Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Bill Belichick door knocker


"Team United" Winter Olympian dolls



















Last night's "super blue blood moon" over Los Angeles


From a thread about teaching girls Linux


Special Field Air Force 1 Hi Tactical Command



"this wholly-unique creation is destined to turn heads and provoke conversation."

"Logan Paul-inspired ‘suicide forest’ game to be removed from Xbox Marketplace"

"The Suicide Forest requires players to explore Japan’s famous Aokigahara Forest, colloquially known as 'the suicide forest,' and search for the bodies of people who have killed themselves in order to boost views on their YouTube channels."

Legion season 2 teaser






"How Carob Traumatized a Generation"

NY:

Even Häagen-Dazs, which débuted in Manhattan, in 1976, stocked a short-lived carob-flavored ice cream. What was so wrong with cacao? “Ten Talents” called it a “harmful stimulant”; others scowled at the high fat content of chocolate confections and the bitterness of unsweetened cocoa powder. The counterculture of the nineteen-seventies, ready to give any diet that Harvard nutritionists scoffed at a go, absorbed these prejudices with little question. Chocolate was bad? Chocolate was bad!

Until, suddenly, it wasn’t. By the nineteen-eighties, it had become more than acceptable to admit that you’d fallen victim to a new disease: chocoholism.

"Someone took off with a 7-foot unicycle from the woman behind the legendary 'Red Panda Acrobat' at San Francisco International Airport"

KTVU:

"It’s like her baby was kidnapped. She’s had that unicycle for 30 years.”

As Figley tells the story, Niu had landed at SFO from Denver and was waiting for her bag – filled with her 7-foot unicycle – to come off the conveyor belt. She saw it from a distance. But as she was about 10 to 15 feet away, someone “must have grabbed it,” Figley said. He said it's possible someone even took it by mistake

"He worked at a water district for just seven days. But it ended up costing $1.5 million"

LAT:

Seven work days into Ron Beilke's job at the Central Basin Municipal Water District, the agency's governing board placed an item on its next meeting agenda. It called for firing him from his $98,000-a-year job as assistant to the general manager.

Two hours later, Beilke crashed headfirst into a wall on the second floor of the district's headquarters in the City of Commerce. One employee later said she watched Beilke fly across the frame of her door, arms stretched out, like Superman.

Beilke, who was taken away by paramedics in a neck brace, later collected workers' compensation and sued for wrongful termination. Central Basin commissioned a report that quoted employees who questioned whether Beilke's fall had been deliberate.

But by the time Central Basin settled with him nearly four years later, the agency racked up costs of nearly $1.5 million.

"Maybe it was just divine intervention," Beilke said in an interview with The Times about the timing of the fall. "Maybe someone was looking out for me without killing me."

In the wake of the costly incident, some have questioned why Beilke was hired in the first place. A former Pico Rivera mayor, Beilke had been convicted of political misconduct.

Wandering flamingo

"What Does Luol Deng Do During Lakers' Games?"

NBC:

The two-time All-Star played 13 minutes in the team's season opener and has not seen the court since.

...

When the Los Angeles Lakers take the court on Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic, a player in the second year of his four-year $72 million deal won't be on the court. He won't be in street clothes watching from the bench, either, because he's not injured.

So, what exactly does Luol Deng do during games? Where is he?

"During the game, I do as much conditioning as I can,"
Related: "Felix Salmon, "Fusion Money," and Floating Upward"
Last Friday, just after 2pm, the financial journalist Felix Salmon posted a blog titled “Why I’m Leaving Fusion.” It was a very short post

...

On January 17, in GMG’s media chat slack channel, Salmon revealed his money privilege in a way that didn’t sit well with some. “As someone who just installed a new kitchen in a rental at my own expense, I can say that decorating rentals is a good and sensible thing to do,” Salmon wrote. It seemed no one else in the room could relate—some took issue with the distinction between “decorating” and “renovating,” while others could not fathom having the money to do either. Salmon explained the sense in spending “3 months’ rent on making your permanent rental a much nicer place to live” thusly: “if you amortize 3 months’ rent over another 6 years, it works out at a pretty small monthly increase for a much nicer place.” Technically he is correct! Practically speaking, this is not the best thing to discuss in a room full of smart alecks who know they’re making a fraction of what you do

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"Police pull over a car and oranges come tumbling out"

CNN:

Yes, that's a car crammed to the hilt with oranges.

Police in Seville, Spain, came across the bizarre scene when they pulled over two cars after a short chase.

"A quest to find the best Lids at Mall of America"

"There are six Lids at Mall of America. Well, seven if you count the Lids section inside Macy’s."

