Friday, September 30, 2016

"Chinese News Outlets Play Down Killings of 19 in Mountain Village"

But in China, the country’s censors have been hard at work taking down posts about the killings on social media


Mr. Yang, who worked in Kunming, had returned home and asked his parents for money. He had an argument with them and killed them on Wednesday evening, Xinhua reported. Later, in an effort to conceal his crime, he killed 17 other people.

"An Illinois federal judge Thursday ruled that the Chicago Sun-Times violated federal law by publishing personal details of five police officers"

An Illinois federal judge Thursday ruled that the Chicago Sun-Times violated federal law by publishing personal details of five police officers in a story about the alleged cover-up of a murder committed by the mayor’s nephew.

U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber stripped the newspaper of most of the defenses it planned to assert in a 4-year-old suit brought by five officers whose height, weight, eye color and other identifying features were published in a 2011 article about the death of David Koschman.

Leinenweber said that the Sun-Times violated the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act when it published the information, which was obtained from state driver’s license records that are supposed to be private.

"Why is China buying up the global supply of donkeys?"

Gelatin produced from donkey hide is a key ingredient of one of China's favorite traditional remedies


Niger recently became the latest African state to ban exports of donkeys, following a surge in sales to China

"this is a job that’s physical and you don’t have to talk to anyone and someone will give you money for walking around all day"

"Author Merritt Tierce On The Struggle To Write And Make Money After Critical Success":
On working for the U.S. Postal Service:

“I was on this horrible mental loop every day thinking, ‘I need to write something so I can sell it,’ and then thinking ‘yeah, but I need money now. I’m not going to be able to write until I pay the rent.’ Eventually, I just decided to try to lift some of the pressure off my creative self by getting an actual job.

…I actually loved delivering the mail. I wanted to do it because I thought this is a job that’s physical and you don’t have to talk to anyone and someone will give you money for walking around all day, not talking to people and putting letters in mailboxes. It sounded beautiful to me and it really was exactly what I expected.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Harvard University's endowment lost $2 billion in 2016

"College and university endowments tracked by Cambridge Associates posted net returns of -2.7% for the year June 30. The S&P 500 gained 3.25% during the same period"

Chip Zdarsky did a Canseco/McFarlane homage on his new artist card

"This app fuels the illicit trade of dumplings and pork knuckles in Southern California"

The Chinese messaging app is where an underground cottage industry of amateur chefs touts their marinated duck wings, Shaanxi meat buns and stewed pork knuckles to Southern Californians in the know. All Zhang has to do is place an order, agree on a meeting place and pay for her bag of dumplings.


The service puts extra cash in the cooks’ pockets and sates a community’s hankering for the authentic stuff. It’s also mostly illegal.

California allows for some small-batch sales of food prepared in home kitchens. But the 2013 law, known as the California Homemade Food Act, skews heavily toward jams, pastries and confections such as fudge and flavored popcorn — not exactly staples of the Chinese diet. Meat, which is more susceptible to food-borne illness, is forbidden.


Ethnic groups have long turned to unregulated vendors to feed friends, neighbors and fellow religious worshippers — be it for Mexican tamales, Vietnamese spring rolls or Chinese sticky rice wraps. But never has it been enabled so effectively by technology.

"A prominent Montenegrin gangster was assassinated by a sniper in the yard of a high-security prison"

"Djuric was serving a two-year sentence for extortion at the time of his death, and had twice before been the target of attacks"

New NBC Series: "Mail Order Family ... follows a widowed single father who orders a mail-order bride from the Philippines to help raise his two preteen daughters"


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

TIL some people didn't think the movie Big was dark and depressing

It’s a fun movie and a silly movie and a lighthearted movie. Except here’s the thing: It’s super not any of those things. It’s the reverse of all of those things. The only way it works as those things is if you look at it through Josh’s eyes, which is what you’re supposed to do because Josh is the centerpiece. But by any other measure and from the perspective of any of the other characters in Big, it is a horrifying movie and a very real tragedy movie. Here are the other characters in the Big universe and what happens to them:
Along the same lines:
The Very Uncomfortable Experience of Rewatching Election in 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ad campaign for the study abroad program of a Japanese university


Milwaukee Bucks President: "Milwaukee Is The Most Segregated, Racist Place I’ve Ever Experienced"

"It’s laudable for Feigin to call out segregation so plainly here. However, this is an interesting stance from a man whose team was the beneficiary of $250 million from the state, city, and Milwaukee County."

Concept art by Mike Mignola for an abandoned New Gods animated series

More here.

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Investigation uncovers the ringleaders profiting from $23bn annual trade in illicit animals after more than a decade of undercover surveillance"

In the absence of effective international attempts to block the business, Freeland has agreed to give exclusive access to intelligence it has accumulated over 14 years that identifies primary traffickers.

It points to two Vietnamese siblings, the Bach brothers, as key suspects who control a primary smuggling route for endangered animals.

Separately, the Guardian will on Tuesday report on evidence it has that suggests the industry has political support across several countries, and that one state even collects a 2% cut from the gross value of illegal wildlife import

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Phitsawat: a Thai soap that serves authoritarianism"

Thai soap operas play a crucial social role in constructing political ideas of nationalism, Buddhism and morality. This mechanism, however, is not a stagnant process. The recent airing of a nationalistic soap has shown how Thai soaps adapt to changing political contexts.


it is clear that the intention is to highlight Akhara’s suspicion of elected politicians. In this way, the conversation reflects current debates in Thai politics over the junta-backed organic laws governing the political party system. The military appointed lawmakers have proposed that new laws should contain severe punishments for politicians involved in corruption cases. There has also been a proposal to give the Election Commission of Thailand more power to ban politicians and order re-elections

"Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof discovers that printing a picture of a flatscreen TV on their bike boxes reduces delivery damages by 70-80 per cent"

"For some reason, bicycles in big cardboard boxes have a tendency to get dropped, bashed or crushed by delivery companies"

"The governor of California signed a bill into law today that will make it illegal for entertainment websites like IMDB to post the ages of actors if that actor requests the information to be taken down"

"the bill will not apply to news outlets, but is aimed at subscription entertainment sites where hiring decisions are made"

"Shanghai Restaurant Wins Michelin Star, Closes Down Day Later"

"Residents expressed . . . their disappointment that local authorities had neglected the issue for months. They also didn’t understand how an unlicensed restaurant could have received a Michelin star in the first place."

