To do in America, next Wednesday: See the "People's Premiere" of Michael Moore's Trump takedown, "Fahrenheit 11/9"

Michael Moore's latest documentary is a scorching Trump takedown called Fahrenheit 11/9; next Wednesday, all over the USA, theaters will screen a "People's Premiere" of the movie: just indicate your willingness to buy tickets for a nearby screening and once enough of your neighbors sign up, the screening will "tip" and get scheduled (Angelenos, help me get a screening in Alhambra!). The site for doing all this is creaking under the load at the moment, so keep hitting that reload button! Read the rest

Badass NOAA storm trackers fly into Hurricane Florence

As a million people evacuate the coastal regions of Virginia and North Carolina to escape the damaging winds of Hurricane Florence, the badass scientists of NOAA are flying smack-dab into the storm. Read the rest

Avid reader wins his own bookstore in a raffle

When you walk into a bookshop, chances are that you weren't expecting to walk out with a bookshop. However, that's exactly what happened to Ceisjan Van Heerden after shopping at the Bookends bookstore in Cardigan, Wales. After opting for an early retirement due to medical issues, the bookshop's owner, Paul Morris, decided that he wanted to raffle it off and give a lucky book lover the opportunity to own a shop of their own.

From The Guardian:

Morris, who worked in the book industry for years before he opened his own shop, told the Guardian that he had chosen to take early retirement at 52 after his osteoarthritis worsened.

“I thought about selling it, but I thought instead, let’s give someone an opportunity in life which they might not otherwise have had. The principle was to make sure the shop continues in good hands,” he said. “[Ceisjan] is a regular customer and I’m really pleased it was him — he wants to run it. You can make a very good living from it — far too many bookshops have disappeared over the years.”

Van Heerden was in it to win it along with close to 60 other contestants. The only barrier to entry was spending over £20 (around $26) in the store. That doesn't sound like a whole lot of cheddar to hand over, for books or for the opportunity to own your own business. But, if it's a used bookstore that you're talking about, $26 is enough to fill a decent chunk of shelf space with new tomes to read. Read the rest

Use VR to travel through a duck's amazing vagina

The internet is perpetually amused and fascinated by the crazy, corkscrewing duck penis, but commonsense dictates that if fella ducks have crazy willies, then lady ducks will have equally amazing hoo-hahs. Read the rest

California Farm Bureau sells out farmers, hands John Deere a monopoly over tractor repair

Farmers are the vanguard of the Right to Repair movement; accustomed as they are to fixing their own equipment (you can't wait for a repair tech when the tractor doesn't work -- as the saying goes, you have to make hay while the sun shines), they were outraged when companies like John Deere started using DRM to pick their pockets, creating tractors whose engines wouldn't recognize a new part until they paid a tech a few hundred dollars to drive out in a day or two and key an unlock code into the tractor's keyboard. Read the rest

2018's Blue Wave needs to take down Trump, and the right-wing establishment of the Democratic Party

California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown repeatedly vetoed universal healthcare after the state legislature voted it through; Democratic state majorities in NY, CT and NJ refused to enact legislation to close the "carried interest" tax loophole that makes billions for hedge-fund managers; Rhode Island Democrats went on a slashing spree, taking down pensions for teachers, firefighters and other public servants while the finance-affiliated state treasurer funneled the pension funds into her pals' underperforming hedge funds; Democrats in NJ gutted the tax bill to give millionaires an easy ride; New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo shut down the state anti-corruption commission, only to have his top aide busted for being horrifically corrupt. Read the rest

History's solutions to runaway inequality: warfare, revolution, state collapse and plague

In Walter Scheidel's new book The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, the Stanford classics prof traces the rise and fall of inequality from humanity's history, showing how over time, the rich get richer and richer, creating an ever-more-unstable situation, until, basically, the world melts down or the people start building guillotines on their doorsteps. Read the rest

Idiot drivers fight for the middle lane

For all we know, the drivers of these cars fighting to take possession of the middle lane of a freeway could be the nicest people in the world, beloved by friends, coworkers, and family members. But I doubt it.

Dumb & Dumber

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17 years ago today Trump boasted that he now had the tallest building in downtown Manhattan

We already know what kind of a person Trump is. We knew it 17 years ago when he told a TV reporter on 9/11 that his tower was the tallest building in downtown Manhattan now that the World Trade Center had been demolished by terrorists.

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Quiz: Are these writers complaining about 21st-century e-scooters, or 19th-century velocipedes?

Many cultural critics freaked out when people started riding newfangled bicycles in the 19th century. In fact, their complaints sound so much like modern-day writers' complaints about e-scooters, Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post created a quiz to see if you can tell the difference between Victorian and contemporary scolds.

A few example questions:

"The new two-wheeled transportation options are no casual amusement."

"Seize, break, destroy... all such machines found running on the sidewalks."

