Defense contractors already making millions off detention of immigrant kids in #TrumpsCamps

Defense contractors are making millions off the Trump administration's racist campaign to separate immigrant kids from their parents, and detain the kids separately --indefinitely-- in ad-hoc camps.

We already know Trump and his allies in government are amoral. We need to hold accountable these private sector enablers, too. Read the rest

What the Bible *really* says about tearing immigrant kids from parents

LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. —Jesus. Read the rest

Justice Dept. won't block AT&T purchase of Time Warner, mega-merger can proceed

Monopoly season is open, and Net Neutrality just died. The Justice Department will not try to stop AT&T from purchasing Time Warner, and the companies are now free to close their deal. The government may yet appeal a ruling on its antitrust lawsuit against the ultra-giga-mega-merger. Read the rest

FBI Dir. Wray on Trump's FBI attacks: I'll only comment on 'opinions that matter'

🔥😲 Christopher Wray, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, spoke publicly about the findings of the just-concluded investigation into--among other things--James Comey's 11th-hour actions around the Clinton email investigation, and their effect on the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Read the rest

Sponsor my next Little Brother novel and a short story in the Clarion Write-a-Thon

I'm in the home stretch on CRYPTO WARS, the third Little Brother novel; and making good progress on RADICALIZED, a short story about suicide bombers and US health care; you can follow my progress and sponsor my work on the Clarion Write-a-Thon, which raises funds to subsidize the tuition at the Clarion Writing Workshop, which I graduated from in 1992 and donate to every year. Read the rest

Making an espresso machine from a (thoroughly scrubbed) motorbike piston

Rulof Maker used a salvaged motorcycle piston and cylinder, mounted in an Ikea lamp, to create a homebrew espresso machine, using a lever to pressurize water at temperature through a puck of coffee grounds. Read the rest

Tech support scammer actually caught, gets slap on wrist

A man who helped bilk elderly Americans out of millions as part of a "calling about your Windows" tech support scam must pay $136,000 in fines to the FTC--and may never offer tech support again. Behold the merciless justice of the federal authorities.

Under the settlement, Brar — who operated Genius Technologies and Avangatee Services and does not admit or deny the allegations, according to court documents — “is permanently restrained and enjoined from advertising, marketing, promoting, or offering for sale, or assisting in the advertising, marketing, promoting, or offering for sale of Technical Support Services.”

The settlement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, and must still be signed by that court’s judge.

Phone-scamming seniors is and will remain a lucrative line of work in America, for those whose stomach for it. Fortunately for them, they can count the relevant regulators in that group. Read the rest

Pam Grossman talks "waking the witch," empowerment, and the magic of art on Ultraculture

My favorite witch, Pamela Grossman (who runs the art/occult blog, Phantasmaphile, the podcast, The Witch Wave, and is the author of What is a Witch) recently sat down with Jason Louv of Ultraculture to talk all things witchy.

On the podcast they discuss (among other things):

What being an “out” magician was like growing up and in the working world, and what the reaction has been like How the archetype of the witch can help empower us, evolve us and move us forward as a culture The resurgence of the toxic right How hope for the future is shining through, even in our dark present moment

For those of us interested in such things, it's a smart, far-ranging, and fascinating conversation. You can read more about Pam and listen to the podcast here.

Image: Sylvie Rosokoff Read the rest

Gaming: Cyberpunk 2077 looks amazing

I often live in places where the only internet connectivity I have comes from tethering to my smartphone (just like I'm doing right now). So, online multiplayer games don't hold a whole lotta joy for me. Thank God that among the announcement for Fallout 76, and the fact that Fortnite is coming to the Nintendo Switch and other broadband gaming delights, CD Projekt Red finally gave us a proper gameplay trailer for their upcoming near future RPG opus Cyberpunk 2077. It's single player, RPG and played in the first-person: everything that I need to keep me happy. If the game plays anywhere as well as Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I will be a very happy lad. Read the rest

Watch people from different countries count paper money in myriad ways

I've seen people in the US count money in nearly all these ways but perhaps certain methods are dominant in different countries. In any case, the Belarusian finger flip is new to me and rather impressive. Try doing that with your stinkin' bitcoins!

"70 People Reveal How To Count Money in Their Country" (Condé Nast Traveler) Read the rest

Canadian border authorities hold citizen without charge for eight months

Look, we’re not all maple syrup lollipops and free healthcare up here. According to the CBC, a naturalized Canadian citizen was held against his will, without charge, for 10 months while immigration officials attempted to verify his identity.

47-year old Nigerian-born Olajide Ogunye moved to Canada with his family in the 1990s and, in 1996, he became a Canadian Citizen. But that didn’t matter to the Canadian Border Services Agency. During a sweep of his neighborhood (which, I have to admit, I had no idea that the CBSA did), Ogunye was told to produce evidence of his citizenship. So he did: His Ontario Health card and Canadian Citizenship card.

