Already regretting assigning the Chelsea Clinton story to Frank Herbert

Previously: Already regretting assigning the new MacBook Pro review to Borges Read the rest

Britain has first day without coal power generation since industrial revolution

Britain went a full day without using coal to generate power, reports the BBC. It's the first 24-hour period of inactivity there since 1882, when the world's first public coal-fired power plant was stoked at Holborn Viaduct in London.

But Ms O'Hara says that while the country makes the transition to a low carbon system, coal remains an important source of energy. According to Gridwatch.co.uk, around half of British energy on Friday came from natural gas, with about a quarter coming from nuclear plants. Wind, biomass, and imported energy were also used.

As in the U.S., coal power's been squeezed out by natural gas, a cleaner fossil fuel, though the trend is now toward renewable sources. Britain will close its coal-fired power plants down for good in 2025, supposedly. Read the rest

Donald Trump says his own 100-day plans are "ridiculous standards" to be held to

Donald Trump, having failed to accomplish much from the 100-day plan laid out in the "contract with the American voter" still live on his website, now says that he is being held to "ridiculous standards".

Analyzing the accomplishments of a United States president after their first 100 days in office is a decades-old tradition and, of course, a relatively arbitrary one established by the news media to assess a leader’s direction and influence. However, to dismiss its importance after using it as a marketing tool for his policy agenda will surely only serve to shirk those who bought into it.

Aside from providing clear evidence of Trump’s flip-flop on the 100-day benchmark, the contract also provides a clear way to compare Trump as president-elect and president of the United States.

Trump has been unable to hold to many of the promises presented in the two-page document, achieving only 10 of the 28 action pledges.

No-one expected him to get anywhere near them, obviously, but "simulation collapse" is the dish of the day.

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Some idiot left a coastal wall right in front of a ferry

In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, some total moron designed, financed and constructed a large coastal wall right where a ferry was headed.

Videos and photos of the accident appeared quite serious, although no injuries have been reported.

The ship involved was the Volcan de Tamasite and, according to information received by The Canary, 140 passengers were on board at the time, though nobody seems to have been seriously hurt, some reports have mentioned up to four people with minor injuries.

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Internet Archive to ignore robots.txt directives

Robots (or spiders, or crawlers) are little computer programs that search engines use to scan and index websites. Robots.txt is a little file placed on webservers to tell search engines what they should and shouldn't index. The Internet Archive isn't a search engine, but has historically obeyed exclusion requests from robots.txt files. But it's changing its mind, because robots.txt is almost always crafted with search engines in mind and rarely reflects the intentions of domain owners when it comes to archiving.

Over time we have observed that the robots.txt files that are geared toward search engine crawlers do not necessarily serve our archival purposes. Internet Archive’s goal is to create complete “snapshots” of web pages, including the duplicate content and the large versions of files. We have also seen an upsurge of the use of robots.txt files to remove entire domains from search engines when they transition from a live web site into a parked domain, which has historically also removed the entire domain from view in the Wayback Machine. In other words, a site goes out of business and then the parked domain is “blocked” from search engines and no one can look at the history of that site in the Wayback Machine anymore. We receive inquiries and complaints on these “disappeared” sites almost daily.

A few months ago we stopped referring to robots.txt files on U.S. government and military web sites for both crawling and displaying web pages (though we respond to removal requests sent to info@archive.org). As we have moved towards broader access it has not caused problems, which we take as a good sign.

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Pupper vs Bananner

Gruesome stuff, don't watch if you're under 18. Read the rest

Liartown: forthcoming book from master image manipulator Sean Tejaratchi

Sean Tejaratchi is the absolute master of photoshopped cultural effluvia, God of an alternative world where the classic trash you remember warps into a mythopoeia of weird, hilarious insanity. And now much of it is to be collected in an 8.5″ x 11″ 248-page color book, Liartown, the first four years.

The book contains almost all LiarTown material from early 2013 to January 2017. It includes an introduction by me, Sean Tejaratchi, a foreword by former Onion editor Scott Dikkers, a section with notes on selected pieces, and an exhaustive index. The back cover will feature brief explanatory text (written especially for the back cover and not previously read by the public), as well as a laudatory comments from cultural notables, a barcode, and cover price. Every inch of this lavishly designed book has been designed to perfection. Even the spine, normally known only as the narrow, bound left edge of a volume, will be emblazoned with the title, subtitle, author, and publisher logo.

Speaking of the publisher, beloved Feral House Books has honored my desire to keep all the bad words and bird dicks and lunchbox tits and other improprieties. I was not asked to change a single thing.

It'll ship in late fall; preorder it now. [Amazon link]

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TSA confirms miniature magic warhammers not OK on planes

"Can I bring my rechargable power bank the shape of the greatest orc warriors Orgrim's Doomhammer on a plane?" asks Itaku on Twitter.

"We're glad you asked," replies AskTSA, an official account of the Transportation Security Administration. "Replica weapons, even those belonging to Horde Chieftains, must be packed in checked bags."

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Vacuum cleaner frightened of gaps

Posted in Russian that machine-translates to "My vacuum cleaner is afraid slots," Fluff Zabrat's video is a startling reminder of the terrifying chasms and voids we must all leap on our journey to immanence. Read the rest

A Mind is Born: computer demo, with pumping soundtrack, in only 256 bytes of code

You've seen 64kb demoscene productions. Hell, even 4kb is enough to generate a stunning seemingly-impossible variety of scenes. But Linus Akesson's entry in the Oldskool 4K Intro competition at Revision 2017 is generated by a program only 256 bytes long. There's an in-depth technical explanation to read, and a 2,202,009-btye MP3 version to download. [via Metafilter]

The demo is driven by its soundtrack, so in order to understand what the program needs to do, it helps to have a schematic overview of the various parts of the song.

