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28 Jul 17:41

Facebook Publishes Its Managing Bias Course For All

by Issie Lapowsky
Facebook Publishes Its Managing Bias Course For All

The social network is positioning itself as a leader in diversity efforts, even though it still has a lot to learn.

The post Facebook Publishes Its Managing Bias Course For All appeared first on WIRED.

24 Jul 17:04

There’s a Volcano Called Kick ‘Em Jenny, and It’s Angry

by Erik Klemetti
There’s a Volcano Called Kick ‘Em Jenny, and It’s Angry

Earthquakes and bubbles in the sea suggest Kick 'Em Jenny off Grenada is going to erupt soon.

The post There’s a Volcano Called Kick ‘Em Jenny, and It’s Angry appeared first on WIRED.

23 Jul 05:00

Primer: A beginner’s guide to the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe

by Caroline Siede

Primer is The A.V. Club’s ongoing series of beginners’ guides to pop culture’s most notable subjects: filmmakers, music styles, literary genres, and whatever else interests us—and hopefully you. This installment: the sprawling expanse of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Prerequisites: A History Lesson

Back in 2005, the idea of superheroes hanging out together on-screen was as absurd as the thought of someone making another Star Wars trilogy. While superheroes often team up on the pages of comic books, movie licensing deals limited specific characters to specific studios for specific franchises. On the big screen, Superman stayed in Metropolis, Batman in Gotham City, and the X-Men and Spider-Man lived in two separate versions of New York produced, respectively, by 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures.

But around that time Marvel Comics was growing dissatisfied with the way its characters were being presented on-screen in critical flops like 2003 ...

19 Jul 19:30

Jamie Lee Curtis Pulls an Adam Savage and Attends EVO 2015 Disguised as Vega from Street Fighter - Oh, Jamie Lee Curtis, you are just grand.

by Jessica Lachenal

Grad trip to @evo2k. 2 stay incognito was Vega who wears a mask. @StreetFighter family. DJ, Dr. Bosconovich, Makoto.

— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) July 18, 2015

This weekend was EVO 2015, and paying a visit was none other than Jamie Lee Curtis along with her entire family. Of course, as one does at EVO, she went in disguise as Vega, one of the Street Fighter characters. In fact, her entire family went in costume, including her husband Christopher Guest who was dressed as Dr. Bosconovitch, from Tekken. They were all there for her son’s graduation trip.

No word yet on whether anyone spotted her or her family. How cool would it be to realize you were sitting next to Curtis after you got home and saw the news?

Don’t forget that Curtis has some of her own fighting game chops. In an interview she did for Spare Parts, she mentioned that she’s all about fighting games, especially Street Fighter. Her main? Cammy. Who else?

(via Vulture)

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20 Jul 15:24

High-resolution, deliberately "inaccurate" maps

by Rob Beschizza


Project Linework posts maps in a variety of loosey-goosey styles, for people who want things almost right. Read the rest

07 Jul 19:47

Great Job, Internet!: The visual effects in Game Of Thrones’ battle of Hardhome, deconstructed

by Lisa Rabasca Roepe

Game Of Thrones’ Battle Of Hardhome was, without a doubt, the biggest throwdown in the fifth season of the HBO show. And now, Spanish VFX company El Ranchito has deconstructed the whole thing, demonstrating how the show used green screens, neon spandex, and other effects magic to convince viewers that nothing is more terrifying than thousands of wights attacking the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch as the White Walkers watch atop their undead horses.

El Ranchito released a five-minute video that breaks down the most chilling moments from “Hardhome,” including the invasion of the wight army, Jon Snow shattering a White Walker with Longclaw, and Wun Wun the giant tearing a wight in half.

[Via The Daily Dot]

30 Jun 22:40

Sugary drinks kill 184,000 people each year through diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according t

by George Dvorsky

Sugary drinks kill 184,000 people each year through diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according to new research from Tufts University. “It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,” notes lead researcher Dariush Mozaffarian, who says these drinks have no health benefits.


22 Jun 15:17

Zoe Saldana Says Hollywood Had an Issue with Her Getting Pregnant, Thinks They Should Pay for Childcare

by Jill Pantozzi

ZoeSaldanaI don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mess with Zoe Saldana.

Speaking with USA Today, Saldana expressed her… frustrations with the reactions to her recent pregnancy (she had twins!).

“Let me tell you something, it will never be the right time for anybody in your life that you get pregnant,” says Saldana, noting that last year, “the productions I was slated to work on sort of had a panic. I heard through the grapevine there was even a conversation of me being written off of one of the projects.”

