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25 Apr 14:49

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Immortality


Hovertext: You know the sun's a doctor because of that metal reflector thingy that hasn't been used in medicine for 80 years.

New comic!
Today's News:
25 Apr 15:06

Hewlett-Packard-01 wrist instrument, 1977

by adafruit



HP Virtual Museum: Hewlett-Packard-01 wrist instrument, 1977.

The HP-01 wrist instrument looked like a digital watch but was smarter than many pocket calculators. It performed more than three dozen functions to manipulate and interrelate time, calendar and numeric data. With six interactive functions (time, alarm, timer/stopwatch, date/calendar, calculator and memory) the HP-01 had 28 tiny keys that the user operated with a stylus built into the bracelet.

The HP-01, code-named “Cricket,” was not a successful product for HP. It was too bulky and heavy, and HP sold it though upscale jewelry stores. But miniaturizing the math functions was quite an engineering feat, and when HP discontinued manufacturing the HP-01, its inner workings were destroyed so no one would copy the extraordinarily small package engineering. The HP Archives has a few of the remaining elements.

The HP-01 currently is one of the most sought after collectibles in the antique electronics market, often fetching two or three times its original price ($650 for the silver color, $750 for the gold version).

23 Apr 15:39

Homeless Millennials Are Transforming Hobo Culture


Reading Gibson and other 80s cyberpunk created an image in my mind of future poverty. While there's a lot less neon and Blade Runner-eque perpetual night, I feel like a lot of the other details, both large and small, seem to be pretty much on the money.



The vagabond ecosystem is changing thanks to cellphones, Wi-Fi, Craigslist and Google Maps. Michael Portugal

On Reddit, he’s /u/huckstah, an administrator on /r/vagabond, a subreddit with nearly 10,000 members—many of them identify as “homeless”—who trade skills and stories.  On “the road and the rails,” he’s Huck, and even after we speak twice by cellphone, he tells me he’d prefer I don’t print his real name. “People say, ‘Well, you chose to become homeless.’ But that’s wrong,” he says. Huck says he’s been a hobo for upward of 11 years and started hopping trains and hitching rides at 18. “I did not choose to become homeless. If you want to say I chose to become homeless and sleep on the streets, really all I have to say is fuck you. You’ve never experienced it.”

Or maybe you have experienced it, thanks to the recent Great Recession that caused a spike in homelessness—especially for families—with its tidal wave of foreclosures. And if you have, there’s a good chance you were probably one of the many homeless with a mobile device, a sight that has become increasingly common. The ubiquity of cheap phones and even cheaper data has prompted even longtime homeless to join the growing ranks of people with a cell connection but no house. “The day I started on the road, I had a flip phone, an iPod, a TomTom GPS, an atlas, a laptop, and free Wi-Fi wasn't very easy to find,” says a medic who’s been a hobo for four years and asks me to identify him as “Nuke.” (“I have a pretty decent amount of training and experience in treating combat trauma.”) He now lives out of a ’91 Ford pickup and says, “I have a smartphone, a laptop, and free Wi-Fi is everywhere.”

The rise of the mobile Internet has made a hobo’s life easier, Nuke says. But when I ask Huck about how he and fellow travelers use their smartphones, I get the sense that even for the digitally connected homeless, life is far from easy. “I keep my phone off a lot, or in airplane mode,” he says, “because we can only charge up for a short time—maybe once a day, or sometimes it will be two to three days between charges, maybe an hour of charge.” For Huck and his fellow itinerants, smartphone usage is measured in instants. “We check Google Maps and then we turn it off, or we make a quick phone call and then we turn it off.”

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That’s a pity because a smartphone can be even more useful for a homeless person than it is for those with a regular roof over their heads. Case in point: Smartphones provide on-the-go weather forecasts, convenient for an everyday life but essential for a homeless one. “You have to keep an eye on the weather when you're living outside,” says Mike Quain, a 22-year-old busker and percussionist. “If it's too cold somewhere, we'll get south any way we can. And no one likes to be surprised by rain. Rain isn't nearly as fun when you don't have a dry place to go.”

