Man jailed after boasting of pelican abuse

Meet William Hunter Hardesty. Hardesty posted video of himself "manhandling and jumping on top of" a pelican in Key West, boasted about it to other vacationers, and ended up charged with animal cruelty.

Florida investigators were not amused, and the FWC issued a 10-page warrant for his arrest on charges of animal cruelty to a migratory bird and intentionally feeding a pelican.

Hardesty was apparently so proud of the recognition he got for the March 5 stunt that he bragged about it this week to some people staying at the same Ocean City, Maryland, hotel where he was staying.

Those folks called the police.

There are worse things one can do to pelicans, I suppose, but the best policy is not to do anything at all. Read the rest

Ocelot of bouncing around

Boing Boing! Read the rest

'Pirates of Caribbean' theme song on a calculator

Genius! You're gonna want to unmute, and turn your sound up. Read the rest

Calls of 'active shooter' lead to evacuation of Century City Mall, Los Angeles police respond to reports of 'Man with a Gun'

“Nothing has been confirmed,” an LAPD officer told LA Times. “We’re trying to resolve the situation.”

Tesla's autopilot anti-collision software tested by attempting to hit wife

Akin to going hunting with Dick Cheney, this bad-idea-with-a-Tesla begs for catastrophe. Read the rest

Radicalized is one of The Verge’s picks for March!

Well, this is awesome: Andrew Liptak picked my next book, Radicalized as one of The Verge's picks for March! The tour starts Monday! Read the rest

Beto O'Rourke was in the Cult of the Dead Cow and his t-files are still online

Investigative tech journalist Joseph Menn's (previously) next book is a history of the Cult of the Dead Cow (previously) the legendary hacker/prankster group that is considered to be "America's oldest hacking group." Read the rest

Bernie Sanders cut his head on shower door, got 7 stitches, shows up to a health care town hall 2 hours later

Bernie Sanders cut his head on the edge of a shower door, received 7 stitches at the hospital, and will pursue his schedule as planned in South Carolina and Nevada, says to his campaign. Read the rest

I used Prague Powder to make corned beef

I've been experimenting with curing meat, cause life has been too long already. Prague Powder is the secret ingredient.

While I've tried a couple of different recipes for corned beef I am not ready to recommend one yet. Getting the spice blend right may be a thing of personal preference, but I have to keep working at it. Getting the texture and color right, however, was very simple. I used Anthony's Pink Curing Salt #1.

Curing Salts are not edible on their own. That is why they dye them pink. This is not Himalayan Pink Sea Salt or some other delicacy. Prague Powder (pink salt #1) is a nitrite that inhibits the growth of anaerobic bacteria, thus working to block toxin production and keep meat from spoiling. When added to a brine the curing salts help preserve the meat, and impart that red-pink corned beef color. You'll also find it used in those weird smoked turkey legs at Disneyland and other theme parks.

I'll keep working at it. We have a lot of fun baking rye bread to go along with this favorite.

Pink Curing Salt #1 (2lb Prague Powder) by Anthony's via Amazon Read the rest

Surreal on many levels, enjoy this commercial for spray-on maple syrup

From the culture that brought you Cheese-in-a-Can, it is The Maple Stream.

Not a Canadian superhero nor a trough urinal at Toronto's Oktoberfest celebration -- this is pressurized maple syrup lazily being hosed into the mouth of some sort of sportsball fan. Read the rest

Mysterious bundles of hair turning up on Santa Barbara streets

Mysterious bundles of hair have been turning up on streets in Santa Barbara's Mesa neighborhood. It's not known yet if the hair is human, non-human animal, or synthetic. From KEYT:

We reached out to cosmetology workers and those who may have some insights into cultural traditions that involve these hair bundles, but there were no answers...

One resident said she saw some people dropping or throwing smaller ones out of a car window recently, but those are not the ones out there now.

One person on the Mesa saw a resident run into traffic this afternoon, grab one and disappear.

More at Mysterious Universe: "Mysterious Bundles of Hair Appear on California Streets"

Read the rest

Security researchers reveal defects that allow wireless hijacking of giant construction cranes, scrapers and excavators

Using software-defined radios, researchers from Trend Micro were able to reverse-engineer the commands used to control massive industrial machines, including cranes, excavators and scrapers; most of these commands were unencrypted, but even the encrypted systems were vulnerable to "replay attacks" that allowed the researchers to bypass the encryption. Read the rest

Letterlocking: the long-lost art of using paper-folding to foil snoops

"Letterlocking" is a term coined by MIT Libraries conservator Jana Dambrogio after she discovered a trove of letters while spelunking in the conservation lab of the Vatican Secret Archives; the letters had been ingeniously folded and sealed so that they couldn't be opened and re-closed without revealing that they had been read. Some even contained "booby traps" to catch the unwary. Read the rest

Curious robotic syringe-in-a-pill completes successful human trial

The RaniPill is another syringe that you can swallow to deliver drugs to the bloodstream from the inside. It's triggered by an interesting and complex mechanism involving a chemical reaction that inflates a tiny polymer balloon to push the needle into the intestinal wall. Rani Therapeutics just completed a successful 20-person trial using a pill that shoots blanks. From IEEE Spectrum:

Working from the outside in, the RaniPill consists of a special coating that protects the pill from the stomach’s acidic juices. Then, as the pill is pushed into the intestines and pH levels rise to about 6.5, the coating dissolves to reveal a deflated biocompatible polymer balloon.

Upon exposure to the intestinal environment, a tiny pinch point made of sugar inside the balloon dissolves, causing two chemicals trapped on either side of the pinch point to mix and produce carbon dioxide. That gas inflates the balloon, and the pressure of the inflating balloon pushes a dissolvable microneedle filled with a drug of choice into the wall of the intestines. Human intestines lack sharp pain receptors, so the micro-shot is painless.

The intestinal wall does, however, have lots and lots of blood vessels, so the drug is quickly taken up into the bloodstream, according to the company’s animal studies. The needle itself dissolves...

Participants passed the remnants of the balloon within 1-4 days.

(Founder Mir) Imran calls the device a robot though it has no electrical parts and no metal. “Even though it has no brains and no electronics, it [works through] an interplay between material science and the chemistry of the body,” says Imran.

Read the rest

Some pretty impressive machine-learning generated poetry courtesy of GPT-2

GPT-2 is Open AI's language-generation model (last seen around these parts as a means of detecting machine-generated text); it's powerful and cool, and Gwern Branwen fed it the Project Gutenberg poetry corpus to see what kind of poetry it would write. Read the rest

Even Mrs. Gump used the back door to get her boy into school

There's buying school buildings, making million-dollar "donations," photoshopping your kid's head onto a real athlete's body, hiring a grown man to take your child's SAT test, and then there's an admissions tactic that hasn't yet come up in the college admissions scandal – screwing the head of the school. Here's a hilarious – and tragic – clip from Forrest Gump to show us how it's done.

Via Reddit Read the rest

Self-insurer Walmart flies its sick employees to out-of-state specialists to avoid local price-gougers

Walmart self-insures its workforce, rather than relying on an outside insurer like Cigna or Blue Cross; this means that it gets to make judgment calls that other firms cannot, and that has led the retail giant to a pretty weird place: for certain procedures that it believes to be overused by local hospitals, it flies its employees (even front-line, low-waged employees) to see the nation's top specialists in out-of-state facilities where they receive "concierge, white-glove care that was reserved at other companies only for highly paid executives." Read the rest

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