Mueller told Trump lawyers he could subpoena President if he refuses to testify: Reports

Four sources tell the Washington Post that special counsel Robert Mueller told Donald Trump's lawyers that he could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury, if Trump didn't voluntarily come in for an interview to tell what he knows about Russia, collusion, obstruction, and whatever else investigators want to know. Read the rest

MDMA can help treat PTSD, yet another study shows

The active ingredient in Ecstasy, MDMA, is safe and can help to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, a new clinical psychotherapy trial shows. Read the rest

The Taj Mahal's white marble walls are turning green and brown with pollution

Thanks to pollution, bug excrement, and particulates thrown into the air by construction in the vicinity, the Taj Mahal has turned color. Constructed primarily using white marble in the 17th century, the UNESCO world heritage site building has changed in color from white, to a troublesome yellow and, more recently, has become sullied with shades of brown and green. Given the Taj Mahal's importance as a tourist destination (it draws close to 70,000 people per day!) and its cultural significance, India's Supreme Court has said enough's enough: they've ordered the country's government to seek foreign help to bring the building back to its former glory.

According to the BBC, the Indian Supreme Court recently scolded the country's government for allowing the site to fall into such disrepair, with one court justice saying, "Even if you have the expertise, you are not utilizing it. Or perhaps you don't care."

Ouch.

For its part, the Indian government has moved to protect the Taj Mahal in the past: it forced the closure of thousands of factories near the site in an effort to protect the building and grounds from pollution. Unfortunately, fighting pollution in the area is an uphill battle. The mausoleum, located in the city of Agra, sits adjacent to the Yamuna River. The river is rife with raw sewage, which attracts hordes of insects. Those bugs apparently love to poop on the world heritage site. On several occasions over the past couple of decades, the Indian government has attempted to clean the exterior of the building, in the hopes of bringing it back to its original coloring. Read the rest

Harold Bornstein, Trump's ex-doctor, says candidate dictated letter claiming 'healthiest individual ever'

"He dictated that whole letter. I didn't write that letter," Bornstein told CNN on Tuesday. "I just made it up as I went along." Read the rest

Does this baby have a man's head?

As the original Reddit headline states, "Took me longer than I care to admit."

(/r/illusionporn) Read the rest

Death Cab for Cutie teases us with new album and tour announcement

"I dreamt we spoke, I dreamt we spoke again."

My friends in Death Cab for Cutie just posted this enchanting video teaser to announce a new album coming in August and a US tour this fall! This record will be the band's first release since 2015's marvelous LP Kintsugi and their anti-Trump number from 2016, "Million Dollar Loan."

Fall tour pre-sale starts May 2.

Read the rest

Speaking in my professional capacity as a dystopian science fiction writer...

It is hard to imagine a more foolish proposition than putting Mark Zuckerberg in charge of my romantic life. Read the rest

It's back! British Conservative politicians' habitual "go ahead, kick me in the balls, I can take it" pose

Since George Osborne set the trend in 2015, UK Tory politicians have been posing for photos in a legs-too-wide stance laughably called the "power pose." Read the rest

Kernit: a Jim Henson-inspired font and pun that will turn you green

Kernit is a font inspired by the work of Jim Henson. [h/t Akimbo_NOT].

It's Nice That:

Full of curves, with the counters and eyes of the letters appearing squished, Kernit is full of energy, as if it could spring off the page. “Our goal was to build a voice that is both unique and true to Henson’s work and visual style,” they explain. “Each letter and character is meant to capture the same imagination, fun and whimsy which we came to love in his creations.”

As well as its obvious influences in its name and the colour palette of its specimen, Kernit was inspired by a host of Henson’s characters as well as the bold typography of the 1970s: an era of rounded edges. For example, Milton Glaser’s iconic “I love New York” logo with its curved serifs debuted in 1973.

Read the rest

Doctor who admitted prescribing hair loss drugs to Trump has office raided by thugs

After publicly admitting he prescribed hair loss drugs to the wildly maned US President, Doctor Harold Bornstein claims his office was raided by White House aides.

Via NBC News:

In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump's longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man, showed up at the office of Trump's New York doctor without notice and took all the president's medical records.

The incident, which Dr. Harold Bornstein described as a "raid," took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had prescribed a hair growth medicine for the president for years.

In an exclusive interview in his Park Avenue office, Bornstein told NBC News that he felt "raped, frightened and sad" when Keith Schiller and another "large man" came to his office to collect the president's records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump's bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.

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Is control over your life just an illusion? Here's a game that has you making life decisions based on the roll of a die

Here’s a provocative question to ponder: Do you believe in luck?

We generally believe we’re in control of our lives; we proudly take credit for our achievements and tell compelling stories about our intentionally designed successes. And that’s all nice and good — we indeed should enjoy our share of merit. However, the larger picture reveals that no matter how carefully and meticulously we plan our lives, we are all subject to unforeseeable, unexpected, uninvited, uncontrollable events that can make or break the day. In our complex world, Joseph Conrad's words sound truer than ever: “It is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck.” Luck is indeed a slippery notion, loaded with emotional, philosophical, and mystical connotations.

Better Lucky or Talented?

A few years ago, Nassim Nicholas Taleb packed two strong punches to our collective ego. With his influential books The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, he brought to wide attention how deeply randomness and unpredictability affect our lives and reality. This notion is confirmed in the recently published Scientific American article "The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized: Are the most successful people mostly the luckiest people in our society?"

Physicists Alessandro Pluchino and Andrea Rapisarda, together with economist Alessio Biondo, attempted to quantify the roles that luck and talent play in successful careers, using a mathematical model simulating the evolution of careers in a collective population over many years.

