Campaigners search Londoners' phones to help them understand the Snoopers Charter

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Campaigners from Liberty, a civil liberties group, took to the streets of London (and the lobby of the Home Office!) and grabbed peoples' phones, browsing them while explaining that they just wanted to build a detailed dossier of their lives by looking at their communications, browsing history and location data -- mirroring the way that the Snoopers Charter, pending mass surveillance legislation, will allow UK government agencies to harvest "bulk data" and store and search it, without suspicion or warrant. (via B2FXXX) Read the rest

British Royals' celebrations with narration from North Korean patriotic parade

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This is a genius piece of media criticism: mapping the BBC's own slavishly patriotic broadcast of the British royals' 2015 "celebrations" onto its breathless voice-over for a North Korean patriotic demonstration in celebration of a Kim birthday. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Watch this young woman eat 50 Krispy Kreme donuts

"It honestly took every bit of strength in me to get through all 50 donuts as they were incredibly sweet but I'm so glad I did," said competitive eater Nela Zisser.

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Bruce Springsteen plays "Purple Rain"

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On Saturday night, Bruce Springsteen opened his Brooklyn show with this Prince cover.

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Watch: Kurds take out a "suicide bomb truck" as it hurtles toward them

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Amazing footage from Syria shows an armored truck, apparently loaded with explosives and driven by a suicide bomber, hurtling toward a low ridge held by Kurdish fighters. After failing to stop it with small arms, they roll out an anti-tank missile launcher and blow the crap out of it. Comparisons with Mad Max are not entirely appropriate... but they really did get the pyrotechnic effects right in that film, didn't they? Read the rest

Tilt Six: lurid CGI J-pop nightmare music video of the day

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Directed by Kota Yamaji, the the music is by Vocaloid producer tilt six, whose YouTube channel is full of similar delights. The director describes the inspirations and creative process at Behance.

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Attempt to crush book with hydraulic press goes awry

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An operator of a powerful hydraulic press has achieved some fame of late crushing various mundane objects (such as Barbie), but the press almost met its match in the form of an English-Finnish dictionary: "Book exploded very well." Read the rest

German politician arrested in Berlin for insulting Turkish president

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Bruno Kramm, leader of Berlin's branch of the German Pirate Party, was arrested Saturday for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kramm was detained while conducting a "literary analysis," in support of comedian Jan Boehmermann, outside the Turkish Embassy in Berlin. As part of the publicity stunt, he read two lines of Boehmermann poem ridiculing Erdogan.

The incident comes after chancellor Angela Merkel allowed prosecutors to file charges against Boehmermann, following Turkish demands that he be punished for broadcasting the poem on local television.

Boehmermann, however, was not physically detained by police.

RT reports that Kramm was "approached by several police officers" after he began citing the lines and taken into custody. Police dispersed the gathering, according to RT.

The arrest will further embarrass the German government, which sees itself as supportive of free speech but has failed to scrap an old law against insulting foreign heads of state. Merkel has promised to do so, but has also been criticized for condemning the poem and cosying up to the Turks to get them to accept more Syrian refugees. Read the rest

Funky Friday: 'Don't Look Any Further,' Dennis Edwards ft. Siedah Garrett (1984)

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Eighties kids, do you feel me.

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"When Doves Cry" played by Greg Dulli (Twilight Singers/Afghan Whigs) and Apollonia

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For decades, Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers has masterfully woven Prince lyrics and melodies into almost every live performance, frequently closing shows with the final strains of "Purple Rain." Dulli has name checked that album as being his favorite record of all time. Dig if you will the intense 2009 cover above of "When Doves Cry" recorded by Dulli's Twilight Singers and Prince's former lover/co-star Apollonia for a special 25th anniversary Purple Rain tribute produced by Spin magazine.

