King Tut had chronic medical problems, but his beard falling off wasn't one of them


King Tut died young during times of trouble for Egypt, making his death a mystery spanning thousands of years. Though some earlier scans hinted at the possibility of foul play, a recent "digital autopsy" confirmed the teenage Pharaoh was a walking bag of medical problems.

…it would have been impossible for the king to have died while riding a chariot, as has been previously thought.

"We concluded it would not be possible for him, especially with his partially clubbed foot, as he was unable to stand unaided."

Scientists believe genetics and inherited diseases played a role in Tut's bad health because of inbreeding. A genetic analysis of his family's mummies suggests that his parents were siblings.

But the final insult came last year when eight museum workers botched a cleaning of the King's legendary mask: his beard fell off and they stuck it back on with a big ol' glob of gorilla glue. Then they tried to scratch off the glue, damaging the artifact itself.

The workers now face discliplinary charges.

“In an attempt to cover up the damage they inflicted, they used sharp instruments such as scalpels and metal tools to remove traces of the glue on the mask, causing damage and scratches that remain,” the statement said. The accused officials have been suspended from their jobs and now face possible dismissal and heavy fines, but they will not go to prison.

The scratches to the mask will not be visible to most visitors, according to Monica Hanna, an archaeologist and a member of Egypt’s Heritage Task Force, an initiative to protect the nation’s cultural heritage.

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Donald Rumsfeld is a video game developer now


Churchill Solitaire is a card game for iOS that comes from an unexpected source: former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Inspired by a version of the game played by British war leader Winston Churchill, the game is free of charge and adheres to Rumsfeld's preference for minimalism and flat design, as seen in the post-2003 architecture of various Iraqi neighborhoods.

The Wall Street Journal reports that it's likely "the only videogame developed by an 83-year-old man using a Dictaphone to record memos for the programmers." Read the rest

Yosemite Sarah Palin


In it to win it. Read the rest

Deluxe Snorting Kit is not for cocaine

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Described literally as "Deluxe Snorting Kit - Not For Cocaine," this olfactory equipment will enable hours of snorting pleasure.

But not, however, if you are snorting cocaine.

Mike Wehner found this and several more items on Amazon that are certainly not for snorting cocaine. Read the rest

LED jump rope shows fitness data in thin air


Smart Rope [via] is an "LED-embedded jump rope that displays your fitness data in mid-air as you work out." The four characters it creates appear even in bright rooms and it has handles that look like sleek, high-end vibrators. If you have a smartphone, it all hooks up and you can track the data and do whatever else fitness gadget people do with their apps. It costs $90 and comes in silver, gold and black, with various rope length options.

Here's some footage illustrating (if perhaps not depicting) the LEDs in action…

Here's the ad: Read the rest

Listen to Darwintunes: random music evolving its way to beauty


Darwintunes are short musical loops that mutate and evolve as listeners vote: "the higher rated loops get to have sex and have baby loops which form the next generation, to be rated, have sex, have babies and so on."

The examples given start out as warbly bursts of random noise. A hundred generations in, and it sounds like kids fooling around with water-filled bottles.

Five-hundred in, chords emerge. A thousand mutations in and melodies and rhythm are present…

Three-thousand, and drums and textures seem weirdly to emerge from the deep.

Eight-thousand generations down the line, and we have something simple and magical…

It's a wonderful example of a simple idea: that apparent design shows up fast, and the "designs" are often lovely.

This process, repeated for fifty thousand years, has given us all that we make, say and do; it is the process of "cultural evolution". However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. For example, how important is human creative input compared to audience selection? Is progress smooth and continuous or step-like? We set up DarwinTunes as a test-bed for the evolution of music, the oldest and most widespread form of culture; and, thanks to your participation, we've shown that reasonably complex and pleasing music can evolve purely under selection by listeners.

Check out the full set below. [via r/internetisbeautiful]

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Listen to David Bowie impersonate Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and others


A tape has emerged of David Bowie doing impressions of other singers, apparently on-demand.

Slate made a playlist.

Here’s the order of the impressions, as best as we can tell:

0:00 Bruce Springsteen 0:49 Bob Dylan or Marc Bolan? 1:45 Tom Waits 2:29 Lou Reed 3:25 Anthony Newley 4:13 Iggy Pop 5:14 Neil Young

"I'm just fuckin' about now."

