The first-ever convention celebrating Community is taking place in February!

Attention Community fans who live in or are willing to visit the Los Angeles area: CommuniCon, the first convention devoted entirely to the excellent (but neglected) show is taking place February 9-10, 2013 at Los Angeles City College, where they happen to shoot a lot of exteriors for the show! (Not to be confused with CommuniCon, Inc.) Some of the details have yet to be decided on, but Dan Harmon and the cast are expected to be in attendance. Also worth mentioning: Community is returning to NBC on Thursday, February 7 at 8:00 PM, its old time slot (replacing 30 Rock)! News I missed while I waited for my power to come back on after Hurricane Sandy, but better a whole entire month late than never! (via CommuniCon Tumblr) Read the rest

XKCD on cancer, and commemorating a biopsy-versary

Today's edition of the webcomic XKCD rings true for me, as I'll be marking the one-year mark from my own diagnosis tomorrow. Randall, much respect. I wish both of you the best. Read the rest
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Coming soon: Dinosaur hotel

A Best Western in Denver is set to begin a remodeling project that will turn it into a dinosaur-themed wonderland. (Via Alexandra Witze) Read the rest

Real shell as iPhone loudspeaker

Earlier this month, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design kindly brought me out to meet with grad students and attend the annual MCAD Art Sale where I was happily overwhelmed with a fantastic collection of student and recent graduates' work at affordable prices. Within minutes of walking in, I was drawn to two pieces at opposite ends of the building. The first was a painting created by a CNC milling machine outfitted with a pen. (That painting and its brethren in the series will be the subject of a later post here.) The second piece is what you can see above, the Shellphone Loudspeaker. Amazingly, it turned out that both the CNC painting and the Shellphone were created by the same young artist/designer/maker, Andrew Vomhof. The Shellphone Loudspeaker, made by Andrew with collaborator Karl Zinsmaster, is absolutely wonderful and I purchased one immediately. It's a real Whelk shell hand-carved to perfectly sit an iPhone (4 or 5). The shell acts as a natural amplifier for the iPhone's speakers.

Now, this thing doesn't come close to the output of powered speakers. Duh. But it does increase the volume quite a bit and layers the sound with a subtly echoey and organic vibe. But that isn't really the point. It's a wonderful curiosity at the intersection of nature, art, and technology. And it's beautiful to boot. Vomhof and Zinsmaster have launched a Kickstarter to bring their prototype design into full production. Pledge $60 and, if they hit their goal of $10,000, you'll receive your own Shellphone Loudspeaker early next year. Read the rest

How monoculture farming changes biodiversity

This image, taken by artist David Liittschwager shows the plants and animals collected in a square meter of South African public park over the course of 24 hours.

This image, from National Public Radio, illustrates the plants and animals found over the course of two nights and three days in an Iowa cornfield.

Robert Krulwich has a fascinating piece about the ways food systems affect ecological systems. How efficient is too efficient?

Via On Earth

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Imagine a world in which Nicolas Cage is in every movie ever made

You'd be surprised how much just one Nicolas Cage can improve a classic film!

A dreadful hoax!

This rang true to me. The education system I was put through did exactly this... (The South Park-ish style also made me smile.) Read the rest

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The social science of Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings Project collects and analyzes data on all the characters inhabiting Middle Earth, to produce statistical comparisons of life expectancy, age distribution, population, and more. Read the rest

Realistic chocolate baby-heads

The evil bakers at Eat Your Heart Out showcase these custom-made, specially commissioned hyper-realistic chocolate baby heads, suitable for an infanticidal feast. They won't say who commissioned 'em, but I'm guessing whomever it is has plans for a hell of an office Christmas party.

A private commission (that’s all we can say), they are solid white chocolate baby heads, and the same size as the head of your average newborn baby. They also TERRIFY me! As I was tweeting earlier there is something SO disturbing about these heads but I just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s as they have no body, or maybe it’s just as they are a baby’s head?!? Either way I am so proud to be heading up a movement which leads to the creation of amazing edible works of art just like these. We’ll be using them in a project very soon I am sure!!!

Hyper Realistic Solid Chocolate Baby Heads! MUST SEE!!! (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Judge considers unusual plea deal for accused WikiLeaks source Manning

The Associated Press has details on the unusual plea deal being considered in the case of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of passing classified documents to Wikileaks.
On Thursday, a military judge, Col. Denise Lind, accepted the terms under which Private Manning would plead guilty to eight charges for sending classified documents to WikiLeaks.

The judge’s ruling does not mean the pleas have been formally accepted. That could happen in December.

But she approved the language of the offenses to which Private Manning would admit, which she said would carry a total maximum prison term of 16 years.

Private Manning made the offer as a way of accepting responsibility for the leaks. Government officials have not said whether they would continue prosecuting him for the other 14 counts he faces, including aiding the enemy. That offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Read more. Read the rest

Julian Assange on WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, and new Julian Assange book

Democracy Now has an interview with Julian Assange, speaking from inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been holed up for about six months.

Overly Attached Girlfriend at the American Music Awards

Overly Attached Girlfriend hamming it up at the American Music Awards

North Korea reports "Lair of King Tongmyong's Unicorn Reconfirmed in DPRK"

Seems legit.

(via @chicoharlan, thanks, @klustout) Read the rest

Weev: Hackers should keep security holes to themselves

Weev. Photo: Gawker

Andrew Auernheimer, aka “weev,” the hacker found guilty last week of computer intrusion for obtaining the unprotected e-mail addresses of more than 100,000 iPad owners from AT&T’s website and passing them to a journalist, has an opinion piece in Wired News today.

Auenheimer, who founded troll group Gay Nigger Association of American and once said "some big Jews" would love to serve him a summons, sees his conviction as an unjust way to AT&T punish the messenger, rather than owning responsibility for a weak system.

In the Wired op-ed, he argues that hackers should forget about disclosure, and keep what they learn of security holes to themselves.

 Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer, the Adrian Chen profile Weev convicted: court finds "iPad hacker" guilty of breaching AT&T ... Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer, hacker in AT&T iPad case, on Occupy ... Hacker and internet troll Weev befriends DSK: "We're all like one big ... AT&T iPad hack discoverer arrested Read the rest

Houston duo indicted for internet puppy torture videos

Wired Threat Level reports that a man and woman in Houston man and woman have been indicted for distributing snuff films online in which puppies and other animals were tortured and killed. "Federal authorities say the pair made eight videos — bearing titles like puppy 1, whitechick and crushblackluvsample — that depicted puppies, chickens, kittens and other animals being tortured and killed." Read the rest

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