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Gothamist unionized and its evil Trumpist billionaire owner shut it down; now public radio is bringing it back

Last November, evil Trump-supporting billionaire Joe Ricketts shut down Gothamist (and its sister sites) to punish its staff for forming a union. (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 1:12 pm

Paul Manafort's inability to save Word files as PDFs provided the evidence necessary to indict him for fraud

Paul Manafort, one-time Trump campaign manager, has been indicted for cooking his books in order to qualify for a loan; prosecutors secured the evidence of his fraud by searching his email, which contained attachments that clearly showed him doctoring his financial statements and then emailing them to his co-conspirator Richard Gates so Gates could convert them to PDFs, which literally just involves selecting "Save As..." and choosing "PDF." (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 1:04 pm

Taking one cent, ever, from the NRA should disqualify you from ever running for office as a Democrat

New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew wants to run for Congress as a Democrat; he visited 17-year-old Emily McGrath's school, Egg Harbor Township High, where McGrath questioned him about whether he'd taken money from the NRA; Van Drew said he hadn't, and he was lying. (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 12:20 pm

You know who hates Net Neutrality? The NRA.

It's CPAC! The annual far-right hootenanny for preppers, false-flaggers, climate deniers, truthers, and the sort of person who closes their eyes and thinks of The Fountainhead, featuring Marion Maréchal-Le Pen of France, Nigel Farage, Sean Hannity, and mass-murder enthusiast Wayne LaPierre. (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 12:05 pm

Candles for book lovers

Candles that smell like a bookstore, old books, or a musty old cellar? Pal, you sure like books!

My home is filled with books, and pets. Guess which one lends more to the olfactory nature of my domicile? Frequently, especially after running the carpet deep-cleaner, I'll want to light a candle... or burn a sage Great Pyrenees in effigy.

Candle store candles, or simply walking into one of those mall candle-shops, makes me sick-to-my-stomach. Finding candles that help clear the air, rather than fill it with a chemical scent worse than hospital, is pretty tough. Bookstore is working well for me, tho I am not sure which bookstore it is supposed to be. Most of them now smell like their coffee counter.

Bookstore - Book Lovers' Soy Candle - 8oz Jar via Amazon

Image via Amazon

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 6:50 am

US Customs and Border Patrol made forging e-passports easier

One of the things that make every RFID implanted US Passport 'safe' is each document's unique cryptographic identifier. Customs and Border Patrol can use this key to verify the authenticity of each passport, if they'd bother to install the software to do so.

For 12 years they have not.

Via Wired:

Passports, like any physical ID, can be altered and forged. That's partly why for the last 11 years the United States has put RFID chips in the back panel of its passports, creating so-called e-Passports. The chip stores your passport information—like name, date of birth, passport number, your photo, and even a biometric identifier—for quick, machine-readable border checks. And while e-Passports also store a cryptographic signature to prevent tampering or forgeries, it turns out that despite having over a decade to do so, US Customs and Border Protection hasn't deployed the software needed to actually verify it.

This means that since as far back as 2006, a skilled hacker could alter the data on an e-Passport chip—like the name, photo, or expiration date—without fear that signature verification would alert a border agent to the changes. That could theoretically be enough to slip into countries that allow all-electronic border checks, or even to get past a border patrol agent into the US.

...and they need a wall.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 6:37 am

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler pens a touching thank you to fans

Following the unprecedented success of his film Black Panther, director Ryan Coogler shared this sweet thank-you letter via the Marvel Studios Twitter account:

https://twitter.com/marvelstudios/status/966115769388998656?s=11

The letter reads:

I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try. Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up [of] amazing people from all over the world who believed in this story. Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent.

Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters often moved me and my wife to tears.

For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world, all before even seeing the film…

To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn’t yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out…

And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends…

Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.

