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New app saves you from drunk texting disasters!
05.06.2015
01:34 pm

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Amusing
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For better or for worse, our highest priority as a civilization is probably avoiding social faux pas—more than climate change, more than a cure for cancer, more even than an end to world hunger, we just want to escape shame! Technology has only made these social anxieties more intense. We’ve all sent a regrettable text, whether typo/autocorrect error, a drunken mistake or the dreaded accidental “sending of a text to the person the text was about” (as brilliantly demonstrated below by comedian David O’Doherty). Finally though, there is hope!

A “Chicago-born entrepreneur” (okay, whatever) named Maci Peterson has recently developed On Second Thought, an app that could very well save us the embarrassment of texting disasters by putting a 60 second delay on all messages, giving you time to reread, rethink, regret and correct. From the site:

Never regret another message.

We understand, mistakes happen. Whether we’ve accidentally sent our boss a message meant for our spouse, or auto-correct has made us look like a jerk, we’ve all been there. With On Second Thought we can undo those mistakes before anyone knows we’ve made them. All you have to do is swipe your message left or right within moments after hitting “Send.”

Peterson was inspired by her own experience, once intending to send an ex “Hey, for some reason I keep missing your calls,” which was autocorrected to “Hey, for some reason I keep missing your cock.”

There but for the grace of God go we all!
 

 
Via Chicagoist

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Newly discovered human-shaped mushroom (yep, it’s poisonous!)
05.06.2015
09:44 am

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Science/Tech

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A human-shaped mushroom was recently discovered on the side of a road in Norfolk, England. Jonathan Revett, a fungi hobbyist, came across the lil’ buggers and sent the mushrooms in for analysis after being awestruck by their humanoid shape.

Apparently they’re a new type of Earthstar mushroom that have been given the name Geastrum britannicum. AND naturally, since they look like tiny, beret-wearing humans, the mushroom is highly poisonous and inedible. Makes sense.


 

 
via Geekologie and i09

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Technology’s lost art: The ancient magic of the record label
05.04.2015
11:44 am

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Art
Music
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In our race to embrace new technologies much has been lost. During the 50s and 60s General Electric spokesman Ronald Reagan appeared regularly on American television declaring with godlike certainty “that progress is our most important product.” And we bought it. And we’re buying it still.

Until their recent resurgence, vinyl records were a thing of the past. Now it’s compact discs that are being phased out. DVDs and Blu-rays are next. The powers that be want us streaming data through the ether without the hassle or production costs of actually making something you can hold in your hand and own, not just store in a cloud somewhere. In our embrace of the new, faster, most convenient thing, we’ve lost a substantial amount of what we love about the things we love, the things that make our lives more beautiful. My Sonos streaming device is an ugly block of white plastic. My turntable, a Thorens with a beautiful wooden plinth, is a masterpiece of design and function, gorgeous to look at, soulful, unique. My record collection is not just, to my ears, a superior way to listen to music, it is a wonderland of marvelous sleeve art, label design and picture discs. All of which I can hold in my hands, all responding to gravity and easily handed off to a friend to appreciate as much as I do. No one ever comes into my home and asks to see my set lists on Deezer or flips through my Amazon cloud collection.

The phasing out of vinyl, CD, DVD, celluloid, happened so fast that a lot of people were caught by surprise. I own a vintage audio store and people are coming in on a regular basis to buy CD players because the local big box stores don’t sell them anymore. You might be able to find a shitty player that will shuffle dozens of CDs or some crappy all-in-one system. But a good single tray player with a decent digital audio chip is getting harder to find unless you move into expensive audiophile gear territory. If you told me even five years ago that CD players and CDs themselves would become collectible I would have laughed and said you were nuts. Guess what? Anyone want to buy a Suicide Commandos’ CD for $400. I got one.

The return of vinyl is wonderful for many of us. But the big three music corporations hate it. They’ve had to shift back to making stuff. And they have to pay a lot of people to make it. The new records sold in my store put scores of people to work, from the guys who make my record bins, to workers pressing the vinyl to the artists designing record jackets again. Add to that the truckers who move the vinyl, the folks in my store who sell it and homegrown turntable manufacturers like U-Turn who can’t keep up with production demands. All those people making livings thanks to vinyl. Not to mention, the musicians who now have more control over their product and profit when they produce their own records. Yes, a record costs much more than a CD to make or an MP3 to stream. But a record is something special to a bands’ fans. It is an artifact, a totem, something you hold close to your heart knowing that not everyone owns one of these slabs of black magic. With demand so high and current production so limited, every record made today is almost instantly collectible. You may be fine listening to iTunes or Amazon cloud, but vinyl is something you want to own. It is precious. It is art.

