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Updated 2017-06-27 20:39
Thailand's thin-skinned king demands Youtube take down Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"
Charlie Chaplin's 1940 movie The Great Dictator features one of the greatest anti-authoritarian speeches of all time, so it's no surprise that Thailand's censorship-crazed king is abusing his country's grotesque lese majeste laws to order Youtube to remove clips of Chaplin's masterpiece. (more…)
Desperate Toronto hotelier pays millions to take Trump name off its business
The owners of Toronto's "Trump Hotel" just spent a reported $6M to get out of its deal with Trump and cleanse their property of his hated name; they will probably rebrand it as a "St Regis" hotel instead. (more…)
China orders mobile app stores to remove VPN apps
Starting July 1, the official Android and Apple App stores will no longer allow Chinese users to download the VPN apps that Chinese people rely upon in order to get around the Great Firewall of China, which censors information in China and surveils Chinese peoples' use of the net. (more…)
GOP abandons vote on health care repeal after CBO predicts 22 million would lose insurance
The Trump administration is failing to pull off its latest efforts to 'repeal and replace Obamacare' with a draconian plan that would leave 22 million or more without health coverage.After a growing number of Republican senators voiced opposition to the GOP plan, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today said he'd delay the vote on legislation until after lawmakers return from the July 4th recess.“We will not be on the bill this week, but we will still be working to get at least 50 people in a comfortable place,” McConnell today said.It's a big setback for Trump. It's fantastic news for every American who may need health care now, or in the future, or may have a child or parent who does. The fight isn't over, but these monsters aren't winning just yet.(more…)
Verizon bought Yahoo, so Flickr and Tumblr users with AT&T email addresses are being cut off
Verizon's using its purchase of Yahoo for more than undermining the fight for net neutrality: it's also using its new acquisitions to make anti-competitive moves against its telcoms rivals, deploying the users of Flickr and Tumblr as hostages. (more…)
Make: hand-embroidered patches based on photos of your beloved cat
https://youtu.be/CTx4cy9gNXYBecky Stern writes, "My elderly cat passed away earlier this month, so I spent some mourning time stitching up these embroidered cat patches based on photos of my kitty Beatrice. I made a tutorial walking through the process from Photoshop to embroidery hoop."
The Balkan blobject robot at the 2073 Venice Biennale
Bruce Sterling's short story "The Beachcomber of Novi Kotor" is a monologue by a rogue Montenegran artist-roboticist, delivered at the 85th Venice Biennale, in a world where climate change has made venices out of all the world's low-lying cities, where Montenegro has been plunged into economic collapse by the precipitous departure of the neo-Czarist Russian oligarchs whose tourist trade it depended on. (more…)
Kid gets his hands on a leafblower and instantly transforms into a supervillian
As soon as this kid wields a leafblower, he acquires a diabolical laugh, along with the realization that he holds the fate of humankind in his hands.
Watch: Half-dressed gentleman at Rugby game takes it all off and streaks
This is great. A gentleman is watching a Rugby game – All Blacks vs Lions – in New Zealand with only a shirt on. His pants are nowhere to be seen. The couple videotaping him are having a delightful time – the woman can be heard laughing hysterically. The camera pans to the game for a few seconds, and when it pans back to the half-dressed man he finally seizes the moment and makes his way towards the players. He then takes it all off and streaks across the field. Makes me nostalgic for the 1970s.For a longer, better, more detailed video that is uncensored (in other words, if you want to see his unblurred bum), check it out at The West Australian.
A new ransomware strain is seemingly using a leaked NSA cyberweapon to race around the planet
Petya is a well-known ransomware app that has attained a new, deadly virulence, with thousands of new infection attempts hitting Kaspersky Lab's honeypots; security firm Avira attributes this new hardiness to the incorporation of EternalBlue -- the same NSA cyberweapon that the Wannacry ransomware used, which was published by The Shadow Brokers hacker group -- into a new Petya strain. (more…)
Best tea maker: Teavana Perfectea
Carla has a tried a lot of different tea makers, and the Teavana Perfectea Maker ($20, Amazon) is her favorite. It doesn’t burn her hands, drains neatly into a mug, is easy to clean, and makes up to 16 oz.
