WATCH: Rabid bat attacks guitarist

"The bat ended up being rabid, something [Derrick Skou, from Gresham, Oregon] only found out after taking it to Multnomah County health officials. He had first tried to take it to the Clackamas County Environmental Health Department, but he says they declined to test the bat."

Rabid bat bit man jamming on guitar

NoPhone is a black piece of plastic shaped like an iPhone

From the Kickstarter page: "The NoPhone acts as a surrogate to any smart mobile device, enabling you to always have a rectangle of smooth, cold plastic to clutch without forgoing any potential engagement with your direct environment."

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Favorite tools of You Are Not So Smart author David McRaney

On the Cool Tools Show, blogger and author David McRaney introduces us to some lesser known creative solutions to life's tiny nuisances that will help you untangle your wad of keys, opt for a better YouTube experience, and explore the future of musical experimentation.

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Australia bans Duff Beer

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Australia's Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code has banned the Woolworths grocery from selling Homer Simpson's favorite beverage Duff Beer because "it will be instantly recognisable and highly appealing to children and young people under the legal drinking age," according to a complaint filed with the organization.

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Comcast blocks Tor (updated)

"Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal; we have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules -- Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast."

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Slow motion skateboard tricks

Beautiful slow motion footage of skater Christopher Chann shot by Adam Shomsky at Stoner Skate Plaza, Los Angeles.

Premiere: new video from SF noise pop trio El Terrible

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"Last Cab" is the first video from San Francisco noise pop trio El Terrible, led by underground music veteran Terry Ashkinos (Elephone, Fake Your Own Death) with Scott Eberhardt on drums and vocals, and Adrian McCullough on bass, synth, and backing vocals.

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Pennies now cost 1.6 cents to make

Congress has yet to phase out pennies, despite years of plans and the near-useless coin costing more to manufacture than their own face value.

Pop music's 1,264 micro genres

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Skweee, Laboratorio, Deep Filthstep, Chalga (see below)-- those are only four of the 1,264 micro genres of popular music identified by "data alchemist" Glenn McDonald, creator of Every Noise At Once, which I posted about last year.

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Excerpt from In Real Life, YA graphic novel about gold farmers


In Real Life is the book-length graphic novel adapted by Jen Wang from my short story Anda's Game, about a girl who encounters a union organizer working to sign up Chinese gold-farmers in a multiplayer game.

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Movie scenes recut from stock footage

Iconic movies and movie scenes recreated using stock footage. My favorite is The Shining, at 22 seconds in. (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)

TSA demands to search man who's already flown

Minnesota's Kahler Nygard drew a Spirit Air boarding car with the dreaded "SSSS" extra-search marker, and halfway to Denver, Spirit and/or the TSA decided he hadn't been searched properly (he says he was), so they panicked and dragged him off the plane in Denver for another search because he might have been a time-traveller who could harm a plane after getting off of it.

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Oxytocin: "the biological basis for the golden rule"

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Here's the transcript at Medium of a deeply fascinating Aspen Ideas lecture by neuroeconomist Paul Zak, author of The Moral Molecule, about the chemical reason why the vast majority of us feel good helping others. Those who don't? Psychopaths, mostly.

Microsoft to acquire Minecraft for $2.5bn

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Tech giant Microsoft is to buy Mojang, creators of Minecraft, for $2.5bn, reports the Associated Press.

Launched in 2009, Minecraft is a sprawling, endlessly-replayable "sandbox" game that dumps the player in a randomly-generated abstract world. By exploring, gathering materials, crafting items and equipping their avatars, players can set about surviving hostile fauna, launching expeditions deep into ore-filled caverns, and constructing anything from huts to palaces, and even vast machines.

The phenomenal appeal and success of Minecraft -- just check our archives over the last few years! -- is hard to define, but it's been downloaded more than 100 million times since its inception. Created by Markus "Notch" Persson, Minecraft remains the most popular game on Xbox, and the most popular paid game on iOS and Android, according to the AP.

Yet that word hardly scratches the surface of the blocky world-simulator's Lego-like possibilities, though: a fact hit on by Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO, who said that it was "more than a game."

"It is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft," Nadella was quoted as saying in the press release. Microsoft expects to close the sale by the end of 2014, and break even by the end of 2015.

Microsoft also committed to keeping Minecraft available on all the platforms on which it is available today, including Sony Playstation and cellphones running Apple and Google-based operating systems

"Yes, the deal is real," wrote Mojang's Owen Hill at the company's official blog. " ... Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that."

Notch, he wrote, didn't want the responsibility of owning a company that had become globally successul, and had found that the pressure of owning Minecraft made it impossible to work on other projects.

Here's Microsoft's press release, in full:

Microsoft Corp. today announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Mojang, the celebrated Stockholm-based game developer, and the company’s iconic “Minecraft” franchise.

The Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios, which includes the studios behind global blockbuster franchises “Halo,” “Forza,” “Fable” and more. Microsoft’s investments in cloud and mobile technologies will enable “Minecraft” players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the “Minecraft” community.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion. Microsoft expects the acquisition to be break-even in FY15 on a GAAP basis. Subject to customary closing conditions and any regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close in late 2014.

Available across multiple platforms, “Minecraft” is one of the most popular video games in history, with more than 100 million downloads, on PC alone, by players since its launch in 2009. “Minecraft” is one of the top PC games of all time, the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for iOS and Android in the US. The “Minecraft” community is among the most active and passionate in the industry, with more than 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years. Minecraft fans are loyal, with nearly 90 percent of paid customers on the PC having signed in within the past 12 months.

“Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”

“The ‘Minecraft’ players have taken the game and turned it into something that surpassed all of our expectations. The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story of ‘Minecraft,’” said Carl Manneh, CEO, Mojang. “As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.”

Microsoft plans to continue to make “Minecraft” available across all the platforms on which it is available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.

“‘Minecraft’ is one of the most popular franchises of all time,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “We are going to maintain ‘Minecraft’ and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future.”

More details will be available upon the acquisition closing.

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New Commemorative Edition of Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal Winner THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

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In commemoration of more than 1 million copies sold, this special paperback edition of The Graveyard Book features a gorgeous metallic gold cover, new content from Neil Gaiman, and sketches by illustrator Dave McKean.

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