Menu at Toronto's "Azure" was a work of fictitious fine-dining fraud

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Azure is the posh restaurant Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Centre, where the menu boasts "BC salmon" (which turns out to mean "boned and cleaned" not "British Columbia"), "freshly squeezed" orange juice (comes out of a bottle that boasts that the oranges were freshly squeezed before bottling), and some out-and-out lies, like calling boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch granola "organic granola" and store-bought salad dressing "home made." Read the rest

Reminder: Don't put balls of tea leaves in your vagina

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Embrace Pangaea, a "holistic company that provides high-quality herbal detoxes and information to educate clients about natural living" wants you to buy its Herbal Womb Detox Pearls at costs ranging from $85 and $480 and stuff them up your vagina to flush out "toxins" and, depending on which ball you buy, to promote "vaginal tightening" by "tightening the womb" after which your "vaginal canal will shrink." Read the rest

3D Systems abandons its Cube printers, but DRM means you can't buy filament from anyone else

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3D printing giant 3D Systems has experienced a terrible year and a change in leadership, and seems to be backing away from consumer products, meaning that it's orphaned its Cube home 3D printers. Read the rest

Why didn't high-priced/pseudoscientific "behavioral profiling" work in San Bernardino?

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San Bernardino is ground zero for the bunkum industry that sells "behavioral detection" courses to law enforcement, the place where the most cops and government employees are taught to spot "lone wolf" "active shooters" before they snap -- but none of Syed Rizwan Farook's expensively trained co-workers noticed that he and his wife Tashfeen Malik were about to go on a shooting spree. Read the rest

$10 "bean to bar" chocolates were made from melted down Valrhona

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The Mast Brothers, a pair of bearded chocolatiers in Brooklyn, have built an empire on beautifully packaged "artisanal" chocolates that run $10/bar, billed as "bean to bar" confections. Read the rest

Lifelock admits it lied in its ads (again), agrees to $100M fine

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Lifelock, the tragicomically awful identity-theft protection service, has settled the FTC's suit against it, agreeing to pay a $100M fine for violating its 2010 promise to end its deceptive advertising practices. Read the rest

Philips pushes lightbulb firmware update that locks out third-party bulbs

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Philips makes a line of "smart" LED lightbulbs and controllers called Hue, that run the Zigbee networking protocol, allowing third-party devices to control their brightness and color. Read the rest

Predatory lenders trick Google into serving ads to desperate, broke searchers

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Google bans ads by predatory lenders who promise foreclosure prevention and high-rate short-term loans, but they do allow payday loan ads; when you search for "need rent money fast," the predatory lenders target you with payday loan ads that collect your information and turn it into a lead for a high-pressure sales-call from one of Google's shitlisted usurers. Read the rest

How a romance-scam victim laundered $1.1M worth of other victims' money

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Audrey Elaine Elrod was divorced, depressed and broke when a romance-scammer targeted her on Facebook, posing as a widowed Scottish oil-rig worker who admired her photo and sympathized with her plight. Read the rest

Landmark patent case will determine whether you can ever truly own a device again

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Former IBM division Lexmark (which, a decade ago, lost a key copyright case that tried to ban ink-toner refilling) is headed to court in a patent case called Lexmark v. Impression, where it argues that patent law gives it the right to restrict your use of your property after you buy it. Read the rest

With Roca Labs smackdown, the FTC slams non-disparagement clauses for the first time

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I cheered the news that the Federal Trade Commission was suing Roca Labs, the sleazy "weight-loss" company that sold people industrial food thickeners as "non-surgical gastric bypasses" and made them sign contracts promising not to post about any negative experiences they after trying the scammy, high-priced "treatment." Read the rest

Not just emissions: manufacturers' dirty tricks fake everything about cars

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VW's diesel firmware detected when it was undergoing emissions testing and changed the engine tuning to produce 1/40 of its normal toxic output, fooling regulators. But though they're the only ones who've been caught using firmware to game emissions testing, they're not the only ones with something to hide. Read the rest

FTC clobbers Roca Labs, the terrible weight-loss company that banned negative reviews

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If you follow my tweets of interesting stories from one year ago, you'll have seen the Roca Labs saga popping up again. Roca sold a "non-surgical gastric bypass" that was mostly made from industrial food-thickeners that were supposed to gunk up your stomach and fill you up. Read the rest

European court orders airlines to pay compensation for delays from mechanical failures

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For years, airlines operating in Europe have had to pay compensation to delayed passengers, unless the delay was an "extraordinary circumstance." Airlines have characterized mechanical failures as extraordinary circumstances, and refused to pay out when their planes weren't working properly. Read the rest

Empty Epson "professional" inkjet cartridges are still 20% full

If you've wondered why it matters that the Internet of Things is being born with the inkjet printer business model, here's why. Read the rest

New pornoscanners are also useless, cost $160 million

The new generation of millimeter-wave body scanners from the convicted war-criminals at L-3 were supposed to replace the useless, expensive backscatter radiation machines from Rapiscan with a more robust, less privacy invasive alternative. Read the rest

Foo Fighters demand bullshit terms from concert photographers

If you're a commercial photographer attending a Foo Fighters gig, you get the right to run photos of their choosing exactly once, and they get all rights to everything you've shot forevermore. Read the rest

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