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Podcast 66 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 66: Better Know a taz.

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


jingle: (theme music)

mathowie: Oh right, let me see. This is episode 66 of the Metafilter Podcast, featuring an interview with taz. Hello taz!

jessamyn: Whoo-hoo!

taz: Hello!

cortex: taz!

taz: Hello! Hello, hello, everybody!

mathowie: Oh, taz.

taz: Is anybody else in their kitchen? Because I am.

mathowie: (laughs)

cortex: You have sort of a kitchen-y sound to your acoustic environment there.

taz: (laughs)

jessamyn: I am in my so-called office.

taz: And why is it so-called?

jessamyn: Because it's also the living room and a whole bunch of other rooms. It's basically the other room that's not the kitchen.

taz: Exactly. Okay.

mathowie: Jessamyn, why don't you have a cat?

jessamyn: Because I am on the road all the time, and so I'm like the favorite aunt of my mother who has three cats and my sister who has three cats -

jessamyn: -and formerly my Dad who had three cats,

mathowie: Jesus.

jessamyn: So, now I'm the person without the cats who can take care of other people's cats? But I travel all of the time, so, unfair to cats. Like, I just got back from being away for twelve days, and cats really don't...enjoy that when you're gone all the time.

cortex: That's something that, our cats don't enjoy even when we're gone occasionally-

taz, matt;[chuckling]

cortex: and really it's, I did not know that about cats when we got them, and they really seem to be kind of traumatized

cortex: like one of the cats is really kind of just twitchy for the next three days when we get back, and like, hey-

jessamyn: The one that's twitchy anyhow?

cortex: Well -- she's actually pretty chill; this is the less twitchy one, generally speaking.

jessamyn: Oh, ok.

cortex: Like, when we go away she's like "bah, I don't know what the fuck you're doing here" when we get back, and it's really-

mathowie: Have they gotten to the point where like, one of them will piss on your bed when you're gone?

cortex: No pissing on the bed; there is occasional pissing problems, but-

taz: [laughs]

cortex: -but those seem to come and go. That's mostly been on the floor, which is nice.

mathowie: That's something to look forward to.

cortex: Well, I'm sure that day will come.

jessamyn: My sister has a cat that pisses on the dining room table!

mathowie: Wow! Put a coaster under that!

cortex: Neat! That is escalating.

jessamyn: She's one of those people who has cats that always have complicated animal problems; you know, they're always getting their teeth cleaned, or pulled, or they have ear infections, or, they need very elaborate liver medicine, so -- I think maybe that's the reason I don't actually have any pets.

taz, matt;[laughing]

jessamyn: My sister's, you know, in the pet emergency room all the time with her crazy menagerie, and I'm always like 'that doesn't seem like fun, exactly'. Also I think Jim's allergic? But maybe he was just allergic to his old house, and he's not allergic to actual cats.

mathowie: It could have been mold or something.

jessamyn: Exactly, or constant smoking of menthol cigarettes by his son's mom.

mathowie: Augh.

jessamyn: I know! Gross.

mathowie: That's disgusting.

So, Taz, how did you end up in Greece?

taz: Ah, it's a story of love...

taz: I met my husband in the US, in New Orleans. I was living in New Orleans, and so was he, after going to university at Louisiana State University, which is in Baton Rouge. He left there and moved to New Orleans and we met. Aaand we lived together there for quite a few years, and then one day we just decided to move to Greece. Weren't we smart.

taz: [laughs]

jessamyn: And he's Greek, right?

taz: He is Greek, oh yeah. I should have mentioned that, huh? Yes.

jessamyn: Well, I thought I maybe knew that but maybe that was just the mythos I'd built up around you that wasn't actually true.

taz: Yes

cortex: Yeah it does change the story a little bit if you decide to move to Greece, with a Greek person, than like if you're both like "Fuck it, Greece! Let's just...Greece now! It's time for Greece!"

mathowie: This part of the globe, my finger landed on that on the globe, we're going there, shut up.

Is your - Taz, your real last name sort of seems Greek-ish,

mathowie: like there's some O's and S's and that-

taz: Yeah, that's his.

mathowie: -are you slightly Greek too?

taz: No no, that's my married name.

mathowie: Oh! Ah.

taz: My real, my...maiden? My maiden name is very German.

jessamyn: [laughs]

taz: I wasn't much of a maiden, but...yeah.

jess, matt;[laughs]

taz: Had to be much simpler than my maiden name which was German, and long and hard to pronounce.

taz: And everybody expects your Greek last name to be Poppa-doppa-doppa-doppa-dopoulos, or something, you know?

jessamyn: Mr Dropapopoulos? Mr Propadopoulos? Exactly. What was that, Webster? What show was that?

mathowie: Oh yeah, that was Webster. Mr Popadopoulos, haha.

jessamyn: Or Stephanopoulos, or, yeah.

cortex: Yeah George, yeah.

taz: All the -dopouloses.

mathowie: Mr Bob Dobalina?

cortex: He was a character on Friends.

taz: My husband's last name is very simple,

taz: ...two syllables, easy. Piece of cake, so. Like yeah, give me that name.

jessamyn: And now, where you live in Greece, there's like shit going on now, right?

taz: Yeah, crazy crazy stuff, crazy stuff. Big, big.

jessamyn: And how long has that been happening? I'm only vaguely plugged in to the external news that I don't read about on Metafilter.

taz: Well, a long time...

taz: ...let's say, let's put it this way: I think that the first rioting that people were aware of, came when, I don't know if you remember this, there was a shooting of a teenager by the police, and there was a huge uprising about this, and that was...I can't even say how long ago it was, a year ago maybe? Maybe less. At any rate, that was the first thing that happened...

taz: ...but then, obviously with the whole economic meltdown and the austerity measures, and people being so angry with the government, because... there's been a long history of, a lot of...government shenanigans, and a lot of people making a lot of, taking a lot of money let's say. And so now things are just crazy here, I mean. It's like...occupy every street.

jessamyn: And is there, is there like an election coming up, or an end in sight, or is this just people...? I mean I've heard about it a little bit on PRI and stuff like that when they interview Greek politicians but of course they've got a particular view which isn't maybe the lady on the street view of what's going to need to happen to get people to calm down.

taz: I have no idea what can happen. I don't see what the end game is here on either side.

jessamyn: Interesting.

taz: I just don't know. I don't see what can happen.

It's a mess because, for example today, my husband was supposed to go to Corfu for some work, and of course couldn't because the airlines are closed down because the air traffic controllers are striking. Everybody's striking. Everybody's on strike.

mathowie: Wow.

jessamyn: Sure.

taz: So, it's all crazy. My parents were supposed to come visit this month...

taz: ...but they were like "Oh, I don't think so!" (laughs)

mathowie: Aww.

jessamyn: And where do they live?

mathowie: Louisiana.

taz: They live in Louisiana, they live in central Louisiana.

jessamyn: Oh neat.

mathowie: Is it racist for me to say that [cortex cracks up] every Greek city sounds like a dish [everyone laughing] I would order, in a restaurant?

jessamyn: It might just be ignorant.

mathowie: Yeah, I think the stupidity...

cortex: I think more podcasts should have...

cortex: ...things that you say that start with, "Is it racist for me to say:" [Matt laughs] I think that can only lead to good things.

mathowie: Yeah, always.

jessamyn: Well, Corfu is where Gerald Durrell was, doing all of his like animal exploration right?

taz: That's exactly right.

mathowie: It's a nice sauce, for uh, gyro.

taz: My Family and the Other Animals.

jessamyn: Yeah, I just read that a couple months ago and was enchanted by it, and it made me think I would like to go visit Corfu at some point. But not this year, apparently.

taz: Well, I don't know how things are on Corfu, but...

taz: ...yeah.

cortex: So you were, a long time administrative type over at MetaChat as well.

jessamyn: Oh right.

taz: That's right.

cortex: Is your, Metafilter administrative history, as it were. Prior to coming on board. Has it been interesting transitioning from whatever the character of helping to run that place was, to now doing Metafilter moderation?

taz: Oh yes, very different, very different.

taz: -because...MetaChat is extremely, it's a low key, it's's chatty. It's obviously much smaller. I guess there is less antagonism about, politics and religion -- it happens, but not so much.

taz: It's a smaller group's difficult at Metafilter because you have really such widely varying expectations, and at Metachat it was pretty straightforward; there weren't too many things you couldn't do. It was just - you couldn't talk about Metafilter. On Metachat.

cortex: You couldn't talk sass about Metafilter, anyway.

taz: Right, you could say nice things.

jessamyn: You could mention it's existence.

taz: Yes, you couldn't -- I say, couldn't in the past tense, while I was being an admin there -- but it's still the same. You can't, you can't go to Metachat and gossip about people, and things that are part of Metafilter. So that was one rule,

jessamyn: Now there is twitter for that. [everyone laughs]

taz: And google+, huh?

cortex: Yes, google+ seems to be the real, the real win there.

taz: Nobody's using Facebook to gossip about Metafilter? That's so sad.

jessamyn: Apparently not? Maybe I'm just not invited to those groups; I don't know.

cortex: No, people have to-

mathowie: Too secret maybe?

cortex: Facebook has too effective of privacy management, is the problem. [Taz, Matt laugh]

jessamyn: So maybe we just effectively don't know. And there's no Metatalk on Metachat, right? So there's definitely more of a sense of -

jessamyn: -I'm the mod, this is what I did, this is how it's gonna go.

taz: Yeah.

jessamyn: Instead of "Let's talk endlessly about that decision that you made".

taz: Yeah; I don't know about lately, I think...for the most part, the vibe is very friendly. It's pretty rare that people get really pissed off about anything. And if it does happen, it's usually about the same kind of things. You know, religion.

taz: , politics. But, it's pretty low key. So it's a big difference. I'm more afraid on Metafilter, you know? [Cortex, Matt, then all laugh]

cortex: How's it been going, it's been what, I guess a few weeks now?

taz: Yeah, I'm settling down and... being slightly less paralyzed with fear that I might make a mistake?

cortex: [laughs]

taz: Only slightly.

jessamyn: We all make crazy mistakes all the time. Don't worry about it! It's just important to have a level of sort of panache, and one of the things I notice that you're fairly good at, which is one of the things that I think I'm good at, is being like, "Oh hey man, my bad."

taz: [laughs] Right.

jessamyn: Because occasionally mistakes happen, or you do something and you misjudged--I mean, you, me, anybody--and you misjudged the response.

taz: Right.

jessamyn: And it seems like one of the best things in our toolkit--

taz: Yeah.

jessamyn: --is being like, "Whoops! Next time I'll do something different. Sorry!"

taz: [laughs] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because definitely, you can't, with Metafilter, it's very, very difficult to come on and know about what to do about comment problems unless it's incredibly obvious, and the reason is, as a very, very longtime Metafilter reader, I was seeing all the deletions for posts, but

you don't really see the deletions for comments, so you don't have the same level of knowing, "Oh yeah, that's going to get deleted." You know, you don't necessarily know that.

jessamyn: Right, right.

taz: With posts, you mostly can go, "Ugh, that's not long for this world."

jessamyn: I know what looks like a bad post. Because everybody knows.

taz: But not the same thing with comments. And everybody has their own ideas about what should stay and what should go.

And those ideas are often opposite ends of the spectrum, so, you know. So that's why I keep sending you guys e-mails going, "I didn't delete this, should I have?"

jessamyn: We love those.

taz: Or, "I did delete this, shouldn't I have?"

mathowie jessamyn and cortex: [laugh]

jessamyn: Well, and that works out great, because we're always happy to be like, "Rrrrr." You know, it's kind of fun to have a job like this that's in some ways a very made up job, and yet a job that pays real

pays real money and whatever, and then being able to be like, "Oh, hey, cortex and I, Josh and I are the experts at this job." Like, it's a funny thing, since we've been working here since whatever, 2006--when did you start, Josh?

cortex: Early 2007.

jessamyn: 2007?

