posted 4 days ago on metafilter
The sort of isolation that gave us tall and short and light and dark and other variations in our species was no protection against the advance of language. It crossed mountains and oceans as if they werent there. Did it meet some need? No. The other five thousand plus mammals among us do fine without it. But useful? Oh yes. We might further point out that when it arrived it had no place to go. The brain was not expecting it and had made no plans for its arrival. It simply invaded those areas of the brain that were the least dedicated. ... What we do know—pretty much without question—is that once you have language everything else follows pretty quickly. The simple understanding that one thing can be another thing is at the root of all things of our doing. --Cormac McCarthy, "The Kekulé Problem"

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
i've been spending an inordinate amount of time in medical waiting/exams rooms lately because reasons. in many places cell phone use is disallowed. please recommend some lighthearted reading selections that will help the boredom and also take my mind off the situation. short story collections would be especially welcome.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I am finding coin-sized bald spots on my scalp, possibly from alopecia areata. I have long, dark hair and at least one spot on the top of my crown is noticeable no matter where I part my hair. How do I hide this? Also, is it possible any of this is related to the birth of my first child but NOT simply postpartum hair loss?Like a lot of pregnant women I enjoyed a glorious mane of hair during my pregnancy. I bid farewell to all that lustrous volume after the baby was about 3 months old. The hair loss was hardly noticeable, but then again, I was massively sleep-deprived and could have missed a family of possums living in our kitchen. Anyways, about 9 months after giving birth I noticed a random bald spot near my hair part. At first it seemed about the size of a quarter, but later it appeared more butterfly-shaped and about the size of two misshapen half-dollars placed next to each other. I'm not sure if the spot grew or if my long hair covered up some of the scalp. Fast forward to a couple days ago when I examined my head from the back with the help of two mirrors and noticed another quarter-sized bald spot near the back of my crown, which I normally can't see. I have no idea if it's a recent development or one that I didn't notice earlier. There is no way that my kid, hair-pull-y though she is, could have yanked out that much hair. I also don't think this is part of the normal telogen effluvium cycle that other postpartum women experience. This leads me to ask two questions: 1. How can I hide the bald spots? I'm not *terribly* worried about them, as they seem consistent with alopecia areata. Has anyone with odd hair loss had luck using cosmetics? I'm not interested in cutting my hair super short, but I've definitely pumped the brakes on hair brushing, excessive shampooing, and styling in order to minimize further damage (not that I've been doing much of that anyways since the kid was born). 2. Have any other women experienced this weird condition, or something similar, post-childbirth? Did the condition resolve itself or did you need to get aggressive? It seems shots of corticosteroids help with alopecia areata but ugh, that seems like a lot of effort and possibly not cool to mix with breast-feeding. Other points: yes, I will eventually see a dermatologist and an endocrinologist to rule out anything serious, but my time is pretty limited these days. No other weird health issues are cropping up. I am still breastfeeding 2-3x daily, but kiddo is 11 months old and I plan to wean her by about the 13th month.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
We have this picture on the wall in our office: https://imgur.com/a/L3mta Can anyone identify the location? we're pretty sure it's somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
'The Book Of Joan' Recasts A Historic Heroine — In Space [NPR] "What does it mean to be human? In Lidia Yuknavitch's new novel The Book of Joan, what's left of the human race is orbiting above the Earth, sexless and ageless, prisoners in a technological hell. Their lives are preserved through growing limbs and grafting skin. Presiding over it all is a one-time billionaire celebrity who evolved through media and technology into a despot. His adversary is a girl called Joan; Yuknavitch says she adapted the story of Joan of Arc to make her heroine "an eco-terrorist of sorts, although that name would depend on your point of view. She has allegiance to the planet, and diversity on the planet, including plants and animals and people. And as the story progresses, her allegiance turns into a question somewhat like "what's the worth of humans, and what's our relationship to the planet?"" • 'The Book Of Joan' Retells Joan Of Arc's Story — In An Apocalyptic Future In Space [Bustle] ""I think language and the body are literally sites — real places — where meanings are always generated and negated, endlessly," says Yuknavitch. "Creation and destruction are not linear opposites. They make a helix that's always co-present. So, though we've over-commodified violence and destruction and sexuality and creation, and treated them as if they're opposites from each other — creation and destruction — in language, as on the body, they are not binaries. They are happening on top of each other all the time. We're sloughing off skin and hair cells right now, cells are being killed inside our bodies at the same rate they're being produced, so creation/destruction just isn't a binary in life the way we've made it in our meaning systems."" • Retrofuturist Feminism: Lidia Yuknavitch's "The Book of Joan" [LA Review of Books] "CIEL is populated by the desexualized, hairless, and ever-more-white remnants of humanity, those who were privileged enough to merit "ascension" to Jean de Men's constructed world above the ravaged Earth. In CIEL, gender, class, and economic divisions have disappeared along with pigment and genitalia. Procreation is impossible, but people are ceremonially killed at 50 anyway (one true technological advancement of this new age is the ability to extract water from corpses). Non-procreative, non-penetrative sex (the only bodily sex now available) is illegal. Textual sex is the only sex allowed, and Jean de Men himself is the author of CIEL's best-selling romance — critiqued by our narrator Christine, because "all of the women in his story demand to be raped."" • Bodies in Space: Lidia Yuknavitch's The Book of Joan [Tor] "Lidia Yuknavitch's The Book of Joan is so much more than just a retelling of the story of Joan of Arc. Let's get plot out of the way: In the near future, the Water Wars have ravaged the Earth. Those who are too young or weak to fight are crushed by a constant roving battle. One group gathers around Jean de Men, a charismatic but brutal leader who would exploit the planet's resources until there is nothing left; the other around Joan of Dirt, a young woman warrior. Rather than hearing the voice of God, this Joan hears the voice of the Earth itself, a song that is being sung by the dirt, the trees, the water, the air...but this is no Disney ballad—it's a song of fury and pain, and when it enters Joan's mind it changes her life irrevocably. From this ecologically-minded update of Joan of Arc Lidia Yuknavitch creates a masterful book that is concerned with the stories we tell ourselves, and how we choose to tell those stories. When humanity is at its endpoint, facing its ultimate destruction, what story will we whisper into the dark?"

