Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Wall Street battered [Under Armour] stock Tuesday, sending it down a staggering 25 percent by late morning"

WaPo:

Meanwhile, the company copped to missing the mark on its clothing assortment. Its basic, staple items didn’t catch customers’ eyes in a competitive environment. Plus, executives said, they didn’t offer enough options for style-conscious shoppers, the ones going wild for the “athleisure” trend.

“We need to become more fashion,” Plank said on the conference call. “The consumer wants it all. They want product that looks great, that wears great, that you wear at night with a pair of jeans, but also that performs for them.”

This is an area where its new Baltimore manufacturing facility, UA Lighthouse, could eventually have some impact: The company said it was able to dramatically cut its speed-to-market timeline by using this domestic hub to develop products. This, in turn, could allow it to better offer trendy merchandise at the right time.

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild Nendoroids available for preorder

Link with and without horse.

The newly-revealed Hellboy ReAction figures are also available, but as a set.

"US misfires in online fight against Islamic State"

AP:

On any given day at MacDill Air Force Base, web crawlers scour social media for potential recruits to the Islamic State group. Then, in a high-stakes operation to counter the extremists' propaganda, language specialists employ fictitious identities and try to sway the targets from joining IS ranks.


...

Several current and former WebOps employees cited multiple examples of civilian Arabic specialists who have little experience in counter-propaganda, cannot speak Arabic fluently and have so little understanding of Islam they are no match for the Islamic State online recruiters.

It's hard to establish rapport with a potential terror recruit when — as one former worker told the AP — translators repeatedly mix up the Arabic words for "salad" and "authority." That's led to open ridicule on social media about references to the "Palestinian salad."

"Billionaire Is Reported Seized From Hong Kong Hotel and Taken Into China"

NYT:

A Chinese-born billionaire who has forged financial ties with some of the country’s most powerful families was taken by the Chinese police from his apartment at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong late last week and spirited across the border, a person close to the businessman said on Tuesday.

...

Mr. Xiao, a prodigy who passed the examination to enter the elite Peking University at age 14, controls a sprawling empire with shares in banks, insurance companies, coal, cement and property through his Tomorrow Group. The Hurun Report, which tracks Chinese billionaires, estimated his fortune last year at 40 billion renminbi, or $5.8 billion. But that vastly understates his wealth, said the person close to Mr. Xiao.

Mr. Xiao’s fortunes rose after his graduation from the university in 1990, where he had been head of the official student organization and stayed loyal to the government during the pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989.

In recent years, Mr. Xiao has acted as a kind of banker to the ruling class

"USA Football, the national governing body for amateur football, intends to introduce a drastically altered youth football game in response to declining participation"

"Among the rule changes: Each team will have six to nine players on the field, instead of 11; the field will be far smaller; kickoffs and punts will be eliminated; and players will start each play in a crouching position instead of in a three-point stance."

"India’s biggest technology companies lost more than $7 billion in market value in a single hour of trading Tuesday, after news reports of proposals in the US to restrict the availability of skilled worker visas for foreigners"

BF:

Stock in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, and Wipro — which collectively account for 60% of the revenues of India’s IT sector — tumbled on the news. The three companies collectively send thousands of Indian workers every year to the US to work on the outsourced IT projects they manage.

The companies take advantage of a visa for skilled workers known as an H-1B, which has been a frequent target of criticism from across the political spectrum. Technology giants complain that the limited availability of H-1B visas — a maximum of 85,000 can be issued every year — restricts their ability to hire top-tier engineering talent. Politicians say the system is abused by the outsourcing companies, who use it to bring foreign workers to perform jobs previously done by Americans, but at lower wages.

Monday, January 30, 2017

"Trump's voter fraud expert registered in 3 states"

AP:

A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press has learned.

...

Reached by telephone Monday, Phillips said he was unaware of his multiple registrations but asked, "Why would I know or care?"

"Why Hollywood as we know it is already over"

VF:

But all those TV workers feel as if they are in safe harbor, given that the production side of a project is protected by the unions—there’s the P.G.A., D.G.A., W.G.A., SAG-AFTRA, M.P.E.G., and I.C.G., to name just a few. These unions, however, are actually unlikely to pose a significant, or lasting, protection. Newspaper guilds have been steadily vanquished in the past decade. They may have prevented people from losing jobs immediately, but in the end they have been complicit in big buyouts that have shrunk the newspaper industry’s workforce by 56 percent since 2000.

