Saturday, June 30, 2018

Suffrage propaganda; QOTSA poster; Rick Baker gets interviewed as King Kong

Completing my unintentional ‘great summer gigs’ triptych, I’m honoured and thrilled to reveal my official poster for @queensofthestoneage huge show at Finsbury Park today. ✨ Silk screen printed using eight colours, including metallic gold ink, on 100lb ‘Harvest’ stock, these will be available at the event in strictly limited numbers, including a very limited gold foil variant. ⚡️Expertly hand screen printed by @printsofthieves ⚡️ I’ll have my own set hitting the store in the near future - if you’d like info on that or any of my other recent posters, simply join my mailing list by clicking the link in my bio ⚡️ thanks ⚡️ Now it’s time to sit in a field with a well earned beer and enjoy the show 🍺🌞⚡️ __________________________________ #richeybeckett #queensofthestoneage #penandink #finsburypark #painscastle
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"German man suspected of killing 21 co-workers by poisoning their food"

On Wednesday, authorities announced they would be expanding their investigation to include the deaths of 21 more employees who have died since 2000.


The suspect has been working for ARI Armaturen for 38 years, manager Blechinger said, describing the man as "conspicuously inconspicuous."

Wargaming miniatures roundup

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"Petscop is the internet's most popular haunted video game, and no-one knows yet what it all means, nor what it's all leading to."

Last March, a Youtube channel titled Petscop began releasing Let's Play-style videos of what appeared to be a bargain-bin Playstation One game designed to entice undiscerning children. The video's narrator Paul claims to have just found the Petscop game with cursed cheat-code and spooky note intact.


He is a believable streamer, complete with long sections of episodes where he runs around finding very little. These sequences not only build tension, but lend authenticity to proceedings. Like the finest of creepypasta (a digital urban legend spread by reaction, and subject to all the sensationalist tropes therein) Petscop is a cannilly designed found artefact. Even its loading screens are steeped in lore - users who took the time to brighten them revealed strange new images previously indiscernible.

As soon as Paul plays through the aforementioned cheat code, things take a decidedly darker turn. The character descends into a world of black skies and dense grass, and the jangly music of the previous level is replaced with silence. After a long stretch of lonely running, he finds a door. It does not open, and the first episode ends.
Related: A review of Subserial Network:
Subserial Network is one of those games that presents itself as a desktop application, paying homage to old multimedia experiments like the excellent 1996 CD-ROM classic Spycraft: The Great Game and of course to Christine Love's seminal 2010 piece Digital: A Love Story with which it shares a number of visual and narrative themes.

Park describes the game as a 'multi-window experience' but that significantly understates the radical nature of the design. We have lately seen a number of 'computer within a computer' classics, from Digital and Beglitched to Cibele and Her Story, but unlike those games, Subserial Network consists of various programs and files that live on your actual computer desktop, and the wallpaper in these images is just a suggested wallpaper image that they provide in the folder, that I applied to my own Mac desktop. In a way that goes beyond other experiments like Ivan Zanotti's horror game IMSCARED or Robert Yang's Hurt Me Plenty, it breaks that most inviolable of fourth walls, the boundary between the game and the rest of your computer. Games are fiction (which is supposed to stay in-world and in-character) but they are also software (which is supposed to stay obediently in its sandbox).

Thematically that is a perfect metaphor for the story the game tells, which is about characters who are driven to cross forbidden digital thresholds in pursuit of recognition and happiness.

Ten funny tweets

Friday, June 29, 2018

"Germany’s intelligence service acknowledged on Friday that it had employed the daughter of top Nazi Heinrich Himmler in the 1960s"

she never renounced her father or Nazism, and remained active in far-right extremism.


At the time Burwitz worked for the BND, it was led by Reinhard Gehlen, a former Nazi military intelligence commander who went on to run West Germany’s spy agency until 1968.

"Every eyedrop is bigger than what the eye can contain, many two to three times too large, causing the excess to spill out"

Song assembled a team of like-minded friends and colleagues — her partner Elias Baker, a biomedical engineer; and Cristina Sainati, Jennifer Steger, Josh Cohen and Mackenzie Andrews, all graduate students from the pharmacology, bioengineering and MBA programs at the University of Washington — to develop a solution. They call it the “Nanodropper”: an affordable, universal adapter for eyedrop bottles, which minimizes the droplet size and reduces barriers to expensive prescription medicines.

After winning first prize in the Johns Hopkins Student Healthcare Design Competition, the team is currently seeking funding to manufacture the Nanodropper. “All the reaction we’ve been getting is, ‘How does a simple solution like this not already exist?’”

