On Trump and totalitarianism

wwII
People talk about Trump and totalitarianism in such a facile way. They don't know how close we came to the brink. Read the rest

Wool author Hugh Howey shares his favorite tools

HughHowey

Our guest on the Cool Tools Show this week is Hugh Howey. Hugh is the New York Times bestselling author of WOOL, SAND, BEACON 23, and over a dozen other novels. He lives on a catamaran he custom built in South Africa and is now sailing around the world.

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:

Kindle Voyage E-reader ($199)

"It is the perfect reading device. … It weighs almost nothing, it's comfortable in your hand, and I can fit an entire library. The only ding that people have said about the device is its price. I read a lot of classics. When I look at all the free books on gutenberg.org the device has paid for itself already several times over. … The Voyage uses the same screen as the Paperwhite. The body is just slimmer and there's physical page turn buttons now and my favorite thing actually about the interface is that there's a very wide side so that you can hold it with the kind of fat part of your thumb, the way you would hold a book without covering the screen or accidentally turning pages. …I have the same sort of emotional attachment to my e-readers as we've always had towards books because I think what I've found is that I imprinted on books by reading and enjoying them, and now I'm doing that with my e-reader device. Read the rest

Every year, this scary rope bridge over a river must be replaced

rope bridge

Two villages either side of the Apurimac River in Peru must rebuild the rope bridge linking their communities every year. You wonder: why don't they build a modern one that lasts? Then you watch the video and you know why. Read the rest

Veterans remind Pokemon players of memorial park's sanctity by shouting obscenities, throwing punches

pokemon

Everyone behaves badly in this one—snotty youngsters v. violent veterans—but that older guy throwing punches and threatening a pregnant woman should be in jail. Come for the Pokemon rage, stay for the expert demolition of a portable gazebo.

A story at the Winona Daily News appears to concern the same park; it looks like there's a concerted effort afoot to ban more or less any unapproved "gatherings" there, and it's all about the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

The ordinance would cover a wide array of activities, not all related to increased traffic from Pokémon players, and some which is already prohibited. ... recent crowds that suddenly began gathering at all hours earlier this month when the game was released include prohibitions on hammocks and tents, sleeping and sunbathing, recreational activities and games (electronic or not), having pets in the area and playing music.

Why would you bother asking the Pokemon company not to use that location as a gym when it's so much easier to pass sweeping teen-menace legislation? Read the rest

Watch a man crack a the world's longest whip. Then watch him dual-wield fire whips.

whippings

At 238 feet and 3 inches, Adam Winrich's manila rope whip is reportedly the world's longest. Adam's YouTube channel is packed with amazing whippings; below he dual-weild fire whips.

Read the rest

Failing car alarm has a great beat

car alarm
Read the rest

Voice of Postman Pat, charming British claymation series, dies at 83

Postman-Pat

Ken Barrie, narrator of the British kids' show Postman Pat, died age 83 this week.

Barrie, who was born Leslie Hulme, provided the voice for Pat and many of the other characters in the animated series, as well as singing the famous theme song. His daughter, Lorraine Peterson, told the Press Association that he died peacefully at home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, of liver cancer.

The show concerned the mundane yet charming adventures of Pat Clifton, a postie in rural England, and his black and white cat, Jess. Most all episodes set out with him delivering mail to the timeless English village of Greendale; his rounds would inevitably be interrupted by some local concern: a lost puppy, sheep clogging a country road, plumbing trouble at the pub, etc.

Wouldn't it be awesome if they did a new series that homed in, in child-friendly fashion, on the vaguely haunting aspect of all this. Pat just delivering the mail when Cthulhu happens. That sort of thing.

"Pat stared at the writhing mass of tentacles under the old flint bridge for a moment, then remembered he'd only yesterday delivered a box of powerful hexes and charms to the coven up by the old windmill. "I bet they know what to do about this," he said to Jess. "Otherwise Mrs. Miggins won't be able to get her subscription to Country Living." Read the rest

Lessons from the DNC: Ronald Reagan, the Southern Strategy, and "abnormal politics"

animation (1)

John Scalzi makes a very good case that the DNC's major message is that "this year is not about Democrat versus Republican, or conservative versus liberal, it’s about normal versus highly fucking abnormal" -- but Corey Robin persuasively argues that abnormality has been normal for a long time in the GOP: "the rational, prudential conservatives [Democrats] think they know [in the GOP] are in fact ultra-revanchist songstresses of domination and violence." Read the rest

How to pay no taxes at all! (if you're Apple, Google or Facebook)

animation

In only 7 minutes, Australian comedy show The Undercurrent explains exactly how companies like Apple, Google and Facebook use offshore registration, transfer payments, debt loading and tax havens to get a lower tax rate than nurses, starving their host countries like Australia of so much money that they're cutting schools, medicare, public broadcasting, climate change and indigenous services. Read the rest

How a cooked Assange quote ended up media gospel

Julian Assange. Image: Reuters.

