posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I have this Micro adult scooter and I want to ride it more. The only thing is that it moves too fast for my comfort - I don't feel in control of it. When I barely kick, it still goes for a while. Is there a way I can slow down my scooter? Can I (or a bike shop) adjust it somehow so it does this? I know nothing about mechanics, but I probably have or can get tools if necessary.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
It's been about four hundred years since the Imp Girls landed at Hot Lumpy Rock. Here's a map of what eventually became the Much Sass State. [avi: Orgy Pant Hobos]

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Leontyne Price is the legendary American soprano and the first African American to become a lead performer at the Metropolitan Opera. On Jan. 1st, 1985, at age 58, she sang her farewell performance on the Met Stage in the role of Verdi's Aida. In this highly emotional video from that night, she sings the iconic aria O Patria Mia and the audience responds with a rapturous applause. (slyt) The NYTIMES frontpage review of the evening.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
If you've walked past the corner of 7th Avenue South and Christopher Street in New York City, you might have noticed a little triangular mosaic in front of Village Cigars (Google streetview) that reads "Property of Hess Estate which has never been dedicated for public purposes ▽". This is the tiny "spite triangle" that marks a century-old grudge against New York City (Mentalfloss). At 500 square inches, it is the smallest piece of private property in the city (Atlas Obscura). Bonus: 10 NYC Streets from the Original Dutch Colonial Street Grid (Untapped Cities).

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Artist Christo has died. He and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, created massive environmental installations. previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Please share your advice and experiences visiting Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and/or Zion National Park!Due to necessity and opportunity, I will be passing through southern Utah in mid-June and I would like visit some or even all of the national parks. Of course, this depends on the current COVID situation in terms of openings and safety. I will have an annual pass to the national parks so that will be covered. Technically, I would visit all or spend a few days in just one or two. I like to hike, swim, and car camp. My goal right now is just to get my feet wet -- even just a day seeing one major site would suffice this time -- and come back one day to see more. I'll be coming up from the Grand Canyon in Arizona and heading to Colorado next. Please share any and all logistical tips and anecdotes from your trips. This will be my first time in Utah but certainly not my last. Thank you!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
This https://imgur.com/a/1Mt1gAN is the fixture on my patio. It's way too windy for a pendant, but I'd like to replace the glass globe with something more Moroccan-ish that casts shadows. Not having much luck with searching. Diameter is about 4" I think. Suggestions (including DIY) much appreciated!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
What are some examples of mass-printed books with handwritten text, similar to The Moosewood Cookbook (sample page) and Math for Smarty Pants (sample page)?I'm aware of this similar question from 11 years ago, but mine is a bit broader in scope. A mix of handwriting and type is fine, as in my second example, as long as the handwritten text is a significant fraction and not just a little bit of decoration.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I remember reading an article years ago that I can't find now. I think it was not a minor news article but instead a new piece of investigative journalism. I remember it having extensive context and background about the modeling world of the 90s, about John Casablancas, and about Donald Trump, through the lens of their exploitation of women.This article was probably in 2016 before the presidential election. Possibly in 2017 or so during MeToo. I do not think it was this article in the Daily Beast, as I think it was longer and as much about Casablancas as it was about Trump. I do not think it was this article in the Guardian, as I don't think the timing is right or that it was a book excerpt. I have a memory of it being on a website that had orange in its colors, but I don't think it was this Mother Jones article because the article was significantly about Casablancas. I also don't think it was thisor this from DailyKos because I think it was an article commissioned for an established company, not a blog post. Re-reading these now, it's possible it was the first of these, but I remember it being a more polished, official piece of writing. Does this ring a bell for anyone?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
