Ted Cruz quits Republican race; Trump is presumptive nominee

Illustration: Rob Beschizza

After a brutal thrashing at Donald Trump's hands in Indiana's Republican primary election today, Ted Cruz is calling it quits. Trump, reports the BBC, is now almost certainly the party's nominee for president.

"We left it all in the field in Indiana, and the voters chose another path," he told supporters in Indiana."With a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign."

I'll say one thing about Carly Fiorina, she knows how to get a company to make layoffs when it has to. Read the rest

Explore Don Draper's apartment in 3D

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Archilogic, an online architecture viewer/editor designed to be easier for laypersons to use and share from than Sketchup, is spectacular stuff... at least on a fast computer. You can upload plans and convert them to 3D, move and replace furniture, mess around with the layout, push the results to friends or real estate agents, and so on. Some of the demos posted to the company's blog are fascinating: exploring Don Draper's apartment in the first-person is eerily voyeuristic. An unbuilt Frank Lloyd Wright design is more majestic and less, well, sleazy.

Now do the Overlook Hotel! Read the rest

Mapbox: up-to-date satellite imagery

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Google Maps and similar services are most useful, but who has the most recent space footage of your neighborhood? Check out mapbox, a Landsat viewer that tells you when the satellite image you're looking at was taken, and when a new snap is scheduled. The zoom level really isn't useful for anything at a life-lived level – with the exception of recent weather, disasters, etc – but all services should expose metadata like this. Read the rest

Footage of "illegal rave" from 1989

carlton rave

This footage of an "illegal rave" – UK tabloid-speak for a barn party with chemically-stimulated youths in attendance – is so high-quality it seems like a recreation or out-takes from a movie set. I thought maybe that it's shot on film rather than video, but it looks like video?

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Evidence against Craig Wright being Bitcoin creator

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Infosec consultant Nik Cubrilovic summarizes the evidence for and against Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright's claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the legendary creator of Bitcoin. Cubrilovic comes down hard on Wright.

Wright has a history of fabricating evidence in support of his claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. Despite his claims of not wanting the notoriety or the attention, he is going to a lot of trouble to construct a reality of himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. In the almost 6 months since the first Wired and Gizmodo stories were published he has had ample opportunity to prove conclusively that he is Satoshi, and the protocol and requirements for doing so are well understood and not onerous. They do not require a 10 page blog post with notepad screenshots of shell scripts explaining Linux commands, file formats or OpenSSL. They also do not involve tightly controlled demonstrations in an environment completely under his control. The real creator of Bitcoin would know this.

The burden of proof for anybody claiming to be Nakamoto should be high. In the case of Wright, because of his previous fabrications, that burden is greater. His claims have to be treated with a great amount of skepticism, and his actions treated not as those of a sincere person, but rather as those of a person with a history and reputation for deception. Wright has yet to meet this burden, and until he does, Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto.

The key thing is that it should be easy for Satoshi to meet the evidentiary requirements and no big deal to do so under circumstances controlled by others. Read the rest

Man selling $100,000 collection of 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters

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Craiglist has something wonderful on it: a vast collection of more than 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters, including accessories and marketing literature. Yours for a hundred grand.

My collection consists of over 600 typewriter items including the company's first typewriter in the 1880's to one of the company's last typewriters in 2000's and all models in between, along with all types of items that correspond to the typewriters, including ads, accessories, displays, documents, manuals, photos, shipping crates, etc. Smith Corona's products are beautiful, interesting, unique, colorful, and when displayed, fun to look at.

I collected the typewriters and related items from 44 of the 50 United States, Washington DC, four Canadian provinces and three foreign countries. I only purchased museum quality items, so the collection would make an instant museum. The collection includes many rare and valuable items.

I have decided it is time to sell the collection.

The collection is a nice financial investment that consistently increases in value over time due to a large international typewriter collectors market. The collection will only increase in value over time.

More pics at the listing!

Read the rest

Craig Wright says he can prove he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi, but eyes roll

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Long a prime suspect and claimant to the title, Australian entrepreneur and programmer Craig Wright outed himself Monday morning as the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency. "Satoshi is dead," he writes, producing early cryptographic keys associated with Satoshi as evidence.

The BBC reports that Wright has provided it other proof to back up his claim, such as using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator.

Prominent members of the Bitcoin community and its core development team have also confirmed Mr Wright's claim. Renowned cryptographer Hal Finney was one of the engineers who helped turn Mr Wright's ideas into the Bitcoin protocol, he said. "I was the main part of it, but other people helped me," he said.

Mr Wright said he planned to release information that would allow others to cryptographically verify that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. Soon after Mr Wright went public, Gavin Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, published a blog backing his claim.

