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16 Nov 14:00

Google Self-Driving Car Pulled Over by Police | NBC4...


It's the future.

Google Self-Driving Car Pulled Over by Police | NBC4 Washington

The Google car was going 24 mph in a 35 mph zone, which caused traffic to back up, according to the Mountain View Police blog.

Google is proud to say that they have never been ticketed to date after 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving. Had the officer decided to issue a citation, Mountain View Police Department spokesman Sgt. Saul Jaeger says the person in the position to be in control of the car would have been ticketed.

16 Nov 18:40

WOTY 2015

by Mark Liberman

According to a press release sent out earlier today,

Today Oxford Dictionaries announces the emoji, commonly known as “Face with Tears of Joy,” as its “Word” of the Year for 2015.

They explain that

This year Oxford University Press partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world. “Face with Tears of Joy” came out a clear winner. According to SwiftKey’s research, “Face with Tears of Joy” was the most heavily used emoji globally in 2015. Their research shows that the character comprised 20% of all emoji used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of all emoji used in the US. This compared to 4% and 9% respectively in 2014. In the US the next most popular emoji was “Face Throwing a Kiss,” comprising 9% of all usage.


17 Nov 03:33

Plus ca change

by naunihal


Both of these graphs are from @HistOpinion

14 Nov 19:35

"Phonetically defined"

by Mark Liberman

From Wrong Hands (here and here):

And again:

And on another topic:

[h/t Elise B.]

21 Oct 13:09

Kim Jong Elizabeth II

by Chris Blattman

Beautifully done: BBC footage of the Queen’s birthday, but with sneering BBC commentary about Kim Jong Il’s birthday dubbed over it. The lovely irony.

Hat tip to Philip Sterne, self-described longtime blog lurker.

The post Kim Jong Elizabeth II appeared first on Chris Blattman.

28 Oct 08:00

Humorous Street Art By Michael Pederson

by Yasmin Yazdani

Australian artist Michael Pederson created a series of street artworks in his hometown of Sydney. The pieces, which are made of everyday objects, typically have an unusual message behind them that are likely to resonate with the residents of the city. Pederson uses pre-existing objects, like cars, flowers or park benches, and transforms them into amusing installations to get the viewers to step out of their daily routine and see the world from a more humorous perspective.

michael_peterson_art_01 michael_peterson_art_02 michael_peterson_art_03 michael_peterson_art_04 michael_peterson_art_05 michael_peterson_art_06 michael_peterson_art_07 michael_peterson_art_08 michael_peterson_art_09 michael_peterson_art_10

All images © Michael Pederson

26 Oct 21:13

rairaiken424: ピタゴラスイッチ So very satisfying.


10/10 will watch again



So very satisfying.

14 Oct 16:27

Hot-air balloon festivals

Hot-air balloon festivals are a visual treat for many. Not only do they provide a stunning perspective for their passengers, but their playful shapes, colors, and themes make these floating vessels excellent subject matter for photographers, both on the ground and in the sky. Here is a look at some of the 2015 balloonist gatherings around the globe. -- By Leanne Burden Seidel

A hot-air balloon flies over fields on the outskirts of Minsk on July 18, during the Second International Aeronautics Championship. About 70 pilots from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Moldova and New Zealand take part in the championship. (Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images)

09 Sep 12:30

Cormac McCarthy, Mike Tyson, and Cartoon Network

by Matt Kahn
Cartoon Network's Adult Swim is a bastion of insanity and brilliance (or, when they're out of those, Family Guy reruns).  Here's a scene from the premiere of their series "Mike Tyson Mysteries"

Sometime I'll tell you about when I met Mike Tyson.  He seemed nice, though I don't know why someone left him at a supermarket with luggage and no cell phone.*

*This is actually true.
11 Oct 17:20

National Coming Out Day

by emily nagoski

Fifteen years ago, in Indiana, I participated in GLSEN’s “Day of Silence.” What you do is: you don’t talk. You don’t say anything. It’s to raise awareness around bullying and harassment of LGBTQ folks.


