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Podcast 60 Transcript
A transcript for Episode 60: "Quakes and QWOP."
jingle: (theme music)
mathowie: Welcome to episode 60 of the Metafilter Podcast. This week, we're doing something a little bit different, and we're starting off with a bunch of calls from mefites from Japan. It's all been recently. So here we go:
bugbread: Hey Metafilter. This is bugbread, checking in from Okinawa.
- I stopped reading Metafilter when I got a real job that required me to work all day instead of browsing the net, but the earthquake situation brought me back, because Metafilter's a great place to get information. There are a lot of sites with a lot more detailed information that explain how everything's bad and getting worse, and a lot of sites with great information that say that everything's bad but getting much better, and Metafilter is good because it's kind of like Metacritic. Not everybody agrees--nobody ever agrees--but the general trend,
- if everybody seems to tilt towards things being worse, then they probably are and if everybody seems to tilt towards things being better, then they probably are. And I don't know when I'm going to get back to Tokyo, but to figure that out, every morning I wake up, I check Metafilter, then I check the Japanese news, and then I check the Internet news, in that order.
- As far as the earthquake itself, can't really say much about it. It was pretty strong and scary where I live but not much actual damage. Right in front of our house is our kids' nursery school, and it was pretty much right after nursery school got out,
- so we ran outside, and there were a lot of other moms and kids there. At first the moms were all trying to keep their kids from panicking, reassuring them, telling them, "It's going to be okay, don't worry!" After a minute or so of shaking it became really clear that the kids weren't worried at all. They were having a ball. It was like the ground had turned into a big amusement park ride for them. So the parents switched from telling them, "It's going to be okay, don't worry!" to "Don't run out in the street! What if a car was coming? You could get hit!" So for us the earthquake's really been more about the nuclear situation than the quake itself.
- There isn't really widespread panic. There's a lot of panic buying, but if you look at people's faces they don't look incredibly worried, they're not rushing around. It's kind of a calm everybody doing earthquake preparation at the exact same time deal. That said, here in Okinawa, at every place that we've stayed, all of the other guests have been people who've left the Tokyo or Kantō area because of the earthquake situation or the nuclear situation. So there is a bit of
- flight from Tokyo.
- Anyway, that's about it for me. Thank you very much, Metafilter.
armage: Hello, this is armage. I live in Tokyo, and I'm calling to tell you a little bit about what the earthquake has been like here in Japan. I was on the 22nd floor of a building in central Tokyo, and the shaking was pretty crazy. It was actually two strong earthquakes, one after, within about 30 minutes
- of each other. And after the first one I ran down to a park across the street from my building with my colleagues, wearing my emergency earthquake helmet, like everybody else in Tokyo has. Then the trains stopped and we all had to walk home. I was particularly lucky, I only had to walk about an hour and a half to get home, but some of my friends had to walk four hours. People who lived in Shiba, which is a little bit to the east of Tokyo, had to walk seven or eight hours home.
- It's been about three weeks since the earthquake. There are still shortages of bread and milk, things like that, but people are in generally good spirits. The nuclear power plant is a worry, but most people are keeping down [?] the news and being pretty calm in terms of making decisions. Water, obviously, is kind of in short supply these days. But there's really nothing to be worried about
- as far as I'm concerned. People in Tokyo really want foreign tourists to really come back and spend money in Japan. That will really help things out here, I think. Thanks.
woodblock100: woodblock100 checking in here! Or perhaps I should be changing my username to Pollyanna or something like that, because my family and friends overseas are getting a kind of disconnect between the awful things they see in their
- news reports and my constant reassurance that here in Ōme at least, life is pleasant and peaceful. The scale of the tragedy up north is completely incomprehensible. Now that there's time for it, newspeople are digging out many of the personal interest stories, and they're unbearable. Which is worse, for an entire family to be killed by the tsunami, or for just one of them to be spared, to spend the next weeks hunting through the rubble for the others?
- So for the Metafilter friends who are overseas, please, don't spare a split second being worried about me, or the rest of us who weren't in that region. Our problems are manageable: sitting through power cuts with a lantern in their room, or watching news about the slow but inevitable progress on getting the reactors under control. It's the people who lived up north who need your support, and who will do for a very, very long time to come. If you can find a way to help them, please do so. Thanks for this, Matt.
gen: Hello, Metafilter. This is gen--my username is G-E-N--and I've been a long-time Metafilter member since early 2001. And I moved, I'm originally from New York City, but I moved to Tokyo in 2003 where a majority of my family is; my parents are Japanese
- and most of my extended family is in Japan. So I've been in Japan since 2003, and Matt asked for some comments from Metafilter users in Japan, so I thought I'd share some thoughts. I'm going to read from an e-mail that I sent out to a couple of friends recently and then just talk a little bit additionally about my experience. This was written
- a few days after the initial quake.
- (reading from e-mail) The Friday quake was tremendous. We now know that it was a magnitude 9.0, and I wasn't here in 1995 for the Kobe earthquake, but this quake in 2011 was much longer, well over two minutes of just tremendous shaking. You really couldn't even stay on your feet. Many of you may live in California and may have experienced
- Northridge. I don't know how this earthquake compared to the Northridge quake, but we now know that this 2011 Tōhoku quake in northern Japan was number 5 on the list of all-time worst quakes. So I don't think that there are many people who have experienced anything much worse than this. There's been a lot written about this, but I do think it's important
- to reiterate that I think that there wasn't really any significant damage done to buildings, certainly in the Tokyo area, but even many of the buildings further north, is pretty significant. I think it's a testament to the strict laws around quake-resistant construction and Japanese engineering. Of course I think a lot of the devastation that we see on the TV
- in northern Japan, a lot of it is tsunami-related and not necessarily directly quake-related. For those of you who have been watching the news, you know that there have been hundreds and hundreds of aftershocks, some as large as a magnitude 7, which would be significant quakes on their own, but of course pale in comparison to the 9.0 on the 11th.
- On Saturday and Sunday after the quake, there were the first two explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor. I was watching the news very carefully. From what I heard in the news, I was okay with the first two--I mean, I was not comfortable with it, but I understood why the first two explosions happened. On the first Tuesday after the quake, there was an early morning explosion
- at reactor 3, and the news explained that that was an explosion of a different nature. And at that point I made a decision to move our family west to Kobe, where I have a lot of extended family. The bullet train that we took to Kobe from Tokyo was busy on Tuesday at noon, and certainly lots of families with children.
- Other friends of mine who flew west from Haneda Airport to Kobe and other parts of Japan further west from Kobe reported that they had never seen a plane filled with so many families with children. The utility in question, as now has been widely reported, TEPCO, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has had a long history of cover-ups of
- the security problems and misreporting and whatnot. And that was one of the reasons why I made the decision to move my family when I did. In 2002 the CEO and other executives stepped down after cover-ups were uncovered, and I think the level of trust with them is very, very low in Japan. Clearly they have
- botched the recovery of the plant, so much so that the Japanese government had to step in a few days after and take over the situation. And as things stand here, Monday morning on the 28th, two weeks after the event, clearly things are still not anywhere near under control. As we have heard from the Japanese prime minister,
- this is Japan's biggest disaster and challenge situation since the end of World War II. I think on top of the quake and the tsunami and the reactor and all the fallout--not necessarily literal, but some literal--surrounding this whole series of events,
- on top of all that Japan has a significant amount of debt that leaves Japan with fewer options than if we didn't have this debt. I think, that said, if I try to take the glass half-full perspective, I hope that this catastrophe will be the force for change that I think Japan has lacked in the past two-plus decades to enable
- a new direction for Japan. I know that we'll never get back those people that we lost, and that rebuilding will take decades or maybe even longer, but Japan is a very resilient people and country. And I think we have to be hopeful. That's all we really can be.
- Japan will be forever changed by this event, this series of events. I think it has been or will be one of those events, much like 9/11 in the US, that will forever change the nature of a nation.
sfx: (Music: vampire deer - silence by pyramid termite)
sfx: (Music: vampire deer - silence by pyramid termite, continued)
mathowie: Should we just do Jobs, Projects, et cetera? Or South by Southwest recap?
jessamyn: Oh God, South by South recap.
jessamyn: It was exhausting, it was completely exhausting. There was a giant earthquake while we were all away, and we ate a lot of food and tried to find our friends in South--in Austin, Texas forever. That's my recap. My talk went well, I saw both your talks, they were awesome.
