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Updated 2017-10-20 10:06
Doping doggies caught after Iditarod race
If we can’t even trust our friendly four-legged athletes to not use performance enhancing drugs, which athletes can we trust?The committee responsible for overseeing the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race found multiple dogs from the same team tested positive for the opioid pain relieving drug tramadol – one of Iditarod's banned substances – six hours after the race ended in March, according to NPR. This is the first such case of a doping scandal for the Iditarod since testing for banned substances began in 1994.The dogs face extreme temperatures and difficult obstacles during their 1000 mile trek through Alaska, which can tempt Mushers to increase their dogs abilities for hefty prize packages.Image: Frank Kovalchek
Surprise! DirecTV sends customer $184,000 bill
DirecTV dished out a $184,530.67 satellite television bill to an Ohio woman, and no, it wasn't for a new HBO/Showtime package. Angela Mixon-Smith, an Army veteran, recently agreed to bundle her DirecTV service with a new AT&T cell phone plan, and has been receiving strange service bills ever since.Mixon-Smith said she opened the bill Monday and began to feel ill. According to KTLA:
Ayatollah Khamenei: Trump and administration "mentally retarded"
The clearly politically incorrect Supreme leader of Iran dubbed President Donald Trump and his administration as “mentally retarded” after Trump declined to re-certify Iran’s compliance in the 2015 nuclear deal.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has stated his approval for the “death to America” slogan, also said he won’t waste his time responding to Trump’s “nonsensical comments,” according to CBS.This hasn’t been the first time a world leader has mocked the president’s mental capacity. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un labeled Trump a “dotard,” back in September. Even Trump’s own Secretary of State reportedly called the president a “F---ing moron,” which Rex Tillerson refuses to outright deny.The United States’ role in the Iran nuclear deal is now placed in the hands of congress, and Khamenei is asking Europe to do more to maintain the multi-country accord.Image: Gage Skidmore
JOHN WILCOCK: The Diggers' Death of Money & Other Counterculture Moments of 1966
Ethan Persoff will be speaking about the John Wilcock comic at The New School's Parsons School of Design, on November 7. Free and open to the public.Read Scott Marshall's adaptation of Nietzsche, An Illustrated Zarathustra.
Dinosaur art is not bullshit (unless you’re doing it wrong)
2017 has not been the easiest year. Terrifying storms. The car crash of Brexit. Threats of nuclear war. F-bombs in Star Trek. It’s all a bit much, and even artwork of dinosaurs – yes, dinosaurs – aren’t safe. Boing Boing recently reported that “dinosaur art is mostly bullshit,” it being argued that so much data is lost in Deep Time that our attempts to bring non-bird dinosaurs to life in art are folly. How can our dinosaur art be anywhere close to reality when it’s all based on bones left out in the rain for millions of years? Well, consarn it, I’m not going to let 2017 take the credibility of dinosaur art away from us along with everything else. As someone who researches and illustrates fossil animals for a living, I’m here to tell you that dinosaur art isn’t BS – unless you’re doing it wrong.Restoring fossil animals in art is a practise known as ‘palaeoart’, and it’s a pretty science-heavy medium. In fact, there's not many aspects of contemporary palaeoart that are not informed, at some level, by data of some kind. We might imagine that a fossil record mostly composed of broken bones and shells doesn’t tell us much about ancient animal appearance, but that’s not really true. As more fossils are found and our ability to interpret them improves, we’ve started to make robust inferences about the life appearance of non-bird dinosaurs that were unthinkable just a decade or two ago.Chief among these are abilities are our newfound appreciation of fossil colour. As a child of the 1980s and 1990s I was confidently told that we’d never know what colours extinct animals were but, thanks to modern science, this is no longer the case. ‘Palaeo colour’ is now predictable for a number of fossil animals, including many non-bird dinosaurs, penguins, marine reptiles and insects. In some cases we can only