Gaza massacre or the racism dehumanizing treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank, without typically being accused of anti-Semitism.

I'm quite aware that some critics of Israel are unfairly tarred with that accusation, but this has nothing to do with my quoted remark.

I meant "you can't say..." in the sense that we cannot pretend that we can go back in time to do things better. Let us say, for sake of argument, that it could be proven that the world would have been a better place had Israel never existed: without a time machine, this information does not guide us to any particular future course of action.

The fractious history of Yugoslavia presents a series of negative examples of what happens when people do try to pretend such things: to avenge past sins, to take back what's "theirs", to "make way" for a new order, to impose new rules to prevent people from tearing themselves apart again, and so on.

There are of course also examples throughout history, and even in that region, of people doing a better job of this sort of thing. My point is not that we can never negotiate peace in any region, but rather that it is never enough to simply recognize a wrong: there has to be an effective plan for the future. This frequently does involve giving concessions to actors who have done bad things. The hard part, of course, is figuring what concessions to give to whom, and how to get a quorum of people on board with this.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:12 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I didn't claim that. Nor did I intend to, as I just attempted to clarify earlier.

Your clarification, however, wasn't available at the time I wrote my comment. And in the comment to which you are responding, above, I am trying to clarify that original comment, which was a response to what you originally wrote, not a response to your later clarification/correction. Such is the miserable burden of language, we can only deal with the words people write/say--not with the thoughts they're more-or-less-adequately attempting to convey.
posted by yoink at 8:39 AM on September 24


I never said anything about "inherent rights" in any of my comments.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:58 AM on September 24


I never said anything about "inherent rights" in any of my comments.

You said this:
The Swedes have their own country, the Germans, the Russians, don't Jews deserve to have Israel?
"Deserve," in this context, implies a "right" (i.e. they "deserve" it because it is their "right" to have it. I can see no other way of reading that that makes any sense at all.) Again, I'm not saying "ha HA! Gotcha! This is obviously what you really believe." I'm saying that this is what you said and what I was replying to. I take it from your clarification that it's not, in fact, what you believe. I'm not trying to pin something on you Golden Eternity. I'm just explaining what my comment was responding to.
posted by yoink at 9:09 AM on September 24


Neocons are alive and well and playing with Ukraine.

September 7, 2014 08:35 AM (17 days ago)
104 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Live coverage of anti-war marches in Russia. Wow, the one in Moscow does not look tiny; there must be several thousand people.
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:52 AM on September 21


Putin warns Ukraine against implementing EU deal - letter
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:32 AM on September 23


The End of Deterrence? Ukraine is at the mercy of Moscow now, the West is watching helplessly.

With two agreements about the future of eastern Ukraine now in place – one official brokered by the OSCE, one still secret between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Putin-aide Vladislav Surkov –, the country’s fate seems sealed. Western-anchored near-neighbors have every right to “feel vulnerable.”
posted by Kabanos at 6:59 PM on September 23


From the Russian perspective: Russia and the U.S.: A Long Confrontation?
Sergey Karaganov frames the whole crisis as a high stakes confrontation between Russia and the U.S., with the stakes being much higher for Russia. A loss in this confrontation would be much more disastrous for Russia.

With a sort-of deal and sort-of ceasefire in place right now, I thought this next bit was revealing:
Russia has much fewer levers to inflict direct damage to its rivals. This is why, apart from the semi-symbolic embargo on food imports from the West, Russia’s strategy is objectively changing into trying to bring about the economic and political collapse of Ukraine – possibly in the hope that the West (Europe) will come to its senses and back down.
The Westi is misguided if it thinks a potential freezing of the military conflict will cease Russia's assault on Ukraine. The political and economic assaults are only beginning.

I have to agree with Karaganov at least that any Russia–US/West settlement seems a good way off. Especially if Karaganov ideas of "compromise" are representative of the Kremlin's thinking:
In looking for a settlement the best option is a treaty fixing the new status quo in Europe. The territory of what is now Ukraine should be either divided or, preferably, made an area of joint development. The same category includes other countries that create discord between great powers.
Oh you pesky little countries that cause discord … !
posted by Kabanos at 8:10 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


As Ukraine's debt tangle unwinds, Russia holds key thread
A selloff on Ukraine's dollar debt is focusing attention on a controversial $3 billion bond held by Russia, ...

The so-called bail-bond, taken out late last year by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, carries a clause which - given Kiev's steadily worsening finances - may enable the Kremlin to demand immediate repayment.

At best, that could force Western lenders to stump up more cash for Kiev. In the worst - albeit less likely - scenario, so-called cross-default provisions carried by most Eurobonds would force payment on all Ukraine's remaining dollar bonds at once if Moscow is not paid on time.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:37 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious.

September 8, 2014 09:05 AM (16 days ago)
110 total comments, last 5 shown below...


People disable their accounts for many reasons. I hope scody's is temporary.
posted by JHarris at 11:17 PM on September 11


She's just taking a break, yup.
posted by rtha at 5:31 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Mr. Death Penalty: Kent Scheidegger is America's most outspoken advocate for capital punishment. What motivates him—and does he have his facts straight?
posted by homunculus at 2:05 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


A libertarian supporting the death penalty is baffling to me. State imposed death is virtually antonymous with liberty.

My complete opposition to the death penalty comes from libertarian leanings, not liberal ones.
posted by spaltavian at 4:52 PM on September 17


Don’t Want to Get Raped by a Cop? Police Chief’s Advice, “Obey the traffic laws”
posted by jeffburdges at 8:22 AM on September 24


I don’t think that I could handle being that vulnerable to someone else.

September 16, 2014 11:03 AM (8 days ago)
160 total comments, last 5 shown below...


The analogy I always use -- I've mentioned it in these hallowed pages before -- is that parenthood is like any other monumentally difficult and potentially rewarding task; if you really aspire to it and crave it, then by all means, go ahead. It's like climbing Mt. Everest, or opening a restaurant, or becoming a neurosurgeon or an astronaut or a professional musician. But just like any of those things, it is SUPER DUMB to do them if you don't want to do them, and nobody says "Oh, it's different when it's your own!" about law degrees or kidney transplants or houses built by your own hand. The big difference is that nobody goes to a party, spies a promising stranger from across the room, and wakes up a month later to discover that they have accidentally become a concert pianist.

I have two kids, and I worked hard to get them and I love them with every cell in my body. But man alive this shit is hard work, with drastic repercussions for doing it badly. Nobody should feel compelled to undertake such a project unless they want to, and the people who contribute to such an atmosphere of coercion should be ashamed of themselves.
posted by KathrynT at 10:45 AM on September 18 [9 favorites]


Oddly enough, this week at my office a third woman has announced she was pregnant. Afterwards, everyone turned to me, the last remaining non-parent in our department and smiled. One co-worker said, "Oh, watch out! It'll be your turn next!"

I just laughed and said casually, "Yeah, if that happens, there's a doctor in Nashville that will owe me a crapton of money."

*crickets*
posted by teleri025 at 2:29 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]


Loved this.

The remark I hate the most is "Oh, you'll change your mind." I've known for sure I didn't want kids since I was 14 years old. I'm 40 now. My mind isn't changing. Not to mention, it isn't remotely acceptable to go up to a pregnant woman (or woman with a young child) and asked "Are you sure you want that child? You'll change your mind once you realize how expensive children are/how much less sleep you get/insert reason here." That would be incredibly awful. So what makes it OK to say the equivalent to a woman without children?
posted by SisterHavana at 11:51 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


also, i know why parents do it, but the constant apologizing for kids being kids makes me sad

Me too. Kids need to be taught how to be people, and it's impossible to do that unless you take them out into the world so they can learn! My Monsters are grown, but boy do I remember well the craziness that getting them there entailed, and I make a point of being extra nice to the folks that are just now on that path.

A few years back, a friend and I were driving back home from a dance performance in Kalamazoo. We were so tired and hungry and eager to get home, that we didn't bother getting out of costume or makeup. We just determined that we'd get on the road, and stop at the first restaurant we saw.

That turned out to be a Perkins. We were seated near a very obviously travel weary couple and their young daughter. She was maybe 5 at the oldest, and wow, did we ever catch her attention. She stared, then jumped up out of her seat to come over to us. "ARE YOU FAIRIES???" Her mother apologized over and over again, and we just told her not to worry, we are mothers, too, and expect small children to be a little confused by the sight of bellydancers in full regalia. (And we had done a Tribal Style performance, so our hair was piled with feathers and flowers and cowrie shells, and everything was jingly and fringey and flowy. So. Sure. Fairies!)

We invited the little one to sit with us, so she could ask us questions and touch the flowers and feathers and shiny things. We coiled her hair up and each put a feather and a flower in it, and made her an Honorary Fairy. Her parents were so grateful to have a few minutes to relax and to have people NOT bitching about the (perfectly normal) behavior of a small child.

I never want parents to apologize to me for their 5 year-old being 5. It doesn't cost anything to be kind.
posted by MissySedai at 7:03 AM on September 24


Missy - you've just reminded me of a family outing when I was about twelve, and one of my cousins was only about two. And at some point had a two-year-old meltdown at the restaurant, which my increasingly-harried aunt was trying to quell before finally getting up and taking her out to the parking lot so she didn't freak everyone else out.

The thing was, I was watching her the whole time, and feeling increasingly bad seeing how hard she was trying to calm my cousin down. And about the time that she was getting up and taking her out to the parking lot, it hit me that "wait, I bet my own parents had to deal with this when I was two also."

And so a moment after they left the table, I turned to my own parents and said, "I'm so sorry!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Potential Hydrogen Production Breakthrough

September 12, 2014 06:10 PM (12 days ago)
34 total comments, last 5 shown below...


If this pans out and scales up, does it solve the problem of storage for solar? If it did, that would be tremendous.

No. Orders of Magnitude away from that. Grid storage is hard, because a gigawatt-hour is a tremendous amount of energy.

What it would solve, however, is something no less important. After power generation, the biggest source of man-made CO2 is transportation. Getting our cars to clean exhaust is a big win.

The problem with hydrogen was having to use fossil fuels to generate the power to split it from water. If we can use solar, we're not robbing Peter to fill Paul's fuel cell. Hydrogen becomes a truly clean fuel.
posted by eriko at 7:16 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Oil being vulnerable to disorder in the Middle East is really yesterday's issue. We've seen the two key oil benchmarks (WTI -- basically the Western Hemisphere east of the continental divides, and Brent, the rest of the world) go on their longest steady decline not linked to an economic crisis in many years, at the same time as Israel and Hamas went to war and as the Iraq/Syria wars amped up their intensity hugely.

I would argue that the greatest political volatility in the energy market has shifted from military action in the Middle East to environmentalist action in the developed world -- nuclear and coal being taken off-line, and being put back on-line, and non-conventional oil and gas exploration and infrastructure being allowed or disallowed, for political reasons. For example, I have to think that Australian environmentalists are so aghast at Abbott's rescission of their advances under the last Labour government that they are planning to do something to coal in the next Labour inning that they think will be irrevocable.
posted by MattD at 7:30 AM on September 13


Well, right Eriko--but it was my impression that hydrogen is energy dense enough to provide for power grid needs to with the right plumbing in place. Is that not the case? What about a less centralized distribution model with power generated at the point of use and excess capacity stored in hydrogen? What technical hurdles remain to keep us from transitioning to that sort of system (not political hurdles, just technical ones I mean)?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:56 PM on September 13


In academia, it's standard that everyone refers to Professor Jane Doe's research group as "the Doe Group" or "the Doe Lab". So that's not a sign of ego. It's weirder when people name their groups something else.

Is this an American thing? I can't think of single example from the UK academic groups I know.
posted by biffa at 5:00 PM on September 13


It's a US thing that has made its way to the UK.
posted by lalochezia at 6:13 AM on September 24


The 9/11 notes of Ari Fleischer

September 11, 2014 03:22 PM (13 days ago)
82 total comments, last 5 shown below...


The production values are also pretty high for these kinds of videos.

ISIS just signed a treaty with the 'good' Syrian rebels. The anti-Assad faction the west ostensibly supports. I'm looking forward to some nice cogdisso in the coming months.
posted by clarknova at 7:36 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


The West are already talking to Iran. Outside of a one-step intermediary process, that's basically negotiating with Assad.
posted by jaduncan at 3:03 AM on September 13


Where's My Pet Goat?

