Mall cop fired after bringing gun to work and accidentally shooting other guard in arse

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A security guard at Pittsburgh's fancy Ross Park Mall was fired this week after bringing a gun to work, fooling around with it in the security office, and accidentally shooting a colleague in the arse.

The guard was in the mall's security office at the end of his shift at 11 p.m. and was loading a personal firearm when the gun discharged, Ross police said.

The bullet went through a wooden stand and struck another guard, who was treated and released from a local hospital.

The mall was closed when the incident occurred.

The guards there don't carry firearms. I live in the region and the most threatening things in Ross Park Mall are the tween shoplifters lurking around Claires. That and the inexplicable sense of coldness and despair that envelops oneself as one approaches Sears.

Previously: The Legend of Mall Ninja Read the rest

Tor Project says accusations against Jake Appelbaum are accurate

Jacob Appelbaum

The Tor Project announced Wednesday that an investigation had confirmed sexual misconduct allegations against Jake Appelbaum, describing them as accurate and him as having humiliated, intimidated and bullied others inside and outside the project. Appelbaum left Tor in May, after public accusations forced the organization to act; The New York Times reports that the circumstances raised questions about the management of the project.

Shari Steele, the executive director of the Tor Project, said in a statement that the investigation found that “many people inside and outside the Tor Project have reported incidents of being humiliated, intimidated, bullied and frightened by Jacob, and several experienced unwanted sexually aggressive behavior from him.”

The investigation was conducted by a private investigator hired by the nonprofit group. Ms. Steele added that new allegations were made over the course of its investigation, and that two members of the larger Tor community had also been involved in the incidents. The two individuals were not named and Ms. Steele said they were no longer part of the Tor community.

Appelbaum (who contributed an article to Boing Boing in 2011) denied the allegations and, the NYT's Nicole Perlroth adds, is planning to respond to the investigator's report. Read the rest

Roundup of newspapers that illustrated Hillary Clinton's nomination with pictures of her husband

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The excuses for this come prepackaged: it's what was on the photo wires, his was the great speech of the night, it illustrates a moment of transition in politics, etc. Read the rest

Young man reiterates need for "Trump in America" after in-game defeat

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In this homophobic NSFW rant, a young gentleman who had lost a game of NBA 2K16 explains to his team-mates why the outcome demonstrates the need for Trump in America.

Illustration: Veciits

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In 1995 Walmart pulled a "Someday A Woman Will Be President" t-shirt because it was offensive (Updated)

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Nick Kapur spotted this gem in an old newspaper: "A Wal-Mart store pulled a popular T-shirt proclaiming “Someday a woman will be president” off its shelves, saying it was offensive to some shoppers."

“It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor,” Jane Bockholt said. She refused to reveal the nature of the customer’s complaint.

Ann Moliver Ruben, the 70-year-old psychologist who designed the shirt and sold them to the store, said the retailer’s response means “that promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country.

A buyer at the company reportedly said that the shirt "goes against Wal-Mart's family values," but it didn't respond to press inquiries other than to confirm a customer complaint about the shirt and their removal from the store in which they were being sold. At the time, the United Kingdom, Israel and Pakistan were among countries to have elected women leaders.

After the story hit the papers, though, the company admitted its mistake.

"We made a mistake," Jay Allen, a Wal-Mart spokesman, told the Associated Press. "In this case, we overreacted."

The shirt appears to pop up on Ebay and Etsy often.

Correction: 1995, not 1985.

Update: Walmart Director of Corporate Communications Danit Marquardt spotted this doing the rounds and sent an email: “Wow, it still pains us that we made this mistake 20 years ago. We’re proud of the fact that our country – and our company – has made so much progress in advancing women in the workplace, and in society.” Read the rest

TSA approves having a mummified head as your carry-on luggage, with reservations

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As long as it is "properly packaged, labeled and declared," one may take Victorian philosopher Jeremy Bentham's mummified head onto your flight. The TSA added that travelers may simply snap a picture and tweet it to @AskTSA if they are in any doubt about the flight-legality of any desiccated human remains with which they wish to fly. Read the rest

North Korea recommends Americans elect "wise politician" Donald Trump

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North Korea is on Team Trump, reports Reuters, describing the millionaire mogul as a "wise" choice and his rival as "thick-headed Hillary."

