Clowns menace France

Coulrophobia and chaos in Sin-le-Noble, where "a girl told police she was chased by an armed person in a clown costume", among other unsettling incidents [Previously].

Gimp suit accidentally bought

mer A 71-year-old Rotary Club president planned to appear in costume as a mer-man to raise money for an Air Ambulance, but ordered a BDSM costume by mistake. His wife hacked it into shape, however, resulting in the sexiest Merman tail ever to grace a Rotarian charity event.

First sex happened "in Scottish lake"

Lots of great sex happens in Scotland, but it is also possible that the first sex happened there, too. Microbrachius dicki--yes, that is its name--was a primitive "bony" fish--yes, that is how the BBC describes it--that was apparently first to reproduce by having sex, not by spawning.

How comic conventions came to have so little room for comics

Comic conventions have been colonized and overwhelmed by mainstream movie, TV and game marketing, a surprisingly rapid process that has finally left comics so marginalized that the fandom despairs. Chris Butcher explains how barren the landscape is--and just how fucked you are if you are dependent on original book product.

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Budget Cuts aboard Air Force One

Dan Lewis explores the deep, dark world… of presidential barbering.

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American cities, ranked by conservatism


A fascinating chart from Representation in Municipal Government, publishing in American Political Science Review and written by MIT political scientists Chris Tausanovitch and Christopher Warshaw. (via Bruce Sterling)

(Image: Carpintera city limit, Al Pavangkanan, CC-BY)

High Society: take on the role of nouveau-riche twits attempting to out-ostentate each other

Jon Seagull reviews a classic auction game. Buy castles, jewelry, precious artwork. The person who dies with the most toys wins.

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LISTEN: Run DMC meets Danny Elfman (spooky!)

DJ BC sends us his latest mashup -- Run DMC's "I'm the King of Rock" crossed with "This is Hallowe'en Town" -- BOO! (MP3)

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Why (and how) games are art


I sat down for an interview with the LA Times's Hero Complex to talk about my book In Real Life (I'm touring it now: Chicago tomorrow, then Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Warsaw, London...), and found myself giving a pretty good account of why games are art, and how the art of games works:

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Jailed former dictator Manuel Noriega suing game maker Activision

cod

Panama's former military dictator Manuel Noriega claims he's entitled to compensation because his image appears in Activision's "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" without his consent.

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The "weirdest lock on earth" has a key like a tiny mechanical snake

That's how this remarkable design is described by lockpicker John Coulter, whose efforts have been stymied by its peculiar design: instead of being a straight, flat piece of metal, the key is a flexible chain similar to a watch strap, housed in a hard slip-casing that allows it to be inserted into the snaking design of the lock itseld.

keygif

Coulter's been sleuthing it's origins with the help of commenters at his YouTube channel. Dan Neuenswander found a patent, awarded in 1992 to Yun-Tung Hsu, who appears to be a prolific inventor in the field.

The following illustrated is marked in the patent as prior art--meaning it is an acknowledgement of an earlier design--but it illustrates the basic concept well:

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 12.49.13 PM

Hsu's implementation is rather more elaborate, providing the details of mechanical implementation. Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 12.50.10 PM

From Coulter:

MrMonkeyMonk: "This looks like a german lock to me. If you want to know more, it seems to have been awarded by the VDI, which is a german engineering club, in 1991 via the Carl-Eduard-Schulte-Stiftung. It seems to have been a diploma project, but I can not figure out who did it. Maybe you want to call the VDI: http://www.vdi.de/3129.0.html

Dan Neuenswander found the patent of this lock: https://www.google.com/patents/US5131247?dq=5131247&hl=tr&sa=X&ei=PSlCVIyKKMTfPZKdgMAO&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA

CTO of NSA is moonlighting for Keith Alexander's blue-chip rent-a-cybercops

Former NSA boss Alexander charges $1M/month for cybersecurity advice, but promises that he's not selling any of the state secrets from his career as a long-serving, all-seeing top spook. But he hired his protege Patrick Dowd -- who still draws a paycheck from Uncle Sugar -- to moonlight for his company, which has the self-parodying name "Ironnet Cybersecurity."

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Comcast not welcome in Worcester, Mass thanks to bad customer service

The City Council told its manager not to transfer the town's cable license from Charter to Comcast (Comcast is in the process of borging Charter and assimilating its customers).

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Nebraska state senator's bill would make churches pay property tax

Ernie Chambers, a long-serving, African-American state senator, has proposed a bill that would strike the word "religious" from the list of groups that are property-tax-exempt.

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Writers condemn UK book censorship order

A large group of writers, including Stephen Fry, Jeffrey Archer, Katharine Norbury, Will Self, and others (include me!) have signed onto an open letter condemning a UK court decision that banned publication of a memoir because it revealed that the writer's child has autism and ADHD.

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