Package Delivery Fail: The Ultimate Photo Gallery

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That feel when FedEx, UPS, DHL, or your local postal service tries to "hide" your package delivery in the lamest, most half-assed way imaginable. Or leaves one of those “signature required” things that mean you have to go drive to the shipping center and pick it up yourself even when you were there the whole time aughhhh. Thanks. Thanks a lot, delivery guy (or gal or x).

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Low center of gravity mechanical pencil

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I love Muji office supplies, because they are well-designed, high-quality, and low-priced. The Low Center of Gravity Mechanical Pencil ($8) is no exception. The low center of gravity feels surprisingly good! Read the rest

Cosplay at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International: 10 amazing fan portraits

A cosplayer at Comic-Con on July 22, 2016 in San Diego. Source: IMGUR, photo by Matt Cowan

San Diego Comic-Con International has concluded for 2016, but these amazing photos of dedicated cosplayers at the event will live on.

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How YA comics creators all over the world created the "5 Worlds" project

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5 Worlds is a young SFF project that's been a hard secret to keep these past years! It's a five book series, 250 pages each, full color. It has five worlds and there are five of us working together on it. The story involves an impossible quest to light these ancient beacons left behind by an older civilization of Feline gods. The heroes are Oona Lee, a clumsy practitioner of a magical dancing art, An Tzu, a little boy from the toxic slums, and Jax Amboy, a superstar athlete known to everyone in the five worlds. And as they're thrown together they and their worlds go through some surprising transformations. Read the rest

The Fresh Tank Engine of Sodor

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Will Smith's entry in the annals of catchy Thomas the Tank Engine remixes is even better than Biggie the Tank Engine.

Also, "Insane in the Train" is the perfect title, but that mix isn't quite up to the gold standard of the others:

Here's Back in Coal Black, just madness: Read the rest

Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water demystifies the art of infusing

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water demystifies the art of infusing

Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water by Eric Prum and Josh Williams Clarkson Potter 2015, 176 pages, 8.5 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches (softcover) $17 Buy a copy on Amazon

To infuse a liquid is to place a flavoring agent such as herbs in it until it takes on the flavor of the agent. In Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water, authors Prum and Williams demystify the art of infusing and show us how easy it is to create infusions. Simple prose, simple recipes, clear instructions and gorgeous photographs of the tools, ingredients and finished product will guide beginners in this art and inspire the experienced to experiment.

First make sure you have the tools: a muddler (good excuse to get one, or you can always use a pestle), sieve, cheese cloth and funnel, and of course containers – most any old jam jar will do, but recipes are tuned for mason jars, 8oz (cup), 16oz (pint) and 32oz (quart). Basically tools that most readers will have in their kitchen.

Divided into three sections using different liquids, readers start by learning how easy it is to make vinaigrette salad dressings – four parts oil, one part vinegar – and other infused oils. Prum and Williams also provide a few recipes to use the infused oils. They then move on to spirits and a few cocktail recipes to use them in, and finally to infused waters, which are great flavorful substitutes for sugary sodas and just perfect for warm weather. Read the rest

Nintendo shares plummet when investors learn it didn't make Pokémon Go

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Pokémon Go became an overnight sensation, and savvy investors bought Nintendo stock, causing the share price to spike. But when Nintendo issued a statement to remind everyone that its stake in the app is just 13 and that revenue from the game was already taken into account in its forecasts, the stock price plummeted 18%, after which the Tokyo stock market halted trading to prevent a further decline.

Via Bloomberg:

The correction comes after Pokemon Go’s release almost doubled Nintendo’s stock through Friday’s close, adding $17.6 billion in market capitalization. Nintendo is a shareholder in the game’s developer Niantic Inc. and Pokemon Co., but has an "effective economic stake" of just 13 percent in the app, according to an estimate by Macquarie Securities analyst David Gibson. “It’s still possible to say that in the short-term it’s overheated,” said Tomoaki Kawasaki, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co.
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Rock suspended in mid-air?

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If a headline ends with a question mark, the answer is no.

This rock is actually in the water
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Iraq stops using $60,000 dowsing rods for bomb detection

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After the July 3 suicide bomb that killed 300 people in Baghdad, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi banned the use of the ADE 651. a fake bomb detector made by British fraudsters, who claimed the gadgets could detect bombs, ivory, drugs, and golf balls. The Iraqi military had purchased $60 million worth of the bogus devices. The founder of the company that made the useless devices is in prison serving a ten-year sentence. I think he should spend a lot more time than that behind bars, since a great many people died by putting their trust in the devices.

ABC News

Faced with mounting criticism, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an investigation into the effectiveness of the devices in 2010. The outcome was inconclusive, and they continued to be used.

The head of the Interior Ministry's bomb squad department, Jihad al-Jabri, was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to four years in prison for accepting a bribe from the British manufacturers. But the case against him did not address whether the wands were effective. Many Iraqis believe he was a scapegoat to protect more senior Iraqi officials from prosecution.

Politics also may have played a role.

