Use the original IBM PC (and play Adventure) in your browser

original pc

Enjoy the original IBM 5150 PC as implemented in javascript, with various boot images to toy around with.

It was added to the JavaScript Machines project in Fall 2012, and is now part of the PCjs Project on GitHub.… All the simulations are written entirely in JavaScript. No Flash, Java or other plugins are required. Supported browsers include modern versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer (v9.0 and up), Edge, and assorted mobile browsers.

Warning: beeps loudly upon booting. [via r/internetisbeautiful]

Previously: Windows 93. Read the rest

Watch a kid smash the Rubik's cube speed record


Lucas Etter, 14, broke the 5 second barrier with this 4.9s completion of Rubik's Cube. [via]

"Oh my god! Oh my god!"

Read the rest

Slow motion film of a fire tornado


The Slo Mo Guys set fire to a bucket of fuel surrounded by box fans, then filmed the resulting column of fire. It's really something—a beautiful and scary thing that's understandably hard to capture in the wild. Read the rest

Brandless waterproof drill lets you work underwater in secret


Perfect for all your underwater stealth-drilling needs, the Nemo Power Tools SPECIAL OPS is submersible to 100 meters, has an 18v lithium battery, and is all-black for maximum concealment.

Its 1000-watt brushless technology ensures maximum efficiency and durability. It comes with a durable carrying case, battery charger, pressure valve and pump to pressurize the drill, and two 6Ah batteries, to make sure you’re ready for jobs that require extra power and time. The Nemo SPECIAL-OPS comes with additional accessories geared towards the tasks carried out by special forces. Nemo SPECIAL OPS accessories include a diving headlamp, a diving tool belt with tool bag, and a handy waterproof bag to keep your battery charger dry.

It's sadly out of stock right now, but $2,000 when they have them in. Models submersible to shallower depths are less expensive, but not very stealthy at all.

[Nemo Power Tools via @joeljohnson] Read the rest

NYC taxi data visualized


Todd W. Schneider analyzed 1.1 Billion NYC taxi and Uber trips "with a Vengeance", teasing straightfoward visualizations from an absolutely enormous dataset.

Taken as a whole, the detailed trip-level data is more than just a vast list of taxi pickup and drop off coordinates: it’s a story of New York. How bad is the rush hour traffic from Midtown to JFK? Where does the Bridge and Tunnel crowd hang out on Saturday nights? What time do investment bankers get to work? How has Uber changed the landscape for taxis? And could Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson have made it from 72nd and Broadway to Wall Street in less than 30 minutes? The dataset addresses all of these questions and many more.

Remember the scene from Die Hard: With a Vengeance where Bruce Willis is given 30 minutes to drive from the Upper West Side to Wall Street to prevent a bombing? The writer knew New York very well, it turns out. The median journey time for that trip is 29.8 minutes.

Traveler protip: don't take a car to JFK on weekday afternoons. Just never do that.

[via The New Aesthetic] Read the rest

Witch-burning doesn't turn out as planned in amazing animated music video

jezabels animation

The amazing animated video to The Jezabels' "Come Alive" features a swirly, timeless impasto style. All smoke and fire and light, every frame's literally a stark, beautiful painting.

It was directed by Darcy Prendergast & Xin Li from Oh Yeah Wow, using oil paint on glass. It might seem grim for a monday morning, but stick with it! The Jezebels are on tour in early 2016 and their second album, The Brink, is out now. Read the rest

Watch genetically-evolving cars race in 2D

Genetic Cars is a transfixing simulation of procedurally-generated vehicles attempting to traverse rough terrain. Each round comprises genetic variations of the previous round's most successful car.

You can randomize the terrain and tweak mutation rates, gravity and other variables. (Moon gravity is chaotic fun; Jupiter seems, for some reason, more convincingly real than the default Earth settings) Read the rest

Former Westboro hate mouthpiece on leaving the church


Be sure to read Adrian Chen's gripping profile of former Westboro Baptist Church twitterer Megan Phelps-Roper, who left the church after coming to realize the futility of its hate gospel.

Megan Phelps-Roper, picketing with Westboro when she was still an active member of the family hate cult.

On December 20, 2009, Phelps-Roper was in the basement of her house, for a church function, when she checked Twitter on her phone and saw that Brittany Murphy, the thirty-two-year-old actress, had died. When she read the tweet aloud, other church members reacted with glee, celebrating another righteous judgment from God… But Phelps-Roper had loved Murphy in “Clueless,” and she felt an unexpected pang—not quite sadness, but something close—over her death. As she continued scrolling through Twitter, she saw that it was full of people mourning Murphy. The contrast between the grief on Twitter and the buoyant mood in the basement unsettled her. She couldn’t bring herself to post a tweet thanking God for Murphy’s death.

If you're been wondering why Westboro's been kind of boring lately, it turns out that there was a coup of sorts within the church: day-to-day troll in chief Shirley Phelps-Roper (Megan's mother) was denounced, and a bunch of stodgy old men took over. Since then, women have been marginalized within the church and it has lost much of its media savvy.

Read Adrian's piece to the last sentence: there is an absolutely amazing ending to the life and mind of the church's founder, Fred Phelps.

