Bluetooth sports headphones for $16

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Aukey makes smartphone cables, chargers, battery packs, etc. I've tried quite a few things made by Aukey (some were sent for review and others I bought) and have always been happy with the quality. The bluetooth sports headphones made by Aukey are no exception (I bought them). The run about 4 hours on a charge and sound fine for my purposes (90% podcasts and audiobooks, 10% music). Most importantly, they are comfortable, unlike so many earphones I have tried. They are regularly $25, but you can get them for a limited time with the coupon code: 2CHBUTGF. Read the rest

Listen to the sounds of 18th century Paris

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Musicologist Mylène Pardoen and a team of 3D artists created this "sonic tableaux" of 18th century Paris based on a 1781 map and numerous historical documents and research on what Paris's Grand Châtelet district, between the Pont au Change and Pont Notre Dame bridges, may have sounded like at the time. From the French National Center for Scientific Research:

“I chose that neighborhood because it concentrates 80% of the background sound environments of Paris in that era, whether through familiar trades—shopkeepers, craftsmen, boatmen, washerwomen on the banks of the Seine, etc.—or the diversity of acoustic possibilities, like the echo heard under a bridge or in a covered passageway,” Pardoen explains. While historical videos with soundtracks are nothing new, this is the first 3D reconstitution based solely on a sonic background: the quality of the sounds (muffled, amplified…) takes into account the heights of the buildings and their construction materials (stone, cob etc.).

This urban soundscape was recreated based on documents from the period, including Le Tableau de Paris, published in 1781 by Louis-Sebastien Mercier, and the work of historians like Arlette Farge, a specialist on the 18th century, Alain Corbin, known for his research on the history of the senses, and Youri Carbonnier, an authority on houses built on bridges. The audio tour includes sounds like the cackling of birds in the poultry market, the hum of flies drawn to the fishmongers’ stalls, the sound of the loom at the woollen mill that used to stand at one end of the Pont au Change, that of the scrapers in the tanneries on Rue de la Pelleterie, of typesetting at the print shop on Rue de Gesvres… all overlaid with the incessant cries of the seagulls that came to feed on the city’s heaps of waste....

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Small wireless portable bluetooth speaker packs a punch

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A couple of weeks ago my teenage daughter took my beloved Grain bluetooth speaker into her room and I haven't seen it since. I bought the AmazonBasics Ultra-Portable Micro Bluetooth Speaker ($20) as a low-cost replacement. I've been using it in the kitchen, mainly to listen to podcasts and am very happy with it. The sound is deeper and louder than my phone's speaker, though not nearly as good as the Grain ($250). It's about the size of a hockey puck, and plays 10 hours on a charge (a micro USB cable is supplied). It also comes with a soft pouch, which I promptly lost. Read the rest

Listen: whistleblower story that Marineland threatens to sue journalists for disclosing

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Phil Demers worked as an animal trainer at Niagara Falls, Ontario's Marineland for 12 years before resigning because he believed that the animals in his care were being mistreated and he did not believe that his employers would listen to him or his colleagues' warnings about this. Read the rest

The Afflictions: a beautiful, gruesome, witty audiobook

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What happens when a scrappy independent press, an advertising copywriter with a sonorous baritone, and a physician-writer with a haunted imagination decide to make something together? An audiobook that’s sometimes beautiful, sometimes gruesome, witty and philosophical, magical and eerie.

Cheap mini-TOSlink to TOSlink cable

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Naturally Apple's choice of optical audio-out cable is going to be a pain. Obviously, its not going to be one I'd just have around, that is not the Apple way! Rather than pay $30 plus at an Apple store or hifi audio boutique, this $6 cable does just fine for me.

If you want to use an Apple laptop or Airport Express as a streaming audio source, this cable will come in handy.

Monoprice 3-Feet Optical TosLink to Mini TosLink M/M 5.0mm OD Molded Cable via Amazon Read the rest

The changing world of webcomics business models

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Thom from the Shadowbinders podcast writes, "Journalist Brady Dale from the New York Observer joins us this episode (MP3) as we talk about the changing business model of webcomics. Are webcomics 'dead' -- or just evolving? How will social media play into the business model of digital comics going forward? And what about the money -- where is the MONEY?!" Read the rest

Harlem Cryptoparty: Crypto matters for #blacklivesmatter

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This week's Radio Motherboard podcast (MP3) talks with Matthew Mitchell, a former data journalist who organizes Harlem Cryptoparty, a regular training meeting for black activists who want to learn to defend themselves against the burgeoning police/DHS practice of racially profiling black activists through targeted surveillance.