...

But there are other applications for these kinds of technologies, too. If you could give a computer all the best scripts ever written, it would eventually be able to write one that might come close to replicating an Aaron Sorkin screenplay. In such a scenario, it’s unlikely that an algorithm would be able to write the next Social Network, but the end result would likely compete with the mediocre, and even quite good, fare that still populates many screens each holiday season. The form of automation would certainly have a massive impact on editors, who laboriously slice and dice hundreds of hours of footage to create the best “cut” of a film or TV show. What if A.I. could do that by analyzing hundreds of thousands of hours of award-winning footage? An A.I. bot could create 50 different cuts of a film and stream them to consumers, analyzing where viewers grow bored or excited, and change the edits in real time, almost like A/B testing two versions of a Web page to see which one performs better.
Relatedly: Sony to Write Down Nearly $1 Billion on Movie Business

Also:

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda Mini Diecast Nomad ND1 available for preorder



$9.99 at Amazon instead of the super expensive remote control version.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"South Korean, U.S. Marines tussle in snow in what North brands 'madcap' drill"

Reuters:

South Korean and U.S. Marines are conducting military exercises on ski slopes in sub-freezing temperatures, including shirtless hand-to-hand combat in the snow, prompting warnings of retaliation from North Korea over "madcap mid-winter" drills.

...

"U.S. Marine Corps and ROK (Republic of Korea) Marine Corps partnered together at every level to build a camaraderie and friendship of the two countries’ militaries

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mermaid Assisted Opening Knife, Rainbow



Available at Amazon.

"Shaw Bijou, the DC restaurant that shut down last week just two and a half months after opening"

Eater:

This was a highly-anticipated restaurant for a number of reasons: The chef Kwame Onwuachi was young and relatively untested, yet high profile (Top Chef, memoir deal); he chose a $185/head tasting menu format for his debut restaurant; it was one of the few high-end restaurants run by a Black chef. Once it opened, critics routinely and immediately panned it. Two months in, the chef lowered the prices and the course count, but it was too late.

Twin Peaks toys available for preorder

Including two different plastic-wrapped Laura Palmer bodies (?!)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Star Wars concepts by Alberto Nicolini



More here.

"President Obama and his family escaped a room at Breakout Waikiki during their winter vacation to Hawaii"

RE:

We recently interviewed MacGregor Greenlee, General Manager of Hawaiian Operations at Breakout Waikiki about his experience hosting the Obamas.

...

It wasn’t clear which room President Obama was going to do because they had a party of about 30 people who split into four different rooms. His daughters chose our Mission Manoa room which is based on a room at our original location (Breakout Kansas City) and features a hand cuffing component. As you can imagine, the Secret Service was not going to allow anyone in the room to be handcuffed, especially the President!

Mass Effect Andromeda Funko figures available for preorder

Five figures (looks like Funko went with "Sara" instead of "Scott" as the main character, while McFarlane chose Scott).

The Street Fighter MUSCLE-style figures are available for preorder, too.

Arcade cabinets if the games focused on Princess Leia as the hero



All sold out. Disney should retire "Slave Leia" goods and start selling "Hutt-Slayer Leias."

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter Allowed to Pursue Legal Claims Over Theft of His DNA"

THR:

On Monday, a Florida state judge permitted Perlmutter and his wife, Laura, to move forward in a trailblazing case over the way their DNA was surreptitiously gathered at a deposition on Feb. 27, 2013. In advancing a conversion claim, circuit judge Meenu Sasser wrote that no binding authority has ever definitively answered the question of whether genetic material such as DNA constitutes "property."

...

During an earlier defamation case over the tennis courts, Peerenboom and his ex-attorney William Douberley forced the appearance of the Perlmutters at a deposition. When the Marvel chairman showed up to be interviewed at a West Palm Beach law firm, he had no idea that it was part of a plot to collect his DNA and compare it with the hate mail. Peerenboom and a private investigator hired Speckin Laboratories, a testing facility, whose employee showed up at the deposition with "special paper" meant to collect DNA. They also took plastic water bottles and a bottle cap left at the deposition by the Perlmutters.

"Starvation in northern Nigeria’s Borno State is so bad that a whole slice of the population — children under 5 — appears to have died"

We saw only older brothers and sisters. No toddlers straddling their big sisters’ hips, no babies strapped to their mothers’ backs.”

