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Last Build Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2017 01:33:40 PDT


Primitive Technology: Turn on the closed captions!

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:16:00 PDT


It's no secret that Boing Boing (along with over 4 million other netizens) loves the Primitive Technology channel on YouTube. We've covered this channel numerous times (about a guy making primitive tech in the wilds of Far North Queensland, Australia with nothing but the gym shorts on his ass). I anxiously await each episode and am like a kid at Christmas when I get the alert that a new one is up.

But this month, thanks to one of the reader comments, I made a cool discovery. The videos are without narration. The un-named survivalist, who some have dubbed "Prim," is really good at showing you what he's doing so that you can understand it without explanation, and he writes up decent notes that are published along with the videos. But then I saw the comment: "[Turns on captions] That clever bastard has been talking to us the entire time!!" Whoa.


The captions and the notes are pretty similar, but you do get extra content in the captions and you get to see them in situ. I've been using closed captioning on my TV recently and have been delighted to see how much additional information you actually get: background conversations you would never hear, song titles and lyrics, and wonderful sound descriptions like "sexual gasping." So, it's great to discover another instance of CC being useful.

CCTV-studded, teargas-shooting, water-cannon-ed riot-control killdozer

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 16:30:34 PDT


Are you an urban police force thinking about how to control your fellow humans? Look no farther! Your pals at Bozena have an all-new RIOT system, a crowd-control killdozer for all your protest-suppressing needs! (more…)

Man costumed as The Joker arrested and charged with "wearing a mask in public"

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 15:16:33 PDT


The AP reports that Jeremy Putnam, 31, was arrested in Winchester, Virginia, and charged with "wearing a mask in public," a felony in that state.

He was armed with a "sword" in public, which apparently alarmed residents. But they haven't charged him with that; they've charged him with this, a fascinatingly terrible law:

§ 18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks in certain places; exceptions.

It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age to, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered so as to conceal the identity of the wearer...

...with specific exceptions for "traditional holiday costumes," protective or medical masks, or ones for a "bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball."

Putnam is being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.


Trump advisor Steve Bannon ordered conservative Republicans to vote for Trumpcare and they just laughed at him

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 08:02:03 PDT


Trumpcare went down in flames yesterday, and the flames smelled faintly of burning Trumphair. But the president's personal humiliation was shared with adviser Steve Bannon, according to reports, whose behavior around conservative Republicans made a joke of Trump's ultimatum.

Mike Allen quotes him thus:

"Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill."

Bannon's point was: This is the Republican platform. You're the conservative wing of the Republican Party. But people in the room were put off by the dictatorial mindset.

One of the members replied: "You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn't listen to him, either."

Bannon's already plotting his revenge, reports Asawin Suebsaeng.

The general consensus seems to be that the failure to replace Obamacare is unexpectedly bad for both president and GOP: he's exposed as a crêpe leopard, and them as a bunch of unprincipled bickering morons with nothing to show for 7 years' empty ranting about Obamacare.

Tabloid roundup: Obama's real birth certificate, a spy in the White House, murder charges for an aging star, and more!

