Thursday, August 31, 2017

"it appears that almost all of my new followers were compliments of a social media botnet that is being used to amplify fake news and to intimidate journalists, activists and researchers"

After tweeting about my new bounty of suspicious-looking Twitter friends I learned from my legitimate followers on Twitter that @briankrebs wasn’t alone and that several journalists and nonprofit groups that have written recently about bot-like activity on Twitter experienced something similar over the past few days.

These tweet and follow storms seem capable of tripping some kind of mechanism at Twitter that seeks to detect when accounts are suspected of artificially beefing up their follower counts by purchasing followers


Let that sink in for a moment: A huge collection of botted accounts — the vast majority of which should be easily detectable as such — may be able to abuse Twitter’s anti-abuse tools to temporarily shutter the accounts of real people suspected of being bots!

The movie Tulip Fever "is finally being released after three bizarre years of languishing in post-production"

the novel was once a hot Hollywood property, optioned by Steven Spielberg and initially planned as a $48 million DreamWorks production in 2004, directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and starring Jude Law, Keira Knightley (or perhaps Natalie Portman), and Jim Broadbent. The film was in active pre-production, with sets built and some 12,000 tulips planted, when the U.K. government closed a tax loophole and the financing collapsed. Those 12,000 bulbs, Moggach said, were given to her friends and neighbors in London, sprouting everywhere as a reminder of a film that never was.

"A US author who bills himself as the 'world's #1 anti-vaxxer' has been denied a visa to enter Australia for a speaking tour"

"Australia gave bans to two other anti-vaccination advocates last month."

"Walmart Is Selling Trump's $40 USA Hats for $9.99"

"The hats on Walmart do not appear to be official merchandise"

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Smartphone maker "Essential admits it accidentally leaked customer info"

Last night, it accidentally shared personally identifying information -- including driver's licenses -- of some customers with others, seemingly as part of an attempt to verify some would-be phone buyers' identities ahead of shipment.

At first, some customers (at the XDA-developers forum and r/Essential subreddit) assumed it was a ploy -- a phishing scam created to prey on buyers anxiously awaiting their new Essential Phone, so the data could later be used for identity theft. But in a new blog post on Essential's site, founder and CEO Andy Rubin admits it was the company's error.


It's a heck of a mistake, and it's worth noting that Rubin doesn't explain or apologize for Essential in any other way in the blog post, despite ongoing anecdotal reports that Essential still hasn't shipped many preorders two months after they were originally promised and over a week after it began charging people's credit cards.

"Thieves stole wine reportedly worth more than €250,000 (£230,000) after burrowing into a private cellar from the catacombs 20 metres below Paris"

Paris’s catacombs are off-limits to the public at night and only a little over 1 mile (2km) of tunnels can only be visited during the day with a guide. Authorities have long turned a blind eye to groups of cataphiles, as they are known, who have identified secret entrances – mostly former sewer holes – and risk fines to sneak in for parties, secret meetings and even film screenings.

Many of the tunnels have their corresponding above-ground street names etched into the walls to help visitors find their way around.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"Senate map gerrymandered [to include] senator’s house"

The committee, including Clark, voted unanimously to add a wedged-shaped peninsula to Senate 21 that runs nearly 5 miles along N.C. 24 from the Cape Fear River to Baywood Road east of Interstate 95. This includes Clark’s new house near the Interstate 95 interchange at N.C. 24.

Spider-Man: Homecoming posters from China

From a series of nine.

"Insurance Companies Are Preparing Fleets of Drones to Assess the Damage of Harvey"

Drones mean that the insurance-claim professionals who will be assessing the damage won’t actually have to be there for the inspection. Allstate, for example, gets permission from the homeowner to ask if they’re OK with a drone conducting the inspection, after which it sends out technicians from a drone company with which it contracts to conduct the flights and take the high-definition images. Those images are sent directly to a claims specialist. And while that probably hugely expedites an otherwise-lengthy the process, it also means that the people who will depend on their insurance payout won’t necessarily meet face to face with the people adding it up.

Monday, August 28, 2017

"An alligator sanctuary in southeast Texas says it’s on high alert as rising floodwaters risk the escape of roughly 350 gators"

We’re less than a foot from going over the fences. All of these are certified high fences,

Ed Skrein is dropping out of Hellboy

"At ancient pyramid in Peru, remains of 19th century Chinese labourers found"

Peru was one of the biggest destinations for Chinese labour in Latin America in the 19th century, a market that thrived after slavery was abolished in the country in 1854.


Chinese labourers were generally not allowed to be buried at Lima’s Catholic cemeteries, forcing them to improvise burial sites

"Fired NJ Transit executive describes 'toxic' agency rife with patronage, corruption"

Particularly troublesome to the lawmakers were the issues of patronage hiring, which they have been looking at closely since last year. NJ Transit has been unable to provide resumes for numerous top staffers and officials could not explain why it had been unable to locate any such records.

"Spanish Photographer Behind Inescapable-Infidelity Meme Speaks Out: ‘We Are Not Worried About the Meme Situation’"

A prolific stock photographer from Barcelona, Guillem’s work quickly became a source of obsession after the photo above, featuring a bizarre love triangle, became a metaphor for, as most memes do, pretty much anything.


Guillem identified two of the models in the photo as Mario and Laura, though he declined to name the other woman because “we stopped working together around a year ago.” Laura and Mario, however, he exalted at length.

"Offshore Herpes Vaccine Trial"

The American businessmen . . . invested $7 million in the ongoing vaccine research, according to the U.S. company behind it. Southern Illinois University also trumpeted the research and the study’s lead researcher, even though he did not rely on traditional U.S. safety oversight in the first trial, held on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor a safety panel known as an institutional review board, or IRB, monitored the testing of a vaccine its creators say prevents herpes outbreaks. Most of the 20 participants were Americans with herpes who were flown to the island several times to be vaccinated, according to Rational Vaccines, the company that oversaw the trial.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wind Tunnel Boxing

"Chechnya Pushes Divorced Couples to Reunite ‘for the Children’"

Through the summer, local television has been reporting on the lives of divorced couples now living together again under the watchful eye of members of a government commission. It’s reality television, Chechen style.

The commission, known as the Council for Harmonizing Marriage


During TV broadcasts of meetings run by the Council for Harmonizing Marriage and Family Relations, men and women, some divorced for years, are seen sitting at a table, looking down at their feet, while police and religious leaders pry into the reasons for the separation. Usually, the authorities conclude there was no good reason for the divorce and instruct them to reunite.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

"Reading John le Carré’s 1993 novel The Night Manager, I was struck by the odd sensation that I had actually met the villain of the story"

Roper is, of course, a fictional character. But it didn’t take long to figure out whom he reminded me of: Alan Clark


I don’t know whether le Carré—or David Cornwell, his real name—had Clark in mind when he wrote The Night Manager. But I was fascinated to read in Adam Sisman’s riveting new biography of the novelist that the two men once knew each other well.


