Chelsea Manning faces new charges, indefinite solitary confinement, related to suicide attempt

An update on the health status and prisoner status of Wikileaks source and U.S. whistleblower Chelsea Manning, from her supporters at Fight for the Future.

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Trump, Wikileaks, the #DNC email hack, and— Russia? Xeni on KCRW's 'Press Play'

[ LISTEN ] ONE day before the Democratic National Convention opened, Wikileaks released a trove of hacked DNC emails that became a viral political firestorm involving odd bedfellows Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin--and Guccifer 2.0, and Julian Assange.

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Watch her historic DNC speech in full: Hillary Clinton drags Trump (who tweets back)

The speech Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave tonight in accepting her party's nomination blew this American woman's mind. I never thought I'd live to see the day a woman had a real shot at becoming President. I watched the speech on one screen, and the reactions of female friends and peers on the internet on my iphone, and wept.

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Hillary Clinton accepts Democratic party nomination for president

The first woman to be nominated, and to accept, a major party's nomination as president of the United States of America. I came to America 15 years ago, and it took me 15 years to get citizenship: Trump is a chump—and I am with her. As your resident pet English muppet, I exhort you to vote for Hillary Clinton.

That said, I'm slightly disappointed that she went for a white pantsuit instead of the usual Space Federation Onesie she's been rocking lately. Alas, in politics, no-one gets everything they want. Read the rest

Handless magician fools Penn & Teller

MagicPeaceLove writes, "The word 'inspiring' gets thrown around a lot but my pal Mahdi Gilbert (previously) really deserves it. Read the rest

Tell your cat you're pregnant

Having a baby requires adjustment for everyone in your home. This includes the cat. Now you can prepare your fur baby for a drooling hairless counterpart that will coo and wail in the dwelling where it was once the center of attention.

Tell Your Cat You're Pregnant: Baby and Toy Sounds for Preparing Your Cat for a Baby is a set of audio tracks of actual unpleasant baby sounds for your cat to experience, with titles such as "Loud Crying" and "Screaming." Also doubles as a contraceptive. Read the rest

New Orleans art recommendation: the Red Truck Gallery

Last night, my wife and I stumbled on the Red Truck Gallery on the edge of New Orleans' French Quarter, and today we're going back to buy some art, and admire the pieces we can't afford for a while longer. Read the rest

Man arrested for donut flakes that cop insisted was meth

If you've recently eaten a Krispy Kreme donut in your car, make sure to clean up the evidence.

Florida man Daniel Rushing was arrested for possessing donut glaze crumbs on the floor of his car. The retired 64-year-old man had just picked up a church friend from a 7-11 in Orlando and drove through a stop sign going a bit above the speed limit. This prompted the police officer, who was on the lookout for drug activity, to have him step out of his car. And that's when she noticed the offensive flakes of sugar glaze.

"I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic," the officer wrote in her report.

The officer conducted a roadside test, which mistakenly determined the glaze to be crystal meth.

He was handcuffed, arrested, taken to the county jail and strip searched, he said.

A state crime lab, however, did another test several weeks later and cleared him.

"It was incredible," he said. "It feels scary when you haven't done anything wrong and get arrested. … It's just a terrible feeling."

Rushing says he'll never let anyone search his car again and is now suing the city for damages. Read the full story at the Orlando Sentinel. Read the rest

Trump's dumbest son claims Barack Obama plagiarized him

President Obama, in his speech at the DNC, used the phrase "That is not the America I know." Donald Trump Jr. claims this was plagiarism, as he had used the same line in a speech he delivered last week. Read the rest

Twitter verification still not for the crowd

I'm not bitter or anything, but Twitter has denied my request for verification. Read the rest

Stunning and weird portraits of musical note vibrations

Artists Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown explore cymatics, the study of wave phenomena and how they are represented visually. Using black-colored water, a laptop computer, and a modified guitar amp, they captured "portraits" of the 12 notes in the chromatic scale. From my sister-in-law Heather Sparks's profile of their project in Nautilus:

In each ("portrait"), Louviere and Brown saw a distinct image: G looks like a devil, C# is the tree in the Garden of Eden, and F is something like the underbelly of a frog. If you were to repeat this experiment, you would get the same designs.

Pressing further their idea that “sight can be seen and images can be heard,” Louviere turned the 12 sound-induced patterns back into sound using Photo Sounder, a program that assigns sounds to the black and white values it scans along the x and y axes of an image. After applying the program to the 12 portraits, Louviere had 12 very distinct, “odd and bleepy” sound files, which he mixed together into a final soundscape born from the visuals of all 12 notes.

