Saturday, May 31, 2014

and a few more of your least favorite things

How LEDs are made.

What happens inside a running dishwasher.

Black tomatoes could stave off cancer? It's an interesting idea.

Meanwhile, in Neverwinter...

[Zone] Demons of Death@lldemonics: WHY CANT I BUY ZEN?

Wau, calm down there, Demon..."Demons of Death"? Seriously? And you talk in all caps? Ugh.

[Zone] Shaft Roundtree@shaftroundtree: it's empty, zen
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: you can buy all the zen you want, you just have to WAIT
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: if you can't wait, go slash your **)#((# wrists


Whoa whoa whoa, uncalled for. Not cool.

[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: If you choose the latter option remember it's down the street not across the road.

Not helping.

[Zone] Demons of Death@lldemonics: wait for what?
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: tokens are automatic
[Zone] Potted Plant@pottedplants: how do you get mount requisition tokens?
[Zone] Potted Plant@pottedplants: cheaper than mounts
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: they're band-aids on not having the cash to buy a mount
[Zone] Potted Plant@pottedplants: k


Okay, fairly rude, but question asked and answered, I guess, so we move on.

[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: i will mount u for free

*facepalms*

[Zone] Demons of Death@lldemonics: how do i buy zen..
[Zone] Rin@maskedobito: Zen died


Snarky.

And then, religion entered the picture.

[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: would you rather the atheists argue incessantly about how #)#%(! Jesus is?
[Zone] Aran-Alaric Slysbane@convertordie27: The atheists I know, only lol at Mr. Cheezus when provoked.
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: 90% of the religious tirades in chat are atheists ranting about christianity. Who gives a @$&*?
[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay


...Wait, go back one. What was that?

[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: So are you. Your point?
[Zone] Pusherman@pushermanva: that was a super intellient statement
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: just beyond your grasp
[Zone] Pusherman@pushermanva: jfc
[Zone] CancunTsarEonMystic@captcancuntsar: And Putser is ignored! :)
[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: can't we all just get along?

I hate to say it, but YoMama does have a point here.

[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: Anyone who calls another gay is usually trying to hide something about themselves ;)
[Zone] CancunTsarEonMystic@captcancuntsar: Ba dum ba, bing!
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: never straight always forward
[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: %((( no


So, Forcytus...are you saying, you disagree with Damian's statement, or you disagree with YoMama's statement? It's hard to figure out.

[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: my nips are hard like little pencil erasers -just saying

We did not need to know this. Just saying.

Zone] CancunTsarEonMystic@captcancuntsar: Clothes pins!
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: been there. done that
[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: YoMama: Arc Welder
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: i like peanut butter cookies


...Good to know?

[Zone] Juggler@instantjaks: Any perma stealth's around willing to let me pick their brains on something? ^^
[Zone] Thom@throsbi: i dont perma stealth.......i want you to see death
[Zone] Thom@throsbi: stab stab stab stab


It's important to have goals.

[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: can someone make me the "Exquisite Gemmed Butt Thong" ??

Obviously, you are way too oversexed for this game. Seriously.

[Zone] Thia@imiq: wghat about chinese?
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: Gay as in merry or gay as in &^!! shoot?
[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: Eityher
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: people get along when they remember to be civil because a real person is on the other end
[Zone] CancunTsarEonMystic@captcancuntsar: Other end of wut?
[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: %((( I'm done


Seriously. That's almost too stupid to be in Zone chat.

[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay

What, do you have that phrase on copy-paste? The hell?

[Zone] Thom@throsbi: %((( shoot gay? um never heard it like that b4
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: %(( to my house -just follow the hershey highway
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: Thom, you need to get out more
[Zone] putser@m444n: gay is wrong yes?
[Zone] CancunTsarEonMystic@captcancuntsar: Boot scoot boogie!
[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: Why would you want to shoot *(#(?


It's a phrase, it means...never mind.

[Zone] putser@m444n: gay is wrong yes?

You said that already. Also, no, it's not wrong. You might be...but simply being gay isn't wrong, no.

[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay

And dear GODS, you've said THAT already.

