A startling and quite wonderful ... article? ... at the Washington Post today, wherein Alexandra Petri lenses EPA chief Scott Pruit's corruption through a mockingly science-fictional eye and perfectly distills the surreal horror of his administration.
Have you seen what happens when you leave an earthworm in the sun on hot asphalt? Have you seen what happens to the things that live in a wetland when that swamp dries up? Have you seen a salamander who has been too long in a hot car? Have you seen a lobster without its shell?
Unrelatedly, we must find Scott Pruitt his lotion.
Scott Pruitt must be seated at the front of the plane, behind the little curtain. Perhaps a private jet would be better, all things considered. It would be safer. None must see what happens when he reaches 30,000 feet.
What will happen?
Nothing, nothing! Naturally.
I hope you like my GIF; they gave me my Wacom back on the express condition I not make any more of these but, well, here we are, in 2018, and all.
As posted on the (verified) Twitter account of Warwickshire Police on April 2, this gentleman is on the run.
We can confirm that this is real ... it's serious as a woman was victim of a horrible crime. Hopefully the attention will mean we identify the offender/bring him to justice quicker
If you see him, be sure to inform the authorities and/or the SCP Foundation.
— Warwickshire Police (@warkspolice) April 3, 2018
ParadiseOS depicts an alternative computing world from the turn of the millenium: a desktop obscenely slathered in compulsory and broken services, ads and applications, an experience designed by dotcom era advertising boyars but hopelessly unrealistic before the wide availability of broadband internet and hardware video decoding. It's part Black Mirror, part vaporwave, part ironically brilliant web development by Stephen Kistner.
Read the rest
Paradise OS imagines an alternate version of 1999 where the personal computer is a gateway to a commercialized global network. Palm Industries, a former mall developer turned technology giant effectively controls all online experiences.
Acting as a time capsule, the desktop captures the moments of December 30, 1999 — just days before a catastrophic Y2K event leads to the computer emerging in our dimension. Participants explore this frozen moment from time, using the content to discover more about the world from which it came.
The project references the visual vernacular of the 20th century American shopping mall. It establishes a connection between the mall and the Internet as escapist experiences and hubs of social activity.
The desktop's content deals with Internet phenomena including fake news, instant gratification and information overload. By engaging with contemporary topics from the perspective of an alternate reality, the project encourages participants to think more critically about the state of our own digital spaces.
Spewing like massive tentacular light sabers, steel mill cobbles are unpredictable workplace mishaps that represent "extreme manufacturing danger."
The temperature of molten steel is in excess of 1300°C (2500°F) and it goes without saying that those in the vicinity of strips of molten metal need to be extremely careful. This steel is heated to such temperatures to make it more manageable and allow strips to be gradually reduced in diameter to the required size ... There are images aplenty of steel cobbles because while they are extremely dangerous they happen on a daily basis in many steel plants. Indeed when producing steel via this process you will regularly hear people quote the cobble rate which is in effect the rate of waste.
Some of these videos are weirdly beautiful; all of these are absolutely terrifying.
Here, a stern British man explains what's happening:
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) January 22, 2018
When you lie in the dark of night, a faint neural echo of human connection urging you to reach for your phone, do you fight it? The Aumum Mini, a compact nightlight that lets you know when someone retweets you, etc, will help you fail even better!
It's a USB-powered nightlight that connects to your Wi-Fi, and includes IFTTT support for getting into all sorts of automated shenanigans. The exact sort internet events you'd like a nightlight to inform you of is, of course, entirely up to you. A few examples offered by Aumi include weather alerts, Wi-Fi-is-down notifications, and and smart home integration. Personally I'd like to use one to keep track of my unread emails.
No. Go to sleep! Read the rest
Britain and America are, as William Gibson has written, a subtle mirror-world reflection of one another. There is a complex language of similarity between these half-separated, half-remerged cultures, and it provides a shared appreciation of difference for all to enjoy. When I emigrated from Britain to America, then, I experienced the many charming embraces and disarming rejections offered by this history.
But two questions stood out from the very beginning.
First: given that America is so riven by racism that it invites an annihilating bloodbath of justice, why do white people cling mindlessly to the doomed bonds of privilege? Second, what the hell is the deal with Chuck E Cheese?
