Sunday, January 31, 2016

Link roundup

1. "The Great Star Wars Rebels Swindle Of 2016"

Back when Star Wars Rebels season 2 was released for purchase, fans could buy it online at Amazon for $27.00 for the entire season pass.
...
Disney suddenly decided to split the season in two, making everyone pay twice if they now wanted to get the entire season.

Despite having, you know, already paid for it.
2. "Golf Fans Teed Off At Tape-Delayed Rain Suspension Coverage Instead Of Live Play On Golf Channel"

3. "The Stunning Mansion in Ex Machina Is (Mostly) Real, and You Can Spend the Night There"

"How one distillery worker enlisted friends, family, and a few fellow steroid enthusiasts to liberate hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of premium bourbon, one barrel at a time."

The Great Whiskey Heist:

in 1969, bourbon was in the dumps. The postwar gentleman's drink was giving way to booze that went better with cranberry juice and pink umbrellas. By 1976, vodka had become America's most popular liquor. Distilleries throughout Kentucky shut down or were sold.

...

When Julian Van Winkle III took over the company, in 1981, he was selling so little whiskey that he decided to try an experiment. Most bourbon spends between four and eight years inside a barrel. Van Winkle wanted to see what would happen if he let some of his sit in the barrel for, well, he wasn't quite sure how long.

...

the Beverage Testing Institute, which, in 1997, after Van Winkle had finally opened his barrels, handed his 20-year-old whiskey a 99 rating — the highest ever given to a bourbon. The timing of that rating couldn't have been better. The craft beer movement was reviving American tastes for alcohol with flavor, and bourbon presented itself as a sophisticated drink with a sheen of frontier authenticity.

...

the demand still outpaces supply — after all, it takes 23 years to make 23-year-old bourbon. An app and a Twitter feed track Pappy sightings; even empty Pappy bottles can sell for $300. If you want the real thing, your best option just might be to steal some.

Link roundup

1. Wikipedia's List of common misconceptions.

2. Drone flies in crevasse.

3. "Trump, Sanders and the Revolt Against Decadence"

The state of the union isn’t all that one might hope, but it could clearly be a whole lot worse.

So what are Trumpistas and Bern-feelers rebelling against?

One answer might be that they’re fed up with exactly this — the politics of “it could be worse,” of stagnation and muddling through. They aren’t revolting against abject failure, or deep and swift decline. They’re rebelling against decadence.

Link roundup

1. "Right now in China, thousands of tigers, more than are alive in the wild, are sitting in cages, waiting for the day that their bones are turned into wine and their skin is turned into rugs."

tiger bone is where the real money's at. The pricey bones are steeped in rice wine to create a purported aphrodisiac that has been said to help ease ailments like arthritis, and is served as a status symbol at dinner parties and events.
2. This is a good Civ 5 playthrough.

3. "Aydin Büyüktas, an Istanbul-based photographer and VFX artist, used a drone to capture aerial images of the city, then digitally manipulated them so they appear wildly curved."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Link roundup

1. "After devoting themselves to one Q., 'who's gonna win?' horse race journalists basically have no idea."

2. Clever observation about the Adventure Time episode Crossover.

3. Deep Space Nine viewing guide.

Link roundup

1. "An antiquities dealer who inspired tens of thousands to search the Rocky Mountains for $2 million in hidden treasure now leads an increasingly desperate mission to find one of his fans."

Fenn, an eccentric 85-year-old from Santa Fe, has inspired a cult following since his announcement several years ago that he stashed a small bronze chest containing nearly $2 million in gold, jewelry and artifacts somewhere in the Rockies. He dropped clues to its whereabouts in a cryptic poem in his self-published memoir

...

But the search can be risky: Some have forded swollen creeks in Yellowstone and were rescued by rangers. A Texas woman spent a worrisome night in the New Mexico woods after being caught in the dark. Others have been cited for digging on public land, and federal managers have warned treasure hunters not to damage archaeological or biological resources.
2. "New Spider Species Found, Plays Peekaboo to Attract Mates"
In a bizarre ritual, an amorous male hides on the underside of a leaf and thrusts the paddle high enough for a female on the other side of the leaf to see it.
3. "Several hundred Southern Californians who renovated or built their homes with plans created by two men purporting to work for a Rolling Hills Estates civil engineering firm were warned Friday to have their residences checked for structural safety."

Michael Walsh posted a bunch of his recent comic art for sale



Hellboy and X-Men.

Masters of the Universe illustrations



By Ryan Barger.

Link roundup

1. "The mailer sent out by [Ted Cruz's] campaign, however, might end up backfiring."

Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well.

...

The mailer then listed his and Steffany’s name, along with five of their neighbors.
2. "How the Video of Christine Chubbuck’s Suicide Became a Very Macabre ‘Holy Grail’"
the on-air suicide of 29-year-old Florida morning-show host Christine Chubbuck, who shot herself in the head during a live broadcast in 1974.

