Day: October 28, 2016

FBI says it is investigating more email "pertinent" to Clinton server

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FBI Director James Comey writes in a letter sent Friday to congress that the bureau is investigating more emails related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.

In previous congressional testimony, I referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony

In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.

Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.

The letter’s vague. Everyone is losing their shit over it, either thinking it’s saying more than it is, or finding its lack of detail suggestive of a partisan effort to spread fear and doubt days before an election.

The earlier investigation led to Comey announcing that Clinton’s use of personal email was inappropriate but not worthy of charges.

…read more

The Toadman of Clawson, Michigan

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I’d like for you to meet one of my favorite people in the whole world. He’s a private guy and though he’s okay with my writing this post, he’d rather I kept his identity a secret for now. He calls himself The Toadman. But I should warn you, what you are about to read isn’t what you’d expect. He doesn’t lick toads for fun, eat amphibians or live under a bridge. He simply loves toads more than anything in the world and what he does in his free time proves it.

If you ever meet The Toadman, he’ll seem just like anyone else in the Motor City. He’ll probably talk about Michigan State University, the Detroit Tigers and how great it is to live in his hometown of Clawson. But what you won’t get right out of the gate is what I call his “green side”. That’s the side of him that’s comfortable discussing his life-long passion.

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Since we were kids, The Toadman has been obsessed with frogs and toads. The day I got my drivers license he talked me into traveling 20 miles north to a swampy area because “that’s where they have the best ones”. I know it sounds strange, but just as a bird watcher is able to detect the presence of certain birds by how they chirp, The Toadman is able to do the same with toads. It’s uncanny really.

Did I mention that for the past 2 decades he’s lived with toads and sometimes sets up professional photo shoots with them? Just look at the size of his favorite googly eyed friend, Toad Ramsey. That portrait is ridiculously huge!

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Sadly, Toad Ramsey is no longer with us (God rest his frog soul). He was named after a baseball player from the 1880’s who became famous for inventing the knuckle curve ball. It seemed that Thomas H. “Toad” Ramsey had severed the tendon in the index finger of his pitching hand and there was no way for it to apply pressure to the ball from that finger when thrown. When other pitchers saw his throws curve the way they did, they deconstructed his grip and the technique lives on to this very day.

The Youngstown Vindicator described his pitches on January 6, 1923:

“The ball would leave the hand and go on a straight line to the plate, then suddenly shoot down. Ramsey’s curve was pronounced by experts to be the perfect demonstration of rotating a sphere.”

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In 1888 the Toad Ramsey baseball card became available and my friend has built a little house for the one that he owns. He explained that the card isn’t especially valuable and though he did it to protect it from direct sunlight, it was also because toads are mostly nocturnal.

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As you can see, Toad Ramsey will …read more

In 1896 two New Jersey clam diggers set out to cross the North Atlantic in a rowboat

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In 1896 two New Jersey clam diggers made a bold bid for fame: They set out to cross the North Atlantic in a rowboat, a feat that had never been accomplished before. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the adventure of George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen, which one newspaper called “the most remarkable event in the way of ocean navigation that ever transpired.”

We’ll also meet some military mammals and puzzle over a thwarted burglar.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

…read more

Atlas Obscura – The intriguing website of life oddities moves to illustrated book form

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It’s a big world we live in, full of fortune-telling fox-woman hybrids, libraries where books are chained to the shelves, rusting shipwrecks, and amusement parks at the bottom of salt mines. The website Atlas Obscura collects the most intriguing of them, and now Atlas Obscura is in book form, perfect for flipping through while waiting for water to boil. It’s plentifully illustrated, with photographs or drawings on every page.

This is not The Book of Lists, and it is not for young children. Many of the entries concern war or atrocities, and some photos are gruesome; the world is full of mummified limbs. The authors treat the subjects respectfully, and have done their research. The story of the Bicycle Tree in Washington State, for example, has both the glurgy and the factual versions.

Some entries are not location based, such as the two pages of entheogens from around the world, or the list of abandoned nuclear power plants. But most entries have the latitude and longitude for each attraction, and sometimes street addresses; you could use this as a guidebook for a particularly unconventional wanderjahr.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders

by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton

Workman Publishing Company

2016, 480 pages, 7 x 10.5 x 2.1 inches (hardcover)

$21 Buy a copy on Amazon

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Children don’t always live

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I’ve often wondered, as I suppose any parent has, what would continue to bind me to the earth if my child died.