Le Carré and Clark drove through Europe in Clark’s Mercedes 600. They exchanged letters with endearments like “lover boy” and “golden boy.” Even though Clark was married to a much younger woman, he would often use his friend’s London flat for secret sexual encounters. Le Carré was sometimes appalled, but also intrigued, by Clark’s extreme views and disreputable friends. The two finally fell out after one of Clark’s trysts; le Carré’s housekeeper had found blood on the walls; very young girls had allegedly been involved. Le Carré decided that his friend was “too rich for my blood.”

Sisman writes judiciously about this odd friendship. Le Carré, he observes, “detected in [Clark] an unusual capacity for evil. For him, Clark was a kind of Mephistopheles, whose wicked example he found both fascinating and repellent.” This combination of attraction and repulsion, in particular toward British elites, runs like a current through much of le Carré’s life and often electrified his literary work.

"Wine War in Southern France"

On a late evening in March, a group of winegrowers wearing black balaclavas forced their way into one of France’s largest wine brokerages and ignited three Molotov cocktails. Within minutes, the business, Passerieux Vergnes Diffusion, was in flames.

Vigilante vignerons had previously raided two big wine distributors nearby, in the Languedoc wine-producing region, smashing offices and dumping a river of red wine into the streets.

The businesses had one thing in common: They had struck deals to import inexpensive wine from Spain, prompting a backlash among local winemakers who feared their livelihoods were under attack.


Wine rebels have executed dozens of attacks in protest since last summer, including ambushing Spanish wine trucks at the border and dumping the payload on highways.

Trailer for The Villainess


"A well-known independent art space has sealed itself behind a brick wall in the hope that it can survive Beijing’s crackdown on unauthorised establishments"

The Beijing government has allowed shops, bars, restaurants and other private ventures to operate in the city’s hutongs, or alleys, since the 1980s. But two years ago authorities began notifying landlords that such businesses had engaged in the “illegal breaking up or drilling of holes” in hutong walls, and have been bricking up shopfronts and removing advertising in the name of urban beautification, heritage preservation and the discouragement of illegal structures. The campaign coincides with the government’s goal of reducing the population in central Beijing by 15 per cent, to 23 million, by 2020.


As nearby businesses began seeing their front entrances blocked by the dreaded walls of red brick, Arrow Factory art space happened to be preparing its next art installation that would conceal its “shopfront”.

Called “Fences”, artist Yang Zhenzhong’s project replaced the glass front doors with a wall painted the same grey as the rest of the building, leaving only a gap for a small, barred window sealed by a two-way mirror. A surveillance camera hidden inside captures life along the alley and is as surreptitious as its host venue, wrapped as it is in a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak.

Friday, August 25, 2017

"Cost to casinos may have been key to Macau’s late warning on Typhoon Hato"

Macau meteorological officials who failed to predict the ferocity with which deadly Typhoon Hato would hit the gaming hub may have held off raising the highest storm warning because of the financial impact on the city’s casinos.


A source told the Post: “From the time the typhoon No 8 signal is hoisted, casinos are mandated to pay all staff overtime. While this might well be something the bigger operators can cope with, for the smaller casino sub-concessions it is a different matter.

"VW engineer sentenced to 40-month prison term in diesel case"

U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox also ordered Liang to pay a $200,000 fine, 10 times the amount sought by federal prosecutors. Cox said he hoped the prison sentence and fine would deter other auto industry engineers and executives from similar schemes to deceive regulators and consumers.

Godzilla S.H.MonsterArts Mechagodzilla available for preorder

"Chest hatch opens . . . Neck retracts for flying pose."

"New Balance wins $1.5 million in trademark case against Chinese copycat company 'New Boom'"

"New Balance in April 2015 lost a lawsuit against a Chinese investor who had registered the Mandarin name of the American shoemaker ("Xinbailun") on his own behalf."

"New Mexico’s landlocked wilderness may become reachable"

Access to millions of acres of public land around the West depends on private landowners’ willingness to allow easements or sell neighboring land. East of Las Vegas, New Mexico, the 16,000-acre Sabinoso Wilderness Area, with its stark cliffs and deep canyons, is the nation’s only legally inaccessible wilderness. It’s been off-limits since it was designated in 2009 because it’s completely surrounded by private property

From 2011, "Signs meant to show the dangers of a possible storm surge in Clear Lake [Texas] are now being taken down"

Several of the signs were placed throughout the Clear Lake area, funded by FEMA. But at a time when the Clear Lake area is trying to rebound from massive NASA layoffs, real estate began fielding calls of concern over property values for homes near the signs.

"To a new person coming in from out of state and maybe never living in a place that hurricanes would hit, ya know, they might be afraid," Maki said.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"New York Times Pulls The YA Book That Allegedly Gamed The Bestseller List Over ‘Inconsistencies’"

In a dramatic turn of events fit for a good page-turner, the young adult novel Handbook for Mortals appeared at No. 1 on The New York Times Young Adult Hardcover bestseller list and then was pulled later today after the paper found “inconsistencies in the most recent reporting cycle,” a rep for the Times told Vulture. YA author Phil Stamper first questioned the book’s sales numbers on Twitter


To that end, Pajiba has compiled a fascinating investigation into Handbook for Mortals’s sketchy numbers, which seem to have come from a plot to order a significant number (but just under the size of a corporate sale, which the NYT would have flagged) of copies at book stores across the country. Several booksellers anonymously said that they had received calls from people asking if they reported sales to the Times and then placing bulk orders for Handbook.

"Is It Legal to Buy Domain Names to Harass Your Enemies?"

Tuesday, Business Insider reported that Martin Shkreli has spent the last several months buying up domain names associated with at least eight journalists who have criticized him.


According to a legal expert I spoke to, Shkreli could be wrong. Several federal cyberlaws protect individuals like the journalists Shkreli targeted from domain disputes like this one. "There are certainly a fair number of options that these individuals would have," David J. Steele, a lawyer specializing in trademark and internet law and a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told me on a phone call.

What's working against Shkreli, according to Steele, is that he has purchased numerous domains. "You can show a pattern of abusive registrations," he said.

Steele outlined for me three main ways domain disputes like the one Shkreli started can be legally resolved

Vogue article about military-approved hairstyles for African-American women

In January of this year, the United States Army revised its grooming and appearance regulations, including its ban on dreadlocks for female soldiers. Word of the policy change spread quickly, with black servicewomen up and down the ranks posting jubilant videos to social media, some of whom had endured the discomfort of wigs and damaging straightening treatments in order to comply with the strict rules, wherein authorized hairstyles are measured down to a fraction of an inch.

The implications of the new directive were far greater than a single style, signaling a seismic shift in attitudes toward Afro-textured hair that has long been the subject of intense scrutiny, both in the military and beyond.


the first signs of progress are becoming visible—in recent years, the Army and Air Force have approved for female soldiers braids of increased size as well as twists, for instance, while removing words such as unkempt from their grooming guidelines. As a result, more servicewomen than ever are seizing the opportunity to experiment with regulation-approved options for natural hair, including the 17 trailblazers photographed for this portfolio.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

"American children's television network Nickelodeon said Wednesday it had abandoned plans for a themed resort on an island known as the Philippines' last ecological frontier following a backlash from environmentalists"

"Nickelodeon said in January that it would build an 'undersea attraction and resort' on Palawan island that would let fans 'interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love', including SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer."

