What was it like working a Nintendo hotline in the 80s?


This week, our partnership with Critical Distance brings us reading on parenting via Tomb Raider, the utility of the word 'gameplay', and experiences from Nintendo 'play counselors' from the 1980s and 90s. Read the rest

Find an antidote for your poisoned sister in an alien sea


Playing a Porpentine game often feels like stepping into a poem, or sitting downstream in a river as strange images float by like beautiful, twisted debris. She's primarily known for her Twine games and interactive fiction, where her distinctive alien worlds are fleshed out in long strings of lyrical text.

In her first 3D game, Bellular Hexatosis, Porpentine exports her prose into a surreal, visual world of sunset seas, where you can explore a city populated by sentient eyes or meet a column of water spiraling into the sky that may or may not be your sister. Whatever she is, your sister has been infected with the titular Bellular Hexatosis, and only you can find the cure.

Like so many of Porpentine's works, the most striking moments in Bellular Hexatosis come from the offhand comments that annotate your journey, and the vague sense of alienation and body horror that permeates its sunset palette. While searching for the antidote, you find yourself floating over "necrosympathetic coral," which you're told evolved symbiotically with the dead bodies that have become tangled in its roots. The coral has become depleted, and the local conclave has vowed to "fight endangerment by increasing deaths on the reef." They ask for volunteers.

The game is a collaboration with Neotenomie, who previously worked with Porpentine on With Those We Love Alive and This World Is Not My Home, "a guided relaxation program for the corporate achiever." Bellular Hexatosis is pay-what-you-want to download, for PC and Mac, or you can play it your browser. Read the rest

Trump says clips of Muslims cheering 9/11 exist because other people have seen them


On Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Trump to back up his claim that there was news footage of Muslims cheering the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump says it really happened because his supporters saw the same clips he did when they aired 14 years ago.

Image: MortonDevonshire/Wikipedia Read the rest

Wink 2015 Holiday gift guide: Gareth Branwyn’s picks


Over at Wink (the books and fun stuff reviews site my wife Carla edits) our friend Gareth Branwyn has selected a number of cool things he recommends as holiday gifts. There are games, mind expanders, and tools. I want the Pro Studio Hobby Brushes (above). Read the rest

Here's what the Cards Against Humanity staff bought with the $70k they made selling "nothing"


On Black Friday, Cards Against Humanity sold the "experience of buying nothing" for $5 a pop.

This stunt earned them over $71,000 in sales. As a way of thanking their customers, the staff posted the stuff they bought with the money. I wish they had taken the cash, poured gas on it and burned it, though. That would have been true art and a great video.

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A tall smokestack collapsed on an excavator, and a drone filmed it


This 115-year-old smokestack in Pell City, Alabama didn't go down without a fight. The 158-foot chimney survived two attempts to demolish it with explosives. That's when Tim Phifer was brought in to knock it over with an excavator. But in a final throe of resistentialism, the smokestack decided to collapse on the backhoe burying it in 2.6 million pounds of rubble. Fortunately, Mr. Phifer survived the attempt on his life. Read the rest

Buy Ringo Starr's copy of the very first pressing of the White Album


Ringo Starr's personal copy of The White Album, the first pressing of the album, numbered 0000001, is up for auction. The current high bid is $55,000. From Julien's Auctions:

It has been widely known among collectors that the four members of the Beatles kept numbers 1 through 4, but it was not commonly known that Starr was given the No.0000001 album. Starr has stated that he kept this album in a bank vault in London for over 35 years. Up to this time the lowest numbered UK first mono pressing album to come to market is No.0000005, which sold in 2008 for just under $30,000. This No.0000001 UK first mono pressing owned by a member of the Beatles is the lowest and most desirable copy that will ever become available.

As the record manufacturing plant certainly had every machine available simultaneously pressing copies of this album it is impossible to say with certainty which records were truly the very first off the press, but these discs were certainly among the very first. The album covers however were numbered in sequence, insuring that this No.0000001 sleeve is the very first finished cover. The top load sleeve is in near mint minus condition and would be near mint if not for the bumped upper right front gatefold corner, but it is overall very clean and fresh with very minor abrasions.

