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Updated 2019-02-22 18:20
Illegal Lego builds
I'm fascinated by this PDF, by Bram Lambrecht, describing the difference (with examples) between legal and illegal Lego builds. [via MeFi]In it, Lambrecht describes "the model that forever changed LEGO," an Audi TT that was difficult to put together, required the user to deform components for them to fit, and came with no instructions. As a direct result of this set, all models now produced by the LEGO Group must go through the Design Department. This ensures that nothing gets released without first being approved by a Model Committee. Sometimes lasting up to 2 or 3 days, this review allows representatives from building instructions, senior designers, engineers and the designer sit down together and build the model. The goal is to maintain an ‘only the best is good enough’ approach to our design process. A final heat test then highlights further weaknesses that must be changed before the set can be launched out onto the market. Read the rest
Have you got any of this 'Brady Bunch' memorabilia? HGTV needs your help
Are you a collector of groovy 70s decor? If so, you may have the missing pieces to the nearly-renovated Brady Bunch house. The home that served as the exterior shot for the Brady Bunch is currently being gutted and rebuilt. HGTV and the Brady kids (who are, of course, now adults) are renovating the Studio City-based property to make its interior match what we saw on television. A Very Brady Renovation, the renovations' web series, is being shown on Facebook and a call was recently put out to locate some very specific furnishings that match ones from the original set. Specifically, they are looking for the living room's credenza and the horse statue that sat on top of it (both shown above). They're also looking for the kitchen's double oven, the kitchen fridge/freezer, two fish trivets, the dining room's curio cabinet, the living room's massive table lamp and floral sofa, the antique radio from Greg's groovy pad, Alice's bedroom set, and the giraffe plushie from the girls' room. The wish list with photos is available at HGTV. Previously:-- For Sale: The real-life Brady Bunch house-- Here's the story of how 'N Sync's Lance Bass won and then lost the Brady Bunch house-- HGTV not saying how much it paid for the Brady house ($3.5M)-- All six Brady kids reunite at their TV home Read the rest
Huawei president Ren Zhengfei: We won't spy on US even if Chinese law requires us to, what backdoors?
In his first U.S. TV interview, Ren Zhengfei describes Huawei as “a tomato” crushed between two superpowers.
Carvel's Cookie Puss is now beer
First, Carvel made ice cream. Then came ice cream cakes. Many years later, they created a stout based on one of their most celebrated ice cream cakes, Fudgie the Whale. A collaboration with craft microbrewery Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford, New York, Fudgie the Beer was released last Father's Day with great success.Their latest offering? Cookie Puss the beer, a limited-edition "Milkshake IPA." But, wait, it doesn't end there. There's also Cookie O' Puss the beer. A "Pastry Stout," you know, for St. Patrick's Day.Both are brewed by Captain Lawrence Brewing and will be available starting on February 26 in select East Coast locations. Fun fact: Cookie Puss is a space alien born on Planet Birthday (and it's Carvel's 85th birthday this year).For nostalgia's sake: Read the rest
Gavin Smythe, of Chagrin Falls, USA, needs his iPhone battery replaced...
Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH Gavin Smythe, of Chagrin Falls, USA, needs his iPhone battery replaced
FDA: infusing young people's blood will not improve your health
The FDA has issued a warning advising Americans not to engage in the practice of infusing plasma taken from young people's blood, a "treatment" promoted to treat "normal aging and memory loss... dementia, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and post-traumatic stress disorder."The advisory "strongly" warns Americans not to buy these treatments, saying they are neither "safe" nor "effective," and adding that "There is no proven clinical benefit of infusion of plasma from young donors to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent these conditions, and there are risks associated with the use of any plasma product.""Clinics" that offer plasma advertise that it is taken from children as young as 16 and charge as much as $8000 for a "treatment."One example is Monterey, California-based Ambrosia. (In Greek mythology, ambrosia is the food or drink of the gods and confers immortality.) It was founded by Jesse Karmazin, a graduate of Princeton University and the Stanford School of Medicine, and the company's website refers to plasma as a "medical treatment.""Young plasma treatments are intravenous infusions of plasma from young donors, who are in the age range of 16 to 25," Ambrosia's website said. The company, which notes that it treats patients who are 30 or older, boasts locations in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Tampa, Omaha and Houston. It charges $8,000 for a liter of young plasma and offers 2 liters at a rate of $12,000."Young plasma is the result of research into the science of blood," the website reads. FDA warns against using young blood as medical treatment [Susan Scutti/CNN](via /. Read the rest
Karl Lagerfeld dead at 85
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is dead at 85, reports the BBC.The German designer, who was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, was one of the industry's most prolific figures, and worked up until his death.Lagerfeld also designed collections for his own brand and collaborated with high street brand H&M."I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that." — KL Read the rest
Vogue executive quits after "slave-themed photo" posted
Just the other day I remarked that the fashion industry picked the worst possible year to try and make racist imagery cool, even as it's obvious why such an insular and privileged culture would think it clever and edgy. Hot on the heels of Katy Perry's blaceface shoes we have Vogue exec Donata Meirelles "on a throne with two black women in traditional dress standing either side of her." She quit when the photo got out.It has been suggested that the black women's clothes were similar to those worn by slaves, while the throne resembled a cadeira de sinhá - a chair for slave masters.Other pictures from the party, in Salvador de Bahia in northeast Brazil, show traditionally-dressed black women welcoming and ushering guests.Rita Batista, a TV presenter, posed the picture with an 1860 photo of a white woman sitting next to two slaves to make the implication clearer. Read the rest
India set to adopt China-style internet censorship
New rules limiting internet freedom could be imposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government any time after Thursday night.
Unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. sold at auction for $100,150
Eric Bradly says:An unopened copy of Super Mario Bros., the classic video game released by Nintendo in 1985, set a world record for a graded game when it recently sold for $100,150.“Beyond the artistic and historical significance of this game is its supreme state of preservation,” says Kenneth Thrower, co-founder and chief grader of Wata Games.Due to its popularity, Nintendo reprinted Super Mario Bros. from 1985 to 1994 numerous times, resulting in 11 different box variations (according to this visual guide). The first two variations are “sticker sealed” copies that were only available in the New York and L.A. test market launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and 1986. Of all the sealed copies of Super Mario Bros., this is the only known “sticker sealed” copy and was certified by Wata Games with a Near Mint grade of 9.4 and a “Seal Rating” of A++.“Not only are all of NES sticker sealed games extremely rare, but by their nature of not being sealed in shrink wrap they usually exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years,” Thrower said. “This game may be the condition census of all sticker sealed NES games known to exist.”A group of collectors joined forces Feb. 6 to purchase the game, including some of the biggest names in video games and collectibles as a whole. The buyers include Jim Halperin, Founder and Co-Chairman of Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas; Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Rich Lecce, renowned coin dealer, pioneering video game collector, and owner of Robert B. Read the rest
Kashmiri saffron is disappearing
Kashmiri saffron is the best in the world, selling for $1550 a pound. But as a result of "ongoing regional violence, droughts, and the still-unfolding effects of climate change on the land, Kashmiri saffron has slowly begun to disappear," writes Sharanya Deepak for Eater.“The saffron flower has three parts,” says Raqib Mushtaq Mir, a saffron merchant. “There’s the flower petals — that goes in for medicine, then there’s the yellow strands, which aren’t much use. The red strands, right in the middle, are pure saffron, which is what we’re looking for.” A single flower produces just three red strands; one gram of saffron is made from around 350 strands. For a kilogram of the spice, more than 150,000 flowers are sifted and scanned, and the rarity of the red strand can lead to shortcuts from less scrupulous merchants. “Often, in the market,” Mushtaq Mir says, “the yellow are colored with red and mixed into the bunch.”Image: Philippe 1 bo/Shutterstock Read the rest
Most adults are incapable of understanding most online terms of service
A new paper by a business professor and a contract law professor evaluated the terms and conditions of 500 leading websites and found that the 99% of them required at least 14 years of education to truly comprehend, far more than the majority of US adults have attained.US courts have held that clickthrough contracts are enforceable whether or not they have been read before clicking "I Agree," but the authors propose that courts should consider whether these contracts could be read and understood in evaluating whether they are enforceable.The paper uses standard measures of readability to evaluate clickthroughs, like the Flesch-Kincaid and Flesch Reading Ease scales, and found that almost none of the agreements we are made to click through to use the internet are within the generally accepted range for contractual documents that are presented to the general public. Instead, the authors compared the contracts' readability to scientific or academic journal articles.The authors also call into question "plain language" summaries of clickthrough agreements, raising the question of which version of a text is enforceable: the version that was intended to be read and parsed by everyday users, or the fine-print it allegedly summarized?The use of deceptive and overreaching fine-print is a hallmark of grifters, and the online world is a world of grifter capitalism, where actions that are plainly unfair and immoral somehow attain the protection of the law, while any steps you take to avoid these abuses are somehow illegal.Many scholars have suggested that consumer contracts are indeed written in a way that dissuades consumers from reading them. Read the rest
On Star Trek: TNG, those aren't Captain Picard's hands holding his flute
Sir Patrick Stewart doesn't play the Reskian flute, or any flute for that matter. The trick worked on me at least, because I hadn't noticed even after seeing this episode several times over the last 26 (!) years. From Wikipedia:...As neither Stewart nor Hughes could play their instruments, it required a number of camera techniques to be used in order to disguise the musicians playing just off screen. Husband and wife duo Natalie and Bryce Martin played the piano and tin whistle respectively to portray Daren and Picard's abilities. Bryce had played his instrument to represent Picard's Ressikan flute since it first appeared in "The Inner Light". However, while Stewart did the majority of his flute fingering, he was doubled in several scenes by Noel Webb and John Mayham. Webb also doubled for Brent Spiner early in the episode when Data was playing Frédéric Chopin's trio in G minor.In TNG, Picard has a flute he sometimes plays. The only problem is that Sir Patrick Stewart cannot play the flute. So they have someone else's hands pretend to play it while he makes silly facial expressions, and they dub in music later.Once you see it, you can't unsee it. pic.twitter.com/5dbtyvOqjy— foone (@Foone) February 12, 2019 Read the rest
British Prime Minister "scrapes mould off jam and eats what's underneath"
The Telegraph reports that Theresa May saves money by scraping mold off preserves and eating the untainted remains. The prime minister’s admission emerged during cabinet meeting discussions on how to reduce food waste. Ms May is said to enjoy cooking, and has a particular penchant for jam, even giving a jar to Melania Trump as part of a hamper in 2017.The cabinet meeting was at the centre of controversy on Tuesday as some government insiders complained afterwards that Brexit had not featured heavily enough in discussions.On the contrary, there has never been a cabinet discussion more clearly about Brexit.When they make the Brexit movie this is going to be the understated yet shimmeringly metaphorical scene where the full horror of what is happening finally sinks in for the viewer. pic.twitter.com/pbA4V2AWUF— Rob Beschizza (@Beschizza) February 13, 2019 Read the rest
Which prison will house 'El Chapo'? Probably this Colorado 'supermax'
Good luck escaping from this one.