"Intellectual Property Department deputy chief arrested in Japan for allegedly stealing paintings"

"A senior Thai commerce official on an official trip to Japan for intellectual property rights discussion was arrested for allegedly stealing paintings in the hotel."

Mary Tyler Moore was permitted to wear pants in only "one scene per episode"

From a 1995 interview:

Moore: I mean, society's expectations at that point still said, hey, wait a minute, lady, you only go so far here. But I think we broke new ground, and that was helped by my insistence on wearing pants, you know, jeans and capri pants at the time because I said I've seen all the other actresses and they're always running the vacuum in these little flowered frocks with high heels on, and I don't do that. And I don't know any of my friends who do that. So why don't we try to make this real? And I'll dress on the show the way I do in real life.

GROSS: But it wasn't that easy. The sponsors were afraid you'd look brazen.

First toys for The Dark Tower movie available for preorder

Elba and McConaughey "Vinimates".

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Amazon's STEM Club Toy Subscription

"STEM Club is a monthly program that delivers handpicked, high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math toys to your door, at a great price. Each month you will receive a different, age-appropriate STEM toy that will encourage your child to learn through play. From robotics to natural sciences, there’s always a new discovery on the way."

Man-Thing



By Tyler Crook.

Also, Misty Knight by John Cassaday:

"Death toll from Italy's hotel avalanche rises to 14, as prosecutors study email that begged for help hours before disaster struck"

TG:

Hotel owner Bruno Di Tommaso sent an urgent email to police and local authorities just hours before the avalanche smothered the Rigopiano Hotel in a blanket of snow, ice, debris and pine trees, last Wednesday.

He said his guests had been left "terrified" by four powerful earthquakes, all of more than magnitude 5.0, that had shaken central Italy that day.

...

Survivors have recounted how they ate snow to stay alive while they were trapped in the shattered remains of the hotel.

On Monday, exhausted rescuers found something to cheer about when they came across three sheepdog puppies, resembling small polar bears, trapped in the boiler room of the hotel.
(Article includes multiple photos of the puppies.)

"Saudi Arabia is warning that a computer virus that destroyed systems of its state-run oil company in 2012 has returned to the kingdom"

AP:

Suspicion for the initial dispersal of the Shamoon virus in 2012 fell on Iran

...

Shamoon, named for a folder in its code, first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012. In that attack, which hit Saudi Aramco and Qatari natural gas producer RasGas, the virus deleted hard drives and then displayed a picture of a burning American flag on computer screens. The attack forced Saudi Aramco to shut down its network and destroyed over 30,000 computers.

"An ICE agent who’s already pleaded guilty to taking bribes allegedly drove a Korean supper club out of business in exchange for free food and drinks from a rival joint"

TDB:

A Las Vegas restaurant allegedly bribed a crooked federal agent to raid their rival restaurant, the alleged victims claim.

Club Yamang and Club Sonagi were two Korean supper clubs, which offered food and music, often accompanied by attractive hostesses. But the restaurants’ competition turned ugly in 2013

...

The former ICE agent previously admitted to accepting bribes in December 2015, when he pleaded guilty to accepting thousands of dollars in cash from a Korean businessman accused of trafficking a woman into the U.S. as a “sex slave” without her consent.

"Michigan becomes first public institution to pay three assistants $1 million a year"

"Michigan announced Monday that it will have three of its spring practices in Rome, just days after the NCAA banned schools from combining spring break and football practices, as Harbaugh did last year in Florida."

"A British man was gunned down Tuesday after leaving a gym in a Thai beach resort by an assassin who fired a single shot into his victim's head before fleeing"

ST:

there was a crowd outside the gym that witnessed the killing and that the man's wife was baffled as to why he may have been targeted.

...

Pattaya boasts a large expat population and is notorious for its go-go bars and links with organised crime.

Robin's jury-rigged diving board move in Injustice 2



Today's Kindle deals are the 2016 Best American collections for $1.99 each

$1.99 each, including The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016 and The Best American Mystery Stories 2016.

New Rogue One and Force Awakens figures available for preorder



MAFEX Finn and Star Wars Black Chirrut and Baze figures available for preorder.

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Think open kitchens and huge master suites will always be desirable? Think again"

BB:

“The concept of a master bedroom is becoming obsolete because we have a different relationship with sleep now—we don’t hang out in the bedroom the way we used to.” Disend notes that millennials are driving this shift. Their relationship with privacy is radically different from those of the generations preceding them—though digitally nonchalant, they’re prudish in person.

