posted 2 days ago on metafilter
New Software Can Actually Edit Actors' Facial Expressions A new software, from Disney Research in conjunction with the University of Surrey, may help cut down on the number of takes necessary, thereby saving time and money. FaceDirector blends images from several takes, making it possible to edit precise emotions onto actors' faces. In related news relative to Disney's desire to save money: from January 26, 2016 Ars Technica Ex-Disney IT workers sue after being asked to train their own H-1B replacements

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I am working on my grad school application essay and am freezing up. I haven't had to write an application essay since 2002 and I'm not sure how to begin. Help!I am working on my application for grad school. I'm applying to MS programs in hospitality. The thing is, I graduated from college in 2007 and have been working full time more or less ever since, so I'm completely out of practice at anything related to school. The last time I wrote an application essay was in 2002 when I was applying to colleges, but the requirements and expectations for a college application essay are pretty different from what is expected for a professional grad program. I literally have no idea how to begin writing this thing - I am blocked. I know generally I am supposed to convey why I would be a good candidate for the program but I have no idea how to do that. I keep procrastinating. The application due date isn't for a couple of months but I don't want to put this off till the last minute since I also need to study for and take the GMAT and I don't want to do this all half-assedly. Does anyone have any tips for how I can get started on this essay, how I should be thinking about crafting the writing, and what, honestly, I should be trying to say? I feel like my perfectionism is rearing its ugly head and I don't want to self-sabotage. Thanks in advance.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Where do people go to buy and sell their junk these days? Is Craigslist really as dead as it seems?I used to sell a fair amount of used camera gear on Craigslist here in NYC, and it always seemed that no matter how cheap or expensive or old and obscure and even useless the item was, I'd have at least a handful of people interested in it, along with just as many scammers trying to send me a money order for twice the value of whatever it was. All of the sudden that doesn't seem to be the case and I just can't seem to get rid of the stuff I list. It does eventually sell, usually, but it sometimes takes weeks. Right now I have a very new, popular, and expensive camera listed for a very good but still realistic price and have not received a single email or call. Has everyone moved on to something bigger and better than Craigslist and I just missed the memo? I'd rather not have to resort to listing it on eBay and dealing with fees and shipping.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I had a friend in town this weekend, and we stopped for a drink at a bar before dinner on Saturday night. Sure enough, I walked out of there without closing out my tab. I know that the bar still has my card, and the charge for the two drinks has gone through. Does this mean that I can just call my bank and cancel the card with no repercussions?I know this question might make me sound pathologically lazy/avoidant, but I live and work in Brooklyn, the bar is in Manhattan and not open at a time where I could just swing by during my lunch break. It was a card I rarely use, so it won't put me out to cancel it and just wait for a new one. I just want to make sure this doesn't screw the bar (or my credit) in some way. I promise to leave a nice tip next time I visit this bar.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I'm in probation at a state institution of higher learning. My first year has three reviews. The first two have had poor marks (needs improvement / unacceptable!) regarding certain issues.My boss did not discuss the issues with me prior to either review, and in both cases I had been explicitly, regularly asking for feedback on any areas I might need to address. The negative issues were described in purely subjective terms with no proactive, measurable goals to mitigations. Etc. etc. The whole thing has been stressful. We have been meeting every other week since the second review in order to go over things, and at each meeting I've been told by my boss that everything is fine, we're in a different place, and they see that things are different now. At our last meeting, I asked for clarification and they said that yes, that translated into a fully acceptable review, were I to be reviewed at that moment. It is extremely difficult for me to trust my boss when they say that, given their past behavior. Nothing in these meetings is documented. The only documentation, one way or another, are the previous two reviews. This week's meeting was pushed back, and I'd like to send an email to my boss that gets on-the-record the content of the past meetings. 1) is this a good idea? 2) is the below email a good way to do that? Here's my rough draft reply to the email pushing back the meeting (linked to avoid any chance of them googling the text and seeing this).

