Reminder: don't set fire to spiders while you pump gas


A foolish motorist was lucky to escape unharmed after trying to kill a spider in Center Line, Michigan, with fire. At a gas pump. While pumping gas.

After spotting the terrifying creature and perhaps remembering the Internet's advice on how such things are best disposed of, he whipped out a lighter and promptly set ablaze everything in front of him. He put out the fire himself with a nearby extinguisher, but not before the pump was destroyed.

Fox News Detroit reports that he later came back to say he was sorry.

This charred fuel pump says it all. We are told his car was barely damaged from the flames. But his embarrassing mistake didn't stop the man from coming back the next day as a customer.

"He was sorry," Susan said. "He was sorry, he said he didn't know. It is just one of those things that happen - stupidity."

Adams said this serves as a reminder about being careful around gas pumps. Whether it is using a cell phone or static electricity, the smallest spark can cause a gas station fire.

It is not noted in reports whether the spider escaped immolation. Read the rest

What does "probability" mean in your profession?

Distorted by the jargon and cultures of various disciplines, the concept of probability—and the terms we use around it—tend to be somewhat misleading. Math with Bad Drawings probably has your profession nailed with its set of what are, in fact, very good drawings. [via Flowing Data] Read the rest

VW emission test cheat scandal expands to subsidiaries Audi and Porsche


German automaker Audi has admitted that it fitted "defeat devices" to 2.1m vehicles to cheat on emissions tests. Audi is a subsidiary of Volkswagen, whose use of the gadgets on some 11m diesel engines was exposed by nonprofit investigators.

The BBC reports that the Audi vehicles were sold worldwide: 1.4m in Europe, 577k of them in Germany, and 13k in the United States. The scandal threatens to destroy the group, but suspicions abound that other automakers are engaged in similar shenanigans.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen shares continue to fall in morning trading, sinking a further 6.6% in addition to last week's tumble.

The scandal has badly tarnished VW's name, left it exposed to up to $18bn in US fines, and wiped a third off its stock market value in a week.

German authorities have demanded that VW set out a timeline by 7 October on how it will ensure its diesel cars meet national emission standards without using cheat technology.

German prosecutors have launched a criminal inquiry into freshly-resigned VW boss Martin Winterkorn, who claims he had no personal knowledge of the devices.

Reuters also reports that sports car division Porsche may be involved.

Sources familiar with the matter said on Monday it had also suspended the heads of research and development at its core VW brand, luxury division Audi and sports car maker Porsche.

But the crisis shows no sign of dying down.

Two German newspapers said on Sunday Volkswagen's own staff and one of its suppliers had warned years ago about the illegal use of so-called "defeat devices" to detect when a car was being tested and alter the running of its diesel engine to conceal their emissions of toxic nitrogen oxides.

Read the rest

Cruz: Unleash Booming Reagan

Actual GOP finds the deeper truth to be found in the roaring elocution of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Read the rest

Top 1 road rage incident in northern England

Rude language abounds in this splendid confrontation on a dreary street somewhere north of Hull. Read the rest

Wouldn't it be cool if Dune was an animated series?

Concept artist Matt Rhodes gives the science fiction classic a look rarely imagined for it: the look of TV animation. Click through for a look at those sexy Harkonnens. [via MeFi] Read the rest

Popular man's closet now "90% womens' clothing"

Young Thug

Rapper Young Thug has declared that almost all his clothes are womens' clothes.

“The clothes I got on right now, they’re women’s. Because women’s clothes are [slimmer] than men’s clothes The jeans I got on right now, they’re women’s jeans. But they fit how they’re supposed to fit. Like a rockstar. The only thing I probably have in men’s is like, briefs. T-shirts. 90% percent of my clothes are women’s.”

My best denim is, technically, for women, buttoning left. This may be more or less imperceptible, given the cut, but I think Young Thug is really onto something here. Like him, I have found that I look much better with the trim-yet-sensual lines of "womens" garments that are not otherwise particularly feminine in cut or style.

Before anyone could discern I was technically wearing women's jeans, they would already have to have been dazzled by the perfect contours of my thighs. Which is to say, to notice in the first place is to be broken of one's preconceptions.

Liberace's choices were more ostentatiously feminine, but he had a great line that Young Thug could put to use if anyone wants to make a fuss about it. "They're not womens' clothes," he said. "They're my clothes." Read the rest

Neighbor insulted during dispute


I hope you're having a better weekend than this couple, surreptitiously filmed here insulting their neighbor.

