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Updated 2019-04-26 15:27
Sourdough pizza crust doesn't take much work
Sourdough pizza crust is as stress-free as it is delicious.If my sourdough starter is on the counter when I want pizza, I will make sourdough pizza dough. I simply take my regular Neapolitan crust recipe and substitute 1/4 cup of starter for the 2 tsp of active dry yeast. I will reduce the amount of water I mix the starter into by 2-3 Tbs and add it back as I work the dough if needed. Generally, I do not need to add much back.I let the dough rise and work it exactly like any other pizza.Pineapple and pepperoni is my daughter's go-to pizza. I like chevre and prosciutto, but I am happy to help her finish the pineapple and pepp. Read the rest
ROM image of ultra-rare Atari arcade game dumped and released for MAME
Only a few working cabinets exist of Akka Arrh, an early-80s Atari arcade game that failed in test markets and was not mass-produced. Tucked away in private collections, no ROM image existed of the otherwise fully-functional prototypes—until, the story has it, a repair worker dumped and exfiltrated them.One well-placed arcade collector with direct knowledge of the extant Akka Arrh cabinets and their owners (who asked for anonymity to "avoid burning bridges") told me "it does sound like this really happened." That source tells me that the victim of the alleged theft is sharing essentially the same story as atariscott with other Akka Arrh owners (who, unsurprisingly, all know each other)."They were told it was theft from the tech who had access, and apparently there were rumblings about this tech being shady ahead of this release," the collector tells Ars. "It wasn't their board that was dumped, but [they] were pretty upset when the ROMs were released, given the rarity of the machine."Or,Arcade Heroes blogger and arcade owner Adam Pratt has his own take, which he shared with Ars: As it comes across online, it sounds like something is missing... That a technician would come in to a collection to fix something else, break into the Akka Arrh machine, pull out all of the ROMs, burn them one-by-one (which requires a ROM burner and a computer), then put everything back unnoticed doesn't seem plausible to me. Chances are, [Evans] or one of the other two collectors happened to have backed up the ROMs when they first got the machine and that backup either got out, or one of the collectors finally decided to anonymously upload the ROMs. Read the rest
Streamers using bizarre makeup jobs that look perfect when filtered
Streamers are adopting peculiar makeup patterns designed to look good—or at least achieve specific effects—when processed through app filters, reports the South China Morning Post. Some commenters are aghast at the supposed vanity and artificality of the youngsters doing the streaming, but it strikes me as very similar to old TV makeup from the black-and-white era. If the image is distorted, correcting the distortion becomes a science and manipulating it an art. Read the rest
Man attempts to walk an ATM home with him
This video depicts a man walking a presumed-stolen ATM down the street, then trying to haul it onto a bus. "I'll split it with you," he says to the bus driver. The bus driver closes the doors, thereby declining the offer. "We coulda made money together!" the man remonstrates as the bus pulls away. Read the rest
Start your data analytics career with this Excel boot camp
Nearly everyone who has sat at a desk knows about Microsoft Excel. But if you're picturing a simple, boring spreadsheet in your head, that's only scratching the surface of its capabilities. Just for starters, Excel is an essential tool in the field of data analytics, allowing users to collate disparate mounds of data, visualize trends and chart a course for new business plans.The capability to do all those things is the difference between a simple clerk and a highly paid data analyst. And no matter what your experience with Excel, the Ultimate Microsoft Excel Certification Training Bundle is the fastest way to get that knowledge - and the job that goes with it.The six-course bundle kicks off with a primer on Excel's broader capabilities before diving into complex functions like pivot charts and macros. There are a couple of dedicated courses on data analysis, including the Power Query and Data Analytics Expressions (DAX) tools. All in all, it's more than 30 hours of lessons, examples, and resources, with a full certification waiting for you at the end.Right now, the full Ultimate Microsoft Excel Certification Training Bundle is $34. Read the rest
Pepsi is suing four Indian farmers for growing a proprietary "Lays" potato, seeking $150,000 each in damages
Pepsi has confirmed that it has files lawsuits against four farmers in India who grew a variety of potato that was registered as being for the exclusive production of the company's Lay's potato chips.Activists say that the company sent private investigators after the farmers, and that they posed as buyers for the proprietary lifeform.It's not clear what the cause of action is: all the news stories on places like The Hill and The Daily Beast source their reports to this CNN Business article, which calls the potatoes both "trademarked" and "copyrighted" (it is more common for lawsuits over proprietary crops to be brought on patent grounds).Unnamed food sovereignty activists quoted in the CNN Business article said that India's law protects "farmers' rights to grow and sell trademarked crops.""We believe that the intimidation and legal harassment of farmers is happening because farmers are not fully aware of [their] rights," the letter said. The letter also claims PepsiCo sent private detectives to the accused farmers posing as potential buyers, secretly recording video of them and taking samples of the potatoes.PepsiCo did not comment on those allegations. PepsiCo is suing farmers in India for growing the potatoes it uses in Lays chips [Rishi Iyengar/CNN Business] Read the rest
A mysterious bot makes thousands of Youtube videos from random (?) blog posts