Portal-esque training video for KFC workers

"The 20 Best Tactical Pens"

Most tactical pens feature some type of steel, aluminum, or alloy construction. To call some of them tactical is a stretch of the imagination. There are some, however, that are truly worthy of everyday carry. The Zero Tolerance 0010TI Titanium Tactical Pen is one of them.

"Bed bug infestation bites Fort Knox, evacuating 3,000 workers as buildings close"

From July, "A fleet of specially trained dogs was brought in the Maude Complex to inspect the buildings and alerted multiple areas."

And related to the recent Fort Knox visit:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"All the Jewels Louise Linton Wore to Her Wedding"

From June:
On June 24, Scottish-born actress Louise Linton married Steven Mnuchin in Washington, D.C., where he currently serves as the Secretary of the Treasury. As befits the future wife of a former Goldman Sachs exec and Hollywood producer (his credits include American Sniper, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Wonder Woman), Linton had no shortage of cinematic pieces to wear for her big day. Below, she gave T&C an exclusive sneak peak inside her wedding jewelry box.

McConnell was part of a delegation of Kentucky politicians allowed inside the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox for the first time since 1974. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin initiated the visit, along with U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie and Gov. Matt Bevin.


McConnell said he had never thought about visiting Fort Knox before, but jumped at the chance when Mnuchin offered to take him.

“It just kind of came up as a result of a casual conversation,” McConnell said.

A movie producer before becoming treasury secretary, Mnuchin told a group of Louisville business leaders earlier in the day it was important for him to see the gold to attest that “it is part of our national assets.”

"Portugal Dominated Angola for Centuries. Now the Roles Are Reversed"

On the Portuguese coast of Cascais, where the nation’s royal court used to summer, a new 14-story condominium building looms confidently by the sea. So many of its apartments have been bought by Angola’s ruling class — sometimes a handful at a time — that the development has a nickname: the “Angolans’ building.”

Along the grandest shopping boulevard in the capital, Lisbon, Angola’s elite buy designer suits and handbags by the armful. And on one corner, above Louis Vuitton, sits the local office of Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, a billionaire from Angola who has become one of Portugal’s most powerful figures by buying large chunks of the country’s banking, media and energy industries.

The money flowing into Portugal comes from the colony it dominated, often brutally, for hundreds of years, Angola. Now, the African nation is a major oil producer that has been led for the last 38 years by Ms. dos Santos’s father, President José Eduardo dos Santos.

Angola’s ruling class has profited so much during his tenure — and channeled so much of that money into Portugal — that when Angola threatened to cut off ties in recent years in response to reports that Angolan officials were being investigated for corruption in Portugal, Portugal’s foreign minister promptly apologized, setting off an intercontinental debate about the changing power dynamics between the nations.


Angola is often listed as one of the world’s most corrupt nations. And Portugal has been singled out for its laxness in reining in money laundering and bribery, particularly in its dealings with Angolans

"The Most Expensive Ever: Saudi King’s $100 Million Vacation Is Morocco’s Fantasy Holiday"

Over 1,000 people including ministers, advisers, relatives, security people and associates landed with Salman. About 800 hotel rooms were reserved, 200 cars were leased (in addition to the vehicles the king brought with him) and the finest catering companies were brought on board.


Salman’s vacation is expected to account for 1.5 percent of the country’s revenue from foreign tourism this year

"MSESPN Pulls Asian Announcer Named Robert Lee Off UVa Game To Avoid Offending Idiots"

“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue.”

"How the Star Wars immersive hotel will work, and what it means"

Imagining a Rekall-like adventure at the planned Disney hotel:
Disney has a poor track record with immersive storytelling experiences, providing that you look only at most popular incarnation: videogames.


The immersive storytelling experience at the hotel is what guests will be paying for. It’s not an alternate reality game promoting a TV show. It’s not a free smartphone-powered Phineas and Ferb adventure at Epcot, or a $50 interactive Harry Potter magic wand at Universal Studios


Last week, you both received Coruscant Communicators in the mail — they’re larger than your MagicBands because they include a small display. The accompanying briefing card was short and to the point: “Your stay is a fully immersive experience. Don’t make any plans.”

Check in is easy. As soon you walk through the hotel doors (more of a high-tech glass-encased airlock), a ‘starship’ crewmember greets you by name, invites you to a reception with the commander that evening, and deposits your bag with a waiting drone. “BB-2 here is a little slow,” he says indulgently, “but I can highly recommend our bar while you wait for your quarters to be prepared.”

You don’t have long to appreciate the nebula through the multi-storey viewscreen before a scruffy-looking character comes by your table. He presses a bulky-looking scanner to your communicator. “I was expecting someone else. Never mind. Just keep this safe, and whatever you do, don’t give it to anyone — not even the rebels!” He rushes off before you can say anything else.

"The Girl Scouts Have Accused The Boy Scouts Of Secretly Trying To Recruit Girls To Appeal To Millennial Parents"

The strongly-worded letter — obtained by BuzzFeed News — alleged that BSA was "surreptitiously testing the appeal of a girls’ offering to millennial parents."

It also accused BSA leaders of making "disparaging and untrue remarks" about Girl Scout programming at "family meetings" outlining their proposed programs for girls.

"A federal jury in Las Vegas refused Tuesday to convict four accused gunman in a 2014 standoff with federal authorities near the Nevada ranch of states' rights figure Cliven Bundy"

Defense attorneys cast the tense standoff as an ultimately peaceful protest involving people upset about aggressive tactics used by federal land managers and contract cowboys.

They point to skirmishes days earlier involving armed federal agents using dogs and stun guns against Bundy family members; the closure of a vast range half the size of the state of Delaware to collect Bundy's cattle; and corrals set up as protest "First Amendment zone" protest areas for people.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hellboy movie casts white actor in Japanese-American role

"WATCH: Indian and Chinese troops throw rocks at each other on disputed border"

Apparently, clashes alongside the lake -- located high on the Tibetan plateau, more than 4,000 meters above sea level, are quite common each summer. India claims one-third of the lake, lying in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, while China claims the rest.

"Fans aren’t exactly flocking to Chargers’ preseason games"

Sunday’s announced attendance at the NFL’s smallest venue, which is also home to Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, was 21,197. That’s only 143 more people than the crowd for last week’s exhibition opener against the Seattle Seahawks


The Chargers have the highest average ticket price in the league at $192, and preseason football is generally an awful product, but the crowds at StubHub Center the last two weeks cast more doubt over whether Los Angeles will support a second NFL franchise. The Chargers drew more than 45,000 fans to both of their preseason home games last season, their last in San Diego.

