Hitler's drug habit wilder than widely known


I love reading about all the drugs Hitler was on and the implication that his insane medical treatments made him even crazier and nastier than he otherwise was. Andrea Maurer takes a deep dive into the "High Hitler" story and finds it to be even more disturbing than popularly understood. Read the rest

Terrible pickup lines from around the world


"Is your father a terrorist? Because you are the bomb."

Guys, just stop. Stop. [via Digg] Read the rest

Eternal September and the broadening of horizons

Illo: Brad

"Eternal September" refers to the Internet as it has been since 1993, when AOL began providing access to USENET. The flood of newbies made the newsgroups feel like the first month of school—but this time, the flood never ceased. Though USENET is a thing of the past, Jason Koebler remembers what it felt like to be a member of a group that saw itself as a deserving incumbent elite, but wasn't really any of those things.

"My memories of early 90s Usenet are of a vibrant, enlightened world of serious discourse. But I was a confused arrogant geek in my early 20s, so that's mostly heavy rose-tinting and confirmation bias," Fischer said. "When you're deeply immersed in an elitist clique, it often feels like you're in an open welcoming community. From your perspective, everything's great."

"People look back on it like it was some kind of CyberAthens," he added.

It wasn’t, of course.

The same techniques used to exclude and assimilate outsiders are still in use. Now, as then, they're failing under the sheer weight of numbers. Read the rest

No, we did not count lawn ornaments in deer tally: Wisconsin


Wisconsin officials have responded to a rumor that they included the state's myriad of charming lawn ornaments in the annual count of deer: No, no we did not.

Reuters reports that the hoax was refuted this week by the Department of Natural Resources.

It was not immediately clear who wrote the letter, which directs residents to "Act NOW!" but the culprit used the department's letterhead and signed it as department's deputy secretary, Kurt Thiede.

The DNR had posted its response to Facebook, including a copy of the letter.

DISPELLING A HOAX Several of you have contacted us regarding a document that appears to be a letter (pictured here) from DNR asking people to remove concrete deer ornaments from their yards. This letter is a fake. It was not crafted, nor distributed by DNR. DNR is not asking the public to remove concrete deer ornaments or any other lawn ornaments from their yard.

The letter, on convincingly shabby state letterhead, reads: "To the citizens of Wisconsin, please remove any concrete deer ornaments from your lawn by November 1, 2015. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will be conducting a state-wide deer count and some yard ornaments may have been counted over the past two years by mistake."

Read the rest

Let Edward Scissorhands come home

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Jon Hendren, @fart, was mistakenly summoned onto Headline News instead of journalist John Hendren, to talk about whistleblower Ed Snowden. He talked about Edward Scissorhands instead. The clueless, scripted anchor didn't seem to notice the difference. Read the rest

Last chance to grab gorgeous Wendy Pini art book


Though famous as the co-creator and illustrator of Elfquest, artist Wendy Pini's career stretches from 1960s zines to cyber-horror, with many strange and wonderful detours along the way. A kickstarter campaign is ending later today for three art books about her career, and I'd like to bring your attention to the one that isn't going to have (many) elves in it.

Line of Beauty: The Art of Wendy Pini, a massive, deluxe hardback volume , is yours for a $50 pledge. Not everything in it will be Omni-esque retro space fantasy like the above and the below, but I'm hoping for rather a lot of that.

Only 500 signed and numbered copies will be printed, by art book publisher Flesk: 306 pages, 9x12 inches, with "premium quarter binding with special onlaid plate on the front cover boards with slipcase."

The Kickstarter's already surpassed its goals, but this is going to be the best of the set and it's not getting quite the same attention as the other two volumes on offer.

Adds Elfquest co-creator Richard Pini: "This is stuff either no-one has ever seen, or hasn't been seen in over 30 years, and never in print."

Here's the official blurb:

The term “line of beauty” describes, in one sense, a certain way of arranging lines and shapes in a drawing or painting to suggest motion, dynamic balance and grace. But in a deeper sense it can also speak to the visionary spirit that drives the creation of a piece of artwork.
Read the rest

The spectacular marketing blunders of Lime Crime, the "most-hated" cosmetic company on the 'net


Lime Crime, a cosmetic line that's accused of repackaging cheap generic products and infamous for threatening people who give it bad reviews, is the subject of a gripping profile by Arabelle Sicardi.

Born from the primordial pixels of Livejournal, the amount of internet drama here is breathtaking. It's a multidimensional labyrinth of "fake deaths, Nazi costumes, legal threats against 13 year-old girls, hacker attacks, class action lawsuits, FDA warnings, credit card fraud, cold sores, and questionably named eyeshadow palettes."

