posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Asking for a friend: I need some help navigating the prison system. I have a cousin who is in federal prison in West Virginia. He was taken out to have surgery, and we have not heard from him in about a month or so. I've tried calling the prison several times and have sent an email, but have not heard anything. We're very worried about his health and want to find out what is going to make sure that he is getting appropriate care. However, at this point I'm just hitting walls. Any advice or other help to navigate this system would be very much appreciated! Thank you so much in advance for you help!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Alexis Okeowo in the New Yorker on West Africa's most daring designer: Osakwe's collection earlier this year was inspired by what she described as a "middle-class Nigerian girl going on a booty call." In Lagos, that girl usually travels by the yellow danfo buses that career through the streets, and has practical problems to consider..."What is seduction to her? It's not a pretty journey," Osakwe said. "How does that middle-class girl get it on? Because sex is so taboo, but we know we're all fucking like rabbits." The answer, Osakwe reasoned, is clothing that is erotic but protective—not a short skirt and heels but a long, strapless red dress, evoking the traditional wrapper, that can easily be dropped in the act of seduction. Though she hesitates to tell Nigerian buyers that she draws inspiration from sex workers, clients see her clothes as an illicit escape: a chance to feel more exciting, less restrained. The designer's site, where you can see the Fall Collection. Maki Oh in Vogue.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Following a tease on Instagram last night, it's been confirmed that HBO placed a pilot order for a Watchmen series. Somewhat controversial screenwriter Damon Lindelof heads the writing room. Watchmen was long thought to be unfilmable, but that didn't stop commercial director Zack Snyder from giving it a shot in 2009. It's shaping up to be a busy year for the Watchmen; as Dr. Manhattan said, "Nothing ever ends."

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
To wrap up the discussions of Pournelle and his ilk and the so-called "golden age" of SF, here's an interesting essay.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I've just bought a refurbished laptop to replace the former-job-assigned Mac that was my travel computer. It's adorable. And tiny. I have no idea what half its specs mean, and probably don't need to, but... what can I do with my new widget?Tech Details: It's a Dell Lattitude E7240 12.5" Ultrabook, Intel Core i5-4300U Dual-Core, 128GB Solid State Drive, 8GB DDR3, 802.11n with Win 10 Pro. I've got lots of experience with Win 7 and XP. (I desperately miss XP's search function; I use Agent Ransack now.) I can barely operate a Mac. Never worked with Win 10. My most hardcore computer use is document processing; I do some video games, but nothing high-performance that I'd want on a 12" screen. Current often-used software: Word, Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, Firefox, Chrome, Skype, Slack, Dropbox, Steam, Notepad, Paint, and more obscure things like Calibre, Sigil, Scrivener. I run into production hangups from multiple browser tabs more than anything else. I mostly want to do web browsing, doc editing in Word or something similar, and maybe watch videos. LibreOffice, Calligra, Atlantis, even an older version of AbiWord are possibilities. (I'd buy Word if they still sold it without a subscription.) I want to avoid production software that requires cloud access - I use g'docs, but they're not a replacement for Word. Questions (any feedback welcome): What can I expect for battery life? (With and without wi-fi active.) I expect to use this in a lot of public places - coffee shops, airports, hotels, etc. Any special suggestions related to that? Could I comfortably run my normal software set, if I had them all installed? If not, what limits should I expect? This one is dual-core; my current laptop (an Alienware monster, albeit a few years old) is quad-core; am I going to notice the difference in anything other than video games? Any tips on getting used to the touchpad? (I use a trackball mouse. Should I just expect to use one of my USB slots for mousing, or are there ways to learn speed and accuracy with a touchpad?) Any special tips about substitute software? I can do the pros-and-cons searching, but won't know things like, "don't bother with GIMP because the menu windows will be too big to work with." Security software suggestions are welcome. I have a MalwareBytes subscription on my main computer, and Avast's free version. 128 GB is a much smaller drive than I'm used to. I have portable drives and cloud options; any tips about what needs to go in the C drive?