Tonight's designated survivor


"At the MIT Tech Review’s EmTech conference in Asia this week, researchers showed off a Human Uber, in which someone straps a screen to their face and fills in for someone else"

NYM:

The tech, known as ChameleonMask, “uses a real human as a surrogate for another remote user. To do this, a surrogate user wears a mask-shaped display that shows a remote user’s live face, and a voice channel transmits a remote user’s voice.”

Promotional image for the next movie in The Purge series

"British is best" ad for the Dreamcast, circa 2001

"Toto: how we made Africa"

TG:

As a kid, I’d always been fascinated by Africa. I loved movies about Dr Livingstone and missionaries. I went to an all-boys Catholic school and a lot of the teachers had done missionary work in Africa. They told me how they would bless the villagers, their Bibles, their books, their crops and, when it rained, they’d bless the rain. That’s where the hook line – “I bless the rains down in Africa” – came from.

They said loneliness and celibacy were the hardest things about life out there. Some of them never made it into the priesthood because they needed companionship. So I wrote about a person flying in to meet a lonely missionary. It’s a romanticised love story about Africa, based on how I’d always imagined it. The descriptions of its beautiful landscape came from what I’d read in National Geographic.

...

I remember listening to the lyrics and going: “Dave, man, Africa? We’re from north Hollywood. What the fuck are you writing about? ‘I bless the rains down in Africa?’ Are you Jesus, Dave?”

Then we made a video that was so full cheese. They built this stage that looked like a pile of giant books and stood us on top of it. You can see me laughing.

"Officials: ‘Clown Penis’ Is Not A Realistic Callsign For Pilots"

TandP:

“The goal is to come up with a name that fits the individual pilot’s character as well as capturing some possibly embarrassing that happened when he was new,”
...

“The name cannot be too cool for the pilot in question, which is why you don’t see a lot of ‘Top Gun’-style callsigns across the force,”
...

“Another example is a pilot who was known as ‘Boom Boom;’ it was given to him because during carrier qualifications training, he forgot to release the parking brake prior to a catapult shot off the ship. As a result, both of his main mounts blew during the catapult shot, with a loud ‘BOOM BOOM’ noise.”

"Facebook is banning all ads promoting cryptocurrencies — including bitcoin and ICOs"

"That means no advertiser — even those that operate legal, legitimate businesses — will be able to promote things like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings — ICOs for short — or binary options, according to a Facebook blog post."

Related:

Facebook prominently placed a post by Alex Jones pushing a 4chan conspiracy theory on its Trending topics page about a news story.

"Lawyers gathered at the Atlanta office of a big law firm were debating a head-scratching legal question. What does the emoji known as the 'unamused face' actually mean?"

WSJ:

In one Michigan defamation dispute, the meaning of an emoticon, an emoji-like image created with text characters from a standard keyboard, was up for debate. A comment on an internet message board appeared to accuse a local official of corruption. The comment was followed by a “:P” emoticon.

The judges on the Michigan Court of Appeals concluded in 2014 that the emoticon “is used to represent a face with its tongue sticking out to denote a joke or sarcasm.” The court said the comment couldn’t be taken seriously or viewed as defamatory.

"Indian man dies after being sucked into an MRI machine while carrying an oxygen cylinder"

"As he entered the MRI room, the high-powered magnets in the machine drew him into the chamber and he overdosed on oxygen when the cylinder leaked"

Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer





"The employee who transmitted the alert said in a written statement to Hawaii that he or she believed it was an actual alert"

Reuters:

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday faulted the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s procedures over a false emergency alert on January 13 of a pending missile attack that prompted widespread panic.
WaPo:
The Hawaii employee who sent out a false alarm earlier this month warning of an incoming missile attack had a troubled work history and said he misunderstood a drill and believed a ballistic missile was actually heading for the state, according to state and federal investigators.

The employee's work history was detailed by a state investigation made public Tuesday that found he had "been a source of concern ... for over 10 years" to his coworkers. On at least two other occasions, that probe found, this employee also "confused real life events and drills."

Michael B. Jordan gained "20 pounds of muscle" for Black Panther

WSJ:

“Everything,” Jordan says. “Chest, shoulders, back. My legs a little bit, my quads. I was just, like, massive.”

This dedication is a celebrated part of Jordan’s origin story. For Creed, he shredded himself into a fighting machine with an enviable eight-pack set of abdominals. For Black Panther, Jordan was right back at it with the weights and monastic eating restrictions.

“It’s a job, man,” he says, clearly enjoying our midday carb feast, which is not his norm. “You really have to diet. It’s hard to be social. You have to drink a gallon and a half of water. When you’re drinking a gallon and a half of water a day, you know how many times you have to use the bathroom? It’s annoying.”