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I need help getting people to sign up for my programs, and I've hit a roadblock. I develop and deliver field trips to school groups, in theory it's great. In practice, nobody is signing up for field trips and my job is on the line. I am good at developing and delivering programs, but I am a novice at marketing. What are your favorite resources to teach me how to market towards and/or interact with classroom teachers?I am really nervous about asking this question, because I feel like essentially I am asking other people to do my job for me. There is little on-the job training for me in marketing, no possibility for professional development unless it is free or I am willing to pay out-of-pocket. I don't have any coworkers, so I'm at a loss as to who would be the best person to bounce ideas off of. If you have any ideas about a more professional way to address these issues, I'd love to hear that, too. Thank you so much for your help. Background: I was hired last Spring to deliver already-established programs for a non-profit. I did that, and also streamlined their field trip registration process. Someone else coordinated initial contact with teachers, and I just followed through. I eventually became the point person for all the teachers contacting the organization about Field Trips. This spring, it's all on me and I am screwing up big time. The acting president of our board told me in a performance review that if I don't get Field Trip enrollment it up to Historic Levels, I will be laid off in the fall. It also doesn't help that in the same review, I was evaluated as being "Uncooperative" and "expressing emotions in a negative way". [See: This previous question about caring for an educational animal.] In the past (A decade ago? 15 years ago?), Organization has booked 2 field trips a day, 5 days a week, season total 30 -50 groups. Last Spring, we booked 6 groups. So far for this spring, I have booked 1. ONE. There are no records from 1995 – 2015 about marketing strategies, marketing suggestions, or even what schools booked when. It is worth noting that within the last 15-ish years, our field has gone from "So wonderful and novel! Anyone can do it!" to a field where there are standards, guidelines, and expectations...and Organization does not recognize that. Regardless of how I feel about Organization, I have got to up my marketing game. It doesn't really matter how I feel about it, I need to be better about doing my goddamn job. My experiences in marketing is limited to posting events on Facebook and putting up flyers in coffee shops. My current teacher-contacting strategy of emailing schools and teachers hasn't worked out. I sent an email in the fall and another in December. Three people were interested, but none of them panned out. My board tells me that I should just "Sit down and talk with the teachers! Call them on the phone!" To me this sounds really antiquated and unlikely to be successful. Since when do teachers have any time to meet with people? They're so busy. It seems like the marketing equivalent of "Just stop in and hand them your resume, you'll get a job!" and likely to waste everyone's time. I also do not trust the board entirely, as they were under the assumption that it was completely professional to do the majority of field trip booking correspondence by snail mail postcards in 2015. Foreground: Email marketing doesn't work for us. (Or it doesn't when you only do it twice...) What are some resources about other methods for getting teachers interested in programs? Just send more email? Are in-person visits really the best way to connect positively with already phenomenally busy people? Things that I am likely to try: Telling my ego to simmer down. Reading books, reading online articles, posting in teacher-frequented online/physical spaces... anything free. Meeting with teachers in person, too, if that's appropriate. Things I am unlikely to try: Expensive marketing plans, hiring someone to help me, etc. Things that cost Money.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Studio Heads Of The Classic Era Ranked In Terms Of Personal Awfulness -by resident Hollywood expert The Whelk [via mefi projects]

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I have a question about GABA and Omega 3 supplements. Mostly if and what to take.My sister has been feeling a little bit "off" for a while, and though she intends to go to the doctor as soon as she gets back from a trip and get a checkup (thyroid, blood sugar, those sorts of things), a friend recommended she take GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)) supplements since she's been doing so well on them. My sister is close to 40 and doesn't usually take anything more than the occasional advil or children's multivitamin, so she wants to know if GABA is safe to take and if it has any side effects, warning, etc. On the other hand, I've been reading a bunch of pregnancy books (I'm at 23 weeks) and they all mostly seem to agree that Omega 3-DHA is the one thing next to folic acid that really helps with the developing baby and gestating mom. I've been intending to take Omega 3-DHA supplements, and I wonder if my sister would benefit from them too, but whenever I look at all the options I get overwhelmed and leave empty-handed. Some help please?

