Trees "eating" things

treeating

My new favorite subreddit is r/TreesSuckingOnThings, a growing collection of photos of trees growing slowly to encase and envelope signs, railings, motorcycles and other things attached or adjacent to them.

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The other candidates photoshopped to have Trump's weird orange tan

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The brilliant Jen Lewis, having untanned Trump to ghastly effect, writes that she "had another terrible thought." This time, she tried her hand at photoshopping his presidential rivals so that they have tans just like his. The results are nasty, as you'd expect, but not quite as nasty as the Flame-faced Fuckwit of Fifth Avenue. Read the rest

Obama to declare Stonewall Inn the first national monument to LGBT rights

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The Associated Press reports that the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of America's most fabulous protest, will become the first national monument to LGBT rights in the U.S.

The gritty tavern, known colloquially as the Stonewall, became a catalyst for the gay rights movement after police raided it on June 28, 1969. Bar-goers fought back, and many more joined in street protests over the following days in an uprising widely credited as the start of large-scale gay activism in New York and around the word. Annual pride parades in hundreds of cities commemorate the rebellion.

The White House declined to comment. Yet Obama has paid tribute to the site before, most notably in his second inaugural address in 2013. In what's believed to be the first reference to gay rights in an inaugural address, Obama said the principle of equality still guides the U.S. "just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."

Tweet tip! Things that Stonewall was not:

• The birthplace of gay rights. • A "gay" riot. • Cornfed straight-acting country boys fixing the city. Read the rest

Angel turns out to be inflatable sex doll

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Police in Indonesia investigating reports of an "angel" in a remote village discovered not a supernatural avatar of God's will but a blow-up doll. A fisherman found it floating around after a rare solar eclipse and, well, it's a mistake anyone could make: "The timing of the discovery led some to believe the doll had a divine provenance. They have no internet, they don't know what a sex toy is," the AFP quoted a local police chief as saying. Read the rest

Mrs. Doubtfire screen tests

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Robin Williams in drag and oldface doing his strikingly-talented thing. It's more unsettling than the movie; he creates the character as the session goes on, moving from anxiety to action, creepy to canny, English to Scottish. Read the rest

Ted Cruz quits Republican race; Trump is presumptive nominee

Illustration: Rob Beschizza

After a brutal thrashing at Donald Trump's hands in Indiana's Republican primary election today, Ted Cruz is calling it quits. Trump, reports the BBC, is now almost certainly the party's nominee for president.

"We left it all in the field in Indiana, and the voters chose another path," he told supporters in Indiana."With a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign."

I'll say one thing about Carly Fiorina, she knows how to get a company to make layoffs when it has to. Read the rest

Explore Don Draper's apartment in 3D

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Archilogic, an online architecture viewer/editor designed to be easier for laypersons to use and share from than Sketchup, is spectacular stuff... at least on a fast computer. You can upload plans and convert them to 3D, move and replace furniture, mess around with the layout, push the results to friends or real estate agents, and so on. Some of the demos posted to the company's blog are fascinating: exploring Don Draper's apartment in the first-person is eerily voyeuristic. An unbuilt Frank Lloyd Wright design is more majestic and less, well, sleazy.

Now do the Overlook Hotel! Read the rest

Mapbox: up-to-date satellite imagery

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Google Maps and similar services are most useful, but who has the most recent space footage of your neighborhood? Check out mapbox, a Landsat viewer that tells you when the satellite image you're looking at was taken, and when a new snap is scheduled. The zoom level really isn't useful for anything at a life-lived level – with the exception of recent weather, disasters, etc – but all services should expose metadata like this. Read the rest

Footage of "illegal rave" from 1989

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This footage of an "illegal rave" – UK tabloid-speak for a barn party with chemically-stimulated youths in attendance – is so high-quality it seems like a recreation or out-takes from a movie set. I thought maybe that it's shot on film rather than video, but it looks like video?

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Evidence against Craig Wright being Bitcoin creator

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Infosec consultant Nik Cubrilovic summarizes the evidence for and against Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright's claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the legendary creator of Bitcoin. Cubrilovic comes down hard on Wright.