...

Many people have attempted to track down a video of Chubbuck’s final moments; all of them, it seems, have come up empty-handed. There are those who claim they’ve seen it,
3. "the conduct of those 124 officers cost [Chicago] $34 million"

Star Trek: The Next Generation viewing guide

"I want to make the case Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) is important and worth your time in 2015, and I want to suggest about 40 hours of Star Trek viewing that will cover all of the great episodes."

Friday, January 29, 2016

Link roundup

1. "Alaska Airlines issued an apology today for using the phrase “Meet our Eskimo” in a high-profile rebranding campaign this week."

2. "Son of maintenance worker gets perfect score on AP Calculus exam -- 1 of 12 in the world to do so"

Cedrick, the son of a Salvadoran maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse, had scored perfectly on his Advanced Placement Calculus exam. Of the 302,531 students to take the notoriously mind-crushing test, he was one of only 12 to earn every single point.
3. "a brick-built LEGO storyline set in the Star Wars universe. With fourteen separate scenes depicting the discovery of a crashed A-wing and its resurrection as a rather beautiful 'ugly' that incorporates an Imperial TIE fighter cockpit and New Republic E-wing engines."

Link roundup

1. "Nespresso sues coffee rival for using George Clooney lookalike"

Clooney is the face of Nespresso.
2. "The process" in Philly:
The Porzingis camp wanted no part of the Sixers' situation at No 3. Miller couldn't stop Philadelphia from drafting Porzingis, but he could limit the information they had to make a decision. And did. No physical. No meeting. No workout.
3. "Chelsea Clinton's fundraising flop: Soul Cycle event to raise money for Hillary a bust as $2,700 seats are offered for just $50 to fill bikes"
Chelsea herself did not participate in the class but did answer questions for guests shortly before they began their stationery ride.

Link roundup

1. Useful photo of Donald Trump.

2. Probably a good rule of thumb:

if a friend forwards me an email from a man that is longer than three sentences, it is ALWAYS BANANAS.
3. Nightmare fuel.

Harry Potter characters Netflix binge



Part of a series of illustrations by Victoriabas.

Relatedly, a good exchange:





Thursday, January 28, 2016

High-Rise poster

Deadpool movie poster concept mocking Green Lantern



By Marco D'Alfonso.

Link roundup

1. Controversial NHL all-star John Scott discusses his career:

In your mind right now, you’re probably thinking: classic. Big goon tries to fight his way all through the AHL to get a chance at The Show.

Well, here’s another thing about me you might not know: by 23, I had never been in a real hockey fight. Sure, I’d wrestled around in PeeWee and Juniors with a cage on, but that’s not real. I didn’t know the first thing about how to fight.

My first couple games in the AHL with the Houston Aeros, I heard this four, five times a game:

“Hey, ya big bastard, y’wanna go?”

“Let’s go. Right now.”

“We’re going.”

I kept saying, “Uh, no. No, I’m good.”

Then it happened. I’ll never forget being in the locker room before a game against Peoria.
2. "Letter to the editor: Local media didn’t whiff on Flint coverage"
Journalists from The Flint Journal have doggedly reported the Flint water story blow by excruciating blow, for more than two years. From the politics to the public health implications to the impact on residents of this hurting city, there has been no development that has gone unreported or unexplained.

...

All of that water crisis coverage, with rising levels of drama, political intrigue and human pathos? It had less total readership over 12 months than the Michigan-Michigan State football game. A routine weather story on our site is read by three times as many people as a Flint water story. And that’s even after national attention was stoked in the past month.
3. "'Monster spider' discovered in Oregon called Cryptomaster Behemoth"

4. Saw this on Twitter and thought it was a joke--Star Wars Hungry Hero Jar Jar 18" Talking Plush.

Link roundup

1. "We're the Only Animals With Chins, and No One Knows Why"

“Little pig, little pig, let me come in,” says the big, bad wolf. “No, no, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin,” say the three little pigs. This scene is deeply unrealistic and not just because of the pigs' architectural competence, the wolf's implausible lung capacity, and everyone's ability to talk.

The thing is: Pigs don't have chins. Nor do any animals, except for us.
2. "Politico is about to lose three of its most powerful and longtime leaders."

3. "Ancient Babylonian astronomers calculated Jupiter’s position." Via.

4. 80's toys photographed.

Zootopia Disney Infinity figures available for preorder



$14 each at Amazon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

John K's kickstarter-supported cartoon was estimated to ship to backers in February 2013

Commenters seem more resigned than angry. Same for backers of The Goon movie kickstarter.

From Lev Grossman's Q&A today

At Quora:

The two things that most influenced the way magic works in The Magicians, apart from reading an eff-ton of other novels with magic in them, are these:

One, studying the cello for ten years. The physical rigor and at times discomfort of that, of trying to use your misshapen fallen body to produce transcendent beautiful music, has a lot to do with the way I imagine magic feels.

