• New interface to control electronic devices with your teeth

    TeethTap is a new interface to control electronic devices by clicking your teeth together. Fortunately, it doesn't go in your mouth. Unfortunately, it's probably terrible for my TMJ. Detailed in a new technical paper by researchers at Cornell's Smart Computer Interfaces for Future Interactions (SciFi) Lab, the 3D printed earpiece pushes "against the jawline just under the ear and secures the microphones to the temporal bone behind the ear." Evan Ackerman writes in IEEE Spectrum:

    During extended testing, TeethTap managed to work (more or less) while study participants were in the middle of talking with one the researchers, writing on a paper while talking, walking or running around the lab, and even while they were eating or drinking, which is pretty remarkable. The system is tuned so that you're much more likely to get a false negative over a false positive, and the researchers are already working on optimization strategies to improve accuracy, especially if you're using the system while moving. 

    Cornell SciFi Lab

  • Firefighting goats dispatched to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

    Every year around this time goats are sent to Simi Valley in California to the grounds near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to combat the ever-present danger of wildfires. They do not put on fire helmets or ride around in firetrucks, though I bet we can find photos of that on the internet somewhere, the goats are brought in to eat the surrounding dry vegetation thus giving less fuel to any possible fires and creating a fire break. Listen to the robot in this video explain the whole thing:

  • One of Miles Davis's final performances sees official release, includes songs by Prince and Michael Jackson

    In July 1991, just a few months before his death, Miles Davis performed at France's Vienne Jazz Festival with the Miles Davis Group. He had just been awarded knighthood in France's Legion of Honour with French culture minister Jack Long describing him as "the Picasso of jazz." That historic performance is finally seeing an official release from Rhino next month. Merci Miles! Live at Vienne features a fine setlist including Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" (above) along with "Penetration" and "Jailbait," penned by Miles's pal Prince.

  • Veteran game writer on what happens when studios shut down and the need for more adversarial industry coverage

    Jason Schreier, a longtime games writer with Kotaku and Bloomberg News, sought to publish adversarial journalism in that context and did well at it. Now he's writing a book about volatility in the video game industry and what happens to people when studios shut down: Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry. Corey Plante interviewed him for The Inverse.

    … game companies are obsessively secretive. When you expose those secrets — be they game leaks or toxic work culture — you embarrass the people in charge that prop up the status quo.

    "It speaks to this larger point that there isn't that adversarial relationship that maybe there should be more of in the industry," Schreier says. "I wish there was a little bit more exposing these big companies, even if it leads to burning bridges."

    He points to outlets like IGN, GameSpot, and Polygon as doing great journalistic work, but even the biggest outlets are at a distinct disadvantage.

    "There's really a lack of money in media, especially in games, to pay for good salaries and good reporting," Schreier says. "There's so little reporting on bad business practices because there isn't the economics there to support it."

    The games beat is a wizard's jizzpot of consumerism and misplaced anger. I figure that coverage of the industry's appalling working conditions cut deeply because it disrupted readers' parasocial relationships with the corporations being covered — capital-G "gamers" have a strong tribal identification with both the subject and with products, even with executives. The only subjects more likely to generate neurotic retaliatory behavior from fans are social media influencers, authors working in the young adult category of fiction, and venture capitalists.

    P.S. Maybe I'm remembering it all wrong, but the sarcastic, snarky mode of consumer-product blogging in gadgets, games, etc., can be traced to games journalism in the late 80s and 1990s trying to sound like the opposite of an access-dependent enthusiast press. It's hard to replace a trivial adversarial position with an earnest one because the cynical culture it generated is everywhere and because the media environment is not conducive to trust.

  • This cop enjoys damaging a car by repeatedly slamming a door into it

    North Country Now says this Massena, New York cop, identified as Brandon Huckle, is under investigation for slamming a door against a car parked in a garage. Officer Huckle, who was executing a search warrant at the house, either didn't know or didn't care that his alleged act of vandalism was being recorded on a video camera.

    From Reason:

    The door hits a silver car as Huckle enters. Huckle then intentionally grabs the door and swings it twice more into the side of the car.

    There have been countless accusations over the years of police maliciously ransacking houses during the executions of search warrants, but it's not often captured on video.

    "Clients tell me all the time that property is destroyed or stolen during search warrants," Brian Barrett, the car owner's attorney, told North Country Now. "This is a rare occasion where we have a video of a police officer destroying a client's property. I'm more inclined to believe my clients now that I've seen this with my own eyes. I've got to take a very close look at those cases and the returns on the warrant and things like that."

  • Tech CEO who screwed up micro-dosing before a big meeting attributes his firing to other things

    The CEO of a tech email company I had not heard of is apparently unreconciled with his firing for irresponsible behavior.

    SF Gate:

    A report by Bloomberg Businessweek says that the idiosyncratic CEO of a San Francisco startup was ousted due to his use of LSD in the workplace.

    Justin Zhu, a co-founder and the former CEO of the email marketing firm Iterable, confirmed to Businessweek that the incident did, in fact, happen. He attempted to take a small dose of the hallucinogenic — known in some circles as microdosing — before a key investors' meeting in 2019.

