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Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at  

Kentucky county clerk jailed until she does her job, or quits it

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Off to jail goes Kim Davis, the county clerk who refuses to do her legal duty—issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples—but also refuses to quit the position so that someone else might.

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A tiny fedora for your manbun


It "unites the best of contemporary styles in hair and hats for young men," writes an unbylined author at Capitol Hill Seattle [via Stylite, via Dan Savage]

Study: World has 8x the number of trees we thought

beth-moon-ancient-trees-8There are about 3.04 trillion trees on planet earth, rather more than the expected 400 billion, reports Nature. But it's not good news.

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More Star Wars merch than you can possibly imagine


Kevin McFarland is warning you now: toys are coming, you won't be able to escape them, and this time they are backed by a force beyond human comprehension: Disney.

STARTING YESTERDAY AND continuing today, the Star Wars Youtube channel is livestreaming a product rollout like we’ve never seen, with 15 locations in 12 countries—in an all of them, people unboxing toys. It’s an anticipation-stoking preview for Force Friday, tomorrow’s debut of the first officially licensed merchandise for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The product preview, followed by a midnight on-sale release, is a massive and unprecedented event, shrewdly taking advantage of the rise of unboxing videos to unveil the new goodies from the year’s most highly anticipated film. But it’s not the only way Disney has amplified the already dominant Star Wars product line.

I recall that there was a surprisingly precipitous saturation point on the prequel trilogy tat, especially books. It slipped from total marketing war into the remainder bin almost overnight. Disney has its share of bombs, but the world's largest licensor doesn't make that sort of mistake with its hits.

Chambray shirts and the blue-collar divide

blue-chambray-shirt-slide-VRG9-jumboTroy Patterson reminds us that Rosie the Riveter did not shop at J. Crew or RRL. But there is something strange and unstoppable about the mainstreaming of workwear: quality divorced from its origins.

In the course of his 1882 tour of the United States, Oscar Wilde visited the silver mines of the Colorado mineral belt, returning with a key observation on the American costume. ‘‘In all my journeys through the country, the only well-­dressed men that I saw,’’ he told lecture audiences, ‘‘were the Western miners.’’ Admiring the height of their boots, the breadth of their hat brims, the drape of their cloaks, Wilde said, ‘‘They wore only what was comfortable, and therefore beautiful.’’ This tribute to an aesthetic allied to a blue-­collar work ethic was a premonition of the triumph of bluejeans and the practical fashions that followed. The process began to gain speed 25 or 30 years ago: the trek of Timberland boots from lumberyards to city streets; the appearance of sundry sophomores in service-­station jackets emblazoned with the names of anonymous grease monkeys; the appreciation of comfort by white-­collar workers who were increasingly released from the constraints of their neckties and skirt suits. … Young ladies wear overalls and jumpsuits not to protect their good clothes but rather because those are their good clothes. It has been not quite a year since the neologism ‘‘lumbersexual’’ dribbled into popular discourse to identify those city-­dwelling men who seem to have been moved by a wind blowing from the Great North Woods. And when the weather turns, children, too, will be bundled in buffalo plaid, swathed in a durable aura of Americana and heritage. Wilde worried that his ‘‘picturesque miners’’ would, upon growing rich and going East, ‘‘assume again all the abominations of modern fashionable attire.’’

He was right, though.

Evangelical Christians love Donald Trump

trump beschizza

He can't stop mocking them even as he courts them, and seems baffled by how much support they're sending his way. But he hates the same people they do, and that's what matters.

Jonathan Merritt reports on the evangelicals flocking to The Donald, despite an ample selection of credible religious conservatives to vote for and his historical support (albeit recently-disclaimed) for womens' and queer rights.

Trump’s support among evangelicals is substantial, but it isn’t, well, yuuuuge. It’s too early to say whether Trump can grow his support among conservative Christians and continue to expand it to the broader Republican base. He’ll need to do both in order to win the primary, much less contend in the general election. For now, evangelicals need to ask themselves whether Trump’s brashness is enough to make them overlook many of the values they hold most dear.

"If they don’t choose carefully, then after the Republican National Convention, they may find that they got what they wanted but no longer want what they’ve got."

Quitting sugar "changed my brain"

5.51-sugar-adMichael Grothaus quit sugar, soon regretted it, but came through after a week or so.

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Baby trapped in car turns out to be realistic doll

fake baby 2Rescuers smashed their way into the vehicle only to find that the alarmingly still baby in the back seat was merely a toy. ABC News reports that emergency services were called to the scene in Oakland, California, on Monday.

