Tropes vs Women in Video Games: Ms. Male Character

Here's a new installment in Anita Sarkeesian's Kickstarter-funded, misogynist-enraging, must-watch "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series: Ms Male Character: a closely annotated, fascinating 25 minutes on the practice of producing a "female" version of video-games by feminizing the lead characters. Read the rest

Milos "Sholim" Rajkovic: surrealist, Gilliamesque animations from Serbia

Milos "Sholim" Rajkovic is like a Belgradian anti-war Terry Gilliam, who produces the most remarkable surreal animations made from decomposed heads -- authority figures like generals and ranking clerics are a favorite -- filled with weird gears, fleshy pulsing puckers, crazy clocks, tiny frantic people, and more. I could watch this stuff all day long. Read the rest

Jack Womack's Random Acts of Senseless Violence: apocalypse in a young girl's diary

I've written before about my love for Jack Womack's Random Acts of Senseless Violence, a masterful, dark, apocalyptic novel told by means of a young girl's diary. Now, on Tor.com, Alyx Dellamonica has written her own essay about all the reasons to love this extraordinary, and too-often-overlooked novel: Read the rest

Felted Star Wars characters

Etsy seller Famished makes spectacular felted figurines based on pop-culture favorites, espically Star Wars (though there's a pretty great Totoro in the bunch. Prices range from $10 to $85 (for the AT-AT, which is the most geometrical felted item I've ever seen). Read the rest

Kleargear goes into social media hiding

Remember KlearGear.com? It's the novelty company that charged a woman $3500 and ruined her credit record after she complained to ripoffreport.com about Kleargear's poor service. Since the news broke last week, KlearGear has protected its Tweets and canceled its Facebook page.

In addition, even though KlearGear has a "TRUSTe Certified Privacy" emblem on its home page, TRUSTe tweeted this morning that "@KlearGear is NOT @TRUSTe certified."

And over at Popehat.com, Ken White reports that KlearGear.com had been displaying a BBB Accredited Business logo and BBB Rating A+. The BBB says that KlearGear.com is "not a BBB accredited business and the BBB rating is not A+."

According to Inc.com, KlearGear's revenues for for 2012 were $47.5 million. Read the rest

Ben Rosenbaum's "Feature Development for Social Networking": Facebook in the zombpocalypse

Ben Rosenbaum sends us Feature Development for Social Networking, his latest story, published today on Tor.com: "It's an epistolary story told in two strands, during a pandemic outbreak of AER/CI (Acquired Extreme Rage with Cognitive Impairment), aka the zombie apocalypse. One strand is the facebook posts of a group of friends, some of whom have been bitten. The other strand is interoffice emails of developers, project managers, etc., at Facebook, wrangling over dropping in the feature of being able to tag someone else as a zombie. So it's postapocalyptic office satire (and online community satire), basically." Read the rest

Real Stuff: "Was My Face Red"

"Krystal K. Keithly -- what a character! I met her in a bar in Seattle's Wallingford district." -- From Real Stuff #4 (Fantagraphics, November 1991).

Google Maps image of boy's dead body to be removed

Google Maps is replacing a satellite image that shows the body of Kevin Barrera, a 14-year-old who was killed in 2009 in Richmond, California. The body is lying prone by train tracks. A police car and several people are nearby. The boy's father, Jose Barrera, apparently found out about the picture just a few days ago, commenting "When I see this image, that’s still like that happened yesterday." The police investigation remains open. Google says it will take eight days to swap out the satellite picture.

"Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case," Google Maps VP Brian McClendon told the San Francisco Chronicle.

I don't care to reproduce the sad image here, but the San Francisco Chronicle did.

"Google to fix map image showing slain boy" (SF Chronicle) Read the rest

Vi Hart explains logarithms

The incomparable, incredible, mathematically gifted Vi Hart continues to make the world a better place for numbers and the people who love them, with a video explaining logarithms. Watch this one today (here's the torrent link). Read the rest

Wondering why Toronto's suburbanites keep on supporting Rob Ford?

