Monday, May 29, 2023

"Bonus Eventus was a divine personification in ancient Roman religion"

"Coins featuring Bonus Eventus were issued during the turmoil of the Year of Four Emperors (69 AD) and the reigns of Galba, Vespasian, Titus, Antoninus Pius, and Septimius Severus. On these coins and on gems, Bonus Eventus is a standing male nude, usually with one leg bent and his head turned away toward a libation bowl in his outstretched hand."

Investigation into the bitcoin side business of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power executive hints at revolving door corruption

LATimes (the story focuses on whether the executive is impermissibly running a side business mining bitcoin in Colorado, but):

[He] secured an economic development deal with Colorado Springs Utilities, a publicly owned electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater services utility, in 2018, to get a reduced rate for electricity.

[He] said he chose to invest in Colorado Springs because he was able to get “a one-of-a-kind building.” He secured a “very low” rate in Colorado Springs for electricity, he said.

In 2018, the general manager of energy supplies at Colorado Springs Utilities was [a man who worked with the DWP executive] at the DWP before [the man] was hired by Colorado Springs Utilities in 2015.

[That man then] rejoined the DWP last year as its chief operating officer, the No. 2 position at the utility.

The Star Trek DS9 novel "Revenant" is 99 cents right now

at Amazon. It's by Alex White, who wrote two great Aliens-universe novels.

Korok cosplay

A bunch of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom fan art and silly contraptions I've been saving:

Today's funny posts

"The Asian sheepshead wrasse, also known as kobudai in Japan, is a hermaphroditic species, meaning that it has both male and female organs which allows it to change its sex."

Horn sharks lay their eggs ins a disturbing spiral-shaped egg casing

@california.shelling Some sharks give birth to live young, and others are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. California horn sharks mothers lay these corkscrew egg cases. When it comes out, it is very pliable, but hardens over time. Hope this lil guy makes it! 🦈 #shark #sealife #oceanlife #fyp ♬ original sound - California.Shelling

"After laying, the female picks up the auger-shaped egg cases and wedges them into crevices to protect them from predators." (I found some videos of sharks transporting and eating the casings, but not burying them.)

Interactive digital "painting" of flowers with convincing depth

*Previously: Augmented reality crosswalk

Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Indy 500 narrowly avoided disaster as a tire went flying between grandstands

Just incredible luck that the tire didn't strike the crowd, so they'll need to completely reevalute safety precautions. The car-cam shows the driver sliding upside down:

I enjoyed Nalo Hopkinson's short story Broad Dutty Water: A Sunken Story

The setting is a post-weather-apocalypse Earth instead of space stations, but otherwise, it reminded me a lot of CuarΓ³n's Gravity, as a young woman with new wetware upgrades is absolutely bombarded with one catastrophe after another. My complaint is the best kind--I wanted to see what happened next.

Not available online or even mentioned on the author's site to my knowledge, I read it in The Best American Science Fiction And Fantasy 2022. It also got the cover illustration on The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November-December 2021.

Today's news and jokes

Vivid article by Susan Orlean about young female surfers on Maui

The original article is from 1998:

Before women were encouraged to surf, the girls in Hana must have been unbelievably bored


One afternoon I went to Hana to meet Theresa McGregor, one of the best surfers in town. I missed our rendezvous and was despairing because Theresa lived with her mother, two brothers, and sister in a one-room shack with no phone and I couldn’t think of how I’d find her. There is one store in Hana, amazingly enough called the General Store, where you can buy milk and barbecue sauce and snack bags of dried cuttlefish; once I realized I’d missed Theresa I went into the store because there was no other place to go. The cashier looked kindly, so I asked whether by any wild chance she knew a surfer girl named Theresa McGregor. I had not yet come to appreciate what a small town Hana really was.


Last year, the surfer moms in town held a fund-raiser bake sale to send Theresa and two Hana boys to the national surfing competition in California.


I stayed up late reading about how Christian missionaries had banned surfing when they got to Hawaii in the late 1800s

And the follow-up from 2021:

Tell me how the story came to be. How did the assignment happen?

Well, it was kind of funny. I had been doing stuff for Outside, and Susan Casey, who was then running Women Outside, said to me, “How would you like to do a story about these girls who are big surfers in Hawaii?” Generally, I come up with my own story ideas. It’s rare that I respond well to someone’s suggestion. But I thought it sounded great. And as I recall, I basically got a flight and went, and when I arrived in Maui, I started calling the different girls whose names Susan had given me. And one after another, they said, “Oh, I don’t surf anymore” or “Yeah, I’m not that interested in surfing.” It was every reporter’s nightmare. It was like, “What? You don’t surf anymore? Here I am in Maui, and I spent all this time and the magazine’s money to come here, and none of you guys surf?” I was very discouraged.


