Day: July 13, 2016

Triple shooting streamed on Facebook Live, just days after Philando Castile gun death

T.J. Williams

It’s been less than a week since the deadly shooting of Philando Castile by police was broadcast on Facebook Live. Already, another U.S. shooting has been live-streamed with Facebook’s popular tool. A triple shooting in Norfolk, Virginia, last night injured three men, one of whom Facebook Live-streamed the entire incident. According to reports, T.J. Williams (above) was one of the three victims, and is the person from whose phone the Facebook Live broadcast originated.

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1968 Planet of Apes movie screening in theaters this month!

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The original Planet of the Apes movie is a family favorite. It just might be my favorite movie. I can’t wait to watch this 1968 masterpiece with my wife and daughters on the big screen! Check here for theaters and showtimes.

Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies, and Twentieth Century Fox invite you to return to the out-of-this-world mad house when the sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes (1968) crash lands in select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day event on Sunday, July 24 and Wednesday, July 27.

Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall star in this legendary science fiction masterpiece. Astronaut Taylor (Heston) crash lands on a distant planet ruled by apes who use a primitive race of humans for experimentation and sport. Soon Taylor finds himself among the hunted, his life in the hands of a benevolent chimpanzee scientist (McDowall).

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Security robot runs over child in mall, keeps going

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A 5-foot-tall, 300 pound security robot at a Palo Alto, CA shopping mall ran over a 16-month child last Thursday, hitting the toddler in the head.

From KPTV:

“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor, and the robot did not stop. And it just kept on moving forward,” said Tiffany Teng.

Harwin’s parents say the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily caused no broken bones. Harwin also got a scrape on his leg from the incident.

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The Wolves of Currumpaw – A true story about Lobo, a wolf from the Old West

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The Wolves of Currumpaw

by William Grill

Flying Eye Books

2016, 80 pages, 9.7 x 12.1 x 0.6 inches

$14 Buy a copy on Amazon

In the early 1800s, half a million wolves roamed North America, but by 1862 settlers began pouring in from Europe and the landscape started to change. “These were the dying days of the Old West and the fate of wolves was sealed in it,” begins The Wolves of Currumpaw.

The Wolves of Currumpaw, released today, is a true story about a wolf named Old Lobo, and a skilled hunter, Ernest Thompson Seton. Lobo was part of notorious pack of wolves in 1893 who, for five years, raided the ranches and farms of the Currumpaw Valley in New Mexico. Nobody was able to catch the stealthy wolf, and the locals began to think Old Lobo, or the King as they called him at the time, possessed supernatural charms. The locals finally offered $1000 to anyone who could catch him. Expert hunters set out to track him and hunt him down, but like the Terminator, Lobo couldn’t be killed – until Canadian-raised Seton came into town.

SPOILER paragraph: The story ends tragically, and might not be appropriate for more sensitive children. Seton does succeed in taking Lobo down, a section of the book that was hard for me to read. But then Seton has deep regrets and becomes a changed man. As a writer and sudden activist, Seton devoted the rest of his life to raising awareness about wolves. He was also one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America.

Like William Grill’s other picture book, Shackleton’s Journey, Wolves is beautifully illustrated on thick textured paper with colored pencils. Wolves, which is based on Seton’s short story, Wild Animals I Have Never Known, is powerful, told as much by Grill’s narrative as it is by his illustrations. Grill has chosen two interesting, not commonly taught histories as the subjects of his first two books, and I look forward to seeing what he brings us next.

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Three years later, Reaction Engines gets promised UK investment in rocket technology

Farnborought Air Show

FARNBOROUGH, England – The European Space Agency on July 12 said it would release 10 million euros ($11 million) in support to Reaction Engines Ltd., whose space plane/hypersonic aircraft engine project in 2013 won substantial British government backing – none of which had been received until recently.

The company has since secured BAE Systems as a 20 percent shareholder and technology partner.

Franco Ongaro, ESA’s director of technical and quality management, said a further 10 million euros could be spent through ESA to stimulate subcontractor work in Europe on Reaction Engines’ Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) among other ESA member states.

