Late-stage journalism

Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand, When we with daisies lie, That commerce will continue, And trades as briskly fly. Read the rest

Second WH official resigns over domestic abuse, David Sorensen's ex-wife tells of violence

News of Trump White House speech writer David Sorensen's resignation hit late Friday as the WaPo prepared a story on his ex-wife's allegations of violent domestic abuse. The White House said they learned of the accusations from her on Thursday. Read the rest

This medieval manuscript archivist is working his dream job and it shows

Being able to chase down your passions and getting paid for it is the dream, right? In this video, archivist Dr. Christopher de Hamel looks to be doing exactly that.

With more letters after his name than most of us have in our name, Dr. de Hamel belongs to the Society of Antiquities of London, a member of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He's also a Fellow Librarian of the Parker Library – one of the finest collections of medieval manuscripts in the world. The library holds over 600 priceless titles, including the Latin Saint Augustine Gospels, which is believed to be the oldest bound text still in existence.

The honors and the texts de Hamel has access to are impressive, but not as impressive as his enthusiasm. Just look at how excited – manically happy – he is to talk about the subject of medieval manuscripts, in this video. It's the enthusiasm of a man in love with his life's work. It's a wonderful thing to see.

It makes me wonder if, in another 30 years, I'll have the same passion for writing as he does for his books. How many of us can claim to be in love with what they do for a living? It feels like such a rare, fine thing. Read the rest

Trump will not declassify Democratic memo for release

The memo wars continue. This Friday night news dump brought to you by President Trump. Read the rest

Friday earworm: In Hell I'll be in Good Company

Canadian troubadours, The Dead South has been around since 2012, working both sides of the border with their brand of award-winning bluegrass-flavored music. The whistling and banjo line of In Hell I'll be in Good Company has haunted my skull for close to a year now. I'm sick of suffering alone.

My pain is now yours. Read the rest

Dozens of White House officials & Trump appointees never got security clearance — like Jared Kushner, Rob Porter

Some 30 to 40 White House officials and Trump administration political appointees are operating more than a year into the Trump regime without full security clearances. One of them is Jared Kushner. Until recently, another was noted wife-basher Rob Porter. Read the rest

Leaked Equifax documents provided to US Senate reveal that they dumped all our drivers' licenses, too, but Equifax says it's OK, so...

A leaked set of disclosures made by Equifax to the US Senate have revealed that the breach of 145.5 million Americans' sensitive financial data was even worse than suspected to date: in addition to data like full legal names, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and home addresses, it appears that Equifax also breached drivers' license numbers and issue-dates. Read the rest

Report claims CHP colluded with Nazis who organized bloody rally of racists in Sacramento

Good news! At least one law enforcement agency is working with members of the community they're sworn to protect. Just one problem. The local folks these police worked with were Nazis. Read the rest

ParadiseOS far from it

ParadiseOS depicts an alternative computing world from the turn of the millenium: a desktop obscenely slathered in compulsory and broken services, ads and applications, an experience designed by dotcom era advertising boyars but hopelessly unrealistic before the wide availability of broadband internet and hardware video decoding. It's part Black Mirror, part vaporwave, part ironically brilliant web development by Stephen Kistner.

Paradise OS imagines an alternate version of 1999 where the personal computer is a gateway to a commercialized global network. Palm Industries, a former mall developer turned technology giant effectively controls all online experiences.

Acting as a time capsule, the desktop captures the moments of December 30, 1999 — just days before a catastrophic Y2K event leads to the computer emerging in our dimension. Participants explore this frozen moment from time, using the content to discover more about the world from which it came.

The project references the visual vernacular of the 20th century American shopping mall. It establishes a connection between the mall and the Internet as escapist experiences and hubs of social activity.

The desktop's content deals with Internet phenomena including fake news, instant gratification and information overload. By engaging with contemporary topics from the perspective of an alternate reality, the project encourages participants to think more critically about the state of our own digital spaces.

Read the rest

The original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #100 has a high bid of $190,000

This 1971 cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #100 includes portraits of over 25 of Spidey's greatest friends and foes. It was created by John Romita Sr. and Frank Giacoia and is on the auction block. Heritage Auctions believes it could end up selling for as much as $300,000.

From Heritage Auctions' release:

The Original Cover Art from The Amazing Spider-Man #100 – considered one of the most iconic covers of the 1970s – could sell for as much as $300,000 in Heritage Auctions’ winter Comics & Comic Art event Feb. 22-24. Brimming with fresh-to-market high-grade vintage books, the auction features rarely seen art, such as Frank Frazetta’s Tree of Life Original Painting (est. $300,000).

“Hot on the heels of a last year’s record sales, we are starting 2018 with milestones of comic history,” said Barry Sandoval, Director of Operations for Comics & Comic Art at Heritage. “There are wonders to be found for every collector across every price point.”

Artists John Romita Sr.’s and Frank Giacoia’s cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #100 masterfully portrays Spidey and dozens of famous canon characters and marks the first time the artwork has ever been offered at auction. Collaborating with the legendary Stan Lee, the two understood the anniversary issue’s cover needed to be a masterpiece. Historians and fans alike rank the cover among the most influential of all time.