Do you remember that first drive out to Hana?

Oh my God, yeah. Anybody who has done that drive doesn’t forget it, because it is a very challenging road. It’s not very far, and I’m a totally fearless driver—I have no fear of driving anywhere—but it’s the most harrowing drive


TRW mug

I didn't see this one, but ebay has a bunch of other TRW mugs.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

"A Desolation Called Peace" is $2.99 right now

at Amazon
Now a USA Today bestseller!
Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2021
Amazon's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2021
Bookpage's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2021
Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best Science Fiction Book of 2021

New Humble Bundle is science fiction audiobooks including Martha Wells's outstanding series about a killer cyborg that hates its job and its customers and just wants to watch soap operas

The only other book I'm familiar with in the bundle is "Outside" by Ada Hoffman. I put it aside for the time being because it got a little slow in the middle, but the first third is great, with an intriguing take on "angels."

Today's news and jokes

San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit has new anime mascots

They have backstories.

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

Friday, May 26, 2023

"An infectious pathogen inside California’s pot farms is attacking cannabis plants"

SF Gate:

Hop-latent viroid, or HLVd, shrivels pot plants and reduce how much weight they produce by as much as 30%. It also destroys the amount of THC, pot’s most common active compound, that a plant produces, greatly reducing the value of affected plants. 


It’s now infected at least 90% of California’s cannabis grows, according to a 2021 estimate. It’s spreading globally

FWIW, a Reddit discussion

The biodesigner whose work inspired Bungie's reimagined Marathon

From a 2022 interview:
What are three questions every biodesigner must consider?

What is life? Artificial wombs and embryos made from skin cells are already revolutionizing reproductive biology. CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology can be programmed to target specific stretches of genetic code and edit them at precise locations. Gene drives may soon provide an effective means of accelerating the inheritance of genetic modifications through specific wild populations or entire species. With these systems in place, we can permanently modify genes in living cells and organisms to treat genetic causes of disease, while also controlling genetic expression. From here, creating or permanently altering life is all too real.
Responding to unsustainable construction practices that contribute to waste, Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group developed fabrication methods that are attuned to natural conditions and lifecycles. Almost sixteen feet tall, the Aguahoja pavilions are 3D printed structures that use 5,740 fallen leaves, 6,500 apple skins, and 3,135 shrimp shells as building materials that decay naturally, thereby enriching its environment rather than poisoning it.
The Instagram gallery looks like an ARG for a Ridley Scott movie:

Today's funny posts

The weekend sale features 38% off S.H. Figuarts Squid Games figures

At the BBTS today, the sale also includes lots of Marvel Legends and a deluxe Richard Dreyfuss figure by NECA.

Roger Ebert's "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie" is $2.99 today

at Amazon:
a collection of more than 200 of Ebert’s most biting and entertaining reviews of films receiving a mere star or less from the only film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is on Paramount+ and is remarkably good

Consistently funny and surprising. It'll restore your faith in adventure movies.

Here's a discussion with the directors as to whether that other group of (very familiar) adventurers survives the maze.

And here's Jarnathan:

20 articles of impeachment were filed against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Tribune:

The Texas House will vote on accusations that include bribery, dereliction of duty, disregard of official duty and obstruction of justice.

Houston Chronicle:

The attorney general did not respond to a request for comment, but in a statement earlier Thursday, he criticized the investigation as unfair and accused members of the Legislature of being fake Republicans


His wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, may soon decide whether he deserves to be removed from office

*Previously: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has agreed to apologize and pay $3.3 million in taxpayer money to four former staffers who accused him of corruption in 2020

A whole bunch of new Super 7 preorders, including Sesame Street Yip Yip Martians, G.I. Joe Funhouse Robot Cobra Commander, and Treehouse of Horror

No photos yet, but a few that caught my eye are Super Cyborg S.N.A.K.E. Armor, Funhouse Robot Cobra Commander, Yip Yip Martians and the Count von Count.

New Humble Bundle is Breakfast cookbooks

Starting at three books for $1.

The Artstation account for the art director of Bungie's reimagined Marathon

Joseph Cross. (I loved every frame of the trailer, and the ARG sites are intriguing.)

Today's funny posts

The one dale sale includes the 3.75" scale Alien Queen by Hiya Toys

The one-say sale at the BBTS today includes 28% off the Alien Queen by Hiya Toys and 26% off the deluxe Ninja Batman figure by Star Ace. 

