Yes, humans are capable of creating a happy and successful liberal society: The Netherlands

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As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here's a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country -- The Netherlands -- to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it's helpful to look at a liberal, politically stable country with a strong and open economy. Also known as Holland, the country does not have the same history and culture that creates the inherent social and economic problems in the U.S., but it is clearly moving in the right direction -- forward.

It's a great destination for liberal ex-patriates looking for a place to live and work -- especially in the tech sector -- that already has its shit together, in case you really are now considering moving out of the country. Staying or going, it makes sense to see what a liberal society looks like and how it works. 

We've compiled a list of facts about The Netherlands to show you what humans can do when they're not fighting en masse on Twitter:

The Dutch government plans to ban the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2025Healthiest country in the world for dietKeeps closing prisons due to a lack of prisonersFirst to legalize same-sex marriageHighest concentration of museums in the worldHighest English-proficiency in the world where it is not first languageHighest population density in EuropeHome to more bikes than peopleCycling in the Netherlands is the safest in the worldAmsterdam’s Schiphol airport offers more direct flights than any airport in the world83 percent of the population live in urban areas but there are few high risesLargely secular country: up to 40 percent of Dutch say they have no religion, 30 percent are Catholic, and 20 percent are Protestant. Read the rest

Letter to my black daughter under a Trump presidency

Image: Carla Sinclair

Hi Kid,

On Election Night, you went to bed crying, and this time, I couldn't fix it. Like half the country, you thought you would be going to bed with your candidate as the president-elect. I wiped away a big, globby tear from the end of your nose, proud of you for caring so deeply about your country. I said it was going to be OK. I explained that, "politics goes back and forth, and this year it just wasn't our turn. Remember when I was for Obama and you were for Hillary, and she lost the primary, but you ended up liking Obama?" Your thirteen year-old defiance broke through your tears, as you declared, "No, this is different!"

You then spouted off a litany of things I didn't know you thought much about:

"It's different because Donald Trump doesn't have the basic morals of everything our country stands for. He doesn't even have the morals of a normal Republican. It's not that the other side won. It's that the person who won is literally against half of the people in the country. He doesn't like Muslims, Mexicans, anyone who is LGBT, he definitely doesn't like women, or people of color. He doesn't like ME. It seems like he only likes people like himself -- white males. How can he be our president?"

He's our president because people voted for him and he won the election. I will be raising you under a Donald Trump presidency until you go to college in four years. Read the rest

My sister made a Chewbacca piñata costume

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A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files.  And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.

What my sister ended up creating was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

But before sharing some pics and a video of the costume in action, I wanted to set the bar very, very low by showing images of other homemade Chewbacca costumes I found online.

It's like looking in a Chewbacca mirror!

 

Boxybacca.

Yes, you can purchase this one!

 

And this is my favorite one of all. The caption under this photo read, “Look at Chewbacca’s feet!”.

The truth is, that’s all I’m looking at.

So now that you’re primed for awesomeness, here are some pics of the creative process and a video of the finished product.

 

Christina started with an ordinary fleece jacket and started attaching strips of paper to it in layers.

She kept working upwards and onto the store-bought Chewbacca mask.  And Ryan just kept standing there.

Christina made Chewbacca-pantaloons by applying the same paper layering techniques onto a pair of sweatpants.

Holy crap is that a fantastic Chewbacca-Piñata costume, but from what I can tell there is a fatal flaw.

The costume is called a “Chewbacca Piñata” and piñatas are meant to be hit with a stick or a baseball bat. Read the rest

10 most sampled music tracks of all time

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Number 1, of course, is the source of the Amen Break. But a surprise or two lurks in the top 10, as calculated by Who Sampled, a truly amazing website that tells you the when and where and what of samples for singles over the last few decades. Read the rest

Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap is out of his mind

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LA is chock full of beautiful theaters, but the one to be at on Wednesday nights is the famous Fais Do-Do Ballroom. It’s not because of the rich history that oozes from its architectural pores – it’s because that’s where Scot Nery will be. And when you go to his show, don’t be surprised if he greets you at the door and offers you a piece of cake. After all, you’re stepping into an entertaining party of his design.  

When the show begins, Scot explains the 3 rules that each of his performers must live by:

 

While on stage, anything goes but the act must not be longer than 4 minutesAt the 3 minute mark, a yellow warning light will be triggered as a reminder to wrap things upIf 4 minutes are exceeded, Scot will literally run onto the stage and boot the performer as the house band plays the Boobie Trap theme-song

 

Every show that Scot puts on is completely different from the last and his emceeing style is ridiculously energetic as he introduces the evening’s 14+ acts.

At times Scot may feel that the energy isn't quite up to his standards and he'll take matters into his own hands by tumbling, contorting his body, doing one-handed pushups and lovingly pelting the audience with heavily salted snack treats.

While on stage, he's like a big happy kid who’s doing exactly what he's always wanted to do and his show is as if the Little Rascal’s grew up, stayed together and became hilarious adults. Read the rest

Halt and Catch Fire: The Most Relevant Show on Television is Set in the 80s

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With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it's drama you crave, but the Hillary v. Trump show is driving you to near-suicide, then the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire is your new best friend. Returning for its third season on Tuesday, August 23rd with a two-hour premiere, you'll still get your fix of intriguing plot twists, flawed personalities, and high stakes, but without the partisan tantrums and pre-apocalyptic anxiety.

What the Hell is this Show About?

The show's title refers to the computing term (HCF), "Halt and Catch Fire," an early technical command that sends a computer into race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained. The namesake series takes place in the personal computing boom of the 80s, when IBM was dictator, and before "website" was a word. Though HCF is categorized as a "workplace drama," you could say the same thing about Breaking Bad, and you'd be completely missing the point--and the thrill--of both shows.