[Zone] Aran-Alaric Slysbane@convertordie27: Real people on the internet? Surely you jest, good sir!
[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: Gay is ok Putser
[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: Ignorant is wrong
[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay
[Zone] Kuzmor@ericcarvalhopont: %((( you
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: lol
[Zone] Thom@throsbi: and faggots are a bundle of wood


Right, so putser's a broken record, got it. And, surprisingly enough, the usual contingent of no-women-gamers, all-hot-girls-are-sluts, if-you're-not-white-you're-not-human beliefs seem to be pushed aside in favor of screw-you-gays-are-fine. I'm...actually vaguely impressed.

[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: If you're not gay, you shouldn't give a !$%* whether or not it's wrong
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: in other words, mind your own !!$(^@@ business
[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay
[Zone] D'Vanthsgrup@cagedrat: why the russians?
[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: I personally think gay people should get married. If they wanna be miserable more power to them.
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: i'm all for that


Me too. Not the miserable bit, the getting married bit.

[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: let people be people, whether gay, or christian or atheist
[Zone] D'Vanthsgrup@cagedrat: i little more prejudiced than normal in /zone tonight, what gives?
[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: Seriously if people hate gays so much why reserve the torture of marriage for straights
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: the &)#*& will get half!
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: why do some people think they must cram their beliefs down everyone's throats?


Well, because they're angry. Because they're hurting. Because they have all these feelings of ill use and they feel they must stamp their truths upon the world so that everything that their head screams at them, is reflected by the world at large. Maybe they think it will make the screaming stop, who knows?

[Zone] s0phie@w0yaoni2: stop being ignorant, it's their business who they want to love
[Zone] Paçoca@thyrestrepo: the zoera never ends :v
[Zone] s0phie@w0yaoni2: why do you even care?
[Zone] Nycher@stalkinn: anyone can do anything they like as long as it dosent affect a non consenting person
[Zone] CancunTsarEonMystic@captcancuntsar: Beliefs is the name I gave my wnag.
[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay=war

What? Not putser, I think we all get it now, but CancunTsar. What?

[Zone] s0phie@w0yaoni2: as long as they dont do anything in public, leave them alone

Well, let's define terms here, s0phie: "anything" is a vast, wide word. Do you mean, no affections at all? No hugging, or hand-holding, or kissing? Or do you just mean the "icky" stuph--leather daddies throwing glitter, young men in tight hot pants piercing each other's nipples, tongue-wrestling and face-sucking battles, full-on penetration?

[Zone] D'Vanthsgrup@cagedrat: putser, gotta ignore you on principle

It's a good principle to have.

[Zone] s0phie@w0yaoni2: you are not goin join them in their sexual, arent you?

What does that even mean?

[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: Putser You are an ignorant twit

Well, yes. That much has become painfully obvious. But is he just a twit, or an active troll?

[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: yeah, putser is being a freak-azilla
[Zone] Leinad@colorblindbadger: if you dont like gay marriage then dont marry somebody of the same $@#... BOOM problem solved
[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay=war ?
[Zone] Aran-Alaric Slysbane@convertordie27: putser is being a fail troll
[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: ah gotta love that ignore button
[Zone] YoMamaOwesMeRent@minrod666: with a name like putser.. well...


To be fair...

[Zone] Forcytus@forcitus: I mean, they can't do any more damage to the sanctity of marriage than what straight people have already done, not mentioning any names
[Zone] Eliam Cross@ironknights1964: Putz is a yiddish term, I think
[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are gay=war ?P
[Zone] putser@m444n: wait :_
[Zone] [Zone] putser@m444n: it was a typo :)
[Zone] putser@m444n: all chinese are gay :)


So...putser's standard eight to nine word phrase was a typo this time around? He meant to say a four word phrase featuring a different country entirely?

...Maybe he's off his meds?

[Zone] putser@m444n: boom they win

I guess, but how does China going to war with the US make China, North Korea, Russia and America gay? That's the part I can't figure out.

And then:

[Zone] JustinBieber@gavinkhoo: Baby baby baby ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[Zone] H'airy ClamMaster@captcancuntsar: Sorry, had to de Bieber my screen.


I'd tend to agree, but in the middle of this morass of gay-bashing, to have Bieber start warbling at us was...decidedly odd.

