Japan's first lady pretended not to speak English when she sat next to Trump at G20 dinner

In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump said that Akie Abe, wife of Japan Prime Minister Abe, didn't even say "hello" to him at the G20 dinner because she doesn't speak English:

So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

HABERMAN: That must make for an awkward seating.

TRUMP: Well, it’s hard, because you know, you’re sitting there for——

HABERMAN: Hours.

TRUMP: So the dinner was probably an hour and 45 minutes.

But a number of videos have surfaced showing that Mrs. Abe has a pretty great command of the English language. So, why wouldn't she speak with Trump? Read the rest

Hackers compromised smart fish tank at casino

An unnamed North American casino was hacked through an on-site fish tank connected to the Internet, reports CNN. "Someone used the fish tank to get into the network, and once they were in the fish tank, they scanned and found other vulnerabilities and moved laterally to other places in the network," Justin Feir, director for cyber intelligence and analysis at Darktrace, told CNN Tech.

Image: example of a smart fish tank (not the kind the casino had) by Duncan Hull. Read the rest

This massive searchable Google doc has the personal financial disclosures of Trump staffers

Someone put together a Google spreadsheet of Trump administration personal finances. It has links to the disclosure forms of nearly 500 people - Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Betsy DeVos, Trump, etc.

Trump owes between $55 million to $75 million to Deutsche Bank, the same bank that was fined $10 billion for its part in a Russian money-laundering scheme. That's a massive nothing burger. Read the rest

Mueller is now looking into ties between Russia and Trump's business transactions

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has widened his investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Mueller is looking into Trump's financial dealings with with unsavory Russian businessman, including mobsters and corrupt Kremlin officials.

Mueller has his work cut out for him -- the August/September issue of The New Republic has an in-depth article about Trump's "decades-long ties to Russian mafia." Only someone brainwashed by ideology could read this article and not think Trump has been up to no good for a very long time.

From The New Republic's press release:

In “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” veteran journalist Craig Unger details how the Russian mafia has used the president’s properties—including Trump Tower and the Trump Taj Majal—as a way to launder money and hide assets. “Whether Trump knew it or not,” writes Unger, “Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.”

Based entirely on the extensive public record, the piece offers the most comprehensive overview of the deep debt that the president owes the Russian mafia. “The extent of Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia—and the degree to which he relied on them for his entire business model—is striking,” says Eric Bates, editor of the New Republic.

Read the rest

Small antelope is determined to attack man

A young antelope harbors a vicious grudge against this guy, who seems to be half-scared, half-amused by the tiny angry ungulate. The only way he can restrain it is by grabbing it by the horns. He makes a half-hearted attempt to use a towel like a bullfighter's cape, but that doesn't work very well. Hiding behind a pole is a slightly better tactic. The video ends before we find out who wins.

This antelope is savage from AnimalsBeingJerks
Read the rest

Toronto says park stairs would cost $65k to build, man makes them for $550

Toronto officials are hopping mad that a rogue DIYer built a flight of stairs in community park for $550 instead of allowing the city to contract it out to a builder at a cost of $65,000-$150,000. Adi Astl, a retired mechanic, said he decided to build the stairs because several neighbors had taken a tumble down the steep path leading to the park. Park visitors were able to enjoy the stairs for a short while until the city taped it off. The city says the stairs will have to be replaced with stairs that meet regulations.

Obviously, the city needs to do something about this for insurance reasons alone. But I'll bet they could work with Mr. Astl to make a great, code-complying flight of stairs for a lot less than $65,000.

Astl says he hired a homeless person to help him and built the eight steps in a matter of hours.

Astl’s wife, Gail Rutherford, says the stairs have already been a big help to people who routinely take that route through the park. “I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with,” she said. “It’s a huge improvement over what was there.”

Astl says members of his gardening group have been thanking him for taking care of the project, especially after one of them broke her wrist falling down the slope last year.

“To me, the safety of people is more important than money,” Astl said. “So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.”

City bylaw officers have taped off the stairs while officials make a decision on what to do with it.

Read the rest

Every tool box needs a pair of screw removal pliers

A screw with a stripped head can be difficult to remove.

There are a number of ways to remove screws with stripped heads. Lifehacker has a nice article on this subject.