Fone Bone vinyl figure available for preorder

Supposedly coming out this month.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Maquettes for Henry Selick's Shadow King

A photo posted by Damon Bard (@damonbard) on

A photo posted by Damon Bard (@damonbard) on

A photo posted by Damon Bard (@damonbard) on

A photo posted by Damon Bard (@damonbard) on

"It’s getting harder to use the iPhone without using TouchID"

"Of course, none of this would be a problem if I were using TouchID."

"To understand Charlotte’s rage, you have to understand its roads"

When time came to build the country’s interstate highways, the engineers who consulted local politicians on where they should pave found a swift answer: the Brooklyns and McCrorey Heightses of many American cities were split apart, torn down, and dismantled in the name of transportation progress.

The black doctors and university professors who lived in McCrorey Heights used to be able to walk to work at Johnson C Smith University while their kids walked to school at Biddleville Elementary, down a street lined with black-owned businesses.

“A new expressway went through in the 1960s, wiped out a street of houses, wiped out the school, wiped out the businesses,” said Hanchett. “Economic segregation was already coming into focus. But the interstates created moats.”

When the road projects scattered black Charlotte, it wasn’t like people could just transplant their communities wholesale and start over en masse. Some were left behind in half-communities bottled in by roads.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Why the silencing of KrebsOnSecurity opens a troubling chapter for the ‘Net"

Until recently, a DDoS attack in excess of 600Gb was nearly impossible for all but the most sophisticated and powerful actors to carry out.


the attacks against KrebsOnSecurity harness so-called Internet-of-things devices—think home routers, webcams, digital video recorders, and other everyday appliances that have Internet capabilities built into them. Manufacturers design these devices to be as inexpensive and easy-to-use as possible. Consumers often have little technical skill. As a result, the devices frequently come with bug-ridden firmware that never gets updated and easy-to-guess login credentials that never get changed. Their lax security and always-connected status makes the devices easy to remotely commandeer by people who turn them into digital cannons that spray the Internet with shrapnel. On Thursday, security firm Symantec cataloged 11 different families of IoT malware that do just that.

"Leaked video shows Snapchat's new glasses"

Apparently called "Spectacles," the glasses appear to have a small camera on their frame — similar to the prototype Business Insider first noticed that CEO Evan Spiegel had been wearing in public about a year ago.

At the beginning of the video, a ring around the camera flashes lights, apparently to signal it is recording. The rest of the video weaves through images people might want to record, like a kid's birthday party, before it closes on a shot of grandparents watching the film on their phones.

Action-figure-sized arcade machines

Part of a series of arcade machines available for preorder.

"A mahout guides a forest department elephant to demolish power cable poles on the periphery of the Kaziranga National Park, northeastern Assam state, India, on September 19, 2016"

From the pictures of the week:
Authorities ordered the demolition of around 300 houses in three villages to evict people living on the periphery of the rhino sanctuary to stop rampant poaching of the rare animal, a top police official said. Two people were killed and several others were injured Monday when villagers clashed with police while protesting the demolition of their homes.

"25 Things You Didn't Know About Baseball"

1. 1. Seth Lugo’s curveball is a vertical tornado.


MLB’s data on the spin rate of pitches goes back to 2008, and coming into this season, only 26 times had a pitcher thrown a curveball that turns at least 3,300 rpm. Then came Seth Lugo, he of the curveball that did this in his debut for the New York Mets.

That was a 3,485-rpm spinner that Anthony Rizzo swung through before it bent and hit him on his back foot. When you’re striking out on a pitch that should automatically place you on first base, you’ve swung at a good pitch.


Of the 796 pitches Lugo has thrown, 76 have been 3,300-rpm-plus curveballs. The rest of the major leagues this year has done so 34 times.


7. The Brewers, the base-stealingest team in half a decade, take crazy leads.

One of the best parts of Statcast is it can measure just about anything on a baseball field, and that includes the distance, to the inch, of a lead off a base. At the moment a pitcher makes his first move to the plate, Milwaukee runners who attempt a steal average 12.4 feet off first base. Toronto is next best at 12.1 feet, whereas, the A’s and Orioles average a mere 10.2 feet.


11. Chris Young’s fastball wasn’t just bad. It was historically bad.

"Pharma company boosts the price of an old acne cream 3,900%"

The 60g tube of zit-zapping topical previously cost just $241.50—but that was months ago, before Chicago-based Novum Pharma bought the medication from Primus Pharmaceuticals in May of 2015 and made no changes to the product at all. Since then, Novum hiked the price three times, reaching an increase of 3,900 percent.

Like many other drugs that have seen huge and sudden price hikes, Aloquin is old and cheap to make.


The Food and Drug Administration has dubbed it “possibly effective,” meaning there’s scant clinical data indicating it’s safe and it works.

"Your friends look more like brands, and brands look more like your friends, so it’s increasingly hard to tell which is which"

We look to Instagram for a brief glimpse into someone else’s life, a sympathetic social connection. The depressing reality is, that moment of vulnerability makes it even better for advertising.

"The Vatican is changing how it verifies miracles"

"The changes also stipulate that the medical experts will receive their remuneration only through bank transfer – not cash."

"In early 2009, the seven largest publicly traded college operators were worth a combined $51 billion. Today, they’ve been all but wiped out"

“There’s been an increasing level of comfort with actually taking action,” said Bob Shireman, a former top Education Department official. “At the beginning there was a lot of nervousness about it, a lot of effort not to blame the sector. And over time, I think everyone’s coming to the same conclusion — that the schools are a problem. If the Wall Street Journal is going to blame us for killing colleges, so be it.”

