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Category: Culture


Nuclear War Survival Skills (PDF)

Nuclear War Survival Skills is a guide to getting through the inevitable forthcoming nuclear devastation of America and the radioactive immolation of the last and greatest of human dreams. Written in 1986 by Cresson Kearny, it’ll take you through everything from gathering food to the proper ventilation of backyard bunkers.

This updated and expanded edition of Nuclear War Survival Skills gives instructions that have enabled untrained Americans to make high-protection-factor expedient shelters, efficient air pumps to ventilate and cool shelters, the only homemakable fallout radiation meter that is accurate and dependable, and other life-support equipment. There instructions have been developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory civil defense researchers and others over the past 14 years. and have been field-tested repeatedly tinder simulated crisis condition.

Do enjoy establishment-friendly debunkings hilarious in their optimism! For example, contrary to myth, the great powers do not have enough nuclear firepower to wipe out humanity in one fell swoop, and also the nuclear winter will be no big deal. Which is to say that even a five-minute scan of this book makes clear just how completely doomed civilization is if more than a handful of nukes ever fly. The text is available at the Internet Archive, and you can pay $20 for a tatty old copy on Amazon.

from Boing Boing


Tulip mania wasn’t that big of a deal

Lorraine Boissoneault (citing Anne Goldgar) writes that Tulip mania — the wild trade in Dutch tulips that ended with tulips worth more than mansions and a market meltdown illustrative of capitalism’s flaws ‐ is mostly fable. Rather than a classic speculator-driven bubble that affected all levels of society, it was a fad among the rich of little economic consequence.

“There weren’t that many people involved and the economic repercussions were pretty minor,” Goldgar says. “I couldn’t find anybody that went bankrupt. If there had been really a wholesale destruction of the economy as the myth suggests, that would’ve been a much harder thing to face.”

That’s not to say that everything about the story is wrong; merchants really did engage in a frantic tulip trade, and they paid incredibly high prices for some bulbs. And when a number of buyers announced they couldn’t pay the high price previously agreed upon, the market did fall apart and cause a small crisis—but only because it undermined social expectations.
“In this case it was very difficult to deal with the fact that almost all of your relationships are based on trust, and people said, ‘I don’t care that I said I’m going to buy this thing, I don’t want it anymore and I’m not going to pay for it.’ There was really no mechanism to make people pay because the courts were unwilling to get involved,” Goldgar says.

Goldgar’s book, Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age [Amazon} sounds like a good antidode to Tulip Fever,a recently-released movie that indulges the myths.

from Boing Boing


Tesla wants to turn some of its Supercharger stations into convenience stores

Charging an electric car isn’t like refueling one that runs on fossil fuels. The entire process can sometimes take 30 minutes or longer, and if you’re somewhere with spotty cell service, the wait becomes even more interminable.

Tesla is eyeing a possible solution: small stores that sell cold beverages and salty snacks, located adjacent to its Supercharger stations, so you can fill your belly while the charging station powers your car. Yep, Tesla wants to build gas stations (minus the gas, of course).

According to GrubStreet (citing a report in trade publication Restaurant Business), Tesla’s chief technology officer J.B. Straubel gave a presentation at FSTEC, the industry’s biggest food tech conference, about the company’s plan to…

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The Verge’s TIFF 2017 Awards

For industry watchers, the annual Toronto International Film Festival is one of the year’s major cinema events. It’s closer to home and more accessible than the Venice International Film Festival (which runs around the same time and spotlights some of the same films), and because it comes so close to the year-end prestige season, many studios use it to kick off their Oscar campaigns for their major films — or get an early sense of whether to launch those campaigns at all.

But Toronto’s annual awards at the end of the festival are an oddball mixed bag. They don’t carry the prestige of the big awards at Cannes or Berlin, and they don’t cover a particularly wide range. There are no acting or directing awards, and most of the categories are…

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Apple reviews week on The Vergecast

Last week, we brought you The Vergecast live from San Francisco after the Apple event. This week, The Vergecast is back in NYC for Apple reviews week.

Nilay Patel, Paul Miller, Lauren Goode, and Dan Seifert go through the reviews, including the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, and the 4K Apple TV.

There’s a lot more in between that — more leaks about the upcoming Google event! — so listen to it all, and you’ll get it all.

02:51 – iPhone 8 and 8 Plus review

35:32 – Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE review

1:00:26 – Apple TV 4K review

1:24:27 – Google leaks

1:27:19 – Paul’s weekly segment “DOG FOOD PODS

1:29:40 – Google is buying part of HTC’s smartphone team for $1.1 billion

If you enjoyed this podcast and want to…

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Review of pages intentionally left blank

The most perfect lie in publishing, “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”, is commonly to be found in books, manuals and tests. But also journals, curiously enough, a fact that is the subject of a paper published at Academia Obscura.

The US Code of Regulations (1984) actually mandates that blank pages in certain books and pamphlets must be marked as such.1 As such, they are especially common in technical works. This has lead to a large number of people attempting to solve the philosophical conundrum such non-blank blank pages create, often through online fora and crowdsourcing platforms. The Office of the General Counsel at the US General Accounting Office, acutely aware of the distress caused, purported in 2001 to have resolved the conundrum in its Principles of Federal Appropriations Law (Second Edition, Volume IV).2 Text on page ii, which is otherwise blank, reads “This page is intended to be blank. Please do not read it.” However, this appears to have only further entrenched the philosophical contradictions, and the subsequent Third Edition contained no such text on its blank page.

from Boing Boing


iPhone 8 is seeing some tiny launch day lines

Apple Stores are usually faced with intimidatingly long lines on the morning of a new iPhone launch, but that largely didn’t seem to the case today. As various reports and queuers have pointed out, some Apple Stores have very short lines out front for the iPhone 8, if they have anyone at all.

