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Posted by Gareth Branwyn


The always-engaging George Pendle (Strange Angel, The Remarkable Millard Fillmore) has a fascinating piece on Atlas Obscura on the history of space art and NASA's (and the government's at large) current awkward relationship with the art world.

Yet when the NASA scientists asked the attendant artists to refrain from posting pictures of the meeting on social media, it seemed to sum up both a generational and a temperamental mismatch. (In an email, a NASA spokesperson said that "participating artists are free to discuss their attendance.") Enjoying This Story?

From a NASA perspective, the secrecy was a budgetary imperative. In 2003, the renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson was appointed NASA’s first “artist-in-residence” with the remit of creating art about the agency’s exploration of space. Republican congressmen quickly seized on the move as a sign of wanton profligacy. “Mr. Chairman,” sputtered Representative Chris Chocola of Indiana on the floor of Congress, “nowhere in NASA's mission does it say anything about advancing fine arts or hiring a performance artist.” There has been no artist-in-residence since and the reverberations were no doubt part of the reason why NASA’s workshop at Grace Farms seemed tentative and vague.

In the not-so-distant past, though, space and art intermingled happily. Artists were crucial to NASA’s development, at times outpacing the science of space travel itself. What happened?

The above illustration is NASA concept art of a moon landing, from 1959.

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Posted by Andrea James


At this week's London Design Festival, design firm Uniform displayed Solo Radio. Stand in front of the device and it scans your face for input into software that assesses your emotions. Then it plays a song via Spotify algorithms with the appropriate mood. (more…)

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[personal profile] copperbadge
Today’s entry in my daily origami calendar, the Kangaroo, is potentially the absolute worst example of an origami diagram I’ve literally ever seen. Not even because it uses scissors; I don’t mind judicious use of scissors in origami, though I don’t prefer it. It’s more that it uses a totally unnecessary series of folds AND THEN compensates for a poor base fold by using scissors to create EVERY IDENTIFYING FEATURE, even the tail.

So, it’s fairly obvious today’s Kangaroo I folded was not from the calendar, I just had to share the terrible calendar image because WOW. I was so annoyed by the calendar sheet that I went out and found a proper Kangaroo diagram and folded that instead. And mind you, it does look a little like a velociraptor who’s had his arms removed, but it’s remarkably stable and also good practice hood-folding.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2dokpKb
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Posted by Rob Beschizza


Amos Yee, a 17-year-old blogger in Singapore, is to spend six weeks in jail for "wounding religious feelings." It is his second such jail term: he spent a month in jail last year for criticizing Christianity.

The teenager's latest trial was closely watched by rights groups, who argue that the case threatens freedom of expression.

Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch said Singapore now needs to review its approach in dealing with cases like Yee's, who is likely to benefit from the publicity.

"Every time the authorities go after him, it just adds to his online audience," said Mr Robertson in an email.

Here's his blog, written in English. It's mostly teenage edgelording about religion and politics, but the boy's evidently got prospects—and adapting to the international audience his government has given him!





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Posted by Rob Beschizza


Prompted by allegations made against celebrity Bill Cosby, California is ending its 10-year statute of limitations on rape.

Current California law requires prosecution for rape to begin within 10 years of the alleged offence, with some exceptions. Under the new legislation, SB813, there will be no time limit. The change will also apply to crimes for which the statute of limitations has not expired as of 1 January 2017.

Senator Connie Leyva, who introduced the bill, said it told victims of sexual assault that they could seek justice "regardless of when they are ready to come forward".

"Rapists should never be able to evade legal consequences simply because an arbitrary time limit has expired."

Historical cases (such as many of Cosby's victims) are not addressed in the bill, as it will not apply retroactively to crimes that reach the 10-year-limit before Jan 1, 2017. Which is to say, Dec 31, 2006 is the last date for crimes to escape the new legislation.

The U.S. has a patchwork of state-level sexual assault laws, with 43 applying a statute of limitations to rape. The lengths differ widely: Minnesota has the shortest, at 3 years, whereas Ohio's is 20 years.