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:23:34 PDT

Barack Obama’s real Kenyan birth certificate has been discovered, President Trump has caught “Russia’s White House spy,” and actor Robert Wagner has been hit by “grand jury murder charges” - if you believe this week’s tabloids. Alas, it’s another basketful of wishful thinking, fact-challenged alternate realities. “Proof Obama was born in Kenya!” screams the ‘Globe’ front cover, declaring his Hawaiian birth certificate a forgery, and publishing “the real deal” issued by the Coast Province General Hospital in Mombasa, the Republic of Kenya, on August 4, 1961. The “damning hospital birth certificate” was revealed by Obama’s own “brother” - actually, his half-brother, Malik Obama. It ’s a great scoop, except for a few minor details: This is the same Kenyan birth certificate we first saw eight years ago; in the early 1960s the term “Coast Province” was not used, as provinces were still referred to as “regions;” the nation was then called the Dominion of Kenya, not the Republic; Mombasa was part of Zanzibar until 1963; and the attending physician named on the certificate worked in Nairobi, not Mombasa. The alleged certificate also uses American-style date notations - month, day, year - rather than the British-style then used in Kenya: day, month, year. And the certificate looks nothing like any Kenyan birth certificate of its time. Apart from that, it’s a good story. Robert Wagner has finally been brought to justice for killing his wife, Natalie Wood, the ‘Globe’ claims on its cover. Except when you read the story inside, it turns out to be more wishful thinking. “Robert Wagner MUST be indicted,” pleads the opening sentence. “New grand jury MUST target Robert Wagner,” screams a headline. Why is that, you wonder? “Damning new forensic evidence and chilling photos ‘implicating’ the actor . . . have finally surfaced.” Except they haven’t. It’s just an unnamed “source close to the cold-case probe” citing unnamed “investigators” who claim that “marks found on her body prove she was choked into unconsciousness and ‘rolled off’ her yacht.” But Natalie Wood, who spent hours in the ocean before her body was recovered in 1981, was covered in bruises when found. The coroner believed she had fallen off the yacht, and it’s clearly difficult to distinguish between bruises from falling off a yacht and being 'rolled off’ it. Old bruises hardly constitute new proof. But wait! The ‘Globe’ reveals that “a secret witness is ready to step forward - and doom Wagner for good!” It's deus ex machina journalism at its best. I bet the butler did it. The ‘National Enquirer’ cover proudly tells us that “Trump Catches Russia’s White House Spy!” and “Now he’s spilling Putin’s secrets.” Who is this nefarious operative trapped by spy-catcher-in-chief Trump? It’s “White House mole Michael Flynn!” crows the ‘Enquirer.’ Excuse me? It’s true that Trump ousted National Security Advisor Flynn in February after it was revealed that he had met with Russian officials and discussed sanctions, and had then lied about it. But White House spokesman Sean Spicer made clear that Flynn had been axed “not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue” after “trust between the President and General Flynn had eroded . . . “ It was only after investigations by the FBI, the U.S. Army, and multiple media outlets, that Flynn resigned. But he was hardly “caught” by Trump. And though Flynn seems to have had more ties to Russia than he let on, calling him a “spy” may be a stretch. But the ‘Enquirer story then mysteriously focuses on “KGB spymaster-turned-U.S.-defector Jack Barsky.” Born Albrecht Dittrich, Barsky was sent by the KGB to spy on America in 1978, and was identified to the FBI as a spy in 1992. But Barsky was never charged, having apparently given up espionage by then, and later even wrote a [...]

John Wick fights re-enacted with Nerf guns

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:12:35 PDT


Some pretty good action sequences in this sendup of John Wick, with hot lead replaced by pliant foam projectiles. (more…)

Redneck almost kills his buddy with a nitrous-powered office chair

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:12:33 PDT


If Mythbusters and Jackass had a brother they kept in the attic and never talked about, he would be FarmtruckandAZN. Farmtruck, the brains of the outfit, invented the Nitrous Chair. (more…)

Watch subway cars align as train goes around a bend

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:12:27 PDT


This Inception-like moment as all the doorways form a straight line is both satisfying and mesmerizing. (more…)

Watch how to build a working 3D printed tabletop arcade console

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 07:12:21 PDT


Christopher Tan created Retrocade, a delightful 3D printed arcade machine project that lets users play classic games. He's even releasing the files and instructions. (more…)

Raspberry Pi 3 can do crazy things - learn some of them here

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 05:59:23 PDT


The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, the Raspberry Pi is an exceptional tool for Internet of Things construction, programming robots, hacking, and a whole slew of other cool stuff thanks to accessible, general-purpose inputs and outputs, and an open-source operating system.

