T-Mobile: because we have a (stupid) trademark on one magenta shade, no one can use pink in their logos

T-Mobile has a trademark on RAL 4010, a shade of magenta. Trademarks on colors (see also: UPS, John Deere) are a dangerous trend, robbing us of the spectrum one shade at a time, but T-Mobile's views on its trademark made this bad situation much worse. Read the rest

Freedom House: Thanks to social media, internet freedom is down for the the ninth straight year

Freedom House, a US-government-funded nonprofit think-tank whose mission is to spread democracy, issues an annual "internet freedom" report; this year, for the ninth consecutive year, the report says that internet freedom has declined, and it's all thanks to social media. Read the rest

How to reengineer our systems to address climate change's refugee crisis and create new, high-density cities on demand

Vinay Gupta (previously) is a polymath engineer/inventor, whose Buckminster Fuller-inspired "hexayurts" can be found all over Burning Man (and my novel Walkaway). Read the rest

Two years ago, Juli Briskman was fired for flipping off the Trump motorcade; now she's been elected as a Virginia county supervisor

In 2017, Juli Briskman flipped off Trump's motorcade as she cycled past it near her northern Virginia home, and her employer, Akima LCC, fired her. Read the rest

Let this app give you the gist on popular books in minutes

There's a lot of great information out there on the bookshelves, and we're not just talking conversation fodder for the next cocktail party. If you want to succeed at business and life, there's a good chance you can find the blueprint in a book.

Trouble is, life isn't exactly slowing down to let you turn those pages. Reading for pleasure is one thing. But when you're reading to get information, an app like SumizeIt can be invaluable.

youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrZ3a2lFsOk

Download SumizeIt on your phone or tablet and you've got instant access to a great library of content from thought leaders like Richard Branson, Phil Knight and Daniel Coyle on a range of topics — sales, entrepreneurship, marketing, autobiography and more.

But what's really great for busy professionals is that SumizeIt "shrinks" those titles for you, summarizing them into snippets that distill the key insights and takeaways. They're perfect for absorbing in five minutes or less, which is ideal for even the shortest chunks of downtime in commutes, smoke breaks or waiting rooms.

SumizeIt membership gets you access to the full library, with at least one new summary each week. Best of all, it's now on deep discount for 80% off the list price. Read the rest

Florida county commissioners against renewal of library's New York Times subscription because it's "fake news"

The Board of County Commissioners in Citrus County, Florida opposed the renewal of the regional public library's digital subscription to the New York Times. Why? "Fake news," said the board's second vice chairman Scott Carnahan. "“I agree with President Trump. I will not be voting for this. I don’t want The New York Times in this county.” From Reuters:

Carnahan was joined by Commissioners Ronald Kitchen, who balked at the annual cost of about $2,700, and Jimmie Smith, who wondered, “why the heck would we spend money on something like that?”

Reading the room, First Vice Chairman Brian Coleman withdrew the motion he made to approve the funding request...

The (Citrus County) Chronicle, noting that the decision would affect some 70,000 library card holders, reported that its readers “reacted strongly” to the commissioners’ decision, with “most but not all” critical of it.

The county already pays about $3,000 a year to supply its four regional libraries with the print edition of The Times, Library Services Director Eric Head told the newspaper.

Graphic above borrowed from this fantastic t-shirt. Read the rest

Microsoft Japan claims 4-day workweek bumped productivity 40%

Over the summer, every weekend was a 3-day weekend for Microsoft Japan employees. The company tested a 4-day workweek without reducing salaries. According to Microsoft, the result was a productivity increase of 40%. It seems that the biggest contributor to that boost is that they cut way back on meetings which, as a rule, waste a lot of time. From National Public Radio:

Because of the shorter workweek, the company also put its meetings on a diet. The standard duration for a meeting was slashed from 60 minutes to 30 — an approach that was adopted for nearly half of all meetings. In a related cut, standard attendance at those sessions was capped at five employees.

Citing the need for a shift in time management, the Microsoft division also urged people to use collaborative chat channels rather than "wasteful" emails and meetings...

Four-day workweeks made headlines around the world in the spring of 2018, when Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand trust management company, announced a 20% gain in employee productivity and a 45% increase in employee work-life balance after a trial of paying people their regular salary for working four days. Last October, the company made the policy permanent.

