Merck CEO resigns from presidential council over Trump's refusal to condemn white supremacists

Ken Frazier, CEO of pharma giant Merck, figured out that Trump is bad for business.

Trump immediately took to Twitter to insult him and accuse him of ripping American patients off.

The full text of Frazier's statement:

I am resigning from the President's American Manufacturing Council.

Our country's strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs.

American's leaders must honor our fundamental value by clearly rejecting expression of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.

As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.

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GoDaddy kicks white supremacist site in the URLs

After white supremacist site The Daily Stormer published a nasty article about the woman killed by a Nazi in Charlottesville, domain registrar GoDaddy finally decided to boot them from its service. Read the rest

Conservative artist says Facebook took down his page to punish him for mocking Zuckerberg, but maybe it was that thing about black apes

The Hollywood Reporter's Paul Bond reports that a controversial street artist's Facebook page was taken down as "Hate Speech" after posting rude pictures mocking Mark Zuckerberg's apparent presidential ambitions.

The work of a conservative street artist known for skewering the liberal politics of celebrities and corporations has been deemed "hate speech" by Facebook, which shut his page down on Sunday.

The notice comes just days after the artist known as Sabo attacked Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with posters disparaging his alleged presidential aspirations. "F*ck Zuck 2020" read the posters, the symbol after the "F" being a middle finger. They were hung in the dead of night last week in various California cities.

However, there were also 'faux ads, made to look like a genuine movie poster for War for the Planet of the Apes, feature the image of a well-armed ape on horseback with the text: "BLM: Kill Whitey."'

Sabo's page is full of garbage, from amusing photoshops of politicans to edgy N-word race war chum and inexplicable Ted Cruz fan posters. Facebook's refusal to explain its actions allows him to highlight the most broadly popular (no-one other than Mark Zuckerberg wants Mark Zuckerberg to be president) as the only hate it actually cares about. And you know what? Sabo's probably right, which is a great reminder of why you don't want Mark Zuckerberg to be president. Read the rest

Film of U.S. Army destroying Nuremberg swastika violates YouTube's policy on hate speech

It was there yesterday, but it isn't there today — the best YouTube cut of the U.S. Army demolishing symbols of Nazi oppression went viral following the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, then went into the memory hole. Perhaps some algorithmic process took it down, triggered by complaints. Fortunately, there are other copies on the service, though the quality is poor:

Hopefully this will be rectified. If you can fire a sexist human, Google, you can fix a Nazi algorithm. Read the rest

Florida man in liquor store forklift rampage

A 32-year old man from Freeport, Florida, is in custody after a weekend rampage at the liquor store. But this was a liquor store rampage with a difference, reports WKRG: it was under construction, and he inflicted $100,000 damage with a forklift left on-site.

According to police, Jones allegedly broke into the fenced-in construction site on the north side of the Ferdon Boulevard South using a JCB extendable forklift parked at the job site.

The building under construction was destroyed. Additionally, the suspect damaged a city fire hydrant and a 2-inch water meter worth about $3,200. ... When Crestview Police Officers arrived on scene, Jones aimed the forklift toward officers. The officers stopped Jones at gunpoint and were able to detain him.

Jones stated his name was “Alice Wonderland and he was told to commit the offenses by a hookah-smoking caterpillar.”

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Why we don't commute with helicopters

Choppers are now associated mostly with militaries, hospitals, news reporting and other institutional uses. But they were once seriously touted as mass transit vehicles, the original flying car. It all came to an end in 1977, when four passengers were killed in the spectacularly nasty Panam rooftop disaster. Efforts to revive scheduled passenger helicopter service is periodically revived, but everyone's failed at it -- including future president Donald Trump. Read the rest

Man displays speed and agility by trying to punch bear trap before it can close

Ah, that classic party trick! Can you punch a bear trap and withdraw your hand before it closes?

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"Rock" resembles perfectly-made little sandwich

Like something you'd find at a genteel wedding or vicarage orgy, this sedimentary sandwich caught the eye of Redditor ibleedcarrots. Suspicion abounds that it may in truth be a beachworn slice of ceramic tile. Read the rest

Parrot at the Ministry of Funny Walks

"Cute Caique Parrot Bird Silly Walk" [via] is among the highlights from a YouTube channel dedicated largely to the adorable exploits of parrots.

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Arnold Böcklin's Isle of the Dead as a VR experience

German Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin reimagined "Tomb Island" over and over, pursuing both the scene's dark mystery and its runaway commercial appeal: with the title improved by a canny agent, it became the first great fantasy art wall print. And soon you'll be able to explore each of the variations in virtual reality.

There's precious little to tease the project beyond the trailer embedded above, but I always thought Tomb Island would be the perfect setting for a retro Myst-style mystery adventure game and it looks like I'm going to get exactly what I want.

