Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Apple’s 2022 iPhone Game of the Year "Apex Legends Mobile" will be shut down in 90 days, and there will be no refunds

today marks the beginning of a ninety (90) day window before we sunset the game. As of 1 PM PST today, January 31st, we will be disabling all real money in app purchases in the game as well as removing the game from webstores. During this period, players can spend their existing Syndicate Gold and continue playing the full game.  At 4 PM PDT on May 1st, 2023, we will cease operations in all regions, and the game will no longer be playable.
We will not be providing refunds for real money purchase

A look at who is paying for all those vague commercials about Jesus during football games


Over the next three years a $1 billion mostly-dark-money campaign – which reportedly will include funds from billionaire right wing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ funder ... the founder of Hobby Lobby– will promote Jesus in ads, including during the Super Bowl on February 12. Those two Super Bowl ads to "to redeem Jesus’ brand" will cost $20 million, Religion News Service reports.

There's been “a crescendo of terroristic attacks” by "an informal anarchist network" against Italian diplomatic targets in several countries


The attacks and as well as a series of protests, including one planned Tuesday in Madrid, are in solidarity with Alfredo Cospito, who has been on a hunger strike since October to protest a strict prison regime reserved for terrorists and mafiosi. The 55-year-old militant is serving a 10-year sentence for shooting in the leg an energy executive for a state-controlled company and 20 years for a series of dynamite attacks in Italy.


The most serious of the attacks was the firebombing of two cars at the residence of an Italian diplomat in Athens in early December


On 7 May 2012, Cospito and his accomplice, Nicola Gai, rode on a motorbike to the house of Roberto Adinolfi, executive of the Italian nuclear power company Ansaldo Nucleare. The pair shot Adinolfi in the leg three times, facturing his knee


While serving his sentence, Cospito received an additional 20 year term for the 2006 bombing of a Carabinieri cadet barracks near Turin. The bombing was planned with a booby-trap technique, with two explosive devices: a minor one to lure cadets out, and a second one with a much higher potential (500 grams of black powder, along with bolts, screws and stones) timed to explode 15 minutes later, to kill them. The court found that only by chance the two explosions resulted in no casualties

Charges have been filed in the U.S. against three Haitian Americans and a Colombian national in the 2021 assassination of Haiti's president


Three other men had already been charged in the United States in connection with the assassination plot


The announcement of the charges [against the four additional men]  — more than 18 months after the murder of Mr. Moïse — outlined a sprawling conspiracy to murder the Haitian leader and seize power, supported by an unnamed former Haitian Supreme Court judge, Colombian mercenaries and an illegal arms shipment from the United States.

*Previously: The Daily explored why Haiti's president was assassinated 

They recovered the Dallas Zoo monkeys

The first 125 pages of the Substack comic "Spectators" by Niko Henrichon and Brian K. Vaughn are free to download

It's very NSFW, the opening "issue" is a grim mass shooting, and I'd mostly say the whole thing is a massive waste of their skills, but Henrichon's art is very good. (And it's free.)

(Paid subscribers also get access to some pretty good prizes.)

A federal appeals court rejected Johnson & Johnson's effort to use bankruptcy to avoid a massive number of lawsuits over baby powder possibly causing cancer

WWXI on some unconscionable facts and the ruling:

The company tried to short-circuit the lawsuits in 2021, using a controversial legal tactic known as the "Texas Two Step." It first assigned liability for the baby powder complaints to a spin-off company, called LTL Management, then immediately put that company into bankruptcy.


Other big companies including Georgia Pacific and 3M have tried similar tactics to limit their exposure to widespread lawsuits. Legal experts and policymakers are watching the cases closely.


The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a bankruptcy filing by a Johnson & Johnson spinoff company, ruling that the company was not in genuine financial distress. The court noted that the spinoff company still has access to Johnson & Johnson's assets, worth an estimated $61.5 billion.

(Matt Levine wrote about the nuances in today's newsletter, but it just seems impossible for a reasonable person to hear what J&J tried and even momentarily think it tolerable.)

