posted less than an hour ago on metafilter
Can anyone offer some helpful advice about good places to live in the United States that currently have a low cost of living? I expect to be placed on a fixed income soon of about $1300 per month, so I'd like to live somewhere where I could make that work.My main concern is the cost of housing and I'd like to cap that at about $500 per month if possible. I would prefer living alone, but could see myself living with roommates if I had to. Also, I prefer to live in politically liberal cities with universities and public transportation available as I have no car. I would also need regular access to a therapist and p-doc. I'm a single, 34 year old male. I have family in NYC and was originally from Portland, Oregon so I'm partial to those areas, but they may be too expensive for my budget. I'm not in a hurry to move as I currently have a place to stay with family, but I'd like to move out on my own again at some point in the near future. Thanks in advance for your ideas and advice.

Read More...
posted about 1 hour ago on metafilter
People who move to New York always make the same mistake. They can't see the place. This is true of Manhattan, but even the outer boroughs too. Whether Flushing Meadows in Queens or Red Hook in Brooklyn. They come looking for magic, whether evil or good, and nothing will convince them it isn't here. This wasn't all bad though. Some New Yorkers had learned how to make a living from this error in thinking. Charles Thomas Tester for one. an excerpt, The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle

Read More...
posted about 2 hours ago on metafilter
Buymeonce.com is a website that sells things you should only have to buy once, because they have a lifetime guarantee, lifetime repairs, or are just very well made.

Read More...
posted about 2 hours ago on metafilter
After logging onto their computers today, staff here at the MERL were greeted by an unusual email from the Assistant Curator:There appears to be a dead mouse in this mousetrap, it began, ...which is not described as being there on the database. 155-year old mouse trap claims its latest victim and How a mouse died in our Victorian mouse trap Read the comments for an appearance from the inventor's great-great-granddaughter! (via The Toast)

Read More...
posted about 2 hours ago on metafilter
Five Japanese girls meet in Los Angeles. They are far from home but they have same goal, chase the dream of becoming hip hop dancers. [SLVimeo]

Read More...
posted about 3 hours ago on metafilter
The Scottish SPCA is looking for a new home for Atlas, a continental giant rabbit. "Giant rabbit?" you ask, "How big could a-- Oh dear lord will you look at that." The 7-month old, nearly 6-kilogram Atlas is still growing, and the SSPCA wants you to know that "A standard rabbit hutch won't do so his new owner will need plenty of space for him."

Read More...
posted about 3 hours ago on metafilter
Murray Perahia on Bach - a 28 minute chat at the piano.

Read More...
posted about 3 hours ago on metafilter
I am currently reading Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, which includes wonderful vivid descriptions of a city built high in the trees on a jungle planet. Please recommend more novels that feature civilization in the trees! Not Tarzan; I'm looking for town or city life, arboreal style. I am searching for Dendropolis.I like most genres. I imagine sci-fi and fantasy will be most represented here, and that's totally fine. I'd love to know additional details about the books you recommend, too! How did you like them? What did you like about them? I've already read N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy and loooooved it, so you can scratch that one off the list!

Read More...
posted about 4 hours ago on metafilter
Joyous tax season is here. Please help me figure out what is going on with one of my W2s!The situation: In 2015, I worked for an after school art program from January until mid-September. My boss paid us using personal checks, with no pay stubs included. Several times, I asked her for my pay stub information, and she would have her accountant (not sure how legitimate this accountant was) type up my information. At one point, she gave me this. It shows my tax withholdings from January until July. You can see that both Federal and State are only taken out once. I received my W-2 recently (several days late, which is typical for this former boss of mine). The total federal withholding for 2015 was $40.00 even, and the state withholding was $14.00 even. I didn't make a copy of my W-4, though I should have. I'm 99.9% certain that I claimed 1 (myself) on my W-4. Related: I began another position, a nanny job, at the end of September. I also received a W-2 for this position (on time; thank the stars for a competent boss). I noticed that my gross earnings for both the afterschool position and the nanny position were very similar; both in the $5,000 range. However, my federal withholding for the nanny position is $492, and nothing was withheld for state tax (I think because my income is so low? I live in MN). I also claimed 1 on my W-4 for the nanny position. So, similar gross income, same W-4 claim, yet drastically different withholding amounts for federal tax. To be honest, I don't trust my former boss. In addition to not supplying pay stubs to her employees, she has done so many other things wrong. I don't know if she made a mistake, or is purposely doing something iffy, or perhaps this W-2 is correct after all. Any insight?

