Shared posts

26 Apr 16:27

Select the Clothes That'll Look Best on You with the Style Pyramid

by Melanie Pinola

We've probably all bought clothing before that ended up sitting in the back of our closets, whether it's because the clothes looked great in the store but not on our bodies or they just didn't match anything else we own. The Art of Manliness offers a three-step rubric to avoid these problems, called the Style Pyramid.



25 Apr 20:47

Listen to the only known recording of Alexander Graham Bell's voice

by George Dvorsky

Researchers from the Smithsonian have restored a 128 year-old recording of Alexander Graham Bell's voice from a wax-and-cardboard disc. It's our first opportunity to hear what the famous inventor actually sounded like.



25 Apr 15:59

Ghost Train Station Then and Now…

by Scout

As a follow-up to Tuesday’s post about the now defunct Putnam train line, reader Wiscogirl emailed to say that a rare picture of the Van Cortlandt train stop in its heyday is currently up for sale on Ebay. Here’s the station today…


…and in 1963, a few years after passenger service ended:

I have to say that the above picture is really quite a haunting shot. The bid for the picture is currently at $3.50, for anyone interested!


24 Apr 17:24


by Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox LIVE and If you are in the US or Canada, you can also watch the broadcast on Spike TV.

On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.

We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.

A New Generation Revealed
Xbox Campus, Redmond WA
Tuesday, May 21st @ 1p ET/10a PT/17:00 GMT

Follow me on Twitter where I’ll share updates leading up to the event.

Follow @majornelson

Xbox Reveal on

23 Apr 16:50

The Real Problem With That Controversial, Sexy Video Game Sorceress [UPDATE]

by Jason Schreier

Criticize an overly-sexualized awful game character for being too sexy? WELL YOU MUST BE GAY THEN RIGHT GUYS?

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article that criticized one of the characters in the upcoming game Dragon's Crown. Today, the man behind that character has responded to that article.



23 Apr 16:10

Superheroes Designed By Little Girls Are Fantastic

by Patricia Hernandez

First there was Superheroes are for girls, too!, a website which showcased little girls who love superheroes. Now there's also Little Girls Are Better At Designing Superheroes Than You, a website which illustrates photographs of superhero-loving little girls. They're heartening pictures.



22 Apr 00:03

Modes of Commuting in Seattle, WA .

Modes of Commuting in Seattle, WA .

19 Apr 16:05

4 Video Games That Help You Understand And Deal With Your Depression

by Phil Owen

The web has been abuzz about games with a focus on depression this year, Depression Quest in particular catching everyone's eye. But this very small subcategory of free games goes beyond just that title, and we can take in a true variety of experiences when exploring this space.



18 Apr 23:18

The NYT just posted the coolest exoplanet infographic we've ever seen

by Robert T. Gonzalez

Good grief, it's gorgeous. The New York Times just unveiled the slickest exoplanet animation/infographic we've laid eyes on. Go check it out. Now.



18 Apr 20:24

NASA has discovered the most Earth-like planets yet

by Robert T. Gonzalez

NASA's Kepler mission has discovered a trio of distant planets that look remarkably like our own. Belonging to solar systems located 1,200 and 2,700 light years from Earth, the three Earth-sized worlds have been spotted orbiting in the so-called Goldilocks Zone of their parent stars – the "just-right" range at which liquid water, and life, can exist on a planet's surface.



18 Apr 20:24

The Boy Scouts of America: Then and Now — A Comparison of the 1911 and Modern Handbooks and Merit Badges

by Brett & Kate McKay


“‘Scout’ used to mean the one on watch for the rest. We have widened the word a little. We have made it fit the town as well as the wilderness and suited it to peace time instead of war. We have made the scout an expert in Life-craft as well as Wood-craft, for he is trained in the things of the heart as well as head and hand. Scouting we have made to cover riding, swimming, tramping, trailing, photography, first aid, camping, handicraft, loyalty, obedience, courtesy, thrift, courage, and kindness.

Do these things appeal to you? Do you love the woods?

Do you wish to learn the trees as the forester knows them? And the stars not as an astronomer, but as a traveler?

Do you wish to have all-round, well-developed muscles, not those of a great athlete, but those of a sound body that will not fail you? Would you like to be an expert camper who can always make himself comfortable out of doors, and a swimmer that fears no waters? Do you desire the knowledge to help the wounded quickly, and to make yourself cool and self-reliant in an emergency?

Do you believe in loyalty, courage, and kindness? Would you like to form habits that will surely make your success in life?