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Was that when you started full-time, or was that when you were still--

cortex: That was when I started-started. You were going on vacation in March of 2007, I think, your first vacation-vacation--

jessamyn: That was when I went to Australia?

cortex: Yeah. And so that's when I came on.

mathowie: Oh, I think it was like, fall of 2007

when you really started.

cortex: Yeah, I think it became, like, really, really official in 2007 and, like, full-time in 2008. Because that's when I quit my day job, which was the best day of my life.

mathowie: Oh, okay.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: [laughs]

jessamyn: Yay! I'm so happy that still seems like a good idea in hindsight.

cortex and mathowie: [laugh]

jessamyn: But like, it feels funny to feel like, oh, we have some sort of expert knowledge in between you and Jeremy--restless_nomad, who I feel like has also been pretty terrific, and she's the only one who came to us with any experience

from a non-Metafilter universe.

taz: Right. [chuckles]

jessamyn: I don't know if you know much about her, but she's got the big gaming and gaming forum background, which is really interesting.

taz: Yeah, I did know about that. I mean, I haven't--actually, I haven't found the forum yet [laughs]--

jessamyn: [laughs]

taz: --but I was sort of thinking of talking to her and finding it just to [unintelligible, dissolves into laughter]

mathowie: Yeah, I think I was surprised by some of the questions you've sent us, taz.

It was just like, "Oh, wow, I guess that's stuff that you do have to learn at some point."

taz: Oh.

mathowie: Like, there's a whole world of guidelines for administrators on the back end, like, think of all the hidden rules of Metafilter, like, being a mod there's a million more hidden rules.

jessamyn: Right, like, we'd send him an e-mail first, and then if his e-mail comes back like, "Yeah, sorry," that's one thing, but if he's like, "No way, fuck you!", then we do something else--

taz: [laughs]

jessamyn: And the next day, if--

mathowie: Also,

you could write a book on handling the contact form.

cortex: [laughs]

mathowie: Which is like, okay, every day you're going to get spam five times. Okay, next level: you're going to get fake help in the form of spam, like TurboTax--

taz: [laughs]

jessamyn: "How do I join--"

mathowie: No, no, no, the TurboTax people keep e-mailing us going, "You have a 404! Change the link to our site," and they're spammers.

taz: [laughs]

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: Right. "You have a very good forum, with very good information. I noticed--"

mathowie: Oh God, yeah.

jessamyn: "--this link is broken."

mathowie: And then some people just can't be helped.

taz: Yeah. Does everybody realize that, that Metafilter spam is constantly via the contact form?

mathowie: No.

cortex: I don't think people are super aware of it, because they don't see it. It's one of those things that happens totally invisibly, and so we deal with it, and we're so used to it, that, like, I think when I first started on the job and started getting contact form stuff, I found the whole thing surreal and hilarious, all the bullshit we got, and I would talk about to some extent on MetaTalk or on Twitter, but then it just became so normal it's like, I actually spent about a year

bucketing every contact form we got into twelve different buckets for the different sorts of classes.

jessamyn: [laughs]

cortex: And then eventually I realized, it's never going to end, and I don't have an end-game plan for this data--

jessamyn: [laughs]

cortex: --so I'm just adding to my workload. It was a relief when I was like, "Fuck it, I don't care, nobody cares, we get stupid stuff, I'm just going to move on with my day." But yeah, I don't think people know, because they don't see it, and we get used to it, so we don't even talk about it very much.

taz: Right.

jessamyn: Well, and it's funny to wake up with a ton of e-mail, Metafilter e-mail, and be like, "Oh, Jesus," and then be like,

"Oh, it's like sixteen people trying to sell us handbags, or gloves, or whatever."

mathowie: [laughs]

jessamyn: Like, oh, I don't need to do anything with that.

taz: Today was gloves, we had gloves today. Gloves from Pakistan.

mathowie: Yeah, it's like, there's some weird flavor of Chinese importer spam that we've getting for years, where it's like, "We can give," in broken English, "ten thousand pieces of the following," and it's like, handbags.

taz: That's true.

cortex: Or the weird reversal version where someone's out of nowhere

sending us a request for 300 pairs of goat kid gloves.

mathowie: Yeah. Yeah. What is that scam? I've always been fascinated.

jessamyn: [laughs]

mathowie: Like, I want to reply to those guys, "I can get you ten thousand pieces of whatever."

taz: [laughs]

mathowie: Like, where's the--it must be a check scam, or they fake like they're giving you money? I have no idea.

taz: [laughs] Yeah.

mathowie: So strange.

jessamyn: It's all very mysterious. And then there's the sort of desperate, "I was Googling my health problem and found Ask Metafilter," people.

mathowie: Yes. And I think I'm talking to Ask Metafilter, so I'll give you a horrible story.

taz: Exactly. There are many of those that come, and they think that's how to post to Ask Metafilter.

cortex: Yep. It's total "cancel my Google" thing.

taz: [laughs]

jessamyn: Right, right.

cortex: "Please cancel my Googles."

mathowie: I think once a week we get those amazing rants for no reason, like, why on earth did they send them to us.

taz: Yeah.

mathowie: Wasn't there a guy who hated women or something last week? Like, there was some epic thing

I had to show my wife.

cortex: Yeah, someone found some thread and then just sent us a crazy thing, because they read the thread, they got angry, and then they sent us a big long note about whatever the fuck is bothering them, and just--

taz: Wow.

cortex: People just screaming into the void and somehow we manage to be the void.

taz and mathowie: [laugh]

cortex: Like, it's not trivial to find the contact form, you know.

mathowie: [laughs]

cortex: You kind of have to go looking down the corners.

jessamyn: It's a tiny link at the bottom of the page, near the FAQ, honestly.

taz: Yeah.

mathowie: Near the hundreds of milliseconds it took to render

mathowie: - the page, I mean. That's the same size as contact. I'm amazed they find it.

taz: I'm amazed, too.

mathowie: It's funny. We're hyper-aware and responsive to the contact form, but half the time it is spam. I mean, it's like - imagine doctors with pagers -

taz: (laughs)

mathowie: - but half the time they're getting boner spam. It's so weird, because you have to be alert! and then, it's garbage. Alert! Oh, garbage.

taz: (continues laughing)

jessamyn: Right, and there is some stuff that's borderline- like is this someone really trying to figure out how to sign up, like...

mathowie: Yeah, no.

cortex: But at least that's an actual person, then there's the people who write to us to ask for their login credentials for obviously

mathowie: Oh, god.

cortex: some site that is not Metafilter.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: And half the time when I bother to write back to someone, maybe they're just a really confused Mefite, and I'll be "hey, we don't have an account on file with this email address, do you know what your username or your other email may have been?" and then I get a bounce, because the email they wrote from

jessamyn: Or anything, or anything at all

cortex: Isn't good.

jessamyn: Well, let's ask taz, how do you pronounce m-e-f-i-t-e?

taz: I'm not telling.

(everybody laughs)

mathowie: This is important! It goes in the logbook.

jessamyn: Matt, didn't you put that as part of the application process?

mathowie: Yeah. "How do you pronounce m-e-f-i?"

taz: It's an unfair question, because who am I talking to, that I would ever say it?

jessamyn: Well, you're foreign!

taz: That I would ever say it, you know? I don't say it!

cortex: That's why it's interesting.

taz: In my head, I say "may-fight." (laughs)

jessamyn: (gasp)

mathowie: What?!

cortex: You're one of those "bay-ta" people, aren't you?

mathowie: I know!

taz: Yeah!

mathowie: Wow!

taz: I do! I say "bay-ta!" I do.

jessamyn: Who doesn't say "bay-ta?" Wait a second, what?

cortex: Oh, I'm sorry, okay, I say "bay-ta" too.

mathowie: "Bee-tah."

cortex: But you're one of the people who says [MeTa as] "may-tah" like they say "bay-tah," I guess, is what I'm looking for.

jessamyn: Oh, oh, got it.

taz: No, no, I say -

mathowie: Remember when iamkim -

taz: I say "meh-tah."

cortex: Okay, then I have no explanation.

jessamyn: Okay.

taz: But, but, but -

jessamyn: But, "may-fie."

mathowie: "May-fie?"

cortex: You need to ask iamkimiam about this, because this is what she -

cortex: - has been doing her post-grad research on.

jessamyn: PhD work, yeah.

mathowie: Oh, and I remember when she listed all the pronunciations of just "mee-fie" and "meh-fie." She had seven, and I was like "who does those!?" and now I know.

cortex: She has eight common ones. There's more, but only eight of them were significant enough to catalog.

mathowie: I've only heard two, and I thought that was crazy until today.

jessamyn: Right. Mine, Josh's.

cortex: (laughs)

jessamyn: That's all I know. This is great, there's a third.

taz: Wait, wait. Both of you have to tell me -

taz: - because, I'm just reveling in hearing the words, you know, I never hear.

jessamyn: Oh, right. We can start saying people's usernames out loud.

cortex: (laughs)

mathowie: Oh, I know, yeah, good luck with that.

cortex: I say, "meh-fie" and "meh-fight."

taz: "Meh-fight."

jessamyn: And I say, "mee-fie" and "mee-fight."

taz: "Meh-fie" and "mee-fie." Okay.

jessamyn: And Matt agrees with me.

taz: I'm amazed.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: There's also "meh-fee" and "may-fee" and, uh, "mee-fee."

jessamyn: I have a friend who does that, actually. Whose parents are Greek, come to think of it -

jessamyn: - which, I don't know, if it has anything to do with anything.

taz: Your friend says "may-fight?"

jessamyn: He says "meh-fee."

taz: "Meh-fee." Uh-huh. Yes.

mathowie: (groans)

taz: "Meh-fee" sounds kinda dirty.

(everyone laughs)

cortex: Someone said this in a thread, something iamkimiam actually cataloged for the research - she did a presentation recently where she was talking about this, so I could actually watch her present this, and she pointed out that some people defended "meh-fee" because it sounded like a cute little dog.

You know. It's like "Meh-fee, this is Meh-fee. He's three years old. He's a Pomeranian."
(everyone laughs)

mathowie: That's perfect.

taz: I thought it sounded dirty! (laughs) Someone else thinks it sounds like a puppy dog, and I'm like "ew. nasty!"

cortex: (laughs) Well, maybe it's a complicated sorta overloading there, is what's going on.

jessamyn: Overlapping?

cortex: The next time someone does doctoral research on Metafilter, it'll be on the -

- sexual psychoacoustics of enregistered terms.

jessamyn: "What you can turn into something dirty." That's an interesting -

cortex: No, no, we'll just throw everything against a Kinsey scale survey to find out what the correlates are between pronunciations and whether or not you would have sex with a dog or something.

I don't know where this is going. Someone else talk.

jessamyn: One of these days, Josh is going to leave us for grad school.

cortex: (laughs) Grad school is so expensive! The money goes in the other direction!

mathowie: The grad school's going to come by and pick Josh up.

cortex: I'd have to work harder, and it would cost me money. That's bullshit.

jessamyn: See, Matt and I both have advanced degrees, Josh. I think Metafilter should send you to school.

(cortex laughs, matthowie groans)

cortex: Hey, there we go! If it's somebody else's money, I could spend that!

jessamyn: Matt - this is one of those things you may not know, taz, that Matt has a degree in soil science.

taz: Oh, that's amazing!

mathowie: A Masters.

jessamyn: A Masters degree in soil science.

cortex: How the hell did that happen?

mathowie: I was a soil chemist, uh, yeah.

cortex: That's kinda neat, actually.

taz: And so, how do you use that knowledge these days?

mathowie: Um, once in a while, while gardening, is what I would say.

taz: That's what I was wondering.

mathowie: I might say, "eh, those tomatoes are low on nitrogen. You might want to throw some fertilizer in." That's about it.

cortex: You should talk to Angela about this. We've had mixed success - some of our garden has been great, and some's been a little bit soil-rocky.

mathowie: Also know, my knowledge is seventeen years out of date, at this point. No, fourteen years since the last time I ever had to do anything.

cortex: Well, that's three ecosystems ago. Never mind.

jessamyn: Has the world of soil changed dramatically?

mathowie: Oh gosh, does it? No!