Tom Scocca discovered that a blog post he'd written had been turned into a weird video in which the text of the post was superimposed "meme style" on a set of five rotating static graphics, set to music ("wordless vocals and a sort of jazzy guitar and beat").The video -- which only used about half of the text of Scocca's post -- had zero views. It belonged to an account called smokaj0000, whose videos are "a solid wall of “No Views” videos, sprinkled here and there with videos that have gotten some tiny number of views" -- it posts hundreds of them every week.Smokaj0000 is mysterious. If you try to post its videos to your own account, you'll get an automated copyright takedown from HEXACORP LTD for the audio track, which is apparently titled "cool-mbia." Hexacorp's website is a word-salad of business grifterspeak: "Deliver high end solutions & services, collaborate customer data & people by adapting latest technologies & tools establish customer friendly process and create effective solutions with focus towards ‘Best Services Interest’ and ‘Maximum Value for Money.'"So what the actual fuck is going on? It's a mystery. As Scocca says, "Whatever smokaj0000 is doing, it is not producing content for human consumption. It is aggressively, chillingly ahuman, a machine signaling to machines for some algorithmic purpose whose human-centered antecedents are long lost. It is not even fake; it simply exists outside any realm where reality might matter."Why Did a YouTube Bot Make an Unwatched Video of Our Blog Post? Read the rest
Telcoms lobbyists oppose ban on throttling firefighters' internet during wildfires
The CTIA is America's top telcoms lobbying organization, and they're trying to kill AB1699, a proposed California law that would ban carriers from throttling firefighters' internet access, as Verizon did in 2018, then lied about, then launched a charm offensive to defend.The CTIA sent a letter to state lawmakers warning that the bill would result in "serious unintended consequences, including needless litigation."The CTIA is the only organization that opposed the bill."California is a place where we have multiple disasters on a regular basis," Meston said. "We rely on our cell phones; we rely on Internet data to an extreme degree. When we go to an emergency incident, we need information about the incident action plan, photographs of what happens, mapping, who's available, [and] where they're located, and all these things now are done by cell phones."The California Professional Firefighters group told legislators that firefighters "cannot afford the added danger—to the safety of the public as well as their own safety—of unnecessary interferences in the technology they rely on to do their jobs and keep civilians and themselves safe."Wireless carriers fight ban on throttling firefighters during emergencies [Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica] Read the rest
Wizard Magazine issue 21, Cartoonist Kayfabe
Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg continue to dissect the turbulent comic book speculator boom on the 1990s while looking through antique copies of Wizard Magazine.Some of this issues contents:• Jae Lee takes center stage and talks Youngblood: Strikefile, WildCATs Trilogy, Namor, John Byrne, and more!• Liefeld interview 2: Youngblood, Bloodstrike, Brigade, Prophet, Image, editors, publishers, and late books• Star Trek comics• Ray Bradbury comics at Topps and the all-star lineup of artists drawing them: Richard Corben, Al Williamson, Mike Mignola!• Topps' Kirbyverse comics: Steve Ditko draws the Secret City!• The Comics Code, Mike Allred in Palmer's Picks, and Wizard's editor vows to never read manga - a proclamation that upsets Jim and Ed so much that they make a new t-shirt in response: • PLUS - the winners of the Cable cover contest in Brutes & Babes!Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for more vids celebrating the medium of comics. Read the rest
Fortnite: Endgame
Join the forces of what we presume is good as they face off against a guy with a glove. Fortnite Battle Royale has a new Avengers Limited Time Mode.**Update**I played a few rounds of Avengers mode and while it is a wonderful example of integrated VR advertising's future, it is not much fun. Players can pick up one of several Avenger's weapons and get Avenger's like attack abilities. Iron Man's gloves, Captain America's shield, Hawkeye's bow and Thor's hammer.Unlucky players spawn on Thanos team and get to play the bad guys. If you spawn as Thanos you can really whomp folks. Read the rest
This keychain has Tile tracking built-in so you'll never lose your keys
From your apartment door to your bike lock, it's not uncommon to carry a number of different keys on your keyring, but that doesn't make it any more bearable when you're fussing to find the right one or deal with the infamous pocket bulge. The KeySmart Pro's smart design cuts down on key clutter and comes loaded with Tile™ Smart Location, so you'll always have your keys handy.Fashioned from stainless steel, the KeySmart can easily store up to 10 keys in its space-saving sleeve. In addition to locating your keys on a map, the KeySmart's Tile™ functionality also allows it to ring, so you can hear your sleeve even if it's buried between the couch cushions. What's more, the KeySmart even works in reverse, allowing you to ring your phone if you can't find it—even if it's on silent.The KeySmart Pro with Tile™ Smart Location is available in the Boing Boing Store for $39.99 today. Read the rest
If you have an instant pot, get this 64-ounce wide-mouth Ball jar
I use my Instant Pot nearly every day -- making chili, curry chicken, borscht, taco beef. Last night I made zucchini soup. We always have a lot left over, and the best way to store the leftovers is in a 64-ounce wide-mouth Ball jar with a plastic lid. Be sure to get the wide mouth jar, it's much more convenient. Read the rest
Lawyers and law students' signatures needed for Supreme Court amicus brief in favor of publishing the law
