Interviews with Silicon Valley employees affected by new immigration policies

Interviews with six employees who work in Silicon Valley about the ways Trump's recent actions against immigrants have affected them. Powerful stuff.

"Banned" features six interviews of Silicon Valley employees who are directly affected by immigration policies introduced by the Trump administration. The goal of this project is to provide an uninformed public a more comprehensive picture of who these policies will affect, to bring awareness to Silicon Valley about the issues facing members of their own community, and directly address ongoing stereotypes around immigration.

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Inside XTC's "Complicated Game"

It is perhaps very telling that all of the review blurbs on the back cover of Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt's Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC are written by fellow musicians and songwriters. Andy Partridge has always been a musician's musician.

Complicated Game is a series of candid and detailed interviews with Andy Partridge about many of XTC's most well-known songs. Todd Bernhardt, the interviewer, is a fellow musician, XTC mega-fan, and friend of Andy's, so they don't shy away from discussing the nitty-gritty details of chord changes, instruments used, studio hacks, and other compositional and engineering minutia.

In the chapter on "Senses Working Overtime," Andy explains how the whole song came about as he was fooling around on a new Martin guitar and he played a "messed-up E-flat." He thought it sounded very Medieval so he tried to find other chords that went with it (A-flat minor and D-flat). He says the rest of the song sort of composed itself from there. We also learn that "English Settlement" was their "new instruments record." The bandmembers had all just gotten new instruments (Andy, the Martin, Dave Gregory, a 12-string Richenbacker, Colin Moulding, a fretless bass) and they were excited to noodle around on them to see what they could do.

There are many other interesting and fun revelations in the book. "This is Pop," from White Music, was Andy's way of rejecting the pigeonholing of the punk label, making sure that everyone was reminded that this is pop music, plain and simple, and that ain't a dirty word. Read the rest

Interview with Ron Hale-Evans, author of Mind Performance Hacks

Our guest on the Cool Tools Show this week is Ron Hale-Evans, the open source software blog, Planeta Diego: Linux Y Software Libre, once described Ron as "writer by profession, game designer by vocation and psychologist by training." He’s the primary author of the 2006 book Mind Performance Hacks and co-author of its 2011 spiritual successor Mindhacker.

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Show notes:

WhiteCoat Clipboard ($31)

"The WhiteCoat Clipboard [are] folding clipboards and they're all medical editions of one sort of another and, one morning a few years ago for some reason, I woke up with the idea that I just had to have a folding clipboard to fit in my bag. I searched for folding clipboard on Amazon and 'The WhiteCoat Clipboard' was pretty much it. It folds up so it will fit into a doctor's or nurse's coat pocket. ... You can put stickers on it or decorate it in some other way, but I keep mine plain, because it's kind of fun to look at. … It's also good for when you just throw it in your bag, if you have notes in it, they don't get all creased and crumpled, because the folder protects it."

Alphasmart Neo - Handheld ($27, used)

“It's kind of like a calculator screen, but bigger. It's just great, you just type in it all day and then at the end of the day, you plug it into your laptop or whatever via USB and it pretends it's a keyboard, and it essentially simulates typing into whatever document you got open and it dumps it that way. Read the rest

Watch: Daniel Clowes Complete Eightball release party at Meltdown Comics

I had a great time interviewing cartoonist Daniel Clowes at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles about his Complete Eightball anthology. This video was shot in glorious VHS by filmmaker Rocio Mesa and was produced by Gaston Dominguez-Letelier.

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Why we can't help getting ripped off by con artists

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One day in September 1951, Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon Lieutenant of the Royal Canadian Navy, was on board a Navy ship in waters off the coast of North Korea. This was during the height of the Korean War, so when crew members spotted a small Korean junk off in the distance, they became suspicious, especially because the boat was headed straight for them. As the junk approached, the lookouts could see someone on the deck frantically waving a flag, and when the junk got closer, they saw that the men on board were more dead than alive. Their bodies had been torn apart by bullets and shrapnel. As soon as they were lifted aboard, Dr. Cyr immediately began operating on them. As the only person on the ship with medical qualifications, he spent the next 48 hours performing surgery, saving the lives of 19 men. He was hailed a hero at home, and he certainly would have received honors and a promotion from the Navy, if only they hadn’t discovered that Dr. Cyr was not a doctor and had never performed a surgical operation in his life before that day. He didn’t even have a high school degree. And his name wasn’t even Joseph Cyr, it was Ferdinand Demara. He’d stolen the identity of the real Dr. Cyr, a friend of his who knew him as Brother John Payne of the Brothers of Christian Instruction. Read the rest

Wim Wenders: Looking back on the road ahead

“If at a certain point you were into arthouse movies when you’re young, Wim Wenders was your best friend,” my friend Bilge Ebiri tells me the other day, and I can put it no better way. The German filmmaker secured a legendary reputation early on for the successive one-two hit of his widely regarded masterpieces Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire. Even now, having just celebrated his 70th birthday, he was recently Oscar-nominated for his documentaries Pina and Salt of the Earth, and continues to take photographs & write essays about art and film, with a new volume yet to be translated into English. Read the rest

The Dwarven Lord of Kickstarter

How sculptor and Dwarven Forge founder Stefan Pokorny raised $6.5 million—and gave you the dungeon of your dreams

Interview with Alexander Rose, contestant on the ABC series Battlebots

Alexander “Zander” Rose is the executive director of The Long Now Foundation, which was founded in 1996 to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution that fosters very-long-term planning. He was hired to build their clock that lasts 10,000 years. He’s also the founder of the Robot Fighting League, and a contestant on the ABC series Battlebots (airing Sunday nights). In this episode of the Cool Tools Show podcast, Andrew recommends several tools I've never heard of: Knipex Parallel Plier Wrenches, Gear Drive Case Ball End Hex Keys, Bafang Mid Drive eBike kit, Yuba Boda Boda Family Cargo Bike, Chinese High Power Bike Lights, Water Activated Resin Cast Material, and a Skin Stapler (for "people who are not good at suturing"). See the show notes here.

Image: Alexander Rose (r) and Reason Bradley (l) with Bronco. Read the rest

"I do magic tricks and hammer nails up my nose" - the life of a magician/sideshow performer

"There was a whole line of women in my dating life who refused to date me because I was a magician." Read the rest

A Conversation with John Cleese

Ethan Gilsdorf talks to the Monty Python's Flying Circus alum about his career, his new autobiography, and his limbs.

Reddit AMA now in app form

Reddit launched its official Ask Me Anything mobile app for iOS and Android. Read the rest

A horror novel that looks like an IKEA catalog

Horrorstör is a classic old-fashioned haunted house story — set in a big box Swedish furniture superstore. Appropriately, the book itself is designed like an IKEA catalog.

Dan Kennedy, host of The Moth

In the latest episode of the RiYL podcast, Brian Heater interviews the host of the long-running true-story live performance and podcast, The Moth.

Peter Kuper, cartoonist

In the latest episode of the RiYL podcast, Brian Heater interviews the author of multiple Kafka adaptations and a sketchbook diary chronicling his time in Mexico.

Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies

The Atlantic's Olga Khazan (Gweek 147)

Our guest is The Atlantic associate editor Olga Khazan. We talk about cool smartphone apps, shin splint prevention, a groovy crime novel, and the best portable cell phone charger.

The Setup interviews John McAfee

"My accessory tools are mostly extremely strong espresso and research chemicals from China that are classed as "Smart Drugs". They allow me to solve 2nd order partial differential equations in my head and to spontaneously create 4 dimensional images of software structures that I can mentally manipulate." Previously. Read the rest

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