Day: July 8, 2016

This man has made 220 videos of himself sitting in a corner and smiling for 4 hours at a time


Benjamin Bennett makes ad-free videos of himself silently sitting in a corner of a room and smiling at the camera. He live streams each one and saves them on his YouTube channel. He posted his 220th one today. (One commenter said it’s the “best episode yet.”)

Bennett launched a Kickstarter in 2015 to fund 200 hours of sitting and smiling. It was unsuccessful but it didn’t stop him from doing it anyway.

I sit and smile for 4-hour durations, and stream it live on YouTube. By the end of this Kickstarter campaign, I will have sat and smiled for 100 episodes, or 400 hours. I will soon be moving to another city, leaving my part-time job, and so will need a new way to support myself. It is my wish to turn Sitting and Smiling into my job, and this fundraiser could be the beginning of that. If viewers support this project, it would allow me to devote more time and energy to Sitting and Smiling, increasing the frequency and quality of the videos.

My goal for this campaign is to make $8 per hour of sitting and smiling for the next 200 hours. My deadline for completing the next 200 hours is August 31st, 2015. I am giving myself leeway because I am moving, but if all goes well with the move, I will be able to finish well before the deadline.

The money will go a long way, covering my bills and living expenses, which are quite low by most people’s standards. I may also purchase a more comfortable sitting cushion, to replace my chunks of mattress foam.

This is amazing.

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$10,600 loan from LoanMe has APR of 99.75% with $70,000 payback

Image: imgur/JKatzMoses

The fine folks at LoanMe prequalified this Reddit user for a $10,600 loan. The annual interest rate is 99.75 percent. The monthly payment would be $841 and would require 84 payments to pay off the loan. In the end, the loan would cost over $70,000.

Over at LoanMe, there are other deals for people desperate enough to take the bait. Idaho residents who need $2600 can get it by paying a $75 loan fee, after which they will be obligated to make 47 monthly payments of $388.40, for a total payback of $18,254.80.

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Wordy, incendiary Trump tees



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Hotel chef fired for boasting on Instagram that he feeds meat to vegans

Photo / Instagram

Alex Lambert used to be head chef at the Littleover Lodge Hotel in Derby, UK. That was before he posted on Instragram that he enjoys feeding meat to unsuspecting vegans.

From NZ Herald:

The chef and father-of-one has since denied he ever fed meat to anybody against their will. He claimed he only made the comment on Instagram to irritate a vegan woman he’d gotten into an argument with.

In his bitter exchange, he wrote to the woman: “Well you should find a better way to spend your time, my personal favourite is feeding vegans animal products and them not knowing.”

The woman replied: “Hope you get caught one day, would love to see that. I know we’re a minority and really don’t give a sh*t because that has no relevance. Enjoy the heart disease.”

After a group of vegans threatened a boycott of the hotel, Lambert was fired. He insists he doesn’t really give animal products to unsuspecting vegans, and only claimed that he did to wind the woman up. He issued a statement, saying:

“I have been a chef for nine years. I have never in this time done anything like feeding a vegan animal products or slipped in contaminated food.

“My job has always been my passion and something I have always taken very seriously. It was a stupid comment said out of anger.

“For the record I have no issue with vegans.”

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How tragedies of the Great Depression influenced singer Woody Guthrie


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads

by Nick Hayes

Harry N. Abrams

16, 272 pages, 8.6 x 8.6 x 1.2 inches

$19 Buy a copy on Amazon

A graphic novel of the life and early career of singer Woody Guthrie, Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads is a sepia and dusty brown, linocut illustrated graphic novel. It begins with harrowing tales of his youth – his mother burning his father with coal oil, resulting in her being shipped off to the Hospital For The Insane, the collapse of his Pampa hometown as the plummeting price of wheat ruined the local and national economy, and Guthrie traveling roads and hopping trains during the Great Depression. His encounters with snake oil salesmen and carnival acts, hobos, and migrant workers, as well as his exposure to the music of Cajuns, Native Americans, Xit cowboys, and Appalachian folksong performances at barn dances ultimately inspire him to take up the fiddle and write original tunes.

Along with Woody’s story, the book provides a powerful backstory on the environmental conditions of the Dust Bowl region, including the displacement of Native Americans through the push of white settlers on native lands, agriculture techniques that resulted in the tearing up of the bluestem grasses to plant wheat, an unprecedented drought, and the glut of wheat causing the exodus of settlers to California. This all brings to life the tragic unraveling of the fragile Dust Bowl ecosystem and brings about the hardscrabble lives and dust-blown landscape that Guthrie integrates into his music. Drifting through America with his guitar and knocking on doors begging for work, he reluctantly stumbles into an uncomfortable fame with a radio show, leading to national recognition. The book ends with the creation of his masterpiece, “This Land Is Your Land”, with the now-redacted communist lyrics included, which became America’s unofficial National Anthem.

Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads is a somber, bittersweet tale of the singer/songwriter, and the harrowing tragedy of the Dust Bowl years. It’s a weighty, handsome book. Lovely, broad-stroked illustrations bring to life the desperate struggle of 1930s midwestern America.

– S. Deathrage

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Smoking woman sprayed gasoline on customer who splashed her with windshield washer fluid


Kimberly Brinton was pumping gas and smoking a cigarette at the Dandy Mini Mart convenience store in Mehoopany, Pennsylvania on June 30. Another customer remarked that it was not safe to smoke around a gas pump and splashed Ms. Brinton with windshield cleaner in an attempt to put out her cigarette. Police syt Ms. Brinton responded by spraying gasoline on the other customer and threatening to light her on fire. The customer slipped in the gasoline and broke her arm.

Ms. Brinton was jailed on aggravated assault and other charges.

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NYC's sloppy records gave $59.2M in tax breaks to dead people

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New York’s elderly people qualify for the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption and the Enhanced School Tax Relief Exemption, but the city’s Finance Department is supposed to solicit confirmations of eligibility every two years to make sure that the people receiving the tax-breaks are still alive — a duty the department failed to perform for a solid decade, costing the city nearly $60M in lost revenue.

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As browsers decline in relevance, they're becoming DRM timebombs


My op-ed in today’s issue of The Tech, MIT’s leading newspaper, describes how browser vendors and the W3C, a standards body that’s housed at MIT, are collaborating to make DRM part of the core standards for future browsers, and how their unwillingness to take even the most minimal steps to protect academics and innovators from the DMCA will put the MIT community in the crosshairs of corporate lawyers and government prosecutors.

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Here's a soft robotic stingray made of light-controlled rat heart muscle


A bio-engineering team at Harvard made a tiny robotic stingray from “a pinch of rat cardiac cells, a pinch of breast implant, and a pinch of gold,” says Kit Parker, who lead the project. “That pretty much sums it up, except for the genetic engineering.”

From PopMech:

Parker’s robotic stingray is tiny—a bit more than half an inch long—and weighs only 10 grams. But it glides through liquid with the very same undulating motion used by fish like real stingrays and skates. The robot is powered by the contraction of 200,000 genetically engineered rat heart-muscle cells grown on the underside of the bot. Even stranger, Parker’s team developed the robot to follow bright pulses of light, allowing it to smoothly twist and turn through obstacle courses. The fascinating robot was unveiled today in the journal Science.

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Misplaced decimal point gives extra £40,000 to worker, who spends it


Construction worker Steven Burke showed restraint by spending only £28,000 on a new car, online gambling, clothing, an e-cigarette, cocaine, a gold chain, alcohol, and hotels after his employer accidentally overpaid him £40,000, reports The Mirror.

Burke normally gets a regular direct deposit of £446.60 in his bank account, but the director of the company he works for misplaced the decimal, so he received £44,660. When the error was discovered and Burke was questioned by police, he told them he thought he “had been a lucky victim of cyber crime,” reports the Mirror.

Burke’s sentencing is scheduled for July 25.

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Tenant farmers: how "smart" agricultural equipment siphons off farmers' crop and soil data


The agricultural sector is increasingly a data-driven business, where the “internet of farming” holds out the promise of highly optimized plowing, fertilizing, sowing, pest-management and harvesting — a development that is supercharging the worst practices of the ag-business monopolies that have been squeezing farmers for most of a century.

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Tiffin: a boardgame based on Mumbai's miraculous lunch-delivery network


More than 250,000 of Mumbai’s workers enjoy a home-cooked lunch every day thanks to the dabbawallas, who bring tiffins — stacking lunchpails — filled at each worker’s family kitchen directly to their workplace, in a miracle of coordinated logistics that consistently beats Mumbai’s legendary traffic jams and attains unheard-of accuracy despite the low levels of literacy among dabbawallas.

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Why did some of the richest, most powerful people in the UK support Brexit?

It’s true that the vote for Brexit was carried by working-class people in some of the poorest and most excluded regions in the UK; but the actual referendum question was put before the British public thanks to a small faction of some of the richest, most powerful people in the country — people who rely on the finance sector (which overwhelmingly supported Remain) for their privilege. Why?


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Two police officers shot at Dallas rally for #BlackLivesMatter, sniper reported


Reports broke at roughly 10pm ET tonight that shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas, where people gathered to protest the recent police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. At 10:20pm ET, KDFW-Fox in Dallas is now reporting that two police officers were shot, with multiple shots fired. At this time, no suspect.


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Redman talks about that time he took acid and got shocked with an electric cattle prod

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“He shocked my head out my goddamned mustache.” Reginald “Reggie” Noble, aka Redman, on First We Feast: “The Hot Ones,“ eating hot wings and answering “even hotter” questions. Such a weird premise for a show, but it totally works.

In this episode, right around 9 minutes in, the famed rapper talks about this one time he performed, took LSD, and got shocked with an electric cattle prod.

[via Kwame Opam]

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