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Mom puts recorder in her daughter's backpack to record bullying, charge with felony

Sarah Sims of Norfolk, West Virginia said school officials did nothing to stop her 9-year-old daughter from being bullied at school. So she put a digital audio recorder in her daughter's backpack to catch the bullying. The school found the recorder and police charged Sims with with felony use of device to intercept oral communication and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She faces five years in prison on the felony charge.

From WishTV:

The recorder was found. The 9-year-old was moved to a new classroom and about a month later Sims was charged by police.

“I was mortified,” Sims said. “The next thing I know, I’m a felon. Felony charges and a misdemeanor when I’m trying to look out for my kid. What do you do?”

WAVY contacted Norfolk Schools and we were told because it is a pending investigation no one could comment on what happened. We were told that in elementary schools, no electronic devices are allowed.

“They aren’t making this about that classroom,” said Sims’ attorney Kristin Paulding. “[These] are charges that carry jail time.”

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:51 am

Cops chase innocent shoplifting suspect into stranger's house, then storm it with 50-person SWAT team and blow up every room except one

Leo Lech is suing the police in Greenwood, Colorado for storming his house with a 50-person SWAT team because they mistakenly believed that a man who ran into his house (whom Lech didn't know) had shoplifted a shirt and two belts from Walmart; the police engaged in a 19-hour standoff that led to the near-total destruction of Lech's house due to the use of "calculated destruction," a tactic through which explosives are detonated through the house, room by room, to isolate the suspect. (more…)

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:34 am

Study finds different types of alcohol may affect our emotions differently

Is there a difference in how you feel after drinking red wine versus hard liquor? I've always thought so (sleepy with wine, invigorated with dirty martinis and tequila shots), and now a study published in British Medical Journal’s BMJ Open suggests that perhaps different types of alcohol really do affect different emotions after drinking them.

The study, published on Tuesday, suggests that hard liquor makes people feel confident, energized and "sexy," while red wine makes people feel "relaxed." And spirits seem to take a more negative turn. "Drinking spirits was far more likely to elicit feelings of aggression, illness, restlessness, and tearfulness than wine or beer.and spirits more often make people feel aggressive, weepy, and ill," says Popular Science.

According to Popular Science:

Some of the study’s findings—which draw from around 30,000 individuals aged 18-34 who completed the Global Drug Survey, an online anonymous questionnaire promoted in 2015—aren’t exactly shocking. For example, 53 percent of respondents reported that red wine made them feel relaxed. There’s a physiological explanation for this; red wine contains high levels of melatonin, the hormone that tells our brains it’s time to go to bed. A solid 50 percent of subjects reported that beer relaxed them, but the carbohydrates therein also have a reputation for making folks drowsy. Only around 20 percent of drinkers said spirits had the same effect.

When it came to other positive emotions—feeling energized, confident, relaxed, and sexy—hard liquors really kicked the competition to the curb. Over 58 percent of responders reported feeling energized after a drink of spirits, 59 percent reported confidence, and 42 percent felt sexy. Beer proved to be the least sexy drink (bloat, anyone?) with just 19 percent of survey-takers reporting such an effect. But with 45 percent reporting a confidence boost, 25 percent feeling energized, and 50 percent enjoying a relaxing buzz, beer belly doesn’t sound too bad. Red and white wine both hovered around 28 percent and 25 percent for confidence and sexiness, respectively, but while 15 percent of white wine drinkers felt energized, only half as many red wine drinkers reported the same. And white wine had just a third of drinkers relaxed, compared to red wine’s half.

Image: Max Pixel

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:30 am

Trump's top economic advisor couldn't bear to listen to the president bloviate so he pretended he had a bad connection and hung up

Gary Cohn is one of the gators Trump brought in to fill the swamp, a delusional, big-mouthed, ex-Goldman Sachs banker who gets to regulate Goldman Sachs. (more…)

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:26 am

Great deal on Philips OneBlade

The Philips Norelco OneBlade hybrid electric trimmer and shaver is regularly $35. Amazon is selling it for $17.47, which is lower than it's ever been. I've heard good things about it, so at this price I bought one.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:22 am

"Less lethal" is a deceptive term to describe the weapons that routinely kill and maim peaceful protesters

This short interview with Homer Venters from Physicians for Human Rights, recorded in May at the the Right to Protest conference in Buenas Aires, is a succinct and important summary of the lie of "less-lethal" crowd-control weapons that kill and maim protesters, from tear-gas burns on lung-tissue to lethal, point-blank rubber bullet usage. (more…)

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:18 am

Drawing tutorial: how to shade with a pencil

https://youtu.be/8BfuwLl5HcA

Illustrator Mark Crilley (who has an excellent YouTube drawing tutorial channel) shows you three different ways to shade an egg. It's the most exciting 18-minute video you'll find on YouTube, I guarantee it.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:09 am

Watch Jimmy DiResta make a 2-headed spoon

https://youtu.be/eujd_POookc

Jimmy DiResta, who makes everything from knives to furniture to musical instruments, recently made this nfty spoon with two business ends. I've whittled quite a few spoons in the last several years, so to see that ball gouge carve out the hollows of the spoon so effortlessly made me envious.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:04 am

Profile of musician Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton

https://youtu.be/yvDNt9UQb9o

Chris Funk of The Decemberists met with Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, a blind musician from South Central Los Angeles. He is in his 20s and specializes in music of the 1920s and 30s. He plays banjo, piano, harmonica, and other instruments.