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Give up on Your Dreams of Becoming a Baker, a catchy music video by Brian David Gilbert. See also e.g. Thom Yorke was raised in a barn, Justin [Timberlake] checks WebMD, or When I Make a Good Pun.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
If the hostess asks him to have a chair Freddie comes right back at her with "No, thanks; we have chairs at home." If the host offers him a cigar he will say just like a flash, "What's the matter with it?" If one of the men borrows a cigarette and a light from him Freddie will say in that dry voice of his, "Do you want the coupons too?" Of course his wit is pretty fairly caustic, but no one ever seems to take offense at it. I suppose there is everything in the way he says things. "Men I'm Not Married To", Dorothy Parker, 1922 .txt format (Franklin P. Adams' "Women I'm Not Married To," which ran with Parker's piece is included as well)

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
A company has proposed to hire me for a month as a contractor. It's a company that does work in the blockchain and they're offering 20,000 tokens for 30 days' work. Is this worth it or am I being taken advantage of?I'm trying to get a job with a company that's doing some seriously awesome work in blockchain. I don't want to explain more for fear of giving it away, but suffice to say, it's real. They have real clients and have been around for 3 years. I was recently laid off, and I've been trying to angle my way in for a job. The owner has proposed bringing me on board as a contractor first and in lieu of cash, wrote this to me: "As I mentioned before, we are gearing up the crypto-token sale launch of our company token which will grant us the opportunity to grow our current team. [...] As indicated in the offer letter, regardless on if you decide to continue with the company you will receive 20,000 tokens for your dedication over the 30 day period." Help me understand this. How am I getting paid? Are those 20,000 tokens redeemable for cash? Is this a month's work essentially for free?

