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Culture

Watch the pitch reel for Jim Henson’s cyberpunk muppets TV series


In 1987, Jim Henson produced and directed this pitch reel for Inner Tube (aka IN-TV), a cyberpunk, culture-jamming series that just wasn’t meant to be but did inform The Jim Henson Hour’s MuppeTelevision segments. From Jim Henson: The Biography:


At the heart of IN-TV was a clever concept; each week, a live guest star would get sucked into the television set and would have to work his way back out again, usually by moving from one bad television channel to another. It was a fun idea, giving Jim an opportunity to satirize the seemingly endless parade of upstart cable channels and lame public access shows that were common in the early days of cable.

(Muppet Wiki and r/ObscureMedia)


from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/20/youtube-com-watchvmd9.html

Culture

Original Artwork for Invasion of the Saucer-Men Movie Poster Sells for $107,550

Illustrator Albert Kallis, co-founder of International House of Pancakes, painted the movie poster art of Invasion of the Saucer Men in 1957. It sold for over $100,000 over the weekend at a Heritage Auctions event.

The original 1957 gouache poster artwork for the iconic Invasion of the Saucer Men movie poster sold for $107,550 Saturday, in Heritage Auctions’ Movie Posters Auction. Rather than depict a finished film, the artwork painted by artist Albert Kallis actually inspired the creation of the movie and further solidified a cornerstone of the public’s collective consciousness of “little green men” from outer space.

In addition to creating some of the most eye catching and lurid artwork ever to grace a poster, Kallis is remembered as one of the founding partners of International House of Pancakes in 1958.

“Legend has it that Kallis and film producer James Nicholson would work up a title and ad campaign and send artwork from the campaign to exhibitors and see how quickly they booked the film,” said Grey Smith, director of vintage posters at Heritage Auctions. “The film would then be written and put into production.”

Kallis, an American born artist, was American International Pictures’ art director for 17 years beginning in 1956 when a young Roger Corman spotted the 29-year-old artist’s work. Prior to his work in film, Kallis worked with famed advertising artist Saul Bass and Capitol Records designing album covers. When Kallis teamed up with Corman, he became acquainted with Samuel Arkoff and Nicholson, co-founders of AIP.

This artwork was used for the half sheet format for Invasion of the Saucer-Men, but it was also likely used for additional promotional pieces for the film.

https://youtu.be/Lt_OS54FFFE

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/20/original-artwork-for-invasion.html

Culture

FCC is expected to unveil its plan to destroy net neutrality during Thanksgiving week

While Americans are busy traveling, paying attention to Black Friday deals, and spending time with family, the Federal Communications Commission will be rolling out its least popular proposal of the year: its final plan to dismantle net neutrality — the set of rules that prevent internet providers from giving some websites and internet traffic an advantage over others. According to The Wall Street Journal, the FCC is expected to unveil its proposal this week, less than three months after the public comment period ended on the initial proposal. The process generated 22 million comments for the commission to read and consider.

The FCC’s final proposal is likely to completely undo the strict net neutrality rules that the FCC enacted just…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/20/16680524/fcc-net-neutrality-reversal-plan-expected-thanksgiving-week

Culture

Honor’s 7X looks to offer reduced bezels at a reduced price

Huawei’s Honor sub-brand has announced its newest midrange device, the Honor 7X, which serves as the successor to last year’s Honor 6X. Like the 6X, which served as a cheaper option below the Honor 8 (Honor’s 2016 flagship), the 7X is a more budget-minded alternative to this year’s Honor 9 flagship.

But while the 6X stood out from other budget phones by offering a dual-camera system usually found on high-end smartphones, the 7X is hoping to make an impression by going bigger, with a 5.93-inch “Fullview” display to evoke the reduced-bezel designs of flagships like the Galaxy S8 or iPhone X. The Honor 7X also offers a fingerprint reader and an entirely metal shell, which are both nice additions.

