Shared posts

02 Mar 18:59

40 New Tabletop Icons Now Available!

by Daniel Solis

table flip!

Every month, I release a new batch if tabletop game icons under a creative commons attribution license! You can find this month's release and all the other past icons at my Patreon page here. If you want to support more icons, please consider becoming a patron!

They're all free to download, use, remix, and print even in commercial projects. I just need an attribution and a link to my Patreon:
02 Mar 21:50

The Sunni-killers leading the assault on Tikrit are bad news for Iraq

by Bobby Ghosh

'Early reports indicate that Shia irregulars are leading the assault on Tikrit, under the supervision of Hadi al-Amiri, nominally Iraq’s transport minister, but better known as the leader of the Badr Organization, an Iran-backed militia notorious for brutal torture and murder of Sunnis.'

Iraq Tikrit

The Iraqi government’s latest attempt to retake Tikrit is long overdue. Saddam Hussein’s hometown has been in the hands of ISIL—aka the Islamic State, or ISIS—since early last summer. It is a strategically important milestone on the way to ISIL’s northern stronghold of Mosul.

The performance of Iraqi troops and air-force jets in the battle of Tikrit will indicate their preparedness for the much tougher fight in Mosul. Urban warfare is brutal and slow, so Tikrit will be a litmus test for both the fighting skills and the stamina of the Iraqi forces.

There’s already cause for alarm. Early reports indicate that Shia irregulars are leading the assault on Tikrit, under the supervision of Hadi al-Amiri, nominally Iraq’s transport minister, but better known as the leader of the Badr Organization, an Iran-backed militia notorious for brutal torture and murder of Sunnis.

Apparently unsatisfied with having a surrogate in the battlefield, Tehran has also despatched to Iraq’s Salahuddin province—of which Sunni-majority Tikrit is a part—the notorious Qassem Suleimani, the general who supervises most of Iran’s proxies, from Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, to the Houthis in Yemen.

One of the world’s most dangerous men, Suleimani has had the freedom of Iraq for over a year, building and reinforcing Shia militias that have been murdering and terrorizing Sunnis with almost as much enthusiasm—if not with quite as much efficiency—as ISIL has been slaughtering civilians.

This bodes ill for the campaign in Tikrit. If the Iraqi forces are to defeat a well-entrenched ISIL in Tikrit, they need local residents to rise up against the terrorists. But by inviting the Shia militias to the fight, the government in Baghdad is in effect putting Tikriti Sunnis between a rock and a hard place: If they help defeat the terrorists, they face the very real possibility of being killed by their “liberators.” This is not a theoretical danger: Only last month, Shia militias butchered 72 unarmed Sunnis—under the very noses of the Iraqi security forces—in the village of Barwanah.

If the residents of Tikrit haven’t already heard that Amiri and Suleimani, along with their militias, are part of the attack on their city, you can bet ISIL will make it a big part of its own propaganda messaging. Word will no doubt have reached Mosul, which is also overwhelmingly Sunni.

Suleimani’s presence in Salahuddin is especially infuriating for many in Mosul, a city that prides itself as the birthplace of Iraqi military heroes. He is a veteran of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, and is seen to have Iraqi blood on his hands. That he should now be effectively calling some of the shots in the Iraqi military campaign is a humiliating reminder of Baghdad’s subservience to the old enemy.

Perhaps it is to stay out of any sectarian conflict that the US military is keeping the Tikrit campaign at an arm’s length: It is not providing any air support to the Iraqi troops. But should the fight against ISIL devolve into a Shia-Sunni bloodbath, the US can hardly watch from the sidelines.

02 Mar 21:29

Welcome to the Era of $15 an Hour, Portland

by Dirk VanderHart

'The new policy will affect a little more than a dozen full-time employees, and around 150 janitors, security guards, and parking attendants who contract with the city. More than 1,800 non-full-time workers will remain at lower wages.'

As expected, Portland City Council made local history on February 18, voting unanimously to enshrine that nationally famous minimum wage into city policy for all full-time city employees and contract workers.

"Fifteen dollars an hour is being recognized now as the wage floor for all US workers," said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who wouldn't commit to that amount last year when faced with a political challenger who forced the minimum wage issue. "It's where the climb out of a low-wage reality begins."

The sentiment is more sweeping than the reality. The new policy will affect a little more than a dozen full-time employees, and around 150 janitors, security guards, and parking attendants who contract with the city ["$15...for Some," News, Feb 18]. More than 1,800 non-full-time workers will remain at lower wages.

That's hardly the point, according to city hall staffers. They say the vote was just a start—a good faith, this-is-what-we-can-afford-now sort of statement that will be the first of several changes to come. This being Portland, there's already a new committee in the works to study how to help the hundreds of workers who toil for well under $15 ["Starting at the Bottom," News, Jan 7]. The city's elected leaders say that's a top priority.