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I want to DIY a board/card game as a gift for my partner, based on a set of characters and world we have built together. I'm looking for already existing games to model off of or just reskin, rather than making a whole new game.While I would love to sit down and create my own board game from scratch, that's a little out of my time/energy scope right now. I'm expecting a lot of art to be involved in the making of this game (after all, that's where all the personalization comes in), so I'd like to dedicate most of my effort towards that. I can do digital art of any kind: people, animals, backgrounds (with a lot of groaning, but I can do it). So cards, boards, etc. I can decorate with ease. I have access to a 3D printer and have successfully sculpted a model of a fantasy animal in Sculptris and then also successfully 3D printed it, so I can make anything up to the complexity of an animal (don't think I could do a human figurine, though). I've also worked with Sculpey and know I could make animal figurines... maybe human ones, but I'm a little skeptical there. I may have access to woodcutting tools through my father, though I don't know exactly what he has. I want something that will specifically involve our characters, so anything that is currently focused on characters/people of some kind would be good. Having places for bits of lore/text to be worked in is great too. I also have a variety of locations and fantasy creatures I can work in, though it's not a requirement. The world is urban fantasy, so a fantasy element would be best, but I'm sure I could work with games that don't have that as well. Here are some games my partner and I have enjoyed: - Ascension - Magic: the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers - One Night Ultimate Werewolf - Ticket to Ride - A Series of Unfortunate Events: the Perilous Parlor Game - The concept of this hilariously bad LOTR board game (Seriously, it could have been so good, it was just... extremely broken) What I'm not looking for: - Monopoly - Chess - Deckbuilding games that require 50+ cards to work (There's only so much art I can do!) We already own Ascension, Magic: Planeswalkers, and Werewolf, so I'm not looking to replace those. Anything else is fair game (heh), though! Tips for how to construct the game (how to make decent looking cards, how to build a sturdy board + attach art, etc.) would also be appreciated.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm looking for a song women marched to in the 70s.I remember marching in the early 70s and singing a song that is still on the jukebox in my head. It went like this: "Oh sisters, don't you weep don't you moan. Oh sisters don't you weep don't you moan, because the women's army is marching, oh sisters don't you weep. Once of these days in the middle of the night, the women's army's going to set things right, because the women's army is marching, oh sisters don't you weep." I'm sure there were more verses. This song has nothing to do with "Mary don't you weep" by Aretha and others, totally different melody and tempo. I could hum it but don't know how to put that here. Kinda expected to find it on youtube, but some very weird and inappropriate things pop up. Anybody?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Calling all Human Resources managers! I'm suspicious that my boss is up to something fishy, and I'm not sure if these suspicions are valid or not. He says the reason for the request is employment eligibility verification, however, I already provided these documents when I was hired. More details below.I was working for a temp agency, and they placed me with my current company at the start of March 2017. The position was temp-to-hire and after my 90 days, the company purchased my contract, hired me, and promoted me to a desk job. Once they officially hired me on they had me bring in the necessary documents- my passport and my social security card. Today I didn't feel well and left two hours early. My boss seemed upset about it but I promised to make up the hours. Then tonight I receive a text from him requesting I bring these documents in again for employment eligibility verification, but I can't help but assume there are ill-intentions here. I haven't had any "issues" of my employment aside from a few tardies. I havent been written up, either. I am concerned though that they're asking me to bring these things in in an attempt to terminate me. The reason I feel this way is because I have monthly doctors appointments which I've been assured won't be an issue as long as I make up the hours. They seem dissatisfied with me in my current role for seemingly no reason whatsoever, and I believe they're going to utilize some sort of small business loophole in order to terminate me. Should I be as concerned as I am?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
OK. Starting to do some long range planning. My wife and I would like to retire in three to eight years. Probably around five years from now. I would be 60 and she would be 65. Our after tax income will probably be between 2500 and 4000 bucks a month. House paid off. Liquid assets of $150,000 to possibly $400,000. No debt--hopefully.I'm looking at two options, or a combination of both. Teaching abroad, or private tutoring here in Abilene. I think I might like to keep the house here and tutor in the spring, and go to a different country every six to nine months during the summer and fall. No country that's not an active war zone is off my list. Doable? Anybody with experience? Just any thoughts from my friends?Certified to teach special education K-12, all core subjects 4-8, all sciences 7-12, technology applications (not programming) K-12, I would be able to maintain my Texas teaching certification. I only speak English. Had some French, German and Spanish in school. My wife had some Portuguese. Relatively good health, but health care is an issue.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
