The 13 enthralling science fiction and fantasy books you need to check out this June

See the original posting on The Verge

I’ve been writing and editing military science fiction for years. In that time, robots, drones, and artificial intelligence have been slipping onto real-world battlefields. When people think about robots on the battlefield, they often envision something like the Terminator or the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. But the reality is far more nuanced than pop culture would have us believe.

That reality is laid out in Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War by Paul Scharre, who my colleague James Vincent’s recently interviewed. I recently picked up Army of None, and Scharre takes readers through how militaries are using autonomous tech in 2018 and the ethical and practical considerations that have cropped up along the way.


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This Is Your Last Chance To Design The Greatest Robotics Modules

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It’s Friday, and that means this is your last weekend to get your project together for the Robotics Module Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize. We’re looking for tools for robots that blow the doors off what is commercially available. If you have a project in mind that adds sensors or capabilities to our fine electronic friends, enter it in the Hackaday Prize.

The Hackaday community has thrown itself full-force into the Hackaday Prize, and right now we’re getting very close to eight hundred projects entered in this year’s Prize. Next week, we’ll choose the top twenty projects entered during …read more

Rumors hint future iPhone X could have three cameras on the back

See the original posting on The Verge

Lots of random sources seem to think some upcoming iteration of the iPhone X will feature three rear-facing cameras, either this year or next. So here we are: I’m telling you about these rumors, although I’m not convinced this is going to happen.

The most recent report comes from The Korea Herald, which claims that both Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and a new iPhone X Plus will feature three camera lenses. It isn’t clear what the third sensor would do exactly for Apple. Huawei incorporated three cameras into its P20 Pro — a 40-megapixel main camera, a 20-megapixel monochrome camera, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. Most outlets seem to think Apple’s third lens would be used for an enhanced zoom.

Photo by Tom Warren / The…

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An analogy is a raft you use to cross a river

See the original posting on Boing Boing

In this Better Explained video, how the right analogies can make math joyful. “Numbers are like rocks.” But what happens when the number is 0 or -1? The analogy breaks down. “OK, numbers are like points on a line,” with zero at the center. But where on the line does the square root of -1 go? “OK, let’s add another line at 90 degrees to the other number line, where imaginary numbers go.”

Crazy Walls: screengrabs from media where obsessives create pinboards stringing together clues

See the original posting on Boing Boing

It’s a well-worn trope: the obsessive, the stalker, the killer or the cop, pinning photos, maps, mugshots and other detritus to a large board and then joining the dots with bits of colored string: The Crazy Walls Tumblr collects and annotates screengrabs from dozens of movies and TV shows (even a comic from Warren Ellis!) where the trope appears. (via Kottke)

How the appearance of the Aeropress coffee maker has changed over time

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Aeropress has an article that shows the evolution of its coffee maker over time.

Even though no BPA was leaching from the polycarbonate, we switched to copolyester in August 2009 so that we could assure people that the AeroPress was BPA free. Initially the copolyester was crystal clear. In September 2010 we added a smoky grey tint because our market research indicated that consumers liked the appearance.

It’s a lot of fun to make coffee with the Aeropress — you pour a little water in the piston and put it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Then you put a microfilter in the cylinder (you get a “years supply” with the Aeropress) and a scoop of ground coffee. The you put the cylinder on top of a cup (the company recommends using a clear mug to make the process even more fun), pour the heated (not boiling — it’ll make the coffee bitter and sour, they say) water, stir for 10 seconds, and press the piston down. A few seconds later, you have a wonderful cup of silky smooth coffee.

Here’s a video I shot in 2006 that shows how to use an Aeropress:

Raspberry Pi’s Power Over Ethernet Hardware Sparks False Spying Hubbub

See the original posting on Hackaday

Have you ever torn open an Ethernet jack? We’d bet the vast majority of readers — even the ones elbow-deep into the hardware world — will answer no. So we applaud the effort in this one, but the conclusion landed way off the mark.

In the last few days, a Tweet showing a Raspberry Pi with its Ethernet socket broken open suggested the little PCB inside it is a hidden bug. With more going on inside than one might expect, the conclusion of the person doing the teardown was that the Raspberry Pi foundation are spying upon us through our …read more

LG’s G7 ThinQ is now available to buy in the US

See the original posting on The Verge

LG announced the G7 ThinQ about a month ago, and now, the phone is available for purchase in the US for a retail price of around $750.