"I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin," he wrote. Jon Matonis, an economist and one of the founding directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, said he was convinced that Mr Wright was who he claimed to be.

The Economist, however, reports that skepticism will prevail for a little while yet. And Reddit's r/BitCoin subreddit appears to be mostly unimpressed by the claim, with one rather technical post that purports to debunk the cryptographic evidence Wright offered.

Wired thought it was Wright last year, but later decided he was probably part of long con to get people to think he was the brain behind bitcoin. Read the rest

Medieval music recreated and performed for the first time in 1000 years

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'Songs of Consolation,' performed at Pembroke College Chapel in Cambridge last month, was the first airing in a 1000 years of a medieval tune the way it would have been.
...reconstructed from neumes (symbols representing musical notation in the Middle Ages) and draws heavily on an 11th century manuscript leaf that was stolen from Cambridge and presumed lost for 142 years... Hundreds of Latin songs were recorded in neumes from the 9th through to the 13th century. These included passages from the classics by Horace and Virgil, late antique authors such as Boethius, and medieval texts from laments to love songs. However, the task of performing such ancient works today is not as simple as reading and playing the music in front of you. 1,000 years ago, music was written in a way that recorded melodic outlines, but not ‘notes’ as today’s musicians would recognise them; relying on aural traditions and the memory of musicians to keep them alive. Because these aural traditions died out in the 12th century, it has often been thought impossible to reconstruct ‘lost’ music from this era – precisely because the pitches are unknown.

They believe they've pieced together about 80-90% of the melodies. The performers are Benjamin Bagby, Hanna Marti and Norbert Rodenkirchen. Here's more:

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Anker's PowerHouse is the biggest "portable" power pack yet

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We're huge fans of portable power gadgets, but this one isn't going in my pocket to help me keep my phone topped up after lunch. Anker's Powerhouse is the size and weight of a concrete construction brick, and at $500 and 120,000mAh, by far their largest power pack yet. It'll charge your laptop 15 times over, power CPAP machines and broadcast video cameras, and double as a bear club should a camping trip go awry. There's multiple USB ports, a 12v car socket and mains power.

Jeff Beck already got one and quite likes it.

I'm very impressed with this device. It is extremely well-built, functions just as advertised, and is quite good-looking on top of all that. It worked to recharge every phone and tablet I threw at it, in addition to a lot of the smaller electronic items in my home. While the USB ports are not QC compatible, they still delivered a fairly quick charge to my wife's Sony Z3. Besides, if I wanted a faster charge I only needed to plug in a QC car charger into the 12V outlet and I'd be in business.

I had a lot of fun trying the Powerhouse out with a variety of household electronics. It did just fine powering a small stereo, my bedside lamp, and even my 50 inch Sony TV. Higher voltage appliances, like our toaster and blender, or my wife's blow dryer (she was hoping to be able to use it while camping) were too much for the little guy.

Read the rest

How to become the biggest worm in Slither.io

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Joel Johnson describes An Aggressor's Strategy to Slither.io, the snake-meets-lightcycles game that everyone plays on the internet.

Using these tactics I can get over 5,000 almost every time I play within 1–2 minutes, regularly crest 10,000, and have touched the top of the leaderboard at least once a day. Of course, I die a lot with only 100 points, too, because of a bad turn or bad luck. The constant looming fear of death is what makes Slither.io a great respite from life’s worries. Oh, I usually name myself “Don’t Tread.” If you kill me, let me know, so I can hunt you down in another life.

I've made it to 50k, so can speak with some authority when I say that even advanced players would do well to learn "The Cross" or, as we call it in Snakefleet, the Johnson Maneuver.

Previously: What if Slither.io was a text adventure Read the rest

New UK power station to be "most expensive object on earth"

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At an estimated $35bn lifetime cost, the new Hinkley C nuclear power station will be more expensive than any other civil engineering project on planet Earth, reports the BBC. The astronomical costs are disputed, but even the government's own figures put it at $25bn.

For that sum you could build a small forest of Burj Khalifas - the world's tallest building, in Dubai, cost a piffling £1bn ($1.5bn). You could also knock up more than 70 miles of particle accelerator. The 17-mile-long Large Hadron Collider, built under the border between France and Switzerland to unlock the secrets of the universe, cost a mere £4bn ($5.8bn). The most expensive bridge ever constructed is the eastern replacement span of the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco, designed to withstand the strongest earthquake seismologists would expect within the next 1,500 years. That cost about £4.5bn ($6.5bn).

Even the Great Pyramid would cost less than a billion to make, now, and require only a few hundred workers. But there is one man-made object pricier than a new nuclear power station in a western democracy: the international space station, alleged to have cost more than $100bn.

The deal seems strangely shady for something so obviously controversial: driven by political wrangling, with building costs offset to France and the project financed by China in return for a promise that the UK will pay twice the going rate for the electricity -- so expensive that onshore wind farms are cheaper. Even environmentalists OK with nuclear think the idea of a single vast plant powering an entire region is an outdated nightmare in the making. Read the rest

What's inside a fake Cuban cigar?

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"Oh my God, this thing stinks," says Cigar Obsession's Bryan Glynn.

The wrapper is decent and the bands real, but it smells like a wet campfire and is constructed like a wet paper towel. Then you get to see what's inside it... Read the rest

Sketch-simplifying neural network lets artists leap from pencil to ink

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The authors of a new "sketch simplification" program hope to make neural networks more useful to artists frustrated by the choppy results of existing automated line tools.

Apps such as Adobe Creative Suite provide functions to turn pencil drawings into vectors, but the sketches have to be tight and the resulting "inks" often need a lot of cleanup. Though other researchers and developers have applied neural network to the job, Edgar Simo-Serra writes that their model gets more meaningful and human results.

Our model is based on a fully convolutional neural network. We input the model a rough sketch image and obtain as an output a clean simplified sketch. This is done by processing the image with convolutional layers, which can be seen as banks of filters that are run on the input. While the input is a grayscale image, our model internally uses a much larger representation. We build the model upon three different types of convolutions: down-convolution, halves the resolution by using a stride of two; flat-convolutional, processes the image without changing the resolution; and up-convolution, doubles the resolution by using a stride of one half. This allows our model to initially compress the image into a smaller representation, process the small image, and finally expand it into the simplified clean output image that can easily be vectorized.

The source code hasn't been made available, but Simo-Serra's other works and collaborations are equally fascinating and already downloadable. Read the rest

The secret history of Mac gaming

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With its high-resolution monochrome display, the early Mac didn't fit easily into the gaming mainstream, where chunkier, colorful graphics were the norm well into the 90s. But as a result it generated a culture of its own, focused around detailed artwork, literary experimentation and powerful tools such as Hypercard. This history is often ignored, but Richard Moss is setting the record straight.

His book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, shares the stories behind the often-whimsical 80s Mac games and glorifies the unique "1-bit" art style that emerged from the technology.

Mac gaming welcomed strange ideas and encouraged experimentation. It fostered passionate and creative communities who inspired and challenged developers to do better and to follow the Mac mantra "think different".

The Secret History of Mac Gaming is the story of those communities and the game developers who survived and thrived in an ecosystem that was serially ignored by the outside world. It's a book about people who made games and people who played them — people who, on both counts, followed their hearts first and market trends second. How in spite of everything they had going against them, the people who carried the torch for Mac gaming in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s showed how clever, quirky, and downright wonderful videogames could be.

Read the rest

Kennewick Man was Native American

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After years of speculation and wrangling over his remains, Kennewick Man turns out to be closely related to contemporary, local Native Americans after all.

Discovered near Kennewick, Wash., in 1996, the skeleton ended up in a tug of war between tribes in the pacific northwest who wanted to bury the remains, and scientists who wanted to study them.

Five Pacific Northwest tribes pressed the Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over the bones, to hand them over in accordance with a federal law on the repatriation of remains. However, a group of scientists sued to block the handover, arguing that the skeleton was not associated with a present-day tribe.

Federal judges sided with the scientists, and as a result, the corps retained custody of the skeleton and made it available for study. Now that the studies are finished, the 380 bones and bone fragments are locked away in Seattle at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Some scientists suggested that Kennewick Man might have been a visitor from the Far North, Siberia or perhaps someplace even more exotic. But when geneticists compared DNA from a hand bone with a wide range of samples, they found that the closest match came from members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

The burial site will be a secret, so we can have this fight all over again in a few thousand years. Read the rest

Rube Goldberg machine built entirely from HTML form elements

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Sebastian Ly Serena's website consists solely of a bizarre HTML contraption that animates form elements until all of them have expanded and the author's email address is exposed. It's built entirely from standard web forms and javascript, ugly as sin, and completely wonderful. [via Hacker News, whose commenters are unimpressed because the underlying code doesn't really model a chain reaction.] Read the rest

Cruz to pick Carly Fiorina as running mate

Shoop: Rob Beschizza

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, embarking on a new phase of his campaign after it became impossible to beat Donald Trump in the first round of voting at this summer's Republican convention, is to name Carly Fiorina as his running mate. Read the rest

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