Day: July 15, 2016

Turkey coup: Military faction says it has taken control of country; prime minister disagrees

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An attempted coup is underway in Turkey. Earlier today, barricades were erected on bridges in Istanbul and jets were spotted flying low in Ankara; by 11:30 p.m., the Prime Minister said that the government remained in charge; shortly before midnight, the military—or at least part of it—said it was.

Gunfire was also heard outside Istanbul police HQ and tanks are said to be stationed outside Istanbul airport. All flights are cancelled.
CNN Turk reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was “safe” but did not elaborate.
A statement from the military group read out on NTV television said: “The power in the country has been seized in its entirety.” Who represents the group remains uncertain.
But Mr Yildirim told NTV by telephone: “We are working on the possibility of an attempt. We will not allow this attempt.

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Biohacking for Newbies: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Getting an NFC Chip Implant

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A few months ago, on a last-minute whim of curiosity, I attended a biohacking gathering. When I departed L.A. for a random small town address in the Mojave desert, I did not know I would return 36 hours later with my hand wrapped in a bandage, having willingly undergone an unnecessary medical procedure in a wacky garage-turned-mad-science-lab with some guy I’d never met. I did not know I’d be grinning all the way home because I’d become one step closer to being a cyborg.

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Roku's 3600R streaming stick just rules

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The 2016 edition of the Roku streaming stick is even better than the last.

I love Roku. I’ve replaced all my set top boxes with Roku units. I was using Roku 3 and 4’s but this streaming stick is just as fast, has the same video quality and is a lot smaller/easier to deal with. Less cabling.

Sporting 4 processors the Roku 3600R is every bit as fast as my set top box style Roku units. It does everything they do that I want from it. I understand games may not function as well, but that has never been something I tried on the Roku.

Roku with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Plex is how my video consumption occurs these days. The YouTube app is also wonderful. Roku sports hundred, if not thousands, of custom and 3rd party channels as well. If you like international sports, or just miss programming from far away, Roku is pretty great.

Roku Streaming Stick (3600R) via Amazon

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San Francisco's bike lines have become Uber's pickup/dropoff zones (and the cops don't care)

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It’s no secret that San Francisco’s cops hate cyclists — they won’t investigate hit-and-runs, they blame cyclists for accidents and harass them, they run them down in bike lanes — so it’s no surprise that they stand by idly while San Francisco’s busy biking lanes are turned into pick-up and drop-off zones by Uber and Lyft drivers, forcing cyclists to swerve into traffic.
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Relax on something that looks sorta like a Rover from 'the Prisoner' would if you could relax on it

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Chill like you know who Number One is! At the park, on the beach, in the pool — people will wonder if that thing really is comfortable, or if it was a gift? Get excited about the Air Hammock! Go ahead, try!

This portable, durable inflatable chair is easy to take with you anywhere, and might chase down rogue agents on your prison island. The rectangular, but Rover-like chair inflates with just a few scoops of wind.

Wherever you go this summer, you’ll have a place to sit. Problem SOLVED, Number Six! Save 54% on the Air Hammock now in the Boing Boing shop and get your summer started right.

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Why do Pokemon avoid black neighborhoods?

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The crowdsourced database that was use to seed locations to catch Pokemon in Pokemon Go came from early augmented reality games that were played by overwhelmingly affluent (and thus, disproportionately white) people, who, in an increasingly racially segregated America, are less and less likely to venture into black neighborhoods, meaning that fewer Pokemon-catching landmarks have been tagged there.

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First case of female-to-male sexually-transmitted Zika reported, in NYC

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The Centers for Disease Control and Infection reported the first confirmed case of Zika transmitted from a woman to a man during sex. Previously, they thought that the disease was only likely to be sexually-transmitted from a male to female or male to male. The CDC will soon update their advisory “for sexually active people in which the couple is not pregnant or concerned about pregnancy and for people who want to reduce personal risk of Zika infection through sex.” From CNN:

A non-pregnant woman in her 20s had unprotected vaginal sex with a male partner on the day she returned from travel to a country where Zika is circulating. The next day, she came down with Zika-like symptoms, including fever, rash, fatigue and muscle pain, along with numbness and tingling in her fingers and toes. On day three, she visited her primary care doctor, who took blood and urine samples, and sent them off to the NYC health department. Both tested positive for the virus.

