Gamer Geek News

Boing Boing

Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Sassy Trump: Leader Of The Free World

The President of the United States earlier today said these very words. Peter Serafinowicz just sassified them.

(more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:45 pm

Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai unveils his plan to kill Net Neutrality

Ajit Pai, the newly appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under Donald Trump, today announced his plans to undo government oversight of broadband ISPs, and destroy Net Neutrality.

(more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:37 pm

Vietnam complained of "toxic" anti-government Facebook content, now says Facebook has committed to help censor

Vietnam's government today said Facebook has promised to work with the communist nation to prevent the publication and distribution of banned online content.

(more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:19 pm

California Uber driver charged with raping woman in car after trip home

A woman in Newport Beach was raped by her Uber driver on the way home from a social gathering, according to charges filed by prosecutors in Southern California on Wednesday.

(more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 3:55 pm

What school of kung-fu did PaRappa the Rapper learn?

I loved helping PaRappa win the heart of Sunny Funny. PaRappa the Rapper remains one of my favorite console games of all time.

Ellen Steuer probably remembers all the lyrics!

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 10:17 am

Superblack soft-serve ice-cream

The Little Damage ice-cream shop near downtown LA has unveiled a new, superblack soft-serve flavor called "Almond Charcoal" whose coloring comes from activated charcoal. (more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 10:16 am

Stop! Hammock time!

Spring is here, time to toss the ratty old hammock and get a new one! This $15 replacement hammock fits my stand well.

Couple years back I reviewed this fantastic hammock stand and hammock. I live in a harsh marine environment to say the very least, and the stand has held up amazingly well. It shows some patina but no real rust. I think I'll happily be using it for years to come.

Hammocks themselves are a different story. Normal wear and tear, forgetfully leaving them outside overnight, washing them in a machine washer and dryer, all destroy a hammock pretty quickly. Once every year or two I need a replacement. This $15 hammock is just great and will help make my Spring, Summer and Fall 2017 wonderful.

Double Wide Hammock Cotton Soft Woven Bed for Supreme Comfort Fabric Travel Camping Hammock 2 Person for Backyard, Porch, Outdoor or Indoor Use (Green & Blue Stripes) via Amazon

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 9:46 am

Can you spot the venomous snake in this photo?

Received this from a fellow HERper this morning. No caption needed, the task was implied: "can you spot the snake?" 🐍 pic.twitter.com/oVkjOm8ufy

— Helen🐍👩🏼‍🔬 (@SssnakeySci) April 23, 2017

@SssnakeySci would like you to find the venomous snake in this photo, taken by Jerry Davis. I thought I was being pranked, but I finally found it.

(Featured image is Brainspore's solution!)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 8:31 am

Windmill failures are spectacular

I feel bad for that vulture. Well, I think it either was a vulture or turkey buzzard.

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 7:19 am

Remote-control dimmable multicolor LED lightbulb

I bought this $11 remote-control dimmable multicolor LED lightbulb for my daughter in January 2015 and she still loves it. It hangs from a cord over her bed, and she changes the color frequently, using the included wireless remote. It's not super bright, but she likes it that way. Here's one that's brighter and only $10 but I have not tried it.

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 7:14 am

Ann Coulter cancels Berkeley speech after conservative sponsors back out

Ann Coulter was supposed to speak at UC Berkeley tomorrow night, but is canceling after the conservative groups who were sponsoring her, Young American's Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans, backed out. Both groups say the atmosphere surrounding her visit has grown too hostile.

"It's a sad day for free speech," Coulter told The New York Times. But administrators at Berkeley see it differently.

“Sadly and unfortunately, concern for student safety seems to be in short supply in certain quarters,” he said. “This is a university, not a battlefield.” He added, “We must make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected.”

Administrators at Berkeley offered to hold the event next week, when students are no longer in class, but Coulter turned the offer down.

This comes two months after the university canceled conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos's event, after violence erupted on campus in protest to his appearance.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 6:38 am

Suspected Nazi enthusiast Sebastian Gorka's degree probably fake

Adding to the controversy surrounding hyper-sensitive, Nazi-affiliated medal wearing "deputy assistant" to Orange Julius, Sebastian Gorka is now a credible claim he faked his PhD.

Gorka has unsuccessfully attempted to assuage fears that he is a yet another Nazi enthusiast in the Trump Administration. Now, suspicions have arisen that he has faked his degree. Andrew Reynolds, a professor of politican science at the University of North Carolina did some digging.

It looks bad for Gorka.

