The thinnest piece of paper in the world

Japanese specialist paper manufacturer Hidaka Washi Ltd makes the world's thinnest paper using 1,000-year-old methods.

The paper is then sent to museums and libraries around the world—including the British Museum and the Library of Congress—and is used to restore and protect books and works of art.

(Great Big Story) Read the rest

Bernie Sanders introduces the Stop Walmart Act: no stock buybacks without a $15 minimum wage

Bernie Sanders's latest legislative proposal is the Stop Walmart Act; Sanders describes Walmart as the "poster child for corporate greed" and uses that as a launching point to propose a ban on stock buybacks from companies unless they pay their lowest-waged employees $15/hour. Read the rest

Do you think that we're living in a simulation?

Do you believe that we're living in a simulation? Has that belief affected your life? My old pal Rodney Ascher, director of fantastically freaky documentaries like Room 237, about weird theories surrounding The Shining, and The Nightmare, a study on sleep paralysis, is starting on a new far-out film about people who are convinced that our world is a digital creation. If you're one of those people, Rodney would love to hear from you.

"The approach, like my other films, is to focus almost entirely on first-person accounts and present them as accurately as possible - closer to a non-fiction Twilight Zone than an episode of Cosmos," Rodney says.

"A Glitch in the Matrix" (Facebook) Read the rest

Generative adversarial network produces a "universal fingerprint" that will unlock many smartphones

Researchers at NYU and U Michigan have published a paper explaining how they used a pair of machine-learning systems to develop a "universal fingerprint" that can fool the lowest-security fingerprint sensors 76% of the time (it is less effective against higher-security sensors). Read the rest

Raccoons may not be rabid, just drunk

In Milton, West Virginia, concerned citizens called police to report rabid raccoons but it turns out that the animals (the raccoons that is) were more likely just drunk. “We have had calls [of] suspected rabid raccoons twice over the last two days,” the Milton Police Department wrote in a short Facebook post. “Turns out they appear to be drunk on crab apples.” From Newsweek:

It wouldn’t be the first time an animal has made the headlines for public intoxication. In 2015, footage of a squirrel seemingly drunk on fermented crab apples hit YouTube—and attracted millions of views. National Geographic has previously captured footage of drunken monkeys.

National Geographic said in its own 2015 article that research found that animals definitely did get drunk, and listed such examples as butterflies, moths and moose. Don Moore, associate director of the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., told National Geographic that deer that had eaten fermented apples in orchards were known to get “pretty sleepy, even stumbly.”

Those who commented on the Milton Police Department’s post seemed to appreciate the update. One person joked, “Public intoxication, pretty serious. Thanks for putting him back in the woods.” Another Facebook user said, “I have one on my porch right now you can have.”

Read the rest

Only three hours left to win a role in "Bill and Ted Face the Music"

The strongest news we've heard that Bill and Ted Face the Music will actually be made is that they are now auctioning off a walk on role for charity.

There are three hours left to bid. The proceeds go to Homes for Our Troops. I hope you win!

From SYFY.com:

With Veteran's Day starting off the week, the charity group Homes For Our Troops kicked off a celebrity-fueled series of auctions to raise funds for their cause. While you can bid on everything from a Game of Thrones sweepstakes to George Clooney's motorcycle to help build accessible homes for injured veterans, a real standout gem is a walk-on role in Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Writer Ed Solomon, who penned the first two installments with Chris Matheson, announced the auction via Twitter, which is going on for one day only. And that happens to be today.

Read the rest

Delorean hovercraft for sale

You can own this DIY hovercraft Delorean for $45,000 "or best offer." After all, where you're going, you don't need roads. The seller is donating 10% of the sale to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. Video of the vehicle below. From eBay:

What you get:

1. Hand-built Hovercraft sculpted to look exactly like a Delorean. This is a functional work of art, it is not a Delorean bolted onto a hovercraft. There's only one in the world!