Ari Fleischer mentioned it here and here and here.
posted by John Cohen at 6:45 PM on September 13


Also see Sean Bonner's and Mike Monteiro's tweets on brands commemorating 9/11

That reminds me of this Onion classic.
posted by homunculus at 10:24 AM on September 14


There's also this, makes for a good companion piece. Recently declassified first-person account of the day from Michael Morell, the President's intel debriefer ... the same guy that walked Bush through the 'Bin Laden determined to strike in US' PDB in August. Captures the lightning-quick unfolding and slow-dawning horror-movie realisation of the day pretty well: one plane two four jesus what the hell else is coming?
posted by bookie at 5:46 AM on September 24


Calculus without limits

September 17, 2014 05:23 PM (7 days ago)
34 total comments, last 5 shown below...


You have inadvertently identified the problem, DU. You are skilled at mathematics, you already learned this subject so this approach seems like a good one. But you have "The Curse of Knowledge." You do not know what students do not know. But I can tell you what precalc students do know: limits, sums and series. You think these are "confusing side issues" but I assure you that the SAT, ACT, and other exams will test high school kids for their knowledge of these subjects.

The diagram I posted is clearly labeled 14.1.3 which you might have guessed was in Chapter 14. I searched and found a similar diagrams in Chapter 8, labeled Figure 8.3.1, 8.6.2 etc. And remember, I studied from the first edition so read the preface to the second edition, where he describes a complete reorganization of the book. Even Keisler had trouble organizing this material.

I cannot see any way to make this method substantially easier, it does everything the hard way. That is why this book exists, Keisler thinks the hard way is the best, most correct way. Perhaps he is right, but his book does not demonstrate this to me.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:17 AM on September 23


No, I'm sorry, that's ridiculous.

1) Precalc students do NOT know limits, sums and series. I didn't when I was one and my current pre-calc children don't. We got this stuff in calculus itself.

2) "They'll need it on the ACT" is not an argument for teaching things a certain way.

3) Nothing here is done the hard way. In the Chapter 1 he writes out the intuitive version of differentiation that's handwavey and then formalizes it with absolutely no change in notation. If that's not the easy way, I don't know what is.

I did find that diagram in chapter 14, you are right. And from the text it is perfectly clear that the steer is going up and down the slope of the line.

I dunno why you hate this book so much, but you shouldn't be projecting your problems onto people who want to learn and use calculus in a simple way.
posted by DU at 12:12 PM on September 23


There is only so much I can say about this subject, since I actually work in educational testing and have signed nondisclosure agreements covering what I know about the questions on future math tests.

But I assure you there is plenty of publicly available information on the content that students are expected to master in high school precalc. You may not consider it important for students to understand this material in a way that they can demonstrate it on a standardized test. But there is a high probability that some college admissions bureaucrat will think your children should be able to do that.

We can differ in opinion on Keisler's methods, but I think it is fair to say I have more detailed knowledge about how a student will deal with this method, since I spent my freshman year learning calculus from Keisler's book and you are looking back at it from the perspective of someone who already knows the material. If you want your kids to learn it Keisler's way, you better get them all the way to college level Calc II before they have to take their college entrance exams. If you're going to homeschool them in Calc, they better be able to test out of taking Calc at all.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:14 PM on September 23


Once again, standardized tests should not dictate pedagogy. I'm not interested in how well kids pass the SATs, I'm interested in how well they understand how to use the mathematical tools.

As for the rest: I spent MY freshman AND sophmore year learning from a standard book that used limits and I had zero clue what I was doing. This was after a pre-calc course that I *did* understand and did *not* mention limits.

I eventually learned on my own by doing some physics, where they didn't bother with any of that junk and just treated Δx and Δy as variables. That's basically what the hyperreals method does, although the physics book didn't formalize anything.

Since one data point damns Keisler in your view, I rest assured that one data point will also damn limits in your view.

Anyway, the main point is that anyone who wants to try to learn calculus, or get a refresher or just see what this hyperreals thing is about should read the first chapter. It's very short, clear, simple and will not "do more damage than good".
posted by DU at 4:52 PM on September 23


I eventually learned on my own by doing some physics, where they didn't bother with any of that junk and just treated Δx and Δy as variables.

I never considered that part of the Freshman Year Bullshit is the different ways Physics 101 and Calc 101 approached the same thing from different ways. 30 years too late for me, but maybe someone can benefit from the insight.
posted by mikelieman at 4:14 AM on September 24


An Indian Woman Engineer from Bangalore post

September 16, 2014 04:22 AM (8 days ago)
28 total comments, last 5 shown below...


How is a brogrammer different than, say, a former frat boy that works in banking, sales, law, etc.? Is it just a reaction against the societal stereotyping of programmers as geeky and socially inept?
posted by gyc at 12:24 PM on September 16


I don't think it's really all that different from the stereotype of Wall Street i-bankers or Hollywood aspiring agents, just with its own Bay Area spin. I don't think it's a reaction so much as how the current technological and economic environment in SV has led to startup culture being more accessible, and attractive for males of all types to dive in and try to score some sweet sweet VC funding. And so you have guys beyond the usual geeky/socially inept types studying CS and then becoming hackers. And meanwhile the gender ratio is still abysmal, if not worsened.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:27 PM on September 16


It seemed to me like the same general type of hyperprivileged white guy going into the career where the money is perceived to be, at that particular time in their life when they make that choice.
posted by fleacircus at 1:55 PM on September 16


Apocryphon: "Brogramming is a new subculture that's evolved over the last decade or soon, with the coming of Web 2.0 and mobile app development, among other technologies that's enabled a new class of software devs in the wake of the last dot-com bust. There's plenty of other, older, sexist subcultures in Silicon Valley as well. A veritable taxonomy of sexisms."

Yeah, tech has been sexist for quite a while, but as far as I can tell the brogrammer meme itself is quite recent. The weird thing, actually, is that I think the term originated as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the stereotype of the typical programmer being the exact opposite of a fraternity bro. A riff on the age-old jocks vs. nerds dichotomy. I was active on Quora circa 2011 when this question took off, and my read at the time was that the whole thing was an joke among the SV tech set about how un-broish they were. It was a way to mock and distinguish themselves from meathead fratboy culture. Google search trends doesn't show any interest for the word "brogrammer" before the Quora question, and the earliest media reference appears to be this Businessweek article based on the Quora thread, so I believe the Quora might be near ground zero for the term's rise. Businessweek however, completely missed the joke and referred to "brogrammers" as if they were real and widespread. At the time of the article I think fraternity culture was still fairly marginal in tech, but then I read the latest SV journalism or hear about the founders of Snapchat and it appears things have changed...

Now that the money in the startup world is luring frat-types who previously would've gotten MBAs or gone into finance, it appears the parody has become reality, and the term "brogrammer" has the curious distinction of predating (and partially helping to create) the absurd culture it describes.
posted by Wemmick at 2:46 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]


Love this photograph of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Martian spacecraft staffers in Bangalore.
posted by infini at 2:24 AM on September 24


"our healthy but preposterous need to make lists"

September 8, 2014 12:41 PM (16 days ago)
46 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Yeah, his name's jonmc.
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


(I like Ned Raggett and Chuck Eddy for that, though they're both coming from very idiosyncratic views.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:42 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


What about this song about perfect beats: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2RJlYzBhLg4
posted by mulligan at 8:00 PM on September 8


One of the thing that I find interesting about Frere-Jones' exercise was that he chose the word "perfect." As he said in the Guardian piece:
"It's an obviously ridiculous idea," he told the Guardian. "About a year ago, in a meeting, the word 'perfect' came up, and I thought it was so idiotic that it sort of tickled me. But for some reason, perfect bothers me a lot less than 'best'."
After listening to the songs I think I sort of get a little bit what he means. Most of the songs are a perfect expression of a single idea. For instance, I wouldn't say that "Fit But You Know It" is the most representative song by The Streets, neither would I say that it's the best, but it takes one idea and spins it out perfectly for just as long as the idea can sustain it. It's perfect on its own, limited terms. Most of the songs strike me as being the same. I suspect that Frere-Jones would say that all the songs are perfect expressions of the idea behind them, but were I disagree is probably a matter of subjective interpretation. Still, it's a really interesting way of looking at songs. Or art, in general. There are some books and films which I would consider perfect, even though they aren't personal favorites for one reason or another.
posted by Kattullus at 12:20 PM on September 9


The New Yorker's jazz guy Richard Brody Lists His Perfect Jazz Recordings.
posted by Kattullus at 1:09 AM on September 24


Twitter Detective FanSince09

September 17, 2014 12:04 PM (7 days ago)
55 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Robbing the victim afterwards also hurts any attempt to make a self-defense claim, which is about the only way the attackers could hope to get out of this. "Those two unarmed guys were menacing our group of fifteen people!" sounds even more ridiculous on its face when the story ends with "...and so then we stole their credit cards and left."
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:53 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Per Philly.com:

Meanwhile Wednesday, police sources told the Daily News that at least a few of the alleged assailants had been interviewed by investigators.

Some of those "persons of interest" were seen walking into the Central Detective Division late last night with their lawyers.

No arrests had been made in the case as of last night.

posted by Sophie1 at 7:25 AM on September 19


From Philadelphia Gay News, via Joe.My.God.:
A police source said this week that they were nearly "ready to go" in terms of making arrests and said charges are expected "this week." A key witness, the source said, was due in for an interview Monday, "the girl who was right in the middle of it all." After that, the source said, the District Attorney's Office will review all of the evidence collected in the case and make a decision about charges. "People are going to get locked up," the source said.
And:
As of Monday morning, police had completed 18 interviews with members of the group and witnesses. Each interview, the source said, takes about four hours. Prolonging the process, the source added, is that each person in the group has retained a separate, private attorney. "What happens with cases like this is that, if you rush it and don't do a good job, they'll start throwing out charges later on. These kids all have top-notch attorneys, so if our case isn't put together on our end, they're going to pick it apart. But we've put together a great case for the DA and we'll be working in conjunction with the DA to bring the charges."
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 2:56 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


They're charging three members of the group.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:49 PM on September 23


Action News has confirmed suspect Kathryn Knott is the daughter of Chalfont, Bucks County Police Chief Karl Knott.

At their Southampton home, no one answered but when we asked several neighbors about the charges against Knott, off camera, they would only say they're not surprised.


That's gonna leave a mark.
posted by rhizome at 7:53 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]


SRLP and Laverne Cox

August 27, 2014 08:25 AM (28 days ago)
61 total comments, last 5 shown below...


The Chelsea Manning case is really interesting, but it does raise a question - are prisoners allowed to engage in legal actions aside from just appeals?

It's well-settled that prisoners have a fundamental right to access of the courts, not just for appeals. Bounds v. Smith is the big case here.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:50 AM on September 4


She has legally changed her name already. Changing your gender marker federally (passport, Social Security) and in most states (driver's license, birth certificate) requires some kind of letter from a doctor or surgeon, and there can be different requirements for different documents*. But if the government is denying her transgender-related health care she won't have had the opportunity to change her gender marker anywhere yet, as I doubt her birth state of Oklahoma is more lenient than the federal requirements.

*For example, here's my letter that was good for everything but my Louisiana birth certificate. The vague wording is intentional - "appropriate clinical treatment" is the key phrase federally (thanks Obama!) and also works with Louisiana's ambiguous wording for state ID.
posted by Corinth at 1:43 PM on September 4


The Chelsea Manning case is really interesting, but it does raise a question - are prisoners allowed to engage in legal actions aside from just appeals?

Absolutely - California prisoners sued over the appalling health care in the prison system and the system is now in receivership. Looks like Riverside County inmates just got the okay for a class action suit, too.
posted by rtha at 2:10 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


If she's legally changed her name, then the Army is just being ridiculously pointless dicks, especially given how easy it is to change your "Army-legal" name and the fact that you can basically choose a pseudonym when you join.

I mean, we probably already knew that, but I mean, the amount this rises to the level of petty should really be acknowledged.
posted by corb at 3:24 PM on September 4


Chelsea Manning sues federal government for gender dysphoria treatment. Avoid the comments if you're trans.
posted by Corinth at 6:34 PM on September 23


I AM GROOT.