Sealioning: "to describe the act of jumping into a discussion with demands for evidence and answers to questions"

From 2014:

The purpose of sealioning never to actually learn or become more informed. The purpose is to interrogate.

...

Compound this with being sealioned but multiple people, as is common on Twitter, and you've got a recipe for a very frustrating and fruitless timeline. If you respond, you are bombarded with even more questions by people who aren't asking to actually be convinced.

"A few weeks ago, fourteen Russian first-year air-transport cadets made a parody of a fifteen-year-old music clip, and now it’s all a lot of Russians can talk about"

NY:

State television covered the clip on talk shows and news programs, rebroadcasting it to millions of their viewers each time. “I see clear expressions of homosexuality,” a woman introduced as a sexologist told a reporter on the twenty-four-hour state news channel, which broadcast the video in its entirety. “It’s a provocation,” her sister, also a sexologist, added. The sisters were dressed in identical brown pants suits and white blouses.

And then the Russian Internet was flooded with clips shot to support the air-transport cadets, often hashtagged #Satisfaction. (I highly recommend that the reader watch all of the following videos, in the order in which they are provided.) There were the trade schools—construction, agricultural—and emergency services. Then there were the jockeys and the stable boys, the theatre troupe, the nurses, and the members of the Russian women’s biathlon team. Most clips contained a message of support and some identifying information—“Medical students in support of the air-transport cadets,” for example—and many of the participants made a point of wearing uniforms, if they had them.

...

The clips keep coming. They are so numerous, so exuberant, and come from such different corners of Russian society—from eighteen-year-old cadets to middle-aged middle-class sauna enthusiasts to the elderly communal-apartment dwellers—that they serve as the best proof yet that Russia is not nearly as conservative as the Kremlin has claimed in recent years. Sociologists have known this all along: even as Putin has positioned Russia as the center of an imagined “traditional-values civilization,” independent opinion surveys have shown that, to take two examples, Russians overwhelmingly support the right to abortion and are more tolerant of adultery than most nations outside of France. At the same time, a majority of Russians identify as Russian Orthodox and express virulently homophobic attitudes—most likely because the Church and queer-baiting are two pillars of the Kremlin’s ideology, and Russians are constantly reminded what kinds of opinions they are expected to express on these topics.

Monday, January 29, 2018

"Over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million prescription painkillers to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a Southern West Virginia town with 2,900 people, according to a congressional committee investigating the opioid crisis"

"The state has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation."

"When rescuers found [the man] after seven days at sea, his mother had vanished without a trace"

NYM:


in July 2017, with prospects of a criminal prosecution dimming, Linda’s sisters filed a “slayer action” against Nathan in civil court, where the burden of proof is lower and circumstantial evidence holds more weight. Slayer actions are intended to uphold a simple principle: Heirs should not benefit from their own wrongdoing. A man who kills his mother, for example, shouldn’t be entitled to an inheritance. But while the slayer action the sisters filed against Nathan raised questions about Linda’s death, it stopped short of accusing him of murdering his mother. Instead, the sisters accused Nathan of murdering another family member: his grandfather.

"Keurig to Acquire Dr Pepper Snapple in Largest Soft-Drink Deal Ever"

WSJ:

The deal also puts Keurig into the global soda business, which has been struggling as consumers shift away from sugary drinks. Keurig’s previous attempt to crack the market, a countertop pod-based machine called KOLD that could make Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper, flopped. Mr. Gamgort said Keurig wasn’t planning to revive the device

99 Stormtroopers Join the Empire



Available at Amazon:

Ninety-nine Stormtroopers join the Empire, and then their troubles begin. One takes a lunch break in the carbon freezing chamber. Two underestimate a princess. One picks the wrong time to ask for a promotion. Another fails to show Jabba the proper respect. And one interrupts Lord Vader's private time, failing him for the last time. A lifelong Star Wars fan, Greg Stones brings a playful wit and sympathy for the plight of the troops as they meet their amusing ends, filling each colorfully painted scenario with fun Star Wars details and appearances by Han, Luke, Chewie, K-2SO, and many other characters. As the trooper count ticks down, how will the last one fare as he receives a very special assignment (on the Death Star)?

How to steer a bobsled


Sunday, January 28, 2018

The end of written language on Easter Island

CM:

In the 1870s, a French rancher, Jean-Baptiste Doutrou-Bornier, attempted to purchase the entire island. A megalomaniac and a sadist, he nearly succeeded. He drove off Catholic missionaries with fire, surrounded himself with kidnapped consorts, and declared himself a king. After a few years, he owned 80 percent of the island’s land and over four thousand sheep. A year later, he was killed in an ambush. Other pirates came to take his place.

