A bluetooth speaker that keeps your drinks cold. Yeah, yeah, just go with it.

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Like an app-controlled faucet or a WiFi-enabled fire extinguisher, the words “Bluetooth Cooler” might make you think of a rejected internet-of-things concept. But trust us, adding wireless technology to products isn’t always “innovation for the sake of innovation.”

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Prison pen is bendy, “non-lethal”

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The Flexi-Pen is the writing utensil of choice in prisons because it can’t be used to shiv someone. I bet it’s fun to fidget with too. Amazon sells a five pack for $13.

The Flexi-Pen is made with a soft rubbery material that bends under the slightest pressure, making it nearly impossible to do lethal damage with it. It’s as close to a stab-resistant, non-lethal weapon you can get, while still providing the subject with a workable ballpoint pen to write with.

It’s ideal for use in interview rooms, holding cells, and in any prison or jail environment. You go to great lengths to confiscate any potential weapon when taking a prisoner into custody, so why would you want to hand him one afterward?

5pk Prison Pen Flexible Ball Point Writing Pen Tool – Non Lethal (Amazon)

Leaving kids in front of screens unsupervised for hours may have unpleasant consequences, parents learn

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We all did so well keeping our kids away from obvious traps like 4chan, but it turns out that during those endless unsupervised hours watching Minecraft videos and Twitch streams, their hosts were muttering on about anime and black IQs and what to do about The Jews. And now our kids are hitting their teens, it’s coming out of them like the first belches of sewage from a blocked toilet, and, well, here we all are in 2017!

…again this week with the news that YouTube video gaming personality JonTron had made several racist and anti-semitic statements. JonTron — real name Jon Jafari — started his week by tweeting support for Iowa representative Steve King on Sunday, after King made the troubling claim that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” Jafari then doubled down on this stance in an interview with fellow streamer Steven “Destiny” Bonnell, complaining of the erosion of a “unifying culture” in the United States, portraying Black Lives Matter as violent terrorists, and repeatedly making portentous warnings that white people would become the minority in American society. …

On YouTube, these fringe opinions are insidious, too. They’re not set to Leni Riefenstahl films or videos of the Nuremberg Rallies — they dribble out during video game streams, or in Twitch chat, or in YouTube’s never-ending “up next” queue. These are ostensibly benign spaces that have become politicized in recent years, but not so loudly that the average parent will be able to clock the association. As the Gizmodo commenter notes, the kids’ parents see video games and “it’s not a red flag.”

The bedroom resentments of adolescent boys are the new mass media; they’re desperate for fraternity, they find the others, and they never get the chance to grow out of it before it’s too late. And then there are the ringleader types–older, odder men with an opportunistic talent for lurking close to both youngsters and fame, desperate for the latter but stuck with the former. We’re already too accustomed to watching them implode; eventually one of them will be cunning and consistent enough and then we’ll really be off to the races.

One objection: The Verge’s headline notwithstanding, there’s never really been much of a secret about what these guys talk about, has there? People just didn’t take it seriously until Trump, until folks other than women and minorities were subjected to it. Before, it was all ironic.

The daring doctors experimenting with psychedelic medicines

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Rolling Stone’s Mac McClelland tells the story of the physicians bravely breaking the law by treating patients with MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, LSD, and other hallucinogens. From RS:

As an internal-medicine specialist, Dr. X doesn’t have any patients who come to him seeking psychotherapy. But the longer he does the work, the more “I’m seeing that consciousness correlates to disease,” he says. “Every disease.” Narcolepsy. Cataplexy. Crohn’s. Diabetes – one patient’s psychedelic therapy preceded a 30 percent reduction in fasting blood-sugar levels. Sufferers of food allergies discover in their journeys that they’ve been internally attacking themselves. “Consciousness is so vastly undervalued,” Dr. X says. “We use it in every other facet in our life and esteem the intellectual part of it, but deny the emotional or intuitive part of it.” Psychedelic therapy “reinvigorated my passion and belief in healing. I think it’s the best tool to achieving well-being, so I feel morally and ethically compelled to open up that space.”…

“If we didn’t have some idea about the potential importance of these medicines, we wouldn’t be researching them,” says Dr. Jeffrey Guss, psychiatry professor at NYU Medical Center and co-investigator of the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project. “Their value has been written about and is well known from thousands of years of recorded history, from their being used in religious and healing settings. Their potential and their being worthy of exploration and study speaks for itself.”

Optimistic insiders think that if all continues to go well, within 10 to 15 years some psychedelics could be legally administrable to the public, not just for specific conditions but even for personal growth. In the meantime, says Rick Doblin, MAPS’ executive director, “there are hundreds of therapists willing to work with illegal Schedule I psychedelics” underground, like Dr. X. They’re in Florida, Minnesota, New York, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New England, Lexington, Kentucky. “Hundreds in America,” he says, though they’re “spread out all over the world.”

