Federal judge throws out Palin's defamation suit against the NY Times

A small ray of sunshine as the current Administration continues its war on journalism. A defamation lawsuit brought by former Vice-Presidential candidate and national laughing stock Sarah Palin, against The New York Times, has been dismissed.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin against The New York Times, saying Ms. Palin’s complaint failed to show that a mistake in an editorial was made maliciously.

“What we have here is an editorial, written and rewritten rapidly in order to voice an opinion on an immediate event of importance, in which are included a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Mrs. Palin that are very rapidly corrected,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan said in his ruling. “Negligence this may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not.”

Via The New York Times, natch. Read the rest

The best white pen is the Uniball Signo Broad

I tried a bunch of pens that promised an opaque fine white line on dark paper, and the only one that had an acceptable result was the Uniball Signo Broad. It was in a class of its own, superior even to markers (too chalky) and gloopy paint pens (hardly even work.)

I tried equivalent models from Sharpie (the water-based marker is too thick, and the metal-tube pen just doesn't flow well), Pentel (not remotely opaque), and Sakura (fine in a pinch.)

It wasn't perfect, though, and you'll have to write with more care than normal gel pens. In particular, the pigment dries fast on the ballpoint -- even as you write -- which can result in smudgy or lost corners or thin parallel tracks instead of the expected bold line.

I tried using it as white-out, too. It did OK over Pigma ink (not pictured), but was pretty rough over Higgins ink (below). Reinking over it with Pigma and Tombow pens was fine, but Higgins required a extremely light touch with a Hunt #102 nib.

UPDATE: My results comport with those of others! Here's Jetpens with a more exhaustive and illustrative roundup that nonetheless confirms that the Uniball Signo Broad is the best.

And here's a another roundup from Rachelle at Tinker Lab, which serves as an important reminder that craft store own-brand stuff is particularly terrible and that the best white pen is, you guessed it, sound the guns, stop the presses... the Uniball Signo Broad.

So, just get the Uniball Signo Broad [Amazon link]

P.S. Read the rest

Two women entrepreneurs create fake male co-founder to beat startup sexism

When Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer launched their artist marketplace website, Witchsy, they found sexism got in the way of doing business. That is, until they created their imaginary third partner, Keith Mann.

Before "Keith Mann" came on board, Gazin and Dwyer consistently dealt with condescending and sexist attitudes from people they were trying to work with, such as developers and graphic designers. According to Fast Company:

Some hurdles were overt: Early on a web developer they brought on to help build the site tried to stealthily delete everything after Gazin declined to go on a date with him. But most of the obstacles were much more subtle.

After setting out to build Witchsy, it didn’t take long for them to notice a pattern: In many cases, the outside developers and graphic designers they enlisted to help often took a condescending tone over email. These collaborators, who were almost always male, were often short, slow to respond, and vaguely disrespectful in correspondence. In response to one request, a developer started an email with the words “Okay, girls…”

But recruiting Mr. Mann to help man the company changed everything for them.

“It was like night and day,” says Dwyer. “It would take me days to get a response, but Keith could not only get a response and a status update, but also be asked if he wanted anything else or if there was anything else that Keith needed help with.”

Dwyer and Gazin continued to deploy Keith regularly when interacting with outsiders and found that the change in tone wasn’t just an anomaly.

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If you have $50k, you might be able to buy this iconic 1969 dune buggy

This mint condition 1969 Glass Enterprises "Bounty Hunter" dune buggy (Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000) will be a featured item at the upcoming Los Angeles Modern Auctions event on October 22.

Painted in a shockingly bright yellow, the 1969 Bounty Hunter Dune Buggy demands attention. Having taken one year complete in 1969, builder and owner, Bill Lazelere made sure no detail went overlooked. From the chrome details throughout, to the gas cap under the hood, and 1965 Renault windshield, it is truly a modern design masterpiece. The car has remained in mint condition since its completion and is a timeless classic. The name ‘Bounty Hunter’ is a nod to Steve McQueen’s television show, ‘Wanted Dead of Alive,’ after one car’s designers met McQueen when the movie star ran out of gas. The Dune Buggy is estimated to go for $30,000- $50,000.

