posted 2 days ago on metafilter
What length down rod do I need to buy for this fan?I feel like I should be able to figure this out on my own, but I'm getting confused and I'm worried I'm going to mess it up, have an electrician come out and then have the wrong down rod. I have 10' tall ceilings, but I have exposed duct work that drops down 19-20" from the ceiling. The edges of the blades will extend past the duct work, so the fan needs to be lowered with a down rod so that it safely clears the ducts. However, I'm having issues figuring out exactly what I need. I think it would look better if it was as high as possible. I'm less worried about air flow because I'll mostly be using it for the light and I have a relatively small place anyway. Will 4" of clearance (by getting the 24" down rod) be enough?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My girlfriend, her parent, and her entire family are 100% convinced that one of her parents has an incurable terminal disease. The catch? None of the test results have come back. In fact, none of the tests have even been done.I feel like a complete crazy person, and the odd man out for being the only person involved in this entire situation who thinks "Maybe we should wait to assume everything is totally fucked and ruined?" This is a genetic disease which grandparent/her effected parents parent had, and died from rather suddenly. Not cancer or anything like that. Everyone is running around screaming and crying and making end of life plans. My girlfriend has taken a leave of absence from work. This entire situation started because of webmd and wikipedia type internet searches, and a fairly rude/blase doctor who went "Hmm, maybe it could be that... i don't know. you need to see a geneticist and run some tests, here's a referral" So to make a clear question, how do i respond to this in a "Maybe we should wait to act this way until we know for sure" way without sounding like an ass who doesn't care? Is that even what i should be trying to do? What's my best course of action here? the entire thing seems SUPER chicken little and i've just been zipping my lip after bringing it up a few times. Because, from my perspective, everyone is drastically irrationally freaking out. Every time i bring that up i just get a gruff "If we wait that long, by then it will be too late to start preparing!" type of response. And very soon, decisions may be made like quitting jobs or selling property and such that can't be easily undone. I'm getting text messages about stuff like doctor assisted suicide, and it all just seems SO premature and extreme. And i'm sort of married to the situation...

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
How I got here in the end. Picture this: you're a former drug dealer who has turned to hacking for a living. You're crashing in an apartment a bit older than Texas, surrounded by about seventeen computers, sleeping on a futon with a girlfriend with metre-long purple dreadlocks, and planning your defection from one net-based futuristic corporation to another over Korean take-away food. MetaFilters Own cstross wasn't always a famous writer. He's also been a state-licensed drug dealer, a Perl hacker, and the guy responsible for keeping Danny the tomcat from shorting out Demon Internet's Scottish POP. And for forcing the invention of robots.txt. He's written a short autobiography with entertaining asides on the early British Internet, credit card processing, and accidents of timing.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My husband and I love pictures of old modern and brutalist weird architecture in Eastern Europe. We'd love to see it. But travel agents and tours focus on blue waters and quaint villages. Is there a "show me the concrete weirdness" travel option I'm missing for two people who don't like the traditional postcards, but both almost failed college Russian?Inspired by finding a tour in Winnipeg as well as too many Pinterest and Tumblr pictures of gorgeously weird retrofuturistic buildings, I've been daydreaming about looking at lots of abandoned, moss-covered concrete in former communist countries. It's clear that Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria - they're full of amazing modern and brutalist architecture, but my husband and I don't speak any of the languages, aren't familiar with the culture and really, where we'd even center ourselves. We don't necessarily need a package tour - although we'd take one. We're independent international travelers that have explored Asia and western Europe as well as most of The States taking public transportation, using maps and pointing at things we didn't know the words for. But this feels bigger to me than crossing Japan to see lots of arcades, taking the maglev in China or traveling via sleeper train from Paris to Rome just to take a sleeper car. Also, given the abandoned nature of some of these buildings, how do we even tell what we might have access to or even if still exists? Any tips, guidance, ideas as I start planning to see it before it's all gone?