Piecemeal job-hunting sites like Craigslist are also required browsing if you’re trying to make a living with no permanent place to call home. “For the past 100 years of this lifestyle in America, we found our jobs by following seasonal schedules and asking around for jobs at farmers' markets and farming supply stores, looking at job ads in newspapers, asking door-to-door,” says Huck, adding that things are done very differently today. “I know thousands of hobos, and I don't know a single one that doesn't use Craigslist. It has completely changed how we find work.”

The uses don’t end there. Quain lists Google Maps, and HitchWiki as “indispensable for vagabonds,” while Nuke is still in awe of his smartphone’s power. “I can fit an entire Radioshack from the ’90s and then some in my pocket now.”

Do a Google search for hobo culture and you’ll find a lot about decline: the death of the working-class itinerant, the fall of the Depression-era drifter who never stopped drifting and the end of the heroic hobo celebrated by the likes of the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa. Vice released a documentary in 2012 called Death of the American Hobo. Those “graybeards,” Nuke will tell you, are on the way out, but there isn’t a dearth of culture left in their wake. Itinerants under the age of 35, he says, are forming their own kind of hobo society, one that overwhelmingly keeps up with technology and the times.

Where there used to be “jungles” and “hobohemias,” now the Internet is the place present-day hobos—many of them millennials—go to connect and build a community. Sites little-known among the safely homed— (a map of dumpsters ripe for diving), (a list of free Wi-Fi hot spots), (railroad digital scanner frequencies)—are common resources, says Huck, for the vast majority of the digitally connected homeless community. “Prior to 2005 or so, all of this was simply done word-of-mouth, which is how it was done for over 100 years.”

Huck is developing a new hobo code. In terms of the mythology surrounding the homeless, this is a big deal. Read about the romance of hobo culture and you’ll find tons of talk about hobo symbols: a face on the side of a barn means the building’s safe to sleep in; a caduceus on a doctor’s door means the doctor will treat homeless. But for hobos nowadays, that’s all outdated. Huck is part of a project to revamp the code completely and make it more useful for the digitally connected hobo by creating a new set of symbols for things such as “Wi-Fi networks and free outlets.” When I ask if I can publish any of the symbols, though, Huck balks: When hobo codes become commonly known by regulars, it’s a problem. “The codes are for us,” he says, “and if other people see it, they could have clues to our secrets, and the next thing you know, that outlet that was accessible to hobos is now locked up or completely gone.”

Conventional wisdom says the Internet and mobile technology keep us in our own little bubbles, isolated and insular. And while perhaps that’s true for those with homes, Quain says it’s the opposite for hobos. For the itinerant homeless, traveling in groups makes sense for a bevy of reasons: safety, company and economies of scale, especially when it comes to digital devices. “Lots of us travel in groups and share the expense of one phone,” Quain says.

Luckily for Quain and his ilk, the ubiquity of the Internet is making finding fellow “travelers” easier than ever. The curious can head to and to find vagabonds forming groups, swapping stories and arranging meetings.

Squatters have also enthusiastically embraced the mobile Internet as a means of sharing knowledge—often as a way to fight for their place amid urban real estate development. Frank Morales is a former priest, former squatter and current activist with C-Squat, a squatter advocacy organization in New York. The group works with New York’s homeless men and women who park themselves in unused, often crumbling buildings and fix up the structures in an attempt to turn them into permanent homes.

To do this successfully, squatters need to learn how to bring amenities like electricity and running water into long-neglected buildings—and that, says Morales, is where the Internet becomes indispensable. Where before these skills needed to be shared in person (often at day-long squatter “skillshares”), now they can be digitally transmitted to anyone with a smartphone.

“Technology has really bridged the gap for a lot people around the world who are struggling for housing,” says Morales. Nowadays, activist movements use mass-texting platforms to coordinate occupations of neglected buildings for squatters to use. They also keep email lists that track what squats are in danger and distribute information about new laws that affect squatting. Activist homeless have used digital connections to form a movement that believes, in Morales’s words, “we have a moral obligation as individuals and as a society to support the occupation of spaces that are deteriorating and would otherwise just be rotting away to create housing.”

