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Podcast 85 Transcript
A transcript for Episode 85: "Silk Road 2.0" (2013-10-08).
jessamyn: We should get started on podcast 86!
mathowie: 85! 85!
mathowie: Oh my god!
cortex: The bare minimum. Come on.
jessamyn: I was making sure you guys had checked.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
cortex: I actually had it written down when I was setting up podcast files, so I knew it was 85 for once, but I didn't want to interrupt the confusion earlier.
jessamyn: 1986 was a good year, though. 1985, not so great.
cortex: Yeah? For personal reasons, or just as a general global index?
mathowie: I don't remember anything from '85.
jessamyn: Yeah, me pers--what do I know about the rest of the world? My!
cortex: I don't know. Maybe there was something I didn't know about!
jessamyn: My month! So I'm Jessamyn, and Matt?
mathowie: Yes. This is me, Matt.
cortex: And I'm cortex! And we're introducing ourselves, for once, at the start of a podcast. It only took us 85 of them to figure out that that was a good idea.
mathowie and jessamyn: (laugh)
mathowie: You know, when I listen to a weird podcast, there is a tension, you know? Especially the first time. But even if I've heard the people in the podcast
- on other podcasts a zillion times, I'm like, I think that's Justin and that's Kevin...
jessamyn: I had that problem listening to Key and Peele on a WTF podcast, where I wasn't sure at the beginning which one was which. Like, now I know them better, but at first I was like, I don't know which guy that is!
mathowie: Right, yeah. There's always like six minutes of tension before they actually somehow slip it in there, but yes. Okay. So yeah, (laughing) 85 in, we're going to do it.
jessamyn: Yeah! And this is going to be all of last month and a little bit of this month, right?
- Because I think we started, the last one was just after Labor Day.
mathowie: I think it was like the 10th or so.
jessamyn: Oh, it was... wow, it was that late.
mathowie: Yeah, it was kind of into it.
cortex: Was it that late?
mathowie: Yeah, we waited a week and a little more.
jessamyn: Because I had my birthday, and yeah.
mathowie: Yeah. Anything from the 10th on counts.
cortex: Alright. That'll work.
mathowie: Usually we open with weird stuff, like Jobs, and I wanted to share that I actually ate some dog food this week by taking a Job and doing it and it
- was successful and it worked and it was great. (chuckles)
cortex: I was totally gonna do that job, and then you did it!
jessamyn: Oh, I saw that Job! You guys want to talk about it, so that...?
mathowie: Yeah! The job is--
cortex: (laughs) No, let's just be real vague. Matt!
mathowie: I get an e-mail every time someone posts a Job, just to see if they're spam or whatever.
mathowie: So I saw this thing fly over on a Saturday, and it said, "My girlfriend and I spent some time on the Oregon Coast last summer, but we have no mementos to remember it by, and if you're around, can you cruise out there and
- get a bag of sand and mail it to me, because I just don't trust random yahoos on Craiglist."
mathowie: "You know, that they'll just get sand from their backyard and call it good. And also, I'll pay a hundred bucks," which was crazy to me. And I told them, like, forty, fifty bucks.
jessamyn: Because Newport is how far from you guys?
mathowie: For me it's like an hour and a half, so.
jessamyn: Okay. I mean, I've been there, it's lovely.
mathowie: Yeah, last, and it was at this nice, there's a nice lighthouse at the state park right next to the bridge, and last week I
- had something in the afternoon that canceled, so I had nothing to do between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
mathowie: And I went, like, it's an hour and a half away. I could be there by noon, and I could be home by 2 easily even sight-seeing and stuff.
jessamyn: And get your gas paid for and have a little trip!
mathowie: Yeah! And so I was like, you know what, screw it! I'll do it. And it was fun, and it rained like hell all the way to the coast.
mathowie: And then the clouds parted right when I parked.
mathowie: And I had to walk about five minutes down to the ocean, and I took pictures of me
- grabbing sand and putting it in the bag so it was clear. I'll post the pictures in the thread.
jessamyn: (chuckles) Nice.
mathowie: So I had to prove it. And I took this one last picture on the way out of the Newport Bridge, which was beautiful, there was this weird new angle, I'd never seen it before. And as I was rounding my car to get back in, it started raining so hard, and I couldn't see out the windows by the time I got in the car five seconds after I took a photo. Like, the craziest downpour. If I believed in
- random sky wizards, I had such a great time on the coast for 20 minutes.
mathowie: I had twenty minutes of perfect sun, and it was beautiful, and then it was crazy rain all of the other times.
mathowie: And then I, I basically, I had to find a nice jar. You know, it's not easy, I wanted one of those mason jars with the pressure thing, the clip, you know?
jessamyn: Oh god, you can't swing a dead cat around here without finding those.
mathowie: Right! But they don't sell them brand-new at any... I went to a craft store, I ended up going to Goodwill,
- you know, there's all sorts of jars--
jessamyn: Is that where you found one? At Goodwill?
mathowie: I didn't find one! I ended up, at a craft store I found a nice ball jar that had no labels or anything on it that was a quart size.
cortex: Yeah, those you can find all over the place.
mathowie: So I filled it up and I shipped it, and he was in I think Seattle, and so he got it the next day, and I think this was a Christmas present, he's going to put a ribbon around it and a photo from the beach or something like that.
mathowie: So it was pretty cool. It worked out, it was way too much money--
mathowie: --and it was a fun diversion for an afternoon.
cortex: That was what kind of gave me pause from just jumping in the car. I was like, "Yeah, but I don't really specifically need that hundred dollars."
cortex: "And maybe someone closer to the coast will be like, oh, man, that'd be great! I'd be happy to do that, and I could use the money." So I was like, ehhh, I'll think about it. But the next morning I was talking to Angela about it, I was like, "Someone posted a Job saying drive to Yaquina [ˌjəˈkinə] Bay and get some sand."
jessamyn: Is that how you pronounce that?
cortex: That's how I say it. (laughs)
jessamyn: Well, I don't know! I don't know! (laughing) I'm not trying to start shit.
cortex: I... (laughs) No, I don't know. I don't know if that's the accepted
mathowie: Yaquina [ˌjəˈkinə]? Yeah, I think so.
cortex: I haven't spent enough time there, so.
cortex: But yeah. And I was like, "Hey, someone posted this!", and she was like, "Well, do you want to drive to the beach?" and I was like, "Maybe we should drive to the beach!" And then I went and checked and the Job was gone and I was like, (laughing) "Let's not drive to the beach."
mathowie: Well, yeah, I e-mailed them before I left, 10 a.m., just saying, "Hey, I want to take this job," because it'd been up for a couple days, and it went through a weekend, and they said, "No, no one did it," so I said, "Oh, well, you know, I think I'm going to do it," and then, luckily,
- marked it as filled later that afternoon.
cortex: That seemed like a good one to try and get filled.
cortex: When it looks like it's gonna fill. (laughs) Because you don't want five people driving to the beach and saying, "Hey, where's my hundred dollars?"
mathowie: Yeah. (chuckles) Exactly. "What the hell, man?"
jessamyn: Right. Yeah. And that was in the MeFi Jobs chatty post on MetaTalk by wenest [ˈwɛnɛst]--oh, I cannot pronounce his username.
mathowie: wenestvedt [ˌwɛ'nɛstəvɪt]?
jessamyn: The guy from Rhode Island that we talk about in every podcast now, who just hired a MeFite for his job
- at his job and was very happy about it.
mathowie: Yeah! I've always wondered how to handle this, because about once every six months someone just says, "Oh, hey, I hired someone, it was great," (laughs) and I'm like, I wish we had a success stories section or something.
jessamyn: Or you could put a little star next to it, like, you know, success! Or whatever.
mathowie: This was all so great. A superfavorite.
jessamyn: I did a Metafilter Job once. I think I told you guys. There was somebody who was fluent in a different language and needed to make sure their master's thesis made sense
- in English?
jessamyn: Because they had a tri-lingual committee? And so he sent me documents, and I kind of proofread them, and then sent them back to him, and I think he chipped in some money, I can't remember. But he also sent me a sausage and some chocolates? Like, one of those totally dank Austrian sausages, the kind where you get the package and it's a little greasy and you're like, "I am in such trouble." But it turned out it was delicious, delicious!
jessamyn: Probably couldn't even legally be sent to me.
mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)
jessamyn: But was a fun little thing to do.
mathowie: And I also was like, part of me has this problem with, well, if they're a really active Metafilter user, do you want them working for you, because you know they're going to be screwing around on this website?
jessamyn: (laughs) Right, right, right.
mathowie: It's slightly problematic, I don't know if...
cortex: I like to think that Metafilter users in a sense are reliable because you already sort of know their vice, and you've got that in common with them.
jessamyn: You know where they are hanging out online.
cortex: Yeah. If you see them hanging out on Metafilter, you can be sort of like, "Oh, okay, that's what they're doing," and also you can be like, "Hey, Metafilter, yeah, but keep an eye on it, buddy."
cortex: Without it being like, "Hey, what's that you're looking at, Bob?" It basically, if you ever find them looking at anything other than Metafilter, then you have to start giving them a hard time.
mathowie: Yeah, yeah.
jessamyn: Right, right, right.
mathowie: Yeah. Okay, cool. Are there any other interesting... do you want to move on to Projects, I guess?
jessamyn: Yeah, I didn't have much to talk about about Jobs, I guess.
mathowie: Yeah, everything else looked pretty normal job.
- I only had a couple of Projects marked off.
jessamyn: I only had a couple too! It was kind of, it's funny. The site's been really busier this month, but Projects was less busy than it had been over the summer.
cortex: Everybody's back at school.
mathowie: Back, yeah, work.
cortex: They have to put their creative efforts into, you know, passing classes or teaching classes or whatever.
jessamyn: Whatever it is they do at school.
cortex: Making kids' lunch.
cortex: All those school-related things that start happening.
jessamyn: I enjoyed this thing that rajbot did called the Kiva Interest Rate Finder?
- One of the things about Kiva, which I know lots of people have a love-hate relationship about, is that the people who do the actual lending charge varying amounts of interest. And so some of the partners at Kiva charge 100% interest, which is bullshit, and Kiva makes it not as easy as they could to figure out who's charging low or no interest. And so this was a little script to figure out how that works.
mathowie: Ohhh! Yeah, I was trying to figure out what it was. Yeah...
jessamyn: Because there's a mysterious interest. So you may lend fifty bucks, but then they lend fifty bucks to the person, but maybe the person then needs to pay back a hundred and two, which makes it significantly less interesting.
mathowie: Yeah, you know, it's really strange the way Kiva... maybe it's not Kiva's doing, it's the way Kiva is discussed online, but I know people who like, they go,
- well, I could stick a thousand dollars in a CD that makes 3%, or I could put a thousand dollars--
jessamyn: Oh, the people who are like, grump grump grump, it's not a good interest, not a good [??].
mathowie: No, they actually say it's not bad! But then they go, you know, you put in a thousand dollars, you can get five to ten percent interest back after a year. And I'm like, "But is that good for everyone?" Like...
jessamyn: Is that ethical? Well...
mathowie: Right. Like, I have put, I think, when I looked it up, my lifetime giving on Kiva, I think I have put a thousand dollars into Kiva over the last few years, and it's worth something like, I don't know, $1200 or $1300.
