Shared posts

09 Sep 00:48

Words about slavery that we should all stop using

by Cory Doctorow

"Plantation" = "labor camp"; "slave-owner" = "enslaver"; "Union troops" = "US troops." Read the rest

08 Sep 17:51

Website creates fake Brooklyn bar menus on demand

by Mark Frauenfelder


With the click of a button you can create a custom menu and name for a trendy Brookyln bar. There are a lot of places like this in LA, too, which serve pricey tapas portioned for a pygmy jerboa.

04 Sep 12:13


by mark

If you are inundated with credit card offers, is the best way to stop them. It’s like the “Do Not Call” list for credit card offers.

About a year after I started college, I began getting credit card offers. On a bad day I’d receive up to four offers from various credit card companies. Having to deal with that much junk mail was a real annoyance, and I tended to throw the envelopes into a box and either shred them or burn them all at one time. One day, a year or so after I finished college, I was sitting in the lobby of my mechanic shop and reading the newspaper. That’s when I read a column extolling the virtues of, a service that claimed to get that pesky first-year-no-interest monkey off my back.

So that afternoon I went to the website and filled out the required info (name, address, SSN, and date of birth.) For roughly two weeks I still received the same volume of CC offers as before signing up. After a month, however, the flow of credit card offers had dramatically slowed. Within two months, I was getting NO offers. Fantastic!

My experience matched with’s confirmation page, which states “Your request will be completed within 5 business days. Although your request becomes effective with Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion within five business days of your request, you may not see an immediate reduction in the amount of offers you receive. This is because your name may have already been provided to some companies that have not yet mailed their offers to you. You may continue to receive certain firm offers for several months.”

Here’s how it works: Once you sign up for the service, they will then send your information to the companies that provide consumer credit reporting services (Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion.) These companies will then take you off the mailing lists they distribute to credit card companies and you will stop receiving offers from those credit card companies. Simple as that.

The website states your request to opt-out of CC offers is good for five years, however this can change if you sign up for a service that sells your name and address to CC companies, or apply for a credit card. I noticed recently after purchasing a website domain and space to set up a friends’ commercial website, the credit card offers started pouring in again. I went back to and re-applied. I thought now would be an apropos moment to write a review of this great resource.

Finally, they do warn you that “while your name will be removed from the lists that Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion provide to businesses for the purpose of making you a firm offer of credit or insurance, you may continue to receive offers from sources that do not use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies to compile their lists.”

Great service, highly recommended.

-- Owen Kelly

03 Sep 13:49

2015 Thought Eater Tournament

by (Zak S)

I gotta think of a good topic to submit with my entry. Got any ideas?

I like Secret Santicore, I like the One Page Dungeon Contest, I like tables made by Gygaxian Democracy and I like all the other kinds of cool shared gameables you people make.

But I also love Revolution Natalie on Why D&D Has So Many Rules For Combat, Jeff Gameblog on Max, James Mal on the Monster Manual as Medieval Grimoire and False Patrick on Miniatures as Sculpture.

The DIY game scene has lots of ways of encouraging people to make game stuff. We don't have that many ways of encouraging these kind of critical and reflective essays on the nature of the game and game-related stuff. The traditional way to do that would be to start a magazine, but magazines are dead. So instead, I'm announcing the...

This could be you don't you love that idea? You do i know.
Here's how it works:

1. If you want to be in the contest email me: zakzsmith AT hawtmayle .

2. Also tell me at least one topic you'd like to see covered in the essays as part of the tournament--something you'd like to see other people tackle.

3. I will arrange the contestants into elimination rounds and assign topics from the suggestions to each pair.

4. Each contestant will attempt to produce interesting prose containing at least one original idea on the topic assigned within the week and then email it to me without putting it up anywhere else. Note: It's ok if it takes a while for me to assign these. This can be a casual tournament if need be.

5. For each pair of contestants I will place both essays (without the authors' names--to prevent politicking or bias) up on the blog. Blog readers will vote on which essay is the more engaging and original. (I will not vote or participate.)

