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Total Eclipse of the Pug

Best solar eclipse 2017 video ever.

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Posted on 23 August 2017 | 5:23 am

Candidate Trump's racism strategy is failing President Trump

When Trump was on the campaign trail, he had a surefire racism strategy: he'd say something horribly racist ("Mexicans are rapists") then refuse to back down (giving comfort to overt racists), then finally back down a little (giving comfort to closet racists), then complain that the press wouldn't accept his apology (reinforcing his point that the media was unfair to him and pleasing his whole base). -

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:31 am

Giant jigsaw puzzle took 9 months to complete - watch a timelapse

Andre F. completes a 33,600 piece jigsaw puzzle called "Wildlife" by Educa. Dimension of the finished puzzle: 224.41 x 61.81 in. He spent a lot of time just turning the pieces right side up!

[via]

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:30 am

What’s wrong with startup culture: A video

Dan Lyons, a former tech journalist who wrote a funny blog years ago called "Fake Steve Jobs" and wrote one of the best episodes of HBO's Silicon Valley ("White Hat/Black Hat") gave a funny 20-minute talk about his horrible experience in a start-up.

From YouTube description:

When he lost his job at Newsweek, Lyons - who had long reported on Silicon Valley companies - accepted an offer from HubSpot, a red-hot Boston startup, as a "marketing fellow". Watch the talk to learn what happened next.

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:11 am

The Trump family's holidays and business trips have used up the entire Secret Service budget

By the end of the year, Trump and his family will have spent more of the Secret Service's budget than the Obama administration spent in eight years -- enough to exhaust the Secret Service's entire budget for the year and drive 500 Secret Security agents to quit their jobs in disgust. (more…)

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 4:05 am

Watch ants shoot acid at a person's hand

Here's an amazing video of ants covering someone's hand, spraying acid up towards the other hand that is hovering over them. The amount of acid shooting up is incredible, coming from such tiny creatures. They are probably defending themselves from what they perceive as a threat.

According to a 2014 article in Daily Mail, "The formic acid is not harmful to humans and has the same odour as vinegar. However, it is enough to scare off larger predators such as woodpeckers and jay birds, who could wreak havoc on an ant nest."

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:38 am

The five stages of margarine grief

[via Crappy Off Brands]

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:28 am

The far right has its own web, but what use is a site no-one will serve?

After Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer, hitherto Nazi-friendly internet companies have found their boots and their banhammers. The angry right has for some time anticipated this eventuality, and colonized or established replicas of key services and platforms. 8chan, Voat and Gab are the most well-known examples, respectively resembling 4chan, Reddit and Twitter. Adi Robertson writes that the internet's plumbing, the world of domain name registrars and load mitigation, will be harder to replicate. Why the alt-right can’t build an alt-internet.

Even if such a registrar could ignore bad PR, activists could still lodge complaints with the registries, which ultimately control access to domains. There are ways to bypass ICANN entirely. A site could use an alternative domain name system like Namecoin, for instance. It could advertise a numerical IP address rather than a link. The Daily Stormer set up shop on the free and decentralized Tor network, operating on the so-called dark web. But at that point, you’re not just independent, you’re effectively walled off from the normal internet. ... Far-right sites and services want to be real alternatives to their mainstream counterparts, not just enclaves for true believers.

Whatever is taken from them may also be taken from you.

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:19 am

Calgary airport regrets converting disabled parking spaces into "Lexus only" parking spaces

The Calgary airport authority has apologised for a botched marketing campaign in which it sold Lexus on the idea of designating some of its parking places as "Lexus only" and then, unbeknownst to the car company, used disabled parking spots for the purpose (presumably, they were luxuriously spacious). (more…)

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 3:06 am

Ali Alamedy's startlingly detailed dioramas

Enjoy this video of an Iraqi artist's intricate and realistic dioramas, depicting city scenes from around the world, crafted in exile: "When I tried to make a tiny bellows for the old camera, it had to be very very small. Each fold less than a millimeter thick, and I needed about 124 folds."

It's presented by Veena Rao at The New York Times.

Mr. Alamedy was born in Karbala, Iraq, in 1982, during the Iraq-Iran war. At the time, his father was imprisoned under Saddam Hussein for political reasons, and Mr. Alamedy wasn’t able to meet him until he was 9 years old. His mother taught him to read at a young age and reading quickly became his favorite hobby, as well as a way to escape to calmer and more secure places. Mr. Alamedy credits the novels he read as a primary reason he started building miniatures, “to recreate some of those scenes just as I had imagined them to be in my childhood.”

