Help your future self by imagining an invitation to a far-off event is tomorrow

I write a weekly newsletter with Claudia Dawson and Kevin Kelly, called Recomendo. In each issue we briefly recommend 6 things. Here's a great tip in the Jan 26, 2020 issue, which Kevin shared with me a few years back and has proven to be very useful in helping me make decisions about whether or not to accept invitations to events weeks or months away:

Immediacy filter One of the most useful bits of advice I ever got, came from the writer Anne Herbert who said that whenever she got an invitation to do something months away or even a week away, she asked herself whether she would accept the gig/meeting/task if it was tomorrow. The answer was often no. I use that immediacy trick all the time, and it has served me very well. — KK

By the way, Claudia, Kevin, and I recently published a book of the best of Recomendo, with 500 brief reviews of cool stuff.

 

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RIP Sy Sperling, founder of Hair Club for Men

"I'm not only the Hair Club president but I'm also a client." If those words ring a bell, then join me in celebrating a man brought much happiness to others. I'm talking about Sy Sperling, founder of Hair Club for Men, who rose to fame when he starred in his own television commercials. In addition to founding a successful hair restoration company in 1976, Sperling went on to become an active philanthropist.

From NBC News:

Sperling's family said he was "most proud of his charitable contribution in the form of Hair Club for Kids, in which Hair Club for Men provided hair free of charge to children under 18 who lost their hair from chemotherapy."

He acted as the honorary chairman for City Relief, which provides "Meals on Wheels" for the homeless. He also fought for animal rights and lived a "devout" vegan lifestyle, his family said.

"Colleagues, friends, and family recall Mr. Sperling as a visionary with an immense passion for business, innovation and helping others," said a statement from Hair Club. "We continue to live by his words 'Live life to the fullest, take chances and risks, and believe in yourself.'"

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Nintendo just released a 27-minute video of the soon-to-be released Animal Crossing for Switch

Learn about "Nook Inc.’s Deserted Island Getaway Package" in Animal Crossing: New Horizons  for Nintendo Switch, which is coming out on March 20, 2020.

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"The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome," say experts

Twenty-five experts have issued a warning about the potentially cataclysmic consequences of the rapidly shrinking insect population, reports The Guardian.

In a two-part article for Biological Conservation, the scientists wrote: “The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome. Yet, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg.We know enough to act immediately. Solutions are now available – we must act upon them.”

From The Guardian:

The researchers said solutions were available and must be implemented immediately. These range from bigger nature reserves and a crackdown on harmful pesticides to individual action such as not mowing the lawn and leaving dead wood in gardens. They also said invertebrates must no longer be neglected by conservation efforts, which tend to focus on mammals and birds.

Photo by Neenu Vimalkumar on Unsplash Read the rest

Dating site OKCupid lets you filter out climate change deniers

OKCupid recently announced it's letting its users avoid dating people who are in denial about the science of climate change.

From Gizmodo:

On some level, it makes sense that people feel a sense of connection over shared interests. But it’s telling that climate change is becoming one of those things in addition to the standard walks on the beach and all that.

“In my experience, people are finding that it’s really difficult to have an intimate relationship unless there’s a really deep alignment on how we’re relating to the issue,” Renee Lertzman, a psychologist who specializes in the melancholic psychological responses to environmental crises, told Earther. “That doesn’t mean you have to feel exactly the same way or engage on exactly the same level, but what really matters is that how you feel about it is actually okay with your partner.”

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Changing a 35 MPH traffic sign to 85 MPH with a piece of tape causes Tesla to drive 85 MPH

Researchers at McAfee adding a small piece of tape to the "3" on a 35 MPH traffic sign, to make it look a little like an "8." Then they put two older model Teslas in autonomous mode, and both accelerated to the new speed limit.

Don't try this in a school zone, kids.

From Business Insider:

Tesla's newer models use proprietary cameras, and MobilEye EyeQ3 has released newer versions of its cameras that McAfee tested and said were not fooled by the modified sign.

