In The Guardian, Alexis Petridis penned a fantastic reflection on the UK's scary public information films of the 1960s to 1980s. For more than 60 years, the government's Central Office of Information (COI) created FUD-fostering films about talking to strangers, playing with matches, sticking things in electric outlets, rabies, slippery floors, etc. (Back in 2009 at BB Gadgets, Rob put together a remarkable compendium of such films!) The COI was shut down last week due to funding cuts. From The Guardian:
The public information films aimed at children seem to speak of a different age of parenting, when you kept the kids in line by the simple expedient of terrifying them ("Get a move on or the Yorkshire Ripper'll get you!" as my mother used to say) and/or thumping them: quick and pointed and vicious, they were the cinematic equivalent of a smack on the legs. The ones aimed at adults, meanwhile, offer a weird index of largely forgotten fears. You watch them and think: whatever happened to rabies? It seemed to be an ever-present menace during my childhood. All it was going to take was one irresponsible Frenchman to smuggle his poodle through customs and we were going to be facing what one public information film called "death in a manner that is beyond description". I assumed it had been eradicated but no: rabid bats were found in Scotland in 2009. It's hard to imagine the COI in its prime would have missed the opportunity to turn that news into 60 seconds of matchless terror, perhaps involving jolly footage of people tossing the caber, massed pipe bands etc, interspersed with images of a child convulsing and foaming at the mouth and a solemn voiceover: "One wee boy won't be enjoying the Highland games this year."
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 […]
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 […]
You don’t need to get an advanced degree and take out massive loans to become a coder. This bundle of 10 courses was designed to teach anyone to code at home for less than it costs to go out for dinner. I was particularly impressed with this new 2017 bundle because it includes courses on […]