Welcome to Reading List, a weekly collection of great tech reads from around the web. This week explores the unknown corners NYC, an underwater supernova, and the real meaning of the so-called sharing economy. Enjoy!
[Chris] is a homebrewer – the tasty kind – and wanted a way to track the rate of specific gravity against temperature. Tracking temperature is easy, all you need is a 1-wire temperature probe hooked up to the microcontroller of your choice. Logging the rate of fermentation isn’t as simple, but with a time of flight sensor, a hydrometer, and some pool toys, [Chris] kludged something together that works reasonably well.
Specific gravity, and thus fermentation, has been measured for centuries with hydrometers. Not wanting to complicate matters with electronic sensors, [Chris] built a floating cage for his hydrometer out of a clear tube, a kick board, and a few bits of styrofoam. By placing a Sparkfun time of flight sensor at the top of the tube, and lowering the hydrometer into his fermentation bucket, [Chris] can measure the height of the hydrometer above the level of the liquid in his fermentation bucket.
Both the temperature and specific gravity are logged to a Raspberry Pi, and after combing through this data [Chris] can see a big ‘bump’ in the specific gravity due to a mass of foam, tapering down to the desired values after a day or so.
Empire-building has been part of many a religious group's strategy throughout history. But no one does it better than Scientology. The documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which debuts on HBO tonight, offers the first in-depth survey of Scientology's practices, including its ongoing quest to acquire high-profile real estate.
They sure know how to party in Seattle. Yesterday, we brought you a batch of incredible cosplay pics from Emerald City Comicon
It's hard to decide which is more infuriating: culture being stymied by copyright abuse, or simply by intricacies, stupidities and failures at the systemic level (with a dash of apathy and negligence thrown in). The latter is what led to the death of a classic game re-release this week, prompting Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously to win most insightful comment of the week with a simple suggestion to fix the issue of orphaned and ambiguously-owned works:
I propose the same solution as for those `disappeared' mortgage contracts: contest the ownership in court and if it isn't quickly proved, the judge can declare a forfeit on the ownership (basically public domain-ing the content).
In second place, we've got a response to the idea that the government's seizure of Kim Dotcom's assets is justified by his failure to come to the US and appear in court. Jupiterkansas offered a poetic summation of the situation:
The high court of wolves said, "Of course the sheep can have justice. All it has to do is walk into our lair. If the sheep won't do that voluntarily, then obviously the sheep has done something wrong."
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an excellent anonymous comment responding to a call for more moneymaking institutions for creators:
By institutions do you mean institutions like Kickstarter and Patreon, or services like bandcamp and Youtube, which are already being built; or do you mean new forms of publishers, who take control of works for their own profits?
All the creative arts are changing, and the balance is shifting towards models where the creator forms a more direct relationship with their fans and supporters. The changeover will be painful for the traditional publishers, and the creators who rely on them, mainly because the alternatives can function with mush smaller fan bases, so long as the role of middlemen is kept to a minimum, and the creators look to try and make a reasonable living, rather than a vast fortune.
Next, we've got another anonymous comment, this time in response to the idea that patents protect small inventors from big companies:
Patents protecting small-time inventors from the big corporate baddies is the kind of nonsense you read in fairy tales. Even acquiring the patent in the first place is expensive (USPTO cost summary here), let alone suing for infringement, let alone the countersuit the big baddies can and will file against the upstart. How many lawsuits can a basement genius afford?
They'd be hard-pressed to design a system more rigged against the mythical "poor, lonely inventor".
Over on the funny side, first place goes to That Anonymous Coward for thoughts inspired by SpaceX's public domain release of photos:
When they start launching people, I have a list...
oh they have to be willing?
Another massive mistake by The Masnick
It's not "big super computers" as you hyperventilate in your post. Rather, the well-informed representative was placidly referring to "big giant super computers." Try to get it straight next stop & end this dedication to pursuing your agenda from clouding your judgment.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one more response to that post, this time from David with some recommendations for the esteemed Representative:
Perhaps he needs to get out more.
This new-fangled encryption stuff is scary. Maybe he needs to relax and go see a nice movie. I've heard "The Imitation Game" is good.
Too modern, I'd picture them throwing rocks while brandishing a few roughly assembled weapons made of wood and stone and making grumbling noises. The mere sight of the led lamps in the boats is met with wild and violent reactions. It seems they haven't discovered fire yet.
Sounds like Back To The Future IV: Jurassic Music.
That's all for this week, folks!
Selfie sticks are very quickly being branded as a public hazard: Our culture's "wand of idiocy
Gamers attending a monthly social gathering at Digital Press Video Games in Clifton, New Jersey Saturday evening had no idea the sudden massive police presence outside the store was pointed their way, until a caller posing as a fire department representative started giving them questionable instructions.
When it comes to birds, males—with their bright feathers, extra accessories, and impressive mating displays—tend to get all the attention. But for many birds, such as the Choco Toucan pictured above, brilliant plumage has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with survival.
Tired of buying boring keyboards with almost no customization available? We’ve seen lots of keyboard hacks before, but if you want to take it a step further — why not make it from scratch and have it 3D printed?
Reddit user [Wildpanic] has just finished his first attempt at a 3D printed keyboard and he’s even shared the files to make it over at Thingiverse. The frame is entirely 3D printed, but he’s chosen to use pre-manufactured key switches, which is probably for the best. They are the Cherry MX Green variety, which have these little clips in the side which make them super easy to install — especially on a 3D printed frame.
He’s wired them all using 20ga copper wire (which might be a bit overkill) to a Teensy 2.0 microcontroller. The diodes he chosen to use are 1N4148 which he was able to get fairly inexpensively. Total cost is just a bit over $50. Not bad!
Oh and in case you’re wondering, he’s chosen the style of keyboard that makes use of 4 keys for the space bar — as made popular by the planck style custom keyboards — you know, for people who love symmetry.
For more awesome keyboard hacks, check out this roundup [Adam Fabio] put together in a Hacklet last year!