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Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Last Build Date: Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:23:01 +0000


This flameless lighter lets you light up via plasma beam

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:23:01 +0000


Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that's both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you'll never be stuck buying lighters you'll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. 

The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner than a butane flame, meaning it’s less toxic to humans. Just place you cigarette or candle wick in the arced beam and easily light up. Plus, with wind and splash proofing, the SaberLight guarantees a clean light no matter the weather conditions.

One of the best features is that it's totally rechargeable and offers up to 300 uses on a single charge. You'll save major cash down the line and do a good deed for the environment while you're at it. For a limited time, the SaberLight is 81% off, just $37.99. If you hurry, this lighter could be just about the coolest stocking stuffer ever given.

Saturn's hexagonal pole storm revealed in new Cassini probe shots

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:44:17 +0000


Having settled into orbit around Saturn, the Cassini probe has begun returning new images of the gas giant. The BBC reports that it will be "making a series of daredevil maneuvers" in the coming months, risking doom near Saturn's moons to get better shots of them and the rings.

Cassini began what are known as its ring-grazing orbits on 30 November. Each of these week-long orbits - 20 in all - lifts the spacecraft high above Saturn's northern hemisphere before sending it hurtling past the outer edges of the planet's main rings.

Nasa said that it would release images from future passes that included some of the closest-ever views of the outer rings and small moons that orbit there.



Atari 2600 emulated inside Minecraft

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:20:05 +0000


Seth Bling built a functioning Atari 2600 emulator in Minecraft. Not just the processor, or the box, but the whole thing, complete with cartridges and a television. The white flashing line you see in it is the television's scanning electron beam being emulated. You can watch dirt blocks turn to stone and back: that's the ones and zeroes in the Atari's memory. You can edit the memory, bit by bit, by punching it!

It takes Minecraft about three minutes to draw each frame, but Bling recorded a timelapse of it in action. Click through to the YouTube for a download of the Minecraft world housing the emulator. Here's a technical explanatory video:

"It's a common theme in a 2600 games that the graphics are a little different than you're used to; the 2600 was quite a bit simpler than the hardware in arcade machines

Recordings of various dolphin species' calls

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:08:07 +0000


Spectrograms of dolphin calls are closer to written English than the signatures I'm able to scrawl on credit card machines in grocery stores. We really should stop messing with these people—who knows what they might be up to?

Voices in the Sea has recordings of twelve different species. Don't miss the selection of videos of acoustic research.

1000 years of royalty: nice map of Europe's nastiest families

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:51:17 +0000


Nadieh Breme's Royal Constellations is a delightful starry visualization of a millenium of familial connections between European royals, and it gets right down to business: "Royal & aristocratic families are known for their fondness of marrying within their own clique."

Pick any two and it draws a line between them, revealing ancestral lines going back to the beginning—from the kings of medieval Wales all the way to the Windsors.

Free online course: how to write and read fake news

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:06:20 +0000


Mark Marino writes, "Boingers might be interested in this new free 3-week course I'm co-teaching with UnderAcademy College founder Talan Memmott: How to Write and Read Fake News: Journalism in the Age of Trump. It starts Jan. 20, of course." (more…)

NoPhone Selfie: world's most minimal handset now reflects user

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 21:49:59 +0000


Two years ago, the NoPhone launched to rave reviews as the most minimalist yet secure handset on the market. The NoPhone Selfie is the long-awaited follow-up, adding the ability to picture the user themselves without adding significantly to the unit's price.

At $18, the NoPhone Selfie remains among the cheaper options. Mine has a problem, though: the display seems to be stuck on a hideous morph between Chucky the Killer Doll and Brad Dourif, the actor who voices him.

