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Podcast 44 Transcript

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A transcript for Episode 44, Sex Dreams & Unicorns.


(Start to 1:35)

Intro music

Mathowie: Episode 44 of the Metafilter Podcast. Last episode was a few weeks ago, but that was just recorded memories from the meetups. Josh did an awesome job shining shit into a diamond a bit, with 12 totally random calls, and random jokey stuff in some of the calls and I was like "oh man, I don't even want to know how to make this ..."

Jessamyn: It was delightful! And you took my favorite part and you put it all through the whole part, like I would have done it if I had any talent at all. It was SO great.

Cortex: It was a lot of fun editing it together.

M: I heard one of those, and I was like, "I'm going to have to delete the, like what is that, I don't even know what that is, and repeating," and even you did weird right/left stereo stuff, and I listened to it in headphones the first time.

C: I think I did that just at the end, just to do some audio collage just for the hell of it, because there was all the deleted taglines, but then there was a dramatic reading of the Eclipse thread, and I was just, you know, at that point it was just five minutes of the same voice intentionally reading this long thing. I just did a short tag on the reading of the thread thing and threw in some of that...

J: "This one time, I called you, to tell you about my favorite memory" - it was so good!

M: There's no Metafilter Music Podcast on the horizon?

C: Ah, you know, I've got a bunch of notes, and I'll try to put one together in the next week or so, but real life kept intervening, and I kept not quite putting it together. We'll have another one soon.

MeFi Music

(from 1:35 to 3:15)

J: I've been enjoying the ringtones, the ringtone music challenge. I'm totally getting more ringtones for my phone.

C: We never really had a MetaTalk post about the Hallelujah & the Velvet Underground challenges. We should put up something, saying "hey, these two great big things happened."

M: You should put up challenge roundups or something.

J: You can't even talk about Hallelujah without admitting that seven of those songs are yours.

C: Well yeah, but there was a whole bunch of others - there were something like thirty covers altogether, so.

J: It was a really popular music challenge, & it was super, super fun. And the Velvet Underground one was then later picked up by Beck, it was also, also done by Beck.

C: That jerk.

J: Am I right? Am I right? I know!

M: Oh my god, these Metafilter Music promos are crazy.

C: Yeah, no, they're really awesome. I haven't done one yet. I keep meaning to get around to doing it...

Cut: *Metafilter Music promos*

MeFi Jobs

(from 3:15 to 4:47)

M: So have there been any favorite projects or favorite jobs over the past month or two?

J: I haven't really been peeking at the jobs. Has anybody? Seeing as I don't need a job.

C: We've been getting the email on those, but they confirm my suspicion that I don't really care about what people post on jobs, because I'm not looking, so, eh?

M: There are two things that were funny to me. One was the job of "knocking down a wall in my apartment."

J: That was mine! That was mine! Yes, that one is great.

M: And the other one, not as funny, kind of sad, where was it?

J: Are we all in a chat together anywhere?

M: Yeah. We are.

J: Send me a link.

C: *laughs*

M: Oh yeah. So, that is a web job in New York, doing a lot of web stuff, you make 50 or 60 grand in Manhattan, I was just thinking "wow, that's making like 15 grand a year, 10 bucks an hour in a normal city, that's kind of horrible, unfortunately." Sorry. New York is pricey.

J: I wonder about that though. I think it's just because people develop New York lifestyle ideas. I appreciate that rent is expensive.

M: It's $2k/month for a one-bedroom studio in some parts of the city.

J: But in other parts of the city, it's totally normal prices. You could live in Queens, you could even live in North Brooklyn.

M: That's true.

MeFi Projects

(from 4:47 to 18:55)

C: I liked this project Quitter , which is a DOS command window Twitter client.

J: Yes! Me too! Totally!

C: I thought that was just deeply badass.

M: I thought that was awesome because it looks like such a pain in the ass to start Twitter, to get Twitter going on it, that it's a good time distraction device. I don't want to waste all day staring at Twitter, but it's a pain in the ass, it's not very interactive or fun or good, that's a way to keep Twitter...

J: It makes Twitter look like IRC, it looks like a bunch of non-communicative IRC interactions. I thought it was great. Hey, how can I tell which Metafilter Projects I have voted for? I can't, can I?

C: No, you can't, at this point.

M: There isn't. That would be kinda cool.

J: I think we should fix that.

M: pb? Should I patch him in, no, he's not around.

J: *laughs* Is he sitting right there? He's right there!

C: It would be nice to include that on profile pages if we could, just to make it pop up, so people can't find it at all.

