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Updated 2018-07-21 11:22
Thieves use free-to-play games to turn stolen credit-card numbers into cash
Markets for video-game assets, sanctioned and unsanctioned, are a major target for credit-card scammers, who use bots to open fake Apple accounts using stolen cards, which are then used to buy up in-game assets that are flipped for clean, untraceable cash to players. (more…)
Weekend Tunes: The Singing Loins--Please Take My Scissors Away
We're all becoming redundant. I'll be replaced by an algorithm that mimics an embittered hobo that moonlights as a journalist, one day. Your gig? They're trying to sort out ways to have a robot do that, too. It's happened to thatchers, coopers and fletchers. It's the way of things. But that doesn't mean you have to go quietly.
Nicaragua: Ortega blames civilian murders he ordered on a 'coup-mongering satanic sect' (he's lying)
Attacks by paramilitary forces against civilians continue in Nicaragua, for the third consecutive month. Dictator Daniel Ortega blames a “murderous, coup-mongering satanic sect” for the months-long popular uprising against his government. (more…)
Google launches a DRM-free audiobook store: finally, a writer- and listener-friendly Audible alternative!
UK government accidentally includes Scarfolk poster endorsing culls of rabid children in official publication
The latest edition of the Civil Service Quarterly from Her Majesty's Government accidentally included a satirical poster from Scarfolk, the nightmarish alternate reality of a perpetually renewed decade of Thatcher/Cthulhu crossovers. (more…)
Google Translate's deep dream: some translation requests yield weird religious prophesies
Feed 19 repetitions of the word "dog" to Google Translate and ask it for a Maori conversion and you get this: "Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve. We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus' return." (more…)
UK government defends the use of under 16s as covert operatives
A spokeswoman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May has gone to the House of Lords to defend the government's practice of recruiting "child spies," some of them under the age of 15, to gather intelligence "against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers." (more…)
Gmail rolls out DRM for email and office documents, calls it "Confidential Mode"
Google has rolled out a "Confidential Mode" for Gmail and Google Docs attachments, promising users that they'll be able to send emails to their contacts that can't be shared, printed or copied. (more…)
Singapore healthcare provider breached, personal records of 1.5m people - including the Prime Minister - stolen
Singhealth, a Singaporean public health service, suffered the worst breach in Singaporean history, losing control of 1.5 million peoples' data; included in the breach was prescription data on 160,000 people, including Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. (more…)
Your phone company's shitty security is all that's standing between you and total digital destruction
Online services increasingly rely on SMS messages for two-factor authentication, which means on the one hand that it's really hard to rip you off without first somehow stealing your phone number, but on the other hand, once someone diverts your SMS messages, they can plunder everything (more…)
As hoax-fueled lynchings continue in India, Whatsapp puts limits on video-forwarding
The viral hoax video purporting to show child-snatchers kidnapping Indian children continues to fuel lynchmobs, whose death toll has climbed to more than two dozen victims. (more…)
Michael Cohen secretly taped Donald Trump talking about paying off Playboy model Karen McDougal over sex claims
Longtime Donald Trump fixer-lawyer Michael Cohen “secretly recorded a conversation” with Mr. Trump 2 months before the presidential election in which Trump and Cohen “discussed payments” to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump-- according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording who spoke to the New York Times.(more…)
The American Conservative: "The Dickensian Return of Debtors’ Prisons"
It's fascinating to read Dan King writing in The American Conservative to decry "Dickensian debtors' prisons" in the USA -- the practice of judges locking up poor people who can't pay fines for petty infractions like traffic tickets. (more…)
In-depth look at the Financial Times' weekly guide to ostentatious status goods for tasteless one-percenters
The Financial Times kicked off its "How To Spend It" section in 1967 as a single page in the Saturday issue (then called "A guide to good living"); the section grew to its own glossy magazine over the years, weathering lean years and good ones, and has found its niche half a century later, in an era of mass inequality as a weekly catalog of things that the super rich should buy to demonstrate their dominance over everyone else. (more…)
Shkrelifreude: while Martin Shkreli rots in prison, his price-gouging pharma company is hemorrhaging money
Smirking pharma-bro Martin Shkreli first came to public attention when he hiked the price of a drug used by people with HIV from $13.50/pill to $750/pill. (more…)
1986's OutRun a maintenance hassle for arcade operators in 2018
Running a retroarcade sounds like a lot of fun, and the same games that used to get the kids pumping quarters then are still the most popular. Which means that 32-year old OutRun cabinets tend to break down often.