I don’t know, is the answer. I have two close friends who’ve had young children die, and another friend whose one son committed suicide and the second died of brain cancer. Not sure how they start their days, what they think to push them forward, where their strength comes from. But they have gone on with their lives. I don’t see their pain, but it must lurk somewhere.

Perhaps if you’re a religious person you may find some hope in the belief that sooner or later you will be reunited with your loved one, however there is no such consolation for an atheist such as myself. The thought of your child dying seems that it would be an end to all … why write a book, take a trip, watch a movie, eat a meal, take the garbage out? What could seem to have any importance at that point. Still, my friends have persevered. Perhaps it is their spouses that provide the anchor.

My own little bundle of joy is now 15 years on this earth, fiercely smart, strong both physically and mentally, yet willful, torn by the contradictions of adolescence, looking for a way forward. Sometimes, well often actually, I am accused of various unspeakable acts, of being old, and so on. Everyone told me that these years would come, but it’s hard to conceive of the hurt and difficulty when they suddenly appear one day: seeing the sweet smiling face of the flesh of your flesh suddenly turn into cold contempt. Fortunately there is often a smile not far off.

And yet my child is still the gravity holding me to the earth; a hug worth more than a world of riches; and if I can only coax a laugh once a week instead of daily, it will have to do. And it does.

But children do die, and parents struggle to hold on to … something. In this Sunday’s New York Times Jayson Greene penned a solemn essay of both death and life beyond: Children Don’t Always Live. It begins:

My daughter, Greta, was 2 years old when she died—or rather, when she was killed. A piece of masonry fell eight stories from an improperly maintained building and struck her in the head while she sat on a bench on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her grandmother.

It’s worth a read if you can muster your courage.

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Bouncing and Blobbing

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(Image: Flickr/Jeff Kubina)

I was Googling the name of a talented juggler named Lindsay Benner one evening to find out if her first name was spelled “say” or “sey.” As usual, I often search in “Images” because more interesting things turn up as I scroll down the page. In this case, and Yahweh knows why, I came across a photo of Harry Chapin. Not a juggler, not related to Lindsay Benner. Many of you might not even remember who he is, but I did and so clicked on the image. It led me, shockingly, to the blog of a friend of mine—a magician by the name of Shawn McMaster. He had written an appreciation of Chapin, who died at age 39 on the Long Island Expressway, his VW bug getting squashed by some asshole in an 18-wheeler, setting Chapin’s car on fire and burning him alive. I loved Chapin, and had first attended a concert of his by chance in upstate New York during a summer in the late 1970s when some friends dragged me along. Saw him about four times after that. A great guy and a champion of the hungry—one day you should read about him.

While I was watching a performance of his on YouTube (the great rabbit hole of all holes), I noticed on the right side, where all sorts of other performances by Chapin were listed, a deleted scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Clicked on that and watched it, then made a note to watch that episode at a later date. Then I saw a “Behind the Music” show on Harry Chapin from VH1 (remember those?) on the right side, and clicked on that. Watched a few moments and then got a strangle hold on myself and commanded myself to STOP. Bookmarked it for later watching and went back to work. Total time lost: about an hour.

Not bad, only an hour. I call it “bouncing and blobbing,” which is my poetic way of referring to loping from place to place on the internet until you notice that the sun has gone down, you missed dinner, and it’s time to hit the mattress.

Bouncing and blobbing … is it a part of your life? Damn straight it is, and don’t you lie to me honey (channeling Foxy Brown here, another movie I blumbled across on YouTube late one night, which coincidentally co-starred my friend the late Tony Giorgio, a great magician and dice hustler who went straight and became an actor).

Bounce, bounce, bounce, blob, blob, blob, the time and energy getting drawn out of me like some soul-sucking digital vacuum clamped onto my eyeballs and forcing my fingers forward on the keyboard. Except when I am commanded to stop, and watch, and listen, and then stop and watch and listen to something else, and then to something else (Anthony Newley and Sammy Davis, Jr. doing a crazy 1970s pop medley on some British TV show) which leads me to a pathetic video of Newley singing later …read more

My sister made a Chewbacca piñata costume

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A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files. And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.

What my sister ended up creating was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

But before sharing some pics and a video of the costume in action, I wanted to set the bar very, very low by showing images of other homemade Chewbacca costumes I found online.