J: Sometimes I don't want to comment, but I want to see what I've voted up. I think. Also? The interesting, Josh has also linked to my completely awesome, favorite-est project, which was then posted to Metafilter, "In Which I Ruin Rashomon for Everyone, Forever," which is a Java - er, I'm so used to saying Java - it's a data visualization of how Rashomon actually worked. You know Rashomon was the, let's look at what happened from, how many different perspectives?

C: I think there were four different stories in the movie. It's an old Kurosawa film where there's an altercation in the forest between a robber and a man and his wife and all three of them have different stories about what happened, and there's a traveling monk who also had a story about what happened.

J: So when you hear about it from the different people's perspective, it looks like different things happened.

M: Wow. And he flowcharted it. Holy crap.

C: I've seen a couple of entertaining takes on timelines in Terminator and stuff like that trying to track it the same kind of way but this seemed like so much more pure kind of thing. Because for one thing, it was one well-written movie by one really good director, not a franchise by various people fucking things up.

J: It's not fucking "Lost."

M: I haven't seen this -

J: Oh, I said it.

M: Is this like the idiot version of "Run Lola Run" where you kind of slowly get the three stories at once of what happened?

J: No! You don't really wind up knowing what happened because it comes, well you do at the very end, but it's all different people's perspective? So clearly there's one real timeline but all you get is four subjective timelines. It's been a while since I've seen the movie.

M: There's no ultimate truth, kinda.

J: Now I can't remember. Josh, your opinion on ultimate truth?

C: It's been a few years since I saw it, but my feeling was the takeaway was the monk had a grounded take on it but the whole point of it was "can you believe this is the nature of ontological exploration when people get involved," but at the end of the day, the monk probably had the truth of it and had the straightforward story, but at the same time -

J: Whut is truth?

C: Well, not that so much, but it wasn't even really concerned with it, like at the end of the day, a bunch of people who ended badly lying to each other about it, the important thing -

J: Is the real story?

C: - is to walk away, rather than worry about that.

C: But yeah, it's been a few years since I've seen it, I should watch it again.

J: The other thing from Projects I wanted to mention only because it came and went so quickly we hardly even had time for it was jacquilynne's "The Good, the Bad, and the Etsy," which was basically one of those standard blogs that was like, "here's some good stuff from Etsy! Here's some ridiculous stuff from Etsy! Here's totally crazy people posting stuff on Etsy!" It's totally not like Cake Wrecks, or Hipsters with Douchebags - er, whatever, Hot Girls with Douchebags.

C: It's kind of like a snarky review blog, kind of thing.

J: But some of the stuff she really liked, some of the stuff she doesn't like, and she wound up getting a whole bunch of people, or at least some people, giving her a bunch of shit about it, and so she took her blog DOWN. And then there was kind of an interesting (I thought) discussion on MetaTalk, about art vs. craft & how do you feel about getting death threats from internet lunatics, which I think has probably happened to all of us, right? Matt?

M: Yeah, and then there was talk of like, "well, how snarky was she?" because some of the stuff is quite personal to people, and you could see how they felt attacked.

C: Yeah, and how to navigate that.

J: And yet, I felt it was really - I thought she did a really good job, and she's not a bitchy "fuck these people" kind of person, but then again she doesn't like stuff and she does like stuff. And so there was a big discussion in MetaTalk, which I thought was really interesting: how much of your person is in craft vs. art, is this stuff art, if you're insulting someone's jumper, or just saying, shit, that costs a hundred bucks?!

M: Well, yeah, I was like "It's a cute kid, I would feel bad about mocking that jumper that had some hideous print."

J: It's not my thing, definitely! But to lose your shit about?

M: I know. I could see someone taking it personally if that was their child, wearing the hideous print and you're just trying to make fun of the print.

C: Well, and you know people will just take things -

J: And she wasn't like "You have an ugly kid."

C: Yeah, but people WILL react badly to stuff if they happen across it and decide to take offense. I remember back when I was doing "Laundry Room Swap Meet," years ago, I would post stuff - you know, this was stuff people left on the table down in the laundry room in our apartment building. No one in the apartment building read the site. You know, it was totally random, anonymous, no-name blog on the internet. But every once in a while someone would come by and take offense about something silly I said about the item that someone else left sitting on the laundry room table in our fucking apartment building. You know, someone gave me a drive-by lecture about intolerance to Christianity because I made a joke about a magazine with Alton Brown on the cover and I guess he's Christian, and I said something that I guess could be interpreted as being -

J: See I just think that could have been "Christian drive-by lecture because I'm alive in America."

