Don't let the government hack your computer. Tell Congress to stop changes to #Rule41.

“The U.S. government wants to use an obscure procedure—amending a federal rule known as Rule 41— to radically expand their authority to hack,” the EFF says. “The changes to Rule 41 would make it easier for them to break into our computers, take data, and engage in remote surveillance. Read the rest

Hacker puppets explain how camera angles shape our perception

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

Why it is a very bad idea to keep a lynx as a pet

Nehala says: This is "what happens when someone mail-orders a lynx, which ends up destructively urinating all over the small apartment, is maladjusted, and is terrified of visitors, or in this case, a housesitter." Read the rest

34-ounce glass tea press for loose teas and tea bags

After 5 years of pretty much exclusively using my Bodum teapot I have gotten so used to it I only notice the process when I’m not at home and have to use a different teapot.

I like having a big pot of tea sitting on my desk while I work on the computer but with most teapots the tea continues to gain in strength the longer it stays in the pot; unless you want to outright remove the tea which is nothing but a hot mess. This is the best teapot in my experience for being able to brew tea that can stay in the pot but not continue steeping and increasing in strength.

The system is very simple, the strainer inside the teapot has no holes in its bottom section so when the plunger is fully depressed the tea cannot continue to soak in the water as it has been cut off and sealed in the bottom of the strainer.

I use it whenever I’m at home and can have 1 liter of tea that is of a consistent strength sitting on my desk, making the only other issue I have to deal with the fact that eventually it will go cold which is an issue I have not found a solution to other than drinking the tea.

I was not able to find the exact porcelain model I have online anymore, it seems like Bodum may have discontinued it but they make the same size and shape pot out of borosilicate glass (the stuff pyrex is made from) so if anything its now stronger and more shatter resistant if dropped plus since its now clear you can see exactly how much tea is left in the pot. Read the rest

20 grams of melt-in-your hand gallium for $(removed)

Gallium is a metal that melts at 86 degrees F. It's more fun than playing with mercury, and probably safer, too (it *will* temporarily stain your skin gray though, because it's "wet" when liquid and will adhere to the crevices of your skin). My daughter's friend brought some over a couple of weeks ago, and it was such a hit at our house that we had to get some of our own. This 20 gram sample is just $(removed) including shipping on Amazon. Read the rest

Gun control is a great idea, terrorist watchlists are bullshit

A letter from the ACLU to lawmakers asked them to vote down the Democrats' proposed limits on firearm sales, but not for the same reasons that the NRA objected to the legislation. Read the rest

A fast, indie space opera for summer

Don't let the cover art scare you away! The Chronicles of Benjamin Jamison are fun, hero beats the odds, space opera fun. In Thomas Wright's first installment, Call Sign Reaper, we meet familiar characters, then and head off on a familiar plot!

Retired special forces type space guy Ben was drummed out of the service on trumped up charges. Instead of disappearing to the Los Angeles underground, he spends a couple months off. Ben is recruited back into service via a bar fight, and an attractive commanding officer. You do know where this is going, right? Get ready to roll your eyes.

Thomas Wright gets this genre, and clearly enjoys it. The story rollicks along, and the characters are just getting going. You

Standard indie novel warning: lots of folks have complained of the editing, but I enjoyed the stories enough to not notice much. The novel was free via Kindle Unlimited.

The Chronicles of Benjamin Jamison: Call Sign Reaper (Book 1) via Amazon Read the rest

White House issues report on President Obama's impact on science and tech

In 2009, President Obama pledged to "restore science to its rightful place." He said, "We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science."

Today, the White House released an Impact Report listing 100 things that Obama has made happen with the support of many people across research, policy, education, and, yes, maker culture. Here's the full Impact Report. A few examples from the list:

• Prioritized and encouraged broad participation in STEM education. The President’s Educate to Innovate campaign, launched in November 2009, has resulted in more than $1 billion in private investment to improve K-12 STEM education. The Nation is on track to meet the President’s January 2011 State of the Union goal to put 100,000 additional excellent STEM teachers in America’s classrooms by 2021. The President has helped showcase to students—including through events such as the White House Science Fair—that science, math, engineering, and computer programming are deeply compelling subjects that can help solve problems locally and globally.

• Fostered a nation of makers. The President hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire; highlighted the growing importance of additive manufacturing by being the first President to be 3D scanned for his Presidential bust; and led a call to action resulting in commitments to create more than 1,000 maker spaces around the country.

Read the rest

These bizarre vintage hair-dryers will blow your mind, and your tresses

When I was little, my mother had a 1960s sit-under hair dryer with a huge translucent plastic hood that I'd imagine was a variation on a Star Trek Transporter. But that hulking machine had nothing on these vintage hair dryers from the first part of the 20th century. These would have provided me with years of science fiction fantasies and nightmares. See more at Dangerous Minds.

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The adventures of serial impostor Stanley Clifford Weyman

Over the span of half a century, Brooklyn impostor Stanley Clifford Weyman impersonated everyone from a Navy admiral to a sanitation expert. When caught, he would admit his deception, serve his jail time, and then take up a new identity. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll review Weyman's surprisingly successful career and describe some of his more audacious undertakings.

