Verizon store customer insists he is "definitely part of ISIS"

PHOTO: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

A Pittsburgh-area man was charged with disorderly conduct after telling Verizon store staff that he was "definitely part of ISIS" and talking about ISIS on the store's demo handsets.

When asked to leave the store, Fleming said “he wouldn't leave the store and that he was definitely part of ISIS,” the complaint said. He also said that “he was calling to get his posse to get them” and other Verizon stores.

Fleming eventually left the store, but was later arrested wearing a ski mask at a bar. Police said he made statements about ISIS to officers and had a block, which he said “I want people to believe it’s C-4 explosive,” the complaint said.

They have all the handsets right there to play with, but make an international call on one and everyone loses their mind! Read the rest

Saturn's hexagonal pole storm revealed in new Cassini probe shots

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Having settled into orbit around Saturn, the Cassini probe has begun returning new images of the gas giant. The BBC reports that it will be "making a series of daredevil maneuvers" in the coming months, risking doom near Saturn's moons to get better shots of them and the rings.

Cassini began what are known as its ring-grazing orbits on 30 November. Each of these week-long orbits - 20 in all - lifts the spacecraft high above Saturn's northern hemisphere before sending it hurtling past the outer edges of the planet's main rings.

Nasa said that it would release images from future passes that included some of the closest-ever views of the outer rings and small moons that orbit there.

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Atari 2600 emulated inside Minecraft

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Seth Bling built a functioning Atari 2600 emulator in Minecraft. Not just the processor, or the box, but the whole thing, complete with cartridges and a television. The white flashing line you see in it is the television's scanning electron beam being emulated. You can watch dirt blocks turn to stone and back: that's the ones and zeroes in the Atari's memory. You can edit the memory, bit by bit, by punching it!

It takes Minecraft about three minutes to draw each frame, but Bling recorded a timelapse of it in action. Click through to the YouTube for a download of the Minecraft world housing the emulator. Here's a technical explanatory video:

Previously: Extremely Mundane Places In Minecraft Read the rest

Recordings of various dolphin species' calls

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Spectrograms of dolphin calls are closer to written English than the signatures I'm able to scrawl on credit card machines in grocery stores. We really should stop messing with these people—who knows what they might be up to?

Voices in the Sea has recordings of twelve different species. Don't miss the selection of videos of acoustic research. Read the rest

1000 years of royalty: nice map of Europe's nastiest families

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Nadieh Breme's Royal Constellations is a delightful starry visualization of a millenium of familial connections between European royals, and it gets right down to business: "Royal & aristocratic families are known for their fondness of marrying within their own clique."

Pick any two and it draws a line between them, revealing ancestral lines going back to the beginning—from the kings of medieval Wales all the way to the Windsors. Read the rest

NoPhone Selfie: world's most minimal handset now reflects user

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Two years ago, the NoPhone launched to rave reviews as the most minimalist yet secure handset on the market. The NoPhone Selfie is the long-awaited follow-up, adding the ability to picture the user themselves without adding significantly to the unit's price.

At $18, the NoPhone Selfie remains among the cheaper options. Mine has a problem, though: the display seems to be stuck on a hideous morph between Chucky the Killer Doll and Brad Dourif, the actor who voices him.

About the Product • The NoPhone is a fake phone for people addicted to real phones • It has no data plan, no camera, no battery and no Wi-Fi but is completely toilet-bowl resistant • It's the perfect phone for someone who uses their phone too much

The NoPhone Selfie [Amazon] Read the rest

Full body costume made of artificial human teeth

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It appears to be a prop from the show Channel Zero, but I'm going to be spreading it virally with a caption about the plight of children born with supracutaneous dentata.