While no comprehensive survey of homelessness and mobile ownership has been done in the United States, small surveys provide a glimpse of how the trends have grown. A study by the University of Sydney found that 95 percent of Australia’s homeless own a mobile device, while Keith McInnes of the Boston School of Public Health’s study of homeless veterans in Massachusetts found that 89 percent own at least one device. (In Australia, mobile penetration in the general population is 92 percent; in the U.S., it’s 90.) However, “it’s hard to do truly representative studies of homeless persons,” says McInnes. For example, mentally ill homeless living under bridges, or in the woods, are probably less likely to have a cellphone and “less likely to be included in survey, because they are hard to find.”

But as McInnes points out, those who do possess a cellphone have a tool both for survival—and for restoring their sense of humanity.  While settled people are usually able to meet the wider world head-on and feel no shame, homelessness carries with it a pervasive, ugly stigma. “Having a mobile phone provides homeless persons with an outward-facing identity that can mask their homelessness,” explains McInnes. “With a cellphone, people you call or who call you don’t know you’re homeless.”

Some, like Huck, have taken this one step further, using their connectivity to promote their lives without a roof and walls as a source of pride. Near the end of our interview, Huck lets me know that he and several others on /r/vagabond have just been featured on an episode of Upvoted, Reddit’s weekly podcast, where they’re celebrated, not stigmatized.

“I’ve found a way to be homeless without starving or begging or sleeping in ditches,” he says. “I’ve become a professional vagabond, and this is the lifestyle that I love.”

23 Apr 16:48

the horror, the horror

by mimi smartypants

I am going to try to tell a story. It is a story about a story. A story I read long ago, that was advertised as “erotic fiction” but was the furthest thing from that. This story was a deeply wrong sexual horror, and not even in an absurd-sexual-fetish way, like someone getting off on pretending to be a sexy snack food (Hi! I’m a glutengendered Triscuitsexual crackerkin!), but in a “oh my god, what happened to you, why are you like this” kind of way.

If you’re ready, let’s go.

These days there is free porn everywhere you look,* and if you are a person who does not actually like “porn,” but you like “porn-ish sexy things,” there are also plenty of female-friendly consensual sex-positive gifsets in tasteful black-and-white all over Tumblr and such. But back in the dark ages, there were VHS tapes and erotic books and porn magazines and that was about it.

*Chicago mystery gossip time! I am the friend of a friend of a fairly well-known local “indie music” personality, and one of the things I now know about him (but probably shouldn’t) is that he is an avid collector of porn DVDs. Actual DVDs, that he buys with actual money, and they come with cases and have cast lists and titles** and things like that. It seems so quaint! But maybe it feeds the same urge as collecting vinyl.

**I like it when those titles are sequential things like Horny Ass Sluts Go Berserk Volume 9, because it makes me think oh, we can’t just jump in and watch this, we will be so lost. We have not yet seen Horny Ass Sluts Go Berserk Volumes 1-8.


Flashback time! I spent a few college breaks working at a video store. Ours was an independent and super-old-skool, with a “back room” where the porn was kept (it had a faux “door” covered up with pink crepe paper streamers, like the entrance to a seven-year-old girl’s birthday party, but WHOA, IT WAS NOT). It was very tedious working day shift by myself on summer weekdays, when often a lone dude would come in, wander around the main floor for a good 30 minutes picking up movie boxes, before “subtly” slipping behind the streamers. Oh dude. Just rent your porn and get out. I do not care.

Apparently porn gets “stale,” because my boss used to leave instructions for me to do another day-shift task, which was discarding old porn titles and ordering new ones. You did the ordering from a catalog, and the boss had no parameters for what I should order—porn is porn, just make sure it’s fresh. No porn over 30 days old! It was a rule.

After putting in a few orders, I realized that most of my selections had been anal-related. Anal porn had the most amusing titles (because butts are funny), so that is what would naturally jump out at me from the catalog pages. I then did some quick math and realized that if I worked there long enough to put in about 10 porn orders, I could single-handedly make anal videos be the entire porn inventory of the store. I could change our whole business model! We could cater to a niche market with no effort, advertising, or publicity! So long story short, I basically did that, although I was not able to do any data collection to find out if porn business went up or down as a result, and eventually I got a different job. Pretty sure that place is out of business now, but I think that is just the reality of video rental landscape and not my secret anal marketing plan.