The McAfee researcher Povolny told MIT Tech Review that the findings were still concerning, though, as plenty of 2016 Teslas are still on the roads. "We are not trying to spread fear and say that if you drive this car, it will accelerate into through a barrier, or to sensationalize it," he said. "The reason we are doing this research is we're really trying to raise awareness for both consumers and vendors of the types of flaws that are possible."

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A good solar powered LED illuminated street address sign

I bought this solar powered LED illuminated street address sign earlier this month and am really happy with it. The light is is bright and makes it easy for people to find our house. It comes with several sheets of adhesive numbers that you stick onto a white plastic panel. It also comes with mounting screws, but I attached it to the side of a metal mailbox so I used outdoor mounting tape instead. My address has five numbers and I had no problem fitting them on the panel, using the included cardboard placement template.

I paid full price for it, but the seller has a code 5UZYEDUV to let you buy it at a good discount. Read the rest

This electronic ultrasonic bug and rat repellent device has a circuit to light LEDs, but nothing else

This "ultrasonic" pest repellent just has circuit to control LEDs inside from r/assholedesign

This Adtala ultrasonic bug and rat repellent device is advertised as having an "Upgraded Smart Chip." Reddit user SoggyMonsoon opened the case and found a circuit with 2 LEDS, 2 diodes, and three resistors, but no Upgraded Smart Chip. Does it even emit an ultrasonic tone? A commenter said: "this circuit WOULD emit ultrasonic sound. It looks like it would oscillate between the lights. Of course it would be extremely quiet since there is no amplification circuit here to the point that I highly doubt any living thing would be affected by it, but this circuit would in fact make 2 different pitches based on the light that was currently on / diodes in use. All electric circuits have a frequency. So along those lines any electronic device would be about as effective as this thing."

Below, a video of a test with a Bell and Howell Ultrasonic Rodent Repeller. It didn't work. In fact, rats seem to be attracted to it:

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Armored vehicle almost flattens a bunch of people

News 24 reports that "No SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members were injured after a Rooikat light armoured vehicle hit a fence during a practice run ahead of the annual Armed Forces Day commemorations in Polokwane on Monday."

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Trump offered Assange pardon in exchange for covering up Russian DNC hack, says lawyer

Julian Assange's lawyer told a London court that Trump offered to pardon the WikiLeaks founder if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in the Democratic National Committee email hack, reports The Daily Beast.

Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, said Wednesday that a message had been passed on to Assange by former Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Fitzgerald said a statement produced by Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, showed “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange... said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”

Image by Espen Moe - originally posted to Flickr as IMG_4739, CC BY 2.0, Link Read the rest

Neural network turns 24 fps videos into smooth, clear 60 fps

The latest episode of Two Minute Papers discusses a new video enhancement method called "Depth-Aware Video Frame Interpolation" to increase the frame rate of choppy videos. The breakthrough here is the way this neural network smoothly handles objects that appear from behind other objects.

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Video of a cool old Tokyo neighborhood slated for redevelopment

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Nippon Wandering TV, in which a guy walks and bikes around Japanese streets with a GoPro camera. In his latest video he bikes around Keisei Tateishi station in northeast Tokyo. and takes a look at an old neighborhood that is going to be plowed to make way for redevelopment. "Tokyo plans to redevelop this neighborhood and the retro street, old hidden bar izakaya will be all gone in the near future," he writes. "I miss these old alleys, but it can’t be avoided."

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This sleazy Amazon marketplace seller offers $10 gift cards for 5-star reviews

The LockPickingLawyer, who runs a YouTube Channel about recreational lockpicking, bought a Mofut Key Lock Box. Inside the box was a card offering $10 in the form of a gift card or cash via PayPal, in exchange for a 5-star review, which is a clear violation of Amazon's terms of service for sellers. The card even says, "Please DO NOT talk or post images about this rebate activity in your review content, otherwise it is invalid."