New battery-powered portable monitor not terrible
The Taihe Gemini is a slim, battery-powered 15.6" touchscreen display that's raised more than $1m at Kickstarter. The Verge's Sam Byford took it for a spin.The pre-production version I tested has a matte 1080p touchscreen. It’s not the most beautiful display in the world, with pedestrian color reproduction at 72 percent of the NTSC gamut, but it is at least an IPS panel with solid viewing angles. There’s also a 2mm-thicker 4K model that omits touch functionality but achieves a claimed 100 percent of Adobe RGB coverage. I wasn’t able to test that version, so I can’t speak to its supposedly better color performance.The touch functionality on the 1080p model sadly doesn’t extend to its janky button-operated settings menu, but it’s actually pretty cool if you have a compatible phone with a desktop mode, like a Samsung Galaxy Note with Dex or a Huawei device that supports Easy Projection.I'm quite eager to see this myself: sounds perfect for using in portable MAME cabinets, retrofitting into dead terminal monitor cases, and other assorted witchcraft. Read the rest
Dan Mallory, bullshit artist
Dan Mallory is the latest in a long line of people — otherwise middling in talent, white of skin and surburban of origin — to make it big in publishing by fabricating their life's travails and tragedies. "Want to sell a book?" writes Jessa Crispin. "Start lying."But there is another story these fakes are telling that we want to hear: the story of redemption through the written word. Even if you come from the most hardscrabble of circumstances, even if you have been wiped out by the tidal waves of fate, you can better yourself and your life through literature. It’s the literary version of the American dream, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, but in this case, your bootstraps is your manuscript. Read the rest
Watch Lucille Ball demo a 1939 ancestor of the "talk box" famously used by Peter Frampton
In this 1939 newsreel, the great Lucille Ball demonstrates the Sonovox, a device that brings amplified sound effects from vinyl records into the throat where the tongue and lips modulate it. Here's the patent for the Sonovox, invented by Gilbert Wright and used in TV advertisements, the movie Dumbo (1941) for Casey Junior the train's voice, and the "days of the week" radio jingle that was included on The Who Sell Out (1967).Of course the Sonovox begat the "talk box" that routes an amplified instrument's sound from a small speaker into the musician's mouth via a rubber tube so they can shape the tone as if they're speaking. In the rock arena, Peter Frampton made the talk box famous on the track "Do You Feel Like We Do" (1973).More on all this in my post last year featuring Pete Drake's beautiful pedal steel "talk box" tune "Forever" from 1963, long before Peter Frampton showed us the way.(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
Watch 10,000 maggots devour a pizza, if you dare
Scientists wanted to know how maggots devour food so quickly, so they conducted an experiment. They fed 10,000 maggots a cheese pizza, which disappeared in 2 hours (but only about 30 seconds in this sped-up video) and noticed an interesting "fountain" pattern of movement amongst the fly larvae that allows them to burn through food at a fast clip. According to ScienceMag.org:The team searched for patterns in the squirming mass by tracking the flow of individual maggots with software used to model the movement of fluids. Despite the appearance of chaos, the larvae moved like water being pumped through a fountain, the researchers report today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Hungry maggots pushed toward the food from the bottom, and satiated larvae were pumped up and over the top of the pile to the back of the line.This fountain of larvae allows hungry grubs to replace the ones surrounding the food that have stopped feeding, which keeps the eating machine humming. The researchers say better understanding the process could help grub farming companies scale up and turn even more food waste back into food. Read the rest
Two lateral thinking puzzles
Here are three lateral thinking puzzles that were new to me. They're from the book, Lateral Thinking Puzzles (1991), by Paul Sloane.Death in the FieldA man is lying dead in the field. Next to him is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die?Death in RomeMr. Jones is reading his daily newspaper. He read an article with the following headline: “Woman dies in holiday accident.“ It goes on to say, “Mrs. Rigby-Brown, while on holiday with her husband in Rome, fell to her death from the balcony of her seventh-floor room.“Mr. Jones turns to his wife and says “That was not an accident. It was murder.“ He had never met either of the Rigby-Browns, so how could he know it was murder?Image by S.Borisov/Shutterstock Read the rest
Germany orders Facebook to stop collecting some personal data without consent
Regulators in Germany ruled that Facebook must cut the data it gathers about people who aren't using its app or website or get their consent. Facebook says it intends to appeal the ruling.The watchdog has carried out a probe into the social network following concerns that members were unaware of the extent of the firm's activities. It covered data gathered from third-party sources as well as via Facebook's other apps, including Instagram.The US firm has said it will appeal. Specifically, the FCO has ruled that:• Facebook's various services can continue to collect data, but they cannot combine it with the user's main Facebook account unless the member gives their voluntary consent• collecting data from third-party websites and assigning it to a Facebook user's account is likewise only allowed if that member has given the firm permissionFacebook hitches a ride into browser sessions through like buttons, sharing widgets, ads and other non-obvious page elements. Like certain Google services, it's essentially unavoidable without installing browsers plugins to control them. Read the rest
A college student thinks she hears a ghost, but it turns out to be a gentleman hiding in her closet
