posted about 22 hours ago on metafilter
I'm building shelves inside a window frame for small plants. I want to put a long narrow plastic tray (32" x 4") on each shelf to catch the runoff from the plants. I've searched the internet and the closest thing is something from Alibaba but the shipping is prohibitive. Do you know of something like this? Or, any DIY advice? I'm pretty handy..

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
BeeLine Reader makes screen reading easier with multicolored gradients that guide your eyes from line to line.

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
Jensen Karp: "I was stumbling through my garage, searching through old storage bins, when I came across some old beat CDs from my days as a signed Interscope rapper. I was shocked to find that two of them, both given to me in '01, had the name Kanye West on them." (via)

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
Ridiculous Canadian Law Question For Fictional RPG Scenario: The year is 1998, the province Quebec. A loyal tycoon is manufacturing high powered weaponry and travels around with a multi-man security detail armed to the teeth. How illegal is this and what would be the best way to disarm him through legal means?We're playing VTM and the Ventrue prince (a player) has the game in a strangle hold due to excessively armed retainers- high powered rifles, manufacture and possession of incendiary rounds, etc... this is before the end of the long gun registry. How illegal/unpopular would this be and how much would this stick out like a sore thumb? What ould be the steps to get someone to knock it off? Assume a corrupt police force but massive amounts of legal influence on both sides.

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
When we moved here from New York last Spring we noticed the plane trees along our new street in London had been pruned back to only the largest limbs. It wasn't until late summer that any significant foliage sprouted back. Now the city has done it again and I'd like to know why they do such heavy-handed pruning seemingly every year. There are so few large trees in much of London to begin with... why would you want to limit the lovely leafiness to only a couple months of the year?I can't help thinking of all the big mature plane trees on my old street in Brooklyn (and in other cities that have similar space constraints) that receive a bit of light pruning only every few years. I understand there may be a desire to limit a tree's height or breadth, and I know that some parts of the world are going for a particular manicured look, but it's just such a dismal sight for most of the summer here. Sort of related question: Neighbors are demanding that our landlord remove a big beautiful horse chestnut tree from our back garden. They claim it's causing subsidence, but it's at least 50 feet away from their house. Are there any less drastic options that we can request?

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
My boyfriend has just been diagnosed with cancer of the colon. I don't really know what I want to ask here, except to ask for some reason to hope that he'll be okay, and to ask for advice if he's not.We haven't yet had the results of his CT scan through, though we do know that because he's only 28 year old he couldn't get a colonoscopy for at least 8 months after the bleeding started, and he's had stomach issues for years. The doctor who did the colonoscopy said that the tumour was 75% blocking the colon, and that the CT scan will show whether it's spread to his lympth nodes and other parts of the body. It's a waiting game till then, but I keep thinking that his prospects are low given how late they detected it. I know I should just wait for the full diagnosis here, and sorry if you feel this is a waste of time. I just don't know what to do with myself, and I'd like some advice on what I should do if this is a terminal diagnosis. He's not sure he wants his parents there, so there's a possibility it could just be me, and judging by my reaction to this news I highly suspect I will break down if it's not good news and not be a good support to him. I mean like vomiting on the spot, shaking and falling apart, as I was close to that when he told me he had cancer. I don't think he realised as I tried to hide it for his sake, and I worry he's being a little optimistic and in denial about this next consultation, because he's said things which indicate that he thinks it might all be okay. He also knows very little about cancer of the colon, because he's not read any literature about it yet, so he's in this slightly uninformed state whereas I've looked online and seen how dangerous it can be and have inevitably in my head wondered about what might happen if it's really bad news. Also, any stories of hope against odds etc, or just personal accounts of colorectal cancer, from sufferers or from supporters, would really help. Finding it really hard to hold it together. This could not have happened to a more beautiful, lovely person. And I really am not just saying that. I've been pinching myself for the last eight months that my boyfriend has chosen to be with me. My friends and I call him 'unicorn' (behind his back) because a person like this doesn't come along very often. I'm just completely dumbfounded that this could be happening to him, at this age, and this all feels a little unreal.