"Missing Journalist Kim Wall Died in ‘Accident’ on Submarine, According to Danish Inventor"

"“The accused has told police and the court that an accident occurred on board the submarine which caused Kim Wall’s death, and that he subsequently buried her at sea at an unspecified location somewhere in Køge Bay."

"Disneyland meets Hogwarts at $700-million USC Village"

“And let’s always remember, the looks of the University Village give us 1,000 years of history we don’t have. Thank you, and fight on!”


Covering 1.25-million square feet on a 15-acre site bounded by Jefferson Boulevard, McClintock Avenue and Hoover Street, it represents a major expansion of USC’s architectural footprint north of Jefferson and into the city at large. Along with residential suites for more than 2,500 students — a nearly 25% expansion of campus housing for undergraduates — its six five-story buildings hold a fitness center, classrooms, a dining hall and ground-floor retail spaces, open to the public, that include a Target and Trader Joe’s.

The completed Village suggests that however effective the thousand-years slogan might be as a fundraising pitch, it’s a shaky foundation for new architecture. With its Gothic ornament, peaked arches and 150-foot clock tower, the complex is a fantasia of just-add-water heritage, equal parts Disneyland and Hogwarts.

Even more striking, the Village barely pretends to have the courage of its neo-trad convictions. Once you walk inside any of the buildings it becomes clear that the Gothic exterior is a stage set, a false front behind which lies a drearily conventional series of spaces.

"A Lake Tahoe housing shortage is leaving more residents in dire straits"

Ironically, though, Tahoe has plenty of houses. They just sit vacant most of the year.

More than half of Tahoe homes are vacation residences owned by people who live elsewhere and who come to the alpine resort only for short visits on winter weekends and summer holidays.


Placer County leaders recently began exploring the possibility of offering absentee owners cash incentives or reduced fees to rent their residences on a long-term basis to local workers. The idea needs fleshing out, said Placer County official Jennifer Merchant, and will run up against the popular Airbnb trend of second-home owners renting housing to tourists for weekend or weeklong stays.

"The Tennis Integrity Unit has confirmed it is investigating Sunday’s ATP Tour match between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Thiago Monteiro"

Brazilian Monteiro, who is ranked 114 in the world, took only 55 minutes to win the first round match at the Winston-Salem Open 6-3, 6-3 in a match that saw Dolgopolov fail to create a single break point. In the hours leading up to the match, large amounts of money had been placed on Monteiro that resulted in a dramatic shift in the available odds.
See also: How To Fix a Tennis Match

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Ten U.S. Navy sailors were missing and five were injured after the USS John S. McCain guided missile destroyer and an oil tanker three times its size collided near Singapore"

"This was the second time in two months a Navy destroyer based at the 7th Fleet’s home port of Yokosuka, Japan, has been involved in a collision at sea."

"Joss Whedon: New script is about a girl who goes through unbelievable sh--"

From May 2016:
“I wrote all the way through to the end of the movie and was crying, in public,” Whedon said. “The restaurant closed. The valet guy came to me and then just turned around and went the other way. And I don’t like to make a spectacle of myself, but I had to take off my shirt and blow my nose into it because they had taken away all the napkins. I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t stop crying, and then I got in a car – luckily somebody else was driving – and kept crying for about 20 more minutes.”

Attending the HeForShe event where he was recognized for his work fighting for women’s rights, Whedon also told The Wrap he could see himself tackling a female-led superhero movie.

"How to Get Away With Murder in Small-Town India"

Jahiruddin, though uneducated, was an adept politician, fresh from winning a hard-fought local election. During our conversations, he would often break into rousing, patriotic speeches about truth and justice, thumping the plastic table in emphasis and making it jump. The effect was somewhat tarnished by his Tourette’s syndrome, which caused him to interject the word “penis” at regular intervals.

He was frank about the dirty aspects of his job. He occupied a post reserved for women from lower castes, but no one pretended this was any more than a sham; his wife’s name appeared on the ballot, but the face on the poster was his.


We drove to the nearest police station, a few miles away, and a young constable, Jahangir Khan, was sent out to speak to us. . . . he said he could tell that I was American because my nose shook when I talked, a national characteristic he had observed while watching James Bond films.

"Traffic nightmare hits Oregon leading up to eclipse"

"Highway 26 was backed up all the way to Prineville for 15 miles as thousands made their way to the site of the Symbiosis Gathering, an arts and music festival that relocated this year to be in the path of the eclipse. "

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Moments from the just-completed Crimson Dynamo storyline in Avengers Academy

(A Defenders-themed storyline has just started.)

Speaking of monuments

Juan de Oñate y Salazar (1550–1626) was a conquistador from New Spain, explorer, and colonial governor of the Santa Fe de Nuevo México province in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. He led early Spanish expeditions to the Great Plains and Lower Colorado River Valley, encountering numerous indigenous tribes in their homelands there. Oñate founded settlements in the province, now part of the present-day American Southwest. Today he is known for his brutal retaliation against the Acoma Pueblo in 1599, known as the Acoma Massacre or the Battle of Acoma Pueblo, where, following a dispute that led to the death of 13 Spaniards at the hands of the Acoma, including Oñate's nephew, Juan de Zaldívar, Oñate ordered that the pueblo be destroyed. Around 800-1000 Acoma were killed. Of the 500 or so survivors, at a trial at Ohkay Owingeh, Oñate sentenced most to twenty years of forced "personal servitude" and additionally mandated that all men over the age of twenty-five have a foot cut off. He was eventually banished from New Mexico and exiled from Mexico City for five years, convicted by the Spanish government of using "excessive force" against the Acoma people. Today, Oñate remains a controversial figure in New Mexican history: in 1998 the right foot was cut off a statue of the conquistador that stands in Alcalde, NM in protest of the massacre, and significant controversy arose when a giant equestrian statue of Oñate was erected in El Paso, Texas in 2006.

"MLB umpires will wear white wristbands to protest 'escalating verbal attacks'"

"The World Umpires Association is dissatisfied with the punishment meted out to Tigers' second baseman Ian Kinsler following his lengthy criticism of MLB umpire Angel Hernandez on Tuesday."

Baseball player "Torii Hunter sank $70,000 into a raft designed to sit under furniture that could be inflated during a flood"

"How do incredibly wealthy superstar athletes blow their fortunes?"--an article I rediscovered from 2012 while editing my old posts.

Chick-fil-A abandons attempt to open a store in San Juan Capistrano

This came after the commission voted 5-0 to postpone its decision to replace an existing Taco Bell with a Chick-fil-A over concerns that the popularity of the self-proclaimed originators of the chicken sandwich would create traffic, despite plans to extend the drive-thru to accommodate 19 vehicles at a time.


this isn’t a new phenomenon in SJC. As the Register reported, in 2010-11, an effort to replace a Sizzler with an In-N-Out just down the street ran into similar roadblocks in the planning process, and ultimately forced In-N-Out to give up and back out of the project.

