Kid Koala's "Collapser" featuring Emilíana Torrini and chemical puppeteer Karina Bleau

Yesterday saw the release of Canadian artist, graphic novelist, and scratch DJ Kid Koala's latest record, his fifth, Music to Draw To: Satellite. An ambient concept record, Music to Draw To: Satellite is about a pair of lovers separated by a one-way trip to Mars. Each track is like a sonic love letter, an expression of the loneliness of extended isolation, the wondrous, terrifying void of space, and missing those left behind. Seven of the tracks on the record feature vocals by Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini (known for, beyond her critically-acclaimed solo career, recording with Thievery Corporation, and singing "Golem's Song" in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers).

I have been soothing my restless psyche for the past few days with heavy-rotation listening to "Collapser," one of the first tracks released. This lost in space lullaby features the most wistful and dreamy vocals from Torrini on the record. For the video, Kid Koala teamed up with "chemical puppeteer" Karina Blea whose work is described as "an ultraviolet study of chemical theatrics under a microscope." The slowly changing, minimalist liquid world of colored drips, languid swirls, and chemical reactions is a perfect compliment to the insistent rhythms of the music and Torrini's melancholy vocals sweetly swimming over the top.

Kid Koala says that he was inspired to do this project by the go-to records he listens to whenever he's drawing and working on his art. He wanted to create such a piece himself. He and his record company, Arts & Crafts Records, have even gone so far as to release a deluxe version of the CD which comes in an 80-page sketchbook so that you too can draw along to the music.

This futuristic wallet handles your plastic

Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don't carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I've found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.

This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don't fall out of my pocket. Everything is held in place with a simple metal clip that also doubles as a bottle opener, so you can still fit folded bills as well as up to eight cards and open your cold drinks. Additionally, this durable wallet is made from RFID-blocking materials, so you can stay safe from credit card skimmers.

I highly suggest this wallet for anyone looking to get a little more organized in 2017. For a limited time, get the Bogui Clik Wallet for just $42.99, 25% off retail.

Explore other Best-Sellers on our network:CodingLearn to Code 2016 Bundle (Pay What You Want)Project ManagementUltimate PM Certification ($69)Music + EntertainmentBrain.fm: 3-Year Subscription ($29)Cord-CuttingGhost Indoor HDTV Antenna (57% off)

Can you "hear" flashes of light? Do you have synesthesia? Take a test.

Can you "hear" motion or light flashes? If so, according to new research from City University London, you may be experiencing a not-so-rare form of synaesthesia. Synesthesia is the fascinating neurological phenomenon whereby stimulation of one sense involuntarily triggers another sensory pathway. For example, a synesthete might taste sounds or hear colors. (In this study, 8 out of 40 participants, a very high percentage, were considered to have hearing-motion synaesthesia.) Here is their test for you to take yourself. From The Guardian:

(This new study) suggests that many more of us experience a less intrusive version of (synesthesia) in which visual movements or flashes are accompanied by an internal soundtrack of hums, buzzes or swooshes. Since movements are very frequently accompanied by sounds in everyday life, the effect is likely to be barely discernible.

When tested under laboratory conditions, the “hearing motion” effect appeared to enhance a person’s ability to interpret fine visual movements, but also interfered with the ability to hear real sounds when visual and audio signals were mis-matched.

“These internal sounds seem to be perceptually real enough to interfere with the detection of externally-generated sounds,” said Freeman. “The finding that this ‘hearing-motion’ phenomenon seems to be much more prevalent compared to other synaesthesias might occur due to the strength of the natural connection between sound and vision.”

In a separate study, the team tested for the phenomenon in trained musicians and found that it was much more common in the group. It is not clear if this is due to a natural disposition to link sounds and visual cues or whether thousands of hours of training might have strengthened the neural circuitry behind the effect.

Animated series about Donald Trump's hair from Ferris Plock, Kelly Tunstall, Form & Fiction

Day Dreamers Limited -- the artist collective of Kelly Tunstall, Ferris Plock, and creative studio Form & Fiction -- are making an animated series starring Donald Trump's Hair as the protagonist! From Hair to the Throne:

Whenever the President drifts off to dreamland or is too busy Tweeting to notice, The Hair gets to work: undoing Trump’s wrongs, pacifying allies, counteracting hostilities, and unifying a divided nation....