"Britain Releases Postage Stamps Embedded With Hidden Clues to Honor Agatha Christie"

"Designed by London-based Studio Sutherland in collaboration with British illustrator Neil Webb"

"In the 21st century, politics operates around a different axis. It’s not left/right, big government/small government"

In the 21st century, politics operates around a different axis. It’s not left/right, big government/small government. It’s openness and dynamism versus closedness and security. It’s between those who see opportunity and excitement in the emerging globalized, multiethnic meritocracy against those who see their lives and communities threatened by it.


We have an emerging global system, with relatively open trade, immigration, multilateral institutions and ethnic diversity. The critics of that system are screaming at full roar. The champions of that system — and Hillary Clinton is naturally one — are off in another world.

There is a strong case to be made for an open world order, and a huge majority coalition to be built in support of it. But she is disengaged.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Who Is Kim Jong-un?"

To provide for the regime’s future, Kim Il-sung made the myth that gave him personal legitimation also the basis of a new dynasty. He probably feared, as Lankov speculates, being rushed off the stage by his designated successor in the way that, for example, Lin Biao had recently been accused of doing to Mao in China. The only person unlikely to be tempted to overthrow him was his son, whose own survival would depend on the robustness of his father’s myth. The younger Kim’s birth year was altered from 1941 to 1942 to rhyme with his father’s birth year of 1912. His official birthplace was moved from its actual location in Siberia, where the Korean Communists were hiding out during the war, to a mythical secret revolutionary military camp on the snow-capped sacred Mount Paektu inside Japanese-occupied Korea. And the story of his youth was retroactively packed with demonstrations of resoluteness and virtue.

As the end of his own life approached, Kim Jong-il in turn needed to find a successor among his three male offspring. (He also had four daughters, who today occupy posts of varying responsibility in the regime.)


That left Jong-un, born in 1984, although his official birthday has been adjusted to 1982 to continue the mystical parallelism with his grandfather’s and father’s birth years. Jong-un was not academically talented, and during his secondary education at a private school in Switzerland he is said to have been obsessed with basketball and other sports. But he was short-tempered and domineering, characteristics suitable for inheriting a dictatorship. In 2009, word appeared that a “new genius of leadership had emerged from within the ancient lands of Korea.”


Kim moved to consolidate support among the general public by retaining but mildly softening the regime’s society-wide system of layered deprivation. This has been examined in a pair of invaluable reports by Robert Collins, who describes how the songbun, or class status, system of North Korea “subdivides the population of the country into 51 categories or ranks of trustworthiness and loyalty to the Kim family and North Korean state.” These categories are grouped in turn into three broad castes: the core, the wavering, and the hostile classes, representing about 25 percent, 55 percent, and 20 percent of the population, respectively.

"Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric for Two Years"; "Palmer Luckey—founder of Oculus—is funding a Trump group that circulates dirty memes about Hillary Clinton"

"the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%"

"Before becoming directly involved in the process, Luckey met the man who would serve as the liaison for the nascent political action group, and provide legitimacy to a Reddit audience for later donations without having to reveal Luckey’s identity: Breitbart tech editor and Trump booster Milo Yiannopoulos."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ghost in the Shell teasers

Modern jet engines generate about one terabyte of data per flight

"engine manufacturers have had to invest in networks of data centres across the globe."

"China’s security services have been sending undercover agents into Canada on tourist visas to strong-arm expatriates to return home"

"It is part of a global effort by China to repatriate fugitives and recover money stolen by Communist party officials or employees of state-owned enterprises."

"Flood Discharge Carries Nearly Ten Thousand Tons of Carnivorous Farm Sturgeons into Yangtze Waters"

A hydroelectric plant in Hubei may have started an ecological crisis when a flood discharge disrupted sturgeon net cages used for fish farming. Nearly ten thousand tons of non-native and crossbred sturgeons escaped from their cage


They’ll progressively push other fish out of the ecosystem, ultimately replacing them all together.

"Viacom Takes $115 Million Write-Down for ‘Monster Trucks’"

"The film has been delayed several times. It was originally due to open on Dec. 25, 2015, then pushed back to March 18, 2016, and delayed again until January."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Canadian Mint employee accused of smuggling $180K of gold in his rectum"

Court was told Lawrence set off the metal detector at an exit from the “secure area” with more frequency than any other employee — save those with metal medical implants. When that happened, the procedure was to do a manual search with a hand-held wand, a search that he always passed.

(It was not uncommon for employees to set off the detector, court heard.)

Investigators also found a container of vaseline in his locker and the trial was presented with the prospect that a puck could be concealed in an anal cavity and not be detected by the wand. In preparation for these proceedings, in fact, a security employee actually tested the idea, Barnes said.

Lawrence did not take the stand — as is his legal right — and the Crown was not able to definitively establish how the gold pucks made their way out of the facility.

"An Organic Chicken Farm in Georgia Has Become an Endless Buffet for Bald Eagles"

When I visited in January, at least 75 Bald Eagles were living on the farm, where they overwinter October to March. At that time, Harris estimated each raptor was killing up to four chickens a day, racking up a total of at least $1,000 in daily losses. Due to the birds’ protected status under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and other federal laws, Harris had few options. He couldn’t kill them. He could try to shoo them, but most methods would be costly and likely to scare the chickens before the eagles.

So for a time the farm tried to live with them. . . . A few weeks later they went after the newborn goats.

"L.A.'s Worst Water Wasters Named in New Investigation"

A new report by the Center for Investigative Reporting seeks to identify the "wet prince of Bel Air," the homeowner who used a staggering 11.8 million gallons of water over the course of a year during Southern California's record-breaking drought.

"Mylan CEO's mother used position with education group to boost EpiPen sales nationwide"

Gayle Manchin, mother of Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, helped boost sales of the EpiPen in her position as president of the National Association of State Boards of Education.


After Gayle Manchin took over the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2012, she spearheaded an unprecedented effort that encouraged states to require schools to purchase medical devices that fight life-threatening allergic reactions

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sculptures by KJ Bishop

Available at Etsy.

