Kickstarting six books on self-empowerment: fermentation, feminism, punk, bicycling, sewing, and comics journalism

Elly from Microcosm Publishing (previously) writes, "We decided to try something different this time, and put up a project to help fund and spread the word about all six of the books we're putting out this coming spring. They're all very different on the surface, but the thread that runs through them is exactly what makes Microcosm work as a publishing company: Book-shaped tools that help people create the lives they want to live and the world they want to see." Read the rest

Sikh maritimers stage astounding bhangra dance-routine with snow shovels

Three members of Halifax's Maritime Bhangra Group appear in this beautifully choreographed dance routine on a snow day, using shovels as props -- they're raising funds for the ALS Society of Nova Scotia. (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Pitting 11,000 virtual vicious penguins against 4,000 murderous virtual Santas

Brilliant Games Studios wanted to show off its new crowd rendering system, so they created 15,000 virtual characters -- 11,000 penguins and 4,000 Santas -- and loosed them on each other in an "epic battle" -- "Units now navigate complex terrain, Bodies now pile up, movement and avoidance improved and smoothed." (via JWZ) Read the rest

McGill Neurology will no longer patent researchers' findings, instead everything will be open access

The Neurological Institute at Montreal's McGill University is host to the "Tanenbaum Open Science Institute," endowed by a $20M contribution; since last spring, the unit has pursued an ambitious open science agenda that includes open access publication of all research data and findings, and an end to the practice of patenting the university's findings. Instead, they will all be patent-free and usable by anyone. Read the rest

FAANS: A Fannish Mystery; humorous 1983 science fiction fandom video

Kirby Sloan writes, "The Fanac Fan History Project has posted a humorous video made in 1983 based around general science fiction fandom culture at the time. This was the time I was most active in all aspects of fandom. I know/knew many of the people in this video. I was going to at least 3 and sometimes 6 cons a year in the 80s." Read the rest

Mininch tool pen: a "pop a point" screwdriver

The Mininch Tool Pen uses the "pop a point" mechanism used in mechanical pencils to hold and switch magnetic screwdriver bits; it's made from machined aluminum and weighs 93g with all six bits inside. It's $70 and comes in three colors and your choice of Imperial, Metric and EU bits. (via Wired) Read the rest

Kinekt adds three new colors to their amazing, classic geared fidget-rings

I bought a Kinekt fidget-ring when I first learned about them in 2010; I've since logged many thousands of miles worth of aimless spinning (ZOMG escalator handrails are fun) on mine; now designers Rachel and Glen Liberman have released their first updated product since the 2014 geared heart necklace: new versions of the ring in gold, rose gold, and gunmetal. Read the rest

Watch: the Navy Band surprises Zappa with "Joe's Garage" as he deplanes at SFO

Thanks to the archival spelunking of the crowdfunded documentary WHO THE F*@% IS FRANK ZAPPA?, we can now watch this amazing piece of video of Frank Zappa being greeted at SFO by the Navy Band, who played Joe's Garage in his honor (and to his manifest delight). Read the rest

Public Citizen's Fox News ad shows Trump putting a fox in every henhouse

Public Citizen's extraordinary new 74-second political ad features audio of Donald Trump promising to end the role of big money, lobbyists, and special interests in politics, contrasted with headlines describing the industrial big-money ties of his transition team and cabinet picks, packed with billionaires, notorious CEOs of corrupt companies, offshoring specialists, and other looters. Read the rest

Superfreak mashup: Rick James vs Foo Fighters (et al)

DJ Cummerbund's latest mashup does real justice to Rick James's "Superfreak": Featuring Rick James, Foo Fighters, The Beach Boys, and Led Zeppelin. And Rick James. Read the rest

Insiders: America's largest chain of psych hospitals kidnaps people seeking care, drugs and holds them until they're out of insurance

Universal Health Services (UHS) is the largest chain of psychiatric facilities in the USA, with 2.5x more beds than its closest competitor, and dozens of whistleblowers from inside the company told a Buzzfeed reporter that they were pressured to find pretenses to lock up people who voluntarily presented for assessments, holding them against their will until their insurance ran out, with massive bonuses for executives who increased profits (and much smaller bonuses for execs who improved health outcomes for patients). Read the rest

Louis Armstrong covers "Give Peace a Chance"

Dang, I never knew Satchmo could be that funky. (via Marginal Revolution)

(Images: Louis Armstrong, Ben In for Peace, Nationaal Archief, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

Watches made from obsolete 1" mechanical hard drives

French watchmaker Jean Jerome created the HDD Watch in 2014 with a successful Indiegogo campaign, recycling 1" hard drives for the movements. Read the rest

Working, thumbnail-sized papercraft single-stroke engine

Aliaksei Zholner's Youtube account features various small, clever papercraft engines that he's made over the years, but the latest one, measuring a mere 18 x 13 x 22 mm, is the daintiest, most lovely one yet, and well worth the long hiatus since Zholner's previous outing. Read the rest

Woman Kyrgyz singer records amazing version of a traditionally male-voiced poem

Gulzada Ryskulova's musical version of the Manas epic -- a folkloric tale usually recited by Kyrgyz men -- is nothing short of amazing, as is the tale itself, which was preserved through furtive oral tradition during the Soviet era, in which it was suppressed. Read the rest

The latest generation of chatbot toys listen to your kids 24/7 and send their speech to a military contractor

Last year's Hello Barbie chatbot toy sent all your kid's speech to cloud servers operated by Mattel and its tech partner, but only when your kid held down Barbie's listen button -- new chatbot toys like My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot are in constant listening mode -- as is your "OK Google" enabled phone, your Alexa-enabled home mic, and your Siri-enabled Ios device -- and everything that is uttered in mic range is transmitted to Nuance, a company that makes text-to-speech tech (you probably know them through their Dragon-branded tools), and contracts to the US military. Read the rest

Mr Robot has driven a stake through the Hollywood hacker, and not a moment too soon

Mr Robot is the most successful example of a small but fast-growing genre of "techno-realist" media, where the focus is on realistic portrayals of hackers, information security, surveillance and privacy, and it represents a huge reversal on the usual portrayal of hackers and computers as convenient plot elements whose details can be finessed to meet the story's demands, without regard to reality. Read the rest

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