“Millennials don’t like to get naked—if you go to the gym now, everyone under 30 will put their underwear on under the towel, which is a massive cultural shift,” he continues.

...

The same instinct is driving the renewed boom in so-called accessory apartments, typically a second, studio home purchased by wealthy couples in the same luxury development where they live, so that boomeranging 20-somethings can enjoy full privacy when moving back in with mom and dad.

...

If 3D printers for food ever pass the gimmick phase, future homeowners may be able to dispense with the cooking entirely.

And where would you put that printer? Well, an "appliance garage," which Elliman’s Kim predicts will replace the open-plan showcase kitchen. “We’re recommending appliance garages in our upcoming projects, a place to put your espresso maker, juicer, and anything that might clutter the countertop or cause smells, a bit like a mini version of the chef’s kitchen.”

"Is This An Ad? Mindy Kaling And Casper Mattresses"

BF:

A Casper rep told me, “Mindy is a Casper employee’s roommate’s friend’s boss. She’s also one of our favorite comedians.”

...

But did she get it free? Yup. According to Casper, “We heard she was interested in buying a mattress and we were happy to gift her new beds.”

...

But you’ll notice in the comments that… it’s also clearly working for Casper, regardless of whether or not it’s an ad. Mindy Kaling fans are chatting with each other about Casper mattresses — one person has some of her own and recommends them, another asks if they’re really too firm, other people say how they want to get one. This, my friends, is exactly why Casper gave two free mattresses to a celebrity.

"The Demon Voice That Can Control Your Smartphone"

"Researchers have created creepy sounds that are unintelligible to humans but still capable of talking to phones’ digital assistants."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Per a league source, Facebook actually encouraged [Antonio] Brown to engage in a Facebook Live session from the locker room after the game"

"It provides another layer to Brown’s blatant violation of the league’s social-media policy, and it pulls a corporate behemoth into the middle of the potential violation of the league’s broadcast deals by infringing on the exclusive rights of the networks to broadcast locker-room video and audio."

"Young Thug 'Wyclef Jean' Director on How He Saved His Nightmare Shoot"





RS:

The music video for Young Thug's song "Wyclef Jean" was released late last night, and has become an instant sensation, getting more than a million views in 24 hours. The clip was co-directed by Ryan Staake, founder of the Brooklyn-based production company Pomp&Clout, and Young Thug himself – though as the video clearly states, the star never quite made it to the set. Instead Staake details through a series of blunt title cards how everything they had planned to film managed to crash and burn. It's a hilarious and honest approach

From a lengthy discussion on why "Edit-The-Hobbit efforts are doomed to failure"

After explaining why the Hobbit movies can't be edited into a good product:

IMO the craziest thing about the Hobbit movies is that if you think about them critically you start to realize that the same flaws nearly took down the LOTR trilogy. Did you guys know that Peter Jackson originally shot a final showdown battle in Return Of The King between Aragorn and Sauron? I shit you not, it's in the behind the scenes DVD, and the huge CGI troll Aragorn fights was originally intended to be a badass Walking-Around Sauron like in the Fellowship prologue. It's a fucking miracle that they slapped themselves and said "We Better Not."

...

I think that Peter shot the Aragorn half of TTT+ROTK in a very Aragorn-centric way just as a desperate backup in case this weird story of

"two homoerotic leprechauns being led through a swamp by a CGI skeleton-man on a quest to throw away magic jewelry"

didn't test well with audiences and he had to fall back on telling a more intelligible Disney-fantasy story of

"a prince and his cool comic-relief sidekicks returning to the prince's kingdom, fighting awesome battles against a demon king and winning a princess's hand."

I mean which of these is the easier movie pitch? It's not really a contest, huh? If the entire Fellowship had gone to Mordor together, I think poor Sam might not have even made it into the script. But Tolkien gave PJ no choice. It was all because Tolkien divided the story threads that Peter even gave the Hobbits a fighting chance. In the new movies everyone's in the same group so Peter naturally gravitates towards the Aragorniest character.

How to add liquid effects to miniatures



Tutorial.

Friday, January 20, 2017

"James Cameron To Godfather ‘Terminator’ With ‘Deadpool’ Helmer Tim Miller"

"David Ellison, whose Skydance co-financed Terminator Genisys, is bankrolling an exploratory effort that includes engaging some top-flight science fiction authors to find the movie creatively."

