Boing Boing

New Yorkers! Come see Edward Snowden and me onstage at the NYPL on the Walkaway tour!

I’m touring 20 US cities (plus dates in Canada and the UK!) with my forthcoming novel Walkaway; the full tour hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m delighted to reveal that the NYC stop on May 3 will be at the New York Public Library, where my interlocutor will be the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Tickets are $10-25! (Reminder: there are also signed first-edition hardcovers available for pre-order in the USA and UK).

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The CPAC replacement speaker for Milo Yiannopoulos was a notorious Japanese cult-member

After his awkward endorsement of pedophilia disqualified Milo Yiannopoulos to be the hard right’s token gay pal, CPAC needed a new speaker to fill his slot their conference, and the guy they chose was Jikido ‘Jay’ Aeba, a member of the notorious Japanese “Happy Science” cult, who helped the religion extrude a tendril into the political realm by founding the Happiness Realization Party.
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Wu Orleans 2: mashups of New Orleans music and Wu Tang rappers

dj BC writes, “In 2006 I mixed a bunch of New Orleans artists with Wu Tang rappers to make the record ‘Wu Orleans.’ 11 years later, here’s part two, with ten new songs. Free MP3 download of both albums here. A very limited run of vinyl with all 20 Wu Orleans songs on two records, and new art, is allegedly coming on record store day in April. Here’s the video for ‘Express Your Brain, Champ’ with Ghostface Killah, Nicky Da B (via Diplo), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and dj BC. Laissez les bon temps roulez!”

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Enter, win, choose which DJI drone to harass your neighbors with – it's that easy

DJI is the world’s leading designer and producer of easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems. If you’re a drone enthusiast, you want a DJI. If you know absolutely nothing about drones and think they’re weird, if you win a DJI you’re going to become a drone enthusiast.

Enter this giveaway (for free, yes) and you’ll get a shot at winning either a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, or a DJI Mavic, two of the best drones on Earth. Or, well, hovering one hundred feet above it. You get the point.

The Phantom 4 Pro is equipped with a 1″, 20MP sensor capable of shooting 4K/60fps video and Burst Mode stills at 14fps, which is drone and cinematography talk for such dang good picture that you’d be foolish not to submit to National Geographic. The Mavic, meanwhile, boasts a similar 4K stabilized camera, but is considerably more portable than the Phantom. If you’re a climber or often find yourself in remote places, this one’s your buddy.

Regardless, you’re getting a top of the market drone for free. All you have to do is enter by March 6, and cross your fingers you win.

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In 1937, a judge quietly asked Meyer Lansky to form a squad of Nazi-punching gangsters to raid Bund meetings

Meyer Lansky was an infamous and ruthless gangster — albeit one so personally charming that his life is chronicled in a book called But He Was Good to His Mother — and no friend of New York State Judge Nathan Perlman; nevertheless, as the Nazi-supporting German-American Bund staged more and more toxic rallies in New York City, Perlman quietly asked Meyer to form a squad of Jewish gangsters to disrupt their meetings.
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This “retro” technique still makes the best coffee

Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French press is the first step in upping your coffee game.

For a straightforward brewing process that yields full-bodied flavor, this Nuvita French Press is a great choice. Aside from its classy looks, this press is all business with a stainless steel frame and a heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe glass beaker. Unlike other models, this one features a double-screened filter to minimize sediment at the end of your cup.

Because all it needs is hot water and grounds, it’s great for home and travel alike. And unlike pour-over devices that only brew a single serving, It makes 34 ounces, or 8 cups at a time.

Get this Nuvita French Press for just $14.99, 62% off retail.

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Three kinds of propaganda, and what to do about them

Jonathan Stray summarizes three different strains of propaganda, analyzing why they work, and suggesting counter-tactics: in Russia, it’s about flooding the channel with a mix of lies and truth, crowding out other stories; in China, it’s about suffocating arguments with happy-talk distractions, and for trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos, it’s weaponizing hate, outraging people so they spread your message to the small, diffused minority of broken people who welcome your message and would otherwise be uneconomical to reach.
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To understand trumpism, study the self-professed “betas” of 4chan

Dale Beran’s been writing about 4chan, /b/ and Anonymous for years, and lurking on their message-boards, and he traces the rise of the self-professed “betas” who embody fragile, toxic masculinity and have been important bellwethers for many internet and real-world phenomena, linking them to Trump as “the loser who won”: “Someone who is all brash confidence and then outrageously incompetent at everything he does.”
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New York Times, CNN and other media barred from White House press event

The New York Times reports that it and at least two other media outlets, CNN and Politico, were barred today from a White House press event. Also locked out were the LA Times and Buzzfeed, writes Politico’s Dan Diamond.

