Canadian man accused of smuggling $180k in gold in own arse

gold-puck-escort-cards

An employee of the Royal Canadian Mint stands accused of smuggling $180,000-worth of gold out of the institution in his rectum, reports Kelley Egan of the Ottawa Citizen, "evading multiple levels of detection with a time-honoured prison trick."

“Appalling,” was the conclusion of defence lawyer Gary Barnes, who described the Crown’s case as an underwhelming collection of circumstantial evidence.

“This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honour, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable,” Barnes said in his closing submission.

“And here the gold is left sitting around in open buckets.”

Some crimes have a smoking gun. But this one had a coating gunge.

Investigators also found a container of vaseline in his locker and the trial was presented with the prospect that a puck could be concealed in an anal cavity and not be detected by the wand. In preparation for these proceedings, in fact, a security employee actually tested the idea, Barnes said. Lawrence did not take the stand — as is his legal right — and the Crown was not able to definitively establish how the gold pucks made their way out of the facility.
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Linux "lockout" tangle snarls Lenovo

lenovo-yoga

After failing to install Linux on a recent Lenovo laptop, a Reddit user claims to have received a short reply from Lenovo's support team: "This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft." Read the rest

Interesting video about legs

legs

Ubi ausum, ibi concordia. You may remember director Keith Schofield from the internet classic "porn movies made SFW":

If I were writing for a magazine, I'd fall into the trap and say he exposes the pathos of identity and the recursive bathos of being offended by the offended, but then I remembered this is a blog and that he makes really great ads with animals in them.

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Here's the giant portrait Donald Trump commissioned of himself with charity money

polaroid-trump-painting

The WaPo's David Fahrenthold exposed incredible self-dealing by millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump, who settled lawsuits to the tune of $258,000 using his own charity's money. More amusingly, he spent charity cash on a giant portrait of himself.

Thanks to a helpful anonymous traveler, the portrait can now be revealed: it's apparently this one, at Trump's own private resort (commissioned for $10k or $20k, depending on which of the listed portraits it is.) I've crudely corrected the perspective, and the original is below.

That it's a paintover of an overexposed publicity photo makes it even better:

The anonymous photo as originally shot:

UPDATE:

Here's another angle, showing the exquisite detail of Liquitex Basics acrylic paint slapped over a gigantic gooogled mugshot.

Happy #bday #godisgood #cashinout #belated #love The First Black President. #trump #national #holiday #greatest #president #ever Yah, I said it.

A photo posted by Scott Fitzgerald McZeal, J.D. (@scottmczeal) on Jun 15, 2016 at 3:36pm PDT

BONUS: Another, even better photo, from Enrique Acevedo, who reports the exact location and dimensions: "a four-foot-tall portrait of Donald J. Trump at the entrance of Champions Bar & Grill at the Trump National Doral Resort in Miami, Florida."

DENOUEMENT: The painter is Havi Schanz; at least for now, his Wikipedia page is a hoot. Read the rest

When tumbleweed attacks

tumbleweed

When I first came to the U.S. from England—to New Mexico—this was my greeting. They got the music right and everything!

BONUS: Here's a video featuring a lady who fears tumbleweeds.

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Twitterbot simply retweets people writing "your an idiot"

youranidiot

@whostheidiotnow maintains a carefully curated selection of tweets: ones where the author types the exact phrase "your an idiot." One man's automated blocklist is another's breakfast entertainment! [via @saladinahmed] Read the rest

1TB SD card puts one sixth of Wikipedia in your camera

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The first terabyte SD card will soon be sold by Sandisk. They were apparently first to 512GB too (don't, PNY's is cheaper), but no-one cared because that's not as arbitrarily interesting a number. No release date, no price. It'll be about $700.

Hitachi sold the world's first one terabyte hard disk drive in 2007, according to Wikipedia, one sixth of which would fit in a terabyte, assuming you're just counting the plain text of articles.

I wish there was an SD card format in the exact shape of tiny 3½-inch floppy disks, complete with a sliding metal hatch over the connectors and a free bootsector virus Read the rest

George H.W. Bush to "vote for Hillary Clinton"

bush-fisted

Politico reports that Kathleen Hartington Kennedy overheard George H.W. Bush saying he's voting for Hillary Clinton instead of party candidate Donald Trump.

On Monday, Townsend posted a picture on her Facebook page shaking hands next to the former president and this caption: "The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”

In a telephone interview, Townsend said she met with the former president in Maine earlier today, where she said he made his preference known that he was voting for a Democrat. “That’s what he said,” she told POLITICO.

