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Updated 2019-06-18 05:21
2020 Presidential candidates and their dogs
A platform is important, but nothing says more about a candidate than their dog.Quartz shared this list of 2020 Presidential candidates and their dogs.I can not imagine surviving this world without a dog.The Democratic field for the 2020 presidential election is already crowded, with 21 declared candidates, and several more waiting in the wings.Most are running on similar platforms, promising a reversal of Donald Trump’s climate change–denying policies, better wages for the middle class, expanded healthcare benefits, and electoral reform that would beat back the influence of dark money. But several also have a four-legged secret weapon—a dog.Trump is the first US president in more than 100 years not to have a dog in the White House, and Democratic candidates who do have one are flaunting their dog ownership, a crowd-pleasing way to put more distance between themselves and the president.Tapping into America’s deep and growing love of dogs is a politically savvy move. About 68% of all American homes have a pet, the American Pet Products Association reported last year, up from 56% three decades ago, and 62% of all homes have a dog. Dog culture is everywhere, from Twitter account Breitbark News (Home of the #AltBite) that pens dog-based parodies of political events to the televised Philadelphia’s National Dog Show, which drew some 20 million viewers in November. Read the rest
Listen to (what's most likely) the only recording of Frida Kahlo's voice
We've seen her art. Her face is instantly recognizable. But, we've never heard Frida Kahlo's voice before. Until now, that is. The National Sound Library of Mexico has shared (what they believe to be) the only known recording of Frida's voice to the world. The New York Times:In the recording, a woman’s voice describes Diego Rivera, Kahlo’s husband and fellow artist.“He is a huge, immense child, with a friendly face and a sad gaze,” the woman says. “His high, dark, extremely intelligent and big eyes rarely hold still. They almost pop out of their sockets because of their swollen and protuberant eyelids — like a toad’s.”Rivera’s eyes seem made for an artist, the woman adds, “built especially for a painter of spaces and crowds.”Admiration for Rivera is clear in the recording, which is said to be originally a text from an exhibition catalog. Rivera is said to have an “ironic, sweet smile,” “meaty lips” and “small, marvelous hands.” The voice concludes by calling Rivera’s unusual body shape, with its “childish, narrow, rounded shoulders,” as being like “an inscrutable monster.”The recording is from a pilot edition of “The Bachelor,” a 1950s radio show in Mexico, recorded for Televisa Radio, the National Sound Library said in a statement on Wednesday. In 2007, thousands of tapes from Televisa Radio’s archive were given to the library to be digitized and stored.The recording is thought to be of Kahlo partly because the voice is introduced as the female painter “who no longer exists.” Listen for yourself (she speaks in Spanish, of course): Read the rest
A new AI tool from Adobe can detect Photoshopped faces
We presume it can tell by the pixels.
Fecal transplant blamed in death
Fecal transplants are the hottest thing in emergent medicine, restoring balance to guts nuked by antibiotics and resistant infections, but there are risks. DIY is not the way to go...Two patients contracted severe infections, and one of them died, from fecal transplants that contained drug-resistant bacteria, the Food and Drug Administration reported on Thursday. As a result, the agency is halting a number of clinical trials until the researchers conducting them can demonstrate that they have procedures in place to screen donated stool for dangerous organisms, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the agency’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. In an interview, he did not specify how many trials would be suspended, but said it was “not just a few.” Read the rest
After American juvenile offenders are released, they can be re-imprisoned for failing to make restitution payments
Many states require criminals to make financial restitution to the victims of their crimes -- paying to replace the things the damaged or stole -- and this applies to juvenile offenders as well as adults.The result is that juvenile offenders who have served their time and are trying to rebuild their lives, re-establish their educations, and set themselves on the path to a future apart from the criminal justice system and imprisonment can find themselves saddled with massive debts -- and if they fail to make payments on those debts, they can end up back in prison for the new offense of failing to make restitution payments.In 30 states, kids can end up owing restitution payments to insurance companies -- fantastically profitable businesses that exist to absorb financial losses from events like crimes. Restitution is also sometimes offered as an alternative to incarceration, meaning that poor kids go to jail, and rich kids pay off their victims and go free.The Washington Post examines several instances in which juvenile offenders have been saddled with debts that they cannot afford, like Sophie McMullan a homeless teenaged abuse survivor with PTSD who once accompanied her boyfriend on one of several burglaries he committed; under the Maine's "accomplice liability" law she now has to make restitution for a share of all her (ex-)boyfriend's crimes -- she ended up being re-arrested when she fell behind on payments. When she got out, she kept up payments at $20/month, which meant that she couldn't afford a snowsuit for her baby. Read the rest
Kraft introduces "Salad Frosting" for kids
