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25 Feb 14:45

cracked: Like everything great, Star Wars came within an...


Like everything great, Star Wars came within an ass-hair’s width of being total shit. You gotta remember that in the ’70s anyone with a doofy beard and a plaid shirt could shoot a movie just by telling people what to do and not giving them the chance to disagree. It was a magical time.

But through George Lucas’ devotion to an acid flashback he was apparently having for three straight weeks, when production wrapped, he found himself with a masterpiece of celluloid, right?

Nope! Turns out that the first cut of Star Wars was an incomprehensible mess, and it was up to George’s wife and editor, Marcia Lucas, to swoop in and save the day … again.

Actually, Marcia was Lucas’ “muse” through the entire production, if by “muse” you mean “person who had all the good ideas.” It was her idea to kill Obi-Wan (apparently George’s first draft had him just disappearing at one point) and demanded that Lucas keep the “For Luck” kiss scene that would snarl the series up in a knotty mess of incest once the third movie was released. But, most importantly, she’s totally responsible for the Battle of Yavin, also known as The Death Star Trench Run scene, also known as The Part at the End of the Movie Where the Good Guys Win.

5 Women Who Invented Modern Pop Culture (And Got No Credit)

25 Feb 17:31

Masterful Dinosaur and Creature Origami by Adam Tran

by Christopher Jobson







Origami artist and chemistry teacher Adam Tram folds some incredibly beautiful objects with paper. From dinosaurs and skeletons to flowers and warriors, it seems nothing is off limits to his folding abilities. Tram is a member of the Vietnam Origami Group, and you can see many more of his pieces on Flickr.

26 Feb 00:05

Who's the real grumpy cat?

26 Feb 18:30

Schneier: Everyone Wants You To Have Security, But Not From Them

by Soulskill
An anonymous reader writes: Bruce Schneier has written another insightful piece about the how modern tech companies treat security. He points out that most organizations will tell you to secure your data while at the same time asking to be exempt from that security. Google and Facebook want your data to be safe — on their servers so they can analyze it. The government wants you to encrypt your communications — as long as they have the keys. Schneier says, "... we give lots of companies access to our data because it makes our lives easier. ... The reason the Internet is a worldwide mass-market phenomenon is that all the technological details are hidden from view. Someone else is taking care of it. We want strong security, but we also want companies to have access to our computers, smart devices, and data. We want someone else to manage our computers and smart phones, organize our e-mail and photos, and help us move data between our various devices. ... We want our data to be secure, but we want someone to be able to recover it all when we forget our password. We'll never solve these security problems as long as we're our own worst enemy.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

27 Feb 00:59

Scientists puzzled by 'bright spots' on surface of dwarf planet Ceres

by Billy Steele
As NASA's Dawn spacecraft approaches orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, researchers aren't sure what's causing the "bright spots" on its surface. The imaging orbiter snapped the above picture from 29,000 miles (46,000 km) away just last week, but u...
25 Feb 11:17

Identifying cheaters in test results, a simple method

by Nathan Yau

I feel that the red dot at the top represents a satisfying bit of shadenfreude. To cheat that much and still do so very badly.

Finding cheaters

Jonathan Dushoff had issues with students in his population biology class cheating on his exams. One year there was suspicious behavior, but Dushoff and the proctors weren't able to prove the students cheated as it happened. So he looked closely at the test results to find the guilty students.

The final is entirely multiple choice. I got the results files from the scantron office. I figured that I wouldn't quite know what to do with a comparison just between these two kids (unless the tests were identical), and that it would be just about as easy (and far more informative) to compare everybody to everybody else. It's still kind of hard for me to get used to the fact that we have computers now and can really do stuff like this. I calculated the number of identical right answers and the number of identical wrong answers for each pair of students (~18K pairs), and plotted it out.

The diagonal line indicates two students who had the exact same wrong and right answers. No pair of students did this, but there were four outlying pairs that got close, shown in red. And looking back at the seating arrangements, in a class of 200 students, all four pairs were students who sat adjacent to each other.

Dushoff has since gone back to multiple exam versions.

Tags: cheating, education

25 Feb 17:30


25 Feb 21:14

cubewatermelon:Let’s Speak English #60!They can also be called...



Let’s Speak English #60!

They can also be called Gashapon, please don’t fight me on this.

My general rule now is that if I’m 90% sure I’ll be happy no matter what comes out, I am allowed one purchase ;0

25 Feb 23:50

An Ancient Babylonian Customer Service Complaint Inscribed on a Clay Tablet Around 1750 BC

by E.D.W. Lynch

Ancient Babylonian Customer Service Complaint From 1750 BC
photo via tbc34

Among the artifacts at the British Museum in London is this ancient Babylonian customer service complaint that was inscribed on a clay tablet sometime around 1750 B.C. The complaint is regarding problems with two shipments of copper ore, as the museum notes in their description:

Clay tablet; letter from Nanni to Ea-nasir complaining that the wrong grade of copper ore has been delivered after a gulf voyage and about misdirection and delay of a further delivery; slightly damaged.

The artifact was brought to light earlier today by redditor tbc34. Commenter labarna has helpfully provided a full translation reportedly from the book Letters from Mesopotamia by Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim. Turns out Nanni was pretty angry:

Tell Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the following message:

When you came, you said to me as follows : “I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots.” You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: “If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!”

What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt? I have sent as messengers gentlemen like ourselves to collect the bag with my money (deposited with you) but you have treated me with contempt by sending them back to me empty-handed several times, and that through enemy territory. Is there anyone among the merchants who trade with Telmun who has treated me in this way? You alone treat my messenger with contempt! On account of that one (trifling) mina of silver which I owe(?) you, you feel free to speak in such a way, while I have given to the palace on your behalf 1,080 pounds of copper, and umi-abum has likewise given 1,080 pounds of copper, apart from what we both have had written on a sealed tablet to be kept in the temple of Samas.

How have you treated me for that copper? You have withheld my money bag from me in enemy territory; it is now up to you to restore (my money) to me in full.

Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.

Ancient Babylonian Customer Service Complaint From 1750 BC

photo via the British Museum

via reddit

26 Feb 11:13

Modern interpretation of a mountain home: Flight House

by Dany Barzsina


The Flight House is a modern mountain home designed by Sage Architecture located in the Martis Camp, Truckee, California, USA.





More images

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27 Feb 02:13


Courtney shared this story from Super Opinionated.

27 Feb 12:44

bochinohito: 【動画】 NASAが宇宙から見た美しい南極のオーロラを披露 - IRORIO(イロリオ)

27 Feb 13:23

Giant Freezing Waves Infused with Ice Slowly Roll in off the Coast of Nantucket

by Christopher Jobson

Photo © Jonathan Nimerfroh

Photo © Jonathan Nimerfroh

Photo © Jonathan Nimerfroh

Photo © Jonathan Nimerfroh

Photo © Jonathan Nimerfroh

Photo © Jonathan Nimerfroh

Earlier this week photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh was walking along the coast of Nantucket when he noticed something odd about the waves crashing on shore. The high temperature was 19°F (-7.2°C) and while the waves weren’t completely frozen, they were thick with pieces of ice, much like the consistency of a Slurpee, or an slushy, or an ICEE, or whatever. It’s amazing to see how the ice changes the form and color of the waves, making them seem almost solid. You can see a few more shots over on Stay Wild Magazine. You can follow more of Nimerfroh’s photography on Instagram. (thnx, Amber!)

24 Feb 23:01

Beautiful Weeds: Preserve a Dandelion in Resin

by agnesniewiadomski
1_1024x1024After a successful Kickstarter Campaign, the Dandelion Collective has been producing these gorgeous paper weights made from dried out dandelions and clear resin. Each weed is carefully hand selected, dried, and preserved into a perfectly polished sphere of cast polyester resin, with a small flat base so it doesn’t roll […]

Read more on MAKE

25 Feb 05:11

juturnaway: strigays: muscleluvr2: this is a 2000 dollar...




this is a 2000 dollar fursuit

honey your teacher is a furry

lab instructor by day, lab instructor by night

25 Feb 16:34

Lámpara Get Ready for Launch

by Troy

Este precioso ejercicio de diseño minimalista es obra de Arnout Meijer, un diseñador de Amsterdam.