"We know there are a lot of workers who won't be affected by this first step," Mayor Charlie Hales told a crowded room at the hearing. "There are more steps we want to take, particularly to deal with our seasonal and part-time workers."

But there was something no one at the meeting, including Hales, bothered to mention: If the mayor is serious about helping out seasonal workers, there's an obvious place to start.


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02 Mar 22:14

Good Luck Finding a Copy of Kim Gordon's New Memoir

by Megan Burbank

Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band came out on February 24 to some excellent reviews and mild controversy re: Lana Del Rey. But if you want to read it, good luck. It appears to have sold out at many independent stores. When I checked in with Powell's on Friday, none of the store's locations had any copies on hand (it's now on backorder). There was allegedly one copy on the shelf at the City of Books, but when I investigated the stacks, I was met by a dissatisfied customer pointing out the exact spot on the shelf where it should've been. I have emails into some other area bookstores to see if they have better news to offer. Even LA's Skylight Books is out of Gordon's book (Yes, I actually checked—I thought her hometown might have planned for the onslaught. I was wrong.)

So if you've been trying to get your hands on a copy of Gordon's book, and failing, its sheer popularity may just be why. You have my condolences. Don't be sad, though, because you can hear Gordon herself read from the book right now, and this is the most delightful discussion of the book I've encountered so far. There are many, many others out there. Ours is forthcoming.

As for the Lana Del Rey scandal? If you know anything about publishing, it isn't actually much of one. Apparently Gordon rewrote a harshly worded section about LDR in between the release of the book's uncorrected proofs and its final publication. So, this is only scandalous in that—scandal!—books get edited!

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02 Mar 23:36

Tamir Rice's Family Responds to Cleveland Court Filing

by Julianne Hing

"There are a number of things that we in society don't allow 12-year-olds to do," Walter Madison, an attorney for the Rice family, told the Washington Post. "We don't allow them to vote, we don't allow them to drink. In court we don't try them as adults. They don't have the capacity to understand the consequences of their actions."

Tamir Rice's Family Responds to Cleveland Court Filing

Tamir Rice's family has responded to a Friday filing by the city of Cleveland which argued that the 12-year-old African-American boy was to blame for his own death at the hands of Cleveland police last November. "It's unbelievable," Walter Madison, an attorney for the Rice family, told the Washington Post.

In a 41-page document filed last week on behalf of Cleveland, the city argued that Rice's death was "directly and proximately caused" by his own actions. 

"There are a number of things that we in society don't allow 12-year-olds to do," Madison said. "We don't allow them to vote, we don't allow them to drink. In court we don't try them as adults. They don't have the capacity to undersatnd the consequences of their actions."

In a Monday press conference Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson apologized for the "insensitivity" embedded in what he said was standard legal language, CNN reported. The city would amend the document, Jackson said.

"What I care about right now is that the family of Tamir Rice and the people of the city of Cleveland understand and realize that we are sorry for what we have done and that we apologize to them," Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson told reporters today, CNN reported. 

Read the court filing at USA Today.

02 Mar 18:47

The Toxicity Of Talent (Or: Did You Roll A Natural 20 At Birth?)

by terribleminds

a hack, and proud

Is talent real?

I don’t know.

And for my purposes, it doesn’t matter.

In fact, I’d prefer it doesn’t exist at all.

Yesterday I wrote a ranty-panties response to that MFA creative writing teacher post — and if there’s one area of pushback to what I said, it’s that a lot of writers still believe that:

a) talent exists


b) talent matters.

Some of them think it matters a little, some of them think it matters a lot. The author of the MFA article seems to think it matters almost supremely — a factor significant above all others.

For my part, and your mileage may of course vary here, I think it’s irrelevant whether it exists — what I think matters is that for authors, it’s a very, very bad thing on which to focus. In fact, I’d argue you shouldn’t care about it.

At all.

Here’s why:

What Is It, Where Does It Come From, And How Do You Measure It?

The simplest definition of talent would be: “A natural aptitude.” Meaning, something intrinsic. Something self-possessed — not built up, not worked to, but some ingrained, encoded ability. Maybe it’s a flower in full bloom or maybe it’s just the seed. But it’s something internal. You can’t buy it. You can’t create it. It’s there when you start.

All right. Where, then, does it come from? If it’s innate, it’s likely something we’re born with — and already, for me, that starts ringing big bonging bells in my head because, then what? Is it genetic? Folks use “genetic aptitude” to make all sorts of specious, spurious assumptions. If it’s not in our genes, from where? Environment? Whether we’re breastfed or not? Whether we had the perfectly balanced combination of mashed peas and smushed bananas and parental neglect? Shit, maybe it’s global warming. Or–or!–maybe it’s from outer space, you guys. Alien Architects! Beaming pure talent into a select chosen few. Thanks, Venusian Astronauts!

