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Brain candy for Happy Mutants



Last Build Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 02:58:52 +0000

 



A field guide to the incredible scissors of Japan

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:03:32 +0000

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Yasukuni Notomi ("a writer who has covered the world of stationery for many years") provides an introduction to the creative explosion in Japanese scissor-design, beginning with the "Pencut," a scissor that fits in a normal pencil-case, with retractable elastic loops for your fingers and full-length blades so you don't sacrifice power for portability. (more…)




A paracord bracelet that contains firestarters and a fishing kit

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:12:02 +0000

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The Outdoor Element Kodiak Survival Bracelet resembles the basic paracord bracelet, but when unwound, it reveals a strand that contains firelighting tinder (similar to jute) and a fishing line and hook; the buckle doubles as a fire-striker and reflector. (via Red Ferret)







The astounding science and engineering of printer jams

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 18:43:27 +0000

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Anil Dash's third law holds that "Three things never work: Voice chat, printers and projectors." But Joshua Rothman's long, fascinating, even poetic profile of the Xerox engineers who work on paper-path process improvements is such a bit of hard-science whimsy that it almost makes me forgive every hour I've spent swearing over jammed paper. (more…)




Your smart TV is trivial to hack and leaks your personal information like crazy unless you disable all its useful features

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 16:55:41 +0000

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Consumer Reports dragged a bunch of its top-rated smart TVs back into its labs to re-evaluate them, this time checking them for hard-to-evaluate information security risks and defects, which are not normally factored into its ratings. (more…)




Watch a keyboard melt into acetone

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 13:00:53 +0000

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A Logitech keyboard is sacrificed to Saturn in this remarkable video posted by Amazing Timelapse. Plunged into acetone, the device melts slowly until only a cloudy congealment of undissolved plastics remains.

(image) This is a regular pc keyboard dipped in acetone for over 70 hours. This is the satisfying result after more than 11.000 photos, enjoy.



A device for "germ-proof" kissing

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:40:09 +0000

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In 1910, the National Pharmaceutical Society gave a thumbs up to the Osculatory Screen, a piece of silk in an elegant handle meant to prevent the spread of germs. The device was described as a "disinfected silk gauze through which the kiss is accomplished, the gauze being held in an ivory frame and placed between the two pairs of lips before they meet."

Besides just not working, I think the Osculatory Screen would take quite a bit of the romance of accomplishing a kiss.

Kissing Screen (Weird Universe)




The Internet of Connected Sex Toys is every bit as horrifyingly insecure and poorly thought out as you imagine

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 17:28:05 +0000

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The rush to put networked sensors and controllers into sex toys is grounded in foolish, convenient untruths, like the idea that the incredibly sensitive data generated by these systems can be anonymized and then analyzed for insights without exposing users to risk. (more…)




Southern Alexa

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 12:36:35 +0000

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It's a Southern Thing created this funny video about a version of Alexa that not only understands Southern accents, but how Southern folk talk: " The future is here, y'all. And it's available in burlap and reclaimed barn wood."




Century-old comic accurately depicts the nightmare of cellphones

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 04:27:42 +0000

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Going viral this evening is a marvelous comic strip by the legendary W.K. Haselden, as published in the Daily Mirror on March 5, 1919.

Without formal training his drawings first appeared in a couple of short lived publications but in 1903 he was taken onto the staff of the Daily Mirror, which was then a ‘Ladies’ newspaper, in the true Edwardian sense.

His daily cartoons on the fads, fashions, foibles and follies of the age soon earned him a large following. His style was gentle, subtle and his tone conservative. His targets were the upper middle-class householder and his family, and he was greatly exercised by the advances made by women, their careers, their voting rights and their increasing independence from the corset, both the physical and the metaphorical one of male domination. A viewpoint with which at the time the majority of his readers would have approved.

Each year between 1906 and 1935 around 100 of these cartoons were published in paperback under the title of ‘Daily Mirror Reflections’ and it was a stack of these from 1918 to 1931 that I unearthed. His pioneering work with the large single frame divided into four or more panels connected by a single theme gave him the title, according to his Times Obituary, ‘the father of British strip cartoon’.

