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24 Apr 15:30

How Sloths Breathe Upside-down

by Miss Cellania

Sloths spend a lot of time hanging from tree branches, often upside-down. In other animals, this would cause the liver and intestines to press down on the lungs and make breathing difficult. But sloths have developed their own solution. Rebecca Cliffe from Swansea University studies sloths at Costa Rica’s Sloth Sanctuary, and has done many dissections on dead sloths. She found the internal organs were held in place by a strange fibrous adhesions she at first thought was scar tissue. But all sloths have it, and the natural “adhesive tape” eases their breathing between 7 and 13%.

“For many mammals, an energy saving of 7 to 13 percent wouldn’t be particularly game-changing,” says Cliffe. In fact, some mammals like howler monkeys do regularly hang inverted without any organ-anchors. The difference is that “sloths have virtually no flexibility in their energy budget. They generate just about enough energy from their diet to move when and where required, but there is not much left in the tank afterwards. To a sloth, an energy saving of 7 to 13 percent is quite a big deal.”

They also take a very long time to digest their food, and they only urinate and defecate once a week. Most of the time, a sloth is carrying a third of their body weight in waste matter, which means that its stomach and bowels are very heavy. “It would be energetically very expensive, if not completely impossible, for a sloth to lift this extra weight with each breath were it not for the adhesions,” says Cliffe.

Ed Yong has more about the recently-released study of sloth anatomy, which is different from all other animals because sloths are weird.

(Image credit: Flickr user Cliff)

23 Apr 11:00

Video: How to clean finish a lined armhole

by Sarai

RSS or email subscribers: Can’t see the video? Click through to view it on the web.

Version 1 of the Moneta dress features a bodice that is fully lined.

If you’ve struggled before with lining sleeveless tops or dresses, we have a little trick to show you today to get a perfectly lined, clean-finished armhole, all by machine.

The secret is not sewing the armholes all in one go. You sew the front armhole, then the back armhole separately. The video and photos below show this with the Moneta dress, which is made from a knit fabric and sewn with a serger, but you can also use this trick on a woven garment with your standard sewing machine.

Watch the video above and follow these steps to try it out.


1. With right sides together, start by stitching the shoulder seams and side seams together on both the bodice shell and bodice lining.


2. Turn the shell right side out.

3. Place the lining inside the shell, with wrong sides together.

Note: For Moneta, the neckline is left open because a collar is sewn to it later. If you also want to clean finish the neckline at the same time, you can do that before step 3. Place the shell inside the lining with right sides together. Stitch the lining to the shell around the neckline. Turn the lining inside the shell, with wrong sides together, then continue to step 4.


4. Turn the seam allowance under at the front armhole. Press if you find it necessary. You only really need to turn the seam allowance under on part of the armhole.


5. Reach between the lining and shell layers and grasp the two seam allowances of the front armhole. Pull them out through the waist.


6. With right sides together, stitch the shell to the lining along the front armhole. Stitch from the side seam to the shoulder only, don’t try to sew the entire armhole.


The armhole is now finished along the front. Let’s move on to the back.


7. Just as before, reach between the lining and shell layers and grasp the two seam allowances of the back armhole. Pull them out through the waist again.


8. With right sides together, stitch the shell to the lining along the back armhole. Stitch from the side seam to the shoulder only, meeting the stitching of the front armhole.


9. Complete the second armhole in exactly the same way, and you are done!


23 Apr 18:24


Russian Sledges

via rosalind

22 Apr 13:58

Mutual Aid and The Crowd

by bl00
Russian Sledges

via willowbl00

Months ago, one of my friends at the Naval Defense University sent me an article from Scientific American on how social media is making crowds less predictable. It hit a nerve with me, my response being that “social media makes crowds more predictable to themselves.” The article talks about uprisings in various countries, popular choice, and collective action. It also cites this argument, shoehorning collective action into hierarchical framework, indicative of its missing the point.

Matthew Salganik, Peter Dodds, and Duncan Watts conducted large-scale experiments to investigate the effect of the strength of social influence on collective action. People were given a list of previously unknown songs from unknown bands. They listened to the songs and downloaded them if they wanted to. In the independent condition, people did not see other people’s choices. In the social influence condition, people saw how many times each song had been downloaded by others. The collective outcome in the social influence condition was more unequal. That is, popular choices were much more popular under social influence.