Attentive reader will note that rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) published the laws of Georgia -- including the paywalled annotations to the state laws -- in 2015, prompting the state to sue him and literally call him a terrorist; Malamud countersued in 2015 and won a huge victory in 2018, when the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the law could not be copyrighted.Now, the State of Georgia wants to go to the Supreme Court to argue for its right to charge the people of Georgia to know which laws they are supposed to be following. There's a lot at stake: Malamud has been threatened by Idaho, Oregon, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia for posting state laws and is being sued by six plaintiffs in DC for posting public safety laws, and has received a dozen more takedowns from Standards Development Organizations whose standards have been incorporated into state law.Malamud and his counsel (Elizabeth Rader and Tom Goldstein and Eric Citron of Goldstein & Russell),are responding to Georgia's petition and they are seeking amici: if you are a law student or practicioner they would like you to sign onto this amicus brief prepared by Jeff Pearlman by filling in this form.They're closing the brief to new signatories on May 2, and you might consider signing this on May 1, which is "Law Day" (Eisenhower declared this in 1958, as a way of rebranding the Communist May Day; the bar celebrates Law Day every year on May 1). Read the rest
This 23-year-old who is charged with posing as a NYC lawyer to grift 'clients' also co-founded 'Students for Trump'
John Lambert, a 23-year-old Tennessee man, has been charged by prosecutors with pretending to be a Manhattan attorney and grifting thousands of dollars from his would-be clients. Oh, and by the way: he was also the co-founder of Students for Trump.That nationwide group “mobilized college campuses in the run-up to the 2016 election and plans to do so again in 2020,” reports The Outline:John Lambert, 23, was arrested last week and charged by Southern District of New York prosecutors with wire fraud for having invented a lawyer persona named “Eric Pope” that he used to solicit legal work online. ALM reported last week that the fake firm website he created appeared to have attorney biographies cribbed from senior partners at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.Since his arrest, more details about Lambert’s background have emerged. Before he allegedly posed as a lawyer, Lambert was in college when he co-founded Students for Trump. As the group’s vice chairman, he appeared on NBC and Fox News and shared a stage with the hard-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed that a photo of Lambert depicted the man who was charged.ALM was alerted to Lambert’s political background by people who knew of him when he was enrolled at Campbell University in North Carolina. It was at this school where he co-founded Students for Trump in late 2015, according to a profile in The Chronicle of Higher Education. A university representative said he was last enrolled in fall 2016. Read the rest
'Confederate militia' boss who abused immigrants at gunpoint attacked in jail with 'non-life-threatening injuries'
The apparent leader of a gang of white supremacists who terrorized immigrants along the US-Mexico border, holding hundreds of them at gunpoint, has been attacked in jail and reportedly received non-life-threatening injuries, say authorities.We previously reported about the self-described “Confederate militia” group, and shared their brag videos about the mass abuses they committed with the apparent benign support of Border Patrol agents in the area, who are seen rounding up the humans after the militia gathered them while displaying lethal force. Larry Mitchell Hopkins is 69, and also goes by the name Johnny Horton Junior. He leads the United Constitutional Patriots from his home in a trailer park in northern New Mexico.The El Paso Times reports Hopkins “was attacked in the Doña Ana County Detention Center, county officials said Wednesday.”The FBI arrested Hopkins on Saturday in Sunland Park on a federal charge that he is a convicted felon in possession of guns. He was being held at the county jail in Las Cruces at the time of the attack.Officials said they're investigating an assault on Hopkins that happened after 9 p.m. Monday, but they provided few details.Hopkins had his first court appearance Monday afternoon, and a complaint revealed that the FBI suspected him of making assassination threats against former President Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and billionaire activist George Soros."Hopkins was given medical attention for non life-threatening injuries," according to a Doña Ana County news release. "He was transferred out of the Doña Ana County Detention Center under the direction of the U.S. Read the rest
Compendium of iOS games worth playing
Lazer Walker compiled a list of about 100 iOS game recommendations. They seem to like a lot of the same kinds of games I like (rougelikes, tower defense, civilization sims). I just bought 868-Hack on their recommendation. Read the rest
Why Jack hasn't banned Nazis on Twitter
Why haven't Jack Dorsey and other executives running Twitter figured out how to "ban the Nazis"? They'd have to ban Donald Trump.Because if they regard white supremacist terrorists the way they regard users who claim to represent ISIS or al Qaeda, that “would mean autobanning some Republican politicians” like Donald Trump, with whom Dorsey met earlier this week, closed door, surprise!, didn't tell anyone about it in advance.From Jason Koebler at Motherboard today:At a Twitter all-hands meeting on March 22, an employee asked a blunt question: Twitter has largely eradicated Islamic State propaganda off its platform. Why can’t it do the same for white supremacist content?An executive responded by explaining that Twitter follows the law, and a technical employee who works on machine learning and artificial intelligence issues went up to the mic to add some context. (As Motherboard has previously reported, algorithms are the next great hope for platforms trying to moderate the posts of their hundreds of millions, or billions, of users.)With every sort of content filter, there is a tradeoff, he explained. When a platform aggressively enforces against ISIS content, for instance, it can also flag innocent accounts as well, such as Arabic language broadcasters. Society, in general, accepts the benefit of banning ISIS for inconveniencing some others, he said.In separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some instances, be Republican politicians. Read the rest
Baltimore mayor 'may have fled' Maryland after FBI-IRS raid
Where Is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh?