[Zone] JustinBieber@gavinkhoo: If i was your boyfriend~~~~~ never let u go~~~~~~~~~~~~
[Zone] JustinBieber@gavinkhoo: Keep u on my arm girl~~~~~~~~~~~ u never be alone~~~~~~~~
[Zone] Damian Blackthorne@rehs: Ack Bieber kill it
[Zone] JustinBieber@gavinkhoo: I can be gentleman~~~~ anything u want~~~~~~~~
[Zone] Vicorin@Quetzaqoatl: ignoreded

Also a good impulse...

[Zone] H'airy ClamMaster@captcancuntsar: Yes, but it grows back bigger each time.
[Zone] JustinBieber@gavinkhoo: IF i was your boyfriend~~~ i never let u go~~~~~~~ i never let u go~~~~~~~
[Zone] Master Batey@jwb41981: you unfortunately can't ignore bieber... multiple people seem to be doing it.
[Zone] Moiraine Damodred@abaddon523: Can you be not Justin Bieber?


Yes, can you not? Please?

[Zone] Master Batey@jwb41981: anyone know why there's a dead asian guy and cat between the AH and the tearmulane bar guy?

There's that conversational whiplash again.

[Zone] Tälön Von Wülfskrieg@Romulus_Prime: former spammer?
[Zone] Vicorin@Quetzaqoatl: because he asked a stupid question
[Zone] H'airy ClamMaster@captcancuntsar: The cat didn't want to be eaten?
[Zone] Gwenn Shadowblade@novarein: The ppl in this game have nothing else to say except troll and insultn


Pretty much.

[Zone] putser@m444n: americans and russians and north koreans are into war and unhappyness

Oh, for the love of all gods, enough.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

and your eyes are the size of the moon

[Zone] GhOsT RiDeR@wtopaforever: %)** you leader party scorrect this is scorrect game farm event

As usual, I wandered into controversy in Zone chat...

[Zone] Eyeliah@decapticus: guys terrorists have my familly and want astral diamonds :(
[Zone] Maevrick Wytchbane@maverickactual: was that supposed to be english Ghost?
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: learn english then come back

Rather abrupt, but perhaps they'd been dealing with this longer than I had.

[Zone] MrTolis@hfaistos123: ffj english and morrigan
[Zone] MrTolis@hfaistos123: fk english and morrigan
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: I don't want to why should I have to partake in intercourse

...Wait, what?

[Zone] GhOsT RiDeR@wtopaforever: %)* you scorrect player
[Zone] Saftbauer@juicefarmer: hahha, anyone else notice that they used water sound effect for the fires everywhere

They did?

[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: is scorrect your tick ghostrider?
[Zone] Gravitas@gravita5: Education?
[Zone] Noztr@Bigstoo666: yep water fire
[Zone] Sharau@filledejoueur: education is a wonderful thing lol
[Zone] Saftbauer@juicefarmer: srsly, all the fires have water sound effect
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: not enough funding
[Zone] GhOsT RiDeR@wtopaforever: ban forever for you welcome my list stupid players

I'm assuming he means his block list. Unless he means he's writing everyone's handle down in his black book, or something, that's likely what it is.

[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: holy ()^% what did he even say I think he said he was going to bomb the white house

.....

The hell, Morrigan?!?

[Zone] Gravitas@gravita5: ?
[Zone] Crumb@docjake: sounds like @@$^)!^ on tin foil to me
[Zone] Gravitas@gravita5: ??
[Zone] Saftbauer@juicefarmer: someone is gonna get fired... teehee

Yeah. No one got that.

[Zone] Sharau@filledejoueur: and now the rest of our chat shall be monitored lol
[Zone] GhOsT RiDeR@wtopaforever: (!$&* all scorrect players *(#$ xd
[Zone] TrickTrack@eucatastrofe: (!$&*(@@ on a tin foil? got to try that lol
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: you watched a bad movie ghost get over it
[Zone] Gravitas@gravita5: White House? &#^(&? Monitored? What?
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: you are making me need to go potty dang it stop!

I...don't understand Morrigan at all.

[Zone] Lone Stranger@mac270: It's not, it's the sound of rain flowing over a blocked gutter, what the hell is the world coming to, it's 2008 #*&@!)$*^#!
[Zone] Saftbauer@juicefarmer: listen to the fires!!! & they sound like tiny little waterfalls!!!
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: googuru

*blinks*

[Zone] Shorty@barbrawlah: google it

Uh...okay. This was the only thing that came up, which...makes zero sense.

