Back in April 2018, I ordered some replacement keycaps for my keyboard, because I could not abide having a "Windows" key on it.

Here's what those new keycaps look like now. The edge is worn down and the flower is missing its stamen. That only took 2.5 years!
I guess it's not (yet) as bad as what the corresponding key looked like back in 2009... I do not recall how many years that took.

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Man receives his own taxidermied leg just in time for Christmas

In July, Justin Fernandes was walking home from work when he was struck by a motorcycle. The impact severed his right leg.

"I had to get a custom waiver to get it released," Fernandes said. "If you can picture this, I'm just in this hospital, I don't even have a prosthetic leg at this point, I'm just hopping around, I'm stuck in bed and I'm sending 100 emails and dozens of phone calls all over the place."

Lovatt also had to prove to the hospital that PNHC was equipped for the job.

"We presented evidence that we could handle this in a safe manner and in effectively a clean room and in terms of the ethics board issues they had, we showed them the work we've done in the past...and showed them that our intent was to provide a clean, beautiful piece to help him kind of reconnect and heal from his trauma, as opposed to kind of make a freak show out of it," Lovatt said.

Once given the go-ahead, Fernandes had to find a funeral home to pick up and handle his leg to transport to PNHC, which he said was a "challenge," especially in a pandemic.

But eventually it all came together, months after the accident. "They pick it up, it's boxed, it's wrapped up, it's got biohazard stickers all over -- it looks crazy," Fernandes said.

PNHC staff brought Fernandes' leg into their cleaning facility, removed all of the soft tissue and then used peroxide to stabilize and whiten the bones "to make sure the resulting finished product would actually be sterile and safe," Lovatt said. [...]

"I have to remind myself that, 'Hey, that's your leg, you walked on that,'" he said. "It's hard."

It was also the first time he was able to see the damage his leg suffered in the accident -- all of the shattered and fragmented pieces.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein Brexit's going really well, too.

It looks like musicians in the UK have finally noticed that the ongoing Brexit foot-gun disaster has turned "Europe" into a distant, foreign land that requires work visas. In other words, it will now be as difficult for a British band to play Paris or Berlin as it is for them to play San Francisco.

Welcome to The Colonies, you guys! We've been dealing with this shit forever. You have our sympathy.

Brexit will be "catastrophic" for British touring artists, music industry warns:

On fears that the state of play could become similar to that with the US, which recently increased visa costs by 50% with another potential 24% rise looming, Pritchard added: "The American touring model is interesting because it shows us just how costly touring can be for just wanting to play in one country.

"If you want to play a 10-date tour in five different countries across the continent and the costs are anything like what they are in the States, then you're looking at costs of £7,500 per person before you've even left the country. For a minimum touring party of four of you in the band and three in the crew, you're looking at about £45,000. You aren't going to cover that in fees and t-shirt sales." [...]

"If you take t-shirts to sell, then you'd be importing them into the EU and have to report what sold and what hasn't. There were tales from the pre-EU days where you'd take out four pairs of drumsticks, bring back three and they'd charge you for the pair that you'd broken at your gig in Belgium."

But they have a petition, so uh, good luck with that.

For those of you who don't realize what a nightmare it is for small, non-US bands to tour here, here's how it works... Or used to work. In the Before Times, when tours were a thing that still existed.

Option 1:

  • Show up on a tourist visa, without instruments. Tell customs you are "visiting friends". Don't even think about bringing a box of t-shirts to sell. Borrow gear, rent a van.

  • Hope that every venue and/or promoter is willing to commit tax fraud by paying you in cash and not asking for your IRS form W9 or O-1B Visa.

  • Hope that no one at Customs googles your name, because if they do, you get deported and can't enter the US again for any reason for (I think) a minimum of 5 years.

Option 2:

  • Apply for a work visa. But that's easy! All you need is to show that you have "extraordinary abilities", and that "have received or been nominated for a significant national award in the field, or prove [you] meet three out of six criteria, including national or international recognition as shown by critical reviews in major newspapers or magazines, evidence of substantial remuneration as shown by contracts, and testimonials from recognized experts in the field in which [you] are engaged."

    It costs several hundred dollars, and you have to schedule an in-person interview at your nearest US Embassy.

    Oh, also this requires you to know the dates and details of every stop on your tour, a year ahead of time. "But," you say, "nobody books tours that far out." You are correct. Also, dates can't be modified after submitting.

  • You won't get a response from the State Department until long after it's time to buy your plane tickets.

  • Still no response. Panic. There's nothing you can do, so go ahead and keep panicking.

  • Oh, they might deny you because they don't like your t-shirt art. Your tour is cancelled.

  • You might not get a response at all before your flight leaves. Oops, now you're not getting on that plane. Your tour is cancelled.

  • This is probably where you start getting hate-emails from your fans assuming that you're idiots who fucked up their simple, simple visa paperwork. You probably just sat around getting high instead of filling out a form, you jerks.

Sing it with me, ♬♬ "Everyyyyyyything is terrrrrrible!!"♬♬



I just got the latest Oglaf Kickstarter pack and it came with like, 60 hilarious stickers. It's hard for me to pick just one, but I'm going to pick just one, and say that this may be the greatest sticker ever made. It's either that or the Sasquatch shaving its butt.

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Life at 50

In March of 1970, Martin Gardner opened a letter jammed with ideas for his Mathematical Games column in Scientific American. Sent by John Horton Conway, then a mathematician at the University of Cambridge, the letter ran 12 pages, typed hunt-and-peck style.

To mark the 50th anniversary, the community -- which hosts the LifeWiki, with more than 2,000 articles -- created an Exploratorium, a large, explorable stamp-collection pattern. [...]

Life is the world's most wholesome computer game! True, it used to be dangerously addicting to some of us, but not so much now that nearly all of the theoretically possible gun and oscillator periods have been found. It took 40 years to find the coveted Snark, a stable pattern that reflects gliders 90 degrees.

But there are still open questions: for example, what spaceship vector velocities are possible, or what constructions are possible with glider collisions. A startling recent theorem states that any construction, no matter how large, can be accomplished with a reverse caber-tosser built from a certain fixed number of gliders -- that number was 32, but as of September it is now down to 17.

These days it has become harder and harder for an amateur to find a newsworthy pattern without fancy software and hardware. Perhaps Life can remain a gateway drug, luring newcomers into the effectively inexhaustible universe of different Lifelike rules.

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