Wright has a history of fabricating evidence in support of his claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. Despite his claims of not wanting the notoriety or the attention, he is going to a lot of trouble to construct a reality of himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. In the almost 6 months since the first Wired and Gizmodo stories were published he has had ample opportunity to prove conclusively that he is Satoshi, and the protocol and requirements for doing so are well understood and not onerous. They do not require a 10 page blog post with notepad screenshots of shell scripts explaining Linux commands, file formats or OpenSSL. They also do not involve tightly controlled demonstrations in an environment completely under his control. The real creator of Bitcoin would know this.

The burden of proof for anybody claiming to be Nakamoto should be high. In the case of Wright, because of his previous fabrications, that burden is greater. His claims have to be treated with a great amount of skepticism, and his actions treated not as those of a sincere person, but rather as those of a person with a history and reputation for deception. Wright has yet to meet this burden, and until he does, Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto.

The key thing is that it should be easy for Satoshi to meet the evidentiary requirements and no big deal to do so under circumstances controlled by others. Read the rest

Man selling $100,000 collection of 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters

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Craiglist has something wonderful on it: a vast collection of more than 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters, including accessories and marketing literature. Yours for a hundred grand.

My collection consists of over 600 typewriter items including the company's first typewriter in the 1880's to one of the company's last typewriters in 2000's and all models in between, along with all types of items that correspond to the typewriters, including ads, accessories, displays, documents, manuals, photos, shipping crates, etc. Smith Corona's products are beautiful, interesting, unique, colorful, and when displayed, fun to look at.

I collected the typewriters and related items from 44 of the 50 United States, Washington DC, four Canadian provinces and three foreign countries. I only purchased museum quality items, so the collection would make an instant museum. The collection includes many rare and valuable items.

I have decided it is time to sell the collection.

The collection is a nice financial investment that consistently increases in value over time due to a large international typewriter collectors market. The collection will only increase in value over time.

More pics at the listing!

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Craig Wright says he can prove he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi, but eyes roll

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Long a prime suspect and claimant to the title, Australian entrepreneur and programmer Craig Wright outed himself Monday morning as the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency. "Satoshi is dead," he writes, producing early cryptographic keys associated with Satoshi as evidence.

The BBC reports that Wright has provided it other proof to back up his claim, such as using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator.

Prominent members of the Bitcoin community and its core development team have also confirmed Mr Wright's claim. Renowned cryptographer Hal Finney was one of the engineers who helped turn Mr Wright's ideas into the Bitcoin protocol, he said. "I was the main part of it, but other people helped me," he said.

Mr Wright said he planned to release information that would allow others to cryptographically verify that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. Soon after Mr Wright went public, Gavin Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, published a blog backing his claim.

"I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin," he wrote. Jon Matonis, an economist and one of the founding directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, said he was convinced that Mr Wright was who he claimed to be.

The Economist, however, reports that skepticism will prevail for a little while yet. And Reddit's r/BitCoin subreddit appears to be mostly unimpressed by the claim, with one rather technical post that purports to debunk the cryptographic evidence Wright offered.

Wired thought it was Wright last year, but later decided he was probably part of long con to get people to think he was the brain behind bitcoin. Read the rest

Medieval music recreated and performed for the first time in 1000 years

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'Songs of Consolation,' performed at Pembroke College Chapel in Cambridge last month, was the first airing in a 1000 years of a medieval tune the way it would have been.
...reconstructed from neumes (symbols representing musical notation in the Middle Ages) and draws heavily on an 11th century manuscript leaf that was stolen from Cambridge and presumed lost for 142 years... Hundreds of Latin songs were recorded in neumes from the 9th through to the 13th century. These included passages from the classics by Horace and Virgil, late antique authors such as Boethius, and medieval texts from laments to love songs. However, the task of performing such ancient works today is not as simple as reading and playing the music in front of you. 1,000 years ago, music was written in a way that recorded melodic outlines, but not ‘notes’ as today’s musicians would recognise them; relying on aural traditions and the memory of musicians to keep them alive. Because these aural traditions died out in the 12th century, it has often been thought impossible to reconstruct ‘lost’ music from this era – precisely because the pitches are unknown.