Kraft has launched "Salad Frosting" as part of a jokey marketing campaign about the lies that parents tell their kids. Because, y'know, deceit is funny and those kids who already like ranch dressing will be too dumb to recognize that this is the same thing while those who can't stand the stuff will suddenly develop a taste for it because of the "fun" packaging. From the press release:“Innocent lies parents tell their kids help alleviate the pressures of everyday parenting, and if it gets kids to eat their greens, so be it,” says Sergio Eleuterio Head of Marketing for Kraft, “Simple innocent lies are not only part of parenthood, but a true tactic used by parents everywhere. Kraft Salad 'Frosting' is one lie you won’t feel bad telling your kids.”According to a recent study, Ranch dressing is the most popular dressing in the United States*** and kids will eat anything with frosting, right? It’s a match made for dinnertime bliss. Now, convincing children to eat salad, broccoli and carrots may be a whole lot easier. Just add Kraft Salad “Frosting.” Read the rest
Mesmerizing 1980s experimental Japanese film using video cut-ups to deconstruct architecture
In 1982, Japanese avant-garde filmmaker Toshio Matsumoto used video cut-up techniques to deconstruct a single residential building into a disorienting architectural puzzle. The short film is titled Shift (シフト 断層). Music by Yasuke Inagaki.From a 1996 interview with Matsumoto:We have to do more to irritate and disturb modes of perception, thinking, or feeling that have become automatized in this way. I did several kinds of experiments from the 1970s to the 1980s that de-automatized the visual field. But when image technology progresses such that you can make any kind of image, people become visually used to that. That's why there's not much left today with a fresh impact. In this way, the problem is that the interpretive structure of narrating, giving meaning to, or interpreting the world has become so thoroughly systematized that one cannot conceive of anything else that is largely untouched. We have to de-systematize that. (via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
Chicago Bears 2019 uniform to honor the Lollipop Guild
GO BEARS!!!!!! Read the rest
InfoWars will pay $15k to creator of Pepe the Frog in lawsuit settlement
InfoWars settled a lawsuit by paying $15,000 to cartoonist Matt Furie for using his comic book character, Pepe the Frog, in a poster without permission. Pepe was an innocuous character who first appeared in Furie's 2005 comic Boy's Club, but was co-opted by neo-nazis, Trumpists, and fascists as a symbol for white nationalism and alt-right ideology.From The Daily Beast:The InfoWars lawsuit, filed last year, centered on a poster sold by InfoWars featuring Pepe alongside Trumpworld personalities like Roger Stone, InfoWars founder Alex Jones, and pundits “Diamond & Silk.”Before settling, InfoWars tried a novel legal strategy of suggesting, without evidence, that Furie had actually based Pepe on an Argentinian amphibian cartoon character named “El Sapo Pepe.” But on Tuesday, InfoWars agreed to destroy all remaining copies of the poster, and pay back the $14,000 it made from the poster sales—along with an additional $1,000.Images: Matt Furie's Boy's Club (l), InfoWars poster (r) Read the rest
After hack and attempted shakedown, Radiohead posts hours of demos
Some 15 hours of Thom Yorke's demo recordings, dating back to the OK Computer era, were accessed and downloaded by a hacker who then attempted to extort $150,000. Rather than pay up or lose control of the media, Radiohead released it all online instead. Bandmate Jonny Greenwood wrote that the sessions were "only tangentially interesting" and would be offered for the next 18 days, with an optional $18 price tag that would be passed onto Extinction Rebellion, a climate change protest group. MINIDISCS [HACKED] by Radiohead Read the rest
The "lost" Leonardo da Vinci painting has been found hanging in a yacht
In 2017, Christies auctioned off the painting "Savator Mundi" by Leonardo da Vinci (or by his workshop, at least) for $450 million. The buyer was a Saudi Arabian prince and Minister of Culture thought to be buying the art on behalf of Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), the Crown Prince of the country, as a gift. The lucky recipient was reportedly Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi for display in his Louvre Abu Dhabi. But then it vanished. For two years, Savator Mundi's location has been unknown to the public. From Kenny Schachter's column on artnet:You won’t believe where I’m told the painting is today. Apparently, the work was whisked away in the middle of the night on MBS’s plane and relocated to his yacht, the Serene. ...My sources say (it) will remain onboard until MBS finishes transforming the ancient Saudi precinct of Al-Ula into a vast cultural hub—basically an art Disneyland—that will no doubt compete with Abu Dhabi’s Louvre and, more significantly, the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum in Qatar, the sworn enemy of the Saudi crown prince. In the meantime, I'm sure the salty air will add a nice patina to the painting."Where In the World Is ‘Salvator Mundi’? Kenny Schachter Reveals the Location of the Lost $450 Million Leonardo" (artnet) Read the rest
Unmarked road repairs at night lead to flying cars in Russia
This is nightmarish. On a dark freeway in Russia workers have left concrete repair materials in the middle of a freeway with no warning signs. Two cars hit them and go flying.Image: YouTube Read the rest
Nothing on stage at E3 is more fun than Keanu Reeves
Evidently, there is a game, but no one wants to hear about it! Read the rest
Grocer designed embarrassing plastic bags to shame shoppers into bringing reusable ones
East West Market in Vancouver, B.C. had a terrific idea to get people to start bringing their own reusable shopping bags: design plastic bags with messages too embarrassing to carry. Unfortunately, while hilarious, it's backfiring. They made them too good and now everyone wants a set of them! Collect all three: the Colon Care Co-op, Into The Weird Adult Video Emporium, and Dr. Toews' Wart Ointment Wholesale.(Funny Or Die) Read the rest
Why was a BogoMip bogus?