"Fortunately, it was not a baby or small child," [Officer] Watson said. "We encourage anyone who believes there is a dangerous situation such as this incident to contact emergency personnel so we can make that determination." The police do not know why the doll was in the car seat, Watson said.

[via Arbroath]

iPhone 6S to be slightly upgraded


drudge sirenGood news from the Malabar Front: they will record 4K video, have higher resolution photos, more RAM, faster chips, and come, optionaly, in "Rose Gold." [9to5 Mac]

Office work destroys your body


Max Plenke has a nice roundup of the things that are destroying your body at this very moment, crushing the husk of your corporeal form even as your soul is stapled firmly to it with each mind-sapping click.

You don't have to be on your feet all day to avoid turning into a puddle of office-casual mulch — but you do need to be proactive.

"Those exercise fads of the week don't work," Taylor told Mic. "Get on a cardiovascular program that doesn't cause you pain, and do 30 minutes four to five times a week."

Get up and out of your seat. Take a walk. Go pick up lunch instead of ordering in.

Elfquest and Wendy Pini art books


Wendy Pini and Elfquest, the graphic novel series she creates with her husband, Richard, are among my favorite things in the world. So I immediately jumped on the chance to order a three-volume series of art books featuring her work on Kickstarter.

Welcome to our Art of Wendy Pini Kickstarter campaign. We are making available three different and amazing books that showcase the career of Wendy Pini. These three titles combined contain over 900 pages of material that comes direct from the Pini archives. Almost every piece has been scanned from the original artwork, meticulously preserved by the Pini’s since the 1970s.


The Art of Elfquest, Elfquest: The Art of the Story, and Line of Beauty: The Art of Wendy Pini together present an unprecedented look at a career that has spanned over 40 years and has warmed the hearts of generations of fans.

Hardcover trade editions and special deluxe limited editions are being offered. This Kickstarter campaign, if successful, will guarantee the creation of three gorgeous premium editions, plus give you terrific rewards.

I shall be reposting this at regular intervals until the "Elfquest coloring book" stretch goal is secured.

Art of Elfquest & Line of Beauty by Wendy and Richard Pini [Kickstarter]

Wikipedia bans editors suspected of being paid shills


381 accounts believed to be "socks"--used by editors to make paid-for changes to the site--have been cast out.

A posting on the admin board explains how the Checkuser team exposed the dodgy accounts.


There are 381 socks currently being blocked as a result of this investigation. All of the socks are linked by both technical data and behavioural evidence. The list of socks has been posted at Wikipedia:Long-term abuse/Orangemoody/Accounts. All of these blocks are checkuser blocks. They are being performed by EgressBot using a standardized block summary and user talk page template, so that reviewing administrators and editors will be able to identify that they are part of this group. A copy of the block summary and template is posted on the page listing the identified socks. Unblock requests can be brought to the attention of checkusers; this can be done by posting a link at the SPI talk page. It will take the blocking bot approximately an hour to complete all of the blocks; if for other behavioural reasons an administrator needs to block any of the accounts in the interim, the block will be superseded by the bot with the applicable summary and template. The same will apply to any accounts that have already been blocked.

The socks all exhibit at least one of the following behavioural traits:

"Article creation" socks create articles in draft space or user space mainly based on submissions to Articles for creation that had been declined, or articles that had been added to article space and deleted as being too promotional. These articles do not give proper attribution to the original authors. There are occasional variations to this process. Most of the articles created in this way have been moved to article space; a few are still in draft or user space.

"Helper" socks will usually complete a series of useless edits in order to be autoconfirmed. They then continue making gnoming-type edits that will periodically include the addition of spammy external links. Some of these socks also participate in Page Curation, and they will “mark reviewed” articles created by the other socks.

Examples of "useless edits" include adding {{italictitle}} or wiki-linking words like Asia and United States, or making minor formatting changes. The groups are not entirely distinct and some socks have acted as both article creators and helpers.

Here's the list of articles edited.

Existence of Super Mario's penis challenged

mario-penisA quick inspection of Google Images, or 4chan's yaoi board confirms that Super Mario does indeed have a penis, but Kill Screen Daily's Clayton Purdom finds reasons to doubt these images' credibility and hopes to find relief from the semiotic crisis of believing that Mario both does and does not have a penis.

