This "retro" technique still makes the best coffee

Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French press is the first step in upping your coffee game.

For a straightforward brewing process that yields full-bodied flavor, this Nuvita French Press is a great choice. Aside from its classy looks, this press is all business with a stainless steel frame and a heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe glass beaker. Unlike other models, this one features a double-screened filter to minimize sediment at the end of your cup.

Because all it needs is hot water and grounds, it's great for home and travel alike. And unlike pour-over devices that only brew a single serving, It makes 34 ounces, or 8 cups at a time.

Get this Nuvita French Press for just $14.99, 62% off retail.

Three kinds of propaganda, and what to do about them

Jonathan Stray summarizes three different strains of propaganda, analyzing why they work, and suggesting counter-tactics: in Russia, it's about flooding the channel with a mix of lies and truth, crowding out other stories; in China, it's about suffocating arguments with happy-talk distractions, and for trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos, it's weaponizing hate, outraging people so they spread your message to the small, diffused minority of broken people who welcome your message and would otherwise be uneconomical to reach.

To understand trumpism, study the self-professed "betas" of 4chan

Dale Beran's been writing about 4chan, /b/ and Anonymous for years, and lurking on their message-boards, and he traces the rise of the self-professed "betas" who embody fragile, toxic masculinity and have been important bellwethers for many internet and real-world phenomena, linking them to Trump as "the loser who won": "Someone who is all brash confidence and then outrageously incompetent at everything he does."

New York Times, CNN and other media barred from White House press event

The New York Times reports that it and at least two other media outlets, CNN and Politico, were barred today from a White House press event. Also locked out were the LA Times and Buzzfeed, writes Politico's Dan Diamond.

Journalists from The New York Times and two other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Reporters from The Times, CNN and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed to attend.

It's OK, though: Breitbart got in!

Teens were bored so they built a backyard roller coaster

When two Wisconsin high school boys – sophomore JT Nejedlo and freshman Aidan Deaven – found themselves bored one summer, they decided to build a backyard roller coaster.

"We decided to build a roller coaster because it would be fun," said JT Needle.

As you can imagine, it was easier said than done. But with a dad who used to be a physics professor, they were given the green light to try, and try, and try.

In fact, they tried for a few years – and finally succeeded. Although classmates teased them about it and teachers were skeptical, the boys – Nejedlo now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin and Deaven set to go there in the fall – recently finished their project with an awesome-looking coaster. They were honored by the school board on Tuesday. Sometimes boredom ain't such a bad thing.

Read the full story here.

A master of miniature model-making shares his hard-earned secrets

I first discovered David Neat’s work via his website where he delves deeply into all sorts of fascinating interests, from furniture design to natural history to art. Mainly what drew me there was his extensive tutorials on all aspects of miniature model-making. The amount of content he’s posted is staggering, as is the quality of everything. Read comments about David’s site (or this book) and you will hear from seasoned pros, surprised by how much they’ve learned from David’s work.

Model-Making: Materials and Methods collects some of David’s best content from the site. While only 176 pages, this book manages to cram in a lot of eye-opening tips and techniques for building miniatures. David comes from the theater set-building world and teaches design and model-making, mainly with theater, TV, and movie models in mind, but the techniques in this book can be applied to all forms of model-making, from dioramas and dollhouses to tabletop miniature games and train layouts. Chapters cover model construction, molding and casting, working with metals, creating surfaces and textures (one of David’s strong suits), and finishing techniques.

I love a book that has so much to offer, you can simply poke your head into it for a few minutes and you’ve added a few more wrinkles to your brain by the time you put it down. Model-Making: Materials and Methods is such a book.

Model-Making: Materials and Methods by David Neat Crowood Press 2008, 176 pages, 8.5 x 0.5 x 11.0 inches, Hardcover $33 Buy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Techdirt is being sued by the "I invented email" guy and needs your money

Indie news outlet Techdirt is being sued for $15M by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email in 1978, eight years after Ray Tomlinson sent an email over ARPANET; Ayyadurai is represented by Charles Harder, a key figure in the Gawker-killing legal campaign that Peter Thiel financed, and who is also representing Melania Trump in her $150m lawsuit against The Daily Mail.

