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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  

EverBlocks are the giant Lego bricks you always wanted

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EverBlock's concept is simple: interlocking plastic bricks at a macro scale.

It's quick and easy to build nearly anything, by stacking and organizing the universal blocks in nearly any shape, pattern, or size. Anything you've constructed can be taken apart and re-assembled again, and the pieces can be re-used to build other objects, making EverBlock a unique green building method.

Wired's Liz Stinson: "with just three block versions, there are limitations to what you can build with the blocks. Don’t expect a life-size version of Lego’s architecture series just yet" everblocks

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160 years of hurricanes

hurricanes-11-1024x619 Pictured above are the lowest-category storms. Since 2005, the United States has been relatively lucky.

Amazon cutting back on making consumer devices, reports WSJ

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After failed smartphones and other gadgets, Amazon's laying off people who work on consumer electronics.

Amazon.com Inc. flamed out with critics and consumers last year in its first attempt at a smartphone. Now, rather than forge ahead, as it has with other projects, such as its Kindle tablets, the online retailer is retrenching.

In recent weeks Amazon has dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on its Fire phone at Lab126, its secretive hardware-development center in Silicon Valley, according to people familiar with the matter.

For Amazon to quit, it must be very sure there's no place for it in whatever business it's muscled in on.

Ashley Madison looks like it was always a big sad scam

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Annalee Newitz reports that very few of the female profiles at the hacked site appear to represent real people.

The world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Her examination of the dataset (generally described as representing about 37m accounts) is that there were perhaps 12,000 paying women users. Which means, of course, that very few of the paying male users were actually having affairs. Of that total, only 1,492 female-profile users ever checked their messages, compared to 20m men.

One thousand, four-hundred and ninety-two.

Ashley Madison employees did a pretty decent job making their millions of women’s accounts look alive. They left the data in these inactive accounts visible to men, showing nicknames, pictures, sexy comments. But when it came to data that was only visible on to company admins, they got sloppy. The women’s personal email addresses and IP addresses showed marked signs of fakery. And as for the women’s user activity, the fundamental sign of life online? Ashley Madison employees didn’t even bother faking that at all.

Here's what Ashley Madison is: a swizz. You pay up to "have an affair", you get strung along for a while, you realize the site is garbage, then you pay the "fee" to have your data deleted. They don't even do that, because why would they? Then everyone gets exposed, because they never had any real interest or competence in keeping user data secure.

Like the classic Nigerian money-laundering scam, it's personally compromising to expose yourself as a victim. So it stayed under the radar—until they got hacked.

Noel-BidermanAt right, Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman. Below is the toilet selfie used by their PR guy, Anthony Macri, when admitting the leaked data dump was real.

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Mythbusters proves Walter White's boobytrap works

Spoilers!

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Reporter and cameraman murdered by gunman live on air; shot self when cornered by cops

55ddca24cd902.imageWDBJ-TV Reporter Alison Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, director of the local Chamber of Commerce, when gunshots rang out at Bridgewater Plaza near Moneta, Virginia. Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were killed.

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The most hated Madrid subway stations, mapped

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Residents and visitors to the Spanish capital can avail themselves of this useful map visualizing complaints about stops. No map is necessary for New York or London. [via]

Library of music genres

musicgenres 1: Every Noise at Once assembles all the genres of music into a star-chart of simple click-to-play examples. 2: The random musical genre generator.

Matt Kaliner's sandcastles are more awesome than yours

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The Atlantic profiles an artist who specializes in strange sandy monument, protruding like living things from shallow waters.

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Gaelic sign welcomed visitors to Penis Island

sign 2 It was supposed to read "Bhòid," meaning "bute", but was printed as "Bod" instead, meaning "penis." The error, present on a large sign for several years, was corrected last weekend. [via]

A missing punctuation mark on the Argyll and Bute Council sign - which had actually gone unnoticed since the notice was put up eight years ago - meant that Gaelic speakers were being greeted by the message ‘Welcome to the Beauty of Penis Island’.

Kudzu not that bad

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It supposedly conquered the South, but Kudzu grows mostly in our imagination. Writing for The Smithsonian, Bill Finch reports that the damage and its spread is vastly overstated.

Now that scientists at last are attaching real numbers to the threat of kudzu, it’s becoming clear that most of what people think about kudzu is wrong. Its growth is not “sinister,” as Willie Morris, the influential editor of Harper’s Magazine, described in his many stories and memoirs about life in Yazoo City, Mississippi. The more I investigate, the more I recognize that kudzu’s place in the popular imagination reveals as much about the power of American mythmaking, and the distorted way we see the natural world, as it does about the vine’s threat to the countryside.

Jeb Bush clarifies which ethnicity sends anchor babies

Jeb Bush, asked to explain his use of the term "anchor babies," dismissed suggestions of ethnic divisiveness and helpfully clarified that he's talking about asian people, not Mexicans. In trying to out-Trump Trump, he only got Trumped harder. jeb

Supercut of Wes Anderson characters cussing

Perhaps this will soothe you. [Luís Azevedo, via Kottke]

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Here are two more videos by the same creator, featuring father figures in Anderson's movies, and my favorite: books in Anderson's movies.

Brief history of hand dryers

dryer We are nearly a century into our quest to rid public bathrooms of towels. First patented in 1922, but not effectively implemented until the 1940s, the "electric towel" has been made more efficient over the decades—but Dyson's fancy newfangled Airblades aren't the end.

Claim: Ashley Madison exec "hacked competitor" and stole personal data

NoelBiderman Emails sent by the "have an affair" dating network's CEO suggest the firm "hacked" rival Nerve.com in 2012, taking its user database.

Brian Krebs:

“They did a very lousy job building their platform. I got their entire user base,” [Ashley Madison CTO Raja] Bhatia told [CEO Noel] Biderman via email, including in the message a link to a Github archive with a sample of the database. “Also, I can turn any non paying user into a paying user, vice versa, compose messages between users, check unread stats, etc.”

Neither Bhatia nor Biderman could be immediately reached for comment. KrebsOnSecurity.com spoke with Bhatia last week after the Impact Team made good on its threat to release the Ashley Madison user database. At the time, Bhatia was downplaying the leak, saying that his team of investigators had found no signs that the dump of data was legitimate,

Alas, it was for real. Ashley Madison charged its users to have their personal data wiped, but did not do so, and now that data is out in the wild.

Lovecraft with adjectives, similes and metaphors edited out

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I took as my source material a particularly lavish passage from Call of Cthulhu. Sorry about it being a screengrab. Allow me to atone by offering a BONUS passage from The Eye of Argon, with adjectives, similes and metaphors edited out:

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EXTRA: Hemingway with Lovecraft adjectives edited in.

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MORE. Per Alex's request for "Lovecraftian news reports/headlines?"

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