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I'm looking for a piece of hardware but don't know what it's called, making it very hard to find it online.Okay, you've all seen them. They're metal, made of two pieces, one of which has a little loop that swings down and clips over the other one. Then you push a little lever thing down and it exerts pressure and the whole thing clips together tightly. If these have a name I would like to know it! I checked my local big box store and they cost about 5 bucks a pair. I need 16 pairs of them so am hoping to do better. Can you tell me what they're called, or even better provide a link to a website that sells them reasonably cheaply? Thanks!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My wife would like a sports watch. She doesn't need GPS or fancy gadgetry, just something to wear to the gym. She needs large digital numbers that can be read easily while she's moving, and some timing functions. The problem is that she's allergic to metal, so anything that would touch her skin would have to be leather or plastic--the strap, the buckle, the back of the case, and any buttons on the side. I've looked in sporting goods stores but only found metal on the backs of cases, and that's something that's hard to tell online. Any recommendations?Something simple like this Puma would be ideal (if there was no metal). This Nike Plus seems like it might work but it's more watch than she'd need. (She'd probably be okay with a man's style in a bright color, if it fit.) The women's version has metal on the clasp. I wouldn't mind getting a basic sports watch and replacing the band, but the back of the face is the sticking point. We're familiar with the trick of coating the metal bits with a clear coating, but since this is for active use I think she'd like something she wouldn't have to worry about.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I will be spending a month this summer in the high jungle plateau of Tarapoto, Peru. I am trying to get my preventative care in order, and will be getting Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines, as well as taking anti-malarial medication. I don't think I will be getting the yellow fever vaccine, the Hepatitis B vaccine, or the rabies vaccine; the first due to lack of access and the latter two due to risk factors and cost, respectively. Would you try harder to find access to the yellow fever vaccine or rethink the other two, or am I good with the three I'm doing?I have been advised that I should try to get the yellow fever vaccine by my local health department, but neither my doctor, the health department, nor any of the regional pharmacies (Walgreens, etc.) can get it to me due either to not having it (health department) or not being authorized to dispense it (doctor, Walgreens, etc.). How worried should I be about not getting this vaccine? Also, I will be taking several excursions into the jungle and will be deliberately seeking out wildlife to observe/photograph/draw. The CDC somewhat iffily recommends getting the rabies vaccine. I can probably get it, but it costs about $300 and I've hard it's also painful/laborious. I'm leaning towards not getting it. Finally, the health department thinks I should get the Hepatitis B vaccine, but I'm not planning on any risky behavior (unprotected sex/needles/tattoos) so I'm also leaning against it due to cost and risk. Thoughts on all the above?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
The International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) (previously, previouslier, MetaFilters own) now saying that recent underwater video from yet another trip to the Nikumaroro atoll does not conclusively show any evidence of plane wreckage.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
OK, so we have this ceiling fan with a light fixture above the kitchen table. One of the three lights burns out regularly, like every 10 days or so. Both of the other lights have been fine for a year or more. Any idea why this should be the case? FWIW, the voltage at the sockets is identical to within .1 volt.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
A better way to say sorry.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Trying to remember a team-building game I played maybe a decade ago, so I could maybe re-construct it and play with friends.From ~2004-2008 I worked with a Big Name management consulting firm (hint: used to be a part of Arthur Anderson). Said firm has a training center outside Chicago for their staff, and it was at this training center where one evening we had some team-building activities that were being run by a 3rd party vendor (no idea who they were). What I remember - vaguely - was that we (a team of maybe 10-15?) were all placed in an empty conference room and given a set of parameters and some props/tools. An example of parameters was that I remember either a subset or all of us not being allowed to talk. An example of the props and tools is that I remember a length of rope being used to define an "island" on the floor on which some number of the team members were "stuck" and needed to be rescued from. All I remember is it being a really interesting and fun problem to figure out, requiring creative thinking to come up with innovative solutions based on the parameters and objects at our disposal. And that's it. (sorry!) Does the game I was playing have some name I could Google? I'd be happy to pay to take a course to learn this game if that was some kind of option. Alternatively to tracking down the exact game, finding companies that specialize in delivering these kind of experiences (i.e. who was the 3rd party vendor I learned from) would be helpful.