Democrat voters fondly recall presidency of George W. Bush

After criticizing Trump, former president George W. Bush now enjoys a high favorability rating among Democrats.

Fifty-one percent of Democrats in the Economist-YouGov survey say they have a somewhat or very favorable view of the 43rd president, while 42 percent hold a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Bush.

The results come just under one week after Bush delivered a blistering rebuke of President Trump’s policies. While Bush did not mention Trump by name during the speech, he criticized foreign polices that do not combat security threats head-on and domestic policies that rebuff immigrants.

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The science of carnival game scams and tips to beat them

Former NASA-JPL engineer Mark Rober explores carnival scam science and has a few tips on how to win, at least occasionally.

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iPhone and Android compatible heart rate monitor

I've started using this Wahoo Tickr to track heart rate as I ride my spinning bike. Read the rest

Hollywood sex scandal predators go unnamed and unashamed in this week’s tabloids

More than 30 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of rape or sexual abuse, another 200+ women have claimed sexual assault by writer-director James Toback, but only the National Enquirer, following a “12-month investigation” into Hollywood sex crimes, can reveal that Halle Berry “walked arm in arm” with an unnamed alleged sex harasser.

Arm in arm? Is that seriously the worst abuse the Enquirer could dig up? Apparently. Sandra Bullock “was pursued” by a predatory director, Jessica Alba “was cast” in an alleged sex abuser’s movie, and Jennifer Aniston “enjoyed success with a powerful executive.”

Wow. How’s that for blowing the lid off Hollywood sleaze?

The Enquirer cover headline screams “New Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks Hollywood,” but you know it’s going to be a disappointment when they can’t even be bothered to add the usually-mandatory exclamation mark at the end.

Are we supposed to assume that these stars were victims of far worse indignities than the Enquirer coyly reveals? That seems unlikely, coming from a publication that has never shied away from describing sordid sexual encounters in loving detail.

“Three movie moguls exposed inside!” adds the cover. “The Predators Unmasked!” And their identities are ... never revealed. "The three movie moguls remain in the shadows, but the Enquirer is aware of their identities . . ." the rag reports, presumably happy for these "unmasked" predators to continue inflicting their sleazy atrocities. No wonder Donald Trump once said that the Enquirer deserves a Pulitzer prize.

The tabloids continue grabbing the moral low ground this week, led by the Globe cover proclaiming: “Michael J. Read the rest

How to restore cast-iron waffle irons for fun (and waffles)

Cast iron is elegant, simple, and truly an old tool that still works. One of the most beautiful and functional cast iron pieces I’ve found is the waffle iron. Restoring them used to be a real chore, until I found a shortcut. Read the rest

Epson uses dubious patent claims to nuke ink sellers' listings from eBay

Epson has taken a page from HP's dirty-tricks playbook to ensure that no one can compete with them by selling ink at affordable prices. Read the rest

NYC civic hackers invite frustrated Silicon Valleyites to do good in New York

We Want You in NYC is a group of civic hackers who believe in using technology to improve people's lives; they've launched a provocative campaign aimed at disillusioned Silicon Valley techies who are tired of working on products that are "designed to kidnap our--and our kids’--attention, only to maximize profits" and want to help "large segments of society to participate in the economic benefits of technology innovation." Read the rest

The history of the web in 20 seconds

Webflow's history of the web is a Bayeaux Tapestry of obsolete virtues and current vices, a superimposition of new and old bad things. It's a clever and very 2017 way to market a web design app that lets normal people keep making worthwhile mistakes on the web -- a gateway to free expression -- as it becomes increasingly technical and forbidding.

