Thursday, February 28, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Dr. Martens

"the boot appears black, but embossed Celtic knots and symbols reveal a striking emerald green underneath."

"Russian authorities have ordered the release of nearly 100 whales held captive in cages"

the problem of how to release the whales without harming them has caused delays and the animals remain in the enclosures, which Russian media have nicknamed a “whale prison”.


A petition to release the whales, shared by actor Leonardo DiCaprio on social media, has gathered more than 900,000 signatures online. Actress Pamela Anderson posted an open letter to Putin on her website.

"despite the flurry of reporting and warnings, it remains unclear how many Momo videos actually exist, whether they have actually caused kids to harm themselves, and just how widespread a phenomenon it is"

It’s also possible that media coverage has helped amplify the Momo Challenge into existence, creating a vicious cycle that encouraged people to post more Momo videos, sparked panic, and even caused police departments to issue warnings both about the challenge itself and the media’s promotion of it.

As of now, it’s nearly impossible to find out just how many of those videos were uploaded on YouTube, since the company has taken them down, making it difficult to search for them on the public-facing internet. YouTube told BuzzFeed News it has not seen any evidence of a widespread campaign.
Rolling Stone:
The Momo Challenge and the subsequent moral panic it has spawned is eerily similar to that inspired by the “Blue Whale” challenge, a Russia-based phenomenon that went viral last year. According to reports in the Russian media, the Blue Whale challenge involved teenagers following a series of increasingly self-harmful tasks over the course of 50 days, culminating with them being encouraged to take their own lives.

As is the case with most viral challenges, there was a grain of truth to reports of the Blue Whale challenge: There had been a recent rash of teen suicides in Russia (which has a higher-than-average teen suicide rate), and a man named Philipp Budeikin was arrested and charged with spawning the trend by organizing the game on social media. But most of the charges were later dropped, and it has since been reported that Budeikin likely created the groups as a way to promote his music career.

Here's a genuine nightmare:

"The Secrets of the World's Greatest Art Thief"

Stรฉphane Breitwieser robbed nearly 200 museums, amassed a collection of treasures worth more than $1.4 billion


What sets Breitwieser apart from nearly every other art thief—it's the trait, he believes, that has facilitated his prowess—is that he will steal only pieces that stir him emotionally.


In the center of the bedroom sits a grandiose canopied four-poster bed, draped with gold velour and red satin, surrounded by furniture stacked with riches. Silver goblets, silver platters, silver vases, silver bowls. A gold snuffbox once owned by Napoleon. A prayer book, lavishly illuminated, from the 1400s. Ornate battle weapons and rare musical instruments. Bronze miniatures and gilded teacups. Masterworks in enamel and marble and copper and brass. The hideaway shimmers with stolen treasure


About 50,000 artworks are stolen each year around the world, and according to the director of the London-based Art Loss Register

"Arsonists attack Ebola clinics in [Democratic Republic of Congo] as climate of distrust grows"

Seven months since the start of the outbreak, which has claimed 548 lives


Suspicion and rumours – including that Ebola is not real, or that it is being used for financial gain – are also rife.

Ten funny tweets

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cast costumes designed for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge; Designing the movie Captain Marvel costume

"Limiting Your Digital Footprints in a Surveillance State"

NYT interview with a reporter working in China:
In some parts of China, the police will demand to check your phone, usually to delete photos. Having two phones helps with this — to make it even trickier, I have the same case on both phones. But it’s also good to have other ways to protect your data. I use a few apps that disguise themselves as something innocuous but in fact hide and protect data. It’s also always handy to have a USB drive that can plug into your phone and be used to save stuff quickly.


A pilot program underway in more than 100 patient rooms at Cedars-Sinai is allowing patients to use an Alexa-powered platform known as Aiva to interact hands-free with nurses and control their entertainment. Aiva is the world's first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals.

In the pilot project, patient rooms are equipped with Amazon Echos and patients simply tell the device what they need

Ten funny tweets

*More funny tweets.

Cyborg humans available for rent today

Han and Lando print

By Chris Trevas.