    It didn't work out. He said that he saw "numbers and images swelling and shrinking on the screen" and that his body felt like it was melting.

    Seems this was just one of many antics, Zhu apparently considers dressing inappropriately for meetings and taking drugs "eastern values."

    Zhu wore cargo shorts to a meeting with a VC firm called Geodesic, a blunder that he says resulted in the firm not investing in Iterable. Another awkward investor meeting drew comparisons to Adam Neumann, the embattled WeWork CEO who had a penchant for lofty, sometimes pretentious conversations. 

    At one point, Zhu told Businessweek that he believed that he was ousted as CEO because he wasn't white. He needed to run meetings with "more presence," he claimed an investor told him. 

    "I run the company with Eastern values," he told Bloomberg. "That doesn't mean I'm not equipped to be CEO."

    But Zhu's removal from the position may have come down to his outspoken willingness to talk to media, even against other company leaders' wishes. He did so, he claimed, to "help founders who are suffering."

  • At Indoensia airport, 10,000 travelers may have been COVID tested with used swabs

    Indonesian police arrested five employees of pharma company Kimia Farma for reusing rapid antigen nasal swabs on as many as 10,000 air travelers at North Sumatra's Kualanamu International Airport over a period of four months. At least the suspects reportedly claim to have washed the swabs between use. From CNN:

    The suspects have been charged with crimes under Indonesia's health law, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment if found guilty, and under the country's consumer protection law, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

    Among those arrested is Kimia Farma's Medan business manager. Police said each suspect had different roles to play in the scam, from washing the used cotton swabs, to repackaging the kit, and delivering the samples to the laboratory.

    Police found recycled cotton swabs, recycled packaging, and 149 million rupiah ($10,000) in cash during the raid which netted the five suspects. Passengers paid 200,000 rupiah ($14) for each antigen test swab.

    image (cropped): Raimond Spekking (CC BY-SA 4.0)

  • Mapping out the famous Patterson–Gimlin film of bigfoot

    Guys from Western Bigfoot Exploration hiked to the place where Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin shot the famous 1967 footage of bigfoot loping alongside Bluff Creek in Northern California.

    It's a long video, but wonderful for showing the geographical context of the original clip. They reach the destination 16:30 in. Much has grown in the decades since—the foliage is much thicker—but plenty of landmarks remain and they map it out and debate the details.

    Here's stabilized footage of the encounter:

    It's cool how a completely nondescript patch of woods in the middle of nowhere becomes full of mystery and intrigue by virtue of something bizarre that once happened there. Endless discussion of treestumps, rocks in streams, lines of sight, how the years have changed the land. See also: the Dyatlov Pass incident and all those national park disappearances.

  • Utah Supreme Court rules transgender people can amend their birth certificates

    Utah Supreme Court Thursday ruled that transgender people may change their names and genders on Utah birth certificates.

    The 4-1 ruling comes after more than three years in court and failed attempts by the Utah Legislature to both clarify a long-standing law regarding name and gender changes and to block transgender Utahns from amending their birth certificates.

    "A person has a common-law right to change facets of their personal legal status, including their sex designation," Justice Deno Himonas wrote in the majority opinion. Justices John Pearce and Paige Petersen concurred. Chief Justice Matthew Durrant wrote a separate opinion that concurred in part and dissented in part with the majority. Justice Tom Lee was the lone dissenter.

  • Alabama lawmakers OK medical marijuana

    One of the union's most conservative states was set to legalize marijuana for medical use Thursday, with GOP lawmakers switching sides to pass a bill that had earlier passed the state Senate. The Alabama House of Representatives voted 68-34 in the law's favor, which mandates a doctor's prescription for purchases. The bill now heads to Gov. Kay Ivey's desk; if she signs, Alabama becomes the 37th state in the union to legalize the drug.

    A medical marijuana bill in 2013 won the Shroud Award for the "deadest bill" in the House.

    "They laughed at me," former Democratic state Rep. Patricia Todd, the sponsor of the 2013 bill said Thursday of the reaction she got from some Republicans at the time.

  • These Long Lost TMNT / Star Wars Mashups Are Incredible

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a long history of wild crossovers with other nerdy properties. But according to the Jedi Temple Archives, the best one that could have happened never actually did. In the early 90s, when Hasbro/Kenner had let the Star Wars action figure license lapse. So Playmates made a pitch for the property, and even commissioned famed Ninja Turtles artist Michael Dooney to mock up some potential artwork for a line of TMNT / Star Wars crossover toys.

    I never knew I needed a pizza lightsaber all this time.

    These closeups with the call-out details make it even better. A nunchuck bowcaster! Sewer pipe lightsaber handles! A miniature Han Solo In Carbonite strapped to April Leia's belt! Various versions of Donatello strapped to the other Turtles' backs! This is the stuff of childhood dreams.

    There are even some customized fan-made toy versions of those, to show us all what could have been (such as Krang riding an AT-ST).

