Subreddit mocks cultural gatekeepers

r/gatekeeping is a subreddit dedicated to collecting and mocking examples of gatekeeping in popular culture and fandom: the act of telling you you aren't allowed to like something unless you meet arbitrary or esoteric requirements. Reading some of them makes me think that the "gatekeeping urge" is so fundamentally primal and dumb that gatekeeping call-outs could easily be generated by a computer program to a Poe-complete level. Read the rest

Watch the wrong movie announced as Best Picture Oscar winner, then the right one

Last night, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, forcing an excruciating on-stage reversal as millions watched cast and crew, Oscars in hand, realize they had in fact lost out to Moonlight.

Embedded here is the full clip of the cock-up. It's weird to see the sudden frisson of oh shit activity around the stage immediately after the mistake is made, but translating all too slowly into action. Watch how the news filters quietly from participant to oblivious participant in the background as the speeches proceed.

Pictured here, though, is the startled delight of Moonlight director Barry Jenkins realizing that his movie had, in fact, won the prize. Read the rest

Make your keyboard look like a subway map

SA Metro is a set of keys for mechanical keyboards that form colored subway lines in the classic style of the London Underground map. Three editions are planned, covering staggered, gridded and ergonomic keyboard layouts; to be absolutely clear, it lacks standard legends. If it gets enough votes at Massdrop, it will be manufactured by Signature Plastics.

Read the rest

Britons enjoy bagel on train

In honor of America's appreciation for Britons' intellectual and cultural sophistication, I hereby present this video of some of them enjoying a bagel on a train. Posted by Dougie Stew, it has the dimensions of an epic drama, with a call to action, a threshold guardian, a journey to the cave, and a hero returning clad in the golden fleece. It has everything.

Read the rest

Will the new Nokia 3310 be the Nokia 3310-killer?

As warned last week, Nokia has relaunched its classic 3310 model candybar phone. The good news: it's a pretty little burner that honors and updates the original's design. The bad news: that's the only connection, and it's otherwise a modern dumbphone with no clear picture yet on how well-designed the interface and hardware is. It's not even made by Nokia, but under license. [via Daneel]

The new device is very cute and looks like a sleeker, updated version of the original. HMD Global retained the keypad buttons and the general shape of the old device. On the back, we see a camera. The new phone also has a color display.

As for details about the phone’s specifications and what HMD has done to update a very rudimentary device for the modern world, we didn’t get much. The company spent less than five minutes on the new device, and only rattled off some battery life details: The new 3310 is going to have 22 hours of talk-time (LOL), and one month of standby battery life. But hey, it has Snake and the classic Nokia ringtone. Take my money!

One worriome portent: you can apparently go diagonally in the new version of Snake.

UPDATE: Reader Brian_McNett writes in to point out that the licencee, despite having the banktastic name HMD Global, is stocked to the gills with former Nokia executives and based in Finland. A good sign! Read the rest

New York Times, CNN and other media barred from White House press event

The New York Times reports that it and at least two other media outlets, CNN and Politico, were barred today from a White House press event. Also locked out were the LA Times and Buzzfeed, writes Politico's Dan Diamond.

Journalists from The New York Times and two other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Reporters from The Times, CNN and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed to attend.

It's OK, though: Breitbart got in! Read the rest

Kim Jong-nam was killed with nerve agent

Malaysian authorities revealed that Kim Jong-nam, brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was murdered with VX after being pounced on by assassins at Kuala Lumpur airport.

The finding will add to the increasing evidence suggesting that Kim Jong Un’s regime in North Korea was behindlast week’s brazen and public attack on Kim Jong Nam, which South Korean officials have described as an apparent move by the young North Korean leader to get rid of a potential rival.

The incident, which took place at a busy airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, could also prove to be the final straw in a diplomatic vow between previously friendly Malaysia and North Korea, given that the regime in Pyongyang is now accused of using a certified chemical weapon on Malaysian territory.

As pointless as it may seem to point it out, this stuff is nasty.

VX, or O-ethyl S-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl) methylphosphonothiolate for short, is a colorless liquid nerve agent (not a gas) and a chemical weapon. Drops on the skin can wreak havoc on the nervous system and be enough to kill. VX can poison a person in food and water, or even sprayed as an aerosol—Kim Jong-nam’s assassins wiped it on his face, according to CNN.

The chemical was invented in 1952, by a pair of chemists who discovered it was really good at killing bugs. People soon realized VX would also be good at killing humans. Countries like Russia started synthesizing a slew of other chemically similar “V series” nerve agents, including VR, VE, and so forth.

Read the rest

Tales from the ransomware "support line"

An article at News From the Lab (pdf) has 30 pages of copy from the support chat of a ransomware app: desperate pleas from victims for their files back, or, failing that, discounts on the unlock fee. [via]

Read the rest

Adorable cockroach

Gil Wizen (@Wizentrop) takes amazing macro photographs of animals and plants. Would you have guessed this was a freshly molted Madagascar hissing cockroach? [via Tettix] Read the rest

Swedish town official proposes shag breaks for workers

Municipal employees would enjoy an hourlong paid shag break under proposals mooted by a local official. The latest wonder of Sweden's legendary social system seems contrived to mock puritanial Americans, but The New York Times reports that it's for real.