As far as carriers go, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular will all sell the phone, and it will also be available on Project Fi. For those who want to buy one unlocked, it can be found at Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H.

The phone has several interesting features, including a resonance chamber at the bottom that LG calls a Boom Box speaker. There’s also support for DTS:X 3D surround sound that will let you pick between having the sound seem like it’s coming from in front, side to side, or a “wide” option.

A $750 price tag might be a big chunk to consider spending, but companies are offering deals that…

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Robot that uses living muscle tissue

See the original posting on Boing Boing

This “biohybrid” robotic finger melds a robotic skeleton with living rat muscle. The device is inside a container of water to keep the muscles from withering. The research is on the cover of this week’s issue of the journal Science Robotics. Video below. From National Geographic:

“If we can combine more of these muscles into a single device, we should be able to reproduce the complex muscular interplay that allows hands, arms, and other parts of the body to function,” says study author Shoji Takeuchi, a mechanical engineer at the University of Tokyo. “Although this is just a preliminary result, our approach might be a great step toward the construction of a more complex biohybrid system.”

The research group began looking at living muscle tissue because plastic and metal provided a limited range of movement and flexibility. To grow their robot’s muscles, they layered hydrogel sheets filled with myoblasts—rat muscle cells—on a robotic skeleton. The grown muscle is then stimulated with an electric current that forces it to contract.

Biohybrid robot powered by an antagonistic pair of skeletal muscle tissues(Science Robotics)

Not the heavy duty work pants I was looking for

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I was looking for a pair of Duluth Trading Company fire hose pants. They are awesome. They are made of the same heavy canvas a fire hose outer insulation is. They are soft, but massively over stitched and have a popular with the nuggets ‘crotch gusset.’

None of these things should have led to Zmart Men’s Sexy Collared Bow Tie Bodysuit/Thong/Butler Teddy Costume Underwear showing up in my recommendations.

The Duluth Trading Company has a number of styles of pant. I wear the regular firehose pant over my Bohn spandex armor when motorcycling around my home county or into the awful dodge’em game that is San Francisco. I ordered a pair of the Ultimate, because more is better when covering motorcycle armor.

The Zmart option looks like it offers minimal abrasion resistance, and will not cover the leg armor to my satisfaction.

Zmart Men’s Sexy Collared Bow Tie Bodysuit Thong Butler Teddy Costume Underwear via Amazon

The Beatles’ “White Album” demos: listen and learn

See the original posting on Boing Boing

One May day in 1968, The Beatles gathered in Esher, London at George Harrison psychedelic bungalow Kinfauns to make music. They jammed through numerous songs written during or after their time hanging with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India. Those demos are the skeleton of what would become the White Album. Some of those acoustic renditions have since been officially released or made their way to YouTube. Over at Rolling Stone, Jordan Runtagh takes us through the “Esher Tapes.” Here are two of the tracks with Runtagh’s commentary:


Anti–Vietnam War demonstrations, Prague Spring, the assassination of Martin Luther King – John Lennon pondered the tumultuous events of early 1968 from his bucolic hideaway in the shadow of the Himalayas. “I had been thinking about it up in the hills in India,” he told Rolling Stone in 1970. “I still had this ‘God will save us’ feeling about it: ‘It’s going to be all right.'” The sentiment would because a positive mantra in one of Lennon’s most enduring songs; one he hoped would shake the youth out of the dreamily complacent Summer of Love era. “I wanted to put out what I felt about revolution. I thought it was time we fucking spoke about it.” In the band’s early days, he felt gagged by the unofficial code of silence that prohibited celebrities from speaking out about political matters for fear of antagonizing their audience. “For years, on the Beatles’ tours, [manager] Brian Epstein had stopped us from saying anything about Vietnam or the war. And he wouldn’t allow questions about it. But on one of the last tours, I said, ‘I am going to answer about the war. We can’t ignore it.’ I absolutely wanted the Beatles to say something about the war.” Putting pen to paper, “Revolution” was an outlet for Lennon to finally say his piece.

It would be the first song recorded as the White Album sessions commenced on May 30th. Listening to the demo taped just days earlier at Kinfauns, it’s clear that the majority of the lyrics are already assembled, save for the verse concerning Chairman Mao – a slam he came to regret. (“I should never have put that in about Chairman Mao … I was just finishing off in the studio when I did that.”) At this stage, Lennon makes it clear that you can count him “out” for destruction, a choice he hedged by singing “out … in” when it came time to record the song….

