Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"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."

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?"

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.

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!

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.

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."

"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



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.”

"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?"

"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.

"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"

"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.

KING - The Greatest

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

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

"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.

"Los Angeles Valley College pays $28,000 in bitcoin ransom to hackers"

LAT:

The malicious cyberattack was detected at Los Angeles Valley College on Dec. 30 after a virus locked the campus’ computer network as well as its email and voicemail systems, Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez said in a statement.

After consulting with the college’s information technology staff, cybersecurity experts and law enforcement, the district paid the ransom on Jan. 4, a day after classes started, according to district officials. The district has a cybersecurity insurance policy that has been activated and covers such attacks.

"there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring"

NYT:

When I remark that President Obama had eight years without any ethical shadiness, Mr. Thiel flips it, noting: “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.”

When I ask if he is concerned about conflicts of interest, either for himself or the Trump children, who sat in on the tech meeting, he flips that one, too: “I don’t want to dismiss ethical concerns here, but I worry that ‘conflict of interest’ gets overly weaponized in our politics. I think in many cases, when there’s a conflict of interest, it’s an indication that someone understands something way better than if there’s no conflict of interest. If there’s no conflict of interest, it’s often because you’re just not interested.”

When I ask if Mr. Trump is “casting” cabinet members based on looks, Mr. Thiel challenges me: “You’re assuming that Trump thinks they matter too much. And maybe everyone else thinks they matter too little. Do you want America’s leading diplomat to look like a diplomat? Do you want the secretary of defense to look like a tough general, so maybe we don’t have to go on offense and we can stay on defense? I don’t know.”

Monday, January 9, 2017

"Woman Jailed for Posing as Ex-Fiance’s Wife to Post ‘Rape Fantasy’ Ads Online Was Framed"

KTLA5:

Hadley was again arrested on July 14 and held on $1 million bail. Her re-arrest and increase in bail were allegedly due Diaz's false statements regarding the latest round of alleged email threats.

Hadley said her friends and relatives supported her, never believing she was guilty of the crimes of which she'd been accused.

She remained in jail until Oct. 7, "at which point sufficient evidence had been ascertained through extensive investigative efforts and the cooperation of the victim’s attorney," according to the DA's office. "OCDA and APD sought the victim’s immediate release on her own recognizance from custody while continuing to investigate Diaz."

"Emails from discovery of HMS Terror show bad blood, secrecy behind the scenes"

OC:

Now emails obtained through an access to information request show how ARF’s vague communications with Parks Canada kept its fellow searchers in the dark for a week.

They also show that Parks Canada (the lead federal agency) reacted to news of the find with public enthusiasm, while behind the scenes it was trying to figure out if ARF had broken the law.

"At least five people are dead and after fire broke out inside a beached tanker at the Gadani shipbreaking yard in Pakistan"

"an explosion in early November killed at least 26 workers and injured scores more."

Mon Calamari in Return of the Jedi can't find his monitor

Link.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"A member of the US Army Honor Guard lies on the floor after passing out during an Armed Forces Full Honor Farewell Review for US President Barack Obama"

From the photos of the week.

"Alexander Wang's Adidas Collection Was Sold In Unmarked Trucks And Trash Bags"

FastCo:

While meant to mimic the surprise drops of high-profile albums lately, there were actually clues posted around New York days in advance. Posters appeared that were emails between officials at Adidas Originals and Alexander Wang, discussing the collection and the use of the logo. The names and brands were blacked out, except for one of the email addresses with an Alexander Wang URL. On the day before Wang's show for his own new collection, someone went around and stamped the name of someone at Alexander Wang on the posters. Then, on the day of the show, just hours before the news of the Adidas collaboration went public, the Adidas Originals' logo was stamped on the posters.

Leaflets were also passed out around the city, featuring the Alexander Wang logo and an inverted phone number. Callers got an answering machine that would reveal three locations. "12 p.m., Mercer and Canal. 3 p.m., 5th Ave and 57th St. 6 p.m., Brooklyn." People thought it was a casting call or a fashion show, but didn't know it was actually the locations of unmarked trucks selling the collection.

...

"What Alex did so brilliantly with the collection was to literally challenge the ultimate status quo of the brand, it's very own logo. He did in a subversive way, flipping it upside down

Friday, January 6, 2017

"The His-and-Hers Kitchen"

WSJ:

Home cooking is on the rise and more men are participating. To meet the demand, home builders are creating distinct zones, with duplicate or triplicate appliances, specialty built-ins for various culinary pursuits, and matching workspaces—so it never feels like there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

...

