Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Memogram is a camera that gives you a written description of the photo you took, and a date at which you'll actually be able to view the photo

You can order the device here, but it only really works with a Samsung phone right now. The summary on this site is easier to follow. Basically, you take a photo with your phone, the image is uploaded to a server, a neural net generates a description of the image, and then the printer produces a receipt that includes the summary of the photo and a date at which you can view the photo itself. 

Projected NFL draft picks were paid to wear Hot Pockets-filled pocket squares

Here's the pocket squares in action:

Basically nothing happened in the Formula One race today, except a whole bunch of people almost got run over right on the last lap

A whole bunch of people erroneously assumed no one would pit that late in the race:

Here's Ocon's onboard view:

Return of the Jedi-era Harrison Ford talks abut his first movie role

(Reminds me of Anthony Perkins in the clip.)

China is trying to stop poachers from using electricity to mass-capture earthworms

The dried remains are popular in herbal medicines, but the use of electric devices is so effective, that ecosystems are being damaged
With a device called “an earth dragon device” 地龍儀 to capture earthworms, “a battery, two wires, inserted in the ground, earthworms immediately crawl out, it’s blood-chilling to watch.” In some places, it only takes 20 minutes to catch five or six pounds of earthworms, and a fully charged battery can work continuously for five hours. In the land that has not been “electrified” previously, a day of electrocutions bringing up two or three hundred pounds of earthworms is no problem.
Although farmers know that the presence of earthworms benefits the soil, there are few ways for many rural people to earn money faster and easier than with electro-captured earthworms.
(More from SCMP last year.)

Today's news and jokes

30 second tutorial for painting a crystal power sword (looks shockingly easy)

*See more miniatures.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Fired NYPD police officer blames positive drug test on use of hemp soap

He's appealing his firing.

Hellish pyrotechnics display at Botev Plovdiv’s soccer match against Levski

More views:

Today's news and jokes

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

Friday, April 28, 2023

It's time for my favorite annual art show, Famicase 2023

A few highlights from what I've seen so far (designers have just started posting their submissions):

Today's news and jokes

For "Zero History" fans

One of the books I've reread the most.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

New Humble Bundle is the ultimate collection of cosplay guides

Starts at $1 for two books including the classical guide to sewing a perfect jacket.

The first wave of Super 7's GI Joe Ultimates is on sale

at Entertainment Earth. Two options: Buy the entire first wave and one is free, or buy a four-pack of BATs and one of them will be free.

Marvel Legends Series comic book-style Black Knight and Sersi up for preorder as an Amazon exclusive

Link (I don't think I've ever read an issue where he had a laser sword):

Today's news and jokes

Warduke cosplay helmet up for preorder

at the BBTS:

Wired looks at the names of hacker groups


[Why] did I find myself referring to them as "the hacker group known as Kimsuky, Emerald Sleet, or Velvet Chollima"? 


A few days ago, Microsoft's cybersecurity division announced it was changing the entire taxonomy of names it uses for the hundreds of hacker groups that it tracks. Instead of its previous system, which gave those organizations the names of elements—a fairly neutral, scientific-sounding system as these things go—it will now give hacker groups two-word names, including in their description a weather-based term indicating what country the hackers are believed to work on behalf of, as well as whether they're state-sponsored or criminal.

That means Phosphorous, an Iranian group that Microsoft reported this week has been targeting US critical infrastructure like seaports, energy companies, and transit systems, now has the less-than-fearsome name Mint Sandstorm.


Many of the new names sounded so absurd that I actually double-checked Microsoft hadn't published the new labeling system on April 1. Periwinkle Tempest. Pumpkin Sandstorm. Spandex Tempest. Gingham Typhoon. 

So many more names (and plenty discussion about the merits of the naming systems). 

