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Updated 2019-06-18 04:19
Compilation of Trump ranting while world leaders quietly sit with their obvious discomfort
As one YouTube commenter wrote, "These are the faces of people who regret learning English." Read the rest
Star Trek Starfleet insignia found on Mars
The high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image in the Red Planet's Hellas Planitia region. According to the University of Arizona researchers who operate the HiRISE camera for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shapes like this "are the result of a complex story of dunes, lava, and wind." But they also note that "enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo."They add that it's a coincidence, but we know better. "Dune Footprints in Hellas" (University of Arizona)Full image below depicts area 5 km across: Read the rest
This cast iron griddle is cheap and fantastic
I've been using this 10.5" cast iron griddle at my brother's place, and it is just great.I keep a #9 cast iron skillet on my stove at almost all times. My brother prefers a cast iron griddle. I can see the attraction.The griddle is great all the things I do with a skillet, and also serves as a pizza stone. The lack of sidewalls can make grease management a bit more of a chore, however when making pancakes or otherwise looking to get under and flip frying items things become a lot easier. I didn't notice how much angling around and dickery goes into using my skillet.Eggs over easy are a lot easier to wrangle.I have a #8 'Chicken Pan' that is essentially a very deep walled skillet (with a self-basting lid) that I use for fried chicken. I could use that for deep frying, and a griddle for everything else... however I'm awfully fond of my skillet.I have a griddle I picked up at a cast iron flea market ages ago, and never bothered to refinish. My brother has this Lodge item and it is wonderful. It will serve for generations.Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Griddle. Pre-seasoned via Amazon Read the rest
Man happily pays a London cafe £20 for a boiled egg, a slice of toast, and a mug of tea
Steve Parks, a digital services director, recently visited a small cafe in north London called Eggs & Bread. His modest meal of a boiled egg, a slice of toast, and a mug of tea set him back £20 ($25). The good news is that the cafe, which has been in operation since the fall of 2018, gives meals away. They don't even drop a bill on your table. You can just eat and leave. But you can drop money into a donation box on they way out, which is what Parks did.Thread by @steveparks: "£20 for a boiled egg, one piece of toast and a mug of tea? The story of a modern London cafe... (Read to end of thread before commenting!) S […]"Image: Steve Parks/Twitter Read the rest
Sarah Sanders hopes she'll be remembered as being "transparent and honest"
Soon-to-be-former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a reporter on Tuesday how she hopes to be remembered, “I hope that it will be that I showed up every day and I did the very best job that I could to put forward the president’s message ... to do the best job that I could to answer questions. To be transparent and honest throughout that process and do everything I could to make America a little better that day than it was the day before.”"The miserable have no other medicine but only hope." -- ShakespeareImage: Michael Candelori/Shutterstock[via The Hill] Read the rest
Listen to Karen O and Danger Mouse cover Lou Reed's "Perfect Day"
On a recent episode of SiriusXMU Sessions, Karen O and Danger Mouse recorded this stark and lovely cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" from 1972. The performance follows the release of their collaborative LP Lux Prima. Read the rest
California inmates can have marijuana in prison so long as they don't smoke or eat it
California's 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that inmates can have a small supply of marijuana behind bars but "smoking or ingesting cannabis in prison remains a felony.” The ruling overturned convictions of five inmates busted for possessing marijuana in prison. From KTLA:“The voters (who in 2016 passed Proposition 64 legalizing marijuana) made quite clear their intention to avoid spending state and county funds prosecuting possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and quite clear that they did not want to see adults suffer criminal convictions for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana,” Sacramento County Assistant Public Defender Leonard Tauman said in an email. The appeals court “quite properly honored what the electorate passed..."While prison officials can still punish inmates for violating the rules, “this ruling will prevent inmates from having years added to their sentences for simple possession, reducing overcrowding and saving $50,000-75,000 a year in unnecessary costs,” said Assistant Public Defender David Lynch.image: Ahston / CC BY 2.0 Read the rest
Chuck Jones' 9 rules for writing Road Runner stories
I admire Chuck Jones and all the great work he did on Looney Tunes cartoons. That said, I don't like Road Runner. It suffers from the same problem that Scooby Do, Where Are You? and Dora the Explorer have - the same story told again and again. I also didn't like the smug bird, and when I saw this photocopy office art many years ago I knew others shared my sentiment:I just came across these 9 rules that Chuck Jones created for Road Runner cartoons. Constraints are often a good thing for creative projects, but in this case, they resulted in a repetitive, unfunny cartoon series. Read the rest
Look inside a vintage ice cream truck music box
When I struck out looking for this video I was hoping I'd find some really complex contraption inside old ice cream trucks. Read the rest
U.S. budget deficit now $739 Billion, despite GOP promises and Trump tariffs
38.8% more than the same period a year ago
When you take a commercial genetic test, you opt your whole family into warrantless state genetic surveillance