US Navy developing new guidelines for officially reporting UFOs
The US Navy is developing a new formal process for its personnel to report "unexplained aerial phenomena" (UAPs) as they are called in the US military. According to former Pentagon intelligence official Chris Mellon quoted in Politico, "Right now, we have situation in which UFOs and UAPs are treated as anomalies to be ignored rather than anomalies to be explored,” he said. “We have systems that exclude that information and dump it.” From Politico:"There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," the Navy said in a statement in response to questions from POLITICO. "For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report."As part of this effort," it added, "the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft..."The development comes amid growing interest from members of Congress following revelations by Politico and the New York Times in late 2017 that the Pentagon established a dedicated office inside the Defense Intelligence Agency to study UAPs at the urging of several senators who secretly set aside appropriations for the effort."U.S. Navy drafting new guidelines for reporting UFOs" (Politico via The Anomalist) Read the rest
Jupiter Day Spa sex worker who serviced Robert Kraft arrested
A 58 year old woman who worked as a sex worker and has been identified as someone who performed services for Robert Kraft has been arrested, and is currently in jail.She is charged with performing an illegal sex act on New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at a Jupiter, Florida day spa that has been the subject of ongoing criminal investigations. “Police found $43,000 in her safe deposit box, which they’ll no doubt confiscate,” writes Molly Crabapple. “If she posts bond her passport will be confiscated.” 58-year-old Shen Mingbi was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on Monday.According to the Jupiter Police Department, a hidden surveillance camera recorded Mingbi performing a sex act on Kraft at Orchids of Asia Day spa on Jan. 19. Afterward, he paid her and another spa worker, 39-year-old Lei Wang, in cash, police said.Police said that hidden camera was installed two days prior, on Jan. 17, as part of a 'sneak-and-peek' search warrant.According to her arrest report, Mingbi was captured on video performing illegal sex acts on at least six other men.Police said Mingbi's safety deposit box at Bank of America contained approximately $43,800 in U.S. currency.Mingbi is facing several charges including offering to commit prostitution and deriving support from prostitution.In court Tuesday morning, Mingbi was visibly emotional as a judge set her bond at $5,000. If she posts bond, she can't have contact with anyone arrested in the case, and can't work in the spa or massage industry, and also must surrender her passport and any travel documents. Read the rest
Woman with no change uses dog to open door to pay toilet
"I had no money for the toilet when (Lola) ran underneath and we realised it opened on her way back out," said the woman who originally posted the video from Ayr, Scotland.(Newsflare) Read the rest
30 years after 'Gleaming the Cube' asked what life would be like in 30 years
There was no nuclear war and 7-11 had its mass expansion stopped by Starbucks, Gleaming the Cube's Brian Kelly must be pretty happy with today. Read the rest
Unboxing video of a phone that's as hideously ugly as it is expensive
It's too late for this to be an April Fools joke, so I'm assuming this $5000 Caviar Vladimir Tsarphone, which runs a Nokia OS from 2008, is real.From the marketing copy:Flawless. If one characterizes this phone with one word, this very epithet should be definitely chosen. Concentrated masculinity dressed in a strict “smoking” of the most classic style. Confident and expressive tandem of shining gold and the ultimately black color attracts eyes and places a focus on the original shape – six charismatic tops give the dynamics and some belligerence to the phone’s silhouette, because it starts looking like a sword.Called with the name “Vladimir”, according to the creators’ idea, it refers to the image of Prince Vladimir Krasnoye Solnyshko (the Red Sun) and symbolizes fair power, union and wisdom.Strict, business but along with it festive in its superiority and majesty, this phone is created for the most important talks of the most high-powered people. Read the rest
UK press mostly silent on the matter of Prince William's alleged affair; Twitter ablaze
Odd how the British tabloids are constantly saying that Meghan Markle is ruining the royal family, by doing awful inappropriate things such as closing her own car door, yet are so very quiet concerning Prince William's supposed affair with his wife's bestie. We’ll quickly introduce the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley).She is the woman at the center of a very royal scandal that has it all: a future monarch with a wandering eye; an elite social circle in the idyllic English countryside; and a strange silence from the British tabloids, who usually leap on every royal misstep (as evidenced by their cruel treatment of Duchess Meghan every other day for the last year.)Her name is Rose Hanbury, a former model married to the Marquess of Cholmondeley, who is 23 years older than her. Rose already has her own well-established royal connections: her grandmother was bridesmaid at Queen Elizabeth II‘s wedding in 1947.British press: When you’re a royal and we pay your taxes, all parts of your life are up for grabs. How dare Harry and Meagan not share details about the birth of their child?!!Also British press: Prince William’s alleged infidelity w/ Kate’s best friend is a private matter. pic.twitter.com/OL3Nhpw5FE— April (@ReignOfApril) April 25, 2019Props must go to The Sun for hinting at it; but it's American media that make the hay today.That barely-hairline-having cretin Prince William was really out here smashing some other commoner’s crumpets & biscuits to smithereens while keeping Madam Kate perpetually pregnant with some colonizer infant that will likely inherit his unreliable hairline & I HAVE TO GUFFAW. Read the rest
Adept ape uses Instagram on smartphone
This Instagram user seems to prefer videos of people holding apes over videos of snakes and who can blame them?an ape figuring out how to use a smartphone is the beginning of the end for us idiots pic.twitter.com/ElDrsbkrZz— J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) April 24, 2019Image: Twitter Read the rest
Watch the teaser for the upcoming Swamp Thing series
