posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Are there any companies making high quality (meaning quiet, good looking, and reliable for many years) ceiling fans without fancy wireless remote systems? I want one that is operated solely by a pull chain. No lights.It seems that anything beyond the absolute cheapest ceiling fans now have wireless control systems requiring remotes, proprietary wall control panels, or something similar. I really don't want a fan that operates or looks like the absolute cheapest thing on the market, but I also don't want complex controls (because I want it to be able to be turned on and off with a standard toggle wall switch and/or by a pull chain)*. I do not want any lights on it. I'm becoming convinced that this combination does not exist. Please point me in the direction of an examples to the contrary! * The "why" isn't really important to answer the question, but I'm sure some people will wonder, so here are three of my reasons. First, I don't like the aesthetics of the busy-looking proprietary fan controls in a gang box with a bunch of standard switches. Secondly, the remotes tend to get misplaced or the batteries die at inconvenient times. Thirdly, these fancy electronic fans seem to have more things that can go wrong with them, and then the parts are discontinued when you need them. I have several in other rooms, so I know the tradeoffs intimately. For this one, I want simple!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm totally blind, and interested in a number of tabletop games which use hexes to regulate movement. I don't have an actual tactile map at this point, but have a giant Excel spreadsheet which is a somewhat cumbersome equivalent. I'm wondering about mathematical ways to tell the distance between two hexes, given (X, Y) coordinates, and determine what hexes are in, say, a 60-degree arc from a sepcific hex?The spreadsheet is rather annoying to use in a number of ways, but most obvious is that I can't use a visual scan to count hexes quickly. I have to move over each hex, and the "borders," between them, one by one, which is why I was hoping for mathematical solutions of some sort. The grid uses offset hex coordinates, with each even column offset, apparently. It's rather hard for me to picture mentally, unlike with a square grid.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad boxcars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from French citizens sent to the US in 1949. They were showing their appreciation for the 700+ American boxcars of relief goods sent to them by Americans in 1948 via a project calledFriendship Train. Each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift-laden box cars. Many of those boxcars still exist. - Friendship Train on Wikipedia - Merci Train on Wikipedia - Serious nerdy about the specifics of the train situation - World of Thanks, a documentary about the Merci Train that may have never been made - Short article in Life Magazine with some photos - Examples of gifts from the Kansas Historical Society and the Fort Wayne History Center - Other Theme Trains

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
From Serial and This American Life comes a seven-part podcast, S-Town. Arriving March 28.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
He has played his last set --John Thomas "Sib" Hashian who played the drums on arena-rock group Boston's first two albums, has died at 67. Sib played on Boston's first two hit records, their self-titled debut album in 1976, featuring the hit song "More Than a Feeling," and the 1978 followup, "Don't Look Back." The original band, made up of Tom Scholz, Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau, Fran Sheehan and Hashian, had one of the most successful debut records in history, selling over 17 million copies, with the singles "Long Time" and "Peace of Mind." The musician had been booked as part of the Legends of Rock themed cruise when he collapsed without warning partway through his set. Hashian was treated with CPR and a defibrillator onboard, to no avail. The cause of death remains unknown at this time, but Adam tells PEOPLE the family believes it may have been a heart attack. The voyage began on March 18 in Florida, and was scheduled to make various Caribbean stops including the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The cruise will continue, with additional musicians performing in tribute to Hashian. In addition to wife Suzanne, daughter Aja and son Adam, Hashian is survived by his daughter Lauren as well as granddaughter Jasmine, her child with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I have about 3.5 months in which I'd like to transform my body. Given a lack of flexible time (full-time job + mommying), I have some specific questions that will ultimately factor into how I stay consistent, enjoy my exercise time, and make sure I don't fall off the wagon.In the last year or so, I've gained about 35 lbs. It's come to the point where looking in the mirror is depressing. While I understand that pregnancy and motherhood ravages a body, this body's been recovering pretty nicely - what's left is definitely a combination of a poor diet, exhaustion and laziness. I have a history of inconsistency when it comes to working out, mostly because running is my choice of cardio (and does work for me), but I intensely dislike it. I don't know how to swim or ride a bike. 1. Is rowing a good cardio substitute for running? I'm more likely to stick to that than the HIIT running I do. I plan to include strength training in my workouts, and attempt to incorporate interval training as much as possible, but need a good option for cardio. 