I woke up this morning wondering something I hadn't in years. Why was Linux' BogoMip bogus?I first installed Slackware Linux from a huge stack of 3.5" floppy disks. My life was changed. This was in the 1.0.X kernel days.I stopped dicking around with Linux as my desktop OS when OS X bridged the gap. I have not made zlilo in over 2 decades, but this morning I woke up wondering about BogoMips!?BogoMips were the computing speed measurement of note at my first internet start-up, an ISP and datacenter, and every new Intel or Intel-compatible CPU was curiously investigated by our tech team. When we'd boot a Linux kernel, we would watch carefully to see "the number of million times per second a processor can do absolutely nothing".This morning I had to know! What the hell was so bogus about a BogoMip?Linux Journal's Wim van Dorst answered that question 23 years ago!Some device drivers in the Linux kernel need timing delays. Either they need a very short delay, or the delay must be very accurately determined. A simple non-busy loop cannot do this. Therefore, Linus Torvalds added a calibration in the boot procedure to predetermine how often a specific busy-loop algorithm can be calculated in one second. This predetermined value, called loops_per_second, is used in the device drivers to delay for precisely measured times.For fun, Linus also added a print statement presenting this predetermined value (divided by 500,000) as BogoMips. Linus apparently loves it when millions of Linux users are gazing at their computer, baffled by these bogus MIPS. Read the rest
Sandal socks make you look like you're wearing Birkenstocks
It's debatable whether it's ok to wear sandals with socks but what about socks that look like you're wearing sandals? What's next, wearing sandal socks ($11/pair) with actual sandals? Whatever happens, can we please call these things "Birkensocks"?(Pee-wee Herman) Read the rest
John Waters' new book, "Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder"
Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, John Waters' new book, sounds like a demented must-have:It “serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: ‘Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.'”He devotes an entire chapter in the book to dropping acid at age 70, which he describes in a recent interview with the Washington Blade:That’s something that I did that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think if there’s a sentimental chapter in the book about friendship, then maybe that is that. If I had known how strong the LSD was that I took, I probably would have been uptight. But I didn’t and it was great. I spent eight months getting the right acid from the purest source I could find, practically from Timothy Leary’s asshole... But the provenance of it was high and it was great. I don’t have to ever do it again. Just like I don’t have to ever hitchhike across the country again. Why would I? I did it...(RED) Read the rest
AOC condemns solitary confinement for Paul Manafort
Federal convict and Trump crony Paul Manafort is to be held in solitary confinement at the notorious Riker's Island prison while he faces trial for fraud in a New York court (solitary confinement is standard procedure for high-profile prisoners); Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (whose district includes Riker's) publicly condemned the use of solitary confinement for any prisoner, including Manafort, adding that, "if people aren’t willing to apply principles evenly, no matter the person, then they aren’t fighting for criminal justice reform" and "a prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations. That‘s what solitary confinement is." She concluded with "Manafort should be released, along with all people being held in solitary." Read the rest
New Jersey law would force Verizon to pay the taxes it avoided for a decade
A 1997 New Jersey law allows telcoms companies to stop paying taxes while continuing their access to municipal infrastructure (poles, land, lines, etc) if they serve fewer than 51% of the people in a city; in 2008, Verizon started to claim this exemption, by 2015, it was paying no municipal taxes to 150 of New Jersey's 565 cities.Verizon fraudulently claimed this exemption -- in some of the cities where it was claiming to provide dial-tone to less than 51% of the residents, it was actually commanding 90% of the market. Now, Assemblyman John Burzichelli's [D–Paulsboro] has introduced A5450, designed to "force Verizon to pay local taxes on telephone poles, lines, land, and other equipment that the telecom giant has refused to fork over in an increasing number of New Jersey municipalities, starving them of tens of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue." Burzichelli chairs the NJ Assembly's Appropriations Committee and rates the chances of his bill passing as "very good."The bill would be retroactive to 2007, forcing Verizon to pay a decade's worth of back taxes to many towns. The proposed law would also force companies like Verizon to reimburse towns for attorneys' fees if towns prevail in future court cases over the tax.Verizon avoided a decade’s worth of taxes—a new law could make it pay up [Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica](via /.) Read the rest
Fantastic video of Bob Dylan playing guitar on "Silvio"
I asked the Youtubes to share Bob Dylan's "Silvio" with me this AM and was delivered this wonderful version I had neither seen, nor heard, before!The close-ups on Bob are fantastic fun to watch. Read the rest
Astonishing X-ray image of the whole sky
NASA released this incredible image of the sky that depicts 22 months of X-ray data captured from the International Space Station using the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER). From NASA:“Even with minimal processing, this image reveals the Cygnus Loop, a supernova remnant about 90 light-years across and thought to be 5,000 to 8,000 years old,” said Keith Gendreau, the mission’s principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We’re gradually building up a new X-ray image of the whole sky, and it’s possible NICER’s nighttime sweeps will uncover previously unknown sources.”NICER’s primary mission is to determine the size of dense remains of dead stars called neutron stars — some of which we see as pulsars — to a precision of 5%. These measurements will finally allow physicists to solve the mystery of what form of matter exists in their incredibly compressed cores. Pulsars, rapidly spinning neutron stars that appear to “pulse” bright light, are ideally suited to this “mass-radius” research and are some of NICER’s regular targets.Other frequently visited pulsars are studied as part of NICER's Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT) experiment, which uses the precise timing of pulsar X-ray pulses to autonomously determine NICER’s position and speed in space. It’s essentially a galactic GPS system. When mature, this technology will enable spacecraft to navigate themselves throughout the solar system — and beyond. Read the rest
