Trailer for Escape from Tomorrow

The trailer for Randy Moore's Escape from Tomorrow, shot inside Disneyworld without Disney's permission, is now available. (mirror) Read the rest

Socks of Catan

Betabrand's "Socks of Catan" are coming in October, at $14 a pair. Read the rest

Cognitive blind-spots of Silicon Valley successes

Here's the slide deck [PDF] from a Michael Dearing presentation called "The Five Cognitive Distortions of People Who Get Stuff Done." As Kottke points out, a lot of context is missing, but what's there is fascinating -- an enumeration of the blind spots of "people who get extraordinary stuff done in Silicon Valley," based on interviews with 4,515 founders from 2,481 companies. Read the rest

Interview with Mark H. Kruger, author of young adult thriller, Overpowered

Despite appearances to the contrary, sinister things are happening behind the squeaky-clean facade of Barrington, Colorado.

Batman and Captain America save a cat

Batman and Captain America rescued a cat from a burning home. (via Cosey Fanni Tutti) Read the rest

No robot will ever...

Today's XKCD strip, Reassuring, wittily illustrates Kevin Kelly's Seven Stages of Robot Replacement, which start with "1. A robot/computer cannot possibly do the tasks I do" and heads toward "5. OK, it can have my old boring job, because it’s obvious that was not a job that humans were meant to do."

Be sure you go to the original for the tooltip punchline. Read the rest

Syria/Serbia

Writer, filmmaker, and "humanitarian bombing" survivor Jasmina Tesanovic reflects on the similarities between the war she experienced, and the strikes proposed by the United States against Syria.

As a medical drama, Breaking Bad is pretty great, says one practicing MD (this cancer patient agrees)

At Slate, Haider Javed Warraich writes about how awesome "Breaking Bad" is from the perspective of a guy who's a practicing resident in internal medicine at Harvard.

"If Walt had received aggressive social support early on," asks Warraich, "Would it have helped him cope better with his diagnosis and averted his foray into the 'empire business'?" Read the rest

'Phonebloks' pitch video describes LEGO-like modular smartphone concept

I'm skeptical that Dave Hakkens' Phonebloks idea would work in the real world from an engineering standpoint, but it's a marvelous concept. [Video Link + website]

(Thanks, Joe Sabia) Read the rest

How the feds asked Microsoft to backdoor BitLocker, their full-disk encryption tool

As the astonishing news that the NSA spent $250M/year on a sabotage program directed against commercial security systems spreads, more details keep emerging. A long and interesting story on Mashable includes an interview with Peter Biddle, an ex-Microsoft security engineer who worked extensively on BitLocker, a full-disk encryption tool with a good reputation that was called into question by the latest leaks. Biddle (disclosure: a friend of mine) describes how he was approached to add a backdoor to BitLocker, and how he rebuffed various government agencies. Read the rest

Revisiting Milgram's obedience experiment: what did he actually prove?

We all know about Stanley Milgram's obedience experiments, in which volunteers believed that they had shocked other volunteers to death, just because the experimenter had told them they were expected to. But a new book called Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments by Australian journalist and psychologist Gina Perry revisits Milgram's original research documentation and concludes that Milgram fudged his conclusions.

After examining the original tapes of Milgram's experiments and interviewing the surviving subjects and researchers, Perry concludes that Milgram's experimenters didn't stick to a set script (as has always been reported), but rather wheedled and nagged the subjects into turning up the shock dial. What's more, it seems that a substantial fraction of the subjects realized that there were no actual shocks, seeing through the ruse -- they were also recorded as people who were willing to shock strangers to death on the say-so of a man in a labcoat. Read the rest

Meet the bugs we smoosh to make natural red dye

In this photo, you can see some kind of fluffy, white specks on the paddle of a cactus. Those are scale insects, microscopic bugs that like to cover themselves in balls of white wax and nibble on prickly pear. You can also see a fingertip smeared in bright red goo. That's what happens when you squish up scale insects. Humans have been doing this for hundreds of years, using the insects' bodies to create a striking, natural dye.

More commonly known as cochineal, the dye turns up in everything from sausage to yogurt. Typically, you'll hear scale insects described as "beetles". They aren't. And that had given me a totally incorrect mental image of what they looked like, so I thought it would be cool to share a couple of Flickr photos that show the insects in their natural habitat — both in their living and, er, more "processed" forms. Read the rest

Anatomical sweatshirt you can't have

Today's horrible, crushing disappointment comes to you from Etsy seller GreatWhiteVintage, who discovered this vintage anatomical sweatshirt with a flap showing the brains-n-stuff, and then sold it to someone else.

Weird but Awesome Sweatshirt - Body Anatomy Science Teacher - Pink Shirt

(via Neatorama) Read the rest

A real graveyard curse: Archaeologists susceptible to fungal disease

Valley fever is a respiratory disease that can cause flu-like symptoms, rashes, and (sometimes) chronic lung problems. It's caused by a fungus that lives in dry soil, essentially hibernating for years until it's reinvigorated by moisture. Valley fever is best known for infecting prisoners in the American southwest, but it's also an occupational hazard of archaeologists ... who spend most of their lives sifting through the soils where the fungus lives. Read the rest

Parisian stop-motion music video that violates anti-burqa law

Michael sez, "While on a brief visit to Paris last year, I made a silly stop-motion film-clip for my band The Leafs. It is silly because I am doing a silly dance - a style I like to call 'Reality Dancing' - through the streets of that lovely city. I tried to get some actors involved but when I showed them my Reality Dancing in a pub they averted their eyes and finished their drinks quickly and left. Not so my Parisian friends, who were right up for it. The whole shoot was technically illegal because my face was covered the whole time, and the anti-burqa laws don't allow that. Thanks to the police and the army officers who walked by for only looking grumpy but not locking me up: you guys rule."

THE LEAFS - Come, Take My Hand

(Thanks, Michael!) Read the rest

How physics sunk the Titanic

The iceberg wasn't the only thing that took down the Titanic, explains Yale University materials scientist Anissa Ramirez. Instead, cold temperatures in the icy North Atlantic changed the behavior of the materials that made up the boat — changes that reduced the ocean liner's ability to withstand a head-on iceberg collision.

Video Link

Check out more Anissa Ramirez science videos Read the rest

Kids learn butter-making and chemistry with "Crazy Aunt Lindsey"

I'm loving the "Doing Stuff with Crazy Aunt Lindsey" series of hands-on science YouTube videos for kids. I can't find the host's full name on the YouTube page or her website, but she's a fantastic presence and so are the kids that appear with her. The result is a series of videos that are adorable, high-spirited, creative, and fun—full of great, simple projects that pack a surprising amount of science "oomph" behind them.

Video Link Read the rest

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