The surprising spryness of fighters in 15th C armor

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Paris's Musée national du Moyen Âge teamed up with The University of Geneva to make this video demonstrating the fighting techniques available to people in 15th century armor, which are much more fluid and athletic that I had presumed -- turns out you can really move in those tin cans. (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest

Reputation systems work because people are mostly good

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Economist Tim Harford writes about holidaying in prosperous Bavaria, where hotels let you run up bills of €1000+ without a credit-card and all room-keys are stored in a cupboard where any guest can get at them, and asks how this can all work without being destroyed by dishonesty? Read the rest

Europe's banks want to store billions in cash to fight back against negative interest

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The economic orthodoxy of austerity means that governments facing recession can't just spend their way out of it by creating New Deal-like stimulus that gets the economy moving again: instead, they handed trillions to banks and then watched in dismay as the banks failed to lend any of that out to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Read the rest

Neil Gaiman's nonfiction: what makes everything so great

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The View from the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman's mammoth collection of nonfiction essays, introductions, and speeches, is a remarkable explanatory volume in which Gaiman explains not just why he loves the things he loves, but also what makes them great.

Kill Rock Stars president explains why the radio plays the same songs over and over

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Gus the hacker puppeteer writes, "Many of us hoped the Internet would disrupt the music industry along with all other media industries, giving more power -- and more pay -- to musicians and songwriters. And yet, somehow the amount musicians get paid each time their songs stream is a tiny fraction of a cent." Read the rest

People being stabbed in medieval art and lovin' it

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Medieval manuscripts were the imageboards of their day, full of murderous rabbits and lewd butts, a new (to me) subgenre is "people who don't seem to mind that they've just been stabbed" -- perhaps the origin of the Black Knight? Read the rest

Snowden explains the Shadow Brokers/Equation Group/NSA hack

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The news that a group of anonymous hackers claimed to have stolen some of the NSA's most secret, valuable weaponized vulnerabilities and were auctioning them off for bitcoin triggered an epic tweetstorm from Edward Snowden, who sets out his hypothesis for how the exploits were captured and what relation that has to the revelations he made when he blew the whistle on illegal NSA spying in 2013. Read the rest

Amazing, horizontal lightning bolt

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If this was a special effect, we'd call it fakey looking, but apparently it's real lightning, captured in Tampa and posted to Reddit by UnobtrusiveElephant. Read the rest

Hackers claim to have stolen NSA cyberweapons, auctioning them to highest bidder

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The Shadow Brokers, a previously unknown hacker group, has announced that it has stolen a trove of ready-to-use cyber weapons from The Equation Group (previously), an advanced cyberweapons dealer believed to be operating on behalf of, or within, the NSA. Read the rest

What life is like when you really understand advanced mathematics

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An anonymous Quora commenter has written an exhaustive and fascinating response to the question, "What is it like to understand advanced mathematics?" Read the rest

Anti-corruption candidate challenges opponent's billionaire backer to a debate

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Zephyr Teachout (previously) is the anti-corruption candidate in New York's Hudson Valley who raised more than $500K from small-money, Bernie-Sanders-style donors (I was one of them); then vulture fund billionaire Paul Singer gave $500K to the PAC for John Faso, her Republican opponent, catapulting him into contendership. Read the rest

Parents who can't pay the bill for kids' incarceration can still go bankrupt, a US court rules

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When Maria Rivera got a bill from Orange County for her young son's year in juvenile detention, she sold her house to pay for it, but ended up short, and the county got a court order for another $10K to pay the remainder and various fees and penalties. Read the rest

UK Intellectual Property Office grants trademark on "should've"

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The trademark was granted to discount eyewear company Specsavers, whose slogan is "should've gone to Specsavers." If you object, you have until October 12 to file with the IPO. Read the rest

The Greatest of Marlys! is the Lynda Barry book we've been waiting for

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I started reading Lynda Barry's "Ernie Pook's Comeek" in the back pages of NOW Magazine as a teenager, and it is forever linked in my mind with Matt Groening's Life in Hell, which ran on the next page over. Today, Drawn and Quarterly publishes The Greatest of Marlys, the expanded and updated version of the giant collection that, 16 years ago, was the definitive record of one of the most extraordinary comics ever to grace newsprint.

Cards Against Humanity launches a PAC to "drive Trump nuts"

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There are two new CAH decks being marketed by the organization's new PAC: one bearing Trump's likeness, the other with Hillary's. At the end of the sales period, Cards Against Humanity PAC will add up the total sales of each of the America Votes With Cards decks and "depending on the sales" give all the proceeds to the Hillary campaign. Read the rest

John Oliver on subprime auto-lending and its killswitches

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We've been following the trade in remote kill-switches for cars sold to subprime borrowers since 2009, and watched in dismay as they got worse and worse: though John Oliver's report on the billions inflating the subprime auto-lending bubble touches on these, he focuses on the economic factors -- sleaze, corruption, moral hazard -- driving the tech. Read the rest

Parking-ticket bot will now help homeless people get benefits

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Stanford computer science student Joshua Browder, whose DoNotPay bot helps you fight parking tickets in London and New York (it's estimated to have overturned $4M in tickets to date) has a new bot in the offing: a chatbot that helps newly homeless people in the UK create and optimise their applications for benefits. Read the rest

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