Facebook returns trending picks to mechanical feed only to see total garbage float to top

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
After being accused of political bias in its trending news picks, Facebook returned to a purely algorithmic feed. Within hours, the machine picked a gross fake-news hatebait item claiming Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was being forced out of the network, thereby forcing a human being to remove it from the trending feed. Bias! Read the rest

Thunderbolt Fantasy: anime-esque action with puppets

thunderbolt fantasy

Imagine a mix of modern animation and 1960s marionette show Thunderbirds and you still won't quite capture how awesome Thunderbolt Fantasy is. It's an example of glove puppetry, a form of folk art dating back centuries.

Set in an Eastern fantasy setting, Dān Fěi and her brother, guardians of a sword known as the Tiān Xíng Jiàn, are pursued by the evil Xuán Guǐ Zōng clan, who seek to obtain the sword for their master, Miè Tiān Hái. While her brother is defeated, Fěi, who possesses the sword's crossguard, manages to escape off a cliff.

The full series is on crunchyroll. Read the rest

Republican party more or less doomed to Trumpism, white supremacy, self-loathing

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The Republican Party spent decades telling its base to hate and mistrust the mainstream media. But now conservative outlets are lurching to the far right, taking the base with it and leaving the party and its brand of conservatism stranded in political no-mans land.

As [former George W. Bush speechwriter David] Frum predicted and we’ve witnessed over the years, there is not much the Republican Congressional leadership can do to satisfy these folks in the right wing media because their ratings rely on fomenting anger and threats to “blow shit up!” I suspect this is precisely why Paul Ryan resisted taking on the role of House Speaker after John Boehner was ejected from his leadership position. He knows that he is now the target and this won’t end well.

Four years ago, I wrote "this is American conservatism's immune system going into anaphylactic shock. Fun to watch, while it lasts!"

It's not fun anymore. Read the rest

Tiny lego typewriter

lego typewriter

Benjamin Cheh and Jeffrey Kong made this prototype Lego typewriter a couple of years ago: "a perfect example of how LEGO elements can pack so much detail in something so small. A retro creation for both the young and the young at heart – imagine this typewriter on your desk!" Their site's a treasure trove of Lego creations. [more, more] Read the rest

$1m taken in by random guy promising "Dinner with Trump"

griftivist

The right wing of American politics has long been a grifter's paradise, but Ian Hawes raked in $1m in a matter of weeks with Facebook ads promising dinner with Donald Trump. Politico reports that the supposed political action committee behind it is designed to resemble the official campaign site, has spent none of its takings promoting his candidacy, and that no-one has had dinner with Trump.

One is at donaldjtrump.com; the other is at dinnerwithtrump.org. The first belongs to Trump’s campaign. The second is a scheme run by Ian Hawes, a 25-year-old Maryland man who has no affiliation with Trump or his campaign and who has preyed on more than 20,000 unsuspecting donors, collecting more than $1 million in the process. ... “I feel ripped off and taken advantage of. This is horrible. That was not my intent,” said Mary Pat Kulina, who owns a paper-shredding company in Maryland and gave $265 to Hawes’s group. Kulina thought she had given to Trump’s campaign until told otherwise by POLITICO. “This is robbery,” she said. “I want my money back and I want them to add up what they stole from people and give it to Donald Trump.”

It's not the only lookalike site he's operating either. The fact that there is no real Trump campaign organization makes it easy for people to fill the gaps like this: there's simply no official competition for attention in the venues where actigrift takes place. Read the rest

Slugs eat tiny hatchling birds

slugs

Mercifully there is yet to be footage of slugs devouring baby birds, but the fact that it happens has been confirmed after years of suspicion.

“The actual moment of slugs predating on nestlings isn’t easy to observe,” says Katarzyna Turzańska at the University of Wroclaw in Poland. “You are more likely to come across the traces of the ‘tragedy’: dead or alive nestlings with heavy injuries, covered in slime – and often slugs’ droppings found nearby.”

She and Justyna Chachulska, a colleague at the University of Zielona Góra in Poland, were studying common whitethroat birds near Wroclaw, in Poland, when they spotted a slug of the Arion genus in a nest with newly hatched chicks. The next day, the slug was gone, and the chicks were dead with severe injuries on their bodies that hinted at the slug as the culprit.

They were gobsmacked. “We couldn’t believe that the slug had killed the nestlings,” says Turzańska. “We talked to many experienced ornithologists, but none of them had observed slug predatory behaviour towards birds before.”

For your enjoyment, the Trailer to Slugs (1988).

Read the rest

Ridiculously expensive disposable razors are a betrayal of Gillette's original socialist principles

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Everyone knows that shaving razors are a ripoff, with vastly overpriced blade systems being all one can easily find in stores. Malcolm Harris writes that the practice is not only sleazy, but a direct betrayal of the industry's founder, King Camp Gillette.

Gillette was a starry-­eyed utopian socialist. In 1894, he published “The Human Drift,” a book that, among other things, envisioned most of the population of North America living in a huge metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. ... His blade was a model socialist innovation: Gillette replaced toilsome sharpening labor with the smallest, most easily produced part imaginable. The very existence of the Gillette Fusion is an insult to his memory.