Cops are increasingly turning to commercial gene-testing services to solve crimes, using a process called "genetic genealogy" that uses the records of people who are near-matches for DNA from crime scenes to zero in on suspects; that's how they caught the Golden State Killer, but cops don't just ask genetics services for data when they're after killers, sometimes they deputize these services to help them solve petty crimes.Services like 23andme and Gedmatch are amassing titanic databases of genomes from the public and it only takes one person from your family to implicate everyone else they're related to in police dragnets.What's more, the commercial services reserve the right to act unilaterally in sharing their data, and this "voluntary" sharing is effectively unregulated. Even where services let you opt out of having your DNA used by cops, your relatives may not be so conscientious, making your decision irrelevant.Without legal limits, genetic genealogy will become a more popular tool for the police. Rather than wait for the courts to deal with difficult and novel issues about genetic surveillance and privacy, state legislatures and attorneys general should step in and articulate guidelines on how far their law enforcement agencies should go. Congress and the Federal Trade CommissionThe United States' primary consumer protection agency, the F.T.C. collects complaints about companies, business practices and identity theft under the F.T.C. Act and other laws. The agency brings actions under Section 5 of the F.T.C. Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices. GlossaryClose X should take further steps to protect the privacy and security of consumer genetic data. Read the rest
A deep dive into stalkerware's creepy marketing, illegal privacy invasions, and terrible security
Stalkerware -- spyware sold to people as a means of keeping tabs on their romantic partners, kids, employees, etc -- is a dumpster fire of terrible security (compounded by absentee management), sleazy business practices, and gross marketing targeted at abusive men who want to spy on women.To make matters worse, many security companies refuse to treat stalkerware as malware, and cops around the world make liberal, illegal use of it.Now, the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab (previously) has released an interdisciplinary report into the stalkerware industry, which systematically affirms that the stalkerware industry markets itself explicitly to abusive men who want to target women (including ex-partners and stalking targets); that its information security practices put all the data gathered via its products at risk of being breached and dumped; and that it is violently out-of-compliance with Canadian law (as the report dryly notes, "there were significant and disturbing failures by the companies in this study to obtain meaningful and ongoing consent").In some ways, there's nothing new in this report; but it's fantastic to have all these scattered reports of the problems with stalkerware summarized in a single report, with extensive references and accompanying legal and security analysis.Intimate partner violence, abuse, and harassment is routinely linked with efforts to monitor and control a targeted person. As new technologies have seeped into everyday life, aggressors have adopted and repurposed them to terrorize, control, and manipulate their current and former partners. When National Public Radio conducted a survey of 72 domestic violence shelters in the United States, they found that 85% of domestic violence workers assisted victims whose abuser tracked them using GPS. Read the rest
UK government is using child spies
The United Kingdom's security minister, Ben Wallace, really gets Lord Varys from Game of Thrones, you know? The Spider had it going on, man. He was hip and, also, with it. That imaginary man who had his love pump lopped off knew from HUMINT, apparently.From The Telegraph:Ben Wallace says there is “increasing scope” to recruit “juvenile” undercover agents because of the growing numbers of children involved in serious crime both as perpetrators and victims.Records show the children - most aged 17 - have already been used as “covert human intelligence sources” (CHIS) by police in the past three years to provide information on murder, gang violence, drug dealing and the use of weapons.The evidence emerged in a legal challenge in the High Court by campaign group Just for Kids Law who maintain there are a lack of safeguards to protect the children from potential physical and emotional harm. They claim the failings are a breach of the children's human rights.Little Birds! Wallace's bullshit is currently before the courts in England as the Home Office is pushing to raise the current amount of time that folks under the age of 18 can work as an undercover informant from one month to four.With no guaranteed protections against the type of psychological or physical trauma that they could potentially endure, even if they're not caught snooping, I can't think of anything less scrupulous than to enlist a child to keep tabs the sort of individuals that governments at the local or state level count among their enemies. Read the rest
In homeless LA, the families, retirees and working people who live in their cars are desperate for overnight parking
LA's homelessness epidemic continues to rage unabated as housing prices soar and wages stagnate; the result is a "wheel estate" boom of people living in cars and vans, with the greatest proportion of vehicles-dwellers being seniors, families with children, and working people.With 16,000 Anglenos living in their vehicles, there is a desperate need for safe overnight parking. Some volunteer groups -- churches, etc -- have provided these, but the city is taking over (as it should) and trying to establish standards that include case workers and security (also really important), but in so doing, they've priced the provision of overnight parking out of the range of many of the volunteer groups, while also not providing enough space on its own. The city is on track to provide a mere 300 overnight spaces in LA -- double the number that exist now, still far, far short of the mark.Overnight safe parking is essential for families (whose kids need to sleep near their schools) and working people (who won't be able to keep their jobs if they have to park far from work). Providing inadequate parking is better than banning it, but falls short of the mark of solving the city's housing crisis.Marston, with the L.A. program, said the security guards are intended to help working people sleep better, “to truly get a good night’s rest and be productive the next day,” so they can get out of homelessness faster.Similarly, the case management model emerged because “[clients] are at work during the day and our system doesn’t work with their schedule.”For some, like Yunus Rajabiy, safe parking’s social services were critical. Read the rest
Boing Boing presents: Skeleton Boy, a moving short documentary about the life, death and afterlife of Harry Eastlack, star of the Mutter Museum