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It’s like looking in a Chewbacca mirror!

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Boxybacca.

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Yes, you can purchase this one!

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And this is my favorite one of all. The caption under this photo read, “Look at Chewbacca’s feet!”.

The truth is, that’s all I’m looking at.

So now that you’re primed for awesomeness, here are some pics of the creative process and a video of the finished product.

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Christina started with an ordinary fleece jacket and started attaching strips of paper to it in layers.

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She kept working upwards and onto the store-bought Chewbacca mask. And Ryan just kept standing there.

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Christina made Chewbacca-pantaloons by applying the same paper layering techniques onto a pair of sweatpants.

Holy crap is that a fantastic Chewbacca-Piñata costume, but from what I can tell there is a fatal flaw.

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The costume is called a “Chewbacca Piñata” and piñatas are meant to be hit with a stick or a baseball bat. If I had my way, to avoid a run-ins with stick carrying bullies, the name would be changed to something simple, like for instance, “Chewbacca”.

Potato, piñata.

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If you’d like to make your own Chewbacca Piñata, follow this link but be warned, it’s going to suck about 40 hours of your life away.

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May the force be with you.

…read more

My sister made a Chewbacca piñata costume

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 10.59.11 AM

A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files. And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.

What my sister ended up creating was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

But before sharing some pics and a video of the costume in action, I wanted to set the bar very, very low by showing images of other homemade Chewbacca costumes I found online.

1282a4d0babf5a55b17d879b7db2ee

It’s like looking in a Chewbacca mirror!

ab07f84bf55bc379424795754811d0

Boxybacca.

nowhite

Yes, you can purchase this one!

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-6-13

And this is my favorite one of all. The caption under this photo read, “Look at Chewbacca’s feet!”.

The truth is, that’s all I’m looking at.

So now that you’re primed for awesomeness, here are some pics of the creative process and a video of the finished product.

wingchest

Christina started with an ordinary fleece jacket and started attaching strips of paper to it in layers.

wingchestface

She kept working upwards and onto the store-bought Chewbacca mask. And Ryan just kept standing there.

pants

Christina made Chewbacca-pantaloons by applying the same paper layering techniques onto a pair of sweatpants.

Holy crap is that a fantastic Chewbacca-Piñata costume, but from what I can tell there is a fatal flaw.

pinata-hit

The costume is called a “Chewbacca Piñata” and piñatas are meant to be hit with a stick or a baseball bat. If I had my way, to avoid a run-ins with stick carrying bullies, the name would be changed to something simple, like for instance, “Chewbacca”.

Potato, piñata.

avatar-chewbacca-256

If you’d like to make your own Chewbacca Piñata, follow this link but be warned, it’s going to suck about 40 hours of your life away.

img_9911

May the force be with you.

…read more

Frozen zombie killers coming to life, and other tabloid stunners

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We’ve come to a pretty pass when the ‘National Examiner’ report that “Frozen Zombie Killers Coming to Life” is actually one of the more accurate stories in this week’s tabloids.

Never letting the facts get in the way of a good story, the ‘Globe’ cover hails its “world exclusive” story: “Whitney Houston Exhumed!” Hardly surprising it’s a world exclusive, since the late singer has not been exhumed, as we learn inside the ‘Globe,’ under its pleading headline: “Dig Up Whitney’s Body!” Evidently “legal experts” are calling for her exhumation to prove that Houston’s 2012 drowning death was murder. Except their “legal expert” is actually a tame “Hollywood private eye.”

Rachel Ray now reportedly weighs 277 pounds and has been ordered by doctors: “Diet or Die!” according to the serial fat-shaming ‘Globe,’ whose cover screams that she is “Eating Herself to Death!” At least she’s a celebrity TV chef, so she should have fun doing it. Did the ‘Globe’ team of highly-trained medical reporters put her on a scale, or hack her latest cholesterol test? Of course not. They simply eyeballed it, like “I Guess Your Weight” hucksters at a county fair. And they found a doctor “who has not treated her” to warn: “The excess pounds she’s now carrying bring the definite possibility of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart failure or even cancer.” What about hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, breathing difficulties, infertility and sleep apnea? Why not throw the whole medical dictionary at Rachel Ray, because she’s no longer rail thin? I’m only surprised that the ‘Globe’ didn’t adopt its usual approach to celebrity health and warn that Rachel Ray has only weeks to live. Which reminds me – Nick Nolte is still alive and kicking, more than two months after the ‘Globe’ assured us he would die. Can it be long before the ‘Globe’ editorial board put out a “hit” on Nolte, if he keeps flaunting their reports of his imminent demise?