Then, whether you be farm boy or shoe clerk, newsboy or millionaire’s son, your place is in our ranks, for these are the thoughts in scouting; it will help you to do better work with your pigs, your shoes, your papers, or your dollars; it will give you new pleasures in life; it will teach you so much of the outdoor world that you wish to know; and this Handbook, the work of many men, each a leader in his field, is their best effort to show you the way.” — Boy Scouts of America Handbook for Boys, 1911


Just a few years ago, the Boy Scouts of America celebrated their centennial anniversary. The BSA was founded in 1910 as a military-inspired organization designed to shore up the values of self-reliance, patriotism, courage, morality, outdoor ruggedness, and all-around manliness the country feared was being lost as it became increasingly urbanized. In its century-long history, the Scouts have remained true to many of their founding principles, while also changing along with American culture. Because the Scouts were designed to be a repository of traditionally manly values, tracing those changes offers an interesting prism through which to see how our views on manliness have shifted as well.

One way to illuminate these changes is by comparing the original BSA handbook, published in 1911, with the modern version – the 12th edition was introduced in 2009. In an incisive book review for the Claremont Institute, Kathleen Arnn conducts this type of side-by-side analysis. She points out that while the modern version contains many of the same skills as the original, “its discussions of these things have been pared down and lack the verve, punch, and adventurous spirit—the manliness—of the original handbook.”


What has been dropped or reduced in the modern handbook is telling. Gone is the section on chivalry, which traced the Boy Scouts’ heritage back through the pioneers and Pilgrims, and to the knights of the Middle Ages. While the 1911 handbook has a lengthy chapter on Patriotism and Citizenship (including a letter from Theodore Roosevelt on “Practical Citizenship”), which outlines the history of the United States, the meaning of the flag, and the purpose of various governmental bodies, the modern handbook has greatly shrunk the discussion of such things in both length and detail. The original is also generously peppered with references to great men in history for young boys to emulate, while the mention of such “heroes” is almost entirely absent from the one published in 2009 (being inspired by history isn’t much in fashion these days).

Perhaps most striking is the different way in which the two guides address the idea of good character. The original didn’t shy away from strong admonitions like, “It is horrible to be a coward. It is weak to yield to fear and heroic to face danger without flinching,” and “The honor of a scout will not permit of anything but the highest and the best and the manliest. The honor of a scout is a sacred thing, and cannot be lightly set aside or trampled on.”


In contrast, the modern version frames its discussion of character in terms of its inoffensive modern equivalent: leadership and personal development. Instead of being couched in the absolute language of moral virtue, doing the right thing becomes a matter or “making the most of yourself” and “getting along with others.” Arnn further articulates the shift:

“Character formation is still a top priority for the BSA, but the latest handbook has largely replaced the traditional language of virtue with the progressive language of leadership, and this is not an improvement. The chapter on Chivalry has been completely removed, and the chapter on Leadership, which is presumably meant to replace it, has little to say about moral virtue beyond the Scout Oath and Law. Instead, it presents the EDGE method of teaching (explain, demonstrate, guide, and enable), describes the difference between short term and long term goals, and lists tips for using the internet to become a leader in your community…

Boy Scouts are still taught to follow their consciences: do the right thing, even though it may be difficult, which is sensible advice as far as it goes. But it does not go far enough. The old handbook treated the subject as if the conscience needed to be formed before it could be followed. Scouts needed to be habituated to the virtues through study and practice, dutifully doing the right thing until it became second nature. This was a stern discipline. Many would not succeed at it; those who did could be proud.”

It’s notable to see what has been added to the modern handbook as well. For example, while the subject of abstaining from alcohol and tobacco is covered in just five sentences in the original, it comes in for a much fuller discussion in the modern version, with details on how to resist peer pressure. And while the 1911 handbook begins with that arresting introduction we put at the start of this piece, the new one opens to a tear-out pamphlet titled: “How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse.” “It’s as if,” Arnn writes, “the first thought our boys should have is that they are potential victims.”

BSA Merit Badges: Now and Then


These observations are interesting food for thought, and I’m sure debate as well. But the other day, I decided to look at the evolution of the BSA from a different angle: comparing the requirements for merit badges now and then. Such a comparison is a little more fun, and a little less serious than contrasting the differences between the handbooks’ respective philosophical bents. And yet it still reveals a lot in how we’ve changed as a culture and what we expect of young men.

The most obvious change is that there are many more merit badges available to earn today than there were back in 1911: 131 versus 57. The expansion in badges to such things as Robotics, Game Design (which involves playing and describing what you like about your favorite video games), Skating, Traffic Safety, Citizenship in the World (as opposed to just the nation), and Disability Awareness reflect the changing interests of boys and sensibilities of modern society. At the same time, some of the original badges have disappeared or been incorporated into broader badges as their requisite skill set became more outdated; not too many modern boys need to know how to shoe a horse (Blacksmithing badge) or send a Semaphore code (Signaler badge).


