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Podcast 52 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 52: "Llama xrays" (2010-06-18).

Pronoiac set up a Fanscribed page, and this transcript came from there.

Transcript

jingle: (theme music)

mathowie: Episode 52, whoo! We do that every time, and there's really manufactured enthusiasm.

jessamyn: 52, what? 52 is, like -

mathowie: A week. A year. It only took us three years to get there.

jessamyn: Thirteen times four!

Not that interesting.

mathowie: A deck of cards.

jessamyn: Oh! Deck of cards.

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: You know, I sometimes think that there's 52 United States because I get confused?

mathowie: Puerto Rico and Guam?

cortex: Puerto Rico and Guam, yeah.

mathowie: (chuckles) That's my guess.

cortex: They're just keeping it on the DL.

jessamyn: And then people say that, and then I never learn.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: Are you thinking Mexico and Canada?

jessamyn: I'm not thinking Mexico and Canada, let's not start that here please.

mathowie: (laughs) Okay. Let me see. I looked at Jobs and there was nothing interesting. I say we just move on.

jessamyn: Wait! Wasn't there a librarian job this time? Or was that last time?

mathowie: I don't think so. I think it was last time.

jessamyn: When was the last podcast?

mathowie: It was like beginning of May, so anything from May counts, and there is nothing remotely.

jessamyn: There's a job in Vermont!

mathowie: Is that the one, "Make me a cool tattoo"?

jessamyn: No, no, there's an IT--

mathowie: No, there it is! SirStan!

jessamyn: An IT management job, because SirStan got a better job.

mathowie: Aw. So if you have a beard, and a recumbent, and you're in Vermont.

jessamyn: Who do you know with a beard? I only know one guy with a beard and a recumbent in Vermont.

mathowie: (laughs) That's the guy they should hire! Nothing screams IT manager...

jessamyn: He's seventy years old!

mathowie: Ohh.

jessamyn: Aah.

mathowie: Does he have a JavaOne beard comb from the last time he went...

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: That's a big joke. So let me see, Projects--

jessamyn: So whatever! You could come live in Vermont! Near me, and have a nice job working for non-profit dorks.

mathowie: And you may fall in a lake.

jessamyn: (sighs) We'll talk about that later.

mathowie: Yeah. Let's go to Projects. Projects, Projects, Projects.

jessamyn: I had a couple dopey things that I liked, one of which I don't understand why everybody did not fall in love with--(raises voice) you especially speaking! Speaking as we were of bearded guys with bicycles--

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Tricycles! Recumbents!

mathowie: Oh yeah, I saw this.

jessamyn: Did you see that Project?

mathowie: (chuckling) Yeah.

jessamyn: It's frickin' awesome!

mathowie: Yeah, it's crazy. The guy builds a bike with no welding, and wood--

cortex: Oh, yeah!

mathowie: --and cut-up old bikes. It's crazy.

jessamyn: Yeah, but it totally works, solves his problem, doesn't hurt his knees, and it's made of three salvaged bicycles with plywood and it looks awesome! I'd love it.

cortex: Is this the same guy or a different guy who was doing a "I want to build a bike from scratch" project a while back?

mathowie: I think that was a different guy.

cortex: So we've got two different build your own bike projects on the site.

mathowie: Yeah. And it's kind of a famous thing in the back of bike magazines.

cortex: Oh, is this a bike culture thing?

mathowie: No, no, no.

jessamyn: And then he asked a question about it on Metafilter.

cortex: Is this like a... you have to buy these magazines, they have black covers, they get delivered...

mathowie: No! It's like...

jessamyn: Itching powder!

mathowie: It's like the back of Boys' Life, those silly ads.

jessamyn: Confound your enemies!

mathowie: Oh right, Boys' Life would be like [??]

jessamyn: I don't know fuck about Boys' Life.

mathowie: It was a dumb Boy Scout thing or something.

jessamyn: (groans) You're impressing me with your religion!

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Augh.

cortex: Boylifezone.

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: Feminist hulk hate Boys' Life.

There was always a Build Your Own Bike ad that's kind of silly for people who are tired of spending thousands of dollars on bikes. But this is awesome this guy made it a reality.

jessamyn: And the website's really nice. The pictures are great, it explains actually how to do it, I don't know. The whole thing kinda just made me happy. It's this awesome project.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, "I did an awesome project! And, look!"

mathowie: I didn't see the Metafilter thread about this one. "Submit a made-up video game name and I'll make your box art."

cortex: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: I was just looking at that!

mathowie: It is awesome, awesome. There's no permalinks on the actual designs, but in the archives...

jessamyn: What's the user again?

mathowie: Oh, paper... cheap paper.

jessamyn: Oh, cool!

mathowie: Captain Crash's Race Wizard Battle is my favorite, because total Activision early '80s.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Design. It's very lovely. How do I click to enlarge... aah, everything's in a lightbox, there's nothing permalinked, so I can't even show you.

jessamyn: I am so sorry.

mathowie: Let me see, I can copy image URL, let's see if this works... it worked! Yay! Oh, yeah, that's my favorite cover. Someone just sends in the words and then he makes the whole thing.

jessamyn: Dude, come on, that's awesome.

mathowie: I know.

jessamyn: So you could do this for a birthday card. I didn't understand it. I thought you had to have a video game, I just kind of scanned it.

mathowie: No, people just sent the word, like Devil Cop! Make something. So he made two different ones for Devil Cop.

cortex: Yeah. Sort of like explodingdog but video game covers.

jessamyn: Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey. Nice!

mathowie: Yeah. Yep.

cortex: This was that other built bike thread, while I'm tripping across it.

mathowie: Was it different...?

jessamyn: Wait, wait! There was two this month?

cortex: Yeah. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Well, in the last month or so.

jessamyn: Ohh!

mathowie: The sun is out. People want to build bikes.

jessamyn: And this is backseatpilot!

mathowie: Wow. There's a hacksaw. And wood. Wow.

jessamyn: Scratch-built bike.

That's terrific. Wait, I have--

mathowie: Josh, any favorites?

jessamyn: Oh. You don't care what I think. Josh, what do you think?

mathowie: We're going round robin.

cortex: I think this is the best Project ever posted.

jessamyn: I hope that's Zombo.com.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: HTML5 Zombo.com.

jessamyn: Yes! It's the best! Oh.

cortex: Oh? (laughs)

jessamyn: I jailbroke my iPad today and it was really easy.

cortex: Yeah?

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: You can jailbreak iPads?

cortex: Now, can you unjailbreak an iPad?

jessamyn: Yeah!

cortex: Like, I don't know how...

mathowie: What do you get out of a jailbroken iPad?

jessamyn: You get to change a whole bunch of shit! You get SSH access to it.

mathowie: Oh. Cool.

jessamyn: Yeah. It was easier than I thought. I just wanted to say that.

cortex: Also, this is an awesome little iPhone game, and it's a roguelike game--

mathowie: Augh.

cortex: Which is the thing I like that I've talked about so I won't go into detail.

jessamyn: (laughs quietly, crescendoing and slightly gasping for breath)

cortex: But if you like shit like NetHack or Shiren the Wanderer or so forth--

jessamyn: (whistles in evident imitation of a two-note chickadee call)

mathowie: I'm going to go get something to drink.

jessamyn: Why don't people just submit these generally to cortex.metafilter.com?

mathowie: cortex [??].

cortex: It'd be interesting, actually, if we went through and color-coded every Project according to how much each of us particularly liked it and then

get an admin view of the Projects page that was a rainbow of preferences.

mathowie: (chuckle)

jessamyn: (chuckle) So have you played this, or do you just kind of like it?

cortex: (chuckle) I have! I have. I bought it, and I put a couple days of play into it. He's been doing some... it just came out, so we've been doing patches over time. And yeah, no, I enjoyed it. It really, I mean, this is so niche, but if you like Shiren the Wanderer, for example, for people who like roguelikes, this is very reminiscent of that. It's a very stripped-down

graphically pleasing roguelike game, and it's a good time. It plays much better on an iPhone than NetHack does. As much as I love NetHack, it's really not something that fits on a tablet very well.

mathowie: (four-note descending whistle)

jessamyn: So it's specifically designed to be played on the phone.

cortex: Yeah, and it works really well that way. I mean, it really shines in that it was designed with that interface in mind.

mathowie: (whistles four more notes) I just got back, did I miss anything?

cortex: Yeah, [oh, sure, ?] you sonuvabitch.

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Josh is still happy.

cortex: (laughs) TF2 Brew, just want to mention it in real quick passing, because it's something from mccarty.tim that isn't Lady Gaga related--

jessamyn: Yay!

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: And it's about beer and Team Fortress 2, and that's really fucking great, so. I don't know what I'm going to do with the fact that he's brewing beer but he's done a video game, but I'm glad he is.

jessamyn: Isn't he like 14? Isn't that against the law?

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Ehhh. If you make it, you should be able to drink it.

jessamyn: I'm just kidding.

mathowie: (chuckles) I hope the labels are called like 'Bad Romance Brew', just for us.

cortex: That'd be sweet.

jessamyn: That's a really good idea, Matt.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: He should just be like Eman.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: Dude, I love this website!

cortex: Look at This Little Thing.

mathowie: Oh, yeah!

jessamyn: Yes!

mathowie: lookatthislittlething.tumblr.com.

jessamyn: Who is this? sarahnade. Oh, that's a nice username!

mathowie: Nothing but tiny things.

cortex: I had seen that blog already when we were doing the MetaTalk thread about link your Tumblr blog, so I was reading it, and then it showed up in Projects, and, oh, hey, I know that!

I felt like [??].

jessamyn: Yeah, I see her on the Twitters every now and then. That's awesome!

mathowie: Whoa, a baby hippo? Whaat?!

jessamyn: Didn't you see the baby hippo when it came out?

mathowie: No. I think my ovaries just burst.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Wow, that's cute.

jessamyn: You don't have the ovaries. I don't care what medicine you're taking.

mathowie: (laughs) Oh, man. When I saw this, it was nothing but terrariums, and I was like, terrariums are cool, but there was a billion terrariums.

jessamyn: You need the iPhone application ZooBorns, which is all newborn baby animals.

mathowie: Oh, yeah, that was a blog, I think.

jessamyn: Yeah, like a new baby animal every day. I have it. It's cute.

mathowie: That's a lot of terrariums.

jessamyn: Terrariums are awesome!

mathowie: Eh, they're pretty cool.

jessamyn: Unhh.

cortex: We saw a lot of--

jessamyn: Alright, one more project that I loved, because it didn't get--oh. Isn't it my turn in the round robin yet?!

mathowie: Oh, go.

cortex: Go. Go! Go! I was just linking ahead.

jessamyn: (laughs) This is the Internet Archive Book Drive. They're making this push to make books available to what they call the print-disabled community, people who can't read print text, and they've made all the books that have already been scanned available in

DAISY format, which is a format available to people with screen readers and the site's accessible and you can just donate a book to the Internet Archive and they will scan it and put it online, assuming it meets a couple of their requirements.

mathowie: I've never heard of DAISY. That's weird.

jessamyn: Yeah, what does DAISY stand for?

mathowie: There's a little page for it explaining what it is.

jessamyn: Digital Accessible Information SYstem. But it's basically a paginator

where you can go backwards and forwards and do the kinds of things that you need to do. You can run a DAISY reader on your machine or whatever.

mathowie: So I'm supposed to send them physical books?