...

I feel some nostalgia for the days when magic was wilder. Gandalf for example: you never knew what he could or couldn't do, and that was kind of exciting.

...

I've studied [JK Rowling's] books over and over and over again.

"If agent 007 was a woman, what kind of names would the 'Bond boys' have?"

A Reddit thread. Top comment:

How about just Roger Moore

Link roundup

1. Bono says of David Bowie, "he took his daughter to a matinee to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and he sent me the reasons he didn't like it."

2. Reluctantly modelling Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze armor.

3. Rebel pilot dress.

Link roundup

1. "The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the region's largest carrier, lost more than 10% of its boardings from 2006 to 2015, a decline that appears to be accelerating."

Despite a $9-billion investment in new light rail and subway lines, Metro now has fewer boardings than it did three decades ago, when buses were the county's only transit option.
2. Moss people.

3. Parkour in a t-rex suit.

The Figma fighters are available for preorder

at the BBTS.

Trailer for Laika's Kubo and the Two Strings (plus get an animation puppet face from the movie)





They're selling some cool goods:



The official site has wallpapers:

Lana Del Rey's Spectre theme

Link roundup

1. "Pursuing critics, China reaches across borders. And nobody is stopping it."

A string of incidents, including abductions from Thailand and Hong Kong, forced repatriations and the televised “confessions” of two Swedish citizens, has crossed a new red line, according to diplomats in Beijing.
2. "Last year we reported on our blog our sighting of a beautiful leucistic giraffe calf in Tarangire National Park. Her body surface cells are not capable of making pigment, but she is not an albino. We were lucky enough to resight her again this January"

3. Drone racing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Figma Virtua Fighters



Coming soon.

"Trump Temptation: The Billionaire & The Bellboy"

$2 at Amazon:

He was a billionaire, I was a bellboy, can I make it anymore obvious?

It all started one fateful afternoon in summer of 2012. I was working as a bellboy at the Trump Hotel in Hong Kong on an internship program. This was my first time in a big city. It was all I could have ever dreamed of, and more. But little did I know, it was all about to change.
By Elijah Daniel:

Link roundup

1. "Italy covers nudes for Iran president"

2. Leigh Alexander's feed is about being tricked into publishing at Offworld an article by a GG member.

I think we live in a weird world if harassment campaigners are bragging about sneaking an ability-sensitive article onto a feminist website
3. "Not only does [Los Angeles] county have the most cases, it also has some of the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in California and the nation."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Link roundup

1. "NYU Medical School Doesn't Plan To Return Martin Shkreli Donation"

For now, there will still be a Martin Shkreli Professor of Pediatric Nephrology at New York University.
2. "The bird's hunting technique is simple: Find prey, flush it out, and stamp the living crap out of it."
When you’re filming a bird that specializes at kicking . . . you’d better be careful about your power cables.

Steve Portugal learned that the hard way when studying secretary birds—a long-legged bird of prey with . . . a phenomenal, skull-crushing kick. “Their desire to kick anything that moves
3. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation [Blu-ray + DVD + digital] is $10 at Amazon.

Mondo is bringing back Madballs, and has a license to make Marvel characters



Including Venom.

Link roundup

1. Screensaver Jam recommendations.

2. "Kansas Senate Imposes Strict Dress Code for Women"

Sen. Mitch Holmes’ 11-point code of conduct does not include any restrictions on men, who he said needed no instruction on how to look professional
3. "New U.S. Homes Make Room for Airbnb Crowd"
Designs account for rising housing costs by carving out extra space for extended family or renters
4. 25% off Aliens-themed goods at Last Exit to Nowhere today with the code Alien25.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Link roundup

1. "Reality didn’t always match the menu at Toronto restaurant"

The “organic” granola was boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch and the “homemade” dressing was bought from Renée’s Gourmet. The promised Japanese beef, a rare, well-marbled delicacy that reportedly can fetch around $200 a strip, was really regular skirt steak from a lesser breed of cow.
2. "A major new finding about the impact of having a dad who was drafted to Vietnam"
A decade after their military service, white veterans of the draft were earning about 15 percent less than their peers who didn't serve,
3. "Another major accident reported on steep Beverly Hills road"
The crash happened on the same section of Loma Vista Drive where truck crashes two months apart in 2014 claimed the lives of the two officers.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Link roundup

1. Mindbending photo.

2. "An emotional video of a traditional Maori haka at a New Zealand wedding is being shared widely on social media, attracting millions of views."

3. Mega Bloks TMNT Krang looks great.

The Chickening





"The Chickening is being touted as, 'remixed, augmented cinema' or 'Cinegraffiti'. In other words, this five minute short film is an innovative, unique cinematic experience that is going to blow your mind!"