The results: “Even a great talent becomes useless against the fury of misfortune. Read the rest

McDonald's workers across the UK are striking

It's May Day, and McDonald's workers in Manchester, Watford, Crayford and Cambridge have walked out, demanding an end to zero-hours contracts and a £10/hour living wage. Read the rest

Catholic school to hand out ‘modesty ponchos’ to girls at prom wearing ‘revealing’ dresses

Dearborn Catholic high school in Michigan has a warning for its girl students -- "If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements — no problem! We’ve got you covered — literally. This is our Modesty Poncho, which you’ll be given at the door."

From Patheos:

The theology teacher who came up with this idea, Mary Pat O’Malley, insists her motivation is pure: "We are trying to focus on the inner beauty and not draw attention to something that doesn’t need attention drawn to it…"

Aunt Lydia would be proud.

[via] Read the rest

NY public dog park hijacked by over-entitled locals

For ten years a band of locals hijacked a Tribeca public dog park and charged for access.

In 2008 the NYC Parks Department partnered with a local dog owners group to help manage the Warren Street Dog Park. Dog Owners of Tribeca (DOOT), decided to turn the public park into a private one and charge fees for its use. They also established a Fight Club-style list of rules to keep their utopia private.

Via the NY Post:

In the absence of public funds and services, our group will help make sure that this park does not become a stain on the neighborhood,” the group proclaimed in their incorporation papers filed with the state attorney general.

Members said it also allowed them to restore canine order in the neighborhood. “At public dog runs, people let their dogs run wild and act aggressively,” said member Lenore Sherman, 61, who has a golden retriever named Huck. “Here, owners are held accountable for the behavior of their dog.”

One member had no idea the park was public.

“That’s crazy,” said John Ellett, 33, a professional dog-walker. “They even require the dogs to wear special tags, so I thought it was totally private.”

When the dog run first opened, the Parks Department tasked the DOOT to help run the park.

“Dog runs are maintained through barknerships between NYC Parks and community groups,” said Sam Biederman, a Parks spokesman. “NYC Parks dog runs are meant to be open to the public — charging for entrance is prohibited.”

Parks officials snipped the lock Friday, after receiving a complaint.

Read the rest

How Michelle Wolf blasted open the fictions of journalism in the age of Trump

Many Republicans and Democrats were offended by comedian Michelle Wolf's performance at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Professional liar Sean Spicer said it was a "disgrace." New York Times writer Maggie Haberman falsely accused Wolf of "intense criticism" of Sarah Huckabee Sanders' physical appearance.

Masha Gessen of the New Yorker has a different take. "Through her obscene humor," she writes, "Wolf exposed the obscenity of the fictions—and the fundamental unfunniness of it all."

Political satire in less troubled times exaggerates existing facts, pointing out the absurdities inherent in all ideologies, or playing up smaller disagreements and failures for bigger laughs. But Trump is hard to exaggerate—it is enough, it seems, merely to mirror him. But why does faithful portrayal of fact-based reality elicit laughter in a country that has a free press and a healthy public sphere in which, it seems, reality is robustly represented? What do late-night comedians reclaim from the Times?

Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner suggests an answer. She called the President a racist, a truth as self-evident as it has proved difficult for mainstream journalists to state. Her humor was obscene: she joked about the President’s affair with a porn star; about his “pulling out,” as promised (of the Paris agreement); and about the G.O.P.’s former deputy finance chair Elliott Broidy’s $1.6 million payoff to a former mistress. She also made mincemeat of White House staff, House and Senate Republican leaders, the Democrats, and journalists on the right and left, in their presence or in that of their colleagues.

Read the rest

7-11 reduces loitering in front of one of its stores with classical music

A 7-11 in Modesto, California has found a solution to reducing loitering near its front doors. It plays classical music in front of the shop.

The store started its musical program last summer when it installed two speakers outside in front. "The music is part of a 7-Eleven program that uses non-confrontational methods to reduce loitering and similar behavior," said store owner Sukhi Sandhu, according to The Modesto Bee.

Apparently, the music is too loud to make chatting between loiterers any fun, and yet customers enjoy the sound of classical music as they enter the store.

"This is a win-win situation. I'm hearing nothing but positives," Sandhu told the Modesto Bee. He plans to crank classical music in front of two of his other 7-11 stores soon.

Image: stevepb/pixabay Read the rest

All the reasons why felon Michael Grimm is the ideal GOP candidate

Former New York congressman Michael Grimm is running for re-election and his constituents couldn't be happier about it. What are the qualifications that make this law-breaking lawmaker so special in the eyes of the GOP? Here's a brief list:

He's a convicted felon who " was indicted on 20 counts of tax evasion. He also admitted to hiring undocumented workers, hiding $900,000 from tax authorities and making false statements under oath." The judge in his trial said Grimm needed to have his moral compass readjusted and sent him to prison in 2015. He served seven months.

He threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony in the Capitol after the reporter asked him about a federal investigation looking into campaign finance violations. “I will break you in half,” he told the reporter. “I’ll break you in half, like a boy... “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.” The FBI investigated allegations that Grimm "abused his authority as a FBI agent in a nightclub in 1999. Grimm denies the incident, in which he allegedly threatened people and waved a gun around. From the New Yorker article: "Grimm left the club, but at 4 a.m., just before the club closed, he returned again, according to [an off-duty N.Y.P.D. officer named Gordon Williams, who was working at the nightclub], this time with another F.B.I. agent and a group of N.Y.P.D. officers. Grimm had told the police that he had been assaulted by the estranged husband and his friends. Read the rest

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