This $25 bidet is amazing

I bought this $25 non-electric bidet last month and without going into detail, I have to say it's a game changer. I just bought another one for the other bathroom. The water is not heated like with those high-tech Japanese toilets, but there's something to be said for a refreshing blast of cold water. Installation took less than 15 minutes. Read the rest

Fool strangers in public places with the code-generating website

Shoulder surfers will be totally blown away by your movie hacker skills!

[via] Read the rest

A surprisingly large number of animals kill each other after sex

Katherine Ellen Foley reports on the curious phenomenon of sexual cannibalism in the animal kingdom.

But octopuses aren’t the only ones who kill their sex partners. Female praying mantises often kill their mates, especially if they’re hungry, and within certain species of spiders, the males will actually offer themselves as a meal for their newly-impregnated partners.

Despite the ferocity of mating in the animal kingdom, romance is not dead: sexual cannibalism can be something of a gift from the male to the female in many cases. Female wolf spiders and tarantulas, who often eat males pre-intercourse, produce 30% more eggs than those who don’t when they finally get around to mating. And in the mantis’ case, the death of one male often means the survival of the reproducing female.

“It’s probably not the male’s preferred outcome,” Scheel says. “But if you think about it…contributing his calories to his offspring doesn’t do any harm [to the species].”

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Largest coal-fired power plant is shutting down. What will Trump do now?

Trump made a big deal about saving the dying coal industry. “[We’re] bringing back jobs, big league. We’re bringing them back at the plant level. We’re bringing them back at the mine level. The energy jobs are coming back.”

But in recent weeks, owners of two coal-fired power plants announced they were going to cease operations, including the largest coal-fired facility in the western United States. They can't compete with natural gas price, which "have made it more expensive to produce electricity at the facility than to purchase it from cheaper sources," according to the Washington Post. It reminds me of my friend who sells novelty items on his website, but stopping because Amazon's retail price of the same items is usually less than the price he pays to buy the items from manufacturers.

Trump’s ability to save the Navajo plant and others like it is limited, despite his rhetoric. Even if his administration follows through on its promises to relax regulations on the coal industry, those changes aren’t likely to change coal’s fading market.

And if the owners of coal-fired plants lose money when they operate their facilities, keeping them running makes little economic sense.

For some reason, Trump's energy plan makes no mention of solar, "an industry that just added 51,000 jobs." Maybe he could issue an executive order requiring solar panels to have coal burners on them to belch smoke. Read the rest

"I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you."

Quincy Larson asks you to image "What’s the worst thing that could happen if the Customs and Border Patrol succeed in getting ahold of your unlocked phone?"

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Temperature in Oklahoma reaches 99 degrees in mid-February

A heat-wave hit Oklahoma, sending temperatures into the high 90s. Norman, Oklahoma was 99 degrees F (37 C) on February 11.

From ThinkProgress:

Many people may welcome a temperate day in February, but warm weather in normally cold months disrupts ecosystems. Trees may bloom after an unseasonably balmy spell — and then suffer frost damage when cold weather returns. Flowers may blossom and shed their petals before bees arrive to pollinate them. These minor destabilizations have a ripple effect, impacting flora, fauna, and the industries built around them.

In Oklahoma, the spike in temperature is particularly ironic, given the state’s political climate. [Sen. James "Snowball" Inhofe (R-OK)] is Washington’s most vocal climate denier, having published a book alleging that climate change is a hoax while serving as the ranking Republican member of the Senate Environment Committee.

Image: Mesonet Read the rest

Hacking a $2 voice recorder

I'm really enjoying Donald Bell's Maker Project Lab videos on YouTube. They are short reports on cool things happening in the world of making. This week, Donald talks about a circuit-bent voice recording intercom, a $500 laser engraver, a Raspberry Pi robot arm, Flick Face electronics project, Pi Cams compared, and a PocketCHIP review. Read the rest

People are teasing Instagram by posting genderless nipples art

Instagram is now challenged with determining the gender of decorated nipples so it can enforce its very serious and important policy of forbidden the display of women's nipples.

Previoulsy: Genderless Nipples account frustrates Instagram Read the rest

Kim Jong-un’s brother killed with poison spray at airport

In olden times, kings and queens had royal poisoners on hand to get rid of inconvenient people. They were good at what they did. For example, they could lightly dust a letter or page of a book with a powder that would kill whoever touched it.

Politically-motivated poisoning is back in vogue. New York reports that "Kim Jong-nam, the older half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was killed in a Malaysian airport Monday after he was sprayed in the face with an unknown liquid, police said Tuesday."