Thursday, June 28, 2018

"Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening"

Their goal was to assure Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that his judicial legacy would be in good hands should he step down at the end of the court’s term that ended this week, as he was rumored to be considering. Allies of the White House were more blunt, warning the 81-year-old justice that time was of the essence. There was no telling, they said, what would happen if Democrats gained control of the Senate after the November elections and had the power to block the president’s choice as his successor.


But they had a connection, one Mr. Trump was quick to note in the moments after his first address to Congress in February 2017. As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice.

“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”

Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.

During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.

Disney's robot stuntmen; Shopping with a gas mask; Hand drawn video game covers

"Seven Tools for Discerning Burglars"

Including the "Thermic lance".

"Should James choose to leave the Cavaliers, Fanatics, the world's largest licensed jersey seller, would be on the hook for potentially millions of dollars in exchanges"

The brand softly launched a program called Jersey Assurance in November that allows fans to exchange a player's jersey free of charge if that player changes teams within 90 days of the purchase. The company more boldly announced the details of the program in January, with an additional partner in American Express. If an NBA jersey was purchased with an AmEx card on Fanatics, that fan got a year to exchange jerseys if a player is no longer affiliated with that team.

"A Polish charity has received a huge phone bill after it lost a GPS tracker that it had placed on the back of a stork, it's reported"

BBC relying on the Super Express newspaper:
somebody found the tracker in Sudan, removed the sim card and put it in their own phone, where they then racked up 20 hours' worth of phone calls.

Radio Poland says that the organisation has received a phone bill of over 10,000 Polish zloty ($2,700; £2,064), which it will have to pay.

"in 2013, an NSCA journal published a study claiming that CrossFit had a 16% injury rate"

According to more than 1,500 pages of documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News, the CrossFit study was indeed tainted by phony data. After it was published, the study was retracted, the journal’s editor stepped down, the Ohio State University professor who led the study resigned, and a judge accused the NSCA of lying under oath and withholding evidence. Just this month, two of the NSCA’s three law firms stopped representing it, and its insurer filed a complaint to get out of covering the nearly $500,000 in penalties lodged on the organization for failing to produce evidence.


Inspired largely by this flurry of press, the Russells launched their blog and began strategizing what to do about their number one enemy, the NSCA.

Greene began filling a Google Doc with all of his opposition research, titled “CrossFit vs. Big Soda.” It’s now 270 pages long. Once, he covered a whiteboard with lines and arrows connecting PepsiCo and Coca-Cola employees to various rings of the NSCA, from low-level members to board members, to the editors of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which had published the study.


The Russells contend that the NSCA and a similar group, the American College of Sports Medicine, are out to get CrossFit because the upstart has threatened their long-standing dominance of the industry. Historically, a personal trainer would pay to get certified through an organization like the NSCA (which claims more than 45,000 members) or the ACSM (more than 50,000 members). But now a growing number — some 134,000 trainers around the world — are choosing to get credentialed by CrossFit.


And there was a hashtag, #CrushBigSoda. In June 2015, CrossFit Instagrammed and tweeted a Coke ad, replacing its “Open happiness” slogan with “Open diabetes.” The next day, pop singer Nick Jonas, who has Type 1 diabetes, tweeted an admonishment: “This is not cool.” Greene tweeted back a screenshot showing that Coca-Cola sponsored Jonas’s concerts

Roe Tico's glam moment

Ten funny tweets

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"Genealogists Turn to Cousins’ DNA and Family Trees to Crack Five More Cold Cases"

In the last seven days, genealogical sleuthing techniques that are old to a handful of genealogists but new to most law enforcement have led to arrests in Washington State and Pennsylvania and unearthed a lead in a 37-year-old murder in Texas. All three cases were only revived when crime scene DNA was uploaded to GEDMatch, the same open-source ancestry site used in the Golden State killer case.

CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist now working with Parabon, a forensic consulting firm, was involved in all three of the cases. She said she honed her techniques over a decade by helping thousands of adoptees track down their biological parents.

"a Mormon millionaire wants to build an expansive, self-contained community [in Vermont] based on a vision from the father of the Latter-Day Saints movement"

NewVistas is a scheme to build a sustainable, high-density city in rural Vermont, one that, if built as planned, would hold about 3 percent of the state’s current population. Its developer is David Hall, a Mormon entrepreneur who claims that he discovered, in 1973, a set of design documents from Joseph Smith dating back to the 1830s. This blueprint scroll outlines a community, one square mile in size, that houses 20,000 people.