Wait, do toy hunters actually go to stores with scales to try to find the blind box they're looking for?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

"Facebook's Ad System Went Nuts and Ripped Off Customers"

Gizmodo has one write-up, and here's another. (Not super clear to me how many people were defrauded, or by how much, or whether they'll get their money back.)

Two killed and three others shot at a cockfight on Oahu


Police in Hawaii have vowed to step up illegal gambling enforcement after one of the most serious shootings in state history called attention to the dangers that come with cockfighting, which has deep roots in the islands and remains popular despite being illegal.


Authorities say investigating cockfights is difficult in part because they are highly organized events on private property and their illegal nature and the large amount of money wagered means they often have links to organized crime. 


[A former Maui police chief said], “It’s something that is so huge and so popular in Hawaii that it really can’t be controlled by law enforcement”

Disturbing new allegation about the former San Francisco fire commissioner who was supposedly the victim of a random attack by a homeless person

He's alleged to be the person who has committed multiple attacks such as in the video below, and also alleged to be falsely exaggerating his injuries to avoid being questioned:

"Who Was Rupert Murdoch’s Two-Week Fiancée?"


In 1988, she was involved in an imbroglio at a society gala on the dance floor of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Reuters described the melee as “a shoving match between two San Francisco socialites” .... “She pulled my hair,” [the victim] said in an interview for this article. “She scratched me.” [She] pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and was ordered to donate $3,000 to a shelter for abused women, Reuters reported at the time.


[Her] life began to turn around when she became a Christian, she told the network, adding that she had started doing volunteer work as a chaplain for police departments in Marin County. In 1999, she wed ... a former percussionist in the rock band Santana. The fact of that marriage, which lasted about a year


Her third marriage was to ... a radio and television entrepreneur in Modesto, Calif., who had started out as a disc jockey and country singer. [She] appeared at his side on the cover of ... a 2005 album .... In the photo, [she] is dressed in a police uniform with a priest’s collar, her hand on her husband’s shoulder.

And of course:

Today's Star Wars preorders include a 3.75" scout trooper abducting Grogu

Includes jetbike and Grogu-filled messenger bag.

Today's news and jokes

I was way off.

Make a food bank donation for a chance to win a Pan Am-style Star Destroyer bag

McFarlane and Super7 toys in today's one day sale

Including 26% off Super7 Splinter and 44% off McFarlane Geralt.

You can register for a sneakpeek of Ann Leckie's "Translation State"

May 1.

Alaskan high kick and wrist carry at the 2023 State Native Youth Olympics; the battle sport of Jugger; Katelyn Ohashi takes on the US Marine obstacle course


2023 State Native Youth Olympics

♬ original sound - Greg
More information about the events here. And a few more random sports clips I saved--extremely specific volleyball drills, the growing (?) sport of Jugger, and Katelyn Ohashi takes on the US Marine obstacle course:

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Good Raiders of the Lost Ark poster

Still copies for sale when I looked

Funny summary of an attempted lawsuit by a very famous celebrity lawyer

From Matt Levine's April 24 newsletter, which has a lengthy write-up of the legal shenanigans:
Ultimately this defense worked, and the judge dismissed [the extremely famous celebrity lawyer]’s lawsuit. I love that a famous US lawyer learned of Swiss companies defrauding a Venezuelan company out of billions of dollars, and his natural first reaction was to go to a US federal court to get it to order those companies to give him the money instead. “If a US lawyer notices anyone stealing any money anywhere in the world, that money belongs to him, and a US court will enforce his rights to it” is not 100% wrong as a description of US law, which explains a lot about the extraterritorial application of US law, the hegemony of the dollar system, and the entrepreneurial American legal culture. But it is not 100% right either, and it did not work out for [the extremely famous celebrity lawyer].

Alabama just rescinded its recruitment of a basketball player after his arrest, but I guessed wrong as to why the player was arrested

The player had announced his transfer to Alabama's basketball program, but got arrested, so Alabama canceled those plans. The details of what were found in the car indeed sound bad. But can you guess which of the details justified the arrest?:

[The player] told police there was a loaded firearm under the passenger seat where he was sitting, and an officer noticed a rolling tray, a baggie containing some 20 grams of marijuana and a half-rolled blunt in the passenger side floorboard, police said.

