Day: November 14, 2016

Michael Moore’s to do list for a revolution: an intervention for liberals

Photo by David Shankbone

We have a new leader in America. Known for his distinct regional accent and often seen wearing a baseball cap at rallies, he starred in a show on NBC, and holds strong opinions about guns and the NRA. He may not be the leader you saw coming, but you’re going to see a lot more of him: Michael Moore. The documentary filmmaker shuns the activist label he is often given. In a recent LA Times interview Moore asserted, “I’m not an activist, I’m a citizen. It’s redundant to say I’m an activist. We all should be active.” Moore has been very active, and has made films that take on some of America’s most complex and controversial topics — globalization, gun violence, 9/11, our healthcare system, the economy, war, and most recently, Donald Trump, someone he did see coming. Unlike the Democrats.

Moore tried to warn the left in July, when he wrote a piece titled simply “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. In it, he did not mince words: “Go ahead and say the words, ’cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: ‘PRESIDENT TRUMP.’ Never in my life have I wanted to be proven wrong more than I do right now.” With his midwestern directness and efficiency, Moore then proceeded to list how and why Donald Trump was going to win.

A week after Trump’s election, Democrats and progressives are still raw with shock and grief. The agony is acute. The mood of over half the country? Political satirist Barry Crimmins nailed it in a tweet, saying “We’re now kids trapped in the back of our blowhard, road-raging, shitty-driver, dad’s car for a 4-yr trip and he’s issued a “No Talking” edict.”

Liberals feel aimless and powerless, falling all over each other trying to figure out what happened. Like teenagers at a party that went off the rails, some are locked in the bathroom crying, some are fighting amongst themselves, others are telling everyone it’s going to be fine, and some are standing on the kitchen table yelling, trying to restore order in futility. The left needs a designated driver, and Michael Moore is already in the driveway with the car warmed up, waiting for Democrats to pull themselves together and get in.

After the election, Moore posted another 5-point list, this time, a” Morning After To-Do List.” Item number one? “Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.” It might sound like pointing fingers, or running for office, but it’s not. It was statement of tough love telling us what was necessary to lay the groundwork for an effective movement against Trump. Two days later, in an interview with LA Times reporter Steven Zeitchik, he said he that he wanted to head that movement:

You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should …read more

Ragedonate: charities that fight Trumpism

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Fosta writes, “Rather than just get angry and do nothing, we made RageDonate.com. We just launched this morning. The site shows statements from Donald Trump and offers a counter action via a donation to an organization working to protect these people. Charities already on board are: Define American, CAIR-AZ (#HateHurts), Freedom of the Press Foundation, Project Callisto & LiveFree USA. There are more to come.” (Image: Gage Skidmore CC-BY-SA)

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Kaijumax – Like Orange is the New Black, but the prisoners are monsters straight from Godzilla

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Kaijumax is a fun comic that will make you get all the feels for giant city-destroying monsters. It’s like Oz or Orange Is the New Black, only the prisoners in this case are monsters straight from your favorite Godzilla movies. The monsters are kept in check by guards who have Ultraman-like power suits, allowing them to grow to skyscraper size and lay down their own form of justice.

The story follows Electrogor, a monster and father who was apprehended for chewing on power cables in order to feed his children. As the new monster at Kaijumax, you follow him as he learns the ins and outs of how the prison works. There’s everything you could possibly hope for in a facility that houses the world’s deadliest creatures: corrupt guards, drugs, gangs, and a cult of mecha-monsters.

The artwork’s incredible. It brings a lightness to the otherwise surprisingly heavy subject matter. If you’re a fan of Godzilla, Power Rangers, Ultraman, or any other Kaiju movie or show, you’ll see some familiar characters hidden throughout. This is one of the weirdest comics that I’ve read in a while, but I loved every minute of it. Give giant monsters a chance, and check this one out.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Kaijumax Season One

by Zander Cannon

Oni Press

2016, 168 pages, 6.6 x 10.1 x 0.4 inches (softcover)

$8 Buy a copy on Amazon

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As Trump's racist regime takes power, FBI reports a surge in hate crimes against Muslims and others

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The FBI today reported that hate attacks on Muslims in America are surging, as “a wave of racially charged assaults, graffiti attacks and other episodes” sweeps the country in the days since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential elections.

