Working for Radio Shack Sucked

And yes, MacGyver is an awesome show.

#Workplace

Thu, Nov 27th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

On SB Nation, Jon Bois reminisces about working for Radio Shack, an experience that sounds like pure Hell. As a company, Radio Shack is like a relic of the past trying to delay its inevitable demise. The article, full of memorable moments, is a reminder that working retail sucks.

[...] Many are great, massively over-qualified people who RadioShack never deserved for a second.

Some were, uh, not. For a few months, I worked with this guy I'll call Craig. He was a guy in his fifties who had been making lots of money growing pot out in the country until the feds busted him and took it all, and he mostly preferred to stand around and crack jokes about TV shows I'd never seen. Every day, halfway through his shift, he'd happily announce that he was going to go "take [his] medicine," and then sit in his…

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Intelligence Gathering Should Never Be a Role for Private Companies

#Privacy

Thu, Nov 27th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In response to intelligence agencies claiming that internet companies are a "safe haven for terrorists" because they do not identify and report threats, TechFruit counter argues that unless a warrant is provided, social media sites should not be expected to spy on their users.

[...] before any criminal or terrorist act has been committed, neither Facebook nor any other communications company should be actively monitoring any users unless issued with a judge-sanctioned warrant. If the police or intelligence services are unable to obtain a warrant because their evidence is too speculative, then it is certainly not for private companies to spy on their users.

The intelligence agencies generally do a good job of protecting the British public from terror attacks, and their actions in doing so should be commended – but when they have an intelligence failure, as in the case of Rigby’s murder, then they should accept…

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Seawater as Jet Fuel

Converting carbon dioxide and hydrogen recovered from seawater into usable hydrocarbon fuel

#Technology

Wed, Nov 26th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory showcases how it was able to recover carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) from seawater and convert them to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel. The fuel was then used in an off-the-shelf two-stroke internal combustion engine to successfully power an RC plane's flight.

In the second step these olefins can be converted to compounds of a higher molecular using controlled polymerization. The resulting liquid contains hydrocarbon molecules in the carbon range, C9-C16, suitable for use a possible renewable replacement for petroleum based jet fuel.

The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years. Pursuing remote land-based options would be the first step towards a future sea-based solution.

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"Because in deep space, no one can point you to a hardware store."

3D-Printer in space prints its first spare part

#Space

Wed, Nov 26th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

NBC News reports that using a 3D-printer, the International Space Station crew was able to print its first spare part, citing the advantages of not having to "rely on a stockpile of hardware flown up from Earth at a cost of $10,000 a pound."

"It's not only the first part printed in space, it's really the first object truly manufactured off planet Earth," Kemmer said. "Where there was not an object before, we essentially 'teleported' an object by sending the bits and having it made on the printer. It's a big milestone, not only for NASA and Made In Space, but for humanity as a whole." [...]

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I Hate My Old Car

And by hate I mean love

#History

Wed, Nov 26th, 2014 00:20 by Lord Lansdowne ARTICLE

I hate my old car, and by hate I do mean love. You know what I'm talking about. It's the worst piece of junk you've ever set foot in. It has been one of the best cars you've ever owned.

My car is old. It's not an old cool car like a 1965 Ford Mustang. It's one of those old box-shaped cars from the 80s that looks like it was afraid of women and aerodynamics. Back then they strapped wheels to a refrigerator and called it a car.

When my car was made, Chernobyl was only three years old. Star Wars Episode VI, Return of the Jedi six.

When my car was made, the Berlin wall fell.

When my car was made, George Bush senior and Mikhail Gorbachev were the presidents of the U.S. and U.S.S.R respectively.

When my car was made they launched the Galileo spacecraft,…

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Paper Thin LED Lighting

Lightpaper

#Products

Tue, Nov 25th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Rohinni showcases their paper-thin LED lighting, a product which, according to them, can be used to "print" light on any surface.

LightPaper™ technology can be utilized in endless markets and enables entirely new design possibilities that are limited only by your imagination.