Myko Clelland




Nerf's new blasters are pretty danged badass

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:56:58 +0000

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Nerf has unveiled six new blasters that will ship in fall of 2018, with some pretty amazing features, as detailed in Josie Colt's Wired roundup: the N-Strike Elite Infinius has a funnel you pour ammo into and it automagically slots them into a 30-dart magazine; the Modulus Ghost Ops Evader has a how-it-works-style transparent housing that lights up; the Zombie Strike Survival System Scravenger has twin dart-clips and a breakaway secondary blaster with two holdout shots; while the Nitro Doubleclutch Inferno fires little foam rolling cars around a tracked obstacle course. (more…)




Photographer hunts down eBayer who has her camera

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 12:28:11 +0000

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More A-grade sneering from Rob Wolchek of Fox 2 News Detroit, called in by professional photographer Kelly, who tracked down the guy flogging her stolen gear on eBay.

WOLCHECK: Where'd ya get all the stuff in your ebay store?
ALI: Bought them.
WOLCHECK: Who'd ya get it from them.
ALI: ...
ALI: People.




EU fines Qualcomm over $1 billion for anti-competitive iPhone deal

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 17:01:28 +0000

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The US -- allegedly a bastion of the "free market" -- has one of the world's lowest levels of economic competition, thanks to the triumph of the Chicago School economists, who used shitty math to convince Ronald Reagan and his successors that the only time a monopoly is a problem is when it raises prices. (more…)




No turntable required! Rokblok, tiny bluetooth-enabled vinyl needle on wheels, is a wonderful disaster

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:26:50 +0000

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Somehow I missed the successful kickstarter for a tiny bluetooth vinyl needle-in-a-box that powers 'round and 'round in circles along the grooves of a stationary record, obviating the need for an actual turntable. Now I've seen the Rokblok in action, I have to have one.

Here's another video: https://youtu.be/LPIJVdQkb1Q?t=3m30s (image)

This popular device is normally $90, but sold out at the official website. Amazon has them for $200.




Amazon's useless "transparency reports" won't disclose whether they're handing data from always-on Alexa mics to governments

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:50:43 +0000

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Amazon was the last major tech company to issue a "transparency report" detailing what kinds of law-enforcement requests they'd serviced, and where; when they finally did start issuing them, they buried them on obscure webpages deep in their corporate info site and released them late on Friday afternoons. (more…)




Internet of things nightlight notifies you of tweets

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:31:10 +0000

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When you lie in the dark of night, a faint neural echo of human connection urging you to reach for your phone, do you fight it? The Aumum Mini, a compact nightlight that lets you know when someone retweets you, etc, will help you fail even better!

It's a USB-powered nightlight that connects to your Wi-Fi, and includes IFTTT support for getting into all sorts of automated shenanigans. The exact sort internet events you'd like a nightlight to inform you of is, of course, entirely up to you. A few examples offered by Aumi include weather alerts, Wi-Fi-is-down notifications, and and smart home integration. Personally I'd like to use one to keep track of my unread emails.
No. Go to sleep!



The Alexis: a homebrew typewriter from 1890

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 18:13:54 +0000

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Martin from Antique Typewriters writes, "The Alexis typewriter is the result of a small town inventor with the desire to design and manufacture his own typewriter. James A. Wallace (1845 - 1906) was born in Alexis, Illinois (pop. 900) where he is now buried. He was a dynamic man with various occupations including bicycle repair, writer, and photographer (see his portrait below). He was also an avid musician. The Alexis is a superb example of a unique typewriter from the 'Wild West' of typewriters during the 1880s & 1890s when all sorts of ingenious designs came forth. Some ideas were better than others though and there were many successes and failures." (more…)




Tiffany sold out of a ton of those laughable sterling silver "everyday objects"

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:44:28 +0000

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Remember Tiffany's runup to Xmas with the $1000 tin can and the $9000 ball of yarn? It was a pretty shrewd bit of marketing. (more…)




Watch a Japanese egg poacher that cooks yolks into stars and other shapes

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 14:00:37 +0000

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This delightfully impractical gadget looks complicated, but can a price be put on the value of serving eggs with star-shaped yolks? (more…)




eBay: Space Gray iMac Pro keyboard bidded up to $1,500 with time to spare

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 22:07:39 +0000

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The iMac Pro starts at $5k, but only it comes in Space Gray, Apple's closest offering to black. The same's true of its peripherals, which are not sold separately. If you like, you can buy a Space Gray set on eBay for $1,525 -- with an hour of bidding to go. [via @mathowie]

Only the Keyboard, Mouse and Trackpad. These are the dark ones that come with the iMac Pro and cannot be bought any other way. Unused. I already have a preferred keyboard/mouse combo I chose to use for my configuration and won't be needing these.

Or, just get a perfectly-decent Matias knockoff for $100. (Amazon)

Update. SOLD for $1525, with no further bids.