Read More...
posted about 4 hours ago on metafilter
Meet the "rented white coats" who defend toxic chemicals: How corporate-funded research corrupts America's courts and regulatory agencies. Archive link.

Read More...
posted about 4 hours ago on metafilter
Said adult is in early thirties and has very minor musical experience

Read More...
posted about 4 hours ago on metafilter
Some of the most exciting gymnastics routines are happening at the college level. UCLA Senior Sophina DeJesus helped lead her team to victory with a hiphop-flavored floor routine that included a whip, a nae nae, and a tumbling pass that landed in a split. The Internet is rightly losing its collective mind. The whole Bruins squad seems pretty amazing (Sophina at 1:31). But if that wasn't impressive enough for you, she can also moonwalk on the balance beam.

Read More...
posted about 5 hours ago on metafilter
I'm looking for websites that have an autoplaying, looping background video of a landscape on the front page, color or black and white both OK. I'm trying to work out the options with a website like this with a client and we are in search of additional examples. Thanks!

Read More...
posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
It's not Cyberspace anymore (from data & society, Medium). But over the last twenty years, tech has become the underpinning of so many sectors, of so much interaction. Those of us who wanted cyberspace to be universal couldn't imagine a world in which our dreams got devoured by Silicon Valley. Tech is truly mainstream — and politically powerful — and yet many in tech still want to see themselves as outsiders. danah boyd discusses and theorizes about Davos, techno-optimism, and John Perry Barlow's Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, two decades later. Where is the heady "cyberspace" of the 1990s? As boyd succinctly puts it: "The Internet Is Us. Which Us?"

Read More...
posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
So, my cat is too big to fit in the small pet carrier that's allowed for Delta flights between nyc and montreal, so I can't take my cat as a carry-on. It doesn't look like I can take my cat with me via greyhound or amtrak, so, what are my alternatives?

Read More...
posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
I want to buy a camping knife as Valentine gift. But, which one!?(Yes, he might not like the one I end up buying, I will not be sad at all if he exchanges it, but I still want to buy him a knife, not a gift card) It will be used as a camping/backpacking multi-use knife. Light is good, but crazy ultra-light not necessary. Will be carried in cargo/pants pocket, not on belt. Sort of a multi-use camping knife, so cutting rope, an apple, etc, not field dressing animals. $50 max Need it in my hands by the weekend, so Amazon, or available at REI, cabellas, etc.

Read More...
posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
Catherine Nichols on the technique of adaptation: "...While reading Waldman's essay, I remembered a quote from Douglas Adams: It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion on them. On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever. In Adams's context, he's talking about a horse and rider, but I thought: Female novelists have been writing from the role of the horse. In literature and life, it's been a woman's survival tactic to understand and adapt to the character of a man, whether her boyfriend, husband or father. Even with property rights, women are still often the meteorologists of mood—and FEMA when things get bad. Men haven't been forced to form opinions about the minds of women to the same degree, and Waldman makes the strong case that there's a difference in the ways relationships are described in their fiction." Today over at Jezebel, Catherine Nichols considers Adelle Waldman's New Yorker essay The Ideal Marriage, According to Novels: ...In it, she notes that men and women write about marriage differently. [Philip] Roth and [Saul] Bellow write about mysterious attractions and breast shape; [Elena] Ferrante and [Jane] Austen write about the practical quest to find an intellectual and emotional peer. [...] Waldman's piece is so well-considered, and I'd like to add to her point. I think the thing she's found in the women's novels goes beyond the search for intellectual connection. There's a novelistic technique that early nineteenth century female writers invented, which has been used primarily by female novelists ever since; it's a technique that goes deep into the soul of the novel itself. It's something like the blues, or early rock n' roll—something artistically explosive invented under circumstances of oppression. It's the technique of adaptation. Adaptation is a kaleidoscopic way of understanding human nature, and a novelistic technique for showing that character isn't fixed. In real life, people change constantly, depending on who's in the room, or what they've each understood of the others' nature and mood. Character isn't only a ball rolling down a hill, these women write it like a game of billiards, with endless potential shifts and ricochets. These female characters aren't just judging which man's mind will give them the best hope for a respectful marriage; they are describing and creating a frame for the ways people create themselves in relation to others.

Read More...
posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
What are the most "artsy" animated films that I should watch? I am interested in experiencing animation that is not the same Hollywood style. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Read More...
posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
How To Survive A Nuclear Bomb an 'interactive survival experience' from the channel that brought you Threads.

