The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

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When you desire meaning, when you want things to line up, when looking for something specific, you tend to notice patterns everywhere, which leads you to ask the question, “What are the odds?” Usually, the odds are actually pretty good.

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Charity: “Give to the neediest on Red Nose Day”

On Thursday May 26, Red Nose Day will return for the second year. It’s all about giving to children to fight hunger, sickness, and homelessness.

In the video above, the most famous magician in the world, David Copperfield, has his own magical way of asking you to get involved.

There’s going to be a two-hour TV show on NBC that evening at 9 p.m. eastern time, 8 p.m. central time, brought to you by the folks who put together Comic Relief. The biggest stars in America are going to come together for your donations.

Learn more about it here, and see what even the smallest donations can do. Read the rest

Fantastic psychedelic video for Kraftwerk's Autobahn (1979)

In 1979, Roger Mainwood, just out of the Royal College of Art, created this wonderfully trippy animation for Kraftwerk's "Autobahn." It was a commission from the band's record company but Kraftwerk had no input on the film, and Mainwood says he's unsure if they even saw it. The fan site KraftwerkOnline tracked down Mainwood and interviewed him about the film:

I've never actually had to explain in words exactly what it was all about. There was a lot of what you might call "psychedelic pop" imagery around at the time that to be honest never had a great deal of actual "meaning" to it at all, and I guess I was tapping into that. Thinking back to my thought processes at that time, I remember wanting to specifically not have conventional cars in the film. I wanted a sense of a repetitive journey, and alienation, which I took to be what the music was about,............hence the solitary futuristic figure, protected by large goggles, moving through and trying to connect with the journey he is taking. The automobile "monsters" are deliberately threatening ( I have never been a big fan of cars or motorways ! ) and when our "hero" tries to make human contact (with different coloured clones of himself) he can never do it. In the end he realises he is making the repetitive and circular journey alone but strides forward purposefully at the end as he did in the beginning . All of which sounds rather pretentious..........but I was a young thing in those days !

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Watch the trailer for Drive 2: The Uber Years

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Yes, I know that isn't really Ryan Gosling.

(Joey Thompson/YouTube)

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Incredible build video of a goopy meal

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It starts with a simple ear of corn. Then, it is drenched in pools of viscous liquids, topped with layers of crumbled something, and sprinkled with spices. Over and over again.

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Real time face capture lets you control famous faces

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Researchers at Stanford have developed face-capture technology that can alter pre-recorded videos in real-time on low cost computers. In other words, you can make George W Bush or Donald Trump appear intelligent.

We present a novel approach for real-time facial reenactment of a monocular target video sequence (e.g., Youtube video). The source sequence is also a monocular video stream, captured live with a commodity webcam. Our goal is to animate the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-render the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion. To this end, we first address the under-constrained problem of facial identity recovery from monocular video by non-rigid model-based bundling. At run time, we track facial expressions of both source and target video using a dense photometric consistency measure. Reenactment is then achieved by fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target. The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit. Finally, we convincingly re-render the synthesized target face on top of the corresponding video stream such that it seamlessly blends with the real-world illumination. We demonstrate our method in a live setup, where Youtube videos are reenacted in real time.

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Animated interview with Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone

Pleased to present for your consideration, this quote from the creator of The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling: "The most unfettered imagination belongs to young people, and they don’t walk through life; they fly.” (Blank on Blank)

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Californians: this is your last day to register to vote in the Democratic primary

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California holds semi-closed primaries: that means that if you want to cast a vote for Bernie Sanders, you have to be registered as an independent (not as a member of the racist, homophobic "American Independent Party") or a Democrat. Today is the deadline and you can change your affiliation online -- the primary is June 7. Read the rest

Bill Gates suggests these 5 books to read over the summer

His picks, with Amazon links:

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

How Not to be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg

The Vital Question, by Nick Lane

The Power to Compete, by Ryoichi Mikitani and Hiroshi Mikitani

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Noah Yuval Harari

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This Simpsons couch gag is a clever Ikea spoof

On last night's episode of The Simpsons, the couch gag was animator Michael Socha's excellent spoof of Ikea's instruction manuals.

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Watch sharks in a frenzied whale feast

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Impressive drone footage of more than 70 tiger sharks chowing on a whale near Shark Bay in Gascoyne, Western Australia. Eco Abrolhos Cruises posted the video to the company's Facebook page:

Passengers on our 14-day Geraldton to Broome and everywhere in between were treated to an unexpected phenomena while cruising inside Dirk Hartog Island. Something to show and tell the grandchildren.

(The Australian)

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Today in 1934: the death of Bonnie and Clyde, chronicled in song by Serge Gainsbourg

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On this day, May 23, in 1934, police killed infamous outlaw couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow outside of Sailes, Louisiana. Several weeks before they were killed, Parker penned a poem titled "The Trail's End" that became the basis for "Bonnie and Clyde," a beautiful French-language song that Serge Gainsbourg wrote and performed with Brigitte Bardot in 1968. Here's Bonnie's original poem:

The Trail's End

You've read the story of Jesse James of how he lived and died. If you're still in need; of something to read, here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang I'm sure you all have read. how they rob and steal; and those who squeal, are usually found dying or dead.

There's lots of untruths to these write-ups; they're not as ruthless as that. their nature is raw; they hate all the law, the stool pidgeons, spotters and rats.

They call them cold-blooded killers they say they are heartless and mean. But I say this with pride that I once knew Clyde, when he was honest and upright and clean.

But the law fooled around; kept taking him down, and locking him up in a cell. Till he said to me; "I'll never be free, so I'll meet a few of them in hell"

The road was so dimly lighted there were no highway signs to guide. But they made up their minds; if all roads were blind, they wouldn't give up till they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer sometimes you can hardly see.

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Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling talks censorship and sponsor pressure (1959)

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Mike Wallace interviews the amazing Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, about censorship and marketers trying to push around writers of the TV shows they were sponsoring.

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How to make a cheese ball machine gun from a leaf blower

Your old fashioned spud gun has got nothing on NightHawkinLight's cheese ball automatic assault blower.

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Understand the rhyming style of great rappers

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If you don't know, now you know.

(Thanks, Gabe Adiv!)

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Fox uses someone else's YouTube video, then orders YouTube to remove original video

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There should be a three-strikes-and-you're-out rule for any individual or corporation that issues bogus DMCA takedown notices.

From Torrent Freak:

This week's episode of Family Guy included a clip from 1980s Nintendo video game Double Dribble showing a glitch to get a free 3-point goal. Fox obtained the clip from YouTube where it had been sitting since it was first uploaded in 2009. Shortly after, Fox told YouTube the game footage infringed its copyrights. YouTube took it down.

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Will augmented reality be quite this unpleasant?

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Augmented reality, where stuff is visually superimposed on the real world using special glasses or whatever, is often touted as a more convincing and likely future than, say, everyone ending up in some kind of VR entertainment matrix hooked up to nutrition and shitting tubes. Sadly, AR will be even worse, at least if it resemble Keiichi Matsuda's hellish Hyper-Reality. Read the rest

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