...

It was in the midst of this disaster that the world became aware of rongorongo. In 1864, Joseph-Eugène Eyraud, a member of the Catholic mission on the island, noticed in all the houses tablets and staffs inscribed in an unknown script. He did not succeed in learning what it expressed. Curiously, no previous visitor to the island had ever observed them, perhaps because of a taboo. Four years later, the bishop of Tahiti, Florentin-Étienne Jaussen, received a piece of polished rosewood, wrapped in human hair, from one of his parishioners, a Rapanui convert. He was amazed to discover that it was covered in an unknown form of hieroglyphs. He immediately wrote to the Catholic mission on the island, asking them to search for more examples of the unknown script. They were only able to turn up a few. One man questioned by the bishop confessed “that there was nobody left on the island who knew how to read the characters since the Peruvians had brought about the deaths of all the wise men.” The tablets had thus lost all their potency. In the absence of literacy, the tablets, once objects of sacred power, became simply pieces of wood. They were burned for heat and used as reels for fishing lines.

"Only hours after the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7. 1941, Austin E. Anson, managing secretary of California's powerful Salinas Valley Vegetable Grower-Shipper Association, was dispatched to Washington to urge federal authorities to remove all individuals of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast"

WaPo from 1992:

Based on an accumulation of evidence, we now know that the government's action was partially initiated by California corporate agribusiness interests hoping to satisfy their own lust for land while ridding themselves of competition from the state's most productive family farms.

Japanese-American farmers were a huge presence on the pre-war West Coast, producing more than 40 percent of California's commercial vegetable crop alone. A June 1942 federal report noted that "the Japanese people were the most important racial minority group engaged in agriculture in the Pacific Coast region. Their systems of farming, types of crops and land tenure conditions were such that their replacement by other farmers would be extremely difficult . . . . The average value per acre of all West Coast farms in 1940 was $37.94, whereas that of Japanese farms was $279.96
Wikipedia adds:
Incarceration of Japanese Americans, who provided critical agricultural labor on the West Coast, created a labor shortage, which was exacerbated by the induction of many American laborers into the Armed Forces. This vacuum precipitated a mass immigration of Mexican workers into the United States to fill these jobs, under the banner of what became known as the Bracero Program. Many Japanese internees were temporarily released from their camps – for instance, to harvest Western beet crops – to address this wartime labor shortage.

Video of Nick Saban recruiting


"Here in Delhi, it’s a cliché of our coughing metropolis that smog is the great social leveller"

NY:

But it’s simply not true. This is the dirtiest secret about dirty air: the wealthy buy their way around it. Slowly, I’ve acclimated to the idea that a small handful of residents can breathe safely, and the rest cannot.

This segregated reality is woven through our family life. State-of-the-art Swedish purifiers churn around the clock in our rooms; a portable purifier cleans the air in our car. Air-filtering masks protect our lungs as we pass from building to car to building. A Tae Kwon Do instructor visits our living room so our children and their friends get some exercise without braving the outdoors.

...

“The oxygen is amazing,” our friend continues. “You don’t realize what a difference it makes.”

She leans closer, as if what she’s about to say is a secret.

“We’re all dreaming again!”

“What?”

“It’s true,” her eyes are round. “We hadn’t noticed, but we’d all stopped dreaming. With the oxygen, we’re dreaming again.”

Some anecdotes about the creation and reveal of the iPad





The Empire Strikes Back raw footage of the fight in the carbon-freezing chamber



Lots more assorted Star Wars videos at that Twitter account.

"The Spheres, Amazon's trio of steel-and-glass greenhouses crammed with more that 400 different plant species, will officially open on Monday"

"The building was designed primarily as a space for employees to wander, think or hold meetings."



Saturday, January 27, 2018

Rey as Sith


Intel via Fitbit


The Caretakers of Ahch-To custom action figures

The moment Tom Cruise broke his ankle smashing into a wall, and then tried to fight through it



Friday, January 26, 2018

Porzingis takes one off the face in slow-motion


Darin Morgan answers "How did you decide which old episodes or scenes to include?" in this week's episode of The X-Files

From an interview with EW:

Well, that was the last thing I wrote. My script was due, so at like 3 in the morning, I was going through old episodes. [Laughs] I thought it would be much easier than it turned out to be. Some of the episodes that I thought I was going to use, or certain scenes that I wanted to use that were famous for fans, the problem was those scenes, I remembered them incorrectly.

...

The last thing I wanted to ask you about was that final scene with the alien on the Segway, where you reference the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man.” That’s where the episode goes into full farce. Walk me through how that scene came together.