"One of Indiana’s top football recruits is ineligible, and it’s all Indiana’s fault"

Indiana’s athletic department has spent much of the month of August trying to make things right. Officials filed a waiver request Aug. 3 with the NCAA to restore Fitzgerald’s eligibility; it was denied 11 days later, according to the news release. That same day, the school filed an appeal of that decision; on Friday, the NCAA also denied that appeal.


Indiana would not reveal the root cause of Fitzgerald’s ineligibility, as that information is protected by academic privacy laws

"The canal that helps bring food to tables across the world has a big problem — it's sinking"

The sinking terrain . . . has already reduced the capacity of the key irrigation artery by 50 to 60 percent in some locations.

“It’s like a big dip, a bowl or depression in the land that has the effect of not allowing flows to the south,” Vink said. "The Bureau of Reclamation knows about it and estimates are it could be a $200 to $500 million problem.”


What is a farmer to do?

Go back to pumping groundwater, Vink said.

However, it was vigorous pumping that has been blamed for land subsidence in the first place — both here and on the westside of the Valley, impacting the critical California Aqueduct, as well.

"The 'Most Dangerous Architect in America' Built a House—Then It Vanished"

Upon digging into the documents, it quickly became clear that Ain and his family were the target of three decades of surveillance. Documents relate that even his babysitter reported his family to the government, suspicious of the “literature” in their home and noting that they “seemed to be in some sort of group.”


By the time Ain began working on the MoMA house, he knew that this L.A.residential project was dead in the water, as it had been denied government loans because it was racially integrated.

New Interstellar tees at Last Exit to Nowhere

Endurance Space Exploration.


Friday, August 18, 2017

"Family Jumps Rising Drawbridge in Car, Lands on Other Side"

A family heading to Cape May, New Jersey, found themselves in an improbable situation earlier this month when a drawbridge lifted right underneath their car and they were forced to jump the opening


A commercial fishing vessel was trying to pass under the bridge, and its radio communication was down, officials said. The bridge operator could not contact the large boat.

The operator later told police he was blinded by a sun glare when he checked the bridge for cars, expecting Naphys' vehicle to clear in time.

"By 2025, the U.S. Navy will add 20 more warships and 15,000 sailors — plus their families — to a San Diego region already reeling from high home prices and rents"

“San Diego doesn’t have a lot of affordable housing,” he said. “So how do I dump 15,000 more sailors in this area and expect them to figure it out? I can’t."


The median home price reached $543,500 in June, a nearly 10 percent increase over the 2016 price tag

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Disney Infinity 3.0 Scrapped Moana Footage

"What did Marvel look for in 'Inhumans'? Fast and cheap"

Reiné's resume also includes a number of low-budget action movies like "Death Race 2" and "The Scorpion King 3", and this experience stood him in good stead. "I think they liked me for the job because I was able with my action movies to shoot in a very short time, or with very low budgets, action that looks like a big-budget movie,"


Time was also a critical factor. "The schedule was super-tight,"


"There was always a Marvel executive around me,"

"Facebook shut down an anonymous group used by its Trump-supporting employees after people started harassing one another"

"Facebook decided to pull the plug on the group one month after Trump was elected president."

"A Sixth Australian Politician Might Be A Dual Citizen And This Is Getting Ridiculous Now"

"Nash is the sixth politician that has been referred to the High Court under Section 44.1 of the constitution that says dual citizens are not allowed to serve in the Australian parliament."

"iOS 11 has a ‘cop button’ to temporarily disable Touch ID"

A new setting, designed to automate emergency services calls, lets iPhone users tap the power button quickly five times to call 911. This doesn’t automatically dial the emergency services by default, but it brings up the option to and also temporarily disables Touch ID until you enter a passcode. Twitter users discovered the new option in the iOS 11 public beta, and The Verge has verified it works as intended.


Apple’s new method is a far more discreet way of locking out a phone, especially if you’re in a situation where you’re worried someone might force you to unlock your phone.

"Now you can see what Donald Trump sees every time he opens Twitter"

"we’ve created @trumps_feed, an account that checks whom Trump follows every five minutes and then retweets any new tweets from them over that period."

"As of June 30, the RNC has almost $45 million in the bank, while the DNC has just under $7.5 million, along with $3 million in debt."

"Months of post-election malaise hamstrung the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) fundraising over the first six months of 2017, creating a serious money gap with Republicans and raising questions about Democrats’ ability to take advantage of opportunities in the 2018 midterm elections."

"About a dozen U.S. sailors are expected to face punishment for a collision in June between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippines cargo ship"

Admiral Bill Moran, deputy chief of naval operations, told reporters the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer and master chief petty officer would be removed from the vessel because “we’ve lost trust and confidence in their ability to lead.”


The sailors tied themselves together with a belt and rescued the commanding officer, who by this point was hanging from the side of the ship.

"A federal district court judge has ordered Costco to pay Tiffany more than $19 million for selling generic diamond engagement rings that were marketed using Tiffany’s name"

The rings in question had a pronged setting that Costco said is “commonly known as a ‘Tiffany’ setting,” however, some of the display cases simply described the rings as “Tiffany” instead of “Tiffany setting” or “Tiffany style.”

Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled on Monday that Tiffany is entitled to $11.1 million as profits for trademark infringement, plus interest, and $8.25 million in punitive damages, which was awarded by a jury in October.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Three Days at the Microsoft Office World Championship"

This marked the first night of the 16th Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship, in which teens and young 20-somethings compete for the title of World Champion in their chosen professional application. It's an event put on annually by Certiport, a Utah-based subsidiary of standardized testing giant Pearson VUE


Ayman Ben Souira (16, competing in Word), from a small town outside of Marrakech, Morocco, had never left his country before but spoke English and some anime Japanese like an Angeleno. "The first time people came to our school to give out fliers about the competition," Ayman said, "I thought it was really just a scam. We're gonna go to LA? It felt so farfetched, this is the craziest first place to go."


Before Excel, Kyriakos had relied on Zumba as a source of joy. "I have participated in many zumbathons," he said


At the world competition — and the nationals of more developed testing nations like the US and the UK — instead of following a test step by step, the students are given a bunch of assets (like datasets or images), a sheet of basic instructions, and a finished document, which they then have to exactly re-create

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Fox News, Daily Caller delete posts encouraging people to drive through protests"

"'The item was inappropriate and we've taken it down. We regret posting it in January,' Noah Kotch, the editor-in-chief of Fox News Digital, said in a statement provided to CNNMoney."

"The 'Dungeon Raid' Eulogy - The Best 32-Bit Games That Will Die With iOS 11"

"despite over six years since its emergence on the App Store, very few mobile puzzle games have managed to replicate the compelling formula that Dungeon Raid perfected, and it'll be incredibly sad to see it fade into obscurity."

