The man who seeks the sound of silence

Gordon Hempton is an "acoustic ecologist" and field recording artist who seeks out the places on Earth that are free of noise pollution. The episode below of the Generation Anthropocene podcast features Hempton's story and some of his favorite recordings of the natural environment. For more from Hempton, check out his book "One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet."

(top photo by Richard Darbonne) Read the rest

Watch the Ramones guest star on "Sha Na Na" (1979)

In 1979, the Ramones were special guests on novelty 1950s nostalgia band Sha Na Na's TV variety show. In this bizarre skit, the Ramones play in a Family Feud parody gameshow called "Greasers Feud." More context over at Dangerous Minds: "Sha Na Na Feud with the Ramones" Read the rest

Apple inventor Steve Wozniak was busted in high school for fake bomb

From Woz's Facebook:

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Scale model of the solar system in Nevada's Black Rock Desert

“On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe.” A film by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh [HT: Mark Day]

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Official Boing Boing analysis of the 2015 GOP Debate

We scored this sweet hidden camera footage from Wikileaks, of what was really going on at the 2015 GOP Debate tonight.

And this is what it feels like when you vote.

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Han Solo in Carbonite Pop Tarts

Pop-Art: Frosted Han Solo is (was) a sold-out/limited-edition vinyl sculpture from Falcon Toys. Fun idea -- hope they do another run!

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7-Eleven delivers "Date Night Pack" of ice cream, Red Bull, and condoms

7-Eleven's new "Date Night Pack" includes Ben & Jerry's ice cream, a Hershey's chocolate bar, a can of Red Bull, pack of gum, and three Trojan condoms delivered to your door. What, no lube? From UPI:

Another convenience pack offered by the chain, the "Hangover Pack," contains extra-strength acetaminophen, a fruit punch Gatorade, a large pepperoni pizza and a sandwich containing smoked turkey and pepper jack.

Raja Doddala, 7‑Eleven's vice president of innovation and omnichannel strategy, said the packs aim to "redefine convenience."

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Notorious Islamophobic mayor of Irving, TX worried Ahmed Mohamed's arrest will negatively impact town police

Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne is a notorious racist and is also the sworn mayor of the townspeople of Irving, TX, where Ahmed Mohamed and his family live.

On hearing the news that her police chief had dropped criminal charges against Ahmed Mohamed, a boy who made a clock because he wanted to engage with the makers in his new high school, Mayor Van Duyne posted to Facebook, exonerating the police and asking townsfolk not to hold their grotesque abuse of authority and farcically bad judgment against them:

I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered. They follow these procedures in the sole interest of protecting our children and school personnel. To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol for investigating whether this was an attempt to bring a Hoax Bomb to a school campus. Following this investigation, Irving PD has stated no charges will be filed against the student. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.

Later, she appended a little weak-kneed blurb about how it's nice that kids are creative to her initial victim-blaming, bad-cop-exonerating post.

Police Drop Case Against Kid Who Made Clock, While Mayor Worries About The Impact... On The Police [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

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America's mass incarceration of black people: the most important essay you'll read today

Ta-Nehisi Coates's longread in the Atlantic, "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration" is a stupendous piece of serious journalism, tracing the long history of system racism in America to the present day condition: America imprisons more people than any other country in the world; it imprisons more people than at any time in its history; and it imprisons black people, especially black men, at a rate that beggars belief. Read the rest

President Obama invites the boy who was arrested for making a clock to the White House

Here's an update to the story about a schoolchild arrested in Irving, TX for bringing his homemade clock to school: This morning, President Obama tweeted: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science." Read the rest

Arab-looking man of Syrian descent found in garage building what looks like a bomb

Omar Ghabra won Twitter with these photos, and this quip: “An Arab-looking man of Syrian descent in a garage w/his accomplice building what appears to be a bomb. Arrest them.” Read the rest

Native American Church members fight harassment by authorities

Editor's note: The Oklevueha Native American Church, or ONAC, is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legal freedom to observe Native American spiritual traditions. Some of these involve sacramental or medicinal use of various plants: Peyote, Ayahuasca, San Pedro, Cannabis, Mushrooms and others. I am an ONAC member. While law varies state by state, those who grow or use these plants--Native Americans, or otherwise--risk arrest, property confiscation, legal harassment, and police abuse. One of ONAC's members in California was recently arrested, and his property confiscated, shortly after local law enforcement were notified they have no right to do these things. ONAC is holding a press conference today to announce their response. —Xeni Jardin

There will be a press conference today, 2 PM at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa California, at 170 Railroad Street.

Noted Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer Matt Pappas will be announcing lawsuits and other legal actions against a number of Law Enforcement and County officials and entities.

