Utah's proposed doxing ban too broad, says EFF

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A Utah State House of Representatives bill would outlaw doxing—publishing someone's private info with the intent to facilitate harassment—but the EFF says the planned law's language is so broad it would target free speech.

At fault, Sam Machkovech reports, is the fact that the law doesn't clearly define its terms.

[Lead sponsor State Representative David E.] Lifferth's suggested amendment, on the other hand, offers no such specific, harassment-minded qualifiers in regard to "personal identifying information." The legislation as written would punish citizens for posting a laundry list of information about anyone if a court determined there was intent to annoy, alarm, or offend them, including names, birthdays, phone numbers, place of employment, photographs, or other realistic likenesses. The penalty for first-time offenders would be a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.

Among other things, such legislation might limit citizens' ability to hold public officials and other influential members of society accountable for their actions.

Lifferth has promised to fix the bill's language. Read the rest

Florida man who threw alligator into Wendy's "just a prankster," says mom

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A Florida man "tossed" an alligator into a Palm Beach County Wendy's, reports WPTV, earning 23-year-old Joshua James of aggravated assault and unlawful possession of an alligator.

"FWC officials say 23-year-old Joshua James pulled up for his order and after a server handed over a drink and turned around James reached into the back of his truck and tossed the 3-and-a-half foot gator through the drive-thru window. The incident report showed a picture of the gator inside the restaurant."

The incident, in Loxahatchee, Fla., happened in October last year, but it took U.S. Marshals several months to track him down. James was taken into custody early February, 2016. His mom says he's a harmless prankster. Read the rest

More than 300 free drum loops

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Drum tracks for jam offers more than 300 drum loops in various genres, neatly organized by beats-per-minute. [via Hacker News]

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Zebra is a minimalist maze game that will mess up your mind

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Bennett Foddy, of QWOP and Sportsfriends fame, has already destroyed your brain with Zebra. Though a very simple implementation of the classic "3D maze" genre, it renders the walls as alternating angles of zebra pattern, ensuring you'll have a skullcrushing headache within seconds. Good luck! Read the rest

Walken Closet was my favorite Superbowl ad

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We should all have a Walken closet, obviously, even if the verdict's still out on a Kia.

Runner up: Helen Mirren's Bud-branded drink-driving PSA.

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Corruption crisis in world spinach capital

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Most of the top officials in a Texas city described as "the world's spinach capital" were arrested last week on corruption charges.

A federal indictment accuses Crystal City's administrators of taking bribes from contractors and of supporting a gambling ring operated by a criminal nicknamed "Mr. T." The mayor, city manager, mayor pro tempore, and at least three current and former councilors have been charged.

Fox News reports on the details of the allegations…

Crystal City Mayor Ricardo Lopez took $6,000 from Nguyen to buy a vehicle, the indictment alleges. In return, he allegedly waived some taxes for Nguyen and had employees close competing casinos that violate state law but exist informally throughout South Texas. Lopez allegedly told city employees inspecting Nguyen's property to "make it easy."

City Manager William James Jonas and Mayor Pro Tempore Rogelio Mata are accused of giving a contractor a $12,000 payment "in exchange for payments and other things of value."

And Lopez, Rogelio Mata, current councilman Roel Mata and former councilman Gilbert Urrabazo are accused of voting to keep Jonas as city attorney and city manager at a salary reported by local media to exceed $200,000. In exchange, Jonas provided payments and other illegal benefits to the four leaders, the indictment alleges.

The city's logo incorporates Popeye, the spinach-munching cartoon sailor, and a huge spinach festival is the town's major tourist draw. Read the rest

Creatures avoiding planks

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Creatures Avoiding Planks is a web toy demonstrating natural selection. Wee blobby creatures wander around avoiding floating planks, which kill on touch. If one lives long enough, it reproduces, passing on slight variations of its own movement behavior to the offspring.

The brilliant work of @hardmaru, I can't watch it anymore because I feel so sorry for them. Read the rest

Report: more than a third of police forces may destroy civilian complaint records

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Following the release by hackers of a tranche of police union documents, The Guardian's analysis reveals that "more than a third of police departments allow or require destruction of civilian complaint records."

contracts obtained from the servers of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) found that more than a third featured clauses allowing – and often mandating – the destruction of records of civilian complaints, departmental investigations, or disciplinary actions after a negotiated period of time.

The review also found that 30% of the 67 leaked police contracts, which were struck between cities and police unions, included provisions barring public access to records of past civilian complaints, departmental investigations, and disciplinary actions.

Samuel Walker, a professor in criminology at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, said there was “no justification” for the cleansing of officers’ records, which could contain details of their use of force against civilians.

“The public has a right to know,” Walker said. “If there was a controversial beating, we ought to know what action was actually taken. Was it a reprimand? A suspension?”

It's not just darkness clauses. Other union rules include a clause in Independence, Missouri's pre-2007 contract, where officers “involved in a shooting incident” could not be interrogated for at least 12 hours. The Guardian has many similarly ugly unions contract clauses on offer. A union spokesperson's excuse is blandly familiar: if the complaint isn't substantiated when the police investigate themselves, it should be expunged to protect the officer's reputation.

