December 24, 2011
Here is Dungeon Squad! A simple, free role-playing game intended for younger players (but enjoyable by older ones), with lots of dice rolling and action. Here's a couple of adventures for it, here's an expansion, and here's a more complex version. Here's the expansion Adventure Squad, in three PDFs: Core - Abilities - D&D 3E Classes. Here's yet another expansion. [more inside]
Santa's warehouse? Not quite.
"This was meant as a Christmas present for two girls I know who are 5 and 7, but I don't think I'll give it to them actually. It turned out a bit too evil-demon-pig-from-hell-y for that. Now it's sitting on a shelf threatening me with its existence. I'm not quite sure what I should do with it."
An unexpected musical treat. While on a search for an interesting modern cover of the Steve Miller Band song "Abracadabra", I stumbled onto Jeff McNeal's cover, which completely confused me, as I assumed it was lip-syncing. It's not: Jeff is a professional voiceover artist, and announcer in the Los Angeles area, and he's been recording hundreds of musical impressions of a wide range of songs and artists: Credence Clearwater/John Fogerty * Cream * Steppenwolf / John Kay * The Doors/Jim Morrison * The Knack/Doug Fieger * Rolling Stones/Mick Jagger * Burt Bacharach covering Dusty Springfield * Dire Straits * Van Morrison * Tom Jones * The Travelling Wilburys * The Beach Boys * Harry Nilsson * The Police * Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant ... and on and on. There are 375+ videos, so if he doesn't nail one voice to your liking, keep going. Some are eerie, while some are a guy who does dozens of impressions doing reasonably well. He has a dedicated site to this ability, SingingImpressionist.com. I miss you, Danny Gans.
Stop hating your body. Embrace your beauty, love your body. Single-link to a tumblr blog focused around the idea of body positivity. Some pictures NSFW.
Since the time of Dickens there has been a long-standing tradition of telling spooky stories on Christmas Eve... Who better to be a guide to a selection of ghostly tales than faux-Edwardian and author of Supernatural Horror in Literature, Mr. Howard P Lovecraft? Scaretastic suggetions from some of his favourite authors within... [more inside]
Christmas is a time for traditions. For some, it's all about stringing up lights on a Christmas tree and wrapping up presents to put beneath it. For others, it's spending singing carols door to door to spread holiday cheer. And for still others, it's a time to beat a log with a stick until it poops out candy. If you're not familiar with that last one, don't worry: ComicsAlliance favorites Benito Cereno and Anthony Clark have stepped up to explain it all in an original comic featuring an Untold Tale of St. Nicholas! [more inside]
Christmas is tomorrow and some new Christmas songs have come out in the past week. You can go the nice route: What did you get for Christmas? Did you get everything on your wish list? Or go the naughty route: You're still a slave if you celebrate Christmas.
Vintage tintype photographs of toddlers being held in place by their parents in order to get a focused image. (5 flickr pages)
What is it like to have an understanding of very advanced mathematics? A naive Quora question gets a remarkably long, thorough answer from an anonymous respondent. The answer cites, among many other things, Tim Gowers's influential essay "The Two Cultures of Mathematics," about the tension between problem-solving and theory-building. Related: Terry Tao asks "Does one have to be a genius to do maths?" (Spoiler: he says no.)
This Christmas, a holiday tradition undergoes a digital rebirth with Fireplace [Mac/PC], the pixelated demake of The Yule Log. It'll even incinerate whatever you type.
Wonderland, by Nadav Bagim, is a lovely macro-photo series which turns a kitchen counter into a miniature fantasy-land using household objects, and various critters as models.
Arduino + servos + laser + phosphorescent surface + Twitter = Fade Away 1. A thoughtful art project about the "permanence" of the Internet.
Being gay was considered a mental disorder by psychiatry - until 1973 - when the battle lines were drawn. Reporter Alix Spiegel continues the gripping story that spurred a radical rethink. It's the story of a closeted cartel of powerful, gay psychiatrists; of confrontations with angry activists; a shrink dressed in a Nixon mask, and a pivotal encounter in a Hawaiian bar. [more inside]
Honor thy Godfather. Tomorrow, on December 25th, we honor the 5th anniversary of the passing of our beloved Godfather, who was born in a simple shack, only to die and be resurrected numerous times. Please take a moment this Christmas to remember him, and let his spirit fill you up, as you shake your moneymaker. Confess!
One thing we can be certain of is that capitalism will end. Maybe not soon, but probably before too long; humanity has never before managed to craft an eternal social system, after all, and capitalism is a notably more precarious and volatile order than most of those that preceded it. The question, then, is what will come next.
So those musicians who had Christmas hits in the 70s and 80s in the UK, what with them coming back year after year, must be made for life, right?
’Twas the nocturnal time of the preceding day... A science writer's take on the famous Christmas poem.
Last year, an archivist at Dartmouth College discovered a forgotten scrapbook donated to the school by Robert L. May, the writer and illustrator of the original story of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", documenting the origins of the now-classic holiday story. The book was written in 1947 on commission from Montgomery Ward's, which was looking for a Christmas promotional item. Detailed in the scrapbook are May's list of possible names for the character, including "Rollo", "Reginald", "Romeo" and you-know-what. Ward's actually turned over the copyright to Rudolph to May, who became a millionaire when, two years later, his brother-in-law Johnny Marks wrote the song which became a huge hit for Gene Autry. Snopes.com adds more details to the tale, including debunking the myth that the song was written by May to comfort his daughter while her mother lay dying.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Jimi Hendrix: Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne.
Jack Goldman died this month. Mac? Windows? X11? You may think of visionaries who shaped technology as you know it. You might imagine that they were the original thinkers or visionary businessmen. You're wrong. The guy who laid the foundations started out trying to invent the electric car at Ford, before being hired to Xerox creating the legendary PARC labs that invented computing as we know it; he lived to see his prediction that "...any electric car produced in our lifetime will have to be a hybrid" come true.