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Old car, new phone, clueless operator. Looking for product recommendations that suit my preferences.Hi! So, I'm a late-adopter in a huge way. I just got my first smartphone and there are 2 accessories in particular I'd love your help choosing! Typical scenario for me: driving along, using the phone's navigation system, listening to CDs. I want to use my 2005 Honda's [crappy, there's fully a blown-out speaker] sound system to play CDs while the nav runs through independent speakers. If I'm not using nav, it'd maybe be nice to play digital music files through the car's speakers (or would it be nice?? How nice is speakerphone sound??). I think this product serves this purpose: Motorola Roadster 2, but I'm not totally sure, and I can't tell from reviews if it's great or not. 2nd, just a reco for a dash mount. I was looking at this one: iOttie Easy One Touch 3. I'm drawn to a dashboard mount as opposed to the vent mounts because I use my vents constantly. I have phone conversations almost never, so being able to talk and drive is a nonissue. A search of past questions led me here. It may be a useful link for me... I'm not sure! I'd say "Explain like I'm 5" but the 5 year olds in my life are more comfortable with iOS than I am, so just... please use small words and pretend I arrived last week from 1992. So much thanks!! -- It's an iPhone 6 btw.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
In one photograph, the German-born, Harvard-educated hedge fund manager Florian Homm, who made and lost a personal fortune of more than $800 million, poses in a German brothel that he once co-owned. In another, Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines accused of stealing billions from state coffers, sits in her Manila apartment beneath a gold-framed Picasso. Later on, a 43-year-old Chinese billionaire Huang Qiaoling is pictured walking from his mansion, built as a full-scale replica of the White House, to his chauffeured Mercedes S Class. Lauren Greenfield's Generation Wealth will be published in May. Dozens more similarly lavish and disconcerting vignettes fill Generation Wealth (Phaidon, 2017), a 504-page monograph by Lauren Greenfield and out on May 15. More images from the photographer are available here and here. Previously.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I teach at a College and at a University, I also work at an office, am on a busy board of directors, and have two small children. Getting Things Done worked for me when I just had one full-time job, but with this chaos I can't seem to keep my head straight. Please help.I teach in-class and online courses through a College. I have an office there, and need to keep track of my coursework, marking, student concerns, accommodations, and department asks. I teach in-class courses at a University. I also have an office there, and need to keep track of all the same things as my college work, although different processes of course. I also have a regular office job. I have an office in my building, and need to keep track of casework, appointments, and my boss's schedule. On top of this I sit on a Board of Directors for a non-profit, and I have a wife and two little kids (age 2 and 5). I am dropping balls like mad this semester: getting my college and university obligations mixed up, losing track of student requests, losing track of appointments, and not accomplishing the work at home that needs doing. I currently use Google Drive to organize my teaching material. I have four different email addresses and I use four different calendars (three jobs with separate email addresses and calendars, and a personal one). I live out of my wheely bag. You can see the problem. Can you see a solution?

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Still going strong at 84, Willie Nelson releases yet another album and you can listen to it before it's released thanks to NPR.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Alex Tom took his car to the shop because its airbag had been recalled. But the tech found something odd in the airbag compartment: a smartphone, locked and stuck in January 2015. Tom, naturally, posted about it on social media, and eventually found the owner thanks to a dating app.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Lovemaking interrupts a tennis game. (SLYT)

