Thursday, November 30, 2023

NY Knick Mitchell Robinson’s high school coach told a wonderful story about Robinson

Micro Galaxy Squadron The Mandalorian's N-1 Starfighter is $16.99

at Amazon.

New Humble Bundle features Helboy comics

Starts with five volumes for $1. 35 for $18.

Today's news and jokes

Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man on the Vegas Sphere

@fallonmadelaine #sphere #spherelasvegas #vegas #vegastiktok #spherevegas @Sphere ♬ Good Times Go By Too Fast - Dylan Scott

*Previously: Highlights from Future Cinema's screening of Ghostbusters

Move over La Sombrita, here are what new bus shelters for Los Angeles will look like

San Fernando Sun:
The $2.5 million funding will allow for the construction of 3,000 bus shelters throughout LA, including 400 in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, and the implementation of cool pavement on street segments in the valley. These shelters will have several features, including a canopy, a display panel for city announcements and emergency broadcasts, real-time bus arrival information, lighting for enhanced visibility and accessibility features such as push-to-talk buttons and wheelchair-friendly spaces.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

"Major League Pickleball asks players to take 40% pay cut"

The league’s proposal asks players to reduce their number of annual work days from 200 to 120 and indicates it would cut their salaries proportionally.

“You would be free to monetize the other 245 days on the annual calendar any way you choose - with 100% of any earnings on those days going to you,” the email reads.

When Daniel Ellsberg told Henry Kissinger about the damage having access to high-level secrets would do to his mind

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers is available at Amazon and the Internet Archive.

Rudy Rucker posted a free electronic version of the classic cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades

He'd previously posted the contents online, but has now posted epub and mobi versions.

Video of a Russian soldier trying to fight off a killer drone with a stick

The video and a detailed decription of the video is posted here.

New Humble Bundle features JRPGs

Steam scores displayed

Today's news and jokes

The episode of the podcast Win-Win with gambler Haralabos Voulgaris is very good

He talks about everything from his father's gambling, the worker's comp he got for a grisly injury that jumpstarted his career as a gambler, and his current effort to elevate a soccer team to La Liga.

"Chinese rocket that slammed onto Moon likely carrying mysterious undisclosed payload"

The rocket's behavior and nature of the crater it created indicate something mysterious was attached to it, and China denies that it was even their rocket.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Mark Cuban sold a majority share in the Dallas Mavericks apparently in the hopes it will lead to legalized gambling in Texas

Marc Stein:

A partnership with Las Vegas Sands Corp., furthermore, would bring significant real-estate and casino-gaming expertise to the Mavericks’ organization that he openly lacks and covets. Cuban, who turned 65 in July, has been saying for years that he hopes to someday build a new arena in Dallas with a casino attached — provided gambling is eventually legalized in Texas.

Cuban specifically told The Dallas Morning News last December: “My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena, it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino. That’s the mission.”

Dallas Morning News in January:

As of the first week of the 2023 session, Las Vegas Sands had brought on at least 63 lobbyists, more than any other company or entity. They’ve pledged to pay their lobbyists up to $5.9 million this year, according to data from the Texas Ethics Commission. Other gaming interests are also investing in lobbyists, the data shows, including sports betting sites like DraftKings and FanDuel and other destination resort companies like MGM Resorts.

Expanding gambling in Texas, especially the push to allow several major casino-resort developments, is a high-stakes issue not just because it would create a new revenue stream for the state, but also because it could be a game changer in terms of tourism and economic development.

From 2021:

Las Vegas "Casino operator stocks with major exposure to Macau fell sharply China eyes tougher regulations"

Here's a dire explanation for the surge in respiratory-related hospitalizations in China

James Palmer for Foreign Policy:

Hospitals in China are filling up with patients as respiratory illnesses surge among children, stoking fears among China’s neighbors. But the current outbreaks do not appear to be a new virus. Instead, they reflect three factors: a young population that lacks exposure to common viruses thanks to years of lockdowns, recurrent COVID-19 infections, and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, which are leading to rising pneumonia figures.


Their unwillingness to share details about the outbreaks is also because antibiotic resistance is embarrassing for China, which has long been aware of the problem but has done little to successfully combat it. Antibiotics are widely prescribed over the counter in China, leading people to use them at much higher rates than in the United States (where antibiotic prescription rates are already quite high). Antibiotics are also given in large quantities to livestock.