The Etched City by KJ Bishop is very good

$1.99 at Amazon. It would fit in well with China Mieville's Perdido Street Station series.

"Every frame of the Black Panther in Civil War is a CG outfit"

I mean, we had an outfit that we used on set. It’s impossible when you’re talking about an otherworldly outfit like the one that the Panther wears, which has a certain luminescence to it because it’s made of a woven metal. We could never afford to construct an outfit like that that an actor or a stunt player could move around in without sweating to death or that would capture the luminescence that we need. So what we ended up doing in post is ILM came in and painted over Chadwick and the stuntman. The outfit is completely CG.

"On November 10, 1898, a coup d’état took place on United States soil"

It was perpetrated by a gang of white-supremacist Democrats in Wilmington, North Carolina, who were intent on reclaiming power from the recently elected, biracial Republican government, even if, as one of the leaders vowed, “we have to choke the Cape Fear River with carcasses.” They had a Colt machine gun capable of firing four hundred and twenty .23-calibre bullets a minute. They had the local élite and the press on their side. By the end of the day, they had killed somewhere between fourteen and sixty black men and banished twenty more, meanwhile forcing the mayor, the police chief, and the members of the board of aldermen to resign.

"‘Ghost Drivers’ Plague Uber China"

"With profile photos that look like they’ve just stepped off a horror movie set, the ghost drivers scare passengers into cancelling their trip, meaning they will owe the driver a few yuan for their troubles."

"In the course of two decades, a medical secretary in Paris persuaded scores of renowned photographers to take her picture"

He had agreed to her request because, he said, “I could tell this project came from an obsessive mind, this strange project of being photographed by photographers she liked—not those she thought were famous, but those she liked.” When they eventually met, he had been taken aback. “She was very ordinary, a very normal-seeming person. I had thought, based on her letter, that she might be unusual.”


Methodically, and recording her activities in brief, elliptical diary entries, she sought out other artists, explaining how she had encountered their work and asking to be used in it. Months later, after seeing her work with other photographers, Sieff asked her back to his studio and finally made an image with her.

By 1990, Mège’s collection had grown to around sixty images—most of them black-and-white, and almost all nude, as she preferred to be photographed. With savings from the secretarial job she found at the hospital, she had travelled to Liège, Amsterdam, Lausanne, Basel, Barcelona, Prague, and Caracas to meet with artists.

"Southeast Asia now accounts for the majority of seafaring attacks globally, surpassing the Horn of Africa"

Alarmed by the spate of kidnappings for ransom, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed in May to conduct coordinated naval security patrols in the Sulu Archipelago, and establish a hotline among themselves. In August, they agreed to allow “hot pursuits” of kidnappers and armed robbers by their maritime security forces into one another’s territory.

“The idea is for the closest patrol boat to take the necessary action,”


“Most of the criminal gangs that hijack fuel tankers are waiting for fuel prices to go up again, and then they will resume hijacking them,”

"crime isn’t increasing — but ... Chicago is making things look much worse"

The Brennan Center anticipates that the national murder rate will rise 13.1 percent in 2016 over 2015.

And the catch? Crime overall will remain flat. And half of the increase this year, the Center's analysis suggests, will be due to the spike in Chicago alone. Half of the 31.5 percent increase in murders between 2014 and 2016 is solely a function of increases in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"Here's something you might not know about Mel and Sue: they nearly quit once before."

"What We Lose When We Lose Mel And Sue":
Last year, while promoting her memoir, Sue revealed that she and Mel walked off the set during Bake Off's first season because the producers were trying to coax human-interest drama—and the inevitable tears—out of contestants. "We felt uncomfortable with it, and we said 'We don't think you've got the right presenters,'" Sue told the Telegraph. "I'm proud that we did that, because what we were saying was 'Let's try and do this a different way'—and no one ever cried again. Maybe they cry because their soufflé collapsed, but nobody's crying because someone's going 'Does this mean a lot about your grandmother?'" Bringing up dead relatives at stressful times is a time-honored technique for introducing tension into a television show, but it's no way to treat your family.

Here's another thing you might not know: When contestants do cry—out of frustration or disappointment, generally—Mel and Sue stand near them and use un-airable language so the embarrassing footage is tainted, and won't make it into the final edit. "If we see them crying or something," Sue told the Guardian, "Mel and I will go over there and put our coats over them, or swear a lot because we know then that the film won't be able to be used."

"BioShock’s Jordan Thomas Discusses the Acclaimed Trilogy"

"What I should have done is two things," he explains. "First, commit to making a stripped-down horror game. My original pitch was that you'd play a former Little Sister, in an underpowered return to Rapture, full of fertile trauma that would be uncovered as you went. Very Silent Hill. But I was told – I don't even remember by who, it could have just been Marketing Person X – 'We think BioShock can be a big shooter franchise like Gears of War or Call of Duty.' And I thought, 'Good Lord... Why did you hire me?' So the second thing I should have done is learn to say no.


"But this was a life-changing moment – somehow, someone had identified me for this job. So in order to say yes, I had to create a Mr Hyde who was willing to also say, out loud, 'Absolutely. This is going to be a 2.0, and we're going to improve on the original.' But who knows what the other guy, the version of me which had existed just minutes prior to being offered that job, would have said about the necessity of sequels at all."


"After BioShock 2, my world view had been utterly shaken," he says. "My career and sense of self were altered forever by working on it. I wasn't soured on triple-A immediately after, but I had a blasted hellscape in my wake in regards to my personal life. I barely recognise the memory of the guy I was when that game was finished.

"Baseball: New state pitching limit rule gets first reading next month"

The new proposed rule will focus on pitches thrown and require coaches and umpires to actively participate in keeping track of pitches.

For varsity, the pitch count limit would be 110 pitches in any game. The pitcher would not be allowed to throw again until a mandatory three days of rest (anyone throwing more than 76 pitchers has to rest for three days).

