Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Cloaked Into the Spider-Verse Miles Morales figure by Sentinel available for preorder, with some really fun photography

The articulation is a delight:

Today's funny posts

"Death in Navy SEAL Training Exposes a Culture of Brutality, Cheating and Drugs"

Predictable result when the determined competitors train for the actual test, and not what organizers are allowed to say is the test (article has some graphic, tragic anecdotes):

When the Navy gathered [the dead candidate's] belongings, they discovered syringes and performance enhancing drugs in his car. The captain in charge of BUD/S immediately ordered an investigation, and soon about 40 candidates had either tested positive or had admitted using steroids or other drugs in violation of Navy regulations.


In a perverse way, the drug problem at BUD/S is a natural outgrowth of the mind-set the SEALs try to cultivate, according to Benjamin Milligan, a former enlisted SEAL who recently published a history of the force, “Water Beneath the Walls.”

The SEALs want operators who can find unconventional ways to gain an advantage against the enemy, he said in an interview.

“You want guys who can solve problems in war, guys who know how to play dirty, because war is a dirty game,” he said.

An often heard unofficial adage in the SEALs holds that, “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”

During BUD/S, he said, the “enemy” to be outfoxed is the course itself.

“No one can do everything the instructors ask, so you have to learn how to cheat to get through,” he said. “Everyone knows it happens. The point is to learn how to not get caught.”


Sailors who enter the program bolstered by steroids and hormones can push harder, recover faster and probably beat out the sailors who are trying to become SEALs while clean, said one senior SEAL leader with multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The inevitable effect, he said, is that a course designed to select the very best will end up selecting only the very best cheaters, and steadily fill the SEAL teams with war fighters who view rules as optional.

“What am I going to do with guys like that in a place like Afghanistan?” said the leader. “A guy who can do 100 pull-ups but can’t make an ethical decision?” 


The Navy has made hundreds of changes over the years meant to improve safety and increase graduation rates. At the same time, the SEALs who run the course have quietly resisted anything they see as lowering standards. So no matter how much the Navy has tried to make BUD/S easier, it seems to only get harder.


If enough people in a community are doping, he said, it spreads risk even to those who are clean, as the level of competition rises and more people are pushed to exhaustion and injury.

Video showing off the latest Tie Fighter Total Conversion project

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Artist looking for commissions

New Bandai blind-boxed set features birds, including a Shoebill

New toy preorders include the Shokugan Tenori Friends Birds Box of 12 Random Figures (Ezo Owl (Chick), Ezo Owl (adult), Barn Owl, Crow, Sparrow, Rhododendron Parakeet, Shoebill, Cuban Tody, Chrysanthemum Yellowtail, Sun Conure), and what I believe is a Masterverse Deluxe Skeletor figure based on the live action movie (photos have been posted online, but not at the listing yet):

"Nope" UFO supercut (spoilers)

I put it beneath the fold. And previously, an interview with the engineering professor at CalTech who helped design the UFO in "Nope."

Jackson State coach Deion Sanders talks about the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi


"Until it is fixed, it means we do not have reliable running water at scale. It means the city cannot produce enough water to reliably flush toilets, fight fire and meet other critical needs."


"We need to provide it for up to 180,000 people — for an unknown period of time."


The Environmental Protection Agency issued a lengthy report in 2020, outlining major shortfalls of Jackson’s water system 

Amazing how well this 80's X-Men advertisement applies today

A few headlines:

From my wishlist, Kwei Quartey’s "The Missing American" is $2.99 today

at Amazon:

A 2021 Edgar Nominee for Best Novel

When her dreams of rising through the Accra police ranks like her late father crash around her, 26-year-old Emma Djan is unsure what will become of her career. Through a sympathetic former colleague, Emma gets an interview with a private detective agency that takes on cases of missing persons, theft, and infidelity. It’s not the future she imagined, but it’s her best option.

Meanwhile, Gordon Tilson, a middle-aged widower in Washington, DC, has found solace in an online community after his wife’s passing. Through the support group, he’s even met a young Ghanaian widow he’s come to care about. When her sister gets into a car accident, he sends her thousands of dollars to cover the hospital bill—to the horror of his only son, Derek. Then Gordon decides to surprise his new love by paying her a visit—and disappears. Fearing for his father’s life, Derek follows him across the world to Ghana, Internet capital of the world, where he and Emma will find themselves deep in a world of sakawa scams, fetish priests, and those willing to kill to protect their secrets.

WaPo called it "a gem of a debut", "suspenseful," and "wonderfully atmospheric"

Looks like those reports of threats at the filming of an Apple+ tv series were vastly overblown

Baltimore Banner:

A police report shows that the initial report to police came secondhand from a location manager. The person, who is not identified by name, told an officer around 4:45 p.m. that at 6 a.m. people demanded $50,000 in order to film at the location, and that they pulled a gun.