Run by a brutal and notoriously reclusive authoritarian clique, North Korea is under U.N. sanctions and regularly threatens the U.S. and the south with nuclear annihilation. Trump has indicated he will take a softer line with the regime.

"It turns out that Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate," said the [DPRK Today] column, written by a China-based Korean scholar identified as Han Yong Muk.

DPRK Today is among a handful of news sites run by the isolated North, although its content is not always handled by the main state-run media.

It said promising to resolve issues on the Korean peninsula through "negotiations and not war" was the best option for America, which it said is "living every minute and second on pins and needles in fear of a nuclear strike" by North Korea.

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Minimalism "not really minimal"

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Kyle Chayka hates minimalism, a consumer product like any other, a class signifier, a "slightly intriguing perversion, like drinking at breakfast" for the insincere global elite.

...an outgrowth of a peculiarly American (that is to say, paradoxical and self-defeating) brand of Puritanical asceticism, this new minimalist lifestyle always seems to end in enabling new modes of consumption, a veritable excess of less. It’s not really minimal at all. ...

...it comes with an inherent pressure to conform to its precepts. Whiteness, in a literal sense, is good. Mess, heterogeneity, is bad — the opposite impulse of artistic minimalism. It is anxiety-inducing in a manner indistinguishable from other forms of consumerism, not revolutionary at all. Do I own the right things? Have I jettisoned enough of the wrong ones? In a recent interview with Apartamento magazine set against interior shots of his all-white home in Rockaway, Queens, the tastemaker and director of MoMA PS1 Klaus Biesenbach explained, “I don’t aim to own things.” ... it takes a lot to be minimalist: social capital, a safety net and access to the internet.

It seems a bit confused on the relationships between different things and people calling themselves "minimalist," and the snark verges on how dare you – but yeah, fuck Soylent.

These are great tweets, also:

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Miss Cleo dead at 53

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TMZ reports that Miss Cleo is dead at 53. The TV psychic, also known as Youree Harris, was famous for the character's faux-Jamaican accent and the bizarre Tarot-themed advertising campaigns exhorting Americans to call in for a reading.

You couldn't fool Miss Cleo, went the catchy 90s' tagline, but the entertainer could not fool the FTC, either: her Psychic Readers Network collapsed after the government charged it with deceptive advertising, billing and collection practices. Harris went on to perform as an actress and a spokesperson.

"It's the one who is really unpleasant. That's the daddy." Read the rest

Donald Trump plans unofficial "Ask Me Anything" event on Reddit

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Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, has announced plans to do an AMA on Reddit. Unlike most "ask me anything" events, however, this one is unofficial and unmoderated by Reddit's usual team on the r/IAMA subreddit. Instead, it will occur in a fan group, r/The_Donald, notorious for its users' fractious behavior and general abundance of seething meme-fueled pretend-laughter. Read the rest

A reminder from President Clinton

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Hillary Clinton, 45th president of the United States, would like to remind you of a few important things.

I can fix this fucking country for you. And all you little bitches need to do is get off your asses one goddamn day in November.

“Oh but what about your eeeemaaaaillls???” Shut the fuck up. Seriously, shut the fuck up and listen for one fucking second.

Here’s all you need to know about me:

- In 1992, I said I was proud to have followed my career instead of baking cookies. - The GOP fucking dragged me for it. They made me bake cookies. They’re scared of me. - Every time I have a job, y’all love me. Every time I run for anything, the GOP breaks out the big guns again and fucks me up good. And apparently it fucking works.

Read the rest

Yahoo sale: are Flickr and Tumblr doomed?