Sliders of Ghosttown: Origins (Official Trailer)



"The Sliders Of Ghost Town: Origins, is a Documentary that will journey through the story of how Halloween Haunt began at Knott’s Berry Farm back in 1973. This event has been around for over 40 years and the talent that works the streets has developed a new scare tactic that can now be seen all over the world. We will hear and see stories from those who work there now, as well as some of the original sliders who developed the concept of sliding for a scare, and as a recreational sport that goes on all year round."

Link roundup

1. "Nudists claim discrimination after being banned from pool in Huntington Beach"

2. "Trump is the living, breathing, bellowing personification of all the nasty characteristics Democrats routinely ascribe to Republicans."

The candidate who most embodies the terrible things that Democrats say about Republicans, then, is also the candidate who is most attractive to Republicans. This is truly an awkward state of affairs for the party. How could this have come to pass?
3. "Here are 6 Amazon products that are definitely not for cocaine"

Link roundup

1. "Kia dancing hamster pleads no contest in disability fraud case"

2. "The Daniel Bryan Dilemma"

The match that sold me on his excellence many years ago was a half-hour indie bout where he villainously defied a crowd’s bloodlust by repeatedly wrapping his opponent’s cranium in the least-violent move ever, a headlock. Before long, the crowd was approvingly chanting “head lock!”

...

I am sure that Daniel Bryan, who is possibly the greatest pro wrestler in the world, wants to wrestle this Sunday. If he does—if he competes in WWE’s 30-man Royal Rumble—then I hope that the thousands of Daniel Bryan fans who’ve been rooting for him to make a comeback don’t discover one day that we basically rooted for the man to get brain damage.
3. "Undertale's Steam review section is pretty funny"

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Link roundup

1. An hour of Torment: Tides of Numenera gameplay (the wrong initial choice will lead to an immediate death).

2. "Say goodbye to free parking at Aria, Bellagio and 10 other Las Vegas hotels"

3. Batman Rainbow Action Figure Six Pack available for preorder.

The Wonder Woman movie logo looks like it's been tied up



Relatedly, "Wonder Woman Was Created by a Feminist Bondage Fetishist Who Wanted a Matriarchal Utopia"

Link roundup

1. Netflix is making a series based on the excellent Altered Carbon series.

2. "Israeli parents wondered why school trips to Auschwitz cost so much. The answer may be price-fixing."

3. "Whales must exercise to stay fit, according to a new study"

New 6" DC figures with build-a-figure available for preorder

Multiverse Collect & Connect with Justice Buster available for preorder.

Link roundup

1. "For over a century the longbow reigned as undisputed king of medieval European missile weapons. Yet only England used the longbow as a mainstay in its military arsenal; France and Scotland clung to the technologically inferior crossbow."

This longbow puzzle has perplexed historians for decades. We resolve it by developing a theory of institutionally constrained technology adoption. Unlike the crossbow, the longbow was cheap and easy to make and required rulers who adopted the weapon to train large numbers of citizens in its use. These features enabled usurping nobles whose rulers adopted the longbow to potentially organize effective rebellions against them. Rulers choosing between missile technologies thus confronted a trade-off with respect to internal and external security. England alone in late medieval Europe was sufficiently politically stable to allow its rulers the first-best technology option. In France and Scotland political instability prevailed, constraining rulers in these nations to the crossbow.
2. "Last July, the Beverly Hills City Council voted to modify the city’s historic preservation ordinance, thereby making it easier to demolish buildings that were at one point deemed 'historic.'"

3. "E-Mail Spam Goes Artisanal"
"Spammers are getting much more focused, much more targeted, and this shows they are getting more concerned about quality,"
...
more spammers are adopting this kind of small-batch approach in the hopes of breaking through junk-mail blocking software.
4. Game of Thrones figures, including Brienne, are half off at the BBTS today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Link roundup

1. "Film Shows Clinton Aide’s Own Struggle With Anthony Weiner Scandal"

In May 2013, Huma Abedin and Anthony D. Weiner allowed filmmakers full access to his mayoral campaign with the hopes that the result would document a spectacular political comeback, with Mr. Weiner being sworn in as mayor of New York having emerged from a scandal centered on explicit texting that forced him to resign from Congress.

Things did not go quite according to plan.
2. "The Illegitimacy of Aragorn’s Claim to the Throne"
After the War of the Ring and Denethor’s death, Gondor did embrace Aragorn as its new king, partially because he’d arrived at the head of an army of the Dead.
3. "We’ve all read and heard a lot about the water situation in Flint. We’re hearing most of it from Democrats, who are citing this as an example of the evils of Republican leadership and all sorts of other hyperbole...If you’d like to know what really happened here, read on"

4. Relatedly, "An online poster from the State of Michigan about bathing in lead-tainted Flint water featuring babies and a cutesy tone has been taken down from a state website."

