Trump campaign: "we can safely assume" 201 electoral votes


Down but clearly not out, the presidential campaign of millionaire Donald Trump just issued a map of states that places him in a commanding position: "those colored red are states that we can safely assume will vote for Trump."

The Trump picks add up to 201 electoral votes, 69 short of what he needs to prevail on Nov. 8. Hillary Clinton, in comparison, has only 187 votes secured on the map. The remaining states are gray, indicating battleground status, with 150 electoral votes available.

According to polls, however, Clinton has a commanding lead, including in several of the states Trump's campaign believes are up for grabs.

(Tepid take: this is what he'll actually win on the day, losing all the grayed-out states but holding on to Arizona.) Read the rest

This old scene from Dune seems strangely prescient now!

I was just flicking through Frank Herbert's classic masterpiece and the climactic fight scene seems to be more relevant than ever. Surprised no-one else noticed this! Read the rest

Alt Right conspiracy image generator

download (2)

I made a generator to provide images from Twitter after The Fourth Debate. It picks random frames from TV footage and draws conspiracies on them. Reload the page for another set! Read the rest

Donald Trump's still running, but the campaign's over

Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes isn't talking to presidential candidate and alleged friend Donald Trump. National Political Director Jim Murphy quit. Trump's Campaign CEO, Kellyanne Conway, is reduced to sighing quips on Twitter. Trump himself might still be running, but his campaign seems all but over.

What a political campaign should be doing right now — even a struggling political campaign — is driving a unified message, contacting voters with that message before they vote and encouraging supporters in early-voting states to get to the polls. It's the Jim Murphys of the campaign who are responsible for doing that.

Trump is now without a Jim Murphy. Even if he could crawl back nationally — probably a decent-sized if — he's now completely reliant on his party to do the hard work of ensuring voters go to the polls. If he doesn't crawl back nationally, or if he doesn't crawl back enough, the party doesn't have a lot of incentive to spend time and money that could instead go to embattled House and Senate candidates.

Read the rest

Samsung issuing copyright claims to remove videos mocking its exploding phones


YouTube users who post videos mocking Samsung's recently-recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone report they get removed because of copyright claims by Samsung.

The claims center on a popular add-on to the game Grand Theft Auto V, which lets players fool around with the hot handsets and use them as as grenades.

This is not how copyright works, the BBC says, and is likely to only focus more attention on Samsung's failings and YouTube's own shortcomings when it comes to copyright enforcement.

Samsung has not yet responded to repeated BBC requests for comment. Critics have warned that trying to remove gamers' videos will only draw more attention to them.

One US gamer - known as DoctorGTA - said restrictions had been put on his YouTube account as a result of Samsung's complaint.

"It's going to take three months to get the strike removed from my channel... I got my live stream taken away," he said in a video.

"If I submit a counter-notification to say 'sue me', I wonder what they will do. Will they sue me, the kid that has cancer and just makes money off YouTube playing a video game?"

The Note 7's propensity to burst into flames ultimately resulted in the handset being withdrawn from production and recalled from store shelves. The Federal Aviation Administration banned them from the skies, making it a federal crime to take one on board an airplane.

Here's a video still live. (Warning: moronic) Read the rest

Popular misspellings of "pregnant" in discussions of pregnancy on Yahoo! Answers


J.T. Sexkik offers a "glimpse into the wonderful world of Yahoo! Answers." It would be inappropriate not to add the original:

Hot take: Yahoo Answers remains of the last places on the web where young women can talk candidly about their sex lives in relatively safety, and it's probably going to be gone soon. Read the rest

Party comes to an abrupt end

phone ruined

Some partygoers were looking forward to their evening treats, but sadly it was not to be. (Insert Samsung Galaxy joke here...) [via] Read the rest

Major U.S. websites inaccessible in "cyber attack" on domain name system

Much of the web struggled to stay on its feet today, with outages bringing down U.S.-based services and sites such as Amazon, Twitter and Netflix. A massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on Dyn DNS is reportedly the cause: as a popular provider of domain-name lookup services, it falling over means that browsers simply don't know where to find websites.

Monitoring: Services have been restored to normal as of 13:20 UTC. Posted about 1 hour ago. Oct 21, 2016 - 13:36 UTC

Update : This attack is mainly impacting US East and is impacting Managed DNS customers in this region. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue. Posted about 2 hours ago. Oct 21, 2016 - 12:45 UTC

Investigating: Starting at 11:10 UTC on October 21st-Friday 2016 we began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Some customers may experience increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation during this time. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.

This is "probably why half the internet is shut down today," reports Gizmodo, which offers the following list of sites that were down for the count.

ActBlue, Basecamp, Big cartel, Box, Business Insider, CNN,, Esty, Github, Grubhub,, HBO Now, (iHeartRadio), Imgur, Intercom,, Okta, PayPal,, Pinterest, Playstation Network, Recode, Reddit, Spotify, Squarespace Customer Sites, Starbucks rewards/gift cards,, The Verge, Twillo, Twitter, (lol), Weebly,, Wix Customer Sites, Yammer, Yelp,, Zoho CRM,

Update: The Amazon AWS status page is a useful bookmark, as the service backends many websites and services. Read the rest

Charity roast trainwreck: Donald Trump booed at Catholic dinner


At the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation white-tie event in New York last night, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sat within groping distance of one another—and delivered speeches for a largely-Catholic audience. A traditional and restrained roasting of oneself and one's opponent, the dinner speeches mark the final public event where the two will tangle before election day. And, as you may already have predicted, Donald Trump managed to get himself booed at a charity dinner.

