QAnon as a collaborative, investigative alternate reality game

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QAnon is like an alternate reality game (ARG), says ARG designer Adrian Hon. Charlie Warzel of The New York Times interviewed Hon about the parallels between a conspiracy theory and alternate reality games. Hon had a number of interesting insights about QAnon:

“It’s a collaborative fiction built on wild speculation that hardens into reality.”
“Many people feel alienated and left behind by the world. There’s something about QAnon like ARGs that reward and involve people for being who they are. They create a community that lets people show off their “research” skills and those people become incredibly valuable to the community.”
“A lot of it is about a lack of trust. But also a lack of comfort with ambiguity. In reality, the answer to most hard questions is, ‘It’s complicated.’ But people want definitive answers. Many of these theories provide that feeling for people. When really everyone needs to be a bit more comfortable with ambiguity.”
“What concerns me is that right now it is quite easy for bad actors to see what has worked with QAnon and try to copy it. There’s a playbook now. Any groups can hijack it. It wouldn’t take a lot to try and replicate it.”
“You can make projects and build community that harnesses that positively. The same way bad actors can look at QAnon and find a playbook, so can good actors. We can find similar ways to motivate alienated people in a more constructive way. At least I hope so.” Read the rest

Visiting Popeye’s village in Malta

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In 1980, Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall starred in Popeye, a live action musical comedy about the great sailor. Trailer below. The film is set in the fictional town of Sweethaven which was actually a wonderfully elaborate set built near the village of Mellie?a on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Fifty years later, Sweethaven still stands and has become a popular tourist attraction. The Popeye Village even hosts weddings, birthday parties, school tours, and corporate team building experiences. Make sure you eat your spinach.

(via r/TIL)
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Nick Cave: writer’s block is actually a “category error”

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At Nick Cave’s “The Red Hand Files,” the musician/poet/screenwriter responded to a fan who asked, “What do you do when the lyrics just aren’t coming?” In short, Cave’s answer is to wait patiently. But his full reply is quite beautiful and inspiring. From The Red Hand Files:

The idea of lyrics ‘not coming’ is basically a category error. What we are talking about is not a period of ‘not coming’ but a period of ‘not arriving’. The lyrics are always coming. They are always pending. They are always on their way toward us. But often they must journey a great distance and over vast stretches of time to get there. They advance through the rugged terrains of lived experience, battling to arrive at the end of our pen. In time, they emerge, leaping free of the unknown — from memory or, more thrillingly, from the predictive part of our minds that exists on the far side of the lived moment. It has been a long and arduous journey, and our waiting much anguished[…]

Our task is to remain patient and vigilant and to not lose heart — for we are the destination.

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Repairing a decaying basketball court with the Japanese art of kintsugi

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Originating in the 15th century, kintsugi is the Japanese art/craft of repairing cracks in pottery by obviously filling in the breaks with lacquer and gold or other precious metals to celebrate the imperfections. Artist Victor Solomon, whose “Literally Balling” series is about basketball and opulence, applied kintsugi to a deteriorating basketball court in southern Los Angeles.

“With the heartbreaking beginning to 2020 and this weekend’s return of basketball – I’ve been thinking about the parallels between sport as a uniting platform to inspire healing and my ongoing experiments with the technique of Kintsugi that embellishes an objects repair with gold to celebrate it’s healing as formative part of the journey,” Solomon told Hypebeast.
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Become a master of Adobe Creative Cloud with these online classes

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If you’re a photographer, videographer, or graphic designer, you’ve got a lot of competition charging up behind you. Because while you’ve been trained as a content creator, the task of snapping brilliant images, capturing well-composed video, and posting effective social media is now part of literally everyone’s skill set.

For years, Adobe and their ubiquitous Creative Cloud suite of software have been the ultimate content creation tech for making pretty much anything. But while an estimated 15 million users have access to Adobe’s powerful stable of options, very few really know how to get the most out of all that creative magic.

With the training in The Essential 2020 Adobe CC Mastery Bundle, you can vault yourself out of the clueless camp, earning mastery-level command over four of Adobe’s most popular and most versatile apps.

Over 25 hours of instruction starts right at the pinnacle of Adobe’s dominance with their crown jewel app Photoshop. In Introduction to Adobe Photoshop 2020, even students who have never done any image editing can get up and running with the heritage app as they learn the interface and tools, start basic editing jobs and ultimately prepare images for printing or online posting before advancing to trickier works like masking, curves, and difficult skin and lighting adjustments.

In Introduction to Adobe Illustrator 2020, the training shifts to learning about the design, scalability, and versatility of building your own vector graphics as you take your first steps into creating sketches, logos, typography, and illustrations for print, web, video, and more. Read the rest

These shoes are made from apples

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Sampla is a sustainable footwear startup from Ireland, and in their current Kickstarter campaign, they’re offering a new pair of animal-friendly shoes made from … apples?!

Rethinking the classic tennis shoe, the upper material of our shoe is made from a vegan material called AppleSkin™. It is made using repurposed apple waste from the juice industry in Italy. The other components of the shoe were carefully selected. Organic and recycled materials were consciously chosen where possible. Nice, simple and sustainable.