C: Exactly.

J: Oh, I didn't start that, did I?

C: So, like, you take that & you add a little bit more pointed fixation with a potentially negative review and you see how the chance for unreasonable people to have a shit-fit about it just goes up from THAT as a baseline - yeah, breathing is going to get you the occasional negative comment. So it's a weird dynamic.

J: Especially if you do it with your mouth open.

cortex laughs

M: The most interesting aspect of it to me has been there's been, "let's just totally make fun of shit on Ebay" blogs for five or ten years now. There's a whole bunch of them. And people, I've heard, that actually run them, some friends started doing it, pointing out hideous things, and people would email them, going "please feature my hideous thing, because I actually want more bids on it," and it's weird that Etsy -

J: It becomes its own economy.

M: Etsy's just so personal and Ebay at some level is impersonal, there's no craft to finding wacky, horrible -

J: Well and you can sell something on Ebay and be like "here's this shitty thing, but if y ou want it," whereas with Etsy, it's really something that you are endorsing by selling it at all.

M: Or "I made this," yeah.

J: Right.

J: I found that discussion actually pretty interesting because it's one of the few sort of chewy MetaTalk discussions that didn't turn into this kind of "grar grar grar fuck y'all" thing.

C: Yeah. Well there wasn't really any impetus for a freakout, which was nice because yeah, people had opinions and they definitely disagreed on a lot of the details and the back and forth was interesting but there was nothing really at stake other than the general, to a degree, sense of community protectiveness of someone from the site getting shit.

J: And like, "oh, too bad, she took the blog down" or "yeah, I didn't really like that blog," but yeah. And jacquilynne was actually really cool about it, wasn't, herself, kind of defensive and really irritable, she was like "yeah, it's too bad. I kind of enjoyed it, but, whatever, not worth having to deal with a bunch of shitty crazy people."

C: Yeah. Well, one other project that I really liked, going back to, this is slightly before the big meetup, so, maybe visited territory, but Angry Octopus Comics, where mikepop and his almost eight-year-old daughter, make a webcomic together.

J: Oh my god I love it already!

C: Yeah. So she's sort of like the creative director, and then he does execution.

M: No, she draws it.

C: Oh that's right, she draws it, he does a little bit of supplementary art with Photoshop, he says.

J: He adds the talk bubbles and stuff like that.

M: Oh, the faces. The first one's actually pretty funny, awesome comedy for an eight-year-old.

J: Many, many of them are actually pretty funny.

C: I hate to be hard on the earlier generations of webcomic-ers, but if you want to criticize it, you can criticize it about at the same level you could criticize a lot of the early efforts in webcomics, and most of those were done by people who weren't eight.

M: Heh, yeah, yeah.

C: So, I'd say she's doing okay, yeah. There's some nice beginnings with a comic sensibility in there.

M: You know what's awesome is just, as a child, being allowed to make your own media. I had this class where I made a book when I was in the third or fourth grade. And nothing in my entire childhood was ever like that. No one ever - it was just one cool English teacher that made us do it. Make up a story, write a story, edit a story, draw out the story, we're going to bind it, we're going to work on the cover, and then, the end of it, there's your book.

J: You had a thing, right, you've written a book. We did that once.

M: Yeah. That stuck with me for years, that, I, made, a BOOOOK!

Cortex laughs.

J: "I'm a content creator!"

M: Everything else was like, "hey, every future factory worker: sit down, shut up, and do these fucking problems that I tell you to for the next half hour," but you know, in fourth grade: I, made, a BOOOOK! Like, you know, I don't need this shit! I can go make books or something! It was great. I would love to impress on every eight-year-old that they can make their own comics, they can make their own TV shows, etc.

C: All you have to decide to do is try. I remember trying to design video games as a kid, and I knew nothing about programming or anything that would be involved in actually making a video game go, but I had a couple of art programs on my old Amiga 500, and some of those could do primitive animation through frame-by-frame stuff. And I figured, I was 90% there.

jessamyn and matthowie laugh.

C: Me and my sister would sit and we designed an entire sequel to an old game that the original was a overhead vertical-scrolling shooter game basically, a plane shooting another plane, except it was dragon-based, so you were a dragon shooting stuff out of your mouth at enemy dragons and such. And we thought that was great but our sequel was a side-scroller that involved skateboarding, and I don't remember exactly how that happened, but it was going to be totally sweet. Even though I was obviously horribly naive about the execution of a video game, still, the sort of design and storytelling and art stuff involved in that thing was some of the favorite stuff I did as a kid. I loved sort of digging into that sort of "how would I make this thing" kind of problem.