Here's the Washington Post's cut of the best moments:

He joked about the size of his hands and the size of his rival Hillary Clinton's rally crowds, then compared himself to Jesus. ...

“Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate Commission,” Trump said, citing a false Internet rumor as the crowd turned on him and started to boo, something that simply doesn't happen at lavish charity dinners at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The face of one the guests sitting on the stage behind him was suddenly struck with horror.

“Hillary believes that it's vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private,” Trump said, as the booing intensified.

Trump would go on to accuse Clinton of “pretending not to hate Catholics” and mock the Clinton Foundation's work in Haiti. At one point, he wondered aloud if the crowd was booing him or Clinton, to which someone in the crowd answered: “You!”

He screwed it up because he could not restrain his spite toward his opponent, had little for himself, and wasn't very funny. Read the rest

Nintendo announces new hybrid portable game console


Nintendo's Switch is a touchscreen tablet with removable physical controls that turn it into a traditional handheld game console. It comes with a chunky dock to hook it up to a TV set for high-definition couch action; also announced is a traditional wireless gamepad to match the squared-off dark gray design: it's what disassembles to become the tablet's own controls.

Introducing Nintendo Switch! In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.

Switches use cartridges instead of discs: suggestively retro, especially in the promise of instant-on gaming, but also reflective of the general decline of optical media in favor of flash and high-bandwidth internet connections.

The promo video depicts intriguing social game cultures that don't yet exist—think kids toting their no-nonsense, easy-to-use Switches around to the pub and competitive event alike. For me it lit up dormant arcade-era neurons that Sony and Microsoft (and Apple, for that matter) never get close to.

It's out in March. Read the rest

The tiniest touchscreen "phone" of them all


VPhone is a wee "phone", surely the most wee of them all. It has a 1.54-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, FM radio, pedometer, 128MB (megabytes!) of storage, a heart rate monitor, some social network-monitoring apps, and a choice of "simple and stylish" black or silver trim. The radio's quad-band GSM, so if you can get your hands on one it should work on T-Mobile and ATT in the US.

Yes, there's also a 3.5mm phone jack. The Verge's Ashley Carman:

Some of you might read these stats and think they’re sad. I kind of agree, but I just really love how little this phone is, so it cancels out depressing spec reality. ... The S8 appears to only be available in China, so we, once again, will have to keep dreaming. I’m trying, everyone! I think if we dream hard enough we can force these cool phones to appear in front of us. Will it.

Agreed! It's a curious device that seems more a chunky call-enabled smartwatch than a fully-featured mobile--and the English is a bit ropey on the product page, so it's not really clear if it can make voice calls without a BT connection to another device. Carman points to this 2.45"-screened crapgadget as the smallest bona-fide smartphone on offer; the ancient Sony-Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini, despite its age, is probably a better bet in the 2.5"-ish range. Read the rest

Explore the galaxy in 3D with data from the Gaia satellite


Gaia is an interactive 3D map of the galaxy, coded by Charley Hoey and sourced from the eponymous mapping satellite's data: click, drag and scroll/pinch to change the viewpoint. It took a long time to load even on my desktop PC, but the results speak overwhelmingly for themselves.

The Gaia satellite by the European Space Agency is currently orbiting 1.5 million kilometers beyond the moon, twirling through the heavens and dutifully marking down the positions of every point of light it sees. I've processed the program's first batch of data to determine the 3D position of about 2 million stars. Click and drag to orbit, or scroll/pinch to zoom in and out, zoom all the way in to see our sun, just one star among millions. WebVR enabled!

Hoey explains in "torrenting the galaxy" what it took to model two million stars in the browser. Here's an official ESA image made from the same dataset; as beautiful as it is, the enormity of the data it represents seems absent.

Read the rest

Dog sounds like a Tie Fighter


Beagle mix Geraldine visits the vet. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any information about this wonderful dog or her career as a foley artist at ILM. Read the rest

Mario theme performed with trumpet and handgun


Charlie Cook performs cover versions of songs with a gunslinging twist. Read the rest

The King of the Hill intro reanimated as pixel art

pixel art hank hill

Mauri Helme made a pixel art "cover version" of the King of the Hill intro, and it's incredible: perfectly faithful to the original, yet completely translated to a different medium.

Here's the original, by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels: Read the rest

Magic use in Harry Potter novels charted


Skyler Johnson created an interactive infographic that charts the use of magic in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels. The spells are organized by count or time, with instances color-coded by the book they appear in. Hover over each use and you even get the quote, for context! [via Tor and Metafilter]

Emily Asher-Perrin writes:

Perhaps not surprisingly, the spells that we see used most often are commonly used by Harry and his friends as means of non-violent resistance; Expecto Patronum; Expelliarmus; Stupefy. The Killing Curse appears sixth down on the list, which is fascinating–it is technically speaking the “most evil” of all the dark magic spells, and it is the most often used.
Read the rest

Smalltown mayor resigns after bigoted Facebook posts


Charles Wasko, as mayor of West York, PA, had a bad Facebook habit, issuing a string of racist and sexist postings that finally cost him his job. He regrets nothing, reports the BBC: "The racist stuff, yeah. I'll admit I did that, and I don't care what people label me as." Read the rest

More posts