Interior camera captured the moment a massive boulder smashed through a Honolulu home

(Video has audio.) (The area is north of Diamond Head.)
According to the Honolulu Police Department, the boulder appeared to have plowed through the property's cinderblock wall, struck the family's car, rammed through a glass door, across the living room floor and into another wall before landing in a bedroom on the second story of the Palolo Avenue home.
Community members are raising concerns about a development next door that excavated the mountain.

They said there were no boulders rolling down the valley before the development, and they have now experienced three boulders coming down in the last 24 hours. 

Is this man the Dallas monkey thief?

Star Wars The Black Series Aurra Sing is 45% off right now

at Amazon. Also, the Mike Colter/Rosario Dawson Marvel Legends two-pack is $16.95.

Today's funny posts

Jabba the Hutt t-shirt for the 80's John Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope project

Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT)

Another pic of the logo

Monday, January 30, 2023

Car's software won't remote update because it's parked on a steep hill

(I didn't see anyone reporting the same problem, or an explanation for it, but here's a thread where a Tesla owner asks if updating his car on a steep hill will risk the brakes de-engaging.) Relatedly:

The crime wave at the Dallas Zoo continues

They need to switch the additional cameras they set up to livestream, and turn internet sleuths lose until the culprit(s) are identified.

A "popular internet sleuth" reportedly helped identify the Tesla driver behind several road rage incidents

ABC on a series of attacks that stretches back at least to 2021:

At least 10 people have come forward saying they've had frightening encounters with the man, in several cases capturing him on video smashing the sides of cars with a metal pipe.


Popular internet sleuth TizzyEnt began sharing Eyewitness News videos to his 5.3 million TikTok followers. The influencer said three people came forward with the suspect's name, which he passed along to police.

Crushing news for me and the 10 other fans of Coke with Coffee Zero Sugar

Probably the most useful preview of Nintendo Wold at Universal Studios

If decent augmented reality glasses with user generated content ever become a reality, these theme parks are going to look incredibly quaint:

Everything Everywhere All At Once Blu-ray + Digital is $10.99 right now

at Amazon

(Assuming it's the same copy I own, I believe the digital copy is only accessible through the Vudu site and app--which works fine, but just an FYI if the movie doesn't appear in the typical connected Movies Anywhere apps.)

I like the movie, and especially admired that they managed to get it made. But watching the resolution, I couldn't help but think about Ann Leckie's excellent Provenance, a scifi thriller about bad parents and the grown children that aren't willing to accept a late apology. 

Today's funny posts

Cookie Monster and Elmo Nendoroids up for preorder

at the BBTS:

Star Wars Imperial Assault Gunboat for 3.75" action figures

Available for purchase along with some other exotic Star Wars spaceships in this shop:
The hatch is hinged so you can place a 3.75" action figure at the controls. It has four hinged wings and retracting landing gear. The kit will include all the pieces to build your ship but you will have to assemble and paint it yourself

*Previously: Brutalist Tie Fighter.

Pinecone treehouse Airbnb

@asyatravels The Pinecone Treehouse Airbnb in Bonny Doon, California (15 min away from Santa Cruz) #uniqueairbnb #explorecalifornia #santacruzcalifornia ♬ suara asli - gabut woi

From the listing:
Our bathroom is woodsy!
Guests must descend the treehouse ladder to ground level and continue on the catwalk bridge in order to access the bathroom. It's worth the journey, as here guests can enjoy a shower with sweeping views of the forest canopy. That being said if you require quick access to a bathroom, this might not be the rental for you.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

FYI a bunch of Mondo tiki mugs and vinyl albums are 50% off in the BBTS clearance sale

Some pins too.

Secret Door street art

*Previously: Nightmare eye doctor storefront is actually the entrance to a speakeasy

"Five Russian men fleeing military conscription have been living at a South Korean airport for months"

"The men are able to shower but have to wash their clothes by hand and are unable to leave the departure and duty-free areas"

Military conscription is a sensitive issue in South Korea, where military service is mandatory for all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35.