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
So I'm the father of a very clever 9 year old who is obsessed with space. When she grows up she'd like to either be an astronaut or an astronomer (ideally both). I thought I'd be fun for us to put together an 'Astronaut Training Program' for her that would combine physical fitness (e.g. cross-country, SCUBA, etc.) and educational opportunities (learning about math, programming, engineering, physics, etc) to prepare her for her future application in 13+ years. I'm wondering if any of you have any suggestions for resources, tools, organizations, or people that might help us in our quest.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I'm looking for graphic novels, comics, or anything similar to fill the void in my life left by The Expanse between seasons.After tonight's viewing of the season finale of The Expanse, I'll need something to replace that world in my media diet. I am already planning on reading the books, but since I started watching the show first, I'm going to be pacing my reading with the show, not the other way around. I think I have an appropriate set of other novels to tackle, but I've got a huge blind spot for graphic novels, comics, and illustrated stories of all stripe. I'm just not in that world at all, and never really know where to start finding things. I'm looking for 'words with pictures' (comics, graphic novels, webcomics, anthologies, etc) that might meet the following criteria: 1. Immersive world building is vital. One of the reasons I enjoy the Expanse so much is that the world is believable, there are rules, and is relatively coherent (with some obvious exceptions). 2. They really ought have an ending, or some sort of satisfying pause between volumes. Cliffhangers are fairly undesirable to me, and I'd prefer completed works. 3. I would prefer hard-ish science fiction (but this is subordinate to an immersive world). 4. I also really like anthologies of stories that occur in the same world. In an effort to be responsible in our awful economic system, I'll try to avoid Amazon for these purchases, so letting me know where to buy these things in Portland, Oregon would be helpful too.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
My husband and I are thinking about purchasing a teardrop trailer to tow behind our Subaru Outback, primarily to allow more weekend outdoor adventuring with our baby. We've never done the trailer thing before. Good idea or bad idea?Prior to living the baby life, my husband and I spent about two weekends every month outdoors, either rock climbing or backpacking. We'd load up the car, drive out from the Bay Area on Friday night, get to Yosemite or Tahoe by 11 pm or so, sleep by the car in a dispersed camping spot, up with then sun, and then spend the whole day outside on Saturday. Repeat for Sunday until early afternoon, then head home. Post baby life.... well, we've done some car camping (including a week long trip around South Utah a earlier this month), but we're moving a LOT slower now (naturally). It takes 1.5-2 hours to get camp set up, and then another 1.5 - 2 hours for teardown (one person is just hanging out with the baby). Which doesn't leave as much time as we'd like for actually enjoying the outdoors - plus it requires a reserved campsite or some significant space in a dispersed camping area. So we're thinking about purchasing a ~1,000 pound teardrop trailer to tow behind our Outback - one with a small kitchen that we can keep fully stocked, as well as queen sized bed that we sleep in with the kiddo. Idea being that we can head out on Friday nights like before, pull up to a dispersed camping spot just like before, and then just jump in the trailer for the night in a bed that's already made. Next morning we already have a kitchen ready to go for breakfast, and then we're off to the outdoors just like before. With a bonus being that we can retreat to the trailer for nap time as well. We're hoping that this set up would allow for a lot more adventuring with our 10-month-old than we're currently doing. Other details: - we're smallish people, so no worries about fitting into the trailer - and one of us can always sleep outside if the baby morphs into a space-hogging kid - we're of the ultralight backpacking/minimalist camping school of thought, but struggling to balance that with all of the gear it seems a baby needs, even while camping - we've also though campervan/sprinter conversion, but 1) those are way more expensive 2) doesn't seem to give much more space. But maybe there are other pluses that make it a better choice for us? - we're specifically thinking of getting a [email protected] Max trailer - we aren't thinking of hooking up to RV electrical & water hookups as a regular thing at all - e.g. we'd be "boondocking" almost all of the time Thoughts? What are the things we should be thinking about for pros/cons but aren't?

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
So this kid interned for me a year ago. There's no nice way to say it but he gave off a real Lenny based Mice and Men vibe. Hulking kid with a stutter who kept a permanent half smile on his face that did not read as a normal. He keeps hitting me up for work and I'm kinda torn on what to tell him.As background he would always do off putting things like interrupt me while I was giving him instructions (and usually with the wrong interpretation) and listening to phone conversations where my door was open and THEN come in with input about them which was always bad. It was ambition that was entirely unearned and I talked to him about it several times. All that said, he DID try hard. Which I respect. But with a bunch of high profile projects going on, I don't think I could trust hiring him. He decides to start his creepy social climbing with some celebrity and it's all going to be very bad. Or maybe I could hire him and have a really stern talk with him about how badly he was coming off and I'd want him to check all that before he came back in. Except I can't see how that doesn't come off as personally insulting and possibly opens the company up to something bad. Anyway I'm just wondering what I tell this kid - if anything. Should I try to be the one person who tells him "hey, here's what you did wrong while you were here and that's why I can't hire you" or should I just keep doing the "No, nothing right now. Sorry" as my default? Am I overthinking this because I'm empathetic?