Via Andrew Reynold's website at UNC:

Gorka is Hungarian-English. He gained an American passport in 2012. His nationalist parents fled to London from Budapest in 1956. His dissertation – Content and End-State-based Alteration in the Practice of Political Violence since the End of the Cold War: the difference between the terrorism of the Cold War and the terrorism of al Qaeda: the rise of the “transcendental terrorist” was apparently granted in 2007 by Corvinus University of Budapest. The tract is long on Islamaphobia and the unsubstantiated claims of the polemicist but short on theory, evidence or academic rigor. Corvinus is not an institution with a profile, so I looked: sadly it doesn’t even make the top 1,000 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Even Gorka’s attendance poses a mystery. When exactly was he a graduate student at the university? Did he take classes? Did he receive any training in Islam or Islamic studies? His CV notes that he left Hungary in 2004 to work for the US Defense Department in Germany and then in 2008 relocated to the US. There is no evidence that he ever returned to live and study in Budapest.

The dissertation is online and includes the ‘evaluations’ of three referees who each presented a page of generalized comments – completely at odds with the detailed substantive and methodological evaluations that I’ve seen at every Ph.D defence I’ve been on over the last twenty years.

Two of the three referees did not even have a Ph.D. One was the US Defense Attaché at the American Embassy in Budapest at the time, while the other was employed at the UK’s Defence Academy and just had a BA from Manchester University awarded in 1969. This ‘neutral’ examiner had published a book in Hungary with Gorka three years previously. While graduate students sometimes collaborate with their advisors the independent external examiners must have no nepotistic ties with the candidate. More important, a basic principle of assessing educational achievement is that your examiners have at least the degree level of the degree they are awarding. Undergraduates do not award Ph.Ds. In Gorka’s case the only examiner who lists a doctorate was György Schöpflin – an extreme right wing Hungarian Member of the European Parliament who recently advocated putting pigs heads on a fence on the Hungarian border to keep out Muslims. I have been told that Schöpflin was a family friend. Both Schöpflin and Gorka’s father fled from Budapest to London in the 1950s and both moved in exile right-wing nationalist circles.

If that is true, we are left in sum with a degree that was awarded in absence – on the basis of a dissertation without basic political science methodological underpinnings – and apparently from an examining committee of two of Gorka’s diplomat friends, with only BA degrees; along with an old family friend, Schöpflin.

In sum, Gorka’s Ph.D is about as legitimate as if he had been awarded it by Trump University. Facts matter, but so does the gathering, synthesizing and creation of knowledge that is what we call ‘education.’ If you fake a Ph.D you are faking your credentials. He delivers provable untruths to the American public but is believed by many because he presents himself as an esteemed scholar of Islam. Gorka would never have got away with such hutzpah in the UK. Experience and scholarship work in harness to produce answers to questions. When you have neither experience nor training you are likely to not merely get the answers wrong, but not even have an inkling of which questions to ask.

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 6:27 am

Your perception of reality may really be a hallucination

Philosophy and Predictive Processing is a new online research compendium in which neuroscientists, psychiatrists, philosophers-of-mind, and other big thinkers explore the theory that we're always hallucinating. Our brains aren't just processing information from your senses so we can perceive reality, the authors argue, but also constantly predicting what we'll encounter, presenting that to us as what's actually happening, and then doing error connection. From New Scientist:

...Predictive processing argues that perception, action and cognition are the outcome of computations in the brain involving both bottom-up and top-down processing – in which prior knowledge about the world and our own cognitive and emotional state influence perception.

In a nutshell, the brain builds models of the environment and the body, which it uses to make hypotheses about the source of sensations. The hypothesis that is deemed most likely becomes a perception of external reality. Of course, the prediction could be accurate or awry, and it is the brain’s job to correct for any errors – after making a mistake it can modify its models to account better for similar situations in the future.

But some models cannot be changed willy-nilly, for example, those of our internal organs. Our body needs to remain in a narrow temperature range around 37°C, so predictive processing achieves such control by predicting that, say, the sensations on our skin should be in line with normal body temperature. When the sensations deviate, the brain doesn’t change its internal model, but rather forces us to move towards warmth or cold, so that the predictions fall in line with the required physiological state.

"A guide to why your world is a hallucination" (New Scientist)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 6:25 am

Review / Smurfs: The Lost Village

Smurfs: The Lost Village is wonderfully animated, the first good transposition of Peyo's 20th-century cartooning to 21st-century moviemaking. Moreover, it directly tackles the worst things about Smurfs—their creator's banal misogyny—in an effort to make of them a vehicle for progressive values rather than product placement. It has everything going for it.

