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Updated 2018-06-21 15:26
Remember when conservatives were terrified of Big Government violently interfering with families?
Remember when conservatives were into "family values" and defending their families from Big Government intrusions, like breaking up families over refusal to obey the law on education, vaccination, corporal punishment, etc? Funny, that: "Here, their paranoid fantasy has become a real nightmare—not an ideological or religious separation, but the physical removal of children from their parents by force, an actual destruction of families by the federal government." (via Naked Capitalism)
Architect of Charlottesville receives preliminary approval for a "white civil rights rally" in DC
Jason Kessler, organizer of last summer's violent, murderous "unite the right" rally in Charlottesville, has received preliminary National Parks Service approval to stage a "white civil rights rally" in Washington, DC, on Aug 11-12. He anticipates 400 attendees.
White House source: Stephen Miller revels in the misery and terror of separated children, "He’s Waffen-SS"
An "outside White House adviser" told Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman that Stephen Miller, the architect of the ICE child kidnapping program actively enjoys the photos of terrified, miserable children in cages: "Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border. He’s a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There’s always been a way he’s gone about this. He’s Waffen-SS." (Image: TJ Hawk, CC-BY-SA); via JWZ)
We know how to fix homelessness, we just won't do it
The largest, wealthiest cities in America are filling up with tent cities -- especially on the west coast, where East Coast style right-to-shelter laws are rare -- and if the spectacle of human misery doesn't alarm you, perhaps you should be thinking about communicable disease epidemics. (more…)
7 courses to help you master the entire Adobe Creative Cloud
The Adobe Creative Cloud is home to a suite of editing tools today's creatives count on to produce their content. Whether you're an aspiring photographer, animator, or graphic designer, Adobe's programs can help you in your creative pursuits, and with the Complete Adobe CC Training Bundle, you can come to grips with six of them for $29.Loaded with 65 hours of training and more than 200 lectures on all things Adobe, this collection will show you how to produce better content using Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash, and After Effects. You'll explore each program's unique capabilities and the best ways the leverage them, from retouching photos in Photoshop to creating logos, icons, and sketches in Illustrator.You can take the first step toward becoming an Adobe Creative Cloud expert with the Complete Adobe CC Training Bundle, available in the Boing Boing Store for $29.
Facebook as stalker ex: When you stop logging in, it incessantly, desperately emails you to lure you back
After switching computers and phones, Henry Grabar tried not logging into Facebook for nine days; the company's systems noticed and embarked on a relentless campaign of email harassment, automatically emailing him with algorithmically created enticements that were supposed to make him so curious about what all his "friends" were getting up to that he logged back in. (more…)
China has perfected the internet control playbook and now it's exporting it to the world
After decades of back-and-forth over internet freedom, China has figured out a method for allowing people to use the internet for social and business purposes, but not for political reform -- a combination of huge boiler-rooms full of censors, centralization of internet services under tight government control, and control over standards to ensure that surveillance and censorship are always possible. (more…)
How markets plundered Free Software's best stuff and used it to create freedom for companies, not people
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBknF2yUZZ8&t=199sBejamin "Mako" Hill (previously) is a free software developer, activist and academic with a long history of shrewd critical insights into the ways that free software, free culture and the wider world interact with each other. (more…)
Mother American Night: John Perry Barlow's posthumous memoir
Burger King quickly abandons eugenics program in Russia, World Cup players disappointed
Burger King was briefly offering a lifetime supply of its signature burger "the Whopper" to Russian women willing to be impregnated by a footballer during the World Cup.Burger King has offered an apology, but no burgers.Via AP:
Another iPhone screen protector saves the day