Though social media surveillance is a modern phenomenon, the US government has a long and shameful history of surveilling black activists (see, for example, the FBI's attempt to convince Martin Luther King to kill himself).

Harlem Cryptoparty is an attempt to help black people armor themselves against everyday surveillance, promoted through barbershops, hair salons, black churches and flyers in the neighborhood.

2:24 Mitchell explains why a cryptography meetup makes sense in Harlem.

5:05 In order to reach the Harlem community, you have to recruit offline.

7:55 Cryptoparties and privacy events are still rare in the inner city in predominantly black and Latino communities, even though it’s not just a hypothetical threat. “You’re worried about, hey this guy threw me against a wall, flashed a badge at me, took my phone, he said if I gave him the phone he’ll let me walk, otherwise I have to do paper work. What was he doing with it?”

9:40 Nusrat Choudury from the ACLU’s Racial Justice program joins us. She wrote this piece, “The Government Is Watching #BlackLivesMatter, And It’s Not Okay.”

12:40 There is a pattern throughout history of the government using the fear of threats to conduct surveillance on “people who look or act different.”

15:30 A private security firm called Zero Fox collected information on protesters in Baltimore and labeled some “high severity physical threats.”

The Black Community Needs Encryption [Adrianne Jeffries/Vice] Read the rest

Undisclosed: the story of Adnan Syed, after Serial

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The blockbuster podcast Serial starts a long-awaited second season today, looking at a different case, but if you are still interested in the story of Adnan Syed, there's "Undisclosed." Read the rest

Leaked recording: pollution lobbyists discuss exploiting Syrian refugee crisis

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A leaked recording made of a conference call hosted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA's Waters of the United States rule, which protects America's waterways from pollution. Read the rest

Open source hardware autonomous tractor uses repurposed drone autopilot

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Matt Reimer's homebrew autonomous tractor uses open source components to accomplish the kind of automation that John Deere's super-proprietary tractors are known for. Read the rest

How Hamilton, ON's violent "accountability" councilor intimidated a journalist out of City Hall

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Hamilton's the kind of city where half of City Hall says they've been bullied at work, where the "accountability" committee charges you $100 to make a complaint and proposed that it would only investigate if you are never quoted in the press on the matter, and where city policy prohibits linking to its website without written permission. Read the rest

Hello From the Magic Tavern: hilarious, addictive improv podcast

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The setup is pretty weird: Arnie fell through a dimensional portal behind a Chicago Burger King and found humself in a magical high-fantasy kingdom called Foon, where he has befriended a shape-shifter in the form of a talking badger called Chunt, and a shouty wizard called Usidore. Together, they record a weekly podcast with lovable Foonites, which Arnies uploads through an unreliable wifi signal from the Burger King (Usidore keeps Arnie's laptop charged with lightning spells). Read the rest

Cheap earbuds that outperform $1,000 alternatives

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Wired recommends the Mrice E300 earbuds, a cheapie ($17-25) option that outperforms many headphones that cost over $1000 (!). Read the rest

An audio murder mystery game where you walk to find clues

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Wonderland is a wonderful idea for a game. It's an old-timey audio drama that lets you solve a puzzle at the and of each chapter—and if you can't, you can walk with your phone to get clues. Read the rest

10,000 wax cylinders digitized and free to download

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The University of California at Santa Barbara library has undertaken an heroic digitization effort for its world-class archive of 19th and early 20th century wax cylinder recordings, and has placed over 10,000 songs online for anyone to download, stream and re-use.

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Interview with Serah Ely, creator of the Escape Pod podcast, about her gender transition

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Tony from Starshipsofa writes, "This week on StarShipSofa, I interview (MP3) Serah Eley about her remarkable transgender journey from Steve Eley creator of Escape Pod to Serah. We delve into some of the very real issues that Serah has come across, why she gave up Escape Pod and why now she has stepped away altogether from the SF field." Read the rest

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