United Airlines bars girls in leggings from boarding flight: they're "not properly clothed"

Call it The Landmaid's Tale: two girls were barred from boarding a flight by a United Airlines agent Sunday, and the airline confirmed that leggings are against a dress policy it applies to people traveling on passes issued to employees and their dependents.

A United Airlines gate agent barred two girls from boarding a flight Sunday morning because the girls were wearing leggings.

Another girl who was wearing gray leggings had to change before she was allowed to board the flight from Denver to Minneapolis, a witness said.

“She’s forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board,” Shannon Watts, who was at a gate at Denver International Airport said on Twitter. “Since when does @united police women’s clothing?”

The airline, when challenged, backed up its gate agent on Twitter.

"Casual attire is allowed as long as it looks neat and is in good taste for the local environment," tweeted a United Airlines spokesperson.

The "contract" referred to turns out to be very vague indeed, specifying only that passengers must be "properly clothed."

Later, though, United Airlines said that the girls were "United pass travelers" who are "United employees or their eligible dependents standing by on a space-available basis," meaning that the company was was applying an employee policy to someone "who was denied boarding this morning because her attire didn’t meet the United pass travel clothing requirements." Normal passengers' attire "doesn't need to meet the United pass travel clothing requirement," they wrote. Read the rest

Old Paul Ryan gaffe goes viral: "We're not going to give up on destroying the health care system"

This brainfart from the Republican speaker of the house dates to 2013, not the aftermath of his failure to pass 2017's universally-loathed Obamacare replacement plan. Snopes:

WHAT'S TRUE House Speaker Ryan said he would not give up on destroying the United States' health care system.

WHAT'S FALSE The statement was a gaffe that was taken out of context, not an actual admission of intent. ...

Although Ryan did say “we’re not going to give up on destroying the healthcare system for the American people,” this was merely a gaffe, not a statement of intent. Ryan was referring to the Affordable Care Act and his efforts to not let that law destroy the health care system.

This is fair context, but "merely a gaffe" handwaves what makes gaffes interesting. Lack of intent is not intrinsic to gaffes. Indeed, the fact gaffes tend to reveal intent is embodied by a term a journalists use for political ones to distinguish them from lesser varieties: the Kinsley Gaffe.

The first appearance in print of “Kinsley’s Law of Gaffes” may have been on January 17, 2008, when Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in a post about a Democratic candidates’ debate in his New Yorker blog: No article or blog post of this kind can be complete without a reference to (Michael) Kinsley’s Law of Gaffes, which states that a gaffe occurs when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Perhaps this should be supplemented by the notion of a Deductive Slip, meaning something a politician says, however inadvertently, that can be shoehorned into a pre-existing “narrative.”

Kinsley himself points out that in political cases, the supposed gaffe is never animated by surprise. Read the rest

Man costumed as The Joker arrested and charged with "wearing a mask in public"

The AP reports that Jeremy Putnam, 31, was arrested in Winchester, Virginia, and charged with "wearing a mask in public," a felony in that state.

He was armed with a "sword" in public, which apparently alarmed residents. But they haven't charged him with that; they've charged him with this, a fascinatingly terrible law:

§ 18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks in certain places; exceptions.

It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age to, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered so as to conceal the identity of the wearer...

...with specific exceptions for "traditional holiday costumes," protective or medical masks, or ones for a "bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball."

Putnam is being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

Read the rest

Trump advisor Steve Bannon ordered conservative Republicans to vote for Trumpcare and they just laughed at him

Trumpcare went down in flames yesterday, and the flames smelled faintly of burning Trumphair. But the president's personal humiliation was shared with adviser Steve Bannon, according to reports, whose behavior around conservative Republicans made a joke of Trump's ultimatum.

Mike Allen quotes him thus:

"Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill."

Bannon's point was: This is the Republican platform. You're the conservative wing of the Republican Party. But people in the room were put off by the dictatorial mindset.

One of the members replied: "You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn't listen to him, either."

Bannon's already plotting his revenge, reports Asawin Suebsaeng.

The general consensus seems to be that the failure to replace Obamacare is unexpectedly bad for both president and GOP: he's exposed as a crêpe leopard, and them as a bunch of unprincipled bickering morons with nothing to show for 7 years' empty ranting about Obamacare. Read the rest

"Obamacare is law of the land" as replacement fails in House

Republicans withdrew Trump's favored legislative plan to replace Obamacare on Friday, understanding that they lacked the votes to pass it in the House of Representatives. This despite the president's threat to leave Obamacare as law of the land if they did not give the American Health Care Act an up-or-down hearing today.

The GOP bill—a comically mangled "Obamacare Lite" stripped of everything people like about the original and little that they don't—held only a 17% public approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac poll. It attempted to please both conservatives, who want unfettered profitability for insurance companies, and GOP moderates, who are wary of killing quite so many poor people as this would entail.

Trump, however, made clear that he isn't blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for its failure.

Run, Paul. Run!