These Omoton glass phone screensavers are really doing their job.Before riding off I thought I put my iPhone 7+ back in the chest pocket of my motorcycle jacket. Half a block later I learned I had missed the pocket and the phone slipped out, hitting the asphalt.After parking, I picked up my phone and saw that the screen protector had a spider web of cracks in it, but the phone it self was just fine. I rode home, peeled off the broken one and put on a new one.Got a few months out of that last one. I was heading to Apple for a new screen every 3-4 months, so this has been a wonderful change.OMOTON 9H Hardness HD Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Apple iPhone 8 Plus / iPhone 7 Plus, 2 Pack via Amazon
Italy’s Matteo Salvini is back on his racist bullshit again
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is what you’d call a renaissance bigot: He’s equally comfortable refusing safe harbor to migrants in desperate need of medical care as he is whipping off statements about the left wanting to keep migrants in his country to use as slave labor. Looking for ways to push a cultural minority out of his country? He’s all over that shit, too. Earlier this week, Salvini said that he would order a census of the Roma people currently living in Italy and expel those without residence permits. When asked about naturalized Roma residing in Italy, he answered, classy fucker that he is “...and Italian Roma? Unfortunately, we have to keep them.”Originating in South Asia, the Roma, migrated to Europe hundreds of years ago. While some have integrated into the societies where they live, most live a nomadic lifestyle and keep their own customs. Having suffered generations of brutal discrimination, these itinerant communities tend to shun the communities and cities that they live near, in favor of keeping themselves to themselves, for safety’s sake. This preference towards exclusivist living in the name of safety has led to many ugly stereotypes over the years: that Roma are all criminals, don’t pay taxes, and are a plague on a productive society. Such false claims were used by the Nazis as an excuse to herd Roma into concentration camps. These same excuses have been used more recently to create areas of segregation where Roma are permitted to set up camp – often far from essential services such as schools and medical aid.From the New York Times:
What's new in tabletop gaming (June edition)
Here are some recent game releases of note and some of what I've been up to in hobby gaming over the past month or so.The GrimoireOsprey Games, $20, 2-4 Players, 12+One of the hallmarks of the highly-successful miniatures skirmish game Frostgrave is that it has a fairly simple, elegant rule set. But like all games that become this popular, Osprey has been cranking out the supplements, accessories, and even a spin-off game (Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago). With such rapid expansion, it quickly becomes difficult to keep track of all of the new magic spells, monsters, treasures, new characters, and the like. Because the game is basically about dueling wizards and their warbands fighting over treasure, there were already a lot of magic spells to choose from in the core rulebook. But after four major supplements, the spell lists were getting a little unwieldy. Enter The Grimoire, a lovely boxed set of 122 magic spells cards which includes all of the spells, from all of the wizard schools, from the core rules and all supplements to date. This includes the just-released Maze of Malcor.Airfix Battles Introductory WargameModiphius, (as low as) $23 1-4 Players, Ages 10+Airfix Battles Introductory Wargame is not a new game, only new to me. It was recommended by my friend Rodney Orpheus when I started asking around for a modern version of an old school map and chits wargame. And that's exactly what this game is. It's also an amazing reminder of just how far wargaming design has come--at least in terms of playability and quality of components--from the Avalon Hill/SPI games of yore. This inexpensive, basic, and extremely playable game almost effortlessly teaches itself to you. Reading through the rule book, I felt like I was being carried along on a gentle current that floated me through the rules, with everything making sense, with clear examples, beautiful artwork, and perfect graphical presentation. You can play within minutes of opening the box.What you get is, as the name implies, an introduction to basic wargame mechanics: fire and movement, forces with different strengths, abilities, weaknesses, dice-based attack and defense, terrain effects, etc. The game comes with big round cardboard counters for your forces (US and German), but Airfix sells an extensive line of plastic unit and vehicle models that you can use in place of the cardboard. My only beef with this game is that the chits are round! Every old school wargame I ever played had square counters. The counters here