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Facebook is Always Watching You

Sterling Crispin’s “Data Masks”

#Data

Tue, Nov 25th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

If you've ever wondered what you look like to Facebook, Sterling Crispin's Data Masks is a chilling reminder of how face-recognition software portrays us.

Crispin gathers face patterns from data sets like Labeled Faces in the Wild, then “evolves” a two-dimensional image from the composite, finally rendering it in 3-D — much like Facebook. He stops the iterative process before the algorithm has created a perfect face, resulting in the strange mutations of his images. The image, he says, might have “somebody’s eyebrow, somebody else’s chin.”

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How the Sounds of "Interstellar" Were Made

#Video

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Michael Coleman of Sound Works Collection showcases this video documentary explaining the lengths that sound engineers went through to give Interstellar its sounds.

In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection sound profile we talk with Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer Richard King about the sound teams extensive work on Director Christopher Nolan's immersive sci-fi film Interstellar.

With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.

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Re-imagined U.S. License Plates

The State Plate Project

#Art

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The State Plate Project is the work of Florida-based graphic designer Jonathan Lawrence. You can follow Jonathan here and you can follow State Plate Project here.

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Hipster Business Name Generator

#Humour

Sun, Nov 23rd, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Hipster Business Name takes the classic hipster business-logo format seen a thousand times, and generates your very own.

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"Your body ain't wrong girlfriend." #nsfw

The Expose Project

#Photography

Sun, Nov 23rd, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Expose Project, brainchild of the talented Liora K Photography and Jes Baker, showcases feminine beauty the way media fails to portray it while creating a place of self-acceptance. As Liora explains about the experience:

[...] At the end of the day though, what I really wanted the women to get out of our time (how ever brief) together was that they were IMPORTANT. That their bodies deserved to be seen, that what they perceive as faults are simply THEM, and are neither right nor wrong. That showing their bodies won’t innately cause them harm. That their breasts won’t cause damage to those around them, or their bellies or thighs either. That their nudity, while making them vulnerable, does not make them at fault. And that lastly, their bodies are their vehicles through life, and to treat them with kindness. I hope that came across.

You…

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Minipresso: Hand-Powered Portable Espresso Maker

For the truly addicted

#Food

Sat, Nov 22nd, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Requiring an engineering degree just to take apart, prepare and re-assemble, the Minipresso is a portable espresso maker that allows you to make yourself an espresso pretty much anywhere. Just requires you to bring your own coffee and a thermos full of hot water. Seems like you also need some strong fingers for the pump action.

Whether you plan to go hiking, camping, boating, or stay in a hotel, Minipresso compactness makes it the ideal espresso machine to slide into your bag, backpack.

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Construct a VR Viewer With Your Smartphone and a Piece of Cardboard

#Telephone

Fri, Nov 21st, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using a piece of cardboard, your smartphone and some other odds and ends, Google shows you how to easily (and cheaply) make your own VR headset in the hopes to promote VR software development. Great read here about it.

Virtual reality has made exciting progress over the past several years. However, developing for VR still requires expensive, specialized hardware. Thinking about how to make VR accessible to more people, a group of VR enthusiasts at Google experimented with using a smartphone to drive VR experiences.

The result is Cardboard, a no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset, and the accompanying open software toolkit that makes writing VR software as simple as building a web or mobile app.

By making it easy and inexpensive to experiment with VR, we hope to encourage developers to build the next generation of immersive digital experiences and make them…

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Microsoft Minesweeper Fan Fiction

#Literature

Fri, Nov 21st, 2014 15:50 by capnasty NEWS

From the Fan Fiction website, an entire area dedicated to Microsoft's Minesweeper. Below, a piece from The Makeover. I could only read so much.

"But I don't want new clothes!" said Timer.

"You're going to look so cool," They told her.

"I like black. Black is always in style."

"Black and red just makes you look a little intimidating."

"How am I intimidating? I'm just a timer."

"Exactly. You're scaring people off before they get to see your true personality."

"Does it have to be blue, though? Everyone wears blue."

"Well, yes, that's because it's popular. Look, here comes your sister, see how cute she is?"