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posted about 23 hours ago on metafilter
What is currently state of the art/best practice/best tool for a tip jar type mechanism for a blog?I am one of the volunteer editors for a blog that posts daily news for our fairly large regional hobbyist community. For the past two years, the founding editor has been paying the cost out of pocket, but we've had to upgrade hosting to keep up with traffic and would like to run a small day of giving online event to try and defer costs. From a legal standpoint, the blog has no status. We're all volunteers, not a nonprofit. We don't want to deal with bitcoin (which seems to be the focus of many micro transaction tools these days). We're trying to raise about $400 total (which is totally doable). We are aware of the tax implications. We would like to minimize fees, while also not falling into the "Paypal locked up all our money for eleventy weeks while they think it over" trap. What tool should we be using?

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
i need someone who knows about bodies and backs and muscles to explain this to me. I have some sort of problem along the right side of my back/body that i have had for many many years. My scapula area gets very tight at times (especially when stressed) and painful as does my hip flexor, my hamstring, calf and even pereoneal tendon. It's clear that something in the chain is tightening up first and then pulling on the rest, causing them strain.All my muscles injuries ever have been on the right side- car accident in teens tore ligaments on right side of shoulder, broken leg in 2 places on the right side in my 20s when i slipped and fell, pulled hip flexor on right side when i fell through a ceiling in my 30s, and had peroneal tendonitis on the right side after a half marathon in my late 30s. Always always my right side getting injured as if my left side is stronger somehow (i am left handed?). The problem is I can't figure out whether it's my tight calf pulling on my hip which pulls on my back or the other way around. How do I identify the actual "first cause" in this chain? Also when i run, i get soreness and sometimes pain in a chain like manner - my hip flexor, my calf, and my pereoneal tendon all hurt. As a right now example of the interconnectedness- right now my right scapula/shoulder area is really hurting. massaging the shoulder helps a little but what REALLY helps is for me to put firm pressure on my lower back right side above my ribs. It completely removes the pain in the shoulder, as if my shoulder pain is from my lower back pulling on it but my lower back isn't hurting at all. Any ideas where the problem might actually be originating or what the right kind of dr is to help me figure it out?

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo [New York Times] "The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group's annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication's status as a martyr for free speech. The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan." Salman Rushdie slams critics of PEN's Charlie Hebdo tribute [The Guardian]: "If PEN as a free-speech organisation can't defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly the organisation is not worth the name," Rushdie said. "What I would say to both Peter and Michael and the others is, I hope nobody ever comes after them." In a letter sent on 26 April to PEN trustees, PEN president and author Andrew Solomon: "The rising prevalence of various efforts to delimit speech and narrow the bounds of any permitted speech concern us; we defend free speech above its contents. We do not believe that any of us must endorse the content of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons in order to affirm the importance of the medium of satire, or to applaud the staff's bravery in holding fast to those values in the face of life and death threats. There is courage in refusing the very idea of forbidden statements, an urgent brilliance in saying what you have been told not to say in order to make it sayable." Glenn Greenwald writes: [The Intercept]: "Though the core documents are lengthy, this argument is really worth following because it highlights how ideals of free speech, and the Charlie Hebdo attack itself, were crassly exploited by governments around the world to promote all sorts of agendas having nothing to do with free expression." Letters and comments of PEN writers protesting the Charlie Hebdo Award. [The Intercept]

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
My sister and cousin are doing a 5k in two weeks and I would love to join them. It would be a fun challenge for me but.... is it realistic? On one hand, I have literally never ran more than a block in my life. But on the other hand, I'm in reasonably good shape and it's only 3.1 miles. Is this crazy? What should I do for last minute training/preparation?Ok so I go to the gym 1-2 times a week and do the elliptical and bike and treadmill, so I'm in decent shape. Plus I live in NYC so I walk a lot. I know I could walk a 5k no problem, but I'm nervous about trying to run it. Is this doable? What are some last minute tips/exercises I should do? I dont even know the logistics of running. Should I buy a sports bra? What do I do with my STUFF while I'm running? It's not like I can run with a backpack on! How long should I expect it to take? 30 minutes? 60 minutes? There's lots of stuff online about "5 Things to know when you do your first 5K" etc. but I'd like personal anecdotes/advise. Thanks!