Read the rest

Weird "witch bottle" found in former pub's chimney

In Watford, England, construction workers doing demolition at a former pub and inn found a weird bottle inside the chimney. Containing human teeth, fish hooks, glass shards, and liquid, the container was apparently a 19th century "witch bottle" meant to protect against evil spells. Above, examples of such bottles. From Smithsonian:

The newly discovered bottle is one of more than 100 recovered from old buildings, churchyards and riverbanks across Great Britain to date. Most specimens trace their origins to the 1600s, when continental Europe was in the grips of a major witch panic. Common contents found in witch bottles include pins, nails, thorns, urine, fingernail clippings and hair.

According to BBC News, the Watford property—now a private residence but formerly known as the Star and Garter inn—is best known as the birthplace of Angeline Tubbs, a woman later nicknamed the Witch of Saratoga...

The home’s current owner does not plan on displaying the bottle. Instead, the anonymous individual says they “will probably hide it away again for someone to find in another 100 years or so.” So, how exactly did witch bottles work? Per JSTOR Daily’s Allison C. Meier, practitioners filled the vessels with an assortment of items, but most commonly urine and bent pins. The urine was believed to lure witches traveling through a supernatural “otherworld” into the bottle, where they would then be trapped on the pins’ sharp points. Would-be witchcraft victims often embedded the protective bottles under hearths or near chimneys; as anthropologist Christopher C.

Read the rest

Homebrew animated Eye of Sauron

Mike Christian built a rooftop animated Eye of Sauron:

He was inspired by the Animated Snake Eyes Bonnet for Raspberry Pi project, and posted several progress videos:

He spoke a bit more about the project here. Read the rest

FCC says AT&T must pay $60 million for slowing data on unlimited mobile plans

Are you an AT&T customer on an unlimited data plan? Have you had the feeling that sometimes your phone carrier was deliberately slowing you down? The FCC says you aren't wrong, and that AT&T must pay $60 million in settlement for slowing cellphone data on unlimited plans. Read the rest

UK officials blame asthmatics for the carbon footprints of 180,000 cars

Because we live on a divergent Hellworld timeline where everything is too comically absurd to be real except for the fact that it is, the BBC published an article about the need for asthmatics like me to step up our roles in fighting climate change. This is just the very beginning of it:

Many people with asthma could cut their carbon footprint and help save the environment by switching to "greener" medications, UK researchers say.

Making the swap would have as big an "eco" impact as turning vegetarian or becoming an avid recycler, they say.

As a lifelong asthmatic, I find it difficult to articulate the inherent bullshittery of this concept without smashing my laptop in a fit of hyperventilation. But that would require me to use my rescue inhaler to save my own life (and then I'd also be without a computer, which would make things even more difficult). But I'm going to try my best.

The initial premise here is based on the fact that some aerosol sprays contribute significantly to climate change. This apparently includes metered-dose inhalers—like the rescue one I use when my lungs stop working—which rely on hydrofluoroalkane in order to release that little misting burst of asthma medicine. In the UK, this is estimated to account for about 4 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced by the National Health Service and the related medical industry.

On the surface, there's nothing inherently wrong with pointing this out—indeed, the medical industry should find greener ways to do things! Read the rest

Roger Stone leaves jury selection early, food poisoning blamed

Roger Stone had to leave jury selection early today because he had 'food poisoning.' Read the rest

Watch Teller almost get SHOCKED by dangerous jugglers The Passing Zone, on 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us!'

This is a great clip. If you're into jugglers doing funny things or 500-volt stun guns, you're in for a treat. Read the rest

Deer crashes into school window, causing security lockdown

In Indianapolis, a confused deer crashed through a glass window into a suburban school, sending teachers and students into security lockdown mode. Read the rest

Prevent luggage overweight charges with this convenient luggage scale

This is the easiest way to weigh your luggage at home, before you get to the airport and find out your bag is too heavy and have to pay a hefty overweight fee. To use it, you place the strap around a handle on your luggage and lift. The weight is displayed on an illuminated readout (you can switch it between lbs and kgs). I've had one since 2015 and it's much better than trying to weigh your luggage on a bathroom scale. Amazon sells them for [amazon_link asins='B00XVB48E4' template='PriceLink' store='boingboing' marketplace='US' link_id='d41ce730-bb2a-44f0-bc39-cb0144480261'] Read the rest

How (not) to avoid a drunk driving conviction with one weird trick

Man used electric shopping cart to get from one bar to another

LEGO's 2019 Harry Potter advent calendar

The 2019 LEGO Harry Potter advent calendar is here!

This years set includes Harry and Hedqig, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Professor Flitwick, and a "Hogwarts Architect" and a micro Hogwarts Express train amongst the many treats.

I wonder what the Jewish wizards and witches do for Hannukah? My daughter likes the Star Wars advent set.

LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar 75964 Building Kit, New 2019 (305 Pieces) via Amazon Read the rest

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