Within the community, each person will be allotted just 200 square feet of living space, but apartments will be soundproofed, with Roomba-sized robots that rearrange furniture for different needs and times of day. Each robot, Hall says, will move quickly, “then go right back into its nest.” Furnishings and possessions not being used will be stored inside 4-by-4-foot boxes that are integrated into the apartment floors and electronically move up and down as needed.

Messi and Ronaldino stylized figures by Eric So

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"Tick Discovery Highlights How Few Answers We Have about These Pests in the U.S."

Nightmare fuel:
Last August Tadhgh Rainey, division manager at the Hunterdon County Division of Public Health Services in Flemington, N.J., received an odd phone call. An assistant in a nearby building excitedly explained to him that a woman had walked into their office covered in tiny ticks—far more than they had ever seen on one person. “She’s really scared—and now we’re kind of scared, and her pants are in our freezer,” the assistant said.

The woman, a local farmer, had been shearing her sheep when she realized she was covered in black, crawling spots and booked it to the health department. She had a change of clothes in her car and gave the health office staff her bespeckled pants; they threw them in the lab freezer to kill the ticks. Later that day Rainey headed over to his colleague’s building, where the staff took the pants back out of the freezer and shook the clinging ticks out into a pan. They saved about a thousand—although the ticks were dead, Rainey wanted to keep them for further testing. “I took a look at them, just thinking, ‘Well, that's an awful lot of ticks,’” Rainey recalls. “It was almost exhilarating—to the point where you wanna blow up the building, though.”


Rainey reached out to colleagues but they also had no idea what type of ticks they were.

Poster and advertisement for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

(Maria Arenas's site.)

"An Anti-Doping Agent Occupied Serena Williams’s Property And Everyone Is Being Squirrelly About It"

A doping control officer showed up to test Williams at 8:30 a.m, when she was not at home. An assistant let the USADA officer into the home, and the officer refused to leave until Williams had been tested.


According to a USADA database, Williams has been tested five times so far in 2018. This total—which doesn’t include the June 14 test mission, which did not come to fruition—is more than twice that of other top American women’s tennis players.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"I Helped Design The Election Simulation 'Parlor Game' Rebekah Mercer Got, And It's Not What You Think"

How was your Monday? Mine was odd. Have you ever seen a news story where you know the reports are getting things wrong? This is like that, but on steroids. In fact, this was a story in which not only were the basic points wrong, but the wrongness started to go viral.


First off, no, this was not a game for rich evil billionaires to relive the election and the joys of playing with the populace. This was actually in response to the 2016 election, and how the role the internet played in that election took a lot of people -- especially in Silicon Valley -- by surprise. The founders of, Brett Horvath and Berit Anderson, thought it might be useful to do some scenario planning to game out how tech might impact future elections, as a way to think through the potential challenges and pitfalls that might eat away at democracy. The founders of Scout recently spun out to deal with the problem directly and protect pro-democracy groups around the globe from information warfare and cyber attacks. The idea behind the Machine Learning President was to use the game to get people to think about these issues, and to prepare for potential abuses of the system, while also thinking through ways that technology could be used for good -- to protect democracy.

Results from the Gates "Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching initiative "

Overall, however, the initiative did not achieve its goals for student achievement or graduation, particularly for LIM students.

With minor exceptions, by 2014–2015, student achievement, access to effective teaching, and dropout rates were not dramatically better than they were for similar sites that did not participate in the Intensive Partnerships initiative.
One summary:
“From 2009 through 2016, total IP [Intensive Partnership] spending (i.e., expenditures that could be directly associated with the components of the IP initiative) across the seven sites was $575 million.” In addition, Rand estimates that the cost of staff time to conduct the evaluations to measure effectiveness totaled about $73 million in 2014-15, a single year of the program. Assuming that this staff time cost was the same across the 7 years of the program they examined, the total cost of this initiative exceeded $1 billion. The Gates Foundation paid $212 million of this cost, with the rest being covered primarily by “site funds,” which I believe means local tax dollars. The federal government also contributed a significant portion of the funding.

So what did we get for $1 billion? Not much.
More here.