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List of cookies

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You might not know this, but the editors of Wikipedia maintain an automated list of all the world's cookies. The have everything from Germany's Aachener Printen to Neutrassian Zalgowafers, but somehow missed Mealy Grahams from good old England. [via] Read the rest

Trump rants on Twitter about "$4bn" Air Force One replacement

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Boeing stocks tumbled Tuesday after president-elect Donald Trump tweeted about canceling a $4bn Air Force One order. But it was a typical Trumpism: the number is plucked out of nowhere, and Boeing was forced to publicize the fact it's only got the U.S. Government on the hook for $170m, and that the two planes, if ordered, would be $850m each.

“The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program and I think it’s ridiculous," he said. "I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”

The president-elect's most recent financial disclosure form, filed in May and detailing his 2015 holdings, showed that the Manhattan billionaire owned between $50,001 and $100,000 worth of stock in Boeing, a purchase he announced on Twitter in 2013. Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, said Tuesday morning that Trump sold all of his stocks last June.

Miller added that the exact details of Trump's desire to cancel the Boeing order would be dealt with after he is inaugurated next month.

Boeing's stocks rebounded later in the morning as it became apparent Trump was saying untrue things.

(Maybe he doesn't want to fly on it. Same as not wanting to live in the White House.) Read the rest

ReMarkable e-Ink sketching slate pitched at "paper people"

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reMarkable's 10.3" tablet has an e-ink display with a paper-like texture, a digital pencil with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, and promises to finally replace all that paper in your workspace. The pitch: read, write and sketch, all on one gadget.

Unlike traditional paper, reMarkable connects to the digital world when you need it to. Your thoughts, whether they’re words or sketches, are instantly synced to reMarkable’s cloud service and made available on all your devices. Documents and ebooks are easily transferred for reading and reviewing with pen in hand. reMarkable connects to the internet for easy sharing and collaboration across devices. You can even take notes on one device and have it appear on a second device, in real time.

It's 10.2" by 6.9" and a quarter inch thick. It weighs less than a pound, and the 1872 x 1404 pixel display works out at 225 pixels per inch. It runs Linux (not Android, though) and has an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 512MB of RAM and WiFi.

It claims a latency of 55ms and the demo video shows performance similar to the iPad Pro, which they say has 60ms latency. Wacom tablet hardware polls at Read the rest

The screenwriter of Arrival on how hard it was to adapt Ted Chiang for the screen

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Eric Heisserer adapted Ted Chiang's novella Story of Your Life as the screenplay Arrival. Both are brilliant, but in different ways. It wasn't easy.

In all my draft work on the adaptation, I spent the most time on the intellectual and political challenges of the story. But if I ever encroached on the intimate, emotional through-line of Louise’s journey, the story fell apart. Other scenes could be sacrificed, reworked, moved, or cut to the bone. But director Denis Villeneuve and I found a bare minimum of steps to Louise’s personal journey, and that became our Alamo; our hill we would die defending. Denis had a knack for visuals that spoke on an emotional level while also dovetailing with the intellectual challenges our characters faced. Marrying those two, sometimes in a single line of dialogue or image, made the film come alive. It made us feel the story. And at the end of the day, what drew me most to Ted Chiang’s story was the way it made me feel, and above all else we wanted to transport and share that feeling with audiences

It's always fascinating to see how the sausage is made. Screenwriters must write for several audiences--the author being adapted, producers, directors--at different stages of the process, while keeping moviegoers in mind all along. You can see here how a master makes his script align with each on its journey to the screen, somehow without alienating everyone.

Also interesting is the fact Final Draft, the expensive and mandatory screenplay production software package, can't handle images—an unusual but unavoidable requirement for a movie full of alien logograms to be deciphered. Read the rest

Bravo Twitter: company promises not to help create Trump's Muslim registry

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The Intercept's Sam Biddle asked nine tech companies if they would help authorities create a national registry of known muslims—one of president-elect Donald Trump's campaign suggestions. Only Twitter would go on the record to state that it would not co-operate with such a list.
Twitter: “No,” and a link to this blog post, which states as company policy a prohibition against the use, by outside developers, of “Twitter data for surveillance purposes. Period.” which states as company policy a prohibition against the use, by outside developers, of “Twitter data for surveillance purposes. Period.”