- Like, it really has grown over five years, a little bit.
jessamyn: That's a pretty amazing rate of return, actually.
mathowie: I know, but I don't feel good about it! Like, I was okay with it--
jessamyn: Right, right, right!
mathowie: It should be a thousand dollars still. And I get the e-mails every couple months where it says, you have $38.50, go ahead and recharge, relend it, and I do that whenever I can. And the Metafilter--
jessamyn: I didn't know if you gave into money into Kiva as a person you got any money back! Like, besides your...
mathowie: You can pull it out, I guess, when all your loans... I mean, you do have to wait--
jessamyn: Besides just your regular money.
mathowie: Yeah. You can pull it out if you wait for all your loans to pay off and you don't relend it, you'll technically get the money back.
jessamyn: With interest, though, is what you're saying.
mathowie: Yeah, yeah, and there is, yeah. It probably grows by 100%, I mean, 10% a year, I would guess? Or maybe a little less, 5? I don't expect any growth, you know, that's not why I do it.
jessamyn: Right, right, right.
mathowie: The Metafilter group is coming up on a hundred thousand dollars loaned.
mathowie: In the last three years or so, which is nice.
jessamyn: And then it got posted to Metafilter, where there was a short thread about it. I just thought it was a neat little...
mathowie: Yeah, I had no idea they were charging like a hundred percent interest. But people showed that a lot of these are short-term, like, three-month loans, so, I mean, it's a hundred percent on an annual basis, but maybe they only pay twenty percent if they did it [in the book ?].
jessamyn: Right, right, right.
mathowie: But I've also seen Kiva loans go for nine months or a year, a year and a half, stuff like that. I've had very few, have you had any crumble on you?
jessamyn: No. The only two that I did, I kind of became disenamored of Kiva and decided to start giving some of my money locally instead, but mine just took longer than they were supposed to, which was not a big a deal and I figured that's one of the things you assume might happen.
jessamyn: But none of them fell apart, no.
mathowie: Yeah. Did I put that... right. I liked this Five Thousand Selfies. (chuckles) It was just...
jessamyn: (chuckling) I didn't even click on that. I did see it, though.
mathowie: It's just strange! It's a YouTube video of, I assume these are found art or objects, of just selfies, and they're kind of like, you can watch the video, because they just hammer through, and he kind of, or he or she kind of centered the eyes in the right spot, and it's just--
jessamyn: Colin. cmyr did it.
mathowie: Yeah. It's just like a zillion selfies.
mathowie: I don't know why it's mesmerizing. (chuckles)
jessamyn: It's weird.
cortex: Why not?
mathowie: That is a pretty, that's a lot of work.
jessamyn: And it doesn't have any music, or mine's just playing without music.
mathowie: There's music. There's some music.
jessamyn: YouTube just plays quietly, like, it starts with no music anymore, lately.
mathowie: Hm. I have some weird--
jessamyn: Does it know I'm on Skype?
mathowie: I have some weird problem where YouTube just skips to the end for me, and I talk to other people, and that randomly happens to them every couple years?
mathowie: Like, I'll see two seconds of a video, and then it'll jump to the end, and it's some sort of weird
- cookie user error.
mathowie: If I log out, it works fine. It's crazy. And if you Google search it, there are thousands of people going, "Hey, YouTube's kind of broken for me now, I don't know why," and nobody has a good fix for it.
mathowie: Yeah. It's sad.
mathowie: Did you see the Digital Covers for Books?
mathowie: It was posted to MeFi by Toeken--
cortex: Toekneesan [ˈtoʊˌniˌsɑn]?
mathowie: Toekneesan [ˈtoʊˌniˌsæn]?
jessamyn: Toekneesan [ˈtoʊniˌsɑn]!
mathowie: Yeah! I never pronounced it that way in my head. It was posted to Metafilter, and if you look, it's just a beautiful giant Flickr set of--
jessamyn: No, he does wonderful work! I don't know how I missed this at all!
mathowie: There wasn't... I had a go, I guess these are just scanned cover, because I'd never seen, I don't see any childhood book I recognize. So I can't tell if, oh, I remember that, because I don't. (chuckles) But they're all these amazing '60s, '50s artwork on the front of the books.
jessamyn: Adventures in Space, Science Fun with Milk Cartons... there's gotta be one that I've seen.
mathowie: I know! And none of these are [??]--
jessamyn: Bubbles the Whale, Reptiles and their Life?
mathowie: There's those old Golden Books look some--
jessamyn: Hey, here's a picture of Fred Gwynne looking exactly like you, Matt.
mathowie: What? Where?
jessamyn: Not exaactly like you.
mathowie: So is it going to be like that naked Breaking Bad guy?
jessamyn: No, no, it's--
mathowie: Whoa! That guy looks like my dad.
jessamyn: Well, that's what I mean.
jessamyn: He looks like he could be kin to you. He doesn't look like you personally.
mathowie: Yeah, wow, weird.
jessamyn: That kind of mesomorphic...
cortex: But yeah.
jessamyn: Oh, Wee Pals! I read Wee Pals.
cortex: Like someone took you and put you in the Oblivion Character Editor and then started tweaking the chin.
mathowie: (chuckles) Yeah.
jessamyn: Yeah, wait, some of these... oh god, some of these are schoolbooks.
mathowie: They had Tom and Jerry books? Gene Autry Western books for kids, that's weird.
jessamyn: "Your Breakfast And The People Who Made It"? Oh, and Toekneesan's younger than us, I think, or our age? I don't know how old he is.
mathowie: Annette Funicello books, holy cow.
jessamyn: Yeah, this is Mr. Zip and the U.S. Mail? See, I want these books.
mathowie: I didn't know--
jessamyn: So this is just a scanning project and stuff he put online and then it was posted to Metafilter? Talk me through it.
mathowie: Yeah, yep, exactly. And I think it was one of those cool things where the new Flickr set view kinda works pretty good for old archives.
jessamyn: Because you can just scroll through a bazillion of them.
mathowie: Yeah. And they're all the same size.
jessamyn: I have to admit, I don't hate new Flickr. Like, there are certain things that I despise about it.
jessamyn: But not most of it, anymore.
mathowie: Yeah, I really like--
cortex: I thought it was really interesting that they rolled out the new one and the phone app, and I remember a bunch of people saying, "Holy crap, Flickr, you're back," and then like a month later it was like, "Man, I fucking hate new Flickr." (laughs) It was like this whiplash of...
cortex: Because I don't look at it often enough, I've really not been interacting with it much at all for the last year or two, but I [??] every once in a while, and it's like, oh, yeah, I mean, it was really noticeable when it changed, and I was like, "Euh, it's different," and it's still, whatever, it's Flickr.
mathowie: Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, finally! Something I totally...
cortex: Oh, man, yeah. I remember that one.
mathowie: That was the plot of Pacific Rim. (chuckles) You guys all saw Pacific Rim, right?
mathowie: Robots and Aliens?
cortex: That was a--
jessamyn: Is it good? Should I?
mathowie: Yeah, it's the best popcorn movie in the world. Like, it's not *good, it's just... it's crazy.
cortex: (laughs) Trying to make a porn joke here, but I can't come up with anything. (laughs) [??]
jessamyn: [??] Like, it's a new movie? I'm looking at it. Is that a polar bear? What am I looking at? Good God!
mathowie: Yeah, it came out, no, it came out last summer! Famous... it was huge. It was robots fighting monsters from the ocean.
jessamyn: How did I miss it? It looks like something I would like. Is it rapey? There's gotta be some reason I didn't watch it.
cortex: No, it's just a big dumb action movie. It's Guillermo del Toro directing, and no, you should see it sometime.
jessamyn: Those are my favorite.
cortex: So yeah, you should totally see it.
mathowie: It's the greatest drive-in movie ever. I'm surprised you didn't see it at the drive-in.
cortex: The worst thing you can say about it is it's a big--
cortex: --action movie of the sort that would involve
- giant robots fighting giant monsters, so don't...
jessamyn: I have no problem with that.
cortex: Don't worry about it being too intellectual.
mathowie: But there's a tiny sub-plot minor thing where it's like, we have all this new technology, but the old technology can save our day! And I went, "Mike Mulligan can do it!"
mathowie: --is what I was thinking in the theater. Like, get the steam shovel.
jessamyn: Wasn't there a thread like that in one of the Sherlock Holmes... no, what am I thinking of? Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones....
cortex: Men in Black?
mathowie: Oh... yeah.
jessamyn: Yeah, Men in Black 3 had an aspect to that.
mathowie: Oh, yeah.
jessamyn: But I may be confusing it... no, no, no, I'm thinking of...
cortex: Well, they went back in time for that one or something, I think.
jessamyn: No, no, no, I'm thinking of the other one, the last James Bond movie.
mathowie: James Bond was definitely that, yeah.
jessamyn: Where they definitely had a hipster computer guy, but he had to work together with the person who could make a gun out of sticks to...
mathowie: That was the most depressing James Bond I've ever seen, because it was just, it was kind of like, I'm really old and outdated and this whole thing doesn't even
- exist anymore--
mathowie: --and why are we here? Oh, yeah, let's just drive a car with no electronics in it and I'll fire an old-fashioned gun for the hell of it because. And the movie's over, and you're like, "Well, I don't know if that was a good--"
jessamyn: Right. "Not only are my parents dead, but now my childhood home is destroyed and my mentor has..." Look, yeah, everything about it.
mathowie: (chuckles) I was sort of walking out of the theater going, "Was that a good use of two hours of my time?"
mathowie: Like, I don't know if anybody had a good time.
jessamyn: It sort of depends about how you feel about Daniel Craig, right?
mathowie: Yeah. Oh, I saw--
jessamyn: I could watch him do his taxes, so I don't care.
mathowie: (chuckles) Does he come out of water in slow motion with no shirt on at any point? Because he's...
jessamyn: Well, he falls into the water. I don't remember if he comes out of it in slow motion, but I'm sure there's a water... and isn't that the one that Javier what's-his-butt is in?
cortex and mathowie: Yeah
jessamyn: And he's amaazing. He's the best part of the movie, actually.
mathowie: Yeah, that's true. I think I--
cortex: And I liked it just because I like--
jessamyn: They shoot the lady, and the Metafilter people argued about the lady...
mathowie: Oh, yeah.
mathowie: I had a, I think my fortieth birthday was a couple of weeks before it last year, so I was feeling old and outdated and useless.
mathowie: And so that movie was painful.
jessamyn: Not [??]
cortex: Now, see, now I was going to say, I like stories where you take the really vital hero dude and then you age him up a bit.
cortex: Stories with an older Batman are always sort of interesting to me.
jessamyn: So you've been enjoying all the Sylvester Stallone rehashes lately.
cortex: I actually haven't seen any of those, oddly enough. I mean, there's shit that I would sit down and watch if it was on TV,
- but since TV is Netflix for me, I kind of have to decide to, and so I haven't really... I tend to watch crappy old horror movies instead of crappy old, or crappy newer action movies, I guess.
jessamyn: That works. That works.
mathowie: Speaking of weird old movie stuff, I just heard from a friend who went to a very early screen of a film. You know what is a thing in Hollywood now? They are going to start remaking all the old '70s Burt Reynolds movies with, what's-his-butt--
jessamyn: Burt Reynolds in them?
jessamyn: That'd be awesome.
mathowie: The British dude I was obsessed with. Oh, it's Statham. Statham as Burt Reynolds.
cortex: Smokey and the Bandit with Jason Statham?
mathowie: No, no, not the big one. The ones where Burt Reynolds is a badass who just has to come in and punch people.
cortex: Like Deliverance? (laughs)
mathowie: I can't remember the [??]--
jessamyn: Not Deliverance!
cortex: I would pay a billion dollars to see Jason Statham as Burt Reynolds in a remake of Deliverance.
cortex: I don't even know how that would work.
mathowie: But once I heard it--
jessamyn: Jason Statham is fine in action movies, because--
cortex: Oh, no, no, I like him! I like him. He's just, he's not Burt Reynolds, they're very different characters.
jessamyn: In fact, I think he's a lot like Daniel Craig. He's built, and he can be in action movies. He has almost no range, and he does things you, I mean, yeah. They're both really thin, and so they wear clothes really well, which matters, I guess? I don't know.
cortex: Broody, you've got a little bit of gravitas.
jessamyn: Yeah, broody, exactly, exactly.
mathowie: Enough. So, was there anything else in Projects? I had one last one I wanted to mention.
jessamyn: I have one other one, too. So wait, what's your...?
cortex: I had a couple too, yeah.
mathowie: Mine was the Python for Poets being taught by lupus_yonderboy in I think Brooklyn? And just because it's going to start in two weeks, or a week, he's trying a program of teaching everyone, like six sessions, like about an hour, hour and a half each time, teaching Python to random people.
jessamyn: And it's in real life? You can't take it online.
mathowie: Yeah, it's in real life, and it's in Brooklyn at the Bushwick collective arts incubator?