Cher recorded an entire album of ABBA covers
On Monday's Today Show, Cher spilled the news that she's recorded an entire album of ABBA covers. "After I did 'Fernando,' I thought it would be really fun to an album of ABBA songs, so I did!" she said in the interview. "It's not how you think of ABBA songs because I did it my way."She recorded "Fernando" for the new film, Mamma Mia! 2 Here We Go Again, in which she has a role:https://youtu.be/gXmaZCm7fqs
Nicaragua sprints deeper into fascism
This past Friday, the citizens of Nicaragua declared a national strike in protest of their president, Daniel Ortega, and his oh-so corrupt government. In the city of Managua, pro-government paramilitaries and the police cornered roughly 200 protesters in a church and opened fire on the building. During the siege, the pro-Ortega forces murdered two of the unarmed protesters trapped inside of the church and wounded several others. The Pro government El 19 called the protestors “terrorists” and “thieves”: in effect, they declared the people, brave enough to demand that a dictator return their country to them, an enemy of the people. This labelling of Nicaraguans who would dare to speak out against their government as terrorists, is kind of a thing now. According to El Nuevo Diario, Roger Martinez, a respected psychologist with a practice in the Nicaraguan city of Granada, has been given the same label. He was picked up, along with 23 others by, you guessed it, police and paramilitaries, during a national “cleanup operation.” At the time that this post was written, Martinez was still in prison. Yesterday, Dr. Blanca Cajina and Dr. Irvin Escobar, were whisked away from their lives as well. They’re the latest in the growing number of professionals and intellectuals and community leaders, to be accused of terrorism by the Ortega government. As this handy guide from the U.S. Holocaust Museum notes, cracking down on a nation's intellectuals is one of the signs that your nation is well on its way to being controlled by a fascist regime. In his book, On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century, author Timothy Snyder warns:
Boombox "turns any cassette into vaporwave"
Wow! I'm quite aflutter.
Realtor used inflatable T-Rex to jazz up home photos
We've all heard of staging a home for sale but this is outrageous.
Cyclist ignores warning gates, tries to ride onto lifted drawbridge and fails
There are three drawbridges within walking distance of my home here in Alameda, California. I have often wondered if anyone has ignored the warning gates and tried to go over the bridge.In Wisconsin, one cyclist did just that. And it was caught by the state's Department of Transportation surveillance camera. On the Fourth of July, on the Racine Street Bridge in Menasha, a 37-year-old woman maneuvered around the flashing barriers. She soon fell, bike and all, into the crack where the road and bridge meet. It's pretty freaky to watch. It made me gasp!Thankfully, she didn't get crushed by the bridge. According to reports, she only sustained minor facial injuries. She has been cited for failure to obey a traffic signal, according to KRON.(Likecool)
11 dead after Missouri duck boat sinks
11 people drowned Thursday after a duck boat on Table Rock Lake in Missouri sank with 31 aboard.
The art of fruit stickers on a tee
Inspired by the fruit stickers of the Instagram account @fruit_stickers comes the Fruit Stickers tee (a sheet of fruit stickers ships with every order). Available until August 1 for $32.75. (Foodiggity)
Making cement from scratch is a massive pain
After watching this video of the gazillion stages it takes to make wood ash cement, not to mention all of the hand-made tools required to do it, I'll never complain about having to stir up a bag of instant cement from Home Depot again.
Must-see bizarro viewing: Boots Riley's 'Sorry to Bother You'
This isn't a review, but I'd regret not giving you a heads up about Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley's first feature film. It's an absurd black sci-fi satire shot in Oakland and it's the off-the-wall dystopian summer indie flick we all deserve. At the last minute last Friday, I put my hands on some tickets for its sold-out nationwide opening night at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland. And wow, am I glad I did. It was a real happening. People cheered and laughed. Plus, the movie was simply fantastic. After the show, folks with tickets for the late show (which had the bonus of an after-show Q&A with Boots himself) were already lining up. Lots of people posed with the shitty Tercel featured in the film, which was parked right in front of the theatre.Hilariously, you can buy that shitty Tercel for a mere $23,999.40 on the STBU website: (I got my eye on that Mr. Bobo collectible plate myself.)If you want to read what reviewers are saying, here's a good start:Review: ‘Sorry to Bother You,’ but Can I Interest You in a Wild Dystopian Satire? by A.O. Scott of The New York Times:
Group art show at Corey Helford Gallery in LA: "The New Romantics"
If you are in LA later this month through September, I recommend checking out "The New Romantics" group show at Corey Helford Gallery opening July 28. There's a great line up of artists.