“Once questioned what the gun looked like, [the location manager] retracted his original statement of seeing the gun and advised he did not see a gun but that one of the drivers [had] seen the gun,” the report says. The location manager also said they had “seen a large amount of marijuana.”


Using CCTV camera footage, police located a street vendor seen talking with a member of the production. He said he requested compensation from the production because he was not able to operate during filming. The statement makes no mention of a firearm.


Police have charged the street vendor, a 43-year-old man from Pikesville, with drug charges.

Professors at UCLA’s School of Dentistry allegedly charged foreign students extra fees and pocketed the money


UCLA is ranked as one of the top six institutions in the world for dentistry and oral sciences


After investigating the allegations, a law firm commissioned by UCLA issued a report that concluded the professors targeted Middle Eastern students believing their wealthy government sponsors “could — and would — pay for it.”


Despite the report’s findings of misconduct, each of the three professors entered into settlements with the university and resigned. In one case formal charges were dismissed, and in the other cases pending disciplinary hearings were stopped, the court records said.

Now, the professors are waging a legal battle to keep the report cloaked in secrecy, claiming it is a confidential personnel record and its disclosure would violate their privacy.

Texas school public schools rejecting "‘In God We Trust’ signs featuring rainbows, Arabic"

Dallas Morning News:

the school board president informed him that schools already have enough posters displaying the national motto.

But under a new law, Texas public schools are required to hang posters emblazoned with “In God We Trust” if someone donates a poster or framed copy to a campus.


The Carroll school district earlier this month received a shipment of such signs, with the all-capital letters displayed in white, on a blue background, above the American flag. The posters were donated by Patriot Mobile, a Christian wireless provider tied to a political action committee that spent big money to help elect conservatives to North Texas school board seats.


When the Patriot Mobile representatives donated their signs, the Carroll ISD trustees posed for photos with them during their board meeting.

Today's funny posts

@ad_ga1 Out here with friends πŸ˜‚ #fyp #viral #trend #wtf #friends #silentgame #fail #ouch #OLAFLEX ♬ original sound - J

I thought this was another scandal about the group behind the Golden Globes, but no, it's a different Hollywood press group

Golden Globes are the HFPA. This is about the HCA:

Hollywood Critics Association in Turmoil As Numerous Members Resign, Including President, Amid Questions About Finances and Voting


The HCA was the brainchild of We Live Entertainment web journalist Scott “Movie Man” Menzel, who approached then-Access Hollywood on-air correspondent Scott “Movie” Mantz in the summer of 2016 about starting a critics group that, unlike most others, would be gender balanced and racially diverse. (Both Menzel and Mantz are white males.) Mantz liked the idea, so the two Scotts, along with former Bachelor bachelorette/journalist Krisily Kennedy, launched the organization later that year, with Menzel listed as its founder and Mantz as its president. Kennedy dropped out of the group in 2018, followed in September 2019 by Mantz, who was displeased that Menzel had independently appointed his wife, Ashley Menzel, to be the group’s vice president, and had begun making other major decisions without consultation. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

"An NYPD officer was behind [the] harassing calls and voicemails that 311 users have received from anonymous callers after filing 311 complaints to the NYPD"

This is not the first time that [the officer] has landed in hot water for his police work. Court records show he was among a group of officers sued in 2015 by a former member of the force who alleged [the officer] and the other cops relentlessly bullied him and made anti-Semitic jokes.


In a deposition, [the officer] admitted he’d sent . . . a photograph of dead bodies from the Holocaust . . . .

[The officer] also admitted that he gave false answers in a probe launched by the NYPD’s Equal Employment Opportunity office ....

The case settled for an undisclosed sum. 

Killmonger (movie heist costume) paper toy available for download

Along with many other paperp toys available for download.

From my wishlist, "Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them" is $2.99 today

at Amazon:

A witty, irreverent tour of history's worst plagues - from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio - and a celebration of the heroes who fought them.

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary.

Two interviews with Tamysn Muir

From a long interview at In the Margin:

I think that writing multiple genres certainly helps me stop characters from calcifying as they might in a single-genre book. The rules that would dictate who Harrowhark Nonagesimus is and how she functions change drastically when you put her in a horror book and when you put her in a comedy book. Some of these characters are basically trapped in the wrong genre and I like seeing them flail about.


I was in a lot of early video-game fandoms which were at their heart role-playing games, so often you got this big juxtaposition of people who had played the game one way, like they’d made up their team of the male characters, and therefore got a massively different experience to me, who took as many women along as possible. I got so cross as a teenager seeing female characters laughed at or made the girlfriend or the butt of whatever grim joke, when in fact I’d beaten the boss with them, I’d kitted them out to basically kill God. ... I’ve taken that energy, I guess, to SFF. I am simply forcing you to sit down and watch how I play the game.