Singer Cher is another star the ‘Globe’ keeps telling us is at death’s door, yet who refuses to believe her own press. She went and ruined the weeks-to-live narrative by announcing a major concert tour, launching in February. Undaunted, the ‘Globe’ this week tells us that Cher is “calling it quits” – after her tour is over. As if.

The Donald Trump-loving ‘National Enquirer’ continues its fair and balanced election coverage with this week’s cover proclaiming: “Hillary Blackmailed FBI to Kill Corruption Probe!” The Democratic presidential candidate allegedly dug up dirt on investigators to kill the Whitewater probe two decades ago. That must be why nobody has ever heard of the Whitewater investigation and it disappeared without trace. Right. An unnamed “White House insider” reportedly “made calls to people” to “silence witnesses and bury evidence.” And Hillary ordered this alleged cover-up? Well, no. Supposedly it was “contacts in the White House who worked for Deputy White House Chief of Staff Harold Ickes.”

Close enough. I’m sure that will stand up in court when President Trump brings Hillary to …read more

Incumbent GOP senator Mark Kirk turns to racism

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As republicans seem to do these days, incumbent GOP senator Mark Kirk tossed a racist slur at his opponent, Representative Tammy Duckworth, out of pure reflex.

Via NPR:

In a debate on Thursday night, Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth — an Army helicopter pilot who lost both her legs in a crash in Iraq — talked about her family’s long history of service in the military.

“My family has served this nation in uniform, going back to the Revolution. I’m a daughter of the American Revolution. I’ve bled for this nation. But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound,” Duckworth said. “Because people are quick to sound the drums of war, and I want to be there to say this is what it costs, this is what you’re asking us to do … Families like mine are the ones that bleed first.”

Kirk, given 30 seconds to respond, was curt, answering only: “I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.” The moderator then moved on to the next question.

The remark was flippant and racially charged but also incorrect. Duckworth was born in Thailand to a Thai mother of Chinese heritage and an American father who was a U.S. Marine. A Mother Jones profile of Duckworth’s 2012 House race notes her father, a World War II veteran, traces his heritage back to the American Revolution.

…read more

Incumbent GOP senator Mark Kirk turns to racism

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As republicans seem to do these days, incumbent GOP senator Mark Kirk tossed a racist slur at his opponent, Representative Tammy Duckworth, out of pure reflex.

Via NPR:

In a debate on Thursday night, Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth — an Army helicopter pilot who lost both her legs in a crash in Iraq — talked about her family’s long history of service in the military.

“My family has served this nation in uniform, going back to the Revolution. I’m a daughter of the American Revolution. I’ve bled for this nation. But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound,” Duckworth said. “Because people are quick to sound the drums of war, and I want to be there to say this is what it costs, this is what you’re asking us to do … Families like mine are the ones that bleed first.”

Kirk, given 30 seconds to respond, was curt, answering only: “I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.” The moderator then moved on to the next question.

The remark was flippant and racially charged but also incorrect. Duckworth was born in Thailand to a Thai mother of Chinese heritage and an American father who was a U.S. Marine. A Mother Jones profile of Duckworth’s 2012 House race notes her father, a World War II veteran, traces his heritage back to the American Revolution.

…read more

Chicago emergency room preps for big patient increase during World Series

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With a 20 percent increase in patients during the Major League Baseball playoff games in Chicago, the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center is preparing for a very busy World Series weekend there. Of course they expect alcohol-related injuries, from falls to DWI-related auto accidents, but cardiac issues are also expected to drive emergency room visits from emotional fans.

(Watching the baseball games) could increase their level of anxiety, hence exasperating some of their cardiac issues,” emergency department director Anna Scaccia told WGN-TV.

“Taking their medication as prescribed per their physician, trying to stay as calm as possible. I know that can be difficult.”


(image by Brent Payne, CC via Flickr)

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Quick, easy and good smelling tear stain remover for dogs

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My darling Cavalier, Pretzel, gets yucky tear stains that don’t smell too great. Well and Good Tear Stain for dogs cleans them up.

