“Bits and bobbles” is a (supposedly) weekly, curated list of cool things I’ve seen people making on the Internet.

1. Web Services as Functions

A Twitter engineer explains how they they model their asynchronous RPC using futures and combinators. Although written in the form of an academic paper, this contains plenty of interesting discussion on real-world benefits and tradeoffs.

2. DIY Desktop CT Scanner

I love this project because of its beautifully laser-cut design and because it’s fairly dangerous as far as DIY bio hacks go. For safety reasons, the creator turned down the radiation level on the x-ray source, so it takes several days to scan a small object. Still amazing for a project whose bill of materials is around $300.

3. Javascript NES Emulation

In 2011, Notch (of Minecraft fame) announced 0x10c, a spacefaring game involving an in-game programmable CPU. The open-source community rallied to release 0x10c CPU emulators in every major language. 0x10c was sadly cancelled this year.

But it seems CPU emulation is in vogue again. This article walks through the architecture of the NES’s Ricoh 2A03 chipset and how to write an emulator in Javascript.

4. Meatspaces Chat

Meatspaces Chat is a public chat room that records and attaches an animated GIF of your face every time you send a message. I’ve idled on the site for a while and found it to be a really fun way to communicate. But can it evade being inundated with phalluses?