- I was really happy that we got see each other's talks. What about you guys? Josh, you were on kind of vacation, right?
cortex: Yeah, kinda. Yeah, a little--yeah, I went down and Angela came with, and so we made a long weekend of it, of sort of bumming around and doing our own thing and... it was kind of nice as sort of a do-over, because last year was so overwhelming but I was sort of following you guys around, and this year I was more like, "Hey, I'm the one who knows--very, very slightly--about Austin."
cortex: "Let me show you around, honey."
cortex: And yeah. So we had a good time.
jessamyn: Did Angela have a good time? I mean, every time I saw her she seemed to be, but you know, who knows, maybe she was being polite.
cortex: Yeah, no, she had a good time, we both had a good time. It was a combination of interesting and exciting and lots of neat panels and good food but also just exhausting and stressful--
cortex: --because it really is like, you know, don't really know the town, and trying to figure out how to make different scheduling stuff work, and so... yeah, it was sort of a rollercoaster as far as the overall experience. But overall I think it was a good time, so.
jessamyn: And the Metafilter meetup was terrific.
cortex: Oh, yeah.
jessamyn: And we signed up some new members, and it was really cool to see so many people coming out, and I got put up with Metafilter people, so I stayed with whatnot for the first part of it and then immlass and her husband is a brand-new member whose username I can't remember, and they were both terrific also. So that's my little shout-out to the nice people who put me up and put up with me.
cortex: On that front, big shout-out to pineapple, who actually drove--
jessamyn: Oh, good gracious!
cortex: We couldn't get into a flight into Austin at any reasonable sort of hour, so we actually flew into Dallas and she drove us the three-and-half hours down to Austin, because that's a drive she makes [?] anyway because she's a person who lives in Texas and drives between places a lot.
cortex: But she totally did that, and it was awesome! And I've known her a little bit via Metafilter and such, but actually meeting the person and getting a three-and-a-half hour driving tour of
- the--well, the nothing between Austin, Dallas--
jessamyn: (laugh) Jackrabbits.
cortex: But still, yeah, so it was a good time. So fuckin' A, pineapple, you rule.
mathowie: I like how the meetups are--new member acquisition is the thing at meetups.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh) jessamyn: Well, because I'm there with my phone now, right? So somebody's there with their lurker boyfriend--or boss, I think, in this case, or husband--and I was like, "Well, let me just sign you up right now!" So, yeah.
mathowie: Oh, I never said what South by Southwest was like. It's awesome, it was crazy (jessamyn laugh), I was only there for what,
- 48 hours, or a little bit more--
jessamyn: Yeah. And you wrote a post about it, too, so you can link to that.
mathowie: Yeah. That was fast, it was great that it was fast, it sucked that it was fast so I couldn't stay for another day or two, but I probably would have went nuts by that time. But how many panels did you guys actually see per day? I think I averaged... so three days I was there during panel time, I think I saw an average of two panels in an entire day.
jessamyn: I think I saw one or two, but I wasn't kinda going to see panels--
jessamyn: I was going to have dinner with friends, and like, how many days did I have dinner with friends?
- Every single one. So, you know. Success!
cortex: See, we actually did--we did, I want to say, probably three or four every day.
jessamyn: Yeah, you guys did--well, you get up early, though.
mathowie and cortex: (chuckle) cortex: Yeah, well, it knows eleven o'clock's [???].
mathowie: Well, it's still late.
jessamyn: There's no line for the morning panels.
mathowie: Alright, I guess let's move on to--
jessamyn: (laugh) We could talk about some stuff.
mathowie: Metafilter-y stuff.
cortex: I guess.
mathowie: [??] a good job.
jessamyn: Well, I prepared. Although I haven't looked at Jobs, because I'm always afraid I might get another one
- by mistake.
cortex and mathowie: (chuckle) mathowie: I thought--there's a lot of small jobs.
jessamyn: Joe in Australia needs someone to do some research on some family stuff if you live in upper Austria. Joe in Australia, whose name indicates that he is actually in Australia, not Austria. If you read it wrong and thought he was Joe in Austria, you might be really confused.
mathowie: Only real--the only real job I saw was in Victoria, BC, Canada for a web developer, like a real, full-on
- job. There's been a lot of small bit jobs.
jessamyn: Victoria's pretty lovely.
mathowie: Yeah. Where's the... I just lost it.
jessamyn: It's by Vancouver. It's north of you guys.
mathowie: There it is. No, I lost the actual post. There it is.
jessamyn: Oh! (laughs)
mathowie: I know where it is! I went there as a child and have returned many times.
jessamyn: I went there for an awesome library conference. I took a little, one of those little planes--oh, I took a helicopter!
mathowie: Holy cow.
jessamyn: I think it was a helicopter.
jessamyn: Like a little shuttle helicopter. It was really, really scary.
cortex: Wouldn't you know if it was a helicopter?
mathowie: Was the propeller on the top or on the side?
jessamyn: I can't remember! Oh, monsters.
mathowie: The propeller's small.
cortex: It's... how would you... I can't believe, I have a hard time imagining the circumstance in which I'd be like, "I don't know if I was in a helicopter or not." And it's just like, "It's a helicopter, how would you..." I mean, oh my God! It's a helicopt--
jessamyn: Have you, like, never been in a helicopter before, is that what you're telling me?
cortex: I don't believe I've ever been in a helicopter.
jessamyn: Because I grew up under the runway of a little airport, so I got to fly and stuff all the time. So, eh, one helicopter, another helicopter. Now, if it were a blimp?
- I would remember.
cortex: Okay. Okay.
mathowie: I don't know if I took a motorcycle or a car today.
jessamyn: It was like six years ago!
mathowie: It's all wheels to me.
mathowie: Okay. What's your favorite Project?
jessamyn: There are two that I liked, one that was not very popular but is hilarious, and one that is not very hilarious but was slightly popular? The one that is more hilarious is called
- Harper WTF, which I think stands for 'what the fuck', and it's, you know, the Harper government, and it's just an amusing blog on how ridiculous Stephen Harper thinks he is and is. And it's a russilvwong project, and I like russilvwong, because he's been around Metafilter basically forever.
mathowie: And Stephen Harper is... bring me up to speed, he's not the guy--
cortex: The Canadian PM?
mathowie: Okay. Never heard of him. (laughs)
cortex: Is he--
mathowie: I thought he was the crazy mayor of Toronto.
jessamyn: Of Toronto? No.
mathowie: Yeah. I wish.
jessamyn: No, that would be even better, but no.
mathowie: That would be even easier to make a blog about, I think.
jessamyn: Right. You could just make a stupid Tumblr blog and whatever. And the other thing that I thought was really nice was this little documentary that Potomac Avenue did about his... friend? girlfriend? I'm not totally sure. She's got MS, and it's just a really short video about
- it, and he entered it in the Neurological Film Festival.
jessamyn: But it's a little short film he did, it's really good, it's the first thing he's ever done, and I just thought it was kinda terrific.
mathowie: Ooh. I didn't get time to watch that. That looks cool.
jessamyn: Yeah, it is. It's really nice. She has this funny thing called palatal myoclonus, which means that the roof of her mouth twitches.
jessamyn: Which is what the name of the movie is about.
- There's actually a shot inside her mouth, and you can watch the roof of her mouth twitching. She's kinda lucky she doesn't have a lot of the more annoying symptoms of MS, but that's the one she has that she kinda talks about.
mathowie: But that's, on the flip side, horrible, because nobody can tell what's happening on the outside even though you're flipping out inside, or....
jessamyn: I know. I know.
jessamyn: So it's neat.
cortex: Well, I really like--
jessamyn: No no no, that was it.
cortex: Okay. I liked Collaborative Jukebox--
mathowie: Oh, yeah.
cortex: --as a Project that narwhal bacon made. And maybe we talked about the inspiration for this last podcast. There was a site called Listening Room that launched, I don't know, probably a month and a half ago--
jessamyn: Right, right.
cortex: And it was like, you could go there, and everybody in the room could upload MP3s, and everybody would hear them at the exact same time. And it was a neat idea, but it also got griefed horribly by people who were removing songs en masse in grief wars, and also it sort of cratered badly really quickly.
cortex: And then it went away for a while, but it's supposed to come back, but while it was being supposed to come back people kept talking about
- how, you know, this idea is not very hard, this is just like streaming MP3s in sync and a few other little things put together. And so narwhal bacon put together an actual implementation of it that does basically the same thing, and put it up on GitHub, and has been working on it, and started a little mix party site itself just as an instance of it running that MeFites have been playing around in and sharing music and it's really cool!
mathowie: So, this is cool. With our new Linux server, we have all the MP3s
- locally on it, could we do just a MeFi Music Listening Room, where people could suggest...
cortex: We could in theory. I would suggest we should, like, you should talk practicality with narwhal bacon, because if we could do like a locally hosted one of these, I think that would be super awesome. He's been sort of--
jessamyn: The limit he's getting is with hosting, right? Is that--
cortex: Yeah, well, I mean, yeah, think about the bandwidth. If you're streaming to ten people at 56K all day long on average, you're going through like a gig of bandwidth a day, so.
jessamyn: Sure, sure.
mathowie: This is like all Perl! We could totally do this
- so easily.
cortex: Yeah. I think you should talk. You should drop narwhal bacon a line.
jessamyn: It would be great!
mathowie: Is there any way to limit the music? Is the music local, or is it 'throw in any URL'?
cortex: You upload it from a local file on your computer--
mathowie: Oh, okay.
