Rainey from EFF sez, "On the weekend of October 26 -- the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act -- thousands of people from across the political spectrum will unite in Washington, D.C. to take a stand against unconstitutional surveillance. Groups like EFF, ACLU and reddit are using the event to pressure Congress to stop mass spying -- and dropping off a petition with over 500,000 signatures to show they're serious. There will be speakers, privacy experts, and lots of music - including YACHT, the indie pop duo that's sweeping the nation with its new song, 'Party at the NSA.'"
At 3:00 Eastern today, science journalist Lee Billings will be doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything
. Lee has been a guest blogger at BoingBoing
in the past. His specialty is exoplanets, the worlds that exist beyond our own solar system. Bring him your questions about the Kepler space telescope, human exploration of the galaxy, the likelihood of alien life (and of us finding it), and more. — Maggie
This list of third-grade goals is presented by redditor Elbostonian as the work of his eight-year-old son. It's a rather ambitious document, but admirably so -- an excellent mix of stupid body tricks, theoretical astrophysics, identity development, culinary adventure, and mystery.
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The Trypophobia subreddit is a place for posting photos of things with clusters of small holes or pits in them, like lotus plants, funguses, multi-chambered plants, and strange infections. Trypophobia is the (not medically recognized) fear of "objects with small holes." It sounded weird to me, but after clicking through the first couple-dozen links, I was massively squicked. Shown here, Ethiopian injera bread from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté Recipes. Normally, I love the stuff, but in the context, I have to admit, it gives me the frisson.
The most common phobia you've never heard of.
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
David Shiffman, a fantastic scientist and ocean blogger, has spent the past week correcting the errors of Discovery's increasingly misleading Shark Week
programming. Tomorrow, at noon eastern, he'll be on Reddit for a shark-centric round of "Ask Me Anything"
. Got shark questions? David Shiffman will have sharp answers. — Maggie
A redditor called EquinnoxX wanted to propose to his girlfriend, so he hacked an NES console-game cartridge called Contra so that it delivered the proposal in the course of the gameplay. He changed the character names' to his and his girlfriend's, and then modded the end text to be a marriage proposal (she said yes).
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Redditor Tufflaw has been running a central air-conditioning system "24/7" during the New York heatwave. But the bills were offset by 26 home solar panels by Sharp that took three days to install and were subject to state and federal tax-credits, and will take 7-8 years to pay for themselves. Here is the most recent bill: $6.05. Tufflaw says that there are sometimes months that go by with no bill at all (and one year generated a $20 rebate from the power company!), and adds, "There's also an intangible benefit, feeling good about using a free renewable source of power."
Been running my central air 24/7 lately, especially with the recent heat wave. This is my most recent electric bill. Damn I love my solar panels.
A great Reddit thread asked readers for their favorite "intellectual" joke -- some of the high-ranked ones are really good!
Q: What does the "B" in Benoit B. Mandelbrot stand for?
A: Benoit B. Mandelbrot. (balloseater)
It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally. (Watch_Closely)
I'd tell you a UDP joke, but you may not get it. (ambivalist)
I prefer IP jokes; it's all in the delivery. (ianschenck)
I could tell you a joke about TCP, but I'd have to keep repeating it until you got it. (Razakel)
Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other two and says, "Clearly this is a joke, but how can we figure out if it's funny or not?" Gödel replies, "We can't know that because we're inside the joke." Chomsky says, "Of course it's funny. You're just telling it wrong." (Saboot)
What's the most intellectual joke you know? (self.AskReddit)
Redditor Txmaluda works at a Whataburger and used their little ketchup-tubs to construct an AT-AT Walker during a slow shift. Bravo!
Update: From the comments, robcruickshank sez, "I hope the rebels mustard a defense." I hope so, too, Rob.
Assault walker I made from ketchup packets when I was bored at work. (i.imgur.com)
Quebecois convenience store chain Couche-Tard has rolled out a new drink: the Pizzaghetti Sloche, a shave-ice drink that comes in both pizza and spaghetti flavors, which can be combined to customer specifications to make Pizzaghetti flavor. Couche-Tard's slogan for the drink is "love in a cup." Redditor plagues138 posted a photo of the actual Pizzaghetti Sloche machine in situ.
Sloche - Pizzaghetti
This horrifying clown mannekin was reportedly placed on a hiking trail deep in the Oleta River in Aventura, Florida by a park employee who got it from the Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park in North Miami.
If you went hiking through Oleta River in Aventura Florida last year, you probably shit your pants a couple miles in. (imgur.com)
If you liked Al Jaffee's Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions from MAD Magazine (and if you didn't, boy are you in the wrong place!), I think you'll enjoy this Reddit thread: "What was your best "comeback line" that left the other person totally speechless?" There's plenty of stuff that I'm betting is really esprit d'escalier, but if even half of it is genuine, it is proof of some fundamental rightness woven into the very fabric of the universe.
What was your best "comeback line" that left the other person totally speechless? (self.AskReddit)
davidtregaskis: While working at a paint store my assistant manager was giving me grief because I wanted to get off early to go take a final. She said, "when I was going to school and working if there was ever a conflict between school and work, work always came first." I replied, "that's probably why you're still working here."
Texanjumper: "Brother (our parent's biological child) was talking about how he was the favorite child. my response: 'Well they picked me, got stuck with you!' he had nothing left to say."
gschoppe: "LOL... my adopted sister used that on me once. Being the big brother, and thus obligated to have an immediate comeback, I said, 'Yeah, but have you seen the other choices they've made with their lives?' She never used that line again."
When Joaquín Guzmán Loera, leader of Mexico's notorious Sinaloa Cartel, wants to dine out, he engages some rather extreme security measures:
In 2005 on a Saturday evening, Guzmán reportedly strolled into a restaurant in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, with several of his bodyguards. After he took his seat, his henchmen locked the doors of the restaurant, collected the cell phones of approximately 30 diners and instructed them to not be alarmed. The gangsters then ate their meal and left – paying for everyone else in the restaurant.
Later that year, Guzmán was reportedly seen in Culiacán, Sinaloa, repeating the same exploit at a restaurant. According to a witness, in November 2005 Guzmán entered the restaurant in Culiacán with 15 of his bodyguards, all of them carrying AK-47s. The restaurant was known as "Las Palmas", a lime-green eatery with an ersatz tile roof on a busy street. A man in the restaurant told those present the following:
"Gentlemen, please. Give me a moment of your time. A man is going to come in, the boss. We will ask you to remain in your seats; the doors will be closed and nobody is allowed to leave. You will also not be allowed to use your cellulars. Do not worry; if you do everything that is asked of you, nothing will happen. Continue eating and don't ask for your check. The boss will pay. Thank you."
Joaquín Guzmán Loera