The malleable news from India and Pakistan

"Furious Winds Lead to ‘Ice Tsunamis’ Along Lake Erie Read""

"Walls of ice—some as high as 30 feet—surged over the shoreline, colliding with residential properties"


"Fox Rocked by $179M 'Bones' Ruling: Lying, Cheating and 'Reprehensible' Studio Fraud"

Hollywood Reporter:
In coming to a decision, [the arbitrator] describes how some of Fox’s top executives . . . “appear to have given false testimony in an attempt to conceal their wrongful acts.” According to the ruling, Fox has taken a “cavalier attitude toward its wrongdoing" and exhibits a "company-wide culture and an accepted climate that enveloped an aversion for the truth."

Slamming the company with a punishment that includes $128 million in punitive damages, or five times the amount of compensatory damages, [the arbitrator] points out that the award is 0.6 percent of 21st Century Fox’s stipulated net worth.

He muses whether it’s really enough.

“In fact, one could question whether a five to one ratio given Fox’s financial condition and lack of contrition serves to deter the wrongful conduct at issue here, or whether it will be considered part of the cost of doing business,” writes the arbitrator.


The nearly $200 million award amounts to the second-largest in television industry history, after a 2011 jury verdict punishing Disney to the tune of $319 million over profit-sharing for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It will not only put Murdoch’s Fox sale in a whole new light, but may also raise questions about the future viability of Hulu, plus any platform enjoying what’s pejoratively known as “Hollywood accounting.”

"Supreme Blue Rose is a lot of things: it’s a William Gibson novel told as a Superman comic, the sequel to Planetary"

From a lengthy article by Vรฉronique Emma Houxbois discussing Supreme Blue Rose by Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay:
Morrison’s Batman Incorporated epic was bifurcated by Flashpoint to such a comical degree that when Cameron Stewart was drawing the Leviathan Strikes one shot bridging the two volumes, he had to go back and redraw Stephanie Brown alternatively as Batgirl and Spoiler while editorial went back and forth on whether it took place before or after Flashpoint, which wiped out her time as Batgirl. So if there’s a single, identifiable point at which time died screaming at DC comics, it was when Stewart was hunched over his artboard contemplating Schrodinger’s Stephanie Brown.


Because the starting point for Supreme Blue Rose is mapping Moore’s work on Supreme onto William Gibson’s loose Blue Ant Trilogy (Spook Country, Pattern Recognition, and Zero History), it takes a far more specific frame of reference to unpick exactly who and what the comic’s protagonist is, who she’s looking for, and what she’s going to find out along the way.

The most shocking revelation at the core of Supreme Blue Rose is that Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay made the greatest Lois Lane comic in recent memory without ever acknowledging that it was, in fact, a Lois Lane comic.


In 2010, a lot of what Sterling was saying came off as outlandish and obscure outside of design circles, but as he alluded to at the time, if you didn’t get it, you’d be forced to. Now that we’ve found ourselves fully immersed in a status quo where emptied out department stores are being used as concentration camps to house asylum seekers crossing the southern US border and California Senator Dianne Feinstein is captured on video dismissing children for urging action on climate change we all get it because, like he said, we were forced to get it.


Multi temporal aesthetics, like anything, have probably been around for a long time in some form, but an easy early contemporary example is Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof: everyone drives vintage cars, wear vintage clothing, and otherwise style themselves according to a platonically ideal 1970s that only exists in Tarantino’s head, but none of the aspects of the era it was shot in are scrubbed out, creating wild contradictions: people still carry cellphones but listen to the radio. What was an idiosyncratic quirk at the time is now the dominant aesthetic.


Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s TV interpretations of Archie Comics, Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Teenage Witch are the most perfect, jarring examples.


So what if we tweak things? What if Fredric Wertham was too occupied pursuing racial justice to write Seduction of the Innocent and the comics industry never came under enough pressure to adopt the CCA? What if the thriving Black-owned comics publishers were never driven out of business and EC didn’t get crushed for depicting a Black astronaut as the last surviving human?
Supreme Blue Rose is available at Amazon. Alan Moore's preceding volumes of Supreme are also excellent.

Crazy hops

Frightening articulated jaws; Sign asks men to not take up skirt photos; Dinosaur riding props

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"Dutch authorities boarded a ship and seized 90,000 bottles of vodka they believe may have been headed to the North Korean regime"

The vessel had a total of 8,000 to 9,000 containers on board, said customs official Arno Kooij. "One of those containers was the one we were looking for," he said.