[Zone] Harken Stone'Fist@seigharth: when's the best chance to attack an invisible rogue
[Zone] Priestess Tuarein@LordGiger69: block everything
[Zone] Saftbauer@juicefarmer: stand in the foyer of the trade of blades, sounds like an old sink or something

Are these three statements connected??

[Zone] Tyken@accorbation: Get a Lantern for invis

You mean, the Artifact Lantern? But...that only makes people behind walls visible. They'd be visible if they weren't behind a wall or in another chamber.

[Zone] Eyeliah@decapticus: you guys dont have hearts
[Zone] Sora of -BLANK-@kurenaiizuchi: stop tyring to twink
[Zone] OneDay@MURDERaSTAR: can i equip my boots on my head that will work right
[Zone] OneDay@MURDERaSTAR: an gloves on the feet

Uh...no. If it says boots, it only fits on the feet. If it says amulet, it only goes around the neck.

[Zone] Paladin@bonecrkr1: Where can I buy an XXXXXL codpiece
[Zone] Gravitas@gravita5: The liars club!
[Zone] Theren Loyalar@usethehilt: You mean xxxxxxxxxs?
[Zone] Sharau@filledejoueur: LOL @Gravitas
[Zone] Sappho@Huddicles: Fantasy Vendor. or Delusion Mart
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: what is a codpiece?

Ack, conversational whiplash, in two different directions.

[Zone] Paladin@bonecrkr1: Bend over and I'll show you
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: something you equip on a fish?
[Zone] GhOsT RiDeR@wtopaforever: Morrigan@mahonswinter - ignored ....

I thought you ignored her earlier, "GhOsT RiDeR"...and, having taken the time to type that out, you have to be 13 or something. No one else types like that.

[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: what a child you stopped typing all that time to figure out HOW to do it lol
[Zone] Sharau@filledejoueur: do it and shut up about it then, ghost rider
[Zone] Sappho@Huddicles: you ignored someone? so (&^#|@! what?
[Zone] BattleConnoisseur@th3dank3st: i ignored your mom last night
[Zone] Gravitas@gravita5: There he is! I see you GhOsT!
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: jump on him!
[Zone] Morrigan@mahonswinter: *boing boing*
[Zone] GhOsT RiDeR@wtopaforever: scorrect players ignored report for ban ....



Much random. Wau. Very confuse.

[Zone] Gravitas@gravita5: What is a scorrect player?

Got me.

And then I left, so thankfully, the torture was over.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

how come they're all living in places with too much snow or too much sand?

The Funny Puppet Fair opened May 11th, and I missed a great deal of it, but once I remembered, I had to go see what it was like. The first thing I noticed--and really, really liked--was that outside of the individual stores, everything's the same set of textures. I'd even take it one farther and say that everything on the parcel is the same texture, just retinted, so even though practically everything's mesh, it loads quite speedily. I had more problems getting individual vendors to load inside the stores than I had loading in the ground, the walls, the roofs, and the swooping fences. It also gave the entire grounds a charmingly cartoonish feel, without being overly precious or cute to the point of toxicity.

So, a few things about this fair. First, there's a free set of little mesh sorta-puppet avatars at the beam-in point--one's ostensibly "male" (as in, plain, no details, nice texturing, simple construction), and the other's ostensibly "female" (same body shape, but the torso's tinted pink and there's blushing on the cheeks). I'm not sure why they felt the girl version had to be blushing, but hey, their call.

The entire fair's separated into four swooping sections, with separate half-circles scattered throughout for small cart stands, and gacha stations (while some stores have their own gachas, most of the makers put their gacha machines in one central area per section). There's a L$1 hunt through the grounds, too, but the main problem I had with that is I've come to expect (for events and mall hunts, both) signs notifying which stores have prizes, and which don't. The problem with this hunt is that half the stores didn't have the sign up, and had prizes anyway. Plus, some of the carts had prizes, too. Probably the gacha areas have prizes.

I ended up (after today's trip through) with forty of the prizes; I'm fairly sure there are more. So take that under advisement. (Also keep in mind that many of the teeny stars really are teeny--like, the size of my avatar's thumb teensy. Not even kidding, some designers really sized them down. It's not Twisted hunt-hard--nothing is--but it's not easy.)

