Here’s how to make Alexa control a toilet because why not

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Alexa-controlled toilets are a thing in 2018 but cost thousands. An enterprising person can make their own by following these instructions. It takes a bit of work, multiple components and about $750 (plus the cost of the toilet) but the end result is a voice controlled toilet and everyone needs that in their life. The trick is buying a bidet that has an IR remote and then using a Adafruit… Read More

‘Alto’s Odyssey’ is now available on iOS and it’s wonderful

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Alto’s Adventure could be my most-played game on iOS. I spent countless hours on flights getting lost in the serene landscape offered in the game. To me it’s a satisfying mix of adventure and mindless pleasure. The sequel is now available on iOS and it’s even better than the first. As Darrell explains here, the new game has the same magic as the original but this time Alto… Read More

This bizarre reality special from Netflix tries to get people to commit ‘murder’

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Netflix’s original programming is some of the best content out there, but an upcoming reality special called The Push looks bizarre at best and disturbing at worst. The company just released a trailer detailing the premise of the show, which you can watch below. According to host Derren Brown, a mentalist and illusionist (who, in the words of his website, has become “synonymous… Read More

Girl calls over dolphins using a comb and a toothpick

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Using a black plastic comb and a simple wooden toothpick, a girl beckoned some captive dolphins from the other side of their windowed prison.

Her dad, Brad Meszaros, writes:

My daughter tried several different ways to have the Seaworld dolphins come to her. She tried different toys, a cell phone, tapping the glass, and different movements, none of these worked consistently for her. She did some online research and found the comb method and thought she’d give it a try. The next time she went to SeaWorld, she played the comb for the dolphins and they loved it!

Clever, but SeaWorld? Seriously…? Are we still taking our kids there?


Oasis’ Liam Gallagher grilled by school kids, calls his brother Noel ‘naughty’

See the original posting on Boing Boing

A room full of young children got the opportunity to ask former Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher nearly anything they wanted.

They quizzed him with questions like, “What’s your favorite Disney movie?” (Finding Nemo) and “What instruments do you play?”(none).

When one boy called him “naughty,” Liam wasted no time bringing up his estranged brother Noel, calling him “naughty.”

It just got more beautifully awkward from there when one rosy-cheeked boy asked the hard-hitting question on everyone’s mind, “What’s your favorite fart?” (loud ones). Gallagher’s sage advice for the young’uns: “If you wanna be a rock star, look out the window, stare at the clouds and do loud farts.”

Gallagher is currently on a worldwide tour for his hit solo album, As You Were.


Slime after Slime, a slime-making parody of Time after Time

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Parents know, kids can get really obsessed with making slime. She’s not that into baking but give my daughter some Borax and glue and she’ll spend hours mixing up batches of slime in our kitchen. She got so into it at one point that I started buying gallon jugs of Elmer’s glue just to keep costs down.

YouTubers The Holderness Family understand. They turned Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 Grammy-winning song “Time after Time” into “Slime after Slime,” a silly parody about this messy hobby.

Thanks, Heather!

Meet crypto authors Michael Casey and Paul Vigna in New York next week

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 A reminder that I’m going to have Paul Vigna and Michael Casey, authors of The Truth Machine, onstage with me next week at Knotel, a co-working and event space in Manhattan. I’d love for you to come. You can RSVP here and space is limited. It’s happening on February 28 at 7pm and will feature a 35-minute talk with two of the top writers in crypto. These guys literally wrote… Read More

Interactive tool showing how sound waves work

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Josh Comeau, a software developer at the Khan Academy, has created a superb interactive tutorial showing how sound-waves work.

It’s really, really good. I’ve used synthesizers for years, but never fully understood the soundwave mechanics behind “subtractive” and “addictive” synthesis — and while I generally understood the idea of noise-cancelling headphones, I couldn’t entirely visualize the physics of what was going on.

This tutorial walks you through the grit of how the sound waves are interacting with each other in each case, presenting you with interactive gewgaws to tweak so that you build up a sensual, intuitive appreciation for what’s going on. It’s really worth 10 minutes of your time — check it out!

Get a 1-year all-access pass to this 50-course business library

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Going back to school isn’t necessarily an option for everyone. Between the time commitments and steep tuition rates, there are obstacles aplenty as far as furthering education is concerned. However, that’s not to say it’s impossible to learn new skills. Excel with Business lets users access thousands of hours of online learning in Microsoft, business, technology, finance, and even personal wellbeing to get ahead, and one-year subscriptions are on sale for $99 in the Boing Boing Store.

