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Brain candy for Happy Mutants



Last Build Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 08:26:49 PDT

 



Sad (but delightful) animals facts

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 08:26:49 PDT

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Artist Brooke Barker uses her Instagram to document both sad animal facts and her delightful sense of humor. You can see some of my favorites below and learn more on her Sad Animal Facts website.

(more…)



It would cost more than $10k for a pro sports photographer to switch camera brands

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 08:21:41 PDT

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Sony's cameras seem to be in a league of their own. So why do professionals stick with bulkier models from Canon and Nikon? One answer is glass—often just as pricey as pro-grade bodies, and you need a lot of it to be in business. DPReview's Dan Bracaglia suggests that Sony's latest full-frame model, the $5,000 A9, is so fantastic that many pros are talking about jumping ship, but should be cautioned by the sheer expense of doing so.

Using our example, the cheapest one could go full-on Sony, with most of the same kit is $22,870. After applying the $11,820 discount from having sold off all the Canon equipment, a photojournalist would still have to cough up about $11,050 to make the switch. Or they could simply take that $11,820 and buy a couple of a9 bodies and maybe a lens.

"Switching systems is a headache," he adds, "and sports photography gear is crazy expensive."




Turkey blocks Wikipedia

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 07:59:31 PDT

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The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is inaccessible in Turkey, with officials saying it was blocked as an "administrative measure" thereby explaining why the courts weren't involved. Turkish media says the government asked Wikipedia to take stuff down, but was ignored.

"After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an administrative measure has been taken for this website," Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority was quoted as saying, giving no further details. However, the Hurriyet daily newspaper said Wikipedia had been asked to remove content by certain writers whom the authorities accuse of "supporting terror" and of linking Turkey to terror groups. The site had not responded to the demands, Hurriyet said, and the ban was imposed as a result.

The BBC's Mark Lowen says website blocking is common in Turkey, with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube among past targets. Twitter reports that Turkey, whose notoriously thin-skinned president Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently assumed greater powers, is the origin of more than half the requests it receives to remove tweets.







How to make Wolverine claws from popsicle sticks

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 07:05:29 PDT

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All you need to make these movable Wolverine claws are 15 popsicle sticks, six rubber bands, a piece of paper, and glue. Here’s a second, slightly more terrifying version that uses actual blades:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHYu3oJEKSY



Air-free non-pneumatic tires are coming to a bicycle near you

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:59:25 PDT

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Few things are more annoying for cyclists than changing a flat, especially on a back tire. Non-pneumatic tires that have proven workable for off-roading and other vehicle prototypes are now getting tested for bicycles. (more…)



Wonder Woman as a symbol of progress

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:55:28 PDT

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In this new upload, video essayist KaptainKristian explores the history of Wonder Woman as a progressive symbol.




A look back at The Hags, a 1980s all-girl skate gang

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:50:23 PDT

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The Los Angeles punk and skate scenes of the mid-1980s produced a brief, shining moment of total badassery in the form of The Hags, a now-legendary all-girl skateboard gang that prowled Hollywood and West LA. Bust magazine takes a loving look back. (more…)



Fist-sized Hercules Beetle pupa

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:48:04 PDT

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HirokA1007's youtube channel is a menagerie of enormous insects such as this Hercules beetle pupa. Below, a larva, also the size of his fist. [via JWZ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ1fuq8rKZQ

Previously:




The genetics of photosensitive sneezing, explained

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:40:34 PDT

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If you're among the one in four people who sneeze when you move from a dark place into the sunlight, this nifty little explainer from a fellow traveler gives a great overview of causation theories over the millennia. Turns out it is just one transposed letter in the second chromosome that causes the effect. (more…)




The NSA no longer claims the right to read your email in case you're talking about foreigners

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:15:42 PDT

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For more than a decade, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been suing the NSA over its extraordinarily broad interpretation of its powers under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act -- a law that the NSA says gives it the power to spy on Americans any time they mention a foreigner. (more…)




The CIA created a "Snowden Stopper" to catch future whistleblowers

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:04:15 PDT

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The latest Wikileaks release of leaked CIA cyberweapons includes "Scribbles" -- referred to by the CIA as the "Snowden Stopper" -- a watermarking tool that embeds web-beacon style tracking beacons into secret documents that quietly notify a central server every time the document is opened. (more…)




US government tells Supremes it could strip citizenship from virtually all naturalized Americans if it wanted to

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:44:52 PDT

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The Supreme Court heard arguments in Maslenjak v. United States, a case about whether minor omissions or falsehoods in an immigration application can cost a naturalized American their citizenship, decades after the fact. (more…)




Review: High-Rise (2016)

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:51:14 PDT

High-Rise, directed by Ben Wheatley, brings J.G. Ballard's classic novel to the screen after a long wait. It's set almost entirely in a residential tower, a massive brutalist edifice inhabited by thousands of early-1970s Britons eager for a new life. The ultimate product of mid-century urban planning, the concrete building is designed to take care of all its occupants' needs: there's a supermarket, a swimming pool, even a primary school, all tucked away deep within its forty stories. Robert Laing, an introverted young doctor, moves in hoping to become an anonymous nobody amid this monument to the bland excellence of modern life. But he commits the critical error of making friends, and is slowly consumed by the building's odd psychic character, its microcosmic reflection of the divisions in society at large. He notices that the lower levels are first to suffer when the power fails; then that the higher echelons enjoy special amenities of their own. And then, when the lights go out, everything goes to hell. A little awareness of British life in the 1970s helps contextualise details that might otherwise baffle—in particular, skyscraper-happy Americans should know that residential towers there were always a controversial novelty, that garbage collecters were perpetually on strike, and that in British engineering, corners are always cut. But Ballard's sinister geometry of modernity, hiding an emotional suppression ready to explode into violence, is a language universal to all employed westerners. It's an intriguing, sophisticated and handsome movie made excellent by Wheatley's skill and its cast: Tom Hiddleston as the skeptical middle-class everyman driven to madness by his environment's awful sanity, Jeremy Irons as the tower's vicious yet uncannily humanist architect, Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men, The Handmaid's Tale) as society's hope, and Luke Evans (Bard from The Hobbit) as the agent of chaos. But there are some conceptual misteps, I think, that garble Ballard's anxieties—and the power of his storytelling. In particular, the movie mixes superficial social realism with dreamy surrealism, an attempt to triangulate the novel's hyperreal quality with its period setting and the presumed ironic sensibilities of a contemporary audience. Clever as this is, the result has a weird 1980s artsy zaniness to it, as if directed by Peter Greenaway or Ken Russell or (sorry) whoever did the Pet Shop Boys movie. Ballard is about games that turn deadly serious, but this is just a deadly game. Among other things, it makes its cruelties (which often involve animals) seem self-satisfied and spiteful. Wheatley also tries to achieve too much though implication; even as a fan of the novel, I felt a little lost and could have done with an establishing vignette to establish the scenario. Motivations are often unclear, too. Though this is rather the point, the depraved psychological hygiene of the tower is only lightly sketched before it erupts. It's as if the movie is only interested in people who already understand its message. Ballard's writing is cold and sharp, yet lurid in how it draws out the entrails of our discomfort. This movie's script is just drawn out. I like the film, and it's full of arresting images. It is a tribute, a floating world of its own, but a metaphor too distant and too arch to draw much blood. Thumbs up, ish. High-Rise (2016) [Amazon][...]



Trump's reign is sad for tech, too

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:17:32 PDT

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The first 100 days of Trump's presidency were a shambolic festival of incompetence and looming catastrophe. But it's not all about beltway politics, you know! Because the intense (and reasonable) focus is upon on the media-friendly dimensions of his buffoonery, we sometimes miss how it affects specific aspects of American life. The Verge took a look at what's already happening to the technology business, from the threatened end of net neutrality to immigration lockouts. If you had hoped tech might have gotten through unscathed, somehow, perhaps you aren't paying attention to how much his corner of the establishment hates it.

Under Donald Trump, Silicon Valley’s ideal of a global community no longer seems like the foregone conclusion it might have a few years ago, and people are still figuring out how to deal with the barriers Trump is erecting. Mass protests and legal battles have stalled bans on visitors from several Muslim-majority countries, and the president’s love of Twitter isn’t doing him any favors in court. But there's still plenty more on the table that points to a future of isolation, not interconnection.

The change in course has shaken tech titans who are dedicated to getting the whole world online (and on their platforms). Mark Zuckerberg published a defense of "global community" that acknowledged its discontents, hoping to win the public’s affection before either running for president or making reality obsolete. Uber, meanwhile, stayed true to form and turned the protests into a way to make people hate it even more.

The larger tech world, which is ground zero for the high-tech immigration debate, has been slowly mobilizing to defend immigration. But one has to wonder whether their focus on the H-1B visa program — which lots of people agree actually is in need of reform — isn’t self-serving. In the meantime, the administration’s xenophobic rhetoric, coupled with actual violent incidents and aggressive deportations, is creating a culture of fear.

One can be ambivalent about the motives of Silicon Valley in all this, for sure. But their inane grinning platitudes belie something deeply useless about them when it comes to politics, especially opposition to Trump, that goes beyond the present crisis. Take the cringe humor of Zuckerberg's strange, alien replica of how a presidential aspirant should address the public, for example: it's so obviously, comically false it seems like a joke.

But then you remember: Donald Trump is president. Nothing is impossible.




Flying Fox enjoys grape

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:55:37 PDT

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Megabattie posted a video of a female grey-headed flying fox who is "happy to stuff her face" with grapes.

Green grapes, red grapes - any grapes.