Of course, the 7X is still a…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/11/20/16681050/honor-7x-huawei-mid-range-smartphone-bezels-android

Culture

The Justice Department is suing to block the AT&T – Time Warner merger, says report

The Justice Department is poised to block the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, according to a Bloomberg report. The Department of Justice has announced a public call concerning a “major antitrust matter,” but Bloomberg sources say the Department will be announcing a lawsuit against the proposed merger. Subsequent reports from Reuters and Politico confirmed the news.

First proposed in October, the $85 billion merger proposal has drawn criticism as a dangerous consolidation of the media industry, with The Verge’s own Walt Mossberg calling it “an unhealthy concentration of power between a distributor and a maker of content.” FCC chairman Ajit Pai publicly declined to review the merger earlier this year, leaving the Department…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/20/16655218/att-time-warner-merger-deal-blocked-us-justice-department-lawsuit

Culture

Meet a professional D&D dungeon master. Yes, that’s his main gig.


Timm Woods, 30, is one of New York City’s most popular Dungeons & Dragons dungeon masters-for-hire. He’s also working on his PhD dissertation, titled “Anything Can Be Attempted: Table-Top Role Playing Games as Learning and Pedagogy.” From Brian Raftery’s profile of Woods in Wired:

…While Woods is one of several DMs-for-hire out there, this isn’t his hobby or a side gig; it’s a living, and a pretty good one at that, with Woods charging anywhere from $250 to $350 for a one-off three-hour session (though he works on a sliding scale). For that price, Woods will not only research and plan out your game but also, if you become a regular, answer your occasional random text queries about wizard spells. “He’s worth the money,” says Kevin Papa, a New York City educator (and occasional DM) who’s been part of this Friday-night game for more than a year. “Being a DM requires a lot of brainshare. I don’t know how Timm absorbs it all.”


As it turns out, the very attributes that help form the core of every Dungeons & Dragons character—strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma—are the same ones needed to be a stellar Dungeon Master. Woods describes himself as “100 percent an introvert,” but the kind of introvert who doesn’t mind being the center of attention under the right circumstances. Which explains why he has been known to crack jokes in an elf’s voice or dramatically narrate castle-yard battles with cacophonous verve. When he was younger, Woods preferred to be alone, living inside his imaginary worlds; now he has a job in which, night after night, he must share those worlds with others. “Being a DM is very intimate,” he says. “In many ways, the people who watch me run a game have a more authentic sense of what’s going on in my head than many other people in my life….”


When Woods runs a game, his style is part dorm-room hangout and part one-man show. “I need to be cracking jokes,” he says. “I need to be acting as though we’re just a group of friends playing D&D, because that’s the experience everybody wants.”


IT’S A LIVING: MEET ONE OF NEW YORK’S BEST PROFESSIONAL D&D DUNGEON MASTERS(Wired)


(photo by Chris Maggio)

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/20/meet-a-professional-dd-dungeo.html

Culture

A cheap way to use Amazon Alexa

At $20, the Eufy Genie Smart Speaker With Amazon Alexa is the least expensive hands-free Alexa speaker I know of. I got my first Alexa device last year (a Dot) and my family uses it many times a day to listen to podcasts, get NPR news briefings, weather forecasts, audiobooks, latest bitcoin price, word definitions, Wikipedia entries, kitchen timer and more. I don’t have this particular item, but I ordered one for upstairs.

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/20/a-cheap-way-to-use-amazon-alex.html

Culture

The first asteroid we’ve seen from outside our Solar System is totally bizarre

Astronomers have confirmed that an object that recently passed by our planet is from outside our Solar System — the first interstellar asteroid that’s ever been observed. And it doesn’t look like any object we’ve ever seen in our cosmic neighborhood before.

Follow-up observations, detailed today in Nature, have found that the asteroid is dark and reddish, similar to the objects in the outer Solar System. It doesn’t have any gas or dust surrounding it, like comets do, and it’s stretched long and skinny, looking a bit like an oddly shaped pen. It’s thought to be about a quarter-mile long, and about 10 times longer than it is wide. That makes it unlike any asteroids seen in our Solar System, none of which are so elongated.

