Flipping Bits

By Mr. Bit | These bits are flipping

Steely Dan's Quiet Hero: Inside Walter Becker's Troubled Life, Wry Genius

He was a brilliant perfectionist behind one of rock's most eccentric bands – even if he preferred life in the shadows<p>For years, anyone who wanted to …

Steely Dan

There and Back Again

What J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Hobbit still has to offer, 80 years after its publication<p>“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” So began the legendarium that dominated a genre, changed Western literature and the field of linguistics, created a tapestry of characters and mythology that …

J.R.R. Tolkien

Ginni Rometty on the End of Programming

<i>IBM Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty was interviewed on Sept. 13 in New York City by</i> Bloomberg Businessweek <i>Editor Megan Murphy. Following are</i> …

Artificial Intelligence

Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, and the Battle for *Blade Runner* | Vanity Fair

The Battle for <i>Blade Runner</i><p>The Battle for <i>Blade Runner</i>Released to critical pans in 1982, director Ridley Scott’s neo-noir vision of a not-so-distant future where the line between man and machine has all but disappeared went on to cult status and influenced a generation of filmmakers. On the eve of a …

Science Fiction

Why is it so hard to swat a fly?

<b>Try to swat a fly and it will soon become clear that they're faster than you. Much faster. But how on Earth do these tiny creatures - with their minuscule brains - outwit us so easily?</b><p>You've probably pondered it after chasing a fly around your house and flailing your shoe with repeated, …

Biology

What Your Dreams Actually Mean, According to Science

If dreams were movies, they wouldn't make a dime. They're often banal, frequently fleeting and they're screened for an audience of just one. As for …

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ahem, Alex Jones Now Says Donald Trump Is Being Covertly Drugged

"They drug presidents because the power structure wants a puppet," he said.<p>Unbelievable.<p>Alex Jones ― the far-right radio host who has trafficked in crackpot conspiracy theories about 9/11, Sandy Hook and the KKK ― told a woozy doozy on Monday.<p>Citing “high level sources” and “multiple people” on his …

Donald Trump

‘I was told to throw ethics out the window’ – inside the online bookies

My job demanded taking advantage of people. We discouraged ‘pros’ who knew what they were doing, while tempting ‘mugs’ with free bets before bleeding them dry<p>At the online betting company I used to work for, we divided the punters into four categories: professionals, whose stakes we would limit as …

Betting

Franklin Foer on how Silicon Valley is threatening our humanity

‘The tech companies are destroying the possibility of contemplation’<p>Fears about the “existential threat of big tech” usually focus on autonomous weapons and how to control superintelligence before it has the power to control us. That’s not so for Franklin Foer, <i>The</i> <i>Atlantic</i> staff writer and former <i>New</i> …

Silicon Valley

flyngdream:Dent de Cuir - Dye: She’s Bad

Sixth mass extinction on Earth is driven by industrial farming, says leading academic

Earth is presently experiencing its sixth “mass extinction,” and humans are largely to blame, says a leading academic. In his new book The Value of …

Extinction

IBM Watson: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

In 2011, <b>IBM</b>'s (NYSE: IBM) Watson artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputer beat 74-time-straight <i>Jeopardy!</i> champion Ken Jennings in a man-vs.-machine showdown on primetime television. "Winning" $77,147 to Jennings' $24,000, Watson arguably proved itself three times as intelligent as his human …

Artificial Intelligence

The Lost Origins of Playing-Card Symbols

Cards have been used for gambling, divination, and even commerce. But where did their “pips” come from? An Object Lesson.<p>Playing cards are known and used the world over—and almost every corner of the globe has laid claim to their invention. The Chinese assert the longest pedigree for card playing …

Board Games

The Tesla Model 3 reminds me of all the times the electronics failed in my first car

Sometimes, mechanical simplicity is better<p>Tesla recently unveiled its car for the masses, the Model 3. Priced at $35,000, it’s an impressive vehicle that looks to update the automotive experience by turning the car into a gadget. But there was something in there that makes me pause. My colleague …

Tesla Model 3

15 books Malcolm Gladwell thinks everyone should read

Malcolm Gladwell isn't shy about sharing his enthusiasm for what he reads.<p>A 2015 New York Times article poked fun at how often he blurbs books and recommends them on social media.<p>The bestselling author has published multiple books and articles exploring human behavior from all angles; he also …