Dune buggies originated out of Burbank, California in the mid-60s era and grew in popularity after being featured in Hollywood films such as The Big Bounce (1969). LAMA is excited to have such a time capsule piece of California pop culture to add to its already diversified 25th Anniversary Auction. The auction is set to take place October 22, 2017 at the Los Angeles Modern Auctions showroom at 12:00 p.m. 16145 Hart St., Van Nuys, CA 91406

Mel Keys designed the "Bounty Hunter" dune buggy for Glass Enterprises. He was also one of the three men (middle in photo below) who made the original 11-foot model of the U.S.S. Enterprise that was used on the TV series:

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This storytelling chart explains nothing about season 7 of Thrones

Plot graphs, grids of heroic attributes, flowcharts of dramatic action – chances are you've seen plenty that explain every story ever told. Often presented as a kind of literary pill for critics and storytellers, they're really just toys, thrown into the hinterland between what worked for one artist and what can be sold to another. But it's a lot of nerdy fun to make them, so I thought I'd share one of mine today.

I made it to try and better understand a story I was having trouble writing, but (if you'll forgive the epic presumption) I think it works well to explain why the last season of Thrones, beyond its breakneck pace and sketchy motives, felt like a completely different show. Here goes:

There are two axes to this toy: "Nuance" on the horizontal and "Scope" on the vertical.

"Ambiguity" denotes loads of nuance, tales where everything is subtle and shaded and much is demanded of the audience. At the other end is "Definition," where mysteries and motives wilt under sun and sword and closure is imposed.

On the scope axis, we have "Intimacy" — the emotional tapestries of family and friendship, the world's whispered reminders of its own past, hiraeth and home. At the other end looms "Abstraction," where lines are clearly drawn, where ideas and sides do battle, and grievances reflect universal dogma even as the personal disappears from view.

To play the game, take any story and decide where it tends to rest on the chart. Read the rest

Luggage scale for $5

Use coupon code H7Z3OIO9 and you can buy this digital readout luggage scale for $5 on Amazon. I bought one a few years ago and use it every time we take a family trip. Read the rest

Burger King launches cryptocurrency in Russia

Burger King launched its own cryptocurrency, WhopperCoin, in Russian markets. Managed by blockchain startup Waves, WhopperCoin is essentially a blockchain-based loyalty rewards program. A customer receives one WhopperCoin for each ruble they spend on whoppers. A free Whopper can be had for 1,700 WhopperCoins. From the BBC News:

Ivan Shestov, head of external communications at Burger King Russia, said the scheme turned the Whopper into an "investment vehicle"...

"I don't imagine McDonald's will be quick to allow someone to pay for a Big Mac with their whoppercoins," (said Dr Garrick Hileman, research fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance). "Burger King's competitors are more likely to accept an independent crypto-currency like bitcoin."

Read the rest

Fox News yanked off the air in the UK

With only a meager few thousand viewers per day across the UK, 20th Century Fox has announced that they will no longer broadcast so-called Fox News in Britain. "Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK."

Yes, the viewership is abysmal, but that's not the only reason Fox is pulling out of the UK. According to CNN Money:

The network has also become a lightning rod for critics seeking to spoil the Murdochs' planned $15 billion takeover of Sky, the top pay TV provider in the U.K... The decision to jettison the network in Britain could help insulate 21st Century Fox from criticism as it seeks to win approval for its takeover of Sky.

The British government ruled in June that 21st Century Fox should not be allowed to purchase Sky without further investigation, a decision that set the merger up for many additional months of delays. U.K. culture secretary Karen Bradley said the transaction could give the Murdoch family too much influence over British media.

Fox's final broadcast in the UK is Tuesday at 4pm local time. However, we're still stuck with them in the US.

Image: Johnny Silvercloud Read the rest

Historic FDA approval granted for Ecstasy trial as PTSD treatment

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies announced that the FDA has granted MDMA (aka Ecstasy/Molly) a "Breakthrough Therapy" designation as part of a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From the journal Science:

One of the main targets in the war on drugs could well become a drug to treat the scars of war. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), better known as the illegal drug ecstasy, a "breakthrough therapy" for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a status that may lead to faster approval.

The agency has also approved the design for two phase III studies of MDMA for PTSD that would be funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit in Santa Cruz, California. MAPS announced the "breakthrough therapy" designation, made by FDA on 16 August, on its website today; if the group can find the money for the trials, which together could cost an estimated $25 million, they may start next spring and finish by 2021.