Her reaction?

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, are you kidding me? It’s this bad?’ Right when I just feel super-duper happy, is that inconvenient for you? That me, as a woman in my thirties, I finally am in love and I am finally starting my life? And it’s (screwing) your schedule up? Really?”

Yes, really. And of course it’s not an issue that belongs to Hollywood alone. Countless employers are wary of hiring women they believe are about to start a family and some will even straight up discriminate against them. Then of course there’s the paid leave issue for after employees have a baby and USA Today mentions a 2014 study from the Families and Work Institute, writing “only 20% of large employers (with 1,000 or more employees) provide child care at the workplace, and just 5% contribute financially toward it.”

Saldana thinks there’s an imbalance considering studios will

“spend more money sometimes ‘perking’ up male superstars in a movie,” she says, paying for private jets, a coterie of assistants and bodyguards or booking “a really phat penthouse or them staying in a yacht instead of them staying on land.”

“But then a woman comes in going, ‘OK, I have a child. You’re taking me away from my home. You’re taking my children away from their home. And you’re going to make me work a lot more hours than I usually would if I was home. Therefore, I would have to pay for this nanny for more hours — so I kind of need that. And they go, ‘Nope, we don’t pay for nannies.’ “

More and more actors are speaking out every day about the sexism inherent in the industry, both behind the scenes and in front. It took Sony’s recent email hack to get Jennifer Lawrence paid more than her male co-star Chris Pratt — what will it take to help fix Saldana, and others’, issues?

Feliz dia de los Padres a mi compañero de todo. Mi Marco. Happy Father’s Day to my everything. My Marco

A photo posted by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on

(via US Weekly)

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22 Jun 16:38

Listen to Marc Maron's WTF interview with President Obama

by Mark Frauenfelder

Marc Maron and President Obama had a relaxed and fascinating one-hour conversation in Maron's Pasadena, California garage, where Maron produces his popular WTF Podcast.

Read the rest
23 Jun 17:14

Fascinating guide to antique space maps (Also, the Earth is square)

by David Pescovitz

Above, a map of the "Square and Stationary Earth" (1893) by a Professor Orlando Ferguson of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Read the rest

24 Jun 11:00

Op-ed: Why Houston employers must support STEM education

by Gabriella Rowe
Houston is in line to create hundreds of thousands of STEM jobs in the coming years, but we won't have the workers to fill them unless several things change. By the year 2018, more than 715,000 STEM-related jobs are projected in Texas, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects a 9 percent growth in engineering professions from 2012 to 2022. While that’s promising news for Houston’s economy, and in…
24 Jun 12:00

How To Turn Off Gmail's Sucky Hangouts And Get The Old Chat

by John Brownlee

Notice a change to your Gchat? Hate it? Don't panic.

After two years of gently suggesting that users switch from the classic Gchat UI to the newer Hangouts platform, Google surprised Gmail users around the world this week by automatically switching everyone over. Luckily, there's an easy way to get the old Gchat back. Which is a good thing, because Hangouts in Gmail just sucks compared to Gchat.

Read Full Story

15 Jun 09:25

How Do I Get People To Speak Up In Brainstorming Meetings?

by Art Markman

"Anybody have any ideas?" . . . Anybody? . . . We tackle how to get people talking.

We've all been in that brainstorming meeting: the one where you could hear a pin drop, and the white board of "great ideas" remains blank. It's awkward for participants and downright excruciating for the person leading the meeting.

Read Full Story

16 Jun 18:22

Christopher Lee Reads “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Edgar Allan Poe’s 1843 Classic

by Dan Colman

Last Friday, after we marked the passing of Christopher Lee by featuring his reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1845 narrative poem “The Raven,” we stumbled, by chance, upon Lee’s reading of another Poe classic–“The Tell-Tale Heart.” Operating with the theory that there’s no such thing as too much Edgar Allan Poe, and certainly no such thing as too much Christopher Lee reading Edgar Allan Poe, we’ve featured that second reading above. It’ll be added to our collection of 630 Free Audio Books

via the Edgar Allan Poe Facebook Page

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

17 Jun 07:00

My Awesome Solar Boost Purse #WearableWednesday

by Leslie Birch


I try to journey once a month from Philly to New York, and on those days, especially in winter, my phone tends to die. I remember carefully planning my afternoon between coffee shops and train stations where I might find an outlet to plug my phone. One of the most frustrating times was trying to visit a wearable tech show in Brooklyn with no power. I made it there, but I knew there was no way I was going to navigate back to my Bolt Bus stop without my trusty subway app. Luckily, Becky Stern was there and gave me a spare power box from her Solar Boost Bag project. I remember liking that project, and it was that moment when I figured out it was the perfect New York solution. So, I set about putting one together.

