Smári McCarthy: a pirate who goes after corporate criminal ships


As the former editor-in-chief of the technology project magazine MAKE, I’ve learned that makers don’t limit themselves to simply making things. Their urge to be an active participant in the world around them means that they also have a strong desire to make the tools, processes, systems, and organizations that empower other people to do the same. One example is Safecast, a global volunteer-centered project that developed a low cost collaborative monitoring network to measure radiation levels in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Safecast has not only generated the world’s largest open dataset of background radiation measurements, it has also established a standard for collaborative environmental data measurement projects.

Similarly, another program benefiting from maker enthusiasm is the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a non-profit collaborative organization consisting of a large number investigative groups and media from around the world. The chief technologist of OCCRP is an astonishingly prolific activist and maker named Smári McCarthy.

A short version of McCarthy’s resume includes co-founding Iceland's Pirate Party and the Icelandic Digital Freedom Society, doing pioneering work in the field of digital fabrication, and helping establish Iceland’s first Fab Lab. It was at the OCCRP where McCarthy co-developed, along with OCCRP executive director Paul Radu, something called the Investigative Dashboard Project, a web-based tool to help journalists conduct forensic research across millions of documents and scraped databases, including the ones from the Panama Papers, the mind-bogglingly massive leak financial and legal records that revealed the hidden offshore holding companies used by corporations, wealthy individuals, and criminals to hide their money, evade taxes, and conduct illegal business transactions. Read the rest

Wine saver pump


My wife has been using this wine saver vacuum pump for several years now. It creates an airtight vacuum in the bottle to preserve the wine.

The pump comes with two rubber stoppers with one-way valves. You insert the stopper into a partially full wine bottle, then suck the air out with the pump. It looks like a little bike pump. After several strokes, you'll hear a "click," which means you've drawn out as much air as you're going to be able to remove. At $8.50 am Amazon, it's paid for itself many times over. Read the rest

Gentleman angry over sap cuts down tree, which falls on his house


Raymond Mazzarella of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania thought he would teach a tree a lesson. The tree was in his neighbor's yard and had dripped sap on his parked car. He retrieved his chainsaw and went to work on the 36-inch wide trunk. The tree landed on his apartment building.

The apartment building was condemned and evacuated. Mazzarella was sent to the hospital.

Upon his release Monday afternoon, a neighbor saw Mazzarella trespassing near the apartment house and called police. When the neighbor confronted him, Mazzarella punched him. The neighbor pulled out a stun gun to protect himself. Mazzarella then started hitting him with a baseball bat.

Mazzarella is charged with assault and harassment and is locked up in the Luzerne County jail on $10,000 bail.

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Family gets food poisoning from feast to celebrate surviving food poisoning

Salmonella. Image: Wikipedia

“We don’t get it. First we were poisoned and then sacrificed an animal for God as a sign of gratitude for gaining our health back. Then we were poisoned once again, as well as the neighbours. May God save us from the worst. Food poisoning became our nightmare.” -- Alattin Erdal, one of more than 20 people who were hospitalized after eating a tainted animal at a feast meant to celebrate their recovery from a bout of food poisoning.

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Cop captures Bigfoot on video


A person claiming to be a law enforcement officer sent this video to The Sasquatch Chronicles, with the following message:

I will make this as short as possible. I have a video from a trail cam which appears to show a bigfoot.

The video is not conclusive as it doesn’t show the face. Here is the history of the video. I am a 20+ year Law Enforcement Officer, three of which were done as a Game Warden. I received this video from a collage of mine. He was assigned to a federal task force working gorilla grown Marijuana.

This group would go into remote areas of Northern California and set trail cams in an attempt to catch the growers on film. This particular trail cam was 27 miles back in the Sequoia National Forest, not accessible by vehicles only ATV then foot. He retrieved the trail cam and found the attached video. He did not know what to do with it as he was afraid of repercussions etc. I openly speak about the subject and my beliefs and another officer referred him to me and he provided me the video. I only ask we discuss what to release about the video before sharing if you decide to.

I also have experienced events, i.e. tree knocks, footsteps, and extreme fear for unexplained reason. I have also found a few footprints.

Comment from The Sasquatch Chronicles:

I spoke to the Law Enforcement Officer today and he said that gamecam appeared to be ripped off of the tree and this creature had buried it in leaves.