Rick Mercer has an answer: there are people in Toronto who would vote for a gerbil if it promised to lower their taxes by a dollar. (via Accordion Guy) Read the rest

Complete meal cooking with a hotel coffee-maker

Inspired by her nephew's stories of bad food at the mess hall when he was on deployment in Afghanistan, retired photographer Jody Anderson created a recipe-book of meals that could be prepared using a coffee-maker (soldiers were allowed to have coffee-makers in their rooms), and posted some online. Coffee-makers are quick to clean, and the different stages of the coffee-maker give you different, simultaneous, cooking options (grilling, poaching and steaming). All useful stuff for frequent travellers: beats the old "cooking salmon in three thicknesses of foil using the ironing-board and iron" technique. Read the rest

Incredibly Interesting Authors 002: Jony Ive biographer Leander Kahney

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Leander Kahney has covered Apple for more than a dozen years and has written three popular books about Apple, including Inside Steve’s Brain and The Cult of Mac. His newest book is a biography of Apple's senior VP of design, called Jony Ive: The Genius behind Apple's Greatest Products.

Millions are familiar with Apple's legendary aesthetic. It's what makes their products instantly recognizable, and is synonymous with craft, care, and quality.

And though the design is iconic, few are familiar with the man behind the design: Jonathan Ive, chief designer. Not only has Ive made Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world -- his design has overturned entire industries, from music and mobile phones to PCs and tablets.

Unlike his former boss and creative partner Steve Jobs, Ive shuns the spotlight. Naturally shy and soft-spoken, he lets his work speak for itself. In Jony Ive: The Genius behind Apple's Greatest Products, Kahney offers a gripping and thorough examination of a remarkably creative career and provides insight into the principles underlying Ive's success.

Here's my interview with Leander in the second episode of my new podcast, Incredibly Interesting Authors.

Incredibly Interesting Authors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode Read the rest

Toronto council strips power from mayor Rob Ford, who compares self to Kuwait, then body-slams female councillor

The City Council of Toronto has voted to strip Mayor Rob Ford of most of his powers after a totally bonkers session in which Ford vowed "outright war," and compared the vote to "a coup d'etat" and to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Read the rest

Silicon Valley and the commercialization of space

San Francisco's public television station KQED produced a half-hour documentary on the private efforts to commercialize space. The program focuses on Silicon Valley-based concerns like reusable rocket maker Masten Space Systems (image of their Xaero spacecraft above) and microsatellite developer Skybox Imaging. Also appearing is BB pal Steve Jurvetson, happy mutant venture capitalist and a board member at space transport company SpaceX. In fact, I ran into Steve at a model rocketry meet on Saturday -- the man really digs rockets! You can watch the KQED documentary, "Silicon Valley Goes To Space," in full below. Read the rest

Belgian 90s techno made modern at 115bpm

Remember early-nineties Belgian techno of the sort that (Mike Shallcross quipped, as quoted on the wikies) was "tough, metallic tracks...with harsh, discordant synth lines that sounded like distressed Hoovers?" If you're having a hard time trying to recreate the sound from that description, try this.

This is Belgium Part Two: Cherry Moon On Valium has discovered a cheap and effective way to breathe new life into those old 12 inches: just slow them down to 115bpm, and voila (gesluierd): the intervening decades telescope down to nothing in an eyeblink. Read the rest

Update on WikiLeaks grand jury: no indictment yet, but grand jury continues

A story in the Washington Post today quotes unnamed "senior law enforcement sources" as saying that US prosecutors haven't yet filed a sealed indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but the nearly three-year grand jury investigation continues.

The report follows weeks of rumors that an indictment was imminent, after the unsealing of an indictment for Edward Snowden. One source quoted in the story says, “Nothing has occurred so far. If Assange came to the U.S. today, he would not be arrested. But I can’t predict what’s going to happen. He might be in six months.” Read the rest

'Alternative cancer care' provider Stanislaw Burzynski accused of selling false hope in USA Today investigation

An extensive investigative story in USA Today finds experts questioning why the FDA allows Stanislaw Burzynski, a doctor in Houston, Texas, to continue to sell his "alternative cancer treatment" to vulnerable patients and their families.

Burzynski calls his miracle drugs "antineoplastons," and first synthesized the sodium-rich compounds from blood and urine "collected from public parks, bars and penitentiaries." They haven't been approved by the FDA, but he has also "prescribed them as a treatment for AIDS, lupus and other conditions." Read the rest

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