Sincerely,

Ryan Coogler

P.S. Wakanda Forever

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 6:30 am

The existential horror of Logan Paul

Rightfully disdained for his callous behavior but still adored by millions of fans, YouTuber Logan Paul clearly inspires some very intense emotions in those who watch his channel. In this thoughtful 19-minute video, video essayist Big Joel takes an objective look at why that is by examining Paul’s evolving YouTube persona and the troubling, damaging path it’s taken.

https://youtu.be/T11cQXL5dJw

For another smart critical take on Logan Paul, check out this video by Nathan Zed:

https://youtu.be/Udtjq-uZ10Y

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 6:30 am

Incredible overview of making mirrors for the world's largest telescope

The Giant Magellan Telescope is a marvel of engineering, and Dr. Patrick McCarthy explains the years-long process to make an optic mirror that costs over $20 million. (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 5:30 am

SPLC finally adds male supremacists to hate groups list

Male supremacy has gotten a strong foothold online through men's rights activism (MRA), pickup artist movement (PUA), and the "tradwife" movement. Now SPLC has started naming the leaders on their hate watchlist. (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 4:30 am

Watch how to make a tin can with actual tin from scratch

Cody from Cody's lab had some elemental tin and a new rolling press, so he decided to craft a tin can from actual tin. (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 4:15 am

Animator PES crafts a taco with his flea market haul

Most of PES' videos showcase his amazingly stylish stop-motion animation skills. While his most recent upload is a departure from that, it's equally as compelling. In the video, he heads to his local flea market in Long Beach, California and shows us not only what kinds of things he fancies but also shares, in some cases, why they grabbed his attention.

We also get to see how he combines seemingly-unrelated elements to make something creative and new, which is what he does in his animated shorts (like Submarine Sandwich, Western Spaghetti and the Oscar-nominated Fresh Guacamole).

Now watch as he turns a vintage baseball glove into a crispy taco shell stuffed with crystallized "meat," shredded money "lettuce," dice(d) "tomatoes," and golf pencil "cheese."

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 3:59 am

Watch this very good boy fearlessly escape a pack of wolves

While bopping around Italy's Abruzzo National Park, zoologist Paolo Forconi witnessed a pack of three young wolves assaulting a garden variety house pooch. While it takes a few nips from the wolves, their young jaws, according to Forconi, weren't able to do much damage. Tthe dog was able to make its escape through a small hole in a fence.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 3:49 am

Rancher takes feds to court over camera they placed on his property without permission

Ricardo Palacios, a 74-year old rancher, had gotten used to Customs and Border Protection officials tromping across his south Texas ranch lands without permission over the years. But finding a wireless surveillance camera set up in one of his trees? Not OK. Upon discovering the device, Palacios removed it immediately. It wasn't long after that he started receiving calls from CBP and the Texas Rangers demanding that he turn the camera over to them or face charges.

Having taken enough of their shit, instead of turning the camera over, Palacios gave the feds something else instead: a lawsuit.

According to Ars Technica, Palacios, who's been a lawyer for 50 years,  named the two agencies and a CBP agent in a lawsuit that accuses them of violating his constitutional rights, by trespassing on his land, and setting up cameras where ever they damn well please. It's an important case: CBP claims it has a right, within a 100-mile radius of the American border, to stop people (including U.S. citizens, which flies in the face of the Fourth Amendment,) search cars and personal belongings in the name of border security, without a warrant. But this doesn't allow them to go traipsing on to private property in the name of their duties without permission. They're only allowed to  do that within 25 miles of the border.

Palacios' ranch? It's 35 miles away from the edge of the U.S./Mexican border. This alone would be enough to warrant a suit against the government. But there's more:

As Palacios alleges in the civil complaint, his interactions with CBP began in April 2010 when his two sons were stopped at a checkpoint along I-35. When one son, Ricardo Palacios Jr., refused to answer questions, he was taken to a secondary inspection where he was assaulted by a CBP officer. Eventually, after being detained for 90 minutes, he was driven home to the ranch just a few miles away.

Over the next several years, CBP agents roamed "freely about, day or night" on the Palacios ranch, despite his numerous efforts to protest. He even sent a formal letter to a regional CBP supervisor on April 9, 2010. However, the letter doesn't seem to have made any substantive difference.

Palacios' suit has yet to be heard by a judge, but the ask is very simple: he wants state and federal agents to stop creeping on to his property without permission or probable cause. Were the courts to side with the rancher, it could have far reaching ramifications for how border agents go about their duties.

Image via Pixabay

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 3:47 am

Here's the Harlem Globetrotters' Rube Goldberg 'trick shot' machine

Yep, the Harlem Globetrotters are still doing their thing and as evidenced by their YouTube channel (don't miss their "one take" video from last year), these basketball-spinning darlings are doing it better than ever.