- But sounds like...
mathowie: I mean, Python is a nice beginner language and especially in Brooklyn, there are a billion jobs. Like, Etsy'll hire anyone that knows Python.
jessamyn: Ohh! Seeing his photograph, now I recognize a guy on Twitter who I couldn't identify. Perfect.
mathowie: So yeah. That starts October 19th, so if you're in Brooklyn and you want to learn how to program, check it out before it's gone.
cortex: Nice! That's cool.
cortex: I really liked, and I found this elsewhere before I found it back at Projects, but JAWS: The Text Adventure, posted on Projects by malevolent last month. And I saw this pop on, I think, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which is a PC gaming blog that I really like. And I was just like, "Oh, that's adorable!", and I sort of checked it out, and it was like, this is--
mathowie: Oh my god.
cortex: Because it's exactly what it sounds like, except that you're playing as the shark, is the thing. So it's a text adventure where you're checking out the ocean and looking for, you know, (dissolves in chuckling).
mathowie: Oh, also, the UI is like a Commodore VIC-20 or something from 1984.
cortex: Yeah, it's like an old ZX Spectrum style thing.
mathowie: It's unbelievably beautiful.
cortex: I mean, the whole thing's new, it's in HTML5, but intentionally retro styling.
mathowie: The scan lines on the screen, like, how did they... that's amazing!
cortex: It's smart programming.
mathowie: Yeah. It's really well done.
jessamyn: Wow. Wow.
cortex: Yeah. I would definitely go check it out, because it's delightful, you will laugh, I liked it.
mathowie: Sound. God, they made crazy music. Oh, wow.
jessamyn: Here's a thing that I liked from, I feel like every podcast there's one person who's got things in multiple places, and ignignokt created just a weird thought tree code essay builder? Basically he had a friend, who was like an internet friend, who then disappeared, and he was like, "What happened to my friend?" And his whole thought process for--and it turned out his friend was in jail--for working this
- all out, he wound up building a little code thing (mathowie chuckles) to kind of explain it? But it's beautiful to look at! It's kind of like what we all hoped... thought-tree, what is that stuff called where you make...?
mathowie: Yeah. What was the big app for it?
jessamyn: Yeah, yeah! What you all hoped mind-mapping was going to be. But mind-mapping always was awful, and everything was wibbly, and it gave everybody dizzy spells.
mathowie: Yeah. This is kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure, it's weird, except with real life.
jessamyn: Yeah! Well, and he just explains little things, but it actually, if you want to know, like, "What happened to ignignokt's friend?", you can click through this and actually get a very good idea of not only what happened, but extra information about stuff you might want more infomation about? And I found it remarkably easy to understand what had happened, number one, quickly and number two, what he thought about it, kind of. You know what I mean?
mathowie: Yeah. It's the weirdest...
jessamyn: So I think about how to express, like, a lot of times you talk to your friend and you're like, "What happened?" "Well, I used to know this guy who... lalala", and you know, it's fifteen minutes in before, "And he was in jail."
jessamyn: And you're kinda like, "What? What?" So I really enjoyed clicking through to hear his story and all that stuff.
mathowie: Yeah, that was really cool. Yeah, it's the strangest interface in the world for this sort of thing, but it actually works perfectly. It's pretty cool.
jessamyn: Yeah. And I would really enjoy it if it was available so I could build little, "Let me tell you a story!" this way instead of la-la-la-la-la. Linear doesn't always work the best for storytelling. So I pulled that out and I enjoyed it.
cortex: Well, I wonder if... because it's funny, this is sort of like, this is pretty similar to what people are doing these days with Twine, which I think I talked about a few episodes ago--
jessamyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
cortex: --which is sort of a Choose Your Own Adventure builder. I haven't looked at how that was built, it's possible that could even be a really slick implementation of a Twine design, but it feels like it's maybe a little bit more custom-built. But yeah, that whole narrative branching thing, you can really kind of do that yourself at this point with Twine, if not quite as slick-looking. So. I don't know.
mathowie: Sweet. Any other Projects, or do we want to move on to Metafilter?
jessamyn: That was it for me. I enjoyed...
cortex: I have one more. I just liked this, some t-shirts from Jezztek. "It is Dangerous to go Alone."
jessamyn: You love all of Jezztek's t-shirts.
cortex: They make great t-shirts! But this was particularly close to my heart, because it's a bunch of designs, big, iconographic things from various video games, various classic 2D video games--
mathowie: Yeah, I couldn't figure them out.
cortex: --composed entirely of the masks of art from sprites from those video games. So the top-left one is Link's Master Sword, that's actually just made up from the shape of various characters
- in the game, like, various bad guys that you have to fight.
jessamyn: I get it. I haven't played a single one of these games, which is why the whole thing was mysterious to me.
mathowie: Oh, I know. Well, one of them's--yeah, one of them's Mario.
cortex: Yeah, I know. Yeah, it works better if you recognize them.
mathowie: I didn't even know the titles, and I felt like when you go to a cosplay gallery, and I'm like, "I don't know any of these."
jessamyn: "That looks like a fancy costume! I wish I knew what it was supposed to be!"
mathowie: "I wish I could tell if that was good!" But if you mouse over long...
cortex: "You put a lot of work into whatever that was!"
mathowie: Yeah, if you mouse over long enough there is, they tell you what it is, like the top middle one is Mario, so then you go, "Oh, yeah!"
jessamyn: I at least recognize that name!
mathowie: Like Mario Fireball, and those are all of the Mario bosses, that makes sense.
cortex: Yep. So there's Metroid and Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania and Master Blaster...
jessamyn: Of course.
cortex: Blaster Master, rather.
jessamyn: Oh, I am sorry.
cortex: Yes. (laughs) Let's not play fast and loose.
cortex: Anyway, I thought those were pretty great, so there you go.
jessamyn: Yay for Projects!
cortex: Yay for Projects.
jessamyn: Move on to Metafilter or Ask Metafilter?
mathowie: Metafilter first. I have a billion.
cortex: That's how we do...
jessamyn: Alright. I have a story to get us started.
cortex: Do it.
jessamyn: Which is basically somebody in some slightly grumpy MetaTalk thread was like "something something something the GWAR thread." And I was like, GWAR, right?
jessamyn: Like, they dress up like monsters and they do the music and whatever.
jessamyn: But I like them, but I'm not sure if there's anything more about GWAR I need to know about.
jessamyn: But, I went to the thread anyhow, because somebody said it was a good idea, and this was basically them covering a Billy Ocean song in that sort of onion thing where they do the music, but the part that is the best is that Mrs. Pterodactyl tells a slightly funny story--no, and it actually was more than slightly funny. I thought it was very funny. But basically, a friend who goes to '80s night at the 9:30 club in a members-only jacket, and there was a ton of people in odd clothes moshing, and it was weird, and they
- wheeled out a giant pink phallus which began spraying the crowd, and he was standing near the bouncer and said, "This is the weirdest '80s night I've ever been to," and the bouncer turned to him and said, "'80s night? '80s night is tomorrow! You're at GWAR!"
jessamyn: So that's funny. Then, Bulgaroktonos [ˌbʊlgɚˈoʊkˌtoʊˌnoʊs], Bulgaroktonos [ˌbʊlˈgɑɹəkˌtoʊˌnoʊs]?, literally two minutes later, says the exact same story.
jessamyn: Because it's his brother-in-law, not his brother.
mathowie: Oh, wow.
jessamyn: And it turns out they're a married MeFite couple.
jessamyn: And just basically told exactly the same story, which everybody thought was the most adorable thing ever. So I just pulled it out, and then whatever, people talk about GWAR and it's a fun thread.
mathowie: Oh my god!
jessamyn: So the GWAR thread, great, but then the two stories right in a row, adorable.
mathowie: Do you want to know something extra funny from the admin back-end? They posted from two different IP addresses, so one was at work, and one was at home, or...
mathowie: So they both didn't know they were doing... it wasn't like they were on the same couch.
jessamyn: Right. Being like, "Oh, you see the GWAR thing? Yes." So I just thought that was adorable. Bulgarok-- [ˌbʊlgɚˈoʊk]... Bulgaroktonous [ˌbʊlgɛʳˈɑkˌtoʊˌnoʊs]? Bulgarokto [ˌbʊlˈgɛɚˌɑkˌtoʊ]? Bul...
mathowie: That's amazing.
jessamyn: No idea. But yeah.
mathowie: I've never heard of anyone not having a good time at a GWAR show, which is cool.
jessamyn: Well, and they seemed kind of fun even in the video. They went into another song partway through also, so
- it was like, somebody was like, "Wait 'til the end!" and I was like, "Then what happens?" but they just did another cover. But if you like GWAR, you'll like that, and if you like Metafilter, you'll enjoy the thread.
cortex: And, yeah, yeah. (laughs)
cortex: No, no, no, I was just gonna--
cortex: I was just gonna repeat you, and then I realized I'm just repeating you. So yes, I agree. It was a fun thread.
jessamyn: It's nice when we get along.
cortex: (chuckles) I liked a weird little sort of programming meets art
- thing. There was this great post about--
jessamyn: (gasps) Loved this. Loved this. Oh my god. (laughs)
cortex: Neural network handwriting generation. Someone created a project to use neural network programming techniques to make something try and write in handwriting anything you write in--
jessamyn: Now can you talk about this a little bit? Because I enjoyed it, just because I enjoy watching it break, but I don't really understand what it's doing.
cortex: So, man, it's a big topic.
jessamyn: Matt, do you understand what it's doing?
cortex: But a neural network is basically a
- quote-unquote learning program. What you do is you set up a set of connections that exist between different parts of a digital brain, basically, a bunch of little components that represent essentially neurons in this digital brain.
cortex: And you train it by feeding it input, and it learns to associate stronger or weaker relationships between the different nodes.
jessamyn: So you feed it a bunch of handwriting things, and then it learns to make a handwriting that's unique to it, theoretically?
cortex: Yeah, basically, you feed it a bunch of glyphs and say, "This is what a 'D' looks like," and it attempts that--
jessamyn: And this is 'bed' and 'dog' and 'dumb' and...
cortex: Well, I think a little more like letter by letter in this case.
cortex: So you're teaching it the alphabet, all these different letters you can write, basically. And you feed it that, and instead of you giving it a printed out bitmap of this is the pixels that make up a 'D', instead it uses, its neural network is probably basically breaking it down into little subshapes of a letter.
cortex: So it learns that a 'D' has a diagonal right curvy bit over and a long straight bit over here, and so it creates this association of these various bits that make it up. And then it can generate a D by saying, "okay, well, if I want to make a D, I feel pretty strongly that I should do sort of a curvy bit here and feel strongly I should put a straight bit here and I shouldn't put a thing there," and so it's just generating--
jessamyn: And it does learn to jam them together, because its handwriting has...
cortex: Yeah, it's got little ligatures and whatever.
cortex: So at some level it's doing that. And the neat thing is,
- you throw in the text and it'll generate it on the fly by using this output from this trained network, but the failure states, it learns something wrong or it guesses something wrong based on what it thinks it knows when you throw characters it's not ready for. So (laughing) if you throw in some weird Unicode or high-level stuff...
jessamyn: Oh, they changed it since last night! Bias has a slider instead of a number.
cortex: Ah, interesting.
mathowie: This is amazing.
cortex: But yeah, so it's a neat thing.
mathowie: I mean, I guessed that it's just grabbing a handwriting font and then just saying, for every glyph, make it slightly random, and then it shows you three permutations of that, and two out of the three, everything I test it on looked totally hand-done on a piece of paper. Like, they don't look computer-generated at all. And sometimes you get weird...
jessamyn: Well, and they're different.
jessamyn: Because the thing about the handwriting font is that every 'O' looks the same.
jessamyn: Or sometimes they randomize it a little, so there's three 'O's, you know?
jessamyn: But there's basically not a lot of 'O's.
mathowie: I think this is insane.
cortex: This is science, man!
mathowie: Like, this seems like it'll be used for bad purposes? Right?
cortex: (laughs) Well, I'm not sure there's that much trouble you can get up to...
mathowie: Like, Silk Road 2 is going to be all hand-written because of this, somehow?
cortex: (chuckles) I kind of suspected...
jessamyn: Hahaha, dude, I'd love that idea.
jessamyn: Wait, say that again. Silk Road is gonna all be neural-network-generated handwriting. That is awesome.
mathowie: Handwritten fonts that talk to bitcoin bills written like, augh, I don't know. Man, these look so...
jessamyn: But people threw some stuff at it! Because some of it's like, whatever, like Matt just did a thing where you type in "The Metafilter podcast thread," and it looks like shit.
mathowie: Oh, mine looked pretty good.
jessamyn: But sometimes it just doesn't work at all. But sometimes... I don't know what the thing was that griphus did, where he had spaced out or code, "I want to rock and roll all night and Ｗａｓｐ Ｅｇｇｓ every day."
mathowie: Whoa! Every time I reload it--
jessamyn: And if you click the output link, it fails in this very dramatic fashion. So it's interesting because it helps you look behind the curtain at what in God's name is going on.
cortex: Yeah. You can sort of identify where some assumptions must have been made about what kind of input it had to deal with, and then when it gets something it wasn't expecting, yeah, it hasn't been really trained for it.
mathowie: Whoa. Whoa. Wow. Oh, every time I re--
jessamyn: Right. Who knows what's going on there? But it's awesome!
cortex: Sort of!
mathowie: Every time I reload any of these URLs they're totally randomly different.