At a briefing here during the Farnborough Air Show, Ongaro and Reaction Engines Chief Executive Mark Thomas said the new funding will help the company complete a preliminary design review of the SABRE engine in 2018, with a ground demonstration in 2020.

The British government in mid-2013 announced it would make 60 million British pounds ($78 million) in grants available to Reaction Engines to pursue development of SABRE and its key technology – a heat exchanger designed to take incoming air at 1,000 degrees Celsius and cool it to minus 150 degrees Celsius in one one-hundredth of a second, all the while preventing ice buildup.

At a briefing here during the Farnborough Air Show, Ongaro and Reaction Engines Chief Executive Mark Thomas said the new funding will help the company complete a preliminary design review of the SABRE engine in 2018, with a ground demonstration in 2020.

ESA’s investment is part of the British government’s commitment. ESA has been acting as a technology advisor to the British government on SABRE since 2008. In 2012, ESA oversaw testing of the pre-cooler and lent its credibility to Reaction Engines’ long-held claim of a breakthrough in low-cost, reusable rocket technology.

The government had said that 35 million pounds would be released in the 2014/2015 fiscal year, with the remaining 25 million pounds to come a year later. It never happened.

The U.K. Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee in June chastised the government for announcing a daring decision that, at the time of the committee’s report, had shown no follow-up. The committee said the delay might have cost Reaction Engines part of its lead on future competitors, especially in the United States.

The U.S. Defense Department has been reserved in its public assessment of SABRE, but has said the technology could find applications as a hypersonic-delivery system and perhaps other uses.

To help secure U.S. government and U.S. industry backing, Reaction Engines on July 11 announced the creation of a U.S. subsidiary, with Adam Dissel, formerly system architect for responsive space at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, named president.

The parliamentary report referenced communications breakdowns between U.K. government agencies and Reaction Engines as one possible cause of the funding bottleneck. But during the July 12 briefing, Thomas said it was mostly due to the European Commission process of approving state aid to companies.

“In aerospace we are used to long-duration funding programs,” Thomas said. “When the funding commitment from the U.K. government was announced in 2013, …read more

Fantastic Manfrotto 3-way head

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I am absolutely thrilled with this Manfrotto 3-way head. My last one took nearly a decade to wear out, mostly due to abuse in salt water environments, and I had to have a new one.

This head works great with some of my larger lenses on board. The Nikon AI-S 300mm F2.8 and my Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 are both perfectly stable on this head. Friction controls are a nice addition, missing from my last head, and the collapsible levers get out us your way. Bubble levels pretty much exactly where you’d want them and a fantastic quick release system. It uses the same mount as previous pan-and-tilt Manfrotto head, so I can even use the old mounting plates.

I expect to get another 5-10 years out of this one.

Manfrotto MHXPRO-3W X-PRO 3-Way Head with Retractable Levers and Friction Controls via Amazon

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Korean Beef Skewers

Korean Beef Skewers

These grilled Korean beef skewers are a little sweet, a little spicy from the gochujang (which is a Korean chili paste), and full of umami. The best part is that you can have them on the table in about a half hour.

I’ll never forget the first time I ate Korean food. We were visiting my mom’s friend in Los Angeles and she took us out for Korean barbecue. My first taste of kimchi, banchan, and bulgogi and I was hooked.

Continue reading “Korean Beef Skewers” »

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Einstein's stinky leather jacket sold for $144,000

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Albert Einstein’s very cool leather jacket sold at auction today for £110,500 ($144,424). The coat came complete with the pungent odor of the scientist’s pipe. Also on the block were Einstein’s pocket watch and toy blocks from his childhood. From Christie’s:

‘The jacket first appears in a number of photographs of Einstein, taken at the height of his fame in the mid-1930s,’ (said Christie’s specialist Thomas Venning). A shot from 1935 shows the scientist wearing it upon his arrival for a holiday in the Bahamas — ‘improbably paired,’ adds Venning, ‘with a rather natty wing collar’…

Over several years, the jacket aged visibly. ‘Einstein wore it all the time — a fact mentioned in the memoirs of fellow scientist Leopold Infeld, who worked with him at Princeton. Infeld explained that Einstein tried to keep material restrictions to a minimum. Long hair reduced the need for a barber and, he wrote, “one leather jacket solved the coat problem for years.”’