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton is a musician bringing back the magic of a bygone era of American jazz. Drawing inspiration from the blues scene of the 1930s, Paxton has become a master of forgotten music, transporting his audiences to another time. By the time he was 18 years old, Paxton was declared legally blind, lending way to his moniker “Blind Boy.” Still, his love of music never waned. The multi-instrumentalist and musical virtuoso continues forward on his historical mission, rediscovering and spreading the genius of the original black music of America.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:57 am

States suspend your driver's license over inability to pay court fines, costing you your job and any ability to repay

Massive income inequality, combined with Republican attacks on the taxation of the wealthiest, has produced a situation in which the state increasingly depends on extracting fines, interest and debt service from people who grow steadily poorer and less able to pay, and thus the state must turn to ever-more-extreme measures to extract the money it needs to survive. (more…)

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:55 am

A tour of the Chor Bazaar in Mumbai

Scotty of Strange Parts went to the colorful bustling Chor Bazaar in Mumbai, India. It's chaotic and crammed and exciting. Scotty has videos of other markets he's been visiting lately and they are all worth watching.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:48 am

The problem with nuclear waste

Nuclear energy produces less carbon dioxide than any other any source (including solar, wind, and geothermal). But nuclear waste is extremely poisonous, and leaks are inevitable. Wendover productions looks at the problems surrounding what to do with the byproducts of nuclear power plants.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:41 am

Behold! The astonishing mental gymnastics of TSA apologists explaining why rich people don't need to be screened

The project of making planes secure from terrorist attacks is an inescapable nonsense: nonsense because there's no way to screen millions of people to prevent a few dedicated ones from bringing down a plane (no, really); inescapable because no lawmaker or policymaker will ever have the courage to remove a measure that has previously been described as "essential for fighting terrorism" even if it was only ever security theater intended to assuage low-information voters. (more…)

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:20 am

The Snotty Chef

Continuing my lead up to Thanksgiving with yet another post displaying the highest in class and culture, today I am pleased to share with you one of the most disgusting things I’ve seen in kitchenware. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=sH0QjK_lkJI It’s an egg-white separator and, while its clever design deserves kudos, do we really need to see gobs of seemingly snotty glop pouring out of his nose? Yes, perhaps we do. The company knows exactly what it’s selling:
If you're looking for the most disgusting way to separate your egg yolks from your egg whites, look no further. The Bogeyman, as so he's called is a ceramic coffee mug-looking device that allows you to easily separate your egg whites from the yolks by straining it through his nostrils. Not only is quite disgusting, but there's just something quite satisfying about watching the goopy egg whites slowly make their way through his nostrils. You almost get that same refreshing feeling after emptying your own nostrils while you have a plugged-up nose.
Priced at under $11 at Oddity Mall, if you want this you already know it.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:01 am

Learn how to break a glass with your voice

You've seen it done before. Some soprano sings a high note and it shatters a wine glass. What I didn't know is that most anyone can learn to do it. It seems you need a thin glass next to your face and a long, loud (over 100 decibel) note to start. That's dangerous. This video shares an alternate way using a microphone, amp and a drinking straw. (Holy Kaw!)

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:00 am

NYC yellow cab drivers pose for pin-up charity calendar

You have many choices when it comes to purchasing a calendar for the new year. Now there's another contender: the 2018 New York City Taxi Drivers Calendar.

Described as a "comedic take on the traditional pin-up," the calendar features the Big Apple's "most scintillating and good-humored" yellow cab drivers and a portion of its proceeds goes to charity.

A portion of each calendar sale will go to University Settlement, America’s oldest settlement house (1886), based in New York City and serving over 30,000 immigrant and working individuals and families every year with basic services like quality education, housing, recreation and wellness opportunities, and literacy programs.

The calendar is available online for $14.99. (Dangerous Minds) Previously: Bearded men don mermen tails for charity calendar

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:00 am

Get graphic design instruction at Black Friday pricing

Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are the holy trinity of design tools, and you can get an in-depth introduction to all three with a lifetime subscription to Graphic Design Certification School. It’s usually offered in the Boing Boing Store for $39, but you can get it for $25 if you buy in the next 24 hours.