The guy whose DRM for juice company cratered last year now sells "raw water" packed with all the microbes and amoebas you can stomach

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:07:50 +0000

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The Juicero was a $400 "juicer" that squeezed packets of DRM-locked fruit pulp, an idea so perverse that it got honorable mention in DRM's worst moments of 2017, and inspired sighs of relief when the business cratered in 2017, as evidence of the fundamental soundness of human judgment in a year plagued by serious lapses in same. (more…)




Some of 2017's most beautiful and striking objects

Mon, 01 Jan 2018 18:51:39 +0000

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Rain Nos roundup of the Core 77's Favorite Objects from 2017 has some real beauts that are of note to aficionados of physical culture and made objects. (more…)




A stovetop pizza oven that hits 600F in 10 minutes

Sat, 30 Dec 2017 17:45:15 +0000

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The $77 Pizzacraft PC0601 Pizzeria Pronto Stovetop Pizza Oven is a clever design: it's a stovetop oven that has a large thermal mass (thanks to a cordierite pizza stone) and other good thermal properties, allowing it to hit 600F in 10 minutes of pre-heating on your gas burner; it gets top marks in Wired's pizza gadget guide, too.




85-year-old Italian grandmother tests out Google Home

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 13:16:43 +0000

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With the price tag at just $29, it's pretty safe to assume many people got Google Home Mini as gifts this holiday season. The always-listening, voice-activated "smart speakers" are just waiting for a command. That command starts with either "Ok Google" or "Hey Google."

It's easy enough for most of us to operate but what about for non-native English speakers? What about for people who don't keep up with the latest technology?

For Redditor Ben Actis' thick-accented octogenarian grandmother, it was a matter of barking "Hey Googoo," and excessively tapping on it. At one point, she actually gets it to tell her the weather and Google Assistant's female voice scares her a little.




UK government wants to ban this tiny phone in some harebrained effort to stop prison smuggling

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 01:30:43 +0000

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Britain's justice secretary wants to ban miniature cellphones in a hapless effort to be seen to be doing something about prison smuggling. The "Beat the Boss" handsets (Amazon) are barely the size of lipstick or a stick of gum. They're unlocked, dirt cheap, popular with kids, and easily concealed.

They are marketed as being virtually metal-free and therefore able to beat the detectors anyone entering a prison must pass through.

"It's pretty clear that these miniature phones are being advertised and sold with the purpose of being smuggled," Mr Lidington will say in a speech on Monday.

"I am calling on online retailers and trading websites to take down products that are advertised to evade detection measures in prisons."

Looking at the specs, these are 2G GSM handsets and will only work in the U.S. on T-Mobile and (maaaaybe) AT&T.

"IT REALLY WORKS BUT DIFFICULT TO USE BECAUSE IT IS SO SMALL ❗️❗️❗️," writes verified purchaser Bill Hubner, who I stress is merely an Amazon customer and absolutely not suspected of any clever jailhouse shenanigans.

There are several sellers offering this gadget, all obviously identical.

eBay UK promised to stop sales of these months ago, according to the BBC, but the site remains well-stocked at press time.

Beat the Boss Phone [Amazon]




Sledlegs: shinguards that you can turn into toboggan sleds by dropping to your knees and shoving off

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:54:26 +0000

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Ever find yourself coming home from an attack-dog training session in heavy armored shinguards and come across a snowy hill and muse, man, if only my shinguards were a leeeetle optimized, I could drop to my knees and slide down that bad boy! (more…)




How a maker with Type I diabetes led an open source project to create a free-as-in-code artificial pancreas

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:16:46 +0000

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Dana Lewis kickstarted the Open Artificial Pancreas System (previously) by trying to solve her own problems with monitoring her glucose levels, calculating insulin doses, and administering them around the clock -- an onerous task that her life depended on, which disrupted her sleep and challenged her to make reliable calculations regarding dangerous substances while her blood-sugar levels were troughing or spiking. (more…)




Helping kids play with danger: crowdfunding a log-splitter, designed for children

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:45:16 +0000

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Risky play is good for kids: it lets them test their boundaries in an exhilarating, vivid way -- and it's been all but entirely engineered out of contemporary child-rearing. (more…)




Fidget spinner keycaps to make your clackies whirly

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 18:42:03 +0000

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NHR0vpQYUU Massdrop's Hammer Fidget Spinner Artisan Keycap cost $20-$22, and fit any Cherry MX-compatible keyboard, with shipping in February. (via Ohgizmo)




Electric nostril plugs

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 18:24:06 +0000

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Japanshop's Hanaga Tap Nose Outlet aren't cheap ($48), they take up two precious outlets and only give one back, and are two-prong only, but they still make me giggle. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)