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Australia’s deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, may be ineligible to sit in the country’s parliament after it emerged he is a New Zealand citizen"

Joyce is potentially the fifth politician in recent weeks to fall foul of constitutional rules


If Joyce is forced out of parliament, the Turnbull government would lose its one-seat majority in the House of Representatives


Joyce, facing mounting questions from the media, delivered a statement to parliament on Monday conceding he may hold New Zealand citizenship

"Andy Rubin’s Essential is now valued at over a billion dollars without shipping a single phone"

While we still don’t know when the Essential Phone will actually ship, Andy Rubin has promised that an announcement of a formal release date should be coming sometime this week. The device has already been significantly delayed since the originally promised June release window.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fantasy Sports 3 by Sam Bosma is really good

Golf, wrestling, and swords and sorcery. 32% off at Amazon.

(Looks like Sam's outstanding The Hanging Tower is a free download.)

"Lexington mayor says Confederate statues at courthouse will be moved"

The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week.”

Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Starship Troopers star Casper Van Dien, AKA Johnny Rico, reprises his famous role to help raise awareness of child abuse"

Thinning out my archives and rediscovered this from 2009:
In 2009, Childhelp commemorates 50 years of bringing the light of hope and healing into the lives of countless children. CEO and Co-Founder Sara OMeara and President and Co-Founder Yvonne Fedderson started Childhelp in 1959, establishing it as a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect and at-risk children. Childhelps approach focuses on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach.

For more information about Childhelp please visit

"Chuck E. Cheese's is getting a major redesign"

The renovation brings in more muted colors, sleeker furniture and brighter lighting in an attempt to improve the experience for adults


Chuck E. Cheese's new kitchen area is designed to be open. The company wants kids and adults to be able to peer inside and get a look at the pizza getting made.

Leverton said it was important to show parents that the food was made in-house. Not to mention, he said that kids love to catch a glimpse of the cooks putting together their pies.


Say goodbye to Chuck E. Cheese's animatronic stage show. In these new locations, the company has removed the robotic band and installed a centralized dance floor.

This is the new destination for mascot Chuck E. to make his live appearance every hour.

Pac-Man sculpture

A post shared by Chainsaw Estates (@chainsawestates) on

A post shared by Chainsaw Estates (@chainsawestates) on

Eclipse viewing instructions from NASA

NASA's Eclipse 2017 site.

Lego Space Shuttle launch

By Lego 7.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lyanna Mormont bust

A post shared by Clete And Genvieve (@cleteshieldspopsculpture) on

"Gigantic Pipes Beach in England After Breaking Free from Tow"

The MCA said the four pipes that broke free, the longest being 480 meters long, have washed ashore at Eccles on Sea, Sea Palling and Winterton (Horsey)


“We have received several 999 calls regarding the pipes

"Jailhouse Fight With Dylann Roof Leads to Fame and Future for Dwayne Stafford"

But despite his rocky, winding path through the foster care and criminal justice systems, Stafford sees a bit of hope on the horizon, thanks to a twist of fate and a jailhouse fight with a mass-murderer.

If Stafford’s name doesn’t ring a bell, he’s the black guy who snuck out of his cell last week and beat up a fellow inmate, Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white supremacist charged with killing nine parishioners at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina.


Jail officials say that when guards locked down the unit in order to take Roof to the showers they failed to properly lock Stafford’s cell door.


There, Stafford found Roof alone in the shower. One of the officers had gone on break and the other was delivering toilet paper to another inmate, according to officials.


Community activists began calling the jail inquiring about Stafford’s bond, which was set at $100,000 for the robbery and assault charges.


Despite rumors that supporters sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay Stafford's bond, Pendarvis said a well-meaning bail bondsman cut a favorable deal to secure his release.

"Biggest amateur-built sub sinks—owner is suspected of killing passenger"

The crowdfunding project fell short, and Madsen eventually took possession of the Nautilus himself to finish the job. His efforts drew the attention of a Swedish journalist, who took a trip with Madsen on the sub this week. The reporter had said she was writing a story for Wired (though she was not on assignment for Wired in the US, and was not formally employed by the UK edition of the publication). Madsen was seen departing with her around 7pm local time on August 10 from Refshale Island (Refshaleøen), an industrial area east of Copenhagen.


But he never made it back to the harbor. According to the police report, "At 11.00 the submarine suddenly sank and the owner was subsequently rescued on a private motorboat sailing [near] him in port."

After being rescued, Madsen told Denmark's TV2 that "a minor problem with a ballast tank... turned into a major issue." The ballast tank, which holds air or water to vary the submarine's buoyancy, apparently filled with water unexpectedly. The Nautilus' hatches were open, so as the sub started to submerge it began to flood. Madsen said that the sub was gone in 30 seconds. If he had been below decks instead of in the small mast of the sub, he would have been killed.

But Madsen didn’t mention his passenger. When questioned by the police, he said that he had dropped the woman off Thursday evening near where they had departed from, around 10:30pm. But no one had been able to reach the woman or establish her whereabouts.

Police are still seeking anyone who may have seen the woman or the submarine on Thursday night.

Deluxe Imperial board room chair available for preorder

It comes with a Tarkin. The just-revealed deluxe Shao Kahn figure also comes with a chair.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"A colossal statue of a Chinese god has been unceremoniously covered up by a giant white sheet in Indonesia after upsetting the local Muslim population"

The 30.4-meter-tall statue reportedly cost 2.5 billion Indonesian rupiahs ($187,000) to build and was funded by private donations to the Kwan Sing Bio Temple in Tuban, East Java.

It was publicly unveiled last month at a ceremony held inside the temple that was attended by prominent local politicians. Billed as the largest statue of Guan Yu in Southeast Asia, it was hoped that the colossus might help to attract more tourists to the city.

"Inside the Biggest Wine Hoax in History"

Beginning about 2002 and until spring 2008, as Wall Street plunder and heady real estate values made many Americans rich or richer, Kurniawan fed the hunger for oldest and rarest wine, cost be damned. How had he, still in his twenties, managed to acquire this seemingly limitless lode of introuvables? Kurniawan offered plausible, if unprovable, explanations. Early on, he claimed to have bought the cellar of a wealthy family in Florida. But even a very large private cellar could not keep on giving at the rate that Kurniawan was selling.

And so a new, more intriguing story began making the rounds: Kurniawan had acquired, possibly with a partner, a huge trove of old French wines in Europe. It was dubbed the “Magic Cellar,” or as Acker’s John Kapon called it, “THE Cellar.” Its lineage was said to go back more than a century to a time when the then-dominant French retail wine shop chain, Nicolas, purchased large quantities of the finest French wines directly from the most renowned vineyards.


Few collectors, especially those new to the game, actually knew what the real thing should taste like. “It’s surprisingly easy to fob off flawed or inauthentic wine,” says Wilf Jaeger. “At a certain point, people have drunk too much and they are not paying attention.”

Even if they are paying attention, and do question a wine, they are unlikely to “kill the buzz” at a festive table

"High school football player killed after log falls on head during practice, cops say"

"The log-carrying drill was designed to build teamwork in Navy SEALS training"

"Two former Kern County sheriff's deputies . . . who conspired with another law enforcement officer to sell drugs they stole from evidence lockers, were sentenced . . . to probation"

in an extraordinary and tearful sentencing hearing presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O'Neill, the two officers were spared prison time by the judge, who was clearly moved by the defendants' remorse, their decision to voluntarily confess everything to investigators, the pain the families have already suffered, and the unwavering support the two wives have given their husbands.


