Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New HumbleBundle is a bunch of RPG books for $1

Temple of the Azure Eye and several others for $1.

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Wandavision makeup; "Open Water" painting; Control mod

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A detailed discussion of whether the subreddit's manipulation of Gamestop stock is illegal

In today's newsletter, Matt Levine goes into great detail on various possible theories of prosecution. The TLDR:

I guess my answer would be that it might be illegal in all sorts of ways, but it is not obviously illegal, and if the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission were to go after WallStreetBets for this stuff they will be breaking new ground and going beyond their previous cases. I do not want to say “this stuff is all fine,” but I will say I am not all that bothered by it.

He also discusses the new Leon Black/Jeffrey Epstein revelations:

After Epstein was arrested on sex-trafficking charges and died in jail, there was quite a bit of wild speculation about where his money came from, and specifically about why billionaires were so willing to pay him so much money for somewhat vague services. After all that speculation, finding out that Leon Black paid Epstein $150 million for differentiated advice that really saved him $2 billion of taxes is in some ways the most boring possible explanation.

At the same time … what? Why was Epstein, who was not a lawyer or an accountant or a college graduate for that matter, so good at tax? I actually don’t have too much trouble believing this—in my experience, some people are just born with a natural gift for tax structuring, and need surprisingly little formal training to achieve their potential—but it is fascinating. Black would go his lawyers and say “hey my guy found this way to save a billion dollars in taxes, is it legal,” and the fancy lawyers in the Paul Weiss tax department would say “wow, sure is, this is amazing, why didn’t we think of this, this guy is a Michelangelo of tax minimization”? I don’t know, it’s just a weird niche. Also what did Black actually do to save all those taxes?

More on WallStreetBets:

Strange Academy covers

 #7 covers by Adrian Alphona and Humberto Ramos, and #6 by Sara Pichelli:

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Godzilla vs. Kong S.H.MonsterArts figures available for preorder

At the BBTS:

Polygon pants; Moody photo from the town that inspired Mexican Gothic; Bane in a sweater

Monday, January 25, 2021

Dutch pandemic enthusiasts burned down a COVID-19 testing center


Protesters opposed to coronavirus lockdowns in several Dutch cities clashed with police over the weekend after new restrictions went into effect.

Videos of the demonstrations posted online show large crowds of people — many not wearing masks — using bicycles to build barricades along city streets, and hurling rocks at officers and passing police vans. Shops were broken into and looted.


In the city of Urk, northeast of Amsterdam, police reported that protesters torched a COVID-19 testing center.

Grogu joins Medicom's Ultra Detail Figure line

Five different figurines available for preorder, including meme Grogu:

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World's smallest park; Tiny rat playing a trumpet; Kaiju island

Sunday, January 24, 2021

A powerful family in Southampton, New York bought the mayor's home in an apparent effort to make him a non-resident and ineligible to run for reelection

NYPost on the ongoing battle (the mayor is refusing to move out until he has secured new lodging):

[A] powerful and wealthy Hamptons clan — purchased [the mayor]’s rental home in July 2020 ... With the pandemic turning the Hamptons rental market into a feeding frenzy, it was difficult for the mayor to immediately find a new place.

"Inside the world's biggest vaccine factory, India's Serum Institute"

Channel News Asia:

Its journey kicked off on a stud farm, where the firm's owners, the Poonawalla family, began breeding horses in 1946, before a conversation with a vet sparked the realisation that anti-toxin serum extracted from the animals could be used to make vaccines.


The palm-fringed Pune campus, whose grounds boast horse-shaped topiaries in a playful nod to the firm's origins, is home to several buildings where vaccines are manufactured


The pandemic has transformed Poonawalla's public profile, from a jet-setting billionaire known for his expensive taste in cars and fine art to a pharma-tycoon

Someone fired a bullet into the home of an official at the Ohio Department of Health

Columbus Dispatch:

Although [the assistant medical director of the Ohio Department of Health] works at the state health department, she's mostly remained behind the scenes during the pandemic. 

