Day: June 13, 2016

Geraldo scolds Orlando victims: "For God's sakes, fight back!"

Geraldo

Geraldo Rivera thinks the victims of the Orlando massacre made the wrong choice yesterday morning when they were attacked with an AR-15 assault rifle: “When you’re in that situation and you have no weapons, you have two choices. If you can’t hide and you can’t run, there are two choices. You stay and die, or you fight. For God’s sakes, fight back. Fight back.”

“There’s a hundred people that he murdered with one weapon that he reloaded,” Rivera continued, inflating the death toll from a reported 49. “When he reloaded, they must—people must—America must understand, we are at war with Islamic terror, with these terrorists. We’ve got to stop them in Raqqa, we’ve got to stop them in Mosul, and we’ve got to stop them in the Pulse in Orlando.”

Read more from The Daily Beast.

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Michu Meszaros, who played ALF the extraterrestrial on television, RIP

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Michu Meszaros, the circus performer and actor who played Alf the extraterrestrial on the 1980s sitcom, has died at age 76. Maestros also appeared in “Looks Who’s Talking, “Big Top Pee-wee,” and episodes of “Dear John” and “H.R. Pufnstuf.” From Variety:

Meszaros, standing at just 2 feet 9 inches tall, was born in Hungary. He performed in the circus before heading to TV, and he was billed as the “smallest man in the world” as he worked in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the ’70s. He performed for the likes of Michael Jackson, who became good friends with Meszaros.

Meszaros’ biggest claim to fame, however, is “Alf.” The alien, voiced by Paul Fusco, was typically only shown from the waist-up, with puppeteers controlling his movements. For shots that required Alf’s whole body to be shown, though, Meszaros appeared on camera, wearing the full-body costume.

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Small shelter inspired by armadillo

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Architect Ron Arad designed this lovely indoor/outdoor shelter, called the Armadillo Tea Pavilion. The shells are made from the likes of oiled plywood or PVDF-coated timber composite. The hardware is brass and bronze.

The Armadillo Tea Canopy is designed as an independent shell structure, for use indoors and outdoors, and provides an intimate enclosure, shelter or place of reflection within a garden, landscape, or large internal space. In its basic configuration, the Pavilion comprises 5 moulded shells, each made of repeatable, modular components which are mechanically-fixed together with exposed fixings and stiffening brackets. The modularity of components provides freedom to configure the tea canopy to suit a number of arrangements, which can be expanded when using additional shells.

A limited number of Armadillo Tea Pavilions are available from Revolution Precrafted.

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Amityville Horror house for sale again

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The world’s most famous haunted house, 108 Ocean Avenue (formerly 112 Ocean Avenue), in Amityville, New York is on the market again. This is the Dutch Colonial home where in 1974 Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed six family members and, four years later, George and Kathy Lutz and their children reported that they were terrorized by evil demons. Their story became the basis for the Jay Anson’s 1977 book The Amityville Horror, director Stuart Rosenberg’s 1979 film adaptation, and a slew of crappy sequels that followed.

Listed at $850,000, the five bedroom, 3.5 bath home on the Amityville River includes a large boat house and slip.

According to the realtors, “There’ve been four owners since the murders, and none of them ran out of the house screaming, and there were no strange experiences [such as murder.]”

If I bought it, the first thing I’d do is reinstall the demonic pig’e eye windows.

(via Curbed)

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An excellent foldable picnic blanket

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We had a girl scout picnic over at our place yesterday, and we spread out the Mui Color foldable picnic blanket ($27 on Amazon). It folds out to folds out to 60″ x 78″, and folds up to a 12.5″ x 10.6″ rectangle complete with handle. The bottom is made of some kind of tough waterproof material. It’s padded, and the top surface feels nice and has a pretty leaf pattern.

After the picnic, it was easy to fold up.

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Trapped in a cave in 1925, Floyd Collins became one of the first media sensations of the 20th century

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In 1925, Kentucky caver Floyd Collins was exploring a new tunnel when a falling rock caught his foot, trapping him 55 feet underground. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the desperate efforts to free Collins, whose plight became one of the first popular media sensations of the 20th century.

We’ll also learn how Ronald Reagan invented a baseball record and puzzle over a fatal breakfast.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E08, "No One"

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The sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones nears its conclusion, as characters depart and return in their owns ways. Each week following the show, Boars, Gore, and Swords recaps everything that goes down in the world of Westeros. For this week’s “No One,” Ivan and Red discuss Terminator chases, Sandor Clegane’s murder negotiations, and the most offscreen of any offscreen death in television history.

To catch up on previous seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, or email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can support the podcast on Patreon.