I haven't paid much attention to Swamp Thing since the days of Bernie Wrightson, but this teaser trailer for the upcoming TV series looks promising.From Ars Technica:The DC Universe series stars Crystal Reed as Abby Arcane who, in the comics, is niece to arch-villain Anton. According to the official synopsis, she's now a doctor with the CDC who comes back to her hometown of Houma, Louisiana, because of "a deadly swamp-borne virus" ravaging the area. She teams up with fellow scientist Alec Holland to investigate—and just like in the comics, Holland is killed. Except he might not really be dead, as Abby learns more about the mysterious, likely supernatural nature of the local swamp.We don't learn much more from the first teaser about just how Swamp Thing will be reimagined this time around, but the writers are clearly emphasizing the horror aspects. There's no dialogue apart from horrified screams of various folks who encounter something terrible—probably Swamp Thing, but there could be other monsters in the mix. Read the rest
Angered by the No-More-AOCs rule, 31 colleges' Young Democrats boycott the DCCC
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says that it will refuse to contract with any vendor or consultant that offers services to primary challengers for the Democratic nomination: it's a rule that ensure that candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who won a primary challenge against Joe Crowley, a right-wing finance industry creep who'd sat as a Democratic Congressman since 1999) will not be able to depose other establishment Dems.In response, 31 colleges' Young Democrats clubs have called for a boycott of the DCCC, urging Democratic supporters to donate to individual candidates (including progressive primary challengers) rather than the national organization.“The rule would financially deter and greatly disadvantage vital new voices in our party, who are often younger and come from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities and identities,” the students’ letter reads. “Primary challengers are essential to ensure that the Democratic Party is continually held accountable to the needs of our constituents. This blacklist policy is undemocratic and antithetical to our values of inclusion and diversity.”The students also call out the DCCC for releasing the vendor rule alongside a statement affirming its commitment to diversity. They cite Pressley, who said that Democrats “cannot credibly lay claim to prioritizing diversity & inclusion when institutions like the DCCC implement policies that threaten to silence new voices and historically marginalized communities.”College Democrats Announce National Coalition to Boycott DCCC [Harvard College Democrats]Young Democrats at 31 College Campuses Call for Boycott of the DCCC [Akela Lacy/The Intercept] Read the rest
Jeff Koons stainless steel rabbit for sale
This would have been a perfect inclusion in someone's (oversized) Easter basket. The Jeff Koons stainless steel "Rabbit" (41" x 19" x 12", 1986) will be on the auction block at Christie's on May 15 during their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The current owner purchased it from the Gagosian Gallery in 1992. It is expected to sell for between $50 million and $70 million.According to Christie's, "this work is number two from an edition of three plus one artist's proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist."If you can't afford this Rabbit for yourself, you can always visit one of the others for free at the truly fantastic Broad museum in Los Angeles. From The Broad's description of Rabbit:In 1979 Jeff Koons made Inflatable Flower and Bunny (Tall White, Pink Bunny), the seed for so much of his future work. This sculpture, also in The Broad’s collection, features two vinyl inflatable toys — a flower and a pink bunny — that sit on top and in front of four square mirrors. Seven years later, Koons ditched the flower, combined the mirror and the bunny, and created Rabbit. The switch from the word “bunny” to “rabbit” is intriguing. Bunny is cute and floppy; rabbit is quick and sharp. The carrot in the rabbit’s paw is wielded like a weapon, and the once soft, leaky, and cheap vinyl shell of the bunny has been replaced by armorlike, costly stainless steel, which reflects everything surrounding Rabbit and deflects any allusions to the sculpture’s interior. Read the rest
Man fined $471 for calling Putin a “fantastical f***head”
Yuri Kartyzhev (34) of Novgorod, Russia, was fined for hurting President Putin's feelings after he referred to the country's leader as a "fantastical fuckhead." He was the first person to be charged under a new law that forbids people from saying anything "disrespectful" about government officials.From The Independent:By Wednesday afternoon, a tweet introducing the #Putinisafantasticalf***head hashtag was trending, with over 5,000 engagements. As some pointed out, its 2,400 retweets amounted to a potential £870,000 in fines. The collective Russian internet’s quicker wits said they were interested to know where Kartyzhev had gone wrong: perhaps Putin was not a fantastical f***head, but a real one? Leonid Volkov, a prominent aide to opposition leader Alexei Navalny, led the charge on Twitter: “If the phrase fantastical f***head is offensive, how can we say it without offending government?,” he wrote. Image: Kremlin Read the rest
Timothy Leary vintage wristwatch on eBay
Is it LSD o'clock yet? This far out Timothy Leary vintage wristwatch is up for auction on eBay. In more than 20 years of looking at Leary memorabilia on eBay, this is only the third time I've seen one of these. I bought the first that came up for myself and only wear it at, er, the right times.The starting bid is $600, which is hundreds of dollars more than the selling price of previous examples. Read the rest
Insulin prices are killing people
Price gouging has skyrocketed the price of insulin, forcing folks to ration this lifesaving biologic.CBS News:"Nobody cared or nobody understood that without this next vial of insulin, I wouldn't live to see another week," said 28-year-old Kristen Whitney Daniels.She started rationing her insulin after she was kicked off her parents' insurance plan two years ago."I can't really explain how isolating and how terrifying it is," she said.She's now a patient at the Yale Diabetes Center, where a recent Journal of American Medical Association study found one in four patients reported "cost-related underuse." Dr. Kasia Lipska treats patients at the clinic, and was the study's lead author. She testified on Capitol Hill last week."This vial of insulin cost just $21 when it first came on the market in 1996. It now costs $275," she said.Some drug makers are already reacting to the outrage. On Wednesday, Sanofi announced it will cut the price of insulin for uninsured patients and those who pay cash to $99 per month. But that doesn't eliminate advocate concerns."People are dying from lack of access to a drug that has been around for almost a century. I think it's unconscionable," Lipska said. Read the rest