1a. If running is the Best Cardio Thing Ever, how do I begin to like it? My quads burn out in less than ten minutes, and that's the part I detest the most - other pain I can deal with. I really want to love running. 1b. What kind of professional would I consult that could correct my running form? It feels like when I run, most of the stress is on my quads and shins and I barely feel my glutes/ core engage. This happens on ellipticals as well. 2. Outside of portion control, what should I be eating more of? I know what I should be eating less of, but I'm interested in knowing what's worked for you when you need to snack/ be less hungry during the day, that also provides the stamina for two 30-minute workouts a day (morning and evening) plus a full day of work and mommying. I'm not breastfeeding. 3. How do you psych/ discipline yourself to a long-term exercising and strengthening plan? Many of us are juggling a million balls during the day, and many of us find that the easiest ball to drop is the fitness one. Help me not be that person. 4. General tips and tricks to making this goal a success. A number isn't as important as being able to fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes and looking phenomenal in them. As in, the bridesmaid's dress I have to wear in three months is backless and the wedding guests may like to be spared the (to me, at least) offensive back roll that's developed there.* *Please no discussions on body positivity - I don't hate my body, but I do know that I could be taking a lot better care of it and my goals are what I've decided work for me. As always, thank you, MeFites!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I have a yucky rash that may or may not be getting infected. Can't decide whether this is very urgent or not.So I have a scrape. It's healing. I bandaged it, only to discover that I've got some kind of allergy to the bandage or the adhesive. It's red and swollen with some little white bumps. The whole thing is moderately hurty and itchy, and there is a red area to one side of the allergic place which seems to have grown. The forearm itself (this is an arm thing!) is meaningfully hotter next to the allergic area. I am uncertain whether this is an infection or just the allergic reaction sort of cresting. My initial thought was to go to the quick clinic early tomorrow, but I'm not sure - is this the kind of thing where it's actually flesh eating bacteria or MRSA and needs to be addressed ASAP so I don't lose a limb? Should I go to the urgent care after work, or wait? You are not my doctor. If it changes condition in any dramatic way I'll go to the urgent care tonight, but assuming it's stable, what do you think?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I have a milestone birthday coming up (think 30) and my dearest friends are flying in to celebrate. It's been a particularly challenging few years and they have been the ones to pull me through. I want to get them something as a fun thank you - think like bridesmaid gifts sans wedding. Thoughts? Ideally want to keep it under $50/person.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm looking for advice on dealing with what feels like cognitive decline, though it's all tangled up with anxiety and depression and it's hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.Background: I've been struggling with anxiety and depression for 20+ years now, but since 2011 I've been experiencing increasingly severe cognitive issues: forgetting things, difficulty understanding things, difficulty picking up new skills and retaining information. Ten years ago I could pick up a new skill / language / technology pretty quickly, in fact it was one of my strongest professional skills, but that's no longer the case. I've worked around it for as long as I could but I'm now at a crisis at work; there are things I'm expected to know and to do that I just can't seem to get my head around. This crisis came to a head several weeks ago, at which point I took a medical leave from work because I could see my performance deteriorating and I felt like I had to either take some time off or quit. During that time off I worked with my GP on adjusting my meds and started seeing a new therapist. I'm back at work now and unfortunately I'm right back in crisis mode. The adjusted meds have helped improve depression and reduced overall anxiety a bit, but I'm still struggling here, and nothing we've discussed in therapy so far is helping. The only thing I've had limited success with so far has been a combination of beta blockers and high doses of caffeine - I think maybe the caffeine is helping me think better/faster and the beta blocker is helping to get the anxiety out of the way and counteract the physical effects (twitchy/anxiousness) of the caffeine. I've also seen some limited success with various kinds of music through headphones as I work, though not so much lately. (I mostly stopped doing the caffeine/beta blocker thing because it was affecting my sleep.) I've been taking Wellbutrin XL (bupropion) for several years, with mixed efficacy, and beta blockers (propranolol) as needed for acute anxiety (particularly for