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23 Jul 16:00

Tips From My Forthcoming Medieval Lifestyle Blog

by Mallory Ortberg
Russian Sledges

via bernot

decameronPreviously: Lift like a serf, eat like a baron – My Medieval Diet Plan

9 Quick And Easy Dinners That Involve Sewing The Top Half Of A Pig Onto The Bottom Half Of A Peacock [Slideshow]

Fish: Is It Meat?

How To Cook Literally Anything With Buckwheat Groats Because That’s The Only Thing You’ll Be Eating For The Rest Of Your Life, Peasant

Shoving Bodies On A Spit And Turning Them Over A Fire For A Long Time: A Great Way To Serve Dinner And Justice

Water: Only If You Have To (Are You Drinking Too Much Of It?)

DIY Everything Because That Is Your Only Option

Stabbing Your Host And Seizing His Lands: The Dos and Don’ts

Tearing Bites Out Of A Big Old Roasted Turkey Leg And Yelling “More Wine!” With Your Mouth Full: A Primer For The Newly Ennobled

Tomatoes: What Are They, Can We Trust Them, Are They Poison

Breakfast Is A Sign Of Weakness

Fill An Oxen With Quail

Sumptuary Laws And You: Take Off That Hat, Your Grandfather Was A Blacksmith

Put Herring On Everything

How To Make All Of Your Own Clothes Because That Is Your Only Option

Porridge vs. Pottage: The Debate Rages On

The Six Most Common Mistakes First-Timers Make With Fountains Of Spiced Wine

Tired Of The Same Old Weeknight Dinners? Why Not Serve A Rabbit Trussed To Look Like Pegasus?

Miniature Edible Castles And You

How To Make A Cold Supper That Tastes Just As Good After Three Weeks In Your Saddlebag Riding To The Holy Land As It Did Last Night

Salt And How To Use It

Fill A Roasted Bear With Gilded Apples, Then Carve It At Table To Surprise And Delight Your Guests From Nuremberg Who Will Die Of Summer Fever Later That Evening

Read more Tips From My Forthcoming Medieval Lifestyle Blog at The Toast.

22 Jul 23:42

» Lasciviousness, libel, and letters Modern Books and Manuscripts

by villeashell
Russian Sledges

via otters ("unfortunately, R. did not work anime into this post like I suggested" FOR SHAME)

14 Jul 17:58

Men interrupt more than women

by Mark Liberman

Below is a guest post by Kieran Snyder, taken with permission from her always-interesting tumblr Jenga one week at a time.


About a month ago at work I overheard one woman complaining to another woman about a man’s habit of interrupting everyone in meetings. Then they went further. “That’s just how it is around here. The women listen, but the men interrupt in meetings all the time,” one of them summed it up.

As a moderate interrupter myself – I’m sorry if I’ve interrupted you, I just get excited about what you’re saying and I want to build on it and I lose track of the fact that it’s not my turn and I know it’s a bad habit – I started wondering if she was right. Do men interrupt more often than women?

Search for “do men interrupt more than women” and you will find a variety of answers. The answers loosely break into two categories: 1. no, they don’t, and 2. yes, they do.

The empirical linguist in me got to thinking, and a few weeks ago I decided to figure it out.

The setup: I wanted to find situations where I could observe groups of men and women interacting without being a significant participant in the conversation myself. I am not always a talker, but when I am a talker, I am a seriously big talker and I am a definite interrupter. So I needed to find contexts where I wasn’t going to be tempted to talk myself. I also didn’t want to eavesdrop, so I needed to find contexts where I was a welcome listener.

I defined an interruption as any communication event where one person starts speaking before the other person has finished, whether or not the interrupter intends it.

The reality: I spend a lot of my weekday hours in the office, and in the job I have, I am invited to a lot of meetings. I started looking at my calendar to identify meetings where I was mainly going to be present as a listener, where there were at least four other people in the room, and where the gender mix was close to even. Since I work in tech, this last one is easier said than done, so I wasn’t able to strictly apply it, but I got close. On average, 60% of the speakers in any given room that I observed were men, and 40% were women.

I wanted to understand four things: how often interruptions happen; whether men or women interrupt their colleagues more often; whether men or women are interrupted by their colleagues more often; and whether men and women are more likely to interrupt speakers of their own gender, speakers across gender, or some other pattern.

I took notes that covered fifteen hours of conversation over a four week period, and the conversations contained anywhere from 4-15 people (excluding me). It is totally possible that I missed some interruptions since I didn’t record the meetings like I would have done in a real field linguistics study.

What I found was interesting.

People interrupt a lot.

And the more people who are in a conversation, the more interrupting there is – until some peak rate is reached and holds steady no matter how many additional people are added into the conversation.

I noted 314 interruption events spread over 900 minutes of conversation, which means that collectively people interrupted each other once every two minutes and fifty-one seconds, or just over 21 times per hour. But the actual interruption rate (y-axis) correlated closely with the number of active participants in the conversation (x-axis):

This is interesting because it suggests that there are only so many interruptions that a conversation will tolerate before it’s not a conversation anymore. Keep in mind that all the conversations I observed were formal work meetings where people mostly adhered to a single conversation thread; it is very likely that in a more informal setting, many of the larger groups would have split themselves into smaller groups having multiple conversations. In fact, these results make me wonder if 7 people is the natural tipping point for that kind of splitting in social groups. Someone has definitely studied this, but I have not.

Men interrupt more than women overall.

All told and no other factors considered, men accounted for 212 of the 314 total interruptions, about two thirds of the total. The men I observed accounted for about twice as many interruptions overall as the women did.

It’s worth noting that the groups I observed were not 50/50 split between men and women to begin with. Among the individuals I observed, 60% were men; I worked hard to find rooms to observe that included high representations of women, which took some doing but luckily is not as hard to do in design as it is in engineering. That means that if men and women had shown the same rate of interruption, we would expect to find that 188.4 of the interruptions came from men. We actually see 212.

So there you have it: at least in this male-heavy tech setting, men do interrupt more often than women do.

Men are almost three times as likely to interrupt women as they are to interrupt other men.

