Here, have a 3D banana gif

Adding some white lines or a cutout to an animated gif produces a cool 3D effect. From the Split Depth Gifs subreddit.

[via Reality Carnival] Read the rest

VP Pence breaks tie, Senate votes to begin debating GOP bill to kill Obamacare in win for Trump

The U.S. Senate, aided by Trump's second in command, has voted to begin debate on the GOP's plan to destroy Obamacare.

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Lichens never looked more beautiful than they do in this short film about a curator of lichens at the University of California.

Kerry Knudsen is curator of lichens at the University of California. He is profiled in Matthew Killip's short film. Knudsen's intense passion for the beauty and mystery of lichens is thrilling.

The Atlantic has an article about Knudsen, called The Ex-Anarchist Construction Worker Who Became a World-Renowned Scientist. Read the rest

Adobe to (finally) pull plug on Flash, for real this time

Farewell, Flash. Adobe's once-dominant multimedia format that powered so many restaurant websites and early interactive web games will be mothballed at the end of 2020, the software company said Tuesday.

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'Kill the Bill,' shout protesters as U.S. Senate votes on starting GOP health bill debate

As Senators vote on proceeding to debate the secret Trump/GOP health care plan aka Obamacare repeal plan *they haven't even seen,* protesters in the senate chambers and outside shouted “Kill the bill, don't kill us.”

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"Let me try to catch this foul ball with my nachos and beer tray"

This woman seems sad to find out that her idea to patent paper trays full of nachos and beer as an improvement over the catcher's mitt was not good.

Let me catch this foul with my nachos and beer. from instant_regret
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Oops! A crane that was lifting a strip mall sign tipped over onto the freeway and crushed a truck

The Kansas City Star reports that a crane that was removing a sign tipped over. It severed power lines and crushed a pickup truck. No one was injured.

"Oh Hell" from videos
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Image: screengrab from Kansas City Star video. Read the rest

Conservative Iranian television host spotted drinking beer in public without hijab

Conservative Iranian state television presenter Azadeh Namdari makes a big deal about how important it is for women to obey an Islamic dress code. But someone took a video of her drinking a bottle of beer and not wearing a hijab while she was on vacation in Switzerland. When the video was made public, Namdari said the video was taken immediately after her scarf fell off. She didn't explain how the bottle of beer ended up in her hand. I reckon a squirrel in the tree overhead dropped it she accidentally caught it. Then she took a sip to find out what it was. Since alcoholic drinks are forbidden in Islam, she definitely spit it out.

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Rapidly remove old automotive decals and bumper stickers

This eraser wheel is wonderful. It removes old, weathered decals in seconds.

I attached this eraser to my cordless drill and effortlessly rubbed some very old and bad looking decals off my VW Van. I replaced them with something closer to my heart.

I cleaned up with rubbing alcohol after removing the decal.

ABN Decal Eraser Wheel Pinstripe Removal Kit via Amazon Read the rest

Parisian canals now open to swimmers

Paris, France is making good on its promise to reopen long polluted waterways to bathers.

Up to three hundred people at any time can use the lifeguard-protected pools, although the pools only have locker space for 80. Located in a part of Paris already popular as a place to stroll in fine weather, the new bathing spot is likely to prove a major hit in an already hotter-than-average summer. Early reports suggest that the water is indeed delightful, though a small residuum of green algae does make a post-bathe shower a good idea.

How did Paris pull this off? The city’s been working on cleaning up the waters here for decades. Paris’s canals here were once unsurprisingly filthy, running as they do through a former industrial area once packed with cargo barges and polluted by sewage. Since the 1980s, however, regulations managing industrial run-off have tightened substantially, while Paris has invested heavily in wastewater treatment and in preventing sewage from being discharged into the canal during periods of high water. Two years ago, following a concerted clean-up, bacteria levels dropped below safe levels, and rogue bathers have been jumping in the water here for a while. Meanwhile, the Canal Saint Martin, which runs downstream from the basin down to the Seine, was entirely drained and cleaned in 2016, a process that sent a powerful visual message to Parisians that the area’s historic filth was being swept away.