Dahlke says that destroying Chuck E. is usually done “out of sight.” In the case of Oak Park, Chuck E.’s head was slated to return to a warehouse in Kansas where games and robots are typically shipped following a store’s closure. “But those employees went rogue and took that outside … they should not have been doing that,” Dahlke says. He is quick to add that most Chuck E. Cheese’s locations don’t keep sledgehammers around, and they appeared in Oak Lawn to break down old furniture. Usually, he says, Chuck E.’s head isn’t bashed in. Instead, stores will slice it in half or otherwise “find a way to make sure that it’s not recognizable.”
The Joyfay Giant Teddy ($109, Amazon) is described as "6½feet" and appears in pictures as an adorably chubby furry friend for young and old alike: "offers more huggability than your average bear!" declares the product description.
But upon receipt, buyers report, the toy is not quite what they expected. It is, as promised, "6½ feet". As spotted by Twitter user cooltonedcutie, it's mostly limbs.
"I was expecting a the bear to be huge because it's 6.5 ft right?" writes "Amazon Customer". "No, all of its height is from its legs and the legs are longer than its upper body."
But others say the freakish furry is just adorable — a position its creators at Joyfay are quick to concur with.
"We first began selling giant teddy bears because we noticed a large spike in demand around Valentine’s Day for these items on Google Trends," writes Nikola Matic, who cofounded the company while completing a PhD program at Case Western Reserve University. "At this time, this was a present almost exclusively given to girlfriends and wives. It was often given from boyfriends or husbands that traveled frequently or were deployed overseas as a sort of surrogate boyfriend. As such, the proportions of the teddy bear were closer to an adult humans than to tiny teddy bears."
Read the rest
In the years since, a demand has grown for these giant teddy bears as a gift for children, for birthdays, and even at Christmas. With that change in demand, there was a desire for the bears to have the proportions of a smaller teddy bear.
Exhibit A: (above) Joel Carroll (@joelcarroll) hypothesizes a many-legged parasite that replaces the internal mechanics in the manner of Cymothia Exigua, the tongue-replacing fish louse. Buy the T-shirt.
Just when you thought it was safe to deep dream, along comes Bob Ross and his happy little glitchoggoths. Read the rest
Fake plastic rice—totally convincing by sight, but potentially lethal to eat—has gone from urban legend to horrifying controversy in Nigeria, where a shipment of the stuff was intercepted and is undergoing tests. Is it plastic, or just really weird rice? Somehow everything's gotten murky and confusing.
Nigeria's food safety agency has denied claims by the health minister that it has cleared the reported "plastic" rice.
A senior official at the National Agency For Food and Drugs (Nafdac) said the minister's Twitter statement "is not their position".
Health Minister Isaac Adewole had tweeted that tests by the agency found "no evidence" of plastic material ... [but Latgos Customs Chief] Mr Mamudu had said the rice was very sticky after it was boiled and "only God knows what would have happened" if people ate it.
The BBC's Martin Patience in Lagos, who felt the rice, said it looked real but had a faint chemical odour.
Two and a half tons of "Best Tomato Rice" were seized and it's not clear if any has reached markets and stores. Tests should be complete in a few days.
"Whoever made it did a remarkable job," says the BBC's Martin Patience. "It feels like rice, the texture is amazing, but when you smell it, there's something not quite right."
I wonder if this is a symptom of the way commodities trading works. No-one doing the buying and selling ever gets near the goods, making the supply chain vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attackers adjacent to the source.
Commodities, Tealeaf! Read the rest
We interrupt your growing anxiety at America's emergent cyberpunk dystopia for a tense missive from the Syrian War. In this video, an explosive-laden suicide truck bears down on a position held (reportedly by French special forces with the SDF) near Raqqa. The perspective on the video makes it hard to tell, but the vehicle is well-armored and only seconds from putting the defenders in serious trouble. Bullets ricochet off; a missile sails past its target. It is not long before everyone is becoming quite alarmed at the driver's progress. What happens next, though, will probably not surprise you. Read the rest
r/BadCGI is my new favorite subreddit, whose inhabitants share examples of grotesque, inept, or amusingly dated computer graphic animation. Embedded here for your enjoyment is the full movie of Joshua and the Promised Land.
P.S. Has anyone noticed that the cripplingly addictive game in Star Trek: The Next Generation is basically Pokemon Go, but with only one Pokemon? Right down to the quality of the graphics!
Speaking of Pokemon, here's a genuinely terrifying PC version from 2000:
Neil Cicierega took the four (!) Chipmunks movies, superimposed them upon one another, and slowed them down. If CGI remakes of cartoons can be seen as the pigs of our cartoon childhoods ushered into the rendering plant, this is the psychic slime left gluelike under the vats. [via]