Marijuana "forest" discovered in London

Photo: Kingston-Upon-Thames Police

More weed than you can smoke in a long summer—hundreds of marijuana plants!—have been discovered amid the urban environs of London. Amused police published images of the pot paradise after learning of the "forest" in Kingston-upon-Thames, a built-up suburb of the UK capital.

The Guardian reports that the farm was carefully situated despite the location, being surrounded by wasteland that took about "20 minutes" to get through.

"But all their time, trouble and gardening skills will go unrewarded, as the whole lot will now be destroyed by police,” said PC Sarah Henderson of the Kingston force.

No arrests have been made. Read the rest

Paid-for adblockers also cutting "whitelist" deals with publishers

In the wake of iOS 9's new ad-blocking functionality, The Wall Street Journal reports that makers of ad-blocking apps are accepting payment from publishers to let ads through.
Eyeo GmbH, the company behind popular desktop ad-blocking tool Adblock Plus, now accepts payment from around 70 companies in exchange for letting their ads through its filter. Eyeo stipulates that they must comply with its “acceptable ads” policy, meaning their ads aren’t too disruptive or intrusive to users. In total, ads from some 700 companies meet the acceptable ads policy, an Eyeo spokesman said. Eyeo is now reaching out to developers of other ad-blocking tools to cut deals that allow certain ads to pass ads through their filters, too, in exchange for payment.

The adblocking companies are presenting themselves as a quality control service, but it looks an awful lot like a racket.

Matt Buchanan:

If your adblocker takes money from you in order to block ads, and then takes money from huge companies in order to show you the ads that you paid for it to block, then yes; it’s just using you to erect a tollbooth.

It's not just publishers that are being hit hard. Adblockers are hurting retailers, whose product offerings get nailed, even in their own online stores. Dan Primack:

A Fortune investigation shows that an iPhone enabled with Crystal — the top paid iOS app right now – is unable to fully render the e-commerce sites of many major retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Lululemon.

Read the rest

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More than 700 killed in Hajj stampede

Photo: Reuters

Hundreds of people taking part in the pilgrimage to Mecca are dead after a stampede in nearby Mina, according to reports from Saudi Arabia.

The death toll stands at 717, with 863 more injured, say the BBC and Al Jazeera. A BBC editor at the scene, Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi, said that "dead bodies stretch as far as my eyes can see."

The Saudi civil defence directorate said the stampede occurred at around 09:00 local time (06:00 GMT) as pilgrims were walking towards the five-storey structure which surrounds the pillars, known as the Jamarat Bridge. Maj Gen Mansour al-Turki, a spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry, said the crush occurred when two large groups of pilgrims converged from different directions on to one street.

The disaster is the worst since 1990s, when 1,426 were killed in a similar event in a tunnel linking Mecca and Mina. It comes only two weeks after a crane collapsed into Mecca's Grand Mosque during a storm, killing 111 pilgrims and injuring hundreds more.

Many disturbing videos from the scene of the stampede are being posted online, such as this one, depicting countless bodies left in the streets.

The New York Times reports that the Saudi government's recurring failure to protect pilgrims is becoming embarrassing and costly.

But the high death toll is likely to embarrass the Saudi government, which considers itself the leader of the Muslim world and takes great pride in hosting the millions of pilgrims who visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina each year.
Read the rest

Fake traffic is "rotting" the Internet


Traffic is for sale. You can buy "good" traffic and "bad" traffic. But much of it is, as they say, "nonhuman"—and amounts to the normalization of click fraud on an epic scale.

During the interview, ["Boris"] freely admits he buys many of the visitors to his websites. He spends about $50,000 per year buying high-quality traffic … Bloomberg Businessweek asked two traffic-fraud-detection firms to assess recent traffic to MyTopFace; they agreed on the condition that their names not be used. One found that 94 percent of 30,000 visitors were bots; the other put the bot traffic at 74 percent. Boris didn’t dispute the findings or appear at all concerned. “If I can buy some traffic and it gets accepted, why not?” he says. And if advertisers don’t like it, he adds, “they should go buy somewhere else. They want to pay only a little and get a lot of traffic and results. If they want all human traffic, they should go direct to the publisher and pay more.”

The trick appears to be to game the ratios of good (eyeballs bought from Facebook) and bad (botnets bought from dodgy forums) to keep everyone unsure.