There's an ongoing campaign of intimidation in the state:

Before [former director of the Ohio Department of Health] resigned in June, she became the target of threats and anti-Semitic slurs.

People protested outside of [the former director's] home. Some of the protesters showed up with guns.


After [the former director] left her job atop the state health department, [the governor] announced her replacement... But, just hours after she was announced...[the replacement] withdrew her name from consideration.



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Planter droids; 3D print of flaky strudel; Successful poster discusses the extensive abuse she received from other artists

Digital ghosts; Firefighting robot; Undead professor

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Dutch police arrested the suspected leader of one of the world's biggest drug syndicates

The Guardian:

[He] was detained on Friday at the request of Australian police, who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70bn-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade


The syndicate he is suspected of running is known to its members as “The Company”. Law enforcers also refer to it as “Sam Gor” – or Brother No 3 in Cantonese – after one of Tse’s nicknames

A Reuters article from 2019:

He is Asia’s most-wanted man. He is protected by a guard of Thai kickboxers. He flies by private jet. And, police say, he once lost $66 million in a single night at a Macau casino.


In what it calls a conservative estimate, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) puts the Sam Gor syndicate’s meth revenue in 2018 at $8 billion a year, but says it could be as high as $17.7 billion. 


Over the years, police have had little success in taking down Asia’s drug lords. Some of the suspected syndicate leaders have been involved in drug trafficking for decades, according to the AFP target list. The last time a top-level Asian narcotics kingpin was successfully prosecuted and imprisoned for more than a short period was in the mid-1970s. That’s when Ng Sik-ho, a wily Hong Kong drug trafficker known as Limpy Ho, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for smuggling more than 20 tonnes of opium and morphine, according to court records.

Lyft "priority mode" promises more work for drivers that agree to a 10% pay cut


"We launched Priority Mode at the beginning of the pandemic to help drivers stabilize their earnings and give them another option around how to make the best use of their time," a Lyft spokesman said in an email. "It's one of the many ways we are continually working to improve the platform so drivers can reach their personal goals."


Both Lyft and Uber have consistently cut drivers' pay over the years. About a decade ago, when the companies first started out, drivers could reportedly expect to make roughly $20 per hour after expenses. Now that number is believed to have dropped by half. 

Meanwhile, in Brexit news:

the government is looking at scrapping some EU labour laws now it is no longer bound by the bloc's rules.


Confirming the review on Tuesday, [Business Secretary Kwasi] Kwarteng told MPs there would be no "bonfire of rights".

"I think the view was that we wanted to look at the whole range of issues relating to our EU membership and examine what we wanted to keep, if you like," he said.

But he said "the idea that we are trying to whittle down standards, that's not at all plausible or true".

But a labor victory in New York:

A weeklong strike at the nation’s largest wholesale produce market ended Saturday after workers overwhelmingly approved a deal that includes their largest pay increase in decades and more money for health coverage.


The market remained open during the strike, with management bringing in temporary workers and using police and private security to safeguard delivery trucks. 

If you're a "thought leader" willing to pay $2,000, you can get published on

The Guardian (in an article that turns upon itself):

Rolling Stone magazine is offering “thought leaders” the chance to write for its website if they are willing to pay $2,000 to “shape the future of culture”.


 Pieces already published as part of the scheme include a set of positive predictions for the future of the cannabis industry by a PR executive who represents a cannabis producer, and a piece praising the social nature of sports betting by the founder of an online sports betting community.


While many media companies – including the Guardian – feature clearly signposted branded content on their websites, it is less common for a major journalism brand to offer third parties, including PR professionals, the chance to pay to write pieces for publication.


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MAFEX No.152 Infinity War Doctor Strange available for preorder


2 Head sculpts

3 Pairs of hands

12 Magic effect pieces

2 Eye of Agamotto necklaces

This week's best Warhammer 40 miniatures

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