J: We had a cassette recorder and a whole bunch of microphones at home, because my dad used to play music. And so we were like "Dad plays music! We can sing into the cassette recorder and make songs up" and we had a band and everything else. We had cassettes! I wonder whose basement they wound up in.

C: Somewhere, somewhere.

M: It's awesome to do this stuff as a kid and realize you don't need anyone's permission to do anything. Especially now, in this day and age, where there's no more gatekeeper, you can just throw anything online. You don't need a TV studio or a local TV station. You can just put shit up on Youtube.

J: Assuming you're not on dialup.

M: Heh, yeah. But 99% of the country still thinks you need permission to interview someone famous, or take a photo in a nice place, or go make a TV show. Doesn't matter - anyone can do it.

J: Or they just get hung up on the execution of it, where they're like, "oh, it's got to be perfect before I ..." and then they don't wind up doing it, because they're weird, fussy perfectionists. I think we were talking about this last time. But I know a LOT of people who I'm like, "oh my god, you should totally write about that, people would be so interested!" You know, not just you having a conversation with me, and they're like, "yeah, but, er, ah." And they just, they never ship, you know? And so I'm like "Argh!" So frustrating! I feel like I need to interview and transcribe what they have to say, because getting stuff onto the internet is no problem for me.

M: That would be a good national campaign. "The country needs to start shipping every good idea."

J: Right. "Ship your good ideas." Totally.

M: "Ship your good ideas!"

J: And that's the brainstorming idea, right?


Metafilter Shop

(from 18:55 to 20:42)

M: Metafilter Shop is along the top.

J: And the 10th is gone.

M: And we finally, yesterday, caught up to every old shirt order for backordered shirts, because we had reordered a whole bunch of "tl;dr" shirts. Unfortunately, we have this humongous high minimum orders, so we have to order 120 shirts if we want to get one of the designs back. So I haven't updated yet, but the "tl;dr"s will be back in action, with tons of 2x and 3x shirts.

J: Woo hoo!

C: Sweet.

M: I also have the old blue Metafilter shirts, I'll sell for half-price, ten bucks maybe? I've got a ton of those I'll also put up for sale. And then I also have these bike shirts I might be able to sell, I dunno how many.

J: I saw your bike shirts. What's the Metafilter angle?

M: Nothing! Just I made it, and it costs money.

jessamyn and cortex laugh.

M: And there's about thirty leftover shirts that people might also want.

J: I saw them. They're cool-looking.

M: Cool. So, that's the shop status at the moment.

J: Woo!

M: I did my best to make the experience amazing for everyone. Probably 80% of the people who ordered the shirts had it in their mitts two days later. And the international people unfortunately had it in their mitts a couple of weeks later, but there was this batch of twenty or twenty-five people who had backorder stuff they had to wait almost a month and it was international and they had a bad experience where it's going to take a month to get them a shirt, but everything else went really well.

MetaFilter Posts

(from 20:42 to 37:04)

M: I guess we should move on to Metafilter or Ask Metafilter.

J: Cool. There were just a couple from Metafilter that I thought were really awesome. That I enjoyed. That don't even have much commentary about them. They're just sort of neat. The calculator post, titled "Calculator calculator calculator calculator calculator".

C: I completely missed that one.


J: You guys still there?

M: Oh yeah.

C: Wow, that's a lot of calculators.

J: With the holy cow that's a lot of calculators tag, it was basically starman's post with the non-insult "tool" tag talking about lots of different online calculators and I enjoyed it just because it's one of those "geeky/nerdy person interested in geeky/nerdy things". Well, I don't know anything about starman, maybe he's not geeky or nerdy.

C: He sent me a nice mix CD. He was in my mix swap.

J: See. See.

C: That's neither confirm or deny on the nerdy stuff but he seems to be familiar with music and knows how to put it in sequence on CDs.

M: This is like a Metafilter post that's as useful as an Ask Metafilter post.

J: That one, and this is the other one that's exactly in that same category, which is "How to cook like your grandmother" post. Which maybe isn't everyone's grandmother, with the "om", "nom", and "heartattack" tags.

C: (laughter)

J: This was basically ways to cook kind of old-fashioned, what I would call mid-western food. Bread, macaroni-and-cheese, potatoes, french toast, etc. But it was incredibly overwhelmingly non-ignorably populary. 168 favorites. Lord_Pall posted it. Yes. Lots and lots and lots of butter.