My sundew plant has been putting out lots of buds. Is this OK? I'm concerned because after my Venus flytrap flowered, it died.One or two of the buds will open in full sunlight (they look like this). Then they close again. I've had the plant for a couple of months. I keep it in my south-facing kitchen window, where it gets plenty of morning sun. It stands in a saucer full of deionised water, which I refill whenever it's empty. It seems to produce lots of dew, and I think it's caught some fruit flies. Is there anything else I should be doing?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm trying to find a recipe my mother used to make in the '80s. I think she found it on the back of a package of turkey cutlets.I'm trying to find a recipe my mother used to make in the '80s. I think she found it on the back of a package of turkey cutlets. As best as I can remember, the cutlets were topped with cheese, sliced red peppers, and some kind of tangy flavoring. It might have been called Mexican Turkey, but I'm not sure. I think it was Jennie-O brand, but I'm not sure about that either. I've searched the Jennie-O and Honeysuckle White sites for both "Mexican Turkey," and the ingredients as I remember them, but I haven't seen anything that looks like what I'm trying to find. Does anyone here know this recipe?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I want to send someone a thank you gift for giving me repeat business. But the only mailing address I have available is a PO Box. That means I can't send chocolates (melty) or flowers (wilty). Do you have a suggestion for a small, business-appropriate gift that costs less than $50 and can sit in a PO Box for a few days without being ruined?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Today a retrospective of the art of Martin Wong (1946-1999) opens at the Berkeley Art Museum. The touring show originated at the Bronx Museum (NYT review), and its travels to the Bay Area represent a homecoming for the art of Wong, who was raised in San Francisco's Chinatown. He did set design for Cockettes spinoff the Angels of Light. He moved to New York in 1978, collaborated with his partner, writer Miguel Piñero, collected graffiti art (that collection is now at the City Museum of New York), and collected thousands of items including ceramics. He moved back to San Francisco after he was diagnosed with AIDS. His legacy is commemorated by the Martin Wong Foundation.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
On the eve of The Good Place's season 2 premiere, Kristen Bell has released the video of the rest of the gang responding to finding out about the finale. Spoilers in the link/video.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Winamp 2.9, lovingly recreated in HTML5 and Javascript (GitHub)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
My father became (was not born as) an Italian citizen in pre-EU times, but he has been living in the US as an American citizen for roughly 40 years. I was born in the US. How can I parlay this into EU citizenship for myself?My father managed to hang onto Italian passports that expired in the 80s and some Italian documents that look naturalization-related. I have read online that Italian citizens who naturalize elsewhere cause their children to lose Italian citizenship as well. I have also read that elsewhere-born children of an Italian citizen who naturalized in another country after 1912 do not automatically lose their citizenship when the parent naturalizes... though perhaps this only lasts until the age of majority? So you're saying there's a chance... I'm also assuming here that the route must be through Italy and that there is not some generic, non-state-specific, "parent was a citizen of an EU nation before EU-times" route to citizenship. I understand that you are not a/my lawyer.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I have bipolar disorder and take mood stabilisers which helps with the mood swings, but sometimes out of nowhere my mood will totally plummet. There doesn't need to be any external cause although things like changes in sleep patterns can trigger it. Nothing that I usually enjoy (like cinema or music) makes me happy, the only thing that brings me comfort is overeating with takeaways and lying in bed all day trying to sleep it away, and my personal hygiene and self-care goes out the window. Obviously these are not good coping strategies. Thankfully I don't have issues with self-harm or self-medicating, but these episodes cause me a lot of emotional pain and I think my coping mechanisms make them last longer than they need to. I can't take anti-depressants with my illness because they can trigger a manic episode. What gets you through times like these, if you have this issue? At the moment I just have to ride them out but it gets exhausting.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