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My son added a clothes peg (plastic with a steel spring) to a bucket of cider vinegar. Is the vinegar still safe?I have 2 gallons of homemade cider vinegar in the shed. About two months ago, I discovered a plastic clothes peg at the bottom of the bucket. I removed the peg and rubbed the spring with my thumb to see if there was any corrosion. The spring had developed a dark crust that disintegrated as I touch it. I have no idea how long the peg had been in there. I do not know what kind of plastic it is made of, nor what particular metal the spring is. The vinegar smells delicious but looks darker than I had expected. Chemistry experts, is this vinegar safe? Or has the bucket of vinegar become a bucket of poison?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
A religious wingnut--who is also a former coworker--sent me a mildly scary email. I don't know how to respond or if I should ignore it. Details inside.I used to have a coworker who turned to Christ after years of other addictions (not substance related). Over the years we worked together, I watched him go from a friendly, goofy guy to an isolated fanatic who would literally yell out scripture in the street. We weren't terribly close, but it was sad to watch him change. Note: I'm a Christian myself, but not a fundamentalist by any means. So, I say it's sad not because of any negative opinions about religion but because this guy got super effin' weird. He still works where I used to, but I now live in another state as of a couple of years ago. I'm still friends with other coworkers who have reported strange comments from him in general, sometimes about me. For example, I sent something to my old office for a holiday. When he heard who had sent it, he said, "Oh. God has already spoken to me about her." Uh. It made me nervous, but it was months ago, and I forgot about it. Until just now, that is, when he emailed me directly to tell me that Jesus would be appearing to me soon - that he had already seen it - and it would change my life. Now I'm a little worried. This is someone who once confessed to me that he wanted to go to a violent country specifically to be martyred, after all. In fact, he HAS gone to MANY violent locations around the world, but no one's martyred him yet. Basically, I worry that he's just crazy enough to do something. But it's not like he's made any actual threats. He's just a super weird, creepy guy who wears headphones everywhere so that he won't hear any sin. So my question is: what, if anything, do I do? It looks like he sent this during work hours. Do I mention it to his boss? But then there's the Christian part of me that feels I should show more kindness to him and perhaps respond to him--he's undoubtedly been laughed at a lot. Maybe he needs someone he feels is on the same page to tell him, "Look, bro, I appreciate the heads up, but this kind of message is only going to make people afraid of you, not inspire their faith." Or what if he really is a prophet? I mean, what if I'm about to have a terrible accident and a near-death experience, and I'll be quadriplegic after that but will write an inspirational book or something? Hey, now, don't pretend it wouldn't be at the back of your mind too! Or do I just ignore the whole thing? Any advice is appreciated, really, but I'd especially love some insight from other people with religious leanings.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Moonwalking is often attributed to Michael Jackson, but as summarized in this low resolution clip from Soccer AM, it was performed under various names in decades before MJ's live television performance in 1983. Let's backslide through the years, from Cab Calloway's 1932 version that he called "The Buzz" to Jeffrey Daniel performing the backslide as a member of Shalamar in 1982 on Top of the Pops in the UK. Another early performer of gliding steps was the mime, Étienne Decroux, who taught both Marcel Marceau and David Bowie, both who might have influenced Jackson (see Bowie live in the Diamond Dogs tour, and Michael Jackson with Marcel Marceau in 1997). Around the 1950s, Bill Bailey mixed gliding steps with his tap dance routines and Mexican comedian/dancer Adalberto Martinez "Resortes" backslid, while Dick Van Dyke mailed a letter on a windy corner, and even the Godfather of Soul was known to float and glide on his feet in the 1960s. H.R Pufnstuf was also ahead of the curve, as seen in this clip where kids are taught The Moonwalk, a stationary version of the gliding step. But most credit Jeffrey Daniels with being the one to influence and teach Michael what he would call the Moonwalk. Here's Daniels with Casper Canidate and Cooley Jaxson/Jackson backsliding on Soultrain in 1979, before that performance with Shalamar on TOTP.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Bafo da Onça mix by Pepe Sol for Sabrosa Sabrosa Son Sistema: purveyors of sound system cultures originating from the cities and islands of the Caribbean, Africa & Latin America.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