tell patterning, but in others we can reconstruct specifics of actual colour and even iridescence. This not only informs our take on the appearance of these species, but shapes our understanding of their behaviour and preferred habitats. Take that, 2017.We’re also stacking up fossils with preserved skin and other forms of soft-tissue, giving us direct insight into tissue types and bulk in certain species, as well as evolutionary maps of anatomical evolution. With these, we can make ever tighter predictions about, say, whether a dinosaur was covered in feathers or scales. Sometimes, we get it wrong, as we might have for Tyrannosaurus. Recently described Tyrannosaurus skin impressions suggest that – contrary to all its closest relatives and the expectations based on them – Tyrannosaurus was probably mostly or entirely scaled, and not covered in fluff as we’ve recently assumed. What this tells us is that tyrannosaur skin evolution was more complex than we thought, with some earlier species having feathers, but later species losing some or all of them. But rather than sobbing over the need to scrub feathers from older artwork, artists can be happy about this: our data has taken a step forward, and all future artwork of Tyrannosaurus can be just that little bit more accurate. In other words, our tyrannosaur palaeoart BS-level has just dropped a notch, and will continue to fall as artists have more and more information to work with.Of course, there are instances where artists are left largely in the dark and we have to forge ahead with minimal insight and information. Depending on the subject of our artwork, this might be something small – the last scrap of unknown information about a superbly known organism – or it might be vast chunks of anatomy. But palaeoart has climbed to a level where, even on the bleakest frontiers of restoration, we can narrow down some restorative possibilities. Evolutionary models allow us to track development of anatomy over hundreds of millions of years, ruling out some anatomical possibilities because they never arose on a given lineage. We’re learning more about the relationship between bones and soft-tissues, allowing us – in some cases – to predict skin types even when the soft-tissues of animals have been entirely lost. Not all prehistoric species can be restored with high confidence, but increasingly few leave artists entirely clueless. It’s an overstatement to say there is only one way to restore fossil dinosaurs in art, but there are not infinite ways, either. Good palaeoartists do not make these things up as they go along, but create art through a deductive process that follows the best modern science.This is not to say that all palaeoart is of equal credibility, of course. Indeed, some is nonsensical because of awful proportions relative to the fossil skeleton, and lousy understanding of animal form and anatomical evolution. But this only happens because these artworks are not well informed – they’re palaeoart hack jobs produced because no one thought to look, or had time to understand, how their subject animal was constructed. Blowing off the whole genre because of these works throws the baby out with the bathwater, and the last thing 2017 needs is upset babies blocking already stormed-strained drainage systems. Keep hold of those infants, folks, and find out about an art form before writing the whole thing off.Our new book, Dinosaur Art II, is a great place to see examples of palaeoart aimed at those top scientific standards. It’s stuffed full of lovely artwork of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals as well as artist interviews, giving insight into the process and methods of recreating worlds otherwise lost to time. If you’re after actual insights into extinct animal appearance, and not BS, it’s an excellent place to start.
Las Vegas gunman’s hooker, Hillary Clinton’s lies, and Jerry Lewis’s forged will in this week’s tabloids