If a pitcher throws between 31 and 50 pitches, one day of rest is required. If a pitcher throws 31 to 75 pitches, two days of rest is required.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rebecca Hall confirms that Marvel reduced her part in Iron Man 3

“I’ve been gagging to talk about it with someone, but I haven’t had the opportunity, weirdly.”


“I signed on to do something that was a substantial role. She wasn’t entirely the villain – there have been several phases of this – but I signed on to do something very different to what I ended up doing.

“Halfway through shooting they were basically like, ‘What would you think if you just got shot out of nowhere?’ I was meant to be in the movie until the end...

"Duped into selling his kidney, this 23-year-old exposed an illegal organ racket in India"

At least 14 people, including four doctors and the hospital’s chief executive, have been arrested since July when police, acting on information provided by Jatav, stopped a kidney transplant involving a 48-year-old patient who had presented forged documents purporting that the organ donor was his wife.

The ring is part of what one news outlet dubbed the “Great Indian Kidney Racket.”

Because the country harvests relatively few organs from people who die in accidents — the most common source of kidneys in the U.S. — the vast majority of transplants here involve living donors who give up one of their two kidneys.

To reduce the chances that money is changing hands, which is illegal in India and almost everywhere else, the law allows, with rare exceptions, only a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or grandchild to act as a donor.

For patients who don’t have a relative with a suitable kidney or don’t want to put a loved one through the small risk that donation entails, there is another option: a shadowy marketplace in which well-off patients can buy organs from strangers. The sellers are often impoverished, recruited from small towns by middlemen and made to present falsified papers — sometimes in collusion with doctors.

"The Most Interesting And Dominant Baseball Player In The World Plays In Japan"

There is a 22-year-old professional baseball player who owns the following 2016 stats: 123 innings pitched, 2.12 ERA, 151 strikeouts.


struck out nine guys over five innings in his first start since being sidelined for two months with a blister on his pitching hand.

That blister didn’t actually keep Otani off the field, though, because he’s been serving as the team’s DH while he’s been unable to pitch. And all he’s done as the DH is hit strong home run slams all over the baseball yard.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Deluxe Lobo figure available for preorder

Multiple hands, weapons.

"Lawsuit Targets Detroit Public Schools for Failing Students"

"In one case highlighted in the lawsuit, an eighth-grade student taught seventh- and eighth-grade math classes for a month because no math teacher was available."

"2b2t, a malevolent form of Minecraft, is full of such ruins: It’s a place of beauty and terror"

The Minecraft anarchy server:
To traverse 2b2t is to feel lost and overwhelmed, and to play is to accept this pain and confusion as a condition of existence. The ordeal begins even before you enter: The queue to join the server is over 1,000 players long. A very slow-moving countdown appears on screen; when it reaches zero, you’re allowed in.

It took me three tries and over four hours to join 2b2t. It was worth the wait. I spawned before an abyss—I was standing looking at a heady drop into sea and stone and lava. After I overcame my virtual vertigo, I edged my way up a gigantic craggy mountain.

Hidden across the landscape are some especially cruel traps: fake sanctuaries that explode in flames, pits that drop you into a river of lava and false floors that open into prisons built from obsidian, with no way to dig out. (Players entombed there have no choice but to log out and sit through the queue all over again.)

"Valiant becomes greatest comics publisher of all times with Cat Cosplay Covers"

Many more here.

"Amid Drought, LADWP Caught Watering Artificial Turf At Substations"

The seemingly superfluous watering has angered neighbors who say they’ve taken pains to reduce their own water use amid the threat of citations.


“We’re really just trying to wash out the dog pee,”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"How The University Of New Hampshire Chose To Waste An Alum's $4m Gift"

But let me just reiterate this. A librarian donated $4 million to his alma mater. $100,000 is being given to the library. $1 million is being used to buy A SCOREBOARD.

For those of you who don’t know, the UNH football stadium just received a $25 million renovation, and was re-opened on September 10th

"A quarter of all video clips captured by Oakland police body-worn cameras...were accidentally deleted nearly two years ago when city employees installed a software upgrade"

Instead of hitting “preserve everything,” the IT employees mistakenly checked a box marked “preserve,” Deputy District Attorney Butch Ford, who is prosecuting the murder case, explained Tuesday outside court.

A month later, Burke said, officers realized there was a problem when they searched for a video and couldn’t view it.

"Despite having killed himself after being accused of fraud, Bill Nojay is keeping his seat in the New York state Assembly"

Bill Nojay, a New York state Assembly member from the state’s 133rd District scored a handy victory over his primary challenger, despite having killed himself four days earlier. Nojay took his own life on Friday, the same day he was expected to receive federal fraud charges.


Nojay and his business partners are accused of running a rice-importing grift, allegedly swindling a prominent Cambodian dentist for $1 million.

"This Tokyo Aquarium Will Transform into a Horror House at Night"

At 6:30 PM, Tokyo’s Sunshine Aquarium will transform from a space of cool relaxation and light-hearted fun to one of blood-chilling terror.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

California parks will be banned from featuring killer whales in performances for entertainment purposes

"Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that will outlaw orca breeding and captivity programs like the one formerly run by SeaWorld theme parks."

Event[0] Launch Trailer

"In a world where humankind has embraced artificial intelligence, you are stranded on an abandoned spaceship.

Event[0] is a game about building a personal relationship with a machine."

Destructoid said:
Event[0] is a short game. It’s the kind of game you play from start to finish in a single sitting over the course of an evening. While there are multiple endings to see and a broad range of reactions and attitudes to cultivate from Kaizen by interacting with him differently, I didn’t feel the need to go back and see the others. I liked my experience, the story it told, and where it ended up. I enjoyed being familiar with Kaizen and building a friendly relationship with it. I wouldn’t want to go back to the beginning and be a jerk to it just to see how things might have shook out differently. I don’t think I could bear to do that to the poor guy.

