16 stories

David Harbour gives us the gritty antihero reboot no one was asking for, Grouch

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David Harbour, hosting last night’s Saturday Night Live, did the inevitable Stranger Things sketch as part of his opening monologue after first chiding the studio audience’s lukewarm response to him name-dropping his turn as Dark Horse Comics’ rebooted antihero, Hellboy. And while Harbor has signed on to play opposite…


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1 day ago
Ah yes, it's the song of my people: "Video not available in your country"
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Putting 3D Printed Speaker Drivers to the Test

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Over the years, we’ve seen numerous projects that attempted to 3D print speaker enclosures that deliver not only a bit of custom flair, but hopefully halfway decent sound. Though as you’d probably expect, the drivers themselves are always standard run-of-the mill hardware mounted into the plastic enclosure. But given the research being conducted by [Paul Ellis], that might not be a safe assumption for much longer.

His quest to develop a full-range 3D speaker has taken him through several design revisions over the last two years, with each one being put through testing procedure that compared its frequency response to “real” speakers from manufacturers like Dayton and Bose. The project is very much ongoing, but a recently completed iteration of the driver design managed to exceed 80 dB at 1 W. In terms of audio quality, [Paul] reports they can hold their own against commercially available drivers. You can hear for yourself in the video after the break.

Ultimately, he hopes to be able to sell his 3D printed speakers in kit form to anyone who’s looking for the last word in bespoke audio hardware. The idea being that the drivers and enclosure will be completely modular, allowing the user to swap out individual components for ones printed (or not) in different materials so they can tune the in-person sound to their exact specifications. To facilitate this rapid reconfiguring of the drivers, the designs use some neat tricks like having the magnets be removable rather than glued in so they could be swapped out non-destructively.

This isn’t the first fully 3D printed speaker driver we’ve ever seen, Formlabs showed one off that was made on their SLA printer back in 2015, and we actually saw a rudimentary take on the same idea earlier this year. But the work that [Paul] has done here is certainly the most thorough, and dare we say practical, take we’ve ever seen on the concept.

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38 days ago
That shimmie, tho.
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Ask Slashdot: How Will Abandonware Work With Today's DRM Locked Games?

dryriver writes: Thousands of charmingly old-fashioned computer and console games from the 8-bit, 16-bit, MS-DOS era are easily re-playable today in a web browser -- many Abandonware websites now feature play-in-browser emulated games. Here is a video of 101 charming old MS-DOS games, most of which can be re-played on Abandonware websites across the internet in seconds.

But what about today's cloud-linked, DRM crippled games, which won't even work without Steam/Origin/UPlay, and many of which don't even allow you to host your own multiplayer servers anymore? How will we play them 20 years from now -- on what may be Android, Linux or other OSs -- when they are tethered into the cloud? And is writing a fully-working emulator for today's complex Windows/DirectX games even feasible?

How will Abandonware work 20 years from now?

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65 days ago
Seems like the fate of most art. It ends up ruined when the owners stop / can't maintain it.

Obviously doesn't need to be this way with digital works... But normies seem to always favour "private property" over common good. So, nothing new under the sun.
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65 days ago
We'll use the pirated versions, which is what a lot of those abandonware games actually are. In some cases I've seen on tasvideos, finding an original non-pirated disk or tape image is nigh impossible. Some loading/intro screens are probably lost forever, and who knows whether the pirated versions really have exactly the same gameplay as the original.
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm

Asian Ron Swanson

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Follow @lamebook on instagram for more content!

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68 days ago
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69 days ago
This is awesome.
Los Angeles, CA

Progressive Boomers Are Making It Impossible For Cities To Fix The Housing Crisis


SEATTLE — In May 2018, a public meeting in a wealthy enclave of one of America’s most progressive cities devolved into a two-hour temper tantrum as longtime residents incensed about a proposed tax to fund homeless services shouted down its proponents. 

“Lies!” the crowd bellowed as an attendee explained that the tax would be levied on corporations, not citizens. “Shill!” “Plant!” “Phony!” they shouted as another supporter spoke. “Coward!” a man yelled at a homeless woman as she took the microphone. 

Kirsten Harris-Talley, the co-chair of Seattle’s Homelessness Task Force, had to pause to ask the increasingly unruly crowd to calm down: “Can I finish what I’m saying?” 

“No!” the audience chanted back.  