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: Hm.

jessamyn: And they'll scan the whole thing and then it'll be available to everybody online forever.

mathowie: Does it have to be out of print, or is it allowed for the DAISY?

jessamyn: You gotta read the FAQ. (long pause)

mathowie: I can't tell.

jessamyn: Let's see.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Oh, wait. Oh, wait, let me see. Oh, it's contemporary books!

jessamyn: You can send up to a hundred.

mathowie: And it's contemporary books. Because those are unavailable for persons...

jessamyn: Yeah! And if you're a member of the print-disabled community, legally you're not violating copyright by...

mathowie: Yeah. Transforming.

jessamyn: Right. Shape-shifting. Or whatever.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: And you can get your own bookplate and put to be scanned as well.

mathowie: Do they send them back to you after the scanning, or just keep them? That's probably too much.

jessamyn: Good question. I think they keep them?

mathowie: Yeah, that's fine.

jessamyn: I'm sure there's an FAQ. But at any rate, it's completely freaking amazing. It makes me very happy, and it wasn't very paid attention to on Metafilter, so that's it.

mathowie: I was surprised.

jessamyn: Thank you rajbot.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Who I guess is somebody who works at the Internet Archive and who's got a really low usernumber.

mathowie: I don't think so. I think rajbot is like a friend of [Leah's ?] in Brooklyn, that's why I was wondering what the connection was. Maybe I'm thinking of a different Raj.

jessamyn: No, that's a different Raj. That's [Ranjit ?].

mathowie: Oh, okay.

jessamyn: In fact, it's not Raj at all.

"Oh, Michael? I meant Mervin."

mathowie: (laughs) The first six characters are the same.

jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)

jessamyn: The first two characters are the same!

mathowie: Four! J, G...

I realized last week I'm terrible at Chinese. Oh, man, that's a hard language.
Speaking of things that seem... I just, yeah, feel like... have you ever heard Chinese?

cortex: In all fairness, most people are terrible at Chinese.

jessamyn: It's tonal! It's very difficult.

mathowie: Like, the words completely...

jessamyn: Actually, most people are good at Chinese, because a billion members of the planet speak it.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: That's a significant minority. I'm sorry. That's not most.

jessamyn and mathowie: (laugh)

cortex: That's many. But it's not most.

jessamyn: It's a not insignificant majority, is what it is.

cortex: That's like people who voted for Ross Perot. They count...

jessamyn and mathowie: (laugh)

mathowie: Barely.

cortex: But they didn't win. It's, you know, yeah.

jessamyn: So I'm sorry, Matt, what does Chinese have to do with anything?

mathowie: Oh, I was just thinking of weird names that when you just slightly mispr--when you put the emphasis on the wrong syllable, just barely, it's like saying Mike and Mervin, or Bob and Joe. It's completely different.

cortex: Well, it's a tonal language, yeah. It's unfamiliar to people who grew up speaking English, because we don't have that tonal aspect to our phonetics.

mathowie: Yeah. Tonals.

jessamyn: Romanian had something like that, where they had a vowel that we don't have in English, and so there's an 'e' and an 'uee', sort of? [transcriber's note: beyond the limits of my knowledge of IPA and phonology, help!]

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: And one of the words was the word for lemon and one of the words is the slang word for vagina?

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Whoa!

jessamyn: And so you go into stores and people who knew you were American would try to make you say the word because you'd say it wrong and then you'd be saying vagina and everybody would fall all over the place.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: "Could I get a bag of vaginas?"

jessamyn: Horrible. Horrible. I know.

mathowie: (laughs) I was surprised scody's little blog, she has a blog about, she unfortunately has got colon cancer developing and has a blog about it. I'm surprised it didn't become a big thing on MetaTalk but it is on Projects.

jessamyn: Yeah, I kind of feel like people didn't want to... freak out about it. Although I've been reading the blog. I mean, I met scody in L.A. right after MaxFunCon and we had dinner together and she kind of told me what was up and I was like, "AAAAH!" She was like, "Don't freak out!" and then we got to sort of talk about it. So far she's doing okay.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: I don't know if you guys know, but fake's living in her backyard.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Because they've got a guest house and that wound up working out really... I don't even know if I'm supposed to say this. At any rate, he's there as a neighbor, she's got a wonderful boyfriend, she's got supportive people all over the place. But she's also keeping a blog, which is good so far.

mathowie: Yeah. Yep. Stay strong, scody.

jessamyn: She's got a volunteer calendar for people who are in L.A., and a wishlist if people want to get her stuff, and so far she's doing alright.

mathowie: Cool. Josh, didn't you have to self-plug something?

cortex: Oh, well, it's com--I'm going to try and get as much of a complicated thing in one place.

jessamyn: Aughh.

cortex: So I did this thing last week--

mathowie: I'm going to get a drink. (laughs)

cortex: (laughs) I feel emotionally abused.

jessamyn: How does the mute button on this work?

cortex: What? Ehhhh. So there's this thing. And I'll try to do this--

jessamyn: Come on. You've been on vacation.

cortex: I know. And yeah, I've been Internet-starved, too, so you have to bear with me on that too. I'm all catching up with stuff and I'm all high on Internet overdose and

so last year at one point there was a post, a link to a blog called Music Machinery, which is a good blog that I was only vaguely familiar with at the time, but they did an algorithmic click track detection thing, which was a pretty cool trick.

jessamyn: So they could determine beats per minute and stuff like that, basically?

cortex: Well, yeah, beyond that they could determine whether or not it was likely that a drum machine or a click track was involved in the recording of the track!

jessamyn: Oh, interesting! Okay, okay.

cortex: Because you can't necessarily get it by ear if someone's pretty close but not quite on the ball, you won't necessarily notice it as a casual listener, but this would let you really pick it out.

mathowie: (whistles tunefully)

cortex: So anyway, that blog was cool, and the blog is by a guy named, I think it's primarily by a guy named Paul who is involved in a project called Echo Nest, and Echo Nest, they do music search and music... I'm going to do it poor justice, but music detection and organization and selection type stuff.

And they've got a programming library called Echo Nest Remix, it's got an API that you can use to basically manipulate audio files. And you can do things like beat detection, and you can do things like beat detection, and you can do things like chopping up in little bits and rearranging things.

jessamyn: Okay, that's a word that's in your post, but I'm still not understanding what that has to do with this.

cortex: And so, (laughs), then a couple weeks ago there was a post that was another link on that blog to a Python script called The Swinger, which uses the Echo Nest Remix library to take

songs that have 4/4 time and add swing to them, so they become swung or almost waltzy, depending on the song. And that was really neat, and I got playing with that, and got talking and started exploring with the Echo Nest Remix stuff, and started getting bad ideas about things I could do aside from the swinging thing, and that's how I ended up making Nine Inch Niles, which started just as a stupid Photoshop joke, but the next day I was like, hey, I've been playing with the stuff, I can actually make this happen. So the idea is, I took a bunch of
audio from the TV show Frasier, like twelve minutes or so all together including the theme song and like five minutes from a couple episodes, and I used that as the source material and threw that at a script called A from B, which does something really simple and clever: it takes a song and it chops it up into little bits--like, breaks it up by beat--and takes those little bits and for every song in that template song, every little piece of music it cut up, it'll cut up the other song you provide as well, and it'll take the piece
from that second song that most matches the current piece from the first song and replace the original piece with the new piece from the second song. And it goes through each little bit of the song, it does that, so you end up with a new song entirely made up out of pieces of your second song but trying to reconstitute the form of the first song, and it usually puts out kind of a weird mess, but it also didn't really take any work on my part, and so I decided that was a good way to make an album.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: So it's the entirety of Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral, built out of clips from Frasier automatically. And it's... kind of listenable? I mean, if you really don't mind weird glitchy sort of pointless industrial stuff, it's kind of fun listening. It helps if you actually know the original Nine Inch Nails album, obviously. But anyway, that Echo Nest Remix stuff--

mathowie: Didn't you do The Muppets or something? Was that you, or was that someone else?

cortex: Oh, yeah, no, I did do that. I made a couple of music videos. I can find them real quick.

mathowie: Muppets one was good.

cortex: Yeah, I used a clip from Sesame Street with Kermit interviewing a guy about jumping over the candlestick--the guy Jack, I guess his name was.

mathowie: (faint noise of amusement)

cortex: And yeah, used that to rebuild The Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson. That worked out pretty well, actually. I also did a O Superman rebuilding Closer, by Nine Inch Nails. And in both those cases I sort of cheated and kept a mix of the original song in there too so that it would be more listenable. Because the problem is, you use this A from B stuff and it leaves you with a

rough rhythmic footprint of the original song, but it very rarely by itself sounds like the song in any recognizable sort of way. So if you mix in some of the original song with it, you can follow along and figure out what's going on with this weird new remix thing. Anyway, that was all that, and musicmachinery.com is an awesome blog that I would have made a post about if people hadn't posted to it like twelve times already over the years about individual blog entries. But that's cool and Echo Nest Remix stuff is really cool. I've been really happy with that.

jessamyn: Your music is very good.

sfx: (drum sound, or possibly random banging in cortex's house)

cortex: Thank you.

jessamyn: Your explanations need work.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: Yeah. I should have planned it ahead. You know, I really need... I need to put together notecards. I need to do it as a pre-recorded "Nerd Time with Cortex" segment for every podcast.

jessamyn: In fact, that's a really, really good idea!

cortex: It could be fun. I'll think about it.

jessamyn: That we should do a Nerd Time with Cortex and you just have one word or one post and you get five minutes on it.

cortex: Yeah. And I can do it as a monologue and we just slot it in there.

jessamyn: And then we won't make fun of you--

cortex: Yeah, that's right. (laughs)

jessamyn: The people who can totally, who sympathize for you and always take your side in these "they rag on cortex too much" can just listen with rapt attention, and Matt and I can go get a drink!

