Listen to Prince's original 'Nothing Compares 2 U' for the first time (and see him rehearsing in 1984)

On Saturday, it'll be two years since we lost Prince.

In remembrance of the "Purple One," his estate has released a video of long-lost footage of him rehearsing with his band in his Minnesota studio in 1984, coupled with his original recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U."

It's magnificent.

The Prince Estate writes:

The following is previously unseen rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution from the summer of 1984.

It was in this very room at Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota that Prince created and committed to tape one of his most beloved and iconic compositions, which six years later would become a worldwide hit for Sinead O’Connor.

Prince’s original studio version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ is presented here for the first time.

Previously: Help wanted: Archivist for the Prince museum at Paisley Park Read the rest

Scientologists were all up in Neopet's business

Since its launch in 1999, Neopets has enjoyed a pretty colorful history. The game offers users the ability to create a virtual pet to take on adventures and, using virtual and real-world currency, feed and trick out their digital pets with swag, homes and other online sundries. It was originally aimed at kids, but grew a cult-following of oldsters, too.

Oh, and it used to be run by Scientologists.

According to The Outline, the company that originally owned the Neopets brand employed business practices deeply rooted in Scientology. Up until the point where NeoPets was sold to Viacom in 2005, Neopet's CEO and practicing Scientologist Doug Dohring rocked L. Ron Hubbard’s Org Board business model in order to keep things running smoothly – provided you considered turning your employees against one another smooth.

From The Outline:

The information currently made public about Org Board is vague — introductory workshops are required to learn more about it. The business model contains seven divisions: Communications, Dissemination (sales/marketing), Treasury, Production, Qualifications (quality control), Public (public relations), and, most important to the system, Executive. The symbiotic divisions are arranged to create a “cycle of production” that parallels the church’s “cycle of action,” which Scientology.org describes as “revealing what underlies the continuous cycle of creation, survival and destruction—a cycle that seems inevitable in life, but which is only an apparency.” It is also made up of seven stages.

As part of putting Org Board into play, employees are called upon to spy on the work practices of other employees. Read the rest

What if humans weren't the first civilization on Earth?

Is it possible that modern humans aren't the first civilization on Earth?

This is the insanely interesting question probed by "The Silurian Hypothesis", a new paper authored by Gavin A. Schmidt and Adam Frank, two NASA scientists.

As they point out, if an industrialized civilization existed in the deep past, it's not clear there'd be easily recognizable traces of it. Our geologic record doesn't go back any further than the Quaternary period of about 2.6 million years ago. "Go back much farther than the Quaternary," as Frank writes in an essay about the paper in the Atlantic, "and everything has been turned over and crushed to dust."

It's not even clear we'd find fossilized remains of a previous civilization, because while museumgoers might think that fossils are reasonably common, they're actually incredibly rare. A near-zero percentage of life on earth has ever been fossilized. A civilization could last what seems -- to us -- like a super-long time and still not produce any fossils, as Frank notes:

So, could researchers find clear evidence that an ancient species built a relatively short-lived industrial civilization long before our own? Perhaps, for example, some early mammal rose briefly to civilization building during the Paleocene epoch about 60 million years ago. There are fossils, of course. But the fraction of life that gets fossilized is always minuscule and varies a lot depending on time and habitat. It would be easy, therefore, to miss an industrial civilization that only lasted 100,000 years—which would be 500 times longer than our industrial civilization has made it so far.

Read the rest

Watch how to use dry erase markers to make writing that floats

SoCraftastic tested six marker types on a non-porous surface to see which one allowed the ink to float on water. The effect is pretty cool with a stick figure. Read the rest

Customizable cat-purr emulator

Stéphane Pigeon has created Purrli, a web site that generates audio of a cat purring.

It's customizable; I found setting it for "sleepy" and "relaxed" produced my particular fave timbre of cat-purr.

As Pigeon notes:

The sound of a purring cat is one of the most comforting sounds available and can help soothe and calm you down when you're feeling stressed. Naturally, it's not just the sound that is important, but it's also the presence of the warm cuddly cat. Purrli tries to recreate both the sound and the presence of your very own virtual cat through a custom sound engine modelled after real purrs.

With a purr that delicately changes over time, Purrli aims at making the experience as real and lively as possible. Just like a real cat, Purrli will call for your attention. Just be careful when adjusting the last slider, if you don't want to be nagged in the middle of your work.

