George Nader, witness to 2 secret Trump transition meetings, faced child porn charges in 1985

George Nader, the international businessman of mystery who is now cooperating with special prosecutor Robert Mueller, was indicted in 1985 on obscenity charges involving child pornography.

Nader is a political operative who was seen frequently at the White House during the early days of the administration of President Donald Trump. Read the rest

This famous actor has a face you've probably never seen

Actor and contortionist Doug Jones got his start in show business as a mime. His big Hollywood break came in the late 1980s when he got the role of McDonald's moon crooner, Mac Tonight. Thirty-one years later, this career "man behind the mask" earned the honor of being onstage with Guillermo del Toro as he accepted the "Best Picture" Oscar for The Shape of Water. Why? Because Jones played the film's "Amphibian Man."

Great Big Story recently released this (literally-revealing) video portrait of Jones, calling him "the most famous actor you’ve never seen:"

You might not know his face, but you’ve seen his work. With over 150 movie and TV credits to his name, Doug Jones has been every creature, monster and villain known to Hollywood. From the Amphibian Man in “The Shape of Water,” the Silver Surfer in “Fantastic Four” to the Thin Clown in “Batman Returns,” Jones has been spicing up your movie-watching experience for the past three decades.

And for the earworm, here's Mac Tonight:

Read the rest

Clocks in Europe running six minutes slow because of a power-grid dispute

This is fascinating: Millions of clocks across Europe have lost time, because of a dispute over electricity generation.

Citizens across Europe had been noticing that clocks in certain devices -- LED-style alarm clocks, stoves, and microwaves -- had been gradually losing time over the last few weeks. Why? Because those devices keep time based on the frequency of the European electrical grid, which is normally 50 hertz.

But in the past few weeks, the frequency of the grid has dropped slightly -- it's down to 49.996 hertz. So all those clocks have gradually run more and more slowly. People had noticed ...

Okay, so ... why has the grid's frequency dropped? As NPR explains, it's because of a political fight:

The problem, affecting some two dozen countries from Spain to Turkey, originates from a political disagreement between Kosovo and Serbia, ENTSO-E said.

Reuters reports Kosovo was using more power than it generated and Serbia, responsible for righting an imbalance, failed to do so, resulting in the deviation.

Tensions have been rising between the two for some time. Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 2008 after the brutal war of the 1990s, but Belgrade still does not recognize Kosovo's independence. And Reuters reports that while Serbia and Kosovo agreed to jointly operate a power grid in 2015, disagreements over distribution have stalled implementation of the deal.

ENTSO-E spokeswoman Susanne Nies told NPR on Wednesday that Kosovo began producing enough power for its population on Tuesday, thus stopping the deviation.

Read the rest

There's a documentary on badass Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 'RBG'

Here's a film I'll be lining up to see.

It's the story of U.S. Supreme Court Justice/hero/dissenter Ruth Bader Ginsburg and it will be told on the big screen in the upcoming documentary, RBG.

At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior's rise to the nation's highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg 's exceptional life and career from Betsy West and Julie Cohen, and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films.

RBG will be in limited theatrical release starting on May 4.

(Neatorama) Read the rest

When staying at a hotel, tip the people who clean up after you

Working as a housekeeper at a hotel is a disgusting, thankless job. Read the rest

Meet the mother of the Canadian civil rights movement

Viola Desmond was the badass mother of the Canadian civil rights movement.

Born in 1914 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she grew up in the predominately pale-faced province avoiding notoriety until until she was old enough to leave home. In her home province, her skin color made it impossible for her to attend beauty school – local educators wouldn't have her. Determined to better herself, Desmond traveled to Montreal for her education as an aesthetician, before continuing on to Atlantic city and New York City to round out her skills. Returning to Nova Scotia, she opened her own beauty salon – the first by a black woman in the province. While chasing down her dream of being a business owner is impressive, it's not what brought her the most notoriety in our country.