[Image, top: Megan Phelps-Roper. Read the rest

Donald Trump on whether his Muslim database plan is Nazi-like: "You tell me"


Donald Trump, back on top of Republican polls, has called for the creation of a national database of Muslims. Similar to the systems used by the Nazis to track Jews during the Holocaust, the idea has not gone down well, even among his party's rival candidates. Read the rest

22 killed, many hostages reportedly taken in Mali hotel attack


22 are reported dead after gunmen stormed the luxury Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital earlier today.

The attackers reportedly took up to 170 hostages before Malian special forces stormed the building to free the captives. The government of France, Mali's former colonial power, has dispatched 50 commandos to the Saharan nation.

The remaining hostages were freed in the shootout, reports USA Today, and the gunmen killed.

Mali is in the grip of unrest following a 2012 military coup and Islamist insurgency in the north of the country.

Reuters reports that al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes soon after 129 died in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris.

UPDATED Nov. 22 with death toll. Read the rest

Read the nondisclosure agreement you must sign if you want to have sex with Charlie Sheen


Beset by blackmailers and tabloid rumors, actor Charlie Sheen was recently forced to announce that he is HIV-positive. The most newsworthy thing to come out of it, I think, is a nondisclosure agreement that potential sexual partners must sign in order to get into his pants. Is this a general practice among celebrities? As crazy as it seems, I wouldn't blame them. Read the rest

Why are Jihadis obsessed with Red Mercury?

Photo: All Is Possible

Red mercury is a mythological compound that allows nuclear weapons to be radically miniaturized. That mercury oxide (and anything else reasonably described as such) is useless for blowing stuff up matters little to buyers who shell out fabulous sums on a hoax. Read the rest

Why the Hobbit movies were such a mess

peter jackson

tl;dr: they had no prep time, made real-time changes to the story as they shot it, and props and scenes were thrown together as they needed them. Jackson says that his winging-it—"making it up there and then on the spot"—finally fell apart when they came to shooting the big battle scenes. [via]

"I didn't know what the hell I was doing" — Peter Jackson.

The proposed narrative is that they paused shooting, got their shit together, then figured out how to make a great film. Read the rest

Footage of Paris cafe attack posted

paris attack

The day after authorities in Paris say they killed the suspected ringleader of last week's terror attacks, footage has emerged of one of the targeted cafés.

Read the rest

Reuters bans RAW photos because they're easier to manipulate

Reuters, the news agency, has banned photographers from filing photos captured in RAW format, mandating in-camera JPGs instead. This, it believes, will cut down on processing time—and prevent photographers from editorializing their images.
“As eyewitness accounts of events covered by dedicated and responsible journalists, Reuters Pictures must reflect reality. While we aim for photography of the highest aesthetic quality, our goal is not to artistically interpret the news."

Filing RAW is the equivalent of handing unprocessed film, instead of a print, to your page layout guys. It shouldn't be their headache. So that complaint makes sense.

But the thing about photomanipulation? This strikes me as a human resources problem being misunderstood as a technical problem.

Whatever else you might say about the increased latitude for photomanipulation that RAW images provide, one can easily convert a worked RAW photo to JPG before filing it. Asking everyone to capture photos as JPGs won't make "arty" shooters more honest. Read the rest

Ban proposed for ads for drugs and medical gadgets


Studies are routinely hand-picked to make drugs seem more effective than they are, television constantly tells you to take drugs, and doctors prescribing drugs get kickbacks from phamaceutical companies. Maybe it's time to knock out one of these three problems for good.

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association (AMA) called for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertisements for prescription drugs and medical devices. Such ads drive demand and costs for expensive name-brand treatments when those drugs may not be appropriate or when clinically effective, low-cost options are available, the doctors group said. The announcement is part of a larger effort by the association to make prescription drugs more affordable.

From the statement:

“Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

The U.S. and New Zealand are reportedly the only two countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription-only medication. There's a patent-abuse problem, too:

New AMA policy responds to deepened concerns that anticompetitive behavior in a consolidated pharmaceutical marketplace has the potential to increase drug prices. The AMA will encourage actions by federal regulators to limit anticompetitive behavior by pharmaceutical companies attempting to reduce competition from generic manufacturers through manipulation of patent protections and abuse of regulatory exclusivity incentives.

The AMA will also monitor pharmaceutical company mergers and acquisitions, as well as the impact of such actions on drug prices.

Read the rest

Structural engineer unimpressed by suspension bridge collapse scenes in movies


Engineer Alex Weinberg reviews suspension bridge scenes in movies and finds their representation of structural mechanics to be wobbly at best.

Embedded above is the most accurate he found, from Final Destination V.

The origin of the structural failure in this situation is pretty absurd because the asphalt driving surface on a traffic bridge is non-structural. The road itself rests on a steel structure, which would probably not be seriously compromised by some sawing and jackhammering on the asphalt. Further, it’s hard to invent a scenario in which any of this could cause a failure at the top of a vertical suspender. But who knows, maybe there had been some plot-friendly corrosion in the steel. Regardless of the initial cause of failure, the collapse progresses in a halfway believable manner: The road deck falls, but the main catenary cables and the bridge towers remain. With no road to support, the vertical cables swing dumbly over the void.

Most scenes, however, are very bad indeed, like this one from The Dark Knight Rises. "I consider this the worst suspension bridge destruction scene in motion picture history," he writes.

His roundup serves as a nice overview of the symbolism of suspension bridges, too. Alas, our directors score only 2 unnerving metallic whipping noises out of 10. Must try harder! [via] Read the rest

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