The Community Weblog. In byte-sized chunks.

A Collection Negro League Documentaries

A variety of documentaries about Negro League baseball: Only The Ball Was White, Black Ball, Extra Innings: Preserving the History of the Negro Leagues, and The Long Summers of Lou Dials.

Also, check out the made for TV movie The Soul of the Game, The Jackie Robinson Story, ESPN SportsCentury doc on Jackie Robinson, and Black Diamonds, a six part Negro League oral history: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6].

[E]verything I have done will be held against me and spun by my accuser

Zoë Quinn explains "why [she] just dropped the harassment charges [against] the man who started GamerGate." (via Ellen Pao's Twitter.)

Don't let it get you down, the singularity is as near as it's ever been.

Moore's law is dead, for real this time?

A Son Rises in the West

Twenty years ago a Seattle boy moved to Nepal after being recognized as the reincarnation of a revered Tibetan lama. The public's reaction to his mother's decision to let him go says as much about our understanding of parenting as it does about Buddhism.

The Unlikely Ballerina meets the Little Dancer

Misty Copeland recreates Degas's ballet paintings for Harper's Bazaar.

Excavating a wasp nest

Wasps are a dangerous introduced pest in New Zealand. Here, a researcher excavates an active German wasp nest by hand. Thrill to the angry buzz of outraged wasps! Recoil as they hurl themselves at the camera! Goggle at the venom splatters! 10 minutes of terrifying yet compelling man on wasp action.

Make sure the sound is on for extra wasp collision noises.

Enough is enough, you greedy bastards

Anfield Road prices to stay frozen for two years. After many protests [nsfw:language] over a price increase from £59 to £77 - that included an unprecedented 10000 fan walk-out against Sunderland at the 77th minute (result 2-0, final score 2-2), Liverpool FC owners Fenway Sports Group stepped back and apologized from the original pricing plan.

Meanwhile, fans of Dortmund also protested prices this week, by throwing tennis balls after having to pay €19,5 (standing) €38,5 (seating) for an away cup match in Stuttgart. German football is traditionally one of the cheapest in Europe.

English football at this moment is at crossroads: on one hand, the new TV contracts kicking in next season will likely push even more English clubs to the top of Deloitte's Football Money League (currently 9). In addition to several new stadiums opened recently, others will follow, including redevelopment of Anfield Road, White Hart Lane, the Olympic Stadium and Stamford Bridge.

But on the other, while lower division teams have been struggling for a while, it's not certain this influx of money will help top English teams to dominate in Europe teams from the top of European football, as transfer fee demands will go up, as well as salary demands, and even domestically, traditional big spenders are being upstaged this season by Leicester City (5 points clear with 13 games to go) - a team with an estimated transfer market value closer to the bottom.

A new development is also the emerging Chinese Super League (with some government backing) has splurged in transfers this January and outspent European teams, by signing players such as Gervinho (Roma) Jackson (Atl. Madrid) and Ramires (Chelsea) in a total over €130 Million (to the concern of some managers, including Arsenal's Arsene Wenger), and it's possible more will follow.

Fox Fail

Fox doesn't understand the difference between white bedsheets and snow. (SLTwitter)

All Hail The Algorithm

As reported this weekend, Twitter announced today that timelines will no longer be ordered strictly by reverse chronology.


Twitter is desperate to show Wall Street it can either add new users or keep making more money from its existing ones. (Preferably both.) [Twitter's consumer product head Jeff] Seibert says the feature is targeted at current users more than potential users, although a great algorithm could help with recruitment.

"[Core users] are our microphone," Seibert explained. "If we make the product delightful for them, they will bring their colleagues and their friends and their family onto the platform. That's the goal here."

The timing of the launch is not coincidental. Twitter reports earnings Wednesday afternoon and the new feature will give executives something to point to on the call. Twitter has to showcase how it's going to grow — or, if it's not going to grow, how it's going to keep its current user base engaged. This gives them something to talk about.
Opinions from
Wired: "The objections to the algorithm also presume that Twitter is currently its best self. That's a stretch. Yes, it's an essential service during breaking news, especially to those of us in the media, but otherwise it's a mixed bag of whimsy, news, fights, bile, harassment, and desperation, all presented in a lexicon unique to its most faithful customers. Even to a regular, it can be a tiring slog. To an outsider, it's inscrutable. Back to Facebook!"