"RINGO STARR'S UK 1st MONO PRESSING WHITE ALBUM NO.0000001" (Julien's Auctions)

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Parrot admires self in the mirror

A Caique Phoenix enjoying the thrill of seeing oneself in a mirror. [via] Read the rest

Is this thumbs-up thumbs-down mechanism real?


The mechanism shown here is a computer animation, but does something like it exist in the real world? The sliding arc-shaped gear looks like it could come off the glass track pretty easily, but it is a cool way to keep the thumb stationary in the up or down position for a moment. [via] Read the rest

Man buried retirement cash, only to have it eaten by worms


Five years ago, a fisherman in Deyang, China, buried his entire life savings. The amount he buried totaled about US$5,500. When Wu Chen, 67, and his family recently dug it up, they discovered that the plastic bag the bills were in had deteriorated. Worms and insects had eaten through much of his cash.

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Man follows girlfriend through Southeast Asia with videocamera


JohanKaos and his girlfriend took a trip through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia and created an entertaining video. Where is that place where they walked into the mouth of a giant stone head? Read the rest

Easily open a Masterlock padlock by tapping it with a hammer


"Rappin' on MasterLock" (Lock Lab)

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How to memorize a randomized deck of playing cards


Q: Why is it so hard to remember the name of someone you've just met? A: Because our memories evolved to be associative, and the name of a person doesn't have much of an association with who they are. Mind Hacks offers a way to help you remember names by inventing false associations. The sillier or weirder the association, the better.

I've been using a similar method to help me remember the order of a shuffled deck of cards. My goal is to be able to hand someone a deck of cards, ask them to shuffle it and return it to me. I will then spend a minute or two going through the deck, looking at each card. Then I will hand the deck back to the person and ask them to look at the cards while I call them out one-by-one.

I'm using a memorization method from an e-book called How to Learn & Memorize a Randomized Deck of Playing Cards Using a Memory Palace and Image-Association System Specifically Designed for Card Memorization Mastery by Anthony Metivier. I've been practicing for about 4 days (10-15 minutes a day) and I can remember the mnemonically-derived "names" of 26 cards so far. For example, the 2 of Spades is "tin can." The King of Hearts is "ram." The 9 of Spades is "tape."

To help me memorize the names of the cards, I'm using a free cross-platform flashcard app called AnkiApp. It keeps track of the cards that you easily remember, and focuses on the ones you have difficulty remembering. Read the rest

This drummer plays with more feeling than any other musician ever

Can you dig it? I knew that you could. (YouTube)

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Watch this killer pirate television station from 1986

For several months in 1986-87, Network 21 was a pirate television station in the UK that broadcasted coverage of avant-garde art and fringe culture for 30 minutes every Friday evening. The fantastic content included the likes of: Warhol films, a post-punk fashion show by the BodyMap label (above), interviews with Sonic Youth (video below), Derek Jarman, and Genesis P-Orridge, a William S. Burroughs reading, and concert footage by the likes of Diamanda Galas and Einstürzende Neubauten. Sigue Sigue Sputnik's album "Flaunt It" included an advertisement for the station.

Raided more than once, Network 21's goal was to see the UK government use a "similar approach to TV as has been afforded to radio, for the BBC and ITV to release their monopoly on frequencies and make some available to the community."

Watch clips from Network 21 on YouTube. (Thanks, UPSO!)

More background here: Network 21 (Wikipedia)

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Animated map shows the Civil War's front lines in 5 minutes

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Watch the U.S. Civil War unfold a day at a time in this animated map. The creator, EmperorTigerstar, attempted to represent every single day's movements in the front lines, resulting in a fascinating view of the conflict. He's made many more just like it. See your favorite war from a completely dehumanized perspective!

It's strange how some of the most superficially spectacular gains and losses on land were mostly side-events to more important battles. To look at this map, you'd guess the critical events of October 1862 happened somewhere in Kentucky. On the other hand, Sherman's March to the Sea is like OMGGGGGGGG it's all over now. [via] Read the rest

Eerie skyscraper moans in the wind


Every time the wind picks up in Manchester, England, Beetham Tower automatically generates another Architectural Moancore Drone epic. I hereby confer upon the building our inaugural award for excellence in this genre.

The tone is reportedly B below middle C Read the rest

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