8-pack of LED flashlights for 14 bucks


The flashlights in our household have a tendency to wander off. Where do they go? I gave my last remaining one to my daughter for a camping trip, so I just reordered an 8-pack of metal LED flashlights for $14. Each flashlight has 9 LEDs and uses 3 AAA cells (included, though some reviewers on Amazon have reported that they did not come with batteries). I keep one in the car, one in my travel bag, and the rest in a kitchen drawer, where they no doubt plotting their escape. Read the rest

Gentleman, possibly a burglar, gets trapped inside a cell phone store

store 2

A cell phone store owner, whose business had been repeatedly burgled, decided to set up a trap room to capture the next person who tried to steal things from his store. Here's a surveillance video showing that it worked perfectly. Read the rest

Organized crime gangs keep trying to sell radioactive material to terrorists


In the last five years, criminal gangs in Moldova have been stopped four times from selling radioactive materials, including bomb-grade uranium, on the black market. You have to wonder if they have also succeeded one or more times, and we just don't know about it yet.

From AP:

In that operation, wiretaps and interviews with investigators show, a middleman for the gang repeatedly ranted with hatred for America as he focused on smuggling the essential material for an atomic bomb and blueprints for a dirty bomb to a Middle Eastern buyer.

In wiretaps, videotaped arrests, photographs of bomb-grade material, documents and interviews, AP found that smugglers are explicitly targeting buyers who are enemies of the West. The developments represent the fulfillment of a long-feared scenario in which organized crime gangs are trying to link up with groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida — both of which have made clear their ambition to use weapons of mass destruction.

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The Nazis made this exploding chocolate bar to kill Winston Churchill


In World War II, the Nazis made a bunch of different booby trapped items, including thermos flasks, mess tins, motor oil cans, watches, and even a chocolate bar designed to kill Winston Churchill when he bit into it. Fortunately, England's Prime Minister did not sink his teeth into the candy-coated bomb, and the MI5 hired an artist to illustrate it and the other German booby traps it had discovered. These drawings were lost in a drawer for 70 years, but were recently found and have been published by the BBC. Read the rest

Makeup artist transforms himself into Kim Davis and Rachel Dolezal


A defective bootleg Rosa Parks still won't let the gays get it. #KimDavis 🔊🎧SONG: "My Lovin'" by En Vogue

A video posted by Jan Bonito (@jkbonito) on Oct 5, 2015 at 10:05am PDT

Make up artist Jan Bonito made himself look like Kim Davis. Perfect for a Halloween villain. Check out his Instagram feed to see how he looks as Snoop Dogg, Rachel Dolezal, and other well-known people. Read the rest

Michael Pollan discusses how time-lapse photography reveals the hidden life of plants


Writer Michael Pollan provides play-by-play commentary on these time-lapse videos of plants striving to reach a pole. It really does seem like the plants have a conscious intention to meet a goal. I missed this video when the New Yorker first ran it in 2014. Read the rest

You’ve Read the Book, Now Listen to the Podcast


DataScience@smu (Southern Methodist University) has compiled a list of recommended podcasts that are based on popular science books. Some of them I've heard of before (like Freakonomics Radio), but most are new to me and sound interesting (like Learning Machines 101)

If you liked…

Data Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques

Listen to…

Learning Machines 101


If you’re interested in machine learning, Learning Machines 101 is the place to go. Dr. Richard M. Golden’s podcast series examines how smart machines and artificial intelligence work, where they come from, and how scientists are working to make them even smarter and more humanlike. The series starts out at a basic level and gets advanced, fast, so find the level where you’re comfortable and settle down for a listen.

Read the rest

Inexpensive battery tester


Unlike a multimeter, this battery tester isn't battery powered. Instead, it measures the voltage across the terminals of 9V, AA, AAA, C, D and 1.5V button type batteries. It's also easier to use than multimeter probes. It's only $6.61 on Amazon and has a 4.5 star rating with over 1500 reviews. Read the rest

Catholic priest pointed rifle at 8-year-old boy and threatened to shoot him for liking the wrong sports team


A 54-year-old priest at St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry, New Jersey was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault by pointing a firearm. Father Kevin Carter threatened to shoot the youngster for liking the wrong football team, say witnesses.

From NBC 4 New York:

The priest allegedly approached the boy before Mass services at the church on Sunday, Sept. 13, and asked to see him in one of the rectory rooms, according to prosecutors.

Once they were in the room, the priest allegedly had the boy stand against the wall, then retrieved a musket and pointed it at him, prosecutors said, citing several witnesses.

"As he raised his weapon and pointed it at the boy, he said, 'I'm going to shoot you,'" Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli told NBC 4 New York Friday.