Sadly, it's not much good. (more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 5:55 am

Documentary about influential experimental 90s indie band Brainiac

Brainiac was a fantastic experimental indie band that emerged from the 1990s Dayton, Ohio music scene that gave us Guided by Voices, The Breeders, and other great post-punk, no wave, and noise pop groups. Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I caught many of Brainiac's crazed live shows in the area. (Bassist Juan Monasterio went to fashion design school with my wife Kelly and after we moved to San Francisco, the band stayed at her apartment when they came though the Bay Area.) Their stars rising fast, Brainiac released two LPs on Grass/BMG before signing with Touch and Go Records and collaborating with the likes of Steve Albini, Kim Deal and Jim O'Rourke. Then on May 23, 1997, with their major label debut set for Interscope Records, charismatic frontman Timmy Taylor was killed in a car crash near his home. He was 28. Now, filmmaker Eric Mahoney is telling the Brainiac story through a new documentary. Please support it on Kickstarter.

This film will explore the 90's Dayton music scene, Brainiac's legacy and how people survive and cope with the loss of loved ones. Over the past 20 years Brainiac has been cited as a massive influence on the likes of Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta, Death Cab For Cutie and countless others. You'll hear from the band, family members, fellow musicians and label heads.

Steve Albini, Wayne Coyne, Buzz Osbourne, Cedric Bixler, David Yow, Eli Janney, Fred Armisen, Jim O’Rourke, Gregg Foreman, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio, Tyler Trent, Michelle Bodine, Linda Taylor And Many More…

Brainiac Documentary (Kickstarter, thanks UPSO!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnqoesEFW2I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoZWf9CADgk

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 5:49 am

Jane Morris explains improvisation and life

This video is an absolute gem! Jane Morris, one of the best improvisational actors alive, explains what makes the art so magical!

Jane has improvised, written, performed, and directed shows around the world. Beginning in Chicago, where she helped found the Second City ETC, later from her own theaters in Los Angeles, no one has done more to advance the art of improvisation.

If you are a writer looking for help getting unstuck, building a regular ritual of daily writing, or just help figuring out how to get the story out of your head and on to paper, Jane runs a wonderful writers workshop. If I was an Angeleno, I'd be there every week.

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 5:43 am

Watch: Dog barks with suspicion after owner loses 50 pounds, until he finally recognizes him

After spending five weeks in the hospital and losing 50 pounds, Shane Godfrey is home only to find that he's become unrecognizable to his dog, Willie. The dog barks and barks – personally I would have been scared – but Godfrey sits calmly until the dog comes over and sniffs. Finally recognizing him, the dog becomes overjoyed. Watch his adorable reaction.

Thanks News and Observer!

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 5:41 am

RIP: Silence of the Lambs Director Jonathan Demme dies at 73

Director Jonathan Demme, best known for his horror-thriller movie Silence of the Lambs, has died in New York at age 73. He had been battling cancer.

My first introduction to Demme's work was his quirky 1986 film Something Wild, about a free spirited young woman (played by Melanie Griffith) who kidnaps an uptight yuppie (played by Jeff Daniels), who then are both held hostage by her creepy thug ex-boyfriend (played by Ray Liotta). I fell in madly love with this film, which turned me into an instant Demme fan.

Some of his other brilliant films include Married to the Mob, Philadelphia, The Manchurian Candidate, and his Talking Heads documentary Stop Making Sense. And the list goes on. He was survived by his second wife, Joanne Howard, and their three children, Ramona, Brooklyn and Jos. Our hearts at Boing Boing go out to his family.

For more on Demme, here's a write-up by Variety.

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 5:15 am

Vinyl reissue of David Bowie and Trevor Jones's Labyrinth soundtrack

David Bowie and Trevor Jones's soundtrack to Jim Henson's fantastical film Labyrinth, starring Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King, will be reissued on vinyl next month for the first time since its release in 1986. (These days an original pressing goes for around $75-$100.) To complement Trevor Jones's synthesizer/orchestra score, Bowie wrote five original songs for Labyrinth, including Underground, As The World Falls Down, and the classic Magic Dance.

With Magic Dance, "the song for Jareth and the baby, sung by them and the goblins in the castle throne room - I had problems,” Bowie said at the time. “The baby I used in the recording studios couldn’t, or wouldn’t, put more than two gurgles together, so I ended up doing the baby-gurgle chorus myself! It’s an up-tempo song, and visually exciting.”

Labyrinth LP (Amazon)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwVqOs3Aess

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvLnPO9t4Wg

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 5:10 am

Announcing the official UK Walkaway Tour!