Fortnite has earned "more than $1.2 billion in revenue"

"Unlike 2016’s free-to-play hit Pokémon Go, whose revenue declined after a blockbuster launch, Fortnite revenue has continued to increase eight months after launch"

Monday, June 25, 2018

Land Rover cake; Lacquered dolphin skull; Solo cups in Star Wars

Land Rover 70th Anniversary cake. We were discussing the project and how we could get it realized for about a month. Then it took a week to create this project Stages: 1- we made a 3D model on the computer, 2- we prepared drawings for cutting chocolate cars out of chocolate plates, 3- I made plates of tempered chocolate (they were of different color), 4- we cut chocolate cars, 5- we put all the cars together, 6- I made the cake, 7- the last stage – photo shooting (we devoted a lot of time to it). Of course, the most important part is the cake itself. I was working on its recipe individually. I wanted to create a cake that would meet modern trends. It’s a cherry cheesecake with Sakura tea. The crunchy layer is made of caramelized pecans and dried cherries; almond sponge with lemon zest; berry confit ; berry cremeux; the last layer is cheese mousse. This cake doesn’t contain cream and is very low in fat and sugar. . Торт на юбилей компании Land Rover специально для журнала ONELIFE Land Rover @landrover. Мы обсуждали проект и его реализацию около месяца. Затем у меня была всего неделя на его реализацию, поэтому работали практически круглосуточно. Этапы: 1- 3D-модель на компьютере, 2- подготовка чертежей для резки на фрезеровочном станке, 3- подготовка пластин из шоколада разного цвета, 4- нарезка плоскостей, 5- сборка композиции вместе, 6 - приготовление торта, 7 - последний этап - фото и видеосьемка, которые длились около 15 часов. Конечно очень важная часть для меня это - рецепт. Я хотела создать торт, который бы соответствовал современным тенденциям, поэтому здесь нет сливок, низкое содержание сахара и жиров. Это вишневый чизкейк с чаем Сакуры. Хрустящий слой изготовлен из карамелизированных орехов пекан и сушенной вишни; миндальная бисквит с лимонной цедрой; ягодное конфи; ягодное кремю; последний слой - сырный мусс. Для меня было большой честью готовить этот торт специально для юбилея Land Rover. . . @dinarakasko #dinarakasko #okmycake #pastryinspiration #chocolatejewels #pastryart #cake #kharkov #харьков #chefsofinstagram #gastroart #art #pastryart #chefstalk #pastry #chefs #geometry #instadessert #foodcreation #foodartchefs #foodporn #beautifulcuisine #
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"It’s Easy To Scam Your Way Into Free Hotel Stays By Pretending To Be An Instagram Star"

If her name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you've already heard of @wanderingggirl before: It’s the handle of an Instagram influencer with 63,000 followers who turned out to be a total fake, a persona created by a team at digital marketing agency Mediakix. They curated a glamorous feed of stock photos and bought followers as an experiment to see how easy it would be to get brand endorsement deals with a fabricated account.

Mediakix came clean to the press last summer about its stunt to make a point about how far a fake influencer could go and show how brands and advertisers aren’t savvy about looking out for fake followers or fake engagement on Instagram. It expected Instagram to shut down @wanderingggirl after it went public about the hoax — but it didn’t. So Mediakix decided to keep going, this time with the travel industry.

Thanos copter

Available for preorder from Mattel.

"In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China"

Last month, scientists disclosed a global pollution mystery: a surprise rise in emissions of an outlawed industrial gas that destroys the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer.


Interviews, documents and advertisements collected by The New York Times and independent investigators indicate that a major source — possibly the overwhelming one — is factories in China that have ignored a global ban

Ten funny tweets

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

"Saudi Moves Forward With Plan to Turn Qatar Into Island"

"Five international companies that specialize in digging canals have been invited to vie for the project, with bids closing on Monday and the winner to be chosen within 90 days"

Wargaming miniatures roundup

"Kilauea's eruption reignites debate over Hawaii's geothermal plant"

The only geothermal plant on Hawaii’s Big Island has been closed for more than six weeks because of the Kilauea volcano's eruptions. But a faction of local residents who believe that tapping the volcano for energy carries serious health and environmental risks -- and is an affront to Hawaiian values -- want it to stay closed for good.

The plant, Puna Geothermal Venture, began commercial operation 25 years ago despite objections from locals who worried the release of geothermal fluid, including hydrogen sulfide, endangered residents. Some members of the Puna community, including native Hawaiians, also say that geothermal development would subvert their worship of the volcano goddess Pele. Now, the closure of the plant has given new life to their objections.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

"A raid by Cambodian authorities on an illegal surrogacy business in Phnom Penh uncovered 33 women paid to deliver babies for Chinese couples"

the women had been offered up to $10,000 to give birth for Chinese clients.


Cambodian authorities banned the practice in 2016 after prospective parents turned to the impoverished country in the wake of a ban in neighbouring Thailand the previous year.

"one of the nasty tricks I'm seeing on Facebook, people are putting fake hairs on their ads to make people brush away or click the ad"

From: "How useful errors and evolving player skills shape Fortnite's UX"

Classical ladies in a modern setting; Rainbow portal; Giant Rats

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