A college student in North Carolina heard rattling in her closet that sounded like a raccoon, but she thought it was a ghost. She'd had other strange things happen in her apartment, like finding strange handprints in her bathroom, and having some of her clothes disappear. She worked up the courage to ask through the closet door, "Who's there?" And someone answered back, "Oh, my name is Drew." Turns out a 30-year-old gentleman was hiding in her closet, wearing her clothes.According to Vice:As horrifying as the whole thing might be, Maddie—who has declined to reveal her last name—apparently didn't think [Andrew] Swofford posed any sort of immediate threat. She reportedly kept up a conversation with him and let him roam around her home while she called for help.“He tries on my hat," she said. "He goes in the bathroom and looks in the mirror and then is like, ‘You’re really pretty, can I give you a hug?’" According to Maddie, he never actually tried to touch her.When Maddie's boyfriend arrived, Swofford took off, but was arrested at a gas station shortly after. Strangely enough, this wasn't the first time she's had an intruder in her place. In December she found two men in her living room. This might explain the mysterious handprints and missing items. And in both cases there were no signs of entry. I'd say it's moving time.This is Andrew Swofford. A UNCG junior got home on Saturday, to find him in her closet, wearing her clothes. Read the rest
Facebook de-platforms 4 Myanmar armed groups. Military behind Rohingya abuse didn't like them either.
Is Facebook following government orders in Myanmar?
This robot plays Jenga to demonstrate the future of manufacturing
MIT researchers developed a robot that can play Jenga based on a novel approach to machine learning that synthesizes sight and touch. From MIT News: Alberto Rodriguez, the Walter Henry Gale Career Development Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, says the robot demonstrates something that’s been tricky to attain in previous systems: the ability to quickly learn the best way to carry out a task, not just from visual cues, as it is commonly studied today, but also from tactile, physical interactions.“Unlike in more purely cognitive tasks or games such as chess or Go, playing the game of Jenga also requires mastery of physical skills such as probing, pushing, pulling, placing, and aligning pieces. It requires interactive perception and manipulation, where you have to go and touch the tower to learn how and when to move blocks,” Rodriguez says. “This is very difficult to simulate, so the robot has to learn in the real world, by interacting with the real Jenga tower. The key challenge is to learn from a relatively small number of experiments by exploiting common sense about objects and physics.”He says the tactile learning system the researchers have developed can be used in applications beyond Jenga, especially in tasks that need careful physical interaction, including separating recyclable objects from landfill trash and assembling consumer products.“In a cellphone assembly line, in almost every single step, the feeling of a snap-fit, or a threaded screw, is coming from force and touch rather than vision,” Rodriguez says. Read the rest
Houseplant patent EULA: "Asexual reproduction using scions, buds or cutting is strictly prohibited"
Not much detail on this patented houseplant and its terrifying license "agreement": redditor GooberMcNutly posted it a few hours ago and hasn't said anything else about it. Plants are patentable, and in theory patents reach into private conduct. Whatever the story, this is some primo late-stage capitalism right here. Read the rest
As the German Government Abandons Small Businesses, the Worst Parts of the EU Copyright Directive Come Roaring Back, Made Even Worse
Last month, it seemed like Europe had been saved from a dangerous attempt by corporate lobbyists to hijack copyright legislation in order to add a few points to their balance sheets, at the cost of a free, fair, open internet. Now, thanks to Germany's decision to turn its back on small European tech companies, the EU is poised once again to hand permanent control over Europe's internet to the United States’ Big Tech sector, snuffing out the small- and medium-sized enterprises of Europe.The new European Directive on Copyright in the Single Market is a grab-bag of updates to EU-wide copyright rules, which have been frozen in time since their last refresh, in 2001. But the Directive been imperiled since last spring, when German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur, and promptly revived two controversial, unworkable clauses.To remain credible, the EU must reject this haggling between giant commercial interests—and put the public good first.Voss's deadly pet ideas were, first, a proposal to let news sites decide who could link to them and to charge for the privilege (Article 11); and second, a proposal to require every platform for public communication to invent and deploy copyright filters that would prevent any user from infringing copyright, even momentarily, by suppressing any communications that appeared to contain a copyrighted work of any kind (Article 13).The response was swift and decisive: more than a million Europeans promptly wrote to their MEPs to demand that the Directive be voted on clause-by-clause, allowing for Articles 11 and 13 to be amended. Read the rest
Consultants will train the crew of your super-yacht to take care of your fine art collection
The difficult decision of whether or not to store your priceless art collection on your super-yacht just got easier: after a series of high-profile debacles in which multi-million-dollar paintings were damaged by poorly trained yacht crews (like the ham-fisted swabbies who didn't use the correct technique to clean a $110.5m Basquiat after the fruit of His Lordship's loins covered it in breakfast cereal), a boutique industry of specialist consultants has emerged to train your yacht's crew in art preservation.At £295/day, it's a steal.There are superyachts with “better collections than some national museums,” Mather-Lees said, describing one yacht with more than 800 pieces of art that are worth more than double the vessel itself. “Obviously they [the owners] want to show off their art collection when guests come on board … It acts as an icebreaker, and says volumes about their taste,” she told an audience of more than 100 people at the Superyacht Investor conference in the Landmark Hotel. “But yachts are not art galleries and when something goes wrong it’s obviously very unfortunate and a big burden on the crew and the owners become very unhappy.”Discretion is required in both the art world and on superyachts, but Mather-Lees said Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, has several hundred pieces aboard his £350m superyacht Topaz.A reporter looking in the windows of Joe Lewis’s £200m superyacht Aviva, when it moored on the Thames last year, discovered Francis Bacon’s Triptych 1974–1977 was hanging in gold frames on the lower deck. Read the rest