Lego diorama of an infested, destroyed tank

Or perhaps haunted:

*Previously: Lego M3gan

Today's funny posts

Some highlights from the "useless" video game trivia thread

Some good photos of the Masterpiece Jetfire/Skyfire

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Eight-year-old Indian diamond heiress renounced her family and became a nun

BBC (which has photos of the celebration and discusses the debate that's arisen):

[Her] parents are known to be "extremely religious" and Indian media has quoted friends of the family as saying that the girl was "inclined towards spiritual life since she was a toddler".

"[She] has never watched television, movies or gone to malls and restaurants," the Times of India reported.

"From a young age, [she] has been praying thrice a day and even performed a fast at the age of two," the paper added.

A day before her renunciation ceremony, the family had organised a huge celebratory procession in Surat.

Thousands watched the spectacle as camels, horses, ox carts, drummers and turbaned men carrying canopies walked the streets, with dancers and performers on stilts providing entertainment.

[She]  and her family sat in a chariot pulled by an elephant, while crowds showered them with rose petals. 

Fortune has more details about the family business.

I was curious about Keke Palmer's green jersey in Nope, so read up on the costuming

(Of all the movies I saw last year, definitely the one I'll most rewatch.) 

Vogue interviewed Alex Boivard:

“I really get under their skin and try to figure out how they think,” she says. “I ask questions like, ‘What color suits them?’ ‘Can they even dress themselves?’ ‘Are they trying hard?” 


[Emerald] wears OJ’s soccer shirt in the finale


We ... wanted a dark palette for [Angel]. Because [Brandon Perea] is naturally very effervescent. He shows up looking like a roadie sometimes. He’s got cutoffs, band tees. Vans. He’s a California Latin guy—so we tried to imagine him as “Latin-emo.” But even then he was still perky. So we had to bring him into more punk band territory.


I remember watching the trailer and thinking, ‘Wow, they look like crayons!’ But it was on purpose. We thought the contrast of these super neon colors against the desert backdrop would be really cool. I remember seeing David LaChapelle stuff in the ’90s and being really captivated by it.


 I tried to make the characters look like action heroes, but cool ones.


they’re still cool kids that go to LA. They’re not living in Montana! They’re just outside of the city, in canyon country.

(There's a lot more in the interview, including various nods to the The Goonies, and some deleted scenes.)

SyFy has more details, including the 80's movie that helped inspire OJ's hoodie, the 80's star that was considered for Jupe, and this:

Prior to boarding the film, Bovaird found herself entranced by a curious art installation in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park. "I just came across a big cube of earth with clothes shoved into it and then more earth [and] more clothes. I could see how cool bright colors looked with earth"


The Captain Quint of the cosmic expedition is Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), a veteran and gravelly-voiced cinematographer chasing the most impossible shot of his entire career. Wincott insisted on wearing all black, which worried Bovaird, given the sweltering backdrop against which Nope filmed most of its action.

"I definitely pushed back a little bit because I was worried about his comfort," she explains. "[The shoot] was out in Santa Clarita canyon country, it's like 115 degrees, there was no shade, and [we had] these endless action sequences. But he was adamant that he wanted to wear black. And then he met our cinematographer, Hoyte [van Hoytema], who only wears black, and also wears a black wool scarf. So I couldn't really win that argument anymore. I guess some people just don't really get hot. But I've worked with a lot of actors, and I don't want them to commit to this one costume and then be uncomfortable. Michael and I actually went shopping together for his costume. We had a lot of fun."


we embroidered UFOs and also alien heads onto [Jupe's suit]. The shape of the kids' costume alien heads is a specific shape. And so, those alien heads, and the spaceship are on the cuffs and on the back. I created it with a company in Texas that specializes in that kind of Nudie suit. It's always been big in the country music world. They have the best chain stitches. It's a dying art with these special machines that render the embroidery in a nice chunky fashion


Did Daniel have any input into this? 