Okay, so assuming… some part of that is accurate, how, then, do you measure it? Is it binary? YOU HAVE TALENT (checkbox) or YOU DON’T HAVE ANY TALENT AT ALL, LOSER (checkbox). Is it a spectrum? “You are 63% talented, 27% worker bee, and 10% babbling vagrant.” Is there a blood test I can take? Will Qui-Gon Jinn administer it? Or is it like in John Carpenter’s The Thing, where someone presses a hot wire into a petri dish of my blood?

Is there nuance to it? When it comes to writing, is talent singular? HE IS TALENTED WRITER. Or is there a breakdown? She’s talented with dialogue! He’s talented with description. That sentient spambot is talented at writing beautiful spam poetry. (CIALIS: A POEM. BY @OENAPJIZZ7823)

What does all this mean?

Talent Often Aligns With What We Like

Talent, as it turns out, is wildly subjective.

I have been told I am talented — I was able to read at a fairly early age, I was able to write, I wrote stories often and early. I know plenty of others who did the same, and I have been told they were talented where I was decidedly not.

Some writing professors gave me A+’s, others thought I was a mediocre genre-loving twerp.

I have seen young writers praised as talented.

I have seen talent condemned as overwrought, overdone, incorrectly assumed.

Here’s the thing: where we see talent, particularly in the arts, it’s often born of us praising the things we like or connect with. Genre writers are labeled as hacks, literary writers as the true talents. And then inside the genre, the award winners are the talented ones, the populist authors are seen as less so — they’re basically just hobos with pens, those chumps.

Mostly, we just call the things we like, and the things to which we relate, the products of talent. Everything else is something lesser. And therein lies a further problem.

Talent Is An Elitist Idea

If talent is subjective, it means the governance of and assignment of talent is done so by — who? Usually, the people in power. And here, “power” is a really hazy, gauzy idea — I don’t mean that there’s a literal LITERARY POWER COUNCIL somewhere sitting in their star chamber library on some distant asteroid. But in this I mean, other authors, bloggers, award juries, publishers. Talent becomes a thing determined by other people who are viewed as having retroactive talent by having made it to a certain point. (Talent introduces a chicken-and-egg problem: did the talent precede the success, or do we label success as a thing that came from talent because duh that’s just how it works? The overnight success rarely is. Is the talented success really talented?)

When you give that power to others to determine whether someone is talented, you risk undercutting anything that’s not in their field of vision. That can mean genre voices. That can mean diverse voices, or marginalized ones. That can mean the voices of those who haven’t sold — or, conversely, who have sold too much. (Stephen King has routinely been chided as just some popular hack while demonstrating incredible skill — or “talent,” if you subscribe to the notion.)

Talent is not just a set of moving goalposts — these goalposts do not merely move, but rather, they teleport erratically about like a coked-up Nightcrawler (*bamf!*).

Worse is when you begin to huff your own vapors. Talent is a very good way for an author to feel gloriously self-important — not just capable, but gasp, talented. Given a gift by the gods, the magic muse-breath vurped into your mouth — an emberspark of raw, unmitigated ability. 

What talent means, though, is that you can very easily eliminate other authors. You can vote them right off the island because, mmmnope, they don’t have it. The gift. The spark. The talent. But if talent is subjective, isn’t that a dangerous assumption? That some have it? And others don’t?

Oh, and I’ll leave this little tidbit right here:

Professors of philosophy, music, economics and math thought that “innate talent” was more important than did their peers in molecular biology, neuroscience and psychology. And they found this relationship: The more that people in a field believed success was due to intrinsic ability, the fewer women and African-Americans made it in that field.

(That, from this article: “The Dangers Of Believing That Talent Is Innate“)

The Insecurity Of Expectation

When our son was born, we read an interesting tidbit of advice.

This advice said: “Do not call your child ‘smart.'”

I railed at this. Because, of course, my child is a genius. I’m surprised his cranium is not comically swollen in order to contain his mega-brain. If he turns out to be a bestselling novelist, Cy Young-winning pitcher, and psychic president of outer space all in one lifetime? I won’t be surprised. Of course, most parents think that about their kids, don’t they?

And then I think back:

They said I was smart.

(*hold for laughter*)

When I was a kid, that’s how they labeled me. At one point, they even labeled me — wait for it — gifted. And here’s the trick about receiving that label: suddenly, it’s something you have to live up to. Not a thing you chose. Not a thing you desired. But a tag. It’s like telling a kid, “You can jump ten feet straight up in the air because I know you can,” and then when they can’t, it becomes terribly frustrating. And any time I failed, I didn’t understand it. “But I’m smart,” I’d say. “But you’re smart,” my parents would say. A failure ceased to be a learning opportunity and instead became a deficit — an inability to live up to my potential. I was supposed to be one thing, and I demonstrated another thing.

