Thursday, September 30, 2021

Badly misleading viral tweet about Facebook's testimony today

Buzzfeed editor dunking:

The prelude to the question:
Slate summarized the WSJ's recent reporting on the topic.

Wild story about "yellow rain" that the U.S. claimed was a Soviet chemical weapon being used to kill people in Southeast Asia


Yellow rain was the subject of a 1981 political incident in which the United States Secretary of State Alexander Haig accused the Soviet Union of supplying T-2 mycotoxin to the Communist states in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for use in counterinsurgency warfare. Refugees described many different forms of "attacks", including a sticky yellow liquid falling from planes or helicopters, which was dubbed "yellow rain". The U.S. government alleged that over ten thousand people had been killed in attacks using these supposed chemical weapons. The Soviets denied these claims and an initial United Nations investigation was inconclusive.

Samples of the supposed chemical agent that were supplied to a group of independent scientists turned out to be honeybee feces, suggesting that the "yellow rain" was due to mass defecation of digested pollen grains from large swarms of bees.

Another write-up of the story here.

"A sword-wielding man dressed as a ninja attacked several special operations soldiers who were training at a California airport"

Stars and Stripes:

The staff sergeant was sitting outside the administration building at the airport hangar smoking a cigarette when he was approached by “an unknown person wearing full ninja garb,” the photographed document states.

It is unclear from the records whether the man was an actual practitioner of ninjutsu.

“Do you know who I am?” the ninja asked, to which the soldier replied no, according to the document.

“Do you know where my family is?” the black-clad man then asked. The staff sergeant again answered no.

“The person in ninja garb began to slash

A former Michelin inspector describes how he got hired and what is was like traveling the world


Usually, I had to dine alone, for breakfast, lunch and dinner…


What people don’t understand fully, your 10 meals a week, you are probably lucky to get one starred restaurant a week or a star contender, and the other meals are pretty mediocre. And that’s kind of a drudge. And you get into awkward situations, when at the end of you finishing your region, you have an extra restaurant to go to where you haven’t factored it in. So you do dinner at 6 pm, and you do another dinner at 8 pm. So it’s lunch, dinner and dinner.

Today's funny posts

Augmented reality menu; Multiplayer horse game looks great; Impressive Soundwave cosplay

Dead ink is a scifi game about vertigo and gaining enough ink to keep 3d printing your body and weapons

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

"a union of SEC college football players could be the single strongest progressive group in the south"

Hamilton Nolan:

In a number of states, a well organized union of college football players could be a stronger political force than the state Democratic Party. The Civil War ended 156 years ago, but Mississippi did not remove the Confederate flag from its state flag until 2020, when it was threatened with losing access to college football championship games. That is how powerful college football is. Do not underestimate it. 

There are huge numbers of conservative Southerners who would fight against all important progressive reforms — unless doing so threatened their access to college football. Then, they would at least be willing to negotiate. A union of Southeastern Conference football players, from schools like Ole Miss, Alabama and the University of Georgia, could force the powers that be in the South to come to the table and negotiate on broader social and economic issues in a way that almost no other group could.

Genshin Impact players started to review bomb unrelated games because Google was deleting their negative reviews of Genshin Impact

The release of 5-star character Yoimiya was poorly received, with complaints of broken abilities and a feeling that minimal thought had been put into her overall gameplay design. Similar problems then arose with the game's next 5-star character 
Players aren't pleased with the rewards being dished out though and, coupled with miHoYo's ongoing silence surrounding the recent problems, it's caused tensions to swell. Things seem to have finally come to a head, with angry fans taking to the game's mobile store pages in droves to leave 1-star reviews. 
Fans of other free-to-play games were unimpressed when they discovered that Genshin players were complaining about anniversary rewards in review sections for unrelated games. None of these complaints had specific demands. 
The Genshin community is starting to develop a reputation for harassing parties unrelated to their discontent. Just two days ago, the English voice actress for Genshin character Kokomi tweeted that it was unacceptable to harass voice actors for a game studio’s decisions. This was in reference to how the Chinese voice actress for Kokomi was forced to cancel a livestream due to the harassment she received about Kokomi’s lackluster gameplay.

Today's funny posts

"See what time it is now!"; Mandela effect in "A New Hope"; What are their jobs in "American Gothic"?

(The Guardian had a good correction about this.)

Gideon the Ninth cosplay

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Aura Phantasm Sirbine available for preorder

Aura Battler Dunbine Robot Spirits Side AB Sirbine (Aura Phantasm Ver.) available for preorder:

Today's funny posts


3d billboard for Genshin Impact; Italian sculptor denies statue is sexist and says he wished he could have made it nude; Move over Capcom, here's Marvel vs. A24

(The Guardian discusses the controversy.)

Displacers t-shirt; A page from Kate Beaton's new book; He was envisioned as a blobfish

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland runs an annual miniature dry stone walling competition

The official site has information on the various categories this year, as well as tips for building.

