• This remix of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline is the apotheosis of Western Culture

    As soon as I finished listening to this, I printed out a screenshot of the YouTube embed and slid it into the final volume of my Britannia Great Books of the Western World collection, to take its rightful place as the only notable human literary-aesthetic expression since Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

    Via:

    @jackgrindrod_

    Simply one of the worst remixes I've ever heard

    ♬ original sound – Grinny
  • Impact! The DART mission, humanity's first attempt at redirecting an asteroid, finds its target

    At 7:14 p.m. ET, 9/26/22, NASA's DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission made contact with the asteroid Dimorphos. This is humanity's first attempt at redirecting a celestial body as a strategy for planetary defense.

    Illustration showing the asteroid Dimporhos orbiting Didymos before impact and the intended new orbit post-impact.

    From NASA's DART page:

    DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid's motion in space through kinetic impact. This method will have DART deliberately collide with a target asteroid—which poses no threat to Earth— in order to change its speed and path. DART's target is the binary, near-Earth asteroid system Didymos, composed of the roughly 780-meter (2,560-foot) -diameter "Didymos" and the smaller, approximately 160-meter (530-foot)-size "Dimorphos," which orbits Didymos. DART will impact Dimorphos to change its orbit within the binary system, and the DART Investigation Team will compare the results of DART's kinetic impact with Dimorphos to highly detailed computer simulations of kinetic impacts on asteroids. Doing so will evaluate the effectiveness of this mitigation approach and assess how best to apply it to future planetary defense scenarios, as well as how accurate the computer simulations are and how well they reflect the behavior of a real asteroid.

    See the DART page at NASA for more mission details.

    Images: NASA channel YouTube screen grab

  • This AI-powered speech engine creates realistic voiceovers in minutes

    We thank our sponsor for making this content possible; it is not written by the editorial staff nor does it necessarily reflect its views.

    Are you tired of hearing that robotic, grating TikTok voice on just about every video you come across online? Have you wasted time and money on professional voiceovers that aren't up to snuff? Do you wish there were a quicker, easier way to add meaningful and realistic-sounding voiceovers to your videos? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, look no further than Micmonster.

    Rated five stars on AppSumo, Micmonster AI Voiceovers can make it easier to narrate your next voiceover project, whether that's a podcast, YouTube video, or animated presentation. This AI-powered speech engine has a growing library of more than 600 voices to choose from in over 120 languages, and you can subscribe for just $59, the best price on the web!

    Male, female, Spanish, French, angry, sad — this program has all the voiceover options you could ever want, and then some. Simply input the text you want to convert to speech, select the voice you want to narrate, and Micmonster will work its magic. You can also fine-tune the inflection, pitch, emphasis, and pauses to create natural, life-like voices. 

    Whether you work in advertising, independent video creation, or simply don't like to hear your own voice during presentations, Micmonster might have a voice for you. Need several narrators? Try out the multi-voice function, which allows you to assign different portions of a script to multiple voices. For select languages (U.S. and U.K. English, French, and Chinese), there are even child voices available for speech synthesis!

    Micmonster's Pro Deal includes 200,000 characters per month, unlimited projects, and a commercial license, so you can use your voiceovers however you'd like. The coolest part is that there are no downloads or installs — you can access Micmonster from any modern browser so long as you have an internet connection. 

    Say goodbye to hiring underqualified voice actors for your narration needs. Check out Micmonster AI Voiceovers and get a superior result for a fraction of the price. A perpetual Micmonster subscription is just $59.99 or half off right now.

    Prices subject to change. 

  • Hiker near Los Angeles stands her ground when she comes face to face with a bear (video)

    A hiker in Sierra Madre (Los Angeles County) kept her cool when a black bear approached her on a narrow trail. While she stood facing the bear as it it ambled toward her, a concerned hiker farther away asked, "What are you doing?"

    "He's just going to walk by," she said in a calm, controlled voice.

    "He's going to walk by?" they asked.

    "Yeah."

    "Are you sure?!"

    "Yeah."

    The experienced hiker, Victoria Pham, says on her Instagram page (below) that she went through bear training in Yosemite National Park and was familiar with bear behavior. And anyway, what else could she have done but stand still once she found herself so close to the bear? Fortunately this guy was just passing through, but as Pham notes, it is a bear and things could have turned out differently.

  • Immerse yourself in music-making with $36 off this hip-hop beat library

    We thank our sponsor for making this content possible; it is not written by the editorial staff nor does it necessarily reflect its views.