Trump finally said something about the spike in racist attacks by whites on people of color during a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on Sunday night.

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Iron Man Ride Flies into Hong Kong Disneyland

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The first Marvel-themed ride to open at any Disney park in the world will launch in January 2017 at Hong Kong Disneyland. There are expected to be soft openings for hotel guests in December.

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Created specifically for Chinese audiences, the entire “Iron Man Experience” takes place as Iron Man fights assorted baddies in the skies above Hong Kong. There is also expected to be a display of the various iterations of Iron Man’s outfits (which first appeared at Anaheim’s Disneyland several years ago).

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For those folks who’ve been on the upgraded version of Star Tours at most Disney Parks within the past few years, the ride system appears to be the same. But it’s Iron Man … woo-hoo! Don’t expect to see this anywhere but at Hong Kong Disneyland for about 5 years. My guess is that it will eventually replace Star Tours in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in California.

Take a peek!

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Watch a young grizzly bear play with floating video cameras

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Below, a young grizzly bear plays with two GoPro cameras mounted on a pontoon floating in the clear water of the Knight Inlet on the British Columbia Coast.

“The idea was to film bears diving for fish in 2-meter deep pools,” wrote Newsflare member kitchinsink, who uploaded the video. “If I was in the pool they wouldn’t come and dive so I needed a camera that would float ‘inconspicuously!'”

(via National Geographic)

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Watch a young grizzly bear play with floating video cameras

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Below, a young grizzly bear plays with two GoPro cameras mounted on a pontoon floating in the clear water of the Knight Inlet on the British Columbia Coast.

“The idea was to film bears diving for fish in 2-meter deep pools,” wrote Newsflare member kitchinsink, who uploaded the video. “If I was in the pool they wouldn’t come and dive so I needed a camera that would float ‘inconspicuously!'”

(via National Geographic)

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The best place to sit in a "suicide circle" if you really don't want to die

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Math problems are more interesting when they are posed as horror stories.

The Josephus Problem gets its name from Titus Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jewish scholar.

The story goes that he was with 40 other soldiers when they were surrounded by conquering Romans – imagine that scene in Games of Thrones, where Ramsay Bolton’s men trap Jon Snow’s army in a tight circle and start moving in.

Rather than give themselves up, the soldiers decided to commit suicide en mass, but by killing each other rather than themselves, to avoid any last-minute changes of heart. Sitting in a circle, the first soldier would kill the man to the left of him, the next living soldier would kill the man to his left, and so on around the circle.

When the circle of slaughter got back to the start, the process would repeat with the smaller group of people. Finally, the last man alive would fall on his sword.

Josephus’ problem was that he was much keener on living than dying – but he didn’t want to let his fellow soldiers in on that secret. So, where should he position himself in the circle to be the last man standing?

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Ernst Haeckel's 1904 bat drawings

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Zoologist and artist Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) had some odd ideas about the origins and evolution of life forms. That’s understandable, because at the time, scientists were just beginning to accept Darwinism. (Haeckel himself was a champion of Darwinism, but he added Lamarckism and some unpleasant conjectures about race into his philosophical worldview.)

This remarkable page of expressive bat face drawings was posted last week on Open Culture. It can also be found in the book, Art Forms in Nature, which was originally published as a series of portfolios between 1899-1904. This book of the same name compiles 100 color plates of Haeckel’s meticulously composed, obsessively detailed drawings of plants and animals arranged to show the similarity of different species. Haeckel’s lifeforms radiate vitality from the page and the peculiar way they are drawn seems to stimulate the same part of the brain that’s affected by psychedelic drugs.