Philadelphia's Mutter Museum (previously) is one of my favorite museums in the world: built from the private collection of pathologist Dr Thomas Dent (who aggregated the collections of many other pathologists), it is a solemn and moving place to see the incredible breadth of human physiognomy and pathology.One of the star exhibits at the Mutter is the skeleton of Harry Eastlack, who lived and died with the rare genetic disease fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), which causes the slow, relentless growth of a second skeleton within your body. We're proud to help release the short documentary "Skeleton Boy," which tells the story of Eastlack and Dr Frederick Kaplan, the FOP researcher who discovered the gene implicated in FOP, as well as Carol Orzel, a fellow FOP sufferer who was so inspired by Eastlack's story that she donated her skeleton to the Mutter.Skeleton Boy is part of "The Face Phantom: Tales Inspired by the Mütter Museum, from Metabook.Here's a word on the video from its director, Benjamin Alfonsi: "I wanted to make a short documentary about Harry Eastlack as a tribute and also to bring attention to the disease from which he suffered, FOP. When I learned that the remains of another FOP sufferer, Carol Orzel, would be displayed alongside Harry's, I knew I had to update the film to include her. I found their stories moving and strangely inspiring, and I hope others do too." Read the rest
Just look at this curved yellow fruit
Just look at it.(Thanks, Anon Reader!) Read the rest
Magic for Liars: Sarah Gailey's debut is a brilliant whodunnit in the vein of The Magicians
In a very short time, Sarah Gailey has distinguished themself as one of science fiction's best new writers, combining an inimitable voice with a bag of fresh and original narrative tricks. Now, in their first full-length novel, Magic for Liars, Gailey goes all-out in a magical murder mystery that's both a first-rate whodunnit and an unmistakably Gaileyish, chewy tale of high emotional stakes.Ivy Gamble is a private investigator who specializes in tracking down straying husbands, insurance cheats, and unfaithful wives -- anything to keep her from dwelling too much on her estranged twin sister Tabitha, a powerful mage who left the family when they were both teens, to complete her magical training. Tabitha now teaches the next generation of mages at the elite Osthorne Academy.This is a pretty good tactic, until Ivy lands her first ever murder: a teacher whose grisly death has been ruled an accident by the magic authorities, but whom the headmaster is convinced was murdered.From Rowling's Hogwarts to Grossman's The Magicians, fantasy writers have spent the century redefining the "school for magic," continuing the work Diane Duane started in the 1980s. Gailey's magic academy setting is thus familiar enough -- not as treacly as Hogwarts and not as alienated as Brakebills, but still gritty and delightfully messed up, and full of mystery -- the perfect backdrop for a murder mystery.But unlike the rest of the canon, Gailey's PoV character is one of us, a muggle, a non-magical, and the magic of Gailey's mages is seen through her eyes, which makes it all the more magical (shades of Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky, here), and while Ivy is every bit as tortured by the impact of magic on her family as Harry Potter, every bit as tormented as Quentin Coldwater, her enmeshed in a set of complex relationships that are incredibly nuanced and complex and fascinating. Read the rest
Ted Chiang's "Op Ed From the Future": socialized transhumanism vs American oligarchy
The New York Times has inaugurated its "Op-Eds From the Future" ("science fiction authors, futurists, philosophers and scientists write op-eds that they imagine we might read 10, 20 or even 100 years in the future") with a piece from Ted Chiang (previously) that imagines a future in which genetic engineering of human embryos is commonplace, leading to a well-intentioned attempt at preventing literal speciation into the haves and have-nots by subsidizing "intelligence boosting" genetic manipulation for lower-income families.Chiang's editorialist is looking back on the long-term effects of this Gene Equality Project and observing that despite closing the genetic gap, in 2059 the children of poorer families are still not attaining the wealth and privilege of the children of the rich. And while some of this might be attributed to the optional genetic manipulation that the wealthy can choose (selecting for tallness, say), the ultimate conclusion is that America is no meritocracy: the most reliable way to become a rich and powerful person in the USA is to have the self-discipline and foresight to choose really rich parents.It's a great pricking of the bubble of the cherished American myth of social mobility and meritocracy -- a myth that leads people to resolving the apparent contradiction of a "hereditary meritocracy" by turning to eugenics (cue the president boasting about his "good blood"). It's also an important counterpoint to Jim Hughes's excellent 2005 Citizen Cyborg, which warns that left to its own devices, any transhumanist project will create a have/have-not dichotomy that's embedded in our germ plasm. Read the rest
Once again, London does not really welcome Trump
Hey @realDonaldTrump, we read the story about the sailors on a US warship being ordered to hide from you because you’re triggered by the name on their hats. So we turned Madame Tussaud's into a giant USS John McCain baseball cap. Welcome to London! pic.twitter.com/KuynOwupFm— Led By Donkeys (@ByDonkeys) June 3, 2019 Thank you, London. Read the rest
All weekend, California Democrats booed neoliberal would-be presidents who talked down the Green New Deal and Medicare for All
John Delaney (a finance friendly millionaire) wants to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, and he thinks he knows how to win: "Medicare for all may sound good but it's actually not good policy nor is it good politics." It's an idea so unpopular with California Democrats that it attracted a full minute of heartfelt boos when he assayed it last weekend.Then there's John Hickenlooper, whose big line, "socialism is not the answer" (as a way of explaining why the Green New Deal should not be promoted) also attracted a sustained chorus of boos.Hickenlooper later explained that while he might personally not be so down on the Green New Deal and other policies put forward by the Democratic Socialist wing of the party, he was worried that "Republicans will make it seem like socialism."Because apparently Hickenlooper thinks that the job of Democrats is to make Republicans comfortable.It's another example of the true polarization in America: policies with broad popular support that undo corruption, save the planet and unwind wealth concentration; versus political "leaders" who share a bipartisan consensus that none of these are possible and the best we can hope for is that our government will act as a kind of aristocratic House of Lords that tugs gently at the golden chains that our eternal monarchs deign to submit to in a post-climate-change wasteland where most of us are valued only as organ donors for our social betters. Read the rest