(everyone laughs)

jessamyn: What?

mathowie: No, the problem is, my brain changes and I've forgotten things over fourteen years, so I can't really help much. (chuckles)

jessamyn: I see. I see.

mathowie: I remember the rules of thumb, that's about it.

jessamyn: So that's a good question. taz, you have non-internet hobbies?

taz: Oh! Um. Yeah, sorta. (laughs) I read.

cortex: It's okay if you do. It's not a trick question.

jessamyn: Right. Right, sorry, this is not some gotcha setup.

cortex: We allow outside interests.

taz: I hate to admit it, but, I don't do anything healthy. I just read -

jessamyn: That's fine.

taz: I read a lot. I have a Kindle. I also have a little Nintendo Light, I play puzzle games and things like that. I love puzzles, any kind of puzzle - crossword puzzles, I love the New York Times crossword puzzle. I have a few books of those, but now I have them on the Nintendo Light. Yay!

cortex: Have you gotten into the Professor Layton stuff, with your little puzzle/adventurers?

taz: I have a look at one of those, and it was okay, but I don't know - I like the puzzles to be less spread-out and more intensive, I guess.

cortex: More formally structured. How about Picross, do you have an opinion on Picross, have you played that one? The one where you've got the numbers on the rows and the columns, and you have to put the pixels in the right order to create the encoded picture?

jessamyn: (sound of interest & confusion)

taz: (laughs) I haven't seen that!

cortex: You should look it up.

cortex: It's pretty good. It was big in Japan, it didn't do huge in the US.

jessamyn: (that sound again - sorta "woooo," rising inflection) Send us a link!

cortex: I'll try to find it! Pi-crose or Pi-cross or -

jessamyn: Pie crust?

cortex: I have no idea how to pronounce it, because it's an internet word. (Spells "Picross.")

taz: Oh, actually, I might've - yeah, I think I did try that at one point. But the thing I'm thinking of had blocks. You have to figure out which blocks to explode.

cortex: It doesn't actually explode, but yeah, it's a tile-based puzzle thing. If you'd played it, you'd be like "oh, yeah," and otherwise you'd have to fiddle with it, if that makes sense.

jessamyn: Oh! We had one of these in the, bluh bluh bluh, puzzle hunt. My team had to do a big advanced multi-color one in these in the puzzle hunt once. They can be really challenging!

cortex: Yeah, no, they appeal to whatever part of my brain likes, I dunno, doing Lite Brites the hard way, I guess.


jessamyn: Interesting.

taz: "Lite Brites the hard way." I like that.

jessamyn: So what have you read lately that you've liked? Only because I'm a nerdy book person, and I'm always curious.

taz: Um, well, let's see. This wasn't that lately, but my favorite book I've read in the past year is "Big Machine." Do you know that book? "Big Machine?"

jessamyn: I don't.

taz: It's a book by a guy called Victor LaValle, and well, I'm not going to talk about the book, because I'm the sort of person who doesn't even read reviews -

taz: - of books, really. I'll look and see how many stars there are, and then I'll start.

jessamyn: That's me too, usually.

taz: Yeah. I'll start reading the first chapter, and if it's good, I'll get the book, but I hate reviews. So I'm not going to give anything away about the book, but it's something rather unusual, and I liked it a lot, and in fact, there's some poor Metafilter member, who will go unnamed, who I totally spammed -

taz: - when he mentioned in a thread that he was having problems - he didn't find that many books in English, or American authors, I think he said, he didn't find that many American authors, I think he was living in China, and I was like, "Memail contact, oh you've got to read this book!"

jessamyn: (laughs) I do that occasionally. Or if someone mentions a book that I've really liked, "oh! I really like that too!"

jessamyn: In the Neal Stephenson thread, there was a discussion about Daemon and some other book that were like Reamde but not Reamde, and me and this other guy had a conversation about this other book that is much better, and it was fun. Memail's great for that.

taz: I see on your Gmail status sometimes, "reading a book!" (laughs)

jessamyn: That is actually often when I am reading. Although, the thing about statuses, I use Adium for chat a lot of times, so I don't see my status, I don't see anybody else's status -

jessamyn: - so I'll set a status on my chat, and then go do something else, and then not change it for three days, so occasionally, I'll get somebody -

taz: So sometimes, when I'm thinking of you reading a book, you're not really reading a book? I feel kinda cheated now.

jessamyn: If it's nighttime, I'm probably reading a book. If it's the morning, I probably went to sleep reading a book, and then never changed my status.

cortex: This is why I pretty much never change my status. Because every once in a while I'm like, "you know, I'm going out of town for a few days. I should change my status." And I'll change my status, "yeah, fucking Boston!" and that's great, for while I'm in Boston -

cortex: - but anybody who would care is in Boston, and they know I'm going to be there, and then I get back from Boston, and like two weeks later, someone's like "so how's Boston?" and it's like "what the fuck are you talk-, ooooh yeah."

jessamyn: I try to let people know if I'm in an airport or if I've literally left the house. If it says I'm outside, usually I actually am outside. But the problem is remembering to turn it back to whatever the default is afterwards.

mathowie: I do remember you were making a spaghetti sauce for three days once.


mathowie: Like, "Don't bother me. Cooking spaghetti sauce," or something like that.

taz: She was off saving the garlic, yeah?

jessamyn: Oh! That was something I learned on Metafilter. The guy who put the garlic in the metal bowls, and shake it and all the little paper skin just falls off of it. Have you guys tried that?

mathowie: I haven't tried it, but I heard it.

taz: I want to try it, but I don't have bowls like that.

jessamyn: Whaa?

taz: I'm short on bowls, I mean, I have soup bowls-

mathowie: Is there a video for this?

cortex and jessamyn;Yeah, yeah!

mathowie: Oh.

taz: There is.

mathowie: Post one.

cortex: I don't have matching bowls like that, we could probably pull it off but I never need to do that much garlic, a big day for garlic is two cloves; I never need to strip an entire bulb, so-

taz: Um...

cortex: -it doesn't cross the threshold of usefulness for me.

jessamyn: [Incredulously] What, what?

taz: Let me tell you that you can solve that problem by going to Ask Metafilter and looking up garlic, because there's a thread in there that has recipes

that have -- somebody specifically asked, and I can't remember which user right now, it might have been halcyon? I don't remember -- asked for recipes with lots of garlic [cortex laughs], somebody asked and it's amazing, there are a bunch of recipes in there I want to try, and we need that bowl method of peeling garlic obviously.

jessamyn: It is great! And it totally, it doesn't -- you wouldn't think it works; it looks like one of those TV cooking things, where the guy's like "and then you put in the garlic, and then you shake, shake, shake! And then, see?", and I'm like "That doesn't work!", but we actually have been trying it, and it actually does work.

mathowie: Here's one from the stupid spammy search engine Mahalo.

jessamyn: I don't know why you hate Mahalo that much.

mathowie: 'cause it's's an SEO paradise for jerky people. [Taz laughs] Wow, it looks like it magically works around a minute and a half.

mathowie: Wow. That's pretty impressive.

We should wrap this up since it's been a half hour or something.

jessamyn: Ok. Matt's our, our,

mathowie: Timekeeper.

jessamyn: -Time Nazi. [cortex, taz laughing]

mathowie: I'm the guy who has to edit this. [Jess chuckles]

taz: We were wondering who was doing the editing, so-

mathowie: Yeah, it's always me.

jessamyn: "Not me" is the answer.

taz: Not me is the other answer.

jessamyn: "Not it!", yeah. [laughs]

mathowie: Alright, any final concluding comments?

taz: Yeah, not really but, I just wanted to say, maybe not for public consumption but, I just want to say that I was proud to be here for vagina week. [cortex laughs]

jessamyn: Yaay!

cortex: Oh that's for public consumption.

jessamyn: That's for public consumption.

mathowie: Every week is vagina week.

taz: We had so much vagina! Seriously, we had the disappearing pubic hair thread

mathowie: Oh, god.

taz: -vagina on television-

mathowie: Vagina on television, yeah.

jessamyn: That has been oddly, unusual -- it's actually gone pretty well relative to sometimes how these discussions go.

taz: And then there were was another, sort of related things, but not quite as nice, so.

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: Oh, and you got to kill like two or three premature Gaddafi posts; that's like your first exposure to so breaking people's posts really badly about it, newsfilter.

jessamyn: Right.

taz: What is that quote about stonemaking?

Hours of tedium interrupted by moments of sheer terror? I was like, don't be-

cortex: I thought that was baseball? [Taz laughs]

jessamyn: Yeah I thought that - is that baseball? I thought that was something.

cortex: [laughing] No, I've heard something like that about film too, 'cause yeah, there's a lot of sitting around, makeup and setup and-

jessamyn: "Hours and hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror".

taz: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah but I feel like there's something else too. There's probably a few things that that applies to, really.

jessamyn: Poker.

taz: I was trying to-

jessamyn: Somebody else on the Internet: "Marriage?" [Taz, Cortex laughing]

jessamyn: Anesthetics, paramedics...I guess there's some debate -- sorry, go on.

taz: Well I was desperately searching all the news sources, trying to -- "Is it actually confirmed? I'm not seeing it confirmed! I'm not seeing it confirmed!" -- I was freaking out; "What if I delete it, and...", you know. So the one that ended up staying, we sort of back and forthed a little bit to make sure it was sort of really happening.

cortex: Yeah.

taz: That was scary..

jessamyn: Which is good, but it worked out well I thought.

taz: Yeah, yeah. So... yes vagina and Gaddafi, that's my week.

jessamyn: Hurray!

taz: And not necessarily two things you want to put together. [Cortex, Matt laugh]

jessamyn: Indeed.

taz: [laughing] Yay. [laughing]

mathowie: [laughing] Alright. Thanks for joining us Taz, and thanks for signing on. I get to actually relax and sleep at night now.

taz: Aww.

jessamyn: Me too, I get to wake up in the normal Jessamyn morning and not the fake Jessamyn morning of nine o'clock in the morning. [Taz laughs]

cortex: [chuckling] Oh no, not nine o'clock, I've barely had three cups of tea by then.

jessamyn: Shut up! [Matt laughing]

taz: I'm very happy, that you guys-

jessamyn: That's a good question: tea or coffee?

taz: Oh, coffee.

jessamyn: ...okay.

taz: Big coffee there. But -

mathowie: Still American.

taz: -I also do tea, but

more...the coffee's the addiction. Yeah, for sure.

jessamyn: Good.

mathowie: Alright, awesome.

taz: Alright, dear friends.

jessamyn: It was nice to talk to you, Taz.

taz: It was very nice to talk to you, and... keep calm and carry on.

jessamyn: Thank you.

cortex: See you at the end of an interface.

taz: Okay! [laughing, Matt laughs] Bye bye.

mathowie: See ya.

SFX: [Fade into 15 second musical interlude.]

[Music fades out...]

jessamyn: Okay, so September 19th was the last podcast...

mathowie: I think? I think I took forever to post it. I think it was, way bef-

cortex: Well thereabouts then, give or take a week.

mathowie: Yeah, I think-

cortex: Or, take a week.

mathowie: I think it was maybe, like September...

cortex: Mid September.

mathowie: Yeah, mid September.

Did I forget? I think it was September eleven-no I'm kidding. [Jess, Cortex titter, sigh] [Matt laughs] Mid September! So, to now, that counts.

cortex: Plus I wasn't on the previous one so I've got older shit I'll probably ring up.

mathowie: Oh shit.

jessamyn: Oh that's right, I forgot.

mathowie: Plus you can mention your own project, now that we're talking about Projects, starting now.

cortex: Oh yes.

jessamyn: Alright. So.

cortex: Although it technically wasn't in projects, so-

mathowie: You had the most popular thing in the world. FaveRunner.

cortex: Oh God, that's right.

jessamyn: Yeah tell us a little big about FaveRunner.

cortex: FaveRunner is a game that I made because I was learning to use the Flixel game programming library, which is a programming library for Flash that just makes it easy to do sort of old school raster graphics platform type games, and so I took a hello world type program and added way too much stuff to it and that turned it into FaveRunner, a game where you run around collecting favorites and avoiding the evil flags, and it's hard, but also not very good, but it's Metafilter themed,

which most games aren't so, there you go, there's the gimmick.

mathowie: How was-

jessamyn: People enjoyed it. [Aside] You want to open up the chat window so we can, share these links?

mathowie: [in response] Oh wait, let me go back to this... yeah.

How long did it take to do from start to finish?

cortex: It was like four days. But that's the thing, it's a simple game, I had something to start with that was a sort of tutorial of a functional very very simple platformer, and I just made it a slightly more complicated platformer.