EFF is hiring! Ops manager, legislative counsel, legal fellow, technologist, membership ass't, tech projects manager

Help wanted: Operations Manager (personable, resourceful, and demonstrates outstanding attention to detail); Civil Liberties Legislative Counsel (advocacy, public speaking, blogging and other social media, media appearances and legislative and regulatory matters related to a variety of high technology public interest legal issues); 2017-19 Frank Stanton Fellowship (recent law school graduates or law students who will be graduating this Spring and have an interest in developing an expertise in First Amendment issues as they relate to new technologies); Staff Technologist/Senior Staff Technologist; Membership Assistant (energetic and enthusiastic Membership Assistant to support fundraising operations and outreach to EFF's 30,000+ annual donors); Technology Projects Manager/Technology Projects Director.

Live burros by mail

p>REAL LIVE MEXICAN BURROS

The Gift of a Lifetime for Any Youngster

From South of the Border comes this soft-eyed gentle little pet of all Mexican children, and the hard-working friend of their parents... to make Christmas this year unforgettable for your youngster! You'll be the talk of the town! Everyone will want to pet your burro.

What years of pleasure this real, live Mexican burro will bring you and your children, Lovable, huggable, long-earred, extra tame, extremely intelligent. Friendly to other animals. Easily hitched to small cart. Economical to raise. Eats anything -- straw, hay, alfalfa, corn, oats, grass, bread, etc. Hardy, select specimens -- sound, well-fed, clean.

When fully grown at about 2 years, they stand about 43" high (size of a large dog) and weigh about 200 lbs. Live up to 25 years. Thrive in any climate.

Send check or money order for amount of Burro now. Burro will arrive about 5 weeks from time we receive your order, unless otherwise specified. Comes uncrated, with food and water for the journey, by Railway Express, collet, F.O.B. Laredo, Texas. You pay express charge of $20 to $40 on arrival. Mexican and U.S. duties already paid. Sorry, no exchanges or refunds. Dipped and U.S. Gov't inspected before shipping. Guaranteed live delivery in their natural born colors.

Baby -- For children up to 5 years (3 mos. old -- 38" high -- 50lbs) Female: $95 Male $85

Youngster -- For children up to 10 years (7 mos. to 1 yr. -- 40" high -- 100lbs) Female: $95 Male $85

Mother and Baby (Total weight about 200 lbs) Pair $175

Male and Female (For breeding) Pair $180

Female in Foal $155

Saddle -- Handmade in Mexico, genuine leather $75

Bridle -- $15

Don't forget the "MESS LESS PET - the answer to anyone that wants a pet, but doesn't want the bother of a live one." 59 cents ppd.

Longtime Trump associate behind Trump-Russia "peace" plan is a violent felon

Felix Sater has longstanding ties to the Trump Organization. In 2010 Sater carried a business card identifying him as a senior advisor to Trump. He's quite a colorful fellow. From today's article in The Daily Beast:

Felix Sater is an immigrant who did prison time for stabbing a man in the face with the broken stem of a margarita glass, and he would surely qualify for the label “bad hombre” were he from Mexico instead of Russia.

It was only by becoming a federal informant that Sater avoided an otherwise 20-year mandatory term for a $40 million fraud in which most of the victims were elderly, a number of them Holocaust survivors.

The Russian-born Sater has popped up in the news again recently when the New York Times reported that Sater was involved in hand-delivering a sealed proposal to Michael T. Flynn (who has not yet resigned as national security adviser) "outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia."

From the Daily Beast:

The plan is said by the Times to involve Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine and a referendum on the fate of occupied Crimea: namely, whether or not the peninsula, which Russian forces seized almost bloodlessly in 2014, would be “leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years” Artemenko reportedly insists that their peace proposal has met with approval among senior aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sater did not respond to a request for an interview with The Daily Beast. He was quoted elsewhere denying that he had been engaged in actual diplomacy. He did tell Fox News that the effort is just his latest contribution to his adopted land.

