The Eureka disentanglement puzzle

The object of the Eureka puzzle is to remove the brass ring. As usual with Fleb's videos, there's a pause in the video if you don't want to see the solution. Read the rest

Ex-Uber engineer describes her year of being sexually harassed at Uber

Susan J. Fowler joined Uber as a site reliability engineer in November 2015. She was sexually harassed at work and Uber's human resources punished her for reporting it. She says other women at Uber have had similar experiences and that many have quit in disgust.

After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn't. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

Uber was a pretty good-sized company at that time, and I had pretty standard expectations of how they would handle situations like this. I expected that I would report him to HR, they would handle the situation appropriately, and then life would go on - unfortunately, things played out quite a bit differently. When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man's first offense, and that they wouldn't feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.

Read the rest

Fox's Chris Wallace to Reince Priebus "You don't get to tell us what to do."

Interesting exchange between Fox's Chris Wallace and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (who went on Fox on Sunday to complain about the "fake news" coverage of Trump's Russian connections).

"But you don't get to tell us what to do, Reince, any more than that Barack Obama did. Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time, but I gotta say, he never said that we were an enemy of the people."

Priebus looked stunned that someone from Fox had harsh words for his boss. Read the rest

Recomendo newsletter: Free books, the Exploratorium, and more

Get the Recomendo weekly newsletter (written by Kevin Kelly, Claudia Dawson, and me) a week early by email.

Enjoyment:

If the Found Footage Festival tour ever comes your way, I highly recommend you check it out. The two guys who host the events scour thrift stores and yard sales for the most obscure and awkward infomercials, public access shows, training tapes and home videos to showcase. I’ve been to four of their shows and I always laugh so hard it hurts. They currently have 8 volumes available on DVD. You can watch videos of some of their findings on the website. — CD

Culture:

The US is basically the only country in the world not using metric. It’s not that hard to learn a rough sense of how many kilometers in a mile, or pounds in a kilo. But it is very hard to convert temperatures between Centigrade and Fahrenheit. The solution is to convert all your thermometers to Centigrade: on your phone, in or outside of your house, on websites. Have any digital device display only Celsius, so you can’t cheat. In about a year, you’ll have a reliable and native sense of what’s cool and warm in degrees C. This is supremely handy if you travel anywhere outside of the US. — KK

Readable:

I feel like an idiot for not discovering OverDrive sooner. It’s a free mobile app that lets you check out ebooks, audiobooks, and videos from your local public library. To use it, you need a a library card from your town or county. Read the rest

The easiest way to shower with a goat

My sister came across this product, which promises all the fun of taking a shower with a goat with none of the usual hassles of renting a shower-goat.

Read the rest

A Grateful Dead family album

I came to the Grateful Dead late by some standards, and left its orbit early by most. My first album was the band’s third, “Aoxomoxoa,” which I purchased shortly after its release in 1969, and I didn’t experience the Dead live until 1970. From then until 1973, I saw them a lot, mostly at Winterland in San Francisco, but by 1974, with a few memorable exceptions, I was pretty much done.

My blind spot then, is the bulk of the band’s 30-year career, which also happens to be the years when the Grateful Dead was at its most famous and popular, becoming one of the highest-grossing arena and stadium acts of its day. That’s probably why Alive With the Dead: A Fly on the Wall With a Camera, by photographer Susana Millman, seems like such a revelation to a fallen Dead Head like me. Oh sure, Millman gives us plenty of shots of the hoopla surrounding the 1987 release of “In the Dark,” which went double platinum, but her photographs also offer intimate peeks inside a scene I’d always dismissed as being too big for its own good.

And in many ways, it certainly was, as Millman’s photos of the tie-dye-clad crowds filling enormous venues like Soldier Field in Chicago might have argued in the hands of a different author and photographer. Soldier Field, of course, is where the Dead performed its last show on July 9, 1995 — lead guitarist Jerry Garcia would die one month later. But instead of using the pages of her book to caution readers against simultaneous addictions to heroin, cigarettes, and Ben & Jerry’s, Millman gives us a glorious double-printed, double-exposed photograph of the band on stage at its last gig, dwarfed by the adoration of its fans, stage lights, and fireworks. Read the rest

Free kindle edition of "100 Books You Must Read Before You Die"

This looks like a good collection of public domain novels, in Kindle format. I've been wanting to read Sister Carrie again, so I got this. It's volume 1 of a 2 volume set. Here's volume 2.

Here are the books in the volumes that I've read and recommend. Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Tarzan of the Apes Wells, H. G.: The Time Machine Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Stevenson, Robert Louis: Treasure Island Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle London, Jack: The Call of the Wild Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment

I did a spot check and the formatting looks fine. (It's sometimes a problem with free and cheap Kindle books.)