The plates were intended to illustrate Haeckle’s ideas about life and evolution, but they ended up being more important to artists than scientists. His blend of crystalline geometric patterns and swooping organic curves feels very Art Nouveau, and in fact many Art Nouveau artists were influenced by Haeckel’s drawings. His work continues to inspire and amaze people today.

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Interview with 95-year-old MAD cartoonist Al Jaffee

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MAD “Fold-In” artist Al Jaffee has been a professional cartoonist for 73 years. Guinness World Records has certified him as the oldest working cartoonist. Sam Thielman of The Guardian recently interviewed Jaffee about his brilliant career.

Was there a particular kind of baloney you were attracted to satirizing?

Well, yes. The world is full of bloviators. And you find them in politics, and even religion, if I may say so, where somebody appoints themselves the spokesman for God. And this kind of stuff, when there’s someone on the public scene who’s really going beyond his duties as a politician or a religious leader or a sportsman, he’s fair game. The main thing about Mad is that it’s not a preachy magazine. It’s not selling one kind of politics or one kind of religion or sports team or anything like that.

The main thing is to keep your eyes and ears open and when you hear something that’s clearly baloney, such as “eight out of 10 doctors smoke Chesterfield cigarettes” – these are ads that actually ran! One of the tobacco companies had the nerve to claim that doctors prefer their cigarettes. So it’s easy to shoot down that kind of bull.

But you do it with a gentle hand, you don’t preach and say “tobacco kills! How can these doctors do that?!” No, you just go them one step further and say, “In addition to eight out of 10 doctors smoking this brand of cigarette, in their time off, they each drink a gallon of bourbon, which also has health benefits.”

You can can let the air out of individual bloviators but they keep cropping back up.

Oh, they do.

They’re very inventive, too, and we have to be inventive to expose them, not to insult them, but simply to take what they say and expand on it to the point of ridicule. It’s enjoyable, and in a way we think it’s kind of a public service. We don’t favor one particular politician over another, we’re just looking for the politician that’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes and just exaggerate what they’re saying and then it speaks for itself.

In 2011, Ruben Bolling and I interviewed Al Jaffee for the Gweek podcast. I was so excited.

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Meet the hair dealers, from growers to collectors to buyers

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Anthropologist Emma Tarlo just published a new book, Hair: A Human History, investigating the weird culture and business surrounding hair, from Jewish wig parlors to its use in Hindu temples to hair loss clinics. In an excerpt at Smithsonian, Tarlo tells of the hair trade, tracing the path from the growers to the sellers to the buyers:

An Ohio woman who goes by the pseudonym Shelly-Rapunzel sold 38 inches of her ankle-length brown hair on BuyandSellHair.com for $1,800. “All money is going to doctor appointments that have to be paid upfront,” she says. She is not alone. The website is full of women auctioning their hair to the highest bidder. Not all have tales of hardship: some simply want a change of hairstyle; others do it to raise money for specific purposes such as education or charity; others are regulars who use the hair on their heads to bring in some extra cash every few years.

As a hair seller whose identity is at least somewhat known, Shelly-Rapunzel is an anomaly in a largely anonymous world. The gathering of human hair is on the whole a backstage business about which little is known to those outside the trade. Transactions of this sort where named individuals negotiate good deals for their hair make up only a tiny fragment of the billion-dollar trade in human hair…

Much of the hair procured for wigs and extensions on the global market today is collected in bulk by intermediaries in contexts where hair sellers and buyers occupy different social and economic worlds. Most of it is gathered in Asian countries in exchange for modest sums of money. By the time the hair reaches the marketplace, it is usually divorced from not only the head of the woman who sold it, but from its place of origin. Even many of the shopkeepers and traders who sell hair extensions and wigs know very little about how it has been gathered unless they go to the considerable trouble of collecting it themselves or work for a major hair-manufacturing company with a department dedicated to hair procurement. Labels such as “Brazilian”, “Peruvian”, “Indian”, “European”, “Euro-Asian” and “Mongolian” adorn packets of hair, but they often operate more as exotic promises of variety than indicators of hair origin.