These are the comics I picked up at massive discounts from Amazon's sale

These are good deals on comics I either enjoyed, but wanted in a more convenient format, or have been meaning to try for years:

Plastic Man: Rubber Banded - The Deluxe Edition is $4.99 for 480 pages

Deathblow (1993-1996): Deluxe Edition  is $1.99 for 292 pages

Seven Soldiers of Victory: Book One and Book Two are $1.99 each (both are 380 pages) 

Solo: The Deluxe Edition is $3.99 for 604 pages

Lethal Company paper toys

Free download link.

We're looking at the Dark Knight's back, right?

Like we're Robin, following Batman as he leaps off a roof?

Today's news and jokes

Plane flying between a full moon and clouds looks like a skyshark

@dwyerontiktok When your house and a nearly full moon are in the flight path. #delta #flighttracker #nightsky #fullmoon ♬ original sound - Erin Dwyer

Related, some beautiful photos of the northern lights:

A deep dive into the cookies that Cookie Monster eats on Sesame Street


“If he eats the cookie, and it only breaks into two pieces if it’s too hard, it’s just not funny,” he said. “It looks almost painful. But if he eats a cookie and it explodes into a hundred crumbs, that’s where the comedy comes from.”

[The baker] has perfected a recipe that is “thin enough that it’ll explode into a hundred crumbs,” [the puppeteer] said. “But it’s not too thin that it’ll break in my hand when I’m holding it.”

Monday, November 27, 2023

Custom glow in the dark Shockwave-themed Battle Android Trooper

*See more custom toys.

Today's news and jokes

Cyber Monday deals at the BBTS features some excellent deals on Mezco figures

The landing page. 40%-50% off a large number of Mezco figures.

Neal Stephenson's novel "Anathem" is a thrilling, pulpy page turner

A 2008 novel with a cover, description, and first few 100 pages seemingly designed to discourage most people, even his fans, from reading it. It seems like it's going to be hundreds of pages of monks debating string theory and other concepts in excruciatingly dull detail. 

But I recently reread it, found it thrilling, and flew through the 1,000 pages. Yes, the monks debate string theory and other concepts in excruciating detail. But they do so while having one thrilling adventure after another, culminating in....

Spoilers for a novel that came out in 2008 below: 

25% off everything in stock at Entertainment Earth

That includes the already massively discounted Ultimates. CYBER25 for the 25% off, and free shipping if you spend $39 in the USA.

Book cover for "Goblin Market and Other Poems"

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Saturday, November 25, 2023

New Humble Bundle features solo tabletop RPGs

Starts at five items for $1:

Looking to take an RPG ruleset for a spin, but can’t manage to convince your friends to try a new system? This bundle of solo adventure modules by the specialists at Parts Per Million is exactly what you’ve been looking for! Included in the bundle are dozens of adventures written specifically for a variety of RPGs, from well-known indies like Blades in the Dark and Dungeon Crawl Classics, to cult favorites like Stars Without Number and Lancer. And if your tastes run to the old school, you’ll also find plenty of solo adventures tailored for good old fashioned OSR-style play.

Today's news and jokes

This week's best custom action figures, 3D-printables, Warhammer 40k miniatures, and other hobby creations

Friday, November 24, 2023

New Humble Bundle is the Black Friday Score: The Walking Dead and More

Starts at $1 for The Walking Dead Season 1 game. (There are several non-Walking Dead games, too.)

The award winning Blade Runner starter set is 48% off

The starter set is 48% off, $25.99 at Amazon.

The RPG core rulebook is 31% off, $22.49 at Amazon.

(Winners of best cartography and best design respectively at the 2023 Ennie Awards.)

Today's news and jokes

Amazon is having a sale on gift cards to other stores

For exanple, 20% off cards for Adidas, Fanatics, Domino's, and Roblox.

The treasure hunters that stole from an octopus

(Amazon link.)

Adidas sneakers and packaging inspired by the designer's grandmother's floral couch (including slipcover)

@welcometoreggieville Unheardof X Adidas Rivalry Low Grandmas Couch Sneak Peek. Full Review Coming Soon. #unheardof #adidasrivalry #grandmascouch #youtube #sneakerreview #theycallmemcfly #alliownisreggie #iamthehardestworkingmaninshoetainment ♬ original sound - McFly

Here's the 100-year-old grandmother herself unboxing and modeling the "Grandma's Couch" Unheardof x Adidas Rivalry Lo (and talking about the designer's arrest):

@complex_sneakers Here's a 100-year-old grandma unboxing the sneakers she inspired. @Unheardof x Adidas Rivalry Lo releasing Nov. 4. #adidas #grandma #fyp #fashion #couch #floral #unboxing ♬ original sound - Complex Sneakers

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Pulitzer Price-wining novel "Less" is $2.99

at Amazon.