Here’s where things start to get really interesting. Of the 212 total interruptions from men that I logged, 149 of them – that’s 70% of the total – were interruptions where women had been previously speaking. Men do interrupt other men, but far less often.

These numbers are a little worse than they look in terms of balance since the rooms had only 40% women to begin with. Although I didn’t track gender representation in overall speaking turns (I only tracked interruptions), I believe women in this setting are taking far fewer than a 40% share of speaking turns. That would make these numbers even more skewed than they already appear; whenever women take a speaking turn, they are getting interrupted.

Women interrupt each other constantly, and almost never interrupt men.

Of the 102 interruptions from women that I logged, a staggering 89 of them were instances of women interrupting other women. That is to say, 87% of the time that women interrupt, they are interrupting each other.

Let’s pause and dwell on this for a sec: In fifteen hours of conversation that included 314 total interruptions, I observed a total of 13 examples of women interrupting male speakers. That is less than once per hour, in a climate where interruptions occur an average of once every two minutes and fifty-one seconds.

Does anyone else think this is a big deal?

I’m used to thinking of myself as an irritating interrupter, and I probably am. I didn’t track my own behavior over the same time period because it’s impossible to get that right. But looking over the data has made me wonder whether I really exhibit the pattern that I thought I did. How many of my own interruptions are directed towards female colleagues?

There’s lots more to investigate here. If I were still a Real Linguist, I’d see this as an opportunity for a Real Study. For instance, how much does the male-centric nature of the tech setting bias these results? Like, if someone did the same observations during faculty meetings at an elementary school, would they find the inverse pattern? And what actually does happen in single-sex environments? And this is a whole other enchilada, but how much does sexuality play a role in interruption patterns? I didn’t attempt to track that this time, but my informal observations suggest that this would be worth a study unto itself.

So there you have it, take or leave: men interrupt more than women. And when they interrupt, both men and women are mostly interrupting women.

Above is a guest post by Kieran Snyder.

A relevant study, whose findings are somewhat similar and somewhat different from Kieran's findings, is Jiahong Yuan, Mark Liberman, and Christopher Cieri, "Towards an integrated Understanding of Speech Overlaps in Conversation", ICPhS 2007. The abstract:

We investigate factors that affect speech overlaps in conversation, using large corpora of conversational telephone speech. We analyzed two types of speech overlaps: 1. One side takes over the turn before the other side finishes (turn-taking type); 2. One side speaks in the middle of the other side’s turn (backchannel type). We found that Japanese conversations have more short turn-taking type of overlap segments than the other languages. In general, females make more speech overlaps of both types than males; and both males and females make more overlaps when talking to females than talking to males. People make fewer overlaps when talking with strangers than talking with familiars, and the frequency of speech overlaps is significantly affected by conversation topics. Finally, the two conversation sides are highly correlated on their frequencies of using turn-taking type of overlaps but not backchannel type.

Note that we looked at very different sorts of conversations — Kieran observed business meetings in a male-dominated technology company, while Jiahong, Chris & I analyzed telephone conversations among family and friends – the CallHome corpora in Arabic (LDC97S45), English (LDC97S42), German (LDC97S43), Japanese (LDC96S37), Mandarin (LDC96S34), and Spanish (LDC96S35) — and telephone conversations between strangers — the Fisher English corpus (LDC2004S13).

As Kieran notes, there are results pointing in several different directions on the question of whether men interrupt more than women. There are several obvious (and compatible) reasons for this variation: differences in types of people and types of conversations; possible failure to distinguish among the several very different sorts of speech overlaps; interactions among gender, age,  and status of interrupters and interruptees; etc.

It would be interesting to compare (for example) the ICSI Meeting corpus (speech and transcripts), which include about 75 hours of recorded and transcribed meetings held at ICSI during the years 2000-2002. These are multi-person face-to-face working meetings in a high-tech organization, and thus similar in that respect to Kieran's sample.


23 Jul 12:30

Which witch?

by Alice
Russian Sledges

voice h autoshare


By Anatoly Liberman

To some people which and witch are homophones. Others, who differentiate between w and wh, distinguish them. This rather insignificant phenomenon is tackled in all books on English pronunciation and occasionally rises to the surface of “political discourse.” In the thirties of the past century, an irritated correspondent wrote to the editor about “the abuse of such forms as what, when, which, wheel, and others”: “Dictionaries in vain lay down the law that the h should be heard in such words. If heard at all it will probably come from the lips of Scotsmen, as they do give full value to the h. In this way the difference of a nationality can, as a rule, be detected. Long ago I had to be present at King’s College when the prizes were given away. A Mr. Wheeler was a winner of the Elocution prize; but he was called out as Mr. Weeler by, save the mark, the Professor of Elocution himself.” We’ll save the mark and go on.

In Old English, many words began with hl-, hn-, hr-, and hw-. In the beginning, the letter h stood for ch, as in Scots loch or gh as in the family name McLaughlin. Later it was weakened to h and lost. The same change occurred in the other Germanic languages, except Icelandic and, if I am not mistaken, Faroese. Sounds seldom disappear without a trace. Thus, when h was shed, it devoiced the consonant after it. In Icelandic, voiceless l, n, and r can easily be heard, but elsewhere they merged with l, n, and r in other positions. Only hw developed differently. It either stayed in some form or devoiced w.

It has never been explained why consonants tend to disappear before l, n, r, and w. A classic example of this process, not related to the subject being discussed here, is the fate of kn- and gn-, as in knock and gnaw. One can of course say that such groups are rare and inconvenient for pronunciation. But such an explanation is illusory, because it presents the result of the change as its cause. Outside English, kn- and gn- cause speakers no trouble. Besides, the loss of k- and g- happened at a certain time. Why did it “suddenly” become inconvenient to articulate the groups that had not bothered the previous generations? We will accept the history of hw as we find it and leave it to others to account for the change.

The reverse spelling (wh- for hw-) goes back to Middle English and can only confuse those who believe that modern spelling is a good guide to etymology. The letter writer, whose displeasure with dictionaries we have just witnessed, made no mistake. The speakers of London, where in the late Middle Ages the Modern English norm was being forged, lost h before w and accepted voiced w (this happened as early as the end of the fourteenth century), while northern England, Scotland, Ireland, and, to some extent, American English have either hw or voiceless w.