If you are planning on ordering one of these single-board wonders (or impulsively bought one without any idea of what to do with it), this Raspberry Pi 3 training bundle will give you a nice taste of what you can do with it. Here’s some of what you'll learn:

  • Cybersecurity fundamentals with a Raspberry Pi equipped with Kali, the Linux distribution focused around network penetration testing
  • How to link several Raspberry Pi boards together to perform complex parallel computations
  • Advanced networking and web development techniques that use the Raspberry Pi as a file and web server
  • Raspberry Pi-powered robotics
  • The foundations of IoT devices

With over 20 hours of instructional material spread across six targeted courses, you’ll get more than a taste of what this delicious platform is capable of. Get the Complete Raspberry Pi 3 Training Bundle for 91% off—just $19.

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AP stylebook now allows the "singular they" in some instances

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 05:10:01 PDT


The use of "them" as a gender-neutral pronoun goes back hundreds of years, but the weaponizing of grammar as a way to tell people how to talk (rather than a way to understand what speakers are saying) made the practice anathema, creating strong headwinds for people looking to adapt usage to accommodate a spectrum of gender identities. (more…)

Favorite tools of Danielle Applestone, CEO of Other Machine Co.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:06:39 PDT

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Danielle Applestone. Danielle is a material scientist, co-founder and CEO of Other Machine Co., the leading manufacturer of high-precision desktop CNC milling machines. Formerly, Danielle ran a DARPA project to develop digital design software and manufacturing tools for the classroom. Danielle's team took that technology and launched Other Machine Co. in 2013. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""> Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page Show notes: Monarch Instrument Examiner 1000 ($1,200) "I came across this electronic stethoscope as part of our manufacturing process. We would get motors from a manufacturer that looked balanced and met a spec, but once we put the whole machine together, sometimes a machine would have a lot of vibration and we didn't know how to quantify that vibration or to know what was good or what was bad. … There’s a lot of intuition when you're putting something complicated together like "Well, it feels right," or "It doesn't feel right." That's really hard to do so we found this amazing thing, which cut a ton of time out of our manufacturing process and now we have beautiful graphs of everything. We know exactly what things vibrate and which ones don't. You can use it on musical instruments. It's an amazing tool. Once you have one you realize how much you needed one in your life.” Bicycle inner tubes with holes in them "I came across bicycle inner tubes with holes in them through a friend who had made a sail boat that was attached only with these bicycle inner tubes —it was a catamaran. The reason why they’re so important is they are waterproof, they stretch, and you don’t have to tie them in knots, so you can latch things together really quickly and then undo them, and make a new configuration. … They’re used a little bit like a bungee cord, but bungee cords are really expensive and you have to make do with the hooks whereas if you take a long inner tube that has a hole in it — you’re not going to use it anyway — slice it up into strips. It’s like a variable length bungee cord, but it also doesn’t have the hooks so you can just wrap it around itself and tuck it under and it’ll stay put.” The Encyclopedia of Country Living ($20) "This is a great tool. This is so comprehensive for every little thing. I moved out into Kentucky and lived on 1200 acres for a while and didn't have much. It was the go-to for, "Okay, we need to build a shanty for chickens. We need to learn how to clean a chicken." It has everything, like “How to bury your own dead.” … The thing that’s magic about this book is it has the right level of detail, just enough to get yourself in trouble. … It’s just enough to get you going and then you can kind of DIY the rest. I still use it. The pages are all rained on, and moldy, and whatever, but it’s well loved.” X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer “Yeah, well we just went from just about the lowest tech to the highest tech thing I’ve ever laid my hands on. … What's great about this tool is it's super useful for telling what's on the surface of materials. I used to be a material scientist and I worked on lithium ion batteries. The surface is where all the action is. There's not a lot of techniques out there that are nondestructive. Usually, if you invent a material, you have a sample, you have to crush it up or put it on a slide, you have to do something t[...]