    Hobbies that don't include a hefty price tag are hard to come by, so you might find yourself bored most days doing god knows what on that laptop. What makes boredom even worse is that now, we have to stay bored inside our homes for the next few months (that is, unless you don't mind being cold.)

    If you're looking for a new, affordable hobby to pass the time or even make money off of, why not try singing? Okay, maybe we're not all tonally talented, but if you can keep up with a beat and deliver a good flow, rapping might be more your speed. Either way, Beatopia's library of sick beats will give you the background tracks to jam out to, and one-year subscriptions are on sale for $99.

    Beatopia is an incredible way to make beautiful music without the recording studio and pricey producer. With a massive library of exclusive type beats that come without limits, you'll get access to tracks hand-picked and mastered by the pros who do this with their eyes closed. For something a bit more comprehensive, Beatopia also offers completely editable stem tracks, so you can tweak the sounds to match the type of track you want to create. A license gives you unlimited rights to the tracks, so you can make songs to your heart's content without worrying about your music being taken down (until your subscription ends, of course).

    And, if you're worried you won't find the genre you've been targeting, don't be! Beatopia features a bevy of sounds including trap, R&B, drill, future pop, emo rap, reggae, hip hop, rap, Afrobeat, indie, and many other bops you can jam with. With a full year of access, you should have enough time to crack your knuckles and dig deep into chords and clips you never dabbled with in the past. 

    If you need to mix on the go, Beatopia works on both computers and mobile phones, so if you get a spark of inspiration, you don't need to drop what you're doing and head straight to the studio; the world is your studio! Finally, Beatopia imposes no stream limits, so there's truly nothing stopping you from making sweet melodies.

    You can subscribe to the Beatopia Beats Browser for one year for $99 (Reg. $135).

    Prices subject to change.

  • Watch: Metal guitarist Kayla Kent reads crude viewer comments as calmly as she plays when shredding

    I've long been fascinated with metal guitarist Kayla Kent, not only for her amazing talent, but also with her stage presence. As her fingers passionately rip across the fretboard, usually to a Pantera cover, her face remains as calm as a librarian sipping a cup of herbal tea. Her manner is breezy, effortless, even seemingly bored at times. It's hard to imagine that the person shredding the guitar is the same easy-going person smiling into the camera — and that's what makes her so captivating.

    So I was interested in hearing what the "worst comments" sent by her viewers could possibly be (see video above).

    Oh, but of course. Fans who feel "naughty" when they watch her, or who will "find you and marry you," or who compare her to an "OnlyFans" girl, and much worse.

    The comments were crude, moronic, and uninspired, but what makes the video interesting is her blasé reaction to said comments — the same way a librarian might react after drinking said cup of tea.

    Here she is in action:

  • Sister of Jeffrey Dahmer victim says new Netflix show was "harsh and careless" towards her

    From the clip above, it looks like Netflix's Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story — released last Wednesday — did an amazing job recreating a scene from the serial killer's trial in which Rita Isbell, sister of 19-year-old victim Errol Lindsey, gave her emotional victim impact statement. But it sounds like Netflix did a piss-poor job of showing respect to the families of Dahmer's victims during the making of the show.

    Isbell says the show's creators were wrong, not necessarily in their telling of the story, but in how they never reached out to her and never compensated her family, even though they wrote her into the script. "I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should've asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn't ask me anything. They just did it," she told Insider.

    "I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims' children. Not necessarily their families. I mean, I'm old. I'm very, very comfortable," she said. "But the victims have children and grandchildren. If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn't feel so harsh and careless."

    Watching part of Monster – the scene in which she was portrayed in the courtroom (by actor DaShawn Barnes) – stirred up old, hurt emotions, but it also made her realize she can talk about the tragedy now without the anger she had in 1992.

    "It's sad that they're just making money off of this tragedy. That's just greed," she said. "The episode with me was the only part I saw. I didn't watch the whole show. I don't need to watch it. I lived it. I know exactly what happened."

    Isbell's cousin, Eric Perry, echoed her sentiments.

    "I'm not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you're actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell's) are pissed about this show," he tweeted on Thursday. "Like recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD. WIIIIIILD" he also said.

    From Los Angeles Times:

    In another pair of tweets shared Thursday evening, Perry said that the creative teams behind true crime projects "don't notify families when they do this," since it's "all public record."

    "My family found out when everyone else did," he said.

    "So when they say they're doing this 'with respect to the victims' or 'honoring the dignity of the families,' no one contacts them," he continued. "My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there's another Dahmer show. It's cruel."