The idea is not to tell your kids in the overall how smart they are, but rather, to praise individual efforts — to measure their actual successes and not to inflate them with expectations. Do that, and reality will callously — and with great swiftness — pop that ego balloon.

Talent is like that, I wager.

Being told you’re talented? It’s a burden. And I don’t mean some burden like — *presses back of hand to forehead and swoons* — OH WHAT A BURDEN IT IS TO BE SO TALENTED. But I mean, what a burden to live up to. Someone, somewhere, some arbiter of taste, some professor, some parent, some reviewer, has labeled you with a generic stamp of innate ability. When you fail to live up to that label, it means you have failed the thing inside you. You have taken the gift you have been given, and you have messily shat all over it.

Further, what if you are labeled as having a talent in one thing?

But really, you don’t want to do that thing?

What if you have “talent” as a musician — but you’d much rather play baseball?

Suddenly talent sounds a lot like destiny. (Another foolish, made-up idea.)

The Uncertainty Of The Impostor

The other side of this nasty little penny is:

If some people are talented, then you have to ask yourself:

Am I?

And some or all of the time you will decide, “No, I am not.”

And if we’re told that talent really matters, and that some people are born with it, we will be forced to conclude: I was not born with it. I do not possess the One Thing That Truly Matters. I am, therefore, superfucked.

And that means: “I quit.”

Because, with that, you start to feel like an impostor. Like a stowaway on somebody else’s ship — as if eventually they’ll catch you and toss you into the foam-churned seas. If you’re told “Some people have talent, and some don’t,” then you’ll start seeing OTHER PEOPLE as in possession of the Golden Apple and you’ll start seeing YOURSELF as someone who has just a regular old shitty apple. A shitty-ass who-gives-a-worm-turd apple.

Of course, golden apples aren’t real.

You feel like a Muggle, but Harry Potter wasn’t real, was it?

Writing isn’t magic. It feels like it! But it ain’t it.

Talent Is Easy — And Lazy

As a wee kidlet, it was easier to believe in Santa than it was to believe someone actually had to work to buy my presents and wrap them and hide them under the tree. Far easier to believe in the myth of the thing than the thing itself. And as a parent, I wish like hell I could believe in Santa. I wish some genial red-suited Time Lord would scoot down my non-existent chimney and unfuck the holidays and make my son’s every Christmas the best and brightest it could be. It would save me a half-dozen trips to Target, probably.

But reality is, my son gets presents because we buy them. We wrap them. We think very hard about what to buy him. And we work very hard to make the money and take the time necessary to do that. If he has a good holiday, that is in part on us: not just about the commercial side of it, but about the time and work it takes to make the day a special one.

Talent is like this, mostly.

It’s probably  just a myth.

It’s shorthand. And lazy shorthand, at that.

The real deal is: work and thought and desire really, really matter.

You want to be special, but nobody is special, not really.

Work is what makes you unique, because true story: a lot of people don’t do the work.

If It Matters, It Matters Very Fucking Little

Maybe talent is real.

I don’t know.

Certainly you can see it in some areas. We call Mozart talented, and we say Salieri was a hack — though stories suggest that Salieri was no such chump, and that history is the only thing unkind to him. A kid may be able to throw a 95MPH fastball in high school. A student in elementary school may be able to pick up an instrument and play it more beautifully than an adult who has been practicing for decades.

I’ve known a few of those — artists, musicians, athletes. Folks who demonstrably excelled early on. And most of them have gone nowhere with it. A few have made careers — not newsworthy careers, but a life. None have gone on to change the world.

Someone on Facebook noted — quite correctly — that desire and effort isn’t really enough. It’s true, of course. Luck matters (though here I note that you can indeed maximize your luck — though that may be a post for a better day). Instinct exists — though I do argue instinct is a thing you can cultivate. This commenter said, again correctly, that he is older and out of shape and that no matter how much he wants it or works for it, he will never be an Olympian.

True. Sadly, woefully, almost certainly true.

But — holy shitkittens, that’s a pretty high bar, isn’t it? Olympian? You’re talking one percent of the one percent. Not just the cream on top of the yogurt — but a precise layer of perfectly scrumptious molecules atop the yogurt. We’re talking gold leaf. Let’s take the bar down a little bit, where “success” is still in play but it doesn’t necessitate being BEST OF THE BEST.

Let’s talk about running a marathon.

That is achievable. And it’s a big success. Running a marathon is no small feat, but it’s something even someone old and out-of-shape can train to — if they want it, if they work for it.

Apply that to writing:

No, you may not become a bestseller. No, you may not be a writer history remembers.

