The inane Randroidism of "disruption"

The failure of cab-hailing service Uber to take Manhattan reveals Silicon Valley's capacity for entitlement thinking—and for worshipping "Ayn fucking Rand"

Alien is pooped


Here's HR Giger's Alien, deep in thought after a hard day on the set, from a Retronaut set of "Behind the scenes of ‘Alien’ movies."

Behind the scenes of ‘Alien’ movies

Get a copy of the Web

Want 80 terabytes of web-crawl? The Internet Archive will give you a copy of (an appreciable slice of) the Web, for research purposes: "we would like to experiment with offering access to one of our crawls from 2011 with about 80 terabytes of WARC files containing captures of about 2.7 billion URIs. The files contain text content and any media that we were able to capture, including images, flash, videos, etc." Cory

Game writer out of a job after libel complaint

Photo: Shutterstock

A game writer who criticized his beatmates' journalistic shortcomings no longer has his job. Rab Florence, formerly with top gaming site Eurogamer, resigned from his position at after it received "legal threats" and gutted much of his scathing article.

"I am utterly staggered by today's events," Florence wrote on Twitter. " ... Today I was effectively put out of a job by another writer."

The imbroglio, barely a day old, began with Florence's broadside aimed at a "tragic, vulgar image": journalists who accepted gifts, participated in Twitter PR campaigns, and who pose with branded junk food for marketing set-pieces.

Read the rest

NYPD officer planned to kidnap and eat women [trigger warning]

Gilberto Valle, an NYPD officer, has been arrested after details of a plot to kidnap and eat women came to light. Officer Valle is alleged to have used NYPD databases to locate 100 potential victims, and left detailed notes on his plans to murder and eat them. He also offered to kidnap women for money, corresponding with online acquaintances. From an AP article by Colleen Long and Tom Hays:

One document found on his computer was titled "Abducting and Cooking (Victim 1): A Blueprint," according to the complaint. The file also had the woman's birth date and other personal information and a list of "materials needed" — a car, chloroform and rope.

"I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus ... cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible," Valle allegedly wrote in one exchange in July, the complaint says.

In other online conversations, investigators said, Valle talked about the mechanics of fitting the woman's body into an oven (her legs would have to be bent), said he could make chloroform at home to knock a woman out and discussed how "tasty" one woman looked.

"Her days are numbered," he wrote, according to the complaint.

NYC officer arrested in ghoulish kidnap plot

Bleeding skull candles

ThinkGeek's bleeding skull candles are filled with red wax that drips out of the eye socket as it burns down.

Bleeding Skull Candle (via OhGizmo)

HOWTO make a rainbow-flag Eagle Scout Medal


Rachel sez, "Instructions on how to replace the red-white-blue ribbon on the eagle award with a rainbow hued ribbon in support of LGBT rights. There is also a surprisingly passionate discussion on both sides of the issue in the comments section."

How to Hack Your Eagle Award

Unlace: rubber shoelaces for taming your cables

I like the look of Unlace, Cindy Glass and Dante Pauwels's fully funded Kickstarter project to make rubber-over-wire faux-shoelaces that can be used to tame cable tangles. You can get four Unlaces for $20. I'm impressed by the product team's experience as well, which bodes well for the actual completion and shipment of the project.

So, we put our heads together and created a simple, colorful, and fun companion for organizing all the cords and cables that are part and parcel of our increasingly digital lives. We took inspiration from a simple source, a sneaker, and designed Unlace, a reusable silicone shoelace for untangling a few of life's little, and annoying, problems. We’ve created a 5” Unlace for small cords. And, a 10” Unlace for burly cables.

The Unlace is reusable and has a silky matte silicone finish with the texture of a shoelace. A few gentle turns and it will coil around and hold most anything.


Unlace: A New Twist on Tangle-Free Cords

Gweek 073: Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn

Interview with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.

My guest this episode is Gillian Flynn, the New York Times Bestselling author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places. I had a terrific time talking to her about why she enjoys writing creepy books with twisted characters. It was interesting to learn that her father is a retired film professor who loves the work of David Lynch, because the teenagers in Dark Places reminded me of the kids in Twin Peaks.

Here's my review of Gone Girl.


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Decapitated heads

A late addition to my New York Comic-Con posts: the Lulubell/Velocitron Decapitated Heads, which I knew I loved from the moment I clapped eyes on 'em.

Decapitated Head - NYCC GID/blue rub

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Conquering Graymail With Outlook.com

This post sponsored by Outlook.com:

NewImage

Go and look at your inbox right now. Go on, I’ll wait. Done? Good. For the majority of you, over 80% of the email you receive is something called graymail. It’s not spam, but it’s also not higher priority messages from friends, family or colleagues that you’re more likely to read and respond to. Newsletters, social updates and daily deals are all examples of graymail and left unattended they can take over your inbox pretty quickly.

Now here’s a little secret; Microsoft didn’t entirely build the recently released Outlook.com preview from scratch. Under the hood, Microsoft took the best tools and features originally developed for Hotmail – such as those designed to tackle graymail – and incorporated them into the new service.

Read the rest

How Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology works

An officer from the Long Beach Police Department shows how automatic license plate recognition technology works. He demos a system installed in a patrol car equipped with four cameras. "Each camera is recording at all times, so no matter what mode you're in, it'll be recording off all four of the cameras… it shows you a picture the car, it shows you a picture of the plate that it caught and then what it does is it takes that image and using optical character recognition it will compare it to a database. In our case we are running multiple databases -- we have 'wanted felony vehicles,' 'be on the lookout,' '24 hour hotsheet,' 'wanted by detectives,' 'LA County warrants,' and our 'gang unit.' In addition to this we have 'stolen vehicles,' which are available to everybody in the state. Currently in our database we have 24,000,000 plus reads."

They also have a "parking scofflaw" database. "If a car has five or more outstanding parking tickets, state law allows us to tow it. And that turns into a revenue generator for the city… we have generated in excess of $3 million dollars."

The cheerful music licensed to accompany this promotional video is there to assure you that this technology is being used for public safety. (Via Doobybrain)

English town wins its war against chain coffee

Totnes, the English town with no chain coffee shops, has won its fight to keep Costa Coffee out of town. Although Costa was given approval to open its shop, they have voluntarily agreed not to: "Chris Rogers, managing director of Costa, said the company had 'recognised the strength of feeling' against national brands in the town." Cory

Apple now owns the Beatles' Apple logo

According to Cult of Mac, "the Canadian IP office has just disclosed that the Beatles' iconic recording label is now an Apple Inc. registered trademark."

Miniature wearable Bluetooth camcorder


I don't know about the video and sound quality of this little bluetooth camera, but it seems like it would be fun to use when you are riding a bike, hiking, or engaged in some other activity you would like to record. It's on sale for $70 including shipping. Here's a video from the manufacturer.