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Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

The man behind AOL's "You've got mail!" voice of the 1990s

1 hour 54 min ago

Long before Siri and Alexa, there was good ol' Elwood Edwards. If you ever logged on to America Online in the 1990s, you enjoyed the dopamine rush of Edwards cheerfully informing you that "You've got mail!"

Categories: Crunknet

Great 1950s horror sci-fi novel, The Mind Thing, now on Kindle

Wed, 2016-06-29 19:14

When I was in junior high school, I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. One of the books I got from the club was an anthology that included several stories by Fredric Brown (who was primarily a mystery writer but occasionally delved into science fiction). Some of Brown's stories in the anthology were a mere page or two, and I loved their humor and surprise endings. As soon as I could, I went to the Boulder Public Library to load up on as much Brown as I could find. It turned out the library had just two of his science fiction novels: Martians, Go Home (1955), and What Mad Universe (1949). They were both terrific.

In Martians, Go Home a race of cartoonish little green men invade Earth for the sole purpose of being hideously bothersome pests, behaving very much like Internet trolls and Second Life griefers. (Artist Kelly Freas perfectly captured the personality of the martians in his cover painting for Astounding Science Fiction.) In What Mad Universe a man gets thrown into a parallel universe and has to figure out how to get back home. Both books are semi-parodies of science fiction novels (the protagonists in each novel are science fiction writers), with plenty of Brown's signature wry humor. If you've not read these novels, I highly recommend them both.

It wasn't until I was in high school that I scored a copy of The Mind Thing (1961), which is probably my favorite Brown novel, even though it is not as well-known as the other two novels, and could be arguably be classified a horror novel. The Mind Thing is an alien being (which looks like a turtle shell) that has been banished to Earth for committing crimes on its home planet. It is unable to move on its own, but can hijack the nervous system of any sleeping animal within range and take control of its mind and body. To leave the body, it forces the host to commit suicide. The alien goes on a spree, hopping into people's bodies and killing them, as it moves forward with a plan to make the Earth ripe for takeover (in the hope that its fellow creatures will forgive its past crimes and hail it a hero). Eventually, a smart fellow (an MIT professor on vacation) figures out what's going on and takes it upon himself to save the planet from the evil space alien.

Long of of print, The Mind Thing, Martians, Go Home, and What Mad Universe are available in Kindle editions. (I don't recommend Rogue in Space or The Lights in the Sky are Stars because they both stink, unfortunately.)

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Stop motion video made from laser cut wood

Wed, 2016-06-29 18:45

Andre Maat, a director and animator from Amsterdam, made a short stop-motion video called Woodo that uses many pieces of laser cut wood to make it look like he is cutting, molding, and stretching plywood.

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The liquid that pours itself - Polyethylene Oxide

Wed, 2016-06-29 18:38

Steve Mould demonstrates an unusual mucilaginous substance that pours itself out of a beaker, once you get it started. This stuff reminds me of some bad head colds I've had.

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Dispute over salsa and chips erupts into chair throwing brawl at Texas restaurant

Wed, 2016-06-29 18:17

My San Antonio reports of a fight that took place in a North Dallas restaurant:

In the early morning hours of June 25, Facebook user Isael Rojas shared a 5-minute video of the brawl starting when one woman hurled an object at an opposing party at El Paisano Restaurant Y Taquería at 2911 Lombardy Lane in North Dallas. The offense prompted a flare up of hair-pulling and men attempting to diffuse the situation by separating the women.


"One of the main proponents of the bashing is seen in the video fleeing the restaurant in a souped-up sports car moments before authorities arrive."

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Japanese porn industry says it's 'very sorry' that actress was coerced to have sex on camera

Wed, 2016-06-29 18:08

The Intellectual Property Promotion Association, which represents 80% of Japan’s adult film industry, says it's very sorry for "coercing" (aka raping) women to have sex in pornographic videos.

From the LA Times:

Police announced Monday that they had arrested the president of Marks Japan and two others on suspicion that they forced a woman into appearing in adult films by threatening to punish her financially. They also threatened to force her parents to pay for “contract violations” if necessary, police said.

The woman, described as being in her 20s, reportedly signed with the company in 2009 as a fashion model and was forced to have sex on camera in more than 100 videos before being able to cancel her contract in 2014, according to police.