cortex: And then it takes that and it transcodes it to 56K to keep the bandwidth from going insane and then it sends that out to everybody who's listening, you know, sort of streams it a track at a time.
mathowie: Huh. I guess I will--
cortex: So [??]. It's pretty simple. So yeah.
mathowie: I will contact him.
jessamyn: Yeah. Jim said he'd been listening to it last week and was really having a good time, except there were often DJ wars.
cortex: Well, yeah. It's interesting depending on who's in the room and what their attitude is like. Every once in a while someone will just like, Eideteker came in and uploaded like 10 tracks in a row and everyone was like, "Whoa! Whoa! What are you doing?" and he was like, "What? We're listening to music!" But he's done MetaChat Radio, so actually DJing an hour.
jessamyn: And that's how that works there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
cortex: And yeah. So that's what you would do. But it's different here, where it's more like, no, you put up a track and
- let a few other people put a track, and you get this more interleaved mix of like four or six or ten people.
jessamyn: When I was there it seemed a little chaotic. Not that that's bad, but it's... yeah.
cortex: It definitely changes from hour to hour depending on who's there and what's going on. But yeah.
jessamyn: But yeah, it's an awesome project, and like--
cortex: It's really neat, and narwhal bacon did a great job of knocking it together when we were sort of talking about how, in theory, you could do this.
jessamyn: And I don't really know narwhal bacon at all, I don't think. Somebody from Oregon, is this somebody
- you actually know, or no?
cortex: No, no, this is a--I vaguely recognize the name from the site, but I hadn't put it together or anything previously.
jessamyn: New user this year, which is kinda cool.
cortex: Yeah. So no--
mathowie: Huh. Whoa! New user two months ago.
jessamyn: And he's a computer magician, according to his bio.
mathowie: Oh wait, he did Mix Party. Wow. Sweet.
cortex: Yeah. So Listening Room was the original thing that someone else did, narwhal put together--
mathowie: Oh, okay.
cortex: Collaborative Jukebox as a alternative
- codebase, and then Mix Party is just a site hosting an instance of that at the moment that he's just paying for with whatever hosting he has.
mathowie: Oh, cool. I guess we'll have to ask him if we could do an upload-less version where people just have the Metafilter Music store to shop from.
cortex: It's possible.
mathowie: (chuckles) I meant storage-store.
jessamyn and cortex: (chuckle) jessamyn: Matt?
mathowie: See how I did that?
jessamyn: (continues chuckling)
cortex: I also really liked--and I don't remember if we talked about it last time--
mathowie: Oh, yeah.
cortex: I feel like we talked about [???], but.
jessamyn: This was so popular, yes.
cortex: You are Listening to Los Angeles, which I'm pretty sure got a front-page post. But yeah. Just police scanner from LA plus ambient music.
jessamyn: It was in fact an incredibly popular front-page post.
cortex: Yeah. Was it? See, I didn't even really check in on the post that much, I don't think, because I found it--
mathowie: Oh, it was everywhere on Twitter.
jessamyn: A hundred and thirty two favorites. It was nuts. People went nuts.
cortex: Well, it's really great! It's such a simple thing. But like, police scanner plus ambient music creates total bleak urban
- sonic soundscape. It's really great. I had to--I think I said somewhere that I had to turn it off after a while just because it was throwing me into this existential despair, but in a really good way, you know. I just needed to get anything done that day, and it was sort of killing my motivation, because it was like, no, I just want to sink into this and wallow.
jessamyn: Stare at the ceiling, yeah.
mathowie: And the thing--like, I have to approve all these things, so I see them, and when things like that come up, I instantly know, like, that's fucking genius.
jessamyn: It's gonna totally take off.
mathowie: And I should have just, yeah, I should have just made a front-page post immediately. Sometimes I actually do that. But, you know, it's like, I'm like, you know, whatever, in line somewhere checking on my iPhone or something, and I can just tell, like, holy shit, that's amazing.
jessamyn: Yep. It was amazing, great implementation, and it turned into a single-link front-page post, which enabled us, on today's discussion on MetaTalk, to point to a really great popular recent single-link front-page post.
jessamyn: Great all around.
- Thank you so much, I don't like words.
cortex: (laughs) I have one other project that's also a thing that started out with a post on the front page, which is Movie Barcodes. There was a post of someone who has a Tumblr blog where they basically just take an entire film and screenshot it and take each--screenshot it periodically and each screenshot turns into a single one-pixel-wide image. And then they run those all together, so you've got several-hundred-pixel-wide columns that create sort of a
- barcode snapshot of the film, and you can see sort of the visual palette of a film. Some of the films are actually really identifiable if you sort of think about it the right way, because you can see these sort of shifts in the color tones and whatnot. So alby just wrote some code to do it yourself. And there's actually a little bit of discussion in the Projects post itself about maybe ways to tweak that.
jessamyn: I did not understand what you meant at all, but now that I'm looking at this, I am totally understanding you.
cortex: You'll have to look at it. Yes. It makes pretty pictures.
mathowie: I think [??] just linked to this and was wondering how it was made.
- And here's exactly how someone could make it.
cortex: Yeah. I don't know if there's any actual DIY on the original Tumblr site itself, like I don't know if whoever made that talked about it, but yeah, it seems like there's a few ways you could do it, and this is one way that someone totally knocked it out like right away, so.
jessamyn: I really wanna see Wizard of Oz. Is Wizard of Oz in here somewhere?
cortex: I don't know if anybody's done Wizard of Oz yet. It feels like--
jessamyn: Because I mean, that'd be perfect, right? Because it's color at the end.
mathowie: Oh, yeah. Black, grey, black, grey, color.
jessamyn: Wooow! This is terrific.
mathowie: Oh, did you see Airport Bookstore?
cortex: I did not see this.
jessamyn: (sings) Airport Bookstore...
mathowie: This is awesome. They just grab--
jessamyn: (still singing) The heart of America.
jessamyn: Sorry, I'm kinda on a thing this week (chuckle).
mathowie: Every week they just grab a popular book and then get all the covers from around the world about it, and how different cultures sell a book. It's interesting. Like, I specifically had this actual experience of reading the Bill Bryson Sunburned Country
- book on my way to Australia, and then seeing the book--
jessamyn: That's exactly what I did!
mathowie: Seeing the book everywhere in Australia with a completely different title and cover--
jessamyn: Yes! Hah!
mathowie: And going like, "Wow! I guess... well, okay, that's how they want to buy that book, all right." And this one's like, the books are all over the place in terms of covers. It's fascinating. This would be a really cool really long-term project.
jessamyn: Wow, this is terrific! Because you can see this kind of stuff on Amazon occasionally, like if I surf Amazon.uk by mistake--
jessamyn: --then I'm like, "Wow, that book looks so much cooler than
- my book. Why is that... why?" And then I realize I'm looking at a different cover. Oh my God, that's awesome! This is terrific. Who did this?
mathowie: Yeah, like, it was a super clever idea.
cortex: It was...
jessamyn: Who I don't know very much about. That's a great, great blog.
mathowie: Yeah, it's cool. And you probably can get some financial kickbacks from whatever, Amazon.co.uk or something if you click on it, I don't know.
cortex: Well, you--
mathowie: Actually, it's kind of hard to buy international books.
cortex: Is it? Just like the shipping, or...?
jessamyn: Well, and not very fulfilling, because it's incredibly expensive, yeah.
mathowie: I tried... I had to buy the UK Office DVDs, you know, with the UK DVD region code to play on a hacked player in America, like, before they ever released them in America, it's like 19, I don't know, whatever. It's like years before it was allowed. And it was a tremendous pain in the ass to deliver it to an American address. That was my favorite thing.