- So my three "Metafilter podcast thread" ones are totally realistic, but...
jessamyn: Are legible?
cortex: Yeah, it's generating these in real time.
mathowie: I loaded one where it was a mess, but the other ones are great. Wow, this is shocking. Silk Road 2, man! (chuckles)
jessamyn: Yeah! So I enjoyed the thread because it was a lot of nerds throwing stuff against it and, you know, not a lot of people talking about it, mostly, just like, "I did this! I did that! I did this."
cortex: Yep. But it's fun to play with. It's a neat toy.
jessamyn: And 54 favorites, so another one of those wacky more favorites than comments.
mathowie: zarq did this post on the Live Music Archive over at the Internet Archive, has a live music section.
mathowie: And, you know, a lot of these bands, some of them are jam bands, most of them aren't. But these are all bands that have really loose policies where they say, "Go ahead and record our concerts and share it with your little tape buddies."
jessamyn: My favorite one isn't there!
mathowie: If you go to the Internet Archive you might be able to find them. These are just selected ones that zarq felt
- like mentioning. Because mine wasn't there that I ended up using.
jessamyn: What's yours? What's yours?
mathowie: I was once driving from Seattle to home, so I had like four hours--
jessamyn: See, this is where I need a neural pathway thing. Matt started telling a story. I just wanted to know the name of the band. (chuckle)
mathowie: It was, oh, it was Tenacious D.
mathowie: I just knew that they had bootlegs, because I remembered bootlegs from the '90s of their early gigs were recorded in L.A., and I was like, "I bet those are online somewhere," and I did a Google search
- in my car and found that they're in the Internet Archive. The problem is, the music archives are run by psycho tape guys, so it's all in FLAC files, and they're gi--
jessamyn: OGG, Ogg Vorbis...
mathowie: Yeah, they're all ginormous, and they don't have to be, because these are really low-quality audio, so it's... like, and there's kind of a terrible interface. I ended up having to download three different apps that could download FLACs and play them.
jessamyn: Isn't there a thing you can plug into iTunes? It used to have a thing you could plug in.
mathowie: Well, I'm on my phone in a car, just going, ohh! That stuff's on a webpage, and I want it in my stereo!
cortex: Gah. (laughs)
jessamyn: Ears! (laughs)
mathowie: So I ended up having to use an app to download them to the phone, and then use another app to play FLAC files on a phone, which is a custom player, you know, and then in fifteen minutes I got it worked out, but I really, part of me wishes I could work for the Internet Archive and put a damned streaming button--
jessamyn: Let me tell you, part of you does not wish you worked for the Internet Archive.
mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)
mathowie: If they just had a play button that worked, that would be awesome.
jessamyn: Well, don't they? I mean, the Matisyahu stuff actually does.
mathowie: Well, it was just because these crazy FLAC files on a phone.
jessamyn: Oh, Matisyahu is actually in the list, which I realized after I was like, "Matisyahu!" Good.
mathowie: Moxy Fruvous? Sorry.
mathowie: So yeah, there's lots of free music! They're spotty audio quality, but good. And it's good.
jessamyn: So wait, your Tenacious D doesn't have the player, just
- on the page, in the corner?
mathowie: On a phone it doesn't, because it's some strange Flash--
jessamyn: Oh, they have a mobile version that doesn't have all the features?
mathowie: Yeah, I think it's a Flash player or something? It's terrible.
mathowie: So yeah. So they need a mobile, I mean, the entire Internet Archive site needs...
jessamyn: Oh, no, this isn't Flash!
mathowie: ...to kinda work on mobile better. I don't know. What I found was giant 300-megabyte zip files of FLACs, which I had to download, unpack on my phone, and then play.
jessamyn: See, I'm looking at a non-Flash streamer.
- I'm just wondering if their mobile version makes it go away.
mathowie: Yeah, I don't think that was there on that. And also if it's a FLAC file, I think it doesn't work?
mathowie: Like, this one had mp3 and Ogg Vorbis, and if you go to their '90s archives it wasn't working for me. Let me try and find a Largo Pub... 1999! Something was wrong.
- Maybe it just didn't work on mobile, but...
mathowie: Yep, no player, because it was only FLAC. Okay.
jessamyn: Grumble grumble grumble.
mathowie: That was my problem.
jessamyn: But yeah, no, the stuff they have there is amazing! They have amazing things.
mathowie: Yeah. So yeah, that was a nice, yeah.
jessamyn: Why is it called "Feast Days"?
mathowie: I have no idea. Is that some sort of jam band reference or something?
jessamyn: I wouldn't know? Just because I live in Vermont doesn't mean I understand all these things.
cortex: Maybe they eat a lot of... fish? [Phish?]
mathowie: (laughs) No, I mean, that's the etree, this is all from etree.org, they
- imported their library to the archive.
mathowie: And etree was pretty much a jam band website in the early 2000s, where people traded...
jessamyn: Yeah! Well, I thought etree was over at ibiblio, which is another free culture repository of wonderful stuff.
mathowie: Right, right.
mathowie: Yeah, oh, so etree is still around, yeah, look, they say "jam base," like, the whole thing is jam band based.
- And, that's, you know, Brewster probably knows everybody at North Carolina, wherever the ibiblio...
jessamyn: Yeah, they're all friends.
mathowie: ibiblio? Yeah.
jessamyn: Yeah, ibiblio hosts librarian.net. I like them.
jessamyn: And the Internet Archive, I answer support e-mail for them.
mathowie: Oh, cool.
jessamyn: Yeah, over at Open Library. Because it's a ghost ship.
mathowie: I had a lot of fun talking to several Internet Archive employees about the latest crazy things Brewster's been doing. And in my head, you know, Internet Archive opened a bank, and they're buying apartment buildings for
- non-profit employees in the middle of San Francisco.
jessamyn: I'm familiar with, yeah. With their plans.
mathowie: (chuckles) And in my mind, I thought, buying the apartment building: awesome. Starting a bank: crazy. And everyone I talked to that works there had the opposite view. They said, "Banking? Totally smart." And I went, "Really?" And then then they said, "Buying an apartment building? Fraught with peril," which...
jessamyn: Well, the banking thing is just a credit union.
jessamyn: I mean, it's so heavily regulated, but it's basically, yeah, a credit union type of thing. It's a more straightforward proposal.
- My understanding about the housing is, it's more fraught, right?
jessamyn: Because it's hard to make a housing transaction just about housing for people.
mathowie: Right, right. And San Francisco's nuts. Everyone knows that.
jessamyn: Right, right, right.
mathowie: Any other Metafilter posts you love?
jessamyn: Yes! I enjoyed this slightly ridiculous post by Brandon Blatcher, which is "I am a birdsrightsactivist and fight against antibird"--
- it's literally just a single-link Twitter account, which most of the time, I'm like, (exasperated voice) "WHATEVER!" But this is just, I don't know. It's a pro-bird... it's like a Twitter account that's run by a bird...
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
jessamyn: And I don't know why it's so funny. "Today I shut down a government. I sit in a mailbox. #NoMoveUntilStopGiveBreadSquirrel"
mathowie: "this morning I fell into--"
jessamyn: "i could be congress: "bread bread bread braed bread
- bread bread bread bread and ham"
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
jessamyn: I don't know why it's funny.
mathowie: I don't even know. It's making fun of everybody all at once. It's just so good.
jessamyn: It's making fun of everybody, but nobody's really the target.
jessamyn: And so the thread is just a bunch of people basically...
mathowie: I like it better than every BLANK HULK twitter, like, HULK the comic book guy on Twitter yelling in all caps under the guise of whatever, like
- FEMINIST HULK, or... those get tiresome really quick. (chuckles)
jessamyn: Yeah. I mean, I think all this stuff gets tiresome after a while.
jessamyn: But if you kind of find them when the wave is cresting. I mean, I didn't think I would get tired of the Rick Rick Rick the Cat thing?
jessamyn: But I actually did get tired of it.
mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)
jessamyn: I don't know if it got less funny, or... I mean, I still like doing "Rick. Rick. Rick. Rick!" but I don't go read the site anymore even though the site's got new content on it, because it stopped pushing
- my funny button. But fighting against anti-bird sentiment is still funny. Brief funny. (chuckles)
mathowie: I loved this post about the Golden Goose awards, in the--
jessamyn: What is that?
mathowie: And this reminds me of the...
jessamyn: Can you pronounce Jordan's username? escabeche [ˌɛskɑˈbɛˌkɛɪ]? escabeche [ˌeskəˈbɛtʃ]?
cortex: escabeche [ˌeskəˈbɛtʃ].
mathowie: escabeche [ˈɛs ˈkɑ ˈbɛ ˈtʃɛɪ]? escabeche [ˌeskəˈbɑtʃɛɪ]? escabeche [ˌeskəˈbɛɪˌtʃɛɪ]?
jessamyn: esca [ˈiskə]... I actually know Jordan and I will ask him because it makes me crazy.
jessamyn: He said it's "a good-sounding word that I learned at the now-vanished Axe Bahia restaurant in Union Square, Somerville. It has nothing to do with me." Great!
mathowie: Neat. This is a site that just lists the best science projects that were publicly funded, how much they were funded by, and what was the output of it? Like, this reminds me of, there's a single-page website out there called, I think, what is it, like, WhatTheFuckHasObamaDoneLately.com or something?
jessamyn: Oh, yeah, I remember that website!
mathowie: So this is basically for the NSF, this is like, ooh, the NSF gets billions of dollars and funds all this stuff, and we throw money at science, what do we ever get out of it? And they basically have [??] awards for the most amazing, when you go through the award winners...
jessamyn: Diabetes medicine!
mathowie: And if you click on it, and you go back to it, it's like, diabetes medication all came out of this little grant from the FDA ten years ago that was only for $500,000, but this one lab discovered this most amazing thing
- that's actually going to bring in 60 million dollars this year for the company. Like, there's all sorts of...
jessamyn: "An Ideal Bone Graft Material From Coral Found..." I have to click Read More to know where. But yeah, that's a nice idea. Bone grafts from coral.
mathowie: Yeah, so it's basically a one big yay science kind of site and activity.
mathowie: I'd never heard of it before, and it sounds really cool.
jessamyn: Nice! Oh, I forgot, I--
mathowie: And it tells you where all that money's going.
jessamyn: I do have one more that I liked that was Tommy Edison, I don't know
- how I missed this guy, but he's blind, he has a YouTube channel, he's got this great sense of humor.
jessamyn: And he talks about what his perceptions are about things like the Great Wall of China or space or what fog is.
jessamyn: And he's super chatty, friendly, and just has these short... he's from the Blind Film Critic, is how a lot of people know him.
jessamyn: And so he just has these sort of chatty
- brief YouTube videos about what the world's like for him, and then larrybob, who... quin posted the thread, and then larrybob posted an update that was basically like, "And he's got questions for sighted people!"
jessamyn: So he's just neat, and his YouTube videos are neat, he's got this great sense of humor, and he talks about what it's like to be a blind guy! And it's neat, I enjoyed it.
cortex: I've got a... (laughs) One of my favorite posts I came late to, like a few days after it went up, but it was the dick pic critique Tumblr.
mathowie: Oh, yeah! Yes.
cortex: Which I only found out about somehow--
jessamyn: Did not see this. Oh my gosh.
mathowie: I was going to talk about this, because it's so fascinating!
jessamyn: Where was I?
cortex: It's... I don't know! Okay, so Jeremy was on shift, clearly, because I found out about this because she mentioned in some unrelated MetaTalk thread
- a few days later that one of her current most favorited comments is the one in which she's pointing out that she doesn't know that she knows enough about dick to really know whether or not this post should be flagged! Which it was, it was flagged a few times, but I'm glad she stuck with it, because it's a good post. It's just a good post that happens to have some dicks.
