The Community Weblog. In byte-sized chunks.

#Gad hi fynd, Gad hi fynd

A year on, y'all may be sick to death of Frozen and new versions of Let it Go, but surely there's room for the Welsh version as translated and sung by the 14 year old Rebekah West? Bonus: sing along version with lyrics.

US drone strikes: data analysis

41 men targeted, but 1,147 people killed: New analysis of data conducted by the human rights group Reprieve raises questions about the accuracy of intelligence guiding 'precise' drone strikes.

2 bassists, 2 clarinets, 1 cellist, 1 tape-delay technician, 1 pianist

Bing & Ruth is a modern classical ensemble that plays minimalist, piano-driven music. Several videos from Tomorrow Was The Golden Age (RVNG Intl.), their 2014 album, are on Youtube: Warble, TWTGA, Police Police Police Police Police, The Towns We Love Is Our Town (Alternate), and Reflector. Their first album, City Lake, can be streamed on Soundcloud. The Bing & Ruth and Kenitle Floors EPs can be streamed on Bandcamp.
B&R is the project of David Moore, who also leads (parodic?) bluegrass band The Piledrivers and country band Pepper Johnson, and is member of experimental electronic group Emar Diem and blues rockers Langhorne Slim & The Law. In October, Will Stephenson interviewed Moore for BOMB. In 2010, Le Blogotheque released a short film of Moore set to his music.

At 20 a little coquette, at 40 not married yet, at 50 a suffragette!

The Turn of the Century Posters that Warned against the Horrors of a World with Women's Rights


Snapshots of LGBT life in Midcentury America Coursey of the ONE national gay and lesbian archives at the University of southern California libraries.

Insight into Military Flight Simulation

Ars Technica's Lee Hutchinson reviews a military grade F-18 flight simulator.

Friday Fun... with a twist

It's finally Friday, and I feel like celebrating with a smooth grooving' twist... and a little mashed potato and a little...

If you don't do it, you're just considered out.

... and go like this!

Oh Rob!

Twistin' (and more) with the Kang!

They're doin' it in Italy! (if you can get past the ads, it's worth it).

They're doin' it in France!

They're doing it in Scotland.. and they won't stop!

Even in Japan -- though without music, apparently.

You can do it too!

California's whooping cough crisis, Latinos affected disproportionately

"'It really speaks to the lack of access to health insurance that's particularly predominant within the Latino community,' says Sarah de Guia, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, an advocacy group. Latinos make up 62 percent of the uninsured, she says, either because they can't afford to pay for health insurance, or because they're afraid that signing up for coverage will expose family members who aren't lawfully present in the U.S." California Whooping Cough Infections Run High Among Latino Babies, NPR.

More about pertussis:

"Although cases of pertussis have dropped dramatically in the United States since the introduction of the pertussis vaccine, the disease has caused widespread outbreaks in recent years. In 2012, nearly 50,000 cases of pertussis were reported in the United States, the most cases since 1955. Twenty pertussis deaths were reported in 2012. Fifteen of those deaths occurred in infants too young to have received the vaccine.

Pertussis also remains a major problem in the developing world. The World Health Organization estimates that pertussis caused 89,000 deaths worldwide in 2012.

"The tendency of pertussis to be milder in adults, sometimes escaping diagnosis, further complicates disease transmission. The coughing associated with the disease may be mild enough in an adult case to be written off as a simple cold. The adult, however, will still be contagious and can easily spread the disease to infants too young to be vaccinated, or to individuals whose immunity has waned."
From January 2, 2014 – New California Law Requires Doctor's Note For Vaccine Exemptions... But There's An Out, by Claire Trageser for KPBS:
"But there's a way around this new requirement.

"The new form also has a box that says the family belongs to a religion that prohibits 'seeking medical advice or treatment.' If parents check this box, they don't need a doctor's signature to exempt their children from vaccinations."
September 2, 2014 – Plunge in kindergartners' vaccination rate worries health officials, LA Times:
"California parents are deciding against vaccinating their kindergarten-age children at twice the rate they did seven years ago, a fact public health experts said is contributing to the reemergence of measles across the state and may lead to outbreaks of other serious diseases.

"The percentage of kindergartens in which at least 8% of students are not fully vaccinated because of personal beliefs has more than doubled as well, according to data on file with the state. That threshold is significant because communities must be immunized at a high rate to avoid widespread disease outbreaks. It is a concept known as herd immunity, and for measles and whooping cough at least 92% of kids need to be immune, experts say."
December 8, 2014 – NPR's Morning Edition, Health Shots: When It Comes To Day Care, Parents Want All Children Vaccinated, Patti Neighmond, NPR News. Transcript.