America's leading Net Neutrality campaigner is suing NYC to fix its broken internet
More than a quarter of New York City lives without broadband, thanks to the sweetheart deals the city has cut with Verizon and the other big telcos, which chargessome of the highest rates in America for some of the country's worst service. (more…)
Six research backed tips to have a great vacation
Research has shown the the best length for vacation is between 3 to 6 days: "People on mid-length holidays of between three to six days tended to report more positive mood than those on shorter or longer trips." This is one of six sensible tips to make your vacation as enjoyable as possible Barking Up the Wrong Tree from Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
Bully cop tickets black man for made-up law of not having ID while walking
I can feel my cortisol spiking as I watch this angry, aggressive Jacksonville, FL cop harassing a black man for jaywalking. He tickets him for that, and then when he finds out the man isn't carrying ID, tickets him for a bogus law – walking without ID.According to the YouTube page:
100 Americans attempt a British accent
I'm listening to the audiobook version of Ian Fleming's Live and Let Die. It's narrated by a Brit, and I was thinking his American accent was pretty bad when he was reading lines from American characters in the book. But I shouldn't be too hard on him, after I watching this video of Americans trying and failing to speak with a British accent.
1924 Ringling Brothers photo: "Congress of Freaks"
This is one of the best group photos ever. See a bigger version here.[via Peter from Texas]
New massive ransomware attack paralyzing European banks, airports, government departments
Hot on the heels of the WannaCry attack, a massive, new, ransomware attack has struck Europe, shutting down systems in Ukraine, Britain, and Spain.From The Telegraph:
Legal experts not impressed by the bogus threats Zillow used to silence real estate blogger
McMansion Hell (previously at BB) was a hilarious, incisive and explosively popular blog detailing and mocking America's dreadful suburban architecture. Zillow is a real estate site that exists to profit from it. Zillow used a grossly bogus legal threat to get McMansion Hell shut down, and everyone within sniffing distance of the law or media freedom is mad.Zillow claims that McMansion Hell was 'violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and state laws prohibiting "interference with Zillow's business expectations and interests"', a claim augmented by a curious theory of copyright whereby Zillow has "particular rights" to images it doesn't own.
Grounded United plane waits 30 minutes to evacuate overheated infant
It was hot in Denver on Thursday, the day Emily France and her infant son were stuck aboard a United Airlines jet idling on the runway. After two hours inside the sweltering cabin, the baby became overheated and had trouble breathing. France asked for an ambulance and for the captain to let her and the baby off the plane immediately, but United kept her on the plane for another 30 minutes. “They couldn’t evacuate us," France told the Denver Post. "It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms.”Snip:
Oscar Mayer whips out a hotdog-dropping drone
Meat brand Oscar Mayer has announced the latest additions to its WienerFleet and frankly, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relishing the news.Their fleet already includes the iconic Wienermobile, the WienerMini (a hotdog-shaped MINI Cooper), and the four-wheeling, off-roading Wiener Rover. This summer, to introduce their new line of less-wurst* dogs, they've added two new branded vehicles. The first is the WienerCycle which is a three-wheeled moped designed for "tricky urban deliveries." It's pretty cool looking with its sweet sidecar which also acts a hotdog warming station.But, the one that really kicks buns is the WienerDrone, a small 6.5 pound drone that drops warm meat from the sky. They report that it's the "first unmanned hot dog-carrying aircraft designed for remote location delivery."If you're trying to ketchup, that means it will rain fewer cats and more dogs this summer. *They're removing "all added nitrates and nitrites, by-products and artificial preservatives from the meat" in their "entire line of hot dogs."(Gizmodo)
Easy-to-make frozen bananas for Fourth of July
A frozen Independence Day treat that’s a whole lot healthier than a Bomb Pop.
Avoid these 9 charisma-killing mistakes
Introduce yourself, introduce your friends, and make sure you don’t talk about things that only interest you.