This little bluetooth speaker is $5
I travel with a small bluetooth speaker similar to this one. It's great for watching movies on my laptop and for listening to music and podcasts. Amazon is selling it for $5, when you use IPSLZEP5.
Guillotine watch
Zeigeisty-ist auction ever: Marie Antoinette’s Jewelry to Be Auctioned in Geneva This November. (Image: Mosiac36, CC-BY) (Thanks, Peter!)
British Airways won't let you check in while ad-blocking, insists that passengers post personal info to Twitter "for GDPR compliance"
British Airways was outed by security researcher Mustafa Al-Bassam for telling passengers they couldn't help with delays and other problems unless they posted their personal information publicly to Twitter, in order "to comply with the GDPR." (more…)
Former senior CIA official says it's "quite near time" for Trump supporters to kill Trump opponents
Michael Scheuer says its about time to kill American citizens who oppose Trump. Scheuer is a former senior CIA official and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Imperial Hubris. In a now-deleted blog post (cached version here) Scheuer singles out "Strzok, Comey, McCabe, Page, and Rosenstein; worshipers of tyranny, like the Democratic members of Congress, the Clintons, the FBI, and the Obamas; apparent traitors like Brennan, Hayden, and Clapper; all of the mainstream media; and the tens of thousands of government-admitted-and-protected, violent, criminal, and illegal immigrants." He looks forward to the "sheer, nay, utter joy and satisfaction to be derived from beholding great piles of dead U.S.-citizen tyrants is not one that will be missed if Trump does not soon do the necessary to save the republic."
This lynx became buddies with cameraman after spending months together in the Canadian north
It's an accomplishment to find and photograph a lynx: they want little to do with humans and make an effort to keep themselves to themselves. It's an even bigger accomplishment to not only find a lynx to photograph, but to also spend enough time with it that it comes to see you as a hunting buddy.
Sex-robot has "family mode" switch so kids can play with it. Ethicist says it is "profoundly damaging" to children
Aarran Lee Wright, 36, a married man and father of two young children, says his sex-robot can be switched to "family mode," for G-rated playtime with the kids.From the NY Post:
Watch this "Double Negative Junction" Schoolhouse Rock episode to help you sound as sharp as Trump
Grammar might be dead, but Schoolhouse Rock! isn't (thanks to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert!).This latest episode of Schoolhouse Rock! teaches us all about the use of double negatives so that we can speak just like the US president.Double negative what's your function? A desperate way to not side with the Russians. Double negative how's that function? Confusin' the people with sentence construction...
David Frum: The United States faces a national-security emergency
David Frum, the conservative Republican senior editor at The Atlantic, says it has become clear that Trump has been bribed or blackmailed into becoming a Russian puppet, and that the "United States faces a national-security emergency."From The Atlantic:
Burglar breaks into escape room but can't break out
A criminal mastermind in Vancouver, Washington thought that he'd help himself to the bounty of – I dunno, locks? doors? finger puzzles? – goods that an escape room business had on hand. He ended up, you guessed it, trapped in an escape room and unable to break free. In a fit of panic and defeat, he called 911 for help.