Yet some authorities who taught as late as the first half of the eighteenth century insisted on the necessity to enunciate h before w. They may have trusted the written image of the words in question. In 1654 and the subsequent decades, such opinions could no longer be heard. After voiced w had won the victory in southern speech, the “true” (historical) pronunciation was often recommended as correct and returned to solemn recitation and sometimes even to everyday speech. Such cases are not too rare. Consider the pronunciation often and fore-head, which owe their existence to modern spelling. Some people believe that the more “letters” they pronounce, the more educated they will sound. “Ofen” and “forid,” rhyming with soften and horrid, strike them as slipshod.

It is instructive to look at some Modern English words beginning with wh-. Quite a few, including when, where, what, and why, did once have hw- at the beginning. As a result, southerners have homophones like which ~ witch, when ~ wen, whither ~ wither, whale ~ wail, and so forth. (Shakespeare could not know that woe and wail are related, but his ear and instinct made him write the unforgettable alliterating line in Sonnet 30: “And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste.”)

The pernicious habit of writing wh, sometimes for no obvious reason, resulted in the creation of several unetymological spellings. Whore, from Old English hore (a common Germanic noun), is akin to Latin carus “dear” (Italian caro, etc.). The Old English for whole was hal (with a long vowel). According to the OED, the spelling with wh-, corresponding to a widespread dialectal pronunciation with w, appeared in the sixteenth century. But why should this dialectal pronunciation have prevailed to such an extent that the spelling of an old and very common word was affected? Home also has a dialectal variant whoam, but, luckily, we still stay at home, rather than at whome. Equally puzzling is whelk (from weolc); here the influence of welk “pimple” has been pressed into service. Whig traces, though in a circuitous way, to a verb meaning “to drive”. Its wh- has no justification in history. Naturally, whim was bound to cause trouble, the more so as its earliest attested meaning is “pun”; no record of whim predates the seventeenth century. Then there is whiffler “an attendant armed with a weapon to keep the way clear for a procession,” from wifle “javelin” (Od Engl. wifel).

The consonant group hw- must always have made people think of blowing and light sweeping motions. Whistle, whisper, and whisk are rather obvious sound-imitating words (which does not mean that whisky ~ whiskey, from Gaelic, should have wh-; whisker, however, is derived for whisk, and its original sense was “brush”). Whir and whirl seem to belong with other onomatopoeic formations. Whew, an exclamation of astonishment, is an onomatopoeia pure and simple. Wheedle is late and has an obscure history.

Inglewhite, Lancashire.  (Cowfield. Grazing south of Langley Lane. Photo by Chris Shaw. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Inglewhite, Lancashire. (Cowfield. Grazing south of Langley Lane. Photo by Chris Shaw. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

By way of conclusion, I may mention several thw- words in which thw- once alternated with hw-. Today we remember only the verb thwart, but the adjective thwart “obstinate, perverse” also existed, and over-hwart has been attested. Another archaic word thwite “to cut” is a cognate of whittle. Thwack and whack used to alternate, and thwack is a synonym of dialectal thack. Apparently, thw- too had a sound-imitative value. In the place name Inglewhite (Lancashire), the second element was thwaite “meadow.” The last name Applewhite goes back to the place name Applethwaite in Cumberland. The change of thwaite to white is a product of folk etymology.

All this is very interesting, except that wh- is often an unnecessary embellishment. For the benefit of those who like learned words I may say that this group is sometimes otiose.

Anatoly Liberman is the author of Word Origins And How We Know Them as well as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. His column on word origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears on the OUPblog each Wednesday. Send your etymology question to him care of; he’ll do his best to avoid responding with “origin unknown.” Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology articles via email or RSS.

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The post Which witch? appeared first on OUPblog.

23 Jul 03:42

ISIS Forces Mannequins To Don the Niqab

by Josh Marshall
Russian Sledges

via overbey

Who says extremist religious sects can't adopt to modernity?

It's actually not technically a niqab (which covers the whole face) because the theological reasoning is different. But, according to the Associated Press, the ISIS rulers of northern Iraqi city of Mosul have ordered shop owners in the city to cover the faces of the mannequins in their showrooms.

Rather than meant to protect female modesty the coverings are apparently an effort to enforce strict interpretations of Sharia law that forbid statues or other representations of the human form.

Read More →
19 Jul 07:00 Is Selling the One Ring as the Lord's Prayer Ring

by John Farrier

Until recently, this listing described this ring as being inscribed with the Lord's Prayer in Arabic. It is not not Arabic, but Elvish. It may have be an Elvish translation of the words from the Gospel of Matthew for all I know. Alas, I must confess my ingorance of that language.

But the customer reviews indicate that it is most likely the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings:

-via Fashionably Geek

18 Jul 01:53

25 Questions for Teaching with "Word Crimes"

by Ben Zimmer
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

The following is a guest post by Lauren Squires.

While "grammar nerds" are psyched about Weird Al's new "Word Crimes" video, many linguists are shaking their heads and feeling a little hopeless about what the public enthusiasm about it represents: a society where largely trivial, largely arbitrary standards of linguistic correctness are heavily privileged, and people feel justified in degrading and attacking those who don't do things the "correct" way. What's behind linguists' reactions are at least three factors.

First, while Weird Al talks about "grammar," most of his prescriptions do not pertain to what linguists consider the "grammar" of English, and this reflects a widespread divide between the use of the term "grammar" in everyday language and "grammar" by linguists. This divide frustrates linguists, because it makes them feel like everyone misunderstands the very substance and nature of their field of study.

Second, a little rumination on Weird Al's violent reactions against "bad grammar" raises deep and longstanding questions of social equity regarding class, education, race, age, ethnicity, gender, and how these relate to languages, dialects, and social registers. There is ample research on these issues (which any sociolinguist could point you to), but the upshot is that the notion of "Proper English" typically serves to prop up the already-privileged speakers whose native language variety it is (sort of) based on. This puts speakers whose native language variety does not approximate "Proper English" at an immediate disadvantage in society, the same way that privileging Whiteness puts those who are not White at an immediate disadvantage in society. It is not the linguistic differences themselves that do this (just as it is not the racial/ethnic difference themselves that determine privilege), but the *attitudes* about them. This is why many linguists are having a hard time laughing with Word Crimes: to do so feels like complicity in an ongoing project of linguistic discrimination that intersects with class, race, and other kinds of discrimination.