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: Make it work. Make it work. Anyway.

jessamyn: But that is good, and your music sounds good, though... is it really okay to just plug your own stuff?

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah. I feel comfortable with it.

jessamyn: Okay. Matt?

cortex: This is, you know... (laughs)

mathowie: Who opened this podcast with, "How dare you not watch my video about Vermont?"

jessamyn: That was before we were recording!

mathowie: Oh, that's true.

jessamyn: Augh. Now you've embarrassed me.

cortex and mathowie: (laugh)

cortex: I did like your video. And I saw it.

mathowie: I believe I started off with "check, check, does this mic work?" and you said, "Hey, did you see my video?"

cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)

mathowie: Jam it down our throats.

cortex: Well, it's nice to make stuff and then part of that is you end up feeling enthusiastic about talking about it. You want to say, oh, man, check this out.

jessamyn: Well, and I think, probably like you do, Josh, that the more I contribute to the Web, the more I need to worry less about spending too much time on it.

cortex: Yeah. It's the give to the take.

jessamyn: Because then I can be judgey about all those other people that just read it.

cortex: (laughs) So it's really sort of moral superiority.

jessamyn: And I can't even play an instrument. What? Is that? What? (laughs)

Okay. Moving on!

cortex: (laughs) Moving on.

jessamyn: I love you all very much.

mathowie: Yeah, let's move on to Metafilter proper.

jessamyn: What about Music?

mathowie: Oh, yeah. Anything good in Music?

jessamyn: MY DAMN SONG!

cortex: Yes!

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: Tell us about your song.

jessamyn: Well, here's the problem. Google has been misplacing my town in the middle of Lake Champlain for the last two months, which means people who try to get directions to Randolph, Vermont get taken somewhere completely in a different direction. I went through channels, like a totally nice and normal person, for six weeks.

mathowie: Even if you put a full street address?

jessamyn: No. Full street address would be fine.

mathowie: Oh, it's just the city.

jessamyn: But if you say, like, how do I get from Utica, New York to Randolph, Vermont?

mathowie: Yeah. Water.

jessamyn: It would drive you from Lake Champlain. And I submitted problem reports, I harangued everyone I knew that worked at Google, we've got a guy who's running for governor in the state of Vermont who's got a job at Google as their community liaison or something like that?

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: And everybody said the same thing. "Just click the Report a Problem thing in the corner and we should get to it in less than a month."

So at the almost two month point, not_on_display and I got together and made a little song.

sfx: (Music: Hey Google, My Town's in the Lake by jessamyn)

lyrics: Hey, Google, my town’s in the lake.

Hey Google there's been a mistake
This is really surprising
The water's not rising
Dear Google, please give us a break.

jessamyn: Which then turned into a little video, which then got picked up on the TIME Magazine blog, and it was then fixed in 18 hours.

cortex: That is an awesome resolution.

jessamyn: It makes me feel like a bad person for working the system and I don't know what to think. Like, I'm happy the problem's resolved, but I never figured out what was wrong! It was just broken and now it's not broken.

cortex: Well, I have to imagine with the amount of data they move around, the biggest problem they have is that there's just no way not to have a lot of problems. Even if it's nothing that's particularly interesting in any given case--

jessamyn: Totally.

cortex: There's just going to be systemic issues that lead to stupid little problems like that. Until someone notices and reports it, it's never going to get fixed, and then, yeah, it'd be nice if once it did get noticed, it got fixed a bit more...

jessamyn: Well, and that's really the problem, right? The only feedback mechanism they have is "Report A Problem", and they've got this forum that nobody pays attention to, as near as I can tell, unless you're a business, and so there's no feedback loop after you've sent in a thing. And I'm not a crazy person, I know it'll take time.

But it's just weird. I mean, it's like Matt was saying, in the MetaTalk thread where people were like, "Hey, are people trying to buy MetaFilter?", and he's like, "What Google really wants is one person to replace two hundred people. They don't want something that requires two hundred people to run it."

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: And doing place-by-place disambiguation or whatever the fuck is going wrong, you know, they just kind of don't care. So I don't know.

mathowie: I wonder if it's one of those weird data set markers? Have you heard about this, how GPS companies are all at war with

each other?

jessamyn: No!

mathowie: And they purposely put in fake streets so that when one mapmaker invariably copies data from another, they can go, "Aha! There is no..."

jessamyn: You know, that's always been true in mapmaking actually.

mathowie: Yeah, yeah.

jessamyn: But it becomes a problem with GPS, when the fake street is the one that goes where you want to go, and it actually doesn't exist.

mathowie: Yeah. (yawns) Yeah, there's some good music on Music.

cortex: There is.

jessamyn: There has been. What is this thing that you linked to, Josh? Or Matt?

cortex: It was Matt.

jessamyn: Matt, sorry.

mathowie: Someone's doing ukulele and accordion songs and as soon as they say accordion plus ukulele I'm a fan.

sfx: (Music: Party in the CPK by Jenkiins)

jessamyn: Really?

mathowie: Yeah, they have a couple tracks. Oh, sweet, there's a new Brad Sucks track in there! Sweet. I will put these on the podcast.

cortex: Oh, this person actually, Jenkiins with two 'i's, I believe that's my brother-in-law. That's French Fry's--

jessamyn: Who are we talking about?

mathowie: What?

cortex: The accordion ukulele, Party in the CPK, that you linked to, Matt?

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: That guy, Jenkiins, I think that's my brother-in-law.

jessamyn: He has an account!

mathowie: Ben Seagrave?

cortex: No, no, not my brother, my brother's wife's brother.

jessamyn: Oh, your brother-in-law. Ohh!

cortex: Ergo bro--that's brother-in-law.

jessamyn: Sorry, sorry, sorry. That's cool!

mathowie: Wait, your wife's brother?

cortex: It is my--

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: It's my brother's wife's brother.

mathowie: Brother... wait, slow down. He's French Fry's...

cortex: (laughs) Hi, Ben!

jessamyn: He's got a brother. His brother's married.

cortex: Yeah, okay. Let's just move on.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: But the point is, yes.

mathowie: And it's her brother.

cortex and mathowie: (laugh)

cortex: Okay!

mathowie: Just draw me a map.

cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)

cortex: Right now, going on last month--and we've extended it to this month too, just to keep it going longer so people would have more time to try and get it in--it's the Number One Hit on Your Birthday Challenge is the Music Challenge.

mathowie: Oh, yeah. Hey, didn't we come up with that in the last podcast or something?

jessamyn: What?

cortex: I don't think so. I think that was someone else's.

mathowie: Was that a meetup? We were standing around, and I thought we came up with this.

cortex: Maybe? I don't remember.

jessamyn: Possibly.

mathowie: Frontalot. The line at Frontalot or something, we came up with this.

cortex: Maybe. I do not remember.

jessamyn: Oh, yeah, yeah, we probably did! Here's my favorite part of it: chococat's birthday and mine are close enough that the Billboard #1 Hit on the day he was born is also the Billboard #1 Hit on the day I was born.

cortex: Sweet.

jessamyn: And he's terrific and good at everything, so yeah.

mathowie: Dude, that Heart of Glass is not too shabby.

cortex: Thank you. I thought it came together pretty well.

jessamyn: I haven't listened to it.

cortex: But, I mean, it's awesome, because this is one of those challenges that kind of pulls people out of the woodwork, and we sidebarred it, was part of the thing, to sort of say, "Hey, go look at!" So we got a few more people who were saying, "Hey, this is my first time posting to Music, but here's a cover of the song on the day I was born!" So yeah, I'm really enjoying it. I think it's coming together really well.

jessamyn: Your Heart of Glass is great.

cortex: Thanks.

mathowie: Was Na Na, Hey Hey really a number one song at one time?

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: Like, was it during hockey season or something?

cortex and mathowie: (chuckle)

jessamyn: It was in 1969, Matt!

mathowie: Huh. Huh.

jessamyn: Not only that, but not_on_display and bondcliff, as I think we've mentioned here before, have exactly the same birthday? Like, day-month-year?

mathowie: Mm.

jessamyn: So they have the same song. So they were going to work on this together, but bondcliff didn't get his shit together, and so...

mathowie: Wow! flapjax is older than I thought, All Shook Up.

jessamyn and mathowie: (chuckle)

mathowie: flap-jax.

jessamyn: Yeah, it is, if you want to talk about how we nefariously gather data from people--

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: --and then conglomerate it to be given to the NSA?

mathowie: Yes, yeah.

jessamyn: It's this kinda shit that everybody thinks about.

mathowie: We make up challenges.

jessamyn: Now we know exactly how old everyone is.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: And we can start going to Denny's and demanding pancakes on their birthday.

mathowie: (laughs) [??] favorites.

cortex: idiopath has been doing some interesting weird live synthesis experiments. They aren't traditionally musical--I mean,

you're not going to put it on at a party, but if you're interested in synth experiments and noise manipulation experiments, it's actually kinda neat stuff. He's been just posting a series of them. And I think the neatest thing about it is that he's going out in public and recording and creating these things in real time, so the one I linked, Laurelhurst, I think, if I remember right, that one's got some conversation between him and some other guy who wandered up being like, "What the fuck is going on here?"

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: You know, it's sort of like spectacle meets sound production, which was kind of neat.

mathowie: Hey!

jessamyn: Hey, Josh, whatever happened to all the music you recorded at MaxFunCon?

cortex: I haven't gotten anything put together from it yet. I need to try and figure that out. I got little bits of people making musical noises, but I haven't sat down and tried to turn it into something yet, because I haven't.

jessamyn: Okay!

cortex: But I will.

mathowie: Wow, this idiopath stuff is a robot fucking a MIDI controller.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Aaah!

mathowie: That's what I said an MRI machine sounds like to me.

jessamyn: I remember that from your Twitter.

mathowie: But wow, this is really just noise.

jessamyn: Well, and here was my question, Matt: sometimes in the MRI machine, do you actually get to listen to something that isn't the MRI machine?

mathowie: Yeah! Yeah, they gave me these specially magnetically-shielded headphones last time.

jessamyn: What?! Goddammit! I just--

mathowie: Yeah, I didn't know... I know! And they're doing my brain! It doesn't make sense, right? Like, you'd want nothing around your head.

jessamyn: Well, and you'd want nothing to be affecting you thinking about anything, maybe, or something. But I guess if they're just looking for a tumor

they just want you to stay put and shut up.

mathowie: Yeah. They don't care. Yeah.

jessamyn: Because I've never gotten to listen to headphones! I just had to sit there.

mathowie: Yeah, they had some special headphones. They had like four machines and they were like, "Oh, today you get the broken machine, so the headphones don't work."

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: And I was like, "Do you think that 70-year-old man cares about his machine? Can we do a swap here?"