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Giant 2,000-year-old hunk of bog butter just found - and it's still edible

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A giant 22-pound hunk of bog butter made 2,000 years ago was just unearthed in Ireland, and although it might not be as tasty as it was in the last millennium or two, you can still eat it. So what the heck is “bog butter?” According to Atlas Obscura:

“Bog butter” is butter that has been buried in a bog. The Irish Times describes it as a “creamy white dairy product, which smells like a strong cheese.” The earliest known examples date back almost 2,000 years, but there are records of people burying butter as recently as the 1800s. This one is estimated to be an early example but will be studied further to date it.

Why would anyone bury butter in a bog? Often, to preserve it: butter made hundreds of years ago, without salt, wouldn’t last long, but the cool, low oxygen environment of the bog could extend its life. Bog butter is sometimes found encased in wooden containers or animal hide, to protect it as well.

For more, here’s a brief history of bog butter.

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Mothers smile for mugshot photo after arrest for assaulting "too slow" McDonald's worker

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The Bellevue, Ohio Police Department reported that Ashley England, Mary Jordan, and Sammie Whaley were arrested on June 8 for assaulting a female McDonald’s employee in the parking lot “because she was working too slowly when dealing with three woman and their family and friends from Sandusky Ohio.” Jordan (left) and England (right) hammed it up during the mugshots. All three women have pleaded not guilty multiple charges.

England was charged with assault, theft and child endangerment. Jordan was charged with assault and child endangerment. England and Jordan’s child endangerment charges are due to the fact they had their children present with them and participating in the incident. Whaley was also charged with assault.

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Passengers on plane grounded at airport refused food for "legal reasons"

Image: modified from Alessandro Ambrosetti's photo/flickr

Passengers confined for two hours on a grounded Monarch Airlines were not given food, apparently because the food items had been locked away with duty free items. The passengers included young children, and some passengers tried to walk off the flight.

The Independent’s economics editor Ben Chu, 36, said the situation was “idiotic” as some passengers threatened to walk off the flight.

He told the Standard: “The crisps and sandwiches have been padlocked with the duty free items and because they’ve been sealed we’ve been told we can’t eat them.

A Monarch Airlines spokesman told the Standard: “Due to customs law crew are not able to serve food or drinks on board whilst the aircraft was grounded at Luton airport. Customers who asked for drinks were offered tap water where available.

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Real cowboy lassoes bike thief at Wal-Mart

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Real cowboy Robert Borba was in the parking lot at an Eagle Point, Oregon Wal-Mart when he heard a woman yelling that someone was riding off on her bicycle. So Borba grabbed his trusty steed Old Grey from his trailer and took off after the suspected thief.

“I just roped him and the rope went down around his feet and I just rode off like I would if I’d roped a cow or something by myself…” Borba told KOBI-TV news. “Stealing ain’t right so I figured get him stopped you know?”

Police arrested the suspect, Victorino Sanchez, and charged him with theft.

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Lay about like an old school Star Fleet officer

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Perhaps the ultimate father’s day gift is a Star Trek bathrobe. These robes are available in the three primary colors of Star Trek: Red, Blue and Command Mustard-Yellow, and are a must have for every old school Trekkie or Trekker.

Star Trek Adult Captain Kirk Fleece Costume Bath Robe (Yellow, One Size) via Amazon

Star Trek Adult Spock Fleece Costume Bath Robe via Amazon

Star Trek Adult Scotty Fleece Costume Bath Robe via Amazon

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Man who sold house won't leave, tells reporter to "learn to take orders" from him

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Justin McCrory of Nashville sold his house to Tamara Holloway, and was supposed to vacate on June 1, but he refuses to leave. When a TV news reporter when to the house to ask McCrory why he is living in a house that is no longer his, he first told her to “get off my property.” When the reporter reminded him that the house was no longer his property, he warned her that she might get run over by the big pickup truck he was driving. When she continued to ask questions, he became angry and told her, “You need to learn to take orders.”

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Super 8 video of Dungeons & Dragons session in 1981

Boing Bong contributor Ethan Gilsdorf — author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest For Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, And Other Dwellers Of Imaginary Realms — posted this geekily nostalgic Super 8 film he shot in 1981, at age 15, of his buddies playing Dungeons & Dragons. “Look for the classic Mountain Dew can at 1:53,” Ethan writes.

(via r/ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)

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Amazing montage of 4k timelapse footage

Video director Paul Richardson created this beautiful showreel of his favorite time-lapse clips to date.

Shooting timelapse requires a lot of patience and forward thinking. Some shots took multiple attempts to get the right light, others required whole days just to capture a few seconds of footage. There’s a careful balance of trying to predict the future, and just being determined enough to do everything it takes to get the shot.

See more here.

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Trump offers conspiracy theory that Obama has "something going on" with Islamic terrorism

Illo: Rob Beschizza

With 147 day to go until election day, Trump’s imagination has hardly been tested. David A. Graham at The Atlantic reports that the top Republican suggested President Obama is “involved in the Orlando shooting.” Somehow!