Posted to YouTube and Reddit by "K," the claimed target of the taunts, the insulting duo lob classics such as "stupid says what", "she's so fat she can't hear," and "a durr durr, durr."

The couple appears to be middle-aged. One can only hope that they do this sort of thing for a living. Read the rest

A Princess of Pluto


I knew the new Pluto images reminded me of something!

The originals: Frank Frazetta's legendary painting "A Princess of Mars," and "The Rich Color Variations of Pluto," published by NASA. Read the rest

Latest Pluto image is most amazing yet


From NASA's New Horizons Image Gallery, this is described as a "high-resolution enhanced color view" of the distant world. Read the rest

Woman questioned by police for wearing shirt with Arabic writing near 9/11 memorial


The T-shirt of Terror's scary Arabic glyphs were enough to get Miru Kim pulled aside by New York City's finest for a chat.

Stopped while walking a dog near the 9/11 memorial, Kim says the officers pointed to her shirt, designed by the NYC activist organization We Will Not Be Silent. (Update: the collective was formerly named The Critical Voice.)

"I just got stopped by two police officers in downtown Manhattan just because I was wearing this shirt from an anti-Iraq war group called Granny Peace Brigade from 2006. They took all my info, my address, apt. number, cellphone, right in front of my building," she wrote on Instagram. "Are they serious, NYPD? Are they gonna call me a potential terrorist because I am wearing a shirt with Arabic on it?"

Interviewed by Gothamist, Kim says she found it a bizarre and "quite intimidating" encounter.

According to the Civil Liberties Defense Center, police officers can legally approach anyone and "inquire" about "circumstances of interest." However, barring detention or arrest, citizens are not obligated to provide identification, much less answer any questions. (These protections don't apply during a traffic stop.)

"I thought it was kind of annoying getting all of my information taken down by police," Kim said. "I didn't ask why. I didn't really say anything. I basically just complied and explained that it's just a shirt from a long time ago."

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter prosecuted


FIFA, the comically corrupt governing body of international soccer, has suffered hard times of late: several executives were collared by the law, it became apparent that World Cup hosting rights floated on a sea of bribery, and an expensively-financed biopic of glorious leader Sepp Blatter bombed at the box office. Read the rest

Game show contestant won $110k by memorizing "random" board pattern


Press Your Luck was a mid-80s game show modeled along similar lines to Wheel of Fortune. But instead of a wheel, its flashing board was digital, supposedly random and unpredictable.

Sadly, no, writes Priceonomics' Zacahry Crockett. One contestant, Michael Larson (not the fellow on the right) figured out the nonrandom patterns the board followed and racked up huge gains as the network panicked. He had turned their game of chance into a game of skill, and he was skilled enough to take them to the cleaners.

… During Larson’s rally, Tomarken, the show’s host, grew increasingly nervous. His quips graduated from shock (“We’ve never seen this happen! You’re on a roll!”) to disbelief (“This is unreal”), to utter disgust (“You’ve got to be kidding me”) — and once Larson hit the $30,000 mark, he started pressuring the contestant to bow out.

“Michael, you really are PRESSING YOUR LUCK,” he warned at one point, wagging a finger in the air. “After this show, you’re going to get a special call from the president of CBS…”

Finally, 40 successful spins and $102,851 later, Larson passed his final 3 spins to Ed Long, fearing that he was beginning to lose focus. On his very first spin, Long hit a Whammy and lost all of his cash. When the spins were passed to Litras, she too hit a Whammy on her first try. In the hopes that Larson would screw up and lose his cash, she then passed the spins back to him, but Larson did not falter.

Read the rest

The "Medieval Monsters" of England's ancient forests

Beautiful footage, perfectly narrated by Phil Reynolds, of the billions of beasties underfoot—and underground—in the New Forest. Beetles, bugs, dragonflies, and the law of an unseen landscape, all shot on a Super35 digital movie camera and a Canon 7D. Read the rest

Republican House Speaker Boehner announces resignation

Boehner, sitting with his wife Debbie (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
Under pressure from the right wing of his party, John Boehner is to resign from congress and from his role as speaker of the House of Representatives at the end of October.

His departure comes as some members of his party plan to trigger a government shutdown over the funding of Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides reproductive health services, largely for women, including abortions.

The announcement was described as "shocking" by USA Today, coming a day after Pope Francis's first address to the U.S. Congress.

CNBC writes that his departure will likely avert the shutdown threat, but quotes one commentator saying "Boehner critics are about to finally get what they want: Inmates running the asylum." Read the rest

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