The republican and 41th President evidently has no liking for the millionaire TV star and real estate tycoon, but declined to confirm Kennedy's claim to Politico's Darren Samuelsohn.

The report comes--tellingly, perhaps!--a day after Republican National Committee chairman Rince Priebus publicly threatened Republican candidates who refuse to vote for Trump. Read the rest

On "Adiemus" and the world's music

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Karl Jenkins' "Adiemus" is apparently the most-performed piece of music in the world. A sweeping classical epic with vocals written in a mysterious imaginary language, it was composed for Delta Airlines, which wanted to copy British Airways' classic "Aria on Air" ad (itself by the spookily brilliant pairing of Malcolm McLaren and Yanni.) Read the rest

The history and future of Lemmings, and a proposal

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Lemmings is one of the best video games of all time, and seemed in the 90s to be on the verge of becoming an explosive media phenomenon. Its tiny animated characters are fab: adorable yet down-to-earth, capable yet doomed, a smorgasbord of sarcastic bite and hurt/comfort neediness. After publisher Psygnosis was bought by Sony, though, the Lemmings soon vanished into the corporate archives. The creators went on to make the Grand Theft Auto series. But perhaps their first mega-hit could have its day again.

‘I would have loved to take the characters and do something different with them,’ says [co-creator Mike] Dailly. ‘But we never got the chance. When you get down to it the original game was brilliant, and the sequel had brilliant tech. But the characters themselves are what makes the game. And they should be used for more, for far more.’

In today’s nostalgia-hungry industry the return of Lemmings is hopefully a matter of time. Updating a classic is never easy, of course, but the game is so original and well-loved it’s amazing no-one has tried to do what Championship Edition did for Pac-Man. That may be Lemmings’ beauty and its curse. There is not a single element of the game that could be removed without changing the whole thing. Adding more stuff, as with the sequel, doesn’t make it better. And how can you update visuals that are iconic because they’re 8×10 sprites?

In the leap from cult hit to world-spanning franchise, there are hard marketing problems when your entire premise is "100 literally identical characters, constantly and comically brutalized". Read the rest

North Carolina's transphobic "bathroom bill" law is already costing it hundreds of millions of dollars

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Wired's Emma Grey Ellis runs the numbers on HB2, the anti-transgender North Carolina law that requires bearded blokes to use the womens' bathroom because they have an F on their birth certificate. "It’s North Carolinians, most of whom don’t even support the legislation," Emma writes, "who get stuck with the bill. "

Adding all that up, the total cost to North Carolinians so far from HB2 protests is slightly more than $395 million. That’s more than the GDP of Micronesia. And the bulk of it is from sporting organizations, who even five years ago would likely not have waded into political territory like this. But experts aren’t that surprised that the NBA, NCAA, and ACC have taken this step now. “They’re not out on a limb here,” Durso says. “They’re in line with their base.” The near unanimous outcry against HB2 and in support of the NCAA and ACC confirms that. Legislating discrimination has become an expensive bad habit.

The sports-media business often imposes audience consensus upon local authorities. If usually a bad thing--think "taxpayers hooked into building private stadiums"--there are silver linings. Read the rest

Authorities launch Muslim hunt with emergency text message: "see media for pic"

muslim-hunt

Hey, you know Ahmad Khan Rahami, right? Yeah mate, google that mug. He's our man, tell us if you spot him.

The real text message, sent to New Yorkers using an emergency response system, was a little less casual: "WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9–1–1 if seen." But it's annoyed critics of sloppy policing and convinced some area Muslims that it's not a good day to be out on the streets.

The wireless emergency alert system is for Amber Alerts, alerts from the President, and imminent threats to public safety. It's a bad idea to use such a rudimentary, text-only, in-your-face alert system to directly deputize 13m people in the search of a man with a common Arab name.

It provides no useful contextual information, warns of no imminent danger. It essentially deputizes the five boroughs and encourages people to treat anyone who looks like he might be named “Ahmad Khan Rahami” with suspicion. In a country where people are routinely harassed and assaulted for just appearing to be Muslim, this is remarkably ill-advised.

It's a good example of how something's intended strengths—emergency management systems, terror legislation, and so forth—are exposed as weaknesses when the authorities abuse them in the hope of a quick collaring or easier prosecutions. They should know that whatever their intentions, the result of this foolish message would be a "Muslim hunt" more suited to a subreddit than the streets of New York City. Read the rest

Five second rule conclusively debunked

floor-food

Few things match the delight of my dogs and myself at the sight of Floor Food. When it happens we're like "Ooo! Floor Food!" and compete to dive on it and eat it first. Sadly, The New York Times reports that the Five Second Rule—the cherished belief among some humans that it is 'safe' to eat Floor Food so long as it has been in contact with the floor for less than five seconds—has been debunked.