But you can still be a published author. You can still make a living off of it.

That is achievable.

Achievable in the traditional space. Achievable in the self-publishing space.

And it takes a whole lot of work — and love, and timing, and luck, and desire — to get there. (And for some, it means conquering the prejudices that exist — prejudices be they against genre writers or marginalized voices or prejudices against how you publish.)

But talent? Enh. A lot of talented writers haven’t done shit. A lot of not-so-talented writers have sold millions or billions of copies of books. Who knows? Who cares?


Let’s say that talent is real.

We must also assume then that talent will mean nothing without work. It is a dead, inert thing unless you do something with it. It’s still a thing that must be seized, must be trained, and you still have to level up your game every chance you get. And given that talent is a subjective idea, and one that is unproven, and one that is not measurable, maybe it’s better instead to assume that it isn’t real at all. Because cleaving to talent — believing it’s real and that we must possess it — does you no favors. It only creates a false sense of what must be done or what should be possessed. It’s as invisible as a ghost, as insubstantial as a a breeze, and as noxious as a gassy dog in a small car. If you assume that work is needed to make something of your talent, then worry only about that.

Worry only about the work.

That’s the only part of this that you control. You control the time. You control you effort. You can measure how much you’re putting into something — and, eventually, you can measure how much you get out of it. You can control how much space you give it. You can authorize its importance and your devotion to it.

Reject the caste that talent implies.

Talent, if it exists, does not matter one sticky whit. Because you cannot control it.

The work, though? The work matters.

So do the work. Control what you can control. And fuck talent.

02 Mar 22:19

The First-Ever Experiment Simultaneously Photographing Light’s Behavior as Both a Particle and a Wave

by Glen Tickle

light as particle and wave

Scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne led by Fabrizio Carbone have for the first time ever photographed light simultaneously behaving as both a particle and a wave. They recently published a paper about their work in Nature Communications.

Albert Einstein proposed the notion that light is both a particle and a wave in 1905, but earlier experiments only captured it behaving one way or the other. The institute has also released an animated explanation of how the experiment was conducted.

image via Fabrizio Carbone/EPFL

via EurakAlert, Chris Intagliata

02 Mar 22:14

Newswire: Orange Is The New Black and Wet Hot American Summer get premiere dates

by Victor Beigelman

'the debut of the Wet Hot American Summer series on July 17'

Now that House Of Cards fans have stumbled out out of their dark, musky apartments, bleary-eyed and amped up on 13 consecutive hours of politically charged rage, Netflix is preparing viewers for their next round of binge-induced psychosis. The company has set a premiere for season three of its other cornerstone show, Orange Is The New Black, on June 12, as well as the debut of the Wet Hot American Summer series on July 17. Also announced was the June 5 release of Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Sense8—a series proudly boasting footage of live births—and the not-so-concrete news that Canadian thriller Between will drop sometime in May.

For the comedy inclined, two specials have also been granted premiere dates: Chris D’Elia: Incorrigible on April 17 and Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) on May 22. What Happened, Miss Simone, the documentary ...

02 Mar 22:52

An Unhelpful Set of Illustrated Instructions for Delivering a Package to a Private Residence

by Glen Tickle

unhelfpful package delivery 1

A set of illustrations from 2009 by artist Zack Finfrock gives unhelpful instructions for delivering a package to a private residence.

unhelfpful package delivery 2

images via CollegeHumor

via reddit

02 Mar 22:46

I wanted to put these comics about spending time with my baby...

I wanted to put these comics about spending time with my baby nephew in one place.  He is my little round pal!  He barfs a lot.

02 Mar 22:40

Jackie Chan Invented The Chinese Character That's Now A Viral Smash

by Cheryl Eddy

yo Overbey

A new Chinese character, "duang," has gone viral. Nobody's sure what it actually means, but Jackie Chan has everything to do with it.


02 Mar 22:58

‘Table For Two’, A New York City Art Installation That Lets People Sit at a Table That Is Half Inside, Half Outside

by E.D.W. Lynch

Table for Two by Shani Ha

In the New York City interactive installation Table For Two, people are invited to sit at a two-person bistro table which is divided in half by the exterior wall of a building. According to the installation’s creator, artist Shani Ha, Table for Two is a commentary on human connection in the digital age, and the issue of social isolation among New York’s inhabitants. The installation is on display at the corner of 7th Avenue and Carmine Street through March 14, 2015.

When two persons sit at the split table, they can decide to look at each other or chose to look at their own reflection; confronting the fact that we are becoming more and more self-absorbed and sometimes the presence of the other is simply here to validate our own existence.

When sitting alone, the viewer will face an empty table and his reflection in the glass as a reminder to introspection, narcissism or loneliness.