From an interview with Dulli at The Quietus from 2014:

My life is kinda pre-Purple Rain/post-Purple Rain. I had already been a fan of Prince before that. 1999 was when I really got in. I heard 1999 and I went back and got Dirty Mind and Controversy. I saw the 1999 tour. 1999 is a very synthy album, but when I saw him in concert, he was playing a lot of guitar, and he's really good. I wasn't fully prepared for that. There's parts of Controversy that have guitar but nothing prepared me for the guitar playing on Purple Rain. From start to finish, from the first song to the last song, it's one of the greatest records I have ever heard. There's nine songs, they're all great. They're all different. The first song that everybody heard from that record was 'When Doves Cry'. There's no bass on it. It's really a strange, avant-garde hit song. Sort of like in the way 'Hey Ya' was. 'Hey Ya' was such a weird song.

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Marijuana is kosher for Passover

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Apparently some Ashkenazi Jews of central or eastern European heritage consider cannabis to be in the category of food that's prohibited during Passover, the festival that begins tonight. However Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a recognized leader in Orthodox Judaism, ruled that it's actually fine to use weed for medical purposes during Passover. Reminds of the time many years ago when we used a bud to represent the "bitter herb" on the Seder Plate. From The Independent:

Among Ashkenazi Jews, who are of usually of Central and Eastern European descent, the drug would be considered to be a member of the kitniyot – a group of legumes and grains which are forbidden during the festival of Passover, including rice, peas and lentils....

The 88-year-old rabbi, who lives in Bnei Brak, an Israeli city east of Tel Aviv, can be seen with another prominent rabbi in a video uploaded to YouTube by pro-legalisation group Cannabis Israel in which they are presented with cannabis leaves and partake in the leaves being blessed.

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Listen to Brian Eno's new cover of the Velvet Underground

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Today, Brian Eno released his reimagination of the Velvet Underground's track "I'm Set Free." The cover, titled “Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free,” is from Eno's new album The Ship, coming April 29. Below, the Velvet's original version of the song, from their third album The Velvet Underground (1969).

Eno says:

“The first time I ever heard [The Velvet Underground] was on a John Peel radio show… it was when their first album came out and I thought “This I like! This I want to know about!”. I was having a huge crisis at the time. Am I going to be a painter or am I somehow going to get into music. And I couldn’t play anything so music was the less obvious choice. Then, when I heard The Velvet Underground I thought, “you can do both actually”. It was a big moment for me.

“That particular song always resonated with me but it took about 25 years before I thought about the lyrics. “I’m set free, to find a new illusion”. Wow. That’s saying we don’t go from an illusion to reality (the western idea of “Finding The Truth”) but rather we go from one workable solution to another more workable solution.

Subsequently I think we aren’t able and actually don’t particularly care about the truth, whatever that might be. What we care about is having intellectual tools and inventions that work. [Yuval Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens”] discusses that what makes large-scale human societies capable of cohering and co-operating is the stories they share together.

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Weird, fun audio glitch in Apple TV

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BB pal Dustin "UPSO" Hostetler posted evidence of this curious glitch that manifested while he was using his fourth generation Apple TV. A restart eliminated it, but Dustin says, "I wish it was an option! I'd keep it if I could!"

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You will dig Prince's burning cover of Radiohead's "Creep"

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From Coachella 2008.

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No, 'Puff The Magic Dragon' is not about smoking weed

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Here's the story of the lyrics, based on a poem that 19-year-old college student Leonard Lipton wrote in 1959 and popularized in Peter, Paul and Mary's classic 1963 song.

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Watch incredible video of Prince's "Purple Rain" debut

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Footage from the August 1983 concert at Minneapolis' famed First Avenue club when Prince (1958-2016) debuted the magnificent 13-minute original version of Purple Rain - with an additional third verse - that was later edited and overdubbed for the Purple Rain album. This was also guitarist Wendy Melvoin's first performance with The Revolution. (Apologies that the video host's Flash-based widget won't work on some mobile browsers.) Read the rest

Legendary rockstar Prince has passed away

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Amazing entertainer Prince Rogers Nelson has passed away, at the age of 57.

The Atlantic reports:

His body was discovered at his compound in Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota, early Thursday. The cause of death is unknown, though Prince had been hospitalized last week. TMZ, which first reported the singer’s death, said Prince’s representatives had at the time said he’d been battling the flu.

Born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, the musician became a superstar after the release in 1982 of his album 1999. But it is his iconic release, Purple Rain, released in 1984, for which he’s probably best known.

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