(from the events album; the crop tops from Spoiled/Rotten at the Funny Puppet Fair.)

Also, there's some disparity on what qualifies items for the "funny puppet" aspect. SL being SL, there seems to be a pretty even split between quasi-legitimately young girls' concerns (Lolita shoes, frills, lace, cutesy furniture items, holdable plushies) and adult women playing fetishized little girls. (Y'know, this versus this, say. And don't worry, both pictures are SFW.) In that case, there's a lot of pastel pink or teal or pale peach fabrics imprinted with cute foodstuffs, dessert items, or adorable baby animals, but everything's either cleavage to the waist or a miniskirt that hits the upper thighs.

The crop tops shown above are from Spoiled/Rotten, and they're found in section A. These retail for L$100 each, and come in four varieties: Panda (pink), Lamb (grey), Friendly Sushi (Teal), and Kitty (Tan Leopard on White).
(from the events album; the shorts from NS at the Funny Puppet Fair.)

Case in point, these are the shorts being sold on the left, and the full-body "modeled" shot featuring the shorts, and a top that is likely found in the main store, but not available in the event store, on the right. And for me, it's the top that pushes this outfit over the edge.

While they're a little lower than hip-huggers--okay, a staggering lot lower than hip-huggers--that's not exactly my issue. The mesh template is good, the texturing looks sound and well-shaded. As far as it goes, even the top looks well-made, but....well, let's just say the design does not exactly suggest melting ice cream to me, y'unnerstan? Especially as it's equipped with Lolas Tango appliers.

The "Cool Summer Shorts" from NS, found in section B. They retail for L$100 individually, or you can buy the HUD version which packs in all seven patterns in one pair of shorts for L$250.

(from the events album; the Dolly Doll avatars from Duck or Swan at the Funny Puppet Fair.)

Changing directions in a whip-snapping way, how about these anime-inspired Dolly Doll avatars? From head and hair to boots, with the mesh body in between, this is one of the better avatar deals you're going to find. It comes in four different variations (I think the boots are also sold separately, but I'm not entirely sure they'll fit anything other than this avatar), these are sweet and cute and largely innocent compared to half of everything they're surrounded by. I'm extremely tempted, not just because they actually do look like young girls, without looking like the wet-dream pouty-teenager version of 'young' we've grown accustomed to seeing on the grid--but because they look so much like adorable little dolls we can walk around in.

The Dolly Doll avatars from Duck or Swan can be found in section C. These retail for $350 per avatar (boots, hair, hairbow, dress, body and head included).

(from the events album; the Kawaii Candy t-shirt dress from RD Style at the Funny Puppet Fair.)

And we whiplash back for the last one I wanted to show off--the "Kawaii Candy" t-shirt mesh dress from RD Style. This is more of what I meant by the Fair splitting into two pretty clear camps: this is an outfit that plainly couldn't exist off the grid. There is zero way, zero way that dress would be held up at all with that plunging a neckline. But of course it's festooned with cutesy little candy motifs, because it's that fetishized little-girl thing again. Which would be sort of understandable, ish, save for the 19th-century-style gartered stockings. The hair (which is gorgeous--is it from Ploom or somewhere else?) can be worn by a young girl or an adult woman; the stockings might be able to be worn by an upper-ages teenager or an adult woman; but that dress can only be worn by an adult woman, because young girls just do not have that cleavage, and, frankly, shouldn't.

The Kawaii Candy outfit from RD Style in section D. This retails for L$120 and includes low-cut t-shirt dress, stockings with garters (including SLink appliers) and two "kawaii" tattoos. (Some outfits also include shoes for an equivalent price; this one does not.)

Overall, I liked the Funny Puppet Fair; I'd like to go back before it closes on the 25th and buy some things, because I like most of the offerings, too. It's pretty well organized and efficiently laid out, and I was able to cover everything at a nice, even stroll in about ninety minutes--and that included backtracking and picture-taking time. I just think we need to be careful that we don't oversexualize events that are supposed to have children in attendance (even if those children are only ones by SL standards).

You can find out more about the Funny Puppet Fair (including much better pictures than mine) on these blogs:
...and, goodness, that's now page 8 on Google search, I think that's plenty! You get the idea, anyway.

