Wayward Manor, the overdue video game that Neil Gaiman wrote, now has a release date: July 15!
Set in a 1920s Victorian Gothic pastoral estate, Wayward Manor focuses on the plight of a ghost whose hope of a peaceful after-life is interrupted by a remarkable cast of intruders. Awoken from his post-mortem slumbers, our ghost must find ever-more inventive and brilliant ways to scare them away. As the ghost learns more about the living characters, he also learns more about his own death and after-life, and the danger they are all facing.
The Doubleclicks, our favorite nerdrocking cello heroes, have released an inspired cover of the Trogdor the Burninator themesong from Homestar Runner. The video features beautiful firespinning, though it's not clear whether they'll be bringing the firespinner with them when they tour the USA (kicks off tonight in PDX and finishes up at Gencon!).
North Korea has threatened "merciless" war against the USA if a James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy called "The Interview" is released. The movie involves a plot to assassinate North Korean hereditary dictator Kim Jong-un. A North Korean state spokesman called the movie an "act of war" and a "blatant act of terrorism" and "reckless US provocative insanity." The spokesman called the film's director a "gangster filmmaker" and said that North Koreans had greeted the production with "a gust of hatred and rage."
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Charlie Stross's keynote speech to the Yet Another Perl Conference is an inspired riff on the weird, gradual-then-sudden nature of technological change. As Charlie points out, almost everything today -- including the people -- was around 20 years ago, and most of what's around now will be around in 20 years. But there will be some changes that would shock your boots off. Improbably, he manages to tie this all into perl programming, which, apparently, is the future of smart sidewalks. Charlie's thoughtfully provided a transcript of his talk, and there's a video for those who prefer to hear his rather good comic delivery.
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Just in time for you to get the most out of "The Fault in Our Stars," the incomparable, fast-talking mathblogger Vi Hart's latest video is a sparkling-clear explanation of one of my favorite math-ideas: the relative size of different infinities. If that's not enough for you, have a listen to this episode of the Math for Primates podcast.
Proof some infinities are bigger than other infinities
Chalk artist Chris Carlson sends us this astounding stop-motion animation of his 3D chalk drawings of Link from Legend of Zelda, popping out of two-space and having a mischievous adventure in our world. I can't even begin to imagine the amount of labor that went into drawing the frames of this animation -- bravo!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has recorded this video message endorsing the Mayday.US super PAC, through which Lawrence Lessig and supporters are raising $5 million in small-money donations to elect lawmakers who will promise meaningful reforms of campaign finance law to curtail the undue influence of money on politics. The cynics say that lawmakers like getting bribes in exchange for bad policy, but the reality is that lawmakers are locked in an awful, brutal arms-race to raise funds for the next election cycle, and devote most of their days in office to sucking up to plutocrats to raise money that they don't get to keep, but will have to blow on ever-more-lavish political campaigns. Limits on campaign spending will force politicians to focus on winning votes by introducing popular, sound policies, not by being puppets of the American plutocracy.
I'm not entitled to contribute to Mayday.US (I'm a foreigner), but if you are, I would consider it a personal favor if you'd kick in a couple extra bucks for those of us who worry about American politics but don't get a direct say.
Joly writes, "It seems the BBC are capable of tracking down a single Scot in Brazil who cheered a goal against England but fail to notice 50,000 demonstrating on their doorstep." The Guardian noticed. There's much bigger stuff -- likely too big for the Beeb to ignore -- coming in October.
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In this video, shot in April by Andrewwake58, Gray County Sheriff's Deputy Stokes tries every conceivable tactic to illegally intimidate a citizen who is peacefully recording him without interfering. Deputy Stokes invents imaginary laws, tries repeatedly to seize the camera, illegally orders the citizen to stop recording, demands identity papers without justification. When all else fairs, the Deputy declares that if the citizen journalist doesn't comply, that he can just "make stuff up" to make him stop.
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Cubicles and Careers is a new webseries from Fantasycon's Murray Triplett and Greg Johnson that brings us to the gaming table where fantastic monsters gather to role-play at working in mundane offices, making saving throws against being noticed by their bosses when they sneak in to work late. Looks like fun!
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Apple co-founder, nerd legend, and all-round Good Guy Steve Wozniak has recorded an excellent video explaining why he's supporting Larry Lessig's Mayday.US super PAC, which is raising $5M to elect lawmakers who'll promise to vote to abolish super PACs and effect major campaign finance reform.
Wozniak draws the connection between big money in politics and the overall corruption that gave us SOPA, NSA surveillance, cable company fuckery, and other horribles that arise when the only way to get elected is by sucking up to a tiny elite of the zottarich.
I am not a US citizen and I can't contribute to Mayday. If you are, I hope you will consider giving to the campaign, and throw in a couple extra bucks for me.
Seth Goldstein's Why Not machine is a glorious Rube Goldberg device that can tie (and untie) a necktie. It's a kinetic sculpture, slow and beautiful and inefficient in a way that can only be called artistic. It's headed for exhibition at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. Its inventor, a retired engineer, revels in its unuselessness: "That's not something you can economically justify, but if you're a retiree, you don't have to worry about that anymore. I'm free!"
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When John Oliver smote the FCC over its pro-cable-company-fuckery policy, he compared hiring Tom Wheeler away from his job as top cable lobbyist to run the FCC to hiring a dingo to babysit your kids. Wheeler responded by assuring the American public that he was not a dingo (because metaphor). In his latest segment on the matter, Oliver challenged Wheeler to prove it.
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