On day seven after intercourse, her male partner, also in his 20s, began to show the same typical signs of Zika, such as fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, despite the fact that he had not traveled outside the United States for more than a year…

While this is the first documented case of female to male sexual transmission, it’s not the first clue that the Zika virus might be hiding in the female genital tract. A case report published this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal tells the story of a 27-year old Guadeloupean woman who came down with Zika in May. Even though Zika was absent from her blood and urine 11 days after she fell ill, her cervical mucus still tested positive for the virus. And recently, a study on rhesus monkeys showed that the virus remained in the vaginal fluid of three non-pregnant females.

Suspected Female-to-Male Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus — New York City, 2016(CDC)
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Google "deletes" artist's blog, erasing 12 years of work

Photo: Todd BInger (cc)

Artist Dennis Cooper reports that Google shut down his website, without explanation, erasing 12 years of work.

Along with his blog, Google disabled Cooper’s email address, through which most of his correspondence was conducted, he told me via Facebook message. He got no communication from Google about why it decided to kill his email address and blog.

Cooper used the blog to post his fiction, research, and visual art, and as Artforum explains, it was also “a platform through which he engaged almost daily with a community of followers and fellow artists.” His latest GIF novel (as the term suggests, a novel constructed with animated GIFs) was also mostly saved to the blog.

“It seems that the only option I have left is to sue Google,” Cooper told Artforum. “This will not be easy for me for the obvious reasons, but I’m not going to just give up ten years of my and others’ work without doing everything possible.”

You’re savvy, you know the drill. You don’t have to blame the victim, a nontechnical person who had no idea how or why a data host could screw him. Just keep nagging everyone you know to keep multiple backups of everything and to be wary of becoming dependent on specific online services for reaching friends, colleagues, customers, and audiences.

Even people smart to these issues still get suckered, too. For example, consider your “cloud storage”. Just as susceptible to Dennis Cooper’s experience, which in the coming years many of us will also enjoy.

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Demonic possession on the rise in America, and other tabloid stunners

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Dark smoke rings hover in the sky over Zurich, Leamington Spa in England, and even Disneyland.

Are they naturally occurring air vortices, or thermal microbursts as some meteorologists believe?

Of course not.

“They came from another dimension!” explains the National Examiner, whose crack science team reports: “Some believe they are UFOs or a sign of some supernatural presence.”

That’s about as logical as everything else in this week’s factually-challenged tabloids and celebrity magazines.

“Hillary failed secret FBI lie detector!” screams the National Enquirer’s front page, claiming that she failed to tell the truth about sending military secrets on her private email server. Pot, meet kettle. Hillary Clinton never took a polygraph test when testifying before the FBI. Rather, the Enquirer simply fed audio of some of her public statements through a purported stress detector, which I’m guessing came with its own decoder ring, cape and mask when you send $2.99 and ten cereal box tops. It was a “secret” test because nobody except the Enquirer knew she was taking it, raising forensic science to new levels.

Just as former ‘Friends’ star Jennifer Aniston was publicly raging this week against tabloid intrusion, lies and the perpetuation of unrealistic body images, the Enquirer obliged by reporting “Aniston’s boob job to save her rocky marriage . . . “ Declared Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr Susan Evans: “Jennifer’s breasts look much fuller than they used to.” Because a plastic surgeon just won’t do. It takes a certified dermatologist to determine if mammary glands look larger. Or maybe Aniston just wore a push-up bra.

Actress Sandra Bullock is cautioned: “Stay away from bad boy Bryan!” in a two-page Enquirer story about her new boyfriend. Who issued this dire warning? Not Sandy’s parents, or Bryan’s ex-girlfriend, nor a behavioral psychologist or probation officer. No: “Sandra Bullock’s childhood drama teacher urges her to ditch lover,” reveals the Enquirer, which wants a 50-year-old successful independent single mother to take romantic advice from the 81-year-old who once taught her as a little girl. Seems reasonable to me. We should all take life advice from kindergarten teachers we haven’t seen in decades.