Rare footage of the "uncontacted" tribe that killed the missionary who illegally went to their island to preach
The Sentinelese are one of the world's last "uncontacted" indigenous peoples, a hunter-gatherer tribe who live on the remote North Sentinel Island in India's Andaman Islands chain. You may recall that last November, a missionary named John Allen Chau, 27, obsessed with trying to convert the tribe to Christianity, paid local fishermen to help him get near the island. As soon as he illegally landed his canoe on the shore and started preaching, the Sentinelese fired arrows. He escaped with injuries but returned twice later and was eventually killed. This footage above of the Sentinelese from 1991 was taken by anthropologist T N Pandit of India's Ministry of Tribal Affairs who attempted to visit them for several decades. Usually, the Sentinelese hid or fired arrows, but in 1991 they waded into the ocean to meet Pandit and his team peacefully."We were puzzled why they allowed us," he told the BBC last year. "It was their decision to meet us and the meeting took place on their terms.""We jumped out of the boat and stood in neck-deep water, distributing coconuts and other gifts. But we were not allowed to step onto their island."According to the BBC, "Mr Pandit says he does favour the re-establishment of friendly gift-dropping missions with the tribe, but says they should not be disturbed. 'We should respect their wish to be left alone, he said.'"Well, duh. Read the rest
Footage of Chernobyl liquidators
Chernobyl, the five-part HBO/Sky dramatization of the 1986 nuclear disaster, is filled with more dread, tension and horror than any Hollywood movie I've seen in years. The most unsettling part of it is knowing that it adheres closely to the truth, right down to the details. Yet I'm still startled to see just how exacting the production design is, as demonstrated by this footage from one of the plant roofs where "liquidators" struggled to remove irradiated debris by hurling it back into the open core of the reactor. Jump to about 7:45 for the roof work.Compare to the "roof" scene from the show, which integrates the true footage so cleverly you wouldn't know it if you hadn't seen it for yourself:If you still need convincing that you should check out this amazing show, here's the scene from Ep. 1 where three young plant workers inspect the reactor hall after the explosion. They know what they're afraid of finding, but they don't know that it's going to be... well, you watch it and see for yourself.Embedded below, a hapless engineer is ordered onto the roof so that managers can debunk claims that the reactor is exposed to the open air. He knows he's dead as soon as he sees the satanic cloud of smoke billowing from the ruin. He knows the guard escorting him up there is dead, too—and that guy doesn't even have to go up to the edge and look down into it. The guard doesn't have to go back to the managers and get yelled at again, either. Read the rest
For the first time since the 70s, New York State is set to enshrine sweeping tenants' protections
There isn't single county in the nation where a minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom home; and although LA has the worst homelessness crisis in the country, New York state is catching up, with homelessness growing by 46% since the financial crisis -- the fastest rate in the nation.Surging housing prices have a multitude of causes, but they mostly come down to increased inequality and the drive to put money into the pockets of the rich at the expense of working people: basically, it's one part post-2008 evictions, one part wage stagnation, and one part private equity buying-frenzy. Or, to put it another way: the banks destroyed the economy, their investors cut wages, working people lost their homes while banks got taxpayer bailouts, and then the rich used the tax subsidy to buy the houses that the working people who paid for it had lost, moved those people back into their old homes, and hiked rents while slashing maintenance.Shelter is a basic human need, right there on Maslow's hierarchy, one step above food and air. When shelter is captured by the finance sector and turned into "an ATM for Wall Street," everybody suffers.In New York State, things have reached a breaking point, at a statewide coalition stretching from Lake Ontario to the Bronx is promising a huge shakeup in the state's protection for tenants, with rent stabilization and rules prohibiting eviction without cause enshrined in a set of eight interlocking bills that are being carried forward by a slate of state Democratic legislators who won elections last year by refusing to take real-estate industry money. Read the rest
North Korea envoy Kim Hyok Chol and 4 others executed over failed Trump-Kim summit
(PHOTO: Kim Hyok Chol, left, and Kim Yong Chol at Beijing airport on Jan. 17, 2019, KYODO NEWS)Donald Trump appears to believe it is fun to yuk around with North Korea, but North Korea does not yuk around.North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is believed to be carrying out a massive purge to divert attention away from internal turmoil and discontent, reports Korean paper Chosun. “Kim Hyok Chol was investigated and executed at Mirim Airport with four foreign ministry officials in March,” the paper reports. The reportedly deceased Kim Hyok Chol was the nation's special envoy to the United States. He would have been killed, then, very shortly after that February Trump-Kim summit that fell apart to the embarrassment of all concerned. The executed men were responsible for negotiations that led to that second U.S.-North Korea summit in February. Kim Jong Un's regime also held these people responsible for the collapse of talks with Trump. Shinhye Kang reporting for Bloomberg:Kim Hyok Chol, who led working-level negotiations for the summit in Hanoi between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in February, was executed with four other North Korean foreign ministry officials in March, Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified source.Kim Jong Un’s top aide Kim Yong Chol is reportedly undergoing hard labor, according to the South Korean newspaper report.JUST IN: North Korea envoy executed over failed Trump-Kim summit (Chosun)— David Ingles (@DavidInglesTV) May 30, 2019More details from Chosun Ilbo newspaper which cited unidentified sources: Kim Hyok Chol, along with four other officials, were executed in March. Read the rest
Supreme Court of Canada to rule on the enforceability of arbitration clauses