5 minutes with… Einstein’s leather jacket(Christie’s)

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Ant colonies could inspire better network algorithms and robot swarms

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Colonies of ants base decisions like where to establish a nest based on their population density. Scientists theorize that ants can estimate how many of their kind are around by randomly exploring the area and bumping into other ants. New research from MIT computer scientists not only supports this theory but could also be used to analyze social networks, improve robot swarms, and yield improve algorithms for networked communications in distributed computing applications. From MIT News:

“It’s intuitive that if a bunch of people are randomly walking around an area, the number of times they bump into each other will be a surrogate of the population density,” says Cameron Musco, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and a co-author on the new paper. “What we’re doing is giving a rigorous analysis behind that intuition, and also saying that the estimate is a very good estimate, rather than some coarse estimate. As a function of time, it gets more and more accurate, and it goes nearly as fast as you would expect you could ever do.”

Musco and his coauthors — his advisor, NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering Nancy Lynch, and Hsin-Hao Su, a postdoc in Lynch’s group — characterize an ant’s environment as a grid, with some number of other ants scattered randomly across it. The ant of interest — call it the explorer — starts at some cell of the grid and, with equal probability, moves to one of the adjacent cells. Then, with equal probability, it moves to one of the cells adjacent to that one, and so on. In statistics, this is referred to as a “random walk.” The explorer counts the number of other ants inhabiting every cell it visits.

In their paper, the researchers compare the random walk to random sampling, in which cells are selected from the grid at random and the number of ants counted. The accuracy of both approaches improves with each additional sample, but remarkably, the random walk converges on the true population density virtually as quickly as random sampling does.

Exploring networks efficiently(MIT)

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The US has spent $122B training foreign cops and soldiers in 150+ countries, but isn't sure who

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More than 71 US agencies — mostly under the DoD and State Department — run expensive, unaudited, chaotic, overlapping military and police training programs in more than 150 countries on every continent except Antarctica, with no real oversight and only pro-forma checks on the recipients of this training to ensure that they aren’t human rights abusers or war criminals.

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Bear trapped in Subaru follies

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No one is quite sure how this bear got into the Subaru, located in Golden, Colorado, but this video shows how they got him out.

Via WLTX19:

“He looked like a dog inside the car just jumping back and forth from front to back,” said Deputy Josh Tillman. “He just demolished the car,”

Annie Bruecker can vouch for the damage and the smell.

“It’s like wet dog, but a little worse than wet dog,” Bruecker said.

Bruecker said her 2005 Subaru Outback was parked in her driveway overnight. She left her doors unlocked, which she said, she typically doesn’t do. Her mom woke her up Tuesday morning after discovering the black bear trapped inside the SUV.

“She screamed from downstairs,” Bruecker said. “She said, ‘Annie, there’s a bear in your car.’ And I thought that she meant that it broke a window, and I was like, ‘okay, that’s life.’ But, no she actually meant that it was in my car.”

Deputies Tillman and McLaughlin answered the call and deliberated before deciding the best option was to pop the hatch to release the bear.

Deputy McLaughlin manually opened the door while deputy Tillman stood nearby with a shotgun, in case anything dangerous were to happen.

Thankfully, the bear was mainly interested in getting back into the wild, making a run for the forest as soon as the hatch was popped.

No windows were broken, but the interior of the vehicle was destroyed.

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ESA funds to supplement Reaction Engines’ SABRE development

SABRE Reaction Engines

The European Space Agency is providing funds to support development of a British air-breathing rocket engine.

ESA signed an agreement Tuesday with Reaction Engines Ltd. to provide the company more than $10 million to continue work on the SABRE engine, with ESA serving as the project’s technical auditor.

That funding is in addition to the $80 million pledged by the British government for the engine.

