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Brain candy for Happy Mutants



Last Build Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:03:08 +0000

 






Two long-lost Mister Rogers episodes appeared for a hot second

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:56:05 +0000

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Over the weekend, two episodes of Mister Roger's Neighborhood "Conflict" series unexpectedly appeared on YouTube after being unavailable for three decades. YouTube quickly removed them, but to many, the timing felt related to Trump's plans to defund PBS. (more…)



Watch this cool transparent deep sea creature whose eyes take up its whole head

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:25:32 +0000

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Cystisoma is an amphipod, a creature with two kinds of legs, and they are almost entirely translucent. One major exception is their pale orange retinas, which each take up about half of its head. (more…)




Gorgeous collection of public domain illustrations of space

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:55:29 +0000

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Over a decade ago, we tipped readers to the astronomy illustrations of Trouvelot. now the New York Public Library has a large collection of his work available online. (more…)



Cast of Twin Peaks revival talk about how their characters have changed in revival series

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:32:05 +0000

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https://youtu.be/3VwbkAMfFlU

The first mind-blowing episode of Twin Peaks aired in 1990. On May 21 this year, Showtime will debut a two-hour episode of the revival series, produced by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, and starring the original crew. In this video, Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn, Peggy Lipton, Everett McGill, and Wendy Robie talk about what it's like to play characters for the first time in 25 years.




Excellent USB microscope on sale for $30

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 21:21:57 +0000

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I wrote about the terrific Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope in 2015. It's on sale for $29.70 right now.

I had the earlier version of the Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope and liked it a lot. The second version just came out and I love it. Smaller than a prescription pill bottle, the microscope has a USB cord that can be plugged into any computer. Download the software here and start looking up close at money, leaves, circuit boards, bugs, skin, hair, and anything else.

The scope has a built-in, adjustable-brightness LED for illumination. The brightest setting is not always the best - try different levels of illumination and let the software auto-adjust the contrast. I also learned that in order to see things at the maximum 250X magnification you need to follow the instructions in the FAQ.

The scope comes with a suction-cup gooseneck mount that is very stable, and a plastic board with a grid pattern, which helps you align and locate the thing you are looking at. You can also simply hold the scope against things. The software takes still photos and movies, and hasn't crashed on me yet (the earlier version was buggy).

At this price, the microscope is an amazingly entertaining device and I find myself grabbing it to check out all sorts of things, including splinters, skin cuts, bugs, and playing card designs.

Top row (left to right): One black whisker and many white whiskers on my chin, strawberry seed, George Washington’s eye on a $1 bill at 250X
Middle row: Snap blade knife at 250X, pixels on an iPhone 6 Plus display, seal from $1
Bottom row: Nickel, George Washington’s eye on a $1 bill at 50X, Snap blade knife at 50X,

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United Airlines bars girls in leggings from boarding flight: they're "not properly clothed"

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 18:05:00 +0000

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Call it The Landmaid's Tale: two girls were barred from boarding a flight by a United Airlines agent Sunday, and the airline confirmed that leggings are against a dress policy it applies to people traveling on passes issued to employees and their dependents.

A United Airlines gate agent barred two girls from boarding a flight Sunday morning because the girls were wearing leggings.

Another girl who was wearing gray leggings had to change before she was allowed to board the flight from Denver to Minneapolis, a witness said.

“She’s forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board,” Shannon Watts, who was at a gate at Denver International Airport said on Twitter. “Since when does @united police women’s clothing?”

The airline, when challenged, backed up its gate agent on Twitter. https://twitter.com/united/status/845999380024836097

"Casual attire is allowed as long as it looks neat and is in good taste for the local environment," tweeted a United Airlines spokesperson.

The "contract" referred to turns out to be very vague indeed, specifying only that passengers must be "properly clothed."

Later, though, United Airlines said that the girls were "United pass travelers" who are "United employees or their eligible dependents standing by on a space-available basis," meaning that the company was was applying an employee policy to someone "who was denied boarding this morning because her attire didn’t meet the United pass travel clothing requirements." Normal passengers' attire "doesn't need to meet the United pass travel clothing requirement," they wrote. https://twitter.com/united/status/846060019061669889

The girls' father boarded in shorts, according to a witness, after putting his daughters in dresses.

The airline is currently taking on all-comers on Twitter, ensuring everyone knows that its employee-related policies, however comically puritan ("Pass riders may wear ... shorts that are no more than three inches above the knee"), do not apply to general boarding. https://twitter.com/united/status/846065666922811393

Reminder: they're talking about little girls in leggings—and before it got its story straight, United plainly asserted that it would apply the no-leggings policy to all passengers irrespective of status on the basis of its general contract of carriage, updated Feb 17, 2017. https://twitter.com/united/status/846000371898081280




Companies that help build Trump's wall could lose pension fund investments and California state contracts

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 16:49:56 +0000

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It's not just Mexican cement giant Cemex that's refusing to bid on the Great Wall of Trump; many of the firms in the super-concentrated large-scale construction sector are signalling their unwillingness to participate in the wall's construction. (more…)




Old Paul Ryan gaffe goes viral: "We're not going to give up on destroying the health care system"

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 13:49:23 +0000

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This brainfart from the Republican speaker of the house dates to 2013, not the aftermath of his failure to pass 2017's universally-loathed Obamacare replacement plan. Snopes:

WHAT'S TRUE
House Speaker Ryan said he would not give up on destroying the United States' health care system.