XKCD on the dishonesty implicit in the sharing options in social media
The latest XKCD strip, "Sharing Options/#2016" is a brilliant and trenchant surfacing of the hidden rhetoric of social media, where your options are "permanently share with billions of people, including internet scammers, random predatory companies, and hostile foreign governments" or "a small set of 300 or so approved friends," and when this is questioned, the social media companies profess an inability to understand what other options could exist.To which the voice of XKCD replies: "I mean...there are numbers between 300 and one billion."The thing I love about this is the way it exposes how demands are disguised as observations: just as when Zuckerberg says that "privacy is no longer a social norm," he means "I demand that you extinguish the social norm of privacy," when a company says "it is impossible to implement a sharing setting that sits between 'trusted friends' and 'the world, forever," they mean, "I demand that you choose among those two options, because a company with just those two options is more profitable and easier to operate."This is a cheap and obvious rhetorical trick, but it's surprisingly effective: think of Margaret Thatcher's pronouncement that "there is no alternative," which really meant "stop trying to think of alternatives."What's more, this trick poisons the well. There are, in fact, things that seem plausible if you don't understand technology but which are obviously impossible if you do understand it (making crypto that works except when the police need it to stop working; making computers that run all programs except the ones you don't like; making filters that stop copyright infringement but not legitimate speech). Read the rest
Deaf couple say Delta agent "refused to communicate" with them, kicked them off flight
When Melissa Elmira Yingst and Socorro Garcia checked in for their flight at Detroit, they were told they'd get a seating assignment together. But at the departure gate, the request was denied—and they claim the gate agent would not communicate with them except by talking at them. Thing is, they're both deaf.The gate agent rolled her eyes at us. Melissa asked for her to write. After a few moments, she finally wrote on a piece of paper and said, the flight is full and can’t book us together. I wanted to continue to communicate and decided to try and write on that same paper but instead of giving us the paper we asked for, she crumbled it in front of us and threw it in the trash.”Yingst says she pleaded with the agent — who allegedly refused to give her name but whom they identify as “Felicia” — to write down her end of the conversation, arguing that she was “denying us our communication access” by not doing so.Here's where they story diverges: one of the women says "Felicia" pushed her when she tried to retrieve the note. But "Felicia" claims she was assaulted. In any case, "Felicia" summoned airport security and the women were removed from the flight.Delta is backing its gate agent, stating that the women were barred from the flight because Garcia went behind the gate desk and "pushed" the gate agent when trying to retrieving the crumpled up paper. The women deny this and say Delta falsely told the media it had reimbursed them. Read the rest
In 4 minutes, 100 people explain how they got their scars
"My child bit me." "I had a boyfriend who punched me in the face." "I tried to cut myself." "Broke my femur bone in a car accident." "Breast implants." These are quotes from five of the one hundred people in this video talking about how they got their scars.Image: The Cut/YouTube Read the rest
What your name tastes like
Julie McDowall experiences synaesthesia, a cross-wiring of sensations where sights may have sounds, numbers may spark smells, or, in her case, words trigger tastes. What does your name taste like?Catherine is a Rusk dipped in chocolate and coffeeAntonio is a bowl of Frosties, turning soggy.Rebecca is shortbread and Feeney is a watery, weak onionPaul...the fondant inside a Creme Egg.Bryan is coconut caught between my teethThough literally experienced by McDowall thanks to an exceptional brain condition, her definitions are clearly just right. It reminds me of The Meaning of Liff. Someone should give McDowall a book deal to write The Meaning of Biff. Read the rest
Resident Evil 2 with the facial animation exaggerated 500%
Resident Evil 2 is a just-released remake of the Capcom classic, updated with ultra-realistic performance-captured animation. DPO23 hacked the game's configuration to exaggerate characters' facial movements 500%. It's an unsettling illustration of what lies beneath cutting-edge graphics tech—and far scarier than the zombies. (See DP023's YouTube channel for more) Read the rest
Deepfake of Jennifer Lawrence with Steve Buscemi's face
"Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?” ― John Lennon Read the rest
Kickstarter for the blackest black paint in the world
You may have heard that artist Anish Kapoor has an exclusive license to produce art using Vantablack, a pigment made from carbon nanotubes that absorbs up to 99.96% of visible light. Covering an object with Vantablack makes it look like the object, and everything behind it, has been removed from the universe. Artists who are not Anish Kapoor are understandably upset that Kapoor has a lock on Vantablack. Many people have tried to create pigments as dark as Vantablack, and the person with the most success so far is Stuart Semple. He created Black 2.0 a few years ago, and now he is Kickstarted a new formulation, Black 3.0, which absorbs between 98 and 99% of visible light.The Kickstarter includes the following caution: "By backing this project you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not backing this on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this material will not make its way into the hands of Anish Kapoor." Read the rest
Boy lost in woods for three days says a bear looked after him
