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Brain candy for Happy Mutants



Last Build Date: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:01:23 +0000

 



Everything is a Remix, including Star Wars, and that's how I became a writer

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:01:23 +0000

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Kirby Ferguson, who created the remarkable Everything is a Remix series, has a new podcast hosted by the Recreate Coalition called Copy This and he hosted me on the debut episode (MP3) where we talked about copying, creativity, artists, and the future of the internet (as you might expect!). (more…)


Media Files:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/104423/Copy%20This%20Episode%201.mp3




12 days of two-factor authentication: this Xmas, give yourself the gift of opsec

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:52:08 +0000

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a new series, 12 Days of 2FA, in which every installment explains how to turn on two-factor authentication for a range of online services and platforms. (more…)




Gorgeous handmade dieselpunk coats

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:40:25 +0000

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Xiaolizi is a design collective in Jiaozuo in Henan province, China; they've produced a remarkable line of gorgeous and moderately priced dieselpunk women's coats that are just on the line separating fashion and cosplay, much like Chicago's Volante Design -- my top pics are the Navy wool coat and the gray military coat, both $190 (with customizations available). (via Diesel Futures)




John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, dies at 95

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:36:37 +0000

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John Glenn, a war hero and the first American to orbit planet Earth, has died after being hospitalized in Ohio for the last two weeks.

(more…)




Why the FBI would be nuts to try to use chatbots to flush out terrorists online

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:29:05 +0000

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Social scientist/cybersecurity expert Susan Landau (previously) and Cathy "Weapons of Math Destruction" O'Neil take to Lawfare to explain why it would be a dangerous mistake for the FBI to use machine learning-based chatbots to flush out potential terrorists online. (more…)




Petition: commute Chelsea Manning's sentence to time served

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:17:31 +0000

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Evan from Fight for the Future sez, "Chelsea Manning has already spent more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in U.S. history. She's been systematically mistreated, subjected to torture, and denied access to desperately needed health care while serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison." (more…)




Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto and The Roots perform the "Super Mario Bros." theme

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:56:58 +0000

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Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and countless other videogame masterpieces, sits in with Questlove and The Roots.

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A checklist for figuring out whether your algorithm is a "weapon of math destruction"

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:15:55 +0000

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The Data & Society institute (dedicated to critical, interdisciplinary perspectives on big data) held an online seminar devoted to Cathy O'Neil's groundbreaking book Weapons of Math Destruction, which showed how badly designed algorithmic decision-making systems can create, magnify and entrench the social problems they're supposed to solve, perpetuating inequality, destabilizing the economy, and making a small number of people very, very rich. (more…)







William Gibson on individual privacy, governmental secrecy and the future of history

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:29:51 +0000

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In a thoughtful New York Times editorial, science fiction giant William Gibson mediates on the difference between the privacy that individuals have and deserve, the privacy that governments assert ("What does it mean, in an ostensible democracy, for the state to keep secrets from its citizens?"), and what this will mean for the historians of the future. (more…)




New Voynich Manuscript reproduction uses new photos, looks great

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:26:55 +0000

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An "authorized" reproduction of the legendary Voynich Manuscript is finally available in print form, published by Yale University from new photographs taken for the purpose. Yale's Beinecke Library owns the document and has taken its sweet time putting out a decent art book. The quality is better than the popular "unauthorized" edition published last year; that one uses older scans widely available on the web, but I suppose was good enough to force the university's hand.