The oldest son of Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-nam was seen as the heir apparent in North Korea throughout the 1990s. But that reportedly changed after he was caught with a forged Dominican passport in 2001 as he was trying to sneak his way into Japan to attend Tokyo Disneyland. The subsequent fallout from that incident led to Kim Jong-un’s grooming to take over for the Dear Leader.

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Bet on what will Trump ban during his first term

UK betting site Paddy Power is taking bets on a number of Trump related possibilities, including suspending the 1st Amendment (40-to-1), repealing Obamacare (1-to-2), banning abortion (3-to-1), re-opening Alcatraz as a prison (14-to-1), outlawing the theory of evolution (50-to-1), and banning stairs (500-to-1). Read the rest

"Your Name" is the highest-grossing anime feature ever

Your Name is the highest-grossing anime feature ever, knocking Spirited Away to the number two spot. Tofugu has a feature story about Your Name, which includes an interview with director Makoto Shinkai.

Without giving too much of the twist away, let's just say the film arcs from the careless fantasy of Freaky Friday to the sci-fi esoterica of Sense8 after Taki's impactful revelation. It's a surprising plus that Your Name invites comparisons to such a broad spread of body-swapping, mind-melding fiction at different turns. Even when venturing into stranger territory, it keeps a brisk pace and a spring in its step – exploring deep thoughts without brooding on them.

Read the rest

Oklahoma lawmakers want men to approve all abortions

Oklahoma Rep. Justin Humphrey is pushing for the passage of House Bill 1441, "prohibiting abortion to be performed without consent of the father; requiring pregnant woman seeking to abort pregnancy to provide identity of father." It might as well be called the Handmaid's Tale Law.

Rep. Humphrey explained his reasoning behind the bill to The Intercept:

“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” [Humphrey] said. “I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant,” he explained. “So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

Was he wearing his swell cowboy costume when he said this? Read the rest

Interesting puzzles from the 2017 toy fair in Nuremberg, Germany

Tim from Grand Illusions shows off the neat puzzles he picked up at the 2017 toy fair in Nuremberg, Germany.

Every February, Tim visits the toy fair in Nuremberg, Germany. He is not sure if this was the 37th time or the 38th time! Anyway, Tim spends a number of days there, visiting every stand, searching out novel and entertaining items, both for his own toy collection, and also for the Grand Illusions Toy Shop.

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Breaking: Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn resigns

CBS News is reporting that Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has resigned.

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Moby says he has secret intelligence info on Trump

Recording artist Moby says he talked to friends who work in Washington DC and revealed to him five pieces of secret information about the Trump administration.

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12 pack of Bicycle playing cards

I go through about one deck of playing cards a week. That's how long it takes for the cards to get dirty and bent from frequent handling (I spend a couple of hours a day practicing sleights during phone calls, watching TV, during meals, waiting in line, hiking, and so on). It feels extravagant to replace a deck every week, but it's actually an inexpensive habit. I buy decks by the dozen on Amazon. Right now a 12-pack of Bikes sells for $15.49. I wish I could subscribe to them.

You get 6 red backs and 6 blue backs. Jason likes blue back cards, and I like red back. (Hey, Jason - I'll save the blue ones for you if you save the red ones for me.)

If you want something to do with the cards, let me gently steer you in the direction of my book, Trick Decks: Read the rest

RIP Raymond Smullyan, Puzzle-Creating Logician

When I was in college I read and greatly enjoyed Raymond Smullyan logical puzzles books, especially What Is the Name of This Book? He died last week at the age of 97.

From the NYTimes:

Professor Smullyan was a serious mathematician, with the publications and the doctorate to prove it. But his greatest legacy may be the devilishly clever logic puzzles that he devised, presenting them in numerous books or just in casual conversation.

Sometimes they were one-offs, and sometimes they were embedded in longer narratives to explain mathematical concepts, such as Boolean logic, as he did in “The Magic Garden of George B and Other Logic Puzzles” in 2015; or retrograde analysis, as he explored in the “The Chess Mysteries of the Arabian Knights” in 1981.

He was also a character. With his long white hair and beard, Professor Smullyan resembled Ian McKellen’s wizard, Gandalf, from the “Lord of the Rings” film series. He was lanky, hated exercise and loved steak and eggs. He studied Eastern religion. He told corny jokes and performed close-up magic to anyone near him. He played the piano with passion and talent into his 90s. (A career in music had been derailed by tendinitis when he was a young man.)

Here are some of his puzzles. Read the rest

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