Day: July 20, 2016

Elderly woman beats mugger with bacon


Police in Greater Manchester, UK report that an 86-year-old woman withdrew cash from an ATM before entering a supermarket where she was confronted by a mugger.

“The lady then defended herself by repeatedly hitting the female offender over the head with a packet of bacon,” according to a GMP Trafford South post on Facebook. “The offender then retreated and made off from the supermarket.”

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Smithsonian launches online Apollo 11 high-res 3D spacecraft model for moon landing's 47th anniversary


One great way to commemorate the 47th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 moon landing, which took place this day in 1969, is to travel to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC (highly recommended!), and see in person the “Columbia” spacecraft that carried astronauts to the moon. But for those of us who can’t get to DC and are feeling the O.G. space spirit, starting today you can explore a virtual reality simulation of the capsule’s interior, painstakingly digitized by Smithsonian staff.


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Maine Man accused of "nearly decapitating" neighbor with machete, burying him with rotting dead deer

Maine man Bruce Akers used machete to nearly decapitate neighbor, court docs say

A very bad man in Maine is charged with a very weird murder. Prosecutors say Bruce Akers used a machete to try and decapitate a neighbor (is “nearly decapitating” worse? because that’s what happened), then buried the victim’s remains together with the partially decomposed carcasses of deer he killed previously.



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Hacker claims $20K in dark web sales of leaked 'World-Check' terrorism watchlist


Ever wonder if it’s really a good idea for there to be “terrorism watch lists” created by for-profit businesses, with no accountability to the privacy rights of ordinary citizens like you and me?

The best-known of these, Thomson Reuters’ “World-Check,” recently leaked to the so-called dark web. The database is compiled from public sources, and is sold by Thomson Reuters to vetted clients in government, intelligence agencies, banks, law firms, and the like.


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Rock Against the TPP: coming to a town near you


Evan from Fight for the Future writes, “Hey Internet! How about some good news for a change? A bunch of awesome musicians, actors, and activists are teaming up to organize a series of concerts, protests, and teach-ins to spark an uprising and stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the shadowy global deal that threatens Internet freedom, the environment, jobs, and more. Check out this video to see who’s on board, and then see if the tour is coming to your town, and get FREE tickets.

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The Gathering of the Juggalos turns 17


The RNC in Cleveland isn’t the only unhinged, drunken, drug-fueled marathon party going on this week.

Starting today, thousands of Juggalos and Juggalettes gather in Thornville, Ohio, to participate in the 17th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos, which runs through Saturday.

Each year at the Gathering, fans of Insane Clown Posse gather to celebrate the weirdness that unites them. The “Juggalo” moniker is from the rap act’s 1992 track, “The Juggla.”


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How to drill into a secret room you suspect lies in the voids of your pre-war home


I’ve been curious about a mysterious void between two rooms of my new old house. Boing Boing reader Medievalist explains how to proceed.

To examine a secret room or priest’s hole, use a 1.5″ or larger hole saw to create an opening you can push a camera and light through. Understand that if you hit a stud you’ll probably destroy the hole saw in one use, because you’re quite likely to hit multiple nails in the lath. Even if you don’t hit any nails you’ll still wreck a cheap hole saw because of the sand in the brown coat. Do not just drill until you stop feeling any resistance….

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Mars 2020 rover mission to cost more than $2 billion

Mars 2020

WASHINGTON — As NASA’s next flagship Mars mission, the Mars 2020 rover, moves into its next phase of development, agency officials say the mission will cost $2.1 billion, more than originally estimated for a mission that they argue will also be more capable than first planned.

NASA announced July 15 that the Mars 2020 mission passed a development milestone known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), allowing the mission to proceed into Phase C design and development work. The rover is scheduled for launch in mid-2020 and land on Mars in February 2021.

The rover’s primary mission will be to collect rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth. “The Mars 2020 rover is the first step in a potential multi-mission campaign to return carefully selected and sealed samples of Martian rocks and soil to Earth,” said Geoff Yoder, NASA’s acting associate administrator for science, in a statement.