September 17, 2014 07:50 AM (7 days ago)
45 total comments, last 5 shown below...


My headcannon is that Groot is actually female, and thus the Guardians team is 2:3 instead of 1:4.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:10 PM on September 17


I am Groot, and so can you!
posted by That's Numberwang! at 9:38 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite school chums bears the last name Groot. We often referred to him as simply Groot or as The Groot (this was in the 70s). He lives on the other side of the planet now and I see him very, very rarely.

I did not see DOTG so don't fully grasp the reference. And every time I see or hear a reference to Groot I think of my friend and how much I miss him.

Sometimes life is weird.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:31 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


The fascinating thing about "I am Groot" is the movie explicitly and repeatedly sets up the rule that this is the only thing Groot says. There is nothing else he says, at all. Sure, there's nuance about what it means based on his expression, body language, tone and other context, but other otherwise, it's a single saying repeated over and over.

Then the movie breaks the very rule it made and it makes total sense both theme and plot wise. Groot literally grows roots and metaphorically grounds these individuals into a family/team (which resonates with everyone's desire to have a circle of family and friends). It's only by choosing to work together they can defeat crazy ass Ronan.

And yet Groot is goddamn CGI creation. Jesus the movie was so pedestrian, yet brilliant with that move.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Groot sounds like a good name for a dog. Or a nick for some dodgy online character.
posted by vortexofdoom at 5:28 PM on September 23


The life I love is making music with my friends

September 2, 2014 03:53 PM (22 days ago)
27 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Apparently, smoking a doobie with Willie is like the Hajj for stoners.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 8:21 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


What really really sucks is that one of the musicians who's most responsible for putting Nashville on the map doesn't ever get so much as a mention in the media here, unless it's for one of his pot arrests -- even though, as the article states, he has just put out one of his best albums in years, and one that's topped the country chart (for the first time since The Promiseland in 1986) and hit the top five pop albums to boot (no mean feat for an 81-year-old).

I wonder if they'll even blink here when he passes.
posted by blucevalo at 8:22 AM on September 3


Great post!

I've seen Willie several times, but the first time I saw him was at the big Earth Day concert at the old Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, MA, in 1991. I was 17. It was an 8 hour concert that was mostly set changes - two or three songs from like 15 bands. The crowd was fairly hostile, as I recall. The people behind us spent her whole set heckling Queen "LaQUEEFA", for instance. It was cold. When the announcer said Willie Nelson was next there was sort of an embarrassed groan in the crowd. This was pretty late in the day, "country" music was not all that beloved in Massachusetts then (far as I could tell, anyway), and people just wanted to hear Bruce Hornsby play some hits, man.

But when Willie actually started playing people went NUTS. Honestly, I've never seen a crowd more quickly embrace a performer. EVERY person I could see was on their feet screaming along to "On the Road Again", myself included. How can someone, their stage presence, and their song combine to be THAT charismatic? That universally appealing? At any rate, even 23 years ago he was an elder statesman, and a uniter. We were surprised by it then, I was anyway, but no one is surprised when everyone loves Willie now.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:06 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


One of my favorites is his duet with Kimmie Rhodes "Love Me Like a Song"
posted by soelo at 9:57 AM on September 4


I like his really old TV appearances.

I like to think this is before he busted loose, just maybe. But probably he was pretty free even then.

Darkness on the Face of the Earth
posted by surplus at 4:09 PM on September 23


Ray Rice cut by the Ravens, suspended indefinitely

September 8, 2014 11:55 AM (16 days ago)
494 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Wow. I don't know if any of you guys listen to the BS Report, Bill Simmons' podcast, but boy does he ever go off on Monday's show. Love it.

He compares it to the destruction of the evidence in the Spygate issue:

"This Ray Rice thing's much worse, but, it still has the same elements of that last one. Of him, he has a buddy who owns a team and he's trying to make something go away as fast as possible."
posted by Trochanter at 9:56 AM on September 23


"...he's trying to make something go away as fast as possible."

THAT'S Roger Goodell.
posted by Trochanter at 9:57 AM on September 23


Ta-Nehisi Coates: No, Hope Solo Is Not 'Like' Ray Rice
posted by tonycpsu at 1:52 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Coates, incidentally, gave up on football two years ago (after Junior Seau's suicide) because of the brain-injury issues. He speaks specifically of the NFL and Sundays, so I don't know whether he's also given up on college football, but he went to Howard, which is not a football powerhouse, so he might never have gotten into it the way people generally get into their alma maters' programs.
posted by Etrigan at 2:02 PM on September 23


Etrigan: ...so he might never have gotten into it the way people generally get into their alma maters' programs.

Goodell delenda est.
posted by Etrigan at 5:02 PM on September 23 [+] [!]


FTFY.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:08 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Reddit: Somalia Of The Internet

September 12, 2014 02:23 PM (12 days ago)
272 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Ugh. This is the reason I spend more time at reddit than metafilter these days. It amazes me that adults really do like being told what's OK to talk about, and how to talk about it.

Um, you can use different sites for different purposes? I mean I am pretty much a classic american free speech absolutist - you know, not the business of the government to restrict speech period - and I think on the level of, say, the internet as a whole this:

That's the ironic thing about free speech absolutism - ultimately, it results in less free speech. You may say that the limits that moderation puts on speech has a chilling effect, but I will point out in return that when you throw moderation to the wind, what happens is that the the most powerful and ruthless voices find their way to the forefront, drowning out and driving out others. That's a lot more chilling.

is not particularly true. But the reason it's not is that people are able to form their own spaces with different rules. And while reddit nominally is intended to facilitate just that, I think anyone can see that for reasons already discussed certain (toxic) cultural trends are actually able to affect all but the most obscure subcommunities. Indeed you do give up being able to say *some* things on Metafilter, but I don't think you will get a better discussion about a lot of things anywhere.
posted by atoxyl at 12:56 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


More briefly: that the federal government cannot throw you in jail for being an unpleasant dinner guest says nothing about whether the host can tell you to get out of his dining room. Any conception of freedom of speech that pretends otherwise doesn't have much use in a discussion of functioning society; it's a spherical cow model of discourse, possibly useful philosophically but not so much in direct day-to-day practice.

Extending that analogy... If you are at a restaurant and there is an awful discussion occurring at your table, you can always leave. But if that discussion gets too loud, the restaurant may ask you to leave.

Reddit will never ask you to leave.

So, will people quit dining there? Will the loud people saying awful things at the restaurant make people decide to quit dining there?

Or are we, at the end of the day are we a bunch of folks eating at a nice local Italian place complaining how awful Olive Garden is and how they should go out of business because Olive Garden has loud obnoxious customers? (oops, wrong thread, analogy spreading too thin).
posted by el io at 10:35 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


Or are we, at the end of the day are we a bunch of folks eating at a nice local Italian place complaining how awful Olive Garden is and how they should go out of business because Olive Garden has loud obnoxious customers? (oops, wrong thread, analogy spreading too thin).

Except you're forgetting that some of the people at this particular Olive Garden aren't just "loud and obnoxious", but are using this particular branch as a place to plan illegal activity and encourage each other into further illegal activity because the owners are all, "eh, so what if they're talking about how they broke the law, I'm not gonna turn them in because they're just showing pictures of what they did."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:43 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I am impressed with whoever did the CSS on /r/metafilter
posted by exogenous at 10:03 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I imagine that law enforcement would be tickled pink to find out that bank robbers are planning their heists at the local Olive Garden... It's easier to sit next to the bank-robbers and eavesdrop than to figure out which living room to bug.
posted by el io at 12:33 PM on September 23


Standard (flavored) Markdown

September 4, 2014 07:32 AM (20 days ago)
249 total comments, last 5 shown below...


"Easier to read than HTML" != "perfectly readable"

Markdown is still a markup. My point was people who have a working knowledge of HTML, but perhaps not an advanced one (those tasked with creating text content for the web but not anything more advanced) may not see the value because it's not a direct correlation to WYSWIG editing. You are still adding characters to plain text that will be removed in the rendering process. You still need to have a frame of reference as to what can be done or not done (in terms of formatting) to do it. By saying 'perfectly readable' it seems to be implying that resultant text is styled (which it is not) and that it has no extraneous characters (also not).
posted by 99_ at 2:44 PM on September 6


empath, your HTML is a bit chubby (and broken; you skipped the <ul> to <ol> transition there). This is more like the thing:

<h1>Hello there</h1>
<p>This is a paragraph.
<ul>
<li>one
<li>two
<li>three
<li>four
</ul>
<ol>
<li>pirate
<li>ninja
<li>zombie
</ol>
posted by scruss at 3:47 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

You're welcome, and likewise.
posted by juiceCake at 11:50 PM on September 7


My point was people who have a working knowledge of HTML, but perhaps not an advanced one (those tasked with creating text content for the web but not anything more advanced) may not see the value because it's not a direct correlation to WYSWIG editing. You are still adding characters to plain text that will be removed in the rendering process. You still need to have a frame of reference as to what can be done or not done (in terms of formatting) to do it.

And yet somehow millions of people use it everyday, despite those crippling flaws.
posted by empath at 5:39 AM on September 8


just wondering if markdown is supported here in the comments.

nope, guess not. ok.

-bowerbird
posted by bbirdiman at 12:26 PM on September 23


The pumpkinification of a nation

September 11, 2014 07:18 PM (13 days ago)
185 total comments, last 5 shown below...


My pumpkin pie recipe makes two pies and I'm usually too lazy to halve it. If someone in the NJ/NY area wants to bring a pie to Thanksgiving and pretend they home-baked it, MeMail me some time in November.
posted by Karmakaze at 2:14 PM on September 14


Brace yourselves, pumpkin flavored everything is coming.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:47 AM on September 15


Steaming pumpkin for pies seems like it would risk blandness. The Joy of Cooking method of baking small pie pumpkins, overturned, with seeds scraped out, and then running through a sieve works great.
posted by mubba at 7:13 PM on September 16


Eyebrows McGee I live just a couple miles from the PUMPKIN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, where 80% of the worldwide supply of pumpkin is canned

80% of all the pumpkins in the world are put in cans? holy crap.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:27 PM on September 18


Honestly, I've yet to have a from-scratch pumpkin pie that was superior to a from-can one. I have some friends that make wonderful dinners and desserts and I never have the heart to tell them their pumpkin pie is simply not there. Maybe I could nudge them in the direction of pumpkin cheesecake?
posted by maryr at 11:37 AM on September 23


Misogyny and the Atheist Movement

September 12, 2014 03:26 PM (12 days ago)
312 total comments, last 5 shown below...


I am kind of surprised by the reaction that atheists have no reason to associate with each other. There are plenty of functions fulfilled by religious organizations that I would love to see fulfilled by atheist organizations. For example, there could be atheist organizations involved in: etc., etc. There are plenty of functions an "atheist movement" could coherently fulfill (beyond 1. fulminating and 2. being shitty to women) and plenty of reasons you might want to belong to one.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:00 PM on September 19 [4 favorites]


There are organizations that do many of those things, but few people consider UUH, Ethical Culture, Secular Buddhists, Humanist Chaplaincies, and Sunday Assembly are "the atheist movement."
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:40 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


For sure, but I think it's worth thinking about why more people don't, and whether that's a good thing for people who identify as atheists.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:48 PM on September 19


Christina and Harris are having an (unsurprisingly) unproductive exchange on Twitter (documented on her blog). Christina keeps raising the point about the need to set community standards and speak against sexism. Harris keeps circling back to how badly this reflects on him as a person and seems genuinely surprised that anyone would need to say out loud that misogyny is wrong.

Christina & Davis Roth had this exchange on Twitter:
Greta Christina ‏@GretaChristina
. @Zetherin @SamHarrisOrg Srsly? Lots of people deny that sexism is a problem.

Amy Davis Roth ‏@SurlyAmy
@GretaChristina True. A lot of people have been surprised by my art installation, said "No idea it was happening." @Zetherin @SamHarrisOrg
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:20 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


The Explaining Room. A short comic by Matt Lubchansky.
posted by audi alteram partem at 10:47 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


"Anyway, my price is two billion dollars."