While attending a movie in the village of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946, she called bullshit on the theatre's bigoted ticketing rules. The owner of the theater demanded that whites and blacks sit in different parts of the building. Additionally, anyone with skin that wasn't as white as the driven snow was forced to pay an additional penny for the privilege of seeing a film. Desmond refused to pay more than the white moviegoers did, nor would she comply with the owner's order to leave the whites-only seating area. For her trouble, she was charged for a tax violation – it was the only way that the government of her day could punish her for daring to defy the horse shit of racial segregation. Read the rest

North Korea invites Trump to denuclearization talks. Breakthrough or power stunt?

South Korea's national security adviser today announced he told President Donald Trump that Kim Jong Un says he's committed to denuclearization, and that Trump agreed to make it happen by May, as North Korea has proposed. Read the rest

Students honor teacher at his funeral with a moving haka

When a beloved teacher at Palmerston North Boys' High School in New Zealand passed away in 2015, young men from the school -- both past and present -- performed a rousing haka in his honor. Powerful, literally gave me chills!

A commenter explains:

A little background to this haka I'm apart of the school and new mr tamatea better than most at the school. He was originally one of the creators to this haka and this is our school haka. Only our school and the old boys of the school perform this haka so it is unique to us. Mr tamatea was the head of Maori achievement in our school and he would always try (and successfully so) uphold the Maori traditions not within our school but the entire community. He was involved in one of the leading kapa haka groups in the country i.e the world ( kapa haka group being a group in which perform traditional Maori songs and Hakas) and I believe the Maori culture and maintaining the culture was engrained in his life. So to farewell this awesome teacher we did this haka and the significance of this haka as a farewell and the passion in which the boys performed it with can only be understood by the people who really knew him. But I hope that this helps others around the world understand how fitting that we perform this haka for him.

The teacher, 55-year-old Dawson Tahana Tamatea, was head of Te Reo Maori and Dean of Student Achievement at the school and died in his sleep. Read the rest

Coca-Cola is launching its first alcoholic beverage

Coca-Cola will soon be offering a canned cocktail, a "Chu-Hi," to its Japanese market. The Coca-Cola Chu-Hi will be the first beverage in the brand's 130-year history made with alcohol, a popular distilled shochu in this case.

SoraNews24 reports:

Chu-his (also called “sours”) are so popular that they’re sold in cans, regularly bought by customers looking for something sweeter (and also generally cheaper) than beer, while still delivering a similar 4-to-8-percent dose of alcohol. It’s not all that unusual for pubs in Japan to offer “coke-his” on their menus, either, which mix shochu with cola, either Coke or one of its competitors’ substitute products.

Likewise, even in the West Coca-Cola has long been used in cocktails. Still, it’s going to be a little startling to be able to buy official, from-the-factory alcoholic Coca-Cola, which might be why only Japan is going to be graced with the canned adult drinks. “This is [a] modest experiment for a specific slice of our market,” Coca-Cola Japan president Jorge Garduno said in regards to the new venture, which indicates that the Coca-Cola chu-hi probably won’t see release in the rest of the world.

photo by Mike Mozart, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest

Florida lawmakers just approved to keep Daylight Saving Time all year long

Florida might become the third state – after Hawaii and Arizona – to be done with the hassle of changing their clocks twice a year. Yesterday the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Sunshine Protection Act in under one minute, with only two dissenters. The House had already passed it 103-11 last month. Now it has to be signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

If Scott passes it, however, it still has to go through Congress before Florida has Daylight Saving Time all year long.

What spurred the creation of this bill? Via Popular Mechanics:

According to the Tampa Bay Times, state senator Greg Steube came up with the idea when he walked into his local barbershop right after the clocks changed last fall. "One of the barbers had young children and it had such a negative impact every time they set their clocks back [that they had trouble] getting their kids up for school," he told the Senate Community Affairs Committee meeting. He said since introducing the idea, he’s heard from people across the state that the change could boost tourism dollars and save money, too.