With its impeccable military intelligence contacts and team of White House insiders, the National Enquirer has scooped the world by obtaining “ISIS’s Map of Terror!” – revealing the jihadist group's “top secret” targets across America. Then again, it could be the route map of any retired couple planning to tour the States in an RV: targets include Mount Rushmore, Hoover Dam, Disney World, Dollywood, The Grand Ole Opry, the Statue of Liberty, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It’s only surprising that they didn’t include Wrigley Field. Oh wait – they did.How the Enquirer gets such amazingly detailed inside information, I’ll never know.The Enquirer also “blows the lid off Hollywood’s casting couch scandal,” if “blowing the lid” means regurgitating actress’s allegations made over the past two weeks while adding nothing new.Comedy legend Jerry Lewis’s $75 million will was “forged,” claims a handwriting expert, who found that a dying 91-year-old’s signature doesn’t precisely match his signature when he was younger. Because at the age of 91 what could possibly make it harder to hold a pen or make one’s hand shake? Hard to imagine.Tom Cruise has obtained the level of Operating Thetan VI within the Church of Scientology, which the Enquirer claims means that he has the ability to heal with the touch of a finger. This could be good news for every starlet he beds in the future, who could wake up in the morning a born-again virgin.Would you consider yourself broke if you had $250,000 in cash? The Enquirer does just that to “broke” Bill Cosby, who allegedly “carries all his cash in a bag.” Not that the Enquirer has actually seen inside Cosby’s suitcase, but if he’s lugging it around with him it must be carrying a quarter mil in cash, because what else could he be hauling? Clothes? Fuller brushes? A headless torso? No, it must be $250,000 in walking money.The Enquirer also publishes details relayed by a prostitute who engaged in violent sex fantasies with Las Vegas massacre gunman Stephen Paddock – an "Enquirer World Exclusive" which first appeared in the UK's Sun newspaper almost two weeks earlier. She reveals Paddock’s text messages, with his desire to book a room on a high floor of the Mandalay hotel with a view over the concert grounds. Unlike the Sun, the Enquirer fails to mention that the prostitute’s last contact with Paddock was in June 2016.The Globe cover returns to its favorite sport of bashing Hillary Clinton, claiming that Caroline Kennedy hates Hillary because the former Secretary of State is supposedly behind rumors that John Kennedy Jr. was intoxicated when his plane crashed in 1999. Hillary's “evil lies" are repeated by the Enquirer at great length.Hugh Hefner died of lung cancer, report the Enquirer and the Globe, which seems at odds with last week’s claims that he died of toxic mold at the Playboy mansion.Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Naomi Watts wore it best, that singer Kesha can only cook one thing – popcorn, that actress Rachel Bloom carries sunglasses, pepper spray and Prozac in her Prada purse (this feature never gets old!), and that the stars are just like us – they pump gas, eat lunch, and pick up their dry cleaning.Us devotes its cover to the “Secrets of the Royal baby!” which, despite the exclamation mark, are remarkably mundane: Duchess Kate suffered severe morning sickness; she and Prince William don’t want to know the baby’s sex; their ob-gyn postponed his retirement to deliver the infant; and the Lindo wing of St Mary's hospital has been reserved.People gives its cover to Harvey Weinstein’s victims, but adds nothing new to the exercise. "What did his wife know?” asks a side-bar story. After reading it, we’re none the wiser.We turn to the National Examiner to bring us the week’s real breaking news: The “Shocking Secrets” behind the 1990 romantic comedy Pretty Woman, the grammatically-challenged day “O.J. Attacked Own Daughter!” in 2003, and “Heartbreak killed Sandra Dee!” in 2005.Breaking news doesn’t get more broken than that.Onwards and downwards . . .
The video game industry's best-of-class DRM is routinely cracked in less than 24 hours
Denuvo is billed as the video game industry's "best in class" DRM, charging games publishers a premium to prevent people from playing their games without paying for them. In years gone by, Denuvo DRM would remain intact for as long as a month before cracks were widely disseminated. (more…)
In 1911, three men struggled for five weeks through the Antarctic winter to collect penguin eggs
In 1911, three British explorers made a perilous 70-mile journey in the dead of the Antarctic winter to gather eggs from a penguin rookery in McMurdo Sound. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the three through perpetual darkness and bone-shattering cold on what one man called "the worst journey in the world."We'll also dazzle some computers and puzzle over some patriotic highways.Show notesPlease support us on Patreon!