The most interesting thing with that was that it was not intended to be on the little scooter. The actor [who played the alien] was in full makeup and costume when we started setting up the lighting and stuff, and that’s his own little scooter. That’s how he gets around. He was riding around on that thing, and it just looked hysterical. I grabbed the DP, Greg, and I go, “Greg, we gotta use this. It just looks too funny.” So that was sort of an unexpected special treat.
And an interview with SyFy:
David and I talked about that too, in that over the 25-year span of the show, the world has achieved peak surreal. As a writer, how do you distill that into this world?

Good question. I don't know. This may not directly answer you, but I found the hardest thing was in terms of Trump, every day he does something that you go, "I can't believe he said that. I want to address that." But a week later, no one remembers that thing.

"But the Treasury agent has picked up an unlikely ally, a meteorologist terrified of hurricanes"





"Under the threat of a hurricane, opportunistic criminals infiltrate a US Mint facility to steal $600 million for the ultimate heist. When the hurricane blows up into a lethal CATEGORY 5 storm and their well-made plans go awry, they find themselves needing a vault code known only by one Treasury Agent (Maggie Grace), a need that turns murderous. But the Treasury agent has picked up an unlikely ally, a meteorologist (Toby Kebbell) terrified of hurricanes but determined to save his estranged brother kidnapped by the thieves. He uses his knowledge of the storm as a weapon to win in this non-stop action thriller ride charged with adrenaline throughout."

What happens when you install a birdfeeder on your 25th floor home in New York

It becomes a bit of a horror story:

Mostly, however, we got finches, all day, every day.

Such clustering around feeders can accelerate the spread of disease. So I shouldn’t have been shocked when I strode by the window one August morning, causing the birds to scatter as usual, except one—a mussy-looking male who seemed oblivious to my presence. On closer inspection, I saw

...

Predators in the apartment seemed like a turning point.

Captain Marvel from Marvel vs Capcom Infinite



From a collection of screenshots taken by Dead End Thrills.

"Paris zoo evacuated after 52 baboons escape enclosure"

"'Our colleagues have them surrounded,' one policemen told Le Parisien."

A photo of Anakin's legs sticking out of the fighter's cockpit


Thursday, January 25, 2018

"Dutch intelligence reportedly hacked Russian election hackers in 2014"

TC:

The Netherlands’ Joint Sigint Cyber Unit, in the summer of 2014, seems to have found the den of “Cozy Bear,” as the state-sponsored group came to be known (also APT29) after the DNC hack in 2016. JSCU infiltrated its network and a nearby security camera, allowing it to see what Cozy Bear was up to, and possibly who was a member.

A Walgreens in Orlando has a resident vampire

Yelp:

So I searched before I posted this to see if this was already ever a topic. Can't find anything so here we go.

There is a guy who dresses like a vampire and hangs out at the Walgreen's on 436 and Maitland Ave. He is there every night, from just before midnight till around 4:30am.

"Hayden Christensen couldn't fit in his Jedi starfighter in III. His feet are hanging outside the window during filming"






Pablo Hidalgo has been posting about the impossibility of Star Wars ships.

German's military "is virtually not deployable for collective defense'"

WaPo:

Three years ago, Germany's military made headlines when it used broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise because of a shortage of equipment

...

In October, reports emerged that not a single German military submarine was operational — at a time when Russian submarine operations in the Baltic Sea were raising new concerns. Bundeswehr pilots are using choppers owned by a private automobile club to practice because so many of their own helicopters are in need of repair.
Related:
The U.S. Navy’s newest Littoral Combat Ship, USS Little Rock, will have to spend its winter up north instead of Florida’s warmer waters after the ship became stuck in ice in Montreal.

"schools are now removing individual student lockers from their hallways, and builders and designers for many new high schools don’t even include them in their plans"

WaPo:

Anyone with a high schooler in their orbit knows that students now want everything they own with them all of the time. Books, phones, water bottles, headphones, laptops, tablets, snacks, coats, extra shoes. Where students used to swap out textbooks between classes, they now navigate the halls bent over by jam-packed backpacks like Himalayan Sherpas shuffling along without a base camp. This carryall approach probably ensures a steady stream of patients for chiropractors, and it bewilders parents who don’t understand why their kids can’t just use an assigned locker to store their stuff.

For most students, the issue is time and convenience.

“My school is really big”

The sculpture garden from this week's episode of The X-Files is real



It's in Vancouver. Learned from this interview with Darin Morgan about “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat.”