"there's evidence to suggest Nintendo might have actually repurposed an illegally-copied ROM and then sold it back to us"

"Surely that can't be the case. Right?"

"Uber Technologies Inc. agreed Thursday to pay $20 million to resolve Federal Trade Commission allegations that it misled drivers about potential earnings and vehicle financing"

WSJ:

The consumer protection agency . . . said Uber claimed on its website that median annual driver income topped $90,000 in New York, for example, and was more than $74,000 in San Francisco.

Less than 10% of drivers in those areas made that much, the commission alleged.

"The quick-moving crook who brazenly stole a bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million from an armored truck in Manhattan last fall has been nabbed in his native Ecuador"

NBC:

Nivelo is a convicted felon who is known to the NYPD as Luis Toledo, among other aliases. He's a career thief

...

The video shows the thief setting down the heavy bucket, putting it on his shoulder, then taking a breather. He takes another few steps and pauses again. The normally 10-minute walk takes him an hour. He then jumps into a van

"Japan city sorry for offensive welfare team jackets"

BBC:

The jacket's crest features the initials for the Seikatsu Hogo Akuobokumetsusuru Team (meaning "team to eradicate evil") . . . . It's not clear if it was intentional that the resulting acronym spells out an English swear word.

...

City officials say the jackets were meant to boost morale after a 2007 incident

"Researchers have found a switch that seems to turn on a mouse’s predatory instincts"

Nature:

To activate the central amygdala in mice, Ivan de Araujo, a neurobiologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and his colleagues used a technique called optogenetics. First, they infected the mice with a virus that made the neurons in their brains sensitive to blue light. Then, the researchers used a tiny optic fibre to shine a blue laser on the amygdala. This prompted the animals to tense their jaw and neck muscles. The behaviour didn’t occur when the researchers stimulated other parts of the brain.

When the laser was on, the mice hunted just about everything placed in their paths

Vader and Yoda hats



Among the goods at Tokyo Disneyland.

And speaking of Star Wars, this Kylo Ren Nendoroid is available for preorder:

"Stanford has announced that due to low enrollment, it will be indefinitely suspending its undergraduate overseas studies program in Beijing"

SD:

Ramón Saldívar, director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP), attempted to make the program more accessible by eliminating the Mandarin language prerequisite, but that did not improve enrollment.

“In our various pilot programs around the world, when we reduced the language requirement or removed it altogether, enrollments shot up,” Saldívar said. “In the case of the Beijing program, though, it didn’t have any effect.”

"How a dispute at Harvard led to a grad student’s forced mental exam and an extraordinary restraining order against a prominent scientist"

SM:

At 1 a.m. on 4 June 2016, Gustavo German, a doctoral student in biomedicine at Harvard University, heard a knock at his door. It was three police officers.

They explained that a doctor with Harvard’s health service had issued an order to take German to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation to see whether he should be committed, even against his will. Surprised, German said he was fine. One police officer put on black gloves. His parents, who were visiting, tried to persuade the police to stop, saying they were not concerned about their son.

The officers made German lie down on a stretcher

...

Court records reveal that the police had received their order because, for months, German’s mentor—prominent stem cell researcher Lee Rubin—had been voicing concerns about German’s behavior. German appeared “uncharacteristically disheveled and exhausted” at times, according to an affidavit from Rubin; other members of Rubin’s laboratory said they felt unsafe around German, and worried he might sabotage their experiments. Rubin’s concerns deepened in late May 2016, after German—who was just months away from finishing his Ph.D.—stopped showing up at the lab. Just weeks later, German’s disappearance led the health service doctor—who had never spoken to German, nor his physician—to order him to be taken from his home in the middle of the night for a psychiatric evaluation.

German, however, believes the forced evaluation was an act of revenge by Rubin, retaliation prompted by German’s allegation of scientific misconduct against Rubin and two of his students. (The allegation was later dismissed.) And this past August, a Massachusetts judge agreed with German, concluding that Rubin was “motivated by bias and revenge, not by a legitimate interest in keeping German safe.” The judge issued an order that has created an extraordinary situation

"City devastated by OxyContin use sues Purdue Pharma, claims drugmaker put profits over citizens' welfare"

LAT:

Purdue has been sued hundreds of times over the past 20 years over its marketing of OxyContin to doctors and the drug’s risk of addiction to patients, but Everett’s suit is the first to focus narrowly on what the company knew about criminal distribution of the painkiller.