Crowds are only less predictable to the outside. They are becoming more predictable to themselves. Not talking about ranking, not talking about decision, simply speaking to awareness and therefore paths to action. This, to me, is related to the core disconnection in disaster response between official response’s view on social media/The Crowd as a resource to be tapped for situational awareness, and the mutual aid of The Crowd as self-organization. Formal organizations tend to think of The Crowd as an input function to their workflows. Their concerns therefore revolve around verifiability, bad actors, and predictability. A manifestation of this are the self-mapped roads in remote places via Open Street Map being grumbled over for not fitting into the data hierarchies of official responders. That is not the point of the maps being built.

These are identity politics on the scale of a community. These are people using a tool to their own ends, to support themselves, to gain better understanding of their world, not as a resource to be tapped. It is a group of people talking to itself. If institutions exist to serve collective purpose, their role here is to provide institutional knowledge (with awareness and self-reflection of bias), guiding frameworks (possibly), and response at scale (upon request). In this way, we can benefit from history and iterative learnings while escaping paternalistic ends.

Which brings us to responsible data practices. If data must be collected on a group of people, either ambiently  through things like the Firehose or directly provided, the output should be useful to those people. This is the difference that makes ethical digital response seeking the integration of multiple datasets to have better situational awareness, and what the NSA does. For instance, if you’re collecting information on homeless shelters and the movements of homeless individuals, the information should be able to be used by those folk to self-organize. Else we’re just recreating the systems we’ve been trying to get away from. We’re even making them more robust with new technologies, the biases hidden away in algorithms.

As a crowd comes to know itself better, the intelligence can becomes an embedded, rather than external, component. We start to see many eyes on the bugs of society.

23 Apr 14:52

Newswire: The National cancels Russian tour dates over Ukraine unrest

by Mike Vago
Russian Sledges

via firehose

For 50 years, the United States was embroiled in the Cold War, a national effort to hold the powerful Soviet Union in check without actually entering into armed conflict. Now, with tensions once again rising in the east, we find ourselves in a second Cold War, a National effort to hold the powerful Russia in check. And whether there will be armed conflict between the Brooklyn band and Vladimir Putin’s increasingly imperialistic government remains to be seen.

The National has canceled tour dates in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev in response to Russia’s apparent attempts to annex Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. “We remain hopeful of coming to play for you in the future and we sincerely hope this current instability resolves in a positive, democratic and peaceful way,” announced the band. Let’s hope Putin liked Boxer enough to refrain from retaliation.

23 Apr 15:05


Russian Sledges

via firehose

22 Apr 17:24

Beautiful Bryophytes: A Q&A with Moss Queen Annie Martin

by Christopher Surprenant
Russian Sledges

via saucie

Modern Farmer: What motivated you to start Mountain Moss?

‘Every time I see the bulldozers, my heart aches for all of the plants that got destroyed.’

Annie Martin: I had a two-pronged stimulus. Number one, I wanted to create moss gardens for other people so that they could enjoy the aesthetic aspect, as well as some of the environmental advantages of using mosses in landscapes. My second motivation was that, having lived in western North Carolina, going back generations, these mountains are my home. I’ve watched development occur my entire life. Every time I see the bulldozers, my heart aches for all of the plants that got destroyed. My particular plant of concern is all the varieties of mosses. We have 450 species of bryophytes in western North Carolina. That’s what prompted me to start Mountain Moss as a business.

MF: You describe moss as a viable horticultural choice. If someone has a garden or farm, what are the benefits of introducing moss?

‘There’s no groundwater contamination from any aspect of landscaping with mosses.’

AM: The overall environmental benefit, if you want to generalize about all species, would be that they require no fertilizer, no pesticides and no herbicides, therefore, there’s no groundwater contamination from any aspect of landscaping with mosses.  They’re really off in a category by themselves. With that said, some grow sideways, and some grow upright. Both ways, there are species that are valuable in erosion control. For instance, Polytrichum is an upright species and it goes straight down into most nutrient-poor, atrocious soil you can imagine: red clay and gravel. It can end up holding the soil so that on very steep hillsides, you can address erosion issues without plants that require you to get up there with a weed-eater and maintain them. The other [benefit] is water filtration. We can utilize mosses, for instance, for storm water control, even in urban locations, or in settings where river rock continues to try to help mediate the flow of water. That’s kind of ugly, in my opinion. You can soften it by utilizing mosses that will grow on the rocks themselves.

MF: Can moss only complement what someone is already doing for erosion control and water filtration?

AM: In can actually be the total alternative, in my opinion. In my most recent installation in Georgia, they had a problem with mud and sediment coming from an upper terrace of what was an original cotton plantation, and then it terraced down to a new pond like three or four levels. They were having a big runoff issue at one spot, and, of course, they didn’t want mud in their newly-created trout pond. They were using hay bales and river rock to mediate the situation and get it under control. But, that’s pretty ugly. So, we changed it out with these huge mature colonies of Polytrichum that I’m confident will solve the problem.

