Trippy shots of Asian cities with a fractal lens

Steve Roe is a street photographer who specializes in stylized shots of Asian cities at night. He's been experimenting with some crowdfunded fractal lenses that add neat effects. Read the rest

Alex Jones threatens Sandy Hook parents with cease and desist orders if they don't stop "assaulting" him

In January 2015 Alex Jones said on a video that "Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors. I mean they even ended up using photos of kids killed in mass shootings here in a fake mass shooting in Turkey -- so yeah, or Pakistan. The sky is now the limit."

In December 2014, Jones claimed that the mass shooting was "a giant hoax."

Today, Alex Jones posted a threat to the parents of Sandy Hook who dare to repeat what Jones has said: "At a certain point," he says, "do cease and desist letters have to go out? With a letter and videos and everything so it's all on record? ... You see, *I'm* the one whose under assault, *I'm* the one whose being misrepresented."

Read the rest

Heartbreaking documentary on London's North Korean enclave

Little Pyongyang made the festival rounds and his been picked up by The Guardian. It tells the story of how one soldier made his way to Europe's largest community of North Korean nationals after escaping the brutal regime.

Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe's biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.

Here's a nice Q&A with the filmmakers

Little Pyongyang (YouTube / The Guardian) Read the rest

Drunk NYPD cop shouted racial slurs at family after breaking into their home thinking it was his AirBnB

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Disney (yes, Disney) declares war on "overzealous copyright holders"

Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment." Read the rest

Qanon "codes" are consistent with an English-speaker mashing a QWERTY keyboard

Qanon (previously) is an eye-wateringly stupid far-right conspiracy theory whose proponents spend hours trying to decode alleged ciphertexts created by the cult's leader or leaders. Read the rest

To rescue journalism, journalists must collaborate to defend free expression, not merely condemning Trump

Dan Gillmor (previously) writes that journalism is at a crisis point, as authoritarian politicians (including, but not limited to, Trump) step up their attacks on the free press, even assassinating their sharpest critics. Read the rest

Pizza delivery man plays Beethoven for customers

For dinner, the Varchetti family ordered a pepperoni pizza from Hungry Howie’s.

When the 18 year old delivery man arrived at their home, he gave them the pizza, saw the piano in the foyer, and asked if he could play it.

For the next ninety seconds, he played the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata from memory.

Read the rest

This colorful homage to classic desktops could occupy you for hours

Mariano Pascual has created a delightful nod to classic desktop layouts for his new site, but it's updated with all kinds of colorful bells, whistles, and Easter eggs. Read the rest

Brush pens are fun and on sale today $4 for a pair

Brush pens are fun for drawing and lettering because you can vary the line thickness. And unlike a brush, which requires frequent dipping into an inkwell, a brush pen is always loaded with ink (until the barrel runs out, that it.) This Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen includes one hard tip and one soft tip. I bought them last year for $7 but they are on sale on Amazon right now for just $4 for both pens. My set is still good but at this price I bought another. Read the rest

Leaked FBI memo warns banks of looming "unlimited ATM cashout"

When scammers get inside of the networks of financial institutions, they sometimes stage "cashouts" where they recruit confederates around the world to all hit ATMs at the same time with cards tied to hacked accounts and withdraw the maximum the ATMs will allow; but the wilier criminals first disable the anti-fraud and withdrawal maximum features in the banks' systems, enabling confederates to drain ATMs of all the cash they contain. This is called an "unlimited cashout." Read the rest

This is the way to sell bananas - a pack with a spectrum of ripeness levels

T.K. of the AskAKorean Twitter account says: "Genius at work. E-mart in Korea is now selling the 'One a Day Banana' pack, containing several bananas of different ripeness so that you can eat them over several days.

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How politics became our identity

Dinner parties used to be where you avoided politics. Now talking about politics at dinner parties is the norm.

Years ago, we avoided politics because we assumed the people at our table had diverse political identities, and we didn’t want to introduce a topic that might lead to an argument. Today, we assume our guests share a single identity, after all, why else would we have invited them?

Something has changed in the United States, and for many of us, it’s only at Thanksgiving dinner, a gathering where we don’t get to sort ourselves by political tribe, that we must face people who see the world differently than ourselves.

In this episode, we spend time with political scientist Lilliana Mason who discusses this in her new book, Uncivil Agreement, in which she says we actually agree about most things, and strangely, “our conflicts are over who we think we are, rather than reasoned differences of opinion.”

As Mason explains, “Our opinions can be very fluid, so fluid that if we wanted to come to a compromise we could, if there were not these pesky identities in the way. We can’t come to a compromise because our identities are making us want to take positions as far away from the other side as possible. What that means is that we are trying to look like we disagree in order to defend our identity and our sense of difference from other people.”

As an example, Mason says that six months ago 99 percent of Americans would have said that, of course, children should not be separated from their parents. Read the rest

Watch how to make a pixellated avatar using an actual photo

Kensuke Koike demonstrates a cool visual trick involving an evenly-punched hard copy of an image turned into a regognizable avatar. Read the rest

Trump campaign going after Omarosa for millions of dollars

Get the popcorn.

The Trump campaign organization has filed for arbitration against Omarosa Manigault-Newman, claiming she violated a 2016 non-disclosure agreement. The former reality show contestant/White House staffer has been blanketing the media with secret recordings she made during the 2016 campaign and while she worked in the Oval Office.

From The Washington Examiner:

In a statement, a campaign official said, “Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. has filed an arbitration against Omarosa Manigault-Newman, with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, for breach of her 2016 confidentiality agreement with the Trump Campaign.”

The official added, “President Trump is well known for giving people opportunities to advance in their careers and lives over the decades, but wrong is wrong, and a direct violation of an agreement must be addressed and the violator must be held accountable,” added the official.

Things have become increasingly nasty between the President and Manigault-Newman, with Trump praising General Kelly, his chief-of-staff for "firing that dog."

Image: CC BY-SA 2.5, Link Read the rest

Predatory journals aren't just a scam: they're also how quacks and corporate shills sciencewash their bullshit

Inside the Fake Science Factory (German/English subtitles) documents Svea Eckert and team's years of investigation into predatory journals and the criminals behind them. Read the rest

Lyft charges man $150 for vomit clean-up, his wife proves it's a fraud

Vomit fraud is when a Lyft or Uber driver fraudulently charges a passenger $100 or more to clean up puke (or other body fluids). Lyft and Uber have a low burden of proof a driver -- they only require a photo of the vomit, which is easily faked with some kind of gloppy food.

WDAY AM radio in North Dakota has a story about a man who was scammed by a vomit fraud Lyft driver and how his wife did some amateur sleuthing to prove the driver was crooked.

Ricky Marquart took a 13-minute Lyft ride home early one morning. The bill was for $9.01, plus $150 for "Lyft Damage." There was no other explanation. Marquart assured his wife, Tiffany, that he didn't cause any damage to the car. She contacted Lyft, which sent her three photos of what the driver claimed was vomit.

She told WDAY: "I looked at the pictures closely and said, 'That looks like nacho cheese sauce on the outside and puff popcorn and something else on the inside,'"Tiffany said. "I asked Ricky again, 'Are you sure you didn't eat anything on the ride home?' He said he didn't."

Tiffany studied the photos and recognized the part of town where the photos were taken. It was a Holiday Stationstore. She called the manager and asked if he could view the security video at 2:50 a.m. Sunday morning, and tell her what he saw. The manager told WDAY what he saw on the video:

"It was easy since she had the time narrowed down.

Read the rest

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