Deadpool coloring book



Color Your Own Deadpool is $7.66 at Amazon:

What's black and white and red all over? The Deadpool Coloring Book when you've fi nished with it! Say goodbye to your scarlet pens and crimson pencils as you bring to life page after page of pinups featuring the claret-clad clown who's one-in-a-vermilion! Or if you're feeling anarchic, why not conduct your own Crayon X experiment and take an all-hue, all-different approach? Whether you're embellishing a Jade Wilson or a Merc With the Mauve, you have the power to usher Deadpool into a bold new fuchsia. With 60 pages of line art by some of the finest illustrators ever to regenerate your favorite degenerate, hours of fun await.

Link roundup

1. "9th Circuit blasts judge who ruled for rancher, boots him from grazing-rights case"

2. "Former NFL receiver Antwaan Randle El regrets ever playing football"

3. "Man ticketed 70 times in one year for aggressive panhandling in Fresno"

Link roundup

1. "Los Angeles will pay more than $24 million to two men who were wrongfully convicted and spent decades behind bars before being freed"

2. Poor sportsmanship demonstrated by young wrestler.

3. "The [Onion] just agreed to sell a chunk of itself (as well as sister properties including ClickHole and The A.V. Club) to Spanish broadcaster Univision Communications."

The reported price tag of about $200 million for a 40 percent stake in the Onion's parent company values the whole enterprise in the range of $500 million.
...
To put that in perspective, it's twice what Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post in 2013.

Marvel Legends Red Skull Onslaught wave available for preorder

At Amazon, including Werewolf Captain America.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Link roundup

1. "Is Celebrity Photographer Tyler Shields Inspired, Or Copying Other Artists?"

This level of success is surprising, given that a glance at his portfolio by anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of photography would reveal that a high number of his images look an awful lot like those of other photographers. And not obscure photographers, either.
2. From a review of Oxenfree:
It’s very much a game where the play turns out to be in how you handle your relationship with these four other characters. Like, i played through the game, trying to make the right choices, trying to win and ‘be nice’ (you can’t rewind– you can’t load previous saves and you have to make choices quickly), and then at the end it was like “All four characters HATE you.” Or actually it was worse than that– it was like “only 14% of people who played this game had all four characters HATE them.” 14%? Really??
3. Deluxe Moriarty figure (Sherlock) available for preorder.

Rey's Lego speeder with a Lego Friends color palette



By Tyler Sky.

"Star Wars: The Old Republic deserves a second chance"

PG:

The biggest improvement to The Old Republic with Game Update 4.0 is the fact you can now play solo from level one to level 60 by completing your main story missions and a string of planetary story arc.

...

You can now take any of The Old Republic's NPC companions and assign them as a healer, damage dealer or tank at will. No more teaming up with a character you don't like just because you need a healer; this is now a game about doing the stuff you actually care about, in the form you want. You're even allowed to play new solo-friendly versions of what were once group-only "dungeons."

Bothered by the endless running across vast open spaces that MMOs entail? The Old Republic now features a much less restrictive fast travel system, and the planetary taxi systems are unlocked from the moment you visit a new area, without needing to journey on foot to each new quest hub. If you play it right, there's very little downtime between quests.

Link roundup

1. "Watch the long pause and the repeated, slow head shaking from Hillary Clinton when she's asked if the FBI has interviewed her."

2. LEGO Sinking Titanic.

3. Rob Liefeld commenting on the Deadpool movie:

Sorry, these comics are pg-13. There are F bombs galore, frontal nudity and tremendously wonderful gore in the Deadpool film. The comics are not as adult as the film. That's just a fact. Doesn't mean they aren't good, but no way are they adult in the way the film is.
Or as Ken Jennings put it:

Robcop poster by Anthony Petrie (plus badge and giveaway)



Skuzzles:

For this RoboCop print we did something new that we're hoping to continue for future limited edition screen print movie poster releases. If you already didn't know, limited edition pins are becoming very popular. Over the past year we had several people ask if we would ever get into selling collectible pins. We run Skuzzles purely as a passion business and each of us have full-time day jobs. Selling another product would be a lot of extra work that we're just not capable of taking on, so instead of selling pins we decided to GIVE AWAY FREE pins. Our first free pin was created by Anthony Petrie and it's a 2" Delta City Police badge die-struck pin with an antique silver finish and butterfly clutch (see image below). We only have 100 limited edition pins, so the first 100 orders will receive them.

The free stuff doesn't stop at our RoboCop pin. We will also be including 4 original RoboCop art pieces by Anthony Petrie (see image below). They will be randomly inserted into tubes if you purchase a RoboCop movie poster within the first 3 days of the original sale.

This is also the first time we've created a screen print movie poster with a full metallic wash, and the results are stunning!

Red and the Transistor vinyl figure



$35.

Link roundup

1. "it turns out that 'plants growing over old sites of human habitation have a different chemistry from their neighbors, and these differences can reveal the location of buried ruins.'"

