Squirrels are vastly more harmful to the world's power grids than "the cyber" is

Of 1700+ known acts of global power-grid sabotages, affecting some 5,000,000 people, 879 were caused by squirrels; between 0 and 1 were caused by Russia, and another 1 was caused by the USA (Stuxnet). Read the rest

Portal for the Apple ][+, //e and related systems

Vince Weaver is reimplementing Portal -- "the cake acquisition simulator released in 2007" -- to the Apple II series of computers, bit by bit -- inspired by the fact that the Apple II hires mode has "the perfect Aperture Science orange and blue colors." He's released a disc image of the game in Apple Basic, as well as sourcecode. Read the rest

James O'Keefe caught trying to bribe protesters to riot at Trump inauguration

James O'Keefe is the Breitbart-affiliated fraudster and fake news pioneer who staged the hoax videos about Acorn and Planned Parenthood that disrupted the last two election cycles; his MO is to dress up in disguises and then attempt to trick progressives into saying damning things on camera (he's not very good at it, having been rumbled by both CNN and Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky). Read the rest

Baratunde Thurston explains why encryption matters

Rainey from EFF writes, "EFF just launched a new video about its efforts to encrypt the web. It features bestselling author Baratunde Thurston explaining why encryption matters and two simple ways to ensure the web we love is encrypted." Read the rest

Glowing, UV-reactive Tron pie

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, storied nerd piemaker, created this fluorescing Tron pie, doped with tonic water for extra UV-reacting goodness. Read the rest

Kickstarting a lamp controlled by a lovely set of magnetic balls on strings

Li Zan Wen's Heng Balance Lamp uses powerful tethered magnets as an on/off switch: bring them together to turn the lamp on and break them apart to turn it off. Read the rest

24 hours of the BBC's Radio Four, in four minutes

Jake Yapp is a British comedian who specialises in doing high-speed summaries of pop culture phenomena, like this Radio Four in 4 Minutes sketch, which is a work of genuine genius, especially the radio drama bits. Read the rest

This NES Classic jailbreak is a perfect parable of our feudal future of disobedient dishwashers

Nintendo's nostalgic instant sellout NES Classic (still available from scalpers) only comes with 30 games and no way to add more: but it only took two months from the announcement date for intrepid hackers to jailbreak the device and come up with a way to load your favorite ROMs, using a USB cable and a PC.

The baffling topology of the burrito method for covering your duvet

Inhabitat's video explaining the "burrito" method for getting a duvet into its cover is both excruciatingly slow in places, and also fantastically baffling: how the actual fuck does this topological exercise work? (via Kottke) Read the rest

Pitch Blak Brass Band: hip-hop/brass with a lot of funk and a lot of beat

This week's Judge John Hodgman podcast is a live show recorded in Brooklyn, with guest music from the Pitch Blak Brass Band, whose music was so fantastically good that I immediately purchased their debut album, You See Us, and I am listening to it right now and loving it. Read the rest

Sex toy Rube Goldberg machine [NSFW]

Directed by Allen Cordell: "The Aristocrats!" Read the rest

Drive a nail through 2016 with Charlie "Black Mirror" Brooker's Screenwipe

Literally one of the most exciting moments I had in 2016 was the realization, well into the year, that Charlie Brooker -- creator of Black Mirror, Nathan Barley and TV Go Home -- was going to have to make sense of the entire annus horribilis in his annual Screenwipe special (previously). Read the rest

Your smart meter is very secure (against you) and very insecure (against hackers)

In On Smart Cities, Smart Energy, And Dumb Security -- Netanel Rubin's talk at this year's Chaos Communications Congress -- Rubin presents his findings on the failings in the security of commonly deployed smart meters. Read the rest

Mom reports assault on her son to Ft Worth cop, who wrestles her to the ground, then arrests her and her daughter

On Dec 21, Jacqueline Craig called the Fort Worth, TX police to report that her neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son; the cop who arrived was belligerent and dismissive, blamed her son for littering and her for not parenting him adequately, and then, when she became upset at his refusal to take her report, he violently wrestled her and her teen daughter to the ground, cuffed them and arrested them. Read the rest

Methbot: a $3M-$5M/day video ad-tech fraud

White Ops, a security firm, has published a detailed report on a crime-ring they call "Methbot" that generated $3M-$5M by creating 6,000 fake websites to embed videos in, then generating convincing bots that that appeared to watch 300,000,000 videos/day -- running virtual instances of various browsers (mostly Chrome) on virtual machines running MacOS X, from a huge pool of IP addresses that they fraudulently had assigned to US locations, deploying clever grace-notes like limiting access to "daylight" hours in their notional locations; simulating mouse-movements and clicks and more. Read the rest

Free audiobook of Car Wars, my self-driving car/crypto back-door apocalypse story

Last month, Melbourne's Deakin University published Car Wars, a short story I wrote to inspire thinking and discussion about the engineering ethics questions in self-driving car design, moving beyond the trite and largely irrelevant trolley problem. Read the rest

Ikea to teenagers: stop hiding in closets until closing and then having illegal "sleepovers" in our stores

After a pair of Belgian teenagers made a viral sensation with a Youtube video documenting their unauthorized sleepover in an Ikea store, at least 10 other sets of teens have tried to repeat the stunt: now, Ikea is putting the world's teens on notice that they will press charges if they catch you trying it. Read the rest

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