O'Neill went on to acknowledge that the wives had taken "the brunt," maybe the largest share, of the suffering meted out by the acts of their husbands.

"State and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas"

From 2008 to 2016, GOP officials expanded early voting stations in Republican dominated Hamilton County, IndyStar's analysis found, and decreased them in the state's biggest Democratic hotbed, Marion County.

That made voting more convenient in GOP areas for people with transportation issues or busy schedules. And the results were immediate.

"It’s also the best-known case of industrial melanism—the phenomenon where animals become blacker in areas that are affected by industrial pollution"

Most cases of industrial melanism involve moths, butterflies, and other insects, but Claire Goiran, from the University of New Caledonia, has now discovered a surprising exception. In the waters around Australia

"How a network of little-known Twitter 'rooms' helps die-hard fans amplify Trump’s message, attack CNN, and spread #MAGA to the world"

Christie’s clout comes from her presence in some of the leading pro-Trump “rooms,” private spaces on conservative Twitter that allow followers to coordinate messages and then retweet each other—dramatically multiplying their impact. One of her fellow “Twitter patriots,” as they call themselves, tweeted and retweeted more than 4,100 times over a recent four-day period.


“This is clearly tapping into a group of people that are zealous, have a lot of time on their hands, and are tenacious as can be"


After “seeding” a given hashtag with bots and his internal network, he ports messages and memes over to other nodes within the broader pro-Trump network of rooms, which is primarily populated by boomers.

"Reports of satellite navigation problems in the Black Sea suggest that Russia may be testing a new system for spoofing GPS"

This could be the first hint of a new form of electronic warfare available to everyone from rogue nation states to petty criminals.

On 22 June, the US Maritime Administration filed a seemingly bland incident report. The master of a ship off the Russian port of Novorossiysk had discovered his GPS put him in the wrong spot – more than 32 kilometres inland, at Gelendzhik Airport.

After checking the navigation equipment was working properly, the captain contacted other nearby ships. Their AIS traces – signals from the automatic identification system used to track vessels – placed them all at the same airport. At least 20 ships were affected.

While the incident is not yet confirmed, experts think this is the first documented use of GPS misdirection – a spoofing attack that has long been warned of but never been seen in the wild.

"Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has cancelled its much anticipated meeting to talk about gender issues today" due to fear participants would be harassed

The move came after some of its employees expressed concern over online harassment they had begun to receive after their questions and names have been published outside the company on a variety of largely alt-right sites


Sources inside Google said some employees had begun to experience “doxxing” — online harassment that can take various forms and is defined “searching for and publishing private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent.”

Watery mural

A post shared by Jake Aikman (@jakeaikman) on

Like a scene from Mieville's Kraken.

"Exclusive: The chaos behind the scenes of Fox News' now-retracted Seth Rich story"

After being sent the article, Wheeler did something unusual: He contacted another reporter, from a different outlet, to tip her off to Zimmerman's story.

Within a few hours, that reporter, Marina Marraco of Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG, would scoop Zimmerman on the exclusive.


Wheeler added: "I told her, 'Marina, you can't go with this story because this is a Fox News story.' She said, 'Oh, I'm not going to go with it. It's just going to be a teaser.' 10 o'clock at night when the news comes on, this is the top of the news show and it's an exclusive breaking news. Not a teaser! And I'm like, 'What?' And that's when hell began for me."

Wheeler said he went to Marraco because he wanted to see if she'd heard anything about the story. But Butowsky told CNN that Wheeler had expressed a romantic interest in her. CNN has not been able to independently confirm this. Marraco and WTTG did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Asked for comment, Wheeler directed CNN to his attorneys, who said it was "not true" and that "in no way was Rod Wheeler 'romantically interested' in Ms. Marraco."

In the aftermath of Fox's report, Wheeler has claimed that Marraco's report took him out of context. He said in the online audio recording that Marraco presented a "totally incomplete" version of what he said, and alleged that Marraco edited the interview in a way which made it appear he had direct knowledge Rich emailed Wikileaks, when, he said, he'd attributed that information to a federal law enforcement source Zimmerman had told him about.

Moreover, Wheeler said, he didn't even know the camera was rolling during his conversation with Marraco.

"Here’s the Memo That Blew Up the NSC"

Fired White House staffer argued "deep state" attacked Trump administration because the president represents a threat to cultural Marxist memes, globalists, and bankers.


The controversy over the memo has its origins in a hunt for staffers believed to be providing information to right-wing blogger Mike Cernovich, who seemed to have uncanny insight into the inner workings of the NSC. Cernovich in the past few months has been conducting a wide-ranging campaign against the national security advisor.


In a comedy of errors, Trump later learned from Sean Hannity, the Fox News host and close friend of the president, that the memo’s author had been fired. Trump was “furious,” the senior administration official said. “He is still furious.”

"A suspected unexploded [WW2-era] bomb has been found at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan"

It is not uncommon for unexploded WW2 devices to be found in Japan over 70 years on from the end of the war.

The Fukushima area was previously home to a Japanese military base.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Speculation about what caused two men to die suddenly in Authon-du-Perche had gripped France"

When two men enjoying a summer dinner of roasted beef and canned beans dropped dead in Authon-du-Perche, the French village found itself at the centre of what seemed to be a sinister mystery that gripped the country.

Neither the body of Olivier Boudin, 38, found lying on his back on the ground, or that of Lucien Perot, 69, sitting at the terrace table before a half-finished plate, some camembert, a partly eaten baguette and a glass of wine, showed signs of an attack or a fight and there was no indication of a break-in or robbery.

A neighbour who spotted them at 6am last Thursday at Perot’s home assumed they were sleeping off the effects of the boozy evening before and left them be.

“At first, I told myself they must have been pretty drunk to still be sleeping, then when I saw Lucien still sitting at the table a bit later … I thought it must have been an extremely drunken evening,” the unnamed woman told the local newspaper L’Echo Républicain.

At midday, the same woman realised the two men had not moved a muscle and tried without success to rouse them only to discover they had both died.


The local mayor, Patrice Leriget, told journalists the dinner scene looked as if “as if time had suddenly stopped”.

On Wednesday, after days of speculation across France, the cause of the twin deaths was revealed

Blue Apron is a virtual reality company

Blue Apron is a tech company in the sense that its product is not meals, or ingredients, but simulacrum. What it delivers is the idea of creating a home-cooked meal from fresh ingredients, without the tedious shopping and chopping work that that would otherwise require. What Blue Apron delivers is not exactly convenience -- ordering takeout is a lot more convenient -- but the perception that you are doing something complicated and real and primal while you are actually, through the miracle of technology, doing something much easier. Blue Apron is a virtual-reality company.