Another thing that used to exist is erotic fiction. Oh, I know it still does exist, but wank-reads are mostly online now, rather than the entire feminist-bookstore section they used to populate. Nancy Friday was a particularly popular aggregator of reader-submitted smut. Her masturbation books had vaguely Freudian, psychobabble-ish commentary in between the sexy stories, but of course no one wants to read that, so Nancy Friday got the author credit while unpaid survey-answerers wrote the books. Now there is the internet and you can self-publish your own filthy fantasies, so yay, cut out the middlewoman. I suppose.

I found a Nancy Friday paperback book in the basement of my dorm years ago, and it was in good shape so I took it back to my room, thinking it would be funny to get high with my friends and read some of the weirder sex stories out loud in Muppet voices (what? come on, like you never). But when we did that, we found “Elaine,” and got way more than we bargained for.

“Elaine” describes herself as 34, married with children, and “always had fantasies of sex with animals.” Well, okay. She continues with a multi-page scenario of how she has to fuck a gorilla in front of a bunch of scientists, who are watching through glass and also on a monitor (for close-ups). There is fruit-flavored lube involved. The scientists have names, and characterizations. Elaine portrays herself as excited by the scene, but also proud to be doing her part “for science.” What exactly this gorilla-fuck is contributing to the breadth and depth of scientific knowledge is unclear, but it is sort of implied that scientists need gorilla semen and there is no other way to get it.

There are so many terrible inconsistencies with this gross fantasy that I am actually offended. I am not offended (per se) by the bestiality or exhibitionism, but by the utter wrongness of the FACTS.

  1. It is absolute hogwash that there is no way to get gorilla semen other than asking the gorilla to have sex with a human female.
  2. No IRB in the UNIVERSE would approve this study, no matter how many consents Elaine signed.
  3. No really, this is so goddamned unethical.
  4. Although I forgot to mention it, of course a large part of this fantasy is the massive gorilla cock, and oh my god SO INCORRECT. You have time to type out this massive disturbing fantasy, put a stamp on it, and send it to Nancy Friday, but you don’t have time to look up the fact that the average gorilla penis is 3 centimeters long?
  5. And yeah, fantasies don’t have to be 100% plausible. You don’t have to have a realistic scenario about how Tom Hiddleston just happened to drop by to help you fix the washing machine or whatever, and then oh no look his pants are covered in grease, well now that the machine is fixed we’ll just pop those right in, it will only take about an hour, can I make you a cup of tea?
  6. But if you’re going to be a big weirdo who wants to fuck a gorilla in a laboratory setting, in full view of a group of scientists (who by the way, are said to “whoop and cheer” when the gorilla ejaculates—NO NO NO WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT), you should at least know how big a gorilla penis is.

I’m going to end this here because the entry is too long and I’m too mad.

—mimi smartypants thinks it’s not that hard to do a little RESEARCH.

24 Apr 11:58


24 Apr 14:51

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Your Favorite


Hovertext: In fact, I'm pretty sure he's trying to break you for life.

New comic!
Today's News:

 A few friends of mine are fundraising for a gorgeous book on kickstarter. Please give it a look!

23 Apr 18:32

caseworkproductions: eunnieboo: so a few days ago i sat down for dinner and my mom handed me the...



so a few days ago i sat down for dinner and my mom handed me the camera with a strange look on her face. all she said was “you need to see this” and i was like ?? okay

but then


that is my dad with a pigeon on his head.

SO OF COURSE MY REACTION WAS JUST “WHAT?! HOW??? HOW” and APPARENTLY when my dad was outside gardening, he saw it land on the roof of our house. and then it just. flew down. and landed on his head



like the other morning i stepped outside to call my dad in for lunch and the pigeon was just sitting on the front porch watching him work


best friends forever


I feel like this is something that would happen to my dad. It is, essentially, how we ended up with a pet squirrel when I was a child…

24 Apr 14:44

owlturdcomix: Magic is real, sometimes.image | twitter |...