2. Custom flatbed tilting trailer built specifically for this hovercraft

3. Miscellaneous spare parts and supplies including spare engine parts, fans and propellers, nuts and bolts.

4. Free phone consultations with me for any technical questions you might have...

The Hovercraft is based on the blueprints for the Universal Hovercraft UH-13PT. The basic shape of the hull, skirt, and fan ducts come from those blueprints, but pretty much everything else is customized. The Delorean body is made out of styrofoam wrapped in fiberglass and painted with metallic paint. The 36” thrust fan is powered by a 23hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard riding lawnmower-style engine. The 24” lift fan is powered by a B&S 875 Professional series push mower engine. The hull of the craft hovers about 6-8 inches over the surface, and can hover over anything relatively flat: land, water, ice, snow, sand, asphalt, etc. The top speed with the current thrust configuration is 31 mph on the water in good conditions.

Read the rest

Here's the secret details of 200 cities' license-plate tracking programs

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Muckrock teamed up to use the Freedom of Information Act to extract the details of 200 US cities' Automated License Plate Recognition camera programs (ALPR), and today they've released a dataset containing all the heretofore secret data on how these programs are administered and what is done with the data they collect. Read the rest

Homeless man and couple made up story, say cops, and everyone's getting charged

A homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., was famously seen to give his last $20 to a young woman, Kate McClure, who had run out of gas. Then McClure and her husband, Mark D'Amico, raised $400,000 on GoFundMe by way of thanks, only to end up publicly shamed after only gaving a small portion of the funds to Bobbitt. Authorities now say, though, that it was all a wheeze, the three of them working together from the outset.

In the latest bombshell development, according to a new report authorities believe the entire tale was a ruse conceived by McClure, D'Amico and Bobbitt in a scheme to cash in.

All three are reportedly expected to be charged with conspiracy and theft by deception for working together to concoct the story.

The précis as alleged: they all scammed the media and the public, then the couple scammed Bobbitt, presumably believing he wouldn't go to the authorities because then everyone gets busted. But he did, and everyone got busted. Read the rest

Gilded Age watch: America's firefighting is turning into a two-tier system, with private services for the 1%

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's $50,000,000 Calabasas, California mansion was spared from last week's wildfires thanks to the actions of private firefighters working on behalf of insurers who've written policies on about 1,000 of California's priciest homes. Read the rest

One year later: kids smart-watches are still a privacy and security dumpster fire

A year ago, the Norwegian Consumer Council commissioned a study into kids' smart watches, finding that they were incredibly negligent when it came to security and incredible greedy when it came to surveillance: a deadly combination that meant that these devices were sucking up tons of sensitive data on kids' lives and then leaving it lying around for anyone to take. Read the rest

Poo found in pound store

The Bolton News, covering Bolton and other communities in the hinterlands of northwest Greater Manchester, England, between Wigan and Bury, reports that a poo was "discovered in Poundland" Wednesday.

Neil Brandwood reports:

HORRIFIED shoppers were aghast when excrement was found in a town centre store. Faeces was discovered on the exit mat at Poundland in Victoria Square shortly before 11am this morning.

One shopper, who asked not to be named, said: "I was appalled. It's not what you expect."

It was not confirmed by press time whether the excrement was human.

Photo: Google Street Poo. Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg to the governments of Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland and Argentina: "Go fuck yourselves"

Mark Zuckerberg has told the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Argentina, Australia and Ireland that he is "not available" for a planned hearing on political disinformation and Facebook. Read the rest

Man shouts 'Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!' in Baltimore theater during 'Fiddler on the Roof'

Amid a growing number of lethal anti-Jewish hate attacks, including a gun massacre at a synagogue that left 13 dead, a man shouts “Heil Trump” in a crowded theater. Audience members told a reporter they believed they were about to die in a mass shooting. Read the rest

New York's corporate welfare for Amazon enrages the Koch Brothers, Bernie Sanders, Tucker Carlson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, etc...

Amazon's new headquarters will be split between northern Virginia and parts of Queens, New York, and will net the company billions in corporate welfare, branded as "incentives." Read the rest

Japan's new cybersecurity minister admits never having used a computer

Yoshitaka Sakurada might not be Japan's best pick for the cybersecurity portfolio: confused by a USB drive, he was forced to admit he'd never even used a computer. Read the rest

Companies keep losing your data because it doesn't cost them anything

Data breaches keep happening, they keep getting worse, and yet companies keep collecting our data in ever-more-invasive ways, subjecting it to ever-longer retention, and systematically underinvesting in security. Read the rest

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