RIP: Leon Redbone
While famed singer and songwriter Leon Redbone has passed away at the age of 69, the official announcement of his death claims he was 127.Variety:Singer-songwriter Leon Redbone, who specialized in old-school vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley-style music, died earlier today, his family confirmed. He was 69 — although, in characteristically whimsical fashion, the official statement announcing his death gave his age as 127.Redbone had officially retired in 2015, with a representative then citing unspecified health concerns as the reason for his being unable to continue performing or recording.A post on Redbone’s website confirming his death contained enough deadpan humor and whimsical fiction that it was almost certainly prepared in advance by the singer himself. “It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th, 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127,” it read. “He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat. He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett, and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence, and has plans for a rousing sing along number with Sári Barabás. An eternity of pouring through texts in the Library of Ashurbanipal will be a welcome repose, perhaps followed by a shot or two of whiskey with Lee Morse, and some long overdue discussions with his favorite Uncle, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites. To his fans, friends, and loving family who have already been missing him so in this realm he says, ‘Oh behave yourselves. Read the rest
The Booty Duty bag: tactical toiletry for camping, fishing and hunting
Countless times I have frantically rummaged through my camping gear, digging for toilet paper as I madly need to go. My daughter never, ever, EVER returns toilet supplies to the same place. The Booty Duty bag is a handy, one-stop kit for all your excretory waste management supplies.Camping for me involves a Volkswagen Camper. My bus starts most trips out as a well organized and carefully arranged environment. Everything from the solar panel to the BBQ is in its assigned place! I have tools, back-ups for the tools, cables, batteries, fuel, blankets, hats, sunscreen, bug repellant, you name it and someplace in that VW van you can probably find it. Zero thought ever goes into the toilet paper and supplies. They get stuffed into whatever space looks good at the moment. Then the TP is lost.Most State and Federally designated/managed camping sites have bathrooms. Government TP is like sandpaper, but it is there. When camping even a tiny bit more off the grid, you better have your own shovel and paper. Finding that shovel and paper in the middle of the night, or really any time you are in a hurry always turns into a comedy of errors.The Booty Duty is a purpose built bag that carries your roll of toilet paper and all your bathroom supplies! The bag handily affixes to your shovel and becomes a dispenser! It is thoughtfully designed to also house wet wipes, and have space for other hygiene products that may be required based on the composition of your camping party. Read the rest
Musician uses audio engineering skills to search for annoying mystery beep in his home
"There was a phantom beep going off somewhere in my house, driving me nuts," says Steve Onotera. "So using my audio engineering skills I set about to track it down." Read the rest
Noah's Ark owners sue over water damage
The owners of the Williamstown, Kentucky creationist theme park Ark Encounter, home to a 510 foot long model of the biblical Noah's Ark, are suing their insurance carriers for not covering $1 million in damages caused by heavy rain. From Lex18:According to the suit, heavy rains caused a landslide and some structural support damage near the Ark exhibit.“Subsequent to heavy rains, a significant landslide occurred along portions of the slope, which eliminated the structural support for the roadway, caused significant damage to the road surface itself and the incorporated improvements, and rendered portions of the road unsafe and unfit for use,” reads the suit...Initially, the suit alleges, the defendants cited faulty craftsmanship as the reason for the property damage and stated they were not liable. After an appeal, they conceded that only a small amount was covered by the policy."Ark Encounter LLC Files Lawsuit After Heavy Rains Damage Property" (Lex18)Previously: "Help protest a taxpayer-funded Creationist theme park in Kentucky"image: OlinEJ (CC0) Read the rest
Paolo Bacigalupi's "A Full Life": climate apocalypse with a side of intergenerational warfare and science denial
Paolo Bacigalupi's (previously) A Full Life is a new short story in MIT Technology Review that traces the hard young life of Rue, whose family has to move and move again as climate disasters destroy the places they try to make their homes: the water for their ecologically sound farm dries up, then Austin becomes unlivable when heatwaves spike rolling blackouts, then Miami is washed off the map by a string of floods that overwhelm the levees built to "American standards" that were cooked by US oil lobbyists, and then life in New York comes to an end when a global financial crisis wipes out the last family member with any money -- an uncle who was an investment banker who ends up losing all the money he made shorting Miami when the crash comes.It's grim stuff, but it's also beautifully told -- and it's a tour through the many ways in which individual efforts to ensure the long-term habitability of the only planet in the known universe capable of sustaining human life are always going to be insufficient. Buried in this story about individual failures is a warning about the power of collective action.It's also a story about the kinds of intergenerational resentments that Boomers are already starting to experience, as the many crises that are swirling around climate chaos (student debt bubbles, unaffordable housing, deindustrialization, elimination of worker protections and defined-benefits pensions, deconstruction of public services) detonate.The good news is that -- as this story illustrates -- we have 100% employment for the next century in the form of rewarding, meaningful, important work on climate resilience, adaptation and remediation. Read the rest