The container in question was found hidden beneath an airplane fuselage being transported by ship. Despite fears that the fuselage could be damaged, Dutch trade officials decided to extract the container.

"Former Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is now an FBI agent"

Tillman earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette before the Bears drafted him in the second round in 2003. He grew up in a military family — his father, Donald Tillman Jr., was a sergeant in the Army — and attended 11 schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.

"China’s most popular app is a propaganda tool teaching Xi Jinping Thought"

“Study points” are earned by users who log on the app, read articles, make comments every day and participate in multiple-choice tests about the party’s policies.

That points feature also offers a method to monitor the compulsory use of the app. Party cadres across the country are now required to use the app every day and accumulate their scores, according to recent state media reports.


A new feature that allows users to redeem their “study points” for gifts is yet to be launched.

"THQ Nordic Held Q&A on a Website Banned for Suspected Child Pornography"

The move was so brazen and strange that it was reasonable to assume it was the result of someone hacking THQ Nordic’s social media account, but then the Q&A actually started


And yet, it’s true. It all happened.


THQ Nordic has no excuse here. 8chan’s origins and purpose are not mysterious or hard to find. That the company has quickly backpedaled and apologized for their apparent lack of due diligence does precious little to excuse what happened here. What’s especially damning is what each of them said on 8chan. They were more than happy to play ball with the crowd.

It also doesn't explain the most recent like on THQ Nordic's Twitter account

In other video game news:

Ten funny tweets

"MLB asked Nevada to stop taking bets on spring training games. Nevada said no"

"These games are not conducive to betting and carry heightened integrity risks, and states should not permit bookmakers to offer bets on them,” the league said in a statement


“Based on our history and experience in regulating sports wagering, we are not inclined to prohibit our licensed sports books from taking wagers on MLB Spring Training games,” it wrote in response, again according to Purdum. “We have a common goal to combat sports bribery and maintain the integrity of your sport, and are available to discuss ways we can work together in this effort.”

New Detective Pikachu trailer in which Pikachu says, "I've dealt with this putz before"

Monday, February 25, 2019

Ten funny tweets

Game lets you trash a town with a bulldozer; the game named "Faces...Tris III"; A racing game where you compete against your own ghosts

"Mystery surrounds humpback whale found dead in depths of Brazil’s Amazon jungle"

Officials from Para state’s health, sanitation and environment department said they only found the 11m-long whale after following the birds of prey which were scavenging on its huge carcass.

The remains were deposited in such a remote part of the mangrove swamp in the Amazonian delta that it took two trips for the wildlife experts to reach the site.

"Nike says it’s 'actively working' to fix its broken smart sneakers"

"For the time being, the shoes can sometimes be fixed with a hard reset, which involves holding down sneakers' two buttons."

And from user comments on the app:
Initially I was not able to hard reset my shoe despite talking with Nike Support. After the update, my left shoe had a white/rainbow color. It would not reboot even after holding both buttons. After about 10 seconds, the lights would turn off, but the shoe would not blink red and reboot as expected. Randomly, I rebooted the right shoe and for some reason I was then able to reboot the left shoe. So for now I can manually adjust the shoes with the buttons but like everyone here, the app won't connect.


Was having the same pairing issues as others noted but finally got it to work. You need to do a manual reset of both shoes per the instructions. 1. Hold down both buttons until they are red and then release. 2. Hold down one button until the lights come on. Continue holding down button while pressing other button 3 times until both are green. 3. Repeat steps on other shoe. After that the app paired on the first time and immediately applied an update to the shoe software and now they don't work.

There were some fun creepy aliens in the latest episode of Discovery

The Ba'ul. Also:

Several new designs at Last Exit to Nowhere

Including designs based on Blade Runner 2049, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and Knight Rider. Several older designs have also been added to the clearance section.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Oscars 2019

Slingshot by James Jean

Junji Ito-inspired makeup; Smoking Pumpkin; Privacy intrusions by Facebook

Ten funny tweets

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Wargaming miniatures roundup