Table for Two by Shani Ha

Table for Two by Shani Ha

Table for Two by Shani Ha

Table for Two by Shani Ha

photos via Shani Ha

via domus, Junk Culture

02 Mar 23:40

Genghis Kahn's Lost Fortress Uncovered In Western Mongolia

by George Dvorsky

A team of Japanese and Mongolian archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 13th century military outpost thought to belong to Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan.


02 Mar 23:43


03 Mar 00:00

Jerks on Reddit Worried That Banning the Sharing of Unauthorized Nude Images Harms Their Rights - Or some nonsense like that.

by Dan Van Winkle

reddit: still for redditors


Hey, remember how excited everyone was last week when Reddit’s privacy policy added a section on the removal of sexually explicit imagery posted without the subject’s consent? Sure you do, because you’re not one of the jerky, faux-intellectual concern trolls currently clutching their digital pearls over all that censorship who weren’t excited about it. Right?

First and foremost, it should be noted that when we originally reported on the policy change, we mentioned that it simply affords for people to ask that images of them be taken down. There is no verification process when posting masturbation fuel. Reddit is not actively searching for images to take down. They’re just not going to ignore it when someone finds out that they’re the victim of unauthorized image sharing.

That’s it. Reddit isn’t sending you to jail for having a nude picture of someone. They are not going to take it from you and burn it. They can’t stop you from doing whatever you want with it—except putting it on Reddit, which is totally their call to make. If you can find another place on the Internet to keep being an inhumanly insensitive shithead put that image, that’s up to you. If you can’t, though, maybe you should stop and ask yourself if there’s a reason society as a whole has generally decided that what you’re doing is awful.

But don’t expect that kind of introspection from those upset with the policy. Here are some of their Very Important Concerns:

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.30.58 PM

When a pornstar comes asking Reddit to take down nudes on the basis of permission, I guess we’ll find out. And before you come back with, “But it could happen,” realize that your best defense is that, in a very unlikely scenario, Reddit might take down some images/videos and harm literally no one. Or maybe they’ll just—I don’t know—interpret their policy however they want, because they made the policy and can do that, and the world won’t end.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.48.49 PM

Oh no! Who will protect the rights of those who intentionally violate others!? Having any sort of rules = fascism!

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.49.32 PM

I mean, at least this person seems to get how little this is likely to affect anyone except the few people who notice their nudes have been taken without permission.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.51.38 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.56.17 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.57.06 PM

“There are other bad things, so how dare you address this one! Also I don’t think those things are bad anyway.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 5.34.11 PM

Reading comprehension, people. They are not asking for permission as a prerequisite to posting, and they’ll only take things down if the person who would give permission says they didn’t. This is sadly only a fraction of the half-baked, knee jerk reaction to Reddit’s perfectly reasonable notification that they’d be willing to help people who were being taken advantage of. This is why we can’t have nice things.

(via Gawker, image via AJC1)

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02 Mar 20:37

discardingimages:Medieval baby Tarzan‘The Maastricht Hours’,...


serious baby sideeye


Medieval baby Tarzan

‘The Maastricht Hours’, Liège 14th century

British Library, Stowe 17, fol. 189v


02 Mar 20:33

Photo: Indicator Board, Eastwood Station, Sydney (2008)Ah, yes,...



Photo: Indicator Board, Eastwood Station, Sydney (2008)

Ah, yes, the old manual indicator boards that used to be at pretty much every Sydney train station. I actually walked past these very boards for much of my high school, college and early working career, as Eastwood was my local station. 

Of course, these venerable boards have now finally been replaced with newer electronic signs that update automatically without the need for the stationmaster to come and flick over all the station names manually, first holding down the little foot pedal to unlock the rotating signs. (Those are actually recent additions: the stationmaster used to have to bend down and press a button on the underside of the board.)

For smaller stations which only had an up/down service pattern, these boards were pretty much ideal for quickly determining which platform the next train was leaving from and where it would stop. The trick at Eastwood was always working out whether it was worth waiting a few minutes for the express train rather than the all stations one. 

Obviously, the bigger the station, the less effective these simple boards became. Strathfield’s eight platforms were pretty unwieldy, and Central’s myriad platforms and services became almost impossible to decipher for all but the most seasoned train commuters.

The photo above does have one oddity: the board on the far left shows a city-bound train leaving from Platform 3, which is normally a Hornsby-bound platform.

Still: nostalgia.

Source: dunedoo/Flickr

02 Mar 23:56

Xidan station, Beijing



02 Mar 18:01


by bubbaprog

so casual

02 Mar 23:51

A New Clear Ice Ball Maker That Seems To Work Okay

by Camper English

Camper loves holding two sweating balls

You may recall from a billion years ago I found a clear ice maker that works similarly to the directional freezing/Igloo cooler method. It was the Polar Ice Tray and I wrote about it here.