Noting that “sex is also a great form of exercise and has documented positive effects on well-being,” Mr. Muskos suggested that local municipal employees could use an hour of the workweek already allotted for fitness activities to go home and have sex with their spouses or partners instead. The motion, which is expected to be voted on in the spring, needs a simple majority to be passed by the 31-member council. As of now, opinion on the council is divided.

“We should encourage procreation. I believe that sex is often in short supply. Everyday life is stressful and the children are at home,” Mr. Muskos explained in his motion in Overtornea, a town of about 4,500 in the picturesque and remote Torne Valley. “This could be an opportunity for couples to have their own time, only for each other.”

Read the rest

Punched Nazi Richard Spencer ejected from Conservative conference

Richard Spencer, the American white nationalist guru famous for being punched on camera by an antifascist protestor, was ejected today from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by security guards.

“I’m not welcome on the property?” Spencer asked.

“I’m not going to debate this,” said the guard. “This is private property. They want you off the property.”

After Spencer asked if could stay if he would simply “stay out of trouble,” he said a hashtag — “Free Spencer” — into the cameras, and posed for another photo as he was taken outside.

He attracted attention to himself after walking out during a deranged speech from American Conservative Union director Dan Schneider, who, desperate to distance the movement from Spencer's ilk, had described the Alt Right as a "left-wing" group. Read the rest

Help is an indie sequel to arcade classic Boot Hill

Help is just a prototype, but it's already nearly perfect: in the American west of 1869, hunt down the bandits who've kidnapped your wife, then return her safely home. The controls are simple (walk around with WASD and point and click with the mouse to shoot) and the aesthetic and gameplay add up to an austere but thoroughly modern echo of Boot Hill. Sadly Windows-only. Read the rest

Cockatoo barks like a dog

This umbrella cockatoo is a very good puppo. Read the rest

Off-duty cop drags kid into his yard, draws and fires gun

An off-duty cop got into a fight with a group of children who walked on his lawn, dragged a 13-year-old unarmed boy into his yard, pulled his firearm, then fired a shot. Thankfully, he missed. The incident in Anaheim, California, was captured on camera and has already led to protests.

Christian alleged in the video that the off-duty cop called a girl a "cunt" when telling her to get off his property, and then tackled him first when he stood up for her.

The verbal exchanges led to the off-duty cop dragging the kid towards some bushes. It's unclear from the tape if he ever identified himself as a police officer. "I'd understand if you were a cop, but you're not a cop," Christian told the off-duty officer at one point during the video. One teen came in to shove the man over the bushes after the impasse. Another took a swing but missed. That's when the off-duty cop reached into his waistband and pulled out a gun. The surrounding youth started backing off—and then a shot rang out.

The kid was charged with battery on an officer. KTLA has other footage.

The officer responds that the teen had said he was going to shoot him, and the teen denies that, saying, “I didn’t say that. Why you lying? I said, 'I’m going to sue you.'”

Then the pair tell each other to “get your hands off me.”

“I’m only like 13,” the teen says.

Read the rest

AI learns to write code the old-fashioned way: stealing!

We've all seen the uncanny, not-quite-there art produced by new AIs. Why Matt Reynolds reports on an area computers might be expected to excel at creatively: programming themselves. And this one's doing it the same way humans do, by stealing and remixing.

DeepCoder uses a technique called program synthesis: creating new programs by piecing together lines of code taken from existing software – just like a programmer might. Given a list of inputs and outputs for each code fragment, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired result overall.

“It could allow non-coders to simply describe an idea for a program and let the system build it”

One advantage of letting an AI loose in this way is that it can search more thoroughly and widely than a human coder, so could piece together source code in a way humans may not have thought of. What’s more, DeepCoder uses machine learning to scour databases of source code and sort the fragments according to its view of their probable usefulness.

DeepCoder, make me a point-and-click adventure game featuring Rosicrucians, billionaire perverts and the complete dissolving of all culture by internet-mediated telepathy. Read the rest

Man invents vagina glue for menstruating women to hold in menses, frustratedly explains vaginas to them

Daniel Dopps, a chiropractor, has invented a vaginal glue applied with a lipstick-like device. The idea is to glue one's vagina shut during menstruation, thereby obviating the need for sanitary pads or tampons: he claims that the glue will dissolve and menses thereby released during urination, after which one's vag glue can be reapplied. His product has the rather spectacular name "Mensez," lady consumers are not impressed by any of it, and Dopps is therefore having to explain it to them until they understand.

The superficially feminine stock art over masculine sales concepts really pulls it together. CONTROL IS THE SECRET. LEAKAGE. INFECTION. COMFORT. Read the rest

Picture of Bill O'Reilly complaining about non-experts bloviating on TV

This is doing the rounds invariably attached to the remark "not photoshopped," which leads me to think it must be. Surely old Bill isn't that unselfware? Read the rest

More posts