Stanley Tripod Flashlight: Portable, hands-free LED lighting

I replaced my D battery Mag-Light with this small LED light that only needs AA batteries. I get whiter light, longer life, and more intensity. Tripod lights have always been great tools (I work at Amazon, so I see a lot of gear). The problem with the traditional ones is they get very hot, use lot of battery power, and burn out fast. Stanley’s tripod light – the first LED version – takes all the advantages of LED and combines it with the convenience of a fold up stand.

I have already used it for a variety of household projects since I bought it last year. The best use has been to install dimmers. Usually I’d have to do this during the day or ask my wife to hold the flashlight. With the tripod light, I can now do it by myself at any time. -- Jason Goldberger Read the rest

Music: "From the Cradle," Widespread Panic (2006)

I just saw that Widespread Panic will again be at the Fox Oakland come late March. Read the rest

I found a better pair of pet nail clippers

My cats will tolerate having their nails clipped for about 45 seconds before they start to squirm out of my lap. Read the rest

Musician posts call transcript after Google says her claims are 'patently false'

Zoe Keating reported the awful contract terms Google is trying to impose on its musicians; Google says her claims are 'patently false'. She fires back with transcripts of her interactions with its staff.

Several journalists have contacted me to say that a Google PR rep told them my claims were “patently false”. “Patently” means clear and without doubt. Either someone is not telling the truth or the very nice rep I have been negotiating with, for a year, is patently unclear. There seems to be very little clarity and a lot of doubt on this topic.

I still haven’t decided what to do (YouTube is not at the top of my priority list right now) but I don’t want to spread false information and I hope my transcript below will provide some clarity. Please, tell me what you think it means.


Zoe: Wow that’s pretty harsh.

Google rep: Yeah, it’s harsh and trust me, it is really difficult for me to have this conversation with all of my partners but we’re really, what we’re trying to do is basically create a new revenue stream on top of what exists on the platform today.

UPDATE: A YouTube spokesperson got in touch to say that any artist who agrees to their basic Terms of Service will always be able to share videos on YouTube, and that the music service contract will not prohibit them from providing exclusives and goodies to fans on other services. Read the rest

If you're a CIA employee it's ok to torture people, but talk to a reporter? Go to jail.

Dan Froomkin at The Intercept on the fate of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted of espionage this week for talking to New York Times Reporter James Risen: Read the rest

Dumbass White House drone-crasher was drunk National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency employee

So much derp here, we don't even know where to begin. Read the rest

Facebook censoring images of Tibetan monks who are self-immolating to protest China

Activists will today deliver a petition to Facebook demanding the company not censor the images.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft captures clearest-ever image of “dwarf planet” Ceres

The new images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 km) from Ceres, and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become our first probe to visit a dwarf planet.

Stiffs, Skulls and Skeletons – Over 400 medical portraits taken in the 1800s and early 1900s

Dr. Stanley Burns has collected over 1-million medical photographs from the 1800s and early 1900s, when posing for a professional portrait in the style of a painting was trendy. Read the rest

DEA has been scanning millions of license plates so it can confiscate people's assets

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been collecting information about millions of people in the US with a semi-secret networks of automated license plate-readers. Its main purpose is for enabling law enforcement to take people's money without charging them of any crime:

The program was started to assist the controversial civil asset forfeiture program which allows law enforcement to seize a suspected criminal’s property without the suspect ever being convicted of the alleged crime.

But it is also useful for police and politicians to stalk and spy on people they hold a personal grudge against:

Backchannel reported in December that police have used their access to license plate readers to stalk former colleagues, and IB Times revealed earlier this month that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) used location data to smear a political rival.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Overclocked is now a DRM-free audiobook

My multi-award-winning short story collection Overclocked is now a DRM-free audiobook, courtesy of Read the rest

Bill Hicks' 12 Principles of Comedy

This advice from comedian Bill Hicks (who died of cancer in 1993) is applicable to many other activities besides stand-up comedy.

If you can be yourself on stage nobody else can be you and you have the law of supply and demand covered. The act is something you fall back on if you can’t think of anything else to say. Only do what you think is funny, never just what you think they will like, even though it’s not that funny to you. Never ask them is this funny – you tell them this is funny. You are not married to any of this shit – if something happens, taking you off on a tangent, NEVER go back and finish a bit, just move on. NEVER ask the audience “How You Doing?” People who do that can’t think of an opening line. They came to see you to tell them how they’re doing, asking that stupid question up front just digs a hole. This is The Most Common Mistake made by performers. I want to leave as soon as they say that. Write what entertains you. If you can’t be funny be interesting. You haven’t lost the crowd. Have something to say and then do it in a funny way. I close my eyes and walk out there and that’s where I start, Honest. Listen to what you are saying, ask yourself, “Why am I saying it and is it Necessary?” (This will filter all your material and cut the unnecessary words, economy of words) Play to the top of the intelligence of the room. Read the rest

Ohio cop gets criminal charges for swiping camera from disabled woman

Yellow Springs, Ohio police Sgt. Naomi Penrod must be surprised that she is being criminally charged for twisting the arm of a disabled woman to swipe her video camera. After all, other cops get away with murder.

From WYSO:

Penrod has been accused of twisting the arm of a resident who was filming her when police arrived on Nov. 5th to check on an eviction notice. An internal investigation determined that Penrod had committed a "hostile act," which she's appealing.

From WHIO:

Sgt. Naomi Penrod is facing three misdemeanor charges, of interfering with civil rights, assault and disorderly conduct, according to Yellow Springs Village Manager Patti Bates, who declined to give further details.

Here's a recording of the 911 call that the disabled woman made after the incident.

Penrod gets her paid vacation "until the criminal case has been resolved." Read the rest

15 unique illnesses you can only come down with in German

Hörsturz is a sudden loss of hearing caused by stress. Frühjahrsmüdigkeit is "spring fatigue," the opposite of spring fever. Putzfimmel is an obsession with cleaning. Read the rest

I love Kindle Unlimited

If you like self-published fiction or read more than a few books a month, and don't mind giving books up when you're done, Amazon's borrowing service is a great deal.

Comcast ghost-wrote politicians' letters in support of Time Warner Cable merger

Letters sent to the FCC in favor of Comcast's proposed Time Warner Cable merger came from Mayor Jere Wood of Roswell, GA; Councilor Todd Wodraska of Jupiter, FL; Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and many other politicians -- all written in whole or part by Comcast's staffers and lobbyists. Read the rest

GIFs of great black and white photographs morphing into color

Classic images we know in black and white, transforming into color before our eyes. Read the rest

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