Facebook and Instagram evacuated over bomb threat

No one has been reported harmed. No bomb reported found. Read the rest

Michael Flynn asks to be spared from prison because he helped Mueller

Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is asking for no prison time.

A memo from the former Trump national security chief's legal defense team was filed tonight, just before his scheduled sentencing. Read the rest

Eclectic Method's latest remix asks 'Is it illegal if you take just one note?"

Barcelona-based Eclectic Method is most known for his remix songs that are based on pop culture (previously).

Now he's trying something new, an experiment that's a little risky. He writes:

Here's a video remix made from samples no longer than 0.5 seconds from 107 different artists. Madonna won her court case over the use of a 0.23 second horn stab in "Vogue". Sabrina Setlur won her courtcase for unauthorized use of 2 seconds of Kraftwerk. So I have been wondering how long is too long when it comes to sampling. This video remix is to test out the algorithm. Will YouTube's copyright ID system take offence at Taylor Swifts voice appearing for 0.14 seconds and her face occupying 18% of the screen... Who knows?

If you're seeing the video, congrats, it hasn't been shut down yet. Read the rest

This live action Super Smash Brothers video is the best thing you'll see all day

There are few things finer in 2018 than being able to hunker down with a few friends, in person or online, and beat the living crap out of each other over the course of an hour playing Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. For those without a Nintendo Switch, this live action video featuring professional stunt actors beating each other down Super Smash style is the next best thing. Read the rest

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou of China granted $10 million bail by Canada judge, awaits US extradition hearing

A judge in Canada today granted $10 million bail for Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China electronics giant Huawei. She has to remain in the Vancouver area, where she has a home. The United States has requested her extradition. China is not happy. Huawai's response follows.

. Read the rest

Maria Butina plea hearing set for Thursday, her spy boss Torshin missing, Putin unhappy

A U.S. judge today postponed Maria Butina's plea agreement hearing until Thursday. Read the rest

Trump goes to Supreme Court asking for OK to enforce racist asylum ban

Because it's always a good time to flog a dead horse.

Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed writes, “The Trump administration went to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeking an order that would allow it to enforce its new policy barring asylum claims by those who cross into the country without authorization.” Read the rest

Judge rules Stormy Daniels must pay nearly $300,000 of Trump legal fees in defamation case

Stormy Daniels must pay $293,052.33 in attorney's fees, costs and sanctions to President Donald Trump's lawyers, a California judge has ruled in the defamation suit attorney Michael Avenatti brought against Trump earlier this year. Read the rest

Woman whose son died at birth wrote this to tech firms who keep reminding her

Gillian Brockell is very brave. Read the rest

Woman who hasn't had a haircut in 28 years occasionally trips over her 6-foot-long tresses

A 33-year-old woman in Ukraine hasn't cut her hair in 28 years, and says she doesn't think she ever will. Read the rest

Why humans have so little hair compared to other apes

Why do humans have so little hair, at least compared to all other primates? At Smithsonian, Jason Daley shares the latest genetic research on the biological factors that result in humans' minimal body hair and its unusual distribution. Daley also surveys the fascinating current theories about why we evolved into the only naked apes. From Smithsonian:

One popular idea that has gone in and out of favor since it was proposed is called the aquatic ape theory. The hypothesis suggests that human ancestors lived on the savannahs of Africa, gathering and hunting prey. But during the dry season, they would move to oases and lakesides and wade into shallow waters to collect aquatic tubers, shellfish or other food sources. The hypothesis suggests that, since hair is not a very good insulator in water, our species traded in most of our fur for a layer of fat. The hypothesis even suggests we might have developed bipedalism to become more effective waders. But this idea, which has been around for decades, hasn’t received much support from the fossil record and isn’t taken seriously by most researchers.

