Fire TV stick with Alexa voice remote: $20

I've had a Roku, Apple TV, and the Fire TV Stick. I no longer use the Roku or Apple TV because the Fire TV Stick, in my experience is less buggy and easier to use than the other streaming devices. Also, I'm an Amazon Prime member, so I can watch a bunch of shows and movies that are included in the membership. Right now its on sale for just $20. Read the rest

GOP senator says Trump is awesome because he tells bigger lies than Putin

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, is no different from other members of Trump's base. They admire him for his ability to stare into people's eyes and tell them "big whoppers." There is no such thing as an inconvenient truth for a Trumpkin, because they prefer falsehoods over facts.

From Slate:

When it comes to what Trump was thinking, however, the right, like everyone, was largely at a loss for words. Until Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) plunged into that abyss of logic and offered up the most incoherent, but revealing explanation for Trump’s conduct during the press conference Monday. Sen. Rounds, who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, offered up this explanation to Erica Werner of the Washington Post for why Trump refused to acknowledge Russian election interference of any kind:

"Everything I’ve seen and all the facts are very clear: Russia did meddle in our election. That was very clear. So I think what actually happened, I think Mr. Putin just got out-Trumped by Trump. If Mr. Putin thinks he can tell a whopper, he’s not gonna be outdone by this president. And so if Mr. Putin is going to look at him and try to straight-faced tell him that they didn’t meddle, our president can look right back at him and tell just as big a whopper back to Putin as Putin told him."

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Pounded in the butt by my own dark SEO: the weird, true story of #Cockygate

Back in May, indy romance author Faleena Hopkins embarked on a second career as a trademark troll, threatening to sue peers who use the word "cocky" in the titles of their romance novels, forcing people to take down books they'd written. Read the rest

Making hard candy on a restored Victorian machine

This video was far more interesting than I thought it was going to be. It's not only the story of the restoration of a cool barn find, a circa 1890 candy-making machine, but it details how Greg Cohen of Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida used it to make strawberry "drops" (hard candies). Cohen is a real candy-making nerd and he shares how he spent 70 to 80 hours restoring this antique machine for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Museum in Skagway, Alaska:

To this day there aren’t many good roads into it, if any. Imagine how hard it would have been to get this device up there to be used for candy? And how much money there must have been in the 1890s... to warrant someone bringing it up so that miners could have a little bit of happiness in their pocket, some nice candies to eat, I guess, when they mine? It was a good bit of luxury that they could take with them, that they didn’t have to worry about spoiling. Because they lived a really rough life as they mined up there.

And while it probably was worth bringing to Skagway for business reasons, it probably wasn’t worth bringing it back, so it got stashed in a barn and it’s been sitting there for the last hundred and something years, slowly rusting away forgotten.

And now I’ve been given an opportunity to give it a little bit of new life making candy again.

(The Kid Should See This, The Awesomer) Read the rest

Watch this gnarly tree burl get turned into a gorgeous dragon's egg

Andy Phillip found a tree burl out in the world, then decided to turn it on a lathe and make it into a sapphire dragon's egg. Read the rest

Nathan Fillion plays Nathan Drake in this awesome Uncharted fan film

The odds of seeing Nathan Fillion rock the role of Green Lantern in a live action movie are pretty slim at this point. The same goes for him gracing the silver screen as Uncharted's Nathan Drake. But the high quality of this fan flick ALMOST makes up for that. Behold: Nathan Fillion as Naughty Dog's Nathan Drake. For a fan film, the product quality (and the amount of money that would have to have been spent to pull it all together) is pretty damn high.

Give it a watch: there are far worse ways to waste 15 minutes of your day. Additionally, if you're so inclined, Kotaku has a great story on how the film came to be. Read the rest

What would eBay have been like in 1988?

I love Squirrel Monkey's imaginings of what famous online companies would be like if they had existed in the 1980s and 1990s. Here's their take on eBay. Read the rest

Podcast: Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags

Here's my reading (MP3) of Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags, a Locus Magazine column about the corruption implicit in surveillance capitalism, which creates giant risks to users by collecting sensitive information about them in order to eke out tiny gains in the efficacy of targeted advertising. The commercial surveillance industry may not be very good at selling us fridges, but they're very good at locating racists and thugs and getting them to support violent political movements.

