July 19th, 2017

"...like a really fancy Cliff Notes version of Warcraft."


WoW Lore TLDR: The first Warcraft lore tl;dr on the internet to use nesting. "Warcraft's lore is intimidatingly complex. It's a chronicle that spans millennia, from the dawn of time and to World of Warcraft's latest patch. Unless you've taken the time to read every book or sift through the wikis, it's not always easy to understand what's going on, who certain characters are, or why the hell it even matters. That's a shame because the lore, while intimidating, is one of the richer mythos in gaming. Fortunately, Reddit user SinanDira has a solution. WoW Lore TLDR is a website that takes the entire backstory of Warcraft and condenses it into digestible bullet points that you can quickly sift through." [via: PC Gamer]

So you guys aren't terrorists?

Trainspotter TV


Maybe you're thinking, "the best thing I could possibly do right now while I'm sitting at work is watch live video feeds of railroad crossings and hope that the occasional train passes by." If so, then you might be surprised to know that there's never been a better time in recorded history than right now! Start by checking what's currently live on the YouTube accounts of Virtual Railfan, Railstream and Big Trains TV. Most videos in this post include ambient sound — even if traffic noise is quiet the trains will be loud. For more a whole lot more, see below.

YouTube live streams provide four hours of timeline scrollback, so the impatient can rewind to the last train crossing to get a quick fix.

The URLs of live streams frequently change even when the locations don't. So it's usually better to start at the streamers' YouTube channels rather than link directly to streams. This is also a way to find new streams as railfans get permission (and/or funding) to set up more cameras.

Virtual Railfan: This has the best quality of the rail fan video streams and the locations are good, providing multiple camera angles, high-quality high-framerate video, and a very tightly moderated live chat. Current locations are Ashland, VA, where two tracks divide Center Street, La Grange, KY where a main rail line is literally on Main Street sharing pavement with local traffic, La Plata, MO at an Amtrak station, and the Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, PA, with a remote-controlled camera that chat moderators can move on request.

Railstream: Currently has two publicly accessible live streams, one each for cameras positioned back-to-back on a track in Chesterton, Indiana. Paid membership at their site provides access to up to a dozen more cameras at other locations.

Big Trains TV: Has three cameras positioned at New Bridge Road in Bergenfield, NJ. There is a moderated live chat. The frame rate on these cameras is kind of low, which can make watching hard on the eyes after a while.

Galesburg Railroad Museum in Galesburg, IL: A siding with camera views up and down several tracks. North Camera 1. South Camera 2.

RailCam Mierlo-Hout has one stream at a grade in the Mierlo-Hout district of Helmond, southeast in The Netherlands. The live chat stream is mostly in English.

RoanokeRailcam [silent] has one camera aimed at the switching yards in Roanoke, VA.

The Leek and Rudyard Railway [silent] is a steam locomotive line in Staffordshire, England with a rail camera at one station. (Link is to the video because the channel, for some reason, does not show it.)

HAB [silent] has a camera at Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa, Japan, where you can see high-speed Shinkansen arriving and departing.

If that's not enough to zone out to, there are also dozens if not hundreds of live railway streams outside of YouTube. Some streams have music on the soundtrack. The indexes below rarely clean out dead or hijacked links, and many sites require Flash. So be aware and browse safe. RailServe.com indexes over 300 live railcams from many countries, some of which require viewer registration. WebCamPlaza lists a few dozen streams, with notes on with media type. MyLiveStream has even more links to streams mostly outside the U.S.

The tyranny of work

You said this story was kind of like a fairy tale


Nicole Chung took her daughter to see an all-Asian-American production of The Winter's Tale. "There are so many different types of inheritances; one I still hope my children can somehow sidestep is the void, the frustration of desperately searching for yourself, or people like you, in a cultural landscape that does not seem to be for you. And what does it say about you, about your worth and your importance and the possibilities open to you, if you can't find yourself at all?"