  • How many licks to get to the center of an Apple Watch Ultra? Apple Watch Ultra vs hammer

    Watch as this gentleman performs a meaningless test, the watch was not on his wrist when he repeatedly struck it with a sledgehammer, so the test doesn't meet real-world conditions. If he wanted to test it, he'd have worn it and found someone to swing the hammer. Maybe try TaskRabbit?

    What a waste of a very expensive watch. The disappointment that after repeated hammer blows, the front and back were intact, but the watch had stopped turning on felt odd to me, as I was impressed with ONE hammer strike. Poor table.

    Additionally, if it can not stop a bullet the watch has less utility than a run-of-the-mill Amazonian bracelet and can not be called "Ultra."

    Image: screen grab

  • Watch the trailer for the forthcoming Last of Us TV series, based on the hit video game

    HBO debuted the first trailer for The Last of Us, heralding the arrival of a brand-new post-apocalyptic universe on the network. The series is scheduled for 2023.

    Craig Mazin, author and creator of HBO's Chernobyl, created the series. Neil Druckmann from Naughty Dog, the studio that created both of The Last of Us video games, is in charge of developing and executive producing the show.

    Like the game, the series features survivors Joel and Ellie trying to survive as they cross a country populated by zombie-like monsters and deal with undiseased humans, of both the nice and mean variety.

  • "Girls who code" book series banned by a Pennsylvania school district

    Continuing to demonstrate how evil the Christian Fascist movement is, in the United States, Central York school district in Pennsylvania has banned a popular book series that helps girls learn computer programming.

    Exactly how is having STEM materials focused on engaging girls "too activist?" Who knows, these people are just salting the earth.

    The Guardian:

    The books are four of more than 1,500 unique book titles that have been banned by schools across the country after conservative pushes to censor books. According to a report released by Pen America in April, 138 school districts across 32 states have banned books from their classrooms and school libraries.

    A recent update to Pen America's banned book index said the Central York school district last year banned the books The Friendship Code, Team BFF: Race to the Finish!, Lights, Music, Code! and Spotlight on Coding Club!. The school district has over 400 banned titles on the index.

    The Central York school district did not immediately respond to request for comment on its ban of the Girls Who Code series.

    The series features a group of girls who become friends in their school's coding club. The series is in partnership with Girls Who Code, a non-profit that runs computer coding clubs and programming in schools for girls.

    The CEO and founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, expressed her anger over the series being banned.

  • Vampire film museum exhibit includes opportunity to donate blood

    Nosferatu—filmmaker Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's German Expressionist masterpiece about a Transylvanian vampire—turns 100 this year. (You can watch it below!) To celebrate, Berlin's Nationalgalerie is staging an exhibition about the film and its influence on cinematic horror and pop culture. Brilliantly, the exhibit also features an opportunity to donate blood to the Red Cross. Phantoms of the Night: 100 Years of Nosferatu runs December 16, 2022 to April 23, 2023. From Artnet:

    Murnau's film was an unauthorized remake of Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel Dracula, and instantly became an icon of the German silent film era that has been heralded by many critics as one of the best films ever made. (Who can forget Max Schreck's portrayal of the fearsome Count Orlok, whose curling facial expressions reveal the vampire in all his macabre glory?)

    "André Breton considered Nosferatu a key surrealist work," read a statement from the museum, "and sketches for the set design, for example, include motifs that call to mind etchings by Francisco de Goya."

  • Putin bestows Russian citizenship upon Edward Snowden Snowden now a Russian

    As many Russian citizens are fleeing to any country that will take them, trying to avoid serving in Putin's unjust war in Ukraine, Edward Snowden has become a proud Russian national.

    CNN:

    President Vladimir Putin has granted former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden Russian citizenship, according to an official decree published on the Russian government portal Monday. 

    Snowden, who admitted to leaking information about US surveillance programs to the press, has been in Russia since 2013. He is facing espionage charges in the US and up to 30 years in prison.

  • Plastiskin: a new entry in the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction

    There are many terms from classic and modern SF that remain unresearched, and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction will be continually updated, especially as additional resources are put online. Boing Boing is syndicating new entries from the HDSF on a regular basis. (Read the series introduction.)

    Plastiskin

    Perhaps the most famous scene in the 1967 movie The Graduate sees the newly graduated, and aimless, Benjamin Braddock buttonholed by a guest at a party, who urges him to listen carefully to the one word he should know about the future: "plastics." The joke works on multiple levels: plastics were indeed the future, but by that time this was hardly a secret, so the revelation is a let-down; either way, it is a dull future, one which will not provide a real solution to Benjamin's lack of direction.

