Greedy landlords create a mass-extinction event in Burbank's indie paradise

Burbank's Magnolia Park district was a big reason my family and I moved to town three years ago: a walkable, shady, tree-lined street whose merchants are a quirky (and legendary) mix of indie bookstores, prop outlets, vintage clothing stores, collectibles stores, year-round Halloween stores, hobby shops, quirky indie designers, gaming stores, wine bars, community credit unions -- like a goth/alternative Main Street, USA. Read the rest

Scientology's $5,000 E-meters are surprisingly well-engineered

The E-meter is a quack device used by Scientologists in a religious ritual called "auditing" in which changes in skin potential are said to indicate past traumas (including traumas from past lives) being re-experienced and cleared from your psyche. Read the rest

"Carlton, Your Doorman" - Emmy-winning 1980 animated TV pilot

Zach Smith writes, "Lorenzo Music's Carlton the Doorman was one of TV's great unseen characters...but he finally got a face in this special, intended as a series pilot. And he...kind of looked like a hippie. The intended series would have been one of the first adult-oriented prime-time cartoons, but while it didn't make it past the pilot, it did win an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program...and Lorenzo Music would have better luck in animation a few years later when he started voicing Garfield the Cat. The special, which was never rebroadcast after its initial airing, is also available on the RHODA: SEASON FIVE DVD set from SHOUT! Factory, and the YouTube channel this is on has a treasure trove of unaired series, alternate first episodes, concept presentations and more." Read the rest

More Sacha Baron Cohen funnies: getting wingnuts to endorse "kinder-guardians" program to arm 3-year-olds

Sacha "Ali G/Borat" Baron Cohen has a new prank show called "Who Is America?" in the offing in which he punks political figures into endorsing bizarre, extreme political positions (think of it as a 21st century "Brass Eye"). Read the rest

How to get started painting RPG miniatures without going broke

I love the Super Punch roundups of gorgeously painted role-playing game miniatures ganked from social media; they fill me with joy and envy, as I've always been an enthusiastic, if not very talented, miniature painter. Read the rest

YouTube plans to spend $25 million fighting 'fake news.' Here's how.

YouTube just unveiled a plan to combat phony conspiracy videos intended to manipulate or defraud viewers. Read the rest

What's next in the fight to save the internet from the EU's catastrophic copyright plan?

When the EU's legislative committee voted last month to advance a bizarre copyright proposal that would mandate mass commercial surveillance and censorship of the internet, it was the beginning of the fight, not the end. Read the rest

Meet the people who went to the US Copyright Office to demand your right to repair, remix and preserve!

Every three years, the US Copyright Office undertakes an odd ritual: they allow members of the public to come before their officials and ask for the right to use their own property in ways that have nothing to do with copyright law.

It's a strange-but-true feature of American life. Blame Congress. When they enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, they included Section 1201, a rule that bans people from tampering with copyright controls on their devices. That means that manufacturers can use copyright controls to stop you from doing legitimate things, like taking your phone to an independent service depot; or modifying your computer so that you can save videos to use in remixes or to preserve old games. If doing these legal things requires that you first disable or remove a copyright control system, they can become illegal, even when you're using your own property in the privacy of your own home.

But every three years, the American people may go before the Copyright Office and ask for the right to do otherwise legal things with their own property, while lawyers from multinational corporations argue that this should not happen.

The latest round of these hearings took place in April, and of course, EFF was there, with some really cool petitions (as dramatized by the science fiction writers Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow [ahem]), along with many of our friends and allies, all making their own pleas for sanity in copyright law.

We commemorated the occasion with a collection of short video conversations between me and our pals. Read the rest

Italian Chefs watch in horror as YouTube ruins Spaghetti Carbonara

In this video, three reputable Italian chefs are subjected to severe moral injury by being forced to watch the top five 'how to cook carbonara' videos on YouTube. Their emotions range between outrage, disappointment, dour amusement and absolute horror in under 13 minutes. Be sure to turn subtitles on for this one before settling in.

The most interesting thing for me was how disappointed they were in the final video that they watched, which features Jamie Oliver showing off his carbonara chops. According to the chefs, they ain't great. Their chief complaint was that he failed to show the meat being properly sanitized before chopping it up and throwing it in a hot pan to fry. I'm sure the pig processing poop adds flavor, but Yuck.

Image via Wikipedia

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Homebiogas: easy, clean, climate-friendly way to heat and power your home with garbage

Yesterday, I saw a demo of the Homebiogas bioreactor: it's essentially an artificial stomach that uses colonies of microbes to digest your home food waste (it can do poop, too, but people tend to be squeamish about this), providing enough clean-burning biogas to cook your next meal, heat your house, or run a generator -- what's left behind is excellent fertilizer. Read the rest

3D printed origami robots that crawl and grab when activated by magnets

A team at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have created a set of foldable, 3D printed robots that are doped with magnetic particles that are precisely aligned during printing; when triggered by a control-magnet they engage in precise movements: grabbing, jumping, rolling, squeezing, etc. Read the rest

Secret recording of weeping children begging for their parents while a Border Patrol official mocks them

"Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor." That's the voice of a Border Patrol official, mocking a sobbing group of 10 terrified Central American children who've been separated from their parents at a US border-crossing. Read the rest

A musical salute to Father's Day, courtesy of Groucho Marx and Junior Bear

Behold, my two most favorite pieces of Father's Day media. I'm thousands of miles from my own family today, but I'm celebrating Father's Day in my own way. Read the rest

Making an espresso machine from a (thoroughly scrubbed) motorbike piston

Rulof Maker used a salvaged motorcycle piston and cylinder, mounted in an Ikea lamp, to create a homebrew espresso machine, using a lever to pressurize water at temperature through a puck of coffee grounds. Read the rest

Country Time will pay your kids' lemonade stand fines this summer

If your kid gets fined for running an unlicensed lemonade stand this summer, or has to pay to get a license to operate a stand, Country Time will pay the first $300 in expenses, to a maximum of $60,000 in fines between now and Aug 31 (sorry, Labor Day parade lemonade stands, you're SOL). It's a genius promotion, which is not something I say often. (via Kottke) Read the rest

The new Deep Fakes are in and they're spookily good

SIGGRAPH is coming, when all the amazeballs graphics research drops, and the previews are terrifying and astonishing by turns (sometimes both!). Read the rest

Zip Slip: a sneaky way to install malware using zip and other packing utilities

Packing files into archives like zips, tars, jars, wars, cpios, apks, rars and 7zs is a common way to keep important files and filesystem structures together when sharing them; it's also a source of potentially dangerous malware attacks. Read the rest

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