It is getting harder and harder again, especially for authors from marginalised places or backgrounds, to write works where the takeaway isn’t 'this is to succour all my marginalised people'. For anyone on the female-identified axis this is especially hard because it seems to me that most books by anyone female-adjacent have an expectation that they will comfort the uncomfortable and discomfit the comfortable etc.

(Along those lines, even with a new book coming out, she hasn't updated her Twitter or Tumblr in years.)

And from an interview at Tumblr, this is roughly who she pictures as Harrow:

Amazon lists Nona the Ninth for September 13.

Today's funny posts

Hiya Toys Mothra and Mean Machine available for preorder

Mothra has a 14.2" wingspan and 11 points of articulation, and Mean Machine is 4" tall:

An anecdote about investigating massive international corruption

The reporter found evidence one of the people involved purchased a $130,000 watch on Oahu. From the longer thread:

Sunday, August 28, 2022

There's a wrestler with the gimmick that he's good at making the dough


From a @W_W_U_Clips

♬ original sound - Luigi Primo

"Pizza deathmatch", where his opponent antagonizes him and the crowd by disrespecting pizza:

Birmingham's "four lads in jeans" got their own statue, inspired by the terrible Ronaldo bust

“I used four women mannequins, which I covered in tight-fitting ladies jeans and tops. The heads are made from papier-mache and all of it was painted to have a nice, shiny bronze effect.” 

The artist said he was inspired by the much-ridiculed bust of Cristiano Ronaldo and the statue of Matthew Boulton, James Watt, and William Murdoch that stands near Birmingham library.

Wait, these DC comics "Hispanic Heritage" covers are real?

I thought this tweet was an exaggeration, an Onion-style parody with quick Photoshop? But they're real?:

Today's funny posts

(Sierra Canyon is in Los Angeles. The basketball team includes the sons of LeBron, Pippen, and Penny.) (Not long ago, the Oaks Christian football team included the sons of Gretzky, Montana and Will Smith.)

Wikipedia entry for "False Dmitry"

From the first paragraph:

The generic name False Dmitry refers to various impostors who passed themselves off as the deceased Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich of Russia, the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, and claimed the Russian throne during the Time of Troubles (1598–1613), after the real Dmitry's death at the age of eight in 1591. Each of these impostors claimed to have miraculously escaped the assassination attempt that appeared to have claimed Dmitry's life, and, in the case of II and III, also to have escaped the assassinations that subsequently targeted I and II.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

"The Lost City," a pleasant update to "Romancing the Stone," is on Amazon Prime

Featuring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, and Daniel Radcliffe. Brad Pitt's great in a supporting role. (This Tweet reminded me:

Today's funny posts

Amazon: "Shy, serious Peter, chairman of a bionic enterprise, was supposed to be away on business. Instead, he's standing at her door, wearing day-glo satin and rhinestones"

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

Friday, August 26, 2022

Australia seized "$1.6bn" in methamphetamine at the port


Australia is in the grip of what authorities have called an "ice epidemic". They say the drug is fuelling violent crimes, addiction and mental health problems, particularly in regional communities.

The country has the highest reported methamphetamine use per capita in the world

Artist looking for commissions

Photo of the year from China

Meanwhile, Pakistan has all the water:

Lord of the Rings Humble Bundle

Lego games, Shadow of Mordor, and more.

Today's funny posts

Thursday, August 25, 2022

New Humble Bundle features the Williams-Sonoma chef’s library

$1 for three books, 32 for $18.

FYI, I believe Super 7 erroneously said the Reaction Zartan figure changes color

Here's a detailed review saying it doesn't change. I asked Super 7 about the video and was told the listing was erroneous. When I look now, the listing no longer makes the assertion and does not include the previous animated turnaround. Here's a post from a few days ago that still shows the color change feature:

Today's funny posts

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

"ATF now needs 2 weeks to perform a routine gun trace"


Federal agents can run scans on things such as license plates and fingerprints to instantly find out who they belong to. But when it comes to guns, they’re essentially handcuffed by a 1986 law that keeps the ATF stuck in the past. 

The nearly 40-year-old regulations prevent the agency from keeping searchable, digitized gun transaction records. And efforts in Congress to modernize the system have failed. 

Boxes upon boxes of paper records fill nearly every corridor of the ATF’s tracing facility. The space was so cluttered that the agency brought in 40 cargo shipping containers, which sit outside the building, each filled with up to 2,000 boxes.  


Republicans have long argued that allowing police access to an electronically searchable repository of gun records is tantamount to a nationwide firearm registry

"The True Story Behind Doom 3DO’s ‘Missing’ FMV Scenes"

Time Extension:
Walking in, he noticed off the bat that the publisher had set up a 10 ft x 10 ft greenscreen, which immediately sent over signals to him that this wasn't going to be the most professional of productions.

"The first thing I said to the people who were working on it […] was this greenscreen is really too small and I’m worried it’s too close. They were like, ‘Oh no, no, no, this is fine.’ I was like, ‘Okay, you guys are doing whatever you are going to do.’"