C: Nice.

M: And it made sense, 50 years ago in the Midwest, if you're going to go out for 12 hours on the farm, you need something to stick in your belly and give you a ton of calories to last through the day.

J: In fact, that book that I just read by Mark Kurlansky, "The Food of a Younger Land", actually has like a whole chapter or a whole section on how they cooked the food that feeds the threshers, the guys who are threshing the fields when they come back from a hard day because basically you didn't have any refrigeration so anything you were going to feed people you basically had to cook *that* day. And I don't know, I thought that was sort of interesting. We don't really think about it anymore because you can keep stuff in freezers and heat them up and there's not this whole "woman cook the food for all the dudes who are out doing the work" thing. And then you see adorable, attractive stuff like beet-pickled eggs, which I think is totally adorable and Drew Kime, the guy whose blog it was, showed up just to say "hey". Got an account and it's actually about his grandmother.

M: Oh cool.

J: Etc. He's got a little comment. So it's nice and adorable. So those were my two picks and then there was a couple I liked, sort of differently. But, what else did you guys think?

C: I liked, and I don't know if we mentioned this before, but The Beast of the Long-Neck Banjo.

J: I've been listening to all of this music, all month. I've been listening to this music non-stop on heavy repeat. This is awesome. Tell Matt about it because he clearly hasn't been listening to it.

C: It's a shitload of banjo music from Fayer, Fire? I've never actually heard his name.

J: I say "fair", which means you would say "fire".

C: (grumbling)

M: Where's the link to the post?

C: It's a couple up.

J: Scroll back. It's two links back. The one that says "banjo".

M: Oh yeah, sorry.

C: It's just this giant treasure trove. The guy's like, "Ehhhhh, here's all my albums".

J: And he was one of those really popular coffeehouse banjo players in the Northeast in the early 50's and 60's. Like my folks, they were like, "Oh yeah, Billy Faier . We totally know who he is." And he was just like, "Fuck it! I'm making all my albums available."

M: Swee-eet. I've been listening to the Steve Martin banjo album for the last few weeks and now through this stuff in the mix.

J: Yeah, and then acro, he's this guy from Michigan that I met, basically wrote to Faier and was like, "Hey, instead of downloading all that stuff separately, do you mind if we just put it in a big Bittorrent link?" and kind of explained what Bittorrent was, etc. And Faier wrote back and said, "Yeah, sure, great." So they added a link to the actual torrent of all the music so you could download it as one big blob, which was really pretty terrific.

M: Sweet. I will download that right now.

J: And the tunes are really catchy, too, if you like banjo. He's kind of that Pete Seger style folk-musician, so there's lots of good lyrics. It's not just plang-plang-plang-plang-plang-plang-plang-plang. It's good.

C/M: (laughter)

J: What are you doing?

M: There's like 5 torrent windows all over my screen because I'm using a torrent thingie for the first time in 5 years.

J: What torrent thingie are you using?

M: What is this? Transmission?

J: Transmission? Yeah, good.

M: The thing that's a picture of a transmission in my dock? Transmission? Good icon choice.

J: It's a good tool, I like it.

M: My favorite was the Phineas Gage photo.

J: Hey, I did that! That was mine.

M: I know. I didn't even...

J: That was my post.

C: I hate it when people suck up to the mods like that.

M: I know.

J: Shut up. I won't, I won't.

M: Just because I've heard about Phineas Gage for the last decade plus from my wife who teaches brain behavior classes and Phineas Gage is...

J: Did you know he was from Vermont?

M: I had no idea. But he was sort of the touchstone, older, I mean, he's just the single example of how the brain is complex. Because he's the only living guy we had with a split brain.

J: He basically got a spike through his brain, through this explosion accident, and then his personality changed which was how early brain studiers understood that the brain actually has an impact on personality and stuff like that.

M: Yeah, the spike actually drove the two brains, like he severed the connection the halves of the brain. And there were lots of hypotheses about the right and left brain, but that was the first guy they could point to and do experiments on one guy, and show how his left brain was doing something, and his right brain was doing something.

J: And the thing that was so interesting is that we had no known photographs of him and then these people who were rare photo collectors and had their photos up on Flickr were like, "We think this guy is a whaler because he was posed with this big stick." And somebody else on the internet, who doesn't have a web page, he's just some dude from Montana, was like, "I think that's Phineas Gage." And everyone was like, "Oh my god!"

M: Everyone said, "That's not a harpoon, that's not a harpoon."

