• Cleveland's baseball team will be called the 'Guardians'

    Cleveland's baseball team has a new name, having finally abandoned imagery and their prior team name that offended native peoples for decades.

    MLB:

    "We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland," team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said through the team's press release. "Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.

    "'Guardians' reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city, and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While 'Indians' will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians."

    Progressive Field looms in the background when facing the 43-foot "Guardians of Traffic" that have stood tall for nearly 100 years on the Hope Memorial Bridge. These sculptures are meant to symbolize progress, a concept that's now trickling over to the city's baseball team.

    Cleveland first announced last summer that it would begin having conversations with local community members and Native American groups about the possibility of a name change. The organization announced in December that it was beginning a search for its fifth name in franchise history — and first change since 1915

  • Impassioned union steward perfectly explains the Frito Lay strike

    Frito Lays workers are striking in protest of monstrous working conditions. Chief Union Steward Dan Negrete explains in no uncertain terms the awful and inhuman conditions he and his co-workers are subject to.

    NPR:

    Hundreds of Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kan., are in their third week of a strike, citing so-called "suicide shifts" and poor working conditions at the manufacturing and distribution plant at a time when the company's net revenue growth has exceeded all of its targets.

    Employees say sweltering 90-degree temperatures on the picket line are preferable to the 100-degree-plus heat that awaits them inside the manufacturing warehouse on any given summer day. They're demanding an end to mandatory overtime and 84-hour weeks that they argue leaves little room for a meaningful quality of life. They're also seeking raises that match cost-of-living increases.

    The company, which is owned by PepsiCo, disputes their claims, calling them "grossly exaggerated" and says a recent contract offer delivered earlier this month more than met the terms put forward by the workers' union, Local 218 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union.

    Update:

    Appears the gentleman above is an actor, but the real Dan Negrete loved the bit.

  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey: "It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down"

    With her State last of 50 for COVID-19 vaccine acceptance, Republican Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, applies the simple logic that people who could get vaccinated and do not are letting the rest of us down.

    Evidently, current-era Republicans have rarely heard of a "social contract," the implicit agreement among members of society to cooperate for social benefits and the public good.

  • r/AskHistorians checks the veracity of Eminem lyrics

    One of the greatest things to come out of this series of tubes we call the internets is r/AskHistorians:

    r/AskHistorians:

    On his 2000 album "The Marshall Mathers LP", Eminem writes in "The Real Slim Shady" that a lot of imitators have popped up after his debut. Were there a lot of Eminem soundalikes or lookalikes that got attention from major record labels during that period of time? (1999-2000)

    The best I remember of Eminem is that he wanted the real 'Slim Shady' to 'please stand up.'

    A historian naturally was standing by the help out:

    hillsonghoods·14hModerator | 20th Century Pop Music | History of Psychology

    Thanks for linking that and alerting me to the question! To save a click, here's the text of what I wrote in response to that previous question:

    It's an odd song. Wikipedia suggests (and is usually right about this kind of thing) that 'The Real Slim Shady' was released in April 2000, barely a year after 'My Name Is', Eminem's breakthrough single (released in January 1999). In that time period, as far as I can tell, I don't think very many white rappers emerged, who one might describe as the 'fake Slim Shadys' that Eminem spends much of the song railing against.

    The closest would be Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit; 'Nookie', Limp Bizkit's breakthrough single, was released in June 1999. However, by 1999, Limp Bizkit had already received some airplay for singles off their 1997 album Three Dollar Bill, Y'All – in particular their cover of 'Faith' by George Michael – and they were seen as very much in the mould of an emerging 'nu-metal' genre, which usually featured a rap-metal hybrid based on the model of Rage Against The Machine and refined by Korn.