Officers found two more loaded weapons and another baggie containing 12 grams of marijuana that police said belonged to [the player's companion].

In Alabama, as of Jan. 1, a permit is no longer required to carry a concealed handgun or to carry one in a vehicle.


[The two men] were both charged with second-degree possession of marijuana and released after posting $500 bond. The driver was not charged. 

I have excellent news if you'd like to decorate your home with the dart wall trap from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or the Urn of Nurhachi from "Temple of Doom"

Four new relics from Regal Robot up for preorder, including these two, plus some smaller magnets:

Micro Galaxy Squadron version of the Mandalorian's hot rod starfighter is up for preorder

$16.99 at Amazon:

Today's news and jokes

Some Marvel Legends in the one-day sale

One day sale at the BBTS includes Marvel Legends Hickman Professor X, Iron Man with an alternate hologram head, and more.

Sketch cards for sale

Fun idea for an art commission: a Nick Fury and MODOK commission where an artist drew the scene and a writer added a short narrative

Trailer for 30 for 30: The American Gladiators Documentary

Looks pretty depressing!

Monday, April 24, 2023

New Humble Bundle promises the "ultimate guide to ChatGPT and AI Chat Bots"

Starting at three books for $1. Maybe some instant artifacts, like "Alexa Skills," but my impression is the LLMs are and will be increasingly useful for coding.

The first 150 pages for the substack comic by Niko Henrichon and Brian Vaughn were posted as a free download

Available for download (some good art). Also at the link, a photo of a pretty great Al Jafee original fold-in.

New JoyToy Warhammer 40k miniatures include the skull-headed Marine Chaplain and the winged Living Saint

A whole bunch of new troops for various armies, plus various characters up for preorder:

Today's news and jokes

Garbagepunk van


♬ Happy & Pop songs - PeriTune

"The Game of Kings: Book One" by Dorothy Dunnett is $1.99 today

at Amazon:
Combining all the political intrigue of Game of Thrones with the sweeping romanticism of Outlander, Dorothy Dunnett’s legendary Lymond Chronicles have enthralled readers for decades and amassed legions of devoted fans
Wikipedia page for the series.

Vending machine dispenses an ARG

Cincinnati Magazine (the article from last year describes Training Module 1 of the ARG):
For $10, you’ll receive a small box containing the first module of your Field Agent Training Program. Filled with puzzles, clues, and riddles, the cards build an experience straight out of a conspiracy fiction novel. No spoilers, but if you decide to enroll, plan to spend plenty of time investigating Findlay Market.
Here's the creator's Reddit thread about the project, and the ARG's website.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Around a dozen masked individuals stormed the stage at the at the LA Times Festival of Books to disrupt an archaeologist's talk


Critics have accused Hansen of wanting to develop the area to increase archaeological tourism in a way that would harm the local population, many of whom are Indigenous.

Hansen, whose proposals have won support from a number of Maya leaders, has said that his proposals are environmentally sustainable, would provide jobs for Indigenous communities and would mitigate the influence of what he called the “mafias” operating in the region.

The LAT had a long, vivid article about the area and the archaeologist last month, headlined, "Jaguars, narcos, illegal loggers: One man’s battle to save a jungle and Maya ruins":

For four decades Hansen and a group of more than 40 archaeologists and specialists have worked at El Mirador to preserve the enormous cultural wealth of the Maya empire, which dominated a region that encompasses swaths of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.


In 1983, while traveling in a small plane from Las Flores, Hansen, his wife, Jody, and his daughter Micalena crashed in the middle of the jungle. Everyone got out alive, but the episode brought home that, while the region’s perils are constantly close by, help is very far away.