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I'll be at the Crater of Diamonds state park for ~4 days, camping on site. I want to have a ton of fun, while doing some serious diamond hunting. Advice?4 full days, will have my jeep, and can get any tools needed. Thanks!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Hi I'm 27 and I live with my grandparents. My grandfather has always been the infrastructure to our family, but a year from now he experienced a blood clot in his brain that required surgery as well as placing a heart pacer in. Surgery went well but the doctors explained to us that my grandfather may likely never be able to do some of the things that he's so accustomed to doing for himself. Its been a full year and hard is an understatement, he has fell in a depression and my grandmother always seems to be stressed and depressed herself. He fights to drive his vehicles everyday and he wants to be able to help in ways he can't anymore. Last night he tried drinking a energy drink and it was so hard to redirect him. Does anyone know of anyway to help him? I really would like to help my grandmother but i feel as though he looks at me as his grandchild and not a man.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
In October 2014, eight women came forward to the Toronto Star stating that well-known CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi had assaulted them. [Previously on Metafilter] As the case against Ghomeshi finally went to trial this month, it has prompted criticism over the way the defense has treated the women testifying against him. Canadian radio host and therapist Svea Vikander has decided to share her personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault, one for each day of February: "This trial is not only about a man who violated the four women pressing charges, but about whether we, as a society, trust women who tell...It's personal for me...But I can't not do it. The Ghomeshi scandal has one hell of an undertow." The defense lawyer, Marie Heinen, has been accused of "whacking" the women testifying against her client--that is, attempting to destroy their credibility by questioning inconsistencies in the details of their accounts and producing evidence of friendly and sexually explicit exchanges between the women and Ghomeshi, after the dates they said the assaults took place. Psychologists and therapists point out that the witnesses' responses are absolutely consistent with those who have experienced sexual assault and trauma. As for "whacking," David M. Tanovich argues that such tactics are unethical and should be barred from use in sexual assault cases: "Whack" No More: Infusing Equality into the Ethics of Defence Lawyering in Sexual Assault Cases.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Boy, did I mess up my knee. A sudden wrench, and . . . . it has since healed to the point where it basically doesn't hurt for regular walking and standing, but when I put any kind of sideways pressure on it or put weight on it while it is bent (as when going up or down stairs) it is extremely painful. This has been going on for a few months now and not improving, so perhaps it is time to go to the doctor. Can anyone recommend a good orthopedist in Manhattan? Thanks.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
Daniel Pinkwater reads Ducks! [audio, about 7 minutes]. Ira Glass, host of This American Life, on Ducks!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
A Fine Mess: How Not to Assert Your Copyright in the Youtube Age by Vlad Savov [The Verge] A week ago, one of the more popular YouTube organizations, Fine Bros Entertainment, run by brothers Benny and Rafi Fine, announced a new scheme to license out its React brand and video format on a profit-sharing basis. Having developed a large audience through various series of reaction videos — where people are filmed as they react to watching or experiencing a new thing for the first time — they were now looking to apply the franchise model to their content. It was an offer for others to use the Fine Bros template for creating reaction videos, including series titles like Kids React and Elders React, and to ultimately be distributed and featured in front of the company's large YouTube audience. The endeavor backfired spectacularly: partly because no one needed a template in the first place, but mostly because people felt that the Fine Bros were profiteering and aiming to exploit the creativity of others. Previously. Related: - YouTubers Revolt Over Licensing of Reaction Videos. [The Verge] The backlash to the Fine Bros' efforts has been swift and unforgiving. Their announcement video currently has nearly 240,000 thumbs down off 1.95 million views, and a subsequent video that tries to explain and clarify their intent has been slammed with 230,000 dislikes off 2.46 million views. Their unapologetic follow-up seems to indicate that the brothers believe it was simply a matter of "confusion" and poor communication, and there is some validity to their thinking. Many of the angriest reactions are conflating copyright with trademark law, and while it's true that the Fine Bros are pursuing a trademark for "React" and other titles in their series, that doesn't mean that they'll own the entire genre — which, indeed, they claim not to want to do. - The Fine Brothers' Reaction Video Controversy, Explained. by Alex Abad-Santos [Vox]Watching the downfall of the YouTube celebrity duo known as the Fine Brothers has been kind of like watching someone get devoured by a crocodile — someone who's kind of a jerk, whom you don't like very much, and who jumped into the crocodile-infested river of his own volition. If there is a blueprint for how to get people on the internet to hate you, Rafi and Benny Fine wrote it. Earlier this week, the brothers attempted to trademark and monetize their brand of online reaction videos (more on these in a bit) and, somehow, completely underestimated how people would react. Citizen brigades bent on stopping the brothers sprang up on Reddit. Memes making fun of their physical appearance began circulating. People made reaction videos spoofing the Fines, and the brothers' YouTube follower count hemorrhaged. The Fine Brothers had become the internet's greatest villains. And within a week, they nixed any plans of a trademark and apologized for their actions. - Why the Fine Brothers Are the Biggest Villains on the Internet Right Now by Ruth Reader [Tech Mic] The Fines applied for a trademark and not copyright. These are different classifications with different consequences. Trademarks are actually designed to protect the public, not creators. "So when you buy a can of Pepsi, you know you're gonna get that brown syrupy liquid — that's what it's designed to protect," media and entertainment attorney Rose Meade Hart tells Mic. "It's designed to protect me as the consumer, so I know what I'm getting because of the label on this jar." For instance, Kleenex, the tissue maker, and Xerox, the copy machine manufacturer, have trademarked their brands so that their product or services can't be confused with those of with other tissue and copier manufacturers. But again, these trademarks were granted with the public in mind — not the brands — and they apply specifically to goods and services. Plus, trademarks are incredibly hard to get and keep, says Hart. [*Many of the original videos posted by the Fine Brothers have since been taken down, but if you search YouTube, you should be able to find re-uploads, commentary and people reacting to their videos.]