(image) The first authorized copy of this mysterious, much-speculated-upon, one-of-a-kind, centuries-old puzzle. The Voynich Manuscript is produced from new photographs of the entire original and accompanied by expert essays that invite anyone to understand and explore the enigma. Many call the fifteenth-century codex, commonly known as the “Voynich Manuscript,” the world’s most mysterious book. Written in an unknown script by an unknown author, the manuscript has no clearer purpose now than when it was rediscovered in 1912 by rare books dealer Wilfrid Voynich. The manuscript appears and disappears throughout history, from the library of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to a secret sale of books in 1903 by the Society of Jesus in Rome. The book’s language has eluded decipherment, and its elaborate illustrations remain as baffling as they are beautiful. For the first time, this facsimile, complete with elaborate folding sections, allows readers to explore this enigma in all its stunning detail, from its one-of-a-kind “Voynichese” text to its illustrations of otherworldly plants, unfamiliar constellations, and naked women swimming though fantastical tubes and green baths.

The Voynich Manuscript [Amazon]




Here's Paul F. Tompkins performing “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:22:01 +0000

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The comedian’s performance is even Lin-Manuel Miranda approved:

https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/806203896024694785



What happens when you opt out of the "voluntary" pornoscanners at Berlin's Schönefeld airport

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:17:29 +0000

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Yesterday morning, Matthias Kirschner opted out of the "voluntary" full-body scanners at Berlin's Schönefeld, and discovered that "voluntary" means that "if you don't do it, they will barrack you endlessly about your choice, punitively repeatedly perform the same searches over and over, and attempt to delay you so you almost miss your flight." (more…)




The lore of haunted television sets

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:17:09 +0000

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We've posted previously about Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), the weird sounds in electronic recordings that some paranormal researchers insist are actually voices of spirits. But I didn't realize that EVP is part of a larger genre of ghostly phenomena called Instrumental Transcommunication "said to occur on devices as varied as television sets, radios, computers, handheld devices such as ipods or iphones, and even fax machines," according to Mysterious Universe. In the 1970s and 1980s, one popular medium for these ghosts in the machine were television sets. (Remember Tobe Hooper's excellent 1982 film Poltergeist?) From Mysterious Universe:

Throughout the 1970s and 80s the ITC phenomenon as it relates to TV really got its roots, becoming quite popular with researchers of the weird, and there were numerous supposed video and audio recordings of these TV bound ghosts at the time. The investigators in these cases claimed that this phenomenon had even been documented with TVs that were turned off or completely unplugged.

One of the pioneers of using televisions to try and pick up signals from the dead was a German ITC researcher named Klaus Schreiber, who used an apparatus that he called the “Vidicomin,” which used a video camera aimed at a TV set that was switched on but not attached to an aerial, and the signal looped the output from the camera back into the TV. This loop was said to produce dramatic results, with various faces apparently blooming out from the white noise on sets, and on one occasion an actress from Austria named Romy Schneider supposedly clearly appeared on a TV in one such session years after her death. In 1986, another ITC researcher and physicist named Ernst Senkowski claimed to have attained a clear, unmistakable image of a spirit from a TV set. In this case, a brief feed of video was picked up depicting the spirit of a dead EVP researcher named Hanna Buschbeck, who had died in 1978. In the video, she allegedly appeared recognizable yet much younger than she had been when she had died.

"Ghosts in the Machine: The Strange World of Haunted TVs" (Mysterious Universe)




NYC will cease retaining data that Trump could use for mass deportations

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:06:11 +0000

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IDNYC is New York City's ID card program, and it has served as a critical means for undocumented migrants to get identity papers that they can use to establish utilities accounts, bank accounts, and so on. The city has announced a change to the program's data-retention policy, vowing to purge information that might be useful in the mass deportations promised by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. (more…)




Ambulance arrives quickly after accident

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:53:41 +0000

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Emergency response times in Zalgo county are superlative! [via]




Pantone's color of the year

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:47:16 +0000

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The Pantone Color Institute announced its "color of the year" and it is Pantone 15-0343, aka "Greenery."

“We know what kind of world we are living in: one that is very stressful and very tense,“ Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, was quoted saying in the New York Times. “This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to.”




Watch some fantastic coin stacking

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:41:18 +0000

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In the (soundless) video above, @thumb_tani demonstrates his masterful coin balancing. (via Laughing Squid)