More than anything, I think that’s a testament to what the Ocelot Society has accomplished with Event[0]. The developers built a fake world with a fake A.I. and here I am worried about hurting its feelings. There is something special about that, something more important that quibbling about playtime or the occasional hiccup.

"another controversy that has dogged him of late: his exclusive right to the nanosubstance known as Vantablack, the 'blackest black' known to humanity"

The black, which he read about in the paper and immediately thought “this is for me,” is a series of tubes that essentially strip light from the world. Manufactured for use masking stealth airplanes and in telescopes, Kapoor said the creators hadn’t thought about the visual implications of the black until he called them up. Given his interest in “void forms,” he had to know more about a color—it’s not a pigment, mind you—that traps light. “Quite a good story, right?” Kapoor asked. He said the mythological quality of this black interested him almost as much as the aesthetics.


Later, Walker pointed out that since the color only exists in a incubator and must be made in a sort of reactor, the next step is figuring out how to even display it. “It can’t be touched,” for now, she said. The nanotubes—only a few microns thick—are too delicate, though they are utterly dust resistant.

"Why are so many people/companies taking their 60s Marvel Kirby art down?"

I looked at a couple of dealer websites. One, in particular, had 53 pieces up six months ago and seven now. The only 60s page left is one Kirby is only credited with “finishes” on.


The dirty little open secret for the last few decades is that it’s very likely a lot of Kirby’s art in the open market was effectively stolen. There are stories of stacks of pages just disappearing from the office.


If you own a page of Kirby art from Marvel in the 60s, how sure are you that what you own was legitimately sourced? How do you know the dealer you bought it from — even if it was 30 years ago — got it through legitimate means?

Would you want to give that page up? Would you want to get served a letter from Disney/Marvel legal? Even if you have the paperwork from where you bought it, how do you know that guy you bought it from got it through legitimate means?

Might be a good idea to hide the fact from the public that you own it. Take it down off the internet, keep it in your portfolio or hung framed on your wall, and never boast about it again.

"'G.I. Joe': The Story of the Cartoon That Sold Wartime Heroics to a Generation of Kids"

Hasbro sent me the shrink-packed action figures, but there was no story yet. I decided to create these groups of families. I created the bad family, who was Cobra, to whom I gave the battle cry, "Co-bra!" and the good family, to whom I gave the battle cry, "Yo Joe!" I determined who was big daddy, who was the wayward uncle, who was the snotty teenager, who was the mama, who was the swing character who does dumb shit. I also wanted more female characters, so I created Scarlett, Lady Jaye. I felt they needed more women because I knew girls who loved animation and loved superheroes.


Morgan Lofting, The Baroness: In the audition, I screamed, "Co-bra!!!" at the top of my lungs. And I think they went, "Her. She looks like she's willing to go to the wall."

"The Drone Racing League and ESPN have an agreement for the network to broadcast the first full season"

ESPN will air 10 one-hour episodes beginning with a viewer's guide to drone racing, airing Thursday night on ESPN2 and concluding with the DRL World Championship on Nov. 20.

The elite pilots fly quadcopter drones at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, with the goal of collecting the most points. Pilots and viewers have a first-person cockpit view thanks to cameras inside the drones.

"Interpol has issued a red notice for [a] fugitive former Playboy model . . . for her role in an attempted murder connected to one of Bosnia’s largest organized crime groups"

"Apart from her modeling career, Tosic gained regional fame as a contestant on the Serbian version of the reality show 'Survivor.'"

Titanfall 2 figures by McFarlane available for preroder

Four new figures ($18-32).

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Mountain resorts, rent subsidies and saunas: The benefits of living in a city plagued by scandal"

Fueled by hefty tax revenue from the Commerce Casino, Citadel outlet mall and other businesses, the city has long provided services to residents that surrounding communities cannot match, including extensive recreation facilities, rent subsidies for the elderly and even a mountain retreat.

But the generous largess masks what to many residents is another problem that has plagued the region: Government dysfunction. Neighbors like Bell, Vernon and South Gate have been rocked by highly publicized corruption scandals. And Commerce is now also having its own struggles.


Baca Del Rio was reelected in 2009 after being recalled the year before. Councilman Hugo Argumedo was reelected last year after being forced to resign in 2010 because of a misdemeanor obstruction of justice conviction

"Locals battle riot police in Chinese 'democracy village'"

Wukan has been a nexus of resistance to Chinese state control since 2011, when mass protests over land rights and corruption won a compromise that allowed the village to hold free elections, a rarity in Communist China and a move that made it world famous.

The winner of that election, protest leader Lin Zuluan, was arrested earlier this year and charged with taking bribes. He was sentenced to three years in prison after a televised confession in which he admitted to his crimes. Supporters have questioned whether the confession was forced, as others have been in the past.

"Why Ancient Pacific mariners were the NASA scientists of their day"

Early human settlement of the offshore Pacific revolved, in part, around enduring, large-scale meteorological phenomena that are still little understood. Most of these phenomena relied on what the maritime historian Brian Fagan called ‘an elaborate, usually slow-moving waltz involving two partners – the atmosphere and the ocean’. The local seasonal winds, combined with large but predictable long-term climatological events the size of continents, could be used to propel people from one archipelago to another.

We can draw a rough analogy between this climatologically assisted exploration of the remote outer Pacific and the careful interplanetary techniques of gravity-assisted space travel. Imagine, for example, a well-organised group of extreme maritime navigators standing on the shores of an isolated Pacific island chain 1,000 years ago, looking much further out to sea, knowing that there are distant land masses there, ever more island worlds whose presence is implied by the behaviour of the winds, clouds and currents.

More important, from generations’ worth of experience navigating the vast and inhospitable space of the Pacific, these same families know that only a particularly strong atmospheric cycle will be able to take them there – and that they must wait another season, another year, another decade, for these assistive winds to arrive. They are timing their launch.

"Hillary Clinton’s fainting video is making money for Rupert Murdoch"

Murdoch’s News Corp owns Storyful, a company that sources and distributes user-generated video, and Storyful is representing Zdenek Gazda, the man who shot the footage Sunday morning.