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

George Harrison’s soaring guitar showdown with Eric Clapton began as a comparatively gentle meditation drawn from his reading of the I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination text. “In the West we think of coincidence as being something that just happens … but the Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be, and that there’s no such thing as coincidence – every little item that’s going down has a purpose,” he explained in the Beatles Anthology documentary project. Harrison sought to test the theory while visiting his parents’ Cheshire home in the spring of 1968 by using a melody written during the India sojourn. “I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw upon opening any book, as it would be relative to that moment, at that time,” he recalled. Grabbing a volume off the shelf at random, he likely opened up to Coates Kinney’s 1849 poem “Rain on the Roof,” which contains the couplet: “And the melancholy darkness/Gently weeps in rainy tears.”

The lines provided a lyrical starting point, but Harrison still had some tinkering to do when he presented the song to his mates during the Esher session. The first verse contains the soon-to-be-deleted line, “Problems you sow are the troubles you’re reaping,” while the final verse is completely different from the White Album version: “I look at the trouble and hate that is raging/While my guitar gently weeps/As I’m sitting here doing nothing but aging/While my guitar gently weeps.” As Harrison backs himself on a double-tracked acoustic guitar, the ferociously scrubbed descending figure gives the song a flamenco air in this early state, despite the somber B-3 organ hits on the bridge – played by McCartney, who can be heard emitting an enthusiastic “Cool!” as the song wraps at just two-and-a-half-minutes…

The Beatles’ Revelatory White Album Demos: A Complete Guide(Rolling Stone)

How to Use CSS Overflow

See the original posting on DZone Python

The CSS overflow property specifies what to do in case content is too large to fit in the container box. It specifies if a scrollbar should appear, or if content gets clipped.

The overflow property is a shorthand for overflow-x and overflow-y. The overflow-x property specifies handling the overflow in the horizontal direction, while overflow-y specifies handling the overflow in the vertical direction.

Audiotapes of Michael Cohen threatening journalist released

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In July 2015, cartoonish thug lawyer Michael Cohen threatened Daily Beast journalist, Tim Mak, for working on a story about Donald Trump allegedly raping one of his wives.

From NPR:

“I’m going to mess your life up, for the rest, for as long as you’re on this friggin’ planet,” Cohen screamed at Mak over the phone. Yesterday, Mak released the recording of Cohen’s unhinged hissy fit, which lasted seven minutes.

“Mark my words for it, I will make sure that you and I meet one day over in the courthouse and I will take you for every penny you still don’t have, and I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “Do not even think about going where I know you’re planning on going. And that’s my warning for the day.”

“Michael, besides the warning, do you have a substantive comment that I can include in the piece that reflects your views on this?” I responded.

“I have no views because there’s no story,” Cohen said.

The legal threats continued.

“So I’m warning you, tread very f***ing lightly because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f***ing disgusting. Do you understand me? Don’t think you can hide behind your pen because it’s not going to happen,” Cohen said. “I’m more than happy to discuss it with your attorney and with your legal counsel because motherf***** you’re going to need it.”

He also talked about past lawsuits, like one against Univision. The Spanish-language network dropped Trump’s Miss USA pageant because of his disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants when he launched his presidential bid in 2015.

“I think you should go ahead and write the story that you plan on writing; I think you should do it because I think you’re an idiot, all right, and I think your paper is a joke,” Cohen said. “And it’s going to be my absolute pleasure to serve you with a $500 million lawsuit like … I did to Univision.”

As you might have guessed Mak’s story ran, and Cohen didn’t file a lawsuit.

Image: A Katz/Shutterstock

A Wild Hackaday Belgrade Confirms Status as One of World’s Greatest Hardware Cons

See the original posting on Hackaday

Hackers, Designers, and Engineers flooded into Dom Omladine on Saturday for what can only be described as an epic celebration of hardware culture. This is the second time Hackaday has organized a huge conference in Belgrade, and lightning really did strike twice.

A Gathering of New Friends and Old

We got things started off with a meetup the night before the conference. The first Hackaday Belgrade was held in 2016 and we didn’t reserve a bar on Friday night — we ended up taking over one just through sheer numbers. This year we called ahead for a large outdoor space, …read more

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