Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Groot

"Have we underestimated the West’s super-floods?"

HCN:

In the late 1980s, a Japanese scientist named Koji Minoura stumbled on a medieval poem that described a tsunami so large it had swept away a castle and killed a thousand people. Intrigued, Minoura and his team began looking for paleontological evidence of the tsunami beneath rice paddies, and discovered not one but three massive, earthquake-triggered waves that had wracked the Sendai coast over the past three thousand years.

...

For the past several decades, paleo-hydrologist Victor Baker of the University of Arizona has been using techniques similar to Minoura’s to study the flood history of the Colorado Plateau. Like Minoura, he’s found that floods much larger than any in recorded history are routine occurrences. And like Minoura, he feels his research is being largely ignored by agencies and public utilities with infrastructure in the path of such floods.

"How the company behind two of the year's biggest movies is blowing up the Hollywood playbook"

BI:

That was necessary when Blum went out on his own as an independent producer after leaving Miramax. He describes it as a low point in his career.

"I wanted to be an independent producer when I worked for Harvey. I did it for three or four years and I did not like it," Blum said. "I decided at that time I wanted to build a company and it took 10 years to do it, but this is absolutely my dream. I do not miss my days of making one or two movies a year. I thought I would love it, and I didn't like anything about it."

Blumhouse Productions' first release was the forgettable 2006 romantic comedy "Griffin & Phoenix," but then Blum came across "Paranormal Activity," a found-footage horror movie made for $15,000 by a video-game designer named Oren Peli. After it wowed audiences at a couple of film festivals in 2007, Blum got DreamWorks interested in the movie for remake rights, but he had another plan.

"I came onto the movie, I tried to sell it, everyone said it was a joke," Blum remembered. "But I knew anyone running a studio, if they saw the movie screened with an audience, would distribute the movie. My problem was I couldn't get anyone into a movie theater because I didn't have any clout, I was a nobody. The only thing I got was DreamWorks to agree to remake it and of course we were never going to remake the movie, but I couldn't say that. So what I said was I will sell you the remake rights to the movie but, and I put this in the contract: you guys set up and attending a test screening.

"Winter is coming" to the Mall of Egypt

Monday, February 27, 2017

Jim Rugg's comics about running

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"The death of a world-class magician found hanged in his dressing room at a popular Hollywood nightclub called the Magic Castle was ruled an accident on Saturday"

"found fully clothed with a bag over his head, said Vicki Greenleaf, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Magical Arts, which owns the Magic Castle. She disputed as untrue media reports indicating Easton was found in his underwear."

"MLB seeking new ball with stickier cover so it can enforce foreign-substance rule"

Yahoo:

MLB has commissioned Rawlings, its official manufacturer, to produce a ball with natural tack on the leather in hopes of eliminating the need for pine tar, sunscreen and rosin, or any other foreign substances whose use in recent years has blurred the legal-illegal line, sources familiar with the project told Yahoo Sports. The balls also would not need a pregame polish of Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud, the New Jersey-harvested muck that for decades has taken the sheen off the pearls that come out of the box.

“We think we’re close now,” Mike Thompson, an executive vice president at Rawlings, told Yahoo Sports.

"Crystal Palace fans vandalize their own team’s bus by accident"

"Damage is being assessed at a total of almost $50,000."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Masterpiece Rocket and Baby Groot available for preorder



Multiple hands, feet, jetpack. The deluxe comes with "mechanically complex heavy machine gun".

Sunday, February 26, 2017

"'World's worst skier': how it went downhill for Adrian Solano, Venezuela's Eddie the Eagle"





"The novice had only trained on wheels before arriving in Finland to compete in the Nordic world ski championships"

"The 'press forward' genre (or 'PFs') is one of my favorite examples of emergent level genres"

RDB:

Trackmania games have very robust track editors that let the community build and share custom tracks very easily.

...

The "press forward" genre (or "PFs") is one of my favorite examples of emergent level genres. Instead of challenging players to hone reflexes and maneuvers on a track, a PF beckons the player to simply hold down "forward" as a mindbogglingly complex track swirls around them. Through no skill of their own, a player ends up executing amazing stunts -- spinning 1080 degrees in the air before barely grazing a ramp in just-the-right-way to land perfectly on the track below. If the player makes any kind of choice, like letting go of the "forward" key, or (god forbid) turning left by 0.1 degrees, the consequences are often fatal.

"Inside the ugly breakup of Sports Illustrated, The Cauldron, and Chat Sports"

Yahoo:

Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated abruptly ended its partnership with The Cauldron, an independent sports blog that had a modest but devoted readership, and had made waves with a number of viral posts written by pro athletes like Steph Curry. The breakup was covered in straightforward fashion by a few sports and media blogs.

But there’s much more to the story: impersonations, fake emails, and a forged term sheet.

It is a convoluted tale, but worth climbing down the rabbit hole. It’s the tale of a sports media acquisition gone very wrong, and how the broken deal ensnared a number of big-name media companies and venture capitalists along the way.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Jeff Bezos's biological father "was a circus performer and one of Albuquerque’s best unicyclists in the 1960s"

BW:

In 1968, Jackie called Ted and told him she was marrying Miguel and moving to Houston. She told him he could stop paying child support and asked him not to interfere in their lives. Her father confronted him and made him promise to stay away. Jackie also wanted to give Jeffrey her new husband’s surname and let Miguel adopt him. Ted’s permission was needed for the adoption. After thinking it over and reasoning that the boy would probably have a better life as the son of Jackie and her new husband, Ted obliged. After a few years, he lost track of the family and then forgot their last name.