- Oh, geez, Josh, you forgot about RetCon Artists!
cortex: Ah, yes!
jessamyn: What would the podcast be if we didn't talk about what Josh has been up to?
mathowie: (laughing) cortex self-plug!
cortex: I totally didn't bring it up, though. So.
jessamyn: That's fine, I blame Matt.
mathowie: You guys are awful.
jessamyn: Actually, this was pretty terrific, Josh, and if you don't want to talk about it I'll be happy to talk about it.
cortex: No, go for it, I'd love to hear how you...
jessamyn: This was like the five-minute presentation, Josh did a presentation at Wax Pancake at Andy Baio's Worst Websites Ever
- and the idea is you're what, pitching an idea that's supposed to be so bad it's bad or so bad it's good or whatever to a fake VC person?
cortex: Yeah. Well, it's a real VC person, just fake funding.
jessamyn: Right, right. A real VC person who's not giving you real money.
cortex: Well, actually, it was real money, but it was five dollars, my guess is.
jessamyn: Five real dollars.
jessamyn: Yes. So you have to do a five-minute presentation of a whole pitch, and it has to make it seem sexy and amazing and whatever, and, I mean, this was your first public speaking
- thing, is that, am I right with that? Like, in front of a big room with slides?
cortex: Basically, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I've done, I've played in a band in front of people, but getting up and just doing a presentation, like, you know, I've never, even in jobs I never had to do presentations for like six people much or anything like that. So yeah, it was really weird standing up in front of a couple hundred people at least and being like, "Hi! I know what I'm doing."
jessamyn: I took a great picture of you standing up in front of your name.
cortex: Yeah, yeah, I saw that on Flickr.
jessamyn: And then my weird friend left a weird comment.
jessamyn: But, ah. So the general idea--which she then deleted, which made my weird comment seem really weird--but the general idea is, you're a person, you get in a situation, you need a perfect put-down, you can't think of one, you feel stupid, like George in Seinfeld with the jerk store comment, and this company that you made up has a whole bunch of kind of historical fake
- put-downs already sequestered in the past for you to make use of.
cortex: Yeah, we're... It's pre-active comebacks, it's, you know.
jessamyn: As opposed to reactive.
cortex: Or reactive ahead of time.
jessamyn: So instead of e-mailing them... right. (laughs) And so the whole thing relies on this company basically having proof that you did a thing in the past that you didn't really do that they do through mechanisms that Josh has creatively come up with, and
- assembled. And it just, it was just picture-perfect. The slides are hilarious without being like, "I'm trying to be hilarious"-hilarious, they're just like, the ideas are perfect and all the supporting documentation and evidence and websites are all kind of right there. And the audience loved it. And I think... you went first?
cortex: We did the order differently a couple different times. I think I went like--
jessamyn: Oh, I saw it the first time.
cortex: Ah. Yeah, I don't remember what order we did which ones. I think actually
- Mike Lacher went first both times. And it's kind of a shame, because he killed, he really, really killed, and so both times it was like, "Okay, and everybody else can pretend that they can beat that," but he, ah...
jessamyn: Be okay.
mathowie: And that was the Fax Store...
jessamyn: But yeah. It had a graphic concept, it had a website... yeah, we should link to the one that actually won, because it was really bizarrely hilarious.
cortex: Yeah, I don't know if he has it up anywhere. I guess there's...
mathowie: No, yeah, I watched it.
jessamyn: No, yeah, we saw it, we saw it.
cortex: Okay, good.
jessamyn: But so Josh's thing was RetCon Artists, this company that will do this,
- and then it was posted to the front page by wendell.
mathowie: So was there... there was supposed to be video of the whole presentation for the other talks, but I guess not, sort of?
cortex: Yeah, I don't know, yeah, I haven't checked back to see exactly what has come along. I was having trouble finding the stuff right away, but I figured it might in part be just because it had just happened, so.
jessamyn: I was standing next to Joel Johnson, who seemed like he was recording the whole thing, but, you know, maybe he was just holding up
- his phone because he's shy or something.
mathowie: So there were five or six talks, right?
cortex: Yeah, yeah, we had six different presentations.
mathowie: What were the other ones?
jessamyn: There was Gina's.
mathowie: What was Gina's?
jessamyn: Gina with all the achievements, which was hilarious.
cortex: Gina did Lifewinner, which was like Lifehacker--
mathowie: Oh. Plus Foursquare...
cortex: Yeah, it was like, imagine if everything you do, no matter how trivial or even regressive, is an accomplishment, so you get, you know, a badge for breathing.
jessamyn: A badge for taking fifty blinks a day.
cortex and mathowie: (laugh) cortex: Get out of bed, that's a badge.
jessamyn: Blink Swarm [?], five hundred blinks.
mathowie: (laughs) (whistles)
cortex: So she did that, which was fantastic.
jessamyn: It was really good.
cortex: Mike Lacher's was the Brother IntelliFax 2800 App Store--
cortex: The Fax App Store, or the FapStore.
jessamyn: Oh my God.
cortex: And he did such a meta presentation, too. He had the perfect sort of like--
mathowie: Record scratch.
cortex: "This is the title of the talk and this also occurs several times throughout the talk," you know, sort of, yeah, and the record scratch.
mathowie: I loved the record scratch jokes and the dumb business slide. "This is a volcano spitting out Web 2.0."
mathowie: And then going right to the...
jessamyn: "This is an ethernet cable! Over a desert!"
jessamyn: "With ones and zeros rising behind it in the background like a sun."
mathowie: (laughs) And the next... oh my God.
cortex: And then he would move on, yeah.
- Jeffrey Bennett did, he did like a series of ideas, but his big capstone one was the Babe E-Sitter, a webcam based remote babysitting service.
cortex: And he did a lovely job of showing demo video of a kid running around, and he just straight-faces through it talking about various reasons why this is blah blah blah blah blah, and in the meantime
- some guy--
jessamyn: And it's on the screen behind him.
cortex: Yeah. And he's not looking at the screen, and it's a live feed, and some guy comes in and abducts the kid and runs back out the door--
cortex: And then he just moves on to the closer.
jessamyn: So the audience is like, "Oh my God!", and yeah. I feel like I'm forgetting one of them. Were there five?
cortex: Ze Frank and Jonah Peretti--
jessamyn: Oh, Ze Frank, right.
mathowie: What did they do?
cortex: --co-presented a sort of smorgasboard of ideas. They had the Virtual Pet Cemetery, a cemetery for your
- for your virtual pets. And... oh God, I can't... Yeah, there was so many one-off jokes among the various presentations, they've kind of run together. But they had some funny stuff, and--
mathowie: What did Eric Castor [?] do? He's the guy at Etsy.
cortex: He was the one who had his dog as a copyeditor on... (laughs) Trying to remember what the setup was.
jessamyn: Oh, right. He kind of did the, "I don't really have a real job," like the "I'm a kid, and I'm pretending to have a business, and my dog is my employee."
- "And my mom is my board of directors."
cortex: And he was talking about pivoting.
mathowie: What was--oh, right.
cortex: So yeah, I think, yeah, I can't remember... it's all a mush now. But it was a good time.
mathowie: Oh, wow, someone did sketch notes of you guys.
cortex: Yeah, yeah!
jessamyn: Hey! Cool.
cortex: The Ogilvy people.
mathowie: Here we go, we... boom, here's the real thing. Geolocator?
jessamyn: Yeah, you gotta work on your posture, Josh.
cortex: Yeah. I was--
mathowie: I was going to say that.
jessamyn: Other than that, you did a--
cortex: I was a little terrified, so.
jessamyn: You did a great job for being terrified.
mathowie: I don't even see... I don't even see yours. Where's yours? In the... oh, there it is.
jessamyn: RCA, RetCon Artists, lower-right corner. Left corner.
mathowie: Oh, yeah, yeah. Tweepers.
cortex: Yeah, yeah. (laughs) They thought it was RedCon. Which, I realize RetCon is a little bit of nerdy lingo, but yeah, clearly that did not come through.
jessamyn: I got it.
cortex: So I don't know. We're RedCon artists, we're, I don't know, communists or something.
jessamyn: Well, it was red on the slide.
cortex: True, true. On the slide where it clearly said
- 'Ret'. I don't know. (laughs)
jessamyn: I know, I know, I know. It's so frustrating when people don't read what you write.
cortex: So there's been some cool stuff on Music.
jessamyn: Tell me about it.
cortex: See how I know everything about what's happened on Music in the last month? Eh?
jessamyn: I'm gonna totally screen-capture the chat where I told you to look at Music.
cortex: (laughs) Shut up.
jessamyn: And you said, "Maybe."
cortex: Yeah, but I did, so there we go.
jessamyn: (laughs) So, pay you to stay out of jail.
cortex: There's a challenge going on right now, as there is every month, and this month's challenge is make an educational song.
- And I was kind of hoping--maybe more will come along at the end of the month, because there always tends to be a burst. But there's been a couple of good educational songs, one of which is a song about intellectual property, like trademarks and copyrights and what they respectively go to. And it's super cute and it's just like a little singing with a uke sort of song.
jessamyn: Oh, nice!
mathowie: Do they do it in the style of... what's the Saturday morning cartoon? Ugh. You know, I Was Just A Bill.
cortex: Oh, the Schoolhouse Rock?
mathowie: Schoolhouse Rock style?
cortex: No. No, no one's really done the Schoolhouse Rock thing so much. This is more just really sort of simple
- straightforward production. But very charming. And actually really great melody and really nicely arranged song that just happens to be about intellectual property rights.
jessamyn: That's awesome!
cortex: And the other one was, that I really liked was Solomon Silkwood, which is a song about Solomon Silkwood. It's educational, go listen to it, I don't need to explain it, because it's self-explanatory.
jessamyn: I'll go listen to it.
cortex: But that one's a little bit more of a rock production, and I liked that a great deal as well.
- But there were also good non-educational songs. goodnewsfortheinsane has a, he's got an album en route, and he's been posting outtake stuff that didn't quite make it on the album, with I guess the notion that if you really liked this, that man, that fucking album! And, you know, it's goodnewsfortheinsane, so man, that fucking album, probably pretty good.
cortex: But anyway, this Golden Ratio song is quite nice.