Casey Hathaway, age 3, was lost for three days in the woods of Craven County, North Carolina before police found him alive and well. He had survived pouring rain and near-freezing temperatures. According to Hathaway, a bear looked after him in the forest."He made a comment about having a friend while he was in the woods -- his friend was a bear," Maj. David McFadyen of the Craven County Sheriff's Office told CNN. "In the emergency room he started talking about what happened in the woods and he said he had a friend that was a bear with him while he was in the woods."It is true that there are bears in those woods. Read the rest
Look at South Carolina's Attorney General spout nonsense about marijuana
South Carolina has a bill in the works to become the 34th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, and Attorney General Alan Wilson is freaking out. He went to the Statehouse lobby and stood in the middle of a row of serious-faced white-robed doctors and called marijuana “the most dangerous drug” in America. Marijuana, he says, causes addiction, traffic accidents, and deaths by overdose. ("A fatal dose of marijuana would require ingestion of fifteen hundred pounds in fifteen minutes," says David Schmader, author of Weed: The User's Guide.)Here’s the clip of AG Alan Wilson starting off the press conference today on medical marijuana. Some Republicans and Democrats are trying to legalize cannabis for medical purposes this year in South Carolina. pic.twitter.com/UwZ9NlSRTN— Andrew Brown (@Andy_Ed_Brown) January 23, 2019From the Post and Courier:“They use words like stoned, high, wasted, baked, fried, cooked, chonged, cheeched, dope-faced, blazed, blitzed, blunted, blasted, danked, stupid, wrecked — and that’s only half the words they use,” Wilson said. “Are these consistent with something that describes a medicine?” Someone needs to use that as a song sample.Image: Screenshot of Andrew Brown's Twitter video Read the rest
Students' phallic prank as seen from a satellite
Students at Mackie Academy secondary school in Aberdeenshire, Scotland created a piece of high art on the playing field. While the act occurred last year, its documentation -- which was actually the real prank -- apparently lives on in Google Earth.“I’m sure there is lots of penises drawn in lots of places around the school and many other schools across the country, but this really is impressive," said one former student.(The Scottish Sun)Of course, they weren't the first students to play this particular, er, long game. For example: "Suspected high school prank goes unnoticed by APS for years" Read the rest
Compilation video of things that fit perfectly
The immense sense of vicarious satisfaction I feel watching this gives me hope for the machines that will replace us. [via r/perfectfit] Read the rest
How a Bell Labs engineer/artist created the sounds of planetary orbits for the Voyager Golden Record
During the 1960s and 1970s at Bell Labs, the intersection of science and art was rightfully recognized as an extremely fertile ground for creative and technological experimentation. New York City's avant-garde artists collaborated with Bell Labs engineers to develop new tools, technologies, and creative practices that continue to shape our digital world today. It was in Bell Labs' hotbed of digital creativity where composer and software engineer Laurie Spiegel helped make the future of electronic music. Waveshaper TV produced a multi-part interview with Spiegel whose seminal works, including The Expanding Universe, are available in stunning editions from the Unseen Worlds label.I was particularly excited about Part 2 of the interview with Spiegel, released today and seen above, because it focuses on how she came to contribute an audio manifestation of "Kepler's Harmony of the Worlds" ("Music of the Spheres") to the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials attached to the Voyager I and II space probes launched in 1977. The Golden Record tells a story of our planet expressed in sounds, images, and science: Earth’s greatest music from myriad peoples and eras, from Bach to Blind Willie Johnson to Chuck Berry, Benin percussion to Solomon Island panpipes. A short segment of Spiegel's "Music of the Spheres" opens the Voyager Record's "Sounds of Earth" segment, a collage of dozens of recordings that represent our planet, from birds and chimpanzees to thunder, a baby's cry, laughter, and a kiss.Two years ago, my friends Timothy Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released the Voyager Golden Record on vinyl for the first time as a lavish box set. Read the rest
The rent is too damned high because money-laundering oligarchs bought all the real-estate to clean their oil money
In an absolutely epic Twitter thread (unrolled here) author CZ Edwards lays out an incredibly compelling explanation of spiralling real-estate prices: oligarchs need to launder a lot of oil money -- think Russia, Iran, ex-Soviet basket-case states, Saudi -- and so they plow the money into offshore Real Estate Investment Trust that then cleans it by outbidding any actual real-estate investors or would-be homeowners, bidding up and snapping up all the property in desirable cities, and then realizing the rental income-flows as legitimate, clean money.It's as neat and compelling a way of describing the link between oligarchy and spiraling real-estate prices as you could ask for. Shelter is not optional, so people will spend whatever it takes to get a roof over their heads. Cities are not infinitely sprawlable, so it's possible to corner the market on places to live in them. Eventually, the parasites will devour the hosts and leave the cities empty shells (ahem, Venice), but by then the money-launderers have sold up and moved on.And of course, since real-estate is a great way to launder money, real-estate developers are often mobbed up af, which explains a lot about the president and his grifter inner circle.Edwards points out that her work on money-laundering came out of her research on a novel called "Rien's Rebellion: Kingdom" (" Once upon a time, a nation’s fate depended on an informant, a lawyer and a warrior. They all lived under a good Monarch’s leadership. Until he was assassinated."). Read the rest
Grow boatloads of Instagram followers with these 4 tools
