Facebook to demand "clear photo of your face"

Facebook is planning to request a "clear photo of your face" on pain of lockout, reports Wired's Nitasha Tiku. It wants you to prove you are a real engagement node, not a bot.

In a statement to WIRED, a Facebook spokesperson said the photo test is intended to “help us catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the site, including creating an account, sending Friend requests, setting up ads payments, and creating or editing ads.”

The process is automated, including identifying suspicious activity and checking the photo. To determine if the account is authentic, Facebook looks at whether the photo is unique. The Facebook spokesperson said the photo test is one of several methods, both automated and manual, used to detect suspicious activity.

Soon, Windows 95 Tips will be reality:

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An excerpt from Souls, Light and Wings, a debut novel by Simon A.G. Spencer

My first book, Souls, Light, and Wings has just released and I'd like to share an excerpt from its first chapter. The book is a bit hard to describe along clear genre lines, but if you pulled my arm or asked me nicely, I'd call it a post-apocalyptic fantasy crime thriller. Kind of a mouthful, right? I originally just wanted to write a more traditional urban fantasy story, but one chapter in and I found myself so bored with the world I'd built that I wanted to destroy it. So I did. The story follows a pair of police officers on a journey across an icy wasteland in search of a way to return a strange magical creature to his own world, while being pursued by a vicious criminal. Featured in this story are shapeshifters, train cults, an oblivious demon, kaiju, and plenty of other oddities.  Please enjoy:

Putting a super-advanced Lincolnbot through his paces

Dan from the Journal of Ride Theory sez, "This is great. Conducting an interview while this cartoonishly expressive, hyperrealistic Lincoln silently pulls cray-cray Jim Carrey faces is simultaneously one of the coolest, unintentionally funniest and creepiest things ever. Also, all his movements have that weird swoop-to-new-pose weirdness of bad CGI. Swoop-hold, swoop-hold, swoop-hold." Read the rest

Penn and Teller's Desert Bus, the worst videogame ever made, gets a VR reboot

In 1995, Penn and Teller released Desert Bus, the worst game ever made, a "VeriSimulator" that challenged you to keep a bus moving between the white lines on an eight-hour Arizona/Nevada drive. If you made it, you got to spend another 8 hours driving back. The bus had just enough veer in its steering that you had to correct it periodically, so you couldn't just tape the controller button down. Read the rest

Humble Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Bundle: more than 20 DRM-free ebooks, Vandermeer, Bruce Sterling, Peter Beagle, Joe Lansdale, Alistair Reynolds, Nancy Kress and more!

The latest Humble Bundle features the books of the most excellent Tachyon Press, with a who's who of my favorite SF writers and collections, from Ellen Klages and Jeff Vandermeer, to Bruce Sterling and Peter Watts, to Patricia McKillip and Brandon Sanderson, and even me! Read the rest

Epic Games is suing a 14 year old for making a cheat tutorial and his brilliant mother is PISSED

Epic Games makes the wildly successful multiplayer free-to-play game Fortnite, which is the locus of a pitched battle between players and publisher over game-mods, especially cheat-hacks that give unfair advantage to some players. Read the rest

Major investors offer to buy a big stake in Uber -- at a 30% discount

A group of investors led by Softbank have put in a bid to buy $6B worth of Uber stock -- at a valuation of $48B, 30% lower than the company's valuation at its last finance round, which was followed by string of ghastly scandals including the removal of its founder, Travis Kalanick, from the CEO's office. The company has 20 days to respond. Read the rest

Infinitown is a procedurally generated city that seems to go on forever

This eBoy-esque procedurally generated city brings to mind short story by J.G. Ballard called "Report on an Unidentified Space Station," which appeared in one of my favorite science fiction anthologies, Semiotext(e) SF which was edited by Rudy Rucker and Robert Anton Wilson.


This WebGL experiment is an attempt to create a procedural city that feels alive and is fun to watch. First, we generate a finite grid of random city blocks. Then, using some tricks, the viewpoint wraps around this grid, which creates the illusion of an endless cityscape."

By pinching and zooming on a trackpad, you can change the point of view. Not sure how to do it with a mouse, because I don't use one. Read the rest

Fl Gov Rick Scott's consultant is not humping a mannequin with an ice penis

One of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's consultants swears this photo is not what it seems.

Via The Miami New Times:

Joshua Cooper, a Tallahassee political consultant paid more than $500,000 by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to dig up dirt on Scott's enemies over the years, swears the photo above was simply a snapshot taken at an unfortunate angle. Cooper is adamant the photo absolutely does not show him holding an ice penis next to a mannequin's groin.

