News for August 21-27

Everybody Wants To Rule the World


August 21, 2017 Not since 1979 has a total eclipse of the Sun been visible on the US mainland. This will be a rare opportunity to enjoy an awesome experience … visible on a line from Oregon to South Carolina. Not too early to think about making reservations.

• Colorful alchemy documents from the 1700s. –>

This years Hugo Award winners are …

• A US doctor describes a visit to an English health care facility.
To receive this care all my cousin had to do was provide her name and birthdate. No copayments, no preauthorizations…”

• Fans don’t wanna let go of aging Japanese boy band SMAP.
(All 55 of the band’s singles reached the top-10.)
Bonus: Basics of how Japanese writing works.


There are two kinds of people in this world, my fren. Those who sit on chairs, and those who sit on the floor.


Capitol Reef

August 25 | The US Park Service is 100 years old. Here are thousands of great park images to enjoy.
Many more at Flickr.
17 hidden spots in National Parks.

• How New Yorkers cope with rent.

Maybe the homeless are supposed to just kill themselves?

How Fuhu went bankrupt.

Questions seldom answered
Airliner tires. Cost $2000-$90000 each and last a few hundred landings.

• A solar-powered watercraft piloted itself from Cali to Hawaii in 43 days. And is now on it’s way to New Zealand.
Reminds me of my favorite childhood book, Paddle-to-the-Sea.IS Which, I just learned, was made into a film in 1966.

• Software bug bounty-hunters are raking it in legally hacking.

• Trailer for Herzog’s new film about the internet.

• A college education isn’t about job training.

• Wired worries that the 25-year-old Web Is Still a Long Way From Reality:
The web was promised to provide everyone with a voice, with the chance to speak their mind without being filtered through a corporate intermediary.”
I don’t think ‘reality’ means what they think it means. Wired is pretty damned corporate.

• Now online: (some of) Charles Hoy Fort’s Notes.
(Fort wrote The Book of the Damned based on such notes.)

News for Aug 14-20 2016

We’ll Sing in the Sunshine


• News is a misleading way to understand the world.

100 Greatest Motown songs.

• British Airways tells Swiss musician she must have a visa for her cello.

• Description of a trip from Montreal to Minnesota on the Great Lakes. (long)

• A new kind of computer memory (now called 3D Xpoint) is probably going to market this year.
Imagine turning on your computer and everything is just exactly as you left it … 1000x faster than Flash memory, 10x denser than DRAM.

Great Story In 1966, in order to meet the Beatles, they pretended to be the opening band.


Reader zone!
All week Warptastic! scours the web looking for newly-posted, engaging articles. (Now and then finding them.) Onbeat, offbeat, never lamebeat!
Skip the filler, the SOSDD, the ads disguised as ‘stories’. Stop by. We promise you’ll never see the T-word.


Hero Status Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex. (long)
≫ BBC Special (1979, 40m)
≫ Spex: World Turned Day-Glo single
≫ Spex: Germ Free album.

• How Sam Phillips invented the sound of rock and roll.
(For one thing he kept it simple. That might work today!)

• Some taxi drivers are switching to Tesla Taxis.
Christian says that the expensive monthly payments are dwarfed by the money he saves on gas and maintenance.”

• Seattle millenials see a scary future.

1959 Farmer’s advice to gay son.
From StoryCorps, an oral history project.

• Questions gay people hate being asked.

• California gang database includes 42 people under 1 year old.


There are two kinds of people in this world, my fren. Those with an antenna on their car, and those without.


• Want cheaper Comcast rates? Move to a city with Google Fiber.

Private prisons to be shut down?
less safe and less effective…”
Yeah? but but but but …

How young sunflowers follow the sun’s path.

• She quite school, worked in a record shop, joined a band, then
got interested in string theory.

• You may be a happy housekeeper.