Pretzel, like many of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, I’ve lived with likes to sleep on my head. Luckily, I’m bald and this serves as a heated, and kinda snuggly, stocking cap. Unfortunately it can smell really, really bad when her tear ducts have formed crunchy masses of fur under her eyes, and around her snout.

The stuff works quick and easy, just apply the remover to a cotton ball or a paper towel, and wipe away the stinky stuff.

Well & Good Dog Tear Stain Remover, 4 fl. oz. via Amazon

…read more

Anatomy of the IRS phone scam

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If you’re like me, you get frequent calls from scammers based in India pretending to be from the IRS. They threaten to come to my house or place of work to arrest and jail me unless I pay them alleged back taxes in the form of gift cards(!). They are laughably bad at trying to con money (see my post “An IRS scammer called me and I made him mad“), but they do well with seniors and immigrants.

According to an article on Vox, “IRS Inspector General Russell George said his department heard from about 2 million people who said they received these calls — about 10,000 of whom admitted to paying the scammers, to a tune of about $50 million. And that’s just the people who contacted them.”

In order for these scams to work, the Indian scammers need to employ criminals in the US to deal with the gift cards. On Thursday 20 people in the US were arrested for allegedly participating in a fake IRS ring.

This flowchart describes how the IRS scam works.

Previously:

Indian call center employees posing as the IRS may have bilked Americans out of millions

A tech support scammer explains his trade

…read more

Insecure internet-connected "honeypot" toaster hacked within an hour

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Andrew McGill’s internet-connected toaster isn’t really a toaster: it’s a “honeypot” designed to resemble the insecure “internet of things” gadgets— cameras, LED lightbulbs, fridges, etc—that make up the vast botnets behind recent internet attacks. The honeypot was hacked within an hour.

I switched on the server at 1:12 p.m. Wednesday, fully expecting to wait days—or weeks—to see a hack attempt.

Wrong! The first one came at 1:53 p.m.

Lots of the hacking attempts use the password xc3511, the factory default of many old webcams. Amazing. I love the little bot’s eye view of the toaster!

…read more

Twitter killing Vine video service makes the internet worse

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Brian Feldman explains why Twitter’s decision to kill the Vine looping video service makes the internet worse.

The point of Vine was never to generate the next Fellini. It was to have dumb, stupid free play on an internet increasingly hostile to that kind of freedom, whether because of surveillance or heavy-handed advertiser presence or trolls. The lack of adult supervision or corporate culture may have made it somewhat impenetrable, but it also made it feel free in a way no other social network really does.

Vine also had what Silicon Valley types describe as a poor “culture fit.”

Vine wasn’t just dominated by teenagers — it was dominated by teenagers of color. Especially black teens, who created a disproportionate number of popular Vines and used the social network to demonstrate wit, intelligence, creativity, and comic timing that was rarely given a spotlight elsewhere.

Twitter’s decision to kill it is being felt as spite. Twitter itself is worse than unpleasant: it’s the oxygen keeping the internet on fire, feeding trolls, harassers and white supremacists. Vine, on the other hand, was adorable, funny, impervious to the hate and great because “there were no brands or grown ups or neonazis to ruin it.”

But business is interested in at least two of those three things, so it’ll take the set.

People often wonder why Twitter, more than other major social networks, is having so much difficulty figuring out ways to combat abuse. It is already far from a free-speech environment, after all, offering private intellectual property enforcement and (at least in a few cases) region-specific political censorship.

I don’t know much about business, but I always get the impression that Twitter sees its flatness and the abuse it engenders as an energy efficiency problem. A reaction to be brought under control, not vented. What if we could create an environment where abuse is harmless? This is the thinking that the proverbial trolls are so eager to exploit, because Twitter doesn’t realize that one of the constants in its formula–the social acceptability of their bullshit–can be made variable.

…read more

Develop apps for iOS and Android with Xamarin

With Xamarin, coders can develop native apps for both iOS and Android without learning two different programming languages. Obviously, hiring one programmer rather than two is beneficial for companies and makes Xamarin experts highly in demand.

You can easily learn Xamarin online with this Xamarin Cross-Platform Development Bundle. It will teach you to use Xamarin and code in C#, the programming language you’ll use.

The bundle includes 5.5 hours of video content and 48 lessons designed to take you through the basics of understanding Xamarin and the mechanics of actually building cross-platform apps.

Right now you can get the Xamarin Cross Platform Development Bundle for 96% off retail, just $35 in the Boing Boing store.