They're pretty good, but they're all David! Read the rest

14 "lost" films still to be found

london after midnight
The discovery of a 16mm print of Pages of Death means that Gambit Magazine's 15 lost films is now merely 14 lost films. But that leaves plenty of missing classics left to discover, including Batman fights Dracula and, of course, London After Midnight.

This 1927 silent horror film was based on the short story “The Hypnotist” by Tod Browning who also happened to direct this film adaptation. The film is noted for starring Lon Chaney with the makeup used for his vampire character being done by himself. The film was a success upon its release by MGM, but all prints have been lost to time. The film is considered to be the most famous and sought after lost film of all time, with Turner Classic Movies airing a reconstructed version of the film using the original script as well as actual production stills.

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Watch Pages of Death, the long-lost anti-porn public information film

pages of death

Oregon Historical Society has posted Pages of Death, a "long-lost" anti-pornography movie in similar vein to the legendary Reefer Madness: "These kids can pick up girly magazines and sex-violence stuff all over town!"

It was released in 1962, much later than most of those propaganda exploitation flicks. If it was already old-fashioned at the time it came out, that fact might not be obvious to present-day viewers.

The blurb follows… Read the rest

The Force is with this beautiful short Star Wars fan movie


Kara, protected by her father, stumbles through the sands of Jakku as a dogfight erupts overhead. Where is she headed? Joe Sill's fan movie is trim, affecting and very well-made. The performances are good enough to make me wonder, just a little, why the official Star Wars movies have to be so stagey. [via] Read the rest

10% of college grads think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court


Judith Sheindlin, a television entertainer and former family court judge, is believed to be a member of the Supreme Court of the United States of America by ten percent of college graduates.

The poll, conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in August 2015 but released in January 2016, concluded from the 1,000 surveyed that college graduates "are alarmingly ignorant of America's history and heritage."

The survey also found 28.4% of college graduates correctly identify the father of the Constitution as James Madison. About 59% of college students surveyed believe the father of the Constitution was Thomas Jefferson, who was actually the principal writer for the Declaration of Independence.

Next they'll be telling me that Andre Romelle Young isn't the Surgeon General. Read the rest

2015's worst password was 123456


SplashData's report on the most commonly-used passwords finds a number of traditional disastrously bad choices performing well: "123456" comes out on top, followed by "password".

Other popular choices this year were sports, like "football" and "baseball." And "starwars," a newcomer to the list, ranked as the 25th most popular breached password, probably thanks to excitement over the release of the newest movie in the franchise.

Passwords are the banes of our increasingly online lives: Nearly everything we sign up for needs a password, and creating a secure one can be a pain. Even when we come up with a good one, we always need more because reusing passwords can leave us exposed if a service we use gets breached.

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GOP strategist says Trump supporters are "childless single men who masturbate to anime"


Republican strategist Rick Wilson, appearing on MSNBC, spoke thusly last night of the online contingent of Trump's racist, sexist support base: "childless single men who masturbate to anime".

The growing association between the Alt Right and anime (previously: how anime avatars became a warning) is pretty weird, isn't it?

The "sociology" seems obvious—a generation of angry, badly-socialized adolescent men letting their nerddom and sexuality curdle in public—but that's the too-easy answer. .video-container { position: relative; padding:0; height: auto; overflow: auto; margin-bottom: 1em; Read the rest

50 Shades of Mr. Bean


This perfectly-edited mashup of 50 Shades of Gray and Mr. Bean has it all: lust, submission, and ill-fitting tweed. Read the rest

Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump and it got weird


The tenor of her announcement, and of the American right in general, is perfectly summed up by this Vine video:

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Stephen Hawking on the ways humanity could destroy itself


A top list with a difference comes courtesy of physicist Stephen Hawking, who has helpfully enumerated some of the more likely ways humankind might wipe itself from existence. Read the rest

Real-time fractal zoomer on the web

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Following up on yesterday's fractal fun, here's a real-time fractal zoomer on the web.

Use the arrow keys to pan, A and Z keys to zoom, S and X keys to change the threshold.

It's by Jonathan Alpers, using WebGL and Three.js, and was featured on Chrome Experiments in November. Read the rest

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