South Carolina sheriff fires the school-cop who beat up a black girl at her desk

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Ben Fields, the South Carolina sheriff’s deputy who was video-recorded beating up a black schoolgirl who was sitting peacefully at her desk, has been fired. Read the rest

DMCA exemption carved to help preserve old games

Illo: Wordpress.com / Automattic

The US Library of Congress has created an exemption to copyright law to make it legal to preserve abandoned video games, including online server code required to play them. Read the rest

"Hello, you're watching Dish Network. Did you know you're a satellite pirate?"

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Here's a 2009 clip from Dish Network informing anyone watching a special channel that they are a "satellite pirate." It's not too harsh, actually, and Dish quickly goes from scolding "pirates" to pitching them with special offers. Read the rest

Learn the fastest way to tie your shoelaces

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Many more tips on Ian Fleggen's classic "Professor Shoelace" site.

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Here's the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie trailer

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On Tuesday evening, Disney released the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Read the rest

Adam Savage is still optimizing the duck army

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The present status of this quixotic and strangely persistent quest: 16 ducks carefully compressed into a square compartment with a quick-release cable, suspended vertically from the ceiling. It meets its intended purpose quite well, but one is inexorable drawn to the prospect of further optimization.

I propose each duck be attached by the mouth to a canister of compressed air, cabled to begin inflating as soon as the container is released, thereby increasing the pitch and volume of their cries.

(To be clear to any passing animal lovers, judgmental aliens, members of future civilizations, etc, this does not concern real ducks)

The Cinemagician has reversed it. Read the rest

The worst traffic jam you will hopefully never experience

Beijing, China. If this fascinates you, so long as you are not sitting in it, I highly recommend Tom Vanderbilt's fantastic book "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)."

Below, Tom's presentation at our Boing Boing: Ingenuity 2013 conference.

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Home Free wants to make you a stray dog in the big city

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It's not easy living in the big city, especially when you're a lost dog. Read the rest

Marijuana bomb falls from sky, crushes doghouse

A typical weed bundle

26 pounds of pot were found in the wreckage after a doghouse in Nogales, close to the US-Mexico border, was pulverized in the night by a package that fell from the sky. Read the rest

Amazon Prime is on sale today only for $67/year

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Today, Friday, until 11:59pm PT you can sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription for $67. I use the hell out of Amazon Prime's free two-day shipping on everything from huge boxes of toilet paper to books and records to holiday gifts shipped to family and friends. They should set up a distribution facility at the bottom of my driveway. My kids also take advantage of Prime Video streaming of movies and TV shows on our tablet. (Amazon Prime also includes unlimited photo storage, streaming music, and free Kindle books, but I've never tried those features.) For the usual $99/year, my family absolutely gets our money's worth. It's a steal for $67/year. Amazon Prime Read the rest

Watch this absolutely bizarre tribute to The Simpsons

Yoann Hervo's "Weird Simpsons VHS" is just that. (YouTube) Read the rest

New photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's suicide

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UPDATE: Ooops, these photos were released in 2014.

Last year, the Seattle Police Department released several dozen newly-developed photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's 1994 suicide. The police processed the film as part of a recent reinvestigation into Cobain's death. According to detective Mike Ciesynski, there is still no basis in conspiracy theories that Cobain was murdered.

Ciesynzki says that they will not release any graphic images of Cobain's body.

"What are people going to gain from seeing pictures of Kurt Cobain laying on the ground with his hair blown back, with blood coming out of his nose and trauma to his eyes from a penetrating shotgun wound," he told KIRO-TV. "How's that going to benefit anybody?"

"Dozens of new photos released from Kurt Cobain death probe" (CBS News)

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Raccoon doesn't like his friend swimming

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Wayland appears to be a bit of a wet blanket when it comes to having fun.

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108-year-old message in a bottle washes ashore

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Afloat on the seas of fate (and on the actual sea) for a century, a message in a bottle released from Plymouth, England, has finally washed up in Amrum, an island off the coast of Germany.

A retired German post office worker has found a message in a bottle that was launched into the sea at the start of the 20th Century.

The man who dropped the bottle in the sea over a century ago was marine biologist, George Parker Bidder who released over 1,020 such bottles between 1904 and 1906. Parker Bidder, who worked at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth, was using the bottles to test deep sea currents. These bottles were specially designed to float just above the sea bed.

Once officially confirmed, this will apparently be the oldest verified message-in-a-bottle, at 108 years.

If you're unimpressed by the distance traveled, another bottle got from England to Australia—in only 17 months. Read the rest

Aerial photos of one square mile of land

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Named for the founding father's plan to create a nation of "yeomen farmers," the "Jefferson Grid" is a beautiful piece of Instagram real estate. [via Kottke] Read the rest

"Iranian hackers" target activists

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Motherboard reports on hilariously insistent efforts made by mystery correspondents to trick people into thinking they are news reporters.

The campaign uses sophisticated techniques to get around the extra protection provided by Gmail’s two-factor authentication, which requires a password and a token to log in, as detailed in a new report published on Thursday by Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. While the report doesn’t conclusively point fingers, victims and experts alike think the campaign was likely led by hackers with direct links to the Iranian government or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The sheer persistence of the "hacker" raised a red flag for one recipient, who got a phone call asking them if they'd received an email: “That's when I started to get suspicious—no journalist is THAT demanding,” she said.

This behavior actually makes me think it was a PR person!

The “journalist” then sent the same email, but this time using a Gmail account. The first email was made to look like it was from a Reuters account. There were still no questions in the body, and, once again, it included the phishing link.

“And that's when I knew something weird was going on,” York said, adding that she started “trolling him” by saying she wasn’t going to be able to open the attachment because that’s bad security practice.

At that point, the alleged journalist “got angry” and frustrated, even demanding, “This is from my personal address! Just open it!”

“It was sort of pathetic at that point,” York said, and she stopped answering the phone.

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Watch this street vendor make ice cream in Thailand

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It's fun to watch a skilled person doing their thing. In this case, it's a Thai ice cream vendor, who expertly chops fruit and mint into liquid cream poured on a cold metal surface, then shapes it into rolls that he places into a paper cup.

[via] Read the rest

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