• Police respond after man repeatedly yells SHOOT!…. during a hockey game on TV

    Devon Garnett of Tampa, Florida and his buddies were watching the Stanley Cup final hockey game on Wednesday night when things got exciting. "Shoot! Shoot!" yelled the fans at the players on TV. Moments later, the police were at their door. From the Tampa Bay Times:

    [The police] thought there were guns in the house," said Garnett, 26. "We're like, 'Nope, we're just screaming for Steven Stamkos.'"[…]

    In a sheriff's office dispatch report released late Thursday afternoon, the complainant [in a neighboring apartment] told police he heard a couple screaming at each other, with one yelling, "I dare you to shoot!"

    "Four deputies responded and discovered there were no domestic problems at the apartment in question," Verdina said in an e-mail. "It was a roommate screaming at the TV in regards to a Lightning game."

  • Joyous animated video for Nina Simone's "Color Is A Beautiful Thing"

    Musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone's Fodder On My Wings from 1982 was one of her mostly forgotten albums until its reissue this year by Verve Records. In celebration, director Sharon Liu and animators Nicolette van Gendt & Duncan Gist created this beautiful and uplifting music video for the High Priestess of Soul's nursery rhyme-like tune "Color Is A Beautiful Thing."

    Color is a beautiful thing
    I know, I know
    Color is a beautiful thing
    I know, oh, yes, I know
    Color is the e-ching-chang
    For sure, ding-dang
    Color is a beautiful thing
    I know, I know


  • Railroad workers' "man cave" discovered under NYC's Grand Central Terminal

    New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended three railroad workers for building out a secret "man cave" in an old locksmith storage room under Grand Central Terminal. Their hidden break room featured a TV, futon sofa, refrigerator, air mattress, and microwave. From CNN:

    The Office of the MTA Inspector General said it received an anonymous complaint in February 2019 about the room. That complaint described the same three specific employees would "hang out and get drunk and party." A second, similar complaint was made in late June 2019.[…]

    Grand Central Station management told investigators they didn't know the room even existed, let alone that it was a locksmith storage room, according to the report. Officials said the wiring of the TV and the streaming device created a potential fire hazard and that "the MNR Fire Brigade considers an unmapped room for which no one appears to have the key to be very dangerous."

  • Qantas sells decommissioned 747 airplane bar carts, stocked

    Qantas airline retired its fleet of Boeing 747 airplanes and listed several fully-stocked bar carts for sale to the public. Starting at US$685 (or 169,000 Qantas frequent flier points), the carts sold out in an instant. From their shopping site:

    Enjoy drinks' service at home with a fully stocked bar cart from a retired Qantas 747. Includes a range of Business Class items, including Champagne, mini bottles of red and white wine, Tim Tams, iconic Qantas pyjamas, an exclusive Qantas First Class Sheridan throw and more.

    The bar carts are used and will show signs of wear and tear.


  • Watch: Stevie Wonder's incredible statement on Breonna Taylor, the George Floyd uprising, the election, and the universe

    From a statement that Stevie Wonder released yesterday, titled "The Universe Is Watching Us — Stevie Wonder In His Feelings":

    "As time is evolving, it seems so much has changed. So much is moving to a different rhythm. The way we work, live, love, meet, and greet. Can't you feel we're changing the way we see and hear our life and reality? 

    …You can feel there's a beat that's drumming and it's off. Even if you're not a musician, you can hear when the music is not right. Can you tell that life is out of tune? Do you feel our reality is off-beat? We're out-of-sync."

  • National park mails trash back to litterbug campers

    Officials from Thailand's Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, packed up the garbage dumped by some campers and mailed it back to them. They identified the litterbugs via equipment rental documents and a prescription bottle amidst the garbage. From Food & Wine:

    The move was spearheaded by Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa, who reminded people in a Facebook post on Sept. 14 to take their trash with them upon departure, especially because of the impact it can have on animals looking for food. He added that if they didn't, he would pick up the junk, put it in a box, and return it to their home as a souvenir.[…]

    "We applaud Khao Yai National Park and the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment for their commitment to maintaining the beauty and well-being of our country's natural resources," Thailand's director of tourism authority, Charinya Kiatlapnachai, told The Washington Post via email

  • It's now official: No pooping on NYC subways and buses

    New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is updating their rules to specifically ban pooping on subways and buses. In fact, doing a number 2 on the number 2 train, or any other train for that matter, is already subject to a $100 fine "for create[ing] a nuisance, hazard, or unsanitary condition (including, but not limited to, spitting or urinating)." But now "defecating" is being added to the list. From the New York Post:

    "MTA rules are periodically tweaked to enhance clarity, and that's the case with the addition of more descriptive language," MTA spokesman Tim Minton said in a statement[…]

    The poop ban was first included in a host of new, temporary emergency rules issued back in April in response to the coronavirus pandemic[…]

    Those rules also include policies targeting homeless people who live in the system. The rules require riders to exit subway cars at the end of the line, ban people from lingering in subway stations for more than an hour and bar riders from bringing large shopping carts on trains.

    image: detail of original photo by Adam E. Moreira (CC BY-SA 3.0)

    (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

  • Watch 1940s film footage of the streets of Hollywood

    Welcome to Tinsel Town! La-La Land! The City of Angels! Lotusville! Hollyweird!