About the Product
• The NoPhone is a fake phone for people addicted to real phones
• It has no data plan, no camera, no battery and no Wi-Fi but is completely toilet-bowl resistant
• It's the perfect phone for someone who uses their phone too much


The NoPhone Selfie [Amazon]

Trump Department of Labor pick is a foreign labor exec who's brought "over 40,000" cheap workers to the USA

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 19:51:44 +0000


Veronica Birkenstock is Practical Employee Solutions, a company that boasts of having brought "over 40,000" cheap H-2B workers from 80 countries to the USA to work in "hospitality, landscaping, welding, and construction" for companies like Marriott and Starwood Hotels, for whom it is the "preferred vendor." (more…)

R. Sikoryak, Comics Whirligig

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 19:29:27 +0000


I knew I was going to love writing a book about Bill Murray -- but I didn't realize that my favorite part of the whole process would be my collaboration with a comics genius. (more…)

The Forever War Kindle Edition for 25 cents

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 19:07:49 +0000


“To say that The Forever War is the best science fiction war novel ever written is to damn it with faint praise. It is, for all its techno-extrapolative brilliance, as fine and woundingly genuine a war story as any I’ve read.” — William Gibson

I bought it, and added the audiobook version for $3.50.

EveryDayCook – A welcome evolution from what Alton Brown did with Good Eats

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:53:59 +0000


I discovered Alton Brown during the last few seasons of Good Eats, and I was instantly a fan. You’ve got to appreciate someone who can make a good martini. Brown’s Monty Python humor and Bill Nye nerdiness was right up my alley. Since the show ended, he seemed to publicly take off his apron and put on a jacket, acting as host and performer in many popular shows, a podcast, and live road show. But, if you’re like me, and missed Alton behind the stove, then get excited. EveryDayCook feels like his triumphant return as a cook.

The book’s a welcome evolution from what Brown did with Good Eats. While you won’t find yeast puppets, you will find his familiar humor and meticulous attention to detail. Each recipe is broken down with Brown explaining how to prepare the dish in a simple and clear way. It’s very apparent that this was a personal project for him, and that he had a hand in every aspect of the book, even the photography.

Each and every picture in the book was taken using an iPhone. A 6s Plus to be specific. Why? Because he uses an iPhone. But then, because he’s Alton freaking Brown he takes it a step further, and uses a top-down perspective for all of the photos. Now for non-photographers out there, just know, this is an incredibly difficult angle to shoot at. There are lighting issues, shadows can be a nightmare, you’re left wondering what kind of masochist would do this? Alton Brown, that’s who. It shows how much he cares. This is no cookie-cutter cookbook – it’s uniquely his.

The recipes are amazing. The photography’s delightful. Pick up a copy.

Note: Fans have found some typos in the book (nobody’s perfect). A full list of corrections can be found here. And while a 2nd printing will of course fix all of these, if you grab a copy now, you’ll have a cool collector’s edition with a few fun Easter Eggs.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Alton Brown: EveryDayCook
Alton Brown
Ballantine Books
2016, 256 pages, 9.3 x 9.3 x 1 inches (hardcover)
$24 Buy a copy on Amazon

Nobody in their right mind would come to Helsinki in November

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:48:18 +0000


Except you, you badass. Welcome. (Airport greeting in Helsinki, Finland.)

$100,000 turbines to create $1.50 in electricity monthly

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:27:59 +0000

Three wind turbines installed at a cost of $107,516 in a


Image of Port Angeles by brewbooks/flickr

, Washington park are expected to generated $1.50 in electricity each month. That's 25 cents more than is needed to illuminate the safety lighting in the park. The 25 cent surplus will be used to fatten the city's treasury.

The turbines will illuminate the park with safety lighting for about $1.25 a month of the $1.50 that will be generated, putting the remaining 25 cents of power back into the BPA grid, which the city will get paid for, Deputy Power Systems Manager Shailesh Shere said.

The turbines will produce about $24,145 of electricity over the depreciable 25-year life of the equipment, he estimated.

The return on investment is over 50 years.

“Considering the harsh [salty] environment, the equipment may not last 25 years,” Shere said Friday in an email.

What North Korean defectors think of North Korea

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:15:33 +0000


Asian Boss interviewed a couple of young North Korean defectors, who talked about life in the nation-sized cult. Starvation, public executions where everyone over the age of 12 is commanded to watch, no electricity in winter except on days when Kim Il Sung gave his New Year's TV address, and soldiers standing in holes waiting to shoot people trying to escape across a frozen river, are a few of the highlights.