Virtual reality (and augmented reality) is a booming tech sector, and simulacrum is a central product of the modern technology industry: Facebook Inc.'s business, after all, is creating the perception that you are maintaining meaningful friendships with hundreds of people while you are actually, through the miracle of technology, clicking icons on a screen.


Famously, Bloomberg's Ellen Huet and Olivia Zaleski discovered that you could replace the physical work of the [Juicero] machine by just squeezing the bags with your hands until juice comes out. But the machine, for all of its overengineering, is not really there to perform physical labor. It's there to perform conceptual magic: The bag of stuff is in the category "ingredients"; the juice that comes out is in the category "food," and by putting it in the machine and pushing a button, you have transformed the ingredients into food. You have Made Juice Fresh At Home. If you just squeeze the bag yourself, it might as well be Capri Sun.

"Montrealer sole resident of condo building after other units rented on Airbnb"

a growing number of listings are for entire houses or apartments, and are owned by property management companies that have multiple listings in a city or even several cities.

"They're basically running hotels ... that are split across multiple apartments,"

Lawsuit filed against LeVar Burton for using Reading Rainbow-related intellectual property

On Friday, WNED (a public broadcaster in Buffalo, N.Y.) filed a wide-ranging lawsuit that demands among other things that Burton's company hand over administrative access to various websites and social media accounts. The lawsuit also seeks to enjoin Burton from using the Reading Rainbow catchphrase, "But you don't have to take my word for it," on his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads.

Although this is a new lawsuit, WNED and Burton's RRKidz have been in court with each other for more than a year over a 2011 licensing deal.


The complaint goes on to address how the media has latched on to the phrase "Reading Rainbow for adults" as the de facto slogan for the podcast and how Burton told WNYC's Brian Lehrer, "People are calling it Reading Rainbow for adults, and I can't stop them from that."

“The Impossible Burger is safe"?

“F.D.A. believes the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of soy leghemoglobin for consumption,” agency officials wrote in a memo they prepared for a phone conversation with the company on Aug. 3, 2015, “nor do they point to a general recognition of safety.”

Impossible Foods can still sell its burger despite the F.D.A. findings, which did not conclude that soy leghemoglobin was unsafe. The company plans to resubmit its petition to the agency.

“The Impossible Burger is safe,” Rachel Konrad, a spokeswoman for Impossible Foods, said in a statement. “A key ingredient of the Impossible Burger — heme — is an ancient molecule found in every living organism.”

Fin Fang Foom movie poster

By Scorpio Steele for this Jack Kirby-inspired art book.

"The $47 million the Dodgers owe to players no longer on their roster this year is the fifth-highest obligation in the league"

"the team’s paying $110,962,539 to the 12 players on the disabled list right now"

"YouTube Stars Who Met With Feds to 'Grow' Trump-Themed Business Were Paid by Trump Campaign"

YouTube stars Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson—better known as “Diamond” and “Silk,” respectively—were invited to the Commerce Department’s headquarters this week, apparently to discuss ways in which they could expand their business. The pair runs a political blog aimed at promoting President Trump and denigrating his critics.

The Commerce Department revealed Diamond and Silk’s visit in a photo posted on the department’s official Twitter account, which said the duo had met with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to “discuss how to grow their business and build their brand.”


At present, they offer only two products in their online store, both Trump-branded pins.


Monday’s meeting was arranged by Chris Garcia, a former Trump campaign advisor whom the president appointed acting head of the MBDA this year. The meeting would seem perfectly innocent, were it not for the fact that Diamond and Silk were paid Trump campaign consultants.

The Trump campaign denied paying Diamond and Silk for their regular on-stage appearances at political rallies. But an amendment to the campaign’s 2016 FEC report, released in May 2017, reveals the YouTube stars were in fact cut a check shortly after the election

"Days after boosters make threat to withhold funds, Idaho State president resigns"

This past weekend, members of the university’s football booster club published an op-ed in the Idaho State Journal advocating the ouster of Vailas and Athletic Director Jeff Tingey, and on Monday the State Journal reported that the Idaho State Football Alumni Team “is withholding from the school close to $80,000 in fundraising money until the changes are made because of what the group calls the horrible state of ISU athletics.”


On Wednesday, Gov. Butch Otter issued a statement praising Vailas, who has led Idaho State since 2006.

“Over the past decade, President Vailas has been at the forefront of many of the remarkable and positive changes, not only at Idaho State University but also throughout our higher education system,” Otter said. “Through Dr. Vailas’ vision and leadership, ISU has championed numerous programs and opportunities including one that holds great promise for the future, the creation of Idaho’s first medical school.”

That planned medical school, a parnership with the private Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine at ISU’s Meridian campus, gained pre-accreditation status in May and is expected to open in August 2018. It was among Vailas’ achievements

"Nepal criminalises isolation of menstruating women"

The parliament of Nepal has criminalised an ancient Hindu practice called chhaupadi that banishes women from the home during menstruation and after childbirth.


Many communities in Nepal view menstruating women as impure, and in some remote areas, they are forced to sleep in a hut away from home called chhau goth during their periods and after childbirth.

They are also barred from touching food, religious icons, cattle and men.

Last month, a teenage girl died after being bitten by a snake while sleeping in a chhau goth.

"What Brands Are Actually Behind Trader Joe’s Snacks?"

there are a few sneaky ways to unmask them. One trick is to look at recall information. When a product is recalled or flagged by the Food and Drug Administration or United States Department of Agriculture, the product manufacturers generally publish all the stores and brand labels under which that item is sold.

Eater used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain FDA and USDA recalls and alerts that mentioned Trader Joe’s in the last 10 years. The requests revealed dozens of companies that have, at least at one point, supplied Trader Joe’s with food.

Alabama football coach "Nick Saban's latest bonus alone is larger than the annual budget of 181 Division I athletic departments"

"Florida Atlantic -- Lane Kiffin's new home -- will have four games nationally televised. Total. One of those will be televised on beIN Sports, a spinoff of the Al Jazeera Media Network."

"The two-year-old U.S. diplomatic relationship with Cuba was roiled Wednesday by what U.S. officials believe was a string of bizarre attacks..."

...on a group of American diplomats in Havana with a covert sonic weapon that left the victims with severe hearing loss.

In the fall of 2016, a series of U.S. diplomats began suffering unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation into the case. Several of the diplomats were recent arrivals at the embassy, which reopened in 2015 as part of former President Barack Obama’s reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.


“We requested their departure as a reciprocal measure since some U.S. personnel’s assignments in Havana had to be curtailed due to these incidents,”

"'Deadpool' Director Tim Miller to Adapt 'Neuromancer' for Fox"

Miller made his directorial debut last year with Fox's Deadpool, which became an unexpected smash. He exited the sequel in October over creative differences, but has a number of other projects in the works, including an adaptation of the Daniel Suarez sci-fi novel Influx for Fox, and an animated/live-action adaptation of the classic videogame character Sonic the Hedgehog for Sony.

Dodger Chase Utley's special nickname jersey will be "Silver Fox"

They're selling the jerseys for $200.