What is most interesting to take stock of are the changes in requirements among the badge themes that have largely remained the same over a century’s time. As one might already suspect, in many cases the requirements for the original badges were more demanding than those of their modern counterparts. But even in the few cases where the present-day badges involve a more difficult requirement (for example, in 1911 Scouts had to swim 100 yards; now they must swim 150), what stands out for all the modern badges is how much longer and more involved the guidelines are today than they used to be. In the 1911 handbook, earning each badge involved the completion of a short list of one-sentence requirements. Modern badge requirements, on the other hand, run to as many as ten paragraph-long sections, the first of which is always a discussion of the need to discuss safety considerations with one’s leader. The gardening badge for example, requires the Scout to discuss with his counselor what hazards he might encounter if he happened to unfortunately plant his tomatoes near a beehive.

Modern badge requirements also diverge from the old in their more abstract, mental nature. While the 1911 badge requirements are all direct actions, often of the physical, hands-on variety, the modern badge requirements emphasize more thinking than doing. The hands-on tasks are now tucked into long lists of requirements that ask the scout to thoroughly Review/Describe/Explain/Illustrate/Demonstrate the underlying principles and context of the badge’s subject matter before trying their hand at it.

To illustrate these differences, below are some side-by-side comparisons of the old badges and their modern equivalents:


Camping is the activity for which the Boy Scouts are best known. In comparing the original camping merit badge to today’s, one can see how the hands-on requirements have been loosened; for example, Scouts formerly had to sleep out for 50 nights, know how to build a fire without matches, and construct a raft. On the flip side, the modern badge has decreased that requirement to 20 nights, and has greatly expanded the more mental requirements — making checklists, creating plans, and describing different camping guidelines and pieces of equipment.



I love the rigor here. “You can’t just invent something. It doesn’t count unless you patent it, kid!”


Firemanship/Fire Safety

What’s interesting here is that, as reflected in the change in the badge’s name, the 1911 badge is geared towards preparing the Scout to actually fight the fire and rescue people (as if encouraging boys to rush into a burning building was the most natural thing in the world), while the modern badge focuses on how to prevent and escape fires. It also includes that crucial skill: how to safely light a candle!



The pioneering badge is one of the coolest in my opinion, and the past and present versions still share some similarities. However, one difference is that instead of having to build a bridge or derrick, modern Scouts are asked to build a model of one. The original Scouts were required to build a shack, too. In fairness, a modern Scout may choose to build something like this for the pioneering project he gets to choose himself; however, in practice, what you end up with are a whole lot of monkey bridges. And the requirement for felling a tree ought to be brought back!



The cooking badge is a good example of where the modern hands-on requirements surpass or at least are commensurate with those of the original, while also being greatly augmented by safety concerns and other guidelines (the camping menu, for example, must follow the guidelines of the food pyramid). As a side note, it’s interesting to see how the respective handbooks’ menus have changed; the 1911 edition offers a recipe for frog legs, the 2009 version for tofu stew.



The fishing badge might be the clearest example of the watering down (pun intended!) of requirements in the present day. While Scouts at the turn of the century had to make two different rods themselves and catch ten fish of ten different species with them, the young modern angler must only reel in…one. In fairness, the old angling badge combined rod fishing and fly fishing, while today they are separate badges. Still, to earn the fly fishing badge, you again only have to catch one fish, so that if you caught the requisite number for each badge, you’d still only have caught 1/5 the haul required of the Scouts of yore.



All organizations that have been around for decades change and evolve in order to stay relevant with the current culture. I still think the Boy Scouts are a worthwhile organization in which to enroll one’s son or take part in as a young man. And I don’t think all the changes made to the modern badge requirements are entirely a “bad” thing. Some are sadly inevitable in our highly litigious society, where the BSA is just a bee sting away from a lawsuit. And excelling in modern society does require a higher degree of “soft skills” than it used to; the ability to plan and explain things will greatly help a young man though life as our workplace has become more thought-based and less hands-on.

Yet, I have to say that the spare, stripped-down requirements of the 1911 badges greatly appeal to me. Surely all the modern, preliminary study of the underlying context for a skill is important, but sooner or later you’ve got to get down to actually doing the thing. And the sooner the better in my opinion! There’s something to be said for learning by trial and error. In a world where everything is increasingly abstract, the more the Scouts can be a refuge of hands-on activity – a place where one can actually get their hands dirty with the concrete, tangible things of nature, the better. There’s also something to be said for challenging young men more than we sometimes do. Too often they struggle under the tyranny of low expectations, but they’re eager to rise to the challenge once pushed.

