Apple's ebook store bans books that use Apple trademarks in unapproved (but legal and accurate) ways

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Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz's must-read new book The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy (read an excerpt) is not for sale in the Apple ebook store, and won't be until they agree to change their text to refer to Apple's ebooks as "iBooks" rather than "iBook." Read the rest

Whaling: phishing for executives and celebrities

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A fraudster's term of art, "whaling" refers to phishing attempts targeted at "C-level corporate executives, politicians and celebrities" -- it's a play on "phishing" (attacks that trick users into downloading dangerous files or visiting attack sites by impersonating known sources) and "whales" (a term of art from casinos, referring to high-stakes gamblers). Read the rest

Word of the day: Kakistocracy

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Kakistocracy n. (kak·is·toc·ra·cy / kækɪsˈtɑkɹəsi) Government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power. Read the rest

"Post-truth" is the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year

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Also in the running was "coulrophobia," the fear of clowns, and "hygge," a Danish concept meaning "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being." From The Guardian:

Defined by the dictionary as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”, editors said that use of the term “post-truth” had increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year. The spike in usage, it said, is “in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States”...

Contenders for the title had included the noun “alt-right”, shortened from the fuller form “alternative right” and defined as “an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterised by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content”. First used in 2008, its use “surged” this spring and summer, said the dictionary, with 30% of usage in August alone. Brexiteer was also in the running for the crown, along with non-political terms including coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, and hygge, the Danish concept of cosiness.

But the increase in usage of post-truth saw the term eventually emerge ahead of the pack. “We first saw the frequency really spike this year in June with buzz over the Brexit vote and Donald Trump securing the Republican presidential nomination. Given that usage of the term hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time,” predicted Oxford Dictionaries president Casper Grathwohl.

Read the rest

An "ahem" detector that uses deep learning to auto-clean recordings of speech

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Train the Deep Learning Ahem Detector with two sets of audio files, "a negative sample with clean voice/sound" (minimum 3 minutes) and "a positive one with 'ahem' sounds concatenated" (minimum 10s) and it will detect "ahems" in any voice sample thereafter. Read the rest

Learn the Russian alphabet in ten minutes

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With Putin and Russia in the news more and more thanks to Trump and Steven Seagal, maybe it's high time to learn how to pronounce Russian text. Thanks to the instructor's lovely accent in this ten-minute tutorial, you'll be pronouncing (if not understanding) in short order. Read the rest

Dig this Beatnik Glossary

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I don't know the source of this hip glossary that translates beatnik slang into the King's Jive but it would be such a gas if tuned-in cats spoke like this (even if they never really did). (via Weird Universe) Read the rest

Philippines president Duterte says God threatened to crash his plane if he didn't stop swearing

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Duterte has vowed to stop using "epithets" (for example, he called Pope Francis a "son of a bitch" and told Obama to "go to hell") because God threatened to crash the airplane he was flying home from Japan in if he didn't cut it out. Read the rest

Trolling Trump with an Arabic billboard

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The billboard went up in Dearborn, MI, which has a large number of Arabic speakers, and reads "Donald Trump, he can't read this, but he is afraid of it" (a riff on the bags printed with "This text has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language"). Read the rest

California DMV thinks "INFOS3C" is a dirty word

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The California DMV has rejected Opendns founder David Ulevitch's application for an "1NFOS3C" vanity license plate because it includes "a term of lust or depravity." Read the rest

Computer-mining poetry from the New York Times's obituary headlines

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The standard format for a New York Times lead obit headline goes NAME, AGE, Dies; STATEMENT OF ACCOMPLISHMENT (e.g. "Suzanne Mitchell, 73, Dies; Made Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders a Global Brand. Read the rest

Your In America, an anti-racist Twitter account devoted to Muphry's Law

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Muphry's Law predicts that "if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault in what you have written." Read the rest

Peasant meme

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Doges are done; sneks are so September. What's next? @Hay_Man's Peasant Memes! Read the rest

Lin-Manuel Miranda makes a one-act musical out of a single run-on Trump sentence

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It's got a catchy beat, I could dance to it! (And Peggy!) Read the rest

Pigeons can distinguish real words from fake non-words

From the study.

We know that pigeons are capable of becoming crafty drug smugglers or connoisseurs of fine art, but now we know they can kind of tell when we're making up words.

Read the rest

The Pet Dragon – A whimsical girl-meets-dragon story that also introduces Chinese characters

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The Pet Dragon by Christopher Niemann Greenwillow Books 2008, 40 pages, 9 x 11.8 x 0.4 inches (hardcover) $16 Buy a copy on Amazon

Chinese characters are wonderfully expressive, straddling the fine line between the written word and illustration. Esteemed graphic designer and picture book creator Christoph Niemann realized as much with The Pet Dragon, a whimsical story about a Chinese girl who raises a baby dragon to adulthood. In his introduction to the book, Niemann states that he had fun imagining connections between the calligraphic characters and their meanings. Reading the book, it’s clear that the author has a love of his subject and was very much enjoying himself.

The story is straightforward. A young Chinese girl named Lin receives a baby dragon who grows too quickly to stay in her home. After breaking a vase, Lin’s father condemns the baby dragon to its cage. The wily dragon escapes, leading Lin on a quest to find her beloved pet. Niemann enriches his tale by transposing Chinese characters on top of his illustrations to demonstrate the relationship between each symbol and what it represents. A forest is shown as a series of trees with the symbol for tree superimposed on them, the curving lines below indicating the roots and the extended lines at the top stretching outward for the branches. The upraised slashes and crossed lines in the symbol for father become the raised eyebrows and nose on his face, while the character denoting mountain has its three upward prongs displayed over a towering mountain range. Read the rest

Racist trolls moot using "google" as a euphemism for the n-word

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Google is downranking websites that use pejorative, racist terms like n*gger, so the awful people of 4chan and /pol/ are replacing that word with "google." Read the rest

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