2. Cat the looks like Kylo Ren/Adam Driver up for adoption.

3. "the essence of the idea is that people actively bred wolves to become dogs just the way they now breed dogs to be tiny or large, or to herd sheep."

The prevailing scientific opinion now, however, is that this origin story does not pass muster. Wolves are hard to tame, even as puppies, and many researchers find it much more plausible that dogs, in effect, invented themselves.
4. Chibi Robo Amiibo is $6 at Amazon.

Analyzing the Oregon militants

Intriguing Twitter feed to follow:











Sunday, January 17, 2016

Link roundup

1. "It’s British lore: on escalators, you stand on the right and walk on the left. So why did the London Underground ask grumpy commuters to stand on both sides?"

It’s all very well keeping one side of the escalator clear for people in a rush, but in stations with long, steep walkways, only a small proportion are likely to be willing to climb. In lots of places, with short escalators or minimal congestion, this doesn’t much matter. But a 2002 study of escalator capacity on the Underground found that on machines such as those at Holborn, with a vertical height of 24 metres, only 40% would even contemplate it. By encouraging their preference, TfL effectively halves the capacity of the escalator in question, and creates significantly more crowding below, slowing everyone down.
2. "Virginia and its Governor’s Opportunity Fund bet $1.4 million on a failed business deal near Lynchburg that exposed the state’s weak control over industrial incentives and the application process for companies seeking grant money"
All those new paychecks, the public was told, were spawned by the activities of Virginia’s governor during a trade mission to Asia the month before. Terry McAuliffe closed a deal with a Chinese business enterprise planning to invest in Appomattox, a town without an interstate or economic hope after furniture and textile industry layoffs.
...
State analysts relied on a company website produced in China featuring misleading information, including the listing of a North Carolina address where the company never was located and production photographs and text lifted from an unaffiliated American company.
...
Officials also relied on a site consultant who vouched for the company but hadn’t asked basic background questions, such as the company’s address in China, until shortly before the deal was closed.
3. "The Panthers sacked Russell Wilson then did the dance from a Future video"
The dance comes from Future's "Where Ya At," and it should be mentioned that Wilson's girlfriend Ciara used to date Future and has a child with him. So yes, the Panthers ABSOLUTELY knew what they were doing. They also used Future's music to play the Seahawks off the field following warmups.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"The Untold Story of What Happened After ‘Back at It Again at Krispy Kreme,’ the Best Vine of All Time"

"on its two-year anniversary, I set out to find the origins of this incredible Vine — as well as learn its aftermath."

Link roundup

1. "Wild boar on loose in Hong Kong financial district evades police"

Technology worker streams four hours of pursuit on Periscope as police armed with riot shields fail to drive boar into net or coax it out with food
2. "Oregon militia's behavior increasingly brazen as public property destroyed"
the militia, led by Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, had paved a road through part of the wildlife sanctuary. That move came days after occupiers destroyed part of a US Fish and Wildlife Service fence, to allow cattle to freely graze on public lands the federal government controls.
3. "A teenage singer made headlines in China and on her home island of Taiwan this weekend, but not for the winsome K-pop music that she hoped would attract fans. Instead, a glum, shaken apology after a controversy over a flag landed the singer, Chou Tzu-yu, in the maw of tensions between China and Taiwan"

Los Alamos Rolodex: Doing Business with the National Lab 1967-1978

$14 at Amazon:

In 2012 the Center for Land Use Interpretation acquired a set of seven rolodexes from the dispersed collection of former Los Alamos National Laboratory employee Ed Grothus, who operated a salvage company of lab cast-offs, known as The Black Hole.

Now part of the Center’s Radioactive Archive, the rolodexes contain thousands of business cards kept by some unknown office in the lab over the 1960s and 1970s—the peak of the arms race and its technological development. They are a physical record of everything from major military contractors to obscure high- and low-tech software widget suppliers–many of which are no longer extant, or have evolved.

The selection of 150 cards may be viewed as a snapshot of synergies between the business community and America’s atomic might. On the one hand, they are a direct indexical connection from the recent past to the sources of creating the most sophisticated and powerful national defense technologies in the world. On the other hand, they are obsolete information, relics of a former usefulness. As a specific printed historical record—superbly reproduced in full color—they are relevant to a potential understanding of the present; they are evocative evidence of the links that formed the secret technology of our nation.