    But in the 1940s and '50s, plastics really were exciting, and science-fiction writers were on it. The comics superhero Plastic Man, who could bend his body into all kinds of shapes, debuted in 1941; in 1942, we find the first example of plasteel, an imaginary substance that combines some of the qualities of plastic (such as lightness or transparency) with some of the qualities of steel (such as hardness or strength).

    By the end of that decade, a new imaginary artificial material was named: plastiskin, which can be defined succinctly as 'synthetic skin'. This tended to manifest in two forms: as the exterior covering for an android, or as a material used for first-aid or other medical purposes. In both cases, real-world scientists are currently working to create such substances, although the word plastiskin is still restricted to fictional contexts. Nowadays, science fiction can look at plastics in less-positive ways; recent cli-fi is concerned about the amount of plastic waste in our world. Perhaps we should not expect many new plastics terms in the SF vocabulary.

  • James Earl Jones has signed over Darth Vader's voice to artificial intelligence

    James Early Jones has signed over the rights to his Darth Vader voice to artificial intelligence. Respeecher, a Ukraine-based synthetic speech start-up, already used archival recordings and algorithms to create Vader's voice for the "Obi-Wan Kenobiu" series and has since turned over the rights to his Vader voice. From Vanity Fair:

    What Respeecher could do better than anyone was re-create the unforgettably menacing way that Jones, now 91, sounded half a lifetime ago. [Lucasfilm supervising sound editor Matthew] Wood estimates that he's recorded the actor at least a dozen times over the decades, the last time being a brief line of dialogue in 2019's The Rise of Skywalker. "He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character," says Wood. "So how do we move forward?" When he ultimately presented Jones with Respeecher's work, the actor signed off on using his archival voice recordings to keep Vader alive and vital even by artificial means—appropriate, perhaps, for a character who is half mechanical. Jones is credited for guiding the performance on Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Wood describes his contribution as "a benevolent godfather." They inform the actor about their plans for Vader and heed his advice on how to stay on the right course.

  • Watch this ridiculous football punt ricochet off a player's butt yesterday, a first time in the NFL

    The highlight of yesterday's Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins football game was when the Dolphins' Thomas Morstead made a powerful punt that slammed right into the butt of his blocker, Trent Sherfield.

    front page thumbnail image: noraismail/Shutterstock

  • Wall Street Journal reports on Bigfoot, complete with one of their iconic "hedcut" portraits

    The Wall Street Journal wrote about the rise in legitimate researchers—from academics to naturalists—who are "open-minded skeptics" or true believers in Sasquatch. Wonderfully, the WSJ created one of their iconic "hedcut" portraits of Patty, the female Bigfoot star of the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage that remains the best visual evidence of the ape-like cryptid. From the Wall Street Journal:


    John Hickenbottom, a naturalist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio, said he used to be dismissive of "dads in tube socks and cargo shorts saying 'Have you ever seen Bigfoot?'" After some research, he considers himself an "open-minded skeptic."[…]

    During a recent meeting of about 20 researchers, several declined to provide their names to a reporter. A primate zookeeper from Michigan said she long thought of Bigfoot as a joke but changed her mind after realizing that many sighting accounts included primate behaviors she didn't think most people would know about.

    She traveled to Washington state in 2019 to see nests studied by the Olympic Project. The sight of the large oval nests, woven of huckleberry branches and looking similar to beds made by apes the zookeeper works with, was "mind blowing," she said.

    An insect taxonomist at a Utah university said he has been investigating since 2015, when he and his son were elk hunting in northern Utah and saw a group of five apelike animals going through an aspen stand about 250 yards away.

  • Gentleman sentenced for dousing Bewitched statue with red paint

    After entering a plea of guilty for vandalizing the "Bewitched" statue in Salem, Massachusetts by painting it blood red, a man will be given 18 months of probation, reports News 4 Jax, which has a photo of the defaced statue.

    The Salem News says a judge deferred the gentleman's original year-long jail sentence on the condition that he pay back the cost of fixing the bronze statue's damage. The man was held on bond, according to a prosecutor, because he was "going through a tough time" and "wanted to do anything to get arrested."

    Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha Stephens in the 1960s sitcom, is shown in the statue perched on a broomstick in front of a crescent moon. Some of Salem's residents object to the statue because they say it trivializes the misogynist horror of the 1692 trials.