Now the same company has launched a clear ice ball maker and they sent me one to test out. So that's what I did.

Long story short: It worked great on my first trial, but not every time. 


The Polar Ice Tray works just like the directional freezing method of making clear ice balls (read about that here or all the ice experiments on Alcademics here): The container is insulated on all sides but the top is not. The ice freezes from top-down, pushing trapped air and impurities downward. 

What this product does is offer an easy way to get the water into the molds and the balls out afterward. It's shaped like a little tug boat. 


The outer blue container is just softish foam. Inside there is a top and bottom half of the ball mold (this model comes with animal shapes that are pressed into the top), and a bottom water receptacle. 


The bottom half is perforated so the cloudy part is pushed into the receptacle. To use it, you fill water in the little spout and then let it freeze for a day. Here it is after freezing. 



The cloudy part of the ice is on the bottom. 


Now for the big reveal. 


It is super easy and the spheres are nice when they come out perfectly. It may be more space efficient than the insulated mug method for two spheres, depending on whether your freezer offers more horizontal or vertical space. 

However, on subsequent uses, I've found the tray can separate during freezing, spilling water out the sides and making incomplete ice balls - only partial spheres because the water has leaked out the sides. So you need to make an effort to get a really good seal on the different parts that fit together. I tried and still failed twice. 

So far I've used the tray 5 times and 3 of those times it worked and 2 times it failed. (For the record the insulated mug method has never failed me.) If I discover a good way to ensure a seal I'll update this post. 

The tray is a bit pricey at $55 plus postage, but I spare no expense for ice! You can buy them on the Polar Ice Tray website.


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02 Mar 06:45

North Korean defectors undermine totalitarianism with smuggled pirate sitcoms

by Cory Doctorow

via multitasksuicide

In an amazing, long, in-depth investigative piece, Wired's Andy Greenberg recounts the story of North Korean dissidents who have escaped, but who mastermind ambitious smuggling efforts that send thousands of USB sticks and SD cards over the border stuffed with pirate media: sitcoms, raunchy teen comedies and ebooks -- as well as homemade documentaries explaining democracy and the gap between North Korea's official doctrine and reality. Read the rest

02 Mar 14:17


02 Mar 15:28

Every reporter should be able to start a blog


via Jfiorato

'With all the talk about learning to code, and the digital native generation, it's kind of appalling that they can't do something as basic as create their own blog, to navigate around any blockage from their management.

Silverstein says, as others have, that there was no prohibition on publishing, they just didn't have a way to do it. To me, that's like saying in 1992 that you couldn't print a document on a laser printer because your boss wouldn't come and chose the New command from the File menu.'

Please read Ken Silverstein's piece, his story of First Look Media.

Watching them stay silent for so long, I suspected they lacked basic publishing ability. It made no sense to me. You can set up a blog on or Tumblr, with a custom domain, in at most a couple of hours. Anyone with basic tech knowledge could do this.

With all the talk about learning to code, and the digital native generation, it's kind of appalling that they can't do something as basic as create their own blog, to navigate around any blockage from their management.

Silverstein says, as others have, that there was no prohibition on publishing, they just didn't have a way to do it. To me, that's like saying in 1992 that you couldn't print a document on a laser printer because your boss wouldn't come and choose the New command from the File menu.

There's a basic failure of technological literacy here.

Or so it seems to this outside observer.

The tech could be easier

We're caught in the same trap tech was caught in when I started programming in the mid-70s. There was a priesthood that had no incentive to make things easier, and a built-in belief that things couldn't be easier. My generation had a different vision, we worked on ease-of-use.

WordPress, which is the choice most professional organizations make these days for publishing, never was that easy to begin with. They missed some obvious ideas that were available to be stolen from the previous generation of blogging software. And over the years, a priesthood has developed, and the software has become even more intimidating to the newbie non-technical user.

It's time to loop back the other way. Yes, some reporters should already be able to climb over the hurdles. They just aren't that high, and the current generation of journalists have had computers in their lives, all their lives.

But ease of use, and ease of getting started is something the tech industry should be working on. Yes, it might put you out of a job, but if you don't do it, someone else will. And further, you're supposed to do that -- in the name of progress, and in this case, since it's about publishing, freedom.

02 Mar 21:08

Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard set to direct Spider-Man film

by Kwame Opam

'the new series will be titled The Spectacular Spider-Man'

Latino-Review reports that Marvel has tapped Drew Goddard to write and direct the upcoming Spider-Man film, which will hit theaters in 2017. Goddard, who was originally onboard to direct the standalone Sinister Six spinoff, will be involved in making Spider-Man fit to join the Avengers, along with building up his conflict with the Sinister Six in the long run.

