Tourists are flocking to Ferryland, Newfoundland, reports Aric Jenkins, and it's all because of a huge chunk of ice.
Ferryland, a tiny Newfoundland town of roughly 500 people, got a holiday surprise over Easter weekend when a massive block of ice appeared off-shore — overshadowing people, boats and even houses on land. The iceberg seems to have parked in the waters outside the town and, according to CTV News, visitors have started flocking to the area to witness the colossal floating chunk of ice and post photos on social media.
Ferryland is apparently a good spot for iceberg spotting, but the unusual number and size of the bergs this year are due to "unusually strong counter-clockwise winds." Photo: Reuters. Read the rest
Microsoft PowerPoint is used to make presentations, to connect one to stock image libraries, and stun audience members with animations, writes Tom Wildenhain. But did you know it can do other things? In fact, it can do anything any other universal computer can, because it is Turing complete: "Only trained PowerPoint professionals should attempt to reproduce this research."
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After "hundreds of condoms" were found clogging a sewer pipe in Austin, Texas, police realized that illegal sex may be afoot. A nearby massage parlor was subsequently busted.
Austin police then launched their probe that culminated in a raid about six weeks later where a woman who co-managed the business "was found in a massage room with a completely nude and uncovered male," the document said. Juan Wang and her husband Joseph Emery were arrested on suspicion of managing "a prostitution enterprise that used two or more prostitutes," it said.
Clogged draines was how they caught UK serial killer Dennis Nilsen. But that was human flesh.
Previously: 80-metre fatberg removed from London sewer. Read the rest
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chigago, Bose uses software to track the music and other audio listened to on its wireless headphones, violating the privacy of its users and selling the information.
The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.
"People should be uncomfortable with it," Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."
The headphones alone aren't the problem, apparently, but an optional app bundled with them. Savvy users may know that such things are often sleazy marketing wheezes, but that hardly excuses it.
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Vulgar constructs languages for fantasy fiction or whatever other purpose you can imagine, applying consistent rules to the custom phonemes you feed it. [via]
Vulgar's output models the regularities, irregularities and quirks of real world languages; phonology, grammar, and a 2000 unique word vocabulary. Trial the demo version online. Purchase the premium version to get access to the complete 2000 word output (with derivational words) and extra grammatical rules. ...
Vulgar generates ... based on a list of some of English's most common words. However, the program is more than just a one-to-one mapping of unique outputs to English words. In an effort to mimic real world languages, Vulgar also creates various homphones and overlapping senses inspired by examples from real world languages. For example:
Here's my language:
The Language of Puput /ˈpʰupʰutʰ/
...and he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face to the wind.
...u lu bunela une luch yafa u neba luch miku peb tul ye
Pronunciation: /u lu bɯˈnela ˈune løtʃ ˈjafa u ˈneba løtʃ ˈmikʰø pʰeb t̪øl je/
Narrow pronunciation: [u lu bɯˈnela ˈune løtʃ ˈjafa u ˈneba løtʃ ˈmikʰø pʰe t̪øl je]
Puput structure: and he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face the wind to
Seed for this language: 0.36384689368800394
The Puput word for "stuff" is "nut." I'll spare you details of the nominative and accusative case forms, but they're there. The full edition of the app is $20. Read the rest
To celebrate the abusive lying bastard's sacking by Fox News, let's once again enjoy this classic dance remix of his legendary meltdown from the "brown acrylic wig" era of his career.
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Fujifilm's Instax cameras are fun, but the expense of the cartridges is a drag and you're either into the "illusion of truth" of instant photography or you ain't. The Instax Square
heads past this by integrating a display so you can choose whether or not to print a shot. It also prints square
photos, like old-fashioned Polaroids (albeit smaller), instead of the usual half-size or widescreen Instax slips.
The drag now is the basic price: $280! And despite my pooh-poohing of the idea that instant photography is any more truthful than "best selfie of 100" smartphone photography, I kind of wish they hadn't added filters. I suppose once you have a digital display, you've got some computing power in there, and that kind of feature creep is inevitable. Likewise, there's now a card slot to let you transfer photos to phone or computer. It's out in May, but you can order it already.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Instant Camera [Amazon link]
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Bloomberg reports that Juicero, a $400 gadget that "transformed single-serving packets of chopped fruit and vegetables into a refreshing and healthy beverage" displeased investors who feel misled about what it does.