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Vertu, luxury phone maker, bites the dust

Vertu, the "luxury" cellphone maker whose handsets look like drug cartel handguns and are always comically obsolete, went out of business last month, reports the BBC. It is to auction off its inventory. Bids start at $26,000.

Thuy Ong:

The auctioneer, G J Wisdom & Co, says the phones are a mix of concept models to fully functional ones, so some are not operational. The owner of Vertu failed to rescue the company from bankruptcy after offering to pay creditors just £1.9 million ($2.4 million) of the firm’s £128 million debt. Some handsets were sold for $30,000 in the company’s heyday, and offered 24/7 concierge services as part of the handset’s price. Just a year ago, the phone maker released its “cheapest” trio of handsets at $4,200 a pop — though they ran on two-year-old chips.

Vertu was founded as Nokia's prestige marque, sold off by its parent, and is now remembered as a "UK tech jewel." Golden pocket Deloreans with $200 usb cables and no-where to stash the coke.

If you want an example of the delusional esteem in which some British pundits held the company, read The Financial Times' corporate obituary for it. They think they've just witnessed the death of the Leica of cellphones. Read the rest

Why we openly hate our cords

Why we secretly love our cords. Tamara Warren:

There’s a certain security in the cord. It’s the idea of connection, perhaps even dating back to our days in the womb. ... A battery, no matter how sophisticated, is fleeting. When we have our cords with us, we are in constant pursuit of power, even when we are fully charged, as a form of security. We often discover our misfortune — the loss of power — when it’s too late. The opposite of being fully charged is dead. Cords, and our attachment to them, have taken on a metaphor weighted in existentialism. There is anxiety in being too far removed. We are in a relationship with our cords.

Allow me to retort!

The cord is a chain. It's the imposition of place, perhaps even dating back to our days in the mire. ... A cord, no matter how comforting, is invariable. When we wander, we are in pursuit of freedom; we often discover our misfortune — the tether — too late. The opposite of mobility is stasis.

Honestly, I hate cords so much! The first trillionaire will be put there by batteries. Read the rest

Jon Snow gets to work

Contains mild spoilers. A good Thrones mashup, from zouru. Dany and her counselors try to plan the war ahead as Jon Snow mines the island for dragonglass. Read the rest

Tinyworlds: gorgeous forest photos released under the Creative Commons

Rick "Tinyworlds" Hoppmann has released all of his wonderful forest photos under a non-commercial Creative Commons license. You can use it, remix it and share it yourself so long as you credit him and so long as you don't profit from it.
If you want to use my photos for commercial use (e.g. album covers), please send me an email: rick.kelgar(at)web.de

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Roland revives the TR-808

The classic beatbox – not an expensive clone or a collection of cleverly-tweaked samples – is back. Roland's TR-08 directly models the original machine's analog circuits to recreate its sound as accurately as possible with modern digital technology, and joins revived versions of the TR-909[Amazon] and TB-202[Amazon] in the company's lineup of boutique boxes.

The TR-08 brings the look, sound, and feel of the original 808 — with stunning accuracy — to the Roland Boutique format. From the instantly-recognizable red-orange-yellow-white markings, the shape of the sequencer buttons, switches and knobs are details that have been painstakingly reproduced to match the iconic recreation of sounds. Along with the aesthetic touches, the TR-08 contains new features like 16 sub-steps for fast rolls, independent trigger out track, compression/gain/tune for instruments and a selectable modified “long decay” bass drum for more of that legendary BOOM!

Unpopular opinion time! The Boutique stuff is cute and it is best, but if you just want all the classic beats in convenient form on a modern drum synth, the Roland Aira[Amazon] seems a more pragmatic choice.

Roland recently asked Propellerheads to quit selling Rebirth too, which seems hamhanded but at least suggests the company's taking a welcome interest in exploiting its own technical heritage. The cease-n-decisting of web-based tribute toys is sad and alarming. Read the rest

FBI raided Manafort's home

Paul Manafort, who served as President Trump's campaign manager and is otherwise famous for shady dealings in Ukraine, was paid a visit by the FBI in recent weeks. The Washington Post reports that the "predawn raid" was in connection with the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 general election.

Federal agents appeared at Paul Manafort’s home without advance warning in the predawn hours of July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The search warrant was wide-ranging and FBI agents working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III departed the home with various records.

The raid came as Manafort has been voluntarily producing documents to congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The search warrant indicates investigators may have argued to a federal judge they had reason to believe Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena.

Corresponds with when Trump started getting sweaty and shaky about Mueller.

Photo: Reuters Read the rest

U Thant, a tiny man-made island you're not supposed to visit

U Thant, or Belmont, is a tiny artificial island in the East river made from the detritus drilled out for the 7 train's tunnel. Leased to a religious sect since the 1970s, it was designated a bird sanctuary in the 2000s after a protestor occupied it and declared it a micronation. Since then, no humans, please. [via Metafilter; Photo: Pacific Coast Highway] Read the rest

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