Make a cute little device that uses machine learning to separate marshmallow bits from breakfast cereal

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The Tiny Sorter is a device you can make from an Arduino, a remote control servo, and some cardboard to sort marshmallow bits from a box of breakfast cereal. It’s a clever mechanism that uses a laptop webcam and Google’s machine learning software to learn the difference between marshmallow bits and cereal bits. Read the rest

This Queens bowling alley is an anachronism and an oasis

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Astoria Bowl is a something of landmark in the Queens borough of New York City, a struggling business inside a massive building where time has seemingly stopped. Turtle Down Films created this lovely short documentary (shot before COVID-19) about this “anachronism, a vestige of the sport’s mid-century heyday era… an oasis in the truest sense of the word, a place of pure recreation and levity in a city where life tends to be serious and weighty.”

This is A Place To Bowl.

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I interviewed Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner about his favorite shoes, anchovy paste, and why he likes Microsoft Word

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Cool Tools · 237: Steven Dubner

On my Cool Tools podcast, which I co-host with Kevin Kelly, we interviewed Stephen Dubner. Stephen’s an award-winning author, journalist, and TV and radio personality. He’s co-author of the Freakonomics books, which have sold millions of copies in 40 languages, and he’s host of Freakonomics Radio, which gets 8 million global monthly downloads and is heard by millions more on N.P.R. stations and other radio outlets around the world. Here are the show notes. Read the rest

Hackaday Podcast 078: Happy B-Day MP3, Eavesdropping on a Mars Probe, Shadowcasting 7-Segments, and a Spicy Commodore 64

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Hackaday editors Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys go down the rabbit hole of hacky hacks. A talented group of radio amateurs have been recording and decoding the messages from Tianwen-1, the Mars probe launched by the Chinese National Space Administration on July 23rd. We don’t know exactly how magnets work, …read more

Virtual artist Miquela debuted a music video at Lollapalooza

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Lollapalooza moved online this year, and the music festival kicked off in an appropriately online way: with the debut of a new music video from virtual creator Miquela. The video is an entirely CG affair, created remotely, for the single “Hard Feelings.” It depicts Miquela and a dance crew on the back of a flatbed track, as they twist their way through a desert landscape that slowly morphs into something more surreal.

For the uninitiated, Miquela is essentially a digital avatar that started out as a CG influencer on Instagram and has since expanded into the world of music, releasing several singles and music videos since 2017. She’s part of a burgeoning field of digital influencers.

According to Nicole de Ayora, CCO of Brud, the company…

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This notebook has pages proportioned for phone and computer displays

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BetterBook is a notebook/sketchbook designed to match widescreen displays. The idea is you can take photos of it on your phone and it will do a better job of fitting on a screen. It comes in one of three types of paper — dotted grid, standard grid, or blank. The notebook had a successful run on Indiegogo and is now available for pre-order. Read the rest

Tutorial: Build a Serverless API Back-end for Slack

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Webhook backends are a popular use case for Serverless functions. FaaS (Functions-as-a-service) offerings make it relatively easy to provide an HTTP endpoint which hosts the Webhook logic which can be as simple as sending an email to something as entertaining as responding with funny GIFs!

In this tutorial, we will explore funcy — a Serverless webhook backend which is a trimmed down version of the awesome Giphy for Slack. The (original) Giphy Slack app returns a bunch of GIFs for a search term, and the user can pick one of them. Funcy tweaks it a bit by simply returning a (single) random image for a search keyword using the Giphy Random API.

You can now bid on Fyre Fest merch

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U.S. Marshals Service

If you’re pining for the innocent days of 2017, when the biggest screw-up was the music festival meltdown known as Fyre Festival, you’re in luck: you can now own a piece of merch from the disaster. The US Marshals Service is hosting an online auction for 126 items, including shirts, bracelets, tokens, and hats. The proceeds will go to a fund for the victims of the fraudulent fest, the Marshals Service says, and the auction runs through August 13th. Some items already have multiple bids, like a hoodie that’s going for $130.

Now, let’s revisit 2017 for a moment, a welcome reprieve from 2020, truly.

Fyre Festival was supposed to be a “once-in-a-lifetime” luxury musical festival in the Bahamas that took place in April and May 2017. People…

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This carnivorous plant wraps up bugs into a tasty morsel

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Cape sundews live in bogs and other locations lacking nutritious soil so they supplement their diet with insects. Watch the Deep Look video above to see how “they exude sweet, shimmering droplets from their tentacles to lure in unsuspecting insects. Once their prey is hopelessly stuck, they wrap it up and dissolve it for a tasty meal.”