also only show an aerial view of the forces represented. All of the stats and abilities are on beautiful cards that clearly show everything the unit can do in the game. This game is easy and breezy enough that you can use it to introduce anyone to wargaming, even if they're not a deep gaming nerd.Blood Red SkiesWarlord Games, $46, 2 players, 12+As a fan of Star Wars: X-Wing, I have become interested in other air combat games. This latest from Warlord, by the amazingly-talented Andy Chambers (Battlefleet Gothic, Necromunda) is seriously impressive. The starter box pits a squadron of German ME-BF109Es and British Submarine Spitfire Mk.IIs against each other. You get 12 sweet 1/200th scale plastic plane models which you can either paint or play as is. The unique mechanic of the game involves a positionable stem on the flying base of the models that has three different positions: Disadvantaged (plane nose-down), Normal (level), and Advantaged (plane in a climb). What position your plane is in gives you bonuses or penalties as you engage and really does help create a feeling of tension as you try and maintain the upper hand in a dog fight. You can darn-near hear the roar of the Daimler-Benz and Rolls Royce engines. All of the cards and components are beautifully designed and of high-quality. Warlord does something I very much appreciate in many games today in providing three rule books: A getting-started book, a book of advanced rules, and a scenario guide. There is also an expanding line of additional US, German, Japanese, and USSR plane boxed sets and individual flying aces you can buy to expand your forces.Mordenkainen's Tome of FoesWizards of the Coast, $30This latest in the line of expansion books for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition continues the trend of having some famous denizens of the D&D universe as the author of the tome (with funny, snarky, and insightful marginalia throughout). This time we get Mordenkainen, the Oredian wizard from the realm of Greyhawk (and his apprentice, Bigby) presenting and commenting on the contents of the book. The Tome of Foes is divided into two main sections. The first is a fascinating and very readable history of the many conflicts between the races of the D&D multiverse (Devils vs Demons, Elves vs Drow, Dwarves vs. Duergar, Githyanki vs. Githzerai, and others). The second half is a bestiary similar to what we've seen in Volo's Guide to Monsters.Mordenkainen is a wizard obsessed with cosmic balance, so the book looks at all of the great oppositional forces that help shape (and hold together) the D&D universe. Given this overall theme, the book mainly deals with planar conflicts and creatures, but there are also some new monsters and playable characters from the mortal plane. Some of the monsters in the tome are not new to D&D, but new to 5th edition, some have already appeared in previous 5e publications like Out of the Abyss and Unearthed Arcana. Some are brand new. There are some fun ones in here, like the Giff, the spacefaring steampunky hippo humanoids first introduced in AD&D Spelljammer campaign setting, circa 1989 (remember that?). One new addition is a monster called the Oblex, a Mindflayer creation that is sort of a cross between a Mindflayer and dungeon slime. It absorbs people (Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style) and steals their thoughts and memories. When it gets too full of people and begins to go insane from all of their jabber, it splits off and spawns another Oblex. The Oblex comes from the mind of a young D&D player whose dying wish with the Make-a-Wish Foundation was to spend a day working at Wizards of the Coast. He and the team created this baddie during his visit. Its origins may be touching, but the Oblex is far from it. It, and frankly a lot of the beasties in this book, are serious nightmare fuel. This is definitely one of the most intense and terrifying bestiaries D&D has ever produced.There has been some debate over who this book is for. It would definitely be useful for DMs, especially those who like to use high-level and planar creatures in their campaigns. The lore section would be a great benefit to both DMs and any players looking to deepen their character's backstory and their roleplaying chops. D&D's lead designer, Jeremy Crawford, is a master storyteller and myth smith who really knows how to create story lines that beg to be played out at the gaming table. The book is gorgeous, well written, and beautifully illustrated. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the modern D&D art style, but this is, by far, my favorite book that WotC has produced of late. Even for those who might not use a lot of this content in gameplay, this is a wonderful and engaging fantasy book for anyone interested in the D&D universe. Just don't read this thing before bedtime. [Shudder]Dungeon Master "Craft it Forward" BoxesYears ago, I was involved in several different traveling boxes of electronics goodies, one of which, The Great Internet Migratory Box Of Electronics Junk, was started by Evil Mad Scientist Labs. The idea is that you agree to receive the box, take out the contents that you want, and replace it with content of similar (or higher) value. Then you find someone else who agrees to receive the box (and to pay the shipping to pass it on), and down the line it goes, bringing joy and cool components to all of the nerds who find the box on their doorstep. Now, the Dungeon Master crafting community has gotten into these migrating mystery boxes. DM Scotty started one that has been floating around many of the top DM crafting channels on YouTube. Jim Kelly, aka DM Jim, got the box, which was overflowing to the bursting, and it inspired him to calve the box and created a 2nd "Craft it Forward" box. I was happy to be the first recipient of this second box. I took out some goodies and loaded in all sorts of plastic mini sprues, some painting accessories, a card game, and some other cool stuff. I passed it on to another one of my DC-area gaming pals. I love this concept and encourage Boing Boing gamers to join in if you encounter one of these boxes or to start your own. Besides getting fun and useful stuff, it's a great way to socialize with far-flung gaming communities. (Above, the guys at Roll For Damage open the DM Scotty box.)Easy Rusting TechniqueThis past month, I've been working on modeling cars and terrain for the Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic car combat game, Gaslands. I ran into this super-simple technique for rusting metal, like the 55-gallon drums I'm using in some pieces of scatter terrain. All you do is basecoat the drum in whatever color you desire (I went with black). Then you use a chunk of foam cut from the material usually found in miniature packaging (or a make-up sponge) to stipple on some mid-tone brown paint in random patterns. I'm using Citadel's Mournfang brown here. That's it! It only takes seconds and you get a surprisingly convincing effect.
Fight against Ebola continues in high security African lab
With all of the horrible things happening in America right now, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the news and forget that there are other, equally terrible things happening elsewhere. Take Ebola, for example: it’s still a thing! Fortunately, it’s a thing being taken very seriously by very serious men and women at a research facility in the Central African country of Gabon.According to AFP, an elite group of scientists staffing a heavily fortified level P4 isolation laboratory are working themselves raw trying to find a way to stop the deadly hemorrhagic fever-inducing disease in its tracks. Security at the facility is tight: only four people – three researchers and a technician – are allowed into the lab. The lab is part of a larger research facility called the Franceville International Centre for Medical Research (CIRMF).From AFP:
China announces crackdown on ASMR videos as pornographic
In the five years since I first wrote about "Autonomous sensory meridian response" (ASMR) a folk-neurological condition that describes the pleasant shivers some people experience when hearing certain soft noises, ASMR has gone mainstream -- my ten year old daughter describes the texture of the slime she makes as "really ASMR." (more…)
Scott Pruitt's $4.6m "security" bill includes a $1500 worth of taxpayer-funded "tactical pants"
Scandal-haunted EPA chairman Scott Pruitt has billed the American public for $4.6 million for his "security," a roster of expenses than includes a supply of "tactical pants" purchased for the low price of $1,500 (he also spent about $900 on matching "tactical polos"). (more…)
Trump signs order ending family separation. 10 things you can do to help detainees in new Family Concentration Camps.
Don't despair. Take action.(more…)
Dr. Dre is making a Marvin Gaye movie
The following people have all unsuccessfully tried to bring Marvin Gaye's story to the big screen: F. Gary Gray, Cameron Crowe, James Gandolfini, Scott Rudin, Jesse L. Martin, and Lenny Kravitz. None of them had the blessing of Gaye's estate. Now though, Dr. Dre is giving it a shot. Apparently the film is in early development and Gaye's estate has authorized use of his music. From Variety:
Enjoy the psychedelic sounds of West Coast Fog Radio
West Coast Fog Radio is the absolutely wonderful podcast of garage psych, avant-rock, desert drone, loner folk, ambient cut-ups, spoken word, and other far-out sounds hosted by Erik Bluhm, former editor of the greatly-missed "Great God Pan," a killer 1990s 'zine about outré California culture and news. Turn on, tune in, burn out.
