Thursday, 30 July

10:00

What happened to Jimmy Hoffa? [Boing Boing]

hoffa

Prosecutors' best guess, according to Dan Moldea, was always Sally Bugs. Salvatore Briguglio happened to him.

Federal investigators speculate that two or three coconspirators may have witnessed Briguglio shoot and kill Hoffa. Two of them have been identified as Gabriel Briguglio, Sal’s brother; and Thomas Andretta, another Local 560 business agent. A fourth possible conspirator was Stephen Andretta, Thomas’s brother, who allegedly served as Provenzano’s alibi back in New Jersey.

Briguglio was murdered in 1978.

34 weird vintage photos of women in tiny miniskirts at huge old computers [Boing Boing]

Vintage Photos of Mini-skirts Behind Computers (4)

Sex sells Big Iron. Attractive women wearing as little clothing as the decency of the day allows--this tool has been a constant one in the history of advertising, although hemlines over those same years have been anything but constant.

The notion that sex sells tech was exploited to grotesque ends in the sixties and seventies. During these decades, workplace computers were large as a typical New York City apartment.

In this post, an assortment of scanned images from magazines and newspapers in those decades, shared around the internet on various blogs over time. Oh, and we included some '80s babes too, because come on. Big computers and bad '80s babes.

It's tough to track down attribution or context for the originals, but I'll update the post as I can--and would welcome any tips in the BBS discussion.

Enjoy ogling these broads' gams, and get a load of those ginormous mainframes.

computers-miniskirts-6 msm mssss mss mk vanguard 1275502699_877565e07f computers-miniskirts-1 computers-miniskirts-2 computers-miniskirts-3 computers-miniskirts-4 computers-miniskirts-5 computers-miniskirts-5 computers-miniskirts-6 computers-miniskirts-7 computers-miniskirts-7 computers-miniskirts-9 computers-miniskirts-10 computers-miniskirts-10 computers-miniskirts-11 computers-miniskirts-11 computers-miniskirts-12 computers-miniskirts-12 computers-miniskirts-13 computers-miniskirts-14 computers-miniskirts-15 computers-miniskirts-16 computers-miniskirts-17 computers-miniskirts-22 computers-miniskirts-23 computers-miniskirts-24 computers-miniskirts-25 computers-miniskirts-27 computers-miniskirts-28

What's it like to go viral? [Boing Boing]

goviralRick Paulas talks to writers and YouTubers about what it feels like for a posting to go viral.

"There's a point when the narrative of how that story's being disseminated shifts completely,” A.J. Daulerio told him. “It gets picked up by the slipstream of the Internet, and, more importantly, by outside of the Internet.”

Daulerio, formerly the editor of Gawker and Deadspin, notes something that we know all to well at Boing Boing: the most successful posts, traffic-wise, are rarely the ones that are conspicuously "viral" or which enter the realm of public discussion. This post about frazil ice was constantly in our top lists, month after month, thanks to it being in a chain email ricocheting endlessly around the grandmothersphere.

Does anyone still make those magazines where David Bowie is mauled by weasels? [Boing Boing]

BOWIELIFE h/t Josh Centers. Previously.

Meet The World’s Smallest Precision-Controlled Drone [Boing Boing]

Meet the SKEYE Nano Drone ($34.99), the shockingly agile and tiny flying machine, perfect for airborne stunts (like figure 8s, banking turns, flips, etc) both indoors and out. The Nano Drone provides high thrust, low weight, and has incredibly responsive controls that are complemented by advanced hardware to give the Nano Drone outstanding stability and maneuverability.

  • RTF (ready to fly) technology
  • 6-axis flight control system w/ adjustable gyro sensitivity
  • Extreme portability
  • Rotor protection guard for beginner-friendly piloting
  • 3 distinct flight modes: beginner, advanced pilots, and seasoned flight veterans
  • Stable & easy to fly
  • Aerobatic “flip” capability
  • LED lights for night flights

drone

Aqueon Glass Aquarium Fish Tank: 40-Gallon $36, 10-Gallon $9 + Free In-Store Pickup [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

Aqueon Glass Aquarium Fish Tank: 40-Gallon $36, 10-Gallon $9 + Free In-Store Pickup

Thumb Score: +24
PetSmart.com has select Aqueon Glass Aquarium Fish Tank (various sizes) on sale listed below. Save an additional 10% off when you select free in-store pickup (price automatically drops in cart). Select free in-store pickup only, if stock permits. Thanks drums4life

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Available Sizes
Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: This Aqueon Glass Aquarium offers a black trim and can be paired with a Aqueon Hinged Glass Top, OptiBright LED light fixture and QuietFlow Power filter. Great for fresh or saltwater fishes at less than $1 per gallon. Offer valid through August 2, 2015 - Discombobulated

Women's Nike Dart 10 Running Shoes (Black/Ice Blue or White/Pink) $20 + Free Shipping [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

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American Atlier Honey Pot Cherry Drop Beverage Dispenser $15 & More [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

American Atlier Honey Pot Cherry Drop Beverage Dispenser $15 & More

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thePruneDanish via Amazon.com has Great Prices on Select Kitchenware Items listed below. Shipping is free with Prime or if you spend $35 or more. Thanks brisar The following is no longer available
Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: If you don't have Prime, there's free 30-day trial with free 2-day shipping, video streaming & more available. -Corwin

US Navy Tests 3D Printing Custom Drones On Its Ships [Slashdot]

itwbennett writes: Researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School are testing the use of 3D printers on ships to produce custom drones outfitted for specialized missions. The idea, said Alan Jaeger, a faculty research associate at the school, is that ships could set sail with kits of the core electronics parts, since they are common to most drones, but have the bodies designed according to specific requirements for each mission. A prototype drone was designed by engineers on shore based on requirements of the sailors at sea, and the 3D design file was emailed to the USS Essex over a satellite link. Flight tests revealed some of the potential problems, most of which were associated with operating the drone rather than the printing itself, Jaeger said. 'Even with a small amount of wind, something this small will get buffeted around,' he said. They also had to figure out the logistics of launching a drone from a ship, getting it back, how it integrated with other flight operations, and interference from other radio sources like radar.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Big Data and Personalized Medicine [NeuroLogica Blog]

Jun Wang, a famous Chinese geneticists, announced that he is going to shift his career into developing an AI (artificial intelligence) system that correlates genetics, behavior, and environmental factors with personal health. The goal is to provide individual recommendations about health and lifestyle based upon those factors.