MF: Do you have a favorite moss that you like to incorporate into your displays?

‘I will admit that sometimes my favorites change from day to day. I believe that most of the time, Climacium is my favorite.’

AM: I have to smile when you ask that question, because I will admit that sometimes my favorites change from day to day. I believe that most of the time, Climacium is my favorite. It just has this growth pattern. When it starts out, it looks like a little conifer tree with this intense, brilliant green. As it starts to grow up, it can reach heights of maybe an inch and a half, two inches. At its maturity, the top part of the “tree” is maybe as large as a silver dollar. Its color ranges from that initial bright, intense green to some medium green, to some olive green, then into kind of a pretty ugly brown. But, if it’s in the sun, it can be an intense yellow. I mean just a gorgeous yellow.


MF: What’s one of the most important things you want people to know about moss?

AM: Mosses require moisture or humidity to thrive. There are many moss myths. Mosses do grow in the shade, but there are certain species that can tolerate sun — it can be more of a challenge to grow them. My moss mantra is “water and walk on your mosses.” If I gave any guideline at all, to me, that is the key.

All photos are courtesy of Annie Martin. More information on moss and it’s many uses can be found at here at Mountain Moss Enterprises.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

The post Beautiful Bryophytes: A Q&A with Moss Queen Annie Martin appeared first on Modern Farmer.

23 Apr 12:30

Palcohol FAQ

by admin
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

surrenderPalcohol is probably the biggest story in my 25 years of working with alcohol beverage law. As much or more media interest as compared to absinthe or Four Loko, or even direct shipping. Palcohol went from zero results on Google as of April 18th to more than 2 million as of this writing. By some measures it’s bigger than Rhianna.* So, what happened? This FAQ expands on and updates our original blog post first published on April 18.

