Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Best American Comics 2016 is $1.99 right now

400 pages at Amazon.

The Best American Comics 2019 is also $1.99 and 400 pages. (This one I already own and enjoyed.)

Lego set for the Glasgow Wonka experience

Below, a bunch more Glasgow Wonka-related nonsense, including versions added to The Sims, World of Warcraft, and Animal Crossing, and a performance art creature much creepier than The Unknown:

Ukrainian woman discovers someone is selling goods on Chinese social media using an AI-generated version of her that pretends to be Russian


In some videos, the avatars talk about how much they value Russia and China's close ties. In other videos, they praise Chinese history and culture or talk about how much Russian women want to marry Chinese.

"If you marry Russian women, we will wash clothes, cook, and wash dishes for you every day," an avatar said. "We will also give you foreign babies, as many as you want."


HeyGen is an AI company headquartered in Los Angeles that was launched in China in 2020. It specializes in realistic digital avatars, voice generation and video translating.

The technology developed by HeyGen was used in AI videos of Donald Trump and Taylor Swift speaking perfect Mandarin that went viral on Chinese social media in October 2023. According to Forbes, the company is now valued at $75 million.

Articulated Lego Cloud Strife with Buster sword

Search for "chocobo" in Google and spam the yellow button that pops up

New Humble Bundle featuring the Dune tabletop RPG

Starting at $1 for various items including "Wormsign" and "Agents of Dune"

The iOS game Galaxy Mix - Planet Watermelon is a fabulously addictive, 99 cent match 3 game with physics

The score mode is already disturbingly addictive, and the zen mode let's you play forever.

Speaking of iOS games, FWIW:
[Apple Arcade] is now laser-focused on family-friendly games with big IP attached, supplemented by one or two new ‘App Store Greats’ per month, which are repurposed free to play games with ads and IAPs removed.
Existing App Store titles that are re-released as part of the ‘App Store Greats’ range of games are not paid for upfront, said one developer, and are only subject to bonus pool payments. This naturally benefits games with longer-term retention, but makes shorter narrative games and premium-style indie titles unlikely to earn a decent payback. This is why there’s been a slow purge of these types of games from the service over the last few years.

Today's news and jokes

Deluxe Where's Waldo with dog figure is 50% off in the one day sale

And 65% off a set of 3.75" Marvel figures.

Cookware with a Sandevistan

This is as good as any martial arts training montage I've seen in a movie

@with_lese #foryou ♬ original sound - With_Lese

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Fan art of the Glasgow Oompa Loompas and evil chocolatier The Unknown

Here's a bunch more photos of the Oompa Loompa and other nonsense from the event:

Striking doctors in South Kora have been threatened with arrest if they don't return to work

"doctors are struggling to convince the public that more doctors would be a bad thing and have garnered little sympathy"

New Humble Bundle featuring creative sandbox video games

Steam scores displayed.

$100,000 reward offered for stolen beehives


 “Quite likely it’s another beekeeper, and that’s what really stings about it: beekeepers stealing from other beekeepers.”

And it wasn’t the first time his hives had gone missing. In the 25 years he’s been raising bees, [the owner] estimates he’s had close to 1,000 hives stolen. It was time, he thought, to take a stand.

So [the owner] is advertising a $100,000 reward for information on the bee thief — about three times more than the 96 hives are worth. He’s hoping that sizable sum is enough to get someone close to the culprit — a wife, sister, brother — to turn him in.

Today's news and jokes

Fun Lord of the Rings illustrations from 1961

More in the thread, and the books is available at Amazon.

Desert camo Blood Angeles Warhammer 40k Space Marines, with painting instructions

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Lego golden dragon

Custom lamp of the glowing blue worm creature from Elden Ring

Bonus, some good fan art:

Would you fight Spirit Noodle?
byu/Rojom inEldenring

A company called Safer Human Medicine has announced plans to build a large facility in Georgia to breed monkeys for scientific experimentation

The breeding facility would dwarf others in the United States and could ease a serious shortage of monkeys for research
China, which supplied more than half of the 70,000 research monkeys used annually in the U.S., stopped exporting them in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. China hasn’t resumed exports; instead it is breeding monkeys for its own researchers and competing with the U.S. to buy monkeys from other countries, according to the report.

Since then, “The price of monkeys has gone through the roof”

Today's news and jokes

(Glasgow, here's a write-up.)

Mafex Thor action figure is 40% off in the one day sale

And Masterpiece Thundercracker is also 40% off.

Funny anecdote about a 5'1" soldier meeting who he thought was an "old-ass sergeant major"

From "The Unit: My Life Fighting Terrorists as One of America's Most Secret Military Operatives" available at Amazon:
Inside our military is a team of operators whose work is so secretive that the name of the unit itself is classified. Highly-trained in warfare, self-defense, infiltration, and deep surveillance, "the Unit," as the Department of Defense has asked us to refer to it, has been responsible for preventing dozens of terrorist attacks in the Western world. Never before has a member of this unit shared their story — until now.