Third—and the motivation for this post—is that the view of "grammar" as "you must learn the rules or else be ostracized" just makes grammar no fun at all! Studying language—really digging into it, uncovering its remarkably complex yet orderly structure, investigating what makes it different across speakers and communities—is SUPER FUN! Giving people a list of rules of things to do in order to not be criticized is NOT FUN! I want my students to think language is FUN, and to have FUN thinking about language!

So as a teacher, I want to say: Weird Al can think what he wants about language, and you the audience can laugh along or not, depending on your views on language or taste in music or whatever. But please do not mistake the video itself for an educational video. It will not teach students about language. It will not teach students about grammar. I've seen many comparisons to Schoolhouse Rock, but would any student who didn't already know what a "preposition" was leave Weird Al's video understanding it? No. Rather, on its face, this video teaches people that there is a right way to speak/write, and if you don't do things that way, you're a bad person (or a sewer person? or a person with a disability?) who should not breed. Nothing about how language works, or why these "rules" are what they are.

There are certainly valuable linguistic lessons that can be taken from Word Crimes, but not without a teacher encouraging students to think beyond the video itself, to ask questions about the rules Weird Al wants us to abide by. In this spirit, I worked up an off-the-top-of-my-head list of questions for teachers considering using this video in the classroom. I teach college English linguistics classes, so that's the audience I'm familiar with, but I think these questions could be useful for teachers at any level to think through for themselves and maybe modify for earlier grades, different subjects, etc. Some are questions about language/grammar, while some are discussion questions to spark class conversation about some really important issues. Whether you like these questions or not, I hope that if you do use this video in teaching, you work up your own list of questions, rather than letting the video stand on its own. Have fun!

25 Questions for Teaching with "Word Crimes"

  1. What is the difference between "spelling" and "grammar"?
  2. What is the role of words in grammar?
  3. What is the function of dictionaries in society?
  4. Who makes dictionaries? Why? How do dictionary makers decide what a word means?
  5. What is the difference between "language," "English," and "literacy"? How does "literacy" relate to spelling and/or grammar?
  6. Weird Al points out that nouns can be divided into mass nouns (which are typically modified with "less") and count nouns (which are typically modified with "fewer"). Can you think of other sub-categories of nouns (that is, nouns that behave in different ways from other nouns)?
  7. When someone says "I could care less," do you interpret it as Weird Al says (that they DO care), or do you understand their intention? If you understand their intention, why would it matter which way they say it? Can you think of other examples when what someone says may be ambiguous, but their meaning is clear from context?
  8. Who decides what is "the right way" to say things?
  9. Why do you/we trust some people, but not others, to decide what is "right"?
  10. Weird Al discusses the difference between "it's" and "its." He says people need to use "the right pronoun" in deciding when to use one or the other. Are "it's" and "its" actually different pronouns, or the same pronouns with different functions? (not as easy as it may seem!)
  11. What is the difference between a "possessive" and a "contraction"? Give more examples of each.
  12. What is a "participle," and what would it mean for a participle to be "dangling"? Why do writers sometimes want to avoid "dangling participles"?
  13. What is an "Oxford comma"? Some professional editors use the Oxford comma, and others do not. Come up with an argument to support each rule.
  14. Weird Al claims that "B" "C" "R" and "U" are "words not letters." Do you agree? Can you make an argument that these ARE, indeed, words?
  15. Weird Al says you should NEVER write words using numbers (like "WORD5"). But people DO write words using numbers, sometimes (otherwise Weird Al wouldn't need to tell them not to!). When do you think people might choose to spell words this way? Are there times when it might be appropriate to do so? Are there times when it would be completely inappropriate to do so? Does the spelling affect how the words convey their meaning?
  16. Weird Al says it's ok to write words using numbers if you're 7 years old (or if your name is Prince…you probably don't get that joke). What do you think is behind his acceptance of spelling this way for children? Do you think 7-year-olds spell this way?
  17. Weird Al mentions "Proper English." What do you think he means by this term? What does this term mean to you? How do you think you learned the meaning of "Proper English"? Do you think you speak "Proper English" all the time? When do you or don't you?
  18. Do you use the word "whom"? (advanced: Do a search using an online corpus for "to who" versus "to whom" and see what you find. Is "to whom" in as widespread usage? If not, should we be worried? Why or why not?)
  19. Weird Al makes sentence diagrams! Try to diagram this simple sentence using Weird Al's system (which are Reed-Kellogg diagrams): "Weird Al hates bad grammar." What do you think the purpose of sentence diagramming is?
  20. What IS the difference between "good" and "well"? Would you say "I'm doing good" or "I'm doing well"? Why?
  21. Weird Al doesn't like people "misusing" the terms "literally" and "irony." Can you think of words that you and your friends use to mean something different than what other people might mean by them?
  22. Weird Al singles out emails and blog posts as places where particular bad grammar resides. What do you think is behind this? Do you think YOUR emails, blog posts, or Facebook posts contain different grammar than your school papers, texts, or spoken conversations?
  23. What do you think the function of emoji are is in online communication? Do you or your friends use them? Where do they usually go in a message (beginning, middle, end)? How does their position relate to their function?
  24. Weird Al seems to think that preschool is where proper grammar education begins. Do you remember learning about grammar in preschool? What are your first memories of learning about grammar? Do you feel satisfied with the amount of formal grammar instruction you have had in school? Why or why not?
  25. Weird Al says some pretty mean things about people who don't use "proper English." Where do you think his negative attitudes about such people come from? Do you think he's justified in his beliefs? Why or why not?

The above is a guest post by Lauren Squires.

22 Jul 14:00

1958. Toshirô Mifune.

Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide


Toshirô Mifune.

21 Jul 21:56

Caid. Yuhei Yamamoto.

Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide


Yuhei Yamamoto.