Scroll down the page and read the testimonials -- it's quite interesting to see the varied reasons people enjoy hearing a virtual cat purr, including:

My cat that grew up with me during childhood died two or three years ago, and whenever I was upset, she would come and lay next to me and purr to calm me down. She would nap with me, and her purring would help put me to sleep. I really miss that. This cat purr generator sounds just like her, and it really helps with my anxiety, especially during large projects.

Read the rest

Mostly naked man plays Nokia ringtone on the accordion so that you don't have to

He's doing God's work. Which God that might be, however, is open for debate. Read the rest

ICE agents remove legal foreign worker from farm, threaten farmer when questioned about having a warrant

I don't want to alarm anyone, but it sounds like maybe some ICE agents are, I dunno, a shower of bastards.

According to Syracuse.com, New York state dairy farmer John Collins was doing his thing when he heard screaming. When he ran out to see what was happening, he found that his hired hand, Marcial de Leon Aguilar, was being pinned to the side of his farm's milk house by armed men. Aguilar is from Guatemala, and had all of the paperwork required to work in the United States. He'd been employed by Collins for just under a year.

When Collins confronted the armed men about what they were doing with his employee, they stated that they were ICE agents. As the goons slapped a set of handcuffs on Aguilar, Collins demanded to see the warrant that allowed ICE to come on to his property. You'll be shocked to know, I'm sure, that the agents stated that they had none.

It gets better. As the agents dragged Aguilar across the road to their waiting vehicle, Collins continued to demand that they produce paperwork on why they were taking his employee or show the authority that allowed them onto his land. As he did so, he began filming the exchange with his smartphone. Collins alleges that, at this point, one the agents grabbed the phone out of his hand, handcuffed him and threatened to arrest him for hindering a federal investigation. In the end, Collins was released, but Aguilar was carted away. Read the rest

Giuliani to join Trump's legal team

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the once moderate former New York mayor who morphed into an angry spittle-flecked screamer, says he is joining Trump's legal team with the goal of getting Special Counsel Robert Mueller to cease his investigation. Good luck with that.

From The Washington Post:

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani said in an interview.

Trump counsel Jay Sekulow said Thursday in a statement that Giuliani is joining the team along with two former federal prosecutors, Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin, a couple who jointly run a Florida-based law firm.

“Rudy is great,” Trump said in the statement issued by Sekulow. “He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country.”

What are Giuliani and Trump so afraid Mueller will find?

Below, highlights of Giuliani's unusual behavior, conspiracy theory spreading, lies, and general kookiness.

Read the rest

Pepsico launches a K-Cup for juice

Pepsico is the low-key -- some might say deliberately hidden -- backer of the Drinkfinity system. As Jaiksmith says, "it's a proprietary bottle that uses proprietary "pods" that are a mix of dry and liquid ingredients, no artificial sweeteners. For $35 you can get a bottle and 16 pods...about twice the cost (per oz) of their other product, Tropicana Orange Juice." Read the rest

Copy of Action Comics #1 could fetch $600k at auction

A copy of Action Comics #1 (1938), featuring the first appearance of Superman, is on the auction block. The current bid is $300k and Heritage Auctions says it could go up to $600k or more.

The book considered by many to be the “Holy Grail” of comics collecting is expected to compete for

top-lot honors at Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction May 10-12 in Chicago in what could be the most lucrative comics auction ever held.

“This auction has a chance to be among the largest comics auctions of all time, if not the largest,” Heritage Auctions Comics Director of Operations Barry Sandoval said. “It will be in a vibrant city that is easy to reach from just about anywhere, and we have an extremely strong collection of valuable comic books that will draw the attention and interest of comics collectors from just about everywhere.”

Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938) CGC VG 4.0 Cream to off-white pages (est. $650,000+) is among the most coveted comic books in the hobby. The issue generates major interest regardless of its condition, and this is one of the highest-graded copies ever offered by Heritage Auctions. Ernst Gerber's The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books rated it "scarce,” and CGC's census lists just 40 unrestored copies. The first appearance of Superman launched the Golden Age of Comics, and every superhero that followed is in debt to the character created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster (artist). The issue also sits atop Overstreet's “Top 100 Golden Age Comics” list.

