The CIA has developed board-games to train future spies

At SXSW, CIA Senior Collection Analyst David Clopper revealed a series of tabletop games developed as training materials for CIA internal training exercises: Collection, a Pandemic-style crisis-resolution game; Collection Deck, a Magic: The Gathering style intel-collection game; and Kingpin: The Hunt for El Chapo, designed "to train analysts who might work with law enforcement and other partners around world to find a well-armed, well-defended, well-protected bad guy." Read the rest

Listen: how to secure software by caring about humans, not security

Scout Brody is executive director of Simply Secure, a nonprofit that works to make security and privacy technologies usable by technologically unsophisticated people by focusing on usability and human factors. Read the rest

Japan's "Weird Hotel," staffed by robots, in a Japanese theme-park

The Henn Na Hotel ("weird hotel") is staffed by robots: the Japanese-speaking check-in clerk is a vicious robot dinosaur, while the English-speaking one is humanoid; a robot arm stores and retrieves personal items from the guest lockers, and a chatbot serves as concierge. Read the rest

San Franciscans: see Peter S. Beagle & Effie Seiberg at this Saturday's SF in SF

Coming to the American Bookbinders Museum this Saturday: Last Unicorn author Peter S Beagle and up-and-coming prolific short story writer Effie Seiberg, in conversation with Terry Bisson: tickets are $10, bring cash for the bar and the bookseller! Read the rest

Historically accurate leggings based on medieval armor

Lorica is a fully-funded Kickstarter campaign that started with the promise of making leggings inspired by medieval armor, with rigorous and accurate depictions -- now that the campaign has reached its stretch goals, it has grown to incorporate a range of armor-inspired clothes. Read the rest

Games and other online communities are societies, owed a duty of care by their owners

Raph Koster is one of the world's most celebrated game designers, responsible for the design of Ultima Online, CCO of Sony during the Star Wars Galaxies era, and author of the classic Theory of Fun. Ever year, Raph gives a barn-raising/barn-burning speech at the Game Developer's Conference, one of the don't-miss moments of the conference. This year's speech is no exception. Read the rest

Before filing cabinets, we had the coolest desks

The "rotary desk" went out of style with the advent of filing cabinets, but in their heyday, they were marvels of rotating cabinetry, tiny clever drawers and cubbies, and roll-down secretary tops. Read the rest

The exploration and expansion of gender: the 2016 Tiptree Awards for fantasy and science fiction

The 2016 winners of the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award have been announced, top honors went to When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, with further honors going to some of my favorite books of 2016: Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway, Ada Palmer's Too Like the Lightning, and Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky. Read the rest

Washington Post and Jigsaw launch a collaborative pop-up dictionary of security jargon

Information security's biggest obstacle isn't the mere insecurity of so many of our tools and services: it's the widespread lack of general knowledge about fundamental security concepts, which allows scammers to trick people into turning off or ignoring security red flags. Read the rest

As usual, Vi Hart's annual Pi Day video is the best way to ring in 3/14

Vi Hart (previously) is the fast-talking, doodling, hyper-charming mathematical vlogger whose Pi Day videos are consistently the best of the season, even when she's pooping on Pi, she always manages to fascinate and delight. Read the rest

Pie-Modding 101: turning store-bought desserts into amazing nerd-chow

For nearly a year, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) has delighted us with her nerdy, fannish pies and other baked goods, and now she's announced an ebook on "pie-modding" ("modifying pre-made desserts to create epic, edible works of art"): Pie Modding: Pies Are Awesome Vol 1, which you can pre-order for $2.97. Read the rest

A kid-friendly electronics board that you can program from the web

Peegar is an Arduinio-style electronics kit that you design programs for by dragging and dropping Scratch-style objects around in a browser; when you're done, the program is converted to a brief snatch of sound that you transmit through the board by plugging a standard audio cable into your device's headphone jack. Read the rest

Home Cooking is Killing Restaurants and other delightful tees

The perfect complement for your Techdirt I Invented E-Mail tee: a Home Cooking Is Killing Restaurants tee from Techdirt, $20 and up. Read the rest

A compassionate way to entertain claims of paranormal activity

Carrie Poppy is one half of the Oh No Ross and Carrie podcast (previously), a skeptical look at fringe science and paranormal claims whose hosts distinguish themselves by their compassionate, open-minded approach to their subjects, fuelled in part by their upbringing in evangelical Christianity, a faith they've both since renounced. Read the rest

Explaining physics with wonderful, 1930s-style animation

Hugh writes, "These amazing animated shorts on physics feature an adorable, 1930's style version of Maxwell's Demon. There are 3 so far -- can't wait to see more!" Read the rest

Bunnie Huang's tour-de-force "Hardware Hacker" book is finally in print!

Last December, I published my review of Andrew "bunnie" Huang's astoundingly great book The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware -- without realizing that the book's release had been delayed because the published decided to do some very fancy and cool stuff with the printing process. Read the rest

Political theater: swapping gender roles in recreations of the Trump/Clinton debates

NYU poli sci/econ professor Maria Guadalupe and educational theater prof Joe Salvatore collaborated to stage a recreation of the Trump/Clinton debates with the gender roles reversed, starring actors who played Brenda King, "a female version of Trump" and Jonathan Gordon, "a male version of Hillary Clinton." Read the rest

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