Update:

The GOP's health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act was scheduled for a House vote today, but was withdrawn just before. In an address, Speaker Paul Ryan said "we were close, but not quite there" and said that the United States would be living with Obamacare "for the foreseeable future."
Read the rest

UK court refuses to let wife divorce husband, tells her unhappiness is to be expected in marriage

In Britain, grounds for divorce are quite specific: adultery, desertion, "unreasonable behavior", the agreement of both parties or five years separation. An appeals court has therefore affirmed another judge's ruling that Tini Owens, 66, is not otherwise permitted to divorce her husband of 39 years.

Judge Robin Tolson ruled against Mrs Owens in the family court last year, concluding that her allegations were "of the kind to be expected in marriage" and refused to grant a divorce petition.

Three appeal judges, led by Sir James Munby, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, analysed the case at a hearing in London on Tuesday.

Philip Marshall QC, representing Mrs Owens, told the court that the "vast majority" of divorces were undefended in 21st Century England.

He said: "It is extraordinarily unusual in modern times for a court to dismiss a petition for divorce."

She said the marriage was loveless, desperately unhappy, and that she was left in a wretched state by his manner, tone, insensitivity and mistrust.

Her complaint reads like the script of a grim British cringe-humor sitcom: yelling at her in an airport after her failure to buy the right crystal tchotchke from duty free; nasty remarks during dinner with guests; endless passive-aggressive sighing and tutting, etc.

He reprimanded the Respondent saying, “can I say something without you flying off the handle? I have said this before that when you put cardboard in the skip, do it properly and not without any thought about what will happen to it.
Read the rest

The BBC is using this excellent photo of Trump for everything

It's not even clear where it's from, but alongside various stories about Trump's healthcare legislation woes, it's been on the BBC News homepage for what, two days now? For this morning's one, they've started zooming into it. By tomorrow, if the legislation has yet to pass, we'll be inside his weird angry tired mouth.

If someone could figure out the source (it doesn't seem to be Reuters) that would be fabulous. I've used a fractal image enhancement application to make this 2600-pixel wide enlargement, but it's just not the same as a nice raw wire shot.

Read the rest

Humiliated Trump issues ultimatum to GOP: pass healthcare act now or I'll never repeal Obamacare

Trump, his deal-making skills having failed him, simply ordered his party Thursday night to pass his unappetizing Obamacare replacement plan, or else. And the "else" is Obamacare, forever and ever and ever.

Read the rest

Senate votes to allow ISPs to collect and sell personal data without permission

In a party-line split, the U.S. Senate today voted to allow internet service providers to retain personal data without permission and sell it to whomever might pay for it.

The Senate voted 50:48 in favor of S.J. 34, which would remove the rules and, under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, prevent similar rules from being enacted. It now heads to the House for approval.

“If signed by the President, this law would repeal the FCC’s widely-supported broadband privacy framework, and eliminate the requirement that cable and broadband providers offer customers a choice before selling their sensitive, personal information,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny in a joint statement.

Read the rest

Conservative trolls pretending to be black on Twitter "sad" and "obvious"

A sharp increase in right-wingers pretending to be black on Twitter as they troll people has been noted.

"I'm used to trolling, and it doesn't bother me, but the idea of a black woman selling her sons out to police with everything we know now was so sad to me that I couldn't wrap my mind around it. And the idea that anyone — let alone a black person — could say Emmett Till deserved to die is just so beyond the pale," he said.

Over the past few months, Black Twitter has noticed an increase in the number of white trolls creating fake Twitter accounts. Newkirk says he first noticed this around election time last year, when people began posting directions on how to create these fake accounts on websites and forums.

This sounds like a play-for-play repeat of a strategy defined during the gamergate imbroglio: a generic female name, a googled cutesy avatar and a comically idealized personality that supposedly will bring the enemy to their knees but which convinces no-one but fellow believers. "All very cartoonish," as Newkirk describes.

...one of the common mistakes trolls make is misusing or overusing African-American Vernacular English. "It's not just that they get the rules of AAVE wrong — both the spoken and written conventions — they also don't code switch the way black people do. Not a lot of effort goes into these accounts, in my honest opinion," Rosenbaum says.

Likewise, the gamergate-era trolls would mix up various strata of queer theory and feminism in precisely the same uncannily comical way. Read the rest

The Commodore 64's "secret colours"

Commodore's C64 had a famously decisive, if drab set of 16 colors to choose from, a note of artistic intent amid the unthinking mathematical extremities of other 8-bit color palettes. But did you know there were secret colors? Aaron Bell writes up a discovery that blew his mind many years ago and which, 26 years later, he's finally figured out.
If you swap two colours rapidly enough - say at 50 or 60 frames per second - you can fool the eye into seeing something that isn't there. On a machine with sixteen colours, just one or two extra can add a lot to a scene. Since today we all live in the future and you are reading a fully programmable document on a supercomputer, let's try it.