In this case AI does not refer necessarily to a self-aware computer but just an intelligent system, like the AI that determines the behavior of characters in video games, or that won Jeopardy against human champions.

The real centerpiece of Wang’s vision is the data. He wants to build a database including the genomics data from one million people (and eventually much more), and correlate those genetic factors with lifestyle, environment, and health. What he is proposing, essentially, is using big data and AI systems to take the next step in personalized medicine.

Personalized medicine is currently a popular buzzword – you will find it frequently on alternative medicine sites. This is not because CAM practitioners are ahead of the curve. Rather, they latch onto the latest concepts and then make up the details as they go. It’s easy when you don’t have to do actual research or be science-based.

Real personalized medicine requires incredible data. The idea is that, rather than prescribing interventions based upon group data (the current standard) we individualize recommendations based upon data about the individual. Of course physicians already individualize treatment recommendations, as much as is possible. the idea, however, is to take this to the next level.

For example, there are many drugs used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). There are certain health factors that guide the choice of which ones to use, but in the end there are likely several viable choices and practitioners use trial and error to find the best one for a specific patient.

What if, however, we could do a blood test to establish a genetic profile, and then based on the results choose the optimal hypertensive medication the first time. Such information could also be used to make recommendations about salt intake, optimal weight, the likely benefits of exercise, and other lifestyle choices. Right now we can make statistical statements about these things, but not necessarily individual statements.

This, of course, would be a huge advance in the practice of medicine, and health scientists know this and are working on it. But we are not there yet. The human body is fantastically complex, and the amount of data we would need to drill down to the individual level is massive.

That is where Wang comes in. Right now we are at the very beginning of personalized medicine. We are picking the low hanging fruit, where, for example, specific genetic factors might determine the optimal chemotherapy for a specific cancer.

Other tests are possible, like looking at liver metabolism to predict how a patient will handle certain drugs, but are not yet mainstream because the tests are not practical or cost effective.

The hurdle to adopting widespread individualized medicine is that we would need to look at more than genomics. What we need to know is not only what genes a person has, but how those genes have been translated into phenotype – the end result of biology. Genes manifest into phenotype based upon environmental factors, during development and even later. Genes interact also with lifestyle behaviors.

To really individualize treatments we would need to know not only a person’s genome, but their proteome, and perhaps their brain’s connectome, and other aspects of their biology.

Wang wants to create a database will all of this information for at least a million individuals, and then use AI systems to analyze the data to look for patterns. The ultimate goal is to collect similar information about an individual, so we can say that someone with these genetic alleles, this medical history, certain enzyme activity, and these behaviors would most benefit from a specific intervention.

This is ambitious. It is plausible, but this is the kind of project that will take a generation to really manifest and change the way we practice medicine. Meanwhile we will continue to make incremental advances in this direction.

If Wang is successful I do think his project has the potential to push the goal of  individualized medicine forward more quickly. He has the right idea – massive amounts of data intelligently analyzed is what we will need. He also seems to appreciate the complexity of the project. Mere brute force will not be enough. Biology is complex and medicine is hard, if you want to do it right.

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09:00

Invisibility Blues: Help open up the conversation about race in games [Boing Boing]

"We want to open up a conversation about race in video games," write Dr. Samantha Blackmon and Alisha Karabinus, in a Kickstarter video for Invisibility Blues, a proposed video series exploring racial representation in the world of gaming. It's an issue that comes up often at Offworld, but as the video notes:

Writers, critics, academics, and journalists have been talking about race in video games for years, and yet the representation of people of color in gaming hardly seems to improve. When PoC are presented, many lack nuance. Sometimes, they are completely missing from game worlds, or, if present, are relegated to background roles. We want to create a video series exploring the best examples of diverse characterizations, the worst, and the whole spectrum between.

Blackmon, an Associate Professor of English at Purdue University, and Karabinus, Purdue PhD student, are also writers for Not Your Mama’s Gamer, a diversity-focused games website founded by Blackmon that features analysis from numerous female academics. Although they've created videos for the website before, they want to launch Invisibility Blue as a dedicated series, with five episodes in mind:

--Character Generation Engines and Representation
--Reactions to Games Critics on Representation
--Women of Color and Intersectionality
--Indigenous Populations in North America
--Race and Fantasy Games

They hope to raise $4,500 to help cover production costs, their research and analysis, and stipends for the consultants and academics whose voices they wish to include. The campaign is a bit over the halfway mark, with only nine days to go.

Video: HOWTO make a 3D origami Darth Vader [Boing Boing]

Origami enthusiasts have created a number of small foldable units that can then be assembled into all kinds of 3-D shapes, like this Darth Vader.

Arthur has a helpful description explaining the origins of the character:

You will learn how to make Darth Vader out of paper. Darth Vader is character from “Star wars”.