16 Democratic Congressional hopefuls have outraised the incumbent Republicans they're challenging
12-term Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R-NJ] raised $157k last quarter, while two of the Democrats who're challenging him in 2018, former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill and family advocate Tamara Harris both outraised him by big margins -- $498,000 for Sherrill! (more…)
A curiously incomplete history of the early years of DRM
Ernie Smith's Motherboard article on the early years of DRM gets into some fascinating stories about things like IBM's Cryptolope and Xerox PARC's Contentguard (which became a patent troll), Intertrust's belief that it is "developing the basis for a civil society in cyberspace" and the DeCSS fight. (more…)
A working modem using HTML5 sound
Martin Kirkholt Melhus's workplace bans connecting his development computer to the internet, so he hacked together a modem using HTML5: by plugging over-the-ear headphones into his laptop's 3.5mm audio jack and then placing the headphones over a network-connected built-in mic, he is able to tunnel a network connection outside the firewall (or that's the theory; as he notes, "This was only ever intended as a gimmick and a proof of concept - not something that I would actually use at work.") (more…)
$15 lightweight, stackable backpacking cookware
This is the lowest price I've seen for this super popular, cheap 10 piece camping cook set.The pot and pan, with lids, neatly stack. Netly stack into a size that is just right to fit into my VW Vanagon's sink, with some dishtowels and a cutting board, for storage as I drive around. It also comes with a sponge, stainless steel spork, a spoon and some bowls.Handles on the pot and pan are not terrible to use, which inspired my purchase. Most camp cook set pots and pans come with burn the shit out of you handles, or complicated weird latch systems. These just fold out and have some silicone for grips.The set is worth it just for the pot and pan. At $15 you can throw this kit into your emergency/bugout bag and have something to boil water in once the apocalypse comes.Honest Portable camping cookware mess kit folding Cookset for hiking backpacking 10 piece Lightweigh durable Pot Pan Bowls Spork with nylon bag outdoor cook equipment via Amazon
Talking Walkaway on the CNet book-club podcast
CNet has started a new book-club podcast, and they honored me by picking my novel Walkaway as their second-ever title. (more…)
Trump's "free market" FCC loves monopolies, especially when they rip off prisoners' families
The American prison system is home to one of the greatest market-failures in the history of telephony (which is saying something): a monopolistic system in which sole-supplier, hedge-fund owned telcoms operators charge as much as $14/minute for prisoners to talk with their lawyers, families and loved ones. (more…)
BlankPage is a writing app that minimizes distraction
As any author will tell you, the way to become a better writer is to do it every single day. To help promote your daily writing habit, BlankPage provides a clean environment that tracks your progress over time. This app is currently being offered in the Boing Boing Store for $24.99.Since writing well demands focus, it can be tough to stay on task when your interface is cluttered with unnecessary formatting options. BlankPage keeps it minimal: only the title, content, and the current word count are on display while you work. Each piece you write can be treated as a standalone article, or freely arranged into a larger work.BlankPage also lets you set goals for how much you would like to get done during each session, and gives motivational messages to keep you on task while working on big or small projects.You can get lifetime access to BlankPage from the Boing Boing Store now for $24.99.
Cult driving simulator spawns YouTube genre of automotive chaos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nZN2ueu13EBeamMG.drive is a driving simulator that's acquired a cult following due to its uncannily realistic modeling of soft-body physics. YouTube is full of crash videos created with it: the thanato-erotic Ballardian lure of mangled automobiles, but with mercilessly bad electronic dance music.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h93Yn1ZoRjw
1600 sprites for your starkly old-school 1-bit games
For twenty dollars, you can download 1600 1-bit sprites for use in artwork, games, icons or whatever other project you desire. [via]
Khaled Ipsum: uplifting dummy text from the wit and wisdom of DJ Khaled
Lorem Ipsum is the not-really-meaningless dummy text used by designers when they need to "greek" some type into a template. (more…)
'Profoundly deaf' baby hears her mom's voice for the first time
According to her mom, blogger Christy Keane, baby Charly was born "profoundly deaf." In this truly heartwarming video, you'll see this precious child responding to her mom's voice for the first time ever through the miracle of hearing aids.Charly gets quite emotional and seems unsure whether to smile or cry. Who can blame her?On Instagram, Keane writes, "We didn't think she would hear anything so this was more incredible than I can put in to words."Oh, my heart.(Neatorama)
Buy this guy's time with his own personal cryptocurrency
My Montreal-based tech-entrepreneur friend Evan Prodromou has behind the launch of several companies, including his current one, fuzzy.ai.Evan's also a married dad of two. Additionally, he says he spends three to five hours a week helping friends, or friends of friends, with their business. It's safe to say that he's a busy guy.[caption id="attachment_551956" align="alignnone" width="480"] Evan Prodromou[/caption]To help manage his schedule, he's made it possible to buy (and sell) his time by creating EvanCoin, his own personal cryptocurrency.Wired explains:
Jackie Chan went undercover on Reddit and other sites to answer fan questions
For a publicity stunt for his new movie The Foreigner, the lovable Jackie Chan signed up for a bunch of new online accounts under the name "ActuallyJackieChan" and humorously started answering questions from fans. Of course, without verified checkmarks on those accounts, the martial arts actor just looked like someone posing as Jackie Chan.Here's what he wrote on Reddit:
Why Trial by Ordeal was like a medieval polygraph
Peter T Lesson writes that the trial by ordeal was "an effective test of guilt", contrary to its brutal suggestion of divine judgment. As unscientific as it seems to determine guilt by dunking someone's arm in boiling water, the threat of it is a cunning way to elicit truth in the absense of evidence—so long as the subject is confident God will protect them if they are innocent.It's rather like modern lie detectors, generally inadmissible in court but used pervasively in interrogations.
