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eggboard (315140) writes "Minecraft YouTube videos are fantastically popular, and a core group of producers of these videos have enjoyed a wild ride up the virtual charts. Diamond Minecart, a YouTube channel by 22-year-old Daniel Middleton of Northamptonshire, England, has almost 1.9 million subscribers, and people have watched his videos over 400 million times.
Joseph Garrett of Portsmouth, England, records himself as "Stampy," and has passed 2 million subscribers and 708 million views. The Daily Mail estimates that his channel currently grosses anywhere from $88,000 to $880,000 a month. A less-watched channel with 140,000 subscribers brings in $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
What's the appeal in watching someone play Minecraft? They are a way for kids to learn not only how to play the game but also how to modify it in almost endless combinations. It also brings them into a community of Minecraft players and turns something that can be an individual activity into something social." Link to Original Source top
The hacker-activist community leaves no safe place for women. Can it grow up?
eggboard (315140) writes "Rosie J. Spinks writes about the experience of women in the hacking and hacking/activism communities, where harassment, intimidation, sexualization, and patronization try to relegate them to the sidelines. Some just up and leave.
She writes: "Nowhere is evidence of this anti-female ethos easier to find than in the Internet’s most high-profile and highly organized subverters: the hacktivist group Anonymous. Anonymous’s roots lie in the profane message board known as 4chan, where jokes about rape, porn, and homosexuality are for nothing other than the “Lulz,” or gratuitous laughs. When 4chan factions morphed into Anonymous, the entity gradually gained a political activist-minded consciousness.
"Anonymous has always been a shifting entity, defined by whoever decides to participate on any given day, making proper accountability nearly impossible. Using devious tactics and a middle-school sense of humor (such as sending hundreds of unpaid-for pizzas to a target’s address), the amorphous group carries out a diverse range of well-publicized actions (or “AnonOps”), such as targeting the Church of Scientology’s Dianetics hotline or impinging on the operations of PayPal after it suspended payments to Internet messiah Julian Assange’s Wikileaks."" Link to Original Source top
CoderDojo clubs help kids teach themselves to program
eggboard (315140) writes "An Irish programmer started with a club in Cork to teach (at no cost) kids aged 5 to 17 how to program. It was such a hit that it's expanded to hundred of cities across 27 countries. CoderDojo has a template that includes self-directed learning with mentors on tap to help out. The notion is to provide kids a productive outlet. Among its successes is an average participation split about halfway between girls and boys in most chapters." Link to Original Source top
The diaries of an early 20th-century "radium hound" reveal dangers that lurk
eggboard (315140) writes "A responsible dealer of the radioactive element radium, a substance once pushed widely as a quack cure, tried to keep the genie in the bottle. Theresa Everline explains that in the first half of the 20th century, Frank Hartman, known as the Radium Hound, kept track of accidents and incompetence in handling radium. His diaries reveal that radium lingers in forgotten places." Link to Original Source top
Eggs terminate! Egg-free flu vaccines provide faster pandemic response
eggboard (315140) writes "Jen A. Miller has an egg allergy of a variety that her doctor has told her could produce a severe reaction if she were vaccinated for the flu, as flu vaccines are grown from viral strains incubated in chicken eggs. But, she explains, two new approaches have been approved by the FDA and are in production that don't use eggs at all; they're on the market in small amounts already, but will be available in much larger quantities soon. It's not just about egg allergies: the new vaccine types (one relying in insect proteins and the other on animal proteins) provide a much faster turnaround time in response to flu pandemics — as little as two to three months from isolation of a strain to mass production instead of at least six months with eggs." Link to Original Source top
Kicktaxing: the crazy complexity of paying tax correctly on crowdfunding
eggboard (315140) writes "I thought I knew what I was doing when I budgeted for a Kickstarter campaign. I spent weeks sorting out details, set a number ($48,000) that included expenses, Kickstarter fees, and a margin of error. In the end, we raised over $56,000. But my tax planning nearly put a crimp in cash flow, and could have been real problem. It all worked out, but I've written a detailed guide for people for before and after a campaign to avoid my mistakes." Link to Original Source top
The anti-selfie: a slow, antique photographic process doesn't let you hide
eggboard (315140) writes "A tintype is a form of wet-plate collodion photography, which requires exposing a metal plate covered in fluid chemicals within a short period of time after applying the emulsion. The process is receptive only to blue light, which tends to emphasize wrinkles and capillaries. The results are both gorgeous and unforgiving, the opposite of the selfie that tries to blur, hide, or present the subject in the best light. It may be old fashioned, but more and more shops have sprung up to offer slow photography. One in San Francisco has produced piles of prints, but is shutting down as its owners pursue other endeavors." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "There are a bunch of apps that help women (and their partners) manage fertility, to make it easier to conceive a child. But Natali Morris, the mother of two and planning no more, explains that they can be used for the opposite: contraception through careful measurement of vital statistics. For now, she'd rather avoid devices, hormones, and surgeries, and is using an app instead. It requires commitment and the scientific method, but it's not a quack idea; it conforms with modern knowledge of fertility cycles." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "Scott McNulty has found that his decades of playing Dungeons & Dragons took him, a natural introvert, out of his shell rather than giving him an excuse to stay inside it. For Scott, like many of us who played and play D&D and other roleplaying games, he built his comfort level with other people when he can don a different mantle (whether paladin or a mage betrayer who sold his soul to the devil)." Link to Original Source top