Bravo. It takes courage and planning for publicly-traded businesses to take a hostile stand on hot potatoes like this, and Twitter bothered. Compare to IBM, whose CEO wrote Trump a slobbering mash note promising the services of her company.

Seven of the other companies didn't respond at all. Microsoft responded with "We’re not going to talk about hypotheticals at this point."

We're asking if tech firms are going to cooperate. But when it comes to inferring affiliations from the mass surveillance of private data, it's just the sort of thing whistleblowers warn us is already going on. Trump's off-the-cuff blather about official registries isn't about what is known, but about making it acceptable.

That said, Biddle's post was met this weekend by dismissive sneering from the Gilfoyles: a good reminder that Silicon Valley is cynical and willing, and that fatalism is the best policy.

Update: Duped Cory. Read the rest

Psychedelics can treat anxiety and depression, but there's a catch

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Jan Hoffman writes about recent research into the effects on psychedelics such as psilocybin on anxiety and depression: "About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose."

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and Dr. Daniel Shalev of the New York State Psychiatric Institute are among leaders in psychiatry, addiction medicine and palliative care who endorsed the work. The studies, they wrote, are “a model for revisiting criminalized compounds of interest in a safe, ethical way.”

If research restrictions could be eased, they continued, “there is much potential for new scientific insights and clinical applications.”

Although cancer patients will not have access to therapeutically administered psilocybin anytime soon, the findings add vigor to applications to expand research in a multicenter trial with hundreds of participants.

Moreover, there are few side effects. But there is a catch: the experiences must be rigorously contextualized, written down, analyzed, etc.

Dr. Griffiths noted that patients received extensive support, which may have deepened and secured their life-affirming transformations.

“People will take psilocybin at a rave or at Burning Man” — the art and performance desert festival — “but the effect,” he said, “evaporates like water running through their hands.”

Set and setting and settlement. Read the rest

Cat vs. Mailman

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"How am I gonna get this in there? Gimme my glove back!" Read the rest

Trump voter explains how she knows millions of illegal immigrants voted

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This isn't a self-aware Trumpkin or media supplicant, or an internet anti-semite putting names in brackets. She's an American who voted for Donald Trump. She believes not only that millions of illegal immigrants voted, but that mainstream news media told her they did.

She's "glad you brought that up," but soon realizes it's not true. Then she blurs the numbers and places and sources until it doesn't matter whether it was ever true or not, so long as it feels like it might have been. Read the rest

LED flashlight review in abandoned mine ends on unsettling note

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A flashlight review that begins with the promise "I'm about to hike through a remote canyon to an abandoned mine, and I gotta tell you there's a storm raging outside" should end on an interesting note, and this one does. [via]

Disturbing, strange sounds. That's exactly what I caught on video while filming and documenting the abandoned Waldeck Mine using the ThruNite TN12 flashlight. The Waldeck Mine is an abandoned gold mine located deep in a forested canyon in the high country. I went there on a stormy night in order to document the mine while reviewing and demonstrating ThruNite's excellent TN12 handheld flashlight. The abandoned mine itself is over 150 years old and still has a lot of awesome yet dangerous timbering in its furthest reaches. There are upper levels in the Waldeck Mine, but I only explored and documented the main haulage tunnel.

The ghostly AMSR action starts about 12:15 in.

Witchgadget.com is available! Read the rest

Man attempts to sharpen a dollar-store kitchen knife

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Using Japanese sharpening stones of various grits and considerable prices, Junskitchen set out to try and make an edge of a $1 kitchen knife. The results are impressive—but how long will they last?

[1,000 and 6,000] grits would be enough for a normal household knife. I used grits 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 8,000, and 12,000 in this video. The higher the number, the finer the sanding and the sharper the knife will be.
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