Northern Illinois University's terrible net policy censors political Wikipedia entries

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The university's new head of technnology has instituted blocks for torrents, "obscene," and "unethical" pages, "misrepresenting identity," "political activities such as surveying, polling, material distribution, vote solicitation and organization or participation in meetings, rallies and demonstrations, among other activities" -- and any attempts to access blocked pages are logged and are grounds for disciplinary investigation by the school administration.

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Whale vaginas are amazing


Mammal penises, including those of cetaceans, are pretty easy to find, while vaginas are more difficult to examine; historically, accounts of animal reproduction have emphasized the features of penises and theories of sperm competition, but a burgeoning scientific emphasis on whale vaginas is revealing structures and strategies that are amazing and wonderful.

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LISTEN: Tom Scioli and Ed Piskor on being professional comic book artists

Cartoonists Tom Scioli and Ed Piskor share a studio in Pittsburgh. We visited their studio to talk about what it’s like being professional comic book artists, selling their work, nostalgia, research, color theory, anger management, and “skewmorphism!”

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Replica Axe-Cop cosplay axe

$20, made from real plastic, and a fitting tribute to one of the most delightfully weird comics in the universe.

Wikipedia bans Congressional IP address for transphobic vandalism (again)

A Congressional staffer, or someone with access to their network, has repeatedly modified Wikipedia articles to insert transphobic slurs, prompting the second month-long lockout for the Congressional IP address in less than a month.

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Republican FCC commish defends states' rights to ban municipal ISPs


Ajit Pai's chief of staff says that the FCC shouldn't allow cities to set up public ISPs where state law prohibits it, even when no other broadband is available, and warns Democratic commissioners that they shouldn't do things that future Republican administrations might object to.

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Game of Thrones Book Club: Petyr Baelish’s Game of King Chairs

With the completion of Season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Ivan and Red dig back into the Boars, Gore, And Swords book club, where they cover the chapters of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series that correspond to the previous television season. No book spoilers past the TV show!

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Lauren Bacall on The Dame Edna Experience

Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall died 10 days ago. Somehow, in the flood of tribute videos, I forgot about this appearance on The Dame Edna Experience , which is one of my favorite television shows of all time.

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Help EFF code for freedom!

April from EFF writes, "Help improve the Electronic Frontier Foundation's free software projects to defend freedom & enhance privacy and security online. Here's a list of all the projects we invite you to hack your heart out on!"

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Little girl plays with a giant fluffy Tibetan Mastiff (video, GIFs)

Simba, a two-year-old giant Tibetan Mastiff, is sweet and friendly with Weiwei. They love to play together.

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Nerf zombie-hunter machete


The $20 Zombie Striker Nerf Foam Machete is just what you need for your little monster-hunters.

The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist

A Gweek listener recommended The Magician and the Cardsharp to me (I can't remember who - sorry!) and I'm thankful he did. It's a well-told story about two men with intersecting lifelong goals. The first man was Allen Kennedy (1865–1961) a professional card cheat who spent many years perfecting his technique to deal cards from the center of the deck undetected. The second man was Dai Vernon (1894–1992), one of the most highly-respected sleight-of-hand magicians in history.

Vernon, who worked as a silhouette cutter in department stores, had been interested in card tricks (especially ones involving sleight-of-hand) since childhood. By the time he was an adult, he'd gained a reputation for being one of the best card handlers in the world. From time-to-time, Vernon would heard rumors that there was a professional cardsharp somewhere in Missouri who'd mastered the mythical Center Deal, a move that almost every magician dismissed as an impossible fantasy.

Vernon had his doubts too, but the rumors continued to spread, and his curiosity got the better of him. He embarked on a years-long quest, involving much travel and encounters with scary characters, to find out if there really was someone who had invented an undetectable center deal and, if he existed, to convince the man to teach him how it was done. This book is not only the story of Vernon's search for, and eventual meeting with, the man behind the rumor, it is also a history of the American midwest's rough-and-tumble past, replete with illegal gambling dens, speakeasies, con-men, whorehouses, and mobsters. Author Karl Johnson does a fine job of bringing the dusty, dangerous, boisterous, exciting atmosphere of small city vice to life.

The Magician and the Cardsharp

Video below shows a sample of the genius of Dai Vernon:

Otterday

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North American river otters.

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Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, Part 9

Radiant Heated Dog House: Because shoving Rover’s paw in a light socket wouldn’t be cruel enough. By Matt Maranian

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3D printed Dark Knight branding iron


The $30.60 Dark Knight branding iron is made from 3D printed steel and snaps onto the end of a Bic lighter, and is intended for branding Batmannish trade-dress on your school stuff, clothes, books, furniture, etc (Note: not pets or people).

(via Geekymerch)