  1. What is Palcohol?
    It is powderized alcohol. By the way, we don’t represent Palcohol or speak for them.
  2. Why does it matter?
    It is much more compact, concealable and portable as compared to bulky liquids. It is not clear that the US Government has ever approved a powdered alcohol in the past, even though the technology has been around since the 1970s.
  3. Is it approved or not?
    The Palcohol company has made a huge amount of progress toward bringing this to stores. They have about five formula approvals and a distilling permit. These are big projects and major accomplishments. Formula approval usually takes a couple of months and involves a thorough review of all ingredients and methods. The permit usually takes six months or more and involves background checks, plant diagrams, lists of equipment and a review of security measures. Beyond all this, the company secured label approval for about five powdered alcohol products on April 8. This is the last step in the federal system. For two weeks Lipsmark (the company) had all federal approvals necessary to make and sell the product. Then, on April 21, Lipsmark “voluntarily” “surrendered” those approvals. It is not yet clear why the Palcohol company would do this. It is not yet clear if or when the company will secure new and replacement approvals. The government has no authority to simply cancel the approvals, so that is not a plausible scenario. The government simply says the approvals were “issued in error.” The company has said it is a technical issue related to the labeling only, not the underlying concept, product or formulas, and they are working with TTB to remove this issue. It probably relates to making it clear how the taxable commodity (the quantity of alcohol) can and should be measured and disclosed on the labels.
  4. Is it good or bad?
    The good is, innovation is good and this is innovative and indeed, perhaps, transformative. If you are an active camper, for example, it could be great. The good is, this is likely to encourage a substantial debate about an important public policy issue, and perhaps it can be done in a mature and fruitful way, allowing our system to show that it can still function well. In addition, this could spark the relevant agencies to get with the times and modernize some archaic alcohol control measures, fairly and properly. Also, this may be a great opportunity for the marketplace (of dollars and not just ideas) to play a key role in deciding this, as it has done so often in the past. For almost 100 years, most governments and tut-tutters around the world assumed the sky would fall if absinthe got legalized. The opposite happened. Upon legalization in 2007, a lot of the taboo and fascination evaporated (because, sadly and plainly, American consumers are not wild about anise-type tastes.)
    The bad is, it opens up many new ways to abuse alcohol. For example, it’s just a matter of time before some punk tries to snort this and puts his antics on YouTube. But on a more pedestrian level, think about Applebees and Outback. Last year, most customers would walk in and buy a beer or Margarita for $6 or more apiece. By next year, will they sit down and instead dump a packet of Palcohol into the house-provided tap water — buying zero drinks on the premises? That would be a calamity for the hundreds of thousands of bars and restaurants around the country, in that they derive a huge percentage of revenue and profits from traditional alcohol beverages. The same with cruise lines, airplanes, concerts, sporting events, on and on. This has the potential to be highly disruptive, like Amazon selling books — or Amazon selling wine.
  5. Why is it so controversial?
    Because of all the bad and good at point 4 above.
  6. When can I get some?
    It will probably be several months, at least. Even if Lipsmark did not surrender the label approvals, they would still have lots of work to do before racking up some sales. They need to find and sell through wholesalers and get a bunch of agency approvals in every state they sell into. I talked to one New York expert, for example, and he tended to say New York would not go fast to allow this. Ironically, Lipsmark probably has all necessary US approvals by which to make this in Arizona and sell this in countries outside the US (or could easily get such approvals).
  7. Is it new?
    The technology is not new. It has been around since the 1970s. Here is an old newspaper article about something similar. And our earlier post mentions the past patents on similar products. The new part is that Palcohol actually got past federal formula and label approval, even if only temporarily. This is a big and important step and not to be minimized.
  8. What agency?
    TTB did most all the review and approval here. TTB is a sub-unit of the US Department of Treasury and this makes sense in that a huge aspect of alcohol beverage regulation is making sure the taxes get duly collected. Almost always through history, the tax has been based on the volume of alcohol; that’s tough to measure here. In the 1970s this agency was part of the IRS and in the 1980s it was known as ATF. FDA has not played a big role in the Palcohol matter to date, so far as we know. By contrast, in the matters of absinthe and Four Loko, both FDA and TTB played big roles.
  9. What brilliant lawyer persuaded TTB to allow this?
    So far as we can tell, Mark Phillips did this on his own, without help from any lawyers. This is an impressive accomplishment. Mark has said he worked with TTB on this for many years, patiently and cooperatively. Perhaps Mark had a bit of “beginner’s luck” on his side. On the other hand, the same absence of seasoned experts may have led to various stumbles like not realizing all label approvals are public, and that it’s not wise to make light of alcohol abuse, even on a draft web page.
  10. Why would TTB approve this then quickly change course
    It is tough for TTB to withhold approval when the law provides no clear basis to do so. The law probably did not anticipate something new and different like this, just as the relevant rules, most of which were written many generations ago, have failed to anticipate and show the way on many other new things like caffeinated malt beverages, booze with vitamins, gluten-free beer, kombucha, even saké. What would you do if presented with this question? If you are feeling tough and would disallow it, under what rule? And if you can’t find such rule, what specific rule would you write? I think these are tough questions and I don’t think TTB has an easy job when it comes to things like this. Unlike other agencies, TTB is put in the unenviable position of giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down on every cockamamie marketing idea that comes down the pike. TTB does not have the luxury of saying “no action” like so many other agencies use to sidestep the trickiest issues. Why change course? It is possible or even likely that various states, other alcohol beverage companies, various interest groups, doctors, the media, legislators, and others across many segments of our society — screamed bloody murder. To the extent this happened, I submit this is a good thing and supports my point that this is a great opportunity for our system to rise to the occasion and function well to make a good and appropriate policy as to something new and controversial like this.
  11. What next?
    If Palcohol gets new label approvals within a few days, the “surrender” is probably a little speedbump on a long road. But if it goes past a couple of weeks without new and replacement label approvals on the public database, it is a strong sign that it may be tough for Palcohol to re-acquire label approvals. There is no lawful way for Palcohol to sell powderized alcohol in the US without these crucial approvals.
  12. How did you find this?
    John Messinger (a lawyer in our office) was doing routine research on margarita issues (things like, can the food coloring go on the back label). I am sure he expected to find various liquids, like almost always in the past. Instead he saw a big, fat reference to “powdered alcohol” on the front label — with a little pyramid of powder depicted. He found this via the amazing search capabilities of ShipCompliant’s LabelVision service, as well as other specialized search capabilities we have in the office. These tools make it easier for us to scour millions of government records. TTB approves well over 100,000 labels per year and puts them on a Public COLA Registry; we try to review most to keep an eye on new trends and rulings, like this.
  13. Why won’t TTB and Lipsmark say much?
    TTB has publicy said the labels are approved (April 8) and “surrendered” (April 21). TTB has said the label approvals were “issued in error.” TTB is not likely to say a lot more, based on past precedent. A lot of this is highly confidential, as between an applicant and the government. TTB has a good history of keeping confidential information confidential, as is necessary and required, just like IRS. TTB is dealing with tax information and things like recipes. Few things are more confidential or more valuable trade secrets as compared to for example the recipe for Jaegermeister or Kahlua. As for Mark Phillips, I am not sure why he has not said more. He does have a fair amont of information on his website now. I conferred with Mark a few times after he contacted me but we don’t represent Palcohol and can’t speak for them.
  14. What else?
    Lots of other information and links are set out in our earlier posts on this topic (such as the labels, a sample label approval, a surrendered approval).

