Self-destructing thumb drives with smoke loads, glowing elements, tiny explosives

MG's Mr Self Destruct project takes the USB Killer to new levels, combining a $1.50 system-on-a-chip with a variety of payloads: smoke bombs, "sound grenades," and little explosives, cleverly choreographed with keystroke emulation, allowing the poisoned drive to first cause the connected computer to foreground a browser and load a web-page that plays an appropriate animation (a jack-in-the-box that plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" with the drive's explosive detonating for the climax). Read the rest

VR chat participant appears to have a photosensitive seizure

Participants in a VRChat room watched as the avatar of one of the participants appeared to go into a grand mal seizure, accompanied by distressed sounds audible through the voice-chat. Read the rest

It's Poe's birthday, so here's Neil Gaiman reading The Raven

Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again. Read the rest

Trial cyclist vs the obstacle course that is Düsseldorf

Here's two minutes of Scottish trials cyclist Danny MacAskill doing astounding bike tricks in Düsseldorf, making his bike leap from one narrow ledge to another, climb over walls and fences, and many other feats of daring, coordination and balance. There's a full 26 minutes of this on Ali Clarkson's Vlog 69. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Frankenstein 200: America's science museums celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Shelley's Frankestein with a free, amazing transmedia experience

Joey Eschrich from ASU's Center for Science and Imagination writes, "To celebrate the official 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (previously) on January 1, 2018, we’ve launched Frankenstein200, a free, interactive, multiplatform experience for kids. Developed in partnership with the award-winning transmedia studio No Mimes Media (cofounded by the hyper-talented Maureen McHugh), with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, Frankenstein200 is a digital narrative paired with hands-on activities happening in January and February at museums and science centers across the United States." Read the rest

Samba Vader

From 2009's Boston Bootie 21, DJ Faroff's astounding samba remix of the Darth Vader March: put your hands up in the air! Read the rest

Make: a secret, rollaway bookshelf

Glue the spines from an old encyclopedia set to slats of wood, back with a piece of fabric (a "tambour") and top with woodscrews as makeshift rollers that run along a routed track, and voila, you've got a hidden stashbox that slides aside to reveal whatever you want to hide there. Read the rest

A Japanese promoter has launched Kasotsuka Shojo, a cryptocurrency-themed all-woman "cryptopop" group

The latest launch from Japanese entertainment corporation Cinderella Academy is Kasotsuka Shojo "Virtual Currency Girls," who are billed as the first cryptopop band. Read the rest

Girl plays the Star Wars Cantina theme using math and well-timed pencil strokes

Dani Ochoa, a self-described " girl with too much time on her hands," writes, "I spent way too much time figuring this out." Read the rest

Teacher removed from public education meeting in handcuffs after asking why superintendents get raises but teachers don't

Deyshia Hargrave is an English teacher at Rene Rost Middle Schools in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana; on Monday night, she attended a special meeting of the local school board and, when called upon comment period, politely asked why the board superintendants had voted themselves a raise while the teachers in the school district have been subjected to a long-term pay-freeze. Read the rest

How depending on a platform is a ticket to financial ruin, and what to do about it

UC Berkeley economist J Bradford DeLong's wide-ranging Reinvent interview covers a lot of ground, but is especially fascinating on the long-term trajectory of small businesspeople who bet their commercial futures on platforms -- he uses Uber drivers as an example, but this has implications in lots of sectors. Read the rest

Woman who accused Roy Moore is homeless after her house burned down, fire investigated as arson

Tina Johnson accused Roy Moore of sexually assualting her in 1991, when she was 28, making her a rare adult to be preyed upon by the delusional pedophile mall-crawler. Read the rest

Camperforce: Laura Poitras documentary on the elderly precariat nomads who keep Amazon's warehouses working

Last September, I wrote about Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, Jessica Bruder's important, fascinating book-length investigation into the Americans who live on the road out of economic necessity, including the Camperforce, a precariat army of retirees who saved carefully all their working lives, only to be bankrupted in the 2008 financial crisis who travel from Amazon warehouse to Amazon warehouse, filling in as seasonal and temp workers on gruelling, 12-hour shifts that leave them in pain and with just enough money to make it to the next stop. Read the rest

The Paradox of Tolerance: should intolerance be tolerated?

With the rise of white nationalist groups whose allies in government extend all the way to the President of the United States, tech companies are finding themselves in the uncomfortable position of deciding where tolerance begins and ends -- where they have a duty to step in and silence certain kinds of speech. Read the rest

Make a Lego cookie-icing robot/plotter

Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks (previously documents his latest creation: a poltter that squeezes precise patters of icing onto cookies, built out of Lego Mindstorms, and includes full, downloadable instructions. Read the rest

Crowdfunding Lupiga, a progressive, independent voice combating rising fascism in Croatia

Lupiga is a longrunning, much-loved independent news source in Croatia that is virtually single-handedly doing battle with the country's surging fascist movement; they're crowdfunding to continue operations. Read the rest

Terror-nuggets: winners of this year's 15 Second Horror Film contest

The 15 Second Horror Film Challenge is an annual competition run by a nonprofit (you have until Oct 2018 to get your entries in for next year). This year's top twenty has some entries that literally made the hair on my neck stand up, especially Luma Films' Good Night, which is an especially good take on a recurring horror theme. More of my favorites below. (via JWZ) Read the rest

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