- reklus [ˈɹɛkləs] and The Great Big Mulp made an abortive attempt to do an album in a month last month, and they've been posting pieces of what they got done when they were busy not actually getting a whole album. And it's fairly weird stuff, because they are awesome weird guys, and dumpster dave is, I don't even know how to explain it, except for it's lo-fi and I can't get it out of my head. So you should definitely check that out.
jessamyn: Here's a question: is it reklus [ˈɹɛkluːs] or reklus [ˈɹɛkləs]?
cortex: I don't know! I've always thought reklus [ˈɹɛkləs]. But it could be reklus [ˈɹɛkluːs].
jessamyn: I assume reklus [ˈɹɛkluːs] because his username says, "I'm a dork that reads too much science fiction and likes case-insensitive names." Well, maybe not. Alright.
cortex: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. A lot of great mysteries. I've got to say that iamkimiam all being analytical about pronunciations and whatnot has me hyperaware (jessamyn and mathowie chuckle) every time we start being like, "How the fuck is something pronounced now?" Because I'm like, "Oh man, that's... I'm not the only person who's wondering about that, so."
jessamyn: She's a linguist. I've kind of always been that way too. Well, and it's because
- the podcast is the only time we say this stuff out loud--
cortex: Yeah! Which is--
jessamyn: So it's the only time we get tripped up if we kind of blow it--
jessamyn: --so I feel like it's nice to be aware of, this is the maybe-blowing-it time.
mathowie: (chuckles) It hurts my--
jessamyn: "So, how do you say that again? Sorry!"
mathowie: It hurts my brain to think of these things (cortex chuckles), and then Jessamyn always makes fun of me at the same time... yeah. Stressful.
jessamyn: I'm trying to dial the making fun (mathowie chuckles), because it's almost springtime. Let me know if I'm doing better about that next podcast.
mathowie: Has there been any interesting IRL posts at all? Oh, wait, one last Music one.
cortex: Oh, one last one, yeah, this is Truth's A Patient Stalker. saulgoodman talks in it about what he's working on.
jessamyn: I love it when people include lyrics.
cortex: Yeah, no, and the lyrics for this are--it's a wordy song, and he talks a little bit about where he's coming from with the whole project, and it's a really nice recording. It's like a recording in progress, but it sounds really solid, so. Anyway, so those are some highlights from Music.
jessamyn: Terrific! Thanks, Josh.
mathowie: I thought I just bought goodnewsfortheinsane's
- album, but I just bought one song.
mathowie cortex and jessamyn: (laugh) jessamyn: Did it cost ten dollars, Matt?
mathowie: I was like, "Oh! Well, there's an album--"
jessamyn: It's Europe, I don't know, it's a Euro--!
mathowie: There's an album cover, so I... oh, geez. Whoops. I overpaid.
mathowie: It says May 2011, but you can download it now.
jessamyn: But at least it's a tax writeoff.
jessamyn: As opposed to your giant television set, which is not.
mathowie: It could have been. PVRblog. It used to be.
jessamyn: You don't own that anymore.
mathowie: I know. I was thinking of buying it back. (chuckles)
mathowie: Yeah, just like, because I was bored. I was like, "I should make blog posts about all this gear I bought," you know, what works, what doesn't work.
jessamyn: Well, you did that podcast post about how we record the podcasts that I thought was really terrific and I've been sending around to people, so maybe, you know, that's what A Whole Lotta Nothing turns into.
mathowie: (chuckle) Euhhh.
jessamyn: PVR dot awholelottanothing dot whatever.
mathowie: I'd rather it just be bullshit.
mathowie: I saw a game night coming up in Portland this weekend.
cortex: Yep. Yeah, it's turning into a thing. Like, this is like number... three or four at this point.
jessamyn: Oh, nice!
mathowie: So what do they play?
cortex: I've only been able to make it out to one so far, but yeah, no, it's like...
mathowie: Are the games...?
jessamyn: Oh, right, because Specklet's back in Portland, that's so cool!
mathowie: Specklet, I think I've met her, right.
jessamyn: Yeah, you've met her, we met her together.
mathowie: Is in L.A.? She used to live in L.A.?
jessamyn: No no no, she used to live in Portland.
jessamyn: And then she got married and moved to the UK, and now
- her and I believe her husband are back.
jessamyn: He's, what, TheDonF, I think?
cortex: Yeah, yeah. So yeah, it was kind of neat. I got to see her again, I got to meet him, and we played board games. And it was a good time. So yeah, that's this weekend. And then heeraldo and Stewriffic will both be in town like three weeks later, I think? Just completely independently, like, they both happened to be in Portland at the same time.
cortex: And Stewriffic, she put me up in
- North Carolina when I was traveling around a year and a half ago. So it'll be cool to see her again.
jessamyn: She sent me a pencil box and some stuff for the pencil box.
cortex: And I have not to my knowledge met heeraldo also. So that'll be--
jessamyn: I met him in Vancouver. He's really nice. Super nice. Smiley. Smiley guy. Oh!
mathowie: Oh my God, I saw comments on one of those Portland threads from corduroy, and I'm like, "Oh, wow, corduroy's--"
jessamyn: What happened to him? Is he an adult now?
cortex: (chuckle) Almost. Almost.
mathowie: I was like, I was thinking like, "I hope he's 21, he's going to
- to bars and meetups," and he's like, "I'm a month away from 21." So he's always the--.
mathowie: He's always the kid.
cortex: Yeah. Well, I mean, yeah. And it's not too bad, because I mean, in Portland there's a lot of places that are pubs that you can totally be a minor and it's not going to be a problem.
cortex: And if you're a minor who's awfully close to not being a minor, you're probably not even going to have a problem later on, as long as you don't go around drinking. But yeah. But soon he will not even have to be stuck being like, "Uh... do they serve booze?" and instead
- we can buy him beers.
cortex: It'll be good.
mathowie: That's cool.
jessamyn: That's great! Oh, and I went to the Horace Rumpole Turns 40 movie screening (cortex chuckles) all-day extravaganza in Boston.
mathowie: Oh my God.
jessamyn: Where John basically rented out the screening room at the Somerville Theater, and there were, I think, five movies?
jessamyn: Yeah, five movies. Wet Hot American Summer, which is amazing, Galaxy Quest, which is amazing, Mystery Men,
- which was amazing, and then I had to leave, and then he played Idiocracy and Troll 2. And there was like a keg of beer, and tons of snacks, and a bunch of people showed up! And it was kind of the perfect nerd meetup, because you mostly sat around and watched movies together. You didn't have to like talk or do stuff if you didn't want to.
mathowie: (chuckles) And the best cakes ever.
jessamyn: Oh my God! And there was amazing cakes, amazing cookies, people made these crazy foods that were nuts. I mean, I went home on the bus that night, because I was going to stay at Jim's but he had the flu
- or something, and I was just like, "Bzzzzzzzz!" Like, I've been eating cake and drinking beer all day long. But it was a really good time, and happy birthday, Horace Rumpole! It was pretty terrific.
mathowie: Sweet. Oh, Cat Pie Hurts was there, our newest whatever, IT guy.
jessamyn: Yeah! You guys did some stuff on the back end. That was good. That seemed to work out really well.
mathowie: Yeah, the site's faster now thanks to that
- fast handiwork.
jessamyn: Thanks, Cat Pie!
mathowie: And all music...
cortex: Cat Pie Helps.
jessamyn and mathowie: (laugh) mathowie: Is the Infodump officially moved over yet?
cortex: You know, I haven't actually touched it yet.
cortex: I need to go back and review the e-mail.
cortex: Because there was definitely a, "Hey, you should do this! Oh, wait, don't do this! Wait, we can do this!"
mathowie: I know you can do this.
cortex: And I got to the point where I was like, "I don't fu--I'll just wait." And so I'll go back and check my starred e-mail on the subject, and do whatever actually needs to be done.
jessamyn: That's a good strategy.
cortex: Because at this point I think the plan is
- just to copy the files at the end of my script that generates them, and we were going to use whatever that crazy mapping of network drives or whatever the fuck was going on with...
mathowie: Yeah. It's all done now, so.
cortex: So yeah. So I think I just need to do that, and it looks that'll be really easy. But I just, that hasn't happened yet, so.
jessamyn: So no.
cortex: So no. No.
mathowie: (laughs) Correct.
cortex: Depending on the timing, the Infodump may be out of date for a portion of this week, it sounds like.
jessamyn: I think people will be fine.
cortex: I think it'll be okay.
cortex: It's certainly better than the old for 18 months routine that
- was more normal back before--
jessamyn: That was no good.
cortex: That was not so good.
mathowie: Well, we've been recording for 45 minutes already, why don't we move to Ask MeFi and MeFi.
cortex: I guess.
jessamyn: Great! I only have a couple this time, because I knew that we were gonna put the Japanese stuff in, so--
mathowie: Oh, right, yeah.
jessamyn: --I tried to keep it down. Ask Metafilter first? Metafilter first? Whaddaya? Whaddaya? Whaddaya?