When the grandchildren head to the 1,150-square-foot kitchen for a morning meal, “they call it Hawaiian breakfast,” she said, because of all the islands.

"beware the power of Jesus’ name—for hackers"

Christianity Today:

Your favorite Bible verse, which you possibly have set as the wallpaper on your phone, is too easy. Similarly, you should avoid using the names of your loved ones, especially if their names are “Nicole” or “Soccer”—the 12th and 13th most popular overall passwords in the list.

Below are the top Christianity-related passwords from the data breach

“Eventually, you can only make pants so wide. That became our Achilles’ heel.”

From 2015, The Story of JNCO’s Rise, Bankruptcy, and Comeback Attempt:

JNCO, as the public knows it, was founded in 1985 with $200,000 USD in savings. United under the acronym which meant, “Journey of the Chosen Ones” or “Judge None, Choose One,” the brothers’ business model and work ethic were inspired by their father—a sales rep whose business was driven by denim. Aesthetically, the style of denim drew imagination from the streets of East Los Angeles where the brothers had noticed the jean choices of Latin men.

...

Joseph Montalvo, a graffiti artist known as Nuke who has risen in the art world, designed JNCO’s logo, a four-pronged crown.

...

As kids returned to school that fall, many institutions had put JNCO’s wide leg offerings on a list of banned items that didn’t meet various dress codes.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"I want you to understand why America's Golden Age of Restaurants is coming to an end"

"To do that I'm going to tell the story of the rise and fall of Matt Semmelhack and Mark Liberman's AQ restaurant in San Francisco"

"A sting operation was planned for Lunada Bay, but someone tipped off the Bay Boys"

"According to the declarations, only four to five city employees were aware of the operation, but Kepley believed the leak 'could have come from anywhere.'"

"Shutterstock’s Most Viral Photos of 2016"

"Below are 16 of our most liked and shared images from the past year." (So, not the actually most liked and shared?)

"This winter break, I decided to try and finish a project I started a few years ago: training an artificial neural network to play MarioKart 64"

"In a couple of days over winter break, I was able to to train an AI to drive a virtual vehicle using the same technique Google uses for their self-driving cars. With approximately 20 minutes of training data, my AI was able to drive the majority of the simplest course, Luigi Raceway, and generalized to at least one section of an untrained racetrack. With more data, I bet we could build a complete AI for MarioKart 64."

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Threes! pillow is 78% off for some reason



$5.50 and eligible for free shipping.

"Strict new government scrutiny on Chinese people who want to convert their money into other currencies threatens to slow the rush of foreign property buying"

Globe and Mail:

The rich, with corporate assets and access to sophisticated market tools for stealthily routing money around the world, are unlikely to feel much difference from the change.

But for the middle class, who have become an important force in property markets in places like Canada, the United States and Australia, “it will have a big impact,” said Mr. Xie.

Families that once bundled together converted currency to buy condominiums and modest houses abroad will face new inspection of their currency conversions, and new risks to falling afoul of the rules.

"TrademarkVision . . . uses machine learning to support image searches that can identify similar trademarks"

Mashable:

Having a unique trademark or logo is vital, but many intellectual property registration bodies often require outdated forms of non-visual search that make comparison difficult.

...

"The Nike logo is protected with words like 'tick' to describe the image and you're hoping that someone will use the word 'tick' when they search to see if they're copying someone else accidentally"

Electronic Godzilla coin bank





Available at Amazon.

IV Stucker, Jr. and the rest of the 2017 Lacrosse All-Name Team

Brickman House, Sr.

"At the time, nobody knew [Geek Squad] repair technicians routinely searched customers' devices for files that could earn them $500 windfalls as FBI informants"

"This case produced that national revelation."

"ProDoula wants to revolutionize the touchy-feely doula profession — and make millions of dollars along the way"

BF:

By 2014, Foreman was a certified doula, but she wasn’t making any money. Her first birth — which she attended for free, because her trainer said she needed the experience — lasted 28 hours. All women deserve doulas, Foreman’s trainer told her, and it was their job to provide. But how was Foreman supposed to provide for her family?

Everything changed when she discovered a private Facebook group called “The Business of Being a Doula,” or “BOBAD.” Most doula websites are decorated with watercolors of earthy women cradling their bellies or flowers that look like vaginas. BOBAD, which has over 10,000 members, features a peppy career woman fist-pumping in front of her computer. The group’s members were unusual, too. They didn’t think every woman deserved a doula. Instead, they considered doula support a luxury — one that ideally came with a premium price tag.

...