This trio of online courses has over 40 hours of instructional material that will teach you how to create a variety of visual assets. In the Photoshop section, you’ll learn how to professionally retouch images and generate multi-layered raster artwork. Using Illustrator, you’ll get familiar with bezier curves and masks to create clean vector graphics for posters, logos, and digital display. Finally, you can tie it all together to make beautiful print layouts in InDesign.

Once you’ve worked through all these lessons, you can show off your skills to employers with certificates for continuing professional development. For today only, lifetime access to Graphic Design Certification School is available for an early Black Friday price of $25.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 4:00 am

Review: Airmega 400S Air Purifier

The Airmega 400S (Amazon) is a luxury air filter, a sci-fi lounge monolith with touch-sensitive controls and a ring of colored light that turns with the air quality. High-end in fit, finish and capacity, it's also very online, with Internet-of-Things features and a stat-tracking app. Do I really need to remote-manage it with a mobile app? Have a username and login for a HEPA filter?

No (see below), but the air quality tracking app did tell me two interesting things. First, it assured me that the air quality in my house is already pretty good, curing a certain degree of paranoia. So it mostly stays in sleep mode, silent, wasting no electricity -- unlike the permanently-whirring Honeywell it replaced. Secondly, it told me that air quality goes to hell when anything is cooked. At last! Confirmation of what we suspected all along about the wisdom of burning wet slabs of carbon in our well-insulated houses.

I'm intrigued, then, by Airmega's air metrics, yet torn on its long-term value. This is an expensive gadget, after all, going for $650 or so on the street.

(UPDATE: A non-IoT version, the Airmega 400 without an S, is available for about $100 less. — Thanks, Tim!) It's about the size of a desktop mini-fridge, significantly larger than most consumer air filters, with three HEPA filters and the promise of full-house coverage. 1,560 square feet, they claim, which would make it competitive on a price-per-square-foot basis with less expensive models. There's a smaller model, the Airmega 300, that claims to cover 1,256 feet and is about $100 cheaper.

It's dead quiet, too, especially at the lowest settings. There is not the slightest buzz of vibration. Washing and replacing filters is very easy. It messages you when they need a bath.

But still, for all this, it does only one thing: suck air through HEPA filters. And it is $650.

It's been in my house for a couple of months now and spends almost all its time off, in smart mode. I sometimes get a bit angry when I walk past it and it's just sat there asleep having decided it doesn't need to filter my clean-enough air. There's something existential about it all. It's weird to pay so much for a machine that's honest about it being unnecessary.

Except on bacon sandwiches day, that is, when it kicks into high gear and texts me every 2 minutes with panicky warnings, unrelenting until the bacon is gone.

I'm extremely dubious about the utility and wisdom of an IoT air filter. But if you know you need an air filter, and you need one that's attractive, quiet and very high-capacity, where a $300 Honeywell (or HEPA filters duct-taped to a box fan) would just be unacceptably loud, trashy or ugly, the price premium is yours to consider.

AIRMEGA 400S Smart Air Purifier [Amazon]

Airmega homepage [airmega.com]

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 2:00 am

I have a feeling tax cuts for the rich aren't in Kansas anymore

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book.

WE URGE YOU TO JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug's subscription club, the Proud & Mighty INNER HIVE, for exclusive early access to comics, extra comics, and Other Stuff. You can also now join through Patreon!

GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. (”Filled with wild twists and funny dialogue” -Publishers Weekly) Book One here. Book Two here.

More Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing! (more…)

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 1:15 am

David Cassidy, 1950-2017

David Cassidy, star of The Partridge Family and a successful singer, died today aged 67. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r9UtIhOI8M

His publicist JoAnn Geffen confirmed his death, with a statement from his family. “On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”

Photo: Allen Warren (cc)

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 3:27 pm

Uber admits it breached 57,000,000 accounts, then bribed the hackers to cover it up, now they're paying a top ex-NSA lawyer to teach them transparency

Uber's Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan and his top aide have both been forced out of the company in an act of penance for the revelation that the company suffered a breach in October 2016 in which hackers stole personal data from 50,000,000 riders and 7,000,000 drivers, including 600,000 drivers' US driving license numbers; Uber says the disgraced employees acted alone when they then paid the hackers who stole the data $100,000 to hush it up. (more…)

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 2:32 pm

Facebook still allows housing ads to discriminate by race

ProPublica revealed earlier this year that Facebook allowed housing advertisers to target ads at white people and provided other racist segmentation options. Facebook promised to build a system that would spot and eliminate these ads, but a new investigation demonstrates that it failed to do so.

Last week, ProPublica bought dozens of rental housing ads on Facebook, but asked that they not be shown to certain categories of users, such as African Americans, mothers of high school kids, people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jews, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers.