A neuroscientist explains the "brain orgasm" response of ASMR videos
Some people shiver with delight at whispers and certain kinds of soft sounds. A psychologist/neuroscientist at Manchester University named Nick Davis tells Wired about the science behind these "brain orgasms."Image: Wired/YouTube Read the rest
Rudy Giuliani slurs a tweet attacking Nancy Pelosi for hoaxed slurring
What is going on.This appears to be a slurred tweet from Rudy Giuliani piling on to an orchestrated political attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But honestly, who knows anymore? Yesterday, Trump and his party circulated a badly produced fake video that purported to show Nancy Pelosi slurring her words, in response to Pelosi's call for an 'intervention' for Trump because he is clearly nuts and unfit for office. ivesssapology for a video which is allegedly is a caricature of an otherwise halting speech pattern, she should first stop, and apologize for, saying the President needs an “intervention.” Are pic.twitter.com/ZpEO7iRzV8— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) May 24, 2019Is Rudy Giuliani okay? Someone should check on him, and then keep him locked away until mid-November 2020.Rosie Gray interprets it as best as anyone can."In a tweet on Friday, former New York City mayor and President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani made a cryptic reference to a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, misspelling the word 'apology' and attaching an unrelated gif of Atlanta Hawks team members." https://t.co/94ZuhJgDhV— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) May 24, 2019Responses from Twitter.Pete Buttigieg: I’m the only politician who appreciates the prose in “Finnegan’s Wake.”Rudy Giuliani: https://t.co/HhmzVDtSKl— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) May 24, 2019Me: *spends an entire day agonizing about sending a tweet where I left out an apostrophe*Rudy Giuliani, who is an attorney with a law degree and is employed by the President of the United States of America: pic.twitter.com/NTu6ln5KBT— maura quint (@behindyourback) May 24, 2019What is wrong with Rudy Giuliani? Read the rest
Big Tech: "If the USA enforces antitrust laws against us, it means China will win!"
Mark Zuckerberg offered to let Chinese premier Xi Jinping name his firstborn (seriously), Apple purged the Chinese App Store of privacy tools at the request of the politburo; Google secretly built a censoring search-engine for use in China, but America's Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm that they will no longer be able to promote America's global dominance if any of the US Big Tech breakup plans are executed.Which is hilarious, because breaking up monopolies makes industries stronger, not weaker: the breakup of Standard Oil spun off companies like Exxon and Chevron, each as big or bigger than Standard was when it was split up. AT&T's breakup gave us Verizon, Qwest, and a host of other telcos. Monopolies suppress growth by clobbering companies with innovative ideas in order to preserve the status quo.By contrast, Japan encouraged and nurtured its monopolies, and lost its substantial tech lead to become an also-ran in the global tech marketplace.Sandberg made her case against breaking up Facebook explicit. In an interview Friday, CNBC asked if Facebook was prepping for a big antitrust battle. In response, Sandberg recounted recent private meetings with Democrats and Republicans in Washington. There, she said, she heard that “while people are concerned with the size and power of tech companies, there’s also a concern in the United States with the size and power of Chinese companies, and the realization that these companies are not going to be broken up.”Schmidt was less direct, but conjured the same fears of falling behind China. Read the rest
Send your name to Mars on NASA's next rover
NASA invites you to enter into a drawing to have your name sent to Mars on a chip.NASA:Although it will be years before the first humans set foot on Mars, NASA is giving the public an opportunity to send their names — stenciled on chips — to the Red Planet with NASA's Mars 2020 rover, which represents the initial leg of humanity’s first round trip to another planet. The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.The rover, a robotic scientist weighing more than 2,300 pounds (1,000 kilograms), will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet."As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in Washington. "It’s an exciting time for NASA, as we embark on this voyage to answer profound questions about our neighboring planet, and even the origins of life itself.”The opportunity to send your name to Mars comes with a souvenir boarding pass and "frequent flyer" points. This is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight missions involved with NASA's journey from the Moon to Mars. Miles (or kilometers) are awarded for each "flight," with corresponding digital mission patches available for download. Read the rest
Watch: cycling to work through cavernous limestone mines turned into a business park
He calls it YouTube's most unusual bicycle commute. It's a fair claim, too, what with pedaling daily through cavernous limestone mines repurposed as The Springfield Underground, a secure business park in Missouri.2.5m square feet of warehouses, and who knows how many millions more yet to be developed. The caverns down here are just incredible. THE CAVES.Here's a slideshow history of the facility, from mining to meat storage.Vacancies are rare, according to the Springfield News-Leader. Kraft is the largest tenant. Most use it as warehousing and distribution for products that must stay cool; it is always 58° in the caves.With about a dozen facilities, Missouri is one of the leading states in the underground real estate industry, largely thanks to its mining history and geological makeup — limestone deposits are often covered with a layer of shale, which prevents runoff water from entering old mines. In addition to Springfield Underground, local facilities include The Mountain Complex in Branson and an Americold Logistics facility in Carthage. SubTropolis, a facility in Kansas City which bills itself as "the world's largest underground business complex," has nearly 6 million square feet of space rented.Here's a video taken coming into a different entrance:The bike-commute video could be the intro sequence to a video game where the lights suddenly go off and you have to escape the facility, suddenly overrun by ████████, but not before you've found out what that creepy new tenant was up to and ███████████ the █████. Read the rest
