PayPal co-founder Luke Nosek leaving Founders Fund, reportedly for SpaceX-focused fund

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 Founders Fund just lost one of its founders. Luke Nosek, known for starting PayPal with Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and Ken Howery, is off to start something new.
Known as a member of the “PayPal Mafia,” Nosek has stayed in contact with Musk as a director of SpaceX, the space exploration company. As Axios first reported, he’s launching an investment firm called… Read More

Chemist of Mysteries: Man Ray’s Dream Photos

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Minimalist and modern-sounding, Man Ray is the sort of name that seems as if it should be outlined in buzzing neon. Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia on August 27, 1890, the photographer and visual artist shortened his nickname, “Manny,” to Man, and after 1912 went by a less Jewish-sounding version of his surname in response to the anti-Semitism of the times.

It was an inspired choice. Man Ray sounds like a shaft of light in human form—a radiant man. “I have freed myself from the sticky medium of paint and am working directly with light itself,” the frustrated painter exulted, after discovering the technique that enabled him to produce Rayographs, as he called them—spooky, one-of-a-kind images created by placing objects on light-sensitive paper and exposing them to light, producing white silhouettes that glow eerily against a black background, like ectoplasmic manifestations in a Spiritualist photograph. “Everything can be transformed, deformed, and obliterated by light,” he said. “Its flexibility is precisely the same as the suppleness of the brush.”

Ray’s work is collected in a new book, Man Ray (part of Taschen’s Photo Masters series). A fellow traveler of the Dadaists and Surrealists, Ray (1890-1976) pioneered unconventional techniques that, married to his visual wit, evoke hidden realities. “By assembling a vocabulary of seldom-used darkroom techniques, he freed photography from its reputation for recording the observable world and used it to create images drawn from the imagination,” writes Katherine Ware in her essay “Chemist of Mysteries,” included in the book. In his alien still lives, Calla lilies give off a radioactive glow (a special effect produced by solarization, in which a print or a negative is exposed during its development, causing some darks to appear light, some lights to appear dark). He had an offhanded brilliance when it came to titles. An eggbeater, lit so it casts a shadow and photographed from an awkward angle, takes on a life of its own, especially when titled La Femme (“The Woman”).  In “Le Violon d’Ingres” (“The Violin of Ingres”), a pair of f-holes, painted onto a photo of a naked woman with her back to us, turns a run-of-the-mill nude into a sly, Duchampian pun. But it’s his Rayographs of everyday detritus—bottles, combs, toy guns—that open the door to another world. Surrealist X-rays, they expose the unconscious lives of inanimate objects.

How Tesla changed the auto industry forever

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With the release of Tesla’s Model 3 tonight to the first 30 customers (really just Tesla employees, according to multiple reports), it’s easy to lose sight of how far this young automaker has come — and how much impact it’s had on the rest of the industry.

Most of the commentary around the Model 3 is focused on the stakes for Tesla, and many are parsing over every tweet by CEO Elon Musk for clues about the car’s cost, interior, and what sort of options will be available. But how has Tesla changed they way we shop for and drive cars? What realities about the nature of the business has it forced its competitors to face? Let’s examine this more closely:


When Tesla first released Autopilot in October 2015, Musk…

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Quick Hack Cleans Data from Sump Pump

See the original posting on Hackaday

Nobody likes to monitor things as much as a hacker, even mundane things like sump pumps. And hackers love clean data too, so when [Felix]’s sump pump water level data was made useless by a new pump controller, he just knew he had to hack the controller to clean up his data.

Monitoring a sump pump might seem extreme, but as a system that often protects against catastrophic damage, the responsible homeowner strives to take care of it. [Felix] goes a bit further than the average homeowner, though, with an ultrasonic sensor to continually measure the water level in the …read more

Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard covers Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque

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My friend Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie released a stunning new album today that is actually a re-recording of an old album, Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque from 1991. Bandwagonesque is an iconic album of 1990s indie rock and Ben’s magnificent covers are a welcome reminder of the beauty in the originals and, sure, a bit of a flashback to alt.rock’s heyday. But Ben’s Bandwagonesque isn’t a nostalgia trip. The sound of Ben’s record is intensely contemporary. It is the emotive sound of today. Or of any day, really. As Ben wrote in a lovely essay in The Guardian, the album “is a retreat from the passage of time, a retreat from the political climate in our country and a reminder that there is beauty in the world.” Indeed, let’s not forget. Check out “The Concept” above. And here’s more from Ben in The Guardian:

There was a show on MTV called 120 Minutes that played underground indie and alternative videos. I would tape it on VHS and watch it over the course of the next week. The first Teenage Fanclub song I heard on it was probably The Concept – it was so melodic and beautiful, and the harmonies were amazing, but at the same time, like the punk rock I was listening to, I could see myself playing it. When I bought Bandwagonesque, it felt attainable to me, but also from some other magical world of music that I could only dream of travelling to. Teenage Fanclub, four men from Scotland, were making music that seemed to grab me by the heart and lift me off the ground. There was such an openness. I fell in love immediately.

Benjamin Gibbard presents Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque

(photo by Rachel Demy)

Real estate site Redfin soars 45% after IPO

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 It was a great day for Redfin, the Seattle-based real estate site which finally went public after 13 years as a startup. After pricing above the range at $15 per share, the stock soared 45% before closing at $21.72. This gives Redfin a market cap of $1.73 billion, well above its last private round, which PitchBook estimates was $1.03 billion. Redfin raised over $167 million in equity funding… Read More

Game theory and the two magic words that will impeach Trump

The entire, original article, at: Game theory and the two magic words that will impeach Trump

Hi, I’m Mike, and I’m a game designer. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that game theory is a beast. It’s how we got Trump. We knew Candidate Trump was a racist, a sexist, a fraud, a fascist, a creep, a climate change denier, an anti-vaxxer, and a colossal fool. Some of us voted for him anyway, because he was a disruptor. Hillary Clinton was our stable equilibrium, a validation of everything we had done up to that point. But Trump tried a bold new strategy—fumble through debates, collude with Russia, brag about sexual assault, threaten to shoot people—and new strategies are the only things that disrupt stable equilibriums. Et voilà, President Trump.