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:53 am

A (flawed) troll-detection tool maps America's most and least toxic places

The Perspective API (previously) is a tool from Google spinoff Jigsaw (previously) that automatically rates comments for their "toxicity" -- a fraught business that catches a lot of dolphins in its tuna net. (more…)

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:50 am

Researchers can take over domestic and industrial robots to spy and maim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSSTUvqMB3M

This week at Singapore's Hack in the Box conference, researchers Lucas Apa and Cesar Cerrudo from the Argentinian security research company IOActive will present their findings on the defects in humanoid domestic robots from UBTech and Softbank and industrial robot arms from Universal Robots; they're building on research published in March in which they released incomplete findings in order to give vendors a chance to patch the vulnerabilities they discovered. (more…)

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:41 am

Uncanny Japan podcast

Uncanny Japan is a podcast dedicated to the island's most peculiar folklore. I've barely got started but already know I'll have to binge the entire series (note that each episode is coffee-break short, less than 15m). Pictured above, from Episode 7, is a thousand-stitch belt believed to ward off gunfire. [via Metafilter]

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:35 am

ZenMate is the perfect VPN for media streamers

Unless you’ve somehow found a way to live without the internet, or have completely eschewed social media, you should really be browsing with a VPN. Your browser traffic reveals tons of information about you — whether you give it up voluntarily in exchange for free services, or even just visit a site that has social sharing buttons. To help minimize your digital fingerprint and stop feeding data to marketing profiles and ISP traffic logs, ZenMate offers an all-in-one privacy solution.

This VPN gives you total anonymity online. All of your activity is encrypted and routed through servers in over 30 countries to make you impossible to track. It masks your IP address to keep your physical whereabouts hidden, and also to give you access to region-locked media. Their browser extension lets you easily switch proxy locations, so you can get all of your favorite international television streams, and even circumvent state-imposed censorship while traveling abroad.

A 2-year subscription to ZenMate is available in the Boing Boing Store for $89.99.

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 2:00 am

"Human, you can do the thing" in doglish, but subtitled in pom talk

Found this on the Internet and decided that Pom was correct; am therefore now turning the Internet off.

Here's a chaser, though:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCAORZphnlY

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:54 am

Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah played on the mbira

Mbira musician Patti Broussard treats her fans to a lovely rendition of Hallelujah on an Array mbira. (more…)

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:35 am

Learn dirty words in sign language

I learn something new every day. Today I learned some valuable dirty words and phrases in sign language from the deaf folks in this video. Thanks to each and every one of you.

("Bullshit" signed is especially satisfying, imo.)

(TO)

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:34 am

Cough drop-flavored Kit Kats

Just when you think they can't make foods any weirder, out comes an unusual crossbreed: a cough reliever/candy bar.

SoraNews24 reports:

Called Kit Kat Nodo Ame Aji, which translates to Kit Kat Cough Drop Flavour, this new chocolate actually delivers a dose of 2.1 percent throat lozenge powder in every serving...

Accompanying the unique release is some equally unusual packaging which features the image of Yasutaro Matsuki, a former national soccer player and manager who’s also well-known for his work as a soccer commentator. His enthusiastic commentary acts as the perfect inspiration for the sweet, which has been designed to support Asahi TV sports broadcasts while helping to soothe the throats of supporters as they cheer for the Japanese soccer team.

Each box, which contains three individually wrapped Kit Kats, features an image of Matsuki yelling out “It’s one more point! Another point!!” alongside a slogan that reads “There’s a battle there that most definitely can’t be lost”, as a nod to the fact that Kit Kat is pronounced “Kitto Katsu” in Japan, which literally translates to “Surely Win”.

If you want to get one, better hurry. The cough drop-flavored Kit Kat is only available until September 5th, and only in Japan.

image via PRTimes

Posted on 23 August 2017 | 1:34 am

OCTOBER: China Mieville's novelistic history of the Russian revolution

(more…)

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:28 pm

Unboxing the ETCH, an axe designed for back-country self-rescue

Peter Biddle writes, "I get I myself into trouble. I don't claim that bad stuff happens to me more often than others - it's more that I find more ways to happen to bad stuff. I actually found a way to get severe hypothermia in 105°F heat." (more…)

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 1:15 pm

The Oatmeal looks into our reality tunnels, the "backfire effect," and the nature of belief

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal is at it again with a smart, funny, and very relevant look at how we construct our beliefs, build our reality tunnels, and why we react so forcefully when the core assumptions of that belief system are threatened.

Read the rest of it. Nice touch that there are two version, one with colorful language and one clean, "classroom-friendly version."

David McRaney's You Are Not So Smart did a wonderful 3-part series on the backfire effect. You can access the first episode here.

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 12:03 pm

Interview about my Recomendo newsletter

I was recently interviewed about the weekly Recomendo newsletter I write with my Cool Tools colleagues, Kevin Kelly and Claudia Dawson. Here's an excerpt:

What is the goal of your newsletter?

To give our readers a weekly list of 6 things we love — travel tips, books, TV shows, clothes, tools, websites, podcasts, and so on. We want people to be able to read the entire newsletter in 90 seconds or less, with no fluff or wheel spinning.

How do you create your newsletter?

We have a shared Google Doc where the three of us write brief reviews of things we like. Once a week, Claudia goes in and selects six items from the doc (two from each of us) and puts them into the weekly newsletter, which gets sent out on Sunday morning.

