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Brain candy for Happy Mutants

Last Build Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2018 07:22:49 PST


To keep their bond-ratings, hedge-funds have to publicly demonstrate that they are the most ruthless of landlords

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 07:22:49 PST


After the subprime crisis, vulture funds swept into the hardest-hit areas and bought thousands of foreclosed-upon homes at firesale prices and floated bonds based on the expected returns from the rents they'd be able to charge in an America with the lowest levels of home-ownership in modern history. (more…)

Self-destructing thumb drives with smoke loads, glowing elements, tiny explosives

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 07:03:09 PST


MG's Mr Self Destruct project takes the USB Killer to new levels, combining a $1.50 system-on-a-chip with a variety of payloads: smoke bombs, "sound grenades," and little explosives, cleverly choreographed with keystroke emulation, allowing the poisoned drive to first cause the connected computer to foreground a browser and load a web-page that plays an appropriate animation (a jack-in-the-box that plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" with the drive's explosive detonating for the climax). (more…)

SE Ranking helps keep your website at the top of search rankings

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 05:00:00 PST


The web may be a big place, but space is certainly limited when it comes to securing a spot on that first page of a Google search. That's why investing in your site's SEO is critical for staying relevant and ensuring the appropriate audience finds you. Thankfully, doing so just got a bit easier with SE Ranking, and now you can sign up for a personal plan for $49.99.

SE Ranking delivers all the standard SEO tools, like keyword position tracking and competitor research, while also loading in unique features like page changes monitoring and SEO ROI forecasts. You can audit as many pages as you need while receiving actionable recommendations on the go. Plus, you can discover what keywords your competitors are using in their ads to give you an edge online.

You can net a lifetime personal plan of SE Ranking for $49.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

Russia: Nearly nude Putin dips in icy pool to celebrate Orthodox Epiphany in manly-man tradition

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:02:49 PST


Putin does the best manly-man propaganda of all global bad guys. It's a long-established internet truth.


Facebook will ask its 2 billion users to rank their trust in news orgs for 'Newsfeed' makeover

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:28:03 PST


Facebook today announced major changes to their 'newsfeed' which 2 billion people use monthly. Now, Facebook plans to begin asking each user to rank their trust in various news organizations.


A page of architectural screw-ups

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:09:01 PST


Stairs that lead nowhere. Toilets that get in the way of doors. Balconies you can't stand on. Pfusch am bau is a Pinterest page with delightful examples of building boo-boos.

Becoming a mother in a Rohingya refugee camp

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:04:08 PST

This was her third baby. She was accustomed to the harsh realities of motherhood in a life in poverty. But I wasn’t. I’m a midwife. I was volunteering at one of the camp clinics when I was called to visit Rojinessa on the morning after her baby was born. I walked about half a mile into the sprawling refugee camps to her tent and stepped inside. The tent was smoky and very dark. I could hardly breathe. I asked one of the Bangladeshi midwives who came with me to open the flap of plastic sheeting that served as a door. Rojinessa was sitting on the concrete floor on a thin woven mat. The remains of a small fire was inches from her “bed.” She and her husband and her now three children live in a one bedroom tent in the middle of what used to be a rice field. Cows bathe in the small polluted stream that bubbles twelve feet from the structure. I don’t know what happened during the birth because I wasn’t there. All volunteers are required to leave the camps by 5 pm every day. Most babies are born at night, so even as trained medical personnel, we are cold comfort to the mothers giving birth in the camps. Plus, I don’t speak the Rohingya dialect. And neither, it seems, do many others. The Chittagong dialect of Bangla, I’m told, is somewhat similar, but miscommunications are all too common as we play “telephone” from English to Bangla to Rohingya. Rojinessa’s blood pressure and pulse were normal. She didn’t have a fever. She complained of weakness, dizziness, fatigue. No kidding. She hadn’t eaten anything but rice in days. Her family could not afford to buy one of the live chickens sold at the pop-up market by the road. We had nothing to give her but a few biscuits and… you guessed it, more rice, with a few lentils mixed in. She had no menstrual pads to catch postpartum bleeding. We were able to bring her some from the clinic. Her baby was vigorous and hungry. Good signs. She popped him on her breast to nurse like she had done it hundreds of times before. Fantastic. Pregnant women in Ukhia sometimes walk miles to receive care at one of the women’s-only clinics sprinkled throughout the camps. The clinics themselves are tents. Only a few of them have electricity. Most of them lack the equipment to provide the most basic prenatal and postpartum care. Running a routine lab test is out of the question, much less listening to a fetus on a heart rate monitor or ordering an ultrasound. We have to use our hands, our ears and eyes, and hope for the best. If there is a true emergency, we can refer a patient to the Red Crescent or MSF hospital tents a few miles down the road, where they have some more capabilities. But there are a number of reasons a woman might not go. Maybe her husband won’t give her permission. Or he can’t give her permission because he’s out working in the fields. Or she doesn't have anyone to watch her other children. Rohingya mothers grow small babies. They often have trouble producing enough milk for their babies because they don’t have enough food themselves. All of the people in the camps are malnourished. They have been trapped in a state of abject poverty since long before they fled their homes. At the clinic we give each mother a small package of high-calorie cookies and a fist-sized bag of rice with lentils at every visit – which is about once a month. The food is encouragement to come and get care. But it isn’t anywhere near enough. Rojinessa and her baby survived birth in the camp. Not all do. Hopefully they will continue to survive and her baby boy will grow into one of the many children running and playing everywhere in the camps. They play soccer with empty plastic jugs and make kites out of bamboo sticks and plastic bags. But survival is about all they can hope for. Without a home and without access to education, without the legal right to work, her f[...]