We'll also puzzle over why the police would arrest an unremarkable bus passenger.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon! Read the rest

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Finding Dory - The Republican Story

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH Dory is missing, but Global Warming, which doesn't even exist, saves the day.

Batmanga - Campy, humorous, and sometimes so on the nose it's laughable

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1

by Jiro Kuwata (illustrator)

DC Comics

2014, 352 pages, 5.8 x 8.2 x 1.1 inches (softcover)

$10 Buy a copy on Amazon

Available for the first time in English, Jiro Kuwata’s Batman is basically a Japanese version of the 1960s Batman TV series. It’s campy, humorous, and sometimes so on the nose it’s laughable. Maybe Batman will escape danger with a goofy, too convenient action, or the villain will taunt Batman with some of the oldest superhero cliches around. It will surely be an adjustment for readers who haven’t experienced any of Batman’s older stories, but it’s important to remember this was produced in the '60s, and Kuwata was essentially mimicking the style of Batman that was popular. If you can do that you’ll find a thoroughly enjoyable alternate take on the Caped Crusader and the Dynamic Duo.

Included here are six Batman stories, featuring Batman and Robin vs. unique villains like Lord Death Man and the Human Ball. The story arcs are all standalone and don’t reference each other, however each arc is sub-divided into three to four parts. These villains are all formidable foes and a good mix of character types. Lord Death Man for example keeps coming back from the dead, while the Human Ball wears a metal suit that allows him to bounce off any surface, including Batman’s punches. Each time, Batman is tasked with not just fighting the villain into submission, but using his classic Batman intellect to outthink them and set a trap. Read the rest

Trippy animated zoom video makes everything you see in the real world recede

After watching Ben Ridgway's "Continuum Infinitum" video, everything I looked at seemed to recede for a while. Ben recommends downloading the video and looping it.

As you watch the movie for a minute or so and then look away, you will experience a mild optical illusion that feels as if everything you look at is shrinking away from you. This is caused by the motion after-effect (MAE). It is a visual illusion experienced after viewing a moving visual stimulus for a time (tens of milliseconds to minutes) with stationary eyes, and then fixating on a stationary stimulus. The stationary stimulus appears to move in the opposite direction to the original (physically moving) stimulus. The motion aftereffect is believed to be the result of motion adaptation.

Neurons coding a particular movement reduce their responses with time of exposure to a constantly moving stimulus; this is neural adaptation. Neural adaptation also reduces the spontaneous, baseline activity of these same neurons when responding to a stationary stimulus. One theory is that perception of stationary objects, for example rocks beside a waterfall, is coded as the balance among the baseline responses of neurons coding all possible directions of motion. Neural adaptation of neurons stimulated by downwards movement reduces their baseline activity, tilting the balance in favor of upwards movement.

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Watch a bounce house float away into power lines

A bounce house at a birthday party in Niagara County, New York flew off into the sky before descending on power lines in a shower of sparks. Now that's entertainment! (No, nobody was inside at the time.)

"I'm willing to bet that it wasn't properly secured just because I've done thousands of rentals and I have never had one problem. Either that or some sort of crazy wind gust, but I highly doubt that, most of the time when they're properly secured there's no problem and you know it's a fun amusement device for kids," Michael Gersitz, proprietor of Party in Buffalo Bounce House Rentals, told WIVB.

Read the rest

Kid gets head unstuck from fence bars

A little kid figures out how to break out of his self-imposed prison. Read the rest

New Yorkers *just* missing the subway

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

Couples who divide housework fairly have more sex

New research from the University of Utah and Cornell University suggests that couples involved in egalitarian marriages, at least as chores are concerned, have more sex. (Note that the study is only about heterosexual marriages.) This new study appears to counter a 2014 New York Times Magazine article titled "Does Gender Equality Kill Sex Lives?." For this work, the Utah and Cornell researchers compared a 2006 marital satisfaction survey with data from 1992-1994. From a news release about the paper:

Turns out, the “rules” that govern sexual and marital satisfaction have been changing rapidly—and, like many generalizations about modern marriage, the 2013 study (that the NYT article reported on) was based on outdated data. As Cornell University Professor Sharon Sassler shows in her new paper, “A Reversal in Predictors of Sexual Frequency and Satisfaction in Marriage,” presented today to the Council on Contemporary Families, when couples share similar tasks rather than different, gender-stereotyped ones, this seems to deepen desire.

Sassler reports, “Contemporary couples who adhere to a more egalitarian division of labor are the only couples who have experienced an increase in sexual frequency compared to their counterparts of the past. Other groups – including those where the woman does the bulk of the housework – have experienced declines in sexual frequency. This finding is particularly notable given reports indicating that sexual frequency has generally declined worldwide over the past few decades.”

Quartz digs deeper into the new study:

...Couples who reported sharing housework equally had sex 6.8 times per month, on average, or about once more per month than those where the woman does more “routine housework,” defined as: preparing and cooking meals, washing dishes, cleaning around the house, shopping for groceries, and doing laundry...

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