Completion of the KDP-C milestone for NASA missions is usually accompanied by a formal cost and schedule estimate. Those figures were not included in the July 15 announcement, but Jet Propulsion Laboratory spokesman Guy Webster said July 18 that Mars 2020 now has a cost estimate of $2.1 billion for its development and launch. An additional $300 million will cover operations for one Martian year, or 687 days. Both estimates are at the 70 percent confidence level, meaning that there is a 70 percent chance their costs will be no more than those values.

That amount is significantly higher than initial estimates for the mission when John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for science at the time, announced plans for the mission in December 2012. AHe said then the mission would cost about $1.5 billion, or 40 percent less than the $2.5 billion cost of the Mars Science Laboratory mission that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars in August 2012.

A reason for the cost savings is that the 2020 rover would be based on Curiosity’s design, and make use of “heritage” hardware in the form of spares built for but not used by Curiosity. “Since Mars 2020 is leveraging the design and some spare hardware from Curiosity, a significant amount of the mission’s heritage components have already been built during Phases A and B,” said George Tahu, the Mars 2020 program executive at NASA Headquarters, in the July 15 statement.

Tahu said July 19 that the original estimate of $1.5 billion for Mars 2020 was based on initial assumptions of “a more constrained scope of mission that fit within the planetary science budget environment at the time.” That initial estimate, he said, did not include potential contributions from NASA’s space technology and human spaceflight mission directorates, and “assumed a more modest science payload than what was solicited and ultimately selected.”

At the time NASA approved Mars 2020 to go into Phase A, where it defines the mission’s concept and requirements, NASA assumed “a scope that was at the $2 billion order of magnitude for development and launch,” he said, taking into account plans for a larger science payload. …read more

Ad agency guys make their own anti-Trump ad, its good


The co-founders of Goodby Silverstein & Partners have made their own anti-Trump ad, just because they thought they should. It is very good, and a bit chilling.

Via AdWeek:

Droga5 has been doing advertising for Hillary. And now, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein—the co-founders of Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco—have made their own ad for this campaign season, wondering aloud whether Donald Trump is qualified to be president—over slow-motion footage of Trump infamously using a water bottle to mock Marco Rubio back in February.

The YouTube video description reads: “Words have meaning. Actions have consequences. Donald Trump has, again and again, provided entertaining moments of amusing name calling and shocking jingoism. But does that mean he should be our president?”

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Grilled Chicken with South Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce

Grilled BBQ Chicken

Barbecue sauce is contentious in a way that few condiments are. Local pride is on the line. Sauce-wise, I’m mostly stateless and am just as happy with North Carolina-style vinegar sauce as I am with a Kansas City sauce made with tomatoes and molasses.

But when it comes to grilled chicken, nothing feels as perfect as the tang of a mustard-based South Carolina-style barbecue sauce.

Continue reading “Grilled Chicken with South Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce” »

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An IRS scammer called me and I made him mad


One of those lame IRS scammers called me this morning. He said his name was Michael Lee. He didn’t like it when I asked him if he was related to Bruce Lee. He also didn’t like it when I told him that the amount of the lawsuit against me ($8,900) was too little for me to bother with. Then he threatened to take me on a helicopter ride to the court. When I told him that sounded like fun he got mad and called me a bad name.

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Preteens robbers throw dummy through window


On Monday, five kids, around the age of 10, reportedly used a CPR dummy to bash in the window of a convenience store in Peoria, Illinois. From the Peoria Journal Star:

According to Peoria police reports, the children, three girls and two boys, all about the age of 10, were at the Jackpot Supermarket, 200 N. MacArthur Highway, about 11:30 p.m. When officers arrived, the children weren’t there but the CPR dummy was.

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Dragon completes trip to ISS

A SpaceX dragon cargo spacecraft is grappled by the station's robotic arm. Credit: NASA

A Dragon cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station Wednesday morning.

The station’s robotic arm grappled the Dragon at 6:56 a.m. Eastern and will berth the Dragon to the station later in the morning.

