Play the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure online


In honour of the 30th anniversary of the brilliant (and incredibly frustrating) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure game, BBC Radio 4 Extra have recreated the game in an online edition. I remember playing this for endless hours, with my Peril Sensitive Sunglasses perched on my forehead, repeatedly typing "look." The R4 version allows for saved games, so you can come back to it. You can also play the 20th anniversary edition.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Game - 30th Anniversary Edition (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Child's illustrated garden of Satanic ritual abuse


In 1990, in the middle of the moral panic over Satanic ritual abuse (an almost entirely imaginary phenomenon), Doris Sanford published "Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy," which was "based on months of intensive research into the nature and practice of satanic ritual abuse." Sanford claimed that "Any child who has been ritually abused will recognize the validity of this story."

The story is a lurid, freakish illustrated tale ripped from tabloids and sensationalist memoirs, which was supposed to help parents, teachers and social workers help kids who'd been victims of this nonexistent epidemic.

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How to open a book

Here's a lovely old advisory from William Matthews Bookseller, explaining how to open a book for the first time, which was a major operation in the age of hand-sewn hardcover bindings.

Unfortunately, Mr Matthews did not include any notes on how to close the books, which was a bit awkward for his customers.

(via That Book Smell)

New old-timey Twilight Zone action figures announced


Zack sez, "Submitted for your approval -- Bif Bang Pow! has a new line of action figures inspired by the classic TV series done in the scale and style of such 1980s figure lines as Star Wars. Personal favorites include the Invader from 'The Invaders' and Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis in 'Time Enough at Last,' who is getting a permanent space on my bookshelf where he can finally enjoy some good literature without worrying about breaking his glasses."

These are in addition to the existing line of Bif Bam Pow Twilight Zone toys which include some real standouts like the Mystic Seer bobble-head and the Eye of the Beholder Nurse.

Bif Bang Pow! Enters a New Dimension (Thanks, Zack!)

DJs plunder Raymond Scott's archives and remix rarities: Raymond Scott Rewired!


The Raymond Scott estate turned over 50 years' worth of the composer's archives to three DJs -- The Bran Flakes, The Evolution Control Committee, and Go Home Productions. The archives contained "jazz, orchestral, electronic, experimental, studio chatter, never-heard rarities," which the DJs remixed into six tracks each, as well as a collaborative remix of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse," perhaps his best known work (and much beloved of classic Warner Brothers' cartoons fans).

The Raymond Scott Rewired CD came out on Feb 18, and there's also an MP3 version.

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Nothing: Seinfeld supercut with no people

Nothing is a supercut of scenes from Seinfeld in which no humans appear, creating a show that's not only about nothing, but also about no one. It's pretty great, especially once you get into the interior shots around 4:40.

BTW, I just checked and the Seinfeld box-set is still $59 on Amazon -- all 33 discs' worth.

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Photos from the Rothschilds' 1972 surrealist ball


Hang the Bankers has a set of photos from 1972 surrealist ball hosted by Marie-Hélène de Rothschild at the Château de Ferrières, with Salvador Dali in attendance. Hang the Bankers cites this as evidence of "the underlying ideology and the mind state of the occult elite," which sounds like hogwash to me. I mean, I'm all for reflexively condemning the hyper-rich, but if you're a weird shadowy billionaire aristo, better you should be spending your unimaginable riches on cool dress-up parties than tacky mega-yachts or sabotaging health care bills.

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Cyberpunk retrofest at SXSW: Saturday night!

Jon Lebkowsky writes, "EFF and EFF-Austin, working with the amazing Maggie Duval, put together this celebration of the 90s Internet and cyberpunk memes. On stage: Gareth Branwyn, Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, William Barker (Schwa), Chris Nakashima-Brown, Aaron Jue from EFF, and yours truly. Thomas Fang is DJ, and Jasmina Tesanovic will sing her Hacker Hymn. We'll have a cyberpunk scifi genre panel and a talk by Gareth, along with the release of his successful Kickstarter memoir book project, Borg Like Me. We'Cll also have projected visuals, memories of Mondo 2000, Boing Boing, Fringeware, 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, Schwa, etc. Event is open to SXSW badgeholders. Hang out with EFF at their event table, praise their great work, give them your money!"

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Incredibly dirty R&B: gloriously filthy music from the 30s-50s

Glenn sez, "R&B music was pretty bawdy before its entered the era of white appropriation and radio play. Leah Reich, an ethnographer by training and a music lover and singer by love, takes a stroll through some of the filthiest, wonderful era before all this stuff was cleaned up. Tons of links to Youtube videos and other sources."

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Learn to write with William S Burroughs

In 1979, William S Burroughs delivered a series of lectures on creative writing (though he insisted that he was teaching creative reading -- that is, analyzing the writing process by reading, because everyone can be taught to read, but only some will be able to write) at Naropa University. Three of these lectures, running to over four hours, are up on Youtube, covering writing exercises, Brion Gysin, Aleister Crowley, science fiction, General Semantics, and cut-ups. These are excellent listening, and are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivs-NonCommerical (as is the rest of the Naropa collection.)

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Forgotten Foods: reviving weird old food and figuring out what should be brought back


Meg Favreau writes, "I thought you guys might be interested in this column I've been writing for the last year-ish -- I scour old cookbooks for once-popular recipes that have fallen out of favor, explore the (often weird) history of the food, and provide a recipe. Favorites include Welsh rarebit (the OG bachelor food, cooked in proto-microwave chafing dishes, and known for causing dreams so batshit that Little Nemo creator Winsor McCay did a long-running strip just about rarebit nightmares), beef tea (the chicken soup of its day, which tastes like hamburger water in the best way), and a Halloween about a booklet that juxtaposes candy recipes with testimonials about feminine ills (That ended up being posted on Table Matters' non-food sister site).

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DICE: emulator for hardwired, discrete-circuit games from the 1970s


Since 2007, Adam has been improving DICE, a free/open program that emulates video games from the very dawn of the industry. These games, called "discrete circuit" games, had no CPU; gameplay was determined through hardwired connections between the electronic components (think of games like the Pong system). This has put these games -- like 1975's Crossfire, 1974's Clean Sweep and Wipe Out, and 1974's Pin Pong -- outside the reach of retrogaming emulators like MAME. DICE recreates the electrical circuits with careful precision, aiming to recapture the original play.

A new version of DICE, 0.8, allows for windowed play, and attains some Mac OS support.

adam's emulation wip (via /.)

A truly super Mario doorbell

Joseph "Rawr" Thai's Mario-themed doorbell makes a coin-chime every time its pressed, and increments an LCD counter showing how many coins have been racked up by visitors to the house. Every ten presses, the doorbell plays a 1UP sound, and after 100 presses, it plays a mushroom upgrade chime.

Rawr's got detailed plans for building your own Mario doorbell.

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Zbrush meets the Monster Manual


Patrick Farley, a wonderful comics creator whose work we've been covering for more than a decade, has taken to Twitter to show off his Zbrush recreations of the monsters from the original Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. (Thanks, Stefan!)