Trailcam photos of naked, tripping man who thought he was a tiger

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:14:17 +0000


UPDATE: As I had cautioned, The Mirror indeed had its "facts" muddled. According to this October article in Vice, the photos seen here are actually from the woods around the University of Virginia’s Mountain Lake Biological Station. No idea if the fellow was actually tripping or thought he was a Siberian tiger. Shame, as the below story is quite delightful.

Original uncorrected post:

This gentleman from Liberec, Czech Republic was reportedly tripping on LSD to combat depression when he began to hallucinate that he was a Siberian tiger. He then stripped naked and pursued imaginary prey for miles along the Czech-Poland border where he was spotted on trailcams. According to the Mirror, "police said that, because the man did not have any drugs with him, he was only fined and will not face any further charges."

If this story is true, I hope the fellow had fun and that the experience alleviated his depression.


Thermal image video shows how dippy birds work

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:56:45 +0000


The ingenious design of the dippy bird heat engine is revealed in this thermal imaging video.

The liquid inside dippy birds is called Dichloromethane. Commenters who were alarmed about the grave hazards posed by laser landscape projectors will enjoy complaining about the dangers of dippy birds. From Wikipedia: "Symptoms of acute overexposure to dichloromethane via inhalation include difficulty concentrating, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches, numbness, weakness, and irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes. More severe consequences can include suffocation, loss of consciousness, coma, and death."

Full body costume made of artificial human teeth

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:48:55 +0000


It appears to be a prop from the show Channel Zero, but I'm going to be spreading it virally with a caption about the plight of children born with supracutaneous dentata. [via r/wtf]


Cars slowly sliding and colliding on a Montreal hill

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:47:56 +0000


City buses, utility trucks, snowplows, and police cars get in on the action on this icy street in Montreal.

Old-timey mass evangelism and the phonograph

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:45:17 +0000

The Grammy nominations were announced today and along with Beyonce, Drake, Adele, and Kanye there was a nomination that went to music recorded by Ira D. Sankey, Winfield Weeden, Silas Leachman and the Rittersville Singing Club. No, those are not artists from today… In fact, those performers lived 125 years ago and their recordings have been newly compiled by a husband/wife team dedicated to bringing back to life the music of the post-Industrial Revolution 19th century. Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey have one collective dream, and that is to preserve, expose and celebrate the earliest eras of recorded sounds for new generations of listeners. Their label Archeophone Records has produced dozens of releases showcasing music created even before electricity got in the way. These are acoustic recordings created when the music industry was still “cutting wax” and "the business” was in its infancy. John Phillips Souza’s marches were chart toppers, along with sappy ballads and jocular tunes. The world was introduced to “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight,” and of course, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” Richard and Meagan collect the cylinders for each release, digitize the music found in the 100+ year old grooves, painstakingly master the tracks, rabbit-hole copious amounts of research about the recordings, the artists, and the era, and bring forth a truly amazing product that takes any listener back to a time long almost alien world. And while in many circles they are known for their Grammy-winning expert work, nothing can prepare an enthusiast for their latest epic deep dive. Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph is an incredible study of gospel recordings made from 1890-1900. Yes, two centuries since the earliest recordings were made, and ten years since Richard and Began began collecting and researching the material, they present 102 to be recordings and over 400 pages of notes telling the story of the birth of recorded gospel music and the true pioneers who recorded them. A few songs are still familiar even today, like the 1894 version of Swing Low Sweet Chariot or the 1895 version of Rock Of Ages. The the former, by the Standard Quartet, is an unfortunately rare early recording by an African-American ensemble. The set contains beautiful orchestral pieces like Holding’s Parlor Orchestra’s Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep, with an arrangement that almost sounds psychedelic as it comes alive 124 years after it was originally recorded. The same goes for the organ sounds in Frank Butts’ Almost Persuaded. The set also features hauntingly beautiful vocal quartets and captivating sermons that seem almost a drone mixed with captivating noises from the cylinders, reminiscent of Current 93/Nurse With Wound sound sculptures. Waxing the Gospel is definitely one of the highest musicology achievements of 2016. Regardless if you are a believer or an atheist, a sinner or a grinner, pure of heart or just plain funky, the music presented here -- much of it for the first time since it was released -- is an incredible sonic pulpit that makes history truly come back to life. "Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900" (Amazon)[...]