21 Jul 18:12

Ingesting pure caffeine powder maybe not as great an idea as it seems, says FDA

by Xeni Jardin
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide


The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to consumers that ingesting pure powdered caffeine sold in bulk online is not a great idea. Read the rest

21 Jul 11:49

Long after shipping accident, Lego never stops washing up on a beach in England

by Rob Beschizza
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

In storms 17 years ago, the Tokio Express listed so far it lost 62 shipping containers. One of them contained 4.8m pieces of Lego, and they're still washing up in Cornwall, "offering an insight into the mysterious world of oceans and tides"
11 Jul 19:22

Tipping Stereotypes

by Andrew Sullivan

A reader proves exceptional to the rule on lesbian tippers:

I’m sure this will resonate with any member of a group perceived as being bad tippers, but my partner and I – and most of our lesbian friends – strenuously overtip. (All current or former attorneys, and most former servers.) It’s not just to make up for the cheapness of our cohort, but SF is an expensive town in which to eke a living serving drinks.

(BTW, any mention of San Francisco’s Lexington? All lesbian, all of the time.)

Another veers from the thread:

I promise you that lousy tipping isn’t a lesbian thing; it’s a woman thing.

I waited tables for several years in a half-dozen restaurants (none catering to a gay clientele). If four guys walked in for lunch, at least two would fight for the check and the “winner” would tip 15-25%, guaranteed. With four women, it’s separate checks and you’d get stiffed by at least two of them, also guaranteed.

(By the way, keep up the great work, Team Dish … my $4.20/month is the best bargain in my life.)

Another reader:

I had to laugh when reading this thread. I waited tables for a good chunk of my twenties and ran across two stereotypes: one about women and the other about African-Americans. I was told by a black fellow waiter that “black folks don’t tip.” On that one I discovered that in general, they just expected more for their money. If I had a table of African-Americans and I took good care of them, I would be tipped very well. In fact my best, most insanely generous tips came from them.

I can’t say the same about white women. All of my waiting horror stories had to do with them. Horrible tippers, generally a pain to deal with. The exception there was if the woman had waited tables, but otherwise I would go way out of my way to avoid a table of women. (And for the record, I’m a white woman.)

Update from a reader:

As opposed as I am to stereotyping in general, I can’t disagree with your other readers on white women. I waited tables at various – mostly upscale – restaurants in three states during the bulk of my twenties. The worst experience I ever had was a table of ten white women at a fancy restaurant in Richmond, maybe ten or twelve years ago.

They hit all the marks – separate checks, high-maintenance, etc. But the worst was that they wouldn’t leave. We closed at 10pm, and after working my usual double-shift I was very ready to get off my feet. I was one of the first people cut, but obviously I can’t leave while a table is still sitting. If they had already paid, I perhaps could have bribed the closing busser to wrap things up but I’m not leaving when my biggest table of the night hasn’t closed their check out. After finishing my sidework – and helping several others with theirs – I eventually took to leaning on the wall next to the kitchen entrance, about ten feet from the table, maintaining a thin veneer of patience while they chatted away. As it closed in on midnight, they finally decided to leave brusquely after expressing visible irritation with the time it took me to run ten different checks.

I think I walked away with five percent. Complete waste of a shift. People who have never had that sort of experience just. don’t. get it.


For a couple of years in the ’90s, when I was in high school and college, I delivered pizzas for a regional chain in the South. For the first year, I worked for the store in the “nice” section of town, where most of the clientele were middle- and upper-middle-class. The tip money was ok, I guess. I was 17 years old at the time, and had no experience by which to judge. The following year, I was transferred to the store on the other side of town, which was solidly working-class. Being young and prejudiced and coming from a middle-class family myself, I was disappointed and expected to see a big decline in my tip income.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The working-class folks were much more generous tippers than the middle class and well-off pizza buyers I had become used to. My nightly income increased by around 50% or more. Not only that, but they tended to be more welcoming than the wealthier clientele. On the nice part of town, people would greet you on their doorstep, quickly make the transaction, and then return indoors, locking the door behind them. The working-class people would often be waiting for you on the porch, relaxing and drinking a beer. The experience reversed my class prejudices and has stuck with me for all of my adult life.

And another:

What’s the difference between a Canadian and a canoe?
Canoes tip.

A Canadian

One more:

I am a white woman and am attending a professional conference in a major North American city. I should be in bed right now because of the 8 AM annual business meeting (yes, on a Saturday!) but just read all the posts criticizing my gender and race for tipping. I just came back from dinner with two women friends. Let me tell you how it went:

1. We did ask for separate checks. Do you know why? Because it is a fucking business dinner, and we all work for different employers, and this is going on our individual expense accounts so we need it to be on our individual credit cards.

2. Each of us on our individual checks tipped 20%. Do you know why? LIKE THE WAITERS, WE WORK FOR A LIVING.

Your commenter who mentioned “high maintenance” non-tippers has a point. Years ago, I was an employee of an upscale store. I worked for commission, not tips, so I tried to provide the best customer service I could so they’d buy more. That being said, I could always predict how a customer was going to treat me by just taking a few moments to observe her. If it was a Birkin bag and it was 2:00 in the afternoon, she was probably going to be horrible. If it was a Hugo Boss suit at 7:00 in the evening, she was probably going to be lovely.

Maybe these waiters could use 30 seconds of observation to try to do the same. If you’re pouring wine and they’re comparing yoga studios and one-upping each other on how great their Hampton rental is, you might prepare to get stiffed. If you’re pouring wine and they’re comparing budget processes and one-upping each other on how awful their management committee is, you might prepare not to get stiffed. As noted above, we ALSO work for a living and we ALSO have clients and customers and we know that excellent service is (pun intended) table stakes. Our customers expect it from us, and we expect it from waitstaff. And when we get it, we recognize it.

And when waitstaff treats us like crap?