From Adam Gamal, one of the only Muslim Arab Americans to serve inside “the Unit," comes an incisive firsthand account of our nation’s most secretive military group. When Adam arrived in the United States at the age of twenty, he spoke no English, and at 5’1” and 112 pounds, he was far from what you might expect of a soldier. But compelled into service by a debt he felt he owed to his new country, he rose through the ranks of the military to become one of its most elite and skilled operators.

With humor and humility, Adam shares stories of life-threatening injuries, of the camaraderie and capabilities of his team, and of the incredible missions―but also of the growth he experienced as he learned to understand his own moderate faith.

Enthralling and eye-opening, The Unit is at once a gripping account of the fight against terror, an urgent examination of the need for diversity, and an inside look at how America fights its battles abroad in the modern age of terrorism.

This edition includes a 16 page color photo insert.

The LA Time asked an expert for specific recommendations on fixing nightmarish parking lots

Yes, various lots around the city featuring Trader Joe's and In-N-Out. The article features detailed animated clips highlighting and solving problems.

Some good quotes by James Clavell discussing the level of historical accuracy in Shogun

From the NY Times review of the FX series:
It is sumptuously produced, mostly well acted and not excessively sentimental or sensational. If its story seems to stop and start a bit, there are reasons for that, which become clear in a satisfying and moving ending; if there are major characters who don’t stand up to scrutiny, there are others who come alive and hold your interest. It may not live up to its hype, and it may leave you wondering why so much time (more than a decade) and money needed to be spent reanimating Clavell’s tale. But it delivers.
(Assuming my memory of the book is right, I loved the advice that if you simply can't win, delay until you can.) (And the second way ninjas are used.)

Oh, one more thing:

Monday, February 26, 2024

Denise Crosby running from an Armus cosplayer on the Star Trek cruise

Stop-motion video showing off Joytoy's new bargain figures

Amazon has most of these for preorder for about $19 plus an additional 5% off coupon.

Nineteen MLB teams are "currently projected to open the 2024 season with reduced payrolls"

Front Office Sports:

As spring training games have now begun, a key quartet of star players still have not signed with any team for the 2024 season: reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, World Series hero Jordan Montgomery (above), four-time Gold Glove winner Matt Chapman, and slugger J.D. Martinez. All are represented by prominent agent Scott Boras

Great cover for the IAEA's report "An Electron Accelerator Accident in Hanoi, Viet Nam"

Available for download.

Today's news and jokes

Maybe one day we'll have a virtual version of Galaxy's Edge with all the planned bells and whistles

Speaking of virtual theme park reconstructions:


Also, here's Starcruiser viewport footage:

At 40 seconds, he shows how to put on a duvet

If you preorder Robin Sloan's upcoming new novel, you'll receive a bonus zine

From his latest newsletter (which features lots of great book recommendations etc):

I want to really launch this book of mine.


I have begun the design of a limited-edition launch zine intended as a reward for Moonbound preorders. This will only be printed once; it will only be available one way. 

(The newsletter has the email address to forward your receipt.)

From Amazon's listing:

It is eleven thousand years from now . . . A lot has happened, and yet a lot is still very familiar. Ariel is a boy in a small town under a wizard’s rule. Like many adventurers before him, Ariel is called to explore a world full of unimaginable glories and challenges: unknown enemies, a mission to save the world, a girl. Here, as they say, be dragons. But none of this happens before Ariel comes across an artifact from an earlier civilization, a sentient, record-keeping artificial intelligence that carries with it the perspective of the whole of human history―and becomes both Ariel’s greatest ally and the narrator of our story.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Some extremely cheap Super 7 Ultimates at Entertainment Earth right now

Baroness, Lady-J, Buzz, for around $15 each (my link should give 10% off), and Grimlock, Bludgeon, and some Power Rangers for around $25.

Long list of things that went wrong with Intuitive Machines' moon lander this week

NY Times (the article also describes a lot of frantic software updates that salvaged a survivable landing):

When Odysseus arrived at the moon on Wednesday, it was supposed to enter a circular orbit about 62 miles above the surface. But because of inaccuracies in its trajectory, the spacecraft ended up in an elliptical orbit


when controllers checked the data the next morning — just hours before the planned landing on Thursday — they discovered that one laser had not fired. It was then discovered that the safety switches on the two range finder lasers were still enabled when Odysseus went to space.

There was no way to flip the switches


Because the spacecraft fell over, its antennas are not pointed directly at Earth, limiting the amount of information that can go back and forth


a small camera system built by students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., that was supposed to eject when Odysseus was about 100 feet above the ground and capture pictures of the landing.

There was not enough time to include the deployment of the camera in the patched landing software, so it remains attached to Odysseus

Mark Twain cosplay on a Star Trek cruise


The dramedy "Blackberry" about the meteoric rise and collapse of the tech company is now on Hulu--everyone's a villain

Not as good as the startling high scores displayed at Rotten Tomatoes, but entertaining and reaches existential horror by the end. And the actor they chose to play the ballbuster hired to keep the workers in line is fun casting.

(Here's Wikipedia's summary of the CEO's attempts to buy a NHL team.)

Today's news and jokes

Plush toys based on prehistoric creatures