Slate "If you squint hard, you could view this as a fundamental change in how Twitter works. The timeline has always been ordered predominantly by recency. Now it can be ordered by a combination of recency and relevance, to use the social-media industry's buzzwords—Facebook's buzzwords, really. It may be CEO Jack Dorsey's most substantive move since he returned last summer to run the company he co-founded, and it's a fairly naked bid to make the service a little more like Facebook."

New York Magazine: "The reasons for switching to — or adding — an algorithmic timeline are obvious. Twitter can be a forbidding place, visually and culturally, and a smartly tuned sorting system could make it more welcoming to both new and infrequent users. And, yes, to advertisers. Explaining to advertisers that your social network has an algorithmic feed "like Facebook's" is likely to get them to open their wallets much more quickly."

Proudly pretentious.

"We accuse someone of pretentiousness to call out false authority and deflate delusions of grandeur. But we're also using the word as a tool of class policing: a way to tell a person to stop putting on airs and graces." Dan Fox, Why I'm pretentious and proud of it

A longer excerpt from his book, Pretentiousness: Why It Matters, has also been published in the Guardian.

The Odds of Dying

Everyone dies of something, but after slogging through the daily news, you'd think most people die from terrorism, shark attacks and gas explosions. But are these tragedies — not to mention deaths from lightning strikes, plane crashes and tsunamis — actually top killers in the United States?

"The sadness of the robot."

The always-excellent Shmuplations has translated a 2011 interview about the creation of classic NES game Rockman, known in the US as Mega Man, and its sequel. It's a great depiction of the creative process relating to game development.

Reparations, One Meal at a Time

What's the fairest way to split a check? No, really. What's the fairest way? Equipay.

Equipay is the Grand Prize Winner of this year's Comedy Hack Day.

On Female Fuccboi Style

I love the ontological aspects of internet style, but dressing has gone woefully algorithmic.

Dynamic spectrogram of dial-up modem handshake sounds

Short-but-pretty SLYT. So that's what was going on ...

Some good comments too.

Female Script Intros

"JANE (late 20s) sits hunched over a microscope. She's attractive, but too much of a professional to care about her appearance." Hollywood producer retweets actual intros for female characters in actual proposed scripts.

Sexual harassment in science redux: now with paleoanthropology!

Loudly, and apparently without caring who heard her, a research assistant at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City charged that her boss—noted paleoanthropologist Brian Richmond, the museum's curator of human origins—had "sexually assaulted" her in his hotel room after a meeting the previous September in Florence, Italy. At the meeting, one person who heard the allegations was Bernard Wood, 70, a senior paleoanthropologist originally from the United Kingdom. In St. Louis, Wood canvassed younger researchers about their experiences with Richmond. He asked everyone the same question: "Does this alleged behavior come as any surprise to you?" He didn't get the "yes" he was expecting.

How the Literary Class System is Impoverishing Literature

One of the most compelling arguments for literary diversity has to do with the people who are following behind. If a little Mexican-American girl grows up with dreams of being a poet, what happens when she looks at the prize winners each year and doesn't see anyone who looks like her? Can a young African-American man aspire to being a Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist if he doesn't know that there is someone like him out there? I would argue the same thing happens for working-class kids, especially those in families more concerned with putting food on the table than getting to the symphony, families who see the arts as the sole pursuit of the rich (as my own working-class immigrant father did).

0/10 would send to Twitter jail

This week, copyright trolls came for @Dog_rates, the beloved Twitter account that rates dogs (but NOT saber-toothed tigers or t-rexes). In a chilling move, the troll threatened to make a similar attack on @Dog_rates's biggest rival/colleague, @EverythingGoats. Twitter has refused to comment.

"Reading one book is like eating one potato chip."

