Just a tiny hedgehog sitting on a piece of bread

This tiny little hedgehog appears to be sitting on a piece of bread. Read the rest

When you're a cat and you hear the can opener sound

When cats hear the sound of an opening can, something magical happens. Read the rest

Trump's proposed transgender ban slammed by 56 retired U.S. military officers in open letter

Fifty-six retired U.S. generals, admirals and other senior officers today voiced opposition to President Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender military service. Trump attempted to justify his bigotry on the bogus grounds it would be disruptive and harm readiness. Read the rest

New FBI director is Chris Christie's Bridgegate lawyer and has Christie's infamous cellphone

After firing James Comey for the crime of "showboating," Trump chose Christopher Wray to be the new FBI director. A Senate committee approved the nomination. This is the lawyer who collected over $600 thousand from New Jersey taxpayers for personally representing Chris Christie in the Bridgegate scandal. Read the rest

Trump's FBI pick Wray is confirmed by Senate to replace Comey, who was fired by Trump

Former Justice Department lawyer Christopher Wray was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the FBI, about three months after its previous director James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump. Read the rest

Does the world need a wireless water bottle with a game to remind kids to drink?

A wireless water bottle/virtual pet with a built-in display.

Is this a real product or a teaser for one of Jing-Yang's inventions in Season 5 of Silicon Valley?

Read the rest

The life and tragic death of "Jeremy" from the classic Pearl Jam video

In 1992, Pearl Jam released director Mark Pellington's fantastically dark video above for the song "Jeremy." (Pellington was also the creator of MTV's incredible avant-garde documentary video series Buzz that I've posted about previously.) Actor Trevor Wilson was only 12 years old when he portrayed the troubled student in the "Jeremy" clip. Most of the world last saw Wilson on screen with Pearl Jam at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards before he totally disappeared from the public eye. Turns out, Wilson drowned last August while on vacation in Puerto Rico. Over at Billboard, my pal Gil Kaufman tells the "Untold Story of Video Star Trevor Wilson's Fascinating Life & Tragic Death:"

Cinematographer Tom Richmond remembers sitting next to Pellington in the director's Los Angeles home and watching endless VHS audition tapes from New York of kids vying to play the (anti-)hero of the "Jeremy" video. It became pretty clear early into the nearly 200 auditions that the kids they were watching were "typecasty," as if they'd read Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder's lyrics about an outcast high schooler -- based on the true story of Dallas 16-year-old Jeremy Delle, who killed himself in front of his classmates in 1991 after years of torment -- and decided they were had the perfect look and attitude for the part.

"In a cliché movie about junior high it would have been the picked-on kid, the outcast who looked funny or strange, and I could tell Mark was dissatisfied with that idea," says Richmond of the parade of odd-looking and over-acting kids they watched, whose performances felt a little too on-the-nose.

Read the rest

Scooch Mooch Part 2: Harvard Law School lists Scaramucci as dead in their alumnni directory

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci went from losing his job to losing his life yesterday, although lucky for him the latter was just a mistake. Harvard Law School, where Scaramucci earned a degree, accidentally – unless it was a prank (to which they won't comment) – marked him as dead in their updated alumni directory.

According to The Washington Post:

The blink-and-you-missed-him former White House communications director is listed as deceased in the new Harvard Law School alumni directory, which arrived in alums’ mailboxes the very week that “The Mooch” became the most talked-about guy in politics. An asterisk by the 1989 graduate’s name indicates that he was reported dead since the last directory, which was published in 2011.

“Regrettably, there is an error in the Harvard Law School alumni directory in the listing for Anthony Scaramucci. We offer our sincere apologies to Mr. Scaramucci. The error will be corrected in subsequent editions,” a Harvard spokesperson told The Washington Post.

Needless to say, it's been a very bad week for The Mooch.

Image: Urs Jaudas/World Economic Forum Read the rest

Be very careful about using eclipse glasses to stare at the sun

A lot of websites including Amazon and eBay are selling dark lensed glasses designed to directly observe the solar eclipse that will pass over parts of the US on August 21. Read the rest

The Strange Bird - an excerpt from Jeff VanderMeer's new Borne story

The Storm

Headed ever southeast across the vast desert, the Strange Bird thought the world below looked so very old and so very worn, and only when she climbed to the right altitude could she pretend that it was beautiful.