If you don't know how to make the units used in the construction, here's a tutorial on those:

You'll need 467 black ones and 17 gray ones.

KrPGA8

Minnesota kids get creative to protest lion-killing dentist [Boing Boing]

lion+updategal073015068

Kids in the Twin Cities asked their families what they could do to express their feelings about local lion-killing dentist Walter Palmer. Star-Tribune's Glen Stubbe got some great shots during protests at Palmer's office.

Protesters have left an array of exotic stuffed animals in front of the door, and people have been leaving all kinds of signs and messages expressing various forms of disappointment and outrage.

Star-Tribune also published video of the protests on their site, which has the most comprehensive coverage of the controversy.

08-897101++02LIONPROTEST072915

U.S. agencies step up in case of Twin Cities dentist who killed Cecil the lion (Star-Tribune)

WATCH: Our robot overlords will excel at ping-pong [Boing Boing]

This ad from Omron Automation & Safety intends to make advanced automation seem fun, but the execution makes it seem like your future will depend on whether you win your sudden death table tennis match with a robotic version of the Aliens xenomorph.

Set to bland corporate needle drop (certainly tagged as "uplifting" in the track library) opponent after opponent enters through the room's only door to find nothing but a ping pong table and their foe, an unbeatable 10-foot robot with no remorse or pity, taking on young and old alike as an ominous narrator intones "Machines can do much more to unleash human potential... pure possibility."

What happens to the humans when they lose? Are they used as fuel for the ping pong robot? Or are they used as fuel for the robot that makes more ping pong robots?

I'm just funnin'. Omron's stuff looks pretty cool. And I can't wait till they make the ping pong version of Big Blue that can beat professional players and other ping-pong robots.

Omron Industrial Automation

KRMaRb

Cassini captures strange red arcs on Saturn's moon Tethys [Boing Boing]

tethysbigclose_feeada29b1e1d73f9704f2e2e389dc88.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

Researchers created this enhanced-color image by compositing recent shots of Tethys taken by Cassini. Current top hypotheses for the unusual red arcs are:

1. Banksy
2. Chairface
3. Scraped by another planet in the grocery store parking lot
4. Exposed ice with chemical impurities
5. Outgassing
6. Fractures that are below the resolution of the available images
7. Aliens

Until we hear otherwise, #7 seems most likely.

Unusual Red Arcs Spotted on Icy Saturn Moon (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Secret of Qwerty is a 'typing RPG' that will steal your whole afternoon [Boing Boing]

I admit: as someone who clocks in at about 120 words per minute I have a special affection for typing games. Deprived of virtually all other reflex skills or precision aiming, it is fun to feel good at something. Since childhood there have always been games, from Mavis Beacon to Typing of the Dead, that let me excel at my one main gift.

Now, developer Cannibal Cat Software has crossed Typing of the Dead with Dragon Warrior, and the result is Secret of Qwerty, an old-school RPG where you fight mean trees and ghosts and things by typing at them. You explore a map and some dungeons, gather gold and buy equipment, and I am really, really into it. You probably will be too.

iloveyoushop

It's the loving little touches—the intentional homage to the bad translations of ancient Nintendo games, the self-managing statistics, the easy saves, that make this one such a pleasure. You start the game at HOMEROW CASTLE. Come on that is so cute isn't it sghfjdghdj.

Secret of Qwerty is a small download, for free or pay-what-you-want. If you, too, love typing games, also check out Monologue, a clever little jam game about having to finish your victory speech before a train runs over the rival you've tied to the tracks.

Auroras spotted on a nearby brown dwarf [Ars Technica]

Auroras can be one of the Earth's most striking features, lighting up the northern and southern skies in sheets of color. They appear when the Earth's magnetic field guides high-energy electrons from space into the atmosphere, where they interact with the gases present.

But we've since discovered that this phenomenon isn't limited to Earth. Other planets in our Solar System, provided they have atmospheres and a magnetic field, can also experience auroras. Notably, this includes the gas giants of the outer Solar System. Now, researchers have found evidence that a dim semi-star only 18 light years away also shows the characteristic glow of auroras. And there are indications that their glow may be a general feature of a broad range of objects.

The object in question, which goes by the catchy name LSR J1835 + 3259, is awkwardly on the boundary between a small star and a brown dwarf (an object with insufficient mass to set off hydrogen fusion). Like many other objects of this size, it rotates rapidly, completing one go-around in just under three hours.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Sennheiser HD-202II On-Ear Professional DJ Style Headphones for $14.95 AC + Free Shipping @ Newegg.com [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

Sennheiser HD-202II On-Ear Professional DJ Style Headphones for $14.95 AC + Free Shipping @ Newegg.com

Thumb Score: +33
Newegg.com has Sennheiser HD-202II On-Ear Headphones for $24.95 - $10 w/ promo code EMCAVNW63 = $14.95. Shipping is Free. Thanks TDMVP73

Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: Our research indicates that these Sennheiser HD-202II On-Ear Headphones are $10 lower (40% savings) than the next best available price from a reputable merchant with prices starting from $25. - brisar

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 - 4GB RAM 128GB SSD Intel i5 Windows 8 Pro - $479.99 w/FS (CowBoom; Pre-Owned) [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 - 4GB RAM 128GB SSD Intel i5 Windows 8 Pro - $479.99 w/FS (CowBoom; Pre-Owned)

Thumb Score: +22
CowBoom.com has 128GB Microsoft Surface Pro 3 12" WiFi Tablet (Pre-Owned) on sale for $479.99. Shipping is free. Thanks blackblaze

Note, be sure to check all included items and condition of product per product page.

