Boing Boing 

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking call for ban on “autonomous weapons”

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Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts have signed a letter calling for a worldwide ban on “autonomous weapons.”

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U.S. home ownership rates drop to lowest level in 48 years

U.S. homeownership rate is 63.4%, the lowest since 1967. Bloomberg blames it on a combination of "stringent mortgage standards and wage growth that hasn’t kept up with surging home prices." As a result, rental vacancy rates a falling and rental rates are increasing.

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Jedi Chipmunks

Jedi and Sith chipmunks take the force to a whole new level. [h/t David Mizejewski]

Play it now: Claw Champion Earth

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Oh, claw machines. Those playful, enticing toy bins we've fairly recently learned are definitely rigged to routinely thwart your desire for a new fluffy friend. Even if you study this wonderful WikiHow guide to winning crane games ("if you haven't won, repeat the process to try again"), the claw machine seems fundamentally destined to break your heart.

Until now. Plenty of video games cast you as the cool young arcade champion on the block, but never before has the cool arcade been a claw machine. In Claw Champion Earth, you battle other kids in a game of frantic, duelling prize-grabs that manage to capture everything you like about claw machines, and also everything you don't like about them, except it's still fun.

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It's simple to play: You and another Claw Kid, played by the computer, swing your spindly claw arms in frantic, urgent competiton, trying to grab the most prizes from the machine. What makes it really fun is that your prize, or your opponent's, can get stuck in the PRIZE AREA, meaning if you're fast enough you can swing over and pluck something right out of their winner's chute. You end up grasping hopefully for toys, whispering the same kind of no-no-no-come-on-rrgh-yes-yes-yes mantra you might mutter at the shrine of a real machine.

Claw Champion Earth, by From Smiling, was made in 72 hours for a jam called #indiesvsgamers and is free to download.

Onion launches a spot-on parody of VICE TV

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Nailed it. Follow them at @edgetv on Twitter.

“Uncaged, Unaccountable, Fucked Up. EDGE Atrocity Tip Line: 1-877-777-8192.” Starts August 3.

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Come see me tonight in Seattle!

I'm reading from the novel I just finished (Utopia) and then being interviewed by Geekwire's Frank Catalano.

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Magician, author, and Weekend of Wonder guest Andrew Mayne doing a Twitter Q&A today

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Andrew Mayne, star of A&E's Don't Trust Andrew Mayne and a guest at our upcoming Weekend of Wonder, is doing a Twitter Q&A today starting at 3PM EST. You can use the hashtag #AskAndrew, and ask him about his books, magic, and awesome monkey walking imitation.

Unknown See Andrew Mayne, magician, TV show star, novelist, and inventor, at Boing Boing's three-day extravaganza, the Weekend of Wonder, running Sept. 18-20. A weekend of workshops, tech demons and wild performances, there'll be plenty of fun surprises!

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Interview with Andrew Mayne about his favorite tools on Cool Tools.

Cooking rice in a coffee pot flushes out arsenic

Rice contains more of the carcinogen arsenic than other grains, but researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, UK found that cooking rice in a simple coffee pot removed about half the arsenic.

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Help kickstart L.A.'s Big Art Church

L.A.'s Big Art Church, a studio, gallery, school and performance venue, is just getting going! Naturally, it needs our help!

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Fugitive caught after being spotted in horror film photos

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I imagine most fugitives would want to keep a low profile, but not so for Jason Stange, of Olympia, WA, who was found guilty of armed bank robbery in 2006. Rather than show up for probation, after a 117-month sentence, he was busy playing the part of a deranged Planned Parenthood doctor in the low-budget horror film, Marla Mae. Then last week, an article ran in The Olympian about the movie with lots of photos of 44-year-old Stange. Finally his days in the spotlight caught up with him. According to The News Tribune:

Brandon Roberts, the film’s producer, called Stange a talented actor who was well-liked by the cast and crew. He said the film was rewritten to suit Stange, who had “really nailed the audition” and brought a different element to the role than what the film’s creators originally sought.

Filming had just ended, and everyone was checking out the article in Friday morning’s newspaper when Stange headed out in his costume to buy cigarettes, Roberts said. Agents arrested Stange and allowed him to return the costume to the filming location.

Stange's leading role will remain in the film, which is scheduled for release in 2016.

Watch Bugs Bunny's first official cartoon from 75 years ago

Bugs Bunny turns 75 this year. His first "official" cartoon, seen here, is titled "A Wild Hare." Watch as Bugs is pursued by Elmer Fudd for the very first time.

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Photos of 1970s cheap motels

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In the 1973, subversive street artist Mike Mandel would take snapshots of the cheap motels where he stayed while traveling the country. He's posted the series on Flickr.