There's also a Youtube video on the fair, but...again, it's predominantly pitched to children, I think. Someone's missing the point...or ignoring it.

Still, that's hardly new to the doll community at large, is it? We have always been a widely diverse group of individuals. Young dolls, rag dolls, wooden dolls, cyborgs, gynoids, sexbots, porcelain dolls, littles, fetish dolls...and somehow, some way, we all manage to keep staggering together in a semi-united fashion. It takes a village...well, maybe if our village contains Bedlam. Still, it all works out.

In its own way, this does too. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I left my home to disappear is all

Two new polymers have been discovered by IBM researchers, apparently completely by accident. They haven't been officially named yet, but are going by the code names of "Titan", a super-strong, light chained polymer, and "Hydro", a polymer that dissolves back into a goo state when exposed to acidic water (making it ideal for recyclable plastic applications).

In the meantime, astronomers observing Jupiter have noted that the Great Red Spot--in reality a giant storm thousands of miles wide--seems to be shrinking. No one's sure why yet, but it's the smallest it's been in over one hundred years.

This will shred your heart, but it's so worth the listen: redhandmedia's spoken-word film of Ryan Red Corn's poem, Bad Indians:
i am armed to the teeth with words from the ivory tower
and those good indians told me its borrowed power if...
if i talk loud enough
if i talk clear enough
that i would be heard
that for some talking is singing
that for some singing is praying
but i guess that depends on who is doing the talking
and i guess that depends on who is doing the listening
Moving from reality to myth, archeologists in Suffolk believe they might have found Black Shuck, buried under Leiston Abbey in England. They're going to carbon-date the bones, which may or may not prove anything, but even if it was some abbot's hunting dog, the bones equate to an animal that would have seven feet tall on its hind legs, and weighed over two hundred pounds.

Whether it's the legendary Hell Hound or not, it's an impressive--and old--animal.

In the meantime, UKIP--or the UK Independence Party--is coming under fire on two fronts. Firstly, a Facebook comment left by politician John Lyndon Sullivan that directly attacks gay citizens for, essentially, being gay--with the pointed line of wondering how quickly they'd drop the purported act of being gay if one of them was shot (and presumed slain). Which is bizarre enough, but then Nigel Farage, leader of the party, goes on a radio interview to defend the inherent stupidity of the things being said (and done) with the traditional "I don't know this guy" defense.

This from the party who--infamously--has an intense prejudice against immigrants, and yet hired a firm with exclusively Eastern European immigrants to pass out election leaflets for them. Why? Because that firm was willing to work for far less than anyone else.

I'm fine with cost effectiveness, but it does seem intensely hypocritical to decry immigrants on one hand and hire them on the other. One endorses, one pushes aside. Can one effectively hold both positions at once?

Finally, have the Twitter joke that was five years in the making. Beautifully played, indeed.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

walking by myself down avenues that reek of time to kill

The capability of 3D printing has taken another leap forward, this time into low-cost, home brain scans. Through a combination of software from GitHub, the controller board and 3D headset rig from OpenBCI, with possible additions from the Arduino system for power and interfacing, the entire thing (assuming you have a 3D printer already) will set you back between anywhere between three and six hundred, depending on whatever you already have for home electronics design. Which is a vast reduction from the tens of thousands for a commercially-available brain-scan set-up.

In other brain-hacking news, DARPA wants to develop a "black-box" implant for soldiers who've suffered brain damage, that can be remotely triggered to stimulate memories. On that link, it's being described as a helpful way to keep soldiers with brain damage awake and aware, which sounds laudable. And the potential commercial and medical uses of such adaptive technology could be very good for brain injury cases. But I'm paranoid enough to be suspicious of potential alternate motives...like, remote-controlled soldiers, systemically fed overriding signals directly into the brain to do...well, whatever DARPA and the Pentagon wants, one would assume.

Do the potential medical uses outweigh the potential mind-control ones? I don't know. Morality gets iffy on the edge.

Paired with this, the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (apparently that's a thing) released a paper earlier this year detailing ways to create and manage "warfighters", or chemically and physiologically enhanced supersoldiers. Obvious comparisons to Captain America and the supersoldier program from the comics come to mind, and admittedly, between the Avengers movie and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show, supersoldiers would be in the forefront of at least some think tanks' research lines.

