We just watched Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour, their 2003 documentary on traditional magic in China, India and Egypt, and really enjoyed it. Penn and Teller resolve to track down performers who are still doing the street magic that inspired western magicians in years gone by — the Indian Rope Trick, the Egyptian Gali Gali men with their cups and balls, and Chinese classics like the mask trick and the glass bowls trick.
Each segment is very self-contained, and full of the brash Penn humor and Harpo Marx Teller mischief that they’re known for. There’s a bit of general history and cultural overview in each nation, but the emphasis is always on magic and its odd history in each nation — Mao’s purge of street magicians, the hieroglyphs that (may) depict an ancient cup-and-balls routine, the colonial soldier who faked evidence of the Indian rope trick.
We recently posted the magnificent time-lapse video taken from the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. Here is that same video with its magnificence further amplified by an appropriately epic and glistening soundtrack by the Imaginary Foundation.
Daily deals site Groupon Inc. said it was restating its financial results “to correct for an error in its presentation of revenue,” and said its chief operating officer was exiting after just five months.
As a result of the restatement, Groupon’s revenue for 2010 fell by more than half from what was previously reported — to $312.9 million, down from $713.4 million.
The news comes amidst an initial public offering that has brought intense speculation from investors over the viability of Groupon’s business model. The company canceled a road show it had scheduled for early September and pulled back on plans to go public. It is still evaluating its options on a week-by-week basis.
“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality.”
Researchers have discovered a serious weakness in virtually all websites protected by the secure sockets layer protocol that allows attackers to silently decrypt data that’s passing between a webserver and an end-user browser.
The vulnerability resides in versions 1.0 and earlier of TLS, or transport layer security, the successor to the secure sockets layer technology that serves as the internet’s foundation of trust. Although versions 1.1 and 1.2 of TLS aren’t susceptible, they remain almost entirely unsupported in browsers and websites alike, making encrypted transactions on PayPal, GMail, and just about every other website vulnerable to eavesdropping by hackers who are able to control the connection between the end user and the website he’s visiting.
Lewis Shiner’s new suspense novel DARK TANGOS as a free download; the action-packed, ugly history of Argentina
Lewis Shiner (one of my favorite writers!) says, “My latest suspense novel, DARK TANGOS, is now available as a free PDF download from the Fiction Liberation Front website. The starred review from BOOKLIST said, ‘Delivers its grim story line with artistic mastery….Short and precise, the novel uses the elegance of tango to radiate sensuality throughout. This is an absorbing and surprisingly action-packed tale based in the ugly truths of Argentina’s history.’”
The book is also available as an article of commerce, should you be moved to financially support Mr Shiner’s outstanding efforts.
Filmmaker John Landis, director of the classic An American Werewolf in London and a slew of other great films, is a connoisseur of monster movies. In fact, he has just written a history book on the subject, titled Monsters In The Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares, with chapters on vampires, werewolves, space monsters, and, yes, zombies, complemented by interviews with the likes of Christopher Lee, David Crogenberg, John Carpenter, Rick Baker, and other heroes of the genre. Wired asked Landis to comment on an image gallery of his favorite beasts of the big screen. Above is the cyclops from “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” (1958), the movie that Landis says “is the reason I’m a filmmaker.” From Wired:
In his new book Monsters in the Movies, out Monday, Landis explores a century of cinematic creatures, from the currently hot vampires and zombies to apes, genetic mutants, mad scientists, psychos and scary children. Scanning through the book, it’s hard not to be taken by the evolution of how Hollywood monsters are created, from rudimentary make-up tricks to really slick technical feats.”Technology in movies is always changing,” Landis told Wired.com. “In terms of CG, it’s an amazing technology and like all new technologies, completely overused immediately.”
It’s worth watching the HD version in full-screen mode.
A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line) and the stars of our galaxy.
He’s recognizing that DVD is antiquated and streaming is where we are heading. Once Qwikster fails and it will, studios will have no viable other option than to offer their new release movies via streaming and Netflix then will be able to create a new streaming tier that will cost more $$ and include new release movies.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings just dropped a bombshell. In the wake of a rapid decline in Netflix’s stock price last week, Hastings is taking a bold step by separating the DVD and video streaming services. The DVD-by-mail service will now be called Qwikster, and the streaming service will maintain the Netflix brand. That’s right: the new business (streaming) will keep the existing name.