You don't have to even pay a dollar for a shave. Get a Merkur Safety Razor for twenty bucks (though first learn about the options) and 100 blades for $10 and you're sorted for at least a year. Once you've found a blade you like, you can order a box of 1000 and remain the best-shaven motorcycle bandit a full decade into the post-Trump apocalypse. Read the rest

Reports confirm Donald Trump's dad was arrested at Klan rally, and that those arrested were "berobed"

klannish

Fred Trump, the father of millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump, was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally as a young man, according to a 1927 New York Times story. Vice put in the legwork on corroborating the nearly-century-old one-sentence report. They not only found other reports of his arrest, but the startling fact that those arrested were "berobed".

The [Queens County Evening News] mentions Fred Trump as having been "discharged" and gives the Devonshire Road address, along with the names and addresses of the other six men who faced charges. Yet another account in another defunct local newspaper, the Richmond Hill Record, published on June 3, 1927, lists Fred Trump as one of the "Klan Arrests," and also lists the Devonshire Road address.

Another article about the rally, published by the Long Island Daily Press on June 2, 1927, mentions that there were seven arrestees without listing names, and claims that all of the individuals arrested were wearing Klan attire. ... While the Long Island Daily Press doesn't mention Fred Trump specifically, the number of arrestees cited in the report is consistent with the other accounts of the rally. Significantly, the article refers to all of the arrestees as "berobed marchers." If Fred Trump, or another one of the attendees, wasn't dressed in a robe at the time, that may have been a reporting error worth correcting.

Read the rest

Music video features trash-talking UN smackdown

nobody speak

The official video for Nobody Speak, by DJ Shadow and Run The Jewels, was directed by Sam Pilling and stars Igor Tsyshkevych and Ian Bailey as very NSFW diplomats on a tear.

The video depicts a meeting of leaders that quickly descends into chaos, a scene not unlike what is unfolding in governments around the globe... Says DJ Shadow: "We wanted to make a positive, life-affirming video that captures politicians at their election-year best. We got this instead.”

Read the rest

Maine Gov. LePaige: people of color are the enemy

lepage

Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, told reporters that people of color are the enemy in his state. Read the rest

Trump campaign boss Stephen K. Bannon was charged with domestic abuse

Steve Bannon, head of  Breitbart News, was named to the new position of campaign chief executive officer. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart News boss recently hired to lead millionaire businessman Donald Trump's faltering presidential campaign, was charged in 1996 with domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness after allegedly beating his then-wife. The charges were dropped, reports Politico, after his alleged victim failed to appear in court.

The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police. While the case ended when Bannon's ex-wife did not appear in court, the incident presents a new problem for the Trump campaign following the hiring of the controversial Bannon. He went on leave from Breitbart News, where he is chairman, to take over the Trump campaign.

The police report describes a distressing scene: responding to a silent 911 call (the phone was found smashed), a cop encounters a crying woman with red marks on her neck and arms.

According to the report, she said, “Oh, thank you, you are here. How did you know to come?” and took several minutes to compose herself.

Bannon, according to the report, was less than seven months into his second marriage, though the couple had known each other for a number of years prior to their April 1995 wedding. The couple just had twin girls seven months earlier, Bannon’s ex-wife told police at the time.

Read the rest

Time to Statham Punch

furious7

Matthew Haughey noticed that movies starring British actor Jason Statham, with only a single exception, sooner or later involve him punching someone. At Time to Statham Punch, he maintains statistics on the timing and circumstances of these punches. Read the rest

Manygolf: simple, addictive online golf game

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Manygolf is similar to Desert Golfing, in that it presents a random two-dimensional course and simple controls to angle and power shots. But it's also multiplayer, which means there's always someone annoying you by proving an "impossible" shot is anything but. There's no nonsense: as soon as the page loads you're assigned a name and thrown into the slowclap-worthy action.

The creator, Thomas Boyt, has an official Twitter account for the game at @manygolf; he's published the source code and his dev notes.

manygolf is a massively multiplayer golf game. everyone plays together, simultaneously, in the same session. Whoever wins the round in the fewest number of strokes wins. in the event of a tie, the player who scores the fastest wins.

EDIT: Updated the pic now it's nice and busy! Read the rest

RIP clumsy stormtrooper Michael Leader

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Michael Leader, famous in certain circles as a clumsy Star Wars stormtrooper who knocked his head on a door, has died. He was also known for playing the longtime milkman character in UK soap Eastenders. Read the rest

Do Your Part! Illegally Download Scientific Papers

papers

Jesse Singal requested this shoop, and I delivered. After all, who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone. (I've uploaded this to Redbubble if you'd like a poster—of course, you can just as well pirate it.) Read the rest

Points of inflection: monochrome generative audiovisuals

lissajous

Alexander Senko wrote Pure Data code that "produces a lissajous figure with different frequency ratios and a phase modulation. The curve generates pitch, harmonics and volume of sound. The inflection points on the curve create rhythmic structures."

I don't always blog about figures, but when I do, they're lissajous ones. Read the rest

Trump says Hillary Clinton is a 'bigot'

REUTERS

Millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump has a knack for projecting criticisms of himself back onto his opponents, however hamfistedly. The latest: Hillary Clinton is a bigot.

"Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future," Trump said, reading from prepared remarks.

Unlike past lines that have drawn scrutiny, including Monday's comments in Ohio about African Americans not being able to walk the street without being shot, this one was not a Trump ad-lib. ...

Clinton, for her part, has repeatedly declined opportunities to call Trump himself a racist, despite repeated questioning on the subject and multiple labelings of some of his campaign statements as racist by her campaign.

Trump's guest for the evening was UK far-right leader Nigel Farage, who as a younger man boasted that his initials matched those of the white supremacist National Front and sang jaunty ditties about gassing jews. Read the rest

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