Texas Republicans will now require women to carry "rape insurance" if they need abortions

HB 214 signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott [R], bans abortion coverage from all public and private health insurance plans, and mandates that abortion insurance be sold as a separate product to women who are concerned that they'll need an abortion in future due to risks to their lives, unplanned pregnancies, unviable pregnancies, or rape-related pregnancies. (more…)

Why tech predictors are so terrible at the job

Enjoy Michael Mullany's review of the Gartner Hype Cycle, with all the things tech predictors got right and all the things they got wrong: "we're terrible at making predictions."

Lesson 6: Some technologies keep receding into the future

There are some notable technologies that recur on the Hype Cycle and every time they appear they seem equally scifi. Although at some point, I'm sure they will not. The most notable are:

Quantum Computing: as early as 2000, quantum computing was considered more than a decade away (and likely still is).

Brain/Computer Interfaces: (also aliased under Human Augmentation) despite notable progress on neural control of prosthetics, thought controlled computing is still a work in progress with general availability lurking at least a decade away.

When I was covering the tech beat, I'd often get annoyed because we'd use these guys as expert sources, but it was plainly obvious that many of them are just retired journos who had gone into investment consulting, with a little insight into the supply chain and none at all into the science.

Though he's not one of those types, my favorite was Gene Munster, who seemed to spend at least a decade regularly predicting the imminent arrival of an Apple TV set. He appears to have quit this year, which doubtless means they will announce one soon.

10 products that take the annoying parts out of cooking

While it’s possible to cook a brilliant dish out in the woods with nothing more than some sharpened sticks and a roaring fire, most of us aren’t quite at that level of mastery yet. For some extra assistance in your food prep take a look at the following kitchen conveniences: 

Salad to Go Container - $11.99

Salad to Go Container

Bringing your own salad for lunch is usually a compromise in the name of frugality and healthiness, but it doesn’t have to be with this to go container. It keeps your ingredients separated and comes packed with its own silverware set, so you don’t have to suffer through another dressing-soaked mess with leftover takeout utensils. Get one here for just $11.99.

Star Wars Ice Trays (Set of 8) - $16.99

Star Wars Ice Trays

Whether you are throwing a cantina-themed house party and need the perfect finishing touch for your signature cocktail, or just like to feel the force with every cold drink, these Star Wars Ice Trays make a great addition to any geek’s freezer. And they’re microwave- and oven-safe for making galactic sweets. This set of eight molds is available for $16.99.

Avocado Joy Slicer- $9.99

Avocados are easily one of the most delicious savory fruits around, and the Avocado Joy Slicer makes it even easier to extract from their leathery skin. This multitool features a serrated knife, a pitter, and a row of blades to quickly cut uniform slices, all for just $9.99.

Stovetop Popcorn Popper - $29

Stovetop Popcorn Popper

Although mastering the timing of microwave popcorn is its own art, making it on the stove is always going to yield tastier and healthier results. The Stovetop Popcorn Popper won’t leave any unpopped kernels behind, and its stirring mechanism makes a full batch in just a few minutes. You can grab one of these movie-night companions here for $29

Blue Apron Plans - $25

If you want to expand your cooking skills beyond instant ramen and scrambled eggs, Blue Apron’s meal planning and delivery service will have you taking over chef duties at your house in no time. Included in the box are all the ingredients needed to make three delicious home-cooked meals for two people. This curated one-week trial is just $25.

Chefman Egg Cooker - $19.99

Chefman Egg Cooker 

Boiled eggs make a great to-go breakfast, but making them on the stove requires extra attention, and a lot of ice-bath preparation to keep the shells from sticking. For a perfect batch every time in just 15 minutes, take a look at the Chefman Egg Cooker. Pick one up for just $19.99.

Stainless Steel Herb Scissors - $11.99

Scissors are a surprisingly handy kitchen device, as they are the absolute quickest way to add freshly chopped herbs to your dishes. To multiply your usual chopping speed by at least five, get these Stainless Steel Herb Scissors for just $11.99. They’re totally dishwasher safe, and provide a strong grip with their silicon handles.

7” Ceramic Non-Stick Frypan - $12.74

7" Ceramic Non-Stick Frypan

A good skillet is probably the most important tool in any kitchen. This GreenPan offers a durable, non-stick ceramic cooking surface that’s easy to clean and won’t eventually flake tiny bits of teflon into your food. The 7” GreenPan Rio Frypan is just $12.74 when you order it here.

Corn Stripper- $9.99

Corn on the cob is great, but not every meal calls for a butter-smothered barbecue staple. The Corn Stripper makes it painless to cut off loose corn kernels, and the attached container catches them before they go flying. Say goodbye to bags of frozen corn with this clever gadget for only $9.99

Original SNAP’N STRAIN Clip-On Strainer - $12.99

Original SNAP'N STRAIN Clip-On Strainer

Dropping noodles in the sink is dinnertime tragedy, but you’ll never lose a single one again with the SNAP’N STRAIN Clip-On Strainer. It clamps on the side of your saucepan or skillets to easily drain water and excess oil, and features a helpful barrier to keep solids in place. Get one here for $12.99.

 

Nina Paley's haunting, mesmerizing, and life-affirming God-Mother animation

Nina Paley, the ridiculously-talented artist, cartoonist, and animator, has just posted her latest video, God-Mother, and it's another jaw-dropper. Nina is known for intense, highly arresting animations, like This Land is Mine, my vote for one of the greatest visual indictments of war, cycles of violence, and the horrors of human conquest. She's also done the feature-length trip through the Ramayana, Sita Sings the Blues, Death of the First Born Egyptians, and Copying is not Theft. Nina is also a free culture activist.