So as much as anything it took four days because I had to figure out how to program it, it's the sort of thing you could probably build in about three hours if you actually knew what you were doing already.

mathowie: Eventually you're going to settle on a roguelike, Markov platformer, right?

cortex: Something like that, yes.

mathowie: Just a super project-

cortex: I had this idea for a Game Of Life space shoot 'em up where you're flying around in a spaceship shooting at things but the things you're shooting at are all iterating forms of Conway's Game Of Life cellular automata. [Matt laughs] So that will be a good one I think once that happens.

jessamyn: So wait, this got posted to Metafilter, but then deleted, and then I feel like there was a discussion thread about it somewhere.

cortex: There was a MetaTalk thread about it. Because it got posted on Metafilter and I was like "uuuh, nooo..."

mathowie: Too Metafiltery?

cortex: Yeah, but then someone mentioned it in MetaTalk, and we talked about it there I think.

mathowie: Oh wow, and then-

jessamyn: I just -- oh, sorry?

mathowie: No no, I was just, we have that feature where we say it was posted but then it leads to a deletion, and it- [cortex laughs]

jessamyn: And you don't see it on the inside which is what I just noticed? I'm viewing the project thread about FaveRunner

and there's no indicator on that page that it's been posted to Metafilter? Which we probably need to fix.

cortex: I think the indication goes away if it's deleted again? But-

mathowie: I don't think so.

cortex: -I'm not sure, I don't know. Question for Paul, I guess.

mathowie: Oh well. I don't think we ever had this usecase. [chuckles]

cortex: Doesn't come up much.

mathowie: That something would be So would get deleted instantly. [Cortex laughs]

jessamyn: But is that the only reason, way you can't see it, uh, is that the only reason there's no indicator on the inside?

cortex: I don't know.

mathowie: Oh no, it's just for the front page, the indicator I guess. Oh wait.

jessamyn: You should have an indicator on the inside.

mathowie: Yeah, it is.

cortex: I guess we could.

mathowie: There is one.

jessamyn: What?

cortex: So yeah, maybe it goes away if it's deleted?

mathowie: [understanding] Oh, it must go away, yeah but not the front page. [Jess sighs] Okay now I get it, all right.

jessamyn: So much fun listening to you guys figure this all out. [Cortex laughing]

mathowie: These are very obsc- these are very precise bugs, I mean this is like, living MetaTalk.

cortex: It's because the two different features were implemented at different times, so it's not like one and the same, it was two different solutions, so.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Yeah. Right. [calling] Paaul! [Jess laughs]

cortex: Other projects I liked that, I think this was since you guys left, the Metafilter tartan was a cute little thing, that came up.

mathowie: Oh yeah.

jessamyn: I love the Metafilter tartan, I want a little-

mathowie: I want pants!

jessamyn: -skirt made out of the Metafilter tartan!

mathowie: Yes. How do we make that happen?

jessamyn: I think you go to, what's it called? Blue? Boobily? Boo-de...there's a fabric making, you just give them a pattern and they make a fabric, but it's not tartan, it's not a woven tartan.

mathowie: Oh you need to weave

them, hmm. Oh wait, "Real woven customs are available". There's a -- in the discussion thread about it, at the bottom.

jessamyn: Oh nice.

mathowie: The last comment says it's possible, sorta.

cortex: So instead of selling twenty dollar T-shirts next we'll sell two hundred dollar kilts? [Matt laughs]

mathowie: I like this, they're like "blah blah blah, it's gotta be woven", I like these fake custom prints on whatever you want,

you don't have to -- it doesn't have to be woven in the highlands of Scotland or something like that, it should be cheap, simple. Custom printed fabric.

jessamyn: Done by some Internet company.

mathowie: Yeah, just order it online, you upload a tile and you're done.

jessamyn: Yeah there's a website that does that, I was reading about it in Ask Metafilter about a different-

mathowie: Spoonflower.

jessamyn: Yes, Spoonflower -- I knew it had an 'oo' in it.

mathowie: Do you see the little chat? Are you not seeing it?

jessamyn: What little chat?

mathowie: I just dropped Spoonflower in chat.

cortex: The Gchat thing?

jessamyn: oh! Dammit, there's two chats. I'm looking at the old chat.

mathowie: Oh yeah yeah. Dump the old chat.

jessamyn: Now how do I dump the old chat?

mathowie: Ah, you just click to the current calls, on the left side of the new interface.

jessamyn: I don't have the new interface. [Matt laughs] All right, this is fine, this is fine, I'm fine, I'm fine.

mathowie: Do you see it now? Do you see it now?

jessamyn: [Grumbling] Yes, yes, please don't tell me how to use the Internet I'm fine.

mathowie: Alright, okay. [laughing]

jessamyn: [Brightly] But yeah, that would be cool. And then we could make some ah, tartan t-shirts.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Or something-

mathowie: Or pants or something.

jessamyn: Yeah, slacks. Messenger bags.

Well I of course obviously loved the Occupy Wall Street People's Library page, and the funny thing is I had been in love with the Occupy Wall Street People's Library page before I knew it had anything to do with anybody from Metafilter. So this is jiardin-yay or jar-dinny-er [jardinier], or I don't even know how to pronounce that name, who is a co-volunteer librarian and organizer
who put the website together.

cortex: Oh nice.

jessamyn: Yes.

mathowie: I was going to say this is Occupy Wall Street month on projects, there's like four or five it seems.

jessamyn: Yeah, there's a bunch of really good ones. So the library's really cool, and it's like a big deal: they have a thousand books, they're doing reference...sort of on the street, they have an actual...thing set up, they're doing discussions with other libraries -- it's actually neat watching this kind of thing, this kind of useful project

happen with a, this kind of situation. I thought it was great, their website's really great and helpful. And I was "yeah, rah rah rah!"
There's also Occupy Wall Street charts. Which is just a tumblr that collects charts and data, that might be useful or interesting to understand social inequality, financial inequality etc, etc -- but it's a nice little tumblr. It's nice, it's easy to look at
it's got all the charts that you seek, kind of all in one place. It's a nice, sort of simple simple project by gee-wint. gwint. [username: gwint]

mathowie: Heh. gwint. God, usernames. Always funny.

jessamyn: Yeah, we should have asked Taz how to pronounce a whole bunch of different usernames.

mathowie: Yeah, we should have just... well, that's a whole another thesis. [Jess, Josh laugh] Any good jobs lately? They've all been kind of strange.

cortex: There was one other, actually two other projects I wanted to mention real quick.

mathowie: Alright, shoot.

jessamyn: Sure.

cortex: One of which you probably brought up on the last podcast and made fun of me about it, but I didn't listen so this is just a guess, but, Roguelike-

jessamyn: You didn't even listen to the podcast?!

cortex: I don't normally listen to podcasts, and-

mathowie: Yes, we did.

cortex: -usually I don't worry about ours, because I knew what happened, because I was there, but this one I should go back for, but I just haven't made time.

mathowie: I think my joke on this was "This is like sending up the giant Cortex signal", like launching it.

cortex: For, the Roguelike Radio podcast?

mathowie: Yeah, rogue- yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah! Yeah, great project.

cortex: So yeah, that's obviously near and dear to my heart, but also a weird little one that not a ton of people necessarily appreciate but [user] dmd worked with [user] cellphone to make a unix talk web utility. So it's just like the terrible old, realtime-

mathowie: Oh talk! Yeah.

cortex: -you can see people typing, thing that would be a standard unix utility, like terrible real time chat, but it was simple and it was there, and so they made that as a web page. So it's super charming if you have that specific set of memories and I thought it was pretty awesome.

jessamyn: Which I completely do. Like, my first kind of serious, long distancey boyfriend? [Matt laughs] I have tons of unix talk...transcripts? Which are hilarious because obviously when you're looking at it in the split screen, you see your stuff on top and their stuff on the bottom, but they get all glommed together in the transcript, so that if you're both typing words at the same time -- which you can do in unix talk -- the transcripts are all munged

and weird [Cortex laughs] but I kept them. I kept them anyhow.

mathowie: I was laughing because you said a relationship, because that was exactly my only experience with talk was, you know, being a smitten grad student. Like logging on to -- you know, if you're running samples in a lab and there's just a computer sitting next to the machine you're borrowing in some other lab, you can always open a terminal session on any OS and check your email -- because it was all in VAX --

so it was this huge Digital Equipment Company thing. And when you check your email it would be "Oh, your girlfriend is also on", you know, "K is also checking her email right now, do you want to initiate a talk session?"

jessamyn: YEAH! That was exactly what I did, yes.

mathowie: "Okay", so I'm sitting there running gas chromatographs and stuff for hours, [Jess laughs] and was like "Oh hey! Hey", so we talk on Talk all the time in like 1995.

jessamyn: Exactly. Exactly.

mathowie: It was fun.

jessamyn: Yes, I have fond memories of-

mathowie: I love the part where you can see the other person fixing typos in real time-

cortex: Yep.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: -there's just something awesome about that.

It's very fun. That's awesome.

jessamyn: Yes, I love it entirely.

Oh, and I had one more -- I don't think this made the last podcast, but it's Jay Frosting who's the sort of pseudonym for another long term Metafilter person, and Handcoding
is going through gender transition and they're doing this video podcast about how the whole thing works-

cortex: Oh yeah.

jessamyn: -and it's actually really well done, and super interesting and Handcoding is a Long Time, long time Metafilter user but this has all just been going down over the last year or two, and, it's just a really good video podcast.

mathowie: I think this happened right at, right when we recorded, or something? I think we just barely missed this.

jessamyn: Yeah, I think it happened-

mathowie: I think this is on my pile to mention

the day we recorded or something, and never got around to it.

jessamyn: Well we talked about a lot of stuff too, so I don't think we mentioned this? But yeah, it was on my to talk about. And it's just real good, I've been sort of following the video podcasts and I just think they're interesting, and a lot of what's going on is Ashley talking about, how you deal with this at work, how you deal with this with your family, and it's just sensible and interesting and pretty straightforward so, I enjoyed it.

mathowie: So what's her, what's she been posting on mlkshk?

jessamyn: Just little, photographs, you know? "Oh hey, my first day at work as female, they brought me cupcakes, welcome to the new office" or "Hey, this is the new nail polish I'm using", or "Here's a nice note that I got from somebody", just little stuff but, yeah I follow her on mlkshk, and I enjoy the little stuff that comes across.

mathowie: Is it just Handcoding on mlkshk?

jessamyn: I don't remember?

...don't remember. Maybe.

mathowie: Yep, that's it. That was it. Yep. Yaay.

jessamyn: She tweets @FourthAndFirst. Which is similar, I think if you follow the tweets you'll get the, you'll get that as well.

mathowie: There's a, man there's all-

cortex: Venn diagram.

mathowie: Things you never think about in the trans world are:

"You need to update your icons on various social sites" needs to be a checkbox somewhere. [laughs]

jessamyn: Right right right totally.

mathowie: There's a previous icon on flickr for the same person. These are strange, twenty first century problems.

jessamyn: Right. Well it looks like she hasn't been using flickr for the last six months and so yeah, exactly.

mathowie: Sweet. Is that is on projects?

jessamyn: I think that was it for me. Projects has been good lately.

Jobs got us the one kind of weird red alert job.

cortex: [laughs]

mathowie: [laughs] Oh god. What was so, what was so weird about it? I mean it's a little weird, but-

cortex: It just - it's just such a weird premise.

mathowie: People thought it was criminal or something? I'm like, I don't understand what could be bad.

cortex: I think the problem is not so much that it's obviously something criminal going on, just that it makes so little sense as a job post in general that that's less implausible than any other job entry ever posted. It could be just a very confused person, and that's my default assumption when something weird is happening on the Internet, but-

jessamyn: Right, sixty bucks to deliver a flower.

cortex: At like ten pm or something. No detail-

mathowie: Is that a, poppyseed? [Cortex laughs] thing, or is this an opium...? I'm trying to figure what, what is the worst-

cortex: She really likes poppies, huh, huh?

Matt and Cortex;[Together] Yeah.

mathowie: It's...that's weird.

jessamyn: It was a little weird, but again it wasn't. I don't know, I'm sort of with Josh, it wasn't that weird. It's a brand new user I guess, who hasn't... I was like well, nobody's it, that's fine.

Or maybe somebody is going to do it, and... okay. Do you every now and again, wish that it really was something weird, and then something really weird would happen, so we'd have something... [Matt laughs] Instead of all this doomsaying that it might be something weird?

mathowie: Right, let's get some actual-

jessamyn: I don't know, try it out! Sixty bucks.

mathowie: -actual chaos in this world.

jessamyn: Just a little bit, a little bit of actual chaos in the Metafilter world.

mathowie: Yeah, it seems like, we got so many emails at once, going [falsetto:] "This is weird! And squicky!"

jessamyn: I think "so many" was two, but yeah.

mathowie: At once! Like, within five minutes of each other.

jessamyn: [laughs] Two at a time!

mathowie: Who was the user, the film guy in Toronto, he has lots of odd jobs but he's been a long time member. The username escapes me.

jessamyn: Film guy in Toronto?

mathowie: Yeah. And the jobs are always like, "Hey, ship this T-shirt to a friend in Spain because it's impossible to do from Canada", or whatever. Weird job like that, that we've had on jobs.