Image by Mark Brennan from Oakton, Virginia, United States of America (Portage Glacier) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Trump deletes post that describes mainstream media as "enemy of the American people."

Archive.org's Wayback Machine has a copy of Trump's deleted tweet, which read: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!" Read the rest

Minister frightened of doll

Rev. Keith Ogden of Hill Street Baptist Church in Asheville, NC is afraid of a new boy doll announced by American Girl.

"This is nothing more than a trick of the enemy to emasculate little boys and confuse their role to become men," he wrote in an e-mail to his congregation. It was titled, "KILLING THE MINDS OF MALE BABIES."

"There are those in this world who want to alter God's creation of the male and female," he wrote. "The devil wants to kill, steal and destroy the minds of our children and grandchildren by perverting, distorting and twisting (the) truth of who God created them to be."

I suspect Rev. Ogden described American Girl as an "enemy" because he's secretly telling his followers to obey the Lord's command to "love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back." Read the rest

Pentagon found no documents approving Flynn's pay for Russia TV appearances

The Pentagon has a rule requiring retired officers to report income from foreign states. But the Pentagon says it can find no records that former National Security advisor Michael Flynn filed a report after he'd been paid by Russia for an interview on the Russian state television network RT and for dining with President Vladimir Putin at RT's 10-year anniversary gala in 2015. Via Politico:

In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House oversight committee delivered Tuesday, acting Army Secretary Robert Speer confirmed that Flynn — a retired lieutenant general — filed no documentation of his trip.

In response, House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the committee, sent a letter that suggests Flynn may have inappropriately accepted payments from the Russian government or its agents in exchange for his attendance. Scrutiny is growing on Flynn’s trip and whether his payment violated the Constitution’s Emolument’s Clause, which prohibits any person holding an “office of profit or trust” in the federal government from accepting foreign payment. The prohibition has long been considered to apply for retired military officials.

As you recall, Flynn was fond of leading "lock her up!" chants on Trump's campaign trail. Read the rest

Split-screen video of LA in the 40s and today

The New Yorker made then then-and-now split screen video of Los Angeles. On the left side, LA as it was 70 years ago. On the right, LA as it is today.

[via] Read the rest

Raymond Smullyan on the Tonight Show 1982

Here's puzzle master and logician Raymond Smullyan on the Tonight Show from 1982. It starts a bit awkwardly but gets good around the five minute mark. Smullyan died last week (I posted about it here).

[via] Read the rest

Two babies talking to each other on FaceTime

If anyone speaks Baby, please provide a translation. Read the rest

President blames the "fake media" for Flynn's firing - Jake Tapper has a field day

Yesterday, the president says it's all the "fake media's" fault for the extremely short duration of his national security advisor's tenure. That makes no sense, but speaking coherently has never been one of the president's strong points. In any case, CNN's Jake Tapper decided to show the president what fake news really is - by trotting out the crazy conspiracy theories spread by the president: Obama's birth certificate and Ted Cruz's father's role in the assassination of JFK. Read the rest

Beautiful coin spins for 7-9 minutes

J.L. Lawson & Co makes tops, spinner coins, and other hand-machined products.

Their latest thing is the Tempus Spin Coin, and has been successfully funded on Kickstarter. It's still available in .999 silver, bronze, and copper.

For those of you that are interested in spin times, my average time ranges from 7-9 minutes. Considering the art isn't balanced, the spin is fairly balanced but, keep in mind, this coin wasn't intended for perfect spinning. It's more to help keep you entertained at the local bar.

Read the rest

Drug catapult found attached to Arizona-Mexico border fence

The taller the wall, the farther catapults like these will be able to fling bundles of drugs. This one was found at the Mexico-Arizona border.

From KVUE:

When agents arrived, they searched the area and located two bundles of marijuana, weighing more than 47 pounds combined, as well as a catapult system attached to the Mexico side of the border fence.

Read the rest

Puzzle: the lazy electrician

Here's a brain teaser from the Art of Play newsletter. I have not tried to solve it yet.

A lazy electrician is hired to fix the wiring in a tall building. In the basement are three buttons labeled, “A, B & C.” On the top floor of the building there are three ceiling fans in three different apartments labeled, “1, 2 & 3.” The landlord tells the electrician that each button in the basement is connected to one of the three fans upstairs—press the button once, and the fan turns on. Press it twice, and that same fan turns off. The problem is, no one knows which button controls which fan.

There is no elevator in the building and the electrician is very lazy so he will only climb up the stairs to the top floor once. It will take him nearly an hour to climb all the stairs and he refuses to use any assistance of any kind in order to complete this job. If it is impossible to see the fans from outside of their respective apartments, how does the electrician discover which button controls which fan once he climbs up the stairs for the first (and last) time?

Read the rest

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