Car follows parking arrow, drives off bridge

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I'll bet the tapa isn't fresh, either

View post on imgur.com
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Nobel laureate spots Turkish banknote error

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The Turkish five lira note, issued in 2009, has a DNA helix. But Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar noticed that the note "shows a left-handed Z-DNA helix winding from left to right, when it should be the other way round." What Sancar doesn't know is that the monetary systems of the world are controlled by the lizard people, whose DNA is exactly like that depicted on the banknote. Read the rest

A farm in Kansas receives non-stop threats and harassment because of mapping glitch

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A digital mapping company called MaxMind offers an "IP geolocation" service that provides computer users' geographical locations. When MaxMind doesn't know a user's location, it spits out a default address that is at the approximate geographical center of the continental US. It is the front yard of a farmhouse near Wichita, Kansas. For the last fourteen years, MaxMind's database has listed 600 million IP addresses at this farmhouse. As a result, the people who live there receive a non-stop barrage of harassment.

For the last decade, Taylor and her renters have been visited by all kinds of mysterious trouble. They’ve been accused of being identity thieves, spammers, scammers and fraudsters. They’ve gotten visited by FBI agents, federal marshals, IRS collectors, ambulances searching for suicidal veterans, and police officers searching for runaway children. They’ve found people scrounging around in their barn. The renters have been doxxed, their names and addresses posted on the internet by vigilantes. Once, someone left a broken toilet in the driveway as a strange, indefinite threat.

How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell Read the rest

Curb Your Miss Universe

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A film by Jake Rasmussen Read the rest

There's a "100 hour rule" now

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We all know about the 10,000-hour rule, whereby that amount of practice (or thereabouts) is held to be necessary to fully master a given skill. And not long ago I proposed the 5-hour rule, which is what it takes to pretend to be able to do something on video. Now there is also a 100-hour rule, which is what it takes "to become much more competent than an absolute beginner."

Leo Polovets's angle centers on sales—yes, another VC who thinks he's a public intellectual!—but I think he's onto something with the idea of there being a threshold of competence where egregious mistakes stop being made, and that it generally takes more than two weeks but less than a month to train someone past it. Read the rest

Slate offers the correction of the year

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No sweat, guys. It happens to the best of us. Read the rest

Japanese live streamer accidentally starts his apartment on fire

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This guy was showing off his cigarette lighters and matches when he accidentally started a small fire. While he was putting it out, he started an even bigger fire, which wasn't so easy to put out. Read the rest

Be careful when spelling the word "Coconut"

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This 'unfortunate typo' became a headache for a supermarket in New Zealand.
The sign advertising Griffins Krispie Toasted Coconut Biscuits misspelled the word coconut, turning it into an offensive expletive.

The mistake, which happened at Countdown's Meadowbank store in Auckland on Tuesday, led to a social media frenzy with a photo of the sign posted on Countdown's Facebook receiving more than 7000 likes and almost 1500 shares.

The Facebook post also inspired a stream of comments about other amusing typos spotted on signs and jokes about the misspelling.

[via Arbroath] Read the rest

Google mothballs map-making feature

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Does U.S. President Obama share office space with an outfit called "Edwards Snow Den"? No, he does not, which—among many similar instances of "vandalism"—is why Google Maps is mothballing its Map Maker feature.

Google's Pavithra Kanakarajan writes:

As some of you know already, we have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months. The most recent incident was particularly troubling and unfortunate - a strong user in our community chose to go and create a large scale prank on the Map. As a consequence, we suspended auto-approval and user moderation across the globe, till we figured out ways to add more intelligent mechanisms to prevent such incidents.

"It's going to take longer than a few days" to figure out something better than manual approval of edits, she added. [via] Read the rest

How a tweet caused Twitter's stock to slump

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Twitter's stock dropped $8bn in a single day, all thanks to a tweet.

Investors were rattled by the early disclosure of unexpectedly low revenues, exposed before the close of trading by Selerity, a service that scours the web looking for investment information.

"We inadvertently released an early version of [Twitter's] earnings," Nasdaq admitted to the BBC. "We are investigating the root cause."