It's not the end of the world, it'll be okay.

cortex: You pay more attention to Jobs than I do.

mathowie: [laughs] It's true.

jessamyn: I do not know -- see, I see them because they just come in the email, so I always look at them.

cortex: Yeah it's always, it's just out of sight, out of mind for me, like, I read each one to make sure it's not something crazy and it never is and I'm like "Oh, but I don't care because I'm not looking for a job in North Carolina", so.

jessamyn: Well there was, the "create hemmed velveteen squares for a yeast laboratory". Which, I know what those words mean, but I don't- [Matt, Cortex laugh]

cortex: "How did you get them all lined up in a row like that?"

mathowie: Yeah, that's pretty awesome.

jessamyn: Yeah, I don't really know what that's about, but it's kind of an interesting-

cortex: Maybe that could tie in to the Metafilter quilting bee thing, it could be a-

mathowie: It was also German? It's weird, you have to ship squares to Germany.

jessamyn: Yeah, but still, like-

mathowie: Wouldn't you worry about cleanliness? How do you use them as a petri dish, that like, but you cut them up by hand?

It seems like that would be prone to getting bacteria on it.
That's my thought.

jessamyn: I do not know! I thought it was pretty interesting.

mathowie: Alright. Is anything else, anything in the music world Josh?

cortex: I haven't been paying, close attention unfortunately I've been distracted by other stuff-

jessamyn: [tsking] Ugh, terrible.

cortex: -but there's a fun challenge going on right now. The current monthly challenge is to record a song before you put your pants on, so-

mathowie: Woo.

cortex: -get up and just go at it-

jessamyn: How is that challenging?

cortex: Well, it's-

mathowie: That's like three o'clock for you! Booyah! [chuckles]

cortex: Yeah but- well, yeah. But I've been up for nine hours at that point.

mathowie: That's true.

cortex: Yeah. It is challenging for some people, for me that's not a problem, the only problem with that is that I shouldn't play drums that early? But I'm totally about, like I'll get up and do a song immediately because that's how it works for me sometimes. But for a lot of people not so much, it's more like, it's a very thoughtful process. Getting a song to the point where it's in the can,

might be going really fast for some of it, if it only takes a week. So the idea is, you're just gonna, no pausing, no second guessing, no really thinking about it you're just going to get up and you're going to fucking do this thing, and be done an hour later or three hours later.

mathowie: One take.

cortex: Yeah, so I think that's the nature of the challenge. For me, a bigger challenge would be "Don't record it until a month after you decide what you're going to record", but that's just because I'm like super fucking distractible.

mathowie: I'll, I'll score this podcast with pantsless posts. [Cortex laughs]

jessamyn: Yay! Pantsless posts.

mathowie: Pantsless music, you can really smell the non pantsness...[trails off]

I guess we just go to Ask Metafilter and Metafilter?

cortex: Let's do it.

mathowie: Alright. Um, Ask Metafilter. Maybe? No? Metafilter.

jessamyn: Sure. Either?

mathowie: We do Metafilter first, usually.

cortex: [laughs] I don't think it matters.

mathowie: Let's do Metafilter.

jessamyn: Matt I have to tell you: you're the boss. [Cortex laughs]

mathowie: Oh, I'm just trying to-

jessamyn: You can just decide!

mathowie: Trying to follow a format here. Lemme see, My Favorite Thing...was...I know you'll say this one, Jessamyn I'll skip that one...

jessamyn: Wait, I might not.

mathowie: The Three Minute Thesis I thought was awesome! It's a challenge, competition in Australia for phd and masters of philosophy students to, just have a Saturday night event, where

all your grad students come together once a year and give a three minute pitch. Sort of like, the Ignite talks, you know.

jessamyn: Oh neat. Right, right right.

mathowie: But we're talking General Audience, tell us exactly what you did, be exciting, be energetic, use slides, be funny. It's just awesome because when you look at the titles they're like these psychotic, crazy technical papers but they're... it's awesome that they're forcing students to bring them to a wide audience,

and there's a whole bunch of award winners, showing up there. I thought it was great. It's like the coolest sort of Ignite thing, idea I've ever heard.

jessamyn: And yet it pitches to a short attention span audience so you can actually sit down and sit through a bunch of them and be like "Oh, that's interesting! Oh, that's interesting!"

mathowie: Yeah. And also like I was a grad student and we had this bar on campus and every Friday, every grad student would go and drink beers at this bar, and I'd run into people from, biology

and entomology and everything, and it would be like "Oh hey what are you working on?"
And they're like "Oh, well, you know the fruit fly? You know how the fruit fly has a development cycle? You know the second day of that development cycle? You know how certain enzymes can affect development? Well that's what I do."
So I was constantly having to do this at a bar, talking to people and would just be cool if it was a university wide
once a year show. It's kind of cool. Reminds me of an elementary school parents night, but I think it's pretty cool, because among grad students it's so easy to just run down those crazy paths of your tiny little micro world that you work on and not be able to relate that to other people. So I thought this was just a really cool project, a really cool thing, and hopefully it spreads.

jessamyn: I like the idea, it would be good to pass around

in the library world too. Just, especially also just getting people used to doing that level of presenting, where it's not hard, it's not scary, and you really should talk to other people about what you do, because that's how the whole profession nominally works.

mathowie: Yeah, I watched a couple of them and I was like, there's no downside to this, right? This helps you talk to your family about what you do, which is a huge stumbling block for crazy technical grad students, this helps you with job interviews, this helps you if you ever get

called up by the local news as an expert because something weird happened and you're the expert in the world on it,

jessamyn: And they're like, what do you do? "Well, you know, fruit flies..."

mathowie: Right, no, but if you already have your three minute pitch...there's no downside to this. It's cool, it's fun, it celebrates the university's work in a super accessible way. The university goes from the ivory white tower of confusing crap you don't understand to here's a whole bunch of little three minute talks that pretty much anyone

can grok what's going on. I thought it was awesome.

cortex: Nice.

jessamyn: I agree. It was good. It was nice, it was a nice post. Thank you paleyellowwithorange. Boo-ah. [Cortex laughs]

mathowie: It was a first post, I think! I think it was a first post from this user.

jessamyn: Oh neat!

mathowie: Which is like, amazing first post.

jessamyn: Josh, we talked about this last month.

cortex: Yeah I bet you did, I just wanted to make sure that the whole, floppy thing going along with the weird music animation-

mathowie: [laughing] Yes yes yeah, that was very fun. Jessamyn-

cortex: Okay. I figured but I really enjoyed that.

jessamyn: We definitely had a difference of opinion where Matt was like, "This is awesome", and I was like, this-

mathowie: [still laughing] It's the greatest. Jessamyn listened to it live, and was just [imitating] "What the fuck is this!?" [Cortex laughs]

A lot of people tweeted or IM'ed me going, they were laughing about listening to Jessamyn freaking out about it [Jess laughs] live.

cortex: See now, I'll have to go listen to the podcast. I'm definitely more on Matt's side, I thought it was fantastic, but I got to say I'm kind of shocked, for some reason I kind of assumed this thread would get flagged up the wazoo, like a bunch of people would be like "Oh, this is terrible! No!", and just flag it to express that.

mathowie: Not safe for eyeballs.

jessamyn: No, people totally loved it.

cortex: But it got one flag, yeah! Which is, I think just.

I also wanted to mention that one because that's the only thing from my picks that prevents this from being literally the nerdiest set of I Liked These Posts podcast [Jess, Matt laugh] I've ever done, even for me. Because one of the ones I really like is just from a couple days ago, someone...escabeche made a post about circle packing optimization.

jessamyn: Oh, nice!

cortex: Which is, packing problems for those who

are not into-

mathowie: [quietly] Whaaat?

cortex: -this bit of mathematics, is the idea that if you have a specific space and you want to fill it with a specific kind of shape, figuring out the most optimal way to fit as many of those in there as possible is not always trivial, and so there's lots of interesting math.

jessamyn: And I didn't know it changed based on the number of circles you had.

cortex: Oh yeah, yeah.

jessamyn: I had -- I vaguely know this problem but only that other people...handle it. [laughs]

cortex: Yeah, well the thing about it is from

sort of a non-crazy math person perspective, it's not a hard problem to do a pretty good job of solving. If you want a close to optimal solution, you can probably just stack circles in basically a hexagon shape, as much as will fit in the surrounding circle, and say "Hey, well that's pretty good", and you aren't going to be a whole lot worse than an optimal solution. But the optimal solution will nudge things around in all sorts of crazy ways, to fit like two more circles in that space.

mathowie: Dude, they got eleven in this page I just posted in the little chat.

And the thirty seven and the forty eight look almost the same to my eye, if I didn't know about the different colors? It looks-

cortex: Yeah, there's-

jessamyn: Right, they're clearly all the same. But they're not, right.

mathowie: They look packed. They look packed as tight as possible in all of them, and yet they got eleven more circles to fit.

cortex: Yep, it's crazy subtle stuff, it's pretty awesome. So I thought that was awesome. I love this stuff.

mathowie: How do you math model that? That's crazy.

jessamyn: Well, interesting question!

cortex: [laughs] You figure something out. There's no one way,

there's definitely techniques but basically, somebody can come up with a novel approach to it and come up with a better packing.

mathowie: Oh man.

cortex: If they came up with a different way of thinking about it, so.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: So what -- I don't know, crazy.

cortex: So that was awesome.

jessamyn: Back in the, Not Nerdy At All? [Matt laughs] This was a favorite, stupid, it's basically ThePinkSuperhero-

mathowie: Oh, yeah!

jessamyn: And it's pictures of people who are going through this haunted house? [Cortex laughs] And at some point something really scary happens,

mathowie: And they have a flash.

jessamyn: -and they take pictures of people right in the middle of being, basically as she puts it, "Getting caught screaming your face off". I originally looked at this and I was "Oh yeah, whatever...single link flickr, whatever"

mathowie: [laughs] Dear awesome!

jessamyn: -but oh my gosh, it's hilarious because it's these groups of people, who are basically screaming, and it's funny seeing who grabs onto who, who hides, who hunches over, and they're in the dark

so they kind of don't know [Cortex laughs] that they look really...really strange.

mathowie: And you can imagine, in a haunted house you can do a flash,

jessamyn: Exactly.

mathowie: I technically loved that they snuck in a tiny little flash, right at the exact moment, and you wouldn't notice it while you're there but you capture this perfectly lit craziness.

cortex: Yep.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: So good. This was also a big lesson in the fucking...syndication

Huffington Post scrape culture of the web. It not only was reposted to Metafilter five times but I saw it on twitter...twenty five more times on different sites, and it's the extent to which people just lift ten photos and put them on a site, and barely bury a tiny little link to at the bottom as the source,-

cortex: Yep.

jessamyn: Right, so lame. So lame.

mathowie: -just shocked me. Like, did it! It's unbelievable!

jessamyn: Especially when it's really clear, like "Hey man, copyright means kinda copyright."

mathowie: Yeah, this is All Rights Reserved, there's no Creative Commons license on this that allows that. Why would they-

cortex: "Oh, I thought you meant that you were saying me copying it was all right, in a reserved sort of way", you were just "Eh, it's all right..."

mathowie: [chuckling] Copy, right? "I could copy, right?" That's what you were saying.

cortex: Clearly we need to go into the lawyering business.

mathowie: These are so great, I could just look at these all day, there's...I hate haunted houses, I would be one of these people shitting bricks.