We still tip 20%. Because, again, we also work for a living. And frankly, the awful service might not be the waiter’s fault, but the kitchen’s (although that is rare and you can usually tell). However, be it your fault or the sous chef’s, we will tell everyone we know in real life (and everyone we don’t know on OpenTable) that the restaurant has awful service and to definitely go someplace else. As businesswomen we understand that revenue is something, but reputation is EVERYTHING. So congratulations – you have our tip; you just lose the future ones from the customers we are now ensuring you don’t get. And businesswomen can provide or negate a heck of a lot more restaurant business than people think. Trust me.

20 Jul 11:31

Letter to a Young Bartender, from Jackson Cannon

by russiansledges
Pick your destination. Think carefully about what you really want. Look at your shoes. Your first step: Get new shoes.
18 Jul 17:33

Hey Now, Hey Now Now: Brighton Music Hall announces new monthly goth night Corrosion

by Michael Marotta

Brighton Music Hall is getting its goth on. The Allston live music venue has announced a new goth and industrial night called Corrosion, and it launches Saturday, September 6. After the opening night, the dance party will repeat on the first Saturday of the month starting in November. The first Saturday in November just so […]

The post Hey Now, Hey Now Now: Brighton Music Hall announces new monthly goth night Corrosion appeared first on Vanyaland.

19 Jul 16:34

Amanda Cohen on Why Tipping Is a Devil's Bargain - Dispatches from Dirt Candy - Eater National

by russiansledges
There's nothing wrong with someone leaving a little extra something to show gratitude. There is something wrong with that gratitude making up a majority of a server's salary.
17 Jul 18:04

I Was Hidden on This Guy’s Hard Drive for Over 6 Years

by djempirical
Russian Sledges

via firehose

years of my commute through harvard yard are thoroughly documented on the hard drives of asia


It’s been estimated that as many as 880 billion photos will be taken by the close of this year. I’m not quite sure how that statistic could ever be properly calculated, but I think it’s safe to say that with the rise of the digital medium, human beings are taking a s**tload more pictures than ever before.

With all those photos being taken, chances are you and I have at one point accidentally wandered into someone else’s frame. It’s likely, however, that you’ll never really know you’ve photo-bombed someones shot. That’s why I was surprised by a Twitter message that I received out of the blue from a photographer I’ve never met.

Here’s what I received from photographer Anthony Kurtz:


Varanasi, India is an epicenter for pilgrimages for people of many walks of life. Locals from all over the subcontinent make religious journeys to the ancient city; monks of a variety of religious beliefs seek refuge in the many temples along the Ganges River; and not to mention: photographers, travelers and tourists flock to the region to seek inspiration in what I consider one of the most photogenic places on Earth.

Looking at the photo from the tiny Twitter preview, it seemed like it could be me but how could I be certain? I’m not quite sure how Anthony recognized me, as we are only are aware of each other via social media. I asked him to send me the high-resolution version of the photo, and asked if he had any others taken in the batch. He then sent the following:


Here’s a closer view:


Here’s a closer view of several of Kurtz’s exposures:

Varanasi_India_Montage copy

After zooming in to the photo I discovered that without question it was me. Looking at Anthony’s image EXIF data, I saw the image was taken on October 18th, 2007. I am 24 years old now, so I was 17 in the photo. I also noticed in one of the photographs, it appears I am taking a photo of something. So, I looked through my own images captured that day, and found the exact exposure I had taken within seconds of his:

Here I am squatting and taking a photograph of two women overlooking the Ganges River:


Here’s the actual photograph I was taking at the same time Anthony’s exposure was made:


And the big kicker: in the background of my picture there are the boats of people photographing from the river. Which one is Anthony?

When something like this happens, it’s hard not to evoke the tired cliché that the world is an incredibly small place. The world is shrinking even further with our growing level of interconnectedness on the Internet and social media, and this occurrence is an example of that.

I’m sure people have always been on paths that quietly and unknowingly intersect. Now, with people sharing their passions and experiences more than ever, we can be sure that we’ll meet yet again — or sometime in the future — whether we know it or not.

About the author: Joey L. is a Canadian commercial photographer, director and published author based in Brooklyn, New York. See more of him through his blog, portfolio and video tutorials. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article originally appeared here.

About Anthony Kurtz: Anthony Kurtz is a German-American commercial and fine-art photographer based in Berlin, Germany. You can find his work on his website or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

Original Source

18 Jul 14:31

When food has an offensive name

by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

didn't sanford berman launch a campaign re: the lcsh heading "kaffirs" in, like, the 70s?

The "kaffir" in "Kaffir lime" is actually a racial slur. At National Geographic, Maryn McKenna struggles with how to deal with foods that have offensive names.

Read the rest
19 Jul 09:00

Calligraffiti in 3-D by Tolga Girgin

by Lisa Marcus

Tolga Girgin works as an electrical engineer at a company in his home town of Eskişehir, Turkey. But Girgin also has a way with "calligraffiti," an art form that blends traditional calligraphy with graffiti art, pioneered and named by Dutch artist Niels Shoe Meulman. 

On Instagram and Behance, Girgin presents numerous examples of the work pictured here. Fairly conventional calligraphy lettering seems to leap off the page in quite a modern way. Visit Girgin's Behance and Instragram sites to see more or request a commissioned piece. Via Colossal.

Images Credit: Tolga Girgin


18 Jul 13:17

The death of diversity

by R.G. & S.A.
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

Job security on Capitol Hill
GIVEN that members of the US House of Representatives must face voters every two years, you'd expect them to have a lot less job security than European monarchs. In fact, it is the other way around. One reason for the shocking lack of turnover of congressmen is gerrymandering: when they get the chance, both parties redraw electoral maps to favour themselves. But there is more to it than this. Conservatives and liberals have been gradually segregating themselves, with the former moving to spacious suburbs with lively churches and the latter crowding into cities where they can walk to the shops to buy tofu. Since 1998, the number of solidly Republican or Democratic districts has steadily risen while the number of swing districts has roughly halved. Split districts—where voters back one party for Congress and the other for the White House—have all but disappeared. In 1996 there were 110, a quarter of the total. By 2012 there were only 26. Read the full article Continue reading

02 Jul 19:19

Gender Reveal Confetti Push Pop -

by russiansledges
Russian Sledges

I am going to destroy pretty much everything

Handmade in USA
18 Jul 13:56


by villeashell
Russian Sledges

via otters ("hi ThOR, I was in a thing (as Chinese Tramp Stamp Douche)")

18 Jul 19:20

Cool Sherlock-Inspired Dresses Promise to Burn the Heart Out of Us

by Stubby the Rocket

Sherlock fashion Gold Bubble dresses leggings deduction bored smiley face 221b baker street

If you think sporting a deerstalker is amateur hour for Sherlock Holmes-inspired fashion, then you should check out the new line of leggings and dresses from Gold Bubble, inspired by the BBC’s Sherlock. We’re chuffed to see that the designers got rather creative, pulling specific elements, quotes, and imagery unique to Steven Moffat’s series. (Not Elementary, sorry. Maybe they’ll tackle that later?)