More at Deep Look: “Cape Sundews Trap Bugs In A Sticky SituationRead the rest

A sneak preview of Drew Friedman’s book of portraits of underground comix icons

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The fantastic Drew Friedman says: “My latest book project will be one hundred black and white portraits of underground comix icons presented as they were during that most fertile era of underground comix, 1967-1977, from Z to A, ZAP to ARCADE (with some stops before and after). Short biographies and samples of their work will also be included.”

To me, this is a natural followup to my two Heroes of the Comics books that both focused on the great creators of mainstream comics, from the mid- thirties to the mid-fifties, now jumping a decade to the dawn of the undergrounds.

Underground comix was a counterculture movement that produced iconoclastic and wonderfully forbidden, no-holds-barred comic books and other small press publications focusing mainly on sex, violence and drugs, and featured comix and graphix produced by some of the greatest artistic talents and satiric minds of the day, most prominently the “father of underground comix,” R. Crumb.

All of the essential players from that ten year era of undergrounds will be included: Frank Stack, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Bill Griffith, Diane Noomin, Denis Kitchen, Justin Green, Kim Deitch, Jay Lynch, Jim Osborne, Trina Robbins, Vaughn Bode, Howard Cruise, all the ZAP artists, the Bijou Funnies artists, the Air Pirates, etc, as well as several obscure, forgotten and black creators. This project should be completed by early to mid 2021 and published either later that year, or in 2022, depending on unforseen circumstances in the publishing world.

I love everything Drew does, and I’m really looking forward to this one. Read the rest

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip includes the Galaxy Watch Active 2 for free

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Samsung is hosting a few discounted bundles at Amazon and Best Buy, one of which includes its Galaxy Z Flip foldable phone and a Galaxy Watch Active 2 44mm smartwatch for $1,380. That’s the normal price for the phone, but the savings come in the form of getting the watch, which costs around $249 right now, for free. Given that there have been very few deals on the unlocked version of the Z Flip, this is a decent value if you were thinking of investing now.

This bundle is also active for the Galaxy S20, and likewise, there’s no price drop below its normal $1,000 price. If you watch our deals coverage regularly, you probably already know that it’s been sold for as low as $800 unlocked. But if you’re in need of a phone right now, at least…

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Pee-wee for President: ‘In your guts, you know he’s nuts’

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Pee-wee Herman for president? SURE, WHY NOT?! Stranger things have happened. At least Pee-wee’s slogan is honest: “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

Go to Pee-wee’s new store for the “Pee-wee for president” buttons (and tees and pins and stickers and hoodies) but stay for that terrific animated banner!


Francis, his running opponent, is taking a different route with his campaign slogan, the familiar “I know you are, but what am I?” one

images via Pee-wee Store Read the rest

Check out this Berlin punk band made up entirely of scrap metal robots

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The One Love Machine band is the brainchild of German artist Kolja Kugler, whose work focuses largely on moving sculptures. As he explained to CNN:

When I build a band member I start obviously with the music-making parts. The fingers, plugging or playing, and then I build the character behind it.

The special thing about my robots is that they do actually play the music themselves. My robots play the bass guitar, the drum kit and they play the flute. They’ve got an affinity for punk rock.

My robots perform all around the world. Tech events, festivals, university lectures or TED Talks.

That’s fucking metal. And also punk.

There’s a punk band made completely of robots [Briony Edwards / Louder Sound]

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Using data to define the official canon of 90s music

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I’m a big fan of the Pudding‘s clever approach to infographics, and this latest piece examining 90s music does not disappoint. They surveyed thousands of people, collecting millions of data points to find out how well they recognized charting songs from the 1990s, and analyzed the results according to birth year. Pretty cool!

Sinatra, Elvis, and Chuck Berry are emblematic of ’50s music, but what’s the ’90s equivalent? Using the recognition data we collected, we can begin to define the canon. These will be the artists and songs that Gen Z and beyond seem to recognize (and value) among all the musical output from the decade.

First, it’s important to understand the general trends in the data. “No Diggity” knowledge peaks among people born in 1983, who were 13 years old when the track debuted in 1996. We also see a slow drop off among people who were not fully sentient when “No Diggity” was in its prime, individuals who were 5 years old or younger (or not born yet) in 1996.

That drop-off rate between generations—in this case, Millennials to Gen Z—is one indicator for whether “No Diggity” is surviving the test of time

The Instagram post below is only a small piece of the results; check out the Pudding’s website for the full analysis, with all your favorite (and/or totally forgotten) 90s pop gems.

View this post on Instagram

Part 1 of 2—New project: 1) Gen Z is far more likely to recognize “Wannabe” than “No Scrubs.” 2) Will Smith is falling into obscurity.

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