SABRE is designed to collect oxygen from the air, even at high speeds, to combust with hydrogen fuel. Reaction Engines says the new contract will support development of a ground demonstrator engine ready that will be ready to begin tests in 2020. [BBC]


More News

A company developing commercial lunar landers is taking over the former Delta 2 launch site at Cape Canaveral. Moon Express announced Tuesday an agreement with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing to use several buildings at Launch Complex 17, the former Delta 2 site, as well as the neighboring Launch Complex 18. Moon Express will refurbish the buildings, using funding provided in part by Space Florida, to serve as a research and development facility for its lunar landers. Moon Express doesn’t plan to perform launches from the site, and the agreement does not extend to the launch towers themselves, which the Air Force is in the process of soliciting bids for their demolition. [SpaceNews]

The UK Space Agency announced plans to develop a propulsion test lab for rocket engines. The UK National Space Propulsion Facility, to be established at the site of the country’s former Rocket Propulsion Establishment, will host facilities for testing spacecraft and rocket engines of up to 450 pounds-force of thrust. The UK Space Agency will invest more than $5 million in the center, with industry providing some of the test facilities. [Engineering and Technology]

Rocket Lab has won a contract for three launches from Earth imaging company Planet. Under the deal, Planet (formerly known as Planet Labs) will buy three Electron launches for its fleet of Dove imaging satellites, with the first launch taking place as soon as the second quarter of 2017. Each launch will carry 20-25 satellites. Rocket Lab, headquartered in the U.S. but with engineering facilities in New Zealand, says it plans to carry out the first Electron launch later this year from its launch site in New Zealand. [SpaceNews]

Lockheed Martin is expanding its Astrotech Space Operations payload processing business in Florida. The company said Tuesday it is planning to expand Astrotech’s work in Titusville to include production of aerospace components and subsystems, pending the outcome of business case analyses. That expansion could create up to 300 new jobs. Lockheed Martin acquired Astrotech Space Operations in 2014. [Lockheed Martin]

The British government awarded five contracts Tuesday to study the feasibility of performing orbital or suborbital launches from UK territory. The study awards, with a total value of about $2 million, went to Airbus Safran Launchers, Deimos Space UK/Firefly Space Systems, Lockheed Martin, Orbital Access Ltd. and Virgin …read more

Porsche screws up

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Legendary automaker Porsche may have mistakenly swapped two screws in its 918 Spyder hybrid-hypercar’s seat belt system. Thinking of the customer, Porsche has voluntarily recalled their $850k practical, about town race car.

Via Autoevolution:

A mistake in the original parts catalog for the Porsche 918 Spyder has led to a recall of the hybrid hypercard.

Porsche 918 SpyderAccording to Porsche, the printed document unwittingly transposed the locations for the screws which tighten the seat belt mount and the belt reel mount. Since those screws are one-time-use only, and are also not the same, technicians who had to work on them might have unintentionally installed the wrong screw in the wrong position.

Because of this mishap in the original parts catalog, which has since been corrected, there is a risk of some Porsche 918 Spyder models having wrong screws fitted to their seatbelt mounts and seat belt reel mounts.

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Hear William S. Burroughs read the most depraved bits of Naked Lunch atop beautiful music

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Let Me Hang You is a collection of unreleased recordings of William S. Burroughs reading Naked Lunch accompanied by lovely and trippy music from psych-garage-soul player King Khan, experimental guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Wayne Horvitz, violinist Eyvind Kang, and other guests. Listen below! The album will be released on Friday (7/15) from Khannibalism/Ernest Jenning Record Co. From the album announcement:

Twenty years ago, William S. Burroughs was asked to record an audio version of his favorite parts of Naked Lunch. Longtime associates and producers Hal Willner and James Grauerholz produced several sessions, and they recruited a team of world class musicians to help. Famed for their Naked City involvement, Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz contributed their genius, as well as Eyvind Kang, just to name a few. The recordings were then abandoned and collecting dust on a musty shelf, as forgotten as a piece of rancid ectoplasm on a peepshow floor.

