Day: July 18, 2016

This stylish vaporizer will have you 'lighting up' in no time flat

The best part of smoking is the moment when it’s finally time to inhale that first breath, kick back, and relax. But getting to that first inhale isn’t always the easiest task, and you’re often left with a bigger mess than when you started.

There’s a better way, and it’s called the Hippie 2.0 Vaporizer. This compact little vape packs a powerful punch: it has a temperature scale of 356 F- 428 F, is constructed with a full ceramic chamber, and charges quickly via USB.

Plus, it’s smart enough to remember what your last temperature setting was, so you’ll always have the best smoking experience, every time (no more fiddling with the perfect way to pack the bowl).

The Hippie 2.0 Vaporizer also comes with an assortment of goodies including a USB charger cable, a glass pipe attachment, and a sleek leather carrying case—all for just $96 (39% off the original price of $159).

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Dr. Jill Stein's epically batshit 'Bernie Sanders can still win’ theory

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Green party presidential hopeful Dr. Jill Stein wins the nod for this election’s coveted “Most insane Bernie Sanders can win rant”! After losing the Democratic Primary there is not much that needs to be said about Bernie’s chances. The candidate himself has said he’ll be supporting Clinton.

Dr. Stein shared this analysis of Sander’s endorsement on Facebook:

Anyone trashing Bernie today needs to wake up and respect the masterful chess move he just made.

Q. Why did Bernie endorse Hillary now?

A. They threatened to completey shut him out of the convention if he didn’t.

Q. Couldn’t he have said screw them and go and fight at the convention anyway?

A. No. Hillary has more delegates, Superdelegates, and supporters on the DNC rules committee. They would have voted down every one of our platforms, denied Bernie the opportunity to speak, and basically shut him out of the entire process. All the leverage he has gained up to this point would be gone.

Q. So wait, Bernie DIDN’T quit today?

A. No. He had to say she won the primary, he endorses her and will help the party defeat Trump, yadda yadda but he DID NOT concede. There is a very big and important difference. Had he conceded, all of his delegates would go to Hillary and he would no longer be an option for nominee.

Q. So Bernie can actually still win??

A. YES. And if he wasn’t still TRYING to win, he would have conceded. The ONLY option he had to get to the convention with his delegates behind him and have a chance to still win was to do what he did today. He is not a traitor. He didn’t sell us out. He did the only possible thing he could have done to keep fighting for the nomination.

Q. So how can Bernie still win if he’s losing the delegate count and he just said he will help Hillary win the election?

A. By far the most important thing to the DNC, even more important than making sure Hillary beats Bernie, is making sure the Democratic nominee beats the Republicans in November. They scrutinize every poll, every opinion of the public, every event to judge whether a candidate is strong enough to win in November. There are A LOT of things going on right now that show how weak of a general election candidate Hillary Clinton is:

-66% of the country sees her as untrustworthy

-60% thinks she should have been indicted for the email scandal

-A lot of Bernie supporters won’t vote for her

-Congress has requested the Department of Justice investigate her for lying under oath about the email scandal

-There’s a possibility more emails will be leaked by wikileaks or hackers further proving her guilt
-Many believe the FBI is secretly investigating the Clinton Foundation

-Her “wins” during the primary have been tainted with accusations of fraud, suppression, lawsuits, and investigations

And then there’s Bernie. An honest candidate people trust and whose approval rating and trustworthy rating crushes Clinton’s. This is the argument Bernie will make at the convention. With all …read more

1,300 Unknown Galaxies Discovered By South African Astronomers

Left: A patch of sky about as big as the full moon where the MeerKAT telescope discerned the radio glow of about 200 galaxies. Only a few (circled) had been previously observed; Right: A distant galaxy that is being blown up by a black hole at its center. Credit SKA South Africa

A group of South African astronomers announced on Saturday the discovery of more than a thousand galaxies never before known to have been seen or recorded by human beings. The astronomers “were showing off the first taste of the ultimate cosmic feast of what is to come, at least as seen from this particular dusty crumb called Earth,” writes Dennis Overbye at the New York Times:

When it’s done, sometime around 2030, the Square Kilometer Array, as it is known, will be the largest telescope ever built on our planet. It will consist of thousands of radio antennas that will collectively cover a square kilometer (hence the name), spread out in mathematically intricate patterns in South Africa and Australia.