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I am freelance PMing for a tiny marketing department, and I'm about to lose my mind. Please help me figure out how to corral my personable assortment of feral cats, chickens with heads cut off, and other colorful animal analogies. I need the multiple, confusing emails to stop.I am paid to PM for a small software company. I've been doing it for about a year now, and really, I've been limping along with not much of a submission system. We used to use JotForm, but frankly I totally hated it, and when the graphic designer who owned that service rolled off the account, I let it die. We manage the following kinds of things: - Emails - Print ads - Web ads - Things they need for events - Internal graphics / copy needs The team is me (PM); a graphic designer and a copywriter (also freelance); an internal person who's doing SOME marketing stuff; and the owner who is the ultimate approver on most stuff. We also work a bit with the ladies who run their events/professional meetings. The issue presently is that I'm taking all project requests via email, and while it was manageable for a minute, it's really, really not manageable now. I'm starting to lose things which is driving me crazy. I need them to be able to communicate the following: Name/Nature of project (ex, "Prospect Email for February Meeting) Due Date Description (this is pretty broad, longform. May include links.) Requirements/Specs (usually for print) Attachments (word docs, pdfs, jpgs, etc) In the past we tried for a more "agency style" creative brief ("who is the audience?" "what is the voice?") but we never got good answers to these questions, and the client just does not think in these terms. In general I will get that in the title of the project ("prospect email") or in the description. We have an instance of Basecamp, but letting them start discussions in BC in the past resulted in a pile of crazy. I admin BC now and I am the only one who starts discussions or projects. It keeps that area down to a minimum of insanity. Google forms gets so, so close, but I can't get attachments to work out there (suggestions welcome). I need something SIMPLE, preferably free but if not low-cost (think no more than Dropbox monthly), that can take attachments. Ideally it would have some simple dashboard and it will tell me (via email) that I have a form to look at. It's okay if it emails everything to me (because this automated system won't send me 50 emails on the same subject).

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
An open letter to Gloria Steinem on Intersectional feminism. By Sarah Grey at theEstablishment.co via Jillian York