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Posted by Rob Beschizza

Photo: Michael Salter

This to That does one thing: it asks you for the two things you need to stick together, then tells you exactly what sort of glue to use. The next time you need to glue styrofoam to glass, you'll have options! [via Cryptovariable] (Pictured is Styrobot, by Michael Salter)

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[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily

"I was inspired there by an old Stephen King story about a giant finger that erupts out of a plughole. When I handed in the plot for that episode, I was told I was a very sick man." -- Al Ewing

Read more... )

The Big Idea: Fran Wilde

Sep. 29th, 2016 11:34
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Posted by John Scalzi

When Norton Award-winning author Fran Wilde sat down to write Cloudbound, she wasn’t intending to write something whose politics had parallel with the world outside of her book. But sometimes, as she explains today, the world catches up with you.


What happens when you write a book about the political twists of a secondary world, then real-world politics go pear-shaped?

At the outset of Cloudbound, the companion novel to Updraft, my main character, Nat, wants to be a leader. He wants this for a number of reasons: security for himself and his family, the fact that he’s had to help save his city from bad leaders, and a desire to serve his community.

These aren’t bad reasons at all.

Problem is, Nat has only a little idea how to lead, and he’s getting some questionable advice. Worse, he’s confusing the tasks of leading and the trappings of leadership with actual leadership.

He gets over this, with some help.

At the time I wrote Cloudbound, world politics had been on a slow simmer of win-or-lose teamsmanship for some time. As Cloudbound comes to publication, numerous places around the world are seeing a resurgence of say-anything-to-win high-stakes mongering, and, worse, demagoguery, sometimes on the part of people who wish very deeply to serve their cities and countries.

Because of the time it takes to publish a book, I watched Cloudbound’s release date converge with some of the real world events and I wondered… If it’s getting stranger than fiction out there, what does that mean for Cloudbound?

One of the big ideas for Cloudbound was leadership, plain and simple. Different ways to lead, how to move forward, how to lead by example. The book is also, then, necessarily about politics and rhetoric, networks and people-hacking. Nat’s not exceedingly good at these either, at first. And he’s got blind spots — because his political mentor has blind spots.

Leadership is one of those strange words that can mean — often simultaneously — the act of leading and the position of a leader. One meaning is active and in motion, the other has the mental tonnage of the big seat at the head of the table, and accompanying burdens of power.

For Nat and his friends to navigate the ‘after’ of Updraft, they need to learn how they are comfortable leading, often in the face of tremendous pushback from their community. Expectations are solidifying around them even as they are still learning what their expectations are for themselves. And Nat, holding power for the first time, stands on the boundary of learning and doing.

It’s heady space. And a pretty big risk, both for him and the story, because he’s not doing the learning in a vacuum. The city’s under threat from internal forces as well, and Nat’s under pressure to find something important that’s gone missing. How he does this is, in part, tied to how he discovers the hidden history of the city. But doing so brings him into direct conflict with some big bads.

The big bads in the real world right now seem to be getting bigger.  Maybe a few kids up in the Bone Universe sky learning about leadership isn’t such a bad idea.


Cloudbound: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.

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Posted by Rob Beschizza


People close to Trump are admitting he got thrashed by Hillary Clinton on Monday. But they're doing so on condition of anonymity and pharaoh is displeased.

In a conference call with surrogates Wednesday afternoon, Trump aides made clear the Republican nominee is upset that his allies publicly acknowledged they pushed him to change his preparation and tactics before his next bout with Hillary Clinton.

And he wants them to stop it immediately.

The message was "not subtle," a source familiar with the call said.

Trump wants his supporters to make an energetic defense of his performance and refuse to concede that he didn't nail it.

The hope among his aides was that the shellacking (YouGov had her 57/30 percent, CNN 62/27 and PPP 51/40) would convince him to study for the next one, but in Trump's view, the only debate poll that mattered is the WhiteCultureDefenseAndPepeMemes.com javascript clicker and it had him way ahead.

Accompanying this lurid shitshow is a) the suspicion it's all a ruse and that Trump really is going to prepare for the next one, and b) the knowledge that none of it matters anyway.

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Posted by Boing Boing's Store


Vaping is getting more mainstream by the day, which means there's been an influx of quality yet affordable vaporizers on the market. We're particularly excited about the APX Wax Vaporizer Kit, which is an easy-to-use, high-quality vape that works with both dry herbs and waxy concentrates.

If you're a beginner trying to get into vaping, the APX is a really solid option. It features a pure quartz heating chamber and borosilicate glass mouthpiece for heating your dry herb of choice to the optimal temperature. We were able to reach the exact temperature we wanted within about 40 seconds, which is faster than most vapes in this price range.