Lost in Cult is giving away an issue of their deluxe video game magazine Lock-On

Download it here (and check out their other deals).

New Humble Bundle features the very fun scifi page turner "Old Man's War" for $1

It's the John Scalzi collection. I also enjoyed "The Ghost Brigades" in the second tier.

If you missed it, there's also a Humble Bundle featuring art books, including $1 for an art book dedicated to Isle of Dogs.

Meta Quest 2 is $50 off with another $50 digital credit at Amazon

Amazon link.

French police recruitment advertisement looks like a Rainbow Six character select screen

(I couldn't find this anywhere else)

*Previously: "Power Antoinette" is a novel and manga about Marie Antoinette gaining the physique of a powerlifter

The reveal of the new multi-faith area at the Bristol Airport is like they're parodying themselves

*Previously: Zavareh Multi-Faith Temple for power plant workers in Iran

Today's news and jokes

Myanmar authorities "handed over 31,000 telecom fraud suspects to China"


More than 100,000 people engage in telecom fraud each day in at least 1,000 scam centers in Myanmar

There's much more lurid detail in this article by the "United States Institute of Peace" from a few weeks ago:

Myanmar’s military has lost control of substantial sections of the country’s border with China in recent days, as forces fighting the coup regime coordinate their attacks in an unprecedented way. The immediate aim of the combined offensive was to shut down lucrative criminal activity in enclaves along the Chinese frontier that are run by military-sponsored border guard forces. Significantly, in doing so, the insurgents took advantage of China’s recent efforts to stifle scams run from the enclaves that target Chinese citizens. This could mark a turning point in the national struggle against military rule, one that would pose serious new challenges to the anti-coup leadership, the international community and Myanmar’s neighbors.


Since May, China has sent Myanmar’s generals a clear message: It is unacceptable to harbor forced-labor scam syndicates in Myanmar that traffic hundreds of thousands of people from around the world and steal and launder billions of dollars a month from a global population of victims. Beijing insisted that the military control its border guard forces (BGFs) hosting the scam enclaves. The junta didn’t just ignore China’s demands. It stood by as the BGF in Karen state doubled down with public accolades for its blatantly criminal activity on the Thai border, and the BGF in Kokang, fathered by coup leader Min Aung Hlaing as part of a 2009 military operation, ramped up its criminal operations right on China’s doorstep.

Over the summer, China raised the stakes by giving the Chinese media and film industry a green light to dramatize the chaos in Myanmar with popular films illuminating the fate of Chinese nationals who ended up in one of the thousands of forced-labor scam compounds now lining Myanmar’s borders. The films — “No More Bets,” “Tainted Love” and “Lost in the Stars” — have netted more than $1 billion at the box office

And the BBC posted more background

Under [the four families] the remote, impoverished backwater of Laukkaing was transformed into a rowdy casino hub of gaudy high-rise towers and seedy red-light districts.


Initially developed to take advantage of Chinese demand for gambling, which is illegal in China and many other neighbouring countries, Laukkaing's casinos evolved into a lucrative front for money laundering, trafficking and in particular for dozens of scam centres.


More than 100,000 foreign nationals, many of them Chinese, were estimated to have been lured to these scam centres, where they were effectively imprisoned and forced to work


In the early hours of the morning of 20 October, a group of scam workers was being transferred from Crouching Tiger Villa, probably in anticipation of a move against the scam centre by the Chinese police.

A number of workers, reported to be between 50 and 100, tried to escape, and the scam centre guards opened fire, killing several. Some accounts say there were undercover Chinese police officers among the dead.

That prompted a strongly-worded letter from the local government office in the neighbouring Chinese province - and the announcement of arrest warrants by the Chinese police

The Poker Face episode "Escape From Shit Mountain" is terrific

I disliked just about everything in the first episode, but gave this another chance after seeing the (as it turns out, very accurate) tweet below:

Wednesday, November 22, 2023