Football coach placed own penis in hot dog bun, say teens

Jim Sharkey, a high school football coach in Spokane, was suspended February after reportedly showing his penis to students. The Spokesman-Review reports that the incident occurred last summer at a leadership camp.

A couple of weeks after the camp, a Ferris player came forward and said that while Sharkey was grilling, he turned with his exposed penis inside a hot dog bun. Sharkey said, “You think that is a big dog – take a look at this,” according to school records that listed multiple different versions of the same quote.

While the coach got a written reprimand and was allowed to coach this past fall, school officials placed him on administrative leave Feb. 1 after more players claimed to have seen the hot dog incident and other students brought up separate incidents of questionable behavior by the 11-year teacher and coach.

Sharkey says the allegations are false and will fight to keep his dream job. [via Deadspin] Read the rest

FBI investigating Trump campaign's Russia links, says no info supports Trump's wiretapping claims

At a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the FBI had launched an investigation into Russian efforts to influence 2016's presidential election and into links and coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government.

"Because it is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are investigating," he told the committee, admitting that this would only make the disclosure frustrating. "... we will follow the facts wherever they lead."

He also rebutted the suggestion, presented by Trump on Twitter and elsewhere, that former president Barack Obama wiretapped Trump tower during the election campaign.

"I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," said Comey.

"No individual in the United States can direct surveillance of another individual," he said in response to a question about whether the President had the statutory power to do so. "...No president could."

Asked whether he'd seen any evidence of British involvement in the alleged wiretapping, NSA director Michael Rogers, also attending the hearing, denied it unequivocally.

"That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement," he said, referring to the intelligence-sharing agreement between major western powers in which the US and UK are partners.

Prompted, he agreed with the British that that it was a "ridiculous" suggestion, adding that "it frustrates a key ally of ours."

The hearing is currently underway.

Read the rest

Trump approval rating "in the toilet"

After a few weeks of Donald Trump's presidency, only 37 percent of Americans are happy with it. It's the worst in 72 years of polling for a fresh president, reports Mary Papenfuss.

Barack Obama’s rating at this point in his presidency was 60 percent.

HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate, which combines publicly available polling data, currently puts Trump’s approval rating slightly higher at 44 percent, with 53 percent disapproving.

It’s not clear which of several issues may have torpedoed the president’s numbers.

With so much to work with, how can any one thing be given credit? The appearance of being a loser ties it all together, though, like a nice rug in room furnished with junk. CNN reports that FBI director James Comey is today expected to publicly rebut Trump's claim that Barack Obama, in cahoots with British intelligence, "wire tapped" him during the election campaign.

It's a moment of political theater that could end in humiliation for Trump, with Comey expected to say that there was no wiretapping, debunking allegations that Trump has repeatedly refused to withdraw.

The hearing could also shed light on the state of FBI investigations into the extent of Russian meddling in the election campaign. Republicans hope Comey will state that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump aides and officials from Moscow, a move that could begin to break up a cloud of Russian intrigue that has stifled the early weeks of the administration.

It is Comey, though! Since everyone's happy to cast him as kingmaker whenever he asks them to, who knows where whim will take him today? Read the rest

Unusual computer ad from Japan

Mouse is a middling Japanese laptop brand (Engadget stayed on top of it for a while) with an excellent ad agency. Read the rest

Turkey splits up fight between roosters

Dennis Coon was unable to stop two roosters kicking off in the yard, but Officer Gobbles was having none of it. Read the rest

Pink Trombone is an online voice synthesizer with a difference

Neil Thapen's Pink Trombone is a voice simulator: instead of telling it what to say, you individually move the soft and fleshy parts of the mouth, tongue and throat. There's a lot of fun to be had moving around the circular purple tongue control and the bottom lip and hearing the machine sing.

Spotted via Bennett Foddy, which made me think there should be a version controlled with the Q W O P letters, named "Qwopera."

Read the rest

The Offworld Collection available to order

The Offworld Collection, presenting the very best features and essays from Offworld, is finally available to buy directly from Campo Santo for $40. I had the pleasure of designing and illustrating this splendid 250-page hardcover volume, but it's the excellent writing, edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, that makes it an essential buy. You get the ebook immediately upon purchase. Read the rest

Gorgeous and expensive wooden wireless keyboards, touchpads and mini-speakers

Oree makes wooden computer peripherals, and not just the usual keyboard and iPhone cases: also offered are matching touchpads (with optional numpad engraving) and "pebbles"--a gadget that combines a speaker and a wireless phone charger. Everything's offered in maple and walnut, with various engraving options.