My UK publisher, Head of Zeus, has published the official tour schedule for the British tour for Walkaway, with stops in Oxford (with Tim Harford), London (with Laurie Penny), Liverpool (with Chris Pak), Birmingham, and the Hay Literary Festival (with Dr Adam Rutherford). Hope to see you there! (more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 5:08 am

Jonathan Demme, director of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Stop Making Sense," RIP

Jonathan Demme, the talented director of Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Something Wild, Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense, and numerous other great films, has died at 73. His death was caused by esophageal cancer. From the New York Times:

A personable man with the curiosity gene and the what-comes-next instinct of someone who likes to both hear and tell stories, Mr. Demme had a good one of his own, a Mr. Deeds kind of tale in which he wandered into good fortune and took advantage of it. A former movie publicist, he had an apprenticeship in low-budget B-movies with the producer Roger Corman before turning director...

Mr. Demme’s other films include documentaries about the folk-rock singer and songwriter Neil Young; concert films featuring the country singer Kenny Chesney and the pop star Justin Timberlake; and “Swimming to Cambodia” (1987), Spalding Gray’s monologue ruminating about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and his experience appearing in the film “The Killing Fields.”

Mr. Demme was a member of the alternative arts scene of Lower Manhattan, which included Mr. Gray, who died in 2004, as well as Mr. Byrne and the composer and performer Laurie Anderson, who scored “Swimming to Cambodia.”

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:47 am

The next iteration of Alexa is designed to watch you while you get dressed

The Echo Look is the next version of the Alexa appliance: it has an camera hooked up to a computer vision system, along with its always-on mic, and the first application for it is to watch you as you dress and give you fashion advice (that is, recommend clothes you can order from Amazon). (more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:36 am

Cool cover for a 1974 hobbyist electronics magazine

I'd not heard of Elektor magazine until today, when I came across this photo of the cover from a 1974 edition. I assumed it was fake. Everything about it seemed like it was created this year - the typeface, the names of the projects, the tagline ("up-to-date electronics for lab and leisure"). Someone has uploaded the issue in PDF format.

Such a groovy magazine!

Joint smoking transistors:

Trippy traces:

Elektor is still around, but the design is vastly different:

From Wikipedia:

Elektor is a monthly magazine about all aspects of electronics, first published as Elektuur in the Netherlands in 1960, and now published worldwide in many languages including English, German, Dutch, French, Greek, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian) and Italian with distribution in over 50 countries. The English language edition of Elektor was launched in 1975 and is read worldwide.

Elektor publishes a vast range of electronic projects, background articles and designs aimed at engineers, enthusiasts, students and professionals. To help readers build featured projects, Elektor also offer PCBs (printed circuit boards) of many of their designs, as well as kits and modules. If the project employs a microcontroller and/or PC software, as is now often the case, Elektor normally supply the source code and files free of charge via their website. Most PCB artwork is also available from their website.

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:34 am

Manage electronic signatures painlessly

Boing Boing proudly welcomes our new sponsor Eversign: Legally binding electronic signatures at work, at home or on the go!

Taking your company paperless is a wonderful goal, but without a fantastic electronic signature system you will create problems faster than you solve them. Enter Eversign!

Eversign is a full-suite electronic document management system non-pariel! Beyond merely allowing you to identify signature blocks on documents, and securely send documents to another signing party, Eversign adds a world of features and integration. So many features you'll be kinda shocked this is just a document signing service!

Eversign easily manages any document. From simple agreements for your first born to complex documents with long lists of signators. Documents can be signed serially, or in parallel, enabling folks to sign in a precise order if desired, just like the Lesser Key of Solomon requires.

Documents can be signed with any device, and in-person signing options also exist for times when you and a colleague want to mutually execute a document in the field! The second your client agrees to that crazy idea? Get them to sign on your phone right there! The only signing option Eversign seems to lack is blood.

Eversign also allows users to type, upload, or draw their thoroughly authenticated and unique digital signatures. Forget cursive! Want to use a sketch of your favorite 70s Saturday morning cartoon character superimposed with an image of the devil? That is your legally binding signature now, baby!

Eversign is also packed with conveniences like document editing, when you need to correct a last minute mistake, contact management and document management databases. Eversign also allows you to chose your own cloud storage service, and offers integration with all the top providers seamlessly connecting you to popular online applications like Google Docs, Zoho, Dropbox, Salesforce and many more.

Signing documents gets a whole lot easier, and nicer to trees, with Eversign!