My favorite method of removing a stuck/stripped screw is with a pair of screw removal pliers. They bite into the exposed sides of the screw head and you can twist the screw loose, then finish the job with a screwdriver. It's also a nice brute-force workaround for tamper-proof screw heads. This is the kind of tool you want to have in your toolbox now, instead of having to run out and buy one when it's needed.

If the screw is really stuck, you risk breaking the head off the screw. If that happens, all is not lost. You can try to drill a small hole into the center of the screw shaft and pull out the screw with a screw extractor. Read the rest

How to use a 4K TV as a computer monitor

Brad Templeton is founding faculty for Computing and Networks at Singularity University, and Chairman Emeritus and futurist of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the leading cyberspace civil rights foundation. He is on the board of the Foresight Institute. He also advised Google's team developing self-driving cars, and writes about such cars at robocars.com. He also advises Starship on delivery robots and Quanergy in the LIDAR space. He founded ClariNet Communications Corp (the world's first "dot-com" company.) He also created rec.humor.funny, the world's longest running blog. Cool Tools interviewed him about his favorite tools.

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Show notes: 4K TVs as computer monitors “[I have] a 50-inch 4K television, and you may think, ‘Wow, that’s really big, how far away do you sit from it?’ I sit the same distance I sat from the 30-inch and the 24-inches that so many people use. In fact, if you think about it, the typical 24-inch HD monitor, that is the most common sort of monitor sold today or a few years ago, that actually is one quarter of 4K and it’s 24-inches, which means it’s basically half of the 50-inch screen. … The great thing though is, they’re selling these TVs really cheap. They’re selling them down, you can get them for five, 600 bucks, even less …They didn't want you to use these as monitors, they designed them to be TVs. Read the rest

Deceptive tie-dye tablecloth disappoints party host

Why would the manufacturer make this tablecloth mostly white, when it probably doesn't cost extra to print the whole thing with the tie-dye pattern that's on the edges? Read the rest

Kids win a prize at a claw machine, and their victory celebration is a joy to watch

A dad took his three kids to Walmart and let them try a claw machine. On the third attempt they were successful. Their delight in beating the machine is infectious. Read the rest

Here's the best Washington Post headline of the morning

"Stun-gun-wielding rabbi kidnappers fail to convince court they were just practicing their faith." The story describes the religious freedom defense of Rabbi Mendel Epstein and a group of rabbis who were "caught up in a government sting" involving kidnapping and torturing men with electric cattle prods to encourage them to sign marriage dissolution documents.

From the article:

“What we are going to be doing is kidnapping a guy for a couple of hours and beating him up and torturing him and then getting him to give you the get,” Rabbi Mendel Epstein told his two visitors.

“We take an electric cattle prod,” the bearded man continued later in the conversation on Aug. 14, 2013, according to court documents. “If it can get a bull that weighs five tons to move … You put it on certain parts of his body and in one minute the guy will know.”

Read the rest

Video appears to show Baltimore cop planting drugs at a crime scene

It sure looks like Baltimore Police Officer Richard Pinheiro planted drugs at a crime scene and if he did, I'm sure it was the first time it's ever happened and he's very sorry if anyone was offended by the mistake that was made.

From Buzzfeed:

In the January 2017 video, Baltimore Police Officer Richard Pinheiro appears to place a bag of pills under some garbage in an alley. He then walks back out to the street, at which point he activates the body camera. But because the cameras are programmed to capture the 30 seconds prior to activation, the officer’s actions before returning from the alley were recorded.

“I’m going to check here,” Pinheiro can be heard saying, before he walks back down the alley. After furrowing around in the trash for a couple seconds, the officer locates the bag inside a soup can and exclaims “yo!” as he holds it up to his two fellow officers, identified to BuzzFeed News by the Maryland public defender's office as officers Jamal Brunson and Jovannes Simonyan.

The defendant who was arrested in connection with the false drug bust was scheduled to face trial this week, Fox Baltimore first reported, but the charges were dropped after the man’s public defender reviewed the video and alerted the prosecutor.

It looks like the other two cops saw officer Pinheiro plant the drugs. I'm sure they are very sorry, too. Read the rest

Once you use this, you won't ever want another jar tool

The reason it's hard to open jar lids is because the vacuum seal is pulling the lid tightly against the jar. Once in awhile, the vacuum seal is so strong that I can't open it. That's when I grab my Jarkey, a $3 plastic lever that effortlessly breaks the seal, making it easy to open. I always try to open jars with my bare hands, then use the Jarkey as a backup. My wife goes straight for the Jarkey, because she's smarter than I am. Read the rest

Only Mexico City has the cojones for the Trump/They Live Billboard!