If you like booze and the law, it should be fun to watch this further.

* And in a fine moment for lawyers everywhere, let the record reflect that the Today Show crew said they left the Chris Brown hearing early to come talk to me about Palcohol.

Related Posts:

23 Apr 12:00


Russian Sledges

via firehose


Xapers is a personal document indexing system, geared towards academic journal articles.

Think of it as your own personal document search engine, or a local cache of online libraries. It provides fast search of document text and bibliographic data and simple document and bibtex retrieval.

23 Apr 12:39

China Clamp Down on Slash Fiction

by Abby
Russian Sledges

via overbey

China recently launched a crackdown on online pornographic content: ”Cleaning the Web 2014″. According to the campaign, all online texts, pictures, videos, and ads with pornographic content will be deleted in order to “create a healthy cyberspace”. 

According to Offbeat China, since the launch of “Cleaning the Web 2014″, many Chinese fiction-sharing websites have removed their slash collections, including, the most popular self-publishing website in China. Websites dedicated to slash, such as, have been shut down. At least 20 writers have reportedly been arrested for producing slash fiction. 

Written by Abby · comments (0)
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23 Apr 13:06 Online Shopping for Asian Grocery, Korean Kimchi, Rice Cookers, Appliances & more at everyday low prices.

by russiansledges
Russian Sledges

grand opening half an hour from now

581 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
23 Apr 13:20

Image copy/paste

by Jason Kottke

Project Naptha is a browser extension that lets you copy text from images on the web.

Project Naptha automatically applies state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms on every image you see while browsing the web. The result is a seamless and intuitive experience, where you can highlight as well as copy and paste and even edit and translate the text formerly trapped within an image.

I was skeptical of this actually working, but it totally does...try it on xkcd or Frank Sinatra's "loosen up" letter to George Michael for example. The translation and editing features aren't enabled yet, but the project's creator is working on them. (via @tcarmody)

22 Apr 16:20

Sonia Sotomayor Wrote an Epic Dissent Against the Supreme Court Decision Upholding Michigan’s Affirmative-Action Ban

by Joe Coscarelli

A 6-2 Supreme Court decision today went in favor of a constitutional amendment approved by Michigan voters in 2006 banning affirmative action based on race, gender, ethnicity, or national origin in hiring or college admissions. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was joined by John Roberts and Samuel Alito, said, "One of those premises is that a democracy has the capacity — and the duty — to learn from its past mistakes; to discover and confront persisting biases; and by respectful, rationale deliberation to rise above those flaws and injustices." In other words, it's not necessarily a race thing. "It is demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds," he wrote.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor disagreed with a passion.

Joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Elena Kagan recused herself and Stephen Breyer was with the majority, but wrote his own opinion — Sotomayor delivered a 58-page dissent, "longer than the combined length of the four opinions in support of the outcome," the AP reported.

"We are fortunate to live in a democratic society," she began. "But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups. For that reason, our Constitu­tion places limits on what a majority of the people may do. This case implicates one such limit: the guarantee of equal protection of the laws."

"The Constitution does not protect racial minorities from political defeat," Sotomayor wrote. "But neither does it give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities."

The court, she continued, "ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter." You can read the rest here

Read more posts by Joe Coscarelli

Filed Under: the supremes ,affirmative action ,michigan ,politics ,sonia sotomayor

22 Apr 18:23

Pre-code movies worth watching

by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

baby face is awesome, especially if you watch the bonus censored-version scenes that are on the tcm dvd

I don't get how this list has zero louise brooks on it, though

At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg has a list of films from the 1920s and 30s — prior to the widespread adoption of the Hollywood Production Code and its morality guidelines — that are actually worth tracking down through Amazon, Netflix, and other sources.

Most of the movies made during this era have been lost, and not all of those that survived are timeless classics. Studios were still figuring out what worked in a talking picture and what didn’t, so there’s lots of problems with pacing — some movies waste several minutes on dead air in scenes that would have been cut entirely just a few years later. Serious technical issues dog the crop from 1928-1930, too; there’s one film where every time you see a character holding a piece of paper, it’s soaking wet because at the time there was no other way to keep from picking up every crackle and rustle of a dry sheet of paper with the microphones. So there are more than a few pre-Code films that have been deservedly forgotten.

