Month: September 2016

Trump can't stop lying about Cuba, or threatening the truth-tellers who expose him

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a Hispanic Town Hall with supporters in Miami, Florida, on September 27.
REUTERS

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a Hispanic Town Hall with supporters in Miami, Florida, on September 27.
REUTERS

Kurt Eichenwald writes today in Newsweek: “The response of Donald Trump and his staff on September 29 to the revelation that one of his companies illegally violated the Cuban trade embargo during Fidel Castro’s presidency has exposed a growing problem for the Republican nominee: His campaign operation is disorganized and shares Trump’s disdain for facts.”

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Cop baked "Sorry I tased you" cake for woman who sued him

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Former Escambia County, Florida deputy Michael Wohlers visited Stephanie Byron in June 2015 at the apartment building where she worked, where he stole her glass of sweet tea and refused to return it. When Byron approached Wohlers to get her drink back, he tased her in the chest and throat, then jumped on her supine body, knelt on her chest, and removed the taser prods, apparently to try to cover up his wrongdoing.
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Mystery man smashes up Apple store

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This video depicts a man in the Dijon Apple store smashing up phones and laptops with a metal ball. Everyone just lets him get on with it, presumably for legal reasons or corporate policy. By the time a mall cop arrives, he’s already done.

Here’s the sequel, wherein he is detained.

Here’s part 3, wherein he gets physical with the guards, then runs for it. Sadly for him, he’s the center of attention for the whole mall and someone prevents his escape.

I wonder if the sunglasses helped him conceal his identity.

POLL: WHY?

• He updated to iOS 10

• He is possessed: the Perfectly Spherical Kilogram of Silicon hungers for souls

• Gamergate

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California now requires conviction before civil asset forfeiture

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California police departments’ license to steal cash from innocent people has been restricted, thanks to a new bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Let’s hope the federal government follows suit.

Nick Sibilla of The Institute for Justice says:

Since 1994, California state law has required a criminal conviction before real estate, vehicles, boats and cash under $25,000 could be forfeited to the government. But those requirements are completely missing under federal law. So California police could instead partner with a federal agency, take the property under federal law, and reap up to 80 percent of the proceeds.

To fix this, the new law requires a criminal conviction before agencies can receive forfeiture payments from the federal government on forfeited real estate, vehicles, boats and cash valued at under $40,000.

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Woman Rebel – Peter Bagge's graphic bio of the controversial founder of Planned Parenthood

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

by Peter Bagge

Drawn and Quarterly

2013, 104 pages, 6.8 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches (hardcover)

$15 Buy a copy on Amazon

When I think of Peter Bagge, I think of his work in Hate or Neat Stuff, both comics about teenage angst and living in suburban malaise. Therefore, when I saw he wrote Woman Rebel, a biography of Margaret Sanger (the woman responsible for Planned Parenthood), I was curious. Once I started reading, it made perfect sense. Discontent, anger, and frustration with the status quo translate perfectly to the life of Ms. Sanger. Margaret Sanger is most famously known as the founder of Planned Parenthood and for her endless fight for women’s access to birth control in the early 20th century. The book highlights key moments in Sanger’s life – it starts with her childhood (she was born in the 1880s to Irish immigrants) and takes us through her early work as a nurse, mother, and eventual activist.

What makes this biography unique are Bagge’s illustrations. His faces, especially the contorted, frustrated ones that work in Bagge’s earlier work (say, on his teenage anti-hero Buddy Bradley) cross over really well. There is a lot of sadness and anger in Sanger’s life, whether it was her mother (who had 18 pregnancies in 25 years) or Sanger herself facing the many smug and misogynistic critics attempting to halt her progress. There is a lot of emotion in this book, the same that made Sanger persevere.