How should we tackle a yard renovation featuring ivy, brush, and rocky soil?We have a home in New Jersey, USA, with a backyard that's 2/3rds lawn which is perfect for happy dogs and a vegetable garden, and 1/3 a brushy, ivy-covered, weedy, and rocky mess. The lawn is not golf course quality, retired-couple perfect. It's a mix of random grasses and clover and that's fine. It's green and pretty to us. We moved in 5 years ago and thought, "we'll deal with this eventually!" And with our work commutes eliminated until September, we have extra weekday time to spare. Eventually is now. Here is a satellite image of our yard, bordered in white. The red line is where the current lawn ends and the weediness begins. It's portioned off by a motley collection of rotted railroad ties and various bricks. We want to extend the lawn (random grasses and clover) to the green line and establish a new border, probably with new railroad ties or a line of new bricks. After the green line, the ground rises about 15% to meet the fence behind us. Since the green circles are trees, we're fine with just clearing out the ivy and planting some shrubs/bushes. No grass. Maybe spots of pollinator-friendly, dog friendly wildflowers. In a perfect world, it's perpetually mulched with interesting rocks and shrubs. But I'm fine with shrubs/bushes and exposed soil. Pics of the strip we want to redo: Pic 1 - large green ivied area beneath large tree | Pic 2 - mostly dead middle area | Pic 3 - maple sapling and other overgrown weeds. If you've tackled a project like this before, where should we even begin? Is it just "yep, pull the weeds and ivy, turn the soil, plant your grass and shrubs and good luck?" I'd strongly prefer not to use chemicals, because of the dogs. We have shovels, rakes, etc, but we have a hardware rental place nearby -- are there valuable time-and-back-saving tools that we can rent? Thank you!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Our apartment manager is a little drunk with power as she openly defends growers and smokers of "skunk pot" in our ancient building with antiquated ventilation. Many of our neighbors are suffering yet everyone is afraid of her. What are our options in a legalized state and how best deal with a manager who sees no inconsistency in libertarian views that don't include a renter's right to breathe clean air?We live in a fifty year-old apartment building in the middle of an intentional, conservation-oriented community comprised of apartments, condos, and some single-family homes. Our building has only two vents for 100 units so we know when anyone in our wing is having cauliflower for dinner or changing scented kitty-litter. An engineer neighbor has expressed concern that we're also breathing one-another's germs. We've accepted these intimacies with our beighbors but we're struggling with the increasing intrusion of skunk pot smell several times each day, for 30-40 minutes each time. It comes in through primarily through the plumbing holes in the walls whenever a grower turns on a grow light, fan and when they smoke. We know of at least 2 users on each floor. Often the lobby is so filled with it that we have to hold our breath while we get our mail and wait for the elevator. In our home we have three good air purifiers with carbon and HEPA filter but even with these turned full on we often have to wear our face masks to fix dinner or use the bathroom. This manager militantly supports both tobacco and pot and she adopts a stance of superiority when discussing our plight both with us and when speaking about us to maintenance staff. Though we voted for legalization (we had no clue at the time that such an offensive flavor exists) and we've tried to cope with this for more than a year on our own she portrays us as hyper-sensitive, intolerant, and generally un-cool--a quality she cannot abide. In casual conversations with neighbors we've met at least ten who are extremely bothered by the smell, one who may not renew her lease because of it alone. Because our manager is seen as a kind of "mean girl" these neighbors--many of whom are elderly and on a limited budget--are afraid to report any issues. When we must report a problem we adopt a sort of triage attitude and aesthetics take a back seat to safety. The manager also plays favorites with "cool" (smoking) neighbors treated as personal friends (facebook). Sadly, she's not above lying. When she said she's certain that no one is growing because she's inspected every apartment we cited a neighbor we know for a fact is growing. She just glared back before making a joke about her regret over taking our meeting. She knew it's illegal to smoke outside within a certain number of feet yet she refuses to inform a favorite of this fact. We're doing all we can on our own including filling plumbing holes with foam and supplying better furnace filters. Our manager pushed back even on the latter which confirms her bias since she has nothing to loose. We'd like to create an entertaining little flyer to let our smoking neighbors know some of us are bothered and to ask them to consider more edibles, their own purifiers, etc. A more popular neighbor warns us that the manager would not approve of this initiative. We've tended to be people-pleasers slow to claim our space. We don't want to do anything inappropriate or intrusive while at the same time we see this as an opportunity to do our own work, be the change... Any insights concerning this and any other ideas would be a big help. To smoking Mefites who feel an impulse to defend your way kindly consider that our ask is about balancing a preponderance of that energy already present in the situation. This is something we're breathing in, living in, without none of the benefits. Medical history makes a "join them" approach impossible. One of us is disabled with lung damage not from smoking and we've already had to explain the smell in our clothing to a nurse. For now we just want to go about our lives without the almost constant smell of rancid skunk and the stuffy nose and difficulty breathing.