I never go into 'em.
Oh wow, a shirt grab. I just found a cool one.

jessamyn: [laughs] And that's the thing, there's enough pictures that you can click around and be like "Oh ho ho, this one's funny", and so it's great for the kind of Metafilter thread where everybody looks at, and-

cortex: Everybody picks out the things they like, yeah.

jessamyn: -"Oh you'll like this one", "Oh, you'll like this one".

cortex: I really like it for the faces. Part of what I think is interesting, I like the fact that people are spooked but I also like the fact that there's this whole sort of performative aspect to it, where people are, they're sort of performing

scaredness as well, they may be startled but at the same time they're also sort of expressing this social sense of how they should express their notion of being scared? So you can see all these sort of different expressions in terms of people's faces and physical interactions too, that they have an excuse to have this reaction. So it's kind of neat looking at it from sort of a, sociologist's perspective as well.

mathowie: [laughs] Yeah, it seems like there should be a grad school -- I mean this should be a psychology thesis, the way the faces are,

this is fight or flight, you know?

cortex: Yep.

mathowie: Like, captured [laughing] perfectly. God, I was fucking laughing my ass off just,

cortex: I had to close that thread because yeah, I was starting to giggle too much looking at it again.

mathowie: Just go through it in the lightbox, you know on flickr you can just, use right and left, it's a-MAZE-ing! Oh my God. Oh my god. That never gets old. Phew. Alright.

cortex: So another extremely geeky post, is Zozo made a nice post about problems with

the unstable apparent mass of the kilogram. Like, The Kilogram, Le Grande K,

mathowie: Oh yeah.

cortex: -that is the kilogram that stuff gets, in theory measured off of. And the whole challenge of trying to find some way to ground units of measurement in strict unwavering physical constants rather than by actually having to build a thing and say, "Ok this is the kilogram." Because the problem is if that ever changes, things get confusing. And so there's this difference in the apparent mass of the original kilogram versus

some of the other standard kilograms that have been derived from that. So it's neat. It's just neat stuff because, if you haven't really thought specifically about how you get to these things that are taken as axiomatic but have to exist, as -- the buck has to stop somewhere, when you define a unit of measurement. So it, it's a nice post about that.

jessamyn: That's what standards are, right right.

cortex: Exactly. They aren't, they don't come from the ether, they have to, it has to be something.

jessamyn: I like that idea too, of having a place where the platonic standards live.

cortex: Yep.

jessamyn: You know, "This is the original kilogram."

mathowie: [laughs] Well I, I had to interact with, NIST? What is that? [aside] What is NIST - N, I, S, T...national institute-

jessamyn: Institute of standards and time. Yeah, that's what showed up-

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, in the sixties.

mathowie: But you could buy like NIST water? And we're talking -- you can order samples of almost anything, and there's like the number of zeroes [Cortex laughs] before or after, like the amount of impurity, is how much you pay.

So I was buying, I think heavy isotope water, and we're talking fifty milliliters is three hundred bucks because it was this pure, it was this many atoms of heavy isotopes in the water. And you look through the catalog and it's just ridiculous. You're like "What is the purest water? Do they own it? What?" Yeah, it's psychotic how far you can down that rabbit hole of, absolute precision. Those guys were psychos.

jessamyn: And yet,

very very important, for...standards. And...stuff.

mathowie: [laughs] Yes.

So the original kilogram has lost weight, because it's just air hitting it or something? Was that the story?

cortex: Well, it's sort of a matter of speculation. That's part of what gets talked about in the thread and is talked about in the post. At a certain point you can speculate, but we're talking tiny, tiny, tiny fractions.

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: It's important because it's the standard, not because anybody is going to notice if you were just trying to weigh a pound

of, oats or whatever. It's theoretical as much as anything because how do you experiment on the thing that you're trying not to perturb, without potentially perturbing it even more, so.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah, because it's the standard.

cortex: [during crosstalk] So I'd say go read the thread, motherfucker.

mathowie: Oh wow. Atomic clocks came up, and...

jessamyn: Hey!

mathowie: Your dad, Jessamyn, was the atomic clock guy! [Cortex laughs] Had to be the greatest job ever.

jessamyn: Well, and that's so funny because the dumb job that my dad had with the atomic clock only existed because we didn't have a way to communicate

mathowie: In real time.

jessamyn: -over long distances within tolerance levels so you needed the wetware solution which was having a dude with a clock wandering around. And this, when all the time standards,

mathowie: [laughs] Didn't going into the-

jessamyn: -came in like five month -- five years later, or less, and made his job totally obsolete. Which was kind of weird. And then he went into computers, but what an odd...

mathowie: Yeah. Didn't the plane travel affect the atomic clock? I guess it shouldn't have, but.

jessamyn: Yeah, but you could correct for that kind of thing.

But there wasn't a way to basically have a satellite station in Peru talk to a satellite station somewhere else, they literally didn't have a way for that to happen that didn't degrade in a way that would make it unusable. Now they have satellites and they also know how to correct for the distance the satellite is away and that kind of thing.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: All very interesting.

Alright. My first one, I have maybe three
that I really liked, but... this was all -- the funny joke about this of course is that there's a typo in the headline that I just noticed -- so, hey, you know all that porn that takes place in classrooms,

mathowie: [laughs] Oh, god.

jessamyn: -what's the stuff written on the blackboards, and is it or is it not correct.

It was just a dumb, funny thread that is great for's actually not that Not Safe For Work it's actually much more
about math.

cortex: [laughs]

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: That's all I had to say.

mathowie: That's very very funny.

jessamyn: But then my second favorite one, was: this crazy person who has to get rid of feral pigs in the rice fields? And created this remote control plane, with this super expensive infrared camera? And then turned into a thing, that flies around and gets rid of pigs, [Cortex laughs] his own predator drone?

Did you guys see this?

cortex: [still laughing] No!

mathowie: [disappointedly] No, wow. [Jess laughs]

Oh, this is like pigs that got out of the pen or something?

jessamyn: No, it's feral pigs!

mathowie: Oh, feral.

jessamyn: They're, they're-

mathowie: So is he trying to kill them or something?

jessamyn: ...well he's trying to find them, I guess.

mathowie: "De-fogifier"?

jessamyn: I think it shoots them. I'm now watching the video, I kind of saw it, and faked it-

mathowie: Oh yeah, here's a photo of the proud owner. With a dead pig.

cortex: [laughs]

mathowie: So, I think they cost his crops, or something, so he's killing...hunting feral pigs is just difficult but legal I guess. Huh. Wow, drones.

jessamyn: Yeah, because they're a nuisance and they're not protected in any way.

mathowie: Yeah. Wow.

jessamyn: So, basically it's got this fancy camera, and then you can fly around know, find them and shoot them. [Matt laughs] It's a little surprising that this is actually legal but, goes and buzzes them, and then I guess-

mathowie: It's hilarious, and also disturbing because it reminds me of our military complex that's doing this with humans.

Sorry to be Captain Bringdown. [Cortex laughs]

jessamyn: No, that's fine, that is unfortunately it's a...thing. But those were-

mathowie: You saw that crazy news just the other day, of Qaeda's like second or third in charge?

jessamyn: No. Nooooo, I'm a happier person if I don't watch the news,

if I only read the news.

mathowie: Oh, like -- do you want to know about this, or is it better not knowing?

jessamyn: Sure, I'm not against knowing things, I just don't like watching the way the news handles it.

mathowie: Oh no, this isn't the news, I saw it like on Rafe Colburn's site, but-

jessamyn: I've got to start reading my RSS again.

mathowie: Yeah. The second or third in charge of Al Qaeda was like in Yemen, and we killed him with a drone a couple months ago? And people thought it was a little weird, because he was born in New Mexico, so he was technically-

jessamyn: Oh I remember when that happened, yeah.

mathowie: So that was

like, "Eh, okay, so he's high up in Al Qaeda", so... I guess that's in our... I could, I don't think anything horrible happened in killing the guy who's trying to, whatever.
His son was killed two days ago, sixteen year old son killed by one of our drones in Yemen, his son was born in Colorado. It's like, wait-

jessamyn: aaaugh!

mathowie: What is a sixteen year old kid, who is an American citizen, who is the son of an Al Qaeda guy, how much power does a sixteen year old have, and

somebody just, playing XBox five thousand miles away killed him, with one of our robot aircraft? Oh, that's really disturbing.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: Super fucking disturbing.

jessamyn: Yes now, I did not see that.

mathowie: So, that's what drones now, forever I'll just associate drones with sketchy warfare.

I know you'll probably want to mention the Golden Parking Pass. I had no idea that there was
a UC Berkeley tradition of, if you get a Nobel Prize,

jessamyn: Oh yeah! [laughs]

mathowie: You get like the best parking pass on the entire campus. All college campuses have parking problems but UC Berkeley's is really nasty and bad, and I know they try to solve it with economics? Like where a parking pass is five hundred dollars a month. They don't want you to bring your car there so badly, you have to pay through the nose. So it's like-

jessamyn: And yet that just makes it into, you know, this

Occupy Wall Street problem, where the rich people have the good parking.

mathowie: Yes. Yeah, and then this is just so amazing, when you win a Nobel Prize. I had no idea this existed, but you get a free golden parking pass to like the best spot on campus, great.

jessamyn: Yeah, and this was my favorite just because it's the perfect "Here's something cool I found on the web, you will like this: blah", and especially the pull quote that's in the thread, which is like "This is the only reason to actually win a Nobel Prize", because it's a real thing, you know? [Cortex laughs]

mathowie: Yeah. And did you see the picture of the winner with his parking pass, he's so fucking stoked? [Jess laughs] Check that out. They give you a special Nobel Laureate parking pass, that is the Willy Wonka ticket, it's amazing.

jessamyn: Yes, I loved it.

mathowie: That was so great.

jessamyn: That was probably one of my favorite.

mathowie: I'm glad nerds somewhere figured out this is a cool thing to do, and did it.

jessamyn: Way to go nerds!

cortex: Nerds are great.

mathowie: Keep it up nerds.

jessamyn: I gotta go find

my Ask Metafilter favorites unless there was anything else anybody wanted to talk about with Metafilter. We're running long already.

cortex: I had a couple quick things, there-

jessamyn: Okay.

cortex: -there was one post that some clever poster made that was pretty nice about the Million Song Dataset. Ah. Oh hey, that was youuu...

jessamyn: Wait. Was that my post?

cortex: Yeah!

jessamyn: Hey, you liked my post!

cortex: I do, I-

jessamyn: You never like my posts.

mathowie: A million songs?

cortex: Well you always post about boring stuff. No-[laughs] [Jess scoffs] [Matt laughs] No, just because I-

jessamyn: You are the worst!

cortex: This is a project that was-

jessamyn: You like this post-

cortex: Yeah!

jessamyn: -and not the post about, uh, my better post?

cortex: I like your other posts, I don't dislike them, they're just, it's not always

pertaining to my interests directly.

jessamyn: The one about giants?

cortex: You make great posts, I didn't mean to besmirch your posts, it's a, just-

jessamyn: Ventriloquists?

cortex: -this is a post on something that I already, it's already after my own heart, so.

mathowie: Wow, you got the music notes to work in the title without breaking the html, I'm impressed.

cortex: Yeah, well done.

jessamyn: [imitating crowd] Yaaah!

cortex: So that was pretty great, but yeah.

mathowie: That's more of a pb, go pb-

jessamyn: So, do you want to talk about, what this actually is? [Matt laughs] Josh?

cortex: It's a database of information about a million songs, assembled. And not just like, name and artist or anything, but actual

fairly atomic, sonic information about all of those songs, down to the sub-beat level, so that you can then do statistical searches and manipulation of data based on similarities at all sorts of different levels. This is -- similar stuff that I've used in the past, Echo Nest, is heavily involved in this...

jessamyn: And there's an Echo Nest guy on Metafilter, which of course I hadn't known and probably should have.

cortex: Yeah, Brian Whitman is a member

and he showed up to talk about it too, and I had forgotten that he had an account until I saw that. Because I actually wrote them a note saying "Hey, they're talking about your stuff",

jessamyn: And they were like "I know, dumbass, we're right there".

cortex: Yes, and I was like "Oh, that's right, okay".

Yeah, it was really neat. And yeah, it's a very cool project and there's so much awesome potential. We're doing clever things with dealing with songs at a data level instead of having -- because you look at mashup culture and you see people doing this sort of very high level human perception thing where you say "Hey, this song...this piece sounds like it would go with that other piece", but there's no reason you can't look at this stuff algorithmically
and say, "What are the fundamental acoustic similarities between any two songs?"

jessamyn: That why, there's math that kind of explains why they go together. Yeah.

cortex: Exactly.

jessamyn: Well, for most people.

cortex: So it's got such potential for making really fascinating stuff once people learn to sort of play with the data correctly. So, I thought that was awesome.