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Tokyo travel tips, day 1: Airbnb in Shinjuku and an adorable curry restaurant

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:12:08 PDT

Carla and I just returned from a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan's capital, and it was my favorite. For the next few days, I'll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here. We arrived at Narita airport about 1:30pm Tokyo time. At the airport, I noticed a lot of vending machines selling SIM cards with high-speed data. You can get a week's worth of unlimited data for less than $10 a day. If your phone is locked, you can rent a wi-fi hot spot for about the same amount. I used a wi-fi hotspot to consult Google Maps many times every day to navigate around the city. Google Maps will also tell you which trains to use to get from one place to another. We also used Yelp to find restaurants and learn when they open and close. There are several ways to get from Narita to Tokyo (about 50 miles). A taxi or Uber costs almost $300 and you will have to deal with traffic. There are also luxury buses, which can take you right to your hotel (provided you are staying in one of the major ones). My favorite way to get to Tokyo from the airport is by train. Both the Narita Express ($28) and the Skyliner ($22) have terminals inside the airport. They are convenient and fast. The Skyliner is faster and cheaper, but stops only at the Ueno and Nippori stations. The Narita Express stops at more places, including Shibuya and Shinjuku. We took the Narita Express because we were staying near the Shinjuku Station. At Shinjuku station we took a taxi to our Airbnb. I've taken a lot of taxi rides in Japan, and in 100% of the cases the following five things were true: 1. The driver didn't understand a word of English. (Hand your phone to him with the address displayed on the screen. He'll enter the address in his navigation system.) 2. The car was immaculate inside and out. 3. The driver was a man. 4. The driver got confused if I tried to tip him. 5. The driver automatically opened and closed my door for me. Do not try to open and close the yourself because it will strain the mechanism and annoy the heck out of the driver. Cars drive on the left side of the road in Japan, by the way. We took a very short ride to our Airbnb (right next to Yoyogi Park, home to the famous Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine) and took the elevator to the 9th floor. Here's what the place looked like, along with views from the balcony: At $225 a night, (here's a referral code you can use to get a $40 Airbnb credit. I'll get $20 in credit if you use it) it's much cheaper than many hotels in the area. It has a kitchen, a loft with two futons, a bedroom with two large beds, a dining area, a Japanese style tub, and a washer/dryer. It also includes a wi-fi hotspot that you can take with you as you travel around Tokyo. By the time we got settled in and took a shower after 16 hours of travel, we were hungry and sleepy. I looked on Yelp and found a place called Vegetable Curry Camp just a few minutes walk from our place. It was a cute tiny restaurant in the basement. They had boxes of fresh vegetables next to the front door, and the decor was "1960 American campground." We got sizzling skillets of fresh vegetable curry and plates of rice. The bill for both of us was less than $20. (In fact, many of the restaurants we went to were a lot cheaper than places in Los Angeles). On the way back, we stopped at one of the ubiquitous konbini (コンビニ, short for convenience store) to buy eggs and onigiri (rice filled with fish or other fillings) for breakfast the next morning. We slept like logs. Stayed tuned for day 2, to find out about Meiji Jingu and the interesting little stores in Harajuku.[...]

Upright guitar stand for under $9

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:39:13 PDT


I have a Fender Telecaster but no case or stand. It usually sits on a couch. I finally broke down and bought the ChromaCast CC-MINIGS Universal Folding Guitar Stand with Secure Lock for $8.96 on Amazon. It's got a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 1,200 reviews.

Ultra-rich are sorry that Obamacare is still law of the land

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:16:45 PDT


People in the 400 highest-income households are gnashing their teeth today. If the repeal of Obamacare hadn't stalled, they stood to get tax cuts of about $7 million each. Mother Jones made this graph based on a report from the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

You know what really gets me? Even among the millionaires, repeal will only net them about $50,000. That's like finding spare change in the sofa cushions for this crowd. Is clawing back a few nickels and dimes really worth immiserating 20 million people?

The Poisoned Wine Problem

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:37:33 PDT


You are a king and have invited 1,000 guests to a party. Each guest has brought one bottle of wine. But before any of the wine has been opened, your chief spy takes you aside and tells you that he is certain that one, and only one, bottle of wine contains a poison that will kill anyone who drinks even a drop. The poison takes one hour to kick in. The king has 10 prisoners he doesn't mind killing. How does he use them to identify the poison wine and get rid of the bottle (and the person who brought it) so he can get on with the party?

In this video of Scam School, Brian Brushwood gives the answer.