mathowie: Metafilter? Metafilter.
jessamyn: Metafilter. Well, in the "hey, a famous person
- mentioned in the thread showed up in the thread," we have the title that I can't read out loud because it's a Cthulu emoticon [əˈmɑdəˌkɑn].
cortex and mathowie: (laugh) cortex: Yep. Wait, emoticon [əˈmɑdəˌkɑn]? You say emoticon [əˈmɑdəˌkɑn]?
jessamyn: Oh my God. Shut up.
cortex: It's an emoticon [əˈmoʊdəˌkɑn]. It's a emoticon [əˈmoʊdəˌkɑn]!
jessamyn: Shut. up.
cortex: I'm say--I just wanted to, do you say emoticon [əˈmɑdəˌkɑn]?
jessamyn: (skeptically) You're not just ribbing me to rib me, you really believe this.
cortex: (sincerely) Yes!
cortex: How do you get the emoticon [əˈmɑdəˌkɑn]? In what, in what...?
mathowie: Emote [əˈmoʊt]! You emote [əˈmoʊt] !
jessamyn: M-O-T! Mot [ˈmɑt]! Like Mott's, Mott's apple juice.
mathowie: No, you're emoting [əˈmoʊdɪŋ]--
cortex: But it's from emotive [əˈmoʊdɪv], emotion [əˈmoʊʃn].
mathowie: Emoting [əˈmoʊdɪŋ] text.
cortex: I mean, that's the word it's derived from. There's... aughhh, I cannot believe.
jessamyn: Matt, are you piling on here? Am I just wrong?
cortex: You are crazy wrong.
jessamyn: All right.
cortex: I think you just misacquired at some point.
mathowie: What did you call that? Emoting [əˈmɑdɪŋ]?
cortex: Emoticon [əˈmɑdəˌkɑn].
jessamyn: Aaaaah! Josh, sometimes I have to do this for you so that you get the moral high ground once in a while.
cortex: Thank you, I really appreciate that.
mathowie: Usually Josh is the one with the weird pronunciation.
cortex: Yes, I know. It's--
jessamyn: I am aware of that.
cortex: I'm kind of, I'm feeling like vindictive in the way that the trod-upon does (mathowie chuckles) when they suddenly have an in. I'm becoming what I most hate. It's really kind of...
jessamyn: What do you think about that?
cortex: It's exciting. I'm getting off on it. It's fun.
jessamyn: I thought you'd like that.
cortex: But yeah, seriously, emoticon [əˈmɑdəˌkɑn]? That's, that's, that's so... it's interesting.
jessamyn: I don't know! I read more than I speak.
cortex: Yeah, no, no, it's okay, I can totally see that happening. It's just like, I've never encountered that before, so. I'm delighted.
- That's what I am.
jessamyn: But now I'm trying the comment from the guy in the thread who's like, "Oh hey, glad you guys liked this."
cortex: Search for '.com' in the username, I think, is...
jessamyn: Okay. (laughs)
mathowie: I found it!
jessamyn: Yay, Matt!
- Oh, yes. TheLovecraftsman.com. Yeah, it's just... I don't know. It's adorable when people show up and they're like, "I'm so glad you liked my thing!"
mathowie: Sorry. Go. I was like, my favoritest post--
jessamyn: Oh, and we changed the line to a minus--
cortex and mathowie: (laugh) jessamyn: --everybody should be happy about that except the four people who are really not happy about it. So when you want to remove a favorite, the character is slightly different by a matter of pixels.
mathowie: It's the same width. It doesn't look like, it looks like it's longer, like it's longer than a plus sign, but it's exactly the width of a plus sign now, which is good.
jessamyn: But it means it's almost impossible to Control-F for it without using funny key characters, and we're sorry.
mathowie: We didn't know people did that! So yeah.
jessamyn: I had no idea! So we've learned something.
mathowie: Also, we added to Projects, I don't know if you saw it, if you click through to a Project now, you get the role. I was tired of trying to make heads or tails of, "What did this person have to do with this?"
jessamyn: Wait, you added this without telling Josh and I?
mathowie: Uh... yeah!
jessamyn and cortex: (laugh) mathowie: It was something I thought of last Thursday, where I was like, I have like four Projects posts, and I sent e-mail!
jessamyn: I think what you're supposed to do, Matt, is say, "I'm telling you right now!"
mathowie: Yeah. I'm telling you now.
- I have like four new Projects posts, and I'm like, "I've gotta send e-mail to like three of these people, I can't even tell if they were the music producer or what." So--
jessamyn: So is it a fill-in box that they get, or how does it work?
mathowie: Yeah, it's a fill-in box, originally just for the submissions. And I was like, "Well, this is really," I mean, after I got to four or five submissions, I'm like, "This is awesome and really useful, and this would clear stuff up for readers of the site. Why don't we just make it public?" So.
jessamyn: That's a great idea!
mathowie: There it is. We know exactly what someone's done. And I think it reiterates the point that this isn't
- your roommate's site, and stuff like that.
jessamyn: We've had a lot of people asking, like, "Can I link to my sister's thing?"
jessamyn: Or, "Can I link to my friend's thing?" And we're like, "No, it's not what it's for, get your sister an account."
mathowie: We kind of originally allowed that, and then now we're telling people, and yeah. But it works great.
jessamyn: We need a water cooler bulletin board where you could post these things up so that Josh and I can read them over coffee.
sfx: (Music: Intellectual Property by ochenk)
sfx: (Music: Intellectual Property by ochenk, continued)
mathowie: Here's my favorite post. This is the style I like the most, which is, here's some really major thing in history you've never heard about that was really important and you should learn about. And it only had three comments!
jessamyn: Nine favorites!
mathowie: Yeah. That's a good 3 to 1 ratio.
- But so, during the Civil Rights era, there was some dude that had his own bus and drove black people around. Bus driver. It was sort of like, you know, behind enemy lines, helping people out. It was sort of this unsung hero of Birmingham, Alabama. It was kind of really cool.
jessamyn: Oh, wow! You know, I've been to the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham. It's sort of a bummer that that isn't there, like, it totally could be.
mathowie: Yeah. It's sort of this like story, you know, everyone knows Rosa Parks's story, but
- like, yeah.
jessamyn: Well, and that bus is in the museum.
jessamyn: The one she actually sat in to protest.
mathowie: And it sounds like his bus is almost as important as... like, this was a guy who was attempted to be firebombed every day for years and years and years as he was doing this. It's pretty awesome and it's a kind of sad story that it was never told. But it's kinda cool.
jessamyn: That's one of the weird things you sort of notice when you go to Alabama, is that, like, we think of it as, "Oh my God, all this history, it's amazing, it's amazing!", but there is a lot of stuff
- like, a lot of these teeny museums that are just these labors of love by the people who live there. Like, this is the National Voting Rights Museum, for example, like, look at that picture. It's just a little place in Selma, which is like, Selma's huge in civil rights history and the history of our country, but if you go to Selma itself, it's very small, and a lot of it's very run-down, and it gets a huge influx of tourists one week out of the year, and then the rest of the time it's just kind of
- empty and abandoned.
mathowie: Huh. What were you in Alabama for?
mathowie: (laughs) For real? I mean... I've never been there.
jessamyn: I was dating a guy in law school, and yeah... you know.
mathowie: Oh, right, law.
jessamyn: Yeah. And he was really into civil rights history, and I--we'd been going everywhere that I wanted to go for library conferences, and I was like, "Where do you want to go?" And he's like, "How about Alabama?" So actually, I had Metafilter help me
- figure out where to go!
jessamyn: Yeah, in 2005.
mathowie: Six. It was 2006.
jessamyn: Uh, yeah, Metafilter helped me in 2005--
jessamyn: --and I went in 2006, but thank you! For checking my work. On my own vacation.
mathowie: (laughs) No, I just saw it on the side. I was like, "Wow, when were you in Alabama?" and it says "Alabama 2006 (set: 88)".
mathowie: Alright, cool.
cortex: Well, the best post of the entire year was made today--
cortex: It's to a game called GIRP.
jessamyn: I was just talking about QWOP! Just a second ago!
mathowie: I can't get it to work!
cortex: You can't get GIRP to work? Like...
mathowie: I just fall after one handhold! What do I do?
cortex: (laugh) Well, you have to make sure that you press the button for the next handhold you want to grab, and then you need to use the shift key or the mouse button to actually lunge up a little bit so that you can actually grab--
mathowie: Oh, flex, ohhh... I didn't get that.
cortex: It's hard work.
jessamyn: It sounds like work.
cortex: It's fantastic. It's the greatest thing ever, and that's all, so.
mathowie: What do you do, shift? Shift makes you go?
cortex: Except for QWOP, which is even better, because QWOP
- is QWOP.
jessamyn: Has nobody posted the derp bike yet to...?
cortex: The what?
jessamyn: The derp bike?
jessamyn: It's like a bike in... it's... oh God.
mathowie: Aaaah, I can't get this to work.