These legal actions have become necessary because of repeated abuses of power and evidence of collusion by these groups to deprive members of the Native American Church of their Native Ceremonies and Sacraments by raiding their sacred grounds, confiscating their objects of worship and destroying the sacraments and medicines.

All of these items are protected under the 1st, 4th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. These protections have repeatedly been upheld by numerous court cases around the country including the US Supreme Court, US District Courts and State Supreme Courts. Read the rest

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - Neil Gaiman's disquieting story sticks with you long after you've closed the book

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

In 2010, author Neil Gaiman was asked to read a story at the Sydney Opera House. He chose an unpublished story, and invited artist Eddie Campbell to create paintings to be projected during the reading. Now, that story is an incredible hardcover book, with additional paintings and comics done by Campbell. The result, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of all Kinds lives up to its subtitle, being something in between a prose novel and a graphic novel. Every page features some kind of illustration that adds to the story in a unique way. Dialogue often breaks into more comic-y panels, complete with word balloons. Sometimes whole pages are done in this style, and other times it very coolly fits seamlessly into a more standard page of prose.

Serious Gaiman fans may notice that the “Truth is a Cave” story was recently re-published in the short story collection Trigger Warning, sans illustrations. Reading the complete book is an entirely different experience, as the illustrations add additional atmosphere and emotion to the story, and in some places even help clarify the observations of Gaiman’s unreliable narrator. This story is dark and disquieting; essentially it’s a fable set in Scotland about two men searching for gold, hidden in a mythical cave on the Misty Isle. Gaiman infuses the narrative with a bleak foreboding feeling, and Campbell’s illustrations do a great job of visualizing those feelings. Read the rest

Startling animated MRIs of fruits and vegetables

Andy Ellison, an MRI technologist at Boston University Medical School, put fruits and vegetables through the medical scanner and created these remarkable GIFs. Above, tomato. Below, jackfruit, corn, and onion. See many more at Andy's blog: Inside Insides

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We have a video of a person born in the 1700s

In 1905, film pioneers Janaki and Milton Manaki shot a film of their grandmother, Despina working a spinning wheel. Despina was 114 years old, which means she was born in 1791. Futility Closet also has a photo of a man who crossed the Delaware with George Washington. Read the rest

Trump's bullying tactics are like those of an eighth-grade girl, say experts

“He’s like an eighth-grade girl,” Rosalind Wiseman told Olivia Nuzzi of the Daily Beast. “As an educator who works with children, it’s an amazing thing to watch,” she said, “because you really wish the adults would be the adults and be able to check the person who’s abusing power and being so callous to other people.” Wiseman is the author of a book about middle-school girl bullying called Queen Bees and Wannabes, which served as the inspiration for the movie Mean Girls.

Nuzzi compiled a list of mean things Trump has said about other people:

John McCain (“not a war hero”), Jeb Bush (“low energy”), Lindsey Graham (“a beggar”), Anderson Cooper (“waste of time”), Megyn Kelly (“blood coming out of her wherever”), Juan Williams (“like a child”), Forbes magazine (“failed magazine”), The Des Moines Register (“very dishonest”), Arianna Huffington (“liberal clown”), The Weekly Standard (“small and slightly failing magazine”), Rick Perry (“should be forced to take an IQ test”), the Republican National Committee (“very foolish”), Heidi Klum (“no longer a 10”), Univision (“they are doing really badly”), The Wall Street Journal (“ever dwindling”), Carly Fiorina (“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”), Bobby Jindal (“I only respond to people that register more than 1 percent in the polls”), Rand Paul (“didn’t get the right gene”).

Trump might behave like a mean girl, says Wiseman, but his wealth and privilege mean that hasn't ever had "a moment of reckoning" like most bullies do, which "gets them to reform their behavior." Read the rest

Woman convicted for pretending to be male during courting and sex with blindfolded girlfriend

Gayle Newland, 25, of Cheshire, England was convicted of sexual assault for pretending to be a male and wearing a strap-on during multiple sexual encounters with a female friend who she reportedly convinced to wear a blindfold the entire time they were together. Their relationship, and the deception, began online. From The Independent:

Her 25-year-old victim told Chester Crown Court that she had kept the blindfold on during about 10 sexual encounters. She remained blindfolded when the pair were sunbathing together and even when they “watched” a film at her flat. The deception, she said, only ended when she pulled off the blindfold while they were having sex to see her friend Gayle wearing a strap-on prosthetic penis....

In her defence, Newland insisted that no blindfold was used during their relationship. She also denied strapping bandages to her chest to mask her breasts, claiming they were only there to protect a heart monitor.

Denying five counts of sexual assault, Newland, from Willaston, Cheshire, insisted her accuser always knew she was pretending to be a man, and that they had been engaging in roleplay while her friend struggled to come to terms with her lesbianism.

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