In 2015, Hal Willner decided to reopen this unfinished masterpiece and asked help from King Khan (a musician that he and Lou Reed admired and became fast friends with). Hal sent Khan all of the recordings and asked him to add his gris gris to this extremely perverted gumbo… and history was made and the scum began to rise!

King Khan recruited M Lamar, the creator of the “Negrogothic” movement and the identical twin brother of transgender actress Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), and The Frowning Clouds, a band of young Australian boys who have mastered the sixties garage punk sound…

Let Me Hang You (Amazon)

More on the project over at Dangerous Minds!

Let Me Hang You by William S. Burroughs

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For the first time, a federal judge has thrown out police surveillance evidence from a "Stingray" device

Stingrays — the trade name for an “IMSI catcher,” a fake cellphone tower that tricks cellphones into emitting their unique ID numbers and sometimes harvests SMSes, calls, and other data — are the most controversial and secretive law-enforcement tools in modern American policing. Harris, the company that manufactures the devices, swears police departments to silence about their use, a situation that’s led to cops lying to judges and even a federal raid on a Florida police department to steal stingray records before they could be introduced in open court.
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Geraldo Rivera inadvertently suggests Roger Ailes is a 600-pound rape beast

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In an attempt to defend his boss from allegations of sexual harassment, Geraldo Riviera compared Fox News chief Roger Ailes to the grizzly that mauls Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant. Unfortunately, that comparison is an odd one, because it was widely rumored before release that the bear raped the character.

Earlier this month, Matt Drudge stepped out of his link-dump comfort zone to deliver a breathless, exclusive scoop: Leonardo DiCaprio is raped by a bear in his new film The Revenant. The story spread so quickly that a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox had to tell Entertainment Weekly that “there is clearly no rape scene with a bear.”

Still nothing in the vault, Geraldo.

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US Senator Al Franken concerned about Pokemon privacy

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US Senator Al Franken doesn’t think Niantic, the creators of Pokemon GO, need all your personal information. He sent Niantic CEO John Hanke the following letter:

Dear Mr. Hanke:

I am writing to request information about Niantic s recently released augmented reality app, Pokemon GO, which – in less than a week’s time – has been downloaded approximately 7.5 million times in the United States alone. While this release is undoubtedly impressive, I am concerned about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent. I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, and that right includes an individual’s access to information, as well as the ability to make meaningful choices, about what data are being collected about them and how the data are being used. As the augmented reality market evolves,

I ask that you provide greater clarity on how Niantic is addressing issues of user privacy and security, particularly that of its younger players.

Recent reports, as well as Pokemon GO s own privacy policy, suggest that Niantic can collect a broad swath of personal information from its players. From a user’s general profile information to their precise location data and device identifiers, Niantic has access to a significant amount of information, unless users – many of whom are children – opt-out of this collection. Pokemon GO’S privacy policy states that all of this information can then be shared with The Pokemon Company and “third party service providers”, details for which are not provided, and farther indicates that Pokemon GO may share de-identified or aggregated data with other third parties for a non-exhaustive list of purposes. Finally, Pokemon GO s privacy policy specifically states that any information collected – including a child’s – “is considered to be a business asset” and will thus be disclosed or transferred to a third party in the event that Niantic is party to a merger, acquisition, or other business transaction.

Media reports have also highlighted that Pokemon GO has full access to some users’ Google accounts, which includes their Gmail services. We recognize and commend Niantic for quickly responding to these specific concerns, and ask for continued assurance that a fix will be implemented swiftly. When done appropriately, the collection and use of personal information may enhance consumers’ augmented reality experience, but we must ensure that Americans’ – especially children’s – very sensitive information is protected.

In light of these uncertainties, I respectfully request that you respond to the following questions by August 12, 2016:

1. Pokemon GO has stated that it collects a broad array of users’ personal information, including but not limited to a user’s profile and account information, their precise location data, and information obtained through Cookies and Web Beacons. Can you explain exactly which information collected by Pokemon GO is necessary for the provision or improvement of services? Are there any other purposes for which Pokemon GO collects all of this information?

