September 23

Crazy Trick: Is it a clickbait headline or spam mail?
A simple quiz: Guess whether the text is from a subject in my spam folder or a news headline. Or: 21 scandalous true uncensored answers no one wants you to know, but everyone — including your future life partner — is talking about. [more inside]


Underviewed: Searching YouTube Using Default Video File Names  
Most every camera or mobile device uses some kind of default naming convention (iPhone: IMG_1234.MOV, GoPro: GOPR1234.MP4). This site searches YouTube for those default file names, and serves up videos that have a low number of views. Because these videos still retain their default file names as titles, it's unlikely that they've shown up in any searches. And it's very likely these videos haven't been seen by all that many people. [more inside]


I'd Murder For Cinnamon
Yet another food blog. But this time from someone who is obsessed with recreating and eating American-style food while in the UK.


September 20

ITP Code Poetry Slam 2014
I'm organizing a code poetry slam in New York City on November 14. Submissions are now open. Judges, special guests, etc. to be announced. Stay tuned. [more inside]


UpsideOS - Checklist Builder
We think that checklists are great for all sorts of things, so we made a tool to make it easier for people to make and share them. In addition to building checklists for personal use, you can also become a "Checkspert," and share your lists publicly. If people add you to their team, you will earn a fee. We are really excited to share this with the community and have you guys help tell us what can be improved.


September 19

A Smaller Flea
The purpose of this blog is to share our appreciation for the study of microbial viruses, the viruses that infect Eubacteria (also known as bacteriophage), Archaea, and microbial Eukaryotes. They dominate our planet's ecosystem, serve as a profoundly useful model system for understanding life at its simplest, possess a dizzying array of powerful molecular tools we can borrow, and make steadfastly vicious allies in our fights with problematic microbes. Our name is based on the nursery rhyme "The Siphonaptera," which eloquently describes a beautiful phenomena found more clearly in the viruses that infect microbes than anywhere else.
The Siphonaptera:
Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.

And the great fleas, themselves, in turn
Have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still,
And greater still, and so on.



September 17

Vintage Visualizations
Once upon a time I liberated a bunch of fun post-Civil-War maps, charts and graphs for all to see. But now you can buy them! For your walls! Posters of ye olden days graphics on everything from consumption to population to religion to Germans and more. [more inside]


September 15

THE GUEST
I produced a new movie called THE GUEST. It comes out this week in theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, and San Antonio. The film is currently at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and played at Sundance, SXSW, and the Toronto International Film Festival. It's by the same writing/directing/producing team as YOU'RE NEXT. You can see the trailer and theater listings on our official site. [more inside]


September 12

Known
Known is a simple platform for publishing words, pictures, podcasts and more to a site that you control. Choose to syndicate it to social networks like Twitter and Facebook, or software you already use like Moodle or Sharepoint. With Known, you control your content and ideas. [more inside]


September 11

Anthology of the Best Short Stories  
In a 1914 New York Times article, twenty-six of the most prominent writers of the day were asked what was the best short story in the English language. Among those naming what they considered the best story were Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, Edna Ferber and Booth Tarkington. I have compiled these stories (approximately 1,500 pages) into a three volume series. [more inside]


Grizzly! The Film!
A short film about an ancient and malicious terror that attacks the humble village of Meminiscz. [more inside]


September 9

Romulan - Sick Day
A hip-hop album produced by yours truly, rapped by 22-year old Romulan. If you like old school sample-based beats and sometimes playful/sometimes serious raps, this is an album for you.


September 8

Do Not Disturb The Dragon!
Do Not Disturb The Dragon! is a picture book (an actual real physical book available in bookshops and everything, which is quite exciting, for me at least) about a dragon that really just wants to sleep and sleep and sleep some more, but everyone else seems to be determined to keep her awake. It’s quite funny, and exciting, and contains at least one picture of things being set on fire, which is everything you could ever want from a book about dragons, really. [more inside]


Wiggling Hands
This is me both trying my hand at the "Whiteboard Explainer" genre of video, and making fun of its ubiquity. [more inside]


September 7

Thanks: a short film
A lost girl approaches a shop keeper. This film was shot in 24 hours for no budget and I'm really proud of how it turned out. Please watch and share!


Hi Button
Sometimes it's hard to talk to new people at a conference. A few friends and I thought it'd be nice to have a simple button that says "hi" on it, so that's what Hi Button is. [more inside]


Burke & Hare ballad sheets: 1829.
Last month, I delivered a talk on this subject at the Edinburgh Festival's Burke & Hare day. My subject was the ballad sheets enterprising Edinburgh printers produced about Burke & Hare's 16-corpse career, which they knocked out on the night before William Burke's hanging and sold to the watching crowd next day. I've now adapted that talk into an essay and a 45-minute YouTube video slideshow. My talk closed with Steve Byrne from the Scottish folk band Malinky singing his own rendition of Poor Daft Jamie, one of the 1829 ballads I'd just been discussing, for the assembled audience. You can hear a live recording of Steve's performance on Soundcloud here.