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: So that was horrible. But yeah.

cortex: So I wanted to mention one other little thing that I liked. unSane, who posted a couple things on--

jessamyn: One of my favorite MeFites.

cortex: Yeah, and he posted on Music, back when it started, he posted a few things, back in like 2006, and just sort of stopped posting to Music for a while, and he's been posting again recently, and I've been enjoying it. It's a mix of new stuff and stuff from fifteen years ago that he has recordings of. And he posted two versions of this song called "Darker Shade of Blue," and I really like that he's got the two different versions recorded relatively close together, so that you can really compare two different takes on the same thing

for the same person. So I thought that was kind of nice. And I liked the song, too, that doesn't hurt. But yeah.

mathowie: Oh, how was the Shakespeare week?

cortex: Oh, it was great! It was a good time. I saw Twelfth Night, which was well done. I sort of talked about it afterwards with some more Shakespeare-literate nerds, who agreed with my feeling of weirdness that Orsino and Cesario not seeming to really particularly be

interested in each other in the play was sort of weird. Because it's one of those plays where, okay, Twelfth Night, you've got woman comes to town--

jessamyn: Oh, no.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: Dresses up as a man so that she can get close to the count and the... or the countess and the duke, and she ends up being the manservant to both of them, and they both start falling in love with her, even though they're supposed to fall in love with each other, and then it turns out that she's not actually a man, but her twin brother shows up and she thought he was dead--

jessamyn: Euhhh.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: Everybody's happy and they pair off and whoo!

You know, very patented comedy plot.

jessamyn: I don't feel like I understand anything.

cortex: That's okay.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: Anyway, I just felt kind of like--

mathowie: Did Shakespeare come up with Three's Company? Sounds like it.

cortex: Yes, yes. He actually, John Ritter was Shakespeare defrosted.

jessamyn: (underscoring with Three's Company theme) Doo-doo-doo doo doo doo! Doo-doo-doo doo doo doo!

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: But, yeah, that was good, and the Hamlet was great.

mathowie: So was this a special week down there, or is this how it is all summer?

cortex: Yes, this is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

jessamyn: Hello! Shakespeare Festival!

cortex: So they're doing, you know, plays.

mathowie: Is that just one week or is... I thought it was all summer.

cortex: I think it runs all summer long, but this is part of that. I think this is

sort of like, I think it was approximately kicking off. So Twelfth Night may have been technically a preview, or I don't know. Anyway! Saw plays, it was good. Went to the Oregon Caves, that was cool.

mathowie: Sweet.

cortex: Saw some wild animals in cages.

jessamyn: What'd you see?

cortex: The Great Cats World Park? Where there's, they've got like 35 variously endangered cats who are pretty cool.

jessamyn: Is that the cat rehabilitation place?

cortex: Yeah, they do breeding, and they're working cats, so they go out and do shows with them and whatnot as well.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: Well, you know, it's like, here, roar and you get a treat sort of stuff.

mathowie: I'm imagining a kindergarten show--

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: And the lion ripping a child's head off accidentally, and them being like, "What? Well, you wanted a lion in the kindergarten, it's not our fault!"

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: "This is a working lion, that's his job."

cortex: Yeah, I'm not sure that's entirely the work they do, but.

mathowie: He's working it.

cortex: But yeah, no, that was great, and there's a wildlife preserve around there as well,

near Canyonville or something. Near the Oregon Vortex, went to the Oregon Vortex. That was...

jessamyn: Heard you were underwhelmed.

cortex: Yeah, well... yeah. I'm not the target audience, you know.

mathowie: Those things are always [??].

cortex: I'm way too much of a nerdy skeptic and know too much about optical psychology, basically, to be fooled by slanty lines in the background making me think the foreground looks slanty.

jessamyn: Why don't you tell us how it worked?

mathowie: Did you see the ball rolls uphill...?

cortex: (laughs) Yeah, seriously. The way it works is your eyes are stupid--

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: --and they tell you information that's not actually true because your brain wasn't

designed to deal with that, yeah.

mathowie: [??] into a parallax.

cortex: It's, yeah.

jessamyn: It's a trap!

mathowie: [??]

cortex: No, that's the thing. I had a good time, I just didn't want to be a pain in the ass about it on the tour and be like, "Well, actually..."

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: Because, you know, nobody wants to be that guy. But that was a recurring theme: it's tour guides who are used to dealing with kids dealing instead with a small group of adults, and so a lot of the stuff that might sort of work on ten-year-olds, we're all standing around smiling nervously like, "Euhhh! No, we don't think that, because we're adults."

cortex: It's sort of that weird feeling.

jessamyn: I hear that.

cortex: But regardless, good time. And it was nice being away.

jessamyn: Good! Well, we missed you, and we're happy you're back.

cortex: I'm happy I'm back, too.

jessamyn: So! No discussion of Ask Metafilter would be at all useful without the--

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: --"Help me help my friend in DC" giant epic now resolved story about which I don't actually have that much to say, except that it was--

mathowie: I think it just sort of happened right after the last one, I guess.

jessamyn: The last--

mathowie: After the last podcast. So yeah, that just happened.

jessamyn: Yeah. Yeah. fake had friends who were coming to America for jobs, their jobs didn't materialize, they were asked to go somewhere in the middle of the night in a city they weren't in, they decided not to, some Metafilter people helped them out. (pause) fake is now doing his new job on the West Coast, seemingly pretty happy, things have returned to normal, the girls have returned back to Russia,

we got minor media attention very briefly, which seemed okay.

cortex: Augh, yeah. (chuckles)

jessamyn: What do you--?

cortex: The media attention was the worst thing about the whole thing. I was like, uh.

jessamyn: Well, and this is my question, right? This is sort of my larger question. Is it better to just blow those guys off, and let them write stuff that they make up based on stuff on the website, or is it better to talk to them so that you can kind of get your own message out there, but then you have them believing that there's a legitimacy associated with you talking to them.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: I had a really hard time deciding who to talk to and who not to.

cortex: And it's rough, because, I mean, yeah, exactly: once you get the sense that they're going to go with it anyway, that's where the problem exists. As soon as it becomes a media thing, like, they decide, "Okay, I'm going to run with this," then, yeah, you try and maybe find some way to make that work as well as possible but not have someone who's really outside of the situation and doesn't know what's going on fuck things up by trying to get all reporter-y on it with their limited grasp of the situation.

mathowie: You know what's interesting is every year something major happens on Metafilter, and a lot of people will say, "This is such an amazing story of the Internet winning something or doing something amazing I never thought it would. I wish people would write stories about this," like Kaycee Nicole, and whenever we did the scholarship contest way back when. "This is such a good thing! Why don't people write about us?" And then I think in this age of blogginess, I think news journalism is getting more bloggy, where it's like,

whether or not you say anything or interview or consent to an interview, we'll just make a news story that's essentially a blog post about it. Like, we'll just do the legwork for people that don't understand, we'll summarize three threads or something and tell them what happened, with or without your cooperation.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Well, yeah, exactly! And the bigger deal, also, is there's this verifiable versus non-verifiable issue, where at some point I was talking to the guy from Salon, who was nice enough,

you know, new kid, and he had been given this thing. And he's like, "But I need to talk to somebody to verify this," and I'm like, "You're talking to me." You know, but that's not... he needed to talk to, like, a cop.

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Or somebody from one of these organizations, or a lawyer, and we're like, "Well, you can't talk to the cop, and you can't talk to the lawyer," and that was just the end of the story, you know? It didn't matter what I said or what fake said or what kathrineg said, they needed verifiability in a way that we couldn't provide them, and

okay, euh, I guess that's just not going to happen, then, and everybody had to be okay with it. But the guy was like, "Give me somebody, give me (laughs) more people's contact information!" And I was like, "No, I gave you the contact information that I'm going to give you, and no." But they require something else because they kind of need to tell a different story than "something happened on the Internet."

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: At least, that's my take. So, you know.

mathowie: I think in the--

sfx: (sound of something being dropped from mathowie's mic)

mathowie: (mutters) I should stop playing with things over...

jessamyn: What is that noise? Are you playing tiddlywinks?

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: I'm dropping things over my keyboard.

jessamyn: Are they tiddlywinks?

mathowie: No.

jessamyn: (snickers)

mathowie: I was thinking about the closure thread, and like, it's like, the women are safe in Russia now, and it's kind of a bummer they didn't get to spend the summer working in America, and there's, I would say, whatever, a not small percentage, five to ten percent of the people posting

were like, oh, there were issues I had with this, or I was skeptical, or something.

jessamyn: Sure.

mathowie: And I was thinking about it, I was like, if you sum up the number of usernames in the three or four threads about this, there's probably two thousand people that participated at some point to say something.

jessamyn: I mean, 684 people just marked that thread as a favorite.

mathowie: Yeah. And I would say of two thousand people, you know, the opinions are wide-ranging, and even myself, I was kind of surprised, I was totally surprised when I heard

$4000 was raised overnight, what?!

jessamyn: Right. Aaah! Yeah.

mathowie: That's kind of [??]--and then it's weird, anything over a thousand dollars is kind of problematic. It starts to become a large sum of money, and it's hard to get rid of, it's hard to move around at banks, and--

jessamyn: And other people get opinionated about it. It's like fifty bucks for a cab fare.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah. And it's totally understandable, I think that sort of... it's almost, it's kind of impossible to prevent a discussion of money from ever

coming up in a way that's going to make people sort of think, "Well, I'm not sure how we feel about this," which is a totally understandable reaction, it feels like it almost, it's gonna happen once every year or two just because circumstances will happen, and that'll become the new reference and the new refreshening of the sense that oh, well, yeah, this does get weird, and then time will pass and then something will happen. This is the recent reference point, one of the older reference points was the whole u.n. owen thing, years ago.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: As complicated as this has been, this feels like a slightly better reference point as far as that goes. But yeah, it kinda sucks, because there's really legitimate discussions to be had about that, but at the same time, throwing those into the middle of what's otherwise kind of an emotionally engaging situation that isn't really about, "hey, we need to talk about community standards about handling money," yeah, it gets sort of complicated, and that was one of the frustrating things about seeing people wanting, in most cases, people who had concerns or criticism were really just trying to advance that,

and that was fine, and some people reacted badly to that, but then again you had some people who were presenting it badly too, and the whole thing got kind of clusterfucky that I don't think the subject matter itself necessarily needs to be.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: But you throw it into something that's already bustling like that, already has a bunch of people off their feet concerned about what's going on with the girls and with fake.

mathowie: I think the other aspect is we sort of prevented a crime--or, you know, the story is that something

bad could have happened, and it was prevented, and then of course in the aftermath you think--

jessamyn: Well, you can't prove a negative.

mathowie: I know! So, like, "Well, did we?" I think that's the other... I mean, just anyone I showed these threads to, they're always like, "That's a wonderful story. What is up with those five people that are flipping out?" But that's what I'm addressing here.