So that’s my vinyl rant. It was all leading up to sharing these beautiful 78rpm record labels produced in Britain between the years of 1898 and 1926. Enjoy them. And be happy that we may be seeing their like again, if not already.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
What’s left of sexologist Krafft-Ebing’s personal collection of erotica
04.30.2015
06:34 am

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History
Science/Tech
Sex

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002kraftebbport.jpg
 
Meanwhile, back at the Krafft-Ebing household.
“Ah, Richard, there you are—where have you been?”
“My dearest, I’ve been out…er…shopping.”
“Shopping? I hope you’ve not been buying any more of those dirty postcards with images of sexual congress and strange and unnatural fetishes.”
“Well, em, yes, as a matter of fact, I have.”
“But darling, you promised...”
“I know, I know, but these images of sexual congress and strange and unnatural fetishes are essential for my scientific research!”
“Your scientific research?”
“Yes, my sweet. These are not merely dirty postcards—these are prime examples of diverse sexual practices, which are essential research for the book I am writing.”
“Oh, I see. Well, I suppose that’s all right then.”
“Yes, it certainly is. Now, if you will kindly excuse me, I must…er…examine these new specimens… in private.”

I am sure it was never like that, but then again who knows? As Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) certainly did have a fine excuse for collecting “French postcards” and assorted erotica during his lifetime. This Austro-German psychiatrist took a keen interest in all aspects of human sexual behavior and wrote an early pioneering book on the subject called Psychopathia Sexualis in 1886. This tome was intended as “a medico-forensic study,” a kind of reference book to be used by psychiatrists or as he described it: “men engaged in serious study in the domains of natural philosophy and medical jurisprudence.” Krafft-Ebing’s study popularized the terms “sadism,” “masochism” and “fetishism,” and was the first medical science book to examine homosexuality, bi-sexuality, necrophilia, pederasty, coprophilia, bestiality, transvestism, and exhibitionism.

However, some of his ideas reflected the mores of the day rather than objective scientific investigation—for example, he considered any non-procreational sex as “a perversion of the sex drive.”

“With opportunity for the natural satisfaction of the sexual instinct, every expression of it that does not correspond with the purpose of nature,—i.e., propagation,—must be regarded as perverse.”

He also thought homosexuality was an “inversion of the brain” caused during pregnancy. So he was far more vanilla than his personal collection of erotica might suggest.

Psychopathia Sexualis was of major importance in its day—but was quickly superseded by the work of an Austrian neurologist, the cocaine-injecting Sigmund Freud, whose studies into sex, dreams and human behavior made him the father of psychoanalysis.

This rather small selection of postcards and photographs is (apparently) nearly all that remains of Krafft-Ebing’s personal collection of erotica. The images deal with transvestism, with some reference to S&M, and mainly feature one particular individual. It is unknown who any of the people are, though two are rather fun examples of the infamous dirty or “French” postcard, which were popular across Europe from the 1880s onward.
 
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More from Krafft-Ebing’s personal collection of erotica, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Mind-blowing animatronic of Yul Brynner as the Gunslinger from ‘Westworld’
04.24.2015
01:05 pm

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Art
Movies
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If you’re a fan of Michael Crichton‘s 1973 science fiction western-thriller WestWorld, then you’re definitely going to dig this life-like silicone robotic version of Yul Brynner as the Gunslinger. It’s truly a work of art and cool as shit to boot!

Made by sculptor Nick Marra of Nick Marra Studios, the video below goes into detail about how the Gunslinger was created. The video was shot at Monsterpalooza convention in Burbank, California.


 

 
via Tested and Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Man sings ‘If I Only Had a Brain’ during an MRI
04.22.2015
12:54 pm

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Movies
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As everyone knows you have stay damned still during an MRI. Like, you can’t move at all! But the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois has developed “a new technique that is 10-times faster than standard MRI scanners to illustrate how the hundreds of muscles in our neck, jaw, tongue, and lips work together to produce sound.”

The results are pretty crazy-looking as you can see in the video, below.

“The technique excels at high spatial and temporal resolution of speech—it’s both very detailed and very fast,” Sutton said. “Often you can have only one of these in MR imaging. We have designed a specialized acquisition method that gathers the necessary data for both space and time in two parts and then combines them to achieve high-quality, high-spatial resolution, and high-speed imaging.” To capture the audio, the team used a noise-cancelling fiber-optic microphone and synced it with the imaging later.

snip~

With a recent K23 Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Johnson is investigating whether group singing training with older adults in residential retirement communities will improve the structure of the larynx, giving the adults stronger, more powerful voices. This research relies on pre- and post-data of laryngeal movement collected with the MRI technique.


The researchers published their technique in the journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

 
Sources: Beckman Institute, Mental Floss 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
These stackable coasters create a 3-D brain on your coffee table
04.22.2015
10:39 am

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Science/Tech

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I’m digging the hell out of this ten-piece set of glass brain coasters that create a 3D brain if stacked in the proper order. Apparently the Brain Specimen Coasters are easy to stack in order as each coaster is labeled. The price for these ain’t too shabby either, the entire set is a mere $19.99 plus shipping. I think that’s very reasonable for a 3D glass brain! 