...

I found Ted Jorgensen, Jeff Bezos’s biological father, behind the counter of his bike shop in late 2012. I’d considered a number of ways he might react to my unannounced appearance but gave a very low probability to the likelihood of what actually happened

"The secret Google project to put an aquarium full of tiny, wiggly water bears inside your phone"

A detailed look at the prototype:

“The first time that we discovered that the camera being on was an obstacle for these guys staying alive was a little bit of a frightening moment. It got to such a temperature where these guys were dying off, and if you don’t think about it too hard, that’s almost like, ‘Oh my gosh, how are you going to take pictures of these guys if they can’t survive for a long period of time when the camera’s on?’ That’s kind of a mini-crisis that sort of requires a lot of rethinking,” said Gonzalez.

The team “collected data on shaking, rapid heat changes, suffocation, and population control,” said project manager Jennifer Bernstein, Midnight Commercial’s main contact with Google. But unlike a virtual Tamagotchi pet, tardigrades are living creatures. And if they die before reproducing, all they leave behind is algae.

Midnight Commercial resolved to fix the problem with software. The engineers designed the experience around nudges that let you “play” with your tardigrades without killing them with love. “If you’ve been looking at [them] too much, we’d have a control that says, the next time you try to open the app if it hasn’t cooled down enough, it would say ‘They’re resting right now, why don’t you see some videos that we’ve taken before’, or what-not,” said Feehan.

"New questions, including human trafficking concerns, broadside N.J. basketball power"

NJ:

At least eight international boys and girls basketball players have shown up seemingly out of nowhere to play for Paterson Eastside High School's powerhouse teams over the past four years, broadening state investigations and drawing the attention of federal agencies, NJ Advance Media has learned.

...

The international pipeline at Eastside appears to have begun with the girls team, according to interviews with adults who work to place international players at high schools in the United States. Like the boys squad, the Lady Ghosts have won three straight Passaic County Tournament championships as well as two state titles the past four seasons.

"there will be a point, in the very far future, at which all galaxies will be so far apart that they will no longer be visible from one another"

Bldg:

Upon reaching that moment, it will no longer be possible to understand the universe’s history—or perhaps even that it had one—as all evidence of a broader cosmos outside of one’s own galaxy will have forever disappeared.

...

There would be no reason to theorize that other galaxies had ever existed in the first place. The universe, in effect, will have disappeared over its own horizon, into a state of irreversible amnesia
.

"DeviantArt Community Worries that New Corporate Overlords Will Ruin Everything"

MB:

Yesterday, the social network for artists was acquired, for an impressive $36 million, by Wix, a DIY website design and hosting company based in Tel Aviv.

...

For now, the deviance remains.

"How to Draw an Exoplanet"

Atl:

Fifteen years ago, Tim Pyle was animating spaceships for Invader Zim on Nickelodeon. These days, he illustrates exoplanets orbiting stars in the Milky Way.

This week, Pyle watched from the office he shares with Robert Hurt on the Caltech campus in Pasadena as the internet exploded over their latest artwork.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Vin Diesel's Cringey Interview w/Brazilian (Uncut Version)"



"Let's get out of here....My god I love her."

Deluxe Ghost Rider figure available for preorder



"Each and every crease and fold of his painstakingly tailored wardrobe, from the individual buttons on his high-collared leather-effect biker jacket to his microscopically stitched blue jeans has been lovingly reproduced."

Also available for preorder are the new Ripley, Gravity Falls, and Spider-Man Homecoming Funko toys. But I like Claire Hummel's alternate, non-glam design for Ripley:

"IMDb likely has First Amendment right to display people’s ages"

VC:

A recently enacted California law, AB 1687, requires websites that “provide employment services to an individual for a subscription payment” to stop publishing a subscriber’s age whenever the subscriber so demands. In practice, this law was aimed at IMDb

"The assimilation problem in fact comes from the longstanding native-born Americans"

MR:

The country around them has changed rapidly, and they do not assimilate so well to the new realities. And since they are not self-selected migrants who know they will face hardship, they are not always so inclined to internalize a “suck it up” kind of attitude.

"Japanese Wrestling Photos That Look Photoshopped, But Aren't"

Gallery.

"Disney is set to lay off approximately 80 people and drop support for more than 55,000 YouTubers currently backed by its Maker Studios division"

"Disney purchased Maker Studios in March 2014 for $675 million"

Detailed explanation of how Fifty Shades of Grey arose from Twilight fanfiction

The start:

Well to understand this, you really need to understand the Twilight fanfic community. Bear with me! It pretty much gets written off as laughable and silly (can't blame people), but truthfully, Twilight fanfic commonly has very little do with Twilight. Even Twilight's fandom hates Twilight.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NASA's TRAPPIST-1e travel poster



High-res.

Strong The Budo and Bemular figures available for preorder



New preorders: S.H. Figuarts Strong The Budo and Bemular. Also, some new Eaglemoss figurines: Jane Foster Thor and Predalien.

"A.T.F. Filled Secret Bank Account With Millions From Shadowy Cigarette Sales"

NYT:

Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The operation, not authorized under Justice Department rules, gave agents an off-the-books way to finance undercover investigations and pay informants without the usual cumbersome paperwork and close oversight, according to court records and people close to the operation.

...

The scheme relied on phony shipments of snack food disguised as tobacco. The agents were experts: Their job was to catch cigarette smugglers, so they knew exactly how it was done.