“What could be wrong in helping stop a war and trying to achieve peace?” he said. “I have done so much for my country and thought that promoting peace was a good thing.”

Trump has said in interviews (see above video) that he hardly knows Sater and wouldn't recognize Sater if he were in the same room with him, but Sater and Trump have been photographed together numerous times and Sater has traveled with Trump and his children. From The American Interest:

Sater has also testified under oath that he had escorted Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow in 2006, had met frequently with Donald over several years, and had once flown with him to Colorado.

As for the man Sater stabbed in the face with the broken margarita glass in 1991? Wikipedia says Sater "stabbed the man's cheek and neck with the stem of a margarita glass, breaking his jaw, lacerating his face, and severing nerves. Sater was convicted of first degree assault in 1993 and served a year in prison."

To quote Trump from his 1990 book, Surviving at the Top, "I’ve always been blessed with a kind of intuition about people that allows me to sense who the sleazy guys are, and I stay far away.”

How to become a highly-paid cyber security expert

Not all hackers are malicious information thieves—white-hat ethical hackers work with technology companies to ensure the security of their computer systems and user data. With all of today’s high-profile data breaches, ethical hackers are in considerable demand. To learn these critical skills and break into the high-paying cyber security field, try taking the courses in this bundle.

With nine courses that cover the foundations of ethical hacking, you'll get acquainted with penetration testing techniques used to uncover software vulnerabilities. In addition to exploring well-known tactics like keylogging, you will get familiar with lesser-known cyberattacks to broaden your knowledge.

Usually on sale for $49 from the full price of $681, this bundle is available today for an extra 50% off. Get the Ethical Hacker Bonus Bundle for 50% off—just $24.50—with code "LEARN50" at checkout for a limited time.

 

 

Kim Jong-nam was killed with nerve agent

Malaysian authorities revealed that Kim Jong-nam, brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was murdered with VX after being pounced on by assassins at Kuala Lumpur airport.

The finding will add to the increasing evidence suggesting that Kim Jong Un’s regime in North Korea was behindlast week’s brazen and public attack on Kim Jong Nam, which South Korean officials have described as an apparent move by the young North Korean leader to get rid of a potential rival.

The incident, which took place at a busy airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, could also prove to be the final straw in a diplomatic vow between previously friendly Malaysia and North Korea, given that the regime in Pyongyang is now accused of using a certified chemical weapon on Malaysian territory.

As pointless as it may seem to point it out, this stuff is nasty.

VX, or O-ethyl S-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl) methylphosphonothiolate for short, is a colorless liquid nerve agent (not a gas) and a chemical weapon. Drops on the skin can wreak havoc on the nervous system and be enough to kill. VX can poison a person in food and water, or even sprayed as an aerosol—Kim Jong-nam’s assassins wiped it on his face, according to CNN.

The chemical was invented in 1952, by a pair of chemists who discovered it was really good at killing bugs. People soon realized VX would also be good at killing humans. Countries like Russia started synthesizing a slew of other chemically similar “V series” nerve agents, including VR, VE, and so forth. There was a Cold War to fight, after all!

Illo: Ben Mills

Trump's travel ban throws roller derby into chaos

Trump's travel restrictions are ruining the 2017 International Women's Flat Track Derby Association's season. Many players hold citizenship in one of the banned countries, and their teams simply won't play without them. Seems roller derby, if not the United States, is about inclusion.

Via Vice Sports:

It all couldn't come at a worse time for the young but fast-growing sport of women's roller derby. Since its revival in Austin, Texas, in the early 2000s, modern roller derby has been predominantly American, with most of the major tournaments and teams based in the U.S. The Women's Flat Track Derby Association, the sport's key governing body, accepted its first international member in 2009, and in recent years member leagues have joined the organization from Europe, Australia and New Zealand, South America, and Asia. There are a number of teams with skaters who are nationals of the seven targeted countries (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Sudan) and for them this season presents an unprecedented challenge, with the prospect of both training and playing schedules being abruptly rearranged.