But there's a difference between theory and application, and it's important to remember that the IHMC works with DARPA, for many of their projects. Within a decade, we could have active "warfighters" on the battlefield. Is this a good thing?

Keep in mind, also, that both the US Navy and DARPA researchers have requested grant funds to finish developing tracking tattoos for soldiers. Prototypes of such devices already exist, that will track stress levels, skin responses, and the like, but most of these are wearable items--armbands, wristbands, et cetera. These would be a fine network of implanted electronic sensors under the skin, with tattooed coding or design atop that could be scanned for further information. Let me say this again, because it's vaguely important--this isn't theory; they're seeking completion funds. This will be happening at some point.

From Laughing Squid comes some literary horror--in this instance, artist Andrea Mastrovito's diorama paper installations. Why is this horrifying? Because, even though we have extraordinarily detailed, photorealistic color printers, she still destroyed over two thousand books to make her art.

Two thousand. My soul shudders.

And Vihart has an absolutely excellent eleven-minute video on the state of net neutrality in the US at present. If you're in the US, follow the links given underneath the video to air your concerns to the FCC. It's very important to do this calmly, responsibly, but clearly, in the hopes that public input will sway them to change commercial ISP definitions from information carriers to common carriers.

If you're not in the US, there's still a ton of tasty information below the video--everything from term definitions to other videos on current net neutrality concerns, plus links to a lot of court case rulings for the growing monopoly that is cable in the US.

That's all. You can return to your day, already in progress.

Friday, May 9, 2014

and I'm caught in the crossfire of my own thoughts

And today, a clip post. Because reasons.
"A sizable coalition of technology companies has today taken a stand in favor of net neutrality in the form of a letter to the Federal Communications Commission. The group, led by giants including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, and Yahoo, challenges a proposal the FCC is considering that threatens net neutrality."
Now, this is interesting. There are some big tech giants in this--Google, Netflix, and Amazon among them--and they're all protesting this change as an essential violation of net neutrality. And the thing is, they're right, and the FCC is wrong, so why is the FCC pushing forward with this plan?

The simple answer's usually the right one, and in this case, that means pressure from the government, or the cable companies. My bet's on the cable companies. Comcast, for instance, desperately wants to start charging higher fees for data-heavy video streaming from sites like Netflix, Youtube, Hulu Plus and other streaming sites. The problem with that is, back in 2011, the report was that Netflix accounted for 22% of all internet use, and three years later, it's higher. And the problem with that is how the data's structured in the first place.

Without restructuring how the data's presented to the individual, there's no way to get away from that heavy data hit in the beginning. And without that heavy data hit, Comcast (and other companies) likely wouldn't care about charging different rates to different clients. Or maybe they would, and all of this would've happened eventually. Who knows?