What do you think of the differences between the 1911 BSA handbook and merit badges and the new ones? Do they signal improvement or decay? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Related posts:

  1. The 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America
  2. Manvotional: Boys Wanted
  3. Best New Tech for the Modern Handyman
  4. 11 Best Father/Son Activities
  5. Give The Art of Manliness Book for Graduation

15 Apr 23:24

The Hobo Museum in Britt , Iowa

The Hobo Museum

“Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you.“ This is the first rule of the Hobo ethical code. 

In most people's mind hoboes are a thing of the past, frozen in time since the Depression. The hobo’s picturesque image, walking along rails with a light bindle stick, hopping steam trains from state to state to avert his fate, solidifies him as an iconic American figure.

However, one might be surprised that "hoboes" don’t just belong to the past of the US. Small but dynamic communities mindful of perserving their history, their ethics, and their legacy, exist today.

Since 1974, three different generations composing the hobo community converge once a year in the city of Britt, Iowa to celebrate and exchange thoughts, tips, and stories about a penniless lifestyle. They gather to share tales of wandering around the country avoiding troubles and danger, and to preserve their self-taught train engineering and coded languages generated by decades of hoboes.

With the goal of archiving and keeping alive their culture, the Hobo Foundation bought the Britt movie theater and installed a permanent display of artifacts donated by the itinerant workers: extensive memorabilia of such famous hoboes as Frisco Jack, Connecticut Slim, Hard Rock Kid and Pennsylvania Kid, just to name a few.

On display are original hobo crafts, photographs, videos and documentaries depicting the hobo lifestyle, paintings, a historic postcard collection, and a hobo doll collection. Visiting the Hobo Museum is a deep dive into the most americana branch of vernacular archeology.

15 Apr 20:54

3D sonograms let blind expectant parents "see" their babies

by Morgen Peck — Tech Page One

Jorge Roberto Lopes dos Santos, an industrial designer with the Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia in Brazil, is giving doctors a new way to print sonograms for their patients — as life-size replicas.



15 Apr 20:51

Apologies: What, When and How

by John Scalzi

I’ve apologized a fair amount for stupid and/or ignorant and/or insensitive things that I have done or said over the course of my life. This has has given me the time and experience to, if not perfect the form of an apology, then to at least get it to a point where I am comfortable that the apology will be understood as genuine. Perhaps at some point in the near future you’ll need to apologize for some stupid and/or ignorant and/or insensitive thing you have done. Here are thoughts I have for you on the subject.

First thing: What is an apology?  Leaving aside classical definitions that are not directly on point to how the word is used in everyday life:

An apology is an admission that you’ve wronged others and that you are actually sorry for it. This is of course why it’s difficult for people to apologize. No one likes to admit they are wrong or that they screwed up. No one likes the complicated, defeated feelings that come with being wrong and screwing up. No one likes having to go to other people, publicly or privately, and admit to them they’ve been wrong and have screwed up. It is, literally, humiliating, since apologizing almost always requires humility and a willingness to put the needs of those you have wronged over your own. For ego-bound creatures, and we are all ego-bound, this is a hard thing to do.

I think it becomes less hard, however, if you consider the following:

One, everyone’s wrong at some point. Because, hello, you’re a human, and humans are imperfect beings. It’s okay to recognize you are not infallible.

Two, it’s better to center your ego on doing what’s right rather than never being wrong. Because, per point one, you’re going to be wrong at some point.

Three, it takes strength to apologize and apologize well. Any jackass can refuse to apologize when they are in the wrong; indeed, refusing to admit you’re wrong, or to apologize it, is one of the hallmarks of being a jackass. Being willing to stand up and say “I screwed up, I’ve wronged you and I am sorry for it,” on the other hand, means you have the strength of character to own your actions, and the consequences of them, both for others and yourself.

Okay, now we know what an apology is.

So, let’s say that you’ve said/done something, publicly or privately, that has genuinely upset someone (or more than one someone). Should you apologize? Ask yourself the following questions:

Are you actually sorry? If the answer is “no,” then you shouldn’t apologize, because your apology will be totally insincere. An insincere apology is worse than no apology at all; not only is it obvious that you’re not sorry for the original act, but the fake apology suggests that you think people are stupid enough to believe a fake apology. Congratulations, you’ve just made yourself look like an even bigger assbag.

If you are actually sorry, then ask yourself this:

Are you primarily sorry for yourself, or for others? This is the classic “are you sorry you screwed up, or that you got caught?” question. Meaning that if the nexus of your concern is your reputation, your standing, and your status, then your apology is likely to reflect that. In which case, I have news for you: your apology will come across as “I’m sorry the rest of you ganged up on me,” and I assure you that’s not going to go over very well.