"New York Food Blogger Busted for Cheating in Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon"

MNT:

after the race, someone tipped off Derek Murphy, a business analyst by day who has become the world's best internet sleuth at busting cheating runners.

He began digging into Seo's time and soon came across a prime piece of evidence: a photo of her at the finish line that clearly showed her race-tracking Garmin watch. He enlarged the photo, which showed the watch matched her time of 1 hour 22 minutes but also showed she had covered only 11.65 miles — nearly two miles short of the full race.

Time has a "Top 10 Comas" list

"A factory chicken today takes just 47 days to grow to an average weight of about 6.24 pounds. In 1965, they took 63 days to grow to just 3.48 pounds"

"Forget about Rhode Island Reds or Leghorns: Today, your tenders are more likely to come from a Ross 708 (a “high meat yielding bird”) or the Hubbard M99."

"The two young women were what South Korean intelligence calls 'lizard’s tails,' expendable assets to be cast off after an operation"

NYT:

Guided by North Korean agents, they practiced at malls in Kuala Lumpur, then set their sights on the target: Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder brother of North Korea’s erratic leader, Kim Jong-un.

...

If the women really had poison on their hands, the embassy statement said, “then how is it possible that these female suspects could still be alive?”

One possible theory is that each woman used a single chemical that became lethal only when mixed with another. The Malaysian police, however, said that the substance or substances used in the attack had not yet been identified.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Abzu is 70% off



$5.99 at Humble Store.

"investigators theorize that a wealthy collector known as 'The Astronomer' may have hired the thieves to steal the books for him"

"Thieves Rappelled Into a London Warehouse in Rare Book Heist"

Mall of America Writer-in-Residence Contest

MoA:

The Writer-in-Residence Contest will give a special scribe the chance to spend five days deeply immersed in the Mall atmosphere while writing on-the-fly impressions in their own words. The contest winner will stay in an attached hotel for four nights, receive a $400 gift card to buy food and drinks and collect a generous honorarium for the sweat and tears they’ll put into their prose.

"I Was a White Guy for Rent in a Chinese Ghost City"

CL:

“You put a foreigner in front of a building and everything is different,” Yana says in the documentary. New developments in the third- and fourth-tier cities on the outskirts were being advertised as “international cities” that would follow the path of Shanghai and Beijing, where foreign investment and businesspeople would help create a bustling economy. And to show that the developers and local officials indeed had those foreign connections, laowais were bused in from nearby cities and presented as famous artists or top executives from rich and “exotic” countries. They were really just random people that agents picked off the streets.

...

What does this “city image industry” look like?

Basically, it's a handful of marketers promoting cities, especially the new ones built in the late 2000s. The cities have these kind of spectacles that they put on for visitors, competing against each other to show the highest GDP growth and high levels of economic development.

One gig I did with Yana that never made the film was this kind of fake Olympics. One of the best ways to show that a city has made it on the map is by holding international sporting events. And often, Yana would get a lot of foreigners to pretend to be athletes. At one event in a very remote area of rural Chongqing, there was this water-sport competition. She brought, I think, 30 foreigners, and half were reporters who had been paid to film it. There wasn't much of an audience—just villagers—but these officials came on stage and gave these speeches about how this was a proud day in the history of sports. Then we went and did a river race that looked utterly unprofessional.

But the “press” filmed it, and the video came out pretty professional. They caught the better moments, and that is precisely the city image industry: various marketing industries coming together to make cities seem as though they could attract an international sporting competition.

"A gigantic migrating dune has almost completely buried Rubjerg Fyr [lighthouse] and ancillary buildings within a period of just 10 years"

TaD:

The problems began only a few years after the lighthouse was put into service. The buildings created shelter for the fine sand which was blown up from the steep cliff, and before long dunes had been formed between the lighthouse and the sea. The lighthouse master's vegetable garden was buried by sand and the well quickly filled up.

In order to moderate the sand migration, wild rye was planted in the dunes, but this simply resulted in the dune increasing in volume. The more planting that went on, the bigger the dune became. Within just a few decades, the sand had become so high that it was impossible to see the lighthouse from the sea.
It's been turned into an art project:

Texas Oil Fields Rebound From Price Lull, but Jobs Are Left Behind"

NYT:

“Pretty soon every rig will have one worker and a robot.”

...

Indeed, computers now direct drill bits that were once directed manually. The wireless technology taking hold across the oil patch allows a handful of geoscientists and engineers to monitor the drilling and completion of multiple wells at a time — onshore or miles out to sea — and supervise immediate fixes when something goes wrong, all without leaving their desks. It is a world where rigs walk on their own legs and sensors on wells alert headquarters to a leak or loss of pressure, reducing the need for a technician to check.

...

Much of the technology has been developed by the aviation and automotive industries, along with deepwater oil exploration, over more than a decade. But companies drilling on land were slow to adapt until oil prices crashed and companies needed to get efficient quickly or go out of business.

"Collapse of Aztec society linked to catastrophic salmonella outbreak"

"In 1519, when forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés arrived in Mexico, the native population was estimated at about 25 million. A century later, after a Spanish victory and a series of epidemics, numbers had plunged to around 1 million."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 poster



Via.

"Workmen's cafe overwhelmed with customers after it is accidentally awarded a Michelin star"

Tel:

Véronique Jacquet, who runs the café, said it had a regular clientèle of local tradesmen.

“Suddenly, we were rushed off our feet," she said. "Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing.”

