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A DIY Invisibility Cloak, Creepy Robotic Falcons and More #Mustreads

For under $100, you can reenact your favorite Harry Potter memories. Doesn't mean you have to, though.

Andrew Gustar via Flickr

Good morning!

Here’s some of what we’re catching up on at Re/code:

  1. A few days ago, we wrote about a group of scientists at the University of Rochester who developed an “invisibility cloak” that uses a set of lenses to bend light around an object or person. Now you can make your own invisibility cloak that uses the same process, for under a hundred bucks. Find out how at Motherboard.
  2. If you weren’t sufficiently traumatized by “The Birds,” then check out the eerily lifelike robotic falcons in this article from Wonderful Engineering. The “Robirds” (their actual name) fly at speeds up to 50 miles per hour and can even tackle smaller birds. Still unclear on why a robot bird needs to tackle anything, but okay.
  3. In an effort to diversify the workplace, more American companies are exploring the possibility of using Big Data to fight discriminatory hiring practices. But just as you could systematically improve your practices with the use of such tech, “what you might do is systematically exclude certain groups that are poor or of a certain ethnicity.” So reports the National Journal.
  4. In the New York Times, Jenna Wortham has a detailed and thoughtful profile of a woman jailed by the federal government for running a site that hosted illegal streams of TV shows and movies. With 2.6 million daily visitors, was one of the most highly trafficked streaming sites on the Web before it shut down in 2010. In the text and accompanying mini-documentary, Wortham tells the story of the close-knit community fostered by NinjaVideo on its forums, and how the MPAA-assisted government brought it to a halt.
  5. Last week, blogger Andy Baio posted on Ello about the problem of Ello. He outlined how the service’s ad-free/privacy-respectful mission is on a collision course with its venture capital-funded origins, dumping a bucket of cold water on believers and might-be-believers in the increasingly popular social network. In a post on his own blog, founder Aral Balkan comments on his own interactions with the Ello team. Though there’s a “shocked to learn there’s gambling in this establishment” quality to Balkan’s righteous criticism, he raises a number of important points.

If you see any stories you’d like to send our way (or have any questions/comments about stories we’ve recommended), feel free to shoot an email to

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