Partnering with Trees on the Land, we will plant an indigenous tree in Ireland for each pair produced. To keep carbon emissions as low as possible, our logistics partner sends our shoes using the most optimal route for each delivery. They are neatly packed and sent in our 0% plastic packaging.

And a little more detail about the actual process behind the AppleSkin™:

The apple core, pips and skins are dried and milled to a fine apple powder. Then it’s applied to a tear-resistant woven roll with cotton fabric. These rolls are heated and given an added protective layer to produce a weather-resistant durable fabric. Organic pigments are added to the brown fabric, producing colours of choice. We are left with a material that is breathable, durable, and of course, 100% vegan.

The Kickstarter Campaign has an “Early Bird Special” that’ll run you about $100 fora pair of apple shoes and a t-shirt (plus the carbon offset tree planting). This is apparently about 40% less than what would ultimately be the retail price. Read the rest

Spider Board: horripilating data recovery

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There are many nondescript and mundane tools for data recovery, but the Spider Board is not one of them. It lives up to its name, with 25 leglike needles that, carefully placed on copper traces on a denuded card, suck the data out of them like fly juice.

PC-3000 Flash Spider Board Adapter is a universal solution for safe monolith recovery without tedious soldering! Using it you don’t need specific adapters to each monolith you deal with.

It is designed for connection to internal contacts of NAND-based Flash drives manufactured as single-package chips (monoliths). The adapter consists of 25 universal contacts that support software configuration of their association with NAND interface signals in a corresponding task. Please note, that the adapter is supported by PC-3000 Flash Reader 4.0 only.

“Sufficiently advanced data recovery is indistinguishable from dark cybernetric ritual,” writes @esquiring.

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This affordable VPN offers a strict no-logging policy without breaking the bank

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After years of hearing a steady drumbeat about the necessity of surfing the web under the protection of a VPN, even the most technophobic among us are starting to come around. But even knowing the dangers one can face from cybercrooks phishing for information from unsuspecting victims online, those last holdouts still have some fears. 

Chief among those fears is just the tech know-how needed to get a VPN to work. Thankfully, some highly-regarded VPN options like Goose VPN get high marks for their simplicity with even the most reluctant of new users.

Goose VPN is among the easiest setups in the VPN kingdom. After opening your account, just download their app to your device, and the VPN automatically configures itself.

With that, all your online activity will now be protected through Goose VPN’s ultra-secure 256-bit encrypted connection. Via their own owned and managed server network in over 25 countries, you can log in from anywhere, safeguarding your IP address and all other identifying information from any government watchdog or online criminal search for a new target. The protection even covers you and all your actions when logging on to high-risk public WiFi networks.

And since Goose VPN enforces a no-logging policy, none of your web activities is ever monitored or logged by Goose, ensuring where you go and what you do online always remains safely anonymous.

Goose VPN also allows you to circumvent international geoblocking restrictions, granting you access to popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and the BBC from anywhere in the world. Read the rest

This $40 training is a step-by-step guide to learning Adobe Premiere

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You may not realize it, but some of the biggest films in movie history have been edited using the same tools some of you use to cut your video of vacationing at Disney World.

Giant movies from Oscar favorites The Social Network and Gone Girl to blockbusters like Avatar, Deadpool, and last year’s Terminator: Dark Fate have all been put together using Adobe Premiere, a video editing mainstay and one of the crown jewels of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of apps.

In fact, used in tandem with sister apps like After Effects, Spark, and Audition, filmmakers are finding they can achieve virtually any visual technique they can imagine with the same software used by millions every day.

The Complete Adobe Hollywood Filmmaker Bundle is the perfect introduction for those with an interest in shooting and editing their own professional-grade feature or just for those trying to make their kid’s Little League game footage as epic as Field of Dreams.

The collection includes five courses, each exploring one of five different Adobe CC apps that can help elevate your video production work.

The training starts with a deep dive into the core of Adobe video editing, Introduction to Adobe Premiere Pro 2020. Even first-timers will get a thorough understanding of everything Premiere can do as students are guided through the process of starting a project, importing and organizing footage, basic editing, color correction, compositing, graphic creation, and more with expert level precision.

With Adobe After Effects 2020, learners get a crash course in how to add those how-did-they-do-that special effects and animations that make any video look like it had a million-dollar budget. Read the rest

Trailer for Ridley Scott’s Raised by Wolves

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Raised by Wolves is the new TV show from Ridley Scott, coming to HBO Max on September 3. It looks completely deranged and I can’t wait.

Raised by Wolves centers around “two androids — Father and Mother — tasked with raising human children on a mysterious new planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.”

The trailer looks and feels so much like Prometheus and Alien: Covenant that I can’t shake the feeling that he’s rebooting those stories, as it were — the same peculiar aesthetic and emotional setting, the same themes — free of all the Alien/Blade Runner universe baggage. Read the rest

My puppy wanted me to get out of bed

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When it is playtime for Electra, it is playtime for everyone.