The three voices of the SID chip are used as follows: Voice 1 is responsible for the kick drum and bass, Voice 2 plays the melody and Voice 3 plays a drone that ducks on all beats, mimicking the genre-typical side-chain compression effect.

The artistry of it struck me:

When bar $40 is reached, the program turns off the display and jumps through the system reset vector. In this way, the final few moments of the demo are actually managed by the system boot sequence: First, the SID is silenced. Then, there is a delay while the system is setting up data structures. Finally, the display goes back on, and the C64 home screen is rendered. A mind is born.
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Sorry, David Lynch's Dune sucks (or does it?)

David Lynch's 1982 Dune wasn't well-received at the time, but over the years has become a cult classic—perhaps even a good film. With a few nods to the lavish sets and striking set-pieces, Emily Asher-Perrin takes a weirding module to the latter claim: David Lynch’s Dune is What You Get When You Build a Science Fictional World With No Interest in Science Fiction.

Any attempt at cohesion on a more granular level, which is where worldbuilding is most essential in science fiction, is shrugged off in favor of another inexplicable style choice that brings a bit of form and zero function. With the exceptions of military collars and crests, there is nothing that communicates how these things and people connect—some have tried to christen it “noir-baroque” which is a cute thought, but it’s hard to believe that any detailed reasons for the aesthetics were considered beyond “this looks cool.”

Dune wants to be phantasmagorical and it wants to be offensive to your senses, and those things can work in cinema, as Lynch’s career communicates incredibly well. But this film does not carry off that off-kilter creepiness as anything more than a parlor trick. It fails to be authentic because these cues are not entrenched in the universe projected on screen. They are there to shock the viewer, to disgust them, but they don’t mean anything. The Guild member floating in its chamber of gas is strange and otherworldly and grotesque, but communicates nothing besides that. It is not integrated into its setting, its surroundings.

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Enormous iceberg off coast is Newfoundland village's latest and somewhat temporary tourist attraction

Tourists are flocking to Ferryland, Newfoundland, reports Aric Jenkins, and it's all because of a huge chunk of ice.

Ferryland, a tiny Newfoundland town of roughly 500 people, got a holiday surprise over Easter weekend when a massive block of ice appeared off-shore — overshadowing people, boats and even houses on land. The iceberg seems to have parked in the waters outside the town and, according to CTV News, visitors have started flocking to the area to witness the colossal floating chunk of ice and post photos on social media.

Ferryland is apparently a good spot for iceberg spotting, but the unusual number and size of the bergs this year are due to "unusually strong counter-clockwise winds." Photo: Reuters. Read the rest

PowerPoint is Turing complete, among other things

Microsoft PowerPoint is used to make presentations, to connect one to stock image libraries, and stun audience members with animations, writes Tom Wildenhain. But did you know it can do other things? In fact, it can do anything any other universal computer can, because it is Turing complete: "Only trained PowerPoint professionals should attempt to reproduce this research."

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Condom-clogged sewer pipe leads police to massage parlor

After "hundreds of condoms" were found clogging a sewer pipe in Austin, Texas, police realized that illegal sex may be afoot. A nearby massage parlor was subsequently busted.

Austin police then launched their probe that culminated in a raid about six weeks later where a woman who co-managed the business "was found in a massage room with a completely nude and uncovered male," the document said. Juan Wang and her husband Joseph Emery were arrested on suspicion of managing "a prostitution enterprise that used two or more prostitutes," it said.

Clogged draines was how they caught UK serial killer Dennis Nilsen. But that was human flesh.

Previously: 80-metre fatberg removed from London sewer. Read the rest

Lawsuit claims Bose tracks what you listen to then sells the data

According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chigago, Bose uses software to track the music and other audio listened to on its wireless headphones, violating the privacy of its users and selling the information.

The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

"People should be uncomfortable with it," Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."

The headphones alone aren't the problem, apparently, but an optional app bundled with them. Savvy users may know that such things are often sleazy marketing wheezes, but that hardly excuses it. Read the rest

Vulgar generates fantasy languages with a click

Vulgar constructs languages for fantasy fiction or whatever other purpose you can imagine, applying consistent rules to the custom phonemes you feed it. [via]

Vulgar's output models the regularities, irregularities and quirks of real world languages; phonology, grammar, and a 2000 unique word vocabulary. Trial the demo version online. Purchase the premium version to get access to the complete 2000 word output (with derivational words) and extra grammatical rules. ...

Vulgar generates ... based on a list of some of English's most common words. However, the program is more than just a one-to-one mapping of unique outputs to English words. In an effort to mimic real world languages, Vulgar also creates various homphones and overlapping senses inspired by examples from real world languages. For example:

Here's my language:

The Language of Puput /ˈpʰupʰutʰ/

...and he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face to the wind. ...u lu bunela une luch yafa u neba luch miku peb tul ye Pronunciation: /u lu bɯˈnela ˈune løtʃ ˈjafa u ˈneba løtʃ ˈmikʰø pʰeb t̪øl je/ Narrow pronunciation: [u lu bɯˈnela ˈune løtʃ ˈjafa u ˈneba løtʃ ˈmikʰø pʰe t̪øl je] Puput structure: and he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face the wind to

Seed for this language: 0.36384689368800394

The Puput word for "stuff" is "nut." I'll spare you details of the nominative and accusative case forms, but they're there. The full edition of the app is $20. Read the rest

Classic remix: Bill O'Reilly will do it live

To celebrate the abusive lying bastard's sacking by Fox News, let's once again enjoy this classic dance remix of his legendary meltdown from the "brown acrylic wig" era of his career.

The original:

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