The best guide to mechanical keyboard switches

Like me, you may have taken an interest in mechanical keyboards only to uncover a world of baffling options. "Can I have a clicky one, please" is like asking for a drink in a pub: they'll stare at you for a moment then say "which one, mate?" Brandon West reminded me that Input.Club is the best guide to all the options available, so when someone asks you if you want your Cherry Yellow or a nice Lubed Zealio, you'll know to slap them hard across the chops and say, "How dare you. 55g Topre Realforce Linears or nothing." Read the rest

Biopic of "little old lady" folk artist a hit in theaters

Canadian artist Maud Lewis lived in a tiny house covered in her paintings, which she sold door to door in Nova Scotia. A biopic of her life, Maudie, is a surprise hit in theaters, reports the BBC.

The film's success has also been spurred by a rather serendipitous find: an unknown Maud Lewis painting found in a thrift shop is being auctioned off for charity, with bids topping C$125,000 ($91,500, £70,685). The work was authenticated by Mr Deacon, a retired school teacher who is now somewhat of a Maud Lewis sleuth. ...

Typically characterised as a "folk artist", Lewis was self-taught and lived her whole life in poverty. Unable to afford things like canvas, she'd paint on anything from scraps of wood and plywood to thick card stock. Her subjects were the things she saw in her everyday life - fishermen, wildlife, flowers and trees. "Maud was not a person who travelled to other galleries or saw other art, so there's a kind of naivete to it," Noble told the BBC.

Here's the trailer:

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Path of the Rabbit, a free game where you lead a rabbit to water

Path of the Rabbit is another simple, addictive, beautifully-pixelled game from Daniel Linssen. Lay down the land for your lapine friend to leap across: it'll follow whatever line leads from the spot it stands.

The trick is to arrange tiles to allow multiple leaps and to avoid the edge, from which the rabbit can't come back from, while keeping it regularly watered and occasionally beating up foxes to level up. It's surprisingly tough going, but I kept going back! Read the rest

5 things you know about pulp science fiction are wrong, or at least not always true

Vintage Geek offers a list of miscconceptions people have about pulp-era science fiction, whose legacy has warped in the public imagination moreso even than Captain James T. Kirk's. [via MeFi]

“Pulp-Era Science Fiction was about optimistic futures.” “Pulp scifi often featured muscular, large-chinned, womanizing main characters.” “Pulp Era Scifi were mainly action/adventure stories with good vs. evil.” “Racism was endemic to the pulps.” “Pulp scifi writers in the early days were indifferent to scientific reality and played fast and loose with science.”

All these things are true, of course, but what better time to search for counterexamples than now?

To be fair, science fiction was not a monolith on this. One of the earliest division in science fiction was between the Astounding Science Fiction writers based in New York, who often had engineering and scientific backgrounds and had left-wing (in some cases, literally Communist) politics, and the Amazing Stories writers based in the Midwest, who were usually self taught, and had right-wing, heartland politics. Because the Midwestern writers in Amazing Stories were often self-taught, they had a huge authority problem with science and played as fast and loose as you could get. While this is true, it’s worth noting science fiction fandom absolutely turned on Amazing Stories for this, especially when the writers started dabbling with spiritualism and other weirdness like the Shaver Mystery. And to this day, it’s impossible to find many Amazing Stories tales published elsewhere.
Read the rest

Building demolished in Changzhou

Once the tallest building in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China, this tower went down in eight seconds on April 25.

This angle gives an excellent impression of the local government's appreciation of modern public safety standards:

https://twitter.com/globaltimesnews/status/857172436353138688/ Read the rest

Review: Wolfen (1981)

Wolfen stars Albert Finney as Dewey, a grizzled NYC detective assigned to figure out why a rich developer gentrifying the Bronx got mutilated and spread over an acre of Battery Park. Set at the turn of the 1980s, it was the first movie with a clear vision of what should be done with Donald Trump. Read the rest

An illustration of the the danger of saying "Play this at my funeral"

TheScreamingFedora sharpened a joke more tamely made here.

Previously: Biggie Smalls the Tank Engine Read the rest

Baptizing praying mantises forces the devil out

In this video, a man partially immerses a praying mantis in water, thereby forcing the hairworms possessing it to leave. That the mantis also dies, according to one commenter, is not because the videomaker left it in the water to drown alongside the infestors. [via]

The worm digested the insides of the Praying Mantis. While inside, it keeps the nervous system from collapsing, but upon existing the Mantis immediately dies. So the Mantis isn't dead yet at the start of this video, its close to being a zombie, so not really alive either.
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The best Snooker break of all time was even faster than its official time

The greatest break in snooker history is Ronnie O'Sullivan's legendary 147 at the 1997 World Championship. He not only sank every ball with unmatched grace and force, but did so in a record-breaking 5:20s, some two minutes faster than the previous record. But Deadspin's Ben Tippett proves it was executed even faster than the books show.

The famous 147 break had everything: The white ball obeyed O’Sullivan’s every command, every shot looked easy because he made it so through his honeyed cueing and Juno-level precision positional play, the break was fast—the fastest maximum break ever, by a long way—and yet he looked like he had oodles of time. O’Sullivan said at the time that he knew a maximum was on after the second red, and the result never looked in doubt. O’Sullivan moved around the table with grace and ridiculous ease, like a concert pianist preparing breakfast in his kitchen.

The 5:20 time was human error, based on the BBC's primitive chess-clock technology from the time. The Guinness Book of Records' bizarre retcon to make it work -- the next player's break starts when the previous player's white ball last touches a cushion -- is so weak it requires an event that doesn't even happen on many shots.

So Tippett offers two options as to when a player's shot (and therefore any resulting break) starts, yielding two possible times of O'Sullivan's still-unbeaten break:

1. 5m 06s : When the player takes his shot. 2. 5m 15s : When the previous player's shot comes to rest. Read the rest

ZX Spectrum Next is an advanced version of the original 8-bit monster machine

ZX Spectrum Next is more than just a cute retro-looking box or a glorified emulator. It is a new 8-bit computer, backwards-compatible with the 1980s' original, yet enhanced to provide a wealth of advanced features such as better graphics, SD card storage, and manufacturing quality control. It's made with the permission of IP owner Amstrad and has already blown past its crowdfunding target.

It has a real goddamn Z80 in it, clocked to a blazing-fast 7Mhz! (And an optional 1Ghz co-processor for those times you want to strap your vintage snow sled to an intercontinental ballistic Raspberry Pi.)

We love the ZX Spectrum. Why wouldn’t we? It was much more than just a computer: it was a machine that sparked a gaming revolution, neatly housed within its iconic design powered by sheer simplicity. ... Meanwhile hardware hackers around the world have expanded the ZX Spectrum to support SD card storage, feature new and better video modes, pack more memory, faster processor... Problem is, these expansions can be difficult to get hold of, and without a standardised Spectrum, no one knows what to support or develop for. ...

The Spectrum Next is aimed at any Retrogamer out there and Speccy enthusiast who prefers their games, demos and apps running on hardware rather than software emulators, but wants a seamless and simple experience contained within an amazing design..

They even got the original industrial designer, Rick Dickinson, to do the new case--and they based it quite wisely on the second-gen Speccy rather than the iconic but infuriating-to-type-on rubber-keyed original. Read the rest

New edition of The Book of Miracles, the 16th century's premier guide to the apocalypse

The Book of Miracles (also known as the Augsburg Book of Miraculous Signs) is a compendium of beautiful 16th-century illustrations of cosmic anxiety and apocalyptic surrealism. The new edition from Taschen, edited by Till-Holger Borchert and Joshua P Waterman, is a perfect introduction to the Renaissance obsession with signs, portents and the damned weird. Read the rest

Simple interactive Periodic Table on the web

Periodic Stats is a dead-easy web-based Periodic Table to click around, showing all the stats and the history of each element. The only thing missing are illustrations of each one! [via Reddit] Read the rest

Synthesized singing voices

The Neural Parametric Singing Synthesizer is a voice synth with a difference: it soars! It's perfectly uncanny; any better and you'd not even suspect it might be a robot, any worse and it would just sound bad.

Previously: I feel fantastic. Read the rest

Artist specialized in paintings of Chase bank on fire

I love Alex Schaefer impasto works depicting branches of Chase bank going up in flames in daytime. They were from a series by him called "Disaster Capitalism," and apparently the banks (and cops) would pretend he was planning acts of arson to try and make him stop painting. [via mutantspace, via Janie]

On July 30, 2011, Alex Schaefer set up an easel across the road from a Chase bank and began painting the building in flames. However, before he had finished the police arrived, asked him for his information and if he was planning on actually carrying out an arson attack on the building. Ridiculous. Later they turned up on his doorstep asking about his artwork and looking for any signs that he was going to carry through an anarcho – terrorist plot based on his paintings. If this wasn’t bad enough a year later he was arrested for drawing the word ‘crime’ with a Chase logo in front of an LA bank.

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Beaver herds cattle

Rancher Adrienne Ivey noticed her 150 heifers were all bunched together, and headed over to find them being herded by a "furry little beaver."

“It wasn’t until we got to the very front of the herd, that we could see what all the commotion was about.”

Ivey said it was “really quite cute,” and “the most Canadian moment of all moments.” Ivey shot video of the curious cattle drive and posted it online, where viewers have been watching the cows trailing closely behind the buck-toothed creature, with their heads lowered. When the beaver stops, the cattle stop, too, only to proceed when the furry animal continues on.

The beaver was probably just trying to get from one bit of swamp to another, apparently, when the cows put it in charge. Read the rest

Animation of today's storms flaring on US radar loop

http://boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/04TlXflrFWK_42Zg.mp4 A time-lapse radar loop from Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch shows today's storms billowing like a fire dancing over gasoline. The image (and the storms) cover the U.S. from West Texas to Pennsylvania. [via] Read the rest

It would cost more than $10k for a pro sports photographer to switch camera brands

Sony's cameras seem to be in a league of their own. So why do professionals stick with bulkier models from Canon and Nikon? One answer is glass—often just as pricey as pro-grade bodies, and you need a lot of it to be in business. DPReview's Dan Bracaglia suggests that Sony's latest full-frame model, the $5,000 A9, is so fantastic that many pros are talking about jumping ship, but should be cautioned by the sheer expense of doing so.

Using our example, the cheapest one could go full-on Sony, with most of the same kit is $22,870. After applying the $11,820 discount from having sold off all the Canon equipment, a photojournalist would still have to cough up about $11,050 to make the switch. Or they could simply take that $11,820 and buy a couple of a9 bodies and maybe a lens.

"Switching systems is a headache," he adds, "and sports photography gear is crazy expensive." Read the rest

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