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I'm having a lot of trouble dealing with yelling at home. My wife's daily yelling matches with our young son are exhausting and stressing me (and I must reduce stress for medical reasons).My wife has lifelong issues with explosive anger and depression. She was "a terror" as a child, but sadly, she didn't get any compassionate care then (her mother's responses were mostly yelling or withdrawing affection) or any professional help. She's absolutely opposed to any medication for herself, but she has had some talk therapy in the past, particularly a few years ago after I reached a crisis point in terms of not being able to tolerate her explosions but also not being willing to leave her and our child (who at that time was a preschooler). That did help some: she did have a clear, permanent reduction in the explosive bouts of anger that were the hardest for me, and she yelled less at home for several years. But she is still depressed/anxious and angry, often quietly simmering, frequently snapping at those who love her. She considers this a stable state because her current behavior is so much improved vs. her past behavior. I've been working to accept this and to accept what she refers to as our difference of opinion re. how much real yelling from adults is okay in a home. (None is my goal, but she considers that extremely abnormal.) Her yelling has restarted over the last year because our child will scream when he's angry; they yell at each other and this escalates into him kicking or hitting her. She often yells first in a conflict; he responds by screaming. When we talk about this later, she responds defensively and won't acknowledge how often she is the first to raise her voice or how much that's increased recently. Sometimes she will apologize but is only willing to refer to it as "snapping" at him. (These are full-throated yells – physically louder than his screams because of her adult lung power.) She also consistently yells, "Screaming is BABY BEHAVIOR! It's what BABIES do!" – I perceive this as 1) a very mixed message from an adult who yells at him multiple times a day at the top of her voice, and 2) a very negative message from an adult to a usually sweet and loving boy who she very clearly knows is sensitive to, and specifically escalated by, being called a baby. I'm lucky enough to have had a childhood where I was never yelled at or rejected by my mother, so I don't ever yell or call names. But I also don't have my wife's same need to deal with escalations with our son, because he never hits or kicks me and almost never screams directly at me. She and I agree re. what behaviors should mean a time out or a loss of privileges, and we're both the bad cop with those. I just don't think real yelling from adults should be part of discipline or part of family life. I'm also starting a period of traveling away from home unusually much (my travel for my career is very erratic; for example, I only traveled a few days during the six months of fall-winter). She has solid continuous support with his care at home when I travel, and she's very supportive and proud of my career (she's also very successful in her career, though she doesn't experience her work as directly meaningful/fulfilling to her in the same way I experience mine). This is one of I think three anon questions I've posted over the years asking for help with my wife's anger (one from after the crisis point I mentioned – I'd forgotten the incredible degree of effort and desperation it took to force any action on her part). I can't force family therapy to happen despite the many recommendations I've gotten for it here and the many, many discussions with my wife about it over the years. I'm very willing to go to therapy on my own if it would help, and I made a list of what seem to be the best local therapists for that. I feel like her perspectives and mine here are irreconcilably different and I'm exhausted by that, but also motivated to look to myself for help/solutions if that's the case. I feel helpless and I feel so bad to leave home for my next trip (next week) given how yell-filled this week has been. I feel protective of my son and it's incredibly stressful to imagine the yelling that might happen at certain times when she has no adult observer / no checks on her behavior. But I may have a heightened perception that she's in deep denial about her level of anger, because I had such sustained experience with that level of denial in the early years of our marriage. I don't think there's any chance she would be physically abusive, and it's 100% clear how much she loves and cares for him. This is part of why I feel it's an issue of my perspective as well as her actions. I need help with ideas for self-care that don't depend on her cooperation.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
What are the differences in couples therapy? Is there one method that's better for dealing with grief than another? Confused by "emotionally focused" vs. behavioral or gottman, etc. etc.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
My younger brother's fiancée recently sent an email to attendees of their wedding, which will be in a couple of months. It was a friendly reminder of various logistical details, and included the following stipulation: "We have chosen to make our wedding a cell phone-free event. You can leave your cell phone in your car or check it in with one of our gracious cell phone valets!"I think it's totally reasonable to ask guests not to take cell phone photos or video during the ceremony itself, and I also think it's reasonable to draw boundaries around photos of the reception, including "please don't take any." That said, I strongly resent the implication that guests can't be trusted to abide by those requests such that they're going to be—what, having their "cell phone valets" patting people down? And further more, the whiff of "people spend too much time staring at their phones!"-type moralism I'm getting off of this whole thing is wrinkling my nose something fierce. In the interest of disclosure: My brother is 15 years younger than me and there's definitely an undercurrent of "don't tell me what to do, you CHILD" in my emotional reaction to this. My actual questions: 1. Am I justified in ignoring this request, assuming I do so discreetly? 2. Is it worth it to point out, to my brother and/or his fiancée, as politely as I can manage, how patronizing/infantilizing this arrangement is? BONUS QUESTION: This is ridiculous and insufferable, right? (Please only answer the BONUS QUESTION if you agree with me that it's ridiculous & insufferable.)