David Shepherd, artist and conservation activist, has died aged 86. Best known for his depictions of African wildlife such as The Ivory is Theirs, he was also a renowned aviation artist and painter of steam engines. Interview from 2012 with David Shepherd.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Someone got promoted and they are earning their keep by creating new requirements that are arbitrary. This will reduce efficiency. Help me cope and consider my options!Nobody has to access my files except for me. One of the items on our new operations checklist is a specific method of organizing files - paper and electronic. I will be audited on whether my files are in alpha order. Again, nobody ever needs to get at the files, and I work far more efficiently in my current system. I am all for creating a consistent workforce when needed, delivering quality services. I take pride in my work. But this is busy work. Why does it matter how I have my data organized as long as I can use it and discuss it? I don't mind change, generally speaking, and can even thrive on it, but these changes all seem pointless. I think good managers leverage the skills of their subordinates to empower them to do their best work. This manager is hog-tying me in ways that are unnecessary. We are also suddenly responsible for a mock consumable that in my many years here, nobody has ever told me was required. We have been given two checklists to track our data for compiling into a report. This is in addition to the daily tracking required to do the job. My job is frontline humanitarian work and these extra requirements will limit my end user impact because I will need to devote at least an hour each day just managing these issues, on top of the other administrative aspects of the role. The organizational culture is pretty flexible and small. But this year we suddenly have three bosses in my program, each responsible for some slightly different area. There is an adjustment period and I feel like this is an opportunity to make my needs known. How can I do that tactfully, with the best chance of having this new auditor say "you know what, after hearing from you and others in the department I realize that I need to be checking for requirements that are not arbitrary"? I'm not sure that is going to happen. I don't mind being audited, but being checked for things that don't really matter and are simply an extension of the individual person's way of designing their program before they got promoted is really irking me. Help!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm an independent contractor who is struggling to get a grip on my money. I struggle with coding my bank transactions in a timely way, coding transactions from different sources (PayPal/Amazon/checks), and having to code transactions repeatedly in different applications (Mint/Quickbooks SE/YNAB).I want to know how much I make and what I spend it on each month, to start budgeting to achieve my goals, and to have the process of filing my taxes be less effortful than it is now. What I think I want is a single program that will let me code all my transactions ONCE on my phone as they come in, to see budget reminders on my phone when I'm approaching or exceeding budget limits, and to generate weekly and monthly income and spending reports. Why is this so hard? Right now I'm using Mint to categorize transactions, which is a laborious process that I am always, always behind in. This task involves looking up and individually categorizing checks, PayPal transactions, and Amazon payments, each of which has its own special laborious workflow. Mint's UI is not particularly sophisticated, though the Mojito Chrome extension at least lets me filter transactions by date. At the end of the tax year, I go through a huge grind to catch up with categorizing several months worth of back transactions. Once I've worked through the backlog and have the totals for tax-related categories like business expenses and other deductibles, I use them to file my taxes using TurboTax. The actual tax filing process is pretty easy—it's the task of coding back transactions that makes it such a pain. I tried to use YNAB, but I felt like I was always trying to catch up with my back transactions rather than actually budgeting. This was exacerbated by having to code all my transactions AGAIN in YNAB, since my Mint categories don't transfer to YNAB. Plus, YNAB's approach of budgeting every category seems like overkill, since I only really have a handful of categories that are discretionary. I thought Quickbooks might be the solution, since Intuit (maker of QB and TurboTax) acquired Mint, but it actually made the problem worse by creating a new, separate Intuit account for Mint, rather than adding it to my existing TurboTax account. So now I have one Intuit account with all my Mint history, and one with TurboTax and Quickbooks, with no way to unify them. Plus, Quickbooks SE made me code my transactions AGAIN as tax-related. I suspect I am seriously overcomplicating this. Please help me find a way to simplify my financial workflow! P.S. If YNAB is the answer (and I know many folks feel that it is), how do I actually... get started budgeting with it? I've looked at videos and stuff on their website, yet for several months I felt like I was always trying to get started, rather than budgeting. Are there YNAB coaches? Or can you point me to a specific resource that breaks it down?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