"A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy accidentally opened fire inside a Van Nuys courtroom last month"


“Due to the active investigation we are unable to offer further comment at this time, but what we can say is based on the results of the investigation, proper administrative action will be taken if warranted,” the statement read.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Superior Court system declined to answer questions about the incident, referring all queries to the Sheriff’s Department.

"Recently, the price of Rolex watches has gone hyperinflationary. For reasons nobody fully understands, supply has dried up"

From a post about Rolex scalping and watches being status symbols for the investment class:

Visit any authorized dealer today and you will find almost nothing to buy. The display cases are literally empty. There are a few undesirable models sitting around – smooth bezel Datejusts and the like – but you aren’t finding any watch that one would have considered even the least bit desirable just two or three years ago.


To discover the true price of a new Daytona, head over to Chrono24 – the most popular online watch market – and search “116500LN.” You’ll find more than 100 models to choose from, most of which are “new/unworn” and offered directly by jewelry stores. The price ranges from $32,500-$40,000, or roughly three times the official Rolex list price.

How did all of these new watches end up in the hands of non-authorized jewelry stores? Authorized dealers are forbidden from selling units at any price other than $13,150. Are they just handing out spectacular deals to their competition for nothing in return? Of course not. Either directly or indirectly, deals are being cut, money is changing hands, and watches are flowing from Rolex through authorized dealers and onto Chrono24 before any retail buyers can even see them.

It is almost farcical to walk into an authorized Rolex dealer today.

New HumbleBundle features two James Bond comics for $1

One of them is written by Kieron Gillen.

Today's funny posts

Augmented reality observatory; MODOK utility box; A knight's time runs out

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Cheerleader makes a great catch; Player's name appears in Chinese on his jersey; "Joe Bubonics"

Bizarre story about an alleged “Potemkin village” of a website


This past winter, Goldman Sachs was closing in on a $40 million investment in Ozy, a digital media company founded in 2013, and there seemed to be a lot of reasons to do the deal. Ozy boasted of a large audience for its general interest website, its newsletters and its videos, and the company had a charismatic chief executive, Carlos Watson, a onetime cable news anchor who had worked at Goldman Sachs early in his career. And, crucially, Ozy said it had a great relationship with YouTube, where many of its videos attracted more than a million views.

That’s what the Zoom videoconference on Feb. 2 that Ozy arranged between the Goldman Sachs asset management division and YouTube was supposed to be about. The scheduled participants included ...the head of unscripted programming for YouTube Originals. 


After the meeting, someone on the Goldman Sachs side reached out to Mr. Piper, not through the Gmail address that [Ozy] had provided before the meeting, but through [the Google executive's] assistant at YouTube. That’s when things got weird.

[The confused Google executive] told the Goldman Sachs investor that he had never spoken with her before. 

The first two episodes of Apple's new series "Foundation" are great (plus some adult thrillers from the 80's I watched recently)

"Foundation" is great, a pleasure to look at. All the great scifi tropes, but executed expertly. (I've never read Asimov's books, but the TV series apparently departs from them pretty radically.) The first episode of Apple's accompanying podcast for the series is good, too.

"No Way Out" (1987) featuring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, and Sean Young: A spy thriller that's mostly about how handsome Costner was. Homophobic and slow, but with a delightful ending.

"Angel Heart" (1987) featuring Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet, and Robert De Niro: Solid creepy noir (and largely about how handsome Rourke was), but disgustingly racist. Is it too late to make sequels with De Niro reprising his role?

"Body Heat" (1981) featuring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, and Ted Danson: Terrific. Completely holds up. 98% at Rotten Tomatoes.

I'm also enjoying Netflix's "Drive to Survive" series about Formula 1, and "Caprica" on NBC's app. And "Wellington Paranormal," the spinoff of "What We Do in the Shadows," deserves a lot more love. 

Printable files for a Sith Lord action figure

One of several figures available for download/purchase:

Today's funny posts

(Mr. Goxx.)

Custom handcuffed Grogu and Boba Fett in refurbished armor action figures

By n8products, both available at ebay:

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Evil Kermit the Frog hand puppet by kidrobot available for preorder

Kermit's evil doppelganger, Constantine, is available for preorder:

A disturbing encounter with orcas; Method actor at haunted house wants his knife back; Yeah, that's a scary dog


orca wants supper

♬ original sound - nutabull


never been so close to either of these creatures.

♬ original sound - nutabull
(Looks like the originals were just deleted.)

Today's funny posts

This week's best Warhammer 40k miniatures and other hobby creations

Friday, September 24, 2021

"Not naming names, but many FBA aggregators are getting WRECKED by supply chain issues"

Interesting thread about companies that gobbled up promising Amazon sellers and are now getting hammered by supply chain disruption. 