J: And they could confirm it authoritatively, and it's just cool to see the whole Flickr thread. It's cool to see the people's website. I'm surprised the guy didn't take credit for it more.

M: And it's not cool that the people who own an image from 150 years ago, I hate to be all Creative Commons / Cory Doctorow about it, but...

J: Cory Doctorow is nice.

M: Oh, no. Yeah, but sometimes he's angry and ranty about copyrights. But these people are being kind of dickish and weird about this new... Like they have the Mona Lisa now in their garage and they're putting a watermark over it and they only offer it via personal email to them without a watermark which you can never put online. It's like the thing is from 150 years ago. My contention is, the more this photo gets out without any watermark of any kind, the more someone would want the original, and would pay the original people the more money.

J: I get the feeling that they want to sell prints. That they don't want to sell the original for $1 million, that they want to sell prints for $500.

M: Well, then they're controlling human knowledge for their own benefit, and that's kind of fucked up and karma will get them someday.

J: See, it's interesting, because I don't disagree with you, and yet, I sort of watched what they were doing. That they originally had the watermark in the middle of the picture, and then they moved it down so it was only over the daguerreotype frame, so it didn't effect. And they're letting all the researchers examine the original. So I'm not sure how far you're supposed to go if you do have the Mona Lisa in your garage.

M: If I had the Mona Lisa in my garage, I'd be like, "Hey, everybody, here's an awesome hi-res scan of the Mona Lisa that you are all free to use."

C: And that's why you'll never be a rich man.

M: (laughter) Noooo! I'm saying it would actually help knowledge and also make your original worth more and more and more.

J: But I guess my question is, what knowledge is harmed by making digital replicas of this picture totally available?

M: With a giant watermark.

J: Have you seen the watermark?

M: Yeah. It's still there. It's at the bottom, but it's just annoying and it's always going to be printed in books and this old URL that has a slash in it that might change one day and it's just dumb. I don't know.

J: Maybe. It's funny, because I'm like totally, everyone should share everything for free and yet this doesn't bother me the same way.

M: OK. I like the forgotten bookmarks. I think we've seen this pop-up about every year or two. Where someone has a blog...

J: Stuff stuffed in books?

M: Yeah, someone's buying old books and then there's stuff left in the books that were used as bookmarks. And then someone makes a bunch of photographs of stuff they found in the old book and it's fun and stuff.

C: Yeah, I know I remember Miko had a blog a couple of years ago.

J: Oh, I hadn't seen this one, I love it.

M: Oh yeah, and someone points out a "previously".

J: And this is a really nice looking blog. Like the blogs just get better and better and better.

M: There was an older one just a year ago that was pretty much the same thing. I think we'll see one a year forever.

J: The bacon is so funny, because the number of people I know who have worked in libraries who have found bacon in their books is a non-zero number, which I believe I've actually mentioned before on the podcast.

C: (laughing) Yeah.

M: Wow.

J: It's not only non-zero, it's more than one.

M: Wow.

J: I know, right? It's crazy.

M: Wow, so there's three. I didn't know Miko had one. Cool. Oh man, Phineas Gage still drives me nuts.

J: I think maybe you should start a web page about that, and have everyone chime in on the good, the bad, and the Phineas Gage.

M: I feel like I am totally yelling at some tiny edge case argument.

J: But this is like us and Metatalk. It's the edge cases that either make the rules make sense or not. Do they determine edge cases appropriately or not. I don't think you're being crazy. I'm just interested.

M: I'm equating watermarks with commercialization, which is a slight stretch on my part. And might be considered crazy.

J: And I think these people don't have a strategy. It's not like they're Sony. They're like, "We sell pictures for a living. Sort of?" Their website is kind of adorable, actually.

C: I kind of liked, on a wildly different note in terms of post content, I really liked the translation party post.

J: I did not see that. Tell me what this is. What is going on?

C: is a site, that you stick in a phrase in English, and it translates it to Japanese and back to English. Everyone's done that before with Babelfish, and there's some people who've done that before to translate it through ten different languages. This one keeps going until it actually finds an equilibrium state where when it translates to Japanese and back to English it comes out the same. At that point it stops, or it will stop after it goes on long enough without resolving. It's one of those stupid things that you do to entertain yourself, but you think you're going to do it a couple of times and then it's been like two hours and you're still doing it. It actually came up in IRC and basically turned into a post after people were having a good time there. So biddy posted it to that. And then everyone just had a crazy time...

J: "Bidi"?? That's how that's pronounced?

C: I don't know if that's how that is pronounced, or if "Bidi" is what that is a representation of.