If God's up there, he just loves it. Typhoid and swans, it all comes from the same place. Read the rest

Map shows you if leaves are falling without you having to leave house or approach window

autymn has a delightful interactive graphic to show the turn of the season by county. Slide it and see! [via Kottke] Read the rest

All this bulletproof glass couldn't stop an RPG


Crash Zone knew you had been wondering about this ever since you decided to become Lord Protector of the forthcoming New English Republic and know you'd need some breathing space. Is it possible to create a vehicle able to withstand an RPG attack without being buried in metal armor?

The answer is "No."

It's quite a firm no, too: even 45 layers (15.75 inches!) of the stuff can't protect what's on the other side. [via] Read the rest

Sexy Donald Trump costume


This is yuge. You can buy it right now from Yandy for seventy dollars.

For this sum, you get a "sexy" navy "suit" of equal of greater quality to an actual Trump suit, a red "Make America Great Again" cap, and a combover wig. The wig fails to capture the apricot candyfloss tesseract atop Trump's head, but I'm not an aficionado of sexy Trump costumes, so what do I know?

Thus reports CNBC.

According to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Monday, political costumes tied for 10th place in its annual top costume list for adults (though this likely wasn't what they had in mind).

"As we've seen for several years, Hollywood and pop culture both have a tremendous impact on how adults and their children decide to dress the part each Halloween, and it's evident some of the biggest newsmakers of the year will be out in full force this fall," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

Also on Yandy is a Sexy Charlie Brown costume. I suspect this is not official Peanuts-licensed merchandise.

Read the rest

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A capella version of Rammstein's Du Hast


As performed by Viva Vox in May 2011. The arrangement is by Boris Balunović, and it is conducted by Jasmina Lorin. Ivan Propadović is the soloist. [via r/videos]

Heather says it sounds vaguely like something from Spongebob Squarepants.

Here's the original: Read the rest

Dashcam captures emergency plane landing in road


It's not something you see every day at the lights: a small aircraft barreling through the intersection after making an emergency landing on Red Hill Avenue in Irvine, California. Read the rest

Watch Mad Max:Fury Road in glorious shiny monochrome


Inspired by director George Miller's own statements on the ideal presentation, Black and Chrome makes the brilliant action flick black and white.

One thing I've noticed is that the default position for everyone is to de-saturate post-apocalyptic movies. There's only two ways to go: make them black and white—the best version of this movice is black and white, but people reserve that for art movies now. The other version is to really go all-out on the color. The usual teal and orange thing? That's all the colors we had to work with. The desert's orange an the sky is teal, and we could either desaturate it or crank it up, to differentiate the movie. Plus, it can get really tiring watching this dull, desaturated color, unless you call all the way out and make it black and white.

So they did!

George Miller has said that the best version of his film is in black and white, with no dialogue. BLACK & CHROME is an attempt to realize Miller’s alternate vision. The cinematography, the editing, the sound design, and the score, are now represented in a completely new experience.

[via Metafilter] Read the rest

Nutella addict punches old man in face


The Burbank Leader reports that a 78-year-old man was attacked after telling a fellow shopper that they had taken quite enough free Nutella from the sample cart.

Writes Alene Tchekmedyian:

Burbank resident Derrick Gharabighi, 24, had snagged several samples when the elderly shopper told him to take just one, said Burbank Police Officer Cindy Guillen.

That’s when Gharabighi reportedly punched the man in the face, leaving him to be hospitalized with a one-inch cut and swelling above his eye, Guillen said.

Gharabighi now faces elder abuse charges. [via Arbroath] Read the rest

When you will die

Flowing Data has a remarkably depressing animated chart. Plug in your age and sex and watch 'em drop. Read the rest

PETA sues photographer over monkey selfie copyright

Self portrait by Monkey

A monkey who earned fame by snapping a selfie on David Slater's camera has a new advocate: PETA, whose latest stunt is to sue on behalf of the animal. Read the rest

10 acting bloopers that made it into the movie


Tight scheduling and months of preparation are hallmarks of modern movie production. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, moments of genuine authenticity arise from ad-libs, disobedience and outright on-set screwups. Screenrant collected 10 of the best, from Tom Cruise's crazy-violent stunts to David Duchovny rambling perfectly through forgotten lines in Zoolander.

And, yes, Midnight Cowboy is walkin' here. Read the rest

Classic Japanese woodblock art animated

The GIF I've uploaded here doesn't do justice to Segawa Atsuki's incredible animations of pre-modern Japanese prints. [via] Read the rest

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