A more widely accepted theory is that, when human ancestors moved from the cool shady forests into the savannah, they needed better thermoregulation. Losing all that fur made it possible for hominins to hunt during the day in the hot grasslands without overheating. An increase in sweat glands, many more than other primates, also kept early humans on the cool side. The development of fire and clothing meant that humans could keep cool during the day and cozy up at night.

Read the rest

Verizon writes down its Yahoo/AOL assets by $4.6 billion

A friend who works in ad-tech tells me that Verizon's datasets from its Yahoo/AOL assets are "the creepiest" in the industry, but even with every dirty trick and every stupid, harebrained scheme, the companies formerly known as Oath (because everything Verizon did made their users swear uncontrollably) are basically worthless. Read the rest

Vermont man installs massive middle finger sculpture on lawn

Several weeks ago, Ted Pilkey of Westford, Vermont installed this massive wooden middle finger sculpture on his lawn atop a 16-foot-pole. From Boston.com:

“I’m not trying to cause hate and animosity to the people who live in that town, because there’s very good people in that town,” the 54-year-old Westford native says of his fellow residents in the 2,000-person town. “All the people are very good people.”

With the exception, Pelkey says, of the Westford Selectboard, Development Review Board, and other town leaders, who have blocked his efforts to get a permit to build the 8,000-square-foot garage, so he could move his truck repair and monofilament recycling businesses in nearby Swanton to his own property.

Officials say Pelkey’s applications have fallen short of the town’s standards, but he thinks they’re biased against him...

Although the structure is visible from a state highway, it is outside of the State Right of Way and not within our jurisdiction,” Jacqui DeMen, a spokeswoman for the agency, told Boston.com in an email. “The structure does not meet the statutory definition of ‘sign’ and thus can’t be regulated under the Vermont Billboard Law.”

Perhaps Pelkey was inspired by a similar sculpture outside the Italian stock exchange in Milan.

Read the rest

Whitey Bulger's family, lacking a sense of irony, file lawsuit over his 2018 murder

Trafficking guns and explosives to the Irish Republican Army, running a massive criminal enterprise for years in Boston, extorting drug dealers so that they could do business on his turf, acting as an FBI informant and oh, so many murders: James “Whitey” Bulger's life was both colorful and poisonous, to say the least.

His long career as a professional criminal came to an end in 2011. After over a decade on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list, Bulger was located and charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, narcotics distribution and money-laundering. He was convicted and thrown in the clink in 2012. This past October, Bugler, 89 years old and confined to a wheelchair, was stabbed and beaten to death by his fellow inmates at the United States Penitentiary, Hazelton, in West Virginia.

While it might be difficult for a lot of folks to have sympathy for a man responsible for so much pain, Bulger's family wants to know what happened inside of the penitentiary: why was Bulger sent to the cell block he was killed in? Why wasn't the murder, involving multiple inmates, stopped? They've filed a lawsuit to find out.

From The Boston Globe:

“It’s important for the family and the public to know why the prisons decided to wheel an 89-year-old man with a history of heart attacks into one of the most dangerous prisons in the country,” Hank Brennan, Bulger’s attorney of seven years, told the Journal.

The Globe reported in late November that Bulger had wished for a “peaceful death” in a series of letters written over the past several years to a former convict.

Read the rest

Hysterical video of a police dog trying to walk in his new winter boots

Jary, a police dog in South Dakota, puts on quite a performance as he tries out a brand new set of snow boots. Just a little practice and he'll be running with the best of them.

Via AP, who found this from a post by The Rapid City Police Department Read the rest

Small Massachusetts town decides to spend $1.4m building its own fiber, rather than paying Comcast $500K for shitty broadband

Comcast offered to get internet service to (96% of) the good people of Charlemont, Mass in exchange for a $462,123 subsidy; instead, the town of 1300 voted to reject the offer and spend $1.4M to build their own super-fast fiber network. Read the rest

Shitty Tumblr pornbot inception

It started when Tumblr flagged one of my retrospective posts (a five year old post about the right of British schoolkids to opt out of fingerprinting) as porn. Read the rest

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