Game theory and the two magic words that will impeach Trump

Where a Wood Shop Goes, a Hackerspace Follows

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The 2×4 Contest at my local hackerspace captured my interest. The challenge was to build something cool out of a single eight-foot 2×4 with the winner getting free wood storage in the space. I had half an idea for a project, but I ran out of time and never even started it. My idea was to cut the board into half-thickness strips and glue them edge-to-edge with some biscuits holding them together — to basically make wider, thinner boards to do… something cool with it.

One of the entries is pictured above. [Jon Alt] designed this clock and phone charger …read more

Stealing Joules From An Aluminium-Air Battery

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While batteries are cheap and readily obtainable today, sometimes it’s still fun to mess around with their less-common manifestations. Experimenting with a few configurations, user [will.stevens] has assembled an aluminium-air battery and combined it with a joule thief to light an LED.

To build the air battery, soak an activated charcoal puck — from a water filter, for example — in salt-saturated water while you cut the base off an aluminium can. A circle of tissue paper — also saturated with the salt water — is pressed between the bare charcoal disk and the can, taking care not to …read more

YouTube wants to fix its awkward relationship with the music industry

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For the past few years, the biggest fight in the music industry has been against ad-supported music. Apple attempted to kill Spotify’s free tier before it launched Apple Music; the industry has railed against what it perceives as low payments from YouTube for years; and SoundCloud, one of the most popular ad-supported streaming sites in the world, is on the brink of collapse. But the truth is that ad-supported streaming isn’t going anywhere. YouTube is too big to fail at this point, and labels have largely come to terms with Spotify’s free tier due to its high conversion rate. Getting to scale, everyone acknowledges, requires bringing in users who might not pay at first.

So how will it coexist in a music industry increasingly dominated…

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Evidence grows for new Apple TV with 4K and HDR support

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An Apple TV with 4K and HDR support has been rumored for months, if not years, but it seems like Apple may finally be gearing up to release an updated version of its set-top streaming box. According to a new report from MacRumors, iTunes is beginning to list movies as supporting 4K and HDR in users’ purchase histories, implying that Apple’s digital storefront — and likely, its devices — could be supporting higher-quality videos soon.

Image: MacRumors

It’s worth noting that there’s no way to actually download movies in 4K or HDR through iTunes at this time; it just simply shows up in purchased history for now. But it’s hard to imagine that Apple would even unintentionally have added the tags if it wasn’t working to…

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Amazon reportedly acquired GameSparks for $10M to build out its gaming muscle

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 Amazon and its enterprise cloud division AWS have been making a number of moves to expand the company as a platform to build and host games. One of the latest developments has been an acquisition: Amazon in the last quarter reportedly quietly acquired a company called GameSparks, a “backend as a service” for game developers to build various features like leaderboards into games,… Read More

Ducks Breath Mystery Theater’s Grand Finale

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Grand Finale, a documentary covering legendary comedy troupe Ducks Breath Mystery Theater‘s final performance, is now available on iTunes!

For 40 years Bill Allard, Dan Coffey, Merle Kessler, Leon Martell, and Jim Turner performed together as Ducks Breath Mystery Theater. From their humble start in Iowa City, to their humble decades on the West Coast, the troupe entertained audiences across the country, on radio and television.

Some of their characters grew to be more popular than the team itself! Merle Kessler’s caustic pundit Ian Shoales may have been the inspiration for Bill O’Reilly. Dan Coffey’s Dr. Science predicted a nation of climate deniers, and Jim Turner’s Randee of the Redwoods would go on to become Generation X’s most treasured presidential candidate.

It was always more than a box!

Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre Grand Finale

The Emoji Movie is so bad, it made us yell at strangers on the street

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In The Emoji Movie, a malfunctioning Meh emoji named Gene (T.J. Miller) escapes from a text app so he can be reprogrammed (and subsequently saved from deletion) by an infamous hacker. He travels though a teenager’s smartphone with a washed-up High-Five emoji (James Corden) who hopes the hacker can make him popular again.

We went to see The Emoji Movie at 9:30AM at a Times Square movie theater, just so the experience would be a little bit worse than it had to be. We don’t recommend you see the movie, but we do recommend you understand it, for your own protection. With that in mind, we’ve broken down this movie into the emotions it will make you feel, and because we love a theme, we did it with emoji.

[red X emoji]

Warning: Emoji Movie s…

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Microsoft’s slow creep back into mobile

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 Despite an early lead with Windows Mobile and Windows CE — and spending billions on Nokia’s mobile business — Microsoft has been on its heels in the mobile device market since the one-two punch of iPhone and Android launching in 2007. The introduction of x86-compatible ARM chips and the rise of progressive web apps could drive a return to the mobile market for Microsoft. Read More

Life Bot’s new Alexa app can text you reminders, help with daily activities

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 A new voice app from Life Bot wants to make it easier to use Amazon Alexa as a digital assistant, by aiding with your daily routines and learning your personal preferences. At launch, Life Bot’s Alexa app has a handful of tricks up its sleeve. But Life Bot’s longer-term ambition is to learn from its users, then be able to kick-off personalized workflows with a single voice command. Read More

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