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Easter Island statue ice cube tray


This silicone ice cube tray creates nine Moai statue ice cubes at a time. Even better, you can make chocolates and soap with it, too. Amazon has it for $10. Read the rest

Koko the gorilla plays bass with Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea


Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea visited Koko at her home in Woodside, CA and let her play his bass. Said Flea,"This is the greatest thing that ever happened. I will never forget."

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Bird asks for a drink

Raven asks to drink

A polite bird asks a human to give it a drink from a bottle of water.

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Awesome doctor gives toddler a vaccination


The only person who wouldn't approve of this doctor is Jenny McCarthy. Read the rest

French artist Patrick Commecy converts bare building walls into trompe-l'œil

French artist Patrick Commecy transforms boring buildings into something else

Via Amusing Planet:

French artist Patrick Commecy and his team of muralists transform dull and boring facades around France into vibrant scenes full of life. His hyperrealistic painted-on windows, balconies and tiles closely resemble their real-life counterparts. Hanging in the balconies and outdoor space, Commecy would often incorporate figures of famous and influential persons from the history of the town the mural is in.

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Shaper Origin is a handheld CNC router


I just watched a few of the demo videos for the Shaper Origin. It's a handheld, computer numerical control, router that allows you to cut precise shapes into flat stock. Since it is handheld, there's really no limit to the size of the things you want to cut out. Looks really cool. It costs around $1500. Read the rest

Four USB-to-Lightning cables for $16


I just stocked up on USB-to-Lightning cables again, as they tend to disappear around my house. A 4-pack of the RAVPower MFi Certified cables (the kind I usually get) are on sale for $16 if you use code 2DCN7DO4 at check out. Read the rest

Colbert makes fun of loony Giuliani's Clinton illness conspiracy theories


Former NYC mayor and current nut Rudy Giuliani says he has proof Hillary Clinton is too sick and frail to be president of the US: "Go online and put down Hillary Clinton illness, take a look at the videos for yourself."

Stephen Colbert did that and said, "when you look it up on the internet, it says that Giuliani says she’s not healthy and to look it up on the internet. It’s an endless loop. It’s like a snake with its tail in its mouth. Or a man with his head up his own ass.” Read the rest

Take this vocabulary test


I took Ghent University's vocabulary test, and according to the results, I know 83% of the English words.

The Minnesotan took the test and got a 94%. He said:

The test does not require you to define or spell words. Instead you are asked to determine whether an entry ("glyph," "moktam," "macrophage," "wookel" etc) is or is not a word in the English language.

There seemed to be about a hundred words in the test, which you can proceed through at your own pace, and you can retake it if you wish (with a different group of words on the retest). At the end you can review your errors and see the definitions of the words you missed.

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Who is wrong here? The tailgater or the brake-checker?


Herman Yung of Dooby Brain posted this video, along with the question: "Watch the video above of a guy brake checking a driver that is tailgating him. Who is wrong here? The man driving too slow in the passing lane or the guy tailgating?" Answer in the comments, either here, or on Herman's site. Read the rest

Take this test to find out if you are a "super recognizer" of faces

Image: Paulo Philippidis/Flickr

Josh P. Davis, a psychology professor at the University of Greenwich estimates the 1% of the population are "super-recognizers" of faces.

From Science Alert:

In 2009, a team of neuroscientists from Harvard did one of the first studies of super-recognisers. In it, they looked at just four people who claimed to have an unusually good ability to recognise faces.

All four subjects told the researchers about instances when they'd recognised practical strangers: family members they hadn't seen for decades or actors they'd glimpsed once in an ad and then seen again in a movie. They felt like there was something wrong with them.

One of the people in the study told the researchers that she tried to hide her ability and "pretend that I don't remember [people] ... because it seems like I stalk them, or that they mean more to me than they d.".

I've always felt that I'm sometimes a super-recognizer and sometimes nearly face blind. I just took the five-minute online test. I scored 11 out of 14. My results said, "If you scored above 10 you may be a super recogniser, but you would need to do more tests to find this out." Read the rest

A short history of cops telling women what to wear at the beach


France has banned women in their country from wearing full-body, head-covering bathing suits. And "burkini police" are patrolling the beaches to catch violators, making them remove their swimwear. People are expressing their opinion on social media. Examples:

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