A Gift for You From Jacob Frey

The Present Feature Image

Watch this (please, the whole thing). Its title is "The Present," and it's a gift to you from Jacob Frey. Read the rest

UPDATED RIP Ray Tomlinson, email inventor and at-sign popularizer

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UPDATE This is a couple months old -- I read "Mar 5" as "May 5." My apologies.

Ray Tomlinson created the first networked email system in 1971 while working on his MIT doctorate and collaborating on the early ARPAnet at BBN; he used @ -- the at symbol -- to separate the username from the machinename because "it did not appear in user names and did not have any meaning in the TENEX paging program." Read the rest

Tiny, 8-bit console designed for hackability and homebrew game development

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Pocket CHIP is a tiny, $50, ARM-based pocket games console with a full keyboard and a Bluetooth interface. Read the rest

New study: Air rage triggered by walking through First Class

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A new scientific study reveals that air rage is much more likely on airplanes where inequality is obvious -- that is, airplanes where there's economy and first class sections. The University of Toronto researchers published their results in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. From CNN:

It found that passengers in economy seating were 3.84 times more likely to have an incident of air rage if they were on a plane that had a first-class section. They were 2.18 times more likely to have an outburst if they had to walk through first class to board the plane, as opposed to boarding in the middle of the plane, directly into the economy section....

"Psychology (research) tells us that when people feel a sense of deprivation and inequality, they are more likely to act out," said Katherine A. DeCelles, associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto....

There was also a nearly 12-fold increase in the rate of air rage among first-class passengers on flights where all passengers boarded through the first-class section, compared with flights that had separate entrances for first class and economy.

"When people from higher social class backgrounds are more aware of their higher status, they are more likely to be antisocial, to have entitled attitudes and to be less compassionate," DeCelles said.

"Air rage triggered by walking past first-class seating, study says" (CNN) Read the rest

Watch these bulldozers battle over turf, for real

In China's Hebei Province, bulldozers from competing construction companies battled it reportedly over a business opportunity. According to ABC News, police finally put a stop to the insanity and two drivers were injured. Perhaps the operators have been watching too many Survival Research Labs performance videos.

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Japanese teen girl metal band Babymetal performs on Colbert

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Babymetal made their US TV debut when they performed their song "Gimme Chocolate!!" on Colbert's Late Show last night. Read the rest

Nixon's war on drugs was a war against blacks and the antiwar left

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In Dan Baum's excellent article in Harper's about the devastating consequences of the US government's war on drugs, there's a revealing quote from John Ehrlichman, Nixon's Watergate co-conspirator:

I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. I barely recognized him. He was much heavier than he’d been at the time of the Watergate scandal two decades earlier, and he wore a mountain-man beard that extended to the middle of his chest.

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

I must have looked shocked.

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The Republican Munsters

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Chuck Ungar did a terrific job pasting the heads of Cruz, Rubio, and Trump onto Grandpa, Eddie, and Herman. Great lettering, too.

Here's the original for comparison:

[via] Read the rest

Mein Drumpf

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Welcome to what may well be our future, America.

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Hackers demand $3.6m bitcoin ransom to unlock Los Angeles hospital medical records

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A cyberattack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center's computer system has locked up access vital patient data, and the hackers responsible are demanding payment of over 9000 bitcoins ($3.6 million) to unlock the data.

From IBT:

An unnamed doctor has admitted that the hospital's computer system was hacked and is currently being held for ransom, adding that departments are now communicating through fax machines because they have no access to email. Furthermore, a number of patients have been transferred to other hospitals.

Meanwhile, a separate report by Fox (Los Angeles) reaffirmed that the cyberattack has directly affected the 'day-to-day' operations of the hospital.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Space tourism posters from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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What a delight: NASA itself published a series of retrofuturistic tourism posters for other worlds. Better yet, the images are less unfree, though they also sell prints. I'm off to the exoplanets, see ya!

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FBI arrests nearly all of the top officials of Crystal City, Tex.

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The FBI have arrested five of the six top officials of the town of Crystal City, Texas, accusing them of taking bribes and allowing an illegal gambling operation to run in the town of 7,500 people.

According to the indictment, those in the town leadership who were charged “used their official positions to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting payments and other things of value” from [alleged gambling operator, Ngoc Tri Nguyen] and others. The document accuses the officials of voting to award contracts in exchange for bribes, extorting payments from contractors, turning a blind eye to Nguyen’s illegal gaming business while taking action to shut down would-be competitors, and agreeing to reduce Nguyen’s taxes in exchange for him waiving debts, among other dealings. Mayor Ricardo Lopez, the indictment alleges, instructed city inspectors to “make it easy” while looking at Nguyen’s property. Authorities said he also made extra effort to shut down other operators of “8-liner” gaming rooms, which are nominally illegal in Texas but flourish informally in the southern part of the state. In exchange, he allegedly accepted $6,000 from Nguyen to buy a car.

(Image: Photo of beautiful, bustling Crystal City Billy Hathorn/Wikipedia) Read the rest

Man loves bear, and bear loves man right back. For now.

Медведь играет с человеком ("Bear Plays with a Man"). Indeed. (YouTube)

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NZ police broke the law when they raided investigative journalist's home

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The New Zealand High Court has ruled that the NZ police broke the law in 2014 when they raided the home of Nicky Hager, an investigative journalist whose work was sharply critical of the NZ government, and who was working on Snowden-related disclosures. Read the rest

Watch The Munsters... in color!

Pop Colorture hand-colorized 1,300 frames of The Munsters title sequence, turning the grimly fiendish and funny family into the full color characters that were originally black-and-white only due to budgetary reasons. From Pop Colorture:

As I learned from (Addams Family colorizer) Stuart Manning’s blog post, early color television programs often chose yellow in place of white to add an extra pop of color, while still registering as a white object on black and white sets. The dress that we see Marilyn wearing in the Munsters opening was white, and this can be seen in a few color promo photos featuring the first actress to play Marilyn, Beverley Owen. Yellow seemed like the natural choice for several reasons. It adds necessary color to the shot and I have no doubt that the wardrobe department would have chosen something similar, had it been shot in color. Yellow also fits with the grayscale values of the dress, so it looks very natural. Had I tried to color the dress red, green or any other color, it would not “stick” to the gray values as easily and would not look very good. My final reasoning in choosing yellow was because recent Munsters memorabilia items feature the character of Marilyn wearing a yellow dress that looks similar to the one seen in the opening. Although it has nothing to do with the show’s original creative team, I feel that it supports my choice. The second artistic decision I made was the color of The Munsters’ drippy, melted wax logo and title cards.

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Crazy edit of Wizard of Oz - alphabetical ordering of dialog and titles

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Of Oz the Wizard from Matt Bucy on Vimeo.

I can't imagine how much time it took Matt Bucy to cut up The Wizard of Oz and reassemble every word of dialog into alphabetical order. The resulting movie is called Of Oz the Wizard Read the rest

Free Stanford course on surveillance law UPDATED

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Aw, crap, this was last year

Stanford is offering a free online course by computer scientist/law professor Jonathan Mayer that surveys the baroque, interleaved world of US surveillance law through the Coursera MOOC platform. Read the rest

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