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Main requirements are that the method be discrete and persistent (not easily disabled), would prefer other features as well (e.g., see what is on their screen when in use)I have a relative who has mental disabilities and lately has been displaying some concerning emotions about wanting to run away because they believe they can live independently (I won't get into details here since this isn't the topic of the post, but it is very certain that they cannot live independently based on their disabilities and care needs). This person lives with their legal guardians, and up until this point has not had these types of tendencies, so this is all quite new. We are of course seeking help for this person and attempting to deal with these issues as best we can, but I'm trying to help the guardians install some sort of tracking software on the person's iPhone, just in case of a worst-case scenario. The main requirement is that it always provide access to the phone's location, but additional features would be nice (i.e., able to see what they are doing on their screen, who they are contacting, etc.). Being able to directly see what is on the screen when in-use would be best, as we know the person uses different messaging apps, rather than standard text messages. We know that "find my friends" can be enabled to provide tracking, but the person may catch on that this is enabled and turn it off. I've done some googling, but there are so many different offers (some of which seem quite expensive), so I'd like to hear anyone's personal recommendations for this type of software.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I live in a rental property. About two or three years ago, I planted some lavender in front of the porch. I'm thinking about trying to take it with me when I move out.It's currently about a foot and a half tall, although individual stalks are longer. Normally, I would just leave it - however, the landlord hires the worst people to do lawn care. These people weed whacked the other lavender plants, cut down the rose bush and the grape vine, and just generally can't be trusted to leave any plant alone. One year they weed whacked my labeled tomato plants! I'd be sad if this little lavender just got chopped down once I'm gone so I'm considering digging it up and transplanting it to my new house. But I have no idea if that's a reasonable thing to try. If trying to do that would likely kill it, I'll leave it. If it requires a backhoe, I'll leave it. What do you think? Can you transplant a lavender?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
My lawn needs help. I do not have money to throw at the problem. Simple and/or inventive solutions sought.I am sure some of you will shake your heads at what will sound like a ridiculous Ask, given the limitations. Just bear with me here. Recently I got a complaint from the HOA board that my lawn is ugly and needs care. They aren't an especially stringent HOA, but nevertheless my lawn has been deemed disreputable. Okay, fine. It is. Unfortunately the times being what they are, I am not in a position to be able to fix the sprinkler system or have the lawn graded and re-sodded, which is their ideal. To head off protests regarding my compliance with the HOA guidelines, no, this isn't a neighborhood like some, where the HOA fees are huge and swarms of anonymous lawn people show up weekly and prune and tend everything down to the last grass blade, while homeowners retreat to their living rooms and the cat hides from the masked guy tearing past the window on a huge roaring lawn machine. People are pretty relaxed here. So my goal is just to make the lawn nice enough, in a way that I can maintain by myself, to avoid another such letter. The lawn, located in central Florida, is part of a property of about a thousand square feet, and dominated by a large curved driveway, splitting the area into a back part and a smaller front part. There is a regular straight driveway, as well, that is connected to the curved driveway. There is lawn next to the straight driveway. The most visible parts of the lawn, therefore, are the area in front of the curved driveway, the lawn next to the straight driveway, and one more forlorn patch that is tiny but which manages to grow the most tall, enthusiastic weeds on the entire lot, for whatever reason. All of these visible areas need to be addressed, the sooner the better. The problems: brown patches, weeds, and a general parched look to everything: the whole front yard is relentlessly pounded by the sun. Even the aloe plants I planted out there suffered until I finally moved them to a more shaded area in the back. I need quick fixes on how to remedy the brown patches, at the very least, and ideas on how to tidy up overall without spending a lot of money, and preferably have it be projects I can do by myself. So I am here looking for quick tips, websites and resources which cater to the frugal, and suggestions on what plants to buy that would be happy in the merciless bright light, such as prickly pear. I can rig a hose to a sprinkler and get the worst parts of the lawn with that a few times a week, as I know the lack of water is a major issue. Thanks for all input and suggestions.