Specs:
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Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: Product grades may vary depending on tablet selection. Check product page for included items. All tablets are fully functional. - Discombobulated

'Legal status' OK by Trump [CNN.com - Top Stories]

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential hopeful who shot up to the head of the pack over his controversial comments about illegal immigrants, is finally starting to lay out an immigration policy.

Skeletons found at Jamestown site [CNN.com - Top Stories]

Scientists digging beneath the ruins of a historic church at the Jamestown settlement in Virginia have discovered the remains of four leaders from the earliest days of the British New World.

Hackers hit Planned Parenthood [CNN.com - Top Stories]

Planned Parenthood's website went down Wednesday afternoon in what the nonprofit health services organization called "an attack by extremists."

1,600-year-old Mayan artifacts discovered [CNN.com - Top Stories]

Archaeologists have unearthed monuments and hieroglyphic panels in nearly-perfect condition from Mayan ruins in Guatemala.

40-year-old mystery endures in Detroit [CNN.com - Top Stories]

A look at the many lives that have been interrupted in the 40-year search for Jimmy Hoffa's body.

This flower holds a nasty surprise [CNN.com - Top Stories]

When the "Corpse Flower" blooms, everyone smells it. CNN's Dan Simon visits a botanical garden in California where thousands gathered to get a whiff.

2 dads, 2 boys lost for 20 hours in ocean [CNN.com - Top Stories]

After their boat capsized off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, four people were left clinging to a cooler and fighting off sharks until the Coast Guard came. CNN affiliate WCIV reports.

Windows 10 App For Xbox One Could Render Steam Machines Useless [Slashdot]

SlappingOysters writes: The release of Windows 10 has brought with it the Xbox app -- a portal through which you can stream anything happening on your Xbox One to your Surface or desktop. Finder is reporting that the love will go the other way, too, with a PC app coming to the Xbox One allowing you to stream your desktop to your console. But where does this leave the coming Steam Machines? This analysis shows how such an app could undermine the Steam Machines' market position.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

8-Year-Old Makes History As First Pediatric Dual Hand Transplant Recipient [Slashdot]

ErnieKey writes: While there have been several hand transplants that have successfully taken place over the past decade or so, a little boy in Maryland, named Zion Harvey has become the first successful pediatric dual hand transplant recipient. After losing both hands and feet due to infection when he was 2 years old, doctors were able to successfully transplant new hands onto the little boy, thanks in part to modern-day 3d printing technology. "The success of Penn's first bilateral hand transplant on an adult, performed in 2011, gave us a foundation to adapt the intricate techniques and coordinated plans required to perform this type of complex procedure on a child," Dr. L. Scott Levin, chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at Penn Medicine and director of the hand transplantation program at Children's Hospital, said in a statement.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nokia Announces OZO 360-Degree Camera For Filming Virtual Reality [Slashdot]

New submitter Sepa Blackforesta writes: Nokia has unveiled Ozo, a next-generation camera for capturing audio and video in 360 degrees. It is built for professional content creators and the company hopes the camera will become the leading device for shooting virtual-reality experiences for Hollywood. A formal launch and price announcement is planned for the fall. A Nokia press release reads in part: "OZO captures stereoscopic 3D video through eight (8) synchronized global shutter sensors and spatial audio through eight (8) integrated microphones. Software built for OZO enables real-time 3D viewing, with an innovative playback solution that removes the need to pre-assemble a panoramic image - a time-consuming process with solutions currently in the marketplace. OZO's filmed content can be published for commercially available VR viewing hardware such as head mounted displays (HMDs), with immersive, full 360-degree imaging and spatially accurate original sound. OZO also integrates into existing professional workflows and works with third-party tools, dramatically simplifying content production at all stages."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Testing By AP Finds Water At 2016 Olympic Sites 'Rife With Human Sewage' [News : NPR]

The AP commissioned tests over a five month period. Experts who reviewed the results found that not a single venue is fit for swimming or even boating.

» E-Mail This

You Say Striped Bass, I Say Rockfish. What's In A Fish Name? [News : NPR]

Legally, a single fish species can go by many names from sea to plate, and different fish can go by the same name. An environmental group says that hampers efforts to combat illegal fishing and fraud.

» E-Mail This

Egypt Postpones Verdict In Trial Of Al Jazeera Journalists [News : NPR]

The network said it was "outraged" that the court had been adjourned. The three journalists had been jailed for allegedly aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

» E-Mail This

W3C Updates Recommendation Track Process [W3C News]

W3C approved the 1 September 2015 W3C Process Document. The principal changes were the removal of “Activities” and “Coordination Groups” as formal concepts within the W3C Process. These changes removed an entire section (formerly Section 5) and caused editorial changes throughout. The procedures for resigning from a Group and for handling change of affiliation of a TAG participant are clarified. A Process Transition FAQ answers questions related to the adoption of the 2015 Process.

This document was developed between the W3C Advisory Board and the public Revising W3C Process Community Group.

08:00

The other side of Braid [Boing Boing]

"He cannot say he has understood all of this. Possibly he's more confused now than ever. But all these moments he's contemplated—something has occurred. The moments feel substantial in his mind, like stones." - Braid's ending

On the evening of Christmas 2009, a damaged young transwoman in a bad situation purchased the 2D puzzle platforming videogame Braid in a sale on the Steam download service for a total of $2.50 with a gift card she just received. That transwoman had just graduated from college broke and without much of any support from her friends, eventually landing herself back in the same abusive home she'd been trying to escape from in the first place. She was deeply confused and broken.

Video games, thanks to the recent financial success of some old acquaintances, had suggested themselves as the one way to escape the hell of her current life. She decided it was time to finally experience this game—this game that had been explained to her as an antidote to her growing apathy towards video games by a former college roommate (who is now no longer with us) a year previous. It was touted as a Big Important Work of Art, the culture's Answer To Mario.