Father Carter's lawyer said his client will plead not guilty. Read the rest

"Break On Through (To the Other Side)" performed on vintage electronic equipment


Here's bd594's catchy cover version of the Doors' 1966 hit, “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” performed using old computer equipment. The first half of the video is an instrumental version. The second half has a version with vocals provided by a speech synthesizer.

[via] Read the rest

Japanese live streamer accidentally starts his apartment on fire


This guy was showing off his cigarette lighters and matches when he accidentally started a small fire. While he was putting it out, he started an even bigger fire, which wasn't so easy to put out. Read the rest

Supercut of Quentin Tarantino's foot fetish


Quentin Tarantino's Foot Fetish. A supercut by Pablo Fernandez Eyre. Read the rest

Mickey Mouse Watch for $18


I've always wanted a Mickey Mouse watch. This model is on sale for $18 on Amazon, and looks better than more expensive ones. Until I can afford this Masonic watch (which David and I have both been coveting for a couple of decades) this will do the job.

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Interview with creator of the Internet K Hole, a fantastic blog of found 1980s photos


Ritual interviewed Bronwyn, the woman behind the [NSFW] Internet K Hole, a "deep and vast collection of found and collected photographs from the late '70s, '80s and early '90s."

Where abouts do you collect these images from? Garage sales? Second hand shops? Or do you scour the internet for them?

I’d say 75% of the photos I find on the internet and then 25% are from flea markets/my own family/submissions. I haven’t had much luck with flea markets lately, all of the photos seem to be from the 40s-70s and I much more prefer photos from the 80s and 90s.

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Great cover for a 1960 scifi paperback


The Unexpected Dimension is a 1960 paperback anthology of science fiction short stories by Algis Budrys. It only merits 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, and even this 5-star review on Amazon gives me pause: "Budrys is a difficult writer. It usually takes several readings before you can really understand what is going on in his stories." I'll pass, but I give the cover illustration by John Blanchard 5 stars! Check out a few of his other covers here:

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Foreword to Trick Decks: How to Hack Playing Cards for Astounding Magic


Jason wrote a terrific foreword to my $3 card magic e-book, Trick Decks: How to Hack Playing Cards for Extraordinary Magic, and has kindly given me permission to reprint it here. Jason was instrumental in rekindling my interested in magic, so I was thrilled to have him write it. Thank you, Jason!

What Mark teaches you, in this fantastic book, is magic. Magic you can appreciate immediately, and marvel at its workings without ever performing for more than yourself.

Herein lie activities that are fun for the whole family!

Activities that create illusions you’ll never forget – or forget how they work!

The entire STEM course load that is so popular today is here in Spades! Clubs! Hearts! Diamonds!

It is truly magic on so many levels.

So much about magic is intentionally damn confusing. I have a large library of books on card magic. Few of them are comprehensible to folks who don’t spend hours trying to figure out how to use them! It is like law school! Fancy names for card sleights that are harder to remember than the moves themselves, illustrations from Lascaux, and dialect from the renaissance-faire are frequently used to keep the barrier to entry high.

Mark has worked hard to share easy, achievable methods to get immediate, amazing results. You can delight in magic in a way that took me over a decade, working with only a single deck of Bicycle 808 playing cards and a candle, in a damp, dark room, trying to perfect a double lift.

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There's a place in LA that sells ukuleles and espresso, and it is terrific


I'm not as much of an ukulele fanatic as I once was, but when my daughter and I were in Little Tokyo on Saturday and came across U-Space, a store that sells ukuleles and espresso, I had to check it out.

The store has a large wall of ukuleles in all the sizes, from the itty bitty sopranos all the way up to the baritones (which are typically tuned like the four high strings on a guitar). U-Space has tables and comfy couches for drinking coffee and listening to ukulele music. There's also a counter with a couple of inexpensive ukes and instructions with simple chords so that everyone who comes in can have fun playing.

The proprietor, Jason Arimoto, is a very friendly guy. We had a nice chat and I asked him if I could take his photo. He was happy to oblige. He was holding a newly-released clear plastic ukulele, which cost $50 and sounds great. The non-clear plastic ukes sell for $40. These plastic models would make excellent starter ukes. Jason said they are modeled after the plastic ukulele that Arthur Godfrey pitched on TV in the 1950s, selling millions and millions of them. I was very tempted to buy the clear one, but I have enough ukuleles at home that don't get played as it is. Instead, I ordered an espresso, and Jason pulled a perfect double shot for me.

Check out the U-Space website. Besides selling ukes and coffee, they also have performances and teach ukulele lessons there. Read the rest

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