WHAT'S FALSE
The statement was a gaffe that was taken out of context, not an actual admission of intent. ...

Although Ryan did say “we’re not going to give up on destroying the healthcare system for the American people,” this was merely a gaffe, not a statement of intent. Ryan was referring to the Affordable Care Act and his efforts to not let that law destroy the health care system.

This is fair context, but "merely a gaffe" handwaves what makes gaffes interesting. Lack of intent is not intrinsic to gaffes. Indeed, the fact gaffes tend to reveal intent is embodied by a term a journalists use for political ones to distinguish them from lesser varieties: the Kinsley Gaffe.

The first appearance in print of “Kinsley’s Law of Gaffes” may have been on January 17, 2008, when Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in a post about a Democratic candidates’ debate in his New Yorker blog: No article or blog post of this kind can be complete without a reference to (Michael) Kinsley’s Law of Gaffes, which states that a gaffe occurs when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Perhaps this should be supplemented by the notion of a Deductive Slip, meaning something a politician says, however inadvertently, that can be shoehorned into a pre-existing “narrative.”

Kinsley himself points out that in political cases, the supposed gaffe is never animated by surprise. Just as everyone knew, for example, that Rush Limbaugh had a low opinion of women before revealing it in a "gaffe," everyone already knows Paul Ryan didn't need Obamacare to become an Ayn Randian laissez-faire dork. What he is has already been established; the gaffe is haggling over the price.




With the collapse of Trumpcare, Sanders wants Medicare-For-All

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 12:18:19 +0000

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The humiliating inability of Republicans to legislate even when they control the Presidency, House and Senate has emboldened the left wing of the Democratic party, led by Bernie Sanders, to push to replace Obamacare (designed by the Heritage Foundation and first trialled by Mitt Romney) with "Medicare-For-All," a state run, universal healthcare system that will end the out-of-control transfer of tax funds to insurance companies and the bonanza for Big Pharma. (more…)




You should be flossing with water

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 12:00:07 +0000

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You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand of nylon between your pearly yellows is tedious at best, and painful at worst. There has to be a better way.

Fortunately, this water flosser will transform you from Steve Buscemi-lookalike to a paragon of dental hygiene. The battery-powered flosser shoots thin jets of water in the crevices of your gums like a gentler power washer to hose off the most stubborn bits of plaque. Plus, it’s been clinically shown to clean your mouth faster and more comfortably than normal floss.

This kit includes a full set of dental cleaning tools and four color-coded tips to let multiple members of your household use it without gross cross-contamination. Lowered from $149.99, get the Aqua Flosser Water Flosser here for just $38.99.

Explore other Best-Sellers in our store:



Primitive Technology: Turn on the closed captions!

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 05:16:00 +0000

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https://youtu.be/uZGFTmK6Yk4

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.

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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 23:30:34 +0000

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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 22:16:33 +0000

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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.

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

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 15:02:03 +0000

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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 14:23:34 +0000

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 ‘Enquir[...]



John Wick fights re-enacted with Nerf guns

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 14:12:35 +0000

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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 14:12:33 +0000

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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 14:12:27 +0000

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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 14:12:21 +0000

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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 12:59:23 +0000

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 testingHow to link several Raspberry Pi boards together to perform complex parallel computationsAdvanced networking and web development techniques that use the Raspberry Pi as a file and web serverRaspberry Pi-powered roboticsThe foundations of IoT devicesWith 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.Explore other Best-Sellers in our store:Coding + DevelopmentLearn to Code 2017 Bundle (Pay What You Want)Accessories Twisty Glass BluntD-I-Y CourseRaspberry Pi 3 Course[...]



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

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:10:01 +0000

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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.

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:06:39 +0000

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="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/313498517&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false"> 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 s[...]


Media Files:
http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/7810/5541852/313498517-cool-tools-73-danielle-applestone.mp3




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

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:12:08 +0000

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 conv[...]



Upright guitar stand for under $9

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:39:13 +0000

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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 22:16:45 +0000

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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 21:37:33 +0000

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https://youtu.be/S2BB52xc_cc

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 21:21:33 +0000

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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 19:47:00 +0000

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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. https://twitter.com/costareports/status/845358347801055233

Run, Paul. Run!

Update:

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 17:41:55 +0000

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="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/282029273%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-2hW87&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true"> [...]