And also, to finish off the nerdiness, there was also a post about a month ago about an updated version of Ur-Quan Masters, which is a fan remake-

jessamyn: [confused sound]?

cortex: -of a classic game called Star Control 2, and it's an-

jessamyn: [confused sound]? [Matt smirks]

cortex: -awesome little, driving a spaceship around and

collecting stuff and very funny writing and awesome music game, and people should go play it and that's all I have to say about that.

sfx: [pause]

jessamyn: Great. [Cortex laughs]

mathowie: Whatever happened to the controversial post about the stillborn child hanging out and like one user freaked out.

jessamyn: What?

mathowie: That was listed in my favorite comments.

jessamyn: The Victorian? The people with the...oh, charlie don't surf freaked out.

mathowie: Yeah. Did that ever actually happen?

He was like, "I'm going to call the police". And I'm, "Monday, it's all coming down!"

cortex: I don't think so.

jessamyn: No. And everybody was like, "This happened three years ago, let it be-

mathowie: [recalling] Yeah, right. Right.

jessamyn: -your rage is totally inappropriately directed", well I think what wound up happening is a lot of people from Metafilter showed up, who had had either stillborn children, or friends who had had a stillborn child, and they were like "You know, actually, like number one, this is a really tough thing for people to go through anyhow, and number two:-

mathowie: Mmm-hmm.

-why do you want to get in someone else's business, like what's your...what's your issue about the way people are handling this", because ultimately it's kind of a private, it's someone a hard time because of how they poop, or something.

mathowie: Right.

jessamyn: Like, it's just between you and your toilet, it doesn't matter! Deal with your grieving however you want to.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: You're not hurting anybody else, who cares? I didn't understand why...

mathowie: Yeah, it was so weird.

jessamyn: ...where that outrage actually came from. I mean, whatever, where does outrage come from anyhow.

mathowie: Yeah, well they can't

I think they were creeped out, but they happened to have local knowledge of "I know who that person is, I think I'm calling the police", it just got out of hand really quick. I guess? Yeah, I guess it all disappeared.

jessamyn: Yeah, every now and again I feel like sometimes we should have something in the FAQ where it's "You know, if you're going to use Metafilter you pretty much have to agree to not call the cops on Metafilter. If you get to the point where you're going to call the cops on Metafilter you should using Metafilter". Wikipedia has a thing, I think like I've talked about this before, where, if you're engaged in legal

dispute with Wikipedia you can no longer have a Wikipedia account?

mathowie: Oh.

jessamyn: If you start throwing legal threats around you either need to take it back, or close your account or have them close your account. Because the wiki-

mathowie: I don't think he was -- he was "Well, I'm going to go sue someone-

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: -because of what I read on Metafilter", not "I'm going to attack Metafilter", but yeah.

jessamyn: Yeah.

cortex: Yeah. No, that's something that's come up very rarely, every once in a while it seems like it comes up, once every year or two in MetaTalk.

jessamyn: A couple have been Ask Metafilter, like

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: -"Ask Metafilter's helping somebody break the law, so I'm going to call the cops on this person who asked the question", and we're just kind of like "Oh god, really?"

cortex: Or the MetaTalk discussion about it is like, "The failure to facilitate this the way I think it should is something that maybe I'll talk to the police about", and it's like, if you're going to go hire a lawyer, go hire a lawyer, but stop talking about it here, you idiot.

jessamyn: Right, well there was an interesting Ask Metafilter question recently actually about somebody-

mathowie: Oh yeah. I'm not a lawyer?

jessamyn: -the family...sorry?

mathowie: There was the whole, does that "I am not a lawyer" stuff actually protect you, that was yesterday.

jessamyn: Oh! That was fascinating.

That wasn't even what I was thinking about. I was thinking about the one where there was a family member who had a kleptomania problem?

mathowie: Ooh.

jessamyn: And it's now getting dealt with but they still have all this stolen stuff?

mathowie: What? Wow.

jessamyn: Let me see if I can find it. Because there was a real difference of opinion with people in the threads...about that stuff. It was an anonymous question.

You know, "That stuff doesn't belong to you, give it back", and they're like "Giving back: not an option", and so of course the thread goes kind of the way...

mathowie: Oh yeah, "What to do with stolen goods". Huh.

jessamyn: would expect it to.

mathowie: And now I can't find the, this question asking about "I am not your lawyer, you're not a lawyer, like my lawyer", I can't find...the question.

jessamyn: Oh, here it is. You just have to do the ask tag for TINLA.

mathowie: Oh, I was like "I am not your lawyer"...oh, I did "I am not a lawyer", I was searching for the wrong-

jessamyn: It didn't get a lot of discussion

because I think it's one of those evidence of absence, like "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"? It's not a real tested area of law. The question was, "Ok, has this ever come up where somebody specifically said 'I am not your lawyer, this is not legal advice, I am not a medical doctor',

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: -has that ever been used successfully to defend somebody [Matt chuckles] against a practicing without a license allegation."

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: And, there were a lot of wild-ass speculations but very little actual

"Yes, it's happened", or "No, this has happened"-

cortex: Well yeah, that was one of those things that's very hard to establish either way, even though people will take positions very strongly either way, sometimes in conversation.

jessamyn: Heh, right.

cortex: Because people will assert that "No, you will get in trouble for legal advice but I can't show evidence of this happening in any analogous situation", and then there will be people like, "Oh no, you can't get in trouble for this, but I can't produce any specific evidence of someone, getting not in trouble for-", yeah, so it's do you-

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: How to deal with something that really is, like you say, pretty much untested, short of just trying to be sensible about it.

jessamyn: Yeah, but it was kind of interesting.

cortex: The same sort of question came up in MetaTalk in some context, yesterday I think, someone was "Is there a 100% chance this will never be an issue", and it's like, well, there's no way for it to be a 100% chance because we can't stop someone-

mathowie: Right.

cortex: -all else aside, from making a bad decision. Like how you can't-

jessamyn: Like, from suing us for no reason.

cortex: -make sure you'll never be sued, yeah. You can always be sued because someone can try to file a Stupid lawsuit if they want to, you sort of take your chances and try and do reasonable risk with stuff.

mathowie: Um...I guess we're in Ask Metafilter, right? [everyone chuckles]

This is one of my favorite, "How do you love what you're doing", it ties into our final I think we should have mentioned it, about Metafilter there was a monster thread about Steve Jobs dying.

cortex: Oh yeah.

mathowie: You know, there was just a-

jessamyn: There were actually seven or eight threads [Cortex laughs] about Steve Jobs dying. That may be the new record.

cortex: James Brown may finally have been unseated. Yeah, I'll have to go back and take a careful look.

mathowie: One of them stuck, and we left it around and it had a bunch of awesome memories, there are some insane

I've got to find that comment by the guy with the two year old going through cancer therapy, and using the iPod touch was her one joy in life? Man, that was the only thing that made me cry about Steve Jobs dying. It's a crazy old, I'll have to find it.

jessamyn: Right, no I remember reading that. [pause]

But, this Ask Metafilter...

mathowie: This, yeah was like "Hey, I was really inspired by Steve Jobs' commencement speech, how do I reboot my life?", and there's the classic,

I mean, I think this question comes up every few months, but there's a lot of great advice about how to figure out the one thing you want to do in the world and move towards it,'s pretty good.

jessamyn: I enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading it, because also it's interesting looking at different paths people took, and what made them happy. Some people are like, "Here's how I found fulfillment at work", and other people are "Here's how I decided not to be fulfilled at work and found fulfillment doing something else". There were a lot of positive

stories in the thread, of people doing interesting, kind of different things. So, I enjoyed it.

mathowie: Yeah, there's no set way to do that, that's why I didn't leave advice except for "There's another way to look at it, aside from 'Do the thing you love'", because they're like " to play videogames, so what the hell?" [Cortex smirks]

jessamyn: Right. No one loves to be a trash garbageman.

mathowie: Yeah right. And Rafe, who I just mentioned earlier, had a post once about "Don't do the thing you love, do the thing you can't stop doing",

jessamyn: Right. You can't not do.

mathowie: Whatever you're doing in your free,

yeah, the thing you're doing in your free time, why don't you just make it your job, and you'll be happy. Your work time will be like your free time, you'll be doing that thing you love.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: So, that's what I posted. In my own life, it was wandering through a computer lab the first time in a job interview and I realized "Oh my God, I need to be here", like I don't know how to relate that to other people. "Try a whole bunch of things, 'till you, your gut feeling is this is where you belong", or something.

But, that doesn't really help.

jessamyn: I enjoyed this crowd pleaser, "I want to see some good recent comedies", only because I want to see some good recent comedies [Cortex laughs] and I'm never sure what to freaking see, you know?

mathowie: Oh cool. I didn't-

jessamyn: So it's just a great thread that lots of people marked as a favorite with a bunch of answers, and so when I decide what I want to go watch...I did go see the movie based on the birding thing, on opening night, and it was actually

good. Big Year.

mathowie: Oh, what? The red, rare bird alert thingy?

jessamyn: Yeah, it was like Jack Black and Owen Wilson and Steve Martin, in a movie about people-

mathowie: Oh, did that come out?

jessamyn: -waiting to see the -- yeah it came out this weekend! It opened this weekend!

mathowie: What was it called?

jessamyn: The Big Year! Hello, I keep saying it.

mathowie: Oh wow.

jessamyn: It was good.

mathowie: Huh, I heard about it like six months ago, or a year ago, and then, you know-

jessamyn: Because I posted to Metafilter about it...

mathowie: Steve Martin's album that I own in two versions, like-

jessamyn: Talks about it, yeah.

mathowie: Yeah, that's based on -- yeah. You like Paul? Paul was eh for me. I wanted to like him. I would like it more-

jessamyn: Paul? I liked Paul. I thought it was going to be really stupid so I was happy it wasn't really stupid. I like, you know, Frost and Pegg -- you know Kristen Wiig kind of fucked up everything for me now. [Cortex, Matt laugh]

mathowie: I just watched Wet Hot American Summer for the first time, like three months ago...

cortex: We did the same thing, yeah.

mathowie: It was something I've heard people talk about for ten years and I was like,

"Oh, is that like some stoner comedy, in college that I missed"?

jessamyn: Some like -- yeah, sex comedy? Who knows, yeah. Turns out-

mathowie: Right, but it was actually-

cortex: But it turns out it's actually a high parody of that whole genre.

mathowie: -good, yeah. Meatballs.

cortex: And, you know I'm glad I didn't see it at the time, and only saw it recently because I've really gotten in to -- I've watched a ton of Reno 9/11, and went back and watched a bunch of The State, and actually know who these people are now, who were involved in the movie-

mathowie: Oh yeah, this cast.

cortex: -and so it makes so much more sense now, with the context for that crew than it would have trying to watch it straight faced. I can sort of understand why it

might not have made a whole lot of sense to people who weren't specifically trying to watch something by that crew of people, because it is kind of incoherent at times.

jessamyn: Right, right right.

mathowie: Did you watch any new movies and loved them, out of this thread? Jessamyn?

jessamyn: Me, no! This thread was how long ago? I've been on the road pretty much since it came out.

mathowie: The road man, that's where you can watch movies. [Cortex laughs]

jessamyn: No, that's where if you're not a good planner, and you don't have good enough broadband-

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: I don't want to suck down a gigabyte worth of movies through my phone.

mathowie: Yeah, you got to get it from a hotel wi-fi, that doesn't suck. Which is hard.

jessamyn: And we didn't, I didn't have that, in the places that I was staying. And I'd seen a lot of these, actually, so I'm mostly spending some time now queuing stuff up for, you know, winter? Wintertime?

mathowie: [quietly]...Gruber...

cortex: Yeah, I've got to go correlate this against my instant queue.

mathowie: [snickers] Write a tool for that, please.

jessamyn: Yes, exactly.

mathowie: I want this to do it automatic-

cortex: I was thinking someone should make a scraper,

like greasemonkey script that will identify titles on pages that correspond to what's currently on Instant on Netflix. That would be, that would be an amazing time waster.

mathowie: Yeah.

jessamyn: You know, that's a really good idea.

mathowie: Like a, you cou-

cortex: It's a, it'd be a little bit tricky though, because you're scraping a lot of content so you'd either have to maintain a local file with the script or an alternate view somewhere, of all the titles that are on Instant, or you'd have to hit the API constantly which could be kind of a problem. So, but yes, someone could do it.

mathowie:'s fine.

jessamyn: Well but if it's only like twenty thirty titles in a given thread,

you just want to do, like -- there's got to be somebody who does IMDB versus Instant...

cortex: Yeah, well...and yeah there's InstantWatcher obviously maintains some sort of data there, so yeah. No, I think someone could do it. Someone who's not me should do it, because I've other things I'm doing. So. Yes, someone should totally make an Instant scraper for greasemonkey or whatever.