    The video descriptor says "1930s" but as one observant YouTube commenter writes:

    This ISN'T 30's…this is 1942 at the earliest (but I'd say most likely mid to late 40's), because Red Skeleton's prints weren't made outside the Chinese Theatre until June 18th 1942 (it says the date RIGHT THERE). Rex Harrison also wasn't a star in Hollywood until the mid 40's (his first US movie wasn't until 1946) And the cars look like mid 40's style

  • Medical 3D printer for inside the human body

    Researchers have long been developing 3D bioprinting technology to print cells in structures that can be implanted in the body. Now, bioengineer Tao Xu and colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing have built a tiny 3D printing robot mounted on an endoscope that's inserted into the body where it squirts out cell-laden gels. Thus far, they've only tested the device on a plastic model of a human stomach but hope the device can eventually be used to patch gastric ulcers among other applications. From Scientific American:

    The resulting micro robot is just 30 millimeters wide—less than half the width of a credit card—and can fold to a length of 43 millimeters. Once inside a patient's body, it unfolds to become 59 millimeters long and can start bioprinting. "The team has constructed clever mechanisms that make the system compact when entering the body yet unfurl to provide a large working area once past the tight constrictions at entry," says David Hoelzle, a mechanical engineer at the Ohio State University, who did not take part in the study[…]

    Future research could bring the micro robot down to 12 millimeters wide and equip it with cameras and other sensors to help it perform more complex operations, Xu adds. 

    More in their technical paper: "Preliminary engineering for in situ in vivo bioprinting: a novel micro bioprinting platform for in situ in vivo bioprinting at a gastric wound site" (Biofabrication)

  • Happy birthday to John Coltrane

    Born on this day in 1926, the great John Coltrane. Here is Saint John performing his civil rights elegy "Alabama" composed after members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 167th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young Black girls and injuring more than a dozen others.

    "You can play a shoestring if you're sincere." –John Coltrane (1926-1967)

  • Earth's new mini-moon may actually be 1960s space junk

    A new mini-moon on its way into Earth's orbit, first thought to be a small asteroid, may turn out to just be large hunk of space junk. Scientists first observed the object, dubbed 2020 SO, last month using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) at Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii. Further analysis suggests that it might be a big booster from NASA's 1966 Surveyor 2 lunar mission. From Space.com:

    "I suspect this newly discovered object 2020 SO to be an old rocket booster because it is following an orbit about the sun that is extremely similar to Earth's, nearly circular, in the same plane, and only slightly farther away the sun at its farthest point," Paul Chodas, head of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies in California, told CNN[…]

    The identity of 2020 SO will become clearer with more observations next month as scientists watch how the sun affects the object, Chodas said. "We should start being able to detect the effect of sunlight pressure has on the motion of this object: If it really is a rocket body, it will be much less dense than an asteroid and the slight pressure due to sunlight will produce enough change in its motion that we should be able to detect it in the tracking data." […]

    Minimoon or space junk, scientists currently suspect that 2020 SO will fall into orbit this fall, then make its closest approach to Earth on Dec. 1 and Feb. 3, according to NASA, before slipping away again in the spring.

  • Bruce Schneier: "The unrelenting horizonlessness of the Covid world"

    At CNN, Boing Boing pal and security researcher Bruce Schneier and Harvard media professor Nick Couldry write about acedia, "a malady that apparently plagued many Medieval monks. It's a sense of no longer caring about caring, not because one had become apathetic, but because somehow the whole structure of care had become jammed up." According to Schneier and Couldry, the meta-apathy of acedia is one of the strangest and psychologically stressful consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. From CNN:

    The source of our current acedia is not the literal loss of a future; even the most pessimistic scenarios surrounding Covid-19 have our species surviving. The dislocation is more subtle: a disruption in pretty much every future frame of reference on which just going on in the present relies.

    Moving around is what we do as creatures, and for that we need horizons. Covid has erased many of the spatial and temporal horizons we rely on, even if we don't notice them very often. We don't know how the economy will look, how social life will go on, how our home routines will be changed, how work will be organized, how universities or the arts or local commerce will survive.

    What unsettles us is not only fear of change. It's that, if we can no longer trust in the future, many things become irrelevant, retrospectively pointless. And by that we mean from the perspective of a future whose basic shape we can no longer take for granted. This fundamentally disrupts how we weigh the value of what we are doing right now. It becomes especially hard under these conditions to hold on to the value in activities that, by their very nature, are future-directed, such as education or institution-building.

    "The unrelenting horizonlessness of the Covid world" (CNN)

    image: transformation of original photo by Jessie Eastland (CC BY-SA 4.0)

  • The typography of Star Trek

    Dave Addey is author of Typeset in the Future: Typography and Design in Science Fiction Movies, a book exploring the typography of films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, WALL-E, and other classics. In an excerpt on his site, Addey studies the typography of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. From Typeset in the Future:

    If you like the style of Star Trek or [the] Star Trek Film [font], and want to use them to spice up your corporate communications, I have excellent news. In 1992, the creators of the Star Trek franchise partnered with Bitstream to release an officially licensed "Star Trek" Font Pack. The pack contains full versions of Star Trek and Star Trek Film, plus Star Trek Pi (a collection of insignias and Klingon glyphs) and Starfleet Bold Extended (a Eurostile look-alike that appears on the outside of many Starfleet craft)[…]

    Alas, [Star Trek:} The Original Series's inconsistent typography did not survive the stylistic leap into the 1970s. To make up for it, The Motion Picture's title card introduces a new font, with some of the curviest Es known to sci-fi. It also follows an emerging seventies trend: Movie names beginning with STAR must have long trailing lines on the opening S:

    The font seen in The Motion Picture's titles is a custom typeface created by Richard A. Foy, known at the time as Star Trek Film (and now known in digital form as Galaxy):

    Star Trek Film also shows up on the movie's US one-sheet poster, with bonus Technicolor beveling to make it even more futuristic:

    "Typeset in the Future: Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (via Kottke)