Wikileaks, the clearing house for state secrets, seems more about founder Julian Assange's grudges these days: especially the one for Hillary Clinton. Much fuss was made over a quote—that he had "enough evidence" to guarantee an indictment of her—that was widely attributed to him. It turns out, though, that the quote doesn't check out: most point to a mangled interview on the UK's ITV where it isn't even said. Jesse Singal set out to track down a source that no-one bothered to verify. It's a surprisingly tantalizing and teasing journey, but the tl;dr seems to be that the quote was originally fabricated by the blog Zero Hedge. Read the rest

North Carolina's voter suppression law struck down as "racist"

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1151

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has invalidated parts of North Carolina's voter suppression laws, ruling that the requirement to show photo ID was enacted "with racially discriminatory intent." Read the rest

Why Hillary Clinton's DNC speech was 'a moon landing' for women

REUTERS

In an op-ed for the Guardian today, I shared the primal and personal experience I felt as a woman watching another woman make history, as Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States.

Read the rest

Zika-infected mosquitos are now in the U.S.

mosquito

It looks like Zika-infected mosquitos have finally made their way to the U.S. Four people who live in the Miami-Dade and Broward counties of Florida came down with the Zika virus in early July, and they all contracted it locally, most likely from mosquito bites.

"These are the first cases of locally transmitted Zika virus in the continental United States," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a news briefing Friday. "As we have anticipated, Zika is now here."

Although the Zika virus isn't usually dangerous for most people, it can be devastating for the fetus of a pregnant women. But for now the CDC says that because of aggressive measures to control these mosquitos, they don't expect a widespread transmission of the virus. Still, pregnant women in Florida should take precautions.

"We know this virus is most detrimental to expecting mothers," he [Florida Gov. Rick Scott] said. "If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant and live in the impacted area, I urge you to contact your OB/GYN for guidance and to receive a Zika prevention kit. I also ask every Floridian to take proper precautions by eliminating any standing water and wearing insect repellent."

The CDC will be reevaluating the situation daily. Read the full story at The Washington Post. Read the rest

Pregnancy-tracking app was riddled with vulnerabilities, exposing extremely sensitive personal information

Consumer Reports Labs tested Glow, a very popular menstrual cycle/fertility-tracking app, and found that the app's designers had made a number of fundamental errors in the security and privacy design of the app, which would make it easy for stalkers or griefers to take over the app, change users' passwords, spy on them, steal their identities, and access extremely intimate data about the millions of women and their partners who use the app. Read the rest

Cop in bikini tackles thief to the ground before his arrest

bikinicop

En stackars hemlös kille som man kan tro försöker göra rätt för sig. Han säljer tidningar istället för att tjuva!! När vi avböjer att köpa hans tidningar passar han på att stjäla min kompis mobiltelefon!! Väldigt skickligt av honom då han smyger ner sina tidningar över mobilen och får sedan med sig den med lätthet!! Osis för denna kille att han råkade sno av två poliser👮🏻👮🏻!! Mitt första ingripande iklädd bikini under mina 11 år som polis!! Ganska kul och trivsamt måste jag säga 😂😂! Se upp för ficktjuvar, håll koll på era värdesaker!!

A photo posted by mikaelakellner (@mikaelakellner) on Jul 27, 2016 at 7:18am PDT

It's not the clothes that make the cop. Swedish police officer Mikaela Kellner was sunbathing in Stockholm with friends, including another off-duty female cop, when a homeless man approached them selling newspapers. According to Aol.News:

As the man lingered, Kellner grew suspicious. Her suspicions were confirmed just as he started to walk away when her friend noticed her cell phone was missing.

The bikini-clad cop then ran 15 meters, tackled the man and held him down until fellow on-duty officers were arrived to make the arrest.

Kellner says that in her 11 years of being a cop, it's the first time she's made an arrest while wearing a bikini, but says she'd go further than that. She would have arrested the thief even if she'd been naked. Read the rest

"Tellin The World" 1972 voting PSA aimed at 18-25 y/o working-class voters

animation

Amy Sloper writes, "This is a really timely (while still feeling dated) voting PSA about the importance of tellin' the world your opinion by voting." Read the rest

How to hack that nutty electronic Chewbacca mask

screenshot

Remember that video showing the overwhelming glee of the woman enjoying her new Chewbacca mask? Our hyper talented maker pal John Park recorded this instructional video on hacking the Chewbacca Electronic Mask so you can upload any sounds you want, including the crazed laughter of the woman in that wonderful video!

You can still find the mask for sale but, predictably, the third party sellers on Amazon have bumped up the price: Star Wars The Force Awakens Chewbacca Electronic Mask

And here are John's instructions for the hack: Happy Chewbacca Mask (Adafruit Industries)

Read the rest

Next page