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Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com  

Ant City

antcity This log, spotted in Ohio's Hocking Hills park, has prior occupants.

Google purges some 200 bad Chrome extensions

The BBC: "Many of these extensions have hidden extras."

Shredder is lonely

Behind the mask, why does no-one ask, how Shredder feels? [via Laughing Squid]

x 2015-04-07 at 11.57.35 AM

Rain releases aerosols (and it's beautiful)

High-speed video of falling droplets releasing petrichor, a key ingredient of the distinctive post-rainfall scent.

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The world's "most dangerous trail"

x 2015-04-07 at 11.25.20 AM The good news: it's open again. The bad news: they made it safer. [via]

Facebook and depression

150406144600-large "Linked". Is Facebook making us depressed, or does depression lead us to Facebook? Or the lure of contact that turns out to be merely the measure of ourselves against others' activities and accomplishments?

Salt may not be as bad for you as suspected

salt

I just shovel salt into my mouth like some kind of alien monster, so this is good news to me.

Walmart's $150 Chromebook not awful, say reviewers

k2-_8d372c8c-01b4-4d04-a02f-805a6a72063d.v2 HiSense's amazingly cheap laptop is "a good, basic experience that doesn’t feel as slow as some past ARM Chromebooks have," writes Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica. PC World agrees, writing that "it is now possible to buy an adequate computer for $149, a cash outlay many people can afford."

Matt Weinberger thinks that the design is surprisingly sleek for a low end machine "that's far more than I could have asked for" given the price.

CNET's Sarah Mitroff warns that the keys feel mushy, but says it's a promising pick for people who just want the cheapest decent laptop going.

One downside is that there's only one place you can get it.

Minimalist landscape maps

1423761014191 Michael Pecirno created a set of "minimalist maps" each showing the density of just one thing in the U.S. [via FlowingData]

Turkey blocks Twitter and YouTube

_82143543_026568101-1 The BBC reports that the courts want to prevent the spread of photos from last week's deadly siege which ended in the deaths of two terrorists and their hostage.

How to make virtual worlds more convincing

Video games often feature expansive worlds to explore. But a combination of rigid structure and bland surface randomness leaves them wanting for depth and meaning. A company named Improbable wants to fix this.

Virtual worlds will no longer feel as if they’re built of “cardboard,” says Improbable’s CEO and cofounder, Herman Narula. Moreover, using Improbable’s technology, objects and entities will be able to remain in the virtual world persistently, even when there are no human players around (currently, most virtual worlds essentially freeze when unoccupied). And actions taken in one corner of a game could have implications later or in another place.+

Virtual worlds are already often expansive. The procedurally generated game No Man’s Sky, for example, presents a virtual galaxy that is too large for any human to fully explore within his or her lifetime (see “No Man’s Sky: A Vast Game Created by Algorithms”). But even if we are awed by the sprawl of their geography, the complexity of such worlds is limited by hardware and software limitations.

Worlds Adrift is the flagship game in development using the system.

I'm eager to see this in action. The price of increased complexity and realism is often a counterproductive uncanniness, a finer level of detail that firmly reminds the observer of how far it remains from reality.

Making simple worlds more convincing? I enjoy it when generative techniques are reserved for nature, "man-made" stuff such as cities or buildings are designed by hand, and when much of the world remains inaccessible, an imagination-triggering mystery.

Elite: Dangerous "the best damn spaceship game I’ve ever played"

HighResScreenShot_2015-03-07_22-41-33-980x551

It's a big, incomplete mess, but so is Minecraft, and Elite 4 just happens to be an incredibly good game, writes Lee Hutchison.

To find Elite: Dangerous a good game, you have to like what it is: the greatest "I feel like I’m flying a spaceship" game that’s ever been made up to this point in the history of computer gaming. Meticulously planning out your trade routes and then hauling cargo for hours at a stretch has to be its own reward. Flying thousands of light years out into the black to see what no human has ever seen has to be its own reward. Blowing up dozens and dozens of criminals to snag their bounties has to be its own reward.

The journey has to be worth it for you, because otherwise, Elite: Dangerous is a monotonous grind-fest with no destination.

Which is exactly what Elite, Frontiers: Elite 2, and Frontier: First Encounters were. Nailed it.

1985 NYT column denounces laptops

Untitled-1 The Internet's making fun of the crushed prognostications in this 1985 denunciation of laptops by Erik Sandberg-Diment. But it's a perceptive explanation of how tech companies trick themselves into believing a broad market exists for immature technology that appeals to early adopters.

John Oliver interviews Edward Snowden

The surveillance state—and the lies told in its defense—boiled down and boiled off by HBO's John Oliver.

On vacation in rural Ohio, found where they keep the racism

alltheracism

Yep, pretty sure this is all of it.

Excuses for not putting a woman on a U.S. banknote

US_$20_1929_Federal_Reserve_Bank_Note "How Hard Would It Be to Change the Face on the $20?" asks Jaime Fuller. All choices, unfortunately, are "bound to cause political tantrums."

The electronic music of tomorrow

linnstrument straight, noaka 8-26-14-crop-u15412Roger Linn invented a brilliant new keyboard, sensitive to touch in three dimensions, for playing electronic music. Wired's Rene Chun covers how the Linnstrument has progressed since its debut.

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