Releasing a Cthulhoid podcast on wax cylinders

Paul from Yog Soggoth Dot Com writes, "To celebrate 19 years of the YSDC web site we've released a Limited Edition Wax Cylinder recording of one of our podcast shows on 19 cylinders. Yes, there really is a podcast on it. Fewer than 19 cylinders are available from the set as some people already have them." Read the rest

Trippy video sets crow wing movements to audio waveforms

Crows in D experiments with the cymatic patterns of bird wings, pairing up the waveforms of audio tones with the wing cycles of crows arranged end to end. Read the rest

Tabletop Audio: ambient loops for your RPGs

"Role-players, boardgamers, writers, coders, artists, graphic designers, teachers, house-cleaners, lucid dreamers, gym-rats, distance runners, commuters" can enjoy over 100 ambient atmospheric loops with names like "Orbital Promenade," "Lunar Outpost," "Testing Chamber" and so on. Read the rest

Listen: a conversation with Jeff Vandermeer about his weird biotech novel Borne

David sends us "My in-depth (and lengthy) conversation (MP3) with Jeff Vandermeer about Borne, about storytelling in the age of climate change, about biotech and personhood, and about why weird fiction is so well-equipped to address the crises we find ourselves in as a species, just went live " Read the rest

Choose "Cage-Free" audiobooks

The nice folks at Libro.fm supply audiobooks online and through a network of the country's best indie bookstores; all their books are DRM-free, and they have a new, snappy way of describing them: Cage-Free Audiobooks. Read the rest

Announcing the Walkaway audiobook, with Wil Wheaton, Amber Benson, Amanda Palmer and more!

Here's Wil Wheaton reading "Communist Party," the opening chapter of "Walkaway," my first novel for adults since 2009's "Makers." Wil is joined on the independently produced audiobook by Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls), Mirron Willis, Gabrielle de Cuir, Lisa Renee Pitts and Justine Eyre. It was directed by Gabrielle de Cuir for Skyboat Media and mastered by John Taylor Williams for Wryneck Studios. You can buy the 15-hour DRM-free audiobook for $24.95 at my shop, or wherever DRM-free audiobooks are sold. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling's SXSW 2017 keynote: what should humans do?

Every year, Bruce Sterling closes the SXSW Interactive Festival with a wide-ranging, hour-long speech about the state of the nation: the format is 20 minutes' worth of riffing on current affairs, and then 40 minutes of main thesis, scorchingly delivered, with insights, rage, inspiration and calls to action. Read the rest

"Roaming in Wonderland with Ears": the elf ear headphones reviewed

Mad props to whoever at the elf ear earbuds factory figured out exactly which western gadget blogger to send them to.

First spotted on the Chinese-language Taobao shopping portal last year, the Spirit E666 earbuds are now easily found in the US, sold under various names but most conveniently at Amazon for $20. The ones I received were labeled "ROAMING IN WONDERLAND WITH EARS."

They're made of silicone, come with three sets of in-ear cushions, a four-foot cable in the same color, and have a microphone with playback controls and a modern 3.5mm TRRS connector.

PROS

The first surprise is that they're easy to put on, and they stay on. Anyone who's ever fooled around with cosplay prosthetics (with the latex and spirit gum and whatnot) knows what a hassle it can be. You won't be playing rugby in these, but I found them comfortable and well-designed. And they pop right off too.

The second surprise is they don't sound awful. They aren't the market-stall tat you might expect in a weird fashion design like this, but are on a par with what's bundled with cellphones and iPods or found on the bargain rack at Best Buy. They sound rather sharp and lacking in mid-range definition, for sure, but have enough bass to satisfy.

CONS

They're too small for proper elfage. Dainty little anime tips, really. They just disappear inside fluffy or shaggy hair. They're also one-size fits all, so if your ears are particularly small or large, the ear ridge might not align well with your own. Read the rest

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H5, big bucks for big sound

Bang & Olufsen's H5 Bluetooth, water resistant, in-ear buds are pretty damn great. For $220 they had better be. Read the rest

The future of fake news is real-time video manipulation

Nick Bilton reports on the next round of fake news tools that allow users to manipulate audio and video to change what's being said, a sort of real-time Photoshop for moving images and audio. Want to make it look like a celebrity used a taboo word, or misquote a politician? No problem! Read the rest

Bruce Sterling on dieselpunk, alternate history, fascism and the current political moment

In November, Bruce Sterling published "Pirate Utopia," a dieselpunk novella set in the real, historical, bizarre moment in which the city of Fiume became an autonomous region run by artists and revolutionaries, whose philosophies ran the gamut from fascism to anarcho-syndicalism to socialism. Read the rest

Listen: interview with Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee: 'the longest working cartoonist in history'

Brian from the Recommend if You Like podcast sez, "For episode 200 (MP3), we sat down for a 90 minute interview with Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee, who, at the age of 95 holds the title of 'the longest working cartoonist in history.'" Read the rest

Marina Abramović and Kim Stanley Robinson perform "The Hard Problem," a performance-art podcast

"The Hard Problem" is a new episode of the Into The Impossible podcast from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination: it features the outcome of a collaboration between legendary performance artist Marina Abramović (previously) and environmentalist science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson (previously): a short story about an interstellar journey incorporating elements of Robinson's outstanding 2015 novel Aurora -- a novel that is pitiless in its insistence on rigor in our thinking about the problems of living in space and on other planets.

90 minutes of the year's best standup comedy albums

The end-of-year episode of Jesse Thorn's Bullseye podcast (MP3) highlights the funniest bits from 2016's best standup comedy albums, an hour and a half of seriously funny stuff that I've enjoyed more than any other podcast I've listened to this week. It's been a bleak 2016, and this is a tonic. Read the rest

Listen: Tim Wu on The Attention Merchants

Tim Wu's book The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads (review) was one of the best books I read in 2016; on Rick Kleffel's Narrative Species podcast, Wu discusses the book (MP3) covering depth that he couldn't fit between the covers. Read the rest

Free audiobook of Car Wars, my self-driving car/crypto back-door apocalypse story

Last month, Melbourne's Deakin University published Car Wars, a short story I wrote to inspire thinking and discussion about the engineering ethics questions in self-driving car design, moving beyond the trite and largely irrelevant trolley problem. Read the rest

'Sound Journeys' merge natural sounds and human-made environments

Art collective The Principals put together Sound Journeys, an immersive multimedia project focusing on how sounds shape human response to environment.

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