Joe Biden announces presidential bid
Anita Hill was trending, so I knew he's finally made it official! May he never speak without others saying her name. But today, here's his speech advocating for his 1994 crime bill, which shows that its outcome—the imprisonment of millions of black men—was clear to him from the outset. "They are beyond the pale, those people. We have no choice but to take them out of society"Here he is in 2016 boasting of his involvement in the bill and claiming that, actually, it helped "them."Here is someone who, in 1994, knew exactly what was going on and denounced the bill in no uncertain terms: Read the rest
Mozilla's Internet Health Report: discriminatory AI, surveilling smart cities, ad-tech
Every year, the Mozilla Foundation releases a massive "Internet Health Report" summarizing the ways in which the internet is being used to both support and subvert human thriving; though these reports cover a wide range of topics, every year the foundation chooses a small number of themes to focus on. This year, they are Let's Ask More of AI; The Power of Cities and Rethinking Digital Ads.I was fascinated by a piece on platform cooperativism:Often people are trying to solve deep problems and realize that handing something over to investors just isn’t going to cut it. One example is Jen Horonjeff, the founder of Savvy. It’s a health insights platform for patients and their families. She has a chronic illness and she was obsessed with patients having more control over their illness. She knew that whenever you hand medical processes over to investors, patients get exploited. So she turned to a coop model as a last resort to protect people, and at the same time run a business.The economy needs variety. There may always be a need for the classic high risk and high return model of venture capitalism, but at the same time we can create more options.(via /.) Read the rest
Dying Angie, Divorce Bombshells, and a Julian Assange Sex Tape, in this week’s dubious tabloids
How do the tabloids have so many “Exclusive!” stories?
"Black hat" companies sell services to get products featured and upranked on Amazon
Amazon has been plagued by counterfeiters, fraudsters and crooks who use tactics like fake reviews to goose sales of their products; the company keeps cracking down on these activities, but despite using measures so broad that they destroy the livelihoods of legitimate sellers, Amazon is losing the war on crooked sellers.Indeed, Amazon's aggressive zero-tolerance policies have created a thriving market in specialized "black hat" Amazon consultants who use a combination of bribes to Amazon employees and exploits against vulnerabilities in Amazon's ranking and security services to help sellers get their products re-listed, upranked and featured. Some sellers are reportedly paying $10,000/month to maintain their dominance.Buzzfeed's in-depth investigation found several of these black hat "consultants" and exposed their tactics, from creating "brushed accounts" that have product-free pages but high customer satisfaction ratings (based on previous items sold by these dummy accounts, possibly to confederates) that new sellers can put their products on; to paying bribes to Amazon employees to pierce the company's notorious bureaucratic secrecy after products or accounts are delisted.Other services include removing bad reviews, placing bad reviews on competitors' products, getting good reviews, dominating search terms, etc. Most of these black hats appear to be based in China.For their part, sellers say that they have to cheat, or they lose ground to other cheaters.Some sellers who employ black hat tactics say they’re reluctant to do so, but don’t know how else to keep up with their competitors. A seller who uses Howard Thai’s suite of services on SellerMafia.com and asked to remain anonymous told BuzzFeed News that he’s been using different versions of black hat techniques since 2014, when Amazon’s marketplace became inundated with dirty selling tactics. Read the rest
Vulnerabilities in GPS fleet-tracking tools let attackers track and immobilize cars en masse
Itrack and Protrack are commercial devices for tracking fleets of commercial vehicles; they can be configured to allow for remote killswitching of the cars' engines, presumably as a theft-prevention measure.A hacker going by L&M used the fact that the Android apps for interacting with Itrack and Protrack have the same default password ("123456") that users are not forced to change to take control of thousands of cars equipped with the devices. L&M used a credential stuffing attack: using email addresses gleaned from massive breaches to gain access by repeatedly trying different email/password combinations.Once penetrated, the apps yield up great quantities of information on the compromised users and their vehicles: "name and model of the GPS tracking devices they use, the devices’ unique ID numbers (technically known as an IMEI number); usernames, real names, phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses."L&M was able to track the compromised vehicles in realtime, and they say they can also immobilize many of them ("I can absolutely make a big traffic problem all over the world. I have fully [sic] control hundred of thousands of vehicles, and by one touch, I can stop these vehicles engines.")The vulnerabilities reflect a lackadasical approach to security that we see across multiple industries: not only do the companies allow users to initialize their products without changing the default password, they compound this error by not detecting and preventing credential stuffing attacks. This negligence puts their users' property -- and lives -- at risk.Both Itrack and Protrack are now asking their users to change their default passwords. Read the rest
A smaller jet cowling chair, made from a less-cursed plane
Back in 2017, Andrea wrote about Plane Industries gorgeous chairs made from the cowling of the (now notorious) Boeing 737's jets; now, the company has followed up with a smaller, more practical chair, this one fashioned from a BAe-146's jet cowling, still featuring the company's "high gloss shell and dark Alcantara interior." (Thanks, Benjamin!) Read the rest