The three men arrested, including company President Takashi Kozasu, were charged with breaking laws that regulate temporary employment agencies – specifically, rules that prevent the agencies from sending workers into assignments that violate public morals. The assignment that led to the charges was a film shoot in September 2013.

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If you crush a marshmallow bunny it looks like Kim Jong-Un

Wed, 2016-06-29 17:57

Dear readers with shoop skills: if you stretch Kim Jong-Un, does he look like a marshmallow bunny?


Categories: Crunknet

Quiz: can you tell which police stops are illegal?

Wed, 2016-06-29 17:34

PBS has a quiz that presents a number of different investigatory police stop scenarios. You are tasked with determining which of the scenarios represent illegal stops. The Indiscriminate Checkpoint

In 1998, police in Indianapolis began setting up vehicle checkpoints around the city in a bid to root out illegal drugs. At each checkpoint, police would stop a set number of vehicles. One officer would conduct an open-view examination of the car or truck from the outside, while another officer would walk around it with a narcotics dog. Stops were designed to last no more than five minutes.

Is it a legal stop?

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I really love my CSA

Wed, 2016-06-29 17:31

One of the things I enjoy most about living in Muir Beach, California, is the amazing CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) provided to my community by our neighbors at the Green Gulch Zen Center. Their incredible program lands a wide variety of wonderful fruits and veggies in my home, weekly, for half the year.

The CSA doesn't just provide great, healthy food for my daughter and I. It provides a weekly puzzle; how to use the wide variety of things they send? Check out this week's list:

Hey Neighbors,

The first Green Gulch Veggie Box of the season will be delivered after 4:15 PM tomorrow!

Inside you'll find:

  • Two Lettuce: Lollo diVino + Pomegranate Crunch
  • 1 White Vienna Kohlrabi
  • 1 bu. Top Bunch Collard Greens
  • 1 bu. Crocodile Spinach
  • 1 bu. Genovese Basil (what a treat! Basil is hard to grow in cold, foggy conditions)
  • 1 bu. Guardsman Scallions
  • 1 bu. GGF Cilantro
  • 1 bu. Catalogna Special Dandelion (a favorite among the farmers - spicy & delicious)
  • 1 bu. Thyme
  • 1 bu. Assorted Radishes
  • 1 bu. Hakurei Turnips

Click the links above for details on how to make a delicious dinner in under an hour using Kohlrabi and Dandelion :)

Enjoy this gorgeous weather!

Pictured above are the dandelion greens and kohlrabi, pretty much as directed in the recipes linked above, with minor changes for my daughters 9 year old tastes. We made salads last night.

Frequently, I find myself with far too much vegetable matter in my fridge. There is a lot more than 1 and a half full-sized humans can eat. I also sometimes get confused about what to do with all of it. I'll have sauerkraut fermenting, kale chips, and radish salads, and still a mountain of something I've made never heard of. That is when I whip out the juicer, or beg Xeni to come stay here for a week or so and help cook it all.

If the volume gets too high, I can always email and they'll hold off on my delivery for a week.

I really just enjoy the challenge, and I love the incredible variety and quality of the food that arrives. I highly recommend you check out your options for a local CSA.

A huge thank you to the folks at the Green Gulch Zen Center, for the hard, hard work that goes into growing, and organizing these boxes!

Categories: Crunknet

Trump falls to single digits in international poll

Wed, 2016-06-29 13:52

The Pew Research Center conducted an international survey between April 4 and May 29 regarding attitudes towards the U.S. and when it came to Donald Trump, the wanna-be president fared miserably. In fact, positive ratings were in the single digits in nearly half the countries surveyed. According to the AP:

In seven of 15 countries outside of the U.S. polled by Pew Research Center, Trump's ratings are in the single digits. Large majorities in 11 of the countries have little or no confidence in the prospective Republican presidential nominee ability to manage international affairs. That includes 92 percent of Swedes, 89 percent of Germans and 82 percent of Japanese.

Trump did, however, do a bit better in China, where 40 percent polled have zero confidence in him, but 39 percent have no opinion. The survey polled 20,132 people from 16 countries, including Canada, 10 countries in Europe, four in Asia, and the U.S. When compared to Hillary Clinton, "a median of 59 percent in Europe have confidence in the Democratic contender — compared with just 9 percent for Trump."

Read more details here.

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Categories: Crunknet

See the first footage of a Great White Shark taking a nap

Wed, 2016-06-29 13:45

"She appears to be in an almost catatonic state," says the narrator. I wonder what she's dreaming about.