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: Is like, when you prevent a... I mean, yeah, if you go back in time and kill Hitler, people would probably bitch at you about, "Come on! He wasn't that bad."

jessamyn: "He wasn't that bad."

mathowie: Right.

cortex: "He was a painter! What are you doing?!"

jessamyn: But no, no, I think it's a good argument, though, that you can't, without knowing what's going to happen, different people, just their emotional core, doesn't let them lean too far in one direction or the other, and I think that's really what people are kind of arguing about.

cortex: Well, yeah, and there's the compli--

jessamyn: Like the worst-case... I mean, if you read Ask Metafilter, it's nothing but worst-case scenario versus best-case scenario, and a lot of it has to do with people's gut feeling about what's likely, you know?

cortex: Yeah. You're looking at things probabilistically. You're saying, "What could happen? What could be going on?" And you try and make decisions based on that to reduce worst-case harm. So yeah, I feel like there was sort of conflict [kənˈflɪkt] there between what--

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: Conflict [ˈkɒn.flɪkt]... conflicted [kənˈflɪktəd]. Sort of, in the original thread, people sort of look at fake saying, "Hey, this seems like a bad thing," and some people who were in a position to know looked at it and said, "Hey, that does look like it could be a bad thing,"--

jessamyn: "We'd like to help with this."

cortex: And they're looking at it. Yeah. And they're not saying, "I know for a fact that shit is going down," but they're saying "There's reasonably good reasons to look at this and say this is something to avoid, let's make something else happen here just to be safe." And the notion of helping avoid a potential bad outcome is, it's a good thing. I mean, yeah, like you said, that's kind of what happens with AskMe every day. The fact that people picking it up out on the

Internet started selling it with a nice snappy "Metafilter foils sex trafficking ring," or whatever. That sucked.

jessamyn: Aehhh, yeah.

cortex: I mean, that's what I was saying, when I was bothered by the media coverage, is because, yeah, I mean, it helped nothing to have it running around sensationally, but we can control what happens on Metafilter; we can't control what happens elsewhere on the Internet when people are looking for page hits by [??] headlines.

jessamyn: Although cortex and I both spent time on other blogs being like, "Hi. I'm actually a community manager from that community, and--"

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: "--you know, here's where you have your facts wrong," or whatever.

cortex: Yeah. But yeah. So I can see some people's frustration with the whole narrative thing, but to some extent, and you get frustrated with how people who aren't in the situation are running their mouths on the Internet in order to try and get page hits for that. It's kind of a nightmare trying to hash all that out, and so yeah, that's kinda, I would have preferred if everything had just... if no one had noticed, that probably would have been the ideal outcome in terms of reducing headaches and some of the, even the on-site GRAR that came back out of that from people looking

at the whole situation and how it was sort of blowing up on the Internet, so.

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: It was weird. I'm glad things mostly worked out, but the whole thing was weird.

jessamyn: And just, while we're talking that, the whole loquacious stuff, which also mostly went off-site, is proceeding nicely and thanks to people who helped out with that.

cortex: Oh, yeah. He's doing well by all accounts I've heard from lately.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: And having an actual apartment, a place of his own,

is, I guess, a deeply novel event at this point in his life. So he's doing well.

mathowie: Is he still up in Seattle or something?

cortex: Yeah, he's up in Seattle.

jessamyn: Yep.

mathowie: Okay, cool.

jessamyn: Alright, back to Ask Metafilter!

mathowie: Woohoo!

cortex: Were there other questions?

jessamyn: This was my favorite post, even though it's really recent.

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: It was basically talking about how metaphorical phrases like "Don't drink the Kool-Aid!" which we all take as, you know what that means, actually came from the pretty creepy and horrible Guyana Jonestown

massacre, and so this person angiewriter was wondering if there are other widely-used phrases in America that have their origin in unfortunate historical events, and of course there's a ton of them! Including "going postal", "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic", "tarred and feathered"--

mathowie: [??]

cortex: You can't say tarred.

mathowie: (snickers)

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: I hate you so much.

cortex: I'm a bad person, I'm sorry. I apologize. That was terrible.

mathowie: (laughing quietly)

cortex: (exhales)

mathowie: You could come up with a euphemism for it, that would be funnier. "Asphalt-depraved."

cortex: And anyway, you were saying--

jessamyn: Oh, forget it!

mathowie: (laughs) Carpet-bombing, wow!

cortex: But yeah, it was a really (sound from cortex's mic) interesting thread. I glanced at there and I was like, yeah.

jessamyn: Matt, what are you doing?

mathowie: That wasn't me!

cortex: That was me this time, I knocked over my microphone.

mathowie: (laugh)

jessamyn: Can't you guys just sit in one place?

cortex: No.

mathowie: No, we fiddle.

jessamyn: Alright.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: So, at any rate, I thought the thread was really nice and interesting, and a whole bunch of people said a bunch of really interesting stuff, and I learned a bunch!

mathowie: Wow, "kamikaze". That's a word I just don't think about the original meaning.

jessamyn: Yeah, exactly. "Getting shanghaied".

cortex: What meaning does "kamikaze" have? I mean, I guess you could be sort of nuts [??], but--

mathowie: People say it, like, "Ah, just go kamikaze down that downhill," you know, just gun it.

cortex: You know, I guess. That could work. My dad's a history buff, so it's kind of hard to separate something like military tactics from military tactics, I guess.

mathowie: (chuckles) That'll be your title of your second book.

cortex and mathowie: (chuckle)

mathowie: I don't know what that means. Go!

cortex: I liked this thread as something to favorite and come back to occasionally. "Teach me some great Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Nothing is too obscure." And you know, I swear to God, I've been using Macs the last year or two now, basically, you know, primarily, just because it kinda happened. And yeah, there's all this random little obscure shit that I do know how to do on a Windows box or to some extent on a Linux box that I don't necessarily know how to do in MacOS as far as its GUI stuff. So something like this where I can just pop in and read a couple things out of it and be like, "Oh, hey, I need to do that once every couple months,"
and know that I can slowly accrete knowledge from this thread over time. That's exciting.

mathowie: You know what's the most un-Mac thing about Macs, is the keystroke identifiers. Like, go to any menu and you'll see the keystroke and it's like, "What the hell is a lane change, an up-arrow, a squiggle--?"

cortex: Yeah. Seriously. That's...

mathowie: Someone made a...

jessamyn: Wasn't I talking about this recently?

mathowie: I think we've all talked about how stupid it is. Someone made a dashboard widget that just showed what those four things mean. Like, you just

pull it up with F12, you know.

jessamyn: I should probably draw them on my keyboard!

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: It just occurred to me that I could do that and that would solve--oh, you know what, I've got a Dremel!

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: This is gonna be awesome. Okay. Go on.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: I can just never remember, what does the lane-change one mean? That's Alt, I think... and which one's Option, I don't remember... and then I'm using a Microsoft keyboard, [??] natural.

cortex: Yeah, me too, so it's like you can't even look. You just have to try the same key four or five times.

jessamyn: No, dude, I'm looking and they're not on it! There's the squiggle but there's no apple. I don't know what Option is.

mathowie: [??] these human interface guidelines everyone goes nuts over. How'd they let this happen? Like, augh, it doesn't make any sense.

cortex: Fuckin' Apple.

jessamyn: Not what I'm paying for.

mathowie: Oh, let me see, what are my favorites? Ooh, I loved, there's always a lot of--

jessamyn: Popsicles! Oh, wait, what?

mathowie: I think, oh, yeah. "How to cope without Firefly when you're done with Firefly."

jessamyn: Didn't I have the Best Answer in this thread?

mathowie: I think you had a good one.

jessamyn: No, I had the good answer. Who had the Best Answer?

mathowie: I watched Firefly maybe a year ago, the entire series in a week, and then I was bummed too. I had this exact same feeling, "Augh, that would have been great if it went for four or five years. Oh, the places they could have gone!" So what do you watch after this, and there's just tons of awesome TV shows.

jessamyn: Farscape! Farscape is the answer.

mathowie: Yeah, apparently so.

cortex: Farscape's pretty good. It's not really the same thing, but they're both sort of funny, sort of quirky English-feeling space--

jessamyn: Yeah, I think it's, "if you liked this, you'd like that."

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Like, it's a different kind of show.

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: But yeah, I enjoyed this thread very much also.

mathowie: And I'm surprised people were mentioning Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, because, you know, who hasn't seen that?

jessamyn: I haven't seen it, actually. What is it?

mathowie: There's your--that's what you're doing for the next three hours!

jessamyn: I downloaded Portal, I still haven't played that yet.

mathowie: I haven't either.

cortex: Oh man, you gotta play some Portal.

jessamyn: I know, I've got--

cortex: You've gotta play some Portal and screencap and audio cap the whole thing. Like, wear a headset and simulcast it. Because I want a record

of you playing Portal.

mathowie: FirstPortal.com?

cortex: Exactly, yes.

jessamyn: Because why? Just to watch me doing bad?

cortex: Well, no. It's a very pure sort of puzzle game, it's a very kinetic one, too, and so it's interesting to watch people who are playing it for the first time sort of get their bearings. And the game does a very good job of walking through that process.

jessamyn: Well, I played it before on an Xbox. I just haven't played it on the computer

cortex: Ah. It's much better on the computer.

mathowie: Aw.

jessamyn: Because it hasn't been available for Mac. So I understand it, so maybe it wouldn't be so fun.

cortex: Oh, okay, well, fuck that.

mathowie: I've never played it ever.

mathowie and jessamyn: (laugh)

jessamyn: No, fuck you!

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: I've never played it ever, but I have no patience for puzzles, so I'd probably just throw it away.

jessamyn: It's not too puzzly.

mathowie: Okay.

jessamyn: I mean, I didn't think so, anyhow, and I got through, I don't know, a couple levels. It gets puzzlier.

cortex: Yeah, no, the puzzle aspect of it is all just thinking of how you could use this wonderful ability to create a portal to solve problems that would otherwise be intractable if you were just walking around in an FPS normally. So it's like, given the shape of this room, how--

jessamyn: What? What, what? FPS, what?

cortex: FPS?

jessamyn: [Norbly ?]?

cortex: FPS, normally.

jessamyn: Normally!

cortex: Yes.

jessamyn: Oh, I thought this was some game I didn't know about.

cortex: I'm a little stuffed up.

jessamyn: The FPS Norbly.

cortex: Yes.

cortex and mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: It's like a boat. "Ride with me on the FPS Norbly! We'll go--" Yeah, okay.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: "We'll see the imps of Doom Island!"

jessamyn: "Popsicles!"