This is not just a show about cheap laughs and making a mockery of our President. The overarching theme is the bipolar and symbiotic relationship between President Trump and The Hair, which together represent our divided nation.

Our plans are to have The Hair engage and challenge not only the characters in the fictional world of Hair to the Throne but in the real world as well. Just imagine for a moment, the delightful Twitter conversations @realTheHair will have with @realDonaldTrump as we hold our President accountable for being elected to the most powerful office in the free world. If every person whose voice was ignored on Election Day gives just one dollar, we will send the world a powerful statement, followed by even more powerful action. Only you can help us turn The Hair into a symbol for hope and democratic responsibility! #HopeIsInTheHair

Support "Hair To The Throne" on Kickstarter!

Trump's budget eliminates Arts and Humanities Endowments, privatizes public broadcasting

Conservatives often threaten to cut funding for public arts, humanities, and broadcasting, but will Trump actually do it? White House staffers who have seen Trump's proposal say he doesn't like the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, so he plans to eliminate all three as federal programs.

Activists threw a queer dance party outside Mike Pence’s house on Wednesday

Equal parts defiant and celebratory, activists chose to protest incoming Vice President Mike Pence by throwing a queer dance party outside his rented D.C. house. The protest was organized by Werk For Peace, a grassroots organization created in response to the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Founder Firas Nasr told Mic: “The work that we do is about taking our bodies out of the private into the public, using the street as our dance floor to claim space, occupy space to assert we are here and we will dance.” Pence is infamous for his anti-LGBTQ agenda but rather than merely attack him for his bigotry, the protest joyfully celebrated the queer community instead.

These are the streets outside Mike Pence's house in D.C., shut down by activists throwing a Queer Dance Party tonight. Pure jubilance. pic.twitter.com/GrJAgvSZBh

— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) January 19, 2017

If this video of @werkforpeace organizer Firas Nasr leading the protest doesn't make you want to become a political organizer, nothing will. pic.twitter.com/tBHiRMOsa4

— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) January 19, 2017

"This is our dance party!" @werkforpeace @DisruptJ20 @postlocal #wewilldance pic.twitter.com/w813pW6A9x

— Victoria St. Martin (@VStMartin) January 19, 2017

Dance protest has arrived - now dancing a half a block from Mike Pence's rental house. Were chanting "Daddy Pence, come dance" pic.twitter.com/kaUEbUXxAC

— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) January 19, 2017

Dance party at Mike's house! Party in the USA @Mike_Pence pic.twitter.com/Zny6gUYnMx

— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) January 19, 2017

Police blockaded the way about a block from Pence's, but stood by calmly. "Just as the police would do in any democratic country." —Nasr pic.twitter.com/YPzLhsmAZz

— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) January 19, 2017

When Pence first rented a home in D.C., his neighbors protested his arrival by hanging up rainbow flags. Pence will now move into the Vice President's Residence.

[via Mic]

This pack of 3 extra-long iPhone cables is just $22

Using my iPhone while it's charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I've made.

At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you need from under the bed to behind an office desk. They have MFi certification from Apple, meaning you can charge and sync without worrying about damaging your device. With three included, I keep one at home, one at work, and one in my purse.

For a limited time, get this 3-Pack of 10-ft Lightning Cables for just $22, 75% off the usual price, and never worry about forgetting your charging cable again.

China's private data-brokers will sell you full dossiers on anyone in the country

China is engaged in a bizarre dystopian experiment to use social network ratings to punish political dissidence, "antisocial behavior" and noncomformity, using data pulled from many sources, including purchases on China's major ecommerce networks like Alibaba; but you don't have to be the Chinese government to spy on people with an extraordinary degree of creepy precision: for a very small amount of money, China's private data-brokers will let you spy on anyone in the country.

See a fantastically strange red seadragon on video for the first time

Scientists declared the ruby seadragon a new species in 2015, but that was based on dead specimens in a museum. Now though, Scripps Institution of Oceanography biologist Greg Rouse who led the team that originally discovered the species, managed to find two of the wonderful fish swimming around the Recherche Archipelago, off the south coast of Western Australia. Each one is about 10 feet long. Just kidding. They're 10 inches long. From National Geographic:

After four dives with a remote-controlled mini-submarine, they managed to film two ruby seadragons more than 167 feet underwater, as the fish swam through rocky gardens of sponges and nibbled at their prey, most likely tiny crustaceans called mysids...