Via CityLab Read the rest

Dogs can get a Lyme disease vaccine, why can't you?

There are no good reasons, and a lot of bad ones, that your dog can be vaccinated for Lyme disease but you can not. Profiteering and vaccination fears have teamed up to leave humans defenseless from a terrible malady.

WBUR shares the story:

For Dr. Stanley Plotkin, a prominent vaccine scientist, Lyme disease is personal. His son, Alec, collapsed from a slow heart rate when he was 39, brought down by a rare heart complication from Lyme.

His son survived, but the incident helped cement Plotkin's resolve to pursue a human vaccine against Lyme disease. Using his bully pulpit as an emeritus professor of infectious diseases at the University of Pennsylvania, he’s taken his case from The New York Times to the New England Journal of Medicine, in which he called the lack of Lyme protection "the worst recent failure to use an effective vaccine."

That’s because we used to have a vaccine for Lyme, called LYMErix, but it was pulled from the market. Now, the only family member who can get a Lyme vaccine is your dog.

LYMErix had some problems. It required three doses at $50 each, and they were not covered by insurance -- so involved some inconvenience and out-of-pocket money. Despite a good safety record in clinical trials, some people experienced what they thought were side effects and sued SmithKline Beecham, the manufacturer. In 2002, SmithKline pulled the vaccine, after only four years on the market. (More on the history of the Lyme vaccine here.)

While the official line is that poor sales led the vaccine's maker to pull it, most experts think the specter of lawsuits was a key factor.

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What kind of weird doglike animal is looking through the window?

Everyone wants to know what kind of animal is peering into the sliding glass window of the video. My bet is on a dog-capybara hybrid.

It's day 4 of the hostage situation...
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Superbright little LED flashlights

I bought some of these 7W Ultrabright mini LED flashlights a while back and they are my favorites. They are surprisingly bright (it has a bright/dim/strobe setting) and a zoom feature to focus the beam on a small area or spread it out. A twin-pack is just $9. It uses either a single AA battery or a 3.6 volt type 14500 Battery (rechargeables are cheap). Read the rest

Senate Dems can stop Trump from appointing a new Attorney General during recess

Trump's plan seems to be: 1) force Sessions to resign. 2) appoint Giuliani to be attorney general during the Senate recess session as a way to avoid the Senate confirmation process. 3) ask Giuliani to fire Mueller, who is investigating bribery, extortion, and money laundering in the Russo-Trump empire. 4) profit!

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Psychiatric association tells members they can comment publicly on Trump's mental state

The American Psychoanalytic Association told its 3,500 members that it was dropping a long-honored rule against making public comments "on the mental state of public figures — even the president," reports Stat.


The impetus for the email was “belief in the value of psychoanalytic knowledge in explaining human behavior,” said psychoanalytic association past president Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago. “We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly.”

That responsibility is especially great today, she told STAT, “since Trump’s behavior is so different from anything we’ve seen before” in a commander in chief.

Photo of Trump used in collage: Wikipedia/Max Goldberg Read the rest

SLIM: An open, transparent, hand-computable sentencing algorithm

Machine learning companies are making big bucks selling opaque, secretive sentencing algorithm tools to America's court systems: the vendors of these systems claim that they are too sophisticated to explain, and use that opacity to dismiss critics who say the algorithms oversentence black and poor people. Read the rest

This pack of 'Hamilton' crayons will make you 'smile more'

These jumbo-sized crayons are called "Hamiltones" because each one of them humorously reference the hit musical, Hamilton. There are punny ones like the "Alexander Hamil-tan" and the "Maroon Where it Happens," and 10 others.

Each pack is $13.95 over at the Theatre Nerds Swag Shop. If colored pencils are more your thing, they've got a Hamiltones set of those too.

(Cool Mom) Read the rest

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