If on the other hand your primary concern is that your actions have affected others negatively, then the focus of your apology will reflect that, and those you have wronged will more likely appreciate that you see the problem is not what’s being done to you, but what you have done to others.

I want to be clear I think it’s fine if you are concerned for your own standing; we’re ego-driven creatures, and damage control is a fine thing. The point here is to understand where the balance is. Remember that an apology is about owning up to what you’ve done to others. Making your apology all about you, or primarily about you, is missing the point of an apology.

Another question:

Are you willing to let your apology be an apology? Meaning, once you’ve apologized, are you going immediately start backtracking from it, adding caveats, exclusions, conditions and defensive annotations? It’s remarkable the number of perfectly good apologies that don’t stick the dismount. People can’t leave them alone, I suspect, because of defensiveness and ego — yes I was wrong but you have to admit I’m not the only one who was wrong here, or yes I was wrong but in general you have to admit my point still stands, or even yes I was wrong but it was wrong of you to make a big deal out of it. Which, again, is going to make things worse.

If you can’t just apologize, perhaps you should not apologize.

A final point for this part, not in the form of a question but still important to know:

An apology is directed toward other people, but is something you do for yourself. Which is to say, the reason to apologize is not because other people expect it from you (although they may), but because you expect it from yourself — it is part of your personal character to own up to the wrongs you have done to others. If you’re apologizing solely because of outside expectation, the apology is going to be hollow at its core. The best apologies are the ones where the moral actor for the apology is the one who is saying “I apologize.” This can be learned, fortunately.

We’re done with the preliminaries now, and you’ve decided that you should apologize. To my mind, an apology has three steps to it, which are pretty simple and straightforward.

1. Briefly, specifically and factually recount the action you’re apologizing for. You’ve done something wrong. Say what it is. Don’t try to mitigate or defend, just get it out there.

2. Acknowledge that you wronged others. Again, don’t mitigate or defend. Acknowledge it and say it.

3. Apologize unreservedly. Don’t drag it out. Don’t qualify it. Say it, own it. Let it be there.

That’s the basic format.

Some style notes:

Apologies are active. Use the active voice. “I did this,” is far stronger, and indicative of personal responsibility, than “this thing happened.” A passive voice in an apology comes across as a denial of responsibility or accountability. Don’t do that. As a subset:

The offense is yours. Own it. “I am sorry I offended you” acknowledges the screw-up is yours, “to those who were offended, I am sorry,” sounds like you’re suggesting the responsibility for the offense should be shared, and “I’m sorry if you feel offended,” is palming off the responsibility entirely on the other person (and makes you sound like an unrepentant jackass).

Don’t try to be funny or clever. The failure mode of “clever” is “asshole.” An apology is an attempt to own up to what you’ve done wrong. It’s the last place in the world you want your communication to fail, and it’s not a piece of communication that needs spicing up. Save your funny and clever side for something else.

Be upfront and to the point. To use a journalism term, don’t bury your lede. Brevity does not mean insincerity.

Don’t dilute your apology. Don’t add it into something else, don’t sweep by it to go on to other topics. Let it be its own thing and make sure you make it clear what you’re doing and way. You don’t have to dwell on it, but you have to give it its moment.

Here is an example of an apology done as suggested above. Let’s say I have made an ass of myself to my friend “Joe” by, say, making a joke about cancer when a loved one of his has just passed away from the disease. Here’s how I would apologize.

Dear Joe:

Yesterday I made a cancer joke in front of you, and as a result I caused you pain. I didn’t intend to hurt you that but I did it anyway, and the responsibility for that is mine. I am genuinely sorry I hurt you. I will try very hard not to do it again. I’m here if you want to talk to me. Let me know – JS

Simple, direct and to the point. Joe doesn’t have any doubt what I’m apologizing for or that I take responsibility for it.

Now that you’ve apologized, is everything done and over and hunky dory? Not necessarily. Some after-apology points to consider.

1. An apology is not self-administered absolution. You apologize to acknowledge a wrong you’ve done to others, but simply acknowledging that wrong doesn’t mean you’re now off the hook for it. It helps substantially if you’re willing do do a little legwork on the matter, from something as simple as letting that other person know you’re there to talk (see the last sentence in the apology to “Joe”) to something as life-changing as making an effort to adjust your worldview. Don’t be the guy who says “Hey! I said I was sorry!” and expects it to settle all dispute. If that guy is over the age of ten, he doesn’t get as much credit for that statement as he wants.

2. You should accept that your apology may not be accepted. And that it may not be accepted for any number of reasons. Maybe it was poorly phrased and came out as defensive, even if you didn’t mean it to be. Maybe those you’ve wronged feel an apology isn’t enough and want to see what you do next. Maybe you’re the third person today to apologize to them for something and are simply all out of forgiveness for the day. Maybe you don’t get an explanation at all.

