Limor and Phil at Adafruit are still baling out their lower Manhattan factory and living space after Sandy, but they're also using the Adafruit site to pass on information about relief efforts to public-spirited makers. Here's one: Voltaic systems (makers of solar chargers) are offering deep discounts and donations to people who are struggling with no/intermittent power.
Glad to hear you guys are back up and running. If you come across any specific individuals that have need for small-scale solar and/or battery power, we are happy to help with deep discounts and or direct donations. Our warehouse in NJ got power back Friday and we are trying to be helpful where we can. Jeff Crystal http://www.voltaicsystems.com/
Phil adds: "They have deep discounts they can do direct donation as it makes sense. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for details if you’re still in need of power."
While she isn't the only cast member of The Walking Dead to have an artsy side job (Norman Reedus is a filmmaker when he's not killing zombies), Danai Gurira seems like one of those spectacularly well-rounded and adventurous people who wants to do a little bit of everything as long as she walks this planet. Hero Complex interviewed the actress, who is also an Obie Award-winning playwright (for In the Continuum) and has forged a whole other, zombie-free career path writing about her life in Zimbabwe and other stories. It's one of the most fun pieces I've read about Gurira, and Walking Dead fans might like to know that she discusses certain (horrific) things that happen between her katana-wielding character Michonne and the Governor in the comics. She has a perspective on it that others probably don't. (via Hero Complex)
Jim Leftwich says:
I'd seen one of these that had been done for Hurricane Irene going around, that a lot of people probably thought was Hurricane Sandy. I created this one from a NASA satellite image (distributed by NOAA) from Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 1745zulu (6:45pm EDST).
I posted it to my Tumblr, and it's a bit downscaled from my original (3000 x 2400). The satellite photo is public domain and I've given my poster of it a CC license.
It's time for some American Democracy 101. Every election cycle, it frustrates me to no end that most news outlets spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the latest polls without explaining the significance those polls actually have on the outcome of a presidential election that isn't truly decided by the voters. My Halloween wish this year was for someone to explain the electoral college to me, and Twin Cities journalist Frank Bures has obliged*.
This piece has actually been around since 2000, but I think it's a nice explanation of what the electoral college is, where it comes from, and why it's going to matter to you tonight.
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The only votes that count in this election will be cast in mid-December by the 538 members of the electoral college. That's who you and I will vote for on November 7: electors for Bush or electors for Gore, and their votes are the currency of presidential politics. Each state gets as many electors as it has representatives and senators. In all but two states, the winning party takes all the state's electoral votes.
...At first, in several states, there was no popular presidential vote. For decades after 1787, in states like Delaware, New York, and Georgia, the legislatures chose the electors. In South Carolina, there was no popular vote for the chief executive until 1860. But today, party loyalty prevents electors from acting as the free agents envisioned by the founders. In 99% of the cases, the electoral vote is a formality.
Tagg Romney doesn't own Ohio's voting machines. And Joseph Lorenzo Hall, senior staff technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology in D.C., says that a lot of the fears the public has about electronic voting are equally unfounded. The biggest thing to worry about, he tells The Awl's Maria Bustillos, is that we're so busy sending around email forwards about ostensible vast conspiracies that we're not paying enough attention to the very real security and tech problems that do exist in the voting system.
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Maria Bustillos: I no longer know what to believe in media reports of electronic election tampering. What are professionals most worried about, at this point, in this election?
Joseph Lorenzo Hall: It's a very complex area and unfortunately one that lends itself to dearths of information and poor intuition… which is how Bello and Fitrakis get way out into left field. Extending email/fax voting to displaced NJ voters is making us very nervous… What I think we expect to see a lot of—and it's not as sexy as conspiracy theory—is the aging of this machinery, as much of it is 10- to 15-year-old computer equipment. Another not-so-sexy source of problems will be from newer online voter registration systems, an electronic version of pollbooks. We may see strange reports of people not being registered or being marked down as already voted. Much of that will seem to some like fraud, but it is more likely poorly checked voter registration rolls. People don't like having to cast provisional ballots, but they need to understand that if you're registered and at the right location, the ballot will count.