Customers can still subscribe to both, but the two sites will not be integrated anymore. Qwikster will also now offer video game rentals through the mail, a long-requested service. With this move, Hastings is reaffirming his long-held belief that streaming is the future of Netflix and the future of entertainment, and Wall Street can judge its progress by how well the streaming business is doing on its own. Separating the businesses will also force customers to make a choice, and it is obvious which choice Hastings wants them to make (hint: it starts with an “N”). Earlier today, I wrote a post beseeching Hastings not to listen to Wall Street after his stock got hammered. You’ve got to give him credit for moving fast in the direction where he thinks the greatest opportunity lies.
To be fair, solving one side of a Rubik’s cube is pretty trivial… Although also to be fair that is a really expensive way to make a mosaic.
Mystery of the century, you guys. No, the millenium. All times. A new paper in the journal Brain, Behavior and Evolution has a new answer to the eternal question: why do our fingers and toes get all wrinkly after bathtime? The answer: traction.
The old solution is that wrinkling is simply the result of your fingers and toes absorbing water after a long period of being submerged. But there are problems with this! First: why is it only our fingers and toes that get wrinkly? Second: why is this such an unusual trait among mammals (only humans and macaques get wrinkly)? Third: why, if this is a simple tale of osmosis, do our fingers and toes cease to wrinkle when nerves to them are cut?
Zahra’s Paradise, a new book from FirstSecond, collects in one volume the serialized (and brilliant) webcomic, written by two pseudonymous Iranian dissidents. It’s the gripping story of a Medhi, a young man kidnapped by Iran’s secret police during the election-season demonstrations of 2009, and it is a heart-rending tale of loss, hope, technology, revolution, politics, bravery and resilience. Told form the point of view of Medhi’s blogger brother (who has previously been arrested for publishing political material), it features an in-the-round look at the power and limits of technology to effect revolution. Its cast includes bloggers, secret policemen, brave copy-shop/Internet cafe owners, influence peddlers, disgraced bourgeois, broken prisoners and a family devastated by loss.
And while Zahra’s Paradise is an informative (if fictionalized) account of the Iranian election uprising and a vivid condemnation of the stern, joyless Khomeniest version of Islam, it is also a fantastic story, a graphic novel that races to its conclusion. The webcomic was serialized in 12 languages (including Farsi and Arabic) and the print edition is available in a dozen countries from today.
Allow people to practice what they want?!? this guy’s crazy… We don’t know what we want!
The BBC reports on the phenomenon of people who claim to have been made sick by wi-fi and mobile phones, and now seek refuge in Green Bank, West Virginia. This town is situated in the US Radio Quiet Zone, where there is no wireless allowed within a 13,000 square mile range to prevent interference with a number of major radio telescopes. Some of those “listening points” are part of the US government’s spy network.
Diane Schou is unable to hold back the tears as she describes how she once lived in a shielded cage to protect her from the electromagnetic radiation caused by waves from wireless communication.
“It’s a horrible thing to have to be a prisoner,” she says. “You become a technological leper because you can’t be around people.
“It’s not that you would be contagious to them – it’s what they’re carrying that is harmful to you.”
Ms Schou is one of an estimated 5% of Americans who believe they suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), which they say is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields typically created by mobile phones, wi-fi and other electronic equipment.
It may or may not surprise you to know that the bash shell has a very rich array of convenient shortcuts that can make your life, working with the command line, a whole lot easier. This ability to edit the command line using shortcuts is provided by the GNU Readline library. This library is used by many other *nix application besides bash, so learning some of these shortcuts will not only allow you to zip around bash commands with absurd ease, but can also make you more proficient in using a variety of other *nix applications that use Readline. I don’t want to get into Readline too deeply so I’ll just mention one more thing. By default Readline uses emacs key bindings, although it can be configured to use the vi editing mode, I however prefer to learn the default behavior of most applications (I find it makes my life easier not having to constantly customize stuff). If you’re familiar with emacsthen many of these shortcuts will not be new to you…
This is kind of the nuclear option for rick-rolling. Then again, whoever it was let you load a kernel module.
They had it coming.