Bank of International Settlements warns of global economic crash, "with a vengeance"
The Bank of International Settlements -- the "central bank for central bankers" -- has released its latest annual report, warning that the looming debt crises in China, Hong Kong and Thailand could precipitate an abrupt collapse, or, as BIS monetary and economic department head Claudio Borio put it, "That end may come to resemble more closely a financial boom gone wrong, just as the latest recession showed, with a vengeance." (more…)
How an obscure law allowed white, rich developers to steal African-Americans' land for a century
After the civil war, formerly enslaved people bought about 15 million acres across the US (mostly in the south), but those landowners lacked clear legal title and also often did not have access to legal advice for estate planning -- combine that with lending discrimination (redlining) and the diasporas that scattered families across the country and that land has become easy pickings for crooked property developers and their crooked lawyers. (more…)
$70 Hackintosh matches MacBook Pro
Snazzy Labs built a startlingly powerful Mac with only $70—editing the video above on it to prove it! A big part of it is being armed with knowledge and some technical chops: the donor PC (from institutional surplus) was a real beast in its day, they repaired a broken SSD (!), and found a miraculously appropriate bus-powered video card on Craiglist. All of which means you're not likely to replicate the "Crapintosh" in a $100 visit to Goodwill.All the same, though, I still think this shows something interesting. Not that MacBooks are underpowered, but rather that traditional desktop PCs, unfashionable as they are, are a cheap way to serious computing power if you're happy with an enormous noisy box under your desk. You might know this, but processors and video cards alike have long been marketed to obscure the performance differences between mobile and desktop parts, and they are often substantial! So educate your thrifty friends.
Become a polyglot in your spare time with uTalk
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, and stave off dementia later in life.uTalk is a mobile application for studying foreign languages. Instead of grilling you on complex grammar rules, this app focuses on building a practical vocabulary so you actually communicate with people. You’ll grow your language skills naturally with input from native speakers, and build confidence with interactive speaking games. This app syncs your progress across all of your devices and is compatible with most mobile and desktop platforms.This package from uTalk includes American English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Latin American Spanish. You can get lifetime access to resources for these six languages for $29.99 in the Boing Boing Store.
Blog exposes fake GoFundMe campaigns
I've long thought that online crowdfunding campaigns were ripe for fraudulent activity. Drum up a decent sob story (or rip one off from the headlines) and you too can have strangers sending you money you don't deserve.Well, for just over a year now, Adrienne Gonzalez of Richmond, Virginia has been tracking GoFundMe scams on her site, GoFraudMe. Check out her site and learn how shameless some people can be, from faking cancer for cash to raising funds for cats who fake died in a fire (and more). Eeesh.(Super Punch)
Ozzy Osbourne's favorite metal albums
Rolling Stone magazine asked the Prince of Darkness to list his ten favorite metal albums. Here are five of Ozzy's sure-shots:AC/DC, 'Highway to Hell' (1979)"I love Brian Johnson but to me my good friend, the late Bon Scott, was the best singer AC/DC ever had. This album was like an addiction to me."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l482T0yNkeoGuns N' Roses, 'Appetite for Destruction' (1987)"One of the greatest debut albums of all time. There's not a weak song in the bunch. I never get tired of hearing it."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1tj2zJ2WvgLed Zeppelin, 'Led Zeppelin IV' (1971)"I've always been a huge Led Zeppelin fan. All of their studio albums are classics but this is one of my all-time favorites."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyivczZI5pwMetallica, 'Master of Puppets' (1986)"I took Metallica on tour with me after the release of Master of Puppets. The album was a milestone for the band and for heavy metal."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVR4bkyMykAMotörhead, 'Ace of Spades' (1980)"The album that put Motörhead over the top. The title track "Ace of Spades" is Motörhead's "Paranoid." It's one of the great metal anthems and, to me, a band hasn't made it until they have their own anthem. This is theirs."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWB5JZRGl0UOzzy Osbourne: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums (Rolling Stone)
Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki's favorite books for young people
The following are pioneering animator and Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki's (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, etc.) top ten favorite books for young people:
Watch a freak wave launch a body boarder 20 feet into the air
Jack Baker was bodyboarding at Sydney Australia's Cape Solander when a big backwash wave launched him into the sky. Fortunately, he suffered only from a burst lung and is now recovering."I even said to the photographer who was in the water: 'this backwash is going to kill someone.' As this wave came towards me, I took off and as I got in it was real deep, I was already going too fast, I attempted to eject hoping it would send me back through the wave," he told SurferToday."Instead of ejecting, I got smashed by the wave, and suddenly I was in the air just falling. I had already got kicked about so hard in the waves so as I came back down I was dizzy and I didn’t know whether I was in the water or up in the air. But when I hit the water that woke me up."