Back in January, an Ontario court ruled that Uber's arbitration clause couldn't keep its drivers from suing it; Uber has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has taken up the case and will hear arguments about whether arbitration clauses (through which the parties surrender the right to sue in court) are enforceable in "adhesion contracts" (contracts that are not negotiated, where one party has much less power than the other, such as in click-through agreements).The Supreme Court's ruling will have far-reaching implications, as mandatory arbitration is a common feature in adhesion contracts, and these contracts have become ubiquitous.The hearing of this matter will provide the Supreme Court with an opportunity to determine the breadth of application of its holdings in Douez. Additionally, the Supreme Court may choose to revisit the competing, though arguably consistent, tests for unconscionability from Titus v. William F. Cooke Enterprises Inc.[6] and Morrison v. Coast Finance Ltd.[7] Hopefully, this decision will bring much-needed clarity to all parties seeking to contract on the basis of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration clauses.Supreme Court to hear arguments about enforceability of arbitration clauses [Allan Wells, Steven Dickie, Laura Fric, Lauren Tomasich and Alexis Beale/Osler](Thanks, Bryan!) Read the rest
Imaginary pitch meeting for the final season of Game of Thrones
This is one of Screen Rant's best "Pitch Meeting" episodes ever. Now I don't want to and don't need to see the final season of Game of Thrones. [Contains spoilers.] Read the rest
German policeman shames photo taking rubberneckers at a fatal crash scene
This German police officer doesn't take kindly to drivers who slow down to photograph a fatal crash.Image: YouTube[via Digg] Read the rest
Clothes company accused of being a pyramid scheme
LuLaRoe, a multi-billion dollar maker of garishly patterned garments, has been hit with multiple lawsuits for being a pyramid scheme. Vice has a 30-minute documentary about the company. Read the rest
The "Uber of Live Music" will charge you $1100-1600 to book a house show, pay musicians $100
Sofar Sounds is an "uber for live music" startup that just closed a $25m round of investment for its product, which books house-shows -- where musicians show up and play in your living room for you and your friends -- at $1100-$1600/each.House shows are a staple of indie musicians and a way for people in communities to show their support for bands getting their start, but they are a labor of love that generally lose money for all concerned. How could a company like this ever be profitable enough to warrant a $25m investment?Simple: they keep nearly all the money you pay to book the house show, paying musicians only $100. You supply the venue, the refreshments, etc, and the musicians supply the entertainment -- Sofar Sounds supplies a website and a tiny amount of administrative work. JWZ -- who owns the DNA Lounge, one of San Francisco's best live music venues -- explains the exploitative economics of Sofar's business-model.There are several common ways that live show contracts work. Sometimes it's just a flat fee. But for small shows with up-and-coming acts, a typical structure would be: $X guarantee (the bands get that no matter what), then if the door takes in more than $X, the house gets the rest up to $Y (to cover costs: rent, insurance, sound tech, light tech, security, cashier, manager, and oh yeah promoting the show) and anything above $Y, the bands and the house split 80/20. For a really small show, $X is probably 0. Read the rest
The history of Spikey, the Wolfram logo
It's a 2d projection of a rhombic hexecontahedron, first generated by Mathematica's namesake programming language back in the 1980s, when it was as damned close to magic as anything in computer science.Spikey is one of my favorite logos. They went through many variations with many products, inspired by renaissance drawings and a vast selection of other influences, on their way to the one you see here, which was originally devised for Wolfram Alpha. Founder Stephen Wolfram:And that’s when I noticed an email from June 2009, from an artist in Brazil named Yolanda Cipriano. She said she’d seen an article about Wolfram|Alpha in a Brazilian news magazine—and had noticed the Spikey—and wanted to point me to her website. It was now more than nine years later, but I followed the link anyway, and was amazed to find this:Yolanda Cipriano's website—with rhombic hexecontahedra, there called "giramundos"I read more of her email: “Here in Brazil this object is called ‘Giramundo’ or ‘Flor Mandacarú’ (Mandacaru Flower) and it is an artistic ornament made with [tissue paper]”.What?! There was a Spikey tradition in Brazil, and all these years we’d never heard about it? I soon found other pictures on the web. Only a few of the Spikeys were made with paper; most were fabric—but there were lots of themThe Story of Spikey [blog.stephenwolfram.com] Read the rest
How Warner Chappell was able to steal revenues from 25% of a popular Minecraft vlogger's channels
Oliver Brotherhood is a British vlogger with over 3 million subscribers who has produced a string of very popular Minecraft-related videos under the name Mumbo Jumbo; yesterday, in the space of two hours, a quarter of his videos were claimed by music publishing giant and notorious copyright fraudsters Warner Chappell, who will now get revenues from those videos, and can take them down at will.According to Brotherhood, the issue is that he paid to license music for his channel, not knowing that the music contained uncleared samples from Warner Chappell's catalog. The question of whether sampling is fair use has never been fully adjudicated, but thanks to Youtube's Content ID system (which will shortly be expanded to cover all online media from all services in the EU), the fact that these samples come from material claimed by Warner Chappell means that they get to hijack his revenues without ever convincing a judge that either he or the musician he contracted with had violated copyright law.Brotherhood says that many other vloggers have had their content taken by Warner Chappell this week.Brotherhood plans on disputing the claims, but doing so will take many hours, as each of Warner Chappell's claims have to individually disputed.Hey @TeamYouTube , @YouTube A company is systematically copyright claiming every video I have ever made, despite me owning the rights to all music used in them. Please tell me I don't have to manually dispute all 1800 claims.Please Retweet. YouTube, your system is broken. Read the rest
Colorado cop Vanessa Schultz couldn't imagine why a hispanic teen might be running in Wyoming. So she pulled her gun on him.