They're making a Peter MacNicol/Dr. Janosz Poha action figure



New Ghostbusters figures. (I've updated my new toy reveal post. Also, the newly-revealed NECA and DC toys are available for preorder.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"The thing that made Jurassic Park great was a reverence for intelligence"

R/CD:

Everyone in that movie, literally everyone, is smart and capable. The kids, the snivelling Lawyer, Even the fat slob bad guy Dennis Nedry. The movie goes to great pains to show that he's the best there is at his job.

For an early 90's action movie, this was a revelation. The 80's was full of 'shoot first, ask questions later' action heroes that were idolised for their can-do attitude and straight talkin', ' folksy stupidity. Smart people filled exactly two roles: the bad guy (whose smartness was a weakness exploited by the hero) or the bumbling sidekick and bully victim. Smart people were a plot device, existing only to be protected by the strong-yet-stupid hero, or defeated by their overthinking and their evil commie ways. Nerds are to be mocked. Jocks are the heroes. As for smart women, forget about it. Nerd ladies don't get to be married, let alone heroic.

Then along comes Jurassic Park. Here was a film where the baddest motherfucker on the screen was a chaos-mathlete ladykiller with a black leather leather jacket and 400 dollar shoes. The idea of a rockstar mathematician blew my mind when I saw it as a kid. You can be cool AND smart? sign me up! It's not limited to Ian Malcolm. A Teenage hacker girl and a shotgun weilding paleo-botanist to this day are some of my favourite female characters of all time.

...

Then we get Jurassic World.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wood Louse toy



Via.

"Chris Sullivan Wears A Fat Suit In 'This Is Us' And People Are Not Happy"

BF:

“We tested a lot of gentlemen who were bigger,” Metz said on WWHL. “And I get it, people think the authenticity is kind of ruined by [that decision to cast Sullivan], but Chris has been heavier and I think he does understand the plight of being overweight.”

"Samsung is warning customers about discussing personal information in front of their smart television set"

BBC:

such TV sets "listen" to what is said and may share what they hear with Samsung or third parties

...

"If your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."

...

The third party handling the translation from speech to text is a firm called Nuance Communications, Inc.

"Suspect in North Korea killing 'thought she was taking part in TV prank'"

TG:

An Indonesian woman arrested for suspected involvement in the killing of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in Malaysia was duped into thinking she was part of a comedy show prank, Indonesia’s national police chief has said, citing information received from Malaysian authorities.

Tito Karnavian told reporters in Indonesia’s Aceh province that Siti Aisyah, 25, was paid to be involved in pranks.

He said she and another woman performed stunts which involved convincing men to close their eyes and then spraying them with water.

“Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer,” Karnavian said. “She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents.”

...

The second female suspect, who was captured on CCTV at the airport in a top emblazoned with “LOL” and arrested on Wednesday in possession of a Vietnamese passport, stayed at a hotel near the airport in the days before the attack, booking the cheapest room and carrying a wad of cash, according to a receptionist who spoke to Reuters.

She moved accommodation twice. Employees at the second hotel said she borrowed a pair of scissors from the front desk the evening before the attack, and that a member of housekeeping staff found hair on the floor and in the bin the next day. She then checked into another hotel on Monday afternoon. It is not known what her subsequent movements were before her arrest.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Why Does This One [$1,200] Couch From West Elm Suck So Much?"

Awl:

Around when the throw pillows finally arrived, the couch began to disintegrate in small ways. We would scooch across a cushion at the wrong angle, and a button would pop off, leaving a fraying hole behind. We would lean back slightly too far, and all of the cushions would shift forward and over the edge of the couch in unison. As soon as one button had fallen off of our couch, it was like a spigot had been turned, allowing all of the other buttons to fall off, too. I emailed customer service and asked if this was normal. They sent me a button-repair kit, indicating that this probably happens a lot. The kit was backordered, so it arrived two full months later and contained a wooden dowel, two buttons, and some directions that didn’t make sense. One direction was to “Hold the cushion properly and make sure the pointed end of the stick is all the way through, until you can see both ends of the stick on each side of the cushion.” I tried in earnest to follow the directions, but the wooden dowel would not fit into the buttonholes, and the entire exercise left me with fewer buttons than I started with.

I became obsessed with the extremely banal mistake I had made as a consumer. You know how you’re not supposed to talk about the weather or your commute because they’re boring? The same is true of couches. The craziest fucking couch in the world is still not more exciting than the Q train running on the R line because of scheduled track maintenance. But I was obsessed, and all I could talk about was the couch. The more I talked about the couch, the more I heard from people having the same problem. It turned out that an unusually large number of our friends owned the same exact couch and were extremely miffed at West Elm about it.

"My tale of Puzder’s 'Oprah' tape"

Pol:

Andrew Puzder didn’t want the tape to resurface. Oprah Winfrey fought efforts to obtain it.

It was a high-profile domestic violence victim from the 1980s going public with the video that eventually led to the first — and possibly only — Trump Cabinet nominee to pull out under pressure.

My search for Puzder’s “Oprah” tape spanned more than two months, two coasts and hours spent digging through at least 90 episodes buried in an archive for more than 25 years. The hunt ended Tuesday with the discovery of the videotape in a private collection less than an hour from the White House.

"evidence suggests Bieber accounted for more than half of Chris Paul's Twitter [NBA All-Star] votes"

"Zaza Pachulia, Justin Bieber, Macedonian Twitter bots and the insanity of NBA All-Star voting"

All 30 NBA Logos Reimagined for Black History Month



Link.