This Dremel clone is on sale for $30
I bought the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft last year and it has worked beautifully. The speed is adjustable, it has tons of power, and it comes with a number of different attachments. It also has a flex shaft for fine work. It comes in a very sturdy plastic box. At $20, it's a steal.
Major airlines won't fly kidnapped children anymore, but Trump is still welcome in the UK
United Airlines and American Airlines have signalled the end of their participation in Trump's practice of kidnapping children to scare away potential asylum seekers, (AA: "We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it"; UA: "Our company’s shared purpose is to connect people and unite the world. This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it") -- but Theresa May's Tory government has failed to rescind its invitation for Trump to stage a state visit to the UK, despite the "deeply disturbing" images of kidnapped, distraught children.
Canadian Parliament approves final bill to legalize cannabis
The Canadian Parliament has passed Bill C-45, which legalizes the possession and cultivation of cannabis for anyone over 18 (19 in some provinces). Canada is the first G7 country to legalize weed, and the second country in the world to do so. The Marijuana Policy Project has more details.Image: Gideongs/Shutterstock
Watch: "Horse destroys the universe"
Cyriak Harris is writing a novel titled "Horse Destroys the Universe." Cyriak has been creating strange animated GIFs and videos for more than a decade so he made a promo animation for his book-in-progress. Guess what? It's incredibly weird and amazing. From the novel description:
A viral hoax video has inspired Indian mobs to multiple, brutal murders
Someone edited a Pakistani child-safety education video to make it look like evidence of a ring of kidnappers was snatching children and taking them away on motorcycles; the video went viral in India, spread on Whatsapp, and it has inspired terrified mobs to attack and murder strangers on suspicion of being involved in the fictitious kidnapping rings. (more…)
Robert Plant has a whole lotta love for eight-year old drummer
Remember that kickass eight-year old drummer that we fell in love with earlier this month? Robert Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin (his last few solo albums have been epic, too) was treated to her performance of John Boham’s bits of Good Times Bad Times. His amusement and surprise at the high level of prowess evident in her playing is impossible to hide.
Secrets of a mind-blowing bubble artist
The Yang family make some of the most incredible soap bubbles in the world as part of their Gazillion Bubble Show in NYC. In this Wired video, Melody Yang shares some of her secrets.
Thanks to 2016's trade secret law and algorithmic justice, America's courts have become AI-Kafka nightmares
In 2014, the Alice decision made it much harder to patent software in the USA; in 2016, Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, creating the first federal trade secrets statute: the result of these two developments is that software companies aggressively switched from patents to trade secrets as a means of controlling competition and limiting inspection and criticism of their products. (more…)
The creepy/cool robes that heretics were forced to wear during the Spanish Inquisition
Catholic church leaders took cruel delight in humiliating heretics during the Spanish Inquisition (15th - 18th century). Between 3,000 and 5,000 people were executed for various crimes against the Church, such as being a crypto-Jew, practicing Freemasonry, sodomy, and witchcraft. The most severe punishment was being burned alive at the stake. Lesser punishments included whippings and being sentenced to slavery as oarsmen in royal galleys.Heretics were made to wear tunics to shame an disgrace them. The illustrations on the tunics look like something you might see on an Ed Hardy douchebag shirt. From Wikipedia:
Nazi UFO toy model pulled from shelves
Toy model manufacturer Revell agreed to discontinue its model of the Haunebu II Flying Saucer, described as "the first object in the world capable of flying in space." According to the product description, the Nazi aircraft never made it past its 1943 test stage due to World War II. Thing is, none of that is true. From The Local:
California State lawmaker Miguel Santiago says he's a Democrat, but he's single-handedly killing state Net Neutrality
California Assembly member Miguel Santiago [D-83/@SantiagoAD53] is the chairman of the Communications and Conveyance Committee, where he is single-handedly sabotaging the state's outstanding proposed Net Neutrality bill. (more…)
Fired by an algorithm, and no one can figure out why
Ibrahim Diallo was eight months into a three year contract with a big company when its systems abruptly decided that he was fired: first it told his recruiter that he'd been let go, then it stopped accepting his pass for the parking and the turnstyles, then his logins stopped working, and at each turn, his supervisor, and that person's boss, and the HR people, were at a loss to explain or reverse the steady, automated disappearance of Ibrahim from the company. (more…)
Microsoft CEO: don't worry, we're mostly helping the parts of ICE that don't involve kidnapping children
As Microsoft employees grow increasingly furious that their employer is a key technology provider to ICE, providing, among other things, facial recognition software, the company is responding, conscious of the possibility of a repeat of Google's showdown with its employees over the provision of AI for drone warfare systems. (more…)
Today, an EU committee voted to destroy the internet. Now what?
