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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 besc...@gmail.com  

Amazon finally "bigger" than Walmart

bezos_surpriseAmazon's value on the stock market surged past Walmart's last night—a long-expected sign of changing times that will nonetheless generate a lot of pageviews today. market_value__amazon-com_walmart__chartbuilder

Map depicts per-city STD rates nationwide

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Cities in the south such as Montgomery, Ala., Memphis, Tenn., and Richmond, Va., dominate the higher reaches of the list, but you just can't hold down Philly.

The data used here comes from the CDC for 2013, and reflects reports of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. (Herpes data is not collected). To normalize the data, we measured rates per 100,000 people. We chose only to show cities with a significant amount of population, so rural counties are not show on this map. The CDC makes available a wide range of statistical, anonymous data about STDs in America.

The map was created and produced by RentApplication.com.

Trump threatens independent presidential run if Republicans are mean to him

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Washington HATES this. The Hill: "Pressed on whether he would run as a third-party candidate if he fails to clinch the GOP nomination, Trump said that “so many people want me to, if I don’t win.” “I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans,” Trump said. “Absolutely, if they’re not fair, that would be a factor.”"

Beautiful video of Iceland

icelandGarðar Ólafsson has been "around Iceland the last few months" shooting video. The results are spectacular, even by the high standards of Iceland Vimeo. Bonus points are awarded for not using Sigur Rós as the soundtrack.

Font censors you as you type

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Emil Kozole created Seen, a font that cleverly redacts certain words as you type—a clever automatic ligature hack. It comes in three cuts, with varying degrees of censorship.

Seen is a font that has a preloaded set of sensitive “spook words” that the NSA and other agencies are using to scan through our documents. The typeface can be used in any popular software such as Illustrator, Indesign, Word or in a browser. It is used normally to write text, but once one of the words on the “list” is written - the font automatically crosses it out. Therefore giving you an overview of your text and highlighting where you are potentially prone to being surveilled. It gets its name by a Facebook action that happens when the other user reads the message.

Wired has more.

See also: Christian Naths' Redacted Script, where every character is the same block or squiggle, designed to resemble redacted documents. Designers like them for making placeholder text genuinely abstract. And then there's the Doctors' Typeface.

Police refuse to launch hunt for sandwich-stealing seagull

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After a sandwich was callously stolen by a seagull in Somerset, England, police not only refused to investigate but told the victim he was WASTING their time. Avon and Somerset Police's lackadaisical attitude to law enforcement doesn't end there, reports the Daily Mirror: an entire spate of serious crimes remains completely ignored by the force.

Another woman rang the police to complain about the airport losing her luggage and delivering it to her neighbours who were out.

And another caller reported the owner of a guest house where she was staying for refusing to cook breakfast.

Sad to see such grotesque indifference to human suffering from the very authorities we hold responsible for keeping us safe.

Happy 30th Birthday, Commodore Amiga!

The world's first psychedelic computer is three decades old.

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Apple Music "is a nightmare"

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Jim Dalrymple loves Apple, but is done with their music streaming service.

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Taiwanese Animators tackle the Gawker situation

The legendary Taiwanese Animators boil down the chaos over at Gawker, which fired a lurid expose of an undeserving media executive at an internet that's grown tired of that sort of thing.

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Ed Piskor wins Eisner Award

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Congrats, Ed!

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Sandra Bland arrest video appears to have been edited [Updated: dashcams!]

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Last night, the Texas Board of Public Safety released what it claimed was the complete dashcam video of the arrest of Sandra Bland. However, the video is full of peculiar repeating sections, breaks and other apparent continuity problems.

Time compiled a selection of the most obvious cuts, which it describes as edits—a characterization disputed by the Board, which blamed unspecified "technical issues" which had "affected" the "upload."

In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots in which cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the Public Safety Department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.

One of the more conspicuous anomalies comes 25 minutes and five seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming.

There are no breaks in the audio during this time. People are heard talking through the video gaps.

In another spot at 32 minutes and 37 seconds, a white car appears on the right side of the screen and then disappears. A moment later, what appears to be the same car comes back into the frame and turns left. During this time, Encinia is talking about what occurred during the arrest. There are no breaks in his speech.

sandra bland Bland was pulled over on a pretext of failing to signal, subjected to an angry tirade after failing to respect the officer's authority to his satisfaction, then dragged to the cells, where she died three days later under circumstances now being investigated as a murder.

UPDATE: reader Mike Johnson writes in to say that the glitches and loops seen in the visual part of the video can be explained as standard characteristics of dash-mounted cameras, which record sequences of short, overlapping files.

the video oddities aren’t a sign the video was edited. If anything, they’re actually a sign that the video wasn’t edited. Many dashcams show those kinds of loops in the raw footage; it’s a feature, not a bug. They have redundant, overlapping frames between the end of one video file and the beginning of the next by design. It’s a guarantee that no frames were dropped, no data lost, as the camera closed one file and started writing to another.