Image: @threetails via Twenty20

Scott Weaver's incredible toothpick sculptures

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:21:33 PDT


By day, Scott Weaver is a grocery store clerk. When he's not working, he's making elaborate sculptures out of toothpicks and Elmer's Glue. His tool is a nail clipper. His largest work is called "Rolling Through the Bay." It's a 9-foot sculpture of San Francisco. You drop a marble in it at the top, and it will take a rolling tour through Coit Tower, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other landmarks. It took him over 3,000 hours over a 30-year-year period to make it, and it has 105,387 and 1/2 toothpicks.

I saw Scott's work at Maker Faire a few years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. This video is part of an excellent series called "Coolest Thing I've Ever Made."

"Obamacare is law of the land" as replacement fails in House

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:47:00 PDT


Republicans withdrew Trump's favored legislative plan to replace Obamacare on Friday, understanding that they lacked the votes to pass it in the House of Representatives. This despite the president's threat to leave Obamacare as law of the land if they did not give the American Health Care Act an up-or-down hearing today.

The GOP bill—a comically mangled "Obamacare Lite" stripped of everything people like about the original and little that they don't—held only a 17% public approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac poll. It attempted to please both conservatives, who want unfettered profitability for insurance companies, and GOP moderates, who are wary of killing quite so many poor people as this would entail.

Trump, however, made clear that he isn't blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for its failure.

Run, Paul. Run!


The GOP's health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act was scheduled for a House vote today, but was withdrawn just before. In an address, Speaker Paul Ryan said "we were close, but not quite there" and said that the United States would be living with Obamacare "for the foreseeable future."

Incredible Afrobeat music from Mali

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:41:55 PDT

Founded in 1989, Mr Bongo is an exquisitely-curated indie record (and film) label that uncovers incredible Brazilian psych, rare soul, avant-jazz, and deeply groovy Afrobeat recordings and reissues them in beautiful and informative vinyl and CD packages. Based in Brighton, UK, the label's latest compilation is titled The Original Sound Of Mali and the clips I've heard drive me wild. These 1970s and 1980s cuts from the war-torn West African country are so deeply groovy and raw, culled from tapes that the performers never expected would be heard beyond their local scene. Have a listen below. From an interview with David 'Mr Bongo' Buttle at Ran$om Note: Going back to the beginning, I’ve always been inspired by Mali music. There’s a haunting, heavy quality to it. I used to work with Ali Farka Toure when I worked at World Circuit back in ’88, and I found out about Mali music then. So over the last 20 or 30 years I’ve been getting into the artists featured on this album; Idris Soumaoro, The Rail Band and so on. That process helped me find some of the people involved and start to license stuff. It took a long time; it’s taken about three or four years to put this together... To a certain extent; the record is a document of a certain time that isn’t now. It’s good to draw attention to things though. Just by talking about Mali it opens up a lot of new stories, and that’s what inspired us initially. It’s an ever changing situation. I was really disappointed that the Timbuktu library got destroyed, and all those great documents got destroyed. Mali’s not a place you can go to that easily now. It’s not that safe. It’s really sad what’s happening there. We dedicated the album to Malick Sadibe, and the situation in Mali hasn’t been highlighted that much recently, I guess because we don’t have that Francophone connection in this country. We had that first splurge when the French troops first went in but that was quite a while ago. Hopefully this record will trigger some new interest. 6 Music made this the biggest compilation of the week, and there was a lot of good feedback from people calling in saying they’d like to know more about Mali, so maybe there is a bit of a knowledge gap that this can help fill. The Original Sound of Mali (Mr. Bongo) width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""> [...]

The mathematics of how sperm swim

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:08:01 PDT


A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they're swimming through. From the University:

By analysing the head and tail movements of the sperm, researchers have now shown that the sperm moves the fluid in a coordinated rhythmic way, which can be captured to form a relatively simple mathematical formula. This means complex and expensive computer simulations are no longer needed to understand how the fluid moves as the sperm swim.

The research demonstrated that the sperm has to make multiple contradictory movements, such as moving backwards, in order to propel it forward towards the egg.