Known Alias: How Stephen King Was Outed as Richard Bachman


In 1984, Richard Bachman's fifth novel, Thinner, came out. It was Bachman's first hardcover release, and the author thought he was on the verge of breaking out (especially since he had recently sold the film rights to The Running Man, his fourth novel). But a clerk at a Washington DC bookstore suspected that Bachman was not who he claimed to be: that "Richard Bachman" was actually Stephen King.

The philosophy behind the throne


Unfettered capitalism or democracy. You cannot have both.
Six months on and six ways Trump is 'dismantling' the US.
This is the playbook, as George Monbiot explains, of James McGill Buchanan - A despot in disguise: one man's mission to rip up democracy.
Then there are are the men behind the cutain; Secretive Teams to Roll Back Regulations, Led by Hires With Deep Industry Ties.
What Is the Far Right's Endgame? A Society That Suppresses the Majority.

The Beginning of Urban Heavy Rescue


On July 17, 1981 a suspended walkway collapsed in The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, killing 114 people and injuring 216 others during a tea dance. At the time, it was the deadliest structural collapse in U.S. history.
Construction difficulties resulted in a subtle but flawed design change that doubled the load on the connection between the fourth floor walkway support beams and the tie rods carrying the weight of both walkways. This new design was barely adequate to support the dead load weight of the structure itself, much less the added weight of the spectators.

The connection failed and the fourth floor walkway collapsed onto the second floor and both walkways then fell to the lobby floor below...

[Additional info and links at Hotel Horror, a page on kchistory.org from the Kansas City Public Library.]

The Dish


Japanese Cheesecake. Chicken Gyros. Deep Dish Pizza. Giant Cookies and Vegan Cinnamon Buns. Every week, Megan Ogilvie of The Toronto Star writes The Dish, where she takes popular local eats to food scientists and dietitians to determine how good (or bad) they are for you. Readers provide suggestions and are often surprised by how many calories they're getting from their favourite food. And in the case of one popular 1.5 lbs roti, the people of Trinidad & Tabago were not amused by the recommendation that Ali's roti is meal for two.

Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew


The AHA reached out to breweries from across the United States and today released its first compilation of 50 commercial clone recipes, scaled to homebrew-sized batches. Whether you want a legendary IPA, a crisp pilsner, or even a fruity mead, there's something for everybody.

Want to learn more about brewing? Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced, the AHA has you covered there, too.

Ways To Stay Motivated In This [*insert Expletive*] Era Of Epic Stupid


Author Chuck Wendig gives you a handy top 10 list article to help you Survive and keep creating Art, in this unfurling Age of Dumb "Everything is dumb right now. From nose to tail, we have become the dumbest, saddest pig at the county fair. Historians will not refer to this period as THE DARK AGES, but rather, THE DUMB AGES. The greatest question I get, right now, is how to simply persist creating art and staying motivated and creative in this epoch of syphilitic dipshittery, so I thought I'd bop in here and try my hand at answering that." - Chuck Wendig

I highly recommend reading the entire thing as it is not very long, but it is succinctly written, in the Wendig's usual raw style.

For those who don't (or cant) rtfa [read the full article] below is a heavily abridged version:
  1. Stop staring at the news and at social media. This is hard, because presently the news is a series of constantly crashing cars right outside your window.
  2. Writing is an act of resistance. Art is an act of resistance.
  3. Put that piss and vinegar into the work.
  4. Do some real resistance, too. Make your calls. Join a protest.
  5. Hey, also, just take care of yourself.
  6. Don't dismiss what you do.
  7. But also don't be afraid to go bigger.
  8. Art has meaning.
  9. Talk to others like you.
  10. Remain cautiously, grimly optimistic. Optimism is hard. So fucking hard.
Mr. Wendig has been featured on Mefi before here, here, here, here, and here


This is the public face of startups. And it's getting embarrassing.


I gotta ask, what's the absolute maximum number of dog collars you'd like to buy this year? Probably less than twelve?

In a lighthearted column, Adam Ozimek turns a beady eye on the wave of start-up subscription services and what they may reveal about the state of tech investment world.