Ron Popeil's ingenious crap
Once, humanity was challenged with the effort of scrambling eggs. Then came Ron Popeil.Ron Popeil is like the dad in Gremlins, except he was real. The man invented everything cool you could buy from a tv commercial when I was a kid. The Popeil Pocket Fisherman? The Smokeless Ashtray? The Snaffler? Who tried GL-9 Hair Spray?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fh_YwAnv7wRon's inventions were so prolific, and so effectively sold, he formed RonCo to front them all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8WMXyXBGpMSomehow Donald Trump is President and not Ron Popeil.
Watch: Little sled person treks Line Rider track synchronized to “In the Hall of the Mountain King”
YouTuber DoodleChaos spent over a month configuring a track in the 2006 hit game Line Rider. The result is a delightful harmonic pairing of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” to the originally silent flash game.The tiny sledder dips and bounces on lines drawn to hit Grieg’s musical notes. The adventure grows more treacherous for the sledder as the tempo picks up and the rider reaches an increasingly louder and sled-less end.
Dead bodies can soon be liquified under new California law
Californians nearing the end or getting an early start choosing how they want to decay can now consider liquid cremation due to a new state law allowing the procedure by 2020. California will be the 15th state to allow the controversial option, according to SFGate.The procedure decomposes a corpse’s flesh with an alkaline solution, leaving only the bones behind to be crushed into ashes.The next generation of soulless air breathers can thank those who choose the liquidy way out for lowering the carbon footprint, as traditional burials tend to be more harmful to the environment.Image: Davide Ragusa
New line of beautiful and classic-looking microphone cables from Spencer Tweedy
Is this thing on? Musician Spencer Tweedy (son of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy) is bringing his design sensibility and appreciation for finely-crafted musical gear to one of the most boring and ubiquitous items on stages and in recording studios: the microphone cable. "We have compressors with classic faceplates and microphones with precision-milled grates," Spencer says. "But the little things, like cables, usually go uncared for. Just because they're little."So with the help of Conway Electric, makers of luxurious cotton-jacketed extension cords, and Alchemy Audio, he's launched a company to manufacture Fjord XLR cables, a made-in-the-USA product whose "main feature is that it looks nicer than other cables... but its looks are backed up by components that make it sound great and feel great to use, too."He's launched a Kickstarter with a very modest goal; a $40 pledge gets you a sharp-looking new cable! And don't miss the excellent project video below!Fjord XLR: Classic microphone cables
Excerpt from Lynda Barry's new illustrated novella, The Good Times are Killing Me
Drawn & Quarterly has a new edition of Lynda Barry’s coming-of-age novella, The Good Times are Killing Me
Documentary on right-wing "three-percent" militia in the U.S.
As part of Vice's new video series, Hysteria, which examines mass social panics in the U.S., here's a 20-minute documentary about the Georgia III% Security Force -- "one of America’s right-wing, pro-Trump, anti-terror militias."