Journalists from The New York Times and two other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Reporters from The Times, CNN and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed to attend.

It’s OK, though: Breitbart got in!

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Teens were bored so they built a backyard roller coaster

When two Wisconsin high school boys – sophomore JT Nejedlo and freshman Aidan Deaven – found themselves bored one summer, they decided to build a backyard roller coaster.

“We decided to build a roller coaster because it would be fun,” said JT Needle.

As you can imagine, it was easier said than done. But with a dad who used to be a physics professor, they were given the green light to try, and try, and try.

In fact, they tried for a few years – and finally succeeded. Although classmates teased them about it and teachers were skeptical, the boys – Nejedlo now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin and Deaven set to go there in the fall – recently finished their project with an awesome-looking coaster. They were honored by the school board on Tuesday. Sometimes boredom ain’t such a bad thing.

Read the full story here.

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A master of miniature model-making shares his hard-earned secrets

I first discovered David Neat’s work via his website where he delves deeply into all sorts of fascinating interests, from furniture design to natural history to art. Mainly what drew me there was his extensive tutorials on all aspects of miniature model-making. The amount of content he’s posted is staggering, as is the quality of everything. Read comments about David’s site (or this book) and you will hear from seasoned pros, surprised by how much they’ve learned from David’s work.

Model-Making: Materials and Methods collects some of David’s best content from the site. While only 176 pages, this book manages to cram in a lot of eye-opening tips and techniques for building miniatures. David comes from the theater set-building world and teaches design and model-making, mainly with theater, TV, and movie models in mind, but the techniques in this book can be applied to all forms of model-making, from dioramas and dollhouses to tabletop miniature games and train layouts. Chapters cover model construction, molding and casting, working with metals, creating surfaces and textures (one of David’s strong suits), and finishing techniques.

I love a book that has so much to offer, you can simply poke your head into it for a few minutes and you’ve added a few more wrinkles to your brain by the time you put it down. Model-Making: Materials and Methods is such a book.

Model-Making: Materials and Methods

by David Neat

Crowood Press

2008, 176 pages, 8.5 x 0.5 x 11.0 inches, Hardcover

$33 Buy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

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Techdirt is being sued by the “I invented email” guy and needs money to fight the case

Indie news outlet Techdirt is being sued for $15M by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email in 1978, eight years after Ray Tomlinson sent an email over ARPANET; Ayyadurai is represented by Charles Harder, a key figure in the Gawker-killing legal campaign that Peter Thiel financed, and who is also representing Melania Trump in her $150m lawsuit against The Daily Mail.
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A worldwide occult ritual for binding Donald Trump

My friend, the horror writer, Fortean investigator, and educator, Michael Hughes, has been circulating details for a series of occult rituals being planned to cast a “spell to bind Donald Trump and all those who abet him.” The basic mission statement of the ritual:

To be performed at midnight on every waning crescent moon until he is removed from office. The first ritual takes place Friday evening, February 24th, at the stroke of midnight. This binding spell is open source, and may be modified to fit your preferred spiritual practice or magical system — the critical elements are the simultaneity of the working (midnight, EST—DC, Mar-a-Lago, and Trump Tower NYC time) and the mass energy of participants.

I had to chuckle at the shopping list for the ritual:

  • Unflattering photo of Trump (small); see below for one you can print
  • Tower tarot card (from any deck)
  • Tiny stub of an orange candle (cheap via Amazon)
  • Pin or small nail (to inscribe candle)
  • White candle (any size), representing the element of Fire
  • Small bowl of water, representing elemental Water
  • Small bowl of salt, representing elemental Earth
  • Feather (any), representing the element of Air
  • Matches or lighter
  • Ashtray or dish of sand

Optional:

  • Piece of pyrite (fool’s gold)
  • Sulfur
  • Black thread (for traditional binding variant)
  • Baby carrot (as substitute for orange candle stub)

They had me a “tiny orange candle” and “baby carrot.”

Whether you’re a believer in any flavor of woo-woo or just see this as Yippie-esque political theater/performance art, a la the 1967 levitation of the Pentagon, you may be interested in participating.