6. Three days later I will count the votes and reveal the names of the contestants (with links to their blogs if they have them). Winners will move on to the next round and be paired with a winner from the previous round. You can put the essay you wrote up on your blog if you have one at that point.

7. Participants will receive: adulation for how smart they are and attention for their blogs if they have them.

The community will receive: some thought-provoking prose.

The winner will receive: a boon of their choice granted by me. Since the winner will be, by definition, immensely wise, the boon requested will obviously be something cool and reasonable, so I'm pretty open about what that is.

So get to work, Brainiacs...

01 Sep 18:03

Google's new logo

by Rob Beschizza

IMO Paul Rand's best work in 20 years. I would have gone for something traditional, myself, like Zapfino, but I guess they're going for that classy slick design look.


28 Aug 12:51

Marco's ride in the tank

by (digby)
Marco's ride in the tank

by digby

This is not photoshopped.  It happened at a furniture store in New Hampshire today:

These images hurt when they reinforce a vulnerability. This one could haunt Rubio. It doesn't make him look "youthful and vigorous", it makes him look infantile.

26 Aug 14:09

Health's unkillable urban legend: "You must drink 8 glasses of water/day"

by Cory Doctorow

In 1945, the Food and Nutrition board advised that most people needed 2.5l of water/day, noting that most of this would come from your prepared foods. Read the rest

25 Aug 15:03

Lost 1950s mosaic mural uncovered in NY after decades behind facade

by Andrea James

Allison Meier reports on the progress in uncovering a gorgeous Max Spivak midcentury stained-glass mosaic that was found in March hidden behind an aluminum facade. Read the rest

25 Aug 12:49

Creepy cloaked figure photographed dropping meat near playground

by David Pescovitz

Police are investigating strange photos turning up online of a cloaked individual reportedly placing raw meat near a playground in Gastonia, North Carolina. Read the rest

25 Aug 12:49

Watch this birdie do a pretty much perfect R2D2 impersonation

by Xeni Jardin

“We taught Bluey the budgie how to do R2-D2 and now he drives us crazy! He has two other budgies in his cage, and I think he's driving them crazy too!”


24 Aug 18:39

Play a digital version of a lost "perception-altering" Freemasonry board-game

by Cory Doctorow

Jason writes, "'The Bafflement Fires' is a digital recreation of a Freemason board game from the 1950s." (more…)

22 Aug 18:02

The Art Economy In Vornheim

by (Zak S)

For a moment a terrible hunger lit up her eyes. But it turned slowly into indifference. "Besides," she said, "I would not go if they did. Why should I go? The High City is an elaborate catafalque. Art is dead up there, and Paulinus Rack is burying it. Nothing is safe from him-or from those old women who finance him-painting, theatre, poetry, music. I no longer wish to go there." Her voice rose. "I no longer wish them to buy my work. I belong here.

-Viriconium, M John Harrison

Sooner or later, the party will be paid in contemporary art--a small canvas by Aelfron Aelrey or a book of poetry by Princert with illustrations by Scraptric in with the ill-fitting ringmail and headless coins.

The good news is: By weight, art is worth more than almost anything else--hundreds of thousands of gp-and-therefore-xp. The bad news is: Its value depends on the whims of the salon critics of the High City.

The solution that presents itself most immediately to the conscientious FLAILSNAILER or murderhobo--assassinate the opposed critics--is impractical. This only creates martyrs of the physical bodies, leaving their philosophy intact to be carried on by those they were already influencing anyway. The party's goal is to discredit the hostile critics philosophically in such a way as to increase the value of the artworks they opposed, thus rendering the adventurers wealthy.

This is less dull than it sounds.
In the Vornheim salons, the current rage (in every sense), is Arbitrism, which is difficult to summarize, but let's try:

Since at least the Hex King's War it's been immediately clear to anyone that Vornheim's cosmopolitanism is imperfect--those of the Southern Continent are scarce, those of the Eastern are unheard of since the time of Ping Feng, women are wary of the Laws of the Needle in the low districts, dwarves will not mine any stone in mixed company, half-elves fear for their lives in the Prussing Fields--the city is in many ways an ignorant place. The people do, after all, worship pigs.