These courtside jesters recently teamed up students from Georgia Tech's colleges of Industrial Design and Music to make this Rube Goldberg 'trick shot' machine. Watch as their starred, red, white, and blue basketball makes its way through a complicated path from a Globetrotter to an impressive hole-in-one.

It's a fun watch (despite all those editing cuts).

(Sploid)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 3:30 am

Share your big emotional moment on this crowdsourced map of NYC

Ever had something life changing happen to you in the Big Apple? Here's your chance to mark that emotional occasion on a crowdsourced map of the city.

To contribute to Kate Ray's "Crying in Public" map, you'll need to first sign up (no signup required to gawk at other people's hot messes). Then, pick an appropriate emoji that matches your life moment (a peach for "NSFW," crying face for "cried in public," swirly lollipop for "peaked at an altered state", etc.) and place it on the map along with its abbreviated story.

P.S. Don't go to the Chipotle at 6th Avenue and W. 13th.

(Waxy)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 3:00 am

Watch this test of a campfire in a can

Taras Kul tried out a "campfire in a can," essentially an enormous four-pound tea light used in places where firewood is unavailable or prohibited. (more…)

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 2:46 am

This vintage-looking speaker produces cutting-edge sound

Many of us enjoy the aesthetic of vintage electronics, but trying to use most hardware from the 1950's isn't necessarily practical. This is especially true where speakers are concerned. While most of us can appreciate the old-school feel of retro speakers, they have a hard time matching the convenience and power delivered by today's Bluetooth speakers. The Lofree Poison bridges this gap by offering a cutting-edge speaker wrapped up in a nostalgic design, and it's on sale for $79.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

Packaged in a retro, 1950's frame, this Kickstarter success boasts an enhanced bass driver and ultra large diaphragm, allowing it to pump out powerful and full-bodied bass without sacrificing mids and trebles. It utilizes 20-watt amplifiers to boost its sound potential, and it's rated to last up to six hours at a time thanks to its 2000mAh rechargeable battery. 

Normally retailing for $119, the Lofree Poison is on sale for $79.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 2:00 am

China sets up anonymous snitch-line to report strippers at funerals

The Chinese Minister of Culture has launched a campaign in Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces to end the practice of hiring strippers to draw crowds to funerals -- these crowds are seen as a mark of respect and status for the departed that epitomizes the virtue of "filial piety," regardless of how they are brought in. (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 9:57 pm

10 things winter Olympians are tired of hearing

If you ever meet a winter Olympian, be sure not to open with one of these lines. But do check out how winter athletes train for the Olympics:

https://youtu.be/NsIPP5RVm1c

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 9:01 pm

Prince Charles’ love child, Jack Ruby’s faked murder, and Jennifer Aniston’s shattered world, in this week’s tabloids

If you think that Tinkerbell won’t die if you believe hard enough in fairies, then you’ll have no problem believing this week’s tabloid stories, which rely heavily on wishful thinking.

Princess-to-be Meghan Markle and disgraced NBC morning anchor Matt Lauer’s “dressing room hook-up” dominates the ‘National Enquirer’ cover, which reports that their “sleazy” rendezvous has left the “Royal wedding thrown into chaos!” An unnamed NBC source claims that Markle and Lauer disappeared into his dressing room and closed the door when she appeared on the ’Today’ show - twice! And what debauchery went on inside? The ‘Enquirer’ has no idea, admitting: “it went on behind closed doors.” But reporters can dream, can’t they? Sleazy, indeed.

The ‘Enquirer’ also brings us the “Bruce Willis heart attack drama!” complete with “shocking photos” after the 62-year-old ‘Die Hard’ star allegedly “collapsed” while running on the set of his latest movie. How severe was his heart attack? Not at all, since it wasn’t a heart attack - but “people were terrified that he had a heart attack,” claims a source. Or maybe he just pulled a leg muscle, or sprained an ankle while running? Why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

Cameron Diaz is “pregnant at last - at 45” reports the ‘Enquirer,’ which bases its story not on a pregnancy test or ultrasound results, but the fact that the actress recently wore a shapeless billowy dress. Well, if that doesn’t prove she’s pregnant, what will?

And the ‘Enquirer’ couldn’t resist its breaking news about the big story of the day: Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassin Jack Ruby. According to the ‘Enquirer,’ the “CIA faked Jack Ruby’s Death!” Ruby was allegedly a CIA spy, and also “one of the shooters who got JFK,” and despite reports of his “sudden death” in police custody in 1967, he was secretly whisked away to hide out in Mexico. This information allegedly comes from a CIA agent who died in 2000 - so we know it must be true.