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
Another home project, stuck in the final planning stages. I need to adhere two thin steel sheets to the inside of a couple cabinet doors.My household finds itself in need of a magnet board in the kitchen. Sadly, the front of the fridge is not magnetized, and has been re-purposed as a grocery list with chalkboard contact paper. It's in a fridge...cabinet? Only about a 2" magnetic area is sort-of accessible on either side. Instead, I have planned to get some galvanized steel sheets and affix them to the inside of two upper cabinet doors next to the fridge. The cabinet panel inserts are thin enough that a decent magnet can work through them. I would be getting two sheets, either 18 or 20g, 13" wide x 29" long. I have no clue how heavy that would be. What I need are recommendations on how to attach the steel sheets to the cabinet doors. I was willing to drill holes in each corner and affix with bolts, so all you would see is a small bolt head in each corner, but Mr. Objects nixed that idea. Should I just get a permanent adhesive? What kind? If not, is there another way to attach them so they could be later removed? I would like there to not be much of an air gap between the cabinet door and the metal sheet. I did look into alternatives, like those peel-and-stick magnet sheets on Amazon, but they have pretty lackluster reviews on hold strength. I also looked at just getting a magnet board, but there's no real wall space for it in the kitchen, and I can get two steel sheets for less at a local metal shop.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
There are a lot of dumb birds out there. Here's how you can figure out what they are.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
"[Persona 5] falls incredibly short of the standard it should be held to. A video game is a professional work, no different from any other form of media. Yet no other form of media would ever get away with the number of errors found in Persona 5's English script." Connor Krammer has written a lengthy, interactive, copiously-documented single-site essay regarding the translation and localization problems in Atlus's long-awaited blockbuster JRPG, Persona 5. Molly Lee at Polygon agrees with him.

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posted 4 days ago on metafilter
I want more than anything for any or all of the more left-leaning parties edge out the Tories in the upcoming election, however unlikely it seems. Do you have a decent understanding of politics and campaigning in the UK? If so, can you advise me on what's the best thing to use my time on?It seems like there's a ton of stuff I could do, but a lot of it seems so desperately ineffective. For example, canvassing - has anyone's mind actually ever been changed by people ringing their doorbell when they're busy doing something else wanting to talk about politics? Same goes for the phone banks that several parties are doing. Leafleting seems like it might give people more time to take in the information, but I tend to bin all the ones I get, isn't that more likely to happen and therefore waste a ton of paper?! Aargh. I want to do something, but I don't know what, and I don't have a ton of time to give. If you're involved in this stuff and know how it works, please give me your suggestions!

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