"Thousands of scientific studies had to toss out weeks of data because of a 56-second TikTok video by a teenager."


Online research makes it so much easier. You program a survey... you put it online, and within a day, you have 1,000 responses,” [the director of the Behavioral Lab at the Stanford School of Business] told The Verge. “That changed the face of social science.”


The [platform Prolific] offers more transparency, promises to treat survey participants more ethically, and promises higher-quality research subjects than alternative platforms like Mechanical Turk.


The July 23rd video is short and simple. It opens with recent Florida high school graduate and self-described “teen author” ... sitting in her bedroom and smiling at the camera.

“Welcome to side hustles I recommend trying — part one,” she says in the video, pointing users to the website “Basically, it’s a bunch of surveys for different amounts of money and different amounts of time.”


In the days and weeks after [the teen author] posted her video, researchers scrambled to figure out what was happening to their studies. 

"NBA’s John Wall Reuses Fortnite Art for NFT—And Crypto Twitter Let Him Have It"


Most glaringly, the initial NFT teaser image was revealed to have repurposed a screenshot from Epic Games’ popular video game Fortnite, as social media sleuths quickly discovered. On top of that, the illustration appears to be strongly inspired by the character design from the “Boss Baby” film series.


Wall has since deleted his tweet with the teaser image


"Celebs really think they can come into an industry they know nothing about, never interact with the community, then launch a scam project they’ll abandon in three months?”

Parent asks Reddit for help after her five-year-old daughter asks for a worm theme for her birthday

The top result:

What a cool kid! I’m a (sea) worm taxonomist. I can’t guarantee I’ll be available, but if you’d be interested in having a little zoom or recorded presentation about worm science at the party, feel free to send me a message!


Oh, you would totally not have to pay me. I’d be delighted. Plus, I’ve never talked to kids about worms before, so I can’t guarantee it would be worth any money!

Which led to responses from others like this:

I would attend this! And so would my husband. He’s a scientist although in a totally unrelated field - he researches blood clotting disorders.

Some ideas:

Pin the Worm on the Apple is my thought.


Do dirt cup cupcakes with gummy worms, pink streamers, spaghetti in a bowl as a “touch the worms” game. 


Worm obstacle course: have the kids inch, wiggle, crawl and roll like a worm would through a course.

Coca-Cola's Myst clone from 1998; Augmented reality sculpture; Shazam cover

Today's funny posts

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Look at the faux light reflections painted on this Warhammer 40k sword

*See more miniatures.

"Mexican TV Host Who Once Proposed to Tom Brady Is on the Run After Allegedly Embezzling $146 Million"


[She] and her lawyer husband ... are accused of embezzling close to 3 billion pesos, which is about $146 million USD, from the Ministry of the Interior in 2016 and 2017, according to Uno TV.

On Sept. 10, a federal judge issued a warrant for their arrest.

There was an active shooter drill at Fort Meade today that the base accidentally verified as real

As part of the drill, reports of the active shooter were posted on the bases's Facebook page with the notation "exercise":

When real reporters called the base, public affairs officials thought they were role players and part of the simulation and gave them information about a fake crisis.


Multiple news outlets ... reported that an active shooter was on the loose in Fort Meade, Maryland, and had left a trail of bodies.


When public affairs officials answered their phones during the training, they began the conversations by saying "exercise, exercise, exercise," to indicate they were in the middle of a simulation, Jones explained. While that's standard procedure, public affairs officials did not verify that the people on the phone knew what "exercise" meant or whether the reporters on the calls were real.

"What should have happened is noting a real world reporter was calling about the exercise, and [we should] better identify a notional reporter," Jones said.

New "Tomes of Lost Magic" Humble Bundle features various adventures and sourcebooks for $1

Six adventures and sourcebooks, and three coupons for $1.

Today's funny posts

Tinikling is amazing; Acrobatic moose; The darkened tower

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

USC's new quarterback does his eyeblack that way because he's an Anakin Skywalker fan

The Insight lander on Mars detected a 4.2 "marsquake" that lasted nearly an hour-and-a-half


This is the third major quake InSight has detected in a month


The quakes might not have been detected at all had the mission not taken action earlier in the year, as Mars’ highly elliptical orbit took it farther from the Sun. Lower temperatures required the spacecraft to rely more on its heaters to keep warm; that, plus dust buildup on InSight’s solar panels, has reduced the lander’s power levels, requiring the mission to conserve energy by temporarily turning off certain instruments.

The team managed to keep the seismometer on by taking a counterintuitive approach: They used InSight’s robotic arm to trickle sand near one solar panel in the hopes that, as wind gusts carried it across the panel, the granules would sweep off some of the dust. The plan worked

Fat Bear Junior 2021 starts tomorrow

You can see before and after photos of the competitors here.

Today's funny posts

Transparent WiiBoy; Rooster-faced helm; Luke's green milk bottle was CG