Former White House aide and TV's ‘Apprentice’ alumnus Omarosa Manigault has been bad-mouthing President Trump since recently departing the administration, and the ‘Globe’ devotes its cover to its report that “Omarosa Stabs Trump in Back!” But the ‘Globe’ doesn’t take that sort of treachery lying down. They ran her voice through a lie detector test - not even close to the accuracy of stress levels monitored by physical lie detector tests that are considered inadmissible in many U.S. courts - and concluded jubilantly: “Evil Omarosa Flunks Lie Test!” The machine detected "a large amount of stress” in her voice, therefore “she’s definitely not being truthful,” claims an analyst. Or maybe she’s just under immense stress after being fired by the White House and turning on her former boss?

Prince Charles’ wife Camilla has cancelled a trip to Australia, reports the ‘Globe,’ allegedly because she is “hiding from secret son!” Simon Dorante-Day has long claimed that he is Prince Charles’s love child given up for adoption by Camilla 51 years ago. He’s been making this claim for years, with zero evidence, but the fact that the Royals won’t submit to his request for a DNA test is enough to keep the story alive. It’s just a shame that last week Kensington Palace announced that Camilla definitely would be joining Charles on his trip to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April. Ah well, can’t win them all.

The ‘National Examiner’ dives behind Palace doors with its blow-by-blow account of Prince Harry almost assaulting Camilla during an argument, ordering her to “stop bad-mouthing my bride!” One can only assume that the ‘Examiner’ team of psychics and seers has finally used their supernatural powers to astral-project themselves into Kensington Palace to capture this scene, which is told with the lurid delight of an E.L. James novel. 'Fifty Shades of Royal,’ maybe?

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ magazine to tell us that Chloe Bennet wore it best, that Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy skipped eighth grade, and that former Olympic ice skater Tara Lipinski carries keys, a first aid kit and Havaianas in her Chanel bag.

Shockingly, this week, the stars are not like us! In a rare break with a hallowed journalistic tradition, ‘Us’ magazine brings us photos of stars taking selfies, exercising, playing golf, cutting birthday cakes, cuddling babies, and wearing “rainbow bright” fashions - but they’re not like us this week, perhaps because ‘Us’ finally figured out that the stars never have been like us. They’re wealthy, they’re beautiful, and they are pursued relentlessly by the paparazzi who fill the pages of ‘Us’ and ‘People’ magazines.

Forgive me if I take a moment to pat myself on the back for predicting earlier this month that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux would file for divorce, based on their “happy family” spread in ‘People’ magazine - always a good predictor that a marriage is on its last legs. When notoriously private couples suddenly go public with their immensely happy, shiny lives, you can bet their world is falling apart.

‘Us’ devotes its cover to a look inside Jennifer Aniston’s “shattered world,” yet its reporters find that she is actually far from shattered - Jen and Justin reportedly spent half their marriage apart, and she has seen this split coming for months, so the divorce hardly comes as a shock. At least she has some pretty photos of her happy home to look back on.

This week's tabloid that offers the most obvious story that will shock no-one comes from the ‘National Examiner,’ which brings us the revelation that flamboyant pianist Liberace “gave lover AIDS!”

And let’s not forget that J.M. Barrie asked ‘Peter Pan’ audiences to give Tinkerbell the clap.

Onwards and downwards . . .

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 9:00 pm

Before standing for the Democratic nomination in a NY congressional race, Patrick Ryan was in business spying on union organizers and left-wing activists

Patrick Ryan wants to be the Democratic nominee for New York's 19th district in the Hudson Valley, a Republican seat that Dems hope to flip; he's gone on record stating that he can do the job because of his entrepreneurial success -- but he didn't mention that he built his career at Berico Technologies by pitching a product to help businesses spy on union organizers and left-wing activists, a plan that included spying on left-wing Democrats and planting fake documents in order to discredit labor unions. (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 11:18 am

Trump's tiny sausage fingers too small to mask his "how to human" crib-sheet for mass shooting presser

On Wednesday, President Trump met with mass-shooting survivors to dismiss their pleas for basic gun safety laws that might negatively impact gun manufacturers' profits by instead proposing stupid shit like filling schools with armed veterans and giving guns to teachers. (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 11:08 am