Link roundup

1. "China’s promise of autonomy for Hong Kong is ringing hollow"

Yet the alleged abduction since October of five Hong Kong residents by the Chinese authorities has cast a dark shadow. Three vanished in mainland China and one in Thailand. The disappearance on December 30th of the fifth man, Lee Bo, has caused particular alarm. He appears to have been snatched from Hong Kong itself and spirited across the border to the mainland, without his travel documents or any record of his leaving. His fate remains unknown. Like the other four, he was associated with a publisher and bookshop specialising in one of Hong Kong’s more esoteric niche businesses: scurrilous tales of intrigue, infighting, corruption and sex among China’s Communist leaders.
2. "The incredible tale of irresponsible chocolate milk research at the University of Maryland"

3. "a phenomenon known as 'gazumping.'"
Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz al-Thani of Qatar thought he’d bought a Picasso masterpiece in November 2014. That was when he agreed, through his agents, to pay $42 million for the spectacular “Bust of a Woman (Marie-Thérèse).” The seller was Picasso’s daughter Maya Widmaier-Picasso, who was parting with a much-loved object.

But the sheikh never got his Picasso. After he had made the first two of three payments, his agents received a letter canceling the sale and refunding the money.

Custom-painted Ghostbusters miniatures from the new board game



Dustin Remolde repainted the miniatures from the Ghostbusters board game (available at Amazon).

Relatedly, Jared Circusbear repainted miniatures from the Imperial Assault game (also available at Amazon):

Friday, January 15, 2016

Darth Maul seems to be joining Star Wars Rebels

Link.

Link roundup

1. "A former Taco Bell executive who was arrested and fired after a viral dash-cam video showed him attacking an Uber driver is now suing that driver for $5 million — saying the driver illegally recorded the violent incident."

2. "The instant bread in Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn't CGI"

'I’m gonna be famous for Star Wars for nothing else but this bread!'
3. "John Scott Gets Screwed Out Of His [NHL] All-Star Spot"
The inclusion of Scott, who has spent portions of the season in the AHL, was an intentional joke, similar to the attempt at voting in every Kansas City Royal for the MLB All-Star Game. The 33-year-old, whose biggest recent on-ice moment was a beef with Tim Jackman, has one point (an assist) this season. He hasn’t played in an NHL game since Dec. 31.

In December, Puck Daddy pushed the campaign for Scott because the idea of a 6-foot-8 lug with five career goals in the 3-on-3 tournament was amusing. The movement gained steam, and when the NHL announced the full All-Star rosters, sure enough, Scott was a fan-elected captain.

Link roundup

1. "Astronauts piloting Virgin Galactic's commercial space flights will suit-up in these one-piece uniforms by Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas' brand Y-3"

2. "Neil Patrick Harris to Star in Netflix's 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' as Showrunner Exits"

3. Review of the new free to play Star Trek game:

It seems cool, but I’m worried that the game was made more to hook whales than actually deliver a rewarding Star Trek experience.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New 3.75" Marvel figures including Spider-Man Noir available for preorder

Captain Marvel, Original Iron Man, and more.

Link roundup

1. "'Pocket Mortys' Guide - How to Capture Mortys, Craft Mind Control Chips and More"

2. "Sherman Oaks Notre Dame unveils new weight training facility"

$300,000 worth of new equipment
3. "despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed"
Why has the capacity limit not been raised? Because the block chain is controlled by Chinese miners, just two of whom control more than 50% of the hash power.
...
if the Bitcoin network got more popular, they fear taking part would get too difficult and they’d lose their income stream. This gives them a perverse financial incentive to actually try and stop Bitcoin becoming popular.
4. New tee at Last Exit to Nowhere: Punxsutawney Phil.

Link roundup

1. "Missouri senator Claire McCaskill says that she is drafting legislation that would require professional sports franchises that skip town prematurely to refund the public. St. Louis now has no NFL team, but incredibly, the city, county, and state still owe a combined $152 million to pay off the Edward Jones Dome."

2. "Life Lessons From the 1968 Playboy Club Bunny Manual"

3. "Ben Carson's national finance chairman Dean Parker resigned Thursday morning amid questions about his use of campaign fund and criticism from Carson allies and donors."

Parker recently began earning a $20,000 monthly salary, which veteran campaign operatives say is unusual for what is typically an unpaid, honorary role."
4. Guitar Hero Live - iOS is $50 off for a few more hours at Amazon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Link roundup

1. Play the LA Times Powerball simulator.

2. "Lessons learned from porting indie games onto arcade cabinets"

3. "The Bizarre Rise of an American Porn Star in Narendra Modi's India"

Link roundup

1. "The UK's Alton Towers has announced Galactica, a three-minute virtual reality flight through space at up to 47mph and 3.5-g. Strapped in face-down with headset on, passengers will travel through an assortment of galactic scenes timed to change with the ride's big moments."

2. "Los Angeles Rams' move means Madden's stadium builders must act fast"

Soldier Field, owned by the city of Chicago, was a famous holdout from Madden for years, finally joining the series for Madden NFL 12. The video game Bears had played in a generic stadium before that.
3. "Wells Fargo Mocks Minnesota Vikings’ 'Photo Bomb' Lawsuit"
The Vikings are building a fancy new stadium and have sold the naming rights to U.S. Bank. To preserve the value of those naming rights, the team made deals with all the owners of the neighboring buildings to determine where and how they could put up signage on these properties.