Also explore the Best-Sellers on our network right now:

…read more

Homemade wasp killing machine

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This fellow cobbled together an AC motor and some weed-eater filament, and attached it to a long pole. He then used it to get rid of a bunch of wasps that had taken residence near the top of his house. Those clunking sounds are from wasps flying into the spinning filament.

And here’s a guy who set up a shop-vac and sucked out hundreds of yellowjackets living inside the walls of his house:

https://youtu.be/ZpgovFhV_ho

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Dr Seuss estate has crushed a kickstarter for a Seuss/Trek mashup

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An all-star team of comics and science fiction people — impressario Glenn Hauman, writer David “Tribbles” Gerrold, and illustrator Ty Templeton — had their kickstarter for a Seuss/Trek parody “Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go” unceremoniously shut down when the Seuss estate’s notorious attack-lawyers threatened legal action, without any regard for the clear fair use at play.
(more…)

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Undercover with a prepper militia that patrols the border to fight "drug cartels"

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Shane Bauer, the investigative journalist whose four month stint in a privately run Louisiana prison was one of 2016’s most important pieces of journalism, has published a new piece in Mother Jones, this one detailing his time patrolling with the Three Percent United Patriots and other right-wing militias that are preparing for an epic civil war in which the US government will be overthrown and they will be the only citizens of a new country, with everyone else serving as “worker bees…down in the field growing food, gathering wood.”
(more…)

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The "Blacks for Trump" guy used to be in a murder cult

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Recent Trump rallies have prominently featured an African-American guy holding a “Blacks for Trump” sign, standing behind Trump himself. That guy is Michael Symonette, and he used to be a prominent member of the Yahweh ben Yahweh murder cult, support for whom led him to stand trial for 14 murders as well as multiple indictments for arson and extortion.
(more…)

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Roots of Trump family fortune traced to Canada brothel in Gold Rush era

Macleans reports: “Donald Trump's grandfather opened this hotel during the Yukon gold rush, boasting ‘every delicacy in the market' and ‘private rooms for ladies'”

Donald Trump’s grandfather Friedrich Trump operated a wild and crazy restaurant/bar/brothel in British Columbia during Canada’s gold rush era.

Bloomberg writer Natalie Obiko Pearson reports quite the story today on the origins of the Trump clan’s wealth in a wild, late 19th-century subarctic outpost.

Portrait of Frederick Trump (Wikipedia)

Portrait of Frederick Trump (Wikipedia)

Snip:

The Trump family’s gold-rush story began when Fred, as he was known, left Germany at the age of 16 with little more than a suitcase. He headed to New York to work as a barber before venturing west in search of riches. Following stints in Seattle and now-defunct Monte Cristo, the gold fever carried him to Bennett, where he and partner Ernest Levin built the Arctic Restaurant, which touted itself as the best-equipped in town.

It was open around the clock with “private boxes for ladies and parties,” according to an advertisement in the Dec. 9, 1899 edition of the Bennett Sun newspaper. The boxes typically included a bed and scale for weighing gold dust used to pay for “services,” according to a three-generational biography by Gwenda Blair, who traced the origins of the Trump family’s wealth. Of course, in the rough-and-tumble frontier towns of that era, the Arctic’s business model built on food, booze and sex was common.

The Arctic sat a stone’s throw from Bennett Lake in the heart of the township, amid a row of similar establishments and a sea of white canvas tents set up by prospectors. It was constructed of milled lumber and stocked fresh oysters, extravagant luxuries in a place where supplies were brought over arduous overland routes.

“I would advise respectable women travelling alone, or with an escort, to be careful in their selection of hotels at Bennett,” according to a letter penned by “The Pirate” in the Yukon Sun on April 17, 1900. For single men, the Arctic offered excellent accommodations but women should avoid it “as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex.”

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The Bloomberg piece follows the footsteps of earlier original reporting at Canada news daily Macleans‘ feature, “Inside the wild Canadian past of the Trump family.”

“Before there was a Trump Tower, there was a gold-rush hotel in Bennett, Yukon, where the Trump family dynasty began,” Jason Markusoff reported earlier this month. Snip:

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Uber promises flying cars within 10 years

vtols

“Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground.”


Ride-sharing service Uber released a 97-page white paper today that describes a network of “on-demand, fully electric aircraft that take off and land vertically.” The Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft are referred to as VTOLs. Uber’s proprietary network of VTOL service will be called “Elevate.”

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