A warning for the good people of Wyoming! You never know when a trigger-happy Colorado cop might drop by to see the sights.Emily Mieure, from The Jackson Hole News & Guide:“Mr. Becerra, a diminutive 17-year-old Hispanic resident, was late one morning and running to catch his bus after leaving the apartment where he lived with his parents,” attorney Alex Freeburg stated in the complaint. “Without any more information, and without investigating any further, [Ms. Schultz, on vacation from Colorado] exited her vehicle, pulled out a pistol, and ordered Mr. Becerra to stop and get on the ground. ... While witnesses urged her to stop, and while Mr. Becerra pleaded with her, Ms. Schultz yelled ‘stay down’ and screamed ‘I have a gun and will shoot,’” the complaint states.Taxpayer-dinging lawsuits are the remedy here because prosecutors show little interest in taking action. Shultz did nothing illegal, according to Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun, “because it is reasonable to assume a running teen has committed a crime. Read the rest
The weight of a kilogram changed overnight; the length of a second may be next
A new definition of kilogram went into effect today. No longer is the kilogram defined by Le Grand K, a 140-year-old weight under glass in a secret location near Paris. Now it's determined by the Planck constant, based on physicist Max Planck's theory that "electromagnetic energy at a given frequency could only be emitted in discrete amounts, or quanta, whose energy is proportional to h, now known as the Planck constant." Scientists at the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures also redefined the kelvin, the ampere, and the mole. UP next, the second! The good news is that the changes are so small that they won't matter to most of us. From Science News:Currently, the second is defined by atomic clocks made of cesium atoms. Those atoms absorb a certain frequency of light. The wiggling of the light’s electromagnetic waves functions like the pendulum on a grandfather clock, rhythmically keeping time. One second is defined as 9,192,631,770 oscillations of the light.But a new generation of atomic clocks, known as optical atomic clocks, outdo the cesium clocks (SN: 11/11/17, p. 8). “Their performance is a lot better than what currently defines the second,” says physicist Andrew Ludlow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo. Because those optical atomic clocks operate at a higher frequency, their “ticks” are more closely spaced, making them about 100 times more precise than cesium clocks.Ideally, the length of a second should be defined using the most precise timepieces available. Read the rest
Guy puts a camera onto a sushi conveyor belt and the result is a sweet little movie
As this camera moves along a Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant, it captures diners in the booths. Some people notice and wave, others are engrossed in conversation or studying the menu. The soundtrack, added after the video was shot, makes this a nice movie about the happiness of eating with your friends and family members.Here’s a video of a guy putting a camera on a sushi conveyer belt. It’s wonderful. Every table has a little story! pic.twitter.com/6mwKsTHJ0e— Drew Coffman (@DrewCoffman) May 17, 2019Image: Twitter Read the rest
Ancient IBM mainframe rescued from abandoned building
Adam Bradley and Chris Blackburn noticed an unusual, mislabeled eBay listing for a rare beauty: an IBM System/360 in Nuremberg for peanuts. So they set out to do what any self-respecting IBM System/360 fan would do: buy it and fix it up. Thousands of Euros later, they've ... well, they've gotten it out of the building.... a once in a lifetime find. We decided we had to have it. Adam put in a bid of around 500 Euros and we waited. The advert finished the following day around midday. Luckily, Chris and Adam work together and as such the next morning in the office was rather tense! There was quite a flurry of bidding activity right at the end of the auction and with seconds to go and an exclamation of “Screw it!” Adam entered a bid of 4500 Euros. The hammer fell on 3710 Euros! We were now the proud owners of one IBM 360… or so we thought! Read the rest
Batman Dark Knight Returns Issue 3, Kayfabe Commentary
No deep dive of this legendary comic exists online from a cartoonist's perspective, let alone 3 cartoonists! The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli continue to unpack the Frank Miller 1986 Batman classic over the course of 4 jam-packed episodes, one chapter at a time!Part 1 here:For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel You can support the channel by grabbing some stuff from our Spreadshop! Read the rest
Sleuthing from public sources to figure out how the Hateful Eight leaker was caught
In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies.Working from court records, as well as documents from the North Korea/Sony hack, a patent lawsuit against Tarantino's forensics company, and the forensic company's own patent filings, Matthew Fuller and Nikita Mazurov do an incredible job of sleuthing to uncover the interior, technical workings of the secretive world of digital copyright-enforcement forensics. The paper itself is published in the journal Theory, Culture and Society and frames the investigation in the context of cultural studies. It begins with a lot of theory that I found to be quite a struggle, but the technical detail (which is on pages 9-18) is really fascinating.Fuller and Mazurov use their technical analysis to make some notes towards a "counter-forensics" of techniques that would defeat the traitor-tracing measures. This reminds me of the work Ed Felten and co did on SDMI more than a decade ago, in which they presented the general hypothesis that watermarks could be robust (hard to remove) or imperceptible (not so obtrusive as to wreck the user's enjoyment) but not both. If a watermark adds no perceptible data to the signal, then it can be removed with no perceptible loss -- and since you can compare two or more copies of a work to find the watermarks, it's never that hard to find the marks in order to remove them. Read the rest
AOC grills pharma exec about why the HIV-prevention drug Prep costs $8 in Australia costs $1,780 in the USA
