Unsuccessful hack targeted New York Times in Moscow, FBI blames Russia

U.S. officials are investigating online security attacks that targeted reporters at The New York Times in Moscow. A U.S. official said Tuesday that the Times was among various U.S. news organizations targeted. CNN was first to report the story, and the Times has since confirmed and corrected some details.

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Watch a giant domino tower fall after 7 hours of building with 3,242 dominoes


Epic fail.

What is described as “America’s largest domino tower” collapses on camera, after 7 straight hours of building. Read the rest

Satisfying video of the world's fastest shopping cart smashing into a wall


Dynamic Test Center, a provider of engineering and safety tests of all kinds, rolled a shopping cart into a wall at 75 miles per hour. Apparently that's a new world record. That clip is preceded by a shopping cart smashing into a car at 11 mph. It's oddly even more satisfying to watch, particularly because it isn't my car.

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Build your own private gyrocopter


Frequently seen in the pages of 1950s-era Popular Mechanics magazines, the Bensen B-8 was a small gyrocopter that was in production until 1987. Download the plans and build your own two-person gyrocpter fleet to compete with Uber and Lyft!

(via Weird Universe)

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Heart and Brain have extremely different view points but always remain best buds


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection by Nick Seluk Andrews McMeel Publishing 2015, 144 pages, 6.5 x 8 x 0.4 inches (softcover) $9 Buy a copy on Amazon

Heart and Brain is a wonderful collection of the lovable characters from Nick Seluk’s The Awkward Yeti webcomic. This special print edition features over 75 exclusive comics, as well as dozens of previously published fan favorites. The exclusive comics are the real draw, since they’ll be totally new to you even if you’ve read every single comic online.

If you’re new to Heart and Brain, the title says all you need to know about the characters. Brain is the rational one, always looking out for the logical, safe thing to do, while Heart is all about passion and seeking out the things he loves. Seluk creatively captures the constant push-and-pull between these forces in us all and externalizes them in some of the most endearing characters in comics. It’s hard to not fall in love with Brain’s neurotic over-worrying, and Heart’s blissful aloofness. They’re a perfectly matched odd couple because they come from such extremely differing viewpoints, but they always manage to meet in the middle.

The comics themselves are hilarious. I don’t think a single joke misses the mark in the entire book, which is pretty incredible. Seluk understands his characters on such a fundamental level that everything they do and say feels authentic. They’re just as endearing as other comic duos like Calvin and Hobbes, and their stories have the every day simplicity of Peanuts. Read the rest

Moist. MOIST!!!! (the science of why some people hate that word)


New psychology research explores "word aversion," or why "as many as 20% of the population equates hearing the word 'moist' to the sound fingernails scratching a chalkboard." In a scientific paper about their study, psychologists from Oberlin College and Trinity University report that for some people the word "moist" is associated with bodily functions that trigger a visceral feeling of disgust. No surprise there. But interestingly, those "semantic features" of the word may not be the only issue at play. From their paper:

A separate possible explanation not tested in the current studies, but which the author acknowledges, is rooted in the facial feedback hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that facial movement can influence emotional experience. In other words, if facial muscles are forced to configure in ways that match particular emotional expressions, then that may be enough to actually elicit the experience of the emotion. On this explanation, saying the word “moist” might require the activation of facial muscles involved in the prototypical disgust expression, and therefore trigger the experience of the emotion. This could explain the visceral response of “yuck” people get when they think of the word. Separate research has identified the particular facial muscles involved in the experience and expression of disgust, but no research as of yet has tested whether the same muscles are required when saying “moist.”

"An Exploratory Investigation of Word Aversion" (via Scientific American) Read the rest

Homeless woman proves the U.S. government owes her $100,000


Social Security wouldn't pay what was owed to 80-year-old Wanda Witter, and she ended up living on the streets of Washington DC for 16 years. She carried three suitcases of paperwork documenting her claim that the government owed her more than $100,000. Many people thought she was mentally ill and was making it up. But she was right all along, and Social Security wrote her a check for $99,999. They will probably give her more. From Washington Post:

Witter wandered the streets of Washington for about 16 years, calling the Social Security’s 800-number, sending them letters and trying to get someone to listen to her predicament.

It started after she lost her job as a machinist at Ingersoll-Rand plant in Corning, N.Y., where she made turbine and engine parts.

So Witter moved in with one of her four daughters who lived in Fort Carson, Colo., and started taking classes at Pikes Peak Community College. She graduated in three years and then went to paralegal school, where she earned her certificate.

She thought she could find work in the nation’s capital so she moved to D.C. around 1999.

“Washington was where all the lawyers were supposed to be,” she said.

But finding work wasn’t easy. Who wanted an unsmiling woman on her way to 70 who still carried herself like a machinist in their office? No one, it turned out. She got odd jobs stuffing envelopes or working in offices and ran out of money.

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If you play Pokémon Go, you need this PokeCharger

To be a Pokémon master, you'll need a phone that won’t constantly die on you. Because nothing is worse than seeing the screen go black right as you’ve finally found the Charizard of your dreams.