Seattle is not the only city where locals are losing their minds over issues related to housing, zoning and transportation. Ugly public meetings are becoming increasingly common in cities across the country as residents frustrated by worsening traffic, dwindling parking and rising homelessness take up fierce opposition.  

Last September, a community hearing over a proposed homeless shelter in Los Angeles had to be cut short after boos and jeering repeatedly interrupted speakers. Throughout 2018, public meetings in Minneapolis to discuss changing the city’s residential zoning code erupted into shouts and insults from audience members. At a public meeting last August on homelessness in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, audience members chanted, “Lock her up!” at a female representative of the mayor’s office.

These scenes are usually sparked by projects or policy changes intended to address America’s worsening housing crisis. More than 200 American cities now have median home values above $1 million. The construction of new dwellings has lagged behind the number of new households eight years in a row. Both congestion and climate change are prompting many cities to explore expanding their public transportation networks. 

And yet, despite the urgency of the need and the expert consensus on solutions, individual efforts to increase density, improve transit or alleviate homelessness can spend years bogged down by local opposition. In March, neighborhood activists in Los Angeles threatened to sue the city over the installation of a 0.8-mile bike lane. Residents of Seattle’s wealthiest neighborhood demanded reserved seats on city buses and exemptions from road tolls in exchange for permitting a light-rail station. A crowd of more than 1,000 people booed a homeless man who got up to speak in support of a new shelter in Salt Lake City.

Rowdy public hearings are nothing new in city politics, of course. But campaigners and elected officials told HuffPost that the nature of local opposition has changed in recent years. Where protest movements and civil disobedience were once primarily the tools of the marginalized, they have now become a weapon of privilege — a way for older, wealthier, mostly white homeowners to drown out and intimidate anyone who challenges their hegemony. 

“Most of the abuse I got came from older suburban or retired folks, and always from people who considered themselves progressive,” said Rob Johnson, a Seattle City Council member who retired in April after three years in office. During his tenure, he supported proposals to increase housing density, expand public transit and establish safe use sites for drug addicts. 

Despite representing a constituency with bright-blue voting records on immigration, reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality, Johnson’s progressive positions on local issues provoked a large and organized backlash. In 2017, after supporting a plan to install bike lanes on a major thoroughfare, Johnson received a death threat on social media. Opponents posted his home address on Nextdoor. Eventually, he stopped visiting local businesses and even skipped events at his children’s school to avoid the increasingly frequent confrontations with other parents. 

“Housing, homelessness and transit have always been controversial, but the kind of feedback and treatment we get has completely transformed in the last five years,” Johnson said.  

Increasing Tensions Between Old And Young, Owners And Renters 

While the extent and effect of homeowner advocacy are difficult to measure, tensions over density and growth in urban areas have been rising for years. Nearly every major city in America has seen skyrocketing housing costs push renters out into the exurbs while enriching longer-term residents who bought real estate before the boom. 

Meanwhile, job growth in urban centers has worsened traffic, filled up parking spots and launched debates over cycling and scooters. Galloping inequality and a fraying safety net have made homelessness and poverty more visible. 

According to Patrick Devine-Wright, a University of Exeter geographer who researches neighborhood activism, rapid growth can contribute to a sense of instability, a feeling among long-term residents that their cities are changing around them in ways they can’t control. 

“People invest themselves in the homes, communities and landscapes where they live,” Devine-Wright said. “That investment creates a deep reservoir of emotional attachment that can become anxiety and psychological distress when something rears up and threatens it.”

This same phenomenon — relatively privileged populations mobilizing against perceived threats — has appeared in cities throughout American history. In the 1970s, white parents mobilized to prevent racial minorities from attending their children’s schools. In the 1990s, affluent voters organized in favor of tougher policing despite living in the neighborhoods with the lowest crime rates. Most of the existing density restrictions contributing to the housing crisis in cities were in fact put in place as a result of lobbying efforts by homeowners seeking to preserve their home values

And just as previous generations of anti-change activists used procedural arguments (“states’ rights,” “local control”) to oppose progressive policies, today’s anti-growth advocates employ similar arguments about community participation and government processes. 