Two things happened that day that I remember every year on National Coming Out Day:


1. I went to the hardware store. I forget what I was looking for, but I remember that I couldn’t find it. And because I was being silent, I couldn’t ask for help.


I couldn’t ask for help.


2. I met someone new who struggled to pronounce my name, which was written on my name tag (English wasn’t her first language), and I couldn’t help her with the pronunciation.


I couldn’t even say my name.


So on National Coming Out Day, I think about all the people who can’t ask for help and can’t tell people who they are – not even the people who really want to know who they are.

And if you’re struggling, there’s, like, SO MANY PEOPLE who have your back. You can start with the Trevor Project or It Gets Better or , in the UK, LGBT Foundation.

Things are better now than they were 15 years ago.

Just think how good they might be 15 years from now.

29 Sep 10:25

birdandmoon: Snake truths.


Snake truths.

20 Sep 12:06

Then scan that, and take a photo of the print-out of the scan....

Then scan that, and take a photo of the print-out of the scan. Simple.

Buy the book now:,,

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10 Sep 04:00

Tabula Selenographica. The map shows the Moon. Created by...

by dennyshess

"The map shows the Moon."

Tabula Selenographica. The map shows the Moon. Created by Johannes Hevelius in 1647.

26 Sep 12:30

Istanbul, not Constantinople

by SoniaT

Throughout history, many cities changed their names. Some did it for political reasons; others hoped to gain an economic advantage from it. Looking at a modern map of the world, you’d probably have a hard time finding Edo, Istropolis, or Gia Dinh. That is because these places are today known as Tokyo, Bratislava, and Ho Chi Minh City respectively. With this interactive map, you can explore a few notable examples of city name changes, and the history behind them.

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the OxfordWords blog. 

Image Credit: “Istanbul” by Robert S. Donovan. CC BY NC 2.0 via Flickr.

The post Istanbul, not Constantinople appeared first on OUPblog.

09 Oct 07:01

A timeline of history

by Nathan Yau


“I wish there was a timeline browser for all the historical events documented on Wikipedia, from the Big Bang up to present,” you thought to yourself. Well look no more. Histography, a final project by Matan Stauber at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, is an interactive timeline that lets you sift through events and eras. It's updated with new events on the daily.

Each dot represents an event, and the horizontal axis represents its place in time. Categories in the left sidebar let you quickly filter to literature, war, inventions, etc. A scrollbar on the bottom highlights specific sections of time, such as the Stone Age, Renaissance, and Industrial Age.

When you filter, the dots that don't match roll away as if you were working with a table of marbles, further reinforced by the sound of colliding balls.

As with many things Wikipedia data-related, this only accounts for things on Wikipedia and not all things that ever happened in the history of the universe. So naturally, there are more recorded events as you move up to the present.

But with this in mind, this is a fun one to poke at. I want one of those interactive tables with this piece running on it. It'd be the ultimate coffee table book.

Tags: history, timeline, Wikipedia

03 Sep 00:53

This kid on Reading Rainbow is INTENSE. I’ve watched this clip...


This is a really excellent story!

This kid on Reading Rainbow is INTENSE.

I’ve watched this clip at least a couple dozen times. I would love to know what he’s up to now. Wouldn’t it be great to track him down? He was a violinist in the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra in 1996 — so I think he’d be in his late 20s early 30s now? Any Juilliard followers?

(This is from the Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin episode on Netflix.)

UPDATE: Through the MAGIC OF TWITTER we found him!!! (The whole thread is pretty funny — thanks to Jen Lee Koss.)

He is none other than world-class violinist and member of the LA Phil, Vijay Gupta, who’s given not one, but two TED talks: 

05 Oct 09:30

Over 8,400 Nasa moon landing images uploaded to Flickr

by Emily Gosling

8,400 photographs of past Nasa moon missions have been uploaded to Flickr by archivist Kipp Teague for the world to see. The images on the revamped Project Apollo Archive were shot by astronauts using Hasselblad cameras, and the process of scanning them in began in 2004 at Johnson Space Centre by a team led by Kipp. Keen to point out that the upload was an independent project, rather than a Nasa one, Kipp created the Project Apollo Archive in 1999 as a personal project, which led to a collaboration with Eric Jones’ Apollo Lunar Surface and a gradual amassing of the enormous collection of images.

