Day: October 14, 2016

State of emergency declared as Florida struck by flesh-eating screwworms


Nice place!

Via PBS:

The discovery occurred earlier this month in the Florida Keys, where the U.S. Department of Agriculture detected the New World screwworm, a parasite that lives inside open wounds, in a deer. About 30 deer have been found dead or been euthanized in the last two weeks due to screwworm infections. As a result, the county declared an agricultural state of emergency.

“The screwworm is a potentially devastating animal disease that sends shivers down every ranchers spine,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said. “It’s been more than five decades since the screwworm infested Florida, and I’ve grown up hearing the horror stories from the last occurrence.”

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Danny Elfman scores 'Trump stalks Hillary'


Danny Elfman reacted to last sunday’s debate by writing a soundtrack to Donald’s stalking.

Via Funny or Die:

Here’s what Danny “the Elf Man” Elfman had to say about the inspiration for his latest horror score:

“Watching Trump lurching behind Hillary during the debate felt a bit like a zombie movie, like at any moment he was going to attack her, rip off her head, and eat her brains.”

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Get 3 high-end colognes for just $34.99


Bawston & Tucker Solid Cologne is the best deal out there when it comes to finding a cologne that works for you. Getting a full bottle of cologne can be a big, expensive commitment, and even travel-size bottles can be upwards of $30.

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If you’re not into cologne for yourself, this pack makes a great gift for a friend or boyfriend. And for just $34.99, you can get three of their most popular colognes—Motega (sweet, spicy), Aroostook (fresh, earthy), and Hurytt (woodsy, citrus).

Explore more trending deals:

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Interview with Ron Hale-Evans, author of Mind Performance Hacks


Our guest on the Cool Tools Show this week is Ron Hale-Evans, the open source software blog, Planeta Diego: Linux Y Software Libre, once described Ron as “writer by profession, game designer by vocation and psychologist by training.” He’s the primary author of the 2006 book Mind Performance Hacks and co-author of its 2011 spiritual successor Mindhacker.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

WhiteCoat Clipboard ($31)

“The WhiteCoat Clipboard [are] folding clipboards and they’re all medical editions of one sort of another and, one morning a few years ago for some reason, I woke up with the idea that I just had to have a folding clipboard to fit in my bag. I searched for folding clipboard on Amazon and ‘The WhiteCoat Clipboard’ was pretty much it. It folds up so it will fit into a doctor’s or nurse’s coat pocket. … You can put stickers on it or decorate it in some other way, but I keep mine plain, because it’s kind of fun to look at. … It’s also good for when you just throw it in your bag, if you have notes in it, they don’t get all creased and crumpled, because the folder protects it.”


Alphasmart Neo – Handheld ($27, used)

“It’s kind of like a calculator screen, but bigger. It’s just great, you just type in it all day and then at the end of the day, you plug it into your laptop or whatever via USB and it pretends it’s a keyboard, and it essentially simulates typing into whatever document you got open and it dumps it that way. … It’s very good for getting away from different things, go sit out in the son and not only are you not connected to the internet, but you’ve got a screen that’s visible in bright sunlight. It’s great for just throwing in your bag and going anywhere and the battery life is like forever.”


Emacs Orgmode

“It’s a package for Emacs that makes it much more useful in daily life. Emacs is GNU Emacs, it’s a text editor that has got all kinds of Swiss army knife bells and whistles on it. It’s very great, a lot of people prefer more minimalist editors like VI, but there is still a bunch of people who like Emacs like me. I’ve been using Emacs for a long time. I think since college but Orgmode is an add on package that lets you do things like freeform notes, calendar, to do lists, embedded spread sheets, literate programming. I use it for journal with embedded quantified self data. You can write a book manuscript in it and then render it as LaTex PDF, EPUB. If your publishers want word, you can …read more

LEGO automatic drawing machine

Jason Allemann built a neat LEGO Drawing Machine, inspired by a Spirograph and a 1950s toy called the Hoot Nanny or Magic Designer.

It can create many different patterns by changing the configuration of the model,” Allemann writes. “You can also draw multiple patterns on the same piece of paper to create even more complex designs.”

He’s posted the building instructions on his site

(via Laughing Squid)

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NYT op-ed: "Detested and defeated, Donald Trump is now in a tear-the-country-down rage"


The New York Times’ Timothy Egan writes on the stark, sudden demise of American civility under the force of millionaire Donald Trump’s presidential run: “He’s made America vile. He’s got angel-voiced children yelling “bitch” and flipping the bird at rallies.”

