Monday, October 20th, 2014
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Shabazz Palaces, "Motion Sickness"

A narrative video for one of the more accessible tracks on the excellent Lese Majesty, which I've been coming back to again and again over the last couple months (see previously: #CAKE).

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Modern Experience Rendered Accurately

Who do you identify with? Is it one of the many Waldos? All of the Waldos? The guy relaxing briefly at the axis? The unstoppable spinning prism itself? One of the few people who, at the very beginning, runs and then jogs and then walks out of frame?

The object label for this installation (via Chuck Anderson) reads:

Crowd dynamics test using Miarmy for Maya. Shows the new servo force feature which allows struggling animation once the agent has become dynamic Rendered with Arnold

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Court Meddles

"A pregnant unwed mother can’t use Facebook alone to notify the father about the baby before putting the child up for adoption, Oklahoma’s highest civil court has ruled."

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Your Ebola Halloween Costume: A User's Guide

So you're doing "Ebola" for your halloween costume this year. You've found a topical novelty outfit online, or maybe you've just purchased some cheap and readily available medical clothing, knowing that your peers will have no problem guessing what it's supposed to represent.

But "Ebola" is going to be a very popular costume this year. You're not the only person who heard about this epidemic on the news! If you want to stand out—if you want to be the star of the party, by evoking Ebola hemorrhagic fever—you need to study up. Here are some helpful facts that you can recite to your friends in order to give [...]

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The Uncanny Language of Medical Instagram

A few months ago a friend showed me a story about an app called Figure 1. It was billed as "Medicine’s Answer to Instagram," and had apparently just raised a couple million dollars. I downloaded it. I am not a doctor, nor did I claim to be one when I signed up. I checked "Journalist" from the "Non-Healthcare Professional" menu. This got me in on a sort of limited basis (selecting "Other" would have worked too). I couldn't post—that's for pros—but I could see everything.

To a "Non-Healthcare Professional" the main Figure 1 feed is shocking. It's an infinite scroll of graphic medical photos—growths, infections, fractures, rashes, traumatic injuries, birth [...]

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Sounds Enumerated

In 2014, not a single artist’s album has gone platinum. Not one has managed to cross that million sales mark.

One album has managed to sell over a million copies so far this year, but it’s a soundtrack. The ever-popular Frozen soundtrack may slowly be working its way down the charts, but it is by far the best selling collection this year. Though it doesn’t have any marquee names on it—those that are usually expected to sell the best—the soundtrack has managed to move 3.2 million copies so far, and with winter coming, that number is sure to rise.

The most popular album of 2014 that was actually released [...]

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The Sad Parents of #Gamergate

All around the country, parents are sitting down to have the talk with their children. Not about sex or mortality or college. They're having the talk about Gamergate. From our own comments:

I have a 17 year old son and trying to point out the actual facts in this story is like trying to convince a rabid 70 year old FOX viewer that Obama is not a terrorist, born on Mars, here to take your guns. "It's about ethics, mom. Don't you care about ETHICS?"

He's not down with the death threats though, so I guess Yay?

Imagine! You hear your child talking animatedly about something. He steps [...]

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Leon Bridges, "Coming Home"

Via GvB, a supremely satisfying soul pop throwback to ~60 years ago which, obviously, you can read all about on the artist's Tumblr.

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Countdown to the Last-Ever October Surprise

It's election season. It's October. According to the political-astrological calendar, this is very important: It's time for an October surprise. Juan Williams thinks the surprise will be war: To be clear, Republicans remain a slight favorite to win enough seats to claim the majority of the U.S. Senate. But the twists and turns of war have the capacity to create one legendary October political surprise.

He is using the conspiratorial definition of "October Surprise," as opposed to the literal surprise definition. War for votes. Bob Beckel, conspiracy theorist, agrees: "I think I know what it is, but it is going to shake things up…it’s going to have to [...]

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Erykah Badu, "Street Hustle Experiment"

"I just, kind of always wanted to see what it would be like to, you know, sing for money on the streets. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to find a good place." Erykah Badu busks in Times Square.