Read the rest

Good deal on flush-cut wire cutter

These flush-cut micro soft-wire cutters are made by Hakko. I use them to cut wire, zip-ties, and stray pieces of 3D printer filament. I have one in my toolbox and another on my workbench. At $4.43 (with free shipping on Amazn prime), they are a great deal. Read the rest

I tried Odlum's Irish Brown Soda Bread mix

I tried the popular Irish brand Odlum's Irish Brown Soda Bread mix to see if it was better or easier than my standby recipe. Read the rest

White evangelical support for Donald Trump at all-time high

White evangelicals love Trump more than ever.

From PRI:

Trump’s support among white evangelicals at this stage of his presidency is strikingly solid. While there are modest differences by gender, Trump’s favorability among white evangelical women is still a robust 71 percent, compared to 81 percent among white evangelical men. And Trump’s favorability is still a strong 68 percent among college-educated white evangelicals, compared to 78 percent among those without a college degree.

Looking ahead to the 2020 election, Trump’s support among white evangelicals is also strong. White evangelical Protestants who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party say they would prefer Donald Trump, rather than another candidate, to be the GOP nominee for president in 2020 (69 percent vs. 23 percent).

White evangelicals are on the decline: "About 17 percent of Americans now identify as white evangelical, compared to 23 percent a decade ago," according to PBS. It could be that they are afraid of going extinct, and think of Trump as their lifeboat. Read the rest

Since when did breaking into houses to take a bath – and perhaps enjoy a meal – become a thing?

Usually the goal of a home burglary is to get in and out of the house as quickly as possible. But apparently there are those who prefer to make a pitstop in the bathtub where, if inclined, a full-on meal can be enjoyed. Do three recent cases of burglary bathtub breaks make a trend?

On Tuesday in Louisiana a woman came home from work to find another woman, Evelyn Washington, in her bathtub eating Cheetos, which were just the hors d'oeuvre. Beside her on the toilet was a full plate of food. The burglar had broken through a window, and according to the Star Telegram, she and the homeowner did not know each other.

Less than two weeks earlier, a 36-year-old gentleman broke into someone's house, made himself a cup of Oxo as well as a heap of pickles, junk food and Coke, and decided to draw himself a nice bath.

"He had a cup of Oxo in his hand. He'd made himself a cup of Oxo," the homeowner said after discovering the naked burglar and thinking it was a ghost, according to the BBC. "He ate me crisps, had five rounds of corned beef and sauce, ate a jar of pickles, had two ice creams and a can of coke...Nobody can believe what's happened because it's something what doesn't happen."

And then, a little over a year ago, there was 26-year-old Brian Walker who broke into a home in the wee hours of the morning in Visalia, California and climbed into the bath, refusing to get out when police showed up. Read the rest

Jim Carrey makes a surprise appearance during Conan's interview with Jeff Daniels

Jeff Daniels was just finishing up answering Conan's question about Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey walked on stage to surprise him. Their genuine pleasure of meeting up again is a joy to watch. Read the rest

Ordering ice cream in VR is dangerous

I have questions about this VR ice cream incident. First, where is this taking place? And second, was the ice cream vendor intentionally trying to kill the customer?

Read the rest

EPA head Scott Pruitt is being investigated by the House of Representatives, Senate, White House, Office of Management and Budget, Government Accountability Office, and EPA Inspector General

EPA head Scott Pruitt has gone on a multi-million dollar luxury item spending spree at taxpayers' expense. With his soundproof booth, bulletproof limousines, and chartered private jets, he seems to think people care who he is and are out to get him, when in truth he's just one of the indistinguishable swamp creatures appointed by Trump to dismantle the federal government's regulatory agencies.

His expensive form of ego gratification has become so flagrant that various organizations in the federal government are finally doing something about it. “Scott Pruitt Is now being investigated by the House of Representatives, Senate, White House, Office of Management and Budget, Government Accountability Office, and EPA Inspector General,” tweeted Rep. Don Beyer (Dem, VA).

From Beyer's press release:

This week the number of investigations into embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethics lapses and wasteful spending grew substantially, and more may be announced in coming weeks.

The latest wave of investigations came as the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report saying that Pruitt had broken laws when he ordered the installation of a $43,000 “secure privacy booth” without informing Congress:

The General Accountability Office has already determined that Pruitt broke laws when he installed a privacy booth at exorbitant expense; the nonpartisan investigator has also been asked to look into the raises Pruitt gave to staff using an obscure legal loophole and his purges of the EPA’s advisory boards.
Read the rest

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