Not as much, because he's quite Method, so I felt, like in all the fittings, he was already OJ

A redditor points out that the Canyon High School Cowboys near Agua Dulce wear green and yellow.

I didn't see any discussion of the motorcycle paparazzo's look.  

The NBC shop sells a Scorpion King hoodie. 

(And yes, the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles used to have a UFO-themed electronics superstore and an Alice in Wonderland-themed one.)

*Previously: Jean Jacket costume; Jean Jacket costume for dogs.)

"Outraged rebel police officers paralyzed Port-au-Prince on Thursday, roaring through the streets on motorcycles in protest of a slew of killings of police officers by Haitian gangs"

CBS (the article has ghastly details):

Gangs have killed at least 10 officers in the past week


More than a hundred protesters blocked roads, shot guns into the air, and broke through gates in the capital's airport and the prime minister's house, with tensions escalating throughout the day.

Today's funny posts

This week's best Warhammer 40k miniatures, custom action figures, and other hobby creations

Friday, January 27, 2023

"A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life" is $1.99 right now

at Amazon:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the Booker Prize–winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today.

LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, NPR, Time, San Francisco Chronicle, Esquire, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Town & Country, The Rumpus, Electric Lit, Thrillist, BookPage • “[A] worship song to writers and readers.”—Oprah Daily

Someone rammed the gate at Camp Pendleton in San Diego

"Video on social media shows the car engulfed in flames and suffering considerable damage to the front end of the vehicle after colliding with the barrier"

Julia Fox apologized for being unaware of the secret meaning TikTok users have given the word "mascara"

If you don't want to be caught making such a mistake, you better educate yourself:
TikTok, notorious for its scattershot moderation, uses algorithms which censor content containing certain words and phrases. This leads to users keeping one step ahead of the algorithms by resorting to code words, such as “seggs” in place of sex, or “unalive” in place of suicide.

As the algorithm inevitably catches on to the code word, creators will pivot again, and use another word in its place; the evasive tactic is known as “algospeak,” and is changing the way we communicate online, and sometimes, sparking heated misunderstandings.

This constant gaming of the algorithm leads to increasingly abstract phrases being adopted as code words; some creators have been using “mascara” as a euphemism for

Today's funny posts

Wikipedia's entry.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

FYI the excellent touchscreen Glider Gloves are 30% off right now

at Amazon--"They’re utterly touch-sensitive for your entire hand - not just the tips!" 

(They work well on my phone's touchscreen, and I can also comfortably type on a physical keyboard with them. Also, although it says they're "black," they're more like a neat chainmail pattern.)

The Pac-12 Conference fired two senior executives who failed to disclose the discovery that Comcast had been overpaying $5 million a year since 2016

Awful Announcing, summarizing an article from the Mercury News:

Comcast was the partner who had overpaid the Pac-12 by over $50 million since 2016. After Comcast surfaced concerns of overpayments to the conference in October 2022 , the conference launched their own investigation which resulted in the firings of CFO ... and Pac-12 Networks president ... for failing to disclose the results of the conference’s [2017] audit of the matter to the Pac-12 Board of Directors.

More speculation.

*Previously: "In order to reap millions of dollars in fees, universities are partnering with betting companies to introduce their students and sports fans to online gambling"

New Humble Bundle starts at $1 for four volumes of horror-themed Image Comics

$18 for 46 volumes, including works by Erica Henderson, Becky Cloonan, Kyle Starks, and four volumes of Kill Six Billion Demons. (I grabbed the big bundle.)

Today's funny posts

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

San Francisco "spends a median of 255 days to hire a permanent city worker," "more than twice as long as it was back in 2015"

SF Chronicle:

San Francisco has approximately 4,600 unfilled job positions


The airport’s vacancy rate is 20% - or almost 400 employees. At the Department of Public Works, 260 seats are unfilled, or 22%. And SFMTA, which runs Muni and has an average time to hire non-operators of seven months, has more than 700 openings - 11% of its total workforce.