List of cookies

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:32:09 +0000


You might not know this, but the editors of Wikipedia maintain an automated list of all the world's cookies. The have everything from Germany's Aachener Printen to Neutrassian Zalgowafers, but somehow missed Mealy Grahams from good old England. [via]

Gamers blindly navigate a digital maze with input only from brain stimulation

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:25:10 +0000


In a new experiment at the University of Washington, test subjects navigated a virtual maze without seeing it. The only input they had were cues delivered in the form of magnetic zaps to the backs of their heads, stimulating particular regions of their brains. From UW Today:

The subjects had to navigate 21 different mazes, with two choices to move forward or down based on whether they sensed a visual stimulation artifact called a phosphene, which are perceived as blobs or bars of light. To signal which direction to move, the researchers generated a phosphene through transcranial magnetic stimulation, a well-known technique that uses a magnetic coil placed near the skull to directly and noninvasively stimulate a specific area of the brain.

“The way virtual reality is done these days is through displays, headsets and goggles, but ultimately your brain is what creates your reality,” said senior author Rajesh Rao, UW professor of Computer Science & Engineering and director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering.

“The fundamental question we wanted to answer was: Can the brain make use of artificial information that it’s never seen before that is delivered directly to the brain to navigate a virtual world or do useful tasks without other sensory input? And the answer is yes.”


dj BC has your Christmas mashups covered with this year's amazing Santastic holiday music sampler

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:22:37 +0000


dj BC writes, "My best Christmas mashups from the past decade are collected for this year's Santastic (previously) holiday music sampler. You can also dig on the site for the full albums from past years, our 'Menorah Mashups' Chanukah collection, and my chill instrumental album of holiday classical remixes. It's all free."

Human population explosion, visualized

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:18:37 +0000


The human population reached 1 billion in its first 200,000 years. It took just 200 more years to reach 7 billion. This data visualization video from the American Museum of Natural History presents the explosive growth of our species.


Not just crapgadgets: Sony's enterprise CCTV can be easily hacked by IoT worms like Mirai

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:17:53 +0000


The unprecedented denial-of-service attacks powered by the Mirai Internet of Things worm have harnessed crappy, no-name CCTVs, PVRs, and routers to launch unstoppable floods of internet noise, but it's not just faceless Chinese businesses that crank out containerloads of vulnerable, defective-by-design gear -- it's also name brands like Sony. (more…)

Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, and Mel Blanc's US Army cartoon warning against loose lips (1943)

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:05:31 +0000


Private Snafu was the US Army's series of instructional cartoons from World War II, written and/or directed by the likes of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, Chuck Jones, and PD Eastman. The voice of Private Snafu is performed by Mel Blanc (Buggs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc.). In this episode, written by Dr. Seuss and titled "Spies," Private Snafu learns a military secret but he can't seem to keep his lips sealed. Note the grossly racist depiction of an Asian man, sadly typical of the era.


Trump rants on Twitter about "$4bn" Air Force One replacement

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:05:25 +0000


Boeing stocks tumbled Tuesday after president-elect Donald Trump tweeted about canceling a $4bn Air Force One order. But it was a typical Trumpism: the number is plucked out of nowhere, and Boeing was forced to publicize the fact it's only got the U.S. Government on the hook for $170m, and that the two planes, if ordered, would be $850m each.

“The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program and I think it’s ridiculous," he said. "I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”

The president-elect's most recent financial disclosure form, filed in May and detailing his 2015 holdings, showed that the Manhattan billionaire owned between $50,001 and $100,000 worth of stock in Boeing, a purchase he announced on Twitter in 2013. Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, said Tuesday morning that Trump sold all of his stocks last June.

