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29 Aug 18:32

Russian software security firm Kaspersky threatened to 'rub out' rival, email reveals

by Xeni Jardin

Between this and the McAfee saga, I'm starting to think that being a name brand in the anti-virus business has a bad effect on people, or it's a business uniquely suited to psychopaths from the outset. Either way, I'm cancelling that dinner party invitation to Peter Norton.

A hot tech intrigue story from Joe Menn at Reuters on alleged dirty-doings between Kaspersky and its rivals. Read the rest
29 Aug 19:18

What ethnic group is mostly likely to be shot by police in the USA?

by Xeni Jardin

Spoiler: Native Americans.

Read the rest

29 Aug 16:58

“John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular,” the Audiobook, Read by Me, John Scalzi

by John Scalzi

Quick recap: John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular is a parody of an ebook by an obnoxious bigot who is obsessed with me, and I said (full details here) that if people raised $2,500 for Con or Bust, which funds science fiction convention memberships for people of color, I’d create an audiobook version of it. That happened. Then I said if we hit a stretch goal of $10,000, I’d also commission a song about me not being very popular. And that just happened! Whoo-hoo!

It will take me a bit to organize the song, but because you lovely people got us to an amazing $10,000 for Con or Bust in under 48 hours, I decided not to make you wait any longer for the audiobook. Here it is, with my love and appreciation.

First, the complete book, in one 40 minute chunk!

And now, the individual chapters:



Chapter 1: How it Begins


Chapter 2: John Scalzi’s Blog is Not That Interesting and No One Reads It


Chapter 3: John Scalzi Does Not Understand Satire as Well as I Understand Satire

(Note: This chapter contains reference to a piece I wrote about rape, and despite its humorous nature as parody, may be triggery for some folks.)


Chapter 5: John Scalzi Did Not Get Me Thrown out of the SFWA


Chapter 5: John Scalzi’s Deal With Tor is Not a Very Good Deal


Chapter 5: John Scalzi is Not a Very Popular Author






And for those of you who want to download the files: Complete Book|Prologue|Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 5(a)|Chapter 5(b)|Chapter 5(c)|Afterword|Appendices

(Update, 9:09pm: Kate Nepveu of Con or Bust has created an Audible-like audiobook file of the complete book, which you may find here.)


And if you did enjoy this, and have not already done so, may I suggest you donate to Con or Bust, and help people of color attend science fiction conventions? That would be awesome. Thank you! And song to come!

26 Aug 19:32

pdlcomics: Morning

28 Aug 15:00

Matt Damon Spills ‘Bourne 5′ Details; Shooting Begins Next Week

by Angie Han

Matt Damon in Bourne

Right now, pretty much the only thing we know about the plot of the next Bourne movie is that it’ll be about Bourne. Matt Damon reprises his role as the amnesiac spy for the first time since 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, after sitting out 2012’s The Bourne Legacy.

But with shooting scheduled to begin next week, Damon has finally confirmed some concrete details about where the story will go next, as well as some more general information on the real-world issues Jason Bourne will have to face. Get the latest Bourne 5 details after the jump.

As Damon told Buzzfeed, he and Bourne 5 (and Bourne Supremacy, and Bourne Ultimatum) director Paul Greengrass continually revisited the idea of a new Bourne film during that eight-year gap since Ultimatum. “We always looked at those movies as really about the Bush presidency, and so we kind of had to wait for the world to change,” he said.

What finally clicked things into place for them were the reveals by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. While Damon wouldn’t get too into detail about the plot of the new film, he did offer a sense of the film’s themes:

Without giving too much of it away, it’s Bourne through an austerity-riddled Europe and in a post-Snowden world. It seems like enough has changed, you know? There are all these kinds of arguments about spying and civil liberties and the nature of democracy.

He also got more specific about those austerity-riddled European locations:

We’re starting in Greece, you know, the beginning of democracy. And the movie ends in Las Vegas, the most grotesque incarnation of…”

(Damon declined to finish that sentence, so fill in the blank with whatever you think Las Vegas represents.)