"China’s rapid rise up the ranks of AI research has people taking notice"

Atl:

Each winter, hundreds of AI researchers from around the world convene at the annual meeting of the Association of the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. Last year, a minor crisis erupted over the schedule, when AAAI announced that 2017’s meeting would take place in New Orleans in late January. The location was fine. The dates happened to conflict with Chinese New Year.

The holiday might not have been a deal breaker in the past, but Chinese researchers have become so integral to the meeting, it could not go on without them. They had to reschedule. “Nobody would have put AAAI on Christmas day,” says current AAAI president Subbarao Kambhampati. “Our organization had to almost turn on a dime and change the conference venue to hold it a week later.”

...

The language issue creates a kind of asymmetry: Chinese researchers usually speak English so they have the benefit of access to all the work disseminated in English. The English-speaking community, on the other hand, is much less likely to have access to work within the Chinese AI community.

"Thai police left empty handed after a day-long search of a massive Buddhist temple for a monk wanted over a multi-million-dollar scam"

Yah:

The former abbot is believed to be holed up inside the compound, which is famous for its space-age architecture, though he has not been seen in public for months.

Police issued a warrant for his arrest last year on charges of money laundering and accepting embezzled funds worth 1.2 billion baht ($33 million) from the jailed owner of a cooperative bank.

Previous attempts to raid the temple have been thwarted after thousands of devotees showed up to defend the elderly abbot.

...

In a day of high drama and stagecraft, some 4,000 unarmed police and soldiers descended on the site before dawn, locking down roads leading to the compound.

Blackwater's Erik Prince "Is Setting Up A Private Army For China"

BF:

Former associates of the 47-year-old Prince told BuzzFeed News that the controversial businessman envisions using the bases to train and deploy an army of Chinese retired soldiers who can protect Chinese corporate and government strategic interests around the world, without having to involve the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

In December, Frontier Services Group, of which Prince is chairman, issued a press release that outlined plans to open “a forward operating base in China’s Yunnan province” and another in the troubled Xinjiang region, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

“He’s been working very, very hard to get China to buy into a new Blackwater,” said one former associate. “He’s hell bent on reclaiming his position as the world’s preeminent private military provider.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Mass sexual assaults by refugees in Frankfurt ‘completely made up’"

"Prosecutors in Frankfurt are investigating two people for making up a crime, after they claimed in a national newspaper that dozens of Arab men rioted and sexually assaulted women at New Year."

First responder nightmare fuel



Don't click through to the comments from other first responders...

Gabe Newell on Nintendo (and the current state of virtual reality)

PG:

"You can always be surprised. I personally thought the DS was kind of stupid. I thought Sony was going to crush Nintendo in that generation of handheld devices. Clearly the DS ended up being the winner.

"The flipside was the first time I played Wii Sports. I thought, my god, there's so much potential for us to discover. Then it turned out that Wii Sports had pretty much nailed it and that was it.

...

"We're at the beginning of this,” he adds. “Vive is the most expensive device on the market. It's barely capable of doing a marginally adequate job of delivering a VR experience. We have to figure out all sorts of other problems before even the hardware question gets answered, much less what’s going to be the compelling content.

"Planet, Inc will be the first to hit a long-discussed milestone in the industry: It will photograph every place on the entire planet every day"

Atl:

Planet . . . announced that it will deploy 88 small satellites later this month, as part of a rocket launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in southeastern India on February 14. Assuming that most of the spacecraft make it to orbit intact, these satellites should become fully operational by the summer.

When that happens, Planet will be the first to hit a long-discussed milestone in the industry: It will photograph every place on the entire planet every day. Every park, every rice paddy, every patch of pine and permafrost: all will be imaged anew, daily, at medium resolution.

Planet says that the India launch will break the record for most satellites deployed on a single rocket. Launches remain one of the most costly aspects of the space business, and the company has gotten burned for its frugality before. Its leaders know, from firsthand experience, that not its satellites all will survive the journey to space. In October 2014, Planet became the first company ever to lose 26 satellites at once when an Antares rocket exploded on the tarmac.

"Jim Harbaugh Hired The Parent Of A Top Recruit Again"

DS:

In 2015, Harbaugh hired the mother of Stanford transfer Wayne Lyons to be a director of player development. Last January, he hired the high school football coach from Paramus Catholic, and then signed the country’s top recruit, Rashan Gary from—you guessed it—Paramus Catholic. Last February, after Devin Bush Jr. signed with the Wolverines, Harbaugh added Devin Bush Sr. to the coaching staff.

"The Strange Case Of The Russian Diplomat Who Got His Head Smashed In On Election Day"

BF:

Initial reports said the nameless man had plunged to his death from the roof of the consulate. As journalists rushed to the scene, consular officials quickly changed the narrative. The anonymous man had not fallen dozens of feet from the roof of the consular building, they said, but rather had suffered a heart attack in the security office, and died.

...

English-language news reports said Krivov, identified then only as a 63-year-old Russian national and Manhattan resident, was a security officer. But a November report from Sputnik, the English-language Russian media outlet, says he was a consular duty commander.

That position is no ordinary security guard. According to other public Russian-language descriptions of the duty commander position, Krivov would have been in charge of, among other things, “prevention of sabotage” and suppression of “attempts of secret intrusion” into the consulate.