J: Holy shit. I've always called that person "three-one-dee-one".

M: Oh yeah, what is this supposed to be?

J: "Bidi" makes total sense, now that...

C: And he's one of the people in Philly who I'm excited to hopefully be able to actually meet in the flesh after hanging for years in IRC.

J: He's wearing a future MILF t-shirt on his website.

C: (laughter) That does not shock me.

J: "Bidi" totally makes sense. "31d1" made no sense whatsoever. I always thought it was some techy/geeky hexidecimal thing.

M: How do you get "Bidi" out of that?

J: The three is a "B", Matt.

M: Oh, yeah. Neat.

J: You have children. You need to keep up.

C: It was just a good time. People throwing all kind of shit through there. It's fun sort of looking at being able to recognize what something started out as much of the time, even though it's been really badly mangled, because some of the elements are in there. You can sort of guess that some is probably starting with a famous quote or some popular idiom. It's almost some kind of an ad hoc puzzle game, reading through the results is a good time.

J: Yeah, it's a fun thread. It's a totally fun thread.

C: But also, one of the guys who helped code it is a Mefite who jumped in and said, "Oh, hey, yeah, I worked on this. Or I know the guy who put this together." So we got a couple of questions answered about how it works, because if it gets into a cycle, it will give up after a while, but in the meantime it will go back and forth between two or three specific slightly different translations in a loop before giving up. And people were like, well that's dumb, why doesn't it recognize a loop. Well, the site's not actually paying any attention to the translation. It's just hitting the Google Translate API and chucking it out there and counting to a certain cutoff number and saying, "Oh, I'm stopping because I don't think this will ever quite." So the site's super lightweight in how it handles, so it's not very smart about it but it's also really really simple.

J: So the equilibrium isn't actually comparing? It's some kind of time limit?

C: It's comparing, but it's only comparing really naïvely. Like it's comparing end to end, like the last one, and that's the only one. It doesn't cache previous results of the translation, or at least didn't at the time.

J: Which makes sense. Nice.

C: It's one of those stupid fun posts that I tend to really like.

M: There's been jokes around since Altavista unveiled translation in 1998. Like people would have perl things to send back and forth, and they would just post the results. Nothing was easy to use. This is hilarious, because it's just so simple and instant.

C: It's super clean. That's the big win.

Ask MeFi posts

(from 37:04 to 39:54)

M: How about let's go to Ask Metafilter.

J: I loved Ask Metafilter over the last couple months. Sorry Josh, what were you saying.

C: I only have one Ask Metafilter but it's a post about making your own instruments with a focus on strangeness, basically.

J: I missed this 'cause I was in New Orleans. This is the best!

M: Wow!

C: Yeah, it's really great.

M: This is almost like an amateur Foley question.

C: Kinda, yeah. The whole idea of sound-making in general as something you can do as an avocation instead of just something that other people do that you don't think about.

M: Yeah. And with the emphasis on the weird. Which is like every time you hear a Foley artist speak, it's incredibly weird, they're like, "Oh yeah, I shake broccoli over my testicles and some honey and that sounds like a newspaper" and you're like, "What?!"

J: Aaaaaaaaah!

M: I'm paraphrasing.

J: I hope so.

C: A little bit.

J: When I meet your friend the Foley operator next time at dinner, I'm going to be like, "Oohhh."

C: Don't shake hands.

M: And I think I'm using the word "paraphrasing" wrong. I think I'm actually more of a fantasy.

C: I think you're wildly bullshitting is what you are doing.

M: Yes, yes.

J: That goes along great with the really recent Ask Metafilter thread that I really liked, which is, "I grew up reading books, not learning how to use tools and now I want to learn to build stuff... What do I need to be able to do?" Like somebody who wants to start building stuff but didn't grow up with a parent who did building stuff and asking about how to go build stuff?

M: Yeah, I think Make Magazine's whole first couple of years were all about "your first soldering iron as a 30-year-old" kind of thing.

J: Totally. Yeah. And people talked about how Make is good for this kind of stuff, and Instructables is good for this, and here's the tools that you need to buy and in fact I think there was a tools question that wasn't this one. But it was just kind of nice because it was people who grew up with, I totally...

M: I didn't have the TV dad with the toolbox.

J: Yeah, exactly. And that kind of goes along with the other thread that I really liked which was, "Help me get some tools". Like, "I have really little tools but I need a total set of real tools, how do I move from little tools to real tools."

MetaTalk posts

(from 39:54 to 48:10)

C: There were a couple of things from MetaTalk that I liked.