Speaking of the creation process, Recomendo always has super cool and useful recommendations. How do you go about selecting what goes into the newsletter?

Speaking for myself (this is Mark), whenever I become aware that I am really appreciative of something (like a phone service, a useful app, a good snack to travel with) I add it to a running list I maintain on workflowy.com. Once a week or so, I will go through that list and write brief recommendations of a few of the items on the list.

How many subscribers do you have?

As of 29 June 2017, we have published 49 weekly issues and have 11,528 subscribers. Once a month or so, we mention the newsletter on our personal social media accounts, on Cool Tools, and on Boing Boing.

Since the interview, our subscriber count has increased to 12,358. Check out Recomendo here.

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 11:22 am

Nabisco's X-rated toy scandal of 1971

Nabisco really screwed up in 1971 when they bought Aurora, makers of some really cool monster models. The problem was that Aurora also made a series of models called Monster Scenes that encouraged kids to torture a kidnapped "girl victim" by locking her in a cage, burning her with hot coals, and slicing her open with a pendulum.

From Mental Floss:

Unknown to Nabisco, Aurora had recently branched out and begun offering entire model kit dioramas. Instead of a single figure, consumers could buy detailed “sets” for their monsters to interact with. There was a guillotine, a razor-sharp pendulum, and a laboratory; a female protagonist, referred to in the copy as “the Victim,” was scantily-clad and ready to be dismembered, beheaded, or trapped in a spiked cage. Kids could also opt to have Vampirella, the top-heavy villain licensed from Warren Publishing, operate the winch and pulley while her plastic captive was shackled to a table.

Each kit also contained a comic, which instructed builders on how to assemble the torture scenes for maximum enjoyment. A narrator named Dr. Deadly seemed to opine on the appeal of the Victim once she was fully assembled. “Now that you’ve gotten her all together, I think I like the other way. In pieces … yesssss.”

In addition to Fig Newtons, Nabisco realized it had also been peddling tiny torture racks.

Images from the book, Aurora Monster Scenes - The Most Controversial Toys of a Generation, by Dennis L. Prince and Andrew P. Yanchus

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 10:12 am

What was inside Timothy Leary's stash box?

As part of the PROJECT:OBJECT "Illicit Objects" series, Doug Rushkoff writes about his friend and mentor Timothy Leary's silk drug stash box.

Tim’s own supply of drugs was minuscule. In addition to a couple of pills, a little paper-fold of cocaine, and maybe a hit of E, his little silk stash box contained implements: a little glass tube, a razor blade...

By the end, though, Tim was doing mainly nitrous. It was the only thing that took away the pain. We got a big tank from the auto supply shop, and Tim would inhale balloons. Everybody else started doing it, too: It was like a two-month-long nitrous party, with guests dropping in and out to say their farewells (in case Tim died before their next visit) and to have a couple of balloons. (I can personally vouch for that. - pesco) Often there were no balloons left for Tim.

So he started keeping one or two spare nitrous balloons in his stash box. I saw this as emblematic of his generosity; he had to take measures in order to guarantee access to his own drugs. When Tim died, I kept the stash box — to remind myself that there are limits.

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:46 am

Last surviving witness of Lincoln assassination on 1956 TV game show

https://youtu.be/I_iq5yzJ-Dk

I've posted this before, but it popped up again on Open Culture and it's still awe-provoking. On a TV game show in 1956 called I've Got a Secret, panelists had to guess what 96-year-old Samuel James Seymour's secret was. When Seymour was five years old, he saw John Wilkes Booth assassinate President Lincoln.

This reminds of the astounding fact that the last widow of a civil war veteran was still alive in 2004.

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:32 am

How to draw a levitating cube optical illusion

Jonathan Stephen Harris explains how to draw this mindbending anamorphic illusion of a levitating cube in about 15 minutes.

Materials used: 110lb cardstock, HB pencil, 2B pencil, Blue bic pen, red bic pen, black fine line pen, ruler, scissors.

(via The Kid Should See This)

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:25 am

Yes, Trump viewed #Eclipse2017 without glasses. 'Don't look,' an aide shouted.

Yup. He really did.

(more…)

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:14 am

Dog digs up dope-filled geocache in backyard

Kenyon, a golden retriever, was digging in his Yamhill County, Oregon backyard when he uncovered what his owners thought was a "time capsule." Turns out, the container was packed with 15 ounces of black tar heroin. Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson presented Kenyonwith an "official Yamhill County K9 citation ribbon and named him an honorary narcotics K9 for life." No word on the owner of the geocache Kenyon inadvertently excavated.

(KATU2)

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 7:10 am

My hand shadows looked weird during the eclipse

Here in Los Angeles we only saw a partial eclipse, but it was still interesting. My daughter and I were surprised to see circular bumps between our fingers in our hand shadows.

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:56 am

Watch a Blue Angel surprise the hell out of some folks

One of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels surprises the hell out of some people yesterday during the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Posted on 22 August 2017 | 6:47 am