work meetings and such). Doctor started me on Paxil as well about 6 weeks ago, which seems to be helping improve my overall mood but which is doing very little for anxiety or cognitive stuff. I also got a couple of weeks of Klonopin, which was intended to help while the Paxil was ramping up, and I find that the Klonopin is much more effective at addressing the anxiety, though I haven't been able to see how well it might help address the cognitive issues yet. (Both the Paxil and the Klonopin have been making me very sleepy also, though I'm told most people get used to it.) Finally, late last year I started using a CPAP machine since a sleep test showed that I wasn't breathing well at all during sleep. This is helping me sleep better and wake up more refreshed, but it doesn't seem (yet at least) to be helping much to address anxiety or cognitive stuff. I understand that you are not my doctor or therapist or neuropsychologist. That said, I'm looking for any advice anyone can offer, particularly first-hand advice, in any of three directions here: Has anyone been through these kinds of symptoms and have any anecdotal advice on correcting or dealing with them? Among other points, I'm struggling to figure out whether the cognitive symptoms are related to anxiety/depression, or completely independent. From experience my impression is that there's a negative feedback loop here, in that cognitive difficulties lead to anxiety which in turn exacerbate the cognitive symptoms. But beyond that I really can't tell whether or how these symptoms are related. Maybe someone has experienced something similar? Entirely apart from the medical / psychological issues, I'd appreciate any advice anyone can share about how to best handle the situation at work. Obviously this will vary a lot across workplaces and companies; in this case it's a large company with pretty robust options for medical/FMLA leave and both short- and long-term disability. They also seem open to ongoing accommodations for medical issues, though I really don't know what kinds of accommodations might help. Parts of my job I can still do just fine, but the parts that involve tasks I haven't mastered yet seem nearly impossible at the moment. Anyone here who's dealt with these kinds of issues and can share their experiences? I get that these might be sensitive topics so if you'd rather comment privately, please use [email protected] Thanks in advance.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I want some green Connemara marble beads. (8mm, round, nice green color...) Can anyone suggest a reputable source that's not too expensive? Time isn't a factor: I can wait.I love the color and backstory of the stone, and I would like to have some of these to make jewelry & things for myself and my kids. So I guess if they are 8mm beads then maybe...thirty of them? Maybe more if they're not too dear. eBay has some, but I never know what I am getting with eBay. I haven't shopped at any of the many online bead/jewelry supply places before, so I don't know whether they're better or worse in terms of price or quality. Thanks you for any suggestions!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'd swear I recently heard a news segment about how smaller nonprofits not focused on human rights or health or the environment are seeing massive drops in charitable giving because those funds are being funneled elsewhere. Is this true?My Google Fu is failing me. Tons of articles from November speculate on the election's effect on nonprofits, but they emphasize federal cuts and talk about the large national nonprofits. Some of those articles focus on how nonprofits will benefit, but they're talking about the ones that have been seeing a surge in support as a direct result of the threats of the current administration: PP, ACLU, Sierra Club and others. I'm more interested in learning if and how smaller nonprofits are suffering as a result. Specifically, has the surge in individual donations to the aforementioned organizations been a result of citizens redirecting their charitable giving dollars? Are smaller (especially local and regional) nonprofits taking a hit? Surely there have been surveys that looked at year-end giving, or the first couple of months of 2017. Looking for articles and documentation on the subject. Thanks!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I wish for translation to be done, from Latin.I'm trying to put more effort into a joke than it's really worth, but I have come upon an etymological quandary. What I would like is for "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - "Who watches the watchers/watchmen?" - to refer to pedants instead of watchers. Who will pedant the pedants? Yes, this is awful construction, but I like verbing nouns inappropriately. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like 'pedant' has a direct Latin translation, and is at best a Medieval Latin term filtered through Italian and French. The joke doesn't REQUIRE 'pedant' pedantry, but something visually similar to 'pedant' would be best so more people can recognize the meaning without looking it up. If a Latin form of 'pedant' could be properly used in a proper quasi Latin quote, that would be great. If there are similar actual Latin terms with all the bile and zing of a properly used 'pedant', I would love to hear them.