More than 30 people burned during Tony Robbins "motivational" firewalk

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Bleach-toothed motivational speaker Tony Robbins charged between $650 and $3000 for tickets to his 3.5 day Unleash the Power Within seminar outside Dallas, Texas, where participants are taught to walk on hot coals. Read the rest

Who will debunk the debunkers?

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Mike Sutton is a meta-skeptic. He debunks skeptics who use myths to debunk myths.

From a FiveThirtyEight article by Daniel Engber:

In 2014, a Norwegian anthropologist named Ole Bjorn Rekdal published an examination of how the decimal-point myth had propagated through the academic literature. He found that bad citations were the vector. Instead of looking for its source, those who told the story merely plagiarized a solid-sounding reference: “(Hamblin, BMJ, 1981).” Or they cited someone in between — someone who, in turn, had cited Hamblin. This loose behavior, Rekdal wrote, made the transposed decimal point into something like an “academic urban legend,” its nested sourcing more or less equivalent to the familiar “friend of a friend” of schoolyard mythology.

Emerging from the rabbit hole, Sutton began to puzzle over what he’d found. This wasn’t just any sort of myth, he decided, but something he would term a “supermyth”: A story concocted by respected scholars and then credulously disseminated in order to promote skeptical thinking and “to help us overcome our tendency towards credulous bias.” The convolution of this scenario inspired him to look for more examples. “I’m rather a sucker for such complexity,” he told me.

I don't know any meta-meta-skeptics, but I imagine we'll meet some in the comments. Read the rest

Enjoy the stick figure horror of Metro Los Angeles's grisly new transit safety videos!

Metro Los Angeles created a series of fun and terrifyingly gruesome transit safety animations about how not to get killed!

“Safety is our highest priority for Metro riders," said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. "These videos are edgy by design because we want these messages to stick,” “A lapse of attention at a rail crossing or unsafe behavior at a station can have dire if not deadly consequences. Let’s all do our part to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip."

Above, "Present or Pulverized?" Below, "Careful or Crushed?," "Dismount or Dismembered?," "Mindful or Mangled"," and the always fun "Heads-up or Headless?"

Read the rest

Google's version of the W3C's video DRM has been cracked

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Since 2013, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been working with the major browser companies, Netflix, the MPAA, and a few other stakeholders to standardize "Encrypted Media Extensions" (EME), which attempts to control web users' behavior by adding code to browsers that refuses to obey user instructions where they conflict with the instructions sent by video services. Read the rest

If you win the lottery, hire this lawyer

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You will never win the lottery, so you don't really need to read this interview with Jason Kurland, a self-described "go-to" attorney for lottery winners. It's still interesting, though. From Vice:

OK, so what's the first thing you should do if you have a winning lottery ticket?

First thing, you want to sign the back of it, because [a winning ticket] is what's called a bearer instrument—technically whoever hands it in is declared the winner. If you sign the back of it, you secure that it is yours. And I tell the big jackpot winners to sign the back, but to leave some room above it, because if we decide to claim it in a trust fund or an LLC or any other kind of entity, you will be able to write the name of that entity above it, and then sign as a trustee or something like that. So sign the back, make a copy of it, and preferably put it in a safety deposit box, or hide it somewhere in your house.

Then what you want to do is start hiring your professionals. You want to call a lawyer for sure—I am talking about if you win $1 million or more, you should do this stuff. Call an attorney, a financial planner, an accountant––that's the team you're gonna need. Obviously the bigger the jackpot, the more necessary it is to get a team like that. Get your team in place, keep quiet, and don't tell anybody. You can tell your immediate family, but as soon as word gets out your life is gonna change, and you don't want your life to change unless you're ready for the change.

Read the rest

Fantastic "I Love L.A." pillow for design geeks

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My pal Lawrence Azerrad, the hypertalented designer for bands like Wilco, Best Coast, and Beach Boys, created this wonderful "I LOVE L.A." pillow. When I rest my weary head on its soft cotton, it makes me miss Los Angeles. And when I doze off, I dream of living in the iconic John Lautner Chemosphere house. The pillow is $50 and also available as a mug and tote!

LAD Design: I LOVE L.A. store

Previously on Boing Boing:

• "Flight of the Concordes" by Lawrence Azerrad Read the rest

Brit who voted to leave EU immediately regrets it

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"Even though the majority of my family voted to leave, we are actually regretting it today."

[Note to Ed: Insert regret reaction GIF here] Read the rest

Undercover reporter spent four months as a prison guard in a Louisiana pen run by CCA

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Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is one of the world's largest private jailers; it runs prisons and immigration detention centers across the USA (and is diversifying into halfway houses, mental health center, and surveillance for poor neighborhoods). Mother Jones's Shane Bauer went undercover at CCA's Winn Prison in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate in the world, and spent four months meticulously documenting the way that CCA destroys the lives of the prisoners in its care and its own employees, while paying its CEO $3.4M/year. Read the rest

ATM skimmer spotted in Vienna

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Ben Tedesco of the cybersecurity company Carbon Black found an ATM skimmer while he was on vacation in Vienna, Austria.