September 15, 2014 06:58 AM (9 days ago)
302 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Board: we expect 10% growth in revenue.
CEO: OK, we've just bought a buy company with revenue 10% of ours. Next year we make 110%!
Board: yay! have a lollipop!

Sometimes it's just that stupid.
posted by bonehead at 11:19 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


When all is said and done, it is proper awesome that Notch gets to be a billionaire.
For all his fedora wearing ways, he's always seemed to me to be a good kid at heart.
posted by fullerine at 5:19 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


Yeah, in that regard, no matter how worried I am about the fate of the game and the expectations of all those kids, there aren't a lot of people more deserving of lots of money. Welcome, Notch, to the bonus round.
posted by JHarris at 1:08 AM on September 23


I was thinking earlier that he probably got the raw end of the deal.

If XX million people have bought Minecraft and have had even half the amount of entertainment that I've had for their $XX then he is probably owed a bit more.

He's affected a generation of children.
I only hope he understands that however much hate he receives there is an awful lot more love out there.
Which will become obvious when they elect him God of All Things in about 30 years ;)
posted by fullerine at 7:26 AM on September 23


One of the reasons Notch is so well loved is the value he created by the continuous release process, something Mojang continues to this day. For an initial $20 or so during beta, I've had free updates, typically several times a month for four years. That's an insane deal.

Any other company, e.g. Firaxis, to pick a random, but well-loved mainstream dev, would have produced a couple of add-on/DLC packs and likely a second release as well in that time frame. I've spent $20 on MC so far, I would have (indeed have) spent many times that on Civ5+DLC packs.

The value provided by Notch is insane, but that's also a huge part of its appeal, and why, IMO, sales growth has been monotonically increasing for four years. MC sales have not only not slowed down in four years, they're still increasing! There's a value/business case in MC that is clearly not the same as the model currently used by the mainstream AAA games industry, of which MS is a major part.

I argue that only someone like Notch in combination with the monetary freedom sole ownership allowed could have created such a model, without the pressures of investors or MBAs looking to extract immediate quarterly profits. It's a model that has been repeated by other indie developers: Terraria, Starbound, etc...

My main worry for the future is how much MS understand this model and appreciate how well it works in this instance. It's not at all clear that they do, that their plans involve a more traditional AAA game marketing strategy: MC 2.0 and extra DLC to follow. An MC 2.0 will not be the end of MC as a great game, but it will mark the end of the MC phenomenon, as a wild sprout outside of the intensively farmed AAA game crop fields.
posted by bonehead at 9:03 AM on September 23


DuckDuckGo

September 1, 2014 03:27 PM (23 days ago)
66 total comments, last 5 shown below...


I've used DDG for a couple of years now, and I'm very happy with it. Now and then I go to Google for more results, but not often, and it's very jarring to do so.
posted by lhauser at 8:22 PM on September 2


The fact that DDG is essentially a wrapper service around Bing is what makes it weird to me. At least if I use Bing or Google, I know I'm not using a rebranded product. It feels like when you buy a supermarket brand cola, and it turns out you're still buying Coca Cola.

I suppose the privacy stuff is something.
posted by zoo at 12:43 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I looked at their hiring page, just out of curiosity: "Back-end (Perl) engineers." What? I really want to hear them explain that. The answer will be either hilarious or really educational. I just don't know which.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:37 PM on September 3


Safari 7.1 for the Mac, just released by Apple, includes Duck Duck Go as one of the search engine options.

It was already possible to use Duck Duck Go from Safari by using the DDG extension. But this change will make DDG visible and accessible to people who didn't already know about it.
posted by alms at 8:53 AM on September 18


Well, that didn't take long. Duck Duck Go is now blocked in China. Welcome to the big leagues.
posted by alms at 7:08 AM on September 23


S is for Stand, Still, Stay, Silent and especially Sundberg

September 12, 2014 02:08 PM (12 days ago)
10 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Ok that was sensational, thanks for the post! Between this and Nimona I'm really enjoying graphic novels again.
posted by dhruva at 6:49 PM on September 12


To be quite honest, it took so long for the story to start up I've mostly lost interest by now, even though I'm still following it. I hope it gets better (my level of interest, not the story. The story is probably fine. I think it's my attention span.)

Loved A Redtail's Dream though.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:27 AM on September 13


Okay, caught up now.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 3:50 PM on September 13


Just got caught up as well. Beautiful comic. Really looking forward to watching the world unfold.
posted by cthuljew at 4:30 PM on September 16


Book 1 print drive is on!
posted by anthill at 6:46 AM on September 23


Carry That Weight

September 3, 2014 07:33 AM (21 days ago)
177 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Students help Emma Sulkowicz carry mattress to class in first collective carry (via @willbrooker)

(It took ages to load and the picture links appear to be broken/not loading, although the first picture does load, fyi.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:39 AM on September 11 [10 favorites]


NYT: In a Mattress, a Lever for Art and Political Protest

It is hard to fathom the effect “Carry That Weight” will have as it proceeds — on Columbia, on Ms. Sulkowicz, on the consciousness of sexual assault on campus, or on the thinking of people who encounter her performance. But it seems certain that the piece has set a very high standard for any future work she’ll do as an artist and will also earn her a niche in the history of intensely personal yet aggressively political performance art.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:23 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


But it seems certain that the piece has set a very high standard for any future work

I think it just seems that way. I really don't think it's a great work in any way. That photo of her studio with the writing on the wall is not particularly awesome to look at. And still, it's an alleged case and very suspect.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:06 AM on September 22


New York Magazine: Meet the College Women Who Are Starting a Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault
posted by tonycpsu at 12:01 PM on September 22


I'm not sure how to read that article-- lines like "Does the promiscuity that third-wave feminists heralded as empowerment look a little less attractive when practiced by teenagers with little experience and less maturity? You bet" and contrasting a "beautiful blonde from Barnard" with "a heavy-set" woman with "magenta hair" seem... belittling? Detracting?
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:51 PM on September 22


We believe objectivity to be antithetical to good games coverage...

September 17, 2014 07:30 AM (7 days ago)
133 total comments, last 5 shown below...


From @Nero: "Let's pray games journalists aren't learning phony abuse claim strategies from their friends in feminism. #GamerGate"
posted by Theta States at 11:17 AM on September 19


I had to make sure that @Nero wasn't the twitter of the UK electronic music trio. It is not. It is That Breitbart Dude.
posted by Corinth at 11:46 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]


If you have a crappy game, then giving me your crappy game for free is a crappy bribe. And if it's a good enough game to be a good bribe, you didn't need to bribe me to get a good review. :)

The early access is a bigger deal. Being able to write about The New Latest Thing instead of What Was The Latest Thing Three Weeks Ago can make a big difference in how many eyeballs read your articles.

But then I would argue doling out early access via Kickstarter or Patreon is a less problematic method than some of the alternatives. You shell out 20$ or whatever, and you get the latest updates before the general public. The alternatives are what?
  1. Indie game developers abandon early access as a reward for Kickstarter and Patreon, and just hope they still get as much money as before.
  2. Games journalists swear off early access out of concern for their objectivity, while hundreds of non-journalists who Kickstarted the game are talking about it and by the time the journalists get access to it, it's old news.
  3. The developers release the early access to everyone for free.
  4. The developers maintain their own list of journalists who can get early access for free.
The fourth is the one with the greatest potential for misuse; if you don't play ball, maybe the developer forgets to put you on the list next time.

The first three all require someone to act against their own interests for the sake of an ethical principle. Which is fine in theory, sometimes that's what ethics requires, but then you have to have a really solid case for why this is an ethical problem.

And like bonehead and Artw say, what it's really really about is they're trying to categorize you by team allegiance. If I Patreon someone for 10$ a month that works out to 120$ a year. How many games from Rockstar or Bungie or EA do I have to buy to add up to 120$? Except, of course, there are no public sites they can trawl to find out what games I've bought from them. So if I'm being generous, it's like the old joke where you look for your keys under the streetlamp because that's where the light is. If I'm being less generous, they want an excuse to put indie developers under a level of scrutiny they aren't willing to apply to AAA developers.



There were a couple connections in their conspiracy graph that were the other way around. Game developers that gave to Patreons for freelance writers. That at least has money flowing in the right direction. The game developers were probably just thinking, "hey, they are writing the kind of game journalism we need more of, here's a couple bucks," but I can at least see how the gamergaters could be suspicious that will slide into "I like the kind of game journalism that writes about my games." I think when the dev gives money to the writer that could justify one of those full disclosures when the writer writes about them. Of course, to be completely fair we would need something like, "Kotaku has received a total of $___,___ in ad revenue from Activision" every time they have an article about Activision but again the big developers have the clout to stop their laundry from being aired.


But getting back the the OP, the RPS article says that the loudest demands for objectivity come when they write about "sexism, misogyny, marginalisation of any perceived minority, and similar." Not any of these financial situations. They get criticized for having the wrong ideology.
posted by RobotHero at 12:30 PM on September 19 [3 favorites]


I can't lie, I loved that Wikipedia talk page. Just instance after instance of gamergate sockpuppets getting smacked right the fuck down.
posted by valrus at 6:04 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


WHAT ABOUT THE MENS???!?
posted by Artw at 7:49 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photo Leak Isn't A 'Scandal.'

September 1, 2014 09:01 AM (23 days ago)
614 total comments, last 5 shown below...


I saw the original leaked photos when they were linked in the early articles and I can't see judging anyone who saw them then or sought them out to see what the excitement was about.

But honestly I feel different about this second batch. It's more of the same but way, way grosser now that the context is clear and the parameters are established. I do feel judgmental about seeking these out in a way I didn't before and I hope they don't get such universal distribution.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:11 PM on September 20


From the Emma Watson thread, apparently since she has had the nerve to stand up and talk in public, shitty shitheads on 4chan are being all ha ha we have nekkid pix of u and will show them to everyone!

I hope their heads fall off.
posted by rtha at 1:19 PM on September 22


'The Fappening 2': Amber Heard, Rihanna, and More Celebs Targeted in Latest Nude Hacking Spree

ugh.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:19 PM on September 22


Other hacked celebrities include actress Scarlett Johansson, Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel, Rihanna, Kate Bosworth, Rachel Nichols, Meagan Good, and Gabrielle Union, among others.

"Among others" is an understatement. From what I understand from discussions online the number of pics and videos leaked (and the number of actresses targeted) is many times bigger than in the original crapfest a couple weeks ago. It sounds really bad. I hope the hackers get busted soon but it sounds like it will be difficult to find them.

A bunch of famous women have been forced to delete their twitter accounts because assholes were replying to every tweet they made with stuff like "I've seen your *****!!" and such except without the *.

People can be so awful.
posted by Justinian at 6:50 PM on September 22


From a quick google around to check the number of photos, it looks like this round is actually pretty substantially smaller. A lot of the photos, like many of Johansson's and Rihanna's, are ones that had already been out there in previous "scandals." The celeb's lawyers have gotten the main repository to have to locate "offshore" (I haven't done any traceroute or anything) to avoid DCMA complaints. I'm surprised that they haven't hired gray hat folks to DDOS it, especially since it seems pretty strained under the current load (there are plenty of fora where folks are imagining some feminist DDOS conspiracy already). Another interesting thing is that the guy running the site is Canadian, and they have tougher laws on a lot of this stuff than Americans do. I'd wager that he gets tracked down and prosecuted.

(I have to say, I think the precedent that linking to things can be illegal is a bad one, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it trotted out here, especially when the imgur stuff is so willful.)

So, still shitty dickbags, but a lot of it is hype.
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 PM on September 22


Largest climate march in history

September 8, 2014 02:41 PM (16 days ago)
24 total comments, last 5 shown below...


From the Arms Race to Climate Change, Conservatives Have Never Cared Much About the Day After
posted by homunculus at 12:56 PM on September 22


Today's Democracy Now was all about the climate march.
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on September 22


Police have arrested the polar bear.
posted by Evilspork at 5:39 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


21 Perfect Signs From The People's Climate March
posted by homunculus at 6:23 PM on September 22


NYPD Pepper Sprays Flood Wall Street Protesters
posted by homunculus at 6:24 PM on September 22


Hello my lovely Sloggers!

August 27, 2014 06:15 AM (28 days ago)
94 total comments, last 5 shown below...