Their work here has pulled Hansen and his team into a fierce debate over how best to sustainably preserve the biosphere around the site, as well as the impoverished communities that live off the jungle’s bounty.


“I am not leading any imperialist invasion,” he said. “We are simply trying to suggest that there is a viable, superior economic alternative for the impoverished communities through controlled, restricted eco-tourism, as opposed to poaching, looting, logging, oil drilling and money laundering by corrupt forces that do not want the conservation and protection of this area.”

*Previously: A Rogue Taliban Governor Has Been Digging Beneath the Ruins of the Bamiyan Buddhas, Chasing a Rumor of Buried Treasure

A look at the think tanks that have "found remarkable success among Republicans to relax regulations that prevent children from working long hours in dangerous conditions"

WaPo (I guess the think tank believes parents and kids can make some decisions for themselves):

a confederation of conservative state-level think tanks that practice what leaders call the “Ikea model” of advocacy, its president said during the group’s 2013 conference. Affiliates such as the FGA display prefabricated policy projects for state officials, then provide the tools — including research and lobbying support — to push proposals through legislative and administrative processes.


The FGA-backed measures maintain existing child labor safety protections “while removing the permission slip that inserts government in between parents and their teenager’s desire to work,” ... the foundation’s vice president, said in a statement.

“Frankly, every state, including Missouri, should follow Arkansas’s lead to allow parents and their teenagers to have the conversation about work and make that decision themselves,” said ... a visiting fellow at the Opportunity Solutions Project.

Brian Ewing, an artist I've featured before, has cancer--great time to check out the great pins, posters, and Valentines in his shop

Here's his shop. Some highlights: vampire pin, scratch off Valentine, foil prints.

Show me your life as a Wes Anderson movie is a fun Tiktok trend

@keithafadi Replying to @adidas sorry @adidas ♬ Obituary - Alexandre Desplat

A few more:

Super7 Ultimates 2001 figures are 39% off

at Entertainment Earth. The TMNT mousers/accessory pack is also 39% off.

The Best American Science Fiction And Fantasy 2021 is $1.99 today

at Amazon. (532 pages)

Today's news and jokes

(ebay had several when I looked.)

They gave that eagle that had been rearing rocks a real orphaned eaglet to care for, and it's going well

It's feeding the eaglet:

I enjoyed Cory Doctorow's new travelogue/thriller "Red Team Blues"

Unlike James Bond, who mostly sneaks around so that he can shoot a lot of people, the hero of Red Team Blues mostly sneaks around so he can trace and expose the flow of illegal money (thus provoking a lot of people into shooting each other). But like a good James Bond story, the plot of Red Team Blues is largely beside the point, and serves to help the reader imagine going on a rewarding business trip. The page-turner's at its best as a vivid travelogue for the central coast of California--the hero's equally at home in the burnt out husk of a Mendocino village, the picturesque college town of San Luis Obispo (this is the inn that gets a mention), and the grim encampments of San Francisco. Everywhere he goes, he knows how to find appropriate gear, eat delicious food, and make interesting allies. And the ladies absolutely throw themselves at him.

The book's available at Amazon (release date 4/25), and here's the accompanying book tour info.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Twitter today was like a MMO with the owner as a Looney Tunes-style foe

A lot of funny people still on Twitter:

"The new Aloha Stadium has hit another delay and will likely not be ready until the 2028 football season"

"It was only last month when the governor announced that the stadium would be delayed until 2027."

New Humble Bundle will help you "Be ready for disaster and everything after"

Starting at $1 for three books.

"Jaylen Brown Spreads Hilarious Conspiracy Theory With Spelling Mistake On Playoff Sneakers"

"The sneakers appear to refer to a long-running conspiracy theory that it was the Mayans, not Dr. James Naismith (whose name Brown spelled wrong) who should be created with the creation of the game of basketball." (Background on Brown.) (Reddit applies modern commentary to the Mayan game.)