    Fred Durst in 1999 was all about a red cap rather than bleached blonde hair, but you can hear a certain resemblance between his voice and Eminem's; they're both white rappers with quick fire delivery and relatively high pitched, nasal voices (unlike, say, Vanilla Ice, who had a deeper voice and slower delivery). In Fred Durst's style I do detect a lot of white rappers as influences – there's a bit of the Beastie Boys in him (there's occasional group vocals to emphasise the end of a phrase, that group's hallmark) and there's a House of Pain/Cypress Hill vibe at times. Eminem's style is more consciously indebted to black rappers than Durst's is; one suspects Durst may well have not known about Dre in the first place. 1^

    The other white rapper who Eminem may be referring to is Jimmy Pop of the Bloodhound Gang, whose song 'The Bad Touch' was released in September 1999 (and the chorus of which Eminem references in 'The Real Slim Shady' – 'of course they gonna know what intercourse is by the time they hit fourth grade, they got the Discovery Channel, don't they?'). Like Limp Bizkit, the Bloodhound Gang had been prominent for a little while before 'The Bad Touch'; they had something of an alternative rock hit with 'Fire Water Burn' in 1996; while Jimmy Pop's voice as a rapper is deeper than Eminem's and characterised by a very deadpan style, there are similarities between their schticks; Jimmy Pop's lyrics brim with skewered pop culture references ('the drummer from Def Leppard's only got one arm' is chanted in one single) from an outsider perspective.

    By and large the milieu Eminem is reacting to on 'The Real Slim Shady' is the Total Request Live era of MTV (perhaps the last point when MTV had much influence on American pop music). By this stage – 1998-1999 – MTV was in the process of transitioning more heavily to non-music programming, but Total Request Live was music focused, and teen-focused, playing the most requested songs of the day. Because of the competing demographics of music listeners in this era, TRL had a now quite odd-sounding mix of bubblegum pop directed at female teenagers – Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, the Backstreet Boys – and angrier fare directed at South Park-obsessed male teenagers, including Korn, Limp Bizkit and Eminem.

    The lyric in 'The Real Slim Shady' which mentions Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and then in quick succession mentions Fred Durst and (Total Request Live host) Carson Daly is very obviously a reference to the popularity and influence of Total Request Live.

    It's probably fair to say that Eminem's pretty rapid success in 1999 after 'My Name Is' – that first major label album featuring 'My Name Is' debuted on the charts at #2, barely a month after that first single was released – might have meant there was more space in pop culture for a Fred Durst or Jimmy Pop, but I think it's a little unfair to say they were Eminem imitators. More shameless Eminem imitators were – outside of Eminem videos aimed at Total Request Live – fairly thin on the ground in the period between 'My Name Is' and 'The Real Slim Shady'; usually, unless they're already on the record company books, it takes a year or two for a major label record company to find and groom an act and then to promote a single to the extent that it gets notice; the time between 'My Name Is' and 'The Real Slim Shady' simply was not long enough for Eminem imitators to emerge.

    Instead, 'The Real Slim Shady' is best seen more as one big boast: 'I'm so successful, everyone is trying to imitate me!', and as yet another Eminem song focusing on authenticity. Eminem was well aware of his fairly weak claim to hip-hop authenticity, being a white guy who didn't grow up selling drugs in the Bronx, or whatever. Many of his moves – working with Dr. Dre, the meant-to-appear-semi-autobiographical 8 Mile movie, the gleefully rude/in-bad-taste lyrics – were trying very hard to establish authenticity (all the while writing lyrics with deliberately unreliable narrators, a centuries-old poetic device, and while prominently having this odd tripartite personality, where some tracks/albums were Marshall Mathers, some were Eminem and some were Slim Shady.) And saying he's the 'Real' Slim Shady is simply another way to establish his bona fide claim to his particular corner of hip hop.

    1^ (This is a reference to 'Forgot About Dre', a Dr Dre track largely written by Eminem and featuring a cameo by Eminem, which focuses on the mistake made by many: forgetting about former NWA member, solo artist and Snoop Dogg producer Dr Dre, who also happened to play a production role on several key Eminem tracks)

  • NFL declares vaccination a competitive advantage, unvaccinated teams that run into trouble are losers

    If your NFL team can not play due to unvaccinated players contracting COVID-19 and the league can't reschedule the game easily, YOU LOSE.

    The team that didn't get COVID-19 wins.

    CNN:

    If a National Football League game cannot be rescheduled and is canceled due to a Covid-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, that team will have to forfeit and will be credited with a loss, the NFL said in a leaguewide memo obtained by CNN.

    The new rule makes being unvaccinated a competitive disadvantage this year, all part of the league's push to get players and staff inoculated ahead of the coming season. The NFL has said that any team that vaccinates 85% of its players and staff can relax their safety protocols and has applied looser rules to vaccinated players.
    "If a game cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week schedule and is cancelled due to a Covid outbreak among non-vaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the club with the outbreak will forfeit the contest and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft, waiver priority, etc. For the purposes of playoff seeding, the forfeiting team will be credited with a loss and the other team will be credited with a win," the NFL memo sent Thursday states.