Older Americans are working beyond retirement age at levels not seen since 1962
If you're an American 65 or older, there's a 20% chance that you're working or looking for work (the chance jumps to 53% if you attained an undergrad or more advanced degree): that's double the rate in 1985. The last time it was this high was 57 years ago, in 1962.Americans are staying in work longer because the market-based 401(k) pensions that replaced defined-benefit pensions, combined with skyrocketing rents and healthcare costs, on top of higher level of debts to support your kids' education, rents, etc, have left older people with insufficient savings to survive their retirement.To make matters worse, the older Americans who most need additional income beyond retirement age are the least likely to be in work, because they lack the postsecondary degrees that would let them compete with their better-educated peers for jobs.The retirement math is ugly, even for those who are seemingly well-off. Teresa Ghilarducci, an economics professor at the New School for Social Research, has estimated that Social Security replaces about 40% to 50% of one's pre-retirement income. The general thinking is that people need around 80% of pre-retirement income to get by after they stop working. (Online retirement calculators can give a rough sense for what you need to save, and earn on savings, to get there.)The typical worker in the bottom 50% of the income distribution, earning less than $40,000 a year, has no retirement savings. Those in the middle 40% of income distribution, earning from $40,000 to $115,000, have a median amount of $60,000 saved, according to Ms. Read the rest
Court case seeks to clarify that photographers don't need permission to publish pictures that incidentally capture public works of art
Mercedes has asked a court to verify that a commercial photo of one of its cars driving down a street in Detroit does not violate the copyright of the artists who painted a public mural visible in the background.The case comes after the mural artists -- Daniel Bombardier, James “Dabls” Lewis, Jeff Soto, and Maxx Gramajo -- made public statements accusing Mercedes of violating their copyrights a year after the photo's initial publication. Mercedes is seeking to affirm that photos that capture incidental images of public artworks are fair use (but Mercedes is not asking the court to rule on more traditional copyright infringement theories, such as whether commercial reproductions of a public artwork that feature the artwork are fair use).They say "hard cases make bad laws" and this is one of those cases. My natural inclination is to side with the Davids (the mural artists), not the Goliath (Mercedes), but if Mercedes is found to be infringing, that sets a precedent that can be wielded against everyone, not just giant corporations (who will always be able to afford lawyers to argue their case). I used to live on a street that backed onto a graffiti alley in San Francisco: should I be allowed to create an author photo of me standing on my fire-escape with the murals in the background without tracking down the street artists who made them? How about a news photographer who captures an image of a cop beating up a protester in a park that features a copyrighted sculpture? Read the rest
A 40cm-square patch that renders you invisible to person-detecting AIs
Researchers from KU Leuven have published a paper showing how they can create a 40cm x 40cm "patch" that fools a convoluted neural network classifier that is otherwise a good tool for identifying humans into thinking that a person is not a person -- something that could be used to defeat AI-based security camera systems. They theorize that the could just print the patch on a t-shirt and get the same result.The researchers' key point is that the training data for classifiers consists of humans who aren't trying to fool it -- that is, the training is non-adversarial -- while the applications for these systems are often adversarial (such as being used to evaluate security camera footage whose subjects might be trying to defeat the algorithm). It's like designing a lock always unlocks when you use the key -- but not testing to see if it unlocks if you don't have the key, too.The attack can reliably defeat YOLOv2, a popular machine-learning classifier, and they hypothesize that it could be applied to other classifiers as well.I've been writing about these adversarial examples for years, and universally, they represent devastating attacks on otherwise extremely effective classifiers. It's an important lesson about the difference between adversarial and non-adversarial design: the efficacy of a non-adversarial system is no guarantee of adversarial efficacy. In this paper, we presented a system to generate adversarial patches for person detectors that can be printed out andused in the real-world. We did this by optimising an image to minimise different probabilities related to the appearance of a person in the output of the detector. Read the rest
CDC: Now 695 Measles cases in U.S., the highest total since year 2000
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report today that the number of measles cases nationwide stands at 695. This is the highest total since the year 2000.Measles are a vaccine-preventable disease.Today, the U.S. secretary of Health and Human services spoke out for the first time on the U.S. measles outbreak, and said in a statement, “Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease." In the CDC’s statement on measles outbreaks and the importance of vaccines, released today by HHS Secretary Alex Azar:“The United States is seeing a resurgence of measles, a disease that had once been effectively eliminated from our country. And today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that ongoing measles outbreaks in 22 states has led to the highest number of cases reported nationwide since the disease was declared eliminated in this country in 2000. Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease. We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken."With a safe and effective vaccine that protects against measles, the suffering we are seeing is avoidable. The CDC is ready to support public health departments in monitoring and responding to outbreaks, and will continue to receive, review, and compile the latest reports of measles cases. Read the rest
Facebook expects up to $5 billion FTC fine over privacy
$5 billion is about one month's revenue for Facebook.