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3D printable, fully articulated Lion Force Voltron

Wed, 2016-06-29 12:58

Holy cow! This is one of the most complex, and amazing, 3D printed objects I've seen: Lion Force Voltron! Swedish designer Juri designed and printed this fabulous model of the first Voltron.

The lions all merge to form Voltron, just like you remember!

More photos, and the files so you can build it yourself (ha! ha! ha!) are available free at My Mini Factory!

Are you ready to form Voltron?

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How to Break Open the Web: a report on the first Decentralized Web Summit

Wed, 2016-06-29 12:51

June's Decentralized Web Summit at San Francisco's Internet Archive was a ground-breaking, three-day combination of workshops, lectures, demos and a hackathon, all aimed at figuring out how to restore the decentralized character of the early internet -- and keep it that way. (more…)

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Use borderless cards for three card monte

Wed, 2016-06-29 12:42

Everyone should know how to play three card monte. I learned decades ago and it has been immeasurably helpful.

This video by The Card Trick Teacher will teach you the con, and the sleight of hand. It is very simple to learn 'the throw.' The thing these internet videos leave out is, don't use bordered cards! You'll get caught really, really quickly.

These Bee Club Special playing cards do the trick. The pattern on their backs runs right up to the edge of the card, and it is very hard to see that the throw is happening. They are also made by US Playing Cards, and are the same lovely quality as my beloved Bicycle decks.

Remember, you need a few friends to make this hustle work.

Bee Premium Playing Cards (Colors may vary) via Amazon

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Neil Gaiman's next book: a "novelistic" retelling of the Norse mythos

Wed, 2016-06-29 11:23

Some of Neil Gaiman's finest work has sprung from classical mythology, from American Gods to Odd and the Frost Giants: now, in a new nonfiction book for WW Norton, Gaiman will retell the Norse myths in novelistic style. (more…)

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Where's Warhol? – A visual needle-in-a-haystack picture book inspired by the Where's Waldo series

Wed, 2016-06-29 11:00

Where's Warhol?
by Catherine Ingram and Andrew Rae
Laurence King Publishing
2016, 32 pages, 9.8 x 13 x 0.5 inches
$10 Buy a copy on Amazon

Andy Warhol was known for both “making the scene,” literally turning “scenes” into improvised art, and for being impressively awkward and shy within those scenes. So, there really is something fundamentally right about the concept of hiding Andy inside of iconic scenes from history, both art history and beyond.

In Where’s Warhol? art historian Catherine Ingram teams up with artist Andrew Rae to create a visual needle-in-a-haystack picture book inspired by the Where’s Waldo? series. In a series of two-page spreads, Andy, in his iconic striped shirt and shock of silver hair, is hidden within massive crowd scenes. The scenes range from actual places where Andy did hang out (e.g. Studio 54) to historical places and events such as the French Revolution and Germany’s Bauhaus art school. The fun is not only in finding Andy, but in trying to identity all of the other historical figures drawn into these scenes. In the back of the book, many of these characters are pointed out with little anecdotes. And other known people are there, but not identified (like Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith). It’s fun to see just how many characters from history you can identity. There is also enough going on here to reward repeat scans of the pages.

This would be a fun gift book to get for anyone who’s a Warhol fan, a fan of art history, or who just enjoys these kinds of visual puzzle books. Everyone who’s seen this on my coffee table has gotten a big kick out of it.

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Californians will get to vote on legal recreational weed

Wed, 2016-06-29 10:53

California, the most populous state in the USA and the sixth-largest economy in the world -- will give its residents the chance to vote on an expansive legal recreational week proposal on the ballot paper this coming November. (more…)

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Moral economy and software development: software without politics is recipe for totalitarianism

Wed, 2016-06-29 10:35

Maciej Cegłowski (previously) keynoted the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics conference with a characteristically brilliant speech about the "moral economy of tech" -- that is, the way that treating social problems like software problems allows techies to absolve themselves of the moral consequences of their actions and the harms that result. (more…)

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Venezuela takes two of our own as political prisoners. Help us free them.

Wed, 2016-06-29 10:18

This past Sunday, two opposition political activists in Venezuela were arrested and detained as political prisoners. They're politically active nerds who write about what they believe, who were helping to register voters when they were 'disappeared' by the military. They're people just like us who deserve to be free.


Categories: Crunknet