"It is not at all what it looks like," says Cooper, who spends his spare time as a semiprofessional barbecue chef and insists he was simply throwing away a large slab of ice while cooking in a Memphis competition. Someone took a snapshot at exactly the wrong moment and posted the photo online, Cooper says, making an accidental sexual tableau with the female mannequin.

The photo has been making the rounds in Florida political circles since it was posted online in May. Though Cooper says the image was deleted upon his request, he says one of his many enemies in Tallahassee is recirculating the image to discredit him.

"That was a photo one of my barbecue teammates took," Cooper tells New Times. "That was our ice luge. It melted, so I was picking it up and throwing it over the fence there. But from the angle he took the picture from, my teammates thought it looked funny and posted it online."

He says he has three daughters and a young son and clarifies that he does not hump mannequins.

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Make virtual sandcastles and enjoy them for a few seconds until they are consumed by waves

Sandcastles is a web-based amusement in which you can quickly build clusters of virtual towers and admire them for a few seconds until ocean waves knock them down. My kids and I loved his other, longer creations, like Windosill, Head, and Levers. Read the rest

Infinitown: endless 3D-animated city in your browser

Infinitown is a three-dimensional city that lives in your browser, complete with folks going about their business and clouds drifting lazily overhead. It goes on forever, as the name suggests, in endless procedurally-generated loveliness. [via]

There's something perfect about it: just enough suggestive detail to get the mind rolling, not so much that its shallows become too obvious, and a clean and colorful animation style. There's no game to it, but the creator, Little Workshop, published a traditional grid-based dungeon crawler with the same random map trickery and visual polish: Keepout. Read the rest

How an influential economics paper used imaginary environmental overregulation to spur low-density luxury housing

Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth is a 2015 paper written by University of Chicago and UC Berkeley economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, which purports to show that the reasons cities are so expensive is that bourgeois NIMBYism drives affluent people to raise spurious environmental challenges to new developments, stalling growth. Read the rest

"Whale Hello" magnet

This essential purchase is only a dollar, but you have to pay shipping: a 1.25" magnet featuring a suave cartoon whale saying "WHALE HELLO." (Amazon) Best buy a dozen, then, just to be sure. We've been arguing all day about whether this is better than the "snailed it" magnet, and, frankly, things are getting kind of heated.

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Giving Tuesday: The Mechanics' Institute

The Mechanics' Institute is one of my favorite places in San Francisco.

The full service library is wonderful, as is having a comfortable place downtown to just sit, use the internet, and not be bombarded with life advice from baristas. The MI also puts on wonderful speakers series, writers workshops, and is home to the best chess room ever.

Membership is a mere $120 a year. I have an innate resistance to joining things, but this is one heck of a library.

This giving Tuesday, please consider the Mechanics' Institute. Read the rest

How to eat three pounds of honey in four minutes without dying

Professional trencherman Matt Stonie ate 3 pounds of liquid honey in four minutes and lived to tell about it. I got nauseated just watching it. Read the rest

My favorite coffee mug depicts owls

I share with you my favorite coffee mug.

Years ago my mother gave me this lovely, lovely coffee mug depicting several owls.

I searched for another but misread the maker's mark as "Muana."

My mother has given me many owl shaped coffee mugs, and doesn't remember giving any specific mug, let alone where she bought it.

The maker's mark actually reads "Mara." Mara makes a whole line of animal-themed ceramic mugs.

Now I have a set of 4. I mismatched owls as I like the other styles too. All owls tho. Don't mess with other animals.

One (1) MARA STONEWARE COLLECTION - 12 Oz Coffee Cup Collectible Square Bottom Dinner Mugs - Night Owl via Amazon Read the rest

Angela Lansbury: Sexual harassment and rape are a woman's fault when she's too attractive

Apparently sexual harassment is a woman's fault when she goes out of her way to make herself attractive, according to actress Angela Lansbury.

In an interview with Radio Times, the 92-year-old actress said women need to take at least some of the blame for sexual harassment and rape.

“There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us - and this is where we are today," she said.

“We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.”

According to Uproxx:

Lansbury went on to say she never suffered any kind of harassment while working as a young actress at MGM Studios in the 1940s. What’s more, she added that individual women were not to blame, necessarily. “Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be. There’s no excuse for that,” she said, “and I think it will stop now — it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point.” Even so, her blanket statements about some of the fault belonging to women as a group have not sat well with those who have read them.

Yes, Lansbury, who brags about never herself having been sexually harassed, is from another generation, and will hopefully evolve after the onslaught of reactions she's getting from the Twitterverse. Read the rest

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