Further links

Pertussis (whooping cough) page – includes vaccination recommendations, data, recommendations, fact sheets, and more. (California Department of Public Health)
Fact sheets in PDF format, in English and in Spanish, at the Contra Costa Health Services website.
Vaccine-preventable outbreaks map – just tick 'whooping cough' and apply to see the map results. (Council on Foreign Relations, wikipedia entry here.)
Why vaccinate?The History of Vaccines
See also: Misconceptions about Vaccines, from the same website.
PDF summary reports of number of cases of pertussis in California., latest report from November 2014 (
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (About page).

Previously: Vaccination map of Los Angeles schools

How Surface Texture Affects Blood Stain Patterns video

hello, i'm new to metafilter. happy to be here. this is a cool video of how surface texture affects blood stain patterns. happy friday!

Reading is hard...It takes;dr;lit attempts to address this problem

This bot takes works of literature and algorithmically summarizes them, a chapter at a time, to 1% of their original length. These are then read aloud by the lovely voice of Fiona, a Scottish speech synth, and posted at on Twitter at convenient 3 hour intervals. This way entire works of literature can be consumed in bite-sized algo-chunks, giving you the gist of the book, without any troublesome cause to actually 'read' or 'understand' it at all...

Everything You Need To Know About The Dangerous Teen Trend 'Wodehousing'

Everything You Need To Know About The Dangerous Teen Trend 'Wodehousing'

It's a great day for America, everybody!

Tonight Craig Ferguson will host The Late Late Show for the last time and wrap up with an interview with Jay Leno. If you can't stay up late enough to watch it live, you can stream it tomorrow (at least in the USA.)

Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Why does it matter that you're female?

3 female computer scientists held a Reddit AMA. You can totally guess what happened next.

"Californy is the place you ought to be"

So Notch loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimmin' pools, movie stars.

What's a "spec" home? The builder of the home is purse tycoon Bruce Makowsky.

Not everyone needs a hug.

What ethnic groups are generally uncomfortable with hugging? How do you say "hug" in French? Why Asians don't always hug. Should I hug my Japanese friend? More hugs please, we're Chinese [NYT]. Do you know how to give an "American hug"? Ahmadinejad criticized for hugging. Ebola's cultural casualty: hugging in Liberia [NYT]. Kiss, hug, or shake hands? How to give a man a hug.

Chesty Morgan: A life more than skin deep

Chesty Morgan: A life more than skin deep

Fellini Casanova with Chesty Morgan

DOUBLE AGENT 73 (1974)

1964 Chevy Malibu

The Weirdest Things You Never Knew About The Making Of Repo Man

The bloom is off the Wildrose

In what will no doubt live on as one of the most stunning political moves in Canadian political history, Alberta Wildrose Party (and official opposition leader) Danielle Smith, along with 8 other Wildrose MLAs, crossed the floor of the legislature to join the ruling Progressive Conservatives, under the leadership of Premier Jim Prentice. She also proposed that the Wildrose party formally merge with the PCs, which the Wildrose administration and members reject. While floor-crossings are not uncommon in Canadian politics, there has never before been a complete capitulation of an official opposition party to the governing party before.

NDP leader Rachel Notley is calling the floor-crossing a fraud, noting that the PCs (under former leader Alison Redford) successfully frightened progressive and centrist Albertans into supporting them out of fear of a socially conservative, populist Wildrose government.

While results in recent by-elections were not terrific, the Wildrose was easily the most successful opposition in recent memory in Alberta, shedding light on numerous long-term scandals and arguably are responsible for the undoing the Redford administration.

Smith is now claiming a social conservative push to reject a party policy motion for equality of all, including sexual minorities, is what drove her away. However, she wasn't present herself to vote on that motion.

The Wildrose staffers have been laid off without severance and a funding page has been started to provide them with transition money. Donations have come in from across the political spectrum, including from former Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason.

CBC has a timeline of the Wildrose party.


Chasing Paper

An investigation for Scientific American by MeFi's own cgs06 uncovers evidence of widespread fraud in scientific publishing's peer review system. Alarming signs point to the Chinese government as a source of institutional support and funding for questionable papers and fake peer reviewers.

More details on Retraction Watch.

The Committee on Publication Ethics issued a statement today on this issue.

With the jawbone of an ass

Modern Farmer describes centuries of military love for the humble donkey. Though the U. S. Army officially ended its pack mule program in the 1950s, current soldiers and Marines-- along with the Afghan Army itself -- have trained again to use donkeys and mules in mountainous terrain.

"Sgt. Chad Giles sat on his horse and watched the two 20-year-olds coax and cajole Annie. He urged persistence but admonished against rude language, saying they should talk to her as they would a woman they loved."

The latest Mule Renaissance may have begun in the 1980s, when the company "American Export Group" began buying up large quantities for shipment to Pakistan. "I sometimes wonder if it was a Reagan stimulus package for Tennessee," said a mujahideen commander.