Arbitrist critics blame all this--and the decadence that results--on the city's many poets and painters--focusing particular bile, among contemporary artists, on the writer Flameward Ragged Dei, a human living among elves in Nornrik, and the creatives associated with his small publishing house and its philosophies--Insane Etiolation Process, which, for practical purposes, is nearly all of the good ones.

The Arbitrists survive through intellectual arbitrage--that is, taking ideas that were discarded as useless in their native fields--philosophy, natural science, the academy--and importing them to the world of art, where their exoticism grants them a dazzling currency among the status-anxious neurotics of the collecting class.
Once an artwork is acquired, the more hostile critics are discredited, the more the work will be worth once sold. A poem by McCoffering Ginny is worth ten times as much in a world where the "red wizards" of The Awful are exposed as frauds.

The methods employable to discredit an Arbittrist depend somewhat on the critic in question, but it is safe to assume they are all discreditable since the philosophy itself is inaccurate. No sane, intelligent person could honestly hold it, therefore the critic must be insane, unintelligent or dishonest.
Typical vulnerabilities of bad critics include most or all of the following:

1. They possess a documented and widely-attested official history of madness, and their doctors will argue that their critical views are a result of this madness.

2. They are charmless and slow-witted--any personal contact with members of the salons of Vornheim will immediately convince interlocutors of their inanity.

3. Creative-critical dissonance: they have created hidden works slathered thickly with the values they despise.

4. Personally terrible--they have committed grave and secret misdeeds in dark corners, from which their stentorian proclamations are a GOP-ish distraction.

In the case of 1, 3 and 4, documents or NPCs attesting to this can be treated as a kind of treasure to be sought across the hexmap or dungeon, or buried in a drawer at the end of an investigative scenario. In the case of 2, the goal is likely to convince the critic to appear in the salons of their own accord via social maneuver.

Further, all proponents of Arbitrism are, consciously or not, agents of the Red Hand of Tiamat--preparing the world for the coming of the lava babies. They are not without defenses, and the party may find themselves set upon by assassins and slanderers.

The physical location of critics is rarely considered to have any import in the salons--some occupy the city, some live East of Yoon Suin--they propagate their ideas via proxies. Hurling Tracing earned her name by periodically dropping copied artworks from a window of a tower in the Mulched Fen.

They go about in high dudgeon, and finding one is generally no more complex than tracing the rail of snickers and eyerolls back to the source. To find out the critic's current obsession, consult the table:

What's the Arbittrist  Mad About Today? Roll d20

1. Famed director Orgel Ooclas has created a fantasy for the theatre concerning wizards and steel golems that dwell beyond the stars. In a revised version, one character, a beloved rogue, loses initiative in a tavern brawl when previously he'd won, causing a wide outcry of "Slann drew first" among the theatre mobs. The Arbittrist cites this popular reaction as an example of "poisonous manhood" and the work itself as "imperialist propaganda"--though admits to never having seen it.

2. The Arbittrist has become enraged by the word 'madness'--claiming it is has the effect of devaluing the opinions of the lunatic so labelled. 

3. A fad for erotic openness has swept the women of Vornheim. The Arbitrist is suspicious, claiming it is a cover for some darker force.

4. Serialized poems concerning the adventures of a scion of a high family of Vornheim who adopts the affect of a bat and protects the weak from violence and predation have gained favor with the young and young-hearted of the city. The Arbitrist is opposed. As a member of even a fictive upper class, imaginative sympathy for this Bat Man is unimaginable.

5. Parents of the city have begun constructing "sand boxes" wherein children might build from that humble substrate towers and homes for dolls and imaginary friends. It has come to the attention of the Arbitrist that it is a frequent practice to dismantle these miniature residences and sometimes even abuse the toys who dwell therein. The Arbitrist is alarmed that those who enjoy these "sand boxes" do not use them to simulate creation rather than destruction.

6.  The practice of counting "Hitting points" in schools of duelling is reviled by the Arbitrist--who claims it saps the creative expression of duellists.