In wondering whether my dog enjoys having his paws moved to the beat of a song, I wondered whether one can have a sense of rhythm without a sense of math? Or, can one lack a sense of rhythm completely? I guess another way of saying this is: is there an equivalent of colorblindness for rhythm? Not just a tone-deafness, but a complete inability to perceive it? If so, what causes it? It seems to me like it should be related to the ability to understand math, but maybe it is something else?For example, if you could perform an operation that completely removed a person's understanding of all mathematical concepts (including number sense, basic arithmetic, etc.), or if someone had a stroke completely affecting the "rhythm core," would that person then lose the ability to follow a rhythm, and/or appreciate it? I imagine that my dog, with presumably no mathematical sense (except say an innate good sense of calculating his own velocity for jumps, gravity, etc.) doesn't care if I wave his paws to the beat. However, I, myself, as a music lover (but very poor dancer) still love to move my head to the beat, tap my toe, etc. If I couldn't follow a beat, at all (e.g., if it were just static) would I enjoy it?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Is it a good idea to take a home off the market for the winter.We live in a suburban (almost rural) neighborhood west of Boston. Our home has been on the market for a few months but has not sold. We have done a price reduction but are hesitant to do another since the market in our town tends to be slow this time of year and we would like to position it for sale in the Spring (when the market tends to be hotter in our area). Additional factors: Waiting out the winter would no be a terrible hardship. We still live nearby and can maintain the residence. There is still a mortgage but at this point most goes to principal. The question is, would we be better off removing from the market for the fall/winter and resisting in the Spring vs. leaving the property on the market? We realize that the price history shows that the listing was removed but feel it would look better as removed and re-listed, is this valid reasoning?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Want to spend a few hours on a wargame? Well, you definitely do not want to unroll the 10-foot board that comes with The Campaign for North Africa, because not only will you need to find nine friends, but y'all are likely to spend upwards of 1500 hours playing what Richard Berg, the game's designer, called "wretched excess... but it was designed specifically as such." Want an example of just how persnickety this game is? Even old-school wargamers who never saw a copy of The Campaign for North Africa have heard of Rule 52.6: The Italian Pasta Rule.One of the biggest mistakes the Italians made during the entire Desert Campaign was to provide their troops with a diet which was composed, in large part, of spaghetti and macaroni. Aside from providing insufficient protein (this wasn't Buitoni Brand) pasta has one serious drawback in the desert: you need water to cook it! Therefore, each Italian battalion, when it receives its Stores, must receive an additional 1 point of water when stores are distributed. Any battalion-sized unit that does not receive their Pasta Point (one water point) may not voluntarily exceed their CPA that turn. Furthermore, Italian battalions not receiving their Pasta Point that have a Cohesion Level of -10 or worse immediately become Disorganized,as if they had reached -26. As soon as such units get their Pasta Point, they regain the original cohesion level (i.e., the level they had before they disintegrated.)Note: Berg admits that, while WWII-era Italian rations did include pasta, soldati cooked it in the tomato sauce that was also in the ration kits. It is not known whether anyone has actually completed a full play of the game, ever. A redesign is underway by Decision Games, with an eye on having it ready for playtesting in 2018.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Lillian Ross, who became known as the consummate fly-on-the-wall reporter in a six-decade career at The New Yorker, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. She was 99. Lillian joined The New Yorker in 1945, and she continued to appear in its pages for the next seventy-odd years, which means that she was not just a contributor but a creator—one of those whose style and tone became a standard to which later writers aspired. That tone—acutely observant, intimate, and very frequently amused—emerged in some of her earliest and best-known pieces, including her Profile of Ernest Hemingway and the five-part series on the making of John Huston's "The Red Badge of Courage." She was a master of the Talk of the Town form, with its comic distillation of social mores. Lillian Ross on Metafilter previously and more previously. (A comment in one of these previous posts expressed a wish for a Lillian Ross anthology. It's been done; the title is Reporting Always.)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Card skimming (previously) is a practice where thieves will place a secondary card reader over the primary card reader of a gas pump, which will then collect and store the information of any card used at that pump. As this scam proliferates, more and more scammers are using cheap skimmers that they buy off of the Internet, which they do not configure, making them detectable through the Bluetooth capabilities of your average smartphone. An open source (GitHub) app called the Skimmer Scanner (Android only, available through the Play Store) automates this process even further, and its author provides an in-depth tutorial about card skimming, and how to avoid it.

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