Lime Crime's marketing blunders are most spectacular, combining the sanctimonious insensitivity of a fashion house with the mediocrity of an internet rebrandeur.

Trouble came around again when Lime Crime launched the China Doll palette in 2012. You can imagine the reactions they received when they used a white model to portray a fantasy of Chinese beauty — particularly given that the model is wearing Japanese garments rather than traditional Chinese qipao. The palette description read:

"Don't let her milky skin, pouty mouth and flushed cheeks fool you, underneath the poised facade, there lies a heart of a tigress."

They did not issue an apology for their Asian fantasy — they apologized that people were offended by it. Which is not precisely the same thing as apologizing for their mistake. In the post, Deere describes cultural appropriation as "cultural exchange," and says it is vital to ending racism.

Here is a low-res photo of the proprietor dressed as Hitler for Halloween.

Cool enough for Sephora and Urban Outfitters.

Update: A media director from StatusLabs, an online reputation management service, asked us to update this post with a response to it on behalf of Lime Crime, which we're happy to do. Read the rest

Map of businesses with puntastic names

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Atlas Obscura and Digg have generated an incredible interactive map of punnish-named businesses, neatly organized by category.

The pain mixed with pleasure of, say, something as evocative as Hannah and Her Scissors, or something as plainly wrong as A Shoe Grows in Brooklyn surrounds us. After picking through duplicates, over 1,900 businesses made the map, which we think makes it the most complete pun business name map in the world.

There isn't, to my eye, any discernible concentration to set the map apart from population density and the well-known "resort bonus" increasing the numbers of restaurants and bars on coastlines. Which is to say, everyone in America's vast cultural tapestry are yet equal offenders when it comes to puns.

Be sure to filter by editors' choice. For example, "Floral and Hardy," an Oklahoma City florist, and "What Were You Inking?" a tattoo-removal specialist in Denver. Read the rest

Young people will pay for entertainment, but not news


A study of so-called Millennials (born since around 1980) ranks the things they actually give money for on the internet. News is at the bottom. At the top: entertainment such as movies, TV, music(!) and games.

Poynter's Rick Edmonds:

The findings come from the Media Insight Project, a joint initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Research at the University of Chicago. The researchers surveyed 1045 millennials in January and February of this year, supplemented by focus groups.

The survey found 77 percent had paid in the last year for movies and television, 69 percent for cable, 54 percent for music and 51 percent for video games. Roughly 30 percent had paid for print magazine or newspaper subscriptions. Adding in various digital options, 53 percent pay for some sort of news.

Even among those who say keeping up with news is important to them, only half pay for content, the rest getting what they need free. And even among those who do pay, the largest source of news is free service like Facebook or Google.

What's remarkable about this study is that it was paid for by newspapers, which presumably hoped not to see its rather brutal result. Read the rest

Alien schoolkid studies primitive human ruins in affecting short film

buddha statue

"They even ended up creating their own open-source religion," the creature says, charmed but desponded about the mysterious vanished species. "But in the end, they lacked something."

Creator Loïc bramoullé:

Strange alloy is my second self produced short film. It's based on images I shot during my trip to Myanmar in december 2014 and the production took 2 month and a half at Supamonks Studio in Paris.

It stars Morgan Hammel as the alien kid and features music by Thomas Barrandon. There's a making of, too. Read the rest

Commie bus stops were awesome


Wired has a nice article up today about bus stops built in the Soviet Union, as photographed by Chris Herwig. Some of them look beautiful, some of them look like dead robots, and some look positively dangerous to be under.

Photographer Christopher Herwig first discovered the unusual architecture of Soviet-era bus stops during a 2002 long-distance bike ride from London to St. Petersburg. Challenging himself to take one good photograph every hour, Herwig began to notice surprisingly designed bus stops on otherwise deserted stretches of road. Twelve years later, Herwig had covered more than 18,000 miles in 14 countries of the former Soviet Union, traveling by car, bike, bus and taxi to hunt down and document these bus stops.

The local bus stop proved to be fertile ground for local artistic experimentation in the Soviet period, and was built seemingly without design restrictions or budgetary concerns. The result is an astonishing variety of styles and types across the region, from the strictest Brutalism to exuberant whimsy.

The book, Soviet Bus Stops, is available from Amazon and elsewhere.