Trump campaign won't say no to hacked political dirt, Democrats agree not to use illegally obtained data
Rudy Giuliani: “nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”
Elon Musk on Tesla earnings call: 'I would prefer we were private, but that ship has sailed'
Elon Musk's electric car company Tesla lost $700 million in 2019's first quarter, and said on an earnings call today it will become profitable in the third quarter as it cut costs and improves delivery “after facing issues ramping up shipments outside the United States.”Elon Musk said on today's Tesla's earnings conference call, 'I would prefer we were private, but that ship has sailed.' TESLA ELON MUSK SAYS "I WOULD PREFER WE WERE PRIVATE, BUT THAT SHIP HAS SAILED"- CONF CALL— Ben Klayman (@benklayman) April 24, 2019From Reuters: Read the rest
Notre Dame scaffolding workers were smoking on the job before fire, firm says
Police report finding 7 cigarette butts in the charred ashes.
Here's how primary elections work, and how to vote
Spread The Vote is a non-profit that works to help educate and empower voters on the voting and political process. Boing Boing invited the group to help everyone understand how primary elections work, and how you can participate in them if you are an eligible U.S. voter. Sign up for their state-specific voter education packages, which are really an amazing educational resource. —Xeni JardinUNDERSTANDING PRIMARY ELECTIONS,from SPREAD THE VOTE.When most voters think of election day, they likely imagine a general election where they vote to determine which candidate on the ballot will win the position of elected office. However, voters may be less familiar with primary elections. This may explain, in part, why voter turnout is so different for general and primary elections. That’s where Spread The Vote comes in. We want every eligible voter to understand and participate in primary elections because they are such an important element of our democracy. DID YOU KNOW...1. Turnout in primaries is notoriously low: in the 2016 presidential race, just over 28% of eligible voters voted in a Republican and Democratic presidential primary election.This number is shocking compared to the nearly 60% of Americans who were eligible to vote that turned out for the general election. Even though general elections get a lot of attention, primary elections are just as important and are a significant opportunity to make your voice heard.2. Primary elections, or primaries, are elections where voters choose who will be on the ballot for each specific office in the general election. Read the rest
Cruel punishment from the 17th century for minor offenses: the finger pillory
Our friends at Futility Closet came upon this cruel form of punishment, called the finger pillory:Here’s a forgotten punishment. In the 17th century, in return for a minor offense such as not attending to a sermon, a wrongdoer might be required to place his finger into an L-shaped hole over which a block was fastened to keep the knuckle bent. “[T]he finger was confined, and it will easily be seen that it could not be withdrawn until the pillory was opened,” writes William Andrews in Medieval Punishments (1898). “If the offender were held long in this posture, the punishment must have been extremely painful.”In his 1686 history of Staffordshire, Robert Plot recalls a “finger-Stocks” “made for punishment of the disorders, that sometimes attend feasting at Christmas time.” Into this “the Lord of misrule, used formerly to put the fingers of all such persons as committed misdemeanors, or broke such rules, as by consent were agreed on for the time of keeping Christmas, among servants and others of promiscuous quality.” Read the rest
The Great and Powerful Special Counsel of OZ... Revealed!
Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the Great and Powerful Special Counsel of OZ is revealed as... a man behind a curtain.
Brain-computer interface successfully translates thought into synthesized speech
In a pioneering study, scientists have demonstrated that an implanted brain-computer interface (above) coupled with deep-learning algorithms can translate thought into computerized speech. From Scientific American:(University of California, San Francisco neurosurgeon Edward Chang) emphasized that his approach cannot be used to read someone’s mind—only to translate words the person wants to say into audible sounds....Chang and his colleagues devised a two-step method for translating thoughts into speech. First, in tests with epilepsy patients whose neural activity was being measured with electrodes on the surface of their brain, the researchers recorded signals from brain areas that control the tongue, lips and throat muscles. Later, using deep-learning computer algorithms trained on naturally spoken words, they translated those movements into audible sentences....The researchers asked native English speakers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing marketplace to transcribe the sentences they heard. The listeners accurately heard the sentences 43 percent of the time when given a set of 25 possible words to choose from, and 21 percent of the time when given 50 words, the study found.Although the accuracy rate remains low, it would be good enough to make a meaningful difference to a “locked-in” person, who is almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak, the researchers say."Scientists Take a Step Toward Decoding Thoughts" (SciAm)"Speech synthesis from neural decoding of spoken sentences" (Nature) Read the rest
If you correctly guess the secret word on Slack you'll win $1,000
The Word of the Day is a daily guessing game in Slack. It's easy enough to play. Just go there and enter words. If you are the first to match the secret word of the day, you win $1,000. The most recent winner was Erika Y. who correctly guessed "inscrutable."FAQHow and when will I get paid?We will DM you on Slack for your Venmo handle, and you’ll get paid within 24 hours of winning.How do you know who said the first correct word?We built a slack bot to monitor the channel and notify everyone when someone wins.What happens if no one gets the word right?The slackbot will announce what the word was at 11:59PM EST. No one will get paid, and the $1000 will not roll over to the next day.How many guesses do I get?You can guess as many times as you want, but only in one word increments. Read the rest
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