For most people, their commute isn't bad enough to put up with the pain of carpooling.
posted by smackfu at 11:14 AM on August 29


Carpooling worked back when everyone worked 9 to 5 but now no one knows each day when their day will end so it's hard to co-ordinate with someone else.
posted by octothorpe at 11:59 AM on August 29


Do Uber and carpooling address the same problem/need? I would never think of using it (or a cab) to get to work, but I do live in a place with a good public transportation system.

I know there are people in the Bay Area who do a ridesharing thing for their commute, but it's something I never could bring myself to do. BARTing has always seemed (weirdly) more private.
posted by brundlefly at 12:28 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


It's only really relevant if you get rid of your car, carpool, and then need some kind of Plan B for a day or two every couple of months. Uber/Lyft is great for that.
posted by smackfu at 12:44 PM on August 29


Against Sharing: “Sharing economy” companies like Uber shift risk from corporations to workers, weaken labor protections, and drive down wages.
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on September 22


lol butts

September 16, 2014 02:11 PM (8 days ago)
100 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Back with one of Samuel L. Jackson's best lines.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on September 18


I'm surprised that no one has yet dedicated the thread to Uranus.
posted by JHarris at 12:46 PM on September 18


J Lo feat Iggy – Booty
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:37 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


30 Photos Of Unretouched Butts, In Case You Forgot What They Really Look Like

Includes commentary by the butt owners themselves. Note: only includes women and their butts.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:38 PM on September 19 [2 favorites]


Late to the party:

A brief retrospective of The Year of The Butt (NSFW)


(I submitted it earlier as an FPP and it was deleted as a double of this thread)


- mic, not one of the cool kids, obviously does not spend enough time on the blue.

posted by Michele in California at 3:13 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


Fareed Zakaria busted?

August 25, 2014 05:55 AM (1 month ago)
104 total comments, last 5 shown below...


the argument was that even paraphrasing was plagiarism

The argument has shifted wildly depending on the particular case. Up above, when I pointed out that it's perfectly acceptable within the normal parameters of op-ed writing not to cite all your sources, the comeback was "multiple plagiarized sentences used without citation." When it turns out that that's not actually true it's "presenting analysis done by other people as his own work." But it's not "analysis--it's findings. His opinions are about those findings--but he's not presenting the findings as the reason for reading his piece.

Again, there are real transgressions here and real things to complain about, but it seems to me that some people just have a real hate-on for Fareed Zakaria and are looking for any reason to slam him.
posted by yoink at 6:36 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Fareed Zakaria, isn't he the new Fouad Ajami?
posted by BinGregory at 7:38 PM on August 25


That's just so blatantly false it's astonishing he's trying to get away with it.

Right-wing pundits have been getting away with writing blatantly false things for decades. It'd be astonishing if he didn't try to obfuscate his way out of this situation; the risk-reward equation is all in his favor and he knows it.
posted by Gelatin at 5:04 AM on August 26


New post!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:05 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]


This has been a weirdly slow-burning story. Finally picked up by Dylan Byers in Politico and there's now an Esquire piece by the two pseudonymous Tweeters. CNN's own media reporter Brian Stelter says he's "trying" to get an interview with Zakaria.
posted by RogerB at 2:23 PM on September 22


The Bezier Game

September 12, 2014 09:26 AM (12 days ago)
66 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Raph's thesis explains what's going on, but basically, they're spiral curves, that act a lot more like the elastic pieces of wood that were originally used to draw curves physically (for stuff like boat building or typography).
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:14 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


(That PhD thesis is surprisingly readable and interesting even if you don't get the math, by the way.)
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:16 AM on September 13


Wow that thesis is one of the more interesting and useful things I have read in a long time. Chapter 9 gets to the core of some of the issues we have talked about here, like the imprecision of beziers in constructing circles, and how to convert complex curves into Beziers. And just before that, he goes into the computational expense of using different order polynomials to calculate curves. As far as I know, Postscript only uses Beziers and that is why we are stuck with them in our current design tools, they are basically visual ways to issue Postscript commands. And the original Postscript design wanted to avoid CPU-intensive calculations, since it had a slow 68000 CPU running at 12MHz. I recall back in those days, I did a simple Postscript command that took over two days to compute (I accidentally left it running over the weekend). But nowadays, we could do all that work on the front end, and do higher order curves and break them down into Beziers, to within sufficient accuracy beyond what is necessary for output (which in my design work has often been 4000ppi).

But my favorite bit so far is page 14, and the illustration that follows. It's one of the core premises of his thesis, even though he goes far beyond. And this is good basic info for designers, who need to know how images are perceived and interpreted visually.

Evidence that the visual system is sensitive to minima and maxima of curvature goes all the way back to Attneave’s seminal experiments in the mid 1950’s [5]. Attneave presented test subjects with somewhat random, blobby drawings and asked them to annotate which points along the outline were the most salient. An example is shown in Figure 2.9. The “porcupine quills” emanating from the shape represent the relative frequency that subjects identified the points. These strongly tend to coincide with curvature extrema. As such, in interactive curve design it is reasonable to expect designers to place these points first, then refine the curves with more control points only as needed. A good spline should accommodate such a designer by preserving the curvature extrema as marked.

Anyway he goes on and I am following the math, although I may have to sit down with Mathematica and play with this stuff for a while. This thesis is going to prove professionally valuable, and it will be personally satisfying to toss some Euler and Bernoulli at some of my Math associates, who I have been needling because they do not know the difference between a parabola and a catenary.

I am grateful to you for showing me this paper.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:43 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Hey, you're welcome. I know Raph (not too well) from back in the day when we were both involved with GNOME, and although he's mostly doing stuff at Google now (fonts, I think), I try to keep up with his work. He's also one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:09 AM on September 15


Back when this was first posted, I wanted to point people to the pen tool tutorial that was a huge help for me. But I couldn't find it anymore. Well, today I happened to come across it again.

So here's Illustrator Pen tool exercises by Veerle Pieters. Many of Veerle's other tutorials are also quite well done.
posted by Banknote of the year at 2:05 PM on September 22


The End Of An Era

September 9, 2014 02:38 PM (15 days ago)
467 total comments, last 5 shown below...


I just got a Moto360 Android Wear watch on Friday and suddenly I'm like meh Apple Watch.
posted by humanfont at 5:56 PM on September 20


I got some extended time to play around with both the 6 and the 6+ today. I probably fondled both of them for a half hour or so, and ran plenty of apps and messed around with a number of things.

On the regular 6, i couldn't help but feel it was bigger for no reason. My partner in particular hated it. She can easily, albeit it's borderline, use a 5/5s with one hand and generally comfortably. She can, comparatively, barely hold a 6 much less thumb through it. She was not the only woman, or person with small hands i saw with that complaint. I just don't see what the value add of a slightly larger screen is. Pretty much, it doesn't show enough more to justify the fact that it takes away from the ability to use it one handed for a lot of people. The 4in size was probably pretty much ideal for that, and i can't help but get the feeling that they basically caved to the peer pressure/whiner factor of "everyone else is doing it/everyone wants it". I just, didn't really get it i guess.

The 6+ on the other hand just seemed obvious to me. It's like seeing the ipad mini after seeing the original ipad, or when they introduced the 12 and 17in powerbooks, or something. I, as i mentioned above, have ginormous hands. I picked the thing up and just went "yep". I was standing right next to a guy who had small hands who immediately made fun of it. The amount of content shown in the browser was clearly a big difference from my 5, pretty much linearly. Everything i went through the answer was pretty much "that's the ticket". By the way, it fits in a pocket totally fine. Even the little front pockets of my bike pants. And not "barely" or anything. It's big, but they obviously tested that.

That said, I can't help but wish they had just kept making the 4in size and then gone all the way and made the 5.5 beside it. I just don't get the 4.7in size. It reminds me of those SUVs that are really big enough that they should seat more than 5 passengers, or carry a decent amount of cargo... but just don't. The body is pretty much truck sized, but you still only get 3 people in the back seat for what is at this point a large vehicle. It's big enough in a lot of peoples hands that it's a "big" phone, but it's not actually big. It doesn't go all the way. the 6+ on the other hand feels like a cargo van. You can get 3 rows of seats in there and still fit a drum set in the back. There's a clear reason for that to exist.

All of my friends i talked to about this today who had seen it got what i was saying. 4.7in is enough of a step larger that a lot of people already see it as "too big". But you don't really see much more on the screen than you do on the 5s.

I guess i just expected more of a clear deliniation. Remember when the two imac sizes went from 1680x1050 to 1080p as the resolution choices? that was sort of silly. 1080p vs 1440p though, was an obvious improvement anyone could see. It was like, a logical graduation. It feels a lot more like the former than the latter. And i just... don't really get why apple would do that.

Mostly, i just feel like only the 6+ is a real upgrade if you have a 5s and wanted "more space". The regular 6 feels like more of a lateral move, diagonal at most, where you kinda give up quite a bit in "bigger phone" for not getting all that much back. Which sucks, because conceptually i wanted the smaller one, but i'm not so sure anymore.

And anyone who really didn't want any bigger of a phone is kind of fucking shafted at this point. The comment early in the watch thread about refurbishing a 5s with new batteries and such for as long as it will last kind of hit home there. As it stands, my partner plans to use her 5 until it falls apart and stops working. And she was fortunately, within that battery recall and will get a new battery in the next couple days. So maybe it'll last another two years? who knows. She completely hates that your options for <4.5in current specs phone are basically "Uh... xperia Z1 compact? and... uh". Her comments were basically "What happened to the thing where the future was everything getting more and more compact and efficient? Why did this shit start getting bigger again?"

She's dreaming of an iphone mini. And frankly, i'm wondering if that's what the 5C and whatever follows it will become over time.
posted by emptythought at 4:10 AM on September 21 [2 favorites]


Oh to not abuse the edit window here, a couple little things i forgot:

The camera is holy shit amazing. I feel like most of the "woah, shot of nature" review photos won't really capitalize on what is by far the most impressive feature of it.

Which is that, even with HDR off so no cheating, the dynamic range is amazing. The detail it can pull out of dark areas in a bright room, or vice versa, is just holy shit what the fuck. It puts my NEX-6 to shame without some serious RAW editing. This is easy to wow yourself with too if you're looking for it. Take a photo where dark hair is in shadow, then look at the hair. A "woah holy SHIT!" fell out of my mouth like a toddler dropping a sippy cup from a high chair. The last time i had this reaction at a phone, period, was seeing the iphone 4 screen in real life for the first time. The focus is also a pretty big difference. It doesn't cycle completely through its range and "hunt" now, ever, that i could see. It's like when the NEX cameras went from only having contrast-detect AF to PDAF. And i mean, that's what happened, but it's still just as impressive of an improvement. It definitely focuses about as fast as my NEX with one of the lenses that's well, fast at that, like the 20mm. It now has better dynamic range and better AF than any point and shoot i've used more than a bit. I'd say it's probably, overall, in the same range as something like the rx100 mk1 or something if it didn't have zoom, and was maybe 20% not as great. It definitely feels like apple is getting better at doing this "great small sensor camera" thing faster than say, fuji is making better stuff like the x100. I wouldn't be surprised if the iphone 7 was on par with a rx100mk1 in every way or even exceeded it is what i'm saying. Look at the first photo under "side by side comparisons" in this and tell me you don't at least see where i'm going with this. I'd really love if he had thrown a couple compact cameras in there. I'm not saying it's an RX1, but it's definitely getting in to the range where only obviously high end fixed-lens cameras that cost as much as an unlocked iphone 6 by themselves can clearly exceed it by enough of a margin that anything but acute analysis could notice. In very low light an rx100 would probably still murder it, but in anything but low light it's a much closer race than you'd think.

I'd probably be comfortable with just taking an iphone 6 on a trip with me and leaving my NEX behind. It's the first one i've felt that way about. One of the main things driving me to upgrade is wanting to play around with the camera a lot. Remember how huge of an improvement the camera in the 4 was from any previous iphone? it's like that, all over again.
posted by emptythought at 4:32 AM on September 21 [3 favorites]


I can't help but wish they had just kept making the 4in size and then gone all the way and made the 5.5 beside it. I just don't get the 4.7in size. [...] 4.7in is enough of a step larger that a lot of people already see it as "too big". But you don't really see much more on the screen than you do on the 5s.

Yeah, this. Every time I pick this phone up I go "Whoa, this is big!" But then, I had the same sensation going from the 4 to the 5S - so maybe it's just a question of getting used to it.

A comment I heard: Apple started out with a phone that was also an iPod and an internet communicator, so that people would understand what it was. Now it's no longer needed - just like the skeuomorphic affordances of the older iOS versions - it can grow into its own form factor. Everyone understands what an iPhone is, so goodbye cellphone size and shape.

I would bet, though, that the 5S form factor stays around and gets upgrades to its internal guts. Maybe there'll be the 6S, 6S Plus, and 6S Mini next year. (So, as you said, "dreaming of an iphone mini".)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:31 AM on September 22


When I moved from my 4th gen iPod Touch (3.5in) to a Moto G (4.5in) I had to learn two new ways to hold it: cradled in the palm of my hand and using my thumb for navigation, and upended on the meaty bit at the bottom of the thumb and using my thumb for swipe-typing. Both are a little more precarious, but they work.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:13 PM on September 22


Too insignificant to matter

September 17, 2014 10:25 AM (7 days ago)
61 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Whoops... apparently if you unlock the final bonus, you "create and destroy" all universes and the game ends. Huh.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:28 PM on September 19


What am I missing that although I've been playing pretty assiduously (given I have a job) for two days and am still only 3/4 of the way through and you guys have finished? How are you speeding up the atom acquisition that quickly?
posted by joannemerriam at 6:10 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Even more than most incrementals, this is a game that rewards babysitting. The unemployed or otherwise idle have a great advantage.

Earning achievements reduces item cost. In aggregate, this reduction can be substantial. Pumping Quantum Foam through Electron Core up to ~1000 may add very little to your APS when you're working on Galactic Superclusters, but those superclusters will come much easier for having done so.

It's likely that the difference in play speed you perceive is because some people have found a more ideal strategy for determining when to buy high-cost objects vs. when to buy specials vs. when to pump legacy objects for achievements. I'm not sure how Bonuses fit in there, except to note that they are so inexpensive compared to objects/specials that you should have no problem just hitting "Buy All" every once in a while.
posted by The Confessor at 9:54 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


If nothing else, this game has taught me what comes after quadrillion (and quintillion, sextillion, septillion, and so on).
posted by A Bad Catholic at 8:16 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]


I completed it on Sunday morning. It was fun! Thanks for posting, boo_radley. I've never played a game like this before.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:37 AM on September 22


The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum.

September 16, 2014 02:23 AM (8 days ago)
20 total comments, last 5 shown below...


jaduncan you're clearly a very compassionate person. I have BPD myself, mostly recovered, and I used to ask myself a lot "who am I outside of this disorder?" I was unable to come up with an answer that felt truthful so I just stopped asking. Instead (in my case) I look at my pattern of behavior, patterns of choices, what likes and dislikes have remained consistent in my life, and so on. I also rely on the occasional spontaneous and unsolicited feedback from others who know me, since they may have a clearer picture of who I am than I do. Though I would recommend to anyone to choose your mirrors wisely!

Even though I understand and respect the tendency to separate the person from the disorder, in some cases it does not always make sense, and in my case I never felt comfortable looking at myself that way. Maybe I am a slightly moody person prone to ups and downs. And I feel insecure many times. Maybe that's just my personality - though my personality may have formed differently if I'd had different formative experiences. Is there some unchanging being that is me? I've met plenty of other non-BPD people who are insecure. I've never felt ok saying that me being snappy is the disorder. No. Me feeling snappy may be the disorder; me choosing to snap is ME.

Maybe that's an answer. Who you are is what you choose?

You can't really control how you feel, and you can only impact your circumstances so much, so who you are is what you think and what you do with what you think? Cogito ergo sum.

clawsoon, my description would be relationship-based PTSD + childish ego functioning. You may have highs and lows, but you're not racing thoughts / hyper at night like biploar.
So maybe: abandonment trauma, unstable moods + immature coping skills + immature defense mechanisms
posted by serenity soonish at 11:51 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]


Caden Cotard; Synecdoche, New York.

(great article)
posted by standardasparagus at 7:39 PM on September 16


That was a remarkable essay. Thank you for posting it.

I've been struggling with major depression for 35+ years and credit finding Buddhism with why I'm still here. (Cheri Huber's books saved my life.) No idea what it would be like to practice with something like bipolar, BPD, Cotard's, or similar issues, though. Much compassion to everybody who's suffering.
posted by Lexica at 9:07 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


It was neat that although she was behaving like a person considering suicide might, she felt that she had no reason to consider it as an option.

And this part was very sweet and full of love:
Like a child asking for a bedtime story, I crawled into bed with Chris at six in the morning. I said, “Tell me about what is real.”

I asked him about everything. I asked him to tell me who I am, what I like, where I am from, what I do. I asked him about my parents. I asked him if they are real, even though I don’t see them. I asked him about the President, and about the Vice President. He told me about our house. He told me about our neighborhood and the city in which we live. He explained where the furniture is from. That I picked all of it myself. He told me about the farm table in the dining room.

I listened as he employed logic to tell me that I am alive.

“When people die,” he said, “they are buried, and then you don’t see them again. That’s what happened to Grandpa this year. I don’t see him anymore, but I see you.”

None of this solved the problem, but it did help. It was as comforting as a bedtime story would be. I thanked him. He went back to sleep, and I went back to my studio.
posted by aniola at 9:57 PM on September 18


Great piece of writing, thanks for posting it.
posted by Diablevert at 8:34 AM on September 22


Nazis had more legal right to the Ark than Indy: Real jobs vs the media

September 14, 2014 09:11 AM (10 days ago)
200 total comments, last 5 shown below...


I ride in helicopters a fair amount for my job. Helicopter depictions in film and tv are generally aweful. People can not sit inside a flying helicopter and have a conversation without a headset on. And I can't count the number of times a helicopter is depicted as spoiling down before it is even on the ground.
posted by vansly at 6:21 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


I work in oil and gas, favourite film on every rig offshore is Armageddon, but not for its accuracy.
posted by arcticseal at 8:59 PM on September 15


Jalliah: "I work in a cheese factory. Don't think I've seen that portrayed on tv or a movie. "

Clearly you have forgotten this episode of MST3K.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:29 PM on September 15


Adding my vote to Parks & Rec as being a pretty accurate (at least the first season) portrayal of local government. Of course they got rid of the most realistic character (Marc Brandanowicz) but hey it's a comedy...
posted by gofargogo at 1:16 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


plinth: "I worked with a guy who was in the US Navy working on submarines (Nuclear Wessels). He claimed that the most accurate submarine movie ever made was Down Periscope.

I recall him telling me two coffee facts (and I am probably misremembering them):
1. If power fails in a nuclear sub, the first two circuits to restore are the one controlling the reactor and the one controlling the coffee maker. The logic being that once you solve those two issues, you can apply as much coffee as needed to get everything else fixed.

2. He stopped by the Wardroom to get a cup of coffee and was directed away from the pot by a cook. Apparently one of the other officers treated him badly so he made a pot of revenge coffee
"

The first coffee thing is absolutely true. So is the thing about Down Periscope.

The boat I was on had it's engine room coffee maker on the same protected power supply that ran all of the critical electronics that monitored the conditions in the power plant.

---

anastasiav: "One guy I worked with used to fill beakers with dyed water and hold them up to the light, examining them carefully.

I've often wondered why there hasn't been a TV drama set in a small, dysfunctional nonprofit. Giant Egos! Funding Deadlines! Clashing Ideologies! Cute Kids! Goofy Volunteers! Staff Turnover! The very special episode where your fundraising video goes viral and you suddenly have more money than projects!

.... seriously, someone get on that. It's ripe for exploitation
"

Have you ever seen Better Off Ted? The company in the show is not a non-profit, but it is a research organization.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:29 AM on September 22


15 years after we lost the moon...

September 14, 2014 11:19 PM (9 days ago)
32 total comments, last 5 shown below...


The visual future of the 1950s-1970s was all about silver lame, miniskirts, thigh-high boots, and purple wigs. Personally I blame Mary Quant.

Blame? I think you mean Thank!

What can we do to make that aesthetic happen? Please?
posted by rock swoon has no past at 11:08 AM on September 15


One thing that sticks in my mind was Space 1999 and the Muppets were both produced by ITC Entertainment. As a kid I would wait to see the ITC logo at the end of an episode of the Muppets, because it reminded me of Space 1999 years after Space 1999 was off the air. The logo was also white on black and sort of space-age like.
posted by xtian at 3:36 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Coolest Toy Ever—Mattel Space: 1999's Eagle 1.

I had that and many fine adventures. I must call my mom to search the basement.

Dinky Toys made excellent quality die-cast metal Eagle Transporter and Eagle Lander toys at the time, I had a transporter and I still love the green.

This was the end of my Disneyland Adventure.
Some kid in the toy store;
"that shit's stupid".
I punch!
Back to the hotel room.
Never diss the Space 1999 dinky toys you red headed little snot bitch!
posted by qinn at 10:25 PM on September 15


Wow. After five minutes of that, I want to watch the entire series. I caught some of it as a kid, but I've forgotten all of this.

But it's now really hard to see Martin Landau and not hear him say "Ed-dieeeeeee. Eddieeeeeeee." from Ed Wood.
posted by billder at 7:05 AM on September 16


5 Things that Space:1999 got right about the Near-Future
posted by fairmettle at 3:19 AM on September 22


Seeds of Doubt: An activist’s controversial crusade against GM crops

August 25, 2014 04:02 PM (30 days ago)
89 total comments, last 5 shown below...


before the invention of modern agricultural techniques.

Like the steam shovel, pumps to remove water from mines, ships to take islands of old bat/bird fecal material and the detection of heavy metals in "greensand" instead of going to mass graves to dig up bones from past wars to be ground up and placed on the land?

Mostly potable water is important, sure. But so is Phosphorous, and Peak Phosphorus is waiting in the wings.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:59 AM on August 28


Dr. Shiva calls out many inaccuracies, falsehoods, and shoddy journalistic practices in the New Yorker article in this response on her blog. Personally I find her account compelling and her arguments considerably more cogent and evidence-based than Specter's.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 9:05 PM on September 2


Really? The New Yorker's fact checkers are a tough bunch to get past, and her response is full of petulance, ad hominem attacks and misrepresentations.

1) I have no reason to doubt Shiva's itinerary. I would be very surprised if she hadn't been asked for it by NY fact checkers, and I would be very surprised if she had provided it and the story hadn't been edited to reflect that. Still, let's give this one to Shiva. What does it show? That Spector was sloppy with her itinerary, but that it's still fair to describe her as leading a pilgrimage.

2) Has she ever worked as a physicist? The answer is no, or at least she has repeatedly been asked and avoided the question. Her bio on several of her books, and indeed the Amazon author page for Shiva describes her as having been one of "India's leading physicists," which would only be true in the sense that Carter was one of America's leading peanut farmers.

Her description of quantum physics also sounds like spiritualist mumbo jumbo.

3) The dig at beta carotene bananas is unnecessary and doesn't show her with a great command of the issue; they're discussed here, and are a project of the Gates Foundation, and based on an Australian variety of banana with the higher beta carotene content — it's beneath someone who is a purported agricultural expert to say, "They could have just used the banana with higher Beta-Carotene if the intent was to alleviate Vitamin A Deficiency, but there’s no money in that." Plants from different areas aren't inherently fungible — plenty of things live in Australia that wouldn't live in Uganda, including plant varietals.

4) The price increases aren't dispositive of anything, especially given that the Bt and conventional have both fallen from their peak, and have other plausible mechanisms besides Monsanto monopoly (More on costs and profits for Indian cotton farmers here).

5) The Farmers’ Rights Act of 2001 is sufficient to find 'the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001.' If Shiva could tell Specter to jfgi, she should think that the New Yorker's readers could do the same.

With this, and repeatedly through the response, she refers to Specter as having "deliberately" misled or "deliberately" worked to sever IP rights from GMO discussions, without actually supporting that. It's an impugning of him that she hasn't provided evidence for and makes her look less credible.

6) Her mentions of Schmeiser and Bowman are dishonest. Schmeiser was sued over $20k, not $200k, and basically because he intentionally violated the patent by buying and planting unlicensed seeds and Monsanto won a very, very narrow judgment that basically said that they had a right to set conditions on the growing of seeds they sell, something that's been a part of agricultural patents for over 100 years. It dealt with nothing about GMOs, really. Bowman signed a contract with Monsanto, then broke that contract, then told Monsanto that he'd broken that contract and basically dared them to sue him.

Just as a note — I think that Monsanto is a pretty shitty, plutocratic company and I have real problems with industrial agriculture. But I think that those issues are best served by an honest debate, not misrepresenting apocrypha and saying that every critic is bought off.

7) Her suicides graph is unsourced and not apparently based on any peer-reviewed literature. The actual numbers both show no influence from GMO/Monsanto, and that the rates have been consistent — especially controlling for broader economic trends — since at least '97.

8) She describes a "cause" of Monsanto monopoly, but plays fast and loose with causation for someone explicitly relying on scientific expertise. Further, Monsanto has a 3-4 percent market share of cotton seed in India while roughly 80 percent of Indian cotton is Bt. Monsanto does have a monopoly on is Bt cotton seed, which apparently people want a lot of. While this is Shiva's strongest position, she does herself no favors by misrepresenting the relative positions and ignores that farmers do have other options that they're not choosing.

9) This is just dopey: Shiva says, "Specter is ill informed about the cyclone in Orissa, or he copied this information from another inaccurate report accusing me of making the cyclone victims starve. The US aid was a blend of corn and soy, not grain." What did she quote to respond to? "When the U.S. government dispatched grain and soy to help feed the desperate victims…" Corn's not grain? Which means when she says, "The shipment Specter mentions, under a humanitarian guise, was an attempt to circumvent India’s ban on the import of GMOs," couldn't it also be an actual humanitarian shipment? That she supported destroying because "the farmers who received the tainted shipment called it inedible," isn't it reasonable to think that someone who doesn't know that grain and corn are the same thing might be hearing what she wants to hear out of the farmers?

She's back to faking the moon landing here — every piece fits into a preconceived conspiracy with no actual consideration of motivations of the actors outside of her psychodrama. (And I'm someone who recognizes the colonialist/domestic politics of aid shipments and how they're used as policy instruments.) She's to the point where she has constructed wheels within wheels that can only be explained by the perversity of Monsanto and the West because simpler, more direct means would accomplish the same goals for those actors.

10) Like when she says, "An obvious question is whether Specter set out to do a profile on me at all or whether this was a calculated attempt to attack the burgeoning anti-GMO movement within the US?" Uh, looks like he set out to write a story about the future of food, latched onto you for a good hook, then you acted batshit insane and he kept digging?

11) "The Bt-cotton seed is not dominating markets because it is effective." That claim just isn't backed by any peer-reviewed science, and is baffling for anyone that knows farmers, especially given that Monsanto has less than five percent of the Indian cotton seed market, yet Bt comprises 80 percent of crops. But seriously, there's a decent longitudinal study on this.

12) The elephant and cell phone thing is representative of a different model of development that's happening across Global South countries, where things like digital network technology is leapfrogging our century of halting technology adoption. Rural farmers aren't having landlines put in. It's not "quaint," the proper skewering would have been Friedman-esque.

13) Arguing about food supply here relative to cotton GMOs is a non sequitor, and is another moment of Shiva conflating all arguments into a syncretic mishmash.

14) That she cites Amartya Sen on the Benghali famine is ironic; Sen's done a lot of great development work in economics generally, but his Benghali famine work is largely viewed as discredited revisionism. But the reason was not speculation, as Shiva says, but rather massive fucking incompetence in India and in the British Raj.

15) Even down to details like, "In the nineties, because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), prices of tortillas in Mexico City rose sharply while the price of corn, sold by Mexican farmers, went down," show that she's loose with facts and dubious on economic understanding. The tortilla crisis happened in the end of the 2000s, because corn was still subsidized through 2007, unlike other industries in which liberalization started around '91. But in the 2000s, the price of corn sold by Mexican farmers went up, even though one of the explicit goals had been to replace rural agricultural employment, specifically corn farming, with more economically diverse options.

… it goes on. Pretty much every assertion that Shiva makes is dubious, even when she should be entirely right it's like she can't resist adding some bullshit to make it go over even bigger. It's frustrating and makes her look like a quack.
posted by klangklangston at 12:15 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]


Today The New Yorker released its response to Dr. Shiva sent on August 27. The New Yorker originally intended this to be private communication to address concerns she had expressed to its editors in private emails but decided to release it after Dr. Shiva published her criticism. We reproduce it unedited in its entirety as sent to the GLP by The New Yorker:
"Dear Dr. Shiva:

This is in reply to the letter you sent and subsequently posted on the Internet earlier this week. It is not for publication in any way or on your website, but I thought you were asking for a serious reply. So here it is: I should say that since you have said that the entire scientific establishment has been bought and paid for by Monsanto, I fear it will be difficult to converse meaningfully about your accusation that the story contained “fraudulent assertions and deliberate attempts to skew reality.” But maybe I am wrong; I’ll try.

As to some of your more specific problems: Mr. Specter met you in the lobby of your New York hotel; you then talked in a café in that hotel. He didn’t interview you in the lobby. I regret that we suggested you were in Greece when you were not. You did, however, invite Mr. Specter to join the caravan there, and then sent him to an informational site titled: International Solidarity Caravan with Vandana Shiva. The dates on the site were April 26th to May 4th and it gave as locations: Greece, Italy, France.

Part of the problem is that after encouraging Mr. Specter to travel with you both in Italy and India, you apparently changed your mind, and stopped replying to his interview requests (or emails.) Our fact checker also tried for more than a week to contact you directly, as well as through your headquarters in New Delhi. You never replied. Without any participation from you it was impossible to know you changed your plans. Mr. Specter never suggested that the journey was an “unscientific joyride.”

You also charge that Mr. Specter misrepresented your education. We were interested in the field you entered as a doctoral student; but nobody disputes that you received a master’s degree in physics and I am sorry we didn’t note that in the piece. Nonetheless, Mr. Specter “twisted” neither your words nor your intentions when writing about your work history. When he realized you were not going to grant him another interview he sent you a quite detailed list of questions, two of which asked about your work history as a physicist. Instead of answering his questions, you replied – to me – asking why we were “interested in academic qualifications of four decades ago.

One hardly needs to hold a Ph.D. in physics to become an effective environmental activist, as you have demonstrated. Yet, when a prominent figure, such as yourself, is described for decades—in interviews, on web sites, in award citations, and on many of your own book jackets, as having been “one of India’s leading physicists” it seems fair to ask whether or not you ever worked as one.

It is not true, as you claim, that Mr. Specter neglected to include Africa in his piece. He discussed research in Africa on Golden Rice, cassava, and maize – which he described as the most commonly grown staple crop in Africa. He mentioned Tanzania’s efforts to produce a version of cassava that is resistant to endemic brown-streak virus, as well as research into insect-resistant cowpea and nutritionally enriched sorghum. Specter also quoted Sir Gordon Conway, who is a member of the board of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, and perhaps the world’s most renowned agricultural ecologist. “In Africa, the pests and diseases of agriculture are as devastating as human diseases.” Conway also told Specter that the impact of diseases like the fungus black sigatoka, the parasitic weed striga, and the newly identified syndrome maize lethal necrosis—all of which attack Africa’s most important crops—are “in many instances every bit as deadly as H.I.V. and TB.”

Your math and conclusions on the issues of farmer suicides and seed prices and values differ from the math in studies carried out by many independent, international and government organizations. Mr. Specter is far from alone in rejecting, based on data, your charge that Monsanto is responsible for “genocide” in India. In your letter you state that “Specter promotes a system of agriculture that fails to deliver on its promises of higher yield and lower costs and propagates exploitation.” This has always been your position, but as Mr. Specter pointed out in his article, there have been many studies on the effects of planting BT cotton in India, and on the whole, scientists – none of whom were connected to Monsanto –have found the opposite to be true.

You say that the prices of seeds are extremely high, but also that as a result of your action the government regulates their price. Several recent studies have shown that Bt cotton has been highly beneficial to cotton farmers in India. One of the best recent studies on the economic impact of Bt cotton on farmers found that “Bt has caused a 24% increase in cotton yield per acre through reduced pest damage and a 50% gain in cotton profit among smallholders. These benefits are stable; there are even indications that they have increased over time.’’ The researchers also show that Bt cotton adoption has raised consumption expenditures, a common measure of household living standard, by 18% during the 2006–2008 period and conclude that Bt cotton has created large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India.

You describe in your letter the stories of farmers who you believe were driven to suicide by Monsanto. Specter saw different farmers with different stories. Anecdotes involving a few people out of millions prove nothing. That was why he included the following sentence in his piece: “It would be presumptuous to generalize about the complex financial realities of India’s two hundred and sixty million farmers after having met a dozen of them.” The anecdotes happened, however, to support the vast preponderance of data that demonstrate that farmer suicides are driven largely by debt.

In the piece, Mr. Specter wrote that you had confused “a correlation with a causation.” That was specifically in reference to your charges that glyphosate caused increases in Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney disease and autism rates in America. But you have applied the phrase to another issue entirely.

On a few of the other points you raise:

1.) The Orissa Cyclone occurred in the last week of October 1999. Specter referred to letters from you and Oxfam, both of which are freely available on the internet. It might also be noted that your letter to Oxfam was dated November 4th, the day after the worst of the cyclone had passed.

2.) Corn is considered both a grain, and a vegetable (and by some, a fruit.)

3.) Specter used the anecdote about the farmer and the elephant to illustrate the remarkable complexity and clear signs of progress evident in even the most rural parts of India. Having been to India many times, several of them for this magazine, he is well aware how ubiquitous cell phones are there.

4.) We take particular exception to your charge that Mr. Specter’s physical description of a farmer, with “skin the color of burnt molasses and the texture of a worn saddle” was racist. It wasn’t. In a 2005 profile he described the Italian designer Valentino this way: “Valentino spends a lot of time in the sun. His skin, the color of melted caramel, has the texture of a lovingly preserved Etruscan ruin.” Last year, Specter described a sixty-eight year old American farmer as having “ a tan, weather beaten face.”

Dr. Shiva, I was distressed to read in your letter that you have been harassed and have received death threats. Nobody has a right to threaten you for expressing your views. It was all the more dismaying then, to learn that just a few weeks ago you posted on your web site a suggestion, made by Mike Adams, who runs the NaturalNews web site, that publishers, journalists, and scientists who support agricultural biotechnology have “signed on to the Nazi genocide machine of our day”, and that they should be “tried for crimes against humanity.” I am glad to see that you have now removed that awful screed from your web site.

Sincerely,

David Remnick
posted by Blasdelb at 12:02 AM on September 22


"NOTE: For additional context, read the Genetic Literacy Project’s backgrounder on Vandana Shiva–a complete history of her campaigns and views. Also check out the GLP’s in-depth profile of Shiva: Who is Vandana Shiva and why is she saying such awful things about GMOs?"
posted by Blasdelb at 12:06 AM on September 22


Measure of the Sierra Madre

September 9, 2014 10:50 PM (14 days ago)
5 total comments, last 5 shown below...


great article.

this is not the "other" side of the story that I might expect, I guess, but :

http://www.factor-tech.com/future-cities/7595-chinas-new-sea-focused-maps-increase-hopes-for-floating-cities/

factor-tech.com via reddit

sounds less like reality. I am admittedly confused!
posted by gkr at 11:46 PM on September 9


There is also an interesting NYT article on this dispute, and Pagasa, here.
posted by carter at 5:45 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Hot dang, found it: Previously. Looks like time has not been the Sierra Madre's friend.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:31 PM on September 10


Fascinating!
posted by Kevin Street at 2:30 PM on September 10


A Trove of Ancient Maps May Prove the Philippines' Territorial Claims Against China
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:39 PM on September 21


Ruin Jam 2014

September 2, 2014 02:29 PM (22 days ago)
113 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Here's more of the real thing!
posted by Corinth at 11:38 AM on September 20


Corinth I think you found my new desktop bg
posted by en forme de poire at 12:12 PM on September 20


I also found you a screensaver!
posted by Corinth at 8:54 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]


symbioid: "That said, I'm not sure where I saw it, but it popped up when talking about these issues, about how last year Abou Karam became a Community Manager and she had drawn her own spin on the character of Mighty No. 9 as a female character. Oh did they whiny boys howl - how DARE she take our character! She's going to RUIN Mighty No. 9."

You're sadly prophetic. She has disallowed gamergate talk on the Mighty Number 9 forums, and is now being harassed about both that and the previous "scandal." Ethics, you see. (accompanying conspiracy infographic)
posted by Corinth at 10:07 AM on September 21


I'm super tempted to make an incremental/clicker game about making fake twitter accounts to harass women

That's such a beautiful idea. Not only will it involve furious clicking, but you have to click fast enough to run ahead of the number of readers who put the player on a block list. I'd imagine the score is based on the number of women harassed so the block list means be game over once it gets big enough.

But, if your clicking is fast enough, you get a bonus extra points round where a particular tweet is so incendiary and offensive that people all over the Internet discuss the tweet instead of blocking it. High Score!
posted by honestcoyote at 4:10 PM on September 21


Redder and redder, and prettier and prettier.

September 10, 2014 10:03 AM (14 days ago)
319 total comments, last 5 shown below...


I bought some Honeycrisps because of this thread and they were quite good, especially with sharp cheddar, but ridiculously expensive. What are the good apple varieties in the Southwest US right now, and where in Albuquerque can I buy these tastier apples affordably?
posted by NoraReed at 1:29 PM on September 15


Yeah, there were Honeycrisps in the store this weekend for four dollars a pound. And this in Minnesota, although I'm assuming the price will fall as the season progresses.

I got some nice-looking Braeburns instead and they are quite good.
posted by Frowner at 1:42 PM on September 15


I went apple picking this weekend, and brought home a half bushel of a variety of stuff, including some honeycrisps (my wife loves them), cortlands (because my pies love them), and a few other odds and ends.

True story, the staff gave everyone a (gentle, but firm) talking to up front about how valuable honeycrisps in particular are are, so please be careful removing them from the trees, and please don't take a bite and toss them, etc. (they were fine with sampling, just asked that people be aware that one variety in particular is like $4/lb or more at nearby grocery stores, so please, be nice).

This was at Tougas Farm in Northboro, MA. $33 for a half-bushel, which holds around 20lbs. Plus, you can eat a bunch while you're there, and feed the goats, etc. Good times.

If you're not in the New England area, though, well, sorry about that.
posted by tocts at 2:17 PM on September 15


Because of this thread, I bought a bag of ginger golds impulsively yesterday evening.
posted by PearlRose at 10:20 AM on September 17


And (also because of this thread) I'm giving some sigh SweeTangos a try. Tasty, to be sure, but I'm not yet certain if it's tasty enough to overcome the repellent name.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:20 PM on September 21


What she prefers to be called is “Martine.”

September 8, 2014 07:50 AM (16 days ago)
47 total comments, last 5 shown below...


The robot is sad and spooky and weird. I would not be flattered by the notion that my partner wanted to recreate me that way, and I've always been a little puzzled by people who found experiential cloning (uploading, whatever) a relief from the fear of mortality - your consciousness, the you that you know, is still going to die, it's just that someone else is going to experience what it is to be you. That's great for your loved ones, I guess, but it's no real help to you. If you could share that consciousness before you checked out, I guess it would be an improvement, but that's not what we're talking about here.

Martine's car is really cool, though.
posted by gingerest at 10:28 PM on September 8


Also pretty cool: starting a pharmaceutical company to prolong/save your child's life!
posted by Corinth at 12:27 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


So true story - right after I saw this, I found out my agency is pitching this company! Ain't that something?
posted by Mister_A at 4:45 AM on September 9


Thank you, Annika. *hugs back*
posted by zarq at 7:17 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Martine Rothblatt, Trans CEO, Speaks Out On Controversial New York Magazine Cover
posted by Corinth at 9:56 AM on September 21


The conversation is getting broader, deeper, and more diverse every year

September 16, 2014 06:33 AM (8 days ago)
48 total comments, last 5 shown below...


I'm not dismissing the author's, but I'm wondering about the analysis if our memories are so different.

One thing that struck me about this piece is that neither of the two authors comes off as someone who is necessarily steeped in feminism or a Professional Feminist. On the one hand, you've got Judith, who reads like someone who is just straight up actually not a feminist, period. On the other hand, you've got the more pro-feminist Rebecca, who comes off more as someone who knows little to nothing about feminism but has vaguely positive feelings about it.

Though I will say that when I was in college in the early 2000s, feminist activism or direct action in the manner of what is going on right now was not really a thing, and there was a lot of discussion of The F Word and whether you "identify" as feminist or not. More towards the intersectionality/"womanist"/is feminism too white direction, but still, it definitely was not a popular movement even on a leftist campus.
posted by Sara C. at 9:11 AM on September 17


Bunch of related links at Omnivore.
posted by homunculus at 4:17 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


More towards the intersectionality/"womanist"/is feminism too white direction, but still, it definitely was not a popular movement even on a leftist campus.

I wonder how much of this has to do with family background. My mom identified as a feminist and taught me media analysis from a young age (my brother not so much, and I think you can see the differences in us as adults), and I considered myself a feminist my entire life, though what that means has changed as I grew older and became less racist, sexist, and other -ists.

Now I'm ages ahead of her in terms of knowledge; I remember her speaking with me the first time transgendered issues came up (one of my close friends is a transgender man), and she commented on how easily I accepted that and other present-but-rare or present-but-unlabeled experiences while she found it relatively more difficult. She still can't get her head around ableism, and has distinct shades of the colorblind racism she raised me with, but I'm working on it and her heart is in the right place.

Part of me wonders if a lot of these articles pitting the different "types" of feminism against each other aren't part of attempts to maintain the status quo; a question about the dismissal of young feminists by older ones turns, by a dint of reactive reading, into an actual dismissal not only of young feminists but also the internet itself as a tool of activism.

One of the biggest shifts I've personally seen over the past ten years is because of the internet - voices that had long been marginalized and relegated to woman's and black studies (as well as studies specific to other cultural minorities) have become much more mainstream through interesting uses of twitter and tumblr to elevate voices and organize support. A lot of the backlash against feminists in gaming (ironically many of them created by sexism against them; Rebecca Watson famously talks about how she didn't consider herself a feminist until there was a concerted campaign of rape and death threats against her and she realized we weren't really post-feminist) is due to elevated women's voices, which came about due to second wave feminism's changes to how we thought about women and jobs, and the profound difference between what people say they believe and how they actually behave (something which Third Wave Feminism and Womanism began to grapple with and which continues to be a major stream of consciousness in contemporary feminism).

There is a lot to love about the current youth (of which I am not a part) and how they approach a variety of social justice movements. People like to diss Occupy for it's focus on committees, but there was a frequent emphasis on as much inclusion as possible, and I think that's the only valid way forward for all social justice movements. We've seen the effect racism, homophobia, etc... has inside of feminism, and an awful lot of feminists are done with accepting it as the price of doing business. The ideological concept of elevating voices through dispersed movements, where being a figurehead is discouraged instead of encouraged, is a direct response to the Cults of Personality which still mark movements like Atheism and Civil Rights for good or ill.

We're part of a long conversation, and I love it.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:43 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


I know I snarked on this earlier, but what really pisses me off about this article is the narrow focus of what these women are discussing.

I come from a blue collar background and I grew up in a fairly racially integrated town. As a teenager -- and well into my 20s -- I proudly identified as feminist even though many of my peers found that feminism was too white and upper class of an issue. Even today, I am quietly active in reproductive rights and issues related to working class women, and I read a lot of Black and Latin@ feminist/womanist writing.

When I read articles like this (and the Backlash book club thing going over on Medium), I feel excluded from the conversation. These discussions are written for and about upper middle class white women and have little to do with the things I've experienced, or the things of which feminists of color have written.

And, hey, I'll own this right now: Rebecca Traister is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. She has a narrow skillset, and I will acknowledge her ability in writing about legislature in a way that's accessible to the lay reader. That being said, she's really bad at writing about class, race, or the issues that young feminists face. On the few times she's acknowledged the existence of women who bear no resemblance to characters in Nicole Holofcener movies, she's condescended to them or misrepresented them to an almost willful extent. What bothers me most about her is that she's become the feminist spokesperson for Gen X and millennials, when she has a patronizing attitude towards the majority of us.

Feminism needs working class women and women from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. And these women, to some extent, need feminism. In order for this conversation to have rung true, it would have been great to hear what a working class woman or a Black woman or a genderqueer person would say about these issues. As it is now, though, it's just another conversation between two rich white women. And that's a damn shame.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:55 PM on September 18


As long as the people are convinced thier enemy is another large subset of the people, the ruling elite is safe. This is why we do not have meaningful discussions about class, pxe2000.
posted by clarknova at 7:58 AM on September 21


RIP Douglas E. Smith

September 14, 2014 07:50 PM (9 days ago)
48 total comments, last 5 shown below...


.
posted by chaosys at 4:36 PM on September 15


The Sierra remake just wasn't the same.

It was my first real exposure to Lode Runner, and boy was I obsessed with that game. I had it on my college PC way back in 2000 and between that, Half-Life, and Homeworld it's a wonder I ever graduated.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:53 PM on September 15


My first exposure to Lode Runner was on an Apple IIc kept in the back room of the Christian private school I went to. There were saddening things about that place, but that Lode Runner disk wasn't one of them, and many of us got addicted to it.

A while later, I saw the game Lode Runner's Rescue, published by Synapse, available for Commodore 64, and figured, hey! I bought it.

It was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, really nothing to do with Lode Runner at all. It was more a Crystal Castles-style isometric platformer than anything else! Sorta interesting as its own thing actually, but... it wasn't Lode Runner.

Much more recently, I got Battle Lode Runner on Wii Virtual Console, a game that, since Konami bought HudsonSoft, stands a good chance of never making it to Wii U. Let me tell you, the game gets incredibly hard. We never did finish it, although our save is still within a couple dozen levels of the end I think. I should look later....
posted by JHarris at 3:52 AM on September 16


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posted by homunculus at 7:20 PM on September 19


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posted by radwolf76 at 12:24 AM on September 21


FIA Formula E: the world's first fully-electric racing series

September 16, 2014 08:46 PM (7 days ago)
37 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Dysk: “how bad was it?”
It faded out not long after the start and it was… bad. Like a racing video game.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:32 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


Don Garlits (yes, that Don Garlits)

Wouldn't have been necessary to clarify his name if you'd labeled him by his real moniker, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:32 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


“Formula E: the future, or just rubbish?” Adam Waddell & Jason Barlow, Top Gear Sunday Afternoon Club, 18 September 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 10:19 AM on September 20


The Singapore F1 race being on this weekend reminded me of the 2008 Crashgate scandal.

I was surprised to find that Nelson Piquet Jr had been signed up for Formula E. I'm surprised that teams are willing to take the chance on a self acknowledged race fixer, given that it's a new Formula and they're trying to attract sponsors.
posted by arcticseal at 11:37 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]


Plus the cars are Renaults…

Still, to be fair, Piquet Jr. was put up to it by Briatore, et al., likely with an express or implied "or else." It's not like it was his idea.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:00 PM on September 20


You won't believe the data on this Star Trek: TNG character!

September 17, 2014 05:35 PM (7 days ago)
40 total comments, last 5 shown below...


Learning Curve, the movie, 1991.
posted by misha at 11:44 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


The dispute in terms of it being an anachronism is actually the phrase "on a steep learning curve", used in Downton Abbey, and concerns the use of the term "steep" more than anything else.

No, I don't think steep is the main sticking point there. It's much more that "learning curve" was not a phrase used at all outside of extremely specific occupational and academical works during the time in which Downton Abbey is meant to take place.
posted by misha at 11:55 AM on September 18


I'd be curious to know what happened that year to bring that particular phrase into common usage.

Since the graphs link to the subtitles in the database you could probably gather some context by reading the text from the various shows around the same time.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:03 PM on September 18


Much wows
posted by CarolynG at 10:08 PM on September 19


A few interesting searches: Text. Vagina. Billionaire. Jesus. Seattle. Diarrhea.
posted by duffell at 7:34 PM on September 20