The last two books I've read, Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store and The Westing Game have both made me feel the same way - happy, alive, joyous. By the end of each book, I was really rooting for the characters and their happiness. At the same time, I was feeling really good. They were similar in some ways, but I can't really define the genre, so it's hard for me to look for similar books. Can people suggest books that meet some number of these qualifications?What I liked about these books: - the were fun reads - they were fiction - they were fast reads (The Westing Game is YA fiction, but I'm not wedded to reading more YA) - they were mystery-like without exactly being traditional mystery novels - they both have a manageable number of characters - the characters in both books had and built really good relationships with each other - they both had a type of "coda" ending that explained what happened to the characters later At the end of each of them, I felt really happy - for the characters and their friends and the situations they found themselves in. Is this collection of attributes a type of book? What is it? What books can you suggest that evoked similar feelings, even if they don't match my parameters?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My manager is very hands-off and this is not going to change. How can I get better at managing myself, when I would prefer an environment with more direction and feedback?I work at a small nonprofit organization with several overseas projects, and my direct supervisor is also the executive director of the entire organization. She is overseas perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 of the time, and otherwise is often in meetings, and otherwise is just generally busy as hell. To top it off, I do not think she has a ton of supervisory experience. (She is very good at all other aspects of her job.) My role involves lots and lots of different responsibilities, and I find it difficult to manage them all effectively. For example, I might be double-checking a mailing list for the accuracy of the spelling of names, researching and writing a grant proposal, figuring out how to fix the website, editing someone else's research, posting on our Facebook, basic graphic design and layout projects... basically anything and everything that the project people and the finance people aren't doing. Some tasks are sort-term and urgent, some are long-term and crucial but not immediately urgent, some are things that really OUGHT to get done but are less urgent... My boss is actually pretty great, she thanks me for doing my job and she hasn't ever piled on more than I can handle. But I find myself struggling to efficiently manage all of the things I have to do. I will probably be working late for the next week, because I didn't adequately plan for the fact that four grant reports or proposals are all coming due around the same time. I sat down to work on those this morning, and had two emails asking me to help lay out/format documents which had to be dealt with immediately, so I had to put off the grant work... and, of course, then I do something like come to Ask and write a question about it. Procrastination is a problem. As if that wasn't enough, I also struggle with motivation, because this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. My coworkers seem generally satisfied with my work, but I know for a fact that I could do better and get things in sooner if I could manage myself like a pro. But where do I even start?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Alan Prendergast writing in Westword reflects on the history of "Bloody Ludlow."

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Had a memory just now of a small book I had as a child. I have a vague recollection of it being square and hardback, possibly with a green cover, but the most prominent memory is of a page describing the "wild worms of the Pampas" with a picture of fanged worms in tall grass.It might have been a fantastical travelogue, or a bestiary, but I really don't recall anything else offhand.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
20 3/4" (w) x 28" (h) poster, can't afford to custom frame it. Which is better: 1) a standard 22x28 frame, with a little extra space (or matting) along the width of the poster; 2) a 24x30 frame with 1 1/2" mat on either side and 1" of mat at top and bottom each?Both seem to be kind of unbalanced in the way they appear. (I would, by the way, get any necessary matting done custom; it's just for the frame I have to go with mass-produced). I'm looking at a simple, black, wood frame. So far I've identified the Blick Essentials frame in 24x30 or the Nielsen Tribeca frame in 22x28. Cost is the same. Matting will be about $20 more. I'm just not sure what would look best more most balanced! Is there a third alternative?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I've been on the hunt for the original of a quote that seems to have become a leftist proverb. The quote is paraphrased in the following way: [Communism/Socialism/Utopia/Freedom] will be when we stop suffering like animals and start suffering like human beings. Does this ring a bell for anyone?Searching various combinations of keywords, I've seen various attributions, none of which has an actual named text attached; my recollection is that the original speaker is somewhat more marginal in the Marxist or philosophical tradition, so probably not Lenin or Engels... Thanks!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