I have a G1W dashcam; there’s always a slight loop between the video files when you stitch them back together for playback. It’s more subtle than the one in the raw dashcam footage from Texas, but it’s unmistakeable. Here’s an example from my own dashcam. The loop happens at 3:00, because my camera records in three minute segments.

The raw Sandra Bland footage has those same redundant loops. It’s not that a car disappears at 32 minutes; it’s that the video has essentially backed up a second, and so the white car that supposedly disappeared has to re-enter the frame. Which it does.

What’s ironic and disappointing is, the Texas Department of Public Safety has, in response to the claims it had been edited, pulled the raw footage from YouTube, and replaced it with a clearly edited version. Now it’s much more difficult to determine the integrity of the data. What’s more, any mirror of the original raw footage can’t be guaranteed that it hasn’t been edited by somebody trying to make the Texas police look bad.

I can’t explain how they recorded the audio, or processed it or posted it. My guess is, it was recorded on a different device and added to the video before uploading it to YouTube. That would explain why the audio ended before the video, as the video was lengthened by each stitch and they fell out of sync.

The Texas Department of Public Safety did the right thing in releasing the raw footage. It doesn’t explain how Sandra Bland died, but it certainly shows a constant escalation of tensions as the arresting officer goaded Sandra Bland and lost control of a routine, non-threatening traffic stop. If Sandra Bland wasn’t murdered, she was bullied into suicide.

Man may regret headbutting bus

After a dispute with its driver, a gentleman in Florida disembarked a bus and headbutted it. He was rendered unconscious by the attack, but not long enough to be arrested.

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Squirrel has a towel

Consider yourself warned, primates. [via Arbroath]

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Orphaned seal rescued from the cows "hassling it"

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Curious cows gathered around a lost seal pup led rescuers to find the orphaned, 5-day-old mammal, reports BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

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We had an unusual visitor to the RSPB Lincolnshire offices today. One of our regular visitors spotted some of the cows on the saltmarsh behaving strangely. Upon investigation it seems they'd found a lone seal pup and were hassling it. With the mother nowhere in sight, and for its own safety, we had to take the pup away. We then called Natureland Seal Sanctuary in Skegness, who came to take it away and look after it.

She's been named Celebration, and is being rehabilitated at Skegness Natureland And Seal Sanctuary before being released back to the wild.

[via Arbroath.]

Zoom in on Nix and Hydra, Pluto's irregular moons

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Last week, they were pixel art. Now, Pluto moons Nix and Hydra have taken shape—and what lovely shapes they are!

Pluto’s moon Nix (left), shown here in enhanced color as imaged by the New Horizons Ralph instrument, has a reddish spot that has attracted the interest of mission scientists. The data were obtained on the morning of July 14, 2015, and received on the ground on July 18. At the time the observations were taken New Horizons was about 102,000 miles (165,000 km) from Nix. The image shows features as small as approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) across on Nix, which is estimated to be 26 miles (42 kilometers) long and 22 miles (36 kilometers) wide.

Pluto’s small, irregularly shaped moon Hydra (right) is revealed in this black and white image taken from New Horizons’ LORRI instrument on July 14, 2015, from a distance of about 143,000 miles (231,000 kilometers). Features as small as 0.7 miles (1.2 kilometers) are visible on Hydra, which measures 34 miles (55 kilometers) in length.

Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Are remote-firing gun drones legal?

gundroneHere's a new second-amendment thing for America to fight about: drones equipped with remote-controlled firearms! Is it legal? Is it stupid?

"This is as stupid as loading a gun, getting it ready to fire, and handing it to your dog," says one attorney specializing in firearms law. Which isn't, of course, to say that its illegal.

The video above depicts the device—a handgun mounted on a quadcopter—shown to Hopes and Fears' panel of experts. It might not be very accurate, but hey: who needs accuracy if the target's a crowd? (Previously.)

Just how badly did that FIFA movie bomb?

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The Tim Roth-starring biopic of Sepp Blatter, president of comically corrupt soccer body FIFA, is shrouded in mystery. Partly, this is because no-one's watched it. But the movie, funded largely by FIFA itself, has done so badly that final numbers are hard to come by.

David Goldenberg tried to nail down its performance:

The math isn’t complicated so much as it is shrouded in blind spots. Here’s what we know: The movie made $918 — total — in its opening weekend … and maybe nothing after that. All the reporting and most of the databases2 show it finishing with that figure. Most movies make 70 percent of their sales during the weekend,3 which would make the real tally for “United Passions” slightly more than $1,310 if it followed that pattern.

But even if we give the movie the benefit of the doubt and assume it made $1,310, it still opened in way more theaters than the other movies that grossed this little.

However, it made a whopping $178,000 worldwide. It had a budget somewhere around $20,000,000.