Miller added that the exact details of Trump's desire to cancel the Boeing order would be dealt with after he is inaugurated next month.

Boeing's stocks rebounded later in the morning as it became apparent Trump was saying untrue things.

(Maybe he doesn't want to fly on it. Same as not wanting to live in the White House.)

Open letter about climate change from scientists to Trump

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:42:47 +0000

More than 800 American energy and Earth science researchers have signed a letter to Donald Trump outlining six steps they're urging him to take to address human-caused climate change to protect “America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety.” The letter is accompanied by a public petition to "Tell Trump To #ActOnClimate." Here is that open letter: To President-elect Trump We, the undersigned, urge you to take immediate and sustained action against human-caused climate change. We write as concerned individuals, united in recognizing that the science is unequivocal and America must respond. Climate change threatens America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety. Some communities are already experiencing its impacts, with low-income and minority groups disproportionately affected. At this crucial juncture in human history, countries look to the United States to pick up the mantle of leadership: to take steps to strengthen, not weaken, this nation’s efforts to tackle this crisis. With the eyes of the world upon us, and amidst uncertainty and concern about how your administration will address this issue, we ask that you begin by taking the following steps upon taking office: 1. Make America a clean energy leader.The vast majority of Americans - whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent - support renewable energy research and deployment5. Embrace the enormous economic opportunities of transitioning to an energy-efficient, low-carbon society. Use part of your $1 trillion commitment to infrastructure development to expand democratized clean energy, boost U.S. competitiveness, and put America to work8. Since 2008, the cleantech industry has created one out of every 33 jobs in the United States. “Wind technician” is the fastest growing job category in America, and the solar industry has hired more veterans than any other sector. 2. Reduce carbon pollution and America’s dependence on fossil fuels. The majority of Americans are in favor of this5. Assure them that the policies helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions, curb air and water pollution, and accelerate clean energy growth, innovation, and jobs - such as the Clean Power Plan, renewable energy tax credits, and auto-efficiency standards - will stay in place. Continued funding and flexibility of federal agencies to address climate change, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, are key to achieving these goals. 3. Enhance America’s climate preparedness and resilience. In the past 5 years alone, storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires caused over $250 billion in damages10. As climate change continues to increase the frequency and severity of these extreme events, so too grows the burden on all taxpayers to pay for disaster relief and recovery. Help protect and strengthen America’s communities, economy, and natural resources by investing in modern, climate-resilient energy, transport, building, and water infrastructure. 4. Publicly acknowledge that climate change is a real, human-caused, and urgent threat. If not, you will become the only government leader in the world to deny climate science11. Your position will be at odds with virtually all climate scientists, most economists, military experts, fossi[...]

Literal music video interpretation of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:28:46 +0000


No escape from reality. (Corridor)


ReMarkable e-Ink sketching slate pitched at "paper people"

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:27:44 +0000

reMarkable's 10.3" tablet has an e-ink display with a paper-like texture, a digital pencil with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, and promises to finally replace all that paper in your workspace. The pitch: read, write and sketch, all on one gadget. Unlike traditional paper, reMarkable connects to the digital world when you need it to. Your thoughts, whether they’re words or sketches, are instantly synced to reMarkable’s cloud service and made available on all your devices. Documents and ebooks are easily transferred for reading and reviewing with pen in hand. reMarkable connects to the internet for easy sharing and collaboration across devices. You can even take notes on one device and have it appear on a second device, in real time. It's 10.2" by 6.9" and a quarter inch thick. It weighs less than a pound, and the 1872 x 1404 pixel display works out at 225 pixels per inch. It runs Linux (not Android, though) and has an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 512MB of RAM and WiFi. It claims a latency of 55ms and the demo video shows performance similar to the iPad Pro, which they say has 60ms latency. Wacom tablet hardware polls at [...]

On Ebay: the rare, original "woodgrain" D&D set

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:41:10 +0000


A mere $5,700 (as of current writing) gets you the 1974 first printing of the game that Tactical Studies Rules used to change the world(s). (more…)