The Dragon, launched two days earlier from Cape Canaveral, is carrying more than 2,250 kilograms of cargo for the station, ranging from scientific experiments to a docking adapter that will be used by future commercial crew vehicles. []

More News

DigitalGlobe says its WorldView-2 spacecraft is operational after experiencing a “debris causing event.” The U.S. Air Force Joint Space Operations Center said Tuesday it detected the event involving the spacecraft and is tracking eight debris pieces. DigitalGlobe says that, despite the event, the spacecraft is “currently operational and is performing standard maneuvering and imaging tasks,” and released an image the spacecraft took late Tuesday to counter rumors of a catastrophic breakup. The cause of the debris event is under investigation. [SpaceNews]

Customers of Indian launch services doubt the country will ever sign a commercial launch agreement with the United States. Current U.S. policy blocks the export of U.S.-built satellites, or other satellites with U.S. components, to India for launch, although several customers have received waivers to do so. The U.S. and India previously discussed a commercial launch services agreement that would set prices, but those efforts have effectively been abandoned because India perceived a loss of sovereignty. Customers who launch on India’s PSLV expect either the U.S. to regularly grant waivers, or smallsat developers to choose to manufacture their satellites elsewhere to get around the U.S. policy. [SpaceNews]

The new Republican Party platform endorses the use of public-private partnerships for space efforts, a tool used by administrations of both parties.The platform, approved Monday by delegates at the Republican National Convention, said such partnerships “have given us technological progress that has reduced the cost of accessing space,” extending U.S. leadership in space. Both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations have used such partnerships for developing commercial cargo and crew systems. The platform also includes more generic language about space similar to what appeared in its 2012 platform. [SpaceNews]

The head of New Mexico’s Spaceport America plans to step down. Christine Anderson sent a letter of resignation to the board of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority Tuesday, effective in one month. Anderson took the job more than five years ago, intending to be there for only one year, but stayed on to help develop business at the spaceport as its anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, suffered delays in the development of SpaceShipTwo. “Spaceport America is finally reaching its prime and the momentum must continue,” she wrote in her letter, citing a more diversified business plan for the facility. [AP]

The classified payload for the next Atlas 5 launch has been installed on the rocket. Crews placed the payload for the National Reconnaissance Office mission, designated NROL-61, on top of the Atlas 5 421 at Cape Canaveral in advance of its scheduled July 28 …read more

Watch as a driver playing Pokemon Go hits a police car


Yup. Someone playing Pokemon Go while driving ran into a Police car in Baltimore. Officer’s body cameras caught the event.

Via USAToday:

A Pokemon Go enthusiast slammed into a Baltimore police car while playing the game on his phone early Monday morning, according to authorities.

In body-camera video released by the Baltimore Police Department, several officers are seen standing near a police car as a Toyota Rav 4 slams into the cruiser and continues driving.

In the video, an officer runs after the vehicle, which stops near the end of the block, and the driver gets out of his car.

The officer asks if everyone is OK, and the driver, whose face is blurred in the clip, shows the police officers his cellphone.

“That’s what I get for playing this dumb— game,” the man says to the officers.

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Pac-man ghosts embroidered iron on patch - $2 with free shipping


Our family has been going to the Neon Retro Arcade in Pasadena. It’s a blast. $10/hour gives you unlimited free play on 50 classic arcade games and pinball machines. My daughter now loves Ms. Pac-Man. I bought this Pac-man ghosts embroidered iron on patch for $2 with free shipping on Amazon. It’s about 4 inches long. Now we have to figure out where to put it.

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School forbids clapping, allows "silent cheering," face pulling, and air punching

Image: Rob/Flickr

In recognition of students who are “sensitive to noise,” a Sydney primary school has banned clapping and cheering at school events. Instead of clapping and cheering, students will be prompted by teachers when it is appropriate for “silent cheering,” “pulling excited faces,” and “punching the air.”


In its July 18 newsletter, the Elanora school has published an item under the headline “Did you know” that “our school has adopted silent cheers at assembly’s” (sic).

“If you’ve been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers,” the item reads.

“Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

“The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

“When you attend an assembly, teachers will prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed.

“Teachers have also found the silent cheers to be a great way to expend children’s energy and reduce fidgeting.”

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Inspector Crow: birds investigate cause of death when they find a body


Do Crows hold funerals? Nah, not really, but they’re up to something when one among the murder is murdered, and scientists are fascinated by their behavior around fallen comrades.

Calling to each other, gathering around, and paying special attention to a fallen comrade is common among the highly intelligent corvids, a group of birds that includes crows, jays, magpies, and ravens, says Kaeli Swift, a Ph.D student in environmental science at the University of Washington. (See “Are Crows Smarter Than Children?”)