jessamyn: Forget it, I'll post it tomorrow. All right.
cortex: Not if I post it today. Oh, no, BoxCar? Is that... what? Is that, is this...
jessamyn: What? It's like a little bike, and it generates, and it mutates, and you're trying to get farther down the thing.
cortex: Oh, yeah, no no no, yeah, I didn't know it was called--
jessamyn: What does that have to do with BoxCar?
cortex: BoxCar is the old name for it. I didn't know they had started calling Derp Bike.
mathowie: The auto-generating game, where you just sit there and watch it... yeah, yeah, yeah.
cortex: Yeah, it creates the... yeah.
jessamyn: And you, like, say, "Go me! I'm doing better." But all you're really doing is sitting there, and yeah.
cortex: But it's genetic algorithms, it's really awesome. That actually got me inspired to work on a project that I have since not finished working on, but will maybe someday, who knows?
jessamyn: Really? Tell me more about that.
cortex: I know, it's crazy, isn't it?
cortex: But genetic algorithms is really neat! It's a neat sort of thing that you don't really see so much, because it's not so obviously applicable to conventional gaming conceits.
jessamyn: Yeah. Well, this was one of the awesomer things the 15-year-old showed me this weekend (mathowie chuckle), and we spent a lot of time cheering on our various derp bikes.
mathowie: See? Teens do have a use in this world.
jessamyn: And they lift things.
mathowie: That's true.
jessamyn: No, he's delightful! He's just, you know, in long doses harder.
jessamyn: Well, this was one of my favorite--just because it links to a really beautiful piece of writing by RJ Reynolds, who, as we all know, is fairly terrific.
- Of course, Chorie Sicha [ˈkɔəɹɪ ˈsiːkɑ] --I don't know how you pronounce his name. Chorie? Chorie Sicha [ˈsɪkjɑ]?
mathowie: Chorie, Chorie, yeah.
jessamyn: How do you pronounce his last name?
mathowie: I just call him Chorie.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh) mathowie: Corey that's spelled crazy.
jessamyn: Chorie, Chorie like 'choir'? At any rate--
mathowie: If you tell, yeah, if you tell anyone, "Hey, it's Corey that's spelled crazy," they go, "Oh, yeah, Chorie, yeah, of course I know Chorie."
jessamyn: He wrote a delightful sort of New York Times-style obit for his cat (mathowie chuckles) that joeclark then posted, and it was just...
mathowie: I know.
mathowie: I avoided reading it because I didn't want to get all choked
- up or something.
jessamyn: It's kind of sweet, actually. It's not schmaltzy-schmoopy as well as like, well, number one it points out that Chorie's an awesome writer, which I guess everybody kind of knows, but--
mathowie: Ah, I didn't know it was a New York Times parody. I thought it was like a genuine--as soon as I read the first sentences, like, "Aah, I can't finish this, this is gonna..."
jessamyn: Well, I don't know if it's a parody, but it's like a--
mathowie: No! It's--
jessamyn: --you know, in the style of serious obits for serious people, he writes that about his cat.
jessamyn: And I just thought it was nice because whatever, I like cats.
- It was sweet.
mathowie: Very nice.
jessamyn: In the other direction, there's the terrible story of the cosmonaut who went into space--
cortex: Oh, God, yeah.
jessamyn: --knowing he wasn't gonna get back. It's like a 'ground control to Major Tom' kind of like bluuuhbluhbluh!
mathowie: Oh, God, yeah.
jessamyn: But there was a lot of really interesting talk about the space program, and this particular guy, and early space program stuff, and the thread turned out to be really pretty terrific
- in addition to the completely gross scary--
mathowie: How gruesome is the gruesome photo attached to the [?]?
jessamyn: Do you think I clicked on it?! Absolutely not.
mathowie: I'm not clicking on it! Josh, you--
jessamyn: I was the one who added the Not Safe For Work link. Can you describe this picture for us?
cortex: It was one of those things where I understand how people would see it as gruesome. And it is sort of gruesome, but it didn't really strike me as really, but that may just be me being weird. And it looked--
mathowie: Is it just like a dead guy in a capsule or something?
cortex: It looked, honestly, it looked like a charred piece of wood. Except for that was totally a guy.
mathowie: Eugh. Eughhh.
cortex: So, you know, it's like, it's gruesome because you know what it is, it's not gruesome in a visceral tentacle sloppy gore shotgun sort of way.
jessamyn: I like the way you think, Josh.
mathowie: I think I can skip it. (chuckle) Better not knowing.
jessamyn: But the post was terrific.
jessamyn: And I feel like we have to point this one out, even though I feel like it's the exception that proves that these posts are almost always horrible, but grumblebee's crazy, "What's the best PDF online?" link to one of the AskReddits was so stupid popular, even though, you know,
- posting a link and then something that says, "Sorry I posted this link," to the kind of link that's not really a great link in the first place.
cortex: Aeh. (chuckles)
cortex: Just don't do that!
jessamyn: I feel like we need to talk about it in order to say, "Just because grumblebee did this once does not mean everybody else should be doing it." But I found some PDFs that I liked.
mathowie: I felt bad for the PDF hosting people, because someone said, "That is the greatest PDF," and I was like, it took like two minutes to load a half-megabyte PDF--
mathowie: --and like, ohhh, that wasn't very big
- of a file, there must be ten thousand people requesting it right now. God, I hope that person isn't busted by this. That was my only worry, that Reddit's too much of a happiness crowdsourcer, and there's just too many people.
jessamyn: Right, like la-la-la! Everybody now! Yeah.
- Why don't we move on to Ask Metafilter to speed things up so I have room for calls?
jessamyn: Terrific! I only had probably one thing from Ask Metafilter that I thought was like amazing.
jessamyn: Well, I was trying
- to keep a short list.
jessamyn: But it was the, how to wr--you know, it was "What's the best cover letter?", which was also like kinda stupid popular.
mathowie: Oh, wow.
jessamyn: But the thing that's great, though, is that people are really split. Like, there's a ton of people who actually hire people who are like, "I don't give a shit about your cover letter," and other people are like, "This is the stuff that made me hire people," and, you know, there's a lot of people in kind of tough employment times, and I feel like this is concrete advice from people who actually hire people,
- not, like, the usual résumé salesmen trying to get you to buy books about how to do a good résumé.
mathowie: I can't imagine being someone who would think, throw away the cover letter and read a boring résumé and get something out of it. Because man, I would--
jessamyn: They just want to dive straight to your skills! They don't care what you say about those skills, I guess.
mathowie: But I would--I mean, if you're a good communicator, which is important for any job, you know, you're going to have to e-mail your co-workers at some point, if you're doing anything in the world.
- Like, your cover letter's gotta be great. I think I got my first web job because of my cover letter. It was like, I don't think I'd ever really written one, that was more the just look it up in a business book and fill in the blanks, you know, one of those dry, "I am excellent at blah, I like to, I am a go-getter," you know, stupid stuff. Like, I wrote a heartfelt letter about how much I loved this space and that interview--or, like, how badly I wanted to work in this field and stuff. It was just sort of like, you know,
- late-night sweat-feeled [?] rage (jessamyn chuckles) for three days of writing. I wrote it and wrote it and wrote it and edited it to death until where it was like this--it would have been an awesome blog post or something. It was probably the best thing I had ever written in the '90s, you know, it was just this...
jessamyn: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
mathowie: And I got an immediate interview, and got hired right after the interview, it was great.
jessamyn: Yay! Happy story. I was hoping that had a good ending [??].
mathowie: I can't believe, I can't imagine, like, getting to know someone before you hire them is so important, because you want to know if you can live with them and
- work next to them and... God, a cover letter would just be at least something, it would be really important.
jessamyn: Just to know they can spell is important.
mathowie: Yeah. Yeah. But I think--
jessamyn: But, you know, maybe that's just my sort of lens. Like, that's how I would feel, but maybe there are jobs where that kind of stuff doesn't matter.
mathowie: But I guess if I worked in a major company, and it was just a really boring whatever, like mid-level boring job, you know you're going to get nothing but boring cover letters, not people who are really passionate about, "I can't wait to get
- into sales and pick up a phone, woohoo!"
jessamyn: Well, sales is one of those things, though, where you would have to, actually--there was the Ask Metafilter thread about the gal who came to the interview in combat boots?
mathowie: Yeah, yeah, that was awesome.
jessamyn: And a whole bunch of people were like, "Well, part of her job is to sell you on herself!" and other people were like, "Fuck that, if she can do the job it shouldn't matter."
jessamyn: But there was a real difference of opinion there, about whether a combat boots sort of slouchy interview is
- necessary if the person can really do the work.
mathowie: Yeah, yeah.
jessamyn: Turned into a bit of a talk.
mathowie: After I got a web job, we would like, I don't know, kind of mock people that would show up in like a black suit--
jessamyn: Full suit?
mathowie: Yeah. We'd be like, "What? What are they thinking?" You know, we're so casual here, in t-shirts, and like, huh.