My brother is a senior in high school, and after a lifetime of excellent academic performance, seems to be having a nervous breakdown.His class is a month away from graduating, but he might end up not graduating and thus not going to college. The situation started at the beginning of this year, when he found out he was rejected by his early decision school. After that, he began to turn in his homework late, resulting in study hall, and then skipping the study hall, only to get detention. When questioned, he would say that he doesn't see the point of doing homework anymore, so he wasn't going to do it. My parents have talked to his teachers and the principal numerous times, and they have been very generous with extending the due dates for homework. He has been seeing a therapist, but he says it doesn't help him and he still won't be doing his homework. I'm not sure if he's depressed. I think he is, although he denies it, and then if I question him any further about his emotional state or why he's not doing his homework, he gets very hostile and snappy. He has always been a very intelligent, logical person, although all of his friends are online. I worry about the influence the internet is having on him, as he's shut up in his room all day every day, playing games and surfing the net. The school is now fast losing their patience with him, and they will probably not let him graduate. Our backup plan is for him to go to community college and then transfer to a 4-year school, but my parents would really rather not do this, because it feels like such a waste. I feel like maybe he should go on antidepressants, but he might not be willing to, as he insists he's not depressed. He is just super stubborn and no longer seems to care about anything except playing games, whereas before he took great pride in his schoolwork and being at the top of his programming and engineering classes. I also should add that my parents have not pressured him academically in any way, as he has always maintained good grades on his own. He is also skipping school now, refusing to get out of bed in the mornings. The three schools we are considering for him now are U of Washington, UC Irvine, and Santa Clara University. He applied to those as a computer engineering major, so if anyone can speak positively about the engineering program in any of those schools, I'd love to hear it. We are ending up having to decide for him, because he says he doesn't care. Of course, he may end up not being to attend in the fall or deferring his acceptance. Throwaway: downwardspiralmeta@yahoo.com

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I'm a straight man, wife is bi. Married over a decade, but have had some fun group sex experiences together in the past. However sexy single females ("unicorns") are hard to come by so we're looking at a Vegas trip for some naughty fun. Need information.Basically we're wondering first if one brothel is better than another for couples. Surely all are good for single men, but for couples? Second, how much would something like this cost? And third, any other tips involved? (Specifically tips for dealing with the brothel. Again, wife and I are experienced swingers so no relationship advice needed). Throwaway e-mail address couplesfun85@gmail.com for anyone who would rather give us information privately instead of public posts here.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Mu aunt has agreed to store all my grandpa's old photos and documents, if someone else can 'do something with it' first. That someone is me. Where do I start?I posted previously about a large box of old photographs and documents I inherited from my grandfather's house. The good news is, we found a relative to store them once 'something's been done' with them. The bad news is, I am the someone who has to make something be 'done' with them and I am am overwhelmed. I know we want to scan them and make some sort of digital book so we can order multiple copies for everyone. But I don't know how to organize the book because Grandpa was a packrat and kept everything. So we have things like... - Photographs (lots of these), both loose and in albums - Copies of lectures and presentations he gave on the subject of stamp collecting - Art work and report cards from the school days of my mother and aunts - And also from the era of the grandchildren, myself included - An organized collection of letters all involving a dispute with his rabbi over a bottle of schnapps - A hidden compartment in a wall which had several hundred love letters my Grandma wrote him And on and on it goes :) At first, I thought the best way to do it would be to spend a weekend sorting everything by date and mixing it all up into some kind of digital history. But this would involve picking and choosing amongst the materials and I don't know how to do that. Would it be better to have a 'just photos' album and then a second 'just documents' album too? Do I OCR the love letters to improve readability, even if that means losing Grandma's handwriting? How can I best get all this stuff organized and then present it meaningfully?

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