“Today, one of the biggest cons [of daylight saving time] remains sunrise as late as 8:30 a.m. in parts of Florida, which means it would be pitch dark for school kids and early commuters,” author David Prerau, author of Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time, told the Miami Herald. “People do not like dark mornings and that’s the main reason daylight saving time has not been adopted year-round.”

Read the rest

Portable version of the 1974 computer educational game, The Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail adventure game, published in 1974, was a classroom favorite, teaching students about managing resources and making good decisions in order successfully cross 2000 miles of rugged terrain with your family in a covered wagon in 1848. You can play it at Archive.org with their online emulator.

Basic Fun has just introduced a handheld version and it looks cool. If you want "The Oregon Trail Hand Held Portable Classic Computer Video Game" for $25 you have to go to a Target store. (Amazon has it but it's $44).

Charlie Hall of Polygon got the portable version and was impressed:

This little gem is as full-featured as it gets. Onboard is the complete game, in full color and including the original sound effects. You can choose your starting career, name your party of five travellers, load up the wagon and, yes, even hunt for food.

...

The most exciting part of this handheld for me, however, isn’t the game itself. I can play The Oregon Trail online or with a laptop pretty easily. No, it’s the way that the game is presented. The little handheld is clearly modeled after the Apple II, big chunky gray buttons and all. To turn it on and off you even have to push the floppy disk into the slot. It’s the same computer on which I first encountered the classic game in grade school.

For twenty-five bucks, it’s a small price to pay for some nice nostalgia. I can’t wait to show it to my seven year-old when she gets home from school.

Read the rest

Colorado is a land of private affluence and public squalor

Colorado has a booming economy and high employment, yet its schools and infrastructure are seriously underfunded. The reason, according to this Full Frontal segment, is that 25 years ago an amendment to the state constitution was added requiring any tax increase to be voted on by the people of Colorado. As you might guess, people hardly ever vote to raise their taxes. The segment focuses on the man who fought to get the amendment added to the constitution, Douglas Bruce. He's quite a character. He was imprisoned for tax evasion, once charged with assault, calls himself a freedom fighter ("Martin Luther King and I are both freedom fighters."), and thinks an invitation to hug is a "homosexual encounter." Read the rest

Make your own 'bagpipes' with a garbage bag and recorders

Maybe you don't want to shell out a heap of cash for real bagpipes.

Or maybe you just want to make a trash-bag instrument.

Whatever the reason, I'm not here to judge you or what DIY projects you jury-rig in your spare time. Source your bag and recorder and head on over to this 2009 Instructables tutorial to learn how to make your own bagpipe-like device today. (Spoiler alert: It won't sound like a real set of bagpipes.)

Thanks, Don! Read the rest

A mechanical, wooden Turing machine

Richard J. Ridel's all-wooden, mechanical Turing machine uses the smallest set of data elements capable of computing any calculation: 0, 1 and blank; it was inspired by Ridel's viewing of The Imitation Game. Read the rest

Florida students succeed where so many have failed, force state legislature to pass gun control rules despite ferocious NRA lobbying

On March 7, the Florida legislature passed a gun control bill in a bipartisan 67-50 vote, banning bump-stocks and imposing a 3-day waiting period on long-gun purchases and raising the minimum age for their purchase to 21; the legislation is a mixed bag as it also includes millions to arm and train school employees. Read the rest

Vendor lock-in, DRM, and crappy EULAs are turning America's independent farmers into tenant farmers

"Precision agriculture" is to farmers as Facebook is to publishers: farmers who want to compete can't afford to boycott the precision ag platforms fielded by the likes of John Deere, but once they're locked into the platforms' walled gardens, they are prisoners, and the platforms start to squeeze them for a bigger and bigger share of their profits. Read the rest

Bag containing 53 human hands washed ashore on a Russian island

A gruesome discovery on a frozen island in Siberia: 53 human hands in a bag, and another hand 18 miles away. The Siberian Times reports that it remains a “mystery over who the sinister hands belonged to, when they were chopped off – and why.” Photos here if you are curious and strong of stomach.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

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