"As new info is popping up everyday, it is hard to know for sure what the situation will be like in a few months or even in a few weeks," Dorna Behdadi told VICE Sports. Behdadi is a charter member of the Gothenburg Roller Derby team in Sweden. They are also an Iranian national whose parents fled a country in upheaval (Sweden has historically received a large number of asylum seekers and refugees, something that the U.S. President has alluded to recently). Behdadi was not born in Iran and holds a Swedish passport, but Iran still considers them a citizen because of their parents. Travelers with dual citizenship from one of the seven countries were initially included in Trump's ban, although that guidance appeared to evolve in the days after the order's rollout. Overall, the situation is marked by confusion, even as the administration reportedly draws up a revised executive order.

Gothenburg Roller Derby had been planning to compete in a tournament called Coastal Chaos in Maine this June, but Trump's travel restrictions have made the team rethink those plans.

"If some of our players cannot participate because of racist regulations, the team will not partake in the event," Gothenburg Roller Derby posted to Facebook days after the travel ban was signed. "Sports should be for everyone to participate in, roller derby is an inclusive sport, and we will never accept discrimination on the basis of race, religion or citizenship."

It isn't just people who want to go to Eugene for the Big O, the uncertainty and fear created by these ill-considered travel restrictions is also killing our tourism industry.

Battlestar Galactica's 'Muffit the Daggit' was played by a chimpanzee

The existence of daggits, the original Battlestar Galactica's space-dog, bought that show a special place in my heart. I just learned Muffit the daggit was played by a chimpanzee, named Evolution, in a really uncomfortable suit.

I spent a lot of years thinking "Galactica knew humanity couldn't survive without dogs!" not knowing they'd jammed a monkey in a hot suit to make the point.

Sigh.

Pope to greedheads: better to be an atheist than the kind of Catholic who screws the poor

During an "improvised sermon" in his residence during morning mass, Pope Francis excoriated Catholics who lead a "hypocritical double life," going to mass and joining religious organizations while living from the exploitation of others -- the Pope said these people should say to themselves, "my life is not Christian, I don't pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, (I lead) a double life'."

Swedish town official proposes shag breaks for workers

Municipal employees would enjoy an hourlong paid shag break under proposals mooted by a local official. The latest wonder of Sweden's legendary social system seems contrived to mock puritanial Americans, but The New York Times reports that it's for real.

Noting that “sex is also a great form of exercise and has documented positive effects on well-being,” Mr. Muskos suggested that local municipal employees could use an hour of the workweek already allotted for fitness activities to go home and have sex with their spouses or partners instead. The motion, which is expected to be voted on in the spring, needs a simple majority to be passed by the 31-member council. As of now, opinion on the council is divided.

“We should encourage procreation. I believe that sex is often in short supply. Everyday life is stressful and the children are at home,” Mr. Muskos explained in his motion in Overtornea, a town of about 4,500 in the picturesque and remote Torne Valley. “This could be an opportunity for couples to have their own time, only for each other.”

Federal magistrate judge in Illinois rules that being forced to unlock your phone with a fingerprint could violate your rights

M. David Weisman, a magistrate judge in Illinois's Eastern Division, denied a federal warrant application that would have allowed law enforcement officers to force suspects to unlock their mobile devices with a fingerprint, ruling that the suspects' Fourth Amendment (undue search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) rights protected them from being forced to unlock their devices.

A worldwide occult ritual for binding Donald Trump

My friend, the horror writer, Fortean investigator, and educator, Michael Hughes, has been circulating details for a series of occult rituals being planned to cast a "spell to bind Donald Trump and all those who abet him." The basic mission statement of the ritual:

To be performed at midnight on every waning crescent moon until he is removed from office. The first ritual takes place Friday evening, February 24th, at the stroke of midnight. This binding spell is open source, and may be modified to fit your preferred spiritual practice or magical system — the critical elements are the simultaneity of the working (midnight, EST—DC, Mar-a-Lago, and Trump Tower NYC time) and the mass energy of participants.