Timer blinked at her little sister, Mines Remaining. "Wow. You...do look kind of sleek."

Mines Remaining smiled. "Hey, come over here, I've got something to tell you."

Timer slunk over. "Yeah?"

"I...I don't want to embarrass you in front of Them. But…

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"If you’ve never heard of 510 Systems, that’s exactly the way Google wants it."

Google's self-driving car wasn't made by Google

#Google World Domination

Fri, Nov 21st, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to IEEE Spectrum, while the self-driving car would appear to be one of "Google's signature innovations," the technology behind it was actually developed by another company that was "quietly bought in 2011" by the search giant.

[...] one of Google’s most strategic acquisitions has mysteriously been actively blocked from public view. An investigation by IEEE Spectrum has uncovered the surprising fact that Google’s innovative self-driving car and the revolutionary Street View camera technology that preceded it were largely built by 510 Systems, a tiny start-up in Berkeley, Calif.

If you’ve never heard of 510 Systems, that’s exactly the way Google wants it. The purchase of 510 Systems and its sister company, Anthony’s Robots, in the fall of 2011 was never publicly announced. In fact, Google went so far as to insist that some 510 employees sign agreements not to discuss that the acquisition had even occurred. Google’s official…

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Stuxnet's Complicated Family History

Stuxnet's precursor

#War

Wed, Nov 12th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

On The Intercept, Kim Zetter publishes an adapted extract from her book, which tries to piece together Stuxnet's complicated family history. Additionally, she warns that Stuxnet-like attacks are entirely possible on critical infrastructure due to their vulnerability.

The implications were alarming. Certificate authorities are at the core of the trust relationship that makes the internet function. Attacking such an authority would allow the attackers to issue themselves legitimate certificates in the name of any company and use it to sign malware. If Duqu was the work of the United States or Israel, it meant that a NATO country or ally had compromised a fundamental part of the trusted infrastructure that made transactions on the internet possible, all for the sake of advancing a covert campaign. If the United States was behind the attack, it also meant that while one branch of the government was touting the importance…

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"There's a strong argument to be made that the darknet economy makes the world a safer place overall."

#Drugs

Sat, Nov 8th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post argues that, as a result of the FBI taking down darknet drug operators, it has made the world a more dangerous place. Darknet sites allowed users to purchase unadulterated drugs, reducing street violence while promoting the sellers of quality merchandise.

By taking drug transactions off the street and putting them online, you eliminate a significant link in the chain of violence between drug suppliers and end users. Drugs purchased online are typically less adulterated with dangerous contaminants than street drugs are, and a system of reviews rewards sellers who provide high-quality product.

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"They said they had been unaware that domains associated with their homeland were being sold for profit."

The dark history of .IO domains

#Internet

Tue, Nov 11th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

The currently pricey yet very cool .io domain names, stand for the tiny British Indian Ocean Territory, a small archipelago of islands. The original population was kicked out by the U.K. military, to establish a U.S. cold war base. The domains are currently being sold at profit in the U.K., none of which goes to the original inhabitants.

The British government gave refugees who resettled in Mauritius a small amount of compensation, but the Chagossian people — representatives of whom say the compensation was insubstantial and poorly distributed — have been frustrated in their quest to return home. The British High Court ruled in 2000 that they could do so, but the government ordered the ruling overturned and ultimately beat the subsequent challenges.

The Chagossians tried taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights, but failed on jurisdictional grounds. Right now they have no one left…

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"Anyone refusing to reveal their face may be imprisoned for up to a month."

#Privacy

Tue, Nov 11th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Carrying a camera in central London is enough "grounds for suspicion" for police to bring you in and ask you a few questions. In an era where surveillance equipment is the smartphone in your pocket, James Bridle looks at the historic walls that protected the city of London and how these have evolved from stone to electromagnetic.

At the same time, camera systems deployed at the airports in the outer reaches of the zone have already developed the ability to read human faces, irises, expressions and gaits in exactly the same manner as their ANPR predecessors, and build unique, storeable profiles from them. While it’s always amusing to think of how such systems could be evaded through the use of masks or disruptive patterns, it should be noted that Section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, deployed across Central London on the night of…

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A.I. Can Correctly Describe What it Sees in Photos and Videos

"It also raises chilling possibilities for surveillance."

