Secret National Security Letters demanded your browsing history


Thousands of National Security Letters are sent annually, don't need a judge's signoff, and it's illegal to tell anyone you got one. What do they demand? Web browsing history, the IP addresses of everyone corresponded with, all online purchases, and more.

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Astounding showpiece table full of hidden compartments nested in hidden compartments


Custom furniture maker Craig Thibodeau created this showpiece "Automaton Table" to illustrate all the different ways that he can hide secret compartments in the pieces he builds. Read the rest

35 Secret hiding places in your home

Ordinarily, the folks over at Family Handyman Magazine are a straight-laced bunch, but their slideshow 20 Secret Hiding Places shows that their practical creativity might be hiding something, such as fat stacks of cash. Read the rest

Crowdfunding for Cryptome, oldest radical secrets-leaking site online

Without, there would have been no Wikileaks, though the two organizations' history and methods of operation couldn't be more different. I'm pretty sure it's the oldest continuously-running website devoted to the public exposure of secret documents for the public good, and has weathered constant attack and intimidation by entities who would rather that websites like Cryptome not exist.

The website run by John Young and Deborah Natsios has a kickstarter campaign, and it's worth considering kicking in if radical transparency is something you support.

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Games with hidden developer messages

"Unused pieces of text, never intended to be seen during gameplay ... because developers have voices too." [] Read the rest

Seventeen sneaky secret hides

Sean Ragan says: "I’ve rounded up a pseudorandom smattering of some of my favorite secret-hiding-place posts from MAKE's online archives."

Seventeen Sneaky Secret Hides Read the rest

How to make the invisible visible

Even when your eyeballs look still, they aren't still. Every time your heart beats, it creates almost imperceptible changes in your skin tone as blood moves through your body. Tall buildings and construction cranes wobble slightly in the wind, even though our eyes can't usually catch them at it. Now, a team at MIT has figured out how to spot these small movements using a computer program that goes through video frame-by-frame and pixel-by-pixel, amplifying minute changes in color and motion and making them visible to us. The New York Times' Bits blog has a video with some awesome demonstrations of the system. Read the rest

A brief history of space monkeys and spies

In the late 1950s, American scientists very publicly readied a crew of monkeys for a series of trips into Earth orbit and back. As far as the researchers knew, Project Discoverer was an actual, honest-to-Ike peaceful scientific program. Naturally, they were wrong about that. In reality, their work was part of an elaborate cover-up masking a spy satellite program. At The Primate Diaries, Eric Michael Johnson reports on some fascinating space history. Read the rest

In the shadow of the atom

For once, "shadow of the atom" is not just a poetic metaphor for the nuclear age. The black dot at the center of this image is, literally, the shadow cast by a single atom of ytterbium, magnified 6500 times.

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A tour of the bat cave

In this video for Science Friday, bat biologist Nickolay Hristov takes a thermal camera inside Carlsbad Caverns to see what bats do in the dark when nobody's watching.

In his footage, a blazing yellow blob on the cave ceiling—which the video's narrator likens to a pool of lava—is actually a mass of bats, packed closely together and hanging upside down. Here, Hristov can see, in person, the very social world of bats, playing out as though he weren't even there.

It's a great video, and well worth watching.

Via Science Friday

EDIT: Video embed is fixed and should work now.

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The facade of NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art has never been fully finished

It sure seems like a completed structure at first glance. But look closer. Specifically, look at the piles of stone blocks stacked on top of the columns.

Those blocks were hauled up there during construction—around the turn of the 20th century. They were supposed to be carved into sculptures representing "Music", "Architecture", "Painting" and, ironically, "Sculpture". Instead, the stone has sat there for 110 years, through two major renovations, un-carved and largely ignored.

The Daytonian in Manhattan blog has the full story on this.

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Society maven's double life

Read the charming story of Alan Z. Feuer, who had a secret double life that was wonderful rather than merely sordid. [NYT] Read the rest