Despite ProDoula’s success, many of its members say they feel like outsiders in their local doula communities. When Foreman made the crossover, other doulas called her “money-hungry,” she said. Her blog posts from that time sound like they were written by a political radical. “There is a #doularevolution happening. And I’m part of it,” she wrote. “Doulas are succeeding and the ones who balk, badmouth and shame are going to be left trapped in the subterranean bitumen, burned out and broke.”

But where ProDoulas see community, critics see a cultish crew of snake-oil salespeople. Patterson was once a star Mary Kay consultant, and she’s applied some of the cosmetic company’s marketing practices to ProDoula, leading to questions about whether its success benefits all women, or just those at the top.

"A mystery player causing a stir in the world of the complex strategy game Go has been revealed as an updated version of AlphaGo, the artificial-intelligence program created by Google's London-based AI firm"

"Fellow players had a hunch that Master was probably also an artificial-intelligence program. It came out of nowhere to win dozens of consecutive quick-fire games across two separate online platforms."

"The U.S. Coast Guard has fined a Washington state man $9,500 for shining a high-powered laser at the wheelhouse of a Washington State Ferry in October"

GC:

on October 22 when he pointed the laser at the WSF Tokitae, with 106 passengers on board, and struck the vessel’s master and chief mate in the eyes.

Raden, who has a history of lasering incidents

Former astronaut living in Washington, DC filed an average of 18 noise complaints a day, every day, for 365 days

"the most lopsided figures came out of Reagan International Airport in Washington, DC, where authorities said a single individual was responsible for 6,500 complaints in 2015, more than 75 percent of the total figure."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"'Still File' is a series of 4 photographs recreating computer renderings as physical scenes"



"The photos' artifacts, surroundings, camera settings and lighting has been shaped intending to resemble 3d graphics of different types."

Little Nightmares magazine cover



Edge.

"GPS blamed for surge in runaway trucks in small Arkansas town"

Arkansas Online:

Armed with GPS technology, truck drivers have been barreling through a rugged section of the Ozark Mountains, burning up brakes and occasionally bouncing off bluffs or rolling into a ditch.

...

GPS -- short for global positioning system -- doesn't tell drivers there is a 1,300-foot drop in elevation from the intersection of Arkansas 103 into Ponca, 4 miles to the south, Albers said. And there are two big curves on Arkansas 43 before the hill flattens out at Ponca.

"It doesn't look like that on Google Maps," Albers said. "The terrain doesn't look that different."

Three of those seven truck drivers managed to negotiate the first curve heading south on Arkansas 43, but they had burned up their brakes by the time they reached the second curve, Albers said. As a result, the runaway trucks hit the ditch across the highway
Via.

Sixteen Southern Carolina residents went to bed on New Year’s Eve and woke up living in North Carolina

"A two-decade effort using GPS technology to clarify the exact, down-to-the-centimeter border between the Carolinas comes to fruition this year.

The border adjustment, approved by both states, moved 16 people who thought they lived in South Carolina into North Carolina. Three N.C. families now will have S.C. addresses."

Monday, January 2, 2017

"Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts say beans from Brazilian plantations using slave labour may have ended up in their coffee"

TG:

both companies – whose brands include Nescafé, Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Coffee-mate and Senseo – admit that while they do not buy beans directly from “blacklisted” plantations where human rights abuses are known to take place, they cannot rule out that slavery-like conditions may exist in their supply chain. Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts told the Guardian they took DanWatch’s allegations seriously and were “very concerned” by the findings.

...

Both Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts have ethical codes to protect the human rights of their workers and ban suppliers from using child or forced labour.

"Why A Tiny Iowa Town Is Trying To Be A Hot Destination For Chinese Tourists"

BF:

where many just see a sleepy Midwestern town surrounded by cornfields and food-processing factories, Glad Cheng sees a grand opportunity.

...

But the city has an unusual story that dates back to 1985: three decades before becoming the Chinese strongman president, the then-unknown Xi Jinpeng stayed in a two-story house and immersed in American culture by spending a few nights in the bedroom of an American Star Trek fan away at college. In 2012, the year before he took office, Xi returned to Muscatine briefly to reunite with his hosts, who he has reportedly maintained correspondence. Xi told them via an interpreter, according to the Muscatine Journal, a local paper where Twain once worked, “to me, you are America.”

Cheng was amazed by the tale right away.

“Never before in China’s history did a ‘huangdi’ [emperor] get in touch with ordinary Americans, nobody,” Cheng reflected. (He later implied that he misspoke and meant to say “president.”) “The house just quietly stands here as nobody pays attention? I bought it off without even thinking,” said Cheng, who has been traveling back and forth after buying the house during his first visit to the US in 2013.

Cheng, the youngest brother of five made his fortune by closely following China’s political winds.