  • The guy still trying to sell Trump's border wall

    So a guy who took money from Steve Bannon to build a border wall is still trying to hock the thing.

    The video suggests an extremely unreasonable Biden administration has, from the very top, said they aren't building any more walls but Gentleman is gonna keep on going because he believes in building expensive walls he was told not to build.

    Simply watching the video left me feeling that perhaps an Environmental Impact Report was skipped before this guy got to the building. The butterfly people and perhaps the government seem pretty sure the riverside wall was not a good idea.

    I am also unsurprised to hear that doing business with Steve Bannon and tangential associates ended in lawsuits.

  • Doug DeMuro reviews the 1992 Geo Metro convertible

    Small, efficient, and convertibles sound good to me but Suzuki/GM/Geo found a way to make that not much fun.

    Mileage was incredible, styling pure late 80s, and excitement completely missing from the GM Geo Metro hardtop, was removing the top enough to make this car a winner?

    What horrible bullshit to operate the convertible top! As a life-long convertible driver, this is not what you have to go through in cars that were thought out at all.

  • An environmentally friendly lithium mine in the disastrous Salton Sea

    It sounds more like the beginning of an apocryphal prophecy, but it appears humanity has discovered a way to extract lithium from below California's thickening pool of toxicity, the Salton Sea, in a manner that will leave things 'cleaner' than when the extraction began.

    The Salton Sea is a once dry ancient lake bed accidentally flooded in more recent times by early mistakes and wasteful farming practices. Filled with run-off chemical fertilizers, radioactive waste, and general trash. Briefly used as a resort, now the Sea seems to mostly be a source of toxic dust that blows into nearby communities — and a place to live off the grid.

    Autoweek reports:

    GM just announced that it became the first investor in a project run by Controlled Thermal Resources. CTR will pump hot, salty water from deep below the Salton Sea and extract the lithium from it, along with clean thermo energy at the same time. Cleaner water goes back into the Salton Sea and the ground beneath it. It's a win-win. You might even add another win in there when you consider the California Energy Commission's estimate that the Salton Sea area could produce 600,000 tons of lithium per year, which is amazing since the entire world's industry produced a mere 85,000 tons of lithium in all of 2019.

    "CTR's lithium resource at the Salton Sea in California is one of the largest known lithium brine resources in North America," CTR said in a release. "The integration of direct lithium extraction with renewable geothermal energy offers the highest sustainability credentials available today. CTR's closed-loop, direct lithium extraction process utilizes renewable power and steam—significantly reducing the time to produce battery-grade lithium products and eliminating the need for overseas processing. CTR's operations will have a minimal physical footprint and a near-zero carbon footprint. The brine, after lithium extraction, is returned to the geothermal reservoir deep within the earth."

    A source of plentiful and 'clean' lithium would be excellent, but the history of the Salton Sea suggests we'll get some new surprises. Perhaps a gateway to Lemuria.

  • While no bike lock is really secure, here is what I chose

    So I decided to get the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboutit Mini U-Lock and a thick braided steel cable.

    So, yeah, the Lockpicking Lawyer can open this with his special tool in moments. We've seen hydraulic bolt cutters tear these U-Locks apart and the steel cables are a joke. Realizing all that, and admitting I have a bike that draws too much attention to itself in an "if that is unsecured you should take it right now" kind of way…

    I THINK THIS WILL BE SUFFICIENT FOR MY CURRENT SITUATION.

    I mostly ride my bike to the supermarket, where a security guard spends a lot of their time hanging out next to the bike racks (it is shady, there is seating there, and they can see the whole parking lot.) Frequently, I also ride to Farmer's Market, where I can usually walk the bike and use my basked for my purchases. Sometimes I meet friends at a local restaurant or bar for lunch or dinner and usually find a spot to lock the bike where I can see it. The Kryptonite Mini fits well around the seat tube of my bike, securing it to racks or other useable-as-a-rack items. The cable runs through my helmet and wheels, discouraging folks from removing my wheels.

    My rear hub is electric and likely a real pain to remove, I certainly have not tried this. The front wheel could disappear in moments, but the cable ought to deter people enough in highly public places where someone is loosely paying attention.