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: What's the popsicles? How to make them?

jessamyn: Oh, it's just a how to make good popsicles thread. It's not even that long, but it's a lot of people with advice for really good popsicles.

cortex: Oh.

jessamyn: Homemade bomb pops, how to make a good pudding pop, cucumber-chili paletas [ˈpɑlɛtəz]? paleta [ˈpaɪɛtəz]? I don't even know how to pronounce that word.

cortex: paletas [ˈpaɪɛtəz], I think.

jessamyn: Yeah. They just look great.

mathowie: That's the thing I remember from childhood is Tupperware parties, and there was a Tupperware popsicle-maker set--

jessamyn: Yes!

mathowie: --and every kid seemed to have it.

jessamyn: We had it.

mathowie: But then you just stick juice in there, right? Or you just pour out Kool-Aid or something, and it tastes terrible, and the ice crystals are huge, and it's never quite even close to right. So yeah, this was cool.

The actual...

cortex: Wait, no, I think it's paletas [ˈpɑlɛtəs]. I was thinking of paella [ˈpaɪeɪə]

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: I had some of that [??], and they were very good.

jessamyn: Are you still here?

cortex: I'm just going to keep coming back for the rest of the podcast. Every five minutes or so I'll change [??].

mathowie: Callbacks. Callbacks.

jessamyn: FPS Norbly! (laughs)

Alright. Go ahead. Next.

mathowie: (laughs) We always have these awesome stories of the right person answering the right question. In this question--

cortex: Oh, yeah!

jessamyn: Yes! I loved this!

mathowie: This question was like, "I'd like to know more about this painting I inherited from my grandfather, and it's a painting of a woman sitting, and it was painted in the '50s, '60s."

jessamyn: And everybody's thinking the same thing, right? Like, good fucking luck. That is never gonna happen, it's just some picture.

mathowie: Yeah!

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Someone got, what, like they got the signature, barely, and then someone determined the person died, and then--"Oh, that's my mom!"

jessamyn: "And that's a picture of me."

mathowie: "Of me," yeah. "And what do you want to know?" That was like the best possible answer in the world.

jessamyn: Yes.

mathowie: How on earth did that happen? How did that person find it?

jessamyn: Google Alert is what we think, but nobody knows. (slightly creepy voice) Nobody knows.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: But they didn't even know the full person's name! It's so crazy.

cortex: You should write her a note to say, hey, just curious how that ended up happening.

mathowie: Verily? Yeah, they were like, it kind of says 'Verily'. They didn't even spell it correctly. How on earth did this person find it? So weird.

jessamyn: It's cool.

mathowie: It's so weird.

jessamyn: Hey, along those same random lines, I also enjoyed this post

from recently, which is a lady in Australia who appears to have a book that's so rare she can almost not sell in Australia, and a couple of the book nerds from Metafilter were like, "Wait, what? You really have that? I've never even seen one of those before!" and they have kind of a neat conversation about what to do with super-rare books.

mathowie: Ohh. There's a super, one of the biggest rare book dealers in the world lives less than a mile from me,

and some Metafilter users worked for him.

jessamyn: Maybe you should put that in a comment there? Because she I think is still trying to figure out who to talk to.

mathowie: Yeah. The guy who, like the king, American king of rare books, is like, there are 700-year-old hand-done books.

jessamyn: Drop a note in the thread, dude. She would probably love to hear from you.

mathowie: Down the street from me, yeah.

jessamyn: And it's kind of cool! She lives in New South Wales, Australia and runs a little opal store. The reason I sort of know her is because she did it on the Metafilter Shop for holiday time.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, she does a cute little shop. It's neat.

mathowie: Hm. I guess I'll leave that answer, then. Sweet.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Should we, any other Ask Metafilters?

cortex: I'm spent.

mathowie: Alright.

jessamyn: Wait! Come on!

mathowie: Lightning round!

jessamyn: It's my baby!

cortex: (underscoring, high-tempo) Ba-doo-de-doo-de-doo-de-doo-de-doo!

jessamyn: I can do lightning round! My life is a lightning round! "What could you cut from your life that you didn't think you could cut but that's easy?"

mathowie: And what was the answer? Cable.

jessamyn: It's just a neat... Smoking.

mathowie: I see 'cable' a lot. Cable.

jessamyn: Shaving my legs.

mathowie: (very softly) Cable.

jessamyn: Landline, bottled water.

mathowie: Weed?! Someone said weed. Come on. (chuckles)

jessamyn: What do you mean?

mathowie: I just thought that was one of those things people don't really cut. Space?

jessamyn: Well, that's the thing! You can really tell, right? Like, are you a real pothead, or are you just a recreational smoker. If you're a recreational smoker, it's out the window.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: If you're a pothead, you're like, uh, I'll just turn the refrigerator off a night.

mathowie: (laughs) I like space. Space is a good one.

jessamyn: Space?

mathowie: Yeah. Go to any other country except for America and you'll notice that wow, we have a lot of space. A lot of huge houses, our houses are far apart, everything's just so much space, and sometimes you can get by with a lot less.

jessamyn: Totally. I'm thinking of buying a shack down by the river.

mathowie: (laughs)

jessamyn: It used to be an old saw mill. I'll have to send you guys a picture. It's so awesome.

mathowie: Does it have a wheel outside for the waterwheel?

jessamyn: Not anymore.

mathowie: Wait, that's a milling stone thing. It's not a [??].

jessamyn: Yeah, it's not one of those.

mathowie: Yeah, no, yeah.

jessamyn: But it's like four hundred square feet, which is like half the size of where I live now but it would be super cheap and kinda cool.

mathowie: Sweet.

jessamyn: Yeah. But yeah.

mathowie: Lightning round!

jessamyn: No, I'm done!

mathowie: Oh, okay. That was a quick lightning round. Okay, best--

jessamyn: What do you mean? Nobody else seems to want to play.

mathowie: (laughing) Best Metafilter posts.

jessamyn: (howls)

mathowie: What were your favorite--?

jessamyn: Well, of course, there is the libraries and commercial publishers fighting over contracts, where the University of California basically told Nature Publishing Group that they were going to stop purchasing their titles--

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Because Nature Publishing Group raised their prices over 400%, and it was just kind of interesting, because Nature Publishing Group responded basically being like, "What?! You're just playing hardball because you're trying to negotiate," and University of California came back and were like, "Actually, no, this is total bullshit and please try and discuss with us in good faith what the hell is going on."

But it's one of those great threads that gets all the librarians talking about it (cortex chuckles) and you realize that oh my god, there's a shit-ton of super genius people thinking about this kind of stuff, including one of my favorite comments by librarylis, which is basically, "Hey, I used to work for UC, let me talk about how our contract negotiations work for stuff like this." So for you, if you go to college or if you go to a big library, all you know is you can or can't access Sports Illustrated or Nature or whatever through the databases,
but it's a huge complicated thing to keep track of all the money that's coming in and out, and these contracts change almost every year, and they're going up by 7, 10 percent every year, even though the content is number one, the same, and number two, most of it's contributed by the professors that work for those universities anyhow. So it's really weird that the prices are going up, up, and up.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: It's not like they're paying their authors.

mathowie: Yeah, I was involved in the late '90s in the UC library system through my science program and stuff, and I remember we had our own science library, and the biggest bullshit thing that something like the journal Nature was like twelve thousand dollars a year or something to subscribe for the library. If you want the electric version, it was like nineteen thousand dollars, and we were just aghast at that.

jessamyn: You were like, "What? This saves you money." Exactly. Exactly.

mathowie: Yeah. You ship nothing, and you're charging us more? Like, that makes no sense. You print nothing.

God.

jessamyn: Yeah. So that was totally crazy, but I personally enjoyed as a personal whatever. Now, on to your roguelike thread, cortex.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

cortex: No, actually, this podcast is going to be about Conway's Life. But I'm not ready for that yet! So.

jessamyn: Oh, wait, the Life one! I actually liked that too.

cortex: Yeah. Yeah? Should we just go and talk about that?

jessamyn: Yeah!

cortex: I will mention in passing--

jessamyn: What's this one?

mathowie: How about Jessamyn, you explain it?

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: --Frank Frazetta, before we talk about the Conway's Life thing, Frank Frazetta, classic RPG and fantasy and Conan the Barbarian-era stuff, artist--

jessamyn: Did he die?

cortex: He died. He passed away recently.

jessamyn: Nobody put 'obit' or 'obituary' in the tags. I'll do that now.

cortex: Oh, yeah, go add that. But anyway, he was one of the giants, he inspired a lot of good artists and probably a lot more really bad artists, but he himself is definitely one of the

[??] classics of the whole genre, so. RIP, Frank. But yeah, for people who don't know that they know him, you probably know him, you just don't know that he's the guy who painted those things that you saw.

cortex: But yes! Conway's Life. Life begets life is this thread from a couple weeks ago that me and FishBike are still merrily (chuckling) yelling at each other at in.

jessamyn: (chuckles)

cortex: Anyway, someone found, Conway's Life probably has come up before, I'll maybe try and find a couple links to throw in the thread for this, but it's a very simple

little math game that yields a very, very complex behavior out of a very tiny rule set about when to turn on or turn off a given tile on the grid. And someone found a really, really impressively complicated structure that actually slowly rebuilds itself over a period of 34 million generations, essentially turns of the game of Life. And it's, you know, a computer runs these turns for you, so it's something where you can run it and
check back on it. But it's this giant spaceship, in parlance, that builds itself several thousand tiles away over a period of 34 million iterations of this rule set. Which is a really kind of impressive thing in its own right, but it also does some other impressive things, including moving on a diagonal line that is not a true diagonal, which is theoretically possible but no one has ever built something that actually does that before, so--

jessamyn: It's not over one, up one, meaning.

cortex: Yeah, exactly. Everything else, all known spaceships before this in Life moved either orthogonally--you know, up, down, left, right--

jessamyn: And by spaceships he means these little creatures, and by Life he means this game.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: When was this developed? Was this like in the '50s or something, this actual...?

cortex: Conway put together the rule set that's known as Life and it gets referred to as Life or Conway's Life back in late '60s, I think? It was like some time in the late '60s he came up with this rule set and there was this explosion of interest from nerds who were like, "Wow, that's amazing," and people put a lot of effort into it.