A skimmer is a card reader that fits over an ATM card slot. It scans and records the information on the magnetic strip. Some skimmers have little built-in cameras to record card holders' pins as they enter it on the ATM keypad. If not, the sleazy criminal will mount a video camera nearby, or even install a counterfeit keypad.

From YouTube description:

While on vacation with my family in Vienna, Austria I went to grab some cash from an ATM, being security paranoid I went repeated my typical habit of checking the card reader as I have 100's of times... today's the day when my security awareness paid off! Check out how perfectly made this skimmer is that was custom made for this ATM MACHINE!

Read the rest

Man who saves family in car wreck gets $143 bill from first responders

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A California man rescued a man and his children trapped inside a van that rolled over. When first responders arrived, they checked his pulse and give him a bottle of water to rinse off a small cut on his hand. He was surprised when he received a bill from the Cosumnes California Fire Department for $143.

Due to his heroic actions, the family got out safely, but in the process of freeing them, DeAnda received what he calls "a small scrape" on his hand. He was given a bottle of water to rinse it, and had his pulse checked by the emergency technicians who arrived later.

However, as he found out a few weeks later, that tiny "injury," as the Cosumnes Fire Department called it, may cost him nearly $150.

"A couple months later I get a bill for $143 for a bottle of water???" he wrote in a Facebook post after receiving a bill from the fire department. "Makes you wonder why people don't want to stop to help at an accident scene. All I can say is the look on the man's face when I was able to break that windshield and get him and his kids out of that vehicle was all the thanks I needed. I'm glad I was able to help. But now I have a bill to pay and they won't let it go."

Read the rest

Sanders will vote Hillary

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Bernie Sanders told MSNBC's Morning Joe that he will vote for Hillary Clinton, because "I'm gonna do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump." Read the rest

HOWTO: Decorate wood with glow-in-the-dark Lichtenberg figures

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YouTuber thepoultrypeople creates very crafty items like vape pen holders, with the added twist of burning Lichtenberg figures into them with electricity, then pouring in glow-in the dark pigments. Read the rest

Brexit: a timeline of the coming slow-motion car-crash

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Charlie Stross is in excellent form this morning about the likely outcomes from last night's Brexit vote, hitting all the highlights: collapse of the finance sector when Euro-denominated derivatives trades relocate to an EU state; collapse of the London property market (a big deal as 40% of the UK's national wealth is property in the southeast); sucession risks for Scotland and Northern Ireland; the increased legitimacy of the reactionary right and xenophobia and racism as the "shy UKIPpers" realise (or claim) that they were more numerous than they had believed. Read the rest

Watch this smart analysis of designing story dialogue

Rooney Mara, left, and Jesse Eisenberg in Columbia Pictures' "The Social Network."

Writing good dialogue is a craft few can master. Lewis Criswell draws from a nice survey of recent and classic examples, both good and bad, to explain the craft of designing dialogue. Read the rest

GimbalNinja: parkour meets cinematography

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Alex Schauer has impressive parkour skills, but just as impressive is cinematographer GimbalNinja, who manages to hold the shot while doing plenty of gymnastics himself: Read the rest

Put a few tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin Magic Starter Pack

Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine.

We're firmly in the latter camp. And now, we're giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin Magic Starter Pack, now $19.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

This pack gives you the tools to perfect five classic tricks: the Pen Through the Finger, Stain Alive, Vuja De, the Ghost Clip and Drawn Again. The real value comes in the 10-25 hours of video content taught by professionals who will show how to pull off these tricks flawlessly.

Whether you’re looking for a simple party icebreaker talent or have visions of putting together your own magic routine, this package will help you understand how to master simple tricks to either entertain or develop a layer of mystery for any performer.

The Penguin Magic Starter Pack is available for almost 60% off, while the deal lasts.

  Read the rest

Brexit wins: Britain votes to exit the European Union

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A kiss goodbye. The votes are in, and Brexit wins. Britain has voted to leave the European Union.

The historic decision will change Britain's place in the world, “rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West,” reports the New York Times.

With 309 of 382 of the country’s cities and towns reporting early on Friday, the Leave campaign held a 52 percent to 48 percent lead. The BBC called the race for the Leave campaign shortly before 4:45 a.m., with 13.1 million votes having been counted in favor of leaving and 12.2 million in favor of remaining.

The value of the British pound plummeted as financial markets absorbed the news.

“Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage told cheering supporters just after 4 a.m. today London time.

Read the rest

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