Day: September 29, 2016

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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Pac-Man joystick contains 12 classic games, costs $8

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Lately my family has been going to the Neon Retro video game arcade in Pasadena, CA. They have a bunch of very nicely restored arcade games. It costs $10 a hour and all the games are set to free play. I just found out about this Pac-Man Connect-and-Play. You can buy it for as little as $8 (including shipping) on Amazon. It’s got 12 built-in games including:

  • Pac-Man
  • Pac-Man Plus
  • Bosconian
  • Galaxian
  • Mappy
  • Super Pac-Man
  • Galaga
  • Dig Dug
  • New Rally X
  • Pac & Pal
  • Xevious

I wonder if anyone has modded this with a real arcade joystick. That would be a great project for John Park.

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Fragments of Horror – Wonderfully creepy stories that are as weird as they are original

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Fragments of Horror

by Junji Ito

Viz Media

2015, 224 pages, 5.8 x 8.2 x 0.8 inches (hardcover)

$12 Buy a copy on Amazon

Fragments of Horror is a collection of eight wonderfully grotesque and creepy short stories. A seemingly bright and pretty architecture student terrorizes a family while having a bizarre relationship with their house. A boy tries to hold his body together after cheating on his girlfriend. The number one fan of a novelist finds herself in a sick situation trapped in the writer’s basement. A young woman who just eloped can’t understand why her new husband won’t come out from under his futon covers.

Written by horror manga artist Junji Ito, whose influences include H.P. Lovecraft, the stories are as weird as they are original, while the art is crisp and expressive. What I love is the way these stories, set in modern Japan, are about seemingly normal lives that take a twisted turn into the bowels of darkness. They remind me of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, the ones that start off in a stylish, mid-century modern house or office where sharp-looking people go about their ordinary lives… until a crack in normality suddenly appears, the creep factor sets in, and they enter the twilight zone. My only regret is that there aren’t more stories here, but fortunately Ito isn’t new to the genre and has many other titles that I’ll be picking up soon.

– Carla Sinclair

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Watch Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf get raked over the coals by Congress

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Here’s two hours of Democratic and Republican congresspeople not taking any weaselly bullshit from disgraced Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

In September 2016, Wells Fargo was issued a combined total of $185 million in fines for creating over 1.5 million checking and savings accounts and 500,000 credit cards that its customers never authorized. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued $100 million in fines, the largest in the agency’s five-year history, along with $50 million in fines from the City and County of Los Angeles, and $35 million in fines from the Office of Comptroller of the Currency. The scandal was caused by an incentive-compensation program for employees to create new accounts. It led to the firing of nearly 5,300 employees and $5 million being set aside for customer refunds on fees for accounts the customers never wanted.

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Things I Miss: When MTV was cool

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On August 1st, 1981 the world changed and MTV launched. With a bunch of unprofessional VJs who could sometimes barely cue up tapes MTV went through a lot of growth and changes, from Yo! MTV Raps to Beavis and Butthead, there was a time MTV spoke to me.

I’ll never forget the Remote Control theme either. MTV lost me as soon as the reality tv stuff started…

They also knew how to run a Presidential campaign.

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After School Satan Club gets approval in Portland

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On October 19, students at Sacramento Elementary School in Portland will be able to attend the After School Satan Club, which will focus “on science and rational thinking.”

From CBS News:

In August, [Chapter co-head Finn] Rezz told us that the After School Satan Club will promote “benevolence and empathy for everybody.” That mission, he said, is in direct contrast to something called “the Good News Club.”

The Good News Club is an after-school club put on by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, “a Bible-centered organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.”

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Trump commands anyone who is not a "Christian conservative" to identify themselves

Image of Trump (before adding German Bible): : Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore

“Raise your hand, Christian conservatives, everybody. Raise your hand if you’re not a Christian conservative. I want to see this, right. Oh, there’s a couple people, that’s all right. I think we’ll keep them. Should we keep them in the room? Yes? I think so.” – Donald Trump at an Iowa rally today. At the next rally he’ll have a box of yellow star buttons to pin on them.

