Amazing news from the cold void of space. io9:

ISEE 3 is a spacecraft from the 1970s currently creeping back up on Earth orbit. NASA abandoned it, but after a crowdfunding campaign, team of citizen-scientists visited Arecibo with homebrew-hardware and made first-contact. Communications are re-established, and everything looks good to recover the craft!

If it starts heading towards earth with a stated desire to sterilize the carbon units, though, we might want to have a kill switch in place.

It's tweeting here.

GAMES Wired has one of those well-designed “Snow Fall”-type stories on a fellow who built an retro gaming arcade in his bedroom, a testament to a bygone age. It’s a Manhattan apartment, so there’s room for six machines. As arcades go, it’s rather small, but you suspect the Wire story is about something else.

Back in 1996 he bought the first Transformer figure for a collection that is now worth $15,000. All that stuff was stored in his bachelor pad uptown. “The Transformers collection, all the things I really loved, were just boxed away and off to the side,” he says. “My lifestyle was so devoid of all the things that I grew up with.”

One of the things that characterizes adulthood is being “devoid of Transformers,” although the movies are permitted. But at least he had the social wherewithal to form important bonds:

He thought he was sparing her, getting all his geeky thoughts off his chest online so she didn’t have to listen to him blabber on about it. “If you come home every night and want to talk to your girlfriend about arcade or pinball machines, that relationship is going to end really fast,” he says. Instead, he realized too late, by not including her he was cutting her out of his life. “The arcade drove a wedge. It made clear everything that was wrong,” he says.

That’s hard enough, but even the hobby started to curdle:

His online friendships were souring, too. On KLOV, the haters outnumbered the supporters. They were certainly more vehement anyway. Some people hated his carpet.

That is the internet: people on message boards about rebuilding classic arcade games ripped him for his carpet choices. I bring this up for one reason. This guy has all the classics, including Fix-It Feix Jr.

To which you might say: What? Yes:

From Wreck-It Ralph, of course. It actually exists, although there's fewer than a dozen of them. 

URBAN STUDIES A look at Detroit’s decline - from 2009 to 2013. You might have thought there was sufficient damage done before 2009, but it seems they were just working up to the final act.

You can start here and wander around. It’s remarkable.

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b>Votd In Russia you can get a great deal at Mikhal Bay Motors:

The name of the site is Goobing Detroit, a portmanteau based on Google Street Views and Bing Street Views. Yes, the latter does exist. There’s also the Apple Maps views of the streets. How many complete records of American streets do we have? Ten years ago, nothing. Now we’re irritated if the street view is fuzzy.

Speaking of which: the site uses Hyperlapse; I made one for Minneapolis. (Works best in Chrome.)

BLEEBLEE BEE BEE Smithsonian asks: Is this whale trying to speak to humans? Don’t miss the comments, where someone slows it down. Haunting - and sad, if he’s trying, and we can’t understand.