Hair: A Human History by Emma Tarlo (Amazon)

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Slenderman documentary

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Beware the Slenderman is a forthcoming HBO documentary about the latest incarnation of the bogeyman, including the 2014 story of the two 12-year-old girls who attempted to stab their friend to death as proxies of the faceless, lanky humanoid monster. First manifested on the Internet (and memetically spread into young peoples’ nightmares) around 2011, Slendy is also set to star in his own horror film produced by Sony’s Screen Gems division. (via The Daily Grail)

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Anish Kapoor banned from using world's pinkest pink in retaliation for hoarding the blackest black

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Anish Kapoor — last seen in these parts when he apparently insisted that it was illegal for people in Chicago to take pictures in their public park if they captured a sculpture that had been donated to the city — got a nanotech company called Nanosystems to promise him the exclusive right to paint with their Vantablack pigment, which uses carbon nanotubes to absorb 99.96% of visible light.

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24-hour sale: this top-rated Bluetooth speaker is rarely this affordable

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This week is deals week in the Boing Boing store, and first up is the G-TUBE Adventure Ready Bluetooth Speaker. It may be super compact, but you wouldn’t know it from the powerful sound it projects. It’s known as one of the best-performing portable outdoor Bluetooth speakers, and it’s on sale today only.

At first glance, I noticed that it’s super lightweight as advertised, and can definitely be easily carried around. It’s also water resistant and comes with a durable exterior that makes it perfect for outdoor use. It really can survive water splashes from any angle so you’ll feel safe bringing it to the beach or lake.

The steel grill with protective elastomer guards the G-TUBE from everyday wear and tear, and its metal loop can be used to hang it from your bike or shower. But the highlight of the G-TUBE is definitely its sound quality, which easily rivals more expensive and larger speakers.

The G-TUBE has been really well reviewed all around, and has received 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. This speaker rarely goes on sale, but today you can bring it home for 20% off, just $31.99.

You only have one day to buy the G-TUBE wireless speaker at this discounted price, so grab it now in the Boing Boing Store for just $31.99.

Also explore other Best-Sellers and Giveaways on our network right now:

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In 100 years, we'll remember technology's transformation and Trump will be long forgotten

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Steven “Hackers” Levy has a long view of Trump: as radical as he is, he’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the political and social changes wrought by technology: “Who was king during the industrial revolution in England? The quirks and flaws of government leaders are not relevant information when studying the enlightenment. In the long run, the Galileos and James Watts of the world have even more influence than the Napoleons.”
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Elevators with no buttons, doors or stops

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Paternoster elevators don’t have doors or buttons. The run continuously in a loop, like a ferris wheel. When you reach your desired floor, you get off quickly. 99 Percent Invisible has an article about these curious conveyances, which can still be found in Europe.

The compartments of a paternoster lift wrap around like a chain, with two side-by-side openings on each level. Passengers step into and out of either the “up” or “down” side on a given floor.

These endlessly looping lifts are slower than conventional elevators, generally moving about one foot per second, which makes it possible to get on and off. Their slow-but-perpetual motion is the key ingredient to their efficiency: with so many compartments and no need to stop, passengers need never wait for a lift. Taken together, all of the small cars can also hold more people than a one-per-shaft system.

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No-Bake Cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake

This no-bake vanilla cheesecake is light, creamy, and perfect for any dinner party or holiday gathering.

It also eliminates a lot of the worries that might keep you from making a cheesecake in the first place: There’s no need for fussy water baths or elaborate cool-down steps. No worries about cracks in the top. No need to even turn on the oven!

