Animated interview with Bob Dylan, age 20

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Bob Dylan, interviewed in 1962 when he was 20-years-old, playing Manhattan coffee houses, and trying to make enough money to eat. The day he earned $1 and a cheeseburger for a gig was a good day.

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Teach crypto with emoji: Codemoji!

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Brett from Mozilla writes, "Codemoji, a game and learning tool that lets you encode secret messages in emoji and then send them to friends for deciphering." Read the rest

This tiny camera can be injected with a syringe

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University of Stuttgart researchers used 3D printing to fabricate a tiny three-lens camera that fits on the end of an optical fiber no wider than two human hairs. Eventually, the technology could lead to a new kind of very thin endoscope for looking inside the human body. According to the researchers, the camera delivered "high optical performances and tremendous compactness." From Phys.org:

(The camera) can focus on images from a distance of 3.0 mm, and relay them over the length of a 1.7-metre (5.6-foot) optical fibre to which it is attached.

The "imaging system" fits comfortably inside a standard syringe needle, said the team, allowing for delivery into a human organ, or even the brain.

"Endoscopic applications will allow for non-invasive and non-destructive examination of small objects in the medical as well as the industrial sector," they wrote (in their scientific paper).

Below, the lens (blue) was fabricated directly on the optical fiber (red). The fiber and camera are emerging from a hollow, 27 gauge syringe needle:

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Legendary Betty Davis and Miles Davis funk/fusion/psych session released

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In 1969, high priestess of funk Betty Davis recorded two legendary sessions produced by her then-husband Miles Davis at Columbia's 52nd Street Studios in Manhattan. The band consisted of Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer), John McLaughlin (guitar), Herbie Hancock (keys), Billy Cox (Band of Gypsys bassist), Wayne Shorter (sax), and Larry Young (organ). Teo Macero co-produced. In nearly 50 years, those jams have never been officially released or even bootlegged. Now though, they are available for the first time from the fine folks at Light in the Attic Records. Teaser video below. From the label:

These historic sessions—never heard, never bootlegged—predate Miles’ revolutionary album, Bitches Brew, and are the true birth of Miles’ jazz-rock explorations, along with the roots for Betty’s groundbreaking funk that came years later, starting with her self-titled debut in 1973. ...

The vibe is intrinsically unique, fresh, and futuristic—jazz heavyweights playing psychedelia, rock, and jazz-fusion long before the term became commonplace. The songs include Betty originals and covers of classics by Creedence and Cream. The concepts explored on these previously unheard sessions fueled concepts that wouldn’t be fully realized until years later with Miles’ seminal On The Corner...

This deluxe package is a treasure trove for both Betty and Miles fans, including rare documents from the pen of co-producer Teo Macero, rarely seen photos from legendary photographer Baron Wolman, and new interviews with Mrs. Davis herself, Harvey Brooks, and Hugh Masekela—the entire project overseen with Betty’s full blessing.

Betty Davis: The Columbia Years 1968-1969

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Darth Vader's perspective on A New Hope and his need for vengeance

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Vader: Star Wars Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen (author) and Salvador Larocca (illustrator) Marvel 2015, 160 pages, 6.8 x 10.2 x 0.2 inches (softcover) $15 Buy a copy on Amazon

The graphic novel Vader is the first installment of the series, Star Wars Darth Vader. Published by Marvel, this book collects into one volume the first six issues of Darth Vader. It begins with Vader’s perspective on events of A New Hope. They reflect his need for vengeance because he is in a world of trouble after a really disastrous day at the office. The death star has been destroyed meaning the rule of law is in danger. Sith Lord Darth Vader has failed his master, the emperor, with all that entails for his own personal safety as well as the fact he must seek retribution.

To do that, first he journeys to meet with Jabba the Hutt. Darth Vader wants to work a deal with Jabba and will use force to get it one way or another. Having been a survivor of one of the worst military disasters in the history of the empire and having laid a trap that backfired, Darth Vader has a lot to be responsible for according to the Emperor. Darth Vader wants to find those who escaped on the Millennium Falcon, especially one person in particular, and to destroy any and all who helped them in the past or now.

He is doing all of that while being placed in a subordinate role having been demoted by the Emperor for his failure. Read the rest

David Bowie's hair sold for $18,750

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A lock of David Bowie's hair sold for $18,750 at auction this week. The seller was Wendy Farrier, a wigmaker who snipped the lock for color reference for a wax statue at Madame Tussauds. No info on the buyer.

"Once hair samples were matched with any figures at Madam Tussauds they were discarded as a matter of course, so there was amusement when I asked to keep one from the selection taken from Bowie,” Farrier wrote in a signed letter of provenance given to Heritage Auctions.

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This man is building the business of DIY assault rifles

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Remember Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed who caused chaos last year with his design for a 3D printed gun, The Liberator? Now, Wilson and engineer John Sullivan have developed a $1500 desktop CNC mill, called the Ghost Gunner, that cranks out the key component in assault rifles. Now you can make your own AR-15! There's a waiting list to buy one and the money is going to Wilson's lawsuit against the State Department. From Rob Walker's excellent feature in Bloomberg Businessweek:

Most people can purchase a pretty good factory-built gun for $1,000. Even so, Wilson got 10 orders on Day One and started raising the price, soon cutting off pre-orders at 500. Sullivan submitted redesigned specs to suppliers by mid-December, with Wilson, Sullivan, and Denio building the earliest units themselves. They started shipping in April 2015.

