Shared posts

21 Aug 00:00

Kitchen Tips

Household tip: Tired of buying so much toilet paper? Try unspooling the paper from the roll before using it. A single roll can last for multiple days that way, and it's much easier on your plumbing.
19 Aug 15:03

vertigoheadspace: Neil DeGrasse Tyson


Neil DeGrasse Tyson

20 Aug 05:25

Father builds glowing life-sized Minecraft block for son's birthday

by David Pescovitz

Nathan Pryor (HaHaBird) made this fantastic life-sized illuminated Minecraft block for his son's birthday. It's lit with RGB LEDs so the color can be changed via remote control. Read the rest

20 Aug 14:23

Ulysses pacts and spying hacks: warrant canaries and binary transparency

by Cory Doctorow

As the world's governments exercise exciting new gag-order snooping warrants that companies can never, ever talk about, companies are trying out a variety of "Ulysses pacts" that automatically disclose secret spying orders, putting them out of business. Read the rest

20 Aug 15:02

3D printed chess set where each piece holds a tiny plant

by Andrea James

After this Bauhaus-inspired pattern from XYZ Workshop is downloaded and printed, each chess piece is designed as a mini-planter. Read the rest

20 Aug 15:13

Universities' tax-exempt giga-endowments spend more on hedge fund managers than on education

by Cory Doctorow

Growing wealth disparity has produced a new financial hyper-elite who make eight-figure donations to major universities, who hand that money back over to more finance titans in the form of special commissions that are taxed at a ridiculously low rate (making more zillionaire donors). Read the rest

20 Aug 16:58

Ashley Madison commits copyfraud in desperate bid to suppress news of its titanic leak

by Cory Doctorow

The company is shotgunning DMCA notices against journalists and others who reproduce even the tiniest fraction of the dump of users who signed up to find partners with whom to cheat on their spouses -- included in the dump are thousands of people who paid $15 to have their data permanently deleted from the service. Read the rest

20 Aug 18:30

America does a better job of tracking bee deaths than deaths in police custody

by Cory Doctorow

Michael from Muckrock writes, "The federal government has a pretty good picture of where bees are dying across America, with two federal agencies collaborating on a systematic, scientifically-rigorous, long-term look at the problem, particularly important given the danger that colony collapse disorder presented." Read the rest

20 Aug 12:57

manbootypokeball: the four great abrahamic religions


the four great abrahamic religions

20 Aug 04:01


by Robot Hugs

New comic!

We should all cast aside these lies that hide from us the ‘real problems’. That will solve everything.

I am told not infrequently by people who apparently think they are doing good that my drugs mask underlying truths that would comprehensively address my problems if I would just LET myself face them.

Usually this comes tied to a bunch of pseudo-pharma-conspiracy shit, and ends with a suggestion for a herbal remedy. It’s all part of the Unsolicited Uninformed Opinion package – available everywhere there’s terrible people!

18 Aug 00:26

Cool photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson as a college student in the eighties

by Xeni Jardin

Photo: Neil deGrasse Tyson in graduate school in Texas, sometime in the 1980s. (more…)

18 Aug 00:29

Living tomato ripeness chart

by Xeni Jardin

Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. (more…)

19 Aug 04:17

Fantastic video of Pluto fly-by made from still images

by David Pescovitz

Astronomical artist Björn Jónsson stitched together still images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past the dwarf planet Pluto last month. Read the rest

17 Aug 15:17

Google's making it easy for you to get solar panels onto your roof

by Daniel Cooper
Adding solar panels to your roof can be frustrating, since it's often difficult to know if your home receives enough light to justify the investment. Google Maps, however, has satellite, navigation and sunlight data for every property in the world,...
19 Aug 13:47

Chastity belts were a joke, then a metaphor, then a hoax

by Cory Doctorow

Historian Albrecht Classen got so tired of hearing people blithlely assert that chastity belts were ever a thing that he wrote The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process, explaining how a 15th century hoax that appeared in a manuscript that also feature fart jokes and devices for making people invisible became canon.

From Sarah Laskow: Read the rest

19 Aug 00:00

Board Game

Yes, it took a lot of work to make the cards and pieces, but it's worth it--the players are way more thorough than the tax prep people ever were.
16 Aug 16:32

Can you explain this vertical "beam of light" ?

by Minnesotastan

The image was created when lightning struck while a photograph was taken during a storm.

It's not Photoshopped and hasn't undergone any post-imaging processing.  There is a perfectly logical explanation - detailed and illustrated at Metabunk.
17 Aug 18:30

Dress code violation

by Minnesotastan

Sent home from high school for violating the school's dress code.

Not because of the faded jeans.

Because her outfit doesn't completely cover her clavicle (collarbone).

This incident didn't happen in a church school - she attends Woodford County High School, a public school in Versailles, Kentucky, just a short distance from where I used to live.  The controversy regarding the dress code was recently reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader:
An online petition has begun seeking support to change Woodford County High School's 11-year-old dress code...

Wednesday was the first day of classes for students. One Facebook post said there was "a group of female students standing in the office" because they were not complying with the dress code.

Another post said, "This is ridiculous! Parents are being called away from important jobs and students are missing important class time because they are showing their collarbones!"...

Among the criteria in the Woodford County High dress code is that students must wear a rounded crewneck shirt or a button-down shirt that may have only the top button open. Shirts must not expose the collarbone. Shorts and skirts must be knee-length or longer.
Last year the students at the school created a 33-minute video about their grievances.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:
18 Aug 18:38

Airport Security Seizes Three-Year-Old's Fart Gun

by Kevin

For once I'm not going to be criticizing the TSA, but that's only because the TSA wasn't involved here in any way. Although it wouldn't surprise me if they have been meeting with their Irish counterparts supposedly to exchange nonsensical "security tips" but really to get free trips to Ireland at taxpayer expense because the $60 billion they've already filched from us doesn't seem like enough, and in the process some of their bad judgment rubbed off on the people at Dublin Airport.

Well, I guess that was kind of critical of the TSA, actually. I tried.

Here's what airport security took from a three-year-old on Saturday (The Independent, Nothing To Do With Arbroath):

Fart Blaster seized
FartblasterAs Paula pointed out, this is a replica of the "Fart Blaster" wielded by the minions in "Despicable Me." So I guess it does have a track record of being used for evil purposes. But in real life it doesn't do anything except make noise and apparently emit an odor that thankfully is said to be banana-scented. Do I want a kid to wield one of these on a plane? No. Does it need to be confiscated by security personnel? No.

And of course they didn't confiscate it because they care that it might annoy other travelers. They confiscated it because—wait for it—it violated the rule against "replica guns." And this was despite the fact that, according to the kid's mother, the security officer admitted that his own child has the very same toy.

"We don't make the rules but we apply the rules consistently," an airport spokesperson said. "Anything that is a replica gun with a trigger mechanism on it is listed as a prohibited item." Well, if it didn't have a "trigger mechanism," it wouldn't be a very good replica, but the larger problem here really seems to be confusion OVER WHAT THE PHRASE "REPLICA" MEANS.

This does suggest some sort of TSA influence, because our resident geniuses have repeatedly invoked this rule—which I had presumed was meant to keep out things that look something like actual weapons—to confiscate things as ridiculous as a ray-gun shaped belt-buckle, a cane shaped like a lightsaber, and a two-inch long revolver strapped to the side of a sock monkey. What is the point, please? Of course, given the state of things over here, I guess we couldn't entirely rule out the chance of a tragic incident stemming from a three-year-old's poor decision to menace a cop with a Fart Blaster, but this happened in Ireland.

The spokesperson noted that the toy was "being kept safe at the airport" so the child can get it back when the family returns, so that's nice. Over here, they'd probably go ahead and blow it up just to be safe. Can't be too careful.

17 Aug 17:55


17 Aug 19:00

Minecraft’s Brutalist Build Yields Beauty

by Philippa Warr

Created by Wuxa, image via BlockWorks

The Minecraft Brutalist Build yielded some rather attractive results as part of RIBA’s Day of Play earlier this month. The Brutalist Build was a partnership between RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) and BlockWorks, a team or artists, architects and designers who specialise in Minecraft projects.

… [visit site to read more]

15 Aug 23:00

XKCD Author's New Unpublished Book Becomes Scientific Best-Seller

by Soulskill
An anonymous reader writes: XKCD cartoonist Randall Munroe will be publishing a new book in November, but it's already become Amazon's #1 best-seller in two "Science & Math" subcategories, for mechanics and scientific instruments. Inspired by a cartoon describing NASA's Saturn V rocket as "the up-goer V", Randall's created a large-format collection of blueprints describing datacenters, tectonic plates, and even the controls in an airplane cockpit — using only the thousand most common English words. "Since this book explains things, I've called it Thing Explainer," Randall writes on the XKCD blog, trying to mimic the humorously simple style of his book. Randall's previous book of scientific hypotheticals — published one year ago — is still Amazon's #1 best-selling book in their "Physics" category, ranking higher than Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time."

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14 Aug 18:00

Find the Indoor Plant You Probably Won't Kill with This Flowchart

by Melanie Pinola

Indoor plants clean the air, make our spaces look great, and could also boost productivity . But choosing the right kind of indoor plant will depend on the kind of light we have and whether or not we tend to kill plants . That’s where this flowchart comes in.


16 Aug 15:05

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Ethical Fourier Transform


Hovertext: There's a lot of networking to be done on the Dark Side.

New comic!
Today's News:
16 Aug 19:03

"The GOP establishment has been plotting to consign Donald Trump to the electoral scrap heap ever..."

“The GOP establishment has been plotting to consign Donald Trump to the electoral scrap heap ever since he entered the race. The question we should ask is why.
One hopes his enemies would be motivated by disgust for his sexist and racist remarks. But Trump has articulated positions that, however crude, are squarely in the party’s mainstream. Marco Rubio opposes abortion even if a pregnancy is the result of incest or rape. Jeb Bush sees no reason for the federal government to allocate a half billion dollars to women’s health, and urges workers to work harder as a part of the cure for our economic malaise. Trump’s statements on immigration are just more bombastic versions of his opponents who want to seal the border with Mexico and deny undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
And it can’t be because Trump displays a libertarian strain. His main antagonist, Rand Paul, a staunch libertarian, is tolerated by the war-mongering Republican leadership, even though he has expressed disagreement with the Bush administration’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
So why is Trump the enemy, really? The GOP will say it’s because he’s a clown, he has no experience, he can’t win, he’s more a celebrity than a politician. This might all be true. But there’s another big reason they’d rather not talk about.
At the debate and numerous public appearances, Trump has matter-of-factly stated that he is an equal opportunity donor to Republican and Democratic candidates—not for the purpose of civic duty or altruism, but in exchange for influence. He has openly deemed his gifts to politicians a business expense. He went so far as to declare, before 24 million viewers at the debate, that he uses his donations to obtain favors from legislators who are all too eager to bow to his requests. He not-so-subtly implies that politicians are bought and paid for by him and other financial moguls. And he expects a fair return for those dollars, measured in policy rewards like zoning adjustments, subsidies for building projects and long-term tax relief.
In short, he lets the cat out of the bag about something the political system has spent more than a century to disguise.”

- [Trump] went so far as to declare, before 24 million viewers at the debate, that he uses his donations to obtain favors from legislators who are all too eager to bow to his requests. He not-so-subtly implies that politicians are bought and paid for by him and other financial moguls. In short, he lets the cat out of the bag about something the political system has spent more than a century to disguise.
16 Aug 20:06

70sscifiart: Syd Mead retro-futurism


Syd Mead retro-futurism

15 Aug 14:09

All-woman science fiction story-bundle

by Cory Doctorow

Name your price above $15 and get DRM-free ebooks by Cat Rambo, Nancy Kress, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Catherine Asaro, Jody Lynn Nye, Judith Tarr, Vonda McIntyre, and Janis Ian! Read the rest

14 Aug 16:57

Trickle-down kids' TV: Sesame Street will air on HBO 9 months before PBS

by Cory Doctorow

A show conceived to help low-income kids keep up with their affluent peers will now be "paywalled so that rich kids can watch it before poor kids can." Read the rest

14 Aug 17:19

Even when you turn on Win 10's "privacy" flags, it still spies on you

by Cory Doctorow

By default, Windows listens to you, gathers your keystrokes, watches your browser history and purchases and sends them to Microsoft and its partners -- but even if you turn off all the tickboxes in the hellishly complex privacy dashboard it still gathers and sprays your data. Read the rest

14 Aug 18:08

I repeat: Octopuses are NOT aliens

by PZ Myers


Jebus. The stupidity of the media is maddening. Here are two articles now out there: Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study and Octopuses ‘are aliens’, scientists decide after DNA study. These reporters are embarrassing.

Not to freak you out or anything, but scientists have just revealed that octopuses are so weird they’re basically aliens.

The first full genome sequence shows of that octopuses (NOT octopi) are totally different from all other animals – and their genome shows a striking level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes identified, more than in a human.


As I said earlier, the study is open access. Read it. If you can’t understand the big words and the details, then you shouldn’t be writing news stories on science.

The study says exactly the opposite. It shows that octopuses use genes shared with vertebrates — the common metazoan toolbox. They have amplified genes used by other earthly animal life in unique ways, but protocadherins are a known earthly family of molecules, and zinc finger genes are a known earthly family of genes. This study reinforces the concept of common ancestry.

Do I need to add that it’s even plainly said in the abstract? Just read the abstract!

The core developmental and neuronal gene repertoire of the octopus is broadly similar to that found across invertebrate bilaterians

I just know this nonsense is going to be propagated by creationists everywhere, and I’m going to have to slam it down repeatedly. The only good thing is that it’s an easy one to rebut, and I’ll have many excuses to wrap my virtual tentacles around their rhetorical throats and squeeze.

It begins.

Proving that octopuses are creatures that arrived from another planet, possibly from another solar system, may not be revealed any time soon. However, their alien existence upon the Earth is expected to be the focus of significant research in the coming years. It is likely that they will be found to be born of the Earth, but the mysticism that they may be aliens makes the genome discovery quite intriguing.