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Kirby Runyon and five fellow science team members from the New Horizons mission to Pluto are at the 48th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas this week, promoting an alternative planetary definition (PDF, 2 page paper; PDF of their poster). They are offering a drastically different definition from the one the International Astronomical Union (IAU) set in 2006 (previously), one which would increase the planet count from 8 to 110 in our solar system. In 2005, three smaller celestial bodies were proposed to be upgraded to planets by the IAU, but instead of expanding the definition, it was restricted slightly in 2006 (PDF of Resolution B5, "Definition of a Planet in the Solar System") to keep out the riff-raff, er, dwarf planets. The 110 figure comes from a chart of every round object in the solar system under 10,000 kilometers in diameter, to scale, with the definition for a planet being "a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has enough gravitation to be round due to hydrostatic equilibrium regardless of its orbital parameters." And instead of a ridiculously long mnemonic device, Runyon and his partners suggest teaching zones, not planet names: Rocky and metallic inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Ceres) formed in the Inner Zone where heavier elements concentrated closer to the Sun during Solar System formation. Gaseous and mainly icy planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and their satellite planets) formed in the Middle Zone. Icy planets, most of which are probably dwarf planets (which are"full-fledged" planets) formed in the Outer Zone where lighter elements remained during Solar System formation. The Washington Post sought early comments from Kirby Runyon and other scientists: "It's a scientifically useful bit of nomenclature and, I think, given the psychological power behind the word planet, it's also more consumable by the general public," Runyon said. "A classification has to be useful, or else it's just lipstick on a pig," countered planetary scientist Carolyn Porco. Runyon's definition "is not useful at all." ... "If you look at the solar system with fresh eyes, it is really hard to not realize that there are eight big things dominating the solar system and millions of tiny things flitting around," said Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, whose discovery of the dwarf planet Eris, announced in 2005, precipitated the IAU vote a year later. Brown was not at that vote, but he said that a definition based on orbital dynamics "is the most profound classification you can come up with." "That's the one that asks the question we're asking as planetary scientists," he explained. "Why did the solar system form with these eight giant things and all these other things around them?" In short, the debate rages on.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I received a bill for ~$4000 for a surgery I had 8 weeks ago. (After insurance was applied.) I was laid off a few weeks ago and while I could pay the amount out of savings, I'm wondering if it's better to set up a payment plan with the hospital. I have never done this.I assume they'll ask me how much I can contribute every month. I have no idea what to say. I am getting some severance pay but that will stop in a few weeks, then I'll have to apply for unemployment. At that point I'll be about 1.5x of FPL (federal poverty level) and I will have to use savings to supplement that in order to pay my bills. In addition, I haven't gotten a bill from the anesthesiology group yet and I have no idea how much it will be, or if they're in network (if they are, it will be "free" since I've met my max out of pocket). I'm trying to get contact info for them. If I don't qualify for a payment plan, my options are: - pay it out of savings, which will greatly affect my liquidity - get a loan from my 401k - use CareCredit (I have already qualified for this amount, it's 0% for six months and then ridiculous afterwards) - use a credit card, 16% interest (I already know this is dumb, but it is an option) I know I don't qualify for their Financial Assistance Program because my provider is not covered. This is very clear in their documentation. If it matters, I'm on COBRA with the same insurance company that covered the surgery.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
You may have heard that sitting in chairs is slowly killing anyone who works in an office. Now, however, you can buy the Altwork Station, an office chair that will definitely not kill the user.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Time to free up house space, so time to get rid of my CDs. Please help me sort out my options. Details inside.Must have: Music stored in cloud only, not on my computer. Apple hardware access. Nice to have: Access from Android phone and Fire HD 8. Willing to pay. Willing to spend the time loading my CDs into computer. Thanks.