    Kryptonite New York Lock Fahgettaboutit Mini via Amazon

    Lumintrail 12mm (1/2 inch) Heavy-Duty Security Cable, Vinyl Coated Braided Steel with Sealed Looped Ends via Amazon

    Previously on Boing Boing:

    My fashionable bicycle and skating safety helmet

  • A close look at declining water reserves in the west

    If you live in the western United States this 18-minute video is one you should watch, a tour of our dried-up lakes and rivers.

    Reservoirs are reaching historic lows not seen since they were filled. Hydroelectric generation gear is losing its ability to generate power. Old submerged ghost towns are popping up, and folks want to water their golf courses.

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's drought monitor reports:

    The U.S. experienced the extremes this week, with expansion of drought in the West, a robust Southwest Monsoon in the Southwest, a tropical storm making landfall in the Southeast, and extreme flooding in southeastern Texas. In the West, mid-level ridging has resulted in much above-normal temperatures for the western third of the CONUS, exacerbating drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest, northern Great Basin, Northern Rockies, and along the Front Range. Above-normal temperatures also pushed into the northern High Plains, warranting further deterioration of drought conditions in locations where rainfall remained below-average for the week. The central and eastern Corn Belt was a battle ground of sorts, with some locations seeing improvement with this week's heavy rainfall, while other locations missed out, warranting some degradation due to antecedent dryness. New Mexico and West Texas saw targeted reductions in drought coverage due to heavy precipitation associated with the robust Southwest Monsoon. In the eastern U.S., Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall and moved up the East Coast leaving in its wake a large swath of more than 2 inches of rainfall, with several locations receiving 5 to 10 inches of rainfall. The extra-tropical transition of Elsa warranted moderate drought (D1) removal along the Virginia/North Carolina border with 1-category improvements elsewhere along Elsa's path up the East Coast. Frontal activity prior to Elsa's passage warranted improvements to interior areas of the Northeast. Fire risk remains high across the West.

    Specifically, they have this to say about the western U.S., where things are the worst:

    West:

    Extreme, record-breaking heat leading up to this week has resulted in rapid deteriorations in drought conditions across the Pacific Northwest, northern Great Basin, and Northern Rockies. Although the largest positive temperature anomalies shifted southward into the Desert Southwest and Four Corners Region this week, above-normal temperatures persisted across in the northwestern CONUS, resulting in continued degradations of drought conditions from the Pacific Northwest eastward to central Montana. A small area of improvement was warranted in northeastern Montana, where 1 to 2 inches of rainfall resulted in modest improvements to soil moisture and short-term SPIs. Farther southward in New Mexico, the robust Southwest Monsoon has resulted in drastic improvements in recent weeks. This week is more of the same, with several 1-category improvement across central and eastern portions of the state. In some cases, moisture has seeped several feet into the soils, at least down to 200 cm (per NASA SPoRT and ground reports). Improved shallow ground water conditions also support the improved depiction this week. However, fire concerns remain across the West as a whole, as there have been nearly 40 new wildfires reported since July 10 (89 as of July 14).

  • COVID-19 patients beg for the vaccine, but it is too late

    In the state of Alabama, a doctor reports that once folks get sick they beg to be vaccinated, sadly it does not work that way.

    Only one-third of Alabamans eligible to be vaccinated have chosen to uphold their social contract with the rest of the nation.

    USA Today:

    Dr. Brytney Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, wrote in a recent Facebook post she is treating a lot of young, otherwise healthy people for serious coronavirus infections.

    "One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine," she wrote. "I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late."

    In her post, Cobia wrote that, when the patient dies, she hugs their family members and urges them to get vaccinated. She said they cry and tell her they thought the pandemic was a "hoax," or "political," or targeting some other age group or skin color.

    Should you recover, you may then be vaccinated.

  • City councilmember's racist attack brings another member to tears

    Tommy Bryant, a 76-year-old city councilperson in Tarrant, Alabama decided to respond to questions about his wife's use of inappropriate language by ringing the racist bell.