After reading Woman Rebel, I went online to learn more about Sanger and was immediately slammed by my own ignorance as to what a controversial person she is today. Aside from any expected generic criticism of Planned Parenthood, she is described as a “racist eugenicist” and guilty of “black genocide.” Bagge addresses this controversy in his afterword “Why Sanger?” He delves into how she advocated birth control to women of the KKK (that’s right – the KKK – another reason why this book is full of surprises) as well as black women living in Harlem. Bagge gives lots of examples of how her legacy has been dissected over time, and Bagge’s description of her critics is great: “It’s an irony festival!”

Regardless of how you feel about Margaret Sanger’s legacy, this book is an illustrated education into a woman, that as Bagge puts it, “lived the lives of ten people,” and is directly responsible for the access women have to reproductive health care in 2016. The only actual criticism of this book for me is that I wanted more. The book could be twice the length, and dive deeper into more details of her life, because it seems they are endless.

– Amy Lackpour

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Frisky robot opens door

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Meet Ghost Robotics’ adorable Minitaur quadruped robot.

Here’s an excerpt from IEEE Spectrum’s interview with Avik De and Gavin Kenneally, who are on the development team at Professor Dan Koditschek’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania:

How the heck did you manage to get Minitaur to open that door?

De: I don’t know if it’s clear from the video, but there’s a lot going on. The robot is jumping, it perceives that the door handle is there, retracts the leg, and manipulates the door handle.

Kenneally: Just to go over it in a little bit more detail: It jumps up on its front two legs, doing a handstand, and then jumps. The back left leg is waiting to feel the door handle, so it kind of sticks that leg out and waits until it senses contact. Again, all the sensing is through the motors, there’s no current sensors or force sensors. Once it perceives contact with the door knob, it retracts the leg, moves it over a little bit, and then extends it, and that actually all happens within 50 milliseconds, so it’s incredibly fast. And then once it’s done that, the other back leg, which is now also in the air, pushes against the door to crack it open a little bit, and it also helps push the robot so it pitches back down toward the ground, where it then retracts the leg back and catches itself before it falls. The door opening and stair/fence climbing were done with help from T. Turner Topping. We’ve just submitted a paper on this these behaviors, and Avik has a bound paper forthcoming as well.

Robot opening a door like a cat

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Shadow Regulation: the secret laws that giant corporations cook up in back rooms

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The winner-take-all economy has turned virtually every industry into a cartel (four record labels, two cable companies, two phone operating systems, etc) who operate without fear of competition regulation, allowing representatives of a few companies to gather in closed-door meetings to cook up operating agreements that end up having the force of law.
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Wells Fargo illegally repossessed 413 service members' cars

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Besides stealing money from customers by creating fake accounts and then charging them fees, Wells Fargo is in trouble for repossessing 413 cars owned by US military service members. The bank did so without a court order, which violates federal law.

From CNN:

The Justice Department said the illegal repossessions took place from 2008 to 2015. The first complaint came from an Army National Guardsman in North Carolina who said the bank seized his car while he was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Wells Fargo then auctioned his car and tried to collect a balance of $10,000 from his family, the Justice Department said.

The bank will pay $10,000 to each of the affected service members, plus lost equity in the cars with interest, and repair their credit.

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EFF to court: don't let US government prosecute professor over his book about securing computers

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In July, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Dr Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute Assistant Professor of Computer Science; now the US government has asked a court to dismiss Dr Green’s claims. A brief from EFF explains what’s at stake here: the right of security experts to tell us which computers are vulnerable to attack, and how to make them better.

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Portland made a fantastic video to woo Japanese tourists

odnarotoop

“Odnarotoop” is Portland spelled backwards with Japanese pronunciation. It’s also the name of this Terry Gilliam-esque video with a catchy song.