  • The making of Teeny Little Super Guy

    Originally filmed in the 1980s, director Paul Fierlinger and his team of animators present the process of creating Sesame Street's Teeny Little Super Guy.

    This video gives a little background on the making of Teeny Little Super Guy. A number of these were filmed back in the early 1980's for Sesame Street under the direction of Paul Fierlinger. It was a lot of fun making them. Some more background information. Everything was shot outside of Philadelphia in either Paul's animation studio or his house. In 1980 Paul was a Academy Award Nominee for best animated short, Its So Nice To Have A Wolf Around The House. Larry Gold is a classical cellist and composer and created all the music. Stuart Horn was a wizz with words and lyrics. Jim Thurman did all the voices, often adlibbing. The Bolex we used had a motor drive so the exposures were about 1/6 of a second. That gave us the ability to shoot at a lower f stop and therefore had scenes with better focus. Although, the segments I show here are copies of copies and not as clear as the should be. Another thing I did not mention was something we used in almost every scene was Stick-Um candle adhesive. It is a sticky wax that is used to hold candles in their candlesticks, but can also be used to hold plastic cups at funny angles. Edith Zornow was from Children's Television Workshop and was what I guess would be considered the executive producer.

    via circusitch
  • Goodtimer might just bring your parent-child war to an end, and it's 30% off now

    Raising kids is a grind, a 24/7/365 all-encompassing responsibility that never truly ends. But even as all-important as that job is, it's no surprise that all the other overwhelming responsibilities parents face in their daily lives occasionally make them take their eye off the ball when it comes to the kids. Are they following Mom and Dad's instructions? Are they being difficult? Are they fighting with siblings?

    The snap response to lapses in a kid's behavior is often for parents to start doling out negative reinforcement in the form of punishments or threats of punishments. The Goodtimer Positive Reinforcement Educational Toy for Kids lets parents flip that around, offering an established system that makes instilling the behaviors you want to see in your child a positive experience instead of an angry one.

    Backed by neuroscience and developed by positive parenting experts, the Goodtimer looks like a glowing Wi-Fi speaker. But its patented technology is actually part of a highly effective way to reinforce good behavior and encourage children to form good habits that last.

    It's sort of like a high-tech list of chores. With a handy childrens' book explaining the Goodtimer backstory, you establish a list of rewardable behaviors you'd like your kids to perform — and they set up incentives for things they love like treats, a new toy, or more screen time.

    When a child is behaving, Goodtimer is upright — and with enough "good time" earned, it'll start dispensing tokens the child can use toward the incentives you agreed on. When they misbehave, Goodtimer goes upside-down, stopping "good time" and allowing you to have a conversation about how to get "good time" back.

    Simple enough for a 3-year-old to understand, in a toddler-tough, impact-resistant body, the Goodtimer encourages kids to form the habits parents want to see using positive reinforcement, tangible incentives, and family participation. Parents and kids are both on the same page, offering families consistency and true goals so every parenting struggle doesn't feel like a battle in a Roman Colosseum.

    The Goodtimer mantlepiece is already jam-packed with awards, including the 2021 Family Choice Award, 2020 Product of the Year by Creative Child Magazine, a Mom's Choice awardee, and a National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. It also scored big thumbs up from actual users, logging a solid 4.3 out of 5 stars from Amazon reviewers.

    You can try out the positive impacts of the Goodtimer Positive Reinforcement Education Toy for yourself now at 30 percent off its regular price, dropping your cost to only $55.99.

    Prices subject to change.

  • At $99, the ScoutPro is an all-in-one beast for cabled and wireless charging

    For low-impact device users, all that's needed is a simple charger that they can throw in their pocket or bag, ready to supply an efficient little power jolt for flagging devices when they're running on empty. But for users with deeper power needs, those rocking a handful of different devices who might need to charge up an iPhone one minute and a MacBook laptop the next, they're looking for backup power that's a little more formidable.

    And there's no denying that the ScoutPro: The Ultimate All-in-One Charger from IntelliArmor is 100 percent in that realm of burly mega-power batteries that can help keep all the devices on your block juiced and functioning.

    Weighing in at nearly a pound, there's undeniably some heft to this portable charging answer, but with a positively expansive 24,000mAh battery inside, ready to charge the standard smartphone about 7 or 8 times on a single charge. 

    Of course, the true calling card of the ScoutPro isn't just that it can power up smartphones. In fact, it's actually a multi-tasking beast, capable of delivering power to up to 5 different devices at once. It sports a pair of USB-C ports, and one standard USB port to handle most of your traditional devices, from phones to tablets to earbuds and more.

    The ScoutPro is also equipped with wireless charging abilities too, including a charging pad for iPhone 12s and other Qi-enabled devices, and a second charging area for an Apple Watch. Plus, it also has Apple's own MagSafe features built-in, ensuring it's perfectly suited for handling the charging needs of all the most up-to-date magnetically-connecting Apple devices. 

    The ScoutPro is an absolute answer to any power user's charging concerns, a $199 value now on sale at half off its regular price, available for just $99.

    Prices subject to change.