New series might be called The Spectacular Spider-Man

Goddard, in addition to his aborted credit in Sony's Spider universe, co-wrote his directorial debut Cabin in the Woods with current Marvel heavyweight Joss Whedon, so his being pulled into the project makes sense. A source tells Latino-Review that the new series will be titled The Spectacular Spider-Man — fitting since it draws its name from the yet another long-running Spider-Man book. The first film of the franchise will reportedly involve Spider-Man fighting Iron Man as an "audition" for his eventual spot on the Avengers roster. Meanwhile, the seeds for an eventual Sinister Six film will be set, with the plan to potentially spin them off in the future.

Neither Marvel nor Sony have commented on the news.

02 Mar 22:10

Seattle police unveil blurred, soundless body cam YouTube channel

by David Kravets

There's seemingly a YouTube channel for everything, so cat-channel enthusiasts step aside: introducing the police body cam channel.

In what appears to be the nation's first, the Seattle Police Department is launching the SPD BodyWornVideo channel. At its core, the channel is confirmation that the surveillance society has gone mainstream—perhaps too mainstream.

The channel is already controversial because of its redaction tactics, and it comes as a presidential task force about the nation's policing recommended that police wear body cameras, especially in the wake of this summer's shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri. The cameras, which about a dozen Seattle officers began using late last year, can both vindicate and hold officers responsible.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

02 Mar 22:10

NEW TUTORIAL: Raspberry Gear – Upgrade your Sega Game Gear with a Raspberry Pi and 3.5 inch TFT display! #Raspberrypi

by Jessica



NEW TUTORIAL: Raspberry Gear

In the earliest of the 90s, before Sega and Nintendo were best buddies, they went head to head in the handheld console market. Sega released their Game Gear, which had a ton of very interesting features, and was “technologically superior” to it’s rival, Nintendo’s Game Boy. However, user experience won out, and Nintendo’s Game Boy was crowned the victor of this battle. The Game Gear faded into obscurity, forever in our hearts marked as ‘pretty cool.’

So, why the handheld gaming history lesson? Well, today we’re going to be giving the Game Gear a second life as a Raspberry Pi-based handheld!

We’re gonna be modifying the Game Gear’s case to fit the screen, and the new internal components. The button PCBs will be reused from the original motherboard, and we’ll be adding a couple of capacitive pad buttons for extra inputs! There’s quite a bit of soldering involved, lots of heatshrinking, and cutting of plastics & PCBs. Make sure you have your safety goggles and facemask ready!!

First, Tools:

Then, Parts:

See the full tutorial here!


02 Mar 21:06

Acrobatic weasel rides woodpecker on all fours

by James Dator


ABSOLUTLEY INCREDIBLE photo by Martin Le-May. Green Woodpecker and Weasel. Apparently the Woodpecker escaped.

— Jason Ward (@Jayward7) March 2, 2015

Yeah ... this weasel is trying to kill and eat the woodpecker, which definitely takes some of the sheen off this amazing photo. We're all suckers for the "unlikely friends" genre of nature photography, and for a second you'd be tricked into thinking this was one of those. Not so.

Glad you're okay, woodpecker.

h/t @ry_hudson

02 Mar 21:39

Marshawn Lynch doesn't care about your dress code

by James Dator

Marshawn: "how y'all gon dress?" Guys: "just casual. No suit or anything just some'n chill" Marshawn: "FA SHO!"

— Josh (@ScruffDaddy_) March 1, 2015

Marshawn Lynch is in Turkey with several NFL stars as part of the league's "American Football Without Barriers" program, and we learned he doesn't have barriers either -- that keep him from being casual.

Kudos to Marshawn for keeping it 100. We don't know whether he just didn't get the memo on what everyone else would be wearing, or simply didn't give a single eff. Either way he's comfortable in what he wears, and good luck trying to stuff Beast Mode in a suit.

02 Mar 18:54

Newswire: Maggie Smith is so done with Downton Abbey

by Sean O'Neal

Notorious bad girl Maggie Smith, the Charlie Sheen of British costume dramas, has revealed that she plans on leaving her series Downton Abbey in the lurch after next season, selfishly looking to pursue her off-screen antics of gracefully growing old.

“They say this is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on,” Smith told The Sunday Times, referring to speculation that the show might end after its sixth year. But whether Downton continues beyond that to answer its lingering mysteries—such as whether Mary will find another man to overlook how awful she is and what’s taking so long with the pudding—it will no longer have Smith’s Dowager Countess around to make gasping noises at haircuts.

“I mean, I certainly can’t keep going. To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We’re into the late 1920s,” Smith said, previewing ...

02 Mar 21:18

"the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works"


via ThePrettiestOne

“the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works”

- image
- credit to rorus raz (via agoodcartoon)