This morning, the EU's legislative affairs committee (JURI) narrowly voted to include two controversial proposals in upcoming, must-pass copyright reforms: both Article 11 (no linking to news stories without permission and a paid license) and Article 13 (all material posted by Europeans must first be evaluated by a copyright filter and blocked if they appear to match a copyrighted work) passed by a single vote. (more…)
Better pet selfies are a clip away with this attachment
Your pet might be photogenic, but getting them to stare long enough at your camera to snap that Instagram-worthy photo isn't as simple as telling them to sit. Bribing your pets with their favorite treat, however, might just do the trick, and with the Adjustable Pet Selfie Smartphone Attachment, you can do just that while getting those precious photos for the 'gram. It's available in the Boing Boing Store for $12.99.Designed to fit treats up to 0.5 inches thick, this adjustable attachment dangles goodies in front of your phone while clipping securely to your device. Simply slide it on your phone or tablet, clip on your pet's snack of choice, and shoot as they look right toward your device's lens. You can pose and remove the adjustable neck joints to get different angles, and its compact size makes it easy for taking photos on the move.You can get the Adjustable Pet Selfie Smartphone Attachment today in the Boing Boing Store for $12.99.
New Zealander Nancy Wake became an intrepid leader in the French resistance against the Nazis
In 1928 Nancy Wake ran away from her Australian home and into an unlikely destiny: She became a dynamo in the French resistance, helping more than a thousand people to flee the Germans and then organizing partisans to fight them directly. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the White Mouse, one of the bravest heroes of World War II.We'll also marvel at mailmen and puzzle over an expensive homework assignment.Show notesPlease support us on Patreon!
How I got a free scenic flight over Black Rock City (and how you can too)
I have a long history with Burning Man, both on playa and off, but I did not know until last year that Burner pilots offer free scenic flights over Black Rock City during the event.The catch? Well, first you need to go to Burning Man, which means getting a ticket. Then, once you're out there, you have to get up real early, put your name on a list at the Black Rock City Municipal Airport and wait -- in the heat, for hours -- for your name to be called. Since the planes are small and each ride is about half an hour long, the wait to get that amazing bird's eye view can be upwards of six hours or more.I woke up late on Saturday, the morning of the Burn. It was the last day pilots were gifting these rides for 2017, so I pedaled over anyway and put my name on the list. It was 9 AM and the guy in charge warned me it would be at least six hours before I'd be airborne, if I was "lucky." The airport was a fair distance away from where I was camping, so I decided to stay put. To kill some time, I asked the airport staff if they needed a volunteer. As luck would have it, they did.I spent about 45 minutes organizing papers in an air-conditioned trailer (oh yeah) and the remainder of my three-hour shift checking passengers against flight manifests at the gate. I enjoyed it. The time passed quickly and I gained a bit of insight into the airport's operations. When my shift was over I was told that, because I volunteered, I could go to the front of the scenic flight line. I was thrilled for the