This bat is not a pet - she's a wild animal who was rescued, nursed back to health, and released, fatter and healthier, and still pregnant, about 6 weeks after she was rescued, almost dead.

Do not handle bats unless you're vaccinated and trained. Some bats (a very small percentage) may carry deadly viruses.

Call a wildlife group if you find a bat in trouble. If you get bitten or scratched, go to your local hospital and you will be vaccinated free of charge (in Australia).

Bats are nothing to be scared of if you leave them alone.




In 1961 an IBM 7094 was the first computer to sing

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:39:54 PDT

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I had no idea!

Evidently HAL 9000 sang Daisy Bell as a tribute, it is the first song ever sung by a computer. In 1961 an IBM 7094 was the first to raise its voice in song.

The vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum and accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews, but the song was written by Harry Dacre, almost a century earlier, in 1892.




Already regretting assigning J.G. Ballard to cover the Fyre Festival

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:14:25 PDT

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(Note to proofreader: I just received this copy and figure it should just go up verbatim. Next time they do something like this remind me to send William Golding instead. — Rob)

Later, as he sat in his tent eating the doggo, Robin Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place at the Fyre Festival during the previous three hours.

Now that everything had returned to normal, with most of the rich kids cowering in the airport and the ostensible proprietors begging Twitter for forgiveness and mercy, he was surprised that there had been no obvious beginning, no point beyond which lunch had moved into a clearly more sinister dimension. In the middle of the field, a girl in an Afhan Whigs tee shirt screamed about gluten in the rye. (more…)




The 10 worst jobs in America right now

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:23:12 PDT

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Not all careers are created equal. Take journalism, for example. High stress, low growth, very low pay. Why would anyone choose this field? (You're asking the wrong person.) According to CareerCast, who ranked the 200 most common jobs in America, journalism is a pretty crummy field to be in this year (as in, last place on the list).

CareerCast used metrics such as "growth outlook, income, environmental conditions and stress" as their basis in creating this list. Here is the methodology they used.

And now (...drumroll...), here are the 10 worst jobs of 2017:

1. Newspaper reporter (Median Salary: $37,820)

2. Broadcaster (Median Salary: $38,870)

3. Logger (Median Salary: $37,590)

4. Enlisted military personnel (Median Salary: $27,936)

5. Pest control worker (Median Salary: $33,040)

6. Disc jockey (Median Salary: $30,830)

7. Advertising salesperson (Median Salary: $50,380)

8. Firefighter (Median Salary: $48,030)

9. Retail salesperson (Median Salary: $22,900)

10. Taxi driver (Median Salary: $24,300)

And in case you're wondering, the very best job these days is that of statistician (Median Salary: $80,110). To see CareerCast's full list of 200 ranked jobs, click here.

Image: Israel Government Press Office




100g digital scale with 0.01g divisions for $10

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:27:21 PDT

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I've had this AWS 100g x 0.01g Digital Scale ($10) digital scale for a couple of years, and I used it twice a day when I'm home to weigh supplement powders (and sometimes loose leaf tea and coffee beans). It's about the size of an iPhone. It measures up to a limit of 100 grams in 0.01 gram increments. (more…)




Extreme wealth inequality will always devour the societies that produce it

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:14:11 PDT

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My new novel Walkaway (US tour/UK tour) is set in a world that is being torn apart by out-of-control wealth inequality, but not everyone thinks that inequality is what destabilizes the world -- there's a kind of free-market belief that says the problem is really poverty, not inequality, and that the same forces that make the rich richer also lift poor people out of misery, delivering the sanitation, mass food production, communications tools and other innovations that rescues poor people from privation. (more…)




NYPD boasts about small-time weed bust, NY says "apologize and give it back"

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:08:41 PDT

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https://youtu.be/mz5kY3RsmKo Fyre Festival was advertised as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas. But promises of a private chartered flight to the island, gourmet meals, private glamping tents, yacht cruises, gourmet catering, and an all-star concert performance line-up "quickly turned into a terrifying B-movie, with flocks of Instagram models forced to seek shelter in an airport after arriving to discover a lack of food, violent locals, appalling accommodation and feral dogs roaming the grounds," reports The Telegraph.

Snip:

As a result, social media has exploded overnight with tales of Instagram-filtered terror and disappointment, with beautiful festival-goers arriving on the island to discover half-built tents, their luggage being thrown out of the back of a truck, muggers and thieves laying in wait to steal wallets from trust fund kids, unhelpful staff, and "gourmet cuisine" that turned out to be nothing but ham and cheese sandwiches.

From iBankCoin:

The “chartered flight from Miami” turned out to be severely delayed coach seats, and upon arrival shocked concert-goers were met with partially constructed USAID disaster relief tents.

Heres a drive by tour of the tents:

So, Jonestown with worse logistics, basically.

Fyre Festival's website has gone offline, save for a cryptic, unhelpful, unapologetic message:

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Imagine being stranded and reading that.