mistakes

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Don't buy the crappy TruTemp digital thermometer

It’s invariably the cheapest on the shelf, but the Taylor/TruTemp 3516 I got at Target fell apart the first time I pushed the button. It’s the shabbiest piece of electronic tat I’ve bought from a major U.S. retailer. Don’t buy it! A different brand is only $4 at Amazon, has good reviews, and isn’t held together by the clasping pressure of a plastic cap that will obviously expand when pushed.

I even tried gluing it on with superglue. Then it stopped working altogether. Then I threw it in the trash.

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Review: bug-zapping lightbulbs are worthless

I got one of those bug-zapping LED lightbulbs, in hopes of murdering the flies drifting into my office during the increasingly warm and muggy Pennsylvania summer. I got mine from Home Depot, but the bulbs at Lowes, Wal-Mart and Amazon are all obviously identical. There are two lights in each bulb: an ultraviolet one inside an electrified bug-zapping cage, and a standard 60W-equivalent LED element to light the room. You can have one or both lit simply by turning the light off and on repeatedly within a second: it sounds clunky, but in practice is an ingenious way to cycle the options without adding interface elements.

But it doesn’t matter, because they’re useless.

I installed my bulb in three locations, moving it every couple of days until a week had passed. As a control, I moved one of those traditional gooey fly strips likewise.

Subjectively, neither did much to stop the flies, a job clearly best accomplished by closing the damn windows.

Objectively, the death tolls were as follows:

Traditional fly strip: 9 bugs, 3 large.

Bug-zapping lightbulb: 4 bugs, all tiny. (The bulb is pictured here, without cleaning)

VERDICT: Don’t be tempted: they’re not half as good as fly strips and are many times the price. The only advantage they have is not being quite so gross when you throw them in the trash.

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Crown Prince Kushner reveals weak, nasal voice in first public speech

Described by the BBC as “notoriously” reticent to be heard in public, Jared Kushner — President Trump’s son-in-law and de facto factotum of his shambolic administration — was finally obliged to impress his voice upon others in a recorded setting at the MAGA Summer Palace in Washington, D.C. The subject was technology; the result was a better understanding of the fact Ivanka didn’t marry him for his diction.

If you think I’m being mean, just take a look at the absolute savaging he’s getting from the press.

Even The Daily Mail, bastion of international Trumpkinism, merrily deployed the snarky headline “Sounds like he’s giving an 8th grade valedictory.”

Kushner sounded like the smartest guy in the room – if the room was in middle school.

‘It’s probably not fair to observe that finally hearing Kushner’s voice is a major let-down. Sounds like he’s giving an 8th grade valedictory, wrote Darcy Jae.

At least one person thought that Kushner’s voice lost out to the hunky Canadian Prime Minister. ‘After hearing Jared Kushner’s voice, I understand why Ivanka was staring at Justin Trudeau with those hungry eyes,’ sniped Daniel Dresden.

Head left and it goes from insult to injury. The Onion’s A.V. Club:

It’s a wheedling, blandly competent voice, which is, all things considered, a fine change of aesthetic pace from Donald Trump’s freewheeling, real-time portrait of senility.

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Imagine you work by paying $425 for artificially mud-stained jeans

Nordstrom’s is selling artificially mud-stained jeans that look like they’ve just gotten in from a few hours’ laboring in the yard. The $425 mud isn’t mud: it’s paint.

Details & Care

Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.

Previously: Clear plastic jeans

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Trump administration walks back Obama wiretapping claim

In a press conference, Donald Trump spokesman Sean Spicer walked back the president’s tweeted claims that former president Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election campaign. By “wire tapping” Trump just meant “surveillance and other activities”, and by “President Obama” and “a bad (or sick) guy” he was referring the entirety of the administration, not to Obama personally.

Namely, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump wasn’t referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping.
“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,” Spicer said. “The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.” …

Spicer also said that Trump was referring to the Obama administration broadly — and not accusing Obama of personal involvement — when he tweeted that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” and accused Obama of being a “bad” or “sick guy.”

Decide for yourself!

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Turkey cat funeral explained

This video of turkeys circling a dead cat went viral yesterday…

… and here’s the explainer, from The Verge’s Alessandra Potenza and Rachel Becker. They’re a) warily inspecting a potential predator they don’t realize is dead while b) getting stuck in a natural follow-the-leader pattern.

“predator inspection,” says Alan Krakauer, a biologist at the University of California, Davis, who studies the behavioral ecology of birds, in an email to The Verge. Sometimes, animals lower down in the food chain approach predators — a behavior that can be seen as risky, but can actually help the prey. Making the predator aware that the prey know it’s there can sometimes scare the predator away. … What could be happening is that the turkeys are stuck in some kind of never-ending circle, with each bird following the tail in front of it. “It’s not unusual for them to get into those dances where they chase each other around,” Scott Gardner, a turkey expert with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, tells The Verge.

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