Killer funky synth-pop and slow burners from Death Cab for Cutie's Dave Depper
Last time I saw Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Dave Depper, we were at our dear friends' wedding dancing in a huge sweaty group and singing along to 1980s anthems by New Order and Pet Shop Boys. I mention that because Dave just released his stunning first solo album and there's a bit of that vintage synthpop vibe flowing through the record, titled "Emotional Freedom Technique." Not that this is a retro play; it's not. The record is a wholly contemporary affair even as Dave freely allows his influences, from 80s dancefloor jams to Prince's funky rhythms, ebb and flow through his songwriting. Emotional Freedom Technique blends nu-disco ass-shakers with lovely emo mix tape material and afterparty ambience. You'll dig it. Listen below and order here.
Get a better night's sleep on these memory foam pillows
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your shape and provides ample nighttime support. For those with sensitive sinuses, its outer case is made from soft, hypoallergenic bamboo rayon that resists moisture, mold, and pesky dust mites. Each pillow compresses into a packable tube for easy carrying, and may be used comfortably without a pillow case.These pillows are perfect for travel and home use alike, and this set of two is now $39.99.
Watch: Hangry drivers have standoff and block everyone else in Taco Bell drive-thru
A couple of bull-headed drivers have blocked each other in a Taco Bell lot, but neither one is willing to back up for the other. One of the stubborn drivers threatens to call the police. The big problem is that they are blocking everyone else from entering the drive-through lane (but at least it's good entertainment). After much yelling and honking, the show ends as the police arrive.
Al the inside jokes in Silicon Valley's opening title sequence
Silicon Valley is a family favorite. It really nails startup culture, and every episode seems to raise the stakes. The opening title sequence is a 10-second animation of the growth and collapse of different software companies in Silicon Valley. It seems to change from episode-to-episode. It's hard to see everything that's going on, but this guy has studied it closely and reported what he found.
How to motorcycle safely, mid-70s version
https://youtu.be/q_1GxcM95goNothing says MOTORCYCLE SAFETY like the Rockford files theme and a British accent.
This guy wrote a program to call scammers' phone lines 28 times a second
It's likely you've gotten calls from criminals who pose as IRS employees and threaten to imprison you if you don't pay them thousands of dollars. These crooks work in teams based in Indian call centers. They are scumbags of the lowest order, preying on seniors and immigrants through fear and intimidation. Here's a security developer who decided to fight back. He wrote a script that called one of these IRS scammers' phone banks 28 times a second, flooding their phone lines and making it impossible for them to ply their vile trade. It's fun to listen to the scammers curse at the programmer's recorded message. According to Twisted Sifter, he has launched something called Project Mayhem to continue his fight against these unscrupulous scammers." He is seeking Patreon donations to go after IRS scammers, tech support scammers, loan scammers, "you have won" scammers, and "family member in trouble" scammers.Here's a recording of revenge on a tech support scammer:https://youtu.be/EOs_SjPGPNs
Public Enemy's sign-language interpreter is AMAZING
The $7 vertical ergonomic mouse is not awful
I suffer from mild RSI: a warning to stop, but one that goes away when I do stop. The trigger is using a mouse for extended periods. The alternatives for general everyday computer use aren't great for my work habits, which center on precise pointing and clicking, so I'm in the bad habit of mousing until the ache begins, stopping, then picking it right back up later. I'd never tried a vertical mouse in the past because my malfunction is mild, the ergonomic improvements aren't clear, and they tend to be expensive. But the OJA Wireless Vertical Ergonomic mouse is only $6.99 on Amazon, so I decided to give it an impulse-buy shot.I imagined it would be an absolutely terrible mouse, but expected that I could at least use it long enough to see if the enormous vertical wedge shape of it would be good for my hand. As it happened, this thing is probably good enough to keep, with only a couple of slightly annoying issues holding me back.From the design, it appears to be a knockoff of something by Logitech, with dark gray satin plastic, chrome trim on the mousewheel, and large dimensions all around. It's wireless (a provided USB dongle fits inside the mouse for storage) and charges via USB cable. There two thumb buttons in addition to the usual left, right and wheel buttons. There's a DPI switch and an a power toggle underneath. The photos on the Amazon page depict it with FCC and CE symbols that are not in fact present on the device. It is instead marked with the text "wireless charging the mouse game."It's OK. It's not awful. It's like the half-decent mouse you might find bundled with a cheap desktop computer. It doesn't track quite as nice as even the cheapest Logitech or Microsoft mice, and it doesn't physically glide quite as smoothly, either, but it's half their price and in the large and unusual "vertical" ergonomic format. Frankly, if you've been thinking of trying it, it's perfect in that role, as a stepping stone before committing to something like the $80 Evoluent 4.On the ergonomic front, it's a clear improvement for me, but it doesn't quite fit right in my small, Trumpesque hands: it's as if they formed it by having an average American man gently squeeze a blob of clay, then loaded the model into a 3D app and smoothed out all the nobbly bits. Note that it (and other inexpensive models) are not quite as vertical as the pricey Evoluent model, either, which is presumably patented and more thoroughly scienced.The problems: it takes a second to wake from sleep, and it sometimes just goes hayware. The former is just how things are, and not really a problem, but the latter is hard to figure out. Is it a battery power issue? A wireless interference issue? A USB dongle issue? It's not a killer by any means, but it happens often enough to annoy. It's fixed by plugging it in and using it wired, even for just a moment.If they get to me, I might try Anker's $20 vertical mouse -- a price point that's still cheap, but as with wine, seems to promise something more satisfying and robust.