September 6

NumbersRound - Countdown-style number problem solver/app
I made a web-app that generates and efficiently solves Countdown-style number problems. Then I turned it into an android app (free of charge and also free of advertising). The javascript powering both is open-sourced under the MIT license.


September 5

The Destruction of The Alien Siege Machine
Our UFO mutant vehicle, The Mothership took part in the destruction of The Alien Siege Machine at Burning Man 2014. [more inside]


September 4

True Music Facts Wednesday  
On Wednesday, September 4 last year, I sent a friend a piece of music trivia and (jokingly) claimed that it was "just like we do every Wednesday." Then I decided to actually start doing it. Yesterday marked entry 52 - one year of "True Music Facts Wednesday." All 52 entries are posted at the link, and I have previously posted 3 of the stories to the Blue (1, 2, 3). Other favorites include the genesis of the "Amen Break," the story of Vaughn Meader's rise to (and sudden fall from) superstardom, Blues Traveler's hidden-in-plain-sight taunt in "Hook," the story of Jason Everman's stints with two of grunge's biggest bands, the hip hop #1 that was inspired by Spuds MacKenzie, the joke offer that (maybe, almost) reunited John and Paul in 1976, and the accidental, serendipitous creation of "Puff, the Magic Dragon."


September 3

Batch uploads to AWS S3 using Clojure
Clojure demonstration of authenticating and batch uploading to Amazon Web Services' Simple Storage Service. [more inside]


September 2

50 days 50 ways
I'm about to move away from DC after living here for 10 years; I know that "I'm leaving town" pieces are trendy now, but I wanted to reflect back on the positive ways that living in DC has affected me and enriched my life [though a few do stray from this main topic] via a series of short essays & photoessays on a daily Tumblr. The goal has been to churn through a lot of ideas rather than make something perfect--more NaNoWriMo than Goodbye to All That.


September 1

Every Curd
Tweeting all the delicious dairy products, in alphabetical order. @everycurd is my tribute to [mefi's own!] @aparrish's classic twitter bot @everyword, whose task is now complete.


August 31

Post-Structuralism Explained With Hipster Beards
So I've started tutoring a university course which touches on structuralism and post-structuralism. It's a pretty complex and unwieldy theoretical history to get your head around, so I made this BuzzFeed list to help my students navigate their way through it. I'm writing part 2 (with added GIFs!) which I'll link from the end of the article tomorrow. [more inside]


August 29

Meet People While Fighting Off Wandering Monsters
Vastarien.com is real-time adventure/fantasy game. To play, enter a name, you can leave the password blank, and then click on an icon and class and you should go right in. Use the mouse button to move around by click on the map in the middle. Standing on the edges of the map will pull you into the next section. Sound is off by default. Use chat at the bottom to communicate with other players. Good luck!


August 28

Name That Student: An app to help teachers learn students' names
Name That Student is a free Android app to help teachers (post-secondary or K12) learn the names of their students. The app uses pictures of each student to create study flashcards and then to create quizzes: flashcard, multiple choice (one picture: 3-5 names), and reverse multiple choice (one name: four pictures). [more inside]


August 27

Hyper-Yakety-Lapse
Instagram announced Hyperlapse - their new smoothed timelapse app for iOS (which is really cool). I felt it was lacking an 'add yakety-sax' button, so I went and created a bookmarklet to do just that.


Speaker of the House  
I think there comes a time in everyone's life when they feel compelled to draw picture after picture of Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner. I started this blog to catalog my experiments in the medium.


August 26

Please Hold: A Representative Will Be With You Shortly!
A humorous interactive fiction/visual novel game about dealing with customer service representatives. Available free for download on Windows, Linux & OSx (40mb .zip). [more inside]


August 23

Gripsweat: A big searchable archive of vinyl record auctions *including sound clips*
Mainly made as a utility site for record collectors, Gripsweat tracks and catalogs vinyl record auctions. This is handy for pricing finds or for determining some ballpark at "rarity" and desirability. My favorite part of the site (and something that I think the non-record nerd might like) is the sound clips. I've killed hours just clicking through sound clips to find 45s and LPs that probably otherwise would have slipped past me. This is especially nice for "deep" genres like afrobeat, turkish, rocksteady, garage, disco, etc. [more inside]


Will It Waffle?: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron
Waffleizer — the blog that tackled the question "Will it waffle?" — has led to a book with more than 50 unexpected recipes for your waffle iron. I'm happy to say that book ("Will It Waffle?") is out this week. [more inside]


Dragondot 2 - sidescrolling circular dragony action!
I've recently completed my first Unity game, and I'm pretty proud of it. Much like the original, Dragondot 2 features a heroic circular dragon defending her territory from encroaching monsters, collecting gold to level up and gain new powers, and protecting/tolerating/eating her loyal kobold followers. The game features a diverse cast of foes, including four distinctive and challenging boss fights which will test your mastery of all your draconic combat abilities. There's a free demo built right into the website, and if you try it and want more the full game is only $3. [more inside]


August 22

Music blog linking new music of all genres
Hi! I just started a blog that will have short posts for upcoming music releases of all styles of music. It'll be the picture for the new album, plus a small blurb and links to the artists websites and official music videos/legal and official downloads. It'll all be nice and neat with NO links to weird mp3 download sites or illegal download hosting or places you have to sign up or any other scammy stuff. All posts will also be tagged by genre so you can click a genre tag and find a bunch (eventually) of recent releases for that genre. It's a great way to discover and explore new music. Ideally I want to be able to do many posts every day in the long run and have it be a good source of new music, not just a random album here and there. I only started it yesterday and have maybe 15 posts at the moment but I intend to work on it for a few hours every day and hope some people here can check it out and maybe bookmark it for later.