unexpected bump!I was soon introduced to my pilot, a friendly, salty character named "Purple Haze," and the other two passengers, a couple using their playa names of "Spitfire" and "Landshark." We learned it was Purple Haze's last scenic flight of the day (and the year), and the 2017 event. In other words, we were lucky to get a flight at all.We also learned that Purple Haze takes up Burning Man founder Will Roger Peterson each year to get his aerial shots of the temporary city. Lucky and in good hands.The plane, a 1959 four-seater Cessna 182-B, has a big purple streak spray-painted across its body. It's aptly called "The Purple Haze Cessna" and it's a thing of well-worn, vintage beauty.Spitfire got in first. She and Landshark sat in the back two seats. Purple Haze then moved the co-pilot's seat into position so I could climb in the front. Spitfire remarked in joy, "It smells like an old VW in here!" and, sure enough, it did. I speculated that the seats were probably filled with horse hair like the ones in vintage Beetles.Purple Haze shared safety info with us and what our in-flight route would be (we'd "circle clockwise," as he was directed, around the temporary city). We got secured in our seatbelts, then he told me -- the one sitting next to a window -- that once we were up in the air, he'd give me a cue, and I could gently unlatch it. Once that was done, I could stick my hand out, with my heavy DSLR with its wide-angle lens, to get pictures. I didn't let on that the idea of sticking my hand out the window with a massive camera frightened me a bit.https://www.flickr.com/photos/blazenhoff/36980423182/in/album-72157686462751754/This is the road that gets you in and out of the Burning Man event.Once we were up, he gave me the cue and I gently unlatched the window and let it open fully against the wing. It gave me a real rush. Then I started shooting like mad. I got over whatever fear I once had real fast. There was no time to waste.https://www.flickr.com/photos/blazenhoff/37153621875/in/album-72157686462751754/An estimated 77,000 people populated Black Rock City in 2017.We circled the half-circle city and, because it was his last 2017 passenger flight, Purple Haze took us off course a little. Instead of flying us straight back to the airport, he took us behind an actual black rock, Old Razorback Mountain. We got real close to it:https://www.flickr.com/photos/blazenhoff/36983705602/in/album-72157686462751754/Then we flew near an old hot-soaking haunt of mine from back in the day, Frog Pond.https://www.flickr.com/photos/blazenhoff/36983705132/in/album-72157686462751754/I lost track of time but I'd say it was about a 20-minute journey in total and it was just as exhilarating and spectacular as you can possibly imagine. Once grounded and parked, Spitfire, Landshark, and I expressed our enthusiastic gratitude to Purple Haze for his incredible gift of flight. We took a bunch of photos with him and his namesake Cessna, and then parted ways.https://www.flickr.com/photos/blazenhoff/36983703272/in/album-72157686462751754/Me and Purple Haze x 2If you go to Burning Man and take a scenic flight -- and I highly recommend that you do both at least once in your lifetime -- remember to thank your pilot. [I noticed some people brought nice unopened bottles of booze to stock the bar for the Burn night party for the pilots, but verbal thanks are just as welcome and appreciated.] This is my thanks to you, Purple Haze. Happy flying this year and beyond!photos by me, except that last one. I believe Landshark took that one.