jessamyn: Wait, are there dick pics on this thread?
cortex: Well, not in the thread?
jessamyn: Well, but I mean, are there on the blog?
mathowie: On the post, yeah.
cortex: On the blog, yes. Yeah, no, the blog--
jessamyn: Oh, there you go. Aaah!
cortex: It straight-up reviews dick pics, and (chuckling) it's wonderful, because it's really, it's
- straightforward, it's being like, "Hey, let's talk about what makes a good random picture of your dick to take."
mathowie: But it's super sincere!
mathowie: It's someone seriously going, "Let's take the..." I mean, I was driving around today going, "Why was that fascinating?" And I was realizing, it's taking the lowest form of art, the most crude thing in today's culture, which is a photo a dude takes of his dick with his phone.
jessamyn: Some of them are women, for whatever reason, just FYI.
mathowie: Yeah. And they try to raise it to, well, the lighting... it's not technical, it's not like the lighting's bad. It's like, "No! You shouldn't just show the whole thing. It should be suggestive. The sexiest pics are suggestive. It doesn't even have to be out of your shorts, you know." And it's someone who's super sincere about trying to make the dick pics people send to the blog better. And it's fascinating...
jessamyn: "Your dick pic is anti-erotic and extremely dull."
jessamyn: "You've literally done nothing more than line your cock up alongside an inanimate piece of trash."
jessamyn: "In order to compare the two. I want you to have more respect for your cock and I want you to have more respect for the recipients of your dick pic, too." (cracking up) That's the worst grade I've seen.
cortex: (laughs) Yep.
mathowie: And it's like, yeah, it's so... it's just fascinating that someone's taking the most crass thing in the world and being super serious about it.
jessamyn: "Your dick is slithering out of the frame." I love this website. I am sorry I missed this website. I didn't even follow up on Jeremy's
- mentioning that.
cortex: I got curious and I had to go look and there it was.
mathowie: I saw it on my phone... on my phone it's super strange.
cortex: Also, god bless her, she left a comment about this that I favorited, because I was like, seriously, this is one of those posts where it does not need someone to go in and add a NSFW tag on it.
cortex: It's pictures of dick pics!
cortex: How could you possibly be like, "Well, that sounds safe for work, I'm just going to--"
cortex: "Oh my gosh, why wasn't I warned!"
mathowie: "I thought it was a fan gallery of guys named Richard! What the hell?"
cortex: Yeah. So it was very nice of her to add that.
cortex: But I think that's one of the situations where I would have just written the e-mail back saying, "You know what, I don't really think it needs it, no, that's nice of you to worry about people, but let's just leave it alone."
mathowie: That was a very funny...
jessamyn: Right, well, I think there is a little bit of, I don't know how you say concern trolling, where people are like--
jessamyn: --they're not worried about their own jobs, but other people's jobs. Think of the children with jobs.
cortex: Yes. Other very foolish people with very...
jessamyn: I'm in fact looking at this website for my job, today.
cortex: Exactly, so it's, what do you do.
jessamyn: So, yeah.
cortex: Different experiences.
jessamyn: With my boss! And colleague.
mathowie: That's not strange at all.
cortex: I'm calling HR.
jessamyn: It's not strange at all. Not the first time.
mathowie: Did you see those weird animated GIFs of a head? I don't even know how this person made it.
jessamyn: Are we talking about dick pics or something else?
jessamyn: Good Lord.
mathowie: This is a new subject. There was this post by HumanComplex called Surrealistic shock, and it's the stunning GIFs
- of Milos Rajkovic [ˈmiːloʊs ˈɹæd͡ʒˌkoʊˌvɪk]?
jessamyn: Rajkovic [ˈɹɛɪkoʊˌvɪk]?
mathowie: If you click on them, there's only a few comments, and her famous military leaders with weird robots...
jessamyn: Ohh! Aah!
mathowie: ...that are in their heads, and... I don't even know how you make these animated GIFs as an artist. THey're fascinating and disturbing and shocking.
jessamyn: (gasps) Woww.
cortex: Yeah, these are really great.
jessamyn: I saw one of these on mlkshk and didn't know it came from a place, and I missed this post when it went up on Metafilter. Good gracious.
mathowie: Yeah, I think I saw the one of the infinite zoom of the guy's open head.
jessamyn: Yeah, that was the one I think I saw.
mathowie: Yeah. But these, I just... I mean, some of them look like George Bush or something? I mean, mostly it mostly looks like right-wing people that they're trying to show a wacky interior of the head, but...
jessamyn: By HumanComplex.
mathowie: I don't even know how you... I mean, this is fascinating.
jessamyn: Well, it's like Photoshop, right? I mean, you Photoshop one picture of them and then...
mathowie: Yeah. Frame by frame!
jessamyn: I know.
mathowie: It's so crazy. I can't imagine how much work went into these. And so yeah, those are just fascinatingly and slightly disturbing.
jessamyn: Fun art.
cortex: That is really neat.
jessamyn: And a very brief thread. Very brief.
mathowie: Yeah, super brief.
cortex: I just, you just cycle those as the backdrop for a gig if you're playing out and you just want some weird imagery.
jessamyn: Seven comments, 26 favorites. Well, it's very [??] surfers!
jessamyn: Josh, you just left a comment in that thread a minute ago. (laughs)
cortex: I did, I did! Just now, I'm looking at it, I was moved to comment. I was like, there's just not enough comments in this thread, and this is amazing, I'm going to just--
cortex: Live podcast commenting.
jessamyn: Snap out.
cortex: It's, we're carrying it all down.
mathowie: Did you guys see the Soviet encyclopedia entry on the United States of America for 1979?
cortex: (laughs) Yeah.
mathowie: That was just fascinating. Someone, I saw this on a zillion blogs at the same time, including Metafilter, which is just, someone found an old entry for what
- the Soviet Encyclopedia Britannica in 1979 thought of, here's their entry for the United States of America scanned in this free encyclopedia site. And it's just, everything's delightfully slightly weird. Like, how do you sum up an entire country in a thousand words, and so that's...
jessamyn: Even though lots of places do it.
mathowie: Yeah. It's... yeah, and you read it because you know, I mean, Americans reading it will know so much about,
- that some of it just comes off as weird and funny, and it's just kind of slightly strange.
jessamyn: "Simon and Garfunkel, who perform their own songs."
cortex: (chuckles) It's true. They do.
jessamyn: Again, 49 comments, 46 users marking it as favorites. We had lots and lots of favoriters, not as many commenters this month, it felt like.
cortex: I think it's just the distribution of threads we're looking at. Because we're not mentioning any of the threads that (laughing) had a lot of comments this month, because
- hey, remember that time when everybody argued about that thing? Yeah, that was pretty great.
jessamyn: And I just sat there and watched them argue for my job? Right.
cortex: (laughs) Another one that I wanted to mention real quick that I liked was a site called allRGB, this was a post that was made by alby.
mathowie: Oh, yeah!
cortex: And this is a weird thing sort of after my own heart where they create images, it's like a crowdsourced contest thing where they created images that were 4,096 pixels squared and had every single
- possible color in the RGB 24-bit colorspace, and it's just all about--
mathowie: So it's the 16 million, right?
cortex: Yeah, 16 million and change, whatever 2 to the 24th is.
mathowie: So this is because math, but then how... how do they even make a recognizable image of anything?
cortex: That's the tricky part! You gotta do some clever programming and figure out how to--
mathowie: More math. (chuckles)
cortex: Well, yeah. Probably math and programming.
jessamyn: Isn't one of these in black and white?
mathowie: Yeah, how is that possible, black and white?
cortex: You just distribute a bunch of complementary colors
- in the same cluster.
cortex: If you zoom in all the way on any of these, you'll see a bunch of very dithered--
cortex: Yeah, sort of multi-colored static.
jessamyn: Ohhhh! Wowww.
cortex: But perceptibly, once you pull back, yeah, you get a very different thing going on.
mathowie: So I think Kottke pointed out there was like a field image that looks pretty realistic somewhere? Oh, here's one of a field. Chilly Run.
jessamyn: Chilly Run?
mathowie: Yeah. But... it's fascinating.
jessamyn: (gasps) But you look at it close up and it looks craazy.
cortex: Yeah. It's just a very neat trick and futzing with the perception and viewing from a distance.
jessamyn: I like how Reddit's got one. Adorable. (pause)
jessamyn: That's cool. I enjoyed that. What a neat thread.
jessamyn: By alby.
mathowie: Any others for the month?
cortex: Oh, you know, I want to mention an older one really quick. Let me actually pull it up. A site called Saltybet that I just, I've been hearing about this from a couple people off and on for
- a couple months now, but I'd never got a look. I finally went and looked the other day, and this is a site that just runs a constant, unending stream of 2D video game fighting game characters fighting each other, and it's like you were watching a couple of people live-streaming themselves playing Mortal Kombat or something, except for instead of a specific game, it's like fifteen hundred different characters from a ton of different games, and also some that were never any game in the first place, like the Google logo is one of the things
- that can get in a fight.
jessamyn: Completely confused.
mathowie: And it just plays forever? (chuckles)
cortex: Yeah, they've just got AIs running them, so it's not people playing, it's just the computer playing against itself, picking two random characters, then they fight to the best of five rounds, and whoever wins wins, and you can bet fake money on the site on who's gonna win any given round, and you get a payoff based on the odds. And it's ridiculous, it's incredibly stupid, it's broken, and it's wonderful.
jessamyn: I'm watching a cat in an airplane fight some green alien? It's like Felix the cat?
mathowie: Is the chat real?
cortex: The chat is real. The chat is people... yeah, that's Felix the cat fighting, what the hell is that?
mathowie: Some sort of [??]?
jessamyn: Red Man?
cortex: Red Man? Maybe something from Ultraman or something.
jessamyn: So wait, if we log in at the same time, we're watching the same game.
mathowie: Yeah, yeah, we're all watching.
cortex: Yeah, yeah, we're watching the same thing.
mathowie: Ooh, robot punch.
cortex: And it's crazy.
jessamyn: And the music comes with it?
cortex: Yeah, the music is streamed by whoever is running it, possibly mostly automatically but then maybe someone hops in and
- actually makes specific selections to please or annoy people, and everybody in the chat sometimes totally freaks out about whatever the music is playing, and it goes like dih-dih-dih-dih-dih-dih-dih-dih-dih because there's a song that sounds like that. It's very like Something Awful, 4chan-ish aesthetic, so the chat can often be sort of terrible at moments, but the whole experience--
jessamyn: Can you do anything with your Salty Bucks?
cortex: You can bet them on further matches. It's, yeah, it's totally fake...
jessamyn: You can't trade them in for skiball prizes or something?
cortex: Nope. Nope. Just for bragging rights.
mathowie: This is so... yeah. Surrealist theater.
cortex: Yeah, it's crazy.
mathowie: Huh. That's wacky.
jessamyn: That was from August.
mathowie: Whoa, there's a new--
jessamyn: And penduluum has a very long explanation of...
mathowie: This is a new battle.
jessamyn: ...how to psych it out a little.
mathowie: And the whole thing is like Markov chains on top of Markov chains or something.
mathowie: I assumed the chat was just part of it [??]--
jessamyn: "Never bet on Aquaman."
cortex: No, the chat's actually people sitting around. There's 1700 people watching at any given time, so some section of that are chatting constantly.
mathowie: That's weird.
cortex: And so yeah, it's just a firehose that flies by.
cortex: I don't know. It's kinda great. It's weird, it's hard to... (laughs) It's hard to even explain why it's good, but I kinda love it, so.
mathowie: Man, crazy.
- You want to move on to Ask Metafilter?
cortex: Let's do it!
jessamyn: Ask Metafilter, here is my favorite asked and answered within ten minutes question. And in fact, it was almost one of the things we would have put in MetaTalk, because it was like, "I think people talked about this on a website? Maybe this website? Who's that European guy who carried around many pounds of gear with him every single day?" And I'm like, that sounds kind of weird. And resurrexit posts in
- seven minutes, "This guy?"
jessamyn: And it was a guy that Joe Beese had posted about in 2009, a guy called Crazy Eric who carries 1300 items in his clothes. And then if you click through--
jessamyn: This guy's a personal hoarder. But not a hoarder, but he just wants to have every single thing on him, and so he has this very elaborate outfit that carries everything.