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Verizon yesterday bought Yahoo, which had earlier bought Flickr, a photo-sharing site, and Tumblr, a blogging platform. Both of these places have three key qualities that raise important questions about their survival: 1) they're both oldschool platforms locked in time because they were bought by Yahoo, 2) both still have vast, dedicated userbases, 3) both have unique cultures that will be invisible to Verizon's legendarily banal middle-management culture.

Flickr tried modernizing a few years ago to compete with Instagram and other fresh social-driven competitors, but had atrophied so much since the 2005 takeover by Yahoo that it couldn't recapture the lead.

Yahoo seemed to listen, at least fleetingly. The company finally released some functional mobile apps and started offering a terabyte of storage space to users for free, but it was too little too late.

For Ward, Yahoo was desperately trying to appeal to the Instagram generation, and in doing so started to alienate the site’s core users, many of whom were professional photographers. “We all had a lot of hope that Yahoo would be able to bring it back to life, but the changes that were introduced took away things we really loved,” she said.

“When we gave feedback it felt like no one was listening. It was a little bit insulting to people who had been using it so actively for so many years. We were clearly not the target audience any more.”

Tumblr, meanwhile, is neck-deep in smut and self-absorbed blather and other things likely to terrify suits—but its also one of the net's last safe redoubts for young women. Read the rest

Watch language evolve as little sims wander around a grid of islands

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Language Evolution Simulation is exactly that, showing words changing little by little as time passes in a tiny world with three islands. It's agent-based, which is to say that it models little computer folk interacting with one another to simulate the little mutations that add up over time.

Rules

If an agent intersects with another, selects a word from the own vocabulary and tells that. The neighborhood receives and adds that word into its vocabulary as

- Mutation of a vowel sound with 0.1 probability

- Mutation of a const sound with 0.1 probability

- Compounding with another word with 0.1 probability

- Without any mutation

There's nothing to do but watch words change, but it feels like the underpinning of a very strange computer game about culture.

I love agent-based models; check out this simulation of political cliques I made. It randomly generates several personalities, who then go around and bicker or flatter one another. It's very bland and primitive, made in Flash, and the "next turn" text is rather fiddly to click. But I've always had plans on expanding it into a more fully featured game. Read the rest

Infernal Scoop is a crowdsourced storytelling tool

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Infernal Scoop is a crowdsourced storytelling site with a no-nonsense, functionalist vibe. Create a story, let readers wander through branching plot developments, and watch everything go weird and wild as they add their own. The format is geared to paragraph-length units posted anonymously—there doesn't seem to even be a way to set up an account—so it feels like a crazy experiment in "authorless" interactive fiction. [via r/internetisbeautiful]

There are other sites like it, but this one has the feel of a tool rather than an environment. The street is finding its own uses. Read the rest

The Fresh Tank Engine of Sodor

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Will Smith's entry in the annals of catchy Thomas the Tank Engine remixes is even better than Biggie the Tank Engine.

Also, "Insane in the Train" is the perfect title, but that mix isn't quite up to the gold standard of the others:

Here's Back in Coal Black, just madness: Read the rest

Driver gets lucky when storm fells tree

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December 29, 2014: a windy day during the Australian summer. On a small country road in central Victoria, the storm batters trees looming over the passing vehicles, until the inevitable happens: "This is a great educational video showing the dangers of traveling in the bush during periods of high wind." Read the rest

Iraq bans fake bomb detectors

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James McCormick, a British fraudster, got rich and got jailed selling fake bomb detectors to police in Iraq. But the devices—dowsing rods in a plastic handle, often sold as golf ball 'finders'—were so popular that even after he was collared, cops remained convinced (by inclination or graft) that they worked. After a series of horrific bombings, the government's stepped in to get rid of the useless gadgets.

It took a massive suicide bombing that killed almost 300 people in Baghdad on July 3 — the deadliest single attack in the capital in 13 years of war — for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to finally ban their use.

The reason it took so long is likely the widespread corruption in the government. Iraqis mocked the device from the start, joking that too much aftershave could set off the antenna.

Now there are accusations that plans to start using newly imported explosives-detecting scanners were intentionally held up as part of the political wrangling over which faction — the military or the police — will control security in Baghdad.

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