That’s why we’re so excited about the LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery ($39.99). With its 3.0 Amp HyperCharging technology, this slim battery will not only supercharge your phone, it’ll do it 2x faster than a typical wall charger. And since the LED battery gauge always lets you know just how much juice you’ve got left, you’ll never wonder whether you should risk trying to catch that last Pokemon or not. 

Take it from us, nothing you find in a PokeStop will beat the value of this quality battery pack. Plus, even though the LinearFlux comes complete with a Lightning connector for your iPhone, you can charge much more than that: including your Apple Watch or your Android (using the extra USB-A port). Don’t wait too long to get yours: this 50% off deal can now be found in our store. Read the rest

Some questions for those who are cheering Gawker's demise

Illo: Rob Beschizza
Gawker.com, the pioneering and controversial media blog, officially died yesterday. It was killed by billionaire Peter Thiel in his successful quest to bankrupt Gawker Media Group through a series of lawsuits he funded – most notably wrestler Hulk Hogan, who sued over the publication of a portion of his sex tape four years ago. Read the rest

Peak Pokémon Go has already passed


A new report from Axiom Capital Management suggests that Pokémon Go is on a downward trend in daily active users and engagement of those users. The data comes from Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.

Additionally, "The Google Trends data is already showing declining interest in augmented reality, whereas interest in virtual reality remains high," says senior analyst Victor Anthony.

(Bloomberg Markets)

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These programming skills will give you a competitive edge

The tech industry is constantly innovating, and in order to stay competitive, you'll need to keep up. The Programming Into the Future Bundle was created to teach you the skills employers are looking for at this very moment, including in-demand coding languages like Google Go.

The bundle of courses includes instruction on a range of innovative tools that advanced coders use daily, including:

Node.js - This server-side JavaScript environment creates real time web apps, builds APIs, and streams applications.

Angular 2 - This JavaScript library gives you a competitive edge in UI/UX design, web development, and scaling apps and programs across platforms.

Google Go Programming - This open-source language developed by Google is used in many Google (and non-Google) apps.

With 42 lessons in many forward-thinking programming languages and tools, this bundle will help you catch the eye of any startup or top-name enterprise company you’ve got your eye on.

Plus, this is a Pay What You Want based deal. Meaning, if you beat the average price, you'll get the entire bundle. If you pay less than the average price, you still get something awesome. But don’t wait too long: this deal ends in just a short 5 days. Read the rest

Watch things happen in reverse

MarkHacks says, "Things going backwards looks cool." !eerga I

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3D photos from 1850s Japan


These 1850s photos of Japan were taken with a stereoscopic camera like the one shown here. The photos were hand-tinted and meant to be viewed with a stereoscope. (A View Master is a stereoscope.) The images here are animated GIFs that blink back and forth between the two photos, giving you the 3D effect without having to use a stereopscope.

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Sony tries, fails to scrub Playstation 4 Slim photos off the net


When pictures of the forthcoming sleeker PlayStation 4 "Slim" showed up on Twitter and NeoGAF, no-one knew if they were the real deal. But when Sony started making noise and having the images disappeared from Facebook, everyone knew they were the real deal.

Eurogamer, having taken legal advice and removed video coverage of the box, confirms the story, with new high-resolution photos.

Bear in mind here that what Sony got taken down were not NDA-sealed marketing images or even photos surreptitiously taken in its private facilities: if the reports are to be believed, it's scrubbing images it does not own, of a console that was, supposedly, prematurely sold to a member of the public.

We can confirm that the PS4 Slim is real.

In our bid to confirm the veracity of the images that leaked online last night (more on that below), Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter visited the person who claimed to have bought the console from Gumtree.

ORIGINAL STORY: The PlayStation 4 Slim has leaked online.

The new console was first spotted on auction website Gumtree, before being picked up by NeoGAF.

Twitter user shortmaneighty2, who spotted the Gumtree listing, and NeoGAF user Venom Fox have posted multiple images of the console, showing it boxed, unboxed and compared to the original PS4 console.

It's "kind of ugly," writes Erik Kain at Forbes. Read the rest

Fisherman found 75 pound pearl 10 years ago, just learned it's worth $100 million

Image: Nick Hobgood (Nhobgood on Wikimedia Commons)

Ten years ago a fisherman from the Philippines pulled up his anchor and found it was attached to a giant clam. Inside the clam was a massive pearl. He brought it home and kept it under his bed for good luck. Recently his shack burned down and he showed the pearl to a tourist officer, who encouraged him to get it appraised. Early estimates put its value at $100 million. Read the rest

Oklahoma outlaw Elmer McCurdy had a career that lasted 100 years -- two-thirds of it as a corpse.


In 1976 a television crew discovered a mummified corpse in a California funhouse. Unbelievably, an investigation revealed that it belonged to an Oklahoma outlaw who had been shot by sheriff's deputies in 1911 and whose remains had been traveling the country ever since. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll trace the postmortem odyssey of Elmer McCurdy, "the bandit who wouldn't give up."

We'll also reflect on a Dutch artist's disappearance and puzzle over some mysterious hospital deaths.

Show notes

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Is Escalator Rat the new Pizza Rat?


At TriNoma Mall in Quezon City, a metaphor for modern life was born when a rat raced in from the street and tried to ascend the down escalator. Luckily, Kru Bryan was on hand to film the tragicomic analogy. Read the rest

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