That said, Ortberg offers up a nice accounting of the ones you should check out, arranged in categories such as "Worth Watching For Any Reason", "If You Want To Get Into Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Racial Dynamics", "Worth It For the Titles Alone", and "If You Want To Take A Deeply Uncomfortable Journey To Another Time" (which hits all the fun horrible things of the past not covered by the racial dynamics category).

22 Apr 17:45

supervillain: Once Upon A Time In the West (1969), dir. Sergio...

Russian Sledges

via firehose


Once Upon A Time In the West (1969), dir. Sergio Leone

22 Apr 19:33

Justice Scalia Might Not Totally Get How HBO Works

by Danielle Wiener-Bronner
Image AP Photo/David Tulis
AP Photo/David Tulis

The Supreme Court heard arguments today in a very complex case concerning the technical details of television broadcast rights. So it might concerning that the Justice might not totally understand how TV works. 

The nation's broadcast networks went to court to stop Aereo, a startup company that allows users to access over-the-air television shows on computers and mobile devices for $8 a month. The networks argue that Aereo's service is infringing on broadcaster's copyright, and the latter saying that it doesn't, because the programs are already free to anyone with an antenna. It's a somewhat complicated case that will turn on the Justices' rather precise definitions of key technical terms. 

(Click through for a more in-depth look at the case).

This might be something they are not be fully equipped to do, based on some of the questioning we saw today. Specifically from Justice Antonin Scalia, who apparently did not know difference between HBO and regular old ABC.

Scalia apparently thought HBO is free over the airwaves.

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) April 22, 2014

According to the court transcript, Scalia made the faux pas when asking Aereo's lawyer David Frederick whether the company could pick up non-local signals. Scalia asked, "I mean, you could take HBO right?," before Frederick explained that "HBO is not done over the airwaves." The distinction between over-the-air broadcast networks (which Aereo transmits) and the most popular premium cable channel (which they do not) is pretty key to their whole argument.

Justice Sotomayor (and maybe the lawyers) also seemed to lack certain information going into the case, per the transcript: 

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR:  So Roku is ­­ -- Roku is paying a license for no reason. 

MR. CLEMENT:  I'm sorry? 

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR:  Roku is paying a license for no reason?  They sold me a piece of equipment. 

MR. CLEMENT:  I don't know all the details of that particular piece of equipment.  

Or maybe she's just showing off some tech savvy by dropping that she has a Roku. 

21 Apr 21:25

Happy Bob Ross Visualizations

by Walt Hickey

We recently published an analysis of the 403 episodes of PBS’s “The Joy Of Painting,” 381 of which were done by the inimitable Bob Ross. We’ve made the raw data and our clustering code available on GitHub for those who want to play with the data at home.

Some have already taken a stab at it. Here are a few of our favorites.

Jesse Paquette, who created the cancer-research tool EGAN and is developing software for tag-based analysis, sent us this visualization of Ross’s paintings with fences:


And Emre Barut, who has done work in high-dimensional modeling, fit another clustering model, an Isling model, to our set. “Each node is a different object,” he said in an email, “and the edges between nodes represent a level of correlation. Positive correlation is green, and negative is red. The edges’ widths also represent the strength of the correlation.”


Brian Keegan, who has checked our work before, also tried his hand at our data. His analysis of the set is worth a read. Here, he used network-visualization tool Gephi to plot and identify sub-communities from our Ross data.


And Tom Anson wrote in to call us out on our chimney reporting. Annette Kowalski, the co-founder of Bob Ross Inc., had relayed an anecdote about now Ross avoided painting chimneys because they were more evidence of people than he preferred to have in his paintings. We found a painting with a chimney, but it was hard to do. Anson claims to have found another:

Interestingly enough, I literally just watched Season 4, Episode 1 (“Purple Splendor”), wherein he paints a chimney. I just thought you would like to know that a chimney appears at least twice (given your already noted Season 7, Episode 1).

Thanks to everyone who chimed in. We’ve made such data available with the goal of people continuing to research and expand the set. So interact with it, fork it and edit irregularities you find. If we missed your happy spreadsheet, shoot me an email.

And remember, we don’t make #DIV/0!s, just happy little accidents.

22 Apr 21:32

More High School Grads Decide College Isn’t Worth It

by Ben Casselman

As the U.S. economy improves, more high school graduates are choosing work over college.