“This isn’t about a bus lane, this is about how much say communities have in government planning,” said Arthur Schwartz, an attorney and a district leader for the Manhattan Democratic Party. For nearly two years now, Schwartz and his neighbors in Greenwich Village have been fighting against a proposed bus lane on 14th Street in Manhattan. Giving priority to buses on the crowded thoroughfare, they say, will push cars and trucks onto residential roads nearby, worsening pollution and increasing ground vibrations, which could harm the neighborhood’s century-old buildings.  

The people with the most privilege pack the meetings, shout over everybody else and get their way.

Schwartz has filed three lawsuits against the plan, each time demanding that the city carry out an assessment of its environmental impacts. Though he refuses to be labeled a “not in my backyard” activist (“I’m a Bernie Sanders lawyer and a Cynthia Nixon lawyer and a union lawyer and I’m also a NIMBY lawyer? I don’t think so.”), the neighborhood advocacy group he represents has also demanded that the city cancel a pedestrian expansion and remove bike lanes that have already been built. Shortly after the cycling facilities were installed, someone spray-painted “Bring back our parking!” on one of them.

The neighborhood’s median income is $148,000, and black and Latino residents make up just 2% and 6% of the population, respectively. But Schwartz said he isn’t working on behalf of its wealthy residents but rather the low-income tenants living in rent-controlled units nearby who may be affected by the increased car traffic.

“This isn’t about a bunch of rich people concerned about their idyllic community,” Schwartz said. 

He also insisted that he wasn’t opposed to bus lanes in principle but suggested that they should be built on either 34th or 42nd street, neither of which have crosstown trains running underneath them. 

“When I need to get somewhere quickly, I walk or I take the subway,” he said. “I don’t take the bus.”

Schwartz’s arguments and tactics are familiar to advocates on the other side of the housing crisis. Alex Baca, a housing program organizer for the pro-density nonprofit Greater Greater Washington, said neighborhood opposition groups nearly always claim to support public transit and affordable housing in general but use technical arguments and procedural roadblocks to make sure such projects aren’t built in their neighborhoods.

Examples of this can be found in nearly every city experiencing job and population growth. In San Francisco, residents of a wealthy neighborhood opposed the construction of low-income senior housing, citing concerns that it was seismically unstable. Seattle homeowners sued a homeless housing project over a technicality related to its permitting. In Boise, by some measures the fastest-growing city in the country, one of the arguments employed by residents fighting the construction of new townhomes is that they will reduce pedestrian safety.

“It’s like playing Whac-a-Mole,” Baca said. “No matter what you propose, they’ll tell you that if it was just a little bit different, they could support it. But then you come back with the changes they asked for and they find a new reason to fight it.” 

Baca sees the increasing ugliness of public forums as a manifestation of the widening generation gap among progressives. 

“The boomer generation came of age at a time when neighborhoods were fighting back against highway expansions and power plants,” Baca said. “To them, preserving their neighborhood is progressive.”

And it’s not just ideology fueling the baby boomer backlash; it’s also technology. Facebook groups and the hyper-local app Nextdoor have made it easier to get signatures on petitions and pack public meetings. GoFundMe allows neighborhood groups to raise six-figure trust funds for legal challenges. Video sharing encourages campaigners to turn public meeting testimony into deceptively edited viral clips.  

All of this takes place against the backdrop of an increasingly tense political climate. Michelle Wu, a member of the Boston City Council since 2014, notice a tone shift after the 2016 election. Issues like housing and parking had always been emotional, but her feedback on social media and in her inbox suddenly took on a more threatening, racist and misogynistic tone. 

“I started getting anonymous expressions of negativity in a way that didn’t happen before the election,” she said.  

Homeowner Mobilization Will Probably Make Inequality Worse

The unanswered question of the boomer backlash is what it means for the future of cities.

In the short term, anti-growth activism is likely to increase urban inequality. Nearly three-quarters of the jobs created since the Great Recession were added in cities with populations over 1 million. As cities continue to swell with new workers, their inability to build dense housing and high-quality bus and train service will push low-income residents even farther away from jobs and schools. 

“We have mountains of data showing that cities need more housing and better transit and shelters for homeless people,” said Matthew Lewis, the director of communications for California YIMBY, a pro-housing nonprofit. And yet cities often give in to neighborhood groups opposing this much-needed infrastructure. The proposed homeless shelter booed by Salt Lake City residents in 2017 was canceled the next day. Schwartz’s lawsuit has succeeded in delaying the bus lane on 14th Street. The tantrum-throwing Seattleites eventually won the repeal of the tax they were shouting about. 