Gilead makes a drug called Truvada -- AKA Prep -- that was developed at US taxpayer expense, whose patents are held by the US government; Truvada is on track to eliminating the spread of HIV forever (people who are HIV positive but take Truvada are seemingly not infectious), but taking Truvada in the USA (where the patents haven't expired) is incredibly expensive, running $1,780/month, whereas in Australia, it's available as a generic for $8/month.If the widespread use of Prep eliminates the spread of HIV, it will be both a humanitarian victory and a practical one, with the American taxpayers' investment in HIV prevention paying off handsomely in the form of billions in medical and social spending saved. But realizing those billions and billions for generations to come can only happen with Gilead doesn't continue to rack up a sordid little stream of payments to enrich its investors and execs (who did not pay to develop Prep, remember)..@AOC to Gilead CEO: The list price [for Truvada for PrEP] is almost $2,000 in the US. Why is it $8 in Australia? pic.twitter.com/kPnMQSZE0G— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) May 16, 2019We the people developed this drug. We paid for this drug. Despite the fact that the patent is owned by the public, we refuse to enforce it. There is no reason this should be $2,000 a month. People are dying for no reason.-@AOC on Gilead's price gouging of an HIV prevention drug pic.twitter.com/HSYPivMjGb— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) May 16, 2019In this clip, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demonstrates her usual admirable directness and factual footing to expose the hypocrisy and self-serving bullshit of the looters who are making themselves very rich by destroying the world: in this case, it's Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day, who smarmily demurs when asked why his company should be able to gouge -- and murder -- the Americans who paid to develop its products (earning the company $3/b year globally), while Australians get the same products for $8/month. Read the rest
Mueller team says person 'connected to' Congress tried to limit Flynn cooperation
A Washington, D.C. judge today ordered the U.S. Justice Department to post public transcripts of a Michael Flynn voicemail that reportedly captures Trump/Congress efforts "that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation.The newly unredacted filing about Flynn's voicemail is making the rounds, but that part is not new, and corresponds to a message Flynn received from a Trump lawyer that special counsel Robert Mueller mentioned in his report.But what *is* new is the implication by Mueller's team that someone “connected to” Congress attempted to discourage Michael Flynn's full cooperation with the Mueller probe.Here's the court order.JUST IN: MUELLER team unseals evidence that Flynn aided the obstruction invsetigation -- including providing testimony and a *voice mail* that "could have affected" his testimony. pic.twitter.com/MPar2bMGj5— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 16, 2019ALSO: FLYNN cooperated with prosecutors on WIKILEAKS investigation, sharing internal statements made by senior Trump campaign officials discussing the prospect of reaching out to Wikileaks. pic.twitter.com/CfNqZWOIjb— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 16, 2019NEWS: Mueller team indicates someone "connected to" Congress attempted to discourage Flynn's full cooperation with the Mueller probe.https://t.co/QiU2lKgjrg— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 16, 2019Now: DC judge orders USDOJ to post public transcript of Michael Flynn voicemail that purports to capture Trump/ Congress efforts "that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation. Court order: pic.twitter.com/CMx9aMZKXI— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) May 16, 2019Is the person who reached out to Flynn to encourage him not to flip (or, other, fill in the Gaetz blank):— emptywheel (@emptywheel) May 16, 2019House Democrats ought to hold a hearing with Michael Flynn. Read the rest
Facebook bans election-attack firm linked to Israeli military and 'dozens' more disinformation accounts
Facebook announced today that is has banned an Israeli firm that ran a foreign psyops campaign to disrupt election results in various countries. Facebook claims to have canceled dozens of accounts engaged in spreading disinformation, they said Thursday.Some of the newly banned accounts are said to be linked to the Archimedes Group, a Tel Aviv-based consulting firm that claims to be able to “change reality.”The Archimedes website shows that its CEO is the former director of the European Friends of Israel lobbying group, a former political adviser in Israel’s parliament, and an ex-intelligence agent for the Israeli air force.Archimedes advertises itself online as a consulting firm for presidential election campaigns.From the Associated Press:Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, told reporters that the tech giant had purged 65 Israeli accounts, 161 pages, dozens of groups and four Instagram accounts. Many were linked to the Archimedes Group, a Tel Aviv-based political consulting and lobbying firm that boasts of its social media skills and ability to “change reality.”Gleicher said Facebook could not speculate about Archimedes’ motives, which “may be commercial or political.”But he said Facebook discovered “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” with accounts posing as certain political candidates, smearing opponents and presenting as local news organizations peddling supposedly leaked information.The activity appeared focused on Sub-Saharan African countries but was also scattered in parts of Southeast Asia and Latin America. The pages have racked up 2.8 million followers and hundreds of thousands of views.Gleicher said Archimedes had spent some $800,000 on fake ads and that its deceptive activity dated back to 2012. Read the rest
Trump pardons Conrad Black, convicted fraudster who wrote blowjob biography of him
Conrad Black is a former publishing mogul and convicted felon who recently penned an adoring biography of Donald Trump [Amazon], described therein as a personal friend. Trump pardoned him today, within hours of the anniversary of its publication. From the book, here's Black on why Trump pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of contempt of court after refusing to quit racially profiling suspects:Also pardoned was noted conservative racketeer (and, after his conviction, prison reformer) Patrick Nolan.God bless America. Read the rest
Here's how to help women in Alabama get an abortion
Here's how to help women who need and/or want an abortion in Alabama.