There has been some controversy about the ritual in occult circles. Some are concerned that it will play into fears and stereotypes about magical practitioners and bring unwanted attention to that community. It already has, with at least one Christian group calling for counter-prayer vigils on every waning crescent moon. And hey, here in the Age of Peak Crazy, when a reality TV star and shitty businessman is president, and an alarming number of people believe that a Satanic cannibalistic pedophile ring is operating out of a friendly neighborhood pizza parlor in DC, what harm could there be in a little occult theater? Let the spiritual combat begin!

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White House plans to crack down on legal recreational pot

Sean Spicer: There’s a difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana
https://t.co/0g8qHYfgsD

— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) February 23, 2017

Today in a press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the Department of Justice will “take action” against states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Those states are Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. That’s 63 million Americans (one in five) who live states where adults can legally use marijuana for fun.

Meanwhile, a “Quinnipiac poll released earlier today found 71% of U.S. voters — including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and all age groups — are opposed to the government enforcing federal prohibition laws in states where marijuana is legal for medical or adult use,” reports the Marijuana Policy Project.

When Trump was campaigning for president, he said he would not interfere with the way that states dealt with the legality of pot. But then he appointed marijuana foe Jeff Sessions as attorney general. (When Sessions was a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, he said he thought the Ku Klux Klan “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.” Sessions also said last year that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”) It looks likes Sessions is calling the shots now.

Ironically, in the same press conference, Spicer told reporters “We are a states’ rights party.” But he was talking about the trashing of federal guidance on transgender students’ right to pee, not letting states decide what to do about pot prohibition.

From Time:

Spicer repeatedly linked the use of marijuana to the nationwide opioid abuse epidemic, suggesting without offering proof that marijuana is a gateway drug to more serious substances.

Earlier in the briefing, Spicer touted the president and the GOP’s commitment to deferring to the states over the federal government on controversial issues.

“We are a states’ rights party,” he said while discussing a reversal of Obama-era guidance on transgender student bathroom use.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, issued the following statement after Spicer’s press conference:

“The vast majority of Americans agree that the federal government has no business interfering in state marijuana laws. This administration is claiming that it values states’ rights, so we hope they will respect the rights of states to determine their own marijuana policies. It is hard to imagine why anyone would want marijuana to be produced and sold by cartels and criminals rather than tightly regulated, taxpaying businesses. Mr. Spicer says there is a difference between medical and recreational marijuana, but the benefits of and need for regulation apply equally to both.

“Mr. Spicer acknowledged that the Justice Department is currently prohibited from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. It is critical that Congress once again includes that provision in the next budget, and we are hopeful that they will also adopt a provision that extends that principle to all state marijuana laws.”

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New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is a big improvement over the previous model

We have Apple TV, Roku, and TiVo but I haven’t used them in months. We use our Fire TV Stick for everything, because it just seems to work more smoothly (the Apple TV is the worst of the bunch), also we are Amazon Prime subscribers, so we get a lot of free shows (like the excellent Z, about Zelda Fitzgerald, starring Christina Ricci).

Recently Amazon introduced the new Fire TV Stick, which is better in many ways than the old version. It has Alexa voice control built into the remote, so you can just ask it to play or search for a show. The new processor makes it run faster that the old version. It also has better WiFi.

I’m going to bring the old one with me when I travel.

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New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is a big improvement over the previous model

We have Apple TV, Roku, and TiVo but I haven’t used them in months. We use our Fire TV Stick for everything, because it just seems to work more smoothly (the Apple TV is the worst of the bunch), also we are Amazon Prime subscribers, so we get a lot of free shows (like the excellent Z, about Zelda Fitzgerald, starring Christina Ricci).

Recently Amazon introduced the new Fire TV Stick, which is better in many ways than the old version. It has Alexa voice control built into the remote, so you can just ask it to play or search for a show. The new processor makes it run faster that the old version. It also has better WiFi.

I’m going to bring the old one with me when I travel.

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New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is a big improvement over the previous model

We have Apple TV, Roku, and TiVo but I haven’t used them in months. We use our Fire TV Stick for everything, because it just seems to work more smoothly (the Apple TV is the worst of the bunch), also we are Amazon Prime subscribers, so we get a lot of free shows (like the excellent Z, about Zelda Fitzgerald, starring Christina Ricci).