"The gentlemen [x]ing coolly across our city streets and sidewalks at 15 miles an hour, the wind gently flapping their ties and tousling their hair, are indifferent to your angry glares."

"It is better to make safe machines than to pooh-pooh the fears of people who don't want to get their craniums cracked."

I scored 8/10 Read the rest

"He got a real purty mouth ain’t he"

A few months ago on Conan, the late Burt Reynolds shared the fantastic and funny origin of one of many iconic moments from Deliverance (1972): "He got a real purty mouth ain’t he." Watch the clip below. And as a bonus, here's the story of Deliverance's inbred banjo boy!

(via Laughing Squid)

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What's next after tomorrow's EU internet regulation vote?

Tomorrow's the day: the EU will vote on the text of the new Copyright Directive, including the most sweeping and invasive internet regulations in European history: Article 11, letting news sites decide who can link to them and charge for the privilege; and Article 13, creating vast, unaccountable databases of "copyrighted works" and censoring anything that appears to be a match. Read the rest

Review: CleanMyPC makes for lazy computer maintenance at a reasonable price

One of the nice things about owning a MacBook is that, more often than not, you don't have to give too much thought about what's going on behind the scenes. Mac OS is stable as all get out. Most users will never need to fart around with terminal commands or futz with file structures. As much of a cliché as it may be to say it, it just works.

Most of the time.

I discovered, over the years, that as stable as Apple's software experience typically is, there are a few ways to improve on things by tweaking and cleaning my SSD up. These are not tasks that I am good at. Admittedly, this is likely due to the fact that I've been too lazy to learn the ins and outs of making my computer do tricks outside of what my work requires. As such, I let apps do the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting for me. I've relied on MacPaws' CleanMyMac for years to clean junk files from my computer and maintain my drive's health. I can't remember how much I paid for it, back in the day, but I've very likely gotten my money's worth out of it.

The only thing that I likely know less about than what goes on behind the scenes of Mac OS is what in the name of Hell makes Windows 10 run. While I find the OS and the software I run on my Surface Go to be adequate for churning out words and a bit of photo editing, I haven't got the slightest idea of what to do in order to keep my new Windows 10 PC healthy. Read the rest

Baltimore police officers carry toy guns to plant on people they shoot

Corrupt Baltimore police officers have a way to shoot anyone they want with impunity: they carry toy guns to plant on their victims.

From Vice:

Detective Maurice Ward, who's already pleaded guilty to corruption charges, testified that he and his partners were told to carry the replicas and BB guns "in case we accidentally hit somebody or got into a shootout, so we could plant them." The directive allegedly came from the team's sergeant, Wayne Jenkins, the Washington Post reports. Though Ward didn't say whether or not the tactic was ever used, Detective Marcus Taylor—another cop swept up in the scandal—was carrying a fake gun almost identical to his service weapon when he was arrested last year, according to the Sun.

The revelation is just one of many egregious abuses that have come out of the sprawling trial that the Sun has called "Baltimore’s biggest police corruption scandal in memory." Prosecutors say the squad, which was tasked with getting illegal guns off the streets, abused its power by robbing suspects and innocent people, raiding homes without warrants, and selling confiscated drugs, among other crimes.

Image: SALONIC/Shutterstock Read the rest

How to disable the annoying Bixby button on Samsung phones with a gold plug

A lot of people can't stand the dedicated Bixby button on Samsung phones because it is easy to accidentally press. And on the Galaxy Note 9, you can't turn off Bixby. So Jerry from Jerry Rig Everything offers a warranty voiding solution -- remove the button and fill the cavity with solid 14k gold, kind of like the way a dentist would fill a tooth cavity with gold. My cheapskate solution: use some black Sugru. Read the rest

Broken film camera hacked into supercool wrist-cam

Photographer Alireza Rostami scavenged the lens and shutter from his broken Chinese Seagull TLR camera to create this fantastic wrist-worn camera complete with a self-timer. More at PetaPixel.

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Old weird war technology like parachuting pigeons and and flying sharks

Peter Taylor was doing research at the UK's Imperial War Museums when he stumbled across the story of parachuting pigeons. In 1914, the British were seeking intelligence about German troop numbers and movement in Belgium. So they parachuted homing pigeons into the region from balloons and planes. Attached to the pigeons were instructions for civilians to write down what they had seen and then to allow the birds to fly back to base. Inspired, Taylor went on to collect unusual war stories and compiled them into two books, Weird War One: Intriguing Items and Fascinating Feats from the First World War and its sequel Weird War Two: Intriguing Items and Surprising Stuff from the Second World War.

“It was a mixture of proper research—talking to curators, reading books, trawling through the archives—and suitably strange research: for example, (mis)using the museum’s database by typing in odd words for hours to see what came up (‘Socks,’ ‘Disguise,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘Insect’)," Taylor told Air & Space. "It’s hard to have a completely sensible plan for finding strange and surprising things.”

Below, an illustration of a propaganda idea involving flying machines shaped like sharks.

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