“This cover was done during the peak period of John Romita, Sr.’s artwork, at a time when Spider-Man’s popularity was extremely high,” Heritage Auctions’ Senior Vice President for Fine & Decorative Arts Ed Jaster said.

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Double clitorises, spiked penises, and other reptilian reproductive parts

Reptiles have unusual reproductive equipment. For example, female snakes and lizards have two clitorises. Meanwhile, the male tuatara has no penis. "The male simply mounts the female and places the opening of his cloaca—-the cavity where the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts meet in reptiles—-over hers," writes Tina Deines in a National Geographic article. From Nat Geo:

The hemipenes(double penis) of lizards and snakes sport tiny spikes and hooks.

Scientists have a few ideas about why hemipenes exhibit this sort of ornamentation. According to one hypothesis, male and female genital form has adapted so that mating can occur only between a male and female of the same species. The genitals of males and females of the same species fit together, and the spikes and hooks could help the male keep his hemipenis in place during mating.

One study found that those spikes and hooks may also increase the duration of copulation, thereby increasing mating success.

“I would stress that the female genitalia need to be studied in order to fully understand the function of elaboration of the male genitalia,” says (University of Queensland zoologist Christopher) Friesen.

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Fox News executive VP complains that US Olympians are "Darker, Gayer, Different”

[Update 2/9/2018 2:03pm PT: A Fox News spokesperson who requested anonymity contacted Boing Boing to provide an "on the record statement" that the views and values of the Executive Vice President/Executive Editor for Fox News "do not reflect the views or values of FOX News."]

John Moody, Fox News' executive vice president, has a problem with the fact that Team USA has introduced a bit of diversity to its roster. The Washington Post reported that the 243 member team of Olympians has two openly gay men, “10 are African American — 4 percent — and another 10 are Asian American. The rest, by and large, are white.”

That's way too gay and black for vice president Moody. From his op-ed (which appears to have been taken down from the Fox News site without explanation, but here's the Archive.org snapshot):

Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to “Darker, Gayer, Different.” If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.

A USOC official was quoted this week expressing pride (what else?) about taking the most diverse U.S. squad ever to the Winter Olympics. That was followed by a, frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team. No sport that we are aware of awards points – or medals – for skin color or sexual orientation.

For the current USOC, a dream team should look more like the general population.

Read the rest

Supercut of every Best Visual Effects Oscar winning film

I'd say things peaked in 1968 with 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Read the rest

Professor tells student "Australia isn't a country" and gives her a failing grade

[UPDATE 2/9/2018 12:47pm PT: The professor has been fired.] Read the rest

Environments: a pioneering 1970s ambient soundscape series now in app form

In 1969, Irv Teibel(1938-2010) released a record that would have a profound impact on ambient and New Age music that's continues to this day. "Environments 1: Psychologically Ultimate Seashore" was the first in a catalog of albums that melded pop psychology with environmental sound recording to sooth the mind. Over the years, Treibel's company Syntonic Ressearch Inc. produced 11 albums with 22 soundscapes ranging from "Optimum Aviary" to "Wood-Masted Sailboat" to "Ultimate Heartbeat."

"The music of the future isn't music," Teibel said.

Now, audio archaeologist Douglas Mcgowan, curator of the sublime I Am The Center New Age compilation that I raved about here, Syntonic Research Inc, and the fine folks at Numero Group have brought the Environments catalog to iOS. Environments is now a fantastic $2.99 app with all 22 remastered long-form soundscapes in easily swipeable form. It's intuitive, beautifully minimalist, and a perfect evolution of the original work. Turn on, tune in, chill out.

Environments for iOS (iTunes)

For the whole Environments story, read: Natural Selection (Pitchfork)

Read the rest

Digg founder Kevin Rose talks about his favorite vegetable fermenter and cryptocurrency wallet

My guest on the Cool Tools podcast this week is Kevin Rose. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur and product builder, having founded the social news site Digg in 2004. Later Kevin pursued a career in venture investing, investing in companies like Medium, Ripple, and Blue Bottle Coffee while at Google Ventures and is now investing at True Ventures.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

Peloton Bike ($1,995)

“I had taken a couple stationary bike classes and the ones that you actually have to go in person, but then I had a buddy of mine, that was like you don’t understand, these classes are a lot of fun, they really motivate you, you can do it your house, and for me that just sounded like, okay, I’ll give it a shot, and I went and tried it at a friend’s house, and I got hooked, purchased one, and for a geek it's awesome because you get all the really detailed analytics on the screen there post workout, and then it's all live streaming classes, so like when you're in a class the instructors will call you out by name sometimes, and there's all different types of instructors depending on your music style and likes, so I've just found it to be a great way — if you have an extra half hour — to just jump on for 20 minutes and get a work out in." [Note: True Ventures, the venture capital firm Kevin Rose works for, is an investor in Peloton.]

Habitify: Habit Tracker

"I've been into habit tracking apps, but they always kind of fall off, but as a data junkie, and kind of a geek, I really like to see and be held to certain habits, so I like to see like completion rate, and progress indicators, and little charts and graphs. Read the rest

Learn to 3D print your own sneakers in just a few minutes

This modern cobbler shows us how to make a smart pair of sneakers using a Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer, some fabric, and a few other household tools and materials. Definitely worth a try! Read the rest

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