Choosing the Right Purse/Bag

Although I liked Becky’s bag shown in the tutorial for this project, I really wanted something that would look nice in a business situation, or something more casual. A black purse just seemed right. Here’s what you should be looking for:

  • Sturdy Material – I opted for a medium vinyl, but a heavy canvas also works well. You want it to support the solar panel without caving in.
  • A Front Pocket – this is crucial for the storage of the power pack, hiding the cable and accessing the interior of the purse behind the lining
  • Comfort/Placement – You want to be able to hold the bag, but have a good part of the solar panel exposed while you are walking

Lets’s get down to the details here. First, the material has to be sturdy, but it also can’t be too thick. The screws that come mounted on the solar panel are quite short, so my purse made of vinyl backed with thin foam was just thick enough. Any more would not have allowed the bolt to be tightened on the screw. As for the front pocket, you’ll need to cut open the lining of that pocket in order to get directly behind the fabric on the outside of the bag without compromising the inside fabric. Granted, I could have chosen to puncture holes entirely through the wall of vinyl and the inside layers, but then it would have maxed out the screw length anyway. That front pocket is also handy because it allows you to store the cord for the solar panel, and it also is big enough for the power box when in charging mode.


Construction Tips

Here are some things that made the project easier:

  • A Nice Wire Stripper/Cutter – For cutting the cable on the solar panel to replace the barrel jack
  • White Grease Pencil – I used this on the tips of the screws to mark the placement on the purse
  • Jeweler’s Screwdriver – I didn’t have an awl, so this is what I used to create holes for the solar panel
  • Hair Dryer – Replaces a heat gun for the heat shrink tubing on the cable

Probably the only tricky thing in this project is snipping off the barrel jack on the solar panel since you have to replace it with a different size jack for the power box. The cable is quite thick and my combination of mini-Leatherman stripper and small nippy cutters took three attempts until I got it right. You really want to have the black and red protective casing exposed on those small wires when you go to solder the new jack. That way when you apply the heat shrink tube you will be sure to have no shorts.


Why I Love It

  • Power When You Need It- Keep the power box charged and you can keep it in any purse
  • Good all year round-Even when the sun isn’t shining, you can also charge the power box through an AC outlet
  • Meets My Specs-This purse is practical and good looking

I’ve had fun taking this purse to a park where it charges nicely laying on it’s side. I’ve also been able to charge it on my windowsill, although the glass window does make the process slower. The cool thing is that wherever you take it, people definitely notice it, and it’s a reminder that alternative power can be incorporated into our lives. So,take advantage of this sunny weather and follow our Solar Boost Bag tutorial. You’ll have something useful for the beach and definitely a good traveling companion.

Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

17 Jun 07:57

A Proportional Visualization of the World’s Most Popular Languages

by Dan Colman


Click to view in a big, high-res format

Last week we highlighted for you a beautiful Tree of Languages infographic, created by Minna Sundberg using data from This week, we present another visualization of world languages, this one produced by Alberto Lucas Lopéz, on behalf of the South China Morning Post. And, once again, the underlying data comes from, a research project that catalogues all of the world’s known living languages.

Today’s graphic — click here to view it in a large format — takes the world’s 23 most popular languages, and then gives you a visual sense of how many people actually speak those languages overall, and where geographically those languages are spoken. The more a language is spoken, the more space it gets in the visual.

When you view the original graphic, you’ll note that Chinese speakers outnumber English speakers by a factor of four. And yet English is spoken in 110 countries, as compared to 33 for Chinese. And the number of people learning English worldwide dwarfs the number learning Mandarin.

As you look through Lopéz’s visual, you’ll want to keep one thing in mind: Although the 23 languages visualized above are collectively spoken by 4.1 billion people, there are at least another 6700 known languages alive in the world today. Someone has to cook up a proportional visualization of those. Any takers?

Speaking of learning popular languages, don’t miss our collection: Learn 48 Languages Online for Free: Spanish, Chinese, English & More.

via Mental Floss

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

Related Content:

The Tree of Languages Illustrated in a Big, Beautiful Infographic

The History of the English Language in Ten Animated Minutes

Noam Chomsky Talks About How Kids Acquire Language & Ideas in an Animated Video by Michel Gondry

17 Jun 11:50

Image: Tropical Storm Bill from the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly), currently on a one-year mission to the International Space Station, took this photograph of Tropical Storm Bill in the Gulf of Mexico as it approached the coast of Texas, on June 15, 2015.
17 Jun 11:44

Research on The Trade-off Between Free Services and Personal Data

by schneier

New report: "The Tradeoff Fallacy: How marketers are misrepresenting American consumers and opening them up to exploitation."