...

The Times’ investigation, published in July, disclosed that for more than a decade, an internal security team at Purdue monitored doctors and pharmacies it suspected of colluding with dealers and addicts. In the case of the L.A. ring, criminals set up a phony clinic near MacArthur Park in 2008 and worked with corrupt physicians and pharmacies to obtain pills over 18 months.

A Purdue sales manager dispatched to investigate the high volume of prescriptions at the clinic found a rundown building thronged with rough men and urged supervisors to alert the Drug Enforcement Administration, saying she was “very certain this is an organized drug ring.”

Despite her pleas and additional evidence suggesting that pills were pouring into the hands of criminals, company officials did not go to authorities until years later when the drug ring was out of business and its leaders under indictment. By then, 1.1 million pills had spilled into the illicit pipeline.

Within days of The Times’ story, Everett officials quietly began looking into a lawsuit

"IDF constructing anti-vehicle 'cliff' on Lebanese border"

"The aim is to create a cliff that will definitely prevent vehicle movement and significantly limit foot movement"

"China has implemented new regulations in the processing of recycled paper, causing a factory-wide shortages"

"January 2017 [Mondo] Collectibles Update"

"Architectural Relics: When Demolition Leaves Behind Nonsensical Structures"

"'Japanese artist Akasegawa Genpei named these nonfunctional structures ‘thomassons’ or ‘hyperart thomassons’ in the ’80s in reference to a baseball player with a ‘useless position’ on his team.'"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"The Alt-Right’s Meltdown Is Just Like Any Other Message Board Drama"

BF:

What we have here is a classic case of “mod drama.”

As someone who has spent a lot of time taxonimizing online communities, from places like Fark to SomethingAwful, 4chan to Facebook groups for moms, I can assure you that one need only look at how other internet groups rise and fall to see what’s happening in the alt-right.

...

Celeb Heights: If you’ve ever googled a famous person’s height (which, weirdly, you probably have), chances are you’ve ended up on a celebheights.com, a forum for a small subculture of people obsessed with celebrity sizes. When the owner of the site finally met up with one of the most prolific volunteers, he was shocked to discover the volunteer was shorter than he claimed, thereby throwing off everything he posted. A massive blog post about the drama was made, and the volunteer was permabanned.

"The Broomway is 'allegedly ‘the deadliest’ path in Britain,' . . . 'and certainly the unearthliest path I have ever walked'"

BldgBlog:

It only exists at low tide, for starters, and it can often be followed only with the visual help of unstable wooden poles driven into the ground to mark its route across the landscape. Its unusual name, in fact, comes from “the 400 or so ‘brooms’ that were formerly placed at intervals of between thirty and sixty yards on either side of the track, thereby indicating the safe passage on the hard sand that lay between them.”

Without those brooms, the path—and not just where it’s heading, but the route you’ve already walked to get there–would disappear from view entirely, in effect stranding you at sea.

Chibi Shoretrooper



"Egg Attack" Shoretrooper and Death Trooper available for preorder.

This new third party Megatron is pretty great, too:



KING - The Greatest

"Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich this month quietly announced his intention to sue Theranos for consumer fraud"

"Though Theranos is based in Palo Alto, California, it ran 40 of its 41 Wellness Centers out of Walgreens stores in the Phoenix area. Walgreens already has terminated its contract with Theranos and sued for $140 million."

"From Headline to Photograph, a Fake News Masterpiece"

NYT:

Mr. Harris started by crafting the headline: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” It made sense, he figured, to locate this shocking discovery in the very city and state where Mr. Trump had highlighted his “rigged” meme.

...

Mr. Harris and his ersatz-news website, ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, make for an illuminating tale.

Contacted by a reporter who had discovered an electronic clue that revealed his secret authorship of ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, he was wary at first, chagrined to be unmasked.

“This topic is rather sensitive,” Mr. Harris said, noting that he was trying to build a political consulting business and needed to protect his reputation. But eventually he agreed to tell the story of his foray into fake news, a very part-time gig that he calculated paid him about $1,000 an hour in web advertising revenue. He seemed to regard his experience with a combination of guilt about having spread falsehoods and pride at doing it so skillfully.

Lego Sentinel



By Harry Pinto.