Everybody's on Instagram to be seen, but what separates the average selfies-and-food account from the true influencers? Chances are, it's not random chance. Check out our favorite online tools geared to get you the kind of visibility advertisers dream of, from educational courses to optimizing apps.PostFly Instagram AutomationIf you're looking to get the most out of your Instagram account, do what the big brands do: Enhance it with automation. There no business too small to benefit from a PostFly setup, which can schedule your posts, automatically like your followers' content, and even sniff out new followers for you based on relevance. It's the best way to free up time and still keep your public face personal and accessible. Right now, a lifetime subscription to PostFly Instagram Automation is 96% off at $39.Instagram Master ClassNo matter how artful your posts are, there's a definite science to grabbing an Instagram following. Digital agent Evan Kimbrell helped oversee the social media strategies of Fortune 100 companies, and he shares those secrets in this 22-hour online course. Through targeted hashtags and strategic automation, you'll be able to bump up your numbers to the thousands in no time. Originally priced at $199.99, the Instagram Master Class is currently on sale for $11.99.Savvant Instagram OptimizerDon't just throw posts to the wall and hope they stick. With Savvant's complex analytics, you can find out what draws likes, why and from where. Based on its algorithms, the app can choose the best hashtags and keywords for you, and suggest the content that's really going to drive your brand no matter what it is. Read the rest
Supercut of Sean Bean calling people "Bastard"
All in the form of signature character Richard Sharpe — add Ed Stark and we'd be here all weekend. Read the rest
Watch Kraftwerk's earliest concert video and witness the birth of the man-machines
From the archives of Germany's public broadcasting institution WDR, this televised concert video of Kraftwerk from 1970, the year of the band's formation. Even then, their post-Krautrock motorik dynamism is trance-inducing. Far fucking out.(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest
Emboldened by the LA teachers' "blue state" victory, Denver's teachers declare strike
Just days after LA teachers declared victory in their strike for better classroom conditions and limits on charter schools, their colleagues in Denver -- another "blue state" -- have voted to walk off the job, with a very similar set of demands.Last year's #RedForEd strikes were concentrated in Republican-dominated red states, but beating up on teachers and advocating through charter-school privatization of public system is a bipartisan disease, with many establishment Democrat backers.California's not done, either: Oakland teachers have seen a steady decline in their funding and working conditions, a phenomenon that has tracked closely with the number of black and brown students in their classes (and the siphoning off of privileged and wealthier white students into charter schools). ARLENE INOUYE: Yes, and we’re excited for the educators in Denver that they’ve taken this step.And I feel like what we’ve learned through the years is that when you communicate clearly what the message is and you reach out to parents and community, our collective power is what got us to win. We have a chapter leader in every single school. And we have teams now, organizing teams, at every school. And we have constant communication. I think, as you see, Amy, when you talk to anybody, any teacher or parent out there that were on the picket lines, they will tell you the same message, why we’re fighting. And it’s very clear to us.And I think by being able to organize across the board and bring in the voices, the ordinary voices of our parents and our educators—and I, myself, by the way, am a speech and language specialist. Read the rest
Facebook sued for ripping off kids
Records in a class-action lawsuit uncovered Facebook's "multi-year effort" to bilk money from kids who unwittingly spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on games on Facebook, who refused to refund the money when the kids' parents complained.From Reveal:Facebook encouraged game developers to let children spend money without their parents’ permission – something the social media giant called “friendly fraud” – in an effort to maximize revenues, according to a document detailing the company’s game strategy.Sometimes the children did not even know they were spending money, according to another internal Facebook report. Facebook employees knew this. Their own reports showed underage users did not realize their parent’s credit cards were connected to their Facebook accounts and they were spending real money in the games, according to the unsealed documents.For years, the company ignored warnings from its own employees that it was bamboozling children.A team of Facebook employees even developed a method that would have reduced the problem of children being hoodwinked into spending money, but the company did not implement it, and instead told game developers that the social media giant was focused on maximizing revenues.When parents found out how much their children had spent – one 15-year-old racked up $6,500 in charges in about two weeks playing games on Facebook – the company denied requests for refunds. Facebook employees referred to these children as “whales” – a term borrowed from the casino industry to describe profligate spenders. A child could spend hundreds of dollars a day on in-game features such as arming their character with a flaming sword or a new magic spell to defeat an enemy – even if they didn’t realize it until the credit card bill arrived. Read the rest
1,500 private jets coming to Davos
Even though jet travel is a major contributor to global warming, the pluto-kakisto-klepto-cracy coming to the World Economic Forum in Davos will arrive in an estimated 1,500 private jets. One of the topics that the 0.001% will be discussing at the Swiss Ski resort is global warming. From Inquisitr:In general, private jet travel to the event has increased by about 11 percent year over year, according to the Air Charter Service (ACS), which charters aircraft for cargo and private use.“There appears to be a trend towards larger aircraft, with expensive heavy jets the aircraft of choice,” said Andy Christie, private jets director at the ACS. “Gulfstream GVs and Global Expresses [were] both used more than 100 times each last year.”Image: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock Read the rest