The sad part is that the trick doesn't work for most pairings due to the obvious strobing/flickering effect it generates. But now wily coders can add a whole host of new grays to their vivid Commodore palettes. ("The tartan for the clan McPuke" is definitely the best description of the C64 palette I've ever read. I doubt it'll be topped.)

I read somewhere this is more or less what's done on cheapo monitors to make you think you're getting 24-bit color.

Previously: How the hell did they get 1024 colors out of a 1981 PC? Read the rest

9 minutes of Aussie-flavoured dashcam hell

"Faaaaaack!"

"You SILLY person!"

Jesus Chroiiiiist!

etcetera. Read the rest

Four killed in attack at UK Parliament

Four people, including an assailant and a police officer, were killed today in an attack at the Houses of Parliament that authorities say was an act of terrorism.

Ministers of Parliament were locked in after police shot and killed a man who reportedly ran at the gates by Parliament square and stabbed an officer. Moments earlier, a car had run five people over on nearby Westminster Bridge, leaving at least two dead and twenty injured.

Prime Minister Theresa May is to chair an emergency meeting of ministers today, writes the BBC.

BBC Radio 5 reports that "around three shots" were heard.

Update: the BBC posted a map of the area and the events as reported, with a detailed eyewitness report. Read the rest

Real data used to create fictional flight over Mars

Jan Fröjdman used HiRISE satellite data from Mars to create this beautiful and detailed flyby of the planet. Liz Stinson writes that stitching it together took months.

For Fröjdman, creating the flyover effect was like assembling a puzzle. He began by colorizing the photographs (HiRISE captures images in grayscale). He then identified distinctive features in each of the anaglyphs—craters, canyons, mountains–and matched them between image pairs. To create the panning 3-D effect, he stitched the images together along his reference points and rendered them as frames in a video. “It was a very slow process,” he says.

When I was a kid, my mind was blown by Isaac Asimov's VHS wonder, Voyage to the Outer Planets and Beyond, which (at least in some versions, if not the one you can find on YouTube), included the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab's 1980s Mars flyover animation: my first encounter with the glitchy, transfixing, uncanny quality of real data from another world. How far we have come, yet not gone.

Read the rest

Man dies after bathtub phone charger shock

Phone chargers usually only deliver a few volts of juice at a feeble amperage, but they'll deliver a lot more if you give them the chance. The BBC writes that a UK man died in the bathtub after being shocked by a charger connected to an extension cord.

Richard Bull, 32, died when his iPhone charger made contact with the water at his home in Ealing, west London. A coroner ruled his death was accidental and plans to send a report to Apple about taking action to prevent future deaths. Safety campaigners have warned about the dangers of charging mobiles near water following the inquest. Mr Bull is believed to have plugged his charger into an extension cord from the hallway and rested it on his chest while using the phone, the Sun reports.

Those little switching power supplies won't save you when wet. The bottom line, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents: "any appliance attached to the mains electricity circuit is dangerous near water." Read the rest

Shape land like Slartibartfast with an augmented reality sandbox

Here's a sandbox with a topographical map projected onto it. Move sand about, and the map moves with it, like an insane tech demo of some augmented-reality version of classic God-game Populous.

Your very own AR sandbox costs $7,050 and it comes with the laptop, projector and camera rig. The software, though, is free of charge. Here's a detailed project report on the prototype if you fancy shaving a few grand off that tag. [via r/interestingasfuck]

Correction: this post originally likened the shaping of land to the activities of God. Slartibartfast is the correct object of comparison. Boing Boing regrets the error. Read the rest

Preventing typography disasters, from the Oscars to prescription bottles

This Vox video illustrates the fact that type design was the true culprit in last month's Oscars cockup, and how easy it would have been to prevent. But backslapping award shows are only the beginning of bad design when it comes to type.

The 2017 Oscars ended with a pretty shocking mix-up. Announcer Warren Beatty incorrectly named La La Land as the Best Picture winner, and the mistake wasn't revealed until crew members had already started giving their acceptance speeches. A lot of things went wrong for the snafu to happen the way it did. But what if typography was one of them? A better announcement card design could have made for a very different Academy Awards show — not to mention a much less embarrassing Miss Universe show for Steve Harvey back in 2015. But the implications of bad typography don't end there: poorly designed ballots in the 2000 presidential election arguably could have swayed the outcome, and illegible type on medicine bottles could be causing nearly 500,000 cases of drug misuse per year in the U.S.

The way pill bottles are turned into incomprehensible ads for the pharmacy--and how graphic designer Deborah Adler proposes to fix it--is intriguing, not least because there are always a lot of unseen pressures and constraints that design is bound by. Nothing will ever be done to fix it: informational text gets perverted by conceit, branding, regulation and corporate bikeshedding until it is worse than useless for any purpose.

Except one, perhaps! I'm especially fond of how manuals for electrical appliances are mostly regulatory safety warnings that succeed both in limiting liability and making the device less safe, because they are so forbidding and badly written no human will ever comprehend them. Read the rest

More posts