The unending body-shaming continues in the Enquirer: actress Valerie Bertinelli is warned: “Diet or die!” after allegedly gaining 49 pounds; the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is a “walking skeleton” and “Royal insiders fears she’s anorexic”; and Angelina Jolie is supposedly 79 pounds “and wasting away.” Then the Examiner goes and ruins it all by reporting on the 490-pound Bobbi-Jo Westley “whose 90-inch bottom is helping her make some very big bucks” by appearing scantily clad on live webcams for “chubby chasers.”

“I’m very confident and it’s my body, so if I want to show the world me naked or in bra and panties, that’s what I choose to do,” she says. If only Jennifer Aniston had a 90-inch backside.

People magazine devotes its cover and six pages inside to “Real people, inspiring stories, easy diet tips,” demoting “America’s agony” and “our nation’s race crisis” to a small box in the corner, because Thin Lives Matter.

“Demonic possession on …read more

Mann's Pictorial Dictionary and Cyclopedia – The most miscellaneous miscellany out there

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Mann’s Pictorial Dictionary and Cyclopedia Vol. 1

National Library Publications

1960, 240 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches

$20 and up (used) Buy a copy on Amazon

What are the different parts of a knife called? How about the parts of a plough? Does anyone know what kind of mousetrap this is? What do Eskimo ice scrapers look like? I’ve got this chrysalis here — what kind of butterfly or moth will emerge from it? Can anyone show me the difference between a bath tap and a double flexible tube cock? How about a White Persian versus a Manx? How did the piano evolve? What kind of ship is that sailing out of the harbor?

All of these questions and a ridiculously large number more are answered in Mann’s Pictoral Dictionary and Cyclopedia, 240 pages of the most miscellaneous miscellany out there. Each page poses a not-entirely-naturally-worded question at the top, then answers it with illustrations. If we believe the foreword of this 1960 edition, the original book was found in a bombed-out library in England shortly after WWII. One illustration shows a woman’s hairstyle from 1920, while another list, “To Which Country in the British Empire Does That Badge Belong?” includes Kenya and Gold Cost which, if I know my British history (note: I do not), suggests the book was published sometime between 1920-1957.

I’d owned this book for several years before I realized that the pages are not random, they’re alphabetical (as long as you can figure out what category the page has been classified under, which is not always clear). This leads to delightful transitions like going from cat’s cradle games, to cattle breeds, to oak chairs, or from “What Bible Fruit is That?” to “Examples of British Game Birds.”

The British dial is set to 11. “What is the Name of That Sedge? The Chief Species Growing in Britain” is a two-page spread on grasses. “What is the Meaning of Those Badges Worn by the Boy Scouts?” asks another page. “Which British Owl is That?” — it turns out that “Ten owls are found wild in England, and by means of these drawings it will be possible to identify any owl that may be seen.” Identify your raptors with confidence, Britain! It’s out of print, but used copies can be found at the link above.

– Sara Lorimer

Note: The book reviewed here is Volume 1, but the link above has offers for both Volume 1 & 2, 240 pages each, starting at $20 for the set.

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UK Royal Society's #1 cybersecurity recommendation: don't backdoor crypto

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The Royal Society, once presided over by Isaac Newton, is one of Britain’s most respected learned institutions: that’s why it matters so much that the organisation’s new report, “Progress and research in cybersecurity,” begins by demanding that government “must commit to
preserving the robustness of encryption,
including end-to-end encryption, and
promoting its widespread use. Encryption
is a foundational security technology that
is needed to build user trust, improve
security standards and fully realise the
benefits of digital systems.”
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French President Francois Hollande pays $11,000 a month for haircuts

Photo by A. Bouirabdane

French President Francois Hollande’s taxpayers are delighted to spend $11,000 a month on their beloved leader’s haircuts.

From NPR:

“I can understand the questions, I can understand that there are judgements,” said [French government spokesman Stephane] Le Foll, as AFP reported. “Everyone has their hair done, don’t they?”