See, it turns out that the special bags it uses can simply be squeezed by hand into a glass. Which suggests, in turn, that Juicero is basically a $400 machine that squeezes a bag so you don't have to. But it's internet-connected! Isn't that awesome?
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...after the product hit the market, some investors were surprised to discover a much cheaper alternative: You can squeeze the Juicero bags with your bare hands. Two backers said the final device was bulkier than what was originally pitched and that they were puzzled to find that customers could achieve similar results without it. Bloomberg performed its own press test, pitting a Juicero machine against a reporter’s grip. The experiment found that squeezing the bag yields nearly the same amount of juice just as quickly—and in some cases, faster—than using the device.
Juicero declined to comment. A person close to the company said Juicero is aware the packs can be squeezed by hand but that most people would prefer to use the machine because the process is more consistent and less messy. The device also reads a QR code printed on the back of each produce pack and checks the source against an online database to ensure the contents haven’t expired or been recalled, the person said. The expiration date is also printed on the pack.
A business trade group representing small craft breweries wants them to knock off sexist labels, product names and ads. Zach Fowle, reporting for Draft, says that the new guidelines also want them to stop using imagery that encourages underage consumption.
The organization added two new lines to its Marketing and Advertising Code Wednesday, advising brewers that, along with avoiding advertisements that encourage things like underage consumption or drunk driving, their marketing materials should not:
contain sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public; or contain derogatory or demeaning text or images.
Offenders won't be penalized, they'll just be prohibited from marketing themselves with the groups' awards and indicia, etc. As always, though, you get the feeling people aren't quite up to speed, and might be surprised to learn that vague bans on "inappropriate" content might not serve the interests of diversity.
A staggering baby step in the right direction, though; check out the Beer and Sexism blog. [via Metafilter] Read the rest
If you're wondering why Nintendo killed its always-sold-out NES Mini at the height of hype and demand, the answer looks like the obvious one: they're apparently readying a new version based on the more advanced SNES platform, allowing more and better games.
Nintendo will follow up its smash hit NES microconsole with a mini version of the SNES, sources close to the company have confirmed to Eurogamer.
The SNES mini (or, to continue Nintendo's official branding, likely the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System) is currently scheduled to launch in time for Christmas this year. Development of the device is already under way, our sources have indicated.
Nintendo's plans for SNES mini are also a major reason why last year's NES mini did not see a reprieve from discontinuation, Eurogamer understands, despite the latter's continued popularity and sell-out status.
Nostalgia aside, the plain truth is that the SNES was (and is) a much better system. Nintendo is just supernaturally clueless when it comes to managing expectations, is all.
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Simultaneously racist and cringe-inducing today is the aging Republiclone lawmaker, Florida State Sen. Frank Artiles, calling a black colleague a "fucking asshole," "bitch," and "girl," and declaring that he had risen to his powerful role thanks to "six niggas" in the caucus.
He didn't pronounce "niggas" the way he might in order to be clear in his meaning, obviously, and had to explain exactly which kind of racist he was later: the ironically-appropriating kind, not the white-hoods-and-nooses kind. But now that's cleared up, everything's all good.
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By Tuesday night, the Florida Democratic Party had called on Artiles to resign. Negron, after initially saying little on the incident, said in a statement late Tuesday he was “appalled” by Artiles’ comments — and that Artiles will publicly apologize to Gibson on the Senate floor Wednesday.
“Racial slurs and profane, sexist insults have no place in conversation between Senators and will not be tolerated while I am serving as Senate President,” Negron said.
The Black Caucus has scheduled an emergency Wednesday meeting.
To Gibson and Thurston, it was clear Artiles wasn’t referring to them or to any other Democrats as “niggas” but apparently to six Republicans who favored Negron for the job over Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater.
Most people think of millennials as minimalists, of sorts: either the hip sort or the poor sort. The New Yorker imagines: what would a millennial hoarder look like?