Reuters said that there were fewer than 30 people at Apple’s Sydney store, which usually has hundreds out front. And it described a “less lively mood in Asia” than for previous launches.

In Pasadena, California, ABC7 reporter Chelsea Edwards posted a photo from outside of an Apple Store with no one in front of it. It was taken early in the morning, so people could still show up, but for a line that often has people waiting overnight, it’s a strange…

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London bans Uber; firm can stay while it appeals

Citing its failure to disclose serious crimes and the use of “Grayball” software to evade regulatory oversight, London banned Uber today.

The company has 21 days to appeal the loss of its license to operate cabs, during with Uber is permitted to continue doing business.

London’s Licensed Taxi Drivers Association praised the decision. “Since it first came onto our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers,” a spokesman told the Independent.

Uber’s London manager vowed to challenge the decision, arguing that it would hurt 40,000 Uber drivers in the city. “To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts,” he said.

There’s no love whatsoever in London for traditional cabbies, but Uber’s such a vile company that this is likely to bring it to heel as it did in other European cities. That said, never underestimate the political power of consumer convenience—especially in a city whose leaders don’t seem to understand why Uber is so successful.

from Boing Boing


European Commission spent 360,000€ on a piracy study, then buried it because they didn’t like what it said

Estimating displacement rates
of copyrighted content in the EU
is a 360,000€ study commissioned by the European Commission from the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys, whose mandate was to “research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content” — the report was completed in 2015, but never made public.

from Boing Boing


Facebook’s racist ad problems were baked in from the start

Facebook and Google, two of world’s biggest and most influential companies, pride themselves on their ad businesses. These operations generate tens of billions of dollars per year, thanks in part to letting advertisers target even the most obscure microcommunities using unprecedented sets of data. As the revelations of last week evidenced, however, that ability is a double-edged sword, one that has come back to haunt these ad-supported giants.

ProPublica discovered last Thursday that Facebook’s ad tools could target racists and anti-Semites using the very information those users self-report. That initial report kicked off a series of experiments conducted by news organizations that found that Google’s search engine would not only let…

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‘Boil the Frog’ creates a seamless playlist between any two musical artists

This is cool. “Boil the Frog” is a 2012 web app by Paul Lamere that creates a “seamless playlist between any two artists.”

Boil the Frog lets you create a playlist of songs that gradually takes you from one music style to another. It’s like the proverbial frog in the pot of water. If you heat up the pot slowly enough, the frog will never notice that he’s being made into a stew and jump out of the pot. With a Boil the frog playlist you can do the same, but with music. You can generate a playlist that will take the listener from one style of music to the other, without the listener ever noticing that they are being made into a stew.

It’s kind of like that game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” but for connecting musical styles.

Naturally, I had to gave it a whirl. I discovered that it takes 23 songs to connect Nancy Sinatra to Insane Clown Posse, but only 11 songs to connect her to Vanilla Ice.

You can give it a try and learn how it works here.


Previously: Infinite Gangnam Style: realtime, beat-matched remix that goes on forever

from Boing Boing


Listen to ‘My Girl’s Pussy,’ a not-so-innocent song from 1931

Sit down, get comfortable — yes, right there — and enjoy “My Girl’s Pussy.”

Hey now, get your mind out of the gutter. “My Girl’s Pussy” is a song recorded in 1931 by bandleader Harry Roy and his orchestra, the Bat Club Boys.

Ok, put your mind back in the gutter because this obviously isn’t about cats. It’s a dirty little ditty packed with double entendres.

Here’s a look at the suggestive lyrics:

There’s one pet I like to pet

And every evening we get set

I stroke it every chance I get

It’s my girl’s pussy

Seldom plays and never purrs

And I love the thoughts it stirs

But I don’t mind because it’s hers

My girl’s pussy

Often it goes out at night

Returns at break of dawn

No matter what the weather’s like

It’s always nice and warm

It’s never dirty, always clean

In giving thrills, never mean

But it’s the best I’ve ever seen

Is my girl’s pussy

Well, there you go.

One last note… In 1978, R. Crumb & his Cheap Suit Serenaders covered the song. (Yep, Robert Crumb the cartoonist.)

Here’s that version:


from Boing Boing


The Apple Watch Series 3 appears to charge on certain Qi wireless chargers

At its annual hardware event this month, Apple announced a new wireless charging mat called AirPower that can charge either an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X at the same time as AirPods and an Apple Watch Series 3. At the time, we wondered if this meant that the AirPods and Apple Watch Series 3 would also support the Qi wireless charging standard, like the new iPhones. Japenese blog Mac Otakara tested the new watch on multiple Qi-compatible wireless chargers and found that it might be able to charge on certain, non-MFi devices.

The blog says newer chargers that Apple promoted at the event, including Belkin’s Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad, didn’t work. However, random chargers, like the Sharllen 10,000mAh Qi portable battery, triggered the…

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