Proposed XFL jersey name


At three years old, "she already has more than 3 million Instagram followers"

BF:

Mila and her twin sister, Emma, have grown up on their mom’s Instagram account. “Welcome to the world sweet nameless girls,” the caption on a photo from 2014 reads — the babies’ faces are new and puffy, their eyes closed. Their C-sections were posted to Katie’s YouTube account the following year.
...

Last month, I met the Stauffer family at their home on a quiet street in Arizona, hoping to see what it is actually like to run an Instagram business empire centered around a toddler.
... 
Prior to the publication of this article, Katie posted an Instagram Story to her millions of followers, tagging my Instagram handle, saying that I conducted the interview under false pretenses.

...

Katie said that on an average day, she usually has a certain number of photos she has to take to fulfill obligations to her sponsors. She also needs to take “normal” pictures to ensure her feed isn’t all ads.

When Playboy wanted to include a story by Ursula K. Le Guin, but didn't want the readers to know she was a woman

NY:

In the late sixties, Robie Macauley, the fiction editor of Playboy—“Entertainment for Men”—was publishing stories of literary interest. My agent, Virginia Kidd, who couldn’t be kept in a ghetto of any kind, sent him one of mine. It was pure science fiction, and all the important characters in it were men. Virginia submitted it under the discreet byline of U. K. Le Guin. When it was accepted, she revealed the horrid truth. Playboy staggered back, then rallied gamely. The editors said that they’d still like to publish “Nine Lives,” Virginia told me, but that their readers would be frightened if they saw a female byline on a story, so they asked if they could use the initials, instead of my first name.

Unwilling to terrify these vulnerable people, I told Virginia to tell them sure, that’s fine. Playboy thanked us with touching gratitude. Then, after a couple of weeks, they asked for an author biography.

At once, I saw the whole panorama of U.K.’s life as a gaucho in Patagonia, a stevedore in Marseilles, a safari leader in Kenya, a light-heavyweight prizefighter in Chicago, and the abbot of a Coptic monastery in Algeria.

The excellent game Meteorfall is now available on ios

$2.99.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

"The Pioneer Woman Mercantile serves an average of 6,000 customers per day, and sometimes as many as 15,000 people"

"Those numbers are especially impressive when you consider that only 3,500 people live in Pawhuska [Oklahoma]." "Because Pawhuska doesn’t really have lodging to accommodate this level of tourism, Drummond now plans to open her own hotel"

"PepsiCo tries to boost Gatorade's faltering sales"

Fox:

Most recently, PepsiCo introduced an organic version of the drink. Gatorade Organic, made with organic cane sugar and free of artificial coloring, comes in bottles wrapped with plastic that conceal the drink's lack of color

...

Gatorade and Coca-Cola's Powerade have been losing market share to BodyArmor

South Carolia "has no official state flag design, so flag makers make it up"

TS:

If you didn’t realize that was an issue, look a little closer at the flags atop the State House dome, in county offices and at your local Motor Vehicles office.

...

The result? One flag, which flew atop the State House for decades, features a palmetto tree with a voluminous set of fronds and a crescent that easily could be mistaken for a moon. (It’s not).

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Nightmare fuel

Courtesy of Indonesian special forces.

Disney wants Redbox to stop selling digital download codes

LAT:

Redbox buys combo packs of movies at physical retailers. Each pack contains a DVD, a Blu-ray disc and a piece of paper with a code that lets customers download a digital copy of the movie. After Redbox buys the packs, it takes them apart and sells the codes to customers, who can then redeem the codes at dedicated websites such as Disney's Movies Anywhere service.

...

Disney is asking the court to block Redbox from reselling the codes and is demanding damages in the form of Redbox profits from the sales, or up to $150,000 per infringed work.

Bring It On in real life


"Thanks to a spelling mistake this bizarre beaver-tiger hybrid became the symbol of a Siberian town"

AO:

The symbol of Irkutsk, Russia, is a mythological monster known as the babr. When the city first created its coat of arms in the 1600s, it used “babr,” an old local word, to describe a Siberian tiger. Sadly, as the years went on, tigers became extirpated and the chosen word fell out of fashion.

In the late 19th century, when officials in Saint Petersburg were tasked with redrawing the city’s coat of arms, they were baffled by the strange, foreign-looking word. Thinking someone had accidentally misspelled bobr (beaver), they took it upon themselves to concoct an entirely new creature.

Suspicions about Under Armour's speedskating uniform "infected the team like a virus"

NYT:

U.S. Speedskating has embraced this and other outside-the-box ideas in a bid to return to glory after a disastrous showing at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Perhaps just as notable has been the fact that many of these new ideas, including the tai chi sessions, have come directly from the apparel giant Under Armour, whose speedskating suit famously became a scapegoat for the American team’s shortcomings four years ago.