Read More...
posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
That'swhatshesaid, a one-person play by Courtney Meaker and Erin Pike, consists entirely of lines and stage directions for female characters in the top 11 most-produced plays of the 2014-15 season. The play opened Thursday night for a four-night run at Seattle's Gay City Calamus Auditorium. An hour before curtain on the show's second night, the publisher of Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews, which is featured in the production, served Gay City Arts a cease and desist order , and the publisher's VP left Pike a voicemail claiming they'd "go after" Gay City Arts if the show continued. Instead, That'swhatshesaid went on as planned--but with a few last-minute changes. Among them: every time a line from Bad Jews came up, Pike merely mimed the stage directions as someone offstage shouted, "Redacted!" Today, according to Meaker, another cease and desist has been delivered--for a play that was not included in That'swhatshesaid because it featured no women. Pike explained That'swhatshesaid thusly on her (closed) Kickstarter project page: Theatre has a big, patriarchy-shaped problem. Take a look at any large, established theatre's current season of work-- how many of their plays/musicals are written by women? How many female characters does each play/musical feature? Of the female characters presented, how many are integral to the plot? Are they integral to the plot because of their relationship to a man? What qualities do the female characters have? Are they complex? Stereotypical? Boring? That'swhatshesaid seeks to understand and make new discoveries about the current state of the female actor in popular theatre.

Read More...
posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
I'm in my semi-annual quest for new music. Looking for relatively fast-paced music sung in languages other than English. Bonus if I can purchase via Bandcamp (or any other site that does a (relatively) good job of getting money to musicians.For example, I just bought Daora- Underground Sounds of Urban Brasil. I'm open to all non-English languages and pretty much all genres. No need to stick to new releases either. (The language stipulation is so I can listen to music while dissertating - I find I lose track of sentences when I can follow the lyrics too easily... This actually might disqualify Korean language musicians but I'd be excited to get recommendations anyway!)

Read More...
posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
He's boring; he's unrelatable. He wears his underwear on the outside. But is that the real problem of Superman? It's a problem that has less to do with the character himself and more to with DC Comics, which found itself stuck with a flagship character it thought needed fixing. In trying, it broke him nearly beyond repair. Zack Snyder, however, will deny that the character needs fixing. After all, he didn't change Superman from his true canon version.

Read More...
posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
My recently deceased brother provided life insurance for my 17 year old niece, but neglected to set up a trust, so she will be in charge of the 6 figure insurance money next year when she turns 18. She is a good kid but we are concerned her limited experience could lead her to make some decisions she might later regret. She is a gifted writer and I am considering challenging her to accept my commission to conduct interviews with a number of adults about the events and decisions which most shaped their lives, write up her analysis of their stories and develop her plan for what to do with her life. It occurs to me that this project might benefit from a research phase and I would like suggestions for a recommended reading list for someone who is going to be in a position to make their own dreams come true. I am not looking for tax free municipal bond investment strategies. I am looking for advice on making life choices. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Read More...
posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
Do cautious mortgage lenders tend to use appraisers that value properties on the low end of the spectrum?I have had my house appraised 5 times since I bought it in 2004, for various reasons, and it has been valued all over the map. Granted, the mortgage crisis happened. But as I look at the history of these appraisals, I am also wondering if smaller lenders--like credit unions and savings banks--are more likely to have relationships with appraisers who value properties conservatively. Here's the breakdown: -2004: house valued pretty much at purchase price (we'll say this is $100,000). -Jan. 2007: appraised for home equity loan by national bank at $143,000. -Nov. 2008: appraised for refi (that we didn't end up doing) with a local savings bank at $117,000. -Nov. 2009: appraised for refi we did with a national bank at $128,000. -June 2013: appraised for refi (that we didn't end up doing) with a local credit union at $104. This is a relatively small, slow-moving real estate market, so some of the variation might simply have to do with whether truly comparable properties could be found nearby at the time. But looking at this pattern I also wonder if the national banks, since they spread their risk over a larger pool of properties, are more likely to work with appraisers that value homes higher than do smaller, local lenders. Is there anything to this hunch? The reason I ask: ideally I would like to refi soon, for 15 years fixed, and fold in the balance of the home equity loan. This will require that the house be appraised at a high enough level to maintain an 80% loan-to-value-ratio.

Read More...
posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
"Ed Koch once said that "to be a New Yorker you have to live here for six months, and if at the end of the six months you find you walk faster, talk faster, think faster, you're a New Yorker." On the search to find the realest answer (is it "until you cry on the subway"?), we decided to hit the pavement to ask locals to finish the sentence for us. "

Read More...