Deepfake Jon Snow apologizes for the last season of Game of Thrones

"When a Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you've fucked up." Read the rest

$5000 gadget for cheating at poker

In a 2016 article, Elie Bursztein collects and describes a gadget used to cheat at the card table.

In 2015, I stumbled upon a post in an underground forum, discussing how someone was ripped off at a poker table by a very advanced poker cheating device. From what I understood at that time, the post being in Chinese, the device was able to remotely read card markings to inform the cheater who will win the next hand.

Intrigued, I decided to follow the trail of this fabled device to see if people were indeed cheating at poker using devices that would fit naturally into a James Bond movie.

Without spoiling too much of the rest of this post, let’s just say that the high-end cheating device that I was able to get my hands on far exceeded my expectations and it really is an outstanding piece of technology.

I've watched the video demo of one of the gadgets (embedded above) and didn't figure the trick out. I won't spoil it for you, but for saying it's a $5000 fully functional Android smartphone with extra hardware: "Note that taking a screenshot of the cheating app turned out to be more difficult than expected because the ROM is hardened against analysis"

Previously: HOWTO cheat your friends at poker Read the rest

New Dropbox uses half a gig of RAM and "sucks"

Dropbox syncs files between computers, but who wants that? The New Dropbox, announced this week, has all sorts of wonderful features to organize your cloud content, package your designs, integrate with slack, and to eat half a gig of RAM just by running on your computer.

John Gruber writes that it sucks.

All I want from Dropbox is a folder that syncs perfectly across my devices and allows sharing with friends and colleagues. That’s it: a folder that syncs with sharing. And that’s what Dropbox was.

Now it’s a monstrosity that embeds its own incredibly resource-heavy web browser engine. In a sense Steve Jobs was right — the old Dropbox was a feature not a product. But it was a feature well-worth paying for, and which made millions of people very happy.

At Hacker News, former Dropbox employee Taylor Schwimmer puts it bluntly:

Many people only use Dropbox as a backup and file share product. That's great. However, it's a terrible business, especially for Dropbox

It's always interesting to go from using a simple, single-purpose tool to being locked inside a toolshed full of rickety contraptions. You wonder what happened, then notice all the enterprise customers manacled to the walls. Read the rest

Fecal transplant blamed in death

Fecal transplants are the hottest thing in emergent medicine, restoring balance to guts nuked by antibiotics and resistant infections, but there are risks. DIY is not the way to go...

Two patients contracted severe infections, and one of them died, from fecal transplants that contained drug-resistant bacteria, the Food and Drug Administration reported on Thursday. As a result, the agency is halting a number of clinical trials until the researchers conducting them can demonstrate that they have procedures in place to screen donated stool for dangerous organisms, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the agency’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. In an interview, he did not specify how many trials would be suspended, but said it was “not just a few.”

Read the rest

Close call for tortoise

Keep your eyes on the road ahead! You never know when an old guy might leap out in front of your vehicle. Read the rest

Boris Johnson tops first vote in UK Conservative Party election; winner will be prime minister too

With Theresa May stepping down as Conservative Party leader, her position—and with it the job of Prime Minister—will go to one of many candidates standing to replace her. In the first round of voting today, presumptive favorite Boris Johnson won the most votes and three others were knocked out. Seven proceed to the second vote next week.

Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - have been knocked out, in the secret ballot held in the House of Commons. Mr Johnson received 114 votes, Jeremy Hunt was second with 43, and Michael Gove third with 37 votes.

The BBC graphic above shows how things shook out. Gove was badly hurt by last week's media exposé on the candidates' youthful drug habits due to the extent of his hypocrisy: as education secretary, he imposed a lifetime ban for teachers caught using drugs. Leadsom underperformed compared to opinion polling of party rank and file; she may have popularity issues among her peers in Parliament. Boris is not as inevitable as the first round suggests, as he received only 36% of the total, another candidate might surge as others drop out, and his propensity for gaffes and bigoted remarks offers latitude for a "June surprise". But he is surely the runaway favorite to lead his party—and Britain—into Brexit. Read the rest

"Cursed" YouTube Video

This video shows a lowpoly 3D Scooby Doo animation found in SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom, an XBox video game, where it served as an advertisement for the game Scooby Doo Night of 100 Frights. People who play the video report that the sound is badly messed up, giving it an unsettling, disorienting vibe. The timeline bar claims it is 3:48 long, but the bar fills and ends in 1:07. The video then displays a loading spinner for another minute, then ... depending on the configution of your box ... the rest of the music will begin to play. The rest of the video footage is, presumably, forbidden.

While one might assume it is obviously just a corrupted video/audio stream whose metadata the YouTube player is misinterpreting, it says right in the comments that it is cursed. I'd assume that it's a very bad idea to FFprobe if you like living in this dimension.

Scooby Scooby do, zalgo you. Read the rest

Chernobyl documentary footage vs. scenes from the show

HBO's Chernobyl was widely praised for its realistic depiction of the disaster and of the late Soviet Union itself: so meticulous that its mistakes and simplifications stood out in uncanny relief to those who were there.

In this video, Thomas Flight compares footage from the show with the documentary footage it was based upon.

I'm curious about why the text on the scene below, derived from Soviet TV broadcast announcing the disaster, differs from the original. Did HBO use a different source, or did they change it themselves some reason? НОВОСТИ (Novosti) means "NEWS" and was then (and now) the name of the official news agency, while ВРЕМЯ (Vremya) means "TIME" and is apparently the name of the evening news show.

Read the rest

Enjoy this video featuring an enormous, nuclear-powered icebreaker

The Soviets built a bunch of nuclear icebreakers: overbearing, overpowered, faintly absurd, and completely awesome.

This video was shot in the Arctic Ocean in March 2018. For 7 days the film crew passed through the Barents Sea to Karsky around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the nuclear icebreaker Yamal - we saw the northern lights and polar bears, watched the ships stuck in the ice being towed and were very cold.

Directed by Andrew Efimov. Andrey Rodin piloted the drones. Ivan Golubkov and Yaroslav Kuryanovish worked the footage. Read the rest

Two years after the Grenfell fire, survivors project warnings on similar tower blocks

Survivors of London's Grenfell fire, where 72 perished in a tower block with no sprinklers but lots of flammable cladding, are projecting messages on similarly-unsafe buildings in the UK.

The BBC reports that one of the towers, Frinstead House, is a "stone's throw" from Grenfell and still has no fire sprinklers.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, which took over management of the high-rise in March last year, said its staff had met residents to talk about sprinklers and other fire safety measures.

It said there was a fire safety programme under way across its borough and it was "seeking clear guidance and recommendations from central government on fire safety systems".

The inferno highlighted Britain's shoddy safety standards and the dangers of cladding, often installed on older towers to make them appear more modern. In response, the government banned combustible cladding and mandated sprinklers, but only in new construction: "Building owners are ultimately responsible for the safety of the building and it is for them to decide whether to retro-fit sprinklers."

Read the rest

Swidl: robot picks up gooey spills without losing their shapes

Swidl is a robot that can quickly slide its thin flat tongue underneath gooey spills without disrupting their shapes. I can't begin to imagine a purpose for it other than forensic-grade vomit archiving (the given example is ... meat towels?) but it's amazing to watch in action. Thluuuuuuuup! Read the rest

Is two enough when photoshopping women into an all-male "tech titans" group shot?

Jeff Bezos and a "dozen tech titans" enjoyed a mini-conference in a medieval Italian hamlet, reports GQ magazine. Leading the story was a group shot of the gang, which includes only two women: Ruzwana Bashir and Lynn Jurich. Problem is, Bashir and Jurich are photoshopped into the photo, as demonstrated when BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac noticed their odd poses and @benjymous found the untamperered original on LinkedIn.

I got some questions about this story on "tech titans" in Italy, and uhhh I think this photo is photoshopped? ... Look at the woman, supposedly SunRun CEO Lynn Jurich, in the background. Some weird stuff is going on with her leg, which isn't aligned with the rest of her body.

Is two women enough to photoshop into the techie trip to Umbria? They should have photoshopped in at least four. Read the rest

Cow Army occupies Stockport

Residents of Stockport, England, were "awoken by mooing" recently after a herd of cows invaded the neighborhood: "It's just done a poo." Read the rest

Man admits stealing $12,000 worth of corned beef

A Guam man plead guilty to stealing $12,000 worth of corned beef and mackerel from a supermarket there, reports the Pacific Daily News. Edwin Guiao Ocampo paid a $500 fine and "must also stay away from the store owner." A co-defendent, Iacinto Namio, will pay a $100 fine. Read the rest

After hack and attempted shakedown, Radiohead posts hours of demos

Some 15 hours of Thom Yorke's demo recordings, dating back to the OK Computer era, were accessed and downloaded by a hacker who then attempted to extort $150,000. Rather than pay up or lose control of the media, Radiohead released it all online instead. Bandmate Jonny Greenwood wrote that the sessions were "only tangentially interesting" and would be offered for the next 18 days, with an optional $18 price tag that would be passed onto Extinction Rebellion, a climate change protest group.

MINIDISCS [HACKED] by Radiohead Read the rest

Two speeding cops crash into one another at intersection, killing 84-year-old woman in nearby car

The AP obtained footage from a security camera showing two speeding Chicago police vehicles, lightbars on, crashing into one another and then into a third car idling nearby. The driver of that vehicle, an 84-year-old retired teacher, was killed in the collision. The footage was released by her family, which is suing over her wrongful death.

The suit claims the officers driving the SUV and the marked van were traveling at “unconscionably high speeds through the densely populated Austin neighborhood.” It contends the risk from speeding outweighed the dangers of the suspect whom the officers were pursuing. Police said the cars were on their way to an emergency call for assistance, known as a 10-1, on the West Side when the crash happened. Chicago police initially said the civilians as well as the 10 police officers hurt in the crash all suffered “non-life threatening injuries.”

This isn't even the only story today about reckless Chicago cops killing bystanders with their cars: Chicago cop charged with DUI, reckless homicide in fatal crash while off duty.

An off-duty Chicago police officer has been charged with reckless homicide and DUI after he crashed his car into the side of a South Side restaurant, killing a registered nurse sitting with friends at a table, authorities said. Terrance Finley, 24, faces one felony count of reckless homicide with a motor vehicle and one count of aggravated driving under the influence resulting in a deadly accident, according to a statement Tuesday from Chicago police. Finley was also charged with a misdemeanor count of DUI and was cited for failing to reduce speed, police said.

Read the rest

How a gaffer lights a set

In this fascinating video from Vanity Fair, master gaffer Andy Day takes us behind the scenes -- literally -- to show how sets are lit for the screen. Read the rest

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