Playing Braid for the first time was like sifting through an eerie memory of hers that came all flooding back in at once. More than anything, the violin melody for the first world was burned into her brain. That Celtic melody, equally joyous and melancholic, over lush, shimmering green fields and the sparkly sounds that indicated she had just picked up a puzzle piece. It was hypnotizing.

It all seemed so familiar, yet now she was seeing it from a completely different perspective for the first time. She could also rewind, and rethink her actions. There was no death. The world was constructed with some kind of empathy—like it wanted her to understand and solve its puzzle. There was consequence, and real emotional weight to that consequence. There was a story about a real-life relationship between two people, something she felt more and more connected to. This was a piece of software that was attempting to poke deep inside of her, revealing something bigger—not just trying to push her along to the end. She hadn't really seen anything like it before.

Several months later, she left home. Only a few days later, her computer bit the dust and she was left borrowing an old, barely functioning laptop. She spent days her alone, in bed, laptop propped up on her bedspread, as if it were her only life support. She was very sad and could barely function. She didn't have many friends in the area and didn't have money to spend on alcohol, the one thing there was to do. She never left the bed most days, her headphones playing the same Björk album (Vespertine) over and over, sitting on IRC channels and struggling to find something that would help her escape from her pain.

She had to beg the abusive parent she was trying to escape from in the first place for rent money after quickly burning through what little she had saved up, and used food stamps to pay for the rest. She felt deeply selfish and broken. Learning all of Braid designer Jon Blow's game design insights through many lectures of his became an effective distraction, in addition to occasionally researching other game designers and critics like Brenda Romero or Ian Bogost. She struggled to understand everything she possibly could about the world so that she could ideally make some kind of basic sense of her own pain. She was also deeply bored and didn't know what else to do. She wanted to make money, and thought game design could be a way to do it. More than that, though, she wanted to be seen as Important and Valued, a powerful new voice.

Later on, many friends of hers would mock what they saw as Jon Blow's oversensitivity to the reception to his work. She empathized: she knew what it was like to have lofty artistic goals that peers met with confusion, disinterest, sometimes even outright mockery from people who weren't engaging from a genuine place. Jon Blow's profound disappointment and hurt seemed wholly reasonable in the face of people calling him pretentious and self-indulgent. It shouldn't be so ridiculous to want to aspire to something greater in your work and be recognized for that, she felt.

She began to think Braid and games like it would herald a new frontier of ways of thinking about game design. She also wanted some way to make money.

Braid, puzzle-wise, was a very clever game. But sometimes cleverness doesn't tell the whole story. As she reads back over Braid's story, an alternate aspect, a profound childishness shines through. The story almost seems as if it's mocking Tim, Braid's male protagonist—his self-assuredness, his inability to perceive the consequence of his actions. She sees that as probably an intended aspect of the game's narrative.

We, as a civilization, have built great technological marvels, from the internet and smartphones to automobiles and airplanes, and yet we still can't really make sense of what we're doing to each other every day, or what we're doing to the Earth. In a sense, that seems to be what Braid is about, more than anything else at least. Yet the game seems to do a profoundly weak job of acknowledging this at its own conclusion.

Braid's ending text does attempt to reveal the grotesqueness behind Tim's actions, at least to some extent - but much of it is missed if one misses the hidden text, which appears with an extended female choral "AHHHH", as if it's showing a universal "her" perspective. It implies that a female perspective being acknowledged for the first time connotes a real truth. It also briefly connects Tim's story to a childhood memory of not being allowed to go to candy store by his mother, in a bit of a hackneyed parallel, perhaps suggesting he sees women this way now—as if they're still holding him back from a treat, from the reward of exploring his work.

He can't quite make sense of this all but decides to build something out of these memories. At the end he puts up a flag to his new castle, in a nod to the first Mario game, but this time each tile of the castle is made up of individual scenes from the game, propelling him forward from a place of enlightenment and higher understanding from where he begun.

All of this is fine, but it makes one wonder—why isn't this theme explored more in the game itself? Why did it take so long for your protagonist to come to this revelation? It's as if the whole game is constructed around trying to find ways to exonerate Tim's wrongdoing. Look at all the stuff he's done, and how smart he is! It’s the most common argument made for successful artists and thinkers who have done bad things throughout history. The game's true hand is only revealed, and only barely, at the end.

Okay, but this broken young transwoman can't stop thinking about the infamous scene preceding that, where Tim tries to rescue the princess. Is it implying he might have raped her? The narrative never explicitly goes there, but there's enough reason to read into it, with Tim having been physically forceful to her before in the past, through the game’s stories. Not to mention the imagery of him creeping into the bedroom of the sleeping princess, and the explosion that immediately follows, as if it's a particularly painful memory he instantly represses. And then he finally sees everything undone as it really was, as it already happened, not as how it was constructed by him in the present. He starts to acknowledge it. But that's really as deeply as the game really gets into those themes.

She can't exactly figure out how autobiographical Braid is, but even if it isn't very much it leaves her feeling a little bit unnerved. Braid ultimately seems to conclude with a revelation, a redemption for its protagonist. When she first played the game back around Christmas 2009, she found that really emotionally resonant—but now she feels she never really understood the true implications of it until now.

The way that it's centering Tim's story, and attempting to rationalize or justify his guilt without really delving much into its source. How it dwells on pretty, idealized landscapes and music, suspiciously absent of despair or fear or conflicting forces until later on. Like he can only really see danger looming when it's far too late, and by that point the damage is beyond done.