As within any field, underground practitioners vary in quality, expertise and method. Some are M.D.s, like Dr. X, or therapists, and some are less conventionally trained. They don’t all use the same substances, and don’t necessarily use just one. Some work with MDMA or psilocybin or ayahuasca, which has become trendy to drink in self-exploration ceremonies all over the country; others administer 5-MeO-DMT, extracted from a toad in the Sonoran Desert, or iboga or ibogaine, which, according to the scant research that exists, may be one of the most effective cures for opiate addiction on the planet – but may also cause fatal heart complications.

How some doctors are risking everything to unleash the healing power of MDMA, ayahuasca and other hallucinogens(Rolling Stone)

A futurist looks to the past to understand the present “Gutenberg Moment”

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Over at the Stanford Social Innovation Review, my friend and Institute for the Future colleague Marina Gorbis looks back at Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th century invention of the printing press and the unintended consequences of our own “Gutenberg Moment“:

As we try to adjust and make sense of the dizzying changes that seemed to climax in the latest US presidential election, a few lessons from history seem particularly relevant. First, we should probably ignore the utopian pronouncements of many tech creators. With their “inventor” or “marketer” zeal, they are too eager to sell us the promises of future glories—democratization, personal freedoms, more access, more transparency. Remember Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s tech-savvy campaign manager, declaring, ‘‘The Internet is the most democratizing innovation we’ve ever seen, more so even than the printing press”? The tech zealots are only partially right: Yes, we are getting all of those great things, but for every utopia, we also get a dystopia. David Sarnoff, radio and television pioneer and founder of Radio Corporation of America (RCA), saw new broadcast technologies as avenues for enlightening the public—bringing classical music, opera, theatre, and the arts into people’s living rooms. Today, with hundreds of broadcast channels, you can probably find great operas, theatre, and a lot of other educational programming. But along with education, we are served Jerry Springer and Real Housewives of New Jersey. As we open up new channels, we can expect more of everything to pour in—more opera and more reality shows, more truths and more lies, more objective journalism and more Breitbart news. The unintended consequence of democratization of media channels is that good stuff gets harder to find or pay attention to as it gets drowned out in the sea of trash. And as more trash pours in, we begin to see a second unintended consequence: the undermining of established sources of expertise and judgment.

Our Gutenberg Moment” (SSIR)

Mimas in Saturnlight

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Today’s Astronomy picture of the day is Saturn’s moon, Mimas, bathed in light from both the planet and the sun. The image has had the darker side brightened somewhat; click through for the unenhanced original.

Explanation:

Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Mimas lies in near darkness alongside a dramatic sunlit crescent.

The mosaic was captured near the Cassini spacecraft’s final close approach on January 30, 2017.

Cassini’s camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction only 45,000 kilometers from Mimas.

The result is one of the highest resolution views of the icy, crater-pocked, 400 kilometer diameter moon. …
Other Cassini images of Mimas include the small moon’s large and ominous Herschel Crater.

Artist Jay Lynch, of Garbage Pail Kids fame, dead at 72

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Underground comix cartoonist Jay Lynch, perhaps best known for Bijou Funnies and his contributions to the Garbage Pail Kids trading card series, died March 5, reports the New York Times..

“Underground comix were the most important art movement of the 20th century,” he wrote, using the “comics” spelling preferred by underground cartoonists, in the introduction to “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics Into Comix” (2009), by Denis Kitchen and James Danky.
“Copies of many of the early books sell to collectors for many thousands of dollars,” he continued. “It’s all quite ironic: Rebellious cartoonists mocking consumer culture were inadvertently producing collectible artifacts for the same consumer culture 40 years down the road.”

And I do believe that’s his art on the 30th Anniversary Box set. Alex Balk
wrote a commemorative poem and it’s perfect. John Pound is still with us.

Fair trade ebooks: how authors could double their royalties without costing their publishers a cent

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My latest Publishers Weekly column announces the launch-date for my long-planned “Shut Up and Take My Money” ebook platform, which allows traditionally published authors to serve as retailers for their publishers, selling their ebooks direct to their fans and pocketing the 30% that Amazon would usually take, as well as the 25% the publisher gives back to them later in royalties.
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Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie — a graphic novel about the creativity struggle in the late 60s

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It’s hard not to use a word like “groovy” when it comes to describing Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie. There’s the setting: a crumbling estate in swinging London, where David Bowie, his wife Angie, and assorted others are living and creating in the late ‘60s. There’s the loose, freewheeling quality to both the lettering and drawings, which use simple outlines and pops of color. And there’s the sly humor, which comes through in both the dialogue and breaks from the main story (which show us how to be a music snob, how to be a fashionista, etc.)

One of the joys of this book is seeing the time period come to life. People like producer Tony Visconti, T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan, original Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, and dissatisfied Beatle John Lennon pass through these pages. They worry about their music, experiment with sexual identities, and try to fend off feelings of creative envy. And, if they’re Bowie, they develop their most iconic persona (Ziggy Stardust) while dealing with poignant family issues (the hospitalization of his schizophrenic brother Terry).