God-Mother is Nina's ode to Mother Earth and goddess religions. Her haunting, mesmerizing animation is perfectly paired with the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, singing the Bulgarian folk song, Godmother Denkou. The life-affirming spirit of the video ends with a sad and snarky grace note that is pure Paley. God-Mother is part of Seder-Masochism, an eventual animated feature for which Nina has been amassing content.

Listen: Voice recordings of actual black slaves once indentured in the South

This video of the January 12, 1999 broadcast of Nightline is really quite remarkable. It shares clips of voice recordings made in the mid-twentieth century of black people born into U.S. slavery.

That's right, it features the voices of real (former) slaves.

To get these interviews, folklorists traveled the South in the 1930s and 1940s carrying around 200 lb. "portable" 78 RPM disc recorders.

The technology to clean up and digitize the scratchy memory-filled discs only became available in the 1990s.

Now the vivid real-life stories of these men and women who lived as slaves are available online through the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center. They truly give a sobering look at life in the United States before abolition:

The almost seven hours of recorded interviews presented here took place between 1932 and 1975 in nine Southern states. Twenty-three interviewees, born between 1823 and the early 1860s, discuss how they felt about slavery, slaveholders, coercion of slaves, their families, and freedom. Several individuals sing songs, many of which were learned during the time of their enslavement. It is important to note that all of the interviewees spoke sixty or more years after the end of their enslavement, and it is their full lives that are reflected in these recordings. The individuals documented in this presentation have much to say about living as African Americans from the 1870s to the 1930s, and beyond. All known recordings of former slaves in the American Folklife Center are included in this presentation. Some are being made publicly available for the first time and several others already available now include complete transcriptions.

One of the interviews highlighted in the Nightline broadcast is with an elderly Baltimore gentleman by the name of Fountain Hughes. The former slave shares, quite plainly, that his grandfather was owned by Thomas Jefferson. He also recollects many details about his own life as a slave.

He also shares this:

If I thought, had any idea, that I'd ever be a slave again, I'd take a gun and just end it all right away. Because you're nothing but a dog. You're not a thing but a dog.

Listen to the full interview (or read the transcript), recorded on June 11, 1949, with Mr. Hughes (and others) at the Library of Congress.

A side note: While I was researching this post, I learned that the last ex-slave, Sylvester Magee, passed away in 1971. 1971!

(reddit)

Bonnie Tyler is going to sing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' during Monday's eclipse

Singer Bonnie Tyler will perform her 1983 hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise, a cruise ship that will be in the path of the total solar eclipse come Monday. Tyler will take time off her world tour to belt out the power ballad -- just as the moon crosses the sun -- on the ship, Oasis of the Seas.

Tyler told TIME, ""The eclipse of the sun lasts 2 minutes and 40 minutes, I’m told. Unlike my song. It had to be chopped about, because it was so long."

Bonnie Tyler Will Sing ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ During the Actual Eclipse [TIME]

Be on the lookout for lizard men, South Carolina

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division warned eclipse watchers to be on the lookout for lizard men during the astronomical event.

"Obviously this was done very tongue-in-cheek," the middle-aged co-anchor solemnly explained to his young female colleague, who was until that point having fun with the segment.

This guy had a stroke after white supremacists doused him in torch fuel and struck him in the neck with torches

My friend John Park sent me the following:

This is an article about my old friend, UVa housemate, fellow Glee Club member, and all around wonderful character, D.R. Tyler Magill, who took on Nazis in Charlottesville and has now suffered a stroke.

In the video below we see Tyler doing the right thing, in a smart, calm way, as he chased Nazi organizer Jason Kessler from the podium along with a group of fellow protesters. This, despite having already been doused in torch fuel and struck with torches by fascist thugs as he and a group of 25 students were surrounded by the alt-right mob at the base of the statue on Saturday night. At one point he was struck in the neck, which damaged an artery, leading to his stroke.

He's stable from what we know, and has a fundraising goal to cover sick leave costs, but more publicity about his actions would be a good thing.

I hope Tyler inspires others to be this brave in the face of fascist thugs.

Here's another person who was injured in the same terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer. Her name is Natalie Romero:

Here's a USA Today article about Natalie. She was in the Junior ROTC.

Samsung and Foxconn to back cable-free phone tech by Tony Fadell of iPod and Nest fame

Tony Fadell is best known "one of the fathers of the iPod" at Apple, and as the former CEO of Nest. We've agreed to forget that he led the Google Glass division for a while, too. Today, news broke that the serial inventor and investor is now working with companies including Samsung Electronics and Foxconn's parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry, to develop new technology that would allow mobile phone devices to “transfer large amounts of data without using wires or WiFi connections.”

(more…)

David Byrne: The secret appeal of technology is that it takes away the need to talk to people

Writing in MIT Tech Review, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne points out the secret and, in retrospect, obvious driving force behind tech: it reduces the often awkward and unreliable process of dealing with people, so you can buy music without asking friends for recommendations, take a cab without talking to a dispatcher, buy your groceries without speaking with a clerk, and get your money out of the bank without seeing a teller. (more…)

Dig into hard ice cream with this pointy tip scoop

The old ice cream scoop we had wasn't really an ice cream scoop. It was a disher, and was more suited for scooping mashed potatoes than ice cream. When the trigger mechanism on it finally broke, I happily got rid of it and replaced it with the OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop ($15). This surprisingly heavy scoop is made from a solid chunk of stainless steel with a comfortable rubber grip, and comes with a pointed end that digs right into hard ice cream, especially if you run hot water over it. It's supposedly dishwasher safe but why put it in the dishwasher? Just rinse it and dry it with a towel.

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