To "break bad" is a colloquialism used in the American South meaning to challenge authority. Breaking Bad and HCF have three important things in common: obscure, nondescript titles that run the risk of losing potential viewers who need their plot summaries spoon-fed and hashtagged, a committed, forward-thinking home on AMC Networks, and the consistently visionary TV producer Melissa Bernstein. Read the rest

Tarot decks curated

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Fuck Yeah Tarot Decks is a tumblr dedicated to the resurgence of interest—tinged as it is in irony and self-reflection—in divinatory decks and the many awesome franchises and tropes they can be adapted to. The amazing thing you see above? $1 at Dollar Tree. [via Metafilter] Read the rest

No Man's Sky: culture or cult?

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Forthcoming game No Mans Sky promises players the experience of exploring a nigh-infinite universe of beautiful, dreamlike worlds. But its fans are far from serene. When a journalist reported a development delay, he was sent death threats--a black hole of rage that expanded to the game's creators when they confirmed the news. Read the rest

British punks then and now

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The Guardian featured essays by UK punks who made the scene when it first emerged in the late 1970s. Above, Terry Chimes, 59, original drummer for The Clash, now a chiropractor.

"I just wanted to be in a band, and this was the most exciting band I could find," he writes. "Everyone else in The Clash was angry at the world and the establishment. I wasn’t. That’s why I left, actually. I felt like the odd one out.

Below, Jordan, 60, Sex Pistols stylist, Adam and the Ants, manager, now a nurse.

"A lot of the major music moguls were extremely sexist," she writes. "An A&R guy once said to my face, 'This is not a woman’s job. You should be cooking and laying on your back.' I didn’t want to be there any more, so I came home to Seaford."

"Never mind the bus pass: punks look back at their wildest days" (The Guardian) Read the rest

Gripping article about Tumblr, teens and the rise and fall of bloggers

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Read Elspeth Reeve's fabulous article about Pizza, one of the most popular Tumblogs, the "secret lives" of Tumblr Teens, and mistakes made.

It has everything. The wonderful creativity of the users; its incomprehensible architecture; the emergent support mechanisms; the toxic call-out culture; and everything ultimately, inevitably being ruined after Yahoo buys it.

Then it happened. On August 19, just days before his twentieth birthday, Lilley tried to log in to So-Relatable but couldn’t. Greenfield checked the site, which redirected to an error page: “There’s nothing here. Whatever you were looking for doesn’t currently exist at this address.” They’d been terminated, their blogs revoked by Tumblr for violating its terms of service.

Tumblr had just dissolved the sites of some of its most popular teenage users, an estimated 30 million follows gone. Including Pizza. Blogs that had brought relief from unremitting high school agony and then miraculously made their teen creators more money than they could have ever imagined, were erased from the internet, except for fragments reblogged on other sites. The day before, if they’d had a funny thought, they could share it with half a million people. And now, nothing.

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens [New Republic] Read the rest

Powerful new tool literally blasts mean internet comments to smithereens

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Tanner Stokes of Herp Derp fame has done it again. He invented what we have all longed for, since the internet began: an effective way to shut people up.

“Plasma ball destroys the web.”

Yes, friends, Tanner's latest creation is the answer to unfriendly YouTube comments, harassing or abusive Facebook posts, douchey viral ads, you name it. Whatever on the internet is wrong. Read the rest

Clever food festival posters turn produce into landscapes

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These delightful images were created to celebrate an annual food and culture festival in Brazil. Read the rest

Fascinating, wide-ranging discussion with William Gibson

Fenwick writes, "I had the tremendous opportunity to have a public talk with William Gibson when my university asked if I'd would to do a public talk with a public figure. I had no idea I'd be so lucky as to talk with William Gibson when I agreed. I thought you might be a kick out of our wide-ranging, fun discussion about science fiction and the future." Read the rest

You could totally grub down some Poop Bread right now

When we visited Taipei, my wife and I made it our singular goal to eat at Modern Toilet, even though we knew the bathroom-themed restaurant had caught on and was a bit of a tourist trap. That same spirit has been reignited in me, and my next trip to Seoul cannot come soon enough. I will not leave that city until I grab me some fresh, hot Poop Bread. Read the rest

Mozart, but with more Klingons

If Mozart had thought to populate The Abduction from The Seraglio with Vulcans and Klingons, he most certainly would have.

Instead, this adaptation was left to Josh Shaw, Artistic Director of the Pacific Opera Project (POP). Their production of The Abduction premiered at the Southern Illinois Music Festival, and had a short run in the Los Angeles area.

I did not get a chance to see it, but this review made me wish I had.

POP has translated that German “libretto,” or text, into English. And moved the harem to planet M113. And the Turkish Pasha? A Klingon Warlord. Don’t question it. The results are strangely glorious. And whether you are a rabid Star Trek fan or just versed enough to get by in pop culture, this zany and pitch-perfect opera triumphs in pure laugh-out-loud hilarity.

Opera is becoming harder and harder to sell, but the love for classic Star Trek is not dead. The production brings to mind the fan-made series Star Trek Continues, a fan-made passion project that feels to me like Waiting for Guffman in space; and another fan-made series, the even more impressive Star Trek Phase II, whose New Voyages is looking very snappy. Read the rest

Choosing skin color in comics

Ronald Wimberly is a comics and animation artist, the author of Vertigo's Prince of Cats, and a character designer for Black Dynamite: The Animated Series. Wembly has illustrated a work experience he had while coloring an X-Men comic. His story, Lighten Up, appears on the excellent blog The Nib, a site devoted to "political cartoons, comics journalism, humor and non-fiction." Read the rest

Relaxing with scientists

When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts... a bit tense. Read the rest

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