Elizabeth Warren's bold, risky, well-intentioned plan to improve health outcomes for African-American mothers giving birth
African-American women suffer a much higher level of maternal mortality than the national average, and Elizabeth Warren has proposed a bold -- but high-risk -- plan to incentivize hospitals to root out the institutional, systemic racism that produces these terrible outcomes.Under Warren's proposal, hospitals that continue to produce higher-than-average levels of maternal mortality for African-American patients will lose funding; while hospitals that improve will get bonuses. As Warren tweeted: "Don't just observe and debate racism in health care. Make providers pay until this crisis is fixed."I am 100% in favor of fixing institutional racism in health-care, and maternal care is a great place to start, but I'm really worried about this kind of plan. Structurally, Warren's plan mirrors GW Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program, in which "underperforming" teachers and schools lost money, and teachers and schools that had improved test scores got bonuses. This produced terrible outcomes: teachers whose students scored poorly due to factors beyond their control (teaching in neighborhoods with high levels of unemployment, homelessness and discriminatory policing practices that locked up their students' parents) got less money to help the students who needed it the most, while teachers and schools that had structural advantages got money they needed less than their underperforming counterparts in worse-situated schools. And then there's the incredible incentive to cheat that these carrot-and-stick measures produce.Even without cheating, there are lots of ways that hospitals can juke their stats: when Tony Blair started punishing hospitals whose ambulances took too long to arrive, the ambulance services responded with a raft of bizarre, terrible tactics. Read the rest
The best political commentary of the Australian election cycle: "Honest Government Adverts"
Juice Media's Honest Government Adverts are some of the best, most biting political satire being produced today -- they're so good at afflicting the comfortable that Australia basically banned their style of humour -- and now, on the eve of (yet another) critical Australian election, they've produced a "season finale" that recaps the parade of horrors that a succession of bumbling, oligarchic, racist, climate-denying, torturing, confiscatory, planet-destroying Australian governments have bequeathed to the nation and the world. I laughed, I cried, I laughed again. Now I'm crying. Read the rest
Why you should never return a robocall - it could cost you a small fortune
You know when your phone rings once, then stops? Don't call back, unless you are willing to risk a very costly international call to Mauritania, even though the called ID shows it as a local call.From Lifehacker:If you get a call from a familiar area code, you might feel tempted to return it, but the Federal Communications Commission is now warning consumers not to call any unknown numbers back. If you do, you risk paying huge fees in toll number charges.According to a recent statement by the FCC, this “Wangiri” (Japanese for “one ring”) robocall scheme is targeting numbers in short bursts, often during the middle of the night, using a “222" country code (located in Mauritania in West Africa). But scammers can mask their area code by “spoofing” or changing their caller ID information to reflect a local area code, according to Alex Quilici, founder of YouMail, a robocall-blocking voicemail app.Image: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock Read the rest
Doorbell cam video of snake attacking man
When Jerel Heywood opened the screendoor at his friend Rodney Copeland's house in Lawton, Oklahoma, a snake darted down from its roost on the porch light and bit Heywood's head! A neighbor then rushed off over and dispatched the five-and-a-half-foot snake with a hammer. Fortunately, the snake wasn't poisonous. Heywood went to the hospital where he received stitches and a round of antibiotics. According to CNN, Copeland "hopes to keep away any (other) potential lurkers by spraying the yard with sulfuric acid.""I hear they don't like that," he said. Read the rest
Ten years of Trump tax info obtained by NYT shows he was 'The Biggest Loser'
"Year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer" — NYT
Man, 71, successfully floated across the Atlantic in a motorless metal capsule
In December last year, Jean-Jacques Savin, 71, floated away from the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa in an orange capsule he'd built. Last week, he landed at the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius. The capsule has no motor and was steered by the ocean current. Inside the 10 feet by 7 feet capsule is a bed and kitchen for Savin to cook fish he caught during the nearly 3,000 mile journey. From CNN:The trip was not Savin's first major adventure. He previously worked as a military paratrooper and a private pilot, and climbed Mont Blanc in 2015, according to his project's website.Savin had hoped to reach the Caribbean by late March, but missed the mark by just over a month. He still intends to make it to French-owned Guadeloupe by boat, before heading home with his barrel. Read the rest
My Lovely Wife is a dark, twisted psychological thriller
It’s hard to say much about My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing, without spoiling the twists. The story is told by the husband (we never learn his name). He and his wife (Millicent) do bad things to spice up their marriage, but they also appear normal to the people who know them. They've been married for 15 years, have two children and respectable jobs (he’s a tennis pro at a country club, she’s a real estate agent). They have friends and go to parties and dinners. Even though they know that they are bad people, they also have deceived themselves into believing they are good parents, good employees, good friends, and good spouses. And they are OK with that. But as we learn more about the husband and Millicent, we find out that not only are they lying to themselves, they are lying to each other about a number of things. Even though they are dislikable, I was interested in finding out if one of the spouses would end up destroying the other.I’m not a fast reader, but I plowed through all 370 pages in a few evenings. It’s one of those books that takes very little effort to read (compared to another book I just finished — Neil Postman’s Technopoly, which was dense enough that I had to read quite a few of the sentences two or three times before I understood them). In other words, My Lovely Wife is tasty snack reading — an enjoyable, low-nutrition treat. Read the rest