Day: July 30, 2016

Wool author Hugh Howey shares his favorite tools

Kindle

Our guest on the Cool Tools Show this week is Hugh Howey. Hugh is the New York Times bestselling author of WOOL, SAND, BEACON 23, and over a dozen other novels. He lives on a catamaran he custom built in South Africa and is now sailing around the world.

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Show notes:

Kindle Voyage E-reader ($199)

“It is the perfect reading device. … It weighs almost nothing, it’s comfortable in your hand, and I can fit an entire library. The only ding that people have said about the device is its price. I read a lot of classics. When I look at all the free books on gutenberg.org the device has paid for itself already several times over. … The Voyage uses the same screen as the Paperwhite. The body is just slimmer and there’s physical page turn buttons now and my favorite thing actually about the interface is that there’s a very wide side so that you can hold it with the kind of fat part of your thumb, the way you would hold a book without covering the screen or accidentally turning pages. …I have the same sort of emotional attachment to my e-readers as we’ve always had towards books because I think what I’ve found is that I imprinted on books by reading and enjoying them, and now I’m doing that with my e-reader device. The people who say, ‘Well I’ll never feel the same way about it,’ well that’s because you haven’t read enough books yet to have that imprinting take place, but once you do you’ll love the smell of plastic in your hand.”

oceanicoci

Oceanic OCi Wrist Dive Computer ($1,175-$1,300)

“[My Oceanic OCI] is a magical piece of technology. The original dive watches used to be enormous. They’re about as big as the dive computers you carried on your scuba gear, but this … is a very normal size watch. You can wear it every day for telling time, but when you go out for a swim — I’m doing a lot of free diving now — it keeps track of how deep you go and how long each dive is. You get basically a log of your entire swim, like every single time you surface it resets and logs that as a separate dive, so I know if I’m staying down for a minute, if I went down to 60 feet, like all these nice metrics which motivate me to work on my freediving even more. … The great thing about this watch is it’s wireless and when I put on my scuba gear it communicates with my tank and it’ll tell me how much air I have left.”

Hario

Hario Ceramic …read more

Veterans remind Pokemon players of memorial park's sanctity by shouting obscenities, throwing punches

pokemon

Everyone behaves badly in this one—snotty youngsters v. violent veterans—but that older guy throwing punches and threatening a pregnant woman should be in jail. Come for the Pokemon rage, stay for the expert demolition of a portable gazebo.

A story at the Winona Daily News appears to concern the same park; it looks like there’s a concerted effort afoot to ban more or less any unapproved “gatherings” there, and it’s all about the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

The ordinance would cover a wide array of activities, not all related to increased traffic from Pokémon players, and some which is already prohibited. … recent crowds that suddenly began gathering at all hours earlier this month when the game was released include prohibitions on hammocks and tents, sleeping and sunbathing, recreational activities and games (electronic or not), having pets in the area and playing music.

Why would you bother asking the Pokemon company not to use that location as a gym when it’s so much easier to pass sweeping teen-menace legislation?

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Voice of Postman Pat, charming British claymation series, dies at 83

Postman-Pat

Ken Barrie, narrator of the British kids’ show Postman Pat, died age 83 this week.

Barrie, who was born Leslie Hulme, provided the voice for Pat and many of the other characters in the animated series, as well as singing the famous theme song. His daughter, Lorraine Peterson, told the Press Association that he died peacefully at home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, of liver cancer.

The show concerned the mundane yet charming adventures of Pat Clifton, a postie in rural England, and his black and white cat, Jess. Most all episodes set out with him delivering mail to the timeless English village of Greendale; his rounds would inevitably be interrupted by some local concern: a lost puppy, sheep clogging a country road, plumbing trouble at the pub, etc.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if they did a new series that homed in, in child-friendly fashion, on the vaguely haunting aspect of all this. Pat just delivering the mail when Cthulhu happens. That sort of thing.

“Pat stared at the writhing mass of tentacles under the old flint bridge for a moment, then remembered he’d only yesterday delivered a box of powerful hexes and charms to the coven up by the old windmill. “I bet they know what to do about this,” he said to Jess. “Otherwise Mrs. Miggins won’t be able to get her subscription to Country Living.”

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Lessons from the DNC: Ronald Reagan, the Southern Strategy, and "abnormal politics"

animation (1)

John Scalzi makes a very good case that the DNC’s major message is that “this year is not about Democrat versus Republican, or conservative versus liberal, it’s about normal versus highly fucking abnormal” — but Corey Rubin persuasively argues that abnormality has been normal for a long time in the GOP: “the rational, prudential conservatives [Democrats] think they know [in the GOP] are in fact ultra-revanchist songstresses of domination and violence.”
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How to pay no taxes at all! (if you're Apple, Google or Facebook)

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In only 7 minutes, Australian comedy show The Undercurrent explains exactly how companies like Apple, Google and Facebook use offshore registration, transfer payments, debt loading and tax havens to get a lower tax rate than nurses, starving their host countries like Australia of so much money that they’re cutting schools, medicare, public broadcasting, climate change and indigenous services.
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How a cooked Assange quote ended up media gospel

Julian Assange. Image: Reuters.

Wikileaks, the clearing house for state secrets, seems more about founder Julian Assange’s grudges these days: especially the one for Hillary Clinton. Much fuss was made over a quote—that he had “enough evidence” to guarantee an indictment of her—that was widely attributed to him. It turns out, though, that the quote doesn’t check out: most point to a mangled interview on the UK’s ITV where it isn’t even said. Jesse Singal set out to track down a source that no-one bothered to verify. It’s a surprisingly tantalizing and teasing journey, but the tl;dr seems to be that the quote was originally fabricated by the investment blog Zero Hedge. (more…)

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