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I fall asleep on my side, but recently I've started doing something odd; rolling onto my stomach and moving my entire body down to the end of the bed so that my feet and legs are hanging off.I've had various issues with sleeping soundly for a long time, but this is a new one; a few months ago I noticed that I was sometimes waking up on my stomach with my feet hanging off the end of the bed, even though I always fall asleep on my side. I used to sleep on my stomach and always liked having a foot hanging off the edge of the bed, so that part wasn't too unusual. What *is* unusual is that lately I've been waking up with not just my feet but also my legs hanging off the end of the bed; sometimes my kneecaps will be at the very edge of the bed. This places a lot of stress on my leg muscles, and means I must be moving 2-3 feet down the bed in my sleep in order to wind up in this position, even though it's uncomfortable; the last couple of weeks it's been uncomfortable enough to wake me up in the middle of the night a few times, and last night I woke up because of this at 2 AM, went back to sleep at the top of the bed and then woke up again at 5 AM in the same position. Nothing has changed about my sleeping conditions recently - same room, same mattress, same pillows. My wife does spend, on average, 3 nights per week out of town right now, but last year she was away from home almost full-time while she began her PhD and I slept just fine. I tried searching online for information on behaviour like this, to no avail. To the best of my knowledge I do not have restless leg syndrome, and my wife has never noticed me kicking or moving my legs while sleeping. Has anyone else experienced this, and/or is it indicative of anything?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
One of my oldest friends makes a high-drama (and expensive) command performance out of his birthday dinner every year, and I'm unclear how to handle it going forward. (excruciating detail within)Nick is someone I've been friends with since we were in elementary school, and since we're firmly middle-aged now, this is substantial relationship. In a way, it's almost like having a sibling, someone you stick with because of lifelong ties, despite knowing each other's flaws intimately. So I love him, but he's a high-maintenance sort of person, to put it mildly. Nonetheless, he has a tight-knit group of friends with whom he wishes to celebrate his birthday. Each year, he selects a restaurant and then invites this group of 8-10 people, myself included, to "take him out" to dinner. By which he means: pick up the check. His control-freakitude usually results in him ordering a variety of dishes for the table that he prefers, which everyone samples from. I freely admit to having some relatively picky eating preferences, but I've noticed I'm not the only one who takes a bit of each and leaves unsatisfied and lighter in the wallet. Last year, Nick selected a restaurant that was wildly more expensive than even the usual places he chooses. We're in a large city with extensive restaurant options in virtually every cuisine imaginable, so it is not terribly taxing to find a place that is (a) big enough for a party of 10, (b) offers terrific food, and (c) is reasonably priced. One of the group, Jacqueline, is on a somewhat more limited budget than others, and when Nick announced this year that he was planning to have us return to the same place, she sent him a private note saying it had been beyond her budget, so she would be happy to meet up with the group later in the evening for dessert. When Nick mentioned this to me recently, I told him I agreed – that the place was really very expensive. This seemed to be news to him, because he sort of shrugged and said "Hm, when I eat lunch there it is a great bargain." (Apparently he's oblivious to the fact that lunch and dinner prices can be hugely different.) He then proceeds to send an email to the entire group saying that the high cost of the restaurant has been brought to his attention, and that it might be that this great lunchtime "bargain" may just be more expensive for dinner or for the private room that seats the larger group. He goes on to suggest that a restaurant specializing in specific Asian cuisines should be chosen, but it needs to meet certain parameters including: not barbecue, a big table, Saturday night, not too noisy. He says he will consider options, but everyone in the group should be working on this too. He suggests that we keep prices down by sharing dishes (see above for my issues with that), which he thinks will keep the cost to $10 per person (in our city that is just a completely off-the-wall notion) and that perhaps we should not make a reservation because if we mention that this is for a group celebration, the restaurant will charge higher prices (um....) By now, I'm pretty fed up with Nick's manners. To me, if you extend a dinner invitation to people, you don't decline to pay for your own meal, even if it is your birthday; it's the equivalent of inviting people to your apartment for a party and then handing them all a bill at the end of the evening. I could go on, and on and on and on, but it boils down thusly: Is it too late for me to say something about how kooky and off-putting this entire enterprise is after sucking it up for years and years? In practical terms, should I just ask for a separate check for myself and my husband and order what we want? (From my husband's perspective, he recommended we all just feign 24-hour flus and ditch the whole thing) And, bottom line – am I overreacting to this entire situation?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
A Sign Thanking People For Not Feeding Ducks Bread Has Gone Viral And People Are Freaking Out