    Bama Politics:

    For the next few minutes, Bryant takes the floor and his points are scattered. Bryant and Newton have a few back and forth exchanges and Bryant complains about being interrupted by others in the past. Just after the 1 hour and 38-minute mark in the video, Newton takes the floor and brings up Bryant's wife and her social media posts. From there, the exchange grows with another city council member commenting about his wife's social media posts and Bryant defending himself stating that his wife does not speak for him.

    Just before the 1 hour and 41-minute mark, an unidentified person in the audience states that Bryant's wife used the n-word on Facebook. This leads directly into Bryant's use of the racial slur saying, "Let's get to the n-word." before using the line "Do we have a house n***er in here", pointing to his left, apparently directing attention to city council member Veronica Freeman and claiming that Newton used the slur in reference to her.

    At this point, there are audible gasps in the crowd and just over a minute later Freeman, sitting close to Newton, can be seen sobbing into her hands within view of the camera, only to leave and continue to cry off camera.

  • This fashionable bike lock does not slow down the Lockpicking Lawyer

    As per the usual, Lockpicking Lawyer blazes through a brightly colored, attention-seeking bicycle lock.

    Lockpicking Lawyer also points out that drawing attention to your bike or lock is generally not what you want to be doing.

    Kryptonite locks are pretty good, however, even if bright red. While the Lockpicking Lawyer can tear through them with his special tool made by him and Bosnian Bill, it'll take less expert folks more time in the wild.

  • Let's not talk about it: Amazon would prefer to be sued

    After 75,000 individual Echo users were organized to file a mass arbitration claim, Amazon found it more cost-effective to drop their arbitration clause and instead be brought to court.

    The Verge:

    Amazon has recently changed its terms of service to allow its customers to bring lawsuits against the company instead of having to go through an arbitration process. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company made the change after over 75,000 Echo users were organized to file individual arbitration cases, which would have left Amazon on the hook for millions of dollars in fees.

    Unlike lawsuits, arbitration cases are handled by a third party instead of a judge or jury. According to the American Arbitration Association's rules (which Amazon was bound by in its old terms of service), the company involved is responsible for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars in fees when a consumer brings a case against it — and those numbers add up quickly if a law firm is able to coordinate large numbers of consumers to bring complaints at once.

  • So, I finally watched Bill and Ted's moderately enjoyable adventure

    I enjoyed Bill and Ted's Face the Music, but it lacked the joy of its predecessors.

    Thirty years after their epic adventures Bill and Ted are still searching for that song. The Future Dudes have run out of patience. Reality, and their marriages to the Princesses are falling apart at the seams. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves do a fantastic job of bringing their characters into the now. Two Gen X guys who never gave up the dream, but really seem to need to give up the dream; Bill and Ted are whom I thought they'd be.

    The plot is great, everything about this movie would have worked out for me had the directors, producers, writers, whomever not wholly bought into a gag that feels wrong and out of place the entire film: Thea and Billie's referential 80s speak is awful.

    Their dialogue comes from the uncanny valley of scriptwriting.

    I do not understand why someone didn't see this early on and give the joke up. Sadly, the movie commits to it and it makes two otherwise great characters hard to take. The film managed to update while mimicking Bill and Ted's look, their mannerisms, and their style so well, and then the script just has them randomly blurt out "excellent" or 'totally' out of place.

    I get it and those two actors, Samara Weaving as Thea and Bridgette Lundy-Paine as Billie, did an amazing job portraying someone elses' flat joke. Their 80s terminology was misused and out of character. I can best explain this to folks who haven't seen the film by referencing another great film of the era, Point Break:

    Bodhi tells Johnny Utah: "You are one radical god damn son of a bitch!"

    No one ever used radical like that.

    When Bill and Ted use old vernacular in the film, dudes in their early 50s used to talk that way. In the earlier movies it was current vernacular and used in a grammatically and contextually consistent manner — the script totally fails Billie and Thea. If they had spoken like folks their own age it'd have been better, as it was the true heroes of the movie felt off.

    In a movie all about awesome daughters, Kristen Schall also does a fantastic job as Kelly, Rufus' daughter. They honor George Carlin's Rufus in a very nice manner and her character is another very-Bill and Ted addition that helps keep the movie going.

    I only have one other bone to pick with this film: Station deserved more. Kid Cudi, playing himself, honored Station with a name drop — but Station was missing and seemed easy to bring back.

    This is a fun Bill and Ted adventure. It may have ended their quest, but set up Billie and Thea for an interesting future.