Star Trek: TOS communicators that run on Bluetooth

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Thinkgeek's $150 Bluetooth Communicators are based on 3D scans of a prop communicator; pair it with your phone and clip it to your belt: when you get a ring, the psychedelic hypno-disc in the middle will spin prettily, flick it open and start talking. Read the rest

Make a no-3D-printer gripping, soft robot with hot glue and spreadable silicone

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Harrison Young devised a miraculously cool "fiber-reinforced actuator" -- a gripping robot-hand that can get traction on irregularly shaped, heavy objects, without any 3D printed parts and without any power-supply! Read the rest

Kickstarting open source steampunk clocks that use meters to tell the time

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Kyle writes, "The Volt is a fully open source, arduino-based, handmade analog clock that tells time with meters. Available in a DIY install kit, 2 pre-made models, and a mix & match hardware option. The clocks are but with solid black walnut and maple, with faceplates produced in brass, copper, and steel. Only on Kickstarter!" Read the rest

Fansmitter: malware that exfiltrates data from airgapped computers by varying the sound of their fans

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In a new paper, researchers from Ben-Gurion University demonstrate a fiendishly clever procedure for getting data off of airgapped computers that have had their speakers removed to prevent acoustic data-transmission: instead of playing sound through the target computer's speakers, they attack its fans, varying their speeds to produce subtle sounds that humans can barely notice, but which nearby devices can pick up through their microphones. Read the rest

Yes Men punk the NRA with "buy one gun, give one gun" program

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At "Share the Safety," you can buy one of three Smith & Wesson guns, and the good folks at the NRA will send another one just like it to a lucky person in a low income, inner-city neighborhood, "law-abiding urbanites who will for the first time be able to defend themselves against those who prey on the urban poor." It's just like Tom's shoes! Read the rest

Crowd boos Boris "Leave" Johnson as he leaves his home

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Old Etonian and former London Mayor Boris Johnson -- a kind of English Trump figure -- campaigned heavily for the Leave side in Brexit, making it a proxy war for his struggle to discredit his old school rival David Cameron and wrest control of the Tory party for his faction. Read the rest

How to protect the future web from its founders' own frailty

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Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit, and my talk was about how the people who founded the web with the idea of having an open, decentralized system ended up building a system that is increasingly monopolized by a few companies -- and how we can prevent the same things from happening next time.

How it feels to be under DDoS attack

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At this week's O'Reilly Velocity conference in Santa Clara, Artur Bergman, founder and CTO, told the story of how he got involved in starting a denial-of-service-resistant CDN -- a personal story about helping his old company cope with a titanic DDoS attack that brought it and its upstream provider to their knees. Read the rest

Kick-ass flamenco ukulele shredding

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Taimane, backed by Jonathan and Jazzy, perform at a benefit on Hawai'i's north shore for Music in Elementary Schools -- Tamaine performs her signature flamenco uke style, which goes well beyond gimmick and into a badass, shredding marvel that is as fantastic to watch as it is to listen to. Read the rest

Video: Guys whose boss made them illegally dump hazardous chemicals in the desert

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On March 3, a worker shot this video of him and his co-workers illegally pouring HOCUT 795-B out on the Nevada desert floor, then burning out the residue, at the insistence of their (unnamed) employer. Read the rest

Hacker puppets explain how camera angles shape our perception

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Gus the hacker puppeteer (previously) writes, "Since The Media Show began, people have been asking us, 'What do hacking, digital literacy, and media literacy have to do with each other? I don't see the connection.'" Read the rest

New Yorkers *just* missing the subway

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Three minutes of heartbreak from Gothamist: train a deep-learning facial recognition system on the expression of these New Yorkers as the subway doors slam in their faces and you will plumb the very depths of the human soul. (via Metafilter) Read the rest

Samantha Bee puts the NRA before a firing squad

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The NRA -- tone-deaf, intransigent, monied -- are seemingly unstoppable, but if anyone can shoot 'em down, it's Samantha Bee, whose tight, funny, rage-filled 5:30 on America's gun lobby is practically armor-piercing. (via Rolling Stone) Read the rest

Improv Everywhere: asking random New Yorkers to give a commencement speech

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The fun-loving stunters of Improv Everywhere staged a fabulous stunt in New York City's Bryant Park: they set up a crowd of "grads" in caps and gowns with a stage and a podium, then sent the "dean" out into the park to beg randos to step in and serve as emergency commencement speakers, filling in for a last-minute cancellation. Read the rest

Video: Guarding the Decentralized Web from its founders' human frailty

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Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit, speaking about how the people who are building a new kind of decentralized web can guard against their own future moments of weakness and prevent themselves from rationalizing away the kinds of compromises that led to the centralization of today's web. Read the rest

Vi Hart on shootings, stalkings, and Internetting While Female

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Like many youtubers, the incomparable, fast-talking, sharpie-doodling mathematician Vi Hart (previously) was stunned by the Orlando shooting of Christina Grimmie, a Youtube singing star who broke out into the mainstream, and who was murdered by a man who attended her public appearance. Read the rest

John Oliver on Brexit: the EU is the least-worst option, and racists support Leave

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John Oliver's Brexit bit provides much-needed perspective on the UK-EU referendum: while acknowledging the real problems with the EU, Oliver points out that on the one hand, the Leave side's core arguments are a mishmash of unvarnished, deranged racism and deceptive number-fudging; while the Remain side provides a lot of good to outweigh the bad of EU membership. Read the rest

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