Leave your no-bake cheesecake plain or top it with your favorite fruit. Either way, this cheesecake is a winner.

Continue reading “No-Bake Cheesecake” »

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Bruce Sterling on the US election: the net is great at tearing down, terrible at building

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Bruce Sterling’s characteristically acerbic remarks on the US election gets to a really important point: internet-based movements have been amazing at tearing down corrupt establishment system, but have failed (so far) to create the kinds of stable governance structures that build up something better from the ruins.

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Bruce Sterling on the US election: the net is great at tearing down, terrible at building

keming-cross-stitch

Bruce Sterling’s characteristically acerbic remarks on the US election gets to a really important point: internet-based movements have been amazing at tearing down corrupt establishment system, but have failed (so far) to create the kinds of stable governance structures that build up something better from the ruins.

(more…)

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Canadian tech firms will have their pick of overseas talent thanks to Trump's anti-immigrant policies

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The massive talent shortage in tech has all kinds of weird effects: the inability to outbid tech giants means that badly secured hospitals get devoured by ransomware; it means that companies that value diversity get to outmaneuver much better-resourced competitors; it means that companies that pledge to be ethical can edge out their competition (and that unethical conduct can have real costs); and it means that companies get so desperate that they form industry-wide criminal conspiracies to try to short circuit the seller’s market for tech skills.
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Hedgehog art Though the Ages

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I have a feeling that Hedgehog art Though the Ages might not be entirely legitimate from a classical historiological standpoint; I suspect photoshop may even have been involved. But this is, it seems, an entire book of hedgehog art that doesn’t involve the blue one, which makes it unique in the annals of modern hedgehog-related ekphrasis.

Hedgehog Art Though the Ages is a humorous and lovely book. This amusing work of fictional art history features various inspiring works of art with hedgehogs as the key theme. The book includes over forty amazing, adorable, and delightful works from the Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Romantic and Modern periods, as well as sections on Americana and Japanese art.

Let me tell you, this has been tearing up Hedgehog internet.

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Why Disney owns muppetfucker.net

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Disney, through the Jim Henson Company, is the owner of the domain name muppetfucker.net. There is nothing at the address, but… why? io9’s Beth Elderkin investigates and finds the answer to be the obvious one: a guy registered the domain long ago and the muppet people made him give it up on pain of expensive legal action.

Austin resident Noah Lee started going by the DJ name Muppetfucker in 1995, after he and a friend of his came up with it and thought it was funny. He used the name for six years, and owned several MuppetFucker domain names, including MuppetFucker.net. Lee told io9 the Jim Henson Company likely found out about Muppetfucker after he performed at SXSW in March 2001 and got a review in a local weekly magazine. A few days after the review came out, Lee got a cease-and-desist letter from the Jim Henson Company, which demanded he stop using the name Muppetfucker and hand over all domain rights.

“The day the letter showed up, I walked to my mailbox and opened it up, and when I pulled out that Kermit letterhead I knew right then it was over,” Lee told io9.

Whatever trademark registrations surround the word “muppet” must be quite shopworn by now: in the UK, the word is a common euphemism for “idiot”.

Good news, though! Fragglebugger.com is still available.

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Hayao Miyazaki emerges from retirement, again

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Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki “fails at retirement again,” writes Amid Amidi. He’s taking the helm again at Studio Ghibli to direct a new full-length feature film, Boro the Caterpillar.

The news of Miyazaki’s pending return to feature film was the subject of an entire NHK TV special that aired in Japan on Sunday: Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki). In the show, Miyazaki not only discussed his current project—a 12-minute CG animated short Kemushi no Boro (Boro the Caterpillar) that will debut at the Ghibli Museum in 2017—but floated plans for a follow-up feature film.

Miyazaki is 76 and evidently far from done; the infamous quote often attributed to him in the image accompanying this post is deliberately mistranslated from a more nuanced, but no less damning statement:

Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know. It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!.

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