That an illegal dancefloor drug could become a promising pharmaceutical is another indication that the efforts of a dedicated group of researchers interested in the medicinal properties of mind-altering drugs is paying dividends. Stringent drug laws have stymied research on these compounds for decades. "This is not a big scientific step," says David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London. "It’s been obvious for 40 years that these drugs are medicines. But it’s a huge step in acceptance."

Read the rest

Nevada's creepy "Clown Motel" for sale, ghosts included

You could be the next proprietor of the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada. Packed with kitschy-creepy clown figurines, paintings, and mannequins, it's conveniently located next to a cemetery with the graves of residents and prospectors who died of a strange plague in 1902. Reportedly the ghosts of some of those folks haunt the Clown Motel. You could own it for $900,000 so long as you contractually agree that the Clown Motel won't shut its doors. From Mysterious Universe:

The greasepaint ghouls came from Leona and LeRoy David, a brother and sister who built the motel in 1985 and chose the site next to the cemetery because their father was buried there. They put their small collection of clown memorabilia on display and ran the inn until 1995 when they sold everything to Bob Perchetti, whose family has lived in Tonopah for four generations and most certainly knew the haunted history of the motel and its clownish contents...

Seven-year employee Marlena Dufour says she’s seen apparitions and moving mannequin hands and has heard disembodied voices. Dufur told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that a guest had a room key mysteriously disappear. However, it’s the clowns that cause the most trouble. While many guests come dressed as clowns and enjoy the experience, others have walked into the office and screamed or fainted.

Read the rest

New Netflix series from Erroll Morris about LSD and the CIA

I am ready for a big dose of intrigue, weirdness, and true conspiracies from filmmaker Erroll Morris's new Netflix series Wormwood about the CIA's evil and bizarre 1950s experiments in LSD and mind control. Turn on, tune in, and get creeped out December 15.

Read the rest

Watch the original DeLorean pitch to auto dealers

Go back to the future with this amazing DeLorean sales pitch from 1981 used to convince car dealers to sell this fine automobile. (Thanks, UPSO!)

Read the rest

No flame, no problem

Westeros: trailer for spoof Thrones spinoff set in their equivalent to the 21st century

Nicely done. Read the rest

Listen to Japan's airstrike alarm system

North Korea launched a missile over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido yesterday in the early morning, and Japan sounded its airstrike warning alarms. It wouldn't be a fun thing to wake up to.

[via Digg] Read the rest

Mexico offers to help with Harvey, puts Trump in awkward position

In his usual crass fashion, rather than focusing on the catastrophic hurricane that was hitting Houston, Trump spent his presidential energy on Sunday tweeting about how Mexico is going to pay for the wall. "With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other."

And how did Mexico respond? "The Mexican government takes this opportunity to express its full solidarity with the people and government of the United States as a result of the damages caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and expresses that it has offered to provide help and cooperation to the US government in order to deal with the impact of this natural disaster — as good neighbors should always do in trying times."

This puts Trump in an awkward spot.

"If he were to accept aid, he could be accused of hypocrisy over his stance on Mexico. But should he refuse, he could be seen as acting callously while Texans suffer," according to The Independent.

At least some Harvey victims are frustrated with Trump's Sunday tweeting. According to the Huffington Post:

Kyle Souder, a 22-year-old student at the University of Houston whose car was flooded, said he was frustrated with the president for tweeting about the border wall as the hurricane spread through Texas. “Mexico sent their own people to help during Katrina and you want to tweet this Shit right now?” Souder tweeted at Trump on Sunday.

“I feel like we do need foreign aid,” Souder told HuffPost on Monday.

Read the rest

Cool idea: inflatable LED lighting fixtures

Blow Me Up is an inflatable LED lighting fixture designed by Ingo Maurer and Theo Möller.

From Core77:

I currently have standard fluorescent lighting fixtures as house lighting in my photography studio, and the Blow Me Up is such a vast improvement over those. Consider that those fluorescent fixtures are metal, making them heavy; for safety’s sake they must be hung with chains connected to eye bolts mounted in the ceiling crossbeams, which limits their placement. On top of that the glass fluorescent bulbs are fragile, and anytime the large lighting boom is used in the studio, great care must be taken so as not to strike the fixture and potentially shatter a bulb.

These inflatable lights could be hung anywhere in the studio using string and screws with anchors. If the boom strikes them, there’s no danger of falling glass shards. And they are of course easier to ship and transport than fluorescent bulbs.

[via Core77] Read the rest

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