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Jason Scott, the well-known digital archivist with archive.org who has previously produced a documentary on bulletin board systems, has turned his attention to Def Con — the Vegas convention that now attracts thousands of hackers (and would-be hackers) each year. Def Con: The Documentary sits down with a number of individuals who've been involved with the event from the start, including "The Dark Tangent" himself, Def Con founder Jeff Moss.

Def Con is familiar territory for Scott, who is a longtime attendee and frequent speaker at the conference — and naturally, assembling the narrative of how the world's largest hacker convention got its start fits in well with his day job of preserving internet history.

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Pei-Shen Qian was a quiet, unassuming neighbor — but according to a recent New York Times article, he was responsible for dozens of modernist forgeries that, together, netted more than $80 million. In his youth, Qian had been part of an experimental art movement in China, but friends say he had become frustrated with the American art market in recent years, selling art on the street and working briefly at a construction site. According to a recent indictment, he responded by turning to fraud, painting forgeries of "undiscovered masterpieces" by famous painters like Jackson Pollock and Barrett Newman and selling them to art dealers beginning in 1994. The scheme caught the FBI's attention in 2009, when questions were raised about the authenticity of some of Qian's work, and one art dealer has already been indicted for peddling Qian's fakes. But while the FBI has caught up with many of Qian's art-world accomplices, the forger himself is still at large.

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Emoji; they've conquered the world, featured in novels, and more recently they've allowed us to track Twitter's mood in real time. Now, a new app for iPhone automatically generates another internet staple, ASCII art, using only emoji. Emojify lets you take photos with your phone's camera, or pull existing images from your camera roll, and replaces the pixels with emoji. Once you've selected your photo, you'll be able to control image size (ranging up to 16-megapixel files for poster-sized prints) and contrast before exporting or sharing your creation.

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It was a late night in May. Renderman, the computer hacker notorious for discovering that outdated air traffic control software could be used to reroute planes mid-flight, was feeling shitty. The stress of digging himself out of debt he’d accumulated during years of underemployment was compounded by the feeling of being trapped in a job he hated. He was forgetful and couldn’t focus on anything. “Depression has sapped my motivation and lust for life,” he later wrote. “I can't remember the last time I worked on a project ... it's like I'm a ghost in my own life. Just existing but with no form ... I’m most definitely not myself.”

Feeling slightly buzzed after a few beers, he decided to speak out. “My name is Renderman and I suffer from depression,” he tweeted.

Within minutes, other hackers started responding.

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It's the work of San Francisco studio Bot & Dolly, which believes its new technology can "tear down the fourth wall" in the theater. "Through large-scale robotics, projection mapping and software engineering, audiences will witness the trompe l'oeil effect pushed to new boundaries," says creative director Tarik Abdel-Gawad. "We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform visual art forms and define new genres of expression." Box is an effective demonstration of the studio's projection mapping system, but it works in its own right as an enthralling piece of art.

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An anonymous reader sends this news from Al-Jazeera:
"BP has been accused of hiring internet 'trolls' to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened. ... BP's 'astroturfing' efforts and use of 'trolls' have been reported as pursuing users' personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics' family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual compensation claims against BP."

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Original author: 
Cyrus Farivar

Aurich Lawson

This is the first in a two-part series exploring Butterfly Labs and its lineup of dedicated Bitcoin-mining hardware. In part one, we look at the company and the experiences customers have had with it. In part two, to be published on June 29, we share our experiences running a Bitcoin miner for a couple weeks. Spoiler alert: we made money.

The more I dig into Bitcoin, the stranger it gets. There’s gray-market online gambling and Russian-operated futures markets—to say nothing of the virtual currency’s wild ride over the last several months. It’s full of characters with names like “artforz” and “Tycho,” supposedly two of the largest Bitcoin holders out there. Of course, like most things Bitcoin, it’s nearly impossible to know for sure.

While reporting on a Bitcoin-based gambling story earlier this year, I interviewed Bryan Micon, who works with a Bitcoin-based poker site called Seals With Clubs. (To continue the lack of information, Micon won’t say who owns the site.) Micon has taken it upon himself to investigate what he believes are Bitcoin-related scams—such as the ill-fated Bitcoin Savings and Trust online bank—and he makes public pronouncements about them.

Read 43 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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