Bluster, by Bluster. My bands first EP is hot off the presses
You can listen for free on BandCamp and of course if so inclined can buy the tracks. We recorded this in our practice space/basement on a laptop, but I think it sounds pretty darned good. Let me know what you think. Thanks! Bonus Bluster Fact: The band met on OkCupid [more inside]


Magehollow: A Web Serial
Magehollow is an ongoing work of serial fiction that explores a young girl's introduction to the world of magic. It's a bit of modern-day fantasy that's about a quarter of the way through its run now. [more inside]


August 20

AM/FM - the story of London's pirate radio stations  
Back in the eighties when I should have been studying, I ran a magazine covering London's pirate radio stations and their battles to stay on the air and go legal. At amfm.org.uk you can read the stories of the 25 most important unlicensed stations of the eighties like Kiss-FM, Radio Jackie and DBC, listen to an audio history of London pirate radio from 1975-1990 and dig into all eighteen issues of TX Magazine. [more inside]


August 11

DCTN: shows tonight in washington, dc
It's a website with one purpose: it tells you what shows are happening tonight in Washington, DC. In a big, simple list that works really well on phones. It's also an open source project I just wrote about.


Shngri - iOS and web app for colour/sound relax
Inspired by the theories of Hans Cousto - the planet tones and the Law of the Octave, I made this iOS app and a web app. Use it for sound healing/meditation/connection with the Eternal/looking at nice colours.


August 10

Predicting Game of Thrones  
I finally gave in and started reading Game of Thrones. When I got to the end of the first chapter, I texted a bunch of my nerd friends like, "Why do people think this is surprising? It is like super-obviously signposted!" From there, it turned into a project where I try to predict what will happen in Game of Thrones. I am blogging my predictions and there is a page where I mark off my predictions as correct or incorrect as I get to them. [more inside]


August 9

Hextris: A fast paced puzzle game  
Hey guys me and a few friends made this game. More links to the various app stores are over here, and the source over here.


Survivor's Fieldbook - A Post Apocalyptic ... something.
It's a zombie apocalypse rogue-like/sim, where you direct survivors in saving others. Think FTL+Dwarf Fortress+Zombies. It's fairly early in development, but I think it's at an enjoyable stage where near limitless zombie stories play out before you.


776 - 778 - 780  
Surrealist video game featuring jet bikes [more inside]


August 8

The Fridge app: save food, save money (with app video)
I've finally released an iPhone app I've been working on for four years: The Fridge. It's made to help you remember about your perishable foods so they don't go to waste. It has some unique UI elements that (I hope) are interesting. And of course, it comes with a demo video, but not a usual one (absolutely no soft ukulele music). [more inside]


Let's build a browser engine!
I work for Mozilla as a web browser developer. I've found that it's hard to learn the inner workings of a browser, so I started building a “toy” HTML/CSS rendering engine designed to be easy to understand and modify. This is the first in a series of articles that will explain the code I wrote, and also walk you through the process of writing your own toy rendering engine from scratch.


August 7

A Robot That Puts Pie Charts Onto Actual Pies
My article for The Creators Project (VICE's arts and technology blog) about a robot that illustrates the gender divide by placing pie charts into actual pies. [more inside]


August 6

A New Aesthetic for Inner Explorers
This is a sort of manifesto calling for a new orientation for writing and art, one based on the conscious desire to elucidate our subtlest and most elusive experiences, as the only true path to understanding human nature -- and ultimately making progress on the problems that plague individuals and society.


These Are Just To Say
aka "Variations on a Theme by Kenneth Koch": versions of "This is Just to Say" hybridized with other poems (such as "This Be The Verse" or "To Lucasta, on Going to the Wars") or just recast into different forms (such as the double dactyl or the villanelle). [more inside]


August 4

DIY Birth Control, Abortions, & More
I'm working on an easy to read, well-researched guide to help women with healthcare access problems obtain and use birth control methods (hormonal and non-hormonal), emergency contraception, and medical abortion pills. Given the way that these important health issues are treated in the U.S. today, it saddens me that we need this guide but I believe the information is vital. If you are a person who may become pregnant or care about someone who may become pregnant, this guide could be of use--it even teaches a new way to use diaphragms that makes them easier to use, more convenient, and more effective all at once. [more inside]


This Is What Anne Frank's Arrest Looked Like
70 years ago, Anne Frank and her family were arrested after more than two years in hiding in Amsterdam. But what did their arrest really look like? I write about it for mental_floss.


July 31

The Marvel Explanation
Can Joey explain the Marvel Cinematic Universe to his sister Cassie, who only has eyes for Rocket Raccoon? Click to find out!


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