I had to chuckle at the shopping list for the ritual:

Unflattering photo of Trump (small); see below for one you can print Tower tarot card (from any deck) Tiny stub of an orange candle (cheap via Amazon) Pin or small nail (to inscribe candle) White candle (any size), representing the element of Fire Small bowl of water, representing elemental Water Small bowl of salt, representing elemental Earth Feather (any), representing the element of Air Matches or lighter Ashtray or dish of sand

Optional:

Piece of pyrite (fool’s gold) Sulfur Black thread (for traditional binding variant) Baby carrot (as substitute for orange candle stub)

They had me a "tiny orange candle" and "baby carrot."

Whether you're a believer in any flavor of woo-woo or just see this as Yippie-esque political theater/performance art, a la the 1967 levitation of the Pentagon, you may be interested in participating.

There has been some controversy about the ritual in occult circles. Some are concerned that it will play into fears and stereotypes about magical practitioners and bring unwanted attention to that community. It already has, with at least one Christian group calling for counter-prayer vigils on every waning crescent moon. And hey, here in the Age of Peak Crazy, when a reality TV star and shitty businessman is president, and an alarming number of people believe that a Satanic cannibalistic pedophile ring is operating out of a friendly neighborhood pizza parlor in DC, what harm could there be in a little occult theater? Let the spiritual combat begin!

White House plans to crack down on legal recreational pot

Sean Spicer: There's a difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana https://t.co/0g8qHYfgsD

— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) February 23, 2017

Today in a press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the Department of Justice will "take action" against states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Those states are Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. That's 63 million Americans (one in five) who live states where adults can legally use marijuana for fun.

Meanwhile, a "Quinnipiac poll released earlier today found 71% of U.S. voters — including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and all age groups — are opposed to the government enforcing federal prohibition laws in states where marijuana is legal for medical or adult use," reports the Marijuana Policy Project.

When Trump was campaigning for president, he said he would not interfere with the way that states dealt with the legality of pot. But then he appointed marijuana foe Jeff Sessions as attorney general. (When Sessions was a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, he said he thought the Ku Klux Klan "were OK until I found out they smoked pot.” Sessions also said last year that “good people don't smoke marijuana.”) It looks likes Sessions is calling the shots now.

Ironically, in the same press conference, Spicer told reporters “We are a states’ rights party." But he was talking about the trashing of federal guidance on transgender students' right to pee, not letting states decide what to do about pot prohibition.

From Time:

Spicer repeatedly linked the use of marijuana to the nationwide opioid abuse epidemic, suggesting without offering proof that marijuana is a gateway drug to more serious substances.

Earlier in the briefing, Spicer touted the president and the GOP's commitment to deferring to the states over the federal government on controversial issues.

“We are a states’ rights party," he said while discussing a reversal of Obama-era guidance on transgender student bathroom use.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, issued the following statement after Spicer's press conference:

“The vast majority of Americans agree that the federal government has no business interfering in state marijuana laws. This administration is claiming that it values states’ rights, so we hope they will respect the rights of states to determine their own marijuana policies. It is hard to imagine why anyone would want marijuana to be produced and sold by cartels and criminals rather than tightly regulated, taxpaying businesses. Mr. Spicer says there is a difference between medical and recreational marijuana, but the benefits of and need for regulation apply equally to both.

“Mr. Spicer acknowledged that the Justice Department is currently prohibited from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. It is critical that Congress once again includes that provision in the next budget, and we are hopeful that they will also adopt a provision that extends that principle to all state marijuana laws.”

New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is a big improvement over the previous model

We have Apple TV, Roku, and TiVo but I haven't used them in months. We use our Fire TV Stick for everything, because it just seems to work more smoothly (the Apple TV is the worst of the bunch), also we are Amazon Prime subscribers, so we get a lot of free shows (like the excellent Z, about Zelda Fitzgerald, starring Christina Ricci).

Recently Amazon introduced the new Fire TV Stick, which is better in many ways than the old version. It has Alexa voice control built into the remote, so you can just ask it to play or search for a show. The new processor makes it run faster that the old version. It also has better WiFi.

I'm going to bring the old one with me when I travel.

Next 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9