• We don’t understand AI because we don’t understand intelligence.
Even if scientists develop the technology to create an artificial brain, there is no evidence that this process will automatically generate a mind. There’s no guarantee that this machine will suddenly be conscious. How could there be, when we don’t understand the nature of consciousness? “

QUOTE You can’t rule the world in hiding. You’ve got to come out on the balcony sometimes and wave a tentacle. — Doctor Who

Warptastical News for Aug 7-13 2016

They Live


20 important lessons for all 20 somethings.

The messy end of alternative rock. A detailed overview, part of 1996 Week at AVClub.
Bonus track: 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders is part of Dave Tompkins’ big, big music database.

• AVClub looks back at the 2000s Dance-Punk revival. Yeah Yeah Yeah.

L.A. record store photo-essay.
Or … how about Radio in 80s NYC?

• The Atlantic picked out 100 exceptional works of journalism. (Apparently most great journalists live in the US.)

• Nat. Geographic offers printable USGS map quads (topographic, 1:24,000) for all your wandering needs.
Browser-only: USGS tool. USGS FAQs.

• Heard of the new Link NYC‘s kiosks? Here’s how they look and work.

• Where physicist Marie Curie grew up (Russia-controlled Poland), women couldn’t attend college. So she attended Warsaw’s illegal Flying University.

• Won an Olympic medal? Don’t forget to pay your taxes!

10 interesting facts about DNA.

• It’s possible that Venus was once a balmy paradise.

Tabby’s star is dimming faster than any theory can explain.
Hope it isn’t an approaching fleet of Reavers.

1000 new Mars pictures from the amazing HIRISE camera.

• Microsoft sent a Secure Boot backdoor into the wild where it got found.

Will the BBC vans be able to sniff streamers watching without a license?

NYT: Too poor to afford the Internet.
In all five boroughs … libraries are lending a total of 10,000 cellphone-size Wi-Fi hot-spot devices for up to a year in neighborhoods that are digital deserts.”
(Comment) I live in a country with a minimum wage of $58 a month (Ukraine) and yet the internet is one of the few things that pretty much anyone can afford: high speed connections (50-100mbps) cost about $2-4; rarely more.”

The Egyptians made their rocks from four main ingredients; limestone, lime, water and mud.

Story of feminist punk in 33 songs. (via MeFi’s ‘Filthy Light Thief’)

• The List of Lists of Lists of Lists. Yes for real. WARNING: Web 1.0 fell into this!

Warptastical News for Jul 31-Aug 6 2016

Strange days indeed. All the way to Eleven.


• Gamers eagerly await the upcoming release of No Man’s Sky. What you need to know.
Also: Interview with the band that made the sci-fi sounds.

What Difference Does It Make is an insight-full feature-length film, about the lives of musicians of all stripes, young to old, pro to beginner.

Suzanne Ciani: Diva of the diode. 60s NY commercial synthesist.

• Over at MeFi, the story of the British EMI label includes a fine link collection to videos illustrating its past 50 years.

Cooking with wasted food.
The nonprofit has rescued excess restaurant, corporate, catering, hotel, hospital and grocery store food for almost 30 years.

• (Half of the) 10 rules for negotiating a job offer. Good stuff from the guy who wrote this (longer).

• Oxford scholar writes that swearing is good for you. Utter bollocks, stupid git.
Stephen Fry (1) (2)

• The ground is melting out from under the Alaska Highway, built during WW2.

Beepi and Carvana: New ways to buy a car … without the dealership!

• Thieves use laptop to steal 30 jeeps and drive them to Mexico.

TV’s are still too complicated.

• Washington State AG goes after Comcast for $100 mill for worthless service plans.

• Famed hacker starts business to grade software on security with his wife, an ex-NSA mathematician.

Oh joy | Batteries on laptops or phones can be used to track their location.

Geek corner | For laughs and memories, I recommend an episode or two of the old TV show Computer Chronicles (started in 1983). (Online resolution is low; you may want to download higher.)

<aside>Things done thousands of years ago that can’t be explained? Some people like to blame aliens. Because? No way some ‘cave man’ was smarter than them. </aside>