#Technology

Tue, Nov 18th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to The New York Times, two groups of researchers working independently from each other, have come up with artificial intelligence software capable of "recognizing and describing" what it sees in photos and videos, to a "far greater accuracy than ever before." Samples here.

In the longer term, the new research may lead to technology that helps the blind and robots navigate natural environments. But it also raises chilling possibilities for surveillance.

During the past 15 years, video cameras have been placed in a vast number of public and private spaces. In the future, the software operating the cameras will not only be able to identify particular humans via facial recognition, experts say, but also identify certain types of behavior, perhaps even automatically alerting authorities.

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Coffee Table with Built-in Fireplace

"An awesome addition for the house you don't own."

#HowTo

Fri, Nov 14th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Instructables' Jon-A-Tron shows how to design and build a coffee table with a built-in ethanol-powered fireplace.

Using an ethanol burner (carefully following the safety instructions), it’s perfectly safe to have an open flame without the need for a vent. With the right kind of fuel, there is no danger of harmful fumes tainting your indoor air quality.

The companies that make ethanol fireplace burners also make some very nice stand-alone fireplace fixtures, but for the limited space of my Bay Area apartment, I need my furniture to be multi-purpose. Hence, the Fireplace Coffee Table.

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You Should Not Post Any Picture of Your Kids On Facebook

And not because it is annoying

#Privacy

Thu, Nov 20th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Slate, Amy Webb explains why she posts absolutely nothing on Facebook about her daughter. Between facial recognition software, Facebook profiling, and corporate data mining, the only way to maintain a modicum of privacy for children in the future is to "not create that digital content in the first place."

[...] Myriad applications, websites, and wearable technologies are relying on face recognition today, and ubiquitous bio-identification is only just getting started. In 2011, a group of hackers built an app that let you scan faces and immediately display their names and basic biographical details, right there on your mobile phone. Already developers have made a working facial recognition API for Google Glass. While Google has forbidden official facial recognition apps, it can’t prevent unofficial apps from launching. There’s huge value in gaining real-time access to view detailed information the people with whom we interact.

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Governments' Requests for Users' Data on Facebook Increased by 24% in First Half of 2014

#Privacy

Sat, Nov 8th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Facebook reports that in the first six months of 2014, governments from around the world have made 34,946 data requests, an increase of 24% from the year prior. Facebook claims that, whenever possible, they "push back" against these requests when "we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests." Still, there may be a reason why Facebook is being called the greatest spying machine.

[...] over the past year, we’ve challenged bulk search warrants issued by a court in New York that demanded we turn over nearly all data from the accounts of nearly 400 people. This unprecedented request was by far the largest we’ve ever received. We’ve argued that these overly broad warrants violate the privacy rights of the people on Facebook and ignore constitutional safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures. Despite a setback in the lower court, we’re aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher…

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Drone Shot Porn #nsfw #droneboning

“The plan was to take beautiful landscapes, and just put people fucking in them.”

#Sex

Mon, Nov 10th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Vice brings to attention this video titled Drone Boning by Ghost+Cow Films. The short film features beautiful landscapes set to the tune of The Kink by Taggart and Rosewood, intermixed with fornicating couples. Its goal is to explore the "whole idea of drone privacy and strikes."

The film features people—straight, gay, and lesbian—having sex on the beach, on a farm, in the mountains, on a forest, on the side of the road, in lots of places (much of it is simulated). Even then, not everything made the cut: One of the more thought-provoking shots, which had to be left out because of the difficulty of filming it, would have brought drones to the suburbs, where they've already been shot down by people who were worried about their privacy.

"One of the shots was supposed to…

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"Hard question is not 'What is meaning of life?' That is easy question to answer!"