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Centroid Towns is an anthology documentary project using photography, oral history interviews, and local archive research to study the twenty-five cities that have been the mean center of population of the United States. This symbolic center is calculated every ten years to accompany the U.S. Census, first located in 1790 near Chestertown, Maryland, and moving steadily westward, currently residing near Plato, Missouri. The project puts a face to statistical data, chronicling these towns and their inhabitants to illuminate the ongoing social and political transformation of America. A centroid is the geometric center of a flat region -- the point where you could balance the region on the tip of a pin. If the flat region is not uniform in density (i.e. heaver at some points), the centroid moves accordingly. If we imagine the US population as equal points of mass on a flat map, then the centroid would represent the center of population. About the project: Centroid Towns is an anthology documentary project creating a portrait of the towns tagged by this coordinate over the years. My project uses this idea of the "symbolic center" of the country as a fulcrum to examine the challenges facing the United States. The twenty-five towns are Chestertown MD, Ellicott City MD, Waterford VA, Wardensville WV, Cabins WV, Buckhannon WV, Burning Springs WV, Beaver OH, Hillsboro OH, Hebron KY, Westport IN, Elizabethtown IN, Bloomington IN, Spencer IN, Linton IN, Carlisle IN, Dundas IL, Ingraham IL (method of computation shift), Shattuc IL, Mascoutah IL, De Soto MO, Steelville MO, Edgar Springs MO, Plato MO, and Hartville MO (projected). I have photographed in all twenty-five project cities and am currently working on long-term fieldwork in six of them, with additional fieldwork under development. The chapters of the project completed to date examine the environmental impact of overdevelopment, historical legacies of colonial settlers, the changing face of industrial manufacturing, the evolution of American Christianity, economic pressures created by corporations on small business, and civic engagement in small towns. Interview with artist Nate Larson about the Centroid Towns project. Artist's webpage of other works. Map of the moving center of population, 1790-2010. US Census explanation of centroid towns. Visit the Centroids (26 hours by car) Dynamic graph (GeoGebra) showing what a centroid is. [Move points around and/or make them "heavier", see the centroid move.] Find the center of population of your state. Where is the geometric center of Texas?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Can you please recommend me some women's leggings that are very high-waisted? Like, up to my ribcage high. Preferably cotton. Must not roll down. For wearing under dresses or long shirts.I ask because any sort of waistband constriction on my stomach around my belly button makes me vomit. (Yes, I am seeing a doctor about that, including getting scoped from both ends in June.) I already tried going low but then the waistband ends up pulling halfway down my ass when I sit. I am not interested in a bodysuit or any other option that would require that much undressing to pee. I am not interested in any sort of tummy-shaping functionality. I want as little pressure on my stomach as possible while still covering my legs and crotch. I've gained a lot of weight recently so I don't know what my current dress size is, but I measured a 44" inch waist at belly button level while totally relaxed. Thanks!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
How have you gained personal benefit from a formal professional diagnosis of high-functioning autism / Asperger's?Well that's it on the tin. For some years, I have felt that I have features of Asperger's but not fully sought assessment. I don't see it necessary for the substance of the question to discuss those features further. I have achieved high levels of personal and professional success and have no substantial impairment that needs rectification by social or medical services. And yet, this question recurs to me that I am unsure needs resolution. What benefits have you found personally from a formal diagnosis?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
When can we touch again?I started dating a guy shortly before quarantine hit. It is fresh and new and early. We are not exclusive; we are strictly in the getting-to-know-each-other camp and that's it. When this all started we stopped all physical contact and have only had a couple of distance hangouts. We are not touching at all and are hardly seeing each other, though we are still talking daily. My absolute number one priority in this situation is keeping the high risk people in my life safe. We are each still seeing our parents and I would never forgive myself if I got someone sick because I was careless, even a stranger. Please assume that we are each following every precaution and are dealing with a challenging situation in the best way we can. He is also VERY concerned. He is working remotely and is not even grocery shopping to be as careful as possible. We cannot keep this up forever. We are either going to stop seeing each other or we are going to have to find a way to see each other safely. We would each really, really like to start seeing each other more properly. It is heartbreaking to have someone directly in front of you and not be able to touch. Which gets me to my question - how? How do we know when it's safe? We are in New York state and on the cusp of tier 2. The cases have really stabilized. I know there are going to be a range of opinions here, but how can we gauge when it is safe to start seeing each other more often again? I would like to agree on an extra set of precautions we will both take, i.e. not going to restaurants or gatherings, ordering groceries, etc. Obviously we will have to discuss this and agree on what we need to do and what we can basically sacrifice while all of this is going on. We also have access to regular testing. We are both going to get antibodies tests, and I think I will start getting tested for the virus regularly, especially before I see my family (my parents have some health issues and I need to see them - please don't question this). I will only go if the test is negative, especially as we approach a second wave. But is that enough? What else we can do? I am especially interested in answers that provide research to back up how we can best handle this challenging situation. Thanks in advance.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
For me, getting strong by lifting heavy weights has been easy. Just 30 minutes of moderate work three times per week and I can deadlift 355 #. It's easy and I can easily see the results. On the other hand, to me cardio suuuucks, and it's really hard to measure any meaningful progress. So is there an equivalent for cardio where you can do easy or moderate work for a moderate amount of time and still see improvement?What I'm really looking for is some kind of exercise that I can do on the dates when I'm not lifting, but a type of exercise that is easy and impactful so I'll stick with it. It can't be more lifting because I'm resting my muscles on those days. And I prefer if there's some kind of goal or progress I can see. Part of the problem is I don't even know what cardio improvement looks like. I guess it would be nice if I could get my 5K time below 30 minutes but I don't really care that much so it's not very motivating to me. So part of this question is "what can I measure to help me care about the kind of cardio that you're recommending?" It can't be something that requires driving somewhere because that adds too much time — a 20 minute sprinting workout would actually take me an hour because I have to drive somewhere with enough space where I'm not trespassing. It can't require a going to a gym because coronavirus. I don't enjoy yoga so I don't stick with it. Something like punching bag routines sounds interesting because I can do it at home, but I don't know how to measure progress so it's not very motivating.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
How RuneScape is helping Venezuelans survive [Runescape] "Against this cataclysmic economic and societal backdrop, millions of people have fled the country in search of better lives, with many more desperately trying to find their own means of escape. In November 2019, the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants reached 3 million. Those who remain in the country have been forced to find innovative ways to survive. While some craft bags out of worthless bolivars — Venezuelan currency — to sell at markets, others look to a virtual land of opportunity, spending hours in front of computer screens and mobile phones hunting green dragons* in the online multiplayer role-playing game RuneScape."*A quick and common way to earn vast amounts of RuneScape's currency, gold, is to kill "Green Dragons." Players can collect items dropped by the dragons and sell them on the in-game marketplace for "gold." Then, this gold can be sold on third-party sites for money that works in the real world (often in the form of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin). • Venezuela's paper currency is worthless, so its people seek virtual gold [The Economist] "Lately, though, MMORPGs have had a nostalgia-fuelled comeback, and gold farmers in crisis-hit Venezuela have been quick to profit. Their assiduity irks other players. It has degraded the buying power of gold coins on the Grand Exchange, a RuneScape market where players can buy virtual necessities such as coal, maple logs, scimitars and green dragon hides (which can be turned into armour). When Venezuela suffered nationwide power cuts this year, sales of these goods nosedived. That is because "farmers" without electricity could not produce any gold, and the lack of virtual coin forced up the prices of imaginary kit. Two years ago a Reddit user who calls himself Cerael published a racially abusive guide on how to kill Venezuelans in the "player-v-player" places where gold farming occurs. Moderators removed the post and the intemperate comments on it. Jagex, RuneScape's British developer, has banned real-world trading and intermediary websites. This month the company won a lawsuit that put two gold farming websites out of business. Yet the industry will not die. Although developers want the games to be competitions of skill and dedication, illicit markets will form wherever supply and demand exist (a truth that is lost on Venezuela's socialist leaders). When one intermediary website is shut down, a new one pops up to replace it." • The Runescape Players Who Farm Gold So They Don't Starve To Death [Kotaku] ""The truth is, there are people who, if they did not play, they could not eat and would die of hunger," a former Runescape farmer who wished to remain anonymous told me on Facebook. "I have friends who play daily, and if they do not play, they do not eat that day." More and more Venezuelans are growing wise to the benefits of gold farming. Earlier this year, a local newspaper published an article on the process. Runescape players, meanwhile, continually report seeing dozens of gold farmers crowding up locations like the Blast Mine and East Dragons. This has resulted in growing tensions, with players doing everything from regularly demanding that developer Jagex ban all gold farmers to publishing a guide that helps other players more effectively hunt, kill, and insult farmers. The author of the guide, which received 1,613 upvotes and 769 comments on the Old-School Runescape subreddit, claimed they did it facetiously, but it still divided a portion of Runescape 2007's community along very sharp lines. "I never thought I'd see a guide on how to efficiently kill poor people," read one response. "Literal humanitarian crisis going on there. People starving to death. [The guide's author] thinks it's a good plan to not only kill them but to taunt them in their own language and [teabag] them on return... That's some pretty asshole shit right there," read another."

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey (1875 – 1905), styled Lord Paget until 1880 and Earl of Uxbridge between 1880 and 1898, and nicknamed "Toppy", was a British peer who was notable during his short life for squandering his inheritance on a lavish social life and accumulating massive debts. Regarded as the "black sheep" of the family, he was dubbed "the dancing marquess" and for his Butterfly Dancing, taken from Loie Fuller, where a voluminous robe of transparent white silk would be waved like wings. He inherited some £73m. But in the space of just over five years, he had blown the lot, been declared bankrupt, and died from complications of tuberculosis in Monte Carlo. Newspapers in March 1905 declared his death a "wasted life". Paget's style has often been compared to that of Freddie Mercury. (via) Previously on M-F

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I'm looking for a book I had as a kid. It was passed down from my brothers, so it was probably from the late 50s or early 60s. I can't remember the name of the book, but it was like a how things work type of book for young adults with color illustrations and descriptions of various things.It was an oversize book but only about a half inch thick. If you are familiar with book Reader's Digest These United States, it was about that size but not as thick. Some things that stick out in my mind: - It had a description and illustration of how a manual transmission worked. - The section on space travel featured color illustrations of 50s era Von Braun ferry rocket and doughnut shaped space station. - It had a color illustration of a whaling vessel complete with a whale being processed. That's about all I can remember other than I enjoyed reading this book. My brothers and I all don't talk to each other so I can't ask them if they remember the title. I figured I'd give AskMe a try.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I'll be 30 next year and it feels like it might be the right milestone to use to make the leap and change my first name. I've considered this for a while and I think it's something that would be great for my life. First step: do Internet Strangers think my chosen new name suits me?My given/birth/current name is three syllables, markedly feminine, and I dislike it. I dislike the actual sounds of the syllables and find them ugly, and actually difficult for me to pronounce. I stumble over introducing myself. I have ugly memories of it being used as a tool for bullying when I was a kid (even though there's nothing actually weird or wrong about it). There are English words that sound a bit like it that I don't like the associations of. I dislike the social/cultural associations that go along with it- the kind of person that people would assume would