The telescope is being built by an international collaboration with its headquarters at the University of Manchester in England. The first phase, to be completed in 2023, will cost 650 million euros.

Astronomers estimate that it will pull some 35,000-DVDs-worth of data down from the sky every second. So much that it would take 2 million years to play on your smartphone.

For now the bounty consists of the radio glow of some 1,300 distant galaxies spotted in a patch of sky about 20 times the size of the full moon, where only 70 galaxies had been counted before. Some of them are erupting in cataclysms as massive black holes in their hearts spew radioactive high-energy particles across the dark sea of space.

South African Telescope Spots 1,300 Unknown Galaxies [NYT]

These Frank Chu signs are fake and created with the acme.com/chumaker, but the New York Times headline reminded me of Chu’s intergalactic imaginings.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

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Trump's Ghostwriter: Trump would end civilization as we know it

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Tony Schwartz, Donald Trump’s ghostwriter for the New York Times‘ bestseller, The Art of the Deal (1987), is terrified that Trump is running for president. He told Good Morning America today that he has a “deep sense of remorse” over writing the book.

Schwartz spent 18 months with Trump in the 1980s to get to know him and his voice, and says Trump is “insecure,” “easily provoked,” and, with his “tiny” attention span, can’t focus on anything. “He’s not nearly as smart as people might imagine he is,” Schwartz said. “In the face of someone like Putin, provoking him cleverly – because Putin is a heck of a lot smarter than Donald Trump – I do worry that with the nuclear codes he would end civilization as we know it.”

At the time, Schwartz enjoyed writing the book, and never thought it was important to speak out negatively about Trump – until Trump became the Republican nominee for president. Since then, Schwartz hasn’t slept a full night through, and wishes he never would have written the book.

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How to Hide Anything, a free booklet

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“How To Hide Anything” is Michael Connor’s 1984 book about rigging secret hiding places for your contraband and even yourself. Download the book for free here at Archive.org or purchase a hardcopy from Amazon. Connor is also the author of other well-intentioned self-help books like “Sneak It Through: Smuggling Made Easier” and “The Power of Positive Revenge: A Winner’s Guide to Exacting Vengeance.”

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Photo of "ghost" at scene of fatal motorcycle wreck

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Last week, a motorcyclist tragically died on a highway near Stanton, Kentucky. A fellow nearby, Saul Vazquez, snapped a photo of the scene from his truck and was surprised to see what appears to be an apparition floating above the deceased. Vazquez posted the image on Facebook but when reached by Lex18 news reporters would only say that “the photo has not been altered.”

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Vintage photos of faux decapitations

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Esteemed vernacular photography collector Robert Jackson shares his favorite 19th and 20th century photos of people who’ve lost their heads thanks to pre-Photoshop trickery. It’s a delightful photography tradition that in 1973 inspired my late brother Mark Pescovitz to create his own “Head Photographer (self portrait),” seen at the bottom of this page!

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“Head Photographer (self portrait)” by Mark Pescovitz, c. 1973:

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Report: Ailes out at Fox News

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Gabriel Sherman, National Affairs Editor at New York Magazine, reports that Fox News boss Roger Ailes is being “removed” by the Murdochs. He’s been nailed by the company’s internal probe into him, triggered by claims of sexual harassment leveled by Gretchen Carlson.

After reviewing the initial findings of the probe, James Murdoch is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired. Lachlan is more aligned with their father, who thinks that no action should be taken until after the GOP convention this week. Another source confirms that all three are in agreement that Ailes needs to go.

While Gretchen Carlson’s sexual-harassment lawsuit against Ailes sparked the investigation, sources say it has expanded into a wide-ranging inquiry into Ailes’s controversial management style.

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Fashion student simulates couture collection made from Alexander McQueen's cloned skin

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Alexander McQueen’s first collection after graduating from Central Saint Martins was Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims which included locks of his hair; for her own grad project, called “Pure Human,” Central Saint Martins student Tina Gorjanc created a line of clothes and accessories that asks the audience to imagine that it was made from pelts cloned from DNA retrieved from McQueen’s hair strands.
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Gonorrhea may soon be unbeatable

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Approximately 350,000 people in the US are diagnosed with gonorrhea each year. According to the CDC, it may soon be untreatable. Currently, the sexually-transmitted disease, not-so-fondly known as The Clap or The Drip, is treated with two antibiotics, azithromycin and ceftriaxone. Data is currently showing a rise in gonorrhea samples that are resistant to those drugs.