Rather than receding after that public relations catastrophe, Under Armour became determined to take a more hands-on approach in the team’s development. The company accounts for about 20 percent of the organization’s $1.2 million in sponsorship revenue — roughly on par with the federation’s other top sponsor, Toyota — but in this cycle Under Armour is providing resources and expertise in addition to money.

...

The hubbub over the suits began midway through the 2014 Games. The American speedskaters were scuffling and would ultimately fail to win a single medal. Soon questions arose about, and fingers were pointed at, Under Armour’s so-called Mach 39 suit, which had been developed with the help of Lockheed Martin and released with much fanfare. Some members of the American team came to believe that a set of vents on the back of the suit was letting in air — creating drag that was slowing them down.

Ted Morris, the executive director of U.S. Speedskating, said that a coach from another country planted the idea in one of the American skaters’ heads, and from there it infected the team like a virus.

"Islamist insurgents looted cash, gold and jewellery worth tens of millions of dollars when they occupied a southern Philippines town last year, treasure one of their leaders has used to recruit around 250 fighters for fresh attacks"

Reuters:

The Islamic celebration of Ramadan was looming at the time the militants struck and banks, businesses and homes had more money than usual, said Marawi City police chief Ebra Moxsir. The Maranaos, the ethnic group that dominates the area around Marawi, are mostly Muslims.

“There was a lot of money inside the battle area,” he told Reuters. “Maranaos keep millions of pesos in safety vaults in their homes. Gold, also. It is a tradition of the Maranao to give gifts of money (during Ramadan).”

Montesa said vans they loaded with the spoils of the raids were “overflowing”, with money, gold and other valuables stuffed into every crevice of the vehicles.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Two scifi novellas I really enjoyed are 85% off right now

Acadie by Dave Hutchinson, and All Systems Red by Martha Wells are both $1.99 right now at Amazon.

Skeleton helmets




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Moana music box by Hot Toys



I don't know if the Uku and Lele Lava Cosbaby Music Box Set did or will receive a more general release, but they're around $65 at ebay.

Brady's infinity gauntlet

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

"Police union slashes number of ‘get out of jail free’ cards issued"

New York Post:

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch slashed the maximum number of cards that could be issued to current cops from 30 to 20, and to retirees from 20 to 10, sources told The Post.

The cards are often used to wiggle out of minor trouble such as speeding tickets
Previously: "Police Union 'Courtesy Cards' Sold For Profit"

"What we now call 'queen' bees-the main female reproductive honeybees-were erroneously called 'kings' for nearly 2,000 years"

Thread.

"Tonight, in the tiny town of Paradise, Montana, I watched Cliven Bundy encourage all Montanan ranchers to stop signing their grazing leases with the federal govt"

Thread.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"How Stranger & Stranger Designed the Strangest Board Game"



Game of Stranger described here.

The city of Burbank added more than 16,500 jobs from 2010 to 2016 but built only 294 homes during that period

LAT:

Now a developer is proposing one of the most ambitious projects in decades: a 1,173-unit residential and retail project that would replace an old Ikea store at the Burbank Town Center mall, in part with apartments, some as small as 400 square feet.

...

[A member of community group Preserve Burbank] said he knows Burbank must build more to help with housing affordability, but the city can’t go overboard and must work to retain the “original character” that prompted people to move to Burbank in the first place.

"The NCAA’s Division II voted by a wide margin Saturday to allow Mexican colleges to apply for membership"

AP:

In 2008, Division II agreed to accept Canadian schools. Simon Fraser in Vancouver, British Columbia, became the first full-time member outside the U.S. in 2012-13 and remains the only international NCAA member.

...

Despite facing passport issues and other challenges, Petter said Simon Fraser has found creative ways to overcome those obstacles and believes schools in Mexico would find similar solutions.

“Murder Is Her Hobby" is an exhibition of 19 miniature crime scenes created by Frances Glessner Lee in the 1940s and ’50s as training tools for police investigators

NYT:

The models, meticulously handcrafted by Lee, are known as ‘‘The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.’’ Nearly all are owned by the Harvard Medical School and on loan from the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where they live, and continue to teach, some 70 years on.

I encourage you to drop what you’re doing and go to see them, before they go back into seclusion after the show closes on Jan. 28. The Nutshells are not only ingenious devices for the instruction of crime scene examiners, they are a body of imaginative work that would have established any artist’s career and place in art history.

Ms. Lee was not a schooled artist. She was a rich, frustrated woman in her 60s when she began them, and almost belligerent in her pursuit of a place in the infant field of forensic science.