Disabled Britons build campaign on Twitter about disability cuts
eggboard (315140) writes "If you can't easily leave the house for days, or even your bed, it might be hard to help spread the word that the funds that literally allow you to stay alive and function are likely to be taken away with little recourse. Two women (among many people) in the UK use Twitter and other social media to rally people online and for rallies to explain how the Tory-led government's new testing programs for disability will drop hundreds of thousands of people who are incapable of working at all or full time. (There's some fraud, of course, but the program is designed to cut deserving and healthy alike.)" Link to Original Source top
How Role-Playing Games Arrived in Japan with Black Onyx
eggboard (315140) writes "Henk Rogers was a Dutchman who arrived in Japan in the 1980s following a girlfriend (later, his wife). An inveterate D&D player, he became enthralled with the NEC-8801, and nearly killed himself trying to create a D&D-like world that he released as The Black Onyx. No one initially knew what to make of it, and the game sold slowly at first. Through savvy pricing, packaging, and press attention, sales grew, and the game jumpstarted RPGs in Japan. Rogers got left behind, though, as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy hit a local nerve better than his efforts. "I also realized that I didn’t quite understand the Japanese aesthetic and way. These games were quite different to mine, and just struck a more effective cultural chord.” Rogers went on to license Tetris to Nintendo, though, so he did just fine." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "Public libraries are starting to build temporary and permanent labs that let patrons experiment with new arts, crafts, and sciences, many of them associated with the maker movement. It's a way to bring this technology and training to those without the money or time to join makerspaces or buy gear themselves. It seems to extend the mission of libraries to educate, inform, and enrich, but is a seemingly rare move in the direction of teaching people to create for pleasure and professionally. Many libraries are experimenting with experimenting." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "Marc Andreessen wrote an essay in the New York Times that appeared today, in which he tried to make the case for Bitcoin going mainstream for payments, if not as a currency. After comparing Bitcoin to the rise of personal computers and the Internet, he tries to explain how it eliminates fraud and will solve global money transfers and the plight of the unbanked. I wrote a critique of these and other points in his essay:
Bitcoin doesn’t eliminate fraudulent transactions; it only eliminates counterfeit payments. This can, of course, save many tens or hundreds of billions of dollars a year globally and translate to more efficiency in commerce. But removing the intermediary also removes recourse outside of courts, and the cost and nature of that can’t be determined." Link to Original Source top
Paging Dr. MacGyver: maker movement comes to medical gear
eggboard (315140) writes "The tools to make crafts, electronics prototypes, and cool stuff have started rapidly to turn to medical gear, especially in developing nations. The early results are quite marvelous, but there are a ton of concerns, too. The pace of change is incredibly fast:
[Many people] without any without any formal medical training—can take advantage of access to global supply chains, cutting-edge medical knowledge, and recent leaps in design and fabrication technology that have made the prototyping process faster, cheaper, and simpler than ever before. Even as concerns about safety and liability are only starting to be addressed, medical inventors and other technical tinkerers are already improving and saving lives—sometimes their own.
eggboard (315140) writes "Penny Arcade wants to hire one IT person to do four jobs, and is looking for someone with a terrible work/life balance to be paid poorly because the company isn't money-focused. This isn't unusual for an IT job, of course, especially at a small company. But Penny Arcade rakes in millions from its webcomics, PAX conventions, games, and more, and says the job's benefits will outweigh the low salary. But did they mention you need to be able to work in an "offensive environment"? Yes, they did. Sounds perfect for the right person." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "The New York Times ran a strange story that tried to explain why Wi-Fi fails when thousands of people gathered a tech event try to use a network set up by organizers. The story says Wi-Fi wasn't designed for that kind of use. I disagree, and explain why at length. The 1999 IEEE 802.11b spec might not have been designed for it, but 802.11g could handle mass numbers, and 802.11n is designed to deal with interference and large user bases." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "After examining the WWDC video and talking to two veteran Wi-Fi experts, it seems likely that the iPhone 4 has a Wi-Fi driver flaw that was part of the trouble in making a network connection during Steve Job's WWDC keynote. The other problem was the massive congestion caused by so many independent access points. (Congestion may have triggered the iPhone 4's troubles, too.) With mobile hotspots proliferating on phones and in portable devices like the MiFi, we're going to see more trouble in the future." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "Martin Beck, who in 2008 co-wrote a paper describing a way to inject packets into a secured Wi-Fi system, is back with a more extensive exploit. His "Enhanced TKIP Michael Attacks" still doesn't allow extraction of a key, and is limited to TKIP (not AES-CCMP) WPA-protected networks. Still, he's figured out how to put in large payloads, and to extract data sent from an access point to a client--all without cracking the network key. The attack requires proximity to sniff and inject data, but it's another crack in the older key standard (TKIP) that no one with serious security interests should still use." Link to Original Source top
eggboard (315140) writes "Apple told a few reporters in briefings yesterday to look for significant changes in its two top-line base station models, which are noted in passing as "new" on the product pages: 50 percent throughput improvement and 25 percent distance bump. How did they do this? With Engadget's FCC tip about "3x3" models, I've determined that Apple now offers what seems to be the first mass-market 450 Mbps, three radio-chain Wi-Fi router. Virtually all other consumer routers max out at 300 Mbps." Link to Original Source