Why are people fleeing California? Rising housing costs, taxes

joads

California experienced a "net outward migration" of 61,100 people in the last twelve months, the biggest exodus since 2011.

San Jose Mercury News:

The region's soaring housing prices are a key factor driving dissatisfied residents toward the exit door. Several people who have departed, or soon will leave, say they potentially could have hundreds of thousands of dollars left over even after buying a house in their new locations.

"They're taking advantage of the housing bubble right now," McElfresh said. "The majority of the people we are seeing are moving to states that don't have state income taxes."

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Boston Dynamics shows new quadruped robots, including one with a head

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Creepy/cool robot shop Boston Dynamics introduced the new SpotMini, a 55 pound robot that seems perfect for indoor use. YouTube description:

SpotMini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot that weighs 55 lbs dripping wet (65 lbs if you include its arm.) SpotMini is all-electric (no hydraulics) and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing. SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built. It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance

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Germophobe's dream: keychain fob opens door handles, flicks light switches

gryp

The Gryp is a keychain fob for people who want a barrier of silicone between them and the world. You can use it to open doors, flush toilets, push elevator buttons, hold bus handles, turn on lights, etc. I imagine is gets very dirty. Read the rest

Utah police employ "porn-sniffing" dog

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A 16-month-old black labrador named URL has been trained to sniff out electronic storage devices for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office in Utah. From Fox 13 Salt Lake:

URL is specifically trained to sniff out electronic storage devices such as thumb drives, cellphones, SIM cards, SD cards, external hard drives, tablets and iPads.

“Whether it’s child porn, or terrorism intelligence, narcotics or financial crimes information, URL has the ability to find evidence hidden on basically any electronic memory device,” the release states.

Authorities say URL will assist investigators on these specific cases and will also be used at the Weber County Jail to locate contraband, such as cellphones.

“URL does not actually search for illegal materials, but rather his highly sensitive nose has been trained to detect the unique chemical compounds found in the certain electronic components,” the release states.

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Man who killed man he believed was a chicken is released

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In 2004 Harvey Derrick Glanton mistook Daniel B. Balbaugh for a chicken, and killed him by crushing his skull with a cast-iron pot lid. At trial, Glanton was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

On Tuesday, Chesterfield County Circuit Judge Herbert C. Gill Jr. "set Glanton free from his oversight and the supervision of mental health workers with the Chesterfield County Community Services Board," reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

According to evidence presented at his trial, Glanton, then a forklift driver from Atlanta, was convinced he had to get to Washington to warn the government that aliens were taking over the world by converting people to chickens....

At Glanton’s 2004 trial, psychologist Evan S. Nelson testified that Glanton believed Balbaugh was a chicken when he encountered Balbaugh outside the victim’s mobile home at the James River Marina.

Nelson explained that Glanton lost an eye in a fight about 25 years earlier and developed the delusion that the eye had magical powers that protected him from aliens who were taking over the world by converting people to chickens.

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Stainless steel martini shaker for $9

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Yippee! My wife has started making dirty martinis (vodka, a swish of vermouth, and olive brine) lately, and I have been drinking them, after having been a virtual teetotaler for many years. Our old cocktail shaker was missing its lid, so I ordered this stainless steel shaker, which is on sale for $9 on Amazon. It also comes with a jigger. The price dropped from $49 in April, so this is quite a deal. Read the rest

Graffiti artist banned from 20% of US after Reddit users' investigation

Source: Imgur

Artist Casey Nocket, who painted faces on rocks in at least six national parks – including Death Valley, Colorado National Monument, Canyonlands, Zion, and Crater Lake – has been banned from all national parks and other federally administered land. Reddit users tracked her down after she posted photos of her vandalism on Instagram.

Guardian:

In June, Nocket was charged with seven counts of injury or depredation against government property in six national parks in Oregon, California, Utah and Colorado.

She pleaded guilty to all seven counts, and on 13 June a federal magistrate sentenced her to 200 hours community service, and a fine of an amount to be specified at a separate hearing in December.

Nocket must also make a formal written apology to the National Park Service; and she has been banned from entering public lands administered by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and US army corps of engineers – some 549m acres, totaling more than 20% of the landmass of the US.

Nocket did not respond to a request for comment.

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The "dead parent test" for effective movie dialogue

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From the Now You See It YouTube channel: "What makes dialogue work? Let's explore the power of dialogue in film and take a look at the offensively named 'Dead Parent Test.'" Read the rest

Learn to make your bed the military way

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Fort Knox Army Drill Sergeant Shane Medders explains how to make a bed the right way, with hospital corners.