Today's technology thinks you suck
Our technology-centric society is making people miserable, says Don Norman, cognitive scientist and author of the classic book on human-centric design, The Design of Everyday Things. The technology we use expects us to behave like machines, he says, and when we fail, we get all the blame.From Fast Company:
Surprise! Trump invites Putin to White House for another meeting, didn't tell intel chief
President Trump plans to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, DC for yet another one-on-one meeting in the fall. Under fire for shady shenanagins around Russia and Putin, Trump is doubling down on the crazy, like he always does.(more…)
For Sale: The real-life Brady Bunch house
The house at Klump Ave. and Dilling St. in Studio City, also known as the Brady Bunch house, has been put on the market for $1.885 million.LA Times:
'I've had Twitter sex with 12 Russian hackers,' nude model who sexted Guccifer 2.0 tells tabloids
A former nude model and “Bond girl” exchanged sexual messages via Twitter with the online persona now believed to be an unknown number of Russian spies who are accused of attacking the 2016 US elections, the UK tabloid Sun Online posted today.They're really awful and I don't want to link to them, but this is too rich, you guys. Motherboard has a more credible piece up, you should read that one, too.In today's garbage interview, Robbin Young told The Sun she "fell madly in love" with Twitter user Guccifer 2.0, and sent him photographs of her breasts and exchanged sexually explicit messages with him or them.Excerpt:
Review of a disarmingly convincing $100 counterfeit iPhone X
Jason Koebler and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai received a $100 iPhone X from China and marveled at how convincing the top-to-bottom, software-to-hardware bootleggery is. iOS is recreated down to the pixel as an Android skin; only the sluggish performance, on-screen keyboard give the game away. Even many of the apps are nearly perfect, though once they run into the bad ones, it's immediately clear what is at hand. And how very bad some of them are...
Senate 98-0 passes resolution opposing Vladimir Putin's proposal to interrogate U.S. officials including McFaul & Browder
How weird is it that this needed to happen.(more…)
Watch morning light turn Yosemite Falls into a stunning rainbow
Greg Harlow made the pre-dawn trek to the perfect vantage point and captured this lovely misty rainbow at Yosemite Falls. (more…)
Watch this albino stingray glide gracefully beneath the waves
A scuba diver in shallow water was surprised to see what looked like a "ghostly apparition" coming toward her. It turned out to be a rare albino stingray. (more…)
Trademark troll who claims to own "Dragon Slayer" now wants exclusive rights to book covers where someone is holding a weapon
Austin's Michael-Scott Earle, last seen around these parts when he filed a trademark on the phrase "Dragon Slayer" for use in fantasy novel trademarks, has found a new depth to plumb: he's filed a trademark on book covers "one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author's name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author's name are depicted in the same or similar coloring." (more…)
Walmart thinks it can save itself from Amazon with a streaming video service
Walmart has been whining about Amazon drinking what it considers to be its milkshake for some time. Sucking cash out of the pockets of the same low-income earners that you pay just enough to keep alive is a seriously competitive business. With Amazon's online shopping dominance in North America has left Walmart’s brick-and-mortar empire only capable of making Scrooge McDuck money when it’s really Jeff Bezos money that they’re after. In an effort to top off their coffers, Walmart’s been pushing, hard, into catching up to Amazon in the area of online sales. Earlier this week, they announced a partnership with Microsoft that’ll ensure that Walmart’s online shopping experience is faster, more secure and a lot more reliable. Maybe it’ll help! If not, plopping out yet another online video streaming service to compete against Amazon Prime video and, perhaps you’ve heard of it, a little thing called Netflix, will totally help them to make the crazy-hunting-man-because-he’s-the-most-dangerous-game cash that they’re so horny for. From The Information (subscription required):
Scientology's $5,000 E-meters are surprisingly well-engineered
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGBPn9arfVoThe E-meter is a quack device used by Scientologists in a religious ritual called "auditing" in which changes in skin potential are said to indicate past traumas (including traumas from past lives) being re-experienced and cleared from your psyche. (more…)
London luxury housing market bubble bursts: 39% of sales last quarter were to deep discount wholesalers making bulk buys
London's property market continues its implosion, brought on by a combination of tightening capital controls (much of the market exists to help offshore criminals launder their money), Brexit, and a long-overdue correction to a wildly inflated market. (more…)
Watch this spectacular bubble and laser show
DiscoveryCube's annual Bubblefest pulled all the stops out this year with the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show. (more…)
Would an armed leftist movement finally provoke sensible gun laws in America?
California's gun control laws were jumpstarted by rifle-carrying Black Panthers who attended government meetings and went out "copwatching" (shadowing abusive white cops); white conservatives who'd been staunch ammosexuals, opposed to any limits on gun ownership and carrying, suddenly changed their tune and started hollering for gun control. (more…)
NASA's infrared map of Titan
Composed from 13 years of Cassini probe mission data, NASA's infrared-based map of Titan shows off one of the solar system's most promising worlds.