Read more

05 Oct 07:01

Imagining alternative iPhone power sources

by Nathan Yau

Fat battery

Lithium-ion batteries power the iPhone (among other things), but what if we could use a different power source like coal or diesel? With some back-of-the-napkin math, Jon Keegan for the Wall Street Journal imagines what if. It's all about the body fat-powered iPhone with nine days of battery life.

Tags: battery, iphone, Wall Street Journal

05 Oct 03:19

Lost and found

by Victor Mair

In the 10/4/15 issue of the Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn has a sympathetic look at Chinglish:  "Cultural sensitivity lost — and found — in translation".  He offers the following sign at a museum near Datong as a prime specimen:

The Chinese reads:

qǐng wù fānyuè, zhùyì ānquán 请勿翻越 注意安全
("please do not cross over, pay attention to safety")

In truth, in China there is a problem with people climbing up or crossing over barriers and obstacles designed to protect them from danger, as evidenced by these images.  Judging from the verbal warnings on these signs, getting the English translations right also seems to present a real challenge.

From this cornucopia of examples, I'll just choose two of my favorites:

And this, the quintessence of misnegation:

The latter sign comes from this collection of particularly fine examples of Chinglish, about one third of which I've already covered on Language Log.  If anyone is curious about a particular item, I'd be happy to explicate it.

[h.t. John Rohsenow]

16 Sep 12:09

theshelteredlife: shygeekoverlord: bacon-dragon: paperforbreak...





ABCD #141: Positive reconceptualization.



I’m a fucking super hero! Yeah!!

20 Aug 00:00

Mel Croucher


"I have achieved my dream setup, right here in the future."

Mel Croucher

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Mel Croucher. The history books say I'm the founder of the UK video games industry. My wife says I'm a benign idiot. I started out as a musician because you had to be in a band by law back then. Later I became an architect, but I wasn't very good, so I ran away to join the circus. I called the circus Automata, which was in November 1977, and began by broadcasting my games software over the radio.

I have done many things and experienced many wonders, but I seem to come back to videogames when I want to push the boundaries a bit. My current game features the last performance of Sir Christopher Lee, the old tart. It's called Eggbird and involves the creative uses of avian bodily wastes.

What hardware do you use?

One of those big iMacs, one of those little iPads, one of those pocket-fondler iPhones, a giant Korg Music Workstation, a hollow-body cherry red Ibanez guitar with a weapons-grade tremolo arm.

And what software?

Pages for writing books, Logic Pro for editing and mixing soundtracks, ScreenFlow for cobbling video. I also use an app called Paper for sketching graphics and animations, and of course GarageBand for sketching audio. And the most important software of all.. a warm, damp Irish Setter.

What would be your dream setup?

I have achieved my dream setup, right here in the future. When I was young and the world was monochrome, I imagined a setup where I could travel everywhere and anywhere I wanted, lugging some sort of transportable machine, that would allow me to create the stuff of my imagination. Well, it's even better than I thought.

When I'm not wandering the planet and working away, I work from my home base on the South coast of the amusingly-named United Kingdom. It's a very tall, very old house by the sea, with miles of beach and ancient ramparts to walk on, a co-op on the corner to shop in, and a micro-brewery across the road to drink in, the National Health Service to patch me up when I am broken, and the Welfare State that pays me a senior citizens pension once every four weeks. Truly, this is paradise.

Thank you for reading this. Now go and do something wonderful.

01 Oct 16:11

Middle: Questionnaire: Ai Weiwei

With his current show at the Royal Academy (until 13 December), Ai Weiwei’s answers to the frieze ‘Questionnaire’, from Issue 134, October 2010 image

What are you reading?
I don’t read anything besides the news.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
My early memory of art is of revolutionary posters. They had a very strong impact on me as a child.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?
I have no favourite piece of art. I am more interested in the artist than in the work.

What should change?
What should stay the same?
Everything should change and everything should stay the same.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?
Imagination is part of what I do now. If I didn’t do what I am doing today I would have no imagination.

What is your favourite title of an art work?

What music are you listening to?
I never listen to music.

What do you like the look of?
I like the look of anything. Everything is interesting to me.

What images keep you company in the space where you work?
Normally we don’t have any images in our working space – with one exception: a list of the names and birthdates of 5,000 students who died in the earthquake in Sichuan in 2008 is posted on one wall.

01 Oct 13:20

John Oliver Would Like You To Replace Your Bogus Facebook Copyright Privacy Statement With His Own

by Mike Masnick
A few years back, we wrote about that ridiculous thing that clueless Facebook users were posting, in which they thought that by posting some idiotic and usually wrong text that sometimes referenced copyright law or random international criminal laws, it would mean that Facebook's terms of service no longer applied to them. Here's the version of this nonsense we wrote about then:
In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention).

For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws, By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.
We wrote about it after the MPAA's Chris Dodd used it as an example of the importance of copyright law -- because Dodd appears to feel that copyright misinformation is a good thing.

Anyway, as lots of people have been noticing lately, this little bit of insanity is back in a big way -- and judging from the number of people talking about it and news stories covering it, it's bigger this time than in the past (though, amazingly, I've yet to see it anywhere on my Facebook feed -- which either means people I'm friends with are smarter than that -- or Facebook's algorithm knows enough to keep that crap away from me). Matt Schruers, over at the Disruptive Competition Project, has a good post on how the unenforceability of unilateral proclamations made online is a really good thing for the internet.

But, the best response has to be from Mr. John Oliver himself, who apparently took time out of his daily schedule to create a video debunking the ridiculous hoax... and replacing it with some new viral memery, which includes reposting this very video.
Done and done.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

01 Oct 07:01

Scale model of the Solar System

by Nathan Yau

In most depictions of the Solar System, planets are drawn big enough to show details and placed side-by-side to show order. The scale of the planets and the space in between them are usually a footnote. Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet were curious about what you would get if you placed scale in the foreground. So they built a 7-mile model of the Solar System to scale in the middle of the desert, with Earth the size of a marble.

See also: if the moon were one pixel.

Tags: scale, space

28 Sep 07:01

What probability means in different fields

by Nathan Yau

Political scientist probability meaning

Statistically, probability ranges from 0 to 1 — impossible to definitely without a doubt. Math with Bad Drawings characterized what those values mean in various fields of expertise. This amuses me.

Tags: humor, probability

18 Sep 19:00

Surreal Black And White Instagram Collages

by Jessica Jungbauer

Singapore-based Ng Weijiang creates surreal collages with the photos on his Instagram feed. By uploading them into the app's grid layout and sticking to black and white photographs only, his creations appear cohesive and yet, the sequence of the images adds a surreal touch.







All images © Ng Weijiang

22 Sep 18:22


A collection of images of creatures recently captured by photographers all over the world. -- By Leanne Burden Seidel

A palm-sized baby ray in its 'Kindergarten Aquarium' at AquaDom & Sea Life in Berlin, Germany. Five little two and three-month-old undulate rays, born in Sea Life Koenigswinter, are now being raised with young cat sharks in the 'Kindergarten Aquarium' until they can move into the large undulate ray tank. The slots above the mouth that look like eyes are gills on the animal's underbelly. (Jens Kalaena/EPA)

18 Sep 15:00

Watch 11 hours of cats being adorable to celebrate the best cat game on the planet


Totemo hai!!

We don't need an excuse to talk about cats here. Cats are a pretty big deal. We have a "cats" tag and it's probably the most valuable thing we've got. That is, before we set-up our sister site Kitten Screen and take over th-- okay, that's not actually happening (it is in my dreams), but a "Kitten Screen" is actually why you're here. 

This week has been declared "Game Week with Google Play" in Japan. And part of that involved celebrating one of our favorite videogames from this past year: Neko Atsume. You know what developer Hit-Point Co. did? I can hardly believe it. They had a 11-hour live broadcast of a real-life version of the game set-up inside Osaka's "Neko no Jikan Kita-honten," which is the first cat cafe opened in Japan. It was called "Real-Life Neko Atsume." What else?

