Questions in the Society & Culture category.
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October 28

Tell me about NE Ohio

There's a chance I may be moving to NE Ohio to be closer to family. I have midwestern roots, but I've become quite accustomed to a liberal Pacific NW life. Help me understand what I might be getting myself into, and show me the good in the area... [more inside]
posted by hydra77 at 10:52 AM - 21 answers

Why are global commodities so much cheaper in poorer countries?

For example: In San Francisco, USA, a gallon of gas is $5.50 and a seared tuna entree at an upscale restaurant is $35. In Medellin, Colombia, the respective prices are $2.00 and $7. Gas and tuna not local goods, there's a global market for them. Why are they cheaper in poorer countries? [more inside]
posted by Roy Batty at 6:59 AM - 16 answers

Recommend me a book: What it's like immigrating to the West as a teen

It can be biographical or non-fiction/talking about research, as long as it's about South or East Asian children or teens immigrating to a Western, individualist culture. [more inside]
posted by wandering zinnia at 2:37 AM - 9 answers

October 27

Why wear a mask below the nose now?

I still occasionally see people wearing masks that don't cover their nose. I see this even with (otherwise) effective masks like [K]N85 style. When governments and businesses mandated masks, I could kinda see why someone would wear a mask like that as some sort of partial compliance/partial noncompliance notion - "I am following your rule, but I'm not going to inconvenience myself because of it". However, it's no longer the case anywhere I go that masks are required anymore - or even common. So why would someone, today, wear a mask in a useless way?
posted by saeculorum at 7:56 AM - 35 answers

October 24

Where to learn more about India?

I have a number of co-workers from India and I know virtually nothing about the country. (I am from Canada.) Can anyone recommend a good starting point for learning more? My co-workers are from Bengaluru, if that helps. [more inside]
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 8:42 AM - 13 answers

October 20

Historic trends in retail/shopping floor space

I'm trying to find a definitive article / book / blog on historic trends in retail/shopping floor space (per capita seems most meaningful) from 1100* to say 1995 (internet retail muddies waters too much). Have searched a lot but all I can say so far is that retail space is rising faster than population. *1100 onward makes most sense following from Keene 2018 The property market in English towns, A.D. 1 100-1600 [link is pdf @ - a publisher] [more inside]
posted by unearthed at 12:40 PM - 3 answers

I'd. Like. Big. Books that will catch the eye

I read aloud semi-regularly for a children’s story time. Most kids present are 4-6, though ages range from under 2 on the young end to probably 8 or 9 on the older end. At the last session, the book ‘Rattletrap Car’ by Phyllis Root and Jill Barton was received really well - kids were engaged and ‘with’ the story, partly due to the large page size of my copy. Now I want more BIG BOOKS to share! What are other similar books I can add to my read-aloud line-up? Especially interested in books with BIG PAGES. [more inside]
posted by jolenex4 at 12:36 PM - 4 answers

October 19

Anything but The Canon.

Interesting, wholesome brief content for a 17 year old boy who's looking to improve his US-centric English skills? [more inside]
posted by Sheydem-tants at 11:26 PM - 10 answers

October 17

Black Swan events disrupting or delaying (pop) cultural releases

I am looking for examples of (pop) cultural events/releases that were delayed or cancelled because an unforeseeable event eerily echoed their content in some way. For instance, I just discovered that Kylie Minogue's 6th album 'Impossible Princess' was delayed by almost a year because Princess Diana died just before its planned release in 1997 (obviously because of the proposed title). What other cultural creations suffered similar setbacks because of absolutely unpredictable circumstances (so-called 'Black Swan' events)? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious at 8:51 AM - 34 answers

October 14

How did the Nazi's have enough soldiers to conquer most of Europe?

After watching Ken Burns' US and the Holocaust I'm left wondering how the Germans had enough loyal soldiers to invade and hold so many territories.
posted by captainscared at 6:35 AM - 22 answers

October 13

How many January 6th rioters?