Gazda’s video is freely available on Twitter, where it has been retweeted more than 37,000 times. Anyone can embed the video, like we’ve done above, for free.

But Storyful has been charging news organizations that want to use the video in broadcasts or other packages thousands of dollars for usage rights.

"Meet The 15-Year-Old Behind The Proposed Hijab Emoji"

Her friends decided to title the group chat by using an emoji that represented each of their faces. Her friends picked their hair and skin colors and created a cartoonish likeness of themselves. For Alhumedhi, who wears a hijab headscarf, this wasn’t so easy. Though emoji has options for turbans, detective fedoras, police officer caps, and jolly red santa hats, there’s no option for the traditional headscarf worn by 550 million Muslim women, alone.

So Alhumedhi took matters into her own hands.

Unsure of what to do, Alhumedhi wrote a long email to Apple’s customer help but didn’t hear back. A few months later, though, she stumbled on a Mashable explainer about the Unicode Consortium, the technical organization that governs the evolution of emoji and handles new proposals.

"The Rise and Fall of Fruitopia, the Trippiest Beverage of the '90s"

After three years of (presumably) concocting and market-testing, Coke had six Fruitopia flavors. Yet fruity sugar water—even the greatest fruity sugar water in the world!—is nothing without an underlying concept.


"What is our new product announcement?" Zyman said in March of 1994, during what attendees presumed was, indeed, a new product announcement. "Let me answer that question by saying that it's not so much a product as it is an attitude... an attitude about what people want from their beverages."


Leonardo DiCaprio, then a post-teen hearthrob, called it his favorite drink.


a shoutout on the Simpsons. The drink appeared in the episode "They Saved Lisa's Brain," in which Lisa joins Mensa and meets Stephen Hawking. "I wanted to see your utopia," Hawking says, "but now I see it is more of a Fruitopia."

After going through the rest of the lines without a hitch, the computer attached to Hawking's voice synthesizer didn't know the brand name, so Hawking and his team were forced to reconstruct the word phonetically. "We were taking the most brilliant man in the world and using his time to record 'Fruitopia' in individual syllables," show writer Matt Selman later recalled on the episode's DVD commentary. Not bad for approximately 17-percent juice.

But trouble was afoot.

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Why There Are So Few Left-Turn Signals In Los Angeles"

The history of left turn signals in Los Angeles:
Though more left-turn signals could have been added at this time in Los Angeles, the city chose not to, fearing the adverse effects the extra signal cycles could have on traffic flow. Adding left-turn signals to L.A.'s grid would have required significantly longer light cycles. Where L.A.'s traffic signals today are computer-controlled, and "know" how many cars there are at an intersection, signals in the '70s were timer controlled. Making left-turn signals ubiquitous would require motorists to spend even more time at increasingly clogged intersections, potentially waiting for a left-turn light to complete its cycle for cars that might not even be there. A philosophical decision was made by city planners to maintain the status quo, and prioritize through-traffic over traffic-making left-hand turns.

Planners maintained this philosophy until 1991, when the Los Angeles City Council forced the installation of a left-turn signal at the intersection of Temple and Main. Turns out, a judge working in a downtown courthouse had grown frustrated waiting to turn left without a signal, and convinced a friend on the City Council to pass a motion.

"Trent Dilfer is a very good friend of 49ers GM Trent Baalke"

and Dilfer now appears on ESPN’s “NFL Countdown” every Sunday morning, which means one key thing:

We get to hear what the very sheltered and media-shy Baalke is really thinking.

Because that’s what Dilfer is going to give us on any and all 49ers topics, and he did not fail his buddy on Sunday–in fact, let’s go ahead and anoint Dilfer as Baalke’s unofficial spokesman and spin-meister.

Dilfer of course weighed in on the Colin Kaepernick anthem protest and reaction

Kickstarter campaign is actually a promotional ARG for the Blair Witch reboot

At face value, The Absence of Closure Kickstarter account is a perfectly legitimate campaign for a niche documentary film that never got made. Focusing on coping with loss, the documentary planned on highlighting how three people coped with the disappearance of their loved ones.


That alone might still be written off as a fluke. But somehow, Lisa Arlington found a way to launch a Kickstarter campaign in February 2014 while simultaneously waiting to create her Kickstarter account on July 2016. Even more surprising? Lisa found a way to post all the comments to The Absence of Closure using a series of pseudonyms, back-dating comments posted in August 2016 to create the illusion of history.

Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghost Tiki Mug

Available at ebay. Via.

"The Harvard scientists and the sugar executives with whom they collaborated are no longer alive"

The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to downplay the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show.

The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease — including many of today’s dietary recommendations — may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry.

Westworld site update with some good microfiction

Login with "violentdelights" to be taken to the Delos Incorporated site--lots of emails revealing the workings (and problems) with the Westworld adventure.

"A clause in the contract could, in the future, allow Nike to harvest personal data from Michigan athletes through the use of wearable technology"

As debates about athletes’ rights intensify in big-time college sports, the next frontier, independent experts say, could be privacy issues related to wearable tech, which in coming years could expand beyond health trackers like Fitbit and the Apple Watch to so-called smart clothing, with sensors embedded in the material itself.

The most ambitious projects are still on the drawing board. But at Michigan, a range of devices could eventually collect data including “speed, distance, vertical leap height, maximum time aloft, shot attempts, ball possession, heart rate, running route” and other measurements, according to the contract.

Although other universities have deals with technology companies governing health- and fitness-monitoring devices, Michigan’s contract drew notice not only because of the Wolverines’ high profile but also because the contract appears to allow for more comprehensive data collection than is typical and grants Nike, the world’s biggest sportswear company, broad rights “to utilize” that information.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Hawaiian seafood caught by foreign crews confined on boats"

Under the law, U.S. citizens must make up 75 percent of the crew on most commercial fishing vessels in America. But influential lawmakers, including the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, pushed for a loophole to support one of the state's biggest industries. It exempted commercial fishing boat owners from federal rules enforced almost everywhere else.