All of these groups are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to publish any advertisement “with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

Every single ad was approved within minutes.

It seems Facebook only ever does so much as is needed to get rid of bad press. As a promise of change always ends the news cycle, implementation hardly matters.

UPDATE Facebook executive Ami Vora posted a statement:

“This was a failure in our enforcement and we’re disappointed that we fell short of our commitments. Earlier this year, we added additional safeguards to protect against the abuse of our multicultural affinity tools to facilitate discrimination in housing, credit and employment. The rental housing ads purchased by ProPublica should have but did not trigger the extra review and certifications we put in place due to a technical failure. Our safeguards, including additional human reviewers and machine learning systems have successfully flagged millions of ads and their effectiveness has improved over time. Tens of thousands of advertisers have confirmed compliance with our tighter restrictions, including that they follow all applicable laws. We don’t want Facebook to be used for discrimination and will continue to strengthen our policies, hire more ad reviewers, and refine machine learning tools to help detect violations. Our systems continue to improve but we can do better. While we currently require compliance notifications of advertisers that seek to place ads for housing, employment, and credit opportunities, we will extend this requirement to ALL advertisers who choose to exclude some users from seeing their ads on Facebook to also confirm their compliance with our anti-discrimination policies – and the law.” -Ami Vora, VP Product Management, Facebook

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 10:00 am

After a Freedom of Information lawsuit, the White House visitor logs are now available online as a free searchable database

The DC-based transparency group Property of the People successfully sued the White House to force it to disclose its visitor logs; now, in collaboration with Propublica, those logs are online as a free, searchable database. (more…)

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:58 am

Kickstarting Scintillation, Jo Walton's intimate, conversational science fiction convention in Montreal

Within science fiction, Jo Walton (previously) is legendary for hosting small, intimate gatherings of outstanding conversation and comradeship. (more…)

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:14 am

Watch: This rocket-powered birthday cake does the blowing and cutting for you

Mike of the YouTube channel Useless Duck Company was fed up with birthday cakes for two reasons: 1) Blowing out candles splatters germs all over the cake, which is gross and unsanitary; 2) If it's your birthday, why should you have to work by cutting your own cake?

So Mike came up with a new invention that "fixes birthday cakes" – a birthday cake candle made with model rocket engines that blows itself out and cuts the cake so you don't have to. Brilliant!

Here's the longer version of the video that shows how he made his rocket-powered birthday cake: https://youtu.be/9CiKvuTPHvI

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:13 am

Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite for $80

I do most of my reading on a Kindle Paperwhite. I'm currently reading the Penguin Classics translation of The Count of Monte Cristo (much better than the Project Gutenberg version I read years ago) and the Kindle's X-Ray feature, which lets me find out about the many characters and their relatives who pop in and out of the novel, helps me remember what the hell is going on. The Kindle is also a lot easier to hold than the 1200 page paperback version, which my daughter is reading.

The Paperwhite rarely needs recharging, even when the backlight. Unlike a phone or tablet, there's no glare, making it the best way to read outdoors. I have at least a hundred books on it, and haven't gotten a "memory almost full" warning (text doesn't use a lot of storage, like audiobooks do). If I don't have my reading glasses, I can make the text as large as I need to. At $80 for a refurbished model, it's a good deal.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:13 am

The stairs in a viral sensation public library in China run with blood, and its "books" are just sheets of aluminum screened with pictures of spines

Starchitect-designed Tianjin Binhai Library is a viral sensation; the Dutch firm MVRDV incorporated a soaring, six-storey spherical atrium with undulating floor-to-ceiling shelves served by striking, irregular white stairs. (more…)

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:57 am

The design expert - a classic comedy sketch of corporate meetings

The assignment: draw seven perpendiculars red lines, some with with green ink and transparent link. A classic comedy sketch of a typical corporate design meeting.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:43 am

Fox host Neil Cavuto tells Trump to start acting like a president

Fox News host Neil Cavuto had a strong message for Trump last night, ending with the line, "Last time I checked, you are the president of the United States. Why don’t you act like it?”

Cavuto was fed up with Trump after this week's twitter tantrums about LaVar Ball and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Cavuto says it's not about players or senators.

"This is about you and respect shown to you. Constant praise shown to you, and gratitude bordering on groveling shown to you. As president of the The United States, doesn't that already come with the territory?"

When Fox News starts to call Trump out for what he really is (or isn't), you know things aren't looking pretty for POTUS.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:36 am

More chocolate = more Nobel Prizes

Reddit has resurfaced this 2012 paper from the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates," by Franz H. Messerli, M.D.

From the abstract:

Chocolate consumption could hypothetically improve cognitive function not only in individuals but in whole populations. Could there be a correlation between a country's level of chocolate consumption and its total number of Nobel laureates per capita?

For other amusing spurious correlations here you go.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:34 am