The Strange Bird tried not to think of her dreams as she flew, for she could make no sense of them, hardly knew what a dream was, for it did not fit her internal lexicon and she had trouble holding in her head the idea of real and not-real.

Any more than did the prowling holograms that swirled up across the dead desert surface from time to time, performing subroutines from times so remote that nothing about them could be said to contain sense. Human figures welled up to walk, yet were composed of nothing but light. Sometimes they wore special contamination suits or astronaut suits. They trudged or they ran across the sands as if real, and then dissipated, and then came back into existence in the position where they had started, to again trudge or run, over and over.

Yet in watching this, the Strange Bird was reminded of the dream, and also of how detritus fell from her to the desert floor. Tiny bits of herself she did not need, and that she did not understand, for the way in which this material left her was too regular to be an accident, and she knew the compass inside her guided its distribution. Each time she regenerated the microscopic part that was lost so she could lose it once more. Read the rest

Alabama inmates use peanut butter trick to escape prison

A dozen prisoners at Jasper, Alabama's Walker County Jail escaped on Sunday and one is still at large. One of them used peanut butter to change the number above his cell door and then called for the guard, a new employee, to open it. The number the prisoner changed it to was actually the door to the outside.

"And unknowingly to (the guard), he hit that lock and out the door they went," said Walker County Sheriff Jim Underwood.

Eleven of the escapees were nabbed within eight hours. A manhunt is underway for the twelfth. From CNN:

Meanwhile, as of right now, the Walker County sheriff said officials would look again at placing a young person in an control area to make decisions for 140 inmates. The camera system also needs to be equipped with more monitors, he added.

Despite the current sticky situation, the sheriff said he doesn't have plans to put any dietary restrictions in place in the future.

"They love peanut butter sandwiches," said Underwood.

Read the rest

Norwegian Islamophobes confuse empty bus seats with women in burkas

Members of a far-right Norwegian Facebook group confused a photo of empty seats on a bus for women in burkas. From TheNewArab:

Responses included how "frightening", "tragic" and "scary" the scene was, while others worried the non-existent passengers could have "weapons and bombs" under their garments.

"It looks really scary, should be banned. You can never know who is under there. Could be terrorists with weapons," one member wrote, according to Norweigian English-language site thelocal.no...

The head of the Norwegian Centre Against Racism (Antirasistisk senter) told Nettavisen that the irrational response to six empty bus seats shows how quickly people jump to conclusions.

"People see what they want to see and what they want to see are dangerous Muslims. In a way it's an interesting test of how quickly people can find confirmations of their own delusions," Rune Berglund Steen said.

Read the rest

14 self-portraits by Picasso from ages 15 to 90

Picasso never fell into a rut. His changing style reflected his never ending quest to explore and push boundaries. Josh Jones of Open Culture looks at the way Picasso painted himself from ages 15 to 90.

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90 Read the rest

Autographed photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue sells for big bucks

This photo of Albert Einstein has been an old favorite of geeks-of-all-stripes for years. I remember my much older brother Mark, a scientist and surgeon, had a huge poster of it on his wall in college. An original print of the photo, taken by UPI photog Arthur Sasse on March 14, 1951 at Einstein's 72nd birthday party, just sold at auction for $125,000. The print is signed by Einstein at the bottom. The full frame shows Einstein with Princeton's Frank Aydelotte, head of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton University, and his wife Marie Jeanette.

(Space.com) Read the rest

Catastrophic Lego engine failure

Lego makes cute little engine blocks with cylinders and pistons and crankshafts. You can operate them with a small DC motor, but what happens when you attach them to a motor that can spin them much faster than the designers intended? These guys wanted to find out. Read the rest

The Coffer Illusion - how many circles do you see?

Relatively interesting has three good optical illusions in this post. My favorite is the Coffer Illusion, which was a Top 10 finalist in the 2006 Best Illusion of the Year Contest, but is new to me. Do to see all 16 circles? For me, it took a while. Read the rest

Watch: Two young women stuck in middle of waterslide get slammed by a torpedoing slider

As a nervous slider myself, I really empathize with the two timid women who are having trouble moving down the slide, which is at a waterpark in Mexico. And then along comes a human torpedo. Ouch! Read the rest

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