Also, the new Across the Spider-Verse figures by Hot Toys are up for preorder. I appreciate the Spider-Man 2099 design more every time I see it:

Finn, Jedi Master fan art

(Would have loved to see him train as a politician and get Lando as a mentor after Carrie Fisher's untimely death.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Thrawn RPG Sourcebook available for download

Firing of two University of Cincinnati baseball staff members reportedly related to sports gambling

Supposedly, the two staff members didn't gamble, but had undisclosed conversations with a parent who was gambling.

Philadelphia charter school allegedly manipulated its admission lottery to exclude entire zip codes

It previously was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
The lottery particularly disadvantaged Black residents.

Today's funny posts

ebay has it

Gorgeous photo of the Japanese volcanic island of Nishinoshima

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

To go after patent trolls, states are passing laws requiring disclosure of ligation financing agreements

Bloomberg on rules designed to prevent secretive litigation financing: 

Louisiana is advancing legislation to require disclosure of litigation finance agreements, making it the latest in a string of states to clamp down on the lawsuit funding tool.


The legislation underscores how states are pushing to restrict the opaque litigation finance industry that topped $13 billion in assets under management last year. Wisconsin and New Jersey already require disclosure, and US District Judge Colm F. Connolly in Delaware has required it for certain patent cases in his courtroom.

Matt Levine wrote about the rule in Delware exposing a particular patent troll in today's newsletter:

The downside of scale in litigation is that, if you are constantly suing everyone in the world for infringing on your portfolio of patents, people are going to start rolling their eyes when they see your lawsuits. “These guys again,” they will say. “Patent trolls,” they will say.

But you can sell your patents to somebody else. You can, for instance, find some guy, and give him one of your patents, and then pay for him to sue people who make things that allegedly infringe on the patents, and sign an agreement with him where he’ll give you most of the money if he wins and just keep a little tip for himself for letting you use his name. And then when he sues, he doesn’t have a long history of patent litigation, and maybe people won’t roll their eyes at him.

Or maybe they will.

Disturbing digital displays of captured people by Hiroyasu Shimo

More from the exhibit:

Today's funny posts

Spirited Away custom Polly Pocket

*See more custom toys.

Nike soccer commercial by the cinematographer of Nope

I was curious what Hoyte Van Hoytema did after Nope--director of photography for Nike FC Presents the Footballverse. Everyone looks like they're having so much fun:

*Previously: Why Michael Wincott dresses the why he does in Nope

Monday, May 22, 2023

I like this Shin Universe Combiner more than the official one

Brian K. Vaughn says the show "Y the Last Man" will be permanently removed from streaming

I've assumed that content already released would migrate to Tubi and other free services, but he says in today's newsletter (which includes NSFW content):
Along with dozens of other titles, the first season of Y will be removed from Hulu (likely never to be available anywhere else again) this Friday, May 26

Today's funny posts

(At least the Lakers won't be pressured into giving Dlo a supermax in the offseason)

The one day sale features Beaker and Bunsen, and an Iron Giant by 1000Toys

at the BBTS today, 27% off the Beaker and Bunsen two-pack, 27% off the super-articulatd Iron Giant by 1000Toys, and 38% off Mafex animated Joker (never seen a folded paper plane accessory before).

QR Code dice

Clever Transformers toy photography

Sunday, May 21, 2023

There's a new ballet at the Royal Opera House inspired by Jim Henson's "The Dark Crystal"

Here's the official site if you want to see it. Time Out said:
the show takes key elements and themes from the movie – fantastical creatures, the destruction of worlds, and as the programme note puts it ‘ecological overtones’. What we’re given is a 70-minute plotless mystical odyssey through different realms, encountering a cornucopia of creatures, elements and humans.
It might leave you panicking about the state of the world, but it’s a wild ride. Buckle up and let it take you away. 
I don't think there's any video online, but I posted a few more images below:

Weinermobile on a boat

The Weinermobile tracker.

The immersive Chewbacca snitching experience

The B-52's aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Most recent inductees
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo 
Duran Duran 
Dolly Parton 
Lionel Richie 
Carly Simon

Well-written review about a video game where you have to make enough money farming to pay for a trip off planet

Robert Yang writing about Before The Green Moon:

From the beginning, you're given an ultimate end goal: earn enough company scrip to buy a ticket to the moon. Instead of a raccoon banker oppressing you with a mortgage, it's a faceless Moon Company exploiting every poor soul left on this post-apocalyptic Earth. Brilliantly, the already astronomical price of the moon ticket actually increases during the game. Imagine if Animal Crossing had the bravery to charge interest on the home loan!

Well, Before The Green Moon is brave, brave enough even to suggest that farming isn't exactly a picturesque Hallmark movie. Instead, you're stuck in this abandoned GameCube game and you need to somehow earn enough to buy a moonshot out of this dump. How are you gonna do it?

Today's funny posts