Point is, this is not something that’s in your control, nor should you pretend it is. This is one reason why I strongly believe that while an apology is offered to others, it is what you do for yourself — because the only person whose response to the apology you have control over is you. If you apologize and the apology is not accepted, then you have still acknowledged your error, and that’s not trivial.

It’s all right to hope an apology is accepted and forgiveness given — and to ask for it if you would like to. It shouldn’t be a primary reason to offer it. And you should keep in mind that its acceptance is a gift freely given, and not a requirement.

3. Apologizing and making the same mistake a second time is worse than not apologizing at all. Because it suggests that you’ve learned nothing and that your apology was really just an exercise in going through the motions. Which is to say apologies are not merely the end of a bad situation. They are the beginning of a promise to do (and be) better.

If you’re visibly making the effort to do and be better, if (and likely when) you screw up again, you will still have credit from that previous apology. If you’re not making that effort, if (and almost certainly when) you screw up again, you will not. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So: When you apologize, mean what you say. Back it up. Move forward with it. And do it for you, to the benefit of others. That’s how you make an apology stick.

15 Apr 20:50

If I Made Another Monkey Island

by Ron Gilbert

Yeah, I know, that sounds like the title of the O.J. Simpson book. I realized that after I typed it, but I'm not going to change it.



15 Apr 18:48

13 Smart Podcasts That Will Feed Your Hunger for Knowledge and Ideas

by Amanda Yesilbas

Want to get smarter during your commute? There are a lot of fantastic podcasts that will teach you new things in a thoroughly entertaining way. Here are 13 podcasts that will expand your brain with cutting-edge science and cutlural analysis.



12 Apr 14:10

It's almost here!

by (Scott Rogers)

For those of you wondering, here's the low-down on Bedbug #1 - (It's so exciting!!)

Watch out villains, here comes Bedbug! He's a single-father by day and crime-fighting hero at night! The leapin' lawman stars in his own 32 page comic that's packed with character bios, pin-ups and stories - featuring the NEVER REVEALED ORIGIN of Bedbug! Crime won't be sleeping tight once they feel the Bedbug's bite!
1:4 Variant cover by MITCH BALLARD
On sale SPRING 2013 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
12 Apr 14:09

How Long Should I Keep Old Documents?

by Melanie Pinola
Click here to read How Long Should I Keep Old Documents? Dear Lifehacker, More »

11 Apr 22:58

Rockstar has made official Spotify and iTunes playlists for every radio station in GTA history.

11 Apr 16:14

What would 25-feet of sea-level rise look like IRL?

by Robert T. Gonzalez

People talk a lot these days about rising seas. They talk figures in feet and inches. They make maps, and forecast which stretches of America's coastline will be inundated in 25, 50, or 100 years. But we're visual creatures, and visual creatures want to know: what might this projected sea level rise actually look like?



11 Apr 16:13

The Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating Freelance Rates

by Tom Ewer
Click here to read The Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating Freelance Rates It's the most common question I receive from aspiring freelancers of all types: How much should I charge? The question comes packaged in various different guises—whether it is a beginner dipping their toes in the freelancing waters for the first time or someone who has been freelancing for a while but wants to renegotiate their rate with a client. More »

11 Apr 16:12

BRB, pirating Photoshop.

05 Apr 21:51

So they updated Evil Dead by making it torture porn with a little exorcism all up in it

by Annalee Newitz

I was interested as a fan of the original, and how relevant you could make z-grade grindhouse horror in the modern age (or the post-Cabin in the Woods era.) But going the torture porn route - which pretty much confirms what I thought from reading about this movie - is the exact WRONG direction. I'll go see Jurassic Park 3D instead.

If you're a fan of the Evil Dead movies, which vibrate with Sam Raimi's visual psychosis and Bruce Campbell's bug-eyed mania, you may find yourself disappointed by the Evil Dead reboot that the two just produced. The original movie trilogy was a slapsticky sendup of 1970s horror movies. Unfortunately the reboot is just straight torture porn, with no winks and no nudges. Even the buckets of blood and eyeball stabbing aren't enough to make this movie great.


04 Apr 18:10

LinkedIn Endorsements and How to Turn That Shit Off

by Erika Napoletano

how to remove_linkedin_endorsementsSome of the folks reading this blog have endorsed me on LinkedIn. This is automatically going to turn me into an ass monkey in someone’s eyes. Fine. I’m an ass monkey.

But I’m an ass monkey that wants you to stop using LinkedIn Endorsements. For. Fuck’s. Sake.