The U.S. Army has historically favored the larger and stronger mule rather than the donkey; the American Mule Museum offers a "Mules at War" section in its "History of the Mule" fact list.

Although the previously posted Legged Squad Support System Robot may be the creepy future of rough terrain transport, West Point continues to keep the old-fashioned kind of mule as mascots.

Birdies, prunes, cheese and whiskey: smiling (or not) for the camera

... in the Victorian era (1837-1901), a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. They took their cues from much of Europe's fine-art portraiture. Some say photographers even suggested those posing say "prunes" to heighten the effect. Smiling was something captured on children, peasants and drunkards, hardly something you'd want for your family legacy.

Then, there was the matter of oral hygiene.
Advances in dental care and ubiquitous technology: why people started smiling for the camera, and why we say cheese, with a whistling bird, some whiskey, and a little flash game thrown in for good measure.

The dawn of the 20th century marked many milestones: the Wright brothers' first flight, Henry Ford's Model T auto-mobile, and numerous advances in dental care (PDF), instruments, equipment, and restorative dentistry.

With people having a better teeth to show off to the camera, there was still the issue of patience. Early portraits required people to sit still for lengthy periods, leading to the use of head clamps and in some cases, the opium-based pain relief drug laudanum, to keep portrait-sitters motionless and subdued. As technology advanced, the time required to sit still shortened. By 1901, looking stern for the camera wasn't so vogue (Google books preview, "Did Mrs. Cheeseman Smile?" in an issue of The Photographic Times from 1901). But for most people, photographs were a thing taken by photographers in studios. Enter George Eastman's photography revolution, which kicked off in 1888.

The Kodak No. 1 was a simple black box, pre-loaded with enough paper-based roll film to take one hundred photographs. The directions were simple enough: aim your camera, turn the key, pull the string and press the button. Once you're done with 100 shots, send the camera box off to the factory for the film to be developed and printed. The camera was $25, and it cost $10 each time you had to send it in for reloading/developing — approximately $630 and $250 in current dollars. The process became easier, and cheaper, with the $1 Kodak Brownie that you could load with film yourself, "so simple that it can be easily operated by any School Boy or Girl." For less than $2, you can buy the camera, film and get your pictures processed. The first Brownie camera was shipped on Feb. 8, 1900 and "gave birth to the snapshot."

It seems so common to say "cheese" in relatively modern times, it could be hard imagining any other phrase. People were still asked to say "Prunes" in 1906 (Google books preview of an issue of The Numismatist), but for some jolly youth, the word evoked grins rather than a proper pout. It wasn't until the 1940s that casual photographers everywhere asked people to say "cheese." The most cited early record of this smile-triggering word is an article in October, 1943, where then-Ambassador Joseph E. Davies said
"I learned that from a politician," Mr. Davies chuckled. "An astute politician, a very great politician. But, of course, I cannot tell you who he was..."
Most assume he's talking about President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Davies is also cited earlier that year with the article title: Ambassador's Rule To Coax a Smile: "Just Say Cheese!"

That one weird trick was soon widely used, and it was included in the 1945 book 1001 Ways to Improve Your Photographs (Google books snippet view). When you say cheese, the cheeks tend to lift, the corners of the mouth tend to turn up, and the teeth tend to show, though the same thing happens with the words "whiskey," "breeze," "ready," "money," and anything ending in a long "E." In fact, "whiskey" is the word in many Latin American countries, but each country has a word or two most commonly used, collected there on Omniglot.

If you're looking for more old photography tricks and lingo, "look at the birdie" or "watch the birdie" once referred to metal birds that wouldn't flash (as described incorrectly in that closed auction page), but would be attached to a rubber tube and squeeze bulb with water, that when squeezed, would make the bird "whistle" to amuse small children.

If you're looking for and educational game relating to early photography studios, McCord Museum has little game to test your knowledge by playing as a customer or an apprentice photographer in a virtual re-creation of William Notman's a 19th-century photography studio in Montreal.

Ruff-ruff-ruff-ruff mew-mew-mew-mew ...

This is probably the cutest thing you'll see this Christmas. By far the best Christmas TV advert in the UK at the moment, even cuter than the John Lewis penguin (previously), and on a par with my all-time favourite, the Country Life ad.

Lose yourself

Dérive is a smartphone app inspired by the Situationists that encourages you to wander your city. You can use the general deck, use one for Abu Dhabi, Biella, Ithaca, Johannesburg, Kampala, New York City, Paris or San Francisco, or make your own

No Joke Is Too Obvious Too Miss

Pretending to be ghost on Tinder is a mildly funny idea. But less (or more?) funny is how much determination men will bring to bear in their effort to miss the joke.