Hundreds of undocumented men are employed in this unique U.S. fishing fleet, due to a federal loophole that allows them to work but exempts them from most basic labor protections. Many come from impoverished Southeast Asian and Pacific nations to take the dangerous jobs, which can pay as little as 70 cents an hour.

With no legal standing on U.S. soil, the men are at the mercy of their American captains on American-flagged, American-owned vessels, catching prized swordfish and ahi tuna. Since they don't have visas, they are not allowed to set foot on shore. The entire system, which contradicts other state and federal laws, operates with the blessing of high-ranking U.S. lawmakers and officials, an Associated Press investigation found.


these crew members aren't even allowed to land at the airport in Honolulu.


As a result, the men are first put on planes at home, and then hopscotched from country to country across thousands of miles. A typical route could go from Indonesia to Australia to Fiji to Western Samoa to American Samoa. Some pass through Amsterdam. Others end up in Mexico or Panama. They're then picked up by American captains for the 10- to 20-day sail to Honolulu.

Some fishermen have even been made to leap into the sea. In one video shown to AP, men swam from one boat to another through tossing waves, clutching their belongings in plastic bags.

It used to be easier. Before Sept. 11, the men came on planes. But the terror attacks spurred a national crackdown on foreigners entering the country. As an unintended consequence, the workers now reach U.S. docks with minimal government vetting, creating greater security risks.

"Is it true that you and Disney were working together at one point to make a sort of real-world version of Myst Island?"

From an interview with Myst creator Rand Miller:
AVC: In a way, the rise of escape rooms has gone a long way toward creating Myst-like spaces in the real world. Have you done one?

RM: No. The guys here at the office have. We’ve got one that’s not far from our office, and they’ve gone in and done it. I would love to. I’d like to make one—I guess that’s part of my makeup. Here at our office, we’ve got a chunk of land in the woods close by, and I keep thinking, “Oh my gosh, of course we need a cool escape-the-room associated with Myst that we could do some sweet stuff with.” I start thinking of all the crazy, cool stuff, like, “We’ll do projection mapping and we’ll bring in automated stuff. We’ll have smart controls, and it’ll be awesome.” I don’t know when that’ll happen, but yes, that whole concept excites me. I’m into this stuff. [Laughs.] The only thing better than VR at this point, as far as immersing yourself in something that feels like real-world experience, I guess, is the real world. So, it would be really cool if you could do it well. I guess that’s the tricky part.

AVC: Is it true that you and Disney were working together at one point to make a sort of real-world version of Myst Island?

RM: That was absolutely true. At some point, there were some really cool plans to do some stuff with Disney. We were looking at it as the ultimate incarnation of our world. Basically, there was a place down in Florida—it’s one of the island areas that they had that wasn’t used very much. But it had some walkways among trees, and an island area, and we went down and looked at it and walked around it, and it was incredibly Myst-like. It was perfect for Myst. So we were all excited.

Friday, September 9, 2016

A detailed look, with gifs, explaining why Chip Kelly's offense has stopped working

The predictability of Kelly’s offense has gone beyond the defense knowing who would get the ball, as defenders frequently now know which play is coming.


This wasn’t an isolated incident. After losing to the Cowboys early in the 2015 season — a game in which the Eagles managed only 7 rushing yards — Eagles receiver Josh Huff said Dallas’s players were calling out Kelly’s plays before the snap. Another example came in Week 1 of 2015, as the Atlanta Falcons repeatedly checked into defenses designed to stop whichever play Kelly called. Whenever he called an inside zone — again, with the running back and tight end aligned to the same side — the Falcons, in turn, checked to a defensive stunt designed to blow up that specific play.


Kelly’s 2015 Eagles offense was essentially unchanged from 2013 (and the 49ers offense this preseason looked identical as well), and what two or three years prior was fresh is now stale and easily defended. If anything, Kelly’s later offenses were more simplistic than his earlier ones, as the creative motions and formations that Kelly once used so well largely vanished.


the 2015 Eagles defense defended an incredible 1,148 plays, while the team that defended the fewest, the Seahawks, played just 947 snaps. At an NFL average of around 65 plays a game, Kelly’s defense effectively played three more games than Seattle’s.

Why TNT canceled Rizzoli & Isles

Canceling a beloved TV show is just one of several surprising steps Turner has taken to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. Turner has slashed the number of commercials in its original dramas on TNT — an almost unheard of move in the TV industry — as well as switched to more provocative fare.


Turner executives recognized they needed to revamp their programs to remain relevant. They felt some of their scripted shows were too bland to effectively compete in an on-demand world. Would young viewers gravitate to a police procedural show, such as TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles,” from a menu of options on a video streaming service?

Probably not.

“We need to be a driver of the conversation,” Reilly said. “Turner has long been this quiet cash machine but it didn’t have a sexy veneer.”

"No more cash for fake grass"

Last month the [Los Angeles] Board of Water and Power Commissioners voted to eliminate the rebate for artificial turf installation as part of an overhaul of the program to focus not just on saving water, but being smarter about using it.

That means capturing rainwater and letting it soak into the ground rather than shunting stormwater into the gutters, where it ferries trash and pollutants to the ocean. That means incorporating more plants that provide habitat for bees, birds and other wildlife. And it means discouraging plastic grass that retains heat and doesn’t hold water like healthy soil does.

"The Rules About How to Address the U.S. Flag Came About Because No One Wanted to Look Like a Nazi"

the U.S. Flag Code calls for anyone addressing the flag, either during the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem, to put their right hands over their hearts....

But where did the idea to regulate the way Americans choose to respect the flag come from, anyway? As it turns out, the U.S. Flag Code dates back to the not-too-distant year of 1942. The decision to enact began with the Pledge of Allegiance—a ritual that used to involve a salute that required you to raise your right hand, flip your palm down, point it toward the flag in a salute and recite the words. These instructions might seem unthinkable today for obvious reasons—they’re reminiscent of rows of Nazis saluting their Fuhrer.