New Annenberg survey results indicate that marketers are misrepresenting a large majority of Americans by claiming that Americas give out information about themselves as a tradeoff for benefits they receive. To the contrary, the survey reveals most Americans do not believe that 'data for discounts' is a square deal.

The findings also suggest, in contrast to other academics' claims, that Americans' willingness to provide personal information to marketers cannot be explained by the public's poor knowledge of the ins and outs of digital commerce. In fact, people who know more about ways marketers can use their personal information are more likely rather than less likely to accept discounts in exchange for data when presented with a real-life scenario.

Our findings, instead, support a new explanation: a majority of Americans are resigned to giving up their data­ -- and that is why many appear to be engaging in tradeoffs. Resignation occurs when a person believes an undesirable outcome is inevitable and feels powerless to stop it. Rather than feeling able to make choices, Americans believe it is futile to manage what companies can learn about them. Our study reveals that more than half do not want to lose control over their information but also believe this loss of control has already happened.

By misrepresenting the American people and championing the tradeoff argument, marketers give policymakers false justifications for allowing the collection and use of all kinds of consumer data often in ways that the public find objectionable. Moreover, the futility we found, combined with a broad public fear about what companies can do with the data, portends serious difficulties not just for individuals but also -- over time -- for the institution of consumer commerce.

Some news articles.

17 Jun 13:10

What is the Kuiper Belt?

Dr. Mike Brown is a professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech. He's best known as the man who killed Pluto, thanks to his team's discovery of Eris and other Kuiper Belt Objects. We asked him to help us explain this unusual region of our solar system.
15 Jun 15:00

On Game Of Thrones, Revenge Is Best Served With A Twist

by Charlie Jane Anders

The season finale of Game of Thrones was basically a series of vignettes where various characters got their revenge... usually with an ironic twist. It was a lot to take in. But it did disprove once and for all the idea that Littlefinger is a brilliant mastermind. Spoilers avaunt!


11 Jun 14:30

Celebrate Sir Christopher Lee's Career With His Many Cinematic Deaths

by Rob Bricken

I’m devastated at the loss of the great Sir Christopher Lee, arguably cinema’s finest screen villain and certainly one of its most prolific. But as we mourn the man, we should also celebrate his incredible body of work — including this compilation of his many, many fantastic death scenes.


04 Jun 18:05

Presidential Candidate Lincoln Chaffee Proposes That US Go Metric

by timothy
New submitter Applehu Akbar writes: The good news is that for the first time in years, a candidate in the next presidential cycle has proposed completing our transition to the metric system. Though unfortunately it's Lincoln Chaffee, let's all hope that this long-standing nerd issue gets into the 2016 debate because of this. Warning: Lame CNN autoplaying video.

Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

04 Jun 19:35

Why Facebook Is Evil, According To Mindblowing New Series Mr. Robot

by Annalee Newitz on Gizmodo, shared by Annalee Newitz to io9

The dark, psychological hacker drama Mr. Robot slayed audiences at South by Southwest, and now it’s become a series on USA. It’s one of those rare shows that actually seems to understand what’s corrupt and rotten at the heart of the tech industry — and wants to burn it all down. We talked to the show creator.


02 Jun 19:27

The Onion on NSA Surveillance

by schneier

Funny, and true.

More seriously.

02 Jun 10:30

The Psychology Of Why So Many People Are Anti-GMO

by Adele Peters

Scientists say that GMOs are just fine. But the public thinks otherwise. Are our fears rational?

Think of a science denier, and you might picture someone arguing that climate change isn't real or vaccines cause autism. But the biggest chasm between scientists and the public is actually over GMOs: 88% of U.S. scientists say genetically modified foods are safe to eat, and only 37% of Americans agree.

Read Full Story

03 Jun 11:51

The Staggering Human Cost of World War II Visualized in a Creative, New Animated Documentary

by Dan Colman

“More people died in World War II than any other war in history,” explains Neil Halloran in The Fallen of World War II. In his 15-minute film, Halloran uses innovative data visualization techniques to put the human cost of WW II into perspective, showing how some 70 million lives were lost within civilian and military populations across Europe and Asia, from 1939 to 1945. As one commenter put it, “One million, six million, seventy million. Spoken or written, these numbers become … incomprehensible. Presented graphically, they hit closer to the heart. As the Soviet losses climbed, I thought my browser had become frozen. Surely the top of the column must have been reached by now, I thought.” He’s referring to the staggering number of Soviets who died fighting the Nazis. If you fast forward to the 6-minute mark above, you can see what he means.

