RIP, Little Free Library founder Todd H. Bol

Todd Bol died yesterday of fast-moving cancer at the age of 62, less than a month after receiving his diagnosis; he was the founder of the wildly successful Little Free Library movement (previously). Read the rest

Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming. Read the rest

Portals of London: urban exploration to discover gateways to alternative universe

Salim Fadhley writes, "Portals of London, an urban exploration blog, presents an alternative geography of London. It's a catalog of the weird, decrepit and slightly crumpled - things the author posits might plausibly be portals to alternative universes, but then again might not." Read the rest

Robin "Sourdough" Sloan is using a machine-learning autocomplete system to write his next novel

Robin Sloan is a programmer and novelist whose books like Sourdough and Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore are rich and evocative blends of self-aware nerdy playfulness and magical speculation. Read the rest

Helm: A home network email server appliance to redecentralize the web

Helm is a startup making a $500 home gadget that replaces Gmail and Google Calendar, letting you control your own email and coordination; its founders have deep information security backgrounds, and plan to make money by charging an annual $100 management fee. Read the rest

A streaming Jack-O-Lantern is your Halloween "Ghoul Log"

This Decorative Gourd Season, you can soothe your anxiety with a perpetual streaming video wallpaper in the form of a "Ghoul Log" (like a yule log, gettit?) from the good people at Shudder. Read the rest

Snetris is "snake + tetris"

Felipe is a Portuguese game-developer who makes fun, crowdfunded minigames; he tweeted a tantalyzing video clip showing an idea for a Snake/Tetris mashup called "Snetris," and the response was so warm and excited that he's promised to develop a playable version! Read the rest

A book made from shelf-stable American cheese slices

The University of Michigan's library recently acquired a copy of American Cheese, 20 Slices, by Ben Denzer, a book made from shelf-stable, plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese. Read the rest

New and improved gadget for doing vinyl-like scratching with magnetic audio-tape

Back in 2014, David wrote up Jeremy Bell's prototype "ScrubBoard" that enabled a scratch-like effect with magnetic audiotape. Bell writes, "I've made a lot of progress on my device since then, and I have a much more sophisticated prototype that uses a motorized tape loop and can record live audio directly onto the tape while I'm scratching. Enjoy!" Read the rest

Just look at this 1943 Busby Berkeley banana dance

Just look at it. (Thanks, Greg Cook!) Read the rest

Ben and Jerry's has a Flavor Graveyard for the 'dearly de-pinted'

There's a plot of land in Vermont where ice cream flavors go when they die. Located next to the Waterbury home of Ben & Jerry's plant and headquarters, the Flavor Graveyard is the final resting place for the company's discontinued flavors such as Wavy Gravy, White Russian, and (32) more.

Travel + Leisure:

“Ben & Jerry’s is known for outrageous, chunky, funky flavors,” said Flavor Guru Eric Fredette in a company press release. “But experimentation comes with risk, and not everybody likes our edgier ideas. Like everything else, ice cream flavors have a beginning and an end.”

This year, visitors who take a Ben & Jerry's factory tour, along with a visit to the Flavor Graveyard, between Oct. 29 and 31 will be treated to a sample of a limited edition pumpkin pie ice cream available only in Waterbury.

You can also visit their virtual burial ground and, if you wish, submit a request to "resurrect" any of the dead flavors. Zombie Schweddy Balls, anyone?

Read the rest

Fidget spinners + magnets: glorious chaotic motion

Hirotakaster's instructions for combining magnets and fidget spinners are a one-way ticket to glorious, chaotic motion, as complex systems emerge from grids of obsolete, post-fad plastic waste. (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Student's DoNotPay app expands to include pushbutton small claims lawsuits

Joshua Browder launched DoNotPay when he started his computer science degree at Stanford; at first the app automated the process of fighting traffic tickets, then it expanded to helping homeless people claim benefits, then he automated suing Equifax for leaking all your financial data, then navigating the airlines' deliberately confusing process for getting refunds on plane tickets whose prices drop after you buy them. Read the rest

"Critical Failure" D20s, whispering what's in every roller's heart

The world has long celebrated the "critical hit" D20 face, the elusive 20 that doubles the damage and sets the players around the table baying with elation; but consider its opposite face, the lowly 1, the "critical failure" that lets a sadistic DM dream up all kinds of pratfalls and own-goals to punish the luckless player with. Read the rest

Warren Ellis on the unique narrative power of comics

Warren Ellis's closing keynote from the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds is distilled Ellis: witty and wordsmithed, insightful and thoughtful, futuristic and deeply contemporary. Read the rest

"Radicalized" will be my next book!

I've just closed a new book deal: Tor Books will publish "Radicalized," which tells four stories of hope, conflict, technology and justice in the modern world and near future in March 2019; along with the book deal is a major audiobook deal with Macmillan Audio and a screen deal with Topic Studios (a sister company to The Intercept) for one of the tales, "Unauthorized Bread." Read the rest

Democrats unveil "Internet Bill of Rights": transparency, privacy, control, notification, Net Neutrality, competition, accountability

The Democrats' newly unveiled "Internet Bill of Rights" enumerates ten rights that the party says it will enshrine in law, ranging from Net Neutrality to data portability to timely notification of breaches to opt-in for data collection, the right to see the data held on you by surveillance capitalists, rights to privacy and to be free from surveillance-driven discrimination, pro-competitive measures and so forth. Read the rest

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