APX is compact enough to fit in your pocket and it has a 5 minute auto shut off capability for extra safety. Just the vape alone is worth more than the $41.99 this deal costs, but right now, you’ll also get a micro USB charger, a triple quartz coil atomizer, a silicon wax container, and a tool to help you pack the vape with your favorite waxy concentrates.

Try it out for 30% off in the Boing Boing store.

Status: Flanders and Swann

Sep. 29th, 2016 10:13
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
[personal profile] oursin

Got up this morning to find a note from partner to say that there is no hot water and the boiler pilot light appears to have gone off.

Has called BG HomeCare and someone should be coming this afternoon.

This is a bit annoying as I had various things I was going to do today which may be precluded by Waiting in for the Gasman (which Flanders and Swann do not actually cover, the workmen turn up with remarkable expedition Monday to Friday).

May, or may not, be related to late night emergency plumber stuff the other day.

Daily Happiness

Sep. 29th, 2016 02:14
torachan: (Default)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Well, I went in to work thinking I would probably have a long day, and then it ended up being ridiculously long, but thankfully I was able to get out of there before I had to pick up Carla at the airport (which was midnight, by the way, so that should tell you something). There is actually still stuff going on, but since I had to go to the airport and have to go in early tomorrow, too, my assistant manager agreed to be the one to stay until 3:30am or whenever they get this finished (the produce guy comes in at 4:30am, so if nothing else, my assistant manager can go home then!).

2. Carla is home safe and sound!

3. I should have some more manga to post tomorrow. *crosses fingers*

4. I have sweet kitties.

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Posted by Xeni Jardin


At the first presidential debate this week, GOP nominee Donald Trump fat-shamed a fictional IT character he made up. Speaking about a series of hacks on Democratic National Committee organizations, Trump said, “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke in to DNC.”

Trump's mean trope of a hacker “sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” is nothing new to “XXL and greater” sized information security professionals.


What's this on the radar?

Sep. 29th, 2016 04:33
sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)
[personal profile] sovay
My husband just sent me a beautiful thing: the restored recording of the world's first computer-generated music. Unsurprisingly, Alan Turing was involved. Starting in 1948, he used the tones generated by the Manchester Mark I and later Mark II to keep track of the computer's internal processes—"one note for 'job finished', others for 'digits overflowing in memory', 'error when transferring data from the magnetic drum', and so on"—meaning you can probably blame him in some distant ancestral sense for the Quacks, Sosumis, and Wild Eeps of the classic Apple Macintosh and that synthesized major chord I believe most of them still make when they boot up. In 1951, Christopher Strachey programmed the Mark II to play "God Save the King." The BBC recorded it and two other short musical programs later that year. From the severe frequency shifts of that recording, Jack Copeland and Jason Long calculated the correct speed at which the acetate disc needed to be played in order to reproduce the pitches actually generated by the Mark II, then digitally cleaned up some of the noise and stuck the whole two-minute recording online. It sounds a bit like a seasick cello. If you have perfect or even decent relative pitch, you will wince. The Mark I had a terrible ear. All three recorded melodies will sound—accurately—more or less out of tune to a human who can carry one with or without a bucket. I don't care. It makes me happy. I will buy a copy of the publication which contains Copeland and Long's full article when it's out. In the meantime, I have played a piercingly flat (and sometimes sharp) version of "God Save the King," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," and "In the Mood" five times in a row. Science is such a wonderful thing.

reading wednesday

Sep. 29th, 2016 01:30
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
On Wednesday! But not from this Wednesday. I opened the post window to write about something else and found this.

• What are you reading?

This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. I love the art; everyone has their own face, so real and individual that if I met these people on the street I would recognize them. What it focuses on and what it looks away from feel appropriate to that one summer when you are coming to grips with the fact that boobs apply to you -- not some future you, who will have become a woman and understood all those things that you will understand when you're older, but the real you, the you that you are.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Audiobook of Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut, read by Stanley Tucci. I just wanted Stanley Tucci to read me a bedtime story. I was delighted to find Breakfast of Champions still good! Still sexist, yeah, but 70% less annoying than Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. Maybe because Vonnegut isn't kidding himself that he understands women? The biggest change it has undergone is that thirty years ago, "asshole" and the n-word were about equally shocking.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee, for SF book group.

Checked out from the library:

This one summer / Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki.
Deathless / Catherynne M. Valente.
Six-gun Snow White / Catherynne M. Valente ; with illustrations by Charlie Bowater.
The eyes of the dragon : a story / by Stephen King ; with illustrations by David Palladini.
A man called Ove : a novel / Fredrik Backman.
The grand Sophy / Georgette Heyer.