Millennials, women and college grads are most prolific library users
A Pew survey found that the majority of millennials have visited a public library this year, making them the most prolific library-using generation. An ALA spokesperson attributed this to the libraries' commitment to providing free, fast broadband and the ability to borrow devices such as tablets -- but the survey found that very few patrons use the libraries' apps. (more…)
A non-scientist's guide to reading scientific papers
Jennifer Raff -- a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas -- provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field. (more…)
Theresa May and the Holy Grail
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's merciless mashup of the UK's bumbling pound-shop Thatcher with Monty Python's classic work of historical documentary is bound to infuriate the reactionary wing of the Pythons, but it brought a lasting smile to my face. (Thanks, Robbo!)
A simple resource for connecting to writers with disabilities
People with disabilities tend to be drastically underrepresented in both culture and journalism. And one website is hoping to change that. Disabled Writers is a simple resource to help editors connect with writers with disabilities. As the site explains:
Brief history of Britain's brilliant LARP television shows
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsncLofhU48To celebrate the return of The Crystal Maze, Richard Cobbett recaps Britain's odd history of LARP shows, which pioneered chroma-key and VR-based special effects when such things were strange and expensive—and not as strange and expensive as the sets they were superimposed upon.All were brilliant but many were dreadful, and classics such as Knightmare seem to hover perpetually on the edge of being rebooted for a new generation. First up, though, is Richard Ayoade as the third host of Crystal Maze, previously helmed by Richard O'Brien (of Rocky Horror fame) and punk rocker and actor Edward Tudor-Pole.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlUGZSdWR9Q
Honest Trailers sums up the new Power Rangers movie
If, like me, you missed and/or avoided the Power Rangers movie from earlier this year, Honest Trailers cheekily breaks down its highs, lows, and weird obsession with Krispy Kreme.
Salvador Dali's corpse to be exhumed
A judge in Spain has ordered the exhumation of artist Salvador Dali's body for genetic testing, so that a paternity lawsuit may be resolved. Dali died in 1989; Pilar Abel believes the painter is her father, from an affair he reportedly had with a maid in 1955.From Agencia EFE:
Pop music genres illustrated with Toto's Africa on a lightweight portable keyboard
Seth Everman (previously) reports on "when you try all the sounds and beats on your synth while only playing Toto's Africa."
Enjoy a fiendish Disney villains medley
YouTube performers Peter Hollens and Whitney Avalon offer a catchy medley of the best songs that Disney villains have to offer.
Who Americans spend their time with
Dan Kopf's Who Americans spend their time with is a chart—six of them—that show the number of hours a day people spend with n over the course of their lives. Together they tell a story. The sixth is a gut-punch. But not, perhaps, if you're introverted.
Some Russians made a 'fidget spinner' out of beater cars
Methinks the fidget spinner craze is jumping the shark. How do I know? Because Гараж 54 ("Garage 54"), a group of Russian car enthusiasts on YouTube, have welded three beater cars together to make one giant gas-spewing "fidget spinner."(CNET)Previously: A working six-foot fidget spinner costume
LA peeps: Learn how to paint your own black velvets
In my opinion, black velvet paintings are the gold standard in kitsch wall decor. I'm not ashamed to share that I have no less than eight of them adorning the walls of my home, including a pretty decent Velvet Elvis.I'm not in Los Angeles, but if I were, I'd be heading to Velveteria (the black velvet painting museum) on July 1 for their black velvet painting class.Velveteria's "stooge" (his title, not mine) Carl Baldwin, wrote me: