posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
I am currently a high-school science teacher in the UK. I have recently had the crazy idea of pursuing a PhD in Education, part-time (and online) at a prestigious university (ranked top-5 in the world overall, if you are one to listen to rankings), while I continue my work as a teacher.It is in a research area that I have been interested in since I decided to become a teacher almost 5 years ago, and I would potentially collect data for my research at the school where I teach. I want to be involved in classroom research, but don't feel that I have the research background to undertake it (Ben Goldacre wrote a short essay about the type of research I am interested in here), and I feel having a PhD would give me the skills I need to pursue this type of research in the future. I feel that my work as a teacher would complement the research I would like to pursue, and vice-versa. I recently contacted a professor with a 4-page research proposal, and he seemed receptive to the work I am interested in pursuing. I have completed a research masters in the past (in physics), so I have some experience with research, but I also vividly remember how stressful the situation was (exacerbated by loneliness and a demanding supervisor). I may just be crazy though. I have a girlfriend who I live with, and I like to go out some weekends, and generally enjoy having a life. The school suggests the program takes 3-7 years to complete, so I understand it's a huge undertaking. I also understand that I can be involved in classroom research without an advanced research degree, and it may not necessarily be compatible with my career goals (helping bridge research with classroom teaching is what I have in mind, so my end goal is not necessarily to become a professor, though I won't rule it out). So, am I crazy? Is this reasonable? Is this feasible?!

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posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
Almaz's story.

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posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
Pay the Piper -- Where Todos Fight Distractions! [via mefi projects]

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posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
In Before The Law, Jennifer Gonnerman, writing for The New Yorker, tells the story of Kalief Browder, who was unjustly accused of taking a backpack. He spent the next three years on Rikers Island before the charges were dismissed.

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posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
Ed , by illustrator Chris Jones. Ed's eye. Ed's eyeball. Making of. From the artist: Well, there's Sigma 2 subsurface scattering on the sclera, which blends into a Dielectric shader (not my preference, but that was the only way I could get a transparent blend working with Sigma 2). The SSS dulls the veins image map, so to counter that I had to crank the map contrast up and the gamma down and add a second veins image in the "Scattered Colour" channel . The iris is just a plain image/bump map, and there's a bump on the sclera of course. That's the main gist of it...

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posted about 20 hours ago on metafilter
Watch Christian and Maria make candy During their stay in Amsterdam, Christian Mayer and Maria Scholz discovered an artisanal candy shop - and were mesmerized. They abandoned their previous jobs (in a law firm and on stage, as a singer) in order to learn from a German manufacturer how to make traditional boiled sweets. German language article. Now they own a tiny sweet shop in the center of Vienna that invites customers to watch how candy is made, and to offer their own designs.

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posted about 21 hours ago on metafilter
I grew up in a toxic family. I have cut off contact from most members, but they go to great lengths to find me. This is mentally distressing and sometimes I want to give up. How can I keep them away from me? How can I get past this shame and abuse, especially if I am unable to afford therapy? How do I (not) tell people about my family relationships? Anon for privacy reasons, more detail and snowflakes below the fold.I grew up in a toxic family. My father, often so drunk he pissed the floor, molested me. My mother spent her days and nights drunk, and would verbally abuse me, and sometimes lock me in my bedroom without food or human contact for days as punishment. My parents often had screaming, physical fights, and those often involved a sibling. This sibling also physically and verbally abused me, threatening me with knives and guns, and telling me that I was a worthless, fat, loser. I long viewed my mother as a victim, but when I told her about my father's molestation, she responded "I knew, but what was I supposed to do?" (This is too much shame to bear, and I have not even told my supportive partner about this). To add to it all, a few years later, I found out that she and my father had been using my information to open lines of credit, report income, etc., that have tanked my credit, cost me a lot in IRS bills, and stress. I have cut off contact from my parents for several years and remain in casual contact with the sibling who has drug/addiction problems because I want to maintain a relationship with that sibling's young children if they come to me in case of overdose or death. I have filed reports with the IRS for identity theft. I have moved several states away. I have been fortunate to have a couple of years of therapy that helped me with some tools for dealing with stress and also made me realize that my upbringing was harder than most, which I hadn't ever really realized. (I guess I was broken down enough to go into a survival mode rather than reflect). Writing it out here seems unreal but it was my reality for many years. I am in my 30s now, and recently finished a prestigious graduate program with younger kids whose parents are on the admissions board of the Ivy Leagues and have summer homes in the Hamptons. I am proud of myself, but really struggling right now. Being around so many elite people drove home how screwed up my upbringing was, and has tanked my self-esteem. I am lucky to have a supportive partner, but don't talk with them much about this stuff and don't want to turn them into my therapist. I am unable to afford therapy currently. My family has had an upsurge in trying to contact me, and the stress is too much to take. I am getting married next year, and this brings up inevitable questions of my family. I am exhausted answering questions about them and why they won't come to the wedding, why we're not involved, etc. I don't know what, if any, legal actions I can take to keep them away from me. I have recently received more IRS letters for fraudulent back taxes. I am at the end of my rope, overwhelmed, and sad. I think that if I knew I could be _done_ with the family, I could stop feeling so hunted, physically and mentally, and feel a lot better. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to really cut off ties from my family, whether to continue the relationship with my delusional and troubled sibling, and how to move on in my life.

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posted about 21 hours ago on metafilter
I made a gluten free, wonderful pizza last night, left it on the counter covered tightly-ish with a clean dishtowel and I want to eat it for breakfast (lunch?) It has mozzarella cheese, avocado, kale, and red sauce with very well cooked (baked then boiled in the sauce) chicken on it. I'm mostly worried about the avocado, which was pretty mushy last night. It's been on the cutting board and covered for about 14 hours. Will I die? I'm hungry.

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posted about 21 hours ago on metafilter
What small steps/actions do you take to increase your daily happiness/contentment? I'm interested in practices that can be easily adopted in a full life of work, exercise, home & health care.

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posted about 21 hours ago on metafilter
Hosegame 2014 (bonus content: border collie agility fail)

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posted about 21 hours ago on metafilter
Southern Gothic: Hunting for the peculiar soul of Georgia

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posted about 22 hours ago on metafilter
Help me understand how to make trans-inclusive games.Up front: I apologize if anything I say in this question uses insensitive terminology. I appreciate any corrections / tips. That said: I design and publish board games. It's important to me that these games be as inclusive as possible, in terms of gender, race, sexuality, etc. In most cases, I have a decent idea of how to accomplish this; it's not hard to make it a point to include a diverse cast in any art that is created, or include flavor text that indicates two women are married, etc. Where this becomes more difficult for me is transgender people. I'm struggling to figure out how to include them in a way that doesn't feel really hamfisted. Unlike race, I don't think this is something that can come across via art (and in fact, any such attempt feels fraught with offensiveness). At the same time, I don't know how to work that information into flavor text without it feeling like each person represented in the game is being assigned a "gender identity" statistic. How do I include transgender people in a game in a way that just lets them be people like anyone else, but without them being functionally invisible?

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posted about 22 hours ago on metafilter
Hey, remember when the Supreme Court ruled that every religion needs to have a shot at opening a legislative session with a prayer? Well, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for David Suhor, Agnostic Pagan Pantheist. Wait, where are you going?

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posted about 22 hours ago on metafilter
I have always been really bad at really simple games, like the ones where there are generally sound mathematical strategies for playing the optimal game. I'd like to compile a little mental rolodex of simple games and their solutions so I can feel smugly superior to any small children who seek to challenge me.For instance, tic tac toe has an optimal gameplay strategy. I imagine there's a smarter way to play battleship than to just guess at spaces. And probably the dots game (the one where you make the squares) has some strategy, too. What are other games like this? What are their solutions? I'd also be interested in hearing about mods to other games that make them more strategic and interesting. (Like for instance, I like to trade resource futures when I play Settlers. It opens the game up to gambling and risk.) Really interested to see what you guys come up with!

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posted about 22 hours ago on metafilter
Wolves in Wyoming are once again being protected under the Endangered Species Act, just two years after those protections were taken away. A federal judge's ruling last week found the state's management plan for the animal "inadequate and un-enforceable." In February, NPR's Nate Rott took a comprehensive look at the wolf situation in the Western U.S. A brief history of wolf restoration in Yellowstone. Previously 1, 2.

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
Help me put together a circus/carnival themed Halloween costume for a pub crawl.My good friend R and I have been organizing pub crawls (aka "Whiskey Walks") with friends in NYC every 3-6 months for the past several years now. Our next crawl will be on October 25th, and R, who is a fancy lady who loves fanciness, has insisted that we impose a costume theme on the attendees, and has further insisted that the costume theme be "Circus/Carnival." We did a themed crawl a few years back, but it was "the Wild West," so boots and a hat and a gingham shirt were all I needed to not get in trouble. This one, however, is throwing me for a loop. I don't even know where to begin. Help! Relevant details: - I'm a 6'5" guy who's rangy enough (170 lbs., 36L suit size) that it's nearly impossible for me to find shirts and jackets off the rack that fit me, including vintage. - This will be a pub crawl, so intricacy, delicacy, and fussiness are to be avoided at all costs. - Must be comfortable to walk in, warm enough to wear outside in late October in NYC, have some place to store a wallet, etc. - I'm cheap(ish), and would prefer not to shell out for costume elements that I'll never wear again. Everything less than $50 would be awesome. - Neither I nor my wife can be relied upon to do anything even remotely competent with makeup, although I'm game if you've got a good suggestion. So what the heck can I do with this?