The coasters have rubber feet as not to scratch any surfaces and they’re hand wash only (not safe for dishwashers).


 
via Bored Panda

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Finally, the Tesla/Thomas Edison AC/DC mashup shirt we’ve all been waiting for
04.20.2015
11:02 am

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Pop Culture
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Someone on reddit recently spotted this fantastic shirt in Seattle—you can get it here on eBay for $23.99 plus shipping.

It’s an open question how many AC/DC fans know that “AC” stands for “alternating current” and “DC” stands for “direct current”—but for those looking to catch up, Tesla invented AC, and Edison backed DC. Tesla had previously worked for Edison. Tesla was a genius and died alone in a hotel room in New York; Edison was also a genius and died as rich as Croesus. Edison killed an elephant named Topsy to demonstrate the supposed dangers of alternating current, as depicted in a 2013 episode of Bob’s Burgers called “Topsy.” Tesla was a man made for our underdog-rooting and nerdy age. David Bowie played Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s terrific 2006 movie The Prestige.

On the flipside, science nerds, AC/DC is an Australian rock band. If you don’t already know that, you probably don’t really want this shirt too bad, do you?

Here’s “greedy Thomas Edison” killing Topsy:
 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Elvis Costello and Terry Gilliam shill for Philip K. Dick
04.20.2015
08:48 am

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Books
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Television

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In the days just before the dawn of the World Wide Web, those wanting to prove the relevance of Philip K. Dick’s visionary books were likely to point to the prevalence of advertising everywhere and CNN’s coverage of the first Gulf War. More than twenty years later, in a world in which drones annihilate enemies of the American state, smartphones can decode spoken instructions, Netflix can accurately predict the next movie you want to watch, and so on, it would be folly to argue that Dick’s prescience has been any less than astounding.

In A Day in the Afterlife, a 1994 hour-long documentary made for the BBC series Arena on that great fucked-up writer, director Nicola Roberts employed a clever metaphor of a fictional product called “PKD,” complete with lightning-bolt corporate logo, to help illustrate the strongly artificial, alienating, and commercialized landscape of Dick’s works. The logo pops up at unpredictable intervals throughout the movie, and there are also cheeky “commercials” featuring Elvis Costello and Terry Gilliam as well as British novelist Fay Weldon.
 

Elvis Costello: “Featuring such classics as ‘Lies, Inc.,’ ‘The Man in the High Castle,’ ‘Ubik’.....”
 
I couldn’t find much evidence that Costello is a Dick-head (aside from his appearance in this very movie), but Gilliam’s enthusiasm for Dick’s books is well documented. (Unlike Costello, Gilliam consented to contribute a few more typical talking-heads bits.) In this 2008 interview with HitFix, Gilliam discussed his high regard for Dick’s work and his plans, never realized, to adapt Dick’s little-known 1956 novel The World Jones Made (Gilliam has the title slightly wrong):
 

Terry Gilliam: I mean, like, “Brazil”... I was even more determined it had to end that way because of “Blade Runner” having betrayed me at the ending.  I felt betrayed because I loved that until the end of the film.  Now all of a sudden, the android’s going to live forever?  What the fuck are you talking about, man?  You create a world that’s very solid, and then you… that’s why Philip K. Dick is always been one of my favorite writers.  He doesn’t go where that road takes you.

HitFix: I am convinced that someone will eventually make “The Man in the High Castle.”  There is such…

Gilliam: I’m actually meeting his daughter tomorrow.

HitFix: Are you?  Are you?  That is just a phenomenal book and so ripe in terms of the way it talks about how we process reality and the way we tell ourselves stories about history.  I think now is a great time to remind people of some of the things Phillip had to say.

Gilliam: One of the things that is… there’s another one that people don’t know called “The World According to Jones.” Do you know that one?

HitFix: Mm-hmm.

Gilliam: That really fascinates me… where we’re in a world where basically everything is relative.  It can’t be black and white because there’s a more religious fundamentalism that we’re talking about.  So now everything is relative.  And then the idea that a guy comes along that can see the future, and it is not relative… that intrigues me, and I don’t know exactly how to do it.  His other books… Ubik is always fun.  But again, so much of his stuff has been stolen already and used…

 
Obviously, the HitFix interviewer, one “Drew McWeeny,” was entirely correct that The Man in the High Castle would be adapted into a movie—earlier this year Amazon Prime dropped the pilot for a forthcoming miniseries based on the book. (As an aside, it’s wonderful that Dick’s greatness has been embraced by the Library of America, which in 2009 added Dick to its slate of great American authors like Whitman, Hawthorne, and Melville.)

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ covered by hard disks and other internal computer doodads
04.09.2015
10:29 am

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Music
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We’ve seen this a few times before, most notably with the cover of “Rock Lobster” by the “Bit52s” a couple years back. Here we have a case full of hard drives and other unidentified computer components playing what is arguably the song of the 1990s, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

It should be said that the “Rock Lobster” cover works a bit better, but at least this experiment establishes conclusively that robots cannot reproduce the ass-kicking righteousness of Dave Grohl’s skull-shattering drum fills.
 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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