Plane lands safely

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:40:42 PST


Even by the standards of "storm-buffeted planes landing without incident", this is astounding: a small jet turboprop all but spinning in circles as it comes in, only to plop perfectly onto its wheels at the last moment. According to the video, there were 110 km/h (68 mph) crosswinds.


Lightweight packable backpack

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:29:59 PST


Just a few minutes left to get this super lightweight backpack that folds into a small pouch. I just bought one for our upcoming trip to Japan. It's $16 on sale.

It won't be as easy as it used to be to bring comfort animals on a Delta flight

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:16:09 PST


Chris Christie, the much-reviled former New Jersey governor, learned that he will no longer be treated like the important person he pretends to be. Yesterday at Newark Liberty International Airport Christie headed straight to the special VIP entrance with his state police security detail but was turned away.

From Huffington Post:

The entry point is typically used by dignitaries and others to bypass the normal Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, and Christie used it himself recently, according to NBC New York.

However, his access to the bypass appears to have ended this week along with his two terms as governor of the Garden State.

“Port Authority says Christie showed up at Newark Airport today with NJ State PD detail,” a Port Authority spokesman told CBS New York. “They tried to go into the special access area where they have been going for years. A PA cop told him he was no longer allowed to use that access and they escorted him to the regular area.”

Christie was quick to say the story was fake news, but at that point, nobody really cared what he had to say about it, or anything else.

Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Listen to a ragtime piano medley of Super Mario Bros. music

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:56:24 PST


Pianist Scott Bradlee gives the old ragtime treatment to Super Mario Bros. It's as if the music was always meant to be played that way.

Here's the obligatory death metal version from the Bowser Castle music:

Learn Scottish slang with Gerard Butler

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:35:32 PST


"Steamin -- one of our hundred thousand words for being drunk." Actor Gerard Butler teaches us many colorful examples of Scottish slang.

A comprehensive guide to corporate online surveillance in everyday life

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:35:12 PST


Cracked Labs' massive report on online surveillance by corporations dissects all the different ways in which our digital lives are tracked, from the ad-beacons that follow us around the web to the apps that track our physical locations as we move around the world. (more…)

Sicko parents who tortured their children renew their vows in this creepy 2015 video

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:25:39 PST


David and Louise Turpin, the monsters who starved and tortured their 13 children, had a cheesy renewal wedding in 2015, which featured a bad Elvis imitator as their poor children, all dressed in matching church fashion, are forced to watch and then dance on stage in mock joy. This video has the same effect as a David Lynch movie, except it's real.