MP3 Read the rest

More than a million Europeans spoke out to stop internet-destroying censorship rules, but the fight's not over

Ten days ago, the European Parliament dealt a major blow to a radical proposal that would force online services to deploy copyright bots to examine everything posted by users and block anything that might be a copyright infringement; the proposal would also ban linking to news articles without paid permission from the news sites. Read the rest

Portuguese translation of Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags

Brent Longborough did me the enormous favor of translating my latest Locus column, Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags, into Portuguese, and sent it to me to publish.

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Can't a naked man paddle his kayak during a typhoon in peace?

That'd be a no. Read the rest

The tiny fern that could take a big bite out of greenhouse gases

The little pink-edged ferns above are Azolla filiculoides, and they're smaller than a fingernail. Scientists just made it the first fern to get its genome sequenced because of its potential for fertilizing and even cooling the planet. Fifty million years ago, it was so abundant as ocean blooms that it helped cool the earth's atmosphere. Via Quartz:

This great Azolla boom was so successful that it lasted for 800,000 years, and is now known to paleobotanists as the “Azolla event.” Green plants suck up carbon dioxide; Azolla is particularly good at doing so. Over that period, researchers believe it sequestered about 10 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere, or well over 200 times the total amount of carbon dioxide humans currently release into the atmosphere every year.

During the Azolla boom, global temperatures plummeted, suggesting the diminutive fern “played a key role in transitioning Earth from a hot house to the cool place it is today,” Fay-Wei Li, a plant evolutionary biologist at Cornell University, said in a press release. As Yale’s E360 pointed out, scientists have wondered for years if Azolla could be harnessed to cool the planet again.

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#Azollafiliculoides#misquitofern#tinyplants#fern#aquatic

A post shared by Dejanique (@dejaniqueelectropop) on Jul 11, 2015 at 12:21am PDT

This teeny tiny fern may hold a key to lowering global temperatures (Quartz) Read the rest

The MEP behind Europe's proposed copyright censorship proposal can't explain all the copyrighted images in his social media

Axel Voss is the German MEP responsible for Article 13 of the pending EU Copyright Directive, which says that it's not good enough for companies to remove infringing material posted by users once they're notified of its existence; instead, Voss wants then to spend hundreds of millions of dollars implementing automated filters that prevent anyone from posting copyrighted material in the first place (even if they have the right to do so under fair dealing, and even if that means that a lot of legitimate material gets accidentally blocked). Read the rest

"Carlton, Your Doorman" - Emmy-winning 1980 animated TV pilot

Zach Smith writes, "Lorenzo Music's Carlton the Doorman was one of TV's great unseen characters...but he finally got a face in this special, intended as a series pilot. And he...kind of looked like a hippie. The intended series would have been one of the first adult-oriented prime-time cartoons, but while it didn't make it past the pilot, it did win an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program...and Lorenzo Music would have better luck in animation a few years later when he started voicing Garfield the Cat. The special, which was never rebroadcast after its initial airing, is also available on the RHODA: SEASON FIVE DVD set from SHOUT! Factory, and the YouTube channel this is on has a treasure trove of unaired series, alternate first episodes, concept presentations and more." Read the rest

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez moots a "progressive caucus" of bloc-voting Democratic congresspeople

Democratic Socialist heroine Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (previously) is heading to Congress this fall, and though she's promised not to blow up the Democratic party when she gets there, she's not going to let the pro-finance establishment roll over her. Read the rest

More Sacha Baron Cohen funnies: getting wingnuts to endorse "kinder-guardians" program to arm 3-year-olds

Sacha "Ali G/Borat" Baron Cohen has a new prank show called "Who Is America?" in the offing in which he punks political figures into endorsing bizarre, extreme political positions (think of it as a 21st century "Brass Eye"). Read the rest

McMansion meanings: why do America's jumbo-sized status homes have useless "formal spaces?"

As far back as 2012, UCLA researchers were publishing studies that showed that Americans basically never used their "formal spaces" -- dining rooms, "great rooms" and parlours -- instead, they spend most of their time in the kitchen and the "informal" den. Read the rest

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