The city is contemplating changes such as no longer requiring agencies to post opportunities on an actual bulletin board, and instead post them on the city’s employment website or other online platforms.

(The quicker and simpler the process, the greater the chance for favoritism.)

Reports that Indian authorities are cutting power and internet to try to stop screenings of a documentary about the 2002 Gujarat violence


Though officially classified as a communalist riot, the events of 2002 have been described as a pogrom by many scholars


According to official figures, the riots ended with 1,044 dead, 223 missing, and 2,500 injured. Of the dead, 790 were Muslim and 254 Hindu. The Concerned Citizens Tribunal Report, estimated that as many as 1,926 may have been killed. Other sources estimated death tolls in excess of 2,000. Many brutal killings and rapes were reported on as well as widespread looting and destruction of property. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat and later Prime Minister of India, was accused of condoning the violence, as were police and government officials who allegedly directed the rioters and gave lists of Muslim-owned properties to them

BBC today:

Tensions have flared at two of India's best-known universities over the screening of a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his role in deadly religious riots in 2002.

Police detained about a dozen students at Jamia Millia Islamia university in Delhi ahead of a planned screening.

On Tuesday students at another Delhi university said power and internet had been cut to stop them showing the film.


JNU student leaders distributed QR codes so people could stream the video on their laptops and phones.


stones were thrown at them by "a group of 20-30 people"


Tech companies — including Twitter — are following the Indian government’s demands to suppress a BBC documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As reported by The Intercept and TechCrunch, Twitter and YouTube both locally blocked The Modi Question, which investigates claims of Modi’s involvement in India’s deadly 2002 Gujarat riots.

(His tweet)

Buy the $10 bundle of over 100 tabletop RPGs to benefit suicide prevention

Solo But Not Alone 3:

For the third year running, we in the TTRPG community are coming together to raise money for Jasper's Game Day to help in their mission to keep people alive.

Jasper's Game Day aims to prevent suicides by funding education, outreach, and supports so that everyone knows they are Not A Critical Failure.

Get this bundle of singleplayer TTRPGs from around the world, from introspective journaling exercises to intense hexcrawls, all for a minimum $10 donation to Jasper's, and know that your donation is saving lives.

Today's funny posts

Last week for the 20% off everything sale at Last Exit to Nowhere

No code required, newest properties featured are Top Gun Maverick and Severance.

Dioramas featuring fallen Gundam and Transformers

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Treasure hunters are flocking to a tiny town in the Netherlands to search for treasure looted by the Nazis


A hand-drawn map with a red letter X purportedly showing the location of a buried stash of precious jewelry looted by Nazis from a blown-up bank vault has sparked a modern-day treasure hunt in a tiny Dutch village more than three quarters of a century later.


The treasure hunt began this year when the Dutch National Archive published — as it does every January — thousands of documents for historians to pore over.


Buren, the municipality Ommeren falls under, published a statement on its website pointing out that a ban on metal detection is in place for the municipality and warned that the area was a World War II front line.

“Searching there is dangerous because of possible unexploded bombs, land mines and shells”

*Previously: This astronaut found sunken treasure from space and kept it secret until his deathbed

Book cover for the next book in Martha Wells's Murderbot series

Expected in November, cover by Jaime Jones.

Miniatures from the Game of Thrones tabletop RPG are now in the BBTS's clearance sale

50% off the starter set and expansions.

Hot Toys Mandalorian and Grogu set is $79 off today

Sideshow's deals of the day are mostly Mandalorian-themed today:

Third suspicious incident at the Dallas Zoo in less than two weeks


An endangered vulture was found dead at the Dallas Zoo over the weekend with an "unusual wound," facility officials said Monday — the third suspicious incident there in less than two weeks.

A clouded leopard escaped her enclosure this month after, authorities said, it was intentionally cut. Similar incisions were also found at the langur monkey habitat, although none of the animals escaped.