I'm startled by how comfortingly, reliably minimal the very early stuff was. Even the lurid GIF explosion in late 1990s! Simple technology made even a terrible mess accessible. Read the rest

Those "heroic rogue GOP senators" just helped Trump shield Equifax and Wells Fargo from lawsuits

Senators Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain talk a big game about not letting the GOP be the handmaiden of trumpist corruption, but when the chips were down last night, they voted with their party and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Handmaid's Tale to pass legislation that lets financial institutions take away your right to sue them when they defraud you. Read the rest

Simple steps your small organization can take to defend itself against cyberattacks

Respected security researcher Dan Wallach from Rice University has published a short (18 page) guide to securing small organizations against three kinds of cyberattack: Untargeted, ​remote ​(spammers, ​phishers, ​ransomware ​griefers, ​etc.); Targeted, ​remote ​(spear ​phishers); and Targeted, ​in ​person ​(immigration ​agents, ​police, ​criminal ​trespass). Read the rest

Fats Domino, RIP

Pioneering rock-and-roller Fats Domino has died at age 89. A self-taught boogie woogie pianist who lived much of his life in New Orleans, Domino's iconic 1950s hits drove the evolution of raw rhythm-and-blues into the emerging rock-and-roll sound. From the New York Times:

“Fats, how did this rock ’n’ roll all get started anyway?” an interviewer for a Hearst newsreel asked him in 1957. Mr. Domino answered: “Well, what they call rock ’n’ roll now is rhythm and blues. I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans.”

At a news conference in Las Vegas in 1969, after resuming his performing career, Elvis Presley interrupted a reporter who had called him “the king.” He pointed to Mr. Domino, who was in the room, and said, “There’s the real king of rock ’n’ roll.”

Mr. Domino had his biggest hit in 1956 with his version of “Blueberry Hill,” a song that had been recorded by Glenn Miller’s big band in 1940. It peaked at No. 2 on the pop charts and sold a reported three million copies.

“I liked that record ’cause I heard it by Louis Armstrong and I said, ‘That number gonna fit me,’ ” he told Offbeat. “We had to beg Lew Chudd for a while. I told him I wasn’t gonna make no more records till they put that record out. I could feel it, that it was a hit, a good record.”

He followed with two more Top Five pop hits: “Blue Monday” and “I’m Walkin’,” which outsold the version recorded by Ricky Nelson.

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Kaspersky's explanation for possessing secret NSA cyberweapons is a doozy

Kaspersky -- a respected Russia-based security company -- has been under a cloud since they were accused of stealing NSA cyberweapons on behalf of the Russian government. But the company has a perfectly innocent -- if complicated and at times bizarre explanation for how it came to be in possession of the NSA's crown jewels. Read the rest

NAACP warns black people they aren't safe on American Airlines

The NAACP issued a warning today advising black people not to travel on American Airlines due to a "pattern of disturbing incidents" reported by African-American passengers and unique to the carrier. and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions. This travel advisory is in effect beginning today, October 24, 2017, until further notice.

The series of recent incidents involve troublesome conduct by American Airlines and they suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.

1. An African-American man was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers;

2. Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;

3. On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and

4. An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.

In order to help American Airlines adapt to the reality of changing circumstances, I've made a slight change to their logo and name to better represent their preferred customer base. Read the rest

San Francisco may finally get decent internet access, thanks to municipal fiber

American cities have some of the slowest, most expensive internet access in the world, and the biggest, wealthiest cities are some of the worst-provisioned, including San Francisco, ground zero for the tech revolution and home to a cable/telco duopoly whose underperforming infrastructure is especially galling for the city's techie residents. Read the rest

The best looking electric kettle

This KitchenAid 1.25-Liter Electric Kettle is by far the best-looking electric kettle ever made. Carla got me the pistachio colored one for Christmas last year. It heats up quickly (under five minutes when full) by setting it on the base and has an auto-shutoff. It has a lime scale filter so your hot water doesn't end up with little flakes in it. Other kettles cost less, but they aren't as cute as this. Read the rest

This Dungeons and Dragons campaign has been running for 35 years

Robert Wardhaugh of London Ontario was 14 when he started a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Thirty five years later, he's dungeonmastering the same campaign. His miniature sets are amazing!

From Great Big Story:

In 1982, when he was only 14 years old, Robert Wardhaugh sat down to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Thirty-five years later, that same game is still going strong. Based out of Wardhaugh’s basement in London, Canada, people from all around the country gather each week to join in the decades-long campaign. And with over 20,000 figurines and dozens of terrains, Wardhaugh keeps the game fresh and exciting, adding to the everlasting adventure.

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Bitcoins from Heaven

Here's Gracie Terzian performing the old standard "Bitcoins from Heaven" on a harp ukulele.

Thanks, Gary! Read the rest

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