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I obviously need a little help with Netflix. Am I doing something wrong? Missing titles in My List, etc. Extended Details included....Ok...full disclosure, I am probably one of the last people to sign up for Netflix. I did for the first time last week (probably 5 days into it right now) and I am loving it thus far. However, even though the user interface is about as basic as you can get, I am obviously missing something or doing something wrong that has made my experience not 100% satisfying to date. Hopefully, not to sound like a complete idiot, I think I might need some basic guidance (so please, be easy on me). A couple of points: - I signed up on Wednesday (April 22) - I live in Canada, so I have a Canada Netflix subscription (I know there is different content than users in the US and UK, etc), - I am not using a VPN or anything like that - just a regular Canadian subscription - I am the only one using my account or access to my profile. - I have a laptop permanently connected to my tv, so I will be using Netflix through that (I don't use a PS3 or anything ). I also have the Netflix app installed on my iPhone and iPad, but haven't watched any content on that as of yet - I just logged in to set up my profile Ok, that being said, I signed up for Netflix, went through the initial set up procedure, selected a few movie titles that I have liked, it gave me a few recommendations and we were off to the races. I was looking for a "Netflix Queue", which I have had heard about for years, but couldn't find it. A quick Google search allowed me to see that "My List" had replaced the Queue; no problem there. I selected a couple of movies and tv shows that I think I would like to watch, added them to "My List" and we were in business. I sat down, watched my first Netflix movie, and I was one happy customer. Then I noticed a couple of things that I can't figure out: 1. My List - I added two tv shows that I want to watch to My List: Downton Abby and House of Lies. I had heard about these shows and have wanted to watch them for sometime and was glad they were available. I accidentally clicked on both of the titles to read more about them, but it actually started playing Episode 1, Season 1 for both (I didn't mean to do that), so now they are in my "Continue Watching" list, even though I haven't watched them, nor am I ready watch them. I wish these could be 'reset' somehow as I didn't actually watch them; just so they could show up in My List?? Anyway, here is one issue I had: these were available to watch for me - I added them to My List - I accidentally started to watch both of them when I clicked on the title - and they were in my Continue to Watch list. I turned on my computer on Friday, and noticed that both House of Lies and Downtown Abby were no longer in My List OR My Continue to Watch queue. I did a Search for House of Lies and found out that it was now only available for rental on DVD. That was disappointing, but no huge deal. I figured a licensing agreement must have expired or something. Anyway, last night I logged on, and they were back in My List again!?! What is going on?? 2. Continue Watching - So there are two movies that I watched since I have had Netflix (End of Watch and Flight). I enjoyed both movies and watched them until the very end of the movie and let then run entirely through the credits (as I didn't know what happened when you watched a Netflix movie to the end - would it start again? would it go back to the main menu?) Anyway, I rated both movies and went back to my main menu. However, both of those movies continue to show up in my Continue To Watch list, even though I have watched both of then in their entirety. Is there a way to get them out of this? 3. My List - this is the thing that upsets me the most. On Friday night, I did some searching on Google for a list of Netflix movies that I wanted to watch. I searched for a bunch of documentary's, had a list of about 15, searched for them on Netflix and added them to My List. No worries there. On Sunday morning, I did a complete reboot of my computer, opened up Netflix (I have never logged out), and much to my surprise (and disappointment), all of the titles that were in My List from the night before, are no longer there!! But the original ones from a couple of days back (including House of Lies - which was only available for rental on DVD and Downton Abby) were back! But all of these docs that I searched for and added, are no longer there (and I have no idea of all of their titles again). And one that I know I added to my list (The Iron Shiek doc) isn't even available when I search for it. WTF. I have NO idea what is going on. And its making me nervous. Why is My List losing titles? I am afraid to add things to it now, as I think they will be gone in a few days. Its to the point where I am keeping a manual list on a piece of paper now. I am sure I am doing something wrong but I don't know what it is. Can someone help? Again, I am the only one with access to my subscription. So no one went into my account and removed titles etc. And I know for a fact that I didn't do it.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