**Note: the language doesn’t get any cleaner from here on out. You’ve been warned.**

First, I’m going to talk about why LinkedIn Endorsements are about as meaningful as having Paris Hilton teach etiquette classes to pre-teen girls. Once I’m done spouting off, I’m going to teach you how to turn them off. You already know how I feel about unqualified connection requests (and apparently, most of you feel the same way).

The Idiocy of LinkedIn Endorsements

Here’s the bottom line about LinkedIn Endorsements: who cares? I know they’re bullshit. You should know they’re bullshit. If you don’t know that they’re bullshit, let’s define why they’re bullshit once and for all.

There are many reasons to connect with people on LinkedIn. Not all of those connections will be people who have direct knowledge or experience as to what’s it’s like to work with you.

The only “barrier to entry” for offering a LinkedIn endorsement is being someone’s connection on the LinkedIn platform. Now, I’m sure that the passengers on the Titanic would not be endorsing Edward Smith for his sea captaining skills. Did they directly work with Smith? No, but I do feel they’re likely a good judge of his experience. But he’s dead. Just like 1,502 passengers on the ship. But that still leaves roughly 700 people who could likely vouch for the fact that Smith missed a giant chunk of ice in the Atlantic martini.

Which brings me to another round of WHO FUCKING CARES?! When the barrier to entry on a LinkedIn Endorsement is only that someone’s clicked a button to acknowledge that they accept a connection, who the hell is giving any credence to Endorsements?

Here’s a snapshot of my Endorsements on LinkedIn:

how to turn off linkedin endorsements

Now, the only endorsement I really give a rat’s ass about is the one highlighted in red. Guess what? I created that category myself, fully embracing the sheer idiocy of LinkedIn endorsements and figured to hell with it. If people are going to offer me an endorsement on a skill and they’ve never met me, by gawdalmighty, here’s one they can click with fucking certainty.

Blogging? Thank you. After nearly 700 posts since 2006, I hope I know what I’m doing. But then again, shouldn’t other people be the judge of that when they stop by my blog?

Online Advertising? I really know fuckall about this. Facebook ads, their promoted posts, and a deep interest in LinkedIn advertising are the extent of it, I’m afraid.

Published Author? Yes, I am. Twice. But then again, so is this guy. Now you can see how useful broad categories like this are. Kill me now.

It all comes down to an ego-centric circle jerk. Every time I see a fresh Endorsement notification, I feel like the girl who got invited to a random “no, no, I swear it’s NOT an orgy” party and I get stuck hiding in the corner behind a ficus for the entire evening because my ride is involved in a kind of sandwich they don’t sell at Subway.

I’m leaving the Endorsements party. It’s creepy and I didn’t ask to be here. Maybe you’re ready to leave, too.

Let’s carpool.

Now — how do we get these fuckers off our LinkedIn profiles?

How to Remove Endorsements from Your LinkedIn Profile (or disable them completely)

Removing Endorsements from your LinkedIn profile is so damn easy that I feel like a chump for not figuring it out on my own. A big hat tip goes out to my friend Rich Mackey for giving me the gist so I could share this illustrated guide with you.

Step 1: Click on Edit Profile

how to removed linkedin endorsements


Step #2: Scroll down to Skills & Expertise (cough) and click the EDIT pencil icon

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 9.12.14 PM

Step #3: Opt to hide Endorsements in 3 simple steps.

removed linkedin endorsements from profile

You’re done. All that will show are skills that YOU choose to have displayed on your profile for search purposes or whatnot.

People can no longer offer their nonsensical “vouchings”. And you, my friends, are now free of those useless notifications that someone’s endorsed you.

Want real endorsements? Ask your customers and clients for testimonials. Put them on your website. Make them easy to find and make sure they depict the work you do and how your clients feel when you do it for them. LinkedIn isn’t the only game in town when it comes to building a credible portfolio for your brand of awesome. Stop letting others — the platforms and the people — define how others see you.

That’s your domain, friend. Take it back and make the rules.



03 Apr 23:42

BioShock Infinite Ported To Wooden Tables

by Luke Plunkett

Is it sad that I don't care about the game, but I want the minis to paint for RPGs?

What the upcoming BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia lacks in surround sound and frantic action, it makes up for with things the video game version is lacking in: a tangible world and, more importantly, little plastic men (and women).


03 Apr 17:34

Where to Drink Like Don Draper

Old school. Photo via AMC.

Mad Men returns for its sixth season Sunday night. And while creator Matthew Weiner is renowned for his hatred of spoilers, it's unlikely Don Draper will be flying to Seattle to pitch Boeing, or that Pete Campbell will make the prescient observation that people might like to carry their hangover-aiding coffee around in nifty portable cups with fake Italian names. But a girl can dream, right?