The whip-like tail of the sperm has a particular rhythm that pulls the head backwards and sideways to create a jerky fluid flow, countering some of the intense friction that is created due to their diminutive sizes.

“It is true when scientists say how miraculous it is that a sperm ever reaches an egg, but the human body has a very sophisticated system of making sure the right cells come together," (says University of York mathematician Hermes Gadêlha.)

“You would assume that the jerky movements of the sperm would have a very random impact on the fluid flow around it, making it even more difficult for competing sperm cells to navigate through it, but in fact you see well defined patterns forming in the fluid around the sperm.

"Mystery of how sperm swim revealed in mathematical formula"

(Animated GIF by Michelle Davis)

How Darth Vader's amazing final scene in Rogue One happened

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:51:25 PDT


Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards tells the fascinating backstory behind Darth Vader's brutal stroll down the hallway in Rogue One. (Wired)

And if you missed it yesterday, check out the Star Wars: Rogue One ending flow into A New Hope beginning.


Listen to the sounds of an office, a vinyl record from 1964

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:12:15 PDT


In 1948, Moses Asch founded the incredibly influential Folkways Records label to record and share music and sounds from around the world. Along with bringing the music of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, and Elizabeth Cotten to wider audiences, Folkways, acquired in 1987 by Smithsonian, also issued incredible sound recordings from the Ituri rainforest, Navajo Nation, Peru, and many other locations and indigenous peoples across the globe. (In fact, the label provided several tracks for the Voyager Golden Record, now 12+ billion miles from Earth! Researching that project with my partner Tim Daly, a DIY musicologist himself, I've become absolutely enchanted by Folkways. If any of you dear readers have Folkways LPs collecting dust, I'd give them a wonderful home.)

Along with music, Folkways released LPs with poetry, language instruction, nature sounds (frogs! insects), and other field recordings. I recently discovered this curious Folkways release from 1964, Sounds of the Office, featuring a time clock, electric typewriter, adding machine, thermofax, pop bottle machine, and of course "coffee break." It reminds me of an early avant-garde tape music composition! You can hear two samples below and more at the Smithsonian Folkways site.

"The sounds of the office are essentially sounds of paper and machines. Here are some of them, in a rough chronological sequence, from the start of a day to its end, or at least the end of the morning," wrote the recordist Michael Siegel in the album liner notes.

It's interesting to imagine how a contemporary version of this album would sound.

UK court refuses to let wife divorce husband, tells her unhappiness is to be expected in marriage

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:06:09 PDT

In Britain, grounds for divorce are quite specific: adultery, desertion, "unreasonable behavior", the agreement of both parties or five years separation. An appeals court has therefore affirmed another judge's ruling that Tini Owens, 66, is not otherwise permitted to divorce her husband of 39 years. Judge Robin Tolson ruled against Mrs Owens in the family court last year, concluding that her allegations were "of the kind to be expected in marriage" and refused to grant a divorce petition. Three appeal judges, led by Sir James Munby, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, analysed the case at a hearing in London on Tuesday. Philip Marshall QC, representing Mrs Owens, told the court that the "vast majority" of divorces were undefended in 21st Century England. He said: "It is extraordinarily unusual in modern times for a court to dismiss a petition for divorce." She said the marriage was loveless, desperately unhappy, and that she was left in a wretched state by his manner, tone, insensitivity and mistrust. Her complaint reads like the script of a grim British cringe-humor sitcom: yelling at her in an airport after her failure to buy the right crystal tchotchke from duty free; nasty remarks during dinner with guests; endless passive-aggressive sighing and tutting, etc. He reprimanded the Respondent saying, “can I say something without you flying off the handle? I have said this before that when you put cardboard in the skip, do it properly and not without any thought about what will happen to it. It was all over the yard. I have picked up the big pieces but I want you to clear the rest from the shrubbery”. Sadly, the law is the law, and if some arsehole wants to be the one arsehole in a generation to cling to its letter all the way to the highest courts in the land, it's still not that court's job to fix it. But the appeal judges, led by Sir James Munby, upheld the original ruling ... "it is not a ground for divorce that you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage" There's something spectacularly British about the idea of four wigs telling a woman that the misery of her marriage is mandatory. Check out these visions of human joy! That's Tolson, top left, and Munby, top right, and Lady Justice Heather Hallett, another of the appeals court panelists ruling against Mrs. Owens, below. The third was Lady Justice Julia Macur, who has apparently managed to avoid glaring sternly at a kneeling photographer. RTE News: Specialist divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag says judges should not compel people to stay married. "This case highlights the absurdity of fault-based divorce," she said. "If a party is willing to go to the Court of Appeal to fight for a divorce, spending significant sums on the way, there is clearly no future for the marriage. It is beyond archaic that she should have to prove it to a judge. There is no good reason for a court to compel someone to stay married when they clearly do not want to be." She added: "We must push forward with no-fault divorce and end ridiculous charades like this." An interesting aside: a UK court recently affirmed that opposite-sex couples cannot apply for the civil partnerships crafted in an earlier age for same-sex couples who could not marry at all, but which now have the advantage of conferring key benefits of marriage with few of the parochial statutory expectations. Here's the ruling [PDF], some interesting excerpts follow below. It is plain fr[...]