The Brackets for The Morning News 2016 Tournament of Books by The Tournament of Books Staff [The Morning News]

You already know the titles and judges that will participate in this year's tournament. You likely perused the "long list" for a glance at 86 of our favorite works of fiction from last year. You might have even checked out our 11 previous tournaments, just to whet your appetite—or maybe you have no idea what we're talking about, in which case you should go read this primer. [Download the 2016 brackets as a .PDF]
Here is a schedule of this year's match-ups. (Also, we get a cut from any purchases made through the links below.)

March 7
2015 ToB Introduction
by Kevin Guilfoile & John Warner

Play-in Match
March 8
Avenue of Mysteries v. A Spool of Blue Thread
Judged by Lizzie Molyneux, Wendy Molyneux, and Kelvin Yu

Opening Round
March 9
Fates and Furies v. Bats of the Republic
Judged by Maria Bustillos

March 10
The Sympathizer v. Oreo
Judged by Brad Listi

March 11
The Turner House v. Ban en Banlieue
Judged by Miriam Tuliao

March 14
Our Souls at Night v. The Whites
Judged by Syreeta McFadden

March 15
A Little Life v. The New World
Judged by Choire Sicha

March 16
The Book of Aron v. The Tsar of Love and Techno
Judged by Doree Shafrir

March 17
Play-in Winner v. The Story of My Teeth
Judged by Daniel Wallace

March 18
The Sellout v. The Invaders
Judged by Liz Lopatto

"the peanut butter standard put many lawyers' children through college."

Atlas Obscura brings us the story of the mid-20th Century "Peanut Butter Hearings", where the Peanut Butter Manufacturers Association faced off with the FDA (and the Peanut Butter Grandma, a.k.a. Ruth Desmond, head of the Federation of Homemakers) to hammer out the exact percentage of peanut butter that had to be peanuts. (via Mental Floss)

"Junkie Whore"—What It's Really Like for Sex Workers on Heroin

She's the dead hooker in the trunk. A universal cautionary tale, the drug-using sex worker is too wretched to be relatable, too scorned for even countercultural cred. She is repulsive, unclean and immoral. She is pitiable at best, inhuman at worst—dismissed by police lingo about murders whose victims are drug-using street workers: "No Human Involved." If she's white, she's lucky enough to be merely an abject victim. If not, she's a deranged criminal. She's a scarred, blotchy mugshot in your local paper's coverage of prostitution stings—recycled without regard for privacy by anti-drug PSAs to let kids know that that's what they'll look like after years of doing dope. She's the woman I've heard my escorting clients joke about not wanting to fuck with someone else's dick—not realizing that they are talking to a sex worker who uses heroin, as I force myself to laugh along with them.

The Polygon Shredder

WARNING: may induce vertigo, nausea, flashbacks, and/or mild amusement.

The Club Is Open

Robert Pollard has reformed Guided by Voices with a new lineup.

Initial reports were that the band had reunited, but the lineup slated to play the upcoming Sled Island Festival and work on a new album doesn't bear much relationship to either the "classic" lineup with Tobin Sprout or the late 90s/early aughts version with Doug Gillard.

Instead, the new lineup backing Pollard will feature genre-bending singer-songwriter Bobby Bare, Jr. on guitar (previously on MeFi), occasional GbV drummer Kevin March (also of The Dambuilders and Those Bastard Souls), Nick Mitchell on guitar, and Mark Shue on bass.

A new GbV album is already in the works, on which Pollard plays all of the instruments.

Bonus: Big Dipper's tribute, "Robert Pollard.

Wears flannel shirts (inconsistent with city setting)

Cassandra Clare, fanfiction author turned bestselling author, has been accused of copyright infringement by Sherrilyn Kenyon for sharing such themes [pdf of exhibit] as "evil father who has to be killed", "magical swords that battle evil", "rebellious and beautiful female character" and "round room with magical portals".

An earlier blowup in fanfiction circles involved plagiarism in The Draco Chronicles. (Related previously.)

Pdf links to complaint, and exhibits including list of published works, trademarks, and trade dress for Shadowhunter and Dark-Hunter series.