Companies are developing new antibiotics but could be “years away,” says CDC medical epidemiologist Robert D. Kirkcaldy.

“We think … it’s a matter of when and not if with resistance,” he says. “This bug is so smart and can mutate so rapidly.”

(Scientific American)

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Surprise: Copyright trolls rip off the rightsholders they supposedly "represent"

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The copyright troll business-model: a sleazy lawyer gets copyright holders to one or more films (often, but not always, porn) to deputize them to police those rights; then the lawyer’s company uses sloppy investigative techniques to accuse internet users of violating those copyrights; they use deceptive notices to get ISPs to give them contact details for those users (or to get the ISPs to pass notices on to the users); then they send “speculative invoices” to their victims, demanding money not to sue — usually a sum that’s calculated to be less than it would cost to ask a lawyer whether it’s worth paying.
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Turkey: 6,000 arrested following coup, but that doesn't make it an inside job

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The failed military coup in Turkey was bizarre, even (especially) by the standards of Turkish military coups (which is a surprisingly large data-set), and in the wake of the coup, 6,000 people were promptly rounded up and arrested including respected judges, powerful military leaders, prosecutors, and a whole list of others whose names seem to have been put on an enemies list long before any coup.
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Employees at Silicon Valley start-up fast 36 hours each week

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Nootrobox is a Silicon Valley company that sells nootropics (aka “smart drugs’). The employees there stop eating Monday night and don’t eat again until Wednesday morning.

From San Jose Mercury News:

[Nootrobox co-founder and CEO Geoffrey Woo], his Nootrobox co-workers and other techies interested in the same question break their weekly fast with a meal at San Francisco restaurant Elmira every Wednesday morning. The purpose of the fasts is to achieve a state of ketosis, which means the body has run out of carbohydrates and instead is burning fat for fuel. Ketosis has been shown to affect the brain in various ways — it helps prevent seizures in children, for example — and some biohackers say it keeps them focused and alert.

“By the end of the day I just have way more energy,” said Katie Fritts, founder of San Francisco-based Underclub, an underwear subscription service.

But fasting isn’t for everyone. San Francisco-based software engineer Yan Zhu, who breakfasts with the Nootrobox group but isn’t employed at the company, gave it up after a few weeks.

“It was just endless suffering and wanting to die,” she said.

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Recomendo - a new email newsletter of recommendations and tips

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I run a website with Kevin Kelly and Claudia Lamar called Cool Tools. The three of us have started a weekly email newsletter of things (experiences, tips, entertainments) we personally use and recommend. It’s called Recomendo. Here’s what Kevin says about it:

We’ll be recommending 6 items in an extremely short email every week. Mark, myself, and Claudia — the entire staff of Cool Tools — will suggest good stuff we have personally used, consumed, or experienced. We’ll try to keep each recommendations light and fast, to no more than a sentence or two. They won’t be definitive reviews; rather they’ll be quick recommendations. Going back again to our roots, we’ve named it Recomendo — which, believe it or not, was the name of this site before I renamed it Cool Tools.

If you want great tools, stay on (or sign onto) the Cool Tools newsletter. To get all the other kinds of things we encounter and enjoy sharing, sign up for Recomendo here. As usual, we don’t do anything with your info except send you short and sweet one-screen news once a week.

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The Worrier's Guide to Life is a humorous antidote for all us panickers out there

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The Worrier’s Guide to Life

by Gemma Correll

Andrews McMeel Publishing

2015, 112 pages, 6.5 x 8 x 0.4 inches (softcover)

$11 Buy a copy on Amazon

Are you an every-second second-guesser? Do pizza, sweatpants, and pugs sound like your perfect Friday night? Do you ever want to punch your brain in the face? Are you starting to feel anxious because I’m asking you so many questions? Find comfort in Gemma Correll’s new collection of comic snapshots, The Worrier’s Guide to Life.