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
Thru You Too has been released. Kutiman's followup to his landmark video album Thru You, Thru You Too is made up entirely of sampled musicians from YouTube, none of whom with any prior knowledge of the project. Previously and previously.

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
I have a multi-stop plane ticket that takes me (a US citizen) to Ho Chi Minh city by way of several other places. I am not planning to go all the way to Vietnam - I'm planning to throw away the rest of the ticket upon arrival in Rome. It's my understanding I *would* need a visa (or written approval for a visa upon arrival) if I were to go to Vietnam. Will airport check-in agents on the earlier flights want to see that I have a visa or VOA letter for Vietnam?The flight to HCMC is several days after I arrive in Rome (my actual final destination). I have already booked return travel on a different ticket. The airline in question is Alitalia. The originating airport is JFK. Anything else I should consider? When is the best time to cancel the rest of the ticket? I was planning on arriving in Rome and then cancelling the rest of the ticket, but if there's a good practical reason to cancel earlier, I'm open to it. Is it worth it to just spend a few bucks on a VOA letter just in case?

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
I've got rats in my walls. They are avoiding both the poison bait (two types) and the traps that I set in the crawlspace. What do I do now? Getting a cat is not an option. I have a terrier, but the rats don't seem to come out during the day, so he never catches them.We appear to have a rat's nest in the walls of my outbuilding (which has crawlspace, but does not have an attic.) There is only one human entry point to the crawlspace, which is quite narrow and difficult for me to traverse, so I started out fighting the rats by simply putting poison and traps in the entry area which is easily reachable to me. They never touched the traps, but did eat a bunch of poison. Unfortunately, while the poison appears to have killed some rats, it did not kill all of them, and the rats that remain are now avoiding both the traps and the poison. Not sure what to do next. Perhaps cut a small entry hole into the wall where they are living and spray something in there? Remove the electrical outlet wall covers and drop some poison chunks directly into the walls? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! PS. I know that the best thing would be to seal all the entry points that rats are using to enter the outbuilding. Unfortunately, there's not really any way to do this, because the foundation of the outbuilding does not go deeply enough into the ground, and the rats just tunnel underneath it. I plug a tunnel every morning.

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
Privilege and oppression explained through math - specifically, matrices and Venn diagrams.

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
I have some sheets I love (they are white with little dinosaurs on them), but they get dingy really fast and look dirty even when I've just washed them (they're pretty cheap but they make me happy). Seriously, even when they were new they looked kind of dingy after sleeping on them for two nights. What's the best way to get them as clean and white as possible without fading the dinosaurs?I'm hesitant to use bleach because I don't want the dinosaurs to fade but I hate that even when I've just taken my sheets out of the laundry they look like they need to be washed. Is there a specific detergent or other product that would make the white sheets look crisp and clean and new without anything fading? The sheets are 100% cotton. Thanks!

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
After the birth of our first child in 2012, my wife and I looked at our lifestyle and decided we just didn't feel safe getting out on the roads anymore now that we had our little guy. But we still loved road cycling and certainly didn't want to give it up. Cycling in America is often unsafe, not to say downright dangerous. Luckily this plucky Texan couple found the perfect and quintessentially American solution.

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
Rodney Durham stopped working in 1991, declared bankruptcy and lives on Social Security. Nonetheless, Wells Fargo lent him $15,197 to buy a used Mitsubishi sedan. "I am not sure how I got the loan," Mr. Durham, age 60, said. Mr. Durham's application said that he made $35,000 as a technician at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y., according to a copy of the loan document. But he says he told the dealer he hadn't worked at the hospital for more than three decades. Now, after months of Wells Fargo pressing him over missed payments, the bank has repossessed his car. _______________ The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old's asthma was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start. The cause was not a mechanical problem — it was her lender. _______________ This is the face of the new subprime boom. More on subprime auto loans from Forbes, Quartz and a series of bubble-denial articles in the Washington Post.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Nail polish remover could get it off the tile, but the grout stays peskily stained. What should I try next?Was painting my daughter's nails for her (she's 6) and dropped the bottle, dumping a ton of blue nail polish all over the tile floor. Speed + nail polish remover seems to have gotten it all off the tile, but neither soaking in remover (the acetone kind) nor scrubbing with a scratchy kind of cleanser seem able to get rid of the last 10% of blue color on the grout. Thoughts, products, suggestions, commiseration?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Soon after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin more than two years ago, George's loyal family learned that sharing his name meant sharing the blame. It also meant a surreal new life filled with constant paranoia, get- rich-quick schemes, and lots and lots of guns. Amanda Robb meets the Zimmerman family and finds out what it's like being related to the most hated free man in America.

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