It could happen here: How China's social credit system demonstrates the future of social control in smart cities

Adam Greenfield (previously) is one of the best thinkers when it comes to the social consequences of ubiquitous computing and smart cities; he's the latest contributor Ian Bogost's special series on "smart cities" for The Atlantic (previously: Bruce Sterling, Molly Sauter). (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:50 am

Now that Trump's FCC has killed Net Neutrality, we all need to participate in instrumenting the net to document violations

Ajit Pai's Net Neutrality-killing order is scheduled to go into effect on April 23, and when that happens, it'll be open season on the free, fair and open internet. (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:34 am

Judge finds that Disney "misused copyright" when it tried to stop Redbox from renting download codes

Redbox buys DVDs and then rents them through automated kiosks, including DVDs from Disney that come with download codes to watch the videos through a DRM player. (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:25 am

Fully Automated Small Screen Luxury Communism: Amazon is making a TV show out of Iain Banks's Culture novels

The late, lamented Scottish writer Iain Banks (previously) was several kinds of writer, but one of his main claims to fame is his role in developing the idea of fully automated luxury communism, in his beloved Culture novels, a series of wildly original space operas about a post-singularity, post-scarcity cooperative galactic civilization devoted to games, leisure, and artistic pursuits, populated by AIs, city-sized space cruisers, spy networks, and weird bureaucracies. (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:13 am

In 2009 a NJ judge banned hooking up voting machines to the internet, but that's exactly how ES&S's "airgapped" machines work

Connecting voting machines to the internet is a terrible idea: the machines are already notoriously insecure, and once they're online, anyone, anywhere in the world becomes a potential attacker. (more…)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 9:58 am

Astronauts share their experiences seeing Earth from space

What's it really like to gaze at Earth from space? Does an offworld view of the Pale Blue Dot shift your perspective forever? For the cover story in the new issue of National Geographic, talented science writer Nadia Drake talks to astronauts about how the rarified experience of seeing our planet from space changed them forever. “You’ve got this planet beneath you, and a lot of what you see, especially during the day, does not necessarily point to a human presence," Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti told Drake. "If you look at it on a geologic timescale, it’s almost like we are this flimsy presence, and we really have to stick together as a human family to make sure we are a permanent presence on this planet and not just this blink of an eye.”

It's a beautiful and moving story. Nadia writes:

For the bulk of human history, it’s been impossible to put Earth in cosmic perspective.

Bound by gravity and biology, we can’t easily step outside it, above it, or away from it. For most of us, Earth is inescapably larger than life. Even now, after nearly six decades of human spaceflight, precious few people have rocketed into orbit and seen the sun peeking out from behind that curved horizon. Since 1961, a mere 556 people have had this rarefied experience. Fewer, just 24, have watched Earth shrink in the distance, growing smaller and smaller until it was no larger than the face of a wristwatch. And only six have been completely alone behind the far side of the moon, cut off from a view of our planet as they sailed in an endlessly deep, star-studded sea...

It’s an inherently unnatural thing, spaceflight. After all, our physiology evolved specifically to succeed on this planet, not above it. Perhaps that’s why it can be difficult for astronauts to describe the experience of seeing Earth from space.

"They Saw Earth From Space. Here's How It Changed Them." (National Geographic)

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:08 am

Some free short stories from Soviet-era science fiction author Anatoly Dneprov

This week I found several stories by Anatoly Dneprov, shared free on the series of tubes we call the internet.

Anatoly Dneprov, a science teacher, wrote wonderful, fast-paced, and oh-so very representative of Russia science fiction in the 1950s and 1960s. Not only does Dneprov masterfully communicate the headspace of living in a dystopic society, but his ideas about self-replicating machines, 3D printing and number of other things-to-come are eerie to the point of disbelief.

The Purple Mummy is a fantastic story about first contact coming from someplace completely unexpected. In just a few pages, as these stories are short, Dneprov launches quite a few huge ideas, and brings the story to a conclusion that doesn't feel lacking. Advances in medicine, the birth of 3D printing, and some very Russian existentialism over an anti-Universe are all strung together in a way that makes more sense than it should.

I also enjoyed his short The Maxwell Equations.

Links are via the Internet Archive and offer all the e-versions you might want.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:04 am