On Saturday night, Donald Trump, Peter Thiel and other Trump cabinet members attended a swanky costume party on Long Island hosted by Robert Mercer, the co-chief executive officer of Renaissance Technologies. The theme of the party, which Mercer throws annually, was heroes and villains.
Thiel went as Hulk Hogan, sources told Bloomberg. Trump went as himself.
If you remember, Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media, which ultimately led to the company’s bankruptcy.
Honoring the ultimate hero at the Mercer "Heroes and Villians" party on Long Island. Crowd thrilled w/ surprise! pic.twitter.com/VQAyaKvs6i
As you may have heard, it looks like Donald Trump has picked Steven Mnuchin to be his candidate for Secretary of the Treasury. As they should, Democrats have seized on this news, because Mnuchin is an ex-Goldman Sachs hedge funder, and is moreover implicated in the foreclosure crisis from his time at OneWest Financial. What’s interesting about this pick is that Mnuchin is also a movie producer (yet another reason why Trump’s neo-Nazi supporters are crying foul…) which makes him part of my little world of politics-meets-pop-culture. And not just any movie producer; here is a list of some of the films that he’s been responsible for:
X-Men: The Last Stand.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In other words, he’s not just a corrupt plutocrat who’s been put in charge of much of the Federal government’s financial regulatory apparatus, he’s also responsible for the worst super-hero films ever, the “sullen ground” against which Marvel’s “bright metal…show[s] more goodly and attract more eyes.” If this is his private-sector experience, it doesn’t bode well for the future of America’s economic policy.
Now, to be fair, he was also involved with X-Men: First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the Lego Movie, and Mad Max: Fury Road, so it’s not all bad. On the other hand, given that he was also involved with Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, Predators, Prometheus, and The Legend of Tarzan, I’m going to chalk those up to a stopped clock being right twice a day and conclude that this guy generally has a losing track record.
So one small silver lining if this guy survives the confirmation hearings is that superhero movies might get better on average…
[Geeksmithing] wanted to respond to a challenge to build a USB hub using cement. Being a fan of Mario Brothers, a fitting homage is to build a retro-gaming console from cement to look just like your favorite Mario-crushing foe. With a Raspberry Pi Zero and a USB hub embedded in it, [Geeksmithing] brought the Mario universe character that’s a large cement block — the Thwomp — to life.
[Geeksmithing] went through five iterations before he arrived at one that worked properly. Initially, he tried using a 3D printed mold; the cement stuck to the plastic ruining the cement on the face. He then switched to using a mold in liquid rubber (after printing out a positive model of the Thwomp to use when creating the mold). But the foam board frame for the mold didn’t hold, so [Geeksmithing] added some wood to stabilize things. Unfortunately, the rubber stuck to both the foam board and the 3D model making it extremely difficult to get the model out.
Next up was regular silicone mold material. He didn’t have enough silicone rubber to cover the model, so he added some wood as filler to raise the level of the liquid. He also flipped the model over so that he’d at least get the face detail. He found some other silicone and used it to fill in the rest of the mold. Despite the different silicone, this mold worked. The duct tape he used to waterproof the Raspberry Pi, however, didn’t. He tried again, this time he used hot glue – a lot of hot glue! – to waterproof the Pi. This cast was better, and he was able to fire up the Pi, but after a couple of games his controller stopped working. He cracked open the cement to look at the Pi and realized that a small hole in the hot glue caused a leak that shorted out the USB port on the Pi. One last time, he thought, this time he used liquid electrical tape to waterproof the Pi.
The final casting worked and after painting, [Geeksmithing] had a finished cement Thwomp console that would play retro games. He missed the deadline for the USB Hub Challenge, but it’s still a great looking console, and his video has a lot of detail about what went wrong (and right) during his builds. There’s a great playlist on YouTube of the other entries in the challenge, check them out along with [Geeksmithing]’s video below!
Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games. Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.
The frenzied holiday gift-shopping season is now in full swing, and board gamers across the globe are dusting off their Kallax shelves in preparation for the cardboard bounty that surely awaits them. It’s left to you, Friend of the Gamer, to make those dreams come true.
Whether your giftee is a longtime gamer or a brand new convert, Ars Cardboard is here with a list of games to please players of every stripe. We've broken your friends and family into tidy little categories and provided a main pick and some alternatives for each demographic. Our main picks focus on titles released in the last year or two, but we dug into some older titles for our expanded picks. To boot, most games on this list are friendly to tabletop newbies.