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Polish auto repair shop uses uses a Commodore 64 to run its operations

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From the Commodore USA Facebook page: “This C64C used by a small auto repair shop for balancing driveshafts has been working non-stop for over 25 years! And despite surviving a flood it is still going…”

This reminded me of an article I wrote for Wired in 2000 about people who used old computers.

“Just how much horsepower do you need to read and reply to messages on the Internet?” asks Maurice Randall, a Commodore loyalist and owner of a one-man car-repair shop in Charlotte, Michigan. Randall, who wrote and now sells the first fax software for the Commodore 64, has just finished coding the machine’s inaugural Web browser. He uses his C64 for everything from invoices to faxes to displaying automotive diagnostics. “There hasn’t been anything made in the last three or four years that’s necessary in computer hardware,” he says. “I wouldn’t be able to do anything more with a new PC than I’m doing with my 64.”

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Dice so nerdy, they make other dice seem not nerdy

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Erich Ashbargar’s weird, laser-engraved dice are a tour-de-force: a pair of D6s for figuring out where to go for dinner in NYC; another D6 to figure out which die you should roll; an all-20s critical hit D20; Sicherman D6s that have different faces to a normal D6 pair, but the same probability distribution; punctuation mark dice (I’ve had students who were definitely using these); dice for indecisive people, and so on.
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Screaming Pepe

Shoop: Beschizza - Painting: Bacon

My favorite Francis Bacon painting, Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pepe The Frog, has taken on new meaning what with all the memes lately.

When asked why he was compelled to revisit the subject so often, Bacon replied that he had nothing against Pepe, that he merely sought “an excuse to use these colours, and you can’t give ordinary skin that green colour without getting into a sort of false fauve manner”.

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George Pendle on the death of space art

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The always-engaging George Pendle (Strange Angel, The Remarkable Millard Fillmore) has a fascinating piece on Atlas Obscura on the history of space art and NASA’s (and the government’s at large) current awkward relationship with the art world.

Yet when the NASA scientists asked the attendant artists to refrain from posting pictures of the meeting on social media, it seemed to sum up both a generational and a temperamental mismatch. (In an email, a NASA spokesperson said that “participating artists are free to discuss their attendance.”)
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From a NASA perspective, the secrecy was a budgetary imperative. In 2003, the renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson was appointed NASA’s first “artist-in-residence” with the remit of creating art about the agency’s exploration of space. Republican congressmen quickly seized on the move as a sign of wanton profligacy. “Mr. Chairman,” sputtered Representative Chris Chocola of Indiana on the floor of Congress, “nowhere in NASA’s mission does it say anything about advancing fine arts or hiring a performance artist.” There has been no artist-in-residence since and the reverberations were no doubt part of the reason why NASA’s workshop at Grace Farms seemed tentative and vague.

In the not-so-distant past, though, space and art intermingled happily. Artists were crucial to NASA’s development, at times outpacing the science of space travel itself. What happened?

The above illustration is NASA concept art of a moon landing, from 1959.

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Singapore jails teenager for hurting God's feelings

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Amos Yee, a 17-year-old blogger in Singapore, is to spend six weeks in jail for “wounding religious feelings.” It is his second such jail term: he spent a month in jail last year for criticizing Christianity.

The teenager’s latest trial was closely watched by rights groups, who argue that the case threatens freedom of expression.

Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch said Singapore now needs to review its approach in dealing with cases like Yee’s, who is likely to benefit from the publicity.

“Every time the authorities go after him, it just adds to his online audience,” said Mr Robertson in an email.

Here’s his blog, written in English. It’s mostly teenage edgelording about religion and politics, but the boy’s evidently got prospects—and adapting to the international audience his government has given him!

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California ends statute of limitations on rape, but it won't apply retroactively

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Prompted by allegations made against celebrity Bill Cosby, California is ending its 10-year statute of limitations on rape.

