Trump administration ends program to monitor animal diseases that could spread to humans (like Ebola)

The bizarre move worries public health experts

How an usher at (and would-be star of) Hamilton organizes the women's bathrooms during intermission

The women who pay as much as $400 to see Hamilton at Philadelphia's Forrest Theatre have only 15 minutes to pee and get back to their seats during intermission, but the upper bathroom only has three stalls and the house seats over 1,700 people. Read the rest

"Man's neck breaks during arrest," reports newspaper

Cops in Warrnambool, Australia, broke Chris Karadaglis' neck when they arrested him. But The Age reports this as "man's neck breaks during arrest" because they're afraid of identifying the breakers, even in an article that's supposedly about their failings.

Barrett told The Age that while he can’t talk about the specifics of the ongoing investigation into Chris’s arrest, he immediately concedes what in the past may have been shrouded in police speak: no innocent Victorian should be so seriously injured after an interaction with police.

Barrett describes Chris’s interaction with the three uniformed officers as a ‘‘life-changing experience, devastating for the family of that individual.’’

"Precisely what police did to cause his injury that November day two years ago has been blurred in a sea of pain and terror," write Nick McKenzie and Grace Tobin, whose story remedies this lack of clarity by suggesting Karadaglis' neck broke itself.

It's interesting they mention "police speak" because that's what the headline is. I covered cops for a while as a young reporter and this is the language of arrest and incident reports. Cops are trained not to describe themselves in the active voice, which makes them appear responsible for their actions. Instead they are mere observers, there when things did happen. The gun did fire. The bullet did enter the suspect's body. The suspect did die at that time.

This example is particularly grim because The Age's story is supposed to be a heartfelt investigation into the victim's plight and police misconduct—one subverted from the outset with that mangled, servile headline. Read the rest

Apparently Facebook did approve ads saying Republicans support the Green New Deal

The Really Online Lefty League has a wonderful ad running on Facebook. Using archival footage of Republican leaders speaking up for the environment, to prove AOC's point about Facebook being untrustworthy and duplicitous, the ad shows Lindsay Graham backing the Green New Deal.

Video Link Read the rest

Rep. Cummings' pallbearer refuses to shake 'Moscow Mitch' McConnell's hand

It is unsurprising that anyone in America would snub Mitch McConnell, however, the look on Chuck Schumer's face is priceless.

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Incredible optical illusions

The brilliant optical illusions of stop motion animator Kevin Parry. Read the rest

Do you recognize the infamous birds this artist is drawing for Inktober?

For Inktober, Sabtastic has been drawing birds that have earned notoriety for their criminal behavior.

Are you online enough to recognize these crooked birds?


A suspected Pakistani 'spy pigeon' seized just inside India's border faces X-ray by security officials to ensure the bird is not carrying hidden messages, or spy gadgets.


A parrot has been taken into custody in northern Brazil following a police raid targeting crack dealers.

According to reports in the Brazilian press, the bird had been taught to alert criminals to police operations in Vila Irmã Dulce, a low-income community in the sun-scorched capital of Piauí state, by shouting: “Mum, the police!”


Canuck became a media celebrity in 2016 after he stole a knife from a Vancouver crime scene.

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What the London Underground used to be like

From the Kino Library comes this set of film clips shot on the London Underground in the 1960s and 1970s.

View at end of tube platform looking up at crowded platform and tube train, Victoria, pulling in. Men and women passengers board train, pushing on. POV from front of train through tunnel and past passengers waiting on platform as it comes to a halt. Shot on board tube carriage, sun streams through windows as it rides through London suburbs. Men in bowler hats reading newspapers. One woman in 1960s outfit sits in FG. Commuters. Passengers bounce around as train moves. Scene gets darker as train goes through tunnel. INT dark tube carriage. Men and women sit reading, quiet. INT tube station great shot at base of escalator, people coming down. Lots of miniskirts. Late 1960s fashions. 1960s passengers out of tube and up stairs, poster just seen ‘Heals Sale Now On’. People walking up stairs. People coming down escalator.

I lived in London in the late 1970s, when it was as depicted here but more run down, and the late 1990s, when it was all being renovated into a clean new sci-fi set. Different worlds! (Except for the Northern Line, which for some reason was not being upgraded and I guess is still exactly like this video.) Read the rest

Disney docuseries offers "backstage pass" to the world of Imagineering

Disney is making it very tempting to join Disney+, their new entertainment streaming service, by offering a docuseries that puts a spotlight on its Imagineers.

Entertainment Weekly:

The Imagineering Story, a docuseries from The Pixar Story filmmaker Leslie Iwerks, pulls back the curtain on the work of the brilliant artist-engineers who have made real-life magic at the Disney Parks for decades. Narrated by Angela Bassett, the six-hour series chronicles the history of the Imagineers, beginning with the inception of Disneyland and tracing the development of all the of the Disney parks and all of the fantastical lands within them (yes, including Galaxy’s Edge) to the present day.