Pennsylvania Judge: professor who had sex with students must be reinstated
A Bloomsburg University professor was fired for having sex with two of his female students, but a Pennsylvania court has ordered that it reinstate him. Pennlive:The Commonwealth Court ruling upholds a June 2018 arbitrator’s decision that voided the termination of Assistant Professor John Barrett. University officials had appealed that award, which the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union secured on Barrett’s behalf. The arbitrator ordered Barrett’s reinstatement with full benefits and back pay.In the state court’s opinion, Judge P. Kevin Brobson noted the relationships between Barrett and the women were consensual, that neither woman was taking classes from Barrett at the time, and that the relationships were not barred by the university’s sexual harassment policy.Barrett was also accused of groping one of the women — specifically by waking her up by touching her genitals without consent — but "the judge [found] that the supposed fondling did not amount to sexual harassment because it occurred in the context of a consensual sexual relationship."Pennsylvania seems to have a problem with colleges being unable to rid themselves of predatory faculty and their facilitators. Lock Haven Univeristy was forced in March to reinstate a professor it fired after learning of his past as a convicted child molester. And here's Penn State students rioting after legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired when officials learned he helped cover up decades of child sexual abuse by his assistant, Jerry Sandusky. The college soon returned to "honoring" his memory. Read the rest
Alabama public television won't air Arthur episode featuring gay wedding
The first episode of the 22nd season of the children's animated show Arthur, titled "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," premiered last week but Alabama Public Television has refused to air it. Why? Because third grade teacher Mr. Ratburn's special someone is a chocolate maker named Patrick and the two are seen walking down the aisle. In 2005, Arthur spin-off show Postcards from Buster showed a lesbian couple which infuriated then-Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.) From CNN:The storyline about Mr. Ratburn's marriage conveys a positive message, (programming director Mike McKenzie) said. But while many parents will find it appropriate, many others will disagree, he said -- "either because their children are too young, or because of their beliefs.""Our broadcast would take away the choice of parents who feel it is inappropriate," McKenzie told CNN in a statement.PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation," PBS Kids' Maria Vera Whelan told CNN. "We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day." Read the rest
Scientific study reports that CBD reduces opioid cravings and anxiety
Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis component that doesn't get you high but seems to have countless other benefits, has now been shown to reduce heroin cravings and the anxiety that's triggered when jonesing for the opioid. Researchers at the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ran a randomized, controlled, double-blind study with several dozen addicts who have been abstaining from use. From their scientific paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry:Acute CBD administration, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues compared with neutral cues. CBD also showed significant protracted effects on these measures 7 days after the final short-term (3-day) CBD exposure. In addition, CBD reduced the drug cue–induced physiological measures of heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. There were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious adverse effects.And from Scientific American:The anxiety reduction isn’t specific to opioid-related cues and could generalize to other situations, says neuroscientist Yasmin Hurd, first author on the study and director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “It’s just that this particular anxiety leads someone to take a drug that can cause them death, and anything we can do to decrease that means increasing the precious chance of preventing relapse and saving their lives.”image: "Ball-and-stick model of the cannabidiol molecule." X-ray diffraction data from P. G. Jones, L. Falvello, O. Kennard, G. M. Sheldrick and R. Read the rest
Gen Xers, and their kids, play Fortnite together
Fortnite Over Forty has become a booming little community of mature video game enthusiasts who are positive, supportive and inclusive. Mostly we play Fortnite.A while back some friends and I were looking to play squads in Fortnite that were not populated by random children screaming terrible slurs at us. I am sure the kids are no more friendly to one another, but playing outside a group of trusted friends seems a sure path to learning the latest colloquial epithets. We gave up on random squads and posted here, on Boing Boing.Now, almost any time I'd like to play Fortnite with some really friendly, completely supportive folks, there is probably a squad or two of players from Fortnite Over Forty online. We have a solid contingent of EU/UK players, NA-East and NA-West going. The Discord is community monitored and other than kicking out SPAMMERS, we've never had a single issue I know of. We take our aggression out on the opposing teams. Many of the parents in the group have gotten comfortable enough that we will sometimes use our children to fill squads or act as ringers. The kids are all super polite and often comically talkative.There seems to be a solid dislike of the banana skin, however, which has me worried.No one checks ID, if you'd like to play duos or squads with positive folks, jump on in! Read the rest
A former FBI spy catcher shows how to read body language
Joe Navarro was a body language expert for the FBI. His job was to catch spies. In this Wired video, he shares some tips. He also busts some myths. For instance, a lot of people think that crossed arms are a blocking behavior. Navarro says, "That's just nonsense." Navarro has written a number of books about body language and interrogation techniques, including What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People.Image: YouTube Read the rest
This nearly flush mount car charger has USB and USB-C ports