Lasers can beam audible messages directly to people's ears
Researchers at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, a United States Department of Defense research facility, developed laser systems that can "transmit various tones, music and recorded speech at a conversational volume" to specific people without the recipient wearing any special equipment. Basically, the operator points a laser at someone from a distance and that individual hears the transmitted audio even though others in the area don't. Conspiracy theorists, start your engines. From the Optical Society of America:"Our system can be used from some distance away to beam information directly to someone's ear," said research team leader Charles M. Wynn. "It is the first system that uses lasers that are fully safe for the eyes and skin to localize an audible signal to a particular person in any setting..."The new approaches are based on the photoacoustic effect, which occurs when a material forms sound waves after absorbing light. In this case, the researchers used water vapor in the air to absorb light and create sound...One unique aspect of this laser sweeping technique is that the signal can only be heard at a certain distance from the transmitter. This means that a message could be sent to an individual, rather than everyone who crosses the beam of light. It also opens the possibility of targeting a message to multiple individuals."New technology uses lasers to transmit audible messages to specific people" (Phys.org via The Daily Grail)"Photoacoustic communications: delivering audible signals via absorption of light by atmospheric H2O" (Optics Letter) Read the rest
Google, Facebook and Microsoft were the top sponsors of a conference that featured climate change denial kooks
Libertycon is the annual conference of Students for Liberty, a libertarian youth group, held in DC; at this year's conference, Google was the $25,000 platinum sponsor, while Facebook and Microsoft were each $10,000 sponsors.Libertycon's other sponsors included three notorious climate denial groups, including the CO2 Coalition, backed by billionaire family foundations (including the Mercers' foundation and the Koch foundation), who argue that increased atmospheric CO2 is "good news" for the planet; they distributed literature to "explain how our lives and our planet Earth will be improved by additional atmospheric carbon dioxide" because "more carbon dioxide will help everyone, including future generations of our families" and the "recent increase in CO2 levels has had a measurable, positive effect on plant life."The conference featured a presentation by Caleb Rossiter, a retired stats prof who sits on the outer fringe of the climate denial movement; he praised higher atmospheric CO2 levels ("I'm cheering") and claimed that "There has been no increase in storms, in intensity or frequency." He also claimed that increased CO2 levels "improve life expectancy"The Big Tech companies claim that their sponsorship of Libertycon is part of their wider political event funding that crosses party lines and is nonpartisan in nature. But conferences that give platforms to climate deniers are not part of the normal political discourse: they are as dangerous and beyond the pale as conferences that feature eugenicists. I believe that those people should be allowed to have conferences! But I also think that anyone who gives those conferences a dime is either an immoral opportunist or a sociopath. Read the rest
Ozzy Osbourne sells bat plushie with detachable head
On Sunday, Ozzy Osbourne launched pre-orders for this darling plushie bat with a detachable head, and it has already sold out. Today is the 37th anniversary of Ozzy's show at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa during which he bit the head off a real bat. From a January 22, 1982 article in the Des Moines Register: Osbourne reportedly put a dead bat in his mouth, bit its head off and threw it back into the crowd of about 5,000 at the auditorium Wednesday night.Some skeptics think the whole thing was a publicity stunt – even the taking of the first of a series of five rabies shots at a Des Moines hospital after the concert.But Mark Neal, 17, of Des Moines said he threw the dead bat onto the stage, saw Osbourne pick it up, bite its head off and then throw it into the audience.“It really freaked me out,” Neal said. “I won’t get in any trouble for admitting this, will I?”After the show, Osbourne went to Mercy Hospital Medical Center, and was referred to Broadlawns Medical Center because rabies vaccine was available there.Today marks the 37th Anniversary since I bit a head off a f*cking bat! Celebrate with this commemorative plush with detachable head.https://t.co/Of23jCDtaa pic.twitter.com/U8ZkmOYOey— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) January 20, 2019 Read the rest
Diver swims with 20-foot great white shark
Watch marine biologist Ocean Ramsey (yes, Ocean is her first name!) swim with a 20-foot great white shark off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. First spotted off Guadalupe in 2014, this animal, nicknamed "Deep Blue," is thought to be the largest great white in the world. They're definitely going to need a bigger boat.“We never would have imagined we would be fortunate enough to be graced with the presence of this massive, big, beautiful, female white shark," says Ramsey, who at the time was observing tiger sharks with her One Ocean Research team. “It fills my heart with joy and takes my breath away.”(NBC News) View this post on Instagram Beyond magic! Please #helpsavesharks !!!! Incredible swimming with “Deep Blue” one of the largest great white s for hour! Just using our @oneoceandiving boat as a scratching post, so mellow and beautiful. Help ban the purposeful killing of sharks and rays with @oneoceanconservation this year & in your local/international community ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ AHHHHHHMAZING!!!! #Beyondwords still out to sea/going back in 😍😍😍😍😍😍 vid shot by @oneoceandiving Shark specialist & my amazing #seaster @mermaid_kayleigh out with @juansharks @forrest.in.focus @camgrantphotography @oneoceanresearch A post shared by Ocean Ramsey #OceanRamsey (@oceanramsey) on Jan 15, 2019 at 5:54pm PST Read the rest