A self-proclaimed insufferable asshole named Matt complains about his new luxury watch. Turns out it's the most personal device ever, only not in an insanely great way. Still, he has hopes for the future of his new wearable computer. (MeFi's own mathowie at medium.com.)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I have two dear college friends that are currently stranded on a trail in the Langtang valley in Nepal. Their group is ok in that they are all alive and, as far as we know, uninjured, but they are starting to run low on food and water. Their families have asked for ideas / suggestions on who they should be contacting to get them help - does MeFi have any suggestions?Someone in their group has a sat phone that they've used to get word out that they are ok and their lat / long location. I believe they were also traveling with a guide, so for the purpose of this question, let's assume that they've made what calls they can to local help / authorities. On the stateside, the families have contacted the State Dept / US Embassy and are planning on contacting their congressional representatives as well. Just to be clear, I definitely understand that the situation there is very bad and that if they are uninjured and have some food and water, that puts them in a better position than many other people also awaiting rescue. The question is not how to get them to skip ahead in the line, but rather just make sure that they don't fall off the radar screen.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
In August, my best friend and I (both 20-something guys) begin a 5 month adventure across the Americas. We started to research the trip last September, and have basically scoured the internet since then. Instagram has proved to be a great source to connect with the overlanding community and there's a couple of good blogs out there of people currently doing the trip. Still, we'd still really appreciate if the askmefi community could weigh in. As I start to put together a detailed itinerary I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed by all the details and possibilities. Where to go? What to plan? How much to budget? And, just generally, what level of detail should I plan to? Normally I'd come up with a broad plan in a few days and then wing it but given the dangers, sheer size of this adventure, and the amount of unforgettable places to see I want to really plan it. UNESCO sites, nature, must-see towns and villages... Can anybody help us? Our preliminary itinerary: California --> Baja --> La Paz --> Mazetlan --> Mainland Mexico and Mexico City --> Cancun Area --> Belize --> Guatemala --> El Salvador --> Honduras --> Nicaragua --> Costa Rica --> Panama --> Colombia via new ferry across Darien Gap --> Ecuador --> Peru --> Bolivia --> Chile --> Argentina Our rig: a 4x4 Van w/10" clearance, a kayak, and surfboards. Budget: 30-50$ per day with fuel, repairs, etc. About Me: -I've travelled to 40+ countries (mostly alone) -passionate nature lover -adventure and thrill seeker -fluent in french and recently started to learn spanish -interested in cultures, seeking spirituality My friend: -loves to surf and hike -great photographer/film buff -nature lover Our goal is to get ideas for unique activities or great places to visit along the way. And, of course, any general advice would be much appreciated! **for those worried about the safety or feasibility of this journey, thank you and we know. I'd echo Jack London's thoughts of his own quixotic quest in "Cruise of the Snark"** Our friends cannot understand why we make this voyage. They shudder, and moan, and raise their hands. No amount of explanation can make them comprehend that we are moving along the line of least resistance; that it is easier for us to go down to the sea in a small ship than to remain on dry land, just as it is easier for them to remain on dry land than to go down to the sea in the small ship. This state of mind comes of an undue prominence of the ego. They cannot get away from themselves. They cannot come out of themselves long enough to see that their line of least resistance is not necessarily everybody else's line of least resistance. They make of their own bundle of desires, likes, and dislikes a yardstick wherewith to measure the desires, likes, and dislikes of all creatures. This is unfair. I tell them so. But they cannot get away from their own miserable egos long enough to hear me. They think I am crazy. In return, I am sympathetic. It is a state of mind familiar to me. We are all prone to think there is something wrong with the mental processes of the man who disagrees with us

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
There's already one big loser in the 2016 Presidental Campaign: Paul Rand, the legendary graphic designer, who has lost more than half of the first-page search results on Google, Bing and GoDuckGo for his name to Candidate Rand Paul. Especially ironic considering that Paul Rand COULD have improved Rand Paul's campaign logo, according to Ernie Smith in his "blog via email" Tedium. Tedium ("The Dull Side of the Internet", "Hunting for the end of the Long Tail") has had a few other articles that were anything but tedious: Awards of Dubious Value, Product Placement (and Displacement), Bootlegs (not Booze), Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (Dressing), You Can't Do That on Nickelodeon, Before Yelp: Tires and Cuisine, Vinyl Miscellanea, TV's Courtroom Dramas.