We love the “Deduction” dress over on the right here (it also comes as leggings and a poncho). Click the photo to enlarge.

[Check out more of the dresses]

Read the full article

18 Jul 14:41

oldbookillustrations: Yet Hallblithe speaketh with the...

Russian Sledges

via firehose

kelmscott autoreshare


Yet Hallblithe speaketh with the king.

Walter Crane, from The Story of the Glittering Plain, by William Morris, Hammersmith, Kelmscott Press, 1894.


17 Jul 18:30

Heavy Metal Drinking Games

by MetalSucks
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

Bury Your Dead: Drink any time there’s a breakdown.
Deicide: Drink any time they use either the word “Satan” or the word “god.”
Cannibal Corpse: Drink any time they use the word “blood.”
Cannabis Corpse: Drink any time there’s a reference to weed, toke after every drink.
Hatebreed: Drink any time the lyrics are about overcoming hardship.
Pathology: Drink any time you can’t understand the lyrics.
System of a Down: Drink any time you can understand the lyrics, but still have no idea what the song is actually about.
Brujeria: Drink any time the lyrics aren’t in English.
Kvelertak: Drink any time the lyrics aren’t in English.
Emmure: Drink any time the lyrics aren’t in English.
S.O.D.: Drink any time Billy Milano is pissed about lyrics that aren’t in English.
Slayer: Drink any time a guitar solo completely lacks structure.
Jesu: Drink any time Justin Broadrick sounds sad.
Alice in Chains: Drink any time Layne Staley YARLS (can also be played with Tantric, Creed, Stone Temple Pilots, etc.)
Living Colour: Drink any time you hear an instrument being played by an African-American.
Rob Zombie: Drink any time he screams “Yeah!”
Steel Panther: Drink any time there is a reference to sex and/or drugs.
Gojira: Drink any time you hear a Morbid Angel riff.
Anything Involving Zakk Wylde: Drink any time you hear a guitar squeal.
Origin: Drink any time you hear sweep picking.
Fear Factory: Drink any time it’s entirely possible you’re listening to “Replica.”
Marilyn Manson: Drink any time he uses a pun.
The Sword: Drink any time it sounds like Black Sabbath.
Slipknot: Drink any time you can’t tell whether or not the percussionists who aren’t Joey Jordison are actually playing or not.
Sleep: Drink any time you’re not sure whether or not the song has begun yet.
Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain”: Drink any time you hear this drum fill.
Faith No More: Drink any time you can’t tell if they lyrics are meant to be serious or not.
Arsis: Drink any time you can’t accurately name the line-up that recorded the song to which you are currently listening.
Graf Orlock: Drink every time there’s a sample from a movie or lyrics referencing/quoting a movie.
Portal: Drink any time it sounds like you’re listening to a scratched record or CD that is stuck on one particular part of a song.
Body Count: Drink any time Ice-T says the name of the song to which you are currently listening.
Bon Jovi: You’ve already had enough to drink, go sleep it off.
Malevolent Creation: Doesn’t matter what rules you play by, so long as your drink prominently features chocolate milk as one of its ingredients.
Metallica: Drink any time you hear a wah pedal.
Megadeth: Drink any time Dave Mustaine still isn’t in Metallica.
Anthrax Live: Drink any time Frank Bello looks out at the crowd and opens his mouth real wide.
Mötley Crüe Live: Drink every time Vince Neil gets winded and/or mumbles only a portion of the lyrics.
MetalSucks: Drink any time you see a tyop.

Do not read this if your name is Matt Pike.

The post Heavy Metal Drinking Games appeared first on MetalSucks.

17 Jul 18:00

Quiz: Do You Like Your Job?

by Katherine Perry
Russian Sledges

did nobody tell me that katie perry (the real one) writes for the toast now? or did I just forget?

Katherine Perry’s last self-help quiz for The Toast can be found here.


Do you like your job?

  1. It’s fine
  2. Not really.
  3. No.
  4. Yesssss!

Do you dig your occupation?

  1. It’s fine.
  2. Not really.
  3. No.
  4. Yesssssss!

Do you fancy your position?

  1. No.
  2. No.
  3. Shut up.
  4. Shut up.

Do you take a shine to your métier?

  1. Eh.
  2. Meh.
  3. Mmmmmrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh.
  4. !!!!

Do you groove on the task to which you are appointed?

  1. I neither enjoy nor disenjoy it.
  2. Nay.
  3. I pray thee, understand the negatron that issues from my lips!
  4. Aye, ‘tis as sweet as a kiss from a babe.

Do you cherish your line of work?

  1. Faintly.
  2. Nope.
  3. Ix-nay.
  4. Indeed!

Do you relish your vocation?

  1. Moderately.
  2. Thumbs down.
  3. Two thumbs down.
  4. Thumbs up!

Do you hanker to put your nose to the grindstone?

  1. Eh.
  2. Meh.
  3. Mmmmmrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh.
  4. !!!!

Do you have scoliosis?

  1. Not sure.
  2. Maybe.
  3. Possibly.
  4. Not sure?

Restless legs?

  1. Not sure.
  2. Like, the syndrome?
  3. Maybe?
  4. I sure do, ‘cause I gotta DANCE to celebrate my awesome J-O-B!!!!



Mostly A’s: You are probably indifferent to your job.

Mostly B’s: You probably complain about needing a haircut for weeks before actually getting one. Also, get a new job.

Mostly C’s: You hate your job.

