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

 


Virgin Galactic test flight crashes, one reported dead

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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight friday, resulting in the death of one of its two crewmembers. After early reports surfaced on Twitter, California Highway Patrol confirmed the fatality, and Virgin Galactic confirmed that it had lost the flight. The second crewmember was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.33.52 PMVirgin Galactic announced on its feed that an "anomaly" occurred six minutes after it was released from its mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, over the Mojave Desert.

The Associated Press reported that witnesses saw it "explode in flight after ignition of rocket."

Wreckage and at least one parachute were observed on the ground, via a live feed posted by ABC News 23, which sent a helicopter to the scene. Two parachutes were seen by onlookers, according to reports, and one of the crewmembers is said to have also been seen alive on the ground.

Stephen Clark, of Spaceflightnow.com, writes that it was the 55th flight of SpaceShipTwo and its 35th free flight: "It was the fourth time SpaceShipTwo had fired up its rocket motor in flight, and the first powered mission since Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, the craft’s builder, switched from a rubber-based propellant to a plastic-based fuel mix."

SpaceShipTwo's design would let it carry six passengers and two pilots on trips to the edge of space, with hundreds of reservations already taken for the $250,000 ride. Virgin Galactic boss Richard Branson had hoped to see the earliest flights next year. The Mojave Air and Spaceport is 60 miles south of Bakersfield, California.

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French town bans clowns

A month-long ban on clown attire and makeup was imposed this week by Mayor Pierre Dudieuzere of Vendargues, France, following assaults by "dressed-up teens."

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John Lydon interviewed

Rotten: "When I first met Nora, my future wife, we disliked each other so much we were drawn together like magnets."

The most terrifying non-horror movies

Wired: "innocent (or not so innocent) flicks that gave us the serious heebie-jeebies"

Jordan bans halloween celebrations

Citing algad.com, albawaba reports that measures have been taken to "stop the riots and general debauchery" linked to the western holiday.

J.K. Rowling reveals nasty headmistress' past in halloween Potter story

UMBRIDGE It's a profile of temporary Hogwarts' chief Dolores Umbridge.

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Open-source cyborg pirate ghost

Over in the forums, mutant Brainspore made a template for an articulated Halloween decoration: "break out the markers."

How Prince of Persia's famous jump animation was made

1989's Prince of Persia, by Jordan Mechner, featured superbly realistic animation when such things were a rarity in computer gaming. Now, two decades later, he's published the original footage of his little brother leaping to and fro, from which each frame was traced and digitized. princeofpersiajumping

Jordan began his pioneering work while still an undergraduate at Yale University. Dissatisfied with the stilted movement of characters in computer games, Jordan borrowed the technique of rotoscoping that he had learned about in his history of cinema class. In 1983 he began experimenting by filming his karate instructor, Dennis, doing a variety of martial arts moves. Then he traced images from the film and used a Versawriter graphics digitizer tablet to copy the images onto the computer. On March 19, 1983, Jordan finished a test of this to see if it would work in a game he was developing, and in his diary he recorded his excitement: “When I saw that sketch little figure walk across the screen, looking just like Dennis, all I could say was “ALL RIGHT!”” Jordan’s game Karateka (1985), a Japanese-themed karate game, became the best-selling title in the country and Jordan had established himself as a video game designer even before he had graduated

Here is Ben Kingsley, villain of the movie version of Prince of Persia, being wrong about experimental rotoscoping footage. giphy

Mysterious stone circles of the Middle East

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Long known of but little-understood, Jordan's "Big Circles" are around 400 meters in diameter and remain a compelling mystery.

Their purpose is unknown, and archaeologists are unsure when these structures were built. Analysis of the photographs, as well as artifacts found on the ground, suggest the circles date back at least 2,000 years, but they may be much older. They could even have been constructed in prehistoric times, before writing was invented, scientists say.

New satellite imagery revealed at least two more circles, bringing the total to 13; one, in Syria, was recently destroyed. Though the circles were not hard to create, comprising of only a single low stone wall, they would have been ineffective animal corrals and their sheer enormity would have required extensive planning.

Court orders man to stop pretending to fall over

English magistrates have told a 51-year old man that he will be in trouble if he lies on the ground anywhere in the country in order to attract attention.

YouTube now supports 60 frames per second

More versatility for videographers in search of smooth performance, not least among them those recording video games and sports, where 60fps is the standard.

Microsoft announces Health platform

In anticipation of "wearable devices with smart sensors that are telling us more about our lives," should anyone fancy making such a thing.
At launch, our Intelligence Engine will share insights such as:


• Which exercises burned the most calories during a workout
• The recommended recovery time based on the intensity of a workout
• The amount of restful vs. restless sleep

Over time, you will have the choice to combine your fitness data with calendar and email information from Office as well as location-based information and more. As you make more data available, the Intelligence Engine will get smarter and provide more powerful insights, such as:


• Fitness performance relative to work schedule
• Whether eating breakfast helps you run faster
• If the number of meetings during the day impacts sleep quality.

Colbert tackles Gamergate

Feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian was Stephen Colbert's guest last night. Can you guess what they discussed? "One man, one joystick—it's right there in Sega Genesis"

Tim Cook proud to be gay

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In an editorial published at Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook explains that he is gay.

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Hello Kitty booked on DUI charge

"Gipson, 37 ... was wearing a red and white Hello Kitty costume, minus the doll’s mammoth head"