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The Community Weblog. In byte-sized chunks.

I Want To Believe

"No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target."

It's probably nothing. But on the off-chance it's a Kardashev Type II alien civilization with a Dyson Sphere, wouldn't you rather hear it here first?

Spam, Spam, Spam, Anthropology, & Spam

Beyond Spam: Hormel's secret weapon for predicting the future of food Around 2007, Hormel quietly embarked on a venture that would take it deeper than it had ever been into the cupboards and kitchens of Americans, many of them immigrants, many of them young. It led to a series of acquisitions and a blitz of research and development that helped round out its pantry of products and inoculate it against the fickle modern food trends of a kale-and-quinoa world.
One of the first things it did was hire an anthropologist.


But Hormel's hiring team was particularly intrigued with her research. Her dissertation was on medical pluralism, how different cultures quickly adopt each others' folk cures. A person battling something such as pancreatic cancer, she found, might supplement chemotherapy with Santeria or some other form of ritual healing, even if the spiritual practice wasn't culturally familiar. Hormel realized that she might be able to find similar insights into how people adapt their diets.

"One cannot but think of him as a 50-year-old mausoleum exhibition"

Following an admission yesterday by the government of Uzbekistan that its president, Islam Karimov, had suffered a stroke, it is now being reported that he has died. He was the only person to have led an independent Uzbekistan and it is unclear who might succeed him, as his once-popular (at least as far as her father was concerned) daughter Gulnara has been under house arrest since 2014 after a feud within the family. Last year, Daniil Kislov, whose Ferghana news agency was among the first to report Karimov's illness and death, had some reflections on Karimov's last few years of authoritarian rule.

Rudy Van Gelder, influential sound engineer, dead at 92

Rudy Van Gelder, best known for his work at legendary Bluenote Records, influential sound engineer, dead at 92. (Previously on Metafilter, RVG) Spotify playlist of his recordings.

RIP, Leo Bloom

Gene Wilder has died at age 83. Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as "The Producers," "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "Stir Crazy," died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

In 2013, Wilder spoke with Robert Osbourne at the 92Y in New York.

Sad Face

Can smiling make you happier? Maybe not. We have no idea. ... The basic finding of Strack's research—that a facial expression can change your feelings even if you don't know that you're making it—has now been reproduced, at least conceptually, many, many times. ... In recent years, it has even formed the basis for the treatment of mental illness. An idea that Strack himself had scoffed at in the 1980s now is taken very seriously: Several recent, randomized clinical trials found that injecting patients' faces with Botox to make their "frown lines" go away also helped them to recover from depression.

Looking back across these years of follow-up research, including the success of facial feedback in the clinic, Strack found himself with little doubt about the field. "The direct influence of facial expression on judgment has been demonstrated many, many times," he told me. "I'm completely convinced." That's why he volunteered to help the skeptics in that email chain three years ago. "They wanted to replicate something, so I suggested my facial-feedback study," he said. "I was confident that they would get results, so I didn't know how interesting it would be, but OK, if they wanted to do that? It would be fine with me." ...The results came out on August 18. They were not good. (Note: Links to PDF.)

Who Should Get Paid for Live Storytelling Events?

It's not that "exposure" doesn't exist. It does, sort of, but it's more along the lines of "networking."

Performers get exposed to other performers, friendships form out of common likes and dislikes. Later, when these people are in positions of power, they'll call the numbers they have, the same relationships that drive any industry. When those people are in the positions to make decisions, they'll do the same thing, the web will expand, the cycle will continue. So, the only true exposure worth touting is one that cultivates relationships with other performers.

Jellyfish are going to kill us all

A Tiny Jellyfish Relative Just Shut Down Yellowstone River

By the superlative Ed Yong (half a dozen previouslies)

Previously on jellyfish

There's only one way for us to win this / Provoke outrage, outright

Donny is flopping about on immigration and his "deportation force," and the view of Donald as a bigot are solidifying, as Hillary's camp keeps up the race-themed attack on Donnie. Meanwhile, Donny bought $10 million in ads for this week, his biggest buy yet, focusing on the economy. Ads will air in battleground states, including Colorado and Virginia, where Clinton's top aides — citing the growth in minority communities and college-educated white voters — feel confident enough to pull local ads. And to keep things lively, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton trade jabs over their health. With a bit more than 70 days to go, it's too soon for Hillary to run out the clock, so let's go, get back on your feet!

"The Octobot also has its own preservation code. "

Meet Octobot: Squishy, Adorable and Revolutionary [The New York Times] "This squishy eight-armed machine is the world's first fully autonomous soft-bodied robot. Researchers at Harvard University created the octopus by three-dimensional printing, using silicone gel, which gives it its flexible, rubbery texture. On Wednesday, they unveiled their adorable step toward the robot uprising in the journal Nature [.PDF]. The scientists said in their paper that their creation could be a foundation for the future of soft-bodied robots."

Heavily-Delayed Horrors Beyond Human Reckoning

The end of WTF D&D's epic saga of 90's music stars and cosmic horrors has finally begun, half a year after that post (which contains links to the entire story so far). Zack and Steve's zany game logs from the interim: Death Star plans on Naboo (1, 2), Dark Heresy: The Lost Dog Detectives (1, 2), a redneck WWE wrestler, a 90's Marvel character trapped in the Cinematic Universe (1, 2) and a Ghostbusters franchise in North Dakota (1, 2). As evidenced by the site's archives, much pointing and laughing at sourcebooks did indeed also ensue.

of the Free

After conspicuously not standing up during the National Anthem played at a preseaon NFL game on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick explained that his actions were a tribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Moreover, he went on, the song itself has a racist history. If you unfamiliar, here is Jason Johnson of the Root to explain: Lt. Francis Scott Key and the history of the US National Anthem's racist 3rd Verse.

A Swarm of Controversy

In their struggle for survival against killer mites, bees get an unlikely ally: Monsanto.

What Really Happened At Monsanto's Bee Conference: Monsanto's chemicals have been partially blamed for the massive bee die-off. So could the company really host an honest conversation about fixing the problem?

only the lifelong challenge of acknowledging the reality of other people

Nakul Krishna on the ethics & morality of Malory Towers.

Malory Towers was an early immersion for me in what the schoolmen call female subjectivity. The books threw me into a fictional world where being a girl was normal and fun. I'm not sure they converted me to feminism, exactly, but all that time spent with the idea of girls as agents certainly made it harder to see women as objects.

The BBC goes slow again with a two-hour Yorkshire Dales bus trip.

Following the success of previous BBC Four 'slow TV' programmes, including All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride & Canal Trip, and Slow Week, BBC4 is inviting viewers aboard for a very special journey through one of the most spectacular and beautiful bus routes in Britain. The 'Northern Dalesman', as the bus on the route is called, has been rigged with specialist cameras as it travels on its journey, snaking across the iconic landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. Filmed in real time, the cameras capture the road unfurling, the passing scenery and the occasional chatter of local passengers. Two hours of scenery and quiet, no ads, no idiot voice-over ... all television should be this way. (Previously)