The BBC is using this excellent photo of Trump for everything

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 07:20:52 PDT


It's not even clear where it's from, but alongside various stories about Trump's healthcare legislation woes, it's been on the BBC News homepage for what, two days now? For this morning's one, they've started zooming into it. By tomorrow, if the legislation has yet to pass, we'll be inside his weird angry tired mouth.


If someone could figure out the source (it doesn't seem to be Reuters) that would be fabulous. I've used a fractal image enhancement application to make this 2600-pixel wide enlargement, but it's just not the same as a nice raw wire shot.


Trump HQ's latest push-poll takes trumpism to unexpected new lows

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 06:01:02 PDT


The latest poll emailed by Trump HQ to its mailing lists asks supporters to click based on whether they "stand with President Trump" or "believe Democrats and Fake News": click the former and you're taken to a donation solicitation, click the latter and you are taken to a page where you're informed that "Democrats, the media, and the entire opposition have tried to take down President Trump by attacking him, spreading fake news and fake polls, and spreading fake news." (more…)

Ruin someones morning by turning hot drinks into a kids toy with these LEGO-friendly mugs

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:56:57 PDT


Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty coffee cup budget with the Build-On Brick Mug.

Do you want Batman villains sticking feet-first out of your mug? A blocky medieval chalice? A second coffee mug attached to your coffee mug? A mug on wheels? The possibilities are endless! When the boss gets wind of your constant creative output, you’ll be running the place in no time.

Made from BPA-free plastic, this cup holds 12oz of liquid, so yes it does have utility beyond fun. Get the Build-On Brick Mug for 50% off the sticker price—just $19.99.

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Public entomologists struggle with an epidemic of delusional parasitosis

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:50:14 PDT


Dr Gale Ridge is a public entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where an average of 23 people a day call, write or visit; an increasing proportion of them aren't inquiring about actual insects, they're suffering from delusional parasitosis, and they're desperate and even suicidal. (more…)

Google: Chrome will no longer trust Symantec certificates, 30% of the web will need to switch Certificate Authorities

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:12:03 PDT


In 2012, Google rolled out Certificate Transparency, a clever system to spot corrupt "Certificate Authorities," the entities who hand out the cryptographic certificates that secure the web. If Certificate Authorities fail to do their jobs, they put the entire electronic realm in danger -- bad certificates could allow anything from eavesdropping on financial transactions to spoofing industrial control systems into accepting malicious software updates. (more…)

One mysterious hooded figure is responsible for virtually every online security breach

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:52:50 PDT


When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; when all you have is clip art of a hooded hacker figure... (more…)

Trump's Time Magazine interview about truthfulness, minus all the lies

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:43:57 PDT


Time's cover-story about Donald Trump features a long interview with the president, in which he insists, over and over again, that he is not a liar. It is full of lies. (more…)