7. Conservatory students, aged 8-11, have lately performed--to wide acclaim--the brooding and experimental ballad "Forty Six and Two" originally composed by Memes Canard Keyplan's Implement Quartet. The Arbittrist has railed against it on the grounds that the young girl singing the lead part does not grasp the true and esoteric meaning of the piece.

8. The Arbittrist is enraged by the hair style affected by an artist of the Warm Quarter.

9.  The word "barbarian" has been declared upsetting, as its etymology refers to the brutalities of the past.

10. Playwright Lost Weevil has created "The Scavengers"--a work wherein a god of mischief contends with an archer, a spy, a patriot, a knight in gold armor, and a gamma troll--receipts have been unprecedented. It is the Arbittrist's opinion that Weevil's entertainments serially insult the women of Vornheim, this one most of all.

11. It is an established fact that humans and demihumans often have bad ideas. It is the Arbitrist's notion that all humans unconsciously adopt all of these bad ideas and that, therefore, they are all loathsome, including themselves.

12. A group of sculptures purporting to depict creatures of the Lower Planes has been produced--the bodies are distorted and erotically charged. The Arbitrist claims their shapes insult the women of Vornheim.

13. Another Arbittrist has called for the censorship of the work of starry-eyed author and fantasist Geil Mainann. Mainnan, in turn, has responded by saying he shouldn't. The Arbittrist cites Mainnan's behavior as a clear case of harassment.

14. Rann Ice, author of erotic works concerning vampires, has defended a fellow author against an Arbitrist critic claiming she should be sexually assaulted. The Arbittrist cites Ice's behavior as a clear case of harassment.

15. The popular art works have inspire young women of the city to wear outrageous and revealing fashions in imitation of their heroines. The Arbitrist feels this insults the children of Vornheim.

16.  The Arbitrist has written a play. The Arbitrist is now disgusted by it--claiming the many hours spent writing have rendered it familiar and contemptible--and wants no part of the production.

17. The toymaker Rike Pearls--has hired an anti-Arbitrist artist and critic as consultant at the toy factory. The Arbitrist is incensed.

18. It has been widely reported that adventurers inside the city and out have taken to slaying dangerous and predatory beasts rather than ignoring them or allowing the parties themselves to be slain. The Arbitrist finds this practice "othering".

19. Teratophilic pornography from the East has lately appeared in the bedrooms and evidence-vaults of the city. The Arbtrist has declared it and its inculcators anathema.

20. An illustrated guide to Gyorsla and Voivodja has been recognized with some minor awards. The Arbitrist is displeased.

And now, a word from our sponsor...
Only 22 copies left at the LotFP webstore!

18 Aug 11:49

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…)

17 Aug 17:56

Champagne bottle fights back

by Mark Frauenfelder



17 Aug 15:38

World Record in Posing as Anti-Union Image

by Erik Loomis


Above: The actual Rosie the Riveter image, which did not seek to fight unions

I know I will never win this fight, but if we are going to try and set world records in women dressing up as “Rosie the Riveter” can it a) at least be the real one and b) not copy what was in fact an anti-union poster. Remember, the “We” in “We Can Do It” does not mean women. It means Westinghouse.

I get that the image has been appropriated for good. It doesn’t mean that we should forget about its history or pretend that it is what it isn’t. Historical mythology should always be corrected.

12 Aug 16:27

DICK Card Game: An irreverent retelling of the whale of American literary classics

by Natasha Tauber
DICK Card Game
DICK is at once a provocative party game and a retelling of Herman Melville's classic novel "Moby-Dick" or, "The Whale." In a mash-up of literature and lowbrow humor, the game positions direct quotations from Melville's often-suggestive text against......
Continue Reading...
04 Aug 19:41

22 Years Ago Today, Nolan Ryan Beat The Shit Out Of Robin Ventura

by Barry Petchesky

You charge the mound because you’re furious. Because you want to hurt someone. You know you’ll be ejected, fined, suspended, but it’s all worth it for brief taste of revenge. You never do it thinking that it all might go horribly wrong, and you might wind up on the receiving end of one of the most iconic beatdowns in sports history. Robin Ventura was one of the finest third baseman to ever play the game of baseball. I can’t hear his name without picturing him in a headlock, being whaled upon by a 46-year-old man.


03 Aug 19:47

Which Baseball Fight Moment Would You Commission As A Work Of Art?

by Timothy Burke

Our pal Shawn visited the National Sports Collectors Convention this weekend and wrote up some of his strangest findings over at Hall of Very Good. One item, however, caught our eye: this oil painting by Justyn Farano of the famous Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura brawl that took place 22 years ago. We’d hang this in our house (and, if you’ve got the money, you can) but we quickly came up with other baseball fights we’d love to see captured by an artist’s hand.


29 Jul 20:43

Taste Roger Goodell's Wrath With Our NFL Punishment Generator

by Deadspin Staff

I got a 4 game suspension for committing light treason.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is a ruddy incompetent who draws out decisions on punishing league employees in order to soak up the most positive attention he can. Until now, fans have only been to take part in this experience as third parties. Thanks to the NFL Punishment Generator, though, you too can answer a series of questions and receive a punishment—generated via a set of mysterious but certainly stupid criteria—that fits your crimes. In the end, it’s all about justice.


24 Jul 12:39

Ravens unveil team-specific emoji collection

by Jon Meoli
Now you have more than the purple heart emoji to use when discussing the upcoming Ravens season.
23 Jul 12:27

Have You Read "The Worst Story Ever Written?" Clear Your Schedule!

by Charlie Jane Anders

Lots and lots of things might lay claim to being the “worst story ever written.” But the reigning champion, according to huge swathes of fandom, is probably The Eye of Argon, first published in a fanzine in 1970. You can read the whole thing online.


23 Jul 12:21

Said one high schooler to the other...


22 Jul 11:48

A Neural Network Designs Magic: the Gathering Cards, and It's Hilarious

by Ed Grabianowski

I have a tenuous grasp of how M:TG works, but this is hilarious.

What happens when you feed the text of every Magic card ever made to a deep neural network and ask it to design its own cards? Part genius, part gibberish—and maybe a little poetry. But mostly, it just makes you laugh your ass off.


21 Jul 17:26

Bear Chows Down On A Buncha Dog Food, Passes Out

by Tom Ley on The Concourse, shared by Tom Ley to Deadspin

The beautiful lug you see in the picture above is a good bear, who after munching at a 20-pound bag of dog food decided he needed to take himself a little post-meal nap.


17 Jul 15:31

I Can’t Stop Watching These Crazy Assholes Play Indoor Bike Soccer 

by Drew Magary

Have you been wandering around your life blissfully unaware of the existence of RADBALL? Well, my man, today is your day of enlightenment, because I’ve got a video that will blow your fucking dick off.


17 Jul 12:40

Here's The Best Sports Highlight Of The Day

by Samer Kalaf

There aren’t many good sports highlights for you today, so here’s a dorky bird knocking a soccer ball into a small goal. The bird also dances.


09 Jul 19:35

Get to know pesäpallo, Finland’s bizarre, breathless version of baseball.

by Barry Petchesky

Get to know pesäpallo, Finland’s bizarre, breathless version of baseball. Look at this damned field!


09 Jul 19:33

A Dastardly Application of the Prisoner's Dilemma 

by Robbie Gonzalez

The following “opportunity” appears in a survey posted on a University of Maryland domain. We don’t know what class this problem was intended for (given its nature, we’d guess maths, econ, or psych). What we do know is we like this teacher’s style.


09 Jul 16:16

Conan Goes To Comic-Con As The Doof Warrior From Mad Max

by Gergo Vas on Kotaku, shared by Charlie Jane Anders to io9

Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter replaced Immortan Joe and The Doof Warrior from Mad Max: Fury Road for a short Comic-Con clip.


09 Jul 11:51

Ultimate guided meditation video

by Rob Beschizza

Join with your inner stillness, where those fucks can't get under your skin with all their horseshit.