"the NBA’s Development League, commonly known as the D-League, will be known as the Gatorade League, or the G-League"



Link.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Koalas are horrible animals"

For starters:

They have one of the smallest brain to body ratios of any mammal, additionally - their brains are smooth. A brain is folded to increase the surface area for neurons. If you present a koala with leaves plucked from a branch, laid on a flat surface, the koala will not recognise it as food. They are too thick to adapt their feeding behaviour to cope with change. In a room full of potential food, they can literally starve to death. This is not the token of an animal that is winning at life. Speaking of stupidity and food, one of the likely reasons for their primitive brains is the fact that additionally to being poisonous, eucalyptus leaves (the only thing they eat) have almost no nutritional value.

iPhone cases made with the "most exclusive and beautiful butterfly wings"

The Royal Collection:

The Rajah Brooke butterfly is CITES II restricted and extremely difficult to farm sustainably. As a result, we have a very limited number of artefacts offered each year. The KHAMAMA RAJAH BROOKE artefact comes with an exclusive international CITES II permit certificate.

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which is accepted by 183 countries worldwide and ensures the protection of rare species.

"Steve Young is in damage control mode, apologizing to ESPN after participating in a profile that sure made it look like he’s not that into the NFL or his Monday Night Football analyst job"

"and even seemed to imply his MNF job is merely a means to bolster his private equity firm."

"PewDiePie Exit Brings Disney’s Struggles With Maker Studios to the Fore"

WSJ:

Walt Disney Co.’s decision to cut ties with YouTube megastar PewDiePie has heightened the urgency within the entertainment company to figure out what it should do with digital video network Maker Studios three years after the media giant acquired it for more than $500 million.

...

New efforts are under way for Maker talent to produce content on digital platforms and television tied to existing Disney brands. Already, Maker has done a number of “unboxing” videos in which its personalities promote toys and other products tied to Disney franchises like “Star Wars.”

Disney acquired Maker at a time when so-called “multichannel networks” were popular and were seen as a way of reaching young audiences who were abandoning traditional television.

Luke's disguise as bounty hunter Korl Marcus in The Last Jedi



Luke and Leia go undercover in Star Wars #49.

And in other Star Wars news, "The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident involving Harrison Ford which took place Monday at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., when the actor landed on the wrong runway near a full passenger plane."

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Goldman Sachs has already begun to automate currency trading, and has found consistently that four traders can be replaced by one computer engineer"

TR:

At its height back in 2000, the U.S. cash equities trading desk at Goldman Sachs’s New York headquarters employed 600 traders, buying and selling stock on the orders of the investment bank’s large clients. Today there are just two equity traders left.

Automated trading programs have taken over the rest of the work, supported by 200 computer engineers.

...

In addition to back-office clerical workers, on Wall Street machines are replacing a lot of highly paid people, too.

"Josh Elliott was dramatically fired from CBS News on Monday after a bizarre series of events"

P6:

Elliott now has the dubious distinction of having left all three main networks.

He was a co-host at ABC’S “Good Morning America”, but abruptly quit in 2014 after he was poached by NBC. He later revealed he took a pay cut to leave, and was paid an estimated $4 million a year by NBC.

His resignation effectively burned all his bridges with ABC News chiefs, particularly Ben Sherwood, who had big plans for him.

But over on NBC, Elliott as rarely seen on air, and was effectively sidelined, appearing occasionally

Swamp Thing Injustice 2 gameplay



"A Surreal Trip to a Domain-Names Conference"

Atl:

Before NamesCon, I thought of myself as a pretty serious domain names enthusiast.

...

good TLDs and good words together don’t always work (as was explained to the owner of furs.io and lotions.io in one session). Long-time domainers also had oddly specific advice—”Hyphens make your domain less valuable—unless you’re in Germany” and “.info is a dead zone.”

...

While cranberry.com doesn’t appear to be a particularly compelling domain, Cyger argued that if you “just search [the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office] for cranberry,” it becomes apparent that a lot of companies have hinged their brand to that one word. (Searching USPTO’s patents database for assignees with “cranberry” in their name actually only offers up three companies, so maybe it wasn’t the best example, but conceptually I guess it makes sense). There’s a whole vocabulary for these domain investments—”generics” like the word cranberry.com, “brandables” which are basically ideas for products that don’t exist yet but might eventually, the ultra-rare “numerics” which mostly seem useful for Chinese markets because of the use of numbers in pinyin, a transliteration of Chinese words into the Latin alphabet.

"New Jersey has become the first state to adopt a broad program to reduce infant deaths by aiming to distribute as many as 105,000 of the so-called baby boxes"

"Baby boxes, which have a snug-fitting mattress, have been handed out to new parents for decades in Finland, which has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, and less than half that of the United States."

"Is China on a collision course with world football’s governing body?"

TC:

This raises a broader concern about multiple ownership and conflicts of interest. Indeed, reliable reports indicate that the English Premier League has hired investigators to examine China’s portfolio of English club acquisitions for connections to the government. Standards of governance within China are often opaque, an issue compounded when the state is involved and the country’s investors are moving capital across international boundaries.

Ideally, FIFA should intervene to provide guidance and leadership. The problem is, football’s world governing body appears to be rather in thrall to China at the moment.

The organisation’s scandals of recent years have mired it in financial difficulty, something Chinese property group Wanda admits it took advantage of

"Thanks to new machines that let customers flavor their drinks however they want, Coca Cola discovered that what people really wanted was Cherry Sprite"

BF:

eight years after introducing the machines, which have made their way into movie theaters and fast food outlets around the country, Coca-Cola is unveiling its first product created using all that data. People have spent years dialling their own flavor combinations into the machine, and the lesson was simple: The people demand Sprite Cherry.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Homemade Scarif board for wargaming



"The 72 cancer therapies approved from 2002 to 2014 gave patients only 2.1 more months of life than older drugs"

USAT:

And those are the successes.