Books

The last resort: How a US strike on North Korea could play out

<b>Washington (CNN) —</b> It's the no-win situation that can only be imagined by US military officials tasked with preparing for a worst-case scenario -- conducting a preemptive strike on North Korea.<p>With little time to evacuate, millions of innocent citizens would be caught in the crossfire if the US and …

Military

Why Everyone Is Hating on IBM Watson—Including the People Who Helped Make It

You’ve probably seen the Watson commercials, where what looks like a sentient box interacts with celebrities like Bob Dylan, Carrie Fisher, and …

Silicon Valley luminaries are busily preparing for when robots take over

Until a couple of years ago, Antonio Garcia Martinez was living the dream life: a tech-start up guy in Silicon Valley, surrounded by hip young …

Silicon Valley

The Three Paradoxes Disrupting American Politics

They didn’t start with Trump, and they won’t end with him.<p>In their “hot mic” moment last week, Senators Susan Collins and Jack Reed gave cold bipartisan voice to a deep fear: The president of the United States is stunningly unprepared for his job and just may be—to use a technical political science …

U.S. Politics

Apple’s capitulation to China’s VPN crack-down will return to haunt it at home

Headache? Tense nervous headache? Perhaps your name is Tim Cook. For poor Tim has woken up this Sunday morning with a giant headache, and its name is China.<p>Yesterday Apple removed all major VPN apps from its App Store in the country. These VPNs aided internet users there to get around the …

App Store

PUBG: Our guide to 2017's hottest new game

PUBG is taking the gaming world by storm. You've never played anything quite like it before.<p>What is PUBG?<p>PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG for short, is a unicorn. It's an unfinished mess of a shooter with no tutorials and a bunch of game-breaking bugs. And yet, it's so nail-bitingly immersive …

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

Researchers Pull Plug on AI After It Invents Own Language

We haven't quite reached the terrifying sci-fi hellscape described by the Terminator franchise, but researchers at Facebook have brought us just a …

Free on the Internet Archive: 255 issues of Galaxy Magazines, 1950-1976

<i>Galaxy</i> was one of the first pulps to explicitly bill itself as a magazine for "adults," in 1950 under founding editor HL Gold.<p>I grew up on <i>Galaxy</i>, …

Virtual reality! Home shopping! Screens! The 1967 movie that got a lot right about how we live now

The future we’re promised in movies is often more exciting than the one that actually arrives. <i>Back to the Future II</i> said we’d have flying cars by now, and we don’t. It’s a full 16 years after <i>2001: A Space Odyssey</i> was supposed to take place, and still no computer is sentient enough to murder us.<p>But …

EXCITING

Here’s what NASA could accomplish if it had the US military’s $600 billion budget

NASA has been a household name for Americans since the '60s when it achieved the seemingly impossible, landing humans on the Moon.<p>Since then, NASA has explored other alien surfaces like, Mars and Saturn's moon Titan, as well as flown by every planet in our solar system.<p>It has achieved so much on a …

Exploration

​​​​​​​The Diminishing Role of Art in Children's Lives

Kids have fewer opportunities to do art in school and at home—and that could have long-term consequences.<p>“<i>Ik ben ik</i>”—I am me—was the classroom theme when my son started preschool in the Netherlands two years ago. He painted a portrait of himself, with exaggerated teeth only on the bottom row and …

Education

China is investigating that weird, traffic-straddling bus, which in retrospect was totally a scam

From ‘eating cars’ to defrauding investors<p>Last year, the internet briefly caught fire when pictures of a weird, elevated bus that glides above traffic began circulating around. The so-called “straddling bus” was held up as a solution to China’s notorious traffic problems, but all anyone wanted to …

Transportation

The best video games of 2017 so far

With trippy PS4 explorers, hilariously enjoyable Nintendo Switch releases and perhaps the greatest game of the decade – here are the best games we’ve played this year<p>More on the best of 2017 so far: Albums | TV | Films<p>Arms<p><b>Nintendo Switch; Nintendo</b><p>Nintendo’s bright, brisk take on the fighting game …

Nintendo Switch

Behind the scenes of sci-fi spectacular 'Valerian'

Now Playing: Watch this: 'Valerian': A sci-fi spectacular 40 years in the making<p>3:35<p>"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is set to be one of the most spectacular movies of 2017. Here's a look behind the scenes -- or should we say, a Luc behind the scenes, as director Luc Besson explains …

Science Fiction