Recently Amazon introduced the new Fire TV Stick, which is better in many ways than the old version. It has Alexa voice control built into the remote, so you can just ask it to play or search for a show. The new processor makes it run faster that the old version. It also has better WiFi.

I’m going to bring the old one with me when I travel.

Powered by WPeMatico

New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is a big improvement over the previous model

We have Apple TV, Roku, and TiVo but I haven’t used them in months. We use our Fire TV Stick for everything, because it just seems to work more smoothly (the Apple TV is the worst of the bunch), also we are Amazon Prime subscribers, so we get a lot of free shows (like the excellent Z, about Zelda Fitzgerald, starring Christina Ricci).

Recently Amazon introduced the new Fire TV Stick, which is better in many ways than the old version. It has Alexa voice control built into the remote, so you can just ask it to play or search for a show. The new processor makes it run faster that the old version. It also has better WiFi.

I’m going to bring the old one with me when I travel.

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Isaac Asimov: How to never run out of ideas again

Wikipedia says Isaac Asimov wrote 506 published books. Where did he get his ideas? Charles Chu says Asimov used a number of tactics:

1. Never Stop Learning

“All this incredibly miscellaneous reading, the result of lack of guidance, left its indelible mark. My interest was aroused in twenty different directions and all those interests remained. I have written books on mythology, on the Bible, on Shakespeare, on history, on science, and so on.”

2. Don’t Fight the Stuck

“I don’t stare at blank sheets of paper. I don’t spend days and nights cudgeling a head that is empty of ideas. Instead, I simply leave the novel and go on to any of the dozen other projects that are on tap. I write an editorial, or an essay, or a short story, or work on one of my nonfiction books. By the time I’ve grown tired of these things, my mind has been able to do its proper work and fill up again. I return to my novel and find myself able to write easily once more.”

3. Beware the Resistance

4. Lower Your Standards

5. Make MORE Stuff

6. “By thinking and thinking and thinking till I’m ready to kill myself.”

Image: Wikipedia

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Isaac Asimov: How to never run out of ideas again

Wikipedia says Isaac Asimov wrote 506 published books. Where did he get his ideas? Charles Chu says Asimov used a number of tactics:

1. Never Stop Learning

“All this incredibly miscellaneous reading, the result of lack of guidance, left its indelible mark. My interest was aroused in twenty different directions and all those interests remained. I have written books on mythology, on the Bible, on Shakespeare, on history, on science, and so on.”

2. Don’t Fight the Stuck

“I don’t stare at blank sheets of paper. I don’t spend days and nights cudgeling a head that is empty of ideas. Instead, I simply leave the novel and go on to any of the dozen other projects that are on tap. I write an editorial, or an essay, or a short story, or work on one of my nonfiction books. By the time I’ve grown tired of these things, my mind has been able to do its proper work and fill up again. I return to my novel and find myself able to write easily once more.”

3. Beware the Resistance

4. Lower Your Standards

5. Make MORE Stuff

6. “By thinking and thinking and thinking till I’m ready to kill myself.”

Image: Wikipedia

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Isaac Asimov: How to never run out of ideas again

Wikipedia says Isaac Asimov wrote 506 published books. Where did he get his ideas? Charles Chu says Asimov used a number of tactics:

1. Never Stop Learning

“All this incredibly miscellaneous reading, the result of lack of guidance, left its indelible mark. My interest was aroused in twenty different directions and all those interests remained. I have written books on mythology, on the Bible, on Shakespeare, on history, on science, and so on.”

2. Don’t Fight the Stuck

“I don’t stare at blank sheets of paper. I don’t spend days and nights cudgeling a head that is empty of ideas. Instead, I simply leave the novel and go on to any of the dozen other projects that are on tap. I write an editorial, or an essay, or a short story, or work on one of my nonfiction books. By the time I’ve grown tired of these things, my mind has been able to do its proper work and fill up again. I return to my novel and find myself able to write easily once more.”

3. Beware the Resistance

4. Lower Your Standards

5. Make MORE Stuff

6. “By thinking and thinking and thinking till I’m ready to kill myself.”

Image: Wikipedia

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Google's new product identifies whether a comment could be perceived as “toxic” to a discussion

Google’s Perspective is an API that aims to keep micturitors from fouling community swimming pools.