After the July 3 blast, al-Abadi fired the military officer in charge of Baghdad's security and accepted the resignation of Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, who was in charge of police.

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Learning is a 24/7/365 proposition, and it never ends. And if you're truly serious about leveling up your skill sets and career prospects, get a subscription to Stone River Academy's massive course collection. This offer normally is worth over $1,400, but is now available for just $89 in the Boing Boing Store.

A respected name in information technology training, Stone River Academy already offers over 90 courses and more than 2,000 hours of online training. Access dozens of available courses, covering everything from web and mobile programming and web design to game app creation and 3D animation.

With two to five new courses being added to Stone River Academy’s course catalogue each month, you’ll never be at a loss for what to learn next. Don’t miss your chance to get access to this invaluable learning resource for a whopping 93% off while the deal lasts. Read the rest

Bruce Schneier on the coming IoT security dumpster-fire

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Bruce Schneier warns us that the Internet of Things security dumpster-fire isn't just bad laptop security for thermostats: rather, that "software control" (of an ever-widening pool of technologies); interconnections; and autonomy (systems designed to act without human intervention, often responding faster than humans possibly could) creates an urgency over security questions that presents an urgent threat the like of which we've never seen. Read the rest

When science intersected with the counterculture, things got wonderfully weird

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In the late 1960s and 1970s, the mind-expanding modus operandi of the counterculture spread into the realm of science, and shit got wonderfully weird. Neurophysiologist John Lilly tried to talk with dolphins. Physicist Peter Phillips launched a parapsychology lab at Washington University. Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill became an evangelist for space colonies. Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, and American Counterculture is a new book of essays about this heady time! The book was co-edited by MIT's David Kaiser, who wrote the fantastic 2011 book How the Hippies Saved Physics, and UC Santa Barbara historian W. Patrick McCray. I can't wait to read it!

From an MIT News interview with Kaiser:

We want to address a common stereotype that dates from the time period itself, which is that the American youth movement, the hippies or counterculture, was reacting strongly against science and technology, or even the entire Western intellectual tradition of reason, as a symbol of all that should be overturned. In fact, many of them were enamored of science and technology, some of them were working scientists, and some were patrons of science. This picture of fear and revulsion is wrong.

We also see things that have a surprisingly psychedelic past. This includes certain strains of sustainability, design, and manufacture, notions of socially responsible engineering, and artisanal food. This stuff didn’t start from scratch in 1968 and didn’t end on a dime in 1982...

These folks were rejecting not science itself but what many had come to consider a depersonalized, militarized approach to the control of nature.

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Our public health data is being ingested into Silicon Valley's gaping, proprietary maw

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In a lead editorial in the current Nature, John Wilbanks (formerly head of Science Commons, now "Chief Commons Officer" for Sage Bionetworks) and Eric Topol (professor of genomics at the Scripps Institute) decry the mass privatization of health data by tech startups, who're using a combination of side-deals with health authorities/insurers and technological lockups to amass huge databases of vital health information that is not copyrighted or copyrightable, but is nevertheless walled off from open research, investigation and replication. Read the rest

The coolest portable record players in the world

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Fumihito Taguchi's fantastic collection of vintage portable record players, including the wonderful specimens seen here, will be on display at Tokyo's Lifestyle Design Center from July 30 to August 28. See more at this Fashion Press post and in Taguchi's book "Japanese Portable Record Player Catalog," available in the US from my favorite vinyl soulslingers Dusty Groove. (via #vinyloftheday)

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Rad new Vans by pioneering lowbrow artist Robert Williams

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Famed psychedelic hot rod artist and comix illustrator Robert Williams has launched another line of rad Vans sneakers! The shoes integrate detail from Williams' mind bending masterpieces “Flaming Cobras”, “Malfeasance,” and “Jalapeña.”

Vault by Vans presents limited collection by Robert Williams (Vans)

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How facial recognition works (and how to hack your own in Python)

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You could not ask for a clearer, easier-to-read, more informative guide to facial recognition and machine learning thank Adam Geitgey's article, which is the latest in a series of equally clear explainers on machine learning, aimed at non-technical people -- and if you are a programmer, he's got links to Python sample source and projects you can use to develop your own versions. Read the rest

Iraq bans fake bomb detectors

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James McCormick, a British fraudster, got rich and got jailed selling fake bomb detectors to police in Iraq. But the devices—dowsing rods in a plastic handle, often sold as golf ball 'finders'—were so popular that even after he was collared, cops remained convinced (by inclination or graft) that they worked. After a series of horrific bombings, the government's stepped in to get rid of the useless gadgets.

It took a massive suicide bombing that killed almost 300 people in Baghdad on July 3 — the deadliest single attack in the capital in 13 years of war — for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to finally ban their use.

The reason it took so long is likely the widespread corruption in the government. Iraqis mocked the device from the start, joking that too much aftershave could set off the antenna.

Now there are accusations that plans to start using newly imported explosives-detecting scanners were intentionally held up as part of the political wrangling over which faction — the military or the police — will control security in Baghdad.

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