Space archaeology: A conversation with TED Prize winner Sarah Parcak
The After On podcast a series of unhurried conversations with thinkers, founders, and scientists. It began as a complement to the novel After On, in that its first eight episodes explore science, tech, and social issues featured in the storyline. But there is no need to read After On before listening to any of these episodes. You can subscribe to the podcast within any podcast app. Simply use your app's search function (type in "After On") to find and subscribe. Or, to subscribe via your computer click here, then click the blue “View on iTunes” button (left side of the page under the After On image), then click “Subscribe” (similar location) in the iTunes window. Or simply follow the feed http://afteron.libsyn.com/rssAsk any archaeologist, and you'll learn that the tools of their trade are simple and universal: a pointing trowel for excavation; a brush for removing dust from finds; side arms to fend off Nazi grave robbers; and a large constellation of satellites. That last item joined the toolkit back in 1984, when NASA's Tom Sever (who is not a Hall of Fame pitcher, and must be sick of being asked if he is) convened an archaeological summit to offer up images and other goodies from his agency. And with that, the field of space archaeology was. In roughly the same year, the Tooth Fairy delivered a children's book about ancient Egypt to one Sarah Parcak, age 5, of Bangor Maine. An early childhood obsession with pharaonic culture is common amongst future Egyptologists, and Sarah's began then. We discuss this and Sarah's amazing (and still early-ish) career as a leading space archaeologist in this week's episode of the After On podcast. You can find it in your podcasting app, or just click here: Sarah began her formal study of the field as a Yale undergraduate, then went to Cambridge for her PhD. Space archaeology had grown semi-dormant after an initial flurry of excitement and papers. But the falling cost of satellite imagery, plus the emergence of Google Earth, electrified a young cohort of academics as Sarah was doing her graduate work. Her thesis leaned heavily on satellite imagery, and landed her a professorship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Then the BBC called. They were interested in Sarah's emerging field, so they rang her up for an interview. One thing led to another, and eventually the network agreed to fund (and film) Sarah as she carried out a satellite survey of known and potential archaeological sites in Egypt. Covering the entire country, the project was unprecedented in its scope. Much has happened since. In the wake of the Arab Spring, Sarah's team did groundbreaking work in documenting and monitoring the looting of hundreds of archaeological sites. In 2012 she was invited to be both a TED Fellow and a National Geographic Explorer, and in 2016 she won the million-dollar TED Prize to further her work. She applied the money and the platform that TED gave her to launch a citizen science project called GlobalXPlorer. This has already leveraged the eyeballs of over 50,000 volunteers to create a sweeping archaeological survey of Peru. Sarah has near-term plans to take the platform to a grand new level, but can't quiiiiite talk about them yet. We cover all of this and more in our interview. For those in a hurry, here are timestamps of some highlights: 0:04:15 - Space archaeology is defined 0:07:55 - Sarah's early career, from Tooth Fairy through PhD 0:20:34 - How satellite imagery is used in archaeology 0:34:23 - About the ancient Egyptian capital Sarah may have located 0:45:46 - Tracking archaeological looting in the wake of the Arab Spring 1:04:20 - The TED Prize ... and Harrison Ford 1:14:46 - Sarah's citizen science platform, GlobalXPlorer
This $10 stainless steel insulated tumbler is almost identical to a $30 Yeti tumbler
Looking for an insulated travel tumbler? Consider this $10 Polar Pad Drifter Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler (30-ounce). It's nearly identical to the 30-ounce Yeti, but 1/3 the price. If 30-ounces is too big, Polar Pad has a 20-ounce model, also for $10. The nice thing about vacuum insulated tumblers like this is that condensation doesn't form on the surface.
Watch Andy Warhol in TDK cassette TV commercials from Japan, 1983
Make Deckard's Binoculars from Blade Runner 2049
This week on Maker Update, Blade Runner binoculars, setbacks at Glowforge, custom zipper pulls, JOY pads, and colorized laser engraving. This week’s Cool Tool is the Canary Corrugated Cardboard Cutter.
Beautiful, sad, and hopeful Web comic by a man who lost his home in the Nor Cal fires
Comic artist Brian Fies and his family lost their home last week in the Northern California fires. To process the tragedy, the Eisner Award-winner made a deeply moving Web comic about it. Seen here are just a few panels. Read it all: "A Fire Story"
NYPD has no backup for its seized property database, recording millions in annual seizures
The Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS) is the NYPD's huge database where it stores ownership information on the millions in New Yorkers' property it takes charge of every year (including about $68m in cash and counting), through evidence collection and asset forfeiture. (more…)
Edition of Fahrenheit 451 that can only be read by burning the pages
Next year, French graphic design house Super Terrain will publish this very special edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 that can only be read by burning the pages.(more…)
Leaked ICE forfeiture manual instructs agents to seize houses if they contain a phone implicated in crime
ICE have become house-flippers, using the notorious and discredited "civil asset forfeiture" process to steal houses from people they say were involved in crime, then selling the houses to fund their operations, and more seizures of more houses. (more…)
A talented impersonator is scamming Richard Branson and pals for millions
Richard Branson got a call from the UK Secretary of State for Defence asking for his help in a covert ransom payment of $5m to rescue a ranking diplomat from kidnappers; Branson recognised the man's voice but he was suspicious of the plan to validate the scheme by sending an assistant to lobby of a government building to meet the Secretary's secretary and exchange codewords. (more…)
Smalltown America finds ecstasy at Dollar General
I love dollar stores, and so does rural America.(more…)
Mobile ad technique allows stalkers to follow you around a city for less than $1000
This month, University of Washington researchers will present Exploring ADINT: Using Ad Targeting for Surveillance on aBudget — or — How Alice Can Buy Ads to Track Bob at the Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society in Dallas; the paper details a novel way that stalkers and other low-level criminals can accomplish state-grade surveillance on the cheap with targeted ad-purchases. (more…)
Here is Apple's self-driving car prototype
Here are new images of Apple's self-driving car technology (Project Titan) mounted on a Lexus RX350. That gear on the top is a rack of six LIDAR sensors that use lasers to collect spatial data about the vehicle's surroundings.