The keyboard alone isn't unreasonable at $150, but a set seems terribly expensive: you're looking at $500 shipped! Read the rest

Zelda: Art & Artifacts is an enormous art book for Hyrule explorers

The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts is a mammoth book containing art and errata from practically every Zelda title ever released. Having spent a mere afternoon with it, I feel I've experienced an adolescence-worth of missed gameplay.

I've never gotten around to immersing myself in the Zelda games, but was always struck by the their' precision and economy, a world crafted more than built. There's a mysticism, even a darkness to Zelda that seems out of place in Nintendo's cutesy-poo lineup.

A heroic cycle, with a eternally-recurring hero and nemesis, every generation of the mythos is a strange echo of another, and the star is a stoic mute boy defined by his tools and under fate's control. Hyrule and its hero are less standard RPG fantasy than a uniquely Japanese new wave murmur, an Elric in Arcadia who brings sunshine rather than storm and never has a single brooding thought and gets to live silently ever after.

Published by Dark Horse Books, it's 424 pages long and weighs 6 pounds. It's 12.3 x 9.3 inches long and wide and two inches thick. Notes and other documentation are translated by Aria Tanner, Hisashi Kotobuki, Heidl Plechl and Michael Gombos.

Organized roughly by release date (the canonical continuity seems rather murky), there's early animation-style cels, box art, instruction booklets, and even some work from the latest title, Breath of the Wild, released a couple of weeks ago.

It goes from exquisitely painted concept art right down to detailed sprite sheets from classic 8-bit outings, and the print quality is outstanding. Read the rest

How tardigrades survive extreme conditions

Tardigrades, the tiny creatures also known as water bears, are a house favorite at Boing Boing. Able to survive in the most extreme conditions, from alcohol immersion to empty space, their resilience poses difficult scientific questions. Scientists believe they've found the answer, and have published their findings in Molecular Cell.

Wired's Matt Simon writes:

...researchers claim they’ve found an exclusively tardigradean protein that the creature produces, forming it into a glass bead. It’s in this state that the water bear can pull off such extreme feats of survival—which might be very convenient for human medicine one day.

The problem with the [earlier] trehalose theory, as it turned out, was that while many other organisms like nematode worms and brine shrimp use it to survive desiccation, not all water bear species produce the sugar under stress. Some of those other organisms produce enough trehalose to make up 20 percent of their body weight. The water bear? Only about 2 percent.

This doesn't explain why tardigrade plushies thrive on my couch. Read the rest

"Roaming in Wonderland with Ears": the elf ear headphones reviewed

Mad props to whoever at the elf ear earbuds factory figured out exactly which western gadget blogger to send them to.

First spotted on the Chinese-language Taobao shopping portal last year, the Spirit E666 earbuds are now easily found in the US, sold under various names but most conveniently at Amazon for $20. The ones I received were labeled "ROAMING IN WONDERLAND WITH EARS."

They're made of silicone, come with three sets of in-ear cushions, a four-foot cable in the same color, and have a microphone with playback controls and a modern 3.5mm TRRS connector.

PROS

The first surprise is that they're easy to put on, and they stay on. Anyone who's ever fooled around with cosplay prosthetics (with the latex and spirit gum and whatnot) knows what a hassle it can be. You won't be playing rugby in these, but I found them comfortable and well-designed. And they pop right off too.

The second surprise is they don't sound awful. They aren't the market-stall tat you might expect in a weird fashion design like this, but are on a par with what's bundled with cellphones and iPods or found on the bargain rack at Best Buy. They sound rather sharp and lacking in mid-range definition, for sure, but have enough bass to satisfy.

CONS

They're too small for proper elfage. Dainty little anime tips, really. They just disappear inside fluffy or shaggy hair. They're also one-size fits all, so if your ears are particularly small or large, the ear ridge might not align well with your own. Read the rest

Trump humiliated: administration apologizes to Britain for saying it wiretapped him for Obama

Another day, another Trumpwreck.

The BBC:

The US has agreed not to repeat claims the UK's communications intelligence agency wiretapped Donald Trump during the presidential election campaign.

GCHQ rejected allegations made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that it spied on Mr Trump, as "nonsense".

No 10 has now been assured by Mr Spicer he would not repeat the accusation.

CNN on the apology:

The White House has apologized to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with his British counterpart on Thursday about press secretary Sean Spicer's comment from the White House podium about a Fox News report that said British intelligence helped wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, a White House official said Friday.

The official described the conversation as "cordial" where McMaster described Spicer's comment as "unintentional."