The Meaning of Life

#Life

Sun, Nov 9th, 2014 21:00 by Lisa Stager ARTICLE

Recently, while sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, I read an article in the November, 2014 Reader’s Digest titled “The Dalai Lama’s Ski Trip” by Douglas Preston. In April of 1991, the Dalai Lama visited Santa Fe, New Mexico as part of his tour of the United States, and Mr. Preston was assigned the job of the Dalai Lama’s press secretary. Throughout the visit, he was with the Dalai Lama every day from 6 a.m. until late in the evening.

At a luncheon toward the end of the visit, some of the guests mentioned that Santa Fe had a ski area. The Dalai Lama was extremely interested, asking all sorts of questions about skiing. Having never actually seeing people ski, he requested a trip to the mountains to see “the amazing sport that they had heard so much about.”

Once there, it wasn’t enough for the…

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"Watch this, it's weird."

Too Many Cooks

#WTF

Thu, Nov 13th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

There really isn't much more I can say about it either. It's really well done. From The New Yorker:

[...] The video had been playing every night that week on television, in the wee morning hours on Adult Swim, before being shared on Reddit and then getting piped out through various social branches to the rest of the Web. The best way to pass the video on was simply to present it without much description: Watch this, it’s weird. Or else: It’s terrifying, genius, amazing, or insane. [...]

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A Self-Balancing Skateboard-Contraption

The Flying Nimbus

#HowTo

Sat, Nov 15th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using a recycled go kart tire, a gyro/accelerometer and a three-phase servo drive, Transitor Man shows you how he's put together The Flying Nimbus, a self-balancing skateboard-contraption that seems to work on just about any terrain it faces.

The Flying Nimbus, a high-power, self-balancing, transportation contraption, intended to combine a pile of recycled components, a spiffy three-phase servo drive and a bundle of batteries into a balancing skateboard contraption for zooming around everything from paved roads to park trails.

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U.S. Justice Department Engages in Airborne Man-in-the-Middle Attacks on U.S. Cellphones

#Privacy

Sat, Nov 15th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to The Washington Post, by using airplanes equipped with fake celltowers, the U.S. Justice Department is able to "jam signals and retrieve data from a target phone such as texts or photos". Reportedly, this "high-tech hunt" is used solely to track down criminals, but the American Civil Liberties Union calls this “a dragnet surveillance program," affecting the cellphones of thousands of innocent citizens.

By taking the program airborne, the government can sift through a greater volume of information and with greater precision, these people said. If a suspect’s cellphone is identified, the technology can pinpoint its location within about 10 feet, down to a specific room in a building. Newer versions of the technology can be programmed to do more than suck in data: They can also jam signals and retrieve data from a target phone such as texts or photos. It isn’t clear if this domestic…

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Brain of Earthworm Recreated in Software and Embedded in a LEGO Robot

We are just the sum of our neural networks

#Robots

Tue, Nov 18th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Sporting only 302 neurons, the brain of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) was entirely mapped, duplicated with software and then hooked up to a LEGO robot. More details in the Open Worm page, whose goal is to "build a complete and accurate simulation of the first animal to be transferred to code."

The model is accurate in its connections and makes use of UDP packets to fire neurons. If two neurons have three synaptic connections then when the first neuron fires a UDP packet is sent to the second neuron with the payload "3". The neurons are addressed by IP and port number. The system uses an integrate and fire algorithm. Each neuron sums the weights and fires if it exceeds a threshold. The accumulator is zeroed if no message arrives in a 200ms window or if the…

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Solar Powered WiFi Device Provides Unlimited Passive Access to Data

The Lantern

#Internet

Sun, Nov 16th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

To be clear, The Lantern is a device that allows offline access to the Internet. The idea is to provide a device that is constantly downloading information via radio waves broadcast by Outernet from space. The service, which although passive is free, claims to be able to bypass government censorship while providing knowledge. More info here.

All data consumed on Lantern is anonymous. Access to news, civic information, commodity prices, weather, construction plans for open source farm machinery...anything. Outernet eradicates information poverty and censorship everywhere on Earth. Since Lantern is so small, it can be used discreetly. Can't buy Lantern in your part of the world? We show you how to build one.

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