Video: Salami-sorting robot

Kottke points us to this fun video of a giant machine that sorts salami. Something about the way the salami wiggles on the conveyer belt and the way the robot arms dance as they pick the salami sticks up is really mesmerizing.

Online sex-education game from City Health Office in London, Ontario

Sex-Squad-Game-1

Dan says:

The city health office in London, Ontario, created an online sex-education game that officials hope will appeal to teenagers in that its messages are delivered by a cast of iconic superheroes. According to a February report by Canwest News Service, the players are Captain Condom (who wears a "cap"), Wonder Vag (a virgin girl), Power Pap ("sexually active") and Willy the Kid, with each fighting the villain Sperminator, who wears a red wrestling mask and has phalluses for arms. The characters answer sex knowledge questions and, with correct answers, obtain "protection," but a wrong one gets the player squirted with sperm.

Sex Squad Game (NSFW)

Koko the intersex horse

The story of Koko, the intersex horse. (Thanks, Cheryl Q!)

How the Muslim Association of Malawi feels about a possible polygamy ban

The gender minister of Malawi is trying to pass a polygamy ban, and it's making the Muslim Association of Malawi a bit nervous. From the BBC:
A spokesman for the Muslim Association of Malawi told the BBC the proposed law would discriminate against the country's Muslim minority. He said with about 6% more women than men in Malawi, if polygamy were banned, many women would be left without a husband and become prostitutes.
The secretary general of the association expressed similar sentiments, saying the following:
We are totally rejecting it. There are also other ethnic groups [who practise polygamy] and they also totally reject this... If these people go ahead banning polygamous marriages it means many women will go into prostitution... Every woman has the right to be under the shelter of a man
Oh, and here's the kicker:
I have only one wife, my dear wife... but the moment they proceed with this, I will take a second wife.
Malawi move to ban polygamy angers Muslims

The USB hub designed to make you think of Jesus

USB_protector.jpg Designer Wu Jiang's design for a USB hub is, indeed, another happy experience. [Yanko]

A penis-shortening device

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It's like spam opposite day!

This is a replica of an actual 15th-century invention, created to do exactly what it sounds like. It's from the personal collection of Erwin Kompanje, a medical ethicist fascinated by forgotten medical discoveries.

Of course, while it flies in the face of everything you've learned via Maxim and unsolicited emails, there's a very good reason for the penis-shortener to exist. Frankly, sometimes over-endowment can be a hindrance. A painful hindrance. Kompanje first wrote about this in a research paper published in 2006 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. If you understand Dutch, you can read more about the penis-shortener—and other forgotten medical advancements—in Kompanje's new book, titled, De Penisverkorter.

A robot that balances on a ball


Erico Guizzo says: "Japanese roboticist Masaaki Kumagai has built wheeled robots, crawling robots, and legged robots. Now he's built a robot that balances and rides on a bowling ball. You say why? Kumagai says why not?"

A Robot That Balances on a Ball

ilomilo: Southend's gorgeous storybook platformer for Xbox Live

Sometimes all you need is 74 seconds to convince the world that they'll want your game, as Sweden's Southend have just proved with their debut trailer for upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title ilomilo. Tick the checkboxes: tiny, innocent fantasy world, puzzling gameplay on the order of underappreciated original PlayStation game Kula World/Roll Away, and I'm pretty sure I already want a toy of that floppy-eared flying dog.

Stross on personal computing in 2015

Charles Stross on why Steve Jobs really hates Flash and what it all means for computer users in general: "The PC revolution is almost coming to an end."

Giant Gundam made of runners

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Danny Choo spotted this giant Gundam-like replica made entirely of runners — the little plastic twigs that attach the kit parts together.

How to make a miniature blacksmithing forge


In Make Vol. 18 Len Cullum wrote an article about how to make a tiny blacksmithing forge. Len builds traditional Japanese style furniture, and uses his forge to make nails and other little iron parts.

In KipKay's latest Make: Online Weekend Project video, he shows you how he made the forge.

Weekend Project: $30 Micro Forge

Air Force "Cyberwarrior Badge" design sucks

badgesucks.jpg

Can you design a better one, Noah Shachtman at Wired's Danger Room asks? Whatever you come up with, I'm thinking: dunk it in drone-kill blood at the end, to really finish it off. (hi-res version here.)

To do in LA: Rich Fulcher (Mighty Boosh, "Tiny Acts of Rebellion") charity auction for Gulf relief

LA folks: Rich Fulcher, whom you may know best from "The Mighty Boosh," or his new book "Tiny Acts of Rebellion," will be hosting a charity auction at Amoeba Music in Hollywood on Saturday May 1, to benefit Gulf relief environmental charities. He'll be signing copies of the (hilarious) new book there too. Should be a fun event.

Signing/reading in Boston tonight!

Hey, Bostonians! Reminder that I'll be at the Harvard Coop bookstore in Cambridge tonight from 1900h-2000h. I'll be signing books and reading a little from my next one, *For the Win*. Hope to see you!

EZTakes: 5,000+ strong DRM-free online video store


Jim sez,
When I co-founded EZTakes, my intention was to create a movie download service that encrypted content with DRM. But after hearing Cory give a speech on DRM at a 2005 indie film conference in Montreal, I decided to launch a DRM-free service. I've continued the fight ever since.

Today, we offer about 5,000 DRM-free feature films that we licensed from over 80 distributors and studios. We've focused on finding the great movies you used to get at that quirky corner video store (when it was in business), and can't find among all the rows of "Avatar" at Wal-Mart. Our catalog includes classics such as Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," movie riffs like the entire Cinematic Titanic (former Mystery Science Theater 3K crew) collection, indie films like "Super Size Me," and campy/cult films such as "Plan 9" and "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter." Our revenue has grown steadily, and the vast majority of our content partners are pleased with the income they get from us.

We've also rejected the ridiculous restrictions that other download services seek to impose on paying customers. From our Terms of Use: "EZTakes shall not take away, nor attempt to take away, rights related to your use of Content as a consumer, including but not limited to, 'first sale' and 'fair use' rights in the USA, or similar rights held by consumers outside the USA. If we ever say anything different, the foregoing shall take precedence." You can read our entire Terms of Use on our Web site.

We've just re-launched our site with a host of new features. Now when you buy a title from us, you almost always get: a tiny MP4 that plays on most smart phones; a high-quality MP4 that plays on any iPad, iPhone or video-enabled iPod; a downloadable DVD (for some titles) that you can burn and play on DVD players; and you can stream your purchase immediately, even while other versions download (broadband connection permitting). As an added benefit, iPhone and Android users can login to our mobile site (http://m.eztakes.com) to get their purchases streamed to their mobile phones (no download required). We also let our customers re-download, even if it's far into the future. So, I think it's safe to say that we've bent over backwards to give consumers reasons to buy. The "scarce value" we provide is our service, which lets our customers easily enjoy their content when, where and how they want.

It hasn't been easy. We've flirted with DRM. Just last year two major Hollywood studios offered us large catalogs of films, with no upfront payment, if we'd just use a certain vendor's DRM. Last week we walked away from a contract with a large media company because they wanted us to charge for re-downloads. Last year we ditched a deal (after spending tens of thousands on legal fees) when a well-known media company changed their mind at the 11th hour and told us they wanted DRM (even on trailers!).

IMPORTANT: If you look at the EZTakes site from outside the USA, you won't automatically see our entire catalog. Although we've tried, we couldn't always get world-wide rights. Many of our content partners had pre-existing deals with distributors in various territories.

EZTakes (Thanks, Jim!)