Picture of Bill O'Reilly complaining about non-experts bloviating on TV

This is doing the rounds invariably attached to the remark "not photoshopped," which leads me to think it must be. Surely old Bill isn't that unselfware? Read the rest

Is this a Midicorn or a Unichord?

Andrew Huang created a MIDI unicorn: a short musical piece that appears as a unicorn when represented in linear musical notation. You can download the MIDI file itself. Read the rest

Sketch a cat and edges2cats will create a deep dreaming catrocity that fits

The machine knows what cat parts are and knows where they go, and can glue them together to fit drawings of cats that you provide. Whether the results charm or horrify you might depend on whether you, yourself, are part of the simulation. The Next Web interviews creator Christopher Hesse. Read the rest

Alex Trebek raps

Remixers start your engines: "Who knew Alex Trebek could flow?" Read the rest

Comfortably Numb on acoustic guitar

The Acoustician performs excellent acoustic, instrumental guitar covers of classic rock songs. See the solo training videos too.

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Review: Punkt's MP01 is the ultimate minimalist dumbphone

Punkt's MP01 is a minimal treat for people wanting a simple but flawless phone—and willing to pay top dollar for a few details done very well. Read the rest

Fidget Cube available directly from its inventor

Since the astounding success of Antsy Labs' Fidget Cube, clones have sprung up everywhere, such as the $3.78 Chirisen cube. I can report that one will last the weekend without springing an anxiety leak. A pack of six is $13.39, just two bucks and change for each one.

Update: readers point out not only that the Kickstarter original is still directly available from the inventor, but that the generic ones are likely to be Antsy Labs' own manufacturers ripping them off. So I've replaced the link to theirs with one to the real thing.

Richard Stack writes: "I have an actual FidgetCube and someone bought me a knock off for Christmas. The original is much much nicer." Read the rest

Incra Rule: a ruler with tiny holes to mark exact lengths

Marketed to engineers and carpenters, Incra's rulers have tiny stenciled holes for every fraction to make it impossible to mess up length markings. I got one to make puzzle boxes, but it's now on my office desk as my daily driver and will probably outlive me. The standard 12" model comes in at $25 and I can vouch for it, but there's a knockoff by General Tools that's just $10. I assume it's basically the same thing, but if you look closely on the product photos, the holes are somewhat larger. Read the rest

Assassination of Kim Jong-nam captured on surveillance video

Doesn't look like they thought they were pranking him.

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Watch SpaceX's rocket land itself

There's something so uncanny and futuristic about Falcon 9 landing that it triggers the part of our brains trained to be on the lookout for computer graphics. The overcast sky and haze of fog gives it a Simon Stålenhag vibe. Read the rest

The best nonsense word generator

It's easy to generate random words, or even ones that seem patterned on a particular language. But there's something just right about the words that emerge from Soybomb.com's Nonsense Word Generator: each is marvelously silly, yet seems to have meaning and history.

This page generates nonsense words based on a frequency list of phonemes as they occur in legitimate English words. Occasionally an actual word may show up but it should mostly generate pronounceable gibberish.

It reminds me a lot of Adams, Lloyd and Cantor's Meaning of Liff: if ever they ever run out of odd place names to assign to experiences and things for which we have no words, this will surely come in handy. Every time I reload it it gives me a word I want to assign a definition to:

Cremplications noun The results of attempting to communicate in a foreign language one has not learned.

Snughlin noun A fluffy garment that looks cosy when ordered from the internet or a catalog, but turns out to be made of nylon insulation.

Physion noun A subatomic particle found in branding consultants.

Remember them old IRC games where a bot would pose a challenge, everyone would have to answer it in a minute, and then vote on the best response? That, but for this! Read the rest

Diner "overwhelmed with customers" after Michelin star awarded by mistake

Le Bouche à Oreille is a perfectly decent working class diner in Bourges that'll feed you a slap-up meal for €10. La Bouche à Oreille, though, is a brilliant €48-course restaurant in Paris. Only one of them should have been awarded a Michelin star, but don't tell that to the posh sorts descending en masse upon an overwhelmed greasy spoon.

The Michelin Guide apologised, saying it had confused the café with a more refined establishment of the same name near Paris. The listing was changed on its website, but not until two days later.

Véronique Jacquet, who runs the café, said it had a regular clientèle of local tradesmen. “Suddenly, we were rushed off our feet. Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing.”

Three cheers for the diner's chef, Penelope Salmon: “I put my heart into my cooking.” Read the rest

Mental

Via John Aravosis: "Does no one in that White House do any advance work at all? Look closely. They're just sloppy." Read the rest

West Elm's couch from hell (Update: couch from hell goes to hell)

Anna Hezel just saved us from an inadvisable couch purchase with her horrifying article, Why Does This One Couch From West Elm Suck So Much? Read the rest

Germans warned to DESTROY Cayla, network-connected doll that spies on children

It's called Cayla, it's about a foot tall, and it can be used to listen to and talk to the child playing with it. But who is doing the listening? Anyone in Bluetooth range, reports Germany's Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur).

An official watchdog in Germany has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data. ... The Vivid Toy group, which distributes My Friend Cayla, has previously said that examples of hacking were isolated and carried out by specialists. However, it said the company would take the information on board as it was able to upgrade the app used with the doll.

But experts have warned that the problem has not been fixed.

The Cayla doll can respond to a user's question by accessing the internet. For example, if a child asks the doll "what is a little horse called?" the doll can reply "it's called a foal".

Watch the BBC's video of Cayla, in its squeaky, sinister voice, say "I've been hacked to say all sorts of scary things."

Cayla was on Boing Boing last year when the FCC received complaints about it. Cayla is on Amazon for $45.

It's so easy to hack that everyday YouTubers are at it! Read the rest

Gallery of London's urban foxes

Shot here by Natalie Lowe sunbathing on the roof of its convertible, a fox relaxes before evening's activities come due. Below, a fox pop takes a trip on the London Underground, as observed by Stephen Ebert. Check out the full gallery at Londonist. A common sight in London, foxes moved in after World War II and have become a symbol of the city. They're mostly harmless, but the tabloids there love to run fox-ate-my-baby stories.

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Candle-powered phone charger

The Stower Candle Charger, in addition to being a basic emergency stove, powers USB gadgets with fire: put a fuel canister under it and it'll transmute heatrons into juicetrons as described in the Codex Ifritanimus. One canister will charge a smartphone twice; actual wax candles will presumably not stretch so far.

When power outages hit, staying connected to family, friends, and emergency services is critical. But how to keep charged? - Batteries store power - they don't make it - We love solar, but it doesn't work at night or indoors - Hand cranks produce minimal power. 10 hours cranking to charge a phone? That's tough. We want a reliable solution, and the Candle Charger is the first indoor generator designed to charge smartphones and keep them charged.

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