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
I would like to hear about learning a new language as a middle-aged adult.Obviously there is no escaping an accent when learning as an adult, and the brain's major critical language learning period is decades gone. However, I am interested in hearing how difficult it might be to try to master a new language in mid-life, compared, say, to in one's 20s. I am less interested in the total immersion experience that occurs with immigration than the experience of learning through formal language courses or self-administered tapes. Have you done this? Did you get very far? If you or someone you know attempted to learn as an adult was it a language related to your native language, or from a different language family? I would like to hear anecdotes/experiences/personal and subjective accounts of successes or failures with this, though if you also know of studies with data on this topic that's welcome too.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
The TWC guy just came to install my high speed internet, but he couldn't find the place in the wall to plug it in.Just moved into condo (own). The condo was remodeled before my moving. There are a bunch of electrical outlets and "fake" outlets. (Fake light switches that I guess give the option to add more outlets or something. The guy removed a couple of the fake outlets to see what was behind them and he said they were electrical and not cable. there's one outlet I found that he didn't try and I removed the plate- but I have no idea what the TWC cable would look like anyway. I see a large black wire with a bunch of colored wires in it. I'm assuming this is electrical also? The cable has to exist here somewhere because others in the building have it. THe remodeling maybe moved it or hid it somewhere- but I'm not sure what the thing would even look like behind the wall. I'd like to find it before setting up another appointment for installation.

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
We are traveling to India (again!) in March (again!) - our itinerary has a couple days at the end, and we are spending Holi with our friend/guide and his family. The day after Holi, the suggestion is Amber Fort/City Palace/Jantar Mantar. We did those things last time. What should we do this time? We will ask our friend for suggestions, but I wanted to ask YOU GUYS too - thanks!

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
A Shrove Tuesday pancake history, with seventeenth century recipes! Take twenty eggs, with halfe the whites, and beat them half an houre or more...

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posted 2 days ago on metafilter
WRITE YOUR OWN FANTASY GAME FOR YOUR MICROCOMPUTER (PDF) is a beautifully illustrated guide to programming (what else) fantasy roleplaying games on early personal computer hardware, along with its companion WRITE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE PROGRAMS (also PDF), covering text adventures. Hat tip to the game design Tumblr Put Games Here for the original link. If you're interested in other computer game fan material from the same era, the site wos.meulie.net has a wide range of scans: hand drawn and screenshot composited game maps, game advertisements, hardware pics, tape inlays for games, and magazines among other things.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Emojis are like modern-day cave paintings: simple, direct, visual. And because visual images are processed far faster than text, emojis can be among the quickest ways to send a message of support or concern. Anti-bullying advocate Monica Lewinsky has partnered with Vodafone on a new tool set for teens. [VanityFair]

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
We ordered chinese last night and it came we got a free pot of something that was just labelled "Free, Happy Chinese New Year". It had no flavour but what was it?They were rectangular strips, coated/battered and fried. They were about 2 inches by 0.5 inches by a few mm. When I pulled one apart they were gelatinous/stringy. The filling was very slightly sweet but overall it had no flavour. Even the batter was flavourless - no salt, so maybe it was some kind of dessert item? Is this a traditional chinese new year item?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
On a whim I signed up for Southwark council's cycle scheme where for £10 I get a bike and all accessories for 4 weeks. I'm picking the bike up this afternoon. However, I've never cycled in traffic, and haven't actually cycled for two years. Help?The reason I've never cycled in London, not even a Boris Bike, is because a good friend came as close to death as you can get after being run over by a lorry. He's fine now, but that plus a good clutch of friends with broken limbs meant that I was very much never getting on a bike in London. Then suddenly, with all the vim of new years resolutions, I'm doing this. The plan is to use the bike to commute to work (Brockley to Denmark Hill) and to get around my area more efficiently. I've plotted a route from my place to my work using the TFL bike planner and have chosen the easy route that looks straightforward enough (if a little convoluted). I'm revising the highway code now. However, I'm not the fittest person ever (though a lot fitter than I used to be), and have a terrible sense of direction. My question is what do I need to know that the highway code won't tell me? How do I cope with cycling in traffic? The council will give me a lesson I think, but I need to get the bike home today - so what do I need to know?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
How the Fight Over Transgender Kids Got a Leading Sex Researcher Fired [NYMag]. "And if you look closely at what really happened — if you read the review (which CAMH has now pulled off of its website), speak with the activists who effectively wrote large swaths of it, examine the scientific evidence, and talk to former GIC clinicians and the parents of patients they worked with, it's hard not to come to an uncomfortable, politically incorrect conclusion: Zucker's defenders are right. This was a show trial." Alleged exchange with gender identity doctor didn't happen, CAMH says (Globe and Mail, linked in above article)

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