VR chat participant appears to have a photosensitive seizure

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:18:22 PST


Participants in a VRChat room watched as the avatar of one of the participants appeared to go into a grand mal seizure, accompanied by distressed sounds audible through the voice-chat. (more…)

Siri embarrasses a woman by sending a text to her crush

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:39:42 PST


Looking for relationship advice? If so, stay away from Siri.


The rOtring 600: a classic mechanical pencil now made in Japan

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:37:51 PST


The legendary German rOtring 600 mechanical penicl is now made in Japan. I had to have one.

I once spent a day of wandering around London because my girlfriend had forgotten her .3mm architects pencil that she just neeeeeeded for whatever reason. She stayed in our AirBNB, drank tea, and probably read books all day while I looked for mechanical pencils. When I finally found a shop that carried more than just Pentel in plastic bubble wrap, I was given a lesson in the style and quality of automagic penciling -- evidently my Autopoint is for low class Americans and anyone with any taste or style uses a rOtring 600.

The rOtring 600 is all metal. It has an octagonal shaft, and a lovely, finely textured grip. The eraser holder has an indicator for lead hardness, much like an old camera did for ASA. When you click it pencil lead comes out, and those clicks are precise. This is a well made mechanical pencil that will last for ages. The rOtring is only $16 in .5mm.

You can find this model in lead thicknesses of .3mm, .5mm and .7mm -- .5 writes at about the same thickness as my Autopoint .9, with my hand.

If you like the feel of a tiny, pencil making very precise scratches on paper -- the rOtring 600 is for you. If you want a big honkin' AMERICAN pencil, get an Autopoint in .9.

The rOtring 600 inspired one of my favorite two daily use fountain pens, the Levenger L-Tech 3.0 in stealth.

Oh, and I got the woman a Pentel P203. She is long gone, but left the pencil behind.

rOtring 600 0.5mm Silver Barrel Mechanical Pencil via Amazon

Science paper's abstract has one word

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:36:52 PST


Do Large (Magnitude ≥8) Global Earthquakes Occur on Preferred Days of the Calender Year of Lunar Cycle?


It's Poe's birthday, so here's Neil Gaiman reading The Raven

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 07:42:45 PST


Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again. (more…)

EU standardizes edible insect rules

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 07:18:48 PST


Alternative protein advocates in Europe have been stymied by the hodgepodge of national rules regarding insect consumption, but now the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will approve applications for edible bugs that will then be legal to serve to Europeans throughout the EU. (more…)

We only see 5% of the universe

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:43:37 PST


Astrophysicist Katie Mack ( created this startling pie-chart to illustrate the ratio of observed matter to dark matter and energy, the invisible bulk of the universe.

From her 2014 article, The Dark Matter Poltergeist:

So what do we know? We know dark matter is real—the evidence is overwhelming. Something must be responsible for the extra gravity messing with the motions of stars and galaxies. If that doesn’t convince you, you can look to gravitational lensing—the bending of light around massive objects. The presence of dark matter accounts for the way the light from distant stars and galaxies is distorted as it travels through the universe, following the gravitationally induced curving of space-time itself. If motion and lensing don’t convince you, look at the evidence that galaxies existed within a billion years of the Big Bang. Without dark matter as a kind of cosmic glue, galaxies would have taken much longer to form, as the gravity of gas and dust and stars had to fight against the pressure of all that matter colliding and heating up. Or just take a look at the Bullet Cluster. It’s the aftermath of a cosmic collision in which clusters of galaxies collided but the bulk of the matter passed right through the collision, in the way only ghostly dark matter could.

#BrexitStamps: The sarcastic commemorative Brexit stamps of Twitter

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:42:31 PST


MP Andrea Leadsom wants the Royal Mail to commemorate Brexit with a postage stamp. Twitter has run with the idea, shooping and tagging with #BrexitStamps, making sure to tag @andrealeadsom. (more…)

Surfing on extremely fluffy powder snow

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:40:28 PST


You may be expecting a typically wild blend of natural wonder and action-cam chaos. But not everyday is Monday.

Rider: Alex
Filmer: Ryan
Edit: Kurtis [Jackson]