Current California law requires prosecution for rape to begin within 10 years of the alleged offence, with some exceptions.
Under the new legislation, SB813, there will be no time limit. The change will also apply to crimes for which the statute of limitations has not expired as of 1 January 2017.

Senator Connie Leyva, who introduced the bill, said it told victims of sexual assault that they could seek justice “regardless of when they are ready to come forward”.

“Rapists should never be able to evade legal consequences simply because an arbitrary time limit has expired.”

Historical cases (such as many of Cosby’s victims) are not addressed in the bill, as it will not apply retroactively to crimes that reach the 10-year-limit before Jan 1, 2017. Which is to say, Dec 31, 2006 is the last date for crimes to escape the new legislation.

The U.S. has a patchwork of state-level sexual assault laws, with 43 applying a statute of limitations to rape. The lengths differ widely: Minnesota has the shortest, at 3 years, whereas Ohio’s is 20 years.

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Report: Trump angry at own aides after they concede he lost debate

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People close to Trump are admitting he got thrashed by Hillary Clinton on Monday. But they’re doing so on condition of anonymity and pharaoh is displeased.

In a conference call with surrogates Wednesday afternoon, Trump aides made clear the Republican nominee is upset that his allies publicly acknowledged they pushed him to change his preparation and tactics before his next bout with Hillary Clinton.

And he wants them to stop it immediately.

The message was “not subtle,” a source familiar with the call said.

Trump wants his supporters to make an energetic defense of his performance and refuse to concede that he didn’t nail it.

The hope among his aides was that the shellacking (YouGov had her 57/30 percent, CNN 62/27 and PPP 51/40) would convince him to study for the next one, but in Trump’s view, the only debate poll that mattered is the WhiteCultureDefenseAndPepeMemes.com javascript clicker and it had him way ahead.

Accompanying this lurid shitshow is a) the suspicion it’s all a ruse and that Trump really is going to prepare for the next one, and b) the knowledge that none of it matters anyway.

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Get this dual wax and dry herb vaporizer kit for 30% off

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Vaping is getting more mainstream by the day, which means there’s been an influx of quality yet affordable vaporizers on the market. We’re particularly excited about the APX Wax Vaporizer Kit, which is an easy-to-use, high-quality vape that works with both dry herbs and waxy concentrates.

If you’re a beginner trying to get into vaping, the APX is a really solid option. It features a pure quartz heating chamber and borosilicate glass mouthpiece for heating your dry herb of choice to the optimal temperature. We were able to reach the exact temperature we wanted within about 40 seconds, which is faster than most vapes in this price range.

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APX is compact enough to fit in your pocket and it has a 5 minute auto shut off capability for extra safety. Just the vape alone is worth more than the $41.99 this deal costs, but right now, you’ll also get a micro USB charger, a triple quartz coil atomizer, a silicon wax container, and a tool to help you pack the vape with your favorite waxy concentrates.

Try it out for 30% off in the Boing Boing store.

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Meet 2 real-life guys behind Donald Trump's "400 pound hacker" stereotype

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At the first presidential debate this week, GOP nominee Donald Trump fat-shamed a fictional IT character he made up. Speaking about a series of hacks on Democratic National Committee organizations, Trump said, “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke in to DNC.”

Trump’s mean trope of a hacker “sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” is nothing new to “XXL and greater” sized information security professionals.

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El Cajon police say unarmed black man pointed vape at officer before he was shot to death

Agnes Hasam, a family friend of the late Alfred Olango, speaks to protesters at El Cajon Police HQ to protest the killing of an unarmed man Tuesday by officers. September 28, 2016.  REUTERS

Alfred Okwera Olango, who was black, was fatally shot by police in El Cajon, California on Tuesday. Police in the San Diego suburb city say the 38 year old Ugandan immigrant pointed a vape pen or e-cigarette device at them, before police shot the man to death.

Officers were responding to a call of a man behaving erratically, and walking in traffic. Olango’s friends and supporters say court records show that he suffered from mental illness, and may have been experiencing a seizure before his death. An El Cajon police officer is believed to have shot Olango within as little as one or two minutes after arriving at the scene.

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