The video comes accompanied by an interactive website, where users can “pause during key moments to interact with the charts and dig deeper into the numbers.” To use this interactive website, you will need a fairly new computer and a modern browser.

You can contribute money and support the ongoing Fallen of World War II project here.

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

Related Content:

Free Online History Courses

Watch World War II Rage Across Europe in a 7 Minute Time-Lapse Film: Every Day From 1939 to 1945

31 Rolls of Film Taken by a World War II Soldier Get Discovered & Developed Before Your Eyes

Dramatic Color Footage Shows a Bombed-Out Berlin a Month After Germany’s WWII Defeat (1945)

02 Jun 14:14

Neal Stephenson's Seveneves: five thousand years of apocalypse and rebirth

by Cory Doctorow
Neal Stephenson's no stranger to ambition, but his new novel Seveneves stretches to lengths (and heights) that beggar the imagination. Read the rest
03 Jun 14:20

Image: How liquids of different densities behave in weightlessness

In space everything is different. In a world with no up or down, hot air does not rise and liquids behave differently, too. In your kitchen, salad dressings will separate into the heavier vinegar on the bottom and the lighter oil on top. This separation does not occur without weight and liquids stay in suspension indefinitely.
02 Jun 15:40

Pick This again

by Matt Hall

Since I last wrote about it, Pick This! has matured. We have continued to improve the tool, which is a collaboration between Agile and the 100% awesome Steve Purves at Euclidity.

Here's some of the new stuff we've added:

  • Multiple lines and polygons for each interpretation. This was a big limitation; now we can pick multiple fault sticks, say.
  • 'Preshows', to show the interpreter some text or an image before they interpret. In beta, talk to us if you want to try it.
  • Interpreter cohorts, with randomized selection, so we can conduct blind trials.  In beta, again, talk to us.
  • Complete picking history, so we can replay the entire act of interpretation. Coming soon: new visualizations of results that use this data.

Some of this, such as replaying the entire picking event, is of interest to researchers who want to know how experts interpret images. Remotely sensed images — whether in geophysics, radiology, astronomy, or forensics — are almost always ambiguous. Look at these faults, for example. How many are there? Where are they exactly? Where are their tips?  

A seismic line from the Browse Basin, offshore western Australia. Data courtesy of CGG and the Virtual Seismic Atlas

A seismic line from the Browse Basin, offshore western Australia. Data courtesy of CGG and the Virtual Seismic Atlas

Most of the challenges on the site are just fun challenges, but some — like the Browse Basin challenge, above — are part of an experiment by researchers Juan Alcalde and Clare Bond at the University of Aberdeen. Please help them with their research by taking part and making an interpretation! It would also be super if you could fill out your profile page — that will help Juan and Clare understand the results. 

If you're at the AAPG conference in Denver then you can win bonus points by stopping by Booth 404 to visit Juan and Clare. Ask them all about their fascinating research, and say hello from us!

While you're on the site, check out some of the other images — or upload one yourself! This one was a real eye-opener: time-lapse seismic reflections from the water column, revealing dynamic thermohaline stratification. Can you pick this?

Pick This challenge showing time-lapse frames from a marine 3D. The seabed is shown in blue at the bottom of the images.

Pick This challenge showing time-lapse frames from a marine 3D. The seabed is shown in blue at the bottom of the images.

02 Jun 21:53

Great Job, Internet!: A fan edited The Hobbit down to just the Dol Guldur scenes (and no hobbits)

by Christopher Curley

There’s a universe in which The Hobbit trilogy was a single, fun adventure film with thematic and character groundwork that made The Lords Of The Rings films stronger for its existence, rather than making the audience seriously question whether Peter Jackson’s first crack at the Tolkien universe was as good as everyone remembers. Thanks to some industrious fan editors, the closest thing to the first scenario has already happened in the form of a single 4.5 hour Hobbit film stripped of any non-book material. Completing the circle, this second fan edit, by David Killstein, features only the scenes of Gandalf the Grey (and eventually other members of the White Council) fighting off the gathering forces of The Necromancer at Dol Guldur.

This is a far more enjoyable way to experience this expanded ancillary Rings universe material. At 43 minutes, what was a needless side plot among The ...