...

Cancer drugs approved last year cost an average of $171,000 a year

...

Recognizing the slow pace of progress, the American Society of Clinical Oncology has set goals for new cancer drugs of extending life or controlling tumors for at least 2.5 months.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Star Wars-themed introduction to numbers book illustrated by Katie Cook



Out next week, available for preorder.

"the food-centric ASMR community has seen a sudden ascendance up the rungs of YouTube and Reddit worlds"

Eater:

On September 6, 2016, Rebekkah, better known by her YouTube channel name Hungry Cakes, uploaded a 13-minute-long video titled “ASMR: Taco Bell Taco Supreme *Eating Sounds*.” The video begins with the young woman sinking her teeth into a golden hard-shelled Taco Supreme

...

Tired of cooking shows with egocentric hosts and cheesy music, he focused his show entirely on meal preparation and made special use of the sounds that occurred naturally as he was cooking.

When he posted a video showing how to make a gooey grilled cheese sandwich, Nelson realized that his hits weren’t coming from an audience in need of cooking lessons. Many of his viewers were captivated instead by the tingling sensations his video triggered.

“The ASMR crowd [on Reddit] got ahold of them,” Nelson says. “I had no idea what it was, so I Googled it, and [I was] fascinated.” Although he doesn’t experience the tingles from ASMR, he believes that almost everyone reacts in same way to soft sounds like the sensual hiss produced by searing a steak or light metallic scratches from a metal whisk. After awakening to this previously unknown audience, he began focusing on these sensory effects. “I decided to have that really be at the forefront of my videos,” Nelson says. “So now they’re all about the visuals and they’re all about the sound.”

The first episode of Legion is a free download at iTunes

"Dressing for the Patriarchy in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Q&A with Costume Designer Ane Crabtree"

HR:

Ane Crabtree: “There were so many reds, and I just closed my eyes and began anew. For me, I was working in this industrial place that used to be a glass factory in Toronto, and the floors were concrete with this beautiful red paint left over. It was so distinct, and I was so taken by it. Honestly, it looked like blood that had seeped into the concrete, and that translates really well to the story. Then, I realized that the red was also in fire extinguishers and in cautionary, bold alarm signs throughout the factory.

“Basically, it boiled down to a lot of things, but the genesis was that I wanted it to look like lifeblood. I wanted it to be a flowing river of blood when all the women are walking together in a line through the fictitious Gilead. The idea is that these women are walking wounds. There are very few of them because there are so few women that are still fertile in the future. And so it’s an alarm. They’re wanton women.”

"Bolivia declares emergency over locust plague"

"The swarm first appeared over a week ago near the low-lying eastern city of Santa Cruz, where most of Bolivia's food and meat is produced."

New York Times published dorm room numbers of undocumented students

NYT:

The reporter told me that she now regrets the decision. “I am a mother myself and the last thing I’d want to do is jeopardize any student’s safety or give them cause for alarm,” said Brown. “In hindsight, understanding that the room numbers seem to have caused distress and concern, I, of course, would not have used them. I gave the students the option of not using their full names (none of them took it) and did ask for their room numbers, even double-checking them with some.”

Jane Karr, an education editor at The Times, said she is comfortable with the decision to publish the dorm numbers and does not believe that they are putting the students in danger.

“Having a room number did not give you more access to the students,” she said. “It’s a secure building.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"Did WGBH News hire a science reporter who doesn’t believe in science?"

BG:

That’s the question being asked by some employees of the PBS affiliate after learning that Mish Michaels, a former meteorologist at WBZ-TV who has been outspoken in her controversial belief that vaccines cause autism, had been hired as the station’s new science reporter.

...

In addition to her skepticism about the scientific consensus on vaccines and autism, Michaels also isn’t on board with the widely-accepted science related to climate change.

"Long-running baboon war at Toronto Zoo comes to an end"

Mac:

A brutal battle for the throne of a baboon troop at the Toronto Zoo that erupted when the matriarch died became so vicious that staff intervened with hormone treatments to take “a little bit of an edge off” the fighting females.

Medical records show that while the intervention in March of last year helped reduce the number of vicious attacks and resulting injuries, it also helped an unlikely female to emerge as queen in the baboons’ game of thrones.

"More Than A Thousand People Lined Up Outside Of The New Giant IKEA Store In Burbank"

LAi:

the first 26 people received a free sofa, while the subsequent 100 each received a free chair. The first 2,500 people will get a gift card to use at the store's 600-seat restaurant.

People were allowed to begin lining up at 6 a.m., three hours prior to the 9 a.m. grand opening. At about 8:30 a.m. this morning, officials including Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes sawed a log in half—the Swedish equivalent of cutting a ribbon.

"Myanmar’s troops are systematically raping Muslim women — a tactic seemingly designed to terrorize this population into fleeing the country"

PRI:

Since October, nearly 70,000 Rohingya have poured out of Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh. Add that figure to the 300,000 to 500,000 Rohingya refugees who’ve fled purges in decades past.

...

This is 21st-century ethnic cleansing, orchestrated by Myanmar’s army. It is abetted by the government, now helmed by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who rose to power with American backing.

The military’s prime goal, it seems, is to make life so intolerable for the Rohingya that they leave Myanmar forever.

Among Myanmar’s Buddhist officialdom, Rohingya Muslims are often portrayed as an invasive species.

One state-run newspaper suggests they’re “human fleas … loathe for their stench and for sucking our blood.” A prominent lawmaker refutes their rape claims by insisting Rohingya women are too “dirty” to arouse soldiers.