But it doesn’t necessarily mean the birds are mourning for their lost buddy. Rather, they’re likely trying to find out if there’s a threat where the death occurred, so they can avoid it in the future.

One study involved using masks to see if crows would avoid humans who handled dead crows (and thereby implicated themselves in the investigation.) They did. On the other hand, if crows are smart enough to investigate murders, maybe they’re smart enough to take one look at that mask and think: “OK, that is definitely a murderer.”

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14% of Americans -- 48 million people -- are "food insecure," and it's about to get much worse


People are “food insecure” if they lack access to “enough food for an active, healthy life.” There are 48 million Americans who live in food insecurity, thanks to a combination of nearly all the economic benefits of the post-2008 recovery going to the wealthy; and the sustained attacks on America’s social safety net, led by state-level Tea Party governments.

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Review Skeptic reviews hotel reviews


Online hotel reviews are oftentimes fake. How do you tell? Review Skeptic claims to detect bullshit hotel reviews based upon research from Cornell University into the language of fakery.

It’s been around for years, as this 2011 article in the New York Times attests.

Determining the number of fake reviews on the Web is difficult. But it is enough of a problem to attract a team of Cornell researchers, who recently published a paper about creating a computer algorithm for detecting fake reviewers. They were instantly approached by a dozen companies, including Amazon, Hilton, TripAdvisor and several specialist travel sites, all of which have a strong interest in limiting the spread of bogus reviews.

“The whole system falls apart if made-up reviews are given the same weight as honest ones,” said one of the researchers, Myle Ott. Among those seeking out Mr. Ott, a 22-year-old Ph.D. candidate in computer science, after the study was published was Google, which asked for his résumé, he said.

I wonder if it’s still good, with 5 years of bullshit evolution to account for. One thing in its favor: it seems to “know” that top reviewers tend to affect a style imitative of travel writing in an effort to sound credible, and doesn’t trigger on their innocuous but very ad-like use of language.

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Get wireless musical bliss with the REMXD On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones - only $35.99

Earbuds are fine for casual listening while you work out or run errands. But when you really want to experience music as it was intended, nothing beats a serious set of noise-canceling, soundscape-enhancing headphones.

The REMXD On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones offer high-quality sound with complete wireless connectivity — and at just $35.99, this rechargeable set won’t even cut into your iTunes budget.

Comfortable, adjustable earcups cradle your noggin while delivering wireless audio up to 33 feet away via your smartphone or MP3 device. You’ll enjoy the rich aural experience you crave for up to 15 hours of listening bliss from a single charge.

And if your phone rings? No problem – simple controls on the headphones allow you to answer calls, change tracks, or adjust the volume with the push of a button.

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Thanks for the box of worthless crap, Meh!


Boing Boing proudly welcomes our sponsor, Meh.

I was completely unprepared for how disappointed I was going to be with my random box of crap from Meh.

The folks at Meh told me I didn’t have to like anything they sent. Dave told me over and over, it is ok if we hate the stuff. Having tried out most of what they sent me, I can safely say I was entertained, then frustrated, scared, confused, frustrated again, kinda bored and slightly angry. A box of crap indeed!

When I opened the cardboard box, I still thought maybe I’d get something really great. I didn’t think this was impossible! I’d seen some items listed that I was sure would be a lot of fun to play with. Right on top, first thing out of the box was something I thought would be great: the CAP Clip-A-Phone!

This looked like a lot of fun! An SmartPhone mount for the brim of a baseball cap? What could go wrong? I grabbed an old hat, some hair clips and my Great Pyrenees. Amazing fun, right? I envisioned a hilarious Dog’s Eye view of the world revealed through a camera clipped to my best friend’s head. Luckily I didn’t destroy my phone.

CAP turns your hat into an unbalanced weight dangling just above your face. There is no way a dog, even with lots of hair clips, and a bandana tied over his head holding it on, could walk with it on. Putting the hat on my 9 year old daughter allowed my phone to drop about 3 1/2 feet to the ground, luckily, the hat and clip protected it from taking the brunt of the fall. The same thing happened from 6 feet up when I tried it on. Unless you wear your hat uncomfortably tight, this clip seems designed to sell replacement screens and phones.