In celebration of the Halo 4 release today, my nephew Andy Pescovitz completed his Spartan Warrior-4 custom LEGO minifig. See more of Andy's insanely-intricate custom LEGO characters from Gears of War, Modern Warfare 2, Max Payne, and other videogames at his pescovam Flickr stream.
Mary Robinette Kowal sez,
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At the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto this weekend, as much as we were talking about fantasy, we were talking about our friends and colleagues who had been hit by the storm. Some of them had to evacuate and had no idea when they'd be able to go home. One editor joked barely -- that his slush pile was actual slush now since his office flooded.
A lot of authors and editors could not make it because they live in New York. Many of those who did make it headed straight for their rooms and had their first hot shower in a week. A lot of them said that they had been unable to see images of the storm damage because they had been without power and so were seeing some things for the first time.
To help raise funds for relief, I'm auctioning off a manuscript of my novel WITHOUT A SUMMER. This is book 3 in my series and isn't out until April 2, 2012. I'll mail the winner a signed manuscript of the book five months before it's in the stores. If the fundraiser goes over $500, I'll also include book 4, VALOUR AND VANITY, which won't be out until 2013. If it goes over $1000, I'll tuckerize the winner into the series. Note: depending on your name, you may or may not be a character but your name will be there. The books are set between 1814-1818 so I do have to be cautious about committing to character names.
After it looked like all hopes for a feature based on Richard and Wendy Pini's beloved graphic novel series Elfquest were gone, news has broken that producers Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes have acquired the film rights and are moving forward with development. If those names sound familiar, it's because they are the pair behind the live-action short, Elfquest: A Fan Imagining, which has been making the convention rounds and can be found on YouTube. An Elfquest movie had been in the works for a while, but was seemingly dead when Warner Bros. dropped it, claiming they didn't want to compete with The Hobbit.
And in case you weren't already aware, Boing Boing runs new Elfquest strips every Monday! Here is the most recent installment, "The Palace Disguised." You can also find all the strips in convenient post form here.
(via Spinoff Online)
I know I just posted about Star Wars, but I really can't help myself after reading this story. Former Gallifreyan Doctor David Tennant lent his voice to a droid character named Huyang for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. His episode, "A Test of Strength," will air this Saturday, November 10 at 9:30 AM on Cartoon Network. (For now, at least. Due to the Disney/Lucasfilm deal, the show is expected to end its five-season run in 2013, then move to Disney XD.) In the meantime, watch an exclusive clip at IGN. You will probably agree that Tennant is pretty much perfect as a droid.
Photo credit: IGN
Stocking stuffers? We thought about it, but in spite of what laundromat radio stations might lead you to believe, it IS too early to start thinking about the holidays. And besides, Chris Ware, for one, has clearly gone out of way to only produce work that could never in a million years be stuffed into anything resembling a stocking. So we guess you'll just have to keep these ones all to yourself. Don't say you've never done anything nice for you.
Building Stories by Chris Ware. Pantheon
Part way through the “14 distinctively discrete books, booklets, magazines, newspapers and pamphlets,” you wonder why you started reading, because you already knew that Chris Ware cuts like a knife deep into the heart of modern human isolation. And every few pages or so, like clockwork, something makes contact and utterly destroys you all over again. All that coupled with the knowledge that, try as you might, you’ll never be capable of producing something of this magnitude -- Ware is just one of those sorts of outliers who makes everyone else toiling away in a given medium feel that much worse about their own limited set of tools.
But as ever, it’s a beautiful journey, painstaking detailed and mind-numbingly crafted, without a single errant line, because we all know that a perfectionist like Ware would never be able to live with such an abhorrent thing. Thankfully, the cartoonist is fully capable of creating near perfect things, works of art that some how feel underpriced at $50 a pop. Read the rest
Stephen sez, "Masterful gadget-maker Roger Wood poses alongside some of his whimsical clock creations at his Hamilton-based workshop and steampunk emporium, Klockwerks. When he came out in his goggles and steampunk kit, I told him, 'You look so much like an inventor.' He answered, 'I AM an inventor.'"
Roger was my neighbour for a decade, and his workshop was always a wonderland. I haven't been to his new place in Hamilton, but if this picture is any indication, it's every bit as wonderful.
Steampunk Thing-Maker Roger Wood and Assorted Klockwerks (Thanks, Stephen!) Read the rest