"Not too long ago, Germany did have a national leader, Gerhard Schröder, who in essence ended up as a paid agent of Vladimir Putin"

MR:

It was Schröder who made the decision to take Germany off nuclear power and also to make the country energy-dependent on Russia

...

After leaving office, he has spent much of the rest of his career working for Gazprom

"How the middle class beat the world’s billionaires"

FS:

This kind of globalism is, in many ways, the economically optimal outcome: the thing which produces the most upside for the most people. Consider two ways of spending an extra $1 billion a year. Under the Global Plan, you take 200,000 people earning $5,000 a year, and double their income to $10,000 a year. Under the American Plan, you take 100,000 people earning $50,000 a year, and increase their income by 20% to $60,000 a year. Given that choice, everybody in Davos would choose the Global Plan: it does the greatest good for the greatest number.

And globalism is exactly what Davos chose, with devastating consequences. Because the middle classes in countries like the US and the UK have always been richer than the middle classes in countries like China, India, and Brazil, it’s been extremely easy for Davos Man to pat himself on the back for improving the lot of the latter while making vague sympathetic noises in the direction of the former.

The problem is that you can’t eat vague sympathetic noises, and the middle classes in the US and UK have the ability to elect the leaders of the free world. If you ignore them, you can blow up the entire global project.

"Whereas the desire in the 80s and before had been to create a maximum guest experience by reducing lines as much as you can, the new story started to be to 'optimize' lines."

Micechat:

I was fortunate to have my Orientation day as a new Cast Member in 1987 fall on Disneyland’s birthday. They fill you with pixie dust at Orientation, you know, and one of the things they said that stuck with me was how proud they were of the recent park attendance record they had just set on July 4: 87,000 total visitors (they did not share what the maximum “in park” visitor count was). It was an easy number to remember: 87,000 in ’87. So I think back to that number when I read modern reports like last week’s. 64,000 total attendance at Disneyland is only 75% of the 1987 record…and the park has added Mickey’s Toontown since then, so they’ve actually increased physical acreage. Yet the park seems more crowded than ever, despite coming nowhere close to the record. I’m going to use 1987 as a barometer, then, to see what’s changed in the park.

Photos from abandoned Japanese theme park that was inspired by the Westworld movie

"It was once a theme park which was eerily similar to hit TV drama Westworld - but now it is even more creepy, a decade after it was abandoned."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Denver Broncos Head Coach "Left University Of Colorado After Being Accused Of [Sex Offenses Against Two Women]"

"When the Daily Camera reached out to the Broncos for comment on the police report, the reporters were told by Patrick Smyth, the team's vice president of public relations: 'While we were aware of these accusations, he was not charged with anything from the report filed in 2004.'"

Rogue One-inspired backpacks available for preorder



Three different designs.

"Sweden's Ambulances Can Block Your Radio Signal"

TD:

Three students from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have invented a program that jams FM radio waves in civilian vehicles and warns them of an approaching ambulance or firetruck.

...

According to Evam System, the device will also block the use of auxiliary cords and Bluetooth. So the vast majority of time in which a car’s speakers are on, an approaching emergency vehicle is able to deliver a warning. However, rather than just cutting out music, the device also gives voice alerts stating an emergency vehicle is approaching.

"Yes, the land in Tom Hardy’s miniseries is a real place, and Great Britain and Spain almost went to war over it in the 1700s"

TW:

In 1790. tensions rose between Britain and Spain as they fought for control of the Pacific Northwest. Nootka Sound was a major point of interest for the same reason East India Trading wanted it on “Taboo.” As a sound, it allowed ships to dock in a safe area of water protected from the open ocean, making it the perfect spot for a coastal trading post that allowed easy access to China.

Having long held a claim on the entire Pacific Northwest, Spain established its first settlement on Vancouver Island, Santa Cruz d Nuca, in 1789. The Spanish settlers, led by Esteban Jose Martinez, began fending off and seizing British ships that entered the area attempting to trade with the locals. The British took exception to Spain’s blanket claim to all that unsettled land and sent warships to Vancouver Island, creating a standoff known as the Nootka Crisis.

"Japanese toilet industry agrees to standardize complex bidet controls"

Verge:

The toilet manufacturers plan to implement the eight new pictogram on models released from this year onward, with a view to the system becoming an international standard.

...