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm finally emotionally ready to date with the aim of starting an actual relationship, but my life situation isn't there yet. How can I plan my life for a solid, equitable relationship, and how should I approach dating?I haven't been in a serious relationship since I broke up with my ex a few years ago, for a few reasons. For a long time, I was skittish about getting into anything real for fear of finding myself in another difficult relationship. I've dated very casually, mostly younger men who also aren't serious (or if they were, I kept them at arm's length). In the process, happily, many of my negative beliefs about men have been challenged. More recently, I've been studying, and have dropped pretty much everyone and everything that's not an obligation. Fitness and a bit of messing around with hobbies (at home) are the only things I do for fun these days, other than occasionally going out. I used to like brash, hyper-confident, ambitious men, and it's always involved power issues. I don't want that kind of man at all, now. But even someone who's simply established - i.e. has a normal job, isn't studying or an artist or really young or whatever - isn't likely to want to be with someone who's still in career/financial limbo, in her late 30s. I also just really wouldn't feel comfortable dating anyone who earns more than I do. My experience of that is that it sets the stage for inequality. I want no hint of that. I don't expect to earn more than "very little" for a while, though (more below). Issues now: - Social invitations have slowly dropped, because I've refused a lot of them (to study/procrastinate/deal with obligations). Old coupled friends do coupley things, newer friends are all just-married with brand new babies, and I haven't been nurturing acquaintanceships. This hasn't necessarily put the kaybosh on dating (I say "dating", I mean just connections), but it has left me feeling socially deprived. - I intend to take a break for a year to work full-time, and catch my breath - just want to regain some balance - while I apply to professional masters programs. I will probably still be broke during that time. After that, if things go according to plan, I'll be studying for another two years. I'll finish in my early forties. - I think I might maybe possibly want a baby (!?! - but yes I think I do). So how do I do this? Should I wait until I'm out of school completely and just forgo the idea of babies (or adopt)? Should I date during my year off? I don't know where I'll end up for school, if anywhere – it might turn out to be in a small town, where odds will be against me (I'm hoping not, but who knows). I'm not sure I want to wait. I discovered just recently, in the course of a shockingly intimate and lovely connection, that I am, actually, lonely and missing companionship. (I'd love to see what could develop with him, but it's impossible.) I thought I could go another few decades on my only own. In fact, until just recently, that seemed like a good idea to me. But it turns out that's not true. And I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, etc. I know who I want. I want to be with a man who's gentle; easygoing; affectionate; accepting; emotionally honest; skilled at communicating and compromising; confident, but in a low-key way; probably creative in some capacity, if not in a paid one. But is that someone younger? Unlikely to be prepared for commitment; also, I wouldn't like to subject him to baby pressure or my own anxieties about aging as a woman. (I don't think I'll go frantic about that, but it could happen.) Someone my age will likely earn more than I do and will likely want to be with someone who's also established. (If he doesn't, I guess I'd wonder why he wanted to be with someone who wasn't fully on her feet. Or I'd worry that power stuff might come up anyway.) I mean, I think what I've left myself with is other non-traditional students... that's a pretty small pond. Are my assumptions about all this wrong? One person has actually suggested I give up on my goals, get a pink-collar job, and just try to get someone to marry me. Nothing could be more repellent to me, for about 10 million reasons, not least of which is the strong possibility that in that case, I'll stay alone, and poor, without savings for my old age. I have been planning to work and live for myself, no matter what happens or who comes into my life, and I don't intend to change that.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Moving to Sydney in July. What are the top things I need to do before making the move?Moving to Sydney from San Francisco in July. Relocating as part of the same company so luckily my visa is sorted and my job is figured out. I asked HR if there is some kind of checklist and they said they don't have one. But aside from that....no idea what I am supposed to be doing and what I am missing out on just because I assume that things are the same in the U.S. Among the questions I have: -Health insurance: heard it's privatized. Where do I get it? -Taxes. I won't have to pay double taxes right? Do I just file as exempt from the US? -If I want to keep my US cell phone number is there a way to do it without paying for it and forwarding to my computer? -How do I get housing? Is there craigslist there? -What neighborhood should I live in? I will be working in the central business district (or CBD). I really liked Surry Hills and it was close to work. Any other neighborhoods for young professionals? -Anything I should get in the US that would be harder/ cheaper than in Sydney? I don't want to ship a ton of stuff but thinking things like clothing, etc. -And the fun stuff: any recommendations for fun weekend trips in Australia?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