The one time I got the CAP to stick on my dog’s head, the included bluetooth remote and app barely worked and I got no video anyways. We probably lost 90 minutes of our lives to this Clip.

I found a video from SkyMall to show off the quality of this “Pulse Massager” but I was completely unwilling to electrocute myself. It just looks creepy and honestly, I’d probably have to shave myself, or my cat, to have tried this on anything living. The big idea being you stick some electrodes to yourself and shock your muscles into submission.


Kinda like the Clip-A-Phone, I thought this AwoX StriimLIGHT Bluetooth LED Speaker Light was going to let me have music in my bathroom. The AwoX StriimLIGHT should just screw into the socket like any other bulb. It doesn’t. I’m pretty sure this’ll only fit into a lamp with a lampshade, because the form factor is so weird I can not get the bulb to mate with the threads in any recessed socket, or some Restoration Hardware fixtures. I did test it in my living room, however …read more

European Commission OK’s Airbus Safran Launchers takeover of Arianespace

Ariane 6 converted

PARIS – The European Commission on July 20 approved the Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) takeover of launch-services provider Arianespace, saying the companies had accepted conditions the commission imposed to minimize the chance of anti-competitive behavior.

The decision, which was expected, is likely to result in ASL’s payment of about 150 million euros ($166 million) to the French space agency, CNES, which holds the 35 percent stake on behalf of the French government. CNES officials have said they will be able to invest the money into their own programs without forwarding it to the French government’s general treasury. The transaction is expected within weeks.

The commission concluded that Evry, France-based Arianespace does not have a monopoly on global commercial launch services. Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX and International Launch Services of Reston, Virginia – which markets Russia’s Proton rocket – furnish a robust competition “in a market that is highly dynamic and where customers have a certain degree of buying power,” the commission said in a statement.

European government and industry officials familiar with the world space market had expressed exasperation in recent months that the Brussels, Belgium-based commission would need to spend months to discover that the launch market has always been a rough neighborhood where no one – not even Arianespace – has been able to dictate prices.

The commission specifically investigated what measures would be needed to prevent Arianespace from slipping confidential information on non-Airbus satellites it launches to Airbus, a 50 percent shareholder of ASL and a major builder of commercial and government satellites.

The commission was also worried that Airbus Defence and Space’s satellite manufacturing division would leak proprietary data to Arianespace about Arianespace’s competitors in those cases where Airbus-built satellites are launched by an Arianespace competitor.

ASL and Arianespace have agreed, at the commission’s insistence, to create firewalls to prevent proprietary data on satellites and launchers from distorting the competitive market.

To reduce the likelihood that Airbus or Arianespace personnel would compromise their judgment out of concern for a future post at one or the other company, both companies have agreed to “place measures restricting employees’ mobility between the companies,” the commission said.

To bolster the effectiveness of the firewalls between Airbus, ASL and Arianespace, the companies agreed to include an arbitration procedure in all future nondisclosure agreements with third parties.

Commission sees no Vega-Ariane 6 friction

The commission rejected concerns that an ASL-dominated Arianespace might be tempted to steer business to the future Ariane 6 rocket, of which ASL is prime contractor, to the detriment of the Italian-led Vega small-satellite launcher.

The planned upgrades to Vega give the vehicle an overlap in capacity with the lighter of the two Ariane 6 variants in development, called the Ariane 62.

It was not out of the question, according to the pro-Vega argument, that Arianespace would offer an Earth observation satellite customer a cut-rate price for a shared ride aboard an Ariane 62 instead of a dedicated launch on a Vega.

ELV of Italy, led by Avio SpA of Colleferro, Italy, is the prime contractor for Vega. The upgraded Vega-C is scheduled …read more

Tiffany Trump's dreamy synthpop track is the best thing any Trump has ever done


Like a bird likeabird a bird a birdabirdabirdabirdabirdabirdabird.

A remix could fix the evident problems. The poor woman (“widely known for her rich-kid instagram“) is being dragged out to support dad at the convention this evening; this track sadly gained no headway in 2014.

I see you like that spot above

Crawling through the liquid love

You’re cute and you’re Tweeting™ me!

Baby you go beep, beep, beep!

Everybody partying

Obsessing over crazy things

I just want serenity

While living it up!

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