This includes the couple of buildings that Wells Fargo has next to the stadium site. The bank has since put illuminated Wells Fargo logos on those two 17-story towers...these new signs can only be spotted in aerial images.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Link roundup

1. "Traditional Media Loves these Mobile Game Types"

2. Alabama's preparation for the onside kick:

Alabama coaches noticed all night that Clemson's kick return alignment was really tight. Clemson redshirt freshman wide receiver Trevion Thompson was positioned inside the hash and Alabama figured out Thompson often opened up and didn't look to see if the ball was kicked or not, leaving so much space on the outside for a recovery with a pooch kick.
3. Lego Alien.

Link roundup

1. Bloodstained/armored Finn and riot club-wielding Stormtrooper paper toys.

2. How to make Zankou-style creamy garlic sauce.

3. "Japan To Redesign Its Pictograms to Be More Foreigner Friendly" (no more swastikas to mean "temple").

Link roundup

1. "ancient crocodile discovered in the Sahara was the size of a bus"

2. "Buying multiple $2 tickets in the multistate game may seem logical, but it represents a misunderstanding of the towering odds against claiming the biggest prize"

3. Zootopia toys by Funko available for preorder.

Disney's cosplay suggestions for adults participating in the upcoming Star Wars half marathon



Adults can't wear costumes, so Disney suggested these alternatives:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Link roundup

1. Instructions for making a Lego Tron lightcycle.

2. "Daily Telegraph Installs Workplace Monitors On Journalists’ Desks"

The devices can tell whether newspaper staff are at their desk by using heat and motion sensors, BuzzFeed News has learned.
...
Journalists were baffled by the unannounced appearance of the boxes. Staff resorted to googling the brand name and discovered they were wireless motion detectors produced by a company called OccupEye that monitor whether individuals are using their desks.
...
UPDATE: The devices have been removed following this story.
3. Check out the Shanghai Apple store.

4. "Army, rural values help Harney County sheriff face militants"

Link roundup

1. Gallery of Chinese lottery winners wearing masks.

2. Valentines Day in the world of Harry Potter:

You are invited to attend a bewitching banquet this February for 'Valentine's Dinner in the Great Hall'. You'll be greeted on arrival with welcome drinks and canapés (including a special Love Potion cocktail), before taking your seats on the authentic Great Hall set.
Sitting at individual tables for two decorated with flowers and candles, you and your partner will enjoy a delicious three-course dinner including a starter, main course and assiette of desserts to share. You'll then be given exclusive after-hours access to the Studio Tour with the chance to see sets such as the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore's office, the Weasley kitchen at The Burrow and the Malfoy Manor dining table, before enjoying a drink on Platform 9 3/4.

Following a tankard of Butterbeer in the backlot cafe, you will be able to wander up the wizarding shopping street of Diagon Alley, before arriving at the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model for after-dinner tea, coffee and chocolates. The evening concludes when you return to the Studio Tour lobby to collect your chosen wand.
Tickets are priced at £247.50 each, available to purchase in pairs for £495 from Wednesday 13th January.
3. New Batman vs. Superman toys available for preorder, showing off Aquaman's look.

"Burfict accidentally hit Joey Porter in head, precipitating argument before 2nd penalty"



Also:

Burfict’s sack of Roethlisberger that put the Steelers QB temporarily out of Saturday’s wild-card game . . . looked at first glance clean . . . . That was until you see this angle, showing Burfict getting in a knee to Roethlisberger’s shoulder long after the play was dead
...
Burfict’s actions on Saturday led Ravens guard John Urschel to share video of this hit, which went unnoticed, from Week 17:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Link roundup

1. USA Today in July:

The 36 states that participate in the multi-state lottery are making it harder to win the top prize, but increasing the odds of winning any money.
...
The move is aimed at boosting jackpots as sales have slumped since 2013, the last huge payout.
2. Gruesome Lego bust based on Crimson Peak.

3. "Despite the efforts of the College Football Playoff committee and some media outlets downplaying the financial hit ESPN took by being forced to televise the two national championship semi-final games on New Year’s Eve, media buyers say the network owes upwards of $20 million in ad makegoods for ratings shortfalls for the two games."

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Behind the scenes photos from The Force Awakens

Link.

SyFy posted several 3D printable models based on The Expanse



Several designs posted here.

Link roundup

1. "The Russians are by far the largest agitator of right-wing, anti-government anger in the US. By a landslide." Interesting Twitter feed on what's going on in Oregon.

2. "[Tesla] released version 7.1 of its software for the Model S and Model X, an update that includes a new Summon feature, which allows the vehicle to exit and enter a parking space on its own."

Tesla's software release also includes an update to the its Autosteer feature, which now limits its use to residential roads and roads without a center divider.
3. You can watch the first episode of The Magicians.