When I first interviewed for my position it was for two roles, but I only accepted one role. I would like to accept the other role, in addition to my current one now. This is my first "real" job out of college and I've never approached a boss with a question like this before, details inside!I'm currently working part-time for an organization, when I interviewed for the position I currently have (let's say that I'm a Technician), it was actually supposed to be two positions: a Technician and an Assistant role. I just finished college and I'm trained to be a Technician, as a result I felt uneasy about accepting the Assistant role. At the time I didn't really know what an Assistant did here and I was more excited being a Technician. During the interview my boss and assistant manager were alright with me only taking the Technician role (as part-time), but sort of left the Assistant role open and made it sound like something that could be revisited after I got comfortable in my Technician role. It's been about 5 months since I began as a Technician and my 6 month probation will be coming to an end soon. I'm fairly certain they are going to keep me on after my probation, as I already have an offer letter for the next "year" (September-June, I work in education). So now, I'd really like to ask my boss about expanding into the Assistant position. I understand what they do and I think that I have the skills for it. I can't see much of a down-side to asking and I've been encouraged by a full time Assistant to ask if anything is available, as well. So, I'd really like to find out if that position is still available. What sort of script can I use to ask them if it is? I don't want to sound too pushy or annoying and I also have a tendency to over-explain and go on and on, so I want to be concise. I get really anxious about asking these sorts of things and I've already worked myself into a tizzy of anxiety over asking this question, when I know the worst that could happen is really not that terrible at all.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'd like to start a meetup in my town as I haven't really made friends since moving here two years ago and I'd like to change that. There's a meetup group going already but they do things I'm not that interested in usually - stuff like salsa dancing, pub quizzes and big restaurant meals with 25 people. I'd be more interested in a small group going out for coffee or a picnic in the park.So I'm a married 40-something left-leaning somewhat shy female living in the UK. I love reading, going for walks, going out for coffee or drinks, stuff like that. I'd like to meet people I would have something in common with to eventually make friends with as individuals or couples, have round for dinner, chat with, etc. A meetup seems like a good vehicle for making friends - a means to an end rather than for its own sake if that makes sense? I guess my concern is that I'm not a very social person generally - more of a joiner than a leader usually. But as I can't find anything I really want to join I guess I don't have much of a choice. I thought about starting a book club for literary fiction, but that seems a bit limited. I've also considers a coffee club meetup in local cafes that could include a monthly book club, but also coffee plus a walk, coffee and board games, coffee and museum visit. Sound okay? If so, what do I call it?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
After having our bikes stolen from our apartment parking garage last year, my husband and I bought new bikes today. What strategies & locks should we use to make sure we keep these bikes for a long time?We rent an apartment in a condo building in downtown Oakland (I'm hesitant to say that because Oakland gets a mostly undeserved bad rap). We keep our bikes in the bike racks in the parking garage - which is locked, but accessible to anyone who gets inside the condo building. We had been using a heavy cable lock to lock them together and to the rack. After 3 years of no problems, our bikes were stolen (when we were on our honeymoon). It sounds like there were some other theft issues around that time because the condo building hired a security guard for awhile -- now long gone, I'm not sure whether that's because someone feels the issues have been resolved. We have a small apartment and no room for the bikes to stay in the living room permanently. Having decided we couldn't let fear prevent us from biking, we just bought our new (nicer) bikes today! How can we keep them safe? Any recommendations for particularly good locks? I've heard that using both a U-lock and a cable lock is a good strategy because different tools are needed to break through each -- true? Weight is not an issue since the locks don't need to ride with us. Should we lock them together (but with twice the number of locks)? We do have renter's insurance, but with a $1000 deductible (about 2/3 the cost of the bikes). Should we consider paying more for a lower deductible? Any other ideas?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm finding myself intermittently managing the work of a rotating carousel of people on an ad-hoc informal basis. Help?I've read lots of previous threads about what makes a good manager, and I've definitely learned a lot from them. My position is slightly different, though, in that I am finding myself managing people's work, but not the people (if that makes sense). I am a senior level staff person in a creative field, one level below the lowest level managers. My day to day job is essentially that I am the project manager and the staff for my small projects, with the oversight of my boss who is the official project manager. Normally the projects are small enough that I do all the work myself. However. For the last several months I have been working on a double-loaded new-concept project for an indecisive client. This has generated so much extra work and such tight deadlines that I keep being handed other staff to help me get all the work done. I am still the junior PM on the