- A little flashlight, some adhesive tape, a small soap flask, a multi-purpose key, a padlock!, a wrench, audio plugs and adapters!, meal bars, epoxy paste, cutters, meal bars in his pants and his shirt, I guess. Glues. A sponge. Jokes. One thing just says 'jokes'. But I enjoyed very much re-looking at that old Metafilter post, and I enjoyed how quickly
- the strange 'what is this thing'?
mathowie: Yeah. That's amazing.
cortex: That took like seventeen minutes. That's barely fast at all. (laughs)
mathowie: And it's not even a description, it's just...
jessamyn: Was it seventeen minutes?
mathowie: Yeah, seventeen.
cortex: And it's actually pretty damn fast, I mean, so, you know.
mathowie: Just a European man who carries stuff?
jessamyn: I thought it was seven.
mathowie: That doesn't, yeah, I would have never put it together.
jessamyn: And then of course there's a whole Reddit...
mathowie: Everyday Carry is what that's called.
- Which I think is silly, because that's kind of, wow. What people nerd out on.
cortex: Yeah, but you gotta have a hobby, right?
jessamyn: Do you have to have a hobby?
mathowie: I mean, keys and a flashlight, really? That's a community? But apparently it is. Everyday Carry.
cortex: I liked--oh.
mathowie: I was going to say, I was looking for favorites the other night, see if I missed anything, and I did a search on 'bike,' just bike-related Ask Metafilter questions, and just in the last 30 days,
- there's something like 22 questions. I would have guessed two, maybe three.
jessamyn: No! Bike stuff, popular.
mathowie: Yeah, I had no idea. I guess because it's summer, still, ish, kinda. Sorry, go ahead, Josh.
cortex: I was gonna say, I liked the "How many things can you track on the Internet?" AskMe.
jessamyn: Hey, me too, that was on my list also!
cortex: [??] I think you may have pointed it out to me. And since I almost never have an AskMe to mention, I favorited it at the time and went back and checked it out, so.
jessamyn: By Just this guy, y'know. Yeah, I might have showed it to you when we did handoff or something.
cortex: Yeah, I think so.
- But yeah, it is great. It's just like (laughs) if you just want to be tracking things at all times, here's thirty, forty things that you can keep an eye via the Internet in a way that would have been totally impossible 20 years ago, so.
mathowie: I didn't know every shipping container in the world kinda has GPS on it, but that makes sense.
jessamyn: Yeah, because they, you know, anything that turns into money, basically, has a way that people can track it so that they don't just vanish.
mathowie: Oh my god! Vermont is in peak foliage right now! It's all red.
jessamyn: What? Actually, peak foliage was two days ago, because it's been raining.
mathowie: Aww, bummer, so it's knocking them off. It shows you as red.
jessamyn: Yeah, although Burlington may be different? We're up at a higher elevation, and it's been colder?
jessamyn: I mean, I think it's still freaking lovely here, but if you're "Oh my god, when is peak?"
jessamyn: The answer may be "it was a couple days ago."
mathowie: (chuckles) Probably so.
jessamyn: It's not like you're coming to visit.
cortex: We've got an actual color change... we've got a tree that actually has leaves that change color in our front yard now. It's very exciting. Because, you know, in parts of the Northwest there are deciduous trees you can find [??].
cortex: But it's not the ubiquity. We've got a whole lot of evergreens here, so.
cortex: So now we've got our own personal color-changing tree in our front yard. It's like the nature's version of a hypercolor t-shirt. It's very exciting.
jessamyn: Ha! There's a picture of my yard, just FYI.
mathowie: Oh, neat. They're showing Portland's, Multnomah County is showing as peak and the other counties
- are on their way. I thought, I usually go out the first week in November around here, but I just drove to Bend and it was beautiful all the way there, yellow and red, and I was thinking, oh man, it's almost a month early.
jessamyn: Did you see the lava tube caves?
mathowie: No, I didn't have time, but.
jessamyn: My favorite thing.
mathowie: It's pretty beautiful right now. Neat!
jessamyn: I'm trying to track down the other Ask Metafilter thread that went in tandem with the "What can you track?", which was "What are the good collector websites?", but I didn't
- find it, didn't favorite it at the time.
jessamyn: But it was basically like, "What are websites that have...?" I'll track it down before we wrap up, but websites that have, these are the best websites that collect this, that or the other. Like, all the best this! All the best that! Cataloging websites, I guess. Maybe that's the word I'm looking for. So websites that index and organize sets of things.
jessamyn: I will try and find it.
mathowie: I loved this thread--
jessamyn: Oh, yeah! Niche catalog sites.
mathowie: Oh, did you find it?
jessamyn: Wait, I found it. (pitch rising) Wait, I found it!
jessamyn: There's not a lot of stuff, though, unfortunately.
mathowie: Oh, yeah!
jessamyn: But, you know, abandoned airfields, misericords of the world... I don't even know what a misericord is.
mathowie: My favorite thing in college--
cortex: Oh, I think I... what is a misericord? I know what that is! I was just reading about that the other day.
jessamyn: I'm looking at a picture of them and I don't even know what they are. Sorry.
mathowie: Those are those things under mantles? (chuckles)
jessamyn: I think I [??].
cortex: It's a sit. It's (laughing) a sit! I talk good!
cortex: It's a little shelf-y seat on a pew.
jessamyn: A mercy seat.
mathowie: Oh, right!
cortex: Yeah. It's so if you're standing around all fucking day being all liturgical and shit, you can sort of scooch your ass up there and be like, "Hey guys, I'm totally standing, but I'm sitting! But we're all cool with it."
jessamyn: You can perch.
mathowie: Oh, there was a mercy seat post on Metafilter, I'm pretty sure.
cortex: That's probably where I was looking at [??], yeah.
mathowie: Because I had never heard of it before last week. Catholicism isn't completely suffering?
mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)
mathowie: There is a such thing as mercy seats? That was kind of nice to know.
jessamyn: But yeah, I enjoyed that one in line with "What else can you track over the Internet?"
mathowie: Oh, there it is, the mercy seat post. Yeah, it's from a couple weeks ago.
jessamyn: And you guys know the "What dialect are you?" stuff that people do all the time, and it just hit io9 a couple days ago, and I was trying to figure out, I spent yesterday trying to line up
- my dialect with where do other people live who talk like I do.
jessamyn: It placed me in, like, Connecticut, which made me unhappy.
mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)
mathowie: Well, that's not super inaccurate. It's close-ish.
mathowie: Well, and it's--
jessamyn: I mean, it's Massachusetts. And it kind of makes sense, because I grew up in Mass and my parents grew up in New York, so enh?
cortex: Yeah, and there's a lot weird give-and-take with what you pick up from your parents that can throw these things off a little bit.
jessamyn: Well, and I can't remember how I say certain words. Pecan [ˈpiˌkæn]? Pecan [ˌpɪˈkɑn]? I don't know.
mathowie: Oh, right.
cortex: I'm a pecan [ˌpɪˈkɑn] guy.
jessamyn: I say it in my head.
mathowie: I usually say--
jessamyn: But what about pecan [ˈpiˌkæn] pie? Do you say pecan [ˈpiˌkæn] pie?
cortex: No, I say pecan [ˌpɪˈkɑn] pie.
jessamyn: Okay. I say pecan [ˈpiˌkæn] pie--
cortex: You can say pecan [ˈpiˌkæn] pie if you're giving me a slice. I will say "Thank you for the pecan [ˈpiˌkæn] pie."
cortex: But otherwise it's a pecan [ˌpɪˈkɑn], you know? You make a pie with pecans [ˌpɪˈkɑnz], it's pecan [ˌpɪˈkɑn] pie.
jessamyn: When in Rome.
mathowie: That's what I was thinking of. I pronounce mostly weird food from other parts of the world how the chefs or people who make them pronounce it, like, that's the only time I say things like the South is when, yeah.
- Like pecans [ˌpɛɪˈkɔːnz].
- I liked this thread about the, "Is there a map of dirt by color of the nation?"
jessamyn: Well, sure, you're a soil scientist!
mathowie: I know, I got to pull out my knowledge that no, there's too much local variability on color alone. Like, it can vary in one field by a ton based on parent material underneath, but there are actually I think twelve soil orders or eleven soil orders and someone [??] a map.
jessamyn: Dude, you got a best answer!
cortex: (chuckles) You're going places on this website, buddy!
mathowie: My favorite dumb soil fact is, one of the soil orders is, it's an entire order of soil that occurs where the temperature only changes by ten degrees a year, like from winter to summer, the hottest day to the coldest day of the entire year is only ten degrees' change in Fahrenheit. And it's only the coast, the very upper coast of California
- is basically socked in with fog up by Mendocino and stuff, where the temperature's always 55 degrees Fahrenheit, just basically, plus or minus 5 degrees for 365 days a year.
jessamyn: I had no idea! That's neat.
mathowie: And there's one weird soil that's just across the coast there.
mathowie: That's the only place it occurs on the entire planet.
cortex: Lose weight quick with this one weird soil.
mathowie: (laughs) Yeah.
cortex: I liked this, speaking, we were talking about the Soviet Encyclopedia entry,
- and sort of in a similar vein of summing up a country in very few words, this question from this morning--
mathowie: Oh, nice!
cortex: Basically, "I'm wondering how the U.S. Civil War is taught in schools outside the U.S." And the funny thing is, most of the answers are, "Well, it's not so much." (laughs)
cortex: I mean, we were a different country.
mathowie: It has nothing to do, yeah.
cortex: "Yeah, you guys had a war inside your own borders? Eh, wasn't really our thing."
jessamyn: No one gives a shit. Right.
mathowie: Well, ask us to talk about an Italian civil war from 200 years ago. We'd be like, "What? There was one?"
mathowie: I mean, most people. (laughs)
cortex: Well, ask high school students, based on the curriculum. I would not say no one knows about them, but yes.
jessamyn: Right. High school was basically like, we learned about Vietnam, and that was the only thing in another country that wasn't one of the World Wars.
mathowie and cortex: Yeah.
cortex: So I thought that was interesting.
mathowie: So it sounds like it's kind of tied into, "Oh, America had slavery and then they had this war and then it was gone," it seems like, is the consensus.
cortex: Yep. There's your sentence. There's your sentence.
cortex: In Sweden.
mathowie: I couldn't believe--
jessamyn: So I--oh, what?
mathowie: I wanted to mention the Emmy one that you mentioned on the Best Of blog.
jessamyn: Loved it!
mathowie: Like, who... someone said, "Oh, what's on the bottom of the Emmys? I can kind of see in the picture." And you put it on the Best Of blog pretty soon after, because a couple people are like, "Oh I have"--
jessamyn: "Oh, I'll just look at the one in my office."
mathowie: "I'll look at the one above my desk," and we were like, "Wait, what?!" Like, three people... and then the thread just kept going! And there's like, yeah, half a dozen people have instant access to an Emmy.
jessamyn: Can go touch an Emmy and look at it. Or know a person who can look at it.
mathowie: And I've seen one in a glass case once or twice, probably, ever in my life. I was amazed.
jessamyn: Yeah, I enjoyed that, and I thought it was fun to put it on the blog. This was an Ask Metafilter that I enjoyed my feedback on, but I am mostly posting it because it has a happy ending? Basically, medarby was like, "I gotta get a computer for my 95-year-old grandmother so she can use Skype.
- So blahblahblah, doesn't have good eyesight, I've got experience with Windows, not totally, maybe I'll have Teamviewer, what about antivirus?" and a whole bunch of people are like, "Dude, seriously, maybe think about an iPad?"
jessamyn: You know, and you don't want to be a jerk, right?
jessamyn: Because the guy's like, "I'm doing this, but help me," but got a lot of good feedback from people. I think he was concerned--he, she? oh, good gracious.
mathowie: He. And I think it's M. E. Darby.
jessamyn: Mark. Ohh!