"This Is What Musical Notes Actually Look Like" (Nautili.us)

The audio is now available on a beautiful vinyl record: Louviere + Vanessa: Resonantia

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Marshmallow crossbow

Sick of your PVC marshmallow shooter? Lichfield offers this handcrafted Marshmallow Crossbow for $90. It's an elegant design and I imagine it would make a delightful DIY project for the right woodtool-wielding maker. To avoid injury, perhaps make sure your ammo isn't stale.

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Video about using psychedelic drugs to treat anxiety, addiction, and OCD

In the last decade, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere have launched new studies investigating whether psychedelic drugs, from shrooms to LSD to DMT, can treat mental disorders ranging from depression and PTSD to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Vox reporters German Lopez and Javier Zarracina surveyed the state of medical research on hallucinogens:

In a recent study, British researchers used brain imaging techniques to gauge how the brain looks on LSD versus a placebo. They found big differences between LSD and the placebo, with the images of the brain on LSD showing much more connectivity between different sections of the mind.

This can help explain visual hallucinations, because it means various parts of the brain — not just the visual cortex at the back of the mind — are communicating during an LSD trip.

This, researchers argued, may show not just why psychedelic drugs trigger hallucinogenic experiences but also why they may be able to help people. "In many psychiatric disorders, the brain may be viewed as having become entrenched in pathology, such that core behaviors become automated and rigid," the researchers wrote. "Consistent with their ‘entropic’ effect on cortical activity, psychedelics may work to break down such disorders by dismantling the patterns of activity on which they rest."

"The fascinating, strange medical potential of psychedelic drugs, explained in 50+ studies" (Vox)

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Dark Night – Paul Dini's chilling autobiographical Batman tale

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini (author) and Eduardo Risso (illustrator) Vertigo 2016, 128 pages, 6.9 x 10.4 x 0.5 inches $14 Buy a copy on Amazon

Batman the Animated Series was perhaps the cartoon of my childhood. I remember watching it when it premiered, and followed it through its entire run. While I’ve loved the movies, and the comics, Batman for me will always be the voice of Kevin Conroy, and the Joker will always be Mark Hamill. I owe my love for Batman to this wonderful show that Paul Dini helped create, which is why I was so struck to read his chilling autobiographical Batman tale.

Like myself and many others, Dini too was hugely influenced by Batman through his childhood. The beginning of the book establishes how comics became a coping mechanism for Dini as he navigated through the world with social anxiety. His lonely but successful life is thrown upside down one night when he was mugged and beaten within an inch of his life.

Dini’s story is all about coming to grips with a world that can be cruel, dealing with demons, and finding a way to overcome. It’s a Batman story that doesn’t take place in the Batman universe. I found it tremendously moving, the artwork beautiful, and I highty recommend it. – JP LeRoux Read the rest

Deep-fried Oreos, beer ravioli, chocolate-covered bacon are tabloid favorites

The lost continent of Atlantis has been discovered, and the grammatically-challenged National Examiner reveals: “descendants of Atlantis still roaming the streets today.” It’s probably too late for Atlantians to be accredited to compete in the Summer Olympics, but Atlantis survivors will be delighted to know that their homeland isn’t a mythological fiction after all - which is more than can be said for much of the offerings in this week’s tabloids.

Former kidnap victim and 18-year prisoner Jaycee Dugard faces a “new nightmare” and “desperate fight to protect her kids” after learning that her abductor may be eligible for early release . . . in 2036, at the age of 85. That’s actually when kidnapper Phillip Garrido would become legally eligible for parole, but since he was sentenced to 431 years behind bars, the Enquirer’s fears may be slightly overblown.

That’s equally true for Amal Clooney’s “secret pregnancy,” as the Enquirer claims: “George Clooney’s wife hoping a baby will save their rocky marriage.” Has she announced her pregnancy? Of course not! “Insiders have exclusively claimed” that she is expecting, which in reality means that a recent photograph of Amal showed her with the merest hint of a paunch, and in the mythical world of the tabloids that’s as good as a pink + on a pregnancy test strip.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have “Split!” according to the Enquirer cover, though inside the report backtracks to claim only that they “are on the brink of a nasty divorce.” Why? Because Rita allegedly threw a fit over her wardrobe selection at a photo shoot. Read the rest

Fishing trip surprise: Tiger Shark vs. Hammerhead!

College student Ryan Willsea captured this video a few weeks ago while on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tiger sharks are "expert at taking advantage of situations when a potential prey item is compromised," Florida Museum of Natural History shark researcher George Burgess told National Geographic. "And nothing makes an animal more compromised than having a hook in its mouth and being pulled to a boat."

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Culturally insensitive 1979 TV commercial for Faygo's Redpop, starring Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H

Almost 40 years later and we're still treating indigenous peoples like this. (r/ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)

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