Syndaver: A $95K animatronic cadaver that's replacing med-school corpses
The Syndaver is a super-realistic robotic human corpse simulator with replaceable viscera that med students can dissect again and again, freeing them to use the donated bodies of people who willed their remains to science for med school pranks, like sneaking them into the alumni dinner in a tuxedo. (more…)
IRS to America: you were probably already doxed before the Equifaxpocalype, so don't worry about it
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that he didn't expect the risk of fraud to go up this tax-filing season despite the world-beating Equifax breach of 145,000,000 Americans' sensitive personal and financial data because a "significant" number of Equifax's breaches had already been exposed by earlier breaches of other databases. (more…)
Engineer/hero/entrepreneur Limor "ladyada" Fried was kicked off Facebook and no one will tell her why
Limor "ladyada" Fried (previously) is one of the great hardware hackers of her generation and is the co-founder of the pioneering open source hardware company Adafruit; she's also not allowed on Facebook anymore. (more…)
The insincerity of your protest is deafening
This jerk at an NFL game doesn't feel folks should protest civil injustice against black Americans by kneeling, but thinks the flag is there to keep his ass dry.Who is disrespecting what?Via Deadspin.
$10 photo lightbox sure comes in handy
I've been using this $10 lightbox an awful lot.This is simply a white plastic box with some very white LED lights and two foam backdrops. There is nothing to it. You can fold it up to the size of a legal pad if you want to put it away, or take it someplace.I'm getting lovely photos using just my iPhone 7+. Imagine if I tried any of the tens of cameras I have laying around the house? Probably not much different. Photo Light Box For Jewellery and Small Items ( Size 9 x 9 x9.5"/ 22 x 22 x24cm ) with Two Backdrops Included via Amazon
The Tories replaced benefits with "universal credit" and left a town to starve
In 2013, the Scottish city of Inverness had the unfortunate fate of being picked as the trial site for a pilot of "universal credit," one of the UK Conservative government's big ideas, in which the various benefits paid to low-income people were replaced with a single payment, centrally administered. (more…)
Dying 59-year-old chimpanzee recognizes old friend
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INa-oOAexno&feature=youtu.beMama was 59 years old, the oldest among Amsterdam's Royal Burgers Zoo chimpanzee colony.
Gentleman takes issue with fellow car racer's parking skills
At Anderson Speedway in Indiana, driver Jeffrey Swinford was not pleased with Shawn Cullen for crashing into him and taking both of them out of a race. Then Cullen was not pleased with Swinford parking his car on top of Cullen's. (more…)
Swedish-to-English IKEA product name dictionary
My Swedish-born (former Rubik's Cube champion) pal Lars Petrus has created a Swedish-to-English IKEA product name dictionary.He writes:
Dead 2017 pop culture trends are laid to rest in this art teacher's front lawn
For art teacher Michael Fry of Mamaroneck, New York, certain 2017 trends need to be dead and buried. So, for the past few Halloweens, he's made tombstone lawn decorations that lay specific trends to rest.This year it's "so long!" to ombre hair, the hashtag #roséallday, the "old Taylor Swift," homemade slime, and more.ABCNews writes: