• New Yorker writer fired after zoom dick incident

    Jeffrey Toobin, the New Yorker writer who exposed his penis to colleagues on a videoconference call, was today fired by the magazine. Toobin's name quickly became synonymous with online genital exposure after the incident was publicized, and he was suspended shortly after the incident. He announced the final outcome today on Twitter.

    "I was fired today by @NewYorker after 27 years as a Staff Writer," Toobin wrote. "I will always love the magazine, will miss my colleagues, and will look forward to reading their work."

    Toobin said that he thought he had muted the camera—"I believed I was not visible on Zoom"—in a public apology that did not quite explain the circumstances to anyone's satisfaction.

  • Chromatic typewriter

    Though "just" a sculpture, Tyree Callahan's Chromatic Typewriter (2011) so perfectly implies its functionality that I think someone should build a working one pronto. If you want to see it in person or buy a poster, you can contact Tyree online.

    The little Chromatic Typewriter, a conceptual art piece, is out in the world and the feedback has been great. Although it does not paint, I've decided I can at least re-type my artist statement with the thing, so long as I can limit it to a paragraph. It ought to be equally decipherable as any other artist statement I've read lately.

    [via Colossal]

  • Ping pong balls reportedly float on Xbox Series X's vent

    In a charming illustration of Bernoulli's principle, the air vent on the new XBox Series X game console is reportedly fast and direct to keep a ping pong ball afloat. u/SnowFlakesMilkHoney on Reddit posted a photo demonstrating this (detail excerpted above), though I haven't seen video that would actually prove it.

    If true, other uses for a new XBox will include dehumidifying basements, slow-cooking eggs and drying genital hair.

  • The big difference between the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

    Apple yesterday announced the first Macs to use its own system-on-a-chip, replacing Intel parts with silicon designed ground-up to purpose. Apple claims the ARM-based hardware is more powerful and far more power-efficient than Intel models, and the new laptops will soon be put through their paces. The spec sheets suggest the odd and intriguing possibility that the key difference between a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro/Mac Mini is that the latter have fans. Sean Hollister:

    Apple's new $999 and $1,299 laptops seem nearly identical if you look beyond the differently curved frames. They've got the same M1 processor, the same memory and storage options, the same ports, and very similar screens. I'm not joking when I say: the biggest difference is a fan. This fan, which is exclusive to the MacBook Pro.

    The fan, though a completely mundane part, would allow the same hardware to work much harder without slowing down.

  • Browser extension to show classic Google search results

    Google search now typically shows advertising for other Google things atop its search results—more than 40 percent of the home page, according to a recent investigation published by The Markup. So they built a browser extension, Simple Search, that removes all by the "traditional" search results.

    The extension places them in a box above the plethora of search engine products. You can tab through pages of results, submit new queries, and go back to the full results page easily. It is available for Firefox and Chrome browsers and works for both Google and Bing search engines.

    The extension lets you travel back to a time when online search operated a little differently.

    I gave it a spin on Firefox and it works perfectly, though I'm not sure about the modal-style popup window. Adblockers such as uBlock Origin also kill the Google ad cruft.

  • Scooby-Doo co-creator Ken Spears dead at 82

    Ken Spears, 82, died in Los Angeles on Friday. Spears was an animation legend and the co-creator of Scooby-Doo with longtime business partner Joe Ruby, who died just 10 weeks ago.

    "Warner Bros. Animation is saddened to learn of the passing of Ken Spears and we send our warmest thoughts to his loved ones.  He was a true innovator in the industry whose gifts of humor and storytelling continue to delight audiences," Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, said in a statement. Register added, "You cannot find a screen in the world that has not played a version of Scooby-Doo.  We continue to be inspired by his work at Warner Bros. Animation and are honored to carry on the legacy of his beloved characters."

  • Restoration of 37-year old IBM keyboard

    Restoring this IBM Model F keyboard, approaching its fourth decade of life, required more than a spudger and soap. In fact, Brennon required power-tools to do the job right, and much elbow grease besides.

    There was years worth of debris, coffee stains, and gunk that had to be removed. In addition, there were a few spots with corrosion on the board that needed to be addressed. … I borrowed a rotary tool to buff out the corrosion.

    A beautiful journey from beginning to end.

    Unicomp, the original manufacturer, still sells buckling-spring keyboards [Amazon], but they're goddamn ugly.

  • UK company "><SCRIPT SRC=HTTPS://MJT.XSS.HT> LTD" told to change its name

    A British company named "><SCRIPT SRC=HTTPS://MJT.XSS.HT> LTD" was ordered to change its name after regulators realized what was funny about it: it is a snippet of malicious HTML code that exploits poorly-designed software. Such as the software used by Companies House, the UK's register of corporations.

    The company now legally known as "THAT COMPANY WHOSE NAME USED TO CONTAIN HTML SCRIPT TAGS LTD" was set up by a British software engineer, who says he did it purely because he thought it would be "a fun playful name" for his consulting business.

    He now says he didn't realise that Companies House was actually vulnerable to the extremely simple technique he used, known as "cross-site scripting", which allows an attacker to run code from one website on another.

    A good example of the situation: attempting to paste the name of the company into WordPress's "blocks" post-editing form fails. By adding an escape character to the beginning, it pastes as "> LTD"</p>. To make it appear in this post correctly, I had to convert the name to a series of HTML entities and edit the HTML of the post directly. Here's how it looks otherwise:

    Magnificently good troll.

  • WebGL fluid simulation

    The WebGL Fluid Simulation is another of those distracting, charming websites where you generate wildly-colorful scenes on-screen by clicking and swishing your finger/pointer about. You can fiddle with settings such as density, vorticity and "splat radius", and turn off and enable various quality filters to get it running nice on your potato. There's an app for iOS, too.

  • Apple lifts threat to remove popular terminal app from App Store

    Apple was about to remove iSH, a popular terminal emulator app, from the App Store. iSH is a bland app for IT drain-cleaning, does nothing dangerous to users or threatening to Apple, and competes with nothing Apple offers. But it was found to contravene one of Apple's obscure and selectively-enforced rules, and so became another example of how much control the tech giant asserts over its walled garden—until a last-minute reprieve that happened only after the case went viral.

    Publishing on the app store reminds me of salespeople who must buy their own inventory, give up a significant portion of their profits, and can be ditched by the franchise at any moment. American popular culture's original gig-work death ride.

    Then there's the sheer volume of junk on the App Store—garbage apps that seem machine-generated, plagiarism, scams, sleaze—just to add insult to injury.

  • Pfizer Covid vaccine "90% effective"

    Pfizer and Biontech report that their covid vaccine led to immunity in 90% of recipients in the first analysis of its effectiveness, far exceeding the 75% hoped for and the 50% that U.S. infectious disease chief Dr. Anthony Fauci said would be acceptable. The companies' stock soared on the news.

    The analysis evaluated 94 confirmed Covid-19 infections among the trial's 43,538 participants. Pfizer and BioNTech said the case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received a placebo indicated a vaccine efficacy rate of above 90% at seven days after the second dose.

    It means that protection from Covid-19 is achieved 28 days after the initial vaccination, which consists of a two-dose schedule.

  • Watch televangelist Kenneth Copeland "laugh" at Biden win

    Here is Christian evangelical leader Kenneth Copeland laughing at the claim that Joe Biden has won the U.S. election. The word "laughing" doesn't quite capture what you're about to see and hear in this clip. It's a theatrical forced laugh that at first just seems like sarcastic mockery—and is even amusing as such. But it slowly becomes disturbing as it goes on and on and on and its dawns on you that it's a form of coercive persuasion that will continue for as long as those before him have doubts.

  • TV networks call election for Biden

    At about 11:25 a.m. Saturday morning, ABC News and the AP finally called the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden, the first major networks to do so. ABC appears to have done so first, with the AP following suit within seconds and NBC News within minutes. Though the result's been obvious for days, cable TV poll-watchers dared not call it until it was a mathematical impossibility for President Trump to bounce back from his deficit in the excruciatingly slow vote-count.

    A tranch of results in Pennsylvania came moments before the calls, putting Biden both beyond the point where remaining votes could swing it to Trump and outside the recount threshhold: the double-whammy presumed to be what the TV decision desks were waiting for.

    Trump, meanwhile, is reportedly planning to speak to supporters outside a landscaping yard next to a dildo shop, but is currently busy playing golf.

    MORE: How the win breaks down