...The footage confirms that ruby seadragons use a different means of camouflage than its closest relatives. Common and leafy seadragons are covered in leafy outgrowths meant to camouflage the fish as they swim through seagrasses. The ruby seadragon, however, lacks them—opting instead for a scarlet body, an efficient way to disguise itself from predators in the dark depths.

Most surprisingly, the video suggests that the ruby seadragon can use its curled tail to grasp objects.

Thinnest-ever electronic tattoos are capable of precision health monitoring

The graphene temporary tattoo seen here is the thinnest epidermal electronic device ever and according to the University of Texas at Austin researchers who developed it, the device can take some medical measurements as accurately as bulky wearable sensors like EKG monitors. From IEEE Spectrum:

Graphene’s conformity to the skin might be what enables the high-quality measurements. Air gaps between the skin and the relatively large, rigid electrodes used in conventional medical devices degrade these instruments’ signal quality. Newer sensors that stick to the skin and stretch and wrinkle with it have fewer airgaps, but because they’re still a few micrometers thick, and use gold electrodes hundreds of nanometers thick, they can lose contact with the skin when it wrinkles. The graphene in the Texas researchers’ device is 0.3-nm thick. Most of the tattoo’s bulk comes from the 463-nm-thick polymer support.

The next step is to add an antenna to the design so that signals can be beamed off the device to a phone or computer, says (electrical engineer Deji) Akinwande.

Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker's new Political Objects online anthology with Luc Sante, Lydia Millet, etc.

BB pal Rob Walker says:

My Significant Objects co-conspirator Joshua Glenn and I have started a new adventure: PROJECT:OBJECT will publish four “themed” volumes of stories-about-objects from an all-star cast of writers. Volume 1, POLITICAL OBJECTS launched today, with stories from Luc Sante, Lydia Millet, and Ben Greenman. This series will continue on HiLobrow through Q1 (with a bunch clustered around Inauguration Day.) Then a new volume with a new theme will launch in April, etc.

The POLITICAL OBJECTS stories are here.

And here’s the once-a-week email newsletter we’ll use to distribute links to new stories in the year ahead.

Good deal on the FryDaddy electric deep fryer

I paid $22 for my FryDaddy electric deep fryer, but it's on sale on Amazon for $17 (free Prime shipping) right now. This thing is awesome -- I use it a couple of times a week to fry sweet potato, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts chips. (Here's the coconut oil I use with it.)

Lately I've been frying very thinly cut slices of butternut squash. It's a bit tricky, because for five minutes it doesn't look like anything is happening, then suddenly the slices begin to brown, and about a minute later, they start to burn. There's a 30-second window where they are perfectly browned and on the edge of being crispy and chewy. With a little salt, they are one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. I'll shoot a video soon.

How the Chinese government fabricates social media posts for strategic distraction

The Chinese government "fabricates and posts about 448 million social media comments a year," according to a study conducted by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California San Diego.

The Chinese government has long been suspected of hiring as many as 2,000,000 people to surreptitiously insert huge numbers of pseudonymous and other deceptive writings into the stream of real social media posts, as if they were the genuine opinions of ordinary people. Many academics, and most journalists and activists, claim that these so-called “50c party” posts vociferously argue for the government’s side in political and policy debates. As we show, this is also true of the vast majority of posts openly accused on social media of being 50c. Yet, almost no systematic empirical evidence exists for this claim, or, more importantly, for the Chinese regime’s strategic objective in pursuing this activity. In the first large scale empirical analysis of this operation, we show how to identify the secretive authors of these posts, the posts written by them, and their content. We estimate that the government fabricates and posts about 448 million social media comments a year. In contrast to prior claims, we show that the Chinese regime’s strategy is to avoid arguing with skeptics of the party and the government, and to not even discuss controversial issues. We infer that the goal of this massive secretive operation is instead to distract the public and change the subject, as most of the these posts involve cheerleading for China, the revolutionary history of the Communist Party, or other symbols of the regime. We discuss how these results fit with what is known about the Chinese censorship program, and suggest how they may change our broader theoretical understanding of “common knowledge” and information control in authoritarian regimes.

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