The limits of animal life on Tatooine

Maggie Koerth-Baker on why the megafauna of George Lucas’ parched desert world makes no sense. It’s not the dry heat that’s the problem; it’s the food supply.

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Venn pie-agram


From Redditor Bruised_Bergina.

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China's trademark squatters cause major headaches for foreign firms


At, an interesting piece on the hassles created for foreign firms by China's trademark 'squatters,' who register trademarks within China for world-known brands, and basically hold those marks ransom until the brand owner pays them off for rights to use the mark within China.

The CNN piece focuses on the headaches suffered by Australian wine firm Penfolds, and that story was first covered in Australian Financial Review:

Treasury Wine Estates failed to register the Chinese name for Penfolds and is now locked in a protracted legal battle with a notorious trademark squatter in an effort regain ownership of the iconic name.

An investigation by The Australian Financial Review has found that a rival wine company has registered three variations of Penfolds’ Chinese name, Ben Fu. This potentially leaves Treasury open to a hefty fine for trademark infringement and could also allow the rival to sell wine using the Chinese name for Penfolds.

“Treasury has little choice but to buy back the name at a hefty price or relaunch the brand in China,” said wine consultant Andy Tan from Mad Wines. “Actually the Chinese company has done nothing wrong. In China the first person to register the name has the right to use it.”

Electronics giant Apple, electric car maker Tesla and French winemaker Castel have all suffered similar problems in China, due to its so called “first to file” rule.

New Chinese trademark laws which came into effect on May 1, should make this more difficult, but previous judgements have not been favourable for ­foreign companies. Last August a ­Chinese court ordered Castel to pay Yuan33.73 million ($A5.8 million) for trademark infringement, after a rival wine company registered its Chinese name in 2000. Castel is appealing the judgement, but it has abandoned its well-known Chinese name and relaunched the brand.

Penfolds is up against the same trademark squatter, who won the record judgement against Castel.

Read the full Financial Review story here.

"Ben Fu" is a transliteration that means "chasing prosperity."

A Woman's Work is Never Done: Eliza Bennett's 'flesh as canvas' embroidery


London-based artist Eliza Bennett began by working in textiles and fashion design, and uses techniques from those realms on her own hands. Her skin becomes cloth, on which she stitches embroidered patterns that trace a narrative.

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Bikecamper: bicycle with sleeping box

SAM 7781

Amsterdam artist Bas Srakel made the Bikecamper, a tricycle with an expandable coffin-like sleeping container meant "for homeless people, refugees and urban nomads."

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Anthrax letters now on display

Untitled In Smithsonian, read about the new National Postal Museum exhibition where you can see the anthrax-laden letters that were sent to media outlets and two Democratic senators in 2001 and the mailbox into which they were dropped.

EFF's guide to San Diego Comic-Con

Dave from EFF sez, "Scorpion, Person of Interest and transformative art are among the highlights we're looking forward to most at San Diego Comic-Con this year. You can also meet up with me (Dave Maass) at the Alaska Robotics table 2 - 3 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

The EFF Guide to San Diego Comic-Con 2014

Facebook deletes women rowing team's page. Why? A safe-for-work seminude photo

Nathaniel Mott: "it’s okay to post naked photos to Facebook, as long as you’re not a woman"

New Humble Ebook Bundle: name your price for Walking Dead collections and more comics

Included in the DRM-free bundle are a ton of Walking Dead collections, the amazing Witch Doctor comic (review, review) and loads more.

Inateck's SSD housing replaced my portable hard drives

Inateck SSD enclosure

My MacBook Air has a small SSD and there is no way to upgrade it, I've recently started carrying an SDD, in this handy $18 SSD optimized external storage case.

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Hordes of mayflies explode in Minnnesota, but they're actually a good thing


Disgusting grey clouds of millions of mayflies swarm the Minnesota skies this week.

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A Silicon Valley hackathon for North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, shown here, is not going to like this themed hackathon at all.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, shown here, is not going to like this themed hackathon at all.

The Human Rights Foundation plans to host a two-day hackathon in San Francisco. The idea is to generate "new ways to get information safely into North Korea."

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Ingesting pure caffeine powder maybe not as great an idea as it seems, says FDA


The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to consumers that ingesting pure powdered caffeine sold in bulk online is not a great idea.

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The weird and wonderful paintings of John Brosio


Some of the wonderful works of Southern California-based artist John Brosio [Facebook, website].

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Hyperlocal soaps inspired by neighborhoods


My friend Malena Seldin and her pals launched Local Lathers, a wonderfully-creative new line of natural, handmade soaps that are inspired by neighborhoods and landmarks, like the "Brooklyn Bridge Daily Grind" that smells of sandalwood and coffee!

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