“It’s frustrating,” Lewis said. “The people with the most privilege pack the meetings, shout over everybody else and get their way.”

It’s a pretty short leap from ‘We don’t want homeless people living here’ to ‘We don’t want refugees’ or ’We don’t want immigrants.’

These organized opposition groups could also, in the longer term, form a conservative coalition in cities and pull them to the right. This is already happening in cities with high rates of homelessness, where nominally progressive residents have formed interest groups that echo conservative talking points on personal responsibility and cracking down on drug users. 

“This is not an anti-homeless march,” Barry Vince, an attorney, told reporters from the local television station as he participated in an “anti-crime march” in Long Beach, California. “We’re here to march against criminals, and we want the bad guys taken down.”

Lewis said he’s seen similar rhetoric begin to appear in public hearings over housing and transportation. 

“It’s a pretty short leap from ‘We don’t want homeless people living here’ to ‘We don’t want refugees’ or ‘We don’t want immigrants,’” Lewis said. “I’ve seen lifelong hippies who drive electric vehicles stand up at these meetings and say, ‘There’s too many people here already.’ It’s like you’re at a Trump rally.” 

Devine-Wright said one way for cities to counteract these forces is to get smarter about managing community input. In Britain, cities have begun to swap large town-hall meetings (“once one person starts shouting, so does everyone else”) for all-day, open house-style exhibitions that allow neighbors to interact with politicians one-on-one. The key, Devine-Wright said, is starting consultations early and providing more opportunities for citizen participation.

Cities can also redesign community outreach to encourage input from groups that have traditionally been excluded. According to a 2017 study, older male homeowners are more likely to participate in town hall meetings and other public participation processes than other demographic groups. Another, published this month, found that becoming a property owner motivated individuals to participate in politics and to express their views on housing, traffic and development to elected leaders more often.

Wu, the Boston City Council member, said she has started holding public hearings during the evenings and in neighborhoods where residents may have trouble getting to City Hall to testify.  

“The traditional model of public hearings is that you sign up, take time off work, come to a building that’s not fully accessible, wait for hours, then get two minutes to speak,” Wu said. “That leaves a lot of people out.”

While other cities have made similar updates to their community engagement procedures, it’s not clear if longer or more inclusive citizen engagement will lower the temperature of local debates over density and growth. 

“We’ve had people participate in years-long consultations and then, when they don’t get exactly their way, they claim they were excluded from the process,” said Robert Getch, a Seattle housing activist. He fears that as rental costs, traffic and homelessness continue to increase in cities, opponents to any action to reduce them may become even more entrenched. 

“The only thing that gives me hope is that the most radical voices don’t represent the will of the majority,” Getch said. “Most people want more homes and more transit and have compassion for the homeless. We just need politicians to stop listening to the people who are shouting the loudest.”

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100 days ago
Their parents are "the greatest generation"... Can we start calling boomers "the worst generation"?
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100 days ago
@acdha: Regarding our shared county of Arlington: I've heard you're onboard with turning Edgewood next to Whole Foods into a walkway. This is a great idea, especially if we can keep the cars out. Maybe a little park, easy for bikers and pedestrians and (shudder) the scooters?
101 days ago
Our neighborhood loves the history of having white and black neighbors stay united to prevent an interstate being built through it, which is great except that now means that every project is treated as the same threat, viewed through the boomer obsession with driving any distance longer than your driveway and parking for free when you get there.

Bike lanes and nice bus stops? It’ll destroy the neighborhood character of free parking for out of state commuters!

Building with affordable housing next to a metro station? Make sure it has fewer units and a minimum of two parking spaces per resident, even though the one on the other side is renting their one-per-resident spaces as storage because most residents don’t have cars.

Replace a squat 7-11 built in the 80s for as little as possible with something nice? We’ll launch a campaign featuring doctored photography to suggest the 3 story building will tower over the adjacent … 3-4 story buildings.
Washington, DC

The MAU At Last

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After what feels like an inexcusably long time, the WE32106 Math Acceleration Unit (MAU) has been merged into the main SIMH tree, and the 3B2/400 simulator has support for it.

This project was one of the most tedious, boring, and yet educational projects I have worked on. Join me now as I recount the harrowing details.

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107 days ago
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