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:30 am

Forget sushi boats, check out the sushi bullet train

At the new Magic Touch Bullet Train Sushi restaurant in Cerritos, California, you order off an iPad menu and the rolls arrive via model bullet trains. I can't wait for them to upgrade to maglev trains. (via Laughing Squid)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:23 am

A healthy 3-foot-long rabbit dies on United Airlines

It hasn't been a good month for United Airlines – or, rather, its passengers. First Dr. Dao gets beat up by security while sitting in his United seat until he's toothless and unconscious, while on the same day a scorpion on another United flight stings a passenger in the hand. This week the unlucky passenger was Simon, a 3-foot-long rabbit who was being sent from Heathrow to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He was perfectly healthy upon boarding the plane, but was found dead when it was time to deboard in Chicago.

According to The Telegraph:

“Simon had a vet’s check-up three hours before the flight and was fit as a fiddle,” breeder Annette Edwards, of Stoulton, Worcs, told The Sun.

“Something very strange has happened and I want to know what. I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before.”

At least United Airlines had the good sense to apologize this time around.

"We were saddened to hear this news,” a United Airlines spokeswoman said, according to the Mirror.

"The safety and wellbeing of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team.

"We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter."

Simon, who had just been sold to an unnamed celebrity and was on his way to meeting his new owner, was the son of Darius, a rabbit who measured 4' 4" long and holds the Guiness World Record for the world's longest rabbit. Edwards says Simon would probably have beaten that record. https://youtu.be/zn9kAEVu1CQ

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:20 am

Firefighter rescues suicidal woman

Wait for it.

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 4:00 am

Maker Update #31

This week on Maker Update: an autonomous beach-roving art bot, Kickstarter wants your ideas, a project that makes kits for other projects, GUIs for Raspberry Pi, stipple ceramics, and Donald Bell shows you why digital calipers are cool. Show notes here.

51qgVS-Rk0L

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 3:48 am

Across the Globe, with Jeff Sessions

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book.

JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug's subscription club, the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE, for exclusive early access to comics, extra comics, and much, MUCH more.

GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. (”A book for the curious and adventurous!” -Cory Doctorow) Book One here. Book Two here.

More Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing! (more…)

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 1:55 am

Death to the Roach

After my parents got divorced in 1965, I lived in a one-room apartment with my mother at 56-10 94th Street, in Elmhurst Queens. The apartment had a small alcove, and a wall was built to separate it from the rest of the space, and that was my room.

Our apartment was next to the incinerator room. For those of you born before recycling, you tossed your open bags of garbage down the chute, where it was burned. Some lazy jerks couldn’t be bothered to open the chute’s door, so they just left their bags of garbage (usually just open paper grocery bags) on the floor. Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Unsurprisingly, we had a lot of roaches in our apartment. I became inured to them after several years; if you’ve never had a roach infestation, you’d be shocked at how awful thousands of them smell. I became so used to them, in fact, that one night I was sleeping and woke up to see a little brown figure sauntering down my arm. I blew it off and went back to sleep. Just like that.

When I remember that awful smell and the shadows of those little pieces of shit scuttling around in the dark it gives me a shiver.

After moving into my own place in Manhattan, where the little fiends were already in evidence, I bought a bug bombing gas fogger for every room. Set each one off and ran the hell out of there. Came back a day later and cleaned up. No roaches. I was not about to let those little turd-dropping brown prehistoric bug-ass mothers into my domain. Yeah, they’ve been here since the dinosaurs and will still be here long after the human race is gone, but I don’t have to know see them.

Which leads me to this article I found on SoraNews24 (nee Rocket News), about an astoundingly easy way to rid your abode of cockroaches. Posted on Instagram by @adreamorreality, the remedy is stupidly simple: fill empty tea bags with dried peppermint leaves.

While @adreamorreality affectionately calls the bundles “mint bombs,” they’re not explosive booby traps. Instead, the scent of the oils present in the peppermint is highly repulsive to cockroaches, and so the packets work as non-lethal repellants. In spots that are ordinarily especially attractive to the pests, such as underneath the sink, @adreamorreality recommends leaving two mint pouches.

This is the only thing which causes me to wish the internet existed when I was a kid.

Postscript: Earlier this month, on April 11, my old apartment building in Queens, The Monte Plaza, burned down. I had not been there since January, 1992 when my mother died, so I didn’t get to yell “GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE!” to the half million cockroaches who got their asses toasted in the fire (fortunately no humans were harmed).

Al Jones, a reporter at 1010WINS, the all-news radio station in New York, snapped this photo and uploaded it to Instagram.

Meanwhile, there are still millions of folks living in roach-infested apartments and homes, spraying dangerous chemicals all over the place to kill the bugs. That’s bad for them, and their kids and pets … and the bugs will come back. So, spread the word: dried peppermint leaves in tea bags. Would have changed my life.

Via SoraNews24

Posted on 27 April 2017 | 1:53 am