Leaked police files contain guarantees disciplinary records will be kept secret [The Guardian] Read the rest

Skull drawn over Andrew Jackson on $20 bill

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Immortan Drew, tiny and roam. Via Imgur. Read the rest

Robot Rubio repeats same line four times, even after being mocked

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Saturday evening's GOP debate was a shitshow for Marco Rubio, who sweated profusely and robotically repeated one line four times, even after presidential rival Chris Christie mocked his use of that exact canned point.

At 8:30 pm, Rubio said "Let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing."

Barely two minutes later, he repeated it: "Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing," and again ninety seconds on, "This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he's doing."

At that point, Christie quipped, "there he goes again," but it didn't stop Rubio from using the same line again at 9:21 pm: "I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn't doing what he's doing on purpose doesn't understand what we're dealing with here. O.K.?"

The bizarre sequence has launched a zillion mocking tweets and is being described as Marco's "Howard Dean" moment in honor of the 2004 Democrat candidate's bizarre shriek of enthusiasm. The robotic quality of Rubio's performance, however, has already launched parodies such as the RubioGlitch twitter account:

You have already guessed what is said in the rest of RubioGlitch's tweets. Read the rest

Person would like to be chased

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Barry Petchesky:

Don't forget the high-five! Read the rest

Pokemon hybrid generator

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Ban GMO Pokemon. The sick creation of Alex Osager, Pokemon Fusion will take two Pokemon of your choice, or at random, and create a horrifying mutant combination thereof. Read the rest

Crane collapse kills one in New York City

A huge crane toppled in New York City this morning, killing someone in a parked car and injuring several others. CBS reports that high winds were blamed for the collapse. Read the rest

ZX Spectrum-based handheld retroconsole is pretty good

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The design perfectly transmutes the cheap minimalist beauty of the classic ZX Spectrum home computer into a unique handheld game console. But does the ZX Vega capture the experience of the early 80's machine?

Indie Retro News reviews it and finds it well-worth your £99, so long as you know what you're getting: a weird British contraption from the early 80s, and only the game-related features of it at that.

Hardcore Speccy fans may have been shouting to have room for expansion but, it's plain to see that this is not what it's about. If you look at this at what it's meant to be, a handheld Speccy to play games on, you can't got far wrong. I agree that you can't beat the original Speccy, the same goes for any original computer but as a pick-up-and-play, it fits perfectly.

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DeRay Mckesson running for mayor: "I am a son of Baltimore"

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Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson is running for mayor of Baltimore. He would get my vote if I lived there.

I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs. Many have accepted that our current political reality is fixed and irreversible — that we must resign ourselves to accept the way that City Hall functions, or the role of money and connections in dictating who runs and wins elections. They have bought into the notion that there is only one road that leads to serve as an elected leader.

A member of the Black Lives Matter movement, Mckesson has done much to draw the public's eye to America's lingering problems of race and power, especially when it comes to policing. The Baltimore Sun says his jump into politics, though, is a surprise.

He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.

Mckesson was the 13th and final candidate to jump into the primary race. In deep-blue Baltimore, the Democratic primary has long determined the winner of the general election.

Watch for this narrative in the media: that he's just a protest candidate. Then, if he does too well for their comfort, watch for this one: that by seeking to win, he's becoming like all the other politicians, i.e. betraying the role they prefer him to play. Read the rest

UN panel determines Assange "arbitrarily detained"

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A UN panel has concluded that Julian Assange is being "arbitrarily detained," reports the BBC

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, knowing that he will be arrested if he leaves. Originally detained in connection to rape and sexual assault claims out of Sweden, Assange says the claims are false and crafted to disrupt his whistleblowing work.

Downing Street said the panel's ruling would not be legally binding in the UK while a European Arrest Warrant remained in place.

"We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy," he added.

"The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden." The Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement that it noted the UN panel's decision "differs from that of the Swedish authorities".

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Pharma price-gouger Martin Shkreli smirks at Congress, refuses to answer questions

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Summoned to a congressional hearing into price-gouging, entrepreneur Martin Shkreli smirked, dodged and insulted those before him, even when all they wanted to talk about was Wu-Tang Clan.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the committee treated with such contempt,’’ Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, said after Mr. Shkreli was excused and left the room. Mr. Mica asked if Mr. Shkreli could be held in contempt of Congress. The committee chairman, Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, said he did not intend to do so. The theatrics surrounding Mr. Shkreli’s appearance, which included his smirking at some remarks by committee members, overshadowed some of the more substantial discussion about huge overnight price increases in the prices of old drugs by Turing and another company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

Shkreli famously raised the price of a cheap generic medication to $750 a pill, knowing that it would take years for other companies to get products approved. He was recently arrested on unrelated fraud charges and released on bond, thereby justifying his use of a phrase — "On the advice of councel… I respectfully decline" — used seemingly to mock his interrogators today.

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