2. According to reports, Pokemon GO also requests …read more

Is Mr. Robot the only 'ethical hacker?' Join him

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Mr. Robot returns to the USA network tonight and with it the world of ethical hacking is once again brought to life. If you haven’t checked it out – I highly suggest you find some time to learn about the fascinating world of corporate cybersecurity. As the world moves more and more data and communications to the Internet, the demand for ethical hackers and penetration testers is higher than ever, and these three deals can teach you how to join the exclusive club of hacktivism.

You hear about it all the time: companies getting hacked, having their websites shut down or their customers’ data compromised. When that happens, it’s time to call in ethical hackers to break into network systems, evaluate their security, and propose solutions.

By understanding the vulnerabilities and dangers presented by your network’s structure, you’ll learn how to remedy these gaps and save your company from major security breeches. After this course for 92% off you’ll be well on your way to being one of these hackers, paid generously to hack networks, apps, emails, social media accounts, and more!

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A little film about the world's largest model train

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Some Kind of Quest is an 11-minute documentary short about Bruce Zaccagnino, whose model train installation near NYC is one of the world’s largest.

“What happens when artwork becomes life’s work? When creator becomes a caretaker? SOME KIND OF QUEST, from Sylvain Labs, Greencard Pictures and director, Andrew Wilcox, is a film that invites you into the singular world of Northlandz, a 52,000-square-foot model train installation just 75 minutes outside of Manhattan, and into the ornery mind of the man—and steadfast wife—who brought it all to life.”

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Minneapolis police abuse copyright law to censor their controversial shoot-first recruiting video

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Less than a week after an officer from a nearby force shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop, leaving him to die in front of his child and girlfriend (and the world on livestream) the Minneapolis Police Department has perjured itself in issuing a copyright takedown notice to Youtube in order to suppress a controversial recruiting video that depicted the jobs of MPD officers as being a firearms-heavy shoot-em-up.
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Why the founder of Mother's Day came to hate the holiday

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Anna Jarvis organized the first observance of Mother’s Day in 1908 and campaigned to have it adopted throughout the U.S. But she then spent the next 40 years bitterly fighting to control every aspect of the holiday. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the evolution of Mother’s Day and Jarvis’ belligerent efforts to dictate how it should be celebrated.

We’ll also meet a dog that flummoxed the Nazis and puzzle over why a man is fired for doing his job too well.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

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Warren Ellis's "Normal": serialized technothriller about futurists driven mad by tech-overload and bleakness

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In Normal, Warren Ellis (previously) sets a technothriller in a kind of rehab center for futurists and foresight specialists who’ve developed “abyss gaze” — a kind of special bleak depression that overtakes people who plug themselves into the digital world 24/7 in order to contemplate our precarious days to come.
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FBI closes D.B. Cooper hijacking case

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Hijacker D.B. Cooper leaped from a plane in a storm with $200,000 and a parachute and was never seen again. The FBI, after 45 years of investigation, is letting him slip into legend for good.

On Nov. 24, 1971 passenger Dan Cooper threatened to blow up a Northwest Orient flight if he didn’t receive $200,000, four parachutes and a flight to Mexico.

As part of the agreement between Cooper and authorities, passengers on the flight were dropped off at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In exchange for the hostages, ransom loot and the parachutes were brought aboard.

Shortly before hitting the Oregon border, Cooper jumped out of the plane’s tail exit with two of the chutes. Neither Cooper, nor his remains, were ever found. Tattered ransom money was found along the banks of the Columbia River in 1980.

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Juno probe sends first Jupiter pic back to Earth

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Having successfully slipped into orbit around Jupiter, Juno sent its first image back to Earth.

NASA on Tuesday released an image taken by the satellite on Sunday from a distance of 2.7 million miles; it even shows the Great Red Spot, though the famous storm has been shrinking in recent decades and may not be as great as it once was.

“We’re quite pleased that we survived going through Jupiter orbit insertion,” said Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, a scientist at Planetary Science Institute in Tucson who is responsible for the operation of the camera. “The fact it’s a beautiful image is

already a good thing.”

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