have a name like this: very British, very girly, quite posh/upper class; not how I see myself. I dislike that it's risen in popularity in recent years so it now seems like a little girl's name. There aren't any abbreviations or nicknames that go with it that I like, and the full name is so long and cumbersome. I don't enjoy hearing it; when people call my name I wince. The name I have chosen is Ray. I like that it's not super feminine, and, while it is usually a man's name, it's not particularly masculine either. I like the simplicity of a single syllable. I prefer that it starts with a consonant rather than a vowel, which would make it easier to say for me. I can imagine introducing myself with ease and pleasure: "Hi, I'm Ray". It sounds good, positive, simple and strong. I like that it corresponds to the word meaning "beam of light". I like that there are interesting people with this name like Ray Charles, Ray Davies, and Ray Bradbury. I like that it's not a trendy or popular name. I like the way it sounds with my two-syllable surname. I like that if someone had a problem with a woman having a man's name they could mentally parse it as "Rae" short for Rachel. I like the self-definition of choosing my name and not just going along with my given name for the sake of not hurting my parents' feelings. I like Ray! So, internet strangers: could you take a look at these recent photos of me and tell me, all this being said, if the person in the photos looks like they could be a Ray to you? Thanks!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I am separating a significant number of staff next week as part of downsizing at a large company. I will be doing each call individually over Zoom (given WFH/covid). I will be on video. The separated person can be video/audio (their choice). Thoughts on how to make video conference separations as professional as possible, and, to extent possible, as emotionally less stressful for the impacted staff.To be clear - having to separate folks is the worst, but necessary, part of my job. I don't enjoy it - but I'd rather tell my people face to face than someone they don't know. I believe I'm an empathetic person and try and handle each separation with as much professionalism and understanding as possible. But doing this during WFH, knowing they may have spouses/kids/roommates/others in the same room or earshot is hard. And I've never done video separations before (of the 20-30 I've done before it's all been in-person). Within the limits of what I can do (realizing separations are highly structured conversations), wondering if anyone has advice on things that will help the separated person (and also me if I'm honest). We have a separation script which I essentially have to follow in terms of wording (we've already been advised to expect some impacted staff to record the video and post it to YouTube - apparently that's a thing nowadays - so we have a very specific script including how to handle objections/questions etc). We have several thousand staff being separated - I'll have a large number. So really I am looking for suggestions on how to make this as professional as possible, while respecting the impacted person will be WFH and that is brutal for them given it crosses the barrier between work and home. Some random thoughts I'm planning: 1. Have a very plain, well lit, video background (we've already been advised not to have any personal items in our background especially family photos etc - again because we expect some people will record the sessions and post them online). 2. Even through its work from home - have a business shirt on (no tie or jacket) - to at least give the impacted professional the curtesy of me being dressed professionally and recognizing this is a tough and important conversation. 3. Being on early to each call by 5 mins so if they join early the entire call is as quick for them as possible. My part is the first 5-10 minutes and then a HR rep will also be on to go through severance packages etc. I will be leaving at that point to give the professional privacy as their individual package is communicated and they also questions about it. 4. At the start letting them know it is going to be a difficult call and giving them time to move rooms or get a glass of water if they need it. Also asking them if they have a pen and paper in case they need to take notes. 5. Being very direct and careful in my language And not using platitudes (e.g. no "I'm sure you'll be just fine!", etc.) 6. Taking time after each call to freshen up and take a break - both for myself and to make sure each call is not rushed, I'm fresh, and the call is not just "the next off the queue". Any other thoughts?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
How do I make a reasonable cappuccino with a Mr Coffee Maker?I was gifted a Mr Coffee Maker Cafe Barista Espresso Machine. We made a cappuccino and it was...flavorless? Flat? Boring? Watery? I don't know - just terrible. We are still sheltering in place, and I won't be able to have a real live espresso drink for many weeks/possibly months. Is there anything I can do to get a decent cappuccino out of this machine?

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