Normally, the results would be posted after the close of trading to allow for the news to be digested. But the results had been posted—through not yet officially publicized—on an investor relations page operated by the stock exchange.

"Selerity, who provided the initial tweets with our results, informed us that earnings release was available on our Investor Relations site before the close of market," said Twitter executive Krista Bessinger. "Nasdaq hosts and manages our IR website, and we explicitly instructed them not to release our results until after the market close and only upon our specific instructions, which is consistent with prior quarters.

Selerity was quick to disclose the source to douse early suspicions of a hack or insider shenanigans.

The poor financial results, far short of expectations, gave Twitter its second-worst trading day since it went public in 2013, reported the Wall Street Journal. By the end of the day, the stock price was about $40, down 6 percent.

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, traders started getting a range of where the stock should open based off of buy and sell orders that were coming in while the stock was halted, said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at brokerage firm Meridian Equity Partners.

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Mellow electronica video shows what happens in your computer when you go right ahead and just spill juice all over it

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Man swept to sea in beach baptism

The search for a 43-year old man, swept out to sea during a baptism on a south California beach, was called off this weekend: "A wave pulled three people into the ocean about 10 a.m. off Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve and only two managed to return to shore on their own." [AP] Read the rest

Job-hunting tip of the day: don't include dick picks with resume

A man who sent a potential employer a photograph of his penis along with his curriculum vitae remained unemployed as of Monday, reports the Dallas Observer. Read the rest

Scottish police apologize for "tit" tweet

The Scottish Police apologized after an insulting tweet, posted on its own account, described a conservative panelist on a talk show as "making a right tit of it". An ironic moment: the panelists were discussing how much of a role Twitter should take in policing abusive users. Read the rest

The making of Drunk Science (and why I am never making another one)

I've gotten a few questions about the Drunk Science video that I posted here yesterday. The two most common: "Will there be another Drunk Science?" And, "Jeezus, didn't science journalist Charles Q. Choi drink a bit too much for this?"

The answers to those questions are, respectively, "No" and "Yes". Choi is probably the best person to explain both answers, which he does in a blog post that discusses the science of an alcohol-induced blackout, and why — despite the fact that everybody involved with Drunk Science thinks the final result is pretty damn funny and generally good Internet — we won't ever be doing anything like that again. Read the rest

Spotting science mistakes in the movies

In the interview I posted earlier today, SETI's Seth Shostak talked about how Hollywood has to make their science more accurate today than they did 40 years ago. That's because today's movie-watching tech makes it easier to spot flaws, and the Internet makes it easier to share them. But different people notice different kinds of flaws, in different contexts. In a post from 2010, journalist Colin Schultz writes about a study that examined the differences between the kinds of scientific movie mistakes that men noticed, and the kind that women found. Everybody saw the errors, but the context was different. Read the rest

A "not insignificant" defense of gleeful scientists

Just a few minutes ago, researchers with NASA's MESSENGER mission announced the publication of data that strongly suggests the poles of Mercury contain significant quantities of frozen water.

On the one hand, this is not exactly new news. The possibility of water on Mercury has been a topic of research for something like 20 years. And scientific discoveries tend to move in little mincing steps, not giant leaps, so there have been lots of previous announcements about evidence supporting the hypothesis of water of Mercury — including very similar announcements from the MESSENGER team in December 2011 and March 2012. Your life will not change in any significant way because there is frozen water on Mercury. You probably won't even make a note to tell your children where you were the day NASA announced that ice most likely existed there.

But that doesn't mean this news isn't damned exciting. And it doesn't mean that the scientists involved shouldn't be giddy about it. We are, after all, talking about a mission that sent a spacecraft into orbit around another planet and has quite likely found frozen water sitting on a landscape that is hot enough to melt lead. What's more, they think that ice is covered in places by a thin layer of some coal or tar-like organic material. That is huge news. It's going to change textbooks. And because the scientists think both the ice and the organic material got to Mercury via collisions with asteroids and comets, it's going to be an important part of our ongoing efforts to understand how life begins on planets like Earth. Read the rest

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