Here’s the English translation of the lyrics:

These are the mountains that rise in the distance

And this is the river that runs right beside us

And these are the bridges that always connect us in

Odnaraotoop

These are the streets where we meet up for breakfast

and maybe some ice cream or a few dozen donuts

and these are the places we drink when we’re finished in

Odnarotoop

Odnarotoop, Odnarotoop

everyone’s open, so do what you want to in Odnarotoop

And this is the music we play in our basements

and our in the street where the city can hear us

so sing right along if you’re planning to join us in Odnarotoop

Odnarotoop, Odnarotoop

everyone’s open, so do what you want to in Odnarotoop

This is the coffee we drink in the morning

and this is the treehouse my neighbor is building

everyone’s open and ready to greet you in Odnarotoop

And these are the bikes that we like to ride naked

and this is the art that we’re all busy making

everyone’s open so do what you want to in Odnarotoop

[via Tofugu]

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Hundreds of cops misuse databases yearly, says report

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An investigation by the Associated Press found 675 police officers were jailed or disciplined for misusing police databases from 2013 to 2015, and that’s just the ones who were caught.

Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker used record requests to gather data on the scope of the problem.

Criminal-history and driver databases give officers critical information about people they encounter on the job. But the AP’s review shows how those systems also can be exploited by officers who, motivated by romantic quarrels, personal conflicts or voyeuristic curiosity, sidestep policies and sometimes the law by snooping. In the most egregious cases, officers have used information to stalk or harass, or have tampered with or sold records they obtained.

Among cops accused of database abuse was Gilberto Valle, aka “cannibal cop,” but his conviction was overturned after he claimed he was authorized to use it. Valle came into the public eye after posting online about his interest in kidnapping and eating women.

460xAP: Across US, police officers abuse confidential databases

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Here's the Boing Boing Store's monthly best seller list

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#1. A-Audio Legacy Noise Cancelling Headphones with 3-Stage Technology

The A-Audio Legacy Headphones are the Boing Boing Store’s best seller this month, and it’s easy to see why. With 40mm drivers, powerful circuitry, and memory foam padded circumaural ear cups, these are clearly super high-quality headphones. Plus, the patented 3-Stage Technology lets you toggle between passive audio, bass-enhanced, and active noise cancelling modes, so you can always get the best listening experience. These headphones retail for $299, but you can get them for Bluetooth earbuds are selling out fast. These are some of the best Bluetooth earbuds we’ve found: they deliver up to a 10 hour battery life and charge fully in just 90 minutes. The best feature is that you can automatically connect them to your phone via Bluetooth by pulling them apart. When you’re done listening, place the earbuds back together, and the connection will turn off. They’re totally waterproof, and are designed to stay in your ears no matter what. Get them for just $39.95 in the store.

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15 Great Meals to Make with Canned Tuna

15 Great Meals to Make with Canned Tuna

Do you like canned tuna? Growing up in a “fish on Fridays” home, we were never without canned tuna in the pantry.

Even now, if you open up my pantry door, you’ll find a stack of cans on the shelf right next to the cans of sardines and whole peeled tomatoes.

It’s just the most perfect food in pinch, when you haven’t had time to shop, or what’s in the fridge is scarily long past its use-by date.

Continue reading “15 Great Meals to Make with Canned Tuna” »

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Women competitors must wear hijabs at chess world championship, oddly awarded to Iran

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If you thought soccer’s world cup being awarded to baking-hot Qatar marked the zenith of sporting corruption, give FIDE a chance: the international chess federation’s forthcoming world championship is headed to Iran, and women players must wear the hijab to compete. UK tabloids quote leading women chess players as threatening to quit the tournament rather than obey.

US women’s champion Nazi Paikidze said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable to host one of the most important women’s tournaments in a venue where, to this day, women are forced to cover up with a hijab.

‘I understand and respect cultural differences. But, failing to comply can lead to imprisonment and women’s rights are being severely restricted in general. It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.’

She added: ‘If the situation remains unchanged, I will most certainly not participate in this event.’

It’s insane, but entirely in keeping with FIDE’s brainier-than-thou shiftiness, to think that Tehran is a good place to host the key event on their highly-politicized mind game’s calendar. For starters, there’s a current U.S. government travel warning telling citizens not to go there at all.

(I would go, but wear a Burka)

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