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Recently pregnant, and living a 6+ hour plane flight away from both our families. What tips and tricks do you have to help our future child(ren) build and maintain close family ties with distance keeping us apart for the forseeable future?My husband and I are ecstatic to finally be expecting our first child after several years of trying. We're finally mid-second trimester and starting to realize that this is actually happening, and suddenly I've moved on from worrying about the practicalities of raising a kid itself. We've always lived some distance from our families, but it recently increased from a 30 minute flight to a 6+ hour flight. I'm pretty close with my family, speaking on the phone to my mom/dad 2-3 times a week and texting daily with my siblings. My husband is slightly less close with his family, but they are still important to us both. I'm starting to wonder how we can foster a strong relationship between our future child(ren) and our families given this distance. We're likely settled this distance away for at least the next few years, if not longer. It probably isn't reasonable to expect we'll be able to fly out to visit them more than ~2x a year, and while I expect we'll get visits in return (especially from retired new grandparents), I know our kid will have a very different experience with extended family than I did growing up. What can I do to make sure they have the best chance possible to form bonds? What worked or is working for your families that live far away? Is this as simple as frequent facetime and Skype calls, or is there more we should prioritize to help foster strong family relationships*? Potentially relevant details: This will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family. We both have siblings (there are 7 total between both families) who will likely eventually have children though maybe not starting for 2-3+ years. We want to have more kids, but don't take anything for granted. (*By the way, to be clear: if the kid, as they grow up, indicates they don't want these relationships we won't force them or anything, but I want to give the best chance for them to develop in the first place. I loved my grandparents and cousins and aunts/uncles and had the great privilege of being able to see them all at least once a month if not more frequently growing up, and still consider some of my cousins my best friends.)

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm trying to share a paid health care survey and it's intended to reach people who have Obamacare/Affordable Care Act insurance (although people with Medicaid plans don't qualify). I've tried Craiglist Etc. section but it gets flagged often even though I believe it's within the Terms of Service. Any ideas where I could post it to get responses? It's paid so there should be incentive to fill it out. The survey pays $25 which is promptly paid via Venmo, Paypal or Amazon gift card. The company's name is Impact Health and there is a website people can visit to learn more about why they are surveying healthcare users (it's to make acquiring health care easier and less complex): https://impacthealth.io/

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I have some scans (currently TIFFs) of old newspapers I would like to OCR on my Mac. Can anyone recommend a good solution? I tried PDFPen but it seems to choke on some of the larger broadsheets. Is that my best option? Web services? Anything?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Can you ID this (80s?) light rock band based on one anti-apartheid song ("how can we afford to condone a racist government?") and another slow one ("Think I'll write myself a letter / maybe then I'll feel better")?This stuff came on a tape cassette and I listen the heck out of it on my walkman back in the day. Most of the songs were energetic / punky rock with a clean guitar sound, maybe a little compression and/or echo on the drums and a prominent bassline. Apart from the 2 songs above I remember one about some specific person being a badass but sadly not their name ("X is always doing Y"), with a repetitive bassline. So, easy question, right?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I have a number of pieces of art that I would like to print as either a photo album (a la Shutterfly) or a self-published book (a la Lulu.com).They are scans of paintings that are mostly (but not all - some are slightly different sized, irregular shape or larger) A4. 8.5x11 would be the closest size with a service like Shutterfly, which would make the images a bit smaller, from 11.7" to 11". I suspect doing a print at that size would change the art significantly - is that intuition correct? If so, what is a website or service I could use to print the images as an A4 sized photo album or book?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
There is no ignoring the control that president Bashar Assad's regime tries to exert over its citizens and, once again, sport is no different. The relative success of the team is both a passing panacea and a propaganda opportunity, the former for the people and the latter for the president. To present a thriving football culture to the world fits in entirely with the agenda of normalisation, of having quelled the rebellion, of stabilisation and control. However, as we discovered, the reality is far from that... Ultimately, this is a story of 23 Syrian footballers, 23m Syrian people, 4.9m refugees, six years of war and one president.

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