Women in Video Games: women as background decoration

Anita Sarkeesian has posted Women as Background Decoration: Part 1, the latest installment in her Feminist Frequency Tropes vs Women in Video Games critical video series. Gamers are insanely (and I mean that literally) threatened by Sarkeesian's analysis, which is carefully and closely argued, and backed by solid scholarly research.

Every one of her interventions, starting with her original kickstarter, has been met with vicious, violent smear campaigns that contain some of the most stomach-churning overt misogyny you're likely to find this side of a mass-murderer's manifesto.

If you don't believe me, just hang out in the comments for this post, which will shortly be filling up with dudes mansplaining why Sarkeesian is a con artist, why games whose story rewards players for murdering prostitutes are only jokey-jokes, why feminism is a giant lih-buh-rul plot, and so forth. As the husband of a retired nationally ranked pro gamer and the father of a daughter (and as a human being), these guys scare and depress the shit out of me.

Women as Background Decoration: Part 1 (via Metafilter)

Haunted organist automata with Pepper's ghost effect

Thomas Kuntz made this clever, Haunted Mansion-inspired organist automata with its own tiny Pepper's ghost illusion, as well as a music-box and multiple animated figures. (Thanks, Dan!)

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Animatronic face-ripping Undead Ted horror-toy

The 700th Undead Ted horror-toy was a face-removing, talking animatronic that sold for £420 on Ebay. I love that it can do more than one line; I like to think of it as the reincarnation of good ole Teddy Ruxpin. (via IO9)

Cory's Tedxoxbridge talk: How to break the Internet

I gave a talk last month in Cambridge at the Tedxoxbridge event called How to break the Internet, about how urgent it is that the Internet is fundamentally broken, and why we should be hopeful that we can fix it.

Father's Day: Groucho sings "Father's Day"

Once again, my favorite Father's Day anthem: Groucho Marx sings Father's Day.

Persistence-of-vision holotank "mirror"

Brady Marks exhibited his We Are with You, Mirror at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire; it uses spinning light-up persistence-of-vision pixelboards to create a low-rez holo-tank mirror.

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Kickstarting a documentary about Moondog, the blind, homeless father of minimalist music

Michael sez, "One of my all-time favourite composers was a blind street musician, Louis T Hardin, who went by the stage name Moondog and who performed on the streets of Manhattan from the 1940s through to 1974. Philip Glass, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman and Steve Reich were all apparently fans; Janis Joplin and the Kronos Quartet have covered his songs; and he's admired by modern musicians from Jarvis Cocker to John Zorn to Mr Scruff (and I reckon I can hear his influence on Stereolab, too, as well as on a whole host of loop-based electronic music)."

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Candy balls made with ghost peppers

Thinkgeek's Ghost Pepper Super Hot Candy Balls ($10 for about 44 balls) are red-hot candy balls dusted and infused with powdered Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper) and Trinidad Scorpion Pepper, coming in at about one million Scovilles. Also, they may contain peanuts, so there's that.

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Automata clock-monster with moving eyes

Automata builder Dug North sez, "I combined my love of clocks with my affinity for wooden monsters to create this monster clock with moving eyes. The monster is made of basswood, ebony, and tagua nut. A small weight-driven German clock movement powers the eyes and clock. It is titled simply 'Monster Clock No. 1,' which implies I may be making more of these. Please do!

Moving-eyed monster clock by Dug North now on display

Charity collection-boxes shaped like life-sized homeless people

The Dutch homelessness charity Badt dressed mannequins as homeless people, sawed coin-slots in their foreheads, and seeded them around Amsterdam with signs soliciting donations. It's a clever campaign, but it says something a little unpleasant, in that we are apparently more willing to give money to a doll with a slot in its forehead than an actual homeless person.

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We visited Ukraine's Palace of Corruption

Jasmina Tesanovic ventures into the “Palace of Corruption” where deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych partied and gloried in graft while the #Euromaidan raged on his doorstep. Tesanovic was in Serbia when Milosevic was deposed, and she reflects on the careers of post-Soviet dictators.

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Jason Alexander endorses the anti-corruption Mayday PAC

Brian says, "Jason Alexander (of stage, screen & Seinfeld) has decided to endorse the Mayday PAC." Mayday.US is the super PAC that Lawrence Lessig founded to fight campaign finance corruption by raising money to send politicians to Congress if they'll promise to get the money out of politics.

Mayday.US

Kickstarting an Oh Joy Sex Toy book

Oh Joy Sex Toy, our favorite webcomic for perverts, is Kickstarting a book collecting its first year's worth of comics! $10 gets you a PDF, $35 gets you the printed book.

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Chimps beat humans at game theory

In Chimpanzee choice rates in competitive games match equilibrium game theory predictions, a paper in Nature by Colin Camerer and colleagues, researchers document the astounding performance of chimpanzees in classic game-theory experiments -- a performance that's substantially superior to humans who play the same games:

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How to stop hurting -- and start helping -- women in games

Frank Wu writes, "Brianna Wu gave this awesome talk at AltConf a couple days ago about sexism in the gaming industry. No punches pulled. Discussions of all the %$#@ girls have to put up with just to do their jobs, and what we all can do to help."