You see a lot of work coming in like 1970 or so. It's based on an older idea developed by computer science giant John von Neumann back in the '40s, I think.

mathowie: Oh, right.

cortex: But Conway's was where it sort of got interesting. von Neumann came up with it as an idea to solve a problem, and he built this extraordinarily complicated way to deal with it that also didn't produce very interesting behavior in its own right. Conway's is much simpler and holy shit, all this cool stuff has come out of it. People have built a Turing machine, a functional Turing machine, in Conway's

Life, which means you could in theory, very, very slowly, run an arbitrary computation within the confines of the Life universe itself, which means you could in principle build a Life simulation within Life, which is just ridiculous.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: But that's kinda how neat and powerful this very simple system is, so. And this discovery that this guy made recently is really, really fucking awesome, so.

jessamyn: And if you find Life confusing, like I did, you can read JHarris's completely useful comment.

cortex: Yes!

jessamyn: In the thread, which explains it in teeny words that bears of very small brain can understand.

cortex: Yeah, no, his comment was great. I don't know if I said this in the thread or not, but it's basically the comment I would have wanted to write if I had been a little more on explaining it well. But he was already up on it, and he explained it really well, and so it's awesome.

jessamyn: And it really helps you understand why everybody who's saying, "Oh my god, they're excited," is excited, because otherwise it's, I mean, I tried to read the post, and it's a link to a forum--

cortex: Yeah, the post is really impenetrable. It's, yeah.

jessamyn: And you're like, bluhbluhbluhbluhdebluh?

cortex: It's like walking into a bar room conversation between astrophysicists. It's like, you can't really sidle up and really get what they're (chuckling) talking about, [??].

jessamyn: Oh, come on. Or like World Wrestling Federation fans. There's nothing high-end about it.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

cortex: The point is, they're talking almost entirely in jargon.

jessamyn: Yes.

cortex: And it's like jargon derived from lower-level jargon--

jessamyn: Yes.

cortex: And if you don't even know the lower-level jargon, it's like "What the fuck are you guys talking about?

jessamyn: Yes. But it made me very happy too and I really liked that post.

cortex: Yeah. And the thread was fun.

jessamyn: The other--oh, Matt?

mathowie: Umm....

jessamyn: I have another one if...?

mathowie: Shoot.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: My favorite--

mathowie: I'll go lightning round with four or five.

jessamyn: Okay. This is by hat, and it's very funny because it's by the username hat, and it's sort of a filthy light thief-style post, who then, filthy light thief makes the first comment.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: But it's essentially called The Man in the Rockefeller Suit, which may be a big deal to me because a lot of this happened in Massachusetts

in 2008. But it's this guy who was a Rockefeller, allegedly, who kidnapped his daughter, like, it was a spousal custody kind of issue. And then it came to light that he wasn't who he said he was, and maybe he was actually wanted for a murder in California, and he had lived in a whole bunch of diff--and it turns me into a catch me while you can kind of thing, where the guy, who's now in prison, but who's getting out rather soon on
kidnapping charges, actually has lived in America under assumed names being vaguely sketchy. But kind of, it's one of those "weaseled his way up into the highest levels of society!" kind of stories, and the post is just really, really good. Like, it's got a good linear narrative, it sort of explains what the big deal is, it links to some video including Boston Globe exclusive interview in the jail with the guy, and
it's terrific. It's terrific, terrific, terrific. And the guy was married for years, and his wife had no idea that he used to be from Germany and a whole bunch of other stuff. She assumed a whole bunch of stuff about him that, you know, she just kind of assumed. I'm trying to think if anybody mentions it in the thread, where when the cops actually showed up to her place and were like, "Hey, can you give us his driver's license number?" and she's like,
"Oh, he doesn't have one." "Do you know if he has a Social Security number?" "No." "Is he on your tax returns?" "No." Like, she didn't have any information that could have verified this guy's identity, and yet she'd been married to him for eight years or whatever. So. Very good post, very interesting story, and it's one of those kind of meaty links posts that I actually spent a lot of time reading a lot of stuff about.

cortex: Yeah, no, that's crazy. That's... being away from the site mostly for a week is really weird, because all of a sudden there's this black hole in what is otherwise fairly decent

situational awareness of everything that's going on on the site on any given day.

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: So, yeah, it's like, I saw this, actually, in passing, at one point, but it was like, there's no way I can read this right now, so.

jessamyn: Yeah. It was terrific. As somebody who lived in Massachusetts, or lived near Massachusetts, when all the Boston kidnapping stuff was going on, you know, at first you thought it was a straightforward kidnapping, and then you thought it was a straightforward parent kidnapping, and then it turned out the guy was a total freaking creepy weirdo, and you're like, "Oh my god, this is really interesting,"

and hat put together a really terrific post on it.

mathowie: And he was dean. Oh, he buried someone in a backyard in Southern California, and I love this, he blamed plumbing woes. That's what you tell neighbors.

cortex and mathowie: (laugh)

jessamyn: Right. [??] he was digging up his whole backyard in this totally sketchy way.

mathowie: Yeah. And that they'd found a skeleton back there. Wow, that's crazy.

jessamyn: Yeah, and these people were like, "Oh, we're going to another country for a couple years, see ya!"

mathowie: Geez.

jessamyn: And then never... and then vanished. Just totally vanished.

mathowie: That's weird.

Here's my lightning round of favorites.

jessamyn: Great!

mathowie: Let me copy and paste like a madman.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: FEMINIST HULK cracks me up to no end. I hope it's not offensive to anyone or anything. It is funny as shit. That was my favorite Twitter account going these days. Check it out, that's just sort of a pointer to it.

There was a big Reggie Watts post, which was awesome. Reggie Watts was like--

jessamyn: I used to see Reggie Watts play in Seattle! That was so great. I loved that post.

mathowie: Yeah, he opened in the Conan tour, and I've heard him on Sound of Young America's stuff, and he just does really out there experimentally, like, he'll make sound out of a loop thing live on stage and do these weird songs, and he's funny, even, so you can never even tell what's going on, or if shit has even started. He just goes on stage and starts half-babbling, and the music starts. I guess this whole post is hinged on his Google talk, which is apparently terrible.

I haven't put in the hour to watch it, but a lot of people said, I think it's the least favorite thing they've seen him do. But the other links in the post are awesome, like, his performances and stuff are all linked. And he's got a new album out that's really funny, too. Let me see, the NPR thing, did you see the NPR satirical video they made about themselves?

jessamyn: I don't read anything about NPR.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: Just watch--this is sort of like a, it was an introduction to someone coming to speak at some conference, and it's sort of just total gag reel of something like

David Letterman's writers would have made for NPR, like mocking NPR. It's just amazing. Super funny. (higher pitch) Super funny!
This was the most interesting post I've ever seen about cars lately. How the U.S. Government built the safest car ever 35 years ago--

jessamyn: Come on! I didn't even read that because I thought it was going to be crazy. Was it good?

mathowie: No, it was awesome! No, yeah!

jessamyn: Alright. Alright!

mathowie: If you follow it--

jessamyn: I like Jalopnik a lot, actually, despite myself, almost. Sorry, go on.

mathowie: We truly, yeah, there was this, the whole background's amazing. It was like in the early '70s, all these people were dying, nobody wore seatbelts, seatbelt usage was less than 5% or something, it was just terrible, and then so the government had this whole program to get the best scientists around trying to make a perfect car. It's pretty ugly of a car, but it's got--

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: I think it's handsome.

mathowie: It's got everything in it! I mean, it's got airbags and just crumple zones, everything just eons before, and then strangely enough,

it's just like the electric car. They're like, it's not only the program shut down, everything's destroyed.

jessamyn: So it never happened. Never happened.

mathowie: Yeah, so nobody ever saw this, but then somebody found two of the cars left over, and that's sort how this story came to light. This weird shit you didn't know. I mean, this is the stuff you think happens, right? "Oh, the CIA covers up stuff." But yeah, we made stuff like that.

This came up--I think it was double-posted several times--how would you say this? Mukhtar [ˈmʊkˌtɑɹ]? Guy's birthday, bus driver's birthday, and it's like this giant Improv Everywhere...

jessamyn: I never saw this. What is this?

mathowie: Oh, watch this video, it'll make you smile. It's just a--

jessamyn: I'm already smiling!

cortex: (chuckles) It will make you die.

jessamyn: (laugh cut short)

mathowie: It's a bus driver's birthday, and like a hundred and fifty people basically wish him a happy birthday super secretly, just all in collusion.

jessamyn: On the bus? What country is this? Copenhagen.

mathowie: Yeah. Is it Denmark? Yeah.

jessamyn: I'm probably saying that wrong.

That looks like that girl from Pamplemousse!

mathowie: Yeah. Pamplemousse.

And then the first Ugandan skate park just made me smile. That's just awesome having a real skate park in the middle of the dirt. Like, there's no pavement around, and they've built a skate park in Uganda, that was just awesome. And there's an awesome photo series of the skaters there. That just makes me happy that they have enough stability of free time to be able to skateboard.

jessamyn: Oh, dude, sweet!

mathowie: [??] a luxury.

jessamyn: Yay, Ugandan skate park!

mathowie: Alright, I'm done.

jessamyn: That was pretty good.

cortex: I have one other from the blue.

jessamyn: Uh-oh. I'm watching this video.

cortex: I Am Sitting In A Video Room, and it's just a...

mathowie: Oh, that was cool!

cortex: Yeah, it's a YouTube treatment of an old experiment album Lucier did back in, I want to say it was the '60s, but I could be off by any number of years.

mathowie: Xeroxing.

jessamyn: (laughs)

cortex: Anyway, the idea is, he takes a video, and then he keeps re-encoding it by re-uploading it to YouTube, and then downloading that and uploading it over and over again. And you see the sort of systemic decay of both the audio and the video feeds as he gets various numbers of generations into it.

mathowie: More and more artifacts.

cortex: It's really great! It's a really simple thing you can watch and get really easily what's going on there.

mathowie: This is the visual equivalent of running the same text from English to Japanese to English to Japanese to English--

cortex: (chuckles) Sort of.

mathowie: Like, how bizarre it gets over time.

cortex: Sort of. Well, yeah, it's the notion of, it's essentially lossy compression--

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: --and actually, when you have an imperfect translation or compression and how, yeah, you lose information over time, but what you end up with afterwards, what sort of noise gets introduced, what sort of information does get retained even when you roll over it again and again. So if you watch the end videos--

mathowie: I just watched the end one. Yeah, I just watched the end one, and the--

cortex: --you can still sort of see what's going on there, is part of the [puzzle ?] thing.

