Mafia is this fiendish game that has completely eaten fandom, turning science fiction conventions into all-night gaming sessions. In the game, players compete to lie effectively to one another and collude to carry out the sham. It's a game of alliances, betrayal, and dissembling, and I've stayed the hell away from it on the sensible grounds that it appears to be a black hole whence I shall never return.
Jonathan Lethem is a genre writer who has crossed over, more or less, into NYC literary society, and he's brought Mafia with him, with predictable results:
These days, if you’re looking for a bunch of New York writers, magazine editors and publishing types on a Friday night, track down Mr. Lethem, who has become a kind of mob boss among an ever-growing salon of poker-faced literati obsessed by the spiky parlor game they call Mafia. There’s no money involved, everyone stays clothed, and the alcohol intake is surprisingly moderate—but to witness Mr. Lethem’s disciples in the throes of their favorite game is to know that the stakes run high.
"People got so upset," said Ms. Schappell, "stalking around and screaming: ‘I can’t believe you don’t believe me! How come you don’t believe me?’"
On that evening, Ms. Jackson ended up trusting Mr. Lethem, but she shouldn’t have: He was lying his face off, and everyone knew it. But Ms. Jackson was swayed. "He gets excited about pleading his case," she said, explaining why she trusted him. "My knowledge of his character worked against me, because I had too many ways to interpret his signs. And it confused me."
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]