Virtual reality creator hopes to treat anxiety attacks

New methods for treating anxiety, trauma and mental illness are emerging at the intersection of games and therapy

As crypto wars begin, FBI silently removes sensible advice to encrypt your devices

The FBI used to publish excellent advice about encrypting your devices to keep your data secure when your stuff is lost or stolen; this advice has been silently dropped now that FBI Director James Comey is trying to stop manufacturers from using crypto by default. Read the rest

Humorless man explains that rock music, even Christian rock, is full of witchcraft

An important warning about blasphemy and Satanic messages in rock music. Read the rest

In photos: Explosion in NYC's East Village injures at Least 12, building collapses

A residential apartment building in New York's East Village neighborhood collapsed and was engulfed in flames along with a neighboring building today, injuring at least twelve people.

Woman medicated in a psychiatric ward until she said Obama didn't follow her on Twitter

Kam Brock's car was seized by the NYPD in a bogus drug bust (they found no drugs, seized it anyway) and then they arrested her because she got upset and took her to a mental hospital. She tried to tell the doc that she was a good person, and cited the (true) fact that Obama followed her on Twitter. Read the rest

Chosen: clever (and funny) new talent contest app

Today my old friend David Hyman launched Chosen, a very compelling new talent contest app where you can be both the talent and the judge. Read the rest

TPP leak: states give companies the right to repeal nations' laws

A new Wikileaks-published leak from the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty reveals a January 2015 draft "Investment Chapter" of the agreement, where the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are set out. They allow companies to repeal nations' environmental, health and labor laws. Read the rest

Madrid becomes no-kill city

On March 13, Madrid became a no-kill city, making the euthanasia of stray or abandoned animals illegal. That means all animals—even homeless ones—are free to live their lives. Read the rest

Co-pilot in Germanwings plane crash 'wanted to destroy plane'

Details are emerging of the German co-pilot's past, and his motives for causing the crash remain a mystery.

Australia outlaws warrant canaries

The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to "disclose information about the existence or non-existence" of a warrant to spy on journalists. Read the rest

Games that heal

Making games in Twine has helped one woman cope with pain other methods haven't reached, and connected a community

Sandwars: the mafias whose illegal sand mines make whole islands vanish

Singapore's insatiable appetite for sand to use to expand its island's territory has led to a worldwide boom in illegal sand-mining, run by criminal gangs who are responsible for the destruction of entire islands in the Pacific rim. Read the rest

Music: "Fudge Pudge," Organized Konfusion (1991)

"So kick off your shoes and don't forget your socks, I wash and wash up emcees like Clorox." Read the rest

The Backworlds by M. Pax

I was excited to read The Backworlds by M. Pax. This pulp science fiction style adventure is available free for Kindle! Read the rest

Spielberg to direct Ready Player One movie

UPDATE: Trailer is out.

A film of Ready Player One will be directed by the legendary filmmaker. Deadline reports on his first flick with Warner Bros. in 14 years.

With this news, a question arises about how they will bring a key element of the book’s virtual world to life for the big screen. After all, it seems imperative for the audience to feel like they were dropped into the middle of a video game.

That kind of technology is just becoming available, and if these guys implement that, this could change the face of cinema. The studio has been on the cutting edge of this kind of thing before, pushing the envelope with technology and visual effects with such films as The Lego Movie, Inception and The Matrix – all with great results. If anyone can pull it off again, it will be these guys.

RPO is about a dead VR mogul's fortune, concealed in a vast online world, and the kids desperate--not least because of their real-world poverty or other circumstances--to find it. The contradictions of utopia, reality, virtuality and mundanity are threaded throughout, but it's a fast-paced YA yarn too; read Mark's review for more.

It's a timely story, but doesn't need to end up a thing of its time. Read the rest

Video portrait of a guy who quit finance to become dog walker

Matt Hein and his dogs. Read the rest

Brain Lapse: beautiful, hand-drawn psychedelic animated short by Jake Fried

“Hand-drawn animation with ink, white-out, coffee and collage.” Read the rest

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