M: Metatalk?

J: Metatalk?

C: Yes. Actual, positive, happy, interesting things from MetaTalk.

J: Besides all the ones that we've already talked about?

C: Well, we didn't talk about homunculus's 1000th post.

M: Yeah, or how about, was languagehat's book in MetaTalk?

C: I think it was actually, there was a post about it.

M: Yeah, I have a copy of it right on my desk, and what else did I buy? There was something.

J: In fact, I can't figure what the fuck is in MetaTalk because the last 9 posts are about Josh.

C: I'm feeling deeply self-conscious about that.

J: For fuck's sake, nobody, nobody has bogged down MetaTalk like you.

M: "Distributed Denial of Josh".

C: This was all an attempt to get that Dawkins argument off of the front page of MetaTalk. I just wanted to bury that...

J: You did a great job. Oh, yeah, and don't forget you can now search your MetaFilter Mail.

C: Oh yeah!

J: We rolled out a new feature and we forgot to tell you.

M: And we will never roll out a new feature for Metafilter Mail ever again.

J: This is the last feature for Metafilter Mail ever.

C: We actually took away being able to use the letter 'Q' in there just to make up for it.

M: Exactly. There will never be threading, there will never be fonts.

J: Sorry exquisifer, sorry (a bunch of usernames)

M: We get so many feature requests for mail, because people want it to become GMail.

C: Oh, yeah, the infodump is back and we've just been merrily geeking out with that for the last week-ish. So, anybody who is wanting to analyze the stats about Metafilter can once more do so.

J: Hie themselves over there.

C: There was a nice collection of just sort of a round-up post of people making riff-y jokes on literary references in poetry and whatnot. The best Mefite pastiches and parodies thread. There was some good stuff in there for people who missed it the first time.

J: Oh, here's the languagehat thing. Hey, not on display posted that. There you go. I know!

M: Sucking up to a mod girlfriend. Or boyfriend.

J: Hey, hey, hey.

M: OK, oh yeah, you did do your Ask Metafilter. Cool.

C: Oh yeah, speaking of the Mefite comp and one quick music thing...

J: Were we? Were we?

C: We were earlier. Maybe we weren't and maybe we cut out the part where we were talking about that.

M: Maybe we were in your head.

C: Yeah.

J: I think we should pretend that we talked about stuff that we cut out that we didn't even really talk about.

C: Remember when we were talking about that dream I had about sex with unicorns?

J: This one time...

C: This ties back to that.

M: The rainbow stuff will clear out.

C: So anyway, the penicillin should take care of it.

J: Ha!

M: That wasn't the unicorn, that was the bus terminal.

J: You know, everyone has Herpes. That's what I learned from Ask Metafilter.

C: Yeah, pretty much everyone does, I guess.

M: Oh, really? Well, yeah...

C: But, anyway, there's this recording by, I have no idea how to say his username, it's another adventure in pronunciation, but...

J: Spykus!

C: Is it Spykus?

J: Spaykus? Specious? Spaykoos? Ask klanglangston. They're friends.

C: Ok. I'll ask him when I'm in LA.

(From speicus: "I pronounce my username "spike-us" but you'll have to ask the ghost of Roger Zelazny for the real pronunciation.")

J: Isaac, Isaac is his real name. He's nice.

C: Yeah, actually it's funny I know his name is Isaac but I've never tried to deal with his username. He was on the Metafilter compilation album, and this song actually, the original version of it, was on the compilation. And now, like two-and-a-half years later, he posted, and this was back in May but I don't think I mentioned it at the time, he posted an updated version of it and I really liked it when it was on the album and I really liked what he did with it for the redo. So I just wanted to throw that out there.

M: Like a complete rearrangement, or just a better version?

C: He just sort of laid on some more layers and cleaned some stuff up. Filled it out so it's a little bit more full of a sound than it had at the time on the album.

M: Oh, cool. I guess we will end the podcast with this and play it out. Play us out, "Distance of the Moon Remix"! By Speeeekus...

C: Cat.

M: (Keyboard cat noises.) That wasn't me, that was my cat on my keyboard doing it.

C: Tell the cat to be quiet, we're recording a podcast.

M: That's right. (Keyboard cat noises.) My cats are always doing that to me, playing me out of rooms.

(Distance of the Moon (Albedo Mix) by speicus plays thru end)


For the transcription:

  • Pronoiac did the Intro, Music, Jobs, Projects with help from Smackfu, & Shop.
  • Smackfu did Projects too, Metafilter, Ask Metafilter, & MetaTalk.