[The zoo] plans to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment

"After its controversial Basquiat collection was seized by the FBI, the Orlando Museum of Art has been placed on probation by a museum accrediting body"

"It is currently the only institution on probation from the AAM, which has granted full accreditation to more than 1,000 museums"

From a long and detailed NYT article last February:

Last weekend, 25 Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings were publicly unveiled at the Orlando Museum of Art before several thousand V.I.P.s. All of the paintings were said by the museum to have been created in late 1982 while Basquiat, 22, was living and working out of a studio space beneath Larry Gagosian’s home in Venice, Calif., preparing fresh canvases for a show at the art dealer’s Los Angeles gallery.


It certainly sounds like a tale straight out of Hollywood... Indeed, Gagosian, in a response to this reporter about the 1982 creation of these Basquiats, said he “finds the scenario of the story highly unlikely.”


[The museum] director, bristled at such skepticism. “My reputation is at stake as well,” he said in an interview. “And I’ve absolutely no doubt these are Basquiats.” Beyond his own trained eye — he has a Ph.D. in art history from Florida State University — he cited a battery of reports commissioned by the artworks’ current owners.


But the foremost proof in [the director]’s mind was a short poem [written] in 1982 commemorating the artworks’ creation


“The poem is almost like a receipt, it refers to the works, it refers to the inscriptions in the works, it refers to the time,” [the director] said. “I’ve absolutely no doubt.”


An official verdict on this whodunit by the Basquiat estate is now impossible — it closed its authentication committee in 2012 in the aftermath of a lawsuit over Basquiat artworks initially deemed fake. 


partial ownership of the artworks now lies with one of Los Angeles’s most prominent trial lawyers

From another long and detailed article in the NYT in May:

The F.B.I.’s Art Crime Team is investigating the authenticity of 25 paintings that the Orlando Museum of Art says were created by Basquiat and are on exhibit there, according to a federal subpoena and several people with knowledge about the situation.


Much of the back story establishing the paintings’ origins rests largely on the word of [two individuals], who have both served time in prison for felony drug trafficking under different names, law enforcement records show.


[F]riends and relatives are anything but convinced [the typed poem is legitimate]. It’s not only that [the alleged author] never mentioned an interest in contemporary art, let alone buying Basquiats.

It’s also that [he] didn’t type, according to [a longtime acquaintance]... “[He] was as technophobic as anybody I’ve ever met. He did not own a computer.”


an independent brand expert consulted by The Times, was shown a photo of the cardboard. He said that the typeface in the imprint was almost certainly based on Univers, a font not used by Federal Express on its shipping material until 1994

Orlando Weekly in July:

[An art expert says her] examination of the Basquiat paintings was misrepresented by the exhibit and the paintings' owners to lend legitimacy to the questionable artworks. [The expert] contacted the museum as soon as she realized that her work — which she says a private consultation with the artwork's owners that was not meant to be shared publicly — was being misquoted or outright fabricated. In emails between [the expert] and [museum director] unearthed in an FBI affidavit, [the director] told her to "shut up" and "stay in [her] limited academic lane."

NYT in August:

That mess, as [one ousted trustee] sees it, resulted from how [the board chairperson] reacted in July 2021 when the museum received a subpoena from the F.B.I. It demanded “any and all” communications between the museum’s board, its employees and the owners of 25 artworks “purported to be by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” around which the museum built a major exhibition.

The subpoena arrived seven months before the Basquiat show opened to the public, but [the chairperson] and ... the museum’s director, chose to keep it under wraps and proceed as if nothing had happened, according to interviews


several members of the museum’s board of trustees who had been discussing plans to seek the resignation of the chairwoman of the board...— over concerns that she had kept the board in the dark about the mounting problems with the Basquiat show — were instead ousted from the board themselves. The museum cited a previously overlooked rule in its bylaws limiting trustees to nine-year terms, which the removed trustees had all exceeded.

*Previously: Phil Collins is an enthusiastic collector of Alamo memorabilia, but are the items fakes?