Braid's sanitized nature becomes even more disturbing to her when she hears stories about Jon Blow abandoning his female friends at conferences. Or when he takes to Twitter to decry internet feminists as "just as bad as GamerGate". How much of a distance is there really between the man and his protagonist, after all?

Braid helped usher in a culture around polished experimental game mechanics that focus on one central hook. Many of these games either are even more conspicuously absent of ugliness than Braid, or (as is the stereotype of many "indie artgames") take their narrative’s drama to a melodramatic extreme, where all the subtlety is lost and nothing feels real or meaningful anymore.

The culture of independent game-making seemed to become more and more concerned with status and hero-worship and the legitimacy of massive commercial success than with being artists with things to say. She had begun to lose interest in games, and became interested in making games to express her fundamental disinterest with the form, if only just so she had something to show for herself.

She wanted to make something about rape, to do it from a survivor's perspective, because that's all she could think about anymore. But her work would go beyond that: it would be about confronting people’s barriers and constructions around themselves and their identities, and how constricting and suffocating those could be. Years after leaving the abusive nest of her home, she was in California, stuck sporadically dealing with homelessness, and thrust into all kinds of situations she had no way of processing or confronting. If Braid was from the perspective of a white man with a lot of power and resources, her game, Problem Attic, was supposed to be from the perspective of a protagonist with no power, with very little ability to escape or make sense of their situation.

She saw this as the real truth of Braid. The two games were mirrors of each other. The calm, quiet house in Braid is replaced by the highly abstract and disturbing hub rooms of Problem Attic. The smooth visuals and music of Braid is replaced by jagged, abstract solid-color forms that look like a half-remembered old Atari nightmare. It’s Braid problematized, put into a different light. It’s what Braid might look like without the filter and the videogamey shell.

She started to see Jon Blow as a self-parody, meticulously fussing over his puzzles and the details of his projects while seeming clueless and belligerent to the realities around him, just like Tim in his game. She started to see both Blow and Tim's world as fundamentally no different from the perspective of the average "gamer" or tech dude. It was so boring, so common: Desperate, emotional pleading for a dispassionate, subatomic view of the world, while decrying the messy social realities of the earth as less important or less profound. She began to hope for something much different, something more holistic, like one suggested to her in an album by Björk or Kate Bush or The Knife or a film by David Lynch—things which had helped her heal somewhat.

This temple you are violating is my body, she repeated. I am shell, I am bone. I am the earth, and the damage you do to me will be enacted back onto you tenfold. This puzzle universe of yours only functions as well I as I allow it to function for you. These constructions of yours are all so fake, easily destroyed by conflicting evidence and the vast, untamable landscape. You are so easily infiltrated. You will never understand the depth and complexity of what you've done.

Her game took about a month in a half to make. She wasn't sure at the end what to think, but at least she had something to show for it.

In Jon Blow's design parlance, her game was a failure. It was not stripped to its barest elements, it was not palatable in every way except its one challenging central mechanic. It was weird and ugly and hard to parse. It was filled with unpredictable, unanticipated twists and turns, awkward movements, and sudden changes of theme. She had not bee nthinking about how to make a good video game. She had been thinking about how to express very complicated, seemingly inexpressible feelings through the tools of a 2D platformer, which was what she had in front of her.

She expected complete disinterest from the typical gamer crowd. But it went much further. Even friends of hers couldn't make heads or tails of her game, and she didn't really feel like trying to explain something that wasn't meant to be explained verbally anyway. Maybe this was a testament to just how new and unusual an experience it was for them. The game disappeared quickly, and she began to feel like it wouldn't be too long before it disappeared forever. She fell into a pretty severe depression, aided by many other things. She felt betrayed, and like no one even tried to understand where she was coming from. She began to see herself as that heavily mocked image of Jon Blow hurt by the lack of nuance in the reception of his game, endlessly repeating the line "no one understands me" over and over. She started to feel selfish, like she was just taking up space.

She felt like she needed to be a strong person, to move on from this. But instead she did the opposite - she completely lost faith in herself and her work. She became deeply confused. The hurt was huge, amplified from so many other past hurts. It felt as if those she trusted were really no more trustworthy than the average destructive asshole had been in her life. She figured she should just shut up with her opinions and criticism and let someone else do it, because if those she thought were closest to her weren't even going to listen to her—if were going to lecture her on why she was demanding far too much of other people, she was obviously wrong. She needed to cater herself for other people just to survive, and that left her with a profound sadness.

Her sadness began to look up when a couple people, several months later, began to mount a defense for her game. It was nice but it was too little, too late. It made no real lasting impact. Those few people were meaningful, of course. But like so many other small, non-commercial games of today, Problem Attic went under the radar very shortly after its release and mostly stayed that way.

Video games are broken, she felt. They are pumped too full of ideological baggage to ever really escape from it. When access and production values are all that ultimately defines a success in even many of the more progressive videogame designers’ and critics’ minds, when all the cultural ephemera created by games is set to disappear or become unusable in only a short few years and no one has a sense of urgency about it, why support this ecosystem? Why continue to give so many people so many chances, when they had barely ever considered giving her one?

Part of her feels like the world still doesn't deserve something like Problem Attic. Part of her feels like the world doesn't really deserve a lot of the things that come out of it.

She wants to exist in a different, healthier, space, but doesn’t know where that might be. She knows the internet is the most toxic place to share work, but that it's also the most open and accessible to the greatest amount of people. She knows that every time she openly exists as herself online is a roll of the dice, yet it’s one of the few places where her expression feels unhindered by her flesh world anxieties about her being trans and a woman in public dealing with the baggage of past rape and abuse. She has trouble imagining herself being in a different place, even when it hasn’t always been very nice to her.