Also, Core 77 interviewed NYC-based photographer, speaker and on-camera coach Michael Cinquino, who was a Petty Officer Third Class on the fast combat support ship U.S.S. Detroit:

What was the procedure?

You had a set amount of time to make the bed properly, starting from scratch each time--

Sorry, what do you mean by "from scratch?"

You had to rip all of the sheets off and put them in a pile on top of the bed, and start from there.

How did they enforce that?

The drill instructor's standing right there, supervising.

Why make you start from scratch every time?

It was to teach attention to detail. To go through the whole process and teach you that executing little details correctly matters. As a sailor, if you screw up a detail, people can get killed. So the pillow's got to be centered, the catch-hem has to be pointing up, the fold a certain distance, et cetera.

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Trump gave fake platinum and diamond cufflinks to Charlie Sheen as a wedding gift

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Charlie Sheen went on a talk show and shared a story of the time Donald Trump gave him a pair of cufflinks, telling Sheen they were made from platinum and diamonds and were designed by Harry Winston.

Sheen says he got a jewelry appraiser to take a closer look at the cufflinks.

"She took the loupe, spent about four seconds and kind of recoiled from it - much like people do from Trump," he said. "She says, 'In their finest moment, this is cheap pewter and bad zirconias.' And they're stamped 'Trump.'

"I just thought, what does this really say about the man that he said, 'Here's a great wedding gift,' and it's just a bag of dog shit?"

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Curious gentleman destroys museum piece

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This inquisitive fellow was unable to keep his hands off a delicate museum piece hanging from the wall at the National Watch & Clock Museum. After breaking it, he lost interest and walked away, leaving his companion to clean up the mess. Read the rest

Why it is a very bad idea to keep a lynx as a pet

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Nehala says: This is "what happens when someone mail-orders a lynx, which ends up destructively urinating all over the small apartment, is maladjusted, and is terrified of visitors, or in this case, a housesitter." Read the rest

20 grams of melt-in-your hand gallium for $10

gallium

Gallium is a metal that melts at 86 degrees F. It's more fun than playing with mercury, and probably safer, too (it *will* temporarily stain your skin gray though, because it's "wet" when liquid and will adhere to the crevices of your skin). My daughter's friend brought some over a couple of weeks ago, and it was such a hit at our house that we had to get some of our own. This 20 gram sample is just $10 including shipping on Amazon. Read the rest

Trippy animated zoom video makes everything you see in the real world recede

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After watching Ben Ridgway's "Continuum Infinitum" video, everything I looked at seemed to recede for a while. Ben recommends downloading the video and looping it.

As you watch the movie for a minute or so and then look away, you will experience a mild optical illusion that feels as if everything you look at is shrinking away from you. This is caused by the motion after-effect (MAE). It is a visual illusion experienced after viewing a moving visual stimulus for a time (tens of milliseconds to minutes) with stationary eyes, and then fixating on a stationary stimulus. The stationary stimulus appears to move in the opposite direction to the original (physically moving) stimulus. The motion aftereffect is believed to be the result of motion adaptation.

Neurons coding a particular movement reduce their responses with time of exposure to a constantly moving stimulus; this is neural adaptation. Neural adaptation also reduces the spontaneous, baseline activity of these same neurons when responding to a stationary stimulus. One theory is that perception of stationary objects, for example rocks beside a waterfall, is coded as the balance among the baseline responses of neurons coding all possible directions of motion. Neural adaptation of neurons stimulated by downwards movement reduces their baseline activity, tilting the balance in favor of upwards movement.

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Kid gets head unstuck from fence bars

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A little kid figures out how to break out of his self-imposed prison. Read the rest

Idiots ignite fireworks shelves inside a Walmart

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Interestingly, you can buy fireworks at Walmart stores in Arizona. You aren't supposed to light them all at once inside the store, though. The gentleman who did will soon learn that fireworks are harder to come by in prison. Read the rest

Guy Fawkes signature, before and after torture

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In 1605 an English Catholic man named Guy ("Guido") Fawkes joined 12 other Catholics in an attempt to to blow up the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was caught red handed in the cellar of the Parliament. He was tortured an executed. Here's how his signature appeared, before and after torture.

In those days, England didn't take kindly to Catholics, especially ones who tried to kill Queens and members of Parliament. I recently read Simon Singh's excellent The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography which has a chapter about Mary Queen of Scotts who, while under house arrest in the late 1500s, sent encrypted messages to a group of Catholic men conspiring to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and put Mary on the throne. The men were captured and gruesomely executed in front of a crowd of gawkers. As Elizabethan historian William Camden wrote, the conspirators were “cut down, their privities were cut off, bowelled alive and seeing, and quartered.” Mary, being a Queen, was merely beheaded. Read the rest

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