The 10 Greatest Pinball Machines of All Time

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

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Throughout my youth, I played video games rather voraciously. I was, as a friend dubbed me, a Nintend-whore. If it was released by Nintendo between the years of 1985 and 1995, I either begged my parents for it, worked my butt off mowing lawns to afford it, or merely coveted it with every shred of my soul. To this day, there are over a dozen NES games I can defeat through sense memory alone. Despite that, however, I cannot describe myself as a "gamer." This is because, sometime around 1997 (about the time side-scrolling video games gave way to the more elaborate 3-D type), I checked out of video games altogether. To this day, I have been baffled and overwhelmed by newer video games, finding them far too elaborate, too involved, and too expensive to get into. I don't have 100 hours to devote to a Halo game. My patience wears thin if a game is more complicated than, say, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

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Delta Airlines Populates New Safety Video With Stale Internet Memes

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 8:00 am

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It's good to see Delta doing their part for charity by giving the unemployed a shot at a another paycheck.

I kid, of course. Nyan Cat quite obviously brainwashed everyone into doing its evil will for free.

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Disneyland Reanimates the Yeti on Its Matterhorn Ride

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 8:00 am

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The Abominable Snowmen on the Matterhorn Bobsled ride were always a little bit cheesy, but effective in that they were loud and made dramatic entrances. For the 60th anniversary of Disneyland, however, attempts have been made to make them just a little bit more convincing.

It's not just the animatronics that have been made more lifelike; using projected animation, there's now also a convincing view of the Yeti in action through an ice wall before you find yourself face-to-face with him/her. Notably, the beast was nowhere to be seen in the movie that inspired the ride, Third Man on the Mountain - but with Disney never hesitant to milk every asset, you can bet your frosty balls it'll be in the movie they eventually make based on the ride based on a different movie.

Now, if they can make the ride less likely to injure my knees and back, I'll be even happier. Crap, I'm aging.

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Imminent Changes Coming to Our Comments Section

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm

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I am aware that this will not be a popular announcement. But it is what it is, and the best we can do is adapt.

By week's end, Livefyre comments will disappear, and Facebook-based commenting will replace it. On the tech side, people are working to preserve old comments with the goal of possibly restoring them later, but for the immediate future, they will disappear. If you want to be certain to preserve any particularly creative thing you've said, or even the infamous Tupper Adam comment, you have until Thursday afternoon to do it. I'm aware there are also issues with the site search engine - if it still does not work for you, do a targeted Google search.

What else?

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Billy Zane and Steve-O Help Demonstrate How Back to the Future Part II Came True

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

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What if our 2015 actually is the very same 2015 from Back to the Future Part II - but we just don't notice because we've gotten used to it? In at least one office, we see how a normal day at work plays out in a world where everything happened as it was supposed to.

And since they still apparently have Slice soda, I'll take it, even if the tradeoff is Billy Zane with no pants.

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Space Robo-Chimp! An Actual Thing, Not a Syfy Movie

Friday, May 1, 2015 at 11:24 am

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Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon. It's good to be a robot ape, walking on the moon.

A German research center has determined that for unmanned lunar missions, the optimum robot shape would be that of a chimp, which can walk on both two legs and all fours. So they went and made one, with a fully articulated spine. It can carry some weight, and choose based on terrain whether, as George Orwell put it, four legs good, two legs better in any given situation.

So I'm not entirely clear why their next models are going to be a mantis and a scorpion, except maybe that someone in Germany is basing space travel science on their personal collection of Zoids.

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You Think You Know Them? Microsoft's New Browser Is Called "Edge."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 11:32 am

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That certainly won't create any brand confusion at all.

Oh, but per the announcement video below, it will "blur the edge between consumption and creation." Because that's something we have a real shortage of in the United States, apparently, according to somebody who knows nothing about the world (this sentence typed by your editor whose avatar was created with a Terminator Salvation movie promo app).

You know what would sell me on a new browser? Name it "Microsoft Not-Gonna-Make-Shockwave-Crash." I and many others would adopt that immediately.

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Human Ancestors Had Tentacles, so I Guess Cthulhu Made Us After All

Friday, April 24, 2015 at 11:03 am

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A very jargon-heavy article at a very legit science news site says that Russian scientists believe this is so. Not the Cthulhu part - science's job isn't to prove or disprove the Elder Gods' existence - but the tentacle part.

Our study shows that there is a group of the Lophophore animals among the Bilateria -- Lophotrochozoa taxon, which includes the largest variety of types of animals, -- Elena Temereva says, -- The lophophore is a special organ that carries tentacles. Phoronids, brachiopods and bryozoans (ectoprocts) have collectively been called lophophorate, because they have the lophophore. However, multiple molecular phylogenetics data shows that there is no united group of the Lophophore animals
You can read the whole thing, but the entire article's like that. I'll sum it up for you: every animal that is bilaterally symmetrical (i.e. that could be divided in more or less equal halves if sliced down the middle) comes from an early sea creature that had tentacles, some 600 million years ago.

So when you see tentacle sex in anime, it's really just a throwback to some very ancient impulses.

(h/t Bradley J. Fikes)

The 9 Worst, Most Exploitative Nerdy Crowdfunding Campaigns

Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 5:00 am

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Crowdfunding is a huge breakthrough for the arts and technology worlds. Done correctly, it enables artists to make something that would not otherwise exist. Creating is hard work, and making stuff for free with the hope that somewhere down the road you'll be able to use it to do fun shit like "eat" or "pay rent" was an obstacle that left thousands of projects dead at the idea phase. Crowdfunding makes art into an entirely new experience for fans, too - it lets people get in early on the creative process and gives them a sense of ownership over that material, a beaming, proud sense of responsibility for the existence of that art. Crowdfunding is unquestionably a great tool and a benefit to the art and technology worlds.

Unfortunately, it's also created an entirely new way to abuse customers. Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo and the like have enabled an entirely new world of online grift: crowdfunding somebody's whims, making money on both ends of a project, or in some cases, outright theft. Crowdfunding abuse typically falls into one of three categories: rich people who have the money to do what they're asking people to fund, but run a Kickstarter to try and get someone else to cover their costs for the hell of it; campaigns with no forethought whatsoever, projects so ridiculous or so half-assed that they would have been laughed out of the room had their creators' names not rhymed with seal nephenson; and corporations trying to figure out a way to make a profit off of the production phase of a project. Here are eight of the most egregious, most nerdsploitative crowdfunding campaigns.


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iPhone Controlled BB-8 Force Awakens Toys Will Be out by Christmas

Monday, April 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

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This is interesting: you probably know by now that BB-8 was a practical effect on set, but it turns out he was puppeteered. The fully functioning, remote-controlled BB-8 that came out onstage at Star Wars Celebration was far beyond what the original prop had been, technologically, thanks to Disney's Bob Iger becoming obsessed with another ball-shaped toy called Sphero.

And now Sphero will be making the official remote-controlled BB-8, but they're keeping it a secret for now exactly how the head stays on the body. Sadly, it won't be full-sized, but about the size of a large apple.

Show of hands, please: how long after it goes on sale is someone going to try to turn the poor ball-droid into a sex toy?