Hey new cannabis users and microdosers: Pax's app stops you from getting too high
I just learned about Session Control, a new feature on an already-existing mobile app for the Pax Era portable vaporizer. It's great for people who microdose, like myself, or for folks new to cannabis. It lets you measure your doses, so that your hits are never "too much."So when I'm not writing for this fine online publication, I freelance at other places. At this time of year, that means I'm working part time at Burning Man. Their headquarters is in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood.Now, most folks may not realize this but they share a building with Pax Labs. Yes, the company behind the portable vaporizers. Last Tuesday I was invited down to visit the building's second floor, home of their HQ. I went and that's how I learned about the app.https://www.instagram.com/p/BCtz9OsLb0C/?tagged=burningmanhqWhen it was new to the market, I got myself the flower-vaporizing Pax 1 device but then I started working in the cannabis industry and moved onto vape pens (and now low-dose edibles). I've been cruising along. While I was at their office they showed me their Era vaporizer (pictured below). It's way more high tech than an ordinary vape pen, and eons past the Pax 1 I once used. It uses concentrates, sold as Pods in dispensaries in states where it's legal, and charges with a USB cable. They told me they have 250 different strains in Pods available for the Era. As cool as the Era is (and, full disclosure, they did hand me one on the way out the door to test), I frankly wasn't totally sold on it at first. I enjoy the old-school smoking and sharing of (freshly-ground flower) joints. A few years ago, the owner of one of San Francisco's oldest dispensaries said to me -- as he handed me a hand-rolled spliff and a lighter --, "Let's break bread." His sentiment stuck with me because the ritual of passing pot around is a sacred and beautiful shared experience.But I get it. While joints are great for sharing, they aren't great for being accurate in dose. Plus, vaporizers have the edge because they're low profile (i.e. discreet). What really impresses me though, and what will ultimately I suspect make me a convert to the Era, is the mobile app that complements it.First off, you can name your Era with it. Mine is "Babycakes."Second, you can change the temperature of the burn of the oils to either get "More Flavor" or "More Vapor" (more THC).You can also lock down your vaporizer so no one can use without your consent. I have a teen, so this sings to me.But the best feature, in my opinion, is their new Session Control, it's for someone who wants or needs consistent and predictable vape hits (there's even a "micro" setting). Once you've taken a hit, the app also gives you an optional 30-second cool down period before you take the next one, making it easier to "start low and go slow." You can get the app, which is made specifically for the Pax Era and is free, through Google Play or through iTunes.If you decide measured doses aren't for you, keep this video handy for when you get too high:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mUvG6x53VMlead screenshot and Era image via Pax, app screenshots by me
David Graeber's "Bullshit Jobs": why does the economy sustain jobs that no one values?
Softball brawl of the day
The Kingsport Times News reports that parents brawled at a girls' softball game Saturday. No-one was arrested or hurt, but everyone is now banned from the softball.
XOXO will be bigger and more inclusive in 2018
Described as "an experimental festival for independent artists and creators who work on the internet," Andy Baio and Andy McMillan's internet-fest baby XOXO will be back in early September.And according to this tweet, they're making it bigger and more inclusive (be sure to check out their "living" inclusion policy):
'Toddlers are being detained.' 3 Trump 'Tender Age' immigrant baby jails confirmed, more are coming
“Toddlers are being detained.”(more…)
The EU is about to "end everything that's good and pure about the internet"
On Gizmodo, Rhett Jones pulls no punches about Article 13 and Article 11 -- a pair of copyright proposals that go up for a committee vote in the EU in mere hours. (more…)
In less than 24 HOURS, an EU committee votes on whether to mass-censor the global internet
We've got less than a day until the key vote on the wording of the new EU Copyright Directive, when members of the EU's legislative committee will vote on whether to include controversial mass censorship language in the proposal that the parliament will vote on. (more…)
"Wah wah" -- Corey Lewandowski mocks ten-year-old girl with Down Syndrome being taken from her mother
Ah, so this is were we are now: Trump's campaign manager can finally let his psychopath flag fly without fear of universal and permanent censure.
'Shame!' DHS Sec. Nielsen shouted down at Mexican restaurant, exits to loud protests
She picks a Mexican restaurant. The irony is not lost on anyone. (more…)
'Mister President, don’t you have kids!'
As Donald Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen walk by, Rep. Juan Vargas shouts, 'Mister President, don’t you have kids!' (more…)
'Family detention' existed under Obama, too. But systematically separating kids is all new.
THE LOWDOWN: Here's an immigration lawyer's first-hand account of confronting former President Barack Obama on family detention centers. Trump's a monster, but failings of previous administrations paved the way for his abuses.(more…)
U.S. withdraws from U.N. Human Rights Council, calling it 'not worthy of its name.'
Trump envoy Nikki Haley today said the United States is withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council.(more…)
Yet another Trump White House staffer is leaving.
"More than 60 percent of those who served in senior positions at the beginning of the administration have exited."(more…)
Starbucks is closing 150 stores
The coffee chain Starbucks today announced plans to close 150 locations.(more…)