Hit-Point went to some unnecessary but admirable efforts to ensure that the room it all took place in appeared similar to the one in Neko Atsume. There's a yellow bowl, a green rucksack, a toy fish, a large cat playground, even a large television that will never be watched. They even made sure that the same breeds of cats that appear inside the game would be in front of the camera, with no exceptions.

one of the few videogames to transcend language barriers 

On top of that, those that tuned in live either on YouTube or participating over social media on September 15th were able to influence which of the "cat-enticing goods" were made available in the room. This included rubber balls, yarn balls, and cardboard boxes. They could have put a cardboard box and some water in an empty room, shoved two cats in there, and let us tune in, and we'd probably be just as happy. Don't they know that?

To be fair, Hit-Point probably hasn't been able to understand much about the success of its game. It's a small company that made a cute cat game and threw it up on the app stores to see it suddenly blow up on its own accord. And what's remarkable about it is that this popularity wasn't exclusive to their home nation of Japan but spread rapidly to the US and other parts of the world. That's surprising because the game is only available in Japanese. If you don't understand Japanese then you'll need this guide in order to be able to play it.

This makes Neko Atsume one of the few videogames to transcend language barriers (without being localized) and gain huge popularity. And why wouldn't it? The experience of being a cat owner is universally identical. One moment the cat loves you, can't get enough of your hands, your succulent tins of moist tuna. Then they turn over onto their backs, presenting an irresistibly fluffy belly, all to lure you in for a quick scratch across the skin. They are lovable tykes that squash themselves into any box-shaped device they can find, popping up unexpectedly with a sleepy head, or a rapid paw when you get home from work. It seems only right that Neko Atsume's popularity was as unpredictable as a cat's next resting place.

10 Sep 10:15

NASA releases free PDF of 1970s design manual in response to reissue campaign

by Alex Hawkins

Over the past few weeks, NASA’s Graphics Standards Manual from the 1970s has garnered a lot of attention across the design world. The design manual created for NASA by New York studio Danne & Blackburn has not only recently resurfaced on Flickr, but also become the driving force behind a viral Kickstarter campaign. After graphic designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth tracked down an original copy, they decided to publish a high-quality reissue funded through Kickstarter and selling for $79. The project currently counts some 6,515 backers and $686,900, and has been spotlighted by publications including The New York Times and Wired.

Read more

04 Sep 21:40

Things I Do Not Hate

by Adrienne LaFrance

I do not hate this post.

Google has a new logo and the New Yorker thinks I hate it. “Why you hate Google’s new logo,” the headline explains. But I don’t hate it. (I’m not sure whether I like it yet, but that isn’t the same thing.) And when did headlines start getting so bossy and presumptive, anyway?

Here is a sampling of things I do not hate, despite headlines to the contrary:

1. Semiconductors

2. Poor people

3. Lebron James (okay, that one's The Onion, but still)

4. Car shopping

5. Fifty Shades of Grey

6. Giving the same gift to multiple people

7. CGI

8. Conversational icebreakers

9. Annuities

10. Doing things alone

11. Denim cutoffs

12. Kentucky

13. Keurigs

14. Selfies

15. Selfie sticks

16. The sound of my own voice

17. The Internet

18. My daughter’s boyfriend

19. All of my clothes

20. Math

21. My job (To be fair, Vermont Public Radio tries to have it both ways here. The headline is: “Why We Hate/Love Our Jobs.”)

22. People from the rest of the country

23. Rich geeks

24. That “one red paperclip” guy

25. Talking on the phone (okay, getting warmer)

26. The word “moist” (I mean, hate is such a strong word!)

Okay. I should probably confess I wrote a headline like this once. “Why Do We Love Manhattanhenge?” My editor made me change it. And I guess I do hate cliche, so The New York Times has me there. (Can’t really deny this one either.) And how about my colleague Jim Fallows’s “Why We Hate the Media”? It's a classic from The Atlantic archives—though when it first ran, in 1996, the headline didn't have a “we.” (It was: “Why Americans Hate the Media.”)

But I definitely do not hate the media. Not even when it tells me why I hate things that don’t bother me.

This article was originally published at