The hunger games [videorecording]
Man up [videorecording] /
Far from the madding crowd [videorecording] /
Fortitude [videorecording] /
Deadpool [videorecording] /
Orphan black. Season three /

Dogs : a startling new understanding of canine origin, behavior, and evolution / Raymond Coppinger and Lorna Coppinger.
Dog tricks : fun and games for your clever canine / Mary Ray, Justine Harding.
Detroit City is the place to be : the afterlife of an American metropolis / Mark Binelli.
Zombie spaceship wasteland : a book / by Patton Oswalt.
Second reading : notable and neglected books revisited / Jonathan Yardley
Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail / Cheryl Strayed.
When breath becomes air / Paul Kalanithi ; foreword by Abraham Verghese.
Being mortal : medicine and what matters in the end / Atul Gawande.

Eyes bigger than my... eyes, I guess?
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Posted by Xeni Jardin

Agnes Hasam, a family friend of the late Alfred Olango, speaks to protesters at El Cajon Police HQ to protest the killing of an unarmed man Tuesday by officers. September 28, 2016.  REUTERS

Alfred Okwera Olango, who was black, was fatally shot by police in El Cajon, California on Tuesday. Police in the San Diego suburb city say the 38 year old Ugandan immigrant pointed a vape pen or e-cigarette device at them, before police shot the man to death.

Officers were responding to a call of a man behaving erratically, and walking in traffic. Olango's friends and supporters say court records show that he suffered from mental illness, and may have been experiencing a seizure before his death. An El Cajon police officer is believed to have shot Olango within as little as one or two minutes after arriving at the scene.


48 Hour Warning!

Sep. 28th, 2016 23:57
weasleytook: (Default)
[personal profile] weasleytook posting in [community profile] crossovering
There are just 48 hours left to post your stories before our deadline of 12 a.m. PDT on September 30. (what time is that for me?) You will have plenty of time between that deadline and when the collection opens to the public to edit your stories for spelling/grammar, but you must have a complete story, over 1000 words and with a beginning, middle and end by the date above.

Also, there will likely be pinch hits coming soon and the deadline for all pinch hits from this point forward will be October 7.

And now, the usual links: 

On the verge of hiatus, of sorts

Sep. 29th, 2016 09:43
heliopausa: (Default)
[personal profile] heliopausa
Well, DW just lost another draft post, but this was was very underdeveloped, so no crankiness ensues.

The busy month of October is almost on me, and is casting its busyness before.  I don't expect to be posting much in the next few weeks, and my responses might be slow, and less loquacious than usual, as well, which is probably not a bad thing.  :)

But October busyness doesn't fret me, because I've got my Shakespeare story done and ready to post!  and am very much looking forward to the opening of the collection, because that'll mean I can finally talk about all the things I found while thinking about what story to write, and can ask other people what they think about the plots and characters Shakespeare wrote, and hear about productions people have been to, or what's coming up that I might be able to see.  (There's an Othello I could maybe get to, later this year - but that's one tough night in the theatre.  :( )

I've only just seen that art can be entered as prompts for Yuletide - a revelation!  Because there's no huge amount of backstory which has to be known with a painting (err... generally); you can just take the image and go!.    I don't imagine I'll be in Yuletide - see above about incipient time-stress - but it's a way that would make it more possible for me. 

There's too much sadness and madness going on in the world in the world for me to even want to think about political things at the moment, but I did bestir myself up to asking my local representatives (Senate and House of Reps) to take action about the very dangerous (and depressing) Clause 42D of the Border Security Act in my country.  I'm not in the swim of what's happening on those lines currently - if any other Australians can fill me in, I'd be grateful.
On the more positive side, several very small Pacific nations have spoken out about human rights abuses in West Papua.    Human rights abuses, and also the long-standing trampling over self-determination.  I'm very grateful to them for raising the issues.

Hallo Yulegoat!

Sep. 29th, 2016 02:30
lotesse: (Default)
[personal profile] lotesse
Dear Yuletide author,

'lo there! Thanks so much in advance for writing for me this year!

some introductory chit-chat )

BSG 78 (Apollo, Adama) )

The 10th Kingdom (Wolf, Virginia) )

Chocolat (Anouk, Vianne) )

Indiana Jones (Indy, Marion) )

Thanks again for writing for me this year; I will love any story that you make for me <3

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