Here’s his lesson for young minds: If you’re rich and boorish enough, you can get away with anything. Get away with sexual assault. Get away with not paying taxes. Get away with never telling the truth. Get away flirting with treason. Get away with stiffing people who work for you, while you take yours. Get away with mocking the disabled, veterans and families of war heroes. … But those who take pleasure in watching Trump destroy the Republican Party are missing the bigger picture. He’s trying to destroy the country, as well. Civility, always a tenuous thing, cannot be quickly restored in a society that has learned to hate in public, at full throttle.

Three, maybe four in every ten voters are going to vote for a man who boasted proudly of getting away with sexual assault. They’ll still be there, even after he is done.

Illustration: Rob Beschizza

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Podcast recommendation: Learn your British history with Rex Factor


My new obsession is the Rex Factor podcast, which examines every king and queen of England from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II in order to determine which was the greatest ruler of all time. The podcast actually started way back in 2010 and determined its final verdict in 2014. But hosts Graham Duke and Ali Hood are now working their way through the kings and queens of Scotland, and I’ve been immensely enjoying the show’s back catalogue, which is still easily accessible.

Each monarch gets their own podcast (and sometime several if they’re a particularly important ruler). The hosts briefly go over the monarch’s biography and then rank them from 1-10 on “Battleyness,” (their warfare skills), “Scandal” (the more scandal, the higher the score), and “Subjectivity” (how much they improved the lives of their subjects). They also examine each ruler’s longevity and their ability to produce a strong dynastic line. And finally, Duke and Hood determine whether each monarch has a certain extra special star quality they call “Rex Factor.”

Though they clearly love history, Duke and Hood don’t take their subject matter too seriously. Their conversations are light-hearted and easy to follow, even for the biggest historical novice. I’m only on their Richard the Lionheart episode, but I’m really looking forward to listening to the rest and seeing who they pick as their ultimate Rex Factor winner.

You can listen to Rex Factor wherever you listen to podcasts or learn more via Twitter and Facebook as well as the show’s website and blog. You can also help support the podcast with a donation right here.

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Watch a great white shark force its way into a diving cage


“Was there anybody in there?” asks someone on the boat. Not anymore!

On a recent great white shark cage diving trip we experienced a very rare event, a shark breaching the side of the cage. What might appear to be an aggressive great white shark trying to attack the cage, this is not the case. These awesome sharks are biting at large chunks of tuna tied to a rope. When a great white shark lunges and bites something, it is temporarily blinded. They also cannot swim backwards. So this shark lunged at the bait, accidentally hit the side of the cage, was most likely confused and not able to swim backwards, it thrust forward and broke the metal rail of the cage. There was a single diver inside the cage. He ended up outside the bottom of the cage, looking down on two great white sharks. The diver is a very experienced dive instructor, remained calm, and when the shark thrashed back outside the cage, the diver calmly swam back up and climbed out completely uninjured. The boat crew did an outstanding job, lifting the top of the cage, analyzing the frenzied situation, and the shark was out after a few long seconds. Everyone on the boat returned to the cages the next day, realizing this was a very rare event. The boat owner, captain, and crew are to be commended for making what could’ve been a tragic event into a happy ending. I’m sure God and luck had a bit to do with it too!

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More than 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, at least 10 times as many as we thought


In the 1990s, Hubble surprised astronomers by revealing just how packed the universe is with galaxies: they estimated some 200 billion of them based on its observations. But now we know these estimates were wrong. There are at least 2 trillion.

Conselice and his team reached this conclusion using deep-space images from Hubble and the already published data from other teams. They painstakingly converted the images into 3-D, in order to make accurate measurements of the number of galaxies at different epochs in the universe’s history. In addition, they used new mathematical models, which allowed them to infer the existence of galaxies that the current generation of telescopes cannot observe. This led to the surprising conclusion that in order for the numbers of galaxies we now see and their masses to add up, there must be a further 90 percent of galaxies in the observable universe that are too faint and too far away to be seen with present-day telescopes. These myriad small faint galaxies from the early universe merged over time into the larger galaxies we can now observe.

“It boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the universe have yet to be studied. Who knows what interesting properties we will find when we discover these galaxies with future generations of telescopes? In the near future, the James Webb Space Telescope will be able to study these ultra-faint galaxies, said Conselice.

That’s good for about 700 billion trillion stars, and heaven knows how many planets. (Previously)

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Report finds over 125,000 complaints against more than 25,000 Chicago police officers


An analysis of five decades of police records by The Chicago Tribune found that a small group of Chicago police officers have racked up over 100 complaints each over the course of their respective careers, “including notoriously corrupt cops who wound up in prison but also others whose allegations of repeated wrongdoing were never before made public.”


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North Dakota must drop outrageous charges against journalist Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now"


Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist and host of Democracy Now, has been facing an outrageous arrest warrant in North Dakota for “criminal trespass” since early September. The charges are a result of her merely doing her job as a reporter and covering police violence against oil pipeline protesters in North Dakota.

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