Read the rest

Forget the Tea Party: the future of the right is weird as hell


When you think of the right wing of American politics, your thoughts perhaps scan a spectrum of things that are at least vaguely associated with this and the last centuries. The "neoreaction" is something else — a "fever swamp of feudal misogynists, racist programmers and 'fascist teenage dungeon masters' gathering on subreddits to await the collapse of Western civilization."

We should take this a bit more seriously than we are, writes Park MacDougald. Maybe.

As the twenty-first century gets darker, politics are likely to follow suit, and for all its apparent weirdness, neoreaction may be an early warning system for what a future anti-democratic right looks like. So what is neoreaction, then, exactly? For all the talk of neo-feudalism and geeks for monarchy, it’s less a single ideology than a loose constellation of far-right thought, clustered around three pillars: religious traditionalism, white nationalism, and techno-commercialism (the names are self-explanatory). This means heavy spoonfuls of “race realism,” misogyny, and nostalgia for past hierarchies, leavened with transhumanism and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Unsurprisingly, they don’t always get along.

MacDougald's is a long essay on some of the luminaries of the movement, particularly Nick Land, and well-worth twenty minutes of your time.

The "proles" of the movement, as Land apparently calls them, look much like the disillusioned dreamers who used to drift into sects, cults and factional "closed systems" such as Objectivism and Scientology. But now all the quasi-private spaces are going away, and you can hear them thinking, they can see you listening, and everyone feels one another's breath on their necks. Read the rest

Model predicts broken fire alarms


New Orleans' city analytics team wanted a computer model that predicts the likelihood any given city block will lack alarm coverage. Enter New York city data experts Enigma, who used public data sets to generate simple predictive maps for cities across the U.S.

25,000 U.S. residents are killed or injured each year in 1 million fires, reports Enigma, which has appealed for more local governments to upload their data.

Flowing Data summarizes the methodology:

To develop the model, they used data from the American Housing Survey and American Community Survey, both conducted by the Census Bureau, as the seed of their solution. The former asks residents if they have a working smoke alarm, which makes it seem straightforward to build a model, but it's only at the city level. Not useful for on-the-ground workers. The task required block-level information.

As you can see above, Pittsburgh is basically one inaccurately-flicked cigarette away from going completely up in flames. Read the rest

Woman banned from parks after pinching policeman's bottom


"The officer was shocked and had cause to arrest her," writes the unbylined author of The Shields Gazzette's report on the arrest of Louise Richards, alleged boob flasher and assaulter of police.

Richards was banned from the area's public parks after reportedly shouting “You fancy me, don’t you” and pinching the right buttock of an officer at North Marine Park in South Shields, near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. She was charged with and has admitted sexual touching without consent.

Mrs Bellamy said: “The victim was one of four police officers called to North Marine Park at 2pm on Friday, August 21 to reports of a group of males and females being rowdy in the park.

“Richards was one of those present and the officer had cause to search her. She lifted her top and flashed her breasts.

“She was warned about her behaviour and told members of the public and families were in the park.

“Richards approached the officer and said ‘You fancy me, don’t you?’.”

She said the officer began to walk away, but Richards grabbed their right buttock and squeezed it.

[via Arbroath] Read the rest

The paradox of personal branding


Ann Friedman (41k Twitter followers!) writes on the quixotic, often-futile practice of "personal branding," whereby one tries to intentionally control something that exists only in other people's minds. Read the rest

What's in "natural beef flavor"?

meat pixel art

If a food additive is "generally recognized as safe," food manufacturers do not have to disclose its presence. And there's a lot of bullshit allowed when it comes to marketing. Eater looks into "natural beef flavor" and what it really is.

As you likely suspect, given that McDonalds French Fries are legendarily "natural beef flavored," it doesn't have to contain any beef at all. But the FDA does regulate it.

According to Reineccius, "the flavor in beef is created during the cooking process. Food scientists identified the amino acids found in beef, added some very common sugars — starch hydrolysate — put it in a pot, added some citric acid to drop the pH, controlled moisture content, and heated it to the same temperature as meat. Then...*poof* we have meat flavor." As a result, that "natural beef flavor" may actually be vegetarian. Once a flavor is broken down into its basic chemical components, scientists can reconstruct it and add one food's flavor to another, creating that umami-like, "meaty" taste without the beef.

Here's a meaty mix for you: Read the rest

How to break into a Brinks lockbox in seconds


We already know that Brinks' computerized safes can be hacked within a minute, but did you know their traditional lockboxes are even easier to get into?

YouTuber jcazes provides instructions, complete with all the exhaustive details required to understand Brinks' intricate mechanism.

Step 1: Insert a paperclip, applying vertical tension Step 2: turn the paperclip Step 3: laugh

Read the rest

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