The amount Hollande pays his personal hairdresser is roughly the same as a government minister’s salary, according to The New York Times. The job comes with significant responsibilities: the hairdresser is “committed to secrecy and needs to be available 24/7,” France 24 reported.

French citizens are showing their support for Hollande’s haircut budget on Twitter:

Quand on flambe l’argent du contribuable on s’attend à un minimum de résultat. #CoiffeurGate pic.twitter.com/lxY7vZLezq

— Patrizio Cantello (@TheOwLisWatchin) July 13, 2016

Les photos privées qui justifient le salaire du coiffeur de #Hollande sont enfin dévoilées #CoiffeurGate pic.twitter.com/6BgkpdJkkq

— Sarkoziste #NS2017 (@Sarkoziste) July 13, 2016

Pour la moitié du salaire proposé je veux bien m’occuper de la coiffure de François Hollande. #CoiffeurGate pic.twitter.com/GsDmHJ8Ao6

— Rashmaninoff (@RasheedDaci) July 13, 2016

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UK PM Theresa May nukes climate change department, appoints a climate denier as Climate Secretary

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One of Theresa May’s first act as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was to shutter the Department for Energy and Climate Change, moving the climate change to a new entity called the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, with Andrea Leadsom — who, as Energy Minister, celebrated her first day on the job in 2015 by asking the civil service “Is climate change real?” and giving the UK coal industry a role in answering the question — as Environment Secretary.
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Baton Rouge cop tired of y'all saying you're journalists

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WWNO New Orleans Public Radio’s Ryan Kailath, above, a reporter assigned to cover protests in Baton Rouge, was arrested there (with several other journalists) and charged with obstructing a highway. One of the officers looked at Kailath (who is of south Indian ancestry but booked as black) and said: “I’m tired of y’all saying you’re journalists.

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Time is running out for Net Neutrality in Europe: here's what you can do about it

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The Net Neutrality fight in Europe epitomises everything wrong with the EU: a decision that will adversely effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people being taken by unelected bureaucrats, working in obscurity, attended by the well-paid lobbyists of the telcoms industry, which will only make continental headlines when it is a fair accompli.

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NASA seeking ideas for use of space station docking port

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SAN DIEGO — As two companies move forward with plans to develop commercial modules for use on the International Space Station as precursors to independent space stations, NASA is soliciting concepts for use of a space station docking port.

NASA issued a request for information (RFI) July 1 about how “limited availability, unique International Space Station capabilities” could be used to support economic development in low Earth orbit. “This RFI is being used to determine private market interest in using unique ISS capabilities that have limited availability in order to advance economic development in LEO,” the document states.

That request specifically mentions future use of the aft docking port on the Node 3, or Tranquility, module. That port is currently occupied by the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), installed on the station earlier this year for a two-year test. It would thus be available for use by other modules as soon as 2018, when the BEAM is removed from the station.

Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, mentioned the RFI at a July 13 hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee, saying NASA was seeking input for how industry could use the port and how the agency could work with companies to gain access to it.

“We essentially have one of the ports on the space station that we’re going to make available to the private sector to go utilize how they want,” he said. NASA would provide power and life support for that module in addition to the docking port itself, he said, while the company using the port would purchase cargo and crew transportation services from the private companies that provide similar services for NASA.

“We asked them for ideas of how they would use this port,” Gerstenmaier said of the RFI. “It will be exciting to see what the private sector tells us in this response. How can they use this unique asset?”

Gerstenmaier suggested that a company might seek to install their own module at that port as a precursor for an independent station once the ISS is retired. “And then at some point, when the station’s life is exceeded, they could undock from the station and be the basis for the next private sector station,” he said.

At least two companies have expressed an interest in placing a private module on the ISS as a precursor to a full-fledged commercial space station. In April, Bigelow Aerospace announced it was in discussions with NASA about installing one of its B330 modules on the ISS as soon as 2020.

Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Aerospace, did not specifically mention that proposal during a panel session at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference here July 14. He did state that the company was on schedule to have two B330 modules ready for launch by 2020. “Things are looking very good so far,” he said.

Bigelow said after the panel session that Bigelow was still in discussions with NASA about installing a B330 on the station. “We have made a formal …read more