mathowie: The video's cool, the audio is the stuff of nightmares. (chuckles)

cortex: Yeah, the audio goes bad fast. YouTube does not take very good care of audio when it transcodes, because it doesn't need to.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: I mean, YouTube's not planning to transcode stuff in such a way that after a thousand generations it's good, it just needs it to look good enough after one generation, you know.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: That's as far as it goes, so. But yeah, I thought that was really neat. I've always liked the original audio experiment, which was the same thing, just literally with a microphone and a speaker in the room and Alvin just ran that through again and again and again, and eventually it becomes this weird

surreal sort of harmonic thing instead of anything that sounds like a person talking per se, so.

mathowie: And this was a staple of graphic designers in the late '80s and early '90s, too. Like, grungify your fonts, was like literally--

cortex: (chuckles)

jessamyn: Oh, god, I remember that.

mathowie: Like, literally print it out, scan it, print it out, scan it in, until it gets grungier and grungier and then [??].

cortex: Yeah. And someone mentioned in the thread, I think, that photocopiers have gotten too good, that's all fucked up now because you just get slightly crappier photocopies.

mathowie: Yeah. You need like an '80s photocopier. Anything left on your plate, Jessamyn?

jessamyn: No, I was just done watching the video of the bus driver and (laughing) everyone wishing him a happy birthday.

mathowie: Yeah, that was joy.

jessamyn: It was delightful.

mathowie: Alright.

jessamyn: No, I don't think so. Let me double-check. I'll check my favorites. Hey, I've made exactly 1300 favorites.

cortex: Oh, let me mention the--

jessamyn: Oh, no!

cortex: No, no, just a MetaTalk thing that I mentioned earlier but may have mentioned it before we actually hit record, but the "follow me on Tumblr" MetaTalk thread where a whole bunch of people--

jessamyn: Oh, right.

cortex: --linked their Tumblr blogs, from where I first saw Look At This Tiny Thing, et cetera. So yeah, it's kind of neat if you're looking for--

mathowie: I feel like an old man with Tumblr.

cortex: Yeah?

mathowie: Because I hate--

jessamyn: It's like, what are the kids doing today?

mathowie: No, no, I hate having another inbox over on Tumblr to have to read through through their own Tumblr interface, so I subscribe to RSS feeds of Tumblrs I like, but I feel like

an old man using a broken technology.

cortex: See, I don't use RSS at all still, because it doesn't really do anything useful for me.

mathowie: Whaat?

jessamyn: See, I don't read Tumblr at all.

cortex: I go to places and read the things at those places when I feel like reading those things, and I get more than enough--

jessamyn: No wonder you're so inefficient. You're inefficient!

cortex: Euhh! Euhh! I'm perfectly efficient.

mathowie and jessamyn: (chuckle)

cortex: For certain definitions of 'perfectly' and 'efficient'.

mathowie: I'm just--

jessamyn: Did you say "'inefficient'" or "and 'efficient'"?

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: It's the ambiguity, the ambiguity makes it more fun, I think. Let's just leave it there.

jessamyn: The ambiguity keeps me up at night.

mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)

mathowie: I heard someone use 'irregardless' last week. It just seriously cracked me up.

jessamyn: Is that not a word?

mathowie: (chuckles) It's not.

cortex: It's a word. It's a disfavored variant. It's totally a fucking word.

mathowie: 'Regardless' is the word.

cortex: I did a giant blog post about this once!

mathowie: Gotta hate this--

jessamyn: Did you?

mathowie: --when people you've known for years have a secret Tumblr blog.

cortex: I did. About people using 'irregardless' on Metafilter? I'll go find it.

jessamyn: Who has a secret Tumblr blog?

mathowie: bluishorange has a Tumblr blog, I had no idea.

cortex: Yeah! Yeah, she totally does.

mathowie: Everyone has a secret Tumblr blog, I have no idea. That's like a going thing.

jessamyn: I have a secret Tumblr blog.

mathowie: Aughh.

jessamyn: Do you want to see it? It's great.

mathowie: Is that (chuckling) jessamyn.tumblr?

jessamyn: I think so. (pause) Now I don't even remember where it is.

mathowie: Oh my god.

jessamyn: Yeah!

mathowie: Brandon Bird did a new painting of Nic Cage and a monkey. Sweet!

cortex: Yay! (chuckles)

jessamyn: It's got three posts.

cortex: It's not a very good secret.

mathowie: (muttering while typing) Tumblr.

jessamyn: What? It was a secret until just now I've decided to share this with you!

cortex: Well, but I'm saying it's not a very... yes, but I'm saying it's not a very good...

jessamyn: And that's how you treat me?

mathowie: From last year?

cortex: I'm just saying that it'd be kind of fine to...

jessamyn: What? No, it's from years ago.

mathowie: Oh, okay.

jessamyn: Don't I have some usernumber so that I can argue with you about who's got more indie cred?

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: No, they don't even put the year on things. Like, come on.

jessamyn: Ohhh.

mathowie: It just says July, and I assume that's last year.

cortex: You can actually modify stuff to...

jessamyn: To make it look like you've been there for longer?

cortex: Oh. Oh, that's what you're... I'm sorry, I misunderstood what you meant.

jessamyn: I don't understand what you mean, as usual.

mathowie: (chuckles)

cortex: Hey, look, it's Nic Cage and a monkey.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: This is like March 24th a long time ago.

mathowie: But it said July, so I assumed that was last year, but yeah.

jessamyn: No, it was like four years ago.

mathowie: Oh, yeah.

jessamyn: I use it as an example of how people can set up blogs with RSS feeds so that they can use that RSS feed to feed it into their Wordpress or something like that.

mathowie: Ohhh. You should show them that Posterious or whatever it's called, that crazy simple--

jessamyn: What's the difference between Posterous and Tumblr?

mathowie: Tumblr, I don't know, Tumblr is a hipster from Brooklyn, and I hate to even (chuckling) say that sentence. No. Tumblr is like this thing that's highly honed to microblogging, like something funny from Twitter or an image from Flickr, or, like, it's good at grabbing content from one other place and dropping it in in a post.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: And it's really good about reblogging and reblogging and reblogging and quoting. So it's like, it's a junk drawer, but highly organized.

cortex: And really quick to use.

jessamyn: Uh-huh.

mathowie: And what's that other thing called, Posterous?

cortex: Posterous?

jessamyn: Posterous.

mathowie: Posterous is just like the brain-dead simplest blogging tool in the world, like you can just e-mail, I mean, you can sign up--

jessamyn: Aren't they the same? They're the same thing, though! Yes? No?

cortex: I've never used Posterous, so I don't really know.

mathowie: Posterous seems like it's more geared towards the simplest blogging possible. It's not really highly organized, you know, it's not... Tumblr is like a very specific thing. It's made for snippets of cool--

jessamyn: Blogging, reblogging and comments and stuff.

mathowie: And snippets of cool shit you find, you know. I don't understand--

jessamyn: But isn't that exactly what Posterous is for?

mathowie: Posterous is like--

jessamyn: I mean, I'm not trying to argue with you, but it seems to me that they're the same thing, with a different name, like, the identical same thing.

mathowie: I think they've sort of copied a lot of this stuff. I think Posterous started out as the simplest way to, like, you could just start a blog with a single e-mail, and it had a new URL--

jessamyn: Yeah. Yeah.

mathowie: You could make five posts and never post again and just show that page to people.

jessamyn: That's what I do.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Hey, here's a picture of my mom in Posterous!

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: That's kinda weird. Alright.

mathowie: Sounds like it could have been... it could have gone really badly.

jessamyn: Tsssh. Not with my mom. She helped write the lyrics to my jingle!

mathowie: Oh, cool.

jessamyn: Heheh. The good lyrics, they're all hers.

mathowie: (chuckles)

jessamyn: The one about the choo-choo train, that's hers.

cortex: (chuckles)

mathowie: Adam Savage had a best answer in something?

jessamyn: Of course he had a best answer in something!

mathowie: Well, I just don't know if he even still comes back here. Oh, parabolic reflectors.

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: Parabolic reflectors, he probably has a Google Search Alert for that.

jessamyn: I saw him answering something else, too. I see him on Ask Metafilter from time to time.

mathowie: His Archimedes death ray. Alright, I think--

cortex: Yeah, I actually saw him on TV the other day.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: (mutters) I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

mathowie: Apparently he still does that. Alright, I am off to lunch.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: Lunch?!

mathowie: This has been great. Yeah, it's 12:30.

jessamyn: I'm going to the post office. I'm mailing my sister a picture of a lizard skeleton, because Ask Metafilter couldn't find an x-ray of a llama.

mathowie and cortex: (laugh)

mathowie: Something at the crime lab? They killed a llama?

jessamyn: I know! Well, she likes llamas and I wanted to find her a head x-ray and then frame it for her, but it's actually really hard to get one of those.

mathowie: That's because they spit and they don't sit still during the x-ray process?

jessamyn: Because the only people who have them are veterinarians, who won't give them to you because there's a whole privacy issue with it, but they've gotta find--

cortex and mathowie: (laugh)

cortex: Wouldn't want to violate the llama's privacy.

mathowie: Oh, there's a HIPAA? (chuckles)

jessamyn: But then you've gotta find a llama person who has a llama, and I have friends with llamas, who have then

also had to have their llamas x-rayed, to get their permission.

mathowie: Augh.

jessamyn: I know.

mathowie: So here's what you do. It's like the McDonald's french fry story--

jessamyn: Don't punch a llama in the face!

mathowie: (chuckles) That was that McDonald's french fry story, when someone was trying to get uncooked frozen french fries from McDonald's to perfect the frying process at home, it was this cooking blog nerd. They made up a fake scavenger hunt, with fake things they have to get, and it was for a charity, and they came up with a whole story, so.

You should just go into, like, break into a, just walk into a--

jessamyn: But that's lying!

mathowie: It's, uh, creative!

jessamyn: (laughs)

mathowie: It's for a good cause. You just go, "Oh my god--"

jessamyn: You can do it if you're a hipster!

mathowie: "I'm totally halfway done with my scavenger hunt to help cancer kids, like, if you could just give me, I need a, what it says, an x-ray of a llama. I mean, I don't know what the chances are, but..."

cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)

jessamyn: They're like, "Let me Google it. Hey, somebody on Ask Metafilter was looking for one!"

mathowie: (chuckles) Yeah, exactly.

Okay, cool.

jessamyn: Yeah, in fact, when you type "llama x-ray" into Google, the number one thing you get is my post.

mathowie: (typing) x-ray. Oops.

jessamyn: (sighs) Alright, guys! Nice talking to you, as always.

cortex: It was a pleasure.

mathowie: Alright, see ya.

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic)

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic, continued)

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic, continued)

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic, continued)

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic, continued)

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic, continued)

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic, continued)

sfx: (Music: In Your Face (demo) by frenetic, end)

Credits

  • beryllium, 199 segments
  • Pronoiac, 1