Professor Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said a two-year study he led concluded that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you will pick up bacteria with it.

The findings in the report — “Is the five-second rule real?” — appeared online this month in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

They tested stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood, and carpet, with four different traditional floor foods: bread, buttered bread, watermelon and gummi bears. All resulted in the transfer of a salmonella-like bacterium.

HOWEVER. They also noted that while "bacteria can contaminate instantaneously," it was also the case that "longer contact times resulted in transfer of more bacteria," so I figure we're still good.

Photo: reader of the pack [CC BY-ND 2.0] Read the rest

Trump's supposedly going to denounce birtherism. Will the media wash his hands for him?

Illo: Rob Beschizza

Millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump was a vocal birther—someone who insinuates Barack Obama was not born in the United States—until at least 2014. Today, he's supposedly going to denounce this position for good, following some recent equivocation on his part.

Adds Trump: "We have to keep the suspense going."

This sort of statement enrages liberals because it reminds them of how easily Trump manipulates the political media's hunger for a horse race—especially now he's neck and neck with rival Hillary Clinton in national polls and there's no sign of them realizing he understands them better than they understand him.

The fear today is of equivocating headlines such as "Trump, Clinton trade accusations on Birtherism," allowing him the plain lie of a she-did-it-first controversy.

But days of Trump benefiting from a smarmy rehabilitation narrative, when the most nakedly racist dogwhistle in American politics is still glistening with his saliva, is what's almost too much to bear. Here's Josh Marshall:

Accusing his opponent of whatever he is accused of is one of the three key tools in Trump's media arsenal, used over and over again to amazing effect (the others: "I'll tell you tomorrow" and "Something's going on.") Journos are defensively, cynically attached to a supposedly objective voice from nowhere that conceals editorial judgment in the framing of subject matter, and Trump's been doing well since Hillary switched her focus to the "Romney moderates" most influenced by it. Read the rest

The most famous movie score temp track swipe of all time

sparta

Films (especially Marvel superhero ones) have unremarkable musical scores for many reasons, but the most remarkable is because scenes tend to be emotionally (and technically) fitted to "temp tracks"—themes taken from other movies as placeholders while the official score is composed. The result: derivative music that imposes another film's emotional landscape onto a newer work, resulting in that characteristic low-risk Hollywood mix of blandness and spectacle. Read the rest

Trump "plans" to make Peter Thiel a supreme court judge

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Billionaire trumpkin Peter Thiel's got a law degree and pays lawyers a lot of money to destroy his enemies, so who better to occupy the vacant spot on the Supreme Court of the United States?

Donald Trump has made it clear he will nominate Peter Thiel to the Supreme Court if he wins the presidency, Thiel has told friends, according to a source close to the PayPal co-founder.

Trump “deeply loves Peter Thiel,” and people in the real estate mogul’s inner circle are talking about Thiel as a Supreme Court nominee, a separate source close to Trump told The Huffington Post. That source, who has not spoken to Trump directly about Thiel being nominated to the Court, cautioned that Trump’s offers often fail to materialize in real life.

It’s not clear whether Trump has indeed offered to nominate Thiel ― only that Thiel has said Trump would nominate him and that Trump’s team has discussed Thiel as a possible nominee. Both sources requested anonymity, given that Trump and Thiel have each demonstrated a willingness to seek revenge against parties they feel have wronged them. In Thiel’s case, he secretly financed lawsuits against Gawker.com with the intention of destroying the publication. He succeeded, and his role in the assault was only revealed in the final stages.

Thiel got rich building PayPal and went on to more success as a venture capitalist.

A conservative who occasionally affects the hamfisted libertarianism of people nerdy enough to read one long book when they are a child (but not nerdy enough for it to have been Anarchy, State and Utopia), Thiel complained about women getting the vote, believes that democracy and freedom are incompatible, thinks Lord of the Rings is a parable about economic freedom as the source of human happiness, yet finds taxpayers' money an excellent lining for his own pockets. Read the rest

No prison time for teen who raped baby

kraigen-grooms

There something about convicted child molester Kraigen Grooms, 19, that fits the pattern of judicial restraint, even sympathy, shown to young offenders such as Brock Turner and Austin James Wilkerson. Can't quite put my finger on it. Read the rest

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