- M. E. Darby. Thank you.
mathowie: Oh, medarby.
jessamyn: I think he was concerned that he couldn't connect it to the router, like, she didn't have the router, she blahbuhblahblah. At any rate, it wraps up with a very nice, "Hey! This went better than I hoped. I got an iPad for my grandmother, we put Skype and a solitare, news, and weather app, hid everything else, drilled my mom on it, and now she uses it all the time and most of her kids are on Skype and so now people can yadayadayada. Thanks everyone for your input and basically making me give up on the
- cheap laptop idea and go with the more expensive but easier iPad concept. Blah." So I was happy.
mathowie: That's cool. That's the--
jessamyn: Yeah. And everybody was nice about it. Like, nobody was like, "You're being an idiot! You need this." And he wasn't like, "Shut up! I'm not doing that. I told you already."
mathowie: (chuckles) This is how mods think of the world.
jessamyn and cortex: (laugh)
mathowie: Like, someone of course goes off on "We should all have Android stuff." But nobody jumps on that.
jessamyn: Or, like, "I'm going to get my Nana a Linux box."
jessamyn: Everyone's like "Come on!"
mathowie: Ubuntu for 95-year-olds!
jessamyn: Which, maybe you could make it work, but it's less likely to work.
mathowie: This follows my own path with my dad, which is like, virus-laden PC in his 70s.
mathowie: I moved him onto an iMac, and then he somehow broke that.
mathowie: So I eventually moved him to a Google Chromebook that came out a couple years ago.
jessamyn: Oh, nice!
mathowie: Because it's like, it's just a browser, you lift it open, you run the browser, how could you screw that up?
- For some reason, he screws that up, and then I was like, "Okay, I'll just give an iPad," but then, is an iPad too confusing for someone who's had a stroke and had some brain damage? But turns out, yeah, he loves the iPad and uses it all the time.
mathowie: So, yeah, iPads, that's the... did you see this fascinating thread on the creepy packages? I wish there was some closure on it, but there isn't. And this might be some sort of ARG, I have no idea, or some weird long con.
jessamyn: Oh, I did see that!
mathowie: Yeah, so it's someone who just shows up one day and there's a return to sender package that's going to someone they don't know, and their name is the sender, and it's at their doorstep, and it's so weird, it happened a couple times...
jessamyn: And it's got a hair, one package has a hairbrush in it, one has some random stuff in it...
jessamyn: A car charger...
mathowie: And it's like, I don't know who these are being sent to or why they're being sent back, and I don't under... what's the scam here? And people are like... I wish there was sort of some closure, but there isn't.
- And they're not mailed from the same place... right, like they...
jessamyn: Right. It's from tessalations999.
mathowie: They were from Chicago, but the return address is in California where they are at, and they're getting sent back to Califor... and yeah, some sort of weird credit scam?
cortex and jessamyn: (laugh)
cortex: That's the sort of thing where if there was a little bit more detail to it, I'd be suspicious that it was the lead-up to some sort of ARG or something.
jessamyn: Right, right, right.
cortex: After horse_ebooks and the Pronunciation Book, it's like we're trying to believe it.
cortex: Because sixty-one questions, that's exactly how many I'd ask.
jessamyn: Were you bummed out about that, Josh?
cortex: I was not overly, because I never really got very invested in either.
cortex: Like, I was curious to see what would happen, but yeah, I was not really a big subscriber to the church of horse_ebooks, because it seemed like... I don't know, I think it's something about having done so much playing around with Markov chains and other things in that vein. I've gotten really used to seeing people overinvest in questionable analyses of how sure they really are that something is or is not being faked.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
cortex: And so I think I tend to just ride a little bit farther back.
cortex: In the pack when it comes to even just developing a sense of investment in something like that. Because you know what? I know I don't know enough to know for sure what's happening here, and if something's happened that's not what I think is happening, that will almost certainly be a disappointment of some sort, so I'm just gonna... I'll just wait to see. Other people can get emotionally involved and then I'll just hear about the outcome on Metafilter.
cortex: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
mathowie: Yeah. I never thought it was that funny, so I would just wait until people, one person a week would re-tweet a funny one and I'd go, oh, huh. (chuckles) So finding out it was mostly human, I was like, ehh, no biggie.
mathowie: We talked about the pronunciation pod fake movies a couple podcasts ago.
jessamyn: Yeah. Yeah, well, I think I had Josh explain it to me at that point.
mathowie: Yeah. And we knew it was running into, it was getting wackier and wackier, and there was going to be some
- endgame eventually, so I was kind of like, oh, so that was the end. I'm just saying.
cortex: Yep. That's it.
mathowie: Yep. We were just joking around. It's weird that they work for Buzzfeed. That's the part that upsets me the most. (chuckles)
jessamyn: See, that's the part that upsets me the most, too, actually.
mathowie: If they worked anywhere else on Earth...
cortex: Well, it's interesting to me to see this sort of long-haul thing. Like, it's interesting because it changes the game slightly, because the one thing you could usually say about weird bullshit hoax-y stuff is no one has the patience to literally set it up for three fucking years,
cortex: And now it's like, well, actually, no, now we know that people do have the patience to do that, even if they don't have anything great to do with it, just to fucking do it, just to do it because you thought they wouldn't because who would bother? They bothered. Which is kinda...
jessamyn: Right, because the whole end of it was something that wasn't even that interesting, is my understanding.
cortex: Yeah. Well, how can you possibly have something as interesting as the mystery of doing some cr--
jessamyn: Three years of mystery, right. Right. It's the monster in the closet thing.
cortex: Yeah. Yeah, it's like in doing it, yeah, exactly. So... and that's, I guess that goes back to the whole stage magic thing, right? That's how you
- pull off good stage magic, is you do something that's way harder than anyone would think you would bother to do, like, it's not that it's magic, it's that you actually spent an enormous amount of effort figuring out how to do some stupid subtle little thing.
cortex: That anybody, you know, even if someone could guess the trick, they'd be like, "Well, I guess someone could do boo, but god, that would take so fuckin' long to figure out, who would bother?"
jessamyn: You'd have to raise special mice to, yeah, yeah.
cortex: Yeah. "That'd take months, that'd take years. Fuck that, no, that must be something else."
jessamyn: Speaking of that, I just saw that Now You See Me? Like, I don't know if it was straight to video or whatever.
cortex: Oh, I haven't seen that.
mathowie: Oh, yeah, the cheesy magic movie? I saw that in the theater.
jessamyn: It's surprisingly... I mean, it's formulaic, but I enjoyed it, because it's Jesse Eisenberg playing someone who's unlikable, which I appreciated.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
jessamyn: And I don't... and Woody Harrelson's in it, and he's pretty good, and I don't know. If it comes up on your Netflix, don't necessarily skip by it.
mathowie: Why did it have to have three or four twist endings? I'm getting tired of movies trying to be complicated and interesting.
jessamyn: But it was straightforward complicated, as complications go.
jessamyn: They made sure by the end of it you understood what was happening.
jessamyn: Not too smart.
jessamyn: I liked, only because this is a local thing, and you guys may not even appreciate this, Greg Nog's question about whether nationally broadcast fictional TV programs have featured candlepin bowling.
jessamyn: Which as you should know--
mathowie: I don't even know what that is.
jessamyn: Candlepin bowling is a special regional kind of bowling where you have
- little balls that fit in your hand, so they don't have any holes.
cortex: It's like a Bocce ball.
jessamyn: And the pins are straight up and down, they don't have, they don't, they're candlepins, they look like candles, and you get three balls instead of two, and I grew up thinking that's what bowling was in Massachusetts, because that's all we had for bowling.
mathowie: (chuckles) You do that indoors? Wow, they have bowling alleys...
jessamyn: Yeah! It's just like bowling, only...
cortex: Well, it's a bowling alley! It's just they fucked everything up somehow. (chuckles)
mathowie: That's a little weird.
jessamyn: Yeah! And so the funny thing is, of course, we not only grew up with that bowling, but there was candlepin TV shows? So there was the Bowling for Dollars, where you would see people from your neighborhood bowling and raising money. And it's almost impossible to bowl a perfect game--or impossible, I don't remember. And there's still a lot of these lanes around. So I can, where I am in Vermont now, I can't go candlepin bowling, but when I go back and visit my mom, I can't go regular ball bowling.
mathowie and cortex: (laugh)
mathowie: So do you do ten sets, like normal bowling? I think so.
jessamyn: I think so. It's been a long time since I remembered how to do it, but I grew up with a bowling alley right up the street from the high school, and so we'd go out to play video games and bowl and that was our little hangout in whatever, the mid-'80s. And I don't know, Greg Nog is from the same area, I think, although he's just moved to somewhere.
jessamyn: But it was an interesting little thread about an interesting little very regional
cortex: See, yeah, and I grew up on the West Coast, where bowling is normal, correct bowling.
jessamyn: Right. (faint sound of amusement)
cortex: And no one had ever heard of candlepin, and then I went to school in Massachusetts.
jessamyn: Well, that's what I thought, yeah.
cortex: And so it was, yeah, it was the first time I was even exposed to the concept, I remember just having this mind-blowing conversation where we were talking about bowling, but we were clearly discussing different things, and it was like, "What the hell are you talking about?"
jessamyn: Right, because you don't learn about it as candlepin bowling, you learn about it just like bowling.
jessamyn: And so it's very weird to talk to somebody else for whom 'bowling' means a completely different
cortex: Or, as they call it in France, 'toast', you know.
jessamyn: Right, right, right. "No, that's bread, you [??], oh my god!"
mathowie: That's so weird. Duckpin bowling is shorter, squattier, but also with small...
jessamyn: Duckpin is fun. I played duckpin--
mathowie: But that's mid-West?
jessamyn: --in a Milwaukee bowling alley where they had live pin-setters?
mathowie: Oh, wow.
jessamyn: Like, these kind of surly teenage kids who sat in a cage.
mathowie: Yeah, my dad did that in high school.
jessamyn: And smoked cigarettes while you drank your beer and...
jessamyn: That's really very fun, very fun.
cortex: I would be happy to do any sort of bowling where surly teenagers smoke and set up the pins manually. That'd be...
jessamyn: Well, and I think there might be a bowling thing, like Hardcore Taters or whatever their name was, they won the big trivia match and won a couple hundred dollars, and I think they were going to do a lanes and games things, where people will go big ball bowling and probably all
- talk about candlepin bowling all night.
jessamyn: Yeah, I think so.
cortex: Well, I had one other AskMe from this very morning, actually. griphus asking "How do adult human beings get shit done after work?" basically saying, hey, I've got a stressful job, I'm fried when I get home and I end up watching a couple hours of TV and then go to bed and then that's my day, and how do I reclaim some of this? How do I find a way to...?
jessamyn: Isn't that how normal people operate?
cortex: Well, I think it... a lot of people in the thread are saying, "Yeah, I hear ya, this is what I found worked for me," and some people are talking about changing the pacing of your day, inserting a really devoted bit of downtime right after work so you can feel more about doing whatever's left with the rest of your day, managing--because he talks about some ADHD medication being an aspect of it--changing the pacing of that.
cortex: Anyway, it's full of a bunch of good advice. I feel kinda weird, because a lot of it is stuff like, I have the cushiest, most
- relaxed sort of job ever, and that's one of the things I love about working here is that I actually can sneak in a lot of random stuff during the day.
cortex: I'm not like, work, work, work, work, work!, you know, eyes beady ten hours a day plus a commute or anything. So a lot of that stuff is like, well, yeah, I can see how that'd be useful more than it's useful for me.
jessamyn: Right. I check my e-mail while I was at my job. That's okay!
cortex: Yeah. But some of it's even interesting to me as, oh, I guess that is a good way of thinking about it.
mathowie: Yeah, reading this.
cortex: So yeah. It's a good thread. It's a lot of practical life experience from people.
cortex: And I remember having a job more like this--
mathowie: Yeah, exactly.
cortex: --where yeah, this would have been useful stuff to think about more, so.
mathowie: This was like 25-30, this was just my life.
mathowie: I mean, there was nothing, there was no...
jessamyn: Yeah, I guess that's kinda what I did too. I mean, especially when I was younger, where I just had these office jobs and then you come home and just blehhhh.
jessamyn: Or go out, which I don't know how then I woke up the next day and went to work.
jessamyn: Literally, with the energy I have now... I mean, I do things in the evening, but they're low-key, mostly.
jessamyn: Although I did go see a drag show in Barry, Vermont this weekend, which was really, really fun.
jessamyn: It was a fundraiser for our local health clinic.
mathowie: Oh, cool.
cortex: Those really big cars racing down the strip?
- Anything else on Ask Metafilter?
jessamyn: I just enjoyed this one as kind of a slightly survey the audience but everybody learns a thing, which is coppermoss says, "When people call my cellphone and don't leave a voicemail, I don't call them back. Should I?