Electra hasn’t quite figured out how to get on the bed, but she sure knows how to get my attention.

View this post on Instagram

Sure I was vaccinated today, but my energy levels are fine! #puppy #bark #dog #dogsofinstagram #cute

A post shared by Electra (@electra___cute) on Aug 3, 2020 at 8:00pm PDT

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Townscaper is a relaxing city-builder

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Townscaper is a charming and beautiful toy by Oskar Stålberg (previously at BB), available now for Windows and MacOS. It approaches the city-builing genre, but subtracts all the things that make such games distressing and frustrating, leaving you to create the waterside town of your dreams without worrying about resources, enemies, natural disasters or other limitations.

Yet I don’t want to trivialize it as less than a game, because it has such a wealth of creative possibility and polish, all aided by the author’s marvelous sense of design and the world’s inexorable and elegant detailing of the player’s every crude click. It has the same lego-set pleasure of Minecraft’s creative mode, but everything you do is perfected automatically with a pop—so long as you’re content building Scandinavian Mont-Saint-Michels that would be utterly indefensible in Bad North.

On the sea is implied a gently-warped grid. Clicking once raises blocks of land from the water, which first form paved quaysides but might turn into bridges, courtyards or gardens depending on context. Click again on the same spot, and a house appears. Make the house taller by clicking up, or wider by clicking in adjacent places. Obliterate work with a right-click, and struts and pillars appear to support what remains above. You can pick different colors, whirl the scene around, zoom up close, and that’s more or less it.

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Cannaflour Keto Pumpkin Loaf

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Boing Boing shares these words from our sponsor Real Tested CBD.

Keto is the nutritional diet taking the health world by storm. Only way to make keto better? Add a little canna! Read on for a simple breakdown on making your own cannaflour to use in our Keto Pumpkin Loaf! Furthermore, more individuals are turning to CBD edibles, like Tribe CBD Gummies, for their dose of daily CBD. If you would rather make your own cannaflour, feel free to follow the recipe below!

What is cannaflour and how is it made?
Not like butter or cooking oil infusions, cannaflour encompasses cooking with and consuming ground-up cannabis. Cannaflour is easy to prepare and is a core staple of cooking with cannabis. To properly prepare your cannaflour, be sure you are using cannabis that has been decarboxylated cannabis (aka, heated) ground very finely. The preparation and storage of cannaflour is very important, to ensure freshness and taste. To decarboxylate your cannabis, preheat oven to 200-250 degrees. On a large baking sheet, spread your cannabis and place in oven between 40-60 minutes, rotating the sheet or flipping the cannabis throughout to ensure even heating. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Next grind your cannabis as finely as possible, using a blender or food processor.

Related: If you’re looking for a high-strength CBD tincture, check out Blue Ribbon Hemp’s 5,000 mg CBD tincture!

Next, combine ½ cup finely ground cannabis with 1 cup flour of your choice for a cannaflour mixture. Or keep your ground and dried cannabis in a separate air-tight container and add to flour or recipes directly. Read the rest

If you are planning on traveling any time soon then TripWipes are about to become your new best friend

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Now that the initial furor and shortages have subsided, it’s probably not a bad time to start considering your long-term cleaning and disinfecting plans.

Sure, that might seem anywhere from overly cautious to outright ridiculous, but the threat of COVID-19 appears poised to be present for a while and the need for quick travel clean-up products has always been with us.

At some point, you’re going to be venturing outside the house again regularly. With the double-barrelled coverage of TripWipes Antibacterial Wipes and Happy Hands Foaming Soap, you can head out with a touch more confidence that you’re ready for everything that’s out there.

TripWipes are hand sanitizing wipes, formulated, tested, and dubbed the perfect alternative when you aren’t in a position to thoroughly wash your hands. While many wipes are alcohol-based and can give off some pretty noxious odors, TripWipes smell like citrus, are non-toxic, and can wipe out 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria it encounters. And it even softens your hands with each usage.

Unlike travel wipe packs that get opened, then almost immediately dry out, TripWipes are individually packaged and easily stored. Whether you’re heading to the store, Europe, or just want to stash some in your glove box when needed, this 60-pack collection of TripWipes is built for quick and easy travel, no matter where that travel takes you.

Of course, for those times you do have access to some running water, this set also comes with a two-bottle supply of Happy Hands Foaming Soap. Read the rest

For sale: Cold War bunker and missile silo

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This warm and welcoming missile silo and command bunker, built in the 1970s, could be your new home. Located just 30 minutes south of Canada in Fairdale, North Dakota, the 50-acre site will go up for auction on August 11. Bring your contractor! From Pifer’s auctions:

Site needs some repair, but could provide that extra privacy, security and protection when needed. The site is surrounded by dual fences and sits on 3 parcels totaling 49.48 acres. There is a cement entry building, a command bunker, and 14 sprint launch tubes. Current owner utilizes portable power and water tanks. Power is available nearby and a well could be drilled for water requirements.

(via Atlas Obscura)
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