Much of Japan is currently engaged in a rush to make itself more welcoming to tourists ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

"President Obama pardons Willie McCovey for tax evasion"

"McCovey, along with Dodgers slugger Duke Snider, admitted to knowingly failing to report $70,000 earned by signing autographs and participating in memorabilia shows between 1988 and 1990"

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Murderous droids BT-1 and 0-0-0 are getting miniatures



From Fantasy Flight Games.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! paper toy



Download.

I enjoyed Killing Gravity by Corey White

If Seven from Stranger Things was raised in the Star Wars universe, especially the Force Unleashed II universe, you'd have Corey White's novella Killing Gravity. I look forward to reading the sequel.

Available in May, preorder for $2.99.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Diamond Dogs poster



By Delicious Design League for a performance at The House Theatre.

DC Bendable Figure packs, including 1989 Batman and Batmobile, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman movie set



Available for preorder.

"Nintendo Switch will launch with fewer games than the Wii, Wii U or 3DS"

"One of the other notable differences between Switch’s launch and the Wii or Wii U’s is the lack of games that come bundled with the system. When the Wii launched, Wii Sports was packed in. When Wii U launched, it came with Nintendo Land. Nintendo didn’t confirm that any of the games, including its collection of mini-games, 1-2-Switch, would be included in the $299.99 package."

Also, "The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Is Coming To Wii U The Same Day As The Switch"

Also, "After 30 minutes of 1-2-Switch, Nintendo’s only Switch-exclusive launch game, I think I’ve had my fill."

Also, "Nintendo takes a pass on Switch supporting Miiverse/StreetPass"

"Chargers' desperation move is a shot to the NFL's vitality"

"It was sad and dire and unprecedented in Roger Goodell's decade as commissioner: An owner unwillingly moving a team to a city that doesn't seem to want it, sharing a stadium with an owner, Stan Kroenke, who doesn't want to split it"

"Explorers find disease-cursed City of the Monkey God and nearly lose their faces to flesh-eating parasite"

"months after leaving the jungle, he noticed a bug bite that simply wouldn’t go away. And so did half his team members. Eventually, the National Institutes of Health diagnosed them with Leishmaniasis — a rare parasitic disease"

"Peace sign selfies could let hackers copy your fingerprints"

Telegraph:

Posing for a picture while holding your hands up in a peace sign could pose a security threat, with hackers able to recreate prints that are the key to phones, computers and tablets.

Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Informatics (NII) have found that fingerprints can be easily recreated from photos taken up to three metres away without the need for advanced technology. So long as the picture is clear and well-lit, prints can be mimicked.

"Want to be a grave gardener in West Philly? Here's how"

"A funny little community, Baumert said, has cropped up with the plants and flowers growing on the graves at the Woodlands. Grave gardeners bring baked goods to share on planting days and share tips with each other over gardening issues. 'All these people are like-minded because this is a strange activity'"

"How to Track the U.S. Air Force’s Secretive Commando Planes"

WIB:

The Pentagon doesn’t have to register its planes and choppers with the FAA. However, commandos can try and keep a lower profile in turbulent regions by flying aircraft with a civilian-style paint and civil registration codes. When the N numbers aren’t necessary, the Air Force planes simply display their military serial numbers.

And with that data, you can easily track these aircraft on the web. When not on a mission, the commandos fly with their transponders active for safety reasons.

"Senior Volkswagen managers have been warned not to travel to the United States . . . after six current and former managers were indicted"

"leaving Germany at all could pose a risk of being extradited to the United States from a third country"

"Amazon And FreshDirect Will Start Accepting Food Stamps"

Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in urban neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited”

"North Carolina lawmakers ask Trump administration to shut down wind farm" set to power Amazon's data center

WTKR:

The group says the wind farm could pose a national security risk as it is close to a surveillance radar in Chesapeake, Va.

...

“Very simply if the wind farm threatened any military readiness or capabilities, they wouldn’t have cleared us to build,” said Paul Copleman, a spokesman for the developer Avangrid Renewables. “We can’t build this project without their blessing.”

"We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa"

Official site.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Wild vampire bats are now sucking blood from humans at night"

NS:

“We were quite surprised,” says Bernard. “This species isn’t adapted to feed on the blood of mammals.”

The bats typically target large birds at night-time, sucking a spoonful of blood from a single animal as a meal.

...

“They are adapting to their environment and exploiting the new resources,”

WWE Mutant figures, including Lesnar as Goro



Available at Amazon and Entertainment Earth.