Just as The Sopranos ended with a metaphor for uncertainty, and so maintained the possibility of both Tony Soprano’s death and a life spent in fear, so must the question of Mario’s penis remain uncertain. Those pornographers that frame his penis so questionably are getting at the essence of the matter in a way Super Hornio Bros., giggling all the way, never will: the penis must remain a question to be answered only by the viewer, or the player. If the very purpose of a Mario game is a symbiosis with its star; if he is the synecdoche of the player, his movements laser-guided to be what that player wants them to be; if his fundamental goodness is intended as a belief in the goodness and courage within all people—then the existence of his penis only matters insomuch as it does to the body of the player.

In all seriousness, I think it's clear Mario would have a penis, (i.e. an embodied sexuality) in canonical Nintendospace, the abstract world in which Mario exists, but that it would not exist in Nintendoanschauung, the view of that creation to which Nintendo consents.

Man regrets stamping on cricket

I think we can pass on GIFfing this one. You'll thank me, just as you will curse your curiosity.

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"The midnight sun" filmed in gorgeous 4k

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Tajikistan creates planet, names it after self


A central asian nation may have no easy path to the sea, but its future among the stars is assured—at least in its dreams.

Tajikistan's state new agency reports [translate] that the country has named "one of the small planets of the solar system" for itself, but did not specify exactly which one, or how it will come to be "between Mars and Jupiter" and have an orbital revolution equivalent to the 5-year term of the national parliamentary assembly.

According to the press release, the name was affirmed by the International Astrophysicists Union.

x 2015-09-02 at 10.51.40 AM It was emphasized that the planet Tajikistan is located between the planets Mars and Jupiter, its distance from the Earth is 250 million kilometers, and from the Sun is 463 million kilometers. Tajikistan planet revolves around the sun once every five years.

Now the planet Tajikistan is at a very close distance to Earth and Tajik scholars engaged in the study of its physical and chemical properties, as well as the processes taking place on this planet.

President Emomali Rahmon expressed appreciation for the contribution of the Tajik scientists in the world of astrophysics, and expressed confidence that such valuable achievements require from our scientists and researchers more effort in the interests of the state and the nation, as well as all mankind.

Eurasianet suspects that "there are some unexplained aspects to the story."

For instance, the International Astrophysicists Union, if it indeed exists, appears to have no online presence. And were it a real organization, it would be rather odd for it to be getting into the business of naming planets, since that might be considered more strictly the domain of astronomers. As it happens, there is something called the International Astronomical Union, but its website is unrevealing about any recent planetary discoveries related to Tajikistan.

This all leads to the inexorable suspicion that this planet news may have been invented as a feeble attempt to boost Tajikistan’s reputation within its own borders (and on the planet of Tajikistan perhaps). Which is sad since the country can boast of a proud and ancient history in the science of astronomy. But as this 2009 paper by two specialists from the Institute of Astrophysics at Tajikistan’s Academy of Sciences explains, the post-Soviet era was cruel to the country’s modern scientific achievements.

Sony "took most of the bite out of" football concussion movie to please N.F.L.


The screenwriter claims that cuts make the film “better and richer and fairer," but emails exposed by hackers show studio lawyers altered the film to avoid tangling with the National Football League.

The New York Times:

When Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to make a movie focusing on the death and dementia professional football players have endured from repeated hits to the head — and the N.F.L.’s efforts toward a cover-up — it signed Will Smith to star as one of the first scientists to disclose the problem. It named the film bluntly, “Concussion.”

In the end even Sony, which unlike most other major studios in Hollywood has no significant business ties to the N.F.L., found itself softening some points it might have made against the multibillion-dollar sports enterprise that controls the nation’s most-watched game.

In dozens of studio emails unearthed by hackers, Sony executives; the director, Peter Landesman; and representatives of Mr. Smith discussed how to avoid antagonizing the N.F.L. by altering the script and marketing the film more as a whistle-blower story, rather than a condemnation of football or the league … Another email on Aug. 1, 2014, said some “unflattering moments for the N.F.L.” were deleted or changed, while in another note on July 30, 2014, a top Sony lawyer is said to have taken “most of the bite” out of the film “for legal reasons with the N.F.L. and that it was not a balance issue.” Other emails in September 2014 discuss an aborted effort to reach out to the N.F.L.

What's funny about this is that had it not come out, the N.F.L would doubtless have put on a big angry performance anyway attacking the movie. We'd have had no idea they'd already taken a degree of editorial influence over it, and we've have been left to assume that the filmmakers had stuck to their guns.