Se llama Get Ready for Launch e imita perfectamente la imagen de un cohete despegando. Tiene un tamaño de 60 cm. de altura y es ideal para ambientar el espacio vital de los más geeks.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Visto en Neatorama

Ver más: cohete, lámparas
Síguenos: @NoPuedoCreer - @QueLoVendan - @QueLoVendanX

¡Descubre nuestras tiendas!
Un 5% de descuento para ti usando el cupón NPC_EN_RSS, regalos originales, frikis y divertidos, (+18) juguetes eróticos ¡El placer será tuyo!
26 Feb 05:00

February 26, 2015

24 Feb 21:30


24 Feb 23:26

Touché, Lanis. (photo via clean_dirt)

Touché, Lanis. (photo via clean_dirt)

25 Feb 14:00

A Countryside Sliding Glass House Designed by dRMM

by Kate Sierzputowski

Photos © Alex de Rijke / GIF by Gasoline Station

Appearing as an oversized red barn, architecture and design studio dRMM‘s Sliding House has a much more complex facade than its doppleganger’s A-frame design. The project encompasses three separate buildings (house, garage, and guest annex), and was built with the intention for the owners to grow food, entertain, and enjoy the landscape from the structure. Each segment of the Suffolk, England property is connected by a 20 ton, motor-driven enclosure which slides up and down the buildings to create constantly changing coverage for the home, and exposes open-air living areas.

An escape from static architecture, the house gives its inhabitants endless options for living comfortably and freely during each season. There is even the option to extend the roofing system beyond its current length to cover a swimming pool if the owners want to add one down the line.

The innovative residential project was completed in 2009, and was the 2009 winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects East Award, and winner of “Best New-Build” and “Home of the Year” at the 2009 Grand Designs Awards. (via The Gasoline Station, Design Milk)

Photos © Alex de Rijke / GIF by Gasoline Station

Photos © Alex de Rijke / GIF by Gasoline Station

© Ross Russell and Sally Morris,
Photo © Alex de Rijke

© Ross Russell and Sally Morris,
Photo © Alex de Rijke

© Ross Russell and Sally Morris,
Photo © Alex de Rijke

27 Feb 00:11


27 Feb 10:00

Empirical learners

by sharhalakis

by Nathan

25 Feb 15:29

Bathroom Poets (photo via reddit)

Bathroom Poets (photo via reddit)

27 Feb 20:21

Man demonstrates respectable tea-pouring skills

by Mark Frauenfelder

Is he pouring tea (or some other beverage), or is he stretching putty? [via]

26 Feb 22:38

Bad Chart Thursday: Dove’s #NewspeakBeautiful

by Melanie Mallon

I always knew that George Orwell was on to something. Sure, he was a little off on the year when it would all go down–1984 was more the year of the big hair band than Big Brother (not that this wasn’t equally terrifying in its own right).

And today’s Thought Police do not use Orwell’s Telescreens to monitor us for thought crimes. They use Twitter.

Part of Dove’s recently launched #SpeakBeautiful campaign involves monitoring women’s tweets for negative comments about their own appearances, then replying to these tweets with suggestions for more positive Party-approved language.

That’s right, ladies. Smile. BIG SOAP IS WATCHING YOU.

And of course, the propaganda Dove uses to support policing women’s opinions about our own bodies has the usual terrible charts.


All the positive thinking in the world is not going to make 8+ million less than 5+ million. A pie chart doesn’t make sense for this information in the first place since they are not two separate parts of the whole. One number is a subset of the other.

But the other major problem with this chart, the focus on demonizing women, is present throughout the campaign messaging. All these “negative beauty” tweets about women are coming primarily from women, not men, because women are such catty bitches, amirite? I wonder, though, when putting together their keywords to find these tweets, did they include “fuckable” and “rapeable” and other pretty obviously negative words used to describe women’s “beauty” and bodies? I mean, if we’re talking about negativity that actually harms women, it seems like “you’re too fat to be rapeable” might rank in there with “I hate my hair.”

But it gets even worse. Not only are most of the (narrowly defined) negative beauty tweets coming from women, they are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!

4 out of 5

(You can tell the chart shows women by the skirts. You know, in case that wasn’t clear.)

Is Dove implying that it would be better if a larger percentage of tweets were focused on other women instead of ourselves? I don’t think so, but clearly this is supposed to be the next level of revelation. We not only tweet negative things about beauty, we tweet them about ourselves! Dove clearly thinks women being negative at all is the problem. That women are the problem. If you have any doubt that women are to blame, just remember how untrustworthy we are:


Patronizing, policing, and insulting women to get them to change their behavior–Dove’s campaign uses methods straight out of the pick-up artist’s playbook. This isn’t surprising considering, as many have pointed out, that Dove’s parent company, Unilever, also owns Axe, known for its sexist, rapey ads targeted at men, such as this gem.

Axe ad

But the Dove campaign isn’t ironic coming from the company that markets Axe in this way. There’s no doublethink here. The two companies are perfectly consistent in their messaging: policing gender roles, encouraging women to be positive and compliant and men to be aggressive, and defining women’s value solely based on our bodies. The “self-esteem” #SpeakBeautiful purports to be attempting to raise in women focuses on women’s appearance, our “beauty and body image,” as though our bodies were the only parts of us that were important to esteem. If only we viewed our bodies more positively, everything else would fall into place because our bodies are the most important part of who we are.

The Dove campaign is ironic in that it so completely embodies the societal view of women’s value and women’s bodies that is at the root of negative body image while claiming to be fighting against the problem. As with so many other issues women speak out about, the moment we speak negatively, it’s our speech that’s the problem, not what we’re speaking about. The reaction to a problem becomes the problem. The effect becomes the cause. 2 + 2 = 5.

27 Feb 18:21

Updating the classics

by Ralph

In recent years, LEGO set design has been going from strength to strength. However, as far as I am concerned, some of the sets I had as a child are really hard to beat. Build techniques have obviously moved on and new parts have been introduced, but particularly city sets from the late seventies and early eighties were design marvels. They may have been fairly simple and built using primary colours, but they also had lots of character.

We haven’t featured models by Are Heiseldal (L@go) very often, but in recent years he has been steadily building his own updated interpretations of some of these classic sets from his (and my) childhood, of which I am going to share a few favourites. LEGO set 675 “Snack bar” was released in 1979.

Snack Bar 1

I never actually owned the oddly-named set 6694 “Car with Camper”, but remember poring over the 1984 catalogue to work out how to build the caravan. Are’s updated version seems to offer somewhat more privacy to the occupants.

Modern 6694 13

Finally, the latest model that he has uploaded is a modern reinterpretation of set 6689 “Post Station”.

Post Office 1

These models may not be spectacular in terms of build techniques, but I love them. There is enough of the original in them to ensure that a single glance is enough to trigger nostalgia. Furthermore, like the originals, if you look closely you’ll see that they are chock full of clever features. If you too get a warm and fuzzy feeling about these, I suggest you check out Are’s flickr album with more of his updated classics.

27 Feb 15:01

EU Commissioner Wants to Abolish Netflix-Style Geoblocking

by Ernesto

I appreciate the intent, but I'm a little concerned the author of the article may have used 'irregardless' without any irony.

ansipDue to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library.

The same is true for many other media services such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video, and even YouTube.

These regional blockades are a thorn in the side of Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market in the European Commission. In a speech this week he explained why these roadblocks should be abolished.

“Far too often, consumers find themselves redirected to a national website, or blocked. I know this from my own experience. You probably do as well,” Ansip said.

“This is one of many barriers that needs to be removed so that everyone can enjoy the best Europe has to offer online. It is a serious and common barrier, as well as extremely frustrating,” he added.

The Commissioner is targeting an issue that lies at the core of the movie and TV industries, who license content per location. Ansip specifically mentions BBC’s iPlayer, but other services including YouTube, Amazon and Netflix have the same restrictions.

The geoblocking restrictions are demanded by content creators, who want to sell the streaming rights on a regional basis. To enforce these licenses, users from outside of the designated countries are blocked.

The Commissioner believes that this is an outdated concept which he likens to discrimination. If people want to pay for content, they should be able to, irregardless of where they live.

“In the offline world, this would be called discrimination. In the online world, it happens every day,” Ansip noted. “I want to pay – but I am not allowed to. I lose out, they lose out.”

“How can this be a good thing? We put up with the situation because there is not much alternative. Now it is time to do something about it,” he added.

The artificial restrictions are not a market issue according to the Commissioner, but a matter of rights. These rights should be enjoyed equally and not just by the happy few who happen to live in a ‘licensed’ country.

“There should be no exceptions. Everyone should be treated the same. This is a key principle that underpins everything we want to achieve,” Ansip said.

The EU is currently discussing how copyright legislation in Europe should be overhauled and the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market hopes that measures against geoblocking will be part of the new rules.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

27 Feb 08:15

Under U.S. Pressure, PayPal Nukes Mega For Encrypting Files

by Andy

mega_logoDuring September 2014, the Digital Citizens Alliance and Netnames teamed up to publish a brand new report. Titled ‘Behind The Cyberlocker Door: A Report How Shadowy Cyberlockers Use Credit Card Companies to Make Millions,’ it offered insight into the finances of some of the world’s most popular cyberlocker sites.

The report had its issues, however. While many of the sites covered might at best be considered dubious, the inclusion of – the most scrutinized file-hosting startup in history – was a real head scratcher. Mega conforms with all relevant laws and responds quickly whenever content owners need something removed. By any standard the company lives up to the requirements of the DMCA.

“We consider the report grossly untrue and highly defamatory of Mega,” Mega CEO Graham Gaylard told TF at the time. But now, just five months on, Mega’s inclusion in the report has come back to bite the company in a big way.

Speaking via email with TorrentFreak this morning, Gaylard highlighted the company’s latest battle, one which has seen the company become unable to process payments from customers. It’s all connected with the NetNames report and has even seen the direct involvement of a U.S. politician.

leahyAccording to Mega, following the publication of the report last September, SOPA and PIPA proponent Senator Patrick Leahy (Vermont, Chair Senate Judiciary Committee) put Visa and MasterCard under pressure to stop providing payment services to the ‘rogue’ companies listed in the NetNames report.

Following Leahy’s intervention, Visa and MasterCard then pressured PayPal to cease providing payment processing services to MEGA. As a result, Mega is no longer able to process payments.

“It is very disappointing to say the least. PayPal has been under huge pressure,” Gaylard told TF.

The company did not go without a fight, however.

“MEGA provided extensive statistics and other evidence showing that MEGA’s business is legitimate and legally compliant. After discussions that appeared to satisfy PayPal’s queries, MEGA authorised PayPal to share that material with Visa and MasterCard. Eventually PayPal made a non-negotiable decision to immediately terminate services to MEGA,” the company explains.

paypalWhat makes the situation more unusual is that PayPal reportedly apologized to Mega for its withdrawal while acknowledging that company’s business is indeed legitimate.

However, PayPal also advised that Mega’s unique selling point – it’s end-to-end-encryption – was a key concern for the processor.

“MEGA has demonstrated that it is as compliant with its legal obligations as USA cloud storage services operated by Google, Microsoft, Apple, Dropbox, Box, Spideroak etc, but PayPal has advised that MEGA’s ‘unique encryption model’ presents an insurmountable difficulty,” Mega explains.

As of now, Mega is unable to process payments but is working on finding a replacement. In the meantime the company is waiving all storage limits and will not suspend any accounts for non-payment. All accounts have had their subscriptions extended by two months, free of charge.

Mega indicates that it will ride out the storm and will not bow to pressure nor compromise the privacy of its users.

“MEGA supplies cloud storage services to more than 15 million registered customers in more than 200 countries. MEGA will not compromise its end-to-end user controlled encryption model and is proud to not be part of the USA business network that discriminates against legitimate international businesses,” the company concludes.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

24 Feb 00:43

How do you know exactly what teen girls want to read when you write your books that are about one step above truck stop romance novels?

It’s perfectly okay to dislike my books, but don’t disrespect teen girls. It’s so tired. It’s so easy. And it’s so unfair.

Teen girls are pushing culture toward openness and fairness. Teen girls are making the art and music and fanfiction that has reshaped contemporary media and art. You know who donated most of the $1,400,000 raised by this year’s Project for Awesome? Teen girls. You know who were the first supporters and collaborators for online video projects from Lonelygirl15 to Brotherhood 2.0 to Five Awesome Girls? Teen girls.

This whole teen-girls-are-stupid-and-vapid shit is just so played out. Teen girls are human beings. They are not inferior to other human beings. Their lives and contributions are as interesting and as complicated and as meaningful as anyone else’s. 

25 Feb 05:00

February 25, 2015

In case you missed it, thanks to our patreon subscribers, old comics are now getting voteys! If we raise a bit more, I'll increase the rate to 2 a day!