"Alabama governor leaning toward ‘Big Luther’ Strange to replace Sessions"

Pol:

The operatives all cautioned, however, that the mercurial governor hasn’t formally picked Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Sessions, and Bentley could change his mind.

...

Strange — a hulking former basketball player nicknamed “Big Luther”

...

One possible advantage of appointing Strange, this operative said, is that Bentley — who has been implicated in a tawdry sex scandal and was under an impeachment investigation by the state legislature — gets to appoint a new attorney general who might be less inclined to prosecute him.

...

"Luther is screwed either way," the source said. "If he gets the job, it looks like he cut a deal. And if he doesn't, it looks like he's prosecuting Bentley out of revenge."

"Facebook is closing hundreds of its Oculus VR pop-ups in Best Buys after some stores went days without a single demo"

"VR headset makers, including Oculus, haven't disclosed sales numbers."

"Tony Dungy says he’s baffled that Deion Sanders would suggest the Colts were doing something wrong by stealing signals"

PFT:

Dungy said this morning on PFT Live that stealing signals is a legal and smart tactic in the NFL, and Sanders is wrong to conflate it with Spygate, in which the Patriots broke NFL rules by videotaping opposing teams’ signals from the sideline.

...

“It wasn’t getting signals, it was the process of videotaping and using electronic equipment during the game,” Dungy said of the difference between the Patriots and other teams.

"Wikipedia bans Daily Mail as 'unreliable' source"

"The proposal was made by an editor known as Hillbillyholiday early in January"

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"S.F. deputy charged with giving gun to felon whom she had relationship with in jail, prosecutors say"

LAT:

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of staging the theft of her department-issued gun, submitting bogus insurance claims and handing the weapon over to a former inmate with whom she had had an intimate jailhouse relationship.

...

a 20-year member of the Sheriff’s Department

Augmented reality Portal



"An Ancient City Emerges in a Remote Rain Forest"

NY:

Most of the important archaeological sites in Central America were “discovered” by archaeologists who, in fact, didn’t discover them at all but were led to the ruins by local people. I’ve known several Maya archaeologists who routinely started fieldwork in a new area by heading into a dive bar and hoisting beers with the locals while listening to various bullshitters spin tales about ruins they’d seen in the jungle; once in a while, a story would turn out to be true. But, because these sites were long known to local people, they had invariably been disturbed, if not badly looted.

The revelation of an ancient city in a valley in the Mosquitia mountains, of Honduras, one of the last scientifically unexplored regions on Earth, was a different story.

...

There were five of us, along with three British ex-S.A.S. jungle-warfare specialists, whose job was to keep us alive for the next nine days.

...

But they were vulnerable to European diseases, especially smallpox and measles, which burned far ahead of actual European contact, triggering large population collapses. Anthropologists have documented that, between 1518 and 1550, almost ninety per cent of the native people of Honduras died of disease.

Monday, February 6, 2017

"Russians Engineer a Brilliant Slot Machine Cheat—And Casinos Have No Fix"

Wired:

Russia has been a hotbed of slots-related malfeasance since 2009, when the country outlawed virtually all gambling. (Vladimir Putin, who was prime minister at the time, reportedly believed the move would reduce the power of Georgian organized crime.) The ban forced thousands of casinos to sell their slot machines at steep discounts to whatever customers they could find. Some of those cut-rate slots wound up in the hands of counterfeiters eager to learn how to load new games onto old circuit boards. Others apparently went to Murat Bliev’s bosses in St. Petersburg, who were keen to probe the machines’ source code for vulnerabilities.

"Chill wind blows though naturists' ranks as row splits world of nudism"

TG:

Divisions began to appear in naturism’s international organisation after Mrs Ivo was accused of not doing enough to promote the benefits of naturism and failing to extol its virtues to the wider public.

Worse still, she was accused of spending more than £80,000 move INF’s offices from its longstanding headquarters in Belgium to an office close to her home in the small Austrian town of Horsching, and staffing it with members of her own family.

That led to angry scenes at the World Congress of the INF, held in New Zealand last November, when delegates from the body’s national federations - including Britain - voted by a narrow majority to strip Mrs Ivo of the presidency.

"Why Silicon Valley’s Young Elite Won't Invest in Art"

BB:

“I was hoping, and still am hoping, to meet a few tech collectors,” said Toby Clarke, the director of London’s Vigo Gallery, a few days after Zwick’s visit. “I thought there would be tech squillionaires who would need a bit of guidance, which we’re very good at providing."

...

“Very often it takes a single figure in a community to become a mentor,” said John Berggruen, whose eponymous gallery sells works by such artists as Ellsworth Kelly and Henri Matisse. He pointed to Thomas Weisel, a prominent San Francisco banker, as an example. "He collected [art], and then a number of his employees became collectors, too," he said.

Berggruen said he has seen the same thing happen in other industries. "One or two people are friends, they become more comfortable buying and more familiar with it, it’s an experience, and they bond," he said. "I don’t know if that’s happened in Silicon Valley yet.”

...

CEOs of tech companies "definitely buy, but they do it discreetly—they’re not doing it the way that oftentimes New Yorkers do,” she said, pointing to Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and his wife Kaitlyn as examples of under-the-radar collectors. “It’s different even from the L.A. collecting community, which can be more trend-based, and a little bit more showy.”

Miniature roundup

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A photo posted by Myles (@lillegendstudio) on




























Katarzyna Górska.







Scout Mecha-Dragon.

Ayesha

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