More mobile devices are requiring USB-C charging, and this Aukey car charger has one, along with a normal USB port. It barely sticks out of a car's 9-volt charging port, to the point that some people on Amazon have complained that it's not easy to remove. You can get it at a discounted price by using the code U6AJHIUX. Read the rest
Guatemalan boy, 16, dies in US Border Patrol custody — 5th child dead at border under Trump
Guatemalan minor is fourth to have died in custody under Trump campaign
Watch this 1986 report about house music on Chicago's local TV news
In 1986, Chicago's local TV news discovered the city's pioneering house music scene, featuring the likes of Farley "Jackmaster" Funk and Steve "Silk" Hurley. From this groove came the groove of all grooves.Below, two classics of the genre:(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
A portable dock for my Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic portable gaming console that is made better with a portable dock.I like to plug an Xbox controller into my Nintendo Switch. There is but a single USB-C port on the device, however, and I can only get in 2-3 matches of Fortnite (if I don't get eliminated immediately) before the battery is dead. To charge the device at the same time you use the USB port for anything else, you must have a dock. Nintendo's supplied dock is shaped like, and as convenient to carry, as a brick. I went looking for a cheap, small, portable dock.One of the great things about the Nintendo dock is the HDMI out port. With this, you can play games on any screen that accepts HDMI. I wanted my tiny dock to support this as well, not just be a USB-C to USB-3 or USB-2 hub. This RREAKA multi-port hub works exactly like Nintendo's dock, and is the size of a king-size Sharpie.I have been using this hub for the last few weeks. Moving between strange TVs and tiny portable monitors. I can charge the Switch while playing games, powering a USB controller and feeding HDMI to a screen. I can also use a power bank with 'Power Delivery' to run the whole thing.I wish the Switch also had support for wired USB headsets, plugging into the 3.5mm jack on top of the unit is annoying.A reminder that Nintendo wants everyone to never use 3rd party anything. Read the rest
Revealing the innards of fruits and vegetables with stop-motion animation
From Kevin Parry:Using my stop-motion animation know-how to explore the patterns inside of various fruits and vegetables! This looks super tedious, but I actually had a lot of fun slicing them frame by frame and seeing the results come to life. I've included a bit of behind-the-scenes footage to show how I created the effect. Hope you enjoy! Read the rest
The world's preeminent cryptographers can't get visas to speak at US conferences
Ross Anderson (previously) is one of the world's top cryptographers; the British academic and practitioner was honored by having his classic, Security Engineering, inducted into The Cybersecurity Canon; however, he was not able to attend the awards gala himself because the US government sat on his visa application for months, and ultimately did not grant it in time.Anderson's not the only one: Israeli cryptography legend Adi Shamir (he's the "S" in "RSA") could not get a visa to visit the USA to participate in the RSA conference (again, he's the "S" in "RSA"). Shamir is a recipient of the Turing Prize -- computer science's answer to the Nobel Prize. During the panel that Shamir missed, co-panelist Shafi Goldwasser said that Shamir was just one of many cryptographers who could not attend because of visa issues.Shamir made a video that was presented at RSA that called for a "rethink" of "the question of how and where we organize our major scientific conferences."It's not just the world's leading security conferences that are having trouble with invited guests and attendees: the World Science Fiction Convention is likely to be held offshore for the foreseeable future, thanks in large part to the inability of global fandom to attend US-based events in the age of "extreme vetting."Why Are Cryptographers Being Denied Entry into the US? [Bruce Schneier/Schneierblog] Read the rest
A report from the Christchurch Call, where the future of "anti-extremist" moderation was debated at the highest levels
This week's Christchurch Call event in Paris brought together politicians, tech execs and civil society to discuss means of "countering violent extremism" online; it was convened by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the wake of the deadly white supremacist terror killings in Christchurch last March.My Electronic Frontier Foundation colleague Jillian C York was there as part of the civil society delegation, and her report on the event highlights some of the genuinely positive outcomes from the event (a commitment to "strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of our societies" and a mandate for tech companies to be transparent in their content moderation); as well as some of the not-so-good conclusions (a lack of distinction drawn between services like Facebook and infrastructure like DNS when it comes to conscripting companies to reduce violent extremism).Most disturbing, though, was a commitment to requiring algorithmic filters of human expression, something hinted at in the terrible, hastily enacted Australian bill passed in response to the terrorist attack. The use of filters to curb bad speech has gained widespread acceptance in policy circles in the past 12 months, despite the near-total consensus among technologists and computer scientists that this will not work and will have ugly consequences for both human speech and competition. * The Call asks companies to take “transparent, specific measures” to prevent the upload of terrorist and violent extremist content and prevent its dissemination “in a manner consistent with human rights and fundamental freedoms.” But as numerous civil society organizations pointed out in the May 14 meeting, upload filters are inherently inconsistent with fundamental freedoms. Read the rest
After new formula, low-carb bread is also a durable and effective sponge
UPDATE: I missed that this video is 7 years old! On the internet, everything new is old again. Julian Bakery low-carb "bread" should not be judged on the basis of this clip.A company called Julian Bakery makes a low-carb "bread", but they improved the formula. This fan of the original is not a fan of eating the new version, but reports that individual slices turn out to be strikingly useful as utility sponges.What's the best low-carb "bread"? Read the rest
White House asks fans to report anti-Trump 'political bias' online
'If you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.'