Just under 66 percent of the class of 2013 was enrolled in college last fall, the lowest share of new graduates since 2006 and the third decline in the past four years, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among all 16- to 24-year-olds, school enrollment experienced its biggest decline in at least two decades. The report echoes other recent evidence that college enrollment has begun to ebb after surging during the recession.


Many analysts have attributed the slowdown in college attendance to the rapidly rising cost of a higher education. But while mounting concern over costs does appear to be putting downward pressure on tuitions, the evidence suggests that the drop in enrollment is being driven by a different factor: the improving job market.

The drop in college attendance among recent high school graduates appears concentrated among groups most likely to be deciding between going to school and joining the labor force: Part-time and community college enrollments saw the sharpest decline. Meanwhile, the enrollment rate increased for four-year colleges, where costs have been rising the fastest.16 (For-profit colleges, which have been subject to mounting criticism over their high costs and inconsistent educational value, have also seen enrollment decline.)

Interestingly, the recent decline was concentrated among women. Women still attend college at a higher rate than men, as they have for decades. But the gap is narrowing: In 2013, 68.4 percent of female high school graduates enrolled in college, versus 63.5 percent of male grads. In the class of 2009, by contrast, 73.8 percent of women attended college, versus 66 percent of men.

The disparity may reflect the better job opportunities available in female-dominated industries than in male-dominated ones. For example, the construction sector, a major employer of young men, has only recently begun to recover from the housing bust, while the health care sector, which employs many young women, has added jobs throughout the recovery.

The racial disparity in college attendance, meanwhile, shows little sign of improvement. Less than 60 percent of African-American and Hispanic members of the class of 2013 were enrolled in college last fall, compared to 67 percent of white graduates. The numbers are volatile from year to year, but neither gap has narrowed meaningfully over the past 20 years. Moreover, young black and Hispanic Americans also have a higher unemployment rate than whites, suggesting they aren’t choosing to skip college because of strong job prospects.

High school graduates who skip college still face grim job prospects. The unemployment rate for recent grads who don’t attend college was 30.9 percent in October, the most recent month for which data is available — more than four times the rate for the population as a whole and up from about 20 percent in the years leading up to the recession.

Nonetheless, the economic outlook is improving, however slowly. Among those 16- to 24-year-olds not enrolled in school, whether high school or college, more are working, fewer are unemployed and a smaller share are out of the labor force entirely. For young people employed full time, median wages rose faster than inflation in 2013 for the first time since the recession. Importantly, the recent drop in college enrollment appears to be driven by high school graduates entering the workforce, not staying home on mom’s couch: Among 2013 graduates who didn’t go to college, 74.2 percent were working or actively looking for work, the highest since 2010. The share of high school graduates who are neither working nor in school fell in 2013.

College enrollment surged during the recession as young people hid from the weak job market by staying in school. The increase was particularly pronounced at community colleges and among older students — those in their late 20s and early 30s — likely the result of people who lost jobs returning to school.

The recent decline in enrollment reverses that trend, but only partly. Enrollment rates remain above their pre-recession levels by most measures. And the recent downtick does little to change the longer-term trend of rising college attendance. In 1982, 26.6 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in college; in 2012, that figure stood at 41 percent, with both two-year and four-year colleges experiencing strong gains over that period.

Still, some experts see the recent drop as a worrisome sign. “Falling college enrollment indicates that upward mobility may become more difficult for working class and disadvantaged high school graduates,” Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, wrote in a blog post Tuesday.

Indeed, choosing not to go to college can have long-term consequences. The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-old high school graduates with no college education was 18.9 percent in 2013, versus 8.3 percent for college graduates.17 And those who do manage to find jobs earn far less than their college-educated peers: Among 25- to 34-year-olds employed full-time, year-round, college graduates earn 50 percent more than those with a high school diploma. Over the course of a career, college graduates earn more than half a million dollars more on average, even after factoring in the cost of going to school.

High school dropouts are in even worse shape. The unemployment rate for recent dropouts was 27.9 percent in October, a figure that would be worse if so many of them weren’t even looking for work. Just 42.9 percent of recent dropouts were either working or actively looking for work in October, down from 56.2 percent before the recession and the lowest rate in the 20 years such records have been kept.

