20,000 Leagues Under the Sea maintenance checklist

This document has it all: a neat quantization of the qualitative; a tale told in a single bureaucratic leaf that implies a whole hidden universe of night-scurrying morlocks who tend the magic under the harsh glare of floodlights on the third shift; a fine sheet slid in the nearly imperceptible crack between consensus hallucination and objective reality. (via JWZ) Read the rest

In the 1990s, a Serbian biology textbook used a still from Raising Arizona for its cover art

From 1993 to 2001, this Serbian middle-school biology textbook sported a cutout of a still from Raising Arizona in which Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter cradle their stolen baby. Read the rest

Bloomberg: Middle-class Americans were "fleeced" by neoliberalism

Noah Smith (previously) writes in Bloomberg (!) about the "fleecing" of the Gen-X and Boomer middle class -- a class that is growing continuously smaller and poorer, thanks to "financial deregulation, tax cuts and a lax attitude toward consumer protection and antitrust." Read the rest

Steampunk, Arduino-powered electro-mechanical clock

Redditor/machinist Spdltd was commissioned to create a steampunk, Arduino-powered electromechanical clock that uses a combination of belts, dials and needles arrayed across the wall to tell the time. Read the rest

Vidangel is a stupid censorship service and we should welcome it anyway

Vidangel is the latest attempt (along with services like Clearplay and Sony's own filtering tool) to sell a product that allows cringing, easily triggered evangelicals to skip swear words, sex and blasphemy in the media they watch. Read the rest

Celebrate Independence Day with MC Frontalot's nerdcore rap about free software vs open source

Animator Chad Essley writes, "The new MC Frontalot (previously) nerdcore video is out for the 4th of July! Celebrate our nation’s hostility toward the British crown by listening to Front rap about internet arguments over Free Software!" Read the rest

3D print your own Haunted Mansion sign

On Thingiverse, Gentlegiant's beautiful, faithful model of the Haunted Mansion front-gate sign to 3D print at any size or remix into your other designs. Read the rest

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: DNA, individuals, and species

British geneticist Adam Rutherford is one of the country's great science communicators, an alumnus of Nature whose work we've celebrated here for many years; with his second book, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, Rutherford reveals how the century's astounding advances in genetic science reveal just how little we understand about our genes -- and how our ideas about race and heredity are antiquated superstitions that reflect our biases more than our DNA. (See the bottom of this post for an important update about the upcoming US edition!)

Monster Scouts: go camping with an imaginary cryptid scout troop from the 1910s!

The Monster Scouts are a wonderful thing: monster-obsessed makers who have created a collaborative, detailed, LARP-ish world in which monsters are real and an imaginary scouting organization called the Crow Scouts, founded in 1907, has operated for more than a century to help our monster friends. Read the rest

Wikipedia as a Zork-style text-adventure

Kevan Davis's Wikitext is an incredibly clever mashup of Wikipedia and Infocom-style text adventure games: starting with a random Wikipedia entry, it gives you the article summary, an 8-bit-ified version of the main photo, and "directions" to the articles referenced by the one you've landed on. (via Waxy) Read the rest

The Private Eye: a supervillain tries to bring the internet back to a world where the press are the cops

Brian K Vaughan and artists Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente started syndicating The Private Eye just before the first Snowden revelations hit, which was a fortuitous bit of timing for them, since their surreal science fictional tale was set in a future where the rupture of all internet security had provoked humanity into banning the internet altogether, replacing it with a world where cable news was so dominant that the police had been replaced by reporters.

Gorgeous,dramatic photos of Japanese playground equipment by night

The Park Playground Tumblr features Kito Fujio's gorgeous, dramatically lit photos of Japan's whimsical playground equipment: climbers, slides and other fun stuff styled to look like animals, abstract modernist forms, world monuments, magical creatures, robots, gadgets, and whimsical beasts. Read the rest

Crowdfunding a visit from the 180,000lb Temple of Gravity at this year's Burning Man

Zach Coffin's amazing Temple of Gravity installations involve suspending enormous masses of stone and other heavy objects in exquisitely counterbalanced mechanisms that allow people to scramble over them, move them, swing them, and toss them around like playthings, moving tons of mass with pounds of force. Read the rest

EFF will defend McMansion Hell from Zillow's copyfraudulent bullying

McMansion Hell is a hilarious blog where Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute graduate student Kate Wagner posts scorching critiques of the architecture of McMansions -- but this week, Wagner announced that she had shut down her blog after spurious legal threats from Zillow, which admits that it doesn't even hold the copyrights to the images it wants Wagner to stop using. Read the rest

Origami lounge-chairs that flat-pack to the size of a briefcase

The Flux chair is a $130, 12lb "origami-style" polypropylene lounge chair designed by Douwe Jacobs; it sets up in minutes and is stable and lovely (there's also a $65 kids' version and a whole range of furnishings including a bar, coffee table, countertop, end-table, etc). (via Yanko Design) Read the rest

Top Secret: New World Order: Merle M. Rasmussen reboots his 1980 RPG classic

The first time Merle Rasmussen played Dungeons & Dragons, he thought it was a Halloween game. “It was October 1975, and I was an 18-year-old freshman at Iowa State University. My roommate got this game filled with skeletons and undead monsters. I had no idea.” The role-playing bug had bitten him, but fantasy wasn’t his genre. So that same year, he started writing a game set in a modern world, the spy game that would become Top Secret.

Robot wisdom from a deep learning system trained on ancient proverbs

Janelle Shane trained a recurrent neural network with a data-set of more than 2000 ancient proverbs and asked it to think up its own: "A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day." Read the rest

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