Author Archives: Pastabagel

How Target Knows Everything About You, Even If You Pay In Cash

A Forbes article describes Target is able to determine a teenage girl is pregnant before her father through massively complex data mining and pattern recognition techniques. The gist of the story is that every time you and everyone else pays with a credit card, they store all that data, look for patterns and exploit them.

As Pole’s computers

&#133 Read the rest

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The Hidden Reference to Scientology in Air Force One

The Hidden Reference to Scientology in Air Force One

Before I show you what I’m about to show you, I want you to understand that this is something I saw nearly 15 years ago. When I saw it, I tried to convince my friends sitting next to me in the theater that I saw it, and they didn’t believe me.
And for the next decade or so, I&#133 Read the rest

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Generating dubstep from one line of code

Generating dubstep from one line of code

Demoscene coder viznut has come up with what amounts to a new genre of music–bytebeat–in which music is generated using one-line computer programs:

The technical details are on his page, and they are worth reading. Unlike previous attempts at algorithmic or “genetic” music, the songs produced by viznut’s one-line programs actually sound like electronic or dubstep&#133 Read the rest

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Internet Activists Take Down SOPA, Goverment Retaliates

SOPA was a stupid bill crafted by technically ignorant but deep-pocketed lobbyists for the entertainment industry. A number of high-profile websites got together, inconvenienced the general public for a day by taking down Wikipedia and reddit, and managed to get a number of Senators–mostly Republicans–to abandon their support for the bill.
Good for them.
However, the entertainment industry&#133 Read the rest

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Joe Strummer: The Past is Unintelligible

Joe Strummer: The Past is Unintelligible

You’ve seen them. The concert films. The “rockumentaries.” These hagiographies of has-been musical acts that litter cable TV. They’re, always the same. There is some claim to the bands authenticity, though what they are supposed to authentically be is vaguely defined and quickly glossed over. There is a brief recitation of the band’s hardscrabble beginnings in back alley bars&#133 Read the rest

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So-Called Feminism in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

So-Called Feminism in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Is Lisbeth Salander a feminist heroine? According to the Internet, the answer depends on the medium in which her story plays out.
In her original form, as a character in the novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, the answer readers gave is unequivocally yes. Lisbeth finds herself in a world where every man is an&#133 Read the rest

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The Strange Ascendance of The Descendants

The Strange Ascendance of The Descendants

You’ll like the Descendants if you are 50 years old and think that by virtue of achieving such a high score in orbiting the sun, you’re entitled to burden the rest of society with the cliched wisdom you’ve accumulated from decades of daytime TV and self help books.  For the rest of us, it’s the two hour version of&#133 Read the rest

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On Bullshit, and What We Want to Be True

The fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we are not to know that he wants us to believe something he supposes to be false. The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements&#133 Read the rest

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Blogger Live-Tweets Her Mammogram, Learns She Has Cancer

Boing-Boing.net blogger and internet “celebrity” Xeni Jardin went to get her first mammogram, and live-tweeted the experience to her thousands of followers. At the end of her doctor’s visit, she learned she may have cancer.

That is a frightening and sad conclusion to what I can only assume she thought would be a routine examination.&#133 Read the rest

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The Gnawing Problem in The Walking Dead

There’s something rotten about The Walking Dead, but I haven’t put my finger on it until the last few episodes of this second season.  The problem is this: The Walking Dead isn’t about zombies, it’s about the survival of traditional conservative moral values in the face of a social breakdown.
Zombie films are basically war films in which civilians&#133 Read the rest

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Codebreaking: Samsung’s Next Big Thing

In it’s latest ad for it’s flagship smartphone, Samsung has decided to attack Apple head on:

Ok, actually they’ve decided to attack Apple’s customers head-on. By casting Apple’s customer base as a status conscious nothing-better-to-do hipster fanboys, they hope that you will infer that Samsung customers are the opposite: rational, driven people, persuaded by performance and quantifiable feature not&#133 Read the rest

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Movie Poster Cliches, or Why You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover

This is a great little roundup of every movie poster cliche currently operating right now.
It’s easy to poke fun at Hollywood (fun too), but the underlying problem with such a massive industry relying so heavily on visual cliches is that it works.  From action films to romantic comedies, we the audience respond to the cliches because we&#133 Read the rest

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This is my brain. There are many like it, but this one’s mine…

This is an interesting video about how our largely inaccurate beliefs about brain structure have profoundly shaped our culture and society. The video is from RSAnimate, which is sort of like a British TED talk, but with less insufferable tech boosterism and more whiteboards.

The video debunks the popular misconception of the division of labor between the two hemispheres&#133 Read the rest

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Codebreaking: “No Women Allowed” to Drink Dr. Pepper

Codebreaking: “No Women Allowed” to Drink Dr. Pepper

Stupid question: is this commercial sexist?

The highlights: The ad plays on masculine stereotypes in an tongue-in-cheek backlash to some imagined feminized world. Beard guy doges lasers and shoots a big gun while running through a jungle, simultaneously mocking romantic comedies. He hops into a jeep driven by his square-jawed friend, all the while extolling the manly virtues of&#133 Read the rest

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#OccupyWallStreet, or Get a Job on Wall Street?

Signs in the windows of the Chicago Board of Trade read “We are the 1%.”
More on that sign in a minute.
An offshoot of the so-far ineffectual Occupy Wall Street movement is the trend of the poorest 99% of Americans sharing their personal tragedies with the world through the internet meme We Are The 99%.
Some quick&#133 Read the rest

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Drive is the best David Lynch film not actually made by David Lynch

This film has absolutely no business being this good.
The marketing campaign makes Drive look like a Fast and Furious knockoff. Cars? Check. Heists? Check. Gangsters? Check.
Forget all that. Drive is an LA fever dream, a collision of the present with 1987’s collective unconscious. What is the film about? This picture tells you exactly what it’s about: looking&#133 Read the rest

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“The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines” in Comics is that Women Still Read Them

Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance has written a very thoughtful and personal indictment of the way DC Comics depicts female superheroes. She holds one one particularly egregious example (shown below) to “explain why these scenes don’t support sexually liberated women; they undermine them.”
Her conclusions is one that I would agree with, and that many others&#133 Read the rest

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1000 Days: a Postmodern Man Curates His Own Suicide

Mark Rife's website, "1000 days"

Here’s the awful story: Mark Rife, a pastor, saved his wife’s life after she fell off a 75-foot waterfall. She managed to recover, but six months later, she died in her sleep. Mark was devastated. After her funeral, Mark wanted to kill himself, but he recalled a question his wife asked after watching one of their favorite movies,&#133 Read the rest

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Netflix becomes Postmodern, splits into two, and races for the bottom

Netflix is spinning off is DVD-by-mail business to focus on streaming. If there was ever an example of how postmodern business has become, this is it.
It is often said that in postmodernism, the curator was as important than the works he curated. That certainly seems to be the guiding principle behind this decision. Effectively, Netflix is throwing&#133 Read the rest

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When rich kids can’t find jobs, it means socialism has failed.

The Economist reports on 40% youth unemployment in Spain.

MARIA GIL ULLDEMOLINS is a smart, confident young woman. She has one degree from Britain and is about to conclude another in her native Spain. And she feels that she has no future.
Ms Ulldemolins belongs to a generation of young Spaniards who feel that the implicit contract they

&#133 Read the rest

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