Perspective is an API that makes it easier to host better conversations. The API uses machine learning models to score the perceived impact a comment might have on a conversation. Developers and publishers can use this score to give realtime feedback to commenters or help moderators do their job, or allow readers to more easily find relevant information, as illustrated in two experiments below. We’ll be releasing more machine learning models later in the year, but our first model identifies whether a comment could be perceived as “toxic” to a discussion.

Check out the slider bar example and the writing example here. It seems to work pretty well!

Wikipedia, The NY Times, The Economist, and The Guardian experimenting with the technology to help them approve/disapprove of comments more quickly.

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Google's new product identifies whether a comment could be perceived as “toxic” to a discussion

Google’s Perspective is an API that aims to keep micturitors from fouling community swimming pools.

Perspective is an API that makes it easier to host better conversations. The API uses machine learning models to score the perceived impact a comment might have on a conversation. Developers and publishers can use this score to give realtime feedback to commenters or help moderators do their job, or allow readers to more easily find relevant information, as illustrated in two experiments below. We’ll be releasing more machine learning models later in the year, but our first model identifies whether a comment could be perceived as “toxic” to a discussion.

Check out the slider bar example and the writing example here. It seems to work pretty well!

Wikipedia, The NY Times, The Economist, and The Guardian experimenting with the technology to help them approve/disapprove of comments more quickly.

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Punched Nazi Richard Spencer ejected from Conservative conference

Richard Spencer, the American white nationalist guru famous for being punched on camera by an antifascist protestor, was ejected today from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by security guards.

“I’m not welcome on the property?” Spencer asked.

“I’m not going to debate this,” said the guard. “This is private property. They want you off the property.”

After Spencer asked if could stay if he would simply “stay out of trouble,” he said a hashtag — “Free Spencer” — into the cameras, and posed for another photo as he was taken outside.

He attracted attention to himself after walking out during a deranged speech from American Conservative Union director Dan Schneider, who, desperate to distance the movement from Spencer’s ilk, had described the Alt Right as a “left-wing” group.

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Tibetan free library opens doors to readers in India, with help from Boing Boing readers

Editor’s note: Here’s an inspiring update on a cool project some friends of ours are doing in India. About a year ago, Boing Boing readers began contributing to help the Tibetan exile community in Mundgod, India build the region’s first free Tibetan public library, with the support of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Shiwatso Library is now open for reading! “We have visitors checking out books from the Library and also coming to read,” says Phuntsok Dorjee, who is one of the organizers, and was raised in one of the refugee settlements there.

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After sexual harassment account, Uber exposé shows aggressive, unrestrained work culture

After a former Uber engineer detailed her account of sexual harassment while working there for about a year, New York Times reporter Mike Isaac dug into the story and got the goods. His exposé describes an amoral Ayn Randian meritocracy filled with aggressive jerks, in which one could absolutely imagine impunity for sexual harassment being an accepted norm.

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Gorgeous shots from circumnavigating Australia, aka “The Big Lap”

Tom Rex Jessett and his fiancee Vanessa tricked out a panel van and drove all the way around Australia, a journey known as The Big Lap.

We spent hours upon hours driving, walked on hundreds of beaches, Watched nearly every sunrise and sunset as well as ate a whole lot of tinned food! 35,000km later we were back where we started, the big lap complete! Here is just a small selection of the photographs I took along the way as memories.

Bonus video: Catherine Lawson and David Bristow take newborn Maya all the way around Highway 1.

I Spent 9 Months Road Tripping The Big Lap Of Australia And Took These Amazing Photos To Remember It! (Tom Rex Jessett)

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U.S. Homeland Security staff were unable to access DHS computer network because the security certificates expired

Some employees with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who work in the Washington, D.C. area and in Philadelphia, PA were unable to access the DHS computer network on Tuesday, reports Reuters, citing “three sources familiar with the matter.”

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North Korean diplomat sought in Kim Jong-nam's death, hinting at Kim Jong-un's involvement

Police in Malaysia said Wednesday they want to question a senior diplomat from the North Korean embassy in their ongoing investigation into the recent killing of Kim Jong-nam. This twist suggests the possible involvement of the North Korean government in the deadly poisoning of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s estranged half brother.

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Judge blocks Texas from defunding Planned Parenthood

Authorities in Texas who falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts are prohibited from withholding federal Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood, a federal judge ruled today. This is a significant legal victory for Planned Parenthood, which is under renewed conservative attack under President Donald Trump.

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