I have to admit, I didn't expect it to be Theresa May to be the first international leader to publicly humiliate the dumb orange bastard like this, but it's not like she had to do any work. He gave it to her on a silver platter—or rather a gold-painted plastic one that plays the James Bond tune with a little beeper.

UPDATE: According to Buzzfeed, Trump admin insiders insist they did not apologize, but won't go on the record.

But US officials have been disputed whether the Trump administration had gone as far as an apology.

Read the rest

Slow-motion footage of an airburst nuclear explosion hitting the ground

From the newly-released archives.

After collecting dust in high-security vaults for more than 65 years, hundreds of reels of film showing Cold War nuclear bomb tests have been declassified by the United States.

From 1945 to 1962, the United States detonated more than 210 nuclear bombs, with multiple cameras capturing each explosion at around 2,400 frames per second.

There's so many to watch! Read the rest

Windows 10 now "infested with annoying ads"

Microsoft gives away (ie forces) upgrades to Windows 10, and the price (ie reason) is that it is now "infested" with advertising, writes Tom Warren. Ads in the file explorer. Ads in core apps. Ads for Microsoft's browser that pop up as system notifications when he uses Chrome.

Microsoft added a notification center to Windows 10 for a reason. If it feels the need to blast its loyal users with irritating prompts then these should be channeled into that notification center, not wedged into the File Explorer or on top of the task bar. You shouldn't have to dig deep into a settings panel to disable these; they shouldn't be there in your File Explorer in the first place. Microsoft already had to walk back its aggressive Windows 10 upgrade prompts last year, so hopefully the company will come to its senses and rethink these annoying ads and bloatware in Windows 10.

Also, Mac nerds angrily switching to Windows was the computing equivalent of voting for Trump. The sick, sweet schadenfreude of watching the results gives me no pleasure. None at all! Read the rest

Video edit mocks awful animation in Mass Effect: Andromeda

The technology to create emotionless, plastic-faced "uncanny valley" animation is getting cheaper, and those placed in charge of using it are giving less and less of a fuck.

Another compendium here from xLetalis.

Read the rest

My new writing setup

I'm one of those people who has trouble writing at length on my main machine, because of all the distractions it offers. Email and messaging and social networking: they all combine to form the "ludic loop" that Mark recently blogged about.

I've tried various things over the years to help keep me focused, from simple full-screen word processors such as WriteRoom and FocusWriter to gadgets like the Alphasmart and Freewrite. But apps are a tab away from fun, and glorified typewriters tend to expose their limitations in odd and frustrating ways.

After a lot of experimentation, I've arrived at a best-of-both-worlds option: proper apps running on a tiny old iMac from when Apple switched to Intel chips. It's modern enough to run good software, play music and hook up to useful services like Dropbox, but so old (and tiny) that there's not much else you can do on it except work. And it's immobile, too, so it creates a space just for that one task, which I think helps.

Even web browsing is just right: the older OS X 10.6-compatible version of Firefox it runs will access research resources well enough, but the media load on dangerously interesting sites (including Twitter and Facebook) renders them almost unusable.

There are dangers to this approach. If I were cunning I'm sure I could rebuild the ludic loop on this, by hitting the mobile versions of websites and exploring what other apps work on Snow Leopard. But its age (and adorable low-res 17" display) are so far dissuading me from trying. Read the rest

Leaving kids in front of screens unsupervised for hours may have unpleasant consequences, parents learn

We all did so well keeping our kids away from obvious traps like 4chan, but it turns out that during those endless unsupervised hours watching Minecraft videos and Twitch streams, their hosts were muttering on about anime and black IQs and what to do about The Jews. And now our kids are hitting their teens, it's coming out of them like the first belches of sewage from a blocked toilet, and, well, here we all are in 2017!

...again this week with the news that YouTube video gaming personality JonTron had made several racist and anti-semitic statements. JonTron — real name Jon Jafari — started his week by tweeting support for Iowa representative Steve King on Sunday, after King made the troubling claim that “we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.” Jafari then doubled down on this stance in an interview with fellow streamer Steven “Destiny” Bonnell, complaining of the erosion of a “unifying culture” in the United States, portraying Black Lives Matter as violent terrorists, and repeatedly making portentous warnings that white people would become the minority in American society. ...

On YouTube, these fringe opinions are insidious, too. They’re not set to Leni Riefenstahl films or videos of the Nuremberg Rallies — they dribble out during video game streams, or in Twitch chat, or in YouTube’s never-ending “up next” queue. These are ostensibly benign spaces that have become politicized in recent years, but not so loudly that the average parent will be able to clock the association.

Read the rest

More posts