You can easily slip this slender book into your bag and bring it along to all those anxiety-producing other-people-filled situations that seem to dominate life. When faced with an overly crowded waiting room full of obviously contagious people whose germs will surely turn your sinus infection into a face plague, hide your nose in this book! If you’re forced to stomach a social gathering full of professional bloggers who couldn’t possibly look that good or be that happy in real life but ohmygod they do and they are and you haven’t showered in three days, steal away to a corner, flip open this book, and remember you’re not alone! Correll offers sketches of an anxious life, as lived by everyone from fetuses to fairytale princesses, interspersed with snippets from her ongoing series of punny visual lists. These delightfully silly sets include “Urban Birthstones,” featuring rings topped with a bit of styrofoam, a cigarette butt, or a balled-up passive-aggressive note, depending on your month, as well as “Pasta Shapes for the Depressed,” “Sexy Halloween Costumes for the Ladyeez,” and “Ye Olde Video Games.”

You can get a daily fix of Gemma Correll’s illustrated insights and anxieties via her various social media streams, but it’s lovely to actually flip through her work in a real-life book rather than, or in addition to, reading it on a scrolling screen. The Worrier’s Guide to Life also makes a fabulous gift for that perfect friend who never judges you for eating all the ice cream, texting her the conversations you have with your pet, or using Google like a magic eight ball. You know, the one who gets it.

– Marykate Smith Despres

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The story of the train that broke through a building in Paris in 1895

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This famous photo of a crashed train engine leaning against a building is often seen on posters warning people to plan carefully. The photo was taken on 22 October 1895 at the Gare Montparnasse in Paris. It is commonly referred to as the Montparnasse derailment.

At 4:00pm that day the Granville–Paris Express ran through the bumper at the end of the track. (Here are photos of track bumpers, also known as buffer stops.) The train was running late, so the driver was going faster than usual. Unfortunately, the Westinghouse air brake failed. After breaking through the bumper, the train skidded across the concourse and broke through the two-foot thick station wall. The engine fell 30 feet to the street, ending up as you see in the photo. None of the 131 passengers died, but six people were injured and one woman in the street died when she was hit by falling debris. The woman was working at a newsstand at the time. The railway company supported the woman’s two children.

The passenger cars were completely undamaged. Ten men used a winch to lower the locomotive, which was taken to a repair station. An inspection revealed only minor damage.

The crash was beautifully recreated in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. Here’s the clip, along with some behind the scenes footage of the making of the models and special effects:

A similar train accident occurred around the same era in Hartford, CT.

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History of white rappers

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MTV’s Carvell Wallace offers a condensed history of white rappers.

As the genre grew from art to hustle to full-fledged industry, multinational corporations began to exert increased control over its products and direction. Protecting its cultural roots against the ensuing opportunistic influx became a martyr’s errand; so much so that Rakim himself felt it necessary to reframe his famous line, placing it in entirely different context on his 1990 single “In the Ghetto”: “So I collect my cash, then slide / I’ve got my back, my gun’s on my side / It shouldn’t have to be like that / I guess it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” Rather than an open invitation for all into rap, the line is flipped into a necessary reminder of the genre’s dour beginnings. And possibly a subtle dis at what it was already becoming.

Blondie’s Rapture was the first rap video MTV saw fit to play. The second was a comedy song by Rodney Dangerfield, embedded above.

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Gentleman accused of illegally owning human brain, using embalming fluid to get high

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On June 21, Joshua Lee Long’s aunt was cleaning her trailer in Carlisle, Pennsylvania when she found a department store bag containing a human brain under the porch. She called the police, who interviewed Mr. Long. He admitted that he sprayed his marijuana cigarettes with the formaldehyde-based embalming fluid used to preserve the brain before smoking them. The 26-year-old was charged with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy.

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Examples of bad CGI collected

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r/BadCGI is my new favorite subreddit, whose inhabitants share examples of grotesque, inept, or amusingly dated computer graphic animation. Embedded here for your enjoyment is the full movie of Joshua and the Promised Land.

P.S. Has anyone noticed that the cripplingly addictive game in Star Trek: The Next Generation is basically Pokemon Go, but with only one Pokemon? Right down to the quality of the graphics!

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Speaking of Pokemon, here’s a genuinely terrifying PC version from 2000:

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Simulation of live mobile internet stats

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This simulation of live mobile internet stats offers a sense of scale: there are millions of concurrent Google searches, and, every minute, about half a million photos posted on WhatsApp, 3,000 smartphones sold (roughly half from Samsung and Apple), 35m messages sent on Facebook, and 40m emails opened. It is a marketing infographic, take heed, but it does conclude “Heck some people think smartphones are the gateway to transhumanism, where one day we will fully merge with machines!”, which is nice. …read more