Mostly D’s: Your job SUX, drone! Just kidding. You like your job!

Read more Quiz: Do You Like Your Job? at The Toast.

16 Jul 11:00

How to sew Myrtle in a woven fabric

by Sarai
Russian Sledges

gonna do this


If there’s one thing I like best about Myrtle, it’s that it is one of those rare patterns that can be sewn in either knit or a woven fabric.

The reason for this is the ease and drapey fit. Myrtle is designed so that shaping comes from the comfortable and stretchy elastic waistband, rather than the tight fit of the fabric.

While the pattern instructions that come with Myrtle are for knit fabric, switching to a woven is super easy. In this post, I’ll summarize the few changes you’ll need to make if you’re using a woven fabric.

And to make things super clear, you can download a free complete extra set of instructions for woven fabrics. This walks you through every step in the process, but assumes you’re using a woven fabric rather than knit.

(If you buy the digital version of Myrtle, you’ll get this automatically with your download as a bonus.)

Woven fabrics you can use

Myrtle works well in fabrics that have a bit of drape to them. You want the neckline in particular to hang well, rather than stand away from your body too much.

You have a wide array of fabrics to choose from. Here are a few that I think would be particularly lovely:

  • rayon challis
  • silk or rayon crepe
  • lightweight linen
  • light chambray
  • seersucker
  • wool crepe
  • cotton lawn (choose one that’s not too stiff)

For this sample, I used a vintage silk crepe. For the blue and white sample we showed yesterday, we used a light silk twill.

If you have a dressform, try draping some fabric on the form to see how it hangs. It’s very easy to replicate the look of the cowl with some quick draping, and you’ll instantly have a good idea of what the dress will look like.

Extra supplies you’ll need

There are just a few extra things we’d recommend for making Myrtle in a woven fabric:

  • 1 yard of 1/4 inch double fold bias tape. This is for finishing the back armholes and back neckline. While these curves can just be turned and hemmed in a knit fabric, wovens are not as flexible and should be finished with bias tape as a facing instead.
  • Universal needles. You don’t need a ballpoint needle if you aren’t sewing knits, so grab a universal needle. Be sure to match the needle size to your fabric.
  • Fusible interfacing. This is just for interfacing the shoulder tabs if you are making them, so a small scrap will do.

Stitching and finishing


The most obvious way this pattern is different in a woven is that you don’t need to use a stretch stitch. You can do all the seaming and topstitching with a straight stitch.

Since you won’t be sewing this with a serger in a woven, you will need to finish all of the raw edges after sewing each seam. And of course, you’ll need to press them as well. Stitch, finish, press, just like you do with most woven garments.

Here, I stitched with a straight stitch, then finished the edge with a serger.

Finishing the back openings

For knit fabrics, the back armhole and back neck are finished by simply turning and hemming. Unlike wovens, you can hem curves this way with knits if the curve isn’t too severe.

For wovens, you’re better off using bias tape. You can either make your own bias tape from the self fabric, or use pre-made. Since it will be on the inside of your garment, a pre-made bias tape will often be just fine.


When the pattern instructs you to finish these areas, begin by pinning the bias tape along the edge, right sides together with edges aligned.


Stitch along the first fold line.


Fold the bias tape to the inside of the garment, folding the bias tape in half to enclose the raw edges.


Edgestitch the bias tape in place. Notice that the folded bias tape is acting as a facing, not a binding. It’s turned all the way to the inside rather than wrapping around the edge.

Use this same technique on both the back neckline and back armholes.

Another cool thing about this pattern is the way the front bodice is self lined, so you don’t have to bind anything in a complete circle. This makes binding much, much faster and less fiddly.

Shoulder tabs


If you’re making the shoulder tabs for this dress, we recommend using a bit of fusible interfacing to give them more stability.


After you sew the tabs with right sides together, clip the corners. Turn right side out, press, and edgestitch around all the edges to help the tabs stay flat.


There’s no need to use the twin needle technique or a coverstitch to hem a woven fabric.


Instead, you can sew a simple turned hem by turning 1/4 inch and pressing, then turning again 3/8″, pressing, and edgestitching in place.

Better yet, sew a blind hem. A blind hem will give you a very neat finish. It’s my personal fave.

Click here to download the complete instructions

16 Jul 15:04

Drink's John Gertsen Heads West - Boston Restaurant News and Events @

by russiansledges
Russian Sledges

quietly losing my shit over here

After a wildly successful five years running Drink, Barbara Lynch's award-winning cocktail destination, John Gertsen, cocktail visionary and opening GM, is moving up and out…to the West Coast. A 15 year veteran of the Boston restaurant community, Gertsen will be taking on the role of Spirits & Hospitality Ambassador for the entire BL Gruppo and relocating to San Francisco, where he’ll oversee the cocktail programs at Gruppo properties from afar. He’ll fly back into town to preside over Toques & Tonic, the Barbara Lynch Foundation’s annual fundraiser and he’ll also be exploring “other opportunities” which certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility of additional bar concepts down the road. Manager Ezra Star, who joined the Drink team as a barback back in the day, will be taking over as General Manager, which means she’ll be responsible for all aspects of the spirits and cocktail program, including product sourcing, education and team development. You’ll likely still catch Gertsen at Drink if you pop in before the end of August. Head for Fort Point to see what the wait is like or, get a group together and reserve yourself a table abound the butcher block.
17 Jul 13:22

Portland Museum of Art hires New Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Interpretation

by russiansledges
PORTLAND, ME.- The Portland Museum of Art announced that Jennifer DePrizio has been hired as the Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Interpretation. She will be responsible for the development and implementation of the museum’s interpretative experiences and educational materials for a diverse group of audiences. DePrizio will start on Monday, September 8, 2014.
17 Jul 12:30


17 Jul 00:54

Google Is Designing The Font Of The Future

Russian Sledges

via overbey ("I am sure that being Google, all their æsthetic decisions about particular details of the font will be driven entirely by whether or not they stimulate more clicks on ads in A/B testing.")

“Typography is kind of the skeleton. It’s the unsung hero,” Matias Duarte, Google’s vice president of design, said in an interview this week. "We’re trying to give people one logical, consistent system.”