22 Apr 20:11

Elsevier Takedown Notices: A Q&A with Peter Suber | Harvard Library Portal

by russiansledges
Russian Sledges

these fucking guys

April 17, 2014—In November 2013, Harvard received 23 takedown notices from Elsevier, a publisher of academic journals. A takedown notice is a request from a copyright holder to remove a work from the internet because of alleged copyright infringement. To comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), internet hosts like Harvard must comply with takedown notices even if the recipient may choose to put the work back up again. All 23 of the takedown notices targeted published editions of articles from Elsevier journals posted to websites on the domain, including for example lab sites, faculty sites, and course websites hosted on iSites. All 23 articles were promptly taken down. None of the takedowns targeted articles in DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard), the open-access repository maintained by Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC). As Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library, put it, "The OSC is part of the solution, not part of the problem."
22 Apr 14:30


by villeashell

22 Apr 16:08

The Stork Pharmacy in Stockholm, Sweden

Russian Sledges

via firehose

The Stork Pharmacy in Stockholm, Sweden

22 Apr 17:03

Rocki, A Small Adapter That Turns Standard Speakers Into a Wireless Sound System

by Brian Heater
Russian Sledges

via firehose ("analog-only output $49, digital/analog output $89")


Rocki is a small adapter that turns old speakers into a wireless sound system that you can control with a smartphone, tablet or computer. Plug the device into the speaker auxiliary input via 3.5mm or RCA, connect the Rocki and smart device to your home WiFi network and you can start streaming your music. The device, which was created thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, is available for purchase now through the Rocki site.

image via Rocki

via GearCulture, The Awesomer

22 Apr 14:05

Booze News: Powdered Alcohol Loses Government Approval

by Khushbu Shah
Russian Sledges


[Photo: We Oppose Palcohol/Facebook]

Turns out purveyors of powdered alcohol products Palcohol, doesn't actually have government approval for their labels. The AP reports that in an email yesterday, a representative for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau wrote that "the approvals were issued in error." Palcohol claims on their website that "there seemed to be a discrepancy on our fill level, how much powder is in the bag" and that "this doesn't mean that Palcohol isn't approved. It just means that these labels aren't approved."

Palcohol writes that "they will resubmit their labels" and that it doesn't "have an expected approval date as label approval can vary widely." Robert Lehrman, who runs a beverage law website, said in an interview with the AP, "an oversight of this nature does not ring true to me" and suggests "the bureau may have heard back from lawmakers wanting more information on the powdered alcohols."

Palcohol managed to stir up a media frenzy when it initially used copy on its website suggesting that users sneak packets into venues to avoid paying for overpriced booze. As previously reported, it also acknowledged that snorting Palcohol was a possibility. A new version of the site chalks up the previous claims to "humorous and edgy verbiage that was not meant to be our final presentation" and that the formula has been modified to discourage snorting.

· Powdered Alcohols No Longer Have Label Approvals [AP]
· All Booze News Coverage on Eater [-E-]

19 Apr 00:11


Russian Sledges

via rosalind


15 Apr 00:26

after you beat the end-God at the end of level 3 you unlock five...

after you beat the end-God at the end of level 3 you unlock five new Satanists which I thought was quite generous of the designers

19 Apr 01:00

Name my bar

by russiansledges
Russian Sledges


Need to name your trendy cocktail bar? How about...
21 Apr 05:05

Print-only interactive visualization by The Economist

Russian Sledges

via firehose via rnas

21 Apr 14:46

Russian and American Military Dolphins Might Face Off This Summer

by Polly Mosendz, The Wire
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

Dolphins will be testing a new anti-radar system.
21 Apr 20:06

Newswire: Takashi Miike is making a vampire Yakuza movie

by Katie Rife
Russian Sledges

via firehose

With 93 credits and counting, Miike Takashi is one of the most prolific directors not only in his native Japan, but probably the world. Miike has been funding his bizarre passion projects by directing teenybopper flicks and yakuza potboilers since the early ’90s, making it difficult for the uninitiated to distinguish genre masterpieces like Audition and Ichi The Killer from direct-to-video trash. 

Recently  Miike has been making a bid for legitimacy with mainstream hits like the video-game adaptation Ace Attorney and dignified dramas like Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai. But for his newest project, Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld, Miike is returning to his exploitation roots. Production began last week on the film, about a yakuza kingpin who has become legendary for his ability to survive any assassination attempt. That’s because he’s a vampire, as mob underling Kageyama (Hayato Ichihara) discovers after being bitten by ...

21 Apr 20:58

Leaked Emails Detail "Secret" Frat's Antics With Drugs, Cops, and Sex

by Adam Weinstein
Russian Sledges

TW: absolutely everything

Leaked Emails Detail "Secret" Frat's Antics With Drugs, Cops, and Sex

They're staffers for influential congressmen and PACs. They work at top international banks and consulting firms. Also, they claim to hit women, lie to cops, chase ass, trade pills and hard drugs, and pour "so much champagne on bitches titties." These are the email confessions of a banned fraternity.