Tron Holiday Special

"I've never processed so much joy data."

Previously, previously.

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PSA: How to block Facebook event invitations

I thought the only way to prevent people from spamming you on Facebook was to unfriend them, but at some point they made it possible to block invites from people without unfriending them! I don't know when they added this feature, but it's about fucking time.

Privacy Settings → Block Lists (at the bottom) → Block Event Invites

And there was much rejoicing.

After you've blocked all of your promoter friends who spam the living shit out of you three times a week, it's safe to turn Event Invitation emails back on.

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Breaking SSL on Embedded Devices

Hey, here's an idea: maybe don't bake the same private key into every piece of hardware you ship!

(Of course, for SSL the alternative is to either use self-signed keys, meaning "terrify and irritate users with a repeating security alert", or increase the price of your product by $400 per unit in order to pay the Verisign Tax.)

/dev/ttyS0 Blog

That's where the LittleBlackBox project comes in. [...] She can feed it a network capture file of Alice and Bob's router traffic and it will find the public certificate exchange and automatically look up the corresponding private key for her. She can give it the host name or IP address of Alice and Bob's router, and it will retrieve the public certificate from the router and look up the corresponding private key for her. She can... well, you get the picture.
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In praise of iamamiwhoami

It has come to my attention that not all of you have been obsessing over "iamamiwhoami" as much as I have, so let's fix that. Some background:

At the beginning of the year, these weird, short, high-production-value videos began appearing on Youtube with no explanation of what they were or who made them, straight out of Pattern Recognition. They featured a heavily distorted woman licking trees and doing other bizarre things in the woods with music that sounded like The Knife or Fever Ray. Cult following ensued. The videos got longer, revealing more of the singer and the songs.

Then in November they posted a short video saying, "We need one volunteer, call this number"!

The next six videos posted show their volunteer getting on a plane to Sweden, arriving at a hotel, and being silently fucked with by faceless weirdos, eventually getting a supporting role in their "live concert".

The concert went out streaming only, and immediately after it ended, the "volunteer's travels" videos were deleted. (The internet does not allow deletion, of course, so these videos, as well as the full concert, are in the playlist below.)

The concert itself was less a concert and more a realtime version of their earlier clips: after a ten minute nearly-silent car trip, it appeared to be (nearly) one continuous take, with the players wandering through the woods doing... the kinds of things that one does in the world that they come from.

This project is absolutely the best, weirdest thing that the internets have brought us in years.

After the concert, the audio of the various video clips, as well as the audio of the concert itself went on sale on Amazon and iTunes. Shortly before the concert, the Internet Hive Mind figured out the identities of the artists behind it, and all of the secrets are now spread wide on Wikipedia.

Even though the internet doesn't allow secrets or deletions, they had a pretty nice mystery going on for a while there. I'm impressed that they kept it under cover for so long, and I hope they keep the weirdness coming.

Previously, previously.

Scene missing! A video in this post has disappeared. If you know of an accessible version of this video, please mail me so that I can update this post.
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Scramjet Rail-Gun

NASA Engineers Propose Combining a Rail Gun and a Scramjet to Fire Spacecraft Into Orbit

Rev Up The Rail Gun
A 240,000-horsepower linear motor converts 180 megawatts into an electromagnetic force that propels a scramjet carrying a spacecraft down a two-mile-long track. The craft accelerates from 0 to 1,100 mph (Mach 1.5) in under 60 seconds— fast, but at less than 3 Gs, safe for manned flight.

Fire The Scramjet
The pilot fires a high-speed turbojet and launches from the track. Once the craft hits Mach 4, the air flowing through the jet intake is fast enough that it compresses, heats to 3,000ºF, and ignites hydrogen in the combustion chamber, producing tens of thousands of pounds of thrust.

Get Into Orbit
At an altitude of 200,000 feet, there isn’t enough air for the scramjet, now traveling at Mach 10, to generate thrust. Here spaceflight begins. The two craft separate, and the scramjet pitches downward to get out of the way as the upper spacecraft fires tail rockets that shoot it into orbit.

Stick The Landing
The scramjet slows and uses its turbojets to fly back to Earth for a runway landing. Once the spacecraft delivers its payload into orbit, it reenters the atmosphere and glides back to the launch site. The two craft can be ready for another mission within 24 hours of landing.

24 hours! Hahahahahaha! They said that about the Shuttle, too... Still, what's not to love about maglev scramjets? It's even fun to say!


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How to dance to IDM

(Man, I just can't tolerate anything Autechre did after 1996...)
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Brazilian clown secures congress seat after literacy test

There is no part of this that isn't great.

A television clown elected to Brazil's congress can take up his lawmaker duties after barely passing a literacy test, the judge overseeing the exam said Wednesday.

Francisco Oliveira, a 45-year-old comic better known by his stage name Tiririca, demonstrated "a minimum of intellect concerning the content (of a text) despite difficulties in writing," the Sao Paulo regional electoral court judge, Aloisio Sergio Rezende Silveira, said.

That result sufficiently disproved critics who had claimed Oliveira could neither read nor write as required of a member of congress under Brazil's constitution, according to the judge.

"The electoral court considers someone to be ineligible only if they are totally illiterate," he said in an official statement.

Oliveira was elected as a Sao Paulo federal representative in October 3 legislative polls with 1.3 million ballots -- the most of any of candidate across the country.

He ran a humorous television campaign dressed as a clown with a blond wig and colorful costume, and spouting riffs like "What does a federal deputy do? I have no idea -- but vote for me and I'll let you know."

Detractors, including several longtime lawmakers, said Oliveira was bringing Brazil's congress -- known for its many corruption scandals -- into disrepute, and challenged his candidacy on literacy grounds.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a former shoeshine boy and metalworker, called the demand for the test an "idiocy" disrespecting those who voted for Oliveira.

He added: "Tiririca is the face of society."


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Word Lens

Word Lens: This is pretty amazing! I downloaded the free demo (which just reverses the letters in words) and it wasn't nearly as good as in this demo, but it's kind of mind-blowing that it works at all.

This is very, very futurey.

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Pig Pancreas Nigiri

Russia Approves First Animal-to-Human Transplant Procedure

Russian authorities have approved the first xenotransplantation treatment – the implanting of animal cells into the human body – for sale in that country, marking the first time such a treatment has been appoved anywhere. The type 1 diabetes treatment involves inserting insulin-producing pig cells coated in seaweed into the human pancreas to replace native cells that have been depleted there. [...] The seaweed coating keeps the bodies immune system from attacking the foreign animal cells.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Also: The Repository of All Human Knowledge says:

Pancreas in popular culture

In Ferris Bueller's Day Off it is indicated that the group consumed pancreas at the French restaurant.

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jwz mixtape 096

It's been a while. Please enjoy jwz mixtape 096.

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