In said dream, the scene opens in Seattle with the obvious shots of the (relatively new) Space Needle and monorail. Don Draper and Roger Sterling emerge from the airport, looking fly in their suits and thirsty for something “big and brown.” Don’s words exactly.  In season five, Don was a changed man, subdued and faithful to his new bride, but now he’s in a different time zone and ready to party with the perfect wingman—a silver fox with a gift for one-liners. Let’s follow them as they bar hop to some classic spots of the 60s and some newer, old school–inspired spots of today in true ad man style:

Business Lunch: The Metropolitan Grill
Don’t even think about ordering an ice tea at this meeting. It’s pitchers of bloody Marys to start. The perfect shot: the duo in one of these high-backed booths, ordering prime porterhouse medium rare, and flambé bananas Foster to finish. And closing, always closing. After selling Peter Canlis on opening a second location by the Space Needle (too bad he didn't meet with them back in the day), they move on to (an) afternoon (of) cocktails.

Happy Hour: The Gerald
Though happy hour pricing hadn't quite caught on yet in the Draper days, he's always up for a pre-dinner drink. And this midcentury-styled Ballard cocktail bar even has a drink named after him: The Draper point. It’s bourbon, black tea, and apricot liqueur. Don won’t want one—he’s modest—but Roger will order a round for the whole bar. If having him sitting at the bar drinking his namesake isn’t good advertising, I don’t know what is.  

Appetizers: Ballard Annex Oyster House
Though the opium den from the Thaiku days might have been Don’s first pick for a secluded drink (or consorting with a raven-haired Nordstrom heir, if only they weren't all blonde dudes), the back-bar booth in this new East Coast-styled oyster house will do just fine. The funky wood-detailed wall treatment and '60s-style lamps add a period-correct backdrop. It’s a seafood feast:  oysters Rockefeller, whole Maine lobster from the tank, and rounds of martinis. No one can rock that bib like the Draper does. 

Main course: Canlis
They couldn’t possibly not hit Seattle’s most iconic fine dining restaurant. Now that Don and Roger are best buds with Mr. Canlis, it’s time for the duck (a newer classic from chef Jason Franey, but with a grandiose presentation these gents would appreciate) and a bottle of Chateau Margaux while taking in the amazing views.

Dessert: Vito’s
It’s over to Pill Hill for tiramisu and entertainment in a room that looks much like it did in the Draper days, comoplete with red vinyl booths and dark wooden walls. Jazz plays as a breathy lounge singer serenades the patrons. Cigarette smoke creates a hazy light. Wait Don, you can’t smoke in here.   

After dinner drinks:  Sun Liquor
Perfect for a late-night rendezvous with dim lighting and way better versions of '60s-appropriate mai tais; there probably weren't too many places using fresh-squeezed juices back then. By now, Don’s moved on to the brown stuff and the Old Fashioned here could be one of the best in the city.  

Nightcap:  Canon
Though the truffle Old Fashioned might be a little too experimental for a man not exactly known for embracing the new, there’s a captain’s list over 70 pages long to satisfy any drinker. Draper might go for the 1936 Canadian club neat at $525 a pop. I’m sure he’d just pass the check right on over in Sterling’s direction.  

...Don and Roger climb out of cab outside the Fairmont hotel...back then known simply as the Olympic. They stagger up to the golden doors and we fade to black. Season 6, Sunday, April 7th on AMC.

03 Apr 16:11

The People Who Make Rock Band Celebrate The Day The Music Died

by Kirk Hamilton

Today marks the release of the final downloadable song for Rock Band. Harmonix has chosen Don McLean's "American Pie" for the honor, which, as I've already said, is an absolutely perfect choice.


02 Apr 21:17

The extended "red band" cut of the trailer for The Last of Us that aired earlier this week is the ra

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The extended "red band" cut of the trailer for The Last of Us that aired earlier this week is the rare video game trailer that can convince TV viewers using only in-game footage. I mean, this looks like an ad for a new post-apocalyptic TV show...


02 Apr 17:33

Train becomes Tube

by Annie Mole
For reasons as yet unknown an A Class 20 diesel locomotive at the Midland Railway Centre, has been painted in London Underground corporate livery.

The Midland Railway Centre is one of the homes for old trains undergoing refurbishment. More pictures of the train above can be found here. I love the idea that old locomative trains can get a make-over as a London Underground train.

Here's another carriage undergoing a makeover. You can see that most of its cab end has been replated.  Known in the trade as LU Choppers, it's unlikely that you'll get to see them in London, but they'd certainly turn a few heads if they made it down here.

These "hybrid" Tube / Trains remind me of the Tube/ Bus/Train that was refurbished last year

Thanks to @julog90 for bringing this to my attention. 

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