But here’s the thing: despite his producing two pieces of government identification – the gold standard for get-out-of-my-face-I’m-a-citizen, the CBSA refused to believe that Ogunye was who he claimed to be. So, without charge, they took him into custody so that he could be properly identified.

From the CBC:

According to Ogunye's statement of claim, the officers ran his fingerprints, which they said matched the identity of a man named Oluwafemi Kayode Johnson, a failed refugee claimant who had been deported from Canada to Nigeria in the 1990s.

Ogunye says he was told the CBSA believed he was actually Johnson, who had returned to Canada illegally and assumed Ogunye's identity. Those fingerprints, according to court documents, were never produced by the CBSA to Ogunye.

This shit went on for EIGHT MONTHS. Despite having not committed any crime, Ogunye was remanded to two different mixed medium/maximum security prisons. Read the rest

More mammals are becoming nocturnal so they can avoid humans

As Earth's human population expands, it's harder for other mammals to avoid people during the daytime. As a result, some mammals are becoming increasingly nocturnal. Nobody knows how that shift will affect individual species and even entire ecosystems. In a new paper in the journal Science, University of California, Berkeley wildlife ecologist Kaitlyn Gaynor and her colleagues examined data on how 62 species across the world spend their days and night. From Scientific American:

For example, leopards in the Central African nation of Gabon are 46 percent nocturnal in areas without bushmeat hunting, but 93 percent nocturnal where the practice is common. In Poland wild boars go from 48 percent nocturnal in natural forests to 90 percent nocturnal in urban areas. Even activities people consider relatively innocuous, such as hiking and wildlife viewing, strongly affected animals’ daily rhythms. Brown bears in Alaska live 33 percent of the day nocturnally when humans stay away, but that number goes up to 76 percent for bears exposed to wildlife-viewing tourism. “We think that we're leaving no trace often when we’re outdoors, but we can be having lasting consequences on animal behavior,” Gaynor says...

Perhaps even more alarming is the cascade of effects that could occur in the wider ecosystem as animals switch from day to night. “Patterns of competition and predator–prey interactions might change with the nocturnal behavioral changes,” Gaynor says. If one species—say a top predator—starts hunting at night and goes after different types of prey, it will likely have innumerable trickle-down consequences for everything along the food chain.

Read the rest

The shortest commercial flight in the world is less than one minute long

Singapore Airlines just launched the longest nonstop commercial flight route in history -- 20 hours between New York City and Singapore. On the other side of the coin though is the shortest international commercial flight in the world: Anguilla Air Services' 12-mile route in the Caribbean between Saint Martin's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) and Anguilla's Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport. Flight time is 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the shortest domestic commercial flight is from Westray to Papa Westray, Scotland. From CNN:

A narrow stretch of water separates the Orkney islands of Westray and Papa Westray, off the north coast of Scotland. Scottish airline Loganair has been running an air bridge between these two tiny Scottish islands for around 50 years, making it the shortest nonstop regular flight anywhere in the world.

The flight, operated by a Britten-Norman Islander eight-seater aircraft, takes just over a minute, but on occasions has been as short as 53 seconds, depending on tail wind.

"This route is used mainly by the people of the Orkney Islands going about their daily routines," says Andy Thornton, Loganair's director of flight operations. "It is used by teachers, the local police officer, the banker and children going to school. However it is also a keen route for tourists and aviation enthusiasts."

"A 10-minute flight? World's shortest airline routes" (CNN) Read the rest

A painful device to punish hat thieves

In 1911, inventor Frank P. Snow invented this "hat guard" to inflict a painful punishment on any creep with the gall to steal a chapeau belonging to another gentleman. From Weird Universe:

A thief could take the hat, but if he tried to put it on, a "guarding prong" would jab into his skull. The prong locked in place and could only be moved if you knew the code to the combination lock.

Read the rest

Frankenbook: collective annotations on Mary Shelley's 200 year old novel "Frankenstein"

Joey from Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination writes, "Frankenbook is a collective reading experience of the original 1818 text of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein. The project is hosted by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, The MIT Press, and MIT Media Lab. It features annotations from over 80 experts in disciplines ranging from philosophy and literature to astrobiology and neuroscience; essays by science fiction authors, scientists, and ethicists; audio journalism; and original animations and interactives. Readers can contribute their own text and rich-media annotations to the book and customize their reading experience by turning on and off a variety of themes that filter annotations by topic; themes range from literary history and political theory to health, technology, and equity and inclusion. Frankenbook is free to use, open to everyone, and built using the open-source PubPub platform for collaborative community publishing." Read the rest

Hilarious "bad lip reading" of the NBA

I didn't bother to watch any of the NBA championship series but I was glued to the screen for this Bad Lip Reading of the 2017-2018 pro basketball season. Read the rest

Dank Learning: teaching a machine learning algorithm to generate memes

A physics student and an engineering student from Stanford fed 400,000 memes to a Long Short-Term Memory Recurrent Neural Network and asked it to generate more memes of its own. Read the rest

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