In the meantime, none of these I'd count in the average DIY camp. Still, if you're interested, the pictures don't help much, so...
  • HildenDiaz did the actual "Forms in Nature" (aka, "haunted forest" or "forest shadow") chandelier, but if you want to attempt it yourself, watch Threadbanger's Man vs. Pin video first. Recommendations I'd add to that: forget the spherical branch globe, see if you can get a cylindrical or a square base frame instead to add branches to, or at least, a cylindrical or square shape made of twigs, over the round globe. The various branches aren't the worst idea, but remember this picture? Yeah, a skill saw and some thin plywood will likely serve you better. Finally, because you want a really bright light, try to find a 250 watt bulb. (just make sure your light kit is rated for a bulb that high), or go with what the original artists did: a custom-designed LED frame lamp inset that is designed to cast crisp, clean shadows. Without that, it just won't work in the same way.
  • Designsponge has the paper orb drop lamp project (along with a popsicle stick/tongue depressor chandelier that looks very stylish).
  • Kevin Champeny's Tumblr mentions the construction of his Gummi-bear chandelier; while nylon string, the ring, and mesh of sufficient size and sturdiness could be fairly easily acquired, his personalized casts aren't. How'ver, if you're willing to use Gummi-bear-sized bears, this is a fairly simple way to cast your own. Then all you'd need is a Dremel tool to drill each bear lengthwise for stringing. Use Champeny's Candelier as a tutorial for how to string it all together--but keep in mind, even a smaller-sized Candelier will be significantly heavy, and take some serious time to make.
  • Yaroslav Olenev's plastic spoon lamp doesn't have a complete tutorial, but it does have several enlargeable photographs, and sometimes, that'll work too.
  • Ludwig Metals made the drum-kit lamp, but Makely Home has a good handle on a smaller version. Plus, this site has a good breakdown on various pendant-light kits and what each lamp might require.
  • Tongue and Groove sells Gregory Bonasera's ceramic teacup lights, but in addition to this lovely list of pictorial inspirations, Man vs. Pin made the definitive teacup lamp DIY vid. Don't want a desk lamp? No problem--use the same tricks to make a pendant lamp, or a group of pendants, with teacups of your choice.
  • Calabarte makes the gourd lamps, and they are luscious things of beauty. How'ver, since they are ridiculously priced, Makezine has a really simple version (see the video on the Lifehacker site), Martha Stewart has a slightly more upscale version, and the Goods Home Design blog offers a Calabarte-style pictorial tutorial on how to make a gourd lamp.
  • made the "Ballroom Luminoso", but to make one yourself, you're going to have to remember the tips from the first lamp: because this one also uses a custom-designed LED rig. Also, you'll need to know how to weld, because these are a lot of bike gears, and they'll all need to be welded to each other. There are some better pictures from the PDF the artists released, but there's not a lot to reproduce this exact design. I did find a gear table lamp made from car parts, but that's not the same thing, is it?
  • Graham and Green makes the Jeeves and Wooster pendant lamp set, but if you want a similar look, they're not wrong, and a tutorial really isn't needed. Two hats, two pendant light electrical kits, two bulbs, done. (How'ver, if you really want a step-by-step to the style, try Scraphacker's entry, which also features a history of the bowler hat! Yay!)
  • Finding a lace lamp tutorial was not hard; finding one that was applicable to most climates? That was tricky. The trick seems to be to use wall size, not wood glue or wallpaper paste. Everything else uses the same tips we've been talking about--find a low-heat or LED light source, so there's no chance of burning the doilies; get a complimentary lamp kit; and use a smaller bulb if, for some reason, you want a table lamp version. (I wouldn't recommend a desk-size lamp, simply because even an LED light will be too close to the doilies.)
  • On the other hand, the cloud night light tutorial proved impossible to find. The sketch of it's here, but the original account on deviantArt has been deactivated. Bother. On t'other hand, the limited instructions given there aren't bad: buy a cheap nightlight, buy a low-wattage lamp kit cord, and use a hobby saw to cut out your cloud shape to cover the actual light part of the night light. Might also toss in a cube of wood or plastic, or even a square of styrofoam, between the light base, and the back of the cloud. Then paint as you will, add other clouds if you like (those can be cut from craft board), and plug in. You're done!
  • The cheese grater chandelier was a bit difficult; electrical tape seemed to be the bulk of the DIY tutorials out there, but there is one I found that employs a drill for a less 'junky' look. (Also, that site has a page on cheese grater history, which I found amusing.)
And...then I realized I had forty tabs open from all the research, so...that's what you're going to get. I might revisit this later, but yeesh, closing tabs down now! And keep in mind, all of these are intended as inspirational tutorials, not to encourage outright art theft from the artists mentioned.

In more DIY news, here's a showing of twenty-five nifty home mods. Some are more for style, others are really useful, but all are fairly cool.

Want to know a little bit about the history of crochet? How about tambour stitch, which is thought to be where crochet eventually evolved into crochet?

In new food trends, so-called "female-friendly" restaurants were the next hottest thing, but initial backlash is forcing backers to reconsider. Which is a good thing--I, for one, find the entire idea horrifying. If I go to a steakhouse, I want what I want, not a "smaller", more "feminine" cut for the same--or likely a higher!--price. I also don't want to eat dinner while watching the Pussycat Girls strut down a runway--I like dancers as much as the next person, but unless I'm in a Moroccan restaurant sitting on the floor, keep the dancing girls home. And mirrors on the dessert menu? Say it's for fixing makeup all you want, for many of us, we'd take it as a criticism.

While we're here, have a handy guide to where to pet animals, a lushly beautiful picture series of innovative treehouses, some really, really terrible childrens' toys, and a list of odd things spotted in Australia.

And that's all for now! More later when I have too many tabs open!