Besides Damon, Bourne 5 brings Julia Stiles back to the fold as Nicky Parsons. Tommy Lee Jones joins the cast as a high-ranking CIA officer, and Alicia Vikander has also signed on in an unspecified role. Jeremy Renner, who played new series lead Aaron Cross in The Bourne Legacy, will not return.

Greengrass is directing from a script he wrote with Christopher Rouse, and will additionally direct with Damon, Frank Marshall, Greg Goodman, and Ben Smith. Rouse and Henry Morrison serve as executive producers.

Bourne 5 opens July 29, 2016.

The post Matt Damon Spills ‘Bourne 5′ Details; Shooting Begins Next Week appeared first on /Film.

28 Aug 01:00

Future of Fenestration: Every Window Will Generate Solar Power

by Urbanist
[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

solar power windows

Better, cheaper and easier than solar windows, this newly-patented flexible coating can be applied to existing glass and plastic surfaces, turning any aperture into a source of electricity. With this technology on all of its surfaces, buildings can generate up to 50 times more solar energy per structure.

solar energy polymer

Developed by SolarWindow Technologies, this inexpensive approach has a payback time of as little as one year (far less than the 5 to 10 years of traditional solar approaches. As the technology evolves and expands, it is only a matter of time until every window draws energy from light.

solar generation panel transparent

By adding it to the inside surface of a window, the process protects the tech from exterior sources of damage and simplifies application. The solution is also lightweight and adaptable, making it easier to retrofit existing architecture without cost-intensive shipping or labor-intensive installation processes.

solar sheet making process

These sensitive photovoltaics can draw power from lunar energy and artificial lights in addition to the sun’s rays. Their relatively low price per unit reinforces the sensibility of simply putting them on all sides of a structure, including those with less natural light.

solar window tech

Effectively invisible wires draw electricity from the exposed surfaces while a uniform and architecturally-neutral color tinting process allows for a variety of of looks and degrees of transparency.

solar light neutral color

This new substance can be deployed as a sticky film on a surface or potentially even painted on as a liquid. The organic (but secretive) constituent source materials of the core polymer include common elements such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen.

Want More? Click for Great Related Content on WebUrbanist:

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This sphere is so powerful in its ability to turn light into heat that it can not only harvest the rays of the sun, but even draw on energy reflected from the ... Click Here to Read More »»

Street Smart: Solar Roadway Lights Up & Feeds Power Grid

Currently in crowdfunding, these hexagonal pavers can provide energy, melt accumulated snow and ice, light up with LEDs, all while being tough enough to ... Click Here to Read More »»

See-Through Solar: Crystal Clear Panels Are 100% Transparent

Applied to anything from the surface of your smartphone to the the sides of a skyscraper, the possible uses of this innovation for everyday surfaces are ... Click Here to Read More »»

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

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26 Aug 20:45

electricsed: aliceismywonderland: haleybaley901: justkody: pi...






Jacob’s Well - Wimberley, Texas

hey kids let’s all go jump into the pits of hell

This is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.

People have actually died in Jacob’s Well, but not just from jumping, you’re too buoyant to really go down far.

But Jacob’s Well draws a lot of scuba divers, and some of them have gotten lost and run out of air. Some of the bodies have never even been found, because the underground river that feeds Jacob’s Well is so complex. I find that terrifying.

I’ve been there. You have to be careful because coming back up from too far and you get stuck under rocks trying to find the surface.

Wow look at that giant hole of NOPE.

26 Aug 18:00

Toned Ear Trains Your Ear for Better Musical Ability

by Melanie Pinola

I always thought I had “a good ear” for music. I guess I was wrong. The Toned Ear site’s ear training practices can test your musical hearing and also help you improve that skill.


26 Aug 01:27

Brassens in Space

by boulet

28 Aug 17:14

Male council in India orders sisters to be raped because their brother eloped with a married woman

by Mark Frauenfelder

An all-male council in India has ordered that two sisters, ages 15 and 23, be raped and paraded in public with blackened faces because their brother eloped with a married woman.

Read the rest
28 Aug 17:32

10 fun tricks to do with liquid

by Mark Frauenfelder

Start a fire with a water bottle. Use glycerine to make a bottle disappear. Create weird dancing blobs with cornstarch and water. Marvel at water droplets sizzling in a hot pan. Poke pencils through a water-filled ziplock bag without the water leaking. This video has a total of ten cool things you can try at home. It's also one of the rare YouTube videos that doesn't require skipping ahead 20% to get to the interesting part.

28 Aug 15:24

"So volatile that a mosquito landing on it will make it explode"

by Minnesotastan

 This is why you won't find any nitrogen triiodide sitting around in the woods of northern Minnesota.
28 Aug 15:31


by Minnesotastan

More examples at The Telegraph's gallery of mistranslated Chinese phrases.
28 Aug 15:17

Ancient tomb replaced by picnic table

by Rob Beschizza


The ancient neolithic tomb pictured above was destroyed and replaced by the monolothic concrete park bench pictured below. Read the rest

27 Aug 15:42

Ashley Madison planned a "What's your Wife Worth?" app

by Rob Beschizza

Avid Life Media is full of genuinely nasty people. Good luck with your next thing, gentlemen. Read the rest

27 Aug 17:07

Cute Wonder Woman lunchbox banned from school for being too violent

by Carla Sinclair

Not sure if it's the scary-looking lasso or the ass-kicking red boots, but a school on Mainstreet, USA banned this dangerous Wonder Woman lunchbox from campus.

Read the rest
27 Aug 12:36

I am not a number

by PZ Myers


I endorse this article: 5 Ways That Science Supports Feminism – Not Gender Essentialism. It’s making the point that when you actually study the relevant sciences, you discover that they fundamentally support a more complex view of sexuality than the usual boy/girl dichotomy. Here, in brief, are the five points it makes:

1. There Are More Than Two Sexes, Not to Mention a Vast Range of Gender Identities
2. The Environment Impacts Human Development from the Very Beginning at the Cellular Level
3. Socialization Is a Powerful Force
4. When Studies Do Find Gender Differences, They Are Often Too Weak to Serve as the Basis for Generalizations
5. Gender Means Different Things in Different Cultures

One other factor that leads people to adopt gender essentialism is a kind of innumeracy — I swear, I think the only statistical measure most people understand is the mean. But statistics was developed to describe variation, in addition to taking data sets and crunching them down to a single number.

There is also deficiency of logic. If you take any diverse set, divide it in two, and calculate the mean of any given parameter for both, you’ll get…two numbers. This does not validate your initial division as appropriate. It does not mean your artificial dichotomy reveals an absolute truth about the world. It does not mean you have encapsulated the essence of your two groups in a single simple metric. In particular, it’s possible to have a mean that does not describe a single individual in your group accurately.

25 Aug 14:35

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Super Efficient


Hovertext: All telepaths are now employed by high-speed trading firms.

New comic!
Today's News:

 Over half of general admission tickets for BAHFest East have sold out already! You geeks are the best :)

26 Aug 16:36

Pete Best, the Beatles' original drummer, still doesn't know why he was fired

by Mark Frauenfelder


In 1960 a Liverpool band called the Silver Beatles asked Pete Best to join them as drummer. Best was already in a band called the Blackjacks, but he took the gig and for the next two years he played with the band (which eventually dropped "Silver" from its name). When the band auditioned with Decca, Best played drums on the first recording of "Love Me Do." Things went downhill quickly from there, writes Maggie Malach of Mental Floss: Read the rest

26 Aug 16:42

Photo of a kitchen damaged by a pressure cooker explosion

by Mark Frauenfelder

Here's what happens when the safety features on a pressure cooker fail. It also shows why pressure cookers are used by bad people to make bombs.


26 Aug 19:30

"Conservative media and Fox News in particular have spent years - decades, if you count talk radio -..."

“Conservative media and Fox News in particular have spent years - decades, if you count talk radio - training their audiences to believe that exhortations against sexism and racism are nothing but the “political correctness” police trying to kill your good time. Indeed, one reason that Trump was able to get so much attention for his presidential run in the first place is that Fox has spent years building him up, knowing that their audience enjoys vicariously needling imagined liberals and feminists with his loud-mouthed insult comic act.
As Jill Filipovic as Cosmopolitan recently explained in a feature piece about the conservative website Twitchy, there are entire sectors of the conservative media dedicated to getting the audiences to spend all day and night trying to piss off liberals, believing themselves to be courageous freedom fighters against the P.C. police. Women, in particular, are favorite targets. There’s apparently no getting tired of the pleasure of feeling naughty because you say mean things about women and racial minorities for conservative audiences.
Well, conservative media built Twitchy Nation, and now it looks like they have to live in it. You can’t tell people, day in and day out, that nothing is more fun than putting some mouthy broad in her place and then get upset when they continue to think it’s fun, even when the mouthy broad is one of yours.”

- Why Fox News’ Defense Of Megyn Kelly Is Going To Backfire
26 Aug 20:32

The sad, lonely world of Ashley Madison

by PZ Myers


Lately, I’ve been getting a fair amount of email from people who’ve been browsing the stolen Ashley Madison subscriber list, telling me what famous or semi-famous person had an account there. I haven’t been impressed. A lot of it seems to be men who were looking for dates, and the thing is…I really doubt that any of them found anything approximating love or sex there. It’s peculiar to accuse people of cheating on their spouses through Ashley Madison, when it’s highly unlikely that any man was making contact with any women there.

A detailed look at the Ashley Madison database reveals…

What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As I’ll explain below, there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.

31 million men begging 12,000 women for dates. That’s just pathetic. And it gets worse.

The first field, called mail_last_time, contained a timestamp indicating the last time a member checked the messages in their Ashley Madison inbox. If a person never checked their inbox, the field was blank. But even if they’d checked their messages only once, the field contained a date and time. About two-thirds of the men, or 20.2 million of them, had checked the messages in their accounts at least once. But only 1492 women had ever checked their messages. It was a serious anomaly.

The pattern was reflected in another data field, too. This one, called chat_last_time contained the timestamp for the last time a member had struck up a conversation using the Ashley Madison chat system. Roughly 11 million men had engaged in chat, but only 2400 women had.

The hackers of the Impact Team who broke into the database were right about one thing, for sure: Ashley Madison was a colossal scam that took advantage of men. But then releasing all that membership data was simply another strike against the victims of the scam. Some of them may have been salacious hypocrites (see Josh Duggar), but that’s not a crime…and many of those victims might have just been lonely single people, fumbling futilely on the internet.

26 Aug 13:04

Library of music genres

by Rob Beschizza
musicgenres 1: Every Noise at Once assembles all the genres of music into a star-chart of simple click-to-play examples. 2: The random musical genre generator.
25 Aug 20:23

Platform Cooperativism: a worker-owned Uber for everything

by Cory Doctorow

Nathan Schneider writes, "The seeds are being planted for a new kind of online economy. For all the wonders the Internet brings us, it is dominated by an economics of monopoly, extraction, and surveillance." Read the rest

25 Aug 12:50

Samsung fridges can leak your Gmail logins

by Cory Doctorow

Researchers at Pen Test Partners took up the challenge to hack a smart fridge at Defcon's IoT Village, and discovered that they could man-in-the-middle your Google login credentials from Samsung fridges. Read the rest

25 Aug 17:01

Brevity is a virtue

by PZ Myers

I am very much enjoying the vicarious thrill of reading a Feminist on Tinder. Tinder seems to be ground zero for embarrassingly ignorant mansplaining, and this woman put up a profile that says “hello i am a feminist,” which prompts so much stupidity to be put down.

For example:


I thoroughly despise anti-feminists, but it’s my male privilege that makes me just as angry at guys who abuse evolution.

25 Aug 20:52

This is Rape Culture: That Virginia frat and its terrible banners

by David Futrelle
They ruined three bedsheets for this?

They ruined three bedsheets for this?

The We Hunted the Mammoth Pledge Drive is on! Please consider donating through the PayPal button below. Thanks!


So the Sigma Nu house at Old Dominion University in Virginia apparently decided last weekend to reinforce the not-exactly-unjustified popular perception that fraternities are basically giant petri dishes for growing rape culture by hanging these lovely banners out for all incoming students to see.

People have already come out of the woodwork to defend the banners as “politically incorrect” humor, as Amanda Marcotte points out on Pandagon, and suggesting that they can’t possibly be referring to rape. She quotes one Washington Post commenter, who claims that while

the signs are crude and dumb … this repulsive habit of charging “rape culture” every time a male mentions sex with a female is even more crude, more dumb, and far more dangerous. There is absolutely nothing in the signs (at least not the ones in the photo above) that even implies non-consensual sex. These lunatics throw around “rape” the way Joe McCarthy flung around “communist” and with just as much concern for truth and justice as he did.

Marcotte, who has encountered more than her share of mansplainy MRA trolls over the years, points out the fundamental bad faith of this “argument.”

Just because the signs imply rather than overtly call for force does not mean they aren’t rape culture. This is how rape culture is, in fact, created: Through winks and nudges, rather than overt calls to force sex on women.

While the banners do not overtly say “rape” on them, the implication is easy enough to see, even for people pretending they don’t see it. …

If you think of consent as something that is freely given and enthusiastic, the coercive element of these signs, which portray women as basically fuckholes who have no say in how they’re used, is staring you right in the face. …

But, of course, that comment shows what rape apologists always do: They suddenly pretend they are aliens from another planet and only learned human language last week and therefore are incapable of picking up on humor, implication, non-verbal communication and nuanced language. They pretend to ascribe to a form of communication so literal that even the slightest bit of metaphor or implication, to hear them talk, sends them spinning into a state of confusion.

Sounds like more than a few MRAs and GamerGaters I’ve encountered in my day. Actually, it sounds like almost all of them.

Happily, the school administrators at Old Dominion University are having none of it, suspending the frat pending an investigation.

Over at Fox News’ Outnumbered show — the one with all the women on it — co-host Harris Faulkner resorted to the old “boys will be boys” argument, saying that

these guys are teenagers and in their twenties and they were probably drunk when they were writing the sign … they’re just having a good time.

Later in the show, after co-host Kennedy Montgomery jokingly suggested she would send her own daughters to a convent to keep them safe, Faulkner declared

I’m going to keep them home in the kitchen.

For anyone playing along at home, this is rape culture too.


25 Aug 14:03

Re-solidified coconut oil forms hexagonal cylinders

by Minnesotastan

A totally unexpected result is lucidly explained in the top comment at this AskScience subreddit thread.

Hint:  it's the same reason that Devil's Tower and the Giant's Causeway are formed of cylindrical hexagons... if that helps...
23 Aug 16:30

Life with the Dash button: good design for Amazon, bad for everyone else

by Fast Company
On a sunny Saturday morning, seven Amazon Dash buttons arrived to my apartment. Dash is a decidedly Jetsonian future come to life. A Wi-Fi connected button for my every need! Push one in my toddler's bedroom, and Huggies diapers would appear at my...
24 Aug 16:04

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Joker


Hovertext: Better put a little booze in there to mellow things out.

New comic!
Today's News:

 Tickets for all three BAHFest shows are now available! San Francisco, MIT, and Seattle! Featuring, Kris Wilson of Cyanide and Happiness, Abby Howard of The Last Halloween, and Matt Inman of The Oatmeal!