Jumanji as a side-scrolling brawler


Friday, January 19, 2018

"Drought-stricken Cape Town, South Africa, could run out of water by April" 21

"The debilitating water shortage has forced city government to implement an online water consumption map, which will allow residents to check up on their neighbors’ water habits based on households’ municipal bills."

The Scarlet Witch


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Suspected serial killer arrested in Toronto

CTV:

"We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Esen and Mr. Kinsmen, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified,"

...

The announcement comes after police previously dismissed fears that a serial killer was targeting members of Toronto’s gay community.

Esen and Kinsman’s bodies have not been found, but Idsinga said investigators have “a pretty good idea” of how they died.
Related:
Police and sheriff's investigators were poised Wednesday afternoon to announce the arrest of a man suspected in the abduction and sexual assaults of at least a dozen women and teenage girls working in the sex trade in the South Los Angeles area

Concept art for The Grandmaster's ship in Thor Ragnarok


The Beast unfiltered


"I Took Jake Paul’s [$54] 74-Video Educational Series"

BF:

Over the course of 12 chapters, each chapter containing four to eight videos, Paul puts aside his pro wrestler–style barking at the camera and comes across as thoughtful and competent, with deep insight about social media and an astonishing bird’s eye view of the landscape he occupies.

...

Paul has all sorts of tips on how to make the smallest tweaks in video editing, profile, search engine optimization (“YouTube is, at the end of the day, a search engine…that’s why Google bought it,” he says), and what time of day to post (after school west coast time during the week, as early as possible on weekends), to game the algorithm.

...

Another sneaky trick Paul uses on Snapchat is to make his account look verified (even though it isn’t) by making his username have a ton of spaces after it and then an emoji. On Snapchat, only verified accounts have emojis associated with them that appear in the right-hand column of your friends list. By using the space bar and an emoji, you can trick people into thinking you’re verified, and this makes you stand out in their friends list so they’re more likely to tap into your stories.

Tattooed tree souls


When you're a fast walker


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"California bullet train cost surges by $2.8 billion: 'Worst-case scenario has happened'"

LAT:

Hill said the cost increases were mainly driven by problems including higher costs for land acquisition, issues in relocating utility systems, the need for safety barriers where the bullet trains would operate near freight lines and demands by stakeholders for the mitigation of myriad issues.

...

The challenges will apply to the next governor, though in the current campaign the leading candidates are doing their best to avoid talking about the project. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declined requests for an interview on the subject for more than two years, for example.
Related: True Detective Season 2.

"The state can't agree on what the missile alert interface actually looks like"

HNN:

On Monday night, the governor's office released an image of what it said was the interface used to send a false missile alert to Hawaii smart phones.

The confusing and seemingly rudimentary design quickly grabbed headlines nationally.

But a day later, the state's emergency management agency is disputing that image — and has released a different one.

Officials from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said the first image was sent in error, but declined to provide an actual photo of the interface.

Instead, they gave Hawaii News Now something they said was similar,

"Walking into the windowless office where payroll is processed for the state of Hawaii is like stepping back in time"

From 2013:

Clerks scour thousands of pages marked with red pen to calculate overtime and other changes to paychecks. They pencil down department totals in a paper ledger.

In most places such work is done on computers, but in Hawaii decades of putting technology funding on the backburner has led to an environment where state workers process payroll the same way they did 40 years ago, when offices were commonly equipped with rotary phones.

The world's #1 tennis player, Simona Halep, is currently competing without a clothing sponsor

Reuters:

In a thoroughly modern sourcing arrangement, Halep found a Chinese company on the Internet to make her an outfit and they produced one within 24 hours after she sent them a picture of what she wanted.

She wore the red dress to victory at this month’s Shenzhen Open and will wear it again at Melbourne Park.

"Ex-Navy commanders face negligent homicide charges over deadly collisions"

CNN:

The US Navy announced Tuesday that the former commanding officers of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain -- the ships involved in two deadly 2017 collisions that killed 17 sailors -- will face criminal charges including dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide.

"Here's why baseball's economic system might be broken"

Yahoo:

“There’s less interest in winning than I’ve ever witnessed before,” one union official said. “MLB has done a fantastic job of convincing the public that’s OK. I think fan bases are accepting of losing now. Sometimes they even want their team to lose.”

Whether on account of a rebuild or the desire to profit, at least eight teams have no intention of being serious players in the current free-agent market: the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays. The Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres could join them.

That’s 10 teams, a full third of MLB.
Related:
The New York Jets are lowering season-ticket prices, with the lowest prices being lower than those when the Jets first moved into MetLife Stadium in 2010.