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Gamergate in Posterity

The hideous mass lash-out known as #Gamergate is snowballing into an unlikely but genuine historical moment. This rings true:

What we have in Gamergate is a glimpse of how these skirmishes will unfold in the future—all the rhetorical weaponry and siegecraft of an internet comment section brought to bear on our culture, not just at the fringes but at the center. What we're seeing now is a rehearsal, where the mechanisms of a toxic and inhumane politics are being tested and improved. Tomorrow's Lee Atwater will work through sock puppets on IRC. Tomorrow's Sister Souljah will get shouted down with rape threats. Tomorrow's Tipper Gore will make an [...]

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Rewriting History in Real Time: A Social Media Guide

In the process of trying to figure out when your cousin's birthday is, or looking at photos of your old partners' weddings, or deciding whether or not to attend your 10/20/30/40-year reunion, there's a reasonable chance you will come across some variation of this headline on Facebook. Beneath it will be comments from friends and family and strangers, in which the dinner table arguments of a decade ago are relitigated. The details, which were foggy in the first place, are now foggier. Someone will probably bring up beheading immediately.

The source for this post—which comes from a profoundly cynical, and popular, news project called the Independent Journal Review, which [...]

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Youth Harnessed

"While some elementary schools no longer have recess, and people like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argue that school days should be even longer, a few schools are already moving in a different direction. Some are testing out standing desks, and realizing that a little bit of activity can actually improve attention spans. Others, like Ward Elementary in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are starting to fill classrooms with exercise bikes, so students can work out while they learn." —Thought experiment: Would the ethical status of this program change, in any way, if the exercise bikes were used to generate electricity? The MOOC machines will need charging.

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Ex Hex, "Waterfall"

Most of the songs on Ex Hex's Rips aren't quite as short as "Waterfall"—the twelve tracks on the album, which has appeared on most of the streaming sites by now, clock at thirty-five minutes. But it's a certainly a concise album, and in the best way: quick, full, never dense or rushed. It's an album you can play a few times in a row before noticing that you've started over.

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The @UberFacts Manifesto

Life according to wildly popular Twitter account @Uberfacts.

Part One: On Love

Love actually has nothing to do with your heart — It's all chemical reactions inside of your brain. Our brains love music the same way it loves food and sex — We download songs we enjoy because the mind perceives them as rewards. Its possible for someone to feel “addicted to love” — Sniffing cocaine and being madly in love affect the same areas of the brain. Falling in love produces the same type of high as doing cocaine. Falling in love can act as a potent painkiller. It only takes [...]

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Jessie Ware, "12"

Jessie Ware has a new album out today. This track, with Robin Hannibal or Rhye, is, for some reason, not on it.

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Moves Borrowed

"I am the Jonah Lehrer of sex, a serial plagiarist of stunning bravado and insouciance. So are you."

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The American Ebola Story

This is the App Store ranking history for an app called Plague Inc. It's a game in which players design and deploy a disease into the world with the goal of infecting the entire planet—to win the game you must infect every country, no exceptions. The game has been around for a while—the CDC invited its creator to speak to the agency's staff last year. The pretense, according to a CDC spokesperson: "Meeting with industry leaders is a great way to learn more about reaching new audiences through mobile apps." The game's sales spiked on October 1st, immediately after the hospitalization of Thomas Duncan in Dallas. Ebola felt [...]

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The Homeland Generation

This is Figure One in a document published by the White House, on Medium, called "15 Economic Facts About Millennials." It is included to establish a premise for the post: that the "Millennial generation will continue to be a sizable part of the population for many years." It seals off that generation at 2004, which means the next one begins at 2005. The next one is labeled without explanation: The Homeland Generation.

This data is credited to the Census Bureau, but presumably only the raw population numbers—the “Homeland Generation” is not, apparently, an official census designation. The choice to use it, then, fell to the people [...]

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History and the Modern Presidency

Barack Obama, 2005, to the graduating class of Knox College: The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life’s big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams.

Barack Obama, 2009, accepting the Nobel Peace Price: For all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not [...]

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