Gradually, Wilson put together an assembly team—contacts from his network, random supporters who reached out via Twitter, and so on. “It’s torture man, getting going,” he says. “But here we are. It’s been a full year of Ghost Gunner shipping.” The enterprise just surpassed 2,000 units shipped. (An upgraded Ghost Gunner 2 debuted on June 21 at $1,500; you can get on a waiting list for $250.)

Sullivan has since transitioned to a “consulting role.” He spoke to me, somewhere en route to Oklahoma City, from his van, which is where he and his fiancée essentially live, having sold most of their possessions. He’s opted for a low-expense, permanent-vacation lifestyle, he says, and can now pick and choose the projects that interest him.

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Mississippi state rep tells distraught mom to buy kid's lifesaving meds 'with money she earns'

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Nicole Nichols' 8-year-old daughter has diabetes; Nichols and her husband have come to rely on Medicaid to help supply life-saving essential medication for their daughter, because their two salaries are insufficient to cover their medical bills, which run in excess of $2000 month in out-of-pocket expenses. Read the rest

Seattle has a food truck for dogs

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Competition to feed humans has grown difficult enough that a Seattle couple, Dawn and Ben Ford, opened a food truck for humanity's best friend.

Via Life with Dogs:

The popularity of food trucks in the United States has exploded recently, and in almost every major city there are a few that specialize in a particular style or flavor profile. This is great because it gives people options to eat foods that they may not have before. This is great for humans, but what about dogs? Is there a food truck for them somewhere? In Washington, the answer is YES!

The Seattle Barkery is a new mobile café for dogs. Everything they make and serve is aimed towards giving dogs a similar freedom of choice like we as humans have. For their furry, four legged customers, they have everything from bacon cupcakes and peanut butter pumpkin pretzels, to chicken feet and duck necks.

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1969 music show with Monkees and The Raiders, with commercials

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Happening was a Los Angeles-based rock and roll variety TV show produced by Dick Clark, and co-hosted by Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere of the Raiders. It ran from 1968 to 1969. It's interesting to see the TV commercials, which make me miss Mad Men, and to see how unsophisticated live TV was at the time. The budget was probably miniscule. Read the rest

Mur Lafferty's "Shambling Guide to NYC" is coming to Netflix!

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Mur Lafferty, an amazing author and podcaster, had her mainstream publishing debt in 2013 with the wonderful Shambling Guide to New York City, about a travel writer who gets tapped to write a guidebook for spooks, haints, vampires and werewolves. Read the rest

Why the world is better than you think in 10 powerful charts

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Peter Diamandis, founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, presents 10 charts that show progress in absolute poverty, child labor, income spent on food, infant mortality rate, guinea worm infections, teen births, homicide rates, violent crime, education, and literacy.

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‘Super racist’ pool safety poster prompts Red Cross apology

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Red Cross staffer #1: I have a great idea. Let's make a swimming pool safety poster!

Red Cross staffer #2: Yeah! And let's make it cool by adding a floating whale!

Four weeks later....

Designer: Here's my poster design. Do you have any comments?

Red Cross staffers #1 and #2: This is awesome! Good job on the whale, but could you put a little red cross on his whistle? Once you do that, we will send it up the approval chain!

Six weeks later....

Red Cross staffer #1: 28 staff members have reviewed and approved the poster. They love it!

Red Cross staffer #2: I'll email the PDF to the printer. We'll send one to every public pool in the country!

Two years later....

Person at a public swimming looking at photo: WTF? All the white kids are "cool." Everyone else is "not cool."

One day later....

Red Cross media relations manager: The American Red Cross appreciates and is sensitive to the concerns raised regarding one of the water safety posters we produced. We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day. To this end, we have removed the poster from our website and Swim App and have discontinued production. We have notified all of our partner aquatic facilities requesting they take down the poster. Our organization has emphasized to our partners and on social media that it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone and apologized for this inadvertent action. Read the rest

Chatbot lawyer overturns 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York

By Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia (N.Y.C. Dept of Finance: Parking Violations) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

After getting 30 parking tickets while in London, a 19-year-old Stanford University student created an app called DoNotPay that lets people fight tickets by chatting with a bot.

From The Guardian:

The program first works out whether an appeal is possible through a series of simple questions, such as were there clearly visible parking signs, and then guides users through the appeals process.

The results speak for themselves. In the 21 months since the free service was launched in London and now New York, [Joshua] Browder says DoNotPay has taken on 250,000 cases and won 160,000, giving it a success rate of 64% appealing over $4m of parking tickets.

Browder is working on three other applications of his chatbot lawyer: one that helps people get compensated for flight delays, another that helps people with HIV positive exercise their rights, and another that helps refugees deal with foreign legal systems. Read the rest

Watch Tony Hawk's awesome 900 at age 48

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Here is Tony Hawk attempting a 900 at age 48. It's amazing to watch as he stumbles, and stumbles, but his determination pays off. His first 900 was exactly 17 years ago, and he says this is his last. Read the rest

Ground Meat Chopper

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I'm generally happy with Oxo Good Grips kitchen utensils, and this Ground Meat Chopper ($12 on Amazon) is no exception. We made tacos with ground beef last night and the three blades did a good job of efficiently breaking up the meat (it was partially frozen) - much better than a spatula, and fun to use, too! Read the rest

Best looking flask I've found

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The Portside Flask is perfect for keeping your reputation for asocial behavior intact while maintaining a stylish image.

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