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/20/16679890/interstellar-asteroid-oumuamua-pan-starrs-solar-system

Culture

The Walking Dead Villain Watch season 8, episode 5: The Big Scary U

The Walking Dead is back, and for us here at The Verge that’s an opportunity to examine just how effective the show can be in creating a complex villain. As played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, big bad Negan has always been violent. But thanks to his man-baby antics, he’s stubbornly remained a comic book thug, never becoming the nuanced character the show so sorely needs.

Each week, I’ll be analyzing the show through its presentation of Negan: how he acts, how he delivers his jokes and threats, and most importantly, how his character develops in contrast to our supposedly-virtuous heroes. We’ll look at all the traits a villain is supposed to excel at, including those we detest, and boil it down into one single score on what we are calling the…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/20/16680842/the-walking-dead-season-8-episode-5-the-big-scary-u-recap

Culture

Drones to airdrop hundreds of thousands of mosquitos to fight disease


One approach to fight mosquito-borne diseases is to introduce huge numbers of sterilized male mosquitos to beat out the wild males in competition for female mosquitos. The challenge is that it’s expensive to airdrop the mosquitos from airplanes and often difficult to traverse developing nations by ground. Now, WeRobotics has prototyped a drone that carries hundreds of thousands of mosquitos and releases them at just the right moment. The first experiments in South or Central America will take place in the next few months. From IEEE Spectrum:


The goal is to pack as many mosquitoes as possible into the drone. However, clumping is a problem because the insects form “a big collection of legs and wings,” he says. The trick, according to Klaptocz, is to keep them inside a precooled container: “Between 4 °C and 8 °C, they’ll fall asleep, and you can pack them up fairly densely.”


It’s also important to control the release of the mosquitoes, rather than dumping them out all at once. “We tried different systems to get the mosquitoes out of the holding canister, including vibrations and a treadmill,” he says. “Right now, we’re using a rotating element with holes through which individual mosquitoes can fall.” Once the mosquitoes fall out of the canister, they spend a few seconds in a secondary chamber warming up to the outside air temperature before exiting the drone, to make sure they’re awake and ready to fly.

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/20/drones-to-airdrop-hundreds-of.html

Culture

UK government votes that animals are incapable of feeling emotion and pain

A majority of the UK’s members of parliament somehow know that non-human animals are incapable feeling pain or experiencing emotions. I guess that means when you see an animal suffering, it’s just faking it.

From the UK’s Independent:

MPs have voted to reject the inclusion of animal sentience – the admission that animals feel emotion and pain – into the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The move has been criticised by animal rights activists, who say the vote undermines environment secretary Michael Gove’s pledge to prioritise animal rights during Brexit.

The majority of animal welfare legislation comes from the EU. The UK Government is tasked with adopting EU laws directly after March 2019 but has dismissed animal sentience.

Image: Screenshot from Independent video

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/20/uk-government-votes-that-anima.html

Culture

A twitterbot that generates hypothetical Hallmark holiday movies

Mark writes, “Nothing marks the holidays like the predictability of a formulaic chestnut featuring ’90s stars, magical religious holidays, SFW romance, good hair, and reliable stable camera work. For all those who need a bit more than TV can deliver, my kids and I created the Hallmark Holiday Movie Bot, which generates one feel-good Chrismukkah hit after another for your seasonal celebration!”

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/20/feel-good-chrismukkah.html

Culture

The Sonos One is already going on sale for $175 on Black Friday

The Sonos One may have only come out a few weeks ago, but Sonos is already putting its latest speaker on sale for $25 off, bringing the price down to $175 on Sonos’ website.

The Sonos One is Sonos’ first speaker with integrated smart assistants (Alexa for now, but Google Assistant support is promised for 2018), and this discount is the first time Sonos has offered a price cut on it. Given how rare Sonos hardware sales are, the fact that the company is offering any sort of discount this early in the product’s life cycle is pretty unusual.

Along with the Sonos One, there are also a bunch of sales on other members of the Sonos lineup, too, which are definitely worth taking a look at if you’re interested in building out your Sonos setup.

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/20/16680270/sonos-one-playbar-playbase-play-1-3-black-friday-sale-smart-speaker