The trailer for it promises a look behind the scenes of the Matterhorn and other restricted areas of Disney parks:

The Imagineering Story will premiere November 12, the same day the new service launches. To be clear: the series will only be available on Disney+, which is $6.99/month or $69.99/year. I'm personally thinking it might be worth checking out.

image via EW Read the rest

Puddles covers Lizzo's "Juice" in a sultry way

"Heard you say I'm not the saddest clown, you lied"

You haven't heard Lizzo's "Juice" until you've heard a sad 6'8"-tall clown sing it. Puddles does this one "Quiet Storm Style."

Our friend, Rebekah Del Rio, asked me how I would feel about doing Lizzo's song. I said I'd give it a go. I like saying yes first. This is how it turned out. I don't understand some of the references in it but I love me some Lizzo. Jonathan Burns helped me transcribe the lyrics. I especially like the David Copperfield lyric. And yes, that's really my voice. I didn't know I could do that before.

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I didn't know chipmunks could attend Space Mission Bible Camp!

Re-edit courtesy of Everything is Terrible, although I also found the original VHS source on Amazon which includes this delightful plot summary:

Chadder Chipmunk wants to be the first chipmunk in space. So Space Mission Bible Camp sounded like the perfect place to launch his career. But no sooner did Chadder pull on his jumpsuit than he was spotted by The Exterminator … a rodent-thumping commando who can't wait to catch Chadder!

Featuring footage shot at Kennedy Space Center, here's fast-paces, out-of-this-world adventure your kids will turn to again and again. And each time they'll be reminded that the best launch of all is to be launched on a mission of God's love!

And yes of course the villainous Exterminator is Russian. Who else would want to ruin Space Mission Bible Camp for chipmunks? Read the rest

Save 25% on this AR SmartGlobe and become a virtual globetrotter

It can be tough to convey to kids just how big and amazing the world really is, even with the internet. One of the great things about augmented reality is how it can combine education with tactile experience, making the facts really hit home.

That's just one great feature of this SmartGlobe 3-in-1 Illuminated Globe, a toy that will do a lot more than just sit idle in your curious kid's room.

By day it's a globe, with all the countries, capitals and oceans of the world rendered in rich detail. Flip a switch, and the terrestrial map fades to reveal an illuminating guide to the constellations - a fantastic night light or inspiration for any budding stargazer.

Download the SmartGlobe AR app, and that's when the functionality really opens up. Use your tablet to scan the globe and "Patrick the World Traveller" will reveal a ton of info on every corner of the world. You can use him to reveal tidbits about important landmarks or activate animated tutorials about different climates. Wildlife-loving kids will get a kick out of his tour of indigenous dino species and local animals. There's even a host of puzzles and games to play, building on all the newfound geography knowledge.

Right now, you can pick up the SmartGlobe 3-in-1 Illuminated Globe with Built-In Augmented Reality for 25% off the retail price. Read the rest

Non-Chinese politicians in Canada give themselves Chinese language names for campaigning

Niko Bell took a detailed look at the practice of non-Chinese Canadian politicians choosing Chinese names for campaigning:

This election, unlike the provincial election in 2017, showed some clear differences between parties when it came to Chinese names. In the twelve central Lower Mainland ridings I searched, the Liberal party led the way with seven non-Chinese candidates displaying Chinese names on their campaign signs or literature. The Conservatives, on the other hand, by far led in actual candidates of Chinese origin (seven, to the Liberal and NDP’s one each) but only fielded one non-Chinese candidate who used a Chinese name in her own campaign.

The process of translating a Western-style name into Chinese is difficult:

While many East Asian names, for example Korean or Japanese names, can be translated directly into Chinese characters, Western names present a problem. As a character-based language, Chinese has no bite-sized phonetic components with which to build foreign sounds, and no dedicated script for writing foreign words as in Japanese. The only way forward is to use Chinese characters, preferably ones with innocuous or pleasant meanings, to sound out foreign names.

That lengthy group of symbols posted above is basically gibberish at first glance:

If you read this series of characters semantically (as I did when I first discovered them in a newspaper), you are confronted with the nonsensical phrase “hope pull inside eyeliner peace net ethical nanny conquer forest mound.” An experienced reader of Chinese, however, instantly recognizes the phrase as nonsensical and instead reads it phonetically, rendering, of course, “Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.”

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Get 35 free audio books from Tor's new horror imprint

Renowned sci-fi and fantasy publisher Tor just launched a new book imprint called Nightfire, focusing on new horror fiction. And to celebrate, they're giving away 35 free short horror stories as audiobooks. The list includes stories by Alyssa Wong, Chuck Wendig, China Miéville, Carmen Maria Machado, and more.

The only catch is that the stories are only available through the GooglePlay Store, or through Google Assistant commands. This is only really a minor inconvenience if you (like me) are not an Android user—but also if you're like me, it's totally worth it.

Come Join Us By The Fire: 35 Short Horror Tales From Nightfire Books Read the rest

Review / Manifold Garden

William Chyr’s abyss stares back. It's a good puzzle game, too.