- Is there a cultural expectation I'm not aware of?" And I remember, back before I really had a smartphone, I had just a dumbphone, and I would have certain friends who would just call and never leave a message, and I would never call them back, because they didn't leave a message.
mathowie: Yeah. Right
jessamyn: And they were like, "Why don't you ever call me back?" And I'm like, "What are you talking about?" And for them, in their culture--you know, slightly younger friend, not that much younger--but you just call and hang up. Like, you don't leave a message! Nobody wants to listen to a message. And over time, I've become a person
- who calls back everybody, including hang-ups, which confuses a lot of people who aren't expecting it, and I never listen to voicemail messages anymore, because there's never basically any reason to, almost, and so it's interesting, there's a ton of comments, 93 answers, with different people talking about how it works with their people. You know, and they're almost all kind of Western cellphone users, and so it's interesting just reading the different ways that people
- dealt with this issue.
cortex: Yeah, my wife had actually mentioned this to me yesterday after I had been navigating some left messages from family trying to organize a thing.
jessamyn: Ahh! Yeah.
cortex: And yeah, I've been meaning to come back and read this. Because it is really interesting. I've got not super-strong feelings, but I've got definitely, I've got my way of dealing with these things depending on the situation and who it is and what the timing is and whether texting or e-mailing will work with them.
jessamyn: Right, right.
cortex: But so much of it is just what I've decided to do, not what is
- obviously what other people are expecting to do. So navigating that when there's no real rule book for this is a weird, complicated thing.
jessamyn: Well, and some people think there's more of a rule book than others? And part of it depends on how badly you want to get in touch with other people versus how badly they want to get in touch with you.
cortex: Yeah. Well, and I feel like if there's a rule book, you gotta put it out there. You gotta be like, "Hey, by the way, this is how I like to do this," to other people if you want them to know how you're expecting it to happen, because obviously there's this huge mix of
- opinions and approaches people have.
jessamyn: Right. But I think with a lot of etiquette there's some standard that you know that you're outside of or not outside of, and I feel like with cellphone message return there may not be...
jessamyn: As much of a standard as some people think there might be.
jessamyn: Maybe? I don't even know.
cortex: Well, and that's the thing, because what is etiquette? Is etiquette an official, established rule book for something, or is it the shared consensus expectations about some subset of a behavior? And I think people
- take different approaches to that.
jessamyn: Right, that is etiquette kind of a you-and-your-community-focused thing, or is it an external thing so that everybody's on the same page, yeah.
cortex: Exactly. And I think it varies to some extent from thing to thing, too, is part of the problem. Because there may be things, like, there's people who can tell you what wedding etiquette is, if of course you read the correct book.
mathowie: Right. (chuckle)
cortex: But that's not the same thing as applying to every single wedding, and what might--
jessamyn: Oh god.
cortex: --exist for weddings is not going to exist for some other things that are more loosely structured
- even regardless of how strong people's opinions are, and yeah, that's just interesting stuff.
jessamyn: Which actually reminds me of one of the threads that I wasn't really gonna mention, because it was a little strange, not the thread itself but the responses to it, because it was one of those wedding threads.
cortex: Augh. (chuckles) Never read a wedding thread. That's my life advice.
jessamyn: This was, backseatpilot is getting married, and I adore backseatpilot just as a person? And, number two, he's getting married to a woman who he met...
- I mean, I remember him asking questions about meeting people, even, and now he's met this woman who's really nice and he's gonna get married and they're gonna have this cocktail party wedding.
mathowie: Oh, yeah!
jessamyn: And he's really excited about it. But his caterer was kind of like, "I don't know!" And so he's basically asking questions about how do we do this right, and people gave him a lot of really good advice, but probably 25% of the answers were just basically people telling kind of wedding
- horror stories and/or telling this guy he was a jerk to his friends and family because reasons. And so it was just, you know, as kind of a Martian myself, I find these things interesting to read. As a moderator, I'm like, "Oh, come on. People!"
cortex: (laughs) Make a fucking effort, people. Come on. Don't be a dick.
jessamyn: And I think backseatpilot had good humor about the whole thing, and maybe made some changes based on some feedback. And he really had asked,
- "Look, if you've gone to these things and they were terrible... we want to have a good wedding, we don't want to annoy our friends." But there was a lot of odd, odd responses. And a lot of it was focused on etiquette, you know, and about "People expect a meal, if you're not offering a meal, grump grump grump grump grump," kind of. So it was interesting to read.
mathowie: I can see why a caterer would be not into it, (chuckles) because they're going to get less money, I guess?
mathowie: But I also thought it was a good idea to have a stand up, eat lots of finger foods,
- as long as you communicate to everybody there's not gonna be a big, yeah, plate of fish.
cortex: Well, and I think that's the tricky part is yeah, it's not so much a question of whether it can work, because no question it can work.
jessamyn: A whole bunch of people talked about ones they went to.
cortex: It's a question of whether it's going to be a problem with the guests assuming that something else than that is going to happen. Which I can see that side of it.
jessamyn: Well, and if you have it at 6:00, then when do people have dinner, and what about people with kids, and what about yadda yadda yadda yadda?
cortex: Yeah. There's logistical stuff.
jessamyn: I mean, there's a whole bunch of 'well, actually' nerd behavior.
cortex: (laughs) Oh, man.
jessamyn: In that thread, but I think ultimately it worked out okay. I hope backseatpilot didn't feel weird about it. I mean, because there's definitely been a couple Ask Metafilter threads over the last month where people just got some savage tough love answers that I felt like maybe did not need to be quite so tough love.
mathowie: Yeah. Cool. Is that about it for the podcast?
jessamyn: Yeah! I had a couple things to mention that people brought up in MetaTalk that people brought up in MetaTalk, just nice little things should people should know about.
cortex: And I can do a Music Minute as well.
jessamyn: That'd be great! Do you want to do it first or last?
cortex: I'm fine either way.
jessamyn: Alright! Well.
cortex: After you, my dear Alphonse.
jessamyn: Thanks! Basically, just two things. Scientist had asked us if we could make some changes to Metafilter Chat, the web-based chat. We did move over to a new server, things should all be worked out, thanks for everybody's patience, but Scientist was like, "Euhhh, I do it this way, and the sidebar's too big," and pb was like, "Yeah, we really don't want to, it's hard to make the changes," but pb worked with Scientist
- to make a little userstyle that makes it slightly easier, better, I don't even remember if it hides it or oh, it turns it off.
cortex: I think it makes it, yeah. I think you can tweak a couple things, really.
jessamyn: So if you're somebody who really likes web-based chat but you find the sidebar problematic or too large or whatever, and you don't mind installing Stylish for Firefox or Chrome, you can have it the way you want it. Thank you to Scientist for putting it together.
jessamyn: And then the other thing, which is exactly the same general heading,
- is ignignokt, who gets Most Podcasted User of the Month--
mathowie and cortex: (chuckle)
jessamyn: --basically wrote a little Chrome extension that will put all the YouTube videos that are linked on a page one after another in a player. So if you've got a thread, and you love it, and it's got fifty videos, and you just want to watch videos, not go back to the thread and click next, and go back to the thread and click next, RARARARAR!, you can use this, and apparently it works fairly well!
- There's a lot of people kind of helping him debug some stuff in the thread.
mathowie: Does it create a playlist, kind of, so the same window?
jessamyn: Yeah! It basically makes a playlist, and then you can just play through it, and there was some question as to whether...
mathowie: Oh, nice.
jessamyn: ...playlists will go on the playlist? But I think they actually worked that out, but I'm not totally sure. But it was just really cool, and it sounds like he's been busy, and it made people really happy, and if you don't read MetaTalk that often, this is a thing you should know about, because it's really cool.
mathowie: Yeah. Awesome.
cortex: Well, then, Metafilter Music Minute. (percussively) Doo-doo-doot doo-doo-de-doot!
jessamyn: (singing at the same time) Boop-be-doop-boop, boop-be-boop-boop!
cortex: People keep posting nice things on the site that are fun to listen to, so you should go listen to them! But some specific ones: just this morning, there's this really great Prince cover by new user grumpybear69, which is (laughing) a pretty great username.
cortex: It's this really great very different tonal approach, but really, really
- slick-sounding, and a really fun take on that Prince song, as more of a downbeat love song sort of thing.
sfx: (Music: Kiss (Prince cover) by grumpybear69)
cortex: There's a little bit of jazz from tmcw, just a nice quick little jazzy number.
sfx: (Music: Monday by tmcw)
cortex: There's a... oh shoot, I just pasted instead of copying.
- There's this electronic sort of little pop thing from user Sokka shot first. [??]
jessamyn: Sokka shot first. Always, always good music from them.
cortex: Yes. Dream Job: Music Producer, 3-2-1 Contact, 1982 is the title.
cortex: Which gives you a very good sense of the flavor of the thing.
sfx: (Music: Dream Job: Music Producer, 3-2-1 Contact, 1982 by Sokka shot first)
jessamyn: "I discovered a tutorial about how to create a convincing shitty old tape effect--"
jessamyn: "--and then upgraded my phone and heard the new ringtones." Oh, come on, this is awesome!
cortex: It is fantastic.
- More short jazzy stuff, this time from user grog, a little noodly bit called Instant Ramen, ha ha ha, so... (laughs)
cortex: That was a borderline fake laugh, 'ha ha ha', but yes.
mathowie: A one minute noodle.
sfx: (Music: Instant Ramen by grog)
cortex: But I actually, I appreciate.
mathowie: That's nice.
cortex: And then we've got the raffle thing going on, is the challenge right now in Music, where people can sign up to get a random challenge that was mailed in
- by a random MeFi user, you can get assigned it and then try and do that. So people are starting to get some of those recorded.
jessamyn: Jim and I are working on one!
cortex: Excellent. Me too. I've got an epic one. It's going to be hard to get put together just because it's asking a lot, but...
jessamyn: Ours is a baby song.
jessamyn: And so we've made a little, we've learned some information about the baby and what the baby likes, and the baby likes some kind of special kids' song that I don't know anything about but because Jim's a parent he knows this genre of song.
- The problem is, we keep making these fun little verses, and then we wind up making these Edward Gorey verses about terrible things happening to the baby.
jessamyn: And then we started laughing, and then we started being like, we're terrible people, we need to put this aside.
jessamyn: And then it's been hard to get back to.
cortex: Just save it and you can make a B-side version of the song.
jessamyn: That's exactly what we're going to do.
cortex: (laughs) One more. So the raffle thing, there's an entry that has been posted by a user greenish, from unnamed, I think--I don't know if
- unnamed by design or if it just wasn't clear what shit happened there, but some challenger sent in as a challenge I think some sheet music.
cortex: So an actual arrangement of a song, and then greenish recorded it. It's a song called Verbena, and it's being all apologetic about the low recording quality and sketchy take, but it actually sounds fucking great! It's just beautiful. So it's a very nice track--
cortex: --and I'm looking forward to seeing what else comes out of the raffle thing. I think people are slowly
- working their way in there, so.
mathowie: Oh my god, greenish has a beautiful voice. Holy cow.
jessamyn: I think I've got some stuff by greenish on my regular rotation that I listen to at home, if I recall.
mathowie: How is this terrible? This is crazy!
cortex and jessamyn: (laughs)
cortex: I think it's the standard, musicians are thinking about different things in recording than you might be thinking about just hearing it.
cortex: It's tricky. You know when you didn't get what you wanted, is I think the biggest thing when you're working on a recording.
jessamyn: Right. If you're a romantic, you know what it sounds like ideally in your head.
jessamyn: And so you know that it's far from that even if it's great according to everybody else.
cortex: Exactly. It's a weird thing.
mathowie: Oh, man.
cortex: Anyway, those were just highlights, there's more stuff, too, but...
mathowie: Jeez. That is amazing. (laughs) I think that song will close it out, like holy cow, it's good.
mathowie: Sweet. Awesome!
jessamyn: Good! Well, good talking to you guys.
sfx: (Music: Verbena by greenish)
sfx: (Music: Verbena by greenish, continued)
sfx: (Music: Verbena by greenish, continued)
sfx: (Music: Verbena by greenish, continued)
sfx: (Music: Verbena by greenish, continued)
sfx: (Music: Verbena by greenish, end)
- beryllium, 230 segments
- Pronoiac, 1