This book is a delight. I learned plenty about Bowie despite having already read a biography, but Haddon Hall doesn’t feel educational. It shows in its not-too-serious way that creativity can be a grind, and that none of us — not even David Bowie — was born a fully formed artist.

Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie

by Néjib

SelfMadeHero

2017, 144 pages, 7.5 x 0.8 x 10 inches, Hardcover

$16 Buy on Amazon

A juicer that won’t make juice unless the produce is marked with special code

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This has been out for a while, but my IFTF colleague Brad just told me about it last week. It’s the $400 Juicero juicing machine. To make juice with it, you must subscribe to receive pre-masticated produce that comes in packs (priced between $7 and $10 per pack, $35 to $50 per week). The packs are marked with a QR code that the Juicero scans to make sure it is “fresh.” If the pack gets “out of code” (i.e., it’s produce you grew, traded, or brought elsewhere) the Juicero will reject it. It’s got a built-in Wi-Fi radio, which checks the date (and monitors your use of the juicer). The machine itself seems pretty neat – it presses the juice by squeezing the fruit, but they really need to let you use your own produce.

If this appeals to you, here’s a smart floss dispenser you’ll probably like.

Map of favorite Disney princesses by US state

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What political insights can we glean from this map of favorite Disney princesses in each US State?

From Decluttr:

In second place is Pocahontas, one of the few American Disney princesses. She topped searches in 7 states, including the state Pocahontas is set in, Virginia.The most popular princess overall is Elsa from Frozen, who topped searches in 8 states. That’s no real surprise considering how popular Frozen is!

Interestingly, geography seems to play a part in which princess a state prefers. For example, Sleeping Beauty is super popular in the Midwest, while ‘cold’ princesses like Elsa and Snow White are popular in sunshine states like California, Nevada and Texas. Maybe watching them helps people cool down during a heatwave!

Beauty and The Beast’s Belle is the most popular princess in six states, including Arizona, Oregon and Idaho. We think she’ll become more popular after the new movie has been in cinemas for a few weeks though.

Wishbone breaks: massive leak of popular survey site reveals millions of teens’ information

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Wishbone is an online survey creation tool that’s popular with teens, who use it to post quizzes, one of the top ten social Iphone apps in the USA. All of its records have leaked: millions of records, including millions of email addresses and full names, as well as hundreds of thousands of cellphone numbers.

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Hand stuck to freezing metal? Urinate on it.

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The US Navy’s Polar Manual from 1965 may come in handy during this week’s blizzards. From the list of “Polar Do’s And Don’t’s”:

1. Dares are neither offered nor taken. Necessary risks are bad enough.

25. Heavy and bulky polar clothing makes you clumsy and prone to accidents from lack of normal agility. Plan NOT to have an accident.

26. Do not touch cold metal with moist, bare hands. If you should inadvertently stick a hand to cold metal, urinate on the metal to warm it and save some inches of skin. If you stick both hands, you’d better have a friend along.

PDF: Polar Manual, Fourth Edition, 1965 (via Weird Universe)

Watch the short film adaptation of William Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum”

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Tomorrow Calling (1993) is a short film adaptation for television of William Gibson’s 1981 short story “The Gernsback Continuum,” from the seminal cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades (1986), edited by Bruce Sterling, and Gibson’s own Burning Chrome (1986) collection. Directed by Tim Leandro, Tomorrow Calling was first shown on Channel 4 in the UK.

Pre-Nixie digital: the amazing world of edge-lit displays

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIATKbSkYxw&feature=youtu.be

Before there were Nixie tubes, there were edge-lit displays: “Each digit panel has a tiny incandescent lamp associated with it that lights when that the numeral on the panel is to be displayed. When the tiny lamp corresponding to a given digit panel lights, the light is injected into the edge of the plastic panel. The engraved area in the plastic causes interference with the light as it travels through the plastic, and some light is refracted out through the plane of the panel, causing the engraved dots making up the digit to light up with a white glow. The resulting digits look much like the fully formed numerals in a Nixie tube, except rather than an orange glow, the Canon display digits give off a cool white glow like that of an incandescent light bulb.”
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Exquisite Rube Goldeberg-esque machine plays “Here Comes the Sun”

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Neil Mendoza created this fantastic electromechanical band as part of the artist-in-residence program at Autodesk:

The rock band is composed of electromechanical instruments that make music with rocks by throwing them through the air, slapping them and making them vibrate. The song that they’re playing, Here Comes the Sun, is biographical, describing the daily experience of a rock sitting on the ground. The rock band is made up of the following members…

Pinger – fires small rocks at aluminium keys using solenoids.
Spinner – launches magnetic rocks, Hematite, at pieces of marble. Rocks are launched by spinning magnets using Applied Motion stepper motors.
Slapper – slaps rocks with fake leather.
Buzzer – vibrates the plunger of a solenoid against a piece of marble.
The whole project is controlled by a computer running a MIDI player written in openFrameworks talking to a Teensy. The machines were designed using Autodesk Fusion 360 and Autodesk Inventor.

He posted plans to make your own mechanical xylophone at Instructables.

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