A year after Meltdown and Spectre, security researchers are still announcing new serious risks from low-level chip operations
Spectre and Meltdown are a pair of chip-level security bugs that exploit something called "speculative execution," through which chips boost performance by making shrewd guesses about which computer operations are performed together.Spectre and Meltdown represented a new class of never-seen-before attacks, and as news of their existence percolated through security circles, it sparked a scavenger hunt for more errors of their sort, with many more coming to light.Intel calls these "Microarchitectural Data Sampling" (MDS) attacks, and now a team of industry and academic researchers (some of whom worked on the original Spectre/Meltdown papers) have gone public with a new set of MDS bugs that Intel was given advance notice of (some of these bugs were discovered more than a year ago). All but the most recent Intel chips are vulnerable to these attacks (you can check your system here).The researchers have dubbed the new defects CPU Fail, and they have disclosed three CPU Fail attacks: Zombieload, RIDL, and Fallout, which they class as "less serious than Meltdown but worse than Spectre."The specifics vary for each defect, but the most significant fact about them is that they can force CPUs to reveal data that's private to another process running on the same system. That means that an attacker can run code on a cloud computer that gives them access to other virtual machines running on the same hardware -- or they can run Javascript in your browser window and steel secrets from your password manager. Read the rest
Three years after the Umbrella Revolution, Hong Kong has its own Extinction Rebellion chapter
Three years ago, Hong Kong erupted as a youth-led anti-corruption movement called the Umbrella Revolution took to the streets; now, a chapter of the Extinction Rebellion movement has launched in HK.Extinction Rebellion was inspired by the one-woman strike of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who quit school to picket the Swedish Parliament over climate inaction; the movement has gone global, with mass civil disobedience and more than a thousand arrests in the UK alone (Extinction Rebellion has also put forth a slate of candidates for the upcoming EU elections; I have cast my vote by proxy for the slate, and donated to their campaign). The HK chapter only numbers 40 people so far, a mix of foreigners working in HK, HK locals, and HK nationals who have returned from abroad. On May 4, the group inaugurated the HK chapter with a die-in outside Tsuen Wan's Citywalk mall. They are demanding that HK produce zero emissions by 2025.The chapter went on to lead a mass school-strike and is planning tactical sit-ins at the airport and cruise terminal.Delalande admitted his group’s demands may not be achievable, but made no apologies for that.“Extinction Rebellion is not about what is possible, but what is necessary,” he said. “These urgent actions are absolutely necessary.”Hong Kong’s new Extinction Rebellion chapter looks to turn up the heat on the government over climate change [Victor Ting/South China Morning Post] (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest
The Training Commission: an email newsletter from the future, after a civil war and digital blackout
"The Training Commission" is Ingrid Burrington and Brendan C Byrne's serialized science fiction tale, taking the form of an email newsletter that lets you eavesdrop on the correspondence between the story's principal characters: it's set after a civil war ("the Shitstorm"), sparked by misbehaving and easily abused machine-learning systems, and which was resolved after a protracted and catastrophic digital blackout.I read the initial volleys this morning, and they're pretty fantastic -- excellent writing, wonderful worldbuilding, complicated and likable characters that I was rooting for within just a few sentences, and the dramatic tension starts high and keeps rising, with no dull moments.KZ from Mozilla adds: "Ingrid and Brendan have created a whole fictional universe, and are supported by a $25,000 Creative Media Award from Mozilla. The project features a weekly newsletter, and also clues, context, and Easter eggs scattered across the web."Burrington unpacks some of the inspiration for the story: "Today's conversations about ‘AI accountability’ are, in many instances, proxies for larger and harder conversations about the contradictions of pursuing equity and justice in racist, capitalist societies such as the United States. Do we want less biased risk assessment technologies for managing mass incarceration, or do we want a society without prisons? How does the glut of recommended white supremacist content on YouTube reflect not only a colossal oversight by a tech company, but also the deeply racist foundations that still define American politics today?"That's exactly right: the reason we're so anxious about autonomous human-created life-forms taking over our world is that this describes our existing relationship to corporations, which is why Charlie Stross calls them "Slow AIs."After the end of a second ultraviolent American civil war, after we've placed the state under the guidance of automated systems—well, there's inevitably going to be a Smithsonian exhibit. Read the rest
Plastic bag and other human trash found at the bottom of Earth's deepest ocean trench
During the deepest human sea dive ever, 35,853 feet/10,928 meters down to the bottom of the western Pacific's Mariana Trench in a one-person submarine, underwater adventurer Victor Vescovo found what may be newly discovered species of marine life along with candy wrappers and a plastic bag. This is the third plastic bag that divers have found in the Mariana Trench, considered the deepest natural trench on Earth. From National Geographic:A study released in October 2018 documented what is still the deepest known piece of plastic—a flimsy shopping bag—found at a depth of 36,000 feet inside the Mariana Trench....Single-use plastics are virtually everywhere, and they may take hundreds of years or more to break down once in the wild. The Mariana Trench has higher levels of overall pollution in certain regions than some of the most polluted rivers in China, according to a study in February 2017. The study's authors theorized that the chemical pollutants in the trench may have come in part from the breakdown of plastic in the water column. Read the rest
A designer comes up with a much better supermarket receipt
Susie Lu is a senior data visualization engineer at Netflix. She wanted to make a better grocery store receipt so she bought a thermal printer and went to work designing an infographic style receipt that is legible on the printer's crappy resolution. Her design makes it easy to see what categories of food you spent the most and least on and the relative price of individual products.Early prototypes of reviziting the receipt, one piece of a larger question I want explore: how can viz be integrated into everyday experiences? pic.twitter.com/hswtVFp0oc— Susie Lu (@DataToViz) May 4, 2019[via Fast Company]Image: Twitter Read the rest
Amazon told to stop selling kids' school supplies that contain over 80 times the legal limit of lead
This pencil pouch has over 35 times the legal limit of lead, 29 times the legal limit of cadmium.
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