A few months ago my artist pal Mitch O'Connell launched a crowdfunded plan to pay tribute to the cult classic movie They Live, about a race of space creatures who secretly take over Earth by brainwashing people into supporting policies that are bad for them. He got enough money to erect a billboard in Mexico City!

Read the rest

Drugs that are 30 years past their expiration date "still as potent as they were when they were manufactured"

Throwing away expired medicine is a waste of money, according to the results of a recent test on a cache of pills predating "the 1969 moon landing." Lee Cantrell of the California Poison Control System and Roy Gerona, a University of California, San Francisco, researcher who "specializes in analyzing chemicals" analyzed 14 different decades-old compounds, "including antihistamines, pain relievers and stimulants," and found that they "were still as potent as they were when they were manufactured, some at almost 100 percent of their labeled concentrations," according to ProPublica.

Cantrell and Gerona knew their findings had big implications. Perhaps no area of health care has provoked as much anger in recent years as prescription drugs. The news media is rife with stories of medications priced out of reach or of shortages of crucial drugs, sometimes because producing them is no longer profitable.

Tossing such drugs when they expire is doubly hard. One pharmacist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital outside Boston says the 240-bed facility is able to return some expired drugs for credit, but had to destroy about $200,000 worth last year. A commentary in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings cited similar losses at the nearby Tufts Medical Center. Play that out at hospitals across the country and the tab is significant: about $800 million per year. And that doesn’t include the costs of expired drugs at long-term care pharmacies, retail pharmacies and in consumer medicine cabinets.

After Cantrell and Gerona published their findings in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2012, some readers accused them of being irresponsible and advising patients that it was OK to take expired drugs.

Read the rest

Saudi police finally captured the woman who wore a miniskirt in online video

Saudi Arabians can sleep easy tonight, safe in the knowledge that police have tracked down and arrested a woman for wearing a miniskirt and crop top in direct violation of their dress code for women.

The brazen criminal was seen in a video posted online It created an uproar in a country where women need a "guardian's" permission to travel, work, open a bank account, or take classes.

The above image is from the Saudi news site Okaz, which blurred the woman's exposed skin.

From the New York Times:

In response to calls for the woman’s arrest, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice wrote on Twitter on Monday that it had “intercepted a clip of a girl in inappropriate clothing” and had opened an investigation with the “relevant authorities.”

Saudi law imposes stringent rules on women’s appearance and behavior. Saudi women are required to wear a black garment, called an abaya, that covers everything but the face, feet and hands. They must also keep their heads covered, and they are not permitted to drive or to socialize with men who are not related to them.

An unnamed spokesman for the Riyadh police cited by the Saudi online news site Sabq said the woman had told the police that she visited the site in Ushaiager with her legal guardian — a male relative, usually a father or husband, but sometimes a brother or son, who has the legal authority to control a woman’s movements — and that the video had been put online without her knowledge.

Read the rest

How to combat manspreading on the subway - sit on the offender

Lifehacker has a list of ways to deal with a manspreader taking up a seat. Asking politely is probably effective, but my favorite is Cassie J Sneider's technique: plop down on the manspreader's leg.

“Excuse me,” I said, standing in front of a thirtysomething guy with his legs spread so far, it looked like he was doing some sort of post-vasectomy physical therapy exercise. He ignored me.

As a woman, I am used to this, so I gestured to the seat and said excuse me again. Nothing. I checked and he wasn’t wearing headphones.

This man, like the three or four others taking up multiple seats on this train car, are the center of our universe from sun-up until sundown, never once considering the lady with the stroller, the World War II vet stooped over a cane, or the child riding home from school alone.

We all go about our ride politely avoiding calling them out on their selfishness, holding grocery bags and diaper bags and the weight of all our frustration, seething. In that moment, something became crystal clear to me: seething doesn’t help anyone, but sitting on a dude sure is satisfying.

I waited a moment. He leisurely stretched his calves, turned away from me, and then I sat on him.

“Excuse me,” I said, using my bony ass to crush his thigh. Outside of a horror movie, I have never seen anyone react so quickly to get away from another human being. There was terror, then disgust, then anger.

Read the rest

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