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Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Last Build Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:46:27 +0000


Watch this darn alligator snatch a young boy's fish

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:45:51 +0000


"The alligator's coming, Connor! The alligator's coming!"

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(Bass Masters and Fish Experts)

The mystery of the Tully Monster continues

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:29:23 +0000


In 1958 in an Illinois creek bed, an amateur fossil collector named Francis Tully discovered the fossilized remains of a bizarre creature that resembled a mollusk, insect, and worm yet was none of those things. Since then, thousands of 300 million-year-old fossilized "Tully Monsters" have turned up and the creature was officially named as the Illinois state fossil. Yet its scientific classification was unknown until last year when researchers made news when they published scientific papers claiming that the Tully Monster is in fact a vertebrae, specifically a lamprey. Now though, University of Pennsylvania paleobiologist Lauren Sallan and her colleagues have published a paper claiming that the previous papers are flawed and the Tully Monster is still a mystery. From Penn News:

​​​​​​​“This animal doesn't fit easy classification because it’s so weird,” said Sallan, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science of Penn's School of Arts & Sciences. “It has these eyes that are on stalks and it has this pincer at the end of a long proboscis and there's even disagreement about which way is up. But the last thing that the Tully monster could be is a fish...”

The researchers said that an improper classification of such an unusual species has ripple effects on the larger field of evolution.

“Having this kind of misassignment really affects our understanding of vertebrate evolution and vertebrate diversity at this given time,” Sallan said. “It makes it harder to get at how things are changing in response to an ecosystem if you have this outlier. And though of course there are outliers in the fossil record—there are plenty of weird things and that’s great—if you’re going to make extraordinary claims, you need extraordinary evidence.”


For sale: the toy blocks Einstein played with as a kid

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:27:38 +0000


Richard Davies writes, "Einstein's childhood building blocks have been listed for sale on the marketplace for books and collectibles." (more…)

The Amazon reviews for a phone designed for rectal smuggling are pretty interesting reading

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:21:09 +0000


The "Beat the Boss phone is an £27 micro-telephone built into a Bluetooth headset with only trace amounts of metal in its construction; it is lozenge-shaped and is designed to be rectally smuggled into prisons, jails and courtrooms. (more…)

Disco trucks of Japan

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:56:15 +0000


This is dekotora (デコトラ), the Japanese maker culture that started in the 1970s of tricking out large trucks with garish lights, Gundam-inspired chrome mods, and eyeball-spanking paint jobs.

Images from Dr. Motte's Flickr stream:






Going to SXSW? Attend the EFF/EFF-Austin's Cyberpunk2017 bash!

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:40:41 +0000


Old-school bOING bOING editor Jon Lebkowsky invites everyone to Cyberpunk2017, the Annual EFF/EFF-Austin SXSW Afterparty in Austin, Texas, Saturday, March 11, 2017, from 5pm to 1am! It's free!

Jon writes:

Our latest EFF/EFF-Austin event takes a cyberpunk perspective on 2017, exploring how our vision of the future has changed over the last forty years of science-fiction made real, and considering this year as a turning point in the way we live our lives and participate in our society, as well as our sense of personal autonomy.

Cyberpunk imagined a world where the average person’s autonomy and privacy is commoditized and exploited by the shadowy machinations of global forces beyond our comprehension. “Information wants to be free,” and when a person’s image, voice, and words all manifest as data, their personal identity is potentially free for the taking.

In a world where dead actors are resurrected as data objects in major motion picture blockbusters, where a billion people’s account data can be stolen by a few rogue hackers, where software can edit video to show a person doing and saying things they never actually did or said, where services are free because users are the product, where truth is secondary to narrative, how can we hope to ensure that privacy and the right to one’s data and representation remains a fundamental, enshrined, and preserved right?

Taking place at The Butterfly Bar/The Vortex on Saturday, March 11th from 5:00pm-1:00am, there will be free drinks for our supporters who register in advance as well as illuminating talks from a variety of speakers including Cory Doctorow, Jon Lebkowsky, David DeMaris, Todd Manning, Jonathan Morgan, Owen McNally, and others. Special guests Neil Harbisson, Bruce Sterling, and Moon Rivas may be in attendance as well, confirmation pending. There will also be cutting-edge electronic music from Michael Garfield, Electronic Planet Ensemble, UBA, Erich Ragsdale, and others, 8-bit LED video games, representatives from private communications non-profit The Operator Foundation, antique WWII-era spygear, projections, an interactive generative music station, cyberpunk cosplayers, lockpicking, and much more!

Free tickets here!

RU Sirius's insanely psychedelic music video "Punching A Nazi"

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:34:57 +0000


Freak out to this insanely weird "Punching A Nazi" song and video by cyberdelic pioneer RU Sirius's Trippin' Coyotes/Creosote Cowboy! Performed by R.U. Sirius, Charlie Verrette, and Acatelysteleven. Musical Production: Daddy Phriday & Creosote Cowboy; Video by Daddy Phriday; with vocals from Cate Meiers Leggett; lyrics by R.U. Sirius (w. help from Acatelysteleven)

More insanity at the band's Bandcamp page.


Subreddit mocks cultural gatekeepers

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:18:05 +0000


r/gatekeeping is a subreddit dedicated to collecting and mocking examples of gatekeeping in popular culture and fandom: the act of telling you you aren't allowed to like something unless you meet arbitrary or esoteric requirements. Reading some of them makes me think that the "gatekeeping urge" is so fundamentally primal and dumb that gatekeeping call-outs could easily be generated by a computer program to a Poe-complete level.

Trump vs leaks: Spicer's staff forced to undergo "phone searches" and delete privacy apps

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:07:16 +0000


Sean Spicer -- spokesman for the leakiest White House in history -- summoned his staff to a surprise meeting where they were forced undergo a "phone check" where they unlocked their phones to prove they had "nothing to hide." (more…)

Watch the wrong movie announced as Best Picture Oscar winner, then the right one

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:18:11 +0000


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Last night, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, forcing an excruciating on-stage reversal as millions watched cast and crew, Oscars in hand, realize they had in fact lost out to Moonlight.

Embedded here is the full clip of the cock-up. It's weird to see the sudden frisson of oh shit activity around the stage immediately after the mistake is made, but translating all too slowly into action. Watch how the news filters quietly from participant to oblivious participant in the background as the speeches proceed.

Pictured here, though, is the startled delight of Moonlight director Barry Jenkins realizing that his movie had, in fact, won the prize. (image)