In an almost entirely unprecedented moment, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, suggested in interviews Monday morning that President Obama may have somehow been involved in Sunday’s massacre in Orlando. …

“He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands—it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable,” Trump said on Fox News. He had already called in a statement Sunday for Obama to resign from office. Trump added on Monday:

“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind—you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

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Sit comfortably in the great outdoors with the Loungr Inflatable Chair, now 22% off

Look, it can’t always be about work. Sometimes, you’ve got to go outside and catch some rays. Of course, once you’re out in the great outdoors, you still need a place to sit down.

The Loungr Inflatable Chair (on sale for just $69 in the Boing Boing Store) has you covered. Find a nice spot, extract and inflate the Loungr, and you’ve got a comfortable lounge chair in which to relax.

The Loungr’s durable ripstop nylon protects your chair from rough surfaces, so whether you’re on sand or gravel, you’re safe from punctures.

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No pump or valve concerns with the Loungr: just sweep it through the air to fill it up, seal off the end, and you’re good to go. Your carrying bag even comes with a bottle opener so you can enjoy your surroundings.

Grab a Loungr Inflatable Chair now, now just $69, before this offer expires. That’s 22% off the MSRP for a limited time only.

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Artificial intelligence creates sound effects for silent videos that fool humans

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Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) trained a neural network to recognize materials (e.g., metal grate, plants, concrete sidewalk) being hit with a drumstick, and synthesize sounds to accompany the actions. It did well enough to fool humans into thinking the sounds were real.

From the abstract:

Objects make distinctive sounds when they are hit or scratched. These sounds reveal aspects of an object’s material properties, as well as the actions that produced them. In this paper, we propose the task of predicting what sound an object makes when struck as a way of studying physical interactions within a visual scene. We present an algorithm that synthesizes sound from silent videos of people hitting and scratching objects with a drumstick. This algorithm uses a recurrent neural network to predict sound features from videos and then produces a waveform from these features with an example-based synthesis procedure. We show that the sounds predicted by our model are realistic enough to fool participants in a “real or fake” psychophysical experiment, and that they convey significant information about material properties and physical interactions.

[via]

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China's online astroturf is mostly produced by government workers as "extra duty"

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For many years, China watchers have written about the 50 Cent Army, contractors who are paid RMB0.50 per post to sing the praises of the government in online discussions of corruption, oppression and wrongdoing; but a new report from the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Science paints a radically different picture of Chinese networked social control.

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AMC threatens to sue fansite over Walking Dead spoilers

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AMC claims that spoilers of its show, The Walking Dead, infringe its copyright in the original material. As spoilers are other people’s descriptions of something they’ve seen, in their own words, this would put all unauthorized reviews and commentary in the same boat. But that hasn’t stopped it issuing legal threats to fans.

AMC finally reached out to us! But it wasn’t a request not to post any info about the Lucille Victim or any type of friendly attempt at compromise, it was a cease and desist and a threat of a lawsuit by AMC Holdings, LLC’s attorney, Dennis Wilson. They say we can’t make any type of prediction about the Lucille Victim. Their stance is that making such a prediction would be considered copyright infringement. AMC tells us that we made some claim somewhere that says we received “copyright protected, trade secret information about the most critical plot information in the unreleased next season of The Walking Dead” and that we announced we were going to disclose this protected information. We still aren’t sure where we supposedly made this claim because they did not identify where it was. …

Basically what it all comes down to is if we post our Lucille Victim prediction and we’re right, AMC says they will sue us. Whether there are grounds for it or not is not the issue, it still costs money to defend. That is the way our justice system works. Would we have defenses? Sure. But it also costs money to mount that defense.

The funny thing is AMC seems quite notorious for posting spoilers itself. There’s a lot between the lines, here: spoilers and speculation are an integral part of fandom culture and fan-driven hype, and AMC wants to own and control it.

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Freedom Tower displays pride colors

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New York governor Andrew Cuomo released this photo last night of 1 World Trade Center displaying the pride colors.

“From Stonewall to marriage equality to protecting transgender individuals to the first-in-the nation executive action to ban conversion therapy, New York has led the way in the fight for LGBT rights. In this state, we believe that no matter your race, creed, color, gender identity or expression you have the right live your life free from persecution and prejudice.

“This senseless act of terror reminds us that there are those who seek to undermine these very values and the progress we have achieved. We will not let this happen. An attack on one is an attack on all. New York joins the rest of the nation in rejecting this hate, fear and extremism and stands shoulder to shoulder with the LGBT community.

“Tonight, I am directing One World Trade Center to be lit the colors of the pride flag in a tribute to LGBT Americans and the lives that were lost. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest thoughts and prayers to those affected by this horrendous tragedy.”

This gesture will doubtless draw irritated sighs from the New York Times, which published a column by Frank Bruni making clear that the slaughter of 50 people at a gay nightclub by a homophobic terrorist isn’t about gay people, who should accept that “this isn’t a moment for identity politics” which “could muddle the significance of the carnage.”

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