Working on the Baseball Photographer Trading Cards, traveling throughout the country, my girlfriend at the time, Alison Woolpert, and I would stay at some, shall we say, "economy" motels. We pulled into one in Texas on a wintry night and upon waking in the morning we realized that the sheets had not been changed after the visit of the previous motel guest. When we indignantly complained to the owner he shot us back a dirty look, "What do you expect for five dollars?" What we did expect was that no matter how shabby, beaten down or forgotten a motel might have become, there was always a motel postcard to be had: a memento of a one night stop, a promotional calling card, a free mailable note card to report back on the progress of a vacation to those back home. We would often take the back roads, sometimes follow old Route 66, and we would find those sad, forsaken motels that had been sucked almost out of existence by the newer corporate chains situated just off an exit ramp on the newer highways. We bypassed Motel 6, Travelodge and Howard Johnson's. After all, their postcards were usually just the same design with a different address. But we'd go out of our way to stop at every independent motel we could find in hopes of finding a postcard that would be even more banal than the one we had just found down the road.

This led, inevitably, to my photographing the motels themselves: interiors, pool sides and architecture. The project was always there whenever there was an opportunity to travel.

"70's Motels" (Flickr, via Dangerous Minds) screenshot

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Japanese artist goes on trial over "vagina selfies"

In December, we wrote about the unbelievably stupid arrest of Rokudenashiko (nee Megumi Igarashi), a Japanese manga artist who makes art with castings of her genitals. She's actually been arrested twice – once for distributing 3-D printable data of her vagina (really, her vulva or pudendum, for the pudants reading this), and another time for for an art display of whimsical sculptures (described by prosecutors as "obscene objects") at a store in Tokyo. Examples of the obscene objects are shown above and below:

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Rokudenashiko's been in jail awaiting trial, after a judge refused her lawyer's request to release her. Judge Noriki Ando said Rokudenashiko must remain in prison out of a "fear she may destroy evidence or flee."

Rokudenashiko's trial is now underway. Her lawyers will defend the artist by claiming that her "work is not a precise reproduction of the vulva and does not cause sexual arousal."

The Guardian points out the hypocrisy of the case against Rokudenashiko:

Her case has attracted worldwide attention and criticism of the apparent double standards in the Japanese law’s treatment of sexual imagery. While the country has a thriving pornography industry, its obscenity laws ban the depiction of genitalia, which usually appear pixelated in images and videos.

Commentators pointed out the hypocrisy of her initial arrest, which came soon after Japanese authorities resisted pressure to ban pornographic images of children in manga comics and animated films.

If found guilty Rokudenashiko could spend two years in prison for distributing obscene objects.

Here's a profile of Rokudenashiko, showing how she makes her "vagina sculptures."

And here she describes her (successful) crowdfunded plan to make a "pussy kayak":

Time's Mirror: A CHRONOS Files Novella by Rysa Walker

Time's Mirror: A CHRONOS Files Novella (The CHRONOS Files)

I fell in love with Rysa Walker's time travel stories, the CHRONOS Files. Time's Mirror is a new novella exposing one of her most controversial characters!

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Massive steel labyrinth

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Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh built this phenomenal steel labyrinth in Genk, Belgium at the C-mine arts center located on the site of a former coal mine. The 37.5 square meter maze has a kilometer of corridors.

A series of Boolean transformations create spaces and perspectives that reinterpret the traditional Labyrinth is a sculptural installation that focuses on the experience of space. These Boolean transformations convert the walk through the labyrinth into a sequence of spatial and sculptural experiences.

More at Deezen and Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. (via Juxtapoz)

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Surprise, TechCrunch panders to awful start-up founders!

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In this terrible post, TechCrunch panders to the worst kind of start-up exec, the lying and failing kind. Nothing in their piece is good advice, and no one should look to these bozos for business tips.

Here is a nice excerpt:

Lying is a requisite and daily part of being a founder, the grease that keeps the startup flywheel running. No one likes to put it that way of course. Instead, we use phrases like “hustling” and “fake it until you make it” to make the idea of lying more palatable. “Information control” is among the most important skills a founder has traditionally needed for success, and these euphemisms change nothing of the daily behavior.

This is a crock. Having run a few startups, and having had a number of good exits, what I think you ought to do is operate to a plan!

If you find yourself in a place where your next round of funding is doubtful, it is most likely due to you failing to achieve the things you set out to in the first place, or no one wants what you are building. If you are failing to hit your targets, chances are you shouldn't be trusted with another round.

You know how venture rounds are termed A, B, C... etc? Investors expect you to hit the goals you set out in an A round, if you do it is very likely you'll get a B round of funding completed. If you miss all your objectives, well I suppose you can read this shit from TechCrunch.

Do not lie to everyone you can find. It will not make the magic happen.

Man born with "virtually no brain" has advanced math degree


The subject of this paper grew up with a normal cognitive and social life, and didn't discover his hydrocephalus -- which had all but obliterated his brain -- until he went to the doctor for an unrelated complaint.

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