Magic is real, sometimes.

image | twitter | facebook

23 Apr 16:00

salted chocolate chunk cookies

by deb

salted chocolate chunk cookies

I would like to go on record as stating that I was not in the market for a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. Maybe I’m getting a little cranky in my advanced food blogging age, but I have found little evidence over the years that there’s anything new to add to the chocolate chip cookie conversation. (See: Item #9.) In fact, whenever there has been a new/perfect/ideal/ultimate/consummate recipe making the rounds and I have eventually caved and tried it, I’m generally underwhelmed, not because they are not good — I mean, I’m not dead inside, no chocolate chip cookies go to waste around here — but because they’re just weren’t new or different or special enough to get me to permanently stray from my go-to. *

what you'll need
my chopped chocolate looks like a keyboard

There is one core recipe for chocolate chip cookies, that which was named after the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, where Ruth Graves Wakefield’s invention was published in a 1936 cookbook. Most modern versions play off of it in one way or another, always in the pursuit of a “better” cookie but rarely through the practice of simplicity. Some require cake flour, bread flour, or a combination thereof, which has always perplexed me as you’d think a mix of high- and low-gluten flour would average out back to approximately an all-purpose flour level? Regardless, I follow these recipes to the letter, hoping to glean something new.

a slightly crumbly dough

... Read the rest of salted chocolate chunk cookies on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to salted chocolate chunk cookies | 179 comments to date | see more: Chocolate, Cookie, Photo

25 Apr 21:23

Phil Plait does good

by PZ Myers

In one of his Crash Course Astronomy episodes, he made a joke that could easily be interpreted as transphobic (he didn’t intend that, but you know what everyone says about intent…). So he did something very smart.

He edited out the bad joke, re-uploaded the video, and then publicly admitted the error, and apologized. But of course that bizarre crowd of haters that populates youtube comments is irate that he did the right thing, and has started flinging a grievous insult at him: “Social Justice Warrior!” So he has replied to that, too.

And here’s the important bit: Apologizing and changing it does no harm, and in fact does some good; it helps a group of people see that we can be sensitive to their needs.

There are times when I think people are too sensitive, and times I think others aren’t sensitive enough. I tend to judge these on a case by case basis. But with a group that is historically marginalized and “othered”, well, a little (extra) empathy does a soul good.

And for the other bit, people derisively calling us “social justice warriors”? They may use it as a derogatory term, thinking of SJWs as shrill and overbearing, but to me it’s a term that refers to people willing to go to bat for others who don’t have as big a soapbox. I might prefer the term “ally”, but SJW fits fine, too. This world could use a lot more social justice. I’ll be happy to fight for it when I can.

Here’s the fixed video. It’s good science, too.

24 Apr 14:37

Google Maps "vandalism" mocks Google Maps' editing policy

by Rob Beschizza

You'd think the kilometer-wide phase "Google review policy is crap", cut into the greenery of Takht Pari Forest near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, alongside a gigantic sad face, would be visible from space.

Read the rest
23 Apr 20:23

Watch these DIY-ers send a donut to the edge of space

by Xeni Jardin

Stratolys of Sweden posts this video, and explains: “On the 9 April 2015 we sent a Donut to the edge of space (32km up) with a weather balloon, from Askim Norway. We spent many months planning this, and we are happy with the outcome of this project. We had permission do this, do not try to do this without a permit.”


24 Apr 03:00

So You’ve Been Publicly Wrong: Anatomy of a Good Apology

by Julia Burke

After making utterly distasteful comments during an interview regarding Black Widow, actors Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner offered two very different apologies today. From Entertainment Weekly:

“Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America,” Evans said in a statement provided to EW. “We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize.”

“I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone,” Renner also said in a statement provided to EW. “It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour.”

The words aren’t all that different, but the meanings represent a near-perfect “Do and Don’t” for the public mea culpa. In an age when our private gaffes, failed jokes, and ill-considered actions are on display for the world to see via social media, many think pieces have been written about call-outs, problematic faves, and even accountability as “public shaming.” But much less has been said about a practice much older and yet apparently much harder to perfect: the art of the apology. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect, but a respectable apology is a must if I’m going to continue to support someone who’s disappointed me.

As far as white dudes go, my gold-standard apology comes from Jason Alexander, surprisingly enough, after he called cricket a “gay” sport. Alexander wrote a sizeable and heartfelt essay after being criticized for his homophobic behavior. But there’s no need for long-windedness, I’d argue: Weird Al Yankovic met with criticism last year after using an ableist term in a song, and accomplished key apology criteria in a single tweet.

Over years of observing celebrity mistakes and being on both the acting and receiving end of poorly thought-out marginalizing humor, I’ve come to identify a good apology by three main components. When I think about the public apologies that have been best received, the private apologies that have meant the most to me, and the apologies I’ve made that have been most acceptable to the offended party, they all boil down to the steps that follow.


Step 1: Provide Context.

This first step is the trickiest, and where I think most bad apologies get stuck: intent is offered up as an excuse, an argument, or a way to undermine the offended party’s experience, when it’s actually no more than context. It’s okay to explain what you thought you were doing when you made the offending remark, and it’s okay to list mitigating factors: you were tired, ill, distracted, upset. It’s not okay to consider this the apology itself.

Jason Alexander’s context is presented in a self-deprecating manner. He needed a joke; he thought it was funny at the time; he has so many friends in the industry who are gay that he forgot that homophobia is alive and well. Notice that as he moves into the next part of his apology, below, he explains how he reexamined this assumption and learned from others.

But what we really got down to is quite serious. It is not that we can’t laugh at and with each other. It is not a question of oversensitivity. The problem is that today, as I write this, young men and women whose behaviors, choices or attitudes are not deemed “man enough” or “normal” are being subjected to all kinds of abuse from verbal to physical to societal. They are being demeaned and threatened because they don’t fit the group’s idea of what a “real man” or a “real woman” are supposed to look like, act like and feel like.

For these people, my building a joke upon the premise I did added to the pejorative stereotype that they are forced to deal with everyday. It is at the very heart of this whole ugly world of bullying that has been getting rightful and overdue attention in the media. And with my well-intentioned comedy bit, I played right into those hurtful assumptions and diminishments.


On the other hand, think of the poor “apologies” you’ve heard before: “I have black friends, so there’s no way I’m a racist”; “I didn’t mean it that way”; etc. They stop there, treating the context as the response.


Step 2. Show Understanding.

This is the part where you admit that your lived experience isn’t the only one that matters. The context part of your apology should be the setup to a moment of clarity and learning in which you acknowledge that your intent does not negate the result. Understanding is what turns an apology from an awkward moment to a cathartic, positive experience––the best possible result from an offense. When someone takes the time to educate you about why something you said or did was hurtful, and you take the time to listen and learn, show respect for them, and for your own personal growth, by telling that story. Make sure you’re clear on what was offensive and why, and then repeat it back so everyone knows you get it. And that you won’t do the thing again. Then, try not to do the thing again.


Step 3. Assume Accountability.

Apology statements should be “I” statements. You said/did the thing; if you don’t take responsibility for it, you shouldn’t be apologizing at all. This is why statements like “I’m sorry you were offended” sound like “I’m sorry I got caught”: it doesn’t sound like you actually care so much as you’re annoyed that you have to say anything at all. A plain and simple “I’m sorry,” period, is the perfect way to show that you hold yourself accountable for your actions even if you didn’t intend for the reactions that followed. That’s what makes Evans’s apology so different from Renner’s: note the difference between the straightforward “I regret it and sincerely apologize” and the passive-aggressive, blame-shifting “I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone.”

Weird Al’s tweet combined all three of these criteria with grace:

Weird Al says, "If you thought I didn't know that "spastic" is considered a slut by some people... you're right, I didn't. Deeply sorry."


So, Jeremy Renner, I’m sorry you were inconvenienced, but you’re just going to have to do better if you want to keep this former fan interested.


Featured image: tumblr

23 Apr 13:16

Privilege: you're probably not the one percent

by Cory Doctorow

If you live near a Whole Foods, if you don't have a relative in jail, if you don't know anyone on meth, you're not in the one percent. Read the rest

23 Apr 13:50

Reporter confirms low-rated restaurant is bad

by Rob Beschizza
x 2015-04-23 at 9.50.16 AM Suspicious of an Italian restaurant's weirdly negative reviews, Tim Carman headed out to see if it was some kind of Yelp bullying thing. Nope, it is just awful. Aftermath: an interview with the manager.
23 Apr 14:58

Modern-day Russian roulette

by Minnesotastan

Even though this is pure randomness, with no player agency whatsoever, I can still see situation where I would willingly play this.

23 Apr 21:31

Hugos and Class

by John Scalzi

(Warning: Hugo neepery ahead. Ignore if you’re bored with the subject.)

As I’m musing on class today, I’d like to take a moment to address something I see being attempted by the Puppies, which is to cast the current Hugo contretemps as something akin to a class war, with the scrappy diverse underdogs (the Puppy slates) arrayed against “powerful, wealthy white men” such as myself, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and George RR Martin, the latter being a late addition to the non-existent SJW cabal; apparently we are now a cackling, finger-steepling triumvirate of conspiracy (See the link here at File770, which, again, has been invaluable as a repository of Hugo commentary this year).

So, let’s unpack this a bit.

One, I’m not entirely sure how much credit the Puppy slates should get for “diversity” when their most notable accomplishments are reducing the overall demographic diversity of the Hugo slate from the past few years, locking up five (previously six!) slots on the final ballot for the same straight, white, male author, and getting much of their “diversity” from conscripts to the slates, at least some of whom did not appear to have foreknowledge of their appearance there, and some of whom have since declined their nominations. Basically, if you’re going to argue diversity, you should probably not make the assertion so easily refutable by actual fact (it also helps not to have one of the primary movers behind the slates be an actual, contemptible racist and sexist).

Two, with regard to me, George and Patrick being “powerful, wealthy white men”: okay, sure, why not (I suspect Patrick, earning an editor’s salary in New York, might snort derisively that the idea that he is actually wealthy), but it’s interesting for any of the three of us to be criticized for these things by a partisan of slates whose dominance on the final Hugo ballot was accomplished substantially through the machinations of a fellow who is himself a scion of wealth and power, with enough dosh on hand to have his own publishing house (for which he is using the current Hugo contretemps as very cheap advertising), and, to a rather lesser extent, by a fellow who has many of the same advantages I or George do: Bestselling status, award nominations and, at least from public statements I can recall, a rather comfortable income from his work, largely from a company that shares at least one parent in common with one that publishes me, is a major house in the field, and is distributed by a major publishing conglomerate. Indeed, as it is an article of faith among the Puppies that I don’t actually sell all that many books, I suppose the argument could be made that he is more wealthy and powerful than I am! So well done him, and I wish him all the best in his career. But between these fellows and their circumstances, it’s difficult to cast this as a battle of underdogs versus wealth and privilege. There’s quite enough wealth and privilege to go around.

(There is at least one salient difference between me, Patrick and George, and the fellows I’ve mentioned, who share so many of the advantages that we three do. What that difference is I will leave as an exercise for the reader.)

Three, the Puppies drama isn’t about class, or privilege. It’s about envy and opportunism, and it’s also, somewhat pathetically, apparently about the heads of the Puppy slates being upset that once upon a time, they felt people in fandom were mean to them. As if they were the only people in the world that folks in science fiction fandom had ever been mean to. True fact: There is almost no one in science fiction and fantasy that someone else in fandom hasn’t been mean to at one time or the other. Science fiction fandom contains many people, including quite a few with questionable social skills. Not all of them are going to like you. Not all of them are going to like what you do. That’s not a conspiracy; that’s just a basic fact.