So many things have happened since then. Some good, many bad. She can't say she really understands all of it. In fact, she feels more confused now than ever. Sometimes she feels as if every day the world is being thrust further and further into a spiral of darkness and decay. Sometimes she feels like any sincere expression of herself is an invitation for her to be a target, not just from enemies, but also from those she wanted to trust. Sometimes she feels as if dysfunction is the only thing she can see around her anymore. Sometimes she feels like all anyone wants is to take advantage of her. Sometimes she can’t go outside without having an anxiety attack.

But within this sadness, within her suffering and confusion, something occurred to her. All these moments feel substantial in her mind, like stones. They are now made visible to her. She gazes upon the vastness of these stones in these moments and she finally finds, after a great struggle, that she can lift each one. She can begin to pick them up and fit them together to create a foundation, an embankment, a castle.

She can build upon the crumbling walls of those around her. To build a structure of the size she desires, she will need many more stones. And she will need to many more new materials to stabilize and strengthen it. But what she's got now, at least, feels like a decent start.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Console (Red) $150 + $6 Shipping [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

New Nintendo 3DS XL Console (Red) $150 + $6 Shipping

Thumb Score: +36
Newegg.com has New Nintendo 3DS XL Console (Red, 045496781507) for $199.99 - $50 w/ promo code EMCAVPA83 = $149.99. Shipping is $5.99.Thanks Discombobulated

Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: This is the new 2015 model and is a nice price for it. - brisar

Our research indicates that New Nintendo 3DS XL Console in Red (after shipping is factored in) is $39 lower (19.5% savings) than the next best available price from a reputable merchant with prices starting at $194. - brisar

Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat WiFi w/ Remote Sensor $179.99 + Free Shipping or In-Store Pickup [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat WiFi w/ Remote Sensor $179.99 + Free Shipping or In-Store Pickup

Thumb Score: +34
Best Buy via eBay has the Ecobee3 WiFi Smart Thermostat w/ Remote Sensor (EB-STATE3-01) on Salefor $179.99. Shipping is Free. Thanks Discombobulated

BestBuy.com has the Ecobee3 WiFi Smart Thermostat w/ Remote Sensor (EB-STATE3-01) on Salefor $179.99. Shipping is Free.

Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: For an in-depth review of the Ecobee3 WiFi Smart Thermostat, head over to CNET and PC Magazine. Has earned 4.3 stars overall (out of possible 5) based on 324 customer reviews at Amazon. - brisar

Our research indicates that this Ecobee3 WiFi Smart Thermostat w/ Remote Sensor is $49 lower (21.5% savings) than the next best available price from a reputable merchant with prices starting from $229. - brisar

PUMA Private Sale: Apparel from $10, Shoes from $28, Kids' from $8 + Free Shipping [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

PUMA Private Sale: Apparel from $10, Shoes from $28, Kids' from $8 + Free Shipping

Thumb Score: +84
PUMA.com has Private Sale with prices up to 75% off. Shipping is free. Thanks brisar

Bing2Google Redirects Windows 10's Bing Web Searches to Google [Lifehacker]

Chrome: Windows 10 brings a ton of sweet new features . Among them, you can now search the web directly from the Start menu. However, it will always use Bing. The Bing2Google extension for Chrome will redirect your searches to Google instead.

Read more...











How to Tweak Windows 10 and Fix Its Minor Annoyances [Lifehacker]

Windows 10 resolves a lot of the annoyances left over from Windows 8, but it also comes with a few of its own—little as most of them may be. Here’s how to tweak a few of the OS’s new features and fix its little quirks.

Read more...











Symantec: Hacking Group Black Vine Behind Anthem Breach [Slashdot]

itwbennett writes: Symantec said in a report that the hacking group Black Vine, which has been active since 2012 and has gone after other businesses that deal with sensitive and critical data, including organizations in the aerospace, technology and finance industries, is behind the hack against Anthem. The Black Vine malware Mivast was used in the Anthem breach, according to Symantec.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

07:00

Sony’s profits triple as PS4 sales reach 25 million units worldwide [Ars Technica]

Sony's profits have more than tripled year-on-year in the April to June quarter (PDF link), thanks to strong sales of camera sensors and the PlayStation 4, which has now sold 25.3 million units globally to date. The company's overall net profit rose to ¥82.4 billion yen (£425 million, $664 million), significantly surpassing market expectations.

Sony moved three million PS4s during the quarter, while peripheral and software shipments also increased, leading to the division's 12.1 percent increase in sales to ¥288.6 billion (£1.4 billion, $2.3 billion), and an operating profit of ¥19.5 billion (£100 million, $160 million). The PS4 has taken a significant lead in the console market, massively outselling the rival Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U, the latter of which has sold just 10 million units.

Sony's devices division—which makes the camera sensors in high-end phones from Samsung and Apple—continues to grow. The unit saw a 35.1 percent increase in sales to ¥237.9 billion (£1.2 billion, $2 billion). Sales to external customers—i.e., those high-end phone makers—increased 41.2 percent year-on-year.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Petsmart $1/gallon aquarium sale 10-40 gallons. Plus save extra 10% online. [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

Petsmart $1/gallon aquarium sale 10-40 gallons. Plus save extra 10% online.

Thumb Score: +18
PetSmart.com select Aqueon Glass Aquarium Fish Tank (various sizes) on sale listed below. Save an additional 10% off when you select free in-store pickup (price automatically drops in cart). Select free in-store pickup only, if stock permits. Thanks drums4life

Note, availability for in-store pickup may vary depending on location.