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: HTML5 local storage, you could do some of that stuff, but yeah.

jessamyn: Oh, good point.

mathowie: How do you filter out, uh.

These are all pretty good. I see a lot of good movies. Very few duds.

jessamyn: Another one I really liked, "If an average sized human body were rolled into a sphere, how big would it be?" [Cortex snickers]

mathowie: Ew.

jessamyn: Turns out, Wolfram Alpha...can do it in one. What?

cortex: Wolfram Alpha, really does well at the things it does well at. I will give it full credit for that.

mathowie: Twenty inches tall, that's it? Total, diameter? Twenty inches. An entire human being?

cortex: A sphere's a, it's a cube function, so.

jessamyn: It's a sphere though, man. Yeah.

mathowie: So like, remove all bones, or I guess bones count...

jessamyn: You just crunch 'em.

cortex: You just, just pulverize them, yeah.

mathowie: [laughs] Pulverize a human being, I thought that would be about three feet. Less than two feet is a surprise.

cortex: Three feet is big!

jessamyn: Then it doesn't make any sense, like I'm five feet tall. So, how would I be two and a half feet tall and two and a half feet wide? That doesn't make any sense.

mathowie: Well, I'm thinking of myself, I'm thirty-

jessamyn: You could cut me in half at the middle and then I'd be like a plus sign.

cortex: You'd probably be like twenty two inches, Matt.

jessamyn: That's not going to be a sphere. Yeah.

mathowie: I'm like...I'm like, thirty percent body fat

I mean, there's going to be a lot of fat. [Cortex, Jess laugh] That does not crunch down.

cortex: It doesn't need to crunch down, it just needs to...the volume's, you know. We can talk about the volume of a sphere sometime, if you like.

jessamyn: But there's air space. Your lungs are full of air, your digestive tract is full of air. All that air goes away.

mathowie: I guess so. I thought probably half of your height, is probably what I guessed. So it's a little less, probably.

jessamyn: It's more like a third.

cortex: A lot less than that, yeah.

mathowie: [laughs] Yeah, exactly. All right.

jessamyn: But it was fascinating, right? It's one of those fun thought experiments.

Those are my two favorite Ask Metafilter things.

mathowie: Right. We could just get a sledgehammer and a volunteer? [Cortex, Jess laugh]

jessamyn: Now, you stop. [Matt laughs] Stop.

mathowie: Did you see... Jesse Thorn is renaming his,

cortex: Oh yeah. Rename Sound of Young America.

mathowie: -needs a name for his radio show-

jessamyn: I saw lots of Metafilter people trying to talk him out of it, yeah.

mathowie: Yeah. But, you know, he has to, change the name of it.

jessamyn: Why?

mathowie: He is not kidding. Any time -- he just came back from a public radio conference, and every time he talks to a station director:

"Oh hey, I heard good things about your show, what is it called?"
"Sound of Young America"
"No, thanks"
Like that's his, everyone hangs up the phone on him.

jessamyn: Huh.

mathowie: So, he needs to change it. Because it sounds like a cheesy, for kids or something.

jessamyn: And kid, kid oriented.

mathowie: Yeah. I mean, the first time I heard it I thought, "Yes, that would be... turning the chair around and putting the leather jacket over your shoulder to talk straight with kids" [Jess laughs] You know, one of those cheesy-

jessamyn: Right.

mathowie: But hopefully, I don't know.

Something comes out of it. That would be cool. Anything else? Last-

jessamyn: Ask Metafilter? You, fellas?

cortex: Uh, I got nothing for Ask Metafilter. [Jess sighs] I do have something from Metafilter that is a, or MetaTalk that's a nice thing, that happened. Was the-

mathowie: Oh yeah.

jessamyn: Well, MetaTalk's been pretty interesting lately.

mathowie: Oh, the pub quiz! Yay!

jessamyn: On Matt's birthday! Happy birthday Matt.

mathowie: Yeah that was awesome.

cortex: Yeah! So, and there was a nice comment, rounding up the whole thing, from memebake, that I thought was a nice sort of coverage of the whole thing.

But yeah...Reddit, I think there was an IRL posting for a London pub quiz thing, and then someone on Reddit noticed that that was happening and they're like "Oh hey, Reddit, let's get together and also go to that and kick their asses!" And it turned into this whole Internet competition sort of posturing thing, and-

mathowie: Crush Metafilter!

cortex: And then yeah we-

jessamyn: But good natured, because we get along with Reddit, you know?

cortex: Yeah.

jessamyn: It's not like it's some site that is our enemy, or something.

cortex: Yeah, there was people with butthead attitudes on either side, but for the most part it's all people

who are on the Internet, and there's a lot of people who use both, and so...

jessamyn: Right.

cortex: And it all turned sounded like it turned out pretty great overall, and everybody was pretty awesome, so. So that...that made my heart warm, and I thought that was an awesome sort of positive, cross site interaction and...jokey drama thing. It was pretty great.

jessamyn: And there was the Happy Birthday Matt video from there, and from Ann Arbor, where I was at a meetup, in Michigan.

mathowie: Yeah. That was awesome!

jessamyn: We enjoyed it.

cortex: Did you play both at the same time, like in Youtube Doubler or whatever, Matt?

mathowie: Oh...

cortex: You should have done that.

mathowie: I totally should have.

cortex: Drop some acid.

mathowie: I need to.

cortex: Go-[Matt laughs], go voyaging with Tim Leary.

jessamyn: And, we added this little, oh sorry?

mathowie: I think that was a Flaming Lips concept album. [Cortex, Jessamyn laugh]

jessamyn: So, there's a lot of good popular stuff in...MetaTalk -- hey, I notice popular favorites only does seven days, on the MetaTalk popular favorites? It doesn't, you can't go back and get thirty days of popular favorites.

mathowie: Oh, I think noone's ever asked. [laughs]

cortex: We should just build that out

and standarize it across all the different subsites.

mathowie: I know,

jessamyn: Yeah.

mathowie: That's what I always say, but-

jessamyn: But, we introduced the floating triangle, so that if you follow a hyperlink that goes into -- hyperlink, who still says that anymore?

cortex: [laughs] A hyperlink on cyberspace?

jessamyn: If you follow a link to Metafilter, that drops right directly to a comment instead of right into a thread, there will be a little miniature triangle that points to your comment? It sounds kind of stupid, but it's really helpful and I use this greasemonkey script that

changes the pointer to a miniature hedgehog?

sfx: [pause]

cortex: Which is very adorable.

jessamyn: You guys all still there?

cortex: ...Yes. [Jess laughs]

mathowie: Yeah, sorry. I thought you had the unicorn?

cortex: No that's, that's the buttons.

jessamyn: No, unicorn is for the post button.

mathowie: Oh.

cortex: Eventually you're going to have an entire petting zoo.

jessamyn: That's my goal. 'Cause I don't, as noted-

mathowie: [laughs] And then it'll-

jessamyn: -earlier, have pets.

mathowie: And then it will run rampant through Ohio killing all.

cortex: That would be good.

jessamyn: Oh god, that was upsetting. [Matt chuckles]

So upsetting -- yeah, so here's the link for the greasemonkey script
or here is the comment that the greasemonkey script can be found under, by rangefinder 1.4. And...yeah, I just think the whole thing's terrific and I like the little feature, it's a helpful little feature I think.

mathowie: Yep. Cute.

cortex: In other MetaTalk news there was a...happy birthday thread for MeFight Club.

jessamyn: Oh right, that was great!

cortex: The spinoff Metafilter gaming, community which is awesome and if you

like playing video games you should go sign up at MeFightClub.

jessamyn: Happy Birthday, MeFightClub.

mathowie: That's all PC games, right?

cortex: No, it's got sort of-

jessamyn: No, some it's Steam, right?

cortex: -a PC focus because a lot of people play PC games together, it started -- originally it sort of started as a Team Fortress II community,

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: -which was explicitly sort of a PC thing until the XBox version came out and most people play it on the PC anyway. But no, people play all sorts of stuff and I like to go over there and specifically talk about some of the weird console games I like to play, because-

mathowie: Oh, I just meant is there like a page of everyone's

gamer tag, so you could find them and actually play live against each other?

cortex: Yeah, it's got, it's actually got some nice stuff sort of integrated and that, so you can actually fill out a profile and find what Steam groups people are on and stuff, and find buddies to play with that way. It's really great. It's an awesome little community.

mathowie: [laughs] What Steam groups people are on. It just sounds dirty, I don't know.

cortex: Well, like if you like playing Left 4 Dead with people,-

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: -and, or if you like making poop jokes or whatever you're going for there, yes.

mathowie: Yep. Sweet.

jessamyn: What?

cortex: Geez, geez Matt. Why you gotta be so immature? [laughs]

It just didn't sound good.
Alright, is that it?

cortex: Uh...yeah.

jessamyn: It probably should be, we've been talking for hours, and I need to go to the dump before it closes.

cortex: Yeah let's call it good. [Matt laughs]

You know there's, there was the thing that I was at in Seattle with iamkimiam, and Louis Tate, and DiscourseMarker, but-

jessamyn: Oh yeah, you know, I would like to ask you about that for five minutes because that just sounded really interesting.

cortex: It was neat -- I'll make it quick because I think we're going to post some stuff about it at some point once we get audio cut up, but briefly it was the-

jessamyn: Okay.

cortex: -Association of Internet Researchers annual conference

and this was like participation and performance. So it was all about the different ways people deal with participation and performance on the Internet. And our panel was specifically just all Metafilter stuff, because Louis Tate did his...

jessamyn: Phd, right.

cortex: -Phd on...philosophy...the Ethos of Metafilter. Ethos of Metafilter, and DiscourseMarker, Kris, she did her work on the correlation between anonymity and behavior -- and actually found, somewhat to her surprise and maybe a little chagrin, that there wasn't any real correlation

in what she saw as hostile behavior with anonymity. If anything, anonymity correlated slightly with slightly more positive behavior. Which was kind of interesting.

jessamyn: [gloating] Ha ha ha, ha ha.

mathowie: She didn't -- did she mean questions, or just-

cortex: Well, it's complicated and she could explain it much better sometime,

mathowie: Pseudo-anonymous...

cortex: -but she look at the, she looked at the favorites thread, the let's experiment, the favorites thing back in November 2009,

mathowie: Yeah.

cortex: -and used that as a testbed, so. So that was interesting, and iamkimiam of course did the phonetic stuff, the enregisterment of different pronunciations of the "M-set"

m-e-f-i and m-e-f-i-t-e, and I just talked about the Infodump and introduced the whole thing, so. We'll probably get our stuff together and make a MetaTalk post about it. It was a lot of fun.
And it led to, someone pointed me to a Reddit thread of all things, on TheoryOfReddit which is a subreddit that's kind of, sort of an analogue to MetaTalk in that it's explicitly about meta discussion about Reddit. Where a guy did a bunch of crazy analysis, after scraping manually a bunch of data, to look at how Reddit has changed over the last couple of years.
With the notion of "Did Digg end up making us dumb because of the influx among us", so that was really fascinating and totally tied in to the whole community members looking at their own sites using the data about that site, so. Anyway the whole thing was really awesome.

jessamyn: Oh, neat.

cortex: And I thought that was a cool thread, and I'll probably talk about that if it does come up in MetaTalk, because it was an interesting alternate sort of way to look at this stuff.

mathowie: Sweet.

cortex: Yeah.

mathowie: Is there any links for the Seattle stuff?

cortex: Not yet but we're going to try to put some stuff together.

mathowie: Okay.

Alright, cool.

jessamyn: Cool!

mathowie: Let me save this as Podcast Notes! Alright.

cortex: Alright. Well, epic podcast.

jessamyn: And Happy Birthday Matt, and nice talking to you guys as always.

cortex: Yeah! And thanks for the new iPhones.

mathowie: Oh yeah, no problem.

sfx: [Music]

sfx: [Music fades]


  • ceribus peribus - 221 segments
  • Pronoiac - 27 segments
  • beryllium - 17 segments
  • zamboni - 1 segment

for more details, see the Fanscribed page