One quip really hit home for me: "A browser just for episode recaps of shows he never watches." I'm not sure if I've ever seen a single episode of ███████ ███ but I can quote chapter and verse from many—a simulation of experience mediated by the psychotic phemonema of the Internet, where work is not quite play and play not quite work, and even talking about it the way I am now turns out to be a nerdy joke about the pretentious way we talked about the Internet future in the 1990s. Read the rest
Sometimes I suspect that Capybaras are horses that haven't yet realized they've been transformed into giant gerbils.
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You1 can now explore the St. Kilda archipelago, a tiny collection of islands 40 miles off the Scottish coast, in Minecraft. This is great because it rains less in Minecraft, and the wind won't shear your face off.
The BBC reports that the 1:1 scale map of the islands took 125 hours to produce.
The last islanders left the main island of Hirta in 1930 after life there became unsustainable.
People only now live on Hirta on a temporary basis to work at the military site, or on wildlife conservation projects. ...
The map is available for public download to allow gamers all over the world to explore the archipelago's history, heritage, stories, people and landscapes.
St. Kilda really is perfectly-sized to be a Minecraft map: a main island about 2km long and some smaller outlying ones. I hope they made it so the Minecraft version is fully playable, and not just a vast block of stone under the surface.
1. Can anyone actually find the download? Am I going crazy?
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At The Wrap, Oscar-nominated writers share some of the dumbest notes left by studio people on their scripts. They range from merely heavy-handed ("There is no wife. Continue.") to idiotic ("Where are the white people?" regarding Moonlight.)
Remarks hinting at someone's gender or race are striking: it's that familiar vicariously-bigoted voice: with Hollywood folk you can never quite tell if it's their voice, the voice of viewers they imagine and fear, or simply a voice they've heard and rehearsed so many times they don't even know anymore, and all they do know is that they have to listen to it.
But it's also true that many of the remarks aren't like that at all. They're just nuts, especially when they come from Kevin Costner. Read the rest
What a haul: 100 handsets in a single backpack, found after festival-goers at Coachella trained the "Find My iPhone" app on their missing gadgets.
Reinaldo De Jesus Henao, 36, was busted after several concert-goers activated the “Find My Phone” feature on their lost smartphones and noticed that the signals led them directly to him. The ordeal was several days in the making and, according to the Indio Police Department, it took an equal effort by authorities and music fans to catch the prolific smartphone bandit.
“I noticed some chatter on social media about phones disappearing on Reddit,” said Indio Police Sergeant Dan Marshall in an interview with Gizmodo. “One of the common threads [among Reddit posters] was that they were all losing their phones at the Sahara tent.”
There's something funny about a crowd of marks so distracted and unware of their surroundings that a thief could work a hundred people before being caught by a computer program.
Photos: Indio Police Department, composited by Gizmodo. Read the rest
CelebrityNetWorth.com was a popular, data-driven website whose 12 staffers led serious efforts to research public figures and give a credible estimate of their fortunes. Google liked the look of this, so it made site founder Brian Warner a proposition: let Google include the Big Number as a featured "snippet" atop relevant search results, in return for the snippet linking to the website.
Warner, though, knew that the link offer was worthless and said no. Mysteriously, Google started "answering" questions about celebrities' net worth anyway, only occasionally disclosing the source; he seeded his database with a few fake celebrities to prove Google was using CelebrityNetWorth.com's data. The result was just as he predicted when he said no: his site's lost most of its traffic, even as Google depends on it to provide accurate answers.
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Google’s push into direct answers has wide-reaching consequences for more than just small business owners who depend on search traffic. The email Google sent Warner in 2014 gives some insight into how Google selects reputable sources. Google wouldn’t answer questions about this, but based on the emails, the vetting was pretty thin; Google seemed more interested in whether the data was machine-readable than whether it was accurate. And the bar for featured snippets — the answers culled algorithmically from the web — is even lower, since it appears that any site good enough to rank in search results is good enough to serve as the source for Google’s canonical answers. That’s how you get erroneous answers that claim Barack Obama is organizing a coup, or that the Earth is flat, or that women are evil...