They believe they've pieced together about 80-90% of the melodies. The performers are Benjamin Bagby, Hanna Marti and Norbert Rodenkirchen. Here's more:

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Anker's PowerHouse is the biggest "portable" power pack yet

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We're huge fans of portable power gadgets, but this one isn't going in my pocket to help me keep my phone topped up after lunch. Anker's Powerhouse is the size and weight of a concrete construction brick, and at $500 and 120,000mAh, by far their largest power pack yet. It'll charge your laptop 15 times over, power CPAP machines and broadcast video cameras, and double as a bear club should a camping trip go awry. There's multiple USB ports, a 12v car socket and mains power.

Jeff Beck already got one and quite likes it.

I'm very impressed with this device. It is extremely well-built, functions just as advertised, and is quite good-looking on top of all that. It worked to recharge every phone and tablet I threw at it, in addition to a lot of the smaller electronic items in my home. While the USB ports are not QC compatible, they still delivered a fairly quick charge to my wife's Sony Z3. Besides, if I wanted a faster charge I only needed to plug in a QC car charger into the 12V outlet and I'd be in business.

I had a lot of fun trying the Powerhouse out with a variety of household electronics. It did just fine powering a small stereo, my bedside lamp, and even my 50 inch Sony TV. Higher voltage appliances, like our toaster and blender, or my wife's blow dryer (she was hoping to be able to use it while camping) were too much for the little guy.

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How to become the biggest worm in Slither.io

slither.io

Joel Johnson describes An Aggressor's Strategy to Slither.io, the snake-meets-lightcycles game that everyone plays on the internet.

Using these tactics I can get over 5,000 almost every time I play within 1–2 minutes, regularly crest 10,000, and have touched the top of the leaderboard at least once a day. Of course, I die a lot with only 100 points, too, because of a bad turn or bad luck. The constant looming fear of death is what makes Slither.io a great respite from life’s worries. Oh, I usually name myself “Don’t Tread.” If you kill me, let me know, so I can hunt you down in another life.

I've made it to 50k, so can speak with some authority when I say that even advanced players would do well to learn "The Cross" or, as we call it in Snakefleet, the Johnson Maneuver.

Previously: What if Slither.io was a text adventure Read the rest

New UK power station to be "most expensive object on earth"

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At an estimated $35bn lifetime cost, the new Hinkley C nuclear power station will be more expensive than any other civil engineering project on planet Earth, reports the BBC. The astronomical costs are disputed, but even the government's own figures put it at $25bn.

For that sum you could build a small forest of Burj Khalifas - the world's tallest building, in Dubai, cost a piffling £1bn ($1.5bn). You could also knock up more than 70 miles of particle accelerator. The 17-mile-long Large Hadron Collider, built under the border between France and Switzerland to unlock the secrets of the universe, cost a mere £4bn ($5.8bn). The most expensive bridge ever constructed is the eastern replacement span of the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco, designed to withstand the strongest earthquake seismologists would expect within the next 1,500 years. That cost about £4.5bn ($6.5bn).

Even the Great Pyramid would cost less than a billion to make, now, and require only a few hundred workers. But there is one man-made object pricier than a new nuclear power station in a western democracy: the international space station, alleged to have cost more than $100bn.

The deal seems strangely shady for something so obviously controversial: driven by political wrangling, with building costs offset to France and the project financed by China in return for a promise that the UK will pay twice the going rate for the electricity -- so expensive that onshore wind farms are cheaper. Even environmentalists OK with nuclear think the idea of a single vast plant powering an entire region is an outdated nightmare in the making. Read the rest

What's inside a fake Cuban cigar?

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"Oh my God, this thing stinks," says Cigar Obsession's Bryan Glynn.

The wrapper is decent and the bands real, but it smells like a wet campfire and is constructed like a wet paper towel. Then you get to see what's inside it... Read the rest

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