Available Sizes
Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: This Aqueon Glass Aquarium offers a black trim and can be paired with a Aqueon Hinged Glass Top, OptiBright LED light fixture and QuietFlow Power filter. Great for fresh or saltwater fishes at less than $1 per gallon. Offer valid through August 2, 2015 - Discombobulated

2-Piece Calphalon 12" & 10" Contemporary Nonstick Fry Pan Set $35 + Free Shipping [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

2-Piece Calphalon 12" & 10" Contemporary Nonstick Fry Pan Set $35 + Free Shipping

Thumb Score: +20
CHEFS Catalog via Rakuten.com has 2-Piece Calphalon 12" & 10" Contemporary Nonstick Fry Pan Set on sale for $49.95 - $15 off promo code 15OFF (apply at final checkout) = $34.95. Shipping is free. Thanks iconian

Note, be sure to log into your account in order to apply the promo code.

Includes
  • 10" Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Pan
  • 12" Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Pan

Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research: This Calphalon skillet offers a handsome matte finish (will not chip, crack or stain). Cast, brushed stainless steel loop designed for gas, cermaic, glass, electric and halogen cooktops. Oven safe for up to 450 F - Discombobulated

2-Pack Zero Gravity Lounge Patio Chairs (Tan) $60 + Free Shipping [Slickdeals Frontpage RSS Feed]

2-Pack Zero Gravity Lounge Patio Chairs (Tan) $60 + Free Shipping

Thumb Score: +24
bestchoiceproducts via eBay has 2-Pack Zero Gravity Lounge Patio Chairs (Tan) on Sale for $59.99. Shipping is Free. Thanks gabe23111

Deal Editor's Notes & Price Research:
  • These Zero Gravity Chairs come equipped with removable/adjustable padded headrests and they are made from UV-resistant mesh materials.
  • This price matches the price of the last FP Deal for these zero gravity chairs in black. -Corwin

Emergensee Variable Focus Eyeglasses [Cool Tools]

Emergensee Variable Focus Eyeglasses adjust between -6 and +3 diopters, and come in a pretty sturdy case. They don’t correct for astigmatism.

These were apparently distributed to victims of the tsunami in Japan a few years back. I’ve kept a pair in my first aid kit, and on they have been used by a friend who lost his glasses over the side of the boat. He was amazed that we could fit him out with an adequate substitute.

The insert is clearly marked to be used for temporary use only, and are not scratch resistant. On their website, they now have notices posted referencing several states whose optical industries have felt it necessary to inform consumers that these are not a substitute for getting your eyes checked.

I heard about these on a radio program in 2012, and immediately contacted the company, which is in the U.K. They were not selling in the US yet, but made it possible for me to buy a pair.

[Take a look at the Amazon reviews before ordering these. Many people say they are shoddy. However, they sound like they might be useful in an emergency. In the meantime, I'm waiting for Eyejusters to launch. - Mark Frauenfelder]

Emergensee Variable Focus Eyeglasses
$23

Available from Amazon

Russia vetoes U.N. tribunal for MH17 crash [CNN.com - Top Stories]

Russia has blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have created an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for bringing down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine.

$15M settlement in molasses spill [CNN.com - Top Stories]

A shipping company will pay Hawaii more than $15 million to settle a spill that put 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor in 2013.

The young, raw Elvis Presley [CNN.com - Top Stories]

Sixty-one years ago Thursday -- on July 30, 1954 -- 19-year-old Elvis Presley made his first live, professional appearance at a concert in Memphis, Tennessee. A new book from Taschen, "Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll," brings together photos from legendary photographer Alfred Wertheimer.

#TheEmptyChair Amplifies Conversation About Sexual Assault [News : NPR]

A provocative New York magazine cover featuring a photo of 35 women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault is the latest in a growing movement of survivors publicly sharing their stories.

» E-Mail This

In The West Bank, A Rough Start Doesn't Deter New Arab TV Channel [News : NPR]

Worried about West Bank Palestinian influence on Arab citizens of Israel, the Israeli government has shut down an Arab TV station that bridges the two groups.

» E-Mail This

Amazon signs Top Gear's Clarkson, Hammond, and May for new show [The Verge - All Posts]

Former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have signed up for a new motoring show on Amazon Prime, set to air in 2016. The news ends months of speculation about the trio's future on TV after the BBC refused to renew Clarkson's contract following a "fracas" during filming this year. The deal is a major coup for Amazon's streaming service, which lags behind rival Netflix, and although there are no details of how much the firm paid for the trio, a company insider told the London Evening Standard: "We have made a significant investment."

Continue reading…

Facebook ordered to allow fake user names in Germany [The Verge - All Posts]

A German privacy watchdog this week ordered Facebook to allow users to join the social network with pseudonyms, Reuters reports, directly challenging the company's "authentic name" policy. In a decision handed down Tuesday, the Hamburg data protection authority said Facebook's name policy violates German privacy laws, adding that the company cannot force users to submit photo identification or change their profile names without their consent.

Facebook has come under increased criticism for its real name policy, with users complaining of having their accounts blocked or their names unilaterally changed. The company clarified its policy in March, saying that users are free to choose their "authentic identity" — the name they go by in real...

Continue reading…

W3C Workshop Report on the MultilingualWeb workshop in Riga [W3C News]

A report summarizing the MultilingualWeb workshop in Riga is now available from the MultilingualWeb site. It contains a summary of each session with links to presentation slides and minutes taken during the workshop. The workshop was a huge success. With the parallel Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) event, it had more than 200 registered participants. See a summary of highlights, and a dedicated report about outreach activities of the supporting EU funded LIDER project. The Workshop was locally organized by Tilde, sponsored by the LIDER project and by Verisign. Learn more about the Internationalization Activity.

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