A next-gen, multi-switch Useless Machine that unswitches your switches in order

Coffeeman 500's Useless Box - Multi Switch project is an open-source hardware project that's an ambitious variant on the beloved "Useless Machine" -- 2010, 2010 (Lego)), 2010 Political edition), 2011 (HOWTO), 2012 (politics), 2013 (fancy), 2013 (advanced) (vs human), 2016 (most useless), 2017 (vs twisty vase). Read the rest

Criminals have perfected the art of taking over dead peoples' online accounts

When you die, your relatives will be sad and (depending on the circumstances of your death) possibly left scrambling to make arrangements for your remains, effects, and estate. Read the rest

Excellent advice for new law students

Ken "Popehat" White (previously), a former Federal prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney, has some excellent advice for all you newbie law-students who are just starting your law school career. Read the rest

Laser cutters and 3D printers revive century-old a magic lantern show of Erewhon at the Edinburgh Fringe

James Coutts writes, "Indiana University Victorian Studies PhD candidate Mary Borgo Ton assembled an international group of artists/makers, a media archaeologist, laser cutters and 3D printers to create magic lantern slides that have not been made in 100 years for a show running in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe called Erewhon: "An antique magic lantern projector, an iPhone and a live musical score shine a new light on Samuel Butler’s classic sci-fi novel. A Victorian explorer discovers a colony of refugees; time travellers from the 21st century escaping their dependence on its technology. This delightful neo-historical head-scratcher playfully welds future, past and present into a glittering bracelet of time." Read the rest

That time Phyllis Diller roasted the Haunted Mansion

Back in 1972-3, Disney ran a short-lived variety show called The Mouse Factory that intercut classic animation with live action, framed by celebrity hosts that kind of threaded it all together into a mashed-up, loose storyline. Read the rest

How a civic hacker used open data to halve tickets at Chicago's most confusing parking spot

Matt Chapman used the Freedom of Information Act to get the City of Chicago's very mess parking ticket data; after enormous and heroic data normalization, Chapman was able to pinpoint one of the city's most confusing parking spots, between 1100-1166 N State St, which cycled between duty as a taxi-stand and a parking spot with a confusingly placed and semi-busted parking meter. Read the rest

Trou: a soft, CCTV-bugged interactive sculpture that you ram your hand and arm into

Trou is an interactive sculpture from Valencia, Spain's Mireia Donat Melús: the nylon and silicon fiber blob invites viewers to don a surgical glove and insert their hands and arms into an elastic orifice in the sculpture's surface -- and watching their probing appendage from within via a live video-feed. Read the rest

Insecure medical equipment protocols let attackers spoof diagnostic information

Douglas McKee of McAffee presented his research into the security of medical diagnostic equipment at last week's Defcon conference in Las Vegas. Read the rest

Disney (yes, Disney) declares war on "overzealous copyright holders"

Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment." Read the rest

Leaked FBI memo warns banks of looming "unlimited ATM cashout"

When scammers get inside of the networks of financial institutions, they sometimes stage "cashouts" where they recruit confederates around the world to all hit ATMs at the same time with cards tied to hacked accounts and withdraw the maximum the ATMs will allow; but the wilier criminals first disable the anti-fraud and withdrawal maximum features in the banks' systems, enabling confederates to drain ATMs of all the cash they contain. This is called an "unlimited cashout." Read the rest

Karl Schroeder's "The Million": a science fiction conspiracy novel of radically altered timescales

Karl Schroeder's 2014 novel Lockstep featured tour-de-force worldbuilding, even by the incredibly high standards of Karl Schroeder novels: the human race speciates into cold-sleeping cicadas who only wake for one day in ten, or a hundred, or a million, allowing them to traverse interstellar distances and survive on the meager energy and materials available in deep space; with his new novella The Million, Schroder shows us how Lockstep is lived on Earth, the cradle of the human species, where a brutal murder threatens to blow apart the life of a very out-of-step protagonist.

Just look at these bananails.

Just look at them. (Thanks, Sean!) Read the rest

Interview with a cryptocurrency scammer

Adam Guerbuez is a cryptocurrency evangelist whose Youtube channel is full of videos promoting cryptocurrency trading; when he got a Twitter message from a scammer promising to send him free Ethereum coins, he asked the scammer if they could talk about the scam. Read the rest

Burbankers! There's a Save Magnolia Park meeting on August 13th at Geeky Tees

The parade of evictions and rent hikes in Burbank's lovely, independent-dominated Magnolia Park retail district is up for debate: the Save Magnolia Park coalition is having a public meeting on Aug 13th at Geeky Tees (2120 W Magnolia Blvd) at 7PM (alas, I'll be in Edinburgh, but I'm there in spirit!). Read the rest

Kickstarting new Aquabats albums and TV shows!

The wonderful Aquabats, nearly killed when the network they'd signed with went out of business, are back, and they want to produce a new TV special episode of Super Show! with a new album to go with it. Read the rest

Come see me at the Edinburgh Festival and/or Worldcon!

I'm heading to Scotland for the Edinburgh Festival where I'm appearing with the wonderful Ada Palmer on August 12th at 845PM (we're talking about the apocalypse, science fiction and hopefulness); from there, I'm heading to the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, California, where I'll be doing a bunch of panels, signings and a reading. Read the rest

Bad infrastructure means pacemakers can be compromised before they leave the factory

It's been ten years since the first warnings about the security defects in pacemakers, which made them vulnerable to lethal attacks over their wireless links, and since then the news has only gotten worse: one researcher found a way to make wireless pacemaker viruses that spread from patient to patient in cardiac care centers, and the medical device makers responded to all this risk by doubling down on secrecy and the use of proprietary code. Read the rest

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