Do we know how many people attended the TFG's speech on January 6, 2021 including those who didn't go through the magnetometers? I can't find any numbers other than what the various law enforcement groups were expecting and those predictions range from 2,000 to 80,000.
posted by donpardo at 7:25 PM - 2 answers

Would I be stupid to (not) accept this?

I cannot decide if I should accept a volunteer position. It is in a field related to my MA and it is a part-time remote position. I have a lot going on right now because I am in a full-time MA programme with multiple language requirements. I work (paid) on a freelance basis. My work hours vary every month. The volunteer position is a mangerial role - so it is not entirely aligned with my interests (which are more creative). [more inside]
posted by bigyellowtaxi at 9:28 AM - 9 answers

September 30

How to support a teen with long COVID?

A good friend has a teenager with long COVID; yes, unusual, but they are making the best of the bad situation on a day-to-day basis. The bout includes the usual suspects of fatigue and fog, and with the world returning to life, the teen is feeling not just a shadow of their former self but a sense of missing out on what should be great (or at least normal) daily/social experiences. Do you have any recommendations for sources of community, solace, or entertainment? Any tips appreciated.
posted by Arch1 at 1:26 PM - 4 answers

September 29

An ISO sheet in an imperial envelope

One of my favourite purchases when I visited NY a couple of years ago was a 100-pack of Staples 6x9" clasp envelopes. I live in Sweden, so the dimensions, material and general aesthetics of everyday objects are different from what I can find here. Stationary exoticism, as it were.

Is there a blog, subreddit or tumblr of stationary, envelopes, and bureaucratic aesthetics which lists this kind of stuff and maybe even arranges for exchanges? I'm sure that if I had some Malaysian envelopes I'd probably send more letters by post…
posted by monocultured at 7:27 AM - 8 answers

September 27

Is it normal for home buyers to contact the sellers after closing?

Is it a normal thing for home buyers (who are not new to the area) to directly contact the seller (after obtaining seller’s cell # from their new neighbors) after the closing with questions about recommendations for repair people, questions about which appliances do & don’t work (when that info was clearly spelled out in the contract), & requesting other information? Especially when the buyers & sellers have never met, all details were handled by respective realtors, & the seller didn’t specifically invite questions? Is this strange, or is this actually expected, acceptable behavior from home buyers?
posted by bookmammal at 3:41 PM - 54 answers

September 23

Hello, we are your (not new) neighbours…

My spouse and I were chatting about this last night. We live in a neighbourhood in our city that used to be a very eclectic, multicultural neighbourhood. It still is to a large degree — but now it’s become increasingly trendy. While it’s somewhat nice to have new shops and restaurants — it’s quite unpleasant too with all the chains moving in, and the old places we love getting squeezed out year after year. That’s not the issue I am asking about though — it just sets the scene of where we live. [more inside]
posted by Lescha at 10:52 AM - 10 answers

Books on Southwest Native American History?

Looking for books on the history/culture of the tribes of the SW.
posted by ebesan at 6:25 AM - 8 answers

September 21

English Suburbs

Can anyone point me to writing about English suburbs? How they developed, cultural history, etc. [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:56 PM - 7 answers

September 20

Searching for a Letterman show wherein Tom Hanks rants about musicals

I'm pretty sure this was from the CBS years, but I suppose it could be Late Night. In my memory it's the Late Show set. Tom Hanks is a guest, and he goes off on a rant about how much he hates musicals. [more inside]
posted by chazlarson at 9:19 PM - 2 answers

September 17

Please give me the name of a certain "degrowth" community

Trying to remember the name of a community that was either in England or in the eastern US, where there were primarily blocks of row-houses dating to the Industrial Revolution that were mostly lying vacant and decaying. There were still, though, a certain number of people trying to continue living there, and they were assisted by an architecture firm recently to re-use many of the vacant structures either as semi-outdoor spaces, or as semi-indoor spaces. So, all the derelict properties, which were mainly constructed in brick, were capable either of functioning as something like 'garden walls' or they were still strong enough that collapsed roofs could be inexpensively given coverings that allowed more use of the space (though it wasn't heated, etc.). [more inside]
posted by cmp4Meta at 6:44 PM - 2 answers

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