With a one-year plan, you’ll get unlimited access to more than 50 courses as well as members-only classes and Q&As. Plus, you can earn CPD UK Accredited Certificates of Attainment for each course you complete, validating your training. What’s more, you can continue to boost your skills with access to all future courses added during your subscription.

A One-Year All Course Access subscription to Excel with Business normally retails for $348, but it’s available today for $99.

One-star ratings have worse grammar and spelling than five-star ones

See the original posting on Boing Boing

The folks at Priceonomics crunched some data and found that one-star product reviews online are more likely to have incorrect spelling and grammar than five-star ones. As they note:

According to our data, negative reviews have a higher rate of misspelled words and a higher rate of incorrectly used apostrophes. They tend to be longer and have more details as well. Five-star reviews typically are shorter and often don’t include punctuation. Across the board, reviewers make a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes – only 61% of reviews passed all our quality checks.

From our findings, we can say that when people are writing negative reviews, they create longer and more error-filled prose than those who are sharing positive reviews.

One could, of course, shake one’s head and conclude that trolls who like to tear things down are more incoherent than people who are trying to praise something. And that’s probably not entirely wrong, given the bimodal review-wars online. But the data here are actually kind of intriguing, because it turns out that the reviews with the highest incidence of spelling errors are actually the three-star reviews …

… and when it comes to using apostrophes, it’s the four-star reviews that have the most errors, followed by three-star; here, the one-star reviews are quite good, quite close to the precision-rate of the five-star reviews:

So it looks as though the less-well-appointed grammar is coming out the middle of the review-pack, not the bimodal head and tail.

But! As the Priceonomics folks point out, spelling and grammar aren’t necessarily always the best index of coherence. Artful writers — and idiomatic ones — violate the rules of spelling and grammar all the time, for aesthetic reasons. As Ben Crair pointed out a while ago, people have begun leaving out periods at the end of sentences so frequently (specifically to create an air of casual breeziness) that ending a sentence with a period can seem aggressive. And Gretchen McCulloch, my favorite Internet-age linguist, has tons of fun essays musing on the way language is morphing in our intertubal age.

(CC-licensed image above from Pixabay)

Eclectic Method’s newest remix: ‘Han Solo Song’

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Based in Barcelona, DJ and music producer Eclectic Method has pulled in the Star Wars universe once again for his newest remix, “Han Solo Song.”

He writes:

With the Han Solo movie on the horizon and The Last Jedi in the rear view mirror I thought it was time to remix everyone’s favorite space rogue pirate smuggler war hero. Han Solo Song is a rhyming remix through the 4 movies of Han so far. Rhymed mostly by Han himself with a Han Solo solo on laser blaster. This is my 10th Star Wars Remix.

You can check out all 10 of those remixes here.

The Legends Of Tomorrow filmed a disco music video in their spare time

See the original posting on Boing Boing

One benefit of starring in a show about time travel is that you get to try out looks from a whole bunch of different eras. And while decked out in their 1970s best for the recent third season episode “Here I Go Again,” Legends Of Tomorrow stars Caity Lotz, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Brandon Routh, and Nick Zano decided to put their outfits to good use in a disco-inspired music video set to the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive.” Lotz uploaded the hilarious and perfectly choreographed disco tribute on her Instagram:

[Photo: DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow; Robert Falconer/The CW]

Procedurally-generated hairy balls

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Etienne Bouteille made a twitter bot that “renders hairy balls” every three hours. They’re not naughty, unless you benefit from extraordinarily versatile perversions, but they are all very hairy and very balls.

Check out Etienne’s guide to creating similar bots with Blender and a Raspberry Pi.

In total the system is composed of four different parts :

A Blender file?—?It contains your beautiful composition, material, lighting, etc.

• A script to run in Blender?—?This is were you will add procedural elements for your bot, that will be different in every picture

• A script to post your images on twitter?—?No point in rendering images if you don’t post them! This script will do that for you.

• The “crontab”?—?This is a little file on your Pi that will run your script at regular intervals

Learning The 555 From The Inside

See the original posting on Hackaday

One way to understand how the 555 timer works and how to use it is by learning what the pins mean and what to connect to them. A far more enjoyable, and arguably a more useful way to learn is by looking at what’s going on inside during each of its modes of operation. [Dejan Nedelkovski] has put together just such a video where he walks through how the 555 timer IC works from the inside.

We especially like how he immediately removes the fear factor by first showing a schematic with all the individual components but then grouping them …read more

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