jessamyn: But there's so many people who are like, "This is the rule. You have--" I mean, it's the same old thing, right?
jessamyn: That certain people think that there's rules
- that are immutable no matter what the situation is, and other people that are like, "You've really got to learn the different situations." And again, people have a hard time. They holler at each other in Ask Metafilter about that kind of stuff.
mathowie: My favorite thing from Ask Metafilter that wasn't quite resolved yet was, "Who does this Olympic medal belong to?" Like, my grandfather had this 1952 Helsinki bronze medal, we don't even know which sport it was for,
- and like, it's pretty--they kind of are like, "Hey, it could just be one that they also give medals to staff that aren't official or something," but....
mathowie: This person also thought that their grandfather had a connection with baseball, and some guy from some sports ended up in baseball or something, so it could be a real thing, but... there's no resolution, but there's a very fun historical digging going on there.
jessamyn: Well, and aren't you a little
- surprised that they don't have, like, serial numbers or something on the back of them so that you always know whose medal it is?
mathowie: I know! We're talking a database of what, two hundred things ever or something? I mean, it's a pretty small group, maybe five hundred, maybe a thousand medals have ever been given away. I mean, it's only been, what, 25 to 30 of these events, and maybe there's 20-30 sports, I don't know.
jessamyn: Although you do give them to like the whole hockey team and stuff like that, so.
mathowie: That's true.
jessamyn: But yeah. But still. It has to be in the four digits of
- medals, I think?
jessamyn: That's a question for Quora. That's, I would ask them that.
jessamyn: They're so fucking smart.
mathowie: I bet you, wouldn't Wolfram|Alpha have answered this years ago?
cortex: I'm going to go ask right now. How many Olympic medals are there, Wolfram|Alpha?
jessamyn: I'm going to ask right now.
- Oh. You know, if you spell wolframalpha like wolframapla, you get something really totally different.
cortex: Do you?
jessamyn: Yeah. Oh yeah, you do.
cortex: (typing) "How many Olympic medals are there?"
- This is the interactive part of the podcast.
jessamyn: Olympic medals ever.
cortex: Sixteen thousand, four hundred and forty three.
mathowie: Dude, that seems high. But wow.
jessamyn: Shut. Up!
cortex: But that's all gold, silver and bronze.
jessamyn: You guys are just blowing me away with your near-librarian skills here.
mathowie: I know.
cortex: (laughs) I can type! I'm a librarian.
jessamyn: No, it's awesome!
mathowie: Your babies are all grown up. We don't need you anymore.
jessamyn and mathowie: (laugh) cortex: No, actually, mad fucking props for Wolfram|Alpha, that's... I was ready for it to tell me something about vampires or something.
mathowie: I was half-joking when I...
jessamyn: So I was wrong. Matt was also wrong.
mathowie: I was half-joking when I suggested it, going like, "God, what will it say?"
jessamyn: Yeah, that's nice!
mathowie: That's pretty awesome.
cortex: So there you go!
jessamyn: Hey, you can get Wolfram|Alpha for the iPad now, too.
cortex: It's a webpage, why do you need it... I guess, maybe.
mathowie: Ehh. My favorite--
jessamyn: What? What? What did you say?
cortex: It's a website (jessamyn laughs), why would you need it for the iPad, unless you're going to put the whole database on there, in which case you're--
jessamyn: I'm just reading what I saw.
cortex: Okay, whatever.
mathowie: Can't fit.
jessamyn: Rain on my parade.
jessamyn: This is why--
mathowie: Greatest moment from Ask Metafilter last month, this month, was the, "I had four math students in my test come up with a crazy answer that was exactly the same."
jessamyn: Oh, I loved this!! I loved this.
mathowie: So that the hilarious result was, "Why did these four people get this weird result?" And so--
jessamyn: They got the same wrong answer to a math question.
mathowie: Yeah. And everyone else in the class got it. It was like, "Oh, because they used Bing, they put in the formula wrong into Bing, and it gave
- the wrong answer."
mathowie: And the person... The hilarious part is, I tried Google first, but it gave the correct answer. And then Bing gave the incorrect answer, probably because of math formatting. But still, it's very funny.
cortex: That's pretty great.
jessamyn: Well, and it was unclear exactly what people typed into exactly which search engine.
jessamyn: But yeah. It was a logarithm question, and if you typed it in one way... yeah. You'd get this crazy...
mathowie: I just loved that. That was the greatest quote, this... "And I used Bing, of course. Google gave me the correct answer."
jessamyn: Well, I think you put that on Twitter, right?
mathowie: Yeah, yeah.
jessamyn: Because that's probably how I saw it in the first place.
mathowie: Yeah, it was very... I was cracking up. I can't believe someone pulled Bing as the answer in like four minutes. They actually figured--
jessamyn: MrMoonPie is very sharp.
mathowie: Yeah, like, I mean, I'm sure everyone Google it and go, "well, that didn't come up with the wrong answer," but then to think, "Let's try Bing!" It was awesome.
cortex: Yep. I have one AskMe, which is one more than normal for me.
cortex: And as usual, it's because something weird happened. In this case, what happened was
- maybe Angela's reading something--
jessamyn: Isn't it just because it's about alcohol?
cortex: Well, I... I don't know, I think she must have been reading it and maybe was on a computer that I was logged in on and favorited it.
jessamyn: 'tasteslikeass' is the only tag.
cortex: Because yeah, "Would it be possible to make potato salad vodka?" Which turned into a discussion of whether or not it would be possible to do that, and whether you should try to make vodka out of egg salad, or...
jessamyn: Because what I really want is my vodka to taste more like fucking mayonnaise, that's what I want.
mathowie: No! Celery!
mathowie: You just need like a celery undertone.
cortex: Well, there's a nice little bit of discussion about the different directions you could go with it, so.
jessamyn: Once again, have you been on the site this year, Josh? This is from 2008!
mathowie: I know, 2008!
cortex: I never read Ask Metafilter.
mathowie: Obama wasn't president when they made this question.
cortex: I apparently have just gotten to a level of distraction by other things that keep me busy enough that I don't spend a whole lot of time just randomly reading the Green.
jessamyn: I think maybe we should give your own little corner, where you're, you know, you're like, "Retrospectively on Metafilter," because these are delightful, but I'm like, "When was this conversation? I missed it," and then.
cortex: I think it's okay for it for it just to be part of the flow. Because otherwise I won't have anything to link to. So, you know.
cortex: Just work with me here. I'm trying to meet you halfway on this whole....
jessamyn: Potato salad vodka? Dynamite! Thanks for all the Music links.
mathowie: Baby steps.
- Alright, cool! I think that's about enough.
cortex: I don't know, I'm just shouting.
jessamyn: There's a Metafilter baby!
cortex: Oh, yeah!
jessamyn: Shut up!
mathowie: Oh, right!
jessamyn: Come on, don't you even read MetaTalk anymore?
mathowie: I said congratulations in the thread.
mathowie: I beat you to it.
jessamyn: There's a Metafilter baby--you beat me--did you just say that?
mathowie: Look, I'm three comments above you! By one minute.
jessamyn: March 22nd was what day of the week?
mathowie: Oh, no.
jessamyn: A Tuesday. I was in class. I was teaching people how to use Safari.
mathowie: And you're one minute slower because of it.
- The Metafilter baby and the Russian [??] talk got picked up by a magazine, and actually there was an interesting thread that went better than you might have expected on it.
mathowie: Yeah, it was pretty good.
- It was good backstory, good fills in the blanks a lot, I think, for everybody.
jessamyn: Well, and it's nice to know that everybody's kind of doing okay now, at least that's my feeling. I sometimes like it when stuff wraps up and it's not a disaster.
cortex and mathowie: Yeah. mathowie: Could you imagine sleeping in s--huh. Though one part that I might take away was, "Oh my God. The Russian girls hung out for a month on a couch, like..."
jessamyn: In that tiny apartment.
mathowie: I can't imagine having houseguests for a month. Ever. Anyone. My family. No way.
jessamyn: No, your favorite person. Imagine your favorite person and how long you would want them to be in your house.
mathowie: Yeah. Four days?
jessamyn: Who doesn't already live there.
mathowie: Yeah. Kinda crazy.
jessamyn: I can't imagine.
mathowie: Alright, cool. I think this is enough for a podcast.
mathowie and jessamyn: (laugh) mathowie: We have met the minimum requirements for podcasting.
jessamyn: No, but we'll have the Japanese stuff to wrap in, and one of these days Josh will have a podcast that includes him by the time we get another mod, and a podcast theme that includes him, and I think we're doing
- great! You're all winners.
cortex and mathowie: Yay! cortex: Everyone's a winner.
mathowie: Everyone who listens is a winner.
cortex: QWOP. QWOP!
cortex: GIRP! QWOP.
mathowie: Alright, I have to hang up to make my recording work.
jessamyn: (laughs) Yes, you do.
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- beryllium, 168 segments
- Pronoiac, 1