Here’s a thing: Look back in time to when I was nominated for Best Fan Writer. There was a whole lot of mean going on there; there are still fans who are righteously upset with me about it. Look at what people have said about each of the books of mine that have been nominated for Best Novel (look at what was said after I won it!). Look what people in fandom say about me on the Internet all the damn time. Hell, I remember rather vividly being at the Montreal Worldcon during my autograph session and this dude coming up, handing me Zoe’s Tale, and saying “It’s not really a good book and I don’t think it should be on the ballot and I don’t know why it is, but I guess since you’re here you might as well sign it for me.” Which I thought was really kind of amazing, in its own obnoxious way.

You know what I did? I signed his book. Because a) apparently he bought it and b) I’m not emotionally twelve years old. I can handle people being thoughtless and stupid and even occasionally intentionally mean in my direction, without deciding the the correct response is to burn down the Hugos, screaming I’ll show you! I’ll show you all! Which is, as it happens, seems to be another salient difference between me, Patrick and George, and these fellows. Unless you’re under the impression Patrick and George haven’t got their fair share of people disliking them, or saying mean things about them. They have; they’ve just decided to deal with it like the grown up humans they are.

So, no. This Hugo contretemps isn’t about class. But it might be, a little bit, about who has class, and how that affects what they do with their wealth and power.

22 Apr 23:01

lilbcup: bifurpawz: SHOTS FIRED  noooooo





21 Apr 17:00

Talk like a politician

by admin

21 Apr 15:40

Designer Sylvain Viau Imagines the Hover Cars We Were Promised

by Christopher Jobson


For his ongoing series Flying Cars, French designer Sylvain Viau digitally edits photographs of cars into sleek, wheel-less hover cars that appear to float just above the ground. Viau not only uses his own photography to create these sci-fi cars, but is fortunate to claim many of the actual cars among his own collection. He originally worked only with 80s Citroën vehicles because of their classic space-age design, but has continued to branch out over the last few months to include cars from Peugeot, Toyota, and Renault. You can see many more here. (via Designboom)

Update: Photographer Renaud Marion created a similar series of works in 2013.









21 Apr 15:17

alwaysbewoke: trebled-negrita-princess: POW!

21 Apr 16:35

funkymcgalaxy: The awkward moment when you make a bullshit...


The awkward moment when you make a bullshit sexist meme about “fake geek girls”, but aren’t quite geek enough yourself to know that Spock did hold the rank of Captain from Star Trek II to VI, making the “fake geek girl” in this scenario 8,000 per cent more legit geek than you. 

21 Apr 19:20

catsbeaversandducks: “For me??? OH THANK YOU!”Photos by...


“For me??? OH THANK YOU!”

Photos by ©Martin “Marty” Mouse

20 Apr 00:43

heyitspj: popeyeschicken: get him “YOU’RE NEXT”



get him


20 Apr 22:48


20 Apr 23:40

How Security Companies Peddle Snake Oil

by Soulskill
penciling_in writes: There are no silver bullets in Internet security, warns Paul Vixie in a co-authored piece along with Cyber Security Specialist Frode Hommedal: "Just as 'data' is being sold as 'intelligence', a lot of security technologies are being sold as 'security solutions' rather than what they really are: very narrow-focused appliances that, as a best case, can be part of your broader security effort." We have to stop playing "cops and robbers" and pretending that all of us are potential targets of nation-states, or pretending that any of our security vendors are like NORAD, warn the authors. Vixie adds, "We in the Internet security business look for current attacks and learn from those how to detect and prevent those attacks and maybe how to predict, detect, and prevent what's coming next. But rest assured that there is no end game — we put one bad guy in prison for every hundred or so new bad guys who come into the field each month. There is no device or method, however powerful, which will offer a salient defense for more than a short time. The bad guys endlessly adapt; so must we. Importantly, the bad guys understand how our systems work; so must we."

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21 Apr 00:30

johndarnielle: chipsandbeermag: Warning Signs of Satanic...



Warning Signs of Satanic Behavior. Training video for police, 1990

the perfect photoset

21 Apr 19:45

sandandglass: The Simpsons s26e18


The Simpsons s26e18

20 Apr 21:57

Frozach Submitted

21 Apr 09:00

Coming home after work

by sharhalakis

by generalfox