"To be clear," writes the LockPickingLawyer, "I’m not suggesting that Amazon is complicit in this review-buying nonsense. To the contrary, it seems to violate Amazon’s rules. As best as I can tell, this is the product of an unethical third-party seller."

Also, he shows how easy it is to defeat this lockbox with a thin metal shim. It looks like junk. Read the rest

Robert Anton Wilson's daughter Christina on the new edition of her father's book, Ishtar Rising

As you might know, Robert Anton Wilson (1932 - 2007) is one of Boing Boing's patron saints. Raw's humor, skepticism, optimism, and ability to reveal the deep weirdness underlying almost everything were deeply influential to Carla and me when we launched bOING bOING as a zine in 1987. In fact, we kind of started the zine as an excuse to interview RAW at his house in Santa Monica that year. I'm very grateful I was able to get to know RAW, and honored that he wrote a regular column for bOING bOING. I'm also grateful to have become a friend of Bob's daughter, Christina, a delightful person who is active in keeping her father's books in print. Here's an essay Christina wrote about a new edition of Ishtar Rising, a book originally published by Playboy Press called The Book of the Breast. — Mark

A while back, we knew that Hilaritas Press would soon be working on releasing a new edition of Robert Anton Wilson's Ishtar Rising, prepping it for publication by removing tons of typos (thanks to Gregory Arnott, Chas Faris, Rasa, and a few select others), and inserting a timely new foreword by Grant Morrison. We were excited to be manifesting what we had intended; to publish and make available as many of RAW's books as we could. I had originally read the book in its The Book of the Breast form in my early twenties, having just returned from India (yep, went to gain enlightenment, but instead gained disillusionment — which has served me well!) Read the rest

Understanding the neuroscience of pleasure

Nan Wise, Ph.D., is AASECT certified sex therapist, neuroscientist, certified relationship expert, and author. Follow her @AskDoctorNan. The following is adapted from her new book, Why Good Sex Matters: Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life. -- Mark

Our society has had a long, challenging relationship with pleasure. A recent study indicates that American adults are having sex less often than before, with an especially steep decline since the year 2000. This decline is significant even when you control for factors such as age, gender, and marital status. And to top it off, in spite of the media’s portrayal of young people as freewheeling, casual sex-seeking, hookup artists, those born in the 1980s and 1990s are now the adults who are having less sex.

There is a clear paradox when it comes to our sexuality — a vexing approach/avoidance that I have come to characterize as a “lewd-prude” phenomenon. As much as we are reinforcing the need for mindful “sexual conduct,” scores of people are coming forth to report sexual harassment and sexual abuse that has long been in the shadows. Sex has become for many a place of pain rather than pleasure. Unfortunately, as movements like #MeToo have uncovered, there is quite a long-standing disconnect between the code of behavior we preach and its effectiveness in our society, creating a kind of shadow culture where people act out negatively and harmfully around sex. And even those who have not had a traumatic sexual experience are impacted by this social component that reinforces a disconnect from pleasure. Read the rest

Instead of plastic bottles, here's drinking water in an edible blob

Notpla is an edible material made from seaweed and plants that can encapsulate drinking water other edible materials, eliminating the need for plastic packaging.

From Fast Company:

The designers used a technique from molecular gastronomy to create the package—if you dip a sphere of ice in a mixture of calcium chloride and brown algae extract, an edible membrane forms around the ice, holding everything in place as the ice melts back to room temperature. A small version of the package is designed to break open inside your mouth. “It’s a bit like a cherry tomato,” says Paslier. “You put it in your cheek and bite on it. It explodes, so it’s quite a surprising experience.” The startup partnered with the Scottish whisky brand Glenlivet last year to make a “glassless cocktail” capsule that customers can imbibe along with whisky. The seaweed coating, which is tasteless, can either be eaten or composted.

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If you like jigsaw puzzles and Baby Yoda - this is for you

What better way to use up the "brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness" you won in the cosmic lottery than by frittering it away on assembling a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of Baby Yoda, better known to Star Track purists as "The Child?" Read the rest

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