Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland on using sci-fi to explore self-destruction

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English filmmaker Alex Garland has the right to demonstrate a bit of creative ego. After finding success with his debut novel The Beach at age 26, he moved to screenwriting, scripting the genre favorites 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd. He seamlessly transitioned to directing with Ex Machina, a cerebral, thought-provoking look at artificial intelligence, personal agency, and what it means to be human. But at a Beverly Hills interview about his newest film, Annihilation, he came across as confident but surprisingly humble. He characterizes his successes as the result of creative collaboration — a far cry from the solitary writing that launched his career.

Adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name, Annihilation follows a…

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Qualcomm looks to fix truly wireless headphones with its TrueWireless technology

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Truly wireless headphones are the holy grail for Bluetooth headphone companies, but with the exception of a couple of models — like Apple’s AirPods — it seems like most of the industry is still trying to figure out how to get them to work.

Qualcomm is trying to fix that with an update to the TrueWireless Stereo technology that the company employs on its Bluetooth chips for headphones, like the recently announced QCC5100 series. This could solve some of the issues that have plagued truly wireless headphones for a while now.

The updated TrueWireless Stereo adds a few small but crucial updates to how headphones that ship with Qualcomm’s latest chips handle Bluetooth audio.

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Facebook Messenger now lets you add friends to ongoing video chats

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Facebook Messenger now allows you to add more friends and family members to your audio and video chats while they’re still in progress. With a new feature introduced today, you can add people to an ongoing audio or video call while you’re still talking, rather than having to hang up and manually add people into a conversation before restarting the call.

To add someone while you’re on a video or audio chat, tap on the screen and select the new “add person” icon, then tap on the people you want to add. After you’ve hung up, you can message everyone in the conversation in an automatically created group chat in your Facebook inbox.

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Scream at your Echo to heat up your jacket

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It’s winter in New York, and heated jackets exist. Even heated jackets with apps exist. But until now, there hasn’t been one that claims to be “intelligent” and able to automatically adjust to a wearer’s habits. Ministry of Supply launched a Kickstarter campaign today for its “Mercury Intelligent Heated Jacket,” which it says will learn wearers’ behavior over time and adjust its heating patterns in turn.

The jacket has three heating elements: one in each pocket and one in the back. Those are powered by a 10,000mAh (swappable) battery that charges over USB Type-A. Overall, the jacket produces 10 watts of heat and can reach up to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The heating elements turn off automatically if they exceed that temperature, Ministry…

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Alto’s Odyssey and the art of the perfect sequel

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Sequels are hard. For hit games, it’s even harder: following up something that was beloved by millions of people involves a balance of expanding your idea while also maintaining the stuff that made people love it in the first place. You only need to look at the lackluster receptions of recent big-budget gaming sequels that have dashed themselves to pieces on the rocky shores of fan expectations, like Destiny 2, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

On the other side of the equation, there are sequels like Alto’s Odyssey (out today on iOS), the follow-up to the mobile gaming classic Alto’s Adventure. It’s the perfect sequel because it confidently recognizes what made the original work — and then, crucially, it…

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Buttrcup is a risque image site that pays creators

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 A site like Buttrcup [NSFW] is hard to explain. Because the world is awash in “risqué” photography, why should we pay creators? And why does the world need another site dedicated to “sexy, risqué and yet not too explicit” content? Sure, because good, well-lit content that can actually benefit models is almost impossible to find. Created by Molly Murphy and Michael… Read More

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

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 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’

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 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

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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’

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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

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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

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 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

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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

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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.

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