project and therefore am resonsible for executing all the deliverables. Which means I have to delegate work I would normally do myself, and then manage these people and their work to make sure it gets done, and done correctly. The problem is that I get people helping me for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out the best way to a) get them up to speed b) what work I can delegate and which work I need to do myself and c) how often I need to be communicating with them. I'm also having difficulty setting expectations of the work I want to get back from them - the standards for this project are somewhat more stringent than what most people in my company work on normally, and I often feel like I'm coming across as nit-picky or being overly demanding. So, lots of this stuff I think I could work through if these were people I was working with longer term and could set expectations and get them involved in the project so they could have more ownership... but I only get them for at most a few weeks at a time. And many of them are actually my peers, but I'm still on the hook for their work, and it needs to be right. I don't want to be condescenting or overstep with giving direction, but I'm also frustrated at what seems like lack of urgency, lack of understanding of the project and sort of general laziness in executing what I ask them to do. Since this has been consistent across several of the people I've worked with, I'm pretty sure the problem is me. I definitely know that I'm not doing a good job always communicating my expections, and I often find myself giving up by then end and doing frantic last minute edits because I just can't trust things will be done correctly. Help? How do you manage work when you are not actually someone's manager and you're only getting people for short periods of time?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
How did Europeans become "white"? see also:Eight thousand years of natural selection in Europe The arrival of farming in Europe beginning around 8,500 years ago required adaptation to new environments, pathogens, diets, and social organizations. While evidence of natural selection can be revealed by studying patterns of genetic variation in present-day people, these pattern are only indirect echoes of past events, and provide little information about where and when selection occurred. Ancient DNA makes it possible to examine populations as they were before, during and after adaptation events, and thus to reveal the tempo and mode of selection. Here we report the first genome-wide scan for selection using ancient DNA, based on 83 human samples from Holocene Europe analyzed at over 300,000 positions. Why Are Europeans White? "White," of course, is a a social designation. The question really is, "Why are northern Europeans depigmented?" Here is a map of human skin tone. The natives of northern Europe are oddly light-skinned. They are paler than anyone else on earth. refers to The Paleo-Etiology of Human Skin Tone

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Within an hour of waking up every day, my lips swell and start drying up. In a couple hours I can peel off a layer of skin, including a bit above the top lip. It's painful, unattractive and annoying.This has been going on for a couple months - I've tried eating different foods, drinking plenty of water, different morning routines, and eating a variety of foods. The only change that happened around the time this started is that I moved to a new - furnished - apartment. I've been using all kinds of chapsticks and moisturizers - straight vaseline cures the symptoms but they always come back the next day. Does this sound like an allergy or something worse? I'm moving to a new place in three weeks, so I'm hoping that fixes it. Any ideas or advice?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Want to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle? Not possesed of a Scrroge McDuck style moneypit or willing to sell organs in order to buy figures? Kieron Gillen and Matthew Sheret are here to help with Hipsterhammer. Jump in with guides to building Dwarf, Empire or Vampire Count armies on the cheap! Doubles as a bit of a guide to the weirdo world of Warhammer Fantasy, as distinct from your more generic Tolkienesque efforts. They even have a manifesto!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I've been in software for about two decades. It's been a depressing ride. How can I find a better place?My history includes the company where the owner beat his wife. The place where I got a 7 cent raise after two years because "We learned long ago not to trust our employees." The start-up with the nine figure buyout... private buyout, that made the executives millionaires, and the workers hundred-aires ("We're a team!"). The Fortune 500 company that was too screwed up to even begin to describe. And the current place, where management just completed the most vicious purge of good people that I